Archive for the ‘You’re Doing it Right’ tag
Longtime readers of this blog know that I’ve given up on the political means to defend gun rights. The state has too many reasons to disarm the people to be reliable upon to uphold the right to keep and bear arms. Instead of begging politicians to carve out a few exceptions in their plan to leave the people defenseless I advocate the people perform acts of civil disobedience. When the Colorado politicians passed several restrictive gun control measures, including a prohibition against standard capacity magazines, I advocated the people of Colorado to start manufacturing standard capacity magazines and buying them from surrounding states. As it turns out, I’m not the only person following this line of thinking:
At least two formal events have popped up on Facebook that are encouraging Colorado gun owners to engage in civil disobedience and break the recent law that prohibits the sale or transfer of gun magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds.
The events encourage participants from Colorado and other surrounding states to buy, sell and swap magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds in disobedience of the law.
Actions like this stand a far better chance of rendering Colorado’s magazine ban irrelevant than any political activism. First, buying standard capacity magazines from another state means you’ll have standard capacity magazines immediately whereas relying on political activism means you may not have standard capacity magazines for years or ever. Second, thumbing your nose at the law demonstrates how impotent the state really is. The state may catch one or two people to make an example out of but, as with any law, the state will be unable to catch a vast majority of offenders. Demonstrating the state’s impotency is the best way to encourage more people to ignore its decrees.
As they say, Rosa Parks didn’t vote her way to the front of the bus. In the same way gun owners aren’t going to vote their way to more freedom. When you want freedom you must take it.
A lot can be said about social and political philosophies by looking at the solutions proposed by their advocates. Authoritarians tend to advocate violent revolution so the existing power structure can be replaced with a new power structure. Libertarians tend to advocate for nonviolent solutions, often seeing flight as a better solution than fight. Consider seasteading, the idea of building a libertarian city in international water. Ephemerisle, a floating celebration where participants create a small floating village, was recently the subject of story on n+1.
Seasteading really epitomizes libertarianism in my opinion. Seasteaders are so desperate to find liberty, and so unwilling to use violent tactics, that they’re willing to invest the tremendous resources required to build a floating city. While the authoritarians are discussing revolution to force everybody to submit to their will the libertarians are moving to the frontier to found a new society that people can come to voluntarily. The difference speaks volumes in my opinion.
When the news of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) widespread surveillance operations broke many people were wondering who leaked the information. As it turns out the person who leaked the information decided to come forward (which means he’ll probably be dead soon):
The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.
Some people will call for Mr. Snowden’s head while others, those who actually oppose government snooping, will see him as a hero. Sadly members of the United States government have already begun demanding Snowden be extradited from his hideout in Hong Kong to the United States so he can be disappeared, err, tried:
There was no immediate reaction from the White House but Peter King, the chairman of the House homeland security subcommittee, called for Snowden’s extradition from Hong Kong. Snowden flew there 10 days ago to disclose top-secret documents and to give interviews to the Guardian.
“If Edward Snowden did in fact leak the NSA data as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date,” King, a New York Republican, said in a written statement. “The United States must make it clear that no country should be granting this individual asylum. This is a matter of extraordinary consequence to American intelligence.”
You have to love the double standard Mr. King is espousing. The NSA was caught spying on American citizens, an act that Congress was briefed on and approved, and King is after Snowden’s head for committing a heinous act. Apparently Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the United States but makes an exception for political targets, which means Snowden may be able to fight his extradition for some time.
Mr. Snowden should be treated as a hero for leaking details of the NSA’s spying operations. So long as the state refuses to recognized the people’s privacy the people should refuse to recognized the state’s privacy.
People often argue about the cause of violence in our world. Some people blame guns, others blame a lack of law enforcement powers, and some even blame capitalism. I think one of the biggest causes of violence in our world is the relatively low cost of performing violence, at least in most developed nations. A situation in Canada exemplifies this:
After Briar MacLean stepped up to defend his classmate against a knife-wielding bully, his mother, Leah O’Donnell, was politely informed the school did not “condone heroics.” Instead, Briar should have found a teacher to handle the situation.
