He’s terrified about the evil that lurks out there

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Greg Ellifritz reviews Vincent Sellers’s Eyes Pried Open, which offers some insight into the FBI:

The author of the book worked in corporate America but had a lifelong dream of becoming an agent. He left the corporate world and became an agent, serving for slightly less than two years.

It is painfully obvious that the author has zero police sense or comfort with violence. He laments the rigorous training he endured in the academy — they made them do pushups and everything….

He notices and complains that the agent trainees who had prior law enforcement experience seemed to fit in better with the “militant” nature of the FBI. The author struggles to reconcile his naïve world view with the reality he faces when he’s assigned to the violent crime squad in San Diego, CA. For instance, his first arrest involves picking up someone being released from a county jail for a Federal human trafficking warrant. The author feels guilty for re-imprisoning a guy who thought he was getting out. He downplays the significance of the human trafficking charge and seems to legitimately feel bad.

Later in the book, after seeing the nature of law enforcement along the border, he is a very strong proponent of building a wall to keep the bad people out. He talks about the numerous kidnapping cases he worked and how none of them involved innocent parties. Every kidnapping victim and kidnapper were eyes deep in criminal activity and all of it with a cross-border connection.

The author decides to leave after less than two years because the job is too hard on his home life. Apparently, he didn’t know that he’d have to work long days and be on-call for certain weekends. Despite being well published and high for law enforcement across the nation, he complains about his “modest” salary and how it doesn’t let him live in the manner to which he’s accustomed.

I’m convinced that he realized he could not handle what was required of him and opted out (which I can respect). I think his adamant support of a border wall shows an awareness that evil exists but his inability to internalize the ability to confront evil drives him away. The amount of cognitive dissonance this whole experience engenders is amazing. He’s terrified about the evil that lurks out there but is unable to deal with it himself and maintains a deep suspicion of those who can.


  1. Gaikokumaniakku says:

    I, too, have a dream of emulating Elliott Ness. But I don’t want to emulate him by joining the FBI. I want to emulate Elliott Ness by shaving my jaw very cleanly, parting my hair down the middle, putting on a smart suit, and dancing the Charleston to the sound of Duke Ellington.

    I tried learning to dance for two years, but it was really hard and required aerobic fitness. I realized that I could not handle anything that requires more exertion than cracking open a can of Red Bull. I think my consistent blogging of music videos from Caravan Palace proves that I know that electro swing exists, but honestly, I’m just too weak, so now it looks like I will never attain my dream. On the bright side, I don’t have deep suspicions about the happy men who are able to re-enact Elliott Ness’ dances. But I do have deep suspicions about the men who re-enact J. Edgar Hoover’s transvestitism. And also I have deep suspicions about Comey, Strzok, Priestap, McCabe, Page, etc., even if it turns out that they are not transvestites.

  2. Adar says:

    “Every kidnapping victim and kidnapper were eyes deep in criminal activity and all of it with a cross-border connection.”

    Sheriff Arpaio in AZ used to talk about this all the time. The human smugglers bring you the illegal across the border for a fee and then hold you for ransom. The folks in the old country receive a phone call that more money must be given to the associates of the smuggle or your ears will be cut off for starters.

  3. Wan Wei Lin says:

    So a snowflake melts under heat. Cry me a river.

  4. Senexada says:

    “None of them involved innocent parties” — brings to mind our modern philosopher Mr. T, who said his Mama taught him that “you can’t cheat an honest man.” The more I’ve seen or heard the true inner workings of crimes, the more I appreciate that adage.

  5. Graham says:


    Indeed. I don’t remember how or when, but I encountered that phrase as a kid probably in the context of movies or tv shows involving con artists in the Depression. I don’t think it was mentioned in The Sting, but maybe. I remember being troubled by it, since in most scenarios it seemed like the mark wasn’t doing anything bad.

    It was only when I realized that the times and culture involved had a more expansive definition of honest man that I started to twig to it. Basically, all the marks wanted to make a fast buck without working and that’s what made them marks.

