A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

Happy Birthday Alan Turing

Today is June 23rd, 2011 which makes it the 99th birthday of the man usually called the father of computer science, Alan Turing. The article gives a good overview of his life, which ended up being quite tragic. Turing was a genius who’s research helped win World War II:

His work, however, was advanced enough to get him noticed by the powers that be and, in World War II, Turing became an integral part of the effort at Bletchley Park to break German ciphers and decode military transmissions.

The work carried out by Turing and his colleagues at Bletchley Park was of critical importance to the war effort. General Dwight D. Eisenhower stated at the time that intelligence received as a result of the codebreaking activities at the Park, “has been of priceless value. It has saved thousands of British and American lives and, in no small way, contributed to the speed with which the enemy was routed and eventually forced to surrender.”

Most people who were of value in winning that war were held up as heros and presented metals. Unfortunately for Turing he was also a homosexual which was not acceptable back in that era:

An inherently honest man, Turing reported a break-in at his home in 1952 and admitted to police that he had been engaged in a sexual relationship with one of the suspects, Arnold Murray. At the time, same-sex relationships between men were illegal in England and Turing was promptly arrested on charges of ‘gross indecency’.

Found guilty, Turing had his security clearance revoked – preventing him from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy work for the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ – and was forced to undergo hormonal castration via oestrogen injections to curb his ‘unnatural’ urges, under threat of imprisonment.

“Hey man, thanks for helping us win the war against the Nazis but your sexual deviance is unacceptable so we’re going to use our monopoly on the initiation of force and subject you to experimental treatments that will most likely kill you.” At least that’s what I image the conversation ended up sounding like.

Although crucial to the war effort and a brilliant man in general being the subject of state aggression takes a toll on most people. After being the victim of state violence Turing was unable to cope with existence anymore and sadly ended his own life:

The strain of being excluded from his beloved work and branded a pervert proved too much for Turing, who was found on the 8th of June 1954 having taken a lethal dose of cyanide to end his own life.

Many soldiers owe their lives to the work this man performed and everybody in this era owes him for computers as we know them. Happy birthday Alan Turing!

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23, 2011 at 11:00 am

You Keep Saying These Things

Wisconsin is on the verge of passing right to carry legislation into law which means the anti-gunners are out screaming that blood will flow through the streets and other such nonsense. As I said before these people are harmless and will lose interest quickly as people stop listening to their prophesies that never come to fruition. Until they lose interest though we’re going to have to listen to the ramblings of crazy people such as this dumb ass:

After the bill was approved by most Republicans and some Democrats, the Assembly will send the bill to Walker to become the law of the land. The move is being hailed as a major victory by those who believe concealed carry provides a much-needed safety net for law-abiding citizens who can now feel free to summon up their inner Clint Eastwood on demand to defend their loved ones.

Of course, that’s a crock.

Many law enforcement officers will tell you how difficult it would be for a regular citizen – even with the required training – to use a handgun in a confrontation with a criminal. No matter how many action movies you may have watched, it’s just not that simple.

More often than not, people would face more danger of having the weapon taken and used against them during an unexpected encounter with a criminal.

The anti-gunners toss around so many lies that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. One of them is the myth that you’re more likely to have your gun taken from you and used against your person than to use it to successfully defend yourself. He’s the thing though, every time the anti-gunners make this claim that are unable to back it up with any examples. It’s basically a non-issue. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but the frequency is so rare that the anti-gunners can’t even pull out examples of it happening.

Also I like how he states that law enforcement officers like to tell people how difficult it is to defend yourself with a firearm. You know what’s even more difficult? Getting raped in a back alley while waiting 15 minutes for the police to not arrive because they have no legal obligation to protect you. Anybody who has participated in a shooting sport knows how difficult it become to property utilize a firearm when your adrenaline begins pumping but that’s why we advocate training so strongly. On top of that having a gun, regardless of your capability with the device during a self-defense situation, is still going to increase your odds of surviving much more than not being armed at all.

