Another sign

Amendment II Democrats:

Today, Amendment II Democrats pledges itself to helping take back America from the Republican Party and giving it back to the people. We will settle for nothing less than a Democratic House and Senate in 2006. And, at the same time, there is a golden opportunity for pro-RKBA Democrats to dramatically change firearms policy within the Democratic Party itself from the ground up. All we have to do is join together, stand up on our hind legs, and exercise our First Amendment rights if we want any hope of affecting real change within the party of Jefferson, Kennedy, and F.D. Roosevelt.

Can anyone name a U.S. political party that openly says, “We are opposed to the people having the right to keep and bear arms.”? Certainly there are individual politicians that work to subvert it and are openly for gun control. But they don’t dare make it a party platform.

We are making progress. We just need to drive the remaining bigots into political extinction. Once the gun issue is under control we can working on the next greatest threat to our freedom. My vote probably would be to set our sights on the war on some drugs or the income tax.

Thou shalt not mock the kings men

I used a statement from security researcher Christopher Soghoian for the quote of the day a couple days ago. He said airport security was really “security theater”. Even before I had made that post the FBI had raided his home:

Soghoian … came home Saturday morning to find his door forced open, “a rather ransacked home, a search warrant taped to my kitchen table, a total absence of computers — and various other important things.”

It’s not that he’s trying to compromise airport security. It’s that he’s pointing out that airport security already is compromised, or, as his site used to read, “The TSA Emperor Has No Clothes.”

They should have arrested whoever came up with the stupid “security” procedures at the airports for wasting taxpayer money. But that’s not the way it works. I’m reminded of something $g(Joe Waldron) told me a long time ago about dealing with the police:

Once they have decided they want to talk to you the worst offense you can commit is “contempt of cop”.

The Pill for men

I remember when “The Pill”, as it is called, came out in the 60′s. It changed a lot of things. I doubt the male version will have as big of effect but it’s still interesting:

Men concerned about contraception may soon be able to use the male equivalent of the Pill, without the potential side-effects of a drug based on altering the balance of sex hormones.

Scientists have developed a chemical contraceptive that temporarily blocks the development of sperm but does not interfere with testosterone levels.

Trials on laboratory animals have shown that the contraceptive effect is reversible and that there are no apparent long-term side-effects. Human trials of the new male contraceptive could begin within the next few years.

The biggest change I predict will be the child support issues that arise when the man thinks his female sex partner is using some sort of birth control when in fact she was careless or even deliberately not using something. The man now has a means to protect himself from unwanted pregnancies of that sort while still preserving his options for a child at a later date.

The Dead Sea Scrolls

Barb and I visited the exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. Very interesting. It wasn’t overwhelming or awesome. It was more like somber reverence. To actually be looking at documents that were written over 2100 years ago put me in a very somber mood.

From what I could tell there weren’t any big revelations in the documents. A lot of them were copies of known works of the existing Bible. Others were rules for “purification” and other standards of behavior for a particular Jewish sect.

It was worth my time and money to see them since it was only a 30 minute drive and $20.00 to get in the door. Knowing what I know now I probably wouldn’t travel a 1000 miles and pay hundreds of dollars to see them. But then I’m an atheist and don’t consider the documents to be the word of god(s) either.

Update: I forgot to mention the indignity of attending. There was a big sign just before you went in the building but after you had paid for your ticket that said no firearms or knives. It even said mandatory search of bags. I had to find a locker across the way to put my knives and my handgun in. There was no search of my person and I’m pretty sure there were no metal detectors so I probably could have defied the sign and gotten away with it.

But what was the reason? Did they think someone was going to go off the deep end and shoot a 2100 year old scrap of parchment? Oh, I forgot, they don’t need a reason.

Choosing the right metric

One of my “hot buttons” is when people choose the wrong measurement for optimization.

I did that with Boomershoot 2005 when I tweaked the explosive mixture such that I got good results with a rim-fire .22. It turned out that the typical center-fire bullets had great difficulty detonating them.

This metric problem was one of my points in this post.

