so what the fuck just happened here?

A week and a half ago I wrote, “…don’t be surprised if Rittenhouse walks.” And yet, I was sorta kinda surprised. Because, c’mon…how could this ridiculous doofus illegally buy an assault-style rifle, carry it across a state line, insert himself into a volatile environment, carry it while claiming to offer medical care he wasn’t trained or qualified to give, carry it while claiming to protect property nobody asked him to protect, then using it to shoot three people, killing two of them, and NOT suffer any consequences? It just ain’t right.

But yeah, that’s basically what happened. But WHY did it happen? I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve been around the criminal justice block a few times, and I have opinions. It begins with the Wisconsin law on self defense, which essentially says a person can use deadly force to defend themselves if that person “reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.”

A lot of self-defense laws, including Wisconsin’s, include an exception for provocation and/or criminal conduct. You can’t provoke an attack, then kill your attacker and claim self-defense; you can’t engage in criminal conduct that would cause an attack, then kill your attacker and claim self defense. Makes sense, right? Okay, here we go.

Wisconsin’s self-defense law states: “A person who engages in unlawful conduct of a type likely to provoke others to attack him or her and thereby does provoke an attack is not entitled to claim the privilege of self-defense against such attack…”

That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it. But it continues: “…except when the attack which ensues is of a type causing the person engaging in the unlawful conduct to reasonably believe that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. In such a case, the person engaging in the unlawful conduct is privileged to act in self-defense, but the person is not privileged to resort to the use of force intended or likely to cause death to the person’s assailant….” So the law says yeah, you CAN defend yourself if you provoke an attack, but LIMITS the amount of force you can use. You can fight back, but you can’t kill your attacker.

But wait. Again, it continues with another caveat: “…unless the person reasonably believes he or she has exhausted every other reasonable means to escape from or otherwise avoid death or great bodily harm at the hands of his or her assailant.” So even if you’ve provoked an attack through illegal behavior, you can only use deadly force to defend yourself after you’ve exhausted your other options for escape.

What does that mean in the Rittenhouse case? If he’d engaged in unlawful conduct that provoked an attack, he was only justified in using deadly force to defend himself IF he’d exhausted every reasonable means to escape. He DID try to run away before the second killing, but he tripped and fell, then shot Huber and Grosskreutz. That very possibly could fall under the Wisconsin self-defense law–tried to escape, but couldn’t. But in the initial killing, Rittenhouse was running away from Rosenbaum, then stopped, turned, shot and killed him. That seems likely to fall under the unlawful conduct exception, which would prevent him from using the self-defense claim. BUT ONLY if Rittenhouse was engaged in unlawful conduct. Like, say, illegally carrying a rifle.

The judge, remember, dismissed the illegal rifle charge. Which removed the unlawful conduct exception. Which meant Rittenhouse only had to feel his life was in danger to kill Rosenbaum. Hey bingo, he walks.

That’s how I see it. Again, I’m not a lawyer. My reasoning may be flawed. But that’s how I see it. It sucks. It’s wrong. It’s obscene on a number of levels. But that seems to be how the law is written.

There’s a lesson here. If you want to stop vigilante tourism, enact better laws. If you want better laws, vote for better legislators. You want better laws, prevent outside money and outside interests from influencing weak-ass greedy legislators.

Kyle Rittenhouse didn’t walk because he was innocent. He walked because of the motherfuckers who wrote Wisconsin’s self-defense law .

fuck those guys

Here’s a headline from this morning’s Washington Post:

In wake of Bannon indictment, Republicans warn of payback

If you can read that and not wonder ‘What in the pumpkin spice fuck is wrong with these people’ then…well, I don’t know what. Just think about that for a moment. Republicans say they want payback because Steve Bannon…I mean Steve Goddamn Bannon…was indicted for refusing to obey a writ legally issued by a Congressional committee to provide testimony and produce evidence.

Steve Bannon showing up for arraignment this morning.

