America’s Largest Death Cult Attacked the Capitol

Trumpism is a cult. No news there. I’m far from the first person to write that Trump and his followers are a cult (also herehere, and here). And many of the following statements can be found in political strategies of all stripes, regardless of what “side of the aisle” you fancy yourself. But there are some different tactics being employed by Trump’s camp and the older cult tactics that many politicians use have a much greater intensity for Trump’s followers. So let’s talk about it.

I guess we should ask ourselves how it could be any different when we’re talking about following a man who has continually said, very openly, that he knows more about pretty much any issue than anyone? 

How could it be anything other than a fascist cult when Trump positions himself as the only person who can fix a corrupt world, putting himself firmly in Führerprinzip territory – the idea that he himself is the only authority and his word should be law because he is the best person?

And when I say “cult,” I don’t just mean the religious undertones of QAnon, who are not even secret cultists, believing that Trump is a messianic figure. I mean that Trump, either by bumblefucking his way into it or by design, has acted not unlike a cult leader in many ways.

Who would have thought that a man who said “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters” would have thought he was trying to grow an unquestioning cult?

The Myth

He first positioned himself as an outsider who was being held down by the political elites. Those people trying to hold him down were proof of how good he was, like Galileo. 

Pictured: Political elites holding down Donald Trump.
(Photo by Maring Photography/Getty Images/Contour by Getty Images)

And don’t forget the liberal media, who has historically kept him down by allowing him to only be in twenty-six TV shows or movies and only allowing twenty producer credits on TV shows or specials. And the ones who essentially gave him billions of dollars of free publicity for his 2016 campaign and directly caused his poll numbers to rise. 

And the system in general. How unjust a system it is, holding him down. He was born a millionaire who became a billionaire despite several bankruptcies, large-scale business failures, literally thousands of past, current, and potential lawsuits (Trump University, his taxes, refusing to pay people – including people who performed at his own campaign rallies, and sexual assault). The man who was continually asked his political opinion in interviews, despite having no experience in politics. The man whose first application for any job ever was probably registering with the FEC as a candidate. That man was held down by the system.

Umberto Eco called this an “obsession with a plot” in fascism, but it’s barely different than many religious stories, even the ones of today where Evangelicals and Fundamentalists believe that the wolves are at the gate and trying to destroy their religion. There’s a constant obsession with being persecuted and needing to be warriors for God, despite having significant stations of power requiring anyone entering politics to either believe, or at least pander to, a Christian base.

That persecution complex will attract other people who feel persecuted. These “seekers,” as John G. Clark, Jr. called them in a 1977 testimony to the House of Representatives, do so because they need to “feel better because they are excessively uncomfortable with the outside world.” 

And Trump will protect you from the barbarian hoards. 

Street gangs have a similar tactic. 

Pictured (center, with the cornflower blue tie): The leader of the most violent street gangs in America.
(Photo: AP/Lynne Sladky)

The Fear

But early on in his whole “squatting in the White House” schtick, Trump was just a run-of-the-mill wannabe fascist dictator. He still felt the need to provide proof when stating baseless claims, or at least something that looked like proof. When he retweeted the stats about how more white people get shot by cops than black people (which has since been deleted), he was providing something that appeared to be evidence. 

He also campaigned on the erroneous “42-percent unemployment” idea, which he got from reading the wrong information. He told people at the time to not believe the 5.6-percent figure. Those numbers weren’t the unemployment numbers. But when he came into office, those numbers were suddenly the real unemployment numbers. Those measurements were suddenly completely valid, despite being from the same source and measuring the same thing. But at least he was providing something as if it were evidence.

He was creating evidence of a crisis. And, early on, he had to prove it.

The Reluctant Disciples

Tons of people knew he was full of shit. Even Republicans knew that Donald Trump was dangerously unqualified, incoherent, self-serving, generally oblivious to the world around him, and was ethically questionable at the best of times.

Paul Ryan said that Trump’s comments about Muslims are “not what this country stands for.”
Mitch McConnell found those same comments to be “inconsistent with American values.”
Lindsey Graham said Trump is a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot” who we should tell to “go to Hell.”
Ted Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar” and a “narcissist.”
Ben Carson essentially called Trump a fake Christian, one of the worst things you can be in the Republican party.

Every last one of them licked his boots in the end. Every last one of them coddled him just like he’d been coddled his whole life. The people who railed against Obama for being an elitist because he ordered a “fancy burger” with Dijon were suddenly fine with a man who lives in a tower with his own name on it and takes pictures like this:

This guy understands what the working class is like. Not like those coastal elites looking down at us from their towers.
(Photo: Getty Images)

And that coddling, legitimizing attitude by a party so preoccupied with falling in line no matter what gave the Affluenza President the boost he needed to become a full-blown cult leader.

The Ritual

They all fell in line and locked step with Trump, despite what they’d known and said. Then, when Trump said elections were rigged (several times) and no one called him on it, people began to just think it was right.

He no longer had to provide evidence. His word was evidence. This beliefs were reality, independent of proof.

That’s why his cases against the states after the election were so flimsy. He knew that the action of going to court was enough of a dance to convince his ardent believers he had something. It was so much incense in a thurible at mass. No one, even some of the strictest adherents to Catholicism, don’t necessarily think that swinging the thurible is literally doing something. Most of them would probably concede that it’s a reminder of the things that are happening behind the curtain. 

That’s what the court cases were – incense in a thurible, lighting of candles, a specific sequence of words. The difference is that no one who is guided to read the Apostles’ Creed thinks that it, in and of itself, is doing anything or proving the existence of God. 

The court cases, on the other hand, were intended to work more like a cult tradition. Think of it as having levels. Let’s call each level an OT level for “Obviously Trumpism.” The OT I (or OT Level Ones) are in there, but not totally. They don’t know all the secrets of the universe. That’ll cost you. The lawyers, on the other hand, they’re like OT VIII. They know all the rituals, all the secrets, and what they all mean. They didn’t go into court thinking they’d win. Here’s a rundown of how preposterous some of the cases were:

  • Nevada: “The Court is concerned about the failure of these experts to verify the data they were relying on.”
  • Pennsylvania: “…calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
  • Arizona: “This review, Plaintiffs allege, will, ‘upon information and belief… yield up to thousands of additional votes for President Trump.’ … But, according to Maricopa County, the number of overvotes from in-person Election Day voting in the County totaled just 180. … Even if every one of these votes were cast for President Trump – a highly unlikely scenario given the allocation of votes for the two candidates across Maricopa County as a whole – it would still leave him well short of prevailing in the contest for Arizona’s 11 electoral votes.”
  • Michigan: “The evidence consists of: (1) an affidavit from Jessica Connarn, a designated poll watcher; and (2) a photograph of a handwritten yellow sticky note. In her affidavit, Connarn avers that, when she was working as a poll watcher, she was contacted by an unnamed poll worker who was allegedly ‘being told by other hired poll workers at her table to change the date the ballot was received when entering ballots into the computer.’ She avers that this unnamed poll worker later handed her a sticky note that says ‘entered receive date as 11/2/20 on 11/4/20.’ … This ‘supplemental evidence’ is inadmissible as hearsay” and “…’a case is moot when it presents nothing but abstract questions of law which do not rest upon existing facts or rights.'”
  • His own council has now called his actions “repugnant and [ones] with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement.”
  • Not to mention the several cases the Trump camp deliberately pulled out of once the idea of going to court got momentum.

I’ll emphasize the Michigan one real quick – the evidence there was a sticky note and a lady who was told by someone that someone told them a thing.

The smoking gun. Almost as good as seeing someone pissing on a pile of Trump ballots in an “I’m With Her” shirt.

It was as practical a religious ritual as alter boys lighting candles in a certain order. It isn’t designed to do anything. It’s designed to remind you of something behind the curtain that’s happening. Again, the difference is that in church, a lot of people know that singing hymn 340 in their hymnals is just for theming and isn’t a literal attempt at an incantation to bring Jesus down from heaven.

But Trump’s camp knew that the act of going to court would be what his adherents paid attention to, not whether he actually brought proof. Of course he has proof or why would he go to court?

And the scary thing is that I can provide all the proof in the world and it wouldn’t matter. This isn’t, and never has been, about proof, logic, or facts. This, contrary to Ben Shapiro’s claims, is all about feelings. I recently had a discussion about police brutality against black people in this country and brought up the NYPD’s own numbers on stops and frisks as a way to show how the justice system, at many levels, is stacked against black people because of racism, whether explicit or implicit. The person disagreed with the NYPD’s own numbers about what the NYPD did, which were published by the NYPD despite making the NYPD look bad.

