A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Wall of Fame Assholes’ Category

In Order to Save the Children We Must Damn the Children

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People love to bitch about the government indoctrination centers public education system. And with good cause. If you believe that the purpose of public schools is to educate children then you can’t help but admit that they’re doing an abysmal job. When I see people bitching about public schools I sometimes like to amuse myself by asking them what the solution is. Unless the person I’m asking is a libertarian the solutions proposed are almost always some variant of “We need to provide more funding to public schools!” While I find the idea of throwing even more money into the pit to fix a fundamental failure absurd, I at least understand why somebody might come to that conclusion. However, I came across a proposed solution that is so absurd that I can’t fathom how the proposer came up with it:

For Hannah-Jones, sending Najya to the neighborhood school was a moral issue. “It is important to understand that the inequality we see, school segregation, is both structural, it is systemic, but it’s also upheld by individual choices,” she says. “As long as individual parents continue to make choices that only benefit their own children … we’re not going to see a change.”

The only way to fix public schools is to damn every child to them!

This proposal is nothing less than collective punishment. Collective punishment is a statist belief that I find especially heinous. But in this case it’s more heinous than usual because the people being punished, children, had no involvement in creating the problem whatsoever. Why should every child be condemned to a poor education when it was adults that created the horrible public education system in the first place? If you’re going to punish somebody, why not punish those adults instead?

I consider myself an open minded person. But collective punishment and collective suicide, which is what dumbing down every child in the nation is, are two beliefs I cannot bring myself to even entertain.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 18th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Crime Pays

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That’s a nice piece of property you have there. It would be a same if anything were to happen to it.

We usually associate such extortion with the mafia or other nongovernment gangs but they’re petty crooks when compared to local municipalities. The City of Minneapolis raked in over $1.7 billion with this scheme:

The city of Minneapolis issued more than $1.7 billion in building permits last year, the fifth year in a row that the city has burst the billion-dollar bubble.

The 2016 tally, announced Friday, is the second highest Minneapolis has seen since 2000. The only year to dwarf it was 2014, when the city issued $2 billion in permits with the construction of the new U.S. Bank Stadium and surrounding development.

Who says crime doesn’t pay?

Building permits are useful for illustrating two things. First, that local municipalities can make a killing on permit fees even though each individual permit may seem fairly cheap. Second, that you can’t own property in this country. You can rent it from the State, which will allow you to use it in approved manners so long as your rent is paid up. But if you fail to pay your rent or seek the landlord’s blessing anytime you want to use it you may find yourself facing a man in a muumuu who will either send you to a cage or extort more money out of you (or both).

Written by Christopher Burg

January 11th, 2017 at 10:00 am

How Fake News Happens

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Fake news has remained one of the big boogeyman ever since Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidential election. But what is fake news? At one time fake news was referred to as tabloids. Then fake news became known as Onion articles. Now fake news seems to mean whatever news one disagrees with. But there is actual fake news and it usually stems from so-called legitimate media outlets:

The original article was posted online on the Washington Post’s website at 7:55PM EST. Using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, we can see that sometime between 9:24PM and 10:06PM the Post updated the article to indicate that multiple computer systems at the utility had been breached (“computers” plural), but that further data was still being collected: “Officials said that it is unclear when the code entered the Vermont utility’s computers, and that an investigation will attempt to determine the timing and nature of the intrusion.” Several paragraphs of additional material were added between 8PM and 10PM, claiming and contextualizing the breach as part of a broader campaign of Russian hacking against the US, including the DNC and Podesta email breaches.

Despite the article ballooning from 8 to 18 paragraphs, the publication date of the article remained unchanged and no editorial note was appended, meaning that a reader being forwarded a link to the article would have no way of knowing the article they were seeing was in any way changed from the original version published 2 hours prior.

Yet, as the Post’s story ricocheted through the politically charged environment, other media outlets and technology experts began questioning the Post’s claims and the utility company itself finally issued a formal statement at 9:37PM EST, just an hour and a half after the Post’s publication, pushing back on the Post’s claims: “We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems. We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding.”

Fake news tends to be the result of journalists jumping the gun instead of performing a investigation. In this case a journalist or journalists at the Washington Post received information about malware being found on a laptop at a power station. Instead of investigating the story further the journalist(s) wove a story about Russian hackers attacking the United States’ power grid. Had they waited for a response from the power company they would have known that the laptop wasn’t even connected to the network and was therefore a nonissue.

