Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Open Carry Advocate Told He May Trigger Violence in Black Neighborhood

© (Kangaroo Kutz Facebook page)
A video recently made the rounds on social media of an angry Akron barber confronting a young white man carrying a rifle who was walking in the neighborhood around Akron University. The Barber called the young man a "threat to me and my people", presumably because the young man was white. The video has since been taken down everywhere, but this article in the Cleveland newspaper describes the incident. I saw the video and it's likely that it was taken down because it didn't help the "all white people are racists" narrative.

The video shows an angry barbershop owner, Deone Slater, confronting police and an armed young man,
David Kovacevic, shouting angrily and waving his arms around in a threatening manner. The confrontation was apparently caused by a white man legally carrying a firearm in a public place where there are commercial businesses (not strictly a "black neighborhood" as claimed by those who are angry at what he did), strolled down the street and passed a black-owned business. So let me get this straight. A white guy cannot walk peacefully in a black neighborhood with a gun as an obvious means of making a political statement because he might trigger a what? Riot? He might start indiscriminately shooting at black folks? 

Hey, I think it's stupid and provacative too, but it says something about the problem. Here the black citizen points out that the white guy is in danger from the black citizens of the hood for being provocative. I half expected him to say the white guy should also be careful not to make eye contact as well.  The angry man believes that it is not fair for a white guy with a gun to walk down the street in what he calls a "black neighborhood". He may be disappointed that only two cops show up and they don't administer a beat-down and arrest the 25 year-old on the spot. He believes apparently that a black guy with a gun peacefully walking in a white neighborhood gun would be in danger from the cops. Following his logic, white guys with guns who come near black people should get the same treatment.  

So, the white guy is in danger from the people in the 'hood and the black guy would be in danger from the cops?  Really?  That's what you want to say? What are you saying about the character of people in your neighborhood, man? Are they so explosively violent that a man walking with a gun is going to "cause trouble" just by being looked at.  Sounds like a racist statement to me.

And in this video, the cops DID show up to keep things under control. There was only one person who was angry, loud and provocative in this confrontation. The business owner would best have "protected" his business by calling the cops according to Democrats who know about such things. He seems to have done that. They came and nobody had a problem. Yeah the guy was provoking this sort of thing and the black guy obliged him - on camera no less. The black business owner inadvertently validated the point the white guy was trying to make.

What I want to know is how this one man peaceful protest (you notice he never raised his voice) is wrong and people throwing rocks at the cops and looting stores in white neighborhoods is okay. Remember that the Ferguson, Missouri protesters were rioting to defend the actions of a 6'4" 350 pound man who roughed up a clerk and stole stuff from his store a few minutes before, then reached into a cop car, tried to get the officer's gun, managed to fire a shot inside the squad car and then when told to halt, put his head down, turned and charged at an armed police officer half his size. Two very different situations. The white guy with the gun in the video successfully demonstrated his point. I'm not sure the guys breaking windows and carrying off televisions and liquor in Ferguson did as well at making theirs.

Some one will inevitably say that if a black man did the same thing in a white neighborhood (not a public street with stores and public places, but a neighborhood) there would be hundreds of cops called out and that they would shoot him on the spot.
Is that white cops only or black cops and Hispanic cops too? So, let me get this straight. Would the dispatcher call all the white cops on the force and tell them they need to go down and shoot some black guy who is in the wrong place and tell the black and Hispanic cops to stay where they are so they couldn't interfere with the cops' KKK tactics?  Really? Especially when the dispatcher is just as likely to be black or Hispanic or Asian as she is white?

Hyperbole is a word that means exaggeration or over-stating your case.
There's way too much of that and this kind of rhetoric only makes it worse. What needs to happen is we ALL need to work together to solve the problem. If it wasn't so scary for a white person to walk in a black neighborhood, perhaps guys like the one in the video wouldn't need to send some kind of message.

And whether anyone likes it or not, it makes white people nervous to be on foot in a black neighborhood. I broke down in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas once. While I was trying to get my car started a gang of black youths complete with do-rags and tats kept walking back and forth making all kinds of eye contact with me.

