Friday, May 22, 2015

Kit's Friday Thoughts: Memorial Day Weekend

By Kit

Well, it's Memorial Day weekend. Today I'll be touching on Tsarnaev, Boy Scouts, and a new series I might be starting, "Book Recommendation of the Week."

Death Penalty for Tsarnaev

Recently Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death, and with his sentence the usual objections to the Death Penalty have been raised. The Christian magazine Relevant argued that a Christian can't be consistently pro-life on abortion and pro-death on the death penalty.

First, this is a position I find rather odd because the Bible itself takes that very stance. In fact there are numerous places where the Bible imposes the death penalty. And not just in Leviticus.

But, this is not a religious site. This is a political/cultural site. So, instead I'll make my case on secular grounds:

The State has the right, perhaps even the duty, to execute persons who have committed particularly heinous murders in order to declare such actions beyond the realm of civilized society.

Let's look at Mr. Tsarnaev as an example. He planted his suitcase full of explosives next to 8-year old, Martin Richard and his sister Jane Richard. Martin was killed in the explosion, Jane lost her leg. The deliberate harm of a child should at the very least warrant some level

Further, a terrorist act in this case is not directed at a particular individual but against a society as a whole. The Tsarnaevs were not trying to inflict harm on just a handful of people at the Boston Marathon nor on the city of Boston as a whole but upon the whole of the United States and the American people. They were attacking every single one of us. That is the purpose of terrorism; to terrorize.

Lastly, on the question of "humanitarian" reasons for not executing him. If he was sentenced to Life without Parole he would be spending at least 50 years (guessing by the average human life expectancy) in a 10-foot by 12-foot cell at ADX, a prison that one former warden compared to "hell." LINK

Boy Scouts ban Watergun fights

I wish I were joking. Kids are no longer allowed to shoot each other with water pistols because it is "not kind." From the new manual: "Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn."

Really. Read it here: LINK

Book Recommendation of the Week

A thing I might be starting. Recommending a book I've read recently. This week it's Monster Hunter International. It's about a man who gets recruited by Monster Hunter International, an organization that serve as bounty hunters except instead of people they hunt monsters; vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc., collecting bounties for each kill.

It is a ton of fun. The hero and his team hunt and shoot monsters and in the process protecting the innocent from the creatures that lurk in the dark. The heroes are likable and fun. The writer, Larry Correia, has planted the story firmly in the B-Movie universe but has fun with defying the stereotypes of the genre. He takes the stock characters, such as the "thuggish-looking" black guy best friend, and turns them on their head, and gives us that quintessential quality of a good ensemble action/adventure cast; a desire to hang out with our heroes again and again.

The only downside is that the writer at times goes into a bit too much detail on the guns the characters are using. One instance involved a page and a half describing a gun they were just looking at. That could've been slimmed down a bit.

The book also has a big anti-authority libertarian streak and his pro-gun attitudes are established within the first couple of pages. I'll let you decide whether that is a bonus or drawback.

It is currently free for eBook! So you have nothing to lose! Here is the Amazon link: LINK

Tolkien and Lewis Lectures

Professor Ryan Reeves at Gordon-Conwell Seminary has a series of lectures posted on youtube about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, each ranging from a half-hour to an hour in length.

The first one I watched was "C.S. Lewis, Narnia, and the Medieval World" where he described Lewis' use of the "Seven Heavens" of medieval astronomy in his work and from then on I was hooked. Now, I'm about halfway through and still eagerly devouring the lectures.

Now, it is at a seminary and an evangelical one to boot, which means they are intended for future pastors and ministers (I intend to be neither) and are from a generally conservative evangelical point-of-view, so a caveat emptor there. But, the information he gives on the world views of the two men, their backgrounds, and the themes of the works are quite interesting. At least to me.

Here is the playlist: LINK

Some News

I probably won't be doing a Summer of Marvel review for this Monday. Instead you may see something from Andrew or I listing off favorite war movies or something like that. We'll see.

I start classes next week so you might see some hiccups in the Summer of Marvel during the month of June, but, again, we'll see.

Have a great weekend.


Anthony said...

The watergun ban strikes me as excessive, but honestly, as an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow, I don't see it as a big deal. There are still badges for real guns as well as bows and arrows. And I am fine with the crackdown on water balloons.

My troop was an active one (our Scoutmaster was an ex-Marine, the Assistant Scoutmaster was a lumberjack) and every month we hiked and/or camped as well as did various activities tied to helping members earn merit badges. We never messed with waterguns or water balloons.

Water guns are harmless, but they are also something only slackers with too much time on their hands got into (we could be cutting firewood, hiking, whittling, firing real guns or swimming, but instead let's squirt water on each other!) and unless they were complete idiots, they'd only do that at camp (water is heavy and hard to come by on the trail).

As for water balloons, I remember my troop cleaning up one area at Goshen (a camp in VA) where clearly a water balloon fight had happened (there were big rags of colored plastic scattered around). Leaving trash scattered around anywhere is against the Boy Scout code so I can see why the Scouts would want to discourage that.

Critch said...

