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You got guts, Erin Palette

I confess that even though she and I are both considered Gunbloggers (she more than I, though she disputes her gunblogger status), Erin Palette really wasn’t on my radar.

Not until yesterday when I noticed this graphic popping up across the gunblogosphere:


Blogs like this one and this one and this one told part of the tale.

But everybody stepped aside to let Erin Palette reveal what she has gathered the great courage to say about herself.

I can’t add anything to what’s already been written. Erin Palette, you got guts. But Erin’s story is also a great testimony to one of the best (and least mentioned) things about the Internet — the ability to relate to others by their heart and soul, not by their age, color, location, sex, gender, or other non-essentials. Pretty damn good testimony for “gun nuts,” too. Gun nuts. You know — those ignorant, racist, homophobic, redneck intolerant good ole boys.


  1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit August 30, 2013 1:24 pm

    I dunno, Claire – I recall the days of the internet when people would meet me and be astonished to find out that I really AM a lawyer. The internet – given that it’s all communication by word and picture (well, generally – I’m aware of Skype and suchlike) still allows people to relatively easily to present themselves as they wish to be seen, which may or may not be the “real person.”

    Not that meatspace is necessarily any better. You’ve seen me – do I even remotely resemble what people think of when they picture a lawyer? 😉

  2. Claire
    Claire August 30, 2013 1:43 pm

    Oh, and of course I know the ‘Net’s reputation as a haven for Evil Deceivers. But while I’ve certainly run into a few lunatics online (who eventually showed themselves to be lunatics), I’ve never knowingly run into someone who was other than what s/he presented as being. In fact, other than superficial shocks of manner or appearance, I’ve been struck by how very much like their real-world selves people are online.

  3. naturegirl
    naturegirl August 30, 2013 1:52 pm

    Most of the “gun nuts” I have observed come from a background that believes in loyalty, honor, and leave no one behind mentalities. And that is something I learned from the internet, more than anywhere else.

    I agree, the chance to relate to people like that IS one of the best things about the internet.

  4. Bear
    Bear August 30, 2013 1:55 pm

    Oh, dear Bog. That loon has made it to your blog. I used to have online dealings with her. I eventually deleted her from my blog list and unfriended the nut (back when I was still on Facebook).

    She’s a nice enough person, but I’m crazy enough myself, without adding her nuttiness to my list of things to deal with.

    She once asked me for some technical advice about solar power. I gave it, including some instructions for determining her power requirements. She bitched that it was too technical. So I explained how to compute power based on the device’s voltage and watt ratings. Then she complained that I was treating her like an idiot.

    Several months back, I tried to reconcile with her. She’d requested advice on making some SF gaming stuff more consistent and explainable to players. I dipped into m shallow pool of physics knowledge (and SF) and gave her some ideas. She went off on a multiple letter rant about how condescending I am (I most certainly can be, but all I’d indulged in that time was helpfulness). And then…

    She shifted the d/i/s/c/u/s/s/i/o/n/ psychotic raging to a complaint that I constantly ridiculed her MLP interests by sending her pictures of dead, mutilated ponies every few days (WTF?). This was… odd, since possibly my very first comments on her blog were a defense of MLP (and bronies, and… whatever you call female MLP fans), contrasting that with some of my own much odder past hobbies (I specifically mentioned the folks that dress up in stranger clothing, pretend they’re living in the middle ages, and beat each other with clubs). As for the pictures…

    That was weird enough that I went back through all my email archives to see what I’d sent her the entire time I dealt with her. The only pony pix I could find in a year’s worth of correspondence were someone else’s Lego display with (live, intact) ponies and my own “imaginary grenade massacre” pic (, which I admit included a dead pony. I suppose you could also count the picture I posted to my old blog: A (live, intact) pony in a Jayne hat, carrying an AK-47. I asked her what other pictures she thought I’d shared, that she found offensive. I also apologized for (inadvertently) offending her.

    She didn’t answer, but she did “offer” to start sending me pictures of mutilated penises (??!!) every day.

    “Body dysmorphism” is the least of her problems. She’s got guts, but running off potential friends and allies isn’t going to help.

  5. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit August 30, 2013 3:19 pm

    I’d be delighted to be compared to Dracula, so long as it was Saberhagen’s more accurate interpretation:

    Ooooh….$4.99 for the Kindle Edition. Might be time to retire the paperback!

    And I’ve got a coat like Shylock – does that count? Sadly, though, I don’t have the ectomorph shape that really can pull those long coats off well. Doesn’t stop me from wearing ’em, but I end up looking more like a Bulgarian KGB agent.

    Naturegirl, I’ve certainly met many gunnies who fit your description, but I’ve also met more than a few who’re nutty enough to make me seriously rethink my libertarian beliefs regarding people having guns. There are some flat out loons out there!

  6. naturegirl
    naturegirl August 30, 2013 3:44 pm

    LOL, Lawhobbit. Usually if there’s a nutcase out there they will find me. I wonder how I missed running into them.

    And Claire, I think of you as more of a freedom blogger than a gun one.

  7. Graystone
    Graystone August 30, 2013 10:29 pm

    Re Erin:

    I’m an old guy who used to do lots of outdoor stuff, but lately sometimes have trouble getting around the neighborhood for my 30 minute walk each day. That said, I still enjoy reading good equipment reviews, and never paid much attention to whether the reviewer stood or sat when they peed. I’ve also paid little attention to back porch equipment reviews, because back in the day, if a review wasn’t done under actual field conditions, it wasn’t worth reading. That, like most other things in our “modern” world has changed, and we now content ourselves with equipment reviews done by people who will never use them under actual field conditions. Along comes “Erin” who, although a back porch reviewer, actually puts some effort into his/her reviews, and gives the reader enough info to make an informed decision prior to purchase. All is well and good until he/she decides to come out of the closet and and provide us with way more info than we need to know about his/her personal life. My question is: Why spoil a good thing? Why not stick with the good reviews, and the pro-gun stuff, and spare us the drama-queen personal stuff that is not relevant to most of his/her readers? Guts? I don’t think so. There are other forums that are more appropriate to Erin’s coming-out than a pro-gun, mostly conservative blog, and many of us feel blindsided by his/her announcement. Probably just the old guy, conservative in me rearing it’s prejudicial head, but I bet there are lots of others that feel the same way. Anyway, no hate here, and good luck to you whoever you are. Hope you continue with the good reviews, and informative blog.

  8. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette August 30, 2013 10:33 pm

    Thank you for linking to me, Claire. I’ve added you to my blog and I thank you for doing the same. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. However, may I beg your indulgence and ask for a moment to speak directly to Bear directly? I promise it won’t take long, and then I’m done; I would have emailed him directly but I imagine my address is in his spam filter.


    Oh, really, Bear. I’m an awful person?

    However poorly I may have treated you — and yes, I did make assumptions, jump to conclusions, and at least once confuse you with another person during a really, really stressful time — not once, NOT ONCE, did I ever say an unkind thing about you behind your back.

    Oh, I’m so horrible, I even offered to donate money to help you buy a kitten. How psychotic of me.

    Thank you, Claire. I’m done here.

