1. Caron Nazario and the Confederate Flag
By now you’ve probably seen the story and/or video of Lt. Caron Nazario’s encounter with two police officers in Windsor, Virginia.
If not, the short version is: A uniformed, active-duty Army officer was pulled over by police on his way home from work. The police quickly drew their weapons and began making demands of Lt. Nazario.
When Nazario asked “What’s going on,” one of them replied, “What’s going on is you’re fixin’ to ride the lightning, son.”
When Nazario told the police he was afraid to comply with their demand that he exit his vehicle, that same cop answered, “Yeah, you should be.”
Over the weekend I was in the neighborhood of Windsor, Virginia—just cruising along I-95 about 40 miles to the west. Here is a thing I saw just south of Exit 41:
In case you can’t tell, that’s a really big Confederate flag—about 20’ x 30’. What’s it doing there? It’s a “memorial” to Wade Hampton and the Confederate States of America:
As you might guess, there’s a story here.
This “memorial” Confederate flag was hoisted on a piece of private property in 2016 by a group calling themselves the VA Flaggers. They are very concerned about their “heritage.”
Here’s the VA Flaggers’ own account of the dedication ceremony:
The Edmund Ruffin Fire-Eaters Camp #3000 Color Guard opened the ceremony, accompanied by Pipe Major David Hinton. Army of Northern Virginia Mechanized Cavalry Major Willie Wells shared information on the history of the Great Beef Steak Raid, and Wayne Jones of South Carolina spoke about General Wade Hampton. . . .
The I-95 Wade Hampton Memorial Battle flag was dedicated to the Glory of God and in memory and honor of General Wade Hampton and the Confederate soldiers who fought and died in defense of the Commonwealth. She will also fly as a 24/7 reminder that there are still many of us with Confederate blood flowing through our veins who are no longer willing to sit quietly by while our history and heritage, and the honor of our ancestors is attacked. . . .
The visibility of this location is stunning, and we were able to get several good photos from I-95 . . .
Thank you all for your continued support. This was the 18th roadside memorial flag raised in the Commonwealth, and the third on I-95 since the fall of 2013, and we are every day in awe of the way God is moving and working among His people, to further His kingdom and our Cause.
The VA Flaggers’ logo is almost charming in its total lack of self-awareness:
Death to tyrants, says the group which celebrates the tyrannical rule of one race over another.
And just in case you’re worried that people might not get the message, here’s a review that someone left on Google for the “memorial” the day after I drove past it:
2. Hate Is Real
Look, should a bunch of toothless mouth-breathers be allowed to put a giant Confederate flag up on private property next to the interstate? I guess. As Jon Voight once said,
But that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to pretend not to understand what’s going on.
If you flew the Rising Sun flag in Nanjing to “honor your ancestors,” your neighbors would know exactly what you were saying to them. Same thing if you flew the Hammer and Sickle in order to “remember history” from your front porch in Zamość, Poland.
A campaign to fly Confederate flags as close as possible to major thoroughfares has only one aim: provocation. It is an attempt to intimidate African Americans and remind them that there are Americans alive—right here, right now—who love and revere the people who once fought to keep black people in chains. And wish that black people were in chains today.
“As long as that flag is flying I am still assured that there is hope in this country.”
And it isn’t just flags. When the awesome power of the state was deployed against Lt. Caron Nazario, he said, “I’m honestly afraid to get out [of my car].”
“Yeah, you should be,” said the police.
That flag, just a 40 minute drive away, says the same thing.
Don’t accept the lies of the bad actors. Don’t tolerate the cowards who want to look the other way.
3. Robot Overlords
Another great piece from the New Atlantis:
Once upon a time — just a few years ago, actually — it was not uncommon to see headlines about prominent scientists, tech executives, and engineers warning portentously that the revolt of the robots was nigh. The mechanism varied, but the result was always the same: Uncontrollable machine self-improvement would one day overcome humanity. A dismal fate awaited us. We would be lucky to be domesticated as pets kept around for the amusement of superior entities, who could kill us all as easily as we exterminate pests.
Today we fear a different technological threat, one that centers not on machines but other humans. We see ourselves as imperiled by the terrifying social influence unleashed by the Internet in general and social media in particular. We hear warnings that nothing less than our collective ability to perceive reality is at stake, and that if we do not take corrective action we will lose our freedoms and way of life.
Primal terror of mechanical menace has given way to fear of angry primates posting. Ironically, the roles have reversed. The robots are now humanity’s saviors, suppressing bad human mass behavior online with increasingly sophisticated filtering algorithms. We once obsessed about how to restrain machines we could not predict or control — now we worry about how to use machines to restrain humans we cannot predict or control. But the old problem hasn’t gone away: How do we know whether the machines will do as we wish?