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Archives: 2012 August

August, 2012 Archives

In the past 12 hours, I’ve twice heard the argument that the act of carrying a firearm as a precautionary measure against some violent attack such as a mass shooting is foolish unless I’m also going to carry a lightning rod to protect against the much more likely lightning strike. One of the arguments were made to me (by a friend) in person, and I laughed. They weren’t joking. The second was made on a news site (by a commenter) in conversation about an article detailing the moves by some states to create more restrictive gun laws in the wake of the Colorado theater shooting. And it got me thinking. Here’s how it went down (with some back-commentary in the same thread).

Pidklesdaddy opens up with an apt question:

James Holmes also purchased a very large amount of illegal explosives. Don’t you think he could have purchased illegal firearms if he’d wanted to? These new laws will do nothing but make it even more difficult for law abiding citizens to protect themselves.

Criminals, watch these new laws closely. These will be the states that are easy pickin’s.”

To which Adam J. responds:

“Protect yourselves from what? The odds of you being involved in a gun crime are practically nil. You have a better chance of getting killed in a car wreck or getting stuck by lightning. Does that mean you need a howitzer on your car to protect yourself from other drivers or a lightning rod to protect yourself from storms? Sounds silly, but it would make more sense to own those two things for protection than it would to own a gun.

And you are right, you are not a criminal by having a gun. The bad thing is, that as soon as people find out that you are concealing one, however legal it may be, people will treat you like a criminal. Even open carry guys get harassed by the cops, despite being fully within their rights. It frightens people, causes tension, and that is when stupid, avoidable mistakes happen.

Face it, people are liking guns less and less everyday and only the zealots will continue to fight to have them, even if no one is ever forcibly taking them away.”

Let me get this straight: on one hand these lightning-rod-salesmen are arguing that it is foolish to arm myself with the proper tools to reasonably protect myself and other innocent people against an unknown assailant, but on the other hand it’s ok for a nation full of ignorant fear-mongers to overreact and legislate an issue to death which, by their own confession, isn’t even a statistical blip? So in an effort to thwart this virtual non-threat, self-reliance and personal preparedness are inferior to legislation (fueled by ignorance and overreaction) that would strip individuals of our inalienable rights to self-defense?

Do these people realize how insane that sounds?

More guns do indeed equal less crime. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the reported number of violent crimes that occur each and every year in the UK (an anti-gun country) compared to the US. Compared to our average American city, a resident in the UK is TEN TIMES MORE LIKELY to experience violent crimes per-capita than an American. UK residents are TEN TIMES more likely to get mugged, raped, burglarized, beaten, killed, robbed, kidnapped, held hostage, etc. than we are. Compared to our most violent cities (which, by the way just HAPPEN to be the cities with the most restrictive gun laws), the UK is still more violent by three (or more) times. That means our wives, our daughters, our sons, our parents, our grandparents — all of them are more vulnerable because these “weather men” opted to give up one of the most vital tools we now have available to us: the right to self-defense.

If these illogicians think a magical happy-go-lucky modern utopia is the result of getting rid of guns, then they are ignoring the basic law of cause and effect. I implore everyone in this country to study Frederic Bastiat on the key differences between a good economist and a poor one. It will greatly benefit the life of anyone who is sincerely seeking truth.

A copy of the email in which I politely ask woot to stop sucking. (And their reply)

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Dear suck-of-a-woot:

Here I am thinking it’s kind of lame that I sign up for an account near the end of a woot! deal, only for your system to tell me (once I enter all of my info after multiple subsequent page loads and an exhausting exercise in speed-typing data-entry) that the deal is over, despite the fact that I began signing up LITERALLY less than 1 minute before it expired (the website said I could get the deal for the next minute).

So, now I’ve decided I’d rather not deal with a company that ropes me in to things without being forthright, and lo and behold, what do you know? I can’t delete my account.

You guys are what is wrong with the internet. You and LinkedIn. *shudder*

Please. Delete my account now.

“And don’t ever show your face on this muse again.”

username: REDACTED
email: REDACTED TOO

By the way, 1999 called and they want their backwards “customer-retention” philosophies returned promptly. They’re running out of bozos to bankroll the tech-boom bubble.

