Random Brain Squeezings

18 11 2008

I’m skyed on painkillers at the moment, so stand by for some seriously uncategorized blather.

GUN PORN

President-Elect Obama said that he was not interested in taking peoples’ guns away. I tend to believe him. That said, I also believe he would sign legislation making the ownership of firearms extremely expensive and difficult, provided it looked like it might pass Constitutional muster by the Supremes. Since Congress (led by Mad Queen Nancy and Hopping-mad Harry Reid at the moment) has a history of metaphorically shooting themselves in their collective feet and a demonstrated cultural disdain for the intellect and abilities of the average American, I am somewhat concerned that they might try to send this sort of legislation to the new President. By the way, a Republican-led Congress would be no better (my opinion). In lieu of trying to bury the Second Amendment, they’d be vigorously trying to exterminate the First.

As an aside, I am still waiting for someone to respond to a question I asked here more than a year ago about why Democrats seem to vigorously defend and expand the scope of the Bill of Rights- with the exception of that pesky Second Amendment.

THE BAREFOOT BUM

He’s in my blogroll, up there at the upper right. The very first entry. The man has a first-rate mind, and I generally manage to learn a few things every time I visit. I don’t necessarily agree with him on a lot of things, but he has a fine grasp of logic and has an exquisite command of the English language.

And yet, I find myself visiting his site less and less. Barefoot Bum is a fervent denouncer of capitalism. On the other hand, I have no tolerance whatsoever for communism. This discontinuity of world view tends to make reading some of his work difficult for me, despite his intellectual abilities. In my opinion, capitalism promotes mediocrity but allows for excellence. Communism punishes excellence and mandates mediocrity. Given my personal intolerance for stupidity, this description (and the utter failure of every communist government to date) makes communism a very tough sell. My brace of small copper coins. Do with them what you will.

STAND BY …

Those whackjobs from the Westboro Baptist “Church” (aka Phreaky Phredd Phelps and his Phucked-up Phamily & Phriends) will be staging their annoying “protests” near the military bases in my area over the next couple of weeks. For those of you blissfully unaware of their antics, the WBC is the alleged church from that bastion of intellectual prowess in the midwest (Kansas) which “protests” at the funerals of dead servicemen from Iraq and Afghanistan. In reality, they’re extremely litigious ass-hats who do their very best to be as offensive as possible without quite going over the line into legally actionable activities. They want someone in the community where they stage these attention-whore spectacles to lose control and attack them, after which they will cheerfully sue the local government for failing to protect the WBC folks during the lawful exercise of their First Amendment Rights.

This is how they make their money, and they’re very good at it. Most of them have had a lot of legal training on how to avoid actual slander or libel while being actively and deliberately objectionable. They say and do things that gets almost every single American fighting mad- even hardcore pacifists. I’m reasonably certain that Phreaky Phred and company could get Quakers to start throwing punches.

Of course, the WBC won’t be dealing with Quakers. They’ll be doing their level best to antagonize tens of thousands of sailors and Marines, many of whom have served in combat recently. If it weren’t for the fact that it would swell the WBC’s treasury, I could almost relish the well-deserved ass-kicking the Phelps Phamily & Phriends could receive here. Knowing what they’re doing and why, however, I have joined my voice to those of the many supervisors and non-commissioned officers urging restraint and- where possible- complete avoidance of the “protests” and the people involved. I truly hope the  local police are out in force to protect the WBC from the wrath of my brothers and sisters who still wear my country’s uniform. I also hope that my brothers and sisters in arms comport themselves with the discipline and integrity they have shown around the world and stay away from these obnoxious jackasses.

DAN QUAYLE IN DRAG

Speaking of obnoxious jackasses, will everybody please quit paying attention to John McCain’s former running mate? If we quit feeding her with interviews, perhaps she would disappear into the obscurity from whence she came. The best way to get rid of an attention whore is to stop paying attention to her. Nuff said.

KEY-RICED!

Since when does Christmas shopping start before Halloween? To quote Lewis Black, “How long does it take you people to shop?”

I’ve been seeing christmas decorations at most of the local retailers for the best part of a month. What’s next- a “pre-Christmas Sales Event” right after the Super Bowl? Why don’t we just call it “Commerce Day” and have done? Any resemblance to religious or historical meaning in this “holiday” is entirely coincidental.

AND LASTLY,

I send my hopeful thoughts to maq0r and LeinadO, who live in Venezuela and are working for a peaceful transition of power away from Hugo the Horrible. There are a lot of anti-Chavez politicians running for many powerful regional offices on Sunday, and Chavez has publicly announced that he will send tanks to make sure that the elections turn out the way he wants them to.