  9. Squeaky Wheel
    Squeaky Wheel August 30, 2013 11:08 pm

    Claire, I would like to apologize in advance, but I have a sort of OCD about certain types of commenters. I will try to be civil.

    Bear – Methinks the lad(y) doth protest too much (and I’m talking about you). My point? LET IT GO, bro. I piss people off all the time. They piss me off, too. Does that change whether I support their lifestyle? Well, as long as they’re not doing me or anyone else any harm, what the hell does it matter? There’s someone who stopped reading Erin’s blog because she’s helping me to get support with a ridiculously complicated medical problem…he hates ME so much he stopped talking to HER. Don’t be that guy. Nobody likes that guy. Especially when he’s so wrapped up in a slight that he has parenthetical details about it. No, I wasn’t there, I have no dog in THAT fight, but I do in this one, and your comment is completely unrelated. You’re just holding a grudge and taking it out on someone else’s blog…why?

    Graystone – When your comment started, I was like, “Yay! Respect!” and then you had to go and start talking about how Erin telling people who she really was on HER BLOG was inappropriate. Um…it’s a blog. You’re commenting on one, right now. If you can’t tell people things about yourself on your PERSONAL website…I mean…where is an appropriate place? And I know Erin – she can be dramatic, but her coming out was anything but – she was rational, logical, and expository in a way that most folks can only dream of being in such a stressful situation.

    As for being “blindsided,” I suggest you read her comment section – they’re quite a bit less nonplussed than one would think. You say “no hate here,” and admit that maybe it’s leftover prejudice (and…not all conservatives ARE prejudiced against people for their gender/sexual preferences), but I just wanted you to think about your comment on “appropriate content” – she posts videos of My Little Ponies, fer cryin’ out loud. That’s not related to conservatism OR firearms. Is that a problem for you, too, or could you overlook it because you thought she was a biological female, and thus it was “ok” for her to do such silly things every once in a while? I honestly want you to think about that.

    And again, I apologize for coming in here and possibly pissing all over your living room, Claire. Thanks for your support. 🙂

  10. Nicki
    Nicki August 30, 2013 11:56 pm

    Why couldn’t Erin just stick to gun reviews? She could have. She chose not to. Why? That’s none of your goddamn business, sir! It’s HER blog. I’m sure you’ve heard of private property before, right? Ego SHE can write whatever she wants on whatever topic SHE feels is necessary. And you, of course, are free to read it or not.

    Of course, you’re also free to bitch about it and to stop reading. That is your choice and your right. But it seems more than a bit stupid to complain about what a person chooses to reveal in her own medium – a site where you are but a mere guest. Here’s a clue: YOU don’t decide what is appropriate on someone else’s site. YOU don’t decide what she should or should not share with her readers. SHE does. When you start paying for your own site and develop writing skills that rival hers, you can certainly decide what you choose to reveal or not. Until then, you have no standing (and no human decency, judging by the rude, disgusting manner in which you refer to her as a he/she. What’s next? It?).

    Blindsided? Erin is not your wife, and not your girlfriend. Hell, you don’t even know her in person! And if you enjoyed her reviews and writings on gun issues before, there’s NO reason for you not to enjoy them now. They spring from the same sharp mind and talented hand as before. If it changes your perception of her writing…

    …then check your ignorance at the door.

    And to Bear – airing your dirty laundry in public is unbecoming.


    PS – to Claire. Forgive me if I’m being too strident. I’ve seen the pain and stress and courage it takes to come out the way Erin did, and the ignorance that results from people cuts me more deeply than I can explain.

  11. naturegirl
    naturegirl August 31, 2013 12:41 am


    Years back when I decided to get serious about hunting down info regarding gun ownership, I specifically looked for women’s point of views. I made the rounds of various blogs written by women until I eventually found Cornered Cat and a couple other ones (none of which were Erin’s) that fit the bill for what I wanted to find out. And back then, pre-fad times, it was difficult as a woman to feel comfortable about approaching most ranges/stores/instructors (majority being males) unless we could hold our own in conversations and knowing what the heck we were asking for/about.

    So from that standpoint, it would change things for anyone like me. Just based on the different body types alone.

    It’s my understanding that even tho some of this was talked about years ago, this recent discussion came about because of a fundraiser. I don’t know her, or wish her anything but the best, anyway.

  12. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau August 31, 2013 7:52 am

    I’m with Bear. I’m pretty easygoing about the infinite number of ways humans can relate to the world, but the neuroses that appear from their attempts to relate to themselves make me tired. I guess I am allergic to “high maintenance” people. I really prefer to associate with those at ease with themselves, even if themselves are way outside of the usual.

  13. jed
    jed August 31, 2013 8:59 am

    Despite that fact that Squeaky surely didn’t plan on her health issues coinciding with the denouement of the Bradly Manning case, the synchronicity of Erin’s coming out with that still pokes at me as possibly being not coincidental. But it also proves handy, as there a couple of interesting articles available which dovetail nicely. One is linked to by Eric S. Raymond, who provides his usual well done treatment. (I wouldv’e posted that for Erin, but can’t find any comments link, not as bait, but because I’m genuinely curious about hearing what she might think about it.)

    Some people (e.g. Bruce Schneier) are now referring to Bradley Manning as Chelsea. I admit to being on the fence on this, as I find it awkward, considering his obvious physical gender. The pronoun confusion problem is, I suppose, the least of the problems such people have, though over time, perhaps one of the most annoying. Yet I’m referring to Erin as “she”. I suppose this is because I can speak to her nom-de-plume (which is really more than that), whereas with Manning, no such thing exists. Were I to meet her in person, I’m not sure how I’d react. I hope with grace and tact.

    Further, on the matter of referrents, I’m reminded of Claire’s question, “Whose Name is It, Anyway?”, which reminds me that I should call Manning “Chelsea” simply because that’s what he’s chosen, and courtesy, if nothing else, should govern.

  14. Joel
    Joel August 31, 2013 9:17 am

    I try to come across as a guy on my blog, but really I’m … actually a guy.

    Seriously, maybe I’m lacking but this sort of thing just doesn’t stroke my compassion button. There are some sorts of neurosis I wish people would choose not to share, or at least not try to turn into a cause celebre. I mean, what am I supposed to do about it? Buy him some pretty shoes?

  15. McThag
    McThag August 31, 2013 10:00 am

    The courage comes from knowing that you’ll encounter threads just like this one where people who have no frame of reference to even begin forming a basis of understanding the issue will spout off like they know everything about it, and negatively at that.

  16. Squeaky Wheel
    Squeaky Wheel August 31, 2013 10:01 am

    So posts of direct support are held for moderation, but hateful and ignorant ones are cool for everyone to see?


  17. The Jack
    The Jack August 31, 2013 10:05 am

    While the OP has good sentiments many of the posts don’t get it.

    First, it’s not like Erin wanted this situation or asked for it. And those of you saying “why did she have to tell us?” Well, why do you have to say anything?

    It’s not like she’s demanding you read her blog or praise her.

    If Erin weirds you out, you don’t have to read her. Yes acceptance is scary, and people are different. But even if we presume you’re right that it’s all a neurosis then what you’re demanding is that someone suffer in silence so you don’t get the bad feels.

