Category Archives: Commentary

Ten sensible self-control laws that will reduce the risk of gun violence

Air Force TACPs confirm target locations with their map
Air Force TACPs confirm target locations with their map

I really liked this article from Intellectual Takeout, which had a list of recommendations to reduce gun violence. Although most people today are looking at gun regulations to reduce gun violence, we actually had a lot of guns in previous generations, but a lot less gun violence. Maybe it’s because more people made wiser choices.

The article says:

  1. Don’t commit suicide. This is the most common gun-related death, being about 63% of all firearm deaths in the US.

  2. Adopt a policy of not escalating any road rage situations. If someone does something offensive on the highways have it pre-settled in your mind to react by de-escalating the situation (refrain from responding in kind) and back off to allow the heat of the moment to cool.

  3. Do not join a gang. Violence is the accepted norm among gang members, resulting in many becoming victims of gun violence.

  4. Do not buy or sell illegal drugs. Yes, I do know that it’s the drug laws more than the drugs themselves that leads to gun violence among drug buyers and sellers. But, people already on the wrong side of the law are more likely to commit gun violence than the law-abiding population.

  5. Do not get involved with abusive people. Someone who previously has physically abused a partner is more likely to do so than are those who have never engaged in such abuse.

  6. Implement a personal curfew. The safest place anyone can be at 2am is at home in bed. Roaming the streets in the middle of the night exposes one to gangs, drug sellers, and other dangerous people.

  7. Stay away from Gun Free Zones. One study showed that 98% of all mass shootings happen in these places. Gun Free Zone signs tell violent people this is a spot where the picking will be easy. As for everywhere else, these predators may be deterred since they have to wonder if there’s already a good guy with a gun on the property.

  8. Do not associate with convicted criminals. Like the abuser, violent criminals out of prison are likely to continue their habits.

  9. Be aware of your surroundings. Make it a habit to look around and assess any situation you are in. Most victims of gun violence have no warning of the impending danger, the old saying “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” is pertinent here. So, no staring at your cell phone!

  10. Avoid people who handle guns in an irresponsible manner. Anyone who casually or even unknowingly points a gun at someone or who does not exercise good gun safety such as carefully checking to see that a gun is unloaded is someone to be avoided.

  11. Bonus Suggestion: Do not be a predator. A significant number (about 700 each year) of gun deaths are justifiable homicide wherein a victim successfully defends themselves from criminal assault.

This list of self-control laws is so different than what you see politicians proposing. This list is targeted to individuals, and it is telling them to understand how danger works, and then make adjustments in their choices and priorities in order to minimize the risk. The politicians instead want to blame inanimate objects and take away the rights of law-abiding people to defend themselves from criminals.

Is expecting self-control reasonable?

I have talked to anti-gun people about changing their behavior to minimize their risk of being a victim. Their response was that they shouldn’t have to act any particular way in order to avoid bad consequences. They should just be able to make the government big enough to somehow magically stop bad things from happening to them, no matter what choices they made. Their right to pursue happiness in the moment could not be challenged in any way.

It made me think of women who want to go out wearing skimpy clothes, get drunk in bars surrounded by strange men, and then cry victim when they wake-up somewhere strange the next morning. There is a wisdom to life, and wise people don’t mind that they have to show a little self-control in order to avoid bad outcomes. A woman cannot shack up with a hunky guy who has tattoos, piercings and a criminal record, and then complain when he gets violent. If you choose poorly, then you will face consequences. There is a cost to making choices based on feelings alone.

The same thing happens with people who want to study English, Journalism, and other easy subjects, then can’t find jobs when they graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in loans. “It’s not fair” they say “I need a bailout”. “The government should raise the minimum wage, so I can be paid the same as people who studied hard STEM subjects and got more productive jobs”. Again, the solution is not to blame others and punt to government, the solution is to respect the way the world works and make decisions that are likely to succeed. Don’t let your feelings decide. Don’t do what is free, easy and fun. Don’t chase thrills and travel.

Black economist Walter Williams has a famous list of four choices that he tells young people to make in order to avoid being poor.

