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Question: Is it standard procedure for a detective to wear a firearm in an interrogation room?
Rich, I think you're conflating distinct issues here. For one, your example of President Obama doesn't work well because that only suggests that we should consider all of a man's actions when we evaluate his legacy. No one is suggesting that we look only at Lee's treatment of slaves and defense of the Confederacy. Rather, we are arguing that these things shouldn't be dismissed.
Second, I haven't seen anyone call Lee a monster, and your dialog about moral superiority is nothing but projection. Those of us who object to a holiday honoring Lee do not object out of some motivation to feel superior. Nor is it based on historical naivete. I readily acknowledge that Lee was a complex figure, and there is much we can admire about him. He compares favorably with a villain like Nathan Bedford Forrest, for instance.
The issue is a) should the state of Mississippi honor Lee with a state holiday, and b) what does it mean that the state does so? You seem to acknowledge that the holiday is problematic, but you continue to defend Lee as if we are arguing that he should be condemned for all time. But I don't see it that way at all. As a man, Lee reminds me of Erwin Rommel. Rommel was a brilliant general and apparently a decent man. He even went so far as to conspire in an assassination attempt against Hitler. But what message would it send if Germany established a holiday honoring Rommel? That people are complex, and there is good in men who fight for evil causes? I really doubt it.
As for relativism, you seem to be refuting yourself with the passage you cite from Jefferson. Whether racism was widely acknowledged as immoral, many people certainly understood that slavery was a grave evil. Jefferson's hypocrisy is an eternal blight on his legacy. If Lee was as ambivalent about slavery as you suggest, it only undermines your case, because he fought for its preservation anyway.
We can study a man like Lee and acknowledge his complexity. But honoring him with a state holiday is another matter entirely. We must keep foremost in our minds the long oppression of African Americans by the state of Mississippi and her (white) people. Black people had no say in establishing this holiday. It was enacted at a time of horrifying violence against them. Officially honoring a man who fought for the preservation of slavery essentially embraces this tradition of racism and oppression. It only looks acceptable if you render blacks invisible. That is why I say it doesn't really matter if Lee was a good man overall. The Confederacy was evil, and the Jim Crow power structure that chose to honor Lee with a holiday was evil. Thus, the holiday should be abolished.
You also are completely ignoring the history of how Robert E. Lee Day was enacted. The state of Mississippi adopted the holiday in 1910, a time of brutal violence against African Americans, with an average of 62 lynchings a year. By the way, Mississippi's beloved flag was adopted in the same period, in 1894. It is no coincidence that these symbols were adopted at the height of Jim Crow, amid monstrous violence against black people.
When you talk about how these symbols are hallowed traditions, you may not realize that the view you are expressing is unavoidably racist. It goes without saying that black people had no say in adopting these symbols, even though they made up about half the population. I think it's safe to say that black people would not have supported enacting the holiday then any more than they celebrate the holiday today. Thus, the holiday is inherently racist. But these symbols always represented white supremacy. That was the whole point of the tradition they honor. Whether Lee himself was racist--and he was--or a good man is beside the point.
One of the most pernicious arguments people make on these matters is the moral relativism advanced by richaoj. For one thing, not everyone was racist, as Tom's example illustrates. Obviously, racial equality was conceivable, though unpopular. Moreover, the relativist argument necessarily ignores the views of black people, which is a nice sleight of hand.
But the point I really want to make is that racism has always been wrong, throughout human history. When Thomas Jefferson wrote that people have unalienable rights, he was correct. It's just that he didn't understand what that actually meant--that it applied to slaves as well.
This tension exploded in a remarkable speech given by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens, in 1861, commonly known as the Cornerstone Speech. Like the Articles of Secession, Stevens' speech devastates the argument that the Civil War wasn't really about slavery or racism. In essence, Stevens argued that Jefferson was wrong about liberty, because true liberty is racist.
"The prevailing ideas entertained by [Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically ... Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. ... Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition."
Lee fought on behalf of these principles, and the state of Mississippi honors him for it.
If there's one thing Jesus taught, it's that we should issue public calls for other people to be put to death.
But seriously, why do jackasses like Gipson always have to be Baptists? You're making me want to be a Catholic, just so I don't have to share a denomination with you.
There's not really much interesting about that at all, robbier. There will always be variations in temperature at the local level. Even in this record-setting year, there were about 6,600 record lows set across the country. But there were more than 34,000 record highs.
Deniers often trot out these pointless anecdotes. How could global warming be true if it snowed for the first time in 20 years in Baghdad? The answer is that weather is not climate. Global warming concerns the latter, not the former.
Legalgunowner, why should Todd refute your totally unsubstantiated claim that "people that want [a gun] will find a way to own one"? If that is the case, then all gun regulations are pointless. But of course, you have no evidence to support your claim, and it's obviously not true.
Consider fully automatic weapons, for example. It is illegal to sell automatic weapons. I'm sure many criminals would enjoy brandishing automatic weapons if they were available. Given your argument, many criminals should be armed with automatic weapons. After all, they want them. It isn't very hard to alter a semi-automatic weapon and turn it into an automatic weapon. Certainly, anyone willing to take the time to learn rudimentary gunsmithing can do it. Then why don't criminals do it, if wanting is all it takes? I suspect it's because most people just choose from the options that are readily available. If fully automatic weapons were readily available, they would buy them. But they're not, so they don't.
As for your suggestion that gun regulations are pointless because we already have so many guns, that's just more rhetoric. It's like saying that there's no point in improving safety standards for cars, because there are already so many cars on the road today. You're preemptively ruling out any changes to gun regulations simply because there are already guns in circulation. That's not a logical argument. It's not even an argument.
Scott, I also am skeptical that measures like banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines will do much good. As you say, a shotgun is probably a more effective weapon for killing people at close quarters, and a skilled shooter can be just as deadly with a semiautomatic pistol as with a semiautomatic rifle.
The thing that puzzles me is the hysteria these measures illicit among many gun advocates. I am skeptical of the proposals because I question how much difference they will make, but that cuts both ways. Gun advocates have to know these measures don't amount to much in the big picture. But many of them claim that these measures put us on the slippery slope to tyranny. This kind of talk is so patently ridiculous it's amazing they don't bust out laughing at themselves.
There is a kind of absolutism on the right these days. It's not enough to dislike Obama for his policies--he's actually a secret Muslim communist. Similarly, it's hard to have a real discussion about gun policy when one side regards even trivial concessions as dangerous attacks on freedom.
The problem, nana, is that there is clear evidence that the states with the greatest abundance of guns also have the greatest abundance of gun violence. The South far outpaces the rest of the country in gun crime, but it also has the highest rates of gun ownership. Obviously, mass shootings are only a tiny subset of overall gun crime, but you would think the same effects would apply to general gun crime. Also, remember that many mass shootings occur at workplaces, which are generally not gun-free zones. ***
In contrast to evidence, you're just giving us "donchathink?" speculation about what you guess would happen if everyone was armed everywhere. Why should anyone believe you?
*** Before anyone objects that most workplaces ban weapons, remember that private property is subject to whatever rules the owner chooses to establish. The alternative would be forcing owners to allow guns on their property, which ain't exactly freedom.
I have to admit, bubba, that does seem to qualify.
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