    It took me a good long while to understand that this quality, for many, excluded them from the category “honest man”.

    I still consider this an ethical quandary to some degree.

  6. Graham says:


    Since, technically, that definition takes every stereotypical working class schmo trying to make a fast buck on a “hot stock tip” dishonest. I guess, but it seems harsh.

  7. Graham says:

    Torn on the main subject.

    I guess I also think of the FBI as a fairly paramilitary entity, especially for a bunch of civilian suits, and that is how it comes across in its own fluff and in media portrayals. “Militant”, too, in a sense of institutional righteousness and in-group mindset. Inherited from its early traditions, no doubt.

    This sort of thing can become too much, and [from the far outsider perspective] it seems much more a part of FBI culture than of other US law enforcement agencies. Maybe that’s not true- the FBI might just loom so much larger in the public and international consciousness.

    Whether it’s good or not I can’t say. There’s always the balance to be struck between esprit de corps and groupthink.

    As to the author, he does sound unduly shocked by both the realities of the world and the methods used to contain them. I’m fine with his basic conclusion, as long as he isn’t the utopian sort who thinks that walls work without manning them and running enforcement both within and without the wall. The wall alone is just to shape the battlefield.

    Impressed that he made it through FBI training, though. I couldn’t have gotten through day one of something like that when I was a much younger man.

  8. Bane says:

    “He’s terrified about the evil that lurks out there but is unable to deal with it himself and maintains a deep suspicion of those who can.”

    A very appropriate position to hold. I’m not really afraid of the evil in the world, and I still don’t trust other people to deal with it.

    Believing in evil is a cynical position. If you’re going to be cynical about fundamental human nature, why would you place your trust in a single institution?

    Graham says that you can’t fool an honest man. By the same logic, it’s very difficult to commit a crime against a respectful man.

    If you have gone through the trouble of paying homage and assuring that your protection from the proper authorities, you should be safe. It’s only when you take your security into your own hands that you become vulnerable.

    It’s easy to commit a crime against Americans, because they think that they have the right to go anywhere and do anything they please, and they take their safety as a given. It never occurs to them that they’re intruding on someone else’s territory.

    And worse, neither the police nor the criminals bother to inform anyone of this. They’ve both decided to exploit the population opportunistically as Mancour’s roving bandits. I could respect either of them if they acted like they were providing legitimate protection. But how can I respect them when they don’t respect themselves?

  9. Sam J. says:

    From my reading of what’s going on there’s a shit load of criminals in the FBI.

    I think, I hope the majority are decent but from lots of cases I’ve seen if the bad agents are in charge or push hard enough the rest just go along.

    Maybe it can be excused as just human nature when they do that but…they’re supposed to be better than that. It’s why they should be respected. If aren’t any better then they shouldn’t expect the respect that goes with their position.

  10. Sam J. says:

    Wan Wei Lin says,”So a snowflake melts under heat. Cry me a river.”

    I don’t think that’s really fair. You’ve never tried anything that you weren’t really cut out for and had to stop????

    Bane says,”…I’m not really afraid of the evil in the world…”

    I sure am. There’s some really serious evil out there. Not believing in evil and you can wind up like the Russians after the commie revolution.

    Doen’t mean you have to be paralyzed but being afraid of evil is healthy.

  11. Slovenian Guest says:

    The problem is that even getting rid of a little mouse paralyzes these good liberals:

    “But was there any humane way to get rid of pests? These two mice, their only crime was to be mice.”

    Click here to find out!

  12. Kirk says:

    There’s a lot that paralyzes these sorts of people; you want to be really entertained, take some of them out and do realistic survival training, the sort that requires them to kill food in order to eat. It’s not so nice for the bunnies and chickies that the trainers provide, but it is highly illuminating for those of us who are still normal humans to watch.

    The artificiality of modern life is where most of our problems come from. You separate people from where their meals come from, in terms of what has to be done in order to survive, and a set of psychoses set in with that population. You start to see it with how Disney managed to make a living with anthropomorphized animals in unrealistic cartoons, where Bambi’s lost mother is idolized instead of being seen as a part of nature, and the needs of the hunter that killed her are never mentioned. Most of the Disney oeuvre should be banned, on the grounds that’s basically propaganda which is antiethical to gaining a realistic understanding of the world around us.

