Category Archives: Crime

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Note:  Since I have two weeks worth of my RedState posts here, this will be lengthy, but you can see it all beneath the cut. And I will also say this: It’s great to be home. I still love the Colorado mountains and had a great time, but we also spent a few days in the Denver area visiting friends and family, and boy have three years in the Great Land changed my perspectives on Denver.  Big cities are noisy, and they stink.

We’re really glad to be home, in Alaska.

Now then:

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Rule Five Irrational Fear Friday

A recent piece I stumbled across, combined with the fire-hose stream of news out of the Middle East, has me thinking about fear, the nature of fear, and the fear that the Hamas assholes kicking up their heels in Gaza and Israel, or someone like them, might hurt or kill us or those we love.  I don’t think it’s an irrational fear completely; I don’t waste a lot of brain run-time worrying about it myself, as I doubt any fundamentalist Islamic shitbirds are going to go poking around in the rural Alaska woods looking for trouble and, even if they did, they wouldn’t last long against a bunch of heavily armed Alaskans.

But some folks worry more.  And turns out that it might be a rational fear (or, at least, not completely irrational), statistics aside.

In the U.S., about one in three people are worried about being the victim of a terrorist attack. In Europe, terrorism consistently makes it onto lists of people’s biggest concerns, and it was Europeans’ #1 concern in 2016 and 2017. Even if people aren’t in “terror,” they are anxious about it, and their behaviors have adapted to this anxiety. Most people believe life has permanently changed since 9/11. For Israelis, life may have permanently changed following the events of October 7, 2023.

How justified is this fear of terrorism? One line of argument is that it’s not justified at all.

It claims there are bigger and far more dangerous threats to our everyday lives. For example, in Europe, you are 50 times more likely to die in a bike accident, 85 times more likely to die in a heat wave, and over 4,000 times more likely to die in a car crash than die from an act of terrorism. According to this line of reasoning, our fear of terrorism is engineered by a sensationalist media and psychological biases. A sober risk assessment shows us that fear of terrorism is irrational.

But, according to a new paper by philosopher Eran Fish, the fear of terrorism is not unreasonable at all. There are perfectly justifiable reasons for why we should fear terrorists more than car crashes.

Here are those three reasons, abridged a little so as not to blow up the post; do go to the article linked above and read it all.

The first line of Fish’s argument stems from the idea that we are justified in fearing things that have an element of danger that is random and non-discriminate.

Terrorism can be that (it can also be directed against specific military or, more often, political targets) but it can also be purely random; like Hamas targeting various Israeli kibbutzim for no reason other than they were within paraglider range of Gaza.

Fish’s second line of argument is that terrorism is an intentional act that can be prevented. Car crashes are accidents. While heart disease and cancer make up more than 50% of all deaths worldwide (which is far, far more than the deaths caused by terrorism), these aren’t entirely preventable. Someday, you’re going to die of something — might as well be cancer. Natural deaths are a natural part of life.

But terror attacks aren’t.  They can be prevented – mostly by killing terrorists – but the tactic will probably never go away completely.  Islamist nutbars aren’t the first people to use terror as a tactic, and they won’t be the last.

Fish’s third line of argument is that it is reasonable to fear insecurity, particularly when the people you put in charge of protecting you (namely, the government) fail to do so.

That’s certainly a fair point – if you are one of those people who relies on government to keep you safe.  In America, we have a different way to maintain our own security.  Remember when I said I wasn’t too concerned about Islamist nutbars trying to shoot up our Alaskan woods?  Because these people are essentially cowards, and won’t go anywhere where they may feel threatened themselves.

But it’s still, even so, a fair point.  One of the few legitimate roles of government is to keep other people from hurting us or taking our stuff.  Terrorists operate in those thin areas where government, for one reason or another, is unwilling, unable or simply unprepared to provide that protection.  That, whether it be in Israel or Chicago, is unsettling to lots of people, and no, that’s not an irrational viewpoint.

