October 6, 2002
UPDATE: Brian Carnell writes that Daniel Schorr should know something first-hand about scandalous yellow journalism — though in the case in question, Schorr didn’t have it right.
UPDATE: Brian Carnell writes that Daniel Schorr should know something first-hand about scandalous yellow journalism — though in the case in question, Schorr didn’t have it right.
MARK KLEIMAN has a post on the Second Amendment in which he argues essentially that (1) the Second Amendment should probably be read to protect only military guns; which means (2) rifles rather than handguns. This actually isn’t all that far from my position, which you can read here. (A much shorter explication can be found in this piece.) And if you follow this link and click on #3, “Original Meanings,” you can hear me (and see me in streaming video) say somewhere that the purposes of the Second Amendment would be largely satisfied by universal ownership of bolt-action 1898 Mausers, though my views on what the Second Amendment actually protects are somewhat more expansive.
Kleiman is on solid ground in suggesting that there isn’t, under this view, a Second Amendment right to carry concealed handguns, and — as the two articles linked above illustrate — state case law, even when very protective of the right to arms, tends to support that position. In Tennessee (where a court, ironically enough, recently stressed that the enumerated fundamental right to bear arms is so strong that it’s on a par with the unenumerated right of privacy, which in Tennessee protects abortion independently of federal law) the legislature has the right to regulate the carrying of arms, but keeping and bearing them — including such incidentals as buying and selling guns and ammunition, taking them for repair and target practice, etc. — are fundamental rights beyond ordinary regulation.
However, in interpreting the Tennessee right to arms — which both Tennessee courts and, interestingly, the United States Supreme Court, say is essentially synonymous with the Second Amendment — Tennessee courts have not gone as far as Kleiman where handguns are concerned. Instead, they distinguish between weapons suitable only for crime (like derringers, etc.) and handguns that are military in character, such as revolvers and automatic pistols. The latter are held protected.
UPDATE: I just went back to Kleiman’s page and he’s posted an update with a link to a long post by Dwight Meredith (whose blog I hadn’t seen before) arguing that: “The best thing that could happen to gun control advocates is for the NRA to win the debate over whether or not the Second Amendment provides an individual right to keep and bear arms. Irony can be sweet.”
Well, I’ve been making this point for some time (I think the first place was in an L.A. Times oped in 1994, but I’m not sure and it doesn’t seem to be on Google (or, to be more accurate, if it’s there it’s buried under so many other links that I can’t find it). But this piece of mine from Legal Affairs makes the point similarly:
The gun issue is divisive in American politics largely because it is falsely treated as an all-or-nothing choice: Either homicidal maniacs will carry howitzers on Main Street, or jackbooted government thugs will confiscate revolvers at midnight. As the Emerson decision shows, however, the individual-right theory allows for neither of these extremes.
The right does bar efforts to disarm Americans as a whole and create a British-style society in which guns are limited to the military and police. But it wouldn’t stop the government from passing laws to protect the safety of Americans. Regulations aimed at prohibiting criminals and people with histories of violence from owning guns will face no problems under the individual-right theory. If that view were generally adopted by the courts, a lot of political wrangling would come to an end. Gun owners confident that their rights would be protected would be less likely to oppose minor gun control as a step down a slippery slope.
Having said this, the above doesn’t make it paranoid or foolish for gun-rights activists to oppose regulations that the Second Amendment might permit — any more than it’s paranoid or foolish for First Amendment advocates to oppose regulations that the First Amendment permits, but that they see as a step down the slippery slope. And, in both cases, such opposition may be justified by reference to the relevant amendment and the interests it protects even if its letter might not reach the conduct in question. (For a lengthy and erudite explanation of why such behavior is appropriate in both cases, see this article on “slippery slopes” in general by Eugene Volokh. You might also read this article on slippery slopes and gun regulation in specific, by Dave Kopel and Joseph Olson.)
Well, there you are. More than you probably wanted to know. (Later: But just in case it’s not, here’s a link to an article that discusses the Tennessee cases at more length.)
UPDATE: My Mauser remark is about 1:14 into the video, which is about 1:20 long, though for context you may want to go a couple of minutes earlier than that.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Clayton Cramer weighs in on the handgun issue. And reader Richard Riley writes:
I’m as pro-gun as you can get – NRA life member, instructor, CCW in Orange County, CA. But I absolutely agree with you. The second amendment is military weapons, not dirks and daggars and derringers. Citizens carrying concealed are good policy and help society, but so are lots of things not covered by the Constitution.
I think most gun owners would be happy with all kinds of reasonable restrictions, so long as they knew that those restrictions weren’t the next slice of salami. But, I think most gun control advocates ARE using the incremental approach. All the laws they wanted 20 years ago are on the books in California now – long waiting periods, education and tests, trigger locks, banning “unsafe” guns and “assault” weapons, universal registration. Yet they want more, and more. In their own literature they say they’ll go after guns category by category till we live in an unarmed utopia.
Yes. It’s rational to fear the slippery slope when people are consciously pursuing a strategy of incrementalism in depriving you of your rights.
UPDATE: Toren Smith has more.
REID STOTT SAYS that The New York Times has gotten America’s mood right. No, really, that’s what he says.
EUGENE VOLOKH SAYS THE REPUBLICANS LOOK TO BE shooting themselves in the foot over New Jersey. He’s probably right about this. Legally, they may have a case, though — as I said on Hugh Hewitt’s show last week — I’d be very surprised if the Supreme Court heard it. Politically, though. . . .
STEFAN SHARKANSKY WONDERS if the Portland Al Qaeda cell was composed of people who are “desperate and oppressed.”
