A Moral Analysis

By Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Also posted at –


John Adams, the composer, is an American genius. Among his truly remarkable achievements are the operas, Nixon in China (1977 and Doctor Atomic (2005). His orchestral works include The Transmigration of Souls (2002), commissioned by the New York Philharmonic as a memorial to the 9-11-2001 attacks on the USA. That work received the Pulitzer Prize.

His opera, Death of Klinghoffer (1991), was picketed in New York recently, in a revival performance at the Met. The problem was not with Adams’ music but with the libretto. In key passages singers emphasize with the Palestinian cause, and romanticize the murderers of the wheelchair-bound Jew, Dr. Klinghoffer.

The protesters’ charges are not unreasonable, although other works – thinking of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, have been given a pass.

I choose not to go farther with the libretto, except to say that the Met chose the worst possible time for this performance. The opera struck a particularly offensive note in the context of the recent eruptions of rampant anti-Semitism in Europe, and even here in the USA.



Old fashioned liberalism had a strong moral compass rooted in traditional American values. Harry Truman, who was the first to support Israel at its inception, is a perfect example of a morally-centered old fashioned liberal.

Our culture’s problem is postmodern liberalism. The litmus test is the failure of the postmodern ethos to recognize of evil as a relevant, central moral category.  Hitler and bloodthirsty child killers, mass murderers and those ruthless jihadists who single out infidels for beheading, belong to a special category of evil, one not amenable to medical treatment, one not worth an ounce of our precious empathy – and, yes, empathy is a limited resource.

I have written several important essays on evil, among them  (  and and  ).

My fiction writing (see the thriller, Gabriel’s Stand*) is rooted in a moral system that recognizes the existential and moral danger of evil (narrowly defined, but terrible to behold) and the concomitant moral duty of all civilized persons to resolutely oppose.

Dr. Klinghoffer’s murder (and any murder is more than a death) was the outcome of an evil force, perhaps less well understood and recognized in 1991 than now), but true evil nonetheless.


Copyright © 2014 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

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As posted on The Policy Think Site –


Opinion by Jay B Gaskill


Most of us by now have read the account of a decent man, a good Samaritan who helped carry a sick pregnant woman to an African hospital, became infected with her Ebola, then traveled from Liberia to the USA, and in that trip he has potentially exposed hundreds of people to the deadly virus.  Now he lies in a quarantined section of a Dallas hospital, in critical condition, close to death.

Texas authorities are reportedly mulling over the question whether to prosecute him.

At the same time, the trained medical personnel who examined this man and then sent him home; and the travel authorities who may or may not have been culpably careless; and the federal authorities who have yet to address the travel issues that a potential pandemic presents – all these players seemingly get a pass from accountability.

When the horse has left the barn, it is time to see to the other horses.  Recriminations can wait.

Deadly disasters have a way of illuminating the dull, the slow and the careless for all to see.  Think of a battery of searchlights suddenly lighting up to reveal railroad tracks filled with cavorting children, just as the charging locomotive has already wreaked deadly havoc a quarter mile away.

Former Vice President Cheney caught a lot of flak for being too vigilant about threats to our security. In his famous 1% doctrine, he was quoted as follows: “If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.”

Let me restate the 1% doctrine in terms of the grave health threat posed by the Ebola virus:  If there is a one percent chance that someone or some set of circumstances will constitute a contagious vector for spreading Ebola  to the USA – or otherwise mutate it from epidemic to a pandemic, then we must treat that chance as if it were 50%.

Allow me to hazard two predictions:

[A] Ebola will prove to be more contagious than we have been led to expect.

[B] Commercial travel bans to and from Ebola hotbed destinations will only belatedly be imposed, if at all, with the result first world medical establishments, even in the USA, will overwhelmed. 

I do NOT want to be right.

But the battery of searchlights shining on the American health care establishment has exposed a fragile system, slowed and dumbed down by embedded bureaucratic institutions, suffering from inadequate training at the intake level, and all too often characterized by a complacent mindset. This is a system (exceptions noted) that is ill-adapted to curb an epidemic like the one that now looms. On the whole, it is a still-broken system whose front-line representatives are too accustomed to delays and far too burdened by common, but non-fatal health issues.

We often use the term, Rude Awakening.  This time, I fear it is to be a Brutal Awakening.




The Ebola crisis is a grave threat with implications for public policy that can’t be ignored.  The chilling political thriller by the author (Jay B Gaskill’s Gabriel’s Stand ) is an all too plausible exercise in speculative fiction that has suddenly become  disturbingly relevant to the issues surrounding  Ebola threat.  Readers are praising it as a satisfying a page turner, but also as an object lesson.

Gabriel’s Stand is now available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble as a trade paperback; and as an e-book for Kindle, Nook and i-Pad.



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A Note of Concern for our President and the Country

By Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

The inevitable meltdown of a narcissistic personality is a terrible thing to behold. The term inevitable is appropriate because the world never quite conforms to the aggrandized fantasies of the true narcissist.


For the confirmed narcissists among us, such moments of truth are too difficult to bear. The classic narcissistic personality typically insists that the world must be wrong, and reacts unpredictably when the world pierces his or her illusions.  Such confrontations with reality are particularly dangerous if a narcissist occupies a key position of power and responsibility.  The responses to such unpleasant realities (they can manifest singly, serially or in combination) include these five:

  1. Blame your subordinates.
  2. Double down on your mistakes.
  3. Retreat from the world by avoiding decisions, seeking distractions,  hiding in the trappings of success, protected by a circle of approving acolytes.
  4. Indulge in paranoia.
  5. Escape through high risk (even passively suicidal) behavior.

This is no armchair diagnosis, but I am far from the first observer to call attention to the  narcissist elements in our president’s personality.  This president was at his happiest appearing before uncritically adoring crowds.  Those moments are gone.  Now the president seems happiest on the golf course or flying aboard Air Force One, surrounded by the trappings of power at least 40,000 feet away from his nearest critics.

I worry that only a conformed narcissist, caught up in the attractive delusion that no one would seek to harm “such a beloved leader as myself”, would tolerate lax security at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

In such a situation, security personnel would be conflicted. Trying at the same time to please and protect a classic narcissist is an impossible task.

The cure for narcissism is character. Unfortunately, character is acquired over time; and cannot be quickly acquired.

There is no character app.



Narcissists sometimes dream of posthumous vindication, of the grieving multitudes suddenly sorry that they ever doubted the wisdom and greatness of the wonderful person they have just lost.  “How could we have ever doubted his leadership?”

In this self-indulgent dream, everyone rallies around the cause of the fallen hero, who looms larger in demise than ever in life.

That POTUS might, consciously or unconsciously , indulge in this dream is my personal nightmare.

