Friday: Hili dialogue

June 10, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Friday, June 10, 2022: National Iced Tea Day (also called “the table wine of the South,” but only when highly sweetened). It’s also World Art Nouveau Day , one of my favorite periods of art. Here’s an example of Art Nouveau furniture from Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, which has a great collection of rooms and pieces from that era.  A lovely bed:


Stuff that happened on June 10 includes this:

  • 1692 – Salem witch trials: Bridget Bishop is hanged at Gallows Hill near Salem, Massachusetts, for “certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries”.
  • 1786 – A landslide dam on the Dadu River created by an earthquake ten days earlier collapses, killing 100,000 in the Sichuan province of China.
  • 1793 – The Jardin des Plantes museum opens in Paris. A year later, it becomes the first public zoo.
  • 1829 – The first Boat Race between the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge takes place on the Thames in London.

Oxford won the 4.2-mile race easily, and the men’s record is 85 wins for Cambridge and 81 for Oxford 81, with one dead heat, In the woman’s race, Cambridge have won the race 45 times and Oxford 30 times. The only time the race wasn’t run was during the wars and in 2020 during the pandemic.

Here’s the famous 2003 race; Oxford won by only about a foot!

  • 1886 – Mount Tarawera in New Zealand erupts, killing 153 people and burying the famous Pink and White Terraces. Eruptions continue for three months creating a large, 17 km long fissure across the mountain peak.

These were the the largest silica sinter deposits on earth and were a huge tourist attraction. Sadly, no color photos could exist, and we have just drawings. Part of the Pink Terraces still exist underwater. Here’s what the White Terrace looked like:

Here’s the imposing-looking Sharif. In the movie “Lawrence of Arabia,” Alec Guinness portrayed Prince Faisal, Hussein bin Ali’s son:

  • 1935 – Dr. Robert Smith takes his last drink, and Alcoholics Anonymous is founded in Akron, Ohio, United States, by him and Bill Wilson.
  • 1942 – World War II: The Lidice massacre is perpetrated as a reprisal for the assassination of Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich.
  • 1944 – In baseball, 15-year-old Joe Nuxhall of the Cincinnati Reds becomes the youngest player ever in a major-league game.

His youth was due to an absence of older players who were in the military during the war. Nuxhall pitched 2/3 of an inning, went back to the minors,and then returned to the Reds to have a good career as a pitcher. Here he is at 15:

Lyndon Johnson was largely responsible for getting this bill pushed through (he saw it as the legacy of his predecessor JFK). If you want the whole story, you must read Robert Caro’s magisterial volume The Passage of Power, the fourth in his fantastic biography of LBJ. Click to order it, but read all four volumes (one of the greatest biographies ever written), and hope that Caro lives to produce the fifth.

By the time Dugard reappeared 18 years later, she had had two children, aged 11 and 15, by her abductor. Both the man and woman who kidnapped her are serving essentially a life sentence, and won’t be available for parole until 2034. The law missed many opportunities to find her. Here’s a 13-minute video describing the case:

Da Nooz:

*Despite my good intentions, I was too tired to watch the January 6 hearings last night, but it sounds as if it’s orchestrated to blame Trump, which is probably true. As the NYT reported,

The House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol opened a landmark set of hearings on Thursday by showing video of aide after aide to former President Donald J. Trump testifying that his claims of a stolen election were false, as the panel laid out in meticulous detail the extent of the former president’s efforts to keep himself in office.

Over about two hours, the panel offered new information about what it characterized as an attempted coup orchestrated by Mr. Trump that culminated in the deadly assault on the Capitol. The panel’s leaders revealed that investigators heard testimony that Mr. Trump endorsed the hanging of his own vice president as a mob of his supporters descended on Congress. They also said they had evidence that members of Mr. Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

The session kicked off an ambitious effort by the nine-member committee, which was formed after Republicans blocked the creation of a nonpartisan commission, to lay out the full story of a remarkable assault on U.S. democracy, orchestrated by a sitting president, that led to a deadly riot, an impeachment and a crisis of confidence in the political system.

“Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy,” said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee. “And ultimately, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.”

Victims of the assault on the Capitol, including police officers and their wives, testified, and, of course, the Republicans (save two on the committee) are writing it off as “illegitimate” and a “sham”, raising diversions like “why aren’t they holding a hearing on inflation?”

Members of the panel promised to reveal evidence in the days to come that would fundamentally change the public’s understanding of the Jan. 6 attack and bring into clearer focus exactly who is to blame.

“It’ll change history,” predicted Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the other Republican on the committee.

Mr. Thompson said the next session, scheduled for Monday, would detail how Mr. Trump “lit the fuse” for the riot with his lie of a stolen election.

*I’m writing this late Thursday afternoon, so I haven’t yet seen the Congressional hearings on the January 6 insurrection that begin tonight. But David Brooks at the NYT isn’t enthusiastic, as he writes in his column, “The Jan. 6 committee has already blown it.” The goal of the hearings, avers Brooks, is to both blame Trump and damn the Republican Party for being behind it all. His comment:

No offense, but these goals are pathetic.

Using the events of Jan. 6 as campaign fodder is small-minded and likely to be ineffective. If you think you can find the magic moment that will finally discredit Donald Trump in the eyes of the electorate, you haven’t been paying attention over the last six years. Sorry, boomers, but this is not the Watergate scandal in which we need an investigation to find out who said what to whom in the Oval Office. The horrors of Jan. 6 were out in public. The shocking truth of it was what we all saw that day and what we’ve learned about the raw violence since.

We don’t need a committee to simply regurgitate what happened on Jan. 6, 2021. We need a committee that will preserve democracy on Jan. 6, 2025, and Jan. 6, 2029. We need a committee to locate the weaknesses in our democratic system and society and find ways to address them.

Here are the problems this imaginary committee has to solve:

The core problem is that there are millions of Americans who have three convictions: that the election was stolen, that violence is justified in order to rectify it and that the rules and norms that hold our society together don’t matter.

Well, I can’t imagine a committee that could solve all those problems.  And they come down to one issue: how do you stop people from becoming Republicans?

*Is this news any more? Just breaking: a report of yet ANOTHER mass shooting, this time in Smithsburg, Maryland. Three people killed, one critically injured, and the suspect is in custody.  Neither motive nor name of the accused shooter has been released. How many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?

*I like to keep up on the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos affair, and didn’t realize that her ex-boyfriend, Sunny Balwani, has been on trial since March. There was speculation that Holmes would take the stand, presumably for the prosecution since she blamed abuse by Balwani on her misdeeds. But you won’t be seeing her in his trial (this is from three days ago):

Since Balwani’s trial began, legal experts and curious onlookers alike have wondered whether Holmes might testify against Balwani in exchange for some leniency in her sentencing, although it’s not known whether she was offered that opportunity.

They got their answer today, when the prosecution confirmed in an evidentiary hearing that Holmes would not in fact be called as a witness in Balwani’s trial, according to Law360 senior reporter Dorothy Atkins, who has been covering the case.

“Prosecutor Robert Leach just mentioned that Elizabeth Holmes ‘will not be testifying in this case,'” Atkins tweeted Monday.

Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced in September. She faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and the requirement to pay victims restitution for each count on which she was convicted.

*According to the Associated Press, three foreigners who fought on the Ukrainian side have been sentenced to death by the Russians in Donetsk.

Two British citizens and a Moroccan were sentenced to death Thursday for fighting on Ukraine’s side, in a punishment handed down by the country’s pro-Moscow rebels.

The proceedings against the three captured fighters were denounced by Ukraine and the West as a sham and a violation of the rules of war.

Meanwhile, as the Kremlin’s forces continuing a grinding war of attrition in the east, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to liken his actions to those of Peter the Great in the 18th century and said the country needs to “take back” historic Russian lands.

A court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in Ukraine found the three fighters guilty of seeking the violent overthrow of power, an offense punishable by death in the unrecognized eastern republic. The men were also convicted of mercenary activities and terrorism.

Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti reported that the defendants — identified as Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Brahim Saadoun — will face a firing squad. They have a month to appeal.