VEGARD VALBERG HAS some fearless predictions. And they’re about the future!
STEVEN DEN BESTE has a detailed essay on the European vs. the American experience with cell phone standards — and says that the American approach has turned out to work better.
CONDI IN 2004?
I WAS GOING TO BLOG ABOUT THIS, BUT NOW I DON’T HAVE TO. SKBubba responds to a piece in my local paper in which a UT instructor compares increased surveillance of foreign students to Nazi efforts to round up the Jews.
PARIS STABBING UPDATE: Reader George Beckwith forwards this story, in which it is noted that the stabber was: “a 39-year-old practising Muslim born near Paris, who told interrogators he acted ‘out of animosity towards politicians and homosexuals.’” The headline, of course, mentions only that the Mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, was stabbed by a “homophobe.” Most stories seem to be omitting all of this information.
One can, of course, be a homophobe and — especially — a hater of politicians without being a Muslim, but there do seem to be rather extensive efforts to downplay any Islamic connections. Beckwith adds:
Most of the elite media and nearly all governments are concealing the extent and nature of Islamist terrorism, because they are terrified of public reaction. The FBI treatment of the Egyptian who killed the Jews at LAX is a prime example. This is certain to fail in the information age, destroying the believability of governments the dominant media alike.
Yes, I think that efforts to gloss over this sort of thing are as likely to feed prejudice as to reduce it — and the lost credibility that results will make it far harder to contain any backlashes that appear.
JIM BENNETT WRITES that the United Nations is an idea whose time has gone.
THE SUPREME COURT TERM STARTS TOMORROW, and there’s a cool Jurist roundup-of-the-roundups for those who are interested.
DAVID WARREN LOOKS AT THE REALITY OF MULTILATERALISM:
The first thing to know is that none of the five governments are in any doubt that the U.S. intends to change the regime of Saddam Hussein. And neither Paris, nor Moscow, nor Beijing is in a position to stop it, through the U.N. or otherwise. The question from each is, “At what price will we allow the Americans to escape from the appearance of unilateralism?”
Quite a few interesting observations follow.
JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN writes in the Boston Globe that an attack on Iraq would satisfy the demands of just war theory:
There are many puzzling features to the current debate. We hear a lot, and rightly, about not going it alone. But in fact we are not. The Bush administration is seeking congressional authorization (”legitimate authority,” as the just war tradition calls it) to use US military might. It is urging the Security Council to adopt a strong resolution that basically calls upon the Iraqi regime to abide by all the other resolutions the UN has passed and Iraq has ignored.
When critics bemoan the current administration’s alleged unilateralism, they seem to be operating under a peculiar double standard. The United States, working around the clock to secure support for the preventive use of force to disarm the Iraqi regime, is accused of egregious unilateralism. But a state -Iraq – that has behaved and continues to behave unilaterally in defiance of the international community’s various and repeated resolutions is let off the hook. Why? . . .
Justice falls by the wayside in such preachments. The Iraqi victims of Saddam Hussein are not considered worthy of serious consideration. But just war theory demands that we consider them, as well as Saddam’s potential victims outside Iraq.
Worth reading in its entirety.
RICHARD POE responds to questions about why the Blogosphere tilts rightward. His commentary on the Crabtree piece in the New Statesman is worth excerpting:
Take Crabtree’s own article. Crabtree violated blog etiquette by failing to link to the “right-wing” blogs he condemned. But his conservative rivals did the opposite. They gleefully linked to Crabtree’s Bolshevik rant, the better to ridicule it.
Each “right-wing” blogger courteously provided links, not only to Crabtree’s piece, but to the blog where he found Crabtree’s piece. Thus bloggers can backtrack through a chain of commentary from one blog to the next, and comment on each others’ comments. A hot debate can girdle the globe within hours.
Instead of suppressing Crabtree, conservative bloggers helped publicize him. Not that it will do him any good. Only a handful of fellow leftists will take Crabtree’s polemic seriously. The rest of us will roll on the floor, convulsed by paroxysms of side-splitting, rib-cracking – and, to borrow a phrase from Samizdata.net – “pant-wetting” laughter.
I think that’s the part that really hurts, though “Bolshevik rant” may be a bit of an overstatement. And I think the blogosphere is less rightist than anti-idiotarian, though where the New Statesman is concerned the distinction may be of little consequence.
UPDATE: Paul Musgrave doesn’t like Poe’s piece much. My favorite bit of Paul’s post, though, is this link to the Tom Tomorrow cartoon on blogging that people were talking about last week. I will note, though, that unlike Crabtree, Musgrave links to the object of his criticism.
COWERING IN MARYLAND: Reader Tod Weinberg reports from Frederick:
Frederick, Maryland, fifteen miles from Montgomery County, held its annual In The Streets festival yesterday. 20,000 men, women, and children came to the blocked off center of the city for music, food and fun. Good time had by all. No cowering.
A FRENCH TANKER was attacked off Yemen, today, in U.S.S. Cole fashion. Yemen is a problem that needs to be sorted out.
UPDATE: This BBC story says that Yemen denies that it was an act of sabotage, though the French say it was a boat full of explosives. I think Yemen doesn’t want to be viewed as a problem in need of sorting out. Too bad, guys. Nothing you guys couldn’t sort out yourselves, of course. . . .
THOSE VIOLENT EUROPEANS: “Attacker Stabs, Injures Paris Mayor.” No information on the attacker.
UPDATE: Claire Berlinski reports from the scene:
I was, evidently, within 50 feet of the attack — I was at the Hotel de Ville at exactly that time — and had no idea, none at all, that it had happened until this morning. Neither did anyone else there. The mayor didn’t want to ruin the good time everyone was having and insisted upon being escorted away discreetly. Today the French papers are reporting that the assailant appears to have been a random lunatic “known to the police” — there’s no evidence as yet that it was political.
