Monday, April 30, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
Not much to disagree with here.
[A]s I watched the discussion unfold online about the tragedy and learned more about the events, a few have things have become clear to me.
Immediately after the murders, a left-right split developed as conservative commentators wondered why the students were apparently so passive in the face of the killer. Liberal pundits were aghast, arguing that this wasn’t necessarily true, it was “blaming the victim,” and claiming an unwarranted level of personal courage on the part of the conservatives.
But the facts as they have come in since then do support the notion that the students did not confront the murderer. The Associated Press carried this story yesterday: “Dr. William Massello, the assistant state medical examiner based in Roanoke, said Sunday that Cho died … after firing enough shots to wound his 32 victims more than 100 times. … Those victims apparently did not fight back against Cho’s ambush. Massello said he did not recall any injuries suggesting a struggle. Many victims had defensive wounds, indicating they tried to shield themselves from Cho’s gunfire,” he said.
And the Washington Post carried a story citing students who had been in the classrooms that were attacked. “I quickly dove under a desk,” Clay Violand, a Virginia Tech junior, told the Post. “That was the desk I chose to die under.”
Violand listened as the gunman began “methodically and calmly” shooting people. “It sounded rhythmic-like. He took his time between each shot and kept up the pace, moving from person to person.” After every shot, Violand said he thought to himself, “Okay, the next one is me.” But shot after shot, and he felt nothing. He played dead.
“The room was silent except for the haunting sound of moans, some quiet crying, and someone muttering: ‘It’s OK. It’s going to be OK. They will be here soon,’ ” he recalled. “The gunman circled again and seemed to be unloading a second round into the wounded. Violand thought he heard the gunman reload three times.”
The students didn’t fail to act correctly by not attacking their attacker. The doctrine they were operating under — the one we have trained them in all their lives — failed them.
Sept. 11, 2001, was not a failure of our security systems, but rather a failure of doctrine. “Doctrine” is defined as a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions. On Sept. 10, 2001, we had a standard doctrine about response to aircraft hijackings.
The passengers and crew should be compliant, not confront the hijackers, minimize exposure to violence and get the plane onto the ground, where negotiations or intervention would resolve the issue.
Similarly, the Columbine murders did not represent a failure by local law enforcement to act; it was a failure of the doctrine they had been trained to act within. Because most hostage situations are resolved with minimal force and patience, the doctrine was to cordon and wait for negotiations or SWAT.
Both doctrines have changed. No passenger airplane will be hijacked again anytime soon except by multiple hijackers with guns — and possibly not even then. Police departments have trained their officers to “go to the active shooter” and aggressively attack — as the police apparently did in responding to the Virginia Tech shooter.
Similarly, the discussions around the responses of the students seem to imply those of us who are suggesting the students could have done other things that may have changed the outcome are blaming the students.
No, we’re not. We’re blaming the doctrine the victims were trained to operate under, and arguing that we — all of us — should rethink it and start implementing other ones, just as airline passengers and police officers have.
We need to be teaching people a new doctrine, one that neither leads them into fantasies that they are more capable than they really are, nor into believing that they are helpless and must lay down waiting to be killed while muttering “It’s OK. It’s going to be OK. They will be here soon.”
Maybe not soon enough.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I take it from Instapundit that Rosie O'Donnell will be leaving her perch at The View. I wonder why?
“You know what concerns me?” Rosie O’Donnell asked last week on ABC’s morning gabfest, The View.
“How many Supreme Court judges are Catholic, Barbara?”
"Five,” responds host Barbara Walters.
“Five. How about separation of church and state in America?” asks constitutional law scholar Rosie, after the Court’s sweeping decision upholding a federal law banning partial birth abortion.
Barbara counsels against drawing conclusions, saying “we cannot assume that they did it because they’re Catholic.” But the theologian in Rosie can’t help herself.
“If men could get pregnant,”Rosie opines, “abortion would be a sacrament.”
Good heavens. Where does one start? Perhaps with the law the Supreme Court interpreted. It was approved by a bipartisan congressional coalition that included the Republican and Democratic leadership. In all, 17 Senate Democrats voted for it, in addition to 47 Republicans, the vast majority—I think we can assume—who are not Catholic. You could say the five justices in the majority voted to uphold a law that reflected the choices of those legislators, not to mention the some 30 states that previously had imposed similar bans.
