Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: God Is Not Your Personal AI Assistant, Dude


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I am not an expert on Protestant theology, especially in its current media-friendly Prosperity Gospel offshoots, but in the old-line Catholic Church where I was educated this would’ve come perilously close to blasphemy:

Unless there is an opt-out clause I missed, you don’t get to give your God instructions, Failed Sheriff Clarke.

Consider that He might’ve sent Nancy Pelosi to promote gun-safety laws suitable for a 21st-century society, not your small child’s fantasy of a wild-West shoot-em-up.



Just 3% of American Adults Own 50% of the Guns

I have been furious every time I have looked at the computer today.

First the report that Rex Tillerson called Donald Trump a moron, or perhaps a fucking moron, quickly followed by Tillerson’s obeisance to the Master.

The continuing news about the Las Vegas shooting.

The idiocy of Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico and the way he is retarding the island’s recovery.

Continuing news of his kleptocratic family.

Tom Cotton’s bloodthirsty desire for regime change in Iran. We don’t have enough war in the Middle East now.

Nothing immediately enraging about North Korea beyond the usual.

I found this kind of amazing, though, and a source of a little bit of hope, anyway.

78% of American adults (that’s adults, not the entire population) don’t own any guns.

19% of American adults own 50% of the guns (corrected)

3% own the other 50%

So it’s that 3% that particularly need watching. More data at the link.

 

And open thread!



An Important Lesson (To Be) Learned from the Mandalay Bay Shooting

There is an important self defense lesson learned/to be learned from the Mandalay Bay Shooting: under certain conditions self defense, armed or empty hand, is not an option. Instead self preservation is. Some fun was had in comments this morning about social media faux tough guy Dan Bilzerian’s live streaming of his panic stricken response to being caught in the field of fire during the Mandalay Bay Shooting. Bilzerian’s response was all too human, and understandable, given the circumstances and is only the stuff of ridicule because of the persona he created for self promotion. But it is one of the many examples from Sunday’s tragic events that teach us all something important regarding self defense, especially armed self defense. Specifically there are some situations were any form of self defense, let alone armed self defense, is simply not an option. Moving as quickly as possible to cover/safety is the best option.

Even if a significant minority of the concert goers on Sunday were armed, there was no way they could effectively respond to the violent assault. There are several reasons for this. Among them is that Paddock gave himself an asymmetric advantage in his attack. He selected high ground – a room on the 32nd floor; a clear field of fire; a massed group of targets; rifles modified to simulate/approximate fully automatic fire (12 of the 19 recovered in his hotel room had bump fire stocks); and electronic surveillance of the approaches to his room, which allowed him to defeat attempts by hotel security. He shot the guard willing to risk entry to stop him. This kept the police from quickly breach the room to stop him. Instead they waited for SWAT to arrive on scene and conduct the breach. Under these conditions armed self defense is useless.

Even if an armed concert goer or passerby could have quickly ascertained where the shots were coming from, unless armed with a rifle and carrying significant ammunition, there was no way to lay down sustained suppressive fire to stop Paddock from continuing to fire on the crowd. There was almost no place with effective cover to set up to return fire without exposing oneself to Paddock’s assault. And most everyday carriers, concealed or open depending on jurisdiction, carry handguns. While the possible options for everyday carry are large, let’s stipulate that everyone had compact double stack handguns even though this is unlikely the case in reality. These would be auto-loading from a magazine, semi-automatic handguns. With magazine capacities between 13 and 15 rounds depending on the caliber (9mm Parabellum/9X19 usually run 15 rounds, .40 S&W and .357 SIG about 12; and .45 ACP about 10 on average*) Let’s also stipulate that they’re carrying two backup magazines. So that’s 45 rounds, give or take, 46 if carrying with a round chambered (one in the pipe). These guns also have 4 inch barrels in length with a 6 inch site radius on average – depending on the make and model of the gun. Making a 400 yard shot, from ground level to the 32nd floor, at night, in a stress situation with a handgun is effectively impossible. Maybe Jerry Miculek or one of the other professional shooters could pull it off, but that would be about it. And that’s a big maybe as handguns just aren’t designed to accurately shoot that far, especially from ground level on to an elevated target. This is what rifles are for.

While the debate on whether having an armed citizenry actually deters or defeats crime will rage on, as well as the debate over the proper meaning of the 2nd Amendment and how it should be understood and incorporated into 21st Century America, the real lesson learned/to be learned from the Mandalay Bay shooting is that armed self defense is useless as a response to this type of shooting. We can extrapolate that it would also be useless in a similarly designed terrorist attack. And make no mistake terrorist groups and potential terrorists, regardless of their ideology, doctrine, theology, dogma, and/or other motivation or group affiliation, will learn this lesson and potentially try to recreate this type of attack scenario.

What was more useful was self preservation and assisting others with surviving the assault. Getting out of the kill zone as quickly as possible or getting to effective cover was the best option for surviving the Mandalay Bay attack. And those willing to place themselves at risk to help others to do so were also more useful than anyone trying to shoot back. For instance, Jonathon Smith as just one example

Stay frosty!

* Edited for clarity: I initially entered the magazine capcities for full size not compact handguns and have subsequently corrected this.



