Friday, February 03, 2023

Government and drugs


There's only one thing government can do about "the drug problem": Turn loose and go away. Release it and leave.

Letting government keep its fingers in the issue only makes it worse. There is no government solution and there never will be.

Don't add socialism or legislation and punishment-- which is what all government supremacists propose every time.

Handing out free drugs or needles is socialism. That's not going to help anything. You get more of what you subsidize. You have to steal money from people to pay for anything "free". You're making things worse.

Harsher legislation or more draconian punishment is just evil. And it doesn't work anyway. Prisons are funded with stolen ("tax") money. Even the pretense that prison is to protect you/society is a lie. You're making things worse.

I'm not talking about "legalization"; I mean stop letting government say or do anything about drugs. Any and all drugs.

Respecting the defense of person and property from any archator using any excuse-- drugs or "authority"-- would go a long way toward making the problems associated with drug abuse go away, too. This is something else government needs to release and leave.

Government is always the wrong tool. Trying to fix anything with government is barking up the wrong tree at an imaginary squirrel.

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Thursday, February 02, 2023

It's the ideas that matter


It's interesting to me when I see someone getting attention for saying something I said on this blog earlier. Sometimes a year or two earlier. But it never really caught on when I said it.

I guess there's something to be said for saying something at the right time rather than too early or too late.

I have this experience a few times a year now. I doubt they ever saw what I wrote. But, even if they did, and it got into their head, I probably got the idea from somewhere else, too. There are very few original thoughts that haven't been thought of multiple times by multiple people. 

Great minds think alike. Great ideas make themselves be thought.

I don't care where the ideas come from. If they are good, I want them to spread. Even if I truly were the first person in human history to ever have the thought, if it's good it doesn't matter if I get credit, as long as it spreads. Right?

That's why I don't care if you copy and paste anything I write and claim an idea as your own. If you think it needs to have a life of its own, that's what matters. Some ideas would do better separated from me-- I'm not everyone's cup of tea. Hard to believe, I know! But it's true.

I'm not going to get rich off of any of my ideas. If they are useful and can increase liberty, that's the main thing. If someone else can get rich off my ideas (not that I believe it would happen), I might wish I got a cut, too, but liberty matters more. Liberty is more important than I am. Liberty > life.

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I couldn't do this without your support.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Censorship only drives evil into shadows

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 21, 2022)




I've realized most people don't understand freedom of speech. Not even experts.

Having freedom of speech doesn't mean you can force anyone to listen. It doesn't mean you'll escape consequences of your words. It doesn't mean anyone-- other than government-- is obligated to let you speak.

Of course, I believe corporations are an arm of government due to the cozy arrangements they share. Government puts pressure-- with implied threats of retaliation-- on corporations to ban speech government doesn't want allowed. This violates the First Amendment, which applies to what government is allowed to do.

Free speech means you have a right to falsely shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater-- politically motivated "expert" opinions aside. No one has the authority-- or the practical ability-- to keep you from shouting before you do. Government is even prohibited by the First Amendment from silencing you for "public safety".

There will be consequences, though.

You should be held accountable for any harm your speech causes. Either through some legal system shenanigans afterward or by someone present who sees the harm you are causing and acts to stop it. If someone needs to act to protect innocents from you, you have no one to blame but yourself when this turns out badly for you.

Choosing to ignore someone doesn't violate their freedom of speech in any way. I saw people get angry and cry "hypocrisy" after Elon Musk's Twitter purchase when he personally blocked them. Don't confuse someone's right to not listen to you for violating your right to speak. These are not the same. You have the right to stink, and people have the right to hold their nose in your presence.

I disagree with him banning accounts from Twitter, though. For anything. The other side of freedom of speech is the freedom to hear it. I understand the desire and the legal pressure to ban some accounts, but it still isn't the right thing to do. No one is right, or wrong, all the time.

I would always prefer to let nasty, dangerous people speak freely. I want them to feel free to expose who they really are so we'll know. This is how we can be ready to defend ourselves from them. Censoring them only drives their evil into the shadows where it can fester and grow, unexposed to the light of truth. Bad speech should be countered, not censored.

This is why I am a free-speech absolutist.
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Comply or die... Oops, I meant "and die"


Almost everyone will tell you that to reduce your chances of being murdered by a cop, obey cops quickly and completely. (Which is sometimes impossible, given the conflicting or physically impossible orders they are unintelligibly barking).

Some will tell you this, as a matter of fact, to try to keep you alive when bad guys unfortunately have the upper hand. As cops nearly always do.