Here’s what Geoffrey Stone, former law school dean and provost at the University of Chicago, had to say:
“All five justices in the majority in Gonzales are Catholic. The four justices who either are Protestant or Jewish all voted in accord with settled precedent. It is mortifying to have to point this out. But it is too obvious, and too telling to ignore,” Stone wrote on the University of Chicago Law School Faculty blog. http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/faculty/2007/04/our_faithbased_.html
And why is it telling, Dean Stone?
“Ultimately, the five justices in the majority all fell back on a common argument to justify their position. There is, they say, a compelling moral reason for the result in Gonzales,” Stone writes. “By making this judgment, these justices have failed to respect the fundamental difference between religious belief and morality.”
Geoff Stone (and Rosie and the cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer who illustrated similar thoughts last week) is saying that the five justices voted to uphold the law only because of their religious beliefs. It’s only because they are Catholic—Stone, Rosie, et al, argue—that they could possibly interpret the Constitution to allow a federal law Congress passed with broad, bipartisan support. It’s only because the five are Catholic, Stone and Rosie argue, that they could possibly vote to uphold a law that banned an abortion procedure Congress found to be “gruesome” and “inhumane.”
No, the five couldn’t possibly have legal views that that the Constitution doesn’t protect the right to a partial birth abortion.
Here’s a different way of thinking about it: The five justices took a more restrained approach to the law than their colleagues and declined to substitute their own policy preferences for the will of the people.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Although I've been living in a nice house with my new wife for the last month, I'm only now completely emptying out my apartment (where my DSL has been; there's none at the house yet). They've disconnected my DSL, so this post is being made using dialup. Tomorrow I'll be moving the computer. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully it won't be long until I'm up and running with DSL at the new house; if all goes well a day or two. So my next post will be from a better place. My wife will be happy to have me home...
Photo was taken on the road to Hana during our honeymoon in Maui. Larger version is here. The Nikon D40 DSLR rules!
Photo was taken on the road to Hana during our honeymoon in Maui. Larger version is here. The Nikon D40 DSLR rules!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Nowhere is MSM disengenuity more in evidence than in its approach to the topic of "Swift Boating". Here's a good Powerline post which examines the dynamic.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Another great one.
This whole ball of earwax got started when a French author (by way of gratitude, I presume, for the hundreds of thousands of Americans killed defending his country from a tyranny they themselves were unwilling to fight) claimed that the hole in the Pentagon was far too small to have been caused by a jet. It must have been a missile!
ALL of these 9/11 conspiracy sites have museum-grade idiots stating what “obviously” happens at velocities and temperatures that they are flat-out incapable of understanding. Not only are these people too stupid to understand the physics involved with what they are bloviating about… they are too stupid to realize that they are too stupid.
An airplane is a hollow, extremely light-weight tube of aluminum, cunningly designed to lift not one ounce more than is necessary for safe flight in rough weather. An airplane is as fragile as a hollow-boned bird, and for the same reasons. The Pentagon, on the other hand, is a fortress, and as a matter of one of the very few pieces of good luck on that awful day, the side hit by American Flight 77 happened to be the only one of the five sides that had been recently reinforced to withstand a truck bomb attack.
Now if you have ever seen a bird fly into a window pane, you may realize that it does not leave a nice bird-shaped hole in the window. That is because in each historical conflict between the ground and an airplane, the ground has won every time.
Here’s something to prove the point far better than any words could ever do.
It is a video of an F-4 Phantom being launched into a reinforced wall at over 500 mph. The Phantom is a big airplane – not as big as a jetliner, certainly, but far sturdier in construction. When you watch this video, you will see that massive-looking fighter jet simply vaporize into a plume of aluminum dust. Nothing comes through the other side. It. Just. Disappears.
My other small contribution – which may be widely stated, although I have not seen it – is to grant this revolting premise for a moment and envision the consequences.
The 9/11 Truthers claim that the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition. Okay.
Have you ever seen a controlled demolition? Shows like this are all over The Discovery Channel. Do these people realize how all of the insulation and paneling must be stripped away from the support beams? Do they not understand how these beams must be cut open and the explosives placed with great care? Have they not any idea of the amount of time this takes – months – and the forest of wires that runs through the structure to the detonating mechanism? Have they given no thought – none? – to what an enormous job this is, and how much work goes into getting these explosives exactly where they need to be?
