Quote of the Day

I mean, basically if you’re ever to a point in the world where you’re in a shootout with the gubmint, your life is essentially trashed beyond repair… the only way you’re likely to end up in that position is if you give them all of your other rights… It’s like you’re ignoring your first line of defense and zealously protecting your last… in spite of the fact that if it ever comes down to that last line, your life is worthless anyway.”

— technicolor-misfit, on Fark

Too Soon?

Today, when riding to work, I passed a Toyota Prius going the other direction.
Now, this is not an unusual occurrence — (plural form of Prius) are hardly rare cars, and one sees quite a few in Tucson.
This particular Prius, however, was completely decked out in “Obama 2012” livery. This didn’t appear to be the work of some guy with a white car and a few bumper stickers, but rather a professionally-done thing.
If this is some sort of official campaign vehicle, I think it’s a bit too bloody early: the President was inaugurated 6 months and 22 days ago and still has 3 years, 5 months, and 9 days until the next inauguration. He’s barely 14% through his term and people are already gearing up for the next election…that seems…crazy.
Why don’t we wait a bit to see how he’s been doing at, say, the 25% and 50% marks in his term, and then see if he should run for reelection. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been any of the promised “change” he talked about — Washington seems to be conducting business as usual.

Being Delusional

?This is going to be implemented in January, and there won’t be any bumps in the road,? said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, a Los Angeles Democrat who carried the legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
?I remain confident,? Feuer continued, ?that it is in fact going to become not only the law in other states, but the law of the land.?

-Mike Feuer, in this article about microstamping in California.
The only other political entity to implement a microstamping law is the District of Columbia, which is about as anti-gun as it gets. I seriously doubt that such a law would ever be enacted in, say, Arizona. Mr. Feuer is clearly off his rocker if he thinks that the technology will (a) work, and (b) ever catch on outside of such bastions of gun control. Even then, the legal hurdles to implementing the technology will be great, few manufacturers will comply, everyone in saner regions of the country will laugh at them, and criminals will remain completely unaffected by such legislation.
The article continues with a rather telling quote:

Many firearms companies are struggling to comply with California’s 2006 mandate that all new handgun models include a loaded chamber indicator and a mechanism that prevents firing when a magazine is removed.
In the more than three years since, just one new semiautomatic model has been approved by the state. Two others are pending, Gasparac [the attorney general’s press secretary] said.
Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. is the only gun maker to date that has overcome that hurdle. The company’s general counsel said he has ?grave concerns? about whether microstamping is feasible.
?The problem I have with this is it can’t be done,? said Kevin Reid, Ruger’s general counsel. ?The legislation says it has to work 100 percent of the time and there is nobody, nobody including Todd Lizotte [inventor of the microstamping technology] himself, who would say it will always work.?

I’m pretty sure the Ruger MkIII .22LR pistol is the gun they’re referring to. Even so, it’s not as nice as the MkII. Granted, I have a MkIII because it was available at the shop here in Tucson when I was craving a .22 pistol, but I removed the magazine disconnect (I refuse to call it a “safety”) and have considered removing the loaded chamber indicator.
Having a California-specific line of handguns is going to be rather expensive for manufacturers, and I seriously doubt that any of the major manufacturers will bother complying with the law. Sucks to be Californians, but such is the way of things until they go to court.
The article concludes with this:

For Feuer, the time has come to move past the debate and implement the law.
?The bottom line is this technology is going to help put criminals behind bars,? he said. ?We should do it.?

No, Mr. Feuer, it won’t. Criminals are not going to buy their guns from retail stores, register them with the state, and then use them in a crime where they can be trivially traced back to them. Rather, criminals will continue to acquire their firearms illegally, be it from theft, straw purchasing, inter-state smuggling, international smuggling, or any of the other numerous sources they get them from.
There are hundreds of millions of handguns not equipped with microstamping features. If there’s a demand for non-microstamped guns in California, someone (quite possibly a criminal enterprise) will fill it.
Rather than passing silly laws that have no real effect on criminals but infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens, why don’t they simply enforce the already existing laws that they don’t presently prosecute criminals with?

