磁力猪cilizhuThe idle musings of a former military man, former computer geek, medically retired pastor and now full-time writer.Contents guaranteed to offend the politically correct and anal-retentive from time to time.My approach to life is that it should be taken with a large helping of laughter, and sufficient firepower to keep it tamed!

Friday, June 26, 2020

When our government abandons us to the mob

God bless Tucker Carlson.  He's one of the few voices of sanity remaining in the mainstream media.  Last night he played a tape of a 911 call in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in which the dispatcher openly said to the caller that the cops couldn't help her.  She was on her own, because the city had given permission for the rioters to do their thing.  Hear it for yourself, and please take time to listen to the entire four-minute-or-so segment that I've chosen to include.  (If you want to listen to the entire 15-minute report, so much the better, IMHO.)

So what would you do, dear reader, if you found yourself in that woman's position?  What would you do if rioters were running rampant through your neighborhood, with police simply driving past and doing nothing about it?

I know what I'd do.  I know what I will do, if it comes to that.  I have to accept that defending myself and my neighborhood will carry consequences with it, because the authorities in places like that are likely to paint me as the criminal for defending myself, rather than the rioters, looters and thugs who are attacking me and mine.  That sort of discrimination goes with the territory, I'm sorry to say.  When you take a stand, you make yourself a target for those who are spineless cowards seeking only to ingratiate themselves with the enemy and appease their hunger for violent retribution.  However, that does not mean you should not take a stand.

I don't believe in appeasement.  I'll let Rudyard Kipling explain why.

IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: –
"We invaded you last night – we are quite prepared to fight,
 Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: –
"Though we know we should defeat you,
we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!"

That's what far too many liberal, progressive, left-wing local and state governments are doing right now.  They're "paying the Dane-geld" by pandering to the mob, rather than cracking down on its criminal conduct.  That can have only one future, as the mob grows more and more emboldened.

Frankly, I don't know how police in those areas can stand to look at themselves in the mirror every morning.  They're abandoning the people they've sworn to protect and serve.  By consenting to officially imposed inaction, they're making themselves part of the problem, not of the solution.  If, in future, they come to be regarded as part of the oppressive system that needs to be resisted, they will have no-one but themselves to blame.  My law enforcement friends and contacts are uniformly disgusted by what they're seeing and hearing.  Many of them are discreetly passing information to those who can do something more active about defending their families, homes and neighborhoods, ensuring that they're not caught unawares.  I'd say that's the least all cops should be doing right now - at least, all cops who take their oath of office seriously.

I told readers some weeks ago what was needed.  I can only repeat that advice, even more strongly.  You, and you alone, are your own and your family's and your neighborhood's first line of defense.  Accept that responsibility, equip and train yourself to fulfil it, and stand ready to do so - because you can't rely on anyone else, even the police, to do it for you.  It's that, or be a victim.  The choice is yours.



Thursday, June 25, 2020

Did the Viking Age begin 2,000 years earlier than we thought?

The BBC has a very interesting in-depth look at new archaeological and other discoveries, suggesting the existence of what it calls a "first Viking Age" starting about 3,000 years ago in Norway.

People who lived in Norway 3000 years ago were far less primitive than many have imagined. They were not hunters who still lived a Stone Age kind of life.

The ships built by Norwegians, Swedes and Danes during the Bronze Age may have had a crew of over 50 men. People from Scandinavia went to England in ships like these. They probably made their way down the great rivers in Europe.

They may have used the ships to travel to Finnmark in northern Norway.

And perhaps to Italy in the south.

. . .

Today archaeologists know that ships, houses, weapons, clothing and many other things from long ago look very much like similar objects from the Viking Age. People primarily used bronze and gold when they needed metal. The Vikings also used iron.

Shipping, trade, animals and farms, violence and looting, the construction of large burial mounds, and large-scale sacrifices involving jewellery and weapons — all these from the Bronze Age, 3000 years ago, are surprisingly similar to what we think of as the Viking Age. At least that is the picture that archaeologists are now starting to put together.

