The Martyr of Passover

Echoing the Easter massacres, though fortunately on a much smaller scale -- a single gunman, a single death -- another attempt to profane the most sacred. Or, more properly, to argue about what is and is not sacred; and to sacralize, in the old way with blood, that which the enemy holds sacred into something sacred for you. The Easter bombings were intended to be like the transformation of Hagia Sophia from basilica into mosque; this, an attempt to transform the day that God passed over the Jews into a day for killing them in the name of a mythical race.

Fortunately, even in California, an armed citizen -- an off-duty Border Patrol officer, by reports -- was there to stop it. And fortunately, in America unlike in Sri Lanka, the enemy sought to do his work with guns instead of bombs. There's not so much you can do with bombs, not even if you are armed and brave. As long as they stick to guns there is a fighting chance.

These attacks are attacks on a particular religion, but they are also attacks on the American ideal of religious liberty: on the idea that it is all right for you to be a different faith from me, that I don't consider it my business just as long as you grant me the same courtesy. The enemy isn't just an enemy of Christians here or Jews there; they are our common enemy insofar as they feel it proper to turn people into blood sacrifices in order to exert control over us.

We must oppose all of this sort because our cause is liberty. Non enim propter gloriam diuivias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatum: quam nemo bonus nisi simul vita amittit.

Trump at the NRA

The President offered a welcome sentiment today:

"[T]hat American liberty is sacred, and that American citizens live by American laws, not the laws of foreign countries."

That's right. I'm hoping to help other nations attain protections for their own natural right to keep and bear arms, of course. Whether they do or they do not, though, I intend to pass those rights intact to my grandchildren and to future generations.

Others disagree. We can expect a fight. It is a fight I mean to win, or to die in.

Trend Lines

Compare and contrast the trend lines for school shootings for all schools, versus schools with armed teachers.

Well, it's empirical. It could change tomorrow. Still and all, so far it's a striking delta.

Elvis is Everywhere

Joe Bob Briggs writes about threats to sell Graceland to Dubai.
But as I say, I qualify as an amateur expert on Elvis’ place in world history since I was an actor in a critically trashed 1989 movie called Great Balls of Fire, a Jerry Lee Lewis biopic filmed entirely in Memphis and vicinity. My character was Dewey Phillips, the pioneering radio personality who had a show called Red, Hot and Blue on WHBQ in the 1950s. In my youthful zeal for background research, I sought out every newspaper article, recording, and reminiscence about this disc jockey who had been the first to broadcast an Elvis record. (The song was “That’s All Right,” although he also played the flip side, which was “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”) And what I discovered was that a phenomenon like Elvis could only have occurred in the Mississippi Delta of that era.
He has a brief but plausible argument for why Memphis had to be the place where rock n' roll was born. It touches on the current debate about 'cultural appropriation' by raising a contrasting point that is often missed. It also gives rock n' roll a kind of locality, a place and time where it belongs, which is harder to appreciate now that it has become so universalized. Even the United Arab Emirates wants a piece of Elvis.

Here's the song, by the way. I have to admit I always thought this was a Grateful Dead tune, because in my own youth their version of it was so much more prominent. I didn't realize until reading Joe Bob today that it was an Elvis tune, let alone his first radio hit.

Why Notre Dame?

The DB had a funny joke about Trump sending the 82nd Airborne to secure Notre Dame -- the joke being that he sent them to the university, not the French cathedral. Not everyone who is out of place at Notre Dame is part of a satire, however. Consider the new director of gender relations for the student government.
[A fellow student] expressed concerns that [the director]’s condemnation of Catholic sexual ethics would affect her policies as director of Gender Relations at Notre Dame, where at least 80 percent of the students are Catholic.

[She] had said in a now deleted tweet: “I see the [Catholic] faith as inherently against female empowerment and sexual freedom.”

She also tweeted, “Catholic marriage isn’t about love, it was conceived to make licit the illicit act of sex for the purpose of procreation (evangelization).”
I'm leaving out the names of the students because, though not minors, they are still young and figuring things out. The ideas are worth criticizing, but I don't want to engage in any sort of personal attacks on someone so young.

