A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘You’re Doing it Right’ tag

Arm the Homeless

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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

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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

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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

The Beginning of the End for Unsecured Websites

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Chrome looks to be the first browser that is going to call a spade a spade. Starting in July 2018, Chrome will list all websites that aren’t utilizing HTTPS as unsecured:

For the past several years, we’ve moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt HTTPS encryption. And within the last year, we’ve also helped users understand that HTTP sites are not secure by gradually marking a larger subset of HTTP pages as “not secure”. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.

I think Let’s Encrypt was the catalyst that made this decision possible. Before Let’s Encrypt was released, acquiring and managing TLS certificates could be a painful experience. What made matters worse is that the entire process had to be redone whenever the acquired TLS certificates expired. Let’s Encrypt turned that oftentimes annoying and expensive process into an easy command. This made it feasible for even amateur website administrators to implement HTTPS.

The Internet is slowly moving to a more secure model. HTTPS not only prevents third parties from seeing your web traffic but, maybe even more importantly, it also prevents third parties from altering your web traffic.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 16th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Large Free Library

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Here in the Twin Cities quite a few houses have little free libraries (as opposed to Little Free Libraries, which are specifically sanctioned by some 501 nonprofit organization that thinks it owns that term), which are small boxes filled with books. Anybody can take a book and it’s expected that anybody taking a book should also leave a book.

Little free libraries are a neat concept but some garbage collectors in Turkey decided to go bigger:

Turkish garbage collectors in the country’s capital city of Ankara have opened a public library that is full of books that were originally destined to be put into landfill. The workers began collecting discarded books and opened the new library in the Çankaya district of Ankara. News of the library has spread and now people have begun donating books directly to the library, rather than throwing them away.


The library now has over 6,000 fiction and non-fiction books and includes a children’s section, an area dedicated to scientific research books, and a number of English and French language books for those who are bilingual.

I would love to see this become a trend here in the United States. Although there are a lot of opportunities here to either donate unwanted books or sell them, I know a lot of books still end up in a landfill. Those books are effectively free inventory for anybody who wants to start a library of any size.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 14th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Rise Again

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The Spanish government dealt a blow to Catalonia last year when it brought the boot down on the autonomous community. However, while the Catalonians may be down, they’re not out:

MADRID/COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Catalonia’s parliament nominated former leader Carles Puigdemont, sacked by Spain for unilaterally declaring independence, as candidate to rule the region again in a sign of defiance to Madrid and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government.

Puigdemont and his suporters say he can rule from self-imposed exile in Belgium, where he fled to in October to avoid arrest for his part in organising a banned referendum on a split from Spain and the consequent declaration of independence.

I’m glad to see that the Catalonian parliament, unlike any state level government in this country, has enough backbone to stand up against the national level of government. This move should also demonstrate to the Spanish government that it’s attempt to continue oppressing Catalonia isn’t likely to succeed. One of two things can happen when a government brings the boot down on its subjects. The first thing is that the subjects are frightened enough to roll over. However, if that doesn’t happen then more often than not the subjects are emboldened to resist further. In the latter case there is very little a government can do outside of wiping out the entire rebellious population.

In the long run, if the Catalonians keep up their current pace of resistance, Catalonia will will likely win its independence.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 24th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Welcome to Costco, I Love You

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I’m starting to believe that Costco may actually love its customers. Seattle implemented a ridiculous tax on sweetened beverages. As usual for sin taxes the politicians who championed this tax claimed that it would promote healthier living. What it actually did was jack up prices and piss people off. But Costco, unlike so many businesses throughout the country, decided that it wasn’t going to take the fall for government induced price increases:

Mega-chain Costco isn’t feeling the surge either and put in big black numbers how much the new tax is costing their customers. Not only that, they’re putting signs next to the price display that tells shoppers where they can get their fizz fix outside the city!