“Bronze Age and Viking Age societies in the Nordic countries were very similar,” Kristiansen says. The most striking resemblance was that both were maritime societies.

An amusing fact is that the first Norwegian researchers who took an interest in the ships found in petroglyphs thought that Vikings must have carved these images.

Because the ships looked like Viking ships.

. . .

The Danish Hjortspring boat is almost 2,500 years old.

It was excavated in 1921 from a wetland and is very similar to the vessels that are depicted in petroglyphs. The Hjortspring boat is the only example known from the Nordic region of a fairly complete vessel that dates almost from the Bronze Age.

The Hjortspring boat was found with weapons and equipment for many soldiers. Therefore, it’s safe to conclude that it was a warship.

The Hjortspring boat had room for ten paddlers on each side and the vessel had a steering oar at each end. Thus, the vessel probably had a crew of 22 men.

This was a light vessel where most of the strength lies in the frame. The wooden planks on either side are laid over each other and sewn together. Thwarts give the vessel stability.

It’s clear that the Hjortspring boat derived from a long boatbuilding tradition dating from considerably earlier than 2,500 years ago. Some of the construction methods can be seen in Norwegian boatbuilding right up to today.

The boat was paddled with long and narrow canoe-style oars. A copy of the boat reached a speed of 8 knots.

There's much more at the link, examining trade routes, culture, farming and many other aspects of "first Viking age" life.  I found it fascinating.

The modern replica of the Hjortspring boat, named Tilia Alsie, performed very well during trials.

I was unable to find any video of the trials.  However, a replica of a Bronze Age boat found in Britain, one of the so-called Ferriby Boats, has also been built and tested.  It's of very similar size and construction.  Here's video of those trials.

It's fascinating to think that paddlers might have moved such craft, and traded with them, throughout much of western Europe three thousand years ago.  I think our distant forefathers were tougher men than we are!


"Obeying The Law Is For Suckers"

So says Derek Hunter, who makes several almost unanswerable points.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

If you watch the news, national or local, there is a disturbing percentage of our fellow Americans doing whatever the hell they want to do with little or no concern for the law. And the law has little or no concern for itself, at least when it comes to those charged with enforcing it.

Across the country, charges are being dropped against rioters and looters. Why? Many of those people in position to prosecute the guilty have no interest in doing so. Hell, many of them ran on the idea of not prosecuting people. What kind of idiot would vote for a district attorney who promised to let people get away with more? Well, from San Francisco to St. Louis, they did just that.

I wouldn’t mind it so much if the piles of human garbage being given a pass stayed within the boundaries of the jurisdictions electing these morons to not enforce the law, but the idiots who do cast those ballots inevitably flee to sane areas, those not overrun by mutants like them, because who wants to live in a place where stealing anything valued at less than $1000 is no big deal?

. . .

It’s so out of control that at this point you’d almost have to be an idiot to follow the law. Like the movie I mentioned, there are no consequences to disobeying the law ... With police ordered to stand down, or pulling back on their own, the mob has gone off the rails. Why shouldn’t you? If your store is raided, hope you have good insurance. If you’re randomly attacked, hope you fall safely.

What are we paying taxes for? Democrats in these mob run areas are not only turning a blind eye to lawlessness, they’re cheering it along. But I bet they’d bring down every bit of the law on us if we didn’t pay property or income taxes. A tax protest would be beyond the pale, but break into a store, steal a TV bigger than your car, or pummel someone for not appreciating it with a brick and you’re a hero exercising your First Amendment rights. Don’t cut a check to Big Brother and you’ll find out just how tolerant the left is, even if you say you’re doing it in the name of “social justice.”

All this might not be a sign of “the end of the world,” but it’s the end of something. The people who produce are paying, the people who don’t are benefiting. The people paying the bills are trampled while the mob is cheered and protected. Democrats cheer, Republicans are either mumbling or silent. No country can survive long with circumstances like that. And no government – local, state, or federal – that allows it to continue deserves to.

