Quote of the day—Venkatesh Rao

What do you fear most? An evil group or an evil person? Read Shirley Jackson’s thoroughly scary story of group insanity, The Lottery. Watch Children of the Corn. Would you rather live in a town where there is a sole vampire terrorizing the population, or be the sole non-zombie in a town that has gone all-zombie? Ask yourself, who scares you more — Hitler or the mindless army he inspired? Would you prefer the tyranny of a dictator or the tyranny of an illiberal democracy, where a mob tramples over individuals? Dictators can be overthrown. Can an evil group culture be as easily displaced?

Venkatesh Rao
November 21, 2009
Morality, Compassion and the Sociopath
[H/T to M.E. via her post The morality of sociopaths, clueless, and losers.

I’ve dealt with sociopaths before and was amazed at how effortlessly they would “win” when you got in their way. The most fundamental assumptions I had about human behavior were completely destroyed as they crushed me. I “follow the rules” and it is difficult for me to imagine other people not doing the same. Sociopaths know the rules far better than you. The rules that you acquired as a small child and “just follow” without thought or even awareness they have thoroughly examined under a light of hyper rationality. They may follow them most of the time but it is with the knowledge that it is to their benefit to do so at that time and place. When it is to their benefit to not follow them they effortlessly break them.

I began following M.E., a diagnosed sociopath, a year or more ago and my burning hate for sociopaths diminished some as read more. After a time I was able to develop a model for their behavior that allowed me see them in a different light. They lack empathy for other people. In a sense you can think of them as totally selfish but to do that would be to continue misunderstanding them in a way that is detrimental to both yourself and them. The short version of my model for them is hyper-rational beings who only care about themselves. They will act to the benefit of others but only if it furthers their own interests.

They examine the rules of society and understand them and use them to their advantage. They have and frequently need and want friends and family. They can be good friends, family, neighbors, and citizens when they want to be. But what you consider fundamental principles of behavior to them is nothing more than a suggested script to be read at the appropriate time. They examine, evaluate, and act with full awareness and no guilt for “going off script” when they need to achieve their goals.

This, perhaps surprisingly, was reassuring to me. It explained to me why there might be a genetic component to sociopathetic behavior. Having a small number of sociopaths in society is almost certainly an advantage to the group. Let me explain.

In The Walking Dead there are many people who avoid doing things that are clearly the rational thing to do and put themselves and a great many other people at extreme risk. You watch the show and you understand the dilemma of the character but you also understand they really need to put a bullet in the head of the zombie that was their child.

The show is make-believe but you have to be extremely well insulated from reality to not realize we have similar situations all around us.

We euthanize our pets when they are in pain and have no hope of recovery. We, in the gun community, think about and train for the use of deadly force to protect innocent life. Yet most, if ever in the position of taking the life of a human, even when clearly saving innocent life, will suffer for a significant period of time, if not their entire life, for doing the right thing. We send our young adults to war to kill and be killed when the alternative is even greater loss to our society.

These are tough choices and we agonize over them before and after making them when “the proper choice of action” is frequently crystal clear and obvious to the sociopath. Having people with this clarity of vision, ability to make these decisions quickly, and implement them without guilt or hesitation, is an advantage to a society.

One of the things that M.E. said in a previous post has almost haunted me. She said, IIRC, she fears mob behavior because it is so unpredictable. She understands individuals because after observing and interacting with them for a very short period of time she knows, with a high degree of certainty, how they will behave. Their behavior probably isn’t rational, but it is predictable. A mob is unpredictable and powerful.

This observation of mobs extrapolates well to a mindless or evil group culture which is destroying the good and the innocent. The sociopaths among us may be able to make tough choices, in direct violation of deeply held principles, and save a good society from the indecision which would result in the total destruction of that which is good.—Joe]

Quote of the day—DEA Public Affairs

DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg today announced results from the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), which found that drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, ahead of deaths from motor vehicle accidents and firearms.

DEA Public Affairs
November 4, 2015
DEA Releases 2015 Drug Threat Assessment: Heroin and Painkiller Abuse Continue to Concern
[H/T to Ryan McMaken for his post: DEA Releases New Drug Overdose Death Figures: Guns Safer than Prescription Drugs who also says:

If policymakers responded to drunk driving the way they respond to gun violence, we would be forced to endure nationwide bans on fast cars and automobile engines that can exceed speed limits. We would be hearing demands for laws shrinking the overall number of automobiles sold each year. “More cars equal more fatalities! We are awash in cars,” we would be told.

