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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:05 pm 
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:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:07 pm 
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:( :( :( :(

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"What do you fear, lady?" Aragorn asked.
"A cage," Éowyn said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:07 pm 
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Stolen from FB:
Quote:

I didn’t write this after Paris. I didn’t write this after Istanbul Airport. I didn’t write this after Baghdad the first time, second or third time this year (It’s a grim privilege, but a privilege nevertheless, to be able to refer to a terrorist attack in your home town and not have people ask “which one?”). But I’m writing it now, after Nice, because my first two instinctive emotional responses when I heard about the attacks on the radio this morning were horror (because there were kids there you sadistic puerile-term, and you knew it, you did that on purpose), and then fear.

“God,” I thought. “Another one. It just keeps happening. It seems like it’s all the time at the moment.”

I’m a risk analyst. That’s my job. I use numbers to understand what we ought to be afraid of, and how afraid we should be. So here are some numbers:

In France, in the last two years, there have been 8 attacks for which responsibility was claimed by Islamic Extremist Terrorists, killing a total of 247 people. There are 66,000,000 people in France. At the current level of activity, their odds of being killed in a terrorist attack in a given year are less than two ten-thousandths of one per cent. That’s 27 times lower than their odds of dying in a car accident.

Even if the current level of attacks continues for 80 years (which would be unprecedented), a child born today in France would have only one percent of a one percent chance of being killed in one.

In Turkey, the probability is lower. 194 people killed in attacks since the start of 2015, with a population of 80,000,000 gives each one of them a roughly one ten-thousandth of one percent chance of being killed in one, in any given year.

In Iraq, the numbers are much worse. Iraq, of course, is in enmeshed in the horror of a full-on civil war in which tens of thousands have lost their lives, so this kind of analysis is both trickier and seems a little moot. But still, we have to recognize that there have been at least 13 terror attacks in Iraq on civilian populations since the start of 2015, killing more than 650 people. Even away from the front-line of the civil war, ISIS’s victims are overwhelmingly Muslim. Even in Iraq though, your odds of being caught in one of these attacks are less than one in a hundred thousand.

Reducing these deaths to numbers and comparing them to traffic fatalities might seem callous. After all, a car crash doesn’t mean to kill anyone. These people were attacked, the targets of deliberate, violent intent, and that makes a difference. Moreover, none of this will be any comfort whatsoever to a mother in Nice whose child was murdered last night, nothing I can say would be. Before those grieving, I am left in dumbstruck, useless, sympathetic horror, as we all are.

But I think these numbers are important, for two reasons:

First: the reaction I had is exactly the reaction the perpetrators of these atrocities want. They rely on us feeling bombarded by the news. They want us to feel besieged. They want us to feel at risk. They want us afraid. It’s called terrorism after all. Understanding the limitations of their ability to hurt us helps, in some small way, to frustrate their aim.

Second: There is no reason, none whatsoever, to believe that ISIS and other terrorist groups are holding back. They are killing this many of us precisely because this is as many of us as they can kill. And the reason for that is straightforward: there aren’t very many of them. Despite all we hear about radicalisation and recruitment and schoolchildren travelling to Syria to train and fight with them, here, in our cities and our communities, their numbers pale in comparison to our own. They want us to believe they are widespread amongst the Muslim members of our communities, but they simply aren’t. If they were, they’d be killing a lot more of us.

These numbers stack the odds heavily in our favour, and the only way in which we can abandon that advantage is to make more terrorists. ISIS understand that, and that is very much what they are trying to make us do.

There is a phrase that we’re likely to hear over the next days and weeks, and it’s a phase that should scare the shit out of anyone who hears it: ‘Something must be done.’ It was uttered before the UK Parliament voted to join a bombing campaign in Syria. An act which achieved essentially nothing of any military value, as any worthwhile targets were already being hit by the Americans, but handily signed our name to the inevitable civilian casualties that ISIS use to recruit allies over here.

I’m not trying to tell anyone how to feel, especially not someone living in Baghdad through the middle of a civil war with the front line only a couple of hundred miles away. I have no idea what that’s like. I don’t have any right to legislate those feelings. All I can do, all my work trains me to do, is to provide some perspective on the facts that might change them.

