A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Not So Crazy Libertarian Ideals’ tag

Guns are Inanimate Objects

without comments

Advocates for gun control like to scream, “Guns kill,” and gun rights advocates like to respond by screaming, “Guns salve lives!”

I tend to give gun control advocates a bit more leeway in this case because I understand that their entire platform is built upon make-believe. If you believe in unicorns, it’s not inconsistent to argue for unicorn rights. But many gun rights advocates seem to want to have their cake and eat it too. On the one hand, gun rights advocates rightly point out that guns are inanimate objects and are therefore incapable of killing. However, an inanimate object is also incapable of saving lives.

To my fellow gun rights advocates, I urge you to be consistent in your arguments. If you rightly point out that guns are inanimate objects incapable of taking a life, don’t follow up by saying that guns save lives. Don’t restrict yourself to arguing inside of the gun control advocates’ fantasy land where guns are animate objects capable of acting.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 16th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Arm the Homeless

without comments

One of the rarest things in politics is a politician who advocates for actual solutions to actual problems. Brian Ellison is one of those rare politicians:

Brian Ellison, who is running against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow, says homeless people are “constantly victims of violent crime” and providing them with firearms would provide a deterrent.

Ellison, a Libertarian who is expected to be the party’s candidate in the November midterm election, said he had settled on pump-action shotguns for practicality purposes.

“Frankly I think the ideal weapon would be a pistol,” he told the Guardian, “but due to the licensing requirements in the state we’re going to have a hard enough time getting homeless people shotguns as it is.

“Getting them pistols is probably next to impossible. The pistols need to be registered, people have to have addresses.”

Carrying a concealed pistol is illegal without a permit, Ellison said, “whereas open-carrying a long gun is completely legal”.

It’s too bad that he’s running as a Libertarian Party candidate and therefore has pretty no chance whatsoever of actually being elected. But I’m glad to see he’s at least throwing a good idea out there. The war being waged by most municipal governments against their homeless population is currently one-sided.

I also like how this policy points out the discriminatory nature of Michigan’s pistol laws. If you don’t have an address, you don’t have a right to defend yourself. Although I’d call this a flaw, I’m fairly certain that the politicians who wrote the law consider it a feature.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 16th, 2018 at 10:30 am

You Can’t Take the Sky from Me

with 2 comments

Swarm Technologies applied to the Federal Communications Commission Fascist Communications Club (FCC) for permission to launch a handful of satellites. The FCC denied the company’s application. But the United States doesn’t have a monopoly on spaceflight so Swarm Technologies shopped around and was able to get its satellites into the air thanks to India. Now the FCC is claiming that it owns all of space:

One company might not have been willing to take “no” for an answer, however. IEEE Spectrum has discovered that the FCC accused startup Swarm Technologies of launching four of its tiny SpaceBEE (Basic Electronic Elements) communication cubesats without obtaining the necessary approvals — in effect, it would be the first satellite maker to go rogue.

The FCC denied Swarm’s application to launch its satellites in December 2017 on the grounds that they posed a safety hazard to other spacecraft orbiting Earth. That apparently wasn’t a deterrent, as the SpaceBEEs appear to have launched aboard one of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles on January 12th (you’re looking at the rocket above). Needless to say, that left officials fuming. The FCC revoked Swarm’s approval for a subsequent mission that would have taken place this April, citing an “apparent unauthorized launch and operation” of the four satellites.

The fact that the FCC revoked Swarm Technology’s approval for future missions is especially funny since the company demonstrated that it didn’t need FCC approval to get its satellites into space. But doing so probably fed some petty bureaucrat’s power trip and that’s all government approval is capable of doing in a global economy.

The world has become more connected. It’s trivial to communication with people on the other side of the globe in real time. Traveling across oceans takes a matter of hours, not days or weeks. If the government of a region is standing in your way, you can shop around for a region that will allow you to do what you want to do and transport whatever you need to that region. If worst comes to worst, a company can move itself entirely to a friendlier region.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 13th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Chipping Away at the Drug War

without comments

The public sale of cannabis has been legal in Colorado since January 1, 2014. Three years later and none of the doom and gloom predictions of the prohibitionists have come to pass. Now Colorado is planning to step up its game of chipping away at the drug war by considering lowering the severity of psilocybin possession:

The group calls itself Colorado for Psilocybin after the fungi’s scientific name. Their proposed measure would do away with felony charges for people caught with mushrooms, and make them the lowest enforcement priority for Denver police.

Anyone caught with more than two ounces of dried mushrooms, or two pounds of uncured “wet” mushrooms, would be subject to a citation: less than $99 for the first offense, increased by increments of $100 for subsequent offenses, and never more than $999 per citation.

