I have written for years about America's absurd paramilitarized bureaucracy: the federal Secretary of Education who employs not a single teacher but is the only education minister in the western world with his own SWAT team; Virginia's beverage regulators with their crack sparkling waterboarding team; USDA's Bunny Team Six; Wisconsin's Deer Team Six; the IRS agents ready to take out your W2 with an AR-15...
Apparently the only government department without a military force at its disposal is the military. So when a lone shooter opens up at an army base, Fort Shock'n'Awe has to call 911 and "shelter in place" until the county sheriff arrives. For your psycho gunman, a military base is basically a grade-school in uniform.
This seems, to put it politely, perverse - even for bases that don't sprawl over 340 square miles and have a population of 56,000. Years ago, American comics used to mock the unarmed British constabulary. Was it Robin Williams who did that routine about the copper in pursuit of a ne'er-do-well? "Stop! Or I'll shout 'Stop!' again..." The United States Government has taken it to the next level: everyone's armed except the army. As this Tweeter trapped inside the perimeter put it:
There is an active shooter on Fort Hood and the very people trained to take out armed attackers...are disarmed.
Stop! Or I'll shout "Stop!" again...
~To reprise an old line of mine, sometimes societies grow too stupid to survive. In the wake of every teenager in Lower Manhattan sneaking past the half-blind Muslim security guard snoring at the foot of the new World Trade Center to bungee jump off the top, I observed:
If al-Qaeda had a sense of humor, they'd blow up the empty World Trade Center "Freedom Tower" the day before the ribbon-cutting. But fortunately they don't, so they won't.
Likewise, they'd send in a cousin of Major Hasan to shoot up Fort Hood every two years. It's hard not to avoid the conclusion that, as an eminent Internet wallah wrote to me the other day, at a certain level America is suicidal. As I wrote in After America:
After Major Hasan's pre-Post-Traumatic Stress breakdown, General Casey, the Army's chief of staff, assured us that, despite the slaughter, it could have been a whole lot worse:
'What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.'
No doubt what happened yesterday was also a tragedy, but it would be an even greater tragedy if our Fort Hood gun-free zone were to become a casualty...
~I'll be talking about Fort Hood and other matters on the Hugh Hewitt show today, live coast to coast at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific.
~Yesterday the Supreme Court struck down key elements of US campaign-finance law. As a practical matter, I'm not a fan of "money in politics", because, at least on the Republican side, with the "smart money" the money may be smart but the fellows who give it and spend it aren't. However, in a country with a corrupt prosecutocracy and the most politicized judiciary in the developed world, a byzantine campaign-finance regime policed by a corrupt Justice Department is far worse than the problem it purports to solve. After a recent piece of mine, this Aussie blogger wrote that "a more self-conscious society would be embarrassed by what he is revealing":
Although quite a bit of his post is about his own efforts in dealing with Michael Mann and the hockey stick, this story he tells about Dinesh D'Souza is incredible:
'Take Dinesh D'Souza, one of those "political enemies" who's managed to attract the attention of the feds. For a campaign finance "violation" of $15,000, he has already been handcuffed and perp-walked, bailed for half-a-million, lost his passport and freedom of movement, and requires permission from a judge even to travel from New York to Boston. This is disgraceful. Yet D'Souza now faces the choice between confessing to something or having his life ruined. This is a disgusting, capricious system of which Americans should be entirely ashamed.'
Even if "shame" were the right word for the emotion they should be feeling, they're not ashamed because it is not how they see it themselves.
No liberals other than Alan Dershowitz have a thing to say about the D'Souza outrage. And nor do many conservatives. Because this "is not how they see themselves". But civilized societies do not do this over a $15,000 political-donation overspend. This system is evil.
~On a happier note, it's the 90th birthday of Doris Day, who has one of the most appealing vocal tones of any singer I've ever heard. My conversation with Miss Day is here, and my take on her signature song is here.