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March 17, 2021

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Can anyone please explain the difference between these people and Q?

Q has not yet hired its first janitor.

One of the fascinating characteristics of Maverick, as opposed to most of the Westerns I remember, is that he almost never actually used his gun. He was forever finding different solutions to problems that other Westerns just assumed required shooting.

The real wild west was more boring than wild.

The real wild west was more boring than wild.

I should have said it was an open thread, though surely they all are unless otherwise specified. And I wouldn't want to impose any topic discipline, heaven forfend. Nevertheless....

What exactly does that have to do with the place of guns in the national psyche and mythology? In fact, the portrayal of the west as "wild" in all those movies and TV shows, regardless of the reality, is part of the point.

wj -- yes, I remember Maverick as quite light-hearted, but all my memories of these shows are pretty vague at this point. I'm sure that if I had time to dig more deeply, I'd be reminded that there was a wide range in terms of the importance of guns in the stories. But still, the glorification of the gun and the wielder of it -- my biggest surprise yesterday and today was how much I had blanked that out of my memory as an indicator of our national pathology.

"national pathology" is a good way of putting it. It is a sickness that passeth all understanding.

a sickness that passeth all understanding

Oh, it's understandable enough. A bunch of manufacturing companies took over a user group and turned it into a marketing entity. An enormously successful marketing entity. And one which generated sufficient revenue that they could then become a major political donor -- and thus protect their marketing from regulation.

Thanks Janie. Recently, the youtube rabbithole I fell into was NYPD Blue. Pretty astonishing, because back then, it was 'hard gritty drama' but looking back on it, it really made it seem that no one really had a chance, it was all out war. Now, I wonder, was it really like that? Admittedly, I live in Japan now, so kids are coming from their cram school at 10, 11 at night. There have been a few things that have been disturbing, but the vibe is it's safe, though they do have TV dramas that portray Japan as not so safe. But everyone seems to realize that this is drama.

lj, interesting about NYPD Blue. I think of it as the successor to Hill Street Blues, which is probably because they were both Bochko. My household watched Hill Street Blues faithfully, but by the time NYPD Blue came along I had kids and no TV, so I never watched it. I'm surprised to see that there was a six-year gap between when the one ended and the other began, I would have thought they were much closer in time. They're probably much more different than I imagine....

Janie, it has all those Bochco tics, hand held cameras, the big ensemble, and dealing with character arcs. It also shares that DNA of the thin blue line keeping a lid on things.

I've not gone thru the episodes, but the Andy Sipowicz clips keep popping up, and that character arc of a racist character who is redeemed thru a long and hard slog seems to be indicative of some sort of 'ideal' approach to racism, where the character will eventually come to grips with being a better person. As such, it is compelling, but I have been wondering, like all the guns and crime, is it realistic? Or did the unreal backdrop allow the unreal character development to take place?

Did the gun lobby play a part in the production of these old TV (or previous radio) Western shows e.g as advertisers (as Big Detergent did for the original 'soaps')?

I guess a realistic show/serial would not just be 'boring' (=not violent and bloody enough) but also draw a firestorm from the Right because it would naturally include the very strict gun control practiced in many towns of the "Wild West".
Also remember that "High Noon" was called "the most un-American thing I've ever seen in my whole life" (by John Wayne) and spawned some films showing the 'proper way' (steely-eyed heroes that did not need rescuing by chicks with suspicious religious background).
Just look at that toxic masculinity brew currently on the menu of that highly successful Faux Newts show whose whiny host I will not name. Couldn't we invite some veteran Russian female snipers from WW2 to show him the error of his ways? I guess it would be a spectacle with great ratings, if we could see e.g. Nina Lobkovskaya (96) chasing the POS round the studio shouting colourful obscenities in Russian (constant beeping required).

Hartmut -- Did the gun lobby play a part in the production of these old TV (or previous radio) Western shows e.g as advertisers (as Big Detergent did for the original 'soaps')?

Quick answer because I just got up: No. Someone will probably pop up with some factoid that seems to prove me wrong, but there was no "gun lobby" as we know it when those shows were made. There was no gun controversy then as we know it now. It's mind-bogglingly anachronistic to apply the framework of today to those times. (Not a slam at you, Hartmut, I'm just bemused at even trying to express how different that era was from now in this regard.)

Check out the history of the NRA, which includes this (from Wikipedia):

The NRA formed its Legislative Affairs Division to update members with facts and analysis of upcoming bills,[36] after the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 became the first federal gun-control law passed in the US.[37] Karl Frederick, NRA president in 1934, during congressional NFA hearings testified "I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I seldom carry one. ... I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses."[38] Four years later, the NRA backed the Federal Firearms Act of 1938.[39]

Also this: Just look at that toxic masculinity brew currently on the menu of that highly successful Faux Newts show whose whiny host I will not name.

Another phenomenon that has a complex history. When my kids were growing up (they're in their mid-30s now) there was a lot of awareness and concern about the effect a culture (movies etc.) of toxic masculinity was having on boys and especially body image. I remember seeing articles about the transformation of GI Joe toys from regular guys to musclebound hulks. This was not an unknown concern around where I live...

...someone reminisced about cap guns, which I haven't thought about for probably sixty years. But yes, we played with them

So did we. And we watched US television programmes - Alias Smith and Jones was a favourite: "in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone", but there was plenty of gunplay.

And yet there's very little gun culture in the UK. For non-sociopaths, the social norm that shooting people is bad overrides childhood enthusiasm for things that go bang.