Payback? Fuck those guys. Payback is a casual way of saying revenge–a retaliatory act taken in response to some alleged/perceived harm or injustice. Republicans apparently feel harmed and aggrieved that the law applies to them as if they were ordinary people. They apparently feel subpoenas only matter if they’re issued by Republicans. They’re distressed to find that a subpoena isn’t a suggestion; it’s an order. If you choose NOT to abide by a subpoena, there’s a penalty.

I mean, it’s right there in the goddamn name. Subpoena–Latin sub, meaning ‘under’ and poena meaning ‘penalty’. A subpoena means you have to show up and/or produce evidence under penalty of law. This has been part of the common law since the 1380s when John Waltham, the Master of the Rolls of the Court of Chancery for Richard II, issued the very first subpoena–a writ compelling witnesses and defendants to show up for trial. We’re talking six and a half centuries of precedent here. If a subpoena was good enough for Richard II, it’s good enough for Steve Goddamn Bannon.

Payback? Fuck those guys. Payback for being expected to follow the law? Payback from Republicans for a guy who was 1) indicted for defrauding 2) Republican donors of millions of dollars 3) in a scam that was purported to help build 4) a border wall supported only by Republicans? They want payback for this guy? A guy who was eventually pardoned for that crime by a Republican president? Payback for a guy who had his Twitter account ganked for publicly calling for beheading FBI Director Christopher Wray and Anthony Fauci? Republicans want payback for a guy who helped foment an insurrection that put many of them personally in danger? An insurrection that included calls to hang the Republican Vice President of the United States? Republicans want payback for that guy? Fuck them. Fuck them in the neck.

Comrade Trump and two of the criminals he’s pardoned.

And fuck the Washington Post too. It’s bad enough Republicans feel outraged and vindictive for having to obey the law, but to have WaPo act like it’s normal is an appalling act of journalistic malpractice. Just because politicians say stupid shit, journalists aren’t obligated to repeat it–to pretend it’s not stupid shit. Stupid shit is stupid and it’s shit. This is not rocket surgery.

Bannon was indicted last week for contempt of Congress, but he wasn’t arrested like an ordinary person. He was given until this morning to surrender himself for arraignment. My guess is he’ll be released on bail. And while that annoys me, it’s the right thing to do. Bannon isn’t likely to flee the country. My guess is he probably wants a trial. He’ll use it as a platform to spread more disinformation.

The thing is, this isn’t just about contempt of Congress; it’s about contempt for the very idea of representative democracy. It’s about contempt for the concept of equal justice under the law. A political party that feels justified in seeking payback for a person like Steve Bannon has abandoned the right to call itself a political party. There’s nothing ‘political’ about it. Politics, after all, is devoted to working things out. Politics is about people with different ideologies and viewpoints finding ways to compromise in an effort to benefit the greater good. Modern Republicans aren’t interested in the greater good.

They’re only interested in ruling.

Fuck those guys.

mel gibson delusions

Kyle fucking Rittenhouse. In a rational universe, I’d feel sorry for this kid. I mean, he seems the sort of kid who grew up loving action hero movies, imagining himself fighting Commies and other monsters, but was always one of the last kids picked when teams were chosen. I obviously don’t know him, but he seems like an inadequate dweeb with Mel Gibson delusions.

K. Rittenhouse — inadequate dweeb with a rifle and Mel Gibson delusions

But we don’t live in a rational universe. That dweeb is currently on trial for murder and has become the chubber-cheeked darling of a warped, right-wing fan club.

Here are a couple things you probably ought to know when discussing the Kyle Rittenhouse trial: 1) it’s not about right and wrong, it’s about the law as it’s written, and 2) the law regarding self-defense in Wisconsin has a lot in common with the Florida law that allowed a jury to acquit George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin. We’re talking about Wisconsin Code 939.48, which deals with self-defense and defense of others.

Let me make it even more simple. A lot of the stuff you probably think ought to be important in the case, isn’t going to be important. For example, you may think it’s important to question whether a 17-year-old high school dropout living in Illinois had any legitimate fucking reason to be in Wisconsin, at night, during a violent demonstration, illegally carrying a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle. Right? You may think it’s important that the people who owned the business that Rittenhouse said it was his ‘job’ to protect, never asked him to protect their business. You may think it matters that he described himself as an EMT, when his only ‘training’ came during a youth police cadet program that was canceled due to the pandemic not long after he joined. You may think all that stuff matters when deciding if Rittenhouse is guilty of murder.