Especially in these ever-more-uncertain times.  Buy ammo, folks. And get out of the cities.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Some housekeeping notes: Last night I caught a red-eye to Denver, in order to recover enough (which takes longer every year) to leave Friday for Grand County, where loyal sidekick Rat and I will be sallying forth to do battle with antlered ungulates.  More news on that when/if anything happens; in the meantime, there will be some placeholder totty on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.  Barring some catastrophe regular posts should resume on Thursday, the 2nd.

Now then…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Daily Effing Savages News

Bari Weiss has some interesting comments on the whole mess in Israel.  I haven’t always agreed with Mr. Weiss over the years, but I have always found her worth reading, and this is no exception.

At the end of the Second World War, it took the Allies months, if not years, to uncover the full scale of Germany’s war crimes. That’s because the Nazis tried to hide them. 

In October 2023, Hamas broadcast what they did—what they are doing—in real time.

They took horrific videos to document and share it all. Videos of naked women; of a captured six-year-old-boy; of beheaded soldiers.

This young woman—her name is Mor—learned that her grandmother had been slaughtered because a terrorist took her grandmother’s cell phone, filmed her murder, and then uploaded the video to the grandmother’s own Facebook page, ensuring her family would see it.

Now they are threatening to execute the hostages they have captured on live television. Parents across the country have been told to delete apps like Instagram from their children’s phones so they do not see the carnage.

It’s as if the Cossacks had TikTok.

For some years now I’ve been describing Hamas, ISIL and their ilk accurately and bluntly: They are fucking savages. They deserve not arrest and trial; after the acts of this week past we see them for what they are, and we see that the proper response to their acts is for Israel to hunt them down like rabid animals and put them down, decisively.

And that seems to be what’s happening.

But here’s the onion: There are too many among us here, in the supposedly civilized West, who are aligning themselves with the savages.

On the one hand I think: surely this will be sufficient. Surely this amount of blood will be enough to shake the world awake. Surely no one can equivocate or justify this. As my friend Sarah Haider wrote, “How easy is it to simply condemn targeted violence against civilians? Can there be a lower bar?” 

And yet, across the world, people have sunk below it.

Here you can watch people gathered at the Sydney Opera House cheering “gas the Jews” and “death to the Jews.” People are rejoicing in the slaughter on the streets of Berlin and London and Toronto and New York. (Scroll down to read our Free Press dispatch on the celebrations in Manhattan.)

At our most prestigious universities there is silence from administrations that leapt to speak out on George Floyd’s killing and on the war in Ukraine. Meantime, the social justice crowd offers explanations for the massacre—a massacre that, in part, targeted a group of progressive Israelis at a music festival. Terrorists came to that festival on paragliders carrying machine guns to start their slaughter. They raped women there next to the dead bodies of their friends.

Here’s the thing: Those who are supporting of this insanity will sooner or later be called to account for that support.  At this juncture I’m not sure what form that will take; these are, after all, people whose mouths are writing checks their asses can’t cash, and while they talk a big game they aren’t acting, other than shouting and waving signs.  Yet.

We are engaged in a major conflict of civilizations.  Israel is the front line.  The conflict is radical Islam vs. civilization.  That is what it is.  Europe may well already be lost.  The next century may be very uncomfortable – but it may also be the hard times that brings us strong people.

Bari Weiss, yes, makes some good points.  Hopefully enough people are listening.

Animal’s Daily Near Future News

National Treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson is back, this time weighing in on the state of affairs in the United States in an interview with Tucker Carlson.  Here, watch:

Here’s the bit (transcribed at the link above) that I found interesting; Dr. Hanson speaks:

Every time people say they wouldn’t dare do this, “Fanni Willis wouldn’t dare,” “Letitia James is an absurd prosecutor, she wouldn’t dare,” “Alvin Bragg is a buffoon, he wouldn’t dare,” “Jack Smith is a partisan.” Every time people say that they do! And so I don’t know if there i a strategy to keep Donald Trump either out of a gag order, or out of confinement at Mar-a-Lago, or out of jail.