There's more at the link.

The only drawback to following Mr. Hunter's suggestion is that, if we abandon the rule of law because others are doing so, we make ourselves subject to the same penalties and consequences as they do.  If we - and they - no longer have the protection that the law offers to the law-abiding, we - like them - have to suffer the consequences.  That's worth thinking about, because those consequences can impair us for the rest of our lives;  and the rest of our lives might not last long.

The law was intended to be a structure within which almost everybody could function, provided they followed its precepts.  When that structure breaks down, anarchy results.  In anarchy, the strongest come out on top, and there's no guarantee we'll be among them.

The fact that others appear to have abandoned the rule of law doesn't mean we should let them get away with it.  There's no moral or ethical reason not to defend ourselves, our loved ones and our property if necessary.  Sadly, though, in many jurisdictions that have twisted the law to suit their own ends, we may be prosecuted for doing so.  That being the case, there appear to be only three possible courses of action from a law-abiding perspective.
  1. Force the authorities to do their job and uphold the rule of law.
  2. Replace the authorities with others who will uphold the rule of law.
  3. Leave where you are, and move to an area where the authorities still uphold the rule of law.
Sadly, all of those steps carry costs, sometimes severe, and are probably not viable for many of us.

Therefore, in the absence of any practical, viable alternative, Mr. Hunter's prescription becomes more and more attractive.  When the law won't protect people, why should they be bound by it?  That certainly opens new possibilities for potential responses to the lawless;  a good deal more practical, and much less restricted, particularly if those employing them can remain unidentified while doing so.

I suspect the law-abandoning authorities haven't thought that through yet.  They should.


I want one!

Cartoonist Stephan Pastis has a good idea for a shopping bubble.  Click the image to be taken to a larger version at the "Pearls Before Swine" Web page.

A "social distancing enforcement mallet" . . . sounds like it'd be a lot more effective than a mask!


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Two interesting articles about the Russian Front in WW2

I recently came across two articles at the Warfare History Network, recounting the experiences of German servicemen on the Russian front during World War II.

From the Luftwaffe: Joachim Benz on the Eastern Front

After a seven-day journey through East Prussia and Lithuania, we reached Newel. Then we were off-loaded and drove through bitter cold and a snowstorm eastward to our assigned position. We soon discovered our equipment was unsuitable. The roads were as smooth as glass and the tractors were completely worthless. The iron tracks slipped on the smooth roads. The bolts on the treads came off, and the tractors were left stranded on the road without treads. Our “Lanz” tractor that was supposed to help us out in difficult situations was also useless. It had ironclad wheels and could not keep to the roads. We had to leave these brand-new tractors sitting in the ditches. Thanks only to our Opel all-wheel-drive trucks, which performed excellently in all weather, were we able to reach our destination to the south of Welicke-Luki.

We had just arrived at the front when the guns were immediately positioned and aimed, and we had to start firing. The Russians welcomed our forward observers over a megaphone, saying, “You half-trained Luftwaffe soldiers straight from Munsterlager repo-depot, we’ll whip your asses in no time!” This showed how well informed Ivan was!

Our computing section was quartered in a farmhouse only a few meters behind the guns. At the first salvo, the window pane blew out on our card table, and the battery commander was lying on the ground shouting, “Direct hit! Take cover!” Then we found out that the damage had been caused by the reverberation of the recoil of our own guns.

A Tale of Two German Snipers

The three Soviet T-34 tanks edged forward slowly as the drivers scanned for the concealed Germans that lay ahead. The lead tank suddenly clanked to a stop and swung its long barrel around ... Suddenly, the lead tank’s hatch opened about 10 inches and a head appeared with binoculars to scan the scene. Sniper Josef “Sepp” Allerberger brought the Soviet tanker’s head into the center of his scope, and at some 500 feet he squeezed off a round. A splat of blood hit the hatch as the head sank into the bowels of the tank.