But nope. Because Rittenhouse claims he was acting in self defense. None of Rittenhouse’s bad behavior has any bearing at all on whether he believed he was defending himself when he shot Joseph Rosenbaum four times and killed him, or when he shot Anthony Huber and killed him, or when he shot Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm, nearly severing his bicep.

I know, that sounds crazy. But the primary question of law is whether Rittenhouse, at the moment he shot and killed/wounded those people, believed it “was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.” That’s it, that’s the point on which this trial will almost certainly turn. Did this kid think he was about to get the shit kicked out of him? Did he think he was about to die?

Rittenhouse, having fatally shot Huber and about to shoot Grosskreutz

But, wait. What’s this? The Wisconsin law has a ‘criminal conduct’ exception? Why yes, it does. Except that exception is confusing as fuck. Here it is (with my emphases included):

“A person who engages in unlawful conduct of a type likely to provoke others to attack him or her and thereby does provoke an attack is not entitled to claim the privilege of self-defense against such attack, except when the attack which ensues is of a type causing the person engaging in the unlawful conduct to reasonably believe that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. In such a case, the person engaging in the unlawful conduct is privileged to act in self-defense, but the person is not privileged to resort to the use of force intended or likely to cause death to the person’s assailant unless the person reasonably believes he or she has exhausted every other reasonable means to escape from or otherwise avoid death or great bodily harm at the hands of his or her assailant.”

So, was Rittenhouse engaged in unlawful conduct? Well, yeah. He was carrying a gun that had been illegally purchased for him by a straw buyer (a crime in Illinois), and he was carrying the gun illegally in Wisconsin, where the crime took place. Wisconsin law says, “any person under 18 years of age who possesses or goes armed with a dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.” Was that conduct likely to provoke others to attack him? Maybe? Being an asshole is certainly likely to provoke folks. But here’s the key: did Rittenhouse reasonably believe he’d exhausted every reasonable means to escape?

Nothing about this is legal.

Here’s the problem: Rittenhouse was running away at the beginning of each fatal confrontation. He was running away from Joseph Rosenbaum when he heard a gunshot (a ‘warning shot’ fired by a third party). At that point, Rittenhouse turned and aimed his rifle at Rosenbaum, who apparently attempted to wrestle the firearm away…and was killed. He was also running away from Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz, who were chasing him after he’d shot Rosenbaum. When Rittenhouse tripped and fell, Huber hit him in the shoulder with a skateboard; Rittenhouse shot and killed him. Grosskreutz (who actually IS an EMT and was legally carrying a handgun for self defense) apparently pulled out his firearm at that point, and Rittenhouse shot him.

It seems to me that everybody who ran into Kyle Rittenhouse after a certain point, had a reasonable fear for their lives. And that’s the problem with all these ‘stand your ground’ or ‘no need to withdraw’ self defense laws. The only person who gets to take advantage of the laws is the one who shoots first and survives.

This was a clusterfuck. No, that’s not right. It was a series of cascading clusterfucks. Absolutely NONE of it would have happened if Kyle Rittenhouse wasn’t an arrogant, fuckwitted, asshole with Mel Gibson delusions. None of this would have happened if he’d just stayed the fuck home. As far as that goes, none of this would have happened if the Kenosha police hadn’t shot an unarmed Black man seven times.

But legally, none of that really matters. What matters, according to the law, is this: was Rittenhouse legit in fear for his life at the time he pulled the trigger?

The answer is probably yeah, he was. That may be all that matters at the burnt end of this trial. It’s not right, it’s not fair, it’s not anything remotely like justice, but don’t be surprised if Rittenhouse walks. All it takes is one juror who believes the Mel Gibson wanna-be was really and truly in fear for his life. And to be fair (man, sometimes I fucking hate to be fair), I can’t blame Kyle Rittenhouse if he walks. I mean, I completely blame him for killing those people. I completely blame him for stupidly inserting himself into a situation where he didn’t belong. But I firmly believe every accused criminal deserves a fair trial and a competent defense. A competent defense includes using the law to help the defendant.

