A kindly man who sheltered Sandy Hook students in his home after the Newtown massacre is being harassed by "truthers" who believe he's part of a government conspiracy to cover up the fact that the shooting never happened.
Words fail me.
8 comments ·
Creepers take note: Georgia court affirms that life is not a romantic comedy, sentences man 4 years in prison for handcuffing himself to a woman who wouldn't go out with him.
The friend zone looks pretty good compared to prision, doesn't it?
3 comments ·
Elizabeth Wurtzel may have been the inspiration for David Foster Wallace's short story, "The Depressed Person." You might call her The Professionally Depressed Person. Wurtzel made her name in her twenties with the bestselling memoir Prozac Nation. After rehashing the same subject for years, she's finally reached a breakthrough of sorts. Her latest essay for New York Magazine is an unwittingly brilliant, insight-free portrait of the paralysis of depression.
The essay is entitled, "Elizabeth Wurtzel Confronts her One Night Stand of a Life." Wurtzel writes about how she feels like a failure at 45, despite publishing multiple bestselling books and graduating from Yale Law School.
Her main complaint is that, like a scary percentage of all 45-year-olds in this country, she has no savings. Though, unlike most 45-year-olds Wurtzel has already made a fortune and squandered it.
Wurtzel's brain is working overtime to explain why her life really is as bad as it feels to her. In the course of this litany she reveals that she has the tools to readily solve her stated problems, but she doesn't notice.
Wurtzel's all-or-nothing thinking make this essay worthy of a case study. She has convinced herself that there are exactly two paths in life: permanent rootlessness or stifling domesticity. She is simultaneously sure that she blew her chance at happiness by choosing the "wrong" option and that the "right" option is also miserable.
Wurtzel is exasperating as only a depressed person can be. She's not a particularly likeable person at the best of times. I wouldn't normally say that about a complete stranger, except that Wurtzel's sole subject for the last 20-odd years has been herself, so I think we have a fairly good idea of what's she's like. If we didn't know by now, she would indeed be a failure.
Wurtzel has already accomplished more in her career than most writers do in a lifetime and she's only 45. If she wanted to start doing serious work, she could. If she wanted to earn enough to buy a New York apartment, she could. But she can't see any of that because all she sees is a depressive mirage that obscures any possibility of change, growth, or even meaningful activity.
2 comments ·
The local medical examiner has announced a plan to analyze the Newtown shooter's DNA. Mark my words, this won't end well.
This an approach worthy of an 18th century cabinet of curiosities. Collecting weird speciments isn't science. The ad hoc analysis of one person's genome can't tell us anything about the causes of violence.
If the researchers wanted to start an anonymized gene bank of DNA from violent criminals, that might eventually be of some scientific value. In that case, multiple samples could be compared to various control groups.
Prediction: They'll find that Adam Lanza had DNA. The researchers, or the publicity-hungry medical examiner, or ill-informed journalists will seize on whatever they happen to find as evidence of a link between that gene and violence.
To make matters worse, they'll probably start by looking for genes that are already associated with stigmatized conditions like autism or schizophrenia. Expect this approach to deepen stigmas without advancing our understanding. It's an invitation for researchers to confirm our society's preexisting prejudices without explaining anything.
1 comments ·
Start here. James Livingston has no idea what he's talking about:
Start here. Adam Lanza can’t be accused or convicted of “unconscionable evil,” not in the court of public opinion and not by the criteria of moral philosophy. He wasn’t making a moral choice when he shot his mother in the face with her own gun, and then killed 20 defenseless children. So individual responsibility and culpability aren’t at issue, as they have not been and cannot be since Columbine.
It follows that the NRA’s slogan, to the effect that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” is moot at best—the killers in every case were sentient beings, but not one was a person at the law or anywhere else in the landscape of possibility most of us can take for granted. Not one was an individual who came to the scene of the crime equipped with a conscience, thus able to make moral choices. [Jacobin]
Nobody knows if Adam Lanza was morally responsible because we have no reliable evidence about his state of mind. None. We don't know if he was mentally ill. Even if he had a diagnosis, we don't know if his illness made him do it. Lots of people have mental illnesses, and most never hurt anyone.
