Bad Choices and Stopping the Threat

From Bearing Arms via The Daley Gator.

Ruiz’s son, Andrew Herrera, was shot and killed when he tried to rob a Popeye’s Chicken in Texas. That’s when he came face-to-face with the state’s self-defense laws.

Now, Ruiz has questions.

 “Did my son deserve to be punished? Yes, he did,” Ruiz said.

Police said Herrera, wearing a hoodie and a mask, entered the South Side restaurant with gun and confronted a man and his family who were eating.

After the man told Herrera he had spent the money he had on their dinner, Herrera turned toward the counter and pointed the gun at one of the workers, who was running away.

That’s when the man, who had a concealed handgun license, fired several shots at Herrera.

A police spokesman later said, “Here in Texas, if you’re in fear of loss of life, loss of property, you have a right to defend yourself.”

Ruiz said she understands the man who shot her son was defending his family, but she asked, “Why shoot him four more times? Why did he shoot him five times?”

I hate to break it to Ruiz, but the reason the man shot him five times was simple. You shoot until there’s no longer a threat. The armed citizen judge there was still a risk to him and his family–and the word “family” means no self-respecting man is going to take a chance at that point–and kept shooting until there was no longer a threat.

Shootings aren’t like the movies or on TV. You don’t shoot to wound. A wounded person can still kill you. You shoot until the threat has been eliminated. If the first shot wounds them but they drop their weapon and surrender, so much the better for everyone, but only a complete and total idiot expects that to happen.

Herrera threatened the lives of human beings, and he paid a price for that. It’s a price that Ruiz is being forced to pay, which is a pity, but either she failed to teach him it was wrong to steal, or he failed to heed the lessons. Either way, he tried to rob a chicken place and came face-to-face with someone who was not going to be a victim.

Why was Herrara shot five times? Because he stood there, gun in hand, and threatened the innocent.

Knighton is spot on. Until the threat is ended, the threat is there, and real. Surrender is always an option if one wants to live. Like everyone else, I’m sorry for Ruiz, but her son made the choice, and it came up bad for him this time.

In any case, I don’t do a lot of gun stories, although I see many of them because they are well enough covered elsewhere. Often when you see one here, its because there is an obvious injustice going on, or it’s hard to figure out or something. In this case, it makes a wider point.

In this case, the whole thing is scalable. The same thing that got this guy killed, got Nazi Germany killed, almost got Imperial Japan depopulated, and the list goes on. It is what North Korea and Iran find so entertaining to play around with. America’s old habit is quite simple, we rarely start wars, but we end them rather decisively, and it’s highly unusual for us to lose.

General Patton spoke truly when he said,

Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

Of course, that’s not to say that our politicians haven’t thrown a couple away after brave men and women won them. That’s why you have to keep them on a short rein.

But generally speaking, poking around at the eagle with a sharp stick is a rather bad idea.

 

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Trumping Europe.

HSBC building in Hong Kong after the Sutherland Springs church shooting. From Ace

Have you been paying attention as the President toured Asia? Quite a lot to think about, none of which have you seen on the news. Don Sarber blogging at The Spectator covers it well.

First, Kim Jong Un did not do squat. He cannot. His nuke program just collapsed — mysteriously — on October 10, likely killing all his scientists and technicians working on the project.

Second, Prime Minister Abe and the Trumps had a good old time. Played golf. Fed fish. Popped in on the emperor — unbowed. And oh, yeah, there was this:

Japan will impose additional sanctions on North Korea in response to the continuing threat posed by the reclusive nation’s missile and nuclear programmes, Japan’s top government spokesman said on Tuesday.

The sanctions, mentioned by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a joint news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, will freeze the assets of nine organizations and 26 individuals, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

“The North Korean missile and nuclear issue is a pressing threat unseen before. Its provocative actions, in which it has ignored the severe warnings of international society, are totally unacceptable,” he said.

Then he went to Seoul to talk to the General Assembly:

President Trump told North Korea to “not underestimate us,” in a speech before the South Korea’s National Assembly Wednesday morning local time.

“Do not underestimate us. Do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty,” Mr. Trump said.

The president, who has softened his rhetoric on North Korea in recent days, urged other nations including Russia and China to sever economic ties with the rogue state. Mr. Trump, in the middle of his nearly two-week Asia trip, heads to Beijing next.

“The time for excuses is over,” Mr. Trump said. “Now is the time for strength.”