Re. your headline “Those Violent Europeans:” This was such depressing news, because this event was otherwise inconceivably good-natured and civilized, by US standards — imagine opening the White House doors to every US citizen for the night, having an open bar, live music, no security — none — at the gates, letting in anyone who wants to come in, and having an perfectly lovely evening where everyone listens politely to the music, admires the paintings in the Oval Office and is very careful not to damage the carpets. The whole city was having a good time and no one was behaving badly — except for one lunatic. Really sad, especially since the mayor is such a *nice* guy — he organized all of this just so that Parisians could have fun and feel that the public monuments really belong to them. That’s why there was no security.
Sad, but the way of the world today, I’m afraid.
HERE’S A REPORT FROM READER GREGORY HILL — unconfirmed as of yet:
Hasn’t made any of the local newsites yet, but the 11pm teevee news is reporting that a body was found in Howard County (Northeast of Montgomery County) around 9pm tonite. Single shot. No witnesses.
UPDATE: Hill emails that it was on the 11 o’clock news on WBAL and WJZ, but there’s nothing on their websites that I can find.
JOHN TABIN SAYS THAT MARK SHIELDS shamelessly misrepresented an item from Best of the Web on Capital Gang tonight.
Knowing Shields’ tendency to repeat himself, he’ll probably do it again on another show.
UPDATE: Just caught the Capital Gang rerun and it’s as Tabin describes. Shields gets steadily more embarrassing. But the big news on Capital Gang was what lousy reviews Al Gore’s speech on the economy got from pretty much everyone but Shields. Even Margaret Carlson and Al Hunt were brutal.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THE BRITISH PRESS REMAINS LAME, especially on American reporting: Jim Henley is correcting an item suggesting that people were cowering in their homes, noting that:
This is all so last Thursday. Schools locked down, meaning cancelled recess and field trips, locked doors and, I think, drew blinds, Thursday only. “Shut down” makes it sound like schools closed. Nearly as I could tell, the killers were the only people who didn’t get out today – every place we went was mobbed. I don’t doubt you could find some people willing to tell a reporter they were scared, but watch what we do here in MoCo, not what we say. And “the last victim” at the time this story must have been filed was either the Petworth man or the Kensington Shell killing. Any place in Rockville is “close” to either place only on the transatlantic scale.
You tell ‘em, Jim. He’s got more updates, too, if you scroll down.
RULE BRITANNIA! Seems like there’s some support for the war there. . . .
The prospect of war with Iraq is encouraging a record number of young Britons to join up.
Over the past six months 7,350 recruits have joined the Army, compared with 6,592 for the same period last year. Two years ago the comparative figure was 5,935.
The figures represent a rise of 11.5 per cent on last year and 23 per cent on 2000 and suggest that the Army is likely to recruit a record 15,000 new soldiers. The bulk of the increase is in the infantry, which has suffered most from recruiting problems.
The recruitment boost follows years of failing to attract enough new soldiers to keep the Army at full strength. Despite repeated advertising campaigns all three armed services – particularly the Army – had been unable to meet their targets until recently. The Army has also not been helped by potentially damaging setbacks such as the failure of the Army’s new rifle – the SA80-A2 – in Afghanistan.
One senior military officer told The Telegraph: “There is a direct correlation between the increased recruiting figures and the prospect of a war with Iraq. History has shown time after time that as far as the British public is concerned, recruiting is never a problem when there is a war in the offing.”
Why, that’s an almost Tennessee-like spirit.
THE GUARDIAN on the Maryland shootings;
The fear of sudden death hangs like a shroud over the entire State under which its hapless and anxious citizens scurry from cover to cover lest they be the sniper’s next victim. This is the real America; rheumy-eyed, mistrustful and dangerous. A place where any passing stranger could be a stone-cold killer and where a violent and bloody death waits just around the next turning for its vulnerable and haunted citizens.
While the police search frantically to find the elusive marksman before he claims his next victim, maybe they should pause to consider whether they will ever really bring the guilty party to justice. For, regardless of who’s finger is actually pulling the trigger, the real culprit here is America itself.
This hasn’t been published in the Guardian yet, but it’s only a matter of time, reports David Carr.
DAWSON RESPONDS IN KIND to the Social Security wheelchair ad.
HORSEFEATHERS has a new, Sekimori-designed site and a new URL. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.
CENTRAL PARK JOGGER UPDATE: TalkLeft has the scoop.
AZIZ POONAWALLA distinguishes neoconservatives and neoWilsonians and others who support war.
MILITARY EXPERT UNDERMINES CASE FOR WAR! Here’s the inside story.
“BROKER — GET ME A THOUSAND SHARES OF SALON!”
“Okay — got something smaller than a twenty?”
BAGHDAD DEMOCRATS: More on Bonior and McDermott:
IT’S A RARE POLITICAL MOMENT when Terry McAuliffe says no comment. Yet McAuliffe, the garrulous chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said just that last Wednesday at the Brookings Institution after a speech by Al Gore. Asked about the trip to Baghdad taken by three of his fellow partisans–Representatives David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson–McAuliffe was nonplussed.
“Have we issued anything on that?” he asked DNC spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri, who shook her head.
“I don’t think we have,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders.
“We handle the politics, and leave those comments to elected officials,” Palmieri explained. “But nice try.”
Problem is, the elected officials aren’t saying much either. Bonior was until recently the second-ranking Democrat in the House, and yet it’s nearly impossible to get Democrats to say anything about his and the others’ trip to Baghdad.
