Its wrongness would so annoy him that he’d tear it all up

September 20th, 2020

I haven’t read William Gibson’s Burning Chrome collection in decades, but I remember enjoying “Dogfight” — which I did not remember was co-written by Michael Swanwick:

One writer had control of the story for a month, during which he could write as much or as little as he wished. He do anything he wanted with it. Change the plot, change the characters, put things in and take things out. There were a couple of small details that Gibson took out that on the next pass I put back only to have him take them out, back and forth several times until at last Bill won. When you’re working with somebody good, this can be a very exciting process.

On one of those passes, I came to a section that could only be written by Gibson. Luckily, from my collaborations with Gardner Dozois, I knew what to do. With Gardner, I had only to write a bad imitation of his style and its wrongness would so annoy him that he’d tear it all up and, with enormous labor, write it the proper way. So I wrote a bad William Gibson pastiche and sent it back to him, confident he would redo it from top to bottom.

One month later, I got the story back, expanded, with not one word changed in the pastiche section. In the accompanying letter, Bill was effusive with praise for that section.

Oh crap. I knew that if I let that section go through unchanged, the deficiencies that Bill was blind to would be as obvious to the critics as they were to me. Only, because it was written in Bill’s voice (almost), blame for this would fall not on me but on him. And people would conclude that, whatever Bill had once had, he’d lost it.

So I spent much of that month laboring mightily to bring that section up to his standards. I succeeded, I believe, but oh man that was not fun.

(Hat tip to Travis Corcoran.)

The North Korean High Command concealed word of the landing from their men

September 19th, 2020

FECOM hoped that the enemy would be demoralized by the news of the Inchon landing, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), but evidence indicates that the North Korean High Command concealed word of the landing from their men fighting on the Naktong:

The NKPA was in far worse condition than American Intelligence dared guess. Enemy losses in early September had been enormous; they will never be known with complete accuracy. Some idea of what was left to the People’s Army in middle September can be gleaned from a captured daily battle report that showed one battalion of the 7th Division at the following strength: 6 officers, 34 N.C.O.’s, 111 privates, armed with 3 pistols, 9 carbines, 57 rifles, and 13 automatic rifles. There were 92 grenades left to the battalion, and 6 light machine guns, with less than 300 rounds of ammunition for each.

All in all, the People’s Army could not have numbered more than 70,000 officers and men by 15 September, of which less than 30 percent were the original veterans of Manchuria and Seoul. Morale among the new inductees was low — only the fact that anyone who showed open reluctance to fight was shot held the army together at all. Almost all divisions were suffering badly from hunger. But the fact that the men of the Inmun Gun knew that their own fanatic officers and N.C.O.’s would shoot them kept the South Korean conscripts from surrendering.

Mighty Mice in Space

September 18th, 2020

A research team led by Dr. Se-Jin Lee of the Jackson Laboratory in Connecticut sent 40 young female black mice to the International Space Station in December, to study muscle loss:

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Lee said the 24 regular untreated mice lost considerable muscle and bone mass in weightlessness as expected — up to 18%. But the eight genetically engineered “mighty mice” launched with double the muscle maintained their bulk. Their muscles appeared to be comparable to similar “mighty mice” that stayed behind at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The PNAS abstract explains:

Among the physiological consequences of extended spaceflight are loss of skeletal muscle and bone mass. One signaling pathway that plays an important role in maintaining muscle and bone homeostasis is that regulated by the secreted signaling proteins, myostatin (MSTN) and activin A.

Here, we used both genetic and pharmacological approaches to investigate the effect of targeting MSTN/activin A signaling in mice that were sent to the International Space Station.

Wild type mice lost significant muscle and bone mass during the 33 d spent in microgravity. Muscle weights of Mstn -/- mice, which are about twice those of wild type mice, were largely maintained during spaceflight.

Systemic inhibition of MSTN/activin A signaling using a soluble form of the activin type IIB receptor (ACVR2B), which can bind each of these ligands, led to dramatic increases in both muscle and bone mass, with effects being comparable in ground and flight mice.

It’s not just mice who have muscle-building myostatin-related mutations, but Belgian Blue cattle, Flex Wheeler, a German toddler, a Michigan toddler, and “bully” whippets.

The Navy and Marine Corps had never fully accepted the plan

September 17th, 2020

In the summer of 1950, General MacArthur began to think in terms of strategic goals and sweeping maneuver, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), rather than grinding infantry warfare across the face of Korea:

Admiral Doyle, who would command the naval forces, told MacArthur, “The operation is not impossible, but I do not recommend it.”

