that ugly "need" hydra

A few months ago, I happened to have a rather… interesting*… conversation with the warped and benighted mind behind the Twitter account of @1StopCity. A recurring theme in this particular conversation is that unless you have a particular "need" for something or to do something, you have absolutely no right to that thing or to do that thing, or, in his very own words, "Odds against you "needing" a gun negate your right to own one."

Oh, the places you could go with that kind of "logic". Obviously it is inherently and intrinsically incorrect – rights exist independent of any arbitrarily-defined concept of "need", and, furthermore, who is someone else to define what I need? – but let us examine its actual underpinnings for a moment.

In 2001, arguably our worst year for such things, 2926 people were killed due to terrorist’s actions, and at the time, there were 285,081,556 people living in the country. While not entirely accurate, one can therefore say you had about a 0.001026% chance of being killed by a terrorist or terrorist actions in 2001.

However, on the basis of that one-thousandth-of-a-percent chance, over the past 11 years, America has wasted in excess of sixty billion dollars (yes, with a "b") on a program that has never once caught a terrorist, has failed more times than we care to count, and is responsible for sexually assaulting and invading the privacy of millions of travelers a year… all in the names of "safety" and "security".

On the other hand, in 2001, 1,436,611 people were the victims of violent crimes – murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, so, again, while this is not entirely accurate, you can say you had about a 0.5039% chance of being the victim of a violent crime.

In other words, you were, more or less, five hundred times more likely to be a victim of violent crime than of terrorism.

So if the Thousands of Sexual Assaulters are the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread(TM) (and I am, admittedly, assuming 1StopCity would hold to that belief), then the notion of "self-defense" is a Totally Awesome and Earth-Shatteringly Necessary Thing, and, furthermore, the United States Government should subsidize it somewhere on the order of $30,000,000,000,000.

By my calculations, that works out to somewhere around one Glock 17, one middlingly-good AR-15, one tricked out Remington 870, and somewhere around 180,000 rounds of mixed ammunition for all three for every man, woman, and child in the country. I could live with that.

And this is why "gun control" extremists like 1StopCity have failed in the past, are failing today, and will invariably fail in the future – once you take apart their "logic" (and I use that term very loosely) and examine it for what it is, it dissolves like the Wicked Witch of the West swan-diving into the Pacific. Even looking past the disturbing and inherently flawed notion that you have no rights if he decides you do not "need" them, his position falls apart as soon as you consider it in light of actual, honest-to-God facts and figures, much less apply his "reasoning" to other concepts.

Of course, this is the same person who, in the same conversation, informed me that "There are no absolutes" so something tells me he would pull the standard anti-rights cultist tactic of wishing those facts away…

(* – "Interesting" because in response to the question, "would majority-approved slavery infringe on people’s rights?", his response was, and I quote, "As no one has any inherent rights, no, their rights wouldn’t be infringed. Would it be horrible? Yes."** This was the culmination of the above "you only have the rights the majority approves" conversation; at that point, I figured the discussion was over – how do you actually hold a conversation with someone with such a radically totalitarian position? – which is just as well, since he ended up blocking me for daring to have the gall to quote his own words back to him. Joe tried to continue the debate, but given that they were coming from such disparate starting points, it did not get far.

** – Speaking more specifically, this concept still befuddles me. If an action does not abridge a person’s rights, why or how could it be "horrible"? How do you determine the "horrible" nature of an action without some way of measuring – or even determining – if harm has been done to a person? After all, if a person has no right to be free of slavery, then slavery does not harm them, does it?)

quote of the day – joe huffman

One of the most annoying throw-away lines from the "gun control" extremists on Twitter these days is, "Can we have a conversation about ‘gun control’?"

My immediate, knee jerk response to that kind of nonsense is, "Who the hell has been stopping you?" The problem, of course, is that they are not talking about themselves having the conversation; they want to guilt / entice / induce / force our duly-elected representatives into having the conversation, and, obviously, they want the outcome of that conversation to be predetermined to be more "gun control" laws. That sounds less like a "conversation" to me and more like petty autocrats attempting to hide their true desires behind a thin veil of civility that is fooling no one, but maybe that is just me.

