A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for February, 2012

Don’t Say Stacey

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Tennessee has a bill moving through their legislature being referred to as the “Don’t say gay” bill:

The House Education subcommittee approved the so-called “Don’t say gay” bill on a voice vote Wednesday, renewing a debate that roiled the legislature last spring over whether elementary and middle schools should be allowed to initiate discussions about homosexuality.

Now this abridgement to free speech simply isn’t enough. To attack the truth threat of homosexuality one man, district selectman from the 14th district, has introduced a bill to make the act of giving children androgynous names illegal. He makes a very convincing case:

When his statistics go to five decimal places you know they’re accurate!

Written by Christopher Burg

February 24th, 2012 at 10:30 am

Posted in Humor

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Minnesota HF 1467 Passes Senate

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Good news has come down from the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (MNGOCRA), HF 1467, the Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011, has passed the Senate:

Your calls and emails made a difference. Tonight, the Minnesota Senate passed the Stand Your Ground bill with a vote of 40-23.

The bill will go to a conference committee on Monday, and should be back in front of the House and Senate soon. Following that, the next challenge will be convincing Governor Dayton to sign the bill. We’ll have more on that soon.

Now we need to get the governor’s signature, something that may or may not be easy depending on how inebriated he is when we put the bill on his desk.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 24th, 2012 at 10:00 am

DNS Issues

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So I got up this morning to be greeted with an unreachable site only to discover the Dynamic Name System (DNS) information was messed up during the domain transfer. The problems are fixed but DNS changes can take some time to propagate so if you’re reading this you have the correct information, if you can’t read this you know something is amiss but you’ll not see this until all is well again.

Today’s lesson: DNS transfers never go as smoothly as they should.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 24th, 2012 at 7:30 am

Posted in Side Notes

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Arguing Against the State

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Written by Christopher Burg

February 23rd, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Death of the Pointless Canadian Long Gun Registry

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Canada’s fear of firearms lead them to implementing a $2.7 billion long gun registry that accomplished nothing of value. Thankfully their parliament finally admitted their mistake and dismantled the atrociously expensive registry:

Despite spending a whopping $2.7 billion on creating and running a long-gun registry, Canadians never reaped any benefits from the project. The legislation to end the program finally passed the Parliament on Wednesday. Even though the country started registering long guns in 1998, the registry never solved a single murder. Instead it has been an enormous waste of police officers’ time, diverting their efforts from patrolling Canadian streets and doing traditional policing activities.

$2.7 billion and not a single murder was solved? How do the anti-gunners consider these registries a good idea? Firearm registries are worthless systems designed solely to let the government know who has firearms for a time they decide to confiscate them. As the article points out, registries almost never solve crimes because guns used to commit crimes are seldom left by the perpetrator:

Crime guns are very rarely left at the crime scene, and when they are left at the scene, they have not been registered — criminals are not stupid enough to leave behind a gun that’s registered to them. Even in the few cases where registered crime guns are left at the scene, it is usually because the criminal has been seriously injured or killed, so these crimes would have been solved even without registration.

Why would a murder leave evidence at a crime scene? Especially when that evidence is a tool they wish to keep to perform future crimes? It’s not a logical assumption, which makes it not at all surprising that anti-gunners came up with it since they’re the masters of illogical assumptions. Either way the experiment has been performed and it has failed so anti-gunners can stop claiming that we should be registering firearm with the government.

Christie Tells Buffett Where to Shove It

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Chris Christie, a man whom a strongly dislike in almost every way imaginable, actually said something I agree with:

Buffett may be known as the “Wizard of Omaha,” but Christie sees no magic in Buffett’s call for tax hikes for the wealthy, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“Cut a check and shut up, that’s what I say, okay?” Christie said Wednesday. “I’m tired of hearing about it. He wants to pay more taxes, pay more.”

I’ve been saying this for a while, if you don’t believe you’re paying enough taxes then write the government a check for more. Of course we could listen to Buffett, crank up the taxes on”rich” people, and we’ll still be in this economic mess. The bottom line is simple, the government is spending too much money. Even if they could raise billions of dollars it’ll be entirely meaningless to the deficit that measures in trillions of dollars. If Buffett actually knew anything about economics he would advice the United States government to reduce their spending dramatically.

Sadly that won’t happen but we’re lucky that an actual economist, one acknowledged by the late but great Murray Rothbard, is running for president this election and has a plan to actually reduce spending.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 23rd, 2012 at 11:00 am

Burying Gun Control Fallacies

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The Brady Campaign, Violence Policy Center, and Mayors Against Illegal Guns must really be worried at the moment. As their fallacies are stomped into the ground their funding shrivels into nothingness. Forbes has a good writeup that details the fact that none of the doom and gloom scenarios perpetuated by gun control organizations have come to fruition even though the rate of gun ownership has been skyrocketing:

As much as gun control advocates might wish otherwise, their attacks are running out of ammo. With private firearm ownership at an all-time high and violent crime rates plunging, none of the scary scenarios they advanced have materialized.

