Ethics of force

I’ve been reading Cornered Cat lately, and one of the questions for concealed carry is “Could You Really?” – as in, could you really use lethal force against another human being to protect yourself? Due to my upbringing and the flavor of Christianity I hail from, the answer is an unequivocal YES! – at least in theory. I don’t think anybody really knows until the moment, but hypothetically I am perfectly willing to shoot in self-defense, whether the threat is a rabid dog or a predatory human. (I’m just glad I don’t live in bear country, because I believe you need larger guns than mine to effectively defend yourself from bears. And it’s very hard to concealed carry a long gun!)

I’ve not yet delved deeply into the published work on the ethics of force and violence, but I have always considered protecting oneself to be the first of three rings of duty.* Here’s the list:

First Duty: protect yourself, because you can’t save anyone weaker than you if you’re already dead/maimed/unconscious/tied up, etc.

Second Duty: protect your family, particularly anyone in your family who is weaker than you.

Third Duty: protect innocent strangers. Uphold the social fabric by preventing crime when you have opportunity to do so, whether you know the victim personally or not.

I call them the Three Rings of Duty because they’re concentric: that is, like the Three Laws of Robotics, the other two do not override the first.

The first thing I would try to do in any bad situation is get away, if I could – every defensive instructor I’ve had has emphasized “run like hell in the opposite direction” as your first line of defense. “Run and hide” is a perfectly good way to fulfill the First Duty. Take your dependents and anyone else standing around with you if you can; that settles the Second and Third. It’s only if you (or someone you’re responsible for) are trapped that “turn and fight” becomes unavoidable. And even then, I really like the “fight like a cornered cat” maxim – because you’re fighting not for honor or street cred or whatever, but to get away safely. Leave fighting for other reasons to organized militias, the army, street gangs, police, etc.

*These are for civilians, not active-duty military. The “throw yourself on a grenade to save your squadmates” situation could conceivably happen in a civilian milieu, I suppose, but it’s not very likely. I haven’t heard of run-of-the-mill criminals using grenades against their marks!

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Devil’s Advocate: it wasn’t gun control

Insty had a link to a Breitbart article: How Gun Control Made England The Most Violent Country In Europe.

But I don’t think that’s the case; gun control removed the British subjects’ ability to prevent their country from becoming the most violent country in Europe, rather than being the proximate cause.

You know what I think really caused England to become the most violent country in Europe? Betcha the proximate cause was mass immigration from non-European countries, deliberately drawn in to make England less English, and therefore less European. Breitbart references a couple of mass shooting events, but let’s be honest: in a violent country, those standout events are swamped by the average day-to-day violence that doesn’t make headlines or political crusades for additional regulation.

The secondary reason England is the most violent country in Europe? Having imported a lot of non-Europeans, the English government also made self-defense de facto illegal. Put wire mesh on your shed to keep the thieves out, and if a thief injures himself breaking into your shed, you’re the one who’s going to be defending yourself to the courts. If you hurt a mugger fighting back, it’s your fault he’s injured! (The British have perfected the art of “blaming the victim” in any case in which the victim declines to passively surrender.)

Having legal guns in England wouldn’t do anything about the above two outrages against human rights. Oh, in a counter-factual imagining, one might think that perhaps if the English people hadn’t been effectively stripped of the right to own guns for self-defense, then maybe the second bit in which self-defense became unconscionable wouldn’t have happened, but that’s not guaranteed. In order for England to become the most violent country in Europe, all it had to do was import enough people groups from places more violent than Europe. And say what you will for the European propensity for the occasional bloody slaughter on a mass scale, they’re just not all that violent on a day-to-day ho-hum violence perspective.

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Monomania, projection, and goggles

Anyone who’s spent any significant time on the internet has run across examples of monomaniacs. In any conversation, no matter what it is, they will interject their own beloved topic or opinion. One example is GBFM, who lurks around the manosphere and occasionally “replies” to Dalrock’s posts. But whatever the actual topic is, GBFM uses it as a mere springboard to talk about his own opinion. And he only has the one, apparently. Monomaniacs are, quite simply, tiresome. Everything is always about them. Their thoughts, their opinions, their experiences. They definitely qualify as internet trolls.

