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Darrell Imsland
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Darrell Imsland

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Hillary is falling way behind with young voters, male and female. The Democratic primary could get very interesting by the end. 
Hillary Clinton's big problems: She's not winning women, and voters still don't trust her. Meanwhile, Donald Trump's support is broad and deep.
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+Timothy Collins and I stayed on topic of the upcoming primaries. You decided to switch gears into who stole whose ideas. I'm sorry I fell for the bait, I will do better next time. 
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“Once we received word the Sanders campaign had begun canvassing in nearby Fort Dodge, we only had a matter of hours to burn everything to the ground,”
 
HUMBOLDT, IA—After making sure to douse every home, farm, and business located in the municipality with gasoline, retreating Clinton campaign staffers reportedly set the central Iowa town of Humboldt ablaze Friday to stem the advance of Bernie Sanders volunteers.
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"As far as turds go, today isn't that bad."
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The Force Awakens for the second time. I may be more excited this time than the first. 
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"You are going to get us in trouble"
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Too cute! 
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Many troubling psychological experiments over the years have demonstrated that humans can become monsters, if they're given the tools to do so.

Give a man the power to wield his will over others less powerful, said the Stanford Prison Experiment, and he very well may grow to abuse that power.

Give a human a button box and the directive to electrically shock another human being, even when their victim is begging for it to stop, and that armed human may feel like s/he has the right to hurt the helpless human being; even the obligation to punish another human being for doing wrong, said the Stanley Milgram Experiment.


Yet these are largely human beings who, if they'd never been in the position to do so, may have gone about their merry lives never hurting another human being, ever. Being given the opportunity to do so may have been the thing that made them do it, in the first place. Or the idea that they might ever even want to do it.

So, what if we never gave a man a gun?

Is it a fait accompli that they'd find another means to impose their will on another human, or to commit a violent, offensive, or retaliatory act?


Are killers born, or opportuned?


Is violence a foregone conclusion, given Human Nature, and human drives?

Or might the violence wrought, within the cultures which seem to be plagued by it, the direct consequence of arming those who go on to commit these mortal sins, brother against brother?

Might Abel have escaped the wrath of Cain, had Cain not found a rock, or a root? Or was it enough that only Cain's weaponized will was easily within his reach?

Or is Will a thing that outs, eternal ~ time and place and means just an unimportant backdrop to the truth that humans kill, because we can, and because some want to?



~RA


*


If you give a man a gun: the evolutionary psychology of mass shootings


Men commit over 85% of all homicides, 91% of all same-sex homicides and 97% of all same-sex homicides in which the victim and killer aren’t related to each other.

These startling statistics are driven home with each new mass shooting (though the most recent tragedy in San Bernardino, California is a bit unusual in that a married couple were the shooters).

In any event, politicians and the media are trotting out the usual suspects to explain the tragedy, whether it’s the lack of attention paid to mental illness or the easy availability of guns.

But these explanations dance around the big questions: why is there always a man behind these shootings? And why is it almost always a young man?

Evolutionary psychology can provide some clues.


Psychologists Joseph Vandello and Jennifer Bosson have coined the term “precarious manhood” to describe a dilemma that only men seem to face.

In a nutshell, they argue that “manhood” – however an individual male’s culture might define it – is a status that must be continually earned. And one’s self-worth is tied to being perceived as a “real man.”

It’s precarious because it can be easily lost – especially if the man fails to measure up to the relentless challenges that life throws at him, be they tests of physical bravery, or competition with other men for respect and status.

When I introduce this concept to my male students, they instantly recognize what I’m talking about. But when I ask the women if there’s a female equivalent, I’m often met with confused looks. (Some do note that the inability to have a child could be a threat to womanhood.) Indeed, it quickly becomes clear in the ensuing discussion that “manhood” is more precarious than “womanhood.”

The roots of this male dilemma reside deep in our prehistoric past. Throughout the animal kingdom, the sex that invests the least in the reproduction of offspring (almost always males) competes among themselves for sexual access to mates.


