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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Whiteboard shields


Maryland school to use bulletproof whiteboards
“It’s basically a police shield with a white board surface,” George Tunis, the founder of Hardwire LLC, explained. Hardwire, a company that has previously made military armor, began manufacturing the boards this year.

The boards are approximately four times the size of a bulletproof vest but are the same weight as normal white boards, Tunis said.

They are designed to hang on classroom doors or walls but can be used as a defensive tool by teachers, should an emergency arise.

“It’s something that would blend in but serves as a constant reminder of school safety. If a teacher ever had to fight an assailant, this would be a useful tool,” Tunis said. “If I had an intruder in my own home, I would reach for this before a gun.”

The university bought 200 whiteboards for $299 apiece and will distribute them to faculty, Robinson said.

“Having this in your hands will serve as a constant reminder of the present reality. An event like Sandy Hook,” Tunis said, referring to the massacre in Newtown, Conn., last December, ”can happen anytime, anyplace.”

Yes. Sandy Hook. Can happen anytime, anyplace. At any moment, any one of us could just go off and shoot our moms then drive to the local elementary school and start emptying clips. Anytime, anyplace.

Sandy Hook is clearly one of the most uninteresting horrific massacres ever committed. Just one of those random events that pass without further inquiry, like being struck by lightning.

Sarcasm aside, I thought there were all sorts of interesting questions from this massacre. I consider myself a pretty typical, somewhat nerdy white guy who wants to try and figure things out from his armchair. I assume there's a lot of us, given all the material out there dedicated to dissecting current events, and I assume that's because a lot of similarly inclined folks became journalists to make a living off their innate curiosity.

The popular press, not just the professional press, is full of detailed breakdowns, charts, diagrams, timelines, etc. for all sorts of natural and human disasters. But Sandy Hook is different. Nothing interesting about it at all.

This incredibly neotenous 20-year old lives with mom who's retired off her ex-husband. As soon as this happens, ex-husband is throwing suitcases in the trunk of his car and peeling out of the driveway. Brother has refused to have anything to do with the shooter or Mom for several years. Mom is the shooter's first victim, by the way.

How did he gain entry to the school? Had he been there before? Was he familiar with the place? What firearms did he use? What was his methodology? Which firearm did he prefer? Who were the easiest targets? The most difficult? Who survived and why?

Why did he still look pre-pubescent even though he was 20 years old? Why did he shoot mom and then go shoot a bunch of children at a school? What meds was he on? What was his diagnosis? Diet? Congenital conditions? What was on the computer hard drives at home? E-mails? Social media? Diaries? He had acquaintances in high school, what do they say?

But that's just me. I find all these sorts of questions interesting. If I could get paid to do it, I'd spend a month in Sandy Hook with a forensic team. I figure that might be useful data, right? That's what all those TV shows about dedicated super-cops assume, after all. Dozens of hardworking, intelligent government employees poring over crime scenes, grilling witnesses, and feeding data and analysis into giant computers.

But nobody ever bothered with any of this sort of thing in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre. No journalists, no government forensic teams. No CDC with its recently-discovered mandate on 'violence.' Just a really, really un-interesting massacre of 20 children and 7 adults. It looks like all we're going to get out of this is the whiteboard shields.

"In the Middle East, things can always get worse."

-- Samn! at Ad Orientem.

This is what Samn!'s quote got me thinking about:

There are two countries in Egypt: one is secular, educated and open; the other is theocratic, uneducated and closed. The latter outnumber the former by at least five times. The former group, many Christian, forgot to reproduce. Syria has the same problem. So does Lebanon. The French set up Lebanon specifically for a Christian majority to govern. Lebanon is now majority Muslim; the Muslims remembered to reproduce. Lebanon's Parliament recently voted to keep itself in office for another year. Like Egypt's generals and Syria's Assad family, they seem pretty worried about what their country's democratic majority might want to do.

Jordan is a dumping ground for the whole region. I know a Jordanian immigrant whose brother is still there. The only way to get a middle class lifestyle in Jordan is to work for the government. That's the global norm for most places: the Big Men extract rents from their fellow countrymen and set up a government and military to keep the wealth where it is. Jordan seems mostly to be in the business of foreign aid and inviting people in to scratch around for whatever natural resources they can find. When the foreign aid and natural resources run out, the state we call Jordan won't exist. The region will revert to its historical norm, warrior-kingdoms and raiders stuck in an arid region at the back end of everywhere else.

