Overheard on the cruise

Barb and I were on a cruise the last few weeks (Los Angles to New Orleans through the Panama Canal). I checked the web site (Norwegian Cruise Lines) before we left and, no surprise, guns were not allowed but knives with blades less than four inches long were acceptable (curiously, laser pointers are not allowed either). Never mind that steak knives on the ship were probably going to be longer than four inches, but whatever. I brought along the two Spyderco Delicas I carry in my pockets whenever it is legal to do so. I got them on the ship just fine. I got off the ship at our first stop then got back on just fine. Security even examined them and measured the blade length. At the second stop shore security took them from me when we tried to get back on the ship. I got a receipt and they told me to talk to ship security. I talked to guest services about the knives and they promised to contact security for me and they would get back to me. After about a day and a half I talked to guest services again. They said security would come out to talk to me about the knives. After about 20 minutes two security people showed up. I greeted them warming and introduced myself and shook their hands. Security Officer Judd Hinchliffe was the one that did all the talking:

Norwegian Pearl Security Officer. October 2017.

The following is a close approximation of the conversation. My thoughts which I dared not express are in [brackets].

Hinchliffe: I have your knives but these are not allowed on the ship.

Joe: I checked the website before we got on the ship and it says knives with blades less than four inches are acceptable.

Hinchliffe: Yes. But these knives are what we call lock blade knives.

Joe: I didn’t see anything on the website about lock blade knives.

Hinchliffe: It doesn’t but in the U.K., where I’m from, these are banned. We not in the U.K. but these are banned for a reason. With a normal knife if you try to stab someone with them the blade may fold on your hand. A locking blade knife is much more dangerous. These are what we call lock blade knives.

Joe: [Are you saying that U.K. law is incorporated into Norwegian Cruise rules while we are sailing in international waters off the west coasts of the United States and Mexico? Why not incorporate U.S. law which says you are infringing upon my right to keep and bear arms? That’s a felony by the way.
That’s the second time you told me they were lock blade knives. I knew that before you ever said so about these knives and I heard you the first time. In my defensive knife classes they taught us to use slicing motions, so the locking feature isn’t really going to make a difference if I need to use the knife on someone.]  If I were ever to go to the U.K. [not bloody likely until you fix your idiotic anti-self defense laws] I wouldn’t bring my knives.

Hinchliffe: I know this isn’t the U.K. but I’m in charge of security and I need to make sure everyone is safe. Why do you carry knives?

Joe: I grew up on a farm. When I was in the first grade the teacher gave all the boys in the class a knife for Christmas. I have carried a knife ever since then. [So… if someone attacks Barb or I and we are unable to defend ourselves because you took away our knifes you would be held responsible for the attack?]

Hinchliffe: Look around us. Does this look like a farm?
Joe: No. [It doesn’t look like the U.K. either. What does it matter?] Of course not.

Hinchliffe: In the U.K. we have a knife culture since we don’t have gun culture like in the U.S.

Joe: [You say “gun culture” like it’s a bad thing. If you would have let me bring my guns on board I would have been happy enough to leave my knives at home so you could indulged your prejudice against knife ownership without causing me any grief. As it is I’m probably going to lose the callouses on my hands from shooting 500 to 1000 rounds a week in practice. I’m then going to have to start practicing at drastically reduced levels to avoid blisters.] Yes, I know. I read about it sometimes.

Hinchliffe: What do you use a knife for?

Joe: I use them for all kinds of things. Cutting apples, opening boxes, most recently on this cruise I cut the labels off of some new clothes for my wife.

Hinchliffe: How are you getting along with your wife?

Joe: We get along great! In fact while we were waiting in line over there someone asked us if we were newlyweds. [Seriously?!! You want to get into couples counseling? If I were inclined to hurt her there are many options other than one of these knives. Let me see, I haven’t thought about this before. What would be my options? Push her overboard, push her down the stairs, hands, fists, feet, elbows, knees, a metal water bottle, a pillow while she sleeps, the metal chairs on our balcony, I could burn her with the hot hair dryer in our cabin, hmm… I could go on for quite some time like this…]

Hinchliffe: Why do you carry two knives?

Joe: [What difference does that make? Norwegian Cruise rules don’t put a limit on the number of knives only on the length of the blade. According to the rules I can have 10, 100, or 1000 knives. But you don’t care about the written rules, do you?

Do you think I’m twice as dangerous with two knives? How about if I had ten knives? Do you think I want to sell them to other passengers?] I have one in each pocket so I can easily reach one or the other if one hand is holding something.