If this is passed, the prohibitionists will once again predict doom and gloom and their predictions will once again fail to manifest. Despite what prohibitions believe, consuming psilocybin doesn’t turn an individual into a killing machine. What is can do though is help those suffering from depression and, of course, offer those looking for a good psychedelic trip what they want.

I really hope that this is the beginning of the next chapter of an individual state telling the feds where to stick their drug war.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 9th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Persona Non Grata

without comments

Gun control advocates haven’t enjoyed a great deal of success in recent times. I believe part of the reason for this is that the Internet has provided us gun owners with a mechanism to voice our side of the story. It was more difficult to be heard by the masses before the Internet, especially if what you were saying didn’t agree with the views of the major media outlets. It appears that gun control advocates are finally recognizing this and are trying to return gun owners to their “proper place” where they may be seen once in a while but never truly heard:

Gun-control advocates are now pressuring Amazon, Google, AT&T, Roku, and other streaming platforms to ban NRA TV — the organization’s private channel of gun-rights advocacy and other weapons-related programming. This takes the fight against the group to a different and dangerous level. It is one thing to condemn the NRA and even to ask businesses not to work with a group that offends some people. It is quite another to silence the point of view of an organization that represents millions of Americans. If successful, the ban on NRA TV will mark a turning point not so much in the battle over gun control as in the debate over political speech and what is permissible within the public square.

It should be noted that attempts to silence NRA TV are just one effort on this front. Gun control advocates have already enjoyed some success by pushing Facebook, Google, and other major websites to curtail the voice of gun owners in many ways.

Private entities have no obligation to provide goods or services to anybody. If Facebook or Google want to ban any mention of firearms, they have a right to do so. But us gun owners are also free to create our own services, which is how we managed to get our voices heard on the Internet in the first place. Before major social media sites became a thing, gun forums, blogs, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels were how us gun owners linked up with one another and put our side of the story out to the public. The nice thing about these forums and blogs is that they were owned and operated by gun owners. I’m not familiar with an IRC server expressly owned and operated by gun owners but it would have been a simple enough matter to setup such a server if needed. Today more and more gun talk is taking place on major social medias sites, which are often owned and operated by individuals who are gun control advocates. Us gun owners have migrated from our own platforms to platforms controlled by our ideological opponents and we have thus made ourselves vulnerable.

This situation can be reversed and if things continue going as they have been in recent times, will need to be reversed if us gun owners want to continue voicing our beliefs. Relying on a hostile entity is always foolish and we may want to consider reversing the trend of doing so.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 6th, 2018 at 11:00 am

The Arbitrary Nature of Laws

with one comment

There are always vultures swooping down after a mass shooting to pick at the corpses. Here in Minnesota the vultures, after gorging themselves on the dead in Florida, have introduced one doozy of a gun control bill.

The bill contains it all. Mandatory registration of firearms, a ban on aesthetically offensive firearms, a ban on purchasing ammunition online, banning people who owe child support from owning firearms (which is rather random), etc. The bill has obviously been sitting on the back burner waiting for a tragedy to exploit.

I think the bill is an excellent example of the arbitrary nature of laws in general. If this laws is passed, I would be declared a criminal. Not because I hurt anybody but because some politicians decided to change the rules on a whim.

That’s ultimately the biggest problem with government. It’s impossible to do any long term planning when the rules can changed arbitrarily. Consider the seemingly simple prospect of buying a home. A home is generally a long term investment. However, a single change of the rules one evening could force you to flee the state less you be arrested for violating the new rules. Suddenly your long term investment becomes a liability that needs to be offloaded so you can regain some capital to acquire a place to live in another state. Moreover, unless you live near the border of a friendlier state, you will likely have to find a new job and social circle.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 27th, 2018 at 11:00 am

To Cower And Hide

without comments

The school shooting in Florida has really demonstrated the incompetency of law enforcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) was informed about the shooter on several occasions but never bothered to investigate, the local sheriff received 18 calls about the man but never took any meaningful action, and as the bullets started to fly four law enforcers hung around outside of the school instead of going in:

Not one but four sheriff’s deputies hid behind cars instead of storming Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Fla., during Wednesday’s school shooting, police claimed Friday — as newly released records revealed the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had received at least 18 calls about the troubled teen over the past decade.

One of the pillars of gun control is that nongovernmental individuals don’t need firearms because law enforcers provide adequate protection. But law enforcers have no constitutional duty to protect you and as we saw in Florida they very well may let you get gunned down instead of trying to protect you.

If you find yourself facing a life or death situation, the only person you can rely on is yourself.

Finding Alternatives to Advertisements

without comments

People often make the mistake that many webpages are free but there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Most websites still use the age old monetization technique of displaying advertisements. However, advertisements quickly evolved from relatively safe static imagines. They started becoming more annoying. Imagines turned into animations. Animations turned into full video that also played sound. These “enhancements” also requires clients to run code. Needless to say, users started getting annoyed and their annoyance lead to the creation of browser plugins that block advertisements.

