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April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘massacre’

Guns, Guns, Guns

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

If you’re the biblically minded sort, then the trouble began when a jealous Cain clubbed Abel to death, but if you’re evolutionary minded, then it’s a ‘chicken and egg’ question. Violence had no beginning, except perhaps in the Big Bang, it was always here, coded into the DNA. If people are just grown-up animals, more articulate versions of the creatures who eat each other’s young, and sometimes their own young, there is as much use in wondering about the nature of evil as there is in trying to understand why a killer whale kills.

But debating how many devils can dance on the head of a pinhead is largely useless. We are not a particularly violent society. We are a society sheltered from violence. No one in Rwanda spends a great deal of time wondering what kind of man would murder children. They probably live next door to him. For that matter, if your neighborhood is diverse enough, you might be unfortunate enough to live next door to any number of war criminals, all the way from Eastern Europe to Asia to Africa.

The issue isn’t really guns. Guns are how we misspell evil. Guns are how we avoid talking about the ugly realities of human nature while building sandcastles on the shores of utopia.

The obsession with guns, rather than machetes, stone clubs, crossbows or that impressive weapon of mass death, the longbow (just ask anyone on the French side of the Battle of Agincourt) is really the obsession with human agency. It’s not about the fear of what one motivated maniac can do in a crowded place, but about the precariousness of social control that the killing sprees imply.

Mass death isn’t the issue. After September 11, the same righteous folks calling for the immediate necessity of gun control were not talking about banning planes or Saudis, they were quoting statistics about how many more people die of car accidents each year than are killed by terrorists. As Stalin said, one death is a tragedy; three thousand deaths can always be minimized by comparing them to some even larger statistic.

The gun issue is the narrative. It’s not about death or children; it’s about control. It’s about confusing object and subject. It’s about guns that shoot people and people that are irrevocably tugged into pulling the trigger because society failed them, corporations programmed them and not enough kindly souls told them that they loved them.

Mostly it’s about people who are sheltered from the realities of human nature trying to build a shelter big enough for everyone. A Gun Free Zone where everyone is a target and tries to live under the illusion that they aren’t. A society where everyone is drawing unicorns on colored notepaper while waiting under their desks for the bomb to fall.

After every shooting there are more zero tolerance policies in schools that crack down on everything from eight-year olds making POW POW gestures with their fingers to honor students bringing Tylenol and pocket knives to school. And then another shooting happens and then another one and they wouldn’t happen if we just had more zero tolerance policies for everyone and everything.

But evil just can’t be controlled. Not with the sort of zero tolerance policies that confuse object with subject, which ban pocket knives and finger shootings to prevent real shootings. That brand of control isn’t authority, it’s authority in panic mode believing that if it imposes total zero tolerance control then there will be no more school shootings. And every time the dumb paradigm is blown to bits with another shotgun, then the rush is on to reinforce it with more total zero control tolerance.

Zero tolerance for the Second Amendment makes sense. If you ban all guns, except for those in the hands of the 708,000 police officers, the 1.5 million members of the armed forces, the countless numbers of security guards, including those who protect banks and armored cars, the bodyguards of celebrities who call for gun control, not to mention park rangers, ambulance drivers in the ghetto and any of the other people who need a gun to do their job, then you’re sure to stop all shootings.

So long as none of those millions of people, or their tens of millions of kids, spouses, parents, grandchildren, girlfriends, boyfriends, roommates and anyone else who has access to them and their living spaces, carries out one of those shootings.

But this isn’t really about stopping shootings; it’s about controlling when they happen. It’s about making sure that everyone who has a gun is in some kind of chain of command. It’s about the belief that the problem isn’t evil, but agency, that if we make sure that everyone who has guns is following orders, then control will be asserted and the problem will stop. Or if it doesn’t stop, then at least there will be someone higher up in the chain of command to blame. Either way authority is sanctified, control or the illusion of it, maintained.

We’ll never know the full number of people who were killed by Fast and Furious. We’ll never know how many were killed by Obama’s regime change operation in Libya, with repercussions in Mali and Syria. But everyone involved in that was following orders. There was no individual agency, just agencies. No lone gunman who just decided to go up to a school and shoot kids. There were orders to run guns to Mexico and the cartel gunmen who killed people with those guns had orders to shoot. There was nothing random or unpredictable about it. Or as the Joker put it, “Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying.”