I fervently pray that I am wrong.  But I have been disturbed by the thought that someone with a narcissistic personality caught in a large scale failure mode might secretly entertain some  version of that dark dream.

The recent security laxness at the White house was a tell.

Fortunately, this president does not seem to exhibit Nixonian paranoia. Mr. Obama’s attachment to his family is a heathy sign.  But his seeming laxness about his personal security (and of our national security for that matter) is unacceptable.

My concern goes well beyond party politics.


Copyright © 2014 by Jay B Gaskill [Permission to forward, or to use pull quotes with full attribution, is granted. For everything else, contact the author via email

The Ebola crisis is a grave threat.  What would happen if modern medical defenses were curtailed? See the timely and chilling political thriller by Jay B Gaskill, Gabriel’s Stand – a page turner, now available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble as a trade paperback; also as an e-book for Kindle, Nook and i-Pad.  More… < >

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My September 11, 2014 reflection

On August 19th or 20th of this year, Journalist James Foley (a Roman Catholic) was beheaded by an Islamist fanatic. Once again, the gory event -remember Daniel Pearl?- was released on video.  The same Islamist fanatics have recently beheaded other captives, even children. Suddenly, a number of commentators are reacting to this outrage as if it is something new. Think of it – a fanatic Islamist movement that seriously intends to set up an Islamist state.  Who would have thought?  …And a beheading? What were they thinking?

Go to – LATE TO THE PARTY at his link

Never give up.


Jay B Gaskill



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Analysis and Commentary

By Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law



If I were to credit the earliest accounts that precipitated violent protests in this small Missouri town,  ON THE EVENING OF AUGUST 9, 2014, A BRUTAL WHITE RACIST COP GUNNED DOWN A HARMLESS AFRICAN AMERICAN LAD NAMED MICHAEL BROWN FOR THE CRIME OF WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET.


Mr. Brown (age 18), a towering, formidable character, weighing in at almost 300 pounds, was first seen walking in the middle of the street with a cohort, the two having just committed a robbery/theft at a nearby store[1]. A confrontation occurred when the officer, Darren Wilson, who was a fraction of Mr. Brown’s size, reportedly first spoke to the two men through the patrol car window.  Some sort of struggle ensued during which the officer was struck in the face, reportedly fracturing the bone socket of one eye. If the latest report is to be credited, his gun was fired once at that point.

Following that confrontation, the picture is murky, but something then happened that put the three men on the street.






I was not there.  No one in the unruly protest mobs was there.  But, clearly, if Officer Wilson had been present during the demonstration, he would have at risk of being beaten to a pulp by an angry mob.

…And the media would have been complicit.

The hair trigger reflex in my title does not refer to the police officer’s pistol trigger finger.  Officer Wilson may or may not have been in legitimate danger of severe bodily injury; and he may or may not have sincerely and reasonably believed that he was in danger of suffering serious bodily harm. That’s what he American system of justice was designed to resolve. And that’s why we hope and expect that politics and impartial justice are kept at a safe distance from each other.

No: the hair trigger response was among the local, mostly African American community.  These included people carrying a burden of real and perceived grievances that primed them to uncritically accept that the killing of Michael Brown was a race-motivated murder by a member of a racist police establishment.  For them, only a huge protest would ensure that the miscreant was punished.

This is the tragic picture of the breakdown of social trust, and its exploitation by professional activists who should know better.

There is more to be said about this tragedy, but first let’s note similar incidents.

[+] Los Angeles (1992 – Rodney King) A large African American man who resisted arrest was surrounded and subdued by officers who were using what appeared to be greatly excessive force.

[+] Cincinnati Ohio (2001-Timothy Thomas) See the details below.

[+] Oakland, Berkeley (2009/10- Oscar Grant) See the sketch below.

[+] Ferguson, Missouri (2014 – Michael Brown – pending)

[+] Oakland, Berkeley (2014 – Michael Brown – pending)


The precipitating facts underlying these uprisings (except the unfolding Ferguson case) are now well established.  Full details are available on the web.

Look at the less well known of the precipitating incidents, the 2001 Timothy Thomas shooting.  Here is a quick overview, gleaned from WIKI:

In the early morning hours of April 7, 2001, Cincinnati police in Over-the-Rhine attempted to execute an arrest warrant against 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, an African American male. Thomas was wanted on 14 nonviolent misdemeanor counts, including 12 traffic citations Thomas was pursued for 10 minutes by nine officers, who were later joined by Patrolman Stephen Roach. The pursuit culminated at 2:20 a.m. when Thomas rounded a corner in a dark alley and surprised Roach, who shot him in the chest at close range. Roach stated he believed Thomas was reaching for a gun in his waistband, but investigation later determined Thomas was trying to pull up his ‘baggy pants.’ Roach also stated he was not aware of the nonviolent nature of Thomas’ charges and that Thomas ignored an order to stop. Thomas was rushed to a hospital, but died of his injuries.”

Now consider these additional observations from Cincinnati journalist, Heather MacDonald:

City Journal 2001

What Really Happened in Cincinnati
Heather Mac Donald

Advocates of the city’s status quo, whether opposing competitive bidding for city services or blocking the investigation of low-income housing fraud, can bring the City Council to its knees by playing the race card. For the last two years, black nationalists calling themselves the Special Forces have turned up regularly in the delicately carved council chambers of Cincinnati’s Romanesque City Hall to spew anti-white and anti-Semitic diatribes. Two days after the Thomas shooting, on Monday, April 9, they were back, accompanied by hundreds of angry black residents, by Timothy Thomas’s mother, and by her attorney Kenneth Lawson—Cincinnati’s answer to Johnnie Cochran.

The Council meeting instantly spun out of control. Backed by constant screaming from the crowd, lawyer Lawson and another racial activist, the Reverend Damon Lynch III, masterfully inflamed the crowd’s anger by suggesting that city officials were willfully withholding information about the Thomas shooting. Lawson, and doubtless Lynch, too, knew full well that disclosing Officer Roach’s testimony after the shooting would jeopardize the investigation and possible prosecution of the case, yet both threatened to hold every chamber occupant hostage until Roach’s testimony was released.”


When the smoke cleared in these tragic police shootings, no credible evidence had surfaced of any actual racist motivation for the civilian shootings in the line-of-duty (or of the excessive force in the King case), except that an unarmed black male was shot and killed by a white police officer (or in the Rodney King case set upon and subdued by several police officers).

Police shootings of this type tend to take place a general atmosphere of police-vs-community racial tensions. One common denominator links all such cases:

These and the other similar cases took place in the context of inadequately staffed, mostly white police forces, stressed by aggressive criminal elements in mostly black neighborhoods.  In the Oscar Grant case, that describes the context outside the well -protected commuter train station in the city of Oakland. Inside, a nervous Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer trying to subdue a struggling arrestee used catastrophically excessive force by reaching for his service pistol instead of his Taser.