I spent twenty years as a scout leader and towards the end I just couldn't stand it anymore. They were doing their damndest to turn boys into girls. it was sickening. I remember my scout master, Mr Banks knew everything there was to know about the outdoors. We camped all the time, built nice looking camps, pitched good, windproof tents, hiked, knew how to start fires, skin animals and what we can and can't eat in the woods. Of course the soccer moms and their emasculated husbands (if he was in the picture) were horrified when I told them of Mr Banks smoking cigarettes and getting a pull from his whisky bottle occasionally, while directing us. Mr Banks had fought on Guadalcanal and Okinawa and later Pork Chop Hill. He was a man, not a wussy. My scouts learned the same things, they also learned respect of other people, not to bully, take up for each other and keep yoiur tent clean. They also learned to shoot guns and bows, how to make an atlatl and darts, how to make fire, how to weave a straw hat and a host of other skills..I helped to make over 20 Eagle Scouts, and they are all doing fairly well to this day. I hate what has happened to scouting. Women I know tell me that Girl Scouting is getting strange.

BevfromNYC said...

Anthony and Critch - It is impressive that you were both Eagle Scouts! I agree that Scouting has been dumbed down. The whole point was to teach kids the lost art of survival. When the Scouts were founded it was to teach the inner city kids with no practical skills or direction, a chance to learn life skills. I think kids today are pressured into thinking that Scouting is stupid and neaderthal-ish

I was a Girl Scout...and not a very good one. I received all sorts of badges, but never sewed them on my sash like a good Girl Scout should. Ironically, I spent at least 10 years of my life sewing for a living...go figure. We really didn't learn any practical skills like the Boy Scouts did. My brothers used to go to overnight "survival" camps and have to do exactly what you guys described. We went to Girl Scout camp where we slept in bunkbeds and made S'mores. I never once learned to make a fire or do anything outdoorsy. But I did that later...hence I live in the inner city. Swinging hammers and using all manners of power tools YES, sleeping in a tent outside with bugs, flying spiders [see Australia), and venomous snakes...NOOOOOO! ;-D

AndrewPrice said...

Hi everybody. Sorry I haven't posted or put up a film article, but it's been a super busy end of week suddenly.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, here are some arguments in favor of the death penalty to consider...

1. Prevents vendettas because families will go for private justice if they believe they can't get retribution.

2. "For life" penalties are too expensive, are pointless, and result in weepy liberals trying to get these people out after a few years once they no longer look dangerous. So choice between "life sentence" or death is misleading in any event.

3. Deterrent factor - it's been proven that criminals adjust their behavior when penalties get stiffer. If you actually use a death penalty, it will cut down on non-emotional "big" crimes because criminals don't want to die. Obviously, it won't stop "crimes of passion" or the criminally insane, but it will stop others.


tryanmax said...

RE: Andrew's 3rd point - if there is one thing I've learned from mobster movies, it's that career criminals apply a calculus to the risk of jail time. There's also the recruitment factor inside of prisons, but that's not an argument against the prison system, it's an argument for changing its structure.

tryanmax said...

On an unrelated topic, I have something too good to keep to myself. Limbaugh has himself in a tough corner regarding the current trade deal in the works. (About which I know very little.) According to Rush, the Republicans ought to oppose it b/c Obama is for it, but they don't dare side with the likes of Elizabeth Warren, either. I listened to him argue against himself for the better part of 20 minutes laughing my sides sore. If only there were some consitant philosophy of governance he could apply to the situation to help him sort it out.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, There's actually a lot of evidence for criminals changing their behavior to adjust the risk. That's why when the government puts an emphasis on something, criminals switch to an alternative. And if you give them a loophole, they take it. Most criminals know and understand the system.

Liberals don't want to believe this because they believe that crimes are accidents or one-off events forced on them by economic duress, but that's just not true. Crime is a rational choice and the lazy and those looking for quick fix go into it willingly and knowledgeably.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, If only there were some consitant philosophy of governance he could apply to the situation to help him sort it out.

LOL! Too bad there's no such thing! ;-)

Kit said...

By the way, here is the Relevant magazine article I mentioned, if you want to read it.

Kit said...

Oh, and I added a link in-article to a Bible quote often cited by Christians who support the Death Penalty.

Kit said...

You know, Hillary Clinton spent over a decade serving as both a Senator and Secretary of State and yet people have trouble listing a single achievement of hers. That in and of itself might be an achievement.

BevfromNYC said...

OT: It's Fleet Week in NYC - that's when the Navy ships and sailors come in for A little R&R. The Blue Angels flew in formation ove the Hudson River and it was breath-taking! I didn't have time to take a photo, but it was so cool!

Anthony said...

I am all for the death penalty but I doubt it's much of a deterrent. There are fewer executions in the U.S. in a year then there are drug related murders (innocents get killed, but a lot of the dead are dealers) in some cities.

Critch said...

I don't like the death penalty for a lot of reasons. I doubt it really deters anyone. In Merry Olde England they would be hanging pickpockets at Tyburn and their buddies would be picking pockets of the gentry who came to watch. It is used unfairly, I know, the world isn't a fair place, but when is the last time a rich person was sentenced to death? Unless we adopt the way England did it until 1965, i.e., you hang on the 6th Friday after your trial at 9AM unless the courts rule otherwise.....then it will always be terribly expensive....Throw them in a prison, forever, no visitors, no semblance of any life and let them rot. It's probably cheaper.

Don't think that I give a rat's ass about most of the vermin on death row, I don't, but the way we do it just doesn't seem right. It's not high on my priorities to go out and protest against either.

Kit said...

Sons of Liberty is on. It is a bit silly. Personally, I blame Roland Emmerich's burning down of the church in The Patriot for the silly handling of the Revolution in many modern shows.

Koshcat said...

I'm not a fan of the death penalty, at least how it is used today. It is a joke and a cruel one at that.

I am currently and slowly reading "A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia". That's what we should be doing to lifers; sending them off to colonize Mars.

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