A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

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

The Importance of Proving Guilt

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People are trying to identify of the national socialists who attended the Charlottesville fiasco. The people leading this operation want to identify those individuals so they can be publicly shamed and fired from their jobs. I nominally have nothing against such a tactic. After all, it was a public rally so anybody there should have been aware that they had no expectation of privacy. However, if you’re going to ruin somebody’s life you damn well better be sure that you have the right target. Unfortunately, as is common with these Internet lynch mobs, people have been less concerned about evidence than about nailing somebody to the wall:

After a day of work at the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas, Kyle Quinn had a pleasant Friday night in Bentonville with his wife and a colleague. They explored an art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and dined at an upscale restaurant.

Then on Saturday, he discovered that social media sleuths had incorrectly identified him as a participant in a white nationalist rally some 1,100 miles away in Charlottesville, Va. Overnight, thousands of strangers across the country had been working together to share photographs of the men bearing Tiki torches on the University of Virginia campus. They wanted to name and shame them to their employers, friends and neighbors. In a few cases, they succeeded.

But Mr. Quinn’s experience showed the risks.

A man at the rally had been photographed wearing an “Arkansas Engineering” shirt, and the amateur investigators found a photo of Mr. Quinn that looked somewhat similar. They were both bearded and had similar builds.

By internet frenzy standards, that was proof enough.

Following Blackstone’s formulation, which states that, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer,” doesn’t make me the most popular person in the world but I’d rather have clean hands than be popular.

Justice cannot exist when there is no concern for evidence and proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before inflicting punishment. The only result of a lack of a substantial burden of proof is a system of chance. Maybe some guilty people will be punished, maybe some innocent people will be punished. If you’re accused of a crime, you will be facing a flip of a coin.

If you want to name and shame national socialists, that’s fine. However, you should actually have enough evidence at hand to prove that they’re national socialists. Likewise, people on the Internet shouldn’t take any accusations at face value. If somebody claims that an individual is a national socialist, you should demand to see the evidence and decide if the evidence proves that the individual is a national socialist beyond a reasonable doubt. If both of those conditions are missing, everybody will effectively be holding a gun to each other’s head and the only rule will be to shoot somebody before they have a chance to shoot you.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 16th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Almost the Right Idea

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On Monday a group of individuals in Minneapolis held a solidarity march with the people in Charlottesville who protested the national socialists. This wasn’t surprising in the least. There is a pretty solid Antifa movement here in the Twin Cities as well as a large contingent of international socialists (although the two groups often overlap there are also people who are members of one but not the other). What was rather surprising though was that some of the marchers actually remove the Hennepin County flag at the Hennepin County Government Center and replaced it with an Antifa flag. Afterwards, the Hennepin County flag was burned along with an effigy of a Nazi.

I think that the protesters almost had the right idea. Had they simply remove the flag and called it a day I’d have given them serious kudos. After all, I’m in favor of removing the State’s symbolism. But replacing the State’s symbolism with more tribal symbolism is, in my opinion, pointless. So I guess I’ll give the protesters half credit for that one.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 16th, 2017 at 10:00 am

A Debate Between National and International Socialism is Hardly a Debate

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In America, much like in Europe, the concept of individualism is almost entirely absent. The political spectrum is synonymous with the socialist spectrum. On the left are the international socialists. On the right are the national socialists. Since the end of World War II, due to their side losing the war, proponents of national socialism have been more or less relegated to the shadows. That has started to change since the election of Donald Trump. The national socialists believe they were critical in getting Trump elected so they also believe that they have a great deal of influence and power, which is probably part of the reason why they are crawling out of the shadows and onto the streets:

Chanting “blood and soil,” “white lives matter” and “you will not replace us,” scores of white nationalists holding torches marched across the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on Friday night.

Scuffles broke out between them and a small group of counter-protesters calling themselves “anti-fascists” who were surrounded as they demonstrated in advance of Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, which is expected to be one of the largest far-right gatherings in the U.S. in at least a decade.

