The Proper Reaction to Terrorism

After 9/11 the United States government reacted by turning this county into more of a police state than it already was. The PATRIOT Act was hurried into law, National Security Letters commanded companies to hand over customer information and threatened prison time for even revealing that the letter was received, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) turned flying into a fiasco, and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan began because those countries had oil and lithium respectively been accused of assisting Al Qaeda. How did Norway react to last year’s terrorist attack on their country? As Bruce Schneier points out, sensibly:

“The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation,” he said.

A year later it seems the prime minister has kept his word.

There have been no changes to the law to increase the powers of the police and security services, terrorism legislation remains the same and there have been no special provisions made for the trial of suspected terrorists.

On the streets of Oslo, CCTV cameras are still a comparatively rare sight and the police can only carry weapons after getting special permission.

Even the gate leading to the parliament building in the heart of Oslo remains open and unguarded.

“It is still easy to get access to parliament and we hope it will stay that way, ” said Lise Christoffersen, a Labour party MP.

She is convinced people do not want laws passed which would curtail their basic rights and impinge on their privacy despite the relative ease with which Breivik was able to plan and carry out his attacks.

If only the United States government had reacted the same way. Instead of sinking trillions of dollars into security theater and war we may have actually been able to redirect those squandered resources into something productive.

Mutual Aid in Action

If something positive can be said about tragic situations it’s that people will often come together to help those in need. Several hospitals that worked on the victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting have stated that they will limit or eliminate the medical bills:

Some of the victims fighting for their lives after being wounded in the movie theater shooting rampage may face another challenge when they get out of the hospital: enormous medical bills without the benefit of health insurance.

Members of the public, along with Warner Bros., the studio that released the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” have contributed nearly $2 million to help victims, though it’s not clear how much of that will cover medical expenses. One family is raising money on its own online.

And three of the five hospitals that treated victims said Wednesday they will limit or completely wipe out medical bills.

If a notable chunk of the $2 million donated by Warner Bros. goes to help pay the medical expenses for the victims of the shooting I’ll have to give them some major kudos as well. Either way the hospitals that are working to actively help out the victims of the shooting deserve recognition:

Children’s Hospital Colorado announced it would use donations and its charity care fund to cover the medical expenses of the uninsured. For those who do have insurance, the hospital says it will waive all co-pays.

“We are committed to supporting these families as they heal,” according to a statement from the hospital, which treated six shooting victims.

HealthOne, which owns the Medical Center of Aurora and Swedish Medical Center, also says it will limit or eliminate charges based on the individual circumstances of the patients. Those hospitals have treated 22 shooting victims. However, the company cautioned its policy may not apply to all doctors working in its hospitals.

This is what mutual aid is all about, voluntarily helping those in need. We don’t need a state to put a gun to our heads to coerce us into helping our neighbors. Humans, generally, actively want to help each other but are often prevented from doing so by the state (for example, many major cities actually ban individuals from feeding the homeless). If the state would get out of our way we could actually get to work making a better world.

Why Gun Control is Impossible

Advocates of gun control like to believe access to firearms will become more difficult if the government restricts legal access. Perhaps this was true at one time but guns are, mechanically, simple devices and the equipment to manufacture them is becoming more affordable every day. Behold, the first (to my knowledge and the knowledge of the creator) firearm manufactures on a 3D printer:

As 3D printer technology becomes more affordable gun control will become more pointless. The obvious solution to this problem, according to gun control advocates, would be to place tight restrictions on 3D printers. Fortunately such controls would be equally pointless because there are already people working on do it yourself 3D printers. One the genie is out of the bottle it cannot be put back in.

In Other News Fire is Hot

Surprising nobody, Obama decided to use the recent Aurora, Colorado shooting to argue for more gun control:

President Obama has added his voice to the push for limits on Americans’ gun use in the wake the massacre last week at a movie theater in Colorado.

Obama, speaking Wednesday evening to the National Urban League, affirmed his belief in Americans’ right to own guns, but he singled out assault rifles as better suited for the battlefield.

“I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” Obama said. “But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not on the streets of our cities.”

One cannot believe in an individual right to bear arms but then also believe individuals don’t have a right to bear arms. That’s effectively what Obama said. In fact his statement would have been more accurate if he stated, “I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms that I approve of. However weapons I don’t approve of should be given exclusively to those under my direct command.”