The bottom line though is the simple fact that none of the claims made by anti-gunners have been proven true. No blood has been flowing through the streets because every street corner turned into a Hollywood version of the Wild West (because the real Wild West wasn’t so wild [PDF]). Violent crime hasn’t gone up, in fact just the opposite has happened. This is why nobody really pays much attention to what the anti-gunners are saying, none of their boogeymen have come out from under their beds to reign terror down upon us.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

Overreaction Defined

Let us pretend that you’re in charge of a reservoir that contains treated drinking water. Now let’s pretend that the owner of the reservoir is an idiot and doesn’t have some kind of cover to protect that treated water. One day while you’re happy at work doing nothing you learn that some bozo came by last night and pissed in the reservoir. In this scenario would you just shrug it off since there are some eight million gallons of water in the reservoir and thus the piss is so diluted as to be irrelevant or do you drain the entire fucking reservoir? If you answered the latter you to could work in Oregon’s waterworks:

Some eight million gallons of treated drinking water have been flushed down the drain in the US state of Oregon after a man urinated into a reservoir. Did such a vast amount of water have to be dumped?

So what you ask? Well this reservoir isn’t a privately held facility so draining the entire thing is getting it refilled is going to cost $36,000. Ouch! I wonder if they also drain the entire reservoir if they find a dead animal in it. Maybe they should look into covering that reservoir in the future, it can’t cost $36,000 for a tarp to toss over that giant pool.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

I’m Truly Shocked, California Did Something Right

Holy shit I’m actually surprised by something that happened in California, and it’s a pleasant surprise. I never thought I would actually have something nice to say about that forsaken state but it sounds as though they’re going to stop paying their “representatives” until the state budget is balanced:

It is often said if the state of California was a country it would be the eighth biggest economy in the world.

But with a $10bn deficit to match, and residents fed up of legislators missing the annual budget deadline by months, they voted for a new law.

It is the first time Proposition 25 has been put into effect – and it means all 120 elected members of the State Assembly and Senate will not be paid their wages, or their living allowances, until they pass a balanced budget.

Hell. Fucking. Yes. Obviously the “representatives” are complaining but they have no ground to stand on. Those people were hired to do a job and have failed to do it. As they have failed to do their job it’s only right that they don’t get paid (I’d fire them frankly but alas that’s not an option when government is involved). California should expand on this and refuse to pay their “representatives” until the state debt is paid off as well. Imagine how quickly such a program would accomplish turning California from a the most debt-ridden state into a debt-free state.

For once I can say there is something other states can learn from California, don’t pay the legislature until the budget is balanced.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Companies Abandoning California at an Accelerated Rate

What happens when you increase the tax burden on companies in order to correct a state deficit? Those companies start leaving. Companies are run by people and people are generally willing to put up with only so much abuse until they analyze their situation and consider their options. California has been increasing taxes on businesses and it’s now to a point where many businesses there have decided it’s simply not worth being there and are taking their services and jobs to another state.

In 2011 the rate of businesses leaving California has increased to 5.4 a week. Each of those businesses are also taking their jobs with them meaning the unemployment rate in California is going to continue getting higher. This is also a great demonstration of the fact that states simply can’t tax their out of debt. As they increase their tax rates the victims of those increases are going to leave and then will effectively pay $0.00 in taxes to the state.

California, like most socialist nations, is finally collapsing under it’s own ruined economy. They’ve tried to offer too much for too long and now they’re going all Soviet Union. Governments need to learn that the only way to effectively eliminate their debt is to spend less money. People will survive without government services but they won’t take loosing 90% of their earnings. I’m pretty sure it’s too late for California but I hope my state notices this and learns that increasing taxes on businesses and the wealthy (those who generally own businesses) is not going to reduce our debt but increase it in the long run as tax payers flee for friendly states (South Dakota is right next door and they’re generally pretty nice in comparison).

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

Wisconsin Assembly Passed Right to Carry Legislation

Things are looking good in Wisconsin. Both chambers of the state legislature have voted in favor of the current carry legislation which means all that’s left is for Governor Walker to sign it into law (which he’s expected to do).