We’re shocked, and afraid and angry, of course we are. That’s a human reaction to attacks like these, and shocked, afraid, angry people want to strike back, to punish those who hurt us and banish the helplessness we feel at being so randomly targeted. But if we do that — and this is tough to accept but that doesn’t make it any less true — as a matter of mathematics, we make things worse.

Sometimes all you can do that will actually help is tend the wounded, bury the dead, comfort the grieving, smile at your neighbour and do your best to live as you always have done. If you live in a country that’s been targeted like this, the terrorists are fighting a battle for your mind, don’t give it to them. Hopefully, in resisting them, the numbers help .

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:22 pm 
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I'll reply the way I did on FB: one is too many.

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"What do you fear, lady?" Aragorn asked.
"A cage," Éowyn said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:16 pm 
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It appears from the little that I can gather that this latest situation in Baton Rouge differs from the Dallas police killings in that it was not a situation in which one person set out to kill white police officers but rather some kind of out of control conflict that became a gun battle with police when they showed up. But it remains unclear exactly what happened. Except that three police are dead, three others are wounded, and one suspect is dead, and two are at large.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:42 pm 
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And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:58 pm 
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A statement by Pres. Obama today:

Quote:
President Obama on Sunday condemned the shooting in Baton Rouge that left three police officers dead and three more injured.

"For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault," Obama said in a statement.

"These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop."

The shooting happened just before 9 a.m., less than one mile from police headquarters, amid spiraling tensions across the city between police and the black community.

It follows the deaths of five Dallas police officers earlier this month.

Obama said he's offered the support of the federal government and pledged: "Justice will be done."

"We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear: there is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None. These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one," Obama said.

"They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas - they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now - all of us - to be at our best.



It sounds as if he believes this was an attack specifically on police officers.

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"What do you fear, lady?" Aragorn asked.
"A cage," Éowyn said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:04 am 
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It certainly turned out to be. But it is still unclear to me whether he set out to target police the way the Dallas shooter did.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:57 am 
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It may be awhile before we can tell on that one. There are more deliberate assaults on officers than you realize, though. The one in Dallas wasn't anything new, really. For example, last week, 3 men ambushed an officer at a rest stop and began to drag him off into the woods to kill him (their words). Thankfully, the officer got one hand free to press the emergency release door on his cruiser...which housed his K9 officer who then bit the heck out of the would-be murderers and prevented them from killing the officer. That's just one story from last week that probably didn't make national news but makes the rounds of police news.

yovi, I liked that write up and hope those stats are true.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:01 pm 
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I'm reminded of something our dear vison posted here many, many years ago: the chickens are coming home to roost.

Years of systematic and deliberate inequality helped create a deeply rooted anger, all over the world, that is boiling to the surface. Terrorists the world over, no matter their creed, are driven by anger and hate.

I am afraid that this will not be solved by good people doing nothing: wringing hands, posting condolences, "thoughts and prayers" ... is doing nothing. Yes, it is. It is waiting and hoping that someone else will solve the problem so that we can continue with our comfortable lives.

What can common citizens, little people like me, do about this? I don't know. I suppose if there is one thing I can think of to do right now it would be to stand against lies. How? For myself: I will not be quiet because I hate conflict the next time I hear a bigot bloviating. Silence is consent and acceptance of their ideas.

On this I speak from personal experience, somewhat. I'm from a terribly bigoted country, and I've seen how the echo chambers feed themselves. I grew up in an atmosphere where you just sort of accept that this is the truth of it, because you never hear anything else. I want to be a tiny ray of "something else". I want to speak out, respectfully, and bring some facts and truth in places that lack them. I say "respectfully" because disrespect will turn people against the message because of the delivery and that is to steep a price to pay for personal kicks. I see so, so many people do harm by being condescending, uppity, holier-than-thou, when they talk to others. Stop that. You are part of the problem when you do that.

That is what I resolve to do. That is how I will step out of my comfort zone and actually do something. After all, in the words of ( possibly ) Edmund Burke:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Time for me to stop doing nothing.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:22 pm 
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I think that is one of the most insightful posts that I have ever seen in this forum.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:10 pm 
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That deserves to be posted more widely, if you can think of a way to do it, Griffy.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:27 pm 
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Wow.