Thanks to the National Firearms Act of 1934 AK-47s are heavily regulated firearms since they are machine guns. The Hugues Amendment then prohibited the transfer of any machine gun to non-police and non-military personell that wasn’t registered by May 19, 1986. Needless to say the price of AK-47s is through the roof because there is a very finite supply of transferable rifles and zero prospect of new ones entering the market. There are AK pattern rifles available for civilian sale but they are strictly semi-automatic and no different than any other semi-automatic rifle that can be fed with detachable magazines (in fact a Springfield M1A, which fires a 7.62x51mm cartridge, is more power than most AK pattern rifles yet is seldom mentioned by advocates of gun control). Of course Obama specifically mentioned AK-47s because the average American links AK-47s to terrorism and communists just as they link anarchism to chaos and violence.

Thankfully gun control has become the thirteenth flood of politics. It’s gets mentioned mostly in whispers but is rarely acted on. On top of that I’ve given up complying with the state some time ago, if they try to prohibit me from owning my AK pattern rifle I’m just going to give them the middle finger and keep owning it. If the state wants to stop me from existing peacefully then I will leave it up to it to initiate the violence.

Audit the Fed Bill Passes in the House

Persistance does pay off as Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill has finally passed in the house:

At long last, Ron Paul has his day.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved the Texas Republican’s bill to increase the transparency of the Federal Reserve. With bipartisan support, the measure passed 327-98.

For Paul, the path to getting his bill approved in the House has been a long, and often lonely one. He first introduced the bill to a skeptical House a decade ago. While his efforts were ignored at the time, the call to audit the Fed” has gained support from mainstream Republicans and Democrats.

While this is good news and there is obvious massive support for the bill Harry Reid has made it clear that he intends to block the bill from being voted on in the Senate:

While Wednesday’s passage in the lower chamber is a victory for Paul and his supporters, the bill is considered dead on arrival in the Senate. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Democrat, has vowed not to put it to a vote.

Needless to say I’m not surprised. The last thing the state wants to do is audit the organization that makes the endless wars and entitlement programs possible.

Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight

As the old saying goes, never bring a knife to a gun fight. Thankfully some criminals do bring knives to gun fights, which makes them much easier to stop:

A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith’s store.


Espinoza says, the knife wielding man seriously injured two people. “There is blood all over. One got stabbed in the stomach and got stabbed in the head and held his hands and got stabbed all over the arms.”

Then, before the suspect could find another victim – a citizen with a gun stopped the madness. “A guy pulled gun on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. So, he dropped his weapon and the people from Smith’s grabbed him.”

It’s nice to see that the good guy was not only able to end the situation but was able to do so without firing a shot. Many self-defense cases involving armed individuals end without the need to employ the arm beyond presentation. Criminals often look for easy victims and surrender upon the first indication of armed resistance, something advocates of gun control usually fail to take into consideration.

On an unrelated side note I found the following line in the story armusing:

Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon.

How does one turn a knife into a weapon? I think a knife fits the description of a weapon no matter how you look at it.

The More You Fight the Enemy the More You Become the Enemy

I’m starting to think it’s a universal law that the more you fight an enemy the more you become the enemy. In Russia the Bolsheviks fought the Imperial Czars only to become imperialists themselves. Spanish anarchists fought the state only to become a state themselves, going as far as executing anybody who used money. The United States fought against the British monarchy to gain independence only to have the presidency turn into a practical monarchy. Now Occupy New Hampshire appears to have finally fought corporations long enough that they’ve become a corporation:

On Monday, a small number of Occupy New Hampshire members incorporated the movement as a nonprofit in order to boot their former bedfellows: the Free Staters. Also prohibited from future Occupy events are gun owners who openly carry.


Membership in Occupy New Hampshire will now require signing statements of solidarity and respect, according to the corporation papers filed with the Secretary of State’s office. And the Occupy members supporting Provost have concluded there is “no place” in Occupy New Hampshire for the Free State Project or guns, according to minutes of a recent meeting.

Although the various Occupy movements claim to hate corporations and restrictions on free speech the movement in New Hampshire has finally fought against both long enough that they’ve incorporated and are restricting free speech (openly carrying a firearm for political reasons is an act of free speech). It’s funny watching a movement that was built on political dissidence become a movement that crushes political dissidence. Now members are required to sign, what amounts to, an oath of loyalty to Occupy New Hampshire.