    I also find the complainers amusing here when you mutter on a chat thread about how you don’t like high maintenance people… about someone who’s asked nothing from you.

  18. Claire
    Claire August 31, 2013 10:09 am

    Squeaky Wheel — Comments from NEW posters are held for moderation. Has nothing to do with content. I was late to the blog this morning, but I’ve now approved everything. And I thank you.

  19. Dex
    Dex August 31, 2013 10:14 am

    >>I mean, what am I supposed to do about it? Buy him some pretty shoes?<<


  20. Mike
    Mike August 31, 2013 10:18 am

    I see it as gutsy not just because it’s an unpopular/misunderstood/mischaracterized/etc. position, but also because of the mental discomfort the problem causes.

    I didn’t really see any asking for compassion, and this is totally aside from any other possible issues Erin has going on.

    I don’t see it any differently than the people who complain about various people “making too big a deal about racism,” “making too big a deal about sexism,” or “making too big a deal about sexual orientation.” Admonishing people to be quiet about some issue that’s affecting them doesn’t make the issue go away. You may feel (and I DO feel, sometimes, about certain people) that these things are too harped upon…But the talking about it goes away as the various prejudices do.

    In the meantime, I’ll continue to treat people like people, attempt to continue to differentiate between stereotype and lizard brain “gift of fear,” nod and smile when a friend of mine comes to me with a “revelation” like this, and continue to treat them the same way.

  21. Squeaky Wheel
    Squeaky Wheel August 31, 2013 10:35 am

    jed – …I’m trying to figure out your train of thought. You think I waited to be diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis with adhesions binding my uterus to my bowel, with an unknown mass growing between the two organs, thereby requiring surgery ASAP (including a full hysterectomy at the age of 30)…because of someone else’s gender identity issues? Could you please clarify?

    Claire – Thanks for the clarification, and the email. I will say, however, that I am kind of disappointed that long-standing commenters here appear to be so…small-minded.

  22. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette August 31, 2013 10:42 am

    Jed: I am SO pissed at Manning right now, because he* cast a massive pallor over all of this. However, this entire thing was planned well in advance of his coming out. If you look at my blog, you will see the announcement of showing my face (and therefore revealing my true identity) was made on August 2nd of this year. Therefore it really IS coincidental.

    Joel: I don’t need your compassion, I just need you not to be an ass about it. And yes, shoes would be lovely. The PayPal button is on my blog.

    To all the other haters: I would have been perfectly content keeping my face off the internet forever. What you either fail to grasp, or do not wish to grasp, is that I did it solely to raise funds for a dear friend (Squeaky) who needs multiple surgeries for a devastating illness. I didn’t do it for attention or sympathy or anything else like that; I used the attention that the anticipation would generate for a damn good cause.

    It was entirely Squeaky’s idea to make the banners and rally the troops for support, because I was freaking out that people would do basically what you’re doing right now and try to make me feel bad about myself. I certainly wouldn’t have done it on my own, but you’d better believe I accepted her offer without a second thought.

    *I’m using he because he’s a traitor and therefore does not deserve any of my respect whatsoever.

  23. Mike SixEight
    Mike SixEight August 31, 2013 10:48 am

    In this day and age, unless they’ve shown unsafe handling after thorough training or have ripped people off, the last thing we need to be doing in attacking other gun owners. What we need to do is continue implementing Gun Owner 2.0 (Oleg Volk has a great photoseries concerning future gun owners) and getting everyone we can into the shooting community. The Leftists on The Hill and scattered about this country would love nothing better than for their opposition to being turning on itself and falling due to infighting.

  24. Joel
    Joel August 31, 2013 10:49 am


    But I would cheerfully do that in any case. What does the one thing have to do with the other? Do you discuss your sexual identity issues with people you meet at the range? Neither do I.

  25. Claire
    Claire August 31, 2013 10:52 am

    I don’t see any “haters” here (per Erin’s second comment). I see opinionated cusses on both sides, a few curmudgeons, and a passionate, interesting, revealing, worthwhile discussion.

    I do see two comments I’d say have resorted to name calling (one on each side). Can we please back off from that?

  26. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette August 31, 2013 11:13 am

    Okay, here’s what I mean when I say “hater”, and why:

    Bear: Threadjacks a post about acceptance and coming out just to explain what an awful person I am for making him feel bad. It’s all about him and his butthurt, and he’ll air dirty laundry to get back at me.

    Graystone: Thinks it isn’t appropriate for me to talk about myself on my own blog, and that I should only talk about the things he likes, and that I should keep these revelations which make him uncomfortable to more “appropriate forums,” as if they’re something shameful and dangerous and need to be kept away from the decent folk lest they, I dunno, contract AIDS of the eye by reading it or something.

    Paul Bonneau: Derides me for being neurotic and high-maintenance, as if he’s required to deal with me on a daily basis or something. I really doubt he’s ever set foot on my blog. So this is a complaint in search of a problem — i.e. he’s putting the boot in (calling me names) just for laughs, I guess.

    Joel: Calls me “him”. Asks if he should “buy me pretty shoes,” which reads like sarcasm. He doesn’t want to deal with me, that’s fine; he can benignly ignore me. Does he? Nope, he gets his digs in.

    Seriously, guys, if you want to insult me or talk crap about me, at least show some balls and do it on my own blog.

  27. Joel
    Joel August 31, 2013 11:26 am

    Look, Erin:

    Call me oldfashioned, but if you’ve got male plumbing you’re gonna get called a “him.” Sorry if that offends you. It’s not meant as an insult, just a statement of fact.

    I was benignly ignoring you before you brought it up. If you didn’t want the matter discussed, you could have controlled that. I have matters I don’t want discussed, and I know how to make that happen. But since you brought it up, my question remains relevant. What do you want me to do about it?

  28. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette August 31, 2013 11:38 am

    Joel: So it’s my fault for talking about it on my blog, it’s my fault Claire linked to it, it’s my fault you can’t handle what I am, it’s my fault that made you comment, and it’s my fault that you’re going to ignore basic courtesy in favor of being hardheadedly literal.

    Got it.

  29. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette August 31, 2013 11:39 am

    PS: Still waiting for that PayPal donation so I can buy pretty shoes.

  30. Joel
    Joel August 31, 2013 11:53 am

    Wow, you sound just like…

    You’re not actually my ex-wife, are you?

  31. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette August 31, 2013 11:57 am

    Ah, ad hominem attacks, the sign of a defeated argument. I accept your surrender, Joel.

  32. jed
    jed August 31, 2013 11:58 am

    Hey, Squeaky. No, I’m not saying that at all. My train of thought runs in odd loops and trackbacks, and sometimes derails. I’m quite aware that health problems occur when they occur, and said as much. I can also imagine, absent other information, that the current (as I perceive it) higher visibility of gender issues could be influential in a person’s feelings about revelation.

    Also, in re. coincidence, I re-watched Watchmen last night. No, I didn’t recognize that scene from the comic panel.

  33. Joel
    Joel August 31, 2013 12:01 pm

    If you say so, Erin. You win, I lose.

