Why does she need permission to protect herself?

My niece Lisa will be 23 years old in a few months and is getting her Masters degree in Atlanta. She recently posted this on her blog:

Atlanta is a scary place and I would appreciate being able to carry on campus.  One night I could not avoid walking across campus in the dark by myself and let me tell you, I had my switchblade in one hand and my keys in the other.  Luckily for ME, nothing happened, but there are plenty others who haven’t been so lucky, even in broad daylight. 

Would carrying a firearm have made me feel safer?  Yes, indeed, it would have.  I’m pretty sure a girl pulling out a handgun would make a “bad guy” run faster than seeing her with a knife, which is really only effective for self-defense in extremely close proximity.

I know there are a lot of people who are scared of guns and think that making carry legal on school campuses would increase crime, but let’s be honest: the ones who are going to commit a crime aren’t scared to break another few laws.  At least give me a fighting chance against them.

She can carry her handgun essentially everyplace else in Georgia (or Idaho) why does the state think she should not be allowed to protect herself while on campus? When, where, and how do they think they were granted the power to demand she ask for them for permission? And who made them god(s) and allowed them to deny her that permission?

Random thought of the day

Various news outlets have been repeating what Virginia Tech shooting survivor and Brady Campaign staffer Colin Goddard says:

But Colin Goddard, who was wounded in the Virginia Tech shooting and now works with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, says that allowing guns on campus won’t provide a defense to students in emergency situations.

You have no idea what a situation like this is like. There was never a time that I thought I could have saved the day or defended myself. I didn’t know what was going on until I got shot.

It occurs to me that the Brady Campaign is promoting Goddard as an expert and the media is accepting that. But does he have any training or expertise as a shooter? I’ll grant that he is an expert at getting shot. But I don’t think that takes a whole lot of practice or that his experience is something that we can use a guide for how to handle the situation he experienced.

Quote of the day—Diane Dimond

Truth be told, I’d like to see all guns — from small handguns and Glocks to rifles and semi-automatic types — melted down and used for scrap.

Tra-la-lah! Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world that found no need for guns at all?

Diane Dimond
February 27, 2011
Will guns make college campuses safer?
[Truth be told, when she puts her feelings put aside she appears to be reluctantly on our side. She realizes that her feelings are not realistic. She appears to be very conflicted about it but realizes that the utopian ideal of no need for guns isn’t achievable.

I found myself spending quite a bit of time pondering her last sentence I quoted above. It’s a big leap to imagine that type of world where there was “no need for guns at all”. But yeah. I think she is right. If there was no need for guns at all the world would be a better place. No violent crime to be defended against, no wars to fight, you could hunt wild game with bow and arrow or easily trap them. I wonder if we were to admit to the vehement anti-gunners their utopian world sounds nice to us too but utopia isn’t an option. We are realists and if they had a plan by which their utopia was achievable we would work towards that goal with them and then when we reach utopia we would give up our guns. Would they accept the deal, put the gun restrictions aside and work on their utopia? Or do they believe the guns have to go first before their utopia can be achieved? I’m betting it is the latter but I think it would be an interesting conversation.—Joe]

Winter storm warning

I was going to go to the Steel Challenge match today but I have to drive 300 miles back to my hidden underground bunker today and this little issue came up:

Winter Storm Warning
(Expires: Monday February 28 4:00PM PST)

the national weather service in spokane has issued a winter storm
warning for heavy snow and blowing snow which is in effect from 4
am this morning to 4 pm pst monday.

snow accumulations: total snow accumulations of 8 to 10 inches
are expected from this morning through monday afternoon.

elevation: all elevations.

timing: snow will begin this morning, increase through the
afternoon, taper off tonight, then ioncrease again monday.

locations include: moscow, plummer, potlatch, genesee

winds: winds will increase and become gusty late today through
monday, producing areas of blowing or drifting snow. gusts to
35 mph will be possible.

impacts: difficult driving conditions will be a certainty,
with visibilities dropping significantly in wind prone
locations due to blowing snow.

