Sunday, August 17, 2014

CSGV Weighs In On Ferguson, MO

In the Flyweight class.

Gun Violence Prevention Group Calls For Accountability In Ferguson
Finally, we acknowledge the comparisons that many are drawing between what is happening in Ferguson and the armed standoff that took place at the Bundy ranch this past April. The dramatic differences in law enforcement response to the two events are difficult to ignore. Why are white pro-gun activists able to point loaded firearms at law enforcement and avoid accountability under the law altogether while unarmed, peaceful African-American citizens are met with a militarized police force and mass arrests? The most important idea in American political philosophy is that of equality. That principle has been sorely tested by these events, and must ultimately be vindicated by the rule of law.

The half-dozen or so active members of CSGV seem to operate from a position that government must have a monopoly-of-force over those in its jurisdiction. They may want government to be accountable to the "people" but, simultaneously, do not want those same people to have any means of enforcing that accountability beyond a sternly worded letter. Perhaps followed by an even more sternly worded letter. So, as a public service to those benighted controlists who cannot figure it out for themselves, I will try to explain.

Fortunately for me it is not hard.

It is not about race. If you try real hard you can get past the racialist bullshit. Once you do, it is not particularly difficult to understand the difference between Bundy Ranch and Ferguson. The men and women at the Bundy Ranch were able to prevail because the government forces did not have a monopoly on force. The "unarmed, peaceful African-American citizens" in Ferguson can be arrested en masse precisely because the government does have such a monopoly. The cops in Ferguson did not not pull off a coup d'etat. They are still under civilian control and are operating under orders from the government officials above them. This is exactly how the controlists at CSGV believe government is supposed to work. The situation in Ferguson is the CSGV fantasy writ large.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Typical of New Jersey?

Radley Balko make somes valuable observations in his Washington Post article about the Shaneen Allen case in New Jersey. Among them is this particularly salient set of points:

When I first posted her story to Twitter, a couple of progressive responders predicted that because Allen is a black single mother, the gun rights community would all but ignore her. But that hasn’t been true at all. In fact, Allen has become something of a rallying point for gun rights activists. She is being represented by Evan Nappen, an attorney who specializes in gun cases and is a gun rights activist himself. Some conservatives have similarly accused progressives of ignoring Allen’s case because she stands accused of a gun crime. It’s certainly true that her case has received much more attention from the right than the left. But Nappen says he has seen plenty of support for her from racial justice groups, too.

Despite the cynical expectations of the controlists, gun owners are coming to the defense of a "black single mother". This is no surprise to any honest observer of the pro-gun scene. The prozis will make a big deal of that fact that Dick Anthony Heller -- the plaintiff in Heller v D.C. -- is white but ignore that Otis McDonald of McDonald v City of Chicago is black and, last I heard, a registered Democrat. They will also ignore that NORML and the NRA were allies in protecting the Second Amendment rights of Medical Marijuana patients in Oregon (Willis v Winters). There is clearly a disconnect between perception and reality.

Ultimately, the most relevant fact in this case is that this happened in New Jersey. While not alone in this distinction, the system there is full of people who just plain hate peaceable, honest gun owners and want them all dead or in prison. It's as simple as that.

Oh, give me a home
Where the criminals roam,
Where the rapists and murders play;
Where often is seen
a discouraging scene
of graft and corruption displayed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Human Cost of "Reasonable" Gun Laws

Dear Dartmouth: I’m Being Stalked – Please Let Me Protect Myself

Fearing for my safety, I finally contacted Dartmouth College’s Department of Safety and Security in June and asked if I could keep a permitted handgun on campus. But no luck. The advice was that I call campus security and arrange for an escort if I ever felt unsafe after dark. I was also told that there was no way to appeal this decision.

Yet, the escorts have proved to be impractical and humiliating. Campus security has told me, “you can’t keep calling us all the time.” When requesting transportation, I am grilled over whether I have a justifiable reason.

Campus security tells me that I can’t call until after 9 PM, but my stalker doesn’t really care what time of day it is.

What are women in these circumstances supposed to do? Keep themselves locked in their dorm rooms, as I have done?

Gun laws always come at a cost to the individual. Ther more restrictive they are the greater the potential cost. No matter how safe it may make the self-righteous controlist feel, there will be instances where a peaceable individual is harmed because of restrictive gun laws. The infamous Merced Pitchfork Murders is a good example. I sincerely hope the young lady in the above story does not become another. The right of self defense is fundamental to all civilized peoples and, in a civilized world she would not have to live in such fear. She does because a significant number of her countrymen do not care about her and rank her safety as less important than their feelings of security.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Everytown Wants You Dead.