A confused and poorly trained officer dealing with forcible resistance is not the same as a brutal racist committing murder.  Nor is the impulsive action of a frightened police officer who thinks he’s about to be severely beaten. Nor is the use of force by any officer who is trained to act quickly when a suspect seems to be drawing a gun.

The Hollywood and television images aside, most American police officers never fire their weapons outside of the practice range during their entire police careers.  All of them hope to return from the patrol of sometimes dangerous streets safe and sound to their loved ones. 

Police training stresses that officer safety comes first.  The law does likewise – giving latitude to police and ordinary citizens those who are placed in apparent danger.  The police have special legal protections because of the nature of their duties. A fleeing felon can be legitimately shot by a police officer in the line of duty.  A police officer is not expected to turn and flee when attacked, but is entitled – and expected – to use all necessary force to avoid being disabled or killed.  An officer is not to be second guessed in those tragic instances where the threat was only apparent and there was no time to verify it without risking being shot him or herself.  Think of the realistic toy gun cases. Assume that a confronted officer is a loved one of yours: Would you really expect him or her to wait until the trigger figure of a suspect resolves the “simulated versus deadly firearm” question?

Even civilians are entitled to use deadly force to repel an unprovoked, apparently immanent threat of death or serious bodily harm.  For civilians, a sincere fear of such impending harm is a partial defense to criminal assault or murder charges, and a sincere and reasonable fear can be a total defense.

Without the protection of the laws of self-defense we would be required to sacrifice our lives to thugs and other assailants while hoping for a miraculous response to a 911 call.  If police officers were denied the same legal protection, society would be at grave risk.





The real tragedy of the Ferguson incident and of the other communities that suffer from inadequate police protection is that the common people, especially the minority populations, are all too often denied that most fundamental of all entitlements: to be secure from criminal predation, free from fear of the thugs who inhabit every corner of every city, whatever its ethnic makeup. The wealthy and privileged can live in gated communities, employ private security and enjoy lives essentially secure from street crime.



It is no accident that in LA, Oakland and other similar high-crime areas, that the vast majority of crime victims are the so called minorities who are the first to rise up in a hair trigger response to a putative racist police contact.

No American community should ever have to suffer from inadequate law enforcement at the basic street -crime level. In my moral universe, there is one entitlement that trumps all the rest: 

It is the right of all Americans, regardless of wealth, status or social standing, to be secure from the thugs and other predators that blight neighborhoods, cause peaceful citizens to live like prisoners with bars on their own windows, and to be forced to live in fear of thugs and crooks, and to endure broken car windows and other acts of vandalism because the police are too busy, too overburdened to attend to the investigation.

A visible, active neighborhood police presence deters criminals.  My Jewish friends repeat the aphorism – “There’s always money for the doctor.” I would add another one for my African American friends to consider: There must always be enough money for public protection, especially for the poor who cannot afford to provide it for themselves.

I’ve seen the same pattern appearing over and over in my long “criminal” career.  It starts when resources are a bit tight.  Then when the good neighborhoods are relatively safe, the elites become casual about underfunding police services for the “bad” neighborhoods that they never frequent.

But an underfunded police department will cut corners and all too often make up for lack of street -enforcement power by ramping up aggressiveness. This can ignite a vicious circle leading to a general breakdown in trust and cooperation.  An anti-police attitude begins to take hold with many malign consequences.  There were several years during the 1970’s in Oakland, California when crime victims simply failed to appear causing the cases to be dismissed.

The deterioration of criminal law enforcement is always dangerous.  There are too many places in our country that hold significant populations of under-supervised young males. Law enforcement gaps in these areas will start a slippery slope to chaos. Soon, entire neighborhoods are written off. Then, as the police began to lose the struggle against the thugs, the police mindset can shift from law enforcement to a virtual wartime setting. This can easily deteriorate into an “us versus them” or “tribe versus tribe” street contest for dominance. It is a natural but tragic next step for a particular minority population, especially African Americans, to think of themselves as a target of the police; and for the beleaguered police forces to think of those unrealistic judges as obstacles to winning the war.

When New York Mayor elect Giuliani confronted a similar slippery slope in the huge venue of New York City, he and an astute police commissioner attacked the crime problem on several levels simultaneously, elevating the police presence and professionalism, and dramatically ramping up the overall police staffing levels.  In a few short years, New York became almost boringly safe.

Little towns, like Ferguson, may lack New York’s resources, but they should not, cannot be shortchanged on public protection resources, whether in officer staffing, support, technology or training. …Becauswe public safety is not just a basic right; it is the basic right.



The solutions are not rocket science.  The effective solutions  include more officers; greater community police presence and interaction; better officer training; cameras on all patrol vehicles and patrol officers; a policy of no crime too small and no crime victim to unimportant for careful attention.   We know these measures work because they have worked.

But there is a wrong approach: The feds charge in with a racist witch hunt; court officers place the police department on probation, imposing demands that require more resources be diverted from public protection and direct policing.  This was tried in Oakland and helped cripple that cash-starved police department for years.

Will there be more Fergusons? Of course there will.  Will communities make progress in reducing tensions over the police presence in their lives? Yes they will… provided that they can summon the will, and muster the necessary resources to provide public safety services equally across all class, status and wealth divisions. The immediate practical lessons of Ferguson are straightforward: (1) avoid jumping to conclusions in a police shooting; (2) get more cameras in play to eliminate doubts and promote transparency.

But the critical lesson of the Ferguson incident is that we are all accountable from the state level down to the smallest enclave of threatened citizens to step up and take the realistic steps needed to make all communities safe for cops and the rest of us, turning them into unwelcome environments for thugs and predators. 


Copyright © 2014 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

First published on The Policy Think Site and the Out*lawyer’s Blog. Forwards and attributed pull quotes are hereby authorized. For other permissions and all your comments, please contact Jay Gaskill via email at

Before the author left his “life of crime” for public policy consulting and his long deferred creative projects, he was a career public defender, spending his last ten years of government service as the chief Alameda County California Public Defender.  Mr. Gaskill’s latest novel, the political thriller, Gabriel’s Stand, (Central Avenue Publishing –  2014 – ISBN-978-1-771698-009-7), is a page turner. It is available from major book vendors. For more, go to this link:

[1] A robbery is a theft accomplished by force or fear.  Robbery is a felony.  Simple theft is a misdemeanor when the value of the goods stolen is below a threshold and there are no other aggravating circumstances. Security cameras reportedly show a theft took place, but the media has not gotten or released enough additional details to determine whether the clerk was threatened of intimidated.

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Israel’s Nine Eleven?