Me not wanting to have a confrontation where someone could get hurt, I put down my head, avoided eye contact and did my best to exhibit subservient body language. A couple of the fronted me wanting to know what I was doing there. Even me saying that my car broke down and I was trying to fix it seemed to provoke them. I was twice these boys' age. As their elder and someone who had never harmed them or been disrespectful to them, I should have got some respect. Instead I had to do the old slave shuffle to appease these guys and for no reason. I did the avoiding eye contact and ducking my head thing deliberately and tolerated the affront to my dignity in order not to have to possibly hurt one of them (I'm trained in self-defense and I was "armed" with a pretty well-equipped tool box just in case, but I avoided making any threatening moves. I would not have had to do that in most white neighborhoods except possibly for some deep ghetto areas with Aryan nation gangs or something.

The "neighborhood" in this video was not a deeply ethnic ghetto. It was a public commercial district next to a public university. And if the shop owner had let him pass, nothing would have happened. He could have called the cops and locked his doors till they got here. I'm sure it would have sent the same message that young black men get when white folks lock their car doors and drive away when they approach a white person's car in a parking lot. As it was Kovacevic had apparently walked around for quite a while before he got the reaction he was expecting.

Me? I think the young man's "protest" was kind of pointless and stupid and unnecessarily provocative, but then if he'd been ignored, it would also have been useless. By getting in his face and screaming at him, Mr. Slater only proved his point for him.

The same thing that happened in front of Mr. Slater's shop would have happened if he'd been a black man. If a heavily armed black man walked through a lily white neighborhood, folks would call the cops, just like they would if a heavily armed white guy in a hoodie walked through any neighborhood where there were kids. They'd call the cops if a brown man or a red man or a little green man who was armed with an assault rifle and who was unfamiliar walked down those leafy streets.

We're going to inflame a race war if we're not careful and its your innocent children and mine that are likely to get hurt. I'll refrain from the "all black people are gangsters" kind of rhetoric and I'll do it whether you tone down the "all white people are racist" rhetoric or not. It might be better, though, if we all toned it down a good bit.

The guys carrying big guns would not be doing so if the president and his supporters weren't trying to disarm the entire populace.
They make speeches and write books calling for totally disarming America. This worries Americans in a time when lawless criminals are jacking up the violence to higher and higher levels.  Understandably, we want to be able to defend our homes if attacked. If those boys in Oak Cliff had decided to take me down, I might have hurt a couple of them, but I'd have lost the fight badly. Had I been carrying, I could more easily have held the whole bunch at bay, perhaps avoided a fight altogether.

That's what people like the open carry protesters are trying to say. Allow us to defend ourselves. We're afraid if you take all our guns, you won't get the ones in criminal hands. You think taking guns and ammo our of stores will stop bad guys from arming themselves? Has banning illegal drugs stopped the drug trade?

Besides, ignoring the precepts of the Constitution is a bad idea. Once they feel like they can ignore the Second Amendment and take away guns from citizens, what's to prevent them from repealing the 14th amendment? Or the First? Or the Nineteenth?

I agree with critics of the violence in our society that something must be done. I just think that what we need to do is to change the message we are sending our children. I think it's going to require all of us to to be very careful what we say in front of cameras and in front of our children. If we keep telling our kids they have no hope because they are black or poor or Latino or redneck for that matter, then we create a world in which there is no hope. And hopelessness is what breeds violence and then breeds more hopelessness.

But there is hope.
Black men and women have been successful by dint of hard work and perseverance. We really are a nation in which there is opportunity to make something of yourself. Try coming out of the wreckage of Biafra and becoming a lawyer or a doctor or pro basketball player. Try it for that matter in Nigeria, the Sudan, Malaysia, Syria or Kazakhstan, especially, if you are the "wrong" race or tribe or religion. Here in America, our kids have a chance to make it. We're not perfect here, but it's getting steadily better (or at least it was).  We're moving beyond our past and we should acknowledge that. I have no desire of going back to the Old Democrat South of my youth with it's segregated schools, its rigged voting laws and its whites only signs all over the place. I hated it then and I hate it now. Only now, it's illegal to do all that stuff in the United States. That alone is cause for hopefulness.