I loved NYPD blue and had a crush on Delaney and Brenneman, but my true love was Dennis Franz, lol - he's great in this interview

https://variety.com/2018/tv/features/nypd-blue-25-anniversary-dennis-franz-amy-brenneman-gordon-clapp-1202943540/

On his character:

When [Steven and David] were describing him, he was racist, he’s a womanizer, alcoholic, homophobic, he was a loose cannon, he didn’t believe in God, religion, foul mouthed. I said, “Well, who the hell is going to care about this guy?” Their response was “Well, you will make that happen.” I said, “Well, thanks for the confidence. I appreciate that, but how?” They said, “It’s in your nature.” I kind of realized this is a guy at one time probably was a good provider and a good husband and father. I know he’s always been a good cop. Things probably were all going right in his life, but then something went wrong and he started this downhill slide. I’m formulating this in my head thinking that, “Okay, we’re catching him at the very bottom of his slide. Hopefully this is going to be an uphill battle for him from this point on.”

I loved Alias Smith & Jones as a kid.

And of course Pete Duel died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Did the gun lobby play a part in the production of these old TV (or previous radio) Western shows e.g as advertisers (as Big Detergent did for the original 'soaps')?

Like Janie said, No. The gun manufacturers didn't really take over the NRA until the mid-60s. Until then, the NRA actually supported gun control laws. (True fact!)

It's like all those sword (and sorcery) movies and games haven't led to a bunch of people wearing swords around and having duels. The TV shows weren't really the driver.

It seems like a paradox: I cite all those TV shows as evidence of the place of the gun in our national mytholody, and yet wj and I agree that the TV shows weren't the driver of the current pathology.

I don't think it's really a contradiction. The TV shows were part of a mythic backdrop on which the machinations of the gun lobby could draw (in both senses). I used to joke (not really a joke) that if I were a hacker (I'm not), the first thing I'd do would be to...well, never mind. Just in case. ;-)

I stand corrected -- it was in the mid-70s that the gun manufacturers took over.

i watched all the Looney Tunes cartoons a hundred times each, and i've never once dropped an anvil on anyone.

I will be unsurprised if someone at least tries to do a "noble hacker" show. I would note that several spy shows and cop shows these days include a hot-shot hacker among the good guys on the team. (Privacy concerns? What are privacy concerns?) So they've got a start.

I grew up watching a ton of TV, much of which was quite violent, ranging from the antics of the 3 Stooges to stuff like The Rifleman, where every week Lucas McCain was regrettably put in the position of having to shoot some people with his Winchester.

Some people are bad, and, regrettably, good people are obliged to shoot them. Or, at least, beat the crap out of them, or otherwise see violence rained down on their heads. Pretty much the plot of (wild @ssed guess) half the TV shows made from 1955 to 1965.

Maybe everybody - all cultures, all societies - are violent like that, I really can’t say. We are.

Meanwhile, we have a sheriff’s captain in GA explaining that the maladjusted young white dude with a gun du jour found it necessary to slaughter a bunch of people because he ‘had a bad day’. Nothing to do, of course, with the fact that they looked kinda different.

I’m not sure what it takes to root crap like this out of a society. I’m not sure it’s possible. In any case, probably best to avoid disaffected white dudes.

I was heartened to see the older Asian woman in San Fran kick the sh*t out of her assailant. They took him away in a stretcher. Does that make me a bad person? If so, I can live with it.

America is a violent place.

Ironically the anti-gun lobby has perhaps sold more guns than the gun lobby.

Rawhide, The Rebel, Cheyenne, and Sugarfoot, Wagon Train, Roy Rogers, Laramie, and The Big Valley, with the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck.

Zorro was a western.

A common theme of many of these westerns was the Civil War veteran lighting out for the territories after the war, armed, natch, but reluctant to use violence, despite the aggregate death toll of the genre.

I just re-watched the movie "Shane", and among other virtues, if you listen closely, it is a meditation on violence ... the evil of it, and it's unfortunate necessity, by "professionals" in the context of who gets to own what land (cattle barons versus sodbusters) and where the fence lines will be, if they must be, lest anyone still harbor the mythic idea that the American West in many ways was anything more than a Mafia protection racket wrapped in red, white, and blue bunting.

The Director, George Stevens, was a combat veteran of World War II, and he hated the shallow depiction of gun violence in Hollywood, particularly of the John Wayne variety, though "Red River" is a fine movie.

My favorite western movie is a modern one "Lonely Are The Brave" with Kirk Douglas and an amazing cast .. screenplay by Dalton Trumbo ... based on a several-page short story, and then novel, by Edward Abbey, in which these themes are shot forward into the middle 20th century.

There is gunfire, but mostly by law enforcement. The anti-hero, Kirk Douglas, does take down a police helicopter in rough territory, but aims his shot to minimize the chance of killing the pilot and co-pilot, and thus pilot Bill Bixby has to hike his way out and lives to muse about exactly what this cowboy just might be up to.

There's also a poignant unrequited love thread running thru it, as there is in "Shane", which is very sexy in an understated way.

There is a wonderful horse in the movie, and if you don't want to witness a man blubber with inconsolable grief in the last ten minutes of a film, you don't want to watch the movie with me.

Only the last ten minutes of "The Swimmer", with Burt Lancaster, based on a short story by John Cheever (not a western to be sure, but he is an anti-hero wanderer thru the iffy territories of suburban backyards, can wreck me in quite the same way.