  34. Karel
    Karel August 31, 2013 12:11 pm


    It looks to me like one person here, Bear, does hate you, or at least dislikes you, but his reasons don’t have anything to do with your gender. Everyplace else I’m just seeing people disagreeing or being uncomfortable with personal revelations or at least sexual revelations. I’m with Clare, I think you’ve got guts and you handled your revelation just right, but I hope you’re not going to waste your time fighting everybody who doesn’t 100% accept you. You’ve got better things to do.

    Calling people haters is something Liberals do to try to put everybody else in boxes where they can be ignored. Not all disagreement is hate, not even when you’re on the receiving end of it.

  35. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette August 31, 2013 12:30 pm

    Thank you, Karel.

    No, I don’t plan on fighting everyone. I just got sucked into this because Bear and I have history and he aired dirty laundry behind my back, and then since I was here I figured I’d speak my mind about everyone else, since they saw fit to do the same (and God bless the First Amendment). I think I’ve gotten it all out of my system now.

    Re: the haters thing — I see your point, but we’re probably going to end up disagreeing. I just get really irritated when people think they can keep me from being myself (not breaking any laws, not hurting anyone) just by claiming a moral high ground. I like to call BS on their reasoning.

  36. Squeaky Wheel
    Squeaky Wheel August 31, 2013 12:45 pm

    jed – I can totally understand the brainhamsters (what some of us call the looping and whirling train of thought), and after re-reading your initial comment, and Erin’s response, the whole thing made sense to me.

    Everything was purely coincidental on Erin’s part, as far as timing. It was based on when I got medical news, rather than what was currently in the news. But she’s already said that, so I suppose I’m done. 🙂

  37. Jennifer
    Jennifer August 31, 2013 1:00 pm

    Oh Boy! Claire, thank you. Erin is my friend and I appreciate all the support.
    Bear, thank you for not being a bigot and using the appropriate pronoun. I’m sorry you have a personal issue with Erin. Seems like an odd place to air your dirty laundry.
    As far as whether or not it is appropriate to discuss personal things/sexual identity things/etc on ones own blog, it is appropriate. Your space, your rules. If a reader doesn’t like it, they can move on. There is really nothing to be gained by saying ugly things on the way out.
    Thank you again for all the support. Claire, I hate that your space became so volatile over this.

  38. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein August 31, 2013 2:38 pm

    I don’t often feel ignorant, but this thread did it to me. Except for the money being raised, and I suppose Erin writing whatever Erin wishes on Erin’s blog, and likewise for Claire or anyone else of course, I’ll just never understand—WHO GIVES A SHIT?

    Did I say, “Who”? Alright, technically I understand that easy enough. I mean, it’s kinda obvious. What I’ll never get, I’m sure until the day I die, is WHY???

    Please, anyone that’s got a sensible answer, clue me in. But I already know there’s no sensible answer. I mean damn, I could go into an endless rant. The lifeblood’s been sucked right out of the human species, it seems. It’s like nobody can live–as a HUMAN, as a RATIONAL BEING–without getting into someone else’s life. What in the world is that all about, anyway? Are people really that bored? Are that just that nosy? Are they so futile at living their own lives? My hunch is that it’s that last.

    LIVE, for crissakes already. And let live.

  39. Plug Nickel Outfit
    Plug Nickel Outfit August 31, 2013 3:27 pm

    I had a question yesterday after reading Claire’s post and the links – this was prior to any of the comments that have occurred here since. I suspect that my question arises because I’m not a regular follower of Erin’s blog. I’ve probably stopped by there a dozen times over the last year – following links from other blogs I follow more regularly.

    So… times I’ve previously stopped by Erin’s blog – I recall a fairly prominent photo of what appears to be a young lady wearing a raccoon-tail hat and holding a rifle. Now I don’t recall the photo being fastidiously labeled as representing Erin – but within blogging circles those sort of photos generally represent a likeness of the blogger. (just like what’s apparently intended to be Claire’s likeness above)

    I’m confused about the ‘why’ of using that photo. Perhaps this is something that Erin mentioned in their blog that I didn’t read as I don’t stop by there often.

    Is this a big issue – do I want my money back? No – but it does strike me as the type of thing that would sow confusion – a matter of “how we present ourselves to the world”.

  40. Ken Hagler
    Ken Hagler August 31, 2013 4:28 pm

    I’d never heard of Erin Palette before this post. However, there’s a comment earlier in this thread from someone claiming to be Erin Palette saying this:

    “Jed: I am SO pissed at Manning right now, because he* cast a massive pallor over all of this.

    *I’m using he because he’s a traitor and therefore does not deserve any of my respect whatsoever.”

    If that’s written by the “real” Erin Palette, well, that tells me what sort of a person Erin Palette is.

  41. Claire
    Claire August 31, 2013 5:15 pm

    Well, FWIW, Plug Nickel Outfit, the picture at the top of this blog is me. But it’s probably 15 years old and even then my chin needed help to look that good. So is it representative or deceptive? I dunno. Eye of the beholder.

    As to deceptive images, here’s a LOL. You know I’m photo-averse. Thus the big hat. But before I got that photo, a publisher absolutely insisted on me having a picture at the top of columns I used to write for him. He made a huge issue out of it. So a nice person created a “symbolic” image for me that featured (IIRC) a horse on a hill in the background and in the foreground the face of a beautiful woman. Actually half a face; the rest was cropped off. We did it that way deliberately so nobody would think it was meant as a real portrait of me.

    Well, a friend of a friend knew a certain famous man. A famous single man. On the basis of that photo and my writings, he started a correspondence and wanted to meet me. Right away I told him that was NOT me and that I wasn’t that good looking — and he didn’t want to meet me any more.

    No loss to either him or me. He’s someone whose name and face I see often and whose views and exploits I respect. But anybody who’d decide he wanted to meet me — then not — on the basis of a picture isn’t somebody I’d want to get very close to even if I looked like Gisele Bundchen.

    I also noticed Erin’s very female image. Not really sure what I think about that. But I guess it also doesn’t really matter to me, though I can see why it might to some folks.

  42. Bear
    Bear August 31, 2013 9:50 pm

    (I wasn’t planning to come back to this, but Joel’s blog entry induced me to risk it)

    Squeaky Wheel: Methinks you protest about stuff I never protested. Erin presented herself as a woman. So I treated her that way. I figure people have the right to define themselves. My issue with her wasn’t her “lifestyle”, unless you’re referring to her attacking people who try to help her. I had “let it go” until Claire introduced her here because I was mildly disturbed at the indication that someone I’ve been avoiding is going to be showing up on a blog where I’ve been a regular for some time.
    Erin: “Oh, really, Bear. I’m an awful person?” Read my comment again. I quote myself: “She’s a nice enough person”, “She’s got guts”. I fail to see the part where I said you’re an awful person. It must be in there with the daily dead pony pix.

    “NOT ONCE, did I ever say an unkind thing about you behind your back.” Nor have I done that to you. I said nothing here that I didn’t try to tell you directly. That’s when you replied with the aforementioned threat.