Here are his four choices:

  1. Graduate from high school
  2. Get married before you have children
  3. Take any job (to start out)
  4. Don’t commit any crimes

I have one more to add: when you marry, marry someone who takes commitment seriously, so there is no divorce. Divorce is a wealth-killer. Pick a spouse who is able to make and keep commitments that survive their changing feelings and desires. And maybe one more: study for a STEM degree if you go to college.

Again, if you try to tell young people to make good decisions like those, they don’t want to listen. But making those decisions correctly actually gets them the result they want.

Previous generations tended to emphasize the importance of understanding how the world works, and then making good decisions in order to reach a goal. Those people don’t look to government to solve their problems. This generation seems to be more focused on doing what feels good, then acting surprised when it doesn’t “work out”. They aren’t curious to find out how the world really works so they can do the right thing. They just want to do and say what makes them feel good and look good to others.

Remembering Richard Winters on D-Day: The Battle of Brecourt Manor

Richard D. Winters Monument
Richard D. Winters Monument

The caption says, “Wars do not make men great, but they do bring out the greatness in good men.” Now let’s see what Dick Winters did during World War II.

MIssion: locate and destroy artillery
Mission: locate and destroy enemy artillery

Brecourt Manor

I want to link to this article from Investors Business Daily about Lt. Winters action at Brecourt Manor.

Here’s the summary of what Dick Winters did on the morning of June 6th, 1944:

First Lt. Dick Winters leapt into leadership on D-Day, June 6, 1944. His commander’s aircraft was shot down as the men parachuted at 600 feet. When Winters headed to earth, he was in charge of a small platoon.

When he landed, he had to command Company E with 148 men, because his commander had been lost along with the plane.

Yet in the chaos, Winters could locate only a dozen other soldiers for their first task: take out a 50-man German artillery battery.

“Winters ordered his assault force to strip down to only essential weapons — guns and grenades — to use against the well-prepared defenses, then deployed his machine guns to cover his advances,” Keith Huxen, senior director of research at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, told IBD. “Waiting for the proper moment, he led a charge across an open field, gaining the first gun placement, and then they moved down the trenches, systematically destroying each gun.

“In the process, Winters discovered a map detailing all German gun positions to kill American soldiers coming up from Utah Beach, which saved many lives.”

Joined by five reinforcements during the fight, Winters lost four dead and six wounded. The Yanks managed to kill 15 Nazis, capture 11 and wound many others.

Winters’ maneuvers are still studied at West Point as a case of successfully attacking a fixed position, despite being outnumbered.

Winters (1918-2011) was born in Ephrata, Pa., and the family moved to Lancaster when he was 8.

He later attributed his character and desire to go to church regularly to his mother.

Winters attended local Franklin & Marshall College and earned an economics degree with top honors in 1941. He enlisted in the Army in August to shorten his service time, rather than wait to be drafted if America was to join the war.

The diagram below shows where everything was positioned. The Rangers attacked through the trenches containing the four guns, while being raked with fire from multiple MG42 heavy machine guns across the open field.

Assaulting the guns at Brecourt Manor
Assaulting the guns at Brecourt Manor

The operation was one of the most famous actions in the Normandy invasion, and you may have seen it portrayed in the Band of Brothers DVD series.  But the article notes that when Dick Winters read the script for that series, “he asked that the profanity be cut from the dialogue of his character, since he never swore”. When the producers told him it was too late to change it, he wrote them a letter of resignation from the production, because “I don’t want these boys and girls thinking it is acceptable using profanity”. In the end, the movie makers removed the swearing by the actor portraying Winters.

If you are looking for a reason to buck the culture and stop swearing, there’s a good reason for you right there – Dick Winters never used profanity.

You can watch the scene from Band of Brothers in low resolution here:

If you play Combat Mission, like I do, you can watch a 28 minute AAR from the simulation of the battle.

Operation Market Garden

More from the article I linked above, this time from Operation Market Garden:

Near Nijmegen on Oct. 5, Winters’ platoon was a position where any movement carried risks. Rather than retreat when fired on by a larger force behind a dike, he led a charge to the top and on the other side discovered a company of 150 Nazi SS troops. Despite having only 40 men, the Americans opened up with everything they had, then shot up a company of enemy reinforcements.