Then there’s the individual who is not quite a monomaniac – who shows some slim grasp of the conversation’s topic and can almost, but not quite, grasp it – who engages in Strawman Projection. These people are impossible to talk to, because no matter what you say, they will project onto you a strawman of their own making and then address the strawman and not the actual points that anyone actually raised. They can discuss multiple topics, but unless they’re willing to up their reading comprehension skills, there’s no point in talking to this type of person, either. The ones who are interested in rational debate can eventually overcome their habit of projection, however, so they’re not automatically trolls, although endlessly projecting strawmen to attack is a classic liberal troll technique.

Then there’s the Goggle Effect. (Not beer goggles!) The Goggle Effect happens when somebody gets a shiny new paradigm and suddenly starts applying it to absolutely everything in sight, regardless of whether or not that paradigm is appropriate for the situation. This is dangerous, because it can lead to Strawman Projection when someone under the Goggle Effect is too careless when reading other people’s comments. An example of the Goggle Effect (occasionally advancing to Monomania) is women’s solipsism – everything interpreted through the paradigm of “what if I were that woman?” (Unfortunately this condition is probably incurable and can only be managed.) Goggle Effect can easily infect people who are engaged in Noble Causes. However, on the bright side, the Goggle Effect can be overcome as long as all parties are willing to make the attempt.

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Guns! I’m gonna get one. Or two.

I had a great morning at an outdoor range today with my SIL, shooting Glock 19s. That little sneak has been practicing with a laser sight and snap caps at home, and it’s really made a huge difference – she shoots out the center of the targets like she’s got some great big holepunch! Unlike my amateur self, who shoots fairly decent clusters but is doing well to get 1/3 of a magazine in the bull’s-eye. Totally stealing her training regimen and getting myself a laser sight and some snap caps. Particularly, I want to train myself to shoot quickly as well as accurately so maybe I can get a leg up on her on our next outing to the range. (Not likely!! Hahaha.)

Anyway, she’s got the S&W Bodyguard as her carry gun, and she’s been carrying it every day, so I’m pretty much sold on the idea of getting a .380 for myself. (Nobody tell the Vox Popoli Ilk, I’m not sure anything smaller than 9mil is allowed even for girls! LOL) The Glock 19 is tons of fun to maul paper with, but it’s totally not concealable except in the depths of winter under a heavy coat if you’re me.

So we spent some time drooling over the pocket pistols – but I’m never ever getting the Bodyguard, I hate hate hate HATE the trigger pull on that thing. HATE. Will never buy. It’s also the only one I’ve actually used, but we did dry fire a couple of the other ones at the shop. I am leaning strongly towards the Ruger LCP, and getting a laser sight for it, even if that means I’ll need to get custom holsters for carrying. The trigger pull seems a lot better than the Bodyguard, and despite its tiny tininess, I think I could train myself to handle it effectively. I watched this YouTube video comparing four pocket pistols being shot by three inexperienced women, and I’m figuring that I can handle the LCP. (It really suffered for being the first gun they fired. Also they are all crazy, because it is obviously the cutest, prettiest of the four guns. And I’m not convinced that the “magazine loading” issues were insurmountable.) It also looks to be the smallest and sleekest, which makes it the most suitable for concealed carry options in .380. If I’m going to carry a .380 at all, I want to be able to carry it with as many outfits as possible, which means going as small as reasonably possible.

Also there was the Ruger LC9 (in raspberry!) and I’m thinking I want that, as well – for all the outfits that I could conceal a single-stack 9mil in. It is also Le Pretty. Which is a big plus for shallow females like me who like our things to be shiny, sparkly, and possibly pink raspberry. (Nobody’s gonna see that in the dark, anyway!) I would prefer to CC a 9mil, but like I said, the Glock 19 is just too big for most applications. I could conceal it under a heavy winter coat, but that’s about it.

The problem with the Glock 42 is that it’s also just too big compared to the other .380 pocket pistols. I’m sure it’s a great gun, but I figure it’d be better to have a teensy .380 that I’d actually, y’know, carry! and a small 9mil than a medium-sized .380 pocket pistol. Because obviously, a girl needs to have options. Mwahaha.

