It is perhaps counterintuitive to say so but gun control responses to mass killings - whether racially motivated or otherwise - are a deep mistake. The standard form of gun control means writing more criminal laws, creating new crimes, and therefore creating more criminals or more reasons for police to suspect people of crimes. More than that, it means creating yet more pretexts for a militarized police, full of racial and class prejudice, to overpolice.
Alex Gourevich is one of the more interesting contrarians. He had a piece in n+1 some years ago arguing that the fight against climate change was a notable and worrisome departure from progressive politics by being rooted in fear. It wasn't clear what the way out of the problem was, but that's not necessarily his fault.
Here the stakes for being contrarian are surely lower, since it not like there's real gun control about to happen that would be damaged by lots of people listening to him say not to be so quick to call for gun control. This is well argued -- especially the good-ol-boy vignette from The New Jim Crow -- but I wonder if it obscures the importance of developing strategies that drive a wedge between gun owners and gun manufacturers, the biggest beneficiaries of the NRA's work.
Heebie's take: I agree that mass killings are not the strongest case for gun control, but it's what gets attention, and that quote seems ridiculous. Other countries seem to manage gun control without necessarily militarizing their police.
Years ago, I saw a show about English cops, and that question was posed - aren't you freaked out about not having a gun? The cop said, "Control the man's thumbs, control the man." So there you have it. Militaristic bobby thumb control.
When the video of Obama's speech goes up, I'd urge everyone to watch it.
A pretty interesting look at what it means to "sound gay." The guy who is supposed exemplify sounding gay is more high-voiced than what I think of as gay-sounding, and I would have liked to hear more from the researchers, but worth a look anyway.
Radley Balko interviews a retired Baltimore police veteran who has decided to come clean about the misconduct he witnessed. It might all be stuff that we "knew," but having it confirmed by someone in a position to know is important.
SCOTUSblog trolling people on Twitter who think it's the official SCOTUS feed is pretty damn funny.
Nice day at the Court yesterday, despite the absurdity of the case getting so far in the first place, but I was also very glad to see (somewhat curtailed) disparate impact upheld.
I shall not be pacing myself this morning. This seems like a very smart way to schedule a conference.
Lw writes: Here is a lay article about irreversibility that I liked:
On the other hand, some physicists (and many philosophers) reject appeals to causal notions and maintain that the asymmetry ought to be explained statistically. The reason why we find coherently diverging waves but never coherently converging ones, they maintain, is not that wave sources cause waves, but that a converging wave would require the co‑ordinated behaviour of 'wavelets' coming in from multiple different directions of space - delicately co‑ordinated behaviour so improbable that it would strike us as nearly miraculous.
It cites a paper of Einstein's that I was unfamiliar with.
The key word is Wahrscheinlichkeitsgründen. Probabilistic is a great word, an idea that coevolved with mathematical descriptions of the world.
Heebie's take: Interesting!
Chris Y writes: Quoth Drum:
I don't go to a lot of high-end restaurants, but I do go to a few now and again. And unless my memory is playing tricks on me (always a possibility), it's always been the custom to remove plates when diners are finished, not all at once when everyone is finished.
Is this another of those many trivial cultural distinctions created by the Atlantic ocean, or does he go to really weird restaurants? Because I can't think of any restaurant in Europe, high end or low, where they snatch your plate away while people are still eating. But gusty bus; which approach is generally preferred by a random sample of readers of eclectic web magazines?
Heebie's take: this is totally the norm, yes. They collect dishes as people finish. And sometimes one person is still sitting there mid-dinner, while everyone else is sitting around with nothing in front of them. I am usually the person who wolfed down their food, and the waiter takes away my plate before anyone else has gotten very far in their meal, and I am full of regret.
Hipsters have over twenty different words for ennui. I recognized a lot of the roots, so if they're all made up, they're convincing to me at least. I even feel many of them. But not the crazy ones.
The comments got me thinking, which of us lives in the whitest municipality? We're 0.6% black and 2.5% Hispanic, which would make us a strong contender, but we're "only" 86.1% white, because 11.7% are Asian.