Gun control is the assertion that the problem is not the guns; it’s the lack of a controlling authority for all those guns. It’s the individual. A few million people with little sleep, taut nerves and PTSD are not a problem so long as there is someone to give them orders. A hundred million people with guns and no orders is a major problem. Historically though it’s millions of people with guns who follow orders who have been more of a problem than millions of people with guns who do not.

Moral agency is individual. You can’t outsource it to a government and you wouldn’t want to. The bundle of impulses, the codes of character, the concepts of right and wrong, take place at the level of the individual. Organizations do not sanctify this process. They do not lift it above its fallacies, nor do they even do a very good job of keeping sociopaths and murderers from rising high enough to give orders. Organizations are the biggest guns of all, and some men and women who make Lanza look like a man of modestly murderous ambitions have had their fingers on their triggers and still do.

Gun control will not really control guns, but it will give the illusion of controlling people, and even when it fails those in authority will be able to say that they did everything that they could short of giving people the ability to defend themselves.

We live under the rule of organizers, community and otherwise, whose great faith is that the power to control men and their environment will allow them to shape their perfect state into being, and the violent acts of lone madmen are a reminder that such control is fleeting, that utopia has its tigers, and that attempting to control a problem often makes it worse by removing the natural human crowdsourced responses that would otherwise come into play.

The clamor for gun control is the cry of sheltered utopians believing that evil is a substance as finite as guns, and that getting rid of one will also get rid of the other. But evil isn’t finite and guns are as finite as drugs or moonshine whiskey, which is to say that they are as finite as the human interest in having them is. And unlike whiskey or heroin, the only way to stop a man with a gun is with a gun.

People do kill people and the only way to stop people from killing people is by killing them first. To a utopian this is a moral paradox that invalidates everything, but to everyone else, it’s just life in a world where evil is a reality, not just a word.

Anyone who really hankers after a world without guns would do well to try the 14th Century, the 1400 years ago or the 3400 years ago variety, which was not a nicer place for lack of guns, and the same firepower that makes it possible for one homicidal maniac to kill a dozen unarmed people, also makes it that much harder to recreate a world where one man in armor can terrify hundreds of peasants in boiled leather armed with sharp sticks.

The longbow was the first weapon to truly begin to level the playing field, putting serious firepower in the hands of a single man. In the Battle of Crecy, a few thousand English and Welsh peasants with longbows slew thousands of French knights and defeated an army of 30,000. Or as the French side described it, “It is a shame that so many French noblemen fell to men of no value.” Crecy, incidentally, also saw one of the first uses of cannon.

Putting miniature cannons in the hands of every peasant made the American Revolution possible. The ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution would have meant very little without an army of ordinary men armed with weapons that made them a match for the superior organization and numbers of a world power.

At the Battle of Bunker Hill, 2,400 American rebels faced down superior numbers and lost the hill, but inflicted over a 1,000 casualties, including 100 British commissioned officers killed or wounded, leading to General Clinton’s observation, “A few more such victories would have shortly put an end to British dominion in America.”

This was done with muskets, the weapon that gun control advocates assure us was responsible for the Second Amendment because the Founders couldn’t imagine all the “truly dangerous” weapons that we have today.

And yet would Thomas Jefferson, the abiding figurehead of the Democratic Party, who famously wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”, really have shuddered at the idea of peasants with assault rifles, or would he have grinned at the playing field being leveled some more?

The question is the old elemental one about government control and individual agency. And tragedies like the one that just happened take us back to the equally old question of whether individual liberty is a better defense against human evil than the entrenched organizations of government.

Do we want a society run by the flower of chivalry, who commit atrocities according to a plan for a better society, or by peasants with machine guns? The flower of chivalry can promise us a utopian world without evil, but the peasant with a machine gun promises us that we can protect ourselves from evil when it comes calling.