Historically, powerful men have always enjoyed greater sexual access to women than men lower in the pecking order, and violence can often be traced to this grim struggle for status. Anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon spent years studying the Yanomamo people of South America. He discovered that men who had killed other men acquired significantly more wives than men who hadn’t killed anyone.

And by all indications, a man’s status in the group was often dependent upon how believable his threats of physical violence were.

In different cultures, the male “quest for dominance” may play out in different ways. Regardless, it is clearly a universal motivating principle among males, with the achievement of dominance satisfying and rewarding for those who attain it. As scholar Jonathan Gottschall put it:

To physically dominate another man is intoxicating.

And so, violence committed against the right people at the right time became a ticket to social success.

For sound evolutionary reasons, younger men find themselves especially concerned with status and dominance.

In early human societies, competitive success or failure in early adulthood determined a man’s standing in a social group for the rest of his life. It wasn’t possible to simply hit the “reset” button and join another group, so what happened during the teen years mattered a lot.

For this reason, high-risk competition between young males provided an opportunity for “showing off” the abilities needed to acquire resources, exhibit strength and meet any challenges to one’s status.

Consequently, heroic or even recklessly daredevil behavior was rewarded with status and respect – assuming, of course, that the young man survived the ordeal.

Today, the widespread promotion of sport in our culture undoubtedly developed as a constructive alternative for dealing with the proclivities of young males that evolved in a very different time.

In a legally sanctioned gladiatorial arena, young men are able to exhibit the same skills – throwing, clubbing, running, wrestling, tackling, hand-eye coordination – that would have made them successful fighters or hunters in the ancestral environment.

It’s no secret that most people fear violent behavior by young men more than violent behavior by older men. There’s a sound basis for this fear.

In fact, the tendency of young men to engage in risky, aggressive behavior prompted the Canadian psychologists Margo Wilson and Martin Daly to give it a name: Young Male Syndrome.

The duo studied the relationship among age, sex and homicide victimization in the United States in 1975. They found that the likelihood of a woman being a murder victim doesn’t change dramatically throughout the course of her life. The pattern for the males, on the other hand, is striking. At age 10, males and females have an equal probability of being murdered. But by the time men are into their 20’s, they become six times more likely to be murdered.

Consistent with Wilson and Daly’s data, 87% of the 598 homicide victims in the city of Chicago in 2003 were males, and 64% of the victims were between the ages of 17 and 30.

The likelihood of being the victim of lethal violence peaks for men between the late teens and late 20’s, before steadily declining for the rest of their lives.

Nature fuels the fires of male violence by equipping young men with the high levels of testosterone necessary to get the job done.

Studies on chimpanzees – our closest primate relative – have shown that high-ranking male chimpanzees exhibit the highest levels of aggression and the highest levels of testosterone.

Furthermore, all adult male chimpanzees experience their highest testosterone levels when they’re in the presence of females who are ovulating. This is associated only with higher levels of aggression – not significant increases in actual sexual activity.

Researchers such as myself who study the relationship between testosterone and aggression in humans have concluded that testosterone-fueled violence is more likely to occur when males are competing with other males, or when the social status of a male is challenged in some way. The increased testosterone facilitates whatever competitive behaviors are needed to meet the challenge, which could mean physical violence.

Many studies have shown that testosterone levels in males rise and fall according to whether the individual wins or loses in competitive sports, like tennis and wrestling – even chess.

Sports fans experience the same spike watching sports, which helps explain the violence and destructive rioting that can take place after big games (win or lose).

So how do guns figure into this violent equation?

In 2006 I coauthored a laboratory study on men’s responses to guns in the journal Psychological Science with my colleague Tim Kasser and one of our students. We demonstrated that males who interacted with a handgun showed a greater increase in testosterone levels and more aggressive behavior than males who interacted with the board game Mouse Trap.

In the study, each participant dismantled either a gun or the mousetrap, handled its components and then wrote instructions for how to assemble the objects. Then we gave them the opportunity to put hot sauce into water that was going to be consumed by another person. The participants who handled the gun put in significantly more hot sauce – and were also more likely to express disappointment after learning that no one was going to actually drink the concoction.

