Tom Knighton

Recent Posts From Tom Knighton

Did heavy handed reaction lead to student’s suicide?

Teens do stupid things.  I did them, and you most likely did as well.  It’s part of being a teen after all.  It’s also why we don’t treat teens as full adults.  One thing teens are known for are pranks.  It’s the stuff that makes the best teen movies, after all.

Unfortunately, an administrator’s heavy handed comments may have taken a harmless prank and turned it into a cautionary tale:

An Alabama high school student killed himself after he was threatened with severe legal consequences — including registration as a sex offender — because he went streaking at a football game.

The student, 15-year-old Christian Adamek, died from wounds he sustained while attempting to hang himself, according to The Daily Mail.

Adamek ran naked across the field at a September 27th football game between his school, Sparkman High School, and Grissom High School. The incident was recorded and put on Youtube, and many students remarked that the prank had made Adamek — already a popular student, according to reports — a “legend.”

School administrators were less thrilled. In a local news segment focused entirely on the legal ramifications of the incident, Principal Mike Campbell said that Adamek could face serious school and criminal consequences.

“Legal complications, public lewdness, and court consequences outside with the legal system, school issues, which are a consequence of what the school system has set up,” said Campbell, in the local news interview.

Shutdown illustrates how government views the nation

If you’re a federal employee impacted by the shutdown, then I’m sure you know how much things like this suck.  After all, you were hired to do a job, and right now, you can’t.  I understand that completely.  However, as bad as the shutdown is for you, the shutdown has done one important thing.  It’s shown us just how much power Uncle Sam believes it has.

In an effort to make the shutdown hurt as much as possible, we’ve seen barricades at the World War II Memorial, an open air memorial that maintains no staff.  The same is true of the Lincoln Memorial and other statues and memorials throughout the nation.  Mt. Rushmore is not only closed, but also closed viewing areas so that you can’t even look at the memorial.

They’ve spent money they don’t have to close down things that wouldn’t have cost them a dime to keep open.  This apparently includes parts of the Atlantic Ocean (for the record though, you can boat through it.  You just can’t fish or drop anchor).

“So what,” you might ask.  It is federal territory, after all, and they are shut down.  It may be ridiculous, but why is this an example of how government looks down on us all.  Well, probably because the federal government is also trying to shut down state parks that receive just a bit of federal funding.

The real casualty of the shutdown? Rationality

Government Shutdown -- Mt. Rushmore

Make no mistake folks, this so-called “shutdown” is impacting real people.  I get that.  Several friends of mine are sitting at home rather than working.  However, even they have to admit that the impact on their life is somewhat temporary, even if the government didn’t pay them for the time they are sitting at home.

Unfortunately, this shutdown has set a new low for rationality from alleged adults.

Much ado has made about the Republican Party’s refusal thus far to pass a “clean” continuing resolution.  Some have even talked about how the Senate already has, and all the House has to do is vote on it.  Of course, since funding measures must start in the House, a Senate originated CR would be illegal.

While there are valid complaints regarding the Republicans, they’re not alone.

For example, let’s take a look at this friendly picture.

Shutdown

This is taken from NASA.gov, NASA’s official website.  I was clued into this being there this past weekend when someone on Facebook mentioned that they tried to access the site to help their child with a school report.  Not being one to take someone’s word for this, I looked myself and captured this.  NASA.gov redirects this notice.  This same notice shows up at Data.gov, a popular source for information about the United States government.  Even the Amber Alert website is down!

However, the EPA’s website, doesn’t have any such notice.  Neither does Ready.gov, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Defense.gov is also clear.

Obama inconsistent on worker strikes?

Here at United Liberty, we tend to poke holes in inconsistency by various politicians.  It’s kind of like our favorite pastime.  Sometimes though, they make it really, really easy on us.  President Obama, for example, did just that when speaking about the government “shutdown”:

Everybody here just does their job, right?  If you’re working here and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said ‘you know what, I want to get something, but I don’t know exactly what I’m gonna get.  I’m just going to stop working till I get something - I’m just going to shut down the whole plant until I get something’ - You’d get fired, right?

