Rotherham and Charlottesville

I’m with Streetwise Professor here:

The battle over the monuments is not really about the monuments. It’s not even really about the legacy of the Civil War. It is about the left’s vision of what America was, is, and will be. Here’s the most important thing to remember. The hard-core left that is the driving force behind extirpating the icons of the Confederacy does not see it, or the Old South, as an exception, a deviation from an otherwise laudable and righteous history: they see it as just one manifestation of the fundamental evil of America, evil that is writ on every page of history from 1607 on down. In this worldview, the United States has been, from even before its formal beginning, characterized by racism, sexism, and oppressive capitalism. It is not something that is basically good, but which has fallen short of achieving its lofty ideals: it is something that is fundamentally rotten, and which must be transformed by any means necessary.

There is an argument to be had regarding the future of Confederate monuments and statues, but nobody wants that. The people calling for the removal of the monuments have no idea who Lee was and are probably incapable of understanding the complexities of the Civil War. The Confederate statues are simply the latest in an ever-expanding list of political demands issued by an unelected mob which, for now, appears to have the run of the place. Rest assured, if every Confederate monument was taken down and melted into scrap this evening, the mob would be on the streets demanding something else by lunchtime Saturday.

One doesn’t have to like General Lee, the Confederacy, or slavery to realise that clamping down on this poisonous and dangerous movement ought to be a priority for ordinary Americans. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to want to, perhaps believing the mob can be appeased, or contained, or kept away from them and their families. Realistically speaking, they may be right: most people’s lives go on unaffected by the mob, and choosing to ignore it rather than risk serious escalation isn’t completely ridiculous. But they may be wrong, and when it is their door being burned down it will be too late.

One of the most shameful events in British recent history is the Rotherham child abuse scandal. What makes it doubly shameful is that it fell to the odious, far-right leader Nick Griffin to raise stink about it – which cost him a night in the cells for his efforts. Everybody else stayed silent while teenage girls were being systematically abused with the authorities covering it up. This is bad enough in itself, but if the sole voice trying to raise the alarm is a neo-Nazi, then the country has deep problems indeed. My point is that it should never have been left to Nick Griffin to bring the plight of the Rotherham teenagers to public attention, ordinary people should have been doing that and they didn’t.

So lets go back to Charlottesville. Why did it fall to a bunch of neo-Nazis to defend the Confederate monuments from a mob bent on destroying American society? Where was everyone else? Sure, I know their motivations for protecting the statue were far from pure, and pretty damned disgusting. But that’s what everyone said about Nick Griffin: he’s only highlighting teenage girls being gang-raped because of the race of the perpetrators. Sorry, but so what? We should ignore the outrage because the one person trying to do something about it has impure motives? As far as cop-outs go, that’s a Saturn V.

Perhaps those who elected Donald Trump thought they’d done their bit in November to stop the systematic destruction of America’s history and institutions and didn’t need to do any more. Hopefully after Charlottesville they’ll now understand what is at stake and not leave the defence of what underpins their society to a gaggle of neo-Nazis chanting racist slogans. If they can’t or won’t, or start mincing their words in order to maintain their social status with those who hate them as Mitt Romney and others did yesterday, we should conclude it doesn’t mean that much to them. If that’s the case, then the mob will deserve their victory.


Trump and Charlottesville

It is becoming clear that whatever did or didn’t happen in Charlottesville, it is now the latest thing over which to call for Trump’s removal from office. The idea that a New York property tycoon who happily saw his daughter convert to Judaism in order to marry a Jewish guy is a white supremacist is absolutely laughable, but then so was the collusion with Russia story and look at how long that ran for. The media only dropped it when it started looking like the only people that would be found colluding with Russia were Democrats, and now they need another reason to call for Trump’s impeachment.

Nobody should be surprised by what’s happened in Charlottesville. As others have pointed out, particularly Brendan O’Neill, this is the inevitable outcome of the identity politics which predated Obama but became a defining feature of his two terms. The usual suspects – the media, deranged lefties, and Democrats – have predictably blamed the whole thing on Trump and when he failed to single out their ideological enemies for special criticism, instead preferring to condemn all sides, they took it as proof that he is in fact a Grand Wizard of the KKK. At this stage, one wouldn’t expect anything else.

