Editorial #1 - October 1 2002 - What have we come to?
"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order
to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervour, for patriotism is
indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as
it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever
pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the
leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry.
Rather the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism,
will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.
How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar".
Though the above quote is interesting it says nothing that today's
student of human behaviour should not know: (Refs. *). What bothers
is: Why is this only known to those few who study behaviour as a
- Would it not be reasonable to think that
in a modern civilisation all citizens should be enlightened to
the potential and dangers of public manipulation? Is enslavement
to despotism less important than rock music, sporting events or
junk food? Have we made no human advance since Caesar? Why are
we so blind to deceit?
Recent news tells of a thief awarded $50,000 because the Judge
said the force used to subdue him (bruises and a cracked skull)
was excessive. If, had he been asked nicely to leave, he had then
seized his advantage and killed the businessman, he would not have
earned $50,000. Is this a brilliant crime prevention program?
Early 1980s, I moved into a high rise home unit. Thinking to install
a deadlock I asked a policeman about security. "You can't
do that" he said. "Suppose a burglar climbs in
over the balcony, collects his loot, sets a fire to cover his tracks,
finds he can't leave by the front door and dies in the fire. You
would be held responsible". Anti-discrimination and human
rights are now taught as basics but - who is being fooled?
Now a USA 1980s item.
Below extracts (worst incidents) are from a long letter by book
author Chip Elliott, written in response to an Esquire Magazine
article entitled "Fifty Million Handguns". His letter
so impressed the editors they published it in the September 1981
issue as the cover story. Elliott's comments have wider relevance
today. Quotes (shortened for space saving):
The streets of America...are as dangerous as the roads and alleys
of an earlier century.
I went to carrying a 9mm Smith &
Wesson automatic in ten weeks. My wife is a psychiatrist. Very attractive,
very easy to intimidate, very abstracted, a likely target for muggers
both outside, because she's lost in her thoughts, and at home, because
punks think doctors keep drugs in their houses (they don't). She
has a gun, too, a .38, and she knows how to use it. We are not hillbillies:
we are people who went to Radcliffe and Stanford, respectively.
Appalling, huh? It used to appall us too, until we were forced to
realize that our lives, both as a married couple with a deep commitment
and as individuals doing important and meaningful work, were worth
we moved to Los Angeles.
all was not as it seemed
in Venice. For starters, we had moved to the intersection of turfs
of two rival Mexican gangs. We got along with them. When they shot
at each other-as they did less than a week after we had moved in-they
shouted to us in Spanish to get out of the way. We did. There were
other clues. Walking, I would occasionally see brown spots on the
sidewalk that, from my experience as a police reporter, I could
recognize as bloodstains. I would notice this the way you might
notice a scruff of feathers where something has gotten a small bird:
a tiny memorial to violence.
I watched a gang
pour gasoline all over
a parked car and set it on fire.
Broad daylight. A few days
later, I heard of a robbery two blocks from where we lived: A woman
came to the door of a house and asked to use the telephone, said
it was an emergency. When the man opened the door, her henchmen
came in right behind her. The three of them stabbed the man to death
and left his wife barely alive. In the next block a woman was raped
twice after her nose and jaw were broken.
Just to be on the safe side ... bought a .38 snub-nosed revolver.
After all, this was Los Angeles. But a gun! Who had ever owned a
gun? It cost $160.
I would rather have bought a painting.
we went to the Fox Venice to see Forbidden Planet
When we returned, the door had been broken in. The stereo was gone,
the television was gone, the paintings and cameras and typewriters
were gone. The dressers had been turned over and ransacked, the
bed had been torn up and the revolver taken; the birdcage had been
torn off the wall and the parakeet set free for a while until the
cat got it and ate it, leaving the remains on the floor where a
rug had been.
Our friends were robbed, burglarized. Carolyn, of her sewing
machine, her typewriter, her clothes. Another couple, of all their
photographic equipment, used not for a hobby but for their livelihood.
Easygoing Boris bought a twelve-gauge riot gun and hid it in a trunk
with his sixteen-millimetre movie equipment so no one would steal
it. And a huge black shepherd dog to protect the trunk. Someone
broke in anyway and slit the dog's throat.
We bought a new revolver
had the handgrips filed down
so my wife could hold it easily.
my wife's work for Los Angeles
County was more like a Clint Eastwood movie than a medical practice.
One of her street patients quickly fastened on her and began writing
her death threats with sexual overtones. There was no place to put
him away because there was no money for any serious treatment, and
there were no available psychiatric beds in any of the local hospitals.
She began carrying the .38 in her briefcase along with her patient
caseload progress notes.
when she came home at night she
would park her car and blow the horn; I would go outside and escort
her into the house. It dawned on me for the first time that we might
be killed. That it was possible we would die here.
I bought a second handgun,
discovered where to go to practice
with it. And I practiced.
We cut a safe into the floor of our dining room and hid our
remaining valuables in it. It was never discovered, even though
they took the Oriental rug that covered it.
We went to a wedding in San Francisco on a Friday night. The
week before, I had prepped the house as you might prepare for medieval
warfare: two-by-six boards bolted into doorframes with lag bolts
six inches long
. That sort of thing. Anything we had left
that was slightly portable
I put into storage.