More companies should do this. I know if I owned a retailer, all of my prices would be posted as what I’m charging and what the government is charging. Most businesses just post the price so the customer doesn’t see just how much they’re paying the local, state, and federal governments for goods and services that they had no part in creating or brining to market. Costco also deserves bonus points for twisting the knife by pointing out to customers that they can get soda are normal prices outside of the city.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 11th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Cliven Bundy Walks Free

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A few days ago the case against Cliven Bundy, the man who had the guts to defend his property against federal agents, was dismissed. While a lot of people have talked about the dismissal of the case, usually with statists screaming in outrage, I think the reason the case was dismisses is the most noteworthy element:

An hour earlier, Bundy sat stoically in prison garb and shackles as a judge dismissed the case against him, two of his sons and a militia supporter, saying federal prosecutors violated the men’s rights to a fair trial by withholding evidence.


U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro said federal prosecutors acted recklessly and engaged in a “deliberate attempt to mislead and distort the truth” by failing to turn over evidence that could have helped exonerate the four defendants.

People often make the mistake of believing that the government seeks justice. However, it’s usually not justice that the government wants but a prosecution. Oftentimes a government prosecutor will go to great lengths to prove an innocent individual’s guilt. Government prosecutors have done everything from withhold evidence to use scientifically unsound forensics to put people behind bars.

Bundy was lucky that his case was being run by a judge who felt that the withholding of evidence was grounds enough to dismiss the case. Many innocent people aren’t so lucky.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 11th, 2018 at 10:00 am

As She Should

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The mother of the victim of the recent swatting incident is calling for the officer who killed her son to be brought up on charges:

An attorney representing Lisa Finch, the mother of a man who was killed by Wichita police last week after a “swatting” prank call, is calling for criminal charges to be filed against the officer who fired the fatal shot.

“Justice for the Finch family constitutes criminal charges against the shooting officer,” attorney Andrew Stroth told the Associated Press in a phone interview.

As she bloody well should.

As I said in my original post, swatting is a byproduct of trigger happy law enforcers avoiding consequences for their actions. If law enforcers were held responsible for their actions, it would likely instill a sense of responsibility into law enforcers. If law enforcers had a sense of responsibility, swatting wouldn’t be a thing because few departments would respond to an anonymous tip by deploying a SWAT team to a provided address to perform a little shock and awe. Instead they would investigate the matter to determine if the reported incident is even legitimate and then act accordingly.

I really hope that the officer who shot Andrew Finch ends up facing criminal charges. Storming a home and gunning down an unarmed man in response to an anonymous call is criminal.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 5th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

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There is a belief among statists that laws can prevent undesirable behavior. But statists have been passing laws for thousands of year, which is the same amount of time that other people have been ignoring them. Any law that is found to be inconvenient is ignored or bypassed:

But in an effort to cut down on the drunken mayhem, the town imposed a public drinking ban over the holiday—a law that apparently didn’t stop a few crafty, determined drinkers from setting up their own boozy sanctuary off the coast.

According to the BBC, the group spent Sunday building a makeshift private island off the Coromandel Peninsula, constructed out of sand, seashells, and a few wooden planks. The revelers set it up at low tide, and dragged out a picnic table and a cooler so they could get blasted out on “international waters,” see some fireworks, and stay away from the cops.

Sometimes I think nobody learned from Prohibition. The government of the United States went so far as to amend its constitution to prohibit alcohol throughout the country and yet people continued to manufacturer, trade, and consume alcohol. The United States’ War on (Some) Drugs is yet another example of undesirable laws being ignored. In fact the desire to ignore drug prohibitions is so strong that many individual states have announced that they’re no longer bothering to enforce them for cannabis. And why should they? While cannabis may be illegal people are still using it.

Prohibiting an activity doesn’t make that activity go away. At most it pushes that activity underground. But oftentimes a prohibition is blatantly ignored as is the case with these heroes who went so far as to construct a small sandbar in international waters.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 3rd, 2018 at 10:30 am