JBG head

From the Desk of Jay Gaskill

Monday, August 04, 2014



It is one thing to dodge a bullet in a happy accident, quite another to endure the slings and arrows from your fair-weather friends in order to avert a mid-scale holocaust.

The following story, posted below in full as released by P Gellar of New York from Israeli sources, can be summarized in a few lines:

The Gaza to Israel tunnels were modern sophisticated, reinforced attack ports.  They were intended to facilitate a coordinated, massive, nine eleven scale suicide attack on Israelis civilians, including, especially, small children. Its planners eagerly contemplated inflicting Jewish causalities in the high thousands. 

Note here the proportionate scale: For Israelis to lose 9,000 people in an attack (three times the actual number of US citizens murdered on 9-11-01 by the same jihad movement) would be the population-proportionate equivalent of 279,000 US dead.


The mainline American media is historically-challenged or willfully blind.  Here is some of the missing background in a nutshell:

The jihad movement is currently centered in and largely funded by Iran.  Why Iran? It is the most technologically advanced of the Islamic powers that are currently under the control of radical fundamental Islam; and its leaders have dreams of merging the glory of the former Persian Empire with the vision of an Islamic super-state, armed and preserved by atomic weapons.

The ultimate goal of the pan-Arab-Persian jihad is the virtual elimination of the Jewish presence in the Middle East by any means necessary. 

For the time being, the Saudi and Egyptian ruling elites are not in support of this fanatical jihad – mostly out of prudent self-interest. But much of the so called “Arab street” is tacitly or openly enthusiastic about the kill-the-Jews program.

How can “modern” people be so malignantly loony, you ask? Access to the internet and a cellphone does not make a modern mind.  These are 12th Century thinkers using 21st century tools

But why their bloodthirsty persistence?  Part of it is a carryover from a bloodthirsty past. Part of it is a modern pathology.

The core psychological drivers of the movement are a toxic mix of ancient grievances, jealousies amped up by a pathology called malignant narcissism (essentially suicidal jealousy on steroids).

This is a useful stew for the cynical Machiavellian leaders who (like Hitler) are willing to use the Jewish people as the sacrificial scapegoat from which a fierce tribal unity can be forged.

Gaza is a perfect staging area for a final solution because it is far too close to Israel to nuke. Iran seeks nuclear weapons to give it immunity from retaliation as it manipulates the destruction of the Jewish state via its proxies. The current US government is complicit in allowing this nightmare to progress as far as it has. Whether this is a result of incompetence, gross negligence, cowardice, or a covert anti-Jewish agenda is beside the point.  Once again the tiny refuge state of Israel, re-established in 1947 with the post-holocaust blessings of the United Nations and the United States (led by the redoubtable patriot, Harry S Truman), is allowed to twist slowly in the wind while American leaders are required to sit on their hands and watch.


The foregoing is Copyright© 2014 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law.  Permission to forward and quote with full attribution is granted.  For comments and other permissions, contact Mr. Gaskill via email at

Jay B Gaskill

Attorney at Law

Analyst, Author, Consultant

The Policy Think Site –




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Here is the referenced account, as reported by New York based web commentator, Pamela Gellar, whose website is at this link:




By Mordechai Ben-Menachem


Multiple media outlets report that Hamas’s offensive tunnel network – now known to have been composed of over forty attack tunnels dug underneath Israel’s border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip – was set to be activated during the Jewish High Holidays (September 24th) as a mass terror attack.

The attack was meant to generate as many as ten thousand casualties, men, women and particularly children and hundreds of captives.  Explosives were particularly placed underneath kindergartens to make certain that these “institutions” would be the first struck, even before anything else.

The IDF recently published the below map showing that tunnels were created in pairs, to empty out on both sides of nearby communities.  The known cost of the infrastructure – each tunnel costs upward of some $1 million – clearly shows that Hamas was planning a coordinated mega-attack.  It must be understood that use of even one tunnel would inevitably trigger Israeli retaliation against the entire network.

Gaza 1

A map of a small portion of the tunnels meant to be used 9 weeks from now.

Revelations regarding the planned tunnel attack magnitude played a decisive role in the Israeli government’s rejection of a ceasefire proposed late Friday by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Unbelievably, Kerry actually proposed in his latest “cease-fire proposal” – none of which have been honored by Hamas so far – that Israel refrains from degrading remaining attack tunnels.  This mind-boggling concept would necessarily be rejected by any sane government, of any country.

Israeli security sources, citing information acquired in interrogations of captured brigands, described a scenario under which hundreds of heavily armed Hamas fighters would have spilled out into Israel in the dead of night and within 10 minutes been positioned to infiltrate essentially all Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.  Waiting then in hiding until schools and kindergartens were occupied, the terrorists would then attempt to kill the children first, and then kill and kidnap as many Israelis as possible.  The plot was set to take place during Jewish New Year, on September 24.


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My New Article is available at either link.  A must read for the complacent or those who want to wake them up!

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An Ongoing Commentary



By Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Founder of the Policy Think Site and author of the new thriller, Gabriel’s Stand,

The nasty scenes of 2006 and 2010 are being replayed, with more missiles raining down on the last and only Jewish homeland. Thousands of additional missiles are well secured in the Gaza Strip territory on Israel’s border. This area has been under the control of Hamas since 2007, when Hamas forces evicted the more peaceful Fatah faction from the Palestinian proto-government.


This bloody-minded jihadist group now controls enough missiles to inflict huge damage on the Israeli civilian population. When the population scale is proportionately adjusted, the possible damage may be a thousand times worse than our 9-11-01 attack casualties. Note that the huge number of missiles held in reserve are intended to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield, which already is letting 10% of the missiles get through.


Meanwhile, mobs of jihadists and naïve camp followers are protesting while the IDF invades the Gaza Strip, thousands in France, New York, England and elsewhere as if on command.



From the Jerusalem Post


“NEW YORK – Thousands of people took to the streets of New York City on Friday evening to protest Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip and demand an end to the violence that has reportedly killed nearly 850 Palestinians. Police scrambled to corral the demonstrators, which officers estimated numbered between 2,000 and 3,000, as they flooded into the busy streets around Times Square.”


The ground offensive by the IDF is an effort to locate and close all the tunnels, destroying as many missile launchers as possible. But there far more tunnels; and far more deadly weapons than some early intelligence had predicted. Remember the flack that Israel took for stopping incoming boats on suspicion that they were carrying arms?


…So much for relying of diplomacy and the UN for protection.



For more background, you are invited to read or re-read my article, Making Sense of Israel, Part One.  Here is the link:


Imagine living within missile range of an adjacent territory governed by religious fanatics bent on your destruction.  Imagine waking up to find that hundreds of missiles, launched from that territory, have detonated near schools, residences and buildings. Imagine that thousands more missiles are ready for the next barrage.