However, as Joe Huffman points out, all of this is somewhat immaterial – we already had the conversation; "gun control" lost:

We had the "conversation". Your side lied, cheated, and took unfair advantage at every opportunity. But still your side lost. Big time.

You side lost on the safety argument and your side lost the legal argument (see the U.S. Supreme Court decisions D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago). You have no arguments left. The conversation was over years ago and all you are doing now is whining about the outcome. Go tell your problems to a therapist because the adults in this conversation aren’t interested in your delusions of relevancy.

These days, anti-rights cultists whinging about a lack of "conversation" regarding "gun control" are more-or-less equivalent to KKK members whining about a lack of conversation regarding the reinstatement of slavery – both "gun control" and slavery arbitrarily and unquestionably abridge basic human rights, and both organizations exist to perpetuate this abridgement. The only glaring flaw in this analogy is that the various anti-rights organizations are still arguably politically viable, while slavery has equivocally become a dead subject, rightfully so.

Now, it is incumbent upon us, as members of the general voting population, to ensure our duly-elected representatives understand that "gun control" is just as dead a subject, for the exact same reason: the unjust abrogation of basic human rights is simply unacceptable within the United States and embodies the very antithesis of the purpose of our great nation. Until we make that simple reality either patently clear or unavoidably obvious, idiots, bigots, and "gun control" extremists (but I repeat myself) might actually make headway with their exploitation of victims to further their own self-centered political goals, and given those goals consist of eroding our rights as fast and as hard as they can, I would rather avoid that, thanks.

constitutional curiosity

This point came up in discussions on Twitter a few days ago, and what with the 225th Constitution Day transpiring back on the 17th, this seems like an appropriate, if somewhat late, post.

Anyone who stayed awake during their high school civics / American government / American history classes knows that the Constitution solely and only limits the American government (after first defining it), and has absolutely no bearing on private citizens or control over their actions, right?

Well, sort of. There are actually two separate points upon which the United States Constitution actually limits the American people, or, to put it another way, there are two and only two ways for an American citizen to actually violate the Constitution. These two curiosities did come about well after the ratification of the Constitution, though, so the line about “only limiting the government” certainly still applied for that event, and for almost a hundred years thereafter.

All Americans know (or bloody well should know) the structure of the Constitution: Article I discusses the formation, duties, and restrictions (of which there should have been more) of the Legislative Branch, Article II does the same for the Executive Branch, and Article III follows suit for the Judicial Branch. Article IV covers what the states can/must do, Article V discusses amending the Constitution, Article VI goes into pretty much administrative matters, and Article VII explains how to ratify the document (a bit self-referential, but somewhat necessary). The important thing is that throughout none of the framework at the beginning of the Constitution are the rights and abilities of private citizens within America limited, controlled, or even really mentioned (aside from such things as “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.” and so forth).

Then we move on to the Amendments, of which the first 10 are categorized as the Bill of Rights, in that they were ratified by the states very shortly (relatively speaking) after the Constitution itself. Consider their language: “Congress shall make no law…”, “… the right of the people … shall not be infringed”, “… without the consent of the Owner…”, “The right of the people… shall not be violated…”, etc. etc. etc. In other words, the actual body of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that followed it do meet the above comment of “solely and only limiting the American government”, in addition to preserving and protecting the individual rights of the American citizens.

And that held true for two more Amendments; but consider the verbiage of Amendment XIII:

Section 1.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 1 is the key part; up until now, the Constitution had been saying what the government can and cannot do. This particular Amendment changed the game slightly by saying, flat out, that slavery “shall not exist within the United States”, no matter if it is the government holding the slaves or a private landowner. Of course, by prohibiting slavery, the Constitution is still protecting the rights of American citizens, but this is the first time it did so by limiting the actions of The People, rather than The Government.

Now, mosey your way on down to Amendment XXI:

Section 1.

The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2.

The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3.

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

This time, pay attention to Section 2; for most people, this really will not matter, but consider this part of Tennessee State Code*:

57-3-401. Transportation, possession, importation, shipment or delivery of untaxed alcoholic beverages unlawful — Penalty.

