The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The #LaquanMcDonald Farce

Posted on | November 27, 2015 | 134 Comments

PCP (phencyclidine) is a dangerous drug. It is a depressant, originally marketed as an animal tranquilizer. Taken orally in moderate dosage, PCP produces a mellow high. However, when used as “angel dust” — sprinkled onto marijuana and smoked — PCP induces a sort of instant psychosis, which can include violent craziness. One evening in the summer of 1975, at an apartment in Mableton . . .

Well, there’s no point telling that story now, eh?

If anyone needs expert testimony on the effects of PCP, however, let me know. The statute of limitations has almost certainly expired by now, although I am prepared to invoke my right to remain silent and have my attorney present during questioning. Meanwhile, in Chicago . . .

Laquan McDonald had PCP in his system on Oct. 20, 2014. We know this from the autopsy performed after McDonald, 17, decided to exercise his constitutional right to vandalize cars and stagger down the middle of Pulaski Road, brandishing a knife at the Chicago police officers who were trying to arrest him. The coroner’s conclusion was that the cause of Laquan’s death was institutional racism.

And also, 16 shots from Officer Jason Van Dyke’s 9-mm pistol:

Laquan McDonald walks down the middle of Pulaski Road toward the flashing blue lights of the police cruisers trying to stop him. With a tug of his pants and a quickened step, the teen veers away from them.
Two officers jump from their vehicle, guns drawn. McDonald keeps moving, apparently trying to pass the officers who are several feet to his left. McDonald, holding something in his right hand, swings his right arm in the split second before an officer opens fire.
The force of the bullets spins McDonald around. His legs stiffen as he falls backward to the pavement. The teen rolls onto his right side in the middle of the roadway.
There is no sound on the controversial dash-cam video released late Tuesday afternoon by the city, only startling images that show a white Chicago police officer unloading 16 rounds on an African-American teen, who though armed with a small knife appeared to be trying to get away, police said. The video captures 15 seconds of shooting. For 13 seconds of it, McDonald is lying on the street.
Two clouds of smokelike debris silently puff upward immediately after McDonald falls. His head appears to lift, his arm moves. Then more bullets. Another cloud of white debris kicks up from behind his head.
And then it is over. The teen lies on the road for nearly a minute alone.
Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder in the October 2014 slaying of McDonald, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his chest, scalp, neck, back, arms and right hand and leg in the shooting in the 4100 block of South Pulaski Road.
Van Dyke, 37, has been ordered held without bail until at least his next court appearance Monday.

Racism is the only issue in this case, we are expected to conclude. This is what we are told to think every time something like the Laquan McDonald shooting happens anywhere in America. The media narrative is always the same: Evil honky cop shooting innocent teenage honor student — Saint Laquan of Pulaski Road — and we must ignore every other circumstance except race: White cop, dead black kid.

The problem with this narrative, however, is that it requires us to sympathize with a criminal teenage dopehead. And it is very difficult for me to think of a criminal teenage dopehead as a victim of society, because I used to be a criminal teenage dopehead.

Fear and Loathing on Gordon Road

My buddy and I were desperate to get high that evening in 1975. Even though I only had my learner’s permit — still a few months away from my 16th birthday — somehow I got the keys to my Dad’s old car, and we went to an apartment off Gordon Road in Mableton, near Charlie Brown Airport. The dude who lived there might have some dope, my buddy said. When we got there, however, the dude said all he had was a few roaches left over in the ashtray. OK, so we picked through these roaches hoping to scavenge enough weed to roll a slender “pin” joint (the papers were strawberry Reefer Rollers, as I recall) when there was a knock at the apartment door. We hid the weed while our host answered the door. His greeting to the new guest was enthusiastic.

“Dave! Where you been, man?”

“Just got back from California,” said the long-haired dude, as he shrugged himself out of the straps of a drab green backpack. He had hitched his way cross-country, Dave explained. He and our host talked, while at the kitchen table, I was picking apart the roaches to try to get enough weed to roll a tiny joint. Noticing my efforts, Dave said, “Hey, little man, what you doin’?” Trying to make a joint from these roaches, I said.

“Well, f–k that sh-t, man!” Dave said, laughing as he undid the top flap of his backpack — stuffed full with several pounds of weed in fat “five-finger”one-ounce baggies. He tossed an ounce on the table.

“Roll one, man,” Dave said.

“Far out,” I said.

