A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

Posts Tagged ‘You’re Doing it Wrong

Slate Doesn’t Know Shit About Libertarianism

Slate magazine demonstrated a few days ago that they don’t know jack shit about libertarianism. The article is a long diatribe build almost entirely on made up “facts.” Instead of going through the article piece by piece and pointing out each of Slate’s numerous errors I’m going to stand on the shoulder of giants and let others who have gone before me point out the flaws in Slate’s article.

First we have a nice piece that explains the fact that libertarianism didn’t start in the 1970s as claimed by Slate but was alive and well before that under the name liberalism. The same article points to the fact that Ayn Rand did more to bring people to libertarianism than the supposed father of libertarian (according to Slate) Robert Nozick (whom I never actually heard of until I read Slates article strangely enough).

The following links were obtained from the previous so a heartfelt thanks goes out to the author, V.A. Luttrell. First the Cato institute has a nice piece destroying Slate’s claim that Nozick disavowed libertarianism.

Slate then went ahead and made a claim that Keynes (you know an article is worthless when it’s citing Keynes as an authoritative source on anything) said a rather nasty thing about Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. What Slate got wrong was that Keynes made the comment about Hayek’s Prices and Productions but actually wrote that he found himself in agreement with The Road to Serfdom. Oops.

Slate’s article then claimed that two of the fathers of libertarianism (you know besides the apparent father Nozick), von Mises and Hayek, were nothing but corporate shills. Unfortunately for Slate that isn’t true. Whoops again.

Although I feel the fact is self-evident apparently others do not. Slate wrote the usual and completely false claim that Libertarianism is composed of nothing but greedy individuals who care nothing for others. Once again this claim is false. The fact of the matter is the libertarian movement is an attempt to make all interactions between people voluntary instead of done at the point of a gun. Libertarianism is the abhorrence of violence and coercion which is made clear by the fact the foundation of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle.

Slate would do well to actually research libertarianism before making such blatant and false claims. Of course writing a factual critique wasn’t the point, I firmly believe the author knew damned well that he was printing false information and wanted nothing more than to slander the movement he hates so much. Too bad for the author that people who do follow libertarian philosophy don’t let such falsities go without challenge.


Written by Christopher Burg

June 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Iowa Sheriff Intimidating Businesses in Attempt to Get Them to Ban Guns on Their Property

Iowa’s law involving the issuance of carry permits changed and now people living in that state are able to obtain a legal means of self-defense without requiring permission from their local sheriff. One local sheriff though is pissed that the state has usurped his authority and is trying to intimidate business owners into banning firearms from their property:

A letter to approximately 600 Marion businesses along with “no weapons allowed” stickers is kicking up a fuss with one conservative group.

The letter to businesses in Marion last week was sent by Marion Police Chief Harry Daugherty. It referred to changes in Iowa code that no longer allow sheriffs to mandate concealing weapons when a permit holder is out in public. That change in gun permit policy took effect January 1st.

The letter from Chief Daugherty urged businesses to ban weapons from private property to “make both (business and police) our jobs easier.” The chief also included two “no weapons allowed” stickers for businesses to place on the front doors if they agreed with his recommendation.

It seems Sheriff Daugherty believes that his life and lives of his officers is easier if people are defenseless. I guess this makes sense if he believes his job is to force the citizenry to comply with his demands and being he’s acting like an authoritarian asshole I’m pretty sure that’s what he believes his job to be. But here’s the kicker:

But Chief Daugherty argued what he authorized was education and not politics. The chief said unless businesses post a “no weapons” notice in a visible location police can’t enforce any trespassing rules against anyone bringing a weapon inside.

According to Daugherty if somebody is carrying a weapon the police can’t enforce any trespassing laws against him or her. The implication I get from this is if somebody is being unruly the police will not remove that person if they’re carrying a firearm. That’s a great little intimidation factor if I’ve ever seen one.

So where Daugherty get the money to print these stickers? At first I thought it was the taxpayers which would have been ironic as Daugherty would have been using violence in order to supposedly prevent violence. Well he didn’t use tax money but the source of his money is through violent means:

And Daugherty also said the $600 cost of the printing and mail wasn’t tax dollars. Rather, the chief used money confiscated in drug raids and other seizures to pay the cost. Those dollars typically go for purchases not on the department’s budget.

Will you look at that, the drug war at work paying for yet another authoritarian power trip. Obviously second amendment supporters are talking about boycotting any businesses that put up those stickers and it appears as though some business owners don’t recognize how strongly many of us like our right to self-defense:

But Rich Foens, owner of Smitty’s Shoe Repair, said he wasn’t that concerned when he posted the sticker from Marion Police.

“I don’t see anybody so strong on the other side they’re going to boycott your business because of it,” Foens said.

As an advocate of the ability to defend yourself I do feel strongly enough where I’ll boycott a business because they don’t respect my life enough to allow me to carry a means of self-defense onto their property. I respect your property rights enough that I’m willing to do business with your competitors should you chose to bar me my rights though so you’ll not have to worry about my patronage or the patronage of many gun owners.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 21, 2011 at 10:00 am

In Lieu of Real Arguments the Brady Campaign has Resorted to Falsely Claiming Gun Owners are Drunkards

You have to hand it to the Brady Bunch, they want to keep that sweet Joyce Foundation money flowing to avoid getting real jobs and they’re willing to use any tactic to retain that funding. The Brady Campaign released a “research” paper that concludes basically that gun owners are drunks and thus can’t be trusted with firearm. So what’s wrong with their research? Well for starters the data was cherry picked so heavily that they could make millions on a harvest. The “report” makes the following claim:

Altogether, 15 474 respondents provided information on firearm exposure. After adjustment for demographics and state of residence, firearm owners were more likely than those with no firearms at home to have ≥5 drinks on one occasion (OR 1.32; 95% CI 1.16 to 1.50), to drink and drive (OR 1.79; 95% CI 1.34 to 2.39) and to have ≥60 drinks per month (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.14 to 1.83). Heavy alcohol use was most common among firearm owners who also engaged in behaviours such as carrying a firearm for protection against other people and keeping a firearm at home that was both loaded and not locked away.

