Archive for December, 2011
Today I’m going to break one of the first rules of blogging, I’m going to talk about myself. I’ve been regularly writing posts on this blog for over two years now and so far I’ve never really explained how I came to be a gun rights activist or a libertarian even though I’ve been asked numerous times. I believe being a gun rights activist and a libertarian are strongly tied by my high level of psychological reactance. Taking orders isn’t something I do with grace and when somebody tries to force me into a course of action I do not wish to take I often react by doing the exact opposite of what is desired. If you tell me I can’t do something there is a very high chance I’ll do it just to spite you.
Guns are devices I’ve had a strong interest in since I was a wee lad. Part of my interest likely stems from the constant fear mongering my school teachers used to instill fear of firearms into the student body. Since they were basically saying guns are evil and scary I wanted to shoot them, and being my mother grew up around guns (her dad was even a firearm safety instructor) I only had to convince my father to allow me to purchase a firearm. He agreed on the grounds that I enrolled in a firearm safety class, which I gladly did and the rest is really history so far as my fascination with firearms is concerned.
This in of itself is likely of little interest to you and if you’re still reading let me assure you that the more interesting part is coming up. I’ve always had strong libertarian leanings even before I knew a term existed to describe my beliefs. The idea that people could simply command others because they had been granted some arbitrary authority never sat well with me. My eyes weren’t fully opened to the potential power had for abuse until my 10th grade year of high school.
While I don’t remember the exact dates the following occurred it was sometime after April 20th, 1999. The only reason I am able to pin down that date is because it was the day of the Columbine massacre, the event that directly lead to one week of hell for myself. The principle of Caledonia High School at the time was a man named Brian Doty (yeah I’m using names, no reason a piece of shit should gain anonymity just because this event is ancient history). Doty wasn’t a terribly effective principle and embodied many qualities that define most politicians. That is to say he didn’t have a spine and was able to maintain his disgustingly high salary (for that area) through fear mongering and politicking.
After the Columbine massacre Doty decided to demonstrate to the parents of Caledonia that such a tragedy wasn’t going to happen under his watch. Considering Caledonia has a population under 3,000 and everybody knows everybody else there was little fear of such a tragedy happening but that never stopped a power hungry asshole from drumming up fake concerns. What Doty needed was a scapegoat, a kid to be the victim in his dark play. It was no secret that I was a gun owner and enjoyed the shooting sports greatly nor was either uncommon as large number of students lived on the surrounding farms and enjoyed hunting deer, turkey, and pheasant. Still I had the primary requirement for Doty’s scheme, I owned firearms. Another bonus was the fact I was relatively quiet and kept to myself a majority of the time, which was one of the characteristics that was used to describe the Columbine shooters. Thus I was given the role of scapegoat in this horrendous play.
One week of my life was turned to absolute shit. During one gym class I was called to the office, a rare occurrence for myself. Upon arriving at the office I was met by the principle, a police officer, and my mother. Let me take a second to bring up the fact that throughout my school career I had never been in serious trouble and only had detention once for having my gym cloths stolen from my locker (somehow that translated into being my fault, I have no idea why). Knowing this you can probably understand my shock at seeing an armed police officer standing in the office waiting for me.
Upon entering I was commanded to take a seat and then handed a piece of paper. Looking at the piece of paper I recognized it was an assignment I had handed in as my signature was at the top of the page but wasn’t given time to read it before being asked, “Is this what you really think?” Still not sure what the piece of paper was I quickly skimmed it and recollected it was a poem I had been forced to write for an English class and the poem, in classic Christopher Burg fashion, was about war (you might make me do something but I’m going to fight it tooth and nail, even if that fight involves doing the assignment about a subject considered undesirable to the teacher). I was never given time to respond to the question before Doty started laying on the conspiracy that was supposedly afoot.
