29 May 2022


I am both angry and terribly, terribly hurt; military-grade firearms require military-grade training and military-grade supervision by regular officers and NCOs. That's what "well-regulated militia" means, in its original public meaning of 1787 and in any coherent understanding of the term as it has evolved from 1633 to the present; mere "prefatory language" my missing toenails, it's the entire bloody rationale.

  • Is it possible — just barely possible — that oversized yachts tell us the same thing about the excessively rich as oversized pickups tell us about the excessively redneckish? Are they both… compensating… for something else being very small indeed?

    Get your mind out of the gutter — I meant their respective willingness, even capacity, to engage in moral, ethical, and intellectual reasoning. Not everything is about sex. Or even about being a dickhead with a… shrunken perspective.

  • So the Brits lost their marbles long ago, eh? What does that say about a nation that puts military grade weapons in the hands of unstable teenagers with no training, and then…
  • … continues to listen to outright hypocrites as religious leaders? More to the point this week: If the official position is that the death penalty is not the same because there is at least a human determination that the acts of the accused merit death, what does that say about the Church's (lack of) equivalent position on gun availability that results in the deaths of children who are by the Church's own definition "innocent"? In short, if Pelosi can't have communion… what about Ted Cruz, and more specifically W__ Whose Surname Shall Not Be Mentioned Here (to Better Evade Bots)? And it's the same basis, because Pelosi isn't herself performing those "unspeakable acts" — she is just, through "manipulation" of Caesar's law, enabling them, in the same fashion as Second Amendment absolutists.

    Or, I suppose, the Archbishop of San Francisco could just admit that he's an agent of a foreign power, and register as a lobbyist therefore.

  • Time for a slightly less angry sausage: It's the French aristocracy's fault (not just Haiti, either; we had a few adventures six decades ago trying unsuccessfully to clean up their mess, and then there's always Algeria to consider). That said, the key takeaway from the piece at Politico, from the NYT series, and in general is that the study of history has specific methodologies that are ordinarily acquired only after years of study not just of particular areas, but of the methods themselves. This is one of the major problems with "amateur" and "dilletante" historical accounts based fundamentally on secondary sources — those accounts are only as sound as their decisions concerning which secondary sources to rely upon, which in turn depend on the internal reliability of those sources. There are limits to the accuracy and scope of historical interpretations, especially on increasingly detailed subjects; it's quite easy to proclaim that, say, "Ivan the Terrible really was terrible for everyone," and another to simultaneously (and accurately) say why, what caused it, and what the later effects have been that are not the result of other factors.

    I'd say that application of this perspective to the gun control questions, and the crappy misinterpretations1 inherent in the "general right" interpretations of the Second Amendment, have been left as an exercise for the student. But I can't say that as to high school students in Columbine, kindergarten students at Sandy Point, or fourth graders in Uvalde; none of those students will ever be doing any exercises of any kind. All I can do is give papers reifying those arrogant, infected with circular reasoning misinterpretations — interpretations that fail to meet standards of professional historians, even when written by "professionals" (albeit outside their expertise, if forever failing to recognize the limits of their expertise) — a failing grade. (And add their authors to the list of those who should have been denied communion… if, that is, "avoiding hypocrisy" is an appropriate measure.)

    OK, I lied. This sausage is not "slightly less angry."

  1. I make no claim to general expertise in historiography or of general discourse in the late eighteenth century (in fact, I deny that anyone has the latter, because the only evidence of it is self-selected, inherently biased, and focused on ardently less than the population/public-as-a-whole but only the sample who were literate and rich enough to have their writings preserved for later study). I do, however, claim specific expertise in the historiography of military force designation, creation, and logistics during the airpower era and, slightly more broadly, in the gunpowder era. At minimum, I have substantial understanding of the sources and materials related to those subject areas; the credibility and foibles of those various sources and materials; the negative spaces around those sources and materials; and the humility to accept how much more I have to learn. Cf., e.g., Paul Armstrong, The Conflict of Interpretations and the Limits of Pluralism, 98 PMLA 341, 341 (1984) ("we have legitimate disagreements about what literary works mean, but we are also able to say that some readings are wrong, not merely different").