A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for February, 2014

So Long Piers Morgan

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If you’re a douche long enough people will tire of you, which is something Piers Morgan just learned:

CNN has given up on trying to make Piers Morgan the new Larry King after a three-year run and will pull the plug on the Briton’s 9 p.m. talk show, which has been finishing far behind rivals Meghan Kelly on Fox News Channel and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

According to Nielsen ratings from last week, “Piers Morgan Live” was seen nightly by just 270,000 viewers nationwide and only 50,000 people in the key advertising demographic of Americans ages 25 to 54. Ms. Kelly and Ms. Maddow had, respectively, audiences of more than 2 million and 900,000 overall and more than 350,000 and 220,000 in that key 25 to 54 age group.

Not surprisingly one of the hypothesized reasons for Morgan’s low ratings is his constant banging on the gun control drum:

Conservatives especially took offense at his British-tabloid persona and his overt support for gun control, and they started a petition at the White House’s “We the People” site demanding that the administration “Deport British Citizen Piers Morgan for Attacking 2nd Amendment.”

Personally I just find Morgan to be a disagreeable person in general. He has always come off as a smug asshole to me and that alone was enough for me not to like the guy. I don’t watch CNN (or much television in general) so it doesn’t matter much to me that his show was cancelled but I certainly am not going to lose any sleep over it.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 24th, 2014 at 10:30 am

Like You and Me, Only Better

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There has been some controversy regarding the National Football League’s (NFL) stance of not allowing any armed individual, except working members of a stadium’s security detail, into its stadiums. Many people point out that the NFL, as a private entity, has the right to set whatever rules it wants. I personally think the organization receives too much tax victim money to be considered a private entity. But the State of Texas has made its stance clear, off-duty police officers will be allowed to carry firearms into the state’s NFL stadium:

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The National Football League has implemented a new stadium policy that would ban off-duty police officers from carrying guns into games…except in the state of Texas.

According to the NFL memo, “off-duty officers who attempt to bring firearms into an NFL facility will be denied entry.”

But a Texas state law overrides the NFL policy. As long as officers attending the game check in at a specific gate and inform Security where they are sitting – they can have their gun.

I’m sure many people are cheering this decision. If it applied equally to all permit holders in Texas I might care. But as the law is currently being enforced it’s just another example of law enforcement receiving additional privileges over us lowly serfs.

This will likely be the outcome mirrored by other states. Decrees will be issued that allow off-duty officers to carry firearms into NFL stadiums while us regular folk will be left to the mercy of the stadium’s security detail. If only us little people could afford to buy lobbyists like police unions and the NFL can.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 21st, 2014 at 11:00 am

Answering the Door When Psychopaths Come Knocking is a Bad Idea

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Answering the door when psychopaths come knocking is never a good idea. But sometimes it’s unavoidable so I’m going to give a few tips for dealing with such a situation.

The first thing to do is identify whether or not the person knocking is a psychopath. Identifying a psychopath isn’t always easy but some of them make their mental disorder obvious. If the person knocking at the door is wearing a state issued costume that includes a shiny badge that is your first indication that the person is likely a psychopath. Oftentimes these costume-clad individuals will be carrying various weapons. It’s crucial to determine whether or not the weapons being carried are holstered or aimed at the door. In the case of the latter it’s best not to answer.

But you may be forced to answer. In such a case there are some tips you should keep in mind. The very first thing you should do is hide any dogs that you may have in the house. Psychopaths of the badged variety have a propensity to shoot dogs. It’s also a good idea to hide any friends of family members who may be over because the lack of K9 targets may cause the psychopaths at the door to seek human blood instead. After all living creatures have been hidden away make sure you have nothing in your hands. Don’t answer the door with a drink, a sandwich, or a game controller in your hand:

EUHARLEE, Ga. – An attorney representing the family of a 17-year-old Georgia boy who was shot and killed by a police officer says the boy was holding a video game controller when he was shot after opening his door.

Christopher Roupe was fatally shot in the chest Friday, Feb. 14 when Euharlee officers showed up at the door of his mobile home to serve a probation violation warrant for the boy’s father, WSB-TV reports. A female officer reportedly told the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that Roupe pointed a gun at her after he opened the door.

But the family’s attorney, Cole Law, said the boy was holding a Nintendo Wii video game controller, and was about to watch a movie.

What makes these situations worse is that the badged nutcases are considered trusted authority figures by the state. That means several novel-length legal books exist excusing this type of behavior and granting these badged thugs the authority to kick in your door if you don’t answer it (and sometimes they can kick it in if you do try to answer it). Heed the advice given above and you may survive one of these encounters.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 21st, 2014 at 10:30 am

Coding Anarchy

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As you may have noticed I’m an anarchist (if you haven’t noticed now you know). I also enjoy giving my friends free publicity. To this end I’m going to plug one of my friend’s new anarchist blog titled Coding Anarchy.

