Saturday, July 05, 2003

Now this is damn funny.

"BERLIN, July 2 — Stung by criticism, the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, suggested today to a German member of the European Parliament that he would make an excellent leader of a Nazi concentration camp."

More or less the new head of the EU, the Italian Prime Minister was being criticized because a law recently passed that granted immunity to heads of Italian government. This law stopped a trial in which P.M. Berlusconi was a defendant. Signs were held up calling him a "Godfather" at teh EU meeting in question. When A German Representative Martin Schulz (who just happens to be a Socialist) raised questions about P.M. Berlusconi's integrity in the matter of the new law & his trial. The PM shot back with the following:

"Mr. Schulz,' Mr. Berlusconi said in reply, cocking his head to one side and smiling, 'I know there is a man in Italy producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of leader. You would be perfect."

Is it just me or is that too funny? I'm no fan of the EU but at least it looks like it'll be interesting for the next little while.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Blogspot is not being cooperative. grrrrrrr.

Happy Independence Day ya'll.

After reading this, please go find a range or some other place with a safe backstop & put a couple of dozen or a couple of hundred rounds through your favorite rifle. Ya'll have fun.
Scores Killed, Hundreds Injured As Para-Military Extremists Riot
I was again browsing over at the Volokh Conspiracy & found this post which pointed to this post over at Is That Legal which is about a never before published 1941 Independence Day speech written by then Attorney General (later Supreme Court Justice) Robert Jackson.

Very interesting stuff. Go read.
L. Neil Smith has a piece on the Ithaca Auto & Burglar & the real reason they're heavily regulated & restricted.

Go read.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Rachel Lucas has a post we shoud all look at. It links to two articles: the first about some photographs of concentration camps after they were liberated that recently turned up & the other about a 77 year old Nazi death camp guard who was recently caught in America.
An attack on the King's soldiers is an attack on the King!

For those of you who thought that was an antiquated philosophy or simply a throw away line from a swashbuckling movie, think again.

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy I found this post which links to this news story.

To sum it up a man received a sentence of life imprisonment for spitting on a police officer, even though he could have only receieved 1 year in prison & a $3,000 fine for the alledged wife beating that instigated the police contact in the first place.

Now personally I would have liked the guy to receive a stiff sentence for assaulting his wife. Actually I would have much preferred for the wife to have shot him the second he attempted to accost her.

Putting aside the man's character or alledged lack thereof, we are left with this simple truth spoken by the legislature & affirmed by the courts - the lives, safety, convenience & reputation of any employee of the government is worth more than the life, freedom, or integrity of any individual citizen.

Now I am by no means pro-cop. The 'thin blue line' that protects society from criminals is not our police officers but our citizens themsleves. (The blue line being the firearms said citizens use between 80,000 & 2,000,000 times a year to prevent crime). But to be completely fair I estimate (& by no means scientifically) that 5 to 10% of cops are really good people, 5 to 10% of cops are really bad people, with the remaining 80 to 90 % lying somewhere in between. Which pretty much is consistent with my views of society as a whole: there's a minority at either end with the majority someplace in the middle.

My problems with the police are not based on an unrational distrust of their characters. Rather it is a distrust of the system in which they operate. One of the problems with that system is perpetuating the belief that a police officer, or any employee of the government for that matter, is a protected & privileged class. The above news story does nothing to change my view that this is inherently wrong.

Granted, there are some rational arguments for making spitting or otherwise imposing bodily fluids on another a serious offense, what with the AIDS & other diseases which can be transmitted by bodily fluids.
But in no way should government employees receive special protection. & despite any risk of contamination I fail to see the logic in having harsher penalties for spitting on someone than beating them up.
This man would not have received a life sentence for spitting on his wife. In fact he could only get a year for beating her up. The life sentence was imposed solely because it implied a threat to an agent of the government. This in & of itself is wrong. If a person who is employed by the government is the victim of some form of unjustified abuse or assualt then his attacker should receive a harsh penalty, but no harsher than if he had attacked an accountant, or construction worker.

It seems though that 'equal protection of the law' is more endangered than the phrase that opened this post.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

More from the U.N.

"From July 7 to 11, the U.N. will hold its first biennial meeting to discuss progress in the implementation of the action program against small arms."

Here we go again.

"The action program calls on participating countries to engrave identification marks on small arms during the manufacturing process to help trace their origin and to establish effective export-import licensing systems. Countries involved are also required to cooperate in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former soldiers."

In other words, they'd like to have the system in place so that confiscation will be easier when it's agreed upon. & they damn skippy don't want ex-military or anyone else who knows how to use arms to have them.

"In the negotiations held two years ago, the United States objected to two points: controls over private ownership -- the U.S. Constitution guarantees American citizens the right to bear arms -- and transfers of small arms to nonstate entities (such as guerrillas). The negotiators struck a deal after eliminating those issues."

So someone in the U.S. government actually read the Bill of Rights. Fascinating.

"The U.N. plays a significant role in disarmament. When France and Russia bickered with the U.S. over the war in Iraq, there was widespread international criticism that the U.N. Security Council had become dysfunctional. Donowaki denies the charge, saying the U.N. General Assembly has an important role to play in protecting world peace and security. U.N.-backed small-arms control should help prevent regional conflicts and lay the foundation for peace."

