What's the quickest way for a cop to earn a paid vacation? Be filmed clubbing a suspect.
Federal Investigations: Credibility Gap; Gullibility Fill
by Sam Aurelius Milam III
Why doesn't the FBI allow some objective third-party observers to watch during searches like the one of Ted Kaczynski's cabin? Maybe that would make it too difficult for them to plant evidence. Why did it take them so long to find that "original" manifesto? Maybe they had to wait while somebody typed it on one of Ted's typewriters, so the print would match. Suppose Ted were to claim that the cabin had originally contained only an army cot, an ax, and a wood stove, and everything else was hauled in by the FBI. Lacking objective observers, it would be his word against theirs. I believe he's as credible as they are. Even if he is the Unabomber, the FBI has killed more people than he has.
Even if he really had all of that stuff, so what? It shouldn't be illegal to own or to build a bomb. Neither is harmful. A "threat" isn't harm. This is fundamental to the doctrine of presumed innocence. No matter how threatening somebody is, the government doesn't have a cause of action until he actually does harm. The danger of criminalizing threats is that the prohibitions are gradually extended to ever more unlikely "threats". Eventually there are only two kinds of actions: required or prohibited.
Message # 38915 posted on N0ARY
Packet Bulletin Board System (PBBS) on 2 Apr 96 23:48
73, Dennis KK6GV
by Don Cormier
Bruce Olds' Raising Holy Hell is one of the best novels published in 1995, and probably the best novel of American history published in the last decade.
It tells the story of John Brown — the abolitionist martyr whose "terrorist" raid on Harper's Ferry was a blazing portent of the War Between the States.
Olds' method of telling this familiar story is the thing which makes the novel so fascinating. The book is a collage of excerpts from various genuine historical documents, combined with fictional, dramatized scenes. The effect is tremendously cinematic, and also a bit like solving a puzzle. Much of the author's meaning is conveyed by the clever juxtaposition of elements, rather than by things directly stated.
The author's culling of old diaries and newspaper articles documents the degree to which racism permeated the thought of white Americans in the nineteenth century. To judge by the written evidence, most whites, northern or southern, affirmed that blacks were subhuman.
Although race relations and slavery were mixed together in nineteenth century American thought, the two issues should have been considered separately. Slavery may or may not have been sanctioned by the Bible, and may or may not have been consistent with the democracy — good arguments were made on both sides of the question — but the race of the slaves never was relevant to the morality of slavery as an institution. The prevalent intellectual confusion inhibited realistic discussion and contributed greatly to the eventual outbreak of war.
John Brown's ideas on race relations were in stark contrast to those of the general population. Brown was a devout Christian, and because Christ preached that all men were equally loved by God, Brown came to believe that members of different races should learn to love one another as equals. He even stated that he would be happy to have a black woman as a daughter-in-law.
Brown further believed that it was his Christian duty to fight slavery and to rescue the oppressed blacks — that his eternal salvation depended on doing so. His thinking mirrored the tragic muddle of the time.
It is frequently forgotten that prior to the War Between the States, the Federal government was obligated by the Constitution to uphold slavery. This led to Brown's attempt to overthrow the federal government and, of course, explains why he was attempting to seize the arsenal at Harper's Ferry.
His violence shocked and repelled those Northerners who did not share his love for blacks and who, although they sympathized with Brown's disapproval of slavery, would have liked to find a compromise solution to the slave problem. Brown's violence completely alienated Southerners, who mistakenly decided that his attitude was typical of the Yankees.
It's safe to say that the publicity generated by John Brown's activities made further compromise on the slave issue impossible — although it may have been impossible in any case. Judging by the examples provided by Olds, the various peaceful compromise schemes put forth at the time were laughably unrealistic.
It could be that the Unabomber is the modern equivalent of John Brown. Although most people would condemn the Unabomber's use of violence, a significant number of people sympathize with his ideas, and his ideas are of a sort which would seem to require violence to be implemented. The next century may see another civil war, so-called, or perhaps a true revolution, based on the issues raised by the Unabomber. Raising Holy Hell reminds us that it is sometimes considered holy to raise hell — but that it helps to be on the winning side.
|How Sacred Now,
Dead Brown Cow?|
By Sam Aurelius Milam III
Here's an excerpt from an essay (Ravin' Evermore) that I completed on August 12, 1991.
So, what about the origins of life? I never did develop a good definition of the difference between the living and the non-living. No matter what characteristics I used to define the difference, I could always think of some annoying exception. In that vein, consider BSE — the so-called Mad Cow Disease that has recently created such a stir. BSE makes the difference between the living and the non-living impossible to define. BSE is caused by a non-living "agent", a protein that not only causes the infection of one animal from another, but even reproduces. OK, it doesn't have babies like us or divide like an amoeba, but the result is the same. It makes more like itself and gives them the ability to do the same. It reproduces, yet it isn't a living thing. It has no organic structure or function. It's just a protein, yet it multiplies and has effects typical of living infectious organisms. I think it's an example of the transition between the non-living and the living. I believe we've seen a miracle, the spontaneous origin of new life — in a cow.
The Bicycle Trader — Purveying Feminist Hypocrisy as Well as Bicycles
by Sam Aurelius Milam III
The Bicycle Trader, P.O.Box 3324, Ashland, Oregon 97520, routinely runs a section titled "Women Specific", wherein it advertises items for females only. The publication does not have an equivalent "Men Specific" section.
Buck Hunter Shoots Off His Mouth
— Can't Believe It
Dear Can't Believe It
From watching C-SPAN.
The Owl Who Was God
as retold by Sam Aurelius Milam III; author unknown
Once upon a starless midnight, there was an owl who sat on the branch of a tree. Two ground moles tried to slip quietly by, unnoticed. "You!" said the owl. "Who?" they quavered in fear and astonishment. "You two!" said the owl. The moles hurried away and told the other creatures of the forest that the owl was the greatest and wisest of all animals because he could see in the dark and could answer any question. "I'll see about that," said a secretary bird, and he called upon the owl. "How many claws am I holding up?" said the secretary bird. "Two" said the owl. "Can you give me another expression for 'that is to say,' or 'namely?' " asked the secretary bird. "To wit" said the owl. "Why does a lover call on his love?" asked the secretary bird. "To woo" said the owl. The secretary bird hastened back to the other creatures and reported that the owl was indeed the greatest and wisest because he could see in the dark and answer any question. "Can he see in the daytime, too?" asked a fox. All the other creatures laughed loudly at this silly question. Then they sent a messenger to the owl and asked him to be their leader. When the owl appeared among the animals, it was high noon and the sun was shining brightly. He walked very slowly, which gave him an appearance of great dignity. He peered about himself with large, staring eyes which gave him an air of tremendous importance. "He's God!" screamed a Plymouth Rock hen, and the others took up the cry "He's God!" After that they followed him wherever he went, and when he bumped into things, they bumped into things too. Finally he came to a concrete highway, and started up the middle of it. All the other animals followed him. Presently, a hawk observed a truck coming toward them at 50 miles per hour. He reported to the secretary bird and the secretary bird reported to the owl. "There's danger ahead," said the secretary bird. "To wit?" said the owl. The secretary bird asked him, "Aren't you afraid?" "Who?" said the owl calmly, for he could not see the truck. "He's God!" cried all the creatures again, and they were still crying "He's God!" when the truck hit them. Some of the animals were merely injured but most of them, including the owl, were killed.
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