In the spectrum of anarchism he falls flatly on the anarcho-capitalist side; or the not-a-real-anarchist side for those of you anarchists who really don’t like the capitalist flavor of anarchism*. If that offends you in any way then feel free not to click on the link. For those not so easily offended you can expect posts related to economics and other geeky pursuits.

*Please send all hate me regarding me referring to anarcho-capitalism as a form of anarchism to i_dont_give_a_fuck@christopherburg.com**.

**This is not a real e-mail address.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 21st, 2014 at 10:00 am

Smart Guns and Fear Mongering

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The topic of smart guns crops up periodically. Gun control advocates tend to believe smart guns are the magical technological solution to gun crime and gun rights advocates tend to believe smart guns are an infeasible idea that will never see widespread adoption. I think the concept of smart guns is interesting for different reasons than normally expressed. One of the science fiction series I really enjoy is The Lost Fleet. In it the marines have firearms that automatically cease firing when they are aimed at an individual that is identified as friendly and resume firing when that individual is no longer in the line of fire. This allows the marines to kick in the door and gun down enemy soldiers without worrying about friendly fire. It’s a great idea and one that will likely find its way into firearm technology some day. I look forward to seeing such technology some day.

But there is a lot of fear mongering over introducing electronic components into firearms. An example of such fear mongering can be found in this article:

But apart from reliability, which is by itself enough of an objection to ensure that most gun buyers will never go near a smart gun, there’s another objection that I’ve not yet seen raised to the smart gun. As a guy who knows a thing or two about technology, I’d like to raise the objection now: the smart gun and the second amendment, at least as many modern gun owners understand the latter, are fundamentally incompatible. Here’s why.

In September of last year, Apple introduced a technology that would let police remotely disable protesters iPhones. So if the police think that you might film them while they’re doing their thing, they could set up a “no pictures” zone by sending a wireless signal to disable the smart phone cameras in a certain vicinity.

[…]

Now, substitute “phone” in the above quote for “gun,” and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

Cops are going to love the idea that they can turn off suspects’ guns before doing a no-knock raid, but it’s hard to see gun owners getting fired up about it.

If you’re one of those folks who believe that the second amendment is the people’s last bulwark against tyranny, then you’re probably never going to buy a gun that the government magically render inoperable. To give the government the ability to remotely disable your weapon would turn the second amendment, at least in the “first the soap box, then the ballot box, then the ammo box” sense, into dead letter.

Firearms that can be remotely disabled is one potential feature that could be included in smart guns but is by no means a mandatory feature. The concept of smart guns isn’t incompatible with the Second Amendment. Some of the features may go against the generally accepted spirit of the Second Amendment but that doesn’t mean the technology isn’t compatible.

Firearms like those that appear in The Lost Fleet series are entirely compatible with the spirit of the Second Amendment. So are firearms that automatically adjust their point of aim for windage, distance, powder load, bullet weight, and other variables involved in aiming.

While I’m on the subject of smart guns I think it’s also worth addressing the reliability fears. The most common criticism of smart guns is that the introduction of additional features will decrease reliability. This is true, the more complex a device the less reliable it becomes. However acceptable reliability is still a subjective thing. Semi-automatic rifles are more failure prone than bolt-action rifles. Every major military and police force has chosen to take the increased failure rate of semi-automatic rifles because additional firepower they bring to the battlefield are immense. Electronic optics are another example of a devices that can introduce additional failure points in a firearm design that have become widely accepted.

My point is that the additional capabilities offered by more complex technologies tend to exceed the additional failure rates they introduce. Oftentimes these new technologies being life with a very high rate of failure and through refinement becomes extremely reliable. Additional technologies made possible by introducing more electronics into smart guns will follow this trend.

The idea behind smart guns isn’t inherently bad. There are even valid reasons to want a firearm that cannot be fired by anybody by yourself. Instead of fearing future firearm technology we should be embracing it. So long as the technology is voluntary there is no reason to oppose it or try to drum up unnecessary fear of the technology. Making arguments against laws that mandate any firearm technology is certainly appropriate but making arguments against the technology itself is, in my not so humble opinion, short sighted.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 20th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Posted in Gun Rights

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When the Legal System Turns On Itself

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As we know the state has been having a hard time finding enough of the chemicals used in lethal injection to execute all of the prisoners currently on death row. Part of the reason for this is because European drug manufacturers are doing everything within their power to withhold these drugs from being used in state executions. This has lead the state to look for domestic suppliers of the drugs. While such suppliers do exist they are being subjected to the same legal system that put convicts on death row. A domestic seller of the drugs used in lethal injection faced a lawsuit if it supplied said drugs to the Missouri prison system. Instead of dealing with the lawsuit the seller not to sell the drugs:

In a lawsuit filed in federal court this month against the Apothecary Shoppe, Taylor’s lawyers said US drug regulations barred the pharmacy from supplying the drug for use in the execution, and asked the judge to block the sale.