Consider that the next missile assault is capable of swamping you country’s high tech missile defense system. Then imagine that your “friends” are pressing your own government to agree to a cease fire that would leave all those missiles ready to fire again.  This ceasefire would one step towards a suicidal “peace accord.”

The real “terms” of any contemplated a peace accord with Hamas, when the intentions of the brutal fanatics are peeled back to raw honesty, are appalling. Accepting them would amount to a slow suicide. Only a graveyard peace is sought by Israel’s murderous and mendacious attackers: If they were candid, we would hear: “Stop all your self-defense efforts. Don’t attack us because we need time to regroup and rearm. Long term, you move out of your so-called country, or face your ultimate immolation. Meantime we will distract you while our friends in Iran perfect a nuclear bomb that can wipe the Jewish vermin.”

7-24-14: [Iran’s] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on Wednesday that the only solution for the region is the destruction of Israel, and that the armed confrontation must expand beyond Gaza.



Sadly, there is more to your waking nightmare: The ambassador for your formerly staunch ally, a great power governed by a feckless, ambivalent leader, is pressing you to stand down, and trust your fate to the diplomats. Meantime, those missiles remain securely embedded –more of them than ever before, all having been smuggled in after the last “peace accord.” Worse, there are now scores of underground tunnels from the enemy territory into your own land. Missiles are carefully hidden underground, remaining immune to any air assault by your country. A ground assault is essential to rooting out the threat to you, but your “friends” do not approve of the necessary ground assault because it looks so cruel.

The UN Security council has called for a cease fire in Gaza, i.e., that Israel’s forces stop the search and destroy incursion to protect their civilian population from the Hamas bombing campaign that is guaranteed to resume the moment the cease fire ends…  it inevitably will, as long as Hamas is in power there.


The Security Council expresses strong support for the call by international partners and the secretary-general of the United Nations for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed assistance.”

The statement was passed unanimously. The USA voted in favor.


…trouble is upon me, and no one to help me! Many bulls are encircling me, wild bulls of Bashan closing in on me. Lions ravening and roaring open their jaws at me. My strength is trickling away. From Psalm 22


Israel is besieged once again by a movement that is disturbingly reminiscent of the virulent Jew-hatred in Europe that opened the path to the holocaust. Violent Jew-hating demonstrations have erupted on the continent, not all of them originating from the bloody-minded jihad of the Islamic fringe.

There are three important things to keep in the forefront of your thinking about the current struggle for Israel’s survival:


SCALE: Every 50 non-combatant Israeli casualties is the scale equivalent of 1,950 US dead.  How much would we passively put with, if we were attacked?


SHARED VALUES” Israel is a thriving liberal democracy, on a par with England, Canada, Germany or the USA, and it is exceptionally creative and innovative in culture, medicine and technology.


VULNERABILITY: Israel is tiny (it would fit inside LA County) with hard-to-defend borders, particularly the one now occupied by its deadly enemy, Hamas. The threat from Hamas, one of many, deadly challenges to Israel’s existence, is getting worse.


Lest we forget, back in 2012, Spiegel Online reported-


“It seems that the military power of Hamas has only been weakened, not broken. Some of their rocket positions appear to be so well concealed that the Israeli air force hasn’t been able to destroy them. The Israeli government says some 1,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza since last Wednesday. The air force has said it destroyed several times more on the ground, but some — presumably underground — rocket launchers were still working on Tuesday.”

Flash forward to now–

BBC reports:

Israeli forces have discovered a much more extensive network of tunnels than expected. The labyrinth of interconnected passages, bunkers, command centres, weapons stores and underground rocket-launching sites, with multiple shafts, has been dubbed Lower Gaza by some. Hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete have been used for construction of tunnels, some of which are 30m below ground and run for several miles.

The tunnels have posed huge tactical challenges for the IDF. Large numbers of troops are needed to guard military engineers who are exposed to Hamas sniper fire, anti-tank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades while working on detonating tunnel shafts.

The IDF has tacitly admitted it may not find, let alone destroy, the entire network. “The end position of this mission needs to determine that these [tunnels] no longer lead to Israel,” Lerner said.

The senior military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Our goal now is to finish the job by destroying as many tunnels as we can, if not all of them. It’s very difficult for me to say all of them because there’s always a chance we don’t know [the location of] all the tunnels – and what you don’t know, you simply don’t know.”

Israel’s political and military leaders will have to weigh the danger of getting drawn deeper into ground fighting in urban areas, where Hamas has considerable tactical advantages and could inflict significant losses on troops.

Fishman said diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire were adding to the pressures on the IDF. “We are entering a race against time until some kind of ceasefire is decided. At that point, the political and military echelons will face a genuine dilemma: which infrastructure can [Israel] give up [on destroying] and which infrastructure must be destroyed? For this reason, the army is already focusing its efforts against the most vital infrastructure,” he wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s largest-circulation newspaper


Paul Alster, in a Fox News report, released last week:

Pictures released by the Israel Defense Forces show tunnels, some primitive and others sophisticated enough to include walls and ladders, running under the border from the Hamas-controlled district before they were intentionally destroyed. More than 60 access shafts leading to 28 tunnels have been uncovered since Israel’s ground operation — dubbed Operation Protective Edge — began on July 8.


The following is excerpted from the blog of the Israeli journalist, Arlene Kushner, a reliable source.


The Investigative Project on Terrorism, headed by Steve Emerson, …raises some serious questions regarding the identification of all of Hamas’s tunnels.  It’s pointless to talk about taking them all out if they haven’t all been identified.  Additionally, it raises troubling questions about whether the US necessarily shares all of its information on the tunnels with Israel and whether Israel is utilizing all possible hi tech equipment for identifying tunnels deep underground.  (Please be assured, Israel is aware of this equipment.)

According to Emerson, US officials believe that Israel is underestimating the number of tunnels.  American information on this has been acquired via satellites equipped with special high resolution infrared detection technology.

And then we have this information:

“It is believed that the construction of the more advanced Palestinian tunnels began right after the 2012 cease-fire agreement, when Israel agreed to lift restrictions for humanitarian aid, including large quantities of steel and concrete…

“…the tunnels are quite sophisticated, with water, sewage, and lighting allowing for months-long stays.” (Emphasis added)
Israel has found tunnels with shafts rigged with bombs located directly under Israeli kindergartens.

If the bombs had gone off, the buildings above would have been destroyed, taking the children down with them.

“Other exposed shafts showed Hamas’s continued intense interest in hostage taking…”

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.


Israel is a sovereign country established with the blessing of the United Nations as a refuge state for fleeing Jews.  Why was it considered necessary to provide a refuge for the Jews after the defeat of the Nazis?  Because key European and American leaders recognized that the virulent anti-Semitism that lived within their borders had spawned the holocaust; moreover – that anti-Semitism would not be eradicated from their culture for generations. 

