The killer in Oregon

My recommendation to people interested in what happened, in the sense of how this man stepped out of his isolation and alienation to murder nine people, is to keep following the story after it falls out of the big media news cycles.

The authorities so far (next day) are being a bit closed mouth about the details. Chris Mercer was obviously not your routine 26-year-old, so the question remains as to what it was that sucked him down into the vortex of a compulsion to kill as many people as he could.

I followed the case of James Holmes (the mass killer in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting) well beyond the initial media uproar, and wonder how many people learned that Holmes had been seeing a University of Colorado psychologist and that he had, in fact, threatened her. She knew he was dangerous and reported it to university officials, but when he was dumped out of the university neuroscience program and out of the university itself, there was no indication at all that the university told local police that Holmes was a threat.

In other words, Holmes had been in the mental health net, but he didn’t slip through it. He was tossed out of it. The university was hoping to be rid of him, and that was that.

So, follow the story beyond the immediate horizon. You can do that by continuing to do Google searches on it when it starts to disappear from the national media. You’ll get the local, regional, and state news reports.

I don’t expect the Mercer case to resemble the Holmes case, but I do expect that there will be a lot more to his story than will be caught in the current avalanche of coverage. And that having an intelligent discussion of his case and the problem of mass shootings will be impossible without those details.

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Poor Hillary’s Almanac of Emails

Hillary has already taken this email episode well beyond the horizon of common sense. It is her persistence at it that puts on display the realm of the grifter and confidence man, who must play the mark’s common sense out beyond its alarms without setting them off. Even as she fails at that, she keeps going. This kind of training comes from where?

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You only get one Yogi Berra

There won’t be another. When Stengel was in the dugout and Yogi was behind the plate for the Yanks, that was more baseball genius in one place than before or since. Yogi’s ten World Series rings, his three MVP awards, and his personal honor, and his good natured and remarkable wit, are testimony to a baseball career and a life that kept him in the hearts and minds of Americans for almost seventy years.

God bless you Yogi.

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Ben Carson finds out…

…that political correctness is the Left’s sharia law.

Andrew McCarthy explains the latter.

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Historical notes

When I was in my mid-twenties, my friend Bobby G. said to me, “every time I see you, you look desperate, you have desperation in your eyes.” He was trying to tell me to calm the &%$# down. It was a general theme of the time. One was supposed to be “mellow.” And “mellow out” was a frequent admonition. It wasn’t my style and I used to mock that line by saying of someone who had recently died that he had “mellowed out.”

Later, in an adjoining era, another friend who was a frequent guest at “perpetual dusk,” as he called my loft down by Chinatown in Manhattan, loved to complain that I expended ninety percent of the day’s energy in the first ten minutes of the day. Actually, what he was really saying was that I expended ninety percent of the energy that he would expend in a day during the first ten minutes. I was prone to ramping up my energy throughout the day.

Back to when I was a student journalist, editing the campus newspaper, I had a friend who had great natural talent as a cartoonist. Not words, but images. So I was always over at his place going through his notebooks and asking what he had for me. Eventually he said, “you’re the most demanding person I’ve ever known.” He didn’t quite mean it as a compliment. But the horrible thing is that I was probably the last person who saw his work the way I saw it and hence the last person to ever demand any art from him at all. See how it works?

When I wrote the novel Corpse in Armor, the first draft took three months. It was the best time I’ve ever had as a writer. I loved every minute of it. It was the year that followed, the re-writing and editing and production of the novel that I described as like dragging a barge across dry land.

But if you’re wondering why the sequel has never come, that’s another story. Corpse scared me because even before it came out, parts of it started to happen in real life. When I was writing it I kept asking myself whether I was going too far. Five years later it’s obvious that I didn’t go far enough. I told another writer, a friend who has been at it his entire life, that in the past two years I’ve completely revised my understanding of history and politics, and it’s the greatest revision I’ve ever experienced. Greater, far greater, than my transition from Left liberalism to being a conservative. Not to mention far more frightening than anything I captured in Corpse. More about that another time, maybe.

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“Plastic Bags Are Good for You”

A long note to the self-deluding environmental religionists.

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“Answer: The Marxist mechanism that disconnects facts from conclusions to make war on our minds”

Question: What is ‘PC’?

Diana West. If you haven’t read her book, “American Betrayal,” you need to do that ASAP.

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New Paltz: I’m still laughing…

…at the six-story condominium apartment building WITH an adjoining hotel that’s being proposed for the Pit, the hole in the downtown donut that sits behind the village hall.

No, that most assuredly wouldn’t “fundamentally transform” the downtown village core. No more than, say, building an 18,000 seat NHL arena in the park that runs along North Front and sits behind Huguenot Street would change the sense of things in the historic district.

The solution to development of the Pit is the same as the solution to the Millbrook Preserve. The village should buy it from its owner and then leave it alone.