You can see where we’re headed where Joe Biden isn’t really a viable president anymore. He’s a construct, he’s being used by the hard left, by the Obamas and the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders “Squad” wing of the Democratic Party. And it is getting to the point of caricature. You put all of those things together and add in a Kamala Harris that frightens everybody because we’ve never had such an incompetent vice president, I think, and so unfit to be president.

All bets are off! It’s like putting all sorts of ingredients of explosives into a kind of device and it is going to blow up I think, somehow. But I don’t think we can predict what is going to happen, it is just too volatile. I think the left feels that they want to push the envelope, they want to take the leading Republican candidate and create charges against him, which they know they wouldn’t ever lodge if he hadn’t run for president. They would have left him alone.

In other words, we’re in uncharted territory here.

I first started paying attention to politics in the Carter years, and was indirectly involved for the first time in 1980 when I put in some hours as a local volunteer for the Reagan campaign.  It seems like in every election since 1980, some talking head or another has bleated about the next election being “the most important since 1860” or even “the most important in the history of the republic.”  And, there are people saying that today.  But right now, damn me if I’m not beginning to think that they are right.  We have one party that will cross any line, break any rule, cheat any cheat to seize and keep power (look at California if you want to see their model) and another that is just not very good at standing up for themselves, much less us.

This isn’t the recipe for long-term stability.

A big part of the problem is the political system itself.  Our Brobdingnagian Imperial government is so massive, and spends so much money, and is so intrusive and has so, so many opportunities for graft and corruption, that it has given way to a kakistocracy.  We are being governed by the very worst among us, and they have clearly indicated that they intend to stay where they are, in control of the levers of power.

As time goes on I’m more and more uncertain that this is something we can fix with elections.  Is it too late for the ballot box?

That’s a question I’d like to see posed to someone as educated, knowledgeable and brilliant as Dr. Hanson.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, The Daley Gator, Flappr, Bacon Time and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

A couple of bank and credit union robberies down in Anchorage have been solved, and the perp in custody, thanks to an online dating app.  No shit.

Anchorage resident Tyler Ching, 34, was arrested Sept. 22 in connection with two robberies at a credit union and bank in Anchorage.

On Sept. 19, authorities allege that Ching entered the Global Credit Union located on Industry Way. Ching menacingly approached two patrons in conversation with a bank teller, and brandished what appeared to be a gun. He demanded the teller fill a bag with cash.

Making his escape, he took about $2,320 with him. The next day, he repeated the pattern at the Wells Fargo Bank on Jewel Lake Road, making off with $2,820.

Meanwhile, the FBI put a photo out of the suspect and someone in the community recognized him from the Tinder dating app. He was also identified by an employee of the Anchorage Police Department, who knew a mutual acquaintance.

Here’s the fun bit:

Ching, a registered voter with the Green Party of Alaska, according to the Division of Elections, worked at a coffee shop not far from the Wells Fargo branch. He faces two counts of bank robbery and could serve up to 20 years in prison for each count.

Well, a Green Party leftist.  Not that there are plenty of Green Party nutbars who, while being nutbars, are at least law-abiding nutbars.  But Mr. Ching’s Green Party affiliation may well be a manifestation of the three personality traits an old retired cop once told me are present in every criminal; the percentages vary, but all three are always present. Those traits are Greedy, Mean and Stupid.

Mr. Ching, it appears, weighs in heavily on the Stupid side of the trilogy.

 

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

The very first brain cells may have been in evidence as long as 800 million years ago.

Researchers from Spain and Germany have discovered characteristics of specialized secretory cells in simple animals called placozoans which could identify them as a prelude to neurons in other organisms.

