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Works and Days

The Unforgiving Moment

May 18th, 2014 - 10:50 pm

More likely, however, the system will instead be seen as the culprit and be faulted for not offering enough medical services for diabetes patients that may well total a quarter of California’s population in the next decade. We will not hear that the individual has a responsibility not to drink sugar-filled Cokes each day. Too much of the wrong food, not existential hunger, is the epidemic of the poor.

Some readers will respond by asking, “If you are so smart about health decisions, why did you end up in the ER?” A fair question, given that road biking is not always safe and perhaps analogous to drinking sugared colas. I am trying, as I stare up at the ceiling, to weigh the odds of crashes versus the health benefits of riding, versus the enjoyment versus alternative workout regimens, versus just sticking to yard and farm work, versus trying everything from a fat-tire slow bike to stationary biking. Two bits of advice I hear from friends: “You have to get right back at it and conquer your anxieties.” Versus: “Wake up — is road biking necessary? Try walking more.”

A farmer 10 miles away, who was a father of four children, was shot and killed this week after investigating intruders on his farm. (The gang-banger suspects are now in custody.) He interrupted a stolen car being stripped, and “they” killed him for being so rude as to drive on his own land. I note that fact because a few weeks ago the dogs barked at 3 a.m. For once I decided to ignore them. And the next morning I found a stripped auto in my vineyard. I had gone back to sleep on the theory that in America today walking out to investigate would have been a politically incorrect sin.

Here is what I mean. America does not like the enforcement of property rights unless one is rich, hip and cool, like those who assume the sanctity of their Google or Apple parking lots. I would de facto have no right to have ordered people off my property.  And without arms, no means of enforcing any order I had issued. Instead, I assume California would argue that there must have been extenuating circumstances that forced the gang-bangers into a life of crime, from callous indifference about their impoverishment to illegal-alien bashing (to…, well, fill in the blanks).

For all practical purposes, one has no right to arm oneself to protect property. If I were unarmed and shot, I would be assumed to have been foolish by venturing out on my own property. If I were armed, and yet got shot confronting thieves, the media would say that I was more foolish and trigger-happy and prompted the violence. If I had shot them in self-defense, I would appear a paranoid old white male who privileged property over human life — and be sued by their families who had access to free legal help. If I were to call 9/11, I would expect that the response would be slow, given that in the hierarchy of a night’s epidemic of central California felonies, a stripped auto would rank low.

So I went back to sleep, and called the sheriff the next day when I discovered the stripped auto. Someone else who was more courageous was murdered this week. We lost a brave citizen, and now deal with his murderers, on behalf of whom the resources of a bankrupt society will be amply invested.

If only Nancy Pelosi or Jeb Bush would come down to a Central Valley ER in these parts, or try farming when a vineyard become a veritable chop shop, they would not so easily lecture others on their supposed illiberality. Otherwise, the liberal view is a make-believe land of elites who are exempt from the wages of their ideology, as others deemed less sophisticated and liberal bear their consequences.

Meanwhile, back to healing…

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Top Rated Comments   
My dear cyberfriend, VDH...I am so sorry to hear of your injuries and wish you a speedy and full recovery.

I've had a few of these unforgiving moments. I once tried stretching a single into a double and slid into second base, thereupon discoverin that someone the week before in the field maintenance division had left a steel base spike in the ground a foot in front of the current base. I tore off a filet mignon hunk of my calf. Sewing it up with a mountain of stitches wasn't the problem, scrubbing ALL the dirt out with a wire brush was the test of the moment. The medical staff was a joy to deal with.

At our age (I'm born the same year), I see runners and bikers on my walk past the dive bombing pelicans along the marina. Our fathers would not have jogged, biked or done yoga exercises in neon spandex. They had chores to do and then a family picnic or visiting the older generation.

Forced to buy inferior insurance, forced to accept neighbors who don't have the manners of even a pack of coyotes, forced to be ruled by traitors...it's not a hidden spike or fracture in a bike that causes the greatest fear, VDH.

At 60 it is a fracture in the very foundations of this land of ours. At 60, our fathers would have considered it a solemn duty to fix it. For this is an injury to our freedom from which we may not recover.

Fate can be cruel and unforgiving in a moment. But the collapse of liberty is an erosion.