But the fact of the matter is that gun violence is simply not a leading cause of death in the US, and those things that are more likely to kill us or our children — such as prescription drugs and alcohol — are approached with caution and demands for a “measured” approach.

It’s like those opposed to gun ownership have an agenda other than public safety. The next time someone says they want to restrict guns ask them, “What’s the real reason you want to do this?”—Joe]

First rocket VTOL?

This is pretty cool. Via Drudge. With video.

A rocket with landing gear. We saw that in books and SciFi movies all our lives. Never thought it would take this long, but apparently it’s difficult.

Better book yourself a flight. You get four minutes of free-fall, and the best “roller coaster” ride yet. Once they can go orbital it’ll cost more for a ticket I bet.

Bad guys and worse guys, bad news and good news

To laugh or cry. Hard call. A recent terrorist shooting Paris has some unlikely, er, heros? (it’s transplated, and a little hard to tell if it was the big ISIS shooting or another one at a nearby or related restaurant) It is being reported that when the terrorists entered and started shooting, there were people in the restaurant that rose and returned fire, killing “the two attackers.” So score two for the good guys? Well, ordinary civilians can’t easily carry for self-defense, there. Turns out the concealed-carry guys were Columbia narco-cartel traffickers.


Oh, well. Red-on-red fire still counts as a win, yes?

Quote of the day—Sean Davis

Democrats aren’t doing this because they think it’s the only possible way to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons. We know this because we’ve established that the attorney general already has all the power she needs to indict, arrest, convict, and sentence known, dangerous terrorists. Democrats are doing this because they think it will benefit them politically. In the wake of a massive terrorist attack on free, innocent people in Paris, Washington Democrats have decided that their real enemy isn’t ISIS. Just like Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton declared in a recent debate, their real enemies are Republicans.

And they’ll do whatever they can to defeat these dangerous electoral terrorists…even if it requires the wholesale elimination of the constitutional right to due process.

Sean Davis
Co-founder of The Federalist
November 23, 2015
Sorry Democrats, But There Is No ‘Loophole’ That Allows Terrorists To Legally Buy Guns
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Superguts™ @superguts

@Phibear94 Don’t worry about me, go give a hug to those mini dick assault rifle -toting insecure little boys who call emselves men #NRA men.

Tweeted on October 14, 2015
[It’s another Markley’s Law Monday!

Via a tweet from Huntin/Shootin Nurse ‏@Duck_Hunter7.—Joe]

A religio-political tangent

As much as there ever was a primary thread.

I’m working on another book. Well, three or four of them, nominally in parallel. Because one at a time would be to simple 8-0… Anyway, I’m not much of a biblical scholar, but there are a series of related topics that are not “easy look-up” sorts of subjects on Catholic church teachings, monastic order traditions, and canon that I need to know so I don’t make too many , er, “fundamental” errors on the faith and teachings. If you know something about the Bible, and perhaps are a regular church-goer who would like to see that a SF books gets the basic correct and would like to weigh in a few thoughts, head on over to Not A Biblical Scholar and add your two cents worth.

Quote of the day—Brian Keszler

My brother Scott passed away. From what we know, he was sitting at his computer desk and just fell over.

He was supposed to arrive in Phoenix around midnight last night and when we didn’t hear from him by this morning we started making phone calls.

We were able to get a deputy out to his apartment and have the office open the door. The chain was still latched from the inside but nobody responded. The fire department was called to enter the apartment and they found him there. A detective was brought in and said there was no sign of foul play. Given the family history with heart conditions and his many years of smoking, they’re guessing it was a heart attack. A medical examiner was supposed to do an autopsy on Monday but it sounds like they’re just going to do an “external examination”.

Scott absolutely loved the Boomershoot, and he loved sharing it with me, my wife Rachel, and our nephew Cody. He looked forward to it every year and planned ahead for it. He’d come to Phoenix for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the only other time he’d travel anywhere was the annual trek to Idaho so he could enjoy the event you put on.

