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The Political Revolution Is Dead! Long Live Politics!

So, on your way to the camps, I want you to know that I just couldn’t get myself to vote for that woman because I hated everything about her. I’m sorry you’re going to have to live in a detention center for a while, but her voice, you’ll have to agree, is really irritating. Hopefully they let you out in two to three years when we figure this all out, like he promised.

That’s an excerpt from “On Your Way To The Camps, I Just Want You To Know…,” Aaron Loeb’s stunning modernization and twist on the famous poem that ends “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” You should absolutely read the entire piece.

Loeb said eloquently something that I’d like to now be more direct about.

Yes, I’m an old man. Well, I’ll be 40 in November…so, you know, I’m not a millennial. I’ve striven these last nine months to not spend every waking moment screaming the political equivalent of “Get the fuck off my lawn you stupid fucking douchebag kids!” (Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent some time doing just that, but I’ve tried to restrict myself to select private Facebook arguments.)

It’s time to embrace the curmudgeon who lives inside of me.

Look, anyone who has a lot of time on their hands could (privacy settings permitting) go back through my personal Facebook page and see that I’ve been nothing short of a blisteringly loud-and-proud, socialist-atheist, far-left liberal nut for all of my adult life. I’ve been particularly loquacious around the issues of wealth inequality, systemic racism, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. My positions on other issues are every bit as libtardy as Sean Hannity would expect.

I am also a voracious consumer of information. My liberal beliefs were not inculcated in me during my childhood; I came by them honestly—after 13 years of Catholic education—through books and newspapers and periodicals and conversations and speeches. I’m not a genius, but I am very well informed.

I am also, as the title of this blog suggests, exceedingly and virulently rational. It is the rationalist in me that knows the following things:

At the macro level, there are two ways to change the things we don’t like about our society—politics and revolution. Politics and revolution are not compatible; revolution is practically the opposite of politics.

Revolution only happens if and when a critical mass of people in a society determine that things are so bad that they’re ready to sacrifice everything they have to go out in the streets and fight for a better future for those who will come after them. The things they might have to give up include but are not limited to jobs, possessions, time, blood, sweat, tears, money, regular showers, regular meals, family, friends, their lives, and maybe—just maybe—even Netflix.

Not voting is not a revolution.

Voting for a third party candidate is not a revolution.

Saying you’ll reluctantly vote for the “lesser of two evils” is not a revolution.

For reference, anything that might rightfully be called revolution probably involves you breaking a sweat.

Short of revolution, we have politics. Politics is a big, cumbersome, frustrating thing that requires cumulatively more sustained attention and effort over a longer period of time, but far less dramatic and immediate sacrifice. It requires patience and cooperation and compromise. Politics frees us up to pursue our lives while devoting as much or as little extracirricular time and energy as we so choose to the work of shaping our society through activism, speech, volunteerism, donating and voting.

Politics requires a capacity for delayed gratification. Now I get that you want to jizz in this particular sock right this very second, but unless you’re ready for actual revolution you’re going to have to slow your fucking roll and wait a minute.

I know…Bernie didn’t win so you want a third party and/or the Democratic establishment to learn a lesson and/or Hillary to coddle your delicate, fragile fucking ego by pandering to every boutique issue you’ve cared about for the last three minutes and/or whatever it takes to validate your newfound rage against a system you had precious little interest in or knowledge of until a bird landed on a podium and you saw Jesus—but again, unless you’re so angry that you’re ready to get off Facebook and go be an unwashed hippie in the streets, those are ridiculous requests that you can shove right up your milleniasshole.

Politics is fundamentally a struggle between two poles that correspond to the the extent to which we think government should play a role in the lives of its citizens—i.e. liberalism argues for a robust role for government, conservatism for a minimal one—and at any given point in time the question is essentially whether we want to inch to the left or the right. (Please see this fantastic Twitter thread from @SheWhoVotes for more on this subject.)

The question is not whether we want to leap to the left or the right; politics simply doesn’t allow for leaps. In fact, our system was specifically designed to prevent such leaps so that we would not be susceptible to waves of reckless and shortsighted populism. It is called incrementalism and it is what has made our system incredibly stable over time. It’s why you have an tiny computer in your pocket that will find you someone within a one-mile radius who wants to fuck.

There’s just one small but important thing we have to do to keep the system stable: not elect an ignorant psychopath.

If an ignorant psychopath had secured the Democratic nomination (unlikely given the rules governing the Democratic primary process), I would be arguing that it would be better to inch to the right than elect that person to the highest office in the land—and that’s essentially what principled, intelligent Republicans are saying right now. They’ve done the cost-benefit analysis and determined that they’d rather lose a little ground to the left than hand the nuclear codes to a deranged clown with Tiny Penis Overcompensation Syndrome.