Bringing back this load of marijuana was, of course, the whole purpose of Dave’s journey to California and back to Georgia. In the mid-1970s, dopeheads were everywhere and law enforcement was clearly losing the War on Drugs. Efforts by the Nixon and Ford administration had managed to impede the flow of marijuana imported from Mexico, ending the era of the $15 ounce of “Acapulco Gold.” But market economics being a constant factor in human affairs, the extraordinary demand for the product generated huge incentives for the entrepreneurs on the supply side of this equation. Yes, my friends, capitalism can accomplish amazing feats, such as a hippie-looking dude thumbing rides all the way across the continent to deliver a felony-weight load of contraband to an apartment in Mableton, Georgia. God bless America!

Patriotic admiration for Our Nation’s Free Enterprise System wasn’t what 15-year-old me was thinking about when Dave plopped that fat ounce of weed on the table, of course. No, I was about to get high, the Prime Directive of my adolescent existence, and I was just one among millions of Teenage Dopeheads toking our way through the Seventies, which was simultaneously (a) an abysmal era of economic stagnation, social upheaval and foreign-policy disasters, and also (b) The Most Awesome Party-Down Decade in the History of the World.

Dude, I saw Aerosmith when they were the opening act for the Jeff Beck Group and Rod Stewart and the Faces at the Omni in Atlanta. Because I was stoned out of my mind, I don’t actually remember much from that concert, except that I went with Tony Wheeler, whose sister Becky I’d made out with during a trip the Douglas County High School Marching Tiger Band made to Disney World in 1974. Becky played the flute in the band and I played the trombone, but this isn’t a story about Becky or marching band or Becky’s brother Tony or seeing Aerosmith in concert, is it? No, obviously I have digressed . . .

This is a story about the Deadly Menace of Dangerous Narcotics, specifically that fat ounce of weed that Dave tossed onto the kitchen table in that apartment on Gordon Road, where I’d gone with a dope buddy hoping to get high. While I was rolling a joint from this unexpected bounty, Dave explained that this was Columbian Gold, laced with “THC.” Here it is necessary to explain that, when PCP became a popular illegal drug in the mid-1970s, it was falsely marketed as THC — tetrahydrocannabinol, the active hallucinogenic agent in marijuana. Why drug dealers circa 1974-75 resorted to this deception, I don’t know, but probably telling freaks they were using “THC” seemed more glamorous than telling them they were getting high on dog tranquilizers. Whatever the reason, what dopeheads in the mid-’70s usually called “T” was always some kind of PCP, perhaps mixed with other drugs. The first time I used “T” was in a small reddish-orange pill, but later we got “T” in powder form, when it was also known as “angel dust.” You could snort it — which was the most common way, in my experience — but you could also “cook” it (heating it up in a spoon) to liquefy it and inject it with a hypodermic needle. Once I watched one of my dope buddies “mainline” (inject intravenously) some of the stuff, but I never could stand needles myself, despite my otherwise all-encompassing enthusiasm for the Deadly Menace of Dangerous Narcotics.

It is when PCP is smoked, however, that it is really dangerous, as I learned that night in 1975 when we smoked the “dusted” weed Dave had brought back from California. It was very harsh on the lungs. The first toke caused painful spasms of coughing. After three tokes, I’d had all I could stand. Suddenly I was tripping out of my mind, fiercely gripping the arms of the chair I was sitting in, holding on for dear life. To this day, I remember the hallucinatory sensation of spinning backward in my chair. Nothing I did in all my years as an adolescent dopehead ever hit me with such overpowering force. Needless to say, my memory of what happened next is somewhat fragmentary. After I had gotten past the spinning-backward hallucination, I remember a sudden and intense paranoia, and this also seemed to have been the effect on my buddy. He had somehow been able to choke down four or five tokes of that PCP-laced weed, and was therefore in an even more twisted condition than I was. He expressed an urgent need to get out of there, a paranoid desire for escape that had also seized my mind, and we went stumbling out of the apartment, down the stairs and toward my Dad’s car, which I had borrowed to make this dope-quest expedition to Mableton.

Of course, by this point, I was in no shape to drive anywhere and, as I say, my buddy was even worse off than me. Picture us, sitting in the front seat of that old car — a 1962 sedan my Dad had bought used. Dad always liked to have a spare vehicle around, something he could drive if he had any problem with his main car, and this 1962 sedan was one of a series of old junkers Dad had over the years. Given that the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 and the resulting increase in gasoline prices had drastically reduced the market for larger cars, my Dad had gotten a lowball price on that big old V-8 gas-guzzler with tailfins. This was certainly not a cool car for a teenager to be driving in 1975, but beggars can’t be choosers and remember, I was only 15 and still only had my learner’s permit.

