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29 August 2015


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TTG et al

Well, pilgrims, and now we have a black man who walked up behind a sheriff's deputy (for foreign people that is s real, full time policeman) in Houston and shot the man in the back while the cop was fueling his patrol car at a gas station. A week or so earlier another black man pistol whipped a policeman in Texas and all he could say about it after was that he was fighting back. The Roanoke, Virginia lunatic wrote that he was motivated by the white lunatic in Charleston, SC. People ought to think carefully about the possibility of widespread racial violence in the US. This country is saturated in guns and will remain that way. No possible combination of politicians is goin to succeed in disarming the American people. This is not Canada, or the UK or any of the other nanny states. A tide of rising violence on a racial basis will inevitably draw reprisals and there are a hell of a lot of mean white men in the USA who own guns. Be careful, people! The father of the woman reporter killed at Roanoke said on TV today that he might have to arm himself because of threats being made against him. The Clintonian demagogue, Governor McCauliffe lost no time in going to Roanoke to grandstand. On MSNBC this AM the loudmouths are having a field day trying to logroll for more gun law. Their cry is for more background checks. This Roanoke shooter bought his weapons legally well in advance of the event and was background checked. Calm down people! pl

Farmer Don

I couldn't believe this when I saw it: PBS commentator Mark Shields says more killed by guns since '68 than in all U.S. wars"
Here is what seems to be proof: http://t.co/pSZHZsdehf

Add up all the deaths by wars you get about 1.1 million. Add up all the deaths by guns you get about 1.4 million Americans.

But only about 1/4 are homicides, suicides make up a big part of the rest. Guns are a cheap and efficient way to kill yourself.

I do wonder if less people would want to kill themselves if there was universal health care in the USA?


Great article by Johnson- and to underscore his point, check the most-read articles in the Free-Lance Star (below the article):
◾Man with knife shot, killed by King George deputy
◾Caroline teen pleads guilty in murder of 16-year-old Buck Ball

I also read and memorized Kipling's "If" in school- should indeed be required today.


Farmer Don

Yes, it's sad, Americans just don't want to be Canadians. The Canadian self image is interesting. I have actually had educated Canadians tell me that Canada is more diverse than the USA. I guess they are unfamiliar with the process of actually researching things before speaking. And then there is the diversity multi-culti circus that is British TV. I watch a lot of that because SWMBO forces me to do so. The UK has a Black population of 2.5% roughly, but if you look at Brit TV there are Black (African blood , not Asians in the way the Brits call Asians Black) everywhere; Black judges, Black senior policemen, Black doctors, Black business giants, the list is endless. According to Brit cop shows, the UK is a completely integrated and post-racial society in which White and Black (all kinds) races are rapidly blending, What a joke! pl

Margaret Steinfels

For remarks I posted at Commonweal, I got called to account for referring to BLM protesters as groupies and their demands as "half-assed rhetoric."

For my penance, I have read and just finished Ta-Nahisi Coates "Between the World and Me." I am still thinking about it. But I could say two things:

1. Coates can write and he can think and he manages to convey in what is ostensibly a letter to his 15-year old son that he is not simply angry, but enraged. This for many reasons. One item that struck me is his frequent reference in Chapter 1 to his father beating him with his belt. Coates attributes this to "fear"; his father's fear for the child's missteps and misbehavior. But it struck me that anger was part of it. Perhaps anger for all the reasons Coates enumerates himself. I've read enough child-rearing history and literature to know that regular beating of children has its consequences. I am not attributing Coates views to this. Just something to think about.

2. Frequently mentioned here: Americans hardly remember their last war, much less their last civil strife. What strikes me about Coates account and much else that I read: too few American read history, our own, or that of our fellow-Americans. At least Coates reads history, that of his own "people." Enslavement, Jim Crow, and discrimination have taken their toll on African-Americans. If he read a little immigrant history, he might find that leaving your native land or being torn from it also takes its toll, a different toll perhaps but a toll.