In addition, you have the Never Trumpers and gelded Republicans condemning Trump, mainly because they don’t like the Alt-Right and, with a lot of them being Jews, don’t like the anti-semitism which plagues those quarters. Their complaint is that in his latest speech Trump differentiated between the Alt-Right and Nazis, which to me seems rather uncontroversial even if there is some overlap. The problem is, the Republicans and Never Trumpers are only marginally more in touch with the millions of voters who put Trump in office than the lunatics calling Trump a white supremacist.

I don’t have a much in common with the Alt-Right politically and they come across to me as a bunch of immature blokes who’ve spent too much time in the comments of red-pill, PUA sites, but they’re a potent political force (for now) and they’re not Nazis. I like that they’re upsetting the cosy apple-cart of the loony-left Democrats and the pointless Republicans because it was an apple-cart that needed upsetting: best it’s done sooner by a bunch of clowns wearing Pepe the Frog t-shirts and a reality TV host than a seriously nasty and capable bastard backed by proper money and interests. As has been pointed out repeatedly, Trump was a symptom not a cause, and his election ought to have served as a shot across the bows of the political establishment, particularly the Republicans, that forces beyond their control are building in American politics. It’s a warning they seem determined to ignore.

The term Nazi has been thrown around so much that when real Nazis show up waving swastikas the only people who care are those who think a Nazi is anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders, and decent Americans who think they ought to say something. I can imagine that after eight years of Obama embracing the BLM movement, race riots in Ferguson and elsewhere, and endless accusations of racism, an awful lot of white Americans are simply shrugging their shoulders at the appearance of a gaggle of supposed Nazis carrying torches they bought at Home Depot. The expectation is that we all rush out to condemn them, but a yawn is probably more realistic. Nobody sane is buying the Nazi bogeyman, and nobody thinks Trump is a white supremacist. I suspect most people aren’t even particularly concerned over his handling of the issue, having learned to ignore the hysterical screaming from the media.

Trump”s opponents have tried the Russian puppet, and now they’re trying the Nazi smear. The old adage of a dead girl or a live boy would more likely get him on the front cover of Vogue than out of office these days. I’m genuinely curious what they’ll try next.


Charlottesville and Robert E. Lee

From the BBC:

The “Unite the Right” march was called to protest against plans to remove a statue of a general who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.

The statue in question, located in Charlottesville, VA, is of General Robert E. Lee. Whilst the BBC’s description is technically accurate, the description is misleading, probably deliberately so: their coverage of Charlottesville is a litany of innuendo and smears, including Trump being a white supremacist. One wouldn’t expect anything else from the BBC of course, but it’s worth looking closer at Robert E. Lee and the reasons why he fought for the Confederacy.

When I was in Nigeria I read James McPherson’s excellent Battle Cry of Freedom, which tells us (pages 280-81):

Lee had made clear his dislike of slavery, which he described in 1856 as “a moral and political evil.” Until the day Virginia left the Union he had also spoken against secession.

But with Virginia’s decision, everything changed. “I must side either with or against my section,” Lee told a northern friend. His choice was foreordained by birth and blood: “I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children.” On the very day he learned of Virginia’s secession, April 18, Lee also received the offer of Union command. He told his friend General Scott regretfully that he must not only decline, but must also resign from the army. “Save in defense of my native State,” said Lee, “I never desire again to draw my sword.”

Most officers from the upper South made a similar decision to go with their states, some without hesitation, others with the same bodeful presentiments that Lee expressed on May 5: “I foresee that the country will have to pass through a terrible ordeal, a necessary expiation perhaps for our national sins.”

In other words, Lee didn’t fight for slavery and secession – and actually opposed both – but regretfully resigned from the United States army in order to defend his native Virginia – the same State that now wants to tear down his statue. I found the reasons various people gave for choosing sides in the American Civil War fascinating, but the complexities of each choice have largely been ignored in contemporary discussions on the subject. I guess the BBC and their ilk prefer to stoke the flames of a race war by implying Lee was fighting to preserve slavery.

Well, they’re getting what they wanted, aren’t they?