The Crackpottery Barn Rule

Beltway media outlets have settled on “conservative firebrand” to describe Alabama GOP nominee Roy Moore. I like Charlie Pierce’s formulation better: “theocratic crackpot.” “Lawless zealot” would also work, as would “Talibangelical” or “Bible-humping, dainty-pistol-waving crazypants.”

Longtime GOP operative and WaPo columnist Ed Rogers is dismayed this morning:

Roy Moore’s win is bad for Alabama, and even worse for the GOP

To liberals, having Moore in the Senate will be the gift that keeps on giving. He will be the mainstream media’s favorite Republican senator. They will count on Moore to embody every negative stereotype that a conservative from Alabama and an elected Republican can have… Finally, there is a truly anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Muslim, anti-everything elected Republican for all the world to see… Alabama specifically and Republicans everywhere will suffer as a result of Moore’s presence in Washington.

Emphasis mine, and from your keyboard to the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s delicate al dente orrecchiette, Ed; Republicans everywhere deserve to suffer.

He goes on:

Trump’s support for appointed Sen. Luther Strange (whom I contributed to) was right in every way. Trump needs more poised, experienced allies in Congress. He should do all he can to populate the Republican caucus with serious leaders who have a good sense of reality and what is achievable.

How on earth is Trump, a permanent resident of a delusional narcissistic fantasy world, supposed to identify Republicans who are “serious leaders who have a good sense of reality and what is achievable,” Ed?

He meeps some more:

Political predictions are foolish. It is a mistake to take today’s headlines and extrapolate to the next election. But Republicans are doing nothing to discourage Democrats about their prospects for 2018 by electing the likes of Moore. The idea that Moore’s victory was some kind of Bannonite strategy to strengthen Trump by diluting rational Republicans in the Senate with incapable crackpots is demented.

You know who’s “demented,” Ed? The “incapable crackpot” your party put in the Oval Office. And while the walking canker sore Steve Bannon may have selected that particular piece of crackpottery as a vessel, the lunacy contained therein is an artisanal GOP product in production since at least the 1970s.

Ed sadly concludes:

The bottom line for Republicans is, in Congress, within the White House and among the electorate, things are perilously close to being out of control. Our leaders, while discouraged, certainly don’t need to capitulate. But real Republicans need to start winning.

The “real Republicans” have already won, Ed — last November and last night. You broke it, you bought it; Crackpottery Barn Rule.



We Have a Winner in the GOP Senatorial Runoff in Alabama

Here he is:

Ooops, sorry, that’s Mike TeaVee from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Here he is:

Your Alabama GOP senatorial runoff winner is cowboy cosplayer and teeny weeny wheel gun aficionado Judge Roy Moore – the Last Law West of Ashkelon.

PEW! PEW! PEW!

Open thread!



I Have Now Seen It All: The Crying NAZI And His Cosplaying Attorney Go To Court

Oy vey!

Chris Cantwell, the Crying NAZI, had his first court appearance today. It was a doozy!

Cantwell’s attorney is Elmer Woodard, who appeared in court wearing an early-1800s-style red waistcoat with gold buttons, bowtie, white muttonchop whiskers, black velcro shoes, and a a 1910s-style straw boater hat. Cantwell said Woodard was his fourth choice for legal counsel after three other lawyers declined to take his case. (Woodard previously attempted to defend a client accused of sexual assault by a 15-year-old girl by claiming that the man’s sleepwalking caused him to rape her.)

This is the good barrister as he appeared in court today:

So what did Woodard put forward as a defense of Cantwell?

Christopher Cantwell’s lawyer says his client’s comments disparaging blacks and Jews is just a comedic act of a “shock jock,” comparing him to the Jewish comedian Jackie Mason.

The claim was made during a four-hour bail hearing for Cantwell on Thursday night. Cantwell faces three felony charges stemming from an incident at the University of Virginia on Aug. 11, in which he pepper-sprayed at least two people during a torchlight procession of hundreds of white supremacists who chanted Nazi slogans. The conflict was captured on camera and broadcast in a now-famous Vice News documentary.

Woodard said it was all a “shock jock” act.

But when Tracci asked Cantwell to describe what he does for a living, he answered: “I do a racist podcast.”

When Tracci quoted Cantwell’s statement praising the murder of Heyer, Woodard objected to the use of the word “murder.”

Much more at the link.

You’ll be happy to know that Cantwell has been denied bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for 9 November. There is no word if Mr. Woodard is back in custodial care, resting comfortably, and enjoying a pudding cup.

I have been researching, first scholarly and then applied, extremists, insurgents, terrorists, and revolutionaries – domestic and foreign, ideological, religious, ethno-national – since I was 24 years old. I started presenting my research at the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in 1995. My first panel presentation was comparing Israeli and Palestinian religious extremists with domestic American ones. The individuals and groups, domestic and foreign, I was studying back then would have eaten Cantwell for lunch.

We can be thankful that they don’t make fascists like they used to.



Late Night RWNJ Open Thread: FISK, Dammit! She Said ‘Fisk’!

Well, she seems to have clenched something pretty tight…

Speaking of highly excitable Wingnut Wurlitzer cheerleaders, whatever happened to Michelle Malkin?