The accusation he made was pretty straight forward, there were rumors floating around that somebody was planning to perform a Columbine massacre at Caledonia High School and all fingers pointed to me as the killer. Yes me, Mr. Nonaggression Principle was being fingered as a future killer in a massacre that was to befall the sleepy town of Caledonia. The rest of the meeting was mostly a blur as I tried to wrap my head around the charges facing me. I was let go and allowed to return to class, something that seemed strange considering the accusations being made against myself. It was later that day that several students started harassing me about my supposed plot. To this day I’m not sure if the rumor was first started by Doty to bolster his position or by fellow students who wanted to incite drama. In the first case Doty was merely drumming up fear to bolster his position and in the latter case he was given a story that fit the narrative he desired so he ran with it forgoing any investigation into my person before bringing the accusations. Either way I was fucked.
Sarcastically some of the students in one of my classes said, “Please spare me!” Irritated at the statement and my situation I simply said, “Sure, whatever.” This response taught me a valuable lesson, be extremely careful about the words you use because somebody will likely try to twist them into something else later. Day two of my adventure found me back in the principle’s office. Doty asked me, “Some students came to me and said you promised to spare them.” What he really meant was, “Some students said you promised to spare them and that proves to me you’re planning on shooting up the school!” My protests against the accusation being made went unheard and I was once again told to return to class. For me the week followed a predictable formula starting with being called to the office, being accused of saying or doing something I never did, and being sent back to class.
On Wednesday evening I attended the monthly Future Farmers of America (FFA) meeting. Granted I had no interest in ever being a farmer but the person charged with running the local FFA chapter was the father of my best friend and it got me out of school a couple days a year. After the meeting my friend’s father asked how I was holding up and that was the first time I can remember outright lying about my feelings. People suffering from depression will generally hide their feelings and tell their friends and family all is well when asked. This was the only time in my life that I can remember actually being depressed and replied by simply saying all was well. My friend and his father both assured me that they knew this entire mess was a misunderstanding and would eventually blow over. For some reason this short interaction made an impact on me and I remember it clearly to this day.
Unfortunately I do not remember the exact dates of this entire mess as it happened too many years ago and I never wrote anything about it down at the time (something I greatly regret). The day before the supposed shooting was to occur I was called into Doty’s office one last time. During this meeting he explained that it would be best if I didn’t show up to school the next day considering the plan that was afoot. At the time his request seemed extremely odd but looking at it today I understand his desired goal. If I didn’t show up for class on the day the shooting was to occur it would create more concern in the student body. They would possibly worry that I hadn’t showed up the class yet meaning I was planning on showing up at a later time to kill everybody. His request was sick and nothing but a power play as far as I can tell.
Regardless of the reason I decided to go along with the request. I explained the entire situation to my parents and two things were decided; first I would not attend school the next day and two my firearms would be held somewhere more secure than my bedroom. My father contemplated storing my firearms at his shop but decided against it because doing so may attract the attention of his employees. In the end my guns were moved from my bedroom to my parent’s bedroom. What this was supposed to accomplish I never understood but it satisfied my father who was doing his best to help. The next morning my mother and I went to La Crosse and spent the day away from Caledonia so if something did occur I wouldn’t be in the town and thus couldn’t be implicated. Needless to say nothing happened and all returned to normal the next day. What pissed me off then was the fact I was never given an apology nor was any statement made to the school expressing the fact the entire mess was a misunderstanding. For two years this single event haunted me as students made jokes about it and I was pegged as an accused killer.
This even opened my eyes to unbridled power and the dangers that accompany it. Doty wanted nothing more than to cement his position as school principle and that was made easier by exploiting the tragedy that befell Columbine. He sacrificed me in order to demonstrate his alertness to potential crises and his willingness to do whatever it takes to prevent them. In all honesty nobody paid attention to his actions and parents weren’t asking for his removal beforehand so he made my life hell for nothing.
I learned many things from this. First authority is dangerous and unchecked power is even more dangerous. When somebody is able to subject another to hellish conditions without fear of punishment little can be done to prevent damaged lives. Libertarians understand this and thus work to reduce the power government officials hold. We believe all should be equal under the law, allowing those in authority to break the law means no recourse will exist for their victims. I also learned how incredibly petty people in power are and the distances they will go to maintain that power, no matter how little they hold. Likewise those with power will go to great lengths to obtain even more power. The phrase, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” is entirely true.