The Pit isn’t just an empty space. It’s integral to the unique organic design of the magnificent, classical, small-town downtown of the Village of New Paltz. Think of the village core as rotating around the Pit. As I said in a previous item here, the Pit gives the downtown its three-dimensionality and its illusion of size. The Pit, like time, is what keeps everything from happening at once.

New Paltz will change. The downtown will change. But it must not be ruined. The Pit is a small piece of open space that no one thinks about, most of the time, but it does a very big and essential job.

P.S. I have no problem with a hotel, by the way. Maybe the owner of the car wash on 32 North, across from My Market, would sell that property to a developer. A condo-apartment building, however, needs to be tucked away. Maybe North or South Putt has a site.

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First word…

…that comes to my mind…

About Jeb Bush: “No.”

About Hillary Clinton: “W O N D E R F U L !”

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Jorge Ramos

The Hispanic Cindy Sheehan.

Later: Hold on a sec. Mother Sheehan might not be that good a fit for Jorge. How about Medea Benjamin? She has more verve, and is a good Fidelista (or was; she did move back to the U.S. after her romantic relocation to Havana).

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Hillary’s doing pretty good

The first word that comes to voters’ minds about Hillary?

Number one was “liar.”

Second was “dishonest.”

Third was “untrustworthy.”

Well, that’s something to build on.

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I haven’t seen stand-up comedy like that since Alan King did the Ed Sullivan Show.

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New Paltz: Yet another civic fad alert!

This time* it’s the…ah, umm, strange…outgoing Town of New Paltz supervisor (I restrain myself, really, not from any sense of honor but from a Benedictine-like desire to deny myself the cruel pleasures) trying to rope the village board (these are separate governments, FYI outsiders and recent graduates) into building a joint government complex out near the current (incapacitated) town hall and (cough) community center.

The mayor of the village, F.A. Generic, really likes the idea. He’s thinking of the cash the village could get by selling the current village hall and surrounding digs, because it’s some prime rib real estate. And how wonderful it would be, indeed, to…what? To have an energy efficient building (very green, with solar panels and maybe windmills!). Yes, how wonderful. It’s everything that the local ruling cabal would like to bestow upon themselves. Maybe it will even look like that sculpture in Peace Park.

I’m going to wait a bit, until this thing really gets going, before I analyze it into extinction, but I’ll leave one tip now for the village: Don’t get involved with the town government. That’s a very simple rule of thumb. That doesn’t mean don’t do some shared services so that the roads get plowed. It means don’t get involved with any of the Big Plans. And don’t get involved in anything the supervisor is enthusiastic about. Let her go into the sunset thinking she was the greatest thing since the bottle cap. (And the new guy the Central Committee seems to be getting behind looks like an authentic member of the Generic family. Yes, if he wins, let’s break him in with a fresh civic fad.)

One thing this late-breaking “joint government complex” civic fad item is about is the lingering frustration among certain movers and shakers over the failure to combine the two governments into one, an idea so unnecessary that its advocates built a small cult around it to keep the embers glowing.

* There’s always at least one civic fad going in New Paltz.

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Minimum wage gets you minimum jobs

Workers are valuable to most firms, in a variety of ways. Minimum wage laws price unskilled workers out of their *first* jobs (plural).

Force a business to pay someone more than they are worth, and the business will go without. They will make do with fewer workers.

Right now, you understand, the unemployment rate is down because the labor force participation rate is down. It’s at a 38-year low, the last I checked.

No one knows what the black market for workers is, precisely. The same people who go all jackwagon about raising the minimum wage also love the illegals flooding in to do “the jobs Americans won’t do.”

Markets set prices. When government does it, it screws people who need a path into the labor market. Not everybody can start at $600,000 a year, like Chelsea Clinton did at NBC, though who could deny her immense talent.

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But is it vegan?

Bakin’ Baby Syndrome

Mark Steyn:

“What this evil toad “fought to protect” was Cecile Richards’ access to critical women and their “products of conception”. This is a uniquely American depravity – a billion-dollar abortion-industrial complex, unknown to the abortion regimes of France, Sweden, the Netherlands. Presumably all those Continental social democrats with their restrictions on “women’s access to critical health services” are also part of the “war on women”. The very fact that the Democrats’ leader in the Senate is willing to advertise his facilitation of barbarism is a sign of his confidence in the people’s indifference.”

Mark Steyn is almost gentle about this compared to the wild-eyed Ann Barnhardt, who discusses the eventuality of fetal cannibalism. I won’t link it because although I think Barnhardt makes a strong argument I don’t want anyone to have to see the accompanying photograph.

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Robert Conquest, 98

One of the greats. If you don’t know who he was, find out.

Reflections on a Ravaged Century. For instance. (Part One: Mindslaughter)


The Great Terror: A Reassessment.

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