    “It’s all about him and his butthurt, and he’ll air dirty laundry to get back at me.” Says the lady who who issued threats in “response” to imagined offenses when I tried to work this out with you earlier this year.

    But threadjack? Not really. So far as the gender issue, my point was: “It doesn’t matter; that’s not what I judge her by.” You’ve identified as a woman; that’s good enough, case closed. That’s how I’ve treated similar cases in the past, and it seemed to work then. I’m considering the person, not the wrapper.
    Nicki: It wasn’t my “dirty laundry”. While I’m fully capable of being a cranky curmudgeon and asshole, that wasn’t the case here. I saw a problem. I attempted to reach out to fix it by offering some minor assistance in reply to a public — general — request on her blog. I even apologized for inadvertently giving offense (I’m socially inept and all-too-often say things wrong without realizing it until after the fact). In response, I got baseless accusations and a threat. A rather disturbing threat.

    Folks, welcome to the 21st century and the Internet. If someone makes a public announcement, don’t be surprised when other people reply equally publicly.

  43. Bear
    Bear August 31, 2013 9:50 pm

    —darned closing tags…—

  44. Woody
    Woody September 1, 2013 4:24 am

    I was going to stay out of this one until I read,

    “*I’m using he because he’s a traitor and therefore does not deserve any of my respect whatsoever.”

    Erin, your problems go deeper than your gender issues.

  45. Keith
    Keith September 1, 2013 4:38 am

    Hi Claire, my first time here – really enjoyed your rats book.

    Re: Chelsea [nee Bradly] Manning

    I dearly hope that state* minions don’t go all Fallujah, Waco or Boston anywhere at all, and most particularly, not anywhere near any of us.

    If they do, I’ll be hoping that at least one of them will be having sufficient presence of conscience and guts to try to do something about it.

    *the minions of any state at all. To my mind, there isn’t a good one.

  46. Karen
    Karen September 1, 2013 6:54 am

    One of the things I believe draws us to Claire’s place is our mutual desire to achieve individual freedom in our lives. What that means varies to each of us individually. For an example, some of us choose to live in the woods and some of us choose not to. And that’s OK. I suppose that human nature means that we’ll form opinions about the choices of others, but our very desire for our own freedom means that we shouldn’t be imposing our opinions on those who disagree with us or don’t understand us and our choices.

    In college I worked with a parole officer and one of his frequent admonitions was to not keep secrets because it leaves one vulnerable to blackmail. Years later when I arrived unceremoniously in AA, a frequently heard admonition was that we’re only as sick as our secrets. I applaud Erin for giving up that secret and taking a step toward living freedom.

    I’m sorry that folks who have no reason to be threatened or affected in any way feel compelled to take pot shots at something they don’t understand. I’m disappointed that supposed freedom seekers seem to want to limit or deny someone else’s path to personal freedom. It strikes me as somewhat alarming that some say that by Erin speaking this particular secret makes it alright to ridicule and criticize it. I suppose we should all feel good that we have freedom of speech, even when it’s negative or hurtful, and call ourselves good examples of living freedom.

  47. Brad R
    Brad R September 1, 2013 7:22 am

    “*I’m using he because he’s a traitor and therefore does not deserve any of my respect whatsoever.”

    Erin, I’m confused. Is it your position that everyone is entitled to define his or her gender identity, except those convicted of a crime? Or except those whose actions you disapprove? Either way, why do you get to be the one who decides?

  48. Roberta X
    Roberta X September 1, 2013 9:12 am

    Do you think Erin decided that for you, Brad R, or are you still free to make your own choice of first name and personal pronoun for PVT Manning?

    There are actually a couple of notions flailing at one another with shoestrings here, or maybe even three:

    1. Do people get to define themselves?

    2. Are other folk *obliged* to go along, or ought they be left to make up their own minds, guided by their own ideas of what’s fitting, moral and/or polite? (2.A. What if they’re really, really bad people? 2.B. Or they think the OP is? Do we apply the Jeffersonian “picked pocket/broken leg” standard of harm here?)

    3. Is it okay to not get along so damn well with people who are different from you on issues other than that difference or should you get guilted/shamed/legislated outta that?

    I can’t answer those questions for anyone else. I don’t think anyone should be in a position to answer them for anyone but themselves.

  49. Claire
    Claire September 1, 2013 10:50 am

    Karen — Thanks for injecting your uncommon common sense and humanity into the discussion.

    Keith — Thanks and welcome!

    Roberta X — I agree with your points. But I’m with others in being very curious about what Erin meant about Manning.

    Yeah, we’re all free to use the pronouns of our choice. But this world would be a lot better place if we all accorded others the same respect we hope to receive for ourselves — even when we dislike or disagree with the “other” in question.

  50. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 1, 2013 12:19 pm

    Very much agree with what Roberta X Says.

    And I’m also curious about Erin’s comments re Manning.

  51. Keith
    Keith September 1, 2013 12:25 pm

    Claire and Karen,
    It should have been obvious but it escaped me until you pointed it out, thanks.

    Frank van Dun explains it far better than I can, I guess he should be able to, as he does it for a job

    In the face-to-face context, the question is whether each of us should respect the rights of the other. It turns out that [s]he who would attempt to argue that [s]he should not respect the other’s natural rights, inevitably involves himself [/herself] in dialectical contradiction by denying the very conditions [s]he is presupposing in presenting his argument as something to be taken seriously by his opponent as well as by himself. It would be as if [s]he was saying: I am taking you seriously and I expect you to take me seriously, therefore I expect you to take me seriously when I say seriously that I should not take you seriously. In short, [s]he would be saying: I respect you, therefore I shouldn’t — which is absurd.

    There is in fact no way in which the proposition that we — you and I — should respect each other, can be defeated in any rational argument between us. But the order or law of the human world is precisely that condition in which people are prepared to enter into rational argument, each taking the other seriously, and to carry out the commitments they undertake in so talking to one another. This is exactly what the [Latin] word ‘ius’ conveys. Consequently, if we take ourselves seriously, the conclusion that we are under the obligation to respect one another, is inescapable. This fundamental obligation entails that each is bound to respect others as long as they respect him[/her], and that each has a right to the respect of others as long as [s]he respects them.

    excerpted from Frank van Dun, Kritarchy

  52. Roberta X
    Roberta X September 1, 2013 12:44 pm

    Claire, I can’t speak for Erin but in re PVT Manning, there are two related issues: one is the whistleblowing side, calling attention to possible war crimes, and the other is swearing an oath to not betray a trust and then betraying it.

    Promising not to tell and then telling — is that okay? Do ends justify means so easily and simply? Reality isn’t a Disney film. Sometimes — oftentimes — doing what you think is right comes at a terrible price. 35 years in jail, for instance.

    For that matter (and in re the sins of Disney), in the *original* story of The Little Mermaid, every step she took on land felt as if she was stepping on the blade of a knife. They used to try to give kids some appreciation of nuance and “playing for keepsies.” Now the muddle-headed think it’s all okay-fine if you meant well and your heart was rilly rilly pure.