    What’s interesting is how this all plays into other aspects of life; the kid who grows up on Bambi-as-a-victim becomes susceptible to manipulation by political movements they encounter later in life, much the way Greenpeace builds on the same set of false understandings of the world and our place in it as human beings. It starts with the BS we let the kids watch on TV, and allow to be taught in the schools.

    Circa 1973, there was a whole thing in the schools where I went talking about this idea of “warm fuzzies” and “cold pricklies”. The use of it in the classroom environment, as it was implemented, was always something that disturbed the ever-loving crap out of me, as a kid–I don’t know why, it just did. Seemed super-creepy, for some reason.

    Later on, I discovered that the whole thing was an outgrowth of Claude M. Steiner’s Transactional Analysis, which I think is what set me off. The mentality behind that whole structure is disturbingly manipulative.

    The way they implemented that whole “warm fuzzies” thing was what really got me… The line they taught us kids was that we should go through life willing to give out “warm fuzzies” to everyone we encountered, and there was a whole subtext there of sexual licence; you were a bad person to deny someone a “warm fuzzy” if they wanted one from you. The progression from handing out “warm fuzzies” to all and sundry in the classroom to being manipulated into providing sexual gratification to others so as to make them happy was never spelled out, but the pathway was pretty clear; you were always to be available to provide “warm fuzzy” gratification, and to deny that to another was a “cold prickly”.

    I got creeped out by that stuff early on, and in later years, the whole thing struck me as being a really cunning approach to grooming kids for later sexual abuse–And, nobody paid attention to it, at all. TA was sold as this great thing, and it spread throughout society during the 1970s, with nobody really seeing the same subtexts that I did.

    But, you go talk to a lot of people, and ask questions about why they have the attitudes they do towards sex, and it’s pretty damn clear where they got the programming from. “Why do you feel like you have to have sex with them…? He’s your teacher/professor/boss…?” “Oh, he/she just wants a warm fuzzy, and I’d be a bitch to deny them that…”.

    The mentality that TA produces in people is all of a piece with the unrealistic expectations of the Disney world, and the really disturbing thing is just how deeply into society and culture this stuff has gotten rooted. That TA mentality of “you must provide the warm fuzzy” is ingrained into a lot of things, and I think a huge reason why people are unable to say “No, I don’t want that… It’s a violation of my personal space…”. Instead, the tools of TA are weaponized against the resistant party, and they’re made to feel bad that they are not handing out “warm fuzzies” to everyone who wants one. And, not giving everyone the warm fuzzies they demand from you? That’s a cold prickly, and a bad, bad thing…

    I don’t think it’s at all strange that more than a few of the women I know who were sexually abused in their childhoods and early adulthood had internalized this crap, and felt guilty for not being the accommodating good little doormat and denying their abusers “warm fuzzies” while they sexually gratified themselves at the girl’s expense. They were primed for it with the tools that Claude Steiner created, and I would not be a damn bit surprised to find out that there was a whole history of him sexually abusing others. The fit of his philosophy to the mindset a pedophile would want in a victim is too damn perfect.

  13. Kirk says:

    Oh, yeah… And, about that “warm fuzzy” thing? Read this, and then tell me that that piece isn’t talking about sexual gratification…


    That’s the seminal Claude Stein story that was a part of the whole TA teaching package they used. Even as a pre-teen, I picked up a creepy-ass vibe of that thing, and it only got worse the older I got. To this day, I still can’t read that without a frisson of disgust/horror running down my back. They were teaching this crap to little kids, not adults.

    I honestly don’t know how the hell anyone could look at this crap and not think “Grooming behavior”, but I guess it was a more innocent time, and the majority of our teaching staff just wasn’t too bright in that regard. I do have to wonder how many little girls and boys were brainwashed into compliance with their abusers through this crap, though. I’d be willing to bet the number was significant.