A second type will tell you this as part of a dishonest narrative that cops are good guys who are just doing their job of keeping you safe, so you owe them your respect and immediate compliance.

Both admit that cops can and will kill you. This is objectively true and saying otherwise makes you look like an idiot who lives in a rotten log.

The second type is telling you a partial truth, but is letting you know he's your enemy.

This type will sometimes admit, when pressed, that immediate compliance is no guarantee because cops murder (innocent) people all the time, even when they are doing their best to comply fast enough to keep the cop from getting scared. Mistakes are made, but it's still the victim's fault because the other guy is a cop!

There's one long-time "expert" in the gun community and in gun magazines who will always take this second path-- or always did back when I paid any attention to him. He would tell you to comply (and how your compliance should be choreographed) and let the court sort it out later. (Or let your estate sort it out if the cops murder you anyway. But I doubt he would ever admit that as a possibility). 

He was always so over-the-top copsucking that I haven't paid him any attention in more than a decade-- maybe a couple of decades now. I just saw him pop up in a suggested video on YouTube. No, I'm not going to watch any video he's in. His pro-cop attitude (he's a cop or former cop) destroyed his credibility with me long, long ago. Now I hate even seeing his face.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Business + government = failure


When you mix business with government, you don't improve either one.

Around mid-December, our town's contract with a garbage collection company ran out. The company that has had the contract for decades lost the bid. So before the end of December, they started hauling off the dumpsters around town.

The new company wasn't supposed to start collecting trash until mid-January.

So, we were without any trash collection for 2 weeks. The new company did put a large bin on the town's lot (where the water towers and other town utilities are) for people to use. I stashed my trash in my shed.

When we finally got a new dumpster, after being without one for over 2 weeks, instead of placing it in the ugly scar where the old one had sat for decades, they carefully placed it underneath the guy-wires of a utility pole, about a dozen or so feet away. Where, conveniently, the truck can't lift and dump the dumpster without hitting the wires. So they don't.

Total incompetence.

This means, we have a dumpster, but it is overflowing and hasn't been dumped since it was placed there. The others down the alley have been dumped twice. I'm using them, but my irresponsible neighbors will just keep piling trash on top of the dumpster. I know because it's what they always do. Often, they don't even bother to bag it. Then it falls off/out and no one will pick it up if I don't. Including the dirty toilet paper they dump loose in-- or on-- the dumpster. (OK, maybe you can't flush it for some reason, but put it in a tied bag!)

Back when I lived in a different state there was no monopoly on trash collection. I hired my own trash collector. If they missed my house, I could call and they'd come back and get it, and they'd apologize.

With this company only answering to the town government, they don't care. The government doesn't care. Yet, we are still forced to keep paying the fee for the service we aren't getting-- for more than a month now.

Yeah, I'm irritated over it. If I were this incompetent I'd have to pay a price.

UPDATE 1-31-2023: They moved it late this morning and used a backhoe to press down the trash so it didn't stick up. I guess enough people complained. It was the town that moved it, not the trash collector-- I'm sure they weren't going to travel 90 miles one-way to move a dumpster. I also think it was the town which placed the dumpster in the wrong spot to begin with. I had tried to walk the dumpster out from under the guy-wires the first time it got skipped, but it was too heavy to budge. Couldn't even rock it.

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I couldn't do this without your support.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Empathy


I have loads of empathy for some people-- victims, for example-- and zero empathy for other people-- thieves and aggressors, for example.

I have conditional empathy for others-- such as addicts.

If you started down a path you knew would likely lead to a particular destination, my empathy is shallow. I probably don’t want bad things to happen to you, but I’m going to balance that with “You knew where this was going”.

That's part of the reason I don't support prohibition. I don't want to harm everyone by trying to protect someone from themselves. I know that there's probably no one who decides to become addicted, but they knew the chance was there when they took their first dose. 

I'll save most of my empathy for those who didn't choose to start down the path they find themselves on.

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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Carrying weapons a human right

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 29, 2023)




Politicians and their allies who want you unable to defend yourself from violent attackers are at it again.

They are pushing for more anti-gun rules. I don't say "laws" because they can't be laws-- the U.S. Constitution makes all such rules illegal. You can't have an illegal law. Even the Supreme Court has admitted this, although they apparently try to play both sides...read the rest...
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Saturday, January 28, 2023

"Government should ban..."


Government should never be allowed to have the power to ban anything.

ANYTHING.

Nor to control or regulate anything.

