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Friday, September 30, 2005

Tower of Voices also oriented on Mecca

The crescents surrounding the Flight 93 memorial’s Tower of Voices have the same two orientations as the memorial’s huge red maple crescent. The most obvious of the tower’s crescents has its crescent tips on almost the exact same heading as the line that bisects the red maple crescent (1.7 degrees off Mecca). The slightly more hidden choice has its crescent tips on almost the exact Mecca line.

In my previous post I explained my discovery that the Flight 93 memorial contains a separate terrorist memorial wall, centered precisely on the line that bisects the red maple crescent. That terrorist wall includes three translucent blocks of the sort dedicated to the forty murdered Americans, and it implicates a fourth translucent block up on the upper crescent tip: the large glass block that dedicates the entire site. (Forty-four dead, forty-four translucent blocks on the flight path to death.) When the large translucent block is used as the upper crescent tip, the line bisecting the crescent becomes the exact Mecca line.

That the Tower of Voices part of the memorial also combines these two orientations adds yet more confirmation that these orientations are not accidental. The red maple crescent intends to center on the separate upper section of the memorial wall, and the more hidden orientation, based on the glass block, intends to orient precisely on Mecca.

Below is a blow up of the Tower of Voices from the Crescent of Embrace site plan. I have drawn the two Jihadist orientations in. The red line measures the most obvious crescent orientation, going tip to tip on the crescent that sticks out the most. The pixel count of this line is 239/177, and the angle clockwise from north is arctangent (239/177) = 53.47. This is almost identical to the angle of the bisector of the red maple crescent (53.5 degrees from north). (See my previous post for an explanation of this calculational method, which I borrowed from Politicalities.)

Low-rez max-blowup of Tower part of site plan. Posted by Picasa

At the top of the crescent structure, there is only one crescent point to choose from, but at the bottom end some secondary choices are possible. Moving to the next crescent point (the aqua line) actually connects four crescent tips, suggesting that it too might be an intended line. This line has a pixel count of 290/203, making for an angle of 55.01 degrees from north, in contrast to the exact Mecca line angle of 55.2 degrees.

What made me look closer at the Tower of Voices was coming across a comment at LGF noting that an Islamic minaret is a literal tower of voices, and others noting that criers issue the Islamic call to prayers from minarets at the designated times of day.

Looking up the Park Foundation’s detail PDF for the Tower (furthest to the right), I couldn’t help noticing that it looks like some kind of giant sundial.

Features line the area swept by the sun's shadow, as with a sundial. Posted by Picasa

The obvious suspicion is that it somehow indicates Muslim prayer times, but none of the obvious markers (gaps between trees, etcetera) lie near the north-south shadow line that would coincide with noon prayers. The array has the elliptical shape of an analemmatic sundial, but those are oriented with the foci on an east west line, while the ellipses in the Tower array have their foci on a north-northeast line. If it is a sundial, the key to reading it would seem to be something arcane.

What is unambiguous is that it shares the Islamist orientations of the red maple crescent: one orientation coinciding with the terrorist memorial wall, one orientation pointing precisely towards Mecca. Whoever did this was thorough. He didn’t want to miss a trick. I think the Islamist plotter wanted it to be undeniable, after the memorial was a fait accompli, that he had succeeded in planting a terrorist memorial on the graves of the infidels. It’s almost as if he knew how hard it would be to convince some people!

When I get a chance, I will post an update with angle measurements for the detail view of the Tower's crescent array. With the additional detail, one can locate several other lines in the array that replicate the two orientations given by the outer crescent tips. At the same time, the whole graphic seems to be turned a fraction of a degree vis a vis the blow-up from the overall site plan. Only the site plan (the graphic I used above) specifies a north-at-the-top orientation, so that is presumably the correct one.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

44 dead people, 44 translucent blocks on the flight path

If the Crescent of Embrace is not a memorial to the terrorists who downed Flight 93, why does it contain 44 translucent blocks, instead of just the forty inscribed to memorialize the forty murdered Americans?

Take a look at this graphic of the Crescent’s Memorial Wall:

Passengers and flight crew are memorialized with the translucent blocks on the left. Posted by Picasa

The lower portion of the wall, on the left, contains forty translucent blocks, backlit at night, and inscribed with the names of the forty murdered Americans. There is also an an upper section of wall, continuing up the flight path that Flight 93 followed as it came into the crash site. Notice that this section of wall also contains a strip of translucent blocks, a shorter strip, just long enough to memorialize a small handful of people, like maybe the four terrorists who also died in the crash.

Confirmation comes from noting that the center point of the upper section of the memorial wall lies exactly (to the pixel) on the line that bisects the red maple crescent. I had earlier placed my detailed analysis of this bisector further down in this post but I decided to move it up, to establish at the outset that this upper wall is indeed a separate sub-memorial to the terrorists.

The red crescent bisector

Identifying the tips of the red crescent is pretty straightforward, and ultimately unambiguous. At the bottom crescent tip, there is no possible ambiguity. There is a last red maple tree, sitting directly on the circle that the crescent partly inscribes. The top also offers an obvious choice. A pair of walls mark off an area filled with red trees. If you print out a screen-shot of the PDF, you can see by tinkering with a compass that the inner of these walls lies on circle of the crescent. The crescent tip has to be located on this circle or a perpendicular projecting through the midpoint between the crescent tips will not pass through the center of the circle and the crescent will not be symmetrically bisected. Thus the upper crescent tip logically becomes the tip of the inner wall.

Voice of Reason, who was the first to try to define the red crescent tips precisely, used a slightly different method for defining the tips. He used the furthest out red pixels on both top and bottom. This method can’t be quite right, however, because the red trees between the two walls on top are above the circle of the crescent. Thus Voice’s mid-point perpendicular does not quite bisect the crescent.

With ambiguity removed from the red crescent definition, the red crescent bisector proves to precisely bisect the upper portion of the memorial wall. Below are a full view and a detail, followed by the pixel measurements. The upper portion of the memorial wall begins where you can see a path winding in from the upper left. That path passes through the gap in the wall.

Red crescent bisector.  Posted by Picasa

Detail view. Upper wall starts where path coming in from upper left passes through gap in wall.) Posted by Picasa

Anyone who wants to can replicate and verify my graphic by taking a screenshot of the PDF of the crescent site plan and pasting it into a paint program. (To take a screenshot of an active Windows window, hold down Alt and press Print Screen.) Plain Jane Microsoft Paint has a line tool that activates a pixel counter on the lower right of the screen. I just connected the dots in blue (330 pixels east-west, 446 pixels north-south); followed with a half line in red (165 e-w by 223 n-s); and a perpendicular from the center of the circle (just below the center of the 3) out towards the upper wall (446 e-w, 330 n-s). Cuts the upper wall dead center. Using the line tool in Paint, I measure 5 horizontal pixels by 13 vertical pixels from the intersection of the line and the wall to each end of the wall.