So there we were, two long-haired teenage dopeheads, tripping out of our minds as we sat in an enormous 1962 sedan in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Mableton, faced with the daunting task of a 10-mile drive back to Douglas County.

And that’s when my buddy completely freaked out.

My memory of that night 40 years ago is a psychedelic jumble of crazy fragments, of course, but I seem to remember I had decided that my buddy should drive. He had a license, at least, and I was so messed up that I was curled into the fetal position on the front passenger floorboard, hoping the world would stop spinning. But my buddy was in such bad shape he couldn’t figure out how to start the car and, in a wild fit of drug-induced paranoid rage, he threw open the door of the car and went rampaging across the parking lot.

He ran toward the apartment building where he began banging on windows and yelling. Holy crap, I thought, somebody’s gonna call the cops. However much I feared the police, my even greater fear was that I would be arrested while driving Dad’s car in Mableton, after I’d borrowed the car by telling Mom a ridiculous made-up story about needing to drive my buddy to his house for some reason. So when my buddy went on his manic rampage — people coming out on their apartment balconies to see what all the commotion was about — this brought me out of my own head-spinning trip. This was an emergency and I had to deal with it. I got out of the car and ran over to grab him, where he was crashing through the shrubbery next to the apartment.

“Hey, man, we gotta get out of here. Somebody’s gonna call the cops.”

The word “cops” seemed to pierce his bubble of insanity. No teenage dopehead ever wants to encounter the police, and so next thing I can remember — these scenes are just crazy fragments of memory, as I say — we were back in the car, this time with me at the wheel, trying to get it to crank and when it finally started, we cruised out of there as rapidly as possible without attracting unnecessary attention. I don’t remember what kind of phony excuse I made to my Mom when I made it back home, but I went directly to bed and slept the sleep of the dead, thankful to have escaped after that nightmare freakout in Mableton. And although I still had four or five years of teenage drug adventures ahead of me, that night I made a solemn vow, and I never smoked PCP again.

Over-Policed and Under-Parented

Was teenage me an Oppressed Victim of Society? Of course not. Four decades ago, I was like many other middle-class white kids, looking for adolescent thrills, and I don’t remember any adult ever suggesting we were victims of anything except our own foolishness.

The Deadly Menace of Dangerous Narcotics is a matter of individual choice and thus a matter of individual responsibility. A teenage dopehead can’t blame other people for the consequences of his bad choices. Nobody forced me to drive to Mableton and smoke that PCP-laced weed. The fact that I was only 15, or that I had no way of anticipating the effects — finding myself suddenly in a state of hallucinatory paranoia after just three tokes — still does not exempt me from responsibility. And when my buddy freaked out in the parking lot, what would have happened if the cops had arrived before we made our getaway? Maybe you can suppose “white privilege” would have saved my buddy from being gunned down by the Cobb County police, but that night in 1975, I sure as heck didn’t want to hang around long enough to find out.

There are many things wrong with the media narrative of the Laquan McDonald case, as with so many other similar stories of the Innocent Black Teenager killed by the Evil White Cop. Sure, we can look at Officer Jason Van Dyke’s actions and see racism, and perhaps even view it through a political prism, as part of a society-wide pattern of racism and police brutality. Yet the media version of the Martyrdom of Saint Laquan demands that we focus on those few seconds of video — the shocking scene of his violent death — while requiring us to ignore the series of choices that preceded Laquan’s fatal encounter with institutional racism in the form of 16 shots from Officer Van Dyke’s 9-mm pistol.

Because the media narrative of this story is about racism, we are not allowed to mention the fact that Officer Van Dyke wasn’t just firing haphazardly at whatever random black person he encountered that night in October 2014. No, he arrived on Pulaski Road to join a situation in progress, the pursuit of a felony suspect who was attempting to evade arrest. It has been pointed out that several other Chicago police were on the scene, and that only Officer Van Dyke fired his weapon — a deadly use of excessive force, for which he has been charged with first-degree murder. If all Chicago police are racist, why did only one of them shoot Laquan McDonald? Or if racism is such a serious problem with Chicago police, where are the stories about officers just shooting black people at random? The media is so intent on selling us the Evil White Cop narrative (updated hourly on CNN) that anyone trying to look outside that framework risk being accused of endorsing police brutality. Nevertheless, let’s cite a bit of Laquan McDonald’s biography:

According to court records, McDonald’s father abandoned the family and had “no presence” in his life. At 3, McDonald became a ward of the state when the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services took him into protective custody over allegations that his mother had neglected him, according to state records.
He spent about two months in foster care before he was moved to a relative’s home and eventually back to his mother in 2002. But after just a little more than a year, he was again back in foster care when his mother’s boyfriend beat him, causing cuts, welts and bruises, according to the records.
McDonald was placed with his great-grandmother in 2003, and she eventually became his legal guardian. He lived with her for about a decade before she died in 2013 and he was placed with an uncle.
Court files show he racked up numerous juvenile arrests and had spent time in juvenile lockup.
By May 2014, he was released from detention after four months there and returned to the care of his uncle. And his mother was petitioning the court for custody.
McDonald enrolled in Sullivan House Alternative School in September 2014, a month before his shooting. . . .
McDonald, who was tall at 6-foot-2, liked to rap and dance, his teacher recalled. . . .

Doomed — hopelessly doomed by the circumstances of his childhood. Abandoned by his father, neglected by his mother, abused by her boyfriend, shuffled around between foster care and relatives, by his teenage years Laquan was a habitual criminal who had gotten out of juvenile detention just five months before the fateful night in October 2014 when he got high on PCP and was gunned down by Officer Van Dyke. And now, the ironic sequel:

Between Laquan’s death and when the footage of his shooting was released this week, the city of Chicago agreed in April 2015 to pay $5 million to McDonald’s mother.

Damn. By what logic does Laquan’s mother deserve $5 million from the taxpayers of Chicago? But that’s how the litigation lottery often works: The bad choices you make in life don’t really matter, if you can find a scapegoat with deep pockets, file a lawsuit and get yourself a settlement. Whether or not Laquan McDonald was a Victim of Society, society (or at least the part of society that pays taxes in Chicago) has now been victimized by Laquan McDonald’s mother, and her lawyers, who collected as their fee a nice slice of that $5 million settlement with the city. Maybe the story would have ended there — “justice” Chicago-style, where bribes and kickbacks and hush money are the normal routine of municipal government — if it hadn’t been for a nosy civilian and that pesky First Amendment:

Over the summer, freelance journalist Brandon Smith filed a lawsuit pressing the Chicago Police Department to release the dashboard camera video. A judge found in Smith’s favor and ordered that the video be released by November 25.

Alas, the Chicago-style cover-up was foiled by a freelance journalist! And I think it’s a safe bet that judge will not be on the mayor’s Christmas card list this year. By the way, did I mention that Chicago is nearly bankrupt?

Chicago’s financial situation is the worst of any large municipality in the nation. Moody’s recently downgraded the credit rating of the city’s municipal bonds to junk status, a sure sign to investors that the city can’t be relied upon to meet its financial obligations. The city’s response to this downgrade was to pass, just a month later, another $1.1 billion borrowing program. . . .
Of the ten largest cities in the U.S., Chicago is the only one that has no statutory limit on its muni bond issuances. Consequently, Chicago’s 2015 debt service and annual pension costs amount to 45% of its 2013 revenues.

But why should the corrupt Democrats who run Chicago let a trivial matter like impending fiscal catastrophe prevent them from paying $5 million to Laquan McDonald’s mother, a payment that can be construed either as social justice or hush money, depending on your level of cynicism. When it comes to Chicago, it’s impossible to be too cynical and no one would be surprised if it were subsequently discovered that there was some kind of personal friendship between the plaintiff’s lawyers and the city officials who “negotiated” that settlement. As wrongful death cases go, maybe this one was totally worth $5 million or maybe not, but the fact the case was settled for a seven-figure sum just six months after the shooting, and while city officials were busy trying to keep that video from going public, makes me suspect that Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s administration wanted to make this trouble go away, and was willing to pay a premium price to achieve that objective. Besides, when you’re swindling taxpayers on such an enormous scale — borrowing $1.1 billion just to keep paying pensions, plus interest on the junk-bond debts you already owe — $5 million is chump change.

