Sandy Hook massacre and the ASD canard

[On screen] One Adam Lanza, age 20, shot and killed his mother, and then went to the Connecticut grade school where she taught and gunned down over two dozen more people, 20 of them children. He subsequently took his own life. No manifesto, no suicide note, no obvious motive.

Note that no “assault weapons” were involved: he used two handguns, and left a third weapon (a .223 rifle) unused in the car.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the bereaved and we wish a speedy and full recovery to the wounded.

Ace is all over the story. The usual predictable politicization by gun control advocates (and the power and control freaks posing as same) he masterfully rebutted with stories about a 2009 school slaughter in Leipzig, Germany (despite extremely tough gun control laws) and of a knife-wielding maniac slashing 22 students in China.

But also he left a prescient comment: he notes that the surviving brother told authorities the shooter “is autistic or has Asperger syndr0me”, and mentions “Which, of course, will hopefully not demean other people with autism or Asperger’s.”

The comment was prescient, in that the usual airheaded mediots (but I repeat myself) are starting to blame it on, you guessed it, Asperger’s. The pseudonymous “Elise Ronan”, who has two sons with Asperger’s and blogs extensively about it, has some choice comments on her twitter timeline.

Obviously, by the inane “logic” of Piers Morgan, I could “prove” that CNN journalists are likely to go on “Dick Quest” in Central Park with meth in their pockets and ropes tied around their other heads, but let’s get a little more serious.

This isn’t the first time this type of claim about ASD was made: last time I can recall was about the Amy Bishop “Tenure denial massacre” which we covered here at length (see sidebar). In fact, hers was almost a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder, probably with some other cluster B disorders thrown in.

I would not categorically exclude that she is also on the “autistic spectrum” (which runs left of “neurotypical” from “geek” over “Asperger’s” to autism), for the simple reason that science academia is probably the single most congenial environment for people with ASDs.

Elise reports that on Good Morning America, somebody claimed that people with Asperger’s “lack empathy”. This is a very common misunderstanding among laymen. To use a musical analogy: a person with Asperger’s may be as musical as anybody but is hard of hearing. A person who truly “lacks empathy” would have no concept of music. And yes, I would not want to feed all the musicians who have gotten hard of hearing (including, sadly, my other half). But nobody would seriously argue that Beethoven’s late works were “amusical” because he was stone deaf at the time he wrote them?!

To put it another way (I, sadly, have personal experience in these matters). To a sociopath, other people’s concerns simply do not exist, other than perhaps as potential levers for manipulation for their own benefit. To a narcissist, other people only exist as potential sources of ‘narcissistic supply’ or competitors for same. To an “aspie”, the emotions of others are as real as for a “neurotypical”, but opaque. They have no trouble identifying (with) abstract concerns or specific material needs of others, but have extreme difficulty “reading” the emotions of others, not even at the level a neurotypical is able to. It is like the difference between having trouble reading a book because of poor eyesight, and being utterly uninterested in any book.

A commenter at “Ace” has a much more plausible theory.

criminologist & behavioral analyst
casey jordan

– will continue to be called a school shooting, but that is not what it was

murderer known as: a family annihilator
(wants to destroy those they love)
– school was a theater for his massacre because it was his mothers workplace
– but, not direct connection to the school
– the rest of the killing is to get attention
– and, he wants everyone to know, if he is going to die, that everyone knows his name and how upset and how disgruntled he was

UPDATE: Elise Ronan takes no prisoners: “And so it begins, blood-libeling those with autism [spectrum disorders]”

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Authoritarian vs. totalitarian regimes in the Middle East

Daniel Pipes today discusses the mess in Egypt, and argues that continued rule of the dictator Mubarak would have been preferable over the ‘elected’ Islamosupremacist Morsi. This isn’t so much out of any love or sympathy for Mubarak, but as a choice ‘entre le mal et le pire’ (between bad and worse).

In just three months, Morsi has shown that he aspires to dictatorial powers greater than Mubarak’s and that his rule portends to be an evengreater calamity for Egypt than was Mubarak’s. He has neatly vindicated [Zuhdi] Jasser’s and my point: better dictators than elected Islamists. As I noted in the debate, Westerners should slam the door hard on ideological dictators like Islamists while pressuring greedy dictators to allow civil society. That offer the only exit from the false choice of two forms of tyranny.

Read the whole thing. Effectively, however, and without a name-check, Pipes is restating the Kirkpatrick Doctrine here. Then-US ambassador to the United Nebbich, Jeane Kirkpatrick, made a crucial distinction between authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. Authoritarian regimes, she argued, only seek to control their subjects’ behavior, while totalitarian regimes also seek to control their subjects’ thoughts and minds. Also, authoritarian regimes typically allow grassroots civil structures to functionThe former type of regime — be it a Latin-American junta or an Egyptian strongman — can be worked with up to a point, pressured toward allowing freedoms, and eventually (given enough pressure) be induced to transition to democracy. No such hope exists for the latter type of regime — be it Nazi, Stalinist, or Islamist — and no realistic room for “engagement” exists.

 

Robert Samuelson: higher marginal tax rates means more incentive for corruption and influence peddling (lfor loopholes, special tax breaks,…). And of that which you incentivize you get more,,,

International Liberty

I’ve been very critical of Obama’s class-warfare ideology because it leads to bad fiscal policy. But perhaps it is time to give some attention to other arguments against high tax rates.

Robert Samuelson, a columnist for the Washington Post, has a very important insight about tax rates and sleaze in Washington.

His column is mostly about Obama’s anti-tax reform agenda, but it includes this very important passage.

