Thursday, June 10, 2010

A challenge flunked

In my last post, I gave Kevin Baker's disciples an important opportunity. Unlike me, they have repeatedly made the astonishing claim that the righteousness of their philosophy on gun control (or lack thereof) is not merely scientifically provable, but has already been scientifically proved so comprehensively that it is not delusional to pose the question "why isn't being right good enough for us?".

That being the case, it's high time they (as John Major might say) put up or shut up. With such incontrovertible evidence at their fingertips, they should have had no difficulty whatever resolving the series of ten perfectly reasonable and logical objections I raised in relation to statistical evidence purporting to prove a clear social benefit of the general population being widely armed. But were they able to step up to the plate? In fact, did they even go through the motions of engaging with the questions at all? Well...judge for yourself. One link from Kevin in relation to my query about suicide, but other than that, nada - just a million and one ways of changing the subject, descending to the all-too-familiar playground bully-boy tactics by the end of the thread.

Ed's "heck of a" strategy for ignoring the questions was to zone in on my point that the "extraordinary claim" of the gun lobby (namely that the stricter gun laws in the UK somehow put us at more risk than our American cousins, despite the fact that we have a vastly lower gun crime rate) requires extraordinary proof -

"I've seen the "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" phrase before. In every case, it has come from someone who has already been shown evidence that far exceeds the evidence for everything else in its category, and yet, it's still never enough. I've reached the point that when I see that phrase used, I pretty much understand it to mean "My mind is made up. Stop trying to confuse me with the facts.""

But of course Ed is conveniently ignoring the observation I went on to make immediately afterwards, which was that while I feel extraordinary levels of proof are required, even something that hits the ordinary standard of proof would be nice to be getting on with. Sadly, in spite of Ed's delusional musings, there has been precious little of that on offer so far. So what would help? Well, how about someone providing serious answers to those ten serious questions? Remember Ed claims to have definitive "facts" on his side, even as he quibbles about the 'proof beyond all doubt' label - so it should be perfectly possible to supply answers demonstrating conclusively that the issues I've raised do not wholly negate the alleged benefits of widespread legal gun ownership (as I strongly suspect they do).

The challenge remains open - I'm naturally not holding my breath.

35 comments:

  1. Ed "What the" HeckmanJune 10, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    You're a loony.

    You've been presented with an abundance of evidence, most of which you flatly REFUSE to acknowledge. Your pathological insistence on ignoring what you don't like cannot make that evidence go away. It just demonstrates the old adage that there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

    For example: Your lunatic claim that statistics showing that there were 1,187 murders committed without guns in the U.K. in 2002 "doesn't even begin to prove" that people commit murders without guns. (Emphasis yours)

    There can be no better example of your active refusal to acknowledge evidence.

    "A person can be persuaded by an abominable argument and remain unconvinced by one that ought to be accepted."
    —Antony Flew

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  2. Ed - "You're a loony."

    It seems the final words of my post could hardly have been more prophetic - an even more hysterical level of abuse is seemingly now required to distract attention from the failure to even pretend to engage with the ten perfectly logical and reasonable objections I raised in relation to a choice example of 'irrefutable evidence'.

    And how bizarre it is of you to complain about me 'refusing to acknowledge evidence' in response to a detailed post in which I asked a series of perfectly logical and legitimate questions about a specific piece of evidence put forward. That's a funny way for me to go about 'ignoring' it - the only ignoring going on is the complete ignoring of those awkward questions.

    Tell me, what is it about the questions that makes it so impossible for you to meet the challenge and simply explain why it is they don't pose a problem to your argument? I acknowledged that question 6 was a little more intangible, but as someone steeped in this issue, you must have some kind of ready-made response to the other nine, surely? It seems not...

    "For example: Your lunatic claim that statistics showing that there were 1,187 murders committed without guns in the U.K. in 2002 "doesn't even begin to prove" that people commit murders without guns. (Emphasis yours)"

    One word : untrue. What I actually said is there for all to see on this thread, so why waste your breath distorting it?

    Perhaps it's this philosophy you have in mind -

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” - Joseph Goebbels

    (Although maybe it's a bit harsh to single you out for that when we still have Unix-Jedi around brazenly trying to convince the world that Andrew de Vries was shot dead for being a violent criminal.)

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  3. “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” - Joseph Goebbels

    This is the epitome of what the gun control crowd does. They thrive on "The Big Lie"

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  4. Ed "What the" HeckmanJune 10, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    Thanks for posting that link, James. I should have done that myself.