More importantly, they’ve determined that they have a better chance of reaching their long-term goals by working to elect someone they have despised for decades and with whom they disagree on just about every issue you can think of. And make no mistake, they’re counting on you to minimize the leftward inching by depressing voter turnout and ensuring that Clinton doesn’t have the mandate or the votes in Congress to get much of anything done.

It’s time for you to do the math and realize that you have an even better chance of reaching your long-term goals by working to elect someone you’ve hated for whatever short span of time you’ve been paying attention to politics but who agrees with you on at least 90% of the issues you care about—and that you have the ability to maximize the leftward inching based on the extent to which you rally support and drive voter turnout in this and every other election.

It’s time for you to quit the pathetic fucking pity party over Bernie and act like a grown ass person who understands that sometimes we have to make choices that don’t boil down to a) the best thing ever and b) the worst thing ever.

If you actually care about the things you say you care about, it’s time to stop fucking around and act like it.

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Deplorables In Disguise

14237511_10154455047669804_6064811346713249621_nAmong the basket of interesting things I encountered on Day One of my drive along I-90 from Spokane, Washington to Milwaukee, Wisconsin were: the continental divide, a sign for the 33rd Annual Testicle Festival in Clinton, Montana, and the fun fact that a 26-foot Penske rental truck packed with all of one’s earthly belongings and towing a car can’t do much better than 30 miles per hour on an incline of any degree greater than 0%.

I also encountered Linda the Cashier.

I pulled my rig up to a diesel pump at the The Town Pump truck stop in Three Forks, Montana and discovered that there was a confusing array of fuel choices at this establishment—diesel #1, diesel #2, 50/50 diesel, diesel exhaust fluid. Unsure how to proceed, amateur truck driver that I am, I went inside to seek guidance from the friendly staff.

And the staff was friendly—especially Linda the Cashier. When the first attendant I spoke with couldn’t answer my stupid question, she referred me to Linda. Linda was happy to explain, “You want diesel #1 because it’s not winter yet, honey.”

Seeing that this process was new to me, Linda forewarned me that I wouldn’t be able to pay at the pump and asked me how much fuel I’d like. Not yet sure how much the truck would take, I asked if I could just prepay $100 and have the balance refunded. “Sure,” Linda offered, “but just so you know, honey, depending on your bank it can take a little while to put the money back on your card.”

Then my card was declined. It turns out that my bank had grown suspicious of my debit card’s travels and needed me to verify some transactions to prevent fraud. All the while, Linda was exceedingly patient with me. I stepped to the side and let another customer step up to transact with the lovely Linda.

That’s when the following interaction occurred:

Customer: [out of the clear fucking blue] Well, it’s just like Obama says – none of us should even have jobs, we should all just sit around like bums and take government checks.
Linda the Cashier: [full throated and matter-of-factly] He’s not even a citizen.
Customer: Like he’s ever held a real job in his life.
Cashier Linda: [Looking around to make sure she’s being heard.] He’s not even a citizen. He’s not even a citizen.

I steeled myself, realizing that I was in the wrong place to get into a debate about the President’s provenance. It’s not that I don’t know these people exist—I do—but it’s always a shock to the system to hear these things uttered aloud. My blood boiled and I honestly had to take a few deep breaths before stepping back up to complete my fuel purchase.

Yes, I thought about leaving. Instead, I calmly and politely told Linda “I doubt that it will matter, but I want you to know that I’ll be contacting Town Pump to let them know that they have an employee who actively and repeatedly questioned the citizenship of the president of the United States in front of customers. Have a nice day.”

But here’s the point I really want to make about this experience: Linda the Cashier is exactly the sort of person the Trump campaign is defending in their manufactured furor over Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment. They say that Clinton is “viciously demonizing hard working people like you.”

You know…people like hard working, sweet-as-honey, corn-fed, church-going charmers like Linda.

Feel the phony indignation:

NEW Trump TV ad responds to “Basket of Deplorables” comment by Hillary Clinton

NEW Trump TV ad responds to “Basket of Deplorables” comment by Hillary Clinton NEW Trump TV ad Trump TV Ad Deplorables Deplorable Attack Ad Hillary Clinton Basket of Deplorables Donald Trump 2016 General Election Television Ads Campaign Racist Sexist Homphobic Racism Sexism Pepe Alt Right 4chan AntiMuslim Syrian

Here’s the conundrum. Yes, in her everyday life, Linda is a real slice of home-cooked apple pie in the eyes of those who encounter her (just as she would have remained in my eyes had I not overheard this idiotic exchange). And in that extremely limited sphere, they’re 100% right.

But Linda the Cashier is also a deplorably ignorant fucking bigot who is actively making America a more hateful, less functional, more dangerous, less prosperous place. I suppose we could argue about whether it’s Linda herself who is deplorable or Linda’s ideas that are deplorable—but that strikes me as a distinction without a difference.