Well, reading that, I'd like to tell anthy to not follow my typical course of action in the face of a hot topic for myself. I hate conflict and avoid, avoid, avoid if at all possible. But that is not healthy, and I know it. (My own chickens have come home to roost, and I'm dealing with them on a regular basis. :suspicious: ) If I'm learning to not avoid my own chickens, then I need to learn to not avoid the world's chickens either.

(I swear this sounded better in my head.)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:43 pm 
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Chickens are supposed to come home to roost!
It is a bad thing if they don't!

(edit: I hate it when barnyard sayings morph to mean the opposite)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:49 pm 
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That's precisely what the saying means to say, though: chickens come home to roost. It is what they do. Actions have consequences. It's what they have. So before you do something bad, think about whether you want the fruit from it or not. You can't typically do a thing without the consequences hitting somewhere: ideally it would hit you, but it might also be your offspring or community or family who has to suffer the consequences, sometimes years later. So to me it works really well to equate it to chickens coming home to roost: that is what we want them to do. And consequences finding their originator is also what we want to have happen. Yes, the saying warns against bad consequences, but that's because it would be silly to warn against good consequences, right. :P That is not a thing we warn against.

Many sayings draw on something that was common knowledge in their time and puts a spin on it to make it memorable.

The origin of the phrase is quite interesting: the internet tells me that it may have originated as the more generic "as surely as birds return to their perches as night, the consequences of your deeds will find you" type saying, and was recorded like that in the 1300's. Later on it changed to specifically refer to chickens.

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As for the topic, words are easy and deeds are hard. I am planning to say this, and hopefully other things, in a wider platform. I'm not even the only person saying it, I have seen similar things in my Facebook feed this afternoon. It seems a thought that is hitting many people at once and I think that is a good thing. The hard thing is turning it into real action. Of course, the internet makes it super easy nowadays to start putting actions to your words ( even if it is just writing more words ). I only need to post one or two little things on Facebook, for example, and it won't be long before I have more actioning to do than I have time for. :rofl:

Yep, I have an idea or two ...


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:05 pm 
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The bible has a similar thought:

For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7b)

The Message bible version is a bit more long-winded:

What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.


Whether you're into the God stuff or not, the principle is sound. ...Karma, what goes around comes around, chickens come home to roost, etc.


To that end, I suspect many of us are already doing things to spread kindness, peace, justice, love, and mercy. The trick is how to do that in such a way that it affects the current climate of hatred and division in politics and world affairs.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:55 pm 
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Just to cycle back for a moment, the investigation does seem to suggest that Gavin Long (aka Cosmo Setepenra), the Baton Rouge shooter, did set out to target police after all, just as Micah Johnson, the Dallas shooter, did. Other similarities is that both were ex-military who had served overseas, but not in combat. And both used assault rifles that never should be available to civilians. Unlike Mr. Johnson, apparently Mr. Long was not specifically targeting white officers, since one of the officers killed was black. Or perhaps Officer Jackson was collateral damage. Either way, he is just as dead. Mr. Long/Setepenra apparently was a member of the Washitaw Nation, a sovereign citizen movement group that claims that it is not subject to U.S. law

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:45 pm 
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Is that group considered a terrorist group by the US government? I've never heard of it.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:50 am 
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I had never heard of them before, either. Apparently it was founded by a woman named Verdiacee Hampton Goston, who proclaimed herself the Empress of the Washitaw Nation, until she passed away a few years ago. I have not found any evidence that the group has engaged in violent activities in the past, or is listed as any kind of terrorist group. So far as I can tell, the only investigations into its activities involved financial misdoings and tax evasion.

I think this mostly another case of a disturbed individual (at least in part as a result of his military service) who found it much too easy to obtain lethal weapons and directed his misguided anger at the most obvious symbols of authority, the police.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:15 am 
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The sovereign citizen movement as a whole is considered a domestic terrorist threat by the FBI. It has historically been associated with white supremacist violence (including Terry Nichols), but has somehow spread to include a fair number of African-Americans in the past 10-15 years.

https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/news/ ... n-movement
https://leb.fbi.gov/2011/september/sove ... nforcement


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