Current status: Groggy

Current music: San Jacinto by Peter Gabriel

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17 responses

18 11 2008
CybrgnX

Democrates and the 2nd amend is mostly about extremes.
The 2nd was written when there were no AK47 and Uzzis.
It was a fact that almost all had 1 or 2 rifles and a pistol if living in the country. Most I’ve talked with feel anything beyond this is silly and dangerous especially in the modern city where a gun is basically not needed.
Ya I know the self defence thing. There are extreme opinions and as they push-pull the gun situation will stay pretty mush as it is.
Me? I am an expert shot but do not own a gun. I prefer my 4 bows with arrow, 3 swords, 6 stars, 2 daggers, 4 throwing axes, 2 slings, sling shot, 6 throwing knifes, and crossbow. No licence needed and VERY deadly all.

19 11 2008
archvillain

CybrgnX: You may wish to check your local laws- many states regulate or ban several of those items you mentioned. Carrying most of those items is illegal in many states as well.

I am assuming that you are young, fit, and relatively healthy. In order to properly use many of the weapons you listed, one must be relatively fit and mobile. What about those who are elderly, infirm, crippled, or merely of slight build? Even armed with a knife, such a person would be at a serious disadvantage in dealing with a large, physically fit attacker.

As for your argument about the time when the Second Amendment was written (The 2nd was written when there were no AK47 and Uzzis[sic]), the First Amendment was written before television, radio, and the internet were invented. Is the First Amendment still valid for these new technologies? What holds true for one should hold true for all. Since Democrats (correctly) espouse the widest possible interpretation of the rest of the Bill of Rights, why not the Second Amendment as well?

19 11 2008
CybrgnX

Archvillain: Hi..Seen you at many a blog.
Actually I’m old, overweight, in terrible shape.

My items are no more or less illegal then carrying a gun.
But in New England I carry most of those items opening everyweek end when I am using them.

The old pereson who cannot handle a knife, probably can’t handle the gun well either. but that is part of the point I was trying to make. For killing (reason irrelavent) there are many options but they usually require skill and training but even more important they require the mind set that enables one to ‘get up close and personal’. The gun makes it all TOO EASY to kill from a distance (anything over 10ft) so it aint as personal. If it was hard to kill with a gun then the Demicrates may not have much of a problem (strangely many Demis have guns ‘for protection’).
As a non demi-repubi-can I do not believe in taking guns away, but to drive a car requires a liscence and training as a minimum this should apply to guns.
The one problem I have with the Demacrates anti-gun thing is the urge to ‘protect us from ourselves’ which is nothing but a half-baked politcal ploy. Show me a parent whos kid shoot someone ‘by accident’ and I’ll show you an idiot set of parents.
There is no easy answers to the gun problem as there are no easy answers to many problems. I know my answers to them and I may not like the Demacrates way to solutions but I can understand them.

19 11 2008
archvillain

CybrgnX: I frequently hear and read people making comments about using swords or knives in self-defense. My reply to them is the same as that I gave you: Far more skill is required to properly use a knife or sword than is required to use a gun. Furthermore, even skilled people using swords can be overwhelmed by a larger, more fit opponent unless they are Musashi reborn. Since most people will never approach Miyamoto Musashi’s reputed level of skill, we’re back to the strong dominating the weak in most criminal encounters.

Most non-military gun fights take place at less than 10 feet- especially in a criminal encounter. Inside this distance, skill is far less important than action (as you point out). Most non-criminals have not yet made the difficult choice to resort to violence in a given encounter, and criminals take advantage of this fact. This rational hesitation to use force gives the criminal an advantage. In addition, a larger or more physically fit opponent has a huge advantage inside this distance … unless there’s a firearm involved.

A firearm in the hands of the non-criminal balances the force equation. The criminal’s initiative (having already decided to act) is nullified by the advantage presented to the victim by a firearm. Even the most timid of people can usually manage to fire at least once- even when surprised. This utterly negates whatever size advantage the criminal may or may not possess. With a gun, the small man or woman becomes the equal of a larger, stronger opponent.

There are 90 million people in this country who own guns. Many of them own multiple guns. Oddly enough, a vanishingly small percentage of these people ever kill someone. When it comes right down to it, most people are not willing to kill unless forced to do so. Of course, we read about the exceptions in the papers every day.