Yes, there are things that probably shouldn't exist. There are things you should not allow in your life. There are things that can hurt or even kill you. 

Government power is one of those things. Probably the worst one among many. But government won't ban government power-- it would only ban lesser dangers.

It is your right and responsibility to ban things from your own life if you think you need to. Not from other people's lives; not as an individual nor through political action.

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Every little bit helps.

Friday, January 27, 2023

"Happy, free" social democracies


In response to someone trying to defend "social democracy" with a chart, and saying how much more "civil liberties" people have under it and how much happier it makes them, I said that I would have to know how they define "liberty" and "rights" before I could take them seriously.

Later I dared state there can be no such thing as "too much liberty" so someone decided to educate me on how "too much liberty" is a real threat, and that people's liberty can be in conflict. But they immediately pivoted away from arguing about liberty toward freedom

In other words, they changed the subject so they could pretend they proved their point.

I have always said there can be such a thing as too much freedom. And your freedom can conflict with someone else's rights.

You might be free to arbitrarily kill someone, which would violate their rights, but you don't have the right to do so-- you don't have the liberty to kill them until they choose to violate you and put you in a position to need to defend yourself. 

Similarly, you might be free to live on money stolen from others-- the slave labor of others--, but you have no right to do so. 

There is no conflict. 

But, I don't doubt this would make a certain type of person-- a type which is prevalent in societies around the world-- "happier" than the alternative.

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Every little bit helps.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

If I seem miserable...


In about 2 weeks, on February 8, I'm going in for the medical procedure I've been dreading for months.

It's the follow-up colonoscopy to the one last summer that had some troublesome results. If that colonoscopy isn't better than the last I'll be going in for surgery-- possibly the next day. If the surgery is necessary they'll be removing a section of my colon.

I hope it all goes better than the last appointment I had.

I recently went in for a follow-up on my liver issue, but I was turned away at the desk because they said my referral had expired. They never even looked at my insurance or anything, just looked at the sheets of paper they had on the desk in front of them (that apparently they'd never glanced at). Why they couldn't have said something before I drove 90 miles, one way, I don't know. They wouldn't even call to get a referral; just "Nope. We can't see you". This was the second time-- out of four appointments-- I arrived only to have them refuse to see me for some bureaucratic nonsense. I told them I will not be coming back.

I realize that choice may kill me.

At least I'm still pursuing the colon problem.

I'd be lying if I said this is having no effect on my attitude and ability to write. It is. I'm trying to not let it, but I can't get it out of my mind. I apologize to you all, and especially to my supporters.

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Every little bit helps.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Taxation is an uncivilized act


So many people are currently arguing over which way to "tax" people is better than other ways.

Some DemoCRAPublicans want a "flat tax". This faction pretends this would be more ethical, while the other pretends this "flat tax" would be in addition to the IRS and other taxing scams. The latter are quick to accuse the former of robbing poor families (but they'll pretend the poor families aren't being robbed now).

Taxation is theft; it is extortion.

All of that is beside the point.

Taxation is unethical because it funds the state. You can't make it right as long as it helps keep a state alive.

A civilized society is what humans sometimes manage to create in spite of uncivilized acts such as taxation.

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Every little bit helps.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Why do highly educated people get so much wrong?


At a certain level of “formal” education, education is almost entirely replaced with political indoctrination. At least the education is so diluted with political indoctrination that it is lost in the fog. 

When you mix politics with anything you are left with nothing but politics. “Everything is political” only if you choose to make it that way. If you mix politics with education you are left with schooling, which is the opposite of education.

This is why the most highly “educated” are often the most wrong on topics that have been or can be politicized.

Yes, there are people who manage to avoid being damaged this way. Not many, but some. The quickest way to tell the good ones from the bad ones is to see who's making the issue political; who is advocating policies and government action. Don't listen to those people. They're the ones getting it wrong.

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Every little bit helps.


Monday, January 23, 2023

Self-sabotage


People sabotage themselves. I know you've seen it. We've probably all done it.

I know someone who is rude to people and then wonders why other people don't seem comfortable around them. They refuse social invitations and then complain that others don't include them. They'll make a point of not participating, and then get angry that the world wasn't revolving around them.

I can see it. Others can see it. But not the person who's doing it. It's everyone else who's to blame. This doesn't seem to be a good life strategy.

When I notice something like this, it always makes me think about myself. What am I doing to sabotage myself right now? Some things are obvious to even me. Sometimes I am able to stop. Those times I am not able to, I am sabotaging myself again; sabotage on top of sabotage. But at least I'm aware of it. I don't blame others.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

This isn't only applicable to freedom.