With an opening like that you know the anti-gunners are going to be horribly upset with the story. The author goes through a few common myths parroted by anti-gunners and demonstrates their falsehood:

Caroline Brewer of the anti-gun Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has reported that “The research we’ve seen indicates fewer and fewer people owning more and more guns.” Yet one can only wonder where they are getting that information. In reality, public support for personal gun ownership is growing. According to Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group that represents about 7,000 firearms manufacturers and related companies, in 1959 some 70% of the American public favored handgun bans, whereas today that number has flipped. This support is reflected in the marketplace. Sanetti observes that the $4.1 billion gun industry “has had nineteen months of growth in an otherwise anemic economy.”

Recognizing these positive trends, most states now issue permits allowing qualified law-abiding people to legally carry handguns outside their homes. Unprecedented numbers are becoming licensed to do so, now totaling an estimated 10 million Americans, contributing, in turn, to a dramatic growth in gun sales.

The anti-gunner bullshit about gun ownership rates going down has been one of my favorites to laugh at. Their argument that fewer people are simply buying more guns is shown to be entirely false by the sheer fact that carry permit rates are going up. When one gets a carry permit it’s pretty reasonable to assume that person also has a gun. In many cases people getting carry permits previously held no interest in guns and obtained their first firearm when they desired to get a permit.

As pointed out in a recent paper titled “Tough Targets” released by the Cato Institute, “The ostensible purpose of gun control legislation is to reduce firearm deaths and injuries. But authors Clayton E. Cramer and David Burnett believe these restrictions put law-abiding citizens at a distinct disadvantage to criminals who acquire guns from underground markets since it is simply not possible for police officers to get to every scene where intervention is urgently needed. They also document large numbers of crimes…murders, assaults, robberies…that are thwarted each year by ordinary persons with guns.

The paper, Tough Targets, can be found here. It’s a good read and very well researched. Basically it’s the exact opposite of the drivel put out by the likes of the Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center. Instead of making baseless assumptions or using statistical voodoo, Cramer and Burnett comb through self-defense stories and present the raw numbers.

Whereas gun control proponents often argue that having a gun put people at risk because a criminal will take it away and use it against them, it seems the reality is more often to be the reverse situation. The Cato data contains only 11 stories out of 4,699 where a criminal took a gun away from a defender, but 277 where the intended victim disarmed the bad guy, although the authors acknowledge that these event reports may be printed more frequently due to newsworthiness.

Arguing that a criminal is simply going to take your gun is one of the dumbest arguments that the anti-gunners have brought up. If taking a gun from somebody is so easy who really cares if a criminal takes yours since you can just take it right back. Hell you can stand there for an hour taking the gun back from the criminal every time he takes it from you and eventually he’ll get bored and move on. On a serious note Tough Targets does a marvelous job of proving how false the anti-gunner’s claim really is.

This is why gun rights activists win, we do actual research and show real numbers whereas the anti-gunners do hand waving an pull random numbers out of the air. If you make claims and fail to ever back them up people will eventually stop listening to you.

Then there is the argument that more private gun ownership will lead to more accidents because the average citizen isn’t sufficiently trained to use a weapon defensively. While gun accidents do occur, the Cato study indicates that they are the most overstated risks. There were 535 accidental firearms deaths in 2006 within a population of almost 300 million people. Although every lost life is tragic, the proportion is not particularly startling.

Another false claim is shot down in flames.

On the other hand, Newsweek has reported that law-abiding American citizens using guns in self-defense during 2003 shot and killed two and one-half times as many criminals as police did, and with fewer than one-fifth as many incidents as police where an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal (2% versus 11%).

I can only imagine that this short article has caused numerous gun control fanatics to breakdown into tears. It’s basically a bullet point summary of why anti-gunner claims are wrong. The above mentioned statistic makes a lot of sense when one realizes that police officer can’t magically materialize upon call. When you’re being attacked the police may take hours to arrive (or may not arrive at all) and during that time you’re on your own. If you have a means of self-defense on your person you greatly increase your chances of survival and can resolve the situation even if the police fail to respond.

Finally, on the subject of public safety, just how well have gun bans worked in other countries? Take the number of home break-ins while residents are present as an indication. In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, nearly half of all burglaries occur when residents are present. But in the U.S. where many households are armed, only about 13% happen when someone is home.

