A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

Archive for the ‘Wall of Fame Assholes’ Category

Just When I Thought the State Couldn’t Get Anymore Depraved

I’ve ran across enough stories demonstrating the depravity of the state that I could probably write a several volume set on the subject. Sadly as I continue to get older I keep getting reminded that giving power over others to an entity with a “legitimate” monopoly on the initiation of force is the worst idea humans have ever come up with. Very recently I was introduced to North Carolina’s eugenics program:

The Eugenics Board of North Carolina (EBNC) was an agency of the U.S. state of North Carolina created in 1933 after the state legislature authorized the practice of eugenics by state officials four years earlier.

In 1971, an act of the legislature transferred the EBNC to the newly created Department of Human Resources (DHR), and the secretary of that department was given managerial and executive authority over the board. Under a 1973 law, the Eugenics Board was transformed into the Eugenics Commission. Members of the commission were appointed by the governor and included the director of the Division of Social and Rehabilitative Services of the DHR, the director of Health Services, the chief medical officer of a state institution for the feeble-minded or insane, the chief medical officer of the DHR in the area of mental health services, and the state attorney general. In 1974 the legislature transferred to the judicial system the responsibility for any sterilization proceedings against persons suffering from mental illness or mental retardation.

The Eugenics Commission was formally abolished by the legislature in 1977.

The board sterilized about 7,600 people, many of them against their will, between 1929 and 1974, in an attempt to remove mental illness and “social misbehaviour” from the gene pool. Among the victims were 2000 young people, some as young as ten years old.

North Carolina wasn’t the only state to practice eugenics but they were one of the few to continue the practice late after World War II and they had some of the loosest criteria for determining who would be sterilized and who wouldn’t. The justifications for sterilization ranged from mental retardation to simply not getting along with classmates:

People as young as 10 in North Carolina were sterilized for not getting along with schoolmates, being promiscuous or running afoul of local social workers or doctors. The state’s law, which allowed such professionals to refer people to the state Eugenics Board for sterilization, was more open-ended than similar statutes in other states, where people had to be jailed or institutionalized before they could be sterilized.

Just stop and think about this for a minute. Several states enacted laws that allowed them to sterilize people they deemed unfit to breed. Such laws gave some government bureaucrat the authority to make a permanent change to the life of another human being against their consent.

I honestly can’t fathom how such a system was ever considered acceptable by anybody. But programs like this and others that were even worse were implemented not just by some tyrannical dictator in fascist countries but also by states right here.

Many victims of North Carolina’s eugenics programs are currently fighting to get compensation from the state. Compensation from the state is really a slap in the face because the state is just returning money that they first stole from you in the form of taxes. Basically you get to pay yourself for wrongs enacted upon your person by the government. Likewise monetary compensation will never allow the victims of sterilization to have children so ultimately no justice will prevail.

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Written by Christopher Burg

June 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

Using Legislation to Force Adoption of Your Product

Let’s pretend that you’re a fledgeling inventor who has come up with a new mechanism to make a currently available tool safer. The idea seems solid but it’s also very expensive which has lead to nobody licensing your invention from you. What do you do? If you’re the asshole who invented SawStop you go to Capitol Hill and try to use government to force companies to license your invention:

Gass’ saw uses an electrical sensor to detect when the blade touches flesh instead of wood. Within a few thousandths of a second, the blade slammed to a stop.

But as well as the technology works, the major tool companies have failed to put this kind of device on any of their table saws — even eight years after Gass offered to license it to them.

“They came back and said, ‘Well, we’ve looked at it, but we’re not interested because safety doesn’t sell,’ ” Gass says.

SawStop, Gass’ little upstart company, has sold tens of thousands of these safer table saws, and lately things have been heating up in Washington. The National Consumers League last month brought in injured woodworkers to meet with lawmakers and regulators. They want to make the SawStop safety brake mandatory on all table saws.

That’s one of the most dick moves somebody can perform. When you want to make money by creating a better mouse trap that is great and I fully support you. On the other hand if you want to make money by getting the government to use their monopoly on the initiation of force to make people buy your mouse trap I will condemn you.

The reason saw companies aren’t adopting SawStop isn’t because safety doesn’t sell, it’s because safety isn’t worth the asking price to most people:

In other words, let consumers decide. Young says many consumers won’t want to pay for the SawStop technology, which could add $100 to $300 in cost, depending on which side you talk to.

