What do You Call a Milestone Which Doesn’t Measure Anything?

Imagine, if you will, that there is a paranoid recluse living on your block. Sullen and unpleasant, he spends most of his time inside his house and actively avoids anything approaching civilized discourse with his neighbors.

Then, one bright and sunny day, he murders someone innocently strolling down the sidewalk. He barricades himself inside of his home before the police can arrive.

There would be an attempt at negotiation, of course. It is well worth the effort if you can get the perp to give up without having to risk more lives. But if that doesn’t happen, if he decides to commit suicide-by-police, eventually the forced entry team is going to have to suit up and do what has to be done to protect everyone who lives in that neighborhood.

But, as the body armor is being strapped on and the equipment is being checked, what would happen if the SWAT guys were told that they had to back off just as soon as one of their members was killed? An innocent person died, so they have to give up and leave when another life is lost. That way there is some sort of cosmic balance, you see?

They would look at you like you were some kind of freakin’ idiot because, let us face it, you would be a freakin’ idiot to suggest such a thing.

Peel aside the outlying reasons for any system of government and, at the most basic core, you find the same determination to protect their own that motivates those cops who are about to risk it all. The reason why humans first formed groups was an attempt to counter dangers that no single member could survive. It is the basic right of self defense writ large.

There seems to be some sort of confusion today about the basic role of government. Some people think it exists to regulate commerce, others that it is supposed to redistribute wealth. But even the European countries that have let their military might rust away while they concentrate on social welfare programs understand that no act of aggression can be allowed to pass without a response, even if that response costs far more lives.

I’m going over these patently obvious truths because of this news article from the Associated Press. To the author’s great credit, the focus is on putting this milestone in the proper perspective. What I am waiting for is the expected claims from the Left that we hit that cosmic balance I mentioned earlier, and so must withdraw from the fight.

When that happens, I’m afraid that I will have the same reaction that those imaginary SWAT officers had back in the fifth paragraph.

3 thoughts on “What do You Call a Milestone Which Doesn’t Measure Anything?”

  1. The analogy works if you think the “house” is in your neighborhood, and that your local PD has the job of cleaining out the nutty guy. If you think it is a completely optional adventure in someone else’s neighborhood, the assessment changes. In that case, the number is just an emotional hook to hang further protests on.

  2. A buddy of mine is in the US Navy, and was assigned to Japan for the next three years. I see them off at the airport in Columbus, Ohio. Then I go home for a nap, I take the dogs for a walk, and go to work.

    When I got back home I received a phone call. My buddy was in Japan and wanted to let me know what their new cell phone number was so I could reach them and chat. Which is just what we did. Chat, that was. Our voices zipped from one side of the world to the other without anyone having to shout.

    The world is your back yard, if you have a credit card and are within driving distance of an airport.


  3. “The world is your back yard”….once, at least some of those on the Left understood this. The title of Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” in from Donne’s lines:

    “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”

    and, from Edna St. Vincent Millay:

    On English soil, on French terrain,
    Democracy’s at grips again
    With forces forged to stamp it out.
    This time no quarter!—since no doubt.
    Not France, not England’s what’s involved,
    Not we,—there’s something to be solved
    Of grave concern to free men all:
    Can Freedom stand?—Must Freedom fall?

    (Meantime, the tide devours the shore:
    There are no islands any more)

    (Millay passage from Annika)

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