There’ll be a lot of blame to go around if Rittenhouse walks. Be sure to focus a lot of that blame on the motherfuckers who wrote the law.

a needle and a mile of 2-0 nylon

Nurses who refuse to get vaccinated, firefighters and police officers who refuse to get vaxxed, airline pilots rejecting the vax–I’m so fucking sick of these privileged assholes. If it were anything other than a political posturing, I might be more tolerant. But I’m convinced that 99% of it grows out of pig-headed Trumpist pouting and free-floating, unfocused rage.

A million years ago, I was a medic. (Yes, this is related…sorta kinda after a fashion; I’ll get there eventually.) After a year or so of doing basic medic stuff, I was assigned to a newly-developed team in a major medical center. It was called the Special Functions unit. One of our secondary duties was to respond to any medical crisis that might involve respiratory impairment–you know, difficulty with breathing. Here’s a true thing: almost every medical crisis involves some difficulty with breathing.

Although it wasn’t our original purpose, we became a support squad for emergencies. If there was a cardiac arrest, we responded with the cardiac arrest team; if there was a fire, we responded with the base fire department; if there was a suicide attempt or an accident involving a military vehicle or a premature birth or a crisis that required an ambulance, we often rode along; if there was a mass casualty/injury event, we were called to the emergency room. Technically, our role was to insure the patient/victim kept breathing while others worked on the injuries/wounds–but, of course, we were also expected to lend a hand with whatever needed to be done.

I mention all this because of one particular incident. A drunken brawl at one of the barracks. Because it was a mass injury event, I was called to the ER. Nobody was having trouble breathing, but since I was there, I was expected to help out with the brawlers–most of whom were still drunk and still belligerent. One guy had a cut on his forehead. It was a simple straight-line cut, maybe an inch and a half long, shallow, but bloody. All I had to do was debride it and suture it shut. Simple, if the guy was sober.

I should point out, this was a military medical center. In a civilian hospital, I wouldn’t have been allowed to suture wounds–not because I didn’t know how to do it, but because of liability issues. In the military, you’re allowed–even required–to do stuff that would make a civilian hospital administrator curl up in horror.

So I had to suture the cut on this guy’s forehead. But he refused to lie still. He was still drunk, still angry, still wanting to find the guy who’d hit him in the head. You can’t suture anybody who’s unwilling to lie still for more than about thirty seconds; hell, you can’t even maintain a sterile field. I mentioned this to a passing ER doctor, who looked down at the guy on the gurney and said, “If you don’t lie still, he (he nodded at me) is going to suture your ear to the pillow.” Then the doctor walked off.

Reader, I sutured that poor motherfucker’s ear to the pillow. Just one loose stitch, through his earlobe and into the pillow case. It wouldn’t have actually held him down, of course, but it was enough to shock him and keep him immobile–and I mean fucking frozen in place–until I sutured his head wound.

This was almost certainly criminal, even in the military. But it allowed me to treat his wound, it gave him a moment to abandon any desire to continue the fight, it may have kept him from a court martial, and it helped restore some order to a chaotic Emergency Room, which benefited everybody.

My point? All of these fuckwits who are refusing to get vaxxed against Covid for bullshit reasons? I want to suture their ears to pillows until they come to their senses and get the jab. I know it’s wrong. I know it’s a violation of their rights, including the right to bodily integrity. But give me a needle and a few miles of 2-0 nylon and I’d get this nation vaxxed.

It’s seriously time to stop appeasing and appealing to the people who are politically opposed to keeping the US alive and healthy.

fractal insurrection

This year we’ve seen municipal school board meetings disrupted by aggressively angry crowds, threatening harm and violence against elected school board officials if they don’t set the pandemic masking policies demanded by the crowd. Many in those crowds don’t even have children attending schools in that district; they’re just angry about mask mandates.

Angry, aggressive, threatening at school board meeting

We’ve also seen several State legislatures disrupted, swarmed by packs of aggressively angry armed men, threatening harm and violence against elected officials for setting–or even merely debating–state policies they opposed.