The fourth translucent block

Looking closely at the upper wall, a possible contra-indication to the terrorist-memorial hypothesis emerges. The plan only has a band of three translucent blocks in the upper wall, not four.

Close up of gap between lower and upper memorial walls. Forty translucent blocks on left. Only three on right. Posted by Picasa

The cover story for the blocks is that the blocks on the upper wall are to inscribe the date, 9/11/2001. Once the upper wall has been determined to be integral with the red crescent, the placement of the date on the upper wall takes on a sinister meaning. The terrorists don’t get to have their names inscribed, but they do get to own the date, which of course was their objective.

Even without knowing that the upper wall is precisely centered on the crescent, the date inscription would not be enough cover to get away with four translucent blocks. People looking at the forty blocks from below would look up and say: “Hey, who are those blocks up there memorializing?" If they go up and see four blocks, the date is not going to fool them into thinking that they are just being paranoid. Several people a day at least would say: “Wait a minute…, forty blocks there, four blocks here, forty murdered, four murderers…” Thus the thesis of hidden Islamic intent requires that the schemer come up with a bit more cover, some way of hiding the fourth block.

Not that hiding a fourth block would be hard, especially in a section of wall that tapers into the ground, as the upper part of the memorial wall does. Just stick the fourth block below ground near the upper end, where the level of the translucent blocks disappears below earth. But why hide underground when you can hide in plain sight?

There is one more translucent block in the Crescent memorial. If you continue up the line of the memorial wall (the flight path that Flight 93 followed on its way to ground) you come to the upper tip of the crescent, where an overlook at the entry portal terminates in a huge glass block, inscribed with the mission statement of the memorial.

Overlook extending through inner circle of crescent, with large glass block at end, dedicating the site.  Posted by Picasa

Is this where an Islamist schemer has symbolically memorialized the fourth terrorist soul? In the glass block that dedicates the entire site? Gotta be. Forty-four dead, forty-four translucent blocks on the flight path to death. Remember, the translucent blocks are numbered. The number is intentionally significant.

Repeated inexactitudes, ultimately resolved exactly

The memorial turns out to have been designed through a process of not quite exact Islamist symbolisms, presumably to throw off the suspicious, each one of which contains its own deeper Jihadist meaning. The locally missing fourth translucent block is just one example. Another is the orientation of the he red crescent, whose bisector turns out to be 1.7 degrees off of the exact direction to Mecca. The hidden meaning? One can also bisect the circle of the crescent by the true Mecca line and then look to see what crescent tips it defines. When this is done, the upper crescent tip turns out to be the large glass block implicated by the terrorist wall. Other inexactitudes do the same thing. They point to deeper perfidies that ultimately resolve the inexactitude exactly, to the pixel. It is actually an ingenious design. It could no more be coincidence than a perfectly working bicycle could spontaneously form out of primordial ooze.

To pull back the layers of deception and intent, I’ll start with the in-exactness that first prompted me to look closer.

The slightly off center Islamic star

I was originally prompted to look closer at the memorial wall because I was looking to see if I could find an explanation for the slight difference between the geometry of the Crescent of Embrace and the geometry of an Islamic flag. Charles Johnson and others had noted the overt similarity. There is a copse of trees in the Crescent plan that sits on what looks to be the center line of the crescent, just where the Islamic star sits on an Islamic flag.

Crescent and copse. Posted by Picasa

Crescents and Stars. Posted by Picasa

When a number of bloggers were verifying the Crescent’s orientation towards Mecca last week, my two cents was to look closely at the positioning of the copse to see if it is indeed positioned exactly as the star on an Islamic flag. I found that the centerline of the crescent does indeed project through the copse, as does the slightly different line that projects from Mecca through the center of the circle that the crescent partly inscribes. Yet neither of these lines project through the center of the copse. Instead, they pass through the upper third of the copse.

The copse is small compared to the huge crescent, so the deviation from a perfectly centered star is only slight. Thus the copse-star connection provides further evidence of intended Islamic symbolism, but it also leaves a question mark. If the copse is supposed to represent the Islamic star, why isn't it precisely centered on the Mecca line?

Looking through the graphics at the Park Foundation website, I came across the graphics of the copse area. (On the website, click on the furthest left set of Crescent plans to see the Copse.) The explanation was immediate. The upper half of the copse shelters the upper portion of the memorial wall. When the crescent and the Mecca line point to the upper part of the copse, they are pointing towards what seems to be a sub-memorial to the terrorists, and this is confirmed by the placement of the upper wall precisely in the center of the red crescent. Though perhaps we should say that it is the memorial to the murdered Americans that is the sub-memorial, since it is literally off to the side. The orientation of the larger crescent structure on the upper portion of the memorial wall makes the upper wall the central memorial.

The Islamist site planner still had some generosity though. The murdered Americans get to have some trees too. Thus the Islamic star at the center of the crescent gets a little lopsided. After all, this is America, and the Americans might not stand for it if the memorial were ONLY for the terrorists. But of course there are limits to Jihadist generosity. The terrorist memorial has to be separate. Jihadists regard infidels as “najis” (as unclean). They can’t touch us. Thus there has to be a gap between the memorial to the murdered Americans and the memorial to their murderers.

What? You thought the Crescent of Embrace was supposed to heal the divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims? The Crescent is facing precisely away from Mecca. It represents the OUTWARD embrace of Islam. The outward embrace of Islam is jihad. This is a memorial to Jihad. At least, that is the thesis here, that some Islamist snuck in a memorial to the Jihadists, and there is still more evidence, or should I say proof, to come.

Deviation from Mecca

The crescent bisector determined by the red maple trees is not quite the true Mecca line. If you use Google Earth, you can find the blasted out semi-circle of trees where Flight 93 crashed at 40 degrees, 3 minutes, 1.5 seconds north, by 78 degrees, 54 minutes, 16.57 seconds west. These numbers can then be plugged into an online qibla finder. (Muslims call the direction towards Mecca from any particular point its qibla direction. Hat tip SarahW .) Using the qibla finder at dnzh.com, the Mecca line comes out to be 55 degrees 10 minutes and 92 seconds clockwise from north (about 55.18 degrees).

Voice of Reason came up with an almost identical 55.2 using an online great circle calculator (subtract his 124.8 from 180). He also cued me in to the idea of using pixel counts to determine the angles of lines in graphics. The angle of my red-crescent bisector can be determined by taking the arctangent of the ratio of the n-s pixel count and the e-w pixel count.