We see this happen with every breaking story. In fact it happens so often that I now consider the term “break story” to mean “incoming bullshit.” The talking heads on your moving picture boxes, the writers for news websites, and your friends on Facebook all crave attention. In the case of the former two attention equals money and in the case of the latter attention equals an ego boost. Either way, the people reporting about a breaking story have no information to go on so they’re just speculating. Furthermore, because journalists are often ignorant about the technical matters surrounding the story they’re reporting on, their speculations tend to be fantastical.

While tabloids are often advertised by their creators as real news almost everybody with the ability to think critically knows they’re bullshit. The Onion straight up admits to being a satire site. So-called legitimate journalists don’t have an excuse to be propagating false information. In fact, the job of journalism once involved investigating stories so true information could be reported. Yet they end up being the biggest propagators of false information time and again.

If you really despise fake news you should be demanding that journalists do their job by waiting until they have some factual information to report before reporting.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 10th, 2017 at 10:30 am

The Streisand Effect

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The Internet doesn’t lend itself well to censorship. In fact, attempts to censor information usually lead to a great deal of public scrutiny. Take Ham Radio Deluxe, for example. Until a few days ago I hadn’t heard of the software or the company that creates it. But then the company tried to make a negative review posted by a user go away. Now I’ve not only heard of the company but I know that it’s a company that I won’t ever do business with:

This tactic, however, is a new twist on the old “punish customers for negative reviews” game. A user of Ham Radio Deluxe wasn’t too happy with its apparent incompatibility with Windows 10. He posted a negative review of the software at eHam.net, calling out the company for its seeming unwillingness to fix the underlying issue.

[…]

The “customer support” at HRD Software then pointed the user to its terms of service, stating that it had the right to do what it had just done. HRD Software reserves the “right” to “disable a customer’s key at any time for any reason.” Then it told him the blacklisting would be revoked if he removed his negative review. Bonus: mention of a capital-A “Attorney” for added seriousness, I guess.

If you remove the eHam review, which was blatantly false, we will remove the blacklist from you call. You are not buying software, you are buying your callsign’s access to the software. the so called bug you reported is not one in HRD, but one in the CAT commands of the FT­3000 radio, which have been verified with yaesu. Again refer to section 8 of the TOS, which was written by our Attorney.

There are many ways to deal with negative reviews. Usually the best option is to ignore them. Not everybody is going to have a good experience with your product so you need to accept that some users will give negative reviews. If a particular negative review is hurting business you can either act on that review by improving your product or you can issue a rebuttal if the review is based on false information. What you should never do is try to coerce the reviewer into deleting their review. That looks scummy to everybody watching.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 6th, 2017 at 10:00 am

To Protect and Serve the Shit Out of You

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Cop apologists often say that the proper place to fight back against a bad officer is in a court. But what if the bad officer is threatening to put two bullets in the back of your skull? That’s a question the people of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota should be asking themselves right now:

In a three-paragraph statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Gannon said his department was alerted to the Facebook video capturing the Tuesday encounter between the officer and the suspect in the parking lot of Wal-Mart at 1200 Shingle Creek Crossing.

[…]

In the 61-second video, shot about 2:20 p.m. from behind a car in the lot, the officer approached a vehicle and ordered Foye-Finch to get down on the ground as he exited out a passenger-side door.

“Don’t move,” the officer told Foye-Finch, who appears to be facedown on the pavement.

“Don’t reach for anything!” the officer yelled, his gun still trained on the man, who appeared compliant during the entire time of the video being record. “You wanna get shot? Don’t reach for anything. Don’t move. I’ll put two in the back of your head if you move again, you understand me? Don’t move.”

According to Chief Tim Gannon the suspect had been evading law enforcers. This is probably the part cop apologists will latch onto but they’ll then ignore the part where Gannon said that “threatening language is never appropriate or acceptable.”

In the video the suspect seems to be lying facedown on the pavement. Even though he appears to be complying with the officer the officer doesn’t appear to be entirely satisfied and is threatening to perform a summary execution. My question is whether or not one should consider this a self-defense situation.