(a) (1) It is an offense for any person, firm or corporation, other than a common carrier or entity licensed under this title, to transport, either in person or through an agent, employee or independent contractor, untaxed alcoholic beverages or wine as defined in § 57-3-101 within, into, through or from this state in quantities in excess of five gallons (5 gals.). […] A violation of this subdivision (a)(1) is a Class E felony.

Even if you do not get caught by the Tennessee Highway Patrol for doing so, if you bring more than five gallons of alcohol into Tennessee, even as a private citizen, you are violating the United States Constitution.

So, yes, for the most part, the Constitution exclusively applies to the government of the United States of America; however, on two distinct topics, it also flexes its might on we, the people, as well. Amusingly, while it prohibits both slavery and bootlegging, it offers no punishments for either…

(* – Trust me, this law is annoying as all hell, especially when coupled with the fact that grocery stores (like, say, Trader Joe’s, of which we just got one) cannot sell wine. Both the importation and the selling restriction laws are pure revenue collection measures, as is probably no great surprise.)

quote of the day – marko kloos

Yes, I know WizardPC beat me to this topic, but someone else saying what I am about to say has never stopped me from saying it before, so why start now?

I have previously explained my position that one’s property is a physical manifestation of one’s life, and thus a person forcibly depriving you of that property is, in effect, retroactively enslaving you, so it should come as no surprise that I completely agree with the sentiments in this post and specifically this paragraph:

In my view, that moral threshold is crossed the second someone steps in front of you with a gun to make you do his bidding under threat of force. It doesn’t matter if the mugger wants to commandeer your life for an hour or a decade–your life is your own, and you have the absolute right to defend every bit of it against unlawful theft. If I’m morally justified to shoot someone over a million dollars of my property, I am justified to shoot them over ten dollars. If I am not justified to shoot them over ten bucks, I’m not justified to shoot them over a million. That’s the only consistent and non-arbitrary application of that moral principle. Any other interpretation puts a dollar value on your existence, and your right to live your life as your own master.

(Emphasis in the original.)

Likewise, if I am morally justified in defending my life and whatever future it will hold for me, then I am morally justified in defending the history of my life, and whatever products it yielded for me – after all, if it is "acceptable" for me to prevent myself from being kidnapped and forced to work for someone else with that someone else receiving the fruits of my labor, it is logically inconsistent for it to be "unacceptable" for me to defend those fruits of my labor I already possess.

As Marko indicated, and as was apparently lost on a large number of his readers (as evinced by their comments), the point of the equation is not the value of the item in question, the point is the threat of force and the fact that some of your life was expended in producing/procuring/fabricating/etc. the item, period.

In the same vein, just because it is morally acceptable for us to defend ourselves and our property, that does not mean we should/will – as one of Hsoi’s self-defense trainers sometimes puts it, optimizing our "TV and beer time" is the whole point of self-defense, and the time lost to making money to buy another bicycle is paltry in comparison to the time lost to court cases for shooting someone over it. However, as Weer’d observes, when someone directly threatens your life over property, you have absolutely no guarantee that providing them that property will secure your life, and thus the only rational course of action (though one you do not necessarily have to take) is to defend your life, and, by extension, your property.

It is not our responsibility to take wild stabs at guessing what other people’s motivations and desires are – it is other people’s responsibility to not threaten us with force if we do not give them what they want, and to not take what is not rightfully theirs. My life, and the time wrapped up in it, is the one thing I can never get back, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I will do what I need to to defend it.

baldr odinson is a joke

And not a very good one at that.

A few days ago, Baldr Odinson, one of the more dishonest, lie-prone, straight-up moronic anti-rights cultists out there, put up some asinine list entitled "You’re Probably A Pro-Gun Extremist If …. " which basically boiled down to, "If you disagree with me and my ‘gun control’ desires, you are an ‘extremist’ and in need of professional psychiatric help".