Among other arguments, they said the pharmacy’s custom-made pentobarbital would cause him “severe, unnecessary, lingering, and ultimately inhumane pain” during the execution.

They argued the unregulated nature of compounding pharmacies in the US yielded “no evidence [the pharmacy] will or even has the capacity to test the pentobarbital… to ensure it will not cause unnecessary pain and suffering.”

In recent days, the Apothecary Shoppe notified Taylor’s lawyers it would not sell pentobarbital to Missouri for the execution – and had not already.

In return, Taylor’s lawyers filed a motion late on Monday to drop their suit.

It’s rather ironic that the same legal system that sentences people to death has been successfully used to make the execution of a convicted man more difficult (although it’s likely that Missouri either has a stockpile of the drugs on hand or will find an alternative way to kill the convict). Sometimes a bloated bureaucracy can be used to muddle itself up. I only hope this trend continues because if there’s one thing I would like to see made more difficult for the state it’s executing people.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 19th, 2014 at 11:00 am

Knock knock. Who’s there? Your Creditor.

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A time marches on it seems American companies are becoming more bold about the clauses they insert into their contracts. Capital One has recently updates the contracts of its customers to include a clause that allows the company to send representatives to make house calls to its debtors:

Credit card issuer Capital One isn’t shy about getting into customers’ faces. The company recently sent a contract update to cardholders that makes clear it can drop by any time it pleases.

The update specifies that “we may contact you in any manner we choose” and that such contacts can include calls, emails, texts, faxes or a “personal visit.”

As if that weren’t creepy enough, Cap One says these visits can be “at your home and at your place of employment.”

The police need a court order to pull off something like that. But Cap One says it has the right to get up close and personal anytime, anywhere.

[…]

Incredibly, Cap One’s aggressiveness doesn’t stop with personal visits. The company’s contract update also includes this little road apple:

“We may modify or suppress caller ID and similar services and identify ourselves on these services in any manner we choose.”

While Capital One, according to the article, claims it doesn’t visit card holders or send debt collectors to visit customers I think the clause has more to do with the future. As the economy continues to crumble creditors are likely going to become more aggressive in collecting on outstanding debt. We will likely see creditors inserting more clauses in their contracts that enable them to take more aggressive actions against their debtors.

I’m sure many legal challenges will be made against these increasingly aggressive contractual clauses. In all likelihood courts will end up ruling in favor of the creditors in a vast majority of cases since the major creditors in this country are so closely tied to the state that the two are almost indistinguishable. That will make life ever harder for debtors.

This is why I’m glad that I don’t currently have any outstanding debt. I inherited my parents’ distaste for debt and will only incur it if no other options are available. In my fight for liberty this has helped me live freer and I firmly believe that one of the biggest steps an individual can make to increase their liberty is to pay off any incurred debt.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 19th, 2014 at 10:30 am

Arguments Equally Applicable to Everybody Else

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Individuals within the Minnesota law enforcement community are unhappy about the National Football League’s (NFL) policy that forbids anybody other than on-duty officers working at a stadium from carrying a firearm into that stadium. I don’t really care about what policies the NFL sets since I’ve never been a fan of football handegg. But I find the lawsuit that the Minnesota law enforcement community has brought against the NFL interesting:

An association representing Minnesota police officers is suing the National Football League over a policy that prohibits off-duty officers from bringing their weapons into an NFL stadium.

The part I find most interesting are the justifications given for the lawsuit:

Attorneys argue that many off-duty officers keep their concealed weapons with them so they can respond to an incident or intervene during crimes if they come up, meaning they can “protect the public at a moment’s notice.”

The attorneys also argue that officers often have personal threats against them and their families because of their role in prosecuting criminals and that having a concealed weapon gives them a certain level of security.

These very arguments being made to allow off-duty law enforcement agents to carry firearms into NFL stadiums apply to every one of us who chooses to carry a firearm. We often carry firearms to protect ourselves and our loved ones at a moment’s notice. Many of us who choose to carry a gun do so because personal threats have been made against us (thankfully I’m not in this lot but I know a couple of people who are). If this suit ends in the favor of the plaintiff if could open the door for a lawsuit from individuals holding valid carry permits.