If you have forgotten your trigonometry:

The tangent function of the angle A is defined as a/b. To find the value of A, apply the inverse tangent function (arctangent) to tangent (A). A = arctangent (tangent(A)) = arctangent (a/b). (Graphic stolen from some kind soul at ClarkU. Hopefully this is fair use.) Posted by Picasa

In the present example, A represents degrees counterclockwise from east of the red-crescent bisector. Rise over run (a/b) for this line is 330/446, or .7399. Arctangent(.7399) = 36.498. To convert this into degrees clockwise from north, subtract it from 90. 90 - 36.498 = 53.5.

This is a little further off the exact Mecca line (55.18 degrees) than Voice of Reason calculated in his post. It is 1.7 degrees off Mecca, while Voice's result is less than one degree off. The difference comes because Voice, as noted earlier, Voice tried to locate the upper crescent tip using the furthest out pixels of red, which are above the circle of the crescent, introducing some error into his bisector.

You can also see the 1.7 degree deviation of the red-tree crescent from Mecca pretty clearly on Etaoin Shrdlu’s original graphic, built around a true Mecca line. Etaoin somehow managed to get hold of a polar map of the earth with the Shanksville crash site as the pole. He plotted the Mecca line coming in from the northeast, and inset the Crescent’s site plan to the southwest, with the Mecca line projecting through the crescent’s center point. If you look closely at the result you can see that his perpendicular doesn’t quite touch the crescent tips as defined by the how far out the red trees extend. There is a visible gap between Etaoin’s perpendicular and the last red tree at bottom.

Etaoin Shrdlu's brilliant superposition of Mecca line and site plan.  Posted by Picasa

So the Crescent ISN’T oriented EXACTLY on Mecca. Don’t be put off of your suspicions. Every inexactitude in this design, when investigated, reveals deeper perfidies. The slightly uncentered star reveals the upper memorial wall. The missing block in the upper wall reveals the connection to the forty-fourth translucent block on the flight path, the dedicatory block near the upper crescent tip. So too with the slightly off Mecca orientation of the red-crescent. Whoever designed this kept intentionally making it off by just enough so that those who were suspicious enough to look closely couldn’t accuse him of creating an exact Islamic representation, but in the end he couldn’t resist tying it all up exactly.

The exact Mecca orientation

The second orientation to examine is how the crescent tips would have to be defined in order to orient the resulting crescent precisely on Mecca. The bottom crescent tip is unambiguous. It's at the top where the complexity of the double walls and the flight path portal create a spray of features, some one of which, used as a crescent tip, might yield a bisector pointing directly at Mecca. Aghast at the thought, I tried the portal where the flight path that carried our heroes to their doom crosses the inner crescent wall. Nope. Not quite right. The bisector is just a touch too flat, so I just calculated how many pixels I would need to move the top point by to get an exact Mecca line, connected the dot at the bottom, went up and over the required number of pixels, touched down the resulting spot on the upper inner circle, and said to myself: you sick bastard.

It goes right through the glass block at the end of the overlook that projects into the crescent along the flight path. IT'S THE GLASS BLOCK.

Overlook entending through inner circle of crescent, with large glass block at end, dedicating the site.  Posted by Picasa

This is THE Mecca line. Zero deviation, within the precision that the site plan, and the limited number of pixels on my view screen, enable. Here is my graphic, calculated to the pixel. I made the lines finer than in the other graphic so that the lines do not obscure the end of the overlook, where the glass block sits.

Precise Mecca line bisector, passes through glass block at end of overlook on flight path at top.
 Posted by Picasa

The line between the crescent tips is 326 pixels e-w and 468 pixels n-s. That yields a bisector line 55.14 degrees from north. That’s .04 degrees steeper than the true Mecca line, but even a one pixel correction would over-correct, and I want to do my pixels in multiples of two anyway, so I can locate the midpoint precisely. Notice that the Mecca line also passes through the 115 foot upper section of the memorial wall about twenty feet from the end, right about where the level line of the translucent blocks descends into the earth. Oh yeah. They were going to plant a fourth translucent block there, right under the Mecca line, giving an even more perverse meaning to the big glass block up on the crescent tip: that’s their Islamic heaven, the big translucent place where all individual translucents go. It is where each Jihadist martyr lives in ecstasy with his 72 houris.

So which is worse, determining the crescent’s orientation by how far around the red trees extend on either side and having the crescent orient precisely on the center of the upper section of memorial wall (turning it into a completely obvious and integral terrorist memorial wall), or determining the upper crescent tip by the Mecca line and having it go through the glass block that dedicates the site? Worst is the obvious reality: that some stinking Islamist designed the Crescent memorial to do both of these things. MURDOCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

INTERJECTION-UPDATE: I have just discovered that the crescent array up at the Tower of Voices section of the memorial manifests the same two orientations as the crescent part of the memorial: 1.7 degrees off Mecca, and precisely on the Mecca line. My post here. END INTERJECTIION-UPDATE

Closer to heaven

With the key discovered, all the parts fit. The terrorist part of the wall is closer to the glass block at the crescent tip, i.e. closer to the symbolic Islamic heaven. The copse also manifests this orientation. Notice that it is triangle shaped.

Triangle shape of copse. Posted by Picasa

At the tip is a small copse, a precise copse, directly on the true Mecca line, then there is a larger copse centered on the terrorist portion of the memorial wall, then there are more trees, further from heaven and outside of any true Islamic star, that could be taken represent the dhimmis (those unbelievers who accept submission to Islam). Dhimmis are accepted, but not included. Then there is Dar al Harb, the world of war, referring to all those infidels who do not submit. These are not included in the copse part of the memorial at all. They are back in the graveyard of the crash site, where they belong.

Yes, one can always find symbolism, but the key to this design has already been unlocked. Interpretation can take the precise Mecca orientation and the other intended Islamist structures here as a given. When other details, like the exact copse design, make sense in terms of this established structure, they are likely also intended.

Murdoch’s deceit indicates no coincidence

The possibility of coincidence is vanishingly small at this point. Symbolism is what architects do. They understand the Islamic symbolism of the crescent. They know that adding a star in almost exactly the position of the star on an Islamic flag confirms the Islamic symbolism of the crescent. They understand that orientation towards Mecca is yet another Islamic symbol. They understand that if a separate wall is added, distinct from the wall of American dead, and it is centered on the crescent, that wall gains the Islamic symbolism of the crescent and the star. They understand that, when there is a translucent block for each dead American, additional translucent blocks symbolize additional deaths, and they know who else died. Is it possible to achieve all of this Islamic orientation without knowing it?

If a monkey sits at a typewriter FOREVER it might type a verse of Shakespeare, but if I see an English Ph.D. student put on a monkey suit and straight off type, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore are thou Romeo,” I’m pretty sure it’s not a monkey. It’s not impossible. These architects in monkey suits could really be monkeys, but I’m not buying it.

