Wednesday, September 26, 2018

That one mattress shooting video

Here is my lukewarm take on the mattress shooting video. This is a case of what feminists call “toxic masculinity”. But we can call it “thinking with your balls” or TWYB. Call it what ever you like, this is a case of multiple men afraid of looking weak in front of others. If for some reason, you haven't seen this video, go ahead and watch it. Yes, someone dies. But it's not the worst death video on the internet, not by a long shot. It's full of teachable moments.

1. If there are two guys with guns and no shirts standing in an alley and you don't want them there, you still shouldn't scream death threats and homophobic slurs at them. And don't throw a baseball bat at them. These guys might be looking for a good excuse to kill you. They might settle for a bad excuse. You can walk away and call the police. Or you can walk away and come back with your own gun. I strongly recommend calling the police, but just start walking towards the house, have a seat, and think long and hard about how you want to handle this. If all you have is a bat, you aren't ready to take those guys yet.
2. If you have enough time to think of a legal defense before shooting a guy, your legal defense probably won't work as well as you thought it would. You have to be in fear for your life to claim self-defense. You have to be thinking “Oh god, it's him or me!” not “Ok, here's what I'm going to say to the jury.” Whether it's right or wrong, your jury is going to include 12 people who would rather not be there. They are going to watch this video of somebody getting shot over an old mattress and they are going to think that if only the defendants went back inside, the jurors would not be taking time off of work right now. This is part of the reason why most cases that go to trial end up in convictions.
3. Yes, it's a good idea to record a violent confrontation if you can safely do so. But if you say something like “You won't shoot..” then somebody is probably getting shot.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

That One New York Times Op Ed

Whoever wrote this New York Times op-ed is a committed Republican. He supported Trump in 2016, and he will support Trump in 2020 if he is re-nominated. He would rather have an incompetent Republican as President than a competent Democrat. This is why he continues to work under Trump.

If Trump is incompetent, and his administration knows this, one might wonder why the Vice President and the Cabinet don't remove him from office using the 25th Amendment. The op-ed author wrote:

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

This is a poor excuse. The 25th Amendment was passed to prevent constitutional crises due to presidential incapacity. The author expects you to believe that following the Constitution would cause a constitutional crisis. If Trump tried to pardon himself, as he has threatened to do, that would create a constitutional crisis.

The fact is, at this point in time, Mike Pence either believes that Trump is capable of doing his job, or he is content to let a corrupt old fool sit in the Oval Office. Republicans know that the Trump train is going to derail. But they aren't going to turn on him before the midterm elections. If Trump manages to find that upper limit of what the public will tolerate, they are going to use Trump as a scapegoat. They're going to trade in their MAGA hats and act like they were part of the #NeverTrump resistance all along.