  14. Felix says:

    Kirk, I’ve never heard of this warm-fuzzy thing before, but don’t pick up anything sexual in the PDF. One might wonder why the “bad witch” was not named something like “the Dowager Monsanto”, though.

    The whole thing reads like a trippy dream thing aimed at a target demographic that seems improbably unreal — like stoned people with a mental age of 5 and a vocabulary age of 15.

  15. Kirk says:


    I take it that you’ve got little familiarity with the typical BS the pedos throw at their prospective victims to prepare the ground, then. If you’ve ever had the disturbing experiences I’ve had with talking some of these people down, the precursors are there, framed quite innocuously. It’s a building progression; first lay the groundwork by constructing the framework of this whole “warm fuzzy” thing, conditioning the subject to have the mindset that they must always be emotionally giving, no matter what, and then gradually shift to sexualizing and trivializing the nature of it all–”Oh, all I what you to do is give me the warm fuzzy that you owe me…”.

    I’m suddenly wondering if at least one of the abusers of the women I dealt with wasn’t actually familiar with this stuff, because that was exactly the technique the adult female abuser used when grooming her–A connection I just made today. Hadn’t thought about this material, for years.

  16. Graham says:


    I repeated, and gave some credit to, but neither created nor fully endorsed that old saying about how you can’t fool an honest man. Rather, I have started to better appreciate the context and meanings of those words as they must have been meant, which I failed to do when young.

    It is a useful lesson, though.

    Your extension of it has about the same merit- it’s possible to take reasonable preparations and still be victim to a crime or, if a nation, a war. So it goes. I’m not sure complete elimination of these risks is possible. We’ve gone pretty far in the contemporary “West” to the point at which one has to do slightly stupid to very stupid things to expose oneself to the really serious risks, most of the time in most places. Alas, we have reached a point at which once obviously stupid choices are widely seen as part of our patrimony of unrestricted rights, and any attempt to point out any such stupidity, even with the caveat that the malefactor is still a criminal and should be punished, is “victim blaming”. That term could have a viable meaning, but it’s too expansive now.

  17. Graham says:

    Evil is a more interesting problem, as is the fear of it.

    I’d say I recognize there are all sorts of evil in the world, my recognition of them overlaps broadly if not entirely with the recognition of some others I have known, it recognizes that sometimes just competing interests and values are involved, conflict not being evil in and of itself for me, though its consequences can be and often are, sometimes the evil is the product of harsh circumstances of the evildoer, and so on.

    The idea there is no evil, or that it’s always misunderstanding or the fact that the villains have suffered or were victims of bullying or social alienation or whatever, is poppycock.

    On the other hand, the idea that opponents or enemies are always evil is nonsense. Conflict is more complicated than that. Sometimes they are opponents, sometimes they are enemies, sometimes they are enemies whose agendas are so opposed and irreconcilable no compromise is possible, and beyond even that sometimes they are evil.

    Similarly, the idea one has to eliminate all evil is too much. To a degree, because Nietszche had a point about the abyss, though one can take that too far and end up in the tortured mind of George Lucas. More importantly, because I’m not convinced it is possible or desirable, and at the margins because the definition of evil is occasionally in dispute. The German Kaiser was not evil, though it was useful for war propaganda to so paint him. We need to always have a skeptical eye to our own stories. And lastly because we are not called to spend the lives and treasure of our nations to right all evils everywhere, only to leave ourselves vulnerable to the rise of new ones.

    Where that leaves me wrt this book, I can’t say. I guess I had best order it and try to wade through it. It doesn’t sound promising. I suppose I start from the assumption there are a variety of things I’d call evil at home and abroad, and with well-maintained external and internal defences of the kind the US and similar countries had when I was young, it is possible for most of our peoples to live unaffected by them with minimal self-discipline.

    Where I live, I am far more likely to fall on the ice walking home at night and die of exposure in a quiet part of a medium sized city than to be the victim of any crime, let alone a terrorist attack, for example. In my parents’ city, there has been a spike in shootings, some even with regular people as the bystander-victims. Still not that dangerous.

