A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Archive for the ‘Gun Rights’ tag

Why Democracy Sucks Part XXI

with one comment

Barack Obama is once again pushing science fiction as official policy. As usual this has caused a great deal of ignorant individuals to voice their unqualified opinions on the matter. Surprisingly, in a sea of shitty media discussion, one publication managed to hit the nail on the head as far as the entire smart gun discussion is concerned:

Guns are a technology, and, like most members of the general public, gun control advocates are thoroughly confused about how guns operate outside of Hollywood — as in, “the Internet is a series of tubes“-level confused. It’s hard for me to overstate just how bad it is out there, even among much of the gun-owning public.
[…]

This, then, is what the NRA is terrified of: that lawmakers who don’t even know how to begin to evaluate the impact of the smallest, most random-seeming feature of a given firearm on that firearm’s effectiveness and functionality for different types of users with different training backgrounds under different circumstances will get into the business of gun design.

And they’re right to be afraid, because it has happened before.

You can substitute gun owners for the National Rifle Association (NRA) since the opposition isn’t limited to just that organization. But the point stands, most lawmakers are entirely ignorant about the technology behind firearms. That brings us to today’s lesson: democracy sucks.

Somewhere along the line the idea that everybody is entitled to their opinion morphed into the idea that everybody’s opinion is equally valid. That idea is nonsense. A theoretically physicist should no more regard my opinion of his work than I should regard the opinion of somebody who has never studied basic mathematics on an algorithm I’ve written. When somebody lacks the basic fundamental knowledge of a field their opinion on that field is not equally as valid as an expert’s.

But such facts are irrelevant to democracy since it is a system where a majority of a voting body makes the rules. Here in the United States that voting body is Congress. Congress is composed of members elected by the majority of their constituents. In the end the only qualification somebody has to have to rule on something in the United States is charisma. This becomes a major problem as soon as members of Congress decided to write a law because they — along with their peers — are entirely ignorant on the subject the law pertains to.

Issues revolving around firearms are being decided by people who are entirely ignorant about firearms. When the issue of smart guns arises the problem is compounded by the same people’s ignorance on computer technology. In the end you have people who know nothing about the technology being discussed voting on how that technology is to be used.

Imagine if we applied democracy to an engineering feat such as building a bridge. Instead of having architects, structural engineers, material engineers, and construction workers designing and building a structurally sound bridge we’d have a bunch of ignorant lawyers voting on how they thought the bridge should be designed and built. The only outcome of that would be failure. If we don’t apply democracy to building a bridge why do we think it’s an acceptable means of mandating laws involving technology?

An Armed Society Is A Polite Society

with 2 comments

Muslims are a minority in the United States. Anti-Muslim sentiments are also at a high. Those two points create the perfect conditions for anti-Muslim bigots to act brave and mighty. Heinlein wrote, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” From this one can infer that an unarmed society is an impolite society. Manners are bad when one faces no consequences for their actions.

A group of anti-Muslim bigots planned to hold a protest at a mosque in Dallas. I’m sure the participants had crusader-like visions of appearing brave and powerful compared to the infidels they planned to protest. Especially since they were brining weapons and likely assume their targets were going to be unarmed. But things didn’t turn out quite as they expected:

A few hundred South Dallas residents, mostly black, flooded Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to oppose a planned demonstration by a mostly white group that routinely protests outside mosques.

Both sides were armed.

Dallas police stood guard on a funeral home’s roof as black counterprotesters swarmed the parking lot of Eva’s House of Bar-B-Q, vowing to defend their streets and chanting “black power.”

“This is what they fear — the black man,” said activist Olinka Green. “This is what America fears.”

The anti-mosque group showed up in camouflage, carrying guns and an American flag, FOX 4 reported. They left soon after and the protests ended without incident.

Instead of protesting an unarmed group of Muslims the protesters found themselves up against armed counterprotesters. As is usual in case when two equally armed but disagreeing groups come into contact, the conflict ended peacefully. The protesters, seeing their perceived advantage vanish, decided to withdraw rather than risk a conflict with a group that could put up an effective resistance. In effect the protesters saw that they might actually have to back up their actions with their lives and decided it would be smarter to take the polite route than to continue their impolite actions.