In my next life, I'm going to make a film about a large band of cowboy sidekicks ... Walter Brennan will be the sidekick leader, which is to say, not a leader ... who separate from their movie lead men and women and set off on a cattle drive of their own, a long line of cook wagons commandeered by irascible, uncommonly wise (in the manner of Jay Silverheels' Tonto), but half-assed cooks, which ends up going in circles and up countless box canyons trying to find the cattle that ran off in the first five minutes of the movie, but on the way have plenty of senseless fistfights and square-offs over who among them makes the best pot of beans, and if you don't like them, or rather if you choose to kvetch about their quality, all of the characters can reach back into their cook wagons for the inevitable double-barreled shotguns, which misfire when most needed in hilarious ways, much like Daffy Duck getting his duck bill repositioned on his head after dealing with Elmer Fudd.

There will be no love interests in this show, but the characters will suffer from painful longings out on the lonesome high prairie and the occasional inappropriate advances after imbibing rotgut 'round the campfire.

I imagine, say, Gabby Hayes and Andy Devine deciding their brokeback affection for each other is in fact appropriate despite the depredations of their fellow cookies, but they have to shoot the whiskey priest in the next town for refusing to bless their union, and then Rod Dreher can feel his religious liberty appropriately violated and quote at length from his last book regarding Hell and handbaskets.

John Wayne and uh, J...Ja..Jim... ja... ji jiJimmy Stewart also have a little discussion about the passing role of the gun in John Ford's "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?"

Lee Marvin plays Donald Trump to a fitting end, while prairie scum Strother Martin sneers his way to a spit-on image of the soulless Lindsay Graham.

John Wayne is on the right side in this one, though not without doubts.

Ironically the anti-gun lobby has perhaps sold more guns than the gun lobby.

Yeah, but who got the money?

"Ironically the anti-gun lobby has perhaps sold more guns than the gun lobby."

Yes, but the liberal anti-Covid-19 lobby can't seem to sell the vaccine to the same shitheads.

I mean, if we waited around until Herman Cain shot himself, he might have lived another two weeks as a beacon of freedom.

Funny, how conservatives and libertarians and the Governor of New York can't seem to sell guns and/or vaccines without resorting to massive kickback schemes.

Nothing to do, of course, with the fact that they looked kinda different.

If the shooter is being truthful, the fact that most of the victims are Asian may be incidental.

"ATLANTA – Authorities on Wednesday said a gunman suspected of killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at three spas may have frequented the businesses but that it was too early to determine if the shootings would be considered a hate crime.
...
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said it was too soon in the investigation to say whether the shootings were a hate crime. "We are just not there as of yet," Bryant said in a news conference early Wednesday."

Atlanta spa shootings suspect charged with murder; too soon to tell if killings were racially motivated, police say

What exactly does that have to do with the place of guns in the national psyche and mythology? In fact, the portrayal of the west as "wild" in all those movies and TV shows, regardless of the reality, is part of the point.

Longer history than that. "Wild West" shows started shortly after the Civil War. They were remarkably popular east of the Mississippi River, where people didn't know any better. "Buffalo" Bill Cody's show toured Europe a number of times, occasionally appearing before royalty. The first American-made cowboy movie, The Great Train Robbery released in 1903, shot in NYC/NJ, is loaded with guns and violence in the style of the Wild West shows and dime novels generally, and was immensely popular.

A different complaint about western movies and TV shows... You can tell when the film industry moved from NYC/NJ to Southern California because "the West" quit looking like lush rural New Jersey and began looking like arid Southern California. Western Kansas, where so much of cowboy West is set, doesn't look like either.

If the shooter is being truthful, the fact that most of the victims are Asian may be incidental.

Oh for mother-fucking fuck's sake.

Here's the relevant Onion headline: "Atlanta Police Rule Out Mass Shooting As Cause Of Death After Suspect Says He Didn’t Shoot Anyone."

Here's the cop whose drivel that was:

“Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Jay Baker said during the joint news conference with the Atlanta Police Department about 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long. But it seems the same spokesperson shared racist content online, including pointing the finger at China for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—the same vitriol advocates say has fueled a horrific surge in violence against Asian Americans. In a Facebook page associated with Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, several photos show the law enforcer was promoting T-shirts with the slogan “COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA.” “Place your order while they last,” Baker wrote with a smiley face on another March 30 photo that included the racist T-shirts. “Love my shirt,” Baker wrote in another post in April 2020. “Get yours while they last.'”


A relevant opinion piece.

It is, as they say, too soon to talk about it.

Trump issued the hit in his anti-Chinese rant the other day. As is the Republican filth attempting to run Gavin Newsome out of office with the Chinese flu.

The Atlanta shooter was a Christian.

How come white Christians get many more massages than I do (None)? How is it that THEY have all the fun.

Time to profile the lot of them.

And by the way, this lying outrage about immigrants bringing the virus over the border?

North Dakota and other blood red states, such as Texas, seem to welcome the spread and genocide of the pandemic.

Time for illegal immigrants to hit the bars, free of commie masks and toting weapons.

Step up and act like an American.

nooneithinkisinmytree -- I asked you to stay out of my threads. Nothing has changed.

A different complaint about western movies and TV shows... You can tell when the film industry moved from NYC/NJ to Southern California because "the West" quit looking like lush rural New Jersey and began looking like arid Southern California. Western Kansas, where so much of cowboy West is set, doesn't look like either.

Once I was old enough to understand what was going on, I stopped being able to watch Spaghetti Westerns without thinking constantly about the fact that I was looking at arid parts of Italy and Spain and that the Mexican characters were being portrayed by tanned Southern European actors. Having lived in Arizona for several years as a kid probably doesn't help.

Janie, if you wish, please delete my comments.