Cuz the deal is, you’ve already gotten hired.  You’ve got a job. You’re getting a paycheck. ..And so you also are getting the pride of doing a good job, and contributing to a business, and looking out for your fellow workers.  That’s what you’re getting.  It shouldn’t be any different for a member of Congress.”

Here’s the video:

I find it interesting that Obama just perfectly outlines a workers strike, where employees decide that they want something and “stop working till [they] get something.”

Zero tolerance? School suspends child for being a child

Guys, remember being a kid and playing “Cops and Robbers”?  Maybe your game was more “Cowboys and Indians.”  Whatever.  If you’re a male, you probably played a game like this at least once in your childhood.  It was almost a rite of passage.  Well, a school in Osceola County, Florida has apparently outlawed these timeless games in the name of “zero tolerance”:

An mother is outraged after she said her 8-year-old son was kicked out of class for playing cops with his friends at Harmony Community School and using his finger to simulate a handgun.

Jordan Bennett was suspended from school for the day, but his mother, Bonnie, said she’s now worried her son be labeled as violent with a suspension on his record.

“He had nothing in his hand. It was a finger gun, a pretend gun,” Bennett said.

But as it turns out, the school considered the gesture to be an act of violence.

Ah, for the good old days when an act of violence required…oh, I don’t know…actual violence to take place? The boys were playing cops.  No robbers, apparently, but cops.  You know, the supposed good guys?

Of course, Bennett isn’t some mother who thinks her child can do no wrong.  From the same report:

“A written apology,” she said. “If he would have written an essay about why it was inappropriate, what he did, that would have made more of an impact.”

Frankly, I don’t see what her son did as inappropriate.  It’s a game.  No human being has ever been killed by a bullet fired from a finger.  Ever.  In the whole of human history, it has never happened once.

Just when you think ‘zero tolerance’ can’t get any dumber

zero tolerance

So-called “zero tolerance” rules have been in schools for quite a while.  In theory, they are supposed to reduce school violence.  Instead, what they often do is create a nightmare for administrators who often are forced to inflict serious punishments on good kids who make a fairly minor mistake.

However, here lately it seems that some administrators are competing to see who can be the dumbest about the rule.  In Virginia Beach, Virginia, it looks as if an administrator is going for first place:

Two seventh-grade students in Virginia Beach, Va., were handed long-term suspensions Tuesday that will last until the end of the school year for playing with an airsoft gun in one of their front yards while waiting for the school bus.

WAVY-TV reports that 13-year-old Khalid Caraballo and Aidan Clark will face an additional hearing in January to determine if they will be expelled for “possession, handling and use of a firearm” because the guns were fired at two others playing in Caraballo’s yard.

For the record, airsoft guns fire small, plastic projectiles designed to be fired at people with property safety equipment.  In fact, airsoft is a pretty big hobby with millions of people spending money on guns and equipment to go out into the woods and “play war”.  Now, clearly, Caraballo and Clark weren’t in the woods at an organized function, but they were clearly on private property.

A parent of one of the kids playing with the two boys called the police because she had safety concerns.  Local law is a bit contradictory, but part of it does say that airsoft guns can be fired on private property.

Anti-gun columnist calls for intervention…in the US

Somehow, I get the feeling that columnist Henry Porter isn’t a fan of the Second Amendment.  As he’s a British subject, it doesn’t really matter a whole lot.  After all, he doesn’t get to vote on American issues.  Porter seems to understand this.  That’s why he’s calling for the international community to intervene here in the United States:

That’s America, we say, as news of the latest massacre breaks – last week it was the slaughter of 12 people by Aaron Alexis at Washington DC’s navy yard – and move on. But what if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis – a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention? As citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families – the maiming and killing of children – just as America does in every new civil conflict around the globe.

Maybe because these deaths aren’t even remotely related to one another except that the implement used is the same?:

The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing, even though the general crime rate is on a downward path (it is 40% lower than in 1980). If this perennial slaughter doesn’t qualify for intercession by the UN and all relevant NGOs, it is hard to know what does.