Opinions on the various virtues of pocket pistols welcome. :) I have a lot of research to do…

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Physical violence

There is nothing so smarmily condescending as the ~30+ UMC American white woman who thinks she knows everything and can sit in judgement over the entire universe and demand that everyone else change their behavior to meet her standards. It doesn’t matter what other people’s circumstances are: SHE KNOWS BEST. The standards of her class are the standards by which she will judge absolutely everything. And because UMC American white women are quite possibly the world’s most pampered, safe individuals, anything that smacks of physical altercation is OMG EVIL and must be stamped out.

Never mind that physically fighting is a big part of other types of people’s cultures – I mean, just look at shonen anime to see how it ideally works with boys: they get into a fight, beat the crap outta each other, and then become friends. Never mind that standing up against actual evil – such as bullies – will often require the use of physical force. Never mind that the UMC American white woman has no problem with outsourcing her use of violence to government agencies like the police and the Department of Education SWAT teams.

The whole “spanking vs. actual abuse” debate is just another example of these insular, provincial women imposing their cultural values upon everyone else. Is spanking right for every child? Of course not. Every child is an individual. Is spanking always the most effective form of discipline for a child? Also, of course not. Once a child can actually be reasoned with, and has developed longer-term time preferences, the removal of certain privileges can be far more effective punishment than a spanking.

Whenever this kind of debate springs up, you tend to get two kinds of adult responses from the “had been spanked” cohort: “my parents spanked me and I needed it,” or “my parents spanked me and I’m scarred for life.” I suspect you will find that the two groups are distinguishable by more than spanking – that the first category had what we might consider “good” parents, and the second cohort contains all the families affected by DV and personality disorders. People with mental illness/personality disorders/etc. should never use corporal punishment, because they “do it wrong.” People raised by parents with personality disorders are to be supported in refusing to use corporal punishment in the same way that an alcoholic’s family is to be commended for going teetotaler. If you think you can’t do it correctly, then yes, you shouldn’t use physical discipline on your children.

I can actually speak from experience on this one, because I come from a family where my mother had some low-grade issues (Chocolate made her crazy. As in, literal domestic violence crazy. Dad forbade her from eating it, and we grew up with carob instead.) and my father was The Disciplinarian whose return home was an omen of impending doom every time I misbehaved. So yes, I personally know the difference between receiving a disciplinary spanking and receiving a beating from an angry parent, because as a child I experienced both – though thankfully my father quickly put a stop to it and took over all corporal punishment duties while my mother used “go to your room” time outs paired with “I’m going to tell your father!” to keep me in line. (And I was not one of your sweet little girl children, let me tell you!) And those spankings were always paired with the devastating Talk beforehand; it wasn’t long before the spanking was useless compared to The You Have Disappointed Me Talk.

Which can have just as devastating results when used incorrectly.

Now, there’s another type of argument that gets brought up: the parents of the physical discipline school vs. the non-physical discipline school. Each of these camps can point to their own children and say, “Look, my method works!” However, I think we need to take these claims with a grain of salt. How many stories do teachers tell of problem children who are Special Snowflakes who can do no wrong to their parents? Yeah, self-reporting one’s kids’ status in this debate is not something we can take at face value. The caricature:

Mother: “I never tell little Johnny ‘no’, I always reason with him!”

Everyone Else: “Yeah, we can tell. He’s a spoiled brat. Please stop inflicting your rotten spawn upon the unsuspecting public.”

So I think there needs to be a bit more corroboration on these self-reported successes of various disciplinary methods. But of course, it’s quite difficult to figure out how to conduct a proper study! First off, any family with abusers would have to be cut out from the sample (because abuse is not discipline) – but how is this going to be done when one side considers a slap to the wrist or a spanking “abuse” by definition? You can’t design a valid study with that kind of assumption baked in at the beginning. And then you’d of course have to control for socio-economic status, but then you get into the long time preference vs. short time preference dichotomy – children with longer time preferences are going to respond better to nonphysical privilege-revoking discipline because they quickly figure out that a brief spanking is a tiny price to pay for doing whatever it is that they wanted to do anyway. (Heh heh.) And when physical discipline is the norm for lower socio-economic classes, how are you going to find enough “nonspanking” families to make a sizable enough sample for comparison? So yes, beware the statistics. Lies, damn lies, and junk “science” abound on cultural/political hotbutton issues like this one.