Normally I would point out that the NFL, as a private entity, has every right to make whatever rules it wants for its property. But so much of the property held by the NFL was paid for by money stolen from tax victims that I find it difficult to argue that the public doesn’t have a legitimate claim to approve or disapprove of stadium rules.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 19th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Posted in Gun Rights

Tagged with ,

The Solutions to Inflation isn’t Wage Increases

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Inflation is a hidden tax. By having monopoly control of the money supply the state is able to devalue a currency by simply releasing more of it into the market. The Federal Reserve, which controls the United States money supply, has been releasing an imperial (because we don’t do metric here) shit ton of currency into the market. This has caused the value of the dollar to continue dwindling.

According to mainstream economists constant inflation is necessary for a functioning economy but the rate of inflation must be kept low. Economists that actually know what they’re talking about, that is to say those of the Austrian tradition, point out that inflation is bad because it constantly decreases the wealth of individuals. Regardless of what school you subscribe to the current rate of inflation should be worrisome. While official inflation numbers are periodically jiggered to make them look better the cold hard fact is that the stuff people actually need to buy in order to survive is increases at an alarming rate:

It’s is not her imagination. While the government says prices are up 6.4 percent since 2011, chicken is up 18.4 percent, ground beef is up 16.8 percent and bacon has skyrocketed up 22.8 percent, making it a holiday when it’s on sale.

“Oh my god!” Singer said as she spied bacon for $3.

“The things that are going up in price are the things I absolutely need to buy,” she said. “It’s the meat, it’s the milk, it’s the eggs and it’s getting out of hand.”

The report goes on to argue that the real issue is wages not increasing. While people certainly like hearing arguments for why their wages should increase the real issue is that wages and inflation are inseparable. Increasing wages to match inflation necessitates increasing wages to match inflation. It’s an Ouroboros. The real issue is that the state is manipulating the market to favor itself and its partners at the expense of everybody else.

Legal tender laws make holding dollars desirable. If you don’t hold dollars you can’t legally pay taxes and other made up debts to the state. Failing to pay the state what it demands ends with you either being in a cage or a grave. First receivers of newly issued money are able to enjoy the full purchasing power of that money. Inflation doesn’t actually begin until newly issued money being to circulate. Therefore the state is able to give newly issued money to its partners and they get to enjoy the full purchasing power. Once they’ve used that money it enters the system and inflation begins to kick in, which makes the dollars currently being held worth less.

So long as the state is able to manipulate the money supply that we’re required to use things are going to get worse for everybody not politically connected. The issue isn’t wages it’s state monopolization of the money market. Until that problem is solved (and it will eventually be solved by an economic crash if nothing else) consumers are going to feel an increasing amount of financial pain.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 18th, 2014 at 11:00 am

Questions Arise Regarding Shooting on Highway 212

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The situation on Highway 212 in Eden Prairie where police shot two individuals has raised some questions. Family members of the woman who was shot have hired a lawyer to investigation the officers’ claims:

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (KMSP) – The family of one of the people shot and killed by police on Highway 212 last week has hired a lawyer to learn more about why officers pulled the trigger, but law enforcement is pointing to the 21-foot rule.

The investigation is still ongoing, but depending on which experts you talk to, some already say they see the shooting that followed a high-speed chase as justified because of a guideline that police officers are trained to use when assessing a threat.

Joe Dutton, a retired Golden Valley police officer and use of force expert, told Fox 9 News studies have proven that when faced with a suspect who is making threats with a knife, an officer won’t have the time to get their gun from a hip-holster and shoot if that suspect is within 21 feet.

The 21-foot rule, also know as the Tueller Drill, cites that an attacker armed with a knife can close an unobstructed gap between himself and an individual armed with a holstered firearm before that individual can draw his firearm. Does that rule apply in this case? I think that’s a valid question that deserves to be investigated.

Setting aside the possibility of the officers lying about the reason they shoot the two we will have to ask whether or not a lesser amount of force could have safely resolved the situation. Several factors could play a part in this. First we know that police officers carry Tasers for situations where force that can be deployed at a distance is necessary. Second we know that the police already had their firearms drawn as they had just shot the first victim. Third judging by the helicopter footage it seems like the police had positioned their squad cars between themselves and the victims.

Does the 21-foot rule apply here? I don’t believe it is so cut and dry. The police already had their firearm drawn and the path between themselves and the victims was not unobstructed. It’s possible that the situation could have been resolved with less force than was deployed, which would likely open the door for a civil case. I think this investigation is warranted and do want to read any report that comes of it.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 18th, 2014 at 10:30 am