Get well, my countryman. We need whatever fight there is left in us...for our father's memories and our children's future.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Reading about VDH's accident and the ER experience makes me wonder if we are all expressing wonderment that the ocean surf is going out instead of coming in. We all know what that means, a tsunami is on its way. VDH is seeing the water recede and is amazed that DC hasn't noticed it.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
For anyone living in a border state reading about California’s problems with illegals is always difficult. Libs here dream of turning Texas into another California without the scenery and weather and illegals figure prominently in their 'calculations.' They may get their wish if our ‘broken’ immigration system is fixed by the usual suspects. But California’s problems have been made worse by a state government whose legislative mechanics and temperament is—pardon the term—alien to Texas. We might yet find a way to avoid the worst form of California’s madness.

Get well, Dr. Hanson.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (124)
All Comments   (124)
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What an awesome article! Understood as well.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dear Sir:
Please don't ride a bike with any carbon fiber components: They fail catastrophically.
Best,
Jack Guthrie
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
"For all practical purposes, one has no right to arm oneself to protect property. If I were unarmed and shot, I would be assumed to have been foolish by venturing out on my own property. If I were armed, and yet got shot confronting thieves, the media would say that I was more foolish and trigger-happy and prompted the violence. If I had shot them in self-defense, I would appear a paranoid old white male who privileged property over human life — and be sued by their families who had access to free legal help."

You have discovered why California is a slave state.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hello Victor. We've never met, but I'm a Central Valley neighbor, about 80 miles south on Highway 99 in Bakersfield. We're about the same age.

Here's a story about an accident and an attitude about healing that I had not expected.

I own a plastics manufacturing company and we need to have our saw blades sharpened from time to time. A salesman from the sharpening company comes by, collects blades to be sharpened, and returns with them sharpened in a week.

One day, out of idle curiosity, I asked "Do any of your other customers ever cut off a finger?" I was a little stunned when he answered matter-of-factly, "Oh, yes. We probably lose a digit a week."

Then he told me the story of a long-retired lumber yard owner, a man used to many types of large, dangerous saws, who recently had cut off a finger on his table saw in his home workshop. He tried to clear a sliver with his hand rather than a stick, and the sliver grabbed his hand and pulled it into the blade.

The saw sharpening man asked if the old timer had the finger sewn back on.

The answer, "I'm 87 years old. Why would I bother?"

At 58, I would still get it fixed, but I understand now there comes a time when it is too much trouble. I'm just glad I'm not there yet.

I hope that you, too are glad that you see yourself in the group that still wants to get things repaired. Best wishes in that.

P.s. I took the suggestion from your writing and hiked Kaiser Peak with my son.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dr. Hanson, I like your ruminations which so seamlessly and logically flow from your deplorable accident. Yet another great piece of writing from one of our time's finest thinkers.

I wish you speedy healing and "thank you' is indeed in order -- a thank you that matters did not turn out worse than they did.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Donna, Obamacare will indeed destroy the kind of health care that the Doc received. The VA scandal is a perfect example. It is, also, not an aberration. The vaunted European national health services have caused needless death and suffering to members of my own extended family who are back in the old country.
Naturally, the child-men who are so proud of Obamacare now will, in the next decades, simply excuse their criminally stupid and narcissistic choices by proclaiming "Well, at least my heart was in the right place." The rest of us will pay the price for their imbecility and hubris.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doc,
Like I said before: form a neighborhood watch.
Your neighbor who got shot and killed needed backup. You do as well. You can't rely on the police, as their paymasters would rather serve the local voters who are perpetrating these crimes than side with the fewer and older folks who are victims of them.
So: it's up to you and your neighbors. There's safety in numbers.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Get back up and get going. It is much preferable to burn out than to rust away.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"For all practical purposes, one has no right to arm oneself to protect property."

I hope very much that you are armed and well trained, in case someday there is no retreat. But don't publicly say whether you are.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I see a lot of advice in the comments thread to "move away from California". That's hard to do when your heart is in the land. I've known people who, more than almost anything else, wanted to live to the end in the places that had been their homes for so many decades. Right after "don't let me die among strangers" was "don't let me die in a strange place." It may not be coldly rational but it is deeply human.

Good luck, Professor Hanson.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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