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Better bring a sword to a love fight?

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — or, a samurai’s weapon glistens more brightly than an assault rifle ]



And in case your object that the proposed assault weapon ban (upper image above) is stereotypically associated wwith active shooters in schools, not issues of love and romance, take this, from Does anyone have the right to sex? in the LRB:

On 23 May 2014, Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old college dropout, became the world’s most famous ‘incel’ – involuntary celibate. The term can, in theory, be applied to both men and women, but in practice it picks out not sexless men in general, but a certain kind of sexless man: the kind who is convinced he is owed sex, and is enraged by the women who deprive him of it. Rodger stabbed to death his two housemates, Weihan Wang and Cheng Hong, and a friend, George Chen, as they entered his apartment on Seville Road in Isla Vista, California. Three hours later he drove to the Alpha Phi sorority house near the campus of UC Santa Barbara. He shot three women on the lawn, killing two of them, Katherine Cooper and Veronika Weiss. Rodger then went on a drive-by shooting spree through Isla Vista, killing Christopher Michaels-Martinez, also a student at UCSB, with a single bullet to the chest inside a Deli Mart, and wounding 14 others. He eventually crashed his BMW coupé at an intersection. He was found dead by the police, having shot himself in the head.

It just didn’t have a headline tht would have made any sense in the DoubleQuote!


Okay, gunds and swords.

There’s also the question of whether the pen is mightier than the sword, of course — even the samurain sword? — or to coin a phrase:

Don’t bring ink to a blood fight

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — a smattering of thoughts about the most recent shooting ]

Wednesday, 14 February, 2018:

It was Valentine’s Day, among the family members grieving at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, in Broward County, Florida (upper panel, below):

— and it was Ash Wednesday, when ashes from palm crosses representing Christ’s hosannah-filled entrance into Jerusalem are smeared on the foreheads of believers (lower panel, above)..


  • Daily Herald, Sheriff: 17 killed in Florida high school shooting, image 2
  • Daily Herald, Sheriff: 17 killed in Florida high school shooting, image 1
  • A day set apart for love, a day for mourning. And each in turn could provide a potential shooter with an added impulse to act on this particular day.


    Control is the issue:

    But where? Should we be figuring out how to control youthful impulses, somewhere in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex and the amygdala (upper panel, below) —

    — or how to control the access to semi-automatic weapons of people who are slipping dangerously into forms of mental distress, while respecting both the right to privacy and the right to bear arms (lower panel, above).


  • Daily News, Florida gunman accused of killing 17 in high school massacre
  • Daily News, These are the victims of the Florida high school shooting
  • Impulse control, or gun control?


    Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is too much of a mouthful: Parkland will be the name etched in memory, alongside Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook. Such names are invoked, not spoken.


    Is there perhaps a connection between the school shooter issue and the national conversation on sexual harassment, such that a major shift in attitudes towards sexual harassment would naturally translate to, or facilitate, a similar shift regarding gun control?

    Are these in fact two conversations — waves on the same wave-front — “whose time (for change) has come”?

    Would each benefit from their being discussed together?

    Mindblowing WWJD from GOP Teens

    Monday, April 17th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — a very basic blogpost on religious violence — specifically in authentic and weird, early and late Christianity — and sheer insanity ]

    On the Monday after The Defeat of Death, a bizarre scriptural exchange among followers of the GOP Teen twitter account at the intersection of christianity and violence, snd a sober examination of the same topic from one of the early Fathers of the Church, Saint John Chrysostom aka GoldenMouth John [below].


    Take a deep breath as we enter choppy waters:


    St. John Chrysostom‘s Homily 84 on Matthew 26. 51-54.

    And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched forth his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.

    Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again your sword unto his place, for all they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to the Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?

    Who was this one, who cut off the ear? John says that it was Peter. [John 18:10] For the act was of his fervor.

    But this other point is worth inquiry, wherefore they were bearing swords? For that they bore them is evident not hence only, but from their saying when asked, “here are two”. But wherefore did Christ even permit them to have swords? For Luke affirms this too, that He said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And when they said, Nothing, He said unto them, But now, he that has a purse, let him take it, and a scrip, and he that has no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. And when they said, Here are two swords, He said unto them, It is enough.

    Wherefore then did He suffer them to have them? To assure them that He was to be betrayed. Therefore He says unto them, Let him buy a sword, not that they should arm themselves, far from it; but by this, indicating His being betrayed.

    And wherefore does He mention a scrip also? He was teaching them henceforth to be sober, and wakeful, and to use much diligence on their own part. For at the beginning He cherished them (as being inexperienced) with much putting forth of His power but afterwards bringing them forth as young birds out of the nest, He commands them to use their own wings. Then, that they might not suppose that it was for weakness He is letting them alone, in commanding them also to work their part, He reminds them of the former things, saying, When I sent you without purse, lacked ye anything? that by both they might learn His power, both wherein He protected them, and wherein He now leaves them to themselves by degrees.

    But whence were the swords there? They had come forth from the supper, and from the table. It was likely also there should be swords because of the lamb, and that the disciples, hearing that certain were coming forth against Him, took them for defense, as meaning to fight in behalf of their Master, which was of their thought only. Wherefore also Peter is rebuked for using it, and with a severe threat. For he was resisting the servant who came, warmly indeed, yet not defending himself, but doing this in behalf of his Master.

    Christ however suffered not any harm to ensue. For He healed him, and showed forth a great miracle, enough to indicate at once both His forbearance and His power, and the affection and meekness of His disciple. For then he acted from affection, now with dutifulness. For when he heard, Put up your sword into its sheath, [John 18:11] he obeyed straightway, and afterwards nowhere does this.