Again, the unemployment rate from the people who study the unemployment rate is wrong until the unemployment rate supports their conclusion.

Every single piece of data to the contrary is a conspiracy and they can’t tell you where Alex Jones, Stephen Crowder, Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, or Trump got their numbers. Breitbart almost exclusively links to itself (here, here, and here are some articles with a combined total of two sources outside Breitbart). They don’t know who Q is and certainly don’t know where their numbers are coming from. But to Trump supporters, people whose identity they can’t even verify are apparently more trustworthy than actual numbers from people who count the things they’re asking about.

The Chosen 

Trump has always been a panderer. He doesn’t care who you are, what you’re doing, or anything else. He’ll pander to you to serve his own ends. It makes it significantly easier that he doesn’t seem to actually believe anything himself.

He’ll act however you want, so long as he thinks you’ll like him. If you don’t like the Chinese, he’ll talk about putting tariffs on products from China. If you’re Xi Jinping, he loves you. Are you LGBTQ? He’ll stand up for you. Are you homophobic? Well, let’s keep them out of the military.

This is pretty similar to love bombing – the practice of using very positive language to make a target feel included, loved, and (in Trump’s own words to the rioters at the Capitol) “very special.”

Quick aside – when did telling people they’re “special” come back in vogue? I remember when that was something that was going to make kids stupid, selfish, unmotivated, and needy.

Now THIS boy. He’s the specialist good boy. The goodest boy ever!
(Photo by Samson Katt from Pexels)

The Congregates 

The worldview where those people are irredeemably evil and you are pure and good is very simple and feels good. You’re intrinsically special. You have good genes. People who looked like you didn’t destroy the lives of people like them (or at least it “wasn’t that bad“). There isn’t a history of context you may have to grapple with that, indeed, is unfair to all of us for a lot of reasons. You’re just pure and good and “very special” on a cosmic, existential level. And you were just born that way, no mythical hard work required.

They, on the other hand, are not good. There doesn’t have to be a rhyme or reason for any of this, all that has to be there is, according to John G. Clark, Jr., “a new, simplified mental world and style of reasoning in order to compensate for the terrible awareness (or near awareness) of personal vulnerability.”

The pattern persists in its adherents as well. It’s “intense group pressure,” according to Clark, “So intense is this that individuals who are under such pressure and are susceptible tend to enter a state of narrowed attention, especially as they more and more deprived of their ordinary frames of reference,” which sounds like a distrust of mainstream media, flocking to Parler because Twitter is too liberal, flocking to Conservapedia because Wikipedia is too liberal, flocking to Fox News because CNN was too liberal, and then to Newsmax and Infowars because Fox was too liberal.

These colors don’t run… except when they need an online safe space. 😦
(Photo: some fucking dickhead)

The pressure continues to mount and the initiate loses old friends, loses touch with family members, and, again, becomes isolated.

This pressure continues with a “change of diet, and the increased introduction of elements of guilt and terror,” says Clark. While many of these people are likely not changing their diets much, there is an admonishment of “soy boys” and vegans on the right, as well as an utter fetishization of the concept of the “alpha male” which, aside from the fact it’s based on bullshit, is put into practice strangely by alphas who just want to hang out with alphas, which kind of goes against the whole idea of a singular leader of the pack. You’d think they’d want to hang out with betas.

The Inner Circle

And speaking of interpersonal relationships, let’s talk about how those are “organized and stereotyped” and how “no chance is given for idiosyncratic expression,” according to Clark. Men are like this, women are like this, and they are the only ones who fuck together. Not only does it harken back to the idea of a very simplistic, non-threatening, easy to digest worldview, it falls in line with a very “organized and stereotyped” categorization of the world. 

If relationships were complicated, it’d be hard to tell you who “they” are – the barbarians at the gates.

Additionally, this simple categorization helps that aforementioned isolation because, once relationships are codified, other relationships can be removed by moving the new initiates to “as foreign an environment as is possible to imagine. Thus, it becomes increasingly hard for them to reconstruct in imagination what one has once experienced sometime in the past. … There is no base left for reality testing,” Clark says. While this used to have to be physically, this now can be done simply by allowing a new initiate to hole up and drink in Pizzagate and gay frogs.

The Prayer

Further isolation is easy – change their language. Change the words they use to “an oversimplified, special sort of related definition.” In the Trump era, the less the word actually means, the better. You can put whatever definition you want on it and it will work, because you’re right. They’re wrong. Making the language you use nebulous and wishy-washy is an easy way to move the goalposts whenever your definition stops working.

Some nearly meaningless terms for the modern day:
Alternative facts – Something they believe, regardless of evidence
Political correctness – Anything that doesn’t specifically pander to their identity
SJW – Any person engaging in political correctness
Cuck – A person to the left of them they don’t like
Welfare queen – A straw man argument in the form of an imaginary lazy black woman
Terrorists – Middle Eastern folks, bonus if they’re Muslim. Maybe they’re Eastern European. Who gives a shit, right?
Illegals – “Mexicans”
Mexicans – Brazilians, Nicaraguans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Salvadorians, Panamanians, Argentinians, Peruvians, etc.

Detractors might say that terms like “transgender” are newfangled SJW cuck terms that reek of talk from 1984 and “2+2=5” or doublespeak or whatever, but the difference is that terms like “alternative facts” or “double-plus good” are simplifications of language. “Alternative facts” eliminate words like “opinion,” “hypothesis,” “interpretation,” or “conclusion.” And it’s no secret that the Trump administration outright tried to coerce the CDC to eliminate terms like “evidence-based,” “vulnerable,” “fetus,” “transgender,” and “diversity.” People can claim it wasn’t censorship since it wasn’t a ban, but “suggestions” that would help them get funding, but withholding funding because of words seems a lot like censorship with extra steps. 

Regardless, it was a deliberate attempt to create an environment where language could be muddied and simplified. If you’re not talking about a zygote, embryo, or baby, it’s a fetus. The word has meaning in the same sense that baby, toddler, teenager, adult, or elder does. People may state that “fetus” strips the humanity from an unborn human conceptually, but when talking about fetuses, there’s generally a qualifier in front of it. In the same sense, there’s still that qualifier when talking about babies or adults. A study about baby goats or adult tigers still has to qualify the species in the same way that a study on the biology of fetuses still has to qualify what species that fetus belongs to. They just want all terms for a human’s offspring to be “baby” at all times, muddying what people are talking about.

And the term “transgender” doesn’t simplify or muddy language. It’s a specific term that talks about a characteristic of a person. It’s obviously distinct from the 1910s term “transvestite” and the term from the ‘20s, “transsexual.” There’s obviously a debate on whether we should still even be using words like “transvestite,” but that’s not a talk I’m willing to have as a cis person. The point is that even the most anti-trans person can look at a performer at a drag show and someone who is transgender at the store and tell that they’re outwardly doing something similar, but different and for distinctly different reasons.

It’s the same reason we differentiate mixed martial arts, boxing, wrestling, and pro wrestling. They all look similar from the outside, but they’re distinct. Rugby isn’t football. Frying isn’t grilling. Audiobooks aren’t music and neither are podcasts. Sleet isn’t rain. Walking isn’t running. Is there a line where walking becomes running? I don’t know. But it matters when we’re talking about what you can do around a pool, how to prevent injuries in sports, and the rules of competitive speed walking.

“Double-plus good” eliminated language. Suggesting that terms like “diversity” (even when describing something as apolitical as how many types of plants are in a certain forest) might get your funding revoked has the same effect.

The Meditation

Controlling speech has the effect of creating “great difficulty using abstractions in their speech or arguments,” according to Clark. Trump’s wall might be the best symbol of this idea. The thought process of “illegal immigrants are people and walls stop people” is slightly more abstract than just being told to explain what a wall is. You have to be able to at least picture a person’s potential interaction with a wall. It doesn’t matter that illegal immigration solutions would need to be more abstract to address things like homemade narco submarines or overstaying visas (which happens significantly more often than people illegally crossing the border). Those ideas are too abstract. A wall stops people. What more do we want?

And boiling immigration down to “wall” really prevents abstracting immigration to the point of talking about different types of immigrant statuses, U.S policy’s effect on immigration from countries they’d like to stop immigration from, or if borders should exist at all.

There’s one answer and that answer is the Trump Wall (despite the fact it was kind of shit and the man who actually deals in buildings couldn’t even build a whole-ass wall). When you bring up swimming, it’s an alligator moat (he denies he said this, but he denies he said a lot of things he said). That’s about as abstract as we get from the cult.

