All posts by Ilana Mercer

A Good Gun Story Gets Better (Lynne Russell Rocks)

A follow-up to “A Good Gun Story” (a “drive-by,” as Claire calls it): Lynne Russell, the marvelous, good kind of survivor (because so strong) is loaded for bear about those who would deny that guns saved her life and the life of her spouse.

Former CNN anchor Lynne Russell and former reporter Chuck de Caro came back into the news cycle on June 30, after they worked together to use a concealed firearm to defend themselves from a robber. Russell later spoke about how having a gun “absolutely” saved their lives, and had some tough words for those who do not own guns, yet advocate for government control.

“If you don’t want to carry, please don’t.” Russell said. “Then, shut the f–k up about it. Make your own decisions.“

Russell went on to say that “the discussion over the debate to own a gun is just ridiculous. As Americans we have the right to bear arms and as humans the right to protect ourselves. I’m sure that the man who shot my husband did not have a gun permit.” …

MORE here and at Zelman’s.

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A Good Gun Story

Here’s the story of a heroic former CNN employee who will NOT make it into the Anderson Cooper CNN Heroes extravaganza. She and her husband may be survivors—CNN loves the survivor schtick—but “former Headline News anchor and CNN correspondent Lynne Russell” is lucky to have made it into the headlines (no matter; she’s alive):

Chuck de Caro and his wife, … Lynne Russell, were on a road trip and spending the night at an Albuquerque motel when de Caro killed the man during what Russell called an attempted robbery.

Police identified the dead man as 27-year-old Tomorio Walton from Memphis, Tennessee. He was in violation of his parole, police said, and it was not clear how long he had been in the Albuquerque area.

Albuquerque police said they have yet to question de Caro, who had surgery for his wounds.

Officer Fred Duran said no charges were expected to be filed against de Caro. Russell said her husband fired in self-defense.

“I am really proud of him,” Russell said. “I thank him over and over for saving my life. He really is my hero.”

Russell said the gunman came into their Motel 6 room through an open door after she had just returned from getting something out of the car. He pushed her into the room.

De Caro, who worked at CNN in the mid-1980s as special assignments correspondent, was coming out of the bathroom after taking a shower and saw Russell being held at gunpoint.

“He tried to change the guy’s mind,” Russell said.

The gunman wanted money and other valuables, she said.

She told him she would look in her purse to see what they had. She reached down and put into the purse one of two handguns the couple had in a side table. She gave the handbag to her husband.

Russell said the guns were legal, something police are still investigating.

The man’s behavior was increasingly erratic, Russell said. He told them to get a briefcase he saw.

The couple explained there was nothing of value in the bag, Russell said, but the man lunged at them and “went around the bed and then opened fire on Chuck. There was a firefight inside the room.”

De Caro was shot once in the leg and twice in the abdomen.

He fired all the rounds in the first handgun, then picked up the other and shot the man, whom police identified in a statement as the “offender in the altercation.” He was found in the parking lot and later died at a hospital, CNN affiliate KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reported.

MORE.

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Mark Vaughan, Armed And Awesome

“True bravery is shown by performing without witness what one might be capable of doing before all the world,” said a wise man named La Rochefoucauld, centuries ago. That man’s definition excludes most of America’s contemporary heroes. But not the executive of Vaughan Foods. Mark Vaughan is the real deal.

As reported (if you can call it that) by Megyn Kelly impersonating Barbara Walters’ journalistic porn, this reserve Oklahoma County deputy shot, but sadly merely injured, Alton Nolen (30). The latter was a “Vaughan Foods employee who had been suspended hours earlier,” but returned to exact revenge on the workers.

Nolen “encountered the first victim, Colleen Hufford. He killed her and severed her head. He then turned his attention to Traci Johnson, and began slicing at her throat, when Mr. Vaughan saved her life by shooting the butcher.

The best part:

KELLY: Did you know Mark?

JOHNSON: No.

KELLY: You had never met him before?

JOHNSON: No.

KELLY: Describe what that was like for you.

