It’s all Fun and Games Until Zombies Show Up

It appears that all of my years of practice, preparing, and planning my soon pay off. The zombie apocalypse may have just begun:

One man was shot to death by Miami police, and another man is fighting for his life after he was attacked, and his face allegedly half eaten, by a naked man on the MacArthur Causeway off ramp Saturday, police said.

The horror began about 2 p.m. when a series of gunshots were heard on the ramp, which is along NE 13th Street, just south of The Miami Herald building.

According to police sources, a road ranger saw a naked man chewing on another man’s face and shouted on his loud speaker for him to back away.Meanwhile, a woman also saw the incident and flagged down a police officer who was in the area.

The officer, who has not been identified, approached and, seeing what was happening, also ordered the naked man to back away. When he continued the assault, the officer shot him, police sources said. The attacker failed to stop after being shot, forcing the officer to continue firing. Witnesses said they heard at least a half dozen shots.

For the sake of humanity I hope the police show the naked face eater in the head, doing anything less is meaningless. Furthermore they better keep the victim isolated as he’s likely going to rise from the dead and try to eat somebody else’s face.

This is why we have to train people, zombies are coming.

A Failure to Address the Problem

Let’s say you’re in charge of the state’s indoctrination education centers and students have been missing “too much” school. While they’re grades haven’t suffered they have obviously disobeyed the state’s decrees and thus must be punished, what can you do? If you answered, “Throw them in jail.” then you may have a future career in public education:

Judge Lanny Moriarty said last month Diane Tran was in his Justice of the Peace court for truancy and he warned her then to stop missing school. But she recently missed classes again so Wednesday he issued a summons and had her arrested in open court when she appeared.

Tran said she works a full-time job, a part-time job and takes advanced placement and dual credit college level courses. She said she is often too exhausted to wake up in time for school. Sometimes she misses the entire day, she said. Sometimes she arrives after attendance has been taken.

The judge ordered Tran to spend 24 hours in jail and pay a $100 fine. Judge Moriarty admitted that he wants to make an example of Tran.

How does putting the girl in jail accomplish anything? Her “crime” is missing school so the judge decided to put her in jail, an act that will ensure she misses more school. That’s kind of like cutting off your head to cure your headache. Furthermore if the girl is an honors student and still has time to work a full-time job, a part-time job, and take advanced placement for college level courses it’s pretty obvious that high school is holding her back.

With all the talk about oil pipelines in the United States we seem to ignore the other great pipeline this country has, the school to prison pipeline.

My Al Qaeda Membership Arrived

Last week my Al Qaeda membership arrive. I never knew it was so easy to be a terrorist but for just a hair over $10.00 I too am officially recognized as a terrorist in the United States of America:

For those who are confused see this post from last week.

Seriously though, for $10.00 this is a pretty bloody good watch. Obviously it’s lacking in features, feels cheap, and isn’t much to look at but it tells the time and date, has a built-in stopwatch, has an alarm, and even has a little LED light so you can read the display in the dark. Unlike the old cheapie Timex Expedition I used to have way back when, the buttons on this cheap Casio are very easy to press. On top of all of that it’s water resistant and the battery will supposedly last for several years. While this isn’t a watch I’ll likely wear often it’s certainly a great example of a cheap watch that serves the intended purpose of telling time without costing anything. I would certainly have no issue taking this watch anywhere I’d feel a high likelihood of losing it existed.

You can tell it was designed in a foregone era because it’s not giga-huge-ginormous. The modern trend in wristwatches is to make them as large as possible, with 40 to 42mm being fairly common (heck, 48mm watches are becoming more common). As a guy with small wrists who isn’t looking to mount a satellite dish to his arm this is a rather annoying trend. Then again it’s obvious nobody asked me for fashion advice or there would be more guys walking around in combat boots and 5.11 Tactical mall ninja pants. Fortunately fashion trends are cyclical and small watches should be in vogue again meaning I’ll actually be “in style” for a few years.

It’s for the Children

One thing that appears to be universal is that any legislation can be passed so long as you can tie to to preventing terrorist or child pornography. I’m not sure if a majority of people have a built-in kill switch and disengages their ability to critically think when they hear either term but that appears to be the fact. This is the reason the copyright lobby loves child pornography:

The date was May 27, 2007, and the man was Johan Schlüter, head of the Danish Anti-Piracy Group (Antipiratgruppen). He was speaking in front of an audience where the press had not been invited; it was assumed to be copyright industry insiders only. It wasn’t. Christian Engström, who’s now a Pirate Member of the European Parliament, net activist Oscar Swartz, and I were also there.

