Patterico's Pontifications


School Shooting In Florida Leaves 17 Dead

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]


[P]olice say an expelled student returned to campus and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing 17 and wounding 15 more in the worst school shooting in Florida history.

Just before dismissal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, thousands of students puzzled at the sound of a fire alarm were launched into a panic when gunfire punctuated the din. As teachers and students fled through hallways and hid under desks, a gunman opened fire, leaving a trail of bodies and stunned confusion in his wake.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office says Nikolas Cruz, 19, killed 17 teenagers and adults, and sent 15 more to the hospital with bullet wounds. Wielding an AR-15 and equipped with multiple magazines, he gunned down a dozen people inside buildings on the school’s sprawling campus, two more on the grounds, and one more on the corner of Pine Island Road as he fled.

Two more died at the hospital. Many underwent surgery at Broward Health hospitals. The Broward Sheriff’s Office says the school, home to about 3,200 students, had been cleared by early evening but they had not identified any of the victims.

Apparently, some students were already wary of Cruz:

Some of the current students told authorities they knew the suspect, Milton reports. Student Brandon Minoff, speaking with CBSN, said he had had classes with Cruz. Minoff described the suspect as a “strange kid.”

Another student told CBS News about the suspect, “The kid was crazy. I had engineering with him a couple years ago and he wasn’t allowed to come to school with a backpack and he would threaten students and break glass and get into fights so he got kicked out of school.”

Prayers for the victims and their families left behind. I cannot imagine what they are going through.

And before the debate about guns heats up, Charles C.W. Cooke thoughtfully responded to a bit of provocation. If only more pundits, journalists and members of the media followed suit:



Teacher Who Accused American Troops Of Being “The Lowest Of The Low” Refuses To Step Down From City Council

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:26 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Remember Pico Rivera councilman and high school history teacher Gregory Salcido? He was recently seen on a secretly recorded video being so triggered by a student, who is the son of a combat veteran, wearing a U.S. Marine Corp sweatshirt in his classroom that he berated the student and disparaged the U.S. military as a result:

They’re not like high-level thinkers, they’re not academic people, they’re not intellectual people; they’re the frickin’ lowest of our low… I don’t understand why we let the military guys come over here and recruit you at school. We don’t let pimps come in the school.

Last night, during a City Council meeting where overflow seating was necessary, members passed a resolution asking for Salcido’s resignation from the Council. He declined to step down. Here is his childish, conditional faux-apology, in which he assumes no responsibility for his actions:

If this situation caused a problem, I certainly do apologize for it. If anything I’ve said has hurt somebody it was unintentional.

After seeing the video go viral, after being placed on administrative leave from his classroom, after angry residents congregated both outside and inside of the chamber and at least 50 castigated Salcido for three hours at last night’s council meeting, there can be no doubt in a reasonable man’s mind – and an honest man’s heart – that, not only did he cause a problem, but he also hurt many families who have lost loved ones while serving, and certainly offended the young man who wore a sweatshirt honoring his dad’s service, and in whose footsteps he plans to follow. Clearly, Salcido knowingly disparaged the U.S. military at large as well, thus offending any number of Americans. If Salcido were really this dense, he wouldn’t belong in a classroom. But obviously, he knew exactly how deeply offensive he was being in the classroom, but it didn’t matter to him. In his book, it was mission accomplished. Which makes him unfit for the classroom for an entirely different reason.

Here is his weak-soup offering made last night :

[Salcido] addressed the meeting, saying that since the videos became public, people have threatened to kill him, rape his wife and leave his son an orphan.

“And for what? For what you expressed out here tonight? That said, the first thing that I think is important here is to apologize if it means something though,” he said.

But he also reiterated, more diplomatically, what he said in the classroom: that he thought students with lower academic standing typically end up in the military.

“I don’t think it’s all a revelation to anybody that those who aren’t stellar students usually find the military a better option … that’s not a criticism of anybody. Anything I said had nothing to do with their moral character,” he said.

“I do believe the military is not the best option for my students.… That does not mean I’m anti-military, because I’m not,” he said.

Salcido also claimed that “he was trying to get his students, most of whom are low-income minorities, not to settle for the Army or Navy. “My goal as it relates to my students is to get them to do everything to get to college,” said Salcido, who was shouted down by some angry members of the audience. “I wanted to challenge them to reach their academic potential.””

Salcido also claims to be a pacifist.

