Oct 2, 2017

Viva Las Vegas

Over 500 people were injured and at least 58 were killed yesterday by what appears to be a lone gunman firing upon the crowd at a music festival in Las Vegas. Before my thoughts on the debate surrounding the shooting are listed below, I would like to say that while pundits and professionals rehash the conversation concerning guns, terrorism and public safety again, remember that there are at least three other huge crises occurring that should not be ignored: Puerto Rico's destruction by Hurricane Maria, nuclear brinksmanship with North Korea and Congress's continuing work on tax (and ostensibly healthcare) reform.

Nevertheless, the horror in Las Vegas is the dominant story today, and with very little information, and only a few hours to contemplate that information, here are a few things I think you should hear concerning the shooting:

1) The safety and medical response was outstanding from onlookers and first responders
2) Terrorism is defined by motive, not response. Until the assailant is profiled, it’s premature to call a shooting terrorism
3) Other characteristics of the victim or the perpetrator – like religion or race – have no bearing on whether an act was terrorism.
3) Many of these weapons were strictly controlled. It’s not completely clear that more gun control solves the problem
4) American has a huge gun problem. America has a mental health problem. America has an aggression problem
5) These problems are most pronounced among white men. More resources are needed to address the crises impacting middle class white men
6) This can happen anywhere dense crowds congregate near tall buildings, cliffs, antennae, trees. To this point, the safety we've felt has been an illusion

Feb 8, 2017

Some Are More Equal Than Others

I have a serious question:

Differential citizenship is generally verboten - It's generally considered abhorrent to offer different sets of rights or protections to people on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, geographical origin and national origin.

Yet differential citizenship on the basis of a financial characteristic - like wealth - is not only embraced, but encouraged by the same people who call for other types of equality from the state.

If you are philosophically in support of the state treating all people equally regardless of their race or religion, shouldn't you be against wealth-based social welfare programs and the progressive income tax?

I understand the logic behind progressive taxation and a social safety net for the most vulnerable, but doesn't a commitment to the equality of mankind in the eyes of the state also mean that inequitable treatment by the state, no matter the basis, becomes an abhorrence?