Mao Is Murder

 

Mao Zedong’s most famous aphorism could well be, “Revolution is not a dinner party.”  But perhaps he should have said, “Revolution is a dinner party where the main course is human flesh.”  Here’s one gripping episode from Frank Dikötter’s The Tragedy of Liberation.

In April 1948, the communists advanced towards Changchun itself. Led by Lin Biao, a gaunt man who had trained at the Whampoa Military Academy, they laid siege to the city. Lin was considered one of the best battlefield commanders and a brilliant strategist. He was also ruthless. When he realised that Zheng Dongguo, the defending commander in Changchun, would not capitulate, he ordered the city to be starved into surrender. On 30 May 1948 came his command: ‘Turn Changchun into a city of death.’

Inside Changchun were some 500,000 civilians, many of them refugees who had fled the communist advance and were trapped in their journey south to Beijing after the railway lines had been cut. A hundred thousand nationalist troops were also garrisoned inside the city. Curfew was imposed almost immediately, keeping people indoors from eight at night to five in the morning. All able-bodied men were made to dig trenches. Nobody was allowed to leave. People who refused to be searched by sentries were liable to be shot on the spot. Yet an air of goodwill still prevailed in the first weeks of the siege, as emergency supplies were dropped by air. Some of the well-to-do even established a Changchun Mobilisation Committee, supplying sweets and cigarettes, comforting the wounded and setting up tea stalls for the men.

But soon the situation deteriorated. Changchun became an isolated island, beleaguered by 200,000 communist troops who dug tunnel defences and cut off the underground water supply to the city. Two dozen anti-aircraft guns and heavy artillery bombarded the city all day long, concentrating their fire on government buildings. The nationalists built three defensive lines of pillboxes around Changchun. Between the nationalists and the communists lay a vast no man’s land soon taken over by bandits.

On 12 June 1948 Chiang Kai-shek cabled an order reversing the ban on people leaving the city. Even without enemy fire, his planes could not possibly parachute in enough supplies to meet the needs of an entire city. But the anti-aircraft artillery of the communists forced them to fly at an altitude of 3,000 metres. Many of the airdrops landed outside the area controlled by the nationalists. In order to prevent a famine, the national­ists encouraged the populace to head for the countryside. Once they had left they were not allowed back, as they could not be fed…

Few ever made it past the communist lines.  Lin Biao had placed a sentry every 50 metres along barbed wire and trenches 4 metres deep.  Every exit was blocked.  He reported back to Mao: ‘We don’t allow the refugees to leave and exhort them to turn back. This method was very effective in the beginning, but later the famine got worse, and starving civilians would leave the city in droves at all times of day and night, and after we turned them down they started gathering in the area between our troops and the enemy.’

What was the point of this cruelty?  Victory:

By the end of June, some 30,000 people were caught in the area between the communists, who would not allow them to pass, and the nationalists, who refused to let them back in the city.  Hundreds dried every day.  Two months later, more than 150,000 civilians were pressed inside the death zone, reduced to eating grass and leaves, doomed to slow starvation.

[…]

Soldiers absconded throughout the siege.  Unlike the civilians who were driven back, they were welcomed by the communists and promised good food and lenient treatment.

And victory was indeed achieved:

Hailed in China’s history books as a decisive victory in the battle of Manchuria, the fall of Changchun came at huge cost, as an estimated 160,000 civilians were starved to death inside the area besieged by the communists.  ‘Changchun was like Hiroshima,’ wrote Zhang Zhenglong, a lieutenant in the People’s Liberation Army who documented the siege.  ‘The casualties were about the same.  Hiroshima took nine seconds; Changchun took five months.’

Victory, however, was the basis for decades of tyranny and tragedy.  Why?  Because the Maoists, devoted followers of Lenin, only practiced “By any means necessary” when trying to gain and hold power.  Otherwise, their motto was, “Whatever strikes our fancy.”

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Banning 3D-Printed Guns

Scott Adams says 3D-printed guns will be effectively stopped (or severely limited) with “friction” by government “laws” or 3D printer company policies/apps. (You did save the files before the anti-liberty bigots of the U.S. feral government threatened everyone into taking them offline, didn’t you?)

He believes 3D printers will end up being manufactured by just a few big companies, as usually happens with products like that, and you’ll have to download their approved apps from their app stores to print items. And that they’ll simply forbid gun-printing apps. He’s probably right.

