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  • posted a message on Commander Legend Spoiler Season starts on the 12th of October
    Quote from SpeedGrapher »
    Say you like ice cream. It's your favorite food. But you only eat it once a week. If you eat ice cream everyday it would stop being your favorite food. You'd be sick of it. Wizards is trying to feed us ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


    If you're an adult and have money, I expect that you should be able to exercise fiscal restraint. If not, pointing the finger elsewhere is demonstrably counterproductive. You have to eat; you don't have to buy cards.

    Quote from SpeedGrapher »
    Their bribing the government to make ice cream a required food group.


    Uhhhh... I'm sorry, what is this supposed to be analogous to?

    Quote from Xcric »
    Sorry bro, ya gotta accept that.


    I think we're at a bit of a disconnect about who needs to be more accepting. You're entitled to your opinion, sure, I'm just trying to dissuade you from the belief that everyone else shares it too. Magic is fine (fact), but if you're going to be upset about each new release, well... ya gotta accept that, bro. Or learn to live with being miserable all the time.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from bobthefunny »
    Any concerns about the site's policies, or additional resources you wish to provide to us for consideration will still be welcomed, but we ask that it be kept to an informational level.


    More data for all concerned to ignore. At the informational level, of course.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/585152/people-shot-to-death-by-us-police-by-race/

    Less than 14% of the entire population represents at least 23% of those fatality shot by police in 2018-19. I say 'at least' because a portion of those ~200 unknown deaths each year may have also been black.

    https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2019-statistics-on-law-enforcement-officers-killed-in-the-line-of-duty
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/191694/number-of-law-enforcement-officers-in-the-us/

    Contrast this with the number of peace officers intentionally killed in the line of duty (less than 50) set against the total number of employed peace officers in 2018. That's .007% of the working peace officers 'assassinated,' as you're inclined to describe it.


    [snip]
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Maybe the actual solution would be to stay to Magic and avoid ANY political aspect at all.


    Congrats, you posted enough bullsh*t to reaffirm the site owner's decision to ignore their conscience. You proved everything we've said since post #9, and now this thread serves as a welcome mat for every other bigot and bad faith actor. At least we can finally admit that this was your goal all along.

    "Post here ye faithful, for no matter how toxic or harmful, there will be balance."
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on Commander Legend Spoiler Season starts on the 12th of October
    If you want to let my points stand on their own merit, uncontested, then you've already conceded the argument. You haven't presented any data apart from your own say-so and some confirmation bias, so no, I don't see it as a problem. It's really not ignorant for me to disagree with a point you've failed to substantiate on a factual level. I think it's been made pretty clear by my approach every single time that your generally pessimistic attitude is unwarranted, and if you don't care to put in the time and energy to properly refute that... well, that's on you.

    I come here to talk about Magic because I enjoy the game. I don't really share any empathy with those who come here only to complain; voicing your concerns here, repetitively and without substance, is about as productive as shouting into an empty bucket of KFC.

    We can go back to talking about Magic now. Any further attacks on my character will be met with a quiet report.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Commander Legend Spoiler Season starts on the 12th of October
    Quote from Xcric »

    we were talking about it in a local shop yesterday. we're just absolutely bombarded with products, but those products over the past year seem to have lost focus.


    How so? It seems to me that having more products each with its own specific purpose is indicative of more focus, not less.

    Quote from Xcric »
    one great point the store owner brought up is that his newer customers and less whale-like customers end up feeling overwhelmed with product options. they come in to buy some packs, but they can buy these other packs for just a few dollars more that'll have more of this other thing in it, and for a few dollars more than that they can buy a different pack of the same set that has even more odds of getting this or that.


    Isn't it sort of the shop owner's responsibility to educate his/her customers, though? To be able to foster good marketing decisions for their continued patronage?

    Quote from Xcric »
    trouble is, then they feel the lower priced product isn't worth it, and the higher priced product is priced too high so they walk away feeling ripped off no matter which option they go for.


    I mean, that's what happens when you play the lottery, regardless of pack price. If there's no inherent value in a basic pack, though, what are you doing cracking them at all? We're talking about a product that hasn't fundamentally changed in over 25 years, not a lot of room for surprises there.

