We Need to Talk

Everybody in the firearm community has heard about Starbucks’ request. Whether that open letter persuades you to stop frequenting Starbucks is your business and I fully respect whatever decision you make. But we need to talk about overreaction for a minute.

Us gun owners are used to dealing with gun control advocates who, regardless of their claims, have an end goal of abolishing non-government ownership of firearms. It’s natural for us to get angry when we hear somebody like Dianne Feinstein demanding Congress pass a law prohibiting the most popular rifle in the United States. We don’t like people trying to take our shit. But we must also realize that just because a person or organization isn’t on our side doesn’t mean they’re on the other side.

The reaction from both the gun rights and gun control sides regarding this Starbucks request has been completely overblown. I’m not going to spend much time addressing the gun control community because, from my point of view, their reactions are commonly overblown. But those of us in the gun rights community should hold ourselves to a higher standard than our intellectual opponents. That means stating facts, not fabrications.

I can’t even count how many members of the gun rights community have said Starbucks is banning guns in its stores. That’s a flat out lie. In fact the letter clearly states that guns aren’t being banned and that the request that gun owners not bring their firearms into Starbucks’ stores will not be enforced. There’s a huge difference between requesting gun owners not bring guns into a store and prohibiting gun owners from bringing guns into stores. If you’ve been telling people that Starbucks’ is banning firearms knock it off. You’re not helping anybody by making gun owners look like liars.

I would also like to specifically address the gun owners who have taken this opportunity to continue their personal crusades against open carry. To you I have only this to say: fuck off. OK, I actually have more to say. You guys have been sitting on your high horse prophesying doom and gloom for gun owners because some have the audacity to not conceal their firearms. I’ve got news for you sunshine, most of us who do open carry, whether it be all the time or periodically, have had no negative interactions. I open carry whenever I’m on a bicycle because concealing my firearm is almost impossible. When I stop at intersections or take a break I often have very pleasant conversations with other bikers. Not once has a fellow trail rider freaked out or otherwise acted in a negative way towards me. I’m not hurting any cause. A vast majority of people who open carry are in the same boat. The problem isn’t open carry activists, it’s assholes.

Every community has its set of assholes. These people usually take the form of attention whores. They want people to pay attention to them and perform outlandish deeds in order to get the attention they so desperately crave. If you walk into a store openly carrying a gun, make your purchase, and go about your business you aren’t hurting anybody or any cause. If you walk into a store openly carrying a rifle, yell “Hey everybody, I have a big ass rifle! Look at me!”, make your purchase, and go about seeking attention from everybody by marching around with your rifle for no reason whatsoever then you are an asshole. The line between not asshole and asshole isn’t even that thin. It’s almost 100 fucking yards thick! 99 percent of the time you can determine whether or not you’re going to cross that line by asking a simple question: will doing this make me an asshole? If you have to ask if something will make you an asshole it almost certainly will.

My point is it doesn’t matter if you’re openly carrying a gun or not; if you’re an asshole people are going to reactive negatively. I’ve seen plenty of gun rights activists who oppose open carry act like completely douche bags when questioned by somebody who is either anti-gun or neutral in the gun debate. Being rude doesn’t help anybody, period. If you want to bitch about a group of gun owners bitch about the ones being jerk-offs. That reminds me, I also have something I want to say to the asshole in the shooting community: fuck off. You’re the reason so many people outside of the shooting community view us as uneducated attention seeking rednecks.

That’s really all the critical things I have to say (for now). On a non-critical note, if you feel as though Starbucks no longer wants your business then feel free to stop going there. Just as Starbucks has every right to deny business to people you have every right to not frequent businesses. Vote with your feet and tell anybody who is curious why you’re voting that way. I’ve never been a frequent Starbucks customer. While I do like Starbucks’ coffee I can’t justify the cost when making my own is so much cheaper. But I won’t boycott Starbucks over its recent requests. My reading of the letter leads me to believe Starbucks isn’t coming out against gun owners but against being used as a political pawn. I understand that position; I don’t like being used as a political pawn either. Starbucks never said I couldn’t bring my gun into its stores. It simply asked nicely that I don’t, unless I want to.