So how about let's change the rhetoric and start talking hope and telling our kids they CAN do things instead of harping on things we think they can't do simply because they are hard. Teach our kids to be heroes like Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King, the Tuskegee Airmen and countless others who challenged the system and changed it. We're with you. I stood by my black brothers and sisters back in the 60s when it wasn't popular for a white guy to do that in my part of the world. You need your brothers and sisters in Christ to keep moving forward; changing the future for our next generation. When my own kids were little, our neighborhood looked like the United Nations. Most of the kids were absolutely color blind and when racism reared its ugly head, the kids shouted it down themselves no matter what color they happened to be. That's how you defeat racism.

A color-blind world is one we all can live in. This guy with the big gun? You should let people like me who support the second amendment, but not stupidity and pointless provocation call him down. It means more coming from his own side. If you get up on your haunches, it only helps him make a point to people too dim-witted to understand anything more than hashtag slogans in a 42 character Tweet.

© 2015 by Tom King

Monday, December 28, 2015

Hoofbeats of the Pale Rider

When people in this country believe that being too nice disqualifies a man from being president, we see but one of the many signs that Jesus told us would herald his coming. I weep for what kind of nation we are fast becoming - a nation of coarse, hateful, cold-blooded, self-centered narcissists only capable of understanding and appreciating that which is most like themselves.

We no longer look up to the good, the kind, the brave, the resourceful and decent. Instead we look inside ourselves for enlightenment; we make ourselves our own heroes and our own gods. We worship our own egos and we sacrifice those who live by the Golden Rule as virgins upon the altar of smug self-satisfaction.

God help us, but the apocalypse is coming. I can see the sparks in the distance as the fires are being kindled.

© 2015 by Tom King

Monday, December 14, 2015

Is Scalia a Racist for Asking the Defense to Answer a Point Made by the Plaintiff if the Point is Politically Incorrect?

Justice Scalia
"Justice Scalia Suggests Blacks Belong at "Slower" Colleges" is the inflammatory headline at that bastion of liberal political correctness, Mother Jones.

Well, I read Scalia's comments and the judge's question did tread upon the sacred progressive principle that minorities should be given special help to get into more exclusive programs. What the article also says, reluctantly (this is Mother Jones, after all), is that the question grew out of data presented by the plaintiff's attorneys and the question was asked of the defense, thereby giving them a chance to respond and to better inform the judges.  Apparently, liberal journalists like those at Mother Jones and The Huffing and Puffington Post believe that Supreme Court Justices should already have their minds made up ahead of time so that they need not even consider such questions.

The comment (unedited):

  • "There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well," Scalia said Wednesday during oral arguments in a case involving a race-conscious college admissions plan. The 79-year-old justice, speaking to a hushed courtroom, then referenced a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the case. "One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the University of Texas," he said, "they come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they're being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them."

At what point, do black students get held to the same standards as Asian, Hispanic and white students? Scalia asked if we're doing them a favor putting underachieving students in with overachievers. Do we then have to reduce the standards of the program to accommodate their less-than-stellar performance? If we do that, do we dumb down our advanced degree programs and thereby produce less competent graduates overall, in order satisfy some racial quota?

It's something to think about.

I think it is racist and insults black people to assume that blacks need to be held to lower standards because of their skin color. It seems to say, because you aren't as smart and capable, we have to reduce our standards for everyone. This is demonstrably untrue, especially when blacks like Dr. Ben Carson, Dr. Benjamin Banneker, Dr. George Washington Carver, Dr Daniel Hale Williams, Dr. Charles Richard Drew, Dr. Emmet Chapelle, Elijah McCoy, Madame CJ Walker, Patricia Bath, Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Airman have proven that a black man or woman can compete, not only on an even footing with whites, but also that, when the odds were against them, they could outperform white classmates.

Is it wise for us to tell black children that we need to dumb down our academic standards in order for them to compete with white students (or for that matter Asians and Hispanics)? 

