Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, December 29, 2003

Why I Hate the Accumulation of Power by our Ostensible "Authorities"

Try out this story of overreaction on the part of our "protectors," the TSA.

As I read it, I could not help but hear Cartman shouting "Respect my authoritah!"
What Saddam Actually Planned to do with His $750,000

Sunday, December 28, 2003

I'm Still Around, and Still on Vacation

And enjoying the time off.

I've got the beginnings of an essay running 'round my brain, and pretty soon I'm going to have to let it out.

Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Or whatever holiday this time represents to you.

Best wishes to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Quote of the Week

Again from Jonathan David Morris:
If Disney's Bad Santa warrants asking if anything's sacred anymore, then Yuletide Coke commercials condemned us all to Hell years ago.
The Exchange Continues

Barry, of Inn of the Last Home, is still defending himself against the reactions other people had to his comments about concealed carry. The LeanLeft post on the topic has developed a comment thread 96 posts long. (And I mean long.)

So yesterday, Barry left this comment on my post below:
Nice, going around and assuming people who don't agree with you have a mental defect. Nice.
That drew a response from me, followed by an email from Barry, and a return response from me. Here is that exchange for your edification:
Barry, I'll e-mail you a copy of this response, too, but you're the one who said that carrying a gun would affect your mental balance.

If that's true, it's a mental defect by definition.

I just pointed out the fact.
No, I never said anything like that. I never said it would affect your mental balance, and even if I did it doesn't fit the definition of a "mental defect".

I said that its presence on my person would have an effect of increasing discomfort and nervousness, AS IF it had been emitting radiation. AS IF - it's a metaphor, implying that increased exposure to something I don't like would mean increased discomfort.

That's all - end of story - nothing mentally defective at all.

Unless, of course you consider anyone who is uncomfortable carrying firearms as being mentally defective - in which case there's no point in explaining.

But thanks for writing.

This is precisely what you said:

"If I were to take a live, armed weapon and carry it on my person, in public, it would eat away at my sanity just as if it were emitting lethal radiation."

Your words.

" would eat away at my sanity..." is not the same as "...increasing discomfort and nervousness..."

What you said was that having a handgun on your person would affect your mental balance. Whether or not you meant that is irrelevant. It is, incontrovertibly, what you wrote.

In your post on your blog you wrote:

"First of all, the "radiation" comment was a metaphor I was attempting to use to illustrate the effect possessing a gun on my person would have on my mental well-being."

Again, while I'd agree that this is more mild than "affecting (your) sanity," it's still more emphatic than "increasing nervousness and discomfort." You're backing away from what you said, not explaining it. I think you really meant what you wrote and were surprised by the storm of reaction it garnered.

From my perspective what you have said here is that you believe that carrying a gun will make you unstable: "it would eat away at my sanity". Believing that, you project this instability onto others, as you did in your comment at Hell in a Handbasket:

"Say I'm eating in a restaurant with my family. The guy in the next table over is carrying a concealed weapon. Someone bumps a waiter who spills hot coffee on his son. Enraged, the guy jumps up and notices either the waiter or the guy who bumped him is black - in his mind, the combination of circumstances: injury to his son, deep-rooted prejudices, you name it, combine to create in his mind a lethal situation. An argument ensues, names are called, nationality and circumstances of birth are questioned. He pulls the weapon and confronts the waiter. From that point on who knows what might happen?"

And as you did in your original comment:

"What scares me most is the arbitrary nature of self-defense. What line must be crossed to signal to you that there is imminent danger or threat? Is it a criminal pulling a gun on you? In which case, unless you're a gunslinger, you're not going to outdraw him. Is it someone pulling a knife? Threatening words? Bad language or rude gestures? Where is that one point where you decide, "Yes, my life or the life of my loved ones is in danger and I must now take it upon myself to take the life of another person." What if the guy is reaching into his jacket, and you are sure, absolutely certain that it is a weapon. You pull your gun and shoot--and see he's reaching for his wallet. Or worse, you miss and hit a child running in the street. Where is that line?"

As I said, you mistrust yourself. Since you believe that you are unable to carry a weapon without being an active threat to innocents, you must (for your own self-image) believe that no one (except, for some reason, people with badges) can do so. You must assume that people who are willing to get a CCW are dangerous to everybody. You're not alone, either. As I quoted in my comments on LeanLeft:

"We're just flat-out against concealed carry, especially under a law that hides the names of those packing the guns. Ohio doesn't need more people carrying guns in public, along with its certainty of more maiming and killing, accidentally or otherwise."

But this fear is unfounded, because in the 36 states with "shall-issue" CCW, it hasn't happened. And in these 36 states, people who have acquired CCW licenses have used their handguns on numerous occasions to stop crimes in progress.

You wrote:

"I understand completely that you have the best of intentions, the best training, the best gun money can buy, and the best reasons in the world to want to defend yourself. But I'm sorry, I don't have insight into your character from my vantage point and I can't assume you can be trusted with a gun any more than I can assume you're not going to attack me anyway without a gun."

Apparently you don't understand. You (again) project that someone who has a concealed weapon (legally) might go postal on you. Why? Because they obviously must be mentally unstable, or they wouldn't want to carry a gun. Or, conversely, carrying a gun will affect their mental balance, as you wrote that it would affect yours.

It's the only conclusion that can be drawn.

You wrote:

"I don't trust you."

That's the difference between us, Barry. The only people I don't trust with a concealed weapon are the ones who do so with criminal intent, and I'm aware that these people represent a tiny fraction of the population. I'm also aware that I cannot prevent these people from doing so. They aren't going to bother to apply for a permit. The ones who jump through the legal hoops to get a CCW? I trust them far more than the general public, because the people who make the conscious decision to carry a weapon for self-defense are far more likely to understand the gravity of that decision.

Now, if you're still paying attention, there's something I wrote quite a while back that I think you ought to read and comment on.

It's here:


Kevin Baker
To this I will add only one thing: I was probably in error in accusing Barry of being a hoplophobe. He may not be afraid of firearms per se. What he seems to be afraid of is people who are capable of violence. To Barry, apparently, the only people who can use violence legitimately are government employees.

Barry illustrates the idea behind this quotation:

To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem.
To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized,
merely the domesticated.
- Trefor Thomas

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

More Definitive Laboratory Experiments Upcoming

We already have the example of England, now we will get to see what gun bans do for the crime rates of Brazil and Thailand. (Via multiple sources.)

My prediction? Crime will go up. More innocents will be victims. Homicides will increase. And the market for illicit firearms will explode.
The ENTIRE Bill of Rights

Not "selected readings from," goddammit!

Via comes this heartwarming story from Chapel Hill, N.C.:
Assembly honors Bill of Rights

Local dignitaries read the amendments, Raging Grannies sang and petitioners petitioned in a celebration of our basic freedoms.

Peaceably assembling in front of the Franklin Street post office just before noon on Monday were two mayors, Town Council members both incumbent and newly elected, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, some representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, a half-dozen outlandishly decked-out 60ish women, a grad student dressed as the Statue of Liberty, and three tambourine-shaking followers of Hare Krishna.

All gathered to honor the First Amendment -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly -- and the next nine amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which together make up the Bill of Rights.

Well, not the Hare Krishna folks, who headed off before the solemnities begin. But all the rest were here to celebrate the 212th anniversary of the ratification of this statement of America's fundamental liberties by reading it out loud.

It's a cheerful event with serious undertones. Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy, in sunglasses and a long brown coat, read the preamble and passed the copy along down a row of local dignitaries, each of whom read one amendment.

Charles Kast from the ACLU, looking a tad sheepish, read the Second Amendment, the one about the right to bear arms. Later, he said he was the only one willing to read it. Yes, he does believe in it, though he doesn't own a gun.

Also among the amendment readers were incoming council member Sally Greene, incumbent Bill Strom, Aaron Nelson from the Chamber of Commerce, Margaret Misch of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson.
Bet your ass Ms. Misch was one who didn't want to read the Second Amendment.