On the surface, the deplorables are paragons of American virtue. Beneath the surface, they believe very stupid, very noxious things:

  • Two-thirds of Trump supporters believe Obama is a Muslim
  • 59 percent of Trump supporters believe Obama was not born in the United States
  • 40% of Trump supporters believed that blacks were more “lazy” than whites and nearly 50% believed blacks were more “violent” than whites
  • A substantial portion supported banning LGBT people from the United States

The deplorables are out there—and they look and act like Linda the Cashier. Pointing to however many characteristics they possess that are not inherently deplorable is not a valid defense against their ghastly views. Their positive traits do not outweigh their hatred of non-white people. Their work ethic does not cancel out their support for hateful, discriminatory policies. Linda’s folksy smile does not mitigate the harm done by her execrable worldview.

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White Privilege Isn’t What You Think It Is

White privilege is a tough concept to explain, especially to touchy white guys who think that it’s merely another accusation of racism. It’s not. I stumbled upon a very practical example of my own white privilege this week that I hope might clarify the term just a bit.

My family and I are moving across the country in about a month. We’re looking to rent in our new city and conducting our search exclusively via email and  phone.

A tactic that I have found to be very useful in the past and which is already showing signs of success this time around is this: when we find something we really like but which is maybe a little above our price range, we send an email pitching ourselves as great tenants who will take excellent care of the landlord’s investment.

I also attach a picture of the three of us. I do this because I think it’s pretty clear from looking at us that we’re not slobs who will trash the place. I do this to add a corresponding visual to the professional, polite, articulate manner we project via voice and email communication.

Some people—people who don’t look like us, for example—can’t assume the same thing. If you don’t look like us, depending on the particular market, there’s a far greater chance that sending a picture would trigger passive or active biases in the decision maker’s mind. A black or brown person in our position might well decide that sending a picture would be detrimental to their prospects.

Now here’s the key: I haven’t done anything wrong here. My goal is not to show potential landlords that we’re caucasian. My goal is to show that we have clean clothes and friendly faces.

My white privilege in this situation consists of a simple, undeniable fact that has nothing at all to do with my motives or character and that is this: there is an approximately 0.0005% chance that a photo of us will make someone less likely to select us as tenants; it may very well not move the needle at all, but it’s certainly not going to diminish our chances.

In other words, white privilege isn’t what you think it is. It’s not something bad that you’re doing. It’s something that you have as a white person, whether you’re a backwater bigot or a civil rights champion.

So when people ask you to “check your privilege,” don’t worry, they’re not really asking you to give anything up! They’re merely asking you to be reflective in a way that might lead you to better understand the ways in which other people lack your privilege and how that might impact their ability to move up in the world—or even survive.

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Cleveland Steamer

Cleveland Steamer \ˈklēv-lənd\ \ˈstē-mər\ — colloquial term for a form of coprophilia, wherein someone defecates on someone else’s chest.

We hope you enjoyed Hyperationalist’s first commissioned piece of art. We’re very happy with the the work of the artist, a gentleman who prefers not to be named because…well, because we asked him to draw a picture of an elephant shitting on Uncle Sam’s corpse.

We think the image speaks for itself.

Now please follow us on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook for more of this shit.

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No, Cleveland Police Dude, You Can’t Suspend Open Carry Today

Cleveland Police Department Detective and Police Association president Steve Loomis is a raging dickhead and a racist piece of shit who, today, would like the Governor of Ohio or someone, anyone, whoever, to suspend the state’s open carry laws because—oh, what do you know?—today open carry seems like kind of a bad fucking idea to him. Today.

In the past, he has “strongly supported citizens’ rights to bear arms.” Today, however, he told Reuters:

I don’t care what the legal precedent is, I feel strongly that leadership needs to stand up and defend these police officers…We are sending a letter to Gov. Kasich requesting assistance from him. He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something—I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point.

Hey fuckstick, maybe if you’d given a shit about dead children and dead civilian adults before you suddenly decided to turn into a great big pussy about it because suddenly police lives seem to be more on the line than usual…maybe then you’d at least have an ounce of credibility.

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Detective Steve Loomis and Miss Ohio

But today? Today you don’t. Today you look like a big fucking hypocrite. Today you look like a person who wants one set of rules for him and his people while the rest of us have to live with a different set of rules.

Today you look like a person who wasn’t concerned about gun violence until you realized that open carry applies to black people too and now you can’t tell the difference between the “good guys with guns” and the bad guys with ill intent.

Besides, if you criminalize open carry, only bad guys will open carry, right? Or does that actually sound pretty good right about now?

Let me get a straight answer on this: Steve Loomis, does open carry make us more safe or less safe? If it makes us more safe, then there’s no room for prevarication. Whatever bad shit you’re afraid of as the Republicans come to Cleveland, having guns around should help you breathe easier.