Hinchliffe: I can’t let you have these knives in public. If someone saw you with them it would frighten them.

Joe: [Really? Even though the rules don’t prohibit it? Oh, yes, the rules don’t matter to you. What matters to you is that you get to exercise your prejudice against people who carry knives.

Perhaps the ship has a mental health professional on board who could help people with irrational fear of knives. Have you considered seeking some help yourself?] Well, I don’t need to have them in public.

Hinchliffe: You seem like a reasonable fellow so I’m inclined to let you have the knives back. But you will have to put them in your luggage so they can’t be seen by your steward when they are cleaning your room.

Joe: That sounds fair enough to me. I’m very much a rule following person. If I had known locking knives were a problem I would have left them at home but the website didn’t say anything about them. [So small pocket knives, which meet the your website criteria, sitting on a shelf in our cabin are going to frighten your crew? If this is really true it sounds to me like you need have higher standards for crew selection. I know! If they fire you and raise the standards for your position the problem will be solved for everyone!]

Hinchliffe: I’m going to escort you back to your cabin and you can put them away while I watch.

Joe: Okay. That works for me. [How does this help? If I wasn’t going to do that if you gave me the knives now, what makes you think I will leave them hidden away the minute after you leave the cabin?*]

Hinchliffe: [As we walk to my cabin.] I still don’t understand why you have two knives.

Joe: [That’s not a question so I don’t have to say anything now. I’m just going to walk back to the cabin, get my knives, thank him, and enjoy the rest of the cruise. I’m sure there are lot of things this guy doesn’t understand in his life and I don’t think there is anything anyone can do to help him with that.]


* It’s possible he visited our cabin once or more times when we were on shore or at a meal and checked to make sure the knives remained where he saw me stash them. I was tempted to put them in the safe or hide them at the bottom of my dirty laundry bag just to mess with him, but decided I had better things to do on the cruise than play mind games with the head security officer.

7 dead, many more wounded, it’s the internet’s fault

Predictably, another attack occurred in London this weekend. Theresa May did at least mention radical Islamism as a problem, but went on to call for more police powers, and to blame the internet.

Centuries upon centuries of Islamist aggression and murder, and it’s the internet’s fault. Your freedom, and mine, is to blame.

One report claimed some fifty shots were fired by police to stop three Muslims armed with knives. I could understand that number of shots if they’d been taking return fire, but against knife wielding punks it seems like an awful lot of shooting.

At least one person was wounded by police gunfire. When that happens (and it sometimes will) and it’s a police bullet, it is a footnote. If a regular concealed carry holder in America were to do the exact same thing, never mind that lives were saved; the howls of accusation would last for weeks.

Practice on moving targets. Aerial clay targets are good, if you can find a place to do it safely;

With only a knife, it is relatively easy to murder innocent, unsuspecting people, in a country that talks about freedom and rights but has forcibly disarmed its citizens and practically turned self defense into a crime.

The Brits have invited this upon themselves with their idiotic policies and their embrace of Progressivism, and we in America are not far behind. They’ll ramp up their police state, clamp down on the internet (control of which has been coveted by authoritarians since its inception) spend more of their tax payers’ wealth, and accomplish next to nothing.

Once again, as always it seems, at least one of the perpetrators was known to the British security network. The result of that knowledge was that they were able to say, after the fact, that they’d been watching that person.

The only way jihad will ever stop is if they’re all convinced that it is utterly hopeless, or foolish, or morally wrong, to continue. There are several ways to accomplish that end, only one of which involves a commitment to total extermination. Theresa May eluded to one of them, but I don’t believe that there is currently a government on this planet that is either principled enough or committed enough, or politically capable of any of those ways.

Maybe it’s not really a government’s problem to solve. What was that saying? Something about a people, or ideology, or process, which created a problem will never be the one to solve it.

Don’t be evil

Interesting. At least, i suppose that’s one word to describe it.

This morning before I went to work I was at home looking through the news and such, and I came across a video that I though might be interesting to one of my students. I watched a few minutes of it to make sure it was what I thought it was, then paused it and went to work. There I searched for it, found it, and clicked the vid to que it up for my student. I hit play, and it picked up at the exact same spot I’d paused it… back at home.

Different machine. Different network and ISP. Different browser. Different OS.

It knew exactly where I’d paused.

Nah, nothing there to be creeped the fuck out about, nothing at all.

The ONLY connection that I could identify was that for work we use Chrome machines, and are given all things Chrome to use, including (of course) GMail. To look at work emails and schedule at home I’d opened up my gmail account and a shared spreadsheet. It was opened in the browsers in both places.