“Seeking the violent overthrow of power.” Aren’t the Russians the ones guilty of that? What power were these three seeking to overthrow?

*I had to read this article in the Wall Street Journal:Why Côtes du Rhône Côtes du Rhône is the wine to drink right now.”. Well, “right now” is summer in the Northern Hemisphere and CdR is a heavy red. I like some of them, but don’t make a point of seeking them out when other Rhônes can provide better value for money. However, they recommend some good white versions and five red ones ranging from $15-$46. I’d go for the two whites, but won’t be buying either. Have a look if you’re interested in gutsy reds that can be good values and, if you’re lucky, have that unique black-olive nose of a good Rhône. (Other Rhones, like Châteauneuf-du-Papes and the nearly unaffordable Hermitages, are my favorite red whines in the world.)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili investigates ants:

Hili: What do we know about the life of ants?
A: Quite a lot.
Hili: And how does that help us?
In Polish:
Hili: Co wiemy o życiu mrówek?
Ja: Całkiem dużo.
Hili: I co nam to pomaga?


From Beth:

From Nancy:

From Bruce. Can you figure it out?

A tweet from God:

From Killian. This is a “call duck,” a specially bred version of the Pekin duck, which itself is merely a domesticated mallard.  Call ducks are affectionate, tiny, and vociferous.

From Barry. A 13 year old can’t buy booze, cigarettes, smutty magazines, or lottery tickets, but he easily procures a .22 rifle. Welcome to America!

Also from Barry. More fodder for anti-gun people like me:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. FIrst, a charge from Sgt. Meow and his Kitten Squad.

The squad gets adopted!

More at their Forever Home:

Matthew says this is “very British”. Does Tesco really have greeters (I’m sure they’re not like this one!):

And lagniappe, a book that’s not just big, but HUGE!:

59 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Did your tastes in wine change as you aged, Jerry? Among the paltry selection available here in NS, I have settled on Côtes du Rhône as being just about the only thing worth buying. I can buy two Château Neuf du Papes, one decent and the other in a fake-aged bent bottle with spray-on cobwebs. It’s dreadful, as you might expect. I find myself choosing the one expensive bottle over half a dozen cheap ones, and these days I’d rather have some of that sweet iced tea anyway!

  2. The January 6th hearing last night was akin to the preface of a book. It laid out the basic themes that will be revealed in detail in subsequent public hearings – the primary ones being that Trump was actively complicit in attempting to overthrow the results of a democratic election and that he remains a threat to democracy. Presumably, the committee will issue a report presenting its findings in great detail.

    Will the committee change the minds of many Trumpists? Of course not. Fox News and the Republican Party will see to that. But, it may change the minds of some of the “persuadables,” those people that have not been paying attention to what happened on January 6th and its aftermath. In particularly, these people can make the difference in the 2024 election, assuming Trump is the Republican candidate, in contests in the usual battleground states. We will see.

    1. Will the committee change the minds of many Trumpists? Of course not. Fox News and the Republican Party will see to that.

      I flipped over to Fox a few times last night during the hearing to see what they were talking about. There was that paragon of journalistic ethics, Sean Hannity (who plainly wasn’t watching the hearing, since he was in front of a camera himself), telling his viewers (who also plainly weren’t watching the hearing either) what they should think about a hearing neither had seen.

      I understand that Fox ran its primetime schedule last night without commercial interruption — foregoing its broadcast revenue, apparently for fear that its viewers would wander over to another network during commercial breaks to see what was happening for themselves.

  3. There was speculation that Holmes would take the stand, presumably for the prosecution since she blamed abuse by Balwani on her misdeeds.

    Once Holmes took the stand at her own trial, she blew any chance she had for cooperating with the government. She would be ripped apart on cross-examination by Balwani’s counsel, through impeachment with inconsistencies — both as to her own prior testimony and as to the prosecution’s overarching theory of the case.

    Plus, to cut a deal with the prosecution for leniency now, she would have to forego an appeal from her own conviction (without yet knowing what her sentence without cooperation will be).