    Quote from Xcric »
    he's also sold out on a ton of product before most can even get it because whales will come in and buy it all to get those few hot cards, or conversely someone who isn't a whale gets really lucky and cracks some alt art foil showcase card and comes back to buy him out just like people do when they win money on scratchers. while product is moving faster and better, there is definitely an atmosphere of discontent and being overwhelmed by those that aren't getting lucky and those are the customers that have come in less.


    So when people figure out that it's better to buy singles instead of packs they just stop coming to the store? Is that because your store doesn't stock singles, or because it doesn't stock non-Magic product? I'm trying to figure out why the shop is ultimately getting less business (during a pandemic, of all things) as a consequence of what happens to all savvy Magic players eventually.

    Quote from Xcric »
    it'd be great if there were fewer releases, but at a higher quality. more exploration of themes, less need to ban, more power across all rarities.


    I don't see how those two things are mutually exclusive.

    Quote from Xcric »
    i mean, some of these sets you still can't find but we're on to the next one before anyone can even realize it. it means the people with the money, who preordered, get to experience it and most others simply don't.


    Sure, this is a real problem... but we know the fault lies with how Covid has affected the production / distribution chain, not anything Wizards has done, intentionally or otherwise.

    Quote from Xcric »
    they've pushed the you're going to miss out angle so hard, and after awhile people feel like they are missing out... so what's the point? why keep buying? why keep maintaining? but those are the customers they dont' hear from, they just drop off as other people buy more which presents really flawed sales data. you can sell a ton of product and still have an unhealthy game.


    Are we talking about Secret Lairs, or Magic in general? Because I disagree with the former, and don't see how it applies to the latter. If there's actual data to suggest people who feel the need to collect everything represent a silent majority, and that they're being driven out of the game as a consequence of limited product availability, I'd like to see it.

    Quote from Xcric »
    anyway, regarding spoilers for this set... i'm cautiously pessimistic.

    i want to hope for the best, i want something amazing, something that i'll want to buy cases of, but given the track record i don't expect it.


    I'm confused. You take issue generally with the lottery model, but you still want to have a reason to go out and buy tons of sealed product?

    Quote from Xcric »
    i don't even expect to be able to find the product without preordering. what i do expect is to see some mediocre reprints that no one really needed, a lack of power at common and uncommon, some creative ideas that were reigned in really hard at rare, some absolutely format warping cards at mythic or a couple of extremely in demand reprints at mythic... and not much else.


    Good! If reality matches your expectations then you'll be less frustrated, and if it exceeds them then we can all expect to see you come back afterwards and offer something positive on these message boards.

    Quote from Xcric »
    the product fatigue is real even here, where it should be hype instead. there is just so much printed lately, and so much printed with an edh slant, that it has become difficult to keep up - not just with the information, but the ever changing introduction of new powerful cards (mostly at mythic) aimed squarely at edh players. there's a point where simply too much product competes for the same dollars, and once you hit that point it becomes really easy to just walk away in favor of something that won't feel like a wallet vacuum.


    Are you actually fatigued from purchasing all of these products that you allegedly can't get a hold of, or is the fatigue hypothetical?
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Commander Legend Spoiler Season starts on the 12th of October
    Quote from mikeyG »
    Who knows, maybe by the time I can justify catching up on all the sets I missed, the single prices will be really down and I'll have more disposable income.


    This doesn't seem like a thoroughly unreasonable expectation, to be honest. I generally pick up my EDH singles in semiannual batches anyways.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    What would be the point of providing you additional resources when you've decided to roundly ignore the ones already presented, including your own?

    Per your own articles:

    • BlueLivesMatter is a counter-movement that has been co-opted with more positive branding, not the other way around. We know its origins for a fact.
    • It started as a response to BlackLivesMatters. The dates and implied messaging from BlueLivesMatter outlets bear this out.
    • Multiple sources indicate the main point of BlueLivesMatter is to further criminalize the murder of police officers; no other mention of how best to honor the fallen beyond punitive measures.
    • One guy, not already aware of its established social or cultural underpinnings, decided to monetize the BlueLivesMatter movement with merch. How noble.
    • Taken at face value, neither of the main BlueLivesMatter outlets reflect their true origins or intent - was this to be expected? Do we honestly believe they'd promote "Here to undermine the #BLM movement since 2014!" as their mission statement?
    • From the U.S. Sun: "The non-profit organization is made up of active and retired law enforcement officers, who believe there is a 'war on cops.'" Countermovements are easier to digest if someone is waging hypothetical war on you, I guess. Still less noble than the general premise of honoring sacrifice in the line of duty.
    • Speaking of 'war on cops': the number of peace officer deaths per annum has varied greatly since 2013, strongly suggesting there is no surge of cop murder as a consequence of BlackLivesMatter.
    • From the Washington Post: "By using the phrase 'blue lives' and equating themselves with protected groups eligible for hate-crime legislation, police — specifically white police — are telling the world that they are police even when their uniforms are off, part of a targeted community in need of special protection." White people need special protection... why does this sound familiar?
    • From the bluelivesmatter.blue archive: I got as far as "On August 9 2014, Ferguson PD Officer Darren Wilson was doing his job as he stopped Michael Brown... " before my bias alarm went off. Just doing his job... why does this sound familiar?
    • Some companies have walked-back their lack of support for BlueLivesMatter due to backlash, true. Is that because it cost them bad press or money, or because it was right thing to do? The articles don't specify, but I can guess.