    Sorry- rambling.

  18. Graham says:

    I take Kirk’s points as valuable as ever.

    I wouldn’t last a minute in realistic survival situations. Well, I exaggerate. If there is no immediate peril anyone can last a short while.

    I have to be realistic. If I’m ever in immediate physical danger I’ll do my best, with whatever advice I can remember, but I’m probably done. It would probably have helped me to stay healthier and learn a few things, but I was never inclined [a character flaw] and it was never necessary [the enormous grace of the time and place in which I have lived].

  19. Graham says:

    So I just read the Warm Fuzzy story. I must say, I don’t have a WTF moment like that every day.

    Socialist parable about the glories of primitive communism before power, hierarchy, and property?

    Free love parable?

    Paean to the glory of the fading hippie movement?

    Early assault on Big Pharma as Felix suggests?

    Or all of the above. And I couldn’t read it without the creepy pedo vibe either. Good lord.

  20. Kirk says:


    I know, right?

    I don’t know what triggered that particular memory in conjunction with this post, but there was something at the back of my mind about the BS programming that early childhood education gives one, like the Disney line of “love nature” crap, and… That’s the half-remembered thing that came out. Took me awhile to track it down, but I eventually found the exact story I remember from about 74-75, when I was going to 4th and 5th grade in a small country school. At the time, that whole thing struck me as being really, really weird, and when I ran into the T.J. Bass SF novels where he’s talking about the Nebish philosophy of “going through life a little bit edible, in case you meet someone hungry…”, it really clicked with me that there was something profoundly wrong in all that Transactional Analysis crapola.

    The grooming and pedophilia aspect didn’t really hit home with me until this recent re-reading of it all over again. I mean, I thought about it as being capable of leading to it, but I didn’t consider that it might have been deliberate. I suppose recent revelations about much of the goings-on surrounding our cultural “elite” awakens me to that probability. I’m suddenly very curious as to what was going on in the left-wing circle surrounding one Claude Stein…

    How the hell did the adults of that era not see this? It’s perfectly couched grooming propaganda for pedos…

  21. Felix says:


    Yep. No pedo experience myself at all. Only thing close was being in the market for day care at McMartin time, early 80′s, a few miles south of Santa Monica. A guy running a large day care operation said, “A parent accused one of our employees of sexual abuse. We let her go, of course.” And that CYA was supposed to sell us on their day care. While he’s talking, I’m looking around at the total chaos and extreme lack of privacy that goes with a hundred 2-4 year olds and thinking, “You weasel. You know there is zero chance of the accusation being true, but you bought it. I don’t want your sort watching my kids.” The experience may have been the trigger that made me, in the end, unsurprised the McMartin thing turned out to be a crazy mother and her Salem Witch fellows ruining lives nationwide.

    BTW, we are due for another McMartin, what with the US’s demographic bump heading in to their 30′s. Also, some riff on another “decade of greed” as that bump starts paying the bills in earnest.

  22. Graham says:


    Something to be said for that.

    I read that story as creepy on several levels of which “sexual come-on” [as affecting adults] and “pedo” were only two. I found it more than a little creepy on the other levels I also noted above.

    OTOH,all the material now exists in our societies for a freak-out worthy of the [I hope] apocryphal Brits who in the 1990s allegedly trashed a pediatrician’s office because of a mistaken understanding of the job title… I really hope that was pre-web fake news. But it rang just on the edge of possibly true for England or America in the 90s. So there you go.

    I’d like to see a middle ground between the Satanist abuse witch hunters of the 80s and the porno chic culture of the 70s.

    After all, sometimes there really is a pedo subculture. Or such as makes little difference. Some of the stuff in the Church was real. At one point a while ago some of the Belgian upper classes were caught in one. The BBC. Rotherham was real, although admittedly there were other issues involved in covering that up for so long.

  23. Bane says:

    Here’s an interesting take on the FBI.
    By all accounts, most of their functions could be better handled by other dedicated agencies. Their primary skill seems to be justifying their own existence.

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