As you’re probably aware, the Unite the Right rally didn’t remain peaceful. Several scuffles broke out and one person drove a car into a crowd of protesters, killing one and injuring 19. This shouldn’t have surprised anybody though since this was a political rally and politics is nothing more than a ritualized form of violence.

It seems like most people have either sided with the national socialists or the protesters. If there is a silver lining to this two-sided split it’s that it has revealed many of the crypto-statists who have been hiding amongst the anarcho-capitalists. I’m not a fan of purges but I am a fan of duplicitous people outing themselves. Unfortunately, this being the United States, the protesters seem to be primarily made up of international socialists, which differ from their national socialists brethren only in minor ways.

Under national socialism you’re either a member of the nation and gain the “benefits” of socialism or you’re relegated to the slave class, which means you’re forced to provide the resources necessary for the members of the nation, executed, or the former followed by the latter. What defines a member of the nation or the slave class is largely arbitrary. American national socialists put a lot of emphasis on race, which they also define rather arbitrarily. For example, if you’re white, you’re likely considered a member of the nation… unless you happen to be Jewish as well. This sounds familiar doesn’t it? Replace “member of the nation” with proletariat and “slave class” with bourgeoisie and you have international socialism. So the political debate here in the United States is one of arbitrarily defined definitions.

The only way out of this socialist death spiral is a resurgence of individualism. But if there’s an ideology that is less popular than national socialism here in the United States, it’s individualism. Because while national and international socialists have their disagreements, they can both agree that people who view the individual, not the collective, as supreme are a threat to their power and beliefs and therefore must be exterminated. Since the only alternative to socialism is relegated to the shadows the predominant political debate in this country will hardly be a debate at all.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 14th, 2017 at 10:30 am

You Win Some, You Lose Some

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I’ve seen a few of my libertarian friends announce that they’re moving away from Google in response to the company firing the engineer who issued that now famous manifesto about gender.

On the one hand, I count this as a win. I’ve been encouraging people to leave Google’s surveillance platform for years now.

On the other hand, I count this as a loss. Apparently the fact that Google makes its money off of spying on its users and often provides the information it has collected to law enforcement (not necessarily by choice) wasn’t enough to dissuade a lot of libertarians from using Google’s services. But the company deciding it no longer wants to associate with an employee? That’s downright unacceptable!

You win some, you lose some.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 11th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Only a Fool Would Let His Enemy Teach His Children

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One of my friends posted this article on Facebook. The article is from a year ago but what it discusses is still valid today. Even though Venezuela is collapsing under the weight of socialism, socialism remains appealing to many people. The fact that a majority of people still support socialism even though it has been one of the greatest killers of the 20th and 21st centuries is probably the greatest argument against democracy but I digress.

How can people still love socialism even though it has caused so much death and misery? I think I can explain this fact using two quotes. Lenin one said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Malcom X said, “Only a fool would let his enemy teach his children.” The ideas of socialism usually take root in the minds of children in government schools indoctrination centers.

All states are socialist to some degree. Some countries, like the United States, have become extremely socialist in nature. Since government indoctrination centers are concerned with ensuring children in their confines develop a love of Big Brother, it’s not surprising that children subjected to a government “education” develop a love of socialism. It’s literally programmed into them at a young age.

People have a tendency to make things fit their bias. This is especially true with biases that were programmed in at a young ago such as political ideology and religion. Even if you present objective truth to somebody that one of their programmed beliefs is incorrect they will more often than not find a way to dismiss that truth so they can continue believing what they believe. The reason socialism remains appealing to so many even though mountains of evidence show that it’s a horrible idea is because parents have let socialists educate their children.

Lenin wasn’t even shy about the fact that he wanted to ability to educate children and why. Malcom X pointed out that it’s foolish to let your enemy educate your children. Yet people who should know better continue to subject to children to government indoctrination centers and are surprised when their children turn out to be mindless statists. That’s how you know Lenin was a strategic genius. He didn’t hide what he was doing and his enemies still fell into his trap.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 4th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Cool Things Like This Never Happens to Me

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There is probably some lucky Canadian with a slightly used grenade launcher:

A multi-grenade launcher fell off the back of a truck in British Columbia, Canada. A member of the Integrated Emergency Response Team lost their grenade launcher with ammo. Now the launcher is non-lethal and shoots gas grenades. However it is not something you want to have falling out of your vehicle.