    Your own sources belie the conclusion that you've somehow drawn, bob, and I'm not sure how or why; perhaps you just have a poor eye for obvious bias. How does Hanlon's razor go again?

    I've noted repeatedly that people on this site only came out to support BlueLives in response to my own personal efforts, and your response to that affect remains conspicuously absent. Oh, I'm sure those posters will protest their innocence all day long, if you haven't talked to them already. That being the case, I have this really nice bridge to sell you.

    Balance for the murderers and the murdered, all in the name of selling ad space for the site owners. How ironic that this place should be so far beyond salvation.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from FlossedBeaver »


    I think it would go a long way towards serving your point if we could understand you better. Could you maybe try re-formatting your post into paragraphs, correct for spelling and grammar (words underlined in red are misspelled), etc. Thank you!


    You and you alone have to deal with that.

    There is no WE in your opinion.

    Thank you!!!


    I disagree, but my peers are welcome to chime in for themselves here. As someone who makes a living teaching 7th and 8th graders, your writing is... difficult to parse. I've given you the benefit of the doubt in the past and spent quite a bit of extra time and energy deciphering your posts, in the interest of promoting your education on the subject, but those resources are in increasingly short supply given your inability to engage in good faith discourse. I suspect that may be why so few others have bothered to respond to you at all.

    If you have any actual interest in convincing others of your viewpoint, there's quite a bit of room for you to make yourself better understood. The onus certainly isn't on me (or anyone else) to spend extra time making your case for you, when we're demonstrably occupied with crafting our own cogent and intelligible responses.

    In hindsight I probably should have addressed your literacy in a private message, so as not to derail the topic further. Apologies, I won't make that mistake again - though my conditions for re-engaging you remain the same.

    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    *snip*


    I think it would go a long way towards serving your point if we could understand you better. Could you maybe try re-formatting your post into paragraphs, correct for spelling and grammar (words underlined in red are misspelled), etc. Thank you!
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from mikeyG »
    Quote from bobthefunny »


    The very idea that black "cant be racist" is mind boggling naive.
    That is boggling, and naive, yes. Anyone can be racist.


    That depends entirely on the framework you're looking at, the colloquial usage or the social sciences usage. Colloquially, of course anyone can be racist in the sense that anyone of any race can hold race-based prejudices that cause them to see other races as less than and/or their own race as greater than, or otherwise infers inequality on an individual level. That's the typical definition you get when you google racism, and it is entirely true on an individual level.

    I think the problem here is that many engaged in this conversation are, because the topic is on a society-wide issue, talking about systemic/institutionalized racism, which is a whole different beast. Unequal practices built into organizations or institutional systems that disproportionately benefit or disadvantage particular racial groups is really what we're talking about here, not racism on an individual level. Within a white supremacist society/system, nonwhite people and groups are going to lack or be denied institutional power, and without significant power on a systemic level, those people/groups are unable to wield systemic racism, even if they may be racially prejudiced on an individual level. So when people say "black people can't be racist," what they're really saying is "black people are denied systemic power and therefore cannot create systems that meaningfully create/sustain black supremacy." Black people can certainly be prejudiced, they just don't have the power to control the very systems oppressing them (which was the point of those systems in the first place). Is that more complicated? Yes. Can it be hard to parse through someone's words to understand what they mean when they talk about racism? Sure. Are the distinctions between the two uses of the word vital to talking about the issue of systemic racism and unjust policing? Absolutely.