It isn’t really guns that the gun controllers are afraid of, it’s a country where individual agency is still superior to organized control, where things are unpredictable because the trains don’t run on time and orders don’t mean anything. But chivalry is dead. The longbow and the cannon killed it and no charge of the light brigade can bring it back. And we’re better for it.

Evil may find heavy firepower appealing, but the firepower works both ways. A world where the peasants have assault rifles is a world where peasant no longer means a man without any rights. And while it may also mean the occasional brutal shooting spree, those sprees tend to happen in the outposts of utopia, the gun-free zones with zero tolerance for firearms. An occasional peasant may go on a killing spree, but a society where the peasants are all armed is also far more able to stop such a thing without waiting for the men-at-arms to be dispatched from the castle.

An armed society spends more time stopping evil than contemplating it. It is the disarmed society that is always contemplating it as a thing beyond its control. Helpless people must find something to think about while waiting for their lords to do something about the killing. Instead of doing something about it themselves, they blame the agency of the killer in being free to kill, rather than their own lack of agency for being unable to stop him.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Terrible Tragedy in Newtown

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Any attempts to explain the horrible event at Sandy Hook Elementary today will – for a long time – come across as pat, as superficial and insensitive, as hubristic in the face of the inexplicable.  Jeff Dunetz at Yid with Lid asks, “Dear God: How did you let this happen????”  Mark Galli, at Christianity Todaysays the slain in Connecticut “are not alone, nor without hope.”  He acknowledges that “It is a mystery why God allows the innocent to suffer. But he does.”

Yet what are the parents of the slain children to do with that? – or the husbands and mothers and children of the slain adults, whose families have been rent asunder? In the face of such grief – such brutality unjustly assailing the spirit – what can anyone say that will make a difference?  What good are words at such a time?

Mary Katherine Ham and Allahpundit have been updating this unfolding horror at Hot Air throughout the day.  The shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, reportedly used his mother’s legally purchased and registered handguns to kill her in her home, and then drove to Sandy Hook, burst in on the school principal, started an argument, and killed 20 young children and 7 adults (including the principal).  Police comments early in the day have suggested that another slain adult, discovered in a separate location, may be related to the Lanza killings – and that Lanza’s girlfriend is missing.

Neighbors have told reporters that Adam Lanza, who killed himself at the school, was peculiar, and perhaps suffered from a psychological disorder.  According to the Allahpundit blog:

Ace is right that the typical mass murderer is a mentally-ill sad-sack loser who’s bad at work, bad with women, and who finally snaps in frustration at his own momentous loserdom.

True enough; and there may have been a real disorder making it even more likely that Adam Lanza would lose judgment and self-control.  The world can never be made safe enough for people in this condition to live with complete independence.  We will learn in the coming days what Lanza’s state actually was.  There are presumably a number of people who know.  Although his mother is gone, he appears to have a father and two brothers still living.

There will be a political debate also in the coming days, as there must and should be.  Gun-restriction advocates will insist that new laws must be made (although Connecticut has some of the tightest restrictions in the country, and Mrs. Lanza was in full compliance with them).  Gun-rights advocates will point out that Adam Lanza had psychological problems, and that the rights of the majority must not be restricted in the way that may be appropriate for the impaired.  If it emerges that Adam Lanza was known to have dangerous anti-social tendencies, others will make the case that as a society, we have too laissez-faire an attitude toward the psychologically impaired.

It matters how all the rest of us will live, or be required to live, in the aftermath of this awful incident.  Every bit of the political debate will be necessary and appropriate.  Not one syllable of it will be inherently thoughtless or cruel toward the victims.  We govern ourselves, and we are entitled to debate, advocate for, and oppose any policy moves suggested in the coming weeks.  More than entitled, we are responsible for doing this, and we will be accountable if we don’t.  Policy must not be made precipitately, based on sentiment or emotion; hundreds of millions of Americans have to live with whatever policies are made, and law must be rational and enforceable if it is to be respected.

So we will have the debate.  The opening arguments have already burst out on both sides of the issue.  For tonight, however, our thoughts and prayers must be with the bereaved families, who have already had their last hugs, their last hellos and goodbyes, with the ones they loved – though when this morning dawned, they did not know it.

Originally published at the Optimistic Conservative.