    1. I have been met by a greeter once at the nearest Tesco superstore in Bristol uk. As I entered the store, they were offering iced water in a heatwave. Very welcome.

    2. I actually was a Tesco happy greeter back in around 2004-6 (and one of my mates did the same thing for Asda) so I know they exist in some stores (or at least used to). However, as you say it wasn’t quite like how it was depicted in the video. We had to stand there with a big red lollipop sign saying, ‘hello welcome to Tesco! Can I help you?’ to each customer as they entered… and it was just about the most tedious job I’ve ever done.

      1. And probably quite thankless because if they were like me, the answer to the question would be “yes, you can fuck off” but only voiced as part of their internal monologue.

  4. Apropos the dog cartoon rejected by the New Yorker, I’m guessing it’s related to the old joke whose punchline is “If you give him a biscuit, he might let you.”

    1. I must admit I don’t get the joke at all, but I have a lot of speculations, not all of them savoury.

    1. The world of the unlawful combatant, however defined by the entity that captures them on the battlefield, is a world of hurt.

  5. If the Democrats in Congress wanted to due something useful, they would have put in place a committee to actually study voting fraud, and determine the extent to which it might be possible, and whether it happened in 2020. The fact is that prominent Democrats have also cried foul when elections haven’t gone their way, notably Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams, and that fraud is possible and does happen. Just this week a former Democratic Congressman pleaded guilty to election fraud. Issues with voting machines, drop boxes, and absentee ballots all deserve an airing. Putting them to bed would have been far more helpful that just denying that fraud is possible, which people know is untrue.

    1. Did you watch the hearing last night? There was a clip of Bill Barr, Trump’s attorney general at the time of the 2020 election and arch conservative, stating under questioning that any fraud in the 2020 election that could have changed the results was bullshit, to use his own words. He had advised Trump of such. One of the reasons he resigned was because Trump continued to lie about election fraud.

      Whatever one may think of Barr, he refused to be complicit in the overthrow of democracy.

      Here is Barr’s statement in case you are not aware of it.

      1. According to evidence adduced last night, Barr’s opinion is shared by the Trump campaign’s own data guru, Matt Ockzowski. It is also the view of the Trump-appointed Homeland Security cyber-security czar, Christopher Krebs, who called the 2020 election the most secure in US history.

        The way I see it, rejection of Trump’s lie that he won a yooge landslide victory that was stolen from him by massive voter fraud provides a litmus test for one’s ability to discern evidence-based fact from fact-free propaganda — similar to the way acceptance of evolution provides a litmus test for scientific literacy, for the ability to discern science from pseudoscience.

        1. The chap who introduced the video thinks that ‘bullshit’ is strong language 🙂 It’s got to be that word because that’s all Barr said. I am impressed. If the word ‘bullshit’ is thought to be strong language in politics…

          1. With all the violence portrayed and the brazen lies, the pearl-clutching about the word “bullshit” seemed absolutely ludicrous!

          2. “Bullshit” isn’t particularly strong language (at least not by my personal standards), but it is stronger language than one is accustomed to hearing on US network tv.

            And it’s stronger language than one ordinarily hears a US attorney general (or even former attorney general) utter in public. I have a hard time, for instance, imagining Merrick Garland saying “bullshit” from the podium at Main Justice. (If he did, I think it would make me break out in laughter.)

    2. Do you honestly think that Faux Noise viewers and Trump supporters would have believed any findings of a Democrat led commission that stated facts contrary to their fantasy that there was massive voter fraud? When in fact there was very little fraud?

        1. Frankly, I don’t think they would listen to facts if Trump were to tell them at this point. They’d just boo him off the stage.

          1. Maybe but the idea that there are people out there that simply don’t know the truth makes sense to me. Sarah Longwell’s “The Focus Group” podcast ( reports on focus groups she runs, usually with off-the-street Republican voters. They don’t sound like evil people, just simply deluded. Most aren’t into politics that much but just parrot opinions they hear from Fox News. It is clear that they haven’t really been exposed to the truth. It’s possible they have heard the truth but simply tuned it out as just Democrat misinformation. It’s also possible that they would reject the truth if they ever heard it. But minds can sometimes be changed. We don’t have to win many over to make a difference.