That said, if that's how you feel about things, Notre Dame might not be the right place for you. I know: she chose the place just because she wants to take a hammer to the Catholic faith. That's also why she seeks a position in student government, which ordinary students completely ignore because it has very little real effect on anything. It's merely a platform for activism, and some people were raised to believe -- or came to believe -- that activism is good in itself.

Minding one's own business is another good, in part because it allows people who disagree to get along. When 80% of people in your community agree, they represent the norm in your community, and as a dissenter you should consider trying to get along with them -- or else finding a new community that better fits your view of what is right. It's a big country, and there are lots of communities that do, pretty much no matter what you believe.

Who was really playing footsie with the Russians?

Kim Strassel is doing good reporting on the Steele Dossier, just when Mueller and his fellow-travelers are most desperately trying to cover it with a pillow.  The link is to a HotAir summary, in case you don't want to deal with the WSJ firewall.
How did Mr. Mueller spend two years investigating every aspect of Russian interference—cyberhacking, social-media trolling, meetings with Trump officials—and not consider the possibility that the dossier was part of the Russian interference effort?
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Attorney General William Barr may answer some of the questions Mr. Mueller refused to touch. Thanks to the special counsel we know Republicans weren’t playing footsie with Russians. But thanks to BuzzFeed, we know that Democrats were. America deserves to know how far that interaction extended.
Some more from another good investigative reporter, John Solomon, about the Ukraine-Democrat team.

Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

I didn't see this yesterday. The article about it over at PJ Media begins:

Today, April 24, marks the “Great Crime,” that is, the genocide of Christians—mostly Armenians but also Assyrians—that took place under the Islamic Ottoman Empire throughout World War I.  Then, the Turks liquidated approximately 1.5 million Armenians and 300,000 Assyrians.

Most objective American historians who have studied the question unequivocally agree that it was a deliberate, calculated genocide ...
Here is the Wikipedia article on the subject.

Defending Democrats

Tex's favorite radical, Jordan B. Peterson, has co-authored a piece in today's Wall Street Journal. It argues that, actually, we should relax a bit about the apparently crazy things going on in the Democratic Party because most of the party doesn't support those things.
Yet many Americans remain worried that the Democrats are readying to Make America Unrecognizable, and the party shares some of the blame. They’ve hardly shouted themselves hoarse decrying socialism and have let it hinder the pragmatic idealists among them. If Democrats want the privilege of governing, they need to assert more effectively the values that center the party in every sense of the word.

There are encouraging signs. Take the realistic legislation proposed by the caucus since taking the majority. House Resolution 1 targets corruption, H.R. 2 focuses on infrastructure, and H.R. 3 aims to reduce prescription drug prices. The sole gun-control bill, H.R. 8, is a bipartisan initiative requiring violent-history checks for buyers, a policy supported by 92% of Americans and 69% of National Rifle Association members.
I can't agree that HR1 is encouraging. HR1 is mostly a wish-list of voting reform measures designed to hamper Republicans and help Democrats. It might be fairly said to "target corruption," but only in the sense that it is itself an attempt at corrupting the voting process in order to ensure preferred outcomes. One of the proposals, for example, is to eliminate the ability of states to cross-check voter registrations to ensure that someone isn't registered to vote twice. There can be no purpose for such a proposal except to enable people to be registered to vote twice, which strongly suggests an interest in getting people to vote twice.

It also includes the 'ensure felons can vote' proposal we were discussing yesterday. Getting more convicted criminals involved in our politics does not seem like the obvious way to avoid corruption in our politics. There are things to like about HR1 -- the paper ballot requirement, say -- but as a whole it's an unsupportable power grab.

HR8 may intend what they claim, but its method is to ban me from selling guns to you, or you to me. I could only transfer my firearms to someone licensed by the Federal government, who would then operate under whatever controls the Federal government saw fit in transferring them to you (or, more to the point, not transferring them).

Still, I'll grant that these early bills represent priorities, and that some of them are somewhat less radical than the stuff being talked about loudly on Twitter.