    The specific exchange is about 2/3rds of the way down that page. (And I don't really expect more comments to be added, so it should stay there.) Echo doesn't allow linking to specific comments, so readers will have to find it manually. My post with statistics is somewhat long, which should make it easier to spot. James' flat denial that I've been pointing out is immediately below it.

    Of course, it's best to read the entire comment thread, including where James tried to "explain" his denial of the evidence, and my response where I found it necessary to revert to giving dictionary definitions of the words I used because of James' deliberate "misunderstanding" of what I wrote.

    In short, it is true. Everyone should go read it for themselves.

    As for the Goebbels quote: More psychological projection.

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  5. demonstrating conclusively that the issues I've raised do not wholly negate the alleged benefits of widespread legal gun ownership (as I strongly suspect they do).

    On what rational basis do you base that suspicion? On what empirical evidence?

    Without such a basis your 10 claims are the intellectual equivalent of "nuh uh" and "I know you are but what am I?"

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  6. Brazen, Ed, I'll give you that. Let's stop mucking around, shall we? The reason you are lying is this -

    You asked me whether I accepted that without guns, a person with murderous intent can and WILL still kill.

    I said no, because while such a person may or may not succeed in killing, they are substantially less likely to do so.

    You responded with the 2002 UK murder statistics, which you claimed bore out your original point. I explained that they didn't even begin to do anything of the sort, because you would have had to somehow demonstrate that there wouldn't have been a whole lot MORE killings had guns been to hand more often. Remember what I said - a person with murderous intent may or may not succeed in killing, but they are substantially less likely to do so.

    Now, try and somehow square that with your statement above -

    Your lunatic claim that statistics showing that there were 1,187 murders committed without guns in the U.K. in 2002 "doesn't even begin to prove" that people commit murders without guns. (Emphasis mine.)

    Best of luck.

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  7. Ed "What the" HeckmanJune 10, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    That was not my claim. Here is the original (made back on June 4th, about 1/3 of the way down the original comments thread):

    "So even if a person doesn't have a gun available, they can (and will) still find a way to kill."

    …later updated to this after I tracked down those statistics:

    "So even if a person doesn't have a gun available, they can (and DO) still find a way to kill."

    But this is what YOU are arguing against:

    "So even if a person doesn't have a gun available, they can (and will) [always] find a way to kill."

    They are not the same thing. I didn't even say "frequently" as part of my claim (which still isn't the same thing as "always"), though I obviously could have.

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  8. You asked me whether I accepted that without guns, a person with murderous intent can and WILL still kill.

    I said no, because while such a person may or may not succeed in killing, they are substantially less likely to do so.


    So you responded with "No" while acknowledging that the correct answer is in fact "Yes." Wow, that's some amazing cognitive dissonance!

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  9. you would have had to somehow demonstrate that there wouldn't have been a whole lot MORE killings had guns been to hand more often.

    So the crux of your argument is "I can't prove it, but I THINK there would have been more killings if there'd been more guns."

    Wow, you're dazzling me with your intellect Mr. Kelly! Bravo.

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  10. Ed "What the" HeckmanJune 10, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    Truly, he has a dizzying intellect.

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  11. "But this is what YOU are arguing against:

    "So even if a person doesn't have a gun available, they can (and will) [always] find a way to kill."

    They are not the same thing."


    So your only get-out clause here is that when you said "will kill" you actually meant "will kill, but only some of the time"? Well, what a pity you don't clarify that when you first said it, because it would have utterly blown apart the whole argument you were trying to advance.

    Alternatively, your defence here is sophistry. Take your pick.

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  12. Dear God. Is the next excuse going to be that when you said "will" you were actually referring to your last will and testament?

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  13. Ed "What the" HeckmanJune 10, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    Speaking of sophistry…

    You took the parenthetical word (will) and elevated it to the primary word in the sentence. Plus, you added "always" to the meaning of will, which is not demanded by the definition. (Though it can sometimes include the concept of always, that's only in definitions which do not apply in this context.)

    The primary word in my sentence was "can". And the updated sentence which specifically objected to did not even use the word "will." It used the word "do."

    Thank you for that perfect example of "sophistry."

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  14. A word of advice, Ed - just take a step back and consider whether you really want to test this fantastical, hair-splitting argument to destruction. Wouldn't it be simpler just to be honest and concede that your characterisation of what I said was not accurate?