The Shooting in Washington DC

You’ve all heard about the shooting at the naval yard in Washington DC. The shooting, at with all shootings was a tragedy. Fortunately the shooter was considerate enough to perform his vile act on a Monday. Now we get to enjoy a whole week of wall-to-wall coverage based entirely on speculation, fabrication, and whatever else can be made in order to grab ratings. We’ve all been through this before. The media has no time for fact checking in its hopeless fight to remain relevant in a society where information gathering and dissemination has become decentralized. Rating for news channels are in the toilet. Those companies need ratings and they need them now. This means that they will exploit this tragedy by plaster our screens will crap coverage before any facts can be determined.

No facts, besides the name of a suspect, have come forth. Until those facts are determined I’m not planning to spend much time discussing this event. There’s enough shit to talk about without having to make things up.

Use a Damn Holster

If you’ve read any gun blogs or forums for more than a day you’ve likely come across a post or thread urging you to use a fucking holster. There’s a reason for that. Not using a holster can lead to a personal injury (or worse) that makes you look like a fool:

A Connecticut man, who accidentally shot himself while riding a bicycle, was arrested this week after lying to police and saying that a “gang” of men wearing black hoodies had attacked him.


But Docteur finally admitted that the gun in his waistband had gone off and he had shot himself after he was not able to explain why there was only a hole where the bullet exited from his pants. He was also not able to tell police what happened to his handgun after the incident.

I’ve mentioned the fact that I bike armed. When I ride my bike I lock my Glock 30SF into a Safariland ALS holster. My ALS serves two purposes: it prevents me from looking like a jackass like Mr. Docteur mentioned above and it prevents my firearm from coming out of the holster (it’s a potential problem when I’m mountain biking).

If you’re going to carry a gun buy a holster. Even a cheap, flimsy nylon holster made by Uncle Mike’s is better than nothing. An it’s far cheaper than the medical bills that you be accrue from sliding an unholstered gun down your waistband.

I’m Sick of Politically Correct Bullshit

After the news of the bombings in Boston I took to social media sites to discuss the event. My first comment was posted on Facebook and said “Brace yourselves. A new wave of state power grabs are upon us.” That comment lead to a short discussion amongst me and a few of my friends regarding the incident. Two hours after posting my comment another friend commented about how I was the only person on her friends list politicizing the event and that it was “too soon.”

Looking at Twitter, Reddit, and other comments from friends of friends I’m lead to believe that the only acceptable way of dealing with a tragic event is to say nothing besides the event was a tragedy and my heart goes out to the victims. This is more politically correct bullshit. Political correctness exemplifies the thing I hate most about collectivism, it attempts to socially engineer us all into perfect carbon copies of one another. Here’s the thing, we’re not all perfect carbon copies of one another. We’re each unique little snowflakes. All of us have different views, beliefs, hobbies, outlooks and ways of dealing with things. While remaining solemn and saying your heart goes out to those affected by the bombings is a perfectly acceptable way to cope with the event it is not the only way.

Some of have different ways of dealing with tragic news. I, for example, upon learning about a tragic event desire to discuss it with friends. Since many of my friends are political the political aspects of the event are discussed. Because of this I am apt to make a comment on Facebook that is political in nature. My intention isn’t to politicize the event it’s to spur up discussion with my friends, many of whom are political.

Another way I cope with tragic news is introducing humor. I have a dark sense of humor that can border on being outright morbid at times. That doesn’t mean I find the event funny, nothing about the event is funny to me. What it does mean is that I try to lighten the mood by making witty (to me, not to most people) remarks about the event. Not only did I rip off a well-known Internet meme but during the conversation I also said “Perhaps the FBI accidentally handed one of their self-created extremists a real bomb instead of a fake bomb. Jim down in ordinance is going to catch Hell for this.” That comment was a play on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) habit of recruiting nobodies, urging them to commit terrorist acts, and arming them with fake bombs just so “bust” them and brag about how they stopped a terrorist. It was a smart ass remark meant to lighten the mood.

For those who believe it’s “too soon” to discuss the event let me ask you, when can I discuss the event? What is the proper time where my discussion goes from being insensitive to acceptable? I’m sick of this “It’s too soon!” bullshit. I like to discuss current events as they’re happening, not a week after the fact.