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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Reject all governmental poisons

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 22, 2023)




Why can't most of the public see how ridiculous it looks to fight over the various forms of government? They argue over whether to be ruled (and to rule each other) with socialism or capitalism, communism or theocracy, by a dictator or by the mob through democracy. It’s like arguing with others over what kind of deadly poison to add to your soup...read the rest...

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I couldn't do this without your support.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Punishment and Justice


Yesterday, I had a short discussion with someone who considers punishment an essential part of justice.

I don't. I consider it revenge.

I understand the desire to punish someone who has violated you-- I've felt it myself many times. But, I now think that feeling goes beyond what I have a right to do or demand. If I punished someone (or had the state do it on my behalf) I would feel I had created a debt.

To me, justice refers to the attempt to restore a victim to their pre-violation condition, or as close as possible. This could include restitution. I also realize some things are beyond restitution, but in those cases, punishment also falls short. It seems to me that punishment is desired because "you hurt me so I want to make sure you, hurt, too". This seems inherently vengeful. Am I wrong? I could well be wrong.

If you think punishment is a required part of justice, please explain to me in the comments why you believe it is and how they are related. I might not be convinced, but I'd like to see the other side from rational perspectives.

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I couldn't do this without your support.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Do you believe government should keep secrets?


I think you could consider "government secrets" to be a test for government supremacism. If you justify government keeping anything secret, you have some government supremacism in you somewhere.

L. Neil Smith had said that government secrets should be the only capital crime. Of course, since government is the entity that carries out capital punishment (killing in defense isn't capital punishment), that would never work. Nor do I believe capital punishment is anything other than murder in revenge.

Since I don't believe in the right or "authority" of government to do anything (kill people, keep secrets, exist, etc.), I'm not on board with that, but I do agree that government keeping secrets from its superiors (anyone you could think of) is an unforgivable wrong. 

You and I have a right to privacy from government's prying eyes and probing fingers, but governments have no rights at all-- they can't.

You may point out that what I consider wrong isn't going to change the criminal gang's behavior one bit. True.

Government cares about my opinions exactly as much as I care about its opinions. Still, I think it's a useful observation to make so you know where someone stands-- if they'll stand with you when the chips are down or if they're likely to sell you out because government says so.

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I couldn't do this without your support.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

From the archives, on pandemics


I was looking back through old blog posts searching for something on a different topic when I ran across this from 2009. A reader had asked the question: 

How would 300 million of us, as we "governed ourselves" react for instance to... a pandemic?
My response back then was:

With a pandemic, people should be allowed to seek treatment from whoever they trust, using any medications they wish, without government intervention. Government "help" has a history of making things worse by not foreseeing the unintended consequences. 
Innovation is crushed under the government's regulations and by its FDA. No one ever talks about the people who died while the FDA wraps new treatments in a mummy of red-tape and backroom deals. Doctors are rationed by a broken licensing scheme that only rewards the ones who play politics well. Then you have the pharmaceutical company/government partnership. If pharmaceutical companies develop a vaccine, many people would choose to buy it. If it really works as advertised, the vaccinated people would have nothing to fear from those who chose other methods. You seem to also be ignoring the fact that wars, the main business of government, are prime causes of pandemics throughout history.

I think that held up pretty well. But, then, liberty always does.

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I couldn't do this without your support.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Political goggles make things worse

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 14, 2022)




Have you ever heard the term "beer goggles", where the more you drink, the more attractive someone looks? Politics works the opposite. The more you see things politically, the worse everything looks.
Once someone starts looking at things through the distorting lens of politics, there's no telling what they'll think they see. Even without politics, people see what they want to see, what they expect to see, or what they've been told to see. Politics make this effect worse.
With politics, people see the worst possible interpretation of what's in front of them. Is this how they want to see things, or is the expectation so strong it traps them? Has someone else made everything political in order to manipulate people into reacting a certain way?
If I say I'm against a certain practice, those in favor of it are likely to imagine they heard me say I want government to forbid it and punish those who engage in it. That's political and it's not me. I think most bad behaviors bring their own punishment.
No matter how much I oppose something, I think there is a better way to deal with it than by throwing government at it. Yes, even things like murder.
You might say a unified standard for handling things is necessary, but since rules vary by country, state, county, and city, there is no standard in any real sense, only the illusion of a standard. Often, the rules are completely wrong anyway, so even if there were a standard, it would be more harmful than helpful.
There are many behaviors and practices I consider wrong even though they are legal and widely accepted. When I say I believe they are wrong I am not saying I want them made illegal.
This has nothing to do with a China-style "social credit score", either. Nor does it encourage censorship or canceling anyone. It is me, as an individual, acting on what I see as the wrong thing to do.
If someone does those things I'll consider them a bad person and I will not want to have anything to do with them. I may also be giving a warning that I could feel the need to defend myself if those things are done to me.
Even if I tell you why I am shunning someone, I'm not going to demand you do the same. That would be political.
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"You will own nothing..."