And, just for funsies, I should mention that Hitler was also a fascist who was a fan of pretending to build big, dumb, ineffective shit

The Children

Trump’s adherence to simplicity is still evident in how he chooses to hire staff. He believes Jared Kushner is a smart, special boy, so he’s in charge of… basically being the whole president and cabinet

He has good genes so he thinks that his sweet baby boys, Eric and Donald, as well as his daughter Ivanka, who he really, really would like to fuck (probably partly to preserving the bloodline, but that’s just me speculating), also have good genes and can do basically whatever. 

Ben Carson is a surgeon and surgeons are smart. He can run housing

Betsy DeVos is rich. If Betsy DeVos is rich like Trump, she must be smart because rich people are smart. She can make other people smart like her.

The War

Simple rules make the world easy to navigate. If the nebulous “they” are intrinsically evil, it makes it simple to believe that they do other purely evil things. If you are good, then there is nothing that you could believe in that may have problems.

And good people? They only do good things. So if you do a bad thing, no matter how small, the cult will ostracize you instantly. You become a pariah who he’ll attack on Twitter.

In cults, there is no room for dissent. When looking at how Trump sees the world, this is obvious. This worldview can be found in a lot of religious texts and is far from exclusive to cults. Psalm 14 says “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” And if the liberals aren’t Satan-worshipping pedophiles, like QAnon would have you believe, they’re sons of bitchesmonsterslike bugs, or “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” (and some, he guesses, but doesn’t know, are good people).

That’s why it’s so easy for them to believe anyone on the left is all of those things. They’re inherently evil. Evil people only do evil things. They never do good things and they do all the evil things.

And the obsession with “false flags” is where this obsession with the simple, binary categorization of good and evil things goes wild. Let’s go down one rabbit hole – Killing children is evil. Someone killed children, so they must have been evil. Having guns is good. The media is saying an evil person had a gun, but guns are good. Therefore no one killed children because good people don’t have guns.

It was the same thing at the Capitol. Having a militia to fight the government is good, but fighting the government is bad. People said they wanted to fight the government, which is good, but then did, which is bad. Antifa is a group that is bad. Those people were a group of bad people. Therefore, the people who went into the Capitol are Antifa. 

They can only do good things. Dissenters can only do bad things.

The Martyr

On January 6th, people were literally willing to die on Trump’s command (as if they weren’t during the his COVID-19 rallies).

After the sacrifices were made, their god was sated. He’s turned his back on them, condemned their actions, and walked away. Many of his ardent fans are surprised that the lying man lied to them because he’s a liar, saying it’s like a “punch in the gut” and that “he says it’s going to be wild and when it gets wild he calls it a heinous attack and middle-fingers his supporters he told to be there.”

Mind you, this is a guy who said “…we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down – We’re going to walk down. Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol…” and then didn’t walk with them to the Capitol. 

Fucking oops, I guess.

Marshall Applewhite at least had enough balls to cut them off. 

I’ve been using quotes throughout this piece from John G. Clark, Jr. and I think I’ll use this last quote that truly sums up the Trump Death Cult:

All of the groups that we are talking about have living leaders who are demonstrably wealthy. The beliefs of all these cults are absolutist and non-tolerant of other systems of beliefs. Their systems of governance are totalitarian. A requirement of membership is to obey absolutely without questioning. Their interest in the individual’s development within the cult towards some kind of satisfactory individual adult personality is by their doctrines, very low or nonexistent. It is clear that almost all of them emphasize money making in one form or another, although a few seem to be very much involved in demeaning or self denigrating activities and rituals. Most of them that I have studied possess a good deal of property and money which is under the discretionary control of the individual leaders.

John G. Clark, Jr., M.D. – Read into the United States Congressional Record on November 3, 1977.
Vol. 123 Part 29, No. 181 Proceedings and Debates of 95th Congress (First Session), p. 37401-37403

And there may be the question of why I’m even posting this so long after the Capitol riots. Well, because the cult isn’t gone yet.

Fashionably Late: Why Did No One Talk About Stephen Root’s Character in “Get Out”?

I’m late to the party, but movies are hard for me to sit through. My attention doesn’t allow for it sometimes. Anyway, I just watched Get Out. It was very good and if I didn’t look into Daniel Kaluuya, I wouldn’t have known he was British.

I also took the time to look through some deconstructions of the movie. Lots of people talked about the weird racism that liberal white folks engage in (the “you’re so cool” racism that is really similar to the “you’re so good at math” racism Asians get). Lots of people pointed out the really obvious white privilege scene where Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) were confronted by a police officer after a traffic accident. Although Rose was driving, Chris was also asked for his ID. Rose used her “attractive white woman” powers to get the cop off Chris’ ass. White privilege. Ta-dah! Everyone got it in one. Let’s go home.

And maybe I honestly missed it in the articles, but there’s a much better example of white privilege of well-meaning liberals and the whole bullshit “I’m colorblind” movement on the right.

So let’s talk about it. Spoilers ahead.

Most of what gets the film going is a party that takes place at Rose’s parents’ home. There’s a gaggle of old white folks and Chris is one of the few black people around (and no points for guessing that the black people who are there are fucking weird). Throughout the party, the partygoers comment on Chris’ muscles, his coolness, his cock, and all of the other stereotypes about blackness that aren’t considered negative attributes. He’s never seen as lazy, stupid, or violent. Frankly, he’s not seen at all. The white people see the stereotypes but not one of them asks him about himself, but they certainly make him the voice of black people at one point.

Also, they’re so not racist that they just won’t shut the fuck up about how not racist they are. In fact, they smiled at the black cashier at Target today and they don’t regret it at all!

And goddamn if this didn’t make me uncomfortable. It’s what made the film so effective, frankly. I’m not black, but I’ve watched these exchanges play out in front of me before, and it gave me that same feeling. You feel like you can’t call it out because it’s well-meaning and nice, but you know you should because it’s based off stereotypes and minstrel show-style caricatures. If it were in a comedy, it would be one of those times where you either cringe so hard you laugh or just get the joy sucked out of you, depending on how it’s handled. But the sinister undertones bring about a genuine unease that is hard to get through. To be honest, it’s the same kind of feeling I got when watching Hereditary. It’s that kind of gross, brutal, unease, but much more sociopolitical.

The thing about this movie that there’s so much that isn’t much of an exaggeration. It’s not like Hostel, The Purge, Society, or People Under the Stairs, class-conscious movies that are an extreme endpoint to the excesses of capitalism. Up until the central conceit of the film is laid out, it just feels like mostly normal events that are stylized a bit so the point is driven home.

But what is that central conceit?

Rose’s mother, Missy (Catherine Keener) is a psychologist who specializes in hypnotism and Rose’s father, Dean (Bradley Whitford) is a neurosurgeon. Together, they have developed a way to, basically, let white people have the bodies of black people. Missy hypnotizes the victim and Dean transplants the brain of the white person into the black person’s body. It’s described as the black person’s consciousness being “a passenger” after the procedure is done. Let’s be clear, this probably could be done with anyone, regardless of race. It just happens to be done exclusively for white people to have black bodies because of insidious benevolent racism. They’re so cool or sexy or athletic that white people want to be them, to have them.

Back to the party. At one point, Chris meets Jim Hudson (Stephen Root). This is the only white person at the party, aside from, arguably, Rose and Missy (who are just trying to make Chris comfortable), who interacts with Chris on his level. Jim Hudson is an art dealer who is familiar with, and an admirer of, Chris’ photography. Hudson calls out the other white folks’ ignorant racism. What’s more is that Hudson is literally blind (though he obviously knows Chris is black – it’s more the symbolism that counts for the purposes of the movie).

During one scene, when Chris has left the party due to his anxieties, there is an auction for his body. Hudson wins this auction.

Hudson himself is presented as genuinely not racist. Again, he calls out the other white folks at the party. He acknowledges Chris’ race without having to prove how not racist he is through saying he knows Tiger Woods or that he “would have voted for Obama for a third term.” He engages with Chris about Chris’ interests and has a genuine admiration of his individual talents.

Yet, Hudson still buys Chris. Why?

The movie paints nearly ever other auction-goer as having some racial motive for wanting Chris’ body. It’s a send-up of those folks who think that black people have some specific genetic advantages or are advantaged in America in some way. Maybe they want to be cool, maybe they want a big cock, maybe they want to be more athletic. None of these are things we know about Chris, they’re stereotypes that the white folks hope are true. We, as the audience, know that Chris is charismatic and charming, but we don’t know if he’s “cool” in the sense these people are thinking. We know he likes basketball and has a nice body, but he never expresses any desire or experience playing sports of any kind (other than jiujitsu when he was six). And, because it’s an R-rated movie in America, we definitely know nothing about his cock. The white people are literally willing to gamble their bodies on these stereotypes.