On January 6th, we saw the federal government disrupted and the US Capitol building breached by aggressively angry insurrectionists, threatening harm and violence against elected officials for certifying the legitimate election of the next president.

Angry, aggressive, threatening at Kentucky State Capitol

This is fractal insurrection. Insurrection is a complex dynamical system that’s self-similar across different scales. Zoom in on any part or facet of the intimidation and aggression, and it looks the same as the larger view. The intimidation and aggression seen at school board meetings is the same as the intimidation and aggression seen at state capitols, which is the same as that seen at the US Capitol.

These insurrections are recursive; they’re created, nurtured, fueled in the same way. Wrap lies and disinformation around one or more tiny kernel of truth, repeat it, add a dash of victimization, repeat, a wee bit of conspiracy theory, repeat, increase the urgency, repeat, and the cascade effect drives it farther and faster. Repeat the process over and over in an ongoing closed feedback loop, most often in social media, which promotes self-reinforcing partisan bubbles. The forces that drive people to storm the US Capitol to stop the transfer of presidential power are the same forces that drive people to a school board meeting to stop schools from requiring mask/vax mandates.

Angry, aggressive, threatening at US Capitol.

The sad thing is, that process can be considerably disrupted if social media were held accountable for the spread of lies, disinformation, and threatening behavior. There’s a place for unpopular (or even flat out offensive) opinions on social media, but those opinions can be expressed without lies, disinformation, or threats.

For example, it’s one thing to express the opinion that President Uncle Joe Biden is feeble and intellectually infirm, but it’s another thing to claim he ordered Alec Baldwin to murder Halyna Hutchins because she’d been a journalist in her native Ukraine and had uncovered information demonstrating Hunter Biden was a criminal. (And yes, that’s an actual conspiracy theory I’ve seen espoused on social media.)

So long as social media is more focused on keeping (and monetizing) their members than on their civic responsibility, we’re going to continue to see this sort of fractal insurrection expand to other arenas of social interaction.

why i’m not in the cabal

Yeah, I’m starting to seriously doubt that Rev. Rick Wiles is a reliable source of news and information. I began to get suspicious back in July of 2018, when Reverend Rick predicted that Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow were going to stage a coup d’état against the Trump administration. He said,

“[Y]ou’re going to turn on the television and see helicopters hovering over the roof of the White House with men clad in black rappelling down ropes, entering into the White House. Be prepared for a shootout in the White House as Secret Service agents shoot commandos coming in to arrest President Trump. That is how close we are to a revolution. Be prepared for a mob—a leftist mob—to tear down the gates, the fence at the White House and to go into the White House and to drag him out with his family and decapitate them on the lawn of the White House.”

It’s not that I wanted to see Trump and his family decapitated on the White House lawn (or anywhere else, for that matter–I am passionately anti-decapitation), but I thought ninjas rappelling from helos onto the roof of the White House on live television…well, people keep saying there’s nothing good on the teevee these days. I’m just saying, that would draw an audience, is all.

Rev. Rick Wiles, not nuts at all, really.

Anyway, that didn’t happen. So naturally I became a tad concerned about Rev. Rick’s information. BUT THEN…YouTube banned his TruNews channel. You guys, they banned it just before the 2020 election. Is that suspicious, or what? I mean, Donald J. Trump, the Once and Future President, had given Rev. Rick White House press credentials. They just don’t hand those out like MDMA at a party. They just totally upped and banned him, just on account of they didn’t like his opinion on what would happen in the totally unlikely event that Trump lost the election. Which was,

“There are people in this country, veterans, cowboys, mountain men, guys that know how to fight, and they’re going to make a decision that the people that did this to Donald Trump are not going to get away with it and they’re going to hunt them down.”

It is well-established fact that mountain men and cowboys WILL NOT TOLERATE that sort of behavior. Or at least I assumed it was well-established…but I guess not. I haven’t seen a single cowboy or mountain man so much as make a mean face at Uncle Joe Biden. So once again, I wondered if we could really truly count on Rev. Rick to tell us what to think and believe.

