bookmark_borderBaltimore and abomination

The past two and a half years have changed me. The atrocities I’ve witnessed are impossible to forget, no matter how much time goes by. Sometimes they will hit me, seemingly out of nowhere. While walking home from work, while watching a hockey or basketball or football or baseball game, or while lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I am often assaulted by images of the people I love being brutally obliterated from existence.

Last night, as is often the case, it was Christopher Columbus. Specifically the version of Christopher Columbus who used to live in Baltimore. The version of Christopher Columbus who in July of 2020 was surrounded by a mob of vicious bullies, strangled with a noose, and pulled to the ground with a sickening thud, where his beautiful stone body was smashed into four pieces. The version of Christopher Columbus whose broken, pitiful pieces were then dragged to the harbor and heaved like garbage into its waters.

There are no words in any language that are adequate to accurately describe this series of events, although I have labored for two and a half years to find them. The pain that these actions have inflicted on me is beyond description and beyond measure. The closest that I can come to describing things accurately is to say that this is an abomination. The immorality of these actions is the most severe immorality possible. Actions like this are worse than 9/11 and worse than the Holocaust. Actions like this are worse than all the atrocities and all the injustices that have ever occurred in history, combined.

Things like 9/11, or the Holocaust, only involve people being killed. To destroy a statue is far worse than this, because to destroy a statue is to kill a person who is already dead. For a living person to be killed is both sad and unjust (assuming that the person did not do anything to deserve being killed), but because everyone is mortal, the person would eventually have died anyway, just at a later date. But statues are supposed to be permanent. They are not supposed to die at all. Historical figures are supposed to be immortal, and statues are historical figures in physical form. When one kills a statue, one kills a historical figure. And killing a historical figure is far worse than killing a living person, because not only is the person’s physical body dead, but now their existence as a historical figure is dead too, their existence in people’s minds and memory. When one kills a statue, one kills a person who already died, and no person is supposed to die a second time. This second death, effected by the destruction of a historical figure’s statue or monument, is an even more complete and final form of death than the person’s original, physical death. It is therefore an even more immoral action than killing a living person, and even more harmful to its target. It is never supposed to happen.

And that is only one statue. Think about the number of statues destroyed in recent years by the Black Lives Matter movement, and you will start to realize the magnitude of the immorality that transpired.

Things like 9/11, or the Holocaust, are events that happened in history. Sad and unjust events, but events that are part of history, nonetheless. For history includes both positive and negative, both sad and happy, both just and unjust events.

Destruction of statues is not merely an event in history. Destruction of statues is the destruction of history.

Therefore, destruction of statues is not merely sad, not merely unjust.

It is an abomination.

It is not supposed to happen.

It is wrong.

When a living person is killed, one can always have an imaginary world, in which the person survives, is healed, is comforted. One can always picture the person in happier circumstances, the wrong righted, or the perpetrators punished. But when a historical figure is killed, one cannot do that. I know, because for almost my entire life, I have had an imaginary world inhabited by historical figures. Thanks to the abominations of 2020 to the present, my imaginary world has been destroyed. Many nights, I try to think about Christopher, to bring him to life in my imaginary world. I try to picture him somehow overcoming the vicious attacks, being pieced back together, being healed, being comforted, regaining his strength, and eventually triumphing over the brutal bullies who fought to stamp out his existence. But my attempts are futile. There can be no overcoming, no triumph, because what the Baltimore people did was just so vicious, so cruel, and so brutal, the destruction of Christopher so final and so complete. A positive resolution would be possible in the imaginary world if Christopher had merely been killed, but that’s not what happened. Christopher was killed after having already died. And not just once, in Baltimore, but dozens of times, in dozens of cities all over the world. Christopher was killed in the most vicious, cruel, and brutal ways, again and again and again, when he could do absolutely nothing to defend himself. Killing a historical figure in statue form is simply the meanest action imaginable, because it completely destroys the person, not just in the real world, but also in the imaginary one.

That is the nature of an abomination. It doesn’t only wreak destruction in the real world. It reaches into the imaginary world and destroys that, too.

Police did nothing to stop the bullies from murdering Christopher. Nor did they do anything to arrest them, or charge them with any crimes. The mayor neglected to condemn the bullies, or even to criticize them in any way. Leaders of the Italian American community in Baltimore, those who should have been fighting most fiercely on Christopher’s behalf, stated that they did not wish the perpetrators to be punished. Instead, they agreed to reward the perpetrators, and to inflict yet further harm on Christopher, by removing his name from the piazza where he was murdered and renaming it the “Piazza Little Italy.”

The reaction, or lack thereof, from those who are supposed to enforce justice and protect people’s rights, only adds to the magnitude of the abomination.

The nature of an abomination is that it contaminates everything around it. Obviously, I hate the perpetrators of this abomination. I hate them as fiercely as it is possibly to hate anyone or anything. I also hate the city of Baltimore itself. Hearing or seeing the city’s name is enough to fill me with a sinking feeling of revulsion and disgust. I hate the state of Maryland. I hate the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens. I hate the Preakness Stakes, and I hate Pimlico race course. On bad days, I hate the Triple Crown, because the Preakness is part of it, and even horse racing in its entirety. On really bad days, I hate every person who is from Maryland or who has ever lived there. For example, I might think of the fact that Katie Ledecky is from Bethesda, Maryland, which causes me to hate swimming, and by extension, to hate the Olympics.