    Systemic racism and individual racism are certainly connected, they feed and reinforce one another, and dismantling one requires dismantling the other. They just serve distinct functions within society and their complex interactions are a significant reason why these conversations are challenging.

    ** As an aside, I think there is an interesting conversation to be had about whether racial minorities can create pockets within the larger white supremacist society that involve racially prejudiced systems, but that's a conversation not best served by having it amongst (presumably, and pardon to anyone this does not apply to) white people. At a time where systemic racism is causing untold suffering and taking lives. I think there's an intriguing academic discussion there, it would only serve as a distraction in the current climate/discussion, though.


    I appreciate you sparing me the effort. This is a valuable conversation to have on its own.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from bobthefunny »
    Likewise, while policing in general has had racist results, it's important to separate that the police institution is not a racist institution - there is no racist agenda that they are fighting for. Policing is intended to be the institution that upholds the laws and protects the people - That this is not happening equally is the problem.


    This is patently false on its face. While you are correct that there may not be widespread personal racism, it is in fact institutionally racist - and there are salient claims that it has been since its inception. This, it seems, hinges on our individual definitions of what racism is or is not; I'll address this below.

    H3RAC71TU5 was already kind enough to point out that racism need not be intentional, or even perceived, for it to exist and do harm. Perhaps the greatest difficulty of this entire topic is that personal bias is so difficult to perceive, and when pointed out by others oftentimes elicits a defensive, knee-jerk response (fight or flight). Many people advocating for #AllLivesMatter do not perceive themselves as being racist, but I think we can both agree that it is. It has been a constant uphill battle to convince my own mother, now on the precipice of 70, that saying "all lives matter" is inherently racist, no matter how many black friends you have or disinclined you are to use the n-word. I hope the analogy is clear.

    Quote from bobthefunny »
    The execution, not the vision or agenda. Not only that, but not every police officer is racist. Not every police officer ends encounters with minorities with gun shots. To say that these officers have no value of life? To compare them to Nazis? That is beyond harsh.



    There is a substantive argument to be made that upholding traditionally white cultural norms and social mores (both de facto and de jure) is the purview of our modern police force, and that we can trace the origins of such a "vision or agenda" well before the Reconstruction period. The term "racist" is generally unpalatable for those accused of being such, but the term "white supremacist" is even less so, given that it has negative connotations extending beyond mere personal bias. Outside of polite discourse I would refrain from using the latter, but it seems apt here, given the generally educational bent of this conversation. The police force is, institutionally speaking, a white supremacist organization; in practice as well as principle, it exists to promote the well-being of a white majority at the expense of others in a traditionally zero-sum game. If we think about this outside the scope of just violence for a moment, the facts speak for themselves: black communities are over-policed relative to white communities, and black people are targeted and incarcerated in disproportionately higher numbers than are white people. Again, that this is fact should be beyond dispute. The ultimate question that arises, then, is why? What are the underlying factors in our society that lead to this outcome? Liberals propose that there is a complex system of overlapping institutions, events, and social systems which have subordinated black people in society, going all the way back before the founding of the United States, and that the police force - as an extension of the state - is one such institution. Conservatives have not offered any better explanation than a correlational culture of criminality, one that ignores all of the historical circumstances that lead to such crime in the first place. While they generally avoid accusations by way of skin color (so as to adhere to their own limited definition of racism), blaming black culture is ultimately no less racist. I'm loath to compare human beings to animals, but if you'll allow me one more analogy: if you set fire to a cage of rats, and the rats kill each other in a frenzy to get away from the fire, do you blame the person who set that fire, or do you say "Look! It's in their nature for rats to be violent to each other!"?


    I would hope that, given the context of everything I've brought to the table up to this point, nobody would walk away with the impression that I don't value life, even the life of a peace officer.

    Quote from bobthefunny »
    Your example of Nazism is also interesting. Even at its height, only about 10% of Germans were actually Nazis. Many more than that were German soldiers. Not every soldier actively believed in the Nazi ideal - this was a movement that grew over time, meticulously, and stamped out any dissent or opposition. To say that each of these people lose all claims of humanity is extreme.


    Let's not be disingenuous about my rhetoric. As a credentialed historian, and someone who dabbles in historical war games, of course I'm well aware that the German Wehrmacht was not an inherently political organization, just as you are no doubt aware that the Waffen-SS was. I prefer not to wax pedantic over facts that are not ultimately in service to my greater point, but you've forced my hand here. If it helps, though, consider this more specific example instead: a tower guard at a German concentration camp is not worthy of being venerated for dying in service to his country, regardless of the assumed principles of that country. However much sympathy you would afford such a person is ultimately a personal choice, but that is not the same as saying he "loses all claims of humanity."