A recent video released by Everytown for Gun Safety tries to associate firearms with domestic violence in the viewer's mind. Knowing the everytowners are controlists makes it pretty easy to decipher the message: Guns are bad. However, it is just as legitimate to interpret the video as an argument for a woman threatened by a violent ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend to arm herself. In the video the woman does exactly as the controlists advise -- she got a restraining order and, when the ex shows up, she dials 911.

That didn't work.

As a counterpoint to the everytowners' propaganda. one woman did not buy into the common anti-self-defense rhetoric and she is, quite possibly, alive and healthy today because of that.

Man shot dead by girlfriend in domestic dispute

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN 6) – Sheriff deputies confirm a woman shot and killed her boyfriend late Tuesday night inside a home the couple was renting.

Police said what began as a domestic dispute escalated into a shooting with a hand gun, killing 44-year-old Scott Grossman at roughly 11:00 p.m. in the 200 block of Northwest 94th Street.

The woman, whose name and age are not being released by police, was not criminally charged and she is not expected to appear in court.

The difference in outcomes -- one imaginary and one real -- cannot be stressed too much nor too emphatically. In the imaginary scenario promoted by the everytowners women are helpless victims in waiting. In the real world, as illustrated by the incident in Washington, women can fight back and do so successfully.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

After the KT Event

After the asteroid impact, the lawn flamingo evolved to become the most fearsome predator of the Cretaceous. Here a pack strips the flesh from a Tyrannosaurus so fast she doesn't even have time to collapse.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's Nobody's Business but My Own

Boston Police Commissioner Says Nobody In The City Needs a Shotgun or Rifle

Police Commissioner is an appointed office in Boston so, if the appointee want to keep the job, I expect him to say whatever Hizzoner wants him to say. True to that, William Evans, recently appointed Police Commissioner for the City of Boston, is quoted as saying

I don’t agree with that. Having long guns–rifles and shotguns–especially here in the city of Boston. I think we should have, as the local authority, some say in the matter. [And] the federal [government] doesn’t really allow us to have the discretion that we want in these particular cases.

…For the most part, nobody in the city needs a shotgun. Nobody needs a rifle.

A "need" for any kind of gun is not a valid criteria for determining access to a fundamental human right and letting the controlists frame that -- or any other part of the debate -- is a bad idea. Do not let an opponent blather on about "need" until he or she first agrees there is a fundamental right to effective self defense. Emphasize that "effective" in this case means that the victim will have an equal or better chance than the criminal of escaping the encounter unharmed.

Frankly, I don't think the controlists even care about what I "need" because they don't believe any of us has a right to resist criminal attacks. That is why they always argue, "Just give them what they want." The "need" argument is just a rhetorical trick to move the debate to a place where gun owners and their rights can be attacked. Concentrating on the civil rights issue provides more leverage and, believe me, the controlists hate it. They don't want to talk about rights because, deep down inside their scabby little souls, they are driven be a hatred of guns and the culture that guns are a part of. I am convinced they seek the deliberate and systematic destruction of the entire unique non-criminal "gun culture".

There is no reason that, in a sane world, I have to justify my peaceable, non aggressive choices. I don't have to give a reason why I use Linux instead of Windows or a Mac. I don't have to explain why I drink Southern Comfort or Jack Daniels nor explain why I don't drink Rum or Tequila. I don't have to justify the sex or number of people I sleep with. It is equally nobody's business but mine what kinds of guns I own nor how many rounds each will fire before reloading.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kozynski on the Death Penalty

My objection to the death penalty is purely pragmatic: There is no accountability when an agent of the state kills someone in error and that is a recipe for corruption. Power corrupts the men who wield it especially when there is no personal liability for their actions.

That said, if we are going to have executions then just use a firing squad or a guillotine. Automate the process if it makes people feel better but Kozynski is right when he object to using life-saving medication to kill (PDF). That is just damned wrong.

