A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘You’re Doing it Wrong’ tag

How Compromises Work

without comments

In the aftermath of every mass shooting perpetrated by a nongovernmental individual, gun control advocates demand new restrictions be placed on gun owners. When gun rights activists refuse to roll over, gun control advocates claim that the gun rights activists are unwilling to compromise. I’m left to believe that the gun control advocates making that claim don’t understand what the word compromise means.

According to the dictionary, compromise means, “an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.” A good example of a compromise is when one company sues another company for violating its patents and both sides resolve the dispute by agreeing to license each other patents. The suing company concedes its patents but in turn the sued company also concedes its patents. Both sides have given something up to get something.

Gun control advocates demand that gun rights activists make concessions but offer no concessions of their own so there is nothing to compromise over.

However, gun control advocates might convince a lot of gun rights activists to compromise if something were offered in return. For example, I know a lot of gun rights advocates who have stated that they would accept universal background checks if the Hughes Amendment was repealed in return. I also know gun rights advocates who would likely accept raising the minimum age for purchasing a firearm if suppressors were removed from the National Firearms Act in return.

Instead of offering nothing and then complaining that gun rights advocates are unwilling to compromise, gun control advocates should state what they’re willing to concede in return for what they want. If they did that, negotiations could begin.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 22nd, 2018 at 11:00 am

Laws Are Irrelevant

with one comment

When you allow yourself to succumb to magical thinking, such as believing that society is a thing in of itself, you leave yourself vulnerable to other magical thoughts such as believing that laws are what establish safety and stability.

Whenever an act of violence makes it to the front pages of news sites, a lot of people start demanding laws be passed to protect people. When I see such demands being made in comment sections on the websites I frequent, I like to point out that laws are just words on pieces of paper and have no power to protect anybody. The believers in law then point out, as if I was unaware, that my argument should apply to all laws. They mistakenly believe that I’m only talking about whatever law they’re proposing but their rebuttal is correct, as I point out, I am talking about all laws. After that the believers in law tend to have a psychological breakdown and start screaming about how laws are what makes society possible.

Laws are not what make society possible. First of all, society isn’t an actual thing, it’s an abstraction that lives entirely in our imaginations. What most people commonly refer to as society is actually a complex collection of human interactions. And therein lies the truth of the matter. Laws aren’t what make those interactions possible. The will of the individuals is. The reason these complex collections of human interactions don’t regularly devolve into mass murder is because the individuals will it not to. It is you and your neighbor deciding not to kill each other that prevents either from being murdered at the hands of the other.

The impotency of laws is demonstrated every time a murder is committed. Murder has been declared illegal in pretty much every nation on Earth. But words on pieces of paper can’t interfere with an individual’s will. If an individual wills an act of murder, a murder will be attempted. I say attempted because realizing on a subconscious level that the law is incapable of protecting them the intended murder victim will likely attempt to defend themselves. Again, the law doesn’t offer them protection, their will to act does.

Even if every law were repealed tomorrow, people would still choose to act against those who act against them or others. That is what establishes safety and stability.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 20th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Investigating Potential Mass Murderers Isn’t Profitable

without comments

One of the thing we learned about the shooter in Florida is that he was brought to the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ (FBI) attention but the agency did nothing:

The F.B.I. received a tip last month from someone close to Nikolas Cruz that he owned a gun and had talked of committing a school shooting, the bureau revealed Friday, but it acknowledged that it had failed to investigate.

The tipster, who called an F.B.I. hotline on Jan. 5, told the bureau that Mr. Cruz had a “desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts,” the F.B.I. said.

The information should have been assessed and forwarded to the Miami F.B.I. field office, the bureau said. But that never happened. On Wednesday, Mr. Cruz, 19, killed 17 students and teachers at his former high school in Parkland, Fla., law enforcement officials said.

Several theories to explain the FBI’s lack of followup have been put forward. Most of the theories, in my opinion, give the FBI too much credit by either coloring the agency as a bumbling fool or the perpetrator of a sinister conspiracy. I’m guessing the FBI’s failure to followup was about money. Murder isn’t a crime that allows an agency to rake in cash through civil forfeiture. If somebody had called in a tip claiming that the shooter was in possession of a great deal of heroine, the FBI would have probably been kicking the guys door in at oh dark thirty and executed any pets in the household. Why? Because drug crimes are profitable to enforce since they allow an agency to seize property without even having to prove the suspect guilty in court.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 20th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Mental Illness Is a Meaningless Definition

with one comment

Now that I’ve skewered the vultures exploiting the Florida school shooting to forward their gun control agenda, it’s time for me to skewer my fellow advocates of gun rights.