Time and time again history has shown us what happens when one group enjoys overwhelming force over another: genocide. I advocate that everybody wanting to bear arms do so. But I especially encourage members of oppressed groups to bear arms. The biggest enabler of oppression is force disparity. This is why oppressors always try to disarm their intended victims. After the Civil War the State passed arms control laws specifically aimed at disarmed newly freed blacks. In the aftermath of the 1857 Indian rebellion Britain passed weapon control laws aimed at disarming Indians. When the Third Reich came to power it passed laws expressly forbid Jews from owning firearms. But without force disparity oppression is much more costly to perpetrate. With the risks of oppressing a target group increased most would-be oppressors tend to keep their actions to mere words whispered behind closed doors.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 5th, 2016 at 10:00 am

German Gun Laws

without comments

Regardless of what the opponents of self-defense claim, buying a gun in the United States is subject to numerous regulations. But even we have it easy compared to people living in other countries. Jörg Sprave has a fascinating channel on YouTube where he devises some of the craziest slingshots known to man. He’s also an avid gun enthusiast. That being the case, I was glad to see him record a video explaining exactly what the gun laws in Germany are. While they’re far more draconian than here in the United States, they’re also not nearly as bad as in many other countries.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 29th, 2016 at 10:00 am

With Special Badges Comes Special Privileges

with 2 comments

Becoming a police officer is a pretty sweet gig. You don’t need to be intelligent. In fact, being intelligent can prohibit you from becoming a police officer. It’s not an especially dangerous. And you get to enjoy special privileges:

This week, a Tarrant County judge sentenced cop watcher Kenny Lovett to 90 days in jail after a jury determined he interfered with a high-risk traffic stop in Arlington in 2015.

“It’s a safety issue first and foremost,” said Melinda Westmoreland, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Lovett’s case.

On that day, Lovett and several other cop watchers pulled over to film Arlington police making a traffic stop.
Not long after they began filming, two officers approached them, concerned about the holsters some the cop watchers were also carrying. The exchange was caught on video.

“I need you to go back [to your vehicle] and put your weapons up if you’re armed,” the officer says in the recording. “Feel free to record after that.”

Two of cop watchers did what the officers told them to do. Lovett, who was carrying a black powder pistol, refused. He was then led away in handcuffs and charged with interfering with public duties and disorderly conduct.

When you interact with a police officer it’s OK for them to demand you to disarm but it’s not OK for you to demand they disarm. Considering the number of officers being killed is going down while the number of people being killed by cops is going up I think it would be fair to demand officers disarm when interacting with members of the public.

Power is easily abused by those who have it. By operating on a higher level than the general public law enforcement officers are in a position to abuse power. If we want to reduce power abuse by law enforcers they need to operate on the same level as the rest of us. That means they should fall under the same scrutiny when using force, being surveilled, and interacting with other individuals as every other person in society. If an officer can be armed while interacting with the general public then people keeping officers accountable by filming police interactions should be allowed to be armed as well.

We Interrupt Your Daily Grind To Bring You The Bloody Obvious

without comments

Gun control advocates have a laser like focus on guns, which causes them to lose sight of the actual issue of violence. This is most obvious when they declare victory because another weapon has started to be used common:

NEW YORK (FOX5NY) – New York mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to put a positive spin on a recent rash of stabbings and slashings across the city. He credits the NYPD taking guns off of the street.

“I’m not a criminologist but I can safely say that guns are being taken off the street in an unprecedented way. Some people, unfortunately, are turning to a different weapon,” de Blasio says.

[…]

The mayor claims that since there are so many fewer guns on the street, officers can now focus on criminals using knives and razors.

To be entirely honest I would much rather be shot than attacked with a knife. Assuming you survive, being shot tends to be more easily remedied than being slashed and stabbed.

Several things are worth noting with this story though. First, there is no evidence that New York’s gun control laws are the cause for the uptick in stabbings. Bill de Blasio is just declaring it so but offers no evidence to support his claim. Second, he doesn’t mention if shootings have gone down in addition to stabbings increasing. This is important to determine because it could be that shootings have remained the same and stabbings have simply increased. Third, even if we assume shooting are down the actual problem of violent crime obviously remains. Whether people are shot or stabbed doesn’t make a difference. Either way people are still being injured or killed. Four, and this is one that is usually overlooked, are the efforts of law enforcers to stop out violent crime creating more violent crime? It’s pretty hard to claim violence crime is down in law enforcers are injuring and killing people are a higher rate to enforce weapon prohibitions.

