Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Why We Can't Have Nice Things


"Why do these jaspers always show up at meal time?" - Sheriff Jason McCullough, Calendar CO

Reference: this article from Captain's Journal linked at WRSA:
Law Enforcement Wrongfully Confiscates New York Veteran's Guns

My response:

Cat’s breakfast.
Without any defense of the indefensible actions in this case, the article is all over the map.

1) The original incident was a simple error. It shouldn’t have happened, but it was made in good faith, not maliciously. It was already redressed when he got his guns back. Before you shit yourself in response, read on.

2) The original error was made by a private entity. Redress for that is called a civil suit. Whoever conflated the victim’s name with the information of a mental patient should be sued, both for the actual damages pursuant to being misidentified, and the legal and court costs of regaining his property improperly confiscated, and for punitive damages for being so recklessly and maliciously incompetent as to make the error in the first place, and subject the victim to all the subsequent trouble and damage to his rights and reputation. Cases settled in seven or eight digits and more are the only thing large corporations, like hospitals, pay attention to, and correct. I hope he makes it hurt. In NFY, there should only be about 500,000 lawyers happy to take that case on a contingency fee for 1/3 of the final settlement.

3) The state of NY, and the local agency involved in the fiasco, owns this for not doing anything to perform due diligence in insuring the victim was correctly identified. The slightest attempt to do so before serving papers would have raised the point that the man they were sent after was not the one they were supposed to go after.
The double injustice is that there was, potentially, a mental case with guns that they were busy not going after, because they’re lazy and sloppy.
Once again, civil lawsuits are the only thing that gets their attention.

4) The law itself is a violation of the Bill of Rights (and probably the NY State Constitution as well), and should be challenged by the victim in state and federal courts. (He can use the proceeds from the civil cases to pay the freight on this, but the NRA and every gun rights org. in NFY should be signing up to assist the case and fund the suits.)
Had the victim in this incident even been the right guy, a certified nut job in prior legal possession of firearms, he should have been given a court date to examine the order, before allowing the government to attempt to deprive him of his property. That’s how the game is supposed to be played, going back a five or ten centuries of common law, regarding due process. The SAFE Act horseshit should be declared unconstitutional on that basis alone.

Certainly not as satisfying as shooting down the first two assholes in your driveway from the get-go, but better for your long-term life prospects, and it also has the added benefit of preventing the inevitable next 500 similar mistakes.

5) The article going into the invalidity of removing guns from crazy people to prevent suicide has nothing to do with anything, including the price of tea in China. People who are certified as batshit crazy shouldn’t have guns for the same reason babies shouldn’t be given live hand grenades. Period. Full stop. The fact that they can still figure out a way to off themselves without a firearm is a problem for train companies, people who don’t put safety fences along the tops of multi-story parking structures, etc., as well as the nutjob’s next of kin, and not otherwise of any concern to me, nor the law, let alone justifying it.
If a state’s mission in passing laws is to prevent suicide, then the obvious solution is to tell the ACLU to fuck itself, and start throwing whackjob lunatics back into nuthouses where they belong, like we used to do for decades, before nutjobs got to free-range all over society, and decent folks had to pack heat everywhere and lock themselves into a mini-fortress at night.
For a bonus, with that approach, “homelessness” would virtually disappear in fifty states, overnight.
Agitate for a return to that level of common sense, and I’ll subscribe to your newsletter and cheer your parade.

Whereupon Captain Kangaroo, author of the piece, took exception in comments:

Do you read English or just pretend to?
The article specifically addresses all of the things you brought up before you posed them as objections, almost as if I anticipated the objections of the progressives, huh?
First of all, the only correct thing you wrote in your entire response is that this could have been done better, to wit, independent or double verification of the SS# before it was submitted. But they didn’t, and they won’t, no matter how many lawsuits you file. They’ll just put their lawyers on it, and the poor schmuck who was abused through this process will get nothing except a big lawyer bill. Only the lawyers will get rich. Or else, the taxpayers will fund it since the woman was acting as an organ of the state obeying state statutes. And she was an organ of the state no matter what you said. Nothing you have said disproves it.
Then you proceeded to extend your missive by telling us that none of the stuff about psychological “disorders” or suicide matters to the conversation, and since it doesn’t matter to the conversation to anyone you addressed it in full by telling us that no one who is a “lunatic” or “bat shit crazy” should be allowed to have guns, and advocating an expansion of mental hospitals (one of the pieces of the Holy grail for the progressives and eugenicists).
The fact that there is no clinical definition of “lunatic” or “bat shit crazy” doesn’t matter to you. You just threw those words out without knowing anything about what they might mean or not mean. And you didn’t read the linked articles at all, you know, those articles where mental health professional after mental health professional tells us that mental maladies have nothing whatsoever to do with propensity to violence, and access to firearms has nothing to do with success at suicide.
And yet you persisted in those issues which you said don’t matter to anyone. But your rejoinder failed because you self-identified as a believer in neighborhood witchdoctors, aka, mental health professionals. Do you also have a totem pole in your basement and throw chicken bones over your shoulder while muttering incantations at the moon gods?
Even when the pagans tell you they can’t help you with your project to prevent “bat shit crazy people” from having guns, you persisted in your pagan project of doctoring other men. You don’t even object, per se, to the existence of the SAFE act, just that the woman in the hospital put the wrong SS# in the ledger.
Massive fail. Complete and total disaster. Not my article, but your response to it. You learned nothing about yourself. That’s why I wrote it – so that men learn something about themselves. I learned all I need to know about you. You’re a pagan who believes in witchdoctors. You didn’t think one bit through the article, so you missed out completely and absolutely.

Comments there are time-truncated, so lest fate rob El Capitan of his due...

Dear Mr. Smith,

I'm pretty fluent in English. You, evidently not so much.

I took pains not to say anything about you as author, but rather address the article in question, and speak mainly and overwhelmingly to the points of the case in my response. You made your response entirely personal.

Your article specifically notices some of the things I brought up, few of which were objections per se, while addressing little, if any, of them.

Almost as if you couldn't grasp a simple take-down of your recockulous positions.
If your position is that no matter how many lawsuits you file, public officials will never amend their conduct, then I suggest you either pack up and head to NFY, and make war on them, or stop reading newspapers and the internet. Let me know which one works for you.
If, on the other hand, you'd like to see justice actually done, try re-reading the response after maybe taking your blood pressure meds, and with your head out of your ass.

The "poor schmuck" (your words - how touchingly sympathetic a portrayal of your opinion of the man your headline noted was a "veteran" ) will not get a huge lawyer bill. As you're evidently ignorant of this, I suggest ever so pleasantly you explore the definition of "contingency fee". Given the likely outcome, you might even consider that besides that tidal wave of legal talent headed his way, the words pro bono might also apply. Since you've mastered the Internet, as Casey Stengel used to note "You could look it up".

As to your recockulous and erroneous contention that the woman was "an organ of the state", I suggest that you consult case law, and mayhap ask for a copy of her pay stubs, before you shoot off all your other toes.
In detail, the woman mentioned:
a) is and was likely in no wise the one responsible for submitting the original (erroneous) information to the state, thus entire ancillary to your idiotic ramblings to the contrary
b) you, nor plaintiff, have no fucking clue based on the facts exposited thus far WhoTF did report the original erroneous information to the authorities. That's what discovery in a civil lawsuit will establish, which is a good part of why you file the suits I suggested
c) neither a hospital employee nor a private citizen magically becomes an "organ of the state" by following the laws laid down by it, or reporting information to them, despite your lunatic contentions to the contrary, any more than you are when you drive within the posted speed limit.

A teacher, for one example, reporting suspected child abuse is required, at peril of jail and forfeiture of license, to do so, as a condition of their licensure, just as private citizens are required to report accidents and render such aid as they may in any accident they are involved in. Neither of those requirements magically makes one a state employee, no matter how many times you blather the contrary position. Mere repetition doesn't make it so, and if you thought otherwise, go back to your high school, and demand a refund on your diploma; you were cheated of a basic education at some point.