Vote Democrat and Blame Society

The people in charge of Chicago’s municipal government are as recklessly irresponsible as Laquan McDonald’s parents — the father who abandoned him, the mother who neglected him — and it is possible to perceive a symbiotic relationship in the way a citizenry corrupted by liberal welfare-state policies elects corrupt Democrats to preside over the bureaucratic apparatus through which everybody is trying to get something for nothing. City employees belong to unions that support the corrupt Democrats who, in turn, are expected to provide high wages and generous pensions to the employees. All of this vast municipal bureaucracy, employing many thousands of people whose livelihoods are dependent on the local Democrat Party political regime over which Mayor Emmanuel presides, is supposed to be funded through taxes. However, as we have seen, the Chicago municipal government operates in perpetual deficit mode, always spending more than it collects in taxes, so that it has amassed more than $60 billion in debt.

I repeat: Chicago’s municipal debt is more than $60,000,000,000. The city’s population is 2.7 million, which means municipal debt is about $23,000 per man, woman and child in Chicago. A majority of Chicago residents are either black (32.9%) or Latino (28.9%), and more than 1-in-5 (22.6%) residents live below the poverty line. The city is plagued by violent crime. More than 400 people have been shot to death in Chicago so far this year, and another 2,300 have been wounded by gunfire. In some Chicago neighborhoods, “gangs battle over turf and the right to sell drugs on a particular city block,” CNN reported after a 9-year-old boy was murdered. Police say the boy was targeted by a drug gang because his father is a leader of a rival gang.

Beyond the scourge of drugs, what drives the crime rate in Chicago is the same thing that contributes to crime in so many other American cities — family breakdown and particularly the absence of responsible fathers. The fate of Laquan McDonald, abandoned by his father when he was 3 years old, is not a rare occurrence for kids in Chicago, and is increasingly common across the United States. Forty percent of children were born to unmarried women in 2013, and more than 70% of black children are born to unwed mothers. Given these socio-economic realities, isn’t it obvious that black kids in Chicago have problems that cannot be blamed on racist cops? Officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with murder, but the hourly updates on CNN about “unrest” in Chicago isn’t a story about one trigger-happy cop. No, it’s the Endless White Guilt Trip that the liberal media can’t quit shoving at us, insisting that “society” (a term that is liberal media shorthand for white middle-class suburbanites) is to blame for whatever is wrong in American race relations.

The problem with this kind of blame-shifting — to make “society” or “racism” the explanation of what happened to Laquan McDonald is that it is antithetical to personal responsibility. Instead of blaming the criminal for his fate, we blame society. Instead of blaming the cop, we blame racism. Why are there protest mobs on the streets demanding “Justice for Laquan” when (a) his mother already got $5 million from the city, and (b) the cop who shot Laquan has been charged with murder?

Why does this particular story have to be national news anyway? I live hundreds of miles away from Chicago, and the only time I’ve ever been there was to land at the airport and change planes on my way to somewhere else. It’s not as if my opinion of the Laquan McDonald case is going to make a damn bit of difference, so why is CNN telling me about it every hour of the day? Is Mayor Emmanuel going to call me up and ask my advice? Is he going to read this blog post and, impressed with my expertise on the habits of teenage dopeheads, invite me to join his Task Force to End the Deadly Menace of Dangerous Narcotics? I doubt it.

My advice: Crime is a people problem. Figure out who the criminals are, have the cops keep an eye on them, and when you catch one, prosecute him to the max. Lock the bad guys up for as long as you can, get them off the streets, and generally convey the message you’re not going to tolerate crime in your community. If you can’t put the fear of God in those hoodlums, at least make them fear cops.

Even when I was a teenage dopehead criminal, I never lost my fear of the police. In Douglas County, Georgia, 40 years ago, Sheriff Earl Lee had a tough, no-nonsense reputation. Teenage dopeheads had to be careful not to push their luck too far in Douglas County. Quite a few of my dope buddies learned that lesson the hard way, trust me. As for me, my road to a drug-free adulthood involved a bad trip on psilocybin when I was 19, after which I never really enjoyed getting high anymore.

Being a survivor of The Most Awesome Party-Down Decade in the History of the World, and now a 56-year-old grandfather, it’s easy to laugh at the craziness I got into back when Gerald Ford was president and hippie freaks hitchhiked coast-to-coast with backpacks full of contraband. Was that “white privilege”? No, it was just the fact that there were so many long-haired dopeheads in 1975 the cops couldn’t possibly bust them all. America used to have a lot fewer police per capita than we do nowadays. It was Bill Clinton who changed that, using federal grants to “put 100,000 new police on the streets,” as he boasted.