    3. I don’t recall Hillary Clinton sending a mob to Capitol Hill. I recall she did make some statements that she thought there may have been some irregularities but did walk away from the election because she acknowledged there was no real means of challenging the electoral vote even though there were some irregularities. She won the popular vote by 2,700,000 plus votes. I don’t recall that she conceded the election but that is not required if she did not. Trump lost the popular vote by 7,000,000 votes in 2020.

      I have worked the voting polls in my city and county. Pulling off any fraud would have been difficult.

      We also have whistle blower protection laws. There are thousands of people involved in counting votes. If pillow guy wanted evidence he could have offered a reward. Someone would have squealed.

    1. Yeah, me too, even though I’ve almost always disagreed with her on policy matters. (She is, after all, a Cheney from the “Cheneys of Wyoming” Cheneys. 🙂 )

      She’s put principle above her political career (which now will probably not survive her primary contest against a Trump-backed candidate in mid-August, even though she was once on track for a potential House speakership or possibly even a spot on a Republican national ticket).

      She’s earned her “Profile in Courage” award, and a spot alongside the eight US senators JFK (or, I guess, maybe Ted Sorensen) wrote about in the book of that name.

      Plus, she handled herself with aplomb at center stage last night.

  6. I watched much of the hearing session last night. The committee put the blame for an attempted coup squarely on Trump.
    The best line from the show:

    Cheney addressed members of her party who remain loyal to Trump: “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”

  7. I disagree with David Brooks on the value of the Jan 6th hearings. Whenever you have sets of voters on both sides of an issue, there’s a tendency to view them as two monolithic continents with a wide gulf between them when, in fact, there are always people who can be persuaded. Perhaps there aren’t a lot or enough to help the Dems, but it is still worth trying to convince them. They might find the videotaped testimony of some of the administration’s trusted insiders particularly convincing. When they admit these things in front of the camera and under oath, only the most hardened Trumpists will claim that it’s just a partisan circus. If only they actually see it.

    There is also an audience of one: Attorney General Garland. It appears that the committee can connect the dots on quite a few crimes. One blockbuster they dropped was that there were several pardon requests made to Trump shortly after Jan 6th from people high up in the GOP and his administration. This is evidence of a guilty conscience. Presumably, the committee knows what crimes they wanted pardoned.

    As for Trump, I’m no legal scholar but it seems as if there is plenty of evidence here that Trump committed a fraud on the voters. They have evidence that he knew the Big Lie was exactly that and that he engineered the coup attempt to an extent much greater than simply egging on his fans with a few tweets. Many people around him begged him not to take this course and, on the day of the insurrection, begged him to act. He ignored them both times.

    Finally, if some high level people can be put away as a result of the evidence they’ve gathered, it will serve as a warning to anyone who might try to do something similar in future elections.

    1. Update: Trump has now claimed that his daughter, Ivanka, had long since “checked out” and wasn’t looking at election results.

      This is just the beginning of a pattern I predicted. Before the presentation, the GOP was fairly united in dismissing these hearings as a partisan witch hunt. Once some of the testimony names names and features some of the insiders and plotters, they’ll be forced to respond which may break into the Fox News/GOP bubble and be heard by voters.

    2. If all I had to judge Brooks by was this one article, which is actually the case, I’d say he was an idiot.

      1. I read that Times piece by Brooks when it first came out. It may be the chef-d’œuvre of bad Brooks in a career filled with stiff bad-Brooks competition.

      2. This website keeps taking my keyboard away halfway through my comments🙈🙈
        I watch Brooks every Friday on the PBS NewsHour. While I don’t agree with everything he says, he’s not an idiot. He really hates Trump. Sometimes he’s a bit too “spiritual” for me. He got his first wife to convert to Judaism, and when he left her a number of years later, he converted to the new gf/wife’s Christianity😬

    1. As I heard it, why does a dog lick his dick? 2 answers: first, the same as yours. 2: Because he doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

  8. I agree this ‘Art Nouveau’ has something ‘Je ne sais quoi’. Mysterious organic flowing forms. The best Art Nouveau architecture I can remember was in Brussels and Nancy.
    We should also mention the etches of invertebrates (and vertebrates and plants) by Ernst Haeckel, Darwin’s champion in Germany, which are (IMMO) pure Art Nouveau, or ‘Jugendstil’ in German.

