Over the last few weeks and months, countless celebrities and public figures have been caught-up in sexual harassment scandals. With accusations ranging from inappropriate comments and touching all the way up to sexual assault and rape, it increasingly seems like no corner of our society is immune from this kind of horrible behavior.

Two years ago, when a massive cheating scandal was unfolding after the hack of the Ashley Madison website, Off on a Tangent offered ten tips to avoid getting caught. In the same tradition, here are ten tips to help you avoid getting caught-up in the harassment scandal: . . . Continued

Per the Tangent style guide candidates are listed alphabetically by last name.
Winners are denoted with (w).

Virginia Governor
Ed Gillespie (R):45.0%
Cliff Hyra (L):1.1%
Ralph Northam (D):53.9% (w)
Virginia Lt. Governor
Justin Fairfax (D):52.7% (w)
Jill Vogel (R):47.2%
Virginia Atty. General
John Adams (R):46.6%
Mark Herring (D):53.3% (w)
Virginia House, 87th
John Bell (D):61.7% (w)
Subba Kolla (R):38.0%
Loudoun Safety Bonds
Yes:75.2% (w)
Loudoun School Bonds
Yes:73.6% (w)

. . . Continued

I Voted

I voted this morning at my polling place in South Riding, Virginia. If you are eligible to vote in Virginia, you should too.

There are many important races and issues on the ballot across the commonwealth. Here in Loudoun County, Virginia, we are voting for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, our representatives in the Virginia House of Delegates, and two local ballot issues.

Take the time to research the candidates and issues on your ballot and make informed choices. Don’t let anybody tell you that your vote doesn’t matter. Don’t let anybody tell you that your choice is wrong. No informed vote is a wasted vote.

And let’s respect one another. I’ve made my choices—and I encourage you to read my reasons why—and you are free to make yours. I may not agree with you, but as long as you have seriously considered your choices, I respect them. I hope you’ll offer me the same courtesy in return.

Please come back to Off on a Tangent this evening for live results from the races that I am following.

Faces of Evil *

Every time somebody commits a crime with a gun, a certain crowd immediately begins to clamor for restrictions on firearms. They blame the crime on our “gun culture,” or on the widespread availability of firearms, or the types of firearms the law allows, or the process by which people buy firearms. This crowd, strangely, never seems to point the finger at the person who used the firearm to commit the crime. It seems like it’s easier for some people to blame the weapon than the person who wielded it.

This is a sort of pathological misdirection, often used (perhaps subconsciously) by people who can’t or won’t face the reality that evil exists. They can’t understand how somebody could slaughter innocent people at a music festival or a church, and so, rather than delve into the hornet’s nest of man’s fallen nature (and the moral and religious implications thereof), they come to a simple but wrong conclusion: They did it because of the guns.

It’s easier for some people to believe the obvious absurdity that guns somehow make people do evil things than to deal with the hard realities of good and evil. . . . Continued

After a tragedy—particularly a preventable one—we often collectively demand that the government “do something.” It’s a natural response. Most people don’t want bad things to happen, and most people want the people in positions of authority to take reasonable steps to prevent them.

Sometimes you will find me bellowing right along with the “do something” crowd. After every debacle at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA, “Metro”), especially those that result in deaths or injuries, you’ll find me questioning why the local, state, and federal authorities with oversight responsibility for the agency didn’t do anything to prevent it. But, in these cases, the authorities in question could have done something, should have done something, and had the legal authority to do something. That is not always the case. And furthermore, the “something” I wanted them to do was something that made sense . . . you know, like checking the ventilation systems or complying with decades-old recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). “Something” must be defined.

Other times, the drive to “do something” can be counterproductive or inappropriate. Consider, for example, what happened when we demanded that our federal legislators “do something” about the methamphetamine (meth) epidemic. There was, and there still is, a real problem. Cooking meth is dangerous, and people who produce it in their garages and basements have an unfortunate habit of blowing up their houses. And of course, the abuse of meth itself has significant costs to the individual abusers, their families, and our society. And there are things that our local and state governments can do to combat the problem. This is not a federal issue. . . . Continued