While the aggressor had a badge he was expressing a willingness to exceed his authority by murdering the suspect. The officer also had the means to go through with his threat. In this case the officer didn’t go through with the threat but there was no way for the suspect to know that he wouldn’t. I would argue that had the suspect defended himself he would have been well within his rights. I’m sure somebody will accuse me of simply hating cops but I believe I justified my conclusion in a way that would still show the situation to be self-defense if the aggressor wasn’t a cop. There’s little ground, regardless of who the aggressor was, to claim that the suspect didn’t have a reasonable belief that his life was in immediate danger.

If a law enforcer is beating you to death or threatening to kill you even if you complied with their commands, you may not live long enough to face them in court. That being the case, telling people that the proper place to deal with a bad officer is in a court is often not realistic advice.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 29th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Without Government Who Would Punish Those Who Help the Homeless

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The State continues its war against the homeless. Again the State is targeting those who dare to help them:

DUNDALK, Md. – Patapsco United Methodist Church is in Dundalk, Maryland, not far from Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay. Sometimes, at night, homeless people with nowhere else to go will sleep on church grounds, taking advantage of the promise of safety that a church often represents.

But in the future, those people may have to find another place to sleep, because the church may be fined out of existence by local government.

According to Yahoo News, Rev. Katie Grover found a $12,000 citation attached to a church door when she went to the church one morning recently.

The citation said that the church had violated a county regulation that prohibits “non-permitted rooming and boarding” and that the church failed to “cease exterior use of property as housing units.” An inspector’s comments noted that “People (were) still living in (the) rear of (the) property under tarped area.”

Whether its food safety, nutrition, or boarding regulations, local municipalities always have a law to cite at hand when they want to punish somebody who is trying to help the homeless.

Statists like to claim that the State is necessary to help those who have nothing. But time and again the State demonstrates that it has no interest in helping those who have nothing. In fact, it’s overtly hostile to those individuals. How could this be? It’s because the State wants to steal wealth from people. If somebody has nothing for the State to take then the State sees them as a burden that must be dealt with as one would deal with a spider in their home.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 23rd, 2016 at 10:00 am

License to Kill

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Law enforcers in the United States have a strange fetish for gunning down family pets. This fetish has become so widespread that there’s a term for it, puppycide, and there’s adatabase that attempts to track incidents of it. Fortunately, the courts work as a check and balance against bad law enforcement behavior

“The standard we set out today is that a police officer’s use of deadly force against a dog while executing a warrant to search a home for illegal drug activity is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment when, given the totality of the circumstances and viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer, the dog poses an imminent threat to the officer’s safety,” Judge Eric Clay wrote in the court’s opinion.

In the case of the Browns’ two pit bulls, the imminent threat came from the dogs barking and moving around. One officer shot the first pit bull after he said it “had only moved a few inches” in a movement that he considered to be a “lunge.” The injured dog retreated to the basement, where the officer shot and killed it as well as the second dog while conducting a sweep of the residence.

Or, you know, the courts don’t act as a check and balance against law enforcement.

I often laugh when cop apologists use the phrase “totality of the circumstances” because of situations like this. In this case the dogs barked and moved a few inches so the officer shot it. It then retreated to the basement so the officer followed it down there and executed it along with another dog. How is a retreating dog an imminent threat given the “totality of the circumstances?” It’s not.

Once again I feel the need to point out that trust in law enforcement isn’t low because of propaganda by the mainstream media. It’s low because of situations, like this one, where officers obviously overstepped their bounds and weren’t reprimanded for it. When you have people in positions of authority constantly abusing that authority any trust the public has in those people quickly goes away.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 22nd, 2016 at 10:30 am

The Totality of the Situation

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The line separating lethal and nonlethal force seems clear enough. Something that has a high probability of killing somebody, such as a gun or knife, is lethal whereas something that has a low probability of killing somebody, such as a punch to the gut or pepper spray, is nonlethal. But all too often people don’t consider the totality of the situation (a favorite phrase of cop apologists trying to excuse what appears to be obviously egregious behavior by an officer). Consider this story about the pipeline protests in North Dakota:

Tear gas was used to disperse a crowd of 400 protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline late Sunday after clashes that authorities described as a “riot” prompted by “very aggressive” activists.

A law enforcement officer was hit on the head by a thrown rock during the confrontation, Morton County Sheriff’s Office said in an update at 1 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET).