The fray ended with 50 Germans dead, 11 POWs and countless wounded, with few casualties among the Americans.

“This was Easy Company’s crowning achievement of the war and my apogee as a company commander,” Winters told Kingseed. “This demonstrated its overall superiority, of every soldier, of every phase of infantry tactics: patrol, defense, attack using a base of fire, withdrawal and, above all, superior marksmanship with rifles, machine guns and mortar fire.”

Dick Winters is a brave man, someone I admire him very much. And I am grateful for men like him.

I blogged about another hero of the 101st Airborne Division, Ronald Speirs, in a previous post.

Thinking practically about the gospel with an illustration from a war movie

The city of Mogadishu, in Somalia, Africa
The city of Mogadishu, in Somalia, Africa

I decided to re-post one of my favorite posts for Memorial Day.

First, let’s get an overview that helps us understand the context and goals of the mission we are going to discuss.

The scene is set in Somalia, Africa, in 1992. There a civil war between two warlords: Ali Mahdi and Mohammed Farah Aidid. The war has destroyed agricultural operations, and the people are starving. The United Nations are trying to help, but Aidid hijacks the food from UN aircraft so that he can use the food to gain control of the people. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are dying of starvation. The UN requests American military forces to secure the air-dropped supplies so they can be distributed to the starving people.

In December 1992, President George H.W. Bush answers the call, sending 25,000 troops to Somalia to protect the food from the Somali warlords. However, in 1993, Bill Clinton is elected. He orders that the number of U.S. troops be reduced to 12,000. Following an attack by Aidid on Pakistani peace-keepers, the U.N. issues a resolution to capture those responsible. The U.S. armed forces have the arms and training to battle evil, so they get the call to capture Aidid and his lieutenants.

In late August 1993, Task Force Ranger is deployed to Mogadishu to capture Aidid and his lieutenants at the Olympic Hotel. The U.S. force consists of 440 troops from the Army Rangers and Army Delta Force special forces, commanded by General William Garrison. Garrison requested light armored units (Bradley Infantry Fighting vehicles) that would offer more protection than the unarmored HMMWV Humvees. Garrison was denied the light armor by the Clinton administration. Garrison requested heavier air support (AC-130 Spectre gunships) that would offer better fire support than the UH-60 Blackhawk miniguns. Garrison was denied the air support by the Clinton administration. The Clinton administration did not want the American forces to appear too heavily armed for the peace-keeping role.

The actual mission turned out to be much harder than it needed to be, because of the resources denied by the Clinton administration. Although the Aidid lieutenants were captured, Aidid himself escaped. Eighty-four American soldiers were wounded. Eighteen American soldiers were killed, and their bodies were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. This was shown over and over by the media, and it undermined American resolve to help the Somali people. As a result, Clinton had the excuse he needed to retreat the American military.

(Source: Nova Online)

Two heroes lost their lives

Today, I want to talk about two of the men who lost their lives in Operation Gothic Serpent. They are Master Sergeant Gary I. Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randall D. Shughart – a Delta Force sniper team.

Here is a clip from the movie Blackhawk Down, which shows what happened to them:

The pilot of the downed Blackhawk was protected by the two men who volunteered to go in after him. They requested that they be inserted at the crash site, even though they knew that reinforcements were likely not going to be there in time to save them. They made the request to go and help the pilot three times before being allowed to go in. Their first two requests were denied by their commanding officer, because the odds against their survival were so overwhelming. The rescued pilot was later released by his captors, and the two heroes were awarded the Medal of Honor for their brave actions.

A Congressional Medal of Honor
A Congressional Medal of Honor

Here is a description of the requirements to be awarded a Medal of Honor:

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that may be awarded by the United States government. It is presented by the President of the United States, in the name of Congress, and is conferred only upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty:

  • While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States;
  • While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

You can read the official details of their actions.