Roughly the size of a grain of sand, these basic creatures have no organs, consisting of little more than a colony of different cell types. Much as they still do today, placozoans once hunted microbes and browsed algae in the warm shallows of seas 800 million years ago.

So 800 million years ago we have evidence of emerging brains.  Any guesses as to when we might see evidence of brains in Congress?

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Just overnight, our juncos are gone, headed south for the winter.

Dark-Eyed Junco

One day there were a lot of them about, gleaning seed from under the feeders; the next day they were gone.  Juncos are one of our last summer birds to leave in the fall.  Friday is the first official day of autumn,  but our brief Great Land summer has already given way; we had our first hard frost Monday night, it’s raining more, the leaves on the birches are turning, and the fireweed is all come up in red.

Winter is coming!  Next month we’ll start getting snow, if things go as usual, and that’s fine.  Our winters are every bit as beautiful as our summers.  We have a full heating oil tank and two and a half cords of firewood put away.  We’re ready.

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Housekeeping note:  Since my Wednesday links posts have always been long, and are getting longer, I’m going to try sticking the actual links below a “Click to Read More” tag.  This will help me to keep my already crowded front page a tad less cluttered while I consider how to go about a more involved revamp of the site. I’m still using the 2014 theme for WordPress, and while I like the looks of it, it may be time to update.  It’s been almost ten years since the last major site revamp, so we’ll see.  And, of course, please do let me know in the comments if you like/dislike and changes or have any other comments.

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Rule Five Political Violence Friday

In our current-day “everything is politics” times, it seems a larger number of people are willing to use violence to gain political advantage than there have been for some time; Issues & Insights has some thoughts.

The University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats’ June survey of 3,543 adults has produced a lot of data noise but it also includes some useful information. Of course the media want to ring the bells over one finding in particular: an increase in the percentage those who agree that “the use of force is justified to restore Donald Trump to the presidency.” According to the project, in early April only 4.5% of those polled agreed with that statement. By late June, though, it had risen to (a rounded-up) 7%, “the equivalent of an estimated shift from 12 million to 18 million American adults.”

The media-wide implication is that the growing support for using force to put Trump back in the White House is fueled by the extremism (and dare we say “semi-fascism”?) of Republicans and MAGA followers. A prime example of this bias is found in the headline over a story in The Hill. It reads “More say violence could be necessary to restore Trump to White House.”

But as always, there’s more to the story, and there’s much more than The Hill’s implication, which should come as a surprise to no one.

Democrats’ inclination to use violence to achieve their goals was also seen in the results of other questions:

  • More than 16% of Democrats think force is justified to restore the federal right to abortion.
  • More than 22% Democrats agree that “the use of force against the police is justified to prevent police brutality against black Americans and other minorities.”
  • More than a quarter of Democrats would approve of the use of force “to protect the voting rights of Black Americans and other minorities.”

The gist of it?  The Left is more willing to engage in violence to further political goals than the Right.

That anyone would have to do a “study” to determine this is just a bit ridiculous.  Remember the summer of 2020, when COVID lockdowns went out the window so people could riot, loot and burn to protest the death of a misogynistic drug addict?  Over a billion, maybe close to two billion, in property damage due to vandalism, arson, rioting and looting.  Oh, the Left will say “but it was insured,” as thought that justifies burning people’s small businesses that they spent lifetimes building.  Oh, and at least twenty-five people were killed, and around sixty thousand police officers were assaulted.

Now the Left points at the January 6th, 2021 event, which caused at most a tad under two million dollars, and the only fatality was an unarmed Air Force veteran shot in the neck by a panicked Capitol Police officer, who never faced any consequences for the act.

There’s just no comparison.

The AntiProfa and Black Lives Matter groups have been responsible for most of the violence.  Oh, yes, there have been some arrests.  But if you think it’s over, wait until next year, and watch the reaction if a Republican wins the Presidential election.

Especially if that Republican is Donald Trump.

We have some interesting times ahead.