Thanks.

As is the Republican filth attempting to run Gavin Newsome out of office with the Chinese flu.

California being how it is, and the California GOP being how it is, Newsom wouldn't have a problem if there weren't Democrats who are pretty unhappy with his performance with regard to the virus.

If the shooter is being truthful, the fact that most of the victims are Asian may be incidental.

The options here appear to be:

* disaffected young white dude shot up Asians because they seem foreign
* disaffected young white dude shot up young women because they were making him think bad thoughts
* both

Or maybe there is some other weird reason.

Still seems kinda messed up, though. Right?

In many ways the western and the cop show are overlapping genres and mythologies - consider Fort Apache and Fort Apache, the Bronx.

Not at all surprising in many ways, considering that they are both concerned with policing borderlands and are driven by a rugged individualist ideology. Furthermore, that ideology is usually embedded in some way in a matrix of patriarchy and the nuclear family with the hero being the man who is sanctioned with the use of redemptive violence applied in morally ambiguous ways to restore society and the safety of the non-masculine community against the threat of Others. The gun is the magical talisman that allows the hero to stand up against the overwhelming odds of collective threat from others.

Quick Film 101 reading of the genre.

A lot of apocalyptic fiction has some significant overlap with Westerns, too, in pretty much the same ways you describe, nous. (Not the biggest revelation, but worth mentioning.)

The gun is the magical talisman that allows the hero to stand up against the overwhelming odds of collective threat from others.

And then there was Kung Fu...

I was reading about the guy who punched the older Asian lady. As it turns out, he also hit an 83-year-old Asian man. They're still trying to determine if race was a factor, natch. Maybe it was just because they were old, right? (That's sarcasm, btw, if that wasn't obvious enough.)

Maybe it was just because they were old, right?

Well, age might be a factor, too. Especially if he had seen enough Kung Fu movies.... ;-)

I have this weird Watchmen-esque plot-line in my head about that lady being a legendary former crime-fighter known as Masked Vengeance, who struck fear in the hearts of even the most hardened criminals in 1970s San Francisco. Little did her attacker know....

Kung Fu - interesting product of its time with the yellowface lead and the orientalism. I wonder what it might have been had the studio had the courage to cast Bruce Lee in the role he developed, rather than chickening out and casting Caradine.

Just for the record, I know what the NRA once was. That's why I said 'gun lobby' without naming the NRA. I should have said ad departments of gun manufacturers instead.

Btw, in 1911 there were complaints that the Western was effectivelky dead as a movie genre because all possibilities had been exploited ad nauseam already.

The question that comes to my mind is when did the gun become the explicit object of idolatry in the movies? I doubt that it started with Winchester 73. Was it the Western to start with?
I noticed a tendency to the concept of lucky/unlucky gun in quite some pretty old war movies (e.g. any guy carrying a Luger is likely to die, bad guy or not. It does not even matter, whether he owned it from the start or picked it up by chance during the movie. And that fate may hit more than one character).

Well, there were ads for toy guns, which were about as common as toy dolls.

I used to play army with my brother and his friends (funny, I don't remember playing cowboy games). I can't remember anyone's parents banning toy guns, but there was one boy who had an order of magnitude more than anyone else. His dad was a cop.... He also had a massive collection of comic books, which weren't allowed in my house, my parents having bought into red scare notions about comic books.

But I still think my answer holds: guns for adults were not advertised on TV. I don't remember ever seeing an ad for a gun or ammunition on TV. Are there gun ads even now? I don't watch TV enough to know. When I do watch, it seems to be mostly cars.

CharlesWT: Ironically the anti-gun lobby has perhaps sold more guns than the gun lobby.

Look up "deepity".

Incidentally, I hate "hate crimes". I know it's a well-established term-of-art at this point, but it muddles the distinction between bigotry and malice.

--TP

Hate crimes are thought crimes. People should be judged for their actions. Not what they may or may not have been thinking when they acted.

The question that comes to my mind is when did the gun become the explicit object of idolatry in the movies?

Consider The Great Train Robbery from 1903. I believe there are guns on prominent display in every scene. In the square dance scene all of the men dancing are wearing holsters with revolvers. When the "dude" comes in they do the bit with shooting into the ground at his feet to make him dance. When the telegraph operator comes into the dance to report the robbery, the men grab additional long guns stacked in the background before taking off in pursuit. Or the final shot, with a desperado type in front of a blank background, pulling out his revolver and emptying it directly at the camera. It is, however, a western fetish about guns; the 30-40 people herded off the train during the robbery, all dressed like the dude, all appear to be unarmed.

For a twelve minute movie, the body count is impressively high.

The difference between those people and Q is that God established the Roman Catholic Church and charged it with teaching his moral code to all humans.

Hate crimes are thought crimes. People should be judged for their actions. Not what they may or may not have been thinking when they acted.

Ah, yes. Because intent is never a consideration in criminal proceedings.

The difference between those people and Q is that God established the Roman Catholic Church and charged it with teaching his moral code to all humans.

Doh. How silly of me to have forgotten.

That settles that then.

Michael Cain, I think there is a difference between just having lots of guns and shooting in a movie and fetishizing the gun as an object. For comparision: about any 'knight' movie has lots of swords in it and there is a lot of fighting but only in some films the (or a) sword becomes a main point of explicit focus. LotR has a lot of swords 'with character' (i.e. not exchangable) but few would accuse Tolkien (or even Peter Jacksons LotR movies) of sword p0rn.