Supporting their argument somewhat is this collection of anecdotes from vulnerable swing-district Democratic representatives who went home to talk to their constituents.
“In the big spectrum of everything, people are still deeply concerned about prescription drug prices... about the opportunity to get their kids education. They’re wanting to see Washington focused on immigration reform.”...

And in another challenge for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her deputies, vulnerable members couldn’t escape questions on some of the key issues that have divided the new majority, such as “Medicare for All,” the “Green New Deal” and the party's response to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s criticism of Israel.... At Delgado’s event in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., a woman angrily complained about transgender rights while a man raised concerns about the anti-vax movement fueling a measles outbreak in the state....

[There is] “10 times the amount of interest” on issues like health care, immigration and student debt than on impeachment or investigations into Trump.... The true metric of success is whether or not we’re able to push infrastructure and health care.”...

Most of these swing district Democrats are reluctant to embrace impeachment. [Rep.] Van Drew flatly rejects it[.]
So maybe there is something to be said for the proposition that they're much less radical than they present, and that there's some potential for pragmatic solutions on things like infrastructure. Dr. Peterson may be right about that; anyway, he is once again being radical by trying to calm the temperature and convince people they can find ways to work things out. That's an interesting approach for a man as radical as he is said to be.

Thinking Things Through

This young man is AOC's chief of staff.

He's arguing that felons should have voting rights, even while in prison. His first argument was "What's the reason NOT to let incarcerated people vote? Shouldn't the people most affected by unjust laws have some say in electing people to change them?" That's a bit hasty, since you would need first to establish the injustice of the laws. If the laws are unjust, then people imprisoned for violating them should be pardoned, and the laws repealed. Are all laws unjust? Hm, I like that idea; I'm not sure if it holds up to serious analysis, but it sounds good.

So his second argument (top link in this post) is that the Constitution speaks of voting rights similarly to the right to keep and bear arms, i.e., 'in terms of not being abridged.' Well, yes, except:

1) All of those references are conditioned to limiting specific infringements, e.g., 'not on the account of sex; not on the account of race.' The implication is that other sorts of infringement are acceptable. In terms of setting the voting age at 18, for example, the amendment explicitly says that you cannot abridge the right to vote on account of age for those who have reached the age of 18; but that is, itself, an abridgment on the account of age for those under 18.

The 2nd Amendment is not conditional: "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

2) As many commentators pointed out, taking this argument seriously would mean that even felons could not be disarmed while in prison. The 2nd Amendment is even more categorical than any of the voting rights amendments, so insofar as there's a parallel case for felons, you'd have to let them keep guns with them while they were in the Federal pen.

That's a more absolutist position on the 2A than I've ever advocated, but now that they've raised it... hey, you know, maybe I could go along with that too! Perhaps I've misjudged these young folks, with their bold ideas for repealing all laws and ensuring that no one is ever disarmed by the state.

Slavoj Žižek Gets His Hair Cut

A poem.

If you aren't familiar with the philosopher being handled here, you can read about him.

Who is "They"? Who is "Us"?

In response to Tom's post, below, I notice that it's about Romans killing Christians; Mark Steyn would like to underline that our current problem is not about Romans, or pagans, but more particular. There's something to that; the Romans viewed Christians as a challenge to their state power, until they came suddenly to view Christians as a reinforcing source of new state legitimacy. Neither of those things are what is going on now.

The irony, which Wretchard points out, is that the Easter attacks are reported to have been 'retaliation' for the Christchurch attacks in New Zealand: an attack carried out by a man who was neither a Kiwi nor a Christian. "The 'Easter Worshippers,'" Wretchard writes, "are just a designated target." Round up the usual suspects, as it were.


"Weaker and robust" is a contradiction in terms, so you will have to guess at what the author meant to convey there, but the rest of it is interesting.

They've Been Killing Us for a Long Time

Today's saint of the day in the Orthodox Church is Martyr Sabbas Strateletes.