  53. Keith
    Keith September 1, 2013 12:54 pm

    that brings us to the question of whether there are inalienable rights, or whether we can alienate them all for the king’s shilling.

    personally, I’m of the opinion that free will and freedom of conscience are inalienable, despite the example of Manning being caged pour encourage…

  54. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein September 1, 2013 2:02 pm

    “Promising not to tell and then telling — is that okay?”

    To Manning, obviously so. End of story.

    Nobody likes that, because it’s an explicit denial that there could be some “okay” aside from that. That’s the big secret to the whole ball o’ wax—there isn’t. All there are, is other people’s judgments of what’s okay.

    IOW “End of story” there means END OF STORY. As in, literally.

    What everyone’s really asking is, “If my judgment of another person’s action is “not okay,” then what’s the right thing for me or my agents to do about it?” Another individual judgment, and another end of story.

    Socially, what’s the right answer? Too easy…the NAP. A person can rationalize and justify till the cows come home, but that person either CHOOSES the NAP or doesn’t. Everything else is noise.

    “Yeah, but…” “Yeah, but…” Everyone’s busy with the “but,” and everyone overlooks the “yeah.”

  55. Roberta X
    Roberta X September 1, 2013 2:50 pm

    Keith: Crap, I wrote a whole thing and then realized I was gonna hafta face the topic police. We’re way off course.

  56. Ken Hagler
    Ken Hagler September 1, 2013 3:08 pm

    This is the oath that people enlisting in the US military swear:

    “I, XXXXXXXXXX, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

    So far as I know Manning is the only enlisted person currently in the US military who _hasn’t_ broken his oath. The rest of them are all obedient little Imperial Stormtroopers.

  57. Terry
    Terry September 1, 2013 3:21 pm

    Hi Claire

    Boy, *you’ve* got guts to let this go on, on your watch. 🙂

    Hi Erin

    I jumped from here to your site, read your ‘coming out piece,’ and left you a note. I commend your courage here as I did on your site, and I’d like to wish you something, something I call a ‘casual confidence.’

    A casual confidence comes from being, finally, as it were, comfortable in your own skin. A recognition that ‘it is what it is,’ and that what it is, is all right with you. An acceptance that no one gets 100% approval from everybody, and the ability to live with that. A casual confidence allows you to stay silent, allowing the other person to be wrong when you know you are right, letting them have the last word rather than begin the same whole argument over and over again. A casual confidence knows that the people who matter will know the truth because they know you.

    I certainly recognize that casual confidence can be difficult, but I dearly wish it for you. Also, I wish it for Bear and for all readers of Claire’s work.

    Oh, and I’m sending a few bucks to your donation request.


  58. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 1, 2013 7:46 pm

    Since several folks have asked me to clarify my statement re: Manning and respect —

    Pvt. Manning does not deserve my respect because Pvt. Manning broke an oath freely sworn. While I agree that some of the things that were leaked should have been (the Apache helicopter video being chief among these, because deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime), exposing 250,000 diplomatic cables from our embassies accomplished what greater good, exactly? Pvt. Manning says Pvt. Manning released them to “create a discussion” which sounds to me more like “I want attention.”

    Also, the cynical part of me wonders if the revelation of Pvt. Manning being transgender is just a ploy to get lenient treatment, since it just so happened to come to light exactly one day after sentencing. Convenient, that.

    Now I should hope it would be self-evident that I of course am in favor of people choosing whatever gender identification makes them comfortable. But given that

    A) Manning hurt our diplomatic relations with the world for the sake of ego;
    B) The transgender “revelation” is just so darn convenient;
    C) I think it’s more grandstanding.

    If, after getting out of jail, Pvt Manning still wants sexual reassignment surgery, I say “God Bless” and I’ll be happy to call her Chelsea. Until then, I’m not going to show that level of respect to a convicted traitor, and I’m going to laugh at any & all suggestions that my tax dollars be used to pay for that SRS.

    And that’s my opinion on the matter.

  59. Claire
    Claire September 1, 2013 8:01 pm

    Thanks, Erin. Glad you came back to explain.

    And Roberta X, the Topic Police 🙂 will not be arresting anybody for this thread, even if it goes off in the Bradley/Chelsea direction.

    All I ask is the usual — that discussion remain civil and that nobody call names. Other than that — gopherit.

  60. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein September 1, 2013 9:14 pm

    “Manning hurt our diplomatic relations with the world for the sake of ego…”

    Heh…he, and we, should be so lucky. That sort of grand morality is only all too rare. That’s why we are where we are, of course.

    It’s funny…everyone likes to pretend it’s wrong to serve yourself, yet every bite of food they lift to their own lips. No wonder there’s so much dissonance.

    Did you say there’s some “greater good” out there? I know nothing about you, Erin, but judging from the story here I would’ve guessed you of all people knew better. Darn, in one comment thread I went from ignorant to mistaken.

  61. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 1, 2013 11:21 pm

    That’s fine, Jim. I’m perfectly okay with you disagreeing with me or thinking me mistaken. Heck you (or anyone else) can actively NOT LIKE ME, so long as it’s for what I do or say, not for any accident of my birth.

    You think what Manning did was fine. I don’t. I can respect your position. Can you respect mine?

  62. Fitz
    Fitz September 2, 2013 1:30 am

    Erin, how do you feel about ‘gender neutral’ pronouns like “hir”?
    Cause here’s the thing… I respect your right to self-definition, and applaud your courage in making it known. I recognize the validity of your model of the universe where you “are” in essence if not biology, all of those things that Erin “is”.
    But am I a bigoted hater if I don’t accept peoples self-definitions as my model of the universe? I won’t be an asshole about it, but if I acknowledge the validity of your model, at least do me the same courtesy.
    I don’t mock the religious folk who maintain what I model as wine and crackers is in essence “really” blood and flesh. Their model is as valid to them as mine is to me, but I won’t agree to any demand that I accept it as the one true model lest I be deemed a hater.
    I have met a few “otherkin” who seem in earnest when they describe the disturbing sight in the mirror which Erin wrote of. Their self-definition that they “really are” an elf, a fox, even a dragon, are as alien to me as Erin’s being a Brony. But I’m a Browncoat who thought he was a Vulcan in high school, who the hell am I to judge?
    And these days I self-define as usually the smartest guy in the room, who is taller, thinner, and has more hair than the person I see in the mirror. But I won’t demand everyone else talk and act like that’s reality for them to.
    So is gender neutral acceptable to use in acknowledgement of that fact that our models of the universe differ, but that’s OK?

  63. Brad R
    Brad R September 2, 2013 3:40 am

    Roberta X – my position is that everyone has the right to call herself by whatever name and pronoun she chooses. But no one has the right to control my use of language, or to require that I speak a certain way. I would hope that Erin realizes that when I refer to her as “she”, I do so out of common courtesy, and not out of obligation. And I’m happy to do so; it costs me nothing, and I strive to be courteous.

    What troubles me about Erin’s statement is that she is requesting a courtesy that she herself is unwilling to extend to another. From this I conclude that either (a) she is being hypocritical, or (b) she believes she is exceptional, and entitled to uncommon treatment. Either explanation erases the respect I had for Erin. I realize I may have excluded a third option, and will certainly entertain other explanations.