Also, why are my comments about tragedies that happen in other countries acceptable? When I make quips about the United States government’s habit of bombing brown people in sand regions most of my friends who are currently screaming “It’s too soon!” either laugh (out of the absurdity of the situation, they don’t find the situation funny) or join me in denouncing the violence. But when tragic events happen here suddenly there is a prohibition on making any comment other than “My heart goes out to the victims.” When a wedding in Afghanistan is bombed I can make any comment I want but when a marathon in Boston is bombed I’m expected to keep my mouth shut. Where the fuck is the logic in that? Shouldn’t all tragedies be viewed as such? Shouldn’t we deal with those tragedies in a consistent manner? Are people living outside of the United States somehow lesser and undeserving of solemn respect? This inconsistency probably pisses me off more than the nagging that my comments are being made “too soon.” Maybe my way of dealing with tragic news has developed because I read about tragic events every — fucking — day. Every day there seems to be a story about a bombing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or some other part of the world where people have likely become callused to shit blowing up because it happens all the time.

In summary, we’re all different. We deal with things in different ways. I deal with tragic news by discussing it and attempting to lighten the mood through humor. There is no such thing as discussing an event “too soon.” Some of us like discussing events as they’re happening. I’m not politicizing, I’m not being insensitive, I’m merely coping with the news in my own way. We’re not all perfect carbon copies of one another and shouldn’t be assume as such. Let me also close by saying “Fuck!” Why? Because I feel like it’s the only appropriate end to this rant. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go about being a horrible human being and discussing the bombings.

The Danger of Pragmatism

As an anarchist who refuses to take part in the political system I’m often derogatorily referred to as a purist or idealist. Those calling me a purist usually consider themselves pragmatists. Pragmatists like to harp on idealists because, in their view, idealists bitch while pragmatists get things done. What pragmatists seldom see is the cost of, as they say, getting things done.

This rant was brought on by the recent death of Margaret Thatcher. For some reason many pragmatist libertarians love Thatcher because she reduced the political influence of public unions and privatized a great deal of infrastructure. I, on the other hand, don’t view Thatcher as a bastion of libertarianism who rode a white horse and delivered freedom to the suffering serfs of the United Kingdom. Because of my unwillingness to ignore the results of her actions I’m accused of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Unlike so-called pragmatists I would not support Thatcher were she alive and running for a position of power. The cost of her actions were too great.

Thatcher may have bitch slapped socialism back in the United Kingdom but she did so by replacing it with fascism. Under Thatcher’s policies the denizens of the United Kingdom suffer under a police state. Their every action is captured by Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) that rise above most street corners, their Internet is censored, and their every communication is recorded by the state. Thatcher’s advancement of the police state was the catalyst for these modern problems.

I already hear the pragmatists screaming, “But she privatized nationalized industries!” Privatization, as defined by the state, is another word for nationalization. Instead of the state directly owning an industry a crony, who is part of the state in all ways that matter, is given ownership over the industry. The state gets away with this practice by claiming the nationalized industries are natural monopolies. That claim fools many libertarians into supporting the state’s definition of privatization but the truth is natural monopolies don’t exist. Natural monopoly is a made up label used to sucker free market advocates into accepting the state’s transferring of ownership from one branch of itself to another. True privatization would require entirely deregulating nationalized industries so anybody wanting to compete in those markets could compete.

It’s also worth spending a few seconds looking at Thatcher’s foreign policy. One of the biggest criticisms libertarians aim at the current United States government is its interventionist foreign policy. The United States loves to go around the world and start shit with other nations. Thatcher also enjoyed this practice. I’m not talking about the Falkelands War, which a minarchist may consider legitimate as it involved Argentina invading a British colony. I’m talking about her insistence that the United States invade Iraq and her support of Pol Pot. While some may be willing to forgive her support of starting the Gulf War I don’t see how anybody can forgiver her for supporting a man who murdered an estimated 2 million Cambodians. Even the most flexible of pragmatists must admit that supporting such a murderer goes against everything libertarianism promotes.