In many states that allow for a right to self-defense drinking while carrying is a big no-no. Here in Minnesota you can carry so long as your blood alcohol level remains no higher than .04 (half of the legal limit for driving). Combine those facts with the fact that carry permit holders are some of the most law-abiding people out there and you can put the puzzle together. As the rate of crimes committed by carry permit holders is generally lower than other people and carrying while intoxicated is heavily restricted or completely prohibited in most states you can logically conclude that there are few people able to legally carry a firearm who carry while drunk.

The article on No Lawyer – Only Guns and Money also point out the fact that Utah ranks dead last on the Brady Campaign’s list of freedom hating states yet is mostly Mormon and Mormons have a prohibition against alcohol consumption. Thus there seems to be a lack of correlation between the Brady Campaign’s rating of “safe” states and alcohol consumption (and thus less opportunity for carry permit holders to carry while intoxicated). Oh and Utah has an extremely low rate of alcohol-related deaths to boot.

Basically if you cherry pick your numbers well enough you can create a report that says anything. If I worked hard enough at it I could release a report that demonstrates a correlation between being anti-gun and being a Nazi sympathizer.

I find hit hilarious though that the Brady Campaign can find any factual numbers to back up their claims that more restrictive gun laws lead to safer communities so they’ve resort to simply trying to run a smear campaign against gun owners. The next report they release will probably demonstrate how gun owners like to kick babies and murder cute baby bunnies while torching retirement homes. After that they’ll probably resort to simply calling us poopy-heads. Honestly you guys at the Brady Campaign should just quit before you embarrass yourselves any further. There is nothing bad about admitting when you’re wrong, we’ve all made mistakes. The difference is admitting your failures allows you to keep your dignity while attempting to do everything possible to avoid admitting failure just makes you look petty and pathetic.

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

Joyce Foundation Bribing Journalist to Write Anti-Gun Studies

The Joyce Foundation, the same assholes who bankroll the Brady Campaign, are pretty well known in the pro-rights community for providing funding to almost anybody who will push their anti-rights agenda. The Buckeye Firearms Association has a nice writeup about the Joyce Foundation using money to get journalists to write anti-gun stories.

I’m not one who subscribes to the idea that journalists should be unbiased but I do feel perfectly fine with pointing out potential reasons for bias. There is a huge incentive for a journalist to write anti-gun stories if a large foundation is willing to float them Federal Reserve notes for doing it. This tactic is often used to get desired results from studies; somebody gives a bunch of researchers money, express to those researchers the preferred bias, and then has them set out to get a study that proves that preferred bias. You can prove anything if you twist the numbers enough which is evident when anti-gunners reveals their numbers of people killed by guns each year but only mention in the very tiny print that a huge chunk of those deaths were suicides (which are self-inflicted deaths and therefore really can’t be counted when talking about gun violence).

Needless to say the Joyce Foundation has been throwing money at anybody willing to do research that shows a bias against guns so the findings in the linked article aren’t at all surprising.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

Herman Cain OK With Restricting Second Amendment Rights

I think Herman Cain just got caught in a typical neo-con mistake; he tried expressing a libertarian belief without understanding libertarian philosophy. In a recent interview with Wolf Blitzer Mr. Cain stated that he believes it’s OK for individual states to enact gun control regulations:

BLITZER: How about gun control?

CAIN: I support the 2nd amendment.

B: So what’s the answer on gun control?

C: The answer is I support, strongly support, the 2nd amendment. I don’t support onerous legislation that’s going to restrict people’s rights in order to be able to protect themselves as guaranteed by the 2nd amendment.

B: Should states or local government be allowed to control guns, the gun situation, or should…

C: Yes

B: Yes?

C: Yes.

B: So the answer is yes?

C: The answer is yes, that should be a state’s decision.

This is a typical neo-con maneuver. Neo-cons love to pander to the libertarians because they feel giving those of us subscribing to the philosophy are easy votes to get. The problem is most of us are used to those running as Republicans paying lip service to libertarian philosophy and then going full neo-con when they get elected.

Ignoring the recent Super Court ruling in McDonald vs. Chicago libertarian philosophy would prohibition any government entity from interfering with the right to own a consumer good. A firearm ultimately is a consumer good and my ownership of that good doesn’t cause harm to another therefore no regulation should exist that bars me from owning a firearm. Mr. Cain took a concept often discussed favorably by libertarians, stopping the federal government from executing any power not specifically granted in the Constitution, and tried to use it in an attempt to avoid stating concrete support of the second amendment.

I already refused to support Mr. Cain as he was involved with the Federal Reserve but hearing his position on the second amendment just put another nail in the coffin of my support. The position he stated shows that Mr. Cain is going to play the typical neo-con game where he’ll pay lip service to libertarian ideals but deep down inside is just another statist.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 9, 2011 at 11:00 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