    Erin, I think your behavior toward Manning is a mistake, and that it greatly weakens your position. You are establishing a precedent that someone who disapproves of you, for any reason, is encouraged to ignore and insult your sexual identity. You would make a much stronger statement for tolerance if you were to say, “despite my extreme disapproval of PVT Manning, I acknowledge her self-identity and I address her accordingly.”

  64. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein September 2, 2013 5:42 am

    Erin, when you charge someone as a “traitor,” you are calling for their execution, or at least their caging for a long long while. That is, unless you also believe traitors should be free to go about their business. That’s rather different than preferring apple pie over cherry pie.

    Yet another philosophical irony in this world-gone-mad is that those who are the quickest to call for the “greater good” of society or some claptrap like that, are the first to call for the eradication of those individuals who are doing their darnedest to try and save it.

  65. Sam Johnson
    Sam Johnson September 2, 2013 6:23 am

    Hi Claire, I have not been posting much for the past while. I have almost totally stopped watching/reading any news because it is just to negative but wow this post and all the comments are something. I followed all the links and have been reading all of it. Wow.
    I really enjoyed what Karen said. Being in recovery is really what taught me to live and let live in the first place. Anyway, I had no idea who Erin was or what MLP meant before this post. So Erin, Hi welcome to Claire’s blog. It if fun over here. Be true to yourself. Call yourself whatever you want. Dating does seem like it would be difficult. I say be upfront and honest about your sexuality by the third date. That way it is before things turn serious and soon enough so it would feel like anything is being kept secret.
    Freedom means allowing other people to be different from you. Allowing people to not like guns, hate RPG & books. (Not saying I would hang out with them tho eek!) Cheers to you. Live and let live. I really like Avatar the Last Airbender TV show. So you like MLP. Nifty. Tho Avatar is way better, just saying ; )

  66. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau September 2, 2013 7:10 am

    Manning is a hero, plain and simple. It’s a bit much to be getting down on him (her?) while everybody else in the government violates their oath continually. Diplomatic communications SHOULD be out in the open; anyway as far as I’m concerned diplomatic communications are like deals between gangsters (often with the subject matter of how to get the peons into a war they have no enthusiasm for).

    [I’m disappointed that supposed freedom seekers seem to want to limit or deny someone else’s path to personal freedom. It strikes me as somewhat alarming that some say that by Erin speaking this particular secret makes it alright to ridicule and criticize it.]

    I don’t see anyone limiting or denying anything. I have no problem with matter-of-fact revelations and agree that sometimes it makes sense to make them. But guess what, the Internet is a discussion zone. Put personal stuff out there, don’t be surprised it gets talked about. Don’t like it, either don’t put it out there, or put it out matter of fact, without the angst.

  67. Keith
    Keith September 2, 2013 7:51 am

    Thinking about this, there is a parallel between Erin’s coming out and young Manning’s whistle blowing.

    Both have had the bravery to do what they felt they should do.

    Not everyone’s comfortable about it – but that’s life.

    Erin, I think you are brave, and I congratulate you.

    I’ve got to admit, I’d quietly suspected for a while (you have given quite a lot of implicit hints in your posts and comments), but hell, we know now and there’s nothing written in stone to say that a bearded hermit can’t be called she by her peers.

  68. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 2, 2013 8:45 am

    Brad R: I am unwilling to extend that courtesy *specifically* to one person. To quote someone else on this exact topic on a different blog:

    “Now that he prepares to stand trial, he has shown himself to be willing to sacrifice honorable gay and lesbian servicemembers to avoid responsibility. Lawyers for Manning are claiming that his struggle with his sexual orientation contributed to emotional problems that should have precluded him from working in a classified environment. This shameful defense is an offense to the tens of thousands of gay servicemembers who served honorably under “don’t ask, don’t tell.” We all served under the same law, with the same challenges and struggles. We did not commit treason because of it.”

    I don’t have to be LGBT to see that it is a slap in the face for all LGBT, regardless if there are not in the military. He is basically saying that because I am gay, I can’t handle the pressure in such an environment. Ask yourself, do you think women groups would support a woman who said that? How about any other ethnic group. Would they support a person with their ethnic background making such a demeaning statement?

    “Manning’s Defense plays into some of the worst stereotypes about LGBT people in the military, in they’re “security risks” and can’t be trusted by the very fact of their being LGBT. That after the fact his legal team tried to use this to excuse what he did? Is a shame and blot to the LGBT population who have fought so long and hard about gays in the military.”

    And, as I’ve said earlier, I think it’s highly suspect that Manning conveniently comes out as transgender a day after being sentenced to 35 years.

    My contempt for him isn’t based solely on this, of course. I consider him an oathbreaker and a traitor and a coward. All of that disrespect has nothing to do with his orientation and gender. And so, when he says “I want to be called Chelsea, pay for my sex change” my response is “Fuck you, Bradley.”

    And finally — *I* am setting a precedent? I believe the proper reply to that is “ROFL.” The precedent of deriding the sexuality, masculinity/femininity, and legitimacy of birth existed long before I was born and will continue long after I am dead.

  69. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 2, 2013 8:53 am

    Jim Klein said, “Erin, when you charge someone as a “traitor,” you are calling for their execution, or at least their caging for a long long while.

    Yes. That is exactly what I am calling for. The military court which tried Manning felt exactly the same way.

    Paul Bonneau said, “Diplomatic communications SHOULD be out in the open;”

    I really have nothing to say to that other than the sound of my jaw dropping open in disbelief. We’re not going to agree about this, Paul. EVER. I don’t think there’s much point in wasting bandwidth trying to convert one another to the opposite way of thinking.

  70. Brad R
    Brad R September 2, 2013 9:50 am

    Erin wrote:

    He is basically saying that because I am gay, I can’t handle the pressure in such an environment. Ask yourself, do you think women groups would support a woman who said that?

    That happens all the time. As one not-too-distant example, recall Andrea Yates, who was so defended by many women’s groups:

    However, my point is not to discuss the merits or demerits of the Manning case, but rather your (and others’) request to be called by the pronoun of your choice. I think the difference in our viewpoints is that you consider granting that a matter of *respect*, while I consider it a matter of *courtesy*.

    You may want to carefully consider the ramifications of your stand. For with me, as I suspect with many others, respect has to be earned. You were on your way to earning my respect with your post on Duality, but your comments here have caused me to reconsider. Courtesy, on the other hand, is something I automatically extend to all strangers, until they have given me ample cause to withdraw it. (And no, a simple disagreement is not ample cause.)

    The precedent you are thus establishing, in your own personal relationships, is that recognition of your sexual identity is something you have to earn from others — not something that others should accord you out of simple politeness. I find it hard to believe that this is a “win” for your situation, but suit yourself.

    As for myself, I shall continue to adhere to the courtesy standard. I shall not further attempt to persuade you, and in all sincerity I wish you the very best for your life.

  71. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 2, 2013 10:03 am

    Courtesy, on the other hand, is something I automatically extend to all strangers, until they have given me ample cause to withdraw it.

    I may have said “respect” earlier, but you are correct; courtesy is the better term for it. I feel exactly the same way regarding strangers.