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  15. Ed "What the" HeckmanJune 10, 2010 at 6:25 PM

    I am being honest. Your "doesn't even begin to prove" objection was to "can (and DO)." I cannot accept your claim, because your characterization of what I wrote is OBVIOUSLY not accurate. It doesn't even match the plain meaning of what I originally wrote. (As amply demonstrated by yet another deliberate "misunderstanding": "last will and testament".)

    So that's my question to you. Wouldn't it be simpler just to be honest and concede that your characterization of what I wrote was not accurate?

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  16. James - I think Ed has pretty well already destroyed your position here and proven that you are guilty of the sophistry you accuse him of.

    Ed - Good job. Mr. Kelly's continued obfuscation & evasion are sad aren't they? At least they're humorous.

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  17. As I will keep repeating: The problem here is a lack of logic and critical thinking. Mr. Kelley and many of those that espouse his views are INCAPABLE of rational argument. One has only to follow this thread and those at Kevin's to see the truth of this. Astonishing to see him unable to address the simplest comment, and to change it to something he CAN argue against. We might as well argue with the floor. This is a 2+2=4 situation, and no amount of obfuscation will change the answer.

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  18. "I think Ed has pretty well already destroyed your position here and proven that you are guilty of the sophistry you accuse him of."

    I'm going to try to avoid getting sucked into Mike's pointless drivel-fests in future, but it is worth highlighting this comment, because it's such a textbook example of how the KBFC like to conduct 'debate'. A 'fact' has been 'proved' because we say it has. You have logical objections or questions about those facts? I'm sorry, those are not legitimate objections or questions. Why not? Because they are put forward by a loony who is not arguing honestly. How do you know he's a loony and not arguing honestly? BECAUSE HE DARES TO QUESTION OUR FACTS!!!!!

    Genius. Kevin should rename his blog Circular Logic Fix Of The Day. In fact it's a great pity he's not a man of faith, because I'm quite sure he'd have long ago scientifically validated for us the existence of God.

    Meanwhile, we've now moved into Day 3 (UK time) of my challenge to the KBFC to demonstrate their claim that they have watertight, comprehensive proof of their case, by engaging seriously with the ten straightforward objections I raised in relation to the alleged proof that legal gun ownership has a social benefit, and by explaining why none of the issues I raised negates (or indeed totally overwhelms) the supposed benefits. Forty-eight hours in, all we've seen is a wall of silence and distraction.

    Is anyone going to step up to the plate? Ever?

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  19. A 'fact' has been 'proved' because we say it has.

    Amusingly, false. It has been proven because Ed provided all of the substantiation, support, examples, and citations necessary to show that you successfully managed to put your foot, up to your knee, in your mouth, and chewed. He said something, you misunderstood/mischaracterized (possibly maliciously, in both cases) it, and responded based on that flawed reasoning. He called you for your fallacious response, and ever since, you have been running around in circles, beating your little fists against the floor, screaming that you are right, and he is wrong.

    Do you want to know why Ed won and you lost? Probably not, but I am going to type it anywise, simply because it has relevance to every other "debate" (and I use that term loosely, given that someone as unarmed as you makes them very one-sided) you have engaged in thus far. He made a statement. He substantiated it. He spelled out the underpinnings of it. And he kept providing more facts to substantiate that statement, even going so far as to provide the definitions of very basic words when it became obvious you still were not understanding what he was saying (hence my belief that misunderstanding was malicious).

    You, on the other hand, in all of your furious typing, screaming, railing, arguing, prostelyzing, and Lord-alone knows what else, have never made it past "he made a statement".

    Until you can understand that you have to move past that point, until you can grasp that "facts" and "opinions" are not equivalent and are not interchangeable in arguments, and until you show even the barest glimmer of understanding of either logic or basic debating form, you will continue to regularly have your ass handed to you, and you will not even be able to understand why.

    Honestly (since you seem to value honesty, which is all manner of ironic from someone who places no value on facts), that is a shameful, pathetic existance to lead, but it is your choice, and you are welcome to it. Just try to stop demanding that we join you in your self-inflicted cess-pool, k?

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  20. Ah, Linoge. I think we can safely assume Ed is in some trouble here if one of the KBFC's two Walking, Talking Slabs Of Pure Offensiveness finally feels the need to weigh in on enemy territory. As for me "demanding your presence", I don't know where you get the impression you're remotely welcome. You moan when I prevent you commenting here as well - jeez, will you guys ever get the party line straight?