Friendly guy, that Baldr. I do wonder where he got his degree in Over-The-Internet Psychoanalysis though…

Well, predictably, various pro-rights webloggers, commenters, and other activists decided to address Baldr’s inane rantings and ravings, and they accurately, concisely, and correctly pointed out all of the various ways his "list" was factually incorrect, logically flawed, blatantly intolerant, and patently bigoted. What was Baldr’s response?

Wow, you guys have really proven my points, both here and at your own blogs!


Well, I guess in Baldr’s warped and twisted mind, us continuing to disagree with him does prove that we are "extremists", but this is where the joke comes in – I do not recall where it originates (probably some Abbott and Costello routine), but it goes something like this:

Person 1: You’re so negative!

Person 2: No I’m not.

Person 1: See!?

While that exchange can be humorous in some contexts, in this particular case it just goes to show how weak Baldr Odinson’s argument really is, and how much it is dependent upon logical fallacies. To begin with, the entire concept of the list (that we pro-rights activists are "extreme" while Baldr is not) is based entirely on Appeal to Popularity and Middle Ground fallacies, especially since it is the author himself who arbitrarily defines "extreme". Speaking of, Baldr fails the Burden of Proof test, in that he makes outlandish and – dare we say – extreme claims without the slightest shred of evidence, factual or otherwise, to substantiate them, and thus puts pro-rights activists in the position of having to defend themselves. Suffice to say, the person who makes the claim is responsible for proving it, and he has completely failed to do so. Moving on, Baldr Begs the Question, or, as it is more commonly known, engages in circular reasoning – we disagree with him because he calls us extreme because we disagree with him. Last but not least, Baldr intentionally Poisons the Well by outright stating (I guess I should give him credit for not making it a backhanded implication) that anyone who disagrees with him should seek professional psychiatric help.

In the end, trying to arbitrarily and unilaterally define "extremist" is a fool’s errand – everyone thinks they are middle-of-the-road, whether it is through actually being there, confirmational bias, or just plain delusional tendencies; however, just to briefly play Baldr’s game, maybe he can answer me this one question: if the pro-rights stance is so far "outside the mainstream", then why has "gun control" so thoroughly failed at almost every political level for the past decade?

Regardless, all of this is somewhat moot – our rights are not subject to popular opinions of "extremism" or "mainstream". However, it is good to see that, in addition to his various other faults, Baldr implicitly admits to being yet another "gun control" supporter who would have likewise supported slavery back in the 1860s

just a little thought experiment

So imagine yourself on a mostly-deserted island, and once upon a time, you were given responsibility over 100 other people.  Sometime in the past, some other group of people came, kidnapped, and murdered 50 of those people; you tried to fight them, but they were just too strong.  In the process of the fight, that other group makes it abundantly clear that they want to kill all of you, and only did not do so because they were driven away. 

Over time, however, you have developed better tools, and more equipped to combat that other group, who, through infighting, has diminished in numbers as well. 

One day, a member of the other group shows up at your camp.  This groveling, sniveling, spineless excuse of a human obsequiously explains that the other group still wants to kill all of you, but they would “settle” for simply killing 25 of you.  That, in their opinion, is the “reasonable, common sense” solution to the stand-off, since it is halfway between what you want and what they want.  This pathetic, unctuous toady throws around words like “cooperation” and “promises” and “we’re right” and “you’re wrong” and “everybody wins”, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the little creep is only interested in achieving his murderous groups’ goals of eventually killing you all, even if they have to accomplish it piecemeal. 

So what do you do?  Do you give the scumbag 25 of your people, content in the knowledge that their deaths will guarantee the other group will leave you alone… until they want another half, and another half, and…  Or do you tell the disgusting rat to take a hike, with a firm foot on his ass if he does not get the message? 

Now, why should we treat the rights of human beings any differently than we treat their lives?  After all, it is through those rights that we protect our freedoms, our liberties, and our lives, and it is through the surrender of those rights that all of those can – and will – be lost. 

How is it wrong to not “meet in the middle” when it comes to freedom and slavery?  How is it wrong to not “meet in the middle” between liberty and totalitarianism?  How is it wrong to not “meet in the middle” between dead and alive? 

It is not, it never was, and it never will be. 