Hudson does not have those predilections. He’s colorblind. Hudson wants Chris’ eyes. Not just in the literal sense, though Hudson does want to see again, he wants Chris’ artistry. His metaphorical “eye” for photography.

The movie paints this in a way where it seems that Hudson genuinely wouldn’t have cared who the talented artist was. If Chris were a middle-class white man or a poor Asian woman, it sincerely wouldn’t have mattered to Hudson. He honestly recognizes and respects Chris’ talent. Unfortunately for Chris, the procedure exclusively negatively affects black people. Black people are the only ones hurt by it. And Jim Hudson, the colorblind and non-racist man, benefits from it.

The villain in this movie isn’t Nazis, like in Død Snø, Inglorious Basterds, or American History X. They’re not the KKK or slave owners or hillbillies or from the 1950s. They’re well-meaning white folk who have created or benefitted from a system where black people are dehumanized and seen as entertaining (read: “cool”), athletic, and sexual, but not seen for their specific talents or individuality. And Jim Hudson, the person who literally can’t see color, gets to benefit from that arrangement.

The movie is crystal clear about the fact that the procedure isn’t done out of malice for black people, like a lynching. It’s done because of perceived positive attributes that, to them, all black people have. The originators of the procedure believe that we all have something to offer but, ultimately, the best black people are white ones.

Onward Christian Soldiers! The War on Christmas 2020 Has Arrived!

I know it’s not Halloween (clearly a heathen holiday I’d never normally mention) but let me tell all you Christian soldiers a horrific tale! Bone-chilling! Blood-curdling! It’s something I’ve experienced this year that shows how much the liberal media is trying to take away Christmas, like some sort of monster… something I’d call a Brinch. The Brinch Who is Trying to Take Away Christmas.

My completely original creation. The Brinch Who is Trying to Take Away Christmas.

This morning, after I bought my Starbucks, I noticed that the only indication that it was a Christmas cup was the red and green colors. There was no baby Jesus on it, no crosses, no nothing. I didn’t even get a free Bible and a free coffee for being on the front lines in the Yuletide War. IS THAT HOW YOU TREAT A WAR HERO, STARBUCKS?!

Sorry for the outburst. But just because the cup isn’t white and blue or red, green, and black doesn’t mean that it’s not erasing the whole of Christianity by specifically not acknowledging one of the other winter holidays.

Oh, no. I’ve been brainwashed already! There are, of course, no other holidays. By not mentioning them, or by not explicitly mentioning mine, they’re shouting them from the rooftops. You know?

The horror! This picture, posted in September of 2019, has a cup in it that doesn’t explicitly reference the birth of Christ! How many cups of atheism will you tolerate, America?!
I hope it’s hot enough for you, because Hell sure will be!
Photo by LAUREN GRAY on Unsplash

But that reminded me of when I was trying to buy a nativity scene in August and had to wait until September. I couldn’t believe it! The gall of some places to only put out Christmas décor a mere four months before Christmas!

And on the drive there? I couldn’t even listen to specifically Christmas music. That didn’t start this year until November! Can you believe it? November!

The liberal media is trying to tell me that all 31 days in October AREN’T Christmas? Unacceptable.
Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

When I could finally listen to music that catered to me, I went to the store and dashed through a forest of Christmas trees, angel toppers, and nativity scenes and, on the way to find someone to utter those sweet, sweet words to me (you know the ones), guess what I found? A single menorah. I don’t think you can possibly imagine how offended I was. I made my way through the thousands of Christmas trees to express how my holiday was being overtaken by multiculturalism. I shouted for someone to help. I shouted so loud and so hard I almost passed out, but I don’t know if anyone could hear me over “White Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Deck the Halls,” “Jingle Bells,” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” playing over the loudspeaker. I feared that any moment, I’d have to listen to three minutes of Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song.” I felt my arm tingle, much like I imagine Marty McFly felt when he, too, was being wiped from existence.

Santa… you feel the fear too?
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Even as the air left my lungs and I felt my lips grow cold from the exertion, I held that menorah, the symbol of my oppression. My resolve was strengthened due to my memory of the first Hanukkah party at the White House in 2001, the party that’s taken place twelve times! Truly, it is eclipsing the unbroken 97 year streak of setting up the National Christmas Tree outside the White House, or the years of Christmas festivities inside.

As I rallied myself and came to my feet, uttering “Onward… Christian… soldier…” under labored breaths, I heard the soft coo of baby Jesus telling me to fight, lest He be forgotten. I looked at the shelf to the left of me, covered in only 748 nativity scenes. I knew that baby Jesus would soon be forgotten if I did not make sure that this particular Chattanooga, Tennessee Walmart was dedicated solely to nativity scenes year-round.

I surreptitiously knocked all of the non-Jesus figures to the ground. Sheep, cows, goats, wise men, Maries, Josephs… all shattered. Lone Jesuses were left.

Finally, I found someone who worked at the store. By this time, I was covered in wreathes and shards of porcelain from the display of festive Christmas mugs I had knocked over in a panic when I thought I’d heard the word “dreidel.” But, because of the strength of my convictions, I was able to sputter out “Merry Christmas.” He, even though he was wearing a Santa hat and wearing a vest with an angel on it, let an unenthusiastic and (*gag*) secular “You too” drop from his lips like pigeon feces onto the statue of my faith.

“You too?!” I screamed, kicking over a shelf of Christmas cards. “You too?! How dare you?” I grabbed him by the throat. “Say it! Say it you beta cuck!”

“Say what?” he stammered, soy milk coming out of his tear ducts.

I lowered my eyes to his and said, with a grave seriousness that conveyed the importance of my beliefs, “Say ‘Merry Christmas.’”

“M-m-merry Christmas,” he said, soy milk still streaming down his face. “Please let me go. I’m choking.”

I released him. He fell to the ground. He attempted to stand, but faltered, like a baby deer. A baby reindeer. Then, once he caught his footing, he ran away. Surely, it was to talk to his boss about what disciplinary actions were to be taken since he uttered the word “Christmas” on the clock. His tongue would probably be ripped out by crows. This is what happened to those who uttered the word “Christmas” in America. I saw it on a Fox News documentary.

I decided to do some reconnaissance and asked 100 people if they celebrate Christmas. A mere 93 said yes. I was flabbergasted.

“Only 93% of people celebrate Christmas in America?” I said as I bent over, hyperventilating. “I know that only 70% of Americans are Christian,” I continued to myself, retching about the thought of non-Christians in America, “but surely more than 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas!”

A desperate, horrifying thought rushed through my head. One day the libs will figure out that Christmas is the only federally recognized religious holiday. Then what? Will Antifa show their true colors and let us in on their real name? Antifa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.

A vision of myself and my family being gutted with candy canes and waterboarded with egg nog in some horrible irony flashed before my eyes. I shuddered. I would not let that come to pass.

I rushed home and Googled news articles, just to see how deep in the trenches we were in this War on Christmas. I searched “Christmas” news, looked over the past hour, and found only 35 articles. When I searched “holiday”? Seventy-two.

How could it be possible that a broader category that included Christmas would have more results? The math didn’t add up.

All the math kept telling me was that a broader category that includes a smaller thing was also referencing the thing inside of that broader category. I can’t believe the libs got math in on the War on Christmas!
Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

When I read this articlethis article, this article, and this article, I was disheartened to find that the word “Christmas” was mentioned only 41 times. And the word “holiday” (a word I hesitate to type)? Fifty-one times. 

What is going to happen next year? A single mention of Hanukkah? Or even Kwanzaa?

To my horror, I found that the Constitution doesn’t even mention the word “Christmas”… anymore. Surely it was taken out by Barack Hussein Obama.

I don’t see what the harm is in continually and exclusively catering to the things that I like, want, and believe. Why won’t these snowflakes grant me that much? Why must I be reminded that other people exist! Don’t we live in a Free Country™? A country that has the freedom to do and say the things I like?!

I can’t imagine another more oppressed group of people than people who celebrate Christmas.

Death By Freedom, Part 5 (Free the Nipple)

Pieces of cloth that are forced onto people but are inexplicably NOT tyranny.
Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

Let’s finish this with a talk about the conservative outrage to the Free The Nipple movement a few years ago. Republicans in New Hampshire wanted to force women to wear pieces of cloth over a part of their bodies. Surprisingly, it wasn’t about a literal virus that can actually kill people, but for the nebulous concept of “modesty.”

Republican representative Josh Moore said that women who went topless in public should essentially just be okay with sexual assault. Al Baldasaro, another Republican representative, basically called Democratic representative Amanda Bouldin ugly and said he wouldn’t want to see her tits (dope debate skills, bro). 