The Jews were still faced with a dangerous malignancy that would undoubtedly return. Fleeing Jews had been denied refuge in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s – even by the FDR government.

Clearly, Jews would need Israel.


I made these observations in 2006:

Ambivalence toward the truly evil, and passivity in the face of the real, existential threats it poses to the good and the innocent souls among us is so profoundly wrong as to border on evil itself.

How could it be [that] the nation of Israel, having been resurrected in 1947 under the aegis of the United Nations[1] with the support of Europeans, is now on the verge of being abandoned by those same “friends”?  These are the same European states (excluding England) that were complicit through cowardice and denial when the holocaust was perpetrated on their own soil.


The “resurrection” of this same pattern of cowardice and denial is dangerous beyond all measure.

I note that Hamas, the terrorist group that infects the nascent Palestinian democracy, has the following explicit aims:


  •  “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.
  • “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.
  • “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.

So we should pray for the swift success of the Israeli Defense Forces in this crisis, for the continued support of Israel by the US, and for the ultimate defeat of all the forces that have aligned themselves against the prospect of a peaceful, safe and thriving Israel.  It is no coincidence that these same forces wish us grave harm and seek to overthrow the institutions that protect religious liberty and the blessing of civility everywhere. 

– see


Do you doubt that perfidy and cowardice of the 21st century, the bloody minded jihad against the West and Israel, anti-Semitism are redux? For evidence that the nightmare has been resurrected, read the signs.

…anti-Semitism is becoming more widespread in Europe amid a rise in popularity of extremist parties, according to a report released Sunday.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University recorded 554 violent anti-Semitic acts in 2013, including attacks on people and vandalism against synagogues, cemeteries and other Jewish institutions.

The Huffington Post


This is not the first time that Israel’s very existence has fallen into grave peril.  But it is the first time that its ally, the USA, is an ambivalent friend, an unreliable bystander.


Jonathan Tobin in Commentary Magazine on 7-11-2014

The problem with the president’s expressions of support for Israel is that they have also been accompanied not only by calls for “restraint”—which are rightly interpreted as a not-so-subtle demand that the Jewish state’s armed forces stand down—but by continuing ambivalence about Hamas’s presence in the PA government. Just this week Obama praised Abbas, who embraced Hamas as his partner in April, while pointedly snubbing Netanyahu. The U.S. has refused to cut aid to the PA even though U.S. law demands that it be shut down due to the Fatah alliance with Hamas.

While the Palestinians don’t need encouragement from the U.S. to cause them to embrace radical positions that make peace impossible, the mixed messages from Washington, including today’s offer of mediation with a group that even Obama’s State Department still classifies as a terror group, heightens Israel’s sense of isolation and makes it harder for the Jewish state to deter Hamas terror.

Obama’s Mixed Middle East Messages


What are the core issues? They are: Legitimacy & the Double Standard



Israel is a legitimate sovereign state with the same right as the USA to survive and take the needed measures to protect itself against those who would destroy that little nation and repeat the holocaust. The counter view is that Israel is an illegitimate state, run by selfish, immoral leaders with imperialist designs.  The issue is bright line clear.  In my opinion, the second view is both wrong and insincere, a cover story for contemporary Jew-hatred. 


If international politics seems sometimes to be a game of musical chairs, surely for the Jewish people of Israel, the music (having become a lament) must now stop.


The nation states and non-state actors (AKA, terrorists) who are arrayed against Israel as regional enemies are followers of a single religious ideology – militant Islam.  The specifically territorial arguments and claims of militant Islam are all colored by the fact that their territorial claims, too, rest on antecedent conquests. 


I can well imagine that, had the Jews chosen to settle in Antarctica, its enemies would be talking about Penguin exploitation and oppression.


[From Making Sense of Israel, Part ONE]




Israel’s opponents are enemies of Western Civilization. The counter view is that all civilizations are somehow equal, even those that promote the subjugation of women and religion conversion via brutal force.





The stakes for the US are both practical and moral. First, let me reaffirm what I wrote in 2011 -


The abandonment of the major US democratic ally in the Middle East region will bring even more trouble, in much the same way that the abandonment of Poland and the Sudetenland to Hitler by the timorous Western Europeans failed to sate the beast, eventually ushering in the unopposed holocaust.


I believe that there is an historic phenomenon we can properly call large scale moral damage.


Whenever a civilization begins to lose its self-confidence, it begins to die.


Europe is still suffering from the malign effects of complicity in the mass murder of Jews and dissidents on its own soil.  That sorry history of moral failure was partly redeemed by the collective decisions of liberated Europe, the United Nations, and the USA (under the leadership of Harry Truman).


By establishing Israel as a sovereign nation specifically so that there never again would be a holocaust, nor a closed door for Jewish refugees, Europe and the West restored the moral foundations of modern civilization.  To abandon that solemn protection now would be a self-inflicted moral wound so grave that Western civilization, already suffering a crisis of self-confidence, might not recover from the psychological damage.


A Dark Age would follow.


I do not exaggerate when I say that, if ever a history is written of “The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization”, the abandonment of Israel to the wolves will be identified as the beginning of the fall.


May 20, 2011


I now believe that Israel and her people are in more danger of extinction than at any time since Israel’s heroic, but improbable victory in the Six Day War of 1967. 

Iran is perilously close to having produced and secured a nasty cache of weapons-grade fissile material capable of being quickly assembled into nuclear bombs.  Experts may debate the minor details, but the prudent realists among them know that Iran is now capable – at any moment – of rushing its clandestine production to the finish line in a few months. This administration cannot be counted on to do anything to stop the Iranian nuclear bomb program, short of the economic sanctions that are being ignored by Iran’s ruling clique because they are too close to success to turn back now.

Something else is critically important to note:

Iran is more technologically advanced and more dangerously situated than North Korea.  Iran will not have to test a nuke in order to fatally shift the balance of power in the region.  The mere threat of nuclear retaliation would give Iran a free hand in terror-export adventures, proxy wars and conquests, just as it did the Soviet Union. 

Moreover, the danger of rapid nuclear bomb development across the region poses a threat even greater than the cold War standoff, because some of the regional players of the Islamist persuasion are patently irrational and have less to lose than did Khrushchev’s Russia. Hamas is part of an overall jihad strategy to harry and distract Israel while Iran works toward a decisive nuclear breakout.

The ambivalent dithering and over-reliance on sanctions and diplomacy by the US and Europe (over the cynical opposition of “modern” Russia) have shaved the time window of comparative safety to far less than a year.

The Iranian bomb program is so deeply buried that IDF air assets simply do not have a reliable capability to eliminate these facilities and neutralize the threat … not without substantial American operational support. But the current Administration refuses to promise that support and cannot be relied on to deliver it in any timely manner.