…many politicians support tax breaks for favored groups (the elderly, the poor, small business) and causes (homeownership, attending college, “green” industries). This enhances their power. The man who really pronounced the death sentence for the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was Bill Clinton, who increased the top rate to 39.6 percent rather than broadening the base. As the top rate rose, so did the value of generating new tax breaks. Ironically, many of the people who complain the loudest about Washington influence-peddling and…

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Why the Czechs voted with Israel against “Palestinian” UN status upgrade

I’ve seen a number of people wondering why — aside from the USA, Canada, and the small Pacific Island nations that usually vote with the USA — the Czech Republic voted with Israel against upgrading the “Palestinian” representation at the United Nebbich. (Incidentally, “nebbich” itself comes from a Czech word.)

But seriously, this vote is no mystery at all for anybody who knows the history of the area around WW II: the Czechs have been in this movie themselves before. Consider the following:

  • suppose you have a big bully with a supremacist ideology
  • you have a minority in your country that is ethnically and linguistically related to the big bully, part having settled in your country in the Middle Ages, part later
  • the loudest voice of that minority is a party directly in the pay of the bully
  • lots of harassment, claims of “oppression” and “discrimination”, and specious claims of “atrocities” ensue
  • the bully demands to “liberate” his oppressed kinsfolk (numbers of whom are themselves lukewarm at best to the idea)
  • in the name of “preserving peace in our time“, the big powers of the day force your hand to give up those territories
  • [here the parallel ends, thus far] eventually the big bully gobbles up what’s left of your country anyway and declares it a “protectorate” (which is what “dhimmi” status literally means).

In the above, substitute either “Palestinians” or “Sudeten Germans” for the minority. Can the parallels be any clearer?

Now guess what happened after WW II: the Czechs, having no desire to go through such a thing twice, decided to expel virtually the entire Sudeten German population (about 1.6 million people) across the border to the American occupation zone of Germany. (Note that this was not a peaceful process: a joint German-Czech commission in 1995 reached an estimate of 15,000-30,000 dead out of about 1.6 million expellees/deportees.)

Summing up: if anybody understands the predicament of the Israelis — and understands that Israel is acting with an almost superhuman level of restraint that they themselves (understandably, after “the butcher of Prague” and his successors) were unable to exercise in the past — it would be the Czechs.

Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions

The front page of the Yediot Achronot had a story (sensationalist as is the wont of that paper) about a family tragedy.

Briefly: The head of the hematology department of a large hospital (I will not spell out his name out of concern for the privacy of the family — bad enough that the gutter press chose to do otherwise) was faced with a 34-year old daughter (he himself was 66) who struggled with cancer for over 3 years. Eventually she gave up and insisted that he put her out of her misery, which he did, and subsequently committed suicide, leaving a wife and two more children behind.

It is written “do not judge your fellowman until you have stood in his place” (Avot 2:4). I have not (G-d spare me) stood in this doctor’s place but have been in a closely related situation, which made me lose all respect for the (euthanasia-happy) medical establishment of the European country involved. (For the political establishment of said country, I lost none since I had none left to lose by then ;-)) Suffice to say that the participants in this “Greek tragedy” have suffered, and continue to suffer, enough without me shooting off my mouth on this specific case.

However, now the usual suspects (hyper-secularists, as well as those emoting rather than thinking) are calling for a law permitting active euthanasia — notwithstanding that Israel calls itself ‘a Jewish state’ last time I checked, that Jewish law prohibits active euthanasia in the strongest terms, and that it is also utterly incompatible not just with the Hippocratic Oath but with the Jewish versions thereof. (The situation regarding passive euthanasia is rather more complex, as has been recognized by a 2005 law.)

There is a well-known legal maxim in English: “terrible cases make for bad law”. Sometimes, moved to pity from a few individual heart-rending cases, lawmakers create laws, or judges legal precedents, that would have addressed these specific cases but have unintended consequences hundreds or thousands of times greater in magnitude for years or even centuries to come. Furthermore, dark forces can manipulate public sentiment on a few such terrible cases to generate public pressure for a change of law that suits their nefarious ends  — in this manner, somewhere in Europe, a nation was made to set the first steps on a slippery slope that led first to mass euthanasia of the mentally ill and special-needs children as having “lives not worth living” and “being too great a burden on those caring for them”, which then turned out to be the dress rehearsal for the murder of one-third of my people (plus an even larger percentage of Roma gypsies, as well as millions of Slavs).

It is, incidentally, interesting that the “T4-Aktion” (as the Nazi euthanasia program was known after the address of the headquarters of the program, Tiergartenstrasse 4 in Berlin) stands alone in the history of the Third Reich as an example where a widespread public outcry (backed, admittedly, by some prominent Catholic and Lutheran clergy) forced the regime to back down and discontinue it at least publicly.

It would be a tragedy on a cosmic scale if, moved by the Greek tragedy of a few individual families, the Jewish state of all countries would set the first steps down this “road to Hell paved with good intentions”. Fortunately, I would imagine that public support for such a law is mostly limited to the ‘Haaretz readers’ audience among the secular public, close to zero among the traditional public and the minority religions, and zero full stop among the Orthodox public.

The hideous face of state-run medicine in the UK

At the risk of going full Godwin, this is an updated version of Pfannmüller’s “natural method” during the Third Reich:
Behold the truly hideous endgame of state-run medicine.

International Liberty

I’m not easily grossed out or nauseated. Heck, I’m on email lists for a half-dozen softball teams and you can only imagine the strange/filthy/nasty things that guys send to each other.

But I read a story about the death panels in the United Kingdom that left me discombobulated. I can’t even begin to describe how I feel.

Here’s the intro of a disturbing report in the Daily Mail.

Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’. Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults. But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

And here are some of the horrifying details. Read at your own risk.

One doctor…

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