A Tangled Web of Horseshit

Suppose it’s time to check-in with everyone.

Hey everyone, this is me checking in.

Oh… you have a 4pm check-in time? Well, I called in advance and I was told my room is ready so can you please look again? Please, it’s only fifteen minutes from now. Oh, should I just sit over here then… What do you mean you don’t like this joke? This is a novel way of introducing an otherwise generic and boring check-in post! What do you want me to do? Keep using that same rhetorical joke about starting off a speech with a rhetorical joke?

Jesus!

Fine!

Anyway, here is where things are at.

FAMILY OF FANG AND CLAW

So, I’m still in Writing Hell working on finishing up the Family of Fang and Claw.

I finished up all the flashback sequences of the super long final story which should be somewhere between one third to one half of the final story. It involves some really trippy visits to a world where everything is just a reflection of yourself and time doesn’t exist. The present sequence is about a fourth of the way done but it all needs a lot of polishing. And “something” is missing from it all, too. “Something” I can’t quite put my finger on. The ending should be killer even if you hate the rest.

Time to put out a cry for help: If you’d like to alpha read these, by the way, please feel free to drop a comment or message me on facebook. I’d love feedback and I can’t possibly impose enough on a single person to get all I’d need in the time I have left. I know something is missing from about three of these stories and I can’t quite figure it out.

Very very rough starts and scenes are done for the other two stories, but those still need to be given a full first draft between now and October 13th. And polished. I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to do it all but I would have preferred to be all done a month ago.

Once again, feel free to head over to my Patreon if you want a look ahead at some of the stories that will appear in the final book.

Family of Fang and Claw should still be done on October 13th and be available for the super evil price of $6.66, though.

MY YARD

If there is anything I hate in this life (besides puppets, the Victorian era, steampunk, the taste of salmon, the words “moist” “leathern” “tobacconist” and “decoupage”), it is my yard. I’ve killed two willow trees this year, out of the four that grew there and still it vexes me at every turn. According to FitBit, mowing my lawn with a push-mower is the equivalent of walking five miles. Yet how can I give it up? It’s so big! So resplendent! And adds a lot to the value of my home. Also, I’m pretty sure I can’t subdivide.

But I’d be lying if it wasn’t a huge albatross around my neck -which is a dead bird that is really unpleasant to have around your neck. Although, is there ever a good dead bird to have around your neck? Presumably not without a lot of processing and hard work. It’s Man vs. Nature every day. I close my eyes, it’s growing. I open my eyes, it’s still growing.

It. Never. Stops.

Imagine my delight when I came home late one night and discovered that my future brother and sister in law (and also Amanda) had gone out and cut everything back. I put it right up there with Moses parting the Red Sea. It was probably the best surprise gift I’ve ever received in my life. So thanks to them and if I get out of Writing Hell at all, it will be because of their efforts.

CRAZY MANIFESTO

I read some selections of the unibombers manifesto the other day, as to compare it to my proposal for a Martian government and became very disturbed as it was like looking at my own mind in a carnival house mirror. Except I’m very against violence except as a last resort against violence. So now I’m studying as much as I can about Game Theory, which I never studied in college, to see if I can apply some rigor to my proposal.

So that’s also a thing that’s going on in the back of my crazy mind. End goal is still only to be usefully stupid as I’m aware of my own limitations. Still have no idea of who I’d send it to, other than other nutty people on the internet.

On that same note…

THE WHOLE WORLD BEING CRAZY

Be loud. Share your opinions. Think bold new thoughts. And please don’t put your hands on anybody else, or threaten to put your hands on anybody else. That’s not going to solve things as well as you think it will.

Listen, to give an extreme example, if you killed the person who killed your child, I’d understand. That’s a perfectly understandable response for you to have in that kind of situation. But also, you really ought not to have done that. You ought to have let the law take its course. Taking the law into your own hands destroys the fabric of due process that protects and allows society to function. And I don’t mean “la la la, I can’t hear you” function, I mean “let’s not murder each other” function. We have due process for a reason. Without it, we have a road to anarchy and chaos. When you set out to commit violence, you really can’t fully know what the ramifications are going to be. You don’t get to call up a thunderstorm and tell the lightning where to strike. If you commit to violence then violence decides what the consequences will be.

Here’s an example:

I’m pretty decent friends with someone who used to be an undercover cop. He posed as a member of a biker gang, staged the execution of another cop (who was a friend of his who was actually just moving out of the area) to gain credibility and went undercover to get information on human trafficking and the drug trade. If all you’d known of him was what he appeared to be, you would have been well within reason to shoot him. Hell, you would have been within rights to shoot him twice.

Except if you did? Well shit, you just shot an undercover cop who was keeping an entire criminal network in check. How totally sure are you that the shitty thing you want to do to some degenerate isn’t something your doing to an undercover cop?

Or what if you shot someone who was a terrible, virulent racist and then afterward you found out that he was schizophrenic and off his meds and wasn’t anything like that when medicated?

Or, for a depressingly common example, say you shot a kid walking down the street because you thought there was something suspicious about the shape of his pockets and he was looking at you funny? Oops, it was just his hands and he was scared of why YOU were following HIM.

You don’t get to take back violence.

I’m not going to give a blanket “violence is never the answer.” We all know that isn’t true. Of course it is… sometimes. Violence is the answer if you’re in a life or death situation and you can’t get the police there in time or if for some reason the police are refusing to respond and you need to get out of the situation or help someone else get out of the situation. Or if there is imminent threat of death to an innocent person and there is no other way to restrain the offender.

Of course, at some of these rallies, it really doesn’t help that the police are all taking a knee while this stuff goes on. It doesn’t help when law and order stands down in the face of the mob, but we should still be wary of mobs because everything is arbitrary in a mob. You could be a Nazi or you could be a reporter or you could be someone just standing there. And let’s be honest: that stuff happens. Even if only because no single person can know everything they need to know in a single moment.

I get it, though. I also get when someone is calling for the genocide of your entire family that maybe popping them in the mouth feels really good. But does it have to get to that point? What are the consequences of escalating force? What happens when we use force to shut people up?

You take a racist website offline… where did the racists go? They didn’t just disappear. Can we still track them? Can we still follow them and see what they’re doing? Now what are they planning? Is there anyway to see? Because as terrible as they were, we could still pretty much see everything they were up to for the most part. You take ISIS sympathetic accounts off twitter. Same problem. Now where do I go to see what they’re up to?

I know it doesn’t feel good or viscerally satisfying but the only way I know of to combat extremism is to give people no legitimate complaints. To address the actual issues at the bottom of their anger that are acting as a buttress for the horseshit of their hate. I’d stop bombing the Middle East for the same reason I’d work on reviving American manufacturing. Not because it’s what ISIS or racists want, but because it is a good thing to do and it makes it that much harder to join ISIS or the KKK.

Doing the right thing is a pretty effective strategy because it makes you trustworthy, allows people to ally with you because they can better predict what you will do in the future, and it just all around eliminates causes for grievance. So much of what is wrong with the world is that no one wants to do right by a group of people because a certain portion of that group of people contains someone they see as an enemy, so we return spite for spite and keep ratcheting up the extremism. It’s going to end in misery.

The other actual solution to so much of this is to have our police force be more accountable and more agile and that’s a hard problem that I’m not even sure how to fix. However hard it is, it does seem like it’s the problem that HAS to be fixed for actual improvement to occur, and of course fixing the problem also has to be balanced against preserving freedom and due process.

It’s a tangled mess and our law-making institutions are also a tangled mess.

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