I think the real high water mark for the gun fetish in popular American culture comes with Dirty Harry. There was the myth of redemptive violence before that film, and there was the sense that having a firearm gave one the ability to enforce one's own agency and project order. But Dirty Harry (and maybe Taxi Driver on the opposite side of things) really solidified the talismanic aspect - at least off the top of my head. I'm sure a Film Studies person who specializes would have a more granular view.

I mean, there's always Wanted Dead or Alive and Steve McQueen's "Mare's Leg," but that doesn't seem like it made the same cultural splash as Harry's .44.

Okay, not high water mark, more like impact crater. Silly metaphors.

Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?

If the shooter is being truthful, the fact that most of the victims are Asian may be incidental.

The psychological illiteracy of this opinion is such that, unusually, I have nothing else to add. (Not to mention that JanieM said everything that otherwise needed to be said.)

Ah, yes. Because intent is never a consideration in criminal proceedings.

Exactly. Anyone in any doubt should look up the term "mens rea", which is one of the two elements necessary to constitute a crime, the other being the rather obvious "actus reus".

There's a difference between judging intent and hate crimes codified in law.

There's a difference between judging intent and hate crimes codified in law.

Care to expand on that?

Because it seems at first blush like both involve judging what was going on in someone's mind at some point in the past. Indeed, showing the kind of ongoing prejudice that supports charging a hate crime seems easier than judging intent at an instant.

Just for the record, I tend to agree with your earlier point that it would generally be better to just charge on actions, rather than motivation. But the question remains.

"Hate crime" is, as TP said, a dumb phrase, one of many that have caught on and that we can't get rid of now.

But these aren't the only laws that differentiate seriousness or penalties depending on who the victim is. Laws about elder abuse come to mind, and laws relating to harm to children, where the extra vulnerability of the victim is taken into account irrespective of the state of mind of the perp.

If you're a person of color in this country, or LGBTQ+, or a woman, or in some contexts elderly, you're at extra risk of being targeted, and just walking around knowing that every day of your life is a stress that some people don't have to carry. Thus "hate crimes" don't harm only their direct victims, they harm entire communities.

Beyond that, I'm not sure how many more empty-headed too-clever-by-half, deepity (what a great concept!) sound bites I'm going to bother to acknowledge.

Hate crime and civil rights violation laws seem to be an effort to circumvent rules against double jeopardy. Potentially, someone could be charged and tried multiple times for the same crime.

The difference between those people and Q is that God established the Roman Catholic Church and charged it with teaching his moral code to all humans.

prove it

It's always interesting to see where (and when and if) people's opposition to a legal concept like hate crimes map in comparison to that person's stance on capital punishment as deterrence. Seems to me like both are working on an economy of spectacle, where the act is aimed not at the subject of the action, but at the observers who self-identify with the subject.

God established the Roman Catholic Church

that's certainly their version.

hate crime

A hate crime is a crime perpetrated against someone who belongs to a protected class, *because* they belong to a protected class.

It seems reasonable to me to distinguish between beating somebody up because they're black, or gay, or a woman, vs beating them up because you want their money, or maybe just because you're a violent jerk. And, to punish them differently, based on that distinction.

YMMV

Just for the record, I tend to agree with your earlier point that it would generally be better to just charge on actions, rather than motivation. But the question remains.

I happened to be in the neighborhood and this is somewhat up my alley. Mens rea denotes the level of mental culpability that is an element of a given crime. Most states following the Model Penal Code recognize four culpable mental states: intentional, knowing, reckless and negligent.

Typically, the higher the mental state, the more severe the punishment. The actor's state of mind is inferred from the facts of the crime. Was it murder or accidental disharge of a firearm? Or, self defense (which is technically different since it is an affirmative defense and not an element of the offense).

If someone shoots someone 10 times or hits someone in the head 10 times with a bat or ax or whatever, the jury can infer intent. If someone is racing down the street, grossly above the speed limit, fully intending to drive like a bat out of hell and that person hits and kills someone else, the state would have to prove intent to kill, not intent to drive like hell to prove intentional homicide. More likely, the charge would be reckless.

Mens rea goes to the outcome, not the volitional nature of the act.

The hate crime thing raises some fair questions. Is murdering someone for their money not quite as bad as murdering (intentional homicide) someone for the ethnicity? Why isn't murder just murder?

Another concern is subjectivity: the volume (or percentage or proportion or whatever--math is not my thing) of white on black crime is lower than the other way around. Is all, some or no black on white crime also a hate crime? What about white on black? The belief--this is not a total outlier these days--that white people have a unique and special animus for minorities seems to be a thing with proponents of hate crime and people who do not share that belief are not warm to a class of crimes that, when it all shakes down, are considered to be primarily committed by white people because, you know, white people are that way.

This is particularly so since, as I said, comparing apples to apples, blacks commit more crimes against whites than the other way around, so why should the lesser carry the presumption of greater mal intent than the greater.

I am pretty comfortable with the notion that those most interested in codifying hate crimes are not intending to come down harder on blacks than the law already does. So, yes, there are questions and concerns.

Since I'm here, it would be nice if the Catholic Church would focus on its own problems and, like Paul and Jesus did, leave the civil authorities to worry about civil matters. Or, it if has to say something, just limit itself to promoting traditional male/female marriage and keep quiet about the rest of it. Calling out gay people for being gay is just as disturbing and divisive as calling out any other group of people for being members of that group. As a Catholic-lite, i.e. Episcopalian, it is fundamental doctrine that God created all of the universe and everything in it and that we are all enjoined to love our neighbor without exception. Logic compels the notion that God clearly created gay people who are also quite clearly people who therefore must be loved as much as anyone else. So, leaving aside decades of CC criminal complicity, the mote in the eye and all of that, the CC and all religions should just leave gay civil marriage the hell alone. Even if--for the sake of argument--homosexuality was right up there with consuming distilled spirits as the worst that humans could ever do, if God can create and maintain the universe, He can probably sort things out fairly well when and if the need arises.