If Lanza was so far gone that he no longer knew the difference between right and wrong, he wasn't responsible. If he was having visions and hearing voices that told him to shoot at what he thought were demons, it wasn't his fault.
However, if Lanza chose to shoot a bunch of strangers, then he probably was legally and morally responsible. Trivially, anyone would do such a thing is abnormal, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't responsible. A serial killer who stalks hitchhikers and dismembers their bodies is no doubt a terribly damaged person, but that doesn't mean he's not responsible for his crimes. We don't say that if a murderer racks up a minimum body count, he's therefore not guilty by reason of insanity.
7 comments ·
Amanda has an excellent post about why Nancy Lanza deserves as much sympathy as any of the victims of the Newtown shooting, even though her guns were used in the massacre.
We should grieve for Nancy. We should also publicize the fact that she and 26 other people were killed with her guns. It's a cliche to say that gun ownership is a responsibility. Let's act like that's true. If you bring guns into your home for self-defense, you are making a safety calculus, not just for yourself, but for everyone around you. You're betting that you're making yourself safer and you're asking other people to accept the risk if your gun gets out of control.
It's not your fault if you do everything right and your gun still ends up hurting an innocent person. It's the criminal's fault. But you do bear some responsiblity for you decision to keep a gun around. Self-defense guns are supposed to be for rare exigencies. So, prospective gun owners should be responsible for taking all the remote possibilities into account: Guns get stolen, gun lockers get broken into, family members learn the codes to the gun locker...
When it's convenient, gun control opponents like to point out how many crimes are committed by people who got their guns illegally. Knowing that, they still act like legal gun owners bear no responsiblity for what happens when their guns fall into the wrong hands.
Thefts of guns are common. Opportunities to use a gun in self-defense are rare. People who choose to own guns should know that there's a better chance that they'll end up arming a criminal than defending themselves.
If you want to exercise your right to keep a gun, you don't get a complete moral pass if your gun gets stolen and used on someone else. If you gambled and lost, you should be judged accordingly. It should weigh on you.
That doesn't mean you deserve to be victimized, or that people shouldn't feel sorry for you if you are killed by your own guns.
3 comments ·
A.C. Thompson of ProPublica on the latest development in the Henry Glover, post-Katrina murder case:
A federal appellate court has overturned the convictions of two former New Orleans police officers imprisoned in connection with the killing of Henry Glover after Hurricane Katrina, dealing a blow to federal prosecutors' efforts to hold police accountable for misconduct before and after the storm.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals voided the conviction of ex-cop David Warren, who was found guilty of fatally shooting Glover, stating that Warren's trial should have been severed from that of his co-defendants. A jury convicted Warren in late 2010, along with Greg McRae and Travis McCabe, who also were serving on the New Orleans police force at the time of Glover's killing.
0 comments ·
I'm not sure what's funnier, that the Romney campaign had a massage tables for the press, or that they charged $745 dollars a head to attend the event:
As BuzzFeed reported last week, each reporter was charged $812 on October 11 for a single meal and a spot in a rented "holding place," a spot for the press to wait before the next event. The letter cites similar charges of "$461 for a meal and hold the next day; $345 for food and hold Oct. 30." The Romney campaign also billed news outlets $745 per reporter for a "viewing party," which included massage tables and fresh cut flowers, during the first vice-presidential debate.
What kind of massage do you get for $745?
1 comments ·
On Friday, as the nation grieved the mass shooting in Newtown, a mother blogged about her fears for her 13-year-old son, Michael:
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.
43 comments ·
It was inevitable that the Good Men Project, the nation's leading source of sensitive rape apologism, would spark a parody website.
You might think that a site that gives an anonymous self-described rapist a platform to argue that a little rape is acceptable collateral damage for a party hearty lifestyle is beyond parody, but the bloggers at the Real Good Men Project are giving it their best shot. Check RGMP to learn how subway flashers are do community service--they're like blood donors, but for penises.
In that spirit, I'm launching the Good Bears Project, inspired by this video of waving bears from Buzzfeed, captioned: "Watch all these happy bears wave at you. Are you waving back? I hope so, because they are being pretty friendly."