Then he spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party Covid Flu. He said, right out loud, that the Covid was God’s punishment to Jews for opposing Jesus Christ. Okay, Rev. Rick wasn’t completely clear on God’s motive in working hand-in-hand with Chinese communists, but who are we to question what God does on His Holy Days Off? But guess what? After speaking out against the Covid, Rev. Rick CAUGHT the Covid.

Coincidence? I think not. But Rev. Rick prayed about it, and Jesus totally healed him. So he knows what he’s talking about when he says the Covid vaccines are part of a global conspiracy to commit genocide against Christians. In his most recent statement, Rev. Rick said,

“This is a global coup d’état by the most evil cabal on the planet in the history of mankind, and if it not stopped in the very near future they will win. That’s what’s at stake, control of the world.The planting…they’re putting eggs in people’s bodies…. it’s an egg that hatches into a synthetic parasite, and grows inside your body. This is like a sci-fi nightmare, and it’s happening in front of us.”

Eggs! In people’s bodies! And those eggs? Rev. Rick says they’re just hatching weensy teensy little synthetic parasites like crazy. And do you have ANY IDEA what those synthetic parasites will DO TO YOUR BODY? DO YOU???!!! Something bad, is what they’ll do. You can count on it. Nothing good every comes out of a synthetic parasite hatching from an egg in your body.

Now, Rev. Rick isn’t saying this is what comes from vaccines, but he’s not ruling it out.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably a wee bit uncertain about the basic science behind planting eggs in human bodies through a vaccine. You may be asking why, if God and the Chinese Communist Party got together to create the Covid, they’d also cooperate to create a vaccine that would actually implant an egg designed to hatch into a synthetic parasite? The answer is obvious, once you start thinking rationally. It’s NOT a real vaccine designed to fight a real pandemic. It’s a fake vaccine to pretend to fight a fake pandemic.

See the logic? They invented the fake pandemic to create a demand for the fake vaccine, and once the eggs in the vaccine hatch into synthetic parasites, then….then…I don’t know, something. Surely, something will happen, right?

This is probably why God and the Chinese Commies didn’t include me in their cabal.

cane toads of politics–part 2

Back in June of 2014–that’s 20fucking14, people–I wrote about the cane toads of politics. I was talking about the way the Republican Party was deliberately encouraging fuckwits and conspiracy theorists to disrupt healthy political discourse as a tool for gaining and staying in power. My point was….wait. Damn it. Hold on.

Okay, cane toads–a quick and dirty primer: they’re a species of truly massive, voracious, ridiculously fecund toads that are also poisonous to predators. These gargantuan bastards will eat anything, including each other if no other food is handy. Greedy industrialist farmers who wanted a cheap, easy way to control insects introduced cane toads to sugar cane fields in places like Hawaii, the Caribbean, the Philippines, and now–because cane toads ARE such massive, voracious, ridiculously fecund, poisonous toads–the cane fields are overrun with cane toads.

Every Republican governor in the US.

Right. My point, as I was saying, was that introducing and promoting cane toads (or any invasive species) into an environment inevitably results in the destruction of other species that are actually helpful to that environment. When you introduce the cane toads of politics–the gun toads, the climate toads, the religious toads, the abortion toads, the conspiracy toads–into local and national politics, you create the conditions that inevitably degrade and destroy a healthy political environment.

Right now Texas is a cane toad state; it’s overrun with cane toads. Florida is just about there. Almost every state with a Republican governor and legislature is heading in the same direction. Right now, today, Texas is a state where almost anybody can openly carry a gun in public–no need for a license, no need for training, no need to obtain a permit, no need to undergo a background check. Sure, you’re supposed to legally obtain that gun, but nobody is going to check to see if you did.

Right now, today, Texas is a state that has deliberately and systematically made it more difficult for Black and Latino citizens—citizens of Texas–to cast a vote to determine who will govern them and make their laws. Right now, today, Texas is a state in which it is almost impossible for a person who is pregnant to obtain a legal abortion, even if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.