Once again, I'm reminded of Judge Kozinski's dissent in Silveira v. Lockyer:
It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it’s using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.
The same holds true for all those who ostensibly support the Bill of Rights. Support it all, or risk losing it all piecemeal.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Tipping and NATO

Go read Francis Porretto's most recent piece, Tipping Points. And pass the link around.

And read When it Counts, Where is It? while you're at it. And prepare for the next Boston Tea Party.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Remember "Tupiniquim"?

He was the Brazilian that left some comments and inspired me to write "That Sumbitch Ain't Been BORN". Well, he responded to me in an e-mail (good thing, too, as the response goes several pages and would have been a multipart comment, to say the least.

In order to do him justice, I'm going to respond here in the blog, interspersing my responses within the whole of his e-mail:
Hi, Kevin

(you know, I don't speak a good english, you'll find many mistakes here. I chose give you my answer by e-mail because, like you told me, that wasn't the right place for this conversation.)
Trust me, your English beats the Spanish I studied in college all to hell and gone.
Thank you very much for the answer, is great hear different points of view. Now, after a reading of all those things you told me, I wish I can give you some points: explain some things that I think (the points where we disagree), give you my excuses for some excess, and tell what I agree with you. And I'll start telling right what I agree.

Ku Klux Klan, like you and John Moore have been telling me, is a small group. In a country with great dimensions like USA, is just impossible we don't see evil groups. I didn't try to say that groups like KKK was a rule in your country - no, for sure. I was just trying to say that a country with the great dimensions of USA can't share only one idea. I showed McCarthism and beat generation, KKK and jazz, trying to make an opposition: intents and attitudes opposition, as a result of ideas opposition. At this point, you and John Moore are full of reason. And, another point (I guess you'll like to read this): I'm sure that is not responsibility of North Americans to solve our problems here in Latin America. Our problems are our problems, your problems are your problems (stupid, but true).
Except, granted, where those problems overlap.
I know what I wrote about USA external politics on your blog. Well, here are my apologies. Excuse me if I seemed offensive (and reading again what I wrote, I know I seemed offensive), it really wasn't my intention, believe me. I see great qualities on USA, especially cultural qualities. I told you about the beat generation (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac.); lost generation and one of its great masters, John Steinbeck; Ernest Hemingway, Walt Withman, jazz, rock'n roll, and a lot of others. But, here in Brazil, and in a lot of other places this world, people hate USA much more every day. Why? There are some reasons, and I guess this is a thing that you must not ignore.
Well, yes and no. You have to understand that the United States is a very large country. The majority of us, I'd say, never travel outside our own borders, nor really think about other countries all that much. There's so much here here, that we don't need to. We expect that our elected officials and government employees will do that, as that's what they're elected and hired to do. The only time many of us really even think about other nations is when they do something that does - directly - affect our nation. If we're hated, many of us think, it may be because we've (rightly) done something that has adversely affected the people who hate us. I wasn't offended, but I did (and do) disagree with much of your original comments.
Well, in first place, I'll tell what I saw in Steven Den Beste essays: rhetoric, nothing more.
Rhetoric is defined, according to Webster's, as "the art of speaking or writing effectively," as "the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times," and "skill in the effective use of speech." Den Beste is certainly all that. But I think you meant it in the meaning of "insincere or grandiloquent language." I assure you, it may be grandiloquent, but it is most definitely not insincere. I think you dismiss him far too lightly.
Like you and John Moore told me (not with these words), and I agree, if we search we won't find a people so big without an evil group. And, I'm telling you now, you won't find a people so big without groups with different ideas too, be sure. There will ever be people with different minds, different points of view, and this is good. The freedom of thinking and the right to tell what you think are human natural rights. This way, a 300 million people just can't share ONE idea. They share a lot of ideas, and disagree in a lot of others, right like Brazilians, Mexicans, Venezuelans or Europeans. I know, maybe you'd tell me that everybody with an USA citizenship doesn't share this idea, or that this freedom of thinking and this right to tell what you think are the idea that all North Americans share. But realize that these ideas and those you told me, about freedom, and about we don't have a master, are shared by almost everyone in this world. The Human Rights assure it.
There I disagree with you, for if "almost everyone" actually shared the idea, there wouldn't be so many dictatorships in this world. "The Human Rights" assure nothing, not even here.
I know you don't think the same, but I guess that these Steven Den Beste essays just give one more reason for North Americans have much pride of themselves, and this isn't good for them. Let me explain: a people need to feel pride of itself, but there is a point where pride turns to arrogance. Today, this is the USA point.
I suggest you study our history. We've been arrogant for most of it. But I think if you check, arrogance is a side-effect of power. Nobody out arroganced the British during their Empire phase. The French haven't lost their arrogance, even though their power has faded almost to obscurity. And the Germans have damned near cornered the market on arrogance, just ask the Czechs. The Germans are #1 on their "most offensive visitors" list. Americans are a distant fourth.
Maybe you'll be nervous with me, but this isn't just what I see, is the opinion of a lot of people this world, people enough for you don't just ignore. I felt happy when saw that you know about the evil governments that USA supports (still today), and that USA government keeps getting in mistakes that gives misery and death not to some, but to lots. But, in the end of your post, you told that just ignore everyone that say that USA is evil. No one would just tell you're evil, who does is because felt this evilness. Who says that USA is evil are the people that are in misery now, in consequence of this country's government arrogant attitudes (I have a lot of examples, and Brazilians lived this kind of USA government attitude directly). Knowing you only ignore everyone who tells this kind of thing, I understand that you'll keep thinking that "USA political system" is the best possible, and you'll keep full of pride about it.

Looking things this way, I can easily understand why you found all this sapience in Steven Den Beste essays, why you aren't a student of USA politics in South America, why you think valid to attack Iraq without any prove of its terrorist activities, why you think that Noam Chomsky has to be ridiculed, and why you think your government needs to protect you - just you. North Americans have been arrogant. Your government's job is really keep your people safe, but it's just valid when your government doesn't destroy another country. USA has the government that attacked most countries in the 20th century, was it all to keep its people safe?
Here I have to ask a question: please clarify the statement "USA has the government that attacked most countries in the 20th century." Attacked who? How? Give me a list, please, with specific details. Then compare that list to the actions of the former Soviet Union and its satellites.
Keep its people safe from what? What's the price the world is paying for its people's illusion of security? Because, be sure, this is an illusion.
How so? In America, we don't have government thugs "disappearing" people (yet.) We don't have tens of thousands dead in unmarked mass graves. Terrorism, at least on the wholesale level, is a relatively recent phenomenon here - one that we're currently addressing, whether you think our methods effective or not.

I'd say, off hand, that our security has been pretty well served for quite a long while.
Please, understand my way to think: I'm not a North American, and I'm not benefited by any action of USA government. When the Brazilians militaries get the power, US naval forces were on our coast. Washington Post wrote that "an important step was given for the democracy on Brazil". It all was lie, you know, but I know better than you.

Martinez Corrêa, a theater director from my city with important works, was killed by the militaries. His brother was tortured by them. I won't talk about all those things you can easily imagine that happened here this time, I'll only say that USA external politic wasn't just in connivance with the militaries, but planed their ascension to the power. And, when they get the power, gave them all the supports they needed - not for free, sure. USA won a lot of things with our military government, it all to keep its people safe. Can you comprehend? Its people safety would be the only job of USA government, if it (its people and government) lived lonely, without relationship with any other country. Today, it's impossible. And is really easy say that its people safety has to be the only job of USA government, when there are another people dying to keep North American citizens safe.
To this I'd say that you grant a lot more power and planning to our government and military than they deserve. However, you apparently read Chomsky and believe him, so that's understandable. There is always a desire to blame somebody, anybody, outside your own culture and America is a pretty good target for that blame. And surely we deserve some of it, but not all, and probably not most.
The war on Iraq is the most recently example. This war won't keep USA people more safe, and really won't keep the world more safe, like George Bush have been telling.