Quoting from the Orthodox Ancient Faith website:

Martyr Sabbas Strateletes (“the General”) of Rome, and 70 soldiers with him (272)

April 24, 2019 Length: 0:58

He came from a noble Gothic family. Like St George, he was an officer in the imperial army. He lived a life of great purity, fasted greatly, and often visited imprisoned Christians. Because of this his Christian faith became known, and when he was summoned before the Emperor, he boldly confessed his faith. He was tortured in many ways, but emerged unharmed. Seeing this miracle, seventy of his fellow-soldiers confessed Christ and were beheaded at the Emperor's command. Sabbas himself was condemned to death by drowning, and gave his soul to God in 272.

Defensive Gun Use and the CDC

Indeed, the CDC study, which the federal agency conducted from 1996 to 1998, found there are 2.46 million defensive gun uses in the U.S. each year.... "[The]CDC's results, then, imply that guns were used defensively by victims about 3.6 times as often as they were used offensively by criminals," [Klek] writes.

Stoking "Far Right Anger"

The Washington Post warns that the Sri Lanka bombing is stoking "far right anger in the West," where people think -- for some strange reason -- that "Christianity is under attack."

You'd think that people not on the far right could spare a little anger over this.

I find it interesting that they cite this CSIS study of terrorist incidents, finding that most of them have Muslim victims. That's all very well, but in a year and a half this study captured only 28,031 deaths. If there are 100,000 Christians being killed annually worldwide, the problem is one of definitions: which set of murders are making it into the study? Christians may be the most persecuted religious group in the world right now in terms of violence. It may also be the most persecuted faith in nonviolent ways, according to this Pew study.

Maybe we could get some mid-stream, middle-of-the-road, moderate types to join the chorus. This shouldn't be a partisan issue, should it?

Forsworn Oathbreakers

What happens if you break an oath in the United States? If you are forsworn of your oath of naturalization, which requires abjuring all foreign allegiance and bearing true allegiance to America instead, is there a process by which your citizenship can be revoked?

If you are forsworn of your oath of office, you can be impeached or recalled, although it rarely happens. We require a lot of oaths of office, but it doesn't seem as if they come with any means of enforcement. I think once honor served as a kind of method of enforcement, as being known as a forsworn oathbreaker would have been seen as shameful enough that few would dare court it. Now, though, that system seems to have failed. What is left?

The Martyrs of Easter

In Sri Lanka, bombs targeting churches on Easter have killed more than two hundred. They join around a hundred thousand Christian martyrs a year, which is to say that today's death toll is repeated every single day, on average. You just don't hear about it.

A few days ago Tom was asking whether the Church could offer moral clarity to its members any longer. It cannot, if it cannot stand up for its moral principles. It has not only failed to protect the innocent within its own arms, it has sheltered criminals who preyed upon the weakest children. It has not only failed to protect the faithful abroad, it has barely mentioned them as they are slaughtered every day and every hour around the globe.

Raymond Lull, another martyr, knew what was needed.
Then if a knight use not his office, he is contrary to his order and to the beginning of chivalry. *** The office of a knight is to maintain and defend the holy catholic faith by which God the Father sent his Son into the world to take human flesh in the glorious Virgin, our Lady Saint Mary; and for to honor and multiply the faith, suffered in this world many travails, despites, and anguishous death. Then in like wise as our Lord God hath chosen the clerks for to maintain the holy catholic faith with scripture and reasons against the miscreaunts and unbelievers, in like wise God of glory hath chosen knights because that by force of arms they vanquish the miscreaunts, which daily labor for to destroy holy church, and such knights God holdeth them for his friends honored in the world and in that other when they keep and maintain the faith by the which we intend to be saved....

The office of a knight is to maintain and defend women, widows, and orphans, and men diseased and not powerful ne strong. For like as custom and reason is that the greatest and most might help the feeble and less, and that they have recourse to the great; right so is the order of chivalry, because she is great, honorable, and mighty, be in succor and in aid of them that been under him and less mighty and less honored than he is....

The office of a knight is also to search for thieves, robbers, and other wicked folk, for to make them to be punished. For in like wise as the ax is made for to hew and destroy the evil trees, in like wise is the office of a knight established for to punish the trespassers and delinquents.
The Church has cast away the sword that Jesus came to bring. If it will not pick it up again, only God can save it.