This is the same Josh Moore who now says “We have natural rights. They should never be violated” in reference to the pandemic.

The same Al Baldasaro whose job is apparently mostly about retweeting Trump and not giving a fuck about masks.

Although some may interpret this discussion as proving the point of the anti-mask crowd, because I’m now arguing against a certain piece of cloth. The main difference is that it’s harder to find times where tits have killed anyone solely because someone wasn’t wearing a bra, but the anti-mask/pro-bra Venn diagram, again, is probably pretty round.

There are plenty of articles out there written about the feminist aspect of the conservative outrage against female nipples, so I won’t go into that. But it does seem mighty suspicious that, again, when someone else has to do something, the law is absolute, unyielding, and fair, but when they have to do something, no matter how minor, it’s suddenly tyranny.

For fuck sake, I feel like I’m in elementary school and the whole class has to sit inside for recess because Donny wouldn’t stop throwing crayons.

It’s weird how the more these people talk, the worse the situation gets, and the more likely mandates are to happen.
Photo by Becker1999 on Flickr.

Death By Freedom, Part 4: But What About the Money?!

There are two possible reasons that the government couldn’t support its own citizens for a few months. Either the economy isn’t as strong (and we’re not as rich) as whatever politician in charge would have you believe or the economy is exactly as strong and we’re exactly as rich as they all say, but they just didn’t care to help out.

There isn’t a third option.

And based on the fact that some of the richest people who weren’t at risk of losing their homes got to keep their bonuses and lay people off after the stimulus regardless of record profits, I’m going to guess it’s because the government and companies don’t care about you, no matter how many MAGA hats you’re wearing right now.

“But what about that sweet, sweet $1,200 check?” the one that totally wasn’t state socialism because Trump put his name on the checks, which I will be calling “Trump Brand Patriot Pennies™” from here on in (since there has been no aspect of his time in the White House that hasn’t been about his brand). The man who described a loan of $1 million “small” was very proud of saving everyone by giving them less than a quarter percent of that “small” loan.

And boy howdy, those Trump Brand Patriot Pennies™ sure helped out when the median price of a one-bedroom apartment (as of 2019) is $1,078. You’ll have a whole $122 to spend on all of the other essentials… for the next seven months.

What bountiful spread will you and Mr. Franklin be dining on for those 600 meals?
Photo by Live Richer on Unsplash

But money is one of the mainstay arguments for reopening the country, which is at least tangentially related to the mask thing. So let’s talk about how increasing the intensity of the pandemic affects the economy.

Despite later claiming his policies saved “over 2 million lives,” Trump initially (and basically immediately after he sent out his Trump Brand Patriot Pennies™, which he thought were so good he, again, fought to put his name on them) said we were in such dire straits that we would need to reopen the country despite the fact that people would die.

And die they did. 

But is that sacrifice good for Economy, God of Coin? Was he sated after feeding on the blood of the poor?

Will Economy, God of Coin, be satisfied? Or will you look upon his works and despair?
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

Maybe not. After all, in years without a global pandemic, bereavement cost companies around $75 billion per year. I’m not a number doctor, but I think increasing the likelihood that people will die might increase the amount that companies are spending on bereavement (and that’s not calculating in things like a possible increase in suicides, more homelessness (which causes more people to contract COVID-19), people dying because of a lack of hospital beds, and other indirect ways that the pandemic is killing people. 

And what about training someone to replace a dead employee? That’s about $4,800 per employee in training, admin, and HR costs, assuming that person only made $14.42 per hour. That’s about 300 hours of that employee’s work that has to be diverted to the new employee.

And that’s just the dead. There are financial consequences to people getting sick too. Even without the pandemic, sick employees cost employers $225.8 billion a year. And the uninsured sick? That’s between $13.9 billion and $41.8 billion to taxpayers.

Boy, it sure seems that when people are sick and dying, they hurt the money!

Now, we can go back and forth as to whether it will or would have hurt the economy more or less to wait until it was safer or whether it was a better idea to open up the country as much as we did immediately. That being said, the fact we’re having the conversation at all means it might be worth reconsidering the kind of system we live in when opening an Applebee’s is debatably more important than actual human lives.

Honestly, I can’t really think of a historical event where letting people die for money turned out to be a good idea.

“This website is saying that slavery was bad? But they made money at the expense of human lives.”
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

But corporations got a lot of money from the government, and did make sacrifices equivalent to the poor, who were literally getting sick and dying so that some fuckwit could go to a restaurant and do their favorite thing, yell at wait staff.

What were those sacrifices from the rich, you ask?

  • Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee cut his $1 million base salary. That’s such a sacrifice, especially since his base salary was just six percent of what he made in 2018. But later, I guess he decided he didn’t want to cut his salary anymore and sacrificed nothing.
  • Ascena Retail Group, Inc.’s executives cut their salaries by 10% to 40% until they didn’t feel like it anymore and, in fact, gave executives retention bonuses (which seems like the opposite of a sacrifice to me).
  • Most of their cuts were “largely symbolic” since salaries are usually a small part of corporate compensation

Wow, such sacrifice. It really emphasizes how the millionaires and billionaires aren’t the ones putting themselves at riskUnless they’re bafflingly fucking stupid.

And just to throw this out there, a million conservative talking heads will espouse the grandeur of Trickle Down economics. After all, corporations are responsible with money. And, if you’re poor, you should have a rainy day fund and not spend so frivolously.

But it turns out that a lot of corporations had to beg for a handout because they didn’t save a rainy day fund and spent pretty frivolously. I guess it’s “investment” when it’s buying back your own stocks for millions and “irresponsible” when it’s a poor person finally being able to get a computer so their kid can do schoolwork at home. 

Death By Freedom, Part 3: Everyone’s Body, Their Choice

Noel Gallagher said “I don’t give a fuck. If I choose not to wear [a mask] and if I get the virus, it’s on me, it’s not on anyone else.” 

Picture of Noel Gallagher saying that while unknowingly screaming out clouds of droplets.
Photo by Marco Albuquerque from Unsplash.

While Noel Gallagher is British, this argument isn’t wholly different from many American protester’s thoughts on the topic.

Let’s ignore the fact that the “it doesn’t affect anyone else” argument is largely not accepted by people who are against things like legalized gay marriage, but are fine with it when it comes to a literal transmissible disease.

And the wild thing is that it so obviously doesn’t only affect them.

Let’s do a thought experiment for any anti-mask types reading this… assuming anyone is reading, that is. I surprisingly haven’t reached household-name status with only a few long-winded, mixed format rants that are inconsistently released. Who’da thunk it? 

I’ll open this like I have with a lot of things – I’m not a mathemagician. Check my numbers. Check how I’m calculating things. That’s why I walk you through the thought process.

I’m not this guy.

Let’s say you get COVID-19. After all, you don’t wear a mask because “if I get it, that’s my choice and it doesn’t affect anyone else.” So you do. That’s what’s known as a “consequence.”

When you catch COVID-19, you won’t know it for roughly four days. You’ll only be contagious for about two of them. And let’s pretend that the exact day you will likely become symptomatic (day five) is when you decide to perfectly quarantine to the point where it is impossible to infect anyone else.

That’s two days of not knowing you had it and also being able to spread it.

Let’s help your case and say that you only go to work twice and the grocery store once. You live in an average-sized town and have an average-sized family. Given that 32 million people go grocery shopping per day (literally the only number I could find for that, so we’re using it) and that there are 38,307 grocery stores in the US, there are about 800 people per day per store. And since COVID-19 is keeping people at home more, let’s reduce the number of people at the store per day to 400.

And let’s pretend that you only touch one thing in the store that you don’t bring home: the credit card machine. You could be contrarian and say “but they sanitize those” but they don’t necessarily do that after every customer.

But, anyway, you touch the credit card machine. Now, not all of the customers in the store would touch that credit card machine. That’d be ridiculous. Hell, not even all of them are going to use a card. Let’s say that only 300 of the customers use a credit card (there’s a national coin shortage after all). And only 50 of those use the card machine you used during the span of the next 24 hours. And let’s take a nice middle ground for the estimates for how long COVID-19 can live on surfaces (hours to days) and say that COVID-19 can only live on a surface for exactly 24 hours.

Let’s reduce those infection numbers even more: 80% of people sanitize their hands before touching anything else, they wear their masks, and are 100% not at risk of infection from you at this time.

Of that remaining 20% who didn’t sanitize their hands and touched their face or something, let’s say that they have a 5% chance of actually getting it.

So 10 people were truly at risk of catching the COVID-19 you had. Five percent of those ends up meaning that one person in that store has a coin flip’s chance of catching COVID-19 from you.