The University of Texas does not discriminate against black students anymore
. The only real discrimination at UT is against whites. They also discriminate against conservatives as a few of my friends can tell you. If you enter their journalism program, for instance, and aren't pretty much a card-carrying Marxist, you are not likely to do well. I experienced the same discrimination myself for being a Christian and family man at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Despite having the highest grades in the toughest class in the program, the department chairman made it impossible for me to complete the program, having told me at one point that "If you are a good scientist and are asked, 'Is there a God?', the appropriate answer is 'NO' in all circumstances."  I was forced to resign from the program. No black students, liberal white students, Hispanic or gay males were asked to leave that program. Only the conservative, Christian white male and they had consistently gotten rid of the only white male that had been accepted into the program every year for the previous 10 years but one.  Lucky me, it was the year before I joined the program and they were loaded for bear when I came on.

That seems like discrimination to me, but then the Supreme Court long ago ruled that a university graduate program can toss out a person if they don't like the color of their hair or anything else if they want to and you have no right to sue them. I'm still paying off a school debt I can't afford to pay because they discriminated against me because of my religion and gender.

Scalia's comment was, in effect, that perhaps we shouldn't force a program to accept kids that haven't done the work necessary to meet the program's standards if there are schools available that aren't as challenging that they can meet the standards for? He never said blacks should be relegated to such schools because of their race. The defendants were arguing that, what is in essence, racial discrimination is appropriate because they can't get enough black applicants who can meet the high standards of certain advanced degree programs.

Dr. Ben Carson came out of Detroit, an educational cesspool if there ever was one and went to Yale, the only school he applied to. He did so, he says, because his Mama rode him to do well in school and wouldn't accept less than excellent work. Black students can excel, but not if we keep telling them they don't have to try as hard as their white classmates because they are "disadvantaged". They have the same textbooks as their white classmates and the same opportunities.

Are those who are outraged at Scalia's comments really saying that something is wrong with the black community that it can't educate its children properly - enough to get them into good schools without making the good schools less "good"?

I went to a little public school in Keene because I couldn't afford church school. It was me and the local heathens and the kids who got kicked out of church school. The local churchmen on the school board deliberately kept the school underfunded so it would be unattractive to local parents and would not compete with the church school. My family was one of the poorest in town. My stepfather made a dollar an hour. Mom didn't work outside home. The linoleum floors in our house rose and fell like they were breathing whenever there was a high wind. We ate mostly biscuits, rice and beans. Sandwiches were a delicacy. So the public school was the one I went to till tenth grade. I was bullied and battered. A significant number of my classmates did prison time. I had a couple of years of church school and worked my way through. My grades were pretty good.

I scored in the top 2% on my SATs at the end of high school and was salutatorian of my class. I overcame my less-than-privileged childhood because I had access to the same books and library books as everyone else. I just read them is all.

It's not poverty keeping kids down. It's expectations. I had the same thing going for me that Ben Carson did - a mom who expected me to work hard in school. Instead of asking schools to go easy on the poor little snowflakes, we need to work on the attitude of those who would make black children believe they are less capable than their white classmates and that people are going to have to make it easy for them because their skin color makes them less intelligent and less able to succeed.

To me that is racism of the worst sort. Booker T. Washington would agree with me too. It was W.E.B. Dubois who thought we ought to make it easier for black people because their parents had once been slaves.  Dubois was a card-carrying Communist and participated in the promotion of a different kind of slavery that included everyone.

I am against racism and discrimination by race - every race in every case.  All men created equal, with equal opportunity. There is no guarantee, however, as to what you will do with your equal shot. When you start trying to give government power to game the system in favor of one group or another, you set us all up for the kind of Image to the Beast power that Revelation has warned us against. For if they can discriminate against me, they can discriminate against you.

And a lot of the rhetoric is simply lies. If you listened to the "progressive" pundits you'd think most black males in the US go to prison, but According to government figures, more than twice as many young African American men are now enrolled in college than are imprisoned. Black graduation numbers are up. One would hope that's because the parents of those kids are riding their little butts to do their homework and to finish school rather than because the schools are making it easier for them.