Commentary on North Korea

There has a been a lot of commentary over North Korea during the last few days as Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump let each other know their respective policies. Naturally, this has prompted people who know nothing about North Korea (or at least, hide their knowledge well) to score points against Trump. I was rather disappointed to see that Mick Hartley, who is usually pretty sound on North Korea, approvingly quote this garbage:

President Trump is an impulsive egotist with a lot to prove and he’s generally surrounded by yes-men. His threat of “fire and fury like the world has never seen” sounds very much like the nutball threats which the current leader of the Kim family and the North Korean state news agencies frequently make – various rage-and-threat-speak about seas of fire and other such nonsense.

This is a really bad and dangerous situation to start with. It was bad when President Obama left office. It’s gotten much worse since – through some mix of US threats and North Korean testing out the new administration. The worst possible thing is a President who is stupid, impulsively emotional and has something to prove, which is exactly what we have. (You think his litany of failures as President so doesn’t make him eager for a breakout, transformative moment?)  At the risk of stating the obvious, threats like this from a country that has the ability to kill everyone in North Korea at close to a moment’s notice can set off a highly unpredictable chain of events. What if North Korea issues more threats? Presumably Trump fails to respond with a nuclear attack and reveals his threats as empty or – truly, truly unimaginably – he launches a nuclear attack. These are not good choices to face.

The situation with North Korea would be an extreme challenge for a leader with ability and judgment. President Trump is simply too erratic, unstable and dangerous to be in charge in a situation like this.

This piece is not about North Korea at all, it’s about what the author thinks of Trump. North Korea is simply the excuse to write the words down, and adds no value whatsoever. Trump is surrounded my yes-men? Like James Mattis? And hasn’t a rather defining attribute of Trump’s presidency been that he can’t seem to get anyone around him to do what he wants? If any article you read on North Korea focuses mainly on Trump and his supposed inadequacies, it can be safely ignored.

North Korea has been an intractable problem since its formation. Many people are leaping up and down blaming America for Kim Jong-Un’s behaviour and that of his father and grandfather, but this is reflexive ignorance or anti-Americanism, especially now Trump is involved. Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan, and a host of other places in which America has meddled, the problems caused by North Korea can be laid squarely at the feet of the ruling Kim Dynasty, the Soviets who created it, and the Chinese who support it. Blaming the Americans for antagonising the North Koreans is like blaming West Germany for antagonising the Soviets.

It’s not as though America hasn’t tried every approach it could. The idiots wringing their hands over Trump’s rhetoric seem to have missed that every president since Bush Snr. tried and failed to get North Korea to behave, and often acted in full partnership with the UN and China, Russia, and other partners. Every one of them failed, and Trump has inherited a problem which has arguably been made worse by his predecessors’ failures either to take it seriously or to believe the lies told by Kim Jong-Il. At the very least, Trump is trying to deal with the same shit-burger his predecessors did, only now it’s nuclear-armed. The problem is not one of Trump’s own making, and is not being made worse by language, but we can be sure half the west will fall over itself to criticise Trump and downplay the nature of the North Korean regime in order to score political points, undermining any attempt to solve the problem.

Sensible commentary has been provided, as usual, by Streetwise Professor:

North Korea represents one of the most daunting challenges imaginable. Although the North Korean military has aged and obsolete equipment, and would lose in an all out war, it could inflict massive casualties on whomever it fought. Further, it has the Sampson option: with massive conventional and chemical artillery forces in range of Seoul, before it was consumed in the inevitable retaliatory strike, North Korea could kill tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of South Koreans.

As I said, any commentary that emphasises Trump and downplays the enormous challenge North Korea represents can be safely ignored. I think there’s going to be a lot of rubbish written on this subject in the coming weeks and months. Hopefully Mick Hartley will adjust his filter and give us more stuff like this:

All of which sounds fine, but negotiations with North Korea have never worked in the past, simply because they never stick to their side of the bargain.

More importantly, it’s simply not true that Kim only wants to survive. What he really wants – what he’s working towards – is reunification of Korea, on his terms. Not to grasp that point is to fail to understand the dynamics behind Pyongyang’s aggression.

And this:

North Korea would not need intercontinental ballistic missiles to strike South Korea, whose capital sits just 35 miles from their shared border. Pyongyang has had the ability to detonate nuclear devices in Seoul via short- and medium-range ballistic missiles for years. There’s also reason to question the wisdom of nuking a proud, democratic city of 25 million people before attempting to rule it.