I wanted to write and tell you the sad news, but also to thank you. The Boomershoot gave us a few extra days every year to hang out and have a good time together.

Brian Keszler
Email, November 21, 2015
[This is Scott at the Boomershoot staff dinner April 28th, 2011:


Here he is making targets at the Taj Mahal April 28th, 2011:


Here he is cleaning equipment after making targets at Boomershoot Mecca May 2nd, 2014:


Near the tree line May 2nd, 2015 with his brother Brian on the left, sister-in-law Rachel in the middle and Scott on the right. I don’t know the name of the guy wearing camouflage:


Scott has been attending Boomershoot since, I think, 2003. For a few years he would drive to Boomershoot from his home in Fargo North Dakota. Later he got a job in the Washington D.C. area and would drive from Virginia to North Dakota, load up his pickup, and then drive to Boomershoot. Yes, I said DRIVE! That’s about 2500 miles each way.

After a couple years of attending he volunteered to help. I accepted and he was always the first person, after me, to arrive. He brought the 200 foot tape we used to mark the shooting positions each year. He helped make the targets. He helped pound stakes, place targets, and came up with new ideas to make Boomershoot better. Each year he brought the two steel targets we would put on the hillside between 550 and 700 yards from the shooting line. If you hear the clang of a bullet on steel in any of the Boomershoot videos during the main event on Sunday it was almost for certain from one of Scott’s targets being hit.

The last several years he always picked shooting position number 46. This is in the “Main” section just to the left of the berm.

He also left a few comments here on this blog. There are 29 comments by my count. Here are some of the better ones:

Other blog posts that make mention of Scott:

He was 53 years old. That is much too young to die.

Scott will be greatly missed.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Lisa Subeck

Our nation has watched as community after community has had to confront the tragedies that occur when weapons designed to kill large numbers of people quickly get into the hands of a dangerous person. No Wisconsin community should ever have to face such a tragedy at the hands of someone armed with a semiautomatic assault weapon.

I can conceive of no legitimate reason that any citizen should need to own or use a semiautomatic assault weapon.

Lisa Subeck
State Representative, Democrat Wisconsin
Media release November 4, 2015.
[H/T to Barron for the email pointer.

I can think of many reasons why citizens should own and use the type of firearms she wishes to ban. And like a fish who doesn’t know what water is Ms. Subeck doesn’t have the imagination to recognized the most obvious reason. That is, the number one reason for owning and becoming skilled in the use of these type of firearms is to defend ourselves against people like her who are contemptuous of basic human rights.

In addition to the general stupidity of her media release her bill demonstrates she is clueless in many dimensions. Here, for example, is her description of the pistols to be banned from the proposed bill:

3.  A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and that has any of the following:
a.  A folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock.
b.  A 2nd handgrip or protruding grip that can be held by the nontrigger hand.
c.  The capacity to accept an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip.
d.  A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer.
e.  A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel, and that permits the user to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being
f.  A manufactured weight of at least 50 ounces when the pistol is unloaded.

She has crap for brains and should be treated as such.

But the real lesson to remember from this is:

Under the bill, whoever transports, purchases, possesses, or transfers a semiautomatic assault weapon is guilty of a felony and may be fined up to $10,000, sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to six years, or both.

Don’t ever let anyone get away with telling you that no one wants to take your guns.—Joe]

Quote of the day—John Nolte

Everything went black the moment the idiotic CNN talking head used the Paris bloodbath to push for American gun control, and then hand-wring over fears of a unicorn known as the “anti-Muslim backlash.”

John Nolte
November 14, 2015
Why CNN Is Dying: Paris Bloodbath Used to Push Gun Control
[I welcome the efforts to use terrorist attacks such as the incident in Paris for gun control efforts. Rational people only have to think about it for a few seconds before dismissing gun control efforts as idiotic in this context.

As noted by Sebastian there is a surge in people seeking concealed carry license. This is attributed to the Paris attacks. Politicians attempting to make guns harder to get will find their plans do poorly at the polls. Think of this as an intelligence test for politicians. If they say and do stupid things then they get their failed test results at the polls.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Robert J. Avrech

The beasts of Islam have declared war against all of Western civilization. And there is no appeasing them. The more you give the more they demand.