I heard of one software company that gave raises out based on the number of lines of code produced by the software developers. This adversely affected the designs, implementations, and even style of the code produced.

Another well known anti-virus software company paid bonuses for quickly finding solutions to new computer viruses. One enterprising employee became well known for finding figuring them out. Of course he didn’t tell management that he had created these same viruses and released them into the wild.

Gun control advocates rejoice and claim they were right when deaths and injuries due to bullet wounds decrease after a restriction on firearms is passed into law. They do that even if violent crime, injuries, and deaths increase. They ignore that many of those deaths and injuries are justifiable or even praiseworthy shootings that stopped criminal attacks.

Another one is that windmill manufactures work toward greater efficiency. In most cases this is the wrong measurement. The only case that this is important is if land space or wind is in short supply. If you have lots of land that can host windmills then the correct metric is cost per kilowatt-hour over the lifetime of the windmill.

Some of the first mass produced solar cells were for use in spacecraft. Area and weight were at a premium and hence efficiency was one of the proper metrics to use in the design. That is not true for the side of the shed I used for mixing and storing explosives over a quarter mile from the nearest usable power line. I have lots of area and I don’t care if it takes ten times as much area as the more efficient but twice as expensive solar cells to generate the same power. This is now being realized by the manufactures.

Examine every metric carefully. Think about the unintended consequences. Think about what is really important to the target audience. It can make a huge difference.

The consequences of gay marriage

Clayton claims that that the recent court rulings on allowing gay marriage, “… is likely to make the legal situation for homosexuals more difficult, not easier.” He also predicts that these court rulings will help get Republicans to the polls this election.

I agree with this latter point but disagree with the first. I think gay marriage as well as equal rights for gay is here to stay. It is an idea whose time has come. The worst anti-gay politicians can do is slow down the inevitable. The reason is because there have not been any dire consequences happen that are attributable to acceptance of gays in society. Just as gun owners right to carry weapons for self defense were gradually recognized in state after state without “blood running in the streets” so it is with gays and the recognization of their rights.

It will be scary for some, just as it was with people carrying firearms in public, but eventually the fear will subside and most people will accept it.

Running up the white flag

According to Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University:

Democrats have run up the white flag. They have evidently concluded that curtailing the right of gun ownership is a nonstarter, especially if they intend to pursue victory in 50 states.

He speaks of “curtailing the right” as if it were a good thing. Would he speak so highly of curtailing the right of free speech? Or curtailing the right of due process? And he calls this running up the white flag? How about reluctantly acknowledging that the public will tolerate few further infringements of their right to gun ownership?

And this point total ignores the reality of those infringements being useless in terms of furthering public safety.

Get a grip on reality man. The Democrats needed a clue-by-four but at least most of them now avoid leading with their chin with their crazy ideas to restrict this particular inalienable right.

Response to The United Federation of Planets

Kevin has at long last delivered The Überpost!

I can’t really disagree with the essence of what he says but I’m going to play devils advocate for a bit. And I’m certain he already recognizes the problem I am about to point out. He says:

But the ideas of Western civilization in general, and the American philosophy in specific have proven themselves superior.

“Superior” on what scale? How is it that you measure that superiority? By the scale used by Muslims we are arrogant, decadent, and sinful. We drink alcohol. Our women, who are the tools of Satan, are allowed to tempt men with exposed skin in public are allowed to attend schools. We charge interest on the loaning of money. We do not pray to Allah. We tempt the youth of the faithful to desert that which is holy and become sinful. We have succumbed to Satan. Our power is not proof of our superiority. It is proof of the bargain we have made with the Prince of Darkness.

The Germans in the late 30′s had a “noble goal” as well–”purification” of the human race. A similar argument could be made of the Japanese in the same time frame.

Who are you to say Western civilization is superior? By what measure and how have you determined that measure is superior?

[End devils advocate mode.]