Law enforcers losing weaponry isn’t all that uncommon. It happens here in the United States from time to time. Apparently not having to pay for their weaponry makes law enforcers careless. I do hope that some lucky Canadian came across the launcher and decided to keep it for their personal collection. It would make a neat conversation piece if nothing else.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 1st, 2017 at 10:00 am

Another Feeble Excuse by a Cop Who Needlessly Shot Somebody

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Officer Noor’s lawyer is apparently running with the defense that Officer Noor was startled and that is why he murdered Justine Ruszczyk. While that is one of the more feeble excuses given by a cop who needlessly shot somebody, it’s only one on a long list of feeble excuses. For example, and Eden Prairie police officer needlessly shot somebody in June. His excuse? Muscle memory:

Matthew Hovland-Knase, 22, of Bloomington, led police on a chase at 3 a.m. on June 20 that reached speeds of almost 100 miles per hour before stopping at Eden Prairie Road near North and South Lund roads. Sgt. Lonnie Soppeland got out of his squad car with his gun drawn — protocol for high-risk stops, he told investigators — but the gun went off, shooting the motorcyclist’s arm.

According to documents released to the Star Tribune on Friday by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Soppeland told investigators that firearm training earlier that month contributed to the unintentional discharge due to the muscle memory of squeezing the trigger.

“My plan was to hold the suspect where he was until back up arrived,” he told investigators three days later. “ … It was not my conscious choice to discharge my firearm. This all happened very fast, maybe within a matter of a second. I could feel the effect of the adrenaline.”

Funny, if I shot somebody accidentally all would not be forgiven regardless of the training I had received. But rules are different when you’re wearing a badge. Suddenly a negligent discharge becomes a valid excuse.

It’s true, most police departments offer lackluster firearm training. However, lackluster training is not an acceptable excuse for putting a bullet in somebody. Just as it was my responsibility to obtain adequate training when I acquired my carry permit, it should be an officer’s responsibility to obtain adequate training when carrying a firearm.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 25th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Preventing Death with Death

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It’s no secret that certain drugs can kill you if you use too high of a dose. This problem has been made worse with drugs that the State has declared illegal because their prohibition has motivated manufacturers to increase the potency so more can be smuggled in smaller packages. Opiates have increased in potency significantly and therefore have lead to greater deaths related to overdoses. Even I know somebody who died of an opiate overdose not too long ago. However, I fail to see the logic in how killing more people is going to improve the situation:

This unfortunate reality raises a very uncomfortable question: Do we need to go to war with Mexico to ultimately win the war against opioids and other death drugs? By “go to war,” I mean a formal declaration of war by Congress against Mexico in which we use the full force of our military might to destroy the cartels, the poppy fields and all elements of the drug trade. Ideally, as our fight is not with the Mexican government, its military or its people, which try to weaken the cartels, we would try to partner with those entities against the cartels, much as we partnered with the South Vietnamese government and military against the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Army.

It sounds crazy, I know – unless you acknowledge we are already fighting a war with Mexico.

This guy’s logic is batshit insane. Yes, people are dying from opium overdoses. But the reason they’re dying from opium overdoses is because of prohibition, not because of anything the Mexican government or people have done. Moreover, the Mexican government is fighting the drug cartels so shouldn’t it be considered an ally in this fight? At the end of the day though, the real insanity is believing that the solution to people dying from their own actions is killing a bunch more. Opium users are dying because of their own actions, they’re not being killed by other people (although the actions of the United States government have certainly increased their risks of dying), so the usual justification for war, national self-defense (which is absurd as well since a “nation” is an abstraction and therefore cannot be aggressed against), doesn’t even apply here. The author’s entire argument is stupid and he should feel bad for writing it.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 19th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Adult Daycare

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Colleges have always been epicenters of political discourse. At one time they were considered bastions of free speech where young adults had the opportunity, sometimes for the first time in their lives, to speak their minds without fear of reprimand. Slowly though colleges, like almost every other institution for learning, became adult daycares. Instead of treating students as adults they were more and more treated as older high school students. This treatment of students has become worse over time and now even prestigious colleges like Harvard are trying to control who students can and cannot associate with:

A faculty committee has recommended that the College forbid students from joining all “fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations”—including co-ed groups—with the goal of phasing out the organizations entirely by May 2022.