“My friends,” Schlüter said. “We must filter the Internet to win over online file sharing. But politicians don’t understand that file sharing is bad, and this is a problem for us. Therefore, we must associate file sharing with child pornography. Because that’s something the politicians understand, and something they want to filter off the Internet.”

Politicians know that censorship is the death knell of a political career, citizens don’t generally like having their speech shut down after all. As no logical argument exists in favor of censorship the politicians wanting to pass such legislation need to resort to ad hominem, setting up a scenario where they can claim any opponents of said legislation must support child pornographers.

The trick for the copyright lobby is to somehow tie copyright offenses to child pornography, which they’ve done:

“We pointed out to [the governor] that there are overlaps between the child porn problem and piracy,” Mr. Sherman [The RIAA president] said, “because all kinds of files, legal and otherwise, are traded on peer-to-peer networks.” (New York Times)

Once the link is established you can ram through any legislation you want, just make sure there is some mention about fighting child pornography mixed in with the hundreds of pages describing how the bill will be used to fight copyright offenses through censorship. This is why the state always ends up thieving rights from people, the people put in charge of the state are corruptible and will force their own desires and the desires of those who make them wealthy onto the populace.

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, a day when people are supposed to take a moment to recognize the fallen soldiers of yore. I feel we should also reflect on the fact men and women of this country are being sent overseas to die needlessly because monsters in Washington want to make resource grabs and project power in the hopes of scaring other countries into obedience.

If we really want to pay tribute to the men and women in the United States armed forces we should be doing everything we can to demand their immediate and safe return. Peoples’ lives should not be put on the line because some politicians want to kill brown people living in sandy (and more importantly, oil rich) regions.

I leave you now with a excerpt from a very wise man best known by his pen name, Mark Twain (it’s worth your time to read the entire thing):

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

War is hell, and the state is more than willing to throw people into this hell for its own personal gains.

Libertarian Ethics and Suicide

Via Tam I came across the following post by Roberta X discussing libertarian ethics, namely as it applies to suicide. Apparently there has been a bit of a debate in the libertarian/gun blogger realm over whether or not it’s ethical, according to libertarianism, to intervene when somebody is threatening suicide. I left a rather lengthy post on Tam’s site but I wanted to discuss this in a bit more detail and cleanup my thoughts. Roberta X had the following to say regarding the threat of committing suicide:

You don’t own other people; you don’t get to control what they do. When you threaten to harm someone — even yourself — you’re initiating force, attempting to extort something from the persons to whom you are expressing your threat.

I disagree with her statement. I’ve discussed self-ownership in more depth previously, but surmise it to say your are the sole owner of yourself. One cannot control your actions, even if they are in a position of authority you have the ability to rebel. Slaves have the option of attacking and attempting to kill their masters because humanity hasn’t yet (thankfully) developed a technology to entirely control the minds and actions of others.

Ownership in libertarian ethics implies some amount of control. The amount of control one wields depends on the amount of ownership one holds, if you are the sole owner of something you have total control over it, if you are a partial owner of something you have partial control over it. Let’s use the example of an automobile. If you are the sole owner of an automobile you may do with it as you please. Whether your drop a higher performing engine in the car, put in a more powerful sound system, or simply burn the car to cinder is nobody’s concern except your own (unless your action puts another or their property into harm, for example driving your vehicle into a building owned by another). On the other hand if you are a partial owner then anything done to the car must be agreed to by every other partial owner. You cannot rightfully drop in a faster engine in the car, put a more powerful sound system in the car, or burn the car unless the other owners also agree to your actions.

As the sole owner of yourself you have the right to do with yourself whatever you please. If you want to drink alcohol you can drink alcohol, if you want jump around in a mosh bit then you can just around in a mosh pit, if you want to destroy yourself entirely by committing suicide then you may commit suicide. No other person holds a stake in your person and therefore has no right to prevent you from taking any action that doesn’t harm others or their property. What about the statement that threatening to commit suicide is a form of extortion? This too I disagree with.