[...]

There were better landing sites in other areas, true, but none that could so quickly pinch the vital nerves of the enemy. MacArthur was willing to take risks, provided the campaign could be brought to a rapid close.

[...]

Whatever the early American participation in the Korean conflict had been, amphibious assault by X Corps was no small operation. It involved more ships and men than most of the island operations of the Pacific War, and it could be accomplished only because of the skills and knowledge acquired by the Navy and Marine Corps during that war.

The Navy and Marine Corps had never fully accepted the plan; yet they carried it out to perfection.

[...]

It had been decided to land a battalion of Marines on Wolmi-do early in the morning; they would secure the island and hold it while the falling tide forced the fleet to retire. Then, in late afternoon, the fleet would surge back into the harbor, throw its landing craft against the sixteen-foot seawalls surrounding the city of a quarter-million people. The amphibious assault could not begin until past 5:00 P.M., when the tide was high enough to float landing craft over the slimy mudbanks of the harbor, and this left the attacking Marines only two hours’ daylight to land and secure their beachhead.

[...]

It took Taplett’s men exactly one hour and twenty-five minutes to overrun and secure the rocky, caverned, 1,000-yard wide island.

The 5th Marine veterans killed or captured some 400 North Koreans of the 226th Independent Marine Regiment on Wolmi-do. They suffered total losses of 17 wounded.

[...]

At 1733 the first landing craft of the 5th Marines grated against the seawall just north of Wolmi-do, near the center of Inch’on. Marines piled over the wall on scaling ladders or poured through holes blown in the barrier by naval gunfire. Within minutes they were in Inch’on’s streets. After a brief, vicious fire fight along the wall, the enemy broke. Twenty minutes after touching shore, a Marine flare ascended into the sky, signaling the capture of Cemetery Hill, an initial objective.

[...]

There had been only 2,000 North Korean troops in the Inch’on area. By 0130 on 16 September, the Marines had completely ringed the city and taken each of their initial objectives. They had lost only 20 killed, 174 wounded, and 1 missing.

[...]

Unfortunately, many of these casualties had been inflicted by trigger-happy naval gunners aboard LST’s, who had fired into the 2/5 Marines.

[...]

While fighting still raged from barricade to barricade, and from street to street inside the Korean capital, MacArthur issued U.N. Command Communiqué Number 9 on 26 September. MacArthur stated that Seoul was recaptured.

[...]

However, for two more days inside the city, from Seoul Middle School to the Kwang Who Moon Circle, from the Circle to the Court of Lions in front of Government House, the Marines had their hands full mopping up. Official communiqués studiously ignored this action.

[...]

MacArthur spoke, briefly for him, but in his usual sonorous and dramatic style:

“Mr. President: By the grace of a merciful Providence our forces fighting under the standard of that greatest hope and inspiration of mankind, United Nations, have liberated this ancient capital city of Korea….”

[...]

Little, stooped, wrinkled Syngman Rhee rose to speak. The man who had spent the greater part of his life in exile, now aging badly but still active and courageous, for a few seconds could not speak for emotion. He held out his hands in front of him, clenching and unclenching his fingers, and blew on their tips. Only those who knew Syngman Rhee well understood why his hands worked when he was under emotional strain — over fifty years before, Japanese officers had tortured him by lighting oil paper pushed up under his fingernails, and had finished by smashing his fingertips one by one.

[...]

Before abandoning the ROK capital, however, the NKPA and Communist officialdom had wreaked a frightful revenge on the helpless bodies of the old men, women, and children of the families of South Korean policemen, government employees, and soldiers. Thousands had been shot or otherwise executed. And from this time forward, learning what had been done in their captured cities and towns, the ROK Army and Government showed no mercy to any Communist, whether NKPA, guerrilla, or sympathizer. To a certain extent, Communist frightfulness was repaid in kind.

ROK officials were adamant in their determination never again to allow a Communist-sympathizing underground to exist in South Korea.

Rarely are science fiction stories written by credentialed scientists

September 16th, 2020

John C. Wright highly recommends The Hidden Truth by Hans G. Schantz:

It is a gem of a book, a rare find, combining a charming coming of age story, diamond-hard science fiction speculation, a conspiracy thriller, a touch of trenchant political commentary, and, uniquely, a challenge written into a science fiction book of the reigning scientific orthodoxy of the day.