    In this case I'm grateful for you popping by, though, because you've just provided an even more - indeed, far more - outstanding example of an "it's been proved because I insist WITH CONVICTION that it has been" post.

    Ed did indeed make a statement. He then produced some statistics which had no particular relevance to that statement one way or the other. However in classic KBFC fashion he simply asserted that the statistics somehow proved his statement, and then sat back to admire his handiwork. I pointed out his error of logic, but he responded by bizarrely pretending I had instead made the claim that "no murders take place without guns" and that this made me a lunatic. Now, even if we very generously assume that he might have somehow misconstrued my meaning at that point (for that we'd have to buy into his hurried retrospective redefinition of the word 'will'), given that I then clarified what I actually meant and he appeared to understand it, how else can his first post on this thread be interpreted as anything other than a conscious, deliberate, cynical attempt to deceive?

    As for this business of "screaming", "railing", "running around in circles", "beating little fists against the floor", etc, etc, all I can see right now from you is a very rattled, angry man spewing out venom, rage and ridicule about a point of pedantry to cover up for the fact that he doesn't feel equipped - for whatever reason - to constructively engage with my ten perfectly reasonable, logical questions. You and your fellow travellers boast endlessly about having proved things beyond dispute, and rail against the world for being too stupid to notice - well, step up to the plate, my man, because the test of authentic proof is that it can stand up to rigorous scrutiny and robust questioning. So what's it to be, Linoge - reason and debate, or the transparent distraction strategy of yet more mindless abuse based on hair-splitting points of pedantry?

    I'm guessing the latter.

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  21. Ed "What the" HeckmanJune 11, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    Typical…

    It was not necessary for Linoge and JebTexas to weigh in, though I appreciate their input. I didn't feel the need to call for help* because there is no more to write.

    As Linoge correctly pointed out, all the ground has been covered. Every detail of this 'discussion' is available for any passerby to examine at their leisure. Your chicanery is laid bare for all to see.

    I hope you open your eyes to reality before it blindsides you.

    I'm done here.

    (* A Note, because James will almost certainly try to distort events again: I did post a link to this page early this morning before I started commenting simply because I saw you had a new post up. As anyone can see, it was not a call for help.)

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  22. Why would I be concerned that you'd posted a link? What is there to distort? Odd comment.

    Godspeed, Ed. You take the sunshine with you.

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  23. He posted the link in case you decide to LIE about what has been said here, which is not out of the question given your prior behavior.

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  24. Lie about what has been said here? Lie about it where? Here? What would be the point of that? And what was the lie that Ed with his Nostradamus-like powers somehow knew I was going to tell? Very hard to keep track of all this.

    But it wasn't too hard for me to demonstrate there was one deliberate lie on this thread, and it didn't come from me. No wonder Ed has departed the scene.

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  25. But it wasn't too hard for me to demonstrate there was one deliberate lie on this thread, and it didn't come from me.

    And that, right there, is why you fail.

    You refuse to acknowledge the basic facts regarding the construction of the English language, to the point where you would subvert, distort, and abuse that language in some ham-fisted attempt to "prove" that you were not lying, and, in the same breath, claim that Ed (who has taken the time to actually provide the necessary proof to support his opinion all the way down the underlying definitions of the words at play... unlike, say, you) somehow is lying.

    That is why your ten cute little questions are completely meaningless, and completely irrelevant to the discussion at play - throughout that discussion, you have systemically demonstrated that you do not even understand the words you used in those questions, and evne if we were to answer them sufficiently and adequately, even going down to the root definitions of the words at play, you would simply discard our answers as insufficient, simply because you do not want to have to face them.

    For example, take my comment of "stop demanding that we join you in your self-inflicted cess-pool" - it had absolutely nothing to do with this weblog, commenting here, or anything of the nature, and yet you maliciously misrepresented those words in order to score some kind of point in your ad hominem attack against me. Congratulations - just another reason why having anything even approximating a conversation with you is pointless.

    Discussions over topics are meaningless unless the underlying tenets of those topics are agreed-upon, and given that you have proven a remarkable lack of understanding regarding "facts", "statistics", "the English language", and "truth", the discussion will naturally have to devolve to those points before anything even approximating progress can be made.

    The only one with a massive case of projection, as well as a mind-numbing case of ressentiment, here, James, is you, and you prove it, yourself, with almost every single comment.

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  26. As Columbo might say - I'm a little confused here, Linoge. You and Ed both told me earlier that it was already absolutely self-evident to the world and his pet chihuahua that my argument has been completely destroyed, obliterated, pulverised, devoured, crucified, etc, etc, etc....