Extortion, under libertarian ethics, is generally considered a threat of action you have no right to perform. For example, if somebody pulled a knife on you and demanded your wallet they have performed an act of extortion, they have threatened to stab you if you don’t surrender your wallet. This can be considered an act of extortion because the attacker has no right to attack your person, such an act is considered an initiation of force. Were you to say to your attacker, “I have a gun and I will draw it an shoot you if you attempt to attack me” you would not be performing an act of extortion, you have every right to take such action to defend yourself against an initiator of force (I know such an act is not a good idea in a self-defense situation, I’m merely using this as an example to demonstrate a point, I’m certainly not recommending you perform such an action).

We’ve established that a person is a self-owner and therefore has total dominion over themselves and that extortion is a threat to perform an action that the threatener has no right to perform. Therefore suicide is not an act of extortion because one has a right to commit suicide by the fact they are the sole owner of themselves.

Does that mean one cannot intervene to prevent somebody from committing suicide? No, at least I don’t believe so. Ethics are black and white when discussing black and white situations but they aren’t so clear cut when discussing issues with a great deal of gray area. Like hypothetical self-defense situations, people who argue ethics usually create hypothetical scenarios where a “good” option exists. Unfortunately a “good” option doesn’t always exist. Murray Rothbard discussed one such situation in The Ethics of Liberty. Chapter 20 discusses lifeboat situations:

IT IS OFTEN CONTENDED that the existence of extreme, or “lifeboat,” situations disproves any theory of absolute property rights, or indeed of any absolute rights of self-ownership whatsoever. It is claimed that since any theory of individual rights seems to break down or works unsatisfactorily in such fortunately rare situations, therefore there can be no concept of inviolable rights at all. In a typical lifeboat situation, there are, let us say, eight places in a lifeboat putting out from a sinking ship, and there are more than eight people wishing to be saved. Who then is to decide who should be saved and who should die? And what then happens to the right of self-ownership, or, as some people phrase it, the “right to life”? (The “right to life” is fallacious phraseology, since it could imply that A’s “right to life” can justly involve an infringement on the life and property of someone else, i.e., on B’s “right to life” and its logical extensions. A “right to self-ownership” of both A and B avoids such confusions.)

In the first place, a lifeboat situation is hardly a valid test of a theory of rights, or of any moral theory whatsoever. Problems of a moral theory in such an extreme situation do not invalidate a theory for normal situations. In any sphere of moral theory, we are trying to frame an ethic for man, based on his nature and the nature of the world—and this precisely means for normal nature, for the way life usually is, and not for rare and abnormal situations. It is a wise maxim of the law, for precisely this reason, that “hard cases make bad law.” We are trying to frame an ethic for the way men generally live in the world; we are not, after all, interested in framing an ethic that focuses on situations that are rare, extreme, and not generally encountered.

That is to say an extremely rare situations are special cases and should be treated as such. Being in a position to stop a suicide is one of these rare situations, one where other factors come into play. Using another example let’s say you come across a situation where somebody is being held a knifepoint by an attacker. Do you have a right to intervene if the victim doesn’t specifically ask? I would say yes, because it is a very safe assumption that the victim would gladly take you up on an offer to help if he or she was in a position to ask. In many cases people threatening or attempting to commit suicide are not in complete control of their faculties, they are often extremel depressed, mentally disturbed, under the influence of some kind of drug, etc. A schizophrenic may threaten or attempt suicide because a voice in their head is telling them to while a manic depressive may threaten or attempt to commit suicide during a depressive episode. Were the individual in full control of their faculties it is a safe assumption that they would ask for intervention. In fact the threat or even attempt of suicide is often a cry for help in of itself.

Considering the fact that being in a position to prevent a suicide is one of those rare situations akin to lifeboat situations and that threats or attempts of suicide are often cries for help I believe it just to intervene. That isn’t to say that all interventions to prevent suicide are warranted, if a person is in a state of perpetual pain and in full control of their faculties it is very possible that they would want to end their life to prevent ongoing suffering. In such a case intervention would be unwarranted.

Black and white situations seldom exist, there is usually a great deal of gray area. Because of this there are rarely absolute answers and thus some amount of common sense must be considered. Saying somebody has a right to commit suicide is correct, saying that intervening to prevent that suicide is a violation of libertarian ethics is subjective. Sure, ideally, such an intervention is a an encroachment on the rights of another. We don’t live in an ideal world, numerous circumstances often exist that would lead one to believe such intervention is desired. Perhaps the person threatening or attempting suicide is crazy, perhaps their family is being threatened and suicide is the only option that person sees to protect his or her family, perhaps the person is merely sick of living and desires to die. It’s nearly impossible for somebody in a position to prevent a suicide to know all the facts and therefore make the right decision. We don’t want to do what the state does, make an environment that discourages people from helping one another, and thus must rely on a great deal of individual judgement and at the moment common sense.