The point of this post

It is important for Christians to be familiar with real-world examples of people giving their lives in order to save the lives of others. When we see real-world examples of self-sacrifice, it helps us to understand what Jesus really achieved for us, and what he must have felt making that hard choice to volunteer to go in and rescue us. In general, my philosophy when it comes to the Bible is to make every effort to connect what the Bible says to the real world. We must not push Christianity into some far-off world of piety and feelings. We must make connections to real evidence and real life, so that what the Bible says becomes practical, and so that we have a deep friendship with and sympathy for God revealed in Jesus Christ. In real life, being willing to give your life to save someone else is hard. Understanding how that really happens will help us to value what Jesus has done for us.

Bible verses

I saw this verse on the ground outside the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC, where I went for my summer vacation in 2015. (Thanks to my friend Curby who hosted me)

Isaiah 6:8:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Here is the picture I took (yes, that is my running shoe):

“Here am I, send me” Isaiah 6:8

When confronted with an opportunity to imitate Christ in his self-sacrifice, we should think less about ourselves and our own desires, and take the opportunity to serve others effectively. We do not do what makes us happy, and we do not pursue fun and thrills. We do what heals, we do what helps others. We do not push away our responsibility to imitate Christ by caring for those in danger. Christianity is not just about “not doing bad things”. It’s the good things you do because of your relationship with Jesus that show your real allegiance, and give you the experience of being a Christian in deed.

And here is another good verse:

John 15:13:

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

If you get a chance to watch the movie Blackhawk Down, then do so. I highly recommend it. You can also read the book that the movie is based on.

I love the Medal of Honor books by Edward F. Murphy. He writes about all the people who have been awarded the Medal of honor in different wars: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

If you check my reading list, you’ll find that I usually read two military books for every one book on another subject.

Even alpha male bad boys are disappointed by the Sexual Revolution

Marriage stability vs sexual partners,(Teachman et al. JAMF, August 2010)
Marriage stability vs sexual partners,(Teachman et al. JAMF, August 2010)

Thanks to radical feminism’s dominance in the culture, young unmarried women are very disinterested in marriage. Many of them see marriage as boring, and children as restrictive of their freedom. Instead, young women want to make sure to use their young and fertile years to pack in as much fun and thrills as they can. So what sort of men do they choose to pursue?

This article from the UK Daily Mail illustrates the problem:

Women are often said to be the less shallow sex when it comes to what they find attractive.

But a study of an online gallery of ‘hot male commuters’ has found that the fairer sex are just as superficial as men – as they find muscles and money the sexiest male attributes.

The study based its findings on a website called Tube Crush, where women and gay men secretly take pictures of the capital’s attractive men on the London Underground.

[…]While the authors acknowledge that gay men also use the site, they say that female responses to the ‘hot commuters’ suggest females have not moved on in what they find attractive beyond ‘money and strength’ – despite their advancement in society.

Signs that the man is wealthy – such as a flashy watch or an expensive suit – were considered highly attractive by site users, as were powerful arm and chest muscles.

But the classic image of the ‘new man’ – a man holding a baby – or skinnier or nerdier types of man were far less represented.

Now, in my experience, men who are getting a lot of attention because of their looks are probably the least likely to be faithful, much less commit. If the man is putting in a lot of effort into his appearance (as opposed to his education, his career, his spiritual life, etc.), he’s probably doing it in order to get sexual access to a lot of women. He’s not looking to commit, in short. He’s looking to play the field. But it turns out that even the men who are successful at this are not happy with their success.

Consider this article from the UK Sun: (H/T Sarah)

It sounds like every young man’s idea of heaven: endless sex with a constant stream of gorgeous, up-for-it women who don’t even expect a pizza date before, or a conversation afterwards – and all via a tap on your smartphone.

Yet incredibly, a new generation of handsome, successful – and sexually prolific – Tinder-weary lads are claiming sex with hundreds of one-night stands is leaving them burned out, bored – and lonely.

Despite bedding a bevvie of beauties, they claim they’re desperate for lasting romance – and broody for children with a new wave of sexually-liberated young women who just don’t want to commit.