The battle might have gone the other way had it not been for the young 19-year-old Austrian sniper who singlehandedly changed the course of the engagement by likely taking out the commander of the three tanks. His timely, well-aimed bullet negated the Soviets’ heavy initial advantage in firepower and maneuverability.

. . .

Allerberger and Matthaus Hetzenauer, another skilled Austrian sniper in the same division, were officially credited with killing more than 600 enemy soldiers during the Soviet advance toward Berlin in the latter stages of World War II. And their sniper totals did not include scores and scores of Soviets who fell to their rapid-fire machine pistol efforts during numerous determined and often foolish Russian frontal assaults.

Both young Austrians received the prestigious Knight’s Cross for their efforts, and unlike most snipers they left rather detailed descriptions of their work on the Eastern Front. Most snipers, like Finland’s Simo Hayha—dubbed “White Death” for his more than 505 confirmed kills in the Winter War just prior to the start of World War II—were reluctant to discuss their work which many considered underhanded or unmanly.

Both articles are interesting reading for military history buffs.  Recommended.


Boys and their toys - jet fighter and sled edition

The Aviationist brings us this video clip, probably from the 1970's or 1980's, showing a Norwegian Air Force Northrop F-5A fighter towing someone around a frozen hardstand on a sled.  Why, precisely, this was thought to be a good idea I can't say . . . but from the perspective of my own military service, I can confirm that "the devil soon finds work for idle hands to do" - particularly if they're military hands!

If that happened in America, I'd say the miscreant E-4 Mafia came up with the idea.  I wonder if there's a Norwegian equivalent - with lutefisk, perhaps?


The inner city versus suburbia - this time with guns

I've mentioned before that I hear things from correspondents in law enforcement and other interesting occupations.  I also have a network of friends and prior associates who keep me informed about what's happening in their areas from time to time.  I'm sensing a growing groundswell of anger and frustration at the seemingly out-of-control screeching mobs of progressive righteousness, and increasing determination that they won't be allowed to impose their shenanigans outside the city centers and inner-city areas that they've so far dominated.  Mr. and Mrs. Average American are getting fed up, and are more and more willing to do something about it.

For a start, more and more ordinary Americans are moving away from areas where they can't be sure that law and order will be enforced.  They want a stable environment in which to raise their kids, and if they can't get it where they are now, they'll move to where it's available.  As the Wall Street Journal put it:

America’s cities are indeed a wonder—built quickly from nearly nothing across a vast continent into a unique story of social and economic success. We may now be on the cusp of a great reordering of the nation’s population as many people decide it is time to separate themselves and their families from the social, political and moral turbulence of this country’s large urban areas ... People with all sorts of political beliefs are going to get out because they are watching city after city reach a tipping point of social disorder and political disorganization.

In two recent, overlooked articles, demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution reports that the well-noted migration into large metropolitan areas that occurred from 2010 to 2015—predicting “the decade of the city”—has in fact reversed sharply in the past five years.

Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington are all leaking people. Meanwhile the presumably disdained suburbs and exurbs, distant from these city centers, are gaining residents.

Then came the pandemic and the protests of 2020.

. . .

Urban dwellers are resilient, but these simultaneous events have forced people to face a hard reality. In just three months it has become clear that modern urban progressivism is politically incompetent and intellectually incoherent ... The message being sent is that progressive governance is, at best, ambivalent about maintaining civil order. The net result of the past three months has been a sense in many cities of irresolvable chaos, stress and threat.

I think many younger, often liberal families would stick it out if they thought there was anything resembling a coherent strategy to address this mess—the new health threat, the homeless, the rising crime, the filth, the increasingly weird school curriculums. But there is no strategy.

There's more at the link.