But, that’s just one day at the grocery store. How about work and home? 

There was an estimate that in an average household (2.52 people plus yourself), you’d have a 19% chance of spreading it to everyone. Then you’d have a 14% chance of spreading it to people you often interacted with (let’s say that’s at work). For the purposes of cutting the final numbers down even further, let’s pretend the average person only works directly and frequently with 2.52 co-workers.

That means that you’ve infected .5 people at the store, .4788 people at home, and .3528 people at work. Basically a coin flip for the grocery store, a little less than that at home, and a little over a one in three chance of infecting someone at work. If you’re sort of lucky, you won’t even infect one person. 

And, frankly, y’all probably cough like this anyway. So these numbers are really low for you.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

But let’s not rely on luck. Let’s just see where those numbers lead.

Adding those numbers, you’re going to generally get 1.3316 people infected. Now, I did the calculations in an earlier draft where that number was lower. It was 1.28. Not sure how I got that result, but let’s use that because it helps the anti-mask argument.

So, as you’ve noticed, I’ve made a few concessions:

  • You only go to work, the grocery store (once), and home
  • You have fewer co-workers than most people have (check that number, I couldn’t find good stats on it, but I’ve never personally worked with only three people on a regular basis)
  • Quarantine cut the number of people at the store by half
  • You only touch one thing at the store that anyone else touches

I’ll also make another concession and pretend the lamestream lib-cuck beta soy boy media is inflating the death toll by ten times. Let’s say the real number is 10% of that. That’s the number I’ll be using.

Also, for funsies, there are no asymptomatic carriers. Everyone gets symptoms and everyone quarantines perfectly after two days. But for those two days, everyone has the exact same routine as you, they touch one thing in the grocery store and, outside of that, it’s work and home.

Now, I’m not sure how to calculate people wearing masks into the equation, so I won’t. I’ll just say every person infects 1.28 people (meaning one person is pretty guaranteed but a second one has a greater than two unlucky coin flips chance).

From the time you were infected, 2.68 people are infected by the end of week one. In the first month, there are 40.56 infected. On the 32nd day, there’s one person dead based on some reverse engineering of the New York Times’ numbers as of November 12, 2020, but we won’t be using them for much longer because they’re obviously inflating the numbers because Soros paid them or whatever.

They don’t agree with me, so they must be paid off.

So the first death is actually before the two month period. By month three, 66,749 people are infected and 153 people are dead (according to the the sources at No Libtard News, the obviously unbiased news outlet).

People are inspired by those numbers and strip off their masks, enraptured by the evidence that if they don’t wear masks or think about others, they might also be able to ignore the 153 deaths that occurred in a three month period that they are responsible for. They build a statue of you, Big Dick (or Vagina) Joe (or Jane), in the center of your town. Because of your freedom, every anti-mask rally is protected by freedom angels, literal angels from literal Heaven who come and scoop up all the infected droplets from the gaping maws of everyone who can’t be bothered to wear a mask. Everyone still, on average, infects fewer than two people because of this intervention.

By day 160, the entire population of America is infected and the dead exceed the population of Seattle, Washington (as seen on High-T Soy Boy Smasher’s YouTube channel, not something like The Washington Post). 

By this time the entire world, jealous of our glorious freedom to ignore even the most minor sense of human decency and awareness of trivial things like “consequences,” strips their “slavery muzzles” away from their “warm, moist freedom holes” and invites Americans over for the newest international holiday – Spit In My Mouth Day. Again, angels come down and clean up all the viruses from these events.

Around day 184, everyone in the world is infected. In the end nearly 17 million people, or a little over two New York Cities, are dead (as you heard on the Alpha Male’s Alpha Podcast For Men, not The Guardian… gross).

The obvious question would be “What about the rights of those 17 million people to continue living?” Fuck ’em, I guess. You’ll never let a “commie shroud” cover your “dank, wet patriotism speaker.”

But let’s look at the real numbers, lest I get accused of pulling a Ben Shapiro “let’s say”-a-thon for no fucking reason.

From the first known case to the first death was only 11 or 12 days. And between the announcement of the disease on December 31, 2019 and January 23, 2020 there were 570 people infected with 17 dead. My numbers were significantly lower than that.

By January 31st, there were 9,800 infections and 213 deaths. Still significantly higher than the thought experiment we just did.

By April 26th, 200,000 people died in the real world and my goofy little thought experiment was at a little fewer than 30,000.

Gosh and golly-gee, mister, it certainly seems like if we’d done nothing (a favorite pastime of people who talk about their own personal freedoms suspiciously often, especially if someone is asking them to do something slightly different in their day to day life), we’d have been more fucked than we are right now.

Lucky for you, some of us would rather at least try to keep other people from getting sick. For a group of people who, I’m sure, overlap with the anti-welfare crowd, you sure do like benefiting from what others are doing.

But even this argument, the one I’m making right now, is something that some anti-mask protesters don’t agree with. In this Vox article (which I linked to before, but it’s here too) someone brushes it off by saying that “grandmas and grandpas die all the time.”

You know who else dies a lot? Americans. Hell, we kill ourselves more than most other countries. So why even worry about terrorism? Well, probably because it doesn’t take a lot of effort on your part and there’s someone else to blame for it.

Oh, and if you’re not a coward, make sure to request that, in the future, your dentist doesn’t glove up or wash their hands before digging into your mouth. After all, it’s their God-given American right to not wear “socialist mitts” over their “other holsters.” Let them exercise that right on you, you incredible patriot.

It’s weird that when there’s a problem you don’t really have to do anything to solve (or is caused by “them”), it’s incredibly important. But when you might have some responsibility, or other people might not be able to do it for themselves, it’s incredibly anti-American ask you to pitch in.

Look at this socialist bullshit. If they didn’t want a handout, then why weren’t they born older?
Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels

Death By Freedom, Part 2: Misuse of Freedom

George W. Bush possibly quit drinking in part due to a DUI arrest. Trump and Biden are both reportedly teetotalers, both apparently affected by family members becoming alcoholics. I don’t find it too much of a controversial statement to say that people tend to believe that drunk driving is bad. That being said, we’re in 2020 and I just found out that (as of 2019) potentially one-fifth of people drive while they know they’re drunk, a number up from a little over ten percent in 2018. Truly, the dumbest timeline.

“I’m at a .15? More like .1-drive, am I right?”
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash.

Either way, there are efforts in place to reduce drunk driving. Free or discounted rides on New Year’s Eve, a few nonprofits dedicated to the subject, and various statewide drunk driving task forces. We can debate how effective or appropriate these things actually are, but the fact that so many methods of deterring drunk driving exist with a whole host of approaches implies that people do, in fact, think it’s a problem.

But how many people have misused their freedom to drink, drive, and kill someone? Between 2009 and 2018 (inclusive) there were 103,788 deaths where the driver had a BAC above the legal limit. In that same period there were 122,278 people killed by drivers who had any alcohol in their system at the time. That’s significantly fewer than deaths from COVID-19 in less than a year, but treated with much more seriousness by the government and people in general.

And if you’re an anti-masker whose first instinct is to say “but it’s against the law to drive drunk” (similar to the “if that black guy didn’t want to get killed, he shouldn’t have been accused of a crime” argument) then I’ll give you a 10/10 for that display of mental gymnastics.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash. The snarky text is my own.

Over two times as many people have died from COVID-19 in the past 11 months (January 20, 2020 to November 12, 2020) than have died in a ten year span from drunk driving, but only one of them is a problem we might need to take preventative measures for? And, again, if you think that the “lamestream media” is inflating those numbers, you’ll have needed them to inflate those numbers by 25.5 times for those two issues to be equivalent in terms of deaths.

Let’s take a look at another common misuse of freedom: accidental gun deaths. 

No matter what the gun debate is about – suicides, murders, accidental gun deaths – the gun lobby will talk about the responsible gun owner as if it has a bearing on anything except accidental gun deaths. 

[Quick tangent: I’m not going to say that someone who shoots someone else isn’t a “responsible gun owner” as many people imply. Whether or not they specifically choose to murder someone has no bearing on how responsible they are. Hell, the NRA openly supports militias and militias are groups of people banding together to possibly shoot other people.]

But let’s talk about accidental gun deaths. Even the most pro-gun person will generally talk about responsibility in gun ownership, how guns should be respected as potentially deadly weapons (even if they’re unloaded and the safety is on), how maintaining your gun is an important part of using it safely, how you should unload your firearms when you’re not using them, how you should notice your surroundings, and many, many, many other rules. And I’ll put it out there – every time I’ve read over those rules or talked about those rules, they all seem great. This article isn’t about the gun debate. No matter how you feel about guns conceptually, you can probably agree that gun safety is an important issue, whether we’re talking about personal responsibility or government responsibility. 

