In praise of window locks and border walls

train
The Criminal Special: Central Americans ride the rails through Mexico.

NATIONS NEED border walls because a nation is a family, and families are good things, so nations are good things too, the concept.

Nations, like regular family units, are groups of people connected by race, religion, history, language and culture. Some families are dysfunctional, and some nations are dysfunctional. Those latter are the ones President Trump allegedly labeled “shitholes.”

A bit harsh but correct in some cases.

The dysfunctional families and nations are dysfunctional not so much due to race but to a troubled culture, religion and history. Some cultures are superior to others, sometimes far superior. How do you grade a culture, giving it an A-plus, a C or an F?

Its grade depends on the lifestyle it provides its people. Thus, Haiti gets an F, Bolivia gets a D and Canada, Australia and New Zealand get an A. Due to the problem the United States created for itself centuries ago with the slavery thing and now its blowback, it gets a B on average though some states get an A (Texas), and others get a C-minus (California).

If you’ve got a well-functioning nation (or family), which depends, as we have already established, on race, religion, language, history and culture, you must exercise caution when people from other nations (or families) want to move into the house with you.

Sweden had an A-plus culture for a long time. They were a homogeneous people with a common culture, language, etc. Sweden then decided it would be a swell idea to open its borders to hordes of people from the Middle East, no questions asked.

Sweden is now known as the “Rape Capital of Europe.” This should come as no surprise when you consider they invited into their midst a staggeringly different culture, one that suppresses women and embraces an extremist, macho religion.

Sweden shot itself in the head with an AR-15. In the name of multiculturalism.

If you’ve got a successful nation (or family), caution is in order before unlocking the door to your neighbors. That’s why border walls — and locks on your home windows — are very wise things. When Trump said he would build a wall, he also said it would have a “big beautiful door” for the deserving to enter. That latter part is seldom mentioned.

Mexico is very insulted by Trump’s border wall idea. How dare he? And yet millions of Mexicans have entered the United States illegally, so many that the culture in some parts of the United States seems more like Mexico than the United States.

And to add the proverbial insult to injury, Mexico lets Central Americans enter through its southern border, hoists them atop that famous train where they jump off near the Rio Bravo to swim, hike, tunnel and fence-climb into the United States.

How dare Trump suggest a wall? The man has such gall.

The United States already has many miles of border wall, but it needs lots more and even higher. Maybe a moat with gators. But Mexico needs a wall down south too. Sweden needed one, but it seems too late now. Sweden is a goner. R.I.P.

All nations need border walls if they want to maintain their integrity, and if the nation is a very successful one (great culture), the need for a wall grows exponentially.

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(Note: It is common knowledge that Jews and Asians are smarter than the rest of us. Do the Asian nations or Israel leave their doors wide open in the name of multiculturalism and diversity? Not on your life, Bub, proving their high IQ.)

Gun control: an American fantasy

fantasy
Democrat National Committee headquarters.

(The following is an editorial in today’s Washington Examiner.)

The shooter who perpetrated the recent massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., succeeded in killing 17 people. He also got Americans talking about gun control again.

Once again, too, there were those whose contribution to debate was to sneer at people who offered prayers for the victims and their families, instead of advocating or promising gun control. Even if you set aside the sneers, there is a problem with their attitude, no matter how good their intentions are otherwise. Prayer might actually help. Gun control, on the other hand, doesn’t work and can’t work in the U.S. and is a fantasy now just as it ever was.

By “fantasy,” we mean to express several important facts that are ignored in this debate. It is fantasy as policy because stricter gun control, within the limits of what is considered reasonable today (i.e., anything short of a total ban on sales or even gun confiscation), does not guarantee or even statistically correlate with lower gun homicide rates in any given state. This fact merits your time for some research, but to give just one prominent example from the FBI data, Texas and California have comparable gun homicide rates each year (they were actually tied in 2015).

If gun control were effective, that is not what you’d expect in the nation’s two most populous states with two of the most different gun policies. And that is by no means the only observation of its kind that you’ll take away from the FBI’s annual numbers.

Gun control is a political fantasy because the Second Amendment and various states’ constitutions protect the right to bear arms. This will not be changed, full stop. You don’t need to support or even like the Bill of Rights to see that gun control is an administrative fantasy as well.

In a country where private citizens own more than 300 million firearms, no effective form of gun control can be practical, and no practical form can be effective. Even an obviously unconstitutional ban on all new sales would take a century to make its effects felt. Universal confiscation of hundreds of millions of firearms would be several orders of magnitude more difficult than deporting every illegal immigrant in the U.S.

Gun control advocates seem frustrated that this country is not and cannot ever be Luxembourg. But the sooner they accept that reality, the closer everyone will be to starting a productive conversation about how to prevent the next Parkland.

This conversation ought to begin with the question of why the nation’s existing background check system and law enforcement agencies are so woefully ineffective in preventing known threats, like that from the Parkland shooter, whose irregular and threatening behavior was no secret, from becoming school shooters.

Why is the government so bad at keeping guns out of the hands not only of people who arguably shouldn’t have them, but even of people who by law are already not allowed to have them? The Charleston church shooter was a felon who should not have been permitted to buy his gun, but for an FBI error during the background check process.