Gun control advocates are quick to lump all gun owners, both those who have committed violent crimes with guns and those who haven’t, together and demand they all be punished. All too often gun rights advocates fall for the same collectivist nonsense. They’ll label the shooter mentally ill and by doing so throw individuals with mental illnesses under the bus.

Saying the shooter belonged to the collective of mentally ill individuals is, like all forms of collectivism, meaningless. Mental illness is such a broad term that saying somebody suffers from a mental illness says nothing specific. What kind of mental illness did the shooter suffer from? Were they schizophrenic? Were they autistic? Were they bipolar? Were they senile? There are a lot of recognized mental illnesses and only a handful of them carry any risk of instilling violent behavior in the sufferer.

I know, I know, anybody who is willing to kill innocent people is obviously mentally ill, right? If so, that means drone pilots and many law enforcers are mentally ill. Strangely enough, I generally don’t hear gun rights activists who label mass shooters as mentally ill apply the same label to drone pilots or law enforcers. It seems like the label of mentally ill is a euphemism for individuals they don’t like.

As tempting as it is, fighting fire with fire isn’t the best way to prevent a house from burning down. If a gun control advocate tries to use nonsensical collectivization to make their case, responding with your own flavor of nonsensical collectivization isn’t productive. It’s far more productive to call out their nonsense while simultaneously analyzing the problems that can be acted on (i.e. the real problems). There is no way to act on an individual belonging to an arbitrarily defined group. There are a ways to improve school security, response times, etc.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 16th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Objective Truths

with 2 comments

Should books on a bookshelf have their spines facing out or in? I never realized that this was even a debate but apparently it is:

“Man, do people hate it,” she says, talking about the way she stacked her books. “It’s silly that I have to say this, but I do read and I like books, too.”

Why might anyone wonder? Maybe because Ms. Meininger, 33, who lives in Hannibal, Mo., had arranged her books backward, with the spines facing the wall.

The minimalist look has caught on in certain design circles. By turning books around, the taupe and white page edges are shown on a shelf instead of book spines that often don’t match the rest of the décor.

Much like the use of the Oxford comma, this seemingly subjective debate actually has an objectively correct answer: spine out.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 6th, 2018 at 10:00 am

People Are Going Batshit for Crypto

without comments

People are going batshit for crypto. When the Long Island Iced Tea Company changed its name to Long Blockchain its stock jumped by 50 percent. Similarly Hooters’s stock jumped by 50 percent when it announced its blockchain rewards program and Kodak, which I didn’t realize was even still around, enjoyed a stock increase of 60 percent when it announced its blockchain-based currency. It seems like the mere whisper of the word blockchain is enough to get investors excited.

Let us return to Long Blockchain though. When the company announced its name change it justified it by claiming that it was going to buy cryptocurrency mining hardware. After baiting investors Long Blockchain announced that while it was still planning to invest in cryptocurrency mining hardware it didn’t have a definite timeline:

But today Long Blockchain announced it was scrapping the stock offering. The company says that it’s still planning to buy bitcoin-mining hardware. However, Long Blockchain says that it “can make no assurances that it will be able to finance the purchase of the mining equipment.”

Every time Bitcoin’s price increases detractors claim that it’s a bubble that will soon burst and leave everybody who invested penniless. Little did they know that Bitcoin itself wasn’t the real bubble but the technology it’s based on, blockchains, was. And yes, when the mere whisper of adopting a technology causes your stock to significantly jump in value, you’re operating in a bubble.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 10th, 2018 at 11:00 am

If You’re Afraid of Risk, Don’t Take the Job of Absorbing Risk

with one comment

If you ask the average America what the job of a police officer is, you will likely receive some variation of, “To protect and serve the public.” This shouldn’t surprise anybody. We’re told from a young age that police officers are heroes who protect us and that we pay taxes so police officers can protect us from nefarious individuals.

So, at least ideally, the purpose of a police officer, like that of a firefighter or a private security guard, is to absorb risk. When your job is to absorb risk, the job you take is necessarily risky, which is why many individuals, including myself, are puzzled by officers’ obsession with going home safe at night:

If my concern was “you going home safe,” then I’d just fucking hunker down and die. Because I wouldn’t want that poor responder to endanger himself.