I then noted, correctly, that the impetus to prevent crazy people from committing violence or suicide is neither here nor there to this case, or the law itself.
This is correct, prima facie. If you want to argue that the legislature made a poor law, bravo for you; I heartily agree. Their rationale, sane or stupid, is immaterial. The law is, and the time for arguing the point was before they passed it, and the governor signed it into force.
Not being there, nor, apparently, even a citizen of said state, you rather missed that boat completely some years hence, didn't you?

That I advocated that no one who is bat-shit crazy should be allowed to have a gun is a matter of record. That anyone would argue to the contrary is a matter of the same lunacy that would gainsay that proposition.

As to your ignorant, wholly-uninformed, and flatly recockulous contention that "there is no clinical definition" of "lunatic" or "bat-shit crazy", I merely note that all fifty states and seven territories of the United States have courts of law, in which people who are indeed clinically insane (by which it is meant and demonstrated they are a danger to either themselves, others, or gravely disabled in the business of survival), are routinely committed to psychiatric care, as they have been for centuries. I'm not only familiar with the facts being contrary to your silly assertions, I'm daily involved in the process of getting people through the steps to get them a hearing of those facts, and a just decision pursuant to their demonstrated needs, or lack of same. I only have several decades of daily experience in what you say doesn't exist, and of which you are clearly gob-smackingly ignorant. That you are entirely unaware of either the clinical or legal foundations of such cases is your problem, but your ignorance of reality doesn't make it not so.

Again, I suggest a refund for your presumed high school diploma, and perhaps a repetition of the process, perhaps with more diligence the second time around. When last I looked, Harvard was due to offer their entire catalog free online; Hillsdale College offers a number of free classes, including on the Constitution; that's besides availing yourself of bookstores and public libraries, to make up the education you manifestly lack to this point in life.

Since it has further escaped your prior notice, I advocated no such thing as an expansion of mental hospitals, merely a simple restoration of the rules under which they used to operate, before we turned lunatics loose on the streets in droves, lest their rights to be crazy, shit on the sidewalks, run into traffic, etc. be hindered by concerns of either public health or safety.
Perhaps this relatively modern phenomenon is unknown to you in whatever region of BFE you inhabit, so I offer a small example:
And this is one of the more harmless ones (only as long as the voices don't tell him to run into traffic, at which point it's too late for Mrs.  Abernathy and her kids when she runs into a telephone pole or oncoming bus to avoid hitting him).

So the fact that there is a clinical definition of "lunatic" or "bat-shit crazy" does matter to me, which is why I used that precise description, and asserted that no one in those categories deserves access to firearms, nor indeed, to walk the streets at leisure, any more than we should give live hand grenades to babies.

You are free to argue the contrary, but pretending there is no such thing as lunatics won't cut it. Not even if that shellfire landed inside your own perimeter.

But you have hit one item: I did not, nor have any interest in, reading duelling mental health practitioners arguing about the propensities of the mentally ill, or pointing out their own inability to predict the future behavior of crazy people. That's a given, to the point of "Duh!"
The point, Captain Clownshow, is that the mentally ill are mentally ill, and based on the fact that they continue to be so, with no guaranteed "cure" anytime, nor any certainty of their behavior before nor after humanly possible, the action of a rational polity is to restrict their access to firearms, and for those who are demonstrably violent or dangerous to themselves, others, or random strangers because of their unpredictable actions, they ought to be confined to a place where they present minimal danger, and are cared for in a manner appropriate to their condition.
In simple terms, I don't have to be able to tell the difference between bullshit and compost before I decide not to let you put any of it in lemonade and retail it on the corner.

You needn't categorize mental health practitioners as witch doctors, nor ascribe to me beliefs that don't exist, nor for which you have no evidence. The well-known truism is that some good percentage of them, variously expressed as between 50% and 90%, are there to self-diagnose. Your lame attempts at humor in ascribing to me certain methods leave one with nothing so much as an appreciation for your obvious first-hand knowledge of the described rites of divining truth. Such petty attempts are but the poor man's wit.