Scalia's comments weren't so crazy and if you read the reports, even in the liberal press. Scalia was simply putting forth an idea to the defendant that the plaintiff's attorneys in the case had put forward, namely that statistics showed blacks were able to achieve advanced degrees in other universities, even if their academic standards on entering weren't up to the standards of some more demanding university programs. The defendant's lawyers were asked to answer a legitimate question put forward by the plaintiff's attorneys. Scalia simply had the misfortune of being the one to, rather than ignore the question because it was politically incorrect, give the defendant an opportunity to respond to the point.

Instead of talking about what the defendant answered (which might have been instructive), the media did what the liberal media does - it crucified Scalia for even asking the question. In essence, the media expects a Supreme Court justice to ignore evidence presented by the plaintiff because it might not be approved by the guardians of political correctness.

Scalia's question should have been asked in order to give the defense an opportunity to answer the charges of the plaintiff. It was a fair question. Even one of the pundits at CNN agrees.

If we're not allowed to talk about both sides of a debate, it's not the Supreme Court any longer. It's a kangaroo court (no offense intended to either Australia in general or to kangaroos specifically.

© 2015 by Tom King

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Fallacy of Science-Tology - How Science and Religion Share the Same Problem

Sounds like a real zinger for the science-tologists
doesn't it?  Here's why it's not so much.

A friend posted this little zinger on Facebook that is supposed to show us how stupid and narrow-minded religious persons are.  I would challenge this statement. I think religious people may, in fact, be more broad-minded that folk I like to call "science-tologists" - people for whom science is their religion.

First, I recommend to my friend that he should read a ground-breaking book by Thomas Kuhn called "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." Kuhn's work demonstrates the clearly the fallacy of the belief that science is the linear accumulation of data and steady progress of discovery. This caused him a lot of grief from scientists who have a vested interest in presenting themselves as coldly objective observers of the universe, who are not influenced by emotions or preconceived beliefs.

Kuhn, however, shows that scientific progress is impacted by the preconceived notions of scientists; that scientific paradigms can be as rigid as religions some time.  Scientific knowledge proceeds, not smoothly upward toward truth as the public relations for "science" would have you believe, but rather grows in a herky-jerky stairstep fashion. 

This happens because people (scientists are, after all, people) have the tendency to establish a set of beliefs they live by and to resist changing those beliefs; often with considerable energy. Scientific paradigms are usually developed by individual scientists, while they are earning their PhD's. Once one of these guys establishes a paradigm or set of beliefs about their field of study, they tend to stick to that belief set and to defend it throughout their careers. Change happens because scientists test their theories and accumulate data. Finally, one day, in what seems an almost overnight shift in the standard belief paradigm, scientists change their belief systems - often quite dramatically.

After years and years of data which conflicts with the old paradigm accumulates and is rejected by the scientific establishment, suddenly some lucky person, usually a younger person, puts together all the conflicting evidence and demonstrates that the old theory is inadequate, if not totally wrong. When everyone can clearly see that, for instance, disease does not happen because a person has too much bad blood and we need to let it out to give the patient relief.  Once the evidence is overwhelming, then and only then does the "accepted" paradigm shift to a new accepted paradigm. Usually that only happens after a brief and bloody battle between the old school and the young bucks in the field.

This happened in physics during Newton's time when the old Aristotlean theories about physics fell to Newton's Laws of Motion. It happened in planetary science after the Earth-centric model of the universe fell to the helio-centric model after Copernicus, Galileo and other astronomers collective observations of planetary movements through telescopes and mathematical calculation demonstrated clearly that the sun did not circle the earth after all. This remained the model for some time without change until further observations revealed that even the sun wasn't the center of the universe, but circled around a galactic core. 

And so it proceeded with each generation clinging to its models of science. Biologists' disease theories were shaken by Van Leewenhoek and his microscope, causing a huge kerfuffle which resulted in germ theory and an enormous paradigm shift in biology and medicine.

Einstein finally capped off the evidence that Newtonian physics did not account for everything physicists had observed. They young patent clerk put it all together and presented his ground-breaking work which resulted in a seismic shift in physics from a Newtonian universe to a relativistic one. Since then we've gone on to quantum theory, then jumped to chaos theory and now there's an uncomfortable debate being caused by new evidence that may indicate that there is some sort of intelligent design going on.