And unless the EU stands with Israel against the beasts of Islam, the EU will drown in its own blood.

Robert J. Avrech
November 15, 2015
Paris and The Beasts of Islam
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

You only have to extrapolate a little

King County contains Seattle and many of the surrounding cities. So this is in deep blue territory. And yet King Co. Sheriff asks off-duty officers to carry guns, extra mags after Paris attacks:

King County Sheriff John Urquhart has instructed off-duty deputies to carry their sidearm with extra magazines, following the deadly Paris attacks.

The violence in Paris prompted the sheriff to request, via a letter to his deputies, that off-duty officers be armed with their service weapons and extra magazines of ammo should a terrorist attack hit the Puget Sound region.

The King County Sheriff’s Office has 700 commissioned officers, according to Urquhart. While off-duty deputies were once required to carry their service weapon wherever they went, that is not the case currently.

You only have to extrapolate a little bit to come to the conclusion that the thousands of private citizens with concealed carry permits in the county would dramatically improve the odds of a Paris like attack running into armed resistance in the first few seconds instead of having free rein for several minutes.

Quote of the day—Vladimir Putin

We should not apply any time limits. We should know them all by name. We will search for them everywhere, where ever they are hiding. We will find them in any spot on the planet and punish them.

Vladimir Putin
November 17, 2015
Putin vows payback after confirmation of Egypt plane bomb
[His definition of “punish” will have significant differences from that of our current president. It may well involve removing their entire family line from the gene pool.

The French and the Russians are probably in good agreement on the task at hand. France is asking “European allies” to join them. I expect Israel probably is interesting in cooperating as well. If ISIS follows through on their threat, The American Blood Is Best, and We Will Taste It Soon, then there may be sufficient motivation for our country to “achieve consensus” and put aside our differences with other nations and ally with them to achieve a more “lasting peace” with Islam.

We have the technology to do a much “better” job than we did in the past few hundred years we have been at war with them. If the political will to use it comes about things things will get very ugly.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Larry Correia

Militant Islamist Wahhibi douchebags want to kill you. Period. Don’t make excuses for them. Don’t try to explain them away. They literally want you to submit or die. This isn’t rocket science. Just ask them. They’ll tell you.

Larry Correia
November 16, 2015
Thoughts on Paris
[This is probably one of the most important points you must understand in this war. This isn’t something you can negotiate with them about. It’s not about some piece of desert which contains oil, forcing capitalism on them, poverty, or some misunderstanding that some “smart diplomacy” can fix. You cannot bargain with them anymore than you can bargain with a psychopath who wants to torture and kill you for his pleasure of watching you suffer and die.

You might get concessions from them that slow their attack some. But their long term goals and nature have not changed since the origin of Islam hundreds of years ago. Our country has fought since Jefferson was president. Reading about their mindset and their attitudes at that time is eerily similar to what I read about them now. I am firmly convinced the only long term options we have are:

  1. A low grade war or series of wars that never ends.
  2. We are conquered by them.
  3. We fight to win and completely destroy the religion as it is currently interpreted by those who demand world domination.

The only questions are which option do we chose and if we chose to fight and win how do we do that. I read one post on Facebook by someone I greatly admire which said, in part,

It’s not going away from magical thoughts.

“You can’t kill your way out of this war/to victory”

Really? I guess you’ve never heard of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. We killed the fucking shit out of them and they cried uncle and never raised a fist against us again.

In fact, no war has even been won in the history of mankind that was won any way but killing so many of the enemy that HE admitted he was beaten.

It’s not a good option. There are no good options. This is only the best option.

The Islamic people attacking the west have explicitly said:

The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.

We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling’s, and trading with interest.

You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator.

If you fail to respond to all these conditions, then prepare for fight with the Islamic Nation. The Nation of Monotheism, that puts complete trust on Allah and fears none other than Him.

Their religious belief is that non-believers must convert, submit, or die. We must chose the option which they do not offer. That option is that we fight and completely neutralize those who insist the world be Islamic.—Joe]

Bullets and bombers

Sebastian sent me an email this morning and suggested:

Apparently the Paris bombers had vests made of TATP explosive material. I was wondering if it might make a good post on the nature of the explosive, and particularly its sensitivity to bullets.

Good idea. I have written a little bit about TATP before but not in this context.