JOHNSON: I don’t know. I really don’t know. Just fear still because, you know, because he was telling, when Mark came around the corner, he was telling him to get off of me and he wouldn’t get off of me.

KELLY: Did you see Mark’s gun?

JOHNSON: Yes, I did.

KELLY: And so, do you remember the exchange that Mark had with Nolen?

JOHNSON: He told Nolen to get off of me. I think he shot him the first time and it missed him and that is when Nolen got off of me and made a mad dash for Mr. Vaughan and that’s when he shot him two more times.

Nolen’s motive was a lethal combination of disgruntled employee, hate for whites and a love of Islam.

Reserve Deputy Mark Vaughan, who, as I hinted, refused to appear on the Kelly extravaganza, did receive an Award of Valor from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office.

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Gunning For Your Rights: Data Vs. Rights-Based Deductive Reasoning

When motivating for the individual, natural rights to life and property always proceed from an argument from rights and not from a utilitarian, outcome-based position. After all, individual rights are not predicated on an optimal statistical outcome.

With respect to the Second Amendment right of self-defense: Ample empirical data exist of a statistically meaningful correlation between a well-armed citizenry—i.e., in middle-class neighborhoods as opposed to in gangland—and lower crime rates, in aggregate. New Hampshire is an example of a heavily armed, low-crime state.

Moreover, the benefits of a well-armed population redound to the non-carrying crowd. David Kopel is one of the most respected 2nd Amendment scholars in the country. About these “free riders,” Kopel writes the following in the Arizona Law Review, Summer 2001, Symposium on Guns, Crime, and Punishment in America:

American homes which do not have guns enjoy significant “free rider” benefits. Gun owners bear financial and other burdens of gun ownership; but gun-free and gun-owning homes enjoy exactly the same general burglary deterrence effects from widespread American gun ownership. This positive externality of gun ownership is difficult to account for in a litigation context (since the quantity and cost of deterred crime is difficult to measure), and may even go unnoticed by court–since the free rider beneficiaries (non-gun owners) are not represented before the court.

In other words, the unarmed owe the armed among you a debt of gratitude. We substitute your safety. Read on.

However, what if this were this not the case? What if, for some weird, wonderful, unlikely and inexplicable reason, arming yourself, commensurate with your right to defend your life, increased the aggregate crime rate in your community? Would this hypothetical empirical data somehow invalidate your inalienable, individual right to protect your life, loved-ones and property?

No! It would so do only if you accept that, de facto, you do not posses an inherent right to life and property.

For, at the risk of repeating what ought to be obvious:

… a right that can’t be defended is a right in name only. Inherent in the idea of an inalienable right is the right to mount a vigorous defense of the same right. If you cannot by law defend your life, you have no right to life.
By logical extension, Britons are bereft of the right to life. Not only are the traditional ‘Rights of Englishmen’—the inspiration for the American founders—no longer cool in Cool Britannia; but they’ve been eroded in law. The great system of law that the English people once held dear, including the 1689 English Bill of Rights—subsumed within which was the right to possess arms—is no longer. British legislators have disarmed their law-abiding subjects, who now defend themselves against a pampered, protected and armed criminal class at their own peril. Naturally, most of the (unnatural) elites enjoy taxpayer-funded security details. …

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On Refreshing The Tree of Liberty

With respect to “If this be cowardice, be glad we’re cowards” by our own Claire Wolfe: Anything that denies that the oppressed have a right to mete justice to the oppressor is bound to crackle with unease, if not contradiction. Being a careful thinker, Claire escapes this predicament, of course, advocating for peaceful change. However, given the size and power of the American State; given that a vast number of people and interests have bought into state propaganda and are vested in it—meaningful change is unlikely and improbable. The idea of change through the ballot box, moreover, is a fantasy.

While it seems obvious that the minority in a democracy is openly thwarted, the question is, do the elected representatives at least carry out the will of the majority?

The answer is no. The People’s representatives have carte blanche to do exactly as they please. As Benjamin Barber has written:

It is hard to find in all the daily activities of bureaucratic administration, judicial legislation, executive leadership, and paltry policy-making anything that resembles citizen engagement in the creation of civic communities and in the forging of public ends. Politics has become what politicians do; what citizens do (when they do anything) is to vote for politicians.