Horror in Connecticut

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

On Friday, Adam Lanza (20) stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and killed 20 children.

He began his day fighting with his mother, who he shot in the face with a gun she had legally bought. He then headed over to the kindergarten where his mother taught. It was initially thought that Lanza was allowed into the school because they recognized him, but investigators are now saying they think he forced his way in.

He then shot the the school principal, a school psychologist and three other teachers who were holding a meeting, killing them all and wounding one other person.

After that he walked into a kindergarten class and opened fire killing 18 children and their teacher. Two additional children died in the hospital.

A school custodian ran through the school warning about the shooter, and someone else managed to get on the PA system letting the rest of the school know something was wrong.

Lanza then shot himself in the head.

Lanza was described as shy, disturbed, and autistic, but also brilliant.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other world leaders sent their condolences to President Obama following this senseless massacre.

 

Massacring the Truth

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The so-called “Jenin Massacre” of 2002 — a massacre that never happened — is emblematic of the way the truth is violated, over and over in this conflict.

I’ve written about this several times. I discussed Palestinian filmmaker Mohammad Bakri, and his “Jenin, Jenin,” an effective propaganda piece full of false accusations and made-up atrocities (including the bombing of a hospital wing that never existed). I wrote about the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by slandered IDF soldiers. I drew attention to biased journalist Philip Reeves, now a respected correspondent for NPR, who wrote some of the earliest reports from the site, suggesting that “hundreds of corpses” were buried in the rubble.

Dr. David Zangen, a doctor who works at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, was an eyewitness. As a reserve medical officer, he was present during the nine days of the  battle. He was interviewed recently by the IDF blog:

During the operation, we made a point to leave the hospital in Jenin unharmed so that injured people would be able to receive medical treatment. Whenever we passed by it snipers on the roof shot at us, but we didn’t fire a single bullet back at them.

Despite that, the people who were there at the time told the media that we killed 16,000 people — even though there were only 54 casualties — and that we shut off the hospital’s electricity. This lie drew a lot of harsh criticism from international organizations and news agencies.

Dr. Zangen wrote an article a few years ago called “Seven Lies about Jenin” in which he gives more details about what was in fact a massacre, not of Arabs, but of the truth.

The most shocking aspect of the affair, for me, was the cynical way in which Bakri and others were comfortable with inverting reality for ideological reasons. Bakri himself admitted that  many “details” were not exactly correct (a massive understatement), but that he served a higher truth.

And here is how Dr. Zangen, who was present at the scene (as Bakri, of course, was not) was treated when he tried to speak out:

A few months after the operation, Mohammed Bakri was about to release the movie ‘Jenin Jenin’, which projected many lies. A member of an Israeli bereaved family called me and asked me to try talk to a cinema manager in Jerusalem who was about to screen the film, and ask him to reconsider.

The manager called me and invited me to watch the film and give her my personal opinion. I came to the cinema and watched the movie, which was filled with lies. She still decided to screen the film, but invited me to stay and speak when the movie was over. I agreed. When I arrived, Mohammed Bakri was on stage and telling the audience that the reason he created the film was to show both sides of the conflict in order to promote peace.

Then I got up on the stage, told him and the audience who I was, and told him that the things he put in his movie never happened. The audience got upset, yelled at me that I was a child murderer and took the microphone from my hands. It was a tough moment for me. That’s why whenever I can, I fight to spread the truth.

Visit FresnoZionism.org.

Saturday’s Chicago Bar Car Bomb Latest in Ongoing Muslim Attacks on American Targets

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Adel Daoud, an 18 year-old from the leafy Chicago neighbourhood of Hillside was charged on Saturday with crimes arising from terrorism after months of surveillance by undercover federal agents.