Rarely are science fiction stories written by credentialed scientists. Even more rare is one that proposes a revolutionary theory that questions the historical and theoretical roots of the standard model of modern physics, and no other book does so in the context of an action thriller.

[...]

If you liked Heinlein style juveniles, with their young men learning lessons about personal responsibility and integrity of character, and seasoned with brief avuncular lectures on topics ranging from electromagnetic theory to economic reality, then you are likely to enjoy this book.

[...]

Rumor has it that the author, Hans Schantz, is hard at work on the final volume, A HELL OF AN ENGINEER, but a hefty amount of public interest, and some book sales of the first three in the series, might stoke the fires under this boiler, and give him the spirit needed to complete the work in a reasonable time.

Sustained land warfare is extremely costly in blood

September 15th, 2020

As Americans discovered during 1861–1865, sustained land warfare is extremely costly in blood, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), and there has been a pronounced American distaste for such since:

It is probably no accident that no great American tacticians have evolved since the War Between the States, while at the same time American strategical thinking has been superb. Having been once in the forest, United States military men tended to see it rather clearly — they had trouble with the trees, but rarely got lost in them.

During 1941–1945, on the whole, German tactical execution of battle was superior to American; German officers and N.C.O.’s on unit level exhibited particular excellence in fighting. But throughout the war, American strategical planning remained first rate. While the Wehrmacht, under Hitler, floundered about from one crisis to another, American strategists never lost sight of their ultimate goal of destruction of the enemy.

Because Germans considered battle itself important, their technique was bound to be good, but they became lost in the trees, winning battles, losing the war. After the fall of France, Germany’s rulers never gave the Wehrmacht a clear, concise, strategical goal, because German planning never went beyond winning the West.

In the East, German planners again and again wasted their substance on transitory gains, while the Red Army never lost sight of its ultimate aim, which was to win the war politically as well as militarily. Significantly, while in 1942 Hitler struck deep in the Caucasus for oil, Russian military men always planned offensives for political effect, and for the control of populations. And while the Wehrmacht won many a tactical victory on the 1,800-mile Russian front, by 1942 it had no hope of controlling the Russian people, or of ultimate triumph.

Since the end of the Civil War, the United States has never been a massive land power. The ninety-two divisions raised in World War II never came close to matching either the almost four hundred of the Wehrmacht or the truly enormous field forces of the Soviets. But because the United States had Allies, such as Russians and Chinese, to keep the enemy heavily engaged on the ground, it was able to keep its commitment on land to a minimum.

If war is to have any meaning at all, its purpose must be to establish control over peoples and territories, and ultimately, this can be done only as Alexander the Great did it, on the ground. But because after the Civil War America’s Allies again and again took the terrible losses required to bleed the enemy, Americans gradually developed a belief in cheap victory.

In World War I, after Britain had suffered over 900,000 dead, and France more than 1,000,000, the United States threw her forces into the fray, to tip the scales at a loss of 50,000 killed in action.

In World War II, Russia lost more than 20,000,000 both military and civilian. Even agonized, stumbling France, in six weeks of 1940, lost more combat dead upon the field of battle — almost 500,000 — than did America during the entire war.

Without this sacrifice of our Allies all over the world, World War II could not have ended as it did, with the United States relatively unscathed.

More Americans died in thirty minutes at Antietam than died in thirty days of the Normandy beachhead.

But by concentrating to a large degree on sea and air power, the United States was able to add the strategic punch that knocked the Axis out of the war. Japan, particularly, as an island empire was peculiarly vulnerable to air and sea attack. And the main body of the Imperial Japanese Army, on guard against the Soviets in Manchuria, was never engaged by the United States.

It must never be forgotten that without the enormous holding power of American Allies, American industrial capacity of itself would not have been a determining factor. Even in 1944–1945, when the United States Army engaged an already strategically defeated Wehrmacht upon the ground of Europe, the effort strained the relatively small land combat power of America to the limit.

Acetaminophen increases risk-taking

September 14th, 2020

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol and sold widely under the brand names Tylenol and Panadol, also increases risk-taking:

In a series of experiments involving over 500 university students as participants, Way and his team measured how a single 1,000 mg dose of acetaminophen (the recommended maximum adult single dosage) randomly assigned to participants affected their risk-taking behaviour, compared against placebos randomly given to a control group.

