Monday, May 27, 2024

Bang, Bang -- You're Broke!


Friends, believe it or not, it's not politicians who are bringing common sense Americans to their knees, or moviemakers, or pop stars, or schoolteachers, or bureaucrats.  No, Enemy Number One isn't any of these.  It's...lawyers.  Most of the time, it isn't the threat of force or jail that humbles average people.  It's the threat of legal action, including the possibility of being sued.  "Liability" is the buzzword that every businessman fears most, and ordinary citizens aren't far behind, and for good reason, as a simple lawsuit can do more than ruin your day -- it can ruin your life.  The Left, of course, has picked up on this fact, and they've won over the vast majority of trial lawyers to their side, and increasingly they're enlisting them in a no-holds-barred offensive against the Constitution (as written), democratic pluralism, free speech, gun ownership, the internal combustion engine, masculinity -- you name it!  They're slowly winning the battle, too.  Time and again, conservatives raise the white flag before the fight is even joined.  That's because most of us would rather submit to the dictates of wokeness than risk our lives and livelihoods in mortal judicial combat.  And who can blame us?

A case in point is the recent lawsuit lodged against Meta, Activision, and Daniel Defense by the families of those killed by Salvador Ramos at Ross Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.  I wrote about this on Saturday, but I've turned that blogpost into a full-blown article, as you'll see below.  Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts...

The Blame Game in Uvalde Has Gotten Out of Hand

Before 2022, few people had heard of Uvalde, Texas. To those who had, it was best known as the birthplace of singer and actress Dale Evans, as well as Hollywood heartthrob Matthew McConaughey.

Now, it's also the birthplace of a massive lawsuit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook; Activision, a video game producer; and a gunmaker, Daniel Defense. You can guess the reason.

A Uvalde resident and former student, aged 18, shot up Robb Elementary School and killed 19 children and 2 teachers there on May 24th, 2022. The lawsuit alleges that Meta, Activision, and Daniel Defense have been "grooming...socially vulnerable" boys and young men by promoting first-person shooter video games and gun ownership, and these companies are therefore legally and financially responsible for the carnage at Robb Elementary.

Salvador Ramos, the perpetrator, was indeed a frequent user of Instagram, which is owned by Meta. He played "Call of Duty", which is a combat-based video game released by Activision and enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. He also bought a rifle, a DDM4V7, from Daniel Defense mere minutes after his 18th birthday. None of this is in dispute.

Now, reasonable people may question why so many young people (and not-so-young people) are obsessed with social media. They may question why so many boys and young men are spending so much time shooting fake people in virtual combat. They may also question the degree of access to firearms that ordinary citizens, especially between the ages of 18 and 21, should have.

Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that using social media, playing video games, and owning guns are all completely legal, acceptable, and even normal activities for American adults. Neither separately nor in combination do they routinely add up to tragedy and bloodshed. This lawsuit is therefore riddled with logical and legal fallacies, and it ought therefore to be dismissed out of hand.

First off, why not sue Ramos himself, or his parents, who are, quite obviously, much more directly responsible for this tragedy than Meta, Activision, or Daniel Defense?

The question answers itself: Ramos died at the scene, and no big cash payout can be had from his estate, or from his penniless family members.

Second, why should the deaths of 21 people, however horrific and avoidable, become a pretext for taking away the rights of hundreds of millions of Americans who bear no responsibility for the actions of Salvador Ramos? And, if taking away our rights is not the object of the lawsuit, how would the transfer of millions of dollars to the victims' families honor those victims or atone for their deaths?

One of the most odious features of modern American society is our monetization and commodification of suffering and victimhood. We put on a pedestal almost anyone who can make a case that they are aggrieved, and we shower the disadvantaged and downtrodden with preferments, praise, and payoffs. It's frankly disgusting, and, when it's done on the behalf of those who have died, it debases their memory. Indeed, it turns them and their legacy into a means to an end, and the end in sight is almost It's stomach-turning, if we're to be honest.

Now, it's extremely unlikely that any of these companies will ever pay a cent because of these lawsuits, and nor should they, but, even if they did, how would this serve the greater good? Does anyone think that violent video games, or TV shows, or movies, or songs, are going to disappear? Does anyone think that "AR-15 style" guns (whatever those are!) will wink out of existence because a bunch of trial lawyers start keening about it? Heck, no!

At most, the Uvalde victims' relatives (and their stable of lawyers) will get rich because of these lawsuits, and the companies in question may add little disclaimers to their products: "WARNING: Shooting actual people, as opposed to avatars, may violate our community standards." Otherwise, Americans' fascination with, and unhealthy proclivity for, violence will continue.

If you ask me, the true causes of incidents like the shooting in Uvalde aren't social media applications, or video games, or guns. What's really behind the phenomenon of mass shootings is human frailty and pure evil, exacerbated by atrocious parenting and a culture of entitlement and egoism.