Our decision-challenged President has displayed so much moral and policy ambivalence about Iran and Israel that the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens no longer trust him to honor the USA’s long term commitment to come to Israel’s assistance in the crunch. 

And I personally do not trust our POTUS on this question. Moreover, I am persuaded that the jihadi adversaries who intend to destroy Israel do not fear this president’s “red lines” and, a fortiori, they do not fear him.

This sorry state of affairs is bad for Israel, bad for the USA and bad for the prospects of peace in the world.

Why is it our problem to fix? As the poet, John Dunn, wrote -

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Europe’s perfidy will be ours. Israel’s fate will be ours. There is no escape from moral responsibility. Not now. Not ever.



Except as attributed material from other sources are quotes, this article is protected: Copyright © 2014 by Jay B Gaskill, attorney at law.

But all links and attributed pull quotes are authorized by the author and encouraged.  No express permission is required. For everything else, please contact the author via email

NOTE: American liberties and protected freedoms are not much more secure than Israel’s borders.  Our bulwark, the US Constitution, has a backdoor tunnel, a vulnerability that can and will be exploited by the enemies of liberty at the first opportunity.  This backdoor is dramatically depicted in the author’s latest novel, GABRIEL’S STAND, a page turner for patriots. Go to this link for more:



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Also available on the Policy Think Site –


Commentary by Jay B Gaskill

Mosul has fallen to invading bloody-minded jihadists. The new Iraqi government is under-protected. Its military, having been prematurely abandoned by US forces, is in disarray. (See the Washington Post, piece, Iraq could get worse…)

Bagdad, itself, is at risk of being overrun by the extremists.  

Our president and his inner circle were never known for resolution and toughness when it came to our nation’s real enemies abroad, just hard for edged partisan games against the domestic political opposition.

But be reassured, the administration is “considering all options.”

Maybe POTUS will issue another “red line” warning to the forces seeking to take over Iraq.

I miss the Democratic Party, but for the moment it has been replaced by something else.  I have often self-identified as a “Truman democrat”, particularly on foreign policy. Here is a litmus test for any tough national security question (think of protecting Israel from Jihadist nukes, or protecting our diplomats from bloody jihadists): One only need ask, “What would Harry do?”  It is useful to notice just how far we have fallen.

Naïve foreign policy idealism periodically rises up like spring daisies, only to die in the harsh weather “on the ground.”

The conflicts between foreign powers have more in common with the struggles among criminal gangs than disputes within the genteel sanctuaries of the diplomats. Mr. Obama does not understand real thug behavior and is ill equipped to deal with it in the international arena.

During the 20th and 21st centuries, international conflicts have become more deadly by any measure than in all the prior centuries from the founding of the American colonies to the present moment combined.

In the tumultuous period that began with the First World War, one president rates at or near the top of all presidents for the quality of his American foreign policy and national security decisions and actions: Harry Truman. Sadly, our current president has so far earned rock bottom status. He is the anti-Truman incarnate.  While this is just one lawyer’s perspective, it is secretly shared by hosts of “old fashioned” democrats.

An unflinching analysis of this president’s disastrous track record was just released by the respected the Hoover scholar, classicist and military historian, Victor Davis Hanson – see Scandals — or fundamental transformations?

at .

We are not living through a lame duck presidency, but we enduring something more dangerous. We are experiencing a hollow duck presidency, conducted in the style of a bad employee with tenure.  A hollow duck president subsists on a mixture of gesture and thinly disguised contempt for the values of his employers.

Our POTUS is a man who habitually governs as a public relations exercise. He presents as a leader who seems obsessed with surface images over substance. He seems to inhabit the alternate universe wherein “considering all options” means only considering the alternative media images that would follow any difficult policy decision.  “How to look good” (or in this disaster, “how not to look bad”) trumps making the concrete tough decisions needed to secure the country’s security and welfare.

There is a term for a personality that is entranced with its self-image; it is the classic narcissistic personality. Committed narcissists are notoriously hard to teach, because every teaching moment, every failure, is filtered through a delusional screen – “It can’t have been my fault, therefore….”

Israel – take note.  This president could well determine your future.  Iran, your mortal enemy, is being gradually allowed to acquire an atomic bomb arsenal, while the administration is still “considering all options.”

POTUS has until Friday, January 20th, 2017 to burnish his growing legacy. Brace your selves for all the teaching moments ahead.


Copyright © 2014 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

First published on the Policy Think Site and the Out*Lawyer’s Blog. Forwards and pull quotes are welcome and encouraged, provided they are with full attribution including this link –



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A Modest Proposal by

Jay B Gaskill

 Also published at –

Sgt. Bowie Bergdahl is freed from the bloody hands of the Afghanistan jihad, after suffering through a brutal and debilitating five years in Taliban hell.

I rejoice.  I empathize with the parents and family. I am a Dad.  I get it.[1]

But my joy is tempered by some practical concerns. The release of five high value enemy leaders was and is dangerous.  Their names: Mullah Mohammad FazlMullah Norullah NooriKhairullah Khairkhwa, Mohammed Nabi Omari, and Abdul Haq Wasiq.

They been described as -

“…undoubtedly among the most dangerous Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo…” – Thomas Joscelyn, a senior editor at the Long War Journal.

Fazl…was the Taliban’s former deputy defense minister… wanted by the United Nations for his role in massacres targeting Afghan’s Shi’ite Muslim population.

Noori … a senior Taliban military figure … was asked personally in 1995 by Osama bin Laden to participate in an offensive against northern alliance warlord Rashid Dostum.

Khairkhwa, a former Taliban governor of Herat, was …a likely heroin trafficker”, believed to have “participated in meetings with Iranian officials after 9-11 to help plot attacks on U.S. forces following the invasion.

Nabi … helped organize the al Qaeda/Taliban militias that fought against U.S. and coalition troops in the first year of the war…

Only Wasiq seems a comparative lightweight.

Wasig was a deputy minister of intelligence who turned. Pentagon sources say that he was holding out information he had on other top al Qaeda and Taliban leaders during interrogations.”

These Pentagon-sourced accounts were first published by The Daily Beast. LINK –

These five men are to be afoot; and very ugly things will come of their release.  Moreover, the bargain itself creates a perverse and deadly incentive to take more American soldiers prisoner.

…A paradox is presented.…But the paradox has one appropriate solution: 

Track and kill the worst four of the released terror leaders. Do it soon, and do it very visibly.

I look for a tougher America, the “Jack Bauer America” that I can only imagine, the one where the administration recognizes that we are still at war against a deadly set of enemies, the one where we routinely treat thuggish acts against our people with the craft and ruthlessness appropriate to grave threats in time of war, the one where we act with the cold realism appropriate to a war to the death that must win.