If it makes us less safe, you should have said so long before today and you should be calling for a permanent and statewide prohibition on the practice, not a temporary one around the shitshow that is the Republican National Committee’s convention.

Or maybe you’re just extra worried because the New Black Panthers are encouraging their members to legally open carry in Cleveland? But see here’s the thing: I’m worried about all kind of different groups, white and black, carrying stupid fucking penis substitutes  guns around in public so hey, can I just call for a prohibition on open carry when and where I want it too?

No, Cleveland police guy. You cannot suspend open carry today, but you can work to end it side-by-side with the rest of us who are sick and fucking tired of gun violence in America.

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Statement On The Failure Of Our Petition To Allow Open Carry At The GOP Convention

Remember that one time when Hyperationalist launched a satirical petition to allow guns at the Quicken Loans Arena during the Republican National Committee’s convention and it kind of turned into a whole thing? Here’s a little refresher:

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Anyway, the convention is upon us and while there are guns all over Cleveland, there are none in the hands of the civilians in the main convention hall. We failed. Sad!

If you’ve arrived here by any means other than the email we sent out via Change.org, here’s the official update we sent regarding the “failure” of that petition:

In spite of tremendous support from over 55,000 concerned patriots across the nation, our petition to spread freedom to Cleveland and beyond has failed.

Apparently in Crooked Hitlary Clinton’s “politically correct” libtard America, some people would rather not be surrounded by high-powered semi-automatic assault weapons with high-capacity cartridges—and so the oppressive policies of Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s regime remain in place.

We at Hyperationalist will continue to fight the good fight until all Americans are free to exercise their God-given Constitutional right to carry any kind of firearm, anywhere they want, at anytime of day or night.

All snark aside, there was no change in the policy because any idiot knows that would it would be monumentally fucking stupid to let people to carry guns into the Quicken Loans Arena under normal circumstances, like during a basketball game or a Maroon 5 concert, let alone during the 2016 Republican National Committee convention at which Donald Trump will be noinated.

But also, because the Secret Service said so.

A note regarding the Secret Service’s policy regarding guns in the convention hall: We at Hyperationalist obviously agree 100% that guns should not be allowed into the Quicken Loans Arena next week. Or the week after that. Or the week after that. Or at any time or place where people gather to shop, be entertained, eat, work, learn, play, protest, etc.

The fine public servants at the Secret Service are simply enforcing a rule that makes absolute sense in all places, at all times, because it is their job to keep people certain people safe—and banishing guns from the places where those people will be is the very best way to ensure their safety.

We think this rule is perfectly reasonable and would very much like to see such a prohibition extended to include any and all public spaces where half-cocked assholes probably shouldn’t be carrying their penis substitutes/extensions deadly weaponry in and around our friends and families and fellow citizens (the ones who are not presidential candidates and political dignitaries).

But let’s be crystal clear about one thing: for the GOP to have used the Secret Service’s prohibition as a cop out in response to the petition is utterly laughable. How many times have congressional Republicans tried to repeal Obamacare now? Fifty times? Sixty times? Isn’t it logical that if they truly disagreed with this policy, if they genuinely held the Second Amendment so dear, they would have taken at least one shot at repealing the government tyranny represented by U.S.C. Title 18 § 3056, 1752.

If “gun-free zones” really are the unconstitutional kill zones Republicans tell us they are, this would have been a perfect time to walk the walk and show us all just how committed they are to the cause of eradicating them. Instead, on this one issue, they punted. “Aw shucks, we really would like to have guns at the convention but they said we couldn’t! Nothing we can do! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.”

Let the record show that the one time they didn’t have the gumption to fight for the Second Amendment was coincidentally the one time it involved their own safety.

So obviously the petition wasn’t a failure. It sparked a brief national conversation around the hypocrisy of the NRAGOP’s position on guns—a hypocrisy that will be on full display next week as tens of thousands of anti-gunsense Republicans pack themselves into a convention hall without the metal machines of mayhem they insist the rest of us should have around us at all times.

In other words, the same Republicans who have helped the NRA and the gun manufacturers flood our country with guns, thus contributing directly to the resulting tens of thousands of gun deaths every year, will be hiding next week behind a “gun-free zone” policy that they claim to oppose, while the rest of us get to live in fear that our child will get shot in crossfire at the playground, that a drunk and abusive husband or boyfriend will get access to a gun, that a downstairs neighbor will be playing with a gun beneath a child’s bedroom, that we’ll be in the wrong place at the wrong time when an argument escalates at the grocery store, that a suicidal teenager will get his or her hands on a gun, that a heroic police officer will find himself targeted by a lunatic with a long gun, that a three-year old will find a gun and shoot himself in the face, and so on…

To this end, Hyperationalist will be monitoring the number and circumstances of gun deaths that occur all across the country between the opening and closing gavels of the convention. We will post a running tally, updated daily, of the roughly 400 Americans who are likely to die by gun while The Grand Old Party is safely tucked away in the gun-free Quicken Loans Arena

Of course, the rest of Cleveland is not a “gun-free zone,” leaving city officials concerned about the various individuals and activist groups who have promised to be loud and proud, carrying their viagra alternatives stupid fucking murder toys in and around the convention zone, blatantly ignoring the pleas of law enforcement officials even in the wake of Dallas.

Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said he strongly supported citizens’ rights to bear arms, but he is urging people not to take their guns anywhere near Cleveland’s downtown during the convention.

“The last thing in the world we need is anybody walking around here with AR-15s strapped to their back,” he said. “And the absolute tragedy in Dallas is proof positive that we just cannot allow that to happen. I would really just beg these folks, just leave your guns at home. Come, say whatever it is that you want to say, make whatever point it is that you want to make, but it’s going to be very, very difficult to deal with the R.N.C. as it is.”

The gobsmacking contradiction the petition sought to highlight is fully captured in Mr. Loomis’s brief statement. “Sure, everyone should be able to carry guns around, but just not here, please.”

Why, Mr. Loomis? Why not there specifically? And if not there, why anywhere else? Could it be that open carry is just a bad idea everywhere? Could it be that the same advice you’re offering to save the lives of cops might, if applied at all times and everywhere, help save the lives of cops, teachers, kids, firewo/men, pizza delivery guys, doctors, janitors, lawyers, churchgoers, etc.?

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All Lives Cannot Matter If Black Lives Don’t

Listen.

I know that it seems incredibly obvious to you that “all lives matter” is an uncontroversial, indisputable statement of truth that should obviously antecede a narrower statement like Black Lives Matter.

It is and it should.

Unfortunately we do not live in the world as it should be.

We live in a world where some lives are manifestly undervalued in relation to others lives.

We live in a world where black lives have been historically, perpetually, systematically, unfathomably, irredeemably disadvantaged in relation to white lives.

We live in a world where even those African Americans who have made great strides against all odds have no expectation whatsoever that they will be treated any differently from the most dangerous criminals of any color.

The realities of shifting demographics, advancing technology and political pandemonium have precipitated a long overdue Come to Jesus moment regarding our failure to rehabilitate the race of people we methodologically destroyed in service of building the wealthiest society on the face of the earth.

I know you don’t see any of this, that you think whatever disparity exists is the result of life choices and character traits—and I understand why you think that.

You and I were raised to think it by people who were raised to think it by people who were raised to be indifferent to it by people who were raised to feel antipathy about its rectification by people who were raised to be virulently opposed to its rectification by people who were raised to firmly believe that black people were property to be bought and sold.

Just as African Americans were raised to live in fear as second-class citizens by people who were raised to live in fear as second-class citizens by people who were raised without the right to vote or drink from the same water fountains by people who were raised in redlined American ghettos as barely-free men and women by people who were raised to live in fear of lynching by people who were raised as the property that could be bought and sold.

However poor your daddy, your grandmammy, or your great granddaddy were, however hard they worked to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, however legitimately you think you’ve earned whatever you have or don’t have in your life…add up the all of that energy, determination, and resourcefulness and multiply it by several orders of magnitude and you might begin to get an inkling of a hint of the faintest sense of the immensity of the forces that were working against the mammies, granddaddies, and great grandmammies of your African American contemporaries.

The wind has always been at our forebears’ backs; a tsunami has always been crashing toward and against and on top of the people we brought here in chains and their descendants.

And the DNA of every facet of American life remains structurally contaminated by that history.

Yes, all lives should matter, but merely saying those words as a defense against the accusation that we don’t live by them is no defense at all.

It’s like saying “helium balloons of all colors fly” when, in fact, you know damn well that someone has tied the black balloons to bricks, popped them, and then burned and stomped on the remaining shreds.

Insisting upon the preeminence of the incontrovertible truth of the statement “all lives matter,” may feel good and righteous, but it makes you look very fucking stubborn and tone-deaf and ahistorical.

It makes you part of the problem.

Black Lives Matter is a thing because for too long our collective words and silences and actions and inactions have created the distinct impression that they do not.

Black Lives Matter is the oxidization on the can of communal existence that our parents and grandparents and great grandparents kicked down the road to us by failing to make amends for the actions of their parents and grandparents and great grandparents.

Black Lives Matter is the penance we must pay if we want a world for our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren that is not engulfed in internecine warfare.

Black Lives Matter is not an assertion that black lives matter more than other lives; it is a mantra that we must internalize until we know it and live it—until we can say with a straight face and a clear conscience that all lives matter.

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The Guy Who Shot His 14-Year Old Is Undeserving Of Our Empathy

One should grant enormous leeway to anyone whose child has just died. Like, all the leewayThere’s just very little room for judgment of the words and actions of a person in that terrible, terrible situation.