Thus, cues tied to threats often won’t result in aggressive responses unless testosterone is involved. Elliot Rodger, the disturbed college student whose violent 2014 rampage through Santa Barbara, California, was foretold in a chilling YouTube video, clearly experienced a testosterone surge upon purchasing his first handgun.

“After I picked up the handgun,” he explained, “I brought it back to my room and felt a new sense of power. Who’s the alpha male now, bitches?”

Mass shooter = low-dominant loser?

Young male violence is most likely to be initiated by young men who don’t command respect from others. They’ll often feel like slighted outcasts, deprived of what they want or feel they deserve.

British clinical psychologist Paul Gilbert has developed something he calls the Social Attention Holding Theory. According to Gilbert, we compete with each other to have other people pay attention to us; when other people take notice, we build status. The increased status that comes from having others attend to us leads to all kinds of positive emotions. But persistently being ignored by others produces much darker emotions – especially envy and anger.

It’s no mystery why the media will often describe mass shooters and terrorists as misfits or loners. In many cases, they are.

Nicolas Henin was a Frenchman who was held hostage by ISIS for ten months. Here’s how he described his young, murderous, Jihadi captors:


They present themselves to the public as superheroes, but away from the camera are a bit pathetic in many ways: street kids drunk on ideology and power. In France we have a saying – stupid and evil. I found them more stupid than evil. That is not to understate the murderous potential of stupidity.


Apparently, a lack of attention from others results in a lack of status, resulting in a lack of access to women. Combined with a young man’s testosterone, it creates a toxic, combustible mix.

There may not be much we can do to change the structure of the young male mind that evolved over the course of millions of years.

However, ignoring or denying its existence doesn’t do us any favors.


*


See, too:


{http://www.researchgate.net/publication/6919042_Guns_Testosterone_and_Aggression_An_Experimental_Test_of_a_Mediational_Hypothesis}


{https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ-F6Waua3Y Stanley Milgram Obedience Experiment (May, 1962) VIDEO}

{https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb4Q20z0T1Q Psychology: The Stanford Prison Experiment - BBC Documentary VIDEO}
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Turns out, we're equally related to bonobos, who are relatively peaceful, social and democratic, and the matriarchs play a significant role in the family. You can usually tell if you've come across a chimp or a bonobo in human form😁
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It's Clinton's organization and infrastructure against the energy and enthusiasm of Sanders's.  And it's going to be close.
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+John Stoler can I get a "Yikes?!"
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I was blocked for making a perfectly good joke. Oh well. 
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+Timothy Collins Dunno about that. 
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+Keith Dalby​ I found a tie #86 for you to try. I think +Mz Maau​ and +Karen Schumacher​ will approve of ties being used like this as well. 
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Doing his best to look innocent. 
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Debate notes.

Well, here we are again. It seems like it’s been so long! This is the final debate of the year, as CNN really, really wants you to know, given how often they keep saying it.

At this point in the 2012 cycle, Newt Gingrich led the Republican field by ten points and was clearly the nominee-in-waiting.

At this point in the 2008 cycle, Hillary Clinton, the inevitable nominee, was crushing Barack Obama by eighteen points, which is why we never heard about that guy again. Rudy Giuliani was the leader on the GOP side, his strategy of “a noun, a verb, and 9/11” catapulting him to certain victory.

And, of course, Howard Dean was in the lead at this point in the 2004 cycle.

We go into this debate with Donald Trump the frontrunner, and Ted Cruz nipping at his heels. But first, we have a junior varsity event, starting Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum, and Mike Huckabee. Oh, and Sarah Palin is in the audience, so there’s that.

§

“Kill every one of those bastards we can find!” —Lindsey Graham

Fearmongering. BE AFRAID! All the candidates want you to know it’s time to cower in the corner, quivering with fear. War! We’re at WAR! Lindsey Graham has been to Iraq and/or Afghanistan thirty-six times, he wants you to know, and we’re all gonna die!! if we don’t elect him. Or Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum, who wants you to know World War 3 has begun and we’re all gonna die!! because Barack Obama is basically a member of ISIS. “We’re at war, folks,” Sen. Graham said. “They’re trying to kill us all.”