Yeah, and as I’ve said that silence will make it easy — and not entirely unfair — for Republicans to tar the entire Democratic Party apparatus as disloyal. Especially when you read the accounts of how their trip has been used in Iraqi propaganda.
DEAN has lots of information on the DC/Maryland shootings. He thinks it’s domestic terrorism, or simple fruitcakeness, and has a police radio intercept looking for a white male named Robert Baker, said to be a cocaine user armed with a scoped hunting rifle, as evidence.
UPDATE: Jim Henley has more too.
We have two ‘success’ stories in dealing with terrorism this go-round. Flight 93 and LAX. I’m not suggesting that we arm passengers with handguns (although I do think we’re crazy not to have immediately allowed pilots to have them). I am suggesting that the only form of defense that is likely to work while there the bodies are still breathing is to involve every one of us as an thoughtful, active observer of our environment, and someone who is willing to act appropriately when it is called for.
In some cases, that will involve larger numbers of people with guns.
They can be officers, standing on streetcorners, costing us tax dollars, and nosing deeper and deeper into our lives, or they can be citizens. Our pilot. The ticket agent. Our neighbors.
Some of then will screw up. Some of them will do bad things.
But the reality is that they screw up and do bad things right now. And as far as I can tell from other folks’ experience, it doesn’t get better as you try and take the guns away.
And it doesn’t get worse as you let people have them, either.
I think he’s right, though fortunately we’re not yet at the point of having to defend against that many dispersed attacks. Are we?
UPDATE: Gary Hudson replies to my comments just above:
“I think he’s right, though fortunately we’re not yet at the point of having to defend against that many dispersed attacks. Are we?”
Sure we are Glenn, it’s called crime. Happens everyday.
Terrorism doesn’t leave ordinary folk any less dead than a street mugging or a “stop and rob” store holdup. Everyone has the right to self defense, with or without the State validating that right. Encouraging and promoting the widespread use of arms will have benefits beyond any minor impact on the War of Terrorism. It would mean a safer and freer society.
UPDATE: Justin Katz isn’t persuaded by the “homegrown terrorist” arguments. And reader David Darlington writes:
Anyway, something I’ve been wondering: did the DC police ever catch the blowdart sniper from earlier this year? It seems this guy or guys have the same M.O. as the blowdart sniper, but a much more powerful weapon. He’s shooting at random people from consealed locations. Maybe the blowdart sniper and Maryland rifle shooter are related.
Beats me. Anyone else know?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Vegard Valberg says this looks like a scenario he pointed out last summer.
STILL MORE: Now they’re reportedly on the lookout for two “hispanic” looking men” — is it just me, or are they trying awfully hard to avoid any reference to anyone looking middle-eastern here?
JAY FITZGERALD reports many interesting Harvard-related developments, including resistance to Larry Summers’ initiative against anti-Semitism and a report on a speech by Cornel West continuing to whine about Summers’ insistence that he do actual work.
He also links to this oped by Charles Jacobs of the American Anti-Slavery Group on why Israel gets criticized in ways other countries do not:
It is hard to explain why victims of slavery and slaughter are virtually ignored by American progressives. How can it be that there is no storm of indignation at Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, which, though they rushed to Jenin to investigate false reports of Jews massacring Arabs, care so much less about Arab-occupied Juba, South Sudan’s black capital? How can it be that they have not raised the roof about Khartoum’s black slaves? Neither has there been a concerted effort by the press to pressure American administrations to intervene. Nor has the socialist left spoken of liberating the slaves or protecting black villages from pogroms, even though Wall Street helps bankroll Khartoum’s oil business, which finances the slaughter.
What is this silence about? Surely it is not because we don’t care about blacks. Progressives champion oppressed black peoples daily. My hypothesis is this: to predict what the human rights community (and the media) focus on, look not at the oppressed; look instead at the party seen as the oppressor. Imagine the media coverage and the rights groups’ reaction if it were ”whites” enslaving blacks in Sudan. Having the ”right” oppressor would change everything.
Alternatively, imagine the ”wrong” oppressor: Suppose that Arabs, not Jews, shot Palestinians in revolt. In 1970 (”Black September”), Jordan murdered tens of thousands of Palestinians in two days, yet we saw no divestment campaigns, and we wouldn’t today. This selectivity (at least in the United States, does not come from the hatred of Jews. It is ” a human rights complex ” – and is not hard to understand. The human rights community, composed mostly of compassionate white people, feels a special duty to protest evil done by those who are like ”us.”
I don’t know. Still sounds racist to me, both in its definition of who qualifies as a moral actor, and its disproportionate effect on non-whites. He’s right about this part, though:
The biggest victims of this complex are not the Jews who are obsessively criticized but the victims of genocide, enslavement, religious persecution, and ethnic cleansing who are murderously ignored: the Christian slaves of Sudan, the Muslim slaves of Mauritania, the Tibetans, the Kurds, the Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt.
Seeking expiation instead of universal justice means ignoring the sufferings of these victims of non-Western aggression and making relatively more of the suffering of those caught in confrontation with people like ”us.” If the Israelis are being ”profiled” because they are like ”us,” the slaves of Sudan are ignored because their masters’ behavior has nothing to do with us.
UPDATE: Rand Simberg offers another reason why the left’s divestment efforts are so one-sided.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The Jacobs piece has led Telford Work to post some thoughts on the Marxist roots of “progressive” thought about oppression, and the inadequacies thereof.