This boy, Salvador Ramos, felt that nothing in the world mattered except his suffering, and he decided to take it out on anyone and everyone, without any concern for their lives and dignity. He's an extreme case, but a lot of modern Americans have similar attitudes about themselves, society, and other people. They feel aggrieved, and they want payback, no matter what the short- or long-term consequences may be. It's best understood as a form of vengeful narcissism run amok.

In that sense, I'm sorry to say, Salvador Ramos and the relatives of his victims may have something in common: a very modern and increasingly universal fixation on their own pain, and an indifference to the interests and views of others, and to the good of society as a whole.

What happened at Ross Elementary was appalling and unacceptable, but blaming social media companies, video game producers, and gun manufacturers makes no sense. In fact, going after these companies is part of the problem, because it deflects responsibility from Salvador Ramos, the man who pulled the trigger, and who was therefore the genuine perpetrator and evildoer.

Is that really the message that these Uvalde families want to send? That Ramos was a bit player, and, as long as Meta, Activision, and Daniel Defense pay up, justice has been done? I should hope not!

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480/106.9.


And here it is at World Net Daily:



In other news, the verdict in DJT's hush money trial is probably going to be forthcoming this week, and, while no one knows what the political consequences will be, the legal stakes are neatly summarized by this article.  Bottom line: Trump isn't likely to go to prison, but that was never the point anyway.  Dems want to turn Trump into a felon, because they assume that will be a political game-changer.  They may be delusional, of course.  It wouldn't be the first time!


You may have heard that the Libertarians were not especially hospitable to DJT or RFK, Jr., both of whom spoke at their recent convention.  That's neither here nor there, but it turns out that the Libertarians have nominated a presidential candidate: Chase Oliver.  Does that matter?  Heck, yeah, it matters!  The election in November is likely to be close, especially in the key states, and the presence of candidates in the race besides Trump and Biden is very consequential, because they don't have to pull all that many votes to change the outcome.  Those who vote Libertarian tend to be right-leaning, so Trump will be particularly threatened by Mr. Oliver.  Buckle up, because our five-way race is about to become a six-way race!



    The Left has always wanted to take away The Constitutional Right of Americans "to bear arms". This means all arms of any type. Even without school shootings, and mall shootings, they ( The Left) would have found some way to do this.

    Why? I won't insult your intelligences, because I know both of you can fill in the blanks (no pun intended) and list many reasons. One would be that armed (law abiding citizens) would have power to counter Leftist control organizations such as People's Militias in a Leftist dictatorship. There, thats my 2 cents, but make it $10.00 for inflation.

  2. Dr. Waddy from Jack: : Terribly, terribly ravaged parents of children killed by insane monsters understandably resolve to do something to mitigate their consuming anguish and spare other parents the same. Some of them sincerely believe that restriction of gun ownership will reduce the chances of such unspeakable tragedy. I am a parent but I very respectfully suggest they are mistaken ;some guns will always be available. Gun possession is an American tradition and many, many millions are privately owned. That is inescapable reality.

    The antiamerican left and the apparently ever increasing number of lawyers it has corrupted have taken cynical advantage of unbearable parental dread and pain and the national outrage caused by these counterintuitive mental, social and cultural aberrations, which are products of the appalling moral degradation of our civilization since the presumptuous and dismissive '60s. Their method is to feign concern and compassion for public fear of random violence; their object is to disempower gun owners and their very powerful organizations such as NRA, which are conservative on a wide range of issues beyond gun rights. Their hope is to break the morale of the gun owning community and thereby destroy a pillar of the American conservative movement which so vexes them. Too, they derive much satisfaction from harrying those who defend an American cultural tradition about which they know little and for which they bear only withering contempt. Nowhere in this is to be found any devotion to human safety and that is to expected from a totalitarian faction which coddles criminals, celebrates the unfettered killing of unborn children and embraces the proven most inhuman doctrine ever: that of Marxism. That their efforts regularly result in increased gun ownership and participation in gun rights forces is of no moment to them. They keep on keeping on and expect to wear us down eventually.

    That faction knows it can never enact its publicly intolerable intent through legislation; far too democratic that. It has until recently used Scotus to dictate its pronunciamentos to a much too unwilling and ignorant America but DJT threw a wrench into that by "arrogating "a lawful highest Court. So now "lawfare" at the trial level and dictation by a captured Federal Executive branch is their way. Criminal prosecution of political opponents and complete corruption of tort law are its counterdemocratic weapons now. We can strike this ever more obviously totalitarian movement, which is determined to destroy American civilization, a staggering blow by returning DJT to the Presidency and giving him a GOP Congress in November , by VOTING!


  3. Dr. Waddy from Jack: You are very justified in continuing to emphasize the uncertainty America faces in November. True, we may seem to have cried wolf in past elections but this one?! It is probably for all the marbles, for the very continuance of our American story. If we lose, a viciously vindictive antiamerican left, stung to the quick by DJT's emotionally unbearable threat to their progress toward The People's Republic of Political Virtue, would, in its intense relief, enact a tsunami of far leftist dictation. If we win, a DJT far wiser and grimly motivated by his execrable , unrelenting oppression since he dared to impose himself on the "entitled" Hillary and her totalitarian cadre, may well deal them a decisive repulse.