What an ICBM does for North Korea is establish deterrence in the event of a reunification campaign.

Kim Jong Un thinks “the nuclear weapons will prevent US from getting involved,” Sun said. “That’s why we see more and more people making the argument that the North Korea’s nuclear development is not aimed at the US, not aimed at South Korea, but aimed at reunification.”

Rather than this:

And, despite the promise of a firmer hand on the tiller in the shape of the president’s new chief of staff, General John Kelly, the crazy tweeting persists, and casual threats of war erupt from a man on a summer golfing break.

This could, in other words, all turn out much worse than even the president’s wary advisers, who know war (though far less ferocious war than this would likely be) may think. And if the war hype is all a Trump fake, it will be shown to be such. And as is usually the case with Trump fakes, others will pay the bill while he continues to golf.


Two Quotes

Two quotes, totally unrelated.

The first from Streetwise Professor on Emmanuel Macron, with which I agree and wish I’d written myself:

I must confess that I may have misjudged M. Macron. I pegged him as a cipher whom Merkel would dominate. But if anything, Macron is proving to lean more towards Napoleonic ambitions, labeling himself “Jupiter” who aims to overawe the petty squabbling political nation.

Macron left some angered, and others nonplused, by his bonhomie with Trump during the president’s visit to France on Bastille Day. This actually makes perfect sense, and is the best demonstration of his intent to be his own man, rather than a Merkel flunky. As Empress Angela’s pretensions continue to swell, Macron knows that he needs a counterweight. He further knows that Merkel disdains Trump, and Trump don’t think much of her either. So the clever thing to do is to build a relationship to Trump. It signals independence. It will aggravate Angela. And it will provide Macron with some muscle in his dealings with Germany, and with the EU.

The second is from the comments at ZMan’s concerning one of Barack Obama’s attempts at appearing cool. I quote this simply because I found it amusing:

My favorite “Race to the bottom” moment with Obama was when he invited a bunch of rappers to the White House for the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which was designed to help keep young black men free from entanglement with the criminal justice system. Obama was giving a speech, when the ankle bracelet of one of the rappers present started beeping. Rick Ross (the rapper in question) had been charged with kidnapping earlier in the year.



Trump, Trannies, and the Military

From the BBC:

The White House has not yet decided how it will implement the president’s ban on transgender people serving in the US military.

What’s to decide? Here’s the background, buried way down in the article:

The decision to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military was made by the Obama administration last year, with a one-year review period allowed for its implementation.

The policy included a provision for the military to provide medical help for service members wanting to change gender.

As with so much else, Obama signed off on a highly controversial policy very late in his tenure, ensuring his disciples continued their Messiah-like worship but leaving the trouble of implementation to his successor. Of course, this was likely the whole point: if Trump won, which he did, it would sit there like a landmine – which has now gone off. Presumably White House will implement its latest policy by winding things back to, ooh, mid-2016.

As is expected, the media is presenting this as if transgender folk have been happily serving in the US military for decades and Trump came along and banned them for political reasons:

Why now? With the Trump administration being buffeted by the Jeff Sessions political death watch, the ongoing multi-prong investigation into the Trump campaign, the healthcare drama in the Senate and the impending Russian sanctions bill, perhaps the administration decided this was a good time to change the subject and rally conservative forces to his side.

Really? Or perhaps Trump is telling the truth when he says:

Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.

It is a sign of how out of touch the media has become that they believe most Americans think transgenders serving in the military is a not only a good thing, but a fundamental right. It’s quite amazing how rescinding a provisional law brought in 9 months ago can be presented as an attack on American values, but this is what happens when people live in bubbles.

One figure being widely circulated is that there are 15,000 transgenders currently serving in the military. Given transgenders make up less than 1% of the population and the law allowing them to serve came in less than a year ago, this is impressive recruiting. Or maybe there was an entire division of transgenders just waiting for the law to change so they could sign up? Or perhaps the figure is utter bollocks.

Mr Trump said his decision was based on consultation with his generals, but there has been a mixed reaction.

Former Defence Secretary Ash Carter, who lifted the ban last year under President Obama, said: “To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military.”

Quite right.