For one thing, Murdoch has already been deceitful. It is inconceivable that the inclusion of an Islamic star in the memorial was not intentional. It only takes a cursory examination to see that the crescent and copse is a kissing cousin to the Islamic flag. No professional purveyor of symbolism could possibly be unaware of it. Adding a star to the crescent is like adding Jesus to the cross. It’s pretty hard to say it isn’t an Islamic crescent when it is paired with an Islamic star, yet Murdoch had the memorial project’s superintendent, Joanne Hanley, convinced that no Islamic symbolism was intended.

"The name is irrelevant, really," Hanley told reporters. "There's a lot of misinformation out there and conjecture and hidden meaning that just isn't there." Her reference to the crescent name shows that she was just thinking of the crescent shape. She was not even alert to the star. Murdoch obviously was, and he intentionally misled her. Dishonesty implies things to hide, so when we find more hidden things, like the orientation precisely towards Mecca, its damned clear that this is another a part of what Murdoch was hiding. Similarly with the separate memorial wall for the terrorists, similarly with the translucent blocks, similarly with the Mecca orientation through the dedicatory glass block.

You dirtbag Murdoch. You terrorist memorializing scum. Explain yourself. Is the orientation precisely towards Mecca a complete surprise to you? Then why did you lie about the Islamic star? And if you knew about all that, let’s talk about that upper section of the memorial wall, and the 44 translucent blocks on the flight path. Murdoch should be called before Congress. There is evidence that he tried to defraud the Park Foundation. This is a federal matter. Let’s get some answers. It is possible that Murdoch did not know the full extent of the Jihadist symbolism of the landscape architect's crescent design, and thought he was "only" defending the planting of an Islamic flag on the graves of our murdered heroes. If so, maybe he can help prove it.


A final technical point: Wretchard raises the question whether the north in the site plans for the Crescent of Embrace is true north. If it is magnetic north, it could be off 6 to 9 degrees from true north, making the orientation towards Mecca off by the same amount. I'm not sure this question really matters, since the first concern here is intent. If north on the site plan were to turn out to face magnetic north, that wouldn't change the clear implication that whoever came up with the plan thought he was using true north, and that all of these seeming orientations precisely towards Mecca are intended to be true orientations towards Mecca.

Nevertheless, in the name of thoroughness, I checked, and you can double check if you want to. Google Earth has good photographs of the whole neighborhood of the crash site, with true north at the top of the screen. Using the screenshot and arctangent technique, it is easy to find a couple of straight roads on the site plan and on the ground that can be compared. The two straight borders on the left side of the site plan for instance, forming a shallow v that comes in towards the crash site, coincide with two straight sections of road. The site plan is not oriented exactly to true north. It seems to be turned clockwise from true north about 3/4's of a degree. Better not tell Murdoch, or we know what his revision will be. Whoops. Ace and Allah beat him to it.

A mihrab?

Yoel notes in his comment that the crescent can be interpreted as a mihrab, a doorway shaped niche in the wall of a mosque, topped with a crescent and facing Mecca. It provides a symbolic door to Mecca that the believer symbolically passes into.

The mihrab at the Great Mosque in Cordoba. Posted by Picasa

On this interpretation, the Crescent of Embrace is not oriented away from Mecca, as many of us have been assuming, but rather is in the standard orientation of a mihrab, positioned so that a person facing Mecca can enter the crescent.

With the mihrab laid flat, the “outward embrace of Islam” as I have termed it becomes another possible interpretation. In the larger sense, this interpretation is ineluctable. The Muslim duty to Jihad has been historically interpreted as a duty to aggressive conquest.

Interestingly, Wikipedia lists the Arabic “to fight” as a possible etymology (not the most likely) of mihrab:
Others suggest that the root might be from Arabic حرب, "to fight" or "lead to war". As a noun it might be derived from "war", حرب and حربة , "lance". محراب is defined as a battlefield, in the sense jihād an-nafs (i.e. the fight against your own soul).
Wikipedia puts in the obligatory dhimmi interpretation that Jihad is a “fight against your own soul” rather than aggressive conquest of Dar al Harb. It is both, and so too the mihrab designed for the Flight 93 memorial should be interpretted as a locus both of inward Islamic piousness and of outward Islamic aggression. It is the former that has historically given rise to the latter, never more than on September 11th, 2001.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

MSNBC: Baiting the flytrap with the sickly sweet stink of defeatism

On Meet the Press this Sunday, Judy Woodruff was vibrant with optimism that America might yet be convinced to concede defeat in Iraq, and she did have some remarkable evidence on her side.

Tim Russert had just read the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll numbers for President Bush: "Only 37 percent approve of the way he's handling Iraq, fifty-eight disapprove." The implication would seem to be that 58% of Americans actually think the war is going badly for us.

These numbers are quite astounding, given that the terrorists are thoroughly beaten in Iraq, having no chance whatsoever of stopping Iraq from becoming a democratic state that is fully competent on its own to track down and annihilate every last foreign fighter. The real mystery is why the terrorists are continuing to fight in Iraq at all. By attacking the Iraqi people they are making every segment of Iraqi society, even the Sunni minority, hate them with a white hot passion. They are winning for the United States the one battle we could not otherwise win by force of arms: the battle for the direction that the Iraqi and Afghan democracies will take. We cannot force the electorates of these countries to favor religious liberty, yet the terrorists are doing more than we could ever hope to give intolerance a very very bad name. This is how Al Qaeda chooses to spend its limited pool of Jihadists? They are dying by the tens and hundreds to serve OUR purposes in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Judy’s optimism offers an explanation. She is a little frustrated because Katrina is hampering the ability of her and her colleagues to attack the war effort, but it doesn't keep down her pluck:
...we were just sitting here saying, if it hadn't been for Katrina, the numbers on--the deaths in Iraq would have been all in the headlines the last week.
Katrina won’t stop her and her colleagues for long. Neither will the passage of an Iraqi constitution present much of an obstacle:
Yes, they're about to vote on this constitution, but with the continuing violence, it just seem--when we in the United States open our newspapers every morning and we see these numbers, and they are going to--they are going to take a larger place in the news whole, if you will.
If only Judy and her friends can succeed in losing the war at home, then the Jihadists won’t have to win the battle for hearts and minds in Iraq. They can take the country by force. And is it really such a crazy hope? Look at those poll numbers! 58% of Americans think America is losing???? Against all odds, Judy and friends would seem to be winning! Maybe they can actually snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

This would seem to be the hope that the terrorists are staking everything on, which leaves me cheering: “Go Judy go!” She is the sickly sweet smell of defeatism that is luring al Qaeda to destroy itself utterly in Iraq. All they can do is die, and make themselves hated at the same time. She and the rest of the Democrat dominated media are the stink in the fly-trap.

