Monday, April 23, 2012

Stand Your Ground

"I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."
When actor John Wayne as dieing-of-cancer gunman "J.B. Books" in the 1976 film The Shootist, Wayne's last, uttered those words onscreen, audiences cheered, especially young men.  But, alas, what made the dramatic pronouncement of such a code so poignant--the applause was a release--was  precisely the fact that even then it was already long passe.

Political correctness is an especially evil evil not only because it involves all of us in perpetrating a lie we all know to be a lie.  But also because as we're all guilty of at least the lie, then we all have a stake in continuing it as well.

Among the lies everyone knows to be a lie is the lie that force, that violence, that fighting of any kind, fighting back even, is at root unjust.  James Bowman, by way of review of the new documentary Bully, a film he finds problematic, makes the point quite well: can't really treat bullying as a problem in the abstract, apart from the context in which some particular act of bullying takes place. The only way history shows of fighting bullying is by fighting back against the bully -- which, in our faulty modern way of looking at things makes the bully indistinguishable from the bullied. That must be why Mr. Hirsch [the director] acts as if fighting back were not an option. His victims all have to retain their pure victimhood. (my italics)
Among the many bad outcomes still possible to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman last month, is the repeal of  "stand your ground" laws across the country.  Such laws were themselves a correction, an attempt to return to Wayne's common-sense code.  A reaction to the Florida shooting that returns us instead to the "duty to retreat" standard, a duty to avoid conflict at almost all cost, would not only give the thug, the bully, the upper hand again, it would also reinforce the sick-unto-death contemporary notion that victimhood is a virtue.

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