    Quote from bobthefunny »
    As I said earlier, policing is a dangerous job. Police Officers should expect to encounter violence, danger, and hardship in the line of duty. However, we can still recognize that they are making that choice. That remains a noble choice, of itself. Not only that, but #BlueLivesMatters is a step beyond that. It isn't just about police officers being killed for doing their job - it's a movement about bringing attention to officers who were gunned down - targeted by assassins and terrorists, outside of the normal line of duty.


    According to my research, about ~80 peace officers were killed in the line of duty last year, and only about half of those were a result of deliberate criminal acts. Compare that to the number of black people who suffered injustice (not just death) disproportionately in the same span of time and I think you'll see a huge comparative gap between the two social movements. Not only that, I think it bears mentioning that the two officers whose deaths resulted in the promulgation of #BlueLivesMatter were deliberately targeted as a consequence of what happened to Eric Garner and Michael Brown (and if you haven't already watched 8:46, I suggest you do so now). Further, I take issue with the term "assassinated" in this context, as it's deliberately loaded to generate undue sympathy for officers who are killed in the line of duty but not necessarily targeted for their profession; I suspect that number is somewhat lower, if not considerably. Can we use a less inflammatory word?

    Lastly, from everything I've seen and read - and that includes the BlueLives core organization - the express intent of #BlueLivesMatter is not to generate awareness or sympathy but to promote legislation that casts violent acts which result in the death of peace officers as hate crimes. The so-called awareness is just a means to that end, and an especially emotive one at that, given how few officers would actually be subject to such a rule. This is both an implied moral and legislative false equivalence, because, like racism itself, it perpetuates a disparity in power between those in a position of authority and those who are subordinated to them. Suffice it to say, the police do not need more legal protection than they currently already enjoy. My takeaway, given these facts, is thus: #BlueLivesMatter is most definitely a countermovement, a response to the #BLM movement on a broader, social level, and also a response to my specific efforts at raising awareness for #BLM here at MTGS. I feel that those efforts are somewhat diminished by your allowance of #BlueLivesMatter by other posters, which may or may not be a calculated consequence of their intent, and that it will silently drive away viewership by others who genuinely need a safe space.

    If you actually visit bluelivesmatter.blue, by the way, you'll be treated to a never-ending stream of pro-police propaganda, the intent of which is clearly aimed at undermining support for popular protests (peaceful or otherwise).

    ===

    Contemporary definitions of racism deserve their own separate space, so I'll follow up in another post, unless somebody beats me to it.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    I'll try to give a more substantive response tomorrow, but I feel like H3RAC71TU5 did a good job of shoring up what I would have addressed anyways.

    In the interim, I just wanted to ask: what are your sources regarding Blue Lives Matter? A cursory glance at Wikipedia - while not the most academic of repositories, certainly the most immediately available - yields the following in just the first paragraph.

    "Blue Lives Matter is a human rights countermovement in the United States advocating that those who are prosecuted and convicted of killing law enforcement officers should be sentenced under hate crime statutes.[1] It was started in response to Black Lives Matter after the homicides of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn, New York on December 20, 2014.[2]"

    Emphasis mine. If Black Lives Matter started in 2013, how can Blue Lives Matter be a separate precursor? I'll see if I can't dig for other sources to verify, but I have no reason to doubt this information on the face of it.



    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    *snip*


    I will re-engage you once I know the source of your information / knowledge. Until then...
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from bobthefunny »
    After looking more into the history of the #BlueLivesMatter movement, how it has been used, and how it is culturally understood, we are allowing slogans of #BlueLivesMatter as a statement of solidarity to slain police officers and as a statement of support for our uniformed officers.

    While we understand and are sensitive that #BlueLivesMatter has been coopted as a counter-movement, and can be used dismissively in counter to #BLM, we feel that the Movement itself is not explicitly a counter-movement based on its history and formation. Just as we do not hold how other groups have coopted #BLM in ways that do not reflect upon the primary movement, so too should the coopted uses of the #BlueLivesMatter not be held against the movement itself.

    Context will of course matter in all situations. Using any slogan in a manner to incite aggression, dismiss others, or otherwise harass, troll, or violate our policies will not be supported.