Similar warnings exist for nearly the entire route back to my bunker. It could be a long drive and I need to get started early and make as much of the trip as I can in daylight.

Quote of the day—Rep. Hal Wick

Do I or the other co-sponsors believe that the state of South Dakota can require citizens to buy firearms? Of course not. But at the same time, we do not believe the federal government can order every citizen to buy health insurance.

Rep. Hal Wick
State Representative in South Dakota
Arizona shooting has little effect on national gun debate
[I’m not familiar with the constitution or laws of South Dakota but if they require you to have liability insurance before you can drive your car on their roads then it would seem to me they could require you to have road flares, a fire extinguisher, and a gun in your car before you can use their roads. That does not necessarily expand to all South Dakota citizens but it sure would cover a lot of them. And it would amuse me greatly that before Joan Peterson, Brady Campaign board member living next door in Minnesota, could visit she would have to have a gun in the vehicle.

The health care requirement the Feds are attempting would appear to be something completely different. Driving on public roads is a privilege granted by the state, mere existence is not.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Sarah Brady

We are here today to tell you about an industry whose secrecy, opportunism, cynicism and disdain for consumer protection make it the next logical target for reform in America. That industry has hidden behind its mouthpieces and lobbyists for years and years. That industry, although it contains some respectable and responsible companies, also has chief executives who boast about marketing tools of mass murder.

Sarah Brady
Symposium moderator and Chair of Handgun Control, Inc. and the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.
October 8, 1997
[It appears the “mass murder” sound-bite has been around for quite a while. It’s not quite “weapon of mass destruction” like some people recently started saying but it’s close.

I thought this was an appropriate QOTD since I received my T-Shirt yesterday. If it’s not too cold (it got down to -7F last night but it has now warmed up to a balmy 12F) to show it off I’ll wear it to the Steel Challenge match tomorrow.—Joe]

Alright, Classmates…

We’ve been talking about this for several years here.  Who can tell us how Rand Paul utterly failed in this interview;

ETA; YouTube imbedding has been disable for this video, but you can still see it here.

Letterman make a pretty good attempt at it, but Paul is left like a deer in the headlights and didn’t even make the attempt.  As Rand herself would say; “Blank-out.”  Then she would go on to explain how the self described conservative voices are the worst, most deadly enemies of conservatism.

I give him a C minus as a junior high school student.  He did show having done some homework and some listening in class, but I’d flunk him from high school.  Maybe it was just nerves, but I don’t buy that.  You don’t forget your main point– the thing you’ve ostensibly been striving for all your professional life.  I kept waiting for it– fully expecting it, but alas.  Maybe he’s just another Republican.


HT to theblaze.com

Finland sounds nice

Background material: Recently Microsoft and Nokia announced a partnership for mobile phones. I work for Microsoft on mobile phone software. The home office of Nokia is in Finland.

Earlier this week I had to travel on business to San Diego. Shortly after I left there was a pretty major snow storm in Redmond, the Microsoft campus was partially shut down and a lot of people couldn’t make it in to work and/or chose to not risk travel on the icy roads. Many decided to work from home (WFH) which is encouraged by Microsoft.

I drive a 4×4 with studded tires all the way around and frequently walk to work instead of driving anyway. I like seeing fresh snow on the ground and don’t have a problem with it as long as it is not so heavy that falling trees take down the power. Even that is usually only a minor annoyance because I just leave and go to my home in Idaho and wait for the power to come back on or come back with my 3000 Watt generator. What’s the big deal?

With that background here is an email thread which occurred in our work group while I was out of town:

From: Chet
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:07 AM
Subject: WFH

I will WFH today.

From: Haitao
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:23 AM
Subject: RE: WFH

Same here.