Online advertising has turned into an arms race. Website visitors use an ad blocker, advertisers create a method to bypass ad blockers, visitors upgrade their ad blockers to bypass the bypass, and so on. This is leading a lot of people to question whether the online advertisement model can remain feasible. Fortunately, some websites that rely on online advertisements have begun experimenting with alternative revenue sources. Salon, for example, recently launched an experiment where visitors blocking advertisements are given the option to run cryptocurrency mining code in their browser:

Salon.com has a new, cryptocurrency-driven strategy for making money when readers block ads. If you want to read Salon without seeing ads, you can do so—as long as you let the website use your spare computing power to mine some coins.

If you visit Salon with an ad blocker enabled, you might see a pop-up that asks you to disable the ad blocker or “Block ads by allowing Salon to use your unused computing power.”

A lot of people are pissed about this but I, possibly for the first time ever, actually agree with what Salon is doing.

Unlike a lot of sites that are experimenting with running cryptocurrency mining code in visitors’ browsers, Salon is being entirely transparent about doing so. If you visit the site with an ad blocker enabled, you are presented with a very clear option to either disable your ad blocker or run cryptocurrency mining code. If you choose the latter, your computer’s fans will likely kick on as your processor ramps up.

I doubt browser based cryptocurrency mining will be a viable alternative to online advertising. Cryptocurrency mining, as the linked article shows, requires a lot of processing power. On a desktop that isn’t much of a concern. On a laptop or other battery powered device, that increased processor usage will drain the battery quickly. With more computing being done on battery powered devices, anything that noticeably reduces battery life will likely anger visitors. But I’m happy that websites are finally exploring alternatives to advertisements. It’s clear that visitors aren’t happy with the current state of the online advertising model. If website operators want to continue being profitable, they need to find a way to raise money that their visitors find acceptable.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 15th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Statements of Fact Versus Statements of Opinion

without comments

“You can’t be neutral!”

“You can’t be indifferent!”

“You can’t be apolitical!”

How many times have you heard somebody say a variation of these statements? I’ve heard these phrases quite a few times and the frequency seems to be increasing. However, anybody making such a statement is wrong. Why? Because you can be neutral, indifferent, apolitical, or any combination of those things.

People making such statements are mistaking their personal beliefs for facts. Most of the people who say you can’t be neutral, indifferent, or apolitical are really saying that since you disagree with them on something they view you as being in league with their enemy. For example, let’s pretend that legislation that would establish a government healthcare system has been introduced into Congress. Supporters of the legislation are making the same tired arguments that anybody who opposes it hate poor people, etc. You have been practicing medical tourism to gain access to cheaper and better healthcare and plan to continue doing so whether the legislation passes or not and therefore don’t have a preference on the legislation. If you declare your neutrality, a supporter of the legislation will likely respond by saying that neutrality is tacit opposition to the legislation and you are therefore not neutral but against it. Are you actually against it?

The problem with their assertion is that it’s based on their personal beliefs and personal beliefs are entirely subjective. There may be no such thing as neutrality in their little reality tunnel but your reality tunnel may be advanced enough to include such a concept. So what they’re really saying is that based on their personal beliefs you are their enemy.

Statements of fact can be objectively verified. For example, the top speed of a car can be measured with instruments. It doesn’t matter if you think the top speed of a car is 120 miles per hour if instruments consistently measure its top speed at 100 miles per hour. Saying that the top speed of the car is 100 miles per hour is an objective statement since it can be independently verified by others through experimentation. Abstract concepts such as neutrality, indifference, and lack of political opinions cannot be objectively verified. There is no way to objectively state that somebody cannot be neutral or that neutrality is tacit support or opposition.

The widespread lack of understanding of the difference between objective and subjective statements is, to me, one of the most aggravating characteristics of modern discourse. When somebody is stating their opinion as fact, that is to say when they are framing the debate in such a way that only their opinion is deemed valid, the debate can’t move in any constructive direction.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 14th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Imaginary Collectives of People

without comments

There are few things in the universe as precious as an edgy atheist who makes a snide remark about imaginary sky people only to turn around and discuss societies, cultures, and other imaginary concepts as if they were real.

These individuals usually claim to have given themselves over entirely to reason. If something cannot be proven, they claim to not believe in it. Despite their claims though, most of them believe in plenty of things that can’t be proven. As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no way to prove societies exist because societies, like all collectives of humanity, are concepts that only exists in our head. Ditto for cultures. In reality there are only individual human beings. Any attempt to treat individual human beings as a cohesive group becomes a fiction.

Thus I’m lead to conclude that most of these self-proclaimed atheists are actually theists but instead of, as they put it, believing in imaginary sky people they believe in imaginary collectives of people.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 14th, 2018 at 10:00 am