Not only are there more cops in America now, but police have all kinds of crime-fighting technology they didn’t have 40 years ago. Nationwide computer databases of fingerprints, DNA and criminal records make it a lot easier for police to identify perpetrators. Video surveillance cameras are all over the place and, because nearly everybody has a cellphone with them at all times, it’s easy to call the cops to report a crime. America is a safer place than it was 40 years ago, because it’s simply harder for bad guys to get away. We’re locking up more criminals than ever, and the U.S. incarceration rate (716 per 100,000 as of 2013) is the highest of any nation in the world. More than 2 million Americans are behind bars, and it costs about $75 billion a year to keep all those criminals locked up.

Some of my libertarian friends say we’ve got too many people in prison and that the Deadly Menace of Danger Narcotics is less dangerous than the Deadly Menace of the Police. We should legalize dope, say the libertarians, and turn loose all the people doing time in prison for drug charges. My perspective is different. The way I see it, anybody who gets busted for dope should be prosecuted to the max. Dopeheads are generally bad people, and bad people should fear the law, like I did when I was a teenage dopehead.

However, if I was a bad person as a teenager, I never got busted, because I was never completely stupid. You don’t have to be a genius to avoid getting busted for dope, and I always figure the guys who get busted are either (a) stupid, (b) arrogant, or usually (c) both stupid and arrogant. There are way too many stupid arrogant people in America, and the more of them we put in prison, the better. Legalizing dope is just going to let these stupid people run wild, f–king up everything the way stupid people have f–ked up Chicago. This is what the Democrat Party is all about.

The Democrat Party’s policy agenda basically boils down to “Free Stuff for Stupid People,” and when you ask them who’s going to pay for all this free stuff, they say, “The rich!” Democrats expect us to believe that The Rich are a fixed target, helpless and immobile, who are going to let themselves be plundered to pay for the stuff the government is going to give to the stupid people who vote for Democrats.

The Great Something-for-Nothing Hustle that is the core message of the Democrat Party’s electoral appeal has never worked in the past, and will never work at any time in the future, but with the help of their propaganda apparatus — the public schools and the liberal media — Democrats manage to conceal the evidence of the ultimate impossibility of Something-for-Nothing economic nonsense. Oh, sure, there are times and places where Something-for-Nothing temporarily seems to work, but this is an illusion. If a prosperous, dynamic community decides to go on a spree of deficit spending and welfare giveaways, the short-term result may look promising. It may take a few years or a few decades for the problems caused by bad policy to become apparent. During the many decades it took for Chicago to accumulate a $60 billion debt, very few people in Chicago were worried about the possibility of municipal bankruptcy somewhere in a distance future. Nor did the exodus of taxpaying, law-abiding citizens moving from Chicago to the suburbs — or leaving the area altogether, moving to Denver or Dallas — occur as a sudden, dramatic crisis. Chicago is still the third-largest city in America, but its population has been declining slowly for six decades. In 1950, the population of Chicago was 3.6 million, but by 1990, it had dropped to 2.8 million, a decline of 29% in 40 years.

Democrats have made Chicago a worse place, and the Chicago Democrat in the White House has made America a worse place.

The people who think Obama has done a good job as president are the same people who blame racism for the death of Laquan McDonald. You’d have to be stupid to believe that, which is to say you’d have to be a Democrat. Of course, I used to be a Democrat myself. But then I grew up and the drugs wore off, and I’m a lot less stupid than I used to be.



  • NeoWayland

    It’s common wisdom that if all you have is a hammer, all the problems look like nails.

    There are cops who should not be cops and they “serve” in a system that sometimes rewards bullies.

  • Achilles

    Another dead thug. Give the cop a medal. Besides, PCP is for rookies. Have you ever taken Slo-Mo citizen?

  • Prime Director

    Its not enough that he did it because he got burned

    No, it ain’t; why you do things, your motive, matters.

    Take Muhammad Ali and his refusal to be inducted into the military, for example. If Ali refused induction on pacifistic philosophical/religious grounds, that’s one thing; but if he refused because he feared lethal retribution from EM (who was a convicted WWII draft dodger and who was charged with conspiring with the enemy on more than one occasion), then that’s another matter altogether, isn’t it?

    One decision is motivated by a form of courage, the other is without a doubt an act of cowardice.

  • NeoWayland

    Funny thing about history, it usually includes the justifications afterwards, not the motives before hand.

    Especially if the justification makes a better soundbite.

    Me, I’ll judge the actions rather than the motives or the justifications.

    Words matter. Actions matter more. Intentions don’t.