Another lesson I took away from that event is the fact firearm owners are a persecuted minority. We’re the scapegoats used by people in power to frighten the masses into surrendering more power to those in authority. If a firearm owner is being persecuted nobody is likely to come to his or her assistance nor will accusations being made against him or her be verified before being repeated. We’re pawns in the politician’s game and our only backup is each other.
This singular event changed the course of my life. It was a big damned wakeup call. My respect for authority was poisoned, any chance of me playing the political game was entirely stifled, and I no longer had any fear. How did I lose my fear? Easy, once you’ve made it through a traumatic event you realize fear is irrelevant, if something bad is going to happen it will happen and if it’s not going to happen it won’t happen. There is no point in worrying yourself with the what ifs, simply prepare yourself as best as you can to deal with potential scenarios.
My high school career took a huge nose dive as I stopped caring about my grades. I went from regularly being on the honor roll to holding a B-/C+ average. In my mind there was no point in trying to excel because the only reward was being punished for somebody else’s gains. Thankfully this attitude didn’t follow me into college and I was able to do well in my studies of computer programming and computer science.
So if you were ever curious about how I came to be a gun rights activist and a libertarian there is your answer. Truth be told my journey to becoming both was far more complex but that singular event was what primarily set me on the paths. It also shaped my unwillingness to convict somebody of a crime without proper evidence and trial. I’ve been falsely accused of wrongdoing without any supporting evidence and I swore to never do that to another human being. I will always err on the side of innocence when a person is accused of ill, everybody is innocent until proven guilty.
I’ve gone on long enough about this and it’s unlikely anybody is still reading. For the few that are I’ll close by saying this: there are lessons to be taken away from all experiences in life be they good or bad. Try to keep an eye open for these lessons even when the worst befalls you because the lessons you learn in the worst of times are likely the most important.
This post also marks the end of 2011. Enjoy the end of the year and the beginning of next, I’ll see you again in 2012.
People often complain about the lack of competition in the cellular phone market. For the most part there are only four players; T-Mobiles, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon. Opponents of capitalism claim this is an inevitable result of capitalism when in truth it’s an inevitable result of government involvement in the free market. New cell phone providers aren’t popping up left and right because licensing spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is fucking expensive. If it wasn’t for the massive cost of licensing spectrum from the FCC the cost of setting up a national radio system would be so cheap a drug cartel could do it:
When convoys of soldiers or federal police move through the scrubland of northern Mexico, the Zetas drug cartel knows they are coming.
The alert goes out from a taxi driver or a street vendor, equipped with a high-end handheld radio and paid to work as a lookout known as a “halcon,” or hawk.
The radio signal travels deep into the arid countryside, hours by foot from the nearest road. There, the 8-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) dark-green branches of the rockrose bush conceal a radio tower painted to match. A cable buried in the dirt draws power from a solar panel. A signal-boosting repeater relays the message along a network of powerful antennas and other repeaters that stretch hundreds of miles (kilometers) across Mexico, a shadow communications system allowing the cartel to coordinate drug deliveries, kidnapping, extortion and other crimes with the immediacy and precision of a modern military or law-enforcement agency.
With the ever increasing stranglehold our government is establishing over the Internet there may be a day when we have to establish a new network outside of the government’s control. When that day comes we’ll likely have to take a lesson from the Mexican drug cartels in setting up a wireless communication system that is both cheap to create and maintain but robust enough to cover a large portion of the population. It’s also interesting to watch the ingenuity of criminal endeavors. Since criminals aren’t bound by the letter of law they can innovate in ways businesses can not, and many of these innovations don’t involve violence but technological solutions to avoiding government forces.