As for this NFL guy? I don’t care. Let the courts examine the evidence and mete out appropriate punishment; I despise the witch-hunt crowd going after his employment. How is rendering Dad unemployed going to help his son? It’s not, but it sure does make the Social Justice Whiners and the sanctimonious white women feel good about themselves.

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Two kinds of feminists

There are two kinds of feminists: the crazy ones, and the ignorant ones.

The crazy ones include women who are literally insane (“Intercourse is always rape!” aka “I fail mammalian biology forever!”) and women who are rabid Marxists. I’m not entirely sure that the latter category isn’t 100% overlapping with the former, but I’m willing to postulate the existence of feminists who are merely evil power-mongers, not actually insane. The kind of high-functioning sociopaths who use mentally ill and/or emotionally damaged women for their own nefarious purposes, that kind of thing.

Then there are the ignorant ones. These include the useful idiots (“Feminism is a fight for equal rights!!!”), the brainwashed (“I’m a feminist because the herd is feminist, and not declaring myself a feminist would cause me to be shunned as an unperson for doubleplus ungood badthink. I parrot everything my feminist teachers taught me with absolute certainty that it’s the Gospel truth.”), and the morons who think that anything after first-wave “feminism,” i.e. the suffragettes, can actually be made into a humanist crusade for equal rights (“I’m a conservative feminist.”).

If you’d like to learn more about crazy Marxist feminists, go read Stacy McCain’s excellent research, linked above, and buy the book when it comes out – I’m certainly planning to. What follows, rather than being the result of scholarly journalistic investigation (in the original sense of both adjectives), is merely the result of my own observations.

The “useful idiot” class of ignorant feminists might actually be able to learn the truth about feminism and come to discover that what they mean by “feminist” does not actually represent what the leaders of feminism actually mean by “feminist.” These people, once educated, would stop describing themselves as feminists and choose a more accurate label, like “libertarian.”

The brainwashed ignorant feminists are more-or-less a lost cause unless they migrate to a social circle not infested by feminism. Challenging them as to facts is useless; they believe what they believe, gosh darn it, and no pesky facts are ever going to shake their faith in woman’s natural goodness or the inherent evil of The White Male Patriarchy. And it always is the white male patriarchy with this class, because they simultaneously ignore all the actually oppressive patriarchies that are committing horrific crimes against women every day in places filled with “minorities.” But they’ll be willing to crucify Ray Rice, because as a rich black man in America he should know better than to transgress white bourgeois culture. Their ability to hold mutually contradictory ideas like these at the same time is characteristic of this class. Logic is not their strong suit; it’s more like garlic to a vampire. Basically, they think whatever is fashionable to think at the time, no matter what it is. Put them in a different circumstance, and like a chameleon, they’ll change to match.

There is a certain class of moron, however, that can face part of the truth of feminism – that they’re mere tools of Democrat politicians, or that the deck is stacked in favor of vicious women and against fathers – and bury her head in the sand and refuse to look evil in the face and call it out for what it is. These are the people who see what happens in the bailey, but cling desperately to the motte’s sheltering walls rather than face the truth. Given that “what happens in the bailey” resembles the worship ceremonies of the ancient Aztecs minus the publicity, I’m not real impressed with this kind of person. WTF, ladies? It’s okay to not be a self-identified feminist! You can even post selfies (or text) explaining why you don’t need feminism on the internet and your life will not end!

This distinction between the two types of feminists makes life difficult, as well, because someone who self-identifies as a feminist might be merely a deluded person of honestly good intentions, instead of literally Voldemort. Therefore I propose a way to identify these people of good will whose personal belief systems do not actually line up with official feminism: “lapsed feminists.” Kind of like how people will self-identify as “Christian” or “Catholic” etc. and yet not actually observe the rituals of the belief system, lapsed feminists still identify as feminists but, upon closer examination of their beliefs, do not actually qualify as female supremacists demanding that women simultaneously be granted all possible privileges in life while suffering none of the consequences of their chosen behavior. In this manner, those of us who are not feminists can identify people who are not literally Voldemort and therefore might be amenable to sweet reason.