Lindsey Graham really, deeply, desperately wants US troops in Syria. Over and over, he hammered away at it. Boots on the ground! “Fight them over there, or they’re coming here,” he said. “They’re planning another 9/11 as we speak.” BE AFRAID! And don’t you dare forget about his thirty-six visits to Iraq and/or Afghanistan! Thirty-six! Also, he misses George W. Bush, who somehow, inexplicably, now has a 67% approval rating among Republicans.

One thing the JV candidates agree on: Donald Trump would be a terrible choice. The gloves came off, and they left no question as to how they feel about him. Mr. Trump was attacked more than anyone else except Barack Obama. Egged on by the moderators starting every question with “Donald Trump says…” they piled on. Oh, except Mr. Man on Dog, who thinks that what Mr. Trump said was “nothing against Muslims”, and that while Trump’s proposal was perhaps not entirely perfect, he raises a legitimate issue. It was twenty minutes before a non-Trump question was asked.

Mr. Graham wants you to stop thinking Muslims are the enemy. Muslims even serve in the US military, he pointed out. But Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Santorum insist that Islam isn’t even protected by the First Amendment.

The pundits thought the rise of Ted Cruz would lead the JV candidates to begin attacking him. He was hardly mentioned.

§

The main Hunger Games event is down to just nine tributes, and Rand Paul made it in by the skin of his teeth. Donald Trump stands center-stage. Chris Christie escaped junior varsity and is back in the main group. Jeb Bush is still there, like the lingering sore throat after a cold.

Rand Paul said in his opening statement that we defeat terrorists by showing them we’re not afraid of them, possibly the most sensible thing we’ll hear all night.

If you thought the main event might tone down the fearmongering, you’d be disappointed. Chris Christie used his opening statement to tell us that mothers taking their kids to the bus stop in the morning should be quivering in terror—not of the thing that threatens their children the most, auto accidents, but of something that threatens them less than lightning strikes, ISIS.

Ben Carson used part of his opening statement for a “moment of silence” for the San Bernardino victims.

§

The main event began in much the same way as the JV event before it: a Trumpfest. The first question, of course, was to Mr. Trump, asking about his plan to ban Muslims from entering the country. His answer is worth reading in its entirety:

“We are not talking about isolation. We're talking about security. We're not talking about religion. We're talking about security. Our country is out of control. People are pouring across the southern border. I will build a wall. It will be a great wall. People will not come in unless they come in legally. Drugs will not come through that wall. As far as other people into migration where they're going, tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them. I don't think so, Wolf. They're not coming to this country. And if I'm president and if Obama has brought some to this country, they are leaving. They're going. They're gone.”

Then Jeb Bush was asked about the Trump Plan. “He’s a chaos candidate,” Mr. Bush said, “and he’s be a chaos president.” CNN showed him in split-screen with Mr. Trump almost the entire time.

Then Marco Rubio, then Ted Cruz. We get a debate, back and forth, about whether or not banning Muslims from the country is a good idea. Candidates only got a minute and fifteen seconds to answer questions, but Donald Trump got himself the first twenty minutes of this debate taking seriously his plan. Total victory: Trump.

§

This debate was about fearmongering. It had only one topic: OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! With a budget deal apparently reached on Capitol Hill, and with the Fed poised to raise interest rates, the big topic: FEAR FOR YOUR LIVES!

Americans are more afraid today than at any time since 9/11, one of the moderators pointed out. (Not over, you know, the 11,000 Americans killed every year by gun violence; but over the fourteen killed by ISIS-inspired terrorists in San Bernardino.) We’re at war! The very survival of our country is at stake! Everywhere in America, Chris Christie said, is a target for these terrorists.