Except…that’s what I pay taxes for, and that’s what you signed up for. Just like I signed up to walk into a potential nuke war in Germany and hold off the Soviets, and did walk into the Middle East and prepare to take fire while keeping expensive equipment functioning so our shooters could keep shooting.

There’s not a single set of orders I got that said my primary job was to “Come home safe.” They said it was to “support the mission” or “complete the objective.” Coming home safe was the ideal outcome, but entirely secondary to “supporting” or “completing.” Nor, once that started, did I get a choice to quit. Once in, all in.

When that 80 year old lady smells smoke or hears a noise outside her first floor bedroom in the ghetto, she doesn’t care if you go home safe, either. She’s afraid she or the kids next door won’t wake up in the morning.

People have varying degrees of risk tolerance. The more risk tolerant a person is, the less they’re concerned about mitigating risks. An investor who is highly risk tolerant is more willing to invest in an unknown startup than an investor who isn’t very risk tolerant. An individual who is motivated to save lives and is highly risk tolerant is more willing to take on the job of fighting fires than an individual who may have the same motivations but isn’t risk tolerant (they might instead opt to become a doctor).

The problem with the “I want to go home safe at night,” mentality that many officers cite whenever they put bullets into somebody is that going home safe at night isn’t part of their job description. Their job description is to absorb risk, which means possibly not going home at night.

If you’re not willing to be shot at, signing up for the military isn’t for you. If you’re not willing to run into a blazing building, being a firefighter isn’t for you. If you’re not willing to put yourself in a situation where you have to let another person initiate violence before you can respond in kind, being a police officer isn’t for you.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 4th, 2018 at 11:00 am

I’m Putting Myself on The Blockchain™

without comments

I am formally announced that I’m putting myself on The Blockchain™. Please throw money at me:

The stock market loves blockchains. Last month, the Long Island Iced Tea Company rebranded itself as Long Blockchain and saw its stock price triple. On Tuesday, restaurant company Chanticleer Holdings saw its stock soar by 50 percent after the company announced that it would be moving its reward programs to the blockchain. The company owns several burger brands and operates a number of Hooters restaurants. It also holds a minority stake in Hooters of America, the parent company of Hooters.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 3rd, 2018 at 10:00 am

The Cure to Inflation Must Be More Inflation

without comments

What happens when you give dictatorial powers to somebody who is entirely ignorant of economics? Socialism:

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a 40 percent increase to the minimum wage as of January, a move that will foment what many economists already consider hyperinflation in the oil-rich but crisis-stricken nation.

Inflation is getting out of hand, what should we do? I know! We’ll increase the minimum wage! That’ll fix it!

Every proponent of a minimum wage is ignorant of the fact that mandating a minimum wage doesn’t actually increase anybody’s purchasing power. When you mandate a minimum wage you guarantee that any work that isn’t worth that minimum wage is eliminated. Teenagers bagging groceries may be worth $2.00 an hour but not $3.00. If the minimum wage is set to $3.00 an hour, those teenagers suddenly find themselves unemployed. The higher the minimum wage is set, the more jobs are eliminated.

In addition to eliminating jobs, minimum wage laws also increase inflation. Some jobs simply can’t be eliminated by a business, which is something many proponents of minimum wage bring up when the above point is brought to their attention. A restaurant can’t operate without cooks (At least not yet. But cost decreases in automation will make such restaurants feasible very soon). If a minimum wage is set to, say, $15.00 an hour but a cook is only worth $10.00, then the restaurant owner has to either close shop or increase their prices. Most restaurant owners will opt for the latter, which means the cost of a meal goes up. Suddenly an $8.00 mean becomes a $10.00 meal and everybody who eats out finds themselves with less purchasing power.

By increasing the minimum wage 40 percent, the Venezuelan government guaranteed the elimination of many jobs and major increases in prices. These two things will only cause the average Venezuelan more misery. But dictators are seldom concerned with the amount of pain the average person has to suffer. Dictators are concerned with enriching themselves.

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

without comments

I guess even the most incompetent, loathsome bastards do something right once in a while:

The Republican-controlled chamber passed the bill by 231-198, in their first major gun legislation since a 2012 Connecticut school massacre.

Republicans said the bill would allow gun owners to travel without having to worry about conflicting state laws.

Just kidding! We’re getting fucked over by this as well:

To make the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act more palatable, Republicans have included measures to strengthen the national background check system.

Never underestimate the Republicans’ willingness, even with majority control over Congress and the presidency, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 7th, 2017 at 11:00 am