In each of the experiments, participants had to pump up an uninflated balloon on a computer screen, with each single pump earning imaginary money. Their instructions were to earn as much imaginary money as possible by pumping the balloon as much as possible, but to make sure not to pop the balloon, in which case they would lose the money.

The results showed that the students who took acetaminophen engaged in significantly more risk-taking during the exercise, relative to the more cautious and conservative placebo group. On the whole, those on acetaminophen pumped (and burst) their balloons more than the controls.

The Americans were just beginning to fight

September 13th, 2020

By mid-September the NKPA had over run all South Korea except one tiny toehold in the southeast corner, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), but this toehold had given it unexpected trouble:

Its timetable calling for the Communization of all Korea by 15 August had been wrecked. Worse, the Inmun Gun, the People’s Army, had left the bones of its best men scattered along the Naktong River, and the survivors were rapidly bleeding themselves to death against American guns on the broiling hills and in the fetid valleys.

The People’s Army had almost shot its bolt. Less than 30 percent of the old China veterans remained, and these were dirty, tired, hungry, and in rags. Now only frequent summary executions and the threat of death could hold the newly drafted trainees in line.

[...]

The Inmun Gun had made its supreme effort, and failed — and the Americans were just beginning to fight.

Cable bacteria overcome a lack of oxygen

September 12th, 2020

For Lars Peter Nielsen, it all began with the mysterious disappearance of hydrogen sulfide.

The microbiologist had collected black, stinky mud from the bottom of Aarhus Harbor in Denmark, dropped it into big glass beakers, and inserted custom microsensors that detected changes in the mud’s chemistry. At the start of the experiment, the muck was saturated with hydrogen sulfide—the source of the sediment’s stink and color. But 30 days later, one band of mud had become paler, suggesting some hydrogen sulphide had gone missing. Eventually, the microsensors indicated that all of the compound had disappeared. Given what scientists knew about the biogeochemistry of mud, recalls Nielsen, who works at Aarhus University, “This didn’t make sense at all.”

The first explanation, he says, was that the sensors were wrong. But the cause turned out to be far stranger: bacteria that join cells end to end to build electrical cables able to carry current up to 5 centimeters through mud. The adaptation, never seen before in a microbe, allows these so-called cable bacteria to overcome a major challenge facing many organisms that live in mud: a lack of oxygen. Its absence would normally keep bacteria from metabolizing compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide, as food. But the cables, by linking the microbes to sediments richer in oxygen, allow them to carry out the reaction long distance.

[...]

Most cells thrive by robbing electrons from one molecule, a process called oxidation, and donating them to another molecule, usually oxygen—so-called reduction. Energy harvested from these reactions drives the other processes of life. In eukaryotic cells, including our own, such “redox” reactions take place on the inner membrane of the mitochondria, and the distances involved are tiny—just micrometers. That is why so many researchers were skeptical of Nielsen’s claim that cable bacteria were moving electrons across a span of mud equivalent to the width of a golf ball.

The vanishing hydrogen sulfide was key to proving it. Bacteria produce the compound in mud by breaking down plant debris and other organic material; in deeper sediments, hydrogen sulfide builds up because there is little oxygen to help other bacteria break it down. Yet, in Nielsen’s laboratory beakers, the hydrogen sulfide was disappearing anyway. Moreover, a rusty hue appeared on the mud’s surface, indicating that an iron oxide had formed.

(Hat tip to Hans G. Schantz.)

He had never seen any troops so inept at first as Americans in battle

September 11th, 2020

Captain Walker had forty men left in Love Company, and about the same in Item, and no officers, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), when he reported Hill 314 secured:

In the first two hours of combat, 3/7 had taken 229 battle casualties.

On the hill Love and Item found more than 200 enemy dead, wearing American uniforms, boots, and helmets, holding American M-1s and carbines. They also found the bodies of four American GI’s, hands bound, shot, and bayoneted. And they found one officer, tied hand and foot, lying charred and blackened beside an empty five-gallon gasoline tin. He had been burned alive by the retreating enemy.

There was no place left to go, and all across the thin Perimeter Line American soldiers were stiffening. Hatred for the enemy was beginning to sear them, burning through their earlier indifference to the war. And everywhere, the first disastrous shock of combat was wearing off. Beaten down and bloody from the hard lessons of war, troops were beginning to listen to their officers, heed what their older sergeants told them.