Anyone who would try to shame you for not being willing to give up even a fraction of your rights is just as contemptibly despicable as that hypothetical murderer – the only difference between them is the latter has a stronger stomach. 

csgv lies. again. still. constantly.

Helpful hint to Michael K. Beard: giving Ladd Everitt the keys to the Twitter account for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence* might have been the worst idea ever, unless, of course, you want your organization to look increasingly worse every day.

In the very recent past, Ladd has directly attacked a "gun violence" survivor for daring to speak from experience, he has expressed his bigotry for the entire world to see (through your organization’s Twitter account, mind you), he has threatened to break apart a man’s family over a difference of opinions, he has confirmed the weakness of his organization’s positions, he has brought together pro-rights activists, he has militantly misappropriated the English language, he has defended criminals, and he has consistently lied… a somewhat despicable habit he is continuing even to this day.

The following exchange transpired last night:

TrailerDays: @sgfstexas: The @CSGV, @BradyBuzz and @VPCinfo all considered DC/Chicago gun bans to be ‘reasonable limitations’.

CSGV: @TrailerDays @BradyBuzz @VPCinfo As did the residents and elected officials of both cities – Before, during and after. #p2 #dc #chicago

And I could not help but to comment this morning:

Linoge: Apparently @CSGV supports slavery, so long as the residents and elected officials of a city support it too. Good to know #guncontrolisracist

Why would I write such a thing? Simple.

1. Self-defense and freedom from slavery are two basic, individual rights, both stemming from the root right of them all – the right of self-determination.
B. Self-defense and freedom from slavery are two Constitutionally-protected rights, as written in the document itself, and as upheld by numerous Supreme Court rulings.
III. If a person discriminates against one such right, it stands to reason that they would discriminate against all such rights.
4. Finally, the "appeal to popularity" is a logical fallacy and insufficient cause to support "gun control", just like it was insufficient cause to support slavery:

Using polls as leverage to support further gun control just means you think the South should have been permitted to keep their slaves.

After all, most Southerners believed that the slave-holders should have been able to keep their property, and most Northerners did not care (and quietly wanted those darkies to stay down South, so they would not have to deal with them), so if “public opinion” is any metric of the “rightness” of an action, I guess we should go back and undo that whole 13th Amendment thing, eh?

Predictably, however, the CSGV (being represented by Ladd Everitt) completely missed the point:

CSGV: White gun rights activist says overwhelmingly popular, tough gun laws in #DC and #Chicago = "slavery." #p2 #politics

csgvliesTo save you all from having to track down that link, I took the liberty of screencapturing it to the right (click to embiggenate).

First, what does it matter if I am white or not? I support all rights, regardless of the color, creed, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, weight, or other distinguishing feature of the people in question. Can the CSGV claim the same? Why do they make this conversation about race? Also, just for the fun of it, guess what the ethnic makeup of the CSGV staff is… in its entirety?

Second, guns, being inanimate, lifeless pieces of machined metal and formed plastic, do not have rights, and thus I cannot be an activist for those rights. I am a proud activist for basic, individual, human rights, though. Once again, the CSGV attempts to make the conversation entirely about the firearms, rather than the people who wield them, and through this conflation, they hope to splash some of their demonization of firearms onto their owners. Unfortunately for them, we know better.

Third, "popular" does not equate to "right", but apparently Laddie never had that whole rhetorical lemming question posed to him as a child ("If everyone else jumped off a bridge/cliff/etc., would you?"). Slavery was popular in the South. It was still wrong. Segregation was popular throughout America. It was still wrong. Geocentric models of the universe were popular for centuries and were literally religiously enforced. They were still wrong. And no matter how "popular" "gun control" is, it is still wrong to abridge law-abiding citizens’ rights. Period.

And, finally, you just have to love that equals sign. That particular symbology dates back to 1557, and ever since its first recording by Welshman Robert Recorde (heh), it has been taken to mean "exactly the same", as in "1=1", "2+2=4", etc.

I made no such claim to "sameness":

Linoge: @CSGV Actually, no, I did not. Apparently, in addition to not understanding English, you do not gasp the nature of analogies.