As mentioned earlier in the article SawStop has sold tens of thousands of their safer saws. His customers obviously felt the additional cost of those saws was small enough that it outweighed their fear of getting injured should their finger get near the saw blade. On the other hand other people who’ve purchased saws want something that is cheap (for instance a person who uses a saw sporadically for hobby project) and adding an additional $100 to $300 will make a big difference to those people.

The reason a free market is great is because it allows us to determine what will be available. Different customers have different wants. Some people want an industrial saw because their business requires it while others want a cheap saw because they only use it once every two years. By mandating SawStop the legislature would destroy the market for those wanting a cheap saw as the cost of licensing the technology is more than some of those saws are.

And in the end there is an incredibly cheap and effective safety mechanism for saws called a push stick. Hell you can make a push stick with basic woodworking tools (no saw required) in a few minutes. Not only do I hope legislation mandating the inclusion of SawStop on all saws fails but I hope Mr. Gass goes out of business and ends up poor and penniless on the streets. Does that sound harsh? It should, I’m not a fan of somebody using force to line their own pockets.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

The Wall Street Journal and Al-Jazeera Offering False Anonymity to Whistle Blowers

Lately people have been holding Al-Jazeera up as some kind of Greek god of journalism. I never subscribed to that idea and find Al-Jazeera to be yet another news source with commercial interests (which I have absolutely nothing against). As a commercial entity Al-Jazeera have to play by certain rules of the state will take away their ability to do business.

When I heard that both the Wall Street Journal and Al-Jazeera were going to offer means for whistle blowers to submit documents anonymously I assumed there was some kind of catch and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) once again proved my concerns correct:

Despite promising anonymity, security and confidentiality, AJTU can “share personally identifiable information in response to a law enforcement agency’s request, or where we believe it is necessary.” SafeHouse’s terms of service reserve the right “to disclose any information about you to law enforcement authorities” without notice, then goes even further, reserving the right to disclose information to any “requesting third party,” not only to comply with the law but also to “protect the property or rights of Dow Jones or any affiliated companies” or to “safeguard the interests of others.” As one commentator put it bluntly, this is “insanely broad.” Neither SafeHouse or AJTU bother telling users how they determine when they’ll disclose information, or who’s in charge of the decision.

So if you submit any information to either of these services they reserve the right to turn your ass in upon request. If you wish to submit anonymous information as a whistle blower you’re better off using WikiLeaks as they have a pretty good track record of keeping their sources anonymous and have no terms or agreements that state they will turn your ass over to anybody upon request. In addition to reserving the right to turn your ass in both sites also lack anonymity:

Despite their public claims to the contrary, both SafeHouse and AJTU disclaim all promises of confidentiality, anonymity, and security.

SafeHouse offers users three upload options: standard, anonymous, and confidential. The “standard” SafeHouse upload “makes no representations regarding confidentiality.” Neither does the “anonymous” upload which, as Appelbaum pointed out, couldn’t technically provide it anyway. For “confidential” submissions, a user must first send the WSJ a confidentiality request. The request itself, unsurprisingly, is neither confidential nor anonymous. And until the individual user works out a specific agreement with the paper, nothing is confidential.

Similarly, AJTU makes clear that “AJTU has no obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information, in whatever form, contained in any submission.” Worse, AJTU’s website by default plants a trackable cookie on your web browser which allows them “to provide restricted information to third parties.” So much for anonymity!

Yes neither of these systems allow for anonymity or legal protection against government (and in the case of the Wall Street Journal any third-party) requests for personal information about submitters. If you want to blow the whistle on something make sure you don’t use either the Wall Street Journal’s or Al-Jazeera’s services.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

Another Reason You Can’t Rely On State Rescue Services

I get pissed at the actions of various state run entities periodically on this site but I think I’ve found a story that really takes the cake. You know how us gunnies say you can’t rely on the police? Well you can’t rely on any state run service, especially when you’re worth more to them dead than alive. It seems the Interim Alameda Fire Department was to let somebody die because they were pissy about budget cuts:

Fire crews and police could only watch after a man waded into San Francisco Bay, stood up to his neck and waited. They wanted to do something, but a policy tied to earlier budget cuts strictly forbade them from trying to save the 50-year-old, officials said.

A witness finally pulled the apparently suicidal man’s lifeless body from the 54-degree water.

It’s too bad the witness didn’t act sooner but alas at least that individuals eventually did something unlike the members of the Fire Department who supposedly are given the duty to help others. So why didn’t the firefighters do anything?

Interim Alameda Fire Chief Mike D’Orazi said that due to 2009 budget cuts his crews did not have the training or cold-water gear to go into the water.