A man who has seen and smelled his first corpse on the battlefield soon loses his preconceived notions of what the soldier’s trade is all about. He learns how it is in combat, and how it must always be. He becomes a soldier, or he dies.

The men of the 1st Cavalry, the 2nd, 24th, and 25th divisions in Korea were becoming soldiers. For underneath the misconceptions of their society, the softness and mawkishness, the human material was hard and good.

There had been many brave men in the ranks, but they were learning that bravery of itself has little to do with success in battle. On line, most normal men are afraid, have been afraid, or will be afraid. Only when disciplined to obey orders quickly and willingly, can such fear be controlled. Only when superbly trained and conditioned against the shattering experience of war, only knowing almost from rote what to do, can men carry out their tasks come what may. And knowing they are disciplined, trained, and conditioned brings pride to men — pride in their own toughness, their own ability; and this pride will hold them true when all else fails.

[...]

Erwin Rommel had written that he had never seen any troops so inept at first as Americans in battle — or any who learned the hard lessons more quickly once the chips were down.

NDB uses graphite nuclear reactor parts that have absorbed radiation from nuclear fuel rods and have themselves become radioactive

September 10th, 2020

Nano-diamond self-charging batteries could disrupt energy as we know it;

NDB uses graphite nuclear reactor parts that have absorbed radiation from nuclear fuel rods and have themselves become radioactive. Untreated, it’s high-grade nuclear waste: dangerous, difficult and expensive to store, with a very long half-life.

This graphite is rich in the carbon-14 radioisotope, which undergoes beta decay into nitrogen, releasing an anti-neutrino and a beta decay electron in the process. NDB takes this graphite, purifies it and uses it to create tiny carbon-14 diamonds. The diamond structure acts as a semiconductor and heat sink, collecting the charge and transporting it out. Completely encasing the radioactive carbon-14 diamond is a layer of cheap, non-radioactive, lab-created carbon-12 diamond, which contains the energetic particles, prevents radiation leaks and acts as a super-hard protective and tamper-proof layer.

To create a battery cell, several layers of this nano-diamond material are stacked up and stored with a tiny integrated circuit board and a small supercapacitor to collect, store and instantly distribute the charge. NDB says it’ll conform to any shape or standard, including AA, AAA, 18650, 2170 or all manner of custom sizes.

(Hat tip to Hans G. Schantz.)

They could not exploit their local successes

September 9th, 2020

When the North Korean People’s Army made a dramatic breakthrough early in the war, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), it revealed what was to be a continuing weakness of the Communist armies in Asia:

They could break through the U.N. lines, but they could not exploit their local successes. With poor communications and even poorer systems of supply, dependent solely upon manpower to move their resupply, the enemy could not move quickly enough to exploit, particularly in the teeth of superior airpower, armor, and artillery. To put it simply, faced with breakthrough, the U.N. forces could retreat, and counterattack faster than the Inmun Gun could press their advantage. Whenever the heavier-armed United States Army could form continuous battle lines and withhold a reserve, the Communist tactics were doomed to failure.

If the NKPA had had a mechanized force capable of moving on Miryang, and an air force able to keep the Fifth Air Force off their backs, their tough and aggressive infantry might easily have split the beachhead and precipitated a U.N. disaster.

The larger strategic goal was to puncture the myth of communist inevitability

September 8th, 2020

I don’t know how I missed this story by Steve Sailer about sci-fi author and polymath Jerry Pournelle:

Back in the mid-1960s, Jerry, his mentor Stefan Possony, and Leka, Pretender to the Throne of Albanian — who, by the way, is seven feet tall — started to organize an invasion of Albania by patriotic exiles to overthrow communist dictator Enver Hoxha.

The larger strategic goal was to puncture the myth of communist inevitability by rolling back one country. Hoxha had alienated the Soviets by denouncing Khrushchev’s 1956 policy of de-Stalinization. And he had earlier broken with Tito’s Yugoslavia, making his nearest ally Red China. So, invading Albania wasn’t likely to start WWIII.

King Constantine II, last King of the Hellenes, lent them his summer palace in Corfu, from which the hills of Albania are visible, as their headquarters.

Their sponsors in the U.S. government didn’t want to be seen providing the crucial air cover needed to allow the invaders to cross the channel from Corfu. And without air cover, it would just be another Bay of Pigs.