USA government confuses Al Qaeda with Saddam Husseim, with Taleban, with Palestin, with Islamism, with North Korea, and creates a new enemy: the terror. Terror is an abstract concept, something that you just can't win with a war. "War against terrorism" doesn't exist. Here in Brazil we all still remember that Saddam Husseim's ascension to the power was planed and helped by USA government, right like the Brazilians militaries ascension.
Here we're going to have our first really serious disagreement. You assert that the U.S. planned and helped Hussein achieve power, but I challenge you to find a non-chomskian source for evidence supporting that accusation. What we didn't do was oppose his power-grab, and once he seized power, we (like every other nation, including France and Germany) treated Saddam like a legitimate leader of a country. Saddam was hardly the only despot in charge of a nation at the time. And "unilaterally overthrowing" him would have been frowned on by the international community then, too. Singling out the U.S. as the boogeyman over Saddam's rise to power is unrealistic. What we did subsequent to his ascension was to use him as a counterbalance against the actively hostile nation of Iran - in the "our bastard" theory of international politics. Was that wrong? Well, I think so, but it kept Iran and Iraq occupied with each other rather than us and the rest of the Middle East. Yes, a lot of people died, and some of their blood is on our hands, but hardly all of it, and not ours alone.
If you search in some old newspaper, you'll find Donald Rumsfeld shaking Saddam Husseim's hand. And the George Bush's involvement with petroleum industries and with gun industries (that financed Bush's candidature) is obvious for people here.
Yes, I'm sure it is. Everything is so simple isn't it? Only it's not simple, and neither is it so obvious. Conspiracy theories are certainly easy to generate, but so seldom even close to accurate. This is the forte of Chomsky and his ilk.
This is obvious as is obvious that his electioneering was corrupt, and as is obvious that the Iraq war was a crusade for natural resources: the petroleum, especially. This is what Noam Chomsky was trying to say, when opposed to the war: that USA government was attacking Iraq with political intents, not humanistic intents. How can a government kill people with humanistic intent? How can a war keep the world safe? In Brazil, in the "World Social Forum", Noam Chomsky came and was applauded and received like a great intellectuality. I felt happy knowing that some North American was aware about the USA external politics excess (remember, I'm not benefited by USA politics anyway).
Ok, we have several assertions here. One: Bush's "electioneering was corrupt." Please clarify. As I recall, it was Gore, not Bush who attempted to change the election rules in the middle of the election. Two: the Iraq war was a crusade for oil. Really? How much oil are we getting out of Iraq for free right now? We pay for our natural resources, Tup, we don't steal them, or take them by conquest. The invasion of Iraq was about a whole lot of things, not just one. Was oil part of it? Well, let's just say that if the majority of the world's oil wasn't sitting under the sands of the Middle East, the entire region would receive about the same amount of attention from the U.S. that Brazil does.

Rhetoric or not, I recommend you read Steven Den Beste's detailed explanation of the myriad reasons behind our invasion of Iraq, but here it is in a nutshell: Saddam was a dangerous man, known to have and have used chemical weapons against Iran and his own people. He was known to have actively sought nuclear and biological capabilities. He had attacked Iran and Kuwait. He had endured 12 years of UN sanctions at great cost to his people, but none to himself, and the opinion of the liberal world was that those sanctions needed to be dropped "for the children" - leaving Saddam in power, and unfettered. This meant that he would again be dangerous, and that was not an option.

You want to make the invasion about oil? Go ahead. Did we invade Iraq for humanitarian reasons, to free the Iraqi people? No we did not, but we saw it as a great fringe benefit. We went in to get rid of Saddam. We went in to eliminate Iraq as a source for funds to and protection of terrorists. We went into Iraq to put the fear of the same into Syria, Jordan, Iran, and all the other nations overtly or covertly supporting terrorism, and that includes our "friends" the Saudis. We invaded Iraq for a number of reasons, and oil was one of them, but to hear Chomsky we went in to Iraq and into Afghanistan with the intent to steal their oil and make our oil companies and weapons companies rich - period.

USA arrogance was evident when George Bush refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. His justify, published in Brazil: "What's good to the USA economy needs to be good to the world." USA pollutes more than any other country this world. This is a prove of the USA arrogance - an arrogance that keeps its people blind to some contradictions.
Do you understand what the Kyoto Protocol does and what it means? Are you intimately familiar with the science - and the politics - behind it? Neither am I, but I am convinced that will be useless in affecting "climate change" and extremely restrictive in affecting American industry. "USA pollutes more than any other country in this world" you state, but that's in part because the USA outproduces any other country in this world. The former Soviet Union was a gross polluter, even though it was a miserable producer. What's going on inside industrializing China - a nation, I believe, not even included in the Protocol?

Understand this - whether Bush approved the Protocol or not, it was never going to pass through our Congress. Blame it on Bush if you want, but those are the facts.
George Bush can't tell me that "his great democracy should opposite the tyranny wherever it is found", when it supports Ariel Sharon, maybe the major tyrant in this world; supports the North Alliance, that is terrorist (!) and poppy planter; and supported the Brazilians militaries, right like supported Pinochet's ascension. I just don't know if Ariel Sharon is the major tyrant this world, because I think that maybe George Bush is it.
America supports ISRAEL. Sharon is Israel's current democratically elected Prime Minister. Bush, in my humble opinion, has done more not in the interest of Israel than the last four American Presidents combined. We deal with the Northern Alliance because they were our allies in the overthrow of Saddam. There's a saying you're probably familiar with: "Politics makes strange bedfellows." America is not alone in this, either. If you'll recall, America and Britain held their noses and formed an alliance with Josef Stalin against Hitler not so long ago, just for one example. Politics is a dirty, filthy business, and I'm constantly amazed and disgusted at the people who are so attracted to power that they'll engage in it. But I'm grateful that so many decent people are willing to do it, too - else things would all end up in the crapper.
We'll find a lot of others contradictions: USA is, supposed, the "land of the free". The great idea that all North Americans share is that you don't have to submit to anyone. But the USA government has the right to submit others with his military, or refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol, or with a lot of other attitudes, to keep safe its people. USA is the "land of the opportunities", where Latin American descendants and black people are chose to compound the front in the platoons (fact published in Brazil).
Hold on right there. I'm assuming that you mean that blacks and latinos represent the majority of combat troops? This is something I've heard before, and it's bullshit too. It's been spouted by some of our elected officials, also, but it's not true. According to this UPI article, for example, blacks and Latinos make up about 38% of our all-volunteer military (though they represent only about 30% of our overall population), but on the sharp end in combat assignments, minorities are not overrepresented. The article states:
Blacks are found disproportionately in the military, while Hispanic residents, many of whom are not citizens, are slightly underrepresented. Blacks are found most heavily in the Army and are least common in the Air Force.

Contrary to popular belief, blacks have not died in combat in disproportionate numbers, even in Vietnam. Two leading military sociologists, Charles Moskos of Northwestern and John Sibley Butler of the University of Texas, researched this carefully for their 1996 book "All We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way."

They reported, "Black fatalities amounted to 12.1 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia -- a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war."

(Moskos favors reinstituting the draft. He says Rangel's argument "persuasive" but that the most important reason is that the military is undermanned and relies too heavily on reserves.)

In recent decades, blacks have tended to gravitate away from combat jobs. In arguing against Rangel's bill, the Department of Defense noted, "Blacks today account for 21 percent of the enlisted force, but make up only 15 percent of combat arms (e.g., infantry, armor, artillery)."
I believe your "facts" are in error.
"Land of the opportunities" where the rich people are white, and the death condemned are almost all black.
Wrong again. According to this link, in 2002 45% of death-row inmates were white, 43% were black, and about 9% were Hispanic. Yes, a disproportional percentage of them are black, but - like it or not - a disproportional percentage of violent crime is committed by blacks, mostly on other blacks. However, this absolutey refutes your assertion that "almost all" condemned are black.