The part that gets left out of the World Economic Forum's assertion that in the future "You will own nothing and you will be happy" is that someone will own all the stuff. Just not YOU. 

I guess that's OK in their view. It's only a problem (to them) if you own the things you need to survive. Why is that?

I think we can assume they are assuming they (those associated with their organization, who they would consider "elite"-- better than you) will be the ones owning the stuff they will rent to you... if they determine you are worthy. And if you can pay the price and agree to the terms of service ("Take the jab", "No guns") they demand.

If they own all the stuff, does this mean they are forgoing their own happiness for your sake? I mean, if owning nothing is what brings happiness, that must be it. How compassionate of them.

Unless they are lying.

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I couldn't do this without your support.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Vaccine side-effects


I've been called an "anti-vaxxer", mainly over the past couple of years concerning the Covid shots. That has never been true about me, but I am anti-mandatory

I am also unconvinced it is a good idea to flood a newborn's system with a cocktail of vaccines, but that's a different issue.

As far as not being anti-vaccine, I present evidence in the form of reminding readers I got the first part of a shingles vaccine back in early October. I got the second part on Sunday.

Both times, by bedtime my arm began to feel like it had been punched hard, repeatedly. Last time, the pain slowly faded over the next couple of weeks, but lingered to some extent for a month. I'm ready for it.

In October, this pain in my arm was the only side effect I noticed (or remember). This time I also have a headache and feel sore and listless. Of course, it may be completely unrelated to the shot. Maybe I'm just having an off day.

I don't want shingles. I've been around people who had them several times. Doesn't look like a good time! I'm more than willing to suffer some discomfort to avoid getting shingles. 

I've said in the past that I'd be willing to get an experimental mRNA shot that looked like it had a good chance of preventing (or curing) cancer, or reversing aging. The benefit (which is always subjective) has to be greater than the risk or discomfort. The shingles vaccine meets that bar; the Covid shots don't even try.

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I couldn't do this without your support.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Theft, defense, revenge, justice


People have tried, for years, to make the argument that if it were my kid robbing someone, I would want no one to fight back and hurt or kill him. I would want them to cooperate and let the police handle it later.

No. They don't get it.

If one of my relatives tried to rob a group of people and was killed by a defender, I would be ashamed and angered by what my relative did. I would never defend his actions or seek "restitution" [sic] from the defender who killed him. To do so would make me just as bad, in my own way, as the thief. In fact, I would probably praise the actions of the defender as heroic (if I spoke up at all) even in my pain and shame.

If one of my relatives shot and killed a robber, I would be proud that he helped victims, both current and potential future victims of this robber.

If both robber and defender were relatives of mine, I would side with the defender. No matter which one I was closer to before the event. Choosing to steal, and especially to violently rob people, is a deal-breaker.

I think theft is one of the worst acts a human can commit-- right on the level of rape, murder, kidnapping, etc. I have no issue at all with thieves being killed in the act, and even less so if they are robbing people under threat of harm or death; at gunpoint or knifepoint, for example. Even if it's a toy gun or a rubber knife, unless they are willing to hand it over for you to examine so you can make sure it's real, you'd better assume it's real and act as though it is.

If someone steals your property they are stealing the hours of your life you traded for that property. Parts of your life you can never get back. They don't care. They've made their choice. Sure, some would argue they aren't taking your whole life, and you aren't taking the robber's whole life either, just whatever amount they would have had left after they tried to rob you. It might have even been far less than they were trying to take from you (judging by their poor choices). They might have walked in front of a speeding bus, overdosed on something they bought with your stolen property, or "died suddenly" from clots ten minutes later. That's unknowable. 

Once someone has shown you they don't value their own life as much as they value taking your stuff (which can include your life, and since you can't read their mind you don't know their intent) why would you value their life, in this case, more than they value their own?

This doesn't mean I think you should track the thief down the week after the attack and shoot them as they sleep in their bed. That would be revenge, and I oppose revenge (while understanding the hunger for it). 

Self-defense at the scene of the attack, in the heat of the moment, isn't something I'll second guess. 