  • NeoWayland

    Oh, and if there is something that Americans love more than a good guy story, it’s the story of a villain redeeming himself into a hero.

  • Prime Director

    BTW, my man Smokin’ Joe Frazier whooped Ali’s ass all
    three times

  • Bill Nickless

    The good news is that cops are trained on a continuum of force. Here’s a nice breakdown of that into six levels:

  • Prime Director

    More like wolf in sheep’s clothing

  • NeoWayland

    Pardon, but there are issues.

    There’s a sheriff in my state that is so bad that we joke about people arrested for “driving while brown.”

    I would be a lot more confident in the police if there were always civilian review boards with teeth and body and dash cams required at all times.

    Well, that and doing away with civil forfeiture unless there is a conviction.

  • NeoWayland

    No, not really.

    “Rags to riches” isn’t the most popular theme. Nor is “local kid makes good.”

    “I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.” That’s just the best known Christian version. It was very popular among abolitionists and former slave owners during the Civil War and afterwards. It became enshrined in the temperance movement in the late 19th and early 20th century.

  • Prime Director

    “Malcolm-the-villain-turned-hero” is exactly the kind of soundbite to which you elude.

    Its got a nice beat and you can dance to it

    Malcolm says “I left the NOI cuz EM likes underage hoes and I’m a white knight who carez” and you believe him. Cool, you’re entitled to exhibit whatever degree of credulity you desire.

    I find Malcolm to be a loquacious sociopath who reveled in the fear he inspired in others, black and white. He aspired to be the top dog in a racial separatist movement and almost made it. Former firebrands like Malcolm have about the same shelf-life as former mafia bosses.

  • NeoWayland

    Actually I don’t believe him, nor am I defending him.

    What I’m saying is that the American civil rights movement changed for the worse after his assassination and the assassination of MLK.

    If you think you’ve got a thing against Malcolm X, you should hear my mother (a very devout Christian woman from the south) go after MLK. She Does Not Approve, and will tell you in great detail why. He’s the only person I’ve ever heard her go after even once, much less multiple times over decades.

  • Fail Burton

    Thankfully I’m not worried about my rights to run down the middle of a street with a knife being curtailed, nor anyone else’s.

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  • Quartermaster

    I miss Byte as well.

  • Quartermaster

    Ah, but that’s all hearsay.

    Malcolm X had little to say on the Civil Rights movement. His death contributed next to nothing, if anything at all, to the denigration of the movement. Jesse Jackson and other poseurs did that all by their lonesome.

  • Quartermaster

    At the same time as AIDS.

  • craigzimmerman12

    Grow up.

  • NeoWayland

    It’s pretty obvious that there was a change. Before the assassinations, it was about taking responsibility and self sufficiency. Afterwards, it was about government dependency.

    That’s a measurable difference.

    Now if I had speculated about the reasoning and how some groups might have decided that a martyr and a myth was more important than a live hero who asked too many questions, that would be hearsay.

    But as you can plainly see, I stressed the assassinations as a marker, not as a cause.

  • Quartermaster

    Actually the way you wrote it did not stress the deaths as a marker. The real marker was the civil rights act of 1964, not the deaths. After the Civil Rights act, and the start of the “Great Society” welfare state, it became a matter of Government dependence. The deaths themselves weren’t significant for anything.

  • NeoWayland

    You mean the part where I said “Before the assassinations…”?

    I disagree that the 1964 Act was the marker. There had been three Civil Rights Acts before and sufficient changes hadn’t taken place. The Act doesn’t account for the social changes that were already taking place, the sit ins, the lunch counters, the marches, etc.

    I do think the assassinations were catalysts, particularly the MLK one. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that things changed after two of the leading advocates for self-sufficency were violently killed. No do I think it’s an accident that the “message” changed. But that is my opinion and I don’t have enough evidence to make the case.

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  • theoldsargesays

    That’s right!

  • Quartermaster

    That you disagree is irrelevant. people better than you (which is a pretty low sum) and me out together have pointed the same two things I pointed tyo earlier as the watershed events that changed things. It is rare that you see the changes immediately, but they came in family destruction and welfare dependency.

    We had already begun seeing welfare dependency in places like New York in the late 40s/early 50s. It grew like topsy through the late 60s and early 70s as the “Great Society” programs became entrenched among blacks. Assassinations had nothing to do with it.

  • NeoWayland

    I’m pretty sure you meant that as an insult, but it’s a Good Thing when there’s a pretty low sum of people better than you.