Try verifying your "facts." It might open your eyes to the fact that you're being mislead.
George Orwell wrote, in his great book "1984", about the Truth Ministry. The Truth Ministry has the responsibility of tell the lies to the people. His irony about the governments is truth, and is truth especially in the USA government.
It isn't just governments that lie, Tup. Maybe you ought to do some independent research.
Maybe you'd tell me: we are humans too, and aren't perfect. I know, and you're right this point. I'm not requiring perfection from you. But I claim for you:

North Americans need to learn to hear other voices that aren't their own voice, get out of their borders and understand that they don't have to be the leaders of the world (excuse me, but the "Manifest Destiny" is a great bullshit).
"Manifest Destiny" was dropped long, long ago. We've lived quite a while with our neighbors to the North and South now. "Leaders of the world"? We've been put in that position by being the last Superpower. We sure as hell don't want it, but it's ours by default. Who would you want to see in that position? France?
I know, you told me that this is changing, that the USA interest about the things that happen outside its borders is growing. But I don't think so. We don't want to see the USA spending the lives of its soldiers in combat, to keep us all safe. We just don't think that the world will be more secure after spending any human life. Nobody wants to see the US army trying to be the policemen of the world. All military attitudes are against the freedom and against the democracy. Can you see that, when a North American claims for himself this job, to be the policemen of the world, he's falling in arrogance? USA government doesn't need to attack anyone to defense the world. It needs just really hear the voice of the others. When you said that ignore those who hate, fear or don't understand USA politics, you are reproducing the USA government attitudes. I just hope you know that, this way, you're ignoring almost everyone living in this planet.
"Hear the voice of others" unfortunately means "don't do anything without UN approval" it seems. You remember the UN? The organization that put sanctions on Iraq for 12 years, but was unwilling to actually "spend any human life" to oust him?

Who, exactly, are we to listen to, Tup? There are about 190 nations in the world, of which only about 60 are free democracies. Should we bow to the wishes of Robert Mugabe? Listen when Kim Dong-Il rattles his saber? What "international law" are we to follow? Where is it codified and written down? What principles define it?

The United States follows one set of written laws (or at least it's supposed to): The Constitution of the United States. That Constitution does not allow our government to kow-tow to other nations when it is not in our interests to do so. Understand that. Engrave it in your brain. The Constitution of the United States is our overriding law. It will not and cannot be subordinate to the laws, wishes or whims of other nations.
USA political system isn't the best in the history, and this isn't a shame, because, in this world of globalization, all political systems are the same.
Excuse me? All political systems are the same? Saddam's "political system" is the same as ours? Kim's? China's? Rwanda's? I think you just shot your argument in the foot.
Every country is influencing the other, and the one's actions aren't isolated of the other's actions. The tyranny in a poor country is, someway, benefiting a rich country. It's necessary for the maintenance of a world order that USA just doesn't want to change, because it's the great benefited with this order. The misery in Africa is part of the USA political system, because, in truth, this is the world political system. This is the globalization.
Here's Chomskyism at it's most virulent - all suffering is the fault of America because we aren't all suffering equally. Since we're doing well, everyone else's pain must be our fault.

Sorry, I'm not buying. The misery in Africa has been there since before America was a nation, and it will be there no matter what we as a nation do. North Korea is a miserable hell not because of America, but because of the vicious dictators that have run it. Either it's our fault because we don't deal these bastards, or it's our fault because we do.

Grow up, Tup. The world will not become a better place if we all hold hands together and sing folk songs. The world is not fair, and the people who run much of it are not nice. If we try to put pressure on people like Kim, we're pilloried for "starving the children of North Korea," but if we deal with his country we're accused of "supporting a vicious dictator." What the hell are the options? You've basically said that military invasions are immoral. What do you propose? What can America do that will meet with your approval, besides sitting on our hands and listening to our betters tell us what bad boys we've been?
Lots of people think that this actual world political and economical system is failure and evil. You told me to ask to the people who lived in the former Soviet Union how they'd grade their governments. I don't have to, a recent research show the answer: 60% of that people want the communism back, 35% don't want, and the rest didn't give opinion.
So much for your earlier assertion that the idea of freedom is shared by almost everyone.
Do you think that Czechs don't want Russians there once again? I think so. But what about Camboja? What about Vietnam? What about Afeganistan? What about Iraq? Do they want North Americans there? USA and USSR, for the poor countries, weren't so different like you think. The Russians want their old government system back because they were benefited with it, while Czechs had misery and violence. What happens with the USA government still today isn't different: good for you, but just for you.
What human beings want, Tup, is security. They want to live in the absence of fear. They'll suffer a little fear if it means that they'll have a roof over their head and food on the table - even if it's a poor roof and poor food.

Freedom, however, doesn't promise this. Freedom means risk. The risk that you might go hungry. The risk that you might lose what you have. But it means that you don't have to fear someone from your government who has the power of life and death over you, with no appeal. (At least for most. Right now.)

A lot of people are willing to give up freedom for the promise of security, but they never understand that that promise is a lie. No one can guarantee you security, and if you've yeilded your freedom to get something that can't be guaranteed, what good has it done you? People in other countries look at America and see security. We're a tremendously wealthy country. To many that represents security. But many don't understand that that wealth comes from risk taking and hard work. Certainly many do, because they come here on rickety boats and the come here by sneaking across our borders, and they come here by giving up everything they have in the world just for the chance. They come here and they work hard and they, too, achieve wealth - some of them. And some of them fail. But a lot of them come here expecting to get something for nothing, too. Russians might want their old system back, but the Russians sustained their meager level of security on the backs of the sattelite nations like Czechoslovakia and Poland. Without those other nations under Russian dominance, they can't have their old hardly adequate lives back, but they don't care. They just want security, but they forget that their old form of government failed.

Tell me again how all political systems are the same?
I'll try to finish what I'm trying to say: USA isn't and doesn't have to be the best. It is just part of a context, and has been responsibly for the part of the tyrant. USA has a democratic internal politic (I hope so), and a repressive external politic. In external politics, USA keeps supporting the terror, and getting in mistakes that it'll never compound (like it did never compound the mistakes that perpetrated and have been perpetrating still today in Brazil), and it will continue if North Americans don't react. And, while North Americans were full of pride and arrogance, they won't react. Essays like those published by Steven Den Beste are just filling North Americans with blind patriotism and pride. This is the reason why Chomsky can't be ridiculed: he's serious, and has ideas that would be good for North Americans try to share.
Yes, he wants us to submit to a world government that doesn't exist. He wants us to essentially reject the Constitution. Sorry. Can't do that. Won't do that.
I really don't know if his voice would be tolerated in Europe, but I really think it would. Iztván Mezarus is tolerated and celebrated there, right like the professors from Frankfurt School were.
Well of course! Marxism is well tolerated by the intellectual European elite! My point, however, was that if Chomsky was as critical of Europe, while living in Europe, as he is critical of the US while living here, he would not be as accepted. I'll chalk that misunderstanding up to our language difference.
About Collin Powell: he was general in the first war against Iraq, and leaded an attack to a city, killing something about everyone that lived there. Including civilians, olds, children, cats, dogs, trees - everyone. He declared that didn't kill anyone in that city.
What? Colin Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Gulf War I, which is a cabinet position. He didn't lead any attacks on anything. What have you been reading?
Recently, he came to the Brazil and was interviewed by a lot of journalists in a program called "Mesa Redonda". A journalist said: "You lied in that war. You killed lots of civilians, including children and olds, and I have proves here. You can defend yourself now." But, sure, he couldn't say anything in his defense.
If he was confronted with "facts" like you just provided, I'm not surprised.

Were "lots of civilians" killed in Gulf War I? By Saddam's troops, certainly. Did we kill some in our bombing of Baghdad? Almost certainly. There is that one communications bunker/bomb shelter incident that comes immediately to mind.


The purpose of war is to kill people and break things until the other side gives up. We've come a long way towards limiting the number of innocents killed in war, but the reality is that in war, people die.