The idea behind so-called gun-free zones has always baffled me. Proponents of the idea claim guns won’t be carried into these zones because bad people obey laws. When I look at the idea all I see is a big sign telling criminals that persons in these zones will most likely not be armed and therefore make prime victims. Whereas proponents have never been able to demonstrate their idea works those of us who claim gun-free zones are stupid ideas have plenty of examples to fall back on. Another example manifested earlier this money as a prosecutor in the Cook County courthouse was shot:
The Cook County attorney was shot and three others were hurt in the chaos. The gunman had been convicted of criminal sexual conduct moments earlier, his attorney said.
This should have never happened according to those who advocate the establishment of gun-free zones:
“This is a very small courthouse. This is a very small community,” County Commissioner Janice Hall said. “There’s a sign on the door that says no firearms allowed beyond this point.”
It seems to me that criminals aren’t much for obeying signs. Instead of trying to disarm lawful individuals how about we establish more areas where people maintain a right to defend themselves. If a criminal can get a gun into a courthouse they can certainly get one into a school.
I apologize for being a little late with this news but I’m on vacation, what can you really ask from me? Anyways a brute force vulnerability was discovered in Wi-Fi Protect Setup (WPA):
A few weeks ago I decided to take a look at the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) technology. I noticed a few really bad design decisions which enable an efficient brute force attack, thus effectively breaking the security of pretty much all WPS-enabled Wi-Fi routers. As all of the more recent router models come with WPS enabled by default, this affects millions of devices worldwide.
Ouch, glad I never used WPS to setup the security on my wireless network. Technical details about the vulnerability can be found in this writeup [PDF].
The New York Times recently ran a hit piece on carry permit holders. The article tried to make permit holders sound like scary individuals with the following statistic:
To assess that claim, The New York Times examined the permit program in North Carolina, one of a dwindling number of states where the identities of permit holders remain public. The review, encompassing the last five years, offers a rare, detailed look at how a liberalized concealed weapons law has played out in one state. And while it does not provide answers, it does raise questions.
More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees. While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. All but two of the killers used a gun.
2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies? Holy mother of Thor, that’s a bit number. Well, except in the grand scheme of things, it’s not:
That’s a dozen gun assaults a year. How many permit holders are there in North Carolina? According to the story, “more than 240,000.” So 0.2 percent of them are convicted of a non-traffic-related offense each year, about 0.017 percent are convicted of a felony, and only 0.005 percent are convicted of a gun assault. The Times concedes that the number of permit holders convicted of crimes “represents a small percentage of those with permits.” More like “tiny.” By comparison, about 0.35 percent of all Americans are convicted of a felony each year–more than 20 times the rate among North Carolina permit holders.
So the average rate of felony convictions for North Carolina permit holders is far less than the average felony conviction rate in the nation. That seems to prove once again that permit holders are less likely to commit felonies than the average population.
The United States gives a lot of money to foreign countries in the form of aid. Truthfully this aid is usually a cheap way of buying off allies in other countries. If you don’t believe me then you should read this:
A new bill approved by Congress last week would again make the Defense Department the premier funder of security assistance to foreign countries, giving it more than double the comparable budget of the agency popularly associated with America’s foreign aid, the State Department.
The $17 billion Pentagon aid budget for the 2012 fiscal year is the second in a row to exceed the State Department’s by $10 billion, a disparity that has begun to provoke debate among foreign policy experts in Washington. Seven years ago, circumstances were reversed, with the State Department spending triple the amount the Pentagon spent on such aid.
Your country doesn’t have enough money to build buildings? No problem, let us give you some money to blow up some of the buildings you already have!
OK I seriously don’t give a shit about the word drill I just wanted to be flagged by Department of
Motherland Homeland Security (DHS) goons who are apparently watching Twitter for keywords:
The Department of Homeland Security makes fake Twitter and Facebook profiles for the specific purpose of scanning the networks for ‘sensitive’ words – and tracking people who use them.
Simply using a word or phrase from the DHS’s ‘watch’ list could mean that spies from the government read your posts, investigate your account, and attempt to identify you from it, acccording to an online privacy group.