Back to work.

it would be nice if the Catholic Church would focus on its own problems and, like Paul and Jesus did, leave the civil authorities to worry about civil matters.

Which leaves the civil question of what is appropriate action against the institution when it covers up crimes of its members? Somehow mere monetary sanctions seem inadequate.

Logic compels the notion that God clearly created gay people who are also quite clearly people who therefore must be loved as much as anyone else.

Amen, brother, amen.

Why isn't murder just murder?

This is a very good question. I will offer my opinion, FWIW.

Murdering someone because they belong to some demographic category or other deprives them of their life, and in addition attacks the idea that everyone deserves equal status under the law.

So, it's murder, plus a violation of a fundamental guarantees that are the basis of this nation as a polity. And, which have cost us a great deal to establish and maintain.

So I see it as not just murder, but also something in addition to murder. Not a different kind of murder, but murder plus. Not least because the act itself is rarely if ever just about the violence, it's virtually always about attacking the status of the victim.

It strikes me that insisting on the idea of equal status under law is worth defending on its own merits. So I'm fine with 'hate crimes' as a concept.

A hate crime is a crime perpetrated against someone who belongs to a protected class, *because* they belong to a protected class.

Murdering someone because they belong to some demographic category or other deprives them of their life, and in addition attacks the idea that everyone deserves equal status under the law.

Having protected classes seems to belie the idea of equal status under the law.

At the very least, any reasonable person should be able to recognize that spray-painting swastikas on a synagogue is different from spray-painting your initials on a retaining wall under an overpass. But, gee, both are spray-painting on someone else’s property, right? That’s just vandalism! Or not.

Wrs

Also, I'm not entirely happy with McKinney's comment on mens rea; if Anders Breivik had only succeeded in killing one youth Labour activist on that island, and his manifesto was adduced in evidence, I imagine that would be a pretty clear evidence of mens rea. I'm not claiming that youth Labour activists should belong to a protected class, I'm talking about the principle of mens rea.

Also, I do not believe the following statement is correct, or true in any sense in this form:

The belief - this is not a total outlier these days - that white people have a unique and special animus towards minorities seems to be a thing with proponents of hate crime

If you had put the word "some" before "white people" or "proponents" it would be unarguable, or in the former, banal. But if you actually think what you have written, your understanding of the true issues seems rudimentary and stereotyped. I think almost nobody here much liked that lecture on White Fragility, (although I thought it contained some interesting points) but if this is what you took away from it or similar theories, that is rather fascinating. Talk about confirmation bias - "animus" is not the same thing as "unconscious bias".

has perhaps sold

may be incidental

seem to be an effort to circumvent

seems to belie the idea of equal status under the law

CharlesWT, could you ever be bothered to make an actual argument? Or are you just trolling?

Try reading something like The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein, if you have any sincere willingness to learn something beyond superficial gotcha-level word play about how much "equal status under the law" people of color have "enjoyed" in this country.

I'm sure the book wasn't serialized in Reason, but you can get a used copy for eleven bucks at AbeBooks, or a copy through interlibrary loan for nothing. They do have libraries in Houston, right?

Or in other words, when black people are in fact equal under the law in all ways, and maybe even when the effects of 400 years of their *not* being equal under the law in myriad ways from slavery to redlining to voter suppression, we can talk about getting rid of the alleged inequality under the law of protected classes.

"...voter suppression are corrected..."

Writing too fast.

russell's opinion misses the other reason for hate crime as an additional consideration. Hate crimes are related to terrorism. It's not just an attack on an individual, it's an attack on a an entire class of people who are targets because they are marked as part of that class. The crime is committed against the victims, but it is also a symbolic attack on the entire class. The person targeted was, in a sense, often targeted vicariously.

And the class need not always be a protected class under federal law. Many states include law enforcement and emergency responders. Utah does not define any protected groups but still has hate crime legislation.

Try reading something like The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein, ...

Aside from disagreeing with the author on a few points, the libertarian press has had favorable things to say about the book. No doubt because the author points to various levels of government as the source of the maladies he describes. :)

CharlesWT -- on the one hand, you're incorrigible. On the other, I gotta give you credit for your equanimity in the face of a lot of sarcasm from me. Or at least apparent equanimity, which is the only kind that matters in pixels, I guess.

Beyond that, if you think humans would have done better without government in the areas the book covers, I've got a bridge to sell you....

Sheesh.

Interesting discussion. My own theory is that rather than the west being a boring place, it was more a melting pot of post Civil War PTSD. People have kind of lifted up the cover on it, long before the concept was named (see John Wayne as Ethan Edwards in the Searchers) but the emphasis on masculinity, the hair trigger responses to questions of honor, the role of women (fighting for a woman's honor was always a good excuse to kill someone, which occurs parallel to the massive institution of frontier prostitution), the darwinian racism. Its mythic dimensions are what fuel libertarian musings like Charles WT's

It just seems to confirm Larkin's observations
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48419/this-be-the-verse

No doubt because the author points to various levels of government as the source of the maladies he describes. :)

This is akin to the tired and still (ayei!!!!) commonly invoked glibertarian argument asserting racial segregation was essentially "foisted" on the South by "government". To state this so-called argument is to refute it.

