In Print and Online: My Column on the UT Shooting

My column on the University of Texas incident is online now.6a00d83451b26169e201156f401601970c-300wi

You can read it here.

A good friend posted this to me, and she’s absolutely right.

Funny that most of the national coverage hearkened back to Va. Tech. Those of us whose blood runs burnt orange immediately flashed back to the history we were taught (or lived) about Whitman. It’s a big freshman lore experience to search fo r Whitman’s bullet holes, which are still pretty easy to find if you are told where to look.

When I was in school, the Tower observation deck was still closed. And at the time of Whitman’s rampage, there were no campus police, and no arms on campus. Civilians helped take Whitman out. They shot up at him (along with police), making him take cover and hampering his aim, which probably saved lives. An armed civilian was also part of the four-man team that eventually took him out at the top of the Tower.

I wanted to include these facts about the original campus killer, Charles Whitman, but I couldn’t fit it all in with a 600 word limit. Thanks Lesley.

And thank you to Sharon Grigsby and Mike Hashimoto for helping me bring this across the finish line yesterday.

In Print: Column in Thursday’s Dallas Morning News

I will have a column on the University of Texas shooting in tomorrow’s issue of the Dallas Morning News.

Guess what position I take? I wrote the thing in like 30 minutes.

Thanks to Sharon Grigsby for the heads up.

Obama Accomplishes What the Bush Republicans Could Not

And he did it in less than two years.

Obama has driven Americans to start demanding a reduction in taxes, spending, regulation and government intervention.

Polls show that independents have moved right and are staying there,” she writes. “A recent one, conducted by VA - Laissez Faire LoungeDemocratic pollster Doug Schoen in late August for the conservative Independent Women’s Voice, calls it a “fundamental realignment” as independents now lean to the right by 2 to 1. The survey asked independents what they would like candidates to do. The list of answers is clear: ‘Decrease the size and scope of government, cut spending and taxes, balance the budget, reduce the federal debt, reduce the power of special interests and unions, repeal and replace the health care legislation, and decrease partisanship.’ Most Tea Partyers would agree with just about everything on that list. So would most Republicans. And they’d all agree with independents who said that they’re not getting those things from Washington.

Notice what’s not on that list: climate change, financial regulation, bank bailouts, auto bailouts, troop surges, lawsuits on immigration reform, and repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ (The only reason health care reform made the list is because independents want it scaled back.) Notice too that these are precisely what we have been getting from Washington.

Source with a hat/tip to Mike Hashimoto.

People want neither the leftist agenda of Obama nor the big government compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush.

For the most part, they want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Who would have thought?

How Do You Know If Your Councilman Is A Moron?

He says things like this:

But if we hope to continue to attract world class businesses and corporations to Dallas and avoid bigger cuts in future budgets, the answer is clear: We must increase taxes in order to preserve and enhance the quality of life for all our residents.


This is the kind of ignorance of basic business 101 that rivals former Dallas City Councilman Leo Chaney, who once told me that investors would build another Mockingbird Station in his district if only he got the area zoned for it. Never mind things like demographics, traffic, demand, or any of the other fundamentals retail developers weigh.

Every time there’s a budget crunch, they cut the kind of services that anger people enough to where they accept a tax increase — cutting library hours, community pools, park maintenance.

What they don’t do is cut, or don’t cut enough, is where it counts — city payroll and civil service pensions.

Oh, and how’s that $500 million city-owned hotel working out? Glad they’re spending half a billion smackers on that?

My DMN Column is Up, Read it and Weep. Or Something.

It’s in tomorrow’s print edition, but it’s online now. Here’s a taste – but the rest is on their site. Link below.

No, You Can’t, Mr. President

There’s no doubt the presidential address directed to the captive audience of the nation’s schoolchildren Tuesday will be nonpartisan and positive. Chock full of “study hard and stay in school.”

The problem? It’s not his place to deliver it.

That’s why my first-grader won’t have any part in this.

I know some people will say that we live in a democracy, he’s the national leader and the people voted for him.

Those people are wrong on all three counts. We’re a republic. He’s the president of a federation of states. And a majority of the members of the electoral college voted for him.

What could further cement this fundamental, dangerous misperception of the proper, limited role and power of the president’s office than to have him beamed into every classroom speaking virtually ex cathedra? I got nothing.

By the way, see how I haven’t mentioned the president’s name? That’s intentional…

The complete column is posted here.

Also, early yet, but already an awesome comment:

Is it because the president is a democrat? Is it because the president is black? Is it because the internet has turbocharged stupidity? Could be all or none of the above. Regardless, you should be ashamed of your role in fanning the flames.

UPDATE: From PeterK, Jawa Report has it all over me on this paragraph:

I don’t know about the rest of you parents, but if he doesn’t actually promise a Skittles shitting unicorn in every house, my 3rd grader probably won’t be listening. Because, like most girls in third grade, her free time is consumed with dreams of 3rd grade princesses frolicking in pastures with Skittles shitting unicorns, while the adults deal with idiots like that Mr. President guy interrupting her day.

I’m Just Glad the Founding Fathers Were Timid and Meek

Question from the Dallas Morning News:

The health care debate has gone crazy. Earlier this week in New Hampshire…on the road outside the meeting, a man held up a sign that appeared to support the bloodshed of “tyrants,” while sporting a pistol (legally) strapped to his thigh.

What have we come to when an American citizen is bold enough to do something like that?

Answer: A good start.

Or would we prefer that American citizens be scared to legally exercise two of their most fundamental constitutional rights?

PS — the sign the guy held “that appeared to support the bloodshed of ‘tyrants,’” was a quote from President Thomas Jefferson.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Jefferson also said:

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.


My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

So my question is, are we going to ban quoting the third president and his dangerous assault ideas?