This is what that USA would have done:

Before the release of Fazl, Noori, Wasiq, Khairkhwa, and Nabi, each man would have been anesthetized, surgically implanted with a tracking device, given an amnesia-inducing psychotropic; then bathed, shaved and dressed up, awakening in a hotel room.  Only then are they handed over in a trade for the imprisoned American Army Sergeant.

The moment that our man is released, the worst four of the released Taliban leaders (excluding only Wasig) are assassinated at the earliest practicable moment. 


Copyright © 2014 by Jay B Gaskill, attorney at law


Website –

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Circulate this piece freely, but only with full attribution.


[1] I am aware that there are pending concerns about the circumstances of Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture – as it was away from his unit – but I am not prepared to join the carping voices about “desertion” for two reasons: (1) the matter has not been investigated; (2) this young man was one of us – there is absolutely no intimation that Sgt. Bergdahl changed sides, an allegation that is absurd on its face.  We can trust the military to make this assessment.  My question is this: If he wandered off base, should we and his fellow soldiers have abandoned him? The answer is never. The Christian parable of the prodigal son is apt.

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On The Policy Think Site –


A Reflection by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

[The former Public Defender for Alameda County, CA]


[  ]

In the USA, we woke up one morning and learned -

“ISLA VISTA, Calif. — A college student who posted videos that documented his rage against women for rejecting him killed six people and wounded 13 others during a spasm of terror on Friday night, the police said. He stabbed three men to death in his apartment and shot the others as he methodically opened fire on bystanders on the crowded streets of this small town.

“The gunman, identified by the police as Elliot O. Rodger, 22, was found dead with a bullet wound to his head after his black BMW crashed into a parked car following two shootouts with sheriff’s deputies near the University of California, Santa Barbara.”

New York Times. 5-24-14

As the Santa Barbara, CA rampage was reported in the UK

“The aunt of Elliot Rodger has spoken of the family’s devastation following his killing spree in Isla Vista, California, on Friday.

“Rodger’s father, an assistant director on The Hunger Games, is said to be “absolutely broken” after his son carried out the massacre near UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), which left six dead and many more injured.

“The sister of Peter Rodger told Sky News the family was “in total shock” – and she condemned US gun laws.”

“Rodger, who had Asperger syndrome … accused several people of assaulting him – but investigators conceded he was actually the aggressor and suspended the case.”

[  ]

BUT WHAT HAVE WE REALLY LEARNED?  CANDLES WILL BE LIT, THE GRIEVING and anger will gradually give way to numbness – after all, the killer is dead – and people will try to forget.  No one can claim that the killer was poor or deprived of resources.  Yes, he had access to firearms.  Yes, some of the people around him might have been a little more wary, a bit more diligent.  But, at present there is no robust system that is designed to focus surveillance resources and intelligent attention on youngish men (and yes, almost all of these killings are by males) who display anger, choose to live alone and brood revenge fantasies.

Assume that the report that young Elliot Roger did have some form of Asperger’s syndrome, a mild impairment that resembles autism, proves true.  What of it? Almost no Asperger’s diagnosed men ever, ever go on shooting rampages. Nor do socially maladroit males who can’t attract beautiful young women.  

I predict that an all too familiar personality profile will emerge in this case: An entitled kid, denied what he thinks is his birthright (apparently the BMW wasn’t a sufficient chick magnet), a boy-man capable of repeated obnoxious behavior that results in rejection, who resents it because he is so “special.”

No number of purely clinical insights can supply the missing element. There was an evident character defect operating here, a moral deficiency. It is an all too common syndrome: A boy-man is raised in a hedonistic, shallow culture, suffused with a therapeutic ethos, camouflaged as a moral system. Therefore he lacks the necessary defenses to the malevolent elements in this damaged culture.

Such personalities have compromised moral immune systems. They are susceptible to the lures of evil (this not a medical, but a moral category).  Foremost among these malign influences are the power lures that are particularly attractive to entitled males who are denied glory and satisfaction.  The ensuing suicide is a tell, because a grand self-immolation is the last refuge of malignant narcissism – the warped personality for whom the happiness or success of others is an affront, leading to a dangerous emotional logic: Leveling down those unfairly successful ones builds up the narcissist’s ego fantasy.  When faced with the ultimate futility of that strategy, only one grand gesture remains.  Recall Hitler’s Führerbunker suicide.

The Mr. Roger’s massacre highlights that we have a boy-man formation problem to work on. There is a reason that the prisons are disproportionately populated with male as opposed to female violent offenders. 

Young men-in-formation need mentors and role models, among them manly religious figures of great integrity, and coaches who are steeped in ethics, model integrity in their lives, and teach virtues.  Sadly, this is not a large group; and not all young boys have access to such leaders.  We need  inspired, charismatic moral leaders, men and women, especially those with a solid religious foundation. But for them, the postmodern culture is a hostile work environment.

We are living in a damaged culture. As functioning adults with no criminal history, many of us are immune to this culture’s most corrosive elements.  We are the inoculated ones because we have acquired moral character. Everything you read about this case going forward will consist of heartfelt but ineffectual gestures and palliative measures – yes, some proposed measures are appropriate and will have some good effects at the margins.

But in this culture, Mr. Roger’s massacre is just one of many, many to come. Deep-tissue cultural repair is needed and – because I am an essential optimist – it will eventually take place. Why?  Because it must.

Heavy lifting will be needed. What follows is an excerpt from the draft of a non-fiction work in progress, working tile, “The Wise Child”.

Moral character is inspired, not installed like a computer program. Character is nurtured by trial, not played like a video game. And character is sustained by faith.  Yes, faith. All friendships and marriages are acts of faith.  Every trust relationship is founded in faith. No institution owns the patent on faith.  It is open source software issued along with the gift of the human capacity for moral intelligence.

It occurred to me that we could be the last link in that great intergenerational transmission belt; that we might really be the last, best vital connection to the moral law. Our task may be easier for us than for some others who are less sure of their moral ground.  Children can sense an adult’s moral ambivalence like a dog can smell fear. We are in a war for the survival of civilization and we’ve all been enlisted, willing or not, ready or not.  Our only weapons are our beliefs, our integrity, the quality of our lives, and the quality of the relationships of the people we deal with.  But that is enough. With the children at our side, we will prevail.


As published on the POLICY THINK SITE and linked blogs.

Copyright © 2014 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Links, attributed pull-quotes, and forwards are welcome and encouraged. For everything else, you are invited to contact the author by email < >.

The author’s latest novel, a modern thriller in the tradition of Orwell, called Gabriel’s Stand is now available through several popular vendors in traditional print and as an e-book. For more information and purchase links, navigate to this link:

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