Because of the abomination that happened in Baltimore, it is difficult for me to sleep, it is difficult for me to be awake, and it is difficult for me to continue existing in this world. I am filled with shame and revulsion at the thought that I am a citizen of the same country where such an abomination happened. The same country in which a mayor, a police force, a governor, a president, a congress, the Italian American community, and the population as a whole have decided that this abomination is perfectly fine, that it does not merit any type of condemnation or criticism. That Christopher’s life, apparently, does not matter, because he is not black.

My hatred for the perpetrators of this abomination is so strong that I yearn to rip them limb from limb, to strangle them, to drown them. I wish for them to experience what Christopher did, when they so brutally murdered him. I wish for them to be tortured to death, and I would gladly be the one to carry it out. Failing that, I wish myself to die. Because I cannot live if doing so means living on the same planet, and being part of the same species, as the people who did this. Because one planet does not seem big enough for both me and the Baltimore people to coexist.

I cannot live in a society that has decided that the appropriate response to an abomination is to rename the very piazza where it occurred in order to better accommodate the preferences of its perpetrators.

I will never, ever forget, and I will never, ever forgive what the people (and I use that term loosely) in Baltimore did to Christopher Columbus. What they did is despicable. It destroyed my entire world and created an abomination in the universe that contaminates everything in its vicinity.

They do not hold the moral high ground.

bookmark_borderThe immorality of the Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently made the below Facebook post, which really angered me. 

This post is infuriating for numerous reasons:

“It’s past time we remove ALL memorials dedicated to the Confederacy!”

False. As an autistic person whose special interest is the Confederacy, memorials dedicated to the Confederacy are necessary in order for me to have a life that is worth living. A world without memorials dedicated to the Confederacy is a world that might as well not even exist at all. So, no, it is not “past time” to remove the things that I need in order to have a life worth living. Removing things that people need in order to have a life worth living should never be done at any point in time. 

Each and every removal of a Confederate monument has inflicted horrific and unbearable pain on me. Each and every removal of a Confederate monument is completely unacceptable. What actually needs to be done is to put these monuments back in their rightful locations in order to rectify the painful situation. Not to inflict even more pain, as the SPLC advocates. 

“Earlier this week, Richmond, Virginia, continued taking action to correct its alignment with the divisive Confederacy: The very last Confederate monument sitting on public space in the city was removed.” 

Richmond, Virginia was not taking action to “correct” anything. Alignment with the Confederacy is a good thing, because the Confederacy was fighting against the federal government. For this reason, everyone should be aligned with the Confederacy, and the fact that some people and places aren’t, is the thing that needs to be corrected. Rather, Richmond, Virginia was taking an action that inflicted horrific and unbearable pain and destroyed everything that makes life worth living. I don’t understand why anyone would consider this to be even remotely a good thing. Allowing people to have lives that are worth living is not something that needs to be corrected. 

Also, I’m not sure what the “divisiveness” of the Confederacy has to do with anything. Whether something is divisive or not is determined by what the public opinion happens to be in a society. If something is liked by most people, then it is not considered divisive. If people have strongly differing opinions about something, then it is considered divisive. But moral right and wrong are objective truths that have nothing to do with what happens to be popular in a society. Therefore, whether or not something is divisive has nothing to do with whether the thing in question is good or bad. Calling the Confederacy “divisive” in this context is a logical fallacy. The Confederacy may well be divisive, but that has nothing to do with its moral goodness or badness.

“If the former flagship of the Confederacy can remove all of its Confederate monuments, then all of our cities can.”

Um, yes, all of our cities can commit immoral actions that inflict horrific and unbearable pain and destroy everything that makes life worth living. But given that such actions are immoral, inflict horrific and unbearable pain, and destroy everything that makes life worth living, I’m not sure why anyone would advocate that cities do so.

“Explore our resources to find out more about the history of Confederate monuments and what you can do to help remove them.”

Again, given that removing Confederate monuments is immoral, inflicts horrific and unbearable pain, and destroys everything that makes life worth living, I’m not sure why anyone would want to help do this, or why anyone would advocate such a thing.

“Take down monuments glorifying the Confederacy.”

Given that monuments glorifying the Confederacy are necessary for me to have a life that is worth living, no, no one should take down monuments glorifying the Confederacy. 

Taking down monuments glorifying the Confederacy is immoral, because it inflicts horrific and unbearable pain and destroys everything that makes life worth living

In case I haven’t made myself sufficiently clear: inflicting horrific and unbearable pain, and destroying everything that makes life worth living, is bad. It is not okay. It is not even remotely a positive thing. It is not something that should ever be done, advocated for, praised, or celebrated in any way. 