When we returned from the wedding there was no back door and no
doorframe, only an enormous hole with smashed edges leading into
a set of empty rooms. We were left with a bed, some pots and pans,
and a bookcase.
On the seventeenth of December in 1978, I
saw a woman mugged for her purse-and I watched her run screaming
after her assailant until she collapsed, crying in the street.
On the eighteenth or nineteenth of December, my wife was at a meeting,
I walked alone to the Venice Sidewalk Cafe for some dinner.
It occurred to me that it was silly to put on a shoulder holster
just to go out for a beer and a sandwich, but I did it anyway,
Walking home about six-thirty at night, just off the corner
of West Washington Boulevard and Westminster Avenue, I was confronted
by five young, well-dressed uptown brothers. Black. Okay.
They could just as easily have been white. We were directly under
a streetlight and less than fifty feet from an intersection thick
I was not dressed as a high roller. ... I look like exactly what
I am, a middle-aged guy who's seen a little more than he needs to
see. I thought, what are these guys doing? Their leader pulled a
kitchen knife out of his two-hundred-dollar leather jacket. His
mistake was that he wasn't close enough to me to use it, only to
threaten me. He smiled at me and said, "Just the wallet, man.
Won't be no trouble."
That was a very long moment for me. I remember it just as it happened.
I remember thinking at the time that it was one of those moments
that are supposed to be charged with electricity. It wasn't. It
was hollow, silent, and chilly.
I looked at this guy and at his companions and at his knife,
and I thought: Don't you see how you're misreading me? I am not
a victim. I used to be a victim, but now I'm not. Can't you see
I pulled the automatic, leveled it at them and said very clearly,
"You must be dreaming." The guy smiled at me and said,
"Sheeeit," and his buddies laughed, and he began to move
toward me with the knife. I thought, this guy is willing to kill
me for thirty-five dollars. I aimed the automatic at the outer edge
of his left thigh and shot him.
He dropped like a high jumper hitting the bar and yelled "Goddamn!"
three times, the first one from amazement, I guess, and the second
two higher pitched and from pain. He yelled at his buddies, "Ain't
you gonna do nothing?" They did do nothing.
I backed off and walked away, right across busy West Washington
Boulevard, with the gun still in my hand. I remember thinking, shouldn't
I call a doctor? And then I thought, would he have called a doctor
for me? And I kept right on walking.
I was not coming on like James Bond,
I was simply protecting
my right to walk around town with a lousy thirty-five dollars in
my pocket and not be afraid for my life.
I felt terribly
I realized that what I was doing-in our current
state of affairs-was a cultural procedure no different from going
to the grocery or getting a haircut or buying a shirt. And that
I had balked over it and felt strange because it was a new procedure,
something I was doing for the first time,
and that if I wanted
to stay alive, it was possible I would have to get used to it.
I am not proud of this. I did not swallow it easily. More than a
year passed before I talked about it with anybody, not even my wife.
But I did it. And I could do it again if I had to.
What happened to us,
My world changed sometime between
1975 and 1980,
We were lucky. We lost more than eleven thousand
dollars of what we owned, but we weren't killed. We adapted. Now
the guns are a normal part of our lives.
Sometimes I think, this is a stupid, abhorrent, exasperating
situation. And it is. But we've adapted to other stupid, abhorrent,
exasperating situations: 20 percent interest rates: Iran. And now
we've adapted to this one.
We dress low key, we don't flaunt
anything, we keep loaded guns in the house, and we don't keep them
stashed in some drawer where we can't find them if we need them.
We don't even think it's too bad anymore; we're beyond that.
We accept it as a fact of life and go right on. And it will stay
a fact of life until our fellow countrymen get it out of their heads
that they can do as they please, that there is no such thing as
social responsibility, that they have a right not to behave. Because
the way we see it, if they have the right to mug us, we have the
right to shoot them.
I used to believe that these people had some justifications on their
side. I used to feel that I ought to have some compassion for them,
and I did. I used to believe that a job and some credit would put
them on the right path. It isn't true. I also used to believe that
much of the human wreckage-the millions upon millions of people
with emotional damage-could be repaired. That isn't true either.
They can't be, for the most part, because the effort necessary to
straighten out a single one of them is enormous: four or five years
perhaps of therapy, in an age when there is no time for anything
but emergency medicine.
Let's face it.
not all of them are poor, not by a long
shot. A lot of them make as much money, or a great deal more, than
you or I do. They do it because it's easy. They do it because they
believe no one will stop them. And they're right. End quote.
Now what was that you were saying about terrorism?
What are leaders doing? Can they be ignorant of the mind virus they
help promote - the cause of our social disintegration: the fight-back
of the desperate?
"Mind manipulation". If we are going to call diseases
and misused everyday equipment weapons of mass destruction then
"mind manipulation" is a weapon of mass destruction more
deadly and infinitely more terrifying than anything now called terrorist.
Fake 'human rights' and 'anti-discrimination' disguise the consequences
of this manipulation! It is government backed though it is, from
a human viewpoint, both idiotic and horrific. Law helps blind us
to manipulation! In the time since our massive indoctrination to
humanist philosophy we have become pretenders to compassion and
realists to accepting ever-growing crime, cruelty and contempt for
human values - and, yes, we still claim to be civilised.
To be continued: mid-October Editorial.