How are people misusing that freedom? According to the CDC, there were around 608 accidental gun deaths in the United States between 2000 and 2018 (inclusive), so we can reasonably say that in the course of 20 years there were about 12,000 accidental gun deaths. And, yes, some of those deaths are going to come from things that are not related to irresponsibility, but I am not sure how to tease those numbers out of the general pool of “accidental gun deaths.”

Again, even if the “lamestream media” is inflating those numbers, there’s a lot of talk about and importance put on gun safety and an incredible resistance to safety regarding COVID-19 despite reports saying that it’s over 430 times as deadly as accidental gun deaths.

But, as we all know, it’s definitely not a tantrum about slightly changing their habits.

Everyone knows he said, “I’ll step over my own child’s corpse to be slightly more comfortable.”
Everyone’s talking about it.
Photo by Doug Mills of the New York Times.

Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death

Editor’s Note: There was a typo in that last sentence. It should read “But, as we all know, it’s definitely a tantrum about slightly changing their habits.”

This is not the first debate where a piece of cloth was spun as tyranny. In the 1980s, David Hollister was compared to Hitler for proposing seat belt laws. But with all the talk of fascism, tyranny, and an Orwellian dystopia, it was found that the most important factors (all before safety) that predicted whether people opposed seat belt laws were, in this order, discomfort, inconvenience, and easily forgettable.

Another public health debate that was couched in “personal liberty” was indoor smoking. Now, opposition to indoor smoking didn’t seem to have as much of the “anti-smoking is tyranny” flavor to it, but ended up being rooted in arguments about how much people like smoking (yes, the article is from 2012, but it is still in opposition to indoor smoking laws and doesn’t bring up an exactly new point) and personal liberty, but likely was about whether people already smoked or not.

These two events aren’t dissimilar to the mask discussion. They’re public health concerns that need to be addressed and there’s a fairly simple solution to reduce instances of illness and/or death. But golly if those masks aren’t uncomfortable, so I’d rather not wear them.

“I don’t want to wear a cloth mask, so I’ll increase the likelihood someone (including myself) has to wear an oxygen mask.”
Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Death By Freedom, Part 1: Introduction

In the years since 9/11 there has been a bevy of laws passed whose rationale pays vigil to those who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the victims of Flight 93 and are ostensibly intended to offer some sort of protection from events like that happening again. Rudy Giuliani, for one, has spent nearly two decades implying that happening to be a the Mayor of New York on 9/11 counts as a qualification (unless he’s busy forgetting exactly when it happened in order to fabricate a political point).

Trump used the 3,068 American deaths over the past 15 years to justify Executive Order 13769, referencing 9/11, Fort Hood, the Pulse shooting, the Boston Marathon Bombing, the San Bernardino shooting, and a mass shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee as reasons for its existence.

At the risk of overgeneralizing, I feel like the groups of people who are anti-mask and pro-Trump are in a Venn Diagram that looks pretty circular. And those same people who will never forget 9/11 led by the same guy who harped on Benghazi for years after the fact (which killed four Americans and seven Libyans) will piss and moan about the media concentrating on COVID-19 while it’s still killing thousands of Americans each week. Then they’ll have rallies where they dance on the graves of nearly a quarter-million Americans (at the time of this writing). 

Everybody knows that this is a picture of Donald Trump after he was told that COVID-19 deaths reached 10,000. Everybody’s saying it.
Photo by Gillian Brockell of The Washington Post.

For an even more exact touchstone, it took eleven Ebola cases (and two deaths) for Trump to call for Obama to resign. He’s a big man that demands big actions when his small hands aren’t on the wheel.

Even if you believe that the nearly quarter-million number is “fake news” from the “lamestream media” (but, inexplicably, eleven cases of Ebola is accurate and staggering) it’s easy to find eleven COVID-19 cases and two deaths. For a laugh, let’s try it:

  1. Donald Trump
  2. Baron Trump
  3. Melania Trump
  4. Stephen Miller
  5. Charles Ray
  6. Kayleigh McEnany
  7. Kellyanne Conway
  8. Ben Carson
  9. Mark Meadows
  10. Stephen Miller
  11. Chris Christie
  12. Herman Cain (Dead from COVID-19, not cancer, unless his own website run by his own people is lib cuck beta fake news from the lamestream media)
  13. Around 700 people at Trump rallies (Dead from COVID-19)

Even if the quarter million deaths is “fake news” from the “lamestream media,” that number is simply 81 times higher than how many people died on 9/11 and 121,000 times higher than Ebola. Does the media inflate the numbers that much? I know that asking the question without really answering it gets into “conspiratorial thinking” territory, but I am genuinely curious about the limits of peoples’ credulity in 2020.

As far as the claim that 94% of cases had an underlying condition is concerned (the same claim Herman Cain’s corpse tweeted said after he died of COVID-19), not only is it bullshit because doctors frequently talk about comorbidity when investigating how people died, but even if we found out that all of the dead people with underlying conditions actually died from something totally unrelated, like… I don’t know… condom snorting, actual COVID-19 deaths would still be around three 9/11s and 1,363 times the cases of Ebola in America.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash. The snarky text is my own.

Another Venn Diagram that I’m guessing is basically a circle is the one that looks at anti-maskers and people who bitch about “handouts” and “entitlements” and I think they’re a great study into the fact that there is a group of people in this country who, when faced with the possibility of a slight inconvenience or the request for something that, even in the loosest definition, only mildly resembles the word “work” will cry “tyranny,” wear tricorne hats in public, wrap themselves in the flag, get triggered, and go to their safe space of “unbiased” sites and “news” outlets so biased they have “Conservative” right there in the name.

This is the same group that will tell minorities, women, and poor people that they should stop complaining because the system isn’t being stacked against them while simultaneously complaining that the left is controlling their lives despite having a Republican president, control of Congress, and Republican appointees as a majority in the Supreme Court.

And that will be a large focus of the remaining pieces of this article – that there is a wide group of people who only have the quality of life that they do because of the hard work of other people, yet have no awareness of this to the point that they continually whine about others being entitled. A group of people with such a narrow view that they apparently believe all of their leaders, regardless of how many there are, are completely ineffectual against the specter of the liberal boogeyman who somehow, secretly, props up minority groups around the globe. 

A group that believes they are so oppressed that they’ll literally watch thousands of people die so they’re not slightly uncomfortable, especially if those people live in blue states. And it ain’t the first time Dear Leader Trump has threatened to have dissenters killed.

Masks are tyranny.
Being asked to stay inside is tyranny.
This? Not tyranny. Totally normal.
Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash.

Even If You Like Cops, You Should Still Want To Defund The Police

Photo by ev on Unsplash

It’s quite easy to for people who are anti-cop to get on board with the idea of defunding the police. Those talks are a fantastic self-sucking circle jerk at best and stressful at worst. 

For anyone who is pro-cop, whether you agree in the points of Black Lives Matter (but still believe in policing) or are on the Blue Lives Matter wagon, there are still plenty of things to discuss about defunding the police.

Now, I won’t be discussing the idea of abolishing the idea of police in general. I haven’t done enough research to know what the proposed post-police environment would be like, therefore I can’t make an informed decision for or against policing as a concept, or even if I found it to be tenable. What I will be discussing is moving funding away from police and diverting it to places that are better suited for specific problems.

This will partly be a public relations issue to at least inform people there’s another option and, to an extent, it has already begun with the establishment of 988 as the new nationwide number for Americans to use for mental health crises. 

Police, historically, have a poor track record when it comes to taking care of people in mental health crises. According to numbers gathered by The Washington Post, around one-quarter of all people killed by police have some sort of mental health condition. It should be known that those whose mental health status is unknown are also reported in the remaining 75%. This is backed up by a study from 2019 in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (in fact, the lowest number I could find was 22%). In that same paper, it is noted that “nearly 75 percent [of all agencies] have fewer than 25 officers” and that “small departments can have significant difficulties deploying or consistently operating a [Crisis Intervention Team] model” that meets the standard established in Memphis, TN and has generally become the archetype of CIT programs.

One of the many arguments made for why citizens should give police a wide berth when police kill people is that their job is stressful, dangerous, and they often do not know what situations they will get in. Combine that with an understaffed police force strapped for time and the fact that verbal de-escalation takes longer than physically subduing someone, and you have a recipe for making that stressful job more stressful (and more dangerous for civilians).