Briar MacLean was sitting in class during a study period Tuesday, the teacher was on the other side of the room and, as Grade 7 bullies are wont to do, one kid started harassing another.
“I was in between two desks and he was poking and prodding the guy,” Briar, 13, said at the kitchen table of his Calgary home Friday.
“He put him in a headlock, and I saw that.”
He added he didn’t see the knife, but “I heard the flick, and I heard them say there was a knife.”
The rest was just instinct. Briar stepped up to defend his classmate, pushing the knife-wielding bully away.
Would you be surprised to hear that Mr. MacLean was awarded for his efforts that may have saved the life of a fellow student? Sadly, in our modern society, we are surprised by such things because that’s not usually the case. In fact that wasn’t the case here either:
“I got called to the office and I wasn’t able to leave until the end of the day,” he said.
That’s when Leah O’Donnell, Briar’s mother, received a call from the vice-principal.
Mike Ridewood for National Post
“They phoned me and said, ‘Briar was involved in an incident today,’” she said. “That he decided to ‘play hero’ and jump in.”
Ms. O’Donnell was politely informed the school did not “condone heroics,” she said. Instead, Briar should have found a teacher to handle the situation.
“I asked: ‘In the time it would have taken him to go get a teacher, could that kid’s throat have been slit?’ She said yes, but that’s beside the point. That we ‘don’t condone heroics in this school.’ ”
The most messed up thing about this situation isn’t the fact that a kid did the right thing and stopped a violent thug before he was able to harm somebody, it isn’t even the fact that his good deed was punished, it’s the fact that his good deed being punished isn’t surprising.
As I said, one of the biggest causes of violence in our society is likely the low cost of performing violent act. The cost is artificially low because when somebody does step in to defend a fellow human being they are punished.
When the principal said heroics aren’t condoned she sent a very clear message: violence will be tolerated. A student coming across a violent act is less inclined to involve themselves if they know their involvement will lead to their punishment. Knowing this, violent students will be more likely to commit acts of violence because they know the chances of somebody intervening, at least until their act is completed, is lower. I’ve noted that the state lowers the cost of committing violent acts by putting road blocks between individuals and the ability to defend themselves. Punishing good deeds discourages good deeds and a society lacking good deeds is almost certain to crumble under the weight of violence and thievery.
Yesterday was the opening day for, what is almost certainly, a show trial. This trial is a retaliatory strike in the state’s war on privacy. Most of you probably know that I’m referring to the trial of Bradley Manning, who stands accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks. There has been a great deal of debate amongst those paying attention to the trial regarding the validity of Manning’s actions. One side of the debate believes Manning’s actions qualify as treason while the other side believes Manning did the right thing. I’m in the latter camp. As an anarchist I don’t recognize borders, flags, or anything else related to a state as being valid and therefore I dismiss the charge of treason as a fictitious decree created by the state for the expressed purpose of punishing any dissenters. But even if that weren’t the case I would still support Manning. Why? Because the state initiated a war on privacy and, in so doing, lost its right to privacy.
The United States government has waged a war against our privacy since its inception. Every law it passes requires a violation of our privacy. Once something that was previously legal is declared illegal the power of warrants increase. Warrants are little more than a legal nicety that allows the state to violate the privacy of individuals. With a simple piece of paper in hand agents of the state can enter a home without legal contest and search for any material listed on said piece of paper.
After the prohibition on alcohol was passed warrants could be obtained simply because the state suspected an individual was in possession of or making alcohol. When cannabis was declared illegal the power of warrants increased again in order to empower law enforcement agents to search homes of people suspected of possessing or growing cannabis. Tax regulations grant the state the power to search through financial records looking for violations. Laws prohibiting people from sharing copyrighted works allow state agents to search people’s homes and electronic devices for infringing material. But things have gotten much worse since September 11, 2001.
