The benefit of the doubt should go to the guys pulling the trigger

Like the type of sound you’d hear to alert you that a snake is pissed off at you

Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher was perched in his sniper’s nest in Mosul one day in 2017 when the girl was shot. The highly decorated and respected Navy SEAL commando spotted a group of local kids walking along a riverbank one of which was wearing a flower print hijab which is a detail I can’t get out of my mind and you probably won’t be able to either. I bet it was a pretty hijab before the blood got on it.

I wrote all of that above before in a piece back in April but a lot of you didn’t see it and it’s newly relevant so here you go again.

His platoon’s mission was to assist Iraqi forces and provide cover with snipers and drones and that sort of thing which seems like kind of a boring mission to be honest not the type of thing you’d get to do much killing on so according to other members of the platoon Gallagher would often instigate unnecessary fights and fire indiscriminately into otherwise quiet neighborhoods and buildings to spice things up. He wanted to get the blood flowing so to speak.

On this particular day he is alleged to have trained his sights on the group of girls and fired at them hitting one of them. As one of his fellow snipers said “he watched through his scope as she dropped, clutching her stomach, and the other girls dragged her away,” according to the New York Times.

There’s a lot more you can read about that particular asshole here. Elsewhere Gallagher texted a photo of himself holding the decapitated head of an ISIS member he had killed like he was brandishing a hunting trophy. There was a fifteen year old boy his platoon was trying to revive after they had called in an airstrike on him and in the middle of that medical care Gallagher strolled up and stabbed the boy to death. Then when some of his fellow SEALs reported him he threatened to kill them too.

“After a tumultuous trial, he was acquitted by a military jury in July of all charges except one minor count: bringing discredit on the armed forces, by posing for a photo with the corpse of the captive he was accused of killing,” the New York Times reported. It wasn’t the murders themselves that made the Navy look bad it was taking a photo of one but don’t worry about ol’ Eddie because on Friday Donald Trump said he doesn’t even deserve to get bumped down a rank the literal barest minimum of consequences. Trump doesn’t think any of that shit that he did was wrong.

Trump also pardoned two other accused war criminals Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn who murdered an unarmed Afghan man and was still facing trial and Clint Lorance a former Army lieutenant who was serving nineteen years for ordering his men to indiscriminately mow down civilians.

Leading the charge for the pardons of these men pardons that many in military leadership do not even support was the president’s chief adviser one of the gnomes who live inside the TV that whispers into his brain every morning about who and what to be mad about.

“The president looks at it through that lens, a simple one, and important one,” Pete Hegseth of Fox & Friends said of the potential pardons last week. “The benefit of the doubt should go to the guys pulling the trigger.”

Sometimes or rather always I should say when you criticize a war criminal like one of these guys online a tier-one posting operator will pop into your mentions saying something like I bet you wouldn’t say that to their face you pussy and that is correct I would probably not talk shit to a trained murderer who loves to murder people because I would be too afraid they would do some of their famous murdering on me. I am absolutely terrible at murdering people personally. I simply haven’t completed the training.

Yesterday the NFL hosted a workout for Colin Kaepernick and doing it at this late point was basically like when you’ve been single for a long time and you finally agree to go out on a date with the guy your parents have been pressuring you to meet just to get them off your back. Alan is a nice boy his mother goes to my church just meet him for coffee is that too much to ask.

As a self-loathing Boston sports turd I can’t decide which fantasy I like better Kaepernick signing on with a team that beats the Patriots in the Super Bowl or him taking over for an injured Brady to win the Super Bowl mostly because of the cognitive dissonance it would instill in the carseat selfie sunglasses guys everywhere.

There were some guys protesting outside the facility waving American flags and such because the idea they have is that Kaepernick doesn’t respect the troops or the cops and he’s said many times that’s not even what his point is but maybe it should have been because I sure as hell do not.

I’m sure you think you’ve seen the worst of police violence at this point you’ve seen cops killing unarmed men and assaulting women and killing children and murdering dogs and all manner of other shit but here is something you’ve never seen before which is a cop assaulting a teenager with no arms or legs.

“The shirtless 15-year-old screams as he lies facedown on the kitchen floor of his Tucson group home,” the Washington Post reported. “He has no arms or legs, so he can’t flee or fight back. But a sheriff’s deputy at least twice his size is crouching over him and pinning him to the ground, using his body weight to restrain the quadruple amputee.”

