Another Murderous Madman and the Obvious Common Denominator

A bunch of girls didn’t do what he wanted, so he set out to hurt a bunch of girls and teach them all a lesson. Folks, yes that is misogyny, yes it is gun violence, but mainly


The reason all these killers find it reasonable and rational to hurt the people who don’t do what they want, is because EVERYONE finds it reasonable and rational to hurt people when they don’t do what  they want. That’s the concept of punishment. And we all know where he learned it, where they all learn it, where WE all learned it. Right?

Now how is it that what these crazies are trying to do and why is somehow not front and center of the conversation? Why are we talking about sex rather than the roots of violence, why are we talking about who the victims are instead of what these killers are doing and why?

Nature VS Nurture and Twin Studies


First, sorry for the first post, it’s gone. I’ve just learned something about ‘Link’ posts.


This isn’t the most comprehensive article about all the separated twin studies that have been done, but it’s new, and typical enough. Here’s an excerpt, a link to the article and the author’s data, then my comments:


“To explain this close bond, psychologists frequently look to environmental factors: Identical twins, growing up in lock step, share most of the same experiences (they are often even treated the same by others) and therefore develop their unusually strong connection. But my research on reunited twins challenges this theory. I have found, for example, that reunited identical twins report feeling greater closeness to each other than do reunited fraternal twins. And I have found that a reunited twin generally reports feeling closer to the twin he only recently met than to a genetically unrelated sibling with whom he was raised.

Given that reunited twins were not reared in the same environment, genetic factors are surely relevant to these bonds. But how do shared genes result in an immediate sense of connection?”


Nancy L. Segal, a professor of developmental psychology at California State University, Fullerton, is the author of “Born Together — Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study.”


How different are the environments really? Don’t we all raise our kids the same way, with the same methods? And even in the case of these ladies, isn’t American culture and therefore American child-rearing simply a continiuation of the British version? Aren’t the apparent differences from household to household superficial? For this, I offer the relative ubiquity of parenting books and discussions where the basic premises are nearly universal while only the details of how and when parental control is exercised differ.

Which makes me wonder that we are not looking at the correlation of genes in interaction with different environments, but genes in correlation to environments that are actually also very similar. Again, within a given culture, how different are the environments provided for children? This idea would have to extend to the sorts of personality tests that the twins do so similarly at: are the described personality traits and types not also visible only in contrast with a fairly uniform background? If so, the power of our genes, and so of the Nature over Nurture argument, is going to win every time, considering that there really be very little variation in the environment children are raised in anyway.

My Kids, Eminem’s Mom, and Who to Trust . . .

Perusing my Twitter feed on Mothers’ Day, I came across this post, declaring that Mr. Mathers was apologizing to his mother, perhaps suggesting that he was taking it all back, that he was bad and she was right . . .

I read the headline out at home to my wife and kids, and my daughter immediately (we were all, as usual, wired into the matrix, ready to Google anything at a moment’s notice) looked up the song and after giving it a listen announced –

“Don’t worry. It’s not that apologetic.”

That was good enough for me.

My family loves Mr. Mathers, my sister was blown away by ‘Cleaning out my Closet’ when it came out, my family of origin are all into psychology and the subject of abuse, my sister especially is a great fan of Alice Miller, among others. In my kids’ family of origin, we all love him too, even when he recants, or especially when he recants, his obvious honesty and his obviously bruised feelings  we find rare and endearing. Who else puts it all out there like that?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m up over fifty. It’s the words I love, the writing and the feelings. I wasn’t born to love hip-hop.

I took all that talk about psychology and abuse to heart. My wife and I raised raised our two girls without any punishment at all, and no censorship either. These kids were raised on Eminem and, when only listening to the white rapper got embarrassing (rather quickly), we added a bunch of Wu Tang and Snoop. These influences on my kids were probably second only to Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and Seth MacFarlane.

My kids are brilliant. Straight ‘A’s all the way, and we had almost none of the usual teen troubles. Well, they’re lazy and messy – but that’s the worst of it. Really, it is.

Of course, both my families have been on Marshall’s side in his battles with his mom. The idea that he recanted on that was very threatening indeed, to my whole philosophy, my whole life, but of course, this reversal is the same reversal so many parent’s go through. For so many of us, our parents were all wrong until we find ourselves doing the same things. For fans of Eminem, it should be no surprise, we know he’s been guilty of some of the very same things his parents were, of being away a lot, of being drug-dependent. His reversal should have been no surprise, but the surprise wasn’t the worst of it.