I note that no one said to Saddam "you killed lots of civilians including children and old people, and we have proof. You can defend yourself now."

Especially not France or Germany. They traded with him. To the tune of several billion dollars.

Why are they not excoriated for "supporting a brutal dictator?"
About McCarthy: after his politic of "everything is better than communism", North Americans learned to hate the communism, like it was something like the Nazism. It's just a political system, and has to be learned and considered. To critic the communism, you need to know it. I think you'll be nervous or scared seeing me defending the communism this way, specially knowing that I'm not a communist. But you have to understand that I studied the communism, and just after knowing a lot of things about it, I decided that I wouldn't be a communist. Anyway, I think that this hate is a kind of discrimination, and it's bad for North Americans and for the world, especially because gives them a pretext to attack, for example, Cuba or China.
I thought you said "all political systems are the same"? We learned to hate communism because it was "something like Nazism." The Nazi's managed to murder some 12 million people - non-combatants, that is. Gypsies, mental defectives, homosexuals, communists, and of course, Jews. Pretty much anybody they didn't like. During the 20th Century, almost 62 million citizens of the USSR died by the direct and indirect action of their own government (as in planned starvation.) Over 35 million Chinese died at the hands of their Communist government. Two million Cambodians died. No one knows how many North Koreans have died.

Communism was worse than Nazism. I'm not "nervous or scared" of your defense. I think you're incredibly naive, though. Communism is a wonderful sounding idea, but it completely ignores human nature, and the things it espouses lead to the kind of acts that leave millions and tens of millions dead "for the good of the Party." I'm glad you're not a communist, but you are from every indication a socialist - and the difference between the two ideas is minimal.
And, concluding, I'd like to tell that a failure in the marketplace of ideas (using your expression), right like the success, doesn't mean the intelligence, reason or quality of the expressed ideas. In Germany, after the first war, people were open to receive any idea that seemed good, to elevate them once again. They chose the Nazism, and the Nazism was only one idea in their marketplace. The Nazism's victory doesn't mean it's full of merits, intelligence or reason. The Nazism is one of most stupid political concepts that humanity created in its history.
You'll note, I hope, that on the world marketplace, Nazism failed. And it lost to Capitalism and Democracy.

So did Communism.
USA isn't the "Great Satan", it really isn't what's wrong with the world, but is supporting a political system that is giving misery to almost half of world's people. I hope you're understanding me, I'm not blaming USA, but I'm trying to show that USA isn't better than anyone, and that the pride and arrogance of its people is blinding them. These are my points of view, anyway, and I haven't much credits or knowledge than anyone to tell what I think. My word isn't law. Yeah, I know, I don't have to say it to you; I'm just trying to say that I don't defense my words with narcissism. I'm just fixing my ideas in the marketplace, right like everyone does.
"Supporting a political system that is giving misery to almost half the world's people." Supporting how? And how are we to oppose this system? (And what is this system, exactly?) Again, what are we supposed to do? I'm not saying you're suggesting it, but the ideas I've seen espoused by people who've said much of what you have here is that the U.S. should just give away its wealth until everyone in the world is equally poor and miserable, just to be "fair." Like the old Buffalo Springfield song goes:
Tax the rich,

feed the poor.

'Till there are no

rich no more.
Sorry, but we won't do that. All that does is ensure that eventually we all starve. We'd rather work hard and get richer and make everybody else a little richer along with us. (I hope you understand that economics is not a zero-sum game.)
You seem very intelligent, and sure write very well. You seem to have great easily to express what you think too, and you have, anyway, good arguments to defense your own ideas. I guess we would be great friends if we know one each other personally. Thank you very much for this conversation, and I'll be waiting some answer from you, if you want to tell me something. And, concluding, I just call you "North Americans" because that's what you are: North Americans. I'm a Latin American, and a South American. We all are Americans. If you felt insulted, excuse me; and if you think that is better, I can easily call you "Americans". Alright?
Thank you for the kind words. I think we could have some pretty interesting (and spirited) conversations as well. And don't worry about the language barrier. You made yourself quite clearly understood for the most part, and where things are a bit obscured, I don't think it's due to the language. However, we Americans don't see ourselves as "North Americans." That's an important distinction. We're not Panamanians, and we're not Canadians. When you say "North Americans" when you mean "citizens of the United States of America" you unwittingly include everybody in Canada, Mexico, and points South to the equator.

Trust me, many of these people would not want to be included in the all-encompassing phrase "North Americans." I wasn't insulted, but I believe they might be.
Quote of the Day

From Jonathan David Morris:
Our civil liberties are at risk in America, but it isn't a George Bush thing. It isn't a Bill Clinton thing. It's a government thing. The worst part about it, though, is that when lawmakers make pork-flavored promises, we are the ones who dig in.

And we are what we eat, indeed.

This Will Elevate Your Blood Pressure

Two bulletin-board posts: The first is the story of a man arrested for illegally checking his firearms at the airport - after he did it absolutely correctly.

The second is the story of his girlfriend immediately subsequent to his arrest.

<sarcasm>I feel SO much safer now.</sarcasm>

UPDATE: The Laughing Wolf takes the topic and runs with it. With excellence, I might add (and do.)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

UPDATE: The Hoplophobe Responds

Barry of Inn of the Last Home responds to the criticism of his objection to concealed-carry. (Link bloggered - scroll down to Vilification and Clarification.)

In my opinion, he just dug himself in deeper, and he needs to think about what he said very, very hard.

My response?
"I also would feel uncomfortable knowing that anyone on the street, in the theatre, at a restaurant, at the supermarket could be carrying a loaded gun on their person. And here's why - despite training, despite temperament, despite the best of intentions: I don't trust you."

Barry, what you don't seem to realize is that anyone on the street, in the theatre, at a restaurant, at the supermarket could be carrying a loaded gun on their person - WITHOUT A CONCEALED-CARRY PERMIT. They're called "criminals" and they do it all the time. They're the ones who do stick up the fast-food clerk, and the person behind the convenience-store counter, and the person stepping out of their SUV and so on and so forth.

The problem is, Barry, that you haven't been paying attention. There are now 35 states that are "shall-issue" - states where the government must give an applicant a permit if he is not legally prohibited possessing a firearm. In none of these states has there been anything like you fear.

In short, your distrust is misplaced. As I put it, you are a hoplophobe - you fear weapons, not people - because if you were really distrustful of people you'd be going around in paranoid fear of the (approximately) 1% of the population that is violently criminal that might be carrying a weapon with intent to criminally use it. Instead, you fear the (approximately) 1% of the law-abiding population who are willing to jump through all the legal hoops necessary in order to carry a firearm legally and thus act as a deterrent against those willing to use violence to take what they want.

That is an irrational fear. And why do you have that fear? Because you project on all those others what you fear YOU might do yourself if you were armed.

You don't mistrust others, Barry.

You mistrust yourself.

And I feel sorry for you.

But I'm glad you don't want a gun.
Go tell him what you think. I believe he needs to hear it.

UPDATE 12/19/03: Francis Porretto weighs in, too.
No Charges

I've probably been beaten to this story already, but Bill St. Clair was kind enough to e-mail me this report that 71 year-old Melvin Spaulding will not be charged for shooting 20 year-old scum James T. Moore who was one of three men beating up Melvin's 63 year-old friend George Lowe. Halleluja!

Why the hell Spaulding was arrested and jailed is still beyond me.

I covered this earlier here and here.

Per the e-mail:
Shooter, 71, won't face charges at all

Prosecutors will not file an attempted murder charge against Melvin Spaulding, the 71-year-old man who shot a 20-year-old for allegedly attacking his friend in the street.

"That's good," Spaulding said after hearing the news Tuesday, as he smoked a Dutch Masters cigar in his mobile home.

Pinellas-Pasco Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said evidence showed Spaulding was trying to prevent his friend George Lowe, 63, from being killed or suffering "serious bodily harm" as others attacked him.

The law allows people to intervene in such cases to protect others from harm, Bartlett said.