It is beyond wrong and beyond infuriating that after two and a half years of literally hundreds of instances of horrific pain being inflicted on me, the SPLC would advocate for the infliction of yet more pain. That after two and a half years of getting their way on essentially everything – the rights, feelings, and perspectives of other people be damned – the SPLC would demand even more. That after two and a half years of brutal, vicious destruction of everything beautiful and good in the world, the SPLC would consider the continued existence of a meager handful of beautiful and good things to be the problem.

Pardon my French, but… fuck the Southern Poverty Law Center, their bigotry, and their complete and utter lack of empathy and human decency.

People who advocate for the infliction of horrific and unbearable pain, and for the eradication of everything that makes life worth living, do not hold the moral high ground.

bookmark_borderPatrick Lindsay is a pathetic little bitch

If it weren’t bad enough that the city of Richmond decided to desecrate the grave of General A.P. Hill, the contractor who carried out the hideous work decided to make things even worse with a series of flippant and sometimes profane Facebook posts insulting and ridiculing General Hill.

Patrick Lindsay, the Director of Operations of the contracting company in question, made an extensive series of posts showing the once magnificent monument being hideously dismantled and the grave site being turned into a pathetic pile of rubble. Lindsay brags about his role in the despicable act of desecration and proudly poses for a selfie in front of his horrific handiwork.

“AP Hill caved like a pathetic little bitch,” Lindsay wrote in one caption.

In another post, he wrote: “As far as I can tell the inventory was a few buttons, the brass hardware from the oaken box, two femurs, a skull, some assorted ribs, and a pelvis… No partridges. No pear trees.”

Seeing the photos of this vicious and intentional destruction makes me feel as if my soul is being crushed, and as if a knife is being twisted in my heart. Yet again, everything that makes my life worth living, dismantled piece by excruciating piece, deliberately reduced to a pitiful pile of rocks. The fact that anyone could witness (let alone participate in) such a thing and post about it in such a casual, flippant, and joking manner… is incomprehensible. Disgusting. Appalling. Abhorrent. No words are quite sufficient to express the pain that these actions have caused me.

So I’d like to correct Mr. Lindsay.

In reality, A.P. Hill was a brave and skilled general who fought for what he believed in.

And in reality, Patrick Lindsay is a pathetic little bitch.

Patrick Lindsay has never in his life demonstrated even a shred of courage, integrity, or moral character. In fact, he chose to do the most cowardly thing a human being could ever do. He chose to attack, insult, and ridicule someone who is completely helpless, someone who cannot do anything whatsoever to defend himself. Someone who is dead.

Hopefully Patrick Lindsay dies painfully one day, like A.P. Hill did, and hopefully, years later, someone desecrates his grave, digs up his remains, and profanely insults and ridicules him. Then maybe his soul (if it even exists, which is doubtful, now that I think about it) will look upon what is happening and gain a tiny shred of understanding of what A.P. Hill has gone through.

Far too many people have lost sight of the fact that every historical figure was a human being. And no human being deserves to be treated the way A.P. Hill has been treated.

A.P. Hill didn’t deserve to be murdered by an invading army that was waging a war to force people to remain part of the United States against their will. (That was what the Union side in the Civil War was doing.)

A.P. Hill didn’t deserve to be murdered again, over 150 years after his physical death, by having his statue obliterated and his remains desecrated.

A.P. Hill didn’t deserve to be insulted and ridiculed by a coward who has never suffered any hardships, never taken a stand for any principles, and never contributed anything positive to the world.

I stand with A.P. Hill.

Pardon my French, but…

Fuck Patrick Lindsay, and fuck every miserable excuse for a person who thinks that murdering historical figures is even remotely acceptable.

bookmark_borderMarriage is not “the very definition of freedom and liberty”

Rep. Nancy Mace recently wrote an opinion piece for Fox News in which she argued in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act. “The right to marry the person you love is the very definition of freedom and liberty,” Mace wrote.

I strongly disagree with this claim. There are numerous rights that are far more basic and fundamental than the ability to marry. To give a few examples:

  • The right to purchase, carry, own, and possess firearms and other weapons
  • The right to decide whether or not to get a medical procedure
  • The right to consume whatever substances one wishes, in whatever amounts one wishes
  • The right to spend one’s time the way one wishes
  • The right to move about freely
  • The right to keep one’s own money
  • The right to be free from searches of one’s person, possessions, and property
  • The right to privacy of one’s medical information
  • The right to privacy of one’s internet browsing activity
  • The right to privacy, period.

The very definition of freedom and liberty is the ability to live your life as you please. The activities most central to freedom and liberty are individual activities, not social ones or communal ones. In other words, the activities most central to freedom and liberty are activities that people do alone, or at least activities that do not require the involvement of other people in order to be meaningful or to make sense. And that is what the activities listed above have in common. The definition of freedom and liberty is the ability to do what one wishes to do, without interference from others.

There is definitely an argument to be made that people have a right to enter into whatever types of relationships they wish with other people. Items in this category include marriage, as well as freedom of association and freedom of assembly. But these types of freedoms are not as fundamental as the right to be free from interference, aggression, pressure, or coercion. Individual rights are the very definition of freedom and liberty.

