A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for August, 2013

Five Stages of Becoming an Anarchist

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I used to be a statist libertarian. Back in those days I foolishly believed that all of the major ills we face in American society could be fixed if the federal government would simply follow the Constitution. Unbeknownst to me, it was. But I was stuck in the little statist cage that I was thrown in by the public education system. I escaped that cage and now enjoy the free life of an anarchist. But the transition wasn’t instant, it took me almost three decades to arrive at this point. Joseph S. Diedrich explains the five stages of becoming an anarchist, which is a fairly accurate list for how my transition went. The stages Joseph lists are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I managed to skip stages two and four. Anger was never a problem for me because, back in my statist days, I believed that anarchists were still fellow liberty lovers who simply misunderstood the facts of life. Depression never affected me because I wasn’t heavily vested in statism, I was merely under the misguided belief that the state was necessary because it was pounded into my head by the public education system.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 27th, 2013 at 10:30 am

War is Good for Profits

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Yesterday’s news of impending war with Syria had a positive side. Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest offense contractors in the United States, enjoyed record breaking trading prices. Sadly, for them, the lack of immediate war has caused a hit to their stock price.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 27th, 2013 at 10:00 am

Why I Hate Politics: Everybody is Right, Everybody is Wrong

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It’s fairly common for gun bloggers to be active in politics. I used to be active in politics but I gave it up. My reason for doing so was simple: politics is pointless. It’s the single biggest waste of time and energy in any society. Although I’ve performed no scientific study I theorize that as a nation’s bureaucracy increases, that is to say as the amount of time sunk into politics increase, its productivity decreases.

Every second you sink into politics is a second you sink into accomplishing nothing of value. Last week I pointed out that individuals involved with politics have a tendency to oversimplify complex issues. Productivity can only occur when problems can be solved and problems can only be solved when they are properly understood. Because politics lends itself to oversimplification it’s impossible to properly identify and solve problems. One of the reasons politics may lend itself to oversimplification is because matters quickly become a form of religious dogma within factions. This brings me to another thing I hate about politics: everybody believes they are right and everybody else is wrong.

Here in the Twin Cities we’re having a political debate about expanding the light rail network. Like any good debate this one has supporters and detractors. The supporters claim that light rail brings economic development and empowers the poor while the detractors claim that light rail is a boondoggle that wastes tax victim money. It’s a black and white issue for both sides. Neither side is willing to even consider what the other side is saying.

Supporters of the light rail project will often point to economic studies that conclude light rail expansions lead to economic development. These same people will marginalize studies that conclude light rail expansion simply moves economic development from one location to another and, since light rail systems require resources to build and maintain, leaves less overall resources for said economic development. Detractors wave studies that show how much building and maintaining a light rail system costs, which is almost always more than the supporters claim. These opponents of light rail will also point out the amount of economic damage done to areas where light rail construction leaves current transportation infrastructure unusable for a year or more. If nobody can get to your business then they can’t buy your wares.

Both sides have a tendency to outright ignore the other side’s arguments. There is no debate. Everybody is sure that they’re right. Being arrogant normally isn’t a problem but being arrogant and political is a recipe for disaster. This is because politics is a strategy to coerce your neighbors into doing what you want.

Consider what the supporters are really trying to do. Deciding that they want a new toy, the supporters have gone to the biggest bully on the playground, the government, and asked him to take other children’s lunch money. Detractors, on the other hand, have gone to the biggest bully and asked him to prevent the supporters from ever purchasing another toy.

Neither side is paying much attention to the people who are actually affected by this project. How do the business owners and residents feel about the light rail expansion? Knowing that light rail construction could harm their business for an extended period of time may lead business owners in the area to reject the project. Residents may want a rail system to ease their commute from home to work. But these people aren’t the ones being asked. The project is being argued by people living in different parts of the Twin Cities and Minnesota. It’s no longer about them. In fact, it was never about them. This argument, from the beginning, has been about political dogma. One side believes light rail is amazing and the other believes it’s the great evil of our time.

What’s the point of a debate when both sides already know that they are, for a fact, right? Political debates are seldom debates, they’re just two sides screaming “I’m right, you’re wrong!” at each other. Facts are quickly tossed aside in favor of talking points. Supporters are quick to claim that detractors hate the poor while detractors are quick to claim that supporters want to make everybody poor.