The president spent much of his speech contrasting the success of South Korea with its neighbor to the north, saying South Korea’s success threatens North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s “dark fantasy.” Mr. Trump said North Korea looks to cause trouble abroad to avoid the reality of failure at home.

Then he went to China.

Chairman Xi gave Trump the honor of being the first foreign dignitary to dine in the Forbidden City.

Ever.

The Chinese then signed memorandums of understanding to invest $250 billion (a quarter trillion) in U.S. projects over the next two decades. That includes $83.7 billion in West Virginia.

Guys, West Virginia’s annual GDP is $74.9 billion.

And then in Danang (yeah if you’re my age, no map required, right?)

The current trade imbalance is not acceptable. I do not blame China or any other country, of which there are many, for taking advantage of the United States on trade. If their representatives are able to get away with it, they are just doing their jobs. I wish previous administrations in my country saw what was happening and did something about it. They did not, but I will.

From this day forward, we will compete on a fair and equal basis. We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going to put America first the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.

(Applause.)

They applauded because Trump treated them with respect, and he praised them for besting the Americans. Asians don’t often get that from Westerners. Certainly, it is a first for an American president.

You won that round, he told them. We’ll work harder on the next one.

My understanding is Asians want to save face. He gave them that. They can now lose the next round without humiliation because, hey, they won the first round. Fair and square. Without Russian meddling.

Today Trump is in the Philippines — which banned Obama last year.

Meantime, halfway around the world, in Central Europe, there is this, from Warsclerotic

Pictured: The Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group countries meet in Prague on December 3, 2015. From left to right: Slovakia’s Robert Fico, Poland’s Beata Szydło, Czech Republic’s Bohuslav Sobotka and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. (Image source: Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland)

The US president may be an arch-villain in Western Europe, but in Central Europe, he is a superhero. For years, Central European countries have respectfully disagreed with the Green millenarianism of the EU. Still catching up after 50 years of communism, they do not have the financial means for the “energy transition”. They see no rational reason to exchange their cheap electricity for the most expensive electricity on Earth, with no measurable impact whatsoever on “climate”. Before Trump, they felt alone, and weak in front of the economic (and moral) supremacy of Germany. Now, they know they are not alone.

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Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel recognized that multiculturalism has failed. All scientific studies show that a significant number of Muslims in Europe are fundamentalist; and that thousands of young European Muslims went to Syria to join ISIS. And yet, it is insufferable to Brussels and Berlin, to hear that the people of Central Europe have no intention of following the same path.

The European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU have made sure, through ruling after ruling, that it is virtually impossible to expel a “refugee” after his asylum request has been rejected.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines itself as a scientific body, although in reality, unsurprisingly, it is a purely political body. In composition, competence or functioning, there is not a shred of science in the IPCC. Yet, in the name of this “science”, European politicians are extracting from their people trillions in additional taxes, building pyramids of new regulations and inflicting prohibitions in every sphere of human activity.

On immigration, on sustainable development and on many other subjects, the convergence between the United States and Central Europe is now as evident as the new divide between Western Europe and Central Europe.

The European mindset is shifting. Twenty-three of the 28 governments of the European Union now have parliamentarian majorities on the center-right of the political spectrum. Everywhere in Europe, the “left” is on the run.

This is particularly true in Central Europe. The soon-to-be Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz won the election on an anti-immigration platform and is on the verge of forming a government with the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) which owes its own success to the same topic.

In the Czech Republic, political parties on the right now hold 157 of the 200 seats in the Parliament and tycoon Andrej Babis­ ­— “the Czech Trump” — is set to be the next prime minister.

All in all, the “Visegrad Group” peoples — Czechs, Hungarians, Poles and Slovaks — plus the Austrians, have voted in the most conservative governments we have seen in Europe for almost 30 years, since the fall of Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom.

You know, sometimes I have the feeling that we Americans have the ability to reinvent ourselves in each generation or so – to present the things that the world need leading in. Maybe that is our definition of leadership. It may well be a figment of an old man’s mind, but to me, the old, drunken men leading Europe, are looking almost as relevant as Nikita Kruschev in 1963.

 

 

Teddy Bears, Tea Candles, and Terrorism

Heather MacDonald has an article up in City Journal, which speaks to recent British events and our (and their) problems in restricting immigration.

The candlelight vigils didn’t work. After the Manchester Arena suicide bombing in England last month, liberal pundits suggested “mass vigils” and “community solidarity” as a counterterrorism response. The most important imperative, according to the media intelligentsia, was to signal that the West’s commitment to “diversity” and “inclusion” was intact.