Spaulding said he fired his .22-caliber handgun Nov. 30 because three young men were attacking Lowe and he was afraid his neighbor was in serious danger. The bullet hit one of the men, James T. Moore, 20, in the arm.

Lowe said the episode began when he heard noise outside his home on 40th Street N in the Lealman area and went outside to investigate. He said he asked the men not to be so loud, which turned into an argument. Then the others began kicking him in the legs and back, he said.

After Spaulding fired his gun, sheriff's deputies arrived and arrested him on an attempted murder charge. Later, the other three men were charged with misdemeanor battery.

But two of the alleged attackers dispute the description of the events by Lowe and Spaulding. They acknowledge having words with Lowe, but they say no one hit or kicked anyone before Spaulding fired.

Eric Palm, 18, said Lowe grabbed at his FUBU jersey, so he shoved his face to push him away. Palm said he then swung at Lowe and missed, and that's when the shot went off.

Moore denies kicking or hitting Lowe. He said he wants people to know "that I'm not a damn old-person beater."

"I'm a nice person, you know? I get along with everybody. When people get drunk, of course they're going to get loud 'cause that's what people do, but I don't go around fighting people just for no reason."

Moore and his friends had been celebrating his 20th birthday that night.

Asked about the sheriff's deputies' decision to arrest Spaulding, Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger said, "I think particularly in ones of this nature, they may want to call the State Attorney's Office before they make an arrest."
Gee, ya THINK?
Pinellas sheriff's spokesman Tim Goodman said there was nothing improper with the arrest, even though the prosecutors have decided against filing charges.

Bartlett said the State Attorney's Office was likely to file misdemeanor battery charges against the three men: Moore, Palm and James Curtis Ganoe, 18. Those three also were arrested by deputies.

Lowe said he was pleased with the decision not to file charges against Spaulding for coming to his aid.

"I think that's excellent," Lowe said. "I think that's the greatest thing they could have done."

Spaulding said he was relieved by the state attorney's decision. While deputies were polite, he said, he did not enjoy his first trip to jail.

What if he hears a noise outside his trailer again and faces the same situation?

"I just couldn't let them kill somebody," Spaulding said. "I couldn't do it . . . what they did was wrong."
Yes it was, Mr. Spaulding. And you did the right thing.
Back Again

I'm not addicted to the Internet! I can quit anytime!

So why is it, as soon as I get access, I've got to get caught up on what I've missed?

Anyway, one more day at work, then I have the next two weeks off.

More posting is promised!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Hoplophobic Mindset

Via Say Uncle comes the link to fellow blogger Michael Williams' disgusted response to being denied a CCW permit by his betters in California.

While I'm not surprised by the denial, I was a bit shocked to see the comment by Barry, another blogger who runs The Inn of the Last Home from Tennessee. It is the quintessential gun-phobe:
I just...I just blink my eyes in amazement everytime this crops up - actually watching people feel the need to carry a concealed weapon in public...

If I were to take a live, armed weapon and carry it on my person, in public, it would eat away at my sanity just as if it were emitting lethal radiation. To know that I carried an instrument of sure and certain death on my person, available and ready to be pulled out and used at a moment's notice to possibly kill...a child. A homeless person. An innocent.

Obviously that is not your intent. You want to protect yourself - maybe that is how you feel in California. But being brought up in Eastern Tennessee I've never once felt the need to protect myself from imminent bodily harm in public. And if I were aware of a location that might be unduly hazardous - a dark alley, a badly lighted parking area - I would avoid it. I've never been mugged, nor can I readily pull up a name of any person I've ever met that's been mugged or even bodily threatened in my whole life.

What scares me most is the arbitrary nature of self-defense. What line must be crossed to signal to you that there is imminent danger or threat? Is it a criminal pulling a gun on you? In which case, unless you're a gunslinger, you're not going to outdraw him. Is it someone pulling a knife? Threatening words? Bad language or rude gestures? Where is that one point where you decide, "Yes, my life or the life of my loved ones is in danger and I must now take it upon myself to take the life of another person." What if the guy is reaching into his jacket, and you are sure, absolutely certain that it is a weapon. You pull your gun and shoot--and see he's reaching for his wallet. Or worse, you miss and hit a child running in the street. Where is that line?

The radiation would rot my brain and I would never be able to live with myself.

Maybe it's different in California. Maybe it's different in Tennessee. Maybe I don't love my family enough...maybe I love them too much. But I know myself, and know that if I surrendered to the paranoia - and I mean that in the most basic sense - there would be no turning back.

I'll stay in the light, thanks.
Note the change: "If I were to take a live, armed weapon and carry it on my person, in public, it would eat away at my sanity just as if it were emitting lethal radiation." Followed below by: "The radiation would rot my brain...."

That is fear of an inanimate object. He actually believes that the presence of a firearm will warp his sanity.

Barry, I applaud your decision to remain unarmed. I hope, however, that you will get some psychiatric or psychological treatment for your crippling fear of your own lack of control.

And I sincerely hope that neither you nor anyone you know becomes the victim of a violent crime.

But please, don't project your mental disturbance on others.

UPDATE:  The original JSKit/Echo comment thread is available here, thanks to reader John Hardin.
More Guns in Church!

Via The Volokh Conspiracy, comes this story of one Rev. Arthur Ford who used a handgun to defend himself and his son-in-law from a nut who was beating them with a fireplace poker. This guy attacked six people in total, with the Reverend and his son-in-law being the last. One of the victims was critically injured and is hospitalized.

I suspect that if Rev. Ford had not owned a handgun, they would not have been the last.

So much for turning the other cheek.

Good for the Reverend.
We Got Him

Like you haven't heard it everywhere by now.

Wring him out, give him a fair trial, then hang him.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

The New, Updated Bill of Rights

Spoons has it. Go read.
Truer Words...

From Donald Sensing:
I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
No Law Abridging

That's the title of this piece by Curmudgeon Emeritus Francis Porretto. Money quote:
So long as speech was protected, Americans could claim with some justice that we were in some sense free. If Tuesday's Supreme Court decision prevails, we will not be able to call ourselves even partly free. We will be a people in chains. Chains forged to protect incumbents from having their records in office publicized in the press as they stand for election. Chains forged to increase the power of the Old Media, granting their journalists and editors the last word on political campaigns. Chains forged by (and for) men to whom "the people" are not only not sovereign, but are a force to be fastened down and made to do as they're told by those who know better.
Read the whole thing, including the comments.

And think about that reset button some more.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Pressing the "RESET" Button

Last week, Jay Solo asked an important question. I was the first to respond.

His question was whether or not the American populace would use the "reset button" guaranteed by the Second Amendment. In his words:
Do you expect the "reset button" to need to be used in our lifetimes?


I was recently discussing with someone the concept of the Second Amendment as the government's reset button. Ultimately a major reason it exists is so the populace cannot be prevented from being armed, or easily disarmed through registration or excess regulation for that matter, in case we must ever take back the government and start again if it gets out of hand or something akin to a coup happens and the imposters must be reckoned with.


Do you think this will ever be needed? In the next fifty years? Do you think it will still be possible after another fifty years of those who want as much power, and helplessness of the populace against it as much as possible, chipping away at or disregarding our ability to reset things back to sanity? How about contrarians; do you think the reset interpretation is erroneous or, even if not, will never be needed?
It's a good question. I recommend you read all the responses, and add your own if you feel like it. Here was my response:
Do I expect it to be used? Yes. Will it be effective? I doubt it.

I think we've passed the point at which "using the reset button" would be useful.

Why do I think it will be used? Two recent posts come to mind. This one in which the Geek with a .45 posted from New Jersey: "The fact that things have gone so far south in some places that people actually feel compelled to move the fuck out should frighten the almighty piss out of you.

"Ten or fifteen years ago, I would’ve dismissed that notion, that people were relocating themselves for freedom within America as the wild rantings of a fringe lunatic, but today, I’m looking for a real estate agent."