Listen to co-panelist Gwen Ifill, who shares Judy’s undaunted optimism for looming defeat:
What about Iraq? ...there's nothing good to be pointed to there. Two hundred people killed in this latest wave of anti--of insurgency; 600 people wounded; 30 more overnight in Baghdad. There isn't a whole lot of good headlines out of this. And that's not even talking about the political situation, which- -everybody has said this is really a political solution which has to happen in Iraq, and that hasn't sorted itself out.
You tell ‘em Gwen! Don’t worry, you terrorists, that making yourselves universally hated in Iraq is doing anything to sort out the political situation there. Just keep putting up body counts that Gwen and Judy and friends can plaster on America’s front pages. You might still win! Just give 'em some of that good old fashioned "continuing violence." It doesn’t matter if the nature of that violence is to grind you into powder both militarily and politically. Put your faith in the American left!

Then there are the boys. Here’s co-panelist Eugene Robinson’s contribution:
You know, I'm not nearly as optimistic about good things happening in Iraq. I don't see how even, you know, the electoral process in Iraq really advances the cause of a unified Democratic Iraq in the real world. You've got the Shia/Sunni/Kurd split in Iraq, and that's just going to persist. And to my eye, it's going to get worse, which means worse headlines for the--for the White House. And I think you will see some peeling off. I mean, you know, if you look at the Sunni insurgent strategy, it's working pretty well. They're trying to foment what looks like a civil war, make the country ungovernable. And at the moment they're doing very well at it.
Hear that al Qaeda? Your strategy is working pretty well. "Very well" even! Just hang in there. It won’t be long now. Pretty soon you’ll all be dead, and your memory will be forever cursed in the new heart of the Muslim world.

Not that I would be for creating Judy and Gwen and Eugene if they didn’t exist. One would have to have deep reservations about choosing to pursue a flytrap strategy, with all the Jihadist murders of innnocent Iraqis that are involved. But this isn’t a chosen strategy. It’s just the way things are working out. The Democrat party and our Democrat dominated news media have decided that, for their own political reasons, they want to try to reprise their great historical victory: the loss of the Vietnam war. They even nominated as their presidential candidate the foremost icon of that victory, and cheered him on when he tried to convince the nation that we are losing in Iraq: "With all due respect to the president," bellowed Kerry to the crowd, "has he turned on the evening news lately? Does he read the newspapers? Does he really know what's happening? Is he talking about the same war that the rest of us are talking about?"

This very bad behavior by the Democrats may well be inducing the Jihadists to play into our hands in Iraq. So be it. The desert is a good place to turn lemons into lemonade. But boy are those 58% of Americans going be confused when the Jihadists decide to cut their losses. "But I thought we were losing? You mean we won? How did that happen? The newspapers said... Wha?... I'd better go back to sleep."

Go back to sleep America. Your gullibility may actually be helping us to win, giving the Jihadists reason to put their stock in Judy and Gwen. Just make sure to wake up in time for the next election please.

Where was Byron York during this orgy of defeatism? Keeping his head way way down. Hey, when these defeatists are feeling their oats, you could lose your reputation for moderation in a hurry. "What? You think we're winning? Are you insane? Have you turned on the evening news lately? Do you read the newspapers? Are you talking about the same war that the rest of us are talking about??"

Personally, I think Byron was just doing his part to support the fly-trap strategy.

Friday, September 16, 2005

President Bush’s Katrina relief proposals

On first hearing the President announce his three proposals for offering help in the wake of Katrina, I hated them all, but on second thought, I like the homestead act proposal. Bush's three proposals, and my initial criticisms:

1. Turn the affected areas into enterprise zones.

The last thing we should do is give people artificial incentive to build businesses in hurricane alley.

2. $5,000 accounts for worker training and child care.

People learn by doing, not by learning about doing. What the displaced welfare class needs is to go to work, not to sit around and talk about going to work. If they are unemployable, and talking about work is the best they can do, be honest that these people can’t be helped. Don’t throw money away pretending to help them with phony “job training” that never has worked and never will. In the real world, this isn’t how people learn to work. Paying people have someone else raise their children isn’t a net benefit either.

3. A homestead act to give federal lands in the Gulf states over to poor people on condition that they build on it, with federally subsidized mortgages.

The only kind of development that works is natural development, according to the private incentives that economic conditions, local, national and international, create. Plopping a bunch of poor people on federal land that would not for purely economic reasons be developed is a recipe for failure.

But wait a minute. I have often lamented how much development has not occurred because the government has locked up vast amounts of federal land, regardless of its fitness for development. A homestead act is one way to return federal land to the market. It’s not the best way. As with programs for subsidizing “low income housing,” owners will not gain full property rights for many years. How about just selling federal land, especially in areas that are not so prone to hurricane and flood damage? If it is prime for development, it will be bought, and the local economies will grow.

But a homestead act would be a nice option for people who don’t have the liquidity to buy. It would arguably be part of the efficient mix of policies, and as long as it is combined with other necessary components of development (the whole area can’t be untradable land) it’s a good idea, a net-gainer, not the net-loser I was initially thinking.

What is the matter with me? Here was my initial summary view of Bush’s Katrina proposals:
I’ve had my gripes with Bush. The refusal to enforce our borders and our immigration laws, signing McCain-Feingold, competing with the Democrats over who can give old people (our wealthiest age cohort) the biggest prescription drug subsidies, the disastrous subsidies for inefficient domestic steel producers, but these Katrina relief policies are just gratuitous. Okay, he feels compelled to DO SOMETHING (the bane of good government), but come on. Given a blank sheet of paper, with no idiotic Congress to satisfy, and every one of his prescriptions is moronic? It makes me sick.
I’m sorry Mr. President. Your proposals are not THAT bad, and done right, the homestead proposal could actually be pretty good.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Re-open the competition, ban Paul Murdoch, and build a "Let's Roll" rollercoaster

Now that Paul Murdoch has agreed to redesign his flight 93 memorial, the mainstream media has the excuse it needs not to inform the American people that Murdoch's Crescent of Embrace was in fact a fully specified Islamic flag (crescent and star) oriented precisely on Mecca. Murdoch, or someone in his employ, tried to pull off an Islamist coup, planting the flag of the terrorists on the graves of the heroes they murdered. That Murdoch will be given a second chance is a travesty. He needs to be banned from the competition, which ideally should be re-opened.

My proposal: a "Let's roll!" roller-coaster. Enough with these sit-on-your-ass-and-ponder-murder-in-quietude memorials, even if they aren't trying to sneak in a win for the other side. Flight 93 is not about pondering what to do, it's about knowing what to do, and doing it. What better memorial than that dramatic piece of Americana, the roller-coaster, with a design as unique and thematic as the site calls for.