We're seeing this in more and more cities.  Families are fleeing to dormitory communities around the cities (sometimes completely separate from them, such as small towns ten or twenty miles away), leaving behind the decaying, crumbling infrastructure that can no longer meet their needs.  They're being replaced by less educated, less affluent residents who are more often than not dependent on government handouts to survive.  Instead of being centers of productivity for the city, generating rates and taxes and producing more than they consume, those areas are now centers of consumption, demanding more city funds and support than they can produce.  Needless to say, attempts by cities to increase rates and taxes to fund this additional demand merely drive out even more people, who resent being asked to pay for such entitlement and social support programs.  They're voting with their wallets, and their feet.

What I'm also seeing - and what I think the mainstream media is carefully, deliberately ignoring - is a growing determination, by those who leave such problems behind, to stop such troubles from following them to their new homes.  I've been watching this carefully.  Law enforcement contacts in several cities have noted that they don't have to patrol more distant suburbs or nearby small towns very much, because the people there "look after their own".  Anyone causing trouble is likely to be stopped by residents before the police arrive - and sometimes stopped rather hard, too.  As a result, gang-bangers and opportunistic criminals have learned to look elsewhere for an easy score, often targeting those who've moved into the city core, who are less organized and less willing to stand up for themselves.

As Jack Kerwick notes:

Thousands, even tens of thousands, have taken to the streets, many leaving destruction in their wake. But, on average, millions, at least as many as 15 million [gun owners], have had background checks conducted on them this year.

. . .

Again, millions and millions of Americans, many of whom would not have purchased firearms otherwise, are assuming responsibility for their own protection upon witnessing mass lawlessness in city streets.

Gun stocks have soared exponentially. No politicians, no Black Lives Matter, no Antifa—nobody is going to stop Americans from defending what’s theirs from predators. No one.

Again, more at the link.

Some people are taking it even further.  I know of several individuals, in five cities, who've carefully measured the ranges from their property to potential trouble points nearby, and possess rifles capable of "reaching out and touching someone" at those distances, if necessary.  One has built a front-yard "tree house" for his kids - with ladders that are sized and strengthened for adult weights, and a flat area on top of the "tree house" that provides a useful platform for a man with a rifle, and a clear view down his suburban street in both directions.  You might say he's preparing to be a suburban Roof Korean - and I daresay he's far from alone.

Others have formed local support groups, so that if trouble arises they'll provide mutual backup as and when necessary.  If a member goes out of town for some reason, their houses - and, if necessary, their families - are watched to ensure their safety.  Members who've had training in weapons use (military, law enforcement and private) are passing that on to others in the group during prearranged sessions at shooting ranges.  Those who don't have adequate weapons are being taught what's worth having, and assisted to buy them.  I've heard of one group that is said to have sent representatives to a gun show held in a location where restrictions on private gun and ammo sales and purchases were less stringent.  They're said to have spent a fair amount of money on weapons and ammunition, all of which were "off-paper" cash transactions.

I'm not a member of any such group.  Nevertheless, if I, a relatively insignificant blogger and simple retired pastor, know of a few people and groups like that, how many more are there?  I was rather surprised at how many friends wanted to upgrade their rifles to a more practical defensive configuration recently (something I wrote about here, as well as writing a three part series on the considerations involved).  I suspect the "silent majority" is getting bigger, and more frustrated, and better organized, with every new inner-city crime spree or left-wing riot or fatuous progressive demand.

So far, the "silent majority" seems to have focused on securing its own back yard, and trying to ignore (or at least steer clear of) the festivities in inner cities and similar areas.  However, cause enough ruckus for long enough, and someone's going to retaliate - particularly if the police are seen to be helpless, or hamstrung by corrupt, politically correct city administrators.  If that happens, the acronym will be TOCB (Take Our Country Back) - and I suspect the reaction won't be nearly as restrained as it's been so far.  People are already openly writing and speculating about it.  For example:

As the left-wing ancestors of the current rioters used to say back in the 1960's, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows".