Pragmatism is a term most often used by those who aren’t principled. By calling themselves pragmatists, people can claim the label libertarian without actually supporting libertarian principles. I understand why they do it, working within the currently established political system offers a path of least resistance. Using the political system to force your beliefs onto an entire population is much easier than leading by example and living your life in accordance with the principles you claim to support. I also understand why pragmatists berate idealists. When a pragmatists looks at an idealist they see everything they want to be but can’t bring themselves to be. In order to cope with the guilt of betraying their own principles they accuse the idealist of wrongdoing. Pragmatists blind themselves and, in so doing, end up working against the ideas they claim to support. They may, as they say, get things done but they get all the wrong things done.

A Pet Peeve I Share in this App-Oriented Age

I love smartphones. Ever since I started carrying around a Palm Treo 700p I realized having access to the collected knowledge of humanity from a pocketable device was glorious. Back then the limited hardare of portable devices required the use of mobil optimized websites. Fortunately we’ve evolve from that point in time and now our smartphones are able to display full websites. Unfortunately we have another problem, every website on the planet seems to believe requiring users to download a special application is far better than allowing directe access to their website from a mobile device. They’re wrong. Applications have their places. Games, personal information management, and e-mail clients are useful to have installed on your phone but requiring the installation and use of an application to gain access to news articles is not a smart design decision.

Joe Biden is an Arrogant Ass

I know, I’m not saying anything that the general public is unaware of but I really must state, for the record, that I think Joe Biden is an arrogant ass. Consider the following statement made by him:

During a press conference on gun safety in Philadelphia, Vice President Joe Biden said that any reports that suggest that he was trying to take weapons away from gun owners was a “bunch of malarkey.”

“I know that’s a word that you’ve never heard before, although it’s now in the dictionary,” Biden boasted.

He knows that malarkey is a word that I’ve never heard before? He could have fooled me. Needless to say the rest of what he said was equally idiotic.

Everything is Being Politicized

It should be no secret that I hate politics. Politics, in my opinion, is the biggest waste of time that the human race has ever developed. Think about the vast amount of time, money, and effort that is sunk into politics, then consider the fact that politics is nothing more than one set of individuals trying to rule another set of individuals. Yet, somehow, we humans have made politics so pervasive that one can’t even enjoy a trade show for consumer electronics without some jackass taking a stage and injecting politics into it:

12:05 PM yesterday | by Josh Lowensohn
Samsung now rolling a video narrated by Bill Clinton about his foundation and role as Samsung’s Hope for Children ambassador.


12:07 PM yesterday | by Josh Lowensohn
And the video’s over. Woo back out on stage to introduce Clinton.

12:08 PM yesterday | by Josh Lowensohn
Clinton’s going to talk about mobile technology in the developing world. Clinton comes out with a big smile. And Clinton’s getting a standing ovation from the crowd here.


12:22 PM yesterday | by Josh Lowensohn
Clinton talking about gun control and the death rate in the U.S. compared to other countries. “I grew up in this hunting culture, but this is nuts,” Clinton says. “Why does anybody need a 30-round clip for a gun?” Half of all deaths have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired, Clinton offers.

I enjoy consumer electronics a great deal. Personal electronics allow individuals to have access to the entire knowledgeable of mankind using nothing more than a device that fits in their pocket. Think about how amazing that is. As you can guess I enjoy seeing the new products being rolled out that are aimed at making my life easier and more convenient. Then, while I’m trying to enjoy myself, things turn from making my life better to making my life worse because some statist wants to disarm me for the crime of doing nothing wrong. Can’t politicians leave me in peace with at least one thing I enjoy? Get they stop infecting every hobby I partake in with stupid attempts to grab power? If Clinton wants to grandstand and declare to the world that he wants nonviolent gun owners disarmed because of the actions of a few violent individuals he should do it at the damned White House, United States Capitol Building, or at a private speaking gig.

This Blog Delayed Due to Weather

Everybody who lives in Minnesota is well aware of the slight snowstorm that descended upon the state Sunday. Due to the storm it ended up taking me five hours to drive from Southeast Minnesota back to the Twin Cities (a trip that normally takes two and a half hours). It also took me a little more than an hour to drive to the Eluveitie concert in Saint Paul (which kicked ass) and another hour to drive back home. This morning it ended up taking me two hours to drive to work and another two hours to drive back home. All in all I spent roughly 11 hours driving in this shitty weather during the last two days.