I find it amazing that the same people who insist on the widest possible interpretation of the Bill of Rights also insist on the narrowest possible interpretation of the Second Amendment. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I am forced to conclude that the stereotypical Democrat’s desire to disarm his fellow citizens comes from the urge to exert control. This lust to control others- especially “for their own good”- always ends badly.

Whatsoever, for whatever cause
seeketh to take or give
power above or beyond our Laws
suffer it not to live!

– Kipling

21 11 2008
Turkish Prawn

My take on the second amendment question is a two parter. First, most left wing folks who I know have never fired a gun. I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but I’ll say it again…

If you are a gun owner and shooter, find a friend who has never gone shooting before and show them! Do it in a smart way! Only bring .22’s or the like, preferably long guns. Introduce them to gun safety and give them a pile of ammo and some paper targets. This is the best way for us to secure the second amendment. Shooting is fun and safe. The folks who are for gun control are often totally unacquainted with fire arms. You can help fix this.

The second part is far more basic, IMHO. We, as human beings, have an unfortunate habit of thinking that we are better and smarter than our neighbor. We think we know what’s better for them and that the established rules should be changed to fit our superior opinions. In the case of Democrats, they want to protect us by disarming us. It won’t work like that, naturally, but that’s the premiss. Republicans, on the other hand, want to control us through mandating what is “right”. If you fall out side of that image (such as if you’re gay, an atheist, or simply won’t walk in lock step with the hive mind) then you are a danger to others and need to be forced out of society.

Neither wing really wants people to think for or be accountable to them selves or to use common sense. People like that simply don’t need a strong “big brother” style government telling them how to live, and THAT’S a major impediment when they want to control of a populace. Both sides are guilty of having that as their goal.

-Turkish Prawn

21 11 2008
butchrobotpope

@Gun Porn: Well, the big difference between the 1st & 2nd is the ability to kill/wound/maim. Just sayin’. There are an awful lotta guns in the US and a whole lotta killing. There’s an awful lotta guns in Canada, but not so much killing. My conclusion: us Yanks are a bloody, violent people.

That being said, I believe the Constitution (and Bill of Rights, et al) should be interpreted as the “bare minimum” of our protections – not a strict and final list to be unchanged for eternity. But that’s a whole ‘nuther ball of wax…

@Barefoot Bum: Capitalism and Communism are *not* the only choices we have as a civilization. A “True Capitalist” USA would be BAD thing – and thank your lucky stars we don’t live in one. In fact, we move closer to being a Plutocracy every year. (personally, I kinda dig the laid back Euro style democracy myself…)

@Stand By: Man, I wish those WBC cocks were around here. I would so love to fuck with them. Maybe you could do it for me? Ya know, just go “help” them “improve their message” a bit. The best way to deal with those people is to ridicule them, I think.

As for the rest… I totally agree. Great post (even if you are drugged up… you filthy, pot-smokin’ hippie!). Seriously, I hope you feel better.

-BRP

22 11 2008
archvillain

Turkish: I agree completely. I’m still working on getting the wife out to the range, but I’ve taken your advice a couple of times. Familiarity may breed contempt (eventually), but unfamiliarity usually breeds fear.

In my opinion, most of the people who are so enamored of disarming their neighbors are projecting their own lack of self-discipline onto others. They don’t trust themselves to be safe, so they assume no one else could ever be safe with a firearm.

ButchRobotPope: Exactly right. A casual read through the first Ten Amendments should make this concept clear to anyone. The Constitution does not grant rights, it is designed to limit the powers of government in trampling the inherent rights of the people. The ninth and tenth Amendments are particularly on-point on this subject.

Having actually lived in one of those “laid-back Euro-Style Democracies”, I am far less sanguine about it’s efficacy, but that isn’t the point. You’re making the common error of conflating type of government with economic principles. Capitalism and communism are not governments- they’re types of economies. We live in a Democratic Republic (not a democracy), and that is one of the strengths of our type of country’s government. This is not to say that our type of government has no flaws, just that it works- more or less, most of the time.

I plan on giving those WBC ass-hats a wide berth. My general intolerance for stupidity would very likely overwhelm my self-control if I were to subject myself to their deliberate obnoxiousness.

23 11 2008
Layman Pong

What end of the range does the wife go on?

23 11 2008
Layman Pong

I’m’a get clobbered for that one…

23 11 2008
archvillain

Layman Pong: She doesn’t like guns for a couple of reasons. One reason is family history: There were a couple of incidents in her past that make her leery of using a gun. She also does not believe she has the self-discipline to handle a firearm. That said, she positively hates the idea of the Gummint dictating who can and cannot own firearms.