The DHS outlined plans to scans blogs, Twitter and Facebook for words such as ‘illegal immigrant’, ‘outbreak’, ‘drill’, ‘strain’, ‘virus’, ‘recovery’, ‘deaths’, ‘collapse’, ‘human to animal’ and ‘trojan’, according to an ‘impact asssessment’ document filed by the agency.
I guess that’s another government watch list my name is likely on. Since the article claims DHS agents are attempting to identify people posting watched material let me just cue you in to the URL of this site, it’s my name. Let me also state that I live in Minnesota and very recently renewed my driver’s license. If that isn’t enough information for you goons to identify me I don’t know what is.
Either way my goal of appearing on every possible government watch list should be closer to fruition with this post.
Several years ago in the socialist paradise of Venezuela the government announced they were going to implement stricter gun control to curb crime:
Caracas, Venezuela, July 2, 2006–The Venezuelan Ministry of Justice announced the creation of a new firearms control plan on Wednesday, in an attempt to decrease excessive violence in Venezuela. The plan will be presented to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in two weeks, and could begin to be implemented by the end of July.
According to official statistics, in the past three years there have been 11,643 (2003), 9,719 (2004), and 9,412 (2005) homicides, which is high, considering that Venezuela has a population of 27 Million people. The murder rate in Venezuela in 2005 was six times higher than in the United States.
So how has that plan been working out? Not so well:
The Venezuela Violence Observatory says at least 19,336 people have been killed this year, an average of 53 a day.
The figures suggest Venezuela’s murder rate is the highest in South America and four times that of Mexico.
While I love irony as much as the next person I wish people didn’t have to die in order to make a point. Gun control doesn’t work and it never will work. Six years after establishing stricter gun control laws to curb the country’s crime rate Venezuela leads South America in murder rates, even surpassing the drug cartel stricken state of Mexico.
The group did not give an overall reason for the rising violence, but said the problem was fuelled by impunity, with the great majority of killings going unpunished.
A high level of gun ownership is also a factor.
Emphasis mine. If a high level of gun ownership is a factor shouldn’t the murder rate have dropped after stricter gun control laws were implemented in 2006? The first linked story put the murder rates of Venezuela at 11,643 in 2003, 9,719 in 2004, and 9,412 in 2005. In 2011 there were 19,336 murders, an increase of roughly 10,000. If gun ownership rates were a contributing factor than the murder rate should be staying relatively steady or decreasing since stricter gun control laws were implemented. Instead they have more than doubled since 2005.
When I read this story I couldn’t help but laugh:
Two accused shoplifters had their car broken into while they were attempting to steal from a supermarket, police said.
I wish this kind of thing happened more often. Also take a look at the mug shots of the shoplifters, that woman’s face is why you shouldn’t do meth kids.
Sexual Assaulters Security Administration (TSA) are performing an orchestra that should sound familiar to all of us, their expanding their mission far beyond the one they were originally chartered to perform:
An all-too-familiar sight at LAX and the rest of the nation’s airports will soon be coming to the city’s busiest train station.
KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports rail passengers have started seeing Transportation Security Administration on patrol at Union Station on a more frequent basis.
As many as 25 VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention & Response) teams began patrolling train stations nationwide last summer conducting an estimated 9,300 “suspicionless” spot searches of travelers.
These Visible Interrogation and Public Repression (VIPR) teams are getting out of hand. I’m sure we’ve all watched enough war movies where the a Nazi soldier is asking a random traveler for their papers before allowing the traveler to be on his or her way. This is exactly what these VIPR teams are, jack booted thugs demanding to see traveler’s papers before allowing free passage.
Mission creep is always the way police states are established. The tyrannical programs are introduced piece by piece until the populace is surprised to see their freedoms entirely suspended. Mark my words, unless the TSA’s VIPR teams are disbanded they will be setting up checkpoints on state borders and you will be subjected to their interrogation before being allowed to travers from one state to another.