    This is a complicated topic, and the decisions made regarding it are nuanced. We are receptive to hearing any feedback from our users, especially to how they are affected by these topics and statements. If you have any concerns, please let members of the staff know your concerns or how these statements affect you or reflect your own experiences.

    Thank you,
    -bobthefunny


    I'd be curious to know what the site owners' opinions on police violence is - whether they condone, disprove of, or perceive it at all. Rhetorical question: what's the value of a life given in service to a fundamentally racist institution? Not to be crass or cruel - because I do value all life (insofar as living is concerned), and do not condone violence for any reason - but if I may draw a historical comparison: a Nazi soldier jumping on a grenade to spare his squadmates might be noble in the abstract, but ultimately does not redeem the greater cause they're fighting for. Again, the purpose of a peace officer is supposed to be the service and protection of their community (it's in their name!), but recent events have shed some unfortunate light on the very grim reality facing people in certain communities. It would be charitable, I think, to characterize police conduct as merely punitive in nature; in many situations I would call it outright criminal. While the loss of a human life is tragic under any circumstance, if we continue to uphold peace officers for self-sacrifice in the line of duty, we are then also promoting and perpetuating the racist institution they serve.

    For what it's worth, I categorically reject the notion that there is any such thing as a 'blue life' - and I think I can attest to that better than most. Only half a shade darker than my own natural olive hue, my father was by all accounts simply a white guy with an occasionally dangerous job. I say occasionally because, in all the years he worked, my family and I were never kept in suspense by the prospect that he might not return home some tragic night. The sort of morbid stories my own students ask for when I disclose my military service were likewise in short supply; there was simply nothing to be said about violent encounters, and nothing I've seen or read since has led me to believe that life-threatening violence is a common occurrence for other peace officers. Despite my example above, I also reject the notion that peace officers are anything remotely akin to soldiers. I say that not just because I'm opposed to their deployment and use of combat firearms, but because they have a job they can walk away from at any time, without repercussion. Once I signed my contract, raised my hand and swore on the constitution, I no longer had any such right or privilege. Whether by virtue of my conscience, cowardice, or any belief in my own tactical expertise, any refusal to obey direct orders would have resulted in swift imprisonment. End of story. And for all of that, while my reintegration back into civilian life has been mostly positive, it is not representative of the way veterans are generally treated by society. We're venerated to some degree, yes, but it's merely lip service; I get one free meal a year on Veteran's Day, the same exact discount on movie tickets that any person with a student ID gets, and sometimes a convenient parking spot at the local Lowe's. I take umbrage with the fact that my service is used as a patriotic dog whistle to deny other people their constitutional rights - I swore to uphold the constitution, and that includes the right to protest and redress of grievances. If you don't like something patently wrong with America, the democratic answer is to fix it, not be bullied into leaving the country.

    Do you know what my greatest sacrifice was? Not life, limb, or eyesight - I came out relatively healthy, physically speaking. No: for six long years I was an object, a possession of the United States, the very definition of government issue. I slept where the army wanted me to sleep, for however long they wanted me to sleep for*; I ate what the army wanted me to eat, when they wanted me to eat it; I lived wherever I was told - in which city, in which barracks, in which country; I carried whatever the army told me to carry, no matter how ultimately useless; and, too often begrudgingly, I was afforded healthcare with the constant threat of repercussion for being human and weak. I almost washed out of basic training the first time for coming down with bronchitis. Heaven help you if you had to stand before your 1SG and explain to him why you needed to attend sick call in the morning (this was the same guy who denied me, or attempted to deny me, half of my mandated convalescent leave after major surgery). All of my parts were there, but I seldom felt like a person. Anyone who outranked me could, at any given time, be given cause to outright ruin my life if I'd done something to offend them, such is the power and authority granted by the military chain of command. And for all of that, I haven't seen a single #GreenLivesMatter sticker anywhere, despite the fact that more military personnel die from suicide every year than in combat. Why is that? If we go so far as to demote military service to being just 'a job,' and there are many different kinds of dangerous jobs, why do we feel the need to advocate for only one of those jobs? Why is the one dangerous job being advocated for, in diametric opposition to BLM, the only job accused of perpetuating violence against that exact same group? I do not buy the hollow excuse that a historically harmful force can be co-opted into something positive with mere token gestures, nor do I understand how any #___LivesMatter can be construed as anything but a response to #BLM. You're right, context matters; the expression of #BlueLivesMatter here, on this site, represents a counter to my own personal attempts at awareness. Perhaps you should take into account the history of this site when determining that context.