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Small Dead Animals lays it on the line

I'm obliged to Small Dead Animals for putting up three videos of student activists at Evergreen College, back in 2017.  They're very important as a way to understand what's happening in American society today.  The blog notes (bold, underlined text is my emphasis):

What happened at Evergreen College in 2017 was a pilot project. As you watch these videos, you’ll recognize terms and phrases that are being repeated everywhere we turn today.

These are the people now cancelling academics, sports figures, and celebrities; holding corporations hostage; ripping apart hard science; demanding bent knees, destroying property and tearing down statues.

You’ll see in these students and agitators the same incoherent authoritarianism, demands for submission, public humiliation and violence; of those in authority the same capitulation and eagerness to be co-opted.

This is why the media — from news and opinion to sports journalism, has curled into a fetal position, repeating the mantras of Black Lives Matter like North Korean hostages. “Don’t hurt me”.

Now Evergreen College has gone nationwide. It’s important that we understand this is no longer the fringe, that tens of thousands of youth have been indoctrinated into this cult. From Human Rights Commissions to cancel culture, it’s been a long time coming. I still don’t think many fully appreciate the danger we’re in.

Click over there to see the three videos for yourself.  It really is worth your time to do so, because in them you'll see in microcosm what we're seeing on our streets today.

I agree with SDA:  many people don't realize, or understand, or appreciate, that many college and university students have been indoctrinated to be the "useful idiots" of an actual Communist-style revolution.  If we don't stop them, we're going to see that revolution triumph - and that'll be disastrous for our country as a whole, and for every freedom-loving individual.


Did nobody think about the weights and masses involved?

Last week an incident at Aberdeen airport in Scotland saw a DHC Dash 8 Q400 commuter airliner (empty and powered-down) roll unchecked across the hardstand, to run into an Embraer ERJ-145 parked on the other side.  Total damage to both jets is likely to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The incident was captured by a security camera.There's no sound in this footage.

I'm still shaking my head at the sight of ground workers trying to physically stop the airliner by pushing and pulling at it.  They must surely have been aware that, even empty, a Q400 weighs almost 20 US tons.  How, precisely, is human muscle alone supposed to stop that sort of mass once it's rolling?  What did they think they were going to achieve?

Verily, the mind doth boggle . . .


When politicians attack the police, they encourage criminals

Staggering under a drumroll of criticism (some - but not all - of it justified, let it be said), police forces in major cities are "pulling in their horns", so to speak.  It may not be official policy, but cops are no longer willing to put themselves at excessive risk to safeguard cities whose administrations will "throw them to the wolves" at the slightest hint of a problem, treating them as useful scapegoats instead of valued contributors to keeping the peace.  I've heard from several of my law enforcement friends around the country that they, and their colleagues, are now encouraging each other to put their safety first, rather than that of the public, because no-one else is going to do that - certainly not their politically correct superior officers.  It's hard to blame them.

Sadly, those same politically correct superiors and city administrators are soft-pedaling crime and criminals.  For example, in New York:

City shootings piled up at a rate of one per hour on Saturday — with more gunplay on Sunday — as an NYPD chief warned that hundreds of gun-possession defendants have been allowed to prowl Gotham thanks to coronavirus-closed courts.

“We have over 1,000 people that have been indicted on a gun possession charge, where the cases are open, and they are walking around the streets of New York today,” Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri told The Post.

That tally doesn’t include about 800 additional defendants who are charged with illegally packing heat but have yet to be formally indicted when the courts ground to a halt, LiPetri said.

There's more at the link.

Just look at the figures from the Fathers Day weekend.  In New York, "28 shootings in 72 hours".  In Chicago, "14 Dead, 88 Injured".  BizPacReview summarizes, "Deadly weekend in city after city, as full-on assault against police begins to bear wicked fruit".

Actions have consequences.  Whether you're an individual or a city or a political movement, if you attack police, denigrate their reputation, demoralize their officers and treat them like dirt, they're going to look after themselves first, rather than you.  It's human nature.  In such an environment, crime and criminals will flourish.  As the New York Post points out:

“This is what the politicians wanted — no bail, nobody in Rikers, cops not arresting anyone,” one angry law enforcement source said Friday.