Several British military generals also condemned Mr Trump’s decision, including the commander of the UK Maritime Forces, Rear Admiral Alex Burton, who said “I am so glad we are not going this way.”

British? In other words, the BBC couldn’t find any American “generals” to support their claim that the reaction was “mixed”, so they had to find some Brits. I’m sorry, but a British Rear Admiral criticising US military policy is a bit like the assistant coach of Pennar Robins football club saying he doesn’t like the tactics of Jose Mourinho. Nevertheless, the BBC devotes an entire article to their witterings:

Commanders from British armed forces have opposed any ban on transgender people serving in the military.

Rear Admiral Burton of the Royal Navy tweeted: “As a Royal Navy LGBT champion and senior warfighter I am so glad we are not going this way.”

With the possibly exception of the Royal Marines and Trident, the Royal Navy has been an utter irrelevance since the Iranians demonstrated its impotence by capturing and humiliating its sailors in 2007. From what I can tell, It exists in its current form mainly as a social welfare program, as is the case with most European militaries. Naval commanders tweeting like a teenage girl doesn’t do much to change my mind on this. And what is an LGBT champion?

[I]n June, Defence Secretary James Mattis agreed to a six-month delay in the recruitment of transgender people.

So who is the better placed to make a judgement on this? James Mattis or some arse-licking British Rear Admiral?

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock tweeted: “So proud of our transgender personnel. They bring diversity to our Royal Navy and I will always support their desire to serve their country.

Ooh, somebody’s got with the program, hasn’t he? Embracing the notion that “diversity” is a noble end in itself, to which all else must be sacrificed, is but one requirement of arse-licking your way to the senior ranks of the Royal Navy.

“I suspect many who doubt the abilities of our diverse service personnel might be more reluctant to serve than they are to comment.”

Never mind the trannies , I’m more doubtful of the abilities of the senior command!

In February, the Army’s LGBT champion, Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders said: “Only if individuals are free to be themselves can we release the genie of their potential.”

Another LGBT champion? Soon we’ll have more of these than we will main battle tanks! And don’t militaries rely on conformity and unit cohesion, not free individuals “being themselves”? Obviously not the modern military, which is – as I said – basically a social welfare program.

The Ministry of Defence told the BBC that President Trump’s tweets were “an American issue”.

Yet senior commanders are free to criticise his military policies via Twitter in their professional capacity? You need to get a grip of your people, mate.

A spokesman added: “We are clear that all LGBT members of our armed forces play a vital role in keeping our nation safe. We will continue to welcome people from a diverse range of backgrounds, including transgender personnel.”

Which is only possible because the Americans you pompously condemn have ensured you will never have to actually fight.

I’m not normally a fan of defence cuts, but I must say, I’m warming to them rapidly.


Politicians distrust the people, but trust each other

My second-tier research assistant TNA sends me a link to this story:

Greens co-deputy leader Scott Ludlam has announced he will quit politics today because he is a dual Australian-New Zealand citizen and was ineligible to have ever been elected under the Constitution.

Senator Ludlam said his dual citizenship was brought to his attention last week and it was something he should have checked when he first nominated for preselection in 2006.

He should have checked? Surely somebody else should have checked, no?

This is what I found so odd about the Birther thing with Obama. There are criteria in place for anyone wishing to run for President of the United States, but apparently there is no official body responsible for ensuring the criteria are met. From what I can tell, the setup relies on honesty and a sort of “well, everyone knows” approach. I would have thought Obama and everyone else would have had to demonstrate their eligibility to an electoral office of some sort, who would then confirm or reject the candidate. The situation where questions were raised over Obama’s eligibility, dismissed as racist by his supporters, then halfway through a term he releases a birth certificate which is immediately denounced by sections of the internet as being false is the sort of clusterfuck you’d see in Africa. Which is somewhat ironic, now I think about it.

You don’t need to be a “birther” – and I’m not – to think these questions could have been entirely avoided by having a competent vetting authority in place. It is politicians who pass the laws demanding ordinary citizens produce reams of documents: certified copies, utility bills, passports, etc. every time we are forced to interact with the state in any capacity. But for them? No vetting is required, it seems. Good old-fashioned trust and honesty will suffice, even if it means candidates forgetting they’re half-Kiwi.