From: Joe Huffman
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:30 AM
Subject: RE: WFH

I’m going to work from San Diego today. It is currently 55F with lots of  sunshine.

I wish I was in Redmond so I could enjoy the snow too but I’m stuck here for at least a few more hours.

Sent from my Windows Phone

From: Michael
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 9:03 AM
Subject: RE: WFH

Don’t push it or the next trip could be to Finland.

It was a long time ago but I did read and remember the story of Br’er Rabbit and the Briar Patch.

From: Joe Huffman
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:18 AM
Subject: RE: WFH

Finland sounds nice. When do I leave?

Sent from my Windows Phone

New Windows Phone Ad: What if?

The featured phone is the same one I have and that I gave wife Barbara and daughters Kim and Xenia for Christmas. Barb explicitly told me not to get her one (after I had already bought it). But now she uses it all the time. She plays games on it, she listens to music with it, sends text messages, and she can even check the weather and make phone calls with it. She has thanked me repeatedly since Christmas for getting it for her even though she thought she wouldn’t like anything “too complicated”. It’s not complicated.

It is also the same one that son James and his fiancé Kelsey have. I evaluated all the Windows Phone 7 available just before Christmas and the Samsung Focus edged out all the others with it’s bright display, the camera, and the sound quality. Others apparently agree because from what I’m hearing it is a very, very popular phone.

Full disclosure—I work for Microsoft and I wrote some of the software that goes into this phone.

Quote of the day—MikeB302000

I think what you guys have decided, if I understand you correctly, is you’ve taken a fairly universally accepted right like “life,” the idea that we all have a right to “life,” and you’ve moved from there to “self-defense.” If we have a right to “life” we must have a right to defend that life. So far so good. But here’s where you lose me and a lot of other people too, If you have a right to “self-defense,” you keep saying, then you have a right to own guns in order to best exercise that self-defense. I say that doesn’t follow.

How about this? We have a right to life, right? Too many guns in the hands of irresponsible or criminal people are interfering with that right, the right to life. We need proper (strict) gun control laws in order to ensure the ability of people to enjoy their right to “life.”

Why would your leap of faith that easy individual gun ownership is the best way to exercise our right to life be any more valid than my idea that the best way is to severely restrict and control guns?

February 23, 2011
Comment to Quote of the day—LaciTheDog
[As I mentioned in the comments I was fairly impressed with MikeB302000 comment. It showed remarkable understanding of our position and a plausible alternate conclusion. And he did it without his usual animosity. I said that I would respond to him. But it took far more time and words than I thought it would and my response brings up points that I wanted to get more visibility than they would in a comment. I know I run the risk of exceeding his attention span but perhaps the first few paragraphs will get sufficient information across that he will at least catch a glimmer of my point.


You don’t explicitly call it this but your claim ‘We need proper (strict) gun control laws in order to ensure the ability of people to enjoy their right to “life.”’ is a hypothesis. And in the absence of little or no data I would consider it a quite reasonable hypothesis. Even “common sense”. Perhaps even qualifying as obvious and of little need for validation. In fact, I think it is just as common sense and obvious as the hypothesis that the earth is flat was 500+ years ago.

I think this is where your weak point is. It is “obvious” to you and your fellow gun control supporters. In your camp there is no need for validation. It is so obvious that if was just “done right” strict gun control would result in a safer society. But the test data does not support your hypothesis.

But after many decades of testing this hypothesis, all over the world, in many different circumstances and cultures the best that can be said about gun control is that the benefits are inconclusive. If you want to look at more middle of the road data we have the example of what happened to the murder rate in Washington D.C. when the gun ban was declared unconstitutional. Within one year it dropped to the lowest level since 1985 – a 24 year low. And what about forcible rape? That turned out different. Within one year it dropped to the lowest level since 1967—a 42 year low. Or (via Roberta’s comment) some international data that suggests similar trends. That should be a strong hint that strict gun laws are not the solution to increasing public safety.