The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were the justification used by the state to pass the PATRIOT Act. Amongst other things the PATRIOT Act authorized state agents to setup wiretaps without a warrant, spy on financial records under the claim of stopping the flow of funds to terrorist organizations, and issuing National Security Letters that require service providers to hand over customer data to the state while prohibiting those providers from informing their customers that their information has been demanded. By passing the PATRIOT Act the state effectively said that we the people no longer had the right to privacy. Since then the state has continued to renew expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act and pushing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) twice. When CISPA failed to pass the first time Mr. Obama issued a series of executive orders that emulated much of what CISPA purported to do.
Make no mistake, the state fired the first shot and, in so doing, forced the people to take defensive actions. I’m a firm believer in proportional responses to aggression. If somebody initiates force against you then you have the right to use proportional retaliatory force in response. When the state violates the people’s privacy I believe violating its privacy is a proportional response.
I don’t care what information is stolen from the state so long as the state wants to keep it secret. As long as it continues its war against our privacy we should respond by violating its privacy. Bradley Manning did the right thing in my opinion. He took the state’s right to privacy away after it took our right to privacy away. It’s unfortunate that he is now, for all intents and purposes, a prisoner of war but I hope his example sets a precedence that leads more state agents to leak classified information.
Magpul is selling special edition magazines to fund its lawsuit against the State of Colorado for its new prohibition against standard capacity magazines:
To raise money for their fight against the new laws in Colorado which are forcing them to leave the state, Magpul is selling a special limited edition PMAG. The magazine is identical to their black GEN M2 PMAG other than a slight change to the ribbing and the addition of the Free Colorado logo and Magpul anniversary logo. They are being sold in packs of five for $64.75.
There are two special edition magazines. One of the magazines is stamped with “Boulder Airlift” while the other is stamped with “Free Colorado.” At the time of this writing the “Boulder Airlift” magazines were out of stock but the “Free Colorado” magazines showed as being in stock and Magpul’s website allowed me to put in an order (although it took several attempts as their website appeared to be getting hammered, which I hope is good news for their magazine sales).
I’m starting to think that Magpul is conspiring to gain my love an affection. First they produce the best magazines I can find for my LR-308, then they keep their word and abandon Colorado after the state’s government passed a prohibition against standard capacity magazines, and now they are raising money for their lawsuit by selling a product I actually want. If Magpul still has some magazines in stock put in an order. The worst that will happen is you’ll received some magazines, the best that will happen is Magpul’s lawsuit will lift Colorado’s prohibition and you’ll have some magazines.
One of the major criticisms of the United States healthcare system is the exorbitant costs associated with almost every medical procedure. Proponents of letting the free market solve healthcare problems often mistaken the United States healthcare system for a free market healthcare system. This mistaken belief leads them to defend the American healthcare system. When asked to justify the extremely high costs of healthcare in the United States these people often claim such costs are necessary to provide quality technology. These people forget to mention that cheaper alternatives are actively suppressed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) whose high certification costs ensure cheaper alternatives never get approval. Thankfully this isn’t the case in every country. Even in a supposedly communist country such as China cheaper alternatives to expensive medical technology aren’t strictly prohibited:
When a devastating accident with a homemade fishing bomb destroyed both of Sun Jifa’s hands, the farmer from Jilin province in Northern China couldn’t afford the expensive prosthetics provided by the hospital. Faced with a family to take care of and rudimentary prostheses that made it impossible to do farm work, Sun began an eight-year quest to design and build his own bionic arms using whatever materials he had available. After a series of prototypes built from pulleys, wires, and scrap metal, Sun settled on a final design that proved so successful that amputees in neighboring towns have been clamoring to buy them. In this video from New Tang Dynasty Television, Sun reveals that he’s already sold 1,000 of the arms at around $490 US apiece, turning his personal catastrophe into a prosperous family business.