I see no point in wasting my time arguing with brick walls, which is what politics is. Instead of wasting my time with futile arguments I prefer to use my time actually doing things.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 26th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Check Back Later

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You’ll notice a lack of fresh content today. That is due to the fact that I had to travel to Duluth this weekend for a wedding. Instead of going to the wedding and rushing back to write more posts I decided to tour the city with my girlfriend. While I can’t comfort those waiting with bated for new posts I can offer the vast library of previous posts for your reading pleasure.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 26th, 2013 at 10:00 am

Posted in Side Notes

Tagged with

If You’ve Done Nothing Wrong, You’ve Got Nothing to Hide

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Image gloriously stolen from Reddit.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 23rd, 2013 at 11:30 am

Standard Weapons and Tactics

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Denizens of the United States are very familiar with Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. At one point in our history SWAT teams, true to their name, were special forces that were called in when a situation required more firepower and training than standard police officers had. Today SWAT teams of used for everything breaking up unapproved poker games to evicting squatters:

OAKLAND, Calif. — There were some tense moments Thursday morning as a SWAT team stormed an apartment building in Oakland to evict squatters who had been living there for months without paying rent.

At this point I believe the term Special Weapons and Tactics should be changed to Standard Weapons and Tactics. The regular police force has been mitigated to issuing speeding tickets and serving parking citations. Everything else is now the job of the heavily armed and armored SWAT teams.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 23rd, 2013 at 11:00 am

The Nonissue of Chelsea Manning

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You have to give the state’s propaganda arm credit, they known how to cover up an important story with a unimportant one. If you were to believe the media you would think the news that the person formerly known as Bradley Manning is now Chelsea Manning is new. Truth be told, everybody who has been following this story has known that, during her deployment to Iraq, Chelsea had communications with a gender councilor. Manning even contacted her master sergeant, Paul Adkins, and informed him that she was suffering from gender dysphoria. So this news isn’t new.

But the media is giving it wall-to-wall coverage. Why? I’m unable to read minds but I’m guessing the reason major media outlets are covering this story is to discredit Manning. In the United States people suffering gender dysphoria are often treated as weird or somehow lesser. This attitude is strong enough in some people that they will now view Manning negatively no matter what good deeds she did or does.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Manning, regardless of her gender identity, is a hero. She provided proof that supported the accusations of war crimes being made against the United States. In my opinion she was executing a warrant against a suspected wrongdoer. Now that the collected evidence has been sifted through and proof has been found of criminal activity we should be focusing all of our attention of prosecuting the evildoers. Instead we’re wasting our time with nonissues, such as Manning’s preferred gender, and prosecuting the person who brought us the evidence.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 23rd, 2013 at 10:30 am

Smith and Wesson M&P Shield Recall

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I’m beginning to have flashbacks to the slew of jokes made in the shooting community about the Ruger LCP when it suffered failures that resulted in a recall. Now Smith and Wesson can join Ruger because they’re issuing a recall for early the M&P Shield:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (August 22, 2013) — Smith & Wesson Corp. announced today that the Company has identified a condition where the trigger bar pin could damage the lower trigger in certain M&P Shields in a way that may affect the functionality of the drop safety feature of the firearm, potentially allowing the pistol to discharge if it is dropped.

This Safety Alert applies to all M&P Shield pistols manufactured before August 19, 2013. We believe this condition is largely limited to recently manufactured M&P Shield pistols. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are asking all consumers of all M&P Shields manufactured before August 19, 2013 to immediately inspect their pistols for this condition.

Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury, and we ask that you STOP USING YOUR PISTOL IMMEDIATELY UNTIL IT HAS BEEN INSPECTED AND, IF THE CONDITION IS FOUND, REPAIRED.

To determine whether your firearm was manufactured before August 19, 2013 and to receive video instructions for inspection, please go to MPShieldSafetyAlert.com. All firearms must be inspected to determine whether it exhibits the condition identified in this notice. You can also find this information on our website at www.smith-wesson.com under the product safety button.

If you are uncomfortable conducting the inspection outlined above, or are unsure whether the condition described in this notice applies to your firearm, please take your firearm to your local M&P Certified Armorer or send your firearm to Smith & Wesson for inspection. M&P Armorers can be found on the smith-wesson.com website under the Find a Dealer tab

If after inspection it is determined that the condition outlined in this safety alert exists, the firearm must be sent to Smith & Wesson for repair. If your firearm is affected by the condition outlined in this notice, please send your pistol to Smith & Wesson. Your firearm will be inspected, and if necessary, repaired at no cost to you. Your firearm will be returned within 5 to 7 business days. All shipping and repair costs will be covered by Smith & Wesson.