Ethics are great for general cases, which is why I like the “don’t be a dick” rule. Yes, there are times when one must certainly be a dick but for a vast majority of the time there is no need and thus not being a dick is a great general rule.

Score One for Private Enterprise

They said it couldn’t be done, they said we needed the state in order to achieve space flight, they were wrong:

Dragon has been built by the California firm SpaceX and is carrying half a tonne of food and other stores for the ISS astronauts.

It is the first time a private sector company has attempted to deliver freight to the station.

The high-flying laboratory’s Canadarm2 is being controlled by US spaceman Don Petit.

He grabbed the capsule at 13:56 GMT (14:56 BST). “Houston, looks like we got us a Dragon by the tail,” he radioed to Nasa mission Control in Texas.

To all of you who claimed this couldn’t be done please feel free to shut your mouth next time you get the idea that the state is the only entity that can accomplish something. Heck, if it wasn’t for the state we may have been on Mars already.

Who Comes Up with this Stuff

I’m not a fan of advertisements that try to scare buyers into purchasing a product. I find such a tactic to be underhanded and rather distasteful. Fear mongering is the tool of the state, it’s what the state uses to make people into obedient scared serfs, and seeing others sink as low as an organization built upon violence is just say, especially when that entity relates to firearms. Here’s an excerpt from a recent e-mail advertisement I received:


Do you believe me when I say Minnesota is just as dangerous as any other place on the planet?

Well it is… and I will show you what I mean…

No, stop right there. Minnesota is not just as dangerous as any other place on the planet. Let’s take a look at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Unified Crime Report (UCR) for 2010. According to the UCR Minnesota has 1.8 murders per 100,000 people. Meanwhile the murder rate in Brazil for 2010 was 25 per 100,000 people (the numbers used on Wikipedia were sourced here but I can’t read Spanish so it doesn’t do me much good, Google Translate dues verify the numbers though). That means Brazil has a murder rate ~13.9 times that of Minnesota. I would say Brazil is likely a far more dangerous place than Minnesota.

Obviously one can become a victim of violent crime anywhere but the changes are higher in some areas than others. For example, my chances of being the victim of a violent crime are much higher in North Minneapolis than in the Bondry Waters. That doesn’t mean I can’t be a victim while kayaking the Bondry Waters but the chances are much lower than cruising through North Minneapolis on my bike, therefore North Minneapolis is more dangerous using any common sense definition of the words ‘more’ and ‘dangerous.’

I’m a huge proponent of self-defense, and I recognize the fact that you could be attacked by some no-good thug at any point in your life, but I’m not going to say Minnesota is just as dangerous as any other place in the world. That’s stupid. By that logic driving without wearing a seatbelt is just as dangerous as driving with a seatbelt because in either case you may die in a car crash.

Prioritizing Police Resources

Prioritizing police resources, this chief is doing it wrong:

On Jan. 11, Meehan son, a freshman at Berkeley High School, found that his iPhone, equipped with the Find My iPhone tracking software, was gone from his unlocked gym locker. The boy alerted his father and Meehan pulled out his own cell phone and showed a property crimes detective sergeant the real time movement of the stolen phone.

Given the active signal of the stolen phone, the detective sergeant took his team to try to locate it. As the signal was moving into the city of Oakland, the detective sergeant called the drug task force to ask for some additional assistance and members of that team offered to help, said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, department spokeswoman.

Meehan did not respond to a request for comment.

The four sergeants followed the signal to the area of 55th and San Pablo avenues in North Oakland, where they contacted residents at several homes looking for the phone. It was never located.

I’m not sure what the real story is here. Is it the fact a police chief used an great deal of department resources to find his kid’s stolen phone or the fact that said resources couldn’t find the phone even though they had a blue dot on a map telling them where it was?

You also have to love how the drug task force got pulling into this investigation. Perhaps this was done by expanding the interpretation on civil forfeiture laws. If the burdon of proof is placed on citizens to demonstrate anything they own hasn’t been tied to a drug crime then the burdon of proof must be placed on a phone thief to prove it wasn’t stolen in relation to a drug crime. On the upside the drug task force was busy hunting down a stolen phone instead of kicking in the door of some random homehold and shooting any dog they found inside only to find out they were at the wrong address again.