American v British Left

This is a good paragraph from the Zman on the differences between the American and British political Left:

The quest for spiritual egalitarianism in America is a very different thing than the material egalitarianism of Europe. A Jeremy Corbyn has to kit himself out in the garb of the working man in order to be authentically Left. In America, a rich white woman like Elizabeth Warren can lecture us about the poor, from the steps of her mansion, as she is decked out in a designer outfit. The reason is she cares more for the spiritual well-being of the poor than their material condition. She fears the poor are being excluded.

It’s true that the Left in the UK have to conceal their wealth while weeping crocodile tears for the poor, whereas in the US they don’t even bother. France is a curious mix of the two, where multi-millionaire socialists express concerns about material inequality in society.


Tucker Carlson

Via ZMan I came across this speech by Fox presenter Tucker Carlson which he gave to the International Association of Fire Fighters a few months ago. The first ten minutes are well worth your time, and he makes several points that I’ve made on this here blog over the last year or so.

I like Tucker Carlson, both his political views and presentation style. He is refreshingly honest about the sort of people who inhabit Washington DC and he freely admits that he is very much one of them. His career seems to be soaring – he took over the prime 8pm slot when Bill O’Reilly got the boot – and I hope that, when the ruling classes eventually turn on him and start looking for dirt, they can’t find anything.


A Tragic Spiral Downwards

A few weeks ago a deranged lunatic murdered two people on a train in Oregon after they interrupted his verbal assault on a Muslim woman and her friend. One of the victims, Ricky Best, was stripped of his wedding ring and backpack as he lay dying by one George Tschaggeny in what was described as a “completely heartless” act by the Portland Police. Tschaggeny was seen stealing the items on CCTV and was later found in a homeless camp wearing the wedding ring.

This Tschaggeny sounds like the sort of man you’d want to drop into a deep hole and forget about, but Samantha Matsumoto, a journalist at The Oregonian, has done some splendid work and written an article which suggests we might want to pause for a moment:

Tschaggeny’s ex-wife remembers, they built a great life together.

[He] introduced her to Australian shepherds, and soon, they had four.

They spent their days hiking, mountain biking and lifting weights. At home, their TV was always tuned to the Western movie channel. Tschaggeny tended to the rose garden in their yard and, every day, he made his wife lunch for work and then dropped her off.

Tschaggeny was honored by police in June 2010 for stopping a bank robber a few months earlier, Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said. The robber led police on a car chase, then crashed into a bus at Providence Hospital. The robber ran into a nearby neighborhood.

Tschaggeny, who was in his front yard of his home with another man, Scott Morales, saw the robber with a knife in his hand running from officers. They chased him down and took him to the ground, holding him there until police could arrest him.

The awards ceremony lauded the men’s “courageous and selfless” actions.

So what went wrong?

Tschaggeny started going to a clinic for knee pain he still had from injuries he’d gotten as a child. To help him deal with the pain, his ex-wife said, the clinic prescribed him pills.

“That’s how it all began,” she said.

The change happened slowly. Tschaggeny’s ex-wife noticed he was angry and not interested in their usual activities.

At some point, though his ex-wife isn’t exactly sure when, he began to use heroin.

From there it was all downhill: Tschaggeny became a different person, his marriage failed, and he started getting in trouble with the law. It’s easy to criticise people for getting hooked on drugs, but this guy didn’t set out to become a junkie, he was fighting what sounds like chronic knee pain. And as the article says:

Four in five new heroin users reported they started out abusing prescription pills, according to a 2016 report by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Many say they turned to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids, the report says.

I’ve had a bad back for years which has recently gotten worse (yes, I’ve been to a doctor), and I am trying everything I can to manage the pain without taking pills other than the occasional paracetamol. It’s not bad, easily manageable, but on the days when it flares up I can imagine what it must be like for somebody who must live with intense pain in their joints day in, day out, year after year.

I doubt the poor chap in the story above knew quite how badly heroin would destroy his life, but he obviously thought it worth the risk for few hours without pain. Yes, perhaps he was weak and had other flaws which lead him down this path more easily than others, but still…there but for the grace of God, and all that.

The whole thing is a tragic reminder of how easy it is to slip between the cracks of life, and how hard it is to climb back up. It’s hard to know what to do really, other keep an eye on those around you and help them where you can.