The primary reason healthcare costs so much in the United States is due to protectionism. Politically connected corporations are protected by small competitors through state-created barriers to entry such as FDA approval requirements. When such restrictions are absent small competitors can offer alternatives to expensive technologies.
When I’m 90 years old, if I even manage to live that long, I hope I’m as metal as Christopher Lee:
Turning 91 definitely shouldn’t be an obstacle in releasing a heavy metal record, just ask Christopher Lee. The iconic actor, known for his roles in such cinematic classics as “Lord of the Rings,” “Star Wars,” “Dracula” and “The Hobbit,” is set to celebrate his 91st birthday with the release of his second metal album.
Titled “Charlemagne: The Omens of Death,” actor’s sophomore record will drop on May 27 featuring a total of 10 tracks arranged by Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner. You can check out a preview video with comments from Lee himself below.
Lee’s last metal album, Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross, wasn’t too my liking as it was more operatic than metal (while I’m a huge fan of operatic metal I like more metal than opera) I still gave major credit to Mr. Lee for putting out a metal album at his age. He’s stated in the past that his second album will be more metal so I may enjoy it but even if it’s not to my taste I still tip my hat to Mr. Lee for being the oldest performer in metal and, likely, older than I’ll ever live to be.
In a way I almost feel sorry for advocates of gun control. While they may be able to get some laws passed in certain individual states it matters not because fabricating firearms in the home is becoming easier every day. Somebody managed to print a functioning evolution of the Liberator on a consumer-grade 3D printer:
When high tech gunsmith group Defense Distributed test-fired the world’s first fully 3D-printed firearm earlier this month, some critics dismissed the demonstration as expensive and impractical, arguing it could only be done with a high-end industrial 3D printer and that the plastic weapon wouldn’t last more than a single shot. Now a couple of hobbyists have proven them wrong on both counts.
One evening late last week, a Wisconsin engineer who calls himself “Joe” test-fired a new version of that handgun printed on a $1,725 Lulzbot A0-101 consumer-grade 3D printer, far cheaper than the one used by Defense Distributed. Joe, who asked that I not reveal his full name, loaded the weapon with .380 caliber rounds and fired it nine times, using a string to pull its trigger for safety.
Here’s a video of the gun firing:
At this point it’s pretty safe to say anybody with a decent 3D printer can print a firearm. Still, a $2,000 3D printer is out of the price range of many people, but that’s OK. Let’s not forget the person who created an AR lower out of hand tools and polymer. There was also the guy who fabricated an AK receiver out of a shovel.
Gun control has been a fantasy for a long time but it keeps becoming more of a fantasy every day.
Yesterday I mentioned that Defense Distributed had announced the first handgun developed almost exclusive (the one exception is the nail that is used as a firing pin) on a 3D printer. Many people questioned if it would work or if it would explode into a million tiny plastic pieces, especially since the barrel was made of plastic. As it turns out the handgun worked pretty well:
On May 1st, Wilson assembled the 3D-printed pieces of his Liberator for the first time, and agreed to let a Forbes photographer take pictures of the unproven device. A day later, that gun was tested on a remote private shooting range an hour’s drive from Austin, Texas, whose exact location Wilson asked me not to reveal.
The verdict: it worked. The Liberator fired a standard .380 handgun round without visible damage, though it also misfired on another occasion when the firing pin failed to hit the primer cap in the loaded cartridge due a misalignment in the hammer body, resulting in an anti-climactic thunk.
Here’s a video of the test firing:
It’s obvious by looking at the gun and hearing about the failure to fire that the firearm is a prototype but, considering how quickly Mr. Wilson has been advancing the art of manufacturing firearms on 3D printers, this design will likely evolve very quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a reliable, albeit ugly, design capable of firing multiple rounds by the end of the year.