Here is something we do know though. Acquiring a carry permit in New York City is very difficult, which means the people operating within the letter of the law are at a severe disadvantage. If somebody attacks them with either a gun or a knife they are handicapped as far as self-defense goes.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 8th, 2016 at 10:00 am

ATF Says Certain Medical Patients Prohibited From Owing Firearms

with one comment

Should people who require certain medications lose the right to self-defense? According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) they should:

What has forged this quirky convergence of advocacy — tokers, meet shooters — is a September letter from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives saying it is illegal for medical-marijuana patients to own firearms.

Everybody who buys a gun must fill out ATF Form 4473, which asks: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”

Answer yes, and you don’t get the gun. Falsely answer no, and you’ve just committed a crime.

The ATF’s letter, sent out Sept. 21, clarifies that the bureau includes medical-marijuana patients in that group of prohibited buyers because their marijuana use is inherently illegal federally.

The absurdity, of course, is that the 4473 form asks if you are an unlawful user. People who have a medical exemption card are lawfully using cannabis and therefore should not be prohibited by law.

More importantly though, the fact that somebody can lose the right to defend themselves because they need cannabis is ridiculous. Cannabis is far safer than most other drugs including alcohol (which you can use and still legally own a firearm), which is responsible for a great deal of poor life choices.

There’s no valid reason to prohibit somebody from owning firearms just because they use certain drugs. So long as people don’t use their firearms while under the influence of drugs there is no real danger. And many drugs have no side effects that make firearm usage dangerous to the users or bystanders.

This is yet another example of a policy put forth by the ATF that demonstrates the agency is interested in restricting firearm ownership.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 29th, 2016 at 10:30 am

When Your Employer Hears About The Concept Of Defense In Depth

without comments

What happens when your employer first hears about the concept of defense in depth but knows jack shit about firearms? This:

After each employee at Lance Toland Associates gets their license, Toland presents them with a gun known as the judge. He says it is one of the most effective self-defense weapons and all his aviation insurance agencies carry them openly in the office.

“Everybody has one of these in their drawer or on their person. I would not want to come into one of my facilities,” Toland said. “It’s a 5 shot .410, just like a shotgun and you call it hand cannon.”

Having armed employees is a great way to bolster the physical security of your workplace. But the Taurus Judge is not a good weapon to arm employees with. It is ridiculously large, only has five shots, takes much longer to reload than a semiautomatic handgun. “But, Chris,” I hear you saying, “It shoots both .410 shotgun shells and .45 Colt!” To that I will point out that better guns are available for both. In addition to that the Taurus has a rifled barrel, which causes shot to fly out in a doughnut patter.

This is one of those stories where I really want to give the employer credit for thinking about the security of his employees but find myself having to shake my head because he chose a firearm based on Hollywood specifications (it looks scary) instead of effective specifications (such as a 9mm semiautomatic handgun). Granted, a Judge is better than nothing but if you’re going to encourage your employees to have a firearm you should take the extra step to equip them with something better than simply being better than nothing.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 25th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Posted in Gun Rights

Tagged with , ,

The Next Stage In 3D Printed Firearms

without comments

Proving once again that technology overcomes legal restrictions, a new stage in 3D printed firearms has been reached. Instead of a single shot pistol that’s difficult to reload we now have a 3D printed semiautomatic 9mm handgun:

Last weekend a 47-year-old West Virginia carpenter who goes by the pseudonym Derwood released the first video of what he calls the Shuty-MP1, a “mostly” 3-D printed semi-automatic firearm. Like any semi-automatic weapon, Derwood’s creation can fire an actual magazine of ammunition—in this case 9mm rounds—ejecting spent casings one by one and loading a new round into its chamber with every trigger pull. But unlike the typical steel semi-automatic rifle, Derwood says close to “95 percent” of his creation is 3-D printed in cheap PLA plastic, from its bolt to the magazine to the upper and lower receivers that make up the gun’s body.