“IN IRAN, SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE.” Interesting story on what’s going on there. Excerpt:
Down in the basement, a man with an uncanny resemblance to the Sgt Pepper period John Lennon is recording a CD. With him, in the hot, stuffy studio, is a bassist dressed in black, a drummer and a 10-year-old Afghan boy playing small tambour drums. Behind the glass, a sound engineer is flicking switches and twiddling knobs. A girl in jeans, T-shirt and trainers is slouched on a sofa with a young man. Two other girls are watching the session. Not having visited the underground before, I am taken aback. The girls are not wearing the full, officially decreed women’s dress code. This includes covering one’s hair for fear of “stimulating” any man who might see it.
This discreet studio is one where Tehran’s underground bands come to record. It is as if I have stepped through the looking glass into another country. Above us, in the streets, is the Iran of women in all-enveloping black chadors, vast murals of revolutionary martyrs and officially sanctioned demonstrations where thousands chant the old slogans of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”. Here, I am in another, freer Iran that exists in parallel with the Islamic republic. In Iran, there is the public face of conformity with Islamic rules and regulations and the private face, which, as often as not, shuns, ignores or even despises its strictures. . . .
Once a forgotten figure, the US-based pretender to the Peacock throne is now frequently seen repeating a mantra of democracy and secularism. This is not to say that the monarchy has a real chance of restoration, but Pahlavi on TV has had an effect – many young people, who have no memory of his father’s repressive regime, have been favourably impressed. Muhammed, 19, who works in his father’s restaurant, says, “Me and my friends like [Pahlavi] because we heard from our fathers that the time of the Shah was a time of comfort, not like now, so, if he came back, that would come back, too.”
Two years ago, 500,000 Iranians had access to the internet. Today, that number is believed to be 1.75 million, and is expected to grow to five million in the next five years.
As the article reports, a lot of them are blogging, too.
READER ABHIJIT JAIN notes Saudi Arabia’s alcohol problem. I guess some people there have developed an Obsession.
LYNN SISLO REINVENTS ANTI-IDIOTARIANISM:
I don’t think I’ve actually shifted to the Right. It’s just that since September 11 the Right has done a much better job of shutting up their lunatic fringe, while the common sense Left has gone into hiding and let their lunatics take over. So the Left is worried about the Right dominating the blogosphere. . . .
I come across lefty blogs all the time. I’ve even linked a few of them. The “problem” is not that the blogoshpere is dominated by the “Right”, it’s that the blogosphere is dominated by common sense. Let a blogger from the far right start preaching their own brand of lunacy – (Sept. 11 happened because God is angry…Creationism is just as valid as evolution etc.) – and that person is just as likely to get a severe fisking as any of the loonies on the far left.
She then offers some advice for lefties who fear that the blogosphere is hostile to them and their views.
What bloggers are more than anything, I think, is anti-idiot. That makes life tough for Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, and the Revs. Falwell, Robertson, Jackson, & Sharpton, for reasons that transcend traditional partisanship and ideology.
JIM HENLEY REPORTS that another shooting is now said to be connected to the earlier shootings. Sorry — this looks like terrorism to me. And Jim’s last observation is troubling.
This would seem to add a bit more support to reader Ken Price’s theory.
UPDATE: Justin Katz suggests an Oregon connection, though the evidence isn’t especially strong in my opinion.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Tucker Goodrich invokes Pipebomb Boy from last spring and notes:
Just ’cause it looks like terrorism doesn’t mean it can’t be one of our many home-grown, garden-variety nut jobs.
Besides, the guy’s a good shot: to my mind, that argues for home-grown. The al-Qaeda don’t seem to be very competent, with a few exceptions.
Yes, though many excellent shots are found among the Afghans. And, of course, home-grown terrorists might well be working hand-in-glove with Saddam Hussein and/or Al Qaeda; they tend to agree on a lot of things, like hating the Jews. Heck, you might even be able to find some Lefty terror types who hate the Jews nowadays — and the Black Panthers, with whom just-arrested Al Qaeda suspect Patrice Lumumba Ford has a connection, have a tradition of excellence where firearms are concerned.
JUST NOTICED THIS POST by Daniel Drezner on why Communism gets better press than Nazism. It’s worth a read.
MARK STEYN ON EUROPE:
Just as a matter of interest, how many countries does George W. Bush have to have on board before America ceases to be acting ‘unilaterally’? So far, there’s Australia, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Qatar, Turkey…. Romania has offered the use of its airspace to attack Iraq. The Americo-Romanian Coalition Against Iraq has more members than most multilateral organisations. But no matter how multilateral it gets, it doesn’t count unless it’s sanctioned by the UN. If France feels the need to invade the Ivory Coast, that can be done unilaterally. But, when it’s America, you gotta get a warrant from the global magistrate. . . .
Imagine any previous power of the last thousand years with America’s unrivalled hegemony and unparalleled military superiority in a unipolar world with nothing to stand in its way but UN resolutions. Pick whoever you like: the Soviet Union, Imperial Japan, the Third Reich, the Habsburgs, Tsarist Russia, Napoleon, Spain, the Vikings. That’s really ‘frightening’. I’ve now read a gazillion columns beginning, ‘He’s a dangerous madman with weapons of mass destruction. No, not Saddam. George W. Bush.’ It barely works as a joke never mind a real threat. The fact that, in all the torrent of anti-Americanism, there’s no serious thought given to how to reverse it nor any urgency about doing so tells you precisely how frightening and dangerous these folks really think the Great Satan is.
But the problem is this. Before 11 September, most Americans tolerated the anti-Yank diatribes from Europe as a quaint example of the local culture. Filtered through the smoke of the World Trade Center, it’s no longer quite so cute. The real phenomenon of the last year is not Europe’s anti-Americanism, which has always existed, but a deep, pervasive and wholly new American weariness with Europe.