And yet, even by that standard, the words and actions of Clayton and Elizabeth Brumby after Clayton accidentally shot his 14-year old son Steven in the neck—killing him—were mind-bogglingly, incomprehensibly galling, bordering on sociopathic in tone and content.

First, some context: Steven Brumby was the fourth of seven children. His mom, Elizabeth, is around 50; his dad, Clayton, is 64. They’re super religious. As you can probably guess, the kids were all homeschooled.

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On Sunday, July 3, Clayton took his 12-year old daughter and his 14 and 24-year old sons to the shooting range at High Noon Guns—the kind of place that names itself after an idiom denoting the time of day when enemies meet to shoot each other.

Also, the kind of place that posts memes like this one that encourages fun with guns for kids of all ages!

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Anyway, back to the Brumbys…

So Clayton, who is “a church sign salesman and religious book author,” takes his kids to the gun range for some family fun with firearms. He steps up to take his turn feeling like a man and some bullshit happens with a hot shell casing and the next thing you know, 14-year old Steven has taken a bullet to the jugular.

Now, the first thing you need to know is that there is a discrepancy between Clayton’s story and the one given by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s office after reviewing surveillance video. Specifically, Clayton says the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and hit Steven, while the Sheriff says Clayton “inadvertently pointed the firearm directly behind him and accidentally fired.”

The discrepancy isn’t one that will make a difference in terms of charges being filed or not filed (they likely won’t be)—and that’s what makes it kind of weird. Why within a day of his son’s death was he was exerting any energy to minimize the magnitude of the error that killed him? As if it’s somehow less his fault that his son is dead if the gun was pointed up rather than “directly behind him?”

That weirdness might have been easy to brush off if not for the downright terrifying fucking coldness with which he spoke of the incident to CNN. For starters, he immediately felt the need to defend the gun, saying:

The gun didn’t kill my boy. I did. Every round in the gun is your responsibility. When it fires you need to stand to account for it it. That’s what I’ve spent the last two days doing, accounting for my operating error.
Oh, really? You’ve been accounting for an operating error, have you, Mr. Brumby? Have you perhaps accounted for the error of taking a child into a gun range in the first place? Have you considered that maybe kids and guns don’t mix? Has it crossed your mind that operating errors are far less likely to result in child mortality when they involve board games, hiking, reading, juggling, playing musical instruments, or playing with NERF guns instead of real guns? You know, the things kids do that don’t require the use of deadly weapons? (Florida, by the way, like many states, doesn’t allow minors into bars even with adult supervision. Gun ranges, however, are no problem.)

But mostly, “the gun didn’t kill my boy?” Well, okay, but yes it did. Fine, it doesn’t have a mind of its own and a will, but it is an instrument designed for one purpose—namely, to fire metal projectiles that are designed to tear apart flesh and bone. But whatever, all I’m saying is just, maybe now is not the time to stand up for the innocence of the gun as though you’re worried it’ll get its feelings hurt. Maybe now is the time to just be inconsolable about the actual human being who is dead rather than worried about the poor little semi-automatic Ruger.

His desire to stand up for the gun stems from his simple-minded misconception that people like me blame gun. We don’t. We blame humans for thinking guns are toys, for fetishizing guns, for using them to compensate for other shortcomings, for getting so many innocent children killed by them. We think guns are dangerous machines that stupid civilians shouldn’t be fucking around with.

It gets worse:

That’s why yesterday was so stupid and freaky on me because the gun is supposed to be pointed down range at all times. My first thought was ‘That was pretty stupid of me. I should’ve put the gun down.’

Pretty stupid? You sound like you’re talking about accidentally leaving the gate open so that the dog got out and you had to spend an hour looking for it. You sound like a man who, at worst, got caught cheating on his wife with a gay prostitute because he butt dialed her while taking his pants off. You do not sound like a man who took his children to a gun range and shot one of them in the neck, killing him.

“I can’t fix this,” Brumby told CNN. “It’s just a great loss but thankfully we’ll see him someday. I have a feeling he’s on a great lake out there.”

Holy fucking shit, man. Is this what comes from being such a narcissist that you feel the need to spurt out seven children? Am I just oversensitive because I only have one kid? Is that why you sound like such a cavalier fucking monster to me?

But perhaps the most offensive thing I saw all day was the GoFundMe page set up by Steven’s mother, Elizabeth, asking for “generous gifts and donations [to] help with the expenses the family is now faced with.” The original goal was $50,000.

She’s all like: Hey y’all…my husband just shot my 14-year old son in the neck with our 12-year old daughter’s .22 semi-automatic Ruger SR22 (for some reason he wasn’t using his own 9mm Glock). So do you think we could get about fifty thousand dollars to, like, lift him up to Jesus and stuff? Thanks, interwebs!🙏🇺🇸😇 #blessed

The goal has since been lowered to $10,000. And guess what? People are actually fucking donating (the total currently stands at $15,250) probably because she had the good sense to let them know that Steven was one of them.