Sebastian also wrote on the general topic today. I would like to add that steel matches are excellent practice for making multiple head shots. In the right circumstances five head shots can be made in two seconds flat.

If you are in a shooting situation where your target is in close proximity to TATP explosives you should either make certain you don’t hit the containers or you are prepared to accept the consequences of a detonation. TATP is extremely impact sensitive:

Acetone peroxide impact sensitivity by JudyMaceo

GlobalSecurity.org says, “TATP is one of the most sensitive explosives known, being extremely sensitive to impact, temperature change and friction.” I have zero doubt about a TATP bomb detonating from a bullet impact.

In the case of a suicide bomber give serious consideration to a head shot. This is not just because of the reason above but because if you don’t shut them down in a fraction of a second they are likely to manually detonate it after they take a solid hit to anything but the central nervous system. Even then, a deadman switch could cause detonation as soon as they let go.

The range of the explosion is of course dependent upon the amount of explosives and the type of fragmentation jacket (which creates the shrapnel) used, and the objects between the bomber and innocent people. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this but it is better than no information at all:

A common security drill against suspected suicide bombers is to isolate the suspect to at least 15 metres (49 ft) away from other people, and ask him to remove his upper clothing (coat, shirt, etc.) in order to see if there is an explosive vest strapped under them.

Personally I would want at least this much range between them and me and I would take cover as low to the ground as I could. You will also have fraction of a second between the time you pull the trigger and the time shrapnel arrives at your location. Use that time wisely.

Quote of the day—Jason Bournemouth‏@EczemaBoy

Of course I stand with #CocksNotGlocks. “Sex baaad! Violence gooood!” These little boys running around with penis extensions are pathetic.

Jason Bournemouth‏@EczemaBoy
Tweeted on October 13, 2015
[It’s another Markley’s Law Monday!

Via a tweet from Linoge.—Joe]

Boomershoot 2016 registration

I keep getting asked about Boomershoot 2016. Yes. There will be a Boomershoot 2016. I’m (occasionally) working on the software to handle payment by credit card. I used Google Wallet for most of last year’s event but they discontinued that. I’m converting to PayPal but I just haven’t found the time to make much progress. I’m hoping that I will get it done over Thanksgiving vacation.

When I have it finished and tested I’ll let everyone know the registration dates.

Quote of the day—Brett

This won’t end well.

November 13, 2015
In regard to the ISIS attack on the people of Paris.
[Brett is an extremely smart guy I work with. His knowledge of physics, computers, geology, anthropology, statistics, history, politics, economics, banking, and just about everything is astounding.

At first I thought maybe he was one of those people who just pretends to know everything. But when off the top of his head he tells you the hour an earthquake occurred over three hundred years ago (21:00 on January 26, 1700) and you go looking and find out he was right you start to get a clue. I’ve looked up numerous numbers and things that I found incredible to believe or believe he could remember such details and found he was right. A few times he would report back to me with a correction on something before I got around to look it up.

One time he said a co-worker may be leaving the company soon. I asked why, because I was pretty sure I had all the same information he did in regards to this other person. He told me his son called him “the correlater”. “And?”, I asked. “It’s what I do. And that is what my son calls me sometimes”, he replied. “But why do you say this about our co-worker?”, I insisted. Before he could answer the co-worker appeared, we went silent, they walked up to us, and said, “I’m giving them on month. Then I’m out of here.” Brett looked at me with wide eyes and said, “See?” then expressed his sympathy for our co-worker’s situation.

Friday, as the news of the Paris attacks Brett became very sad and concerned. And repeatedly said, “This won’t end well.” Anyone could have said it and one would find it plausible if not exceedingly likely. When Brett says it then it takes it to a whole new level.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Bruce Schneier

I have recently come to the conclusion that e-mail is fundamentally unsecurable. The things we want out of e-mail, and an e-mail system, are not readily compatible with encryption.

Bruce Schneier
November 12, 2015
Testing the Usability of PGP Encryption Tools
[Interesting observation. I tried to do encrypted email with some other people for a while and it didn’t last long. Things like searching for an old email was impossible. And the subject of the email was never encrypted so you would either leak a lot of information with the subject or you could decrypt just the one email you wanted to look at again.—Joe]