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What, no witty reply to my charming banter? I guess that voice is reserved for the stuff they’re trying to hock on the cheap. Shucks.

“If I make you do good, will it make you good?”

Last month my family and I had the opportunity to visit the home of some good friends (I’ll refer to them as the “Smiths” hereafter). What started as a friendly conversation quickly degraded into a spirited debate on education vs. compulsory schooling. Our family shares a great deal of respect for the Smiths, and we see eye-to-eye on quite a few topics, but one topic on which we have long differed is that of education. While the Smiths are far from evangelists touting the virtues of a public compulsory school system (one which is clearly failing to satisfy society’s needs let alone meet the minimum criteria of what constitutes a successful education) they do have a healthy appetite for the “fringe benefits” of the public system and the value it brings students and families when compared against the absence of such a system.

And therein lies the chief problem: this wonderful family, a family which has produced amazing children and has had a great impact in society, has also fallen prey to one of the biggest droughts plaguing society today — the drought of imagination. Now I can’t prove what I believe, namely that the Smiths are merely suffering the deadening effects of a system that has waged war on one of our strongest differentiators from other, more brute beasts in the world. But I can say with 100% veracity that the Smiths are in nowise the minority in their lack of ability to imagine a world where compulsion is not the key ingredient in the concoction that is today more commonly sold under the label of “A Child’s Schooling.”

My personal beliefs – reinforced by the Christian values to which I subscribe – induce me to declare war against compulsion. I’m no stranger to the subject, either. I was raised in a world that was pretty much the epitome of the classical compulsive system. I attended church and school where my non-standard questions were an unwelcome interruption to the ultra-standard curriculum. I lived in a home where I was expected to behave as my parents imagined a good young boy should behave. I even consumed much of my entertainment according to someone else’s prescribed pattern. Everywhere I went, people were (sometimes passively but usually actively) telling me what I should say, how I should think, where I should go, and what I should do. Honestly, it would be better described as telling me what not to say, think, or do. Apparently, I wasn’t a very “good” boy. 😉

Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m merely blaming the world for my woes. In fact, I am the first to admit that I’m as guilty as the rest of us in many ways, bestowing the burden of compulsion upon my own children, friends, acquaintances, and even myself. I, too, suffer from a lack of imagination, if only to a lesser degree. I’m not fighting the war against compulsion out of sense of superiority. I do it precisely because I recognize my own inferiority against this principle which I so despise. As is the case when overcoming any great challenge, I’ve found myself investing a great deal of time pursuing an education on the matter. It has begun with a sizable investment of my conscious thought and observation into the matter of education and compulsion over the past decade or more. I’ve also done a bit of “light reading” on the matter, and will no doubt be sharing those resources here as time goes on.

The debate that accompanied our visit to the Smith’s home last month was stirring for me. So stirring, in fact, that I decided to write a letter to them in an attempt express the many things that were not communicated (or were communicated poorly) that evening. I realized there were some key principles at the foundation of my views that weren’t even discussed. I can see how, in lieu of these basic building blocks, confusion and skepticism might abound. And so it was that I decided to write a letter to the Smiths in an attempt to clearly outline the foundation of my views. If this is indeed a true, universal principle, adherence to it will no doubt vary from individual to individual, family to family, and society to society. However, one important distinction will exist: we will cease liberal peppering of force and compulsion in the rearing and tutelage of our young minds.

I publish this letter here today because it has become clear to me over the last month that this is more than a simple communique to the Smith family. This is, more or less, my manifesto on the principle of the agency of man. This “manifesto” is certainly far from exhaustive. However, I post it here with the hope that I will either be proven irrefutably wrong in my faulty beliefs, or so the discussion can flourish and develop into real change. Either way, I want to know whether the arguments in this document are efficacious, or merely fallacy.

The conversations I’ve already shared with those who have read this have been amazing, and extremely enlightening. So I invite you to read this, pass it along, add to it, comment on it, and let me know if it has had any impact in your life, good or bad. I have felt for some time that this is a conversation we need to have in this crazy world, especially today.

Please find the PDF below:

On Compulsion – A Manifesto on Agency and Force (PDF)