It is angering that many on the left-hand side of the political spectrum (I place Rep. Mace into this category even though she is technically a Republican) place such a large degree of importance on freedoms that are related to sex, without seeming to place any importance whatsoever on other types of freedoms. People who subscribe to this way of thinking go on and on about abortion, contraception, marriage, and the ability to express oneself sexually and have one’s sexual identity respected. Ad nauseam, they insult and vilify Republicans for allegedly threatening to take away “our rights and freedoms.” Yet with regard to non-sex-related freedoms, the left is either apathetic or actively hostile (gun rights, the right to decline medical intervention, the right to move about freely, the right to keep one’s own money, and the right to medical privacy, to name just a few freedoms that the left has recently been crusading passionately against). To many politicians, it is apparently perfectly fine for people to be able to do whatever they want sex-wise, while at the same time having absolutely no freedom in any other areas of their lives. This obsession with sex is illogical and hypocritical. Sex is not the only aspect of life that matters – and for some people sex is not part of their lives at all! – so it is important that all freedoms and liberties be protected, and not only sex-related ones.

It is shameful that Congress is spending time and energy protecting the “right” to marry the person you love, while actual rights are under assault. The heart and soul of liberty – its very definition – consists of freedom from interference by other people. Until that most fundamental form of freedom is universally respected, unanimously agreed upon, and secured for everyone beyond the shadow of a doubt, it is hurtful and wrong to focus on the freedom to marry.

bookmark_border“They don’t deserve their jobs back”

“1,400 people voluntarily quit their jobs rather than get vaccinated. They don’t deserve their jobs back. They chose not to do a very, very harmless thing that protects the rest of society. [Expletive] them. I don’t give a [expletive]. ‘This is unfair,’ [expletive] deal with it.”

These are the words of someone named Chris Baugh, an employee of the New York City mayor’s office, which were brought to light last month in a Project Veritas report.

It is disturbing and infuriating that anyone would think, let alone say, such things.

Yes, the 1,400 employees chose not to take an action that protects the rest of society.* So what? People are not morally obligated to protect the rest of society. People are obligated merely to abstain from actively harming people. There simply is no moral obligation to protect other people. I don’t understand why Baugh would react with such viciousness and nastiness towards people who did not harm anyone, but merely abstained from actively protecting others. These employees did nothing wrong.

Then there is the fact that getting a vaccine is not harmless, let alone “very, very” harmless. Getting the covid vaccine requires one’s skin to be penetrated with a needle. That is inherently harmful. Maybe not hugely so… but the magnitude of the harm does not matter. There is no moral obligation to make any sacrifice to protect other people, no matter how small. When you take into account the fact that covid vaccines frequently cause people to become sick for up to 48 hours (that’s a pretty long time to be sick in my book), plus the risk of serious side effects such as strokes and myocarditis, it becomes even more incorrect to call the vaccines harmless.

Contrary to Mr. Baugh’s assertion, the city employees who lost their jobs due to declining a medical intervention absolutely do deserve their jobs back. These employees did nothing wrong; therefore they did not deserve to be punished by having their employment terminated. Declining medical intervention is something that people have a fundamental right to do. Declining medical intervention is not wrong, and it is never acceptable to punish people for it in any way. This is a very, very important moral principle that I will continue to reiterate as long it is not universally agreed upon.

“[Expletive] them”? Really? No, [expletive] you, Mr. Baugh, for your cruelty, viciousness, and nastiness towards people who did absolutely nothing wrong.

How dare you ridicule people for claiming that vaccine mandates are unfair, when in reality, vaccine mandates are unfair, and therefore the people you are ridiculing are saying something that is completely true?

How dare you not “give a [expletive]” about the fact that people’s rights were violated?

And how dare you demand that people who unjustly lost their jobs “deal with it”?

Requiring someone to get a medical procedure as a condition of employment is morally wrong, is unfair, and violates the person’s rights. People should not be expected to “deal with” things that are morally wrong and unfair and that violate their rights. If something is morally wrong, unfair, and violates people’s rights, as is the case with vaccine mandates, then it should not be tolerated, accepted, or dealt with; it should be gotten rid of.

But apparently, Chris Baugh believes that morally wrong, unfair, and rights-violating situations are perfectly fine, and that the people who voice their opposition to them are the problem.

Fortunately, Baugh was fired on October 20, the day after his words were published. Someone who has demonstrated such appalling moral bankruptcy deserves neither a job nor, in my opinion, the right to breathe oxygen or exist on this earth.

*Although even that is debatable, because covid vaccines seem to have almost zero effect on the actual spread of covid, but only its severity.

bookmark_border“Just get the shot”

“Or just help yourself and people around you to stay healthy. Just get the shot.”

I recently saw this comment on a social media post. Quite frankly, this comment pisses me off. 

No, we do not have to get the shot. 

People can get the shot if they want to. People can choose not to get the shot if that is what they prefer. Both options are equally good and equally valid.

People have a fundamental right not to get the shot.

It really is not a difficult concept to understand.

How dare this person order other people to get a shot? What right does this person have to do such a thing?

How dare this person presume that he/she has the right to tell other people what they must do with their bodies?