Robbing a home in the United States while the person is home is a bad idea and criminals know it. This is a side-effect of a well-armed nation.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 23rd, 2012 at 10:30 am

A Justice System Designed to Take Everything

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As I said more commentary related to this story was coming, I just didn’t have time to write it all out yesterday when I penned the first post. Aside from the lack of “stand your ground” law the story of Mr. Lewis demonstrates a failure of our so-called justice system in general.

In fact I don’t refer to what we have in the United States as a justice system. Justice would imply compensation for your losses and life returning to normal if you’re incorrectly accused of a crime. The system we have in the United States would best be labeled a punishment system. My reason for saying this is because everybody, the innocent and guilty, are punished severely in our system either through prison terms or property loss. A perfect example of this is the recent case of Jay Rodney Lewis who lost everything for simply defending himself:

Ludwick, a former soldier and convicted felon, was driving four people home from a Halloween party. Documents say Ludwick slowed; Lewis passed him. Ludwick sped up, and the cars raced down 11th Street until they came to Regency Woods. They collided when Lewis, in front and on the right, started to turn left.

Lewis said Ludwick and a passenger, Justin Lossner, got out of the Taurus and began punching the Mustang’s windows.

They backed off when Lewis pulled out his .380-caliber pistol. But they came back.

Lewis said he was outside his car, evaluating its damage, when he caught Ludwick and Lossner trying to sneak up on him from two different directions.

The recording of a 911 call made by Lewis begins with Lewis yelling at the two to “just stay where you are. Get back! Get back! I’m going to start shooting!”

There are exchanges of profanities while Lewis explains the situation to a police dispatcher. Then, “Get away from me. Get away from me!” And a bang.

The 911 call makes it pretty obvious that Mr. Lewis attempted to resolve the situation without resorting to violence, which was later upheld by a jury. Considering the call and the situation I would not have initially arrested Lewis but the police not only saw fit to arrest him but the court saw it necessary to put such a high bail on his release that he had no hope of paying it:

The initial bail asked Lewis to post $225,000 cash.

Lewis, who made $32,359 a year at the IRS, didn’t have the money. So he sat in jail.

Bail is one of the most sickening ideas our punishment system has come up with. If you’re arrested you can give the state a pile of money and they’ll let you walk around freely until your trial date. Whether you’re found guilty or innocent the state gets to keep the bail money. It’s hard to argue that bail is anything besides a fund raising attempt by the state since an act of justice would be returning that money to any person found innocent of the crime they were accused of. I’m still unsure of how the average person came to accept the idea of bail as a justifiable idea.

The state didn’t get Mr. Lewis’s money though because he didn’t have enough, but they did make sure he lost all of his property by keeping him locked up:

One week after the shooting, a lawyer for Regency Woods typed up a notice that eventually was posted on the door of Lewis’ apartment. It described Lewis as a “clear and present danger to the health or safety of the other tenants.” As evidence, it cited Lewis’ involvement in “an assault with a weapon within 1,000 feet of the property described above” and the fact that he’d been arrested because of it.

[…]

Despite the fact that Regency Woods knew Lewis had been arrested, no one ever contacted him at the jail. Instead, the apartment complex won a default judgment when Lewis failed to appear in court on Nov. 22.

Lewis learned about all this at roughly 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 30. One jail guard led him to another, who was on the phone. The deputy serving the eviction warrant wanted to know if Lewis had any relatives who could get Lewis’ belongings off the 11th Street curb.

“All my relatives are in Kansas,” Lewis said.

The evicting deputy seized four handguns, three rifles, a shotgun and a machete that had been left in the apartment. But all his clothing and furniture disappeared on Nov. 30, along with a laptop containing the only copy of his fourth novel (a western).

First of all let me say this: fuck Regency Woods. Those guys must be some tremendous assholes if they’re not only willing to evict a tenant for defending his life but also to serve the eviction notice before the man has even been released from prison. I hope those fuckers go bankrupt.

Second I must say that holding Mr. Lewis in prison while his stuff was being tossed out is a terrible act built upon a terrible act. Not only did they hold him in prison for defending himself but they didn’t even both sending somebody to retrieve his stuff when their actions lead to the stuff being tossed out on the curb? Nope, instead they only send an officer to retrieve Mr. Lewis’s weapons, everything else be damned.

What tops this all off though is the fact Mr. Lewis will probably never be compensated for his losses even though he was found entirely innocent:

Prosecutors eventually dropped most of the charges. Trial on the sole remaining count, reckless use of a firearm causing injury, began on Feb. 6. and ended late on Feb. 8.

It was over early the following morning.

“I just don’t think the state did its job to prove he was guilty,” juror Mary Kinney said. “I think the man felt he was in danger.”