But if you want to look at the strongest evidence that gun control is a risk to public safety look at the genocides committed in the 20th Century. From the 1 to 1.5 million Armenians murdered in Ottoman Turkey from 1915->1917 to the 800,000 Tutsi murdered in Rwanda in 1994 gun control enabled the murder of tens of millions of people by their own governments. The evidence continues to mount in places like Darfur. Genocide only occurs when the government knows who owns the guns and/or bans guns.

I think of people advocating gun control similar to people still claiming the earth is flat. They are absolutely correct that evidence to support their belief is all around us. It’s easy to see they are correct. It’s obvious if you just look around your neighborhoods and cities. But as soon as you look at the question from a little higher altitude you see the curvature of the earth and then you see the earth is unmistakably round and that gun control is not a net win for society.

Perhaps an analogy with public safety implications will help get the point across. When nearly everyone gets vaccinated you don’t see the downside of not being vaccinated. You only see the one in 10,000 or one in 100,000 that dies from a reaction to the vaccine. It is difficult to directly see the benefits. It is only through control groups and testing that the hypothesis is rejected and gun control is found to not improve public safety. The one valid point gun control advocates have is (as first pointed out to me in Wright and Rossi’s book) is that with firearms relatively freely accessible it enables criminals to hit harder targets. Instead of young thugs snatching purses from little old ladies they can “knock off” a bank or maybe even an armored car. Just as with vaccines there are innocent victims no matter which path you take.

Gun control shifts the demographics of the victims. How do you want to measure public safety? If you want to measure it strictly by the number of deaths which occur via a bullet, as Joan Peterson apparently does, then you end up with a different solution than you do if you measure public safety in terms of total murders and/or violence crime rates. Most people see no benefit to being murdered or raped by a criminal using a club or a knife instead of gun and this is a big part of why we are winning the gun control debate. This is especially true when the chances of being injured by a criminal increase with increased gun control.

Using the most favorable data to gun control advocates they can only say that the demographics of violent crime are changed in some favorable manner. They end up arguing that one person’s life is more important than an other. I suspect this is part of why the liberal elites are frequently in favor of gun control. It probably does make them safer because the rich generally are “harder targets”. And this is also the basis of “it’s for the children” type of arguments. With very strict gun control society can reduce the number of accident deaths of children. It’s not like murder, rape, or armed robbery where substitute tools come into play. Without guns in the home there will not be a substitute in accidental deaths by drowning or poisoning. What will be substituted is an increase in the murder rate for the weak who might have been able to defend themselves had they had access to the proper tools. And in the long term even the murder rate of children is dramatically increased because of the increased risk of genocide which seldom shows mercy to children.

Gun control also violates the principle of prior restraint. For the most part we punish actions which have victims. If one were to falsely shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater and it resulted in injures there could be both criminal and civil actions against the perpetrator. This is a reasonable restriction on free speech. An unreasonable restriction on free speech would be to duct tape everyone’s mouth shut as they enter the theater. The analogous restriction on firearms is that you couldn’t shoot your firearm in the theater unless it was to stop an attack that was believed to be a immediate threat of death or permanent injury. Something on the order of 10 billion bullets are consumed by private citizens in the U.S. every year yet there are only about 100,000 injuries via shooting. That is a ratio of 100,000:1. In other words a gun being fired is up to 100,000 times more likely to be used beneficially or innocently than maliciously or result in an accidental injury. [Yes, I know that the way I used the number it assumes only one shot per injury or death, but the 100,000 injuries or deaths also includes legally justified shootings of people. I’m hoping the errors will come close to canceling each other out.]