The weather problem was made worse but the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) and the absurdly high number of incompetent drivers. MNDOT is in charge of plowing the major highways, which it appears to not have done. Since the snow stopped on Sunday night the major highways have remained in an almost unusable condition. I can honestly say that denizens of Minnesota would get more value from their tax dollars by taking every cent that was appropriated for snow removal and using it to build a bridge to nowhere. While the bridge to nowhere will be relatively useless there would at least be something to show for that wasted money.

The other issue are incompetent drivers. I cannot even begin to estimate the number of dumbasses I saw stalled in between two lanes on the highway. That’s right, not only did they stall on the highway but they stalled in between two lanes, which managed to take major sections of 694, a three land highways, down to one lane. Numerous individuals were in the ditch and there was a notably high number of fender benders. I really wish people who are unable to safely or competently drive in this weather would just stay at their fucking house. They’re a danger to everybody else on the road and slow everything down to an almost unbearable crawl.

In summary fuck this weather, fuck MNDOT, and fuck incompetent drivers.

The Divine Conspiracy

This will likely be the last update for today since I spend last night (I usually write my blog posts the night before and schedule them to automatically post the next day) fighting with my laptop again (which is the system I keep material I’m planning to post). As far as I can tell I managed to anger some deity somewhere because the headaches I’ve been experiencing with my laptop can only be describe as a divine conspiracy.

A few weeks ago I started experiencing problems waking my laptop from sleep. Due to the amount of time it takes me to get my system booted and setup the way I want it I usually put the laptop to sleep instead of shutting it down. This hasn’t been a problem until recently. Instead of waking from sleep my laptop has begun to randomly go into a state that I can only call undead. While the fans come on, indicating the system has powered up, the screen says off and the keyboard and mouse appear to be unresponsive. The only way to bring my laptop out of this state is to hold the power button for a few seconds to turn it completely off. Upon restarting the keyboard and mouse will usually remain unresponsive until I power cycle the laptop again. If I manage to power cycle the laptop before the decryption prompt appears I can restore the system from the sleepimage file (it’s the file that stores the contents of random access memory (RAM) when OS X goes into sleep mode).

During these last few weeks my procedure for bringing my laptop out of sleep has been to cross my fingers open the lid, and breathe a sigh of relief if it comes on or curse all that is holy if the laptop enters the state I mentioned above. If the laptop awakens to it’s undead state I power it off and hit the power button a few times before letting the decryption prompt appear.

After numerous hours of debugging I eventually determined that the problem is most likely hardware related. Due to the rather odd nature of the problem I believed the issue had to do with either the RAM, logic board (the term Apple uses for the motherboard), or the hard drive. I ruled the hard drive out because the Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) stated that the drive was fine. That lead me to test the RAM.

The reason I believed the RAM could be the culprit is due to one of the times I booted the system up only to have it report 4GB instead of the usual 8GB available. Doing some searching online I found a couple other people who experienced the same issue and ended up having to either replace a RAM module or the logic board (which is how the logic board became a potential culprit). I ran memory tests on my RAM overnight only to have the testing software report no issues. Thinking the problem may be missed by the testing software I removed my 8GB or RAM and replaced it with the 4GB that the system originally came with. I ran the system is this almost crippled state for six days without any issue. Believing the RAM to be bad I ordered new modules. The day the new modules arrived my laptop experienced it’s undead state again (obviously some deity was having a spot of fun at my expense). At this point I lost all hope as it appeared my logic board was going out.

It appears that the logic board may not be the issue since the hard drive appears to have died last night. Out of the blue the system almost entirely froze up for several minutes whenever the disk was being accessed. After I powered the laptop off I was unable to power it on again (granted the hard drive continued to run and wasn’t giving me the click of death, it just wasn’t accessing data). Fortunately I keep a spare drive around and have relatively effective backups so this problem is more of an annoyance that a major problem. Unfortunately swapping drives and restoring the new drive from my backups is time consuming and ensures my laptop remains in an unusable state for many hours.