Cartoonist takes aim at people carrying guns

Matt Bors may well be known for his political cartoons, but he also apparently fancies himself as a writer.  Recently, particularly following the tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard, Bors posted his take on guns and the gun culture here in the United States.

New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia, an actual gun expert, took aim at Bors over at his site (Larry’s language gets a little rough, but he’s generally pretty funny in his takedowns of people like this, so give it a read).

Much as I enjoyed Larry’s piece, I had a few things of my own I wanted to address:

After the first time I shot a gun, I couldn’t hear anything for two days. This is because it was a .44 magnum and because I was eight and not wearing any ear protection. It’s a huge gun—the kind Dirty Harry used—and my dad had to help me hold it as I pulled the trigger. The next day, he had to explain to my third grade teacher why the only thing I could hear was a loud ringing.

There are right ways and wrong ways to go about your gun-having. (And your son-having.) My dad did do a good job of teaching me about gun safety once I was able to hear him speak words again. He even went and bought ear protection. Growing up around guns made me feel comfortable with them. So, gun owners, I’m not against you.

Honestly, that’s amazing.  If I hadn’t had hearing protection the first time I went shooting, I’d possibly be “against me” right now.  Of course, Bors says this, but as the piece winds on, you’ll see differently:

More laws won’t prevent the next shooting

I get a little sick of having to write this post every time some maniac shoots up a place.  Every single time it happens, the left begins hand wringing and plotting how to take away our Second Amendment rights, and folks like me are left to talk about how new laws wouldn’t have prevented anything.

First, let’s note that it’s still very early so the policy wonks who are screaming at the top of their lungs like teenage girls at a Justin Beiber concert really can’t possibly know what the hell would prevent another tragedy like this even in their Utopian world of all knowing government and unicorns that poop cotton candy.

Now, let’s take a look at some facts.  A shooting happened on Monday that claimed 12 innocent lives.  It took place in a pretty secured building on a military base.  It was, probably, the safest place to be in D.C. short of the White House and the Pentagon, right?

Military bases are great big “gun-free zones.”  It was that way when I served in the mid 90’s, and nothing has changed in that regard.  Neither military personnel, nor the civilians employed there, were permitted to carry a firearm.  People have this view of military bases as bristling with firearms, but that’s false.  There are tons of weapons there, but the rank and file troops have little to no access to them and they can’t carry personal weapons either.

The Washington Navy Yard is no exception.  The laws already forbid weapons on the base, but the shooter (I am not going to use his name as a choice to not encourage the next maniac seeking to make sure he gets a Wikipedia entry) didn’t care.  He made it through security, entered a secured building, and killed a dozen people and wounded more.  Gun free zones clearly do not intimidate the criminal.  It’s time that the left comes to terms with this fact.

Is ‘shaming’ a form of coercion?

Miley Cyrus

Libertarians aren’t as in lock step on issues as one might think.  There are various grades of libertarian, and a good example of how we’re not in lock step popped up over at Thoughts on Liberty yesterday.  Cathy Reisenwitz took aim at “shaming” as a way to alter behavior, and had this to say on the subject:

Somewhere we’ve decided that the tools the state uses to influence behavior are “coercion” while the tools non-state actors use are cooperation. Where is the justification for this? I didn’t sign a contract with slut-shamers any more than I did with my government. I may find complete ostracism much more oppressive than a small fine. In fact, there are studies which indicate that social exclusion is far more psychologically damaging than property crime.

Reisenwitz went on to say:

But say my actions are completely and totally cooperative, but frowned upon. Maybe I’m doing heroin, or having sex with lots of dudes. What right then does anyone have to coerce me by threatening to criticize, ridicule, shame or ostracize me?

And how is this private coercion any better than public coercion? It is safe to say that those who would criticize, ridicule, shame or ostracize me do not have all of the information I have about my environment and behavior. The same knowledge problem which makes state planning inferior to markets makes other people shaming me into certain behavior inferior to me making decisions separate from that outside threat of shame.

Recent Comments from Tom Knighton

Tom Knighton

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Tom Knighton has been a blogger here at United Liberty since 2010. In 2011, he made history when he became the first blogger anywhere known to have purchased a newspaper when he purchased The Alba... Click here to read full bio

 


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