Also, getting the shot doesn’t necessarily help a person to stay healthy. Even if it did, people have a fundamental right to decide for themselves what measures, if any, to take to stay healthy. People have a fundamental right to decide for themselves what risks, if any, to take with their health. Additionally, people have no obligation to help the people around them stay healthy. A person’s health is his/her own business, not the business of others.

The attitude demonstrated by this person reminds me of the screaming, angry rant of a sports commentator who, during the halftime of an NBA game, viciously insulted Kyrie Irving for his decision to abstain from the vaccine. “Just get a damn shot!” he shouted, as part of a stream of vitriol and abuse.

This nastiness towards someone who did nothing wrong completely baffles me and blows my mind. Why would someone feel anger towards Kyrie Irving for a medical decision that he made about his own body? The medical decisions that Kyrie makes are no one’s business but his. How could someone be angry about something that is none of his business?

I have the right to make decisions about my body. You have the right to make decisions about your body. You do not have the right to make decisions about my body.

Kyrie has the right to make decisions about Kyrie’s body. A nasty, yelling commentator does not have the right to make decisions about Kyrie’s body.

Contrary to said commentator’s claim, Kyrie actually doesn’t have to get a shot if he doesn’t want to. 

His body, his choice.

The attitude demonstrated by both the social media commenter and the TV analyst is immoral, illogical, and incomprehensible. This attitude pisses me off, and it needs to stop, yesterday.

People have a fundamental right not to get the shot.

You have no right to order them to get it.

It really is that simple.

bookmark_borderThe disgusting bigotry and sadism of David Leavitt

In one of the most disgusting, appalling, and hypocritical series of actions that I have ever seen, a so-called “journalist” named David Leavitt decided to viciously insult a political candidate, and subsequently to call Child Protective Services on said candidate, for the crime of having attended a Columbus Day ceremony with her daughter.

Leavitt instigated this conflict with Virginia state senate candidate Tina Ramirez by attacking her, asking on Twitter: “Why are you celebrating torture, rape, murder, and enslavement?”

When Ramirez dared to defend herself, Leavitt sicced his 330,000 followers on her by asking them, “Can someone please call child care services on Tina Ramirez who’s teaching her child to be a racist?”

Leavitt then proceeded to retweet dozens of mindless, sycophantic comments insulting both Ramirez and Christopher Columbus. And then, apparently too impatient to wait for his followers to do so, Leavitt called Child Protective Services himself and detailed his experience waiting on hold in a lengthy tweet thread.

And then, because this horrendous behavior apparently wasn’t horrendous enough, Leavitt complained when a Twitter user actually had the guts to stand up to him. “I’m being the subject of targeted harassment by someone who’s celebrating the torture, rape, murder, and enslavement of indigenous peoples,” he preposterously wrote. This after he instigated a conflict with an innocent person, who was minding her own business, by viciously insulting her and then urging his 330,000 followers to call CPS on her. For someone to complain that he is “being the subject of targeted harassment” immediately after himself instigating a campaign of targeted harassment is so hypocritical that it boggles the mind. I repeat: Leavitt is the one instigating a campaign of targeted harassment. He is the perpetrator of targeted harassment, not the victim.

Unbelievably, what I have described does not capture the full extent of Leavitt’s disgusting behavior. Throughout Columbus Day, he posted tweet after tweet characterizing the holiday as “celebrating torture, rape, murder, and enslavement.”

These comments are profoundly wrong. As I explained in an earlier blog post, obliterating a historical figure’s existence by removing their statues, monuments, and holidays inflicts harm and suffering on those historical figures and is the equivalent of torturing them to death. Given the enormous harm that has already been inflicted on Columbus through the grotesque dismemberment of his statues, celebrating “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” is the equivalent of going up to a person who is lying in a hospital bed in critical condition, and stomping on his face. To celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day is to celebrate and honor people who are brutally dismembering, and torturing to death, a historical figure.

So, no, Tina Ramirez was not “celebrating torture, rape, murder, and enslavement,” nor was she “teaching her child to be a racist.” She was celebrating Christopher Columbus. She was comforting, helping, and expressing solidarity with a person who has suffered enormous harm. And Leavitt chose to attack her for this. Leavitt chose to attack Ramirez because she helped a person in pain as opposed to stomping on his face.

No, the individual falsely accused by Leavitt of “targeted harassment” was not “celebrating the torture, rape, murder, and enslavement of indigenous peoples.” He was celebrating Christopher Columbus. He was expressing solidarity with a person who is suffering, as opposed to stomping on his face. And Leavitt chose to attack him for this.

“To all the companies “celebrating” torture, rape, murder, enslavement, and exploitation with the Happy Columbus Day posts: I see you #IndigenousPeoplesDay,” wrote Leavitt. But no companies were celebrating torture, rape, murder, enslavement, or exploitation. The companies were celebrating Christopher Columbus. These companies chose to express solidarity with a person who is suffering, as opposed to stomping on his face. And Leavitt chose to attack them for this.

“Why is the @GOP celebrating torture, rape, murder, and enslavement?” Leavitt asked. But the GOP was not celebrating torture, rape, murder, or enslavement. They were celebrating Christopher Columbus. They were expressing solidarity with a person who is suffering, as opposed to stomping on his face. And Leavitt chose to attack them for this.