“The incident yesterday was deeply regrettable,” he said Tuesday. “But I can also see it from our firefighters’ perspective. They’re standing there wanting to do something, but they are handcuffed by policy at that point.”

Bull. Fucking. Shit. A completely untrained witness with no equipment whatsoever was able to get the body out of the water so you fucks certainly could have done it. You don’t need much training or gear to wade into water, even cold water, and drag a man out. Hell people plunge into freezing cold water in my area for charity (Polar Bear Plunge) so you assholes certainly could jump into water that isn’t critically cold. Of course the local government caved to the Fire Department’s demands:

But Tuesday night, after hearing from angry residents at a City Council meeting, the city promised to spend up to $40,000 to certify 16 firefighters in land-based water rescues, KGO-TV reported.

I can’t even begin to tell you how pissed off I am that those members of the Fire Department allowed somebody to die just to make a point about funding. Fuck all of the firefighters who stood by and did nothing. I wouldn’t have given you $40,000, I have fired the whole lot of you and asked the witness who dragged the body out if he or she wanted a job in firefighting. Also let me give a big fuck you to the other witnesses who stood by and did nothing.

Instead the Fire Department received their money and now know they can gain more funding by simply letting people die. That’s not a good precedence to set ladies and gentlemen.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 2, 2011 at 10:30 am

Oops

It seems the Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership (Fucknuts) is having some problems with their Twitter account… namely it’s not there because they got their stupid asses banned. As you could see by my last post Fucknuts were “outing” gun bloggers by posting personal information. My life and identity are fairly public thus this didn’t concern me and I even tried helping them out by ensuring they posted about the correct Christopher Burg. Many gun bloggers like to have a semblance of anonymity and thus were none too happy with the shenanigans being pulled by Fucknuts.

Linoge took a few seconds to inform Twitter of the harassment being performed by Fucknuts and lo and behold their Twitter account went away. It seems Twitter isn’t very happy about the whole posting of private information thing. Too bad Fucknuts but it seems as though your attempt of winning through harassment isn’t nearly as successful as our winning through factual information.

I also would like to applaud Linoge’s method of dealing with these idiots. The e-mail he sent to Twitter was factual and to the point. Unlike the anti-gunners we pro-gun individuals prefer not to resort to lying to accomplish our goals.

EDIT: 2011-06-19 11:06: Corrected a couple of grammatical errors pointed out by my editor-in-chief Nicole.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

For the Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership *ahem* Violence

It seems as though the Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership has been making a habit of trying to “out” gun bloggers. Although I find this maneuver childish I also like to be helpful when I can. I also realize that anti-gunners are often… how can I put this delicately… retarded. Thus I’m going to offer some help to the Coalition.

My name is Christopher Burg. That’s Burg spelled B-U-R-G. I’m from Minnesota so don’t mistake me for some schmuck in New York named Christopher Burg. My Twitter account is @ComradeBurg but you can find me on most other sites simply enough by looking for the user name ChristopherBurg.

There you go, now you can take some credit for “outing me” if you so choose.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 19, 2011 at 10:00 am

Apparently Women Shouldn’t Be Getting Into Shooting Sports

Sometimes I forget that there are still people in this world who believe a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Bitter over at Snowflakes in Hell pointed out an idiotic column:

I’m not trying to trigger trepidation among firearm enthusiasts.

Yeah he is.

The industry is unlikely to successfully tap that market until it conquers the pesky preconceived notions that likely turn off many females to the idea of gun ownership. Women likely won’t consider packing pistols if they are concerned that:

— Spending several hundred dollars on a serviceable handgun might leave them without enough money to get the full treatment at that next visit to the day spa.

— Carrying a gun in a small purse would leave less room for more important items, such as lipstick or compact.

— The baggy clothing required to successfully conceal most holsters would make them appear frumpy.

— Gunpowder residue might stain the new Karen Scott blouse they just bought at Macy’s.

— The gunpowder smell when the weapon is fired could totally overwhelm the Chanel they’re wearing.

— Most firearm accessories come only in one boring color: black.

— Target practice earplugs simply aren’t sexy.

It’s strange because none of this seems to have been a problem for the several female shooters I know. I guess the author, Mr. Heyl, believes women would just be happier if they stayed in the kitchen and made him his sandwiches.

I’m going to have to have a conversation with the women I know who enjoy shooting and tell them apparently they made the wrong choice in life.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 22, 2011 at 11:00 am