Please contact Smith & Wesson directly at 877-899-6259, or at MPShieldSafetyAlert.com to arrange for the repair, if necessary, of your pistol.

Ironically the website the recall redirects Shield owners to, MPShieldSafetyAlert.com, doesn’t present any information unless JavaScript is enabled. A safety recall shouldn’t subject a user to potentially unsafe situations such as requiring JavaScript to be enabled in order to view a new, and therefore unknown, website. It almost makes me want to register MPShieldSafetyRecall.com, or another similar domain name, and load it with web exploits.

Oh, and you should probably check your Shield. Guns that fail to operate in their expected manner are pretty good at maiming their users.

EDIT: 2013-09-23: 13:00: I misread the date. The recall affects almost all M&P Shields, not just early ones. Also, I can’t properly close HTML tags. Thanks Zerg539 for pointing those issues out.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 am

Watch Rand Paul Get His Statist On

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I you’re a libertarian who believes the political process is the way to achieve liberty and envision Rand Paul as a critical part of your political strategy then, well, you’re not going to like this post. Between his political grandstanding, implicit approval on the drug war, and change of heart on domestic drone usage it’s pretty clear he’s a through and through statist. But if there is still any doubt in your mind that Rand isn’t a defender of liberty then put it to rest:

Sen. Paul reasoned that there need to be some laws that protect certain secrets and that Manning put many lives at risk by releasing millions of pages “willy-nilly”. His main concern is that whistle-blowers break laws in order to reveal state secrets.

“There do have to be laws to protect some secrets. I think if you’ve got the, you know, the plans on how to make a nuclear bomb that is a state secret. If you give that to the enemy, that is being treasonous,” said the Senator from Kentucky, “Even if you reveal it, you just have to have laws against that. What Manning did was just willy-nilly, just released millions of pages of things and I think some people have said there is potentially some harm from that. You know individual agents that could have been killed or put at risk from this. So there is a problem with that. So I just can’t support that.”

It appears, at least in the mind of Rand Paul, that Manning’s decision to collect documents, as he put it, “willy-nilly” trumps the fact that he revealed war crimes that were being perpetrated by the United States. Even if I believed in the legitimacy of the state I would believe that a state that conceals criminal activities loses the right to keep secrets.

A warrant is, effectively, a revocation of an accused person’s right to keep secrets. When you are accused of wrongdoing your home, business, personally electronics, and other properties can be riffled through by state agents. The same should apply to the state. It has been accused of war crimes since it entered Iraq (well, truthfully, before that) so the people should have a right to riffle through all of its stuff. But Rand seems to believe that the state has a special privilege to keep secrets even when its accused of wrongdoing. Rules are for thee, not for me after all.

If this is the type of person who you belief will deliver freedom to the United States then you’re sorely mistaken. On numerous occasions he has advocated giving the state special privileges that would allow it to maintain its reign of tyranny. Liberty cannot exist unless all members of society are subject to the same rulebook. As soon as one member gets to play by a different rulebook then the door is open for them to obtain power over others.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 am

Lying is Habitual

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The National Security Agency (NSA) was caught lying to Congress earlier this year. As most of us know lying become habitual so it should come as no surprise that the NSA also lied to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the secret organization tasked with approving nefarious government surveillance activities:

Beyond the many instances of NSA malfeasance, the most damning aspect of the opinion is its lack of effect on future behavior. What does make it past the redaction details repeated wrongdoing that even the FISA Court, long perceived to be the NSA’s rubber stamp, found egregious.

A footnote on page 16 points out that the agency had “substantially misrepresented” the extent of its “major collection program” (including the harvesting of “internet transactions”) for the third time in less than three years. The same set of footnotes attacks the so-called “big business records” collection, accusing the agency of using a “flawed depiction” of how it used the data to basically fleece the FISA court since the program’s inception in 2006.

At this point the only proper corrective action is to abolish the NSA. Those calling for additional oversight are fools. Oversight is impossible if the agency being watched continuously lies to those watching it. Even if an audit committee is created it’s clear that agencies within the NSA would simply conceal incriminating information from the committee.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 22nd, 2013 at 10:30 am