This is why I don’t fight the state, I merely ignore it and encourage others to follow suit.

The Melting Greenland Ice Sheet

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently released news about a massive ice melt in Greenland:

The melting spread quickly. Melt maps derived from the three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet’s surface had melted. By July 12, 97 percent had melted.

This extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. The ridge was one of a series that has dominated Greenland’s weather since the end of May. “Each successive ridge has been stronger than the previous one,” said Mote. This latest heat dome started to move over Greenland on July 8, and then parked itself over the ice sheet about three days later. By July 16, it had begun to dissipate.

Needless to say many progressive environmentalists have been proclaiming this as proof of man-made global warming and that we are in the end times. What these so-called environmentalists failed to do was read the entire article because it came with the following disclaimer:

“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. “But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”

It’s not the end of the world, just a predictable cycle that plays itself out every 150 years. Progressive environmentalists remind me of gun control advocates in that they try to stir up peoples’ emotions instead of relying on evidence and reasoning. When NASA announced this the progressive environmentalists jumped on it and started explaining to anybody who would listen that this is definitive proof that man-made global warming is upon us. They either missed or purposely ignored the disclaimer indicating this event was expected and indicates nothing insidious.

Unintended Consequences of Gun Control Advocation

Unintended consequences are always interesting. Take gun control for example, the idea behind it is to reduce the number of guns in public hands but it has been one of the biggest sellers of firearms. Whenever gun control advocates come out and start talking about firearms they want to see banned it’s inevitable that sales of those firearms will go up. I think this stems from the success enjoyed by advocates of gun control in the ’90’s. During that time they managed to mandate background checks be performed on firearm purchasers and prohibited the manufacture and sale of new magazines exceeding 10-rounds in capacity and deceptively named assault rifles for “civilian” use. Like clockwork the gun control crowd is demanding new gun control measures in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado shooting and, as expected, gun sales are increasing:

The number of people seeking to buy guns in Colorado has soared since last week’s mass shooting in the US state’s town of Aurora, say law officials.

In the three days after the shooting, applications for the background checks needed to buy a gun legally were up 43% on the previous week.


Law officials said gun sales have in the past had risen after significant events, including the election of President Barack Obama and the shooting in Arizona which killed six people and injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011.

This is often attributed to fears that a mass killing could prompt the government to reconsider the Second Amendment to the US constitution, which gives people the right to bear arms.

I’m sure many of the people buying firearms after the Colorado shooting are doing so in response to the shooting itself and not the push for more gun control (after all, people want to have a means to defend themselves) but the irony of gun sales going up whenever gun control advocates start pushing is entertaining.

I can Only Conclude Mayor Bloomberg is a Psychopath

Mayor Bloomberg’s recent statement on Piers Morgan leads me to only one conclusion, he’s a psychopath. Let’s consider Bloomberg’s statement:

“I don’t understand why the police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say, ‘We’re gonna go on strike. We’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe,’” Bloomberg said.

“After all, police officers want to go home to their families and we’re doing everything we can to make their jobs more difficult,” the mayor added.

That’s an interesting statement coming from Bloomberg. The implication appears to be that police officers are being killed left and right (which they’re not) because of the current gun laws in the United States so, as a means of punishing the public for not demanding stricter gun laws, the police should go on strike until the public decides to surrender their arms. Another implication is that crime would skyrocket so high while the police were on strike that people would surrender their arms to regain police protection. There’s a major catch-22 with his statement. He believes the police are critical for the safety of individuals and guns are dangerous for individuals. Because of these beliefs he wants the police to stop protect individuals which, according to Bloomberg’s beliefs, will cause a great deal of harm to come to those individuals. He’s so invested in his goal of restricting gun ownership that he’s willing to, according to his belief in police being necessary for the safety of individuals, hurt everybody to achieve it. That right there is a classic trademark of a psychopath.

He is one of the people I fear because he’s so sure of his ideology that he’s willing, once again according to his own beliefs, to kill people for it.

Personally I’d have no problem with the police going on strike because I don’t believe they’re necessary to the safety of our society. In the absence of police I believe the market would take over and protection would be offered through voluntary means. But Bloomberg doesn’t share my belief in market anarchism so for him to suggest what he’s suggesting is despicable. It would be akin to me suggesting a North Korean-esque state be established in the Untied States to viciously beat and murder people until they’re convinced the state is evil and come over to my way of thinking.