Yes, he admits hackers might get around this, and some people will build their own printers without this limitation, but this is where his “friction” fetish comes in play. For the average person, this added difficulty will be enough to prevent them from printing guns.

But will it, though?

If guns required gun-specific parts which couldn’t be used for other things, he might be right. But they don’t. That’s why you can build a gun from plumbing.

And, if 3D-printed guns were banned by government or the printer manufacturers, don’t you think more effort would go into designing guns which are built from parts no one could possibly recognize as gun parts? Or parts which have other, actual uses.

Print this lamp part, this repair piece for your coffee pot, this game piece, etc., put them all together in this way, and you’ve got a gun. No gun or gun part was printed. Yet a gun was printed after all. By someone who didn’t have to be a hacker or build their own 3D printer, but who just wanted a gun enough to print one. Kind of like the way it happens now.

Does he really imagine the app stores would be able to tell all the parts which can be used to make a gun from the parts which can’t?

Yes, it still might reduce the number of guns being printed, and if you start with a flawed assumption you might see this as a win. But that’s an admission that you aren’t thinking rationally.

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Bad Choices and Shifting the Blame

I don’t blame manufacturers or retailers for the misuse of their (non-faulty) products. Not even with products known to be really dangerous if used according to their purpose.

When someone buys something dangerous and makes the choice to misuse it, that’s where the blame lies.

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking guns, opioids, cars, or anything else.

If you misuse something it’s YOUR fault if you die from it and YOUR fault if you harm others. You are not the victim. I hold YOU accountable. And, if the shoe is on the other foot, as it has been a few times, I accept my responsibility.

Yes, I get it. Where drugs are concerned, people foolishly abuse drugs manufactured by people who just want to make money from addicts. It’s easy to say someone shouldn’t make something that people can get addicted to. Even though people can apparently get addicted to anything. They don’t force anyone to use their products (unlike government). They are simply meeting a want, even though we might dislike that want.

So, being addicted doesn’t change anything. To have become addicted, you still had to make the choice to use something known to be dangerously addictive at least once. Unless you are one of the vanishingly rare cases where someone drugged you without your knowledge and you became addicted, you chose the path. I feel bad for addicts, but that’s no reason to attack the manufacturers, treat them as criminals, and ignore the voluntary choice the future addict made.

Nor is there any legitimate reason to treat addicts as criminals instead of as people who may need medical help. Prohibition is still evil.

The choice to misuse a product is still a choice, and it’s not helpful to coddle those making these choices or to shift the blame to someone else.

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The “Guns are Bad” Assumption

Assuming guns are bad handicaps you. It keeps you from being able to talk about them sensibly.

It would be similar to what would happen if you thought dogs are bad. You’d have trouble discussing them in a reasonable way. Your faulty assumption would creep into everything you think and color everything you say. You might talk about how to register them (or the people who keep them), talk about mandatory dog-owner insurance, or discuss what kinds of dogs people should be allowed to keep. You might claim that government gives people the right to keep dogs, so it can take away that right. I mean, dogs aren’t specifically mentioned in the Ninth Amendment as something you have a right to keep, so government dog-owner control is clearly Constitutional. And obviously the founders never envisioned pitbulls, so only whatever kind of dogs they kept are covered by the Constitution. Right?

Of course, it makes no sense. Not realistically, historically, or rationally.

But that’s the kind of argument you get over and over from people who live by the faulty assumption that guns are bad.

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“Gun Crime”

I’ve lost count of the times people have insisted my feelings about guns would change if someone I knew was a victim of a “gun crime”. This shows their ignorance. And even if my “feelings” did change, the truth doesn’t.

I’ve had three close friends shot by bad guys. Two of them died as a result. Do I blame the guns? That would be as pointless and stupid as blaming cars for my daughter Cheyenne’s death.

In one case, my friend was shot in the head by an angry ex who had been in and out of mental institutions. While she sat at a red light. I don’t think she ever knew he was in a car next to her. She probably wouldn’t have been saved if she’d had a gun– which she was in the process of trying to get government permission to carry. But it wouldn’t have made things worse. Making it harder for her to “legally” carry a gun didn’t help her.

In another case, a friend was shot in a mugging. He didn’t hand over enough money (he handed over all he had, the mugger just didn’t think it was enough) and then tried to elbow the excited mugger. He survived. Since he was not situationally aware, was in a dangerous place at a bad time of night, having a gun might not have done him any good. But if he’d had a gun it wouldn’t have made things worse for him. And, just maybe things would have gone worse for the mugger– who was never identified or caught.

