June 22, 2016
A political crisis is usually preceded by an intellectual and moral crisis. Dominant ideas that once seemed to hang together lose their hold when they are exposed as contradictory and incoherent. Similarly, moral claims made on behalf of a worldview can, gradually or suddenly, come to be seen as empty. Demoralization comes before defeat. This is what happened in the Soviet Union. A corrupt and dictatorial system fell for many reasons, but its demise became inevitable when even those with an interest in mouthing the old slogans and defending the old ideology came to realize that almost everyone around them thought they were extolling bunk.
August 11, 2015 |
IT WAS OK to be afraid; it was not OK to panic. Fear was natural for the men who flew the bombers over Germany in World War II. It rode with them in their planes like a living entity. But if you panicked, you couldn't do your job. That was the way Joe Blinebury described what it was like in those B-17 Flying Fortresses that carried the war to the enemy with dangerous daylight bombing. Oddly, Joe, who flew 35 missions over Germany, said he calmed down when he slipped into the ball turret, his position under the belly of the plane.
August 22, 2014
I TOOK A FLIGHT over Philadelphia in a B-17 Monday. It was thrilling. Joseph Blinebury took 32 flights in a B-17 above Nazi-infested Europe. It was killing. He didn't die, but a lot of the World War II aviator's comrades did. "Guys - one day you're playing cards in the barracks, the next day they're gone," he says, his head shaking, his eye misting. When he speaks of those long-ago days of valor and victory, dread and death, he is a deep well, drawing up stories with a mind clear as a cockpit window.
April 5, 2013 |
No one denies that something went horribly wrong on the firing range. It was the Fourth of July, 2010, at Forward Operating Base Kunduz in Afghanistan. Army Pvt. Sean McMahon was testing a new M2 machine gun. When .50-caliber weapon jammed in automatic mode, McMahon removed the ammo and tried again. Still, it did not fire. His commanding officer asked McMahon to try single shot mode. As McMahon squeezed the trigger, the M2 exploded in his hands. The blast sent a shell casing ripping through his calf.
March 26, 2013 |
SEATTLE - A man who plotted to attack a Seattle military complex with machine guns and grenades was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison. Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, 35, also was ordered by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart to be supervised for 10 years after his release. Abdul-Latif, also known as Joseph Anthony Davis, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to murder U.S. officers and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. Prosecutors argued for a 19-year prison sentence with lifetime supervision after his release, saying Abdul-Latif directed major aspects of the planned attack, including picking the Military Entrance Processing Station in south Seattle as a target.
August 15, 2012 |
WEST TRENTON, N.J. - On the runway of Trenton Mercer Airport, the Flying Fortress prepared for takeoff. Its four 1,200-horsepower engines roared to life and the fuselage vibrated as it had on other B-17 bombers before runs over Hitler's Germany. Warren Kimmel had seen photos and movies of massive aircraft, with their bristling .50-caliber machine guns. He had dreamed of serving on one when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1942. But he never got the chance.
May 26, 2012 |
BEIRUT, Lebanon - President Bashar al-Assad's forces killed at least 50 civilians, including 13 children, in central Syria on Friday, activists said, in one of the highest death tolls in one specific area since an internationally brokered cease-fire went into effect last month. Syrian troops using tanks, mortars, and heavy machine guns pounded the area of Houla, a region made up of several towns and villages in the province of Homs, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees activist groups said.
April 24, 2012 |
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Syrian troops armed with heavy machine guns killed dozens in the central city of Hama on Monday, activists said, just a day after chanting protesters welcomed a visit by a U.N. team sent to observe a shaky cease-fire. The day's violence, the city's worst in months, added a dangerous new aspect to the U.N. team's work: that the Syrian regime might exact deadly revenge against opponents who feel empowered by the observers' presence to spill into the streets. Observance of the truce, which was supposed to begin April 12, has been spotty at best.
January 8, 2012 |
Gunfight The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America By Adam Winkler W.W. Norton. 361 pp $27.95 Adam Winkler's Gunfight is a potboiler of constitutional interpretation and is both a vital history and an intellectually satisfying, emotionally rewarding tale of a great case. The backbone of his book is District of Columbia v. Heller , a landmark gun-control case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. As a contest of constitutional principles, Heller tested the question of whether the famously ambiguous Second Amendment ("A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed")
August 12, 2011 |
PUEBLO, COLO. - A woman caught with her two brothers after a nationwide manhunt told Colorado authorities that she "deserved to get shot," according to an arrest affidavit. Lee Grace Dougherty, 29; Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, and Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21, were being held in Pueblo County jail, on bonds of $1.25 million each. The three had a court hearing yesterday, appearing by video from jail. None made any statement during the brief hearing. They face charges of attempted murder of a peace officer and assault on a peace officer.