But the idea that I have no objection to the SAFE Act requires nothing so much as either actual blindness or unadulterated pig-headed stupidity, to overlook my entire paragraph beginning thusly:
The law itself is a violation of the Bill of Rights (and probably the NY State Constitution as well), and should be challenged by the victim in state and federal courts.
One should therefore be forgiven for asking you, Capitano, "Do you read English, or just pretend to?" 

Of course I object to the law, assclown, and of course the authorities, given a blind eye, and ignorance the equal of yours, would attempt to pervert a commonsense law against crazy people having firearms, and turn it into a club to deny them to everyone, just as the Soviets used mental illness to suppress dissidents. That's why you give them hell at every step, and use every legal avenue open to you to throw gravel in their transmission. Of course, it helps if you aren't completely ignorant of how to do that, and as reasonable as a butthurt rhinoceros about people pointing that shortcoming out to you.

But you're so fucktardedly and happily ignorant of basic facts, both of the incident itself, and my response to your write-up, and so unable to comprehend basic English right in front of your senseless face, that you couldn't get past stepping all over your dick to rush over and spew.

Well-played. Let me know how that works out for you. Maybe you didn't need your junk anyways. I dunno.

I'd have been willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, before you decided to launch your half-assed, half-cocked, and half-witted riposte. But hey, maybe being Captain Butthurt has always worked for you. I can tell you that any twenty firearms rights organizations would probably rather you STFU, though, and ask you to tell people you're from the Brady Center instead. Just spitballing that number, though - it could be that it's more like all of them who'd tell you that.

This sort of fucktarded half-witted response from you is probably exactly the sort of happy horseshit you do pen (when you're not shooting at those nominally on your side in preserving actual Second Amendment rights), when you can find a stamp to write to state and federal reps about this law or that, and why those lawmakers near-rightfully conclude that you're exactly the reason they should pass laws as unconstitutionally wrong as the SAFE Act.

But I don't think it needs putting you on a couch to reach a rational conclusion about you:
When I first responded to your post, I assumed you'd just done a bad write-up.
It's now rather clear that you're a complete jackass and thoroughgoing simpleton, and that was actually the absolute best you could do.

I'm sorry for kicking the retarded kid, but, pray, walk away from the keyboard, before you hurt yourself.

In future, when someone makes you go this crazy, maybe just fill this out:

- Best Wishes

P.S. Promote yourself to Major. Or Commodore. In my experience, it generally takes field-grade or flag-rank to achieve your level of jackassery.

P.P.S. Your second in your contentions is Jim Klein at WRSA. Despite your opinion of me, I tell you sincerely that when you have Gilligan latched like a lamprey onto your side, recheck your premises, and rethink your argument. Or learn to love coconuts and island seclusion. Forever.

P. P. P. S. I was serious about the classes and books. If you'd take or read some of them instead of tearing off the covers to lick the binding paste, there's no end of things you might learn about the world. Painful though it may be for you, it's absolutely worth it.

Regular posting will resume after some sausage and pancakes.


DAN III said...


I must state, you certainly do have a command of the English language. Anyone attempting to challenge your right or wrong assessment of any given topic, better pack a lunch.

Anonymous said...

Just one point: The gif of the guy dancing with the sign and rubber chicken isn't a lunatic (at least not by the definition we're using here), he's a fairly well-known NYC street performer named Matthew Silver. Yeah, he's odd, but I don't think he's crazy in a dangerous or even run-into-the-street manner. Well, he was a Bernie supporter, so maybe he IS crazy in a dangerous manner.....

My complaint against many of the laws regarding taking guns away from crazy people is that the definition of "crazy" is so watered down no one could own guns (the point of course). Some specify that anyone going for "mental health treatments" can't have guns, so if someone sees a grief counselor after their mother dies they lose their guns. I've no problem saying that truly insane people (either dangerous to themselves or others, or incapable of telling reality from fantasy) shouldn't own guns.

Mark D

Jim Scrummy said...

Ahhhh....! I may need to go get an adult beverage and re-read that beautiful piece of work.

Now that was a beat down. Did Herschel tap out? He should have.