Ricky Matt, being shot with a blow dart for...fun? (this is the logical conclusion of all M-Fun, by the way) and Ricky Matt, progressive artist. What a weird situation. Surely these guys can't hide past winter in upstate New York, and they can't come out of the woods without immediately being recognized?
Diddy vs. Sal Alosi.
I don't want to be churlish about the anti-racism we're having in the wake of the Charleston shooting, but it does strike me that South Carolina is being cast as the "bad apple" of America here, and though that's not without some justification, it also lets people ignore racism that's just as virulent in the rest of the country (the Sikh temple shootings happened in Wisconsin, for example). And because this is a case of gun+manifesto racism, it also lets people ignore (or keep doing) the systemic stuff that affects minorities in more consistent and personal ways.
I've had three consultations with different three tattoo artists. The first is sort of a dimbulb - very nice, very disorganized, not clear that he'd remember a conversation he had the previous day - but an amazingly proficient copier of photos and pictures. He said explicitly, "I'm not an artist and can't help you with the design, but I copy things perfectly." Probably the most technically proficient. The second is a local friend-of-friend in Heebieville. She is a bit of a PITA. She is doing the consultation over email instead of in person. She has all sorts of misgivings about the design layout, and whether or not it will be flattering or artistic, and wants to add something else in, like flowers. She is not sure whether by next spring she'll be up for doing a tattoo of this scale, since she had her baby. (She's back to tattooing, but hasn't done anything this large since the baby. But come on, this is still nine months away.) The third tattoo artist is my favorite, in terms of rapport. She listened to me, took notes as we were writing, had good things to suggest about scar healing. I asked her if she had any reservations about the design, or artistic insight, and she said, "Why not stick with your vision for now, and we can always add things afterwards, later, if it needs it?"
I'm getting the impression that this is actually a pretty easy tattoo, technically, and so I think the third artist is the right one to go with.
What White Children Need to Know About Race. I'm very comfortable talking about skin color with the kids, and about different forms of social injustice.
What I'm worried about (vaguely, but topically) is that it turn into a pity-party where the extent of the conversation about different minorities versus white culture is the various ways that the minorities are discriminated. That my kids will get the idea that being black is to live in a Dickensian nightmare. Because I am not at all comfortable describing other people's culture and community. I cannot imagine trying to describe the positive parts of black culture or Hispanic culture or any other culture without sounding like I'm either rattling off stereotypes or applying for a job with the United Colors of Benetton. No.
The linked article does not say that you should try to describe different cultures - it says kids should understand race as a social construct, systemic racism, antiracist action, and stereotypes and their counter-narratives. The fear is all my own. But my point is: it feels incomplete to describe racism and prejudice and injustice as if that were the entirety of diversity in America, but I'm not sure what else to say.
(And I don't trust that going to diverse public schools is sufficient to pick up positive notions of other cultures. I went to diverse public schools. It's a hell of a lot easier to turn up your nose at things that feel different from your own family than it is to cheer about it.)
"...and I turned out ok" is hardly less annoying for being ubiquitous, but this morning, while being questioned for letting the older kid spend too much time on the iPad, I said "I read a lot as a kid, and I didn't turn out so well." That seems like a solid maneuver.
Witt writes: So...props to the University of Virginia? They have responded to attempts to get them to reckon with their institutional history by naming a new dorm after a couple who were enslaved and lived on the campus in the 1800s:
Isabella and William Gibbons were owned by two different UVA professors in the 1850s... Following emancipation, the couple remained in Charlottesville, where Isabella became a teacher and William became "the first man of color to minister to the Charlottesville congregation now known as the First Baptist Church, West Main Street."
"Their lives are a testament to enslaved people's resistance to slavery and racism," von Daacke said, praising their "refusing to accept the confines of slavery and the labels put on them."
The Gibbons House will open in the fall and will house 200 students. At the entrance, there are detailed panels about the Gibbonses and an overview of slavery at UVA. The building was officially dedicated June 12.
Heebie's take: Compared to SC, they're practically civil rights heroes.