He was passionate about his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and dedicated his life to sharing his hope with everyone he met. The families’ only comfort is knowing that He is communing with the heroes of his faith and rejoicing in paradise.

Right. We don’t want our tax dollars going to those darkies killing each other in the hood but we’ll happily fork over more than these lily-white homeschoolers even asked for when they accidentally shoot their own kids.

I’ll bet dollars to donuts these people preach personal responsibility and self-reliance all day long when it comes to other people. Now they’d like your help with the “expenses the family is now faced with.” How about we help by taking away either some of your kids or all of your guns? That’s the kind of help I’d be happy to give.

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Anyway, congratulations, Clayton and Elizabeth Brumby. You have pulled off the impossible. You have made it more-or-less impossible to empathize with the parents of a recently-dead child. You are lunatics who probably shouldn’t have procreated once, let alone seven times. But at least you have spares, right? So whatever you do, don’t go and do anything desperate like selling any of those precious guns to pay for Steven’s burial costs.

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Omar Mateen Was Not A Terrorist – He Was A Loser With A Big Gun

I need to expand just a bit on something I wrote earlier in the week.

The Orlando LGBTQ massacre was not an act of terrorism—irrespective of how one chooses to define the word, by which I mean this: conservatives tend to define violent attacks by brown people from the middle east as terrorism, while liberals are rightly concerned with expanding that definition to include any instance in which, as Wikipedia puts it, violence is used “in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim.”

Omar Mateen had no political, religious, or ideological aim. This was a murder-suicide. This was an act of self-destruction masquerading as an act of martyrdom.

Omar Mateen was gay, this much has become clear. Unfortunately, in addition to whatever psychological disorders were present, his religion fostered, as many religions do, a deep resistance to and hatred of his own inherent homosexuality—and thus the existential anguish of deep self-loathing. This led to a life of lashing out and hurting others until he could bear it no more and began to look for the exit strategy that would make him feel important for the first and only time in his life.

This makes religion a proximate cause, but not a proximate motive.

That he chose to pledge allegiance to ISIS at the end is no more significant than if he had declared a mandate from the Supreme Intergalactic Ambassador for Zarabathia Quadrant Four, Zone Forty Seven. He was a nobody, with no connection or commitment to any stable political, religious, or ideological organization or philosophy, playing war games in his head as an escape from the misery of his reality.

And this is extremely important because it is manifestly distinct from the type of intellectual radicalization that leads to real terrorismBy calling Omar Mateen’s horrific act “terrorism,” we are elevating (degrading?) the act to a status that makes the future commission of similar acts all the more attractive to delusional loners looking for glory. We are granting the dubious prestige he claimed for himself even though he lacked the credentials—and inviting others to do the same.

Of course, we’re only really inviting brown people from the Middle East to do the same, aren’t we?

Remember James Wesley Howell? He was the guy arrested near the Los Angeles Pride festival last Sunday with a trunk full of guns and explosive material, just as the nation was reeling from the news of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

It remains unclear exactly what Howell intended to do in Los Angeles, but here are two things we do know: he was on the run from charges that he molested a 12-year old girl and he has had homosexual relationships but “He didn’t like anybody to know about it,” according to an ex-boyfriend who also claims that Howell had been violent with him. In other words, he was a similarly troubled loner savagely smashing his way through a life he couldn’t make sense of.

There are other white guys who fit this bill and who achieved their aims to greater and lesser extents, but the parallels and timing here are uncanny. James Wesley Howell could have been Omar Mateen and vice versa; that one “succeeded” and the other “failed” does not preclude us from comparing the two—and the salient point of comparison appears to be shame over their shared sexual orientation.

Omar Mateen’s shame may well have originated in harsh disapproval of homosexuality within his religion of birth (Islam), but it might just as well have been informed by the pockets of virulent anti-gay sentiment that persist in his nation of birth (the U.S.)—and so it is especially hypocritical for certain conservatives to point to Islam’s view of homosexuality as evidence of Mateen’s radicalization while ignoring the role that domestic homophobia may have played in either case.

There was no radicalization. Neither had anything resembling a coherent goal tied to any kind of political, religious or ideological set of beliefs. And so the problem is not, as some would argue, that we fail to refer to guys like James Wesley Howell as terrorists; the problem is that we insist on referring to guys like Omar Mateen as terrorists. This sets them apart as a separate and transcendent threat, one that is not inextricably connected to the issue of guns.

But it is entirely about guns.

One can sympathize or not with the set of psychosocial factors that drove these guys to their respective fates, but one cannot make the case that either of them should have had access to guns, let alone big guns, given what was already known about them before last weekend. It was not masterful planning or international support that made Omar Mateen’s pathetic denouement so deadly—it was just a very big gun in the hands of an unhinged loner.