BILL QUICK on the DC/Maryland shootings:
I think this is a terror attack. And I think it is being downplayed to the point of coverup.
I could be wrong, but that’s how it looks to me, too.
UPDATE: Reader Ken Price writes:
I’ve had the disturbing thought that the single-shot assassinations in Mongomery County are, in effect, a response to Ari Fleisher’s observation that a single shot could resolve the situation in Iraq. Could this be intended as a warning that capable agents are already in place and ready to cause chaos if war breaks out?
Hmm. This seems (1) too fast; and (2) too “poetic” (well, at least in an Amiri Baraka sense) to be a response to that statement. But it’s an interesting suggestion.
SOME INTERESTING BACKGROUND on one of the acccused American terrorists arrested today.
WHAT WARGAMES ARE TEACHING AMERICANS ABOUT WAR: Some valuable stuff, according to an article in Salon by Wagner James Au:
And what’s impressed him, playing America’s Army, is how many competitors he’s fought who come to the game without his experience base, but learn usable tactics on the fly: “You could tell in some cases you have significantly younger people, probably junior high or so … they’d be saying things back and forth that indicated to me that this was sort of an extension of guys who grew up on Rainbow Six and other first-person shooters … the techniques they would use just by figuring it out would end up being very similar to what we would do in real life.” He found himself up against kids staggering their formations, using smoke to cover their approach, closing on the enemy with fire and maneuver, individual movement techniques (IMT) — in short, acquiring through gameplay knowledge that was once available only through military training.
If this interests you, you might also like this piece that Dave Kopel and I wrote just over a year ago on the impact of wargaming on the citizenry.
TODAY IS THE 45TH ANNIVERSARY OF SPUTNIK. Rand Simberg has some observations.
JACOB SULLUM POINTS OUT how U.S. and European trade barriers are hurting poor nations, and how not enough people seem to care.
STILL ON BLOGSPOT? Consider moving here instead. I can’t vouch for this particular service because I don’t use it. But it’s provided by the folks at HostingMatters, and I’ve been very happy with them.
And since, just now, when I tried to visit Geitner Simmons’ blog all I saw was the “Blogspot Plus” ad — but no blog, which kind of undercuts its selling power — I decided to encourage people once again to leave Blogspot behind.
ANDREA SEE has something to, er, celebrate.
THE UNITED NATIONS IS ON THE JOB AGAIN, taking care of what’s really important in the world:
Britain should repeal a 142-year-old law giving parents the right to spank their children because it violates an international treaty, a United Nations committee said Friday.
The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, which oversees a 1989 accord protecting youngsters, said it welcomed British legislation abolishing corporal punishment in schools.
But it also called for the repeal of an 1860 law that allows parents to use “reasonable chastisement” to punish their children.
Take it away, Stacy Tabb. . . .
UPDATE: Oops. Stacy’s busy tracking down a renegade Marine who’s threatened her on her comments board. I have great respect for the Marines but (1) I’ll bet Stacy is more than a match for this guy; and (2) this is the second Marine / blogger incident and while the first one didn’t bother me since it was aimed at me, I don’t think that Marines are supposed to threaten ladies.
CHEESY PUBLICITY CASH-IN ALERT — from the Family Research Council:
The killers left no trace–and even fewer clues–about their motives or whereabouts. Police say that they aren’t ruling out terrorism or an ethnic clash. One thing is certain. These acts of violence are a reflection of a lack of respect for human life. The victims were loved ones caught in the cross fire of a frontal assault on human dignity. In a fit of rage or malice, they were murdered, not for something they did–but simply because they existed. One could argue that our society is guilty of similar disregard for the sanctity of human life when it condones the killing of unborn babies and assists in the suicide of elderly patients. FRC mourns with the families of the victims who are desperately trying to make sense of their untimely loss. We will continue to work toward and pray for a culture that not only sees, but also respects and protects, the value of every person–big and small, young and old.
Meanwhile, not to be bested in this race to cash in before the bodies are cold, the Violence Policy Center is touting a 1999 study on the growth of the “sniper subculture.”
Have these people no shame? Why am I bothering to ask? We know the answer.
BELLICOSE WOMEN UPDATE: I think that Rachel Z. Jurado counts as such, as this article in The American Enterprise should demonstrate.
EUGENE VOLOKH WRITES ON CANADIAN CENSORSHIP and includes this chilling warning:
Note to Canadian readers: Be careful about clicking on that link; while I’m not acquainted with the details of the Canadian law, and whether it applies to downloading, I would assume that if the government concludes that the newsletter is illegal to import, it may prosecute you for downloading it, too.
That he needs to give this warning makes his final comment even more significant:
Remember this when people condemn American “absolutism” about free speech, and urge the supposedly more “nuanced” and “balanced” European and Canadian approach.
Canada should be ashamed of this.
UNVERIFIED: Here’s a report of another shooting, this time in Fredericksburg. No confirmation yet.
UPDATE: It’s confirmed now:
Authorities have confirmed a shooting at Michael’s Craft Store in Spotsylvania County. They have no additional information at this time, as they have recently arrived on the scene. . . .
Police have NOT yet connected this shooting with the shootings in Maryland. We will keep you posted as the investigation unfolds.
More as it’s available.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s the latest.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s the Post’s sum-up as of 5:00 ET.
ZELL MILLER SAYS it’s 1972 all over again for the Democrats.