But what about justice? Self-defense is not exactly justice; it eliminates the need for justice. Revenge, when the event is history-- including legal punishment through the government-- isn't justice. Restitution is justice. Let peaceful arbitration, and restitution, sort it out at a later date if there is anything to sort out.

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Sunday, January 15, 2023

Politics is picking fights in (socially) acceptable way

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 15, 2023)




Politics seems to appeal to people who are addicted to drama. How else can you explain two years of hand-wringing over an insurrection that never happened? Or the recent election disasters and fights over which side are the real fascists? Those flames are fanned by people who don't want the drama to end...read the rest...
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I couldn't do this without your support.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Looking back at Covid


When Covid was still just called a "coronavirus", in early 2020, I tried to avoid catching it. Even though I had learned it was just a different cold virus (from WebMD-- before the "coronavirus" entry had been politicized, probably). I wasn't confident about its lack of danger, since it was a new variety. Now, knowing it was probably a modified virus from a government lab, I think early caution was the right reaction, even though I didn't know that at the time.

But, over time, I began to see that it wasn't quite the apocalypse that was being promoted; the only horrors were those being reported on "the news", but I saw none of it in my real world. I stopped doing anything more to avoid it than I would do to avoid catching any other cold.

When I caught it the first time. I felt awful for about 12 hours, if that. Any lingering fear was gone after that.

Later the narrative of "long haul Covid" started being pushed by politicized "medicine". I saw one person who was "diagnosed" with this convenient malady. I knew the person was not experiencing anything new; the doctors just had a new label besides "overweight and generally unhealthy" to pin on the person to explain their (same old) problems. I concluded that "long Covid" is mostly (or entirely) confirmation bias.

Later I caught Covid a second time and it was even less of a big deal-- it was barely even a deal at all.

I'll still avoid exposing myself to a sick person, like I've always tried to do, but I don't even care anymore whether it is Covid or some other cold.

It amazes me that anyone is still in pandemic mode.

I know other people may have experienced things differently, which is why I don't criticize what anyone does, as an individual, to avoid getting sick-- masks, shots, or hiding in their home.

What I do criticize are those who want to use force and mandate that everyone else does what they do. And those who take it upon themselves to go out in public-- wearing a mask to show their gang colors-- and aggressively attack people they claim are threatening them because they aren't maskinated and otherwise paralyzed by fear.

I still occasionally see people who are wearing a mask. I feel bad for them since I assume they are sick-- either diseased,  immunocompromised, or suffering a mental problem. But I don't taunt them or try to crowd them. As long as they don't attack me, it's fine.

People have different needs, wants, weaknesses, and fears. They are free to live according to these as long as they don't try to force their own choices on others. If they want to get endless "boosters" and wear a mask from now on, that's their business. The second they start trying to force their preferences on others, I'm going to push back.

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I couldn't do this without your support.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Training away reflexes?


This is something I've thought about, related to yesterday's post.

This is kind of psychological, but obviously, I am not a psychologist so take it for what it's worth.

Most people who aren't career scumbags resist shooting someone. Sometimes until it's too late; this internal resistance is so strong. They'll go right up against that wall, and then discover it's really hard to push through any further to the point of pulling the trigger. 

Until something so extreme happens that it flips a switch in their head and in their muscles. 

Once you get to the point where that switch gets flipped, it doesn’t turn off again easily. You've gone from conscious decisions to reflexes.

That's why people will empty a magazine into a thug when the first couple of shots did the job. It's why they'll fire the final coup de grace into an "obviously" incapacitated bad guy. The switch has been flipped and there's nothing to flip it back. Not seeing that the threat is over and not the threat of government punishment or social condemnation. It's out of the intended victim's hands at that point.

And, again, the bad guy made the choice to put someone in the position where this can happen. 

If I'm one of those being protected from the bad guy, I'm going to be grateful to the defender for making sure the threat has been completely neutralized. I'm not going to care what those who weren't present have to say about it afterward.

It may be "too much", but I'm not going to burn someone at the stake for reflex behavior they didn't choose to initiate.

I can tell myself I would never let this kind of "overreaction" happen to me, but if I unexpectedly touch a hot coal, no amount of telling myself I won't jerk my hand away can change what happens next. The brain is shut out of the loop-- that's what a reflex is.

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Thursday, January 12, 2023

Overkill?


I know you've probably seen the Houston taco shop shooting video. Lots of well-meaning people are second-guessing the guy who ended the robber's career.