Thinking that he had loaded a car bomb into the Jeep Cherokee that he was driving, he parked it outside a bar in downtown Chicago and walked away into an alley after doing everything he thought necessary for it to detonate. Safely distant, he then pressed the trigger mechanism in the presence of the agent, intending an explosion and deaths to follow. He was then arrested. Unknown to him, the bomb was inert and was designed not to explode. A preliminary hearing is set for Monday at a U.S. courthouse in Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune’s report says Daoud is a U.S. citizen. It’s alleged that he had been sharing information online about killing Americans in a terrorist attack since last October when he was presumably just 17. The affidavit accompanying the charge sheet [the legal papers are here] says Daoud believes the U.S. is at war with Islam and Muslims. That’s evidently why he wanted his attack to be recognized as terrorism and to be as deadly as possible:

“If it’s only like five, 10 people, I’m not gonna feel that good… I wanted something that’s… massive; I want something that’s gonna make it in the news like tonight.”

Ordinary people living in this terrorist thug’s neighbourhood or in others anywhere else in the United States are, in our view, left to take one of two views:

  1. The US authorities are completely on top of the situation and have all the religiously fanatical wanne-be jihadists and Osama Bin Laden followers under surveillance. They will pounce just in time to prevent the next massacre of innocent Americans whose crime is to believe in something other than what these creatures believe. And the attempted massacre after that, and after that and so on. So there’s nothing to worry about; Or
  2. No one really knows where the next mass-killer is going to come from. In fact, there may be lots of them – a completely unknown number, living in completely unpredictable locations, and they will look perfectly ordinary and will be undetectable until the bombs go off.

Take your pick. For our part, there’s no doubt. America has been lucky, and we need to pray the luck stays good. And to ignore the role that Islamist religious indoctrination is having on parts of American society is simply insane.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Heavy Fighting in Halab, Syria and Rumors of a Massacre

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Heavy fighting is being reported in Halab, Syria.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed rumors of a massacre in Hama, Syria.

The death count for the past day is now up to at least 99, while the Syrian opposition has placed the number as high as 310 people.

Now They Are Slaughtering Palestinians in Syria

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The world has become used to hearing and watching stories about massacres against civilians in Syria. But until recently, almost all the victims were Syrian citizens. Last week, however, it turned out that in Syria, they are also massacring Palestinians. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians live in a number of refugee camps in and around the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Earlier this week, the bodies of 16 Palestinians whose throats had been slashed were discovered in Syria.

The victims had been kidnapped while on their way by bus to their refugee camp Nairab.

According to Palestinian sources, unidentified militiamen stopped the bus, kidnapped the Palestinian men and took them to an unknown destination. A few days later the Syrian authorities announced that they had discovered the bodies of the victims in a field.

The men had been shot in the legs and chest before they were slaughtered like cattle, the Palestinian sources said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the brutal killings.

Some Palestinians blamed radical Islamic gangs operating in Syria, while others did not rule out the possibility that the murderers belonged to President Bashar Assad’s security establishment.

What is clear so far is that this new massacre against Palestinians has received little attention in the international media.

Even the Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank has had little to say about the massacre. This leadership is too busy promoting conspiracy theories about the mysterious death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004.

Palestinian Authority leaders are doing their utmost to hold Israel responsible for the death of Arafat.

Palestinian Authority President Abbas, who sent condolences to the families of the victims, has no time to follow up on the latest massacre against his people. The man is busy these days trying to secure financial aid to his bankrupt government.

Abbas flew to Saudi Arabia this week to beg the royal family for money to pay salaries to 160,000 Palestinian civil servants. Because of the severe financial crisis, the Palestinian government has paid its employees only half of their salaries for the past month.

Most of the Arab countries, as well, which treat Palestinians as second class citizens and subject them to apartheid systems, do not seem to care about the ongoing massacres against Palestinians in particular and Syrians in general.

Arab leaders say they do not want to give Palestinians money because they do not trust the Palestinian Authority leadership.

The slaughtering of the 16 Palestinians is seen as an attempt to drag Palestinians living in Syria into the bloody conflict between the opposition and the government. Thousands of Palestinians have already fled to Jordan, where the government of King Abdullah II does not seem keen to help them.

Many of the Palestinians have been sent back to Syria, while others, according to Palestinian and Western reports, have been placed in ghettos near the Syria-Jordan border.

Palestinians living in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon now fear another “Black September” – a reference to the massacres carried out by the Jordanians in the early 1970s.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/khaled-abu-toameh-now-they-are-slaughtering-palestinians-in-syria/2012/07/17/

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