Yes, people have a right to life and gun control is a plausible means of preserving innocent life but when put to the test it failed to live up to it’s promise. It’s time to end the experiments.—Joe]

15% off on Boomershoot merchandise from Cafepress

I just got an email from Cafepress saying that if you use the coupon code FFEB1145 on orders more than $45 through tomorrow to get 15% off. Fine print follows:

Save 15% off for cafepress.com shop orders of $45 or more, excluding shipping charges, gift wrap charges and applicable sales tax. All orders must be added to cart from cafepress.com shops only. Excludes CafePress marketplace purchases (e.g. all products added to cart from URLs beginning with the following (i) http://shop.cafepress.com, (ii) http://t-shirts.cafepress.com and/or (iii) http://www.cafepress.com/sk/), Gift Certificates, Flip products, SIGG bottles, Thermos products, yoga mats and CafePress Make, Groups, and bulk orders. Coupon code FFEB1145 must be entered at check out. Promotion starts on February 24, 2011 at 12:00 a.m. (PST) and ends on February 25, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. (PST). Offer valid online at cafepress.com only, cannot be combined with any other coupons or promotions and may change, be modified or cancelled at anytime without notice. This promotion cannot be applied to past orders.

The Boomershoot Cafepress shop is here.

Quote of the day—Yu-Ain Gonnano

Very macho, that. If you pulled that out, the other gangbangers probably wouldn’t even shoot you. They’d just give you a wedgie and take your lunch money.

Yu-Ain Gonnano
February 24, 2011
Comment to Quote of the day—Violence Policy Center.
[Of course the VPC didn’t see things that way. But their vision has always been reality impaired.—Joe]

Shunning the TSA

As reported elsewhere the TSA is being shunned at some Seattle airport area restaurants.

But it may not be true. I think it is probably too good to be true.

I flew out of the SEATAC airport this morning but was unaware of the claims and running a little to late to check it out anyway. If I can catch an early flight back tomorrow and arrive at a decent hour I’ll try to check it out.

Update: I was unable to get an earlier flight and I will be getting in very late. There is a strong suspicion that the story is a hoax and others apparently have already put more research effort into it that I would have been able to.

Quote of the day—LaciTheDog

I have to admit that I find the US concept of rights to be incredibly biased and ignorant.  It seems that they are stuck in the rut of inalienable rights, natural rights, god given rights, and pre-existing rights. Various definitions of inalienability include non-relinquishability, non-salability, and non-transferability. If one thinks about it, all those terms are gibberish.

Thus these are nice terms, but truly meaningless as any person with a mind can figure out. Society is what grants rights and it grants the rights which enable certain minimum standards which are ‘of the very essence of a scheme of ordered liberty.’ It does not grant rights which would create a state of anarchy or otherwise contrary to public order.

Rights: Natural and Legal
[I find this rather amusing.

He claims those who were regarded as the best political philosophers of their time spent weeks carefully writing what they knew was the most important document in their lifetime ended up with meaningless gibberish. I have to wonder how he came to achieve such a high state of enlightenment. Or perhaps he should reevaluate his own writings for indications of meaningless gibberish.

Since I doubt that there will be any forthcoming self evaluation I will do my own evaluation of this particular post by LaciTheDog.

In other parts of the post he paraphrases Edmund Burke. It is true Burke argued against metaphysical/natural rights of ordinary men but he leaves out the part where Burke argues that rights are granted by the king who was granted his rights from God.

It appears that LaciTheDog must now argue he is improving upon the philosophy Burke in that some entity with the name of “society” inherited the role of King or God and now is in a position to bestow or withhold those rights as desired. In the absence of a King and/or God(s) one has to wonder why the individual did not inherit this power but perhaps this knowledge comes from great enlightenment.

Overlooking that major gap in his reasoning I would now like to point out that the Declaration of Independence specifically rejected Burke’s philosophy and the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights rejected LaciTheDog’s “improvements”.

But the real meat of the LaciTheDog deficiencies are that he argues rights are granted and can be taken away by government and/or society. Implicit (and nearly explicit in his post) is that force is used as needed to take rights away from the individual. And it must follow that if the force necessary to remove those rights does not exist then the right remains with the original holder. And this is the part I find most amusing.