Some of these events and the question asked here, "Why"? remind me of a book I read long ago called "Ressentiment" by Max Scheler. That's the French, resentment is more or less the English equivalent. All of this discussion brings that word to mind. Short account at Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ressentiment


FB Ali

While reading Patrick Bahzad's (frankly alarmist) pieces on the danger to people in the US from jihadi terrorism, it did occur to me that these fears were way overblown, and that there were many other causes of mayhem much closer to home.

This piece illustrates one such - there were some 32,000 firearms related deaths in the US for the last year for which I could find data. The number of fatalities from vehicle accidents was higher. Surely, if there is to be a debate on ways of making Americans safer (or spending national resources on ensuring this), it is issues such as these that demand attention, not some minuscule risk from terrorism. Guard against it as appropriate to the threat, but don't blow it up out of all proportion.

I can understand why security agencies seek to harp on this (after all this is their bread-and-butter) but for others some perspective would be salutary.


Why are we angry? We have whole sections of our media and punditry (politicians too) devoted to making us angry. People love it. I firmly believe it is an addiction of sorts, with an adrenaline high that you can thrive on every day. So much of it is contrived, the faux outrage of the day. So much is overblown. Frankly, I think a lot of it is just to divert us away from our larger problems.



"Like Richard Sale’s little fish, we may live quite modestly and have unrequited dreams, but our lot in life isn’t that bad."

This is true but I think this man (the shooter) was well on his way to being like one of the old men on the park bench in Paris in Richard's other recent story. Sadly this man, who had already overcome what were real obstacles for achievement (even if only in his own mind) - being black and gay, long before he arrived in Virginia and before one of victims even finished high school, had already begun a decent into failure. I think your comment on the other thread gets to the root of the matter:

"A black man with a fairly decent career ahead of him slowly descends into madness for reasons unknown. His madness manifests itself as increasing anger and grievance. ... As a society we have failed to deal with mental illness in anything approaching an effective way. We have also grown to view self-righteous anger and feeling unfairly put upon as perfectly acceptable emotional states."


To Margaret Steinfels,

I wonder if the problem is the opposite, that, at least some of us, read too much history, of a narrow and biased variety.

Nearly every popular history book today seems to be history of a certain "people," presented as "their" story, essentially serving as excuses and justification for their presumed collective attitude and status today. Such presumed collective attitude and status, in turn, is taken as the de facto set of characteristics applicable to every member of the said group. I've had someone, an academic who prides himself on his liberal and multiculturalist attitude, say to me to the effect "you should be more comfortable with your own people," and I did not know how to react at presumtuous and insulting remark. But people like Coates perpetuate this myth, for every ethnic group. The idea that some of us don't want to be hyphenated and would just prefer to be real Americans runs counter to their (and their multiculturalist white friends') presumption.

If people want to study history, they need to take a few steps back and put things in perspective. There are nuances and caveats that are, well, complicated, both home and abroad. What struck me about reading PB's commentary on homegrown terrorism in Europe is how much the undercurrent feeding it is really rooted in the peculiar multiculturalist dogma: that, somehow, the young Muslim-Europeans are Europeans (legally) but not really Europeans (culturally and socially), and multiculturalist attitude, even with a veneer of faux-benevolence, perpetuates it--by promoting the notion that they should be more comfortable with their own kind, even in the heart of Europe. I don't think one should go nuts and forcibly send their kids to boarding schools, but, forcibly segregating people who seem different in their own socio-cultural ghettos, supposedly "on their own volition" on the basis of selective historical accounts and self-claimed champions of "their own people" like Coates adds to the problem.


Regarding your point, check this article which ran in today's GUARDIAN (UK)- the author was just hired to teach military law at West Point- despite having been forced to resign from the Indiana University School of Law for stolen valor issues, among others. His article advocates that the U.S. military track down opponents of the Law on Terror- even to the point of attacking law professors in their offices. The journal, the National Security Law Journal, very quickly repudiated the article. The author also claimed to be an Associate Professor at NDU-he wasn't, he was a contractor.