That’s a bittersweet victory if there ever was one. Sure Mr. Lewis is out of prison but all of his stuff is gone, he has nowhere to live, and months of his life have been stolen from him by the state that decided it was necessary to kidnap the poor man and throw him in a cage. Legislation is moving through the Iowa legislature that would have prevented this but that does Mr. Lewis no good:

Lewis’ case appears to fit the scenario envisioned by House File 573, a bill now working its way through the Legislature. It would expand current law to specify that a potential victim in a violent situation has “no duty to retreat” and has the right to “meet force with force.”

The legislation, which Sarcone argued against before a House subcommittee last month, also says a person cannot be prosecuted for using force against someone perceived to pose a threat, even if that perception is later proved incorrect.

Let me state that I’m entirely unaware of who Sarcone is, but I do know that he’s a completely asshole:

What Lewis’ case shows is that current law works, Sarcone said: “I don’t know why people are afraid of jury trials. I’m not.”

This has nothing to do with a jury trial. Mr. Lewis is a perfect example of all the punishments an innocent man faces. Sure the jury round him innocent but he lost all of his property and months of his life to a prison. He should have suffered nothing because he did nothing wrong. The 911 call should have been enough evidence to, at least, let Mr. Lewis await his trial date outside the confines of prison walls. Were he not kidnapped and held in a cage he would have been able to retrieve his stuff.

I truly hope Mr. Lewis can get some actual justice. The state should be compensating him for the loss of property caused by their actions of holding him for months. Unless his contract with Regency Woods allows them to evict tenants for defending themselves (since he wasn’t found guilty of any wrongdoing at the time of his eviction they can’t claim they were tossing out a criminal) he should have the right to seek compensation from them as well.

The United States justice system punishes everything. If you raise the ire of the state you will be hurt regardless of your innocence of wrongdoing. Tragedies like this should be made widely known so that people realize how horrible the police state they live in truly. The mantra, “You’re innocent until proven guilty” is a crock of shit and entirely irrelevant since being innocent doesn’t prevent you being punished.

Shit like this is why I’m a voluntaryist.

A Case for Stand Your Ground Law

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With the imminent hearing on HR 1467, the bill that would bring “stand your ground” to Minnesota, tomorrow I think we need an example of how important such legislation is. For an example we need look no further than Iowa:

One couldn’t blame him. Lewis had just finished 112 days in jail because he didn’t have the cash to make bail. When jurors finally freed him on Feb. 9, Lewis walked out homeless, unemployed and minus most of his possessions.

[…]

Ludwick, a former soldier and convicted felon, was driving four people home from a Halloween party. Documents say Ludwick slowed; Lewis passed him. Ludwick sped up, and the cars raced down 11th Street until they came to Regency Woods. They collided when Lewis, in front and on the right, started to turn left.

Lewis said Ludwick and a passenger, Justin Lossner, got out of the Taurus and began punching the Mustang’s windows.

They backed off when Lewis pulled out his .380-caliber pistol. But they came back.

Lewis said he was outside his car, evaluating its damage, when he caught Ludwick and Lossner trying to sneak up on him from two different directions.

The recording of a 911 call made by Lewis begins with Lewis yelling at the two to “just stay where you are. Get back! Get back! I’m going to start shooting!”

There are exchanges of profanities while Lewis explains the situation to a police dispatcher. Then, “Get away from me. Get away from me!” And a bang.

You read that correctly, Mr. Lewis was found innocent of any crime was greeted with a loss of his property and months of his lives stolen as he rotted in prison awaiting his trial. What’s most egregious about this story is the fact that Mr. Lewis would have been legally protected from all of this if Iowa had a stand your ground law as it gives the defender the benefit of the doubt. Without such legislation the state gets to assume guilt until innocence is proven, and in such cases those forced into a self-defense situation may lose everything even if a jury acquits them.

As I stated yesterday the other problem when a stand your ground law isn’t on the books is the fact that any action taken in self-defense can be argued to be “unreasonable.” One person looking at Mr. Lewis’s situation may claim his use of a firearm wasn’t reasonable because his attackers were, apparently, unarmed. Another person would point out the fact that Mr. Lewis was outnumbered, a fact that makes a self-defense situation far more dangerous. Mr. Lewis had every right to be where he was and therefore should have the right to defend himself at that location. Stand your ground laws benefit those who find themselves having to defend themselves against initiators of violence.

I have further commentary about this story that I’ll post up tomorrow. Considering that the “stand your ground” bill is being debated tomorrow I wanted to get this out so people could read it and understand the importance that this law holds.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 22nd, 2012 at 4:00 pm

The Only Map You Need

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Are you curious about the evolution of metal? Would you like to see an interactive map that not only shows the evolution of metal, but also gives you sample songs from each of the many subgenres? If so you’re in luck because the Map of Metal does exactly that. Click on that link now, it’s very well done and really fucking cool.

For the most part my preferences stay in the center of the map with some northern travel into the black region from time to time.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Media

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