Unfortunately, the three Islamic terrorists who used a van and knives to kill another seven civilians and critically injure dozens more in London on Saturday night were unmoved by the “diversity” message. Witnesses described the killers frantically stabbing anyone they could reach, while shouting “This is for Allah”; one witness said that a girl was stabbed up to 15 times.

The “candlelight vigil” counsel has been more muted after this latest attack, though the New York Times has predictably advised the candidates in Britain’s upcoming elections not to succumb to “draconian measures” or to do “just what the terrorists want” by undermining democratic values.

Nor have they ever, nor will they ever. They are a mark of the weakness of our society. A symbol of defeat. One did not see candlelight vigils after the Blitz, or Dunkirk, or the catastrophic losses of the air raids of Big Week, or Pearl Harbor, or the fall of Warsaw in 1939. Our people had a mission, they mourned the dead and then got on with the mission. We, many of us, know what the mission is, even if our governments don’t.

It is, as it always is, the safety of our homelands, and to be honest, “if you are not with us, you are against us”. I don’t see a bunch of wild-eyed idiots out here, that want to massacre the Moslems, although if the problem is forced underground long enough, that likely will happen. The mission is to vet people coming into the homelands, assuring ourselves, as best we can, that they are coming for the right reasons. No sensible American (or Briton) believes in a total ban on immigration, our societies are built on interaction with the world. But allowing people whose main aim in life is to kill you to roam unchecked in our countries is madness.

On Saturday night, following the London attacks, Trump had tweeted: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” Trump’s exhortation produced expletive-laden fury, as well as more sober dismay. Columnist Fareed Zakaria summarized two of the main arguments against the visa pause on CNN Monday morning. The pause is a “nonsense solution” to Islamic terrorism, Zakaria said, because the “vast majority” of attacks have been committed by “homegrown terrorists and locals.” In other words, “homegrown” Islamic terrorism is not an immigration problem. But a second-generation Muslim terrorist is more of an immigration problem than a first-generation Muslim terrorist. Such a killer demonstrates that the uncontrolled flow of immigrants from terror-breeding countries has overwhelmed the necessary process of assimilation. When security forces in a country like Britain can no longer keep track of Islamic extremists within their borders, that is a consequence of specific immigration policies.

Zakaria claimed that the problem is “ideology,” not immigration. But how will the West’s ability to counter that ideology be improved by bringing in more bearers of it without a better understanding of who is ripe for radicalization? Until we are confident of our ability to screen for radical Islamic ideology in newcomers and their progeny, the rational reaction is to temporarily slow things down.

I’ll admit he’s got somewhat of a point here, but can you imagine the uproar if Trump agreed with him, and simply banned immigration by any Muslim whatsoever? Yeah, me too. It would be effective though, and I know Brits who propose exactly that. Not to mention interning the ones already there, citizen or not. I find that several bridges too far, but I understand why they feel that way.

Other pundits and Democratic politicians have resurrected the constitutional arguments against the travel pause. They echo the Fourth Circuit opinion striking down the pause that was issued three days after a second-generation Libyan in Manchester killed 22 people with his suicide vest in May. The Fourth Circuit majority held that the Trump executive order violates the First Amendment’s ban on “laws respecting an establishment of religion.” The majority’s argument is preposterous. The executive order establishes or disestablishes no religion. It has no effect on the vast majority of Muslims worldwide living outside the six covered countries, and it applies to non-Muslims from the six covered countries. Why is Bali not on the list? Because it is not a significant source of terror-breeding ideology and terrorist training. But even if the order had been drawn on religious grounds, foreigners living outside the U.S. have no constitutional rights. The U.S. government owes foreigners on foreign soil nothing when it comes to immigration policy; the equal protection clause and the First Amendment do not apply to them. No one has a right to enter the U.S., or any other country, on his own terms. If the government wanted to suspend visas for blondes, those non-American blondes living abroad would have no standing to challenge the government’s actions.

Emphasis mine. Do read her article linked above, and recognize that the time for safe spaces and piles of teddy bears, and tea candle cause global warming is rapidly passing. It is becoming time for stout-hearted and clear-eyed men and women to start solving the problems caused by allowing the children to run the joint all these years.

London, Again

NBC News

Well, 30 + injured about 6 dead, it’s been done again, in London, this time. Well, we’ll pray for them all, the dead, the injured, and yes, our British cousins, in general. It’s what one does when one can’t do much else. This may be the saddest Tweet I’ve ever read, One should never see such a warning about one of the most civilized cities in the world, but we know it could easily have been New York, or Omaha, or a thousand others both here and there.