Anyway, I remember when ol'Herschel went off the rails (which he does quite often, hence why I really don't read him much anymore) in writing his review on the movie Lone Survivor. Weaponsman (RIP), politely in his own way, did a beatdown on Herschel telling him he didn't know Jack Excrement about strategic reconaissance. Herschel's wheelhouse is mechanical (and possibly nuclear) engineering. He seems a tad bit emotional, kind of like a beta pretending to be an alpha.

Aesop said...

The biggest apparent problem with El Capitan seems to be a loose nut behind the keyboard.

And Mark, I note that Matthew Silver apparently isn't dangerously crazy, but if beating yourself on the head with a rubber chicken while half-naked doesn't demonstrate, as described, the minor and more harmless end of that bell curve, we may as well all do that instead of typing words.

I share your concerns with regard to political shitweasels trying to bastardize reasonable and very narrowly-construed laws into blanket proscriptions on gun ownership and possession: that's what shitweasels do.

The answer, as I suggested, is to blow up their clever schemes at every opportunity, and fund the next campaign with the plunder from the last one.
Not froth at the mouth and lose all grip on reality, and thus prove the shitweasels' point in the first place.

DingDong's gripe is that mental health professionals disagree about who's crazy, and when, or what they'll do someday in the future.
My point was "So the hell what?"
Act sane, get treated sane; act crazy, get treated crazy. That doesn't require any more expertise than eyeballs. BTDT. GTTS.
And as noted, he completely glossed over the fact that there may very likely have been some whackjob running around with guns because the cops screwed the pooch, in the very case he mentioned. That's the point in the story where Andy Dufresne finally snaps, and busts out of Shawshank Prison.

Anonymous said...


Though I agree with pretty much every single thing you've said here, people are bringing up a valid point that you'd pretty much already agreed with when you brought up the "mental health institutions" of the old USSR.

Here, psychiatry seems PRETTY damn fluid. The DSM changes willy-nilly. A few years back gender dysphoria was something to treat. Now it's something to "celebrate". Psychiatry is NOT a true science. A lot of psychiatrists enjoy flinging whatever diagnoses on someone out of the latest DSM they've cobbled together, and seeing if the diagnosis will stick. You read that thing and EVERYONE could be construed as "mentally ill". That's a dangerous power to have to declare someone mental based on a bunch of opinion (because it sure as HELL isn't backed up by science, not for a lot of that manual).

Now YOU deal with the REAL crazies - the folks who go into the ER and are obviously batshit insane. But these ass-brained laws cover ANYONE with a "mental illness", and as I said, that definition could cover anyone. Hell, I'm sure there's a diagnosis for your loquacity, no matter how enjoyable.

No matter how badly written, the guy had a point about witch doctors. If a psychiatrist WANTS to find you to be mentally ill, they can and will with their nifty ever-changing DSM whatever number it is now. I think that unless a person is actively admitted to an ER with a certifiable illness like schizophrenia, and not some flavor of the month "personality disorder", these laws should go the hell away. Taking people's things based on some vague and nebulous idea that they might be narcissistic (again, listed in the DSM) is NOT something any American should be subject to. We need to take things away AFTER the crime or admittance to the mental ward here (and you're right there - they need to re-open).

This ain't the USSR. Life is risk, and so be it.

Signifying Nothing said...

Now that was a thorough takedown of Captain Cornhole.

Aesop said...

Even for someone who's judged batshit insane, due process should and does apply (not including the case under discussion, which is why I pointed out it's an unconstitutional law, and needs to be appealed on that basis).
If you aren't, in fact, a danger to yourself, others, or gravely disabled, you don't meet the criteria to forfeit your right to firearms. If you are those things, you meet the criteria.
That's forcing the courts - not pshrinks - to decide whether you're mentally ill or not, and with all the protections the legal system provides and requires.

Incidentally, this is the same way it works with medical doctors; coroners are usually just pathologists, and no more infallible than cardiologists or podiatrists. They can testify about forensic evidence, but they aren't empowered to single-handedly judge guilt or innocence.
This isn't really a hard concept; it's what we've done for going on decades to centuries.