Different machine. Different network and ISP. Different browser. Different OS.Both had an email account opened in one tab, it tracked what was going on in other tabs and browsers when I don’t use Google search at home.

Like I said, nah, nothing to be bothered by, right?

I will not now, nor ever, buy or use any Google product that is not provided by work, and I’ll never again open their applications on my home machine if I can possibly help it.

News you can use

Apparently, if you tell the police you are going to be inappropriately touching people, before you actually do it, the police will then give you a pass:

the TSA decided to inform local police in case anyone calls to report an “abnormal” federal frisking, according to a memo from an airport trade association obtained by Bloomberg News.

Good to know.

Security theater has another act

U.S. Airport Pat-Downs Are About to Get More Invasive

The TSA reacts to a study that found weapons making it past security.

While few have noticed, U.S. airport security workers long had the option of using five different types of physical pat-downs at the screening line. Now those options have been eliminated and replaced with a single universal approach. This time, you will notice.

The new physical touching—for those selected to have a pat-down—will be be what the federal agency officially describes as a more “comprehensive” physical screening, according to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman.

Denver International Airport, for example, notified employees and flight crews on Thursday that the “more rigorous” searches “will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”

“I would say people who in the past would have gotten a pat-down that wasn’t involved will notice that the [new] pat-down is more involved,” TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson said Friday.

It’s still going to be security theater.

When will the people say this is too much and demand the abolishment of the TSA?

Quote of the day—FlyersRights.org

Most passengers were shocked to learn carrying live ammo and guns in baggage is permitted.  And now terrorists are fully aware of this startling gap in US airport security.

FlyersRights.org
January 11, 2017
Passenger Group Calls for New Airport Security Measures by Airlines, TSA and Airports
[Are they also “shocked” to learn we have a specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms? If so then perhaps their educations are severely lacking.

What I am shocked about is that despite all the evidence that “gun-free” zones are hazardous and the abject failure of TSA we still are prohibited from carrying guns on our persons while on airplanes. It’s the right thing to do.—Joe]

Quote of the day—issor

I don’t think they seriously think ROT13 is a means of secure communication. I agree it seems to be confusing people enough to collect a good set of downvotes, but for the rest it’s just intended as a lighthearted joke. Everyone knows you at least need ROT14 to be secure.

issor
December 10, 2016
Comment to Op-ed: I’m throwing in the towel on PGP, and I work in security
[I broke out into a laugh that Barb probably heard half way across the house.

Yeah. It’s a joke for computer nerds. And probably mostly old nerds.

Via email from Sean.—Joe]

“Smart” guns

Recent update on so-called “smart gun” regulations.

NRA  ILA take on it.

FOX news take.

Bearing Arms view.

Actual NIJ release.

Obama’s Jan 2016 call for it.

Upshot: it’s voluntary…. with an implied *for now attached. Leave it to the government to call for a way to make a perfectly reliable, simple, mechanical system, and apply a high-tech solution to a social problem that a) won’t fix the problem, b) discriminates against the poor, c) will make good systems less reliable, d) etc [insert all the usual litany of problems with this specific tech here]

 

Well… Isn’t that interesting.

More than a handful of people that read this blog are programmers. Anyone know the best way to get this into the hands of people that can actually do something about it?

Considering Washington State is an entirely vote-by-mail bubble-form and counted by machine state, the possibility of rigging by this method is more than a little plausible.

For what it’s worth, I found it from a Drudge link to Infowars, so it’s not like nobody else will hear about it, but…..

Banana Republic, anyone?

Update: Looks like YouTube’s view-count is getting messed with, just like the vote-count 🙁
After more than two hours with a DrudgeReport link, it’s only at 909 views, and 276 likes. Not bloody likely.

A glitch in The Narrative

Some of you may have heard about the Somali immigrant of undetermined ancestry, religion, or motivation slashed nine people with a knife while asking them if they were Muslim at a Minnesota shopping mall over the weekend. Most news stories say the self-proclaimed “soldier of the Islamic State” was stopped by an “off duty police officer.”

Turns out the hero of the day was also a USPSA member, 3-gun competitor, and NRA-certified shooting instructor who happens to be the “President and Owner of Tactical Advantage and has also been operating Tactical Advantage Firearms Training, Inc., since 2003.”

Yeah. Bad day for that particular knife-dude to go to the mall, and only bring a blade to a gunfight.

Thank you, Jason Falconer. May you live a long and happy life.