While most information about the teens is being withheld to protect their privacy, Feinman said that Immanuel, the 15-year-old quadruple amputee, is in state custody because he was abandoned by his parents. On the morning of Sept. 26, an adult who works at the group home called police to report that Immanuel had knocked over a trash can and was yelling and screaming. [Public Defender Joel] Feinman isn’t sure what got the teenager riled up, and, in his opinion, it doesn’t matter.

“Fifteen-year-olds who have not been through what Immanuel went through act out all the time,” he pointed out.

The deputy from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department who responded to the call determined that Immanuel was disturbing the peace and decided to restrain him, Feinman said. That’s when C.J., a 16-year-old who also lives at the group home, began surreptitiously recording from an adjoining room.

Disturbing the peace.

Relatedly the Sacramento Bee recently published a searchable database of California cops convicted of crimes in the past ten years part of a big project tracking criminal cops.

The review found 630 officers convicted of a crime in the last decade — an average of more than one a week,” they reported. “After DUI and other serious driving offenses, domestic violence was the most common charge. More than a quarter of the cases appear never to have been reported in the media until now. And nearly one out of five officers in the review are still working or kept their jobs for more than a year after sentencing.”

Pretty cool!

I don’t know if you could say that I support the troops except in this way which is that I wish we didn’t turn their brains into poison mud by making them go kill and maim people and be killed and maimed for absolutely nothing. My idea of supporting the troops would be maybe training them to do an entirely different job altogether with  100% less killing and maiming involved or at the very least if we all get together and decide that all the killing and maiming and being killed and maimed is absolutely necessary perhaps we could provide them with something like adequate resources to deal with what all the killing and maiming and being killed and maimed does to them when they come back.

In other quarterback news — this is not a sports newsletter to be clear to the surprising number of people who have subscribed after my David Roth interview the other day but this story is also related to Hell World — Tua Tagovailoa the Alabama star expected to go at the top of the NFL draft next year injured his hip badly yesterday putting him out for the rest of the season and perhaps compromising his future career.

If you want to read more about why what happened to Tua is a fucking disgrace you should look at this interview I did with Patrick Hruby and Luke Bonner a few weeks ago.

“College sports, in a lot of ways, is an incredible funhouse mirror of so many of the Hell World pathologies in our larger economy and society,” Patrick Hruby a journalist who has covered the issue extensively for numerous publications over the years told me when we talked this week.

“The NCAA is running the exact same classification scam as Uber. If I tell you you’re not actually a worker, then you’re not entitled to the same rights and protections a worker is. That’s the whole ball game.”

Wait though aren’t the athletes given a “free education” you might be thinking. Don’t they get like $250,000 worth of tuition or whatever it is and the answer to that is lol no fuck you because going to college doesn’t cost $250,000 that is just a made up number that the colleges invented out of thin air. On top of that college athletes and in particular the ones that generate the most revenue for the schools barely have what most of the rest of us would recognize as a college experience. They might labor for free for forty hours a week outside of their classes which they aren’t really allowed to focus on all that much or even choose themselves anyway and their actions are policed in a way that most of us would riot over were we subjected to the same restrictions about how we can work to survive.

Sometimes when you say some shit online like college athletes should be paid some tier-one posting operator will pop into your mentions to argue with you and it’s the exact same guy from before who was yelling at you about respecting the troops.

People like that base their entire identity on respecting the troops and loving sports but they rarely tend to care what actually happens to the bodies of the men they are allegedly supporting after they are no longer useful.

We especially don’t care what happens to the bodies of young athletes when they’re taken away from us. An individual gun death barely even counts as news unless it happens to someone you’ve heard of.

Elizabeth Warren talks about Medicare For All like I talk about getting sober.

Speaking of which I went to the neighborhood pub last night and I was walking up doing that it’s so fucking cold dance that you do like fuck fuck goddamnit and I heard this sort of hissing like the type of sound you’d hear to alert you that a snake is pissed off at you and I didn’t know what it was because who thinks to look up into the sky for danger and then some sparks of electricity fell to the ground just in front of me and they were strangely beautiful and I looked up and there was a birthday balloon caught in the power lines and it was crackling with electricity and fire and I thought ah shit is this my problem now. I went inside and told the bartender and I was like I dunno maybe you want to call someone then the manager went outside and looked at it and decided it wasn’t his problem either but they bought me a drink for being an alert citizen or whatever so thanks for that. Then I did a really weird thing which was I shot the shit with the guy next to me at the bar for a while because he had a beard and tattoos and guys like us have to express solidarity and he said he used to work on lobster boats and now he works at the school for the blind here and I said I write stories about how the news made me sad and he said that’s really cool I gotta check them out sometime and then a pretty young woman leaned over and asked me to pass her a Keno slip and I did but I thought you are way too young to be playing Keno already Keno is what you are supposed to do when all your other joy in life has been taken away.