The good news is that there’s already a 24/7 services in quite a few communities that is specifically for mental health crises: mobile crisis units.

It is imperfect, understaffed, and still sometimes does arrive with police, but they are actually meant for the job they’re performing and trained to handle it. While the Memphis model only requires 40 hours of training for CIT officers, most (if not all) mobile crisis clinicians must have at least a Bachelor’s in some human services field or equivalent experience. Since at least some of these services (if not all, I don’t know) are allowed to place people on involuntary mental health holds, many of the people on mobile crisis teams have special certifications or licenses beyond their degrees.

I’m going out on a limb here, but it seems like four or more years of experience in learning about mental health, presentations of symptoms, and mitigation of symptoms might be more impactful than a 40 hour course someone takes every two years (while also having to learn things for their other job of being a cop). 

And how effective are these CIT officers? There are certainly some positives and some negatives. One study pointed out that “there was no difference in use of force between officers with CIT training and those without it,” which isn’t the best thing to read, though that same study did show that there was a significant difference in arrests, with officers having no CIT training arresting people nearly twice as often as those with CIT training. They were more likely to resolve the situation at the scene or refer the person to mental health resources. That is promising.

But my proposal? Even though there are some positive takeaways from CIT-trained officers, we should take worrying about mental health concerns off of the police’s plate as much as possible. 

Frankly, it doesn’t matter how well trained a cop is, people in mental health crisis may be escalated by the sight of a person with a badge and a gun, no matter how well-meaning they are. Police not only have a more difficult time with mental health calls as they have significantly less training than actual mental health professionals, they have the additional uphill battle of building rapport with someone who may be terrified of the fact that they are an officer.

They’ll likely always be called for mental health concerns by people who don’t know, but they should be trained enough to know when to pass the call off to someone better trained.

As someone who has spent a few years in the mental health field, I have seen much of this fear of police firsthand, as well as the reason why people are afraid of them.

Additionally, people with mental illness who have negative experiences with police (even if there isn’t force involved) are significantly less likely to seek help again or trust treatments they happen to have. That concept should barely even need a hyperlink to a study, but here it is. Put simply, police contact can, and often does, create an environment where people actively don’t seek help afterwards because of fear of police. This is the opposite result of the intent of the CIT program and, therefore, unworkable under the umbrella of the police department.

I know there are plenty of people out there who are for forced treatment, like Trump, but it turns out that because of something called the “nocebo effect” (which is very similar to the placebo effect, but as opposed to the belief that it will work making it work, it is the belief that it won’t work making the treatment less effective or ineffective) kicks in quite a bit when you’re forced into treatment. Beyond that, once people are involuntarily hospitalized, they are more likely to be involuntarily hospitalized in the future and less likely to adhere to medication regimens.

I work in mental health and have spoken to dozens of people whose loved ones are experiencing mental health crises. Often they want someone to come and lock that person away, put them on a 72 hour hold, and pump them full of medications. My simple question is this: “Will three days change the habits they’ve built over their lifetime?”

Obviously, the answer is no.

And what’s more is that even if someone is put on a regimen of medications for 72 hours, they may be wholly ineffective as some antipsychotics take “up to four or six weeks to reach their full effect.” And here’s where another problem comes in: if the acute psychosis is taken care of, there is no legal ability (or medical reason) for the person to continue to be held. At that point, the only thing that’s been done is put a person who is probably terrified anyway into a situation where they may not fully understand what is happening, terrifying them further and reducing the likelihood they’ll reach out for help when mild symptoms return. A lot of people would much rather wait and hope they don’t have an issue later on that results in another hold.

What does all this have to do with police? Well, police are one of the people who are allowed to put people on 72 hour holds and they are woefully untrained to make those calls. Even some mental health professionals are largely untrained and skittish, especially when it comes to suicide. It’s not unusual for someone to go in to see their therapist, divulge thinking about suicide, and get locked up as a danger to themselves. Let’s be clear, thinking about suicide is not the same as planning to attempt suicide in the same way that thinking about going to the gym isn’t the same as working out.

But talking about your passing thoughts of kind of wanting to die and then getting locked up? That’ll teach you to not talk about it ever again and not get help for it in the future.

So why do we expect police to be better at dealing with acute mental health crisis than people in the field? To put it a different way, we’re asking police to not only learn about mental health, but learn about a specialized part of mental health that requires the base knowledge.

Hell, it might be that the only reason CIT officers put people on 72 hour holds is that they know they’re not trained and they’re getting the person to professionals.

Why not cut out the middle man? Divert funding and give it to crisis services.

I’m concentrating a lot on mental health here because that’s my field. In fact, the only parts of mental health I’ve worked in are crisis-related, so I’m acutely aware of how much of a shambles our mental health system is and how off-putting it is to many, many people. And for good reason. Increasing police involvement in this area is not only a waste of their time, it’s frequently counterproductive or actively harmful, whether there is force used or not.

Mental health isn’t the only thing people expect police to do, but shouldn’t. If the intention of police is to enforce laws, one thing we should be doing as a society is finding out where police are overstepping that line and getting into other peoples’ jobs. This would allow people to be served better by actual professionals in the field relevant to their situation, reduce stress on officers (which may reduce uses of force or erratic behavior by some officers), and discourage redundant use of taxpayer dollars (right now we’re basically paying for 40 hours of training for police that other people already have significantly more of).

To put this in a very concise way – police pick up homeless people sleeping outside. What effects does this have?
– The police are preoccupied when they could be going to real crimes (yeah, it’s a “crime” to sleep outside in a lot of areas, but it’s not the same as assault)
– The person who is arrested is now at risk of having many, if not all, of their possessions taken, making it more difficult when they are released
– The person who is arrested now has a barrier to getting a job and a place to live (an arrest record) in the future, which is the exact opposite result that we want
– The police will either bring the person to jail or the hospital, using even more inappropriate and incorrect resources
– Over-policing in largely poor and minority neighborhoods based on predictive policing algorithms that don’t necessarily distinguish what kind of crime when assessing “high crime” and “low crime” areas (which will send more cops there who will find more crimes being committed by virtue of there being more cops, but not necessarily as a function of more people doing crimes there)
– And on top of that, the homeless person doesn’t get any resources or help with the problem that caused them to sleep outside in the first place

If funds were diverted to helping people find homes or at least shelter, there would be significantly fewer people on the street, significantly fewer cops spending time on people sleeping on the street, and significantly fewer people on the street because arrest records from being on the street wouldn’t preclude them from getting a job or a place to live.

Basically, we have an 83% recidivism rate in this country because we use locking people up as the only solution for every problem. Maybe (just spitballing here) what we’re doing isn’t working and we should try something else?

Why It (Still) Isn’t #AllLivesMatter (Updates)

(Photo by: Daniel Torobekov)

Here are some updates about cases that have occurred or I’ve become aware of since the writing of my Black Lives Matter series.

Breonna Taylor (Killed: March 13, 2020) – Was killed in her apartment during an entry by police. Twenty shots were fired by police. Breonna herself was shot eight times. The police had a warrant to search, but the accusations which led to the warrant being issued proved fruitless. While her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, did shoot at police in self-defense (neighbors did indicate that the no-knock warrant was completed without knocking), there is no indication that Breonna was armed or combative.

Elijah McClain (Killed: August 24, 2019) – Was killed while walking down the street after a 911 call where the caller reported McClain was acting “suspicious” but did not believe McClain was a danger to himself or others (much like how the person who called 911 regarding Tamir Rice believed the gun was fake). He was put into a choke hold after stating “I can’t breathe correctly” and vomiting several times. He was then injected with ketamine.

Here is a video of an obviously peaceful protest being broken up by riot cops (in contrast to the Michigan and Oregon protestors who were white with guns… and unlike the lackadaisical approach police took with the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, organized by white supremacists):

Mark and Patricia McCloskey – A white St. Louis couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protestors. The president retweeted the video in support of the couple. From what I understand, police never arrived at the scene (though it took less than 10 minutes for police to arrive at John Crawford III’s location when he was holding merchandise the store sold).

Miracle Boyd – Miracle Boyd was punched in the face by an officer while filming the arrest of another protester and attempting to get the officer’s information. The assault left her with a missing tooth.

The Gilliam family – The black family was pulled from their van and told to lay on the ground at gunpoint. The police mistook the Colorado license plate of the van for that of a stolen vehicle – a motorcycle with out of state plates.

Derrick Ingram – NYPD officers, dogs, and helicopters were deployed to the BLM protestor’s home to apparently arrest him for assaulting an officer.

Black Minneapolis drivers – A study shows that 80% of Minneapolis PD searches and traffic stops were with black people. Black people make up less than 20% of the population.