Riders would board through a normal boarding gate and walkway-arm down to the "plane." The coaster cars would be laid out like Flight 93's Boeing 757, the seating plan of which had a single aisle with three seats on either side. The ride would be open air, but could have top sections, fashioned on the 757, that could be attached for running the ride in foul weather, only with larger windows. The aisle would be used for animatronics. It would have a track that circled up from below, allowing animatronic stewardesses, hijackers and heroes to play out their actions.

When boarding is complete, a friendly animatronic Stewardess comes up to offer some familiar instructions. Over a speaker system, the pilot introduces himself and describes the flight plan, and the ride begins.

It ascends in stages. On the first stage, the ride does not start out pulling directly up an incline, but accelerates down a runway, reaching "take-off velocity," rising, and banking up, to simulate as closely as possible the take off of a jet-liner. The ride releases from the lifting mechanism (or if it propulsion and braking are by electro-magnetic levitation, it might stay attached) and proceeds at a modest cruising speed. The pilot comes on and announces "Cruising altitude," but "there could be some bumpy air, so please keep your seatbelt's fastened!" This "normal flight" stage would consist of a big easy lap around the terrifying central structure of the ride: a descending spiral, which the ride is rising towards.

The first half of the lap is for staring. Then half-waw around, a loud banging is heard from above. What it is nobody knows. It continues until 3/4 of the way around the structure, when one of the "planes" ahead, full of terrified and cheering passengers, free-falls nose first down to earth.

At this point the ride approaches its next ascent, rising and losing speed until picked up for the second lift, this time characterized by the ominous ker-chunk and clank, clank, clank of the classic roller coaster, echoing the "bang, bang, bang" previously heard from above. (If propulsion is electro-magnetic, the clank, clank, clank is effected by having mechanical hammers strike anvils on the chassis.) As the coaster rises, the friendly stewardess comes down the aisle, incongruously but settlingly offering drinks and nuts. "Are you okay? Would you like a pillow?" she says through a speaker in her mouth. "Yes, please," a speaker in a seat-shoulder facing the aisle responds.

When she gets to the back of the plane, she starts backing up, a look of terrified desperation on her face, her hands in front of her, as a Saudi man, modeled on one of the hijackers for which we have photos, closes on her, a box-cutter held at neck level. "Please, I don't want to die," says the stewardess. "Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar," the hijacker ululates relentlessly. (The P.C. are invited to come up with a suitably murderous alternative that is not a white-wash the fact that the hijackers were engaged in violent Jihad, as prescribed by their Wahabbi brand of Islam, the source of almost all funding of Islamic education around the entire globe for the last thirty years. "Death to the infidels" might be acceptable, still refering to the Jihadies, but without, to the "sensitive," indicting all of Islam.)

"I don't want to die." "DEATH TO THE INFIDELS!" "I don't want to die." "DEATH TO THE INFIDELS!" At the top of the rise, the Stewardess screams as, following the turn of the track, she goes over backwards, followed by the hijacker, who goes over forward after her, continuing "DEATH TO THE INFIDELS. DEATH TO THE INFIDELS."

At that point the ride experiences a terrible lurch and falls over into a twisting, disorienting descent, with the onboard speaker system repeating on the familiar cadence: hijacked! hijacked! hijacked! Ups and downs ensue (calming sections vs. scary sections), where the speaker system chants in turn: "We can survive this, we can survive this,..."; "THEY'LL KILL US! THEY'LL KILL US!..." On the final ascent, before the last climb, repitition of "we can survive this" gives way to a phone call: "They are crashing the planes into buildings. The World Trade Center is down. Your plane is headed for the White House." There is a period of glide: "Your plane is headed for the White House. Your plane is headed for the white house." The situation sinks in. Then the last ascent is engaged.

No sound this time. Reconstructions of actual phone calls are played over the speaker system. Actual recordings--the voice mail the mom on the ground left for her son in the air--are played. Todd Beamer says "Let's roll!" and as the ride crests the last lift, the heroes get up and rush down the aisle. High altitude esses ensue, the maneuvers that people on the ground witnessed, as the hijackers presumably tried to make it difficult for the heroes to stand. Then a final upward coast towards the cockpit door. On either side of the ride is a procession of cockpit doors, pounded on by pairs of animatronic arms. Up the aisle comes a cockpit door, with Todd Beamer, pounding on it with animatronic arms. When this display reaches the front of the plane, the door crashes in, and the plane topples over into the central spiral.

Victory! The passengers scream their terror and their elation, not for joy, but for triumph over evil. They spiral down to their "deaths," then the ride smoothly cradles the passengers bodies and sends them soaring out in a release of spirits. Up at a 30 degree angle, flattening out, circling round, then swooping beautifully through the woods, flying like a bird, treasuring life, comprehending the loss, finally meandering through the graves of the fallen. The End.

The ride would be the largest roller coaster ever by far, but it should not be the most extreme. The purpose is not a "ride" per se, but to capture in metaphoric form the experience of flight 93. Some parts will of necessity be pretty extreme. The middle of the spiral descent may be virtual free-fall, but with only maybe one half turn of rotation at that point, before starting into the long swoop out. The physical experience should not be so hard to contain that the emotional meaning of the victory cannot be experienced in the immediate aftermath, the launching out to grace.

There would be no other rides at the site, but there could be museums, and grounds to walk through, with the roller-coaster, soaring into the sky, serving as constant reminder of what happened there. Reclining benches could be installed on the ground at many points, so that pedestrians can spend some time looking up and watching the drama occurring in the sky above. The whole site could be a big money-maker, charging substantial admission for the ride, and for drinks and food and souvenirs. Accommodations would spring up in the surrounding community according to demand, as might alternative attractions that could also cater to visitors: movie theaters, golf courses, a complimentary theme park perhaps with various patriotic exhibits and rides.

A commercialized memorial celebration? Why not? Commercialization is what America does best. The country that built Las Vegas in the desert can commercialize the need to fight. Our allies in fighting terror could join in. Afghanistan and Iraq might find it profitable as well as politic to erect Afghan and Iraqi pavilions, maybe whole theme parks--Afghaniland and Iraqiland--showing their ancient and modern cultures, their brotherhood with America and their rejection of the Jihadist version of Islam.

If Afghanistan and Iraq fail to protect the religious liberty of non-Muslims, America's freedom of expression will guarantee that that fact is duly noted, and a Flight 93 roller-coaster memorial will not be as comfortable for our new Islamic allies as it would otherwise be, and this is how it should be. Friendship is built on honesty. The friendship can only be as warm as honesty allows, but I think it is quite clear that Afghanistan and Iraq will be real friends, and will be embraced by patriotic Americans in years ahead as fellow warriors against radical Islam.