What they fail to mention is that hundreds of millions of disarmed civilians were murdered by their own governments in the last century. This may or may not have been preventable if the respective victims had been armed, but an armed populace would have stood a much better chance against an armed government.

The U.N. is a collection of governments, many of whom are not exactly interested in the welfare of their people. What this amounts to is a group of bullies who organized (albeit for more altruistic reasons - at least initially) & are now attempting to refine their method of bullying. There interest in civilian disarmament has nothing to do with the safety of their respective peoples but their eliminating any means of resisting their consiladation of power.

Rep. Ron Paul had the right idea.

For related reading, look here & especially here.

Alphecca has a table up that's worth a look. It compares the Amendments to the Constitution as they're written to how he sees they are applied.

Monday, June 30, 2003

NJ is in for a rough time: the Smart Gun has been invented.

NJ, if you recall, passed a law a few years ago that said 3 years after a working, practical Smart Gun was invented, that all handguns sold in NJ must be smart guns. Police are excepted of course.

From the above link:

"The O'Dwyer VLe - the world's first totally electronic handgun live firing prototype - is Metal Storm's "smart gun". With advanced access limiting features, the O'Dwyer VLe operates without any mechanical moving parts. The only thing that moves in the weapon is the bullets.
Developed specifically for use by the military and police, the O'Dwyer VLe provides authorised operators with immediate and uninhibited firing access, while denying firing access to unauthorised operators, thereby reducing the likelihood of theft and accidental or unauthorised discharge resulting in death or injury."

I am not sure, since this Smart Gun is for Police & Military use only, if NJ will use it as the first working Smart Gun to implement their legislation. But my hunch is they will.

Here's the link to the video demo of this Smart Gun.

I admit it's an interesting concept, being all electronic. However this means gunsmiths will now have to have a degree in electronics. I can see the Help Wanted signs at gun shops now: Part -time Hackers needed. Apply within.

Still I'll hang onto my antiquated mechanical firearms. There's soemthing much more satisfying about stoning a sear to get a crisp trigger pull, as oppossed to downloading a lighter trigger pull program.
This is interesting:

"The British military has ordered a suspension of weapons searches in the area of southern Iraq where six soldiers were killed, while a fundamental review takes place of the civilian population's right to carry arms."

Hopefully they'll have a fundamental review of the right to carry arms at home. But I won't hold my breath.

"The Army has agreed to a two-month "cooling-off" period in the town of Majar al-Kabir, near Amara, and this may be extended to other areas in an effort to defuse the rise in anti-British sentiment."

In other words, they realized that the civilians didn't want to be disarmed, so they're backing off to save face & their soldiers health.

"There is acknowledgement among defence staff that a lack of understanding of the local people contributed to the fatal confrontation on Tuesday in which six members of the Royal Military Police died."

So they realized not all people were sheep.

"The people of Majar al-Kabir deposed the local Baath regime without help from the British or Americans and there is a tradition of independence in the area. Some senior British officers believe this was not taken into account in attempts to disarm the population."

Again, very un-sheeplike tendencies. They never anticipated that a local population could be responsible for their own liberation. Granted it helped that the main source of their troubles' back-up was dispersed. But I would love to have seen the look on the first soldiers face in the area when he showed up to liberate them... " What do you mean you're already liberated???"

"The British commander in Iraq highlighted the resentment about the disarming process when he said that the violence might have been sparked by people believing they were about to be searched."

Hmmm still more un-sheeplike behavior. Resisting a liberation army when it's believed they're attempting to implement civilian disarmament.

All in all, the article relates how civilian disarament is not provoking the reaction that the Brits are used to: compliance. It still says it's a good idea, but not practical when the populace is resisting.

& i neglected to mention it last week, but go check out Alphecca's Weekly Check on the Bias at Yahoo Table with New & Improved Graphics.
Over at Boone Country there's a continuation of the '06 discussion. It's worth checking out no matter which side of the '06 fence you currently reside on.
"VPC Press Release
In a shocking move, the VPC and the Brady Center announced plans to lobby congress to pass a bill that bans children. Tom Diaz (VPC senior policy analyst) stated It was just the next logical step. We spend all of our time trying to get this or that banned willy-nilly in the name of the children. We decided it’d just be easier for everyone concerned if we just banned children."

For more of this tongue-in-cheek VPC press release, visit Say Uncle (or click here for the direct link.)
Madogre has a couple of interesting items. The first being a top ten list of pick-up lines to use at the range. The second an interesting if somewhat simplified discussion of the various firearms finishes.
No permalinks, so you'll have to look for the entries under June 30th to find these pieces.
John Lott touches on the situation in Iraq with regards to armed or disarmed civilians.

"The argument seems straightforward Enough: Get rid of guns, and the Iraqis can't harm our troops. Banning the carrying of guns also makes it easier for soldiers to simply arrest anyone they are suspicious of.
Yet, the question is more complicated: If guns are banned, who would turn them in? Presumably the most law-abiding citizens - not the terrorists and Ba'ath Party members whom our troops should be concerned about."

Read the entire piece for yourself. & thanks to Sasha Volokh for the link.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

I wonder if this will post?

Kim DuToit's better half - The Mrs. - has an interesting post on the mechanics of & reasons for testing. The post is related directly to the Massachussets family who is being persecuted & prosecuted by their loving, caring government because they refused to make their children take a standardized test.

So if the New & Improved Blogspot lets this post post, then go read it.