Yeah, I agree. The final shot to the bad guy's head was probably unnecessary-- but I wasn't there.

On the other hand, if the defender had turned his back and the bad guy had raised up to take a shot (had his gun been real), the defender would have carried that guilt for the rest of his life. The smart thing to do, for someone who wasn't suffering an adrenaline dump, would have been to stand watch, with the gun pointed at the bad guy, ready to put him back down if he looked like he was getting up.

However, the defender was undoubtedly not thinking straight at that point. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins and clouding his thoughts. He was running on reflex and emotion.

And the bad guy was 100% responsible for putting him in that condition through his actions, so the responsibility for his death is on him alone. I have zero sympathy whatsoever for anyone who decides to rob people under threat of death, and then ends up reaping what he sowed.

This is why I don't generally second-guess defenders who "over-react" by making sure the bad guy isn't getting up again. Ever.

If the defender had been a cop I would still consider it a good shooting.

I saw a video from Brazil on the TwitBird a few days ago where a bad guy had taken a woman hostage and was running down a sidewalk with her in tow. As he rounded a corner he came face-to-face with a cop, who shot him. He dropped the hostage and began running away and the cop shot him several more times-- in the back-- until there was no way this guy was going to get up again. In the back. As he ran. And I defended the cop's actions in that shooting. (Only pointing out that American cops would have arrested you or me for shooting the bad guy in the back as he ran away.)

It's different from shooting a guy who's not currently violating anyone but is running from someone who arbitrarily demanded he stop. Or shooting a guy crawling on his knees begging you not to kill him. Those shootings aren't justified, but shooting a thug who is in the act of robbing people... Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

If I were called upon to arbitrate this case I might dock the defender a couple ounces of silver for over-reacting in the heat of the moment. Then I would dock the bad guy's estate (if any) for a pound or two of gold for restitution to everyone in the taco shop, including the defender.

I would seriously hope that if I were ever in that guy's situation I could stop shooting as soon as the second-guessers-- who aren't there in the heat of the moment-- think I should. 

Because I can empathize and imagine myself in their place, I'm willing to give others who are in a place they have a right to be, doing things they have a right to be doing, the benefit of the doubt when they are forced into a situation by someone who has no right to be in a place doing what he's doing. When robbers are killed by their victims, I can't care.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2023

No one has right to violate rights

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 7, 2022)




Governments don't respect rights.

Your rights don't change when you cross a line; not a state line or a national border. Rights are the same everywhere. Only the ways in which your rights are violated differ by location.

Rights don't change over time or due to majority opinion, either. If something is a violation of your rights today, it was a violation no matter how far back in history you go and it would remain a violation into the distant future. No matter what else changes.

Slavery always violated the rights of the slaves, even when it was enforced by law, and when most people thought it was the natural way to arrange society and get hard work done. No justification for slavery holds up-- it doesn't matter if you can't see any other way to harvest the cotton, if it's used as punishment for a crime or to fill military quotas through conscription.

People who want to convince you that "archaic" rights-- such as the basic human right to own and to carry weapons everywhere you go-- no longer apply are wanting to violate you. They don't want you able to effectively resist, so they'll try to convince you of how backward your values are.

I see them as trying to convince you how enlightened you would be if only you accepted slavery as natural again. It's a lie and I'll never accept their deception.

No one ever has a right to violate your rights-- the very idea is absurd if you think about it. Not based on who you are, where you are, or what year it is. I would also include not based on what you've done, since I don't see justice as violating anyone's rights, but most people prefer punishment over justice and don't like this idea. Restitution doesn't violate your rights since you created the debt by something you did, either through negligence or choice.

Rights can either be respected or violated; there is no middle ground. They can be violated more or they can be violated a little less, but violating rights is how you can identify evil. I don't accept any degree of evil. I've been told this makes me an extremist, as if being extreme about doing the right thing is bad.

If you don't believe in rights, or don't believe they should always be respected, imagine trying to have a functioning society without them and describe how that looks.
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Range Day Report


This past Sunday I went to the gun range with my son. For Christmas, he had given me a rifle accessory he was anxious to see me try out.

It's a 100-round double drum magazine for my AR-15. He also got himself a similar magazine for his AK-74. He wanted us to test them out.

My only hesitation was that he insisted I run a whole magazine of ammo through it to make sure it functioned well from first shot to last. It did, but OUCH. I took advantage, though, by taking my time and shooting 5 rounds at a time, checking my hits with my spyglass, then making any adjustments if needed. None were needed after the first 10 or 15 shots. The gun is dead-on and shoots way better than my eyes can see (or my skill level, probably).