      1. There is one passage in the article I posted I do take some issue with: “The scientist was a leading figure in the pseudoscientific movements of Social Darwinism and scientific racism”. I do not think that is completely true. He was no more racist than 90+% of his contemporaries, although he was a bit of a ‘multiple origins’ supporter. He erroneously (with hindsight) thought modern humans originated in the far East -differing from his hero Darwin’s African origins there-, and inspired Eugene Dubois. And (he died in 1919) would almost certainly not have supported Nazism. In fact, the Nazis actually banned his writings. He was a notorious “Semitophile”, had great admiration of the Jews.

  9. “Using the events of Jan. 6 as campaign fodder is small-minded and likely to be ineffective.” —David Brooks

    I don’t always agree with Brooks, but I think he’s right on the mark here. The whole thing is getting pretty pathetic and likely to backfire.

    For starters, anyone who doesn’t think Trump genuinely believes the election was stolen is underestimating the man’s narcissism—how else could he have possibly lost? It almost seems like the Dems want to keep the investigation going not just until the mid-terms but until Trump is re-elected, since they can’t imagine him being in office without being under investigation for something.

    1. Given the evidence we think the committee has, it should no longer matter whether Trump truly believes his own BS. I don’t think that can be used as a defense when he was surrounded by many in his own administration who was telling him that he was wrong.

      Most of the GOP voters are living a siloed existence. They are the ones who think the election was stolen and that Trump is being unfairly treated. The purpose of the investigations and hearings is to break through that silo. It doesn’t have to be 100% successful in putting Trump and his henchmen out of office or in prison in order to be worthwhile. What are the alternatives anyway? Are you suggesting Dems would get more votes if they left Trump alone?

      1. Even if Trump irrationally believed (despite the absolute dearth of evidence, and despite his having been told by everyone in the know to the contrary) that the election was stolen from him, it gives him no license to try to steal it back by fomenting an attempted coup d’état.

        1. I hear you but I think it still matters. If I may play devil’s advocate here, Trumpists would supply their own list of names of “important people” who were (and still are) certain the election was stolen. That can be used to turn the “coup d’etat” into a last ditch effort to save the country from evil forces. Trump certainly portrays it that way. After all, the country started with such an event. England’s insurrection was the revolutionists’ holy struggle for freedom from oppression.

      2. “Are you suggesting Dems would get more votes if they left Trump alone?”

        Absolutely. Not that I think the Dems are capable of leaving Trump alone. They’re obsessed with him, which is exactly what every bully hopes for.

      3. “Are you suggesting Dems would get more votes if they left Trump alone?”

        Absolutely. Not that I think the Dems are capable of leaving Trump alone. They’re obsessed with him, which is exactly what every bully hopes for.

        1. He’s not only a bully. He’s a criminal that needs to be held responsible. I haven’t given up hope. Even if he escapes punishment once again, other politicians who want to emulate him might think twice. Whoever takes over after Trump may well wonder if they could garner the kind of adulation that Trump received and wonder if they could survive two impeachments and an insurrection investigation. We in the opposition have a duty to push this as far as possible. To do otherwise, would send the wrong message.

          1. I have never understood how ANYone could find ANYthing remotely appealing about the guy😫Can’t see him without muttering Tillerson’s famous description: effing moron.

  10. I don’t get the video of the kid buying the gun. The guy selling was clearly a dealer, so he would have to complete the background check.
    “Long Guns: Under federal law, FFLs may not sell, deliver or otherwise transfer a long gun or long gun ammunition to any person the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under the age of 18.”
    If he did sell the gun to the kid, he committed a felony.

    1. “If he did sell the gun to the kid, he committed a felony.”