Anything less than that, or more nebulous, is exactly the unconstitutional crap - like the SAFE Act - that needs to be overturned. If nobody files an case, it never will be. No court listens to the dog that doesn't bark.

The cure for shitty laws is a good judge. Not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Nor, like Captain Butthurt, by flapping your arms and ranting about witch doctors.
And with a psychiatrist, you first have to end up in front of one - they don't cruise around looking for random folks to throw a net over - and they don't gag you in court and only let the doctor testify. So let's stop imagining what isn't, because Russian boogeymen 30 years ago, and focus on dealing with what is.

Mike_C said...

>and no more infallible than cardiologists
But how much less infallible are they? 'Cause we cardiologists are pretty damn low on the fallibility scale (or so we fondly believe). ALL cardiologists are assholes; those of us that seem nice, we just have the self control to hold it in. I'm both kidding a bit and dead serious. In these kinder and gentler times, some people with weak and timid personalities do get through cards training, but they suffer, and aren't taken all that seriously. Of all the Internal Medicine subspecialists, cardiologists are are the most surgeon-like in attitude and aggressiveness.
Surgeon-think: Can I cut [operate on] it, drink it, or fuck it? If no, not interested. And fuck you for wasting my time with this bullshit consult.
Cardiologist-think: Is it a heart problem? If no, not my circus, not my monkey. Fuck off and don't come back until you find me a patient with a real problem.

There's a point to that digression - as you [Aesop] know from being a medical person, medical specialties tend to attract "types", just as the average Marine differs from the average Airman, or taking it within a given service, the average infantryman differs from the average intel guy. The mental health specialties tend to attract people who are a bit weird and unbalanced themselves. No, not all pshrinks are crazy, but odds favor it. And often the non-MD mental types (psychologists, etc) are even nuttier, and attached to goofy progressive or anti-Western social agendas. The problem with this bias, viz such a person deciding whether you get to keep your firearms, is left as an exercise for the reader.

I'll admit to not (yet) having read the blog post to which you object, but I do understand and am to some degree sympathetic to concerns about who decides crazy or not crazy. It's kind of like the discussions we'd get into about military fitness (and fatness) standards over on Weaponsman.
>That doesn't require any more expertise than eyeballs.
Yeah, that's the thing. You, I, any normal person, can lay eyeballs on some guy and pretty accurately classify as fat/not fat, and if we can see them trying to do relevant tasks, can also classify pretty accurately as fit-for-job/unfit. But when supposed experts get into the game, mis- and abusing standards and objective criteria in the process (e.g. BMI, PFT), the results are less useful than shit. (At least shit makes things grow.) Similar story with crazy. No one can screw things up so much as a supposed and soi disant expert.

Nota bene that I said "supposed experts" which is all that the average case will merit -- real experts understand the limitations of the tools and techniques they use; credentialed idiots act as if their rules and protocols are Received Truth and they themselves are the one true prophet of that Truth. Nota even benner [heh] I am NOT on an anti-expert tear here. I respect actual experts. Hell, there are things in my field where *I* am one of the top three subject-matter experts in the world. On the other hand, seeing as only about 20 people TOTAL in the world care about those things, and most of those care only peripherally, it's not much of an accomplishment :-). But any road, some random guy in Iowa City, or in Bad Axe, Michigan, ain't gonna get evaluated by a true subject expert, he's gonna get evaluated by whatever is locally available.

Okay, now that I've had my semi-informed rant, gotta get ready for my 2pm meeting. Will head over to the original apparently objectionable article afterwards.

Aesop said...

Not bagging on any specialty, Mike.
Just noting for the record that no one on this earth is handed infallibility, which is why expert testimony is testimony, taken in evidence, and not treated by courts nor anyone else as holy writ verbum dei.

It's also why the phrases "settled law" and "settled science" are both oxymorons, both for good and for ill.

Captain Queeg's issue seems to be that taking guns away from anyone is bad, more so than that taking guns away from the wrong (because innocent/sane) people is bad, or even from anyone guilty/crazy without due process, which is where I fall on the continuum.

And for the record, I also favor restricting hand grenades from toddlers and infants, and a psych hold and mental health hearing for anyone breaking that proscription.