A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

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Saturday evening there was a multiple stabbing incident at the St. Cloud Center here in Minnesota. Although tragic there are some lessons that can be learned these kinds of situations and this incident is no different:

In a media briefing after midnight Sunday, St. Cloud police chief William Blair Anderson said an off-duty officer from another jurisdiction confronted and killed the suspect. He said the suspect — who was dressed in a private security uniform — reportedly asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them, and referred to Allah during the attacks.

Here lies our most important lesson. The attacker was dressed in a security uniform. This probably allowed him to get close to his victims without raising any red flags, which is important if you’re relying a knife. So the lesson here is that not everybody is exactly as they appear. Just because somebody is dressed like a cop or a security guard doesn’t mean they actually are one. Don’t let your guard down just because somebody is in a specific uniform.

One of my friends pointed out another lesson to be learned from this:

The mall remained on lockdown after the incident, but authorities expected those remaining inside to be released early Sunday. Photos and video of the mall taken hours after the incident showed groups of shoppers waiting to be released, including some huddled together near a food court entrance.

The officers trapped people inside the mall with the attacker. When the police arrived it wasn’t yet known if there were multiple attackers so the mall goers were potentially locked in a building with multiple people meaning to cause them harm. Being confined in an area with an unknown number of assailants is not a good place to be. If you hear that there’s an attacker in the building find the nearest fire exit and go through it. If you’re luck the police won’t see you leave. If you’re unlucky they’ll catch you but in that case you’ll likely be held in the back of a squad car, which is still a safer place than being confined in an area with and unknown number of potential assailants.

Keep your guard up when you’re out and about. Listen to your gut instinct. If that little voice in the back of your head is telling you something is wrong then you should listen to it. We’ve all been doing this human thing for our entire lives so we’re pretty good at subconsciously reading very subtle signs from one another. Anybody can put on any uniform they please but a uniform isn’t going to conceal all those subtle signs we use to judge one another’s intentions. If that voice is telling you the approaching security guard means you harm take heed and book it.

Be aware of all the potential exits. Fire exits are especially good in these kinds of situations because they usually trip a fire alarm. If it’s an audible alarm it will alert other people in the building to get out. If it’s a silent alarm it will still involve a response from the local authorities.

Finally, have a plan to defend yourself if escape isn’t an option. I recommend that people carry a firearm because they give you the best fighting chance. But even if you’re not willing or are unable to carry a firearm you should have some defensive response that you’ve trained thoroughly enough to be instinctual. Be it martial arts, mace, a baton, or even a knife. While you might not win a violent encounter even if you have a means of self-defense, you will certainly lose one if your response is to freeze up.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 19th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Monday Metal: More Human Than Human by White Zombie

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This week we’re going back to the 1990’s. Although the ’90’s were pretty abysmal as far as music goes, what with the introduction of grunge and other similarly shitty genres, there was some decent metal. White Zombie, for example, put out a lot of good sounds during that time period. One of my favorite songs from that bad is More Human Than Human:

Written by Christopher Burg

September 19th, 2016 at 10:00 am

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The Unofficial AgoraFest Shoot

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For those of your planning to attend AgoraFest this year I am going to host an unofficial shooting event on Friday.

There’s a public range near the new AgoraFest venue. From what I can gather from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ website, a single news article, and satellite images courtesy of Google Maps the range exists and the facilities are decent. I will check the range out on Thursday to verify it can be used and give the go/no-go notice at the planned shooters meeting after lunch on Friday.

If you’re interested in attending the event the details are available at the link.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 16th, 2016 at 10:30 am

That’s a Good Racket

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Civil forfeiture is often used to rob large amounts of cash, cars, and other valuable items from the public. It’s a nice racket because the victim has to prove that their assets weren’t tied to a drug crime and since proving a negative is very difficult civil forfeiture rakes in a ton of cash for the State. But what about poorer people? Not everybody is cruising around with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash or drives a nice car. Fortunately, for the State, civil forfeiture is a versatile theft mechanism and can be adapted to meet the needs of the thief:

After the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office sued New Jersey resident Jermaine Mitchell to keep $171 dollars seized from him during a drug arrest earlier this year, it sent him a notice in jail of his right to challenge the seizure. The catch? It would cost him $175 just to file the challenge.