“All those things equal people walking around on the street with guns, shooting each other.”

Again, more at the link.

As for officers themselves, the Second City Cop blog (based in Chicago) has a suggestion for Seattle police, who are likely to be sent in soon to clean up the CHOP protest zone in that city.

We would hope the [police] union would recommend its members don't make a single move without two pieces of paper in the hands of every single officer:
  • A signed and notarized blanket Pardon from the governor
  • A signed and notarized blanket Pardon from the president
This would cover State and Federal charges that are certain to be raised at some point by politicos looking to score points. We doubt that everyone is going to go peacefully, and we all know every single incident of lawful force is going to be recorded, edited and misinterpreted for maximum propaganda purposes against law enforcement.

Makes sense to me, from the cops' perspective.  They already know they're going to be scapegoated.  Why not take precautions against that happening again?

Faced with the inability of police to control this surge in crime and violence, how should we protect ourselves?  Step One is, of course, to stay away from the most crime-ridden areas;  but that's no longer guaranteed to work, because criminals don't necessarily confine themselves to their familiar stamping-grounds any longer.  No, we have to defend ourselves if and when the cops can't do so - and there's only one practical, effective way to do that.  Sadly, that'll contribute to the increase in violence - but we didn't ask for that increase in the first place, and I have no sympathy for those who've caused it.  As Jeff Cooper pointed out:

If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore what he must be taught to fear is his victim.



Monday, June 22, 2020


I came across this at Gun Free Zone.  It's too funny not to share!

It's weird to think that I saw "Grease" when the movie was released in 1978.

We all had the hots for Olivia Newton-John.  Here's how she and John Travolta did that dance.

Those two guys are sure funny, but I think I prefer the original rendition!


A world-famous cop looks at police accountability and racism

Frank Serpico was awarded the NYPD's Medal of Honor for his work in exposing internal corruption and malfeasance in the department.  He was, however, vilified by many fellow officers for being willing to break the "code of silence" by which cops protected themselves and their colleagues.  Resentment against him from some officers continues to this day.  The book "Serpico" by Peter Maas, and the 1973 movie based on it starring Al Pacino, depicted his struggle.

Some years ago, A&E filmed an episode of its "Biography" series about Serpico's life and work, and what it cost him.  If you have the time, it's worth watching.  Compare and contrast his behavior with that of some other officers recently accused of misconduct, even murder.  There's a very visible difference in attitude.

Serpico recently gave an in-depth interview to Foreign Policy magazine concerning the current state of policing in the USA.  Here's an excerpt.

Now 84, Serpico lives quietly outside Albany, New York, but he remains vocal in speeches, articles, and activist campaigns pushing for police reform. And Serpico says Americans are still fighting the same fundamental problem today that he struggled with as a young cop who refused to take bribes in New York during the 1960s and early ’70s: a near-total lack of accountability over abuses. Then as now, Serpico says, police departments have proved incapable of investigating themselves, and district attorneys typically look the other way, fearful of offending the politically powerful police unions.

In recent weeks, that problem exploded into worldwide furor once again after a white Minneapolis police officer was videoed casually suffocating a handcuffed black man, George Floyd, to death. Many experts said that had it not been for the video, the officer, Derek Chauvin—who was later fired and charged with second-degree murder—would likely still be on the Minneapolis police force. Serpico notes that there is a tragic continuum here: Much as police abuses today are being exposed only by citizen bystanders with cell phones, his only recourse 50 years ago was to go to the New York Times after he discovered that the NYPD was incapable of investigating itself and the city government wouldn’t act. Now, with Congress and state and local legislators finally confronting the problem of accountability and abuse by proposing new legislation, Serpico says there may be hope at last—but there’s a long way to go. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Foreign Policy: Were you surprised by the reaction to George Floyd’s killing?