Thursday the British will vote in the General Election, they will be voting for their Member of Parliament, who will choose the next (or the same) Prime Minister. It’s considerably different from our system, but like ours, it has defended freedom for a long time.

Terrorism raises major and fundamental problems for a free society. How much of our freedom should we give up to our intelligence agencies who may well need that information to defeat this type of threat, but it is still none of the government’s business what you do and say, within very broad guidelines. All solutions are imperfect, I don’t have the answer if there is one, neither does President Trump, or Prime Minister May, or anybody else. The solution rests, I suspect, on the other half of our rights of freedom, our duty to defend it. Pay attention, and act as a responsible person would. That is your duty. And duty is a much-underused word, and yes, concept, in our countries these days.

That also lends point to why we, and Britain, all countries who are, or aspire to be, free must control their borders. There are very strict limits to the constraints we can impose on our citizenry, and very rightly so. But we can control who enters the country, and we must. This is a most insidious form of supporting terrorism, but support it is.

And I was quite impressed with the Metropolitan Police last night, both in the way they flooded the zone, and in the fact that within eight minutes of the attack kicking off, the perpetrators were assuming room temperature, and that in a country where the average cop is not armed. Heck, it would be good in any of the heavily armed US cities. Well done, guys and girls. They have also been doing a pretty good job of letting people know what is going on.

Donald Trump Tweeted this last night:

That’s nearly all any of us can do, at this point, but we are here, as always.

Soon, it will be time for free people to find a way to remove this scourge, and we will be there then, as well. For truly, as Burke wrote…

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one,

an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

That was the Week that Was

It’s been an interesting week, hasn’t it? The horror of the attack at Manchester, the reactions following, the reactions to the Trump tour of Europe, and yes, the irresponsible and potentially criminal handling of intelligence by American officials. How do we make sense of all this information?

I’ve been fairly quiet this week, listening, and thinking, and have drawn some conclusions.

First Trump. He just might turn into one of the best Presidents we’ve had in a long while, especially in foreign affairs. His speech in Riyadh bears more attention than it got. So does his response to Manchester. Beyond the conventional and necessary expression of sympathy to our friends and allies, he made an excellent point, which we should adopt, when he said, as Scott Adams reports.

President Trump just gave ISIS its new name: Losers. (Short for Evil Losers).

If you think that’s no big deal, you’re wrong. It’s a big deal. This is – literally – weapons-grade persuasion from the most powerful Master Persuader of our time.

As I have taught you in this blog, President Trump’s clever nicknames for people are not random. They are deeply engineered for visual impact and future confirmation bias.

In this case, the visuals will be provided by future terror attacks. That reinforces the “evil” part, obviously. But more importantly, the Losers will be doing nothing but losing on the battlefield from now until “annihilation.” They are surrounded, and the clock is ticking. Oh, and the press isn’t allowed to watch the final battles. In other words, we won’t need to build new holding cells on Guantanamo Bay this time. No press means no prisoners, if you know what I mean. (American soldiers won’t be shooting the prisoners. We have allies for that sort of thing.)

As you know, “annihilation” of the Losers in Loserdom won’t stop the loser’s ideas from spreading. You still have to kill the ideas. And that takes persuasion, not bullets. President Trump just mapped out the persuasion solution: Evil Losers.

Think about that for a while. Do it while you cry into your Kleenex™, taking your Excedrin™ for your headache, and seeing the USA in your Chevrolet, send me a Xerox™ me of your results, and don’t forget the Kodachromes™ of your trip. Marketing: it’s what we do, it’s what Trump does, his name has always been his brand, and he’s done it again. ISIS now equals Evil Losers™. It’ll stick because it’s true, and it’ll stick because they’ll demonstrate that it continues to be true. A genius move.

Then there is the trip, Riadayh, Jerusalem, Rome, to start. Think there might be a theme there? Sure there is: the home of the three so-called Abrahamic faiths. Truth to power in Saudi Arabia, reinforcing something that the King believes, that his people must modernize, but he, like England, for instance, is awash in Wahabi fanatics. It ain’t going to be easy, and at least he’s trying, and the direct flight to Israel demonstrates that the Saudis recognize that Israel is part of the solution, and that one cannot separate the US from Israel, Great Satan will always stand with Little Satan, not only the government but the people.