Fisking the Daily Star

The Arizona Daily Star published an article in their Sunday Edition that stood out to me when I was grocery shopping today: it had a large, above-the-fold headline entitled, “US makes it easy for gun traffickers.”
While their article is long and makes a weak attempt at appearing balanced, it has some absurdities that I really must point out. I’ve made a few statements in my response that are likely to be common knowledge to gunny folks, though I’d appreciate it if readers could point out where I might find good sources for such statements so I can cite them properly.
Also, I wrote this post rather late at night, so I’m likely to have a few spelling or grammar mistakes. Mea cupla. Continue reading “Fisking the Daily Star”

On Iran

Friend: “Based on news reports, one would think that Iran is about to explode. However, it seems as though they go through this every election cycle.”
Me: “I know nothing about Iranian politics, but I’m just happy that the most recent city-engulfing riot in the US that I can recall is when the Red Sox won the World Series.”

That said, if there’s any bloggers, journalists, or other such folks in Iran who need a private, secure tunnel out to the public internet, I’m willing to provide an SSH tunnel and/or a SSL web-based proxy. Free speech and all that. Simply contact me by email for details; if privacy is a concern, my PGP key is also available on the contact information page. If you are unable to send email to that address, leave a comment and we can arrange alternate communications.


I’ve recently been reading The Huffington Post ((Why? Maybe my blood pressure was too low. I dunno.)) and find it amusing how people on both sides of the political aisle view politicians on “their side” and “the other side” in much the same way.
Many of the commenters seem to believe that, on the topic of health care reform ((“The government will pay for everything.” without mentioning where the money will come from.)), the current Democrats in office are “Republicans lite.”
From my discussions with Republicans, many people believe that on many issues, Republican politicians are “Democrats lite.”
I’ve seen and heard any number of uncivil words written and spoken by members of both major parties directed against members of their opposition.
While people may disagree, sometimes vehemently, on various policy decisions, I think people need to find a bit of perspective: in the end, we’re all citizens of this great nation, and we all want what’s best for it. The Founding Fathers disagreed on many things, but they were able to work out their differences as best they could. Is it too much to ask that today’s citizenry do the same?

Government Websites

$DEITY, I forgot how much I hate dealing with the government. They’re inefficient, bloated, and complicated.
I’m applying for academic benefits from the VA, and have to deal with all their normal government suckiness, but even worse, their web design skills suck and they use overloaded, slow Microsoft servers.
The only thing worse than government paperwork is government websites in lieu of paperwork.

First Principles

Over the years, I’ve met several people who opposed the right to keep and bear arms. In some cases, these meetings resulted in discussion and debates on US firearm law and policy.
For the first year or two that I had these discussions, I found it very difficult to understand the other person’s position, and they had difficulty understanding mine. Eventually, I discovered why: we each held fundamentally different first principles.
For example, I hold the belief that the default state of rights is “on” — if someone wishes to create a new law or restriction, the onus is on them to justify their restriction. I’m consistent in the application of this belief: all rights default to “on,” whether they’re the right to speak freely, possess and use arms, maintain one’s privacy, have sex with any other consenting adult, end one’s life, ingest or otherwise consume intoxicating substances (( With the caveat that some substances may require a doctor’s perscription, as they might have harmful side-effects if not taken in a particular manner. )), operate a vehicle, and so on so long as one exercises those rights in a manner that is safe, does not infringe on the rights of others, and takes responsibility for any effects of their actions.
Some people I know hold an opposite belief: that the default state of rights is (or should) be “off,” and that unless a specific thing or behavior is allowed, it is forbidden.
Some people straddle the line in that they believe that certian rights default to “off” and others default to “on” — a person may have a right to speak freely, but needs to justify their desire to possess arms. Perhaps they think that a person may have a right to own arms, but simultaneously think that one may not have consensual sex with another adult that does not fit with their personal beliefs. Another common one is that that one may own arms, but has no right to privacy.
When it comes to guns in particular, some believe that guns serve no useful purpose, and so one must demonstrate a “need” (such as being a member of the police or military) prior to being allowed to own one, while I believe that guns are useful, and one must demonstrate a “need” to justify a restriction on their ownership.
Once I discovered this fundamental difference in first principles, I realized why I was having so much difficulty understanding and being understood: discussions and debates are impossible if the participants do not agree upon a common set of first principles.
As such, I’ve stopped figuratively bashing my head against a brick wall when it comes to debating gun-specific issues, but instead focus on the two of us agreeing on compatible first principles, if possible.