Tuesday, April 28, 2015

et ceteras

Since my last two posts marked historical anniversaries for the month of April, I feel like I should acknowledge another one. Starting one hundred years ago last Friday, the Ottoman (i.e., Turkish) military commenced a wholesale slaughter of Armenians, almost all of whom were Christians. According to the New York Times, within seven years the Armenian population was reduced by more than 75 percent, from approximately 2,000,000 to approximately 400,000.

So brutal, targeted, and near-total was their slaughter, that it was one of the specific examples Raphael Lemkin had in mind when he created the word "genocide" 28 years later. As for the Ottoman military at the time, it was Islamic; allied with Germany in World War I; and controlled by an officer corps that was part of the nationalist Young Turks movement. If you care to read up on the genocide, go here or here or here. Or google it yourself, of course.

At the risk of being called Captain Obvious, let me go ahead and say it: There are no winners and lots of victims in the current situation.

Freddie Gray is dead, and since the police already admitted that some of their personnel failed to secure medical treatment for him, his blood is on their hands and it seems that some officers should be prosecuted for anything from reckless endangerment to negligent homicide... Which would probably be just, but would still have the deleterious effect of casting good police officers in a negative light, not only in Baltimore but across America... And, still unknown is what happened to Gray once he was in custody that made him need medical care -- a question that will continue to cast the Baltimore PD in a negative light until its answer is known.

Meanwhile, the eruption of racially inflamed riots casts Baltimore in a bad light even though the riots were probably instigated by outsiders. Even worse, the riots give the appearance of validating one of the worst stereotypes against black Americans, even though the overwhelming majority of black Americans oppose them and countless numbers of black Americans have openly condemned them.

And, we are starting to see the dehumanization of Freddie Gray, often done by decent people who want to defend cops in general -- but who, in their eagerness to do so, fail to fully consider the facts of this specific case and the behavior of these specific cops. Such dehumanization is often unintended, but nonetheless it occurs whenever Gray is referred to as "a criminal" or as someone "who had a long rap sheet," as if running afoul of a too-large government with too many laws on its books somehow renders a man less worthy of life. I do not know how many times Gray was arrested before April 12th, but having perused a list of 22 times that he was, I can tell you that only one of those arrests was for something everyone would agree should be a crime (specifically, it was for burglary and I do not know if he was guilty or if he was convicted).

There is nothing good related to this story, other than a vague hope that some previously anti-gun individuals in one of our bluest states might suddenly see the light where the Second Amendment is concerned. As one of my fellow graduates from the St. Pete High Class of '89 posted on Facebook: "So, Maryland residents, how are those gun control laws working out for ya?"

The Grand Hypocrisy
Some years ago, Thomas Sowell coined the phrase "mascots of the anointed." He has applied it in a few ways, but primarily to describe how the political Left pretends to care about various minority groups in order to get their votes, despite doing little to nothing that actually helps improve the life prospects of said minorities.

The reaction to Bruce Jenner's "coming out" makes me think of Sowell's phrase. Not Jenner's expected transgender announcement, but rather his unexpected statement that when it comes to politics, "I'm kind of more on the conservative side...I believe in the Constitution." Below is a sampling of some of the things liberals posted about him (complete with all the sloppy errors!) after he said that:

hi Bruce Jenner. you had me, until you said you were a republican. you're a stupid fuck

Idc about Bruce wanting to be a lesbo but the fact that (s)he a republican lost him(her) my support

Oh I can support Bruce Jenner's sex change but a republican? Oh fuck that...

Bruce Jenner had 110% percent of my support until he pulled that republican shit #thedisrespect

#BruceJenner instantly takes away all goodwill by coming out as a ....Republican. Ew. They hate ladies, you'll see... 

So any sympathy my mother had for Bruce Jenner evaporated once she heard he wasn't a fan of President Obama

I was supportive of Her Jenner until he said she was a republican. They hate gays/transgender ppl more than they hate black ppl

So much for all that open-mindedness, tolerance, and sympathy that liberals are always telling us they're all about. But this is where society ends up when it places personal affairs within the realm of politics. Politics inevitably poisons personal affairs because it is ultimately about power, which 1) is corrupting by nature, and 2) abhors a vacuum. The politics tend to subordinate the personal; the politics tend to cause many of us to assume we know exactly which opinions specific people should have about the size and scope of government; and thus, the politics tend to cause many of us to look down on those people when we learn that their free minds have arrived at different opinions than our own.

A place in West Virginia that is deliberately all but shut off from cell phones, wireless routers, and even antennas.

Forest swastikas.

A South African man who spent 12 years in a vegetative state but knew what was going on the whole time.

The letter from an 11-year-old Minneapolis girl to her city's NHL team, asking them to arrange a trade for her father (who was on the St. Louis Blues' roster) so that she could see him more often. It worked, and he is now playing for the Minnesota Wild in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Have you heard of Charles C.W. Cooke? He is one of my favorite new writers, by which I mean he is somewhere around the age of 30 and thus considerably younger than me. A British expat living on our shores, he writes for a few outlets and occasionally appears on TV. Check out a few of his recent pieces here and here.

Until next time, take care!

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