Use cash

I use a credit/debit card online. But when I’m in a physical store, except in rare cases, I use cash. This is one of the reasons why:

Clothing store chain Eddie Bauer said today it has detected and removed malicious software from point-of-sale systems at all of its 350+ stores in North America, and that credit and debit cards used at those stores during the first six months of 2016 may have been compromised in the breach.

I work in security and POS systems are one of the things we watch and worry about a lot.

Use the known cure, not security theater

Via Bruce Schneier we have this extremely timely and fascinating article, The Evolving Challenges for Explosive Detection in the Aviation Sector and Beyond:

Another misnomer propagated largely in the press is that these type of explosives threats are not detectable with currently deployed technologies. This is false. The latest generation ETDs, when used in combination with the latest X-ray technologies, are generally excellent at detecting TNT, plasticized explosives such as C-4, PETN (Detasheet), and Semtex. This powerful combination of technologies should catch these explosives threats, even if it were concealed in the electronics of a laptop, because ETD swabs can detect minute amounts of residue.

Even an amateur chemist doesn’t have to think about this topic much to come up with explosives that are undetectable with the latest generation of explosive trace detection (ETD) equipment. As near as I can tell things I pointed out nearly nine years ago are still vulnerabilities.

The OIG also reported last summer that tests of the screening system showed that 95 percent of attempts to smuggle weapons through U.S. checkpoints were successful.

This has actually gotten worse since they started prohibiting weapons on board over 40 years ago. They should just give up on this and let passengers defend the cabin.

The reality of our current war on terrorism is that the costs are inversely correlated. Terrorists can use inexpensive but highly effective means to attack high-value and highly protected targets, forcing governments to take stricter and more costly measures to provide protection. Their model scales while ours becomes more difficult to sustain. Until we are successful in changing the paradigm in which cheap terrorism is effective terrorism, we need to be prepared to continue to invest in technologies and processes that make it more difficult for them to succeed.

Emphasis added. I agree with this. We must change the paradigm. We currently have nothing but security theater.

We are spending trillions of dollars and have nothing of substance to show for it. Those resources could, and should, have been spend in some serious elimination of terrorists rather than attempting to make it incrementally difficult for them at exponential costs to us. We have the resources and technology to make it exponentially expensive for them at incremental cost for us. We have a ruthless enemy who is willing to murder untold numbers of innocent people. We dealt with cultures like this in WWII and fundamentally changed their mindset to make the culture more tolerant to people who were different from them. These intolerant, evil, enemies are now tolerant, functional, members of a world society. It’s time to treat our current enemy with the known cure for evil.

Sympathy in this case is difficult

The French have been working hard for years to show the Muslims that they mean them no harm. THAT, we are told, is how you get along in peace with people of other cultures, and if other people hate you then there must be a good reason; you need to look at yourself and see what you can do to make them stop hating you.

The French have also adopted the idea of massive violations of the right of honest citizens to keep and bear arms. Criminals will have whatever they want, but the honest must be disarmed.

Predictably then, we get this quote after last night’s coordinated jihad attacks in and around Paris. This was from someone at a rock concert;

“We lied down on the floor not to get hurt. It was a huge panic. The terrorists shot at us for 10 to 15 minutes. It was a bloodbath.” (That’s from CNN if you want to look. I’m not linking to them)

If all you can do is lie down and hope, while people around you are being shot, for 10 to 15 minutes, then your tactics suck. Dozens of people died on that scene, like the helpless sheep they worked so hard to become.

They’ve brought this upon themselves, I’m very sorry to say, and it’s difficult to have much sympathy for them. We’ve tried for years to warn them.

The left in the U.S. sees all this and says to themselves; “We totally need more multiculturalism and more gun control.” That attitude, that insanity, is the enemy as much as any jihadist, for it is that attitude that has emboldened the jihadists. They must be laughing their asses off at our stupidity.

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.

Huh.

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

Of course he would say something like that

It’s in his nature:

In the U.S., a person on a watch or “no-fly” list would not be flagged buying a train or bus ticket. Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, called for creating a “no-ride” list for Amtrak in 2011, a proposal the rail line said “could add value in creating an overall security posture.”

I think there should be more emphasis on the word posture. Schumer nature is to push us more and more toward a police state regardless of the effectiveness of his claims of trying to make people safer. He’s been doing this for decades with the most outlandish gun control proposals. I don’t expect he will stop until he no longer has an audience willing to listen to him.

Quote of the day—Steve Bucci

There are a lot of them that aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Steve Bucci
Security expert and former top Pentagon official
August 17, 2015
Price for TSA’s failed body scanners: $160 million
[Never forget that they even have TSA backward. A more accurate acronym is AST (A Security Theater).—Joe]