I got to know a group of these seemingly lucky men after I co-wrote the UK’s biggest ever academic study into more than 2,000 British men, released this week.

Called the Harry’s Masculinity Report, the survey was conducted by University College London and Harry’s, a new men’s grooming company that’s just launched in the UK.

Harry’s wanted to shatter the myths around masculinity, and discover what truly made modern men tick in 2017.

Here are some details:

One of these was Simone Ippolito, 25, from Bournemouth, a self-confessed Tinder “player” for two years.

The salesman and part-time model claimed: “When I first got Tinder two years ago, it was heaven. In three months I got 300 matches. They were coming so fast I couldn’t keep up.

“People on Tinder are only there for sex. I’ve been on 200 dates, and I get a result 99 per cent of the time.

“Getting sex is too easy. You get bored of it. Tinder takes all the pleasure out of flirting. It’s not fun anymore. Tinder is literally two glasses of wine then back home for sex. There is no emotion.

“It is boring, empty and lonely. You can’t have a nice conversation after mechanical sex. It’s just sex and go. Now I just want to stop it and settle down”.

Talking to other single men, it rapidly became clear that while dating apps like Tinder means it’s never been easier to get sex, it’s never been harder to fall in love.

This sentiment was echoed by Gary Barnett, 34, social media manager from Brighton, who’s been single for three months.

“For the first time ever in human history, sex is on tap,” he says.

“Nine times out of ten you don’t even have to go out on a date. If a girl likes your photos, they just come round.

“If you’re half attractive you’re bombarded with offers. You can go on Tinder dates every single night of the week.

“The social interaction is totally lacking. You can have sex and never talk again.

“They always ask the same three questions. ‘Hi how are you?’ ‘how’s your week been?’ or ‘I love your beard/tattoos’. That’s literally code for ‘do you want to f***?’

“That was really good for the first year. I filled my boots. After 50 Tinder dates, including 20 in the last two months with no sign of any ‘keepers,’ I’m over it. You get to the point where you can’t be bothered to do it anymore”.

Ah yes, the beard and tattoos. These are apparently very important for attracting women today. But it doesn’t work to attract a serious marriage-minded women to settle down with. Men are designed to want relationships with women. But not every woman is capable of having a relationship with a man. Especially after so many women have been taught by feminism not to prefer commitment-minded men who can perform the traditional male roles: protecting, providing and leading on moral and spiritual issues. Beards, muscles, shiny watches and tattoos might attract women, but it doesn’t make those women marriage-ready. In fact, the sort of women who are impressed with appearances are probably looking for fun. They are definitely NOT going to be comfortable with relationship obligations to a husband or children. To build a capacity for self-sacrificial commitment, you don’t practice having fun and thrills. You practice self-sacrificial commitment. You work on developing a worldview that makes self-sacrificial commitment rational, even when it goes against your self-interest. A worldview like Christianity, for example.

We already knew that women are unhappy with the dating scene today. And now we know that even the men who are “succeeding” are unhappy with it too, in the long term. The Sexual Revolution has messed up love and commitment for everyone.

Why do husbands cheat on their wives, and what can wives do about it?

Lindsay's Logic on sex and marriage
Lindsay’s Logic on sex and marriage

I saw an interesting article at the radically leftist New York Times, written by a woman who has had a lot of sex with married men. I thought it might be interesting to see what she reports is the reason for why men cheat on their wives.

She writes:

All told I communicated with maybe a dozen men during that time in my life, and had sex with fewer than half. Others I texted or talked with, which sometimes felt nearly as intimate.

Before I met each man I would ask: “Why are you doing this?” I wanted assurance that all he desired was sex.

What surprised me was that these husbands weren’t looking to have more sex. They were looking to have any sex.

I met one man whose wife had implicitly consented to her husband having a lover because she was no longer interested in sex, at all. They both, to some degree, got what they needed without having to give up what they wanted. But the other husbands I met would have preferred to be having sex with their wives. For whatever reason, that wasn’t happening.