This is unfair. In 1972, there was a Democratic position on the Vietnam war. Right now, there’s no Democratic position on Iraq. But Miller’s conclusion makes it sound like he’s giving the Democratic Party one last chance:
I believe this tale demonstrates that no matter how it is articulated, no matter how laudable or well intended, the antiwar, peace-at-almost-any price position is a loser for Democrats.
Oh, it will stimulate the extreme left, no doubt about that. And they are the key to the primaries. They will put their money, their emotions, their make-believe president Martin Sheen and even Ms. Streisand’s vocal cords behind it.
But before we suffer, as Yogi Berra said, déjà vu all over again, let’s rewrite the ending of this movie. Let’s send the message that our party realizes the country faces a threat far different and far more deadly than it did in 1972. Today’s war is on our own soil with terrorist cells lurking perhaps even in our own states and neighborhoods. Let’s respond with strength and boldness, not with the same old failed script that doomed us 30 years ago.
I’ve pooh-poohed talk of him switching over to the Republican side — but if the Democratic Party lurches in a McGovernite direction, it might happen.
But there will be no committee of inquiry into the rips in the social fabric that shaped 15 of Saudi Arabia’s young men as terrorists and which make Abdullah Al Gathani and many of his campus colleagues respond to the attacks as they do. And there will be no royal commission into the making of Osama bin Laden and the thousands who fell in behind him for jihad in Afghanistan.
Instead, Saudis seek refuge in a parallel universe, a place where answers to questions about what is rotten in Saudi Arabia dwell on the faults of the US and Israel; a place where inquiries about the shortcomings of its schools and universities provoke mockery of the American education system; a place where criticism of the security authorities meets mirth over US intelligence failures; a place where the democratic void is championed as protection for the rights of individuals.
As the House of Saud is pulled this way and that between its military alliance with the US and its religious partnership with the keepers of Saudi Arabia’s strict Wahabi Islamic creed, economists are rating it as a brittle Third World economy – despite its massive oil wealth.
Arguably, problems with Iraq are more pressing — but Saudi Arabia is at the root of Islamofascism everywhere, and the Saudi regime in Arabia, along with its collection of hate-spewing preachers, will have to be removed root and branch before it’s all over.
AMIRI BARAKA UPDATE: A.C. Douglas has some comments on New Jersey Governor James McGreevey’s apparent inability to fire Baraka.
READER ROBERT MOUNCE forwards a political ad that gun-controllers won’t like.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS: A group of law professors who took out an ad denouncing the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore are now circulating a letter in opposition to war in Iraq.
MICKEY KAUS IS ENDORSING SCRAPPLEFACE — Oh, and he has some stuff to say about Paul Krugman, too.
JUSTIN KATZ has links and a response to the Democratic web ad showing Bush pushing an old lady in a wheechair off a cliff.
THE INDEPUNDIT HAS CONTINUING UPDATES on developments in the DC/Maryland shootings. There’s been another one, though it’s not clear whether it’s connected. From the description, there’s reason to think it might be.
SCIENCE BY ANECDOTE: Eric Lindholm, better known as the guy behind SmarterHarpersIndex, has a piece in TCS Europe.
My wife’s a forensic psychologist, and has limited respect for this profiling stuff. As she says, you just guess that it’s a white male, 20-45, with an interest in violence, then dress it up however you like. Yeah, sometimes people do better than that — but not often, and the ones who do usually aren’t doing it for quickie TV coverage.
MAX BOOT WRITES (in the New York Times!) that preemption is neither unusual nor in violation of international law.
JAMES LILEKS MAY NOT LIKE JESSE VENTURA, but he’s not that hot on Paul Wellstone, either. The conclusion is devastating.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ observes: “Can’t help but notice that this sniper(s) is loose in a county that is synonymous with gun control.” Apparently, though, the local authorities are beginning to mention the possibility that terrorism may be involved. Imagine.
I’VE GOT A REVIEW OF THE NEW GRAN TORINO CD up over at BlogCritics.
AN ARMY RECRUITING WEBLOG? Yep.
AFGHANISTAN DEJA VU:
Aid workers are increasingly concerned about a humanitarian catastrophe if a new war is launched against Iraq.
A recent statement by a number of charities warns of mass civilian deaths and an exacerbation of an existing humanitarian crisis.
Hey, haven’t I heard this before? Somebody cue up the Chomskybot –it’s almost time for the “silent genocide” routine — right after Jesse Jackson offers to mediate. . . .
I HAVEN’T FOLLOWED THIS, but if you’re interested Robert Prather has an update on the Ann Coulter wars.
JUST HEARD NPR on the Washington shootings. They didn’t breathe a word about the possibility that terrorism might be involved.
Weirdly, this was followed by a reviewer praising the Veggie Tales.
UPDATE: A reader writes:
It was indeed terrorism. We in Montgomery County were absolutely terrorized: kids locked into schools, people afraid to leave home, police everywhere. But terrorism doesn’t equal Al Qaeda, you know……we breed plenty of our own terrorists right here in the US (Oklahoma City, high school massacres, racist murders, and so on). In fact, this country has a long and proud history of domestic terrorism.
Yes. Though increasing links between Islamic fundamentalism and home-grown American terrorists (part of David Carr’s global convergence of idiocy) make the distinction less meaningful all the time.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Like I said.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Charles Austin emails:
As I was driving into work and listening to Morning Edition, they noted that, “authorities now believe the shootings may be related.” Isn’t it funny how selective that old aphorism of “Question Authority” can be at times? What better reason to question authority than when authority refuses to display a firm grasp of the bleeding obvious?
Yeah. That reminds me of the LAX shooting and the response to questions about terrorism. It’s one thing to say we don’t know. It’s another to make a big deal out of ignoring the obvious.