And then this one from Publicola yesterday, detailing government insult upon outrage from which the majority shrugs and turns away.

Jefferson suggested a small armed rebellion every 20 years or so. We didn't take his advice. Our last one ended in 1865, and it was so devastating, I think it put us off rebellion entirely too long.

Government isn't "us" and hasn't been for a long, long time. It represents the people who run the Democrat and Republican Parties, and those who pay them the most. Government-run education has ensured that the end product coming out of our schools is uniformly ignorant of how the system is supposed to work, and it's done a damned good job of indoctrinating our children in the "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" philosophy, and the "if it feels good, do it" philosophy. Fifty-plus years of this has produced a very large, very ignorant, very apathetic population.

I think that "pressing the reset button" is going to happen, but all it's going to get some of us is a tighter collar and a heavier chain.

Still, Churchill said it best:

"You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory,
because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
There were several good responses, but I'd like to elaborate a little bit on the topic.

I don't think you're going to see a widespread armed uprising. What you're going to see is individuals and small groups who've simply had enough arming and striking - and probably dying in the process. If you've read John Ross's Unintended Consequences you'll get the idea, but I don't expect anything like the level of response he writes of. Not enough people are pissed off enough to do that.

Of course the media will spin it as "lone deranged gun-nuts" or "anti-government militias," but if you pay attention you'll note an increase in the numbers over time.

Someone once wrote; "If you're not boiling mad, you've not been paying attention."

Mencken wrote: "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."

Note this post by Dodd Harris:
Say Goodbye To Your Right To Free Speech

Well, Spoons may have seen it coming, but I sure as hell didn't: The Supreme Court has upheld most of the provisions of McCain-Feingold, a law that the Court's own precedents marked out as blatantly unconstitutional.
You'll recall, I was a bit perturbed about SCOTUS dodging the Silveira case last week, too.

I'd like to remind you of the recent Klamath Valley incidents in which the government denied water to farmers in order to protect an "endangered" fish. This drew a lot of media attention, because instead of affecting one person or one family, it affected everyone in the valley. But a lot of other incidents in which the rights of individuals are trampled on by government bureaucrats occur that fly under the media radar. Generally, government is treated by the media as a vast benevolent force (unless, of course, that same government is defeating an enemy totalitarian government or unseating a murderous tyrant - then it's eeeeeevil. - UPDATE, 10/23/2011:  Unless there's a Democrat in the White House, that is.  Then the media and the anti-war Left is A-OK with it.  End edit.) Whatever actions that government takes for the benefit of an endangered species, or "for society" is more important than what it does to the people who are directly affected by these actions.

Oh, occasionally something really egregious will pique some reporter, and we'll get a "human interest" story that pisses off the few of us who are paying attention. Sometimes our ire will get the government to back off, claiming it was all a big misunderstanding or worse, the government doesn't back off at all. The recent incidents of Melvin Spaulding in Florida, George Norris in Texas, Dennis Pryslak in New Jersey, Stratford High School in South Carolina, and many others come to mind. Scroll through the archives of this site. There's probably at least one a week that will raise your blood pressure.

I've quoted Jefferson's letter to William Smith several times recently, but this part is the one I find most interesting:
Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The past which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.
It seems, in the main, that we aren't informed at all, much less well. Lethargy? For the overwhelming majority, yes indeed.

Until it happens to you. Then you get pissed right quick, and wonder why nobody hears your side of the story.

I think a lot of people are getting fed up with ever-increasing government intrusion into our lives. With our ever-shrinking individual rights. More than one of Jay's respondents noted the apathy of the majority, though, and I agree. Government interferes lightly on a wholesale basis, but it does its really offensive intrusions strictly retail. So long as the majority gets its bread and circuses, it will remain content.

But not everyone.

I think one example of this is illustrated by this story from Greenwood, S.C. (hat tip to Ravenwood for the link):
Suspect in standoff claims self-defense

One of the three family members charged with killing two Abbeville County officers said he was just defending his parents' home against something like the standoffs between federal agents and armed citizens in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas.

Steven Bixby, 36, along with his 71-year-old mother Rita, were in court Tuesday for an arraignment on charges in Monday's standoff with police, but when a judge paused to track down the warrants against Steven Bixby, he spoke to reporters in the courtroom.

Bixby said he acted in self-defense because sheriff's Sgt. Danny Wilson, 37, tried to force his way into his parents' home along state Highway 72 just west of downtown Abbeville.

Authorities say Wilson did not have any arrest papers or warrants when he went to the home, he just went to talk to the family. Transportation Department workers widening the two-lane road in front of the Bixby home reported someone threatened them as they laid out survey stakes.

"If we can't be any freer than that in this country, I'd rather die," Bixby said.
Read the whole story. Yes, these people were extreme. Killing two officers and then engaging in a gunfight with many more over 20 feet of property certainly is excessive.

But I don't think this is going to be an exceptional case as time goes on.

I think more and more individuals will be pressing the "RESET" button in the future.

With about the same effect.

UPDATE: I note that this piece has been linked from Wikipedia's "Gun Politics in the United States" entry with the notation:
An analogous popular saying of less eloquent modern day gun rights advocates is that the amendment is "the government's reset button".
"Less eloquent"? Whoever made that entry is cordially invited to bite my left buttcheek. Check the sidebar. I've got eloquence in abundance.
I'm Baaaack!

For a couple of days, anyway.

Thanks to everybody who kept checking the site. I still averaged over 200 hits a day, even after I told you I'd be gone!

(I'm not sure what that says about you guys, though...)

I'll try to post some crunchy goodness before I leave for a couple more days. (The project is running long, though they didn't want us to work over the weekend.)

Monday, December 08, 2003

Oh Sweet Freaking Jeebus!

(Still on hiatus, but my trip has been slightly delayed.)

L.A. police chief William Bratton gives some remarkable advice to UK police:
'Avoid Slippery Slope of Armed Police' - U.S. Chief

British police should not move down the “slippery slope” towards carrying guns, a top officer from the United States warned today.

Los Angeles police chief William Bratton – who achieved worldwide attention for his remarkable crime-busting results in New York – said unarmed police were part of Britain’s character.

“I don’t think you want to go in the direction of increasing the armament of your officers,” he said.

“It’s part of what England is, and also your gun control laws.

“I’ve recently in LA had four incidents where my officers were attacked – completely unprovoked – with machine guns.
Guess what, Chief? Machine guns aren't all that legal here, either. And the legally owned ones have never been a problem in the hands of the average citizen.

You're giving credit where none's due.
“If anything, don’t go down that slippery slope.”
No? They've gone down the slope to the point where the only people with firearms are the government and the criminals, and the result? Now the cops there need to be armed.

For that matter, so do the citizens subjects.

You're advising them to just give up?
Mr Bratton, who was police commissioner of New York from 1994 until last year, made the comments after delivering a speech hosted by think-tank Civitas and a new London civic movement Mind the Gap.

He added that it was “laudable” that surveys of British officers showed the majority were against routine arming of officers.

“They feel that would weaken the bond between police and the community,” he said.

“Both symbolically as well as practically it is not necessary.

“In your country anyone who uses a firearm against a police officer needs to go to jail for the rest of their life because a social obligation has been broken.
Don't you just love the way that police officers are now special? Apparently the Chief isn't aware that the first metropolitan police force was established by Sir Robert Peel in 1822. His nine principles of policing were as follows:
The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.

The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.

Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.

The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.

Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.

Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.

Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Apparently every police force extant has forgotten this.
Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.

The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
I think, had the people retained these ideas, the police wouldn't be having near the problems that they are.

But you know what we're constantly advised: Let the police handle it. You're not qualified.
“The first time anyone uses a gun against a police officer that needs to be treated seriously, having violated that contract.”

Mr Bratton’s work in New York led to a 32% reduction in crime and murder rates halved.

He arrived in Los Angeles 18 months ago and in December expected to announce figures showing a 27% decrease in the city’s murder rate and a 5% fall in overall crime, he told an audience at the Athenaeum club in central London.