Other things that come to mind from his post:

In the Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order Huntington said that frequently after one civilization convincingly wins a conflict with another civilization the loser imitates many of the characteristics of the winner. If the loser has a framework for dealing with the loss then there can be peace for a while. In particular the Chinese and the Japanese civilizations have the concept of a hierarchy of power and when the West unequivocally demonstrated greater military and economic power they had a cultural construct for at least a short term (in civilizational time scales) peaceful co-existence with the West being the superior civilization.

Islam does not have as much resiliency in this regard. After their defeats in the first part of the last century they realized they had to learn from the West and adapt what they could to their civilization. But they have no cultural construct of accepting non-Islamic people or institutions as being superior to Islam. If such a thing appears to be true then it is proof that those Muslims were not Islamic enough. It was proof that Allah was punishing them by allowing Satan to rule over them. Hence the demonstrations of the West being of superior power only means they must be even greater adherents to Islam.

They also have no concept of pacifism as a virtue (I am not a pacifist but consider input from those that are a useful balance of ideas in how to deal with conflict). Their greatest religious leader was a warrior and is praised for his warrior acts. The killing of infidels is regarded as not only acceptable or praiseworthy but as necessary acts of profound devotion to their faith.

Paraphrasing Greg Hamilton here: In the eyes of Muslims what Osama Bin Laden has to say about the West is as inherently obvious, once articulated, to them as the superiority of Western civilization is to us.

As to the central question brought up by Kevin I think he misses a concept that can help explain, or at least rationalize, our killing the civilians of cases such as the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo and the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In our minds we were not the aggressor–Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was unprovoked. The Japanese, of course, have a different view on this. We believed Germany’s aggression would not end with the conquest of Europe and ultimately would be a threat to us if it was not stopped in Europe. The aggressor, in our minds, is the criminal in a conflict. Criminals do not have the same rights as innocents. That combined with the view in both Germany, at that time, and Japan that the concept of individualism was almost if not in fact repugnant. The State (in Germany) and the Emperor (in Japan) were what the individual existed to serve. Hence, we were “playing by their own rules” by killing civilians in our efforts to defeat the Germany state and the Emperor of Japan. And even then it is clear that many had serious qualms about the actions taken. We weren’t blind to the hypocrisy of suspending our principles. It was a reluctant pragmatic concession to reality not mapping perfectly to our theory of individual rights. It was an ugly thing, as is all war, but it was the least ugly of the available alternatives.

This last point could be just another way of saying what Kevin offers when he offers this quote from Second Hand Lions on how we justify our violations of others “inalienable” right to life:

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love, true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in.

Lots of things to think about. Thank you Kevin.

Beltway snipers

The Beltway Snipers have been of more than casual interest to me for numerous reasons. Even before we knew who they were or their motives it was source of concern because of the damage it did to our right to keep and bear arms. I was also asked by a program manager when I worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory if I had any ideas on how to catch them. The labs were getting asked by law enforcement for help. I didn’t really have anything other than what was already known. I don’t really think short of creating a surveillance society of both video and audio sensors that new technology can offer much help in catching criminals of this nature. But that’s getting off my main impetus for this post.

Michelle Malkin points out one of the criminals has confessed to another murder in Arizona.

It’s amazing to me how much these criminal got away with before being caught. And then they only got caught after they started leaving notes for the police!

It appears that because their motives are not obvious from the crimes it was extremely difficult to find suspects to examine for evidence. Scary stuff.

Quote of the day–Greg Hamilton

…according to their linguistic constructs they are not gay, according to ours, they are. Same behavior, different categorization based on the framework you start with. The Greek language did not support concepts like straight and gay. Their categories deal with what type of sex you liked to have. In easy terminology an actor vs. receiver of oral, anal or vaginal intercourse. Nothing in their construct included which sex either party was.

So by creating a different framework you can have two people engaging in the same behavior but identifying it completely differently.

Osama Bin Laden has constructed a perfectly logical argument given the start point of the Koran. His arguments have been challenged and found correct by religious law. He has constructed a perfect sales pitch for the market he is trying to capture. It makes sense, and resonates no less in their hearts and minds, than Thomas Paine’s and Thomas Jefferson’s words resonated in ours. (Not in any way trying to confer moral equivalency)

We started with a framework that made what the founding father have to say as being very powerful. They start in a place that makes what Bin Laden is selling as powerful if not more.