The Parkland shooter, like the Pulse Nightclub terrorist and the Boston Marathon bombers before him, had been flagged for FBI attention long before his crimes. In each case, the bureau shrugged.

Is the government incapable of safeguarding citizens’ rights and safety? Could it do so with more resources, or with more authority? Congress should at least consider granting money to the states to pay for the personnel and computer resources required to make the background check database work as intended.

Meanwhile, it should also consider creating a universally accessible, voluntary background check system, as we have recommended in the past, to replace or supplement the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The next step will likely fall to state governments, which may want to consider new ideas such as temporary gun violence restraining orders. They probably ought also to be reconsidering procedures for officially identifying and legally recognizing mental illness in people who are suspected threats to themselves and others.

There is also an entire universe of discussion that hasn’t been had in decades, about whether we as a society are inappropriately neglecting to prescribe and perhaps heavily subsidize assisted living arrangements and even partial physical confinement for certain disturbed individuals. In today’s technological context, many of these might benefit and even become productive members of society, without posing a threat.

These ideas should be at the center of this debate. Once we’re talking about them instead of trying to drink from the dry well of gun control, we’ll actually be making some progress.

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(Note: A more accurate headline would have been Gun Control: a Leftist Fantasy. Conservatives tend to be more realistic. We are people with our feet on the ground, with some exceptions. The Democrat Party, i.e. leftists, excel at dreaming.)

Up in the sky

SUNDAY WAS the final installment of a three-day, hot-air balloon festival in our mountaintop town.

I shot this brief video from our upstairs terraza.

The airport, and that’s using the term loosely, rests on the edge of my neighborhood on the outskirts of town. It’s a dirt strip that goes virtually unused all year.

There is a hangar there, and a DC-9 without wings on display. A funny story that. The DC-9 was brought here on a massive flatbed tractor-trailer some years back.

It had almost completed the trip when it had to make a right turn from one highway to a lesser road just three blocks from the Hacienda. There is an incline to the roadbed and, halfway around the curve, the jet fell off the trailer.

It rolled briefly toward a carnitas stand about 20 feet away. I imagine those seconds were endless to the crew cutting carnitas. It’s not often you see a DC-9 rolling your way.

The jet was hoisted back upon the trailer and continued the short distance to our airport where it now lives.

The hangar there, the DC-9 and, previously, an ultralight service is owned by some well-off individual. The ultralight service has gone out of business due to lack of, well, business.

Once I drove over there to inquire about learning to fly ultralights, something I never got around to, and the fellow let me go inside the DC-9, which was lots of fun.

I have a private-pilot’s license though I haven’t used it since the 1970s. It never expires. I also took a number of sailplane lessons in Central Texas, but I never got that license either.

There’s something a bit unnerving about being up in a plane with no means of propulsion whatsoever.

I skydived once in Louisiana, and I went up in a hot-air balloon once in Texas. Giving my mother near heart attacks apparently was an unconscious, lifetime goal.

And then there were the motorcycles.

She’s dead now, so I’ve quit doing all that stuff.

My father could not have cared less.

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(Promo! For those of you who have not recently visited — or never have — my SlickPic photos, there is a new look and new photos. The SlickPic Gallery is where you’ll find gobs of photos of the Hacienda through the years, our Cuba visit in 2012, photos of the Downtown Casita (available on AirBnB), my art furniture, Mexico in general and, last but not least, a blow by blow — photo-wise — of the construction of our free-standing pastry kitchen.)

Change of scenery

I SPENT MOST of my life before age 55 in hot zones. Southwest Georgia, northeast Florida, south Louisiana and east Texas.

I know sweat, and I don’t like it one bit.

So when I leaped off the treadmill, I opted for a big — very big — change of scenery not only in moving to Mexico but in settling atop an ever-cool mountain.

We  live 7,200 feet above the faraway sea — the Pacific Ocean — and we enjoy cool weather year-round. It can get a bit stuffy in the afternoons and early evenings of springtime, but it’s a small price to pay for the other 98 percent of the year.

Sometimes we like to visit a beach, and almost invariably we go to Zihuatanejo, which is about three hours from the Hacienda down a smooth autopista* past mango and avocado trees and high mountain lakes.

That’s our favorite beach, La Ropa, in the video.

If the urge to visit a throbbing megalopolis strikes, it’s about four hours, also on a smooth autopista, to Mexico City, or three hours in the other direction to Guadalajara.

If I don’t want to fight the traffic or teeming mobs of Mexico City, but I do want a wider variety of restaurants than we have here on the mountaintop, it’s less than a three-hour drive northeast to San Miguel de Allende.

Also on, of course, a smooth autopista.

In San Miguel, we now overnight at the Hotel Quinta Loreto right downtown, wonderfully located, not elegant but quite comfy, and a big room costs about $38 these days.**

The fabulous Café MuRo is less than a block away.

Sure, you have to elbow aside hordes of Gringos in San Miguel, both those who live there so they don’t have to learn Spanish and tourists who flock there for the same reason.

But that’s a minor distraction.

Then we return to the cool mountain air.

Changes of scenery are available in every direction.

It’s dang sweet.

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* An autopista is a fast-traveling toll highway. The tolls, which can be a bit high, keep the riffraff away.

** Including tax!