Oh, and open thread? Well, well, well. A little bragging about my governor is in order!

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/03/leadership-is-better-than-playacting-dumb-ideas-of-leadership

Thank you Jay (my middle name)!

Having protected classes demonstrably not subject to equal treatment either de jure or de facto seems to belie the idea of equal status under the law.

bobbyp, links to pictures of Clickbait need trigger warnings. ;-)

I'm thinking of replacing "Clickbait" with "TFG" in honor of Biden calling him "The Former Guy." It doesn't hurt that it can also mean Thank Fucking God or Too Far Gone. Then again, he can't be too far gone for me. The further the better.

TFG is getting revenge on the media he complained about so much. Since he left the stage, CNN's viewership has dropped by 50%. On the other hand, he made them a lot of money for four years.

On the other hand, he made them a lot of money for four years.

Why do you think I called him Clickbait?

If the media can't make a profit without facilitating the destruction of the country, then they should find something else to do.

As usual, I quibble with McKinneyTexas.

Why isn't murder just murder?

One could say that 9/11 was just 3,000 murders, but one would sound a bit daft.

Another concern is subjectivity: the volume (or percentage or proportion or whatever--math is not my thing) of white on black crime is lower than the other way around. Is all, some or no black on white crime also a hate crime?

"Math is not my thing" can justify Truthiness, I suppose. But some sort of non-gut evidence would be better.

His assertion aside, McKinney's question has an easy a priori answer: some. We can all postulate a black lesbian beating a random stranger to death for being white. Or maybe for being straight, who knows? I'd call it a hate crime either way. But we can also easily postulate the reverse. And of course we can all postulate an unspecified person killing an unspecified stranger for cutting him off in traffic.

It's easy to postulate, if all we're doing is philosophy. If we're trying to figure out how to manage our society, we have reality to deal with. For instance, when a gang of gay guys tie a straight kid to a fence and beat the crap out of him, it will certainly be worth rethinking what "protected groups" to define in law.

As a Catholic-lite, i.e. Episcopalian, it is fundamental doctrine that God created all of the universe and everything in it ...

Call it doctrine, call it postulate, it ain't necessarily so.

... and that we are all enjoined to love our neighbor without exception.

A severable clause, I hope. I mean, does one have to accept the origin doctrine in order to espouse the love injunction?

In what we laughingly call "real life", the injunction to Love Thy Neighbor gets complicated anyway. A Catholic Libertarian(TM) -- such a person can be postulated if not seriously imagined -- might have a very different notion of how to love his neighbor than that neighbor does. Does support of, or opposition to, a minimum wage count as greater love? From whose perspective? And how does a Catholic-lite Episcopalian show greater love for an unintentionally-pregnant neighbor? By opposing, or by supporting, her right to choose?

We all, capitalist Christians and soshulist atheists alike, can sincerely love our neighbors and still be wrong about how to do it. From our neighbor's point of view, I mean.

--TP

Back to my notion of the West as a PTSD theme park. Tarantino, when asked what he imagined Rick Dalton would do in Tarantino's imagined future, he said

What could have easily have happened—even if he had a little bit more success in the 1970s than maybe I give him credit for—what I could really see happening, because it happened to a lot of these guys, is that by the late 1970s, early 1980s, a lot of these macho ’50s and ’60s television leading men they showed up on TV shows again but as the older cop who’s the boss of the younger cop that sends them out on the missions.

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a29710757/quentin-tarantino-rick-dalton-once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-ending/

While Tarantino is postulating an imaginary universe, that connection kinds of brings us back to watching cop dramas.

I strongly suspect that the Atlanta guy acted at least partially out of anti-Asian sentiment but the anti-women sentiment seems to have been the primary motivation.
To use a hypothetical: if around here a guy shot up the brothel next door (not next door to me; there is none I know of) it would be very likely that the vast majority of the victims would be of Eastern European descent. Would that prove anti-Slavic prejudices on part of the shooter? I think not, simply because it would take some effort to find a neighbourhood brothel around here that is not predominantly Slavic as far as the (female) sex workers* go.
Had the Atlanta guy 'just' shot up the massage parlor(s) next door and just claimed sexual frustration, I'd consider that as 'sufficient' reason without implying racial bias per se. But unless nearly all massage parlors in Atlanta are Asian dominated, the fact that he chose 3 Asian ones would give reasonable rise to suspicion that there was more than just misogyny involved.

*no assumption about whether it is volontary

Having protected classes seems to belie the idea of equal status under the law.

In exactly the same way that laws against theft and robbery belie the idea of private property.

why shouldn't it be a crime to target people who, because of who they are, have long been targets of undeserved violence?

murder is one thing.

targeting people whom we have collectively decided have already had all the targeting they deserve is another thing.

whom?

ye olde garbage word fell out of my hopper.

To toss the fox in the chicken coop, I don't see much difference between a hate crime and a lot of definitions of terrorism. Frex, the first part of Walzer's definition

Terrorism is the deliberate killing of innocent people, at random, to spread fear through a whole population [and force the hand of its political leaders]

Or the definition the UN often uses
Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them. (bold mine)

That latter would include killing because of a sex addiction...


I don't see much difference between a hate crime and a lot of definitions of terrorism.

Just off the top of my head, I'd say terrorism generally (albeit not necessarily) involves attacking/damaging more than one person. If only to make clear what characteristic is being targetted. Whereas a hate crime, as I understand the concept, might be imputed from a single victim -- given evidence elsewhere of group animus.

However, I find myself taken with the idea of prosecuting for terrorism, rather than hate crimes. It feels like it might be easier to prove. And it avoids arguments about who ought to be a "protected class."