“I just had to report a death threat from someone who’s who’s celebrating the torture, rape, murder, and enslavement of indigenous peoples,” wrote Leavitt. But no, this person was not celebrating the torture, rape, murder, or enslavement of indigenous peoples. The person was expressing solidarity with someone who is suffering, as opposed to stomping on his face. And Leavitt chose to attack him for this.

“I’m not religious, but people who celebrating torture, rape, murder, and enslavement surely don’t go to heaven,” Leavitt wrote. But no one was celebrating torture, rape, murder, or enslavement. The people in question were celebrating Christopher Columbus. They were expressing solidarity with someone who is suffering. And in my opinion, helping a suffering person makes one much more worthy of going to Heaven than stomping on his face.

To sum up, comforting, helping, and expressing solidarity with a suffering person is not the same thing as “celebrating torture, rape, murder, and enslavement.” In reality, David Leavitt and all those who celebrate “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” have been celebrating the infliction of harm, suffering, and pain. They have been celebrating the fact that a historical figure is being dismembered and tortured to death. For a person to celebrate something so unworthy of celebration is despicable enough, but Leavitt takes things even further by aggressively and viciously attacking anyone who has the audacity not to join him in his “celebration.” Leavitt chose, again and again, to aggressively and viciously attack people because they comforted, helped, and expressed solidarity with a suffering historical figure instead of stomping on his face. Perhaps Leavitt was somehow trying to make himself look and feel morally superior by beating up on someone who is wounded, hurting, and completely unable to defend himself. But all he did was reveal himself to be a nasty, sadistic bully with no compassion and no empathy. He should be ashamed of his words and behavior.

bookmark_borderThere is no right to “feel safe”

“Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, in their schools, and in their places of worship. With handgun violence increasing across Canada, it is our duty to take urgent action to remove these daily weapons from our communities. Today, we’re keeping more guns out of our communities, and keeping our kids safe.”

These words by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are despicable and disturbing on many levels.

Most importantly, neither Canadians, nor any people for that matter, have the right to “feel safe” anywhere. Safety is not a right; liberty is. What that means is that people have the right to do anything they want, as long as it does not directly harm anyone else. People have a right not to be harmed; this is what restricts the things that others are allowed to do. People do not, however, have a right to feel safe. This is because the things that some people require in order to feel safe would actually require violation of the rights of others. For example, say that a person, in order to feel safe, requires their environment to be made gun-free and/or restrictions to be imposed on the ownership or possessions of guns by others. Achieving these conditions would require other people to be harmed by having their freedom to own and possess guns taken away. People do not have a right to anything that would violate the rights of others. Therefore, people do not have a right to feel safe.

Trudeau also errs when he claims that he has a “duty to take urgent action.” Actually, because the action taken by Trudeau violates people’s rights, Trudeau does not even have the right to take this action, let alone the duty.

Additionally, Trudeau errs in citing the increase in handgun violence across Canada as a reason for violating people’s rights. The conditions that exist in a particular place, or at a particular time, actually have nothing to do with which policies governments should implement. This is because the sole purpose of government policies should be to specify which rights people have, and to punish people who violate the rights of others. The moral principle that I explained above, which determines the rights that people have, is universal and objective and does not change based on what conditions happen to exist in a particular place or time. Therefore, government policies with regard to guns should have nothing to do with the amount of gun violence that happens to exist in the country. The only policy that any government should have with regard to guns is a policy stating that people have a fundamental right to gun ownership and possession. People’s rights are not dependent on living in a country that happens to have low gun violence rates.

Also, why is Trudeau bragging about “keeping more guns out of our communities”? Why is this considered good? Guns are morally neutral. Having lots of guns in a community is in no way a worse state of affairs than having few guns in a community, so this statement does not make sense.

Plus, why does Trudeau specifically mention “keeping our kids safe”? What does a person’s age have to do with the importance of keeping that person safe? Apparently, the safety of adults does not matter to Trudeau.

Trudeau needs to place less emphasis on “communities” and more emphasis on individuals. He needs to place less value on safety and more value on liberty. Trudeau needs to stop his morally bankrupt and illogical behavior that has inflicted enormous harm and punishment on innocent people. He needs to stop obsessing about “kids” and “safety” and “communities” and start actually respecting people’s fundamental rights.

bookmark_border“Torture, rape, murder, and enslavement”

“Why are you celebrating torture, rape, murder, and enslavement?”

These are the words that a despicable person (and I use that term loosely) posted on Twitter. Said person (again, using the term loosely) repeated these words again and again, aggressively attacking people, companies, and organizations that had the audacity to wish their followers a happy Columbus Day.

To say that these words are false is the greatest understatement imaginable. These words are so wrong that there are no words in the English language (or any language) adequate to convey the extent of their wrongness, or to describe the rage and grief that consume my entire being upon reading them. These words are beyond harmful, beyond demoralizing, beyond overwhelming, and beyond infuriating. As I’ve written before, attacks on Christopher Columbus cause me unbearable and indescribable pain, and these anti-Columbus words are among the most egregious that have ever been uttered.