In a 22-page report released Wednesday morning, the committee proposed that the policy—which would replace existing penalties for members of the social groups that are set to go into place in the fall—apply to students entering in the fall of 2018.

“All currently enrolled students including those who will matriculate this fall will be exempt from the new policy for the entirety of their time at Harvard,” according to the report. “This will lead to a transition period, whereby USGSOs would be phased out by May 2022.”

The committee suggested that Harvard model its new social group policy very closely on those enforced by Williams College and Bowdoin College, both of which forbid students form participating in social clubs during their time as undergraduates.

I will start this rant off by first pointing out that Harvard is a private institution and therefore can set whatever policies it damn well pleases. After all, this post isn’t aimed so much at criticizing the colleges themselves but the students who attend them.

The fact that students continue shackling themselves with debt for the “privilege” of having their lives micromanaged into adulthood baffles me. Sure, having a degree from Harvard looks damn good on a resume but there are other options out there. You can, for example, still get very good jobs from attending much cheaper universities. Hell, you can get a job that pays well by attending a technical school. Better yet, you can flex your entrepreneurial muscle and become your own boss without ever having to give a dime to an adult daycare.

Harvard is proposing to control who students can and cannot associate with. The proper response to such strong-arming is for students to practice their right of voluntary association to disassociate with Harvard. Harvard is a private institution and therefore governed heavily by market forces. If enough students decided to go elsewhere, it would cut into Harvard’s profits. That would eventually force it to decide to either start treating its adult students like adults or to slowly decay into a penniless institution whose staff is left having to reminisce about the good old days when they could afford to pay high-quality teachers instead of cut-rate rejects who were fired from every other institution.

Colleges don’t have to be daycares. It’s within the students’ power to change it.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 14th, 2017 at 10:30 am

The NRA’s Fetish for Men in Uniform

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Pop quiz. Who said, “I love a man in uniform?” The answer is… the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA makes no secret about having a fetish for cops. However, its worship of law enforcers puts it at odds with guns rights:

This is about par for the course for the NRA. This is the group that claims to be the only thing preventing the government from obliterating the Second Amendment, yet they’re noticeably quiet about the people doing the most violence to the Second Amendment — the armed, badge-wearing government employees we call law enforcement officers. For all the NRA’s dire warnings about government gun confiscation, the real, tangible threat to gun-owning Americans today comes not from gun-grabbing bureaucrats but from door-bashing law enforcement officers who think they’re at war — who are too often trained to view the people they serve not as citizens with rights but as potential threats. Here, the NRA just doesn’t want to get involved.

[…]

In short, the NRA seems to think we’re at risk of creeping tyranny and abuse of power from all sectors of government except from the men and women armed, badged and entrusted with the power to kill. That’s a problem, because if armed agents who enforce the laws on the ground aren’t required to respect our rights, our rights don’t really exist.

Gun rights activists often forget that politicians are only a minor part of the problem. Politicians write words on paper and declare those words law but law enforcers are the ones who actually enforce those words. If law enforcers refused to enforce laws then it wouldn’t matter what the politicians declared to be law because there would be no consequences for ignoring their declarations. Any gun rights organization should be just as critical of law enforcers who enforce bad laws as they are of politicians who write and pass bad laws.

No organization that claims to fight for individual rights of any sort that is also worshipful of law enforcers can be effective. Law enforcers, at the end of the day, are the ones who are directly violating the rights of individuals.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 12th, 2017 at 10:00 am