Apparently not. They just figure someone leaves a suitcase somewhere, I guess.
Anyone who has ever – ever – seen what is required to bring down a building of that size knows that the site is a disaster area of det cord, pulled paneling, and huge bundles of explosives taped to the structural columns across many floors.
Has no one considered that this all had to be started after everyone went home on Monday night and before people reported for work the next day? On multiple floors of two of the busiest public spaces in the world? No one noticed this on Tuesday morning? Hey Jim, what do you suppose that huge bundle of plastic explosives is doing there where the water cooler used to be? And where do those wires go?
Well, must be some logical explanation. Let’s get some coffee and bagels.
Now you’re talking!
Of all the people in those buildings that morning, no one – no one – saw any wires anywhere? No one asked why the drywall was torn down and replaced with grey stuff duct-taped into place? None of the firemen rushing into those burning towers, checking all those floors for survivors – none of them noticed the building was rigged to explode? That it might possibly be worth a small call on the radio?
My father was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in 2002. I will never forget that day. It changed my life, and it was the event that started me writing here at Eject! Eject! Eject!
The man who coordinated that service was on a hill about a half-mile from that side of the Pentagon on the morning of September 11th, 2001. He told me that they had been informed that something was going on in New York that morning. Then he heard something that he said he thought was a missile attack – a roar so loud and so far beyond a normal jet sound that he looked up at that exact moment expecting to die.
What he saw emerge from the trees overhead, perhaps a hundred feet above him, was American Airlines Flight 77 as it went by in a silver blur, engines screaming in a power dive as it hit the near side of the Pentagon. He told me – to my face – that body parts had rained down all over that sacred field. Just like red hail on a summer day. Those body parts are buried in a special place at the base of that hill.
Now. If Rosie O’Donnell and the rest of that Lunatic Brigade is right and I am wrong, then that man – that insignificant Army chaplain and his Honor Guard of forty men – are all liars. He is lying to me for Halliburton and Big Oil. That Chaplain — and all of those decent, patriotic young men in the Honor Guard, and all the commuters on the roads who saw an American Airlines jet instead of a missile – ALL of those people are liars and accessories to murder. And all of the firefighters who went into buildings rigged to explode were pre-recruited suicide martyrs dying for George W. Bush’s plans for world conquest.
Remember: NOTHING that happened on September 11th needed any more explanation than what was obvious from the second impact... namely, that Islamic terrorists hijaked four American aircraft and flew three of them into their targets. To try to convince people of missile attacks and rigged explosives and mystery jets is nothing more than an intentional assault on reason and common sense, one that damns the innocent and protects those mass murderers with our blood on their hands.
It’s an obscenity. It’s a filthy, God-damned, criminal obscenity.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Just ponder this disgusting non-apology by Rosie O'Donnell -- not just the words, but the abuse of language:
--"9/11 affected me deeply, as I know it did many Americans."
Wow, nothing gets past you, does it! Next:
--"The falling of the twin towers served to remind me that many of the assumptions Americans have about their lives are rooted in false feelings of security. "
Hmm. That's an odd thing to be reminded of when people are jumping to their death from a hundred floors up. Where's she going with this? "Assumptions rooted in false feelings of security." Is she talking about our denial of the evils of contemporary Islam? I guess I'm on board.
--"In light of this reminder, I have begun doing exactly what this country, at its best, allows for me to do: inquire. Investigate."
I see. Very good. So you've been reading the Koran, logging onto MEMRI.org., checking out Little Green Footballs, that kind of thing?
"America is great in so many ways, one of which is the freedom to speak, and indeed think, freely."
Indeed. But you sound a little defensive. What does this have to do with accusing the American government of attacking its own citizens on 9-11?
--"I have, of late, begun exercising the rights bestowed upon me by the democratic system I value, and the exercising of these rights has taken the form of an inquiry into what happened five years ago, an inquiry that resists the dominant explanations and that dares to entertain ideas that push me to the edge of what is bearable."
Wo, wo, slow down, sister. Are you suggesting that you're not really a vicious and paranoid hater and kook, but a daring intellectual adventerer who refuses to be dominated by racistsexisthomophobicwhiterethuglicanoppressors and is courageously skirting the edge of unbearable truth? Is that it?
--"I have come to no conclusions and, given the scope of the subject, will not for some time."