Linoge: @CSGV You support the abridgement of 1 basic individ. right based off popularity; it stands to reason you are consistent in that position.

Linoge: @CSGV But thanks for continuing to lie about pro-rights activists, and for what pathetically little traffic you will send my way.

In point of truth, I made an analogy, based on an extrapolation – to wit, given that the CSGV thinks abridging basic human rights is acceptable if the abridgement is "popular", then they would support slavery so long as it was "popular". Unfortunately, Everitt has never been particularly skilled at logic, or even comprehending the English language (He literally wrote, and I quote, ""Future free from," not "world without."" *blinkblink*), so here we are.

No, "gun control" is not equal to slavery, but I never even obliquely hinted that it was. Discriminating against firearm owners is demonstrably equivalent to discriminating against people of a certain skin tone, if only because of the inherent rights – Constitutionally-protected, individual, and human – being infringed upon by those actions. I certainly do not expect someone as bigoted as Ladd Everitt to understand the distinction, but I would sincerely appreciate it if he were to stop perversely lying about what pro-rights activists have and have not said… and I have to imagine that those giving money to the CSGV would prefer it if that organization was not dragged through the slime by a halfwitted, bullying, ignorant thug masquerading under the CSGV’s moniker as well…

(Oh, and in regards to the racist roots of "gun control" that Ladd Everitt is so desperately attempting to distance himself and his organization from, if you were to type in the link he commented to his own post, you would see that his entire thesis is torn asunder and to shreds in the comments following it, but if you do not want to go that route, allow me to simplify things for you: gun control started out racist:

Racist arms laws predate the establishment of the United States. Starting in 1751, the French Black Code required Louisiana colonists to stop any blacks, and if necessary, beat "any black carrying any potential weapon, such as a cane." If a black refused to stop on demand, and was on horseback, the colonist was authorized to "shoot to kill." Slave possession of firearms was a necessity at times in a frontier society, yet laws continued to be passed in an attempt to prohibit slaves or free blacks from possessing firearms, except under very restrictively controlled conditions. Similarly, in the sixteenth century the colony of New Spain, terrified of black slave revolts, prohibited all blacks, free and slave, from carrying arms.

gun control continued to be racist throughout the past century:

Judge admits gun law passed to disarm black laborers. In concurring opinion narrowly construing a Florida gun control law passed in 1893, Justice Buford stated the 1893 law "was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State….The same condition existed when the Act was amended in 1901 and the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers….The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied…". Watson v. Stone, 148 Fla. 516, 524, 4 So.2d 700, 703 (1941) (GMU CR LJ, p. 69)

…and gun control is still racist to this day:

More important though is this. Intelligence tests have a long and storied history in the quest of the State to keep the black man firmly in his place. If people really wonder if a victim of draconian statist violence masquerading as law and order is "smart" or not – and think that issue matters one iota – then the descendants of the racist bastards who initially conspired to strip black folk of the ability to defend themselves can proclaim "Mission Accomplished" and put another shrimp on the barbeque.

The fact of the matter is this: Dating back to the Antebellum South and beyond, the State has enacted laws specifically designed to keep black folk unarmed. This is not debatable, nor a matter of perspective. It is a matter of fact. The jailing of Plaxico Burress should not be viewed as an isolated event, simply the fallout of a careless high-profile citizen. It is the fruit of a racist tree planted in 18th century America, a tree that continues to bear fruit even in 2009.

This last one was written by a black person, since the color of a person’s skin seems to matter to the CSGV.

I can understand why the CSGV is desperately attempting to separate itself from the blatantly racist roots of gun control, but history is history, and bigots like Ladd Everitt are never going to escape it, no matter how much they frantically try to deny it.)

(Also, is anyone surprised that I cannot comment on the Facebook Photo calling me out?  Reasoned Discourse indeed.) 

(* – This post is, as before, written with the assumption that Ladd Everitt actually has the sole keys to the CSGV Twitter account. It is entirely possible that I am mistaken, despite Ladd’s title of "Director of Communications", in which case I will amend this post… and, in which case, the bigoted, intolerant, hateful rot at the CSGV is even deeper than is already obvious.)