Then on to Rome, where all of us Christians have a stake, Catholic or not, this is the last, and foremost of the Patriarchates formed by the Apostles themselves, and arguably, even for Orthodox and Protestants, the one formed by the man that Jesus himself said about, “Upon this Rock.” The current incumbent is in some ways disappointing. In the exchange of gifts, Trump gave him a first edition collection of the works of the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, a highly appropriate gift, I think. In return, he received copies of Amoris Laetitia, Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si’. Am I the only one the who finds it a bit reminiscent of Obama giving Queen Elizabeth an I-pod with his speeches? That’s what I thought.

But writing in the aftermath of Manchester, our friend, Francis Phillips wrote in The Catholic Herald about Dietrich von Hildebrand.

In response to the Islamist terrorist atrocity on Monday night in Manchester, in which 22 innocent people died and 59 have been injured, some severely, so many questions arise: why wasn’t the suicide bomber apprehended earlier (there had been several complaints to the police about his behaviour)? Are sporadic acts of Islamist terrorism now a fact of life in Europe in the future? Is the misplaced ideology of multiculturalism to blame for this act of outrage and others like it? Can we confidently make a distinction between Islam that is peaceful and Islamism that isn’t?

These are natural human questions. But as Christians we have to ask other, deeper and more personal ones. I have been reading the chapter “Blessed are the peacemakers” in Dietrich von Hildebrand’s book Transformation Christ as a way of moving beyond the highly disquieting news in the media with all the anxious questions that flow from it.

As the author says, to imitate Christ necessarily involves a love of peace and “a horror of all forms of discord, disunion and dissension”. But that in itself is not enough: to love peace is to act in a way that will help to bring it about. “Ignoring objective evils does not establish true peace”; nor does a “passive tolerance of evil”, through moral cowardice or sloth. At an individual level this means that we have” to draw [our enemy’s] attention to the wrong he has done us.” It also means engaging with the wider society and for the same purpose.

As von Hildebrand points out, “Cowardly acquiescence is not the love of peace”. True peace can only be found in close communion with Christ. This relationship alone will give us the strength to “possess, irradiate and spread peace.” We cannot always avoid suffering in this world but we can at least show others what the peace of Christ means in our lives. It calls for courage as well; in particular the courage to point out that what society calls “tolerance” is often the opposite. Christian values are not always the same as “British values” – as Christians have learned to their cost.

Indeed so, Christianity, and its allied secular powers have not built the modern world by ignoring evil, nor will we maintain it by doing so.

Then there are the inexcusable leaks to the New York Time of evidentiary material from Manchester. The British (and American) people deserve far better from our bureaucracy, as does our President. Hopefully, dismissals and prosecutions will follow. Something else bears here, as well. The Senate would be well advised to get off its ample rear (or head, it’s hard to tell) and confirm Trump’s people, a lot of this, I’d bet has to do with unreconciled Obama appointees.

On the other hand, it might have had a bit to do with waking up a few British folk about how much HMG covers up, to the point that I am hearing the word Londonistan again. And amongst my friends, I sense a resolve to solve this problem, one that I (and they) fear that their government does not share. And that is a most charitable way of putting it.

If I were asked (I won’t be!) my advice to Mrs. May would be three words from Britain’s heroic past…

Who Dares Wins

Trump in Arabia

Remember this picture of the Swedish PM (and others) in the UAE?

Well, compare and contrast.

See a bit of difference in the attitude that Melania’s dress, and the whole scene portrays? Look, this isn’t earthshaking, there a lot of difference between Sweden and the US, as well as between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. But it does speak to attitude. The US is obviously being respectful, but so are the Saudi’s. The reception tells you, as it should, that the Saudi government has a good deal of respect for President Trump, and also that they want something. Which they do, but then again, Arabs and Americans, and especially this President are traders, and always have been, and signals are important.

It always signifies something, when the President’s daughter, Ivanka, an Orthodox Jew, looks quite comfortable in Riyadh, as here. But then again, what are the Saudi’s really going to say about it. But later today, for the first time (officially) AF 1 will be the first flight directly from Riyadh to Tel Aviv. That too is significant.

It speaks to the growing alignment of the Saudis and this Israelis against the Iranians, and it speaks of the gradual reform that is becoming evident in Saudi Arabia, not least because of America’s growing importance in the oil market, and thus still another way that the Arabs are losing their power.

And he gave a speech, worthy of an American President, here it is.

Now mind, words are not actions, but words often define actions we will take. It strikes me as a very good start.

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