    So why do you feel the need to pop up with yet another epic, venomous and frankly slightly deranged comment? Something isn't adding up.

    Let me put this to you. Ed kept urging people to read the relevant thread at Kevin's blog to discover the full extent of my dastardly 'chicanery'. Well, I am - to use the vogue phrase - rather relaxed about that prospect. Indeed, I'm so relaxed about it that (to Ed's obvious and rather amusing frustration) I posted a link to that thread and invited people to look for themselves before it ever occurred to him to do so.

    As for your excuses for failing to engage with my perfectly logical objections to Nate's claimed evidence that gun legality helps to prevent crime...dear God. One word - desperate. If anyone had any doubt about my 'circular logic' point, you've just comprehensively removed it. In order to make a debate meaningful (ie. in order for you to feel any sense of obligation to respond to awkward questions that undermine your 'proof') the "underlying tenets of those topics" have to be agreed-upon...by you. In other words, the person asking the question has to first accept your 'proof' before the question can be deemed legitimate. A cynic might suspect that the only question that could ever meet that impossible test would be something along the lines of "now tell me some more about why you're so right?"

    Now THAT'S what I call "Reasoned Discourse ©™®".

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  27. Is anyone going to step up to the plate? Ever?

    Yup, I've been hitting your softballs out of the park since last summer (along with Kevin, Linoge, UJ and others)

    You just keep lobbing them up to get smashed.

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  28. Although unfortunately you keep smashing them straight into your own head (while remaining splendidly oblivious of the fact).

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  29. That's an illogical response. (typical for you) As the batter I've been wearing a helmet, whereas you're pitching and are thus exposed to repeated blows to the head. :)

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  30. Point taken, I'll be sure to demand a helmet just to be on the safe side when I'm pitching to...anyone other than you.

    Now, you'd best scurry off and replace your own worn-out helmet.

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  31. You are absolutely right, James - I am desperate. I am desperately hoping for some glimmer of understanding regarding the words you keep flinging about with reckless abandon, as if their mere presence or invocation gives power or weight to your "argument", such as it is (namely, "logic", and "reason"). I am desperately hoping for some indication that you can at least identify facts, much less understand them as being facts. I am desperately hoping that someone cannot honestly exist in such a solipsistic and self-righteous world as the one you would have us believe you live in.

    I should thank you, though, for convincing me that I am desperately wasting my time.

    To put it very simply for you, James, since you seem hell-bent on continuing to maliciously distort other people's words whenever you perceive the chance to do so, you cannot accept the definition of commonly-used words as an accepted fact, so there is no point in answering any of your questions, given that any communication between us will be intentionally and immediately rendered useless.. by you. If the language used for discussions is not yet settled upon, that is the only thing available to discuss, until such time as it can be settled... and, to put it frankly, I am not at all interested in engaging in a semantical debate over predefined words with someone who flagrantly redefines words, warps other people's words, and engages in as much projection as you do.

    Yes, I have made this argument a few times now, namely because I was desperately hoping (there I go again) that rephrasing it in a few slightly different ways would facilitate your understanding at some point, but, thank you, again, for explaining to me, in no uncertain terms, that you have absolutely no interest in what we have to say, at any time. Yes. Because that is exactly the attitude that is going to encourage people to answer your questions (Go ahead, call them "logical" again - if you say it a few more times, it might become true!).

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  32. You seem to be stuck on the idea that people can't kill efficiently or quickly without the aid of firearms. This thought flies in the face of historical fact.

    If you look at a list of the deadliest single day battles in history you will find that people can kill with a surfeit of efficiency with blades and spears and arrows.

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  33. Anon - James knows this. It has been pointed out to him, he's just willfully ignorant.

    Hell, the deadliest school massacre in U.S. history was the Bath School Disaster committed by Andrew Kehoe in 1927 (back when the U.S. had very little gun control to speak of) He did not use any firearms.

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  34. So I make that six "desperates" in the latest of Linoge's venomous, borderline-deranged contributions, but frankly the only thing I'm desperate for at the moment is the slightest sign that anyone from the KBFC is capable of meeting my challenge, and demonstrating that the claims of 'irrefutable proof' will indeed stand up to some kind of serious scrutiny and questioning.

    The challenge remains open. Day 4 (UK time) and still no takers. While we wait, a new post - The smallest minority : the individual, alone and abandoned.

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