    I'm lucky for having suffered so little in comparison to those who come back with debilitating mental or emotional disorders. I will not bother to expound on the very real harm that PTSD poses to those genuinely afflicted by it, except to point out one tragic fact: the video that I shared with you in private, bob, and that you watched - do you know what happened to that police officer? The one who had the phrase "You're f*cked" etched onto his patrol rifle? He was acquitted two years ago and retired on a pension of $2,500 a month for PTSD. Woe unto those who sympathize with such a cop and not with the victims.

    You know what? I'm inclined to share that same video here. It's not work safe, it's not family friendly, but I will suffer another infraction - my very last, if need be - to draw awareness to such a grotesquely topical piece of evidence, one that even I hadn't seen until just last week. Suffice it to say, no amount of training can ever be held responsible for making someone into a monster - but it certainly can enable them. I'm a grown man, a combat veteran. I've survived rolled over humvees, mortar attacks, and jumping out of perfectly good aircraft, and this made me weep; I cannot bring myself to watch it again. Do so at your own risk.

    My point, or one of my many points, is that there is simply no good reason to uphold and venerate peace officers for sacrifices that they do not have to make. The law, the courts, and the unions have largely seen to it that an officer cannot generally be held responsible for their actions, no matter how grotesquely inadequate, because of the danger inherent to absolute worst case scenarios. We push them, as a society, to be glorified heroes, to be that off-duty cop who swoops in and saves an entire airport at Christmastime, or runs some street thug out of the local bodega before buying a pack of Fruity Bubblicious, all the while unaware of how dangerous it is - for cop and bystander alike - to arm them with a reason to bypass all good sense. Let me draw you an analogy: I was stationed in North Carolina**, and while I was there I tested for and received a concealed carry permit - a document that allowed me to carry a firearm, concealed on my person, in the 30 different state that hold reciprocity with NC. Under NC law, you must give a would-be assailant every opportunity to retreat before engaging them with lethal force, or be liable unto the law yourself, such is the value of life which generally predicates the law. You also cannot goad someone into a fight with you, while you are armed, and then respond with lethal force - that's outright murder, with all of its associated punishments. Some years after I received that permit - and some many years ago from this current point in time - a black kid by the name of Trayvon Martin was shot and killed for no greater crime than walking through the wrong neighborhood. Not the first racially motivated crime to be committed, and certainly not the last. George Zimmerman, no doubt emboldened by the fact that he was carrying a firearm, harassed Trayvon Martin until he snapped... and wound up dead as a consequence of Zimmerman's poor decision-making faculties. If Trayvon Martin had genuinely posed a threat, and George Zimmerman hadn't been armed, do you think he still would have considered putting himself in harm's way just to accost some random passerby? I sincerely doubt it. Trayvon Martin was murdered, no matter what the Florida courts have to say about it. Now instead of just one George Zimmerman, imagine you have an entire force of like-minded individuals, and one of those forces in every city, in every state, in the entire United States: men and women armed and emboldened, pushed by society to rush into conflict at a moment's notice, even when retreat is especially warranted. Men and women who are supposed to be held accountable to the same moral precepts which governed my own possession of a firearm in public, and yet are endowed with privileges above and beyond the law. Watch every video published since this summer of nightmares began, and tell me how many times you see a victim of police violence actually posing a threat to someone else before the cop escalates the situation into a lethal one. Give me a count: how many times could the cops have just walked away without any loss of life? Seriously, do it.

    ---

    *Before I left the service, we had a rash of Article 15s leveraged against some lower enlisted in my battalion. Apart from their demotion and reduced pay, they were subjected to 40 days of extra duty: after the regular duty day ended at ~1700, they went to work for battalion staff until 0200... and then had to be present at reveille again at 0630. Repeat again for 5 days out of the week. On weekends they got to sleep in until 0900, though!

    **One of the first examples of organized policing in the United States actually occurred in North Carolina in the 1700s. They were charged with "prevent[ing] slave rebellions and enslaved people from escaping." (credit to Wikipedia)
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Full set reveal
    Rosewater mentions handing over the set to Set Design with Quests and colored-artifact Traps. I wonder what the heck happened.


    We should revisit this subject a year from now.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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