Whatever the hopes and reasons for the switch to drugs, they proved to be misguided. Subverting medicines meant to heal the human body to the opposite purpose was an enterprise doomed to failure. Today’s case is only the latest in an unending effort to undermine and discredit this method of carrying out lawful executions. Another symptom of the problem is the decade-long inability (or perhaps unwillingness) of California state officials to come up with an execution protocol, effectively putting the state’s death chamber out of commission. See Jones v. Chappell, No. CV09-02158-CJC, slip op. at 5 n.7 (C.D. Cal. July 16, 2014). Old age, not execution, is the most serious risk factor for inmates at the San Quentin death row. Then, again, you get odd cases like that of Russell Bucklew, who obtained a stay of execution on the ground that the drugs that would be used to kill him would cause a lingering, painful death. See Bucklew v. Lombardi, 134 S. Ct. 2333, 2333 (2014).

Whatever happens to Wood, the attacks will not stop and for a simple reason: The enterprise is flawed. Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and peaceful—like something any one of us might experience in our final moments. See Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141, 1143 (1994) (Scalia, J., concurring in denial of certiorari) (“How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection . . . .”). But executions are, in fact, nothing like that. They are brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should it. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.

If some states and the federal government wish to continue carrying out the death penalty, they must turn away from this misguided path and return to more primitive -- and foolproof -- methods of execution. The guillotine is probably best but seems inconsistent with our national ethos. And the electric chair, hanging and the gas chamber are each subject to occasional mishaps. The firing squad strikes me as the most promising. Eight or ten large-caliber rifle bullets fired at close range can inflict massive damage, causing instant death every time. There are plenty of people employed by the state who can pull the trigger and have the training to aim true. The weapons and ammunition are bought by the state in massive quantities for law enforcement purposes, so it would be impossible to interdict the supply. And nobody can argue that the weapons are put to a purpose for which they were not intended: firearms have no purpose other than destroying their targets. Sure, firing squads can be messy, but if we are willing to carry out executions, we should not shield ourselves from the reality that we are shedding human blood. If we, as a society, cannot stomach the splatter from an execution carried out by firing squad, then we shouldn’t be carrying out executions at all.

While I believe the state should and will prevail in this case, I don’t understand why the game is worth the candle. A tremendous number of taxpayer dollars have gone into defending a procedure that is inherently flawed and ultimately doomed to failure. If the state wishes to continue carrying out executions, it would be better to own up that using drugs is a mistake and come up with something that will work, instead.

Coincidences in the Dark

While searching for something unrelated I came across a couple of factoids I found interesting.

That two prominent English authors (OK, C. S. Lewis was born in Belfast but you know what I mean) should die on the same day is quite a coincidence in itself but, being an American, I also know that John F. Kennedy died on November 22, 1963. My reason tells me that is an interesting but meaningless correlation, However, there is some ancient, pre-sapient structure in my brain that is saying, "Wow!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beretta Moves Manufacturing to Tennessee

This does not surprise me. It has been building for a long time and I am glad to see it finally happening though Beretta has no plans to move its headquarters -- yet. Hopefully more gun manufacturers will follow suit and disassociate themselves from anti-gun states.

Beretta USA Announces Decision To Move Its Entire Maryland Manufacturing Capabilities To Tennessee

Beretta U.S.A. Corp., located in Accokeek, Maryland, announced today that it has decided to move its manufacturing capabilities from its existing location to a new production facility that it is building in Gallatin, Tennessee. The Gallatin facility is scheduled to be opened in mid-2015. Beretta U.S.A. had previously planned to use the new Gallatin, Tennessee facility for new machinery and production of new products only.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ET is Impossible?

According to the Bible as interpreted by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, ET cannot not exist. Ham recently posted one of the brighter gems in the usual grimy dreck of religious silliness. Entitled “We’ll find a new earth within 20 years” it explains why intelligent aliens cannot exist.

Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space. I certainly suspect not. The Earth was created for human life. And the sun and moon were created for signs and our seasons—and to declare the glory of God.

And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”! Only descendants of Adam can be saved. God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word). To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.

An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

I sometimes make fun of religion. There is no meanness intended by this -- I just think there is something strange about an adult having an invisible friend. Maybe I just have a hollow spot where my bump of reverence is supposed to be. That doesn't mean I think religious people are necessarily evil or good or indifferent but it is obvious that some are sillier than others.

That said, I agree that Ham's interpretation is correct given the text and context of the Bible. I just don't buy it. I know there are other sects of Christianity that interpret the plain language of Biblical cosmology in a less than literal manner. I don't buy their hand-waving explanations either. It may well be that we humans will never encounter another intelligent species but that is because the Universe is big place and, I think, intelligence is rare.

Especially rare over at Answers in Genesis.