That latter would include killing because of a sex addiction...

My sense is that "sex addiction" was being put forth as an excuse, rather than a justification. And a pretty lame excuse at that.

USA PATRIOT 802(c), paraphrased:

"domestic terrorism" is defined as activities that are dangerous to people which appear to be intended to influence or coerce citizens or the government.

it's not a crime. but it is entirely about intent.

The way that I tend to think about it, the fuzzy difference between hate crime and terrorism comes down to the relationship of the act to the media. A hate crime is aimed at a particular group of people and is an act of intimidation or a declaration of the perpetrator's sovereignty over the other. In that sense it is a (sort of) private act of communication. The "weapon" being wielded is the weapon used in the crime to inflict injury upon the other.

Terrorist, on the other hand, wield the media as their weapon. They plan their acts as spectacle, intended to be seen and reproduced. The actual weapon used to attack the other is chosen to maximize the sensationalism of the act and to draw attention to the cause. Terrorism has a statement to make - explicit or implicit. It's a camera-ready hate crime with a manifesto.

Sorry to go back a bit, but when I wrote my Anders Breivik bit I was in bed, and not thinking well enough.

Of course, the best example would have been Dylann Roof: If he had driven into the parking lot outside that church, and purposely driven into and killed a black guard, or parking attendant, and then got out of his car armed with semi-automatic weapons and been stopped as he tried to rush into the church, and not been able to kill anyone else, it seems clear to me that his previous writings and the presence of the weapons would have established mens rea adequately enough that the one killing by vehicle could not have been presented as anything other than part of a hate crime, the rest of which was prevented by luck and effective intervention.

I have no views on "hate crime murder" versus "terrorist act of murder", either works for me, and I can see merit in both or either definition.

And as for the "sex addiction" element of this latest spree of hate crime murder in Atlanta, what looks clear is that this was a young man tormented between his mad religiosity and his natural sexual urges, and as so often happens the mad religiosity made him turn his self-hatred outwards towards the women with whom he had been "sinning". This was what made me be so rude about CharlesWT's assumption that if they (or at least some of them) were women he had slept with it invalidated the theory that it was a hate crime directed at Asian women - the pyschological mechanism is, of course, the direct opposite of that. And that doesn't even take into account the weird western sexual stereotyping of Asian women, which might or might not also have played a part.

This was what made me be so rude about CharlesWT's assumption that if they (or at least some of them) were women he had slept with it invalidated the theory that it was a hate crime directed at Asian women ...

I didn't think about whether he had had any previous contact with the victims. I just thought that just because most of the victims were Asian wasn't proof that he was targeting Asians. If the massage parlors employed mostly Asians, most of his victims would have been Asian regardless of his motivations.

I may have misinterpreted, CharlesWT. It was in response to your this:

If the shooter is being truthful, the fact that most of the victims are Asian may be incidental.

"ATLANTA – Authorities on Wednesday said a gunman suspected of killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at three spas may have frequented the businesses but that it was too early to determine if the shootings would be considered a hate crime.

This seemed to suggest to me that your assumption was, if he was being truthful about having frequented them, it invalidated the possibility that their Asian-ness was a factor in the killings. Sorry if this was not what you were trying to say.

I should have been clearer that I meant if he was being truthful about his moral distress as being his motivation for attacking the massage parlors. I haven't kept up with the news. I don't whether they've established that he had been to any of the massage parlors as a customer.

One piece of local Atlanta information - the street/area of the attacks has a number of "adult" venues. The shooter drove past other potential targets (if all he was after was killing sex workers/strippers) before pulling in to a "spa" with the word "Asian" in the name. So incidental it was not.

I skimed some of the coverage on the Atlanta shootings and it looks to me like the shooter is a Rorschach blot that people see their favorate narrative in.

One of the headlines said the shooter had visited the spas before.

One of the headlines said the shooter had visited the spas before.

Yes, Charles. This is how it can work. If you think extramarital sex is super-sinful, but you can't resist visiting massage parlours for sexual purposes, you (if you are a particularly fucked up character who has been indoctrinated by a particularly fucked up church) a) hate yourself and b) turn your guilt outwards where it turns into violence towards the sinful temptresses who lure you. If they are also Asian, about whom many American men have strange fetishised fantasies, then those are the temptresses you will try to destroy.

Not the first time an edited video goes viral. And then turns out, intentionally or not, to be misleading.

"The full video (the relevant section starts at about 13:50) makes clear that Baker was not providing his own commentary, but rather summarizing what Long had told the investigators. The "bad day" line was proceeded by a clarification that this was Long's own explanation, as related to the police. Baker did not endorse it.

Nor did the captain endorse Long's statement that the killings were unrelated to racism. He makes clear he's relaying comments from Long. "He claims that—and as the chief said this is still early—but he does claim that it was not racially motivated," said Baker. Again, the police spokesman is telling reporters what Long said, not applying his own spin. [...]

It would be naive of the police—or the public, or anyone else—to accept what alleged killers say at face value. It's similarly naive to assume that the sex and ethnicity of the victims tells us everything we need to know about the crime. The police should investigate the matter dispassionately, and relay to the public whatever information they gather. Too often, law enforcement uses such press conferences to engage in wild speculation; this was a refreshing example of the cops not doing that."
The Media Got It Wrong: Police Captain Didn't Say the Atlanta Spa Killer Was Having a 'Bad Day': The full video shows that Jay Baker was paraphrasing what Robert Aaron Long told investigators about his motivations.

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