Frank Serpico: The fuel has been pooling for decades—the Floyd thing was the spark that ignited it. It had gone too far, too long. Police corruption is endemic. It’s been there since the beginning of policing, when police officers had to buy their jobs. What is happening now is also a manifestation of that corruption. Brutality is police corruption. This is a window of opportunity to have some police officers finally see that, hey, we have inherited the sins of our brothers and it behooves us now to do something about it. I’m in touch with police all over the country and the world. Until now all my communications have been about whistleblowers and corruption and how the whistleblower almost always becomes the victim. The problem is that in most cases the agencies they go to in order to tell them about wrongdoing inside or outside the department respond along the lines of: If we did this [prosecuted police officers], we would undermine the stability of society. Or they say, “We can’t afford a scandal. It would undermine public confidence in our police.” But what we’re seeing now is that it already has been undermined.

FP: The reaction has been even greater and more intense—certainly more global—than five or six years ago, when the Black Lives Matter movement erupted after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner was suffocated by a New York police officer. Garner, like Floyd, cried out, “I can’t breathe,” before he died.

FS: I think what drove it home this time, as didn’t happen with Eric Garner, is this was so in your face. It was all there on video: One human being slowly killing another helpless human being. It really went beyond the pale. So hopefully the movement continues. We had the coronavirus, which is still ongoing, a lot of people losing their jobs, and the boil burst. It was the perfect storm. I feel that the coronavirus is equivalent to police corruption. We have this virus among us, and we don’t know who has it. Police corruption too is a virus.

FP: The international reaction has been extraordinary, don’t you think?

FS: It’s called solidarity. Because people are fed up around the world. Look at what’s happening with the police in Turkey, where they’re shooting at these communities. It’s about poverty in these communities, desperation. What has to be addressed is this economic disparity in the country and the world. We’re wasting so much money on BS technology that would be better used to fix this problem.

FP: How much of this has to do with racism, plain and simple?

FS: There is something in the culture that is unmistakably racist. I don’t know how many white guys there are out there, in whatever position, who wake up every day and say, “What am I going to do today to fight racism?” And I bet just about every black man wakes up and says, “Jeez, am I going to get my ass beat today?” A lot of people of color have PTSD over this, whether white people, especially cops, understand that or not. They panic at the sight of the uniform. It’s almost become part of their DNA. When I was a cop, I was working one day with this white guy, and we got a complaint to investigate. We go to the scene, and there’s a white man and a black man. My partner says to the white man, “What’s the problem?” And the black guy says, “I’m the one that called.” He was automatically suspect, because of the color of his skin. That’s one reason why black communities are so frightened and angry.

There's much more at the link.  Highly recommended reading.

As I've said before, if it comes to demonstrating against police misconduct - which is so appallingly clear in a number of recent incidents - I entirely support the current public protests.  I'd willingly join them myself if I lived in the affected areas.  I do not, however, support those who are using them as an excuse to riot, a springboard for violence and crime, and exploiting them for political purposes.  Rioters and thugs are as much criminals as those against whose misconduct the protests are aimed, and need to be stopped just as much, if not more so.

Nevertheless, let's at least have the courage to admit that we do have a police bias problem in America, and we do have a police culture that tends to cover up misconduct rather than confront it and root it out.  It's not universal, but it is pretty widespread, and needs to be addressed.  Only when we accept that can we begin to do anything effective about dealing with it.

(Dealing with it, of course, will have to include de-militarizing the police function, and getting rid of disastrous overreaches such as the so-called "War on Drugs" which "broke policing", to quote the Cato Institute.  I've pointed out many police excesses on this blog, as have other bloggers (for example, here).  That doesn't make us anti-police as a whole:  it means we're pro-good-police, anti-bad-police.  We need to return to policing based upon a social contract, as advocated by Sir Robert Peel in his famous "Peelian Principles".  We've drifted dangerously far from those precepts, and it shows.)


Memes that made me laugh 12

Last week's collection.