Thursday, June 26, 2008

I am shamed: An open confession

There is no easy way to do this, but it must be done. I have broken my vows, and the first step to amends is to air my transgressions and motivate myself to not allow it to happen again.

I should explain before I go further. When I was in college, I was in the Society for Creative Anachronism. This is the world's largest medieval reenactment organization, and it is highly organized into kingdoms, baronies, and so forth.

As befits medieval reenactors with that kind of organization and scale, the Society has titular kings, lords of various grades... and knights.

I confess, I dearly wished to earn knighthood in the Society when I was still active, but it takes years of participation and dedication, years that I didn't have. Partly I wanted it for the sheer, nerdy glory and fun of it, but it was also partly because my temperament is such that it needs a restraint upon it that I care about, and I felt that the vows of knighthood would be just such a one.

As I said, I never earned the authority and responsibility of a knighthood, but as I knew the time when I would have to move away, too far away to feasibly participate any longer, was drawing near, I took the vows regardless, not bound to any lord or king, because none knighted me, but binding myself to the virtues of knighthood, as a safeguard against the fouler side of my temper.

The vows are many, but at their essence, they are outlined in this, the statement made by a knight before he is invested:

I swore to "ever be a good knight and true, reverent and generous, shield of the weak, obedient to my liege-lord (which I interpret as loyalty to my country and my vows, since I swore to no lord), foremost in battle, courteous and truthful at all times, champion of the right and the good."

I do my best, but I have of late failed and failed miserably at one: Courtesy. After a hard and frustrating day at work, I allowed my temper to gain the better of me and, without provocation, flamed a non-native English speaker for his poor spelling. I was mortified afterward, but pride motivated me to keep my silence for a time.

No more. I have made amends to him and obtained his forgiveness, but I have thought long and hard on it and realized that if I do not make a stand with myself, give a motivator to stop it here and now, I will continue to slide, and eventually what I promised to myself will mean nothing to me. I know of no better way than to write an account of my failure and place it up as a reminder that I expect better of myself, and shall keep a level head.

At the end of a knighting ceremony in the Society, it is traditional for the king to strike the new knight hard upon the chest after he has risen a knight, and to tell him to let the blow remind him that knighthood will bring him pain as well as honor. It has brought me pain these last two weeks, and I hope to return to honor. It may seem silly to people reading this, but this is important to me; I must reestablish shamefastness, the fear of shame, to keep myself from straying like that again. I renew my vow, and go forward with the virtues of chivalry at the forefront of my mind.

Breaking: Supreme Court strikes down D.C. handgun ban


Today the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Washington, D.C. ban on firearms, issuing a definitive ruling on the meaning of the Second Amendment to the Constitution for the first time in the court's history.

Justice Scalia's opinion written for the majority affirms that the Second Amendment outlines an individual right to keep and bear arms, unrelated to service in a government militia.

The court's ruling still permits what they call reasonable restrictions, such as banning concealed carry, but trigger lock requirements, disassembly requirements, and general bans on weapons ownership are now effectively over, and none too soon.

Speech Code of the Month widget

Just throwing this up to note that I've decided to add the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's Speech Code of the Month widget to the site sidebar.

The Speech Code of the Month is selected at the start of each month by FIRE, and is intended to highlight particularly egregious offenses against individual liberty and the rights of students by universities, in the hopes that they will remove or revise their rules; for several schools this has been successful. See the Speech Code of the Month archive for more information.

Friday, June 06, 2008


This date is the anniversary of the day in 1944 that marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. On this date, June 6, the greatest men of the Greatest Generation landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the Allied invasion of northern Europe.
Thousands upon thousands of servicemen died that day, fighting to rid the world of the horrors of the Third Reich. Soldiers and Marines of the United States, United Kingdom, Free France, and Canada all stormed the beaches of the Normandy peninsula in the wake of overnight air and sea bombardment and paratrooper landings. Casualties were enormous, but the invaders won through.

Thanks to their sacrifice, the free world continued to exist and flourish through the rest of the 20th century. But it was not the final battle for liberty; none ever is.

Gone, but not forgotten. Remember their sacrifice, and never forget what it means. Remember so that it need not be repeated, for history doesn't like it when we forget a lesson, and tends to teach it again when we do. Remember too, to honor the memory of the fallen as well as those that lived to see their victory.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." - Thomas Jefferson

Remember the blood of heroes.