This fucking guy by the way:

“Former President Barack Obama, in an address to liberal donors, warned candidates not to go too far left and sought to calm those who were concerned about the state of the Democratic primary,” this piece in the New York Times says and my response to that is this dude sits on his dick for three years of Trump then breaks his silence once 1.5 Democrats start talking about how maybe everyone shouldn't suffer constantly?

“The fact that Mr. Obama offered his reassurances at the annual meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a club of wealthy liberals who donate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to recommended political organizations, only underscored the intended audience of his message,” the piece went on and some people on Twitter seemed to think the fuller quote he gave reported here in less inflammatory framing in New York Magazine was absolving but it’s not. What he was saying is that it's great that activists do their little thing and then the sober and mature candidate’s job is to go that's nice and then ignore them.

Yet Obama’s remarks were not only aimed at the donors and chatterers. He had a sterner-than-usual warning for the campaigns, too. While over the last year-plus he has been sparing in weighing in on individual primary flash points, here he cast himself as understanding but concerned emissary to what he perceives as political reality. “This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement,” he said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.” In Obama’s telling, Americans are conservative, not in ideology, but in temperament.

“Voters, including Democrats, are not driven by the same views that are reflected on certain left-leaning Twitter feeds, or the activist wing of our party,” he warned. “And that’s not a criticism to the activist wing — their job is to poke and prod and text and inspire and motivate. But the candidate’s job, whoever that ends up being, is to get elected.”

The idea that Americans are conservative in temperament may or may not be true but it would fucking help if the Democrats stopped framing basic human rights shit like not going bankrupt from medical bills as a radical concept imo. Medicare For All is not a radical idea tens or hundreds of thousands of people dying or going bankrupt every year who don't need to so insurance execs can stay rich is fucking radical.

The other week when I was in New York I stayed at my publisher John’s loft and he kept telling me it’s ok if I smoke inside but I felt weird about that. I did it to be clear but I still felt weird about it. It was a very nice place and I thought man I gotta get into book publishing in Manhattan like forty years ago.

Being a publisher there were books everywhere and he got one out he thought I might like it was a book of poems by Fatimah Asghar who is a Pakistani and Kashmiri Muslim American writer and one of them went like this.

If They Should Come for Us

these are my people & I find
them on the street & shadow
through any wild all wild
my people my people
a dance of strangers in my blood
the old woman’s sari dissolving to wind
bindi a new moon on her forehead
I claim her my kin & sew
the star of her to my breast
the toddler dangling from stroller
hair a fountain of dandelion seed
at the bakery I claim them too
the sikh uncle at the airport
who apologizes for the pat
down the muslim man who abandons
his car at the traffic light drops
to his knees at the call of the azan
& the muslim man who sips
good whiskey at the start of maghrib
the lone khala at the park
pairing her kurta with crocs
my people my people I can’t be lost
when I see you my compass
is brown & gold & blood
my compass a muslim teenager
snapback & high-tops gracing
the subway platform
mashallah I claim them all
my country is made
in my people’s image
if they come for you they
come for me too in the dead
of winter a flock of
aunties step out on the sand
their dupattas turn to ocean
a colony of uncles grind their palms
& a thousand jasmines bell the air
my people I follow you like constellations
we hear the glass smashing the street
& the nights opening their dark
our names this country’s wood
for the fire my people my people
the long years we’ve survived the long
years yet to come I see you map
my sky the light your lantern long
ahead & I follow I follow

Much of her work revolves around a sort of cultural identity crisis brought about by the partition of Indian and Pakistan and British colonialism and moving to America and feeling displaced once again.

Ok here’s a new feature I’m going to call Hell World Lightning Round in case you don’t already have enough reading to do today about how terrible everything is.


2) Fuuuuck youuuuuu

3) Fuck off!

4) Fuck to shit

I have a lot more I want to tell you today but the software I use for this newsletter is telling me I’m reaching the limit of the length an email can be and who even knew there was such a thing?

One more thing before I go though: The reason why people love Bernie is because he actually says that yes this is all fucking insane and you are right to think it’s insane and we’re going to do something about it. Anyone who tells you that better things aren’t possible or that the same shit that every other wealthy country has is somehow some sort of flight of fancy from the deranged leftists that’s impossible to do in America whether it’s Obama or any of the other cowards running for president is not to be trusted.