I completely took out the center of the target at 25 yards, then did the same at 50, only opening up the pattern a little. Still, everything was within a "center-of-chest" circle. There was nothing left in the center to place Shoot-N-C patches on.

Yes, I need to practice at 100 yards, at least. Next time. I don't have a scope (just a red dot) and I doubt my eyes will see the target at that range, but I'll find out. I don't see myself claiming "defense" at that range, anyway, but it's good to know your (and your tool's) capabilities.

I also took some other guns, including my daily carry guns, to get some live-fire practice. That was also ammo-expensive, but that's the point of having the ammo. Right? I used up some .22 LR ammo that was older than I am. Probably by a fair amount.

We were shooting the pistolas at their 25-yard range. Usually, we shoot at the 15-yard range (and normally at 10 yards even then) for self-defense distances. But this time he wanted to see how we did farther out. The facility doesn't have any handgun range with a greater distance than 25 yards. Thank goodness!

I shot two 9mm pistols, a .38sp revolver, and a .22 revolver.

Again, most of the guns shot very well. I had no malfunctions other than two misfires from the antique .22 LR ammo, and those popped just fine after I rotated them. The .22 revolver with fixed sights seems to hit low, but it's not for defense anyway. I adjusted my sight picture and went from there.

We had to wait a fairly long time before they called a cold range and let us set up our targets. It's bad to compare myself to others, but I secretly felt really good about my shooting after watching all those others guys shoot while we waited. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to be present if any of them tried to defend someone with their guns. I hope they were practicing to get better, and I hope they do. I stopped paying much attention to them after my target was set up.

One of the range officers asked where I got my spyglass. (Junk store in Grand Junction, Colorado.) He said I was "the talk of the range" because of it. I told him that I was using it because it is always on my belt and I never remember to bring my good binoculars with me.

We spent about four hours there. He managed to staple his finger, and I got a blood blister from getting a finger pinched in a gun case hinge.

It was a good day.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Here's the deal


As long as the US federal government-- which gets any imagined legitimacy for its existence from the US Constitution-- exists, there can be no real, binding law concerning arms (weapons), nor will I pretend there is.

For that matter, even after the US feral government is gone, there can be no real, binding law concerning weapons. No matter where humans or their descendants exist. It's a natural human right for a reason.

I was thinking about this while shooting with my son this past weekend. At least I had a nice range day before the bureaucratic failure of a doctor's appointment on Monday, which I may talk about later when I'm less angry. I hate bureaucracy in all its forms more than I can humanly express, which is one facet of why I hate political government so intensely.

Anyway, "Serenity now"... 


If anyone wants to donate to help me replenish what I sent down range or to help with the porch cats, it's always appreciated, but even more so in trying times.

Monday, January 09, 2023

Would I use force to stop someone?


There are lots of things I think are bad— which I consider wrong— that as far as I can tell don't necessarily violate anyone's natural human rights. I would not personally use force to stop someone from doing these things, nor would I advocate legislation or support sending cops after anyone for doing them. Even if I consider them wrong.

Sometimes people don't understand the distinction. I'll say I believe something is wrong, maybe even evil, but they then assume I'm going to support legislation to punish those who engage in it. Nope. I don't advocate or support legislation, and I'm probably not going to personally use force against those doing it. Especially if I'm too far removed from the situation to know extra factors.

It might not be smart to test the limits on such things with people I care about, though. Because there is a line that could be crossed— even I'm not sure where it is in every case. If it impacts me or someone who matters to me-- or even some stranger in my sphere-- it might be different as far as me, personally, using force to defend them. In the heat of the moment, I could do things I consider wrong if it feels necessary. What is "necessary"?

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Sunday, January 08, 2023

Less government means more liberty

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 8, 2023)




You probably hear a lot of complaints about government corruption these days-- especially over these past several years. I don't see any corruption; I see government acting as it was designed to work.

When an institution is built on a foundation of theft, power, and coercion why act surprised when those things happen?..read the rest...
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Saturday, January 07, 2023

If you're negotiating with a robber...


The guy who was advocating a "flat tax" by saying "Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good" justified this by saying this could be compared to negotiating with a robber.

I asked why anyone would negotiate with a robber.

I might pretend I am negotiating with a robber while buying time so I can escape or defend myself and my property from him, but it's going to be an act. In that case, I'm not really agreeing to anything. I'm going to lie to the robber and keep looking for a way to neutralize the threat he poses.

If you're negotiating with a robber you're doing it wrong.

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