In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy E. Barnett further homes in on why the informed voter has little incentive to exercise his “democratic right”:

If we vote for a candidate and she wins, we have consented to the laws she votes for, but we have also consented to the laws she has voted against.
If we vote against the candidate and she wins, we have consented to the laws she votes for or against.
And if we do not vote at all, we have consented to the outcome of the process whatever it may be.

This “rigged contest” Barnett describes as, “‘Heads’ you consent, ‘tails’ you consent, ‘didn’t flip the coin,’ guess what? You consent as well.'”

Democracy is a despotic affair.

Should they occur, and however peaceful—secessionist movements across the country the federal government will greet with brute force. It’ll be 1861 all over again.

Thus the objection I see to the sentiment that prompted Claire’s post—“We ARE a nation of cowards. Proof: Holder is still breathing”—is more utilitarian than principled. In other words, one will not win against the Federales, but only come to grief. Therefore, one should tread with great trepidation. Is prudence tantamount to courage? No. Neither is it cowardice.

Fear is simply a facet of tyranny.

The “long-time, much-respected freedomista” who made the quip about Holder was probably using a bit of hyperbole. Thomas Jefferson, however, was perfectly serious when he said:

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

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Islam Enmeshed In America Since Founding?

Written mostly at an eighth-grade level (as measured by the Flesch-Kincaid readability test), Barack Obama’s ramblings are getting harder and harder to address seriously. The ISIS-is-un-Islamic absurdity overwhelmed all else in his latest address on “extremism”—so much so that another of Obama’s absurdities on that occasion has been neglected. Said the ass with ears: “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”

That’s news to this writer. It’s true about the Jews of America, to whom George Washington promised peace and goodwill in a 1790 address to a synagogue congregation in Newport, Rhode Island. “The highest ranking Jewish officer of the Colonial forces was Colonel Mordecai Sheftall.” Why we Jews even had a Confederate colonel, Abraham Charles Myers.

In any event, “[a]fter President Barack Obama said this week that ‘Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding,’ Glenn Beck asked historian David Barton to come on his radio program” and get to the bottom of this fiction:

“In all the reading I’ve done, thousands of books, there’s nothing there,” Barton said on Friday. “I mean, we know that Muslims were the folks who captured the slaves sent to America, largely out of Africa. … The Muslims did the slave hunting and the slave trading, et cetera. The first Muslims came to America as a result of the Muslims capturing them and sending them to the Dutch traders.”

Barton said that beyond their heavy involvement in the slave trade, America was at war with the Barbary pirates shortly after the founding of the country, but those were “the two biggest contributions.”

“This is the fabric,” Beck said with heavy sarcasm. “I mean, it’s practically the whole blanket.”

Barton added that there were a number of Muslims whose activities were recorded in the 1800?s, but it might be a stretch to say they are part of the “fabric of the country.” One such Muslim helped the American military raise camels, he said.

MORE.

RELATED:

“Obama Says That ‘Islam Has Been Woven Into The Fabric Of Our Country Since Its Founding.’ Yes, Its Called The Barbary Pirate Wars, The First War America Every Fought Against Jihad” By Walid Shoebat.

Timeline in American Jewish History

History of the Jews in the United States

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How Long Before The DSM Invents Diagnosis Of … Gun Incompatibility Disorder?

Gun-restriction advocates want nothing more than to restrain “predisposed” individuals before they transgress. The central authorities will decide who falls within this extremely plastic category. The same planners will act with the complicit assistance of the pseudo-scientific profession of psychiatry. Seriously: How long before the Psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM # infinity) invents a diagnosis of gun incompatibility disorder? Against this kind of prior-restraint argument even Ivy league statists have argued, albeit with respect to limitations on speech only.