A recall petition has been started. He continues to remain on administrative leave from his teaching job.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Judging Trump by the Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

I often hear these days about how conservative Donald Trump is. I’ll grant you that, so far, he’s been more conservative than I expected. Much of that is the flag-waving I-love-a-parade brand of conservatism that doesn’t excite me much, but a sizable chunk is real conservatism: almost (almost) uniformly excellent judges, reduction of regulation, etc. Notably, so far — as long as he doesn’t get us into a stupid war — his policies have been a clear improvement on what we would have gotten from a Hillary Clinton. Especially if you can ignore his clownish public statements, pathological dishonesty, and wretched character, and focus only on what he does, you can be pretty happy with what we’ve seen. (Of course, what the President says matters — but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

But amid all the praise for the guy, here’s the thing. We’re kinda giving him a pass, even on policy, because we expected so little. It’s like when the kid with the dunce cap gets a question right: it warms your heart and everything, but it doesn’t really make the dunce smart. Put another way: if you have two kids, and one gets straight A’s, and the other fails all of their classes and does drugs, you’re disappointed when the first kid gets a B, while that same B would make you wildly ecstatic with the performance of the other kid. When the latter sort of expectation becomes ingrained, it can lead you to what George W. Bush memorably called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

So I’d like to take a moment to point out two ways in which Donald Trump is objectively horrible: 1) the debt, and 2) his support for dictators.


I’m not sure it has quite sunk in for everybody just how awful the recent spending bill was. Here’s a synopsis:

Republican lawmakers in 2011 brought the U.S. government to the brink of default, refused to raise the debt ceiling, demanded huge spending cuts, and insisted on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.

On Wednesday, they formally broke free from those fiscal principles and announced a plan that would add $500 billion in new spending over two years and suspend the debt ceiling until 2019. This came several months after Republicans passed a tax law that would add more than $1 trillion to the debt over a decade.

With all these changes, the annual gap between spending and revenue in 2019 is projected to eclipse $1.1 trillion, up from $439 billion in 2015. And they are expanding the deficit at an unusual time, when the economy is growing and unemployment is low, a dynamic that often leads to shrinking budget gaps.

Ah, but that’s all Congress’s fault, I hear you say. Not so fast, Sparky! Trump’s proposed budget, released since the are all on him, and they are wretched as well. He just got through proposing that we add $7 trillion to our debt:

The White House budget request would add $984 billion to the federal deficit next year, despite proposed cuts to programs like Medicare and food stamps and despite leaner budgets across federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mr. Trump’s budget statement calls deficits the harbingers of a “desolate” future, but the White House plan would add $7 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

Trump could have been a strong voice for fiscal conservatism and threatened to veto anything that added to the deficit. He has been the opposite. Our children will pay the price.


I said up top that if you can ignore what Trump says, and “focus only on what he does, you can be pretty happy with what we’ve seen.” Criticizing his praise for dictators might seem to be at odds with that — but it’s not. First, what the President says always matters. Any president receives outsized news coverage, and Trump gets his share, to put it mildly. But especially in foreign affairs, what he says matters. And Trump loves to praise dictators.

Trump’s man-love for Vladimir Putin is well known, and need not be recounted here. Never mind the murders of journalists — which Trump enables by denying the proof. Never mind the political repression and corruption. We love us that Russian strongman!

But the praise and back-slapping of dictators doesn’t end with Putin. There’s the praise for Duterte’s murderous tactics, from May 2017:

President Trump praised President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines in a phone call last month for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the island nation where the government has sanctioned gunning down suspects in the streets.

Xi has made himself a virtual emperor and heads a repressive society that is perhaps the greatest threat to the U.S. He jails journalists and political opponents, and censors information with a vengeance. Trump says of Xi: he is a “very good man.”

Similarly, Trump praises al-Sisi and Erdogan without restraint or caveat. I could go on.

Much of this gets defended as good diplomacy. You want us to get along with other countries, don’t you, Patterico? Well, sure … but the U.S. has always walked a fine line when it comes to oppressive regimes. We want to get along, but we have always tried to keep human rights in mind, and send a signal that we disapprove of abuses. All that is out the window when you are openly applauding the extrajudicial murder of drug dealers.

Yes, we have some good judges and maybe regulations have been eased a bit. But the kid in the dunce cap isn’t a genius. Let’s tone down the praise to bring it in line with reality.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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