Build the coaster, and rural Pennsylvania will become a central marketplace for what can be sold to patriotic Americans. If Pennsylvania sends me a few dollars, I'll design it in detail.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Crescent superintendent was lied to by Murdoch

I sent the following email to Joanne Hanley, superintendent of the Flight 93 memorial:

Joanne Hanley, told reporters that there is no connection between the Crescent of Embrace and the Islamic crescent:
"Crescent of Embrace" is the name of the design, not the memorial, and can be changed, she said.

"The name is irrelevant, really," she said. "There's a lot of misinformation out there and conjecture and hidden meaning that just isn't there."
She is mistaken. The hidden meaning IS there, and several bloggers have proved it.

The site plan admits of two different methods for determining the orientation of the crescent. One is to take the furthest extents of the red maples as the tips of the crescent. The other is to assume that copse of trees in the mouth of the crescent is intended to represent the star that appears on the typical Islamic flag, directly at the mid point of the crescent. Both methods yield the exact same mid-line. This mid-line lies on precisely the qibla for the memorial's location. (The quibla is the line facing Mecca, along which Muslims say their prayers.)

The blogger Voice of Reason, over at the web-site Politicalities, has calculated that the orientation of the Crescent of Embrace falls within one degree of its qibla. This fact, together with the fact that the copse of trees is in the exact position of an Islamic star vis a vis the crescent, proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Murdoch, or one of his employees, intentionally created the structure as an Islamic symbol. Very likely the conspirator is a Jihadist sympathizer, trying to secure a Jihadist coup, duping the Park Foundation into erecting a monument to the hijackers. In any event, Joanne Hanley has clearly been lied to, either by Murdoch or via Murdoch, and needs to investigate. You can find my post on this subject, with links to the relevant information, at www.errortheory.blogspot.com/2005/09/crescent-of-outward-embrace-jihad.html.

Sincerely, Alec Rawls

Hanley's contact information here.

After submitting my email on the Park Foundation's contact page, I was directed to a "page not found" message, so I don't know if Hanley's office got it or not. That prompted me to call Hanley's office, and the person I talked to gave me a few minutes. I think I convinced her that someone in the office needs to look into this, and I gave her this web address. Hopefully someone from the Park Foundation will study what has been uncovered.

UPDATE: I managed to get my graphic to upload. Below are SarahW's original graphic, and my modification of it.

Sarah overlaid the Crescent site plot with a graphic of the site's qibla line (which she got from an online qibla calculator). The qibla line starts at the center of the circle partly enclosed by the crescent and points towards Mecca. You can see that the qibla line roughly bisects the somewhat uneven crescent, going roughly through the center of the mouth.  Posted by Picasa

SarahW's graphic with my additions. The Mecca line is extended back through the mouth, where you can see that it goes through the copse of trees (above the 4). I also put lines from the copse to the ends of the red areas on the circle of the crescent (Voice of Reason's method for locating the crescent points, and thereby orienting the crescent). These two lines (from the copse to the upper crescent tip and from the copse to the lower crescent tip) are the same length. I used my paint program to copy the upper line, then rotate it and move it to become the lower line, without adjusting the length.

I would have preferred to flip the line instead of rotate it, to demonstrate that the angles from the copse lines to the qibla line are the same, but my paint program won't do flips. No matter. Anyone who really wants to be satisfied that the Crescent points directly away from Mecca (a crescent of outward Islamic embrace, as the highjacker's aggressive Jihad must be categorized), should do the calculations for themselves. Just print out your own qibla line, print out a blow-up of the Park Foundation's site plan PDF, and get out a ruler and a protractor. Verify the lines, the angles, the distances. I find that the qibla line is equdistant from the crescent tips and goes through the copse about 2/3rds of the way up. The Crescent of Embrace IS an Islamic flag, oriented on Mecca.  Posted by Picasa

Wretchard has also verified the Crescent's orientation on Mecca. His post has links to lots of calculational resources. Wretchard credits a poster at Free Republic for first noting the orientation towards Mecca.

Bad Hair passes on information from Zombie about how to contact Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton, who has the final say.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Crescent of OUTWARD Embrace (Jihad)

SarahW has uncovered that the Crescent of Embrace does indeed point directly towards Mecca. She is just missing one data point. Because the crescent itself is lopsided, its direction is somewhat indeterminate. What fixes its orientation is the memorial's copse of trees.

Charles Johnson, Salamander and probably some others note that the memorial's copse of trees is positioned roughly like the star on an Islamic flag. Real Clear Politics has a selection of Islamic flags posted. All of the flags that only have one star have the star placed so as to bisect the crescent. See the likeness?

The copse (at the upper end of the yellow shaded graveyard area) is somewhere near the mid-line of the crescent, where the star on an Islamic flag would be placed. Posted by Picasa

If one supposes that the copse is intended to represent the Islamic star, that gives a method of bisecting the crescent. Just draw a line from the copse, through the center of the partly inscribed circle, and see how closely it points to Mecca. This can be observed directly on SarahW's graphic. She did not project her Mecca line (called a qibla, calculated at a qibla web site) back towards the copse of trees, but you can do this yourself by using the edge of a piece of paper against your computer screen. (I used a paint program to overlay the extended line onto Sarah's graphic, but I can't get it to upload, so I'm just posting his original graphic, with no value added. Hope she doesn't mind.)

SarahW's graphic. The qibla line starts at the center of the circle partly enclosed by the crescent and points towards Mecca. Posted by Picasa

See how the qibla line projects through the copse? A line from the copse to the center of the circle IS the qibla line. That nails it. This is without a doubt an intentional planting of an Islamic flag on the burial site of the heroes of flight 93.

INTERJECTION: I was able to upload my graphic. Here it is:

Sarah's Mecca line is extended back through the mouth of the crescent, where you can see that it goes through the copse of trees (above the 4). I also put lines from the copse to the ends of the red areas on the circle of the crescent (Voice of Reason's method for locating the crescent points, and thereby orienting the crescent). Voice's method of orienting the crescent, and its consistency with the copse method, are discussed in the update at the bottom of this post.  Posted by Picasa

Interjection over.

What is the significance of the fact that the Crescent of Embrace is facing AWAY from Mecca? The obvious implication is that it is a crescent of OUTWARD embrace. And what is Islam's outward embrace? Jihad: the Muslim duty to strive to bring the entire world into submission (the literal translation of "Islam"). What form of Jihad took place on flight 93? Violent aggressive Jihad. No Jihad of "inner struggle to do the right thing" here.

The interpretation of the proposed memorial is ineluctable. The Crescent of Embrace is a consciously intended memorial to the Islamo-fascist "martyrs" who murdered the heroes of flight 93! No other conclusion fits the facts.

Will research into the background of the designers uncover an Islamo-fascist connection? And who the hell was on that jury? This is gonna be fun.