      As if that matters; is that what you really took from that video? That’s why you should “get” the video of the kid buying the gun. This happens all the time in these here “united” states where private sales and gun shows sales are ubiquitous. I’m sure the seller didn’t even consider a background check. People selling beer, cigs and lottery tickets, etc. are held to a higher standard, and they act like it…people selling guns (esp. in certain states) don’t feel they have to adhere to any “age” laws to sell their wares. So there you go. I know, the common sense rebuttal is: But, but, but, the guy committed a felony!!! The reality is, if it’s not enforced, it’s not a law.

      1. The title of the video is “There is just nothing we can do”. The guy had a name tag, and surely gave them a receipt. Obviously, they have video as well.
        All they need to do is call 1-800-ATF-GUNS, and report the guy. Usually, there is even a reward.
        If he is selling without a license, he goes to prison. If he has a license, and is selling without doing background checks, he loses his license, and goes to prison.
        And all those guns get seized, plus the guy never gets to own a gun ever again.
        So there is something they can do.
        The ATF regularly sends undercover agents to gun shows. According to BATFE testimony in the House of Representatives, as many as 49 agents to one gun show. Local police, who are at every single show, also run investigations at gun shows, and regularly make arrests, even in deep red states.
        If I wanted to engage in illegal gun sales, I would not do it in a place where there are absolutely cops in the room wandering around. I guess actually selling illegal guns in the lobby of a police station or federal courthouse might be more risky.

    2. While the seller may have been a dealer he was selling weapons at a gun show. A background check is not required at a gun show.

      1. If you believe that background checks are not required at gun shows, then you have been deceived. The “gun show loophole” is a complete fabrication, like chemtrails or the like.
        I have been to a great many gun shows over the last half century. One thing you can count on is a police presence. The shows hire them to check people at the door, to ensure no illegal or loaded guns are brought in, and they certainly look at the dealers present.

          1. Absolutely. There have been cases of the ATF doing home visits and checks on every single person seen buying at a gun show in Virginia, to establish base data on the subject. That much coverage is rare, but I have never been to a gun show that does not have a strong police presence.

    3. I find it hard to believe that HBO and the actor kid’s mom would participate in the commission of a crime just to make a point that gun-control laws are not enforced. What seems more likely to me is that this particular sale at what is identified as a gun show was legal at the time the video was made, just as the voice-over in the clip said it was. And what is the mom’s point? If she is anti-gun*, why did she enable him to buy it? If she is pro-gun*, why is she helping HBO call attention to something the narrator appears not to approve of: legal sales to minors by unlicensed sellers using that loophole at gun shows?

      Did the actor kid really walk out and head home with a rifle purchased for him by his mom with her blessing? Or was there prior arrangement with the seller that the money wasn’t really changing hands and the kid was going to return the gun as soon as he video recording stopped? “It’ll shoot pretty good for you,” doesn’t sound like much of a sales pitch.

      Anyway, it is clear that we are not watching an illegal act here: that’s the whole point of the video, that he was able to obtain the rifle effortlessly and legally. What is not clear is whether we are watching an actual gun purchase, not that there is anything inherently wrong with a teenager owning a bolt-action small-calibre rifle if his parents approve. It would be preferable that he be made to demonstrate proficiency before being able to buy one, sure, but that is outside the scope of the HBO exposé and is not, apparently what US or Virginia law requires, so moot.

      * Both terms used as short-hand, hoping the multitude will grant some poetic license.

      1. And note that the video was put up on YouTube in 2016, so at least six years old depending on when it was actually made.

      2. I guess the only reason I chimed in here was to point out that there is no gun show loophole. The same laws apply there as they do anywhere else.
        If Mom or the producer bought the gun, it sort of defeats the main point. Mom can buy the other items as well.
        It is absolutely true that parents buy guns, especially something like a .22, to teach gun safety to their kids. My Dad bought me a nice BA-22 when I was little. I got to shoot it under close supervision, and could even show it to my friends, by pointing to it inside the locked cabinet.
        Anyway, it seems to be a deceptively edited video, which may not actually show the reality of what happened there, and definitely does not reflect the larger reality.

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