Saturday, August 30, 2014

What I Fear is Hate and Stupidity

Saul Cornell and the Daily Beast are what they are and I expect no better from either. However, I find it amusing when a controlist (mis)quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes' opinion in Schenk v. United States upholding the conviction of a man who advocated resisting the draft. What is, arguably, one of the worst judicial offenses against the First Amendment is now being cited in attacks on the Second.

Of course, the fact that the Second Amendment is now treated as an individual right has almost no bearing on gun regulation, because no right is absolute. You can’t shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, nor can you fire a gun in one.

Gun-Rights Advocates Should Fear History of Second Amendment

You are wrong Mr. Cornell. What gun rights advocates have to fear is what all civil rights activists have had to fear throughout history. We have to fear the hatred and stupidity of the ideologues in power trying desperately to preserve their privilege and control.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Driving While Distracted is OK if You're a Cop?

It certainly seems so in this case.

Police Officer Will Not Be Charged For Killing Napster Exec While Texting And Driving — Because It's Apparently OK For Police To Do That

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy Andrew Wood will not be charged for fatally running over former Napster COO Milton Olin Jr. in his patrol car while the officer was typing a message into his computer.

The District Attorney's report on the incident is pretty clear about what happened:

The article continues:

The Los Angeles District Attorney's report into the incident says that even though it is illegal to text and drive, Wood was not negligent because police officers are expected to respond quickly to messages from colleagues.

For a long time I've accepted the fact that the Thin Blue Whine will always protect its own. That select group includes district attorneys and judges. I am not particularly happy about it but it is a fact of life. Still, the handling of this incident is pretty blatant. It is a dead certainty that if an unbadged person answered his email or sent a text message while driving and, as a result, hit and killed someone, he would be be charged with something. If not vehicular manslaughter then felony reckless driving.

Why is the DA refusing to prosecute this case? Like I said: That's just the way it is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Arizona Tragedy

There are a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks critiquing the instructor's methods displayed in the video accompanying the article. Frankly, it looked to me like he did things right but I am not particularly qualified to offer anything but a layman's opinion. What I do know is that I feel sorry for the little girl and the instructor's family. Mistakes or not, it is still a tragedy.

Officials: Girl Accidentally Kills Gun Instructor

The incident itself is a controlist's wet dream: A dead firearms instructor, a messed up little girl and press coverage of the whole thing. I suspect Sarah Brady and Shannon Watts will comment on the matter right after they finish masturbating.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Retard in the White House and Elsewhere

Remember when Joe Biden -- putative Vice-President of the United States -- recommended that gun owners discourage intruders by firing a shotgun in the air?

So did Jeffery Barton of Washington State but when he followed that advice, he was arrested for his trouble. At his arraignment he pleaded not guilty and raised what is now being called the "Joe Biden Defense". While that seems a little tongue-in-cheek to me, it is, in the clarity of hindsight, a predictable reaction to the utter stupidity and ignorance exhibited by Biden.

Now -- perhaps hoping not to embarrass the VP more than he does for himself -- the prosecutor is dropping the one count of illegal aiming or discharging a firearm.

New developments in 'Joe Biden defense' case

Clark County's prosecutor said Tuesday he will dismiss a firearms-related charge against a Vancouver man who said he was merely taking Vice President Joe Biden's advice on how to defend his property from car prowlers. Instead, the man will be prosecuted for obstructing a police officer.

Jeffrey C. Barton, 53, made international news when he told journalists: "I did what Joe Biden told me to do. I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air."

That is a reference to the vice president's answer to a question in February 2013 about home defense. Biden responded that Americans don't need to own semiautomatic weapons because a couple blasts from a shotgun will scare off intruders.

Of course the state being, typically, unwilling to let go of any opportunity to harass a peaceable gun owner will throw an obstruction charge against the wall.

However, the firearms charge will be replaced with a charge of obstructing a law enforcement officer, Golik said.

Golik said ethical guidelines prevent him from discussing specific reasons for the new charge.

"Based on (Barton's) conduct, we are going to pursue the obstruction charge," he said.

Ethical considerations? In this case is sound more like: We don't have a real reason to put him in jail so we will fall back on the obstruction charge.

And lawyers wonder why Dante spread them out all over the Inferno. There are so many appropriate places there for them.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Latest Calibre is not compatible with CentOS 6

I tied to update to the latest Calibre (2.0.0) and discovered it will not run on CentOS 6. It appear to need glibc 3.4.15 and Qt 5. CentOS 6 uses glibc 2.12 and Qt 4. That can probably be be fixed with some static linking but getting two version of glibc to work together is tricky. If, like me, you inadvertently installed it, you can download an earlier version here:

The following will extract the 1.48.0 version which is the next to latest:

$ sudo rm -rf /opt/calibre/* && sudo tar -xvjf calibre-1.48.0-x86_64.tar.bz2 -C /opt/calibre

You may need to make the following symbolic link.

/usr/bin/calibre -> /opt/calibre/calibre

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 genuine safety concerns as less important than their feelings of security.