In the final example, a friend of mine, my closest teenage friend, was shot in the gut “accidentally” and left to bleed out for an hour or more until a witness finally decided to call an ambulance. It was too late. According to the shooter, it was accidental. But I don’t believe my friend would have held a gun by the barrel while handing it to someone– he was more careful than that. Although I also think drugs, possibly a drug deal gone bad, were involved. If it was really an accident, then his having a gun wouldn’t have helped. If, however, it was a murder, then perhaps he could have defended himself had he been armed. Either way, having a gun wouldn’t have made it worse for him.

It’s so dumb to separate “gun crime” (or worse, “gun violence”) from other archation. I’m opposed to the innocent being harmed or killed regardless of the tool used by the bad guy. I wouldn’t feel better had my friends been violated with fists, bricks, knives, boots, or “laws”.

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Added “Friction” Does Greater Harm to Good People

In my continuing “Scott Adams (is wrong) on guns” series (that’s a new tag), I have looked at many of his “halfpinions” (his word) concerning guns.

Here’s the next installment. Yes, this is something I’ve brought up before, but it bears repeating since he’s still misrepresenting the issue.

When people object to his anti-gun ideas by reasonably pointing out that bad people will still get guns and suicidal people will still kill themselves he likes to say that of course they will, but any new “law” will add “friction” to the process, and “add friction; get less of that behavior (crime/suicide)”.

Again he’s acting on the faulty premise– the assumption– that guns are bad; that they are the problem; that cutting back on their availability even a little is generally a good thing. They aren’t, and it isn’t. Starting from a flawed premise, he arrives at a dumb “halfpinion” of his own.

Yes, you might “add friction” to a bad guy getting a gun with which to violate innocent people but those aren’t the only people to whom you are adding friction. You also add friction to the good, innocent people looking to get a gun for defense at the same time you add friction to the bad guys looking to violate the innocent. You are adding friction to the girl whose crazy ex is promising to kill her. I lost a friend to this added friction about 26 years ago as she waited for governmental permission to buy and carry a gun for self-defense. Guess who didn’t bother following the friction-causing “laws”.

Who is more accustomed to dealing with added friction on a daily basis?

Who has the connections to do an end-run around your added friction? It’s not usually the good people.

It’s always going to affect those who want a gun for self-defense more than it will affect the bad guys who want a gun for offense. Add friction, you get less self-defense.

You might “add friction” to a suicidal person’s attempt to get a gun with which to end his own life. This might save a few lives– the lives of those who don’t have some other method immediately available and who will soon change their mind about committing suicide– but how many innocent lives are you sacrificing in the process? Do you really believe it’s worth the cost to trade one person who wants to die for one person who wants to live— even if those wants are temporary whims?

He pretends he’s already considering net “gun deaths”, but he can’t be. There is no way to record how many lives are saved with guns, so how can you credibly consider them? Very few of those cases ever get reported– to government or the media. Most cases of self-defense don’t result in the gun being fired. And even in the small number which do, unless a shot is fired and you’re in a town where the gunshot will attract unwanted attention, who’s dumb enough to call the cops on themselves? Even if you are in town, I’d bet in most cases the sound of a gunshot isn’t currently pinpointed if no one reports being shot. No one can know even a reasonable estimate of how many lives are saved with a gun, so there is no possible way to calculate the net “gun deaths”.

He’s only looking at half of the picture and ignoring the inconvenient part– just as he does in all his “gun control” [sic] ideas. This is his definition of a “halfpinion” which he claims everyone else is exhibiting while he’s the only one who isn’t…while he does it right in front of the world. And it’s because he starts with the predetermined assumption that guns must be bad, that guns are a problem, even as he paces gun owners by claiming to be “pro-gun; pro-Second Amendment“.

If you start with a faulty premise you’ll come to dumb conclusions because you’re thinking of the topic incorrectly.

I’ve tried to get his attention, but he ignored my attempts. He probably blocked me if he saw my tweets since I wasn’t kind or gentle with my criticism, and yes, I did make it personal because he’s personally advocating this toxic mindset. I didn’t expect to change his mind, anyway, but I want to give you the mental tools to refute the claims of anti-gun bigots whenever they crop up. They are wrong, even if they are popular and believe they are smarter than you and me.

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