  4. Dr. Waddy from Jack: If the antiamerican left ultimately succeeds(by denying him restoration) in its desperate and despicable lawfare ploy against DJT, which plainly manifests its profound contempt for an America it believes may tolerate it, then woe for America. We would, in this, confirm the far left's conviction that we are, in our ineluctable ignorance and sloth, completely malleable into vassaldom.

  5. Did you, as a history professor, have any desire to engage with the primary documents? 'Cause it feels like reading the complaint may have answered a lot of your questions with more nuance than your bullshit, "Uvalde parents care about money more than their kids" assumption.


      Who are you? Identify yourself! Will the real "Anonymous" please stand up.

  6. Ray from Jack: Why, its Menander V. Anonymous the noted commentator! Just bantering; His or her comment is creditable and I think what Dr. Waddy suggests in this way is that venality is actually the motive of widespread misuse of our tort law . I agree.

  7. Dr. Waddy from Jack: In common sense flyover country school shootings could be prevented immediately by enabling the recruitment of armed volunteers from the community to guard our schools against maniacs. They would be readily available I think; I know I would participate.Of course in places like California, NY and lala land municipalities guns are "icky" , despite the documented fact that they save lives regularly. In such places gun owners are considered neanderthals the stationing of whom in the schools their own children attend would be a far greater threat than the entitled monsters who seek in the abomination of school shootings to "find" themselves.

  8. Dr. Waddy from Jack:" Oh no, we can't turn our schools into armed camps" the left would bleat! They are already in the process of transforming our schools into indoctrination camps to prepare our kids for life as serfs under totalitarian lords. I would guess that in such a country there would be a very obvious public profusion of instruments of coercion but in the hands only of those tasked with summary suppression of any deviance from GOVERNMENT dictate. Millions of Americans, even in the few haughty states which attack the 2nd Amendment , own guns and use them responsibly. Their children know it to be normal, positive and often educational and enjoyable. But our prospective neomarxist redeemers will not have it so! They have recklessly created of our culture a counterintuitive Procrustean bed(Procrustes was a mythical monster who bade hapless travelers use his bed. If they were too tall, he shortened them; if they were too short he extended them; both changes were forced in an innovatively horrid manner) in which 2+2 is mandated to equal 5, up is now deemed irrevocably down, willful evil is rationalized as mere misfortune for the perpetrator and just recompense for those upon which it is practiced and well, you get the picture. In doing this they have irresponsibly and tragically convinced pathological aggressors that they are justified in acting out their murderous dreams because, well, "that's their thing" and they graciously grant them leave to enjoy that entitlement (everyone that is except those who uphold traditional constructive values). An obvious current example of this attitude is in
    NY, where the means for the law abiding to defend self and family against predators are made ever increasingly difficult to possess or use and dependence upon a law enforcement establishment castigated for doing its job is grudgingly "allowed" as ostensibly adequate protection. Nonsense is perfect sense to the reflexively iconoclastic mind of the radical.

  9. Ray, it's an interesting question why the Left is so obsessed with banning guns, when plenty of leftists, at plenty of junctures in recent history, have used firearms to good effect (from their perspective). Yes, theoretically conservatives could wield their guns to resist leftist tyranny...but I won't hold my breath!

    Jack, your phrase, "withering contempt", says it all. The Left's position on guns isn't so much rational as it is instinctive. Guns make their flesh crawl -- rather like Trumpism -- so guns gotta go! It's just about that simple. One does have to wonder, though, whether liability could accomplish what liberal jurisprudence hasn't. Could gunowners be sued into oblivion? Could insurers refuse to underwrite their homes, because there are nasty guns inside? Could banks de-bank them? All things are possible!

    Jack, I certainly do not rule out the possibility that the American people could be cajoled into voting for Biden, or against Trump. The sheer repetition of the Left's battle cry might give it a veneer of credibility.

    Anonymous -- no, I didn't read the court documents relevant to the Uvalde lawsuits. I rather suspect the vast majority of the Uvalde parents didn't even do that! Would you EXPECT a court document to come out and say, "Boy, I sure am excited about the prospect of getting rich!" But, to your point, I'm sure many of the parents are trying to do the right thing. That doesn't change the fact that they are going about it the wrong way. And, to Ray's point, what do you suppose motivates the LAWYERS in the case? Loving kindness?

    Excellent point, Jack, that it would be one thing to take away our guns and promise us the protection of full-throated law enforcement...but the modern left doesn't cotton to law enforcement either! They don't seem to have any moral qualms about how criminals wield guns, but they seem highly dubious that any ordinary person, or authority figure, could do so without offending their sense of "justice".