Sounds like you've concluded that you'd better shut your piehole about your daring discoveries in order to appease your corporate oppressors and keep your job.
--"If the very act of asking is so destabilizing for people, than I have to wonder whether the fabric of our democracy is indeed so raveled it is beyond salvage."
I see. The people who are exercising their free speech by questioning your sanity are "destabilized" and evidence that our system is beyond repair. Would it surprise you to learn that your continuing presence on national TV is prima faeces evidence of a liberal news media establishment so lacking in credibility or even basic decency that is broken beyond repair?
--"My own belief is that the act of asking is itself reparative, because it brings to life the values on which our constitution rests."
But why then isn't questioning your evil ideas reparative?
--"I am, therefore, pledging my allegiance, hand over heart, trying, as always, for a rigorous truth."
The news-speak credo of the leftist MSMistry of Truth. Pledge allegiance to the Truth you have spent your life undermining.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Good piece here:
The Creationists aren't going away. They're just getting sneakier."
Thus Dave Thomas ended his commentary in The Tribune ("Intelligent design supporters find new, creative ways to get their message out," Insight & Opinion, March 13), which warned of yet another assault on evolutionary theory by the creationist, this time in the form of academic freedom legislation.
The principle objectives of this legislation are to "give teachers the right and freedom, when a theory of biological origins is taught, to objectively inform students of scientific information relevant to the strengths and weaknesses of that theory and protect teachers from reassignment, termination, discipline or other discrimination for doing so," and to give students the "right and freedom to reach their own conclusions about biological origins."
Thomas warns that while the bill is about academic freedom, its intent is to teach creationism in the science classroom.
Having assisted in the drafting of this legislation, I can say that it says what it means and means what it says - nothing different, nothing more and nothing less.
There is a lawyer's adage that says, "If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If the law is on your side, argue the law. If neither are on your side, change the subject and go after the motives of your opponent." Bingo! Right out of the Darwinist playbook.
Now, this business of going after your opponent's motives can be tricky. While your objective may be to expose your opponent's hidden agenda, there is a real risk that instead, you will expose your own worst fears.
Thomas reads a lot into the language of these measures and what he "reads in" is a reflection of his own paranoia. His worst nightmare is not that Biblical Creationism will be taught in public schools - that is not going to happen - but that the evidentiary weakness of Darwin's theory will be exposed.
But the truth is that Darwinists have much more to be concerned about than academic freedom legislation and the distribution of science documentaries to science teachers. The greatest threat to the Darwinian dogma today is science itself.
There is a revolution under way in the biological sciences. A whole new field of biology called "Systems Biology" has emerged during the past 10 or 15 years. This revolution is just as profound for the biological sciences today as the transition in physics was from classical physics to quantum physics and relativity in the early part of the 20th century.
In this exciting new field, research is guided not by Darwinian principles but by design principles because design principles are needed to explain design-like features.
The teaching of evolution today in public schools is frozen in the past where it is based largely on a mid-20th century understanding of biology. Research in the biological sciences has moved far beyond that understanding because of the hopeless inability of Darwinian principles to explain the complexity observed in living things.
Public education has a quandary. How do we teach evolution so that it reflects our current understanding of biology rather than a mid-20th century understanding?
Modern science arose in Christian Europe - there and nowhere else - and it was rational Christian theology that gave it its birth. The commonly accepted wisdom that the war between science and religion started with Galileo is mythology.
There never has been such a war and the actual conflict between Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church is far more interesting than the simple one-dimensional mythological portrayal of a humble scientist pitted against a powerful and dogmatic church.
The so-called war between science and religion exists today as a mythology created in the 19th century as a political maneuver to aid the cause of materialism. That mythology has been preserved through the 20th century and is broadly regarded as true.
The success of this strategy can be attributed largely to Thomas Huxley, Darwin's bulldog, who saw relatively little scientific value in Darwin's theory but saw great value in its ability to provide the foundation for a new secular religion to replace Christianity, which he judged was no longer adequate to meet the needs of late 19th-century England.
And, he saw public schools as the means for spreading this new faith.
It is academic freedom the Darwinists fear because it will expose the weakness of the evolutionary theory. And if that weakness is exposed, then suddenly, public education becomes not the vehicle for propagation of their materialistic religious faith as envisioned by Huxley but the instrument of its demise.