But don’t link them to my blog, because my reason definitely doesn’t come in “sweet” and I’m really, really bad at getting along with airheaded females. I’m more likely to want to say something like, “Oh, you’re a feminist? Which kind, evil or stupid? Although I guess you could always be both!” (I’m working on it, I’m working on it… NOT proud to be a bitch. Could mainstream culture stop promoting Cluster B behaviors in women, kthxbye?)

I await with eagerness the day in which “feminist” is properly understood to be synonymous with “Marxist lesbian.” That’s what they teach in college Womyn’s Studies classes, after all.

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The Modern Witch-hunt

After getting into an “interesting” debate on Facebook with someone from college – “interesting” in that it was yet another example of the Internet Arguing Checklist from a rabid liberal. I expected nothing less, actually, but I wished to engage merely for the encouragement of the silent and to give myself practice in dealing with these types of people. Because of privacy concerns I’m not going to quote from that specific incident, but rather I wish to use it as a stepping-stone to a broader topic: I’m sick of the witch hunts and the social media mobs, and I want to examine them a bit and explain why they’re so toxic.

Parallels to past behavior

I’ve called it “the modern witch-hunt” because witch-hunting calls to mind a hysterical village mob burning women at the stake. Obviously the murderous intent has not boiled over into actually murdering the witch-hunt victim (yet) but the modern version certainly has its own share of people who make death threats or threaten violence against the target. The term “witch hunt” may also bring to mind miscarriage of justice, as in the Salem witch trials, but although the Zimmerman episode is an example of a modern witch-hunt, the mob successfully managing to pervert the justice system to their will is not a necessary feature of a witch hunt.

Features of the witch hunt

A witch hunt is a form of mob mentality that propagates over the internet’s social media platforms. Sometimes there is an element of anonymity, but people also join in under their real names or handles associated with their real identities, secure in the knowledge that they are “one with the crowd” of likeminded people reinforcing each other’s opinions. What characterizes a member of the mob rather than a mere commentator is that a member of the mob is primarily emotional and angry about something rather than controlling their emotional response with reason.

Because witch hunts take place over the internet, and don’t involve large groups of people physically occupying the same space, riots don’t automatically break out whenever there is a witch-hunt. This is a blessing in that riots involve a lot of violence and property damage, but a media-inflamed witch hunt can act as the inspiration for riots. In the case of the Ferguson riots, it seems that the social-media-driven frenzy resulted in people from outside Ferguson congregating there, and using the cover of nonviolent protests in order to whip up a violent mob. The witch-hunters in this case weren’t personally involved in the rioting, but would outsiders have traveled to Ferguson in order to start rioting if there weren’t a firestorm of media outrage? Evidence points to “no” – there are many, many shootings that kill young black males and don’t result in media-fueled rioting. However, the specter of violence hangs over each instance of witch-hunting and forms one of the witch-hunt’s most effective weapons: give us what we want, or violence comes next!

A witch hunt is not the same as universal condemnation. Criticism of someone who’s made a mistake (criminal or non-criminal) can help create favorable conditions for a witch hunt to take place, but such criticism is necessary for society. What happens in a witch hunt is that the specific details of what happened are disregarded in favor of an archtypical narrative: the racist white man kills the peaceful black teenager (Zimmerman, Ferguson). The angry man lashes out at his helpless girlfriend (Ray Rice). The sexist pig and the homophobe oppress women and homosexuals (Larry Summers, Brendan Eich). In each case, what the “witch” actually did and the details of what actually happened were secondary to the narrative – a narrative which is at best a gross oversimplification of the situation and at worst, utterly false.

The reason I responded to my FB acquaintance’s post on the Ray Rice domestic violence situation was because she exemplified this very bait-and-switch: rather than evaluating the situation as it actually happened, she substituted her own narrative – the narrative of the psychopath’s abused girlfriend, in which a controlling man has gotten his victim so psychologically wrapped around his little finger that the woman suffers from Stockholm syndrome. The point I wanted to make to her was that her own interpretation of the situation, as an outsider who sees only what is reported by social media, should be secondary to both the actual facts (do such psychologically abused women offer physical violence to their abusers, or is that more likely to be a sign of the much more common “relationship between two aggressive people with poor anger management skills”?) and the testimony of the woman in question. However, the narrative of the abused woman is so strong in the minds of the witch-hunters that no evidence is sufficient to sway their opinion, and anyone who dares to disagree about this one incident (even while agreeing that any domestic violence is bad, and Stockholming one’s partner is the mark of an evil psychopath) is grounds for vicious verbal abuse. Disagree with the mob and the mob will turn on you.