The point is that each batch of scientists thinks they know it all and clings to and defends their knowledge base until the whole thing falls in a heap before an accumulation of new evidence to the contrary. Some scientists are never able to make the transition and retire when it gets to upsetting to go on.

Christianity is also a progressive science with each new generation adding to our knowledge base about God. What started out as an informal simple shepherd's religion, became Judaism, a highly structured religion that was a radical departure from animastic and polytheistic worship systems. Judaism finally gave rise to Christianity which morphed into Catholicism, Protestantism and bred hundreds of new Christian denominations - all claiming to be searching for a more clear knowledge and understanding of God.

Like scientists, Christians (especially Christian theologians) seek to deepen their understanding of God. The do this through study of Scripture to be sure, but also through the study of the ancient languages in which the Scriptures were written and the history of the church. In addition, theologians and practicing Christians study science, world history, mathematics, medicine, biology, and pretty much every other field of study you can imagine, looking to achieve a greater understanding of God.

No Christian who is at all honest with him or herself will claim to know it all and never do we claim we already know it all. Scripture tells us much, but also leaves much to discover for ourselves by our own experiments. We learn as much about God and our place in His creation as is possible in our short lifetimes. It is a never-ending study. Most of us spend a half hour to an hour studying every morning to learn more and we attend weekly meetings which last for hours in which we study and discuss what we believe.

It's safe to say that most people who believe in "science" instead of religion probably don't do that. The fact is that the major difference between those whose religion is science and those who believe in God is that Christians do not rule out the existence of God simply because scientists haven't found evidence of Him to their satisfaction. Most science-based religionists (the science-tologists) absolutely do rule out the existence of God before they ever get started on any theory. This seems to me to violate one of the tenets of science, which is not to rule out anything simply because you can't see it, hear it, smell it, feel it or taste it yet.

Does it seem at all logical to you that the greatest intellect in the universe, a pan-dimensional being who exists outside the confines of time and space, would present himself to any random science guy in order to prove His existence to their satisfaction?  It would be like biologists ruling out the existence of germs simply because the germs did not consent to make them big enough to see with the instruments available to scientists at the time and place in which they lived. Scientists, you know those guys that are purely objective once did reject the idea of living creatures too small to see as the source of disease. Heck, doctors didn't even watch their hands before performing surgery until relatively recently, despite evidence that some invisible something was being passed around among their patients that they couldn't see. 

Astronomers ruled out the idea that the Earth moves in space simple because Aristotle said it didn't and he was the guy that wrote the books they all studied to get their doctorates.  Even the pagan astronomers who didn't believe in the Christian God couldn't imagine such a thing as the Earth going round the sun. They came up with all kinds of elaborate models to explain why the planets appeared to move as they did.

So the premise that science is superior to mere religion because it is more honest and objective, doesn't really hold up. While some Christians are quite rigid and dismissive in their belief systems, they aren't alone in being so. Scientists can be just as obtuse when it comes to things outside their belief systems. There are honest scientists and honest Christians who are willing to consider the evidence and advance in their fields of knowledge in a more incremental fashion. Unfortunately, there are just as many, if not more, who, as my grandmother described it, "They're old and set in their beliefs."

As science has become more willing to consider the evidence, science and technology have grown exponentially. As religion has learned more about the object of its worship, society has made huge strides toward improving the lot of man. We've gone from a society that martyrs heretics and burns witches to one that mobilizes vast resources to relieve suffering, feed the hungry, heal the sick and provide for those in need. Who says religious people can't learn anything. A hundred and fifty years ago, some ignorant Christians convinced themselves that committing genocide against Native Americans was somehow God's will.  And I had ancestors on both sides of that deal.

Thankfully, knowledge is progressive and we've all learned something over the centuries in spite of ourselves. We've gone from "Might is Right" to "Might for Right", for the most part, because of the influence of Christianity. It took us a thousand years, but that only proves how stubbornly we all cling to our beliefs, even the ones that are inconsistent with what we say we believe. That includes scientists, politicians and soldiers too; not just churchgoers.

Suppose we stop sniping at each other and see what we can learn from each other. Believe it or not we can, if we just give ourselves permission to do so.

© 2015 by Tom King