Earlier today, some kids in both Los Angeles and New York City figured out a clever way to get out of a day of school. Los Angeles fell for it; New York didn’t. The Republican candidates went with Los Angeles. Your children are at risk! No, not from drowning in bathtubs, which claims 335 lives per year in this country, nearly 100 of them children; but from a bunch of wankers in an Asian desert.

We need to carpet-bomb ISIS into oblivion, Ted Cruz has said; he would make the sand glow. Does that mean slaughtering innocent civilians in Raqqa, the moderator asked? Of course not, he replied; we carpet-bomb where ISIS is, not a city. I don’t think he understands what “carpet-bombing” is.

Or maybe he does. Donald Trump has said that we need to kill not only the terrorists, but their families as well—and he defended that position, saying that while the terrorists may not care about their own lives, they do care about their families. Rand Paul pointed out that this would mean withdrawing from the Geneva Conventions, wondering if Donald Trump believes in the Constitution, but that didn’t seem to bother Mr. Trump. “So, they can kill us, but we can’t kill them?” he quipped.

Political correctness is killing people, Mr. Cruz said. Encryption is killing people, John Kasich said. Immigrants are killing people, basically everyone on the stage said. Obama’s lack of leadership is killing people, everyone also said. (The 88,000 Americans killed per year by alcohol were not mentioned.)

So we got a debate about which of the nine people on stage would kill ISIS more.

At one point, Wolf Blitzer dragged Kim Jong Un into it. He says he has a hydrogen bomb! OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! (Settle down, Wolf. Kim Jong Un does not have a hydrogen bomb.)

It was tiring. ISIS is coming to kill you! Vote for me or your children will die horribly! No, not the more than a hundred who died from the flu in the 2012-2013 season because parents won’t get them vaccinated; we’re talking about ISIS here, less of a threat to your kids than lightning strikes, remember.

Chris Christie wants to be perfectly clear that hell yes, he will shoot down Russian planes. Rand Paul, again, was the lone voice pointing out that this would end up in a war with Russia.

At one point, Donald Trump suggested that if we didn’t spend trillions of dollars on silly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’d have that money to spend on schools, roads, bridges, and so forth back home. Carly Fiorina actually attacked him for that, saying he sounds like a Democrat. Screw the roads and bridges; war is what’s really important.

The 480,000 Americans killed each year by cigarette smoking went unmentioned. ISIS didn’t kill them, see.

§

Jeb Bush spent the evening attacking Donald Trump. The two got into several bickering matches, and CNN seemed to have the Trump/Bush split-screen on constant standby. We hardly saw Mr. Bush without seeing Mr. Trump in the other half of the screen. “You’re not gonna be able to insult your way to the presidency,” Mr. Bush said. “I’m at 42, you’re at 3,” Mr. Trump replied.

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, continued declining to attack Donald Trump. He’s happy to let the others, lower in the polls, get their hands dirty. He’s not going to risk alienating the Trumpeteers if he doesn’t have to.

§

The big news of tonight came when Donald Trump was asked if he was ready to commit to the Republican Party, to support the nominee and not run as a third party candidate—and he said that yes, he is. Tonight, both in the debate and in post-debate interviews, he was unequivocal in ruling out a third-party run. Of course, he’s Donald Trump, so he surely reserves the right to change his mind…

§

Tonight’s big winner: ISIS. They got five hours of many of the USA’s most prominent political leaders, in front of a huge television audience, portraying them as a formidable foe, capable of destroying the country and about to do so. ISIS is as strong as the United States, we were told by people important enough to be in contention for the presidency.

Tonight’s winner on the stage: Donald Trump. Most of the debate was about him, even when he wasn’t speaking. And he spoke a lot: the moderators asked him the most questions, and with his rebuttal opportunities he had far more opportunities to speak than anyone else.

At one point, he was asked which of the “nuclear triad” (ballistic missiles, air, submarines) should be a priority to modernize. He completely failed to understand the question, even after it was clarified. But no one will remember that. If you watched, admit it: you’d already forgotten about it.

Folks, we’re looking at a real possibility that Donald Trump gets the nomination.
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