James Wesley Howell also had some very big guns and was able to keep them while on probation for pointing a gun at a neighbor. And there are others like him out there—ticking time bombs with arsenals in their basements and garages and trunks. And they all have different fears and frustrations driving them inexorably toward acts of violence against gays, co-workers, minorities, children, you, me, our families.

Now, please come ‘Like’ Hyperationalist—the page that brought you the satirical petition to allow guns at the GOP convention—on Facebook for more anti-gun, pro-reason content. 

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These People Have Guns

I am very, very good at not reading the comments. At some early stage in my internet life, I caught a glimpse of that subterranean realm and knew that it was no place for for me. It’s not the negativity; that I can handle. It’s the  special kind of sadness involved in shouting at complete strangers over online posts that you clearly went looking for just so you could shout at complete strangers because…well, I don’t know…because you drink too much or you can’t get it up or whatever.

Having said that, I had never been the host of any forum that had enough of an audience to attract the nutcases, so it was never my responsibility to read the comments. Suffice to say, my audience has grown in recent months and it is now arguably incumbent upon me to at least see what’s going on down there.

I recently wrote a post about the 50 United States Senators who voted against expanded background checks in the wake of the San Bernadino massacre—a vote that has direct bearing on the Orlando massacre. I was surprised and naturally pleased by the attention it received: to date, it has nearly 200,000 pageviews and over 61,000 ‘likes.’

But—and I’m quite sure this is the case any time a piece of internet content reaches anything resembling critical mass—it also brought out the whackjobs. I felt morally obliged to skim their musings.

I’d like to share a brief highlight reel with you and ask you to bear in mind one simple though as you peruse: these people have guns.

GUY #1: Fuck your anti-gun bullshit you communist traitors. You people are fucking pathetic, lying, brainwashed retards. GUNS AREN’T THE FUCKING PROBLEM PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND CRIMINALS ARE THE PROBLEM! THE DAMN NRA DIDN’T MURDER 50 PEOPLE A GAY MUSLIM FUCKING DEMOCRAT MURDERED THEM. A SICK PSYCHOTIC MAN WHO BEAT HIS WIFE AND IS CONNECTED THROUGH HIS FATHER TO OBAMA, HILLARY AND COUNTLESS SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN. THIS MAN WAS ONE OF YOU. HE OBTAINED HIS WEAPONS LEGALLY EVEN THOUGH HE WAS QUESTIONED BY THE FBI 3 TIMES. WHY? BECAUSE HE WAS ALLOWED TO BUY THEM BY THE CORRUPT DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. JUST LIKE THEY ARE ALLOWING TERRORISTS TO INFILTRATE THIS COUNTRY WITH “REFUGEES” THEY ARE ALLOWING TERRORISTS TO BUY WEAPONS SO THEN THEY CAN TURN AROUND AND BLAME THE WEAPONS AND GET FUCKTARDS LIKE YOU PEOPLE TO GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS AND SUPPORT THEIR TYRANNICAL AGENDA. YOU PEOPLE ARE WORTHLESS FUCKING TRAITOROUS RATS.

GUY #2: Jeez, need a tissue for those tears?, I think you need to get off the computer for a bit

GUY #1: Shut the fuck up you little commie cunt.

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GUY #3: I hope you get hit by a car, traitor!

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GUY #4: And use a drilldo to go fuck yourselves

GUY #3: Not the drilldo Jesse Kellett! Oh thats bad. Its apparent though that these liberals are already using it. As you know the more they use it, the more the muscles get relaxed… These liberals have crap coming out of both ends…

Look, I say some pretty outrageous things here at Hyperationalist; I am not arguing for elevation of the discourse, whatever the merits of that particular argument may be. All I’m saying is that those people up there? They have guns.

And it’s not as though I went on their walls and started a fight. They found my post, clicked on it and proceeded to unload this bile because they’re very, very angry about the whole thing. Very angry. Like, maybe a little bit unstable—and I have no doubt that these are relatively tame representations of the genre.

These people have guns and they want more guns and they have things to say about that and they’re ready to fight:

WOMAN #2: 318 million people in the US owning an estimated 270 million legal firearms…. Those are just the firearms that are registered! I don’t know about you, but I like our odds waaaaaaay better than I like yours (I’m a gun owner) in the gun control fight. Who will be dumb enough to help with confiscation? 85-90% of our military and their families are legal gun owners…. Over half of them will defend us against the government (and it will be legal for them to do so) …. The UN can’t because no foreign military can step foot here legally to do anything other than train, and even if they did they are still vastly outnumbered by those who will fight back to retain our rights. You’re talking about an open civil war right here in America… Are you really ready for that?

These people have guns. They’re worried about terrorists. I’m worried about them.

Now, please come ‘Like’ Hyperationalist—the page that brought you the satirical petition to allow guns at the GOP convention—on Facebook for more anti-gun, pro-reason content. 

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