    But another says, that they moreover asked, Shall we smite? [Luke 22:49] but that He forbad it, and healed the man, and rebuked His disciple, and threatened, that He might move him to obedience. For all they that take the sword, He said, shall die with the sword.

    And he adds a reason, saying, Think ye that I cannot pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. [Matthew 26:53-54] By these words He quenched their anger, indicating that to the Scriptures also, this seemed good. Wherefore there too He prayed, that they might take meekly what befell Him, when they had learned that this again is done according to God’s will.


    What think you?

    Orlando Tweets Two

    Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — on a variety of other perspectives ]

    Once again, my point is that there’s a whole lot of going on going on, and it’s worth getting a wide-angle view.. which means multiple perspectives, including those not your own:



    Joshua Green, Trump seems to regard Omar Mateen as “Afghan” in the same way Judge Curiel was “Mexican”: foreign/un-American, even though both born in US
    Charlene Deveraturda, The Atlantic’s ISIS Expert Graeme Wood Slams Trump For “Hurt[ing] The Fight Against ISIS” With Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

    Both Al-Jazeera‘s and Joshua Green‘s tweets offer us examples of DoubleQuotes thinking.



    Program on extremism, ‘Orlando Shooter Legally Bought Guns Despite Previous Flags by FBI’
    Rob Crilly, Orlando shows arc again. Hate-filled young man with access to guns picks his victims and then selects poisonous ideology to add “meaning”
    Bill Maher, #Orlando Conservatives:”Don’t say it has anything to do with guns!” Liberals:”Don’t say it has anything to do with Islam!”
    Maajid Nawaz, Saying this has nothing to do with Islam (libs) is as ignorant as saying this has nothing to do with guns (cons).Both need reform
    Piers Morgan, Obama’s about to make the same speech he’s made about guns 20 times in his presidency. Just more pointless rhetoric, sadly.
    Steven Crowder, Orlando timeline: Anti-Gay Muslim commits mass terrorism. American gun-owners condemn it. Liberals try to take their guns


    Islamic responses:

    Shadi Hamid, Muslim organizations in the United States unequivocally condemned the Orlando assault
    Usama Hasan, Does #Islam condemn #gays to death?

    and in ISIS perspective:

    Cole Bunzel, ISIS’s A’maq news agency claims Florida attack was “carried out by a soldier of the Islamic State”
    Will McCants, ISIS uses term “fighter” for Orlando attacker rather than “soldier” (Paris/Brussels) or “supporter” (San Bernardino) for whatever it’s worth


    And finally, barely mentioned in the welter of opinions about Orlando — the other shoe:

    JM Berger, We may have narrowly escaped having two very similar massacres on the same day, apparently unconnected
    JM Berger, The fact that one was prevented and one was not is largely a trick of fate. We need robust reporting on LA incident as well

    Orlando Tweets One

    Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — on the variety of possible motives ]

    On twitter alone, there’s far too much going on as we scramble to understand the Orlando massacre for anyone to make a useful summary, although I must say that Rukmini Callimachi‘s twitter feed since yesterday has been superb. My own first assortment of relevant tweets focuses on the question of motive, but even with that narrowed focus it’s too extensive to present visually tweet by tweet, so I’m mostly going to post relevant texts with links. First, though, I’ll let Jeffrey Goldberg set the overview:


    Mental Illness:

    Yaroslav Trofimov, Orlando killer’s ex-wife says he was a wife-beater with a short fuse who liked to work out and wasn’t religious.
    CBSN, It is definitely mental illness…no one ever expected that he would do this.

    Mental illness or mental instability may arguably be present in many or all cases of rampage shooting, suicide bombing, etc — it’s a judgment call, and one most properly made by psychiatric or psychological professionals who have observed and interacted with the subjects personally. Sadly, however, continued use of this explanation as the explanation for acts of this kind avoids recognition of other factors in what is inevitably a multifactorial situation — and also contributes to the popular misperception that “mental illness” is a shameful failure of character rather than a complex of medical conditions.


    Susceptibility to violence:

    Lilith, Was Orlando shooter’s domestic violence history a missed warning sign?



    JM Berger, Orlando gunman tied to radical imam released from prison last year, say law enforcement sources
    Program On Extremism, Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, official says



    Mona Holland, His father says he wasn’t religious, but was furious abt 2 gay men kissing a week or so ago in public
    Murtaza Hussain, “Ty Smith & Chris Callen recalled the eventual killer being escorted drunk from the Pulse bar on multiple occasions”
    Matt Pearce, “Do you think he was gay?” The shooter’s ex-wife was silent for three seconds. “I don’t know.”
    Frances Traynor, speaking from experience, the most virulently homophobic are the most deeply closeted

    It seems to me we may have two different forms of enantiodromia to consider here — enantiodromia being the Jungian term for sudden psychological reversal, a pattern I’ve explored elsewhere. The two versions here, which in practice might well be one, but which we can distinguish for analytic purposes, would be (a) psychological, ie the sudden revulsion at forms of sexuality one previously found acceptable and (b) religious, as in a sudden, emotional conversion experience or repentance by which someone non-religious is precipitated into a religious enthusiast.



    Molly Crabapple, According to the Trump fans in my Twitter replies, somehow the homophobic Orlando murderer is the fault of Jews


    And finally, Rebellion against Empire:


    An al Qaeda fighter made a point once in a debriefing. He said, all these movies that America makes, like Independence Day and Hunger Games and Star Wars, they’re all about a small scrappy band of rebels who will do anything in their power with the limited resources available to them to expel an outside, technologically advanced invader. And what you don’t realize, he said, is that to us, the rest of the world, you are The Empire, and we are Luke and Han. You are the aliens and we are Will Smith.

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