I appears as though Wisconsin will be joining the majority of the Union in allowing its citizens to have a means of self-defense outside of the home. The only state remaining with a complete prohibition against carry is Illinois which will likely take quite some time. Anyways those of you living in Wisconsin please note that the anti-gunners are going to be crying about blood in the streets and other such nonsense but they’ll lose interest very quickly so you can safely continue to ignore them.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

Welfare Without the State

When discussions about reducing government functions come up those advocating for the statist position usually decry eliminating state run welfare programs. They claim that eliminating such programs will lead to the poor dying left and right, children going hungry, and people living without health care coverage. As our society hasn’t always had state run welfare programs it does good to look back and how these situations were taken care of before the state got involved. I found an excellent article that talks about how mutual aid societies were used before the welfare state to care for those without means:

Many people think life without the welfare state would be chaos. In their minds, nobody would help support the less fortunate, and there would be riots in the streets. Little do they know that people found innovative ways of supporting each other before the welfare state existed. One of the most important of these ways was the mutual-aid society.

Mutual aid, also known as fraternalism, refers to social organizations that gathered dues and paid benefits to members facing hardship. According to David Beito in From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State, there was a “great stigma” attached to accepting government aid or private charity during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Mutual aid, on the other hand, did not carry the same stigma. It was based on reciprocity: today’s mutual-aid recipient could be tomorrow’s donor, and vice versa.

I’ve explained before that I’m against the existence of government welfare programs not because I hate the poor (I don’t) but because I despise violence and the government can only provide via money they obtain through their monopoly on the initiation of force. I refuse to support programs that require the use of violence, especially when there are methods of doing the same things voluntarily. Joining a mutual aid society is a voluntary act which allows groups of people to care for one another while nothing have a gun put to your head making you participate. Not only that but mutual aid societies had a history of providing good services that often surpassed those provided elsewhere:

Under lodge medicine, the price for healthcare was low. Members typically paid $2, about a day’s wage, to have yearly access to a doctor’s care (minor surgery was frequently included in this fee). Non–lodge members typically paid about $2 every doctor’s visit during this time period.

Low prices for lodges did not, however, necessarily translate to low quality. The Independent Order of Foresters, one of the largest mutual-aid societies, frequently touted that the mortality rate of its members was 6.66 per thousand, much lower than the 9.3 per thousand for the general population.

That isn’t the only example of a mutual aid society that provided cheap services that were also of high quality:

Many mutual-aid societies branched out and founded their own hospitals and sanitariums. The Securities Benefit Association, or SBA, charged $21 for an 11-day stay at their hospital in Kansas, while the average at 100 private hospitals was $72. Again, quality was not necessarily sacrificed for price. At the SBA’s sanitarium, the mortality rate was 4.5 percent, while the historical average for sanitariums was 25 percent. This is especially impressive considering that 30 to 50 percent of all cases admitted to the SBA’s sanitarium were “advanced.”

Likewise orphanages were created to not only house and feel those without parents but also educate them:

Mutual-aid societies also founded 71 orphanages between 1890 and 1922, almost all without government subsidy. Perhaps the largest of these was Mooseheart, founded by the Loyal Order of Moose in 1913. Hundreds of children lived there at a time. It had a student newspaper, two debate teams, three theatrical organizations, and a small radio station. The success of Mooseheart alumni was remarkable. Alumni were four times more likely than the general population to have attended institutions of higher learning. Male alumni earned 71 percent more than the national average, and female alumni earned 63 percent more.

That sounds like a pretty decent education without the need to put a gun to peoples’ heads and force them to pay for state provided child care and public schooling for the children in the state’s “care.”

Sadly although mutual aid societies were very effective they were also in the busy of providing for those without means which the government wanted a piece of. As with anything else the government involves itself with providing for those without means was something the state wanted no competition in. To ensure the state maintained a monopoly on welfare laws were enacted that first made life more difficult for mutual aid societies and eventually made it all but impossible for these societies to continue providing their services.

Regardless of the current situation providing for the poor is not something the state is needed for. The poor can be provided for through voluntary means just as they had been in the past. So if you’re like me and don’t believe the government should be providing welfare services remember this article. There is no doubt when you advocate the elimination of the welfare state that some statist punk is going to accuse you of hating the poor which likely isn’t true. Being able to provide an alternative to state run welfare will go a long ways in making your argument more legitimate and demonstrates you don’t hate the poor but instead love services that can be accomplished without the need of force and coercion.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22, 2011 at 10:30 am