A poll of 11,635 Metropolitan police officers published last month showed 10% wanted to be armed on and off duty and 26% wanted to be armed on duty only.
I don't have time right now to pull up the stories, but police have been threatened - and shot - at the station in England. How effective are the police? Well, I've reported in this blog numerous accounts of the problems of violent crime in the UK. Just today Ravenwood reports that the police in London are advising women not to jog alone because some wacko is stabbing women joggers just for the fun of it.

But God forbid that women have some weapon with which to defend themselves.

Much less the police.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

I Think it I Fixed It

About two years ago I had an 1896 Swedish Mauser "sporterized." I know some of you purists just winced at the thought, but this was a $100 rifle, no bluing, surface pitting on the barrel, considerable wear and tear - certainly not a collector piece. I had the action rebarreled with a medium-weight chromoly Shilen tube, 1-in-8" twist, cut to 24". I had the 'smith turn down the bolt handle, narrow the trigger guard, then polish and blue the barreled action and install a two-piece scope base. I then installed a Timney trigger and glass bedded the action into a Fajen thumbhole stock, making sure the barrel was free-floated.

I then proceeded over the next two years to try just about every combination of 140-grain bullet and powder to see what it would shoot well. The answer? Nothing. I tried 155 grain bullets. No good. I tried 120 grain bullets. A bit better, but still no great shakes. The gun simply would not group better than 2.5 to 3 MOA, and that only if I was lucky. Since I had built the rifle in order to shoot Metallic Silhouette, which requires you to shoot offhand up to 500 meters, that wasn't going to be good enough.

Finally, I decided I'd try preloading the barrel. I took an old expired credit card and cut it into strips, then stacked the strips in the barrel channel of the stock, and reinstalled the action. The plastic strips, located about 1/3rd of the way down the barrel channel from the forend, put an upward pressure on the barrel and change its natural vibration frequency.

I loaded up some test ammo last night - 139 grain Lapua boattail hollowpoints over Reloder 19. Here's my best group of the day, but not by much:

If you can't read the micrometer, it shows 1.016" outside to outside. Subtract one bullet diameter of .264", and the group size is 0.752"

I think I fixed it.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Spoke too Soon

Publicola has a post up I think everyone ought to read.

I mean everyone.

He doesn't title his posts, but if he did, I'd recommend Patriots & Tyrants, because it reminded me of something Thomas Jefferson wrote to his friend William Smith after Shay's Rebellion in 1787. The first time I read it, I thought to myself "What a radical SOB Jefferson was."

Now I read it, and I understand his fear. He feared apathy, and believed it could be the downfall of the nation.

This is what he said:
The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The past which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure.
Death-by-a-thousand-cuts. Frog in a pot. Use whatever analogy you want, we the people have been lethargic since 1865, and it has cost us - dearly. And the worst thing is, we haven't misconceived, we've ignored obvious wrongs. And not so obvious ones. Lethargy indeed.

Tytler was right. The cycle is: bondage, faith, courage, liberty, abundance, selfishness, complacency, apathy, dependence, and then back into bondage.

How far into dependence are we?

Read the post below it, too. And the link.

And wonder what happened to our liberty.

(Edited to add:) In light of Jefferson's advice, I think Claire Wolfe is wrong. It's not too early to shoot the bastards, it's too late. They're too entrenched to respond as Jefferson advises they should.

Which brings to mind Churchill's quote...
Blog Hiatus

My apologies, but I'm going to be out of town for about a week, with no internet access. Therefore I will be unable to update this blog until Friday evening 12/12 at the earliest. I might get something in tomorrow, Sunday 12/7 - Pearl Harbor Day, but I might not. I've got a lot of things to do, not the least of which is prepare for this trip.

See you next week. Thanks for tuning in.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Another Story You Won't Be Reading in the English Papers

(Via Acidman) The Atlanta Urinal Constipation Journal Constitution reports - very briefly - on a defensive gun use:
Would-be robber slain by intended victim

A suspected armed robber was shot and killed by his intended victim in Clayton County, police said Wednesday.

The incident occurred shortly after midnight at Independence Park on Thomas Road near Jonesboro.

A man was walking with his 11-year-old daughter when the suspect "approached them and attempted to rob them," said Clayton County police Lt. Joseph Woodall.
Gotta wonder what the father and daughter were doing in the park at 11:00 PM, but this is America - they're allowed. Being in a park at night does not give someone the right to rob you.
"The victim pulled his own firearm and fired some rounds at the suspect," Woodall said.

"The suspect fled about 30 yards and fell over."

The suspect, who was in his late teens or 20s, died at the scene. "He still had in his hand a stolen Glock pistol," Woodall said.
Hmm..."late teens or 20s." That means that to the Brady Bunch, the victim goblin was a "child?" A stolen Glock. Gee, if no one had guns, they couldn't be stolen, right? Well, not exactly. According to this story (registration may be required):
Federal agents in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, were looking for guns stolen from an agent's car.

The missing high powered weapons are an automatic rifle and a Remington shotgun with a ballistic vest.

The FBI weren't sure if it was a random break-in or if the thieves knew the weapons were there.

The FBI is offering a reward for any information leading to an arrest.
And when they say "automatic rifle," they mean "machine gun." This means we've got a guy with a machine gun and body armor out running around. Marvelous. Remember also, the federal government reported "losing" several hundred guns just last year. And there's this charming story of how a police officer managed to leave an AR-15 laying by the side of the road. Anyway:
A stolen vehicle that police believe was the suspect's getaway car was also found in the park.
Stolen Glock, stolen car, attempted armed robbery, in his 20's.

How long was his record, and why wasn't his ass in jail?
Police say the father acted in self-defense and will not face charges in connection with the shooting. The names of the two men have not been released.
Nice of them not to arrest and jail the man like the cops in Florida did to Mr. Spaulding.

I wonder if he got to keep his pistol?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

OUTRAGE! (continued)

Publicola updates us on the status of 71 year-old Melvin B. Spaulding, who was arrested and jailed without bond for the audacity of defending his friend against three young attackers rather than dialing 9-1-1 and waiting to be rescued by the AUTHORITAHS!

Seems Mr. Spaulding, who has since been released, and has not yet been charged with anything has been told that, even though he has a concealed-carry permit, he's not allowed to have a firearm.

The story is here.

We've Got RSS!

I think.

Via Blogstreet, I think this provides an RSS feed for The Smallest Minority (about a day late, but better than nothing?)

Pardon my ignorance on the subject.
This is NEAT

Being a South Park Republican type, I found this little tool pretty entertaining. (Via the Everlasting Phelps) The South Park Create a Character. Here's my interpretation of me on the average weekend:

Only I don't look that young.

This, however, is NOT neat: Read Phelps' post on the abuse of eminent domain in Norfolk, Virginia.

Now do you understand why my character is holding a rifle evil bullet-hose militia weapon?
I Thought the Idea was to PUNISH Criminals

Oh sweet bleeding Jebus. Kim linked to this story about an Austrailian police officer:
He faces one charge of wounding with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

He also faces three charges of firing a firearm in a manner likely to endanger the safety of any other person.
Why? Because he shot at a man trying to run him over.

But that's not the best story! From a link on that page, we get this:
Prison punishment concern

PRISONERS losing privileges and being moved to higher security areas as punishment has been criticised by the state Ombudsman.

In his annual report, Eugene Biganovsky raises concerns a section of legislation allowing prisoners to be moved at the discretion of prison officials or losing privileges was being abused.

He cited three cases:

A prisoner who allegedly threatened to take an officer hostage was stripped of electricity in his cell and had his phone calls limited.

An inmate wrongly accused of being involved in building and operating a still at Cadell Training Centre was moved to a high security jail yet faced no charges.

A television was taken away from a prisoner accused of "abusing a nurse".
Poor babies! They should file suit because they're not being tucked in at night!

First the police can't do their jobs, and second the prisons can't either!

And they wonder why violent crime is on the rise in Australia!