Videos posted to Facebook by activists showed authorities spray a continuous stream of water over demonstrators in below-freezing temperatures but sheriff’s spokesman Rob Keller told NBC News that no water cannon were deployed. He said the water was being sprayed from a fire truck to control blazes as they were being set by activists.

[…]

“Officers on the scene are describing protesters’ actions as very aggressive,” the release noted. “In order to keep protesters from crossing the bridge, law enforcement have utilized less-than-lethal means, including launching CS gas.”

In spite of what the police claimed, the videos and images from the protest make it clear that they were deliberately spraying the protesters with water cannons, not putting out fires. Even considering that normally water cannons are considered nonlethal because spraying somebody with a water cannon isn’t likely to kill them. However, at the time of this police action temperatures in the area were below freezing and anybody who lives up here in the northern states knows that hypothermia can become lethal quickly.

If we’re supposed to consider the “totality of the situation” when police officers do something seemingly terrible then police officers should be held to the same standard. Driving out firetrucks with the intention of spraying down protesters in below freezing weather is lethal force. The officers might as well have opened fire with rifles. They certainly don’t have grounds to claim they were utilizing less-than-lethal means.

Without Government Who Would Kill the Dogs

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Police perpetrated puppycide (PPP) is a significant problem in the United States. The problem is so widespread that the term puppycide was coined to describe it:

Stories like Smith’s happen all the time. They’re so common that they’ve become known by the grim moniker puppycide. There’s a whole category on Reason’s website for such events, a 16,000-person-strong Facebook group that tracks local media reports of them, and even a database that attempts to collect information on dog shootings nationwide. But no one knows how many dogs are in fact killed by police every year.

A Justice Department official speculated in a 2012 interview with Police magazine that the number could be as high as 10,000 a year, calling it “an epidemic.”

Why are so many dogs being killed by police? Many of these incidents involve dogs that were leashed or kenneled, which leads one to think that many law enforcers simply enjoy killing dogs. The usual schtick we’re fed when these PPPs occur is the time honored “officer safety.” Officer safety are two magical words that when combined are supposed to absolve an officer of any excessive use of force.

At some point people need to ask why the magical words “officer safety” needs to be thrown around so often, especially when we consider the fact that being a police officer isn’t all that dangerous.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 16th, 2016 at 11:00 am

The Public Education System’s Ongoing War with Education

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Since its inception the public education system has been at war with education. Instead of education people the United States public education system is based off of the Prussian system that was designed to make automatons that were smart enough to operate the machinery but not smart enough to revolt against the State. But remnants of education continued to stick around for a few generations until we finally reached the point we’re at today where the movie Idiocracy looks more like prophecy than satire.

The Hibbing School District has identified a remnant of education that has managed to remain untouched and is working to address that hiccup:

HIBBING — The Hibbing School District is considering ending its nearly 60-year partnership with the Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club.

During a school board meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Brad Johnson said various concerns from the public regarding the gun range in the basement of Lincoln Elementary has led him to strictly limit access to the facility until there’s a permanent solution to ensure everyone’s safety and to limit concerns from the public.

The facility can only be used once school-organized activities and events have concluded on Wednesdays, or when inclement weather prevents gun safety classes from being held outdoors.

There has never been an incident on the range so safety isn’t the actual reason for attempting to shutdown the range. But teaching children how to safety and effectively operate firearms is education and potentially threatening to the State. And I’m not even talking about the potential form armed revolution in this case. People who have the ability to defend themselves and are confident in their ability are much harder to scare. Fear is the health of the State. Without fear the State has a hard time manipulating people into surrendering their autonomy.

Consider the police state we live in today. It was able to expand because first people were afraid of the communists then they were afraid of the drugs and now they’re afraid of the terrorists. People are willing to put up with widespread surveillance, again, because they’re afraid of the terrorists. Now the State is drumming up fears of war with Russia and that will be used by it to grab even more power.

The knowledge and ability to defend yourself is a significant threat to the State. The public education system has been hard at work stamping down this knowledge by teaching children to never fight back against bullies but instead run to a school administrator. In recent years schools have even begun punishing students who do defend themselves under the idea that violence is never the answer. Sometime like a gun range that teaches children how to use the most effective tools of self-defense commonly available wasn’t going to fly forever.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 12th, 2016 at 10:30 am