LaciTheDog is opposed to individuals having the right to keep and bear arms and has specifically stated that no such right exists. Yet the right is recognized by the majority of the people in our society, the courts, most of the legislators, and the executive branch (or at least given lip service). And even if the entire population that does not own firearms were to agree that no such right exists and they held even a moderate majority they would be incapability of enforcing that decision upon the population of gun owners because the tools of applying force would be in the hands of the gun owners—hence by LaciTheDog’s own philosophy the gun owners would still retain the right simply because no societal element was capable of taking the right away.

It boils down to LaciTheDog saying society can forcibly take away the right to keep and bear arms on a whim and society is philosophically entitled to do this because it can forcibly accomplish it.

I say, Molōn labe!—Joe]

Allen West Spanks a Koran Thumper

Interesting isn’t it, how the left has always hated America-loving Bible Thumpers, but has no problem at all with America-hating Koran Thumpers?

West would make a great president, I’m thinking.  Too bad the video isn’t subtitled.  The CAIR rep, when confronted by West, I think, responds; “Hakkalakka, Muhammad jihad! Derka derka!” but I can’t quite make it out so I’m not sure.  The CAIR people aren’t accustomed to having anyone correct their ridiculous assertions.  I guess they’ll have to start learning on the job.

Hat tip to Glen Beck, who mentioned this on the radio this morning.

Collective Firing Rights

There sure is a lot of talk about it, but little discussion of it.  Where is it written that public service employees (formerly known as public servants) have a right to collective bargaining?  Regular citizens have rights.  Government employees have responsibilities.  Do your job and quit yer bitchin’ or get out and get a real job– start your own business.  Whatever.  Just shut up and go away.  We never really needed most of you in those public positions in the first place.

I’m not so sure we should ever allow them to organize.  That’s what regular folks do, once in a while, and even then their employers have the right to collectively fire them.

Surely the public servants’ “right” to collective bargaining should come with the right to be collectively fired.  Maybe it’s time to grant them the latter, over there in Wisconsin.

Somehow an angry rent-a-mob of Marxist beatniks and global “One Big Union” socialist revolutionaries demanding more goodies from the pockets of taxpayers doesn’t sit right.  They’re certainly not what they want to be– equal in principle to civil rights marchers.  Not even remotely.

Since they’re pissed off at the state government and trying to stifle the democratic process therein, shouldn’t we be calling them Angry, Anti Government Protestors?  I’ll say they’re just exactly the same as Timothy McVeigh.  What the hell; they’re incipient terrorists.  If it’s good for the goose…

I say fire the lot, eliminate half the positions permanently, and cut all state taxes by half.  Tomorrow.  That would do for a start.  There’d be some breathing room for new start-up business and a rapidly shrinking deficit.  I don’t see a down side.

Our Fragile Infrastructure

This recent post of Joe’s reminded me.  I don’t remember whether I posted about this before, but a couple years ago during a state highway upgrade outside of Moscow, Idaho, a fiber optic line was cut.  One little line.  Typically, we think of having a cell phone, a computer with internet access, a land line, and a radio as being diversified with regard to our communications.  Well, not necessarily.

When my cell phone was unable to reach anyone outside the Moscow area I tried the land line.  No go.  Then I tried to get on line and check e-mail.  Nope.  Then I turned on the radio.  More than one station dead.  It turned out that more than one cellular service, our local internet access, much of the land line traffic, and even some radio station feeds were using the same FO line.  I don’t know if that’s changed.

I view large scale electrical generation plants in the same light.  Your local food supply may depend on one or two highways and one rail line, and the stores have been relying on the “just in time” inventory method more and more.  A similar situation may exist in your local hospital.  I don’t know.  It costs money to keep extra rooms, beds, personnel and supplies available, much beyond the normal demand.

We tend to take a lot for granted.