My Sunday DMN Column, Available Today

Here’s the link to my column in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News. (The long version is a few paragraphs down on this page below the dotted line.)

And here’s a link to Shawn Williams’ column on much the same topic, from a different angle but not as dissimilar as I expected. In fact, they’re going  to the same point from two approaches. (We talked as we submitted them but didn’t go into detail.) Here’s a link to Shawn’s blog. Shawn’s column is really pointed, and mentions a book I just finished a few months back as well — Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Both Shawn’s column and the book are must-reads.

Regarding my column; I’m a long writer, and good editors keep me trimmed down. Sharon Grigsby did a great job cutting my column down to newspaper size. So, hat tip to Sharon and Mike Hashimoto.

However, if you’re interested in reading the long version that includes some points that didn’t make the final cut — and no, I never said “you people” — anyway, here she is.


Growing up with my dad was like being Daniel Larusso to Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. There were all these rules that made no sense. Paint the fence. Wax on, wax off. Study. Control yourself. Clean up your mess. Focus, Daniel-san.

I didn’t get it at the time, but I’ve come to learn it wasn’t to make me miserable. It was to try to make me into a man.

No easy task. A man is honest, fair and just. He has an honest — and not posturing — sense of self-respect. He’s self-reliant and he’s responsible for his family. He has humility, grace and respect for others. He practices chivalry even when it’s considered out of fashion. Above all, he has a sense of humor — especially about himself — and a sense of perspective. The software install is rough; often takes two decades before they’re retail ready.

No one likes to hear this because we’re all supposed to pretend that there’s no real difference between men and women, but there’s a politically incorrect fact of life: it takes a man to raise a man. (Stick to the truth even when it’s not popular — dad’s life lesson No. 3.)

A boy at birth is an intelligent, tool-using primate with natural instincts of aggression, competition, and, yes, violence. The potential danger and damage is manifest – look at history. Savagery is in our nature. You have to shape, curb and refine those natural instincts, so that they serve the boy in ways that are positive for him and all around him. With rare exceptions, what that requires is a father or other strong male role model in the home, every day.

This is the first thing that came to mind when, after another round of murders, I was asked why there’s so much violence in southern Dallas, especially in the black community.

Before I go any further, let’s make this clear: “Violence within the black community” doesn’t mean the majority are perpetrators or victims of violence. I’m talking about a group within a group. If you talk about the left-handed kids in a classroom, you’re talking about the five who are left-handed, not the other 30 righties. To speak of a problem within a group is not to say the whole group has a problem. Are we clear? Because study after study shows that kids – especially boys – from single-parent households are twice as likely to crimes as kids from families where the father is present, regardless of ethnicity.

So why so much violence in the black community in Southern Dallas? My answer: I think too many black males aren’t black men.

Look at the numbers. More than 70 percent births to black women are out-of-wedlock, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That means you have boys growing up never learning even the basics of manhood. Not just this house or that – whole neighborhoods.

It wasn’t always like this. Before we started killing the black family with kindness through welfare, single-parent black households were the exception in this country.

In 1960, just 22 percent of black households were headed by a single mother — less than the percentage of single-parent white households today. By 1970, it was 29 percent. By 1990, 40 percent. Today? Seven of every 10.

Call it the “Not-So-Great Society.”

Absent a father in the home, these boys don’t have a clue what manhood is, so they hide behind false, emotional and violent bravado. They think violence is an assertion of manhood. Minor insults become fighting words when your manhood is faux and fragile. What two men with confidence would let be just an argument becomes a fight. What should just be a fight becomes a shootout. Inmate logic. Be the baddest or be on the bottom bunk, so to speak. (Real men know insults come from small people not worth noticing — another lesson from dad. No. 23, I think.)

The numbers from the U.S. Department of Justice don’t lie, and you’re fooling yourself if you think it has nothing to do with the culture of false manhood that’s risen in the absence of fathers. Almost half of all violent crimes are committed by black males even though they represent just seven percent of the U.S. population. In 2005, homicide victimization rates for blacks were six times higher than the rates for whites, and offending rates for blacks were more than seven times higher than the rates for whites.

That doesn’t make it a black thing. It’s neither a race thing nor a poverty thing.

It’s a man thing.

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, cited exhaustive studies when she wrote in The Atlantic Monthly that the “relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime.”

If you want to stop the violence, you have to get fathers back to raising their kids. Period. Full stop.

I don’t know how to do this, but we can’t talk solutions until we’re honest about what the problem is. (Lesson No. 15 from dad.)

No matter what the flaws in the thinking of the welfare state advocates, they didn’t set out to destroy the black family. But they did. So whatever is done going forward, we’re going to have to watch for unintended consequences. And we’re going to have to accept that the welfare state is not a family value.

If you want to look at my mug shot above and discount what I’m saying because of the color you see, fine. Listen to what this other guy had to say:

“We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison… We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one.”

If you don’t agree with that, send him a letter. He, it turns out, is the rare exception to the usual outcome of growing up in a fatherless home. His current address is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington D.C. He lives there with his wife and his two kids.

Programming Note: I’m All Over the DMN Place This Week

In a rare down moment late last week I dashed off a quick comment on the Dallas Morning NewsGap blog. (It’s a blog about the divide between North and South Dallas, not about the place you can buy stuff to send me as presents.)

That posting prompted Sharon Grigsby, the ViewPoints editor, to have me write a column that’s going to run in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News. Also, it prompted three letters to the editor that will run in tomorrow’s issue, where some folks take issue with what I had to say.

UPDATE: The discussion in this thread got sidetracked. This is one of those rare times I want to talk seriously about an issue and have people throw in their two cents, so the main unrelated comments not on topic have been removed. This includes my own comments. We’ll have that discussion another day.