Often, when I read or see or her words such as these, I am paralyzed. I am filled with such excruciating pain that I cannot act, cannot think, am not capable of rational thought. My emotions are so strong that they cannot be expressed in words. And because there are no words to fully capture the wrongness of what I have read, I often don’t write or say anything at all.

Unfortunately, these disgusting and excruciatingly painful words are only one drop of water in a vast ocean of disgusting and excruciatingly painful sentiments that have been expressed to mark the occasion of Columbus Day. As I sit paralyzed, horrible words continue to come in, forming a pile of horribleness that grows larger and larger with each new social media post, news article, or politician’s statement. Doing nothing is the worst possible thing to do, because failing to publicly condemn these words implies that I am okay with them, or at least don’t consider them a serious problem. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

So even though there are no words adequate to express the extent of the wrongness, I have to try. I have to condemn the horrible attacks as strongly as I can, even if no words are quite strong enough. I have to explain why the statements are wrong, using the best and most accurate words that I can. I have to convey, as completely as possible, how much pain the horrible words inflict on me. I am learning to accept that unless I magically become immortal and acquire a source of unlimited income so that I no longer have to work, the pile of horribleness will likely never go down to zero. But it is better to rebut some of the horribleness than none.

Some days, I have the time and energy to tackle some of the horrible things from the pile. On those days, I feel all right. I feel that I am doing something to fight back against the people doing the horrible things. On other days, my mind collapses under the weight of the pile. On those days, I am overwhelmed by both the egregiousness and the enormous quantity of the horribleness that has happened.

This explains why I am not always able to write about the horrible things happening in the world in a timely manner. But even if I write about a horrible thing long after it happened, I think it is still worth doing. It is better to condemn and rebut something at a seemingly random time than to let it go without any condemnation or rebuttal at all. I hope over the coming days, weeks, and months to tackle some of the horrible things that have been said on the topic of Columbus Day, starting with the grotesque “torture, rape, murder, and enslavement” comments.

bookmark_borderWhy I say Columbus Day, not Indigenous Peoples’ Day

I love Christopher Columbus. My love for Columbus is difficult to explain, to logically justify, or to fully convey in words. I don’t love him in a sexual sense, or even in a romantic sense, but I love him passionately and fiercely. I love him more than anything else in the world.

Perhaps the most significant thing about Columbus, and the first thing that would come to mind if someone asked why I love him, is the fact that he was a brave explorer. I love that he came up with a revolutionary idea and pursued it until he had accomplished his dream, even when people dismissed it as ridiculous. I love that he risked his life crossing an ocean that (as far as he knew) no one had ever crossed before, not knowing how far the voyage would be or exactly what lay on the other side. By all accounts, Columbus was courageous, determined, intelligent, intellectually curious, independent-minded, quirky, and eccentric, all qualities that I admire and would like to think that I possess as well. Like Columbus, I am of Italian descent, so I feel a personal connection to him for that reason as well.

I also love statues of Christopher Columbus. I love that there are (or were, before people started brutally destroying them, but more on that later) so many statues of him all over the world. I love that the statues are both similar and different at the same time. Almost all of them depict a heroic-looking man with long hair and some sort of old-fashioned tunic and/or cape. But the statues are of different sizes, made of different materials, posed in different positions, different in their facial features and appearance, and wearing different variations of the same basic style of outfit. Some wear hats and some do not. Some hold maps, or binoculars, or swords, or other accessories, while others do not.

All of the things that I have listed above are reasons why I love Christopher Columbus and his statues. But it is impossible to reduce my love of Columbus to any of these things, or even the entire list of things collectively. As the saying goes, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Although words cannot fully capture my love for Columbus, and logic cannot fully justify it, neither of those things makes my love for Columbus any less valid or any less important. Columbus is the most important thing in the world to me. He is absolutely necessary to my happiness and well-being, necessary for me to have a life that is worth living. Columbus is irreplaceable, and it is obscene to suggest that he simply be replaced by another historical Italian American who is deemed more “acceptable” by the political establishment.

Obviously, Columbus does not exist in the same way that regular people do. In a literal sense and in a biological sense, he is dead, of course. But the way I see it, he lives on in the form of statues, monuments, holidays, places, and things named for him. Christopher Columbus exists as a historical figure. He exists in an abstract sense and in a spiritual sense. He exists in various forms all across the world. In the form of statues, his existence is made concrete. In other words, I think of Columbus as one person, but with numerous bodies. He is both one and many at the same time.

Unfortunately, in recent years, a movement has increased in popularity and power, a movement whose goal is to obliterate Columbus as a historical figure. Their goal, the way that I perceive it, is to murder Columbus. Not to murder him in a literal, biological sense, or a sense that is recognized by the law. But a sense that, to me, is just as real. And unfortunately, this movement has been very successful. At the hands of this movement, Columbus has been decapitated, smashed to pieces, hacked apart with axes and sledgehammers, strangled with nooses tightened around his neck, set on fire, and thrown into harbors and rivers. Dozens and dozens of Columbus’s bodies have been viciously destroyed with appalling cruelty. Because Columbus exists in numerous forms, he will not be completely killed as a historical figure until and unless every single one of these bodies is destroyed. But as the anti-Columbus movement continues to gain popularity and power, Columbus grows weaker. I imagine his power, presence, strength, and existence as a historical figure dwindling every time a body (or holiday or place name) is destroyed or removed from public view. I picture him screaming in anguish, writhing in agony, and crying tears of despair as more and more pieces of him are cruelly hacked off and chipped away.