So Jerry and Co. persuaded King Hussein of Jordan, who owed a lot of favors to the U.S. and was amenable to liberating his fellow Muslims in Albania from the godless Communist tyranny, to promise his British-built air force would wipe out the 11-airplane Albanian air force on the ground in a surprise attack. Jerry thus spent a lot of time in Jordan training their pilots on how to pull off a sneak attack.

Back in Corfu on June 5, 1967, Jerry was called to the radio to hear the news: the Israelis had pulled off their own sneak attack, wiping out the Egyptian air force, and in the subsequent fighting later that day destroyed most of the Jordanian air force.

So, the liberation of Albania had to be called off.

Decades later, Jerry met the President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, who had been Chief of Operations in the Six Day War. Jerry explained how Weizman had wrecked his invasion of Albania. Weizman exclaimed to the effect that: You were that foreigner who was training the Jordanians how to pull off a sneak attack? We thought you were a Russian training the Jordanians to attack us!

Ben Espen mentioned the story in his review of Pournelle’s first novel, Red Heroin, a thriller written under the pen name Wade Curtis.

Saving lives obviously had preference

September 7th, 2020

The American way of street and town fighting, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), did not resemble that of other armies:

To Americans, flesh and blood and lives have always been more precious than sticks and stones, however assembled. An American commander, faced with taking the Louvre from a defending enemy, unquestionably would blow it apart or burn it down without hesitation if such would save the life of one of his men. And he would be acting in complete accord with American ideals and ethics in doing so. Already, in the Korean War, American units were proceeding to destroy utterly enemy-held towns and villages rather than engage in the costly business of reducing them block by block with men and bayonets, as did European armies. If bombing and artillery would save lives, even though they destroyed sites of beauty and history, saving lives obviously had preference. And already foreign observers with the United States Army — not ROK’s — were beginning to criticize such tactics.

Observers from France and Britain, realizing that war was also highly possible in their own part of the world, were disturbed at the thought of a ground defense of their homelands. For the United States Army, according to its history and doctrine, would choose the lives of its men over the continued existence of storied cathedrals. These observers wrote news releases — and soon Frank Muñoz could get no artillery on the enemy assembling in plain sight in the villages below him. When he asked Battalion to fire on the village, and burn it down, Battalion replied it could not. Fortunately, such orders in Korea were soon changed.

I saw an opportunity and I took it

September 6th, 2020

Officer Ellifritz got a call about a stolen bicycle:

While I was speaking with my prisoner during the arrest process, I recognized that most of you will never be in such a position to talk candidly with a thief (who also had past arrests for felonious assault, kidnapping, rape, and a host of other crimes). Since I get this “honor” quite regularly, I’m happy to share the what I learn with you all.

Our thief today is homeless. He’s 32 years old and overweight. He’s a regular consumer of crack cocaine. He has no job and no place to live. He sometimes stays at friends’ apartments, but his permanent address is a local homeless shelter. The sum total of his possessions consisted of a change of clothes, a broken phone, and less than $4 cash.

When I asked the man why he stole the bike, his comment was enlightening:

“I took it because I have the chance to stay at my friend’s place tonight instead of the shelter. My friend lives in (the next town over) and it would be about a four hour walk to get there. It rained all day yesterday and it looks like it’s going to rain some more today. I just didn’t want to spend four hours walking in the fucking rain and getting soaking wet again. I figured a bike would be faster.”

He continued by saying: “I knew it was wrong to steal the bike, but I just don’t care. I didn’t want to get wet no more. I saw an opportunity and I took it. I’d do the same thing all over again if I got the chance. Biking is just faster than walking.”

The guy wasn’t rude or trying to play the role of a badass. He was just describing the daily realities for someone who lives in a world very different from the one in which you and I reside.

He wasn’t mentally ill. He knew right from wrong. But he had absolutely no remorse about taking a bike from some girl who probably needs it as just badly as he did. The thought of what the victim would experience didn’t even register in his mind. He “saw an opportunity” and took it. He took a college girl’s only means of transportation, because he didn’t want to be inconvenienced by a long walk.

This is what most folks don’t understand about serious criminals. The fact that the victim of the crime would be affected in a negative manner is not even an afterthought. Your feelings and concerns mean absolutely NOTHING to the criminal. He doesn’t care if you live or die, let alone how “inconvenienced” you will be if he takes all of your stuff or beats you within an inch of your life. If you literally had ZERO concern about the well being of your neighbors and fellow humans, what kind of atrocities would you be capable of committing? That’s something that few people consider.