But having a character like this teaching cadets at West Point can't help things.
How does this guy get hired at USMA? Don't they still have an honor code.




I heard second hand that the reason the USSR fell was that the Soviet propaganda did not match the reality that the Russians could see for themselves. Also, the party elite no longer believed in their ideology and human greed triumphed.

It is no different today in America. Every evening news broadcast ends with a piece about how this is the best of all possible worlds. However, the reality is that millions were kicked out of their homes. There are no good paying manufacturing jobs left. The ruling ideology is everyman for himself. Society be damned.

For those who have been shafted there is either despair or anger.

If a resolution cannot be found through electoral politics, America’s future will consist of guarded enclaves, privatized prisons, and a perpetual war against Islam. After the third revolution, any survivors will split along ethnic fault lines.

Margaret Steinfels

One item to factor into the U.S. reality is the degree of inter-marriage among ethnic groups, especially after the restrictive immigration laws of the 1920s. My parents, German-American and Irish-American, were the first in their families, what everyone "laughingly" called a mixed marriage.

Today, language may keep people in their own group as well as culture and economic considerations. Yet in theory the melting pot (or mosaic as some have it) should continue and as you suggest people become American.

That goes for inter-racial marriages and families at least in my territory. In other places, probably not so much. How much to factor in race or ethnicity in the Asian/South Asian immigration? Don't know.

Margaret Steinfels

Coates in his "letter," does not foresee or accept an inter-racial future. He is partly black nationalist and partly "the whites don't want, won't accept, us." About the latter he is right in some cases, wrong in others.

Us "white" people know, that "white" like "black" is a social construct that waxes and wanes. There's some excellent work on the 19th century view of the simian characters of Irish immigrants; see the cartoons of Thomas Nast.


I don't know if Americans are angrier than anyone else. It's more the fact there seem to be no filters to aggressive speech, followed by action. I've lived abroad for 20 years, including 4+ years in Oman, where expressing rage the way it is routinely done in the US would be unthinkable.

Everybody seems to be shouting all the time. The popular music is aggressive in itself. Thought precedes speech and speech precedes action. A general focus on better manners might help a bit.


As more and more Americans realise that the deck is stacked against them and the American Dream(™) is fake, I predict that there are going to be more crimes like this. Americans in general have a false sense of available expectations of life and a minority will react violently when those expectations are crushed; some with gunfire.

The concept of The American Dream has been perverted into a marketing tool as well as a political weapon. The notion that everything is possible for you, that if only you dedicate yourself to your work you will triumph, the fake "unleash the power within you" Robbins BS creates a massive set of unreasonable and unsatisfiable expectations that can never be met for the majority of Americans. You can see these unreasonable expectations peddled in the self development section of every bookshop or on the web by googling "MBA books". Statistically it is nonsense to believe everyone can be a fortune 500 CEO. It is even greater nonsense to believe that if you will only "achieve" anything can be yours.

This dream has a darker side that is now used by the very rich and well connected to demonise failure. "If you are poor then you must have done something wrong, probably a criminal act as well" that is the message inherent in such things as the drug testing of welfare recipients,

The results? Homicide by a "disgruntled former Roanoke TV reporter" as Johnston puts it? Disgruntled???????? In the mind of the perpetrator he was on a stellar career trajectory that should have one day seen him as a national TV anchorman only to have his dreams taken away from him by a Roanoke TV station apparachik. How many million others are there with these same unrealisable expectations? How many have the intestinal fortitude to deal with failure immortalised in Kiplings "If"? And how many of the disappointed are armed?

As Thoreau observed The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation".



You mistake the long quiet of your mother's people for weakness. Their inherent savagery is rising to the surface. pl


Col. Lang, the Thoreau quote was included by mistake. I don't take quietude as weakness.


Root sources of overblown American anger (as feeling and/or expression):

- elevated expectations crashing into wall of declining median economic status. Useta be that we'd all be better off than our parents; that won't be true - on average - for the next generation here.