    You forgot the Really Big Watershed Event, a little something called the Great Depression. Then there were events that prior to and after the American Civil War that you didn’t list either. Then there’s that Booker T. Washington quote that Finrod Felagund used a little lower down in this thread, that refers to behavior around the turn of the 20th Century.

    Still, I’d say the assassinations were the things that pushed dependency into widespread public acceptance.

  • Quartermaster

    Both Sowell and Williams disagree with you. I defer to their judgment because they were well into adulthood at the time and watched what happened.
    It’s not hard to find someone “better” than I. Based on what you post, it is silly simple finding someone better than you.

  • NeoWayland

    Why is it that when you “disagree” with me, you HAVE to make it about me and not about what I said? That tells me that you can’t dispute what I say.

    I gave an opinion. You had to “prove me absolutely and utterly wrong, totally unworthy to state any opinion ever again.” You chose to make yourself look sillier doing so. You don’t play the clown all that well.

    If you disagree with my opinion, fine. Just don’t commit yourself to eradicating me and my thoughts from the conversation. It won’t work and you’ll look foolish.

    Sowell and Williams sometimes overlook the myth aspect. The story makes the ideas accessible. Stories are things that my faith teaches me to examine closely.

  • Quartermaster

    Your last paragraph is a demonstration of why I have so little respect for you. It’s not about “you” per se, just about the stupidity that lies behind so much of what you say. Then you whine when called on it. It’s truly pathetic.

    Both Sowell and Williams would eat you alive on the matter. they are well aware of what you are claiming, but they rejected it because it is irrelevant.

  • NeoWayland

    I’m just pointing out that when you can’t dispute what I say, you go after me. It’s sloppy thinking. It’s also a cornerstone of Rules for Radicals, but you don’t want to discuss that.

    Why don’t you let Sowell and Williams speak for themselves instead of presuming to speak for them?

  • Quartermaster

    You can try to point out anything your delusions would have you point out. I really don’t care.

    I’ve never read rules of radicals, and once more, don’t care to. I recognize the tactics, and that’s all I need.

    I allow them to speak for themselves. I was pointing out to you that people far better than you, and far more knowledgeable than you, disagree with you. You could to the research yourself, but why let facts get in the way of the narrative you’ve constructed?

    You’ve given me no reason at all why I should not defer to what they themselves have watched happen. Your whining is not a reason.

  • NeoWayland

    I’m not trying to point it out, I already have. You just confirmed that and you acknowledged the tactic. Which is only natural, considering how many times you’ve tried to use it. As I said, you don’t want to discuss it.

    I think you meant “what’s more.”

    You really like the Higher Authority thing, don’t you? I wonder if you’ve thought about what you’re typing.

    I could point out that the only reason you mentioned Williams and Sowell so that you could attempt to discredit me. That might be just a little over the top. But it is your choice.

  • Quartermaster

    I don’t have to “try” to discredit you. You do a very good job of it yourself.

    The apeal to authority isn’t always a logical fallacy, particularly when the people you appeal to actually are authorities.

    When I said “try” I meant exactly that. The problem with venues of this nature is you have no idea what is going through the mind of the other man. I point to what you write. Much of what you write rings of someone that is in over his head. If pointing to the fact that what you write comes across as ignorance and/or an appeal to self, that’s your problem.

    Few people here really care if you disagree or not. If you look at the style of people here it is much different than your own. Frankly, it is at a much higher level than you write at. The reasons you give for disagreeing are utterly uninteresting to informed people. It’s plain that you have a self referential system, and that’s fine. There are groups of people that will pat you on the back and tell you that you are a good boy. people at venues like TOM are not that sort of group. They are a bit more polite about it than the Dark Ilk, but they are no more sympathetic.

    Me, I don’t easily abide fools. I simply don’t wish to waste time on them. And I’m finished with you on this thread, so you can rave away at my back.

  • NeoWayland

    Everything you’ve written to me on this thread has been an attempt to discredit me, presumably so I would never dare question your authority again.

    This is a reoccurring behavior.

    You overplay your hand. It’s not enough that you disagree, you have to prove me wrong. Emphatically. You have to dismiss what I say with prejudice so that I can’t possibly bring it up again under any circumstances.

    Tell you what, here’s a set of facts that you can dispute if you wish. I’m typing this on my MacBook Air at my dining room table facing east. I’m about to grab my shoes and go out for the evening.

  • Daniel Freeman

    Okay. Why so irrelevant?