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Thursday, September 01, 2005

A joojooflop of a situation

I'm with Dan S.: the shoot looters on sight meme is repulsive.  Eric Muller's instinctual response on this was just dead on.  And Orin Kerr's moderate (even gentle) rebuke of his co-bloggers seems right too.

Here's what I think.  In the absence of a threat of serious bodily injury, using deadly force in self-defense is a problem - not always impermissible, but something we ought not encourage.  Sitting in cold blood -- in areas far away from New  Orleans - and calling for private citizens to shoot thieves (a "compassionate way to protect" other citizens) is to my mind an  invitation to pure chaos.  When this mess settles, and it will, I think that bloggers who called for the murder of their fellow citizens are going to feel regret.  But even so, the slogan continues to grow in popularity.

It is as if simply saying "shoot on sight" makes some folks feel like they've breached some kind of politically correct taboo, and let in a fresh breath of air and clear-thinking.  But the opposite is true.  It reminds me an anecdote from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide series:

In today's modern Galaxy there is of course very little still held to be unspeakable. Many words and expressions which only a matter of decades ago were considered so distastefully explicit that, were they merely to be breathed in public, the perpetrator would be shunned, barred from polite society, and in extreme cases shot through the lungs, are now thought to be very healthy and proper, and their use in everyday speech and writing is seen as evidence of a well-adjusted, relaxed and totally un****ed-up personality.

So, for instance, when in a recent national speech the Financial Minister of the Royal World Estate of Quarlvista actually dared to say that due to one thing and another and the fact that no one had made any food for a while and the king seemed to have died and most of the population had been on holiday now for over three years, the economy was now in what he called "one whole joojooflop situation," everyone was so pleased hat he felt able to come out and say it that they quite ailed to note that their entire five-thousand-year-old civilization had just collapsed overnight.

Funny, for a moment, and then you read about what's going on down there.

Oh, and one other thing.  That bankruptcy legislation? Looking even worse today. 

Posted by Dave Hoffman on September 1, 2005 at 06:46 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink

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