Hearing anyone recant on what our parents did wrong is always sad.

So many parents want to raise their kids without the hitting, without the punishments they suffered – and so many recant when they find out that they can’t have it all their way without the same old methods.

My advice is to not have it all your way, lose the fights. That is far better than winning by forceful or violent means. That’s what we did.

Did I mention my kids are brilliant?

I haven’t gotten around to watching “Headlights” yet, but my daughter took the sting out of it for me. If she says it’s not “that apologetic,” then it’s not. I trust her completely. My girls are smarter and less deluded than 99% of people generally, and certainly smarter and less deluded than anyone posting “parental apologist” stuff on the internet on Mother’s Day.

When my girls talk, when they make assessments, that’s about as good as it gets.

If they approve, I approve.

Damages of Punishment

The damages of abuse are well known. They come in many forms, forms that can be categorized in the following ways; these damages will be some or all of:





The damages of corporal punishment form the very same list. This is why corporal punishment is being outlawed across the civilized world.

But corporal punishment is not only physical. How do you bring physical hurt to a person – a child – without hurting their feelings? How does an adult cause physical hurt to a child without offending the child’s mind?

So the other three categories come free with the first, and pain from each category brings its corresponding damage. It seems more than just likely that pain from the non-physical categories will bring their own damages with or without representation from the purely physical.

What is “non-corporal punishment” anyway?

Would anyone really like to step up and advocate for:

emotional punishment?

psychological punishment?

cognitive punishment?


Anyone at all . . .

Freedom or Punishment – Make your Choice, America.

Regardless of where we think the current American Libertarian movement or, rather the Small Government movement, is coming from, regardless of its validity, there is going to be a choice to make: a culture of punishing, the Prison State, or liberty.

A belief in punishing, a belief in deterrents – that is going to require large budgets for Police Departments and prisons. Big budgets are the definition of Big Government. But consider:

What is a deterrent? Where is the deterrent of a prison sentence if there are no Police to catch and prosecute the criminals? So, Big Punishment requires Big Government (of course any Conservative will tell you he’s for one and against the other).

So here’s your choice, America, and incidentally, every other nation:

You want liberty, freedom from Big Government? Then you need to find another way, a far more humanist way to lessen the violence in your society. Small Government won’t be able to afford the endless cycles of violence and crime that the Punishment Culture creates.

She’s leaving Home (not entirely unrelated title . . . )

I was six years old when Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came out.

Several years ago, my own kids discovered and loved the Beatles; my younger is obsessive, and loved them the most. learning everything about them. We got a new, remastered box set, and she’s been teaching me Beatles songs and trivia I never knew at all. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that the Beatles appeal is timeless. I’ve been hearing them – all of it. I only always owned Magical Mystery Tour, Abbey Road, and the White Album all through the intervening years, on LP and then CD – a lot over the last five or ten years, and I’ve come to think that ‘She’s Leaving Home’ is the super-emotional, semi-classical song that first made me think about what is so wrong with so much of parenting.

(There it is!)

“What did we do that was wrong?

We didn’t know it was wrong . . . “

These poor parents can’t understand it, they did the best they could. Their world is imploding because their daughter has left home, with nothing but a short note, with no apparent thought for the parents who thought they had loved her so well.

If the girl did give a backward glance on her way to the man in the motor trade, the Beatles didn’t mention it.

This was always heart-wrenching to me; I think I was born pre-disposed to heartbreak, adult loss of love always got me, even as a young kid, I could always feel the heartbreak in adult stories. I had a strange sort of fantasy through my early teens where I would be an adult man with children who had somehow lost his wife and the kids their mother, living as a single, grieving father, somehow that sort of tragedy appealed to me, romantically. But these crying parents in the song, these sad people who can’t understand why they should suffer this loss, this stayed with me, it marked me.

This is the tragedy that drives me, that drives my philosophy. But there’s a point to this.

Of course, if you’ve read my stuff at all, you know what I think caused it. You know why I think the parents are so unconsciously remorseful, and how that young girl could do this to them.

It’s not just about the the kids for me. This one is for the parents.

We are all the subjects of this tragedy. And twice, coming and going, we are all both of them. We are the girl, who runs away about as soon as she’s old enough to attract a mate, and we are also the grieving parents losing their child.

“She’s leaving home . . . bye, bye.”