Mitchell’s is one of 21 civil asset forfeiture cases that the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office combined together in a what the ACLU of New Jersey said in a court filing last week is an unlawful scheme that deprived Mitchell and the other defendants of their due process rights under the Constitution.

I know how Mitchell feels. I received a parking ticket in St. Paul a few years ago. Normally I’d be all gung ho about fighting such a ticket but the cost of fighting it was higher than the ticket itself. Had I fought the ticket I’d have actually lost money on the deal.

It must be nice to have a monopoly on the legal system. You can create the rules, set the fines, and set the amount it will cost the peasantry to get their day in court. If you just set the fines lower than the price of accessing the courts you can rake in a ton of cash without much worry of being challenged.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 16th, 2016 at 10:00 am

TANSTAAFL

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One of the most important things for anybody to know is that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Everything comes at a cost, even “free” things. Consider public Wi-Fi networks. Companies seemingly provide free Wi-Fi to customers as a courtesy. But those free Wi-Fi networks are revenue generator:

According to an article, which mall officials say they co-wrote, “while being an attractive guest feature, the (Wi-Fi) service simultaneously provides the mall with enough data to fill digital warehouses with information about what people do both online and in the real world while on the property.”

“This type of tracking can happen at any business, any location, any place that there’s any Wi-Fi networks,” Schulte said.

He explained that when your phone connects to Wi-Fi, it’s actually exchanging information with the network.

“You’re telling the Mall of America when you go to the mall, what door you go in, what stores you visit, what level you’re on, as well as what you’re doing on your phone.”

Asked if that means that mall officials could potentially know about it if someone logs onto Facebook while using the mall’s Wi-Fi network, Shulte answered, “Absolutely they know that you’re going to Facebook.”

This is the same paradigm used by websites that rely on ad networks for revenue. Instead of charging the user directly the provider simply snoops on the user and sells the information it collects to advertisers. In this way the advertiser becomes the customer and the user becomes the product.

I recommend against using public Wi-Fi networks. If you have to use one I recommend doing so through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your traffic from your device to the VPN provider’s server. That means your data isn’t visible to the local Wi-Fi network and therefore cannot be snooped on by local network surveillance. Tor can work to a lesser extent in that you can conceal traffic that can be run through the Tor network but it’s not as effective in this case since most systems, with the exception of specially designed operating systems such as Tails, don’t route all traffic through Tor.

Whenever anybody offers you something for free you should try to figure out what the catch is because there is one.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 15th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Everything is Permitted

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I do enjoy those rare glimpses into the unfiltered minds of our overlords. Usually they are careful with what they say and hide their depravities behind a veil of officialdom. But every now and then their facade cracks and they reveal their trust selves to the world. Rudolph Giuliani just did exactly that:

Giuliani said Trump does not necessarily want the United States to extract the oil itself but wants to “leave a force back there and take it and make sure it’s distributed in a proper way.”

“That’s not legal, is it?” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked, as the Geneva Conventions forbid seizing the natural resources of a sovereign nation after invading it.

“Of course it’s legal. It’s a war,” Giuliani said, laughing. “Until the war is over, anything’s legal.”

Suddenly the perpetual state of war makes more sense. So long as the war continues the State believes it can excuse any of its depravities.