As you might imagine, we’ve talked about this many times.

Interestingly enough, she encouraged me to buy my latest firearm in spite of her dislike for guns.

Being the sort of person I am, I still insist on showing her the safety features of each weapon and describe the proper way to shoot- just in case. I’ll get her to the range one of these days and let her try out a couple of small-caliber weapons to help ease away her fears.

8 12 2008
Sumgi

I am forced to conclude that the stereotypical Democrat’s desire to disarm his fellow citizens comes from the urge to exert control. This lust to control others- especially “for their own good”- always ends badly.

Whoa whoa whoa. I thought you said you hated stupidity.

The reason most democrats want to limit guns is because of public safety. While there will always be guns and gun crime in most nations that have outlawed guns (save for great britain) doing so has been accompanied by a significant drop in serious injuries due to crime.

Also, guns are not a reliable manner of self-defense for the average person. Even without federal or state standards many businesses would restrict the carrying of weapons. Weapons in the family home must by kept locked, unloaded, or hidden away to avoid child accidents.

The average person is not going to be skilled, handy, or lucky enough to come out on the good side of a quick draw. The only scenario where a gun will help is if you have it under your pillow when someone breaks into your house.

Outside of that specific scenario handguns are either useless or dangerous when it comes to self-defense.

And this is coming from a former sports-shooter.

8 12 2008
Sumgi

Not to mention the fact that to shrink down a complex ideology into “I rule you” or “if I can’t have fun then you can’t” is absurd.

8 12 2008
Sumgi

Also the constitution does grant rights in the legal sense.

I would argue, however, that the concept of inherent or natural rights is pure fiction.

8 12 2008
archvillain

SumGi: Please list sources for the sweeping claims you made in your first response here. The data I have seen does not appear to support your claims.

to shrink down a complex ideology into “I rule you” or “if I can’t have fun then you can’t” is absurd.

In the absence of any cogent arguments to the contrary, I came to a conclusion which seems to fit the observed phenomena. If you have evidence which contradicts this conclusion, I would like to see it. Seriously.

the constitution does grant rights in the legal sense

Once again, please explain the logic underlying this statement. It would appear to contradict the plain meaning of the language in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. To paraphrase, the Constitution is a written guarantee for the protection of existing rights. This explanation is reinforced by the published documents of the Founders and the long arguments between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.

To get back on the original subject, why do Democrats in particular and liberals in general espouse the widest possible interpretation of the Bill of Rights with the sole exception of the Second?

8 12 2008
Sumgi

Please list sources for the sweeping claims you made in your first response here. The data I have seen does not appear to support your claims.

This is an area where you can consult your think tanks for facts and figures and I can consult mine and the conversation would quickly stop beign about emperical evidence. None the less, I’ll google all the usual suspects and get back to you with hard numbers and the percentage of gun deaths to other crimes in gun controlled areas.

In the absence of any cogent arguments to the contrary, I came to a conclusion which seems to fit the observed phenomena.

There isn’t a lack of cogent arguments. Your oversimplifying. The farther back in your archive I go I find your lack of patience isn’t with ignorance or stupidity but with opinions that differ from your own. It’s alright, we all fall into the habit of filing other ideas away.

If you have evidence which contradicts this conclusion, I would like to see it. Seriously.

If you have not seen any website, blog, television program, or radio interview where a gun control advocate lays out their reasoning then you need to meet my friend google. Attributing argumentation and analysis to psychological flaw is a conversational stop sign. It says that no matter what evidence or reasons put forth you will classify as secret mental disorder. I would avoid this psychologism in the future if you are interested in real debate.

Once again, please explain the logic underlying this statement.

A legal institutionalist standard defines rights as legal protections. Legal protections have a an authority in written law. So the constitution grants rights from a purely legal standpoint. Of course it is not the only thing that grants rights, so does precedent ruling (to some degree), legislation, and individual state constitutions. A claim to a write not enumerated in any of these areas is not legally valid.

This does not mean that the founders weren’t largely advocates of natural rights. However, natural rights are a philosophical perspective and not a legal one. Legal rights, being systematic protections, do flow from the state. When natural rights and legal rights overlap there is no issue but where they differ then we have a philosophical disagreement to deal with.

o get back on the original subject, why do Democrats in particular and liberals in general espouse the widest possible interpretation of the Bill of Rights with the sole exception of the Second?