We are witnessing today a tremendous and ominous expansion of preventive law in the area of civil liberties. More and more, our controls are being devised not as punishment for actual wrongful conduct, but with a view to preventing future evils by a series of restrictions and qualifications that seriously jeopardize freedom …

In the spirit of prior restraint is the case of a veteran who presented with symptoms of insomnia and had his guns confiscated. (With the active encouragement of the liberty loving police force. It figures. The local police monopoly certainly made snide comments of displeasure on handing me my firearm license.) Via American Thinker:

New York State Police ordered the permanent confiscation of Mr. Montgomery’s registered handguns after he sought treatment for insomnia. The confiscation was ordered under Cuomo’s “SAFE Act” gun-control law.

The allegations in the case are downright scary. The complaint contends that Montgomery, a Navy veteran and retired police officer who rose to the rank of detective sergeant during his 30-year career, voluntarily sought treatment for insomnia at a hospital on Long Island in May of 2014 after relocating to a new home several hundred miles from his previous residence.

According to the suit, the hospital diagnosed the plaintiff as “mildly depressed,” and his clinical evaluation stated, “Patient has no thoughts of hurting himself. Patient has no thoughts of hurting others. Patient is not having suicidal thoughts. Patient is not having homicidal thoughts…” and “there is no evidence of any psychotic processes, mania, or OCD symptoms. Insight, judgment, and impulse control are good.” The suit further alleges that a psychiatrist told the plaintiff, “I don’t know why you were referred here. You don’t belong here.”

Nonetheless, the suit contends that five days after being discharged from the hospital, the local sheriff’s department showed up at Montgomery’s door and seized his four registered handguns, including his former duty sidearm, after the sheriff had been subjected to “repeated pressure” by the New York State Police, who claimed that Montgomery had been declared mentally defective and had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

The gun confiscation aforementioned is a logical conclusion to prior restraint legal arguments.

Mentioned above is the Psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV). The Rosetta Stone of the profession has grown since its inception in the 1950s from 60 categories of abnormal behavior to over 410 diagnostic labels and counting. Many of the disorders described in it are more about trend and niche than science.

In the late 1990s, I told readers of my Calgary Herald column about one Dr. John Ratey, a Harvard associate professor and a  well-respected, prominent psychiatrist, who claimed, in his 1997 book Shadow Syndromes, that quirky behaviors were actually mild mental illnesses resulting from brain dysfunction.

The lout who is appropriately obsequious with the boss because he knows where his bread is buttered, but who is less dainty with the wife, even thumping her occasionally, would be a candidate for compassion. He is after all doing battle with what Dr. Ratey terms “Intermittent Rage Disorder”. And the dad who dotes on his children while they are with him, but fails to mail them child support money as soon as they are out of sight, is simply afflicted with “Environmental Dependency Disorder”: He remembers his kids only when they are around. Is there proof for these sub-rosa disease categories? None whatsoever, although this has not prevented Ratey and many like him from coating their pronouncements with a patina of scientific respectability—and then cashing in.

Given the tenuous ties between psychiatry and science, how likely is it that “evidence” for new diagnoses will be marshaled in order to keep more people from being able to defend their lives and loved ones with guns?

Very likely.

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Serving & Protecting Secondary To Monopolizing The Production Of Defense

If there’s something strange
in Ferguson
Who you gonna call?
Oath Keepers!
adapted from Ghostbusters

Stewart Rhodes, “Yale-educated attorney and former army paratrooper,” is the heroic founder of “The Oath Keepers,” which “claims to have active chapters in all 50 states, as well as an estimated 40,000 members – which,” according to Yahoo News, “would make it one of the fastest growing far-right organizations in the world.”

An Oath Keeper member, Sam Andrews, and his merry men rescued damsel-in-distress Natalie DuBose, proprietor of “Natalie’s Cakes and More,” which “was broken into and looted” in Ferguson.

“I didn’t have the extra savings or extra money to replace everything that was destroyed,” she told ABC News following the vandalism. “The threat of not being able to take care of your children makes you feel like less than a human being.”
DuBose’s story caught Andrews’ attention. He was watching the news at home 40 miles away.
“I can’t even imagine a governor that would leave a woman like this and her business to burn, like they did,” Andrews said. “But I value this woman as much as anything I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“Dressed in full camouflage and armed with an assault rifle and handgun – [Sam] climbs to the roof of a dentist’s office to begin his nightly surveillance. … the Oath Keepers …is … taking up armed positions on the streets and rooftops with the intent of protecting local businesses.”