They key here is that all opposing information is resolutely ignored. The witch-hunter will absolutely refuse to address any element of the situation that contradicts the narrative, as if it does not exist. In the face of someone bringing up these counter-narrative facts, the witch hunter will consistently dismiss, disqualify, and then turn to personal attack against the one disagreeing with the narrative. (The irony of a white woman literally dismissing the words of a black woman – replacing the black woman’s own testimony with her own projected imagination of the black woman’s inner life – never occurs to the witch hunter.) There is absolutely no way to get through to someone committed to this hear-only-evil, see-only-evil, speak-vicious-abuse mindset: they have an answer ready to dismiss any evidence at all. “That’s just what an abused woman would say.” There’s no reasoning with this: that’s also what a non-abused woman would say. A reasonable person would turn to the evidence and evaluate what the evidence can and cannot support – but the witch hunter clings exclusively to the narrative, disregarding any weak or opposing evidence.

The witch hunter always jumps to a conclusion based primarily upon their own narrative rather than on the actual evidence.

Vengeance, not justice

Mobs are notorious for disproportionate response, and for disregarding the law. A witch hunt will often arise because the mob thinks that the law “let off” or will “let off” their victim, rather than appropriately punishing wrongdoing. However, rather than focusing their ire on a corrupt justice system, the mob will attempt to dispense “justice” by destroying the livelihood of the victim. In a day and age of large corporations desperate for good PR, the witch hunt has settled on bringing pressure to bear upon employers as their favored tactic for destroying their target. Making death threats or assaulting the target will result in law enforcement getting involved; the days of men in white sheets burning crosses on front lawns are (thankfully) over, but vigilante “justice” is still alive and kicking.

This tactic is perfect for the witch hunt, because witch hunting regularly occurs over cultural rather than legal conflict, and corporations are often willing to fire people who dare to make controversial stands in an attempt to appease the mob. Even corporations that don’t blacklist and fire the witch hunt’s target will change their behavior in order to try to avoid such controversy and negative reporting. Interestingly enough, this happens even in the case of a witch hunt backfiring – Chick-Fil-A made a lot of money after being the target of a witch-hunt and didn’t fire anyone, but they certainly did drop all the controversial sponsorships and promise to stay out of “political” issues.

Damage to society

Witch hunts are damaging to more than their targets; who’d want to live in a place known for vicious mobs even under a guarantee that you’d never yourself be the target of one? Witch hunts release restraints upon violence and promote the demonization of their targets. Stripped of their humanity, the object of a witch hunt is fair game for vile insults, threats of violence and death, and every kind of discrimination that would otherwise be considered blatantly immoral. Anyone who stands in the way of a witch hunt – even if that person is the victim in the witch hunt narrative, on whose behalf the hunt ostensibly is agitating – is themselves stripped of their humanity and reduced to a caricature, a mere character in the witch hunt’s morality play. Step outside that assigned role, and the mob will ignore you – and ignore any collateral damage that they’re imposing on others.

Such a witch hunt is especially pernicious in that it attempts to replace the rule of law with rule by mob – in the case of actual criminal wrongdoing, rather than focusing energy on fixing the mechanisms of the justice system, the witch hunt does an end run around them and imposes its own trial, condemnation, and punishment. What is particularly chilling about the modern witch-hunt is its tribal nature – harking back to the days of the blood feud. Witch hunts are bad enough in nearly homogeneous communities like Salem, where upstanding citizens were condemned and murdered under color of law just for expressing skepticism of the witch-hunters’ claims, and calls for careful weighing of evidence were ignored. In a multicultural society already under strain, witch hunts can only exacerbate racial and cultural tensions and provide excuses for racially-motivated violence. Witch hunts substitute an “us vs them” mindset that excludes the careful judgement necessary for a nation of laws to function.

 

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