How is that possible? It’s possible because cane toads eat their own. Like I said back in 2014, Cane toads don’t stop being cane toads just because the beetles are gone. They’re still hungry and they’re still poisonous, and they don’t stop. This is why there are no longer any moderate Republicans. This is why there are no pro-choice Republicans, no Republicans who believe in climate change or reasonable firearm safety legislation, this is why we have anti-vax and anti-mask Republicans, this is exactly why there are Republicans who support insurrectionists. There aren’t any moderate pragmatic Republicans anymore because the cane toads ate them.

If we want to preserve the cane fields of representative democracy, we have to drive out the cane toads.

i am asshole, hear me roar

At the beginning of August I wrote a post about the response of the patriots at FreeRepublic to all those anti-vax fuckwits who, as they’re about to die a preventable death from Covid, suddenly see the benefits of being vaxxed. I titled the post Asshole Culture.

A few days later somebody asked me, “Greg, old Sock, this ‘Asshole Culture’ of which you speak, qu’est-ce que c’est?” Which is a good question. For those of us who spent too much time hanging out in grad school Sociology coffee shops, ‘culture’ is an overarching term to describe the social behaviors and norms of groups, grounded in the shared knowledge, beliefs, customs of the individual members of those groups. So Asshole Culture is basically the associated social behaviors of assholes.

Back in 2015 I began calling certain members of the Republican Party the Fuckwit Collective. I did that because they were, you know, a collection of fuckwits. Seemed pretty obvious. It was pretty obvious. But it was also naive.

Anti-mask/anti-vax assholes.

See, I thought the Fuckwit Collective was doing cruel stupid shit because they were just too stupid to understand that what they were doing was cruel. Silly rabbit, that was naive. It’s become clear to me now that a LOT of conservatives are doing cruel stupid shit NOT because they’re stupid, but because they’re cruel. Either the Fuckwit Collective has evolved into full blown Asshole Culture, or they were always assholes and I failed to give them credit for it.

Let me simplify it even more. This is the mantra of Asshole Culture:

I do/do not want to do this thing. I don’t care if it helps other people. You can’t make me do or not do this thing. I will go way the fuck out of my way to create a disturbance sufficient to make others miserable in order to do/not do/stop other people from doing this thing. I am Asshole, hear me roar.

Examples? You want examples? Dude. Obviously, the anti-vax assholes. It’s not just that they don’t want to be vaxxed, they don’t want other folks to be vaxxed. Why? Because it makes them feel bad, it makes them feel weak and vulnerable. So they act like assholes. They disrupt free vaccination sites to prevent other folks who WANT to be vaxxed from getting the vaccinations. They not only refuse to wear masks themselves, they don’t want others to be masked. They will disrupt school board meetings that want to keep kids safe by enforcing mask mandates. They will threaten school board members at their homes.

Open carry assholes.

Another example? Open carry assholes. The assholes who want to be openly armed in line at the Dunkin Donuts. Others (and I’ve done this my ownself) will mock them for being timid, afraid to stand in line at Dunkin Donuts without their guns, but that’s not true. They’re not afraid; they’re just assholes. Their intent isn’t self protection; their intent is to intimidate others, to make other people uncomfortable.

Another example? Aggressively Christian assholes. The assholes who insist on putting Christian religious symbols in public non-religious venues. Like the Christian cross recently placed at the entrance of the Mission Command Complex at Fort Dix. That wasn’t an assertion of religious belief; it was just some asshole trying to provoke a response which will allow them to claim to be persecuted. The intent wasn’t to promote Christianity; the intent was to piss off non-Christians.

Anti-trans assholes.

Still more examples? Defending the 1/6 insurrectionists as ‘tourists’. Calling for Biden to be impeached for withdrawing from Afghanistan. Performing fake audits on the 2020 election results. Claiming there’s a war on Christmas. Protesting at citizenship ceremonies. Insisting on ‘patriotic’ fireworks displays during a drought. Scaring people about trans folks using public toilets. None of these behaviors are sincere expressions of belief; they’re all examples of assholes being assholes.

Asshole Culture is nothing more than performative indignation intended to insult or outrage or intimidate others. It’s now the dominant culture in the modern Republican Party. How did that happen? Why did it happen?

My assumption is it happened because there’s almost zero consequences for being an asshole if you’re white.