Heres a video of it firing:

As the article notes, the gun isn’t perfect. The plastic around the barrel apparently starts to melt after firing 18 rounds if sufficient cooling time isn’t given. But the pace at which 3D printed firearms are evolving is staggering. In a few short years we’ve gone from the single shot Liberator pistol to a fully functional semiautomatic pistol. It won’t be long until practical 3D printed firearms are designed.

What does this mean? It means prohibitions against firearms are less relevant. Prohibiting something that any schmuck can make in their home isn’t possible. Alcohol prohibition and the current war on drugs have proven that.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 4th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Getting Off The No-Fly List

without comments

With the rekindled excitement for prohibition people on the government’s terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms it’s a good time to review how terrible of an idea the lists themselves are. The lists and the criteria for appearing on them are secret so there is no due process involved. We know approximately 40 percent of the names on the lists aren’t affiliated with any known terrorist organization. To make matters even worse there’s no way to know whether you’re on the lists until you try to fly and end up being detained and interrogated for hours. And once you’re on the lists getting off of them is no simple matter:

Kadura, an American citizen, was placed on the federal government’s no-fly list in 2012. Since then, in addition to being prevented from boarding flights, he has been detained, interrogated, and harassed at border crossings and pressured by authorities to become a government informant.

yaseen Yaseen Kadura Photo: Courtesy of Yaseen KaduraThe 25-year-old American medical student, who was raised in Indiana, has spent the last three years trying to coax information out of the government and clear his name. Last year, he sued in federal court over his watchlisting, joining four other Muslim Americans represented by lawyers from the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. That case was still ongoing, when, this past September, Kadura suddenly received a brief, terse letter from the government indicating that he was no longer on the list and could board a plane without impediment.

Since 2012 Kadura hasn’t been able to fly. He finally found his ability to fly restored but there is no indication of why. There was no known process for him to file an appeal. He initiated a lawsuit, which hadn’t concluded when his ability to fly was restored so no information of how one might restore their privileges was drawn out during the hearing. Like getting on the list, getting off of the list is a black box.

Proponents of barring people on the terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms like to say, “If you can’t fly, you shouldn’t be able to own a gun.” It’s idiocy that ignored the fact that nobody on the terrorist watch lists should be prohibited from flying since there is no due process involved in appearing on the lists nor is there a known way of getting remove.

Always Fight Back

without comments

There’s a lot of bad self-defense advice out there but very little of it is as harmful as telling women they shouldn’t defend themselves. I can only imagine this advice was started by some misogynist piece of shit who viewed women as such lesser creatures that they couldn’t possibly defend themselves against a big, strong man such as himself. It’s likely this asshole also had fantasies about teaching any woman who resisted him a lesson so believed it would be safer for women being attacked to just lie back and think of England.

However this crap started it has cumulated in to terrible, harmful advice such as telling women to “be realistic” about their ability to protect themselves, which is a euphemism for telling women they’re incapable of defending themselves against big, strong men so they can only resort to pissing themselves to dissuade rapists.

The fact is women who defend themselves generally fare better than those who don’t:

As a matter of fact, research conducted since the 70ies has consistently shown that fighting back is actually the most effective strategy to thwart sexual assaults.

Studies such as Kleck & Tark (2005) or Reekie & Wilson (1993) or Ullman & Knight (1992), indeed show that women who respond with physical and verbal resistance to the offender’s violent attack significantly reduce the probability that a rape would be completed.

In the 1990’s, German commissioner Susanne Paul examined 522 cases of rapes and attempted rapes to see whether fighting back was a good strategy. Result: fighting back had a 85% success rate.

Irène Zeilinger, director of the NGO Garance, says that data they collect indicate a 90% success rate (“Ladies, against assaults nothing match fighting“).

Fighting back may not work 100% of the time (nothing does) but it works most of the time.

Criminals, by and large, are opportunists. They seek to fulfill their wants with the least amount of effort possible. Like any predatory animal they try to identify the weakest prey. That means they seek the unaware, the physically unimposing, and the ones unwilling to fight back. When a criminal discovers their prey is very much willing to fight back they often disengage.

If you’re attacked always fight back and give yourself as much advantages as you can. Take some self-defense courses or better yet dedicate yourself to the study of a martial art. And if at all possible carry a weapon. I highly advise carrying a firearm since they are the most effective tools for self-defense but if you’re unwilling or unable to do that there are alternatives.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 27th, 2016 at 11:00 am