    However, Pvt. Manning’s actions have caused me to withdraw that courtesy to him. I hope that my position in this matter is now clear.

    As for you and me, I am comfortable with our current state of affairs. We treat each other courteously, even though we disagree, and I am fine with earning (or losing) your respect through my words and actions.

  72. Brent
    Brent September 2, 2013 10:04 pm

    Erin, what oath did Bradley Manning break? I am curious, as I cannot remember reading that accusation anywhere.

  73. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 3, 2013 10:15 am

    By my count, he broke two: his oath of enlistment (where he swears to obey his superior officers and abide by the UCMJ) and by the legal contract (a written oath) that he signed when he gained his security clearance (which basically is a pinkie promise not to reveal secrets).

  74. Alchemist
    Alchemist September 3, 2013 12:26 pm

    Ms. Palette,

    Note that the oath of enlistment is as follows:

    “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

    Note that first bit about defending the Constitution. That takes precedence above all else. We can debate endlessly about the details, but to a great many observers, much of what the government has done, here and abroad, is clearly unconsitutional. In that respect, Pvt. Manning has fulfilled his oath, to a degree magnitudes of order above beyond what most would even dare think about.

    Also note that the UCMJ clearly states that anyone observing a violation of law, or suspecting one has happened, has a positive legal obligation to report it. Failure to do so is a violation in itself.

    Pvt. Manning reported the information to the ultimate authority: the citizens of the U.S.
    Again, we could argue details, but the fact remains that once again Pvt. Manning fulfilled his oath, also far beyond what most of his peers can even comprehend.

  75. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 3, 2013 1:34 pm

    So releasing in excess of 250,000 diplomatic cables — which he could not have possibly read all of, and therefore had no knowledge of what was in them all — defended our Constitution?

    We’re going to have to disagree on this. I realize lots of commenters keep telling me that he’s done a good thing, but so far no one has yet explained to me how he’s helped anyone in this country.

  76. Alchemist
    Alchemist September 3, 2013 1:52 pm

    Ms. Palette,

    Considering that many of those cables revealed numerous deceits, yes. Informing the people about government malfeasance would be applicable. The evidence is over at Wikileaks, and isummarized at numerous sites. You can do the homework.

    Pvt. Manning has helped many people in this country come to the realization that the government under which we are subject has become as venal and corrupt as any in history, and is now also probably the most dangerous.

    You are running out of threads to grasp.

  77. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 3, 2013 2:38 pm

    You are running out of threads to grasp.

    Meh, whatever. People wanted to know why I felt Manning is a traitor and an oathbreaker, and I told them. Whether or not they agree with me is really of no consequence.

    We have different opinions. That’s great. You’ve got as much chance of changing my mind as I have of changing yours, so why waste the effort?

  78. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal September 3, 2013 4:16 pm

    “…swearing an oath to not betray a trust and then betraying it.

    Some promises should not be honored. Sorry.

    I wrote about this with regards to Edward Snowden, but Manning was put in the same position.

  79. Alchemist
    Alchemist September 3, 2013 5:52 pm

    “We have different opinions. That’s great. You’ve got as much chance of changing my mind as I have of changing yours, so why waste the effort?”

    My mind is always open to change, and will change when provided with rational arguments superior to those currently held. It happens frequently – it’s been a lifelong process – it’s called learning. So the question is not “why waste the effort?” but rather “are you willing to consider facts and rational arguments that challenge your opinion? Are you willing to challenge your presumptions and assumptions, in sometimes discomforting ways, to get closer to truth?” If that isn’t worth any effort on your part, so be it. If it is, you will gain the respect, and perhaps even the friendship, of many here.

    The choice is yours.

  80. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 3, 2013 8:29 pm

    are you willing to consider facts and rational arguments that challenge your opinion?

    Sure. Have I seen one? No. Right now, it’s all just “Proof through vigorous assertion.”

    So go ahead, tell me how I, an average American, have benefited from the actions of Bradley Manning.

  81. Pat
    Pat September 4, 2013 12:59 am

    We have a right to know what the government is doing to – and against – us. How we discover that information is open to debate. Manning has been tried and sentenced. Whether traitor or whistleblower, he is responsible for what he did, and will answer for his actions.

    Personally I haven’t reached a conclusion yet about Manning. If a person infiltrates government or some business/group for the purpose of obtaining information to use against it, he is a mole/spy, not a traitor, because he is not working for that entity. If he believes in the validity of his employer’s mission, then he might be considered a traitor – *unless* he has attempted all means of getting conditions changed and/or resigns prior to “blowing the whistle”. (This may make the difference between Manning and Snowden.) But how we perceive government or what information is obtained for our benefit does not determine whether one is a traitor or whistleblower.

    In any case, this blog is not about Manning.

  82. Alchemist
    Alchemist September 4, 2013 5:32 am

    “So go ahead, tell me how I, an average American, have benefited from the actions of Bradley Manning.”

    Your tone indicates that you don’t really want to consider anything that would challenge your opinion. If you are seriously interested in thinking, rather than simply reacting, I suggest you read:

  83. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 4, 2013 7:53 am

    So, to sum up:

    I asked you to make your point — and you listed some links.

    I asked you to prove how I, an average American, benefited from Manning’s actions — and you just pasted some links.

    I asked for a rational argument where, through dialectic, we engage in more than rhetoric — and all you did was copy and paste some links.

    So at this point, the only response I have that fits your level of work is this:

    Okay, I read them.

  84. Alchemist
    Alchemist September 4, 2013 10:47 am

    Since you read the articles, then you know they addressed your question. If I misunderstood and you are asking how Manning benefited you, as an individual, in a tangible manner, then you might as well ask how Smedley Butler, or Peter Buxtun, or Daniel Ellsberg, or Frank Serpico, or Perry Fellwock, or W. Mark Felt, or A. Ernest Fitzgerald, or Frank Snepp, etc., etc., etc. benefited you, as an average American.

  85. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein September 4, 2013 8:13 pm

    I assume those links are about those guys. I can’t say for sure, but I think Erin is seeking some relevant concepts rather than some relevant instances. That’s very common these days. Maybe if we double up on education, it’ll get better.

  86. Brent
    Brent September 4, 2013 10:35 pm

    Erin, I would say that you are an ass, but no, you are simply just a drama queen.

    Congrats on your coming out.

  87. Brent
    Brent September 4, 2013 10:35 pm

    P.S. that’s just “my opinion”

  88. Claire
    Claire September 5, 2013 8:16 am

    No name-calling, please. I’d rather not lock this thread, but will if people get uncivil.

  89. Erin Palette
    Erin Palette September 5, 2013 9:50 am

    Brent, sweetie, let me educate you.

    Drama queens do it for attention.

    I did it to raise money for a friend’s surgery, and it earned her over four thousand dollars.

    Meanwhile, you call me names because — why, exactly? I disagree with you? And you do so behind the safety of an internet handle that does not identify you.

    Your moral high ground is a culvert.

  90. Brent
    Brent September 6, 2013 6:20 pm

    Erin, sweetie, I don’t have any moral high ground with that statement.
    it’s just my opinion. Kinda like your opinion about Manning.

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