There are two reasons. First and most obvious is that speech, religious expression, and the press don’t kill people. They weren’t designed to kill people. They weren’t market to kill people. It is not their sole function to kill people.

Now that the obvious is out of the way we can move on to an argument that is popular but which I myself do not subscribe. So don’t expect me to defend it, just explain it. The second amendment is worded so that the intent of the amendment is to grant the people the right to bear arms expressly to form well regulated militias. It’s obvious from many founding fathers other writings that their intent was not solely for militias but a strict contextualist reading can say otherwise.

8 12 2008
Sumgi

Correction:textualist, not contextualist.

8 12 2008
archvillain

SumGi: You made several statements in your original reply here which require supporting data to be more than opinion:

1- While there will always be guns and gun crime in most nations that have outlawed guns (save for great britain) doing so has been accompanied by a significant drop in serious injuries due to crime.

Please clarify this. Are you claiming that the UK no longer suffers from gun crime, or are you claiming that serious injuries due to crime has been significantly reduced in the UK?

2- Also, guns are not a reliable manner of self-defense for the average person.

Do you have any evidence to back up this assertion, or is this your opinion?

3- Even without federal or state standards many businesses would restrict the carrying of weapons.

This would appear to be a matter of local discretion. Very few businesses in my state prohibit firearms. Is this different where you live?

4- Weapons in the family home must by kept locked, unloaded, or hidden away to avoid child accidents.

I agree that families with children should keep firearms inaccessible to children. What about households without children, or children who are old enough and familiar enough with firearms to use them safely? Many children in the US go hunting with their parents, for example.

5- The average person is not going to be skilled, handy, or lucky enough to come out on the good side of a quick draw.

In the first place, the “fast draw” was largely an item of fiction even in the late 1800s in the western US. You do have a good point in that a criminal has (usually) already made the decision on whether or not to resort to violence, essentially giving the criminal the edge in many cases. That said, few defensive uses of firearms involve a completely unsuspecting victim (according to FBI statistics) in this country. Most of those cases involve a citizen who has enough time to decide whether or not to use a weapon. This is particularly true in home invasion cases, where the resident often has some warning that an intruder is present.

6- The only scenario where a gun will help is if you have it under your pillow when someone breaks into your house.

Please provide evidence to back up this assertion.

7- Outside of that specific scenario handguns are either useless or dangerous when it comes to self-defense.

This is easily refuted by a casual internet search: The first link refers to a study from 1994 concerning defensive use of guns.

http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdguse.html

The second link goes to the Department of Justice report the same year.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/hvfsdaft.htm

An internet search of news articles from just 2008 will find several reported defensive uses of firearms- frequently without a shot being fired. I have read many of them. This would appear to invalidate your assertion.

you can consult your think tanks for facts and figures and I can consult mine

I am not consulting any given “think tank”. I asked for evidence, not opinion. The burden of proof is on you to support your assertions with evidence. Furthermore, you are the first person to make an attempt to reply to my initial question. Therefore, my quoted statement is a simple matter of observable fact. In the absence of contrary evidence, I drew my own conclusions.

speech, religious expression, and the press don’t kill people.

I contend that speech, the press, and religious expression are responsible for more deaths than any given tool- including swords, knives, or stones. To forestall the possible argument that those freedoms did not directly cause those deaths, I contend that people– human beings- have used the press, speech, and religion to cause human death and misery throughout history. By comparison, any given weapon is as pure as the driven snow.

Your argument regarding the purpose for which guns were invented is unduly broad, since many firearms are designed solely for hunting or target shooting. I contend that it is the use of the tool which should be regulated, not the tool itself. Since tools are not capable to self-will, a human must act to make a tool perform any given function. In the absence of intent on the part of the tool, guilt or innocence must devolve upon the human who puts the tool to use. Is a human who kills another human with a screwdriver more or less guilty than one who performs the same act with a kitchen knife? What about a butcher knife? A combat dagger? A bayonet?

Furthermore, the Founders felt constrained to specifically list the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights. Justice Scalia (who- in my opinion- is a monumental ass in most matters) went into great detail on the history of why the Founders included this specifically-enumerated right. Having read some of the documents he quoted in the Heller decision- including the amicus briefs provided by gun control proponents- I agree with his reasoning on this issue.

It is my opinion, therefore, that the Second Amendment deserves the same wide latitude in interpretation as the rest of the Bill of Rights. You are entitled to have a contrary opinion, for reasons which seem acceptable to you. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is not entitled to force others to share that opinion.

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