Greg Hamilton
August 8, 2006 7:20 PM
From the email list: insightstraining @ yahoogroups.com

I tried but I couldn’t do it

I started reading the Brady Center’s “report” titled The NRA: A Criminal’s Best Friend–How the National Rifle Association Has Handcuffed Federal Gun Law Enforcement but had to stop when I got to:

<blockquote”>

…rolled back this provision of the Gun Control Act, leading to the dangerous spread of gun shows and sales by licensed gun dealers to criminals outside their place of business at these largely unregulated arms bazaars.

“Dangerous spread of gun shows”? Exercising the constitutionally protected rights of freedom of association and the right to keep and bear arms is “dangerous”? And no one can legally sell to convicted felons in or outside their place of business. There’s no exemption in the law for gun shows.

I have Just One Question for these bigots–the KKK of the 21st Century.

Random

The conversation Friday morning went like this:

She: How is work going?
Me: Pretty good. I’m having to come up to speed on something new again and that is stressful but I’m doing okay.
She: Are silencers legal?
Me: Suppressors are legal to own in Washington State but they are not legal to use in the state. What made you ask that?
She: They sure were random, jumping from topic to topic, last night.
Me [with mouth ajar for a few seconds before answering]: I don’t know anyone else like that.

Boomershoot 2007 celebrities

I just received word that Neaderpundit plans to attend Boomershoot 2007. We also have bloggers David from Random Nuclear Strikes and Kirk from Fun Turns to Tragedy each attending for the second time. Lyle who is a part-time blogger here and a principle of UltiMAK will be attending too. Ry of Mindless Bit Spew, of course, and “Leroy Brown” from Periodic Journal of my wanderings will be helping make things happen behind the scenes as well as doing a fair amount of “copper engraving” on Sunday.

Lee Ann Frailey (“Everything’s better with a boom“) and her husband will be there.  Steve Joachim will be back with his flying anvil (watch the video or the one here).

In the category of “people with celebrity names but aren’t really” we have Dave Barry and Kevin Klein attending. There are also an amazing number of people from a gun club at a company that must not be named in western Washington including some moderately high placed manager types.

Boomershoot 2007 is going to have some great people attending. This being the 11th Boomershoot I have put on I should be able to deliver on my end of the deal. About the only thing that can prevent us from having great time is Mother Nature.

Quote of the day–Christopher Soghoian

I don’t want to help terrorists or help bad guys do bad things on airplanes, but what we have now is what we in the industry call ‘security theater.’ It’s made to make you think you’re secure without actually making you secure. As a member of the academic research community, I consider this to be a public service.

Christopher Soghoian
October 27, 2006
ABC News
Web Site Lets Anyone Create Fake Boarding Passes
[Yup. Airplane "security" is a joke. We spend the billions because it makes some people feel better. It doesn't make us any safer.--Joe]

I’m so tempted

“Evil thoughts” from reading this:

Your generous donation and bids on our auction will support the Freedom States Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to “Changing the Way America Things About Guns.” 

All proceeds go directly to grassroots organizations working to reduce gun violence.

Our auction items range from exotic vacation getaways to donated items guaranteed to delight and surprise!

I wonder what the reaction would be if I donated a shooting position at Boomershoot 2007 for their auction. I guarantee my donation would “surprise”. And I would get a great deal of delight from it if I could see the expression on their face. But since they would get all the surprise and I can’t get any of the delight I’ll just continue to fantasize about it.

Boomershoot 2007 continues to fill

Boomershoot 2007 is now almost three fourths full with 52 of the 70 positions are taken and I have received email from people that say, paraphrased, “A bunch of my buddies and I are going to be there. We just don’t know how many yet.”

I continue to be amazed. It was the middle of March before Boomershoot 2006 was this full.

Sign up soon or you’ll have to wait until Boomershoot 2008.