Mother’s Life

N is taking Klara to Chicago to get her passport renewed. I’m not going because I finally have an appointment with an otolaryngologist and I can’t take any more of this ear situation. While they are away, I’m planning to go to a movie and order takeout.

This whole thing is plunging me into paroxysms of guilt. Guilt that I’m selfishly choosing my ear and guilt that I’m planning to enjoy a movie and takeout instead of rending my garments with shame because I’ve abandoned my family.

Please don’t tell me this is dumb. I know it’s dumb. It’s a feeling. It’s not a rational choice.

Depp vs Heard

I have no opinion on Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard other than how consistently surprising it is for me that mega-rich, famous men in America don’t try to purchase the company of beautiful, pleasing women. Heard looks OK, if completely generic, but for men like Depp and Musk to go for her (or that grimy Grimes person) and not for some stunning beauty is incomprehensible. It’s clearly not these women’s intellect and stellar personal qualities that they are attracted to. If you want dysfunction, there are plenty dysfunctional beauties to purchase.

Favorite Rhetorical Device

I spent 15 years deep on the American Left, so “you want XYZ to die” has no effect on me. This is the Left’s favorite rhetorical device that is deployed whenever you demonstrate the smallest disagreement with the current dogma. Which changes every 3 minutes, of course. The other day, I saw somebody on Twitter come out with this gem: “Republicans want more kids to be born so that they can then shoot them.” Immediately, this was picked up by every social media with great glee.

“Against puberty blockers? You want trans children to die!”

“Voted for Trump? You want black people to be genocided!”

I’m completely impervious to this rhetoric, so people should keep it to themselves.

Freedom Still Works

I’m not the person who brought Ukraine into the discussion of gun control but since reader CRC did it, I will mention that at the very beginning of the war, the Ukrainian government made the decision to arm the civilian population. Everybody who wanted a gun, a rifle, whatever was available, could go and get it. So far, there have been no recorded cases of people turning the weapons against each other or using them for any nefarious purpose. Ukraine isn’t the US. There’s complete freedom of information. If there were any information to the contrary, we’d know it.

Conclusion: if you arm the entire population with zero controls, this will not by itself lead to anything bad. There are many other components except wide availability of weapons.

One more thing. Every serious analyst attributes Ukraine’s early success in the war against Russia to the contrast between Russia’s heavily centralized power and Ukraine’s purposeful dismantling of such power structures since 2014. “We the people” is a principle that still works.

Also, the reason why Russian soldiers are so stunned by the much higher standard of living in Ukraine is that since 2014 Ukraine has been removing many government regulations on small and medium-sized businesses. The process of starting a business was dramatically simplified. The tax code, the certification, everything has been reduced and there are plans to reduce more. The results were immediate and strikingly good.

Ukraine is supporting every favorite measure of US conservatives and demonstrating that it works. Nation-state, strong borders, limited government, local rights, deregulation of small business, freedom of speech, gun rights. It’s all there. Yet they are still sighing sadly over their crush on Mr Trudeau 2.0 known as Vladimir Putin.

Monopolies vs Competition

You can no longer buy books from a Kindle app on Android phones. Google is unhappy about the lack of popularity of its book app and is trying to squeeze out the competition in this unimaginative way.

Of course, Google could try to improve its own app and win the old capitalist way by doing better than the competition. I almost never use the Google app because it’s ugly and inconvenient. The Kindle app is a place where one wants to be. I have my reading insights, my book challenges, my series all organized automatically. It’s very easy to copy as many quotes as I need. What, Google doesn’t have enough money or talent to improve their own app and make it usable? Even their search engine is for shit. I have to use bizarre ways of searching for books to get what I need. And they have almost no reviews which are crucial to a book purchase. Book blurbs are next to non-existent. If I’m interested in a book they sell, I always have to research it on Amazon first.

I hate these low, monopolistic tricks. If you make a superior product, users will flock to it. But trying to force people to buy crappy stuff when something better exists is pathetic.

Existing Gun Control Measures

Returning to the subject of gun control, I have to wonder, why don’t the eminently reasonable gun control measures that do exist get enforced?

Take Chicago’s Memorial Weekend massacre. Two of the shooters (three, according to some sources) had recently been arrested on gun violations. And almost immediately released. These are violent felons who aren’t supposed to have guns. They were arrested with guns. Why weren’t they prosecuted?

This has been going on for a long time. Chicago police arrest criminals on gun violations according to the existing gun laws. But the prosecutors refuse to charge. It has gotten so bad that police try to go directly to the feds (which normally police don’t enjoy doing) over the heads of prosecutors because at least this way there’s a possibility of taking the criminals off the streets for a while.

As I keep saying, guns aren’t a subject that I’m interested in. But I am interested in lies. The exact same people who bemoan the lack of gun control measures aggressively refuse to enforce gun control measures in places they control. Why is that? Several of the shootings this past weekend in Chicago could have been prevented if the existing gun control measures were enforced. Why ask for more gun control measures if you don’t use the ones already there?

I have to conclude that something else is going on. Let’s ban AR-15s, they say. OK, let’s. And then what? Is that going to be enforced? Why should we assume it will? Why should we assume it won’t be enforced selectively in a way that won’t reduce gun violence? Because if the goal really were to reduce gun violence. . . see everything I have written before. Violent crime has exploded in several big cities since May of 2020. These are cities with strict gun laws. That, once again, don’t get enforced. You unleash violence, defund the police, and then try to disarm law-abiding people while putting violent criminals back in the streets. Would it be rational to assume that this is truly about preventing gun violence? I can’t see how it would.