What Giuliani has expressed isn’t unique to him, he was just dumb enough to say it publicly. But if you look at the extensive list of atrocities that have been committed by the United States in this never ending war such as bombing wedding parities, killing children, and raping prisoners and you see that punishments are never doled out you realize that the political class believes everything done is legal. What makes matters worse is that there is no relief for the civilians living in the areas the United States is bombing. Since the war on terror has no concrete set of parameters that constitute winning the war has no defined end. It can be waged perpetually and the State has no motivation to end it since it believes war gives it an avenue to do anything without consequences.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 15th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Most Kvlt Candidate Ever

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Here in Minnesota we periodically elect professional wrestlers and dogs to political officer. In Norway they elect reluctant members of black metal bands:

Black metal figurehead Glyve “Fenriz” Nagell now has another job in addition to being one half of Darkthrone: he’s a backup representative for his local town council in Kolbotn, Norway. In a new interview with Clyrvnt, Fenriz discusses how he was involuntarily elected to his new political position. “Basically, they called and asked if I wanted to be on the list [of backup representatives]. I said yeah, thinking I would be like 18th on the list and I wouldn’t really have to do anything,” he said. “My campaign was a picture of me holding my cat saying, ‘Please don’t vote for me.’ But people just went nuts. After the election, the boss called me and told me I was a representative. I wasn’t too pleased, and I’m not too pleased about it. It’s boring. There’s not a lot of money in that, either, I can tell you!”

It appears that he has a good attitude towards the position in nothing that he’s not pleased to be elected to it and that it’s boring.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 15th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Posted in Politics

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I Will Not Be Pushed, Filed, Stamped, Indexed, Briefed, Debriefed, or Numbered

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What term should be used to describe people who cross the imaginary line that separates the United States of American from the rest of the world without first receiving permission from the State? Some refer to them as illegal immigrants. Others refer to them as undocumented workers. Truthfully, both of these labels are stupid. Somebody crossing an imaginary line isn’t doing anything illegal because the entity that has decreed itself the owner of the entire country isn’t a legitimate entity. Likewise, calling them undocumented words is dumb because human beings shouldn’t have to be documented:

It is the promotion of the term “undocumented” term that concerns me. Just as no human is illegal, I see no reason why we should promote the idea that humans should be documented. To me being “documented” conjures up the image of a dystopian future where we are branded with identification numbers that are needed for every little transaction. Indeed, I consider the term undocumented to be worse than illegal since it implies that all individuals, including natural born citizens, should be documented in this manner. At minimum the term implicitly justifies a program like e-verify, a de facto form of national ID in the United States, which makes one’s right to work dependent on government approval.

The idea that human being should be documented by the State can best be summed up, in a German accent, by the phrase, “Papers please.” We’ve seen what happens when the State maintains documentation on people. When it decides to target a subset of those people the State has all the information it needs to do so. The Nazis used its documentation to target Jews. The Soviet Union used its documentation to target counterrevolutions. Here in the United States the government routinely uses its documentation to target those with even the most benign criminal record.

Few things are more dangerous than documentation on people in the hands of the State. The idea that people should be documented by the State should go the way of the dodo.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 14th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Without Government Who Would Slaughter the Horses

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Without government who would round up wild horses and slaughter them?

Last Friday, the Bureau of Land Management‘s (BLM) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board made the decision to use euthanasia to kill 45,000 wild horses currently captive in government holding facilities throughout the US. The decision has come under great scrutiny by organizations who argue for using birth control to minimize population growth, instead.

This is a nice racket the ranchers have going for them. Instead of having to foot the expense of dealing with competition for their cattle herds the ranchers can just use their political clout to get the BLM to round up the competing wildlife at tax payer expense. Now the BLM is tired of storing the horses and wants to slaughter them at tax payer expense, which means the ranchers will have to compete against a glut of cheap horse meat, right?. Wrong. The cattle ranchers need not worry because the United States government protects ranchers from that form of competition as well.

If you have enough political clout you can socialize the expenses of doing business. Ranchers have a lot of clout in many regions of the United States and they use that clout to make the rest of us pay the expenses they would face otherwise.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 14th, 2016 at 10:30 am

“Terrifying”

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If you’re looking for a good laugh go ahead and read this article. It’s a list of “terrifying” things Americans carry on their person written by a Brit. Some of the things that terrify the author include knives and handguns.

It’s amazing what some people will piss their pants over.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 14th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Posted in Humor

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