Because I love Columbus, the actions of the anti-Columbus movement inflict unimaginable and unbearable pain on me. These actions are beyond harmful, beyond demoralizing, beyond hope-destroying, beyond overwhelming, and beyond infuriating. Hearing about, reading about, seeing images of, or even merely thinking about any attack on Columbus fills me with indescribable grief and rage. My stomach feels sick, my entire body is wracked with pain, and every atom feels like it is exploding in agony. My entire being feels like it is getting eviscerated. My soul feels as if it is being trampled on, crushed into the ground, pulverized, and turned to dust. My mind is entirely consumed by images of the man that I love being dismembered and tortured, his beautiful body being smashed to pieces, his head being ripped from his shoulders. The images are so vivid in their violence and their brutality that they obliterate any possibility of hope, positivity, or happiness. There are no words that fully capture this pain, other than to say that it is the worst pain imaginable.

Every time a new statue is removed, torn down, or vandalized, the pain erupts all over again. The pain erupts every time something named after Columbus gets renamed, and it erupts every time a city or state changes Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” The pain erupts every time I see or hear any criticism of Columbus or any opinions in support of removing Columbus statues or Columbus Day. The pain erupts every time I see a social media post wishing people “Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” when I see signs referring to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in the windows of businesses, and whenever I see the words “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” at all.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a celebration of the dismemberment and torture of the man I love.

If you think this is an unfair characterization, consider how the pro-statue movement was treated after the protest that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. Because one pro-statue protestor committed the (alleged) crime of vehicular homicide, the entire pro-statue movement was punished with both universal condemnation and a doubling-down on the despicable trend of statue removal. Given that the entire pro-statue movement was brutally punished for the actions of one person, it is not unreasonable to demand that the entire anti-Columbus movement be punished for the hundreds of vicious acts of dismemberment and torture that have been perpetrated all over the country against the man that I love.

In my opinion, the only correct response to the horrific crimes perpetrated against Columbus would be to hold the entire anti-Columbus movement accountable. The leaders of this movement should be required to wholeheartedly, sincerely, and completely denounce these despicable acts before society even remotely considers adding any new statues, monuments, place names, or holidays favored by the anti-Columbus movement. And if the leaders of the anti-Columbus movement fail to denounce the despicable acts, then society should begin removing the existing statues, monuments, place names, and holidays favored by this movement. If you think that this is unfair, consider the fact that this is exactly how the pro-statue movement was treated after Charlottesville.

But of course, society did the exact opposite of what it should have done. When people who hate historical figures have committed horrific acts of violence against them, not only is their entire movement not punished, but the individuals who perpetrated the acts aren’t either. Out of all the people who beheaded, strangled, burned, drowned, and dismembered the man I love, almost none were arrested, charged with any offenses, or even criticized by anyone other than me and a small handful of people. Making matters even worse, both the individual perpetrators and their movement as a whole were actually rewarded for their horrific actions. Public officials chose to respond to the torturing and dismembering of Columbus by taking down additional Columbus statues, by removing Columbus’s name from additional things, and by replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. They responded to a targeted campaign of torture and dismemberment against an individual by rewarding the perpetrators and by further harming the victim. In other words, society has decided that the torturing and dismembering of Christopher Columbus is worthy of being celebrated with a holiday.

There are no words that fully convey how morally wrong this is. To call this unfair, unjust, harmful, or hurtful is an understatement. Despicable, disgusting, reprehensible, repugnant, appalling, abhorrent… none of these words are quite strong enough, either. As I wrote above, the pain that this inflicts on me is the worst pain imaginable. When the pain is at its worst, I wonder how I can continue to live in the society that decided this. I wonder how I can possibly have a future in a society that chose to establish a holiday celebrating the infliction of horrific pain on both myself and the man I love and honoring its perpetrators.

In conclusion, when you say “Columbus Day,” you are affirming that it is not okay to brutalize, dismember, torture, and murder a historical figure who can do nothing to defend himself. You are expressing solidarity with someone who has been horrifically harmed. You are making a small gesture to help a suffering human being. For every person who honors and celebrates Columbus on Columbus Day, his existence as a historical figure is protected and solidified, a tiny iota of his strength is restored, his pain is slightly eased, and his grievous wounds are helped just a little bit to heal.

When you say “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” you are saying that to brutalize, dismember, torture, and murder a defenseless human being is good and should be celebrated. You are saying that it is good to inflict horrific harm and pain. You are saying that when a person is suffering, the correct thing to do is not to comfort him, but to stomp on his face and inflict further pain. When you say “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” you are expressing solidarity not with the victims of appallingly cruel and harmful actions, but with the perpetrators.

Personally, I don’t really think those are good sentiments to be expressing.

That is why I call the second Monday in October, Columbus Day.