A Life Potentially Saved by a Gun-Free Zone

A life has been saved by a gun-free zone! Prohibiting the legal possession of firearms in certain zones worked! It’s a miracle:

Amanda Collins is a young rape survivor. While in college in 2007, she was raped 50 feet away from the campus police department office at the University of Nevada-Reno and was lucky to get out alive. Her attacker was James Biela, a serial rapist who raped two other women and murdered another. He attacked her at gun point in a gun free zone. At the time of the attack, Collins was in possession of a concealed weapons permit but was not in possession of her firearm due to university policies prohibiting carrying concealed weapons on campus. She was also a second degree blackbelt at the time and walked to the parking garage with a large group of people. Today, Collins did an interview with NRA News host Cam Edwards to tell her horrific story.

Had Amanda Collins been in possession of a gun that night her rapist may have been shot!

Destroying Meat to Fight the Homeless

The state continues its war on the homeless. This time we state agents in Shreveport, Louisiana destroyed 1,600 pounds of meat that was donated to help feed the homeless:

A local charity lost hundreds of pounds of meat that was supposed to feed the homeless when it was destroyed by a State Health Inspector. But the homeless shelter says.. it was all a big mistake and the state is responsible — or at the very least, two state agencies seem to be in conflict. KTBS 3’s Keristen Holmes spoke with officials about what happened. Hunter’s for the Hungry is a program where sportsmen can donate any extra game they have to charity. The program is endorsed on the Louisiana Departmet of Wildlife’s website but the State Health Department says, they don’t recognize the program. In the meantime a local shelter has to spend more than $8,000 to replace the meat.

Stories like this always make me laugh when people tell me that the state is necessary to help people in need. While the state pretends to care for those with nothing through its welfare programs it continuously attacks those who have nothing. A common tactic has been to use local health departments to raid food shelves under the claim that the food hasn’t been tested and therefore may not meet nutritional requirements. Of course for those with nothing to eat nutritional requirements aren’t likely to mean a damned thing. To those people any food is better than no food.

North Korea Treats Foreigners Better than Its Own People

The government of North Korea has officially announced that foreign visitors will receive better treatment than the denizens damned to live there:

North Korea will soon allow foreigners to tweet, Skype and surf the Internet from their cellphones, iPads and other mobile devices in its second relaxation of controls on communications in recent weeks. However, North Korean citizens will not have access to the mobile Internet service to be offered by provider Koryolink within the next week.

This move actually makes a great deal of sense if you believe Kim Jong-un, or somebody else high up in the North Korean state, is attempting to get foreign investment in order to boost their absolutely abysmal economy. When a country is seeking foreign capital they must make their country as appealing and convenient as possible. I won’t be surprised if we hear about North Korean granting more privileges to visiting foreigners over the next few years.

Being Above the Law

The United Nations (UN) would like to remind everybody that they cannot be held responsible for bringing death and devastation to your land:

The United Nations has formally rejected compensation claims by victims of a cholera outbreak in Haiti that has killed almost 8,000 people.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Haitian President Michel Martelly to inform him of the decision.

The UN says it is immune from such claims under the UN’s Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN.

This sounds like a good reason to banish the UN from your country. If they come and bear plague they will hide behind the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN (a.k.a. why the UN is above the law) to avoid suffering consequences.

Fighting CISPA

Remember the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that was introduced last year? Guess what, it’s back. For those of you who weren’t following CISPA the first time around it is a piece of legislation that would introduce exceptions into current privacy laws if those exceptions fell under the vague category of cyber security. Effectively it would render all privacy laws null and void as anything can be twisted into a cyber security threat. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging people to contact Congress and demand that they vote against CISPA. Unfortunately such a strategy is, at the very best, temporary. The bill was shot down last year only to be reintroduce again this year and if it fails again it will almost certainly be reintroduced at a later date. Until the bill passes there will be a continuous cycle of the legislation getting voted down and reintroduced. This cycle will continue until the bill can be passed, likely as an amendment to a “must pass bill” (think the National Defense Authorization Act) or in a lame duck session on some Christmas Eve.

Fortunately there is good news, the tools to render CISPA entirely irrelevant already exist. Government spying powers become irrelevant if they can’t read acquired data or connect acquired data to real people. Making data unreadable is relatively easy to do using strong encryption tools. All major modern operating systems have built-in full drive encryption capabilities. Microsoft call their drive encryption technology BitLocker, Apple calls theirs FileVault 2, and Ubuntu has the same technology minus a fancy marketing term. When you fully encrypt your drive you make the data inaccessible to anybody who doesn’t have the proper decryption key. What if you don’t have a modern version of Windows, OS X, or Ubuntu? No problem, there’s a wonderful tool called TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt allows you to fully encryption a Microsoft Windows disk or creation encrypted volumes on Windows, OS X, and Linux. You can even use the tool to create a hidden encrypted volume that stores your secure information while keeping junk data in the regular encrypted volume. Doing this allows you to “decrypt” the volume to comply with state demands without having to decrypt your important information.