I could write several paragraphs about the world's last feudal monarchies: the Gulf Arab states. They are social and cultural disasters which will revert to their historical norm as well, warrior-kings, raiders and pirates, living in the desert.

Israel and Palestine. In 1948, who on the Palestinian side thought that a geographically discontiguous nation could survive as a viable state? Palestine is the world's largest prison camp. Israel is a successful nation-state. Most small, homogenous states with a ruthless devotion to the national interest are successful. Israel will still be around after her neighbors have collapsed.

One of the more hilarious things about the Middle East is Kurdistan. The Kurds are a classic nation-state. They are geographically contiguous and linguistically and ethnically distinct, and strongly inclined to keep things that way. But when Britain and France were divesting their empires and handing out states to their friends in the Middle East, they didn't give one to the Kurds. It was as if Kurdistan--this whole contiguous region of several million people--didn't exist. Obviously, the Kurds didn't bother making friends with the British and French. Anyway, the Kurds have kept their heads down and worked hard to maintain their nation. They keep things on a friendly level with their host state where they have to, and where they don't they ignore the host state and govern themselves.

Germany is another nation-state that people pretend doesn't exist; it's just supposed to be part of "Europe." After World War Two, the victorious Allies--the US, Britain, France, the USSR (now Russia) and Nationalist China (now Red China)--set up the UN. The UN is hilarious. It has a General Assembly where Haiti has the same vote as Germany. Of course, even international bureaucrats realized the whole concept of the UN was hilarious so the Allies also set up the supra-UN, the Security Council, and gave themselves permanent seats on it to make sure Germany never threatened their hegemony again. Now that Germany is re-united and sovereign, the Security Council's new mission is to run the whole world. Britain and France are presumed to be more important to running the whole world than Germany. This too is hilarious. Britain and France are disappearing under a flood of immigrants and net tax consumption. Germany is depopulating and having to import Turks from their traditional allies in the Ottoman Empire, but they are still the wealthiest nation in Europe. Germany is running Europe's monetary and fiscal policy right now. Germans remain a very insular and ethnically conscious people. After Britain and France have broken up into their respective nations, I bet Germany will still be around.

In summary, the powers that be in the Middle East and Europe are doing exactly what they were doing just before World War One, and later before World War Two: running roughshod all over the place doing stupid things. I've been using the term hilarious because that's what it would be if not for all the firepower involved.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Genetics, IQ and fertility

Jim Goad summarizes. I really don't have anything to add.

The researcher who's giving people fits in the linked essay is Satoshi Kanazawa, who is unironically accused by fellow London School of Economics professor Paul Gilroy of being unsuited for work at "a multi-ethnic, diverse and international institution."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Monsters

From Bob Wallace
Let's look at what the word "monster" really means.

From Wikipedia:

"The word 'monster' derives from Latin monstrum, an aberrant occurrence, usually biological, that was taken as a sign that something was wrong within the natural order.

"The word usually connotes something wrong or evil; a monster is generally morally objectionable, physically or psychologically hideous, and/or a freak of nature. It can also be applied figuratively to a person with similar characteristics like a greedy person or a person who does horrible things.

"However, the root of 'monstrum' is 'monere'—which does not only mean to warn, but also to instruct, and forms the basis of the modern English demonstrate. Thus, the monster is also a sign or instruction. This benign interpretation was proposed by Saint Augustine, who did not see the monster as inherently evil, but as part of the natural design of the world, a kind-of deliberate category error."

A monster, then, is an aberration of nature, and is a warning and an instruction of worse things to come.

Bob goes on to point out that Breivik is a monster, and depending on how things turn out, he could be remembered as a pretty benign one.

I encourage everyone to read and comment on Bob's site. He got kicked off Lew Rockwell around the time Lew and the Mises Institute decided to stop exploring certain issues. Like Roissy, Ron and Rand Paul, Malcolm X, he's someone both Left and Right factions have agreed to hate. Those are generally the people saying the most interesting things.