There is a saying in conservative circles that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. I guess you can add my experience in support of that statement. In 1975 I was an attorney in sole practice representing Local 47 of the Musician's Union that still has a building at Waring and Vine Street in Hollywood (aka Los Angeles). I was also married and the mother of two small children.
One afternoon I was doing some research the old fashioned way with books on the issue of corporate derivative shareholder suits. It's pretty boring even though important. So I decided to go out for a walk to clear my head and buy my favorite beverage, a diet Coke. There was a Safeway (now a Pavilion's) just a block a way on Melrose and Vine so I headed down Vine Street, thinking about my case and research when I walked into an armed robbery in progress. Three young black men almost ran me over. I looked up and looked straight at them. They had dropped something on the ground, stooped to pick it up and then took off. I turned around and watched them run around the corner. Then I saw someone come out from in front of the store and point in the direction which they had run. I suddenly realized what had happened. Don't ask me why because I can't really answer that question. I just had a gut outrage that people would be holding up a grocery store in Hollywood in the middle of the day. Somehow, if it had been late at night I wouldn't have been so angry. So I, an out of shape mother, took off after them.
When I reached the corner of Waring and Vine, I poked my head around the corner and, looking into the sunny western sky, saw three men outlined in a car. Then I saw an arm come out from the driver's side of the car and, it seemed to me, slowly come around and point at me. I have to interject at this point that my perception of time greatly slowed down. It was as if everything was happening in slow motion though I am sure it was much faster than it seemed. I realized that the object in the arm's hand was a gun. I then realized it was pointed at me. My focus then changed to protecting myself. I backed away from the corner and dropped to the ground, an action that probably saved my life.
For some reason I adopted a kind of fetal position while lying on my back with my knees pulled up. I heard gunshots and realized they had pulled to the corner and were trying to kill me. I was hit with a bullet in my leg. It felt like someone had taken a baseball bat and hit me as hard as he could on the bottom of my feet. It's one of the reasons I can never watch that awful movie in which Kathy Bates does something similar to Jack Nicholson. It is just too painful.
They kept shooting after I was hit. So the thought occurred to me that they were trying to kill me. If they thought they were successful, they might stop shooting and leave. I then thought, but I don't know what it looks like to die. But neither do they. So if I do what someone who dies on television does, they will think they have killed me and leave. So I suddenly let go of my fetal position and went limp in imitation of people who die on television. They left.
It later turned out that people were in the President of Local 47's office when the shooting started and saw the whole thing from the second floor. Multiple people called the police.
I could go on at great length about the investigation and the trial. And all of those things contributed to my current views of our criminal justice system. But I'll save that for a later post. The phenomenon that most contributed to my conversion to conservatism was the reaction of my self described liberal "friends" to my plight. More than one told me that I needed to understand the shooter's position in all of this. He, after all, just wanted to avoid going to prison, so it makes perfect sense that he would shoot me. He was, they told me, a victim of oppression himself. I shouldn't, they told me, take it personally. I finally developed a retort to that statement. It is difficult, I responded to them, to take a bullet in the leg any other way. They seemed totally oblivious and unsympathetic to the fact that, but for poor aim, I would have been killed. The more important principal to them seemed to be that poor black criminals are oppressed and people who are killed by them are just, sort of, so much collateral damage.
Now just to make this perfectly clear, because in this insane age it is so often necessary, I really don't care what the race of someone who shoots me is. They should all, of any race, go to jail for so long as they retain the muscle strength to pick up a gun. It happens that the person who shot me is black. If the person who shot me were white I would be no less outraged. It is, after all, difficult to take a bullet in the leg any way but personally. It's my leg and my life.
I have, thank God, recovered pretty much completely. Still have scar tissue where the bullet went through my leg. Two little scars, one on each side of my thigh-- the entry and exit wounds-- and of course scar tissue in between. But I never recovered from the fact that my so-called friends had more sympathy for someone they had never met who tried to kill me than they had for me. This and other experiences made me aware that the so-called sympathy of the left for the poor and downtrodden is really just a pose.
It confirmed some prior experiences. At the time I attended a Methodist church near the University of Southern California. Some of the other parishioners wanted to have a "Christmas" project of writing letters to the President in support of various welfare programs. It was sponsored by an organization called "Bread for the World". I suggested that, in addition to writing these letters, we could make up Christmas baskets for one or more welfare recipients. I came up with this idea because I was a welfare worker for 6 years. I had been part of taking requests from recipients for such baskets and knew that for many recipients, the basket was a substantial portion of their Christmas. They were all grateful for receiving them. I was told by the self described liberals at my church that giving Christmas baskets to welfare recipients was demeaning. I pointed out to them that the baskets would go only to those people who had requested them, not to anyone who would be embarrassed by it. They refused. I told them that as a former social worker I knew many recipients who would be very grateful for such a basket because they would not otherwise be able to give their children a good Christmas. They refused, absolutely, to do anything more than write a letter to the President.
There were other experiences that lead me to the reluctant conclusion that the word "generous" was no longer a synonym for "liberal". These so-called liberals who had more sympathy for the shooter than me, who were not willing to dig into their own pockets to make a poor family's Christmas better, were merely leftists who congratulated themselves on their political correctness but were never willing to take money out of their own pockets for poor people. Their ideas were more important to them than any person was. They congratulated themselves on how caring they were while simultaneously caring very little for any actual person. I have some friends who still call themselves liberal, and most of them really are. My differences with them are that they think the Democratic party and its policies are meant to help people. I see it very differently. The Democratic party has been taken over by the Left. It isn't Harry Truman's or Hubert Humphries' Democratic party any more.
All of these memories came back to me recently looking at what happened in Bengazi. How could you get these calls for help and do nothing? How could you order would be rescuers to stand down? How could you cold bloodedly sit in the White House situation room and not care about the people on the ground who were being ambushed and killed when there were resources nearby to help them? It chills me to the bone the same way I was chilled when my so called liberal friends justified an anonymous would be killer. They really are so inhuman and unfeeling that the ideas that they push are more important to them than people. Leftists like to say you have to break an egg to make an omelet. We, people, human beings, are just so many broken eggs to them. We are not real. And they don't care about us. They care about their ideas. And if people have to die to make their ideas real, well, so be it. Collateral damage. Broken eggs. That is how they justify the millions killed in the name of promoting the Communist dream. It's okay. You have to break an egg to make an omelet.