UNFAIR: Berkeley alumnus Isaac Clemens writes that ” After the Daily Cal did ‘Sex on Tuesday’ for years, suddenly Yale does it and it’s hip enough for the New York Times.”
“Hip enough for the New York Times” isn’t all that hip, but what’s worse is that this is a shamelessly Yale-centric reprise of a story from The Chronicle of Higher Education last spring. And the Times story doesn’t even try to answer my question on the phenomenon.
UPDATE: The Times may have dropped the ball, but Erin O’Connor is on top of things with an answer to my questions.
AMERICA’S MOST ELITE ANTI-TWIT COMMANDO is taking the war to the enemy as Christopher Hitchens tells British Labour they’re idiots for making a fuss over Bill Clinton — and telling them in the Mirror, no less:
Hardened as I am to Clintonian hypocrisy, I sucked in my breath when he went moist about Rwanda. On the eve of the genocide there, all the plans for the impending slaughter were conveyed to the UN by its commander on the ground.
He pleaded for a small increase in the protection force, and for a warning to the bloodthirsty authorities that they had been detected in their plan. This was vetoed by Clinton’s then-ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright. Thus, he comes before us as the man who acted rashly when in the wrong, and acted like a coward when he would have been in the right. And Labour ate it up and begged for more…
You want more? As Clinton modestly said, he knows what it’s like to order the bombing of Iraq. He ordered a pointless four-day bombing in December 1998, which started as his Senate trial for impeachment began and finished when it was over.
This action put an end to the inspection process. It takes nerve to bite the lip again and talk of the importance of inspections now. But then, it takes nerve to claim credit for bombing Kosovo without a UN mandate, while insisting his successor acquire a mandate for action in Iraq.
At least we can be sure of one thing – after yesterday’s abject performance, Labour forces who jeer at Bush and take a holy attitude to the UN must admit they do not do so consistently, or out of principle.
But at the last, Hitchens is unfair. They’re being consistent, all right: American Republicans are always rash treated as cowboys. American Democrats, being closer to Labour, are not. Actions? Consequences? Who cares about those? This is politics.
HEH. My suggestion about Gary Hart, below, seems to have generated some interest. . . . Well, sort of.
MAYBE SOME GOOD NEWS: I’ve installed a bunch of new music-related software on my computer — Acid Pro. 4.0, Sound Forge, Vegas, Cool Edit Pro 2.0, and a bunch of VST softsynths — and everything seems to be coexisting happily. It wasn’t nearly so easy on the old machine. I’m not sure how much credit goes to Windows XP and how much to the individual programs (since they’re mostly new versions). But since I’m quick to complain when things don’t work, it’s worth mentioning that some folks seem to have done their jobs.
YESTERDAY, I asked who had registered Lautenberg2002.com. Now someone has the answer.
UPDATE: A reader writes:
Its the name Schaefer Construction that gets my attention. As in ‘
Schaefer ‘ … the former Governer and current comptroller for the State of
YOU KNOW, the Democrats should run Gary Hart for President in 2004. No, I’m serious.
Sure, there was once a “zipper problem.” But it’s ancient history — and, post-Clinton, Hart’s issues look minor, for those few who can even remember them. He’s a smart guy, and he’s intellectually honest, especially for a politician. And he’s good on defense, he’s an excellent public speaker, and he’s been out long enough that he’s not in hock to special interest groups.
Heck, I might even vote for him.
HERE’S THE LATEST on the D.C. shootings. Not much real news, except that people heard the shots quite loudly, meaning that the shooter was nearby. That supports the theory that he was shooting from the truck, I suppose.
THE THAW: A German reader writes:
I’ve not seen it reported in the English-speaking media, but Bush sent a letter of congratulation to the president of Germany on the anniversary of reunification.
At the celebration in Berlin, which included the unveiling of the newly renovated Brandenburg Gate, German president Johannes Rau gave profuse thanks to America for it contributions to German reunification.
Spiegel is talking about a thaw…
Here’s a story that echoes the comments above. Yes, Bush seems to have calculated that Schroder has sweated enough, and that with his fragile coalition facing serious budget problems he’ll be ready to display a little cooperation. Schroder has seen that there’s a price to pay when you cross the United States, and Bush thinks he’s learned his lesson, and is extending the olive branch in a way that subtly reminds the Germans of the American role over the past many decades.
Pretty subtle stuff, for a dumb cowboy who doesn’t know anything about diplomacy.
THIS STORY has a picture of the “white van,” which is more like a moving truck.
THE OTHER SHOE: I suppose this explains why Torricelli finally decided to resign.
THE UNITED NATIONS HAS DEALT WITH THE SHOOTING THERE in its own, inimitable fashion:
Steve Kim, the man who allegedly fired five gunshots at the United Nations building in New York this morning, was released by U.N. security guards this afternoon. After a hasty vote by the Security Council, the U.N. also imposed sanctions upon Mr. Kim.
The sanctions include a ‘no-walk zone’ around the U.N. building, and Mr. Kim must allow weapons inspectors access to his home with appropriate advance notice.
“We feel certain that these sanctions will keep Mr. Kim from ever again threatening the U.N. building,” said General Secretary Kofi Annan. “He has also given us his word that he won’t attack us again.”
That’ll show him.
EUGENE VOLOKH RESPONDS TO JERRY FALWELL, whom longterm readers will recall was a prototype for the term “idiotarian.”
OLIVER WILLIS IS COVERING THE REAL SENATE RACE.
MORE ON YALE AND THE MILITARY: The Yale Law School blog Kitchen Cabinet has updates. Start here and scroll up.
DANIEL DREZNER points to some evidence that the war against Al Qaeda is going pretty well.