Encryption shouldn’t stop at your local system though. Every day you probably communicate with other people online and those communications are likely stored on third party servers or can be intercepted en route. There are tools that greatly reduce the risk of both problems. OpenPGP is an e-mail encryption tool that has been around for ages and is still a very effective tool to prevent prying eyes from reading your electronic correspondences. OpenPGP works by using asymmetric encryption. For OpenPGP to work there needs to be two keys, a public certificate and a private certificate. You distribute your public certificate to individuals you want to securely communicate with and, as the name implies, keep your private certificate private. E-mails encrypted with your private certificate can only be decrypted with your public certificate and vise versa. For instant messaging there is a tool called Off-the-Record Messaging (OTR). OTR works on top of currently existing instant messenger services so you can use it to communicate without having to convince all of your friends to switch services (I still have friends who refuse to move away from AOL Instant Messenger).

What about the second problem? How does one stop the state from connecting data to you? Simple, by anonymizing your data. The most popular tool for anonymizing data is Tor. Tor is an onion router, which is a not-so-fancy term for software that encrypts data at an entry point (in the case of Tor, your computer), bounces that encrypted data between multiple nodes on the network, and decrypts the data and sends it to its destination at an exit point. Unless you provide identifying information the exit node is unable to link the data it decrypts to its originator and none of the middle nodes are able to read the data or link it to its originator. Likewise, neither the exit point or intermittent nodes are able to link data that is returned from the receiver. In addition to anonymizing regular Internet traffic Tor allows an individual to run a hidden service. Hidden services only exist on the Tor network and all information communicated between a client and a hidden service is encrypted and bounced between multiple nodes in the network. This means communications between a hidden service and a client are hidden from outside sources and neither the hidden service or the client can identify one another (unless one submits identifying information to the other). If you need a demonstration of the effectiveness of hidden services take a look at Silk Road, a hidden service that allows individuals to sell illegal drugs. Silk Road is so effective that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has been unable to take it down.

Speaking of buying goods anonymously, let’s discuss payment systems. Silk Road and other “black” market hidden services generally rely on Bitcoin for transactions. Bitcoin is an electronic peer-to-peer currency that is both secure and relatively anonymous. Transactions are performed by sending Bitcoins to published public keys asymmetric encryption at your service, again). The public keys are anonymous unless the holder choose to reveal his identify or his identify is somehow compromised. Information between a sender and receiver of Bitcoins need only know the other person’s public key. Once again the effectiveness of Bitcoin can be demonstrated by the fact that the DEA has been unable to use Bitcoin transaction information to identify sellers on Silk Road.

There are many other tools out there, including I2P and Freenet, that can help denizens of the Internet render CISPA irrelevant. The state can’t do anything with information it can’t read or tie to a real person, which is why the United States has long held a policy prohibiting the export of strong cryptographic technology.

Anarchism, the Opposition of Invasion

I’ve been reading some works by Benjamin Tucker, one of the last individualist anarchists from the 19th century. One of his quotes does a better job of explaining anarchism than any other definition I’ve come across. According to Tucker:

This distinction between invasion and resistance, between government and defence, is vital. Without it there can be no valid philosophy of politics. Upon this distinction and the other considerations just outlined, the Anarchists frame the desired definitions. This, then, is the Anarchistic definition of government: the subjection of the non-invasive individual to an external will. And this is the Anarchistic definition of the State: the embodiment of the principle of invasion in an individual, or a band of individuals, assuming to act as representatives or masters of the entire people within a given area.

The state really is the embodiment of invasion for it is a gang of individuals who call themselves masters inflicting their will at the point of a gun onto those who live in its claimed territory. Anarchism, being a philosophy of anti-statism, is the opposition of invasion. Those of us who oppose statism don’t do so because we desire to see the person with the most guns ruling, we oppose statism because we desire the opposite. When you boil it down the state is the embodiment of the person with the most guns ruling. Without a doubt the state has the most guns and it uses those guns to inflict its will onto the general population. It is an invasive force that works to trample individual liberty.

The More the State Pushes the More People Will Slip Away

The state continues to push but they fail to see that the more they push the more people will slip away. A bill has been introduced in the Illinois Senate that would require administrators of websites to remove anonymous comments upon demand:

A recently introduced bill in the Illinois state Senate would require anonymous website comment posters to reveal their identities if they want to keep their comments online.

The bill, called the Internet Posting Removal Act, is sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Ira Silverstein. It states that a “web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless the anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate.”

Legislation like this will force more and more of the Internet to seek shelter in the unregulated safety of Tor hidden services. Personally I look forward to the day when a majority of websites are safety hidden inside of the Tor network as it will make censorship practically impossible.

DEFCAD for Your Firearm Related 3D Printing Needs

Late last year it was announced that design files for firearm related objects would no longer be allowed on Thingverse. This decision came after 3D printer designs for AR-15 lowers were posted. In response Defense Distributed has launched DEFCAD, a site to host 3D printer designs for firearm related items. As of this writing designs for a shotshell holder, an AR-15 pistol grip, an AR-15 lower, and many other items are available.

The best thing about the Internet is the fact that no information posted to it can ever be completely killed. Despite Thingverse’s attempt to censor firearm related 3D printer designs they are still available.