[…]Maybe the reason some wives aren’t having sex with their husbands is because, as women age, we long for a different kind of sex. I know I did, which is what led me down this path of illicit encounters. After all, nearly as many women are initiating affairs as men.

If you read the work of Esther Perel, the author of the recently published book “State of Affairs,” you’ll learn that, for many wives, sex outside of marriage is their way of breaking free from being the responsible spouses and mothers they have to be at home. Married sex, for them, often feels obligatory. An affair is adventure.

Meanwhile, the husbands I spent time with would have been fine with obligatory sex. For them, adventure wasn’t the main reason for their adultery.

And in particular:

After our second night together, though, I could tell this was about more than sex for him; he was desperate for affection. He said he wanted to be close to his wife but couldn’t because they were unable to get past their fundamental disconnect: lack of sex, which led to a lack of closeness, which made sex even less likely and then turned into resentment and blame.

Interesting. Many wives get tired of sex or they want “adventure” and so they stop having sex with their husbands. They probably expect their husbands to man up and keep doing husband and father things, without any fuel. If they don’t feel like doing something, then they think they shouldn’t have to do it. And they think that everything else should go on as before, without them having to do anything they don’t feel like doing.

Here’s a related post from Lindsay’s Logic on sex and marriage. She has an opinion about how married women can get around this.

She writes:

Sexual refusal is a serious problem in many marriages. Even Christian marriages. In most cases, it’s the wife doing the refusing. So here’s my message to the ladies who are saying no to their husbands and denying him sex or those who are struggling with wondering why they are expected to have sex regularly with their husbands.

Ladies, if you’re married, your husband probably doesn’t have the gift of celibacy. And he got married, at least partially, in order to fulfill his God-given sex drive. That’s one of the legitimate purposes of marriage.

Not only that, but when a man is single, while it’s certainly difficult to abstain from sex, at least he doesn’t have a beautiful woman sharing his living quarters and tempting him every day.

A married man has both the legitimate expectation of getting sex and a woman he loves and is attracted to right there in his home all the time. To expect him to abstain for long periods when the object of his desire is right there in his bed every night is to ask too much. It’s like staring at a box of chocolates all day while on a diet. It’s torture.

So how does a man deal with a wife who refuses him all the time? The same way we deal with the chocolates when we are trying to diet. We put them away, don’t look at them, and try not to think about them.

This is why refusal hurts marriages. A man will withdraw from his wife if he is being constantly refused. And it will tear them apart. It’s too hurtful for a man to engage with a wife, spend time with her, and build up all that desire from being around her only to be constantly frustrated. So he’ll protect himself by avoiding her.

It might be a good idea to check on what the Bible says about this problem. It’s in 1 Corinthians 7.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5:

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.

For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

I have heard a lot of Christian women tell me even before marriage that sex is something that they will do when they feel like it. I ask them if work is only something that Christian husbands should do when they feel like it. They say no to that, of course. The rules are different for men.

It seems to me that part of the fun of having two sexes is learning the differences between the two, and taking care of the needs that the other person has. But I am seeing really widespread acceptance of sex-withholding among women, and even among married Christian women. And I see it being justified on the basis of feelings – feelings are the voice of God speaking to her, so that responsibilities and obligations fade away. Feelings of expecting “adventure” in order to make them feel like doing what they promised to do. Do a woman’s feelings overrule the plain meaning of Scripture? It seems to me that you could get into a lot of trouble by valuing feelings and intuitions over planning and prudence.

This sex-withholding problem makes me wonder what people think that marriage is when they get into the church and make vows that, ostensibly, will require self-sacrifice. What do women think that marriage is? What is the goal of it? What makes a marriage successful? Why do women think that men marry? What do men get out of marriage? What are the woman’s responsibilities to the man in a marriage? I think these are questions that men should ask women before they marry them. And look at their lives for red flags:  see if there is a frantic desire for “adventure”, or an immature desire to avoid relationship obligations to others. And men should not be satisfied with simple, spiritual-sounding answers.

A woman who makes important decisions by relying on her feelings cannot be trusted to be a good wife. She needs to inform her mind about how marriage really works, and then act wisely.