He says he’s here to defend “the best part of America, the creative part, the small businesses, the hardest working people in the United States of America. To defend them from arson.”

Oath Keeper Sam Andrews sounds right, not far right, as Yahoo “News” would have it.

… What separates the Oath Keepers from other militia groups is that they recruit men and women of the military and law enforcement – vowing to disobey “unconstitutional orders” from what the group sees as an increasingly tyrannical president and government.

But what do you know? More often than not, the police is not on the side of private-property owners and their protectors.

St. Louis County Police declined an interview with ABC News, but confirmed that it is investigating whether the Oath Keepers are breaking the law by providing security without a license.

This must lead one to a sneaky suspicion that government controlled law-enforcement cares less about serving and protecting private property than monopolizing the production of defense.

St. Louis County Police has an illiberal partner in who else but the “Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism.” It “called the Oath keepers an ‘extremist, anti-government group.’”

What’s new?!

“Everything that they say [they] stand for is based on this notion that the world and the government is going to become a dictatorship to try to prevent Americans from having their freedoms,” said director Oren Segal.

Blah, blah, blah.

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Ferguson: Thankful For The Founding Fathers’ Legal Legacy

“Ferguson: Thankful For The Founding Fathers’ Legal Legacy” is my current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

Grand-jury deliberations were conducted behind closed doors. The decision was announced at night. It was too dark. Jurors were given too much information to absorb. The St. Louis County prosecuting attorney was not sufficiently involved in the proceedings. The latter, Bob McCulloch, was too “cold” in sharing the cold, hard facts of the case with the public. His remarks were excessively long; or redundant all. The police were too passive in their response to the pillage that followed the unpopular decision.

These are a few of the complaints voiced by the “Racism Industrial Complex (RIC)” against a grand-jury decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. A quorum of ordinary Americans has determined that Officer Darren Wilson was not “the initial aggressor,” that the officer “acted in self-defense”; that he “was authorized to use deadly force,” in a situation in which he found himself being punched—and then bull-rushed by a demonic-looking mountain of flesh, Michael Brown. …

… I hate to say it, but these riots are an object lesson as to what transpires in certain chaotic communities when the police practice peaceful resistance.

Let’s face it: Had St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, a Democrat, opted for an open, probable-cause hearing before a judge, as opposed to convening a grand jury, the “Racism Industrial Complex”—forced to face a decision not to its liking—would be decrying the despotism of this single judge. They’d be calling for a jury of the people’s representatives, as bequeathed by the Founding Fathers, in the 5th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The grand jury institution, as legal analyst Paul Callan has explained, “was actually created by the Founders to provide a wall of citizen protection against overzealous prosecutors.”

Had the decision been revealed in the AM, the RIC herd would have argued for a night-time reveal.

Had Mr. McCulloch meddled with the jury, he’d still be accused of rigging the outcome against Brown.

Had McCulloch hand-picked the evidence for the grand jury, instead of providing the 12 jurors with access to all of it—a “document dump,” brayed Big Media—he’d have been accused of concealing information.

Had the cops moved to curtail the crowds from “venting” over “legitimate issues,” caused by “the legacy of racial discrimination”—the president words—they’d have been convicted of police brutality.

As to the affective dimension, McCulloch’s alleged frigid demeanor: A silent majority whose “culture” is being crowded out still finds such WASPY mannerisms comforting and familiar; a sign of professionalism, dignity, decorum and rationality. Profoundly alien and disturbing was the wretched excesses of Michael Brown’s mother (Lesley McSpadden) and her new husband (Louis Head)—both of whom have had brushes with the law—howling, “Burn this bitch down.” …

… Read the rest. “Ferguson: Thankful For The Founding Fathers’ Legal Legacy” is now on WND.

Happy Thanksgiving.
ILANA

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The ‘Racism Industrial Complex’ Rides In Ferguson

Regrettably, at the time of the Michael-Brown shooting, this libertarian column had expressed the opinion that Brown was the victim of “murder-by-cop.” As the evidence subsequently demonstrated, I was wrong.