Wow, Voice of Reason calculates the orientation towards Mecca to be within less than one degree.

He says he centered the crescent by looking at the furthest out red pixels on either side. How does that compare with using the copse to center the crescent? The correlation is very close. I just checked it out. You can too by clicking on the National Park foundations graphic, blowing it up, and measuring from the upper and lower crescent tips to the center of the copse. I get that the copse is not quite precisely centered. The midpoint between the crescent tips seems to come out about 2/3rds of the way up the copse. (I first suggested that the copse was centered exactly between the crescent tips, but on further blow up, I'm revising that.) Note also that for the upper tip, I am using the lined boundary to the area where the last red maples are planted. The actual red pixels on top start a tiny bit further back, which would move the midpoint up a little bit more towards the top of the copse. (At the bottom crescent tip, there is no lined boundary to the red, just the last red pixels.)

BACKGROUND: As best I can tell, the first person to note that the crescent is oriented towards Mecca seems to have been Etaoin Shrdlu. I found his graphic posted on Zombie’s site (via Michelle Malkin.)

I was working from that material when I came across SarahW's qibla overlay. I had already found an alternative online mapping resource that also verifies Shrdlu's thesis. Andrew Gray has an online great circle calculator. Click on Washington D.C. (Philly is not available on Gray's calculator)and on Riyadh (as close to Mecca as Gray supports). The heading from D.C.? 50 degrees.

This looks to be a pretty close match to the direction on the National Park foundation graphic. A line from the copse through the "3" at the center of the crescent's circle is about five degrees flatter than a 45. That makes it about 50 degrees down from north(the way that as degrees on a compass are read).

Sarah's graphic is more accurate still, since the qibla site calculates the direction to Mecca from a particular town.

When I extended Sarah's line in my paint program, it seemed to cut the copse just a bit above center, as Voice of Reason's calculations seem to verify. If anything, this minor deviation from the perfect symmetry of the Islamic flag only reinforces the conclusion that the Mecca direction is intentional? Why? Because to think it matters if the copse is cut dead center or not, you really have to be a qibla.

More seriously, if I print out a screenshot of the site plan, and draw a line from the center of the crescent's circle through the midpoint of the copse, it comes out 51 degrees east of north. Voice of Reason calculates the Mecca line at 54.58 degrees east of north. That puts the copse line three and a half degrees off the true Mecca line, out of the approximately 14 degrees of arc that the copse spans. Given that the copse is indistinct, instead of a point, that's pretty darned close to the exact Mecca line.

In sum, not only is the Crescent of Embrace oriented precisely on Mecca, but it's copse of trees is located almost precisely at the location of the star on an Islamic flag, making for a complete Islamic flag oriented on Mecca. It seems that someone at Paul Murdoch's architecture firm is trying to plant an Islamic flag on the bodies of our dead heroes. Is is an Islamo-fascist coup? Or Michael Moorish moonbattery?

I now have a second post on the Crescent up.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

When to shoot

Grabbing some ice-coffee at the 7-11, I took the opportunity to ask Palo Alto police officer Duane Green whether the department had ever briefed officers on how to deal with pillagers in the wake of a natural disaster. After all, the San Andreas fault goes right through the hilly side of town. A local 7.5 could plunge the whole bay area into chaos. He said that everything is in the manual, but no, the department had never discussed policy for dealing with these kinds of circumstances. He remarked on how unprepared the police in New Orleans were, and how we should all treat it as a wake up call. A fine and friendly officer. I hope the leadership is paying as much attention. Our cities are under threat, not just from natural disaster, but from terrorist attack. The prospect that order can easily break down, enhancing the severity of any blow, must be heartening to our enemies. Not just Homeland Security, but local government, needs to address this obvious priority, as should the general populace.

Part of what is needed is a general set of guidelines for how people should behave when utilities and normal sources of supply are not functioning. The doctrine of competing harms makes it legal to make use of other people’s property to save life, so long as the property is not also a matter of current necessity to the property owner. But the doctrine of competing harms also requires that harm to the property owner must be minimized. That means use must be limited and temporary. Property can only be borrowed. When the emergency is past, the user must compensate the property owner for use of his property. That requires, where possible, that the borrower leave an I-owe-you. Anyone who takes emergency supplies from an abandoned house or store must leave their contact information, a list of what they took, and a promise to pay when the emergency is over.

Not only do citizens have to know how they must conduct themselves in securing their own needs, but they have to know how to deal with those who violate the required rules of conduct. When should they take names and witness statements and when should they shoot? In dire circumstances, detention is not an option. If a transgression is relatively minor, like failing to leave an iou, but the transgressor has otherwise acted so as to minimize harms, the transgressor does not present an imminent danger to the community and, with the incident documented for later adjudication, can be allowed to go free “on his own recognizance.” Anyone involved in predation, however, anyone serving his own needs at the expense of the needs of rightful owners/borrowers, needs to be shot, and citizens must be prepared to do this shooting.

Citizen compliance with and enforcement of these kinds of standards will require familiarity with subtleties that many will find non-obvious. For instance, one clear necessity, when citizens must enforce order without the benefit of government, is arms for the defense of self and others. Thus law abiding citizens must be allowed to borrow from gun shops on the same terms that they are allowed to borrow from grocery and clothing stores.

For the most part, those citizens who understand their duty to be prepared to defend themselves and others will already own guns, but in a state like California that does not allow its citizens to carry guns, many will not be armed when disaster strikes. Their guns will be at home. Thus one duty that citizens should be prepared to take up, if they are in a position to do so and have no more pressing duties, is to help administer gun shops and armories and gun collections, using their discretion to distribute arms to those who can show credible evidence of law abiding character and upstanding citizenship. Do they, for instance, know how all are expected to behave in an emergency? Do they have driver’s licenses with their own pictures on them, with matching credit cards that the arms can later be charged to?

It will require substantial public and legislative debate to articulate the boundary between transgressions that people can be released on their own recognizance for and transgressions that people should be shot for. Similarly with when an obligation to detain rather than execute comes into force. When individual citizens or groups of citizens are called upon to be witness, judge, jury and executioner, clear guidelines are absolutely necessary to keep wrongheaded ideas from sprouting and gaining force. Following a correct set of guidelines will be hard enough, without having to figure out for oneself, or in the face of the most difficult group dynamics, what the correct standards are.

Are relevant principles and guidelines already established by legal precedent from the American frontier, or do we need to start from scratch?

Locke used the moral laws appropriate to a state of nature as a benchmark for comprehending the improvements that government allows, but with government already existing, he did not try to articulate these laws of nature except in the most general terms. That isn’t good enough. The prospect of government breakdown requires that the moral laws appropriate to the state of nature be spelled out. Anyone have any thoughts on what the rules should be?

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