- decline of good religion (the writer - me - defines what's good, of course)
- just plain fewer people going to church weekly.
- rise of Mammonism (modern Consumerism).
- evangelical Protestantism is dominated by corrupt mega-churches.
- Catholicism took a big hit from the Pedophile Priest thing.
- rise of Fundamentalism around the world, as mellower versions of each religion lose followers to atheism/etc.

- collapse of WASP culture

- intentional normalization of hateful anger by right-wing talk-radio (Limbaugh, etc)

- intentional focus on fear-inflation by TV news, especially Fox.

- continued rightwing backlash (blowback) against the adolescent excesses of the "Left" in the 1960's.

- racial resentment

Or, maybe it's just all the mercury in the air & water from burning cheap coal.

no one

Elkern, I think you miss, in your otherwise instructive list, the contribution of the left to the problem.

People don't go to church and WASP culture collapsed because the left is openly hostile toward these things and has done everything it can to denigrate and then erase them from our culture.

Furthermore, the left is generally hostile to everything that made our culture great. They hide behind ideals like "equality" when implementing their overthrow of the establishment, but they end up looking silly, at best, to anyone with a functioning brain.

I was in Rochester,NY reading one of those free left-leaning weekly city rags. There was a feature piece about all of the shootings that have been occurring in the black neighborhoods. The mayor was quoted (she's black). Black people shooting each other is, apparently, due to white racism. See, white people cause black people to live in all black enclaves and the natural result of that is for them to kill each other, of course. That makes sense. Also, I read,more gun control is needed in the state that has the toughest gun laws in the country. You can't even own a handgun without begging for a permit to do so. Any misdemeanor conviction is sufficient grounds for the permit to be denied. Heck, not having "good character" is sufficient grounds for denial, but yes, we need more control.

The big solution, though, I read, is to integrate schools and neighborhoods, by force of law if necessary; which kind of sounds, to me, like an admission black people are too retarded to socialize themselves and need white people to show them how to act civilly. I'm sure the paper and the Mayor didn't mean it that way; what they intended to mean I can't fathom. Why they don't think that whites will just move further away rather than have their children engaged with sociopathic killers is also beyond me.

Anyhow, if I think the left is not dealing reality while simultaneously destroying the culture, there are probably a lot more just like me.


I believe the vast majority of Americans are stone-dead ignorant on history.


It strikes me that a good deal of the anger might be reduced if we could stop the television watching addiction.

We might even try to teach people to read for both pleasure and news gathering.


PS: I often wonder if Margaret Steinfels is the former writer for Commonweal, also former or current member of Corpus Christ Parish?

Mark Logan


I've read him for quite some time and recall him discussing the situation of other immigrants at length on several occasions. I take it this was the first thing of his you have read or pretty close to it.


If you believe Coates advocates segregation you haven't read much of him either. He describes the world as he honestly sees and experienced it which isn't advocacy for black nationalism. The guys who add to the problem are the media producers who primarily seek emotionalism. The eschew people like Coates and Leonard Pitts for Al and Jesse.


He is a cultural writer, not a pundit. I suggest a good place to start are his reviews of Kendrick Lamar.


"forcibly segregating people who seem different in their own socio-cultural ghettos, supposedly "on their own volition" on the basis of selective historical accounts and self-claimed champions of "their own people" like Coates adds to the problem."

I have difficulty parsing that, what do you mean exactly?


I remember having read paleocon complaints to the same effect about US TV. Is there really such a marked difference?


By way of that hyphenation hobby horse:

rjj stands for r*** jones-jones (it's a send-up).

Assumed hyphenation aggrandizes, imposed hyphenation straight arms. It otherizes -- puts people in their place.

It does some the social distancing work of the obsolete second person pronoun forms - sometimes intended as courtesy, sometimes not.

As an Andro-American what think ye... or presumptuously ... thinkst thou... or if preferred ...you'ns...y'all?

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