Part of my conversion lies is the remarks of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, a Democrat. These were, well, remarkable. (More about that in the weekly, WND column, tomorrow.) McCulloch’s remarks revealed the exhaustive scope of the search for truth undertaken by a grand jury that was left to its own devices.

Since the text of the statement has not been disseminated, I’ve transcribed and summarized some of it for interested Americans. Particularly brilliant is the manner in which McCulloch co-opted the DC “RIC”* in support of the rule of law, in Ferguson, Missouri:

St. Louis county police conducted an extensive investigation at the crime scene together with agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, at the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder. Together they sought out witnesses and gathered additional information over a period of three months, beginning on the day of the shooting death of Michael Brown. Fully aware of the growing concerns in parts of the community that the investigation and review of the death would not be full and fair, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch decided to hand over to a grand jury all physical evidence related to the case, all individuals claiming to have witnessed any aspect of the events and any and all related matters. The grand jury comprised of 12 members of the community.

Federal investigators worked closely with local law enforcement, with the St. Louis county police and persecutor and Attorney General Holder and his department vowing to follow where the evidence led. These federal investigators shared information with St. Louis county investigator and vice versa. In addition, the Department of Justice conducted its own investigation and performed its own autopsy. Yet another autopsy was carried out by the Brown family and all information was shared and collated. All testimony before the grand jury was immediate forwarded to the DOJ. Eyewitness accounts were compared with the physical evidence. Many witnesses contradicted their own statements and the physical evidence.

As an example of witness testimony that contradicted the physical evidence McCulloch offered numerous statements that claimed to have seen Officer Wilson stand above Michael Brown and fire many rounds into his back. Others claimed that Officer Wilson shot Mr. Brown in the back as he was running away. Once the autopsy was released showing that the deceased did not sustain injuries to his back, statements to that effect were retracted. Others admitted they had, in fact, not witnessed the shooting.

All statements were recorded and presented to the grand jury before the autopsy results were released. There was no “document dump,” as some media claimed. Two of Bob McCulloch’s assistants presented the information to the jury in an organized, systematic manner. All jurors heard every word of testimony and examined every item of evidence presented. McCulloch described a proactive and engaged group working since August 9th to do their due diligence. In the course of 25 days, the jury dissected over 70 hours of testimony and listened to 60 witnesses. They heard from three medical examiners and many other DNA and forensic experts. They examined hundreds of photographs and looked at various pieces of physical evidence. They were instructed in the law and presented with five possible indictments. Their burden was to determine, based on all the evidence, if probable cause existed to determine that a crime was committed and Daren Wilson committed that crime. There is no question that Officer Wilson caused the death of Michael Brown by shooting him. However the law authorizes an officer of the law, and all people, to use deadly force to defend themselves in certain situations. The grand jury considered whether Officer Wilson was the initial aggressor, or whether he was authorized to use deadly force in the situation and acted in self-defense.

They were the only people who examined every piece of evidence and heard every witness. They debated among themselves. After an exhaustive review of the evidence the grand jury deliberated further over two days to arrive at their final decision. And it is that no probable cause exists to file any charges against Officer Darren Wilson. They returned a “No True” bill on each of the five indictments. All the evidence, witness statements included, was made public.

[SNIP]

* I abbreviated without explaining: RIC is the “Racism Industrial Complex,” originated by Jack Kerwick. More in the weekly, WND column, tomorrow.

** Coulter’s Blame-Liberals Reductionism/Rubbish. Ann Coulter’s latest column proves that in the structure of argument—and thus the source of culpability— there is no difference between conservative, lite-libertarian, and left liberal. That structure is: The Dog/Society/State/Liberals Ate the Criminal’s Homework. Ann Coulter blames liberals for rioter actions.

“‘Absolut’ Libertarian Lunacy” touches on this blame society/state/liberals reductionism: “For the sins of man, hard leftists blame society, and hard-core libertarians saddle the state. ‘The State made me do it’ is how such social determinism can be summed-up.”

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