Against My Better Judgment
Apr 17, 201312:16PM
I'm going to show I can create a better conspiracy then the conspiritards.
"Hey, we need you to help us crash airliners into the WTC and kill several thousand people to further our agenda."
"WTF? Dude...is this a joke? Go @#$^ yourself."
"Hey, we want you to help us orchestrate shooting some kindergartners to get control in place."
"What kind of #@$ing monster are you? Seriously."
"Hey, we want to set off a couple of bombs at the Boston Marathon, so we can get the drone program and RFID in place. If we do it right, it shouldn't hurt many people, though of course, collaterals are possible. Just some nice loud distractions at the end. That way, any large gathering will be a just target for drones, scans and otherwise. Overall, this will mean less real attacks. The cost benefit is positive."
"Makes sense. Okay, I'll help."
"Dude! WTF? That actually killed and maimed a lot of people! You said that wasn't going to happen."
"Well, it had to be big enough to get people's attention."
"That's not what I signed on for. I'll tell..."
"Who, exactly? Even if you managed to tie us in, you're complicit and the mob would kill you. And you carried the bombs, so you're the logical suspect. We're all high-ranking officials with excellent cover. Best keep your mouth shut if you know what's good for you."
"Yeah, whatever. Remember, we need drones, RFID and better monitoring of the internet. Even if you blame this on the Muslims."
I don't believe it, but this one would at least be feasible.
In reality, this is going to come down to:
RIFs who have learned to scale their attacks and keep quiet about them, lest the US military show up and sodomize them with JDAMs, or some native crazy who hates something or other. If the latter, given the target, I expect it's some anti-capitalist lefty.
Privilege - Not Just A Word
Apr 10, 201302:13PM
I like to interact with people, and I find I learn more about them, and about myself, by interacting with people I may not agree with. Either one of us persuades the other, or we learn more about ourselves, or we find new insights into our positions.
This apparently isn't common.
I've occasionally interacted on Facebook with one [name redacted by request], as she styles herself. She's big on gender issues, race and social issues. I probably agree with her stances about 40% overall, which is better than average.
I was looking at some links on her page, and the tone there was strident. I do that myself. No harm, no foul. However, if one is fighting stereotypes, one should avoid using them oneself. I made a polite comment that a message aimed at people in general agreement, with the intent of bringing them closer, should be worded amiably, not accusatorily. She seemed to miss the thrust, replied with something else, and I posted my infamous summary of worldwide historical repression, because a lot of Americans (apparently including her) miss that there's a lot more to it than black/white and the former Confederate slavery.
Her response was "Oh, wow, a middle class white male has an opinion on race. I don't think I'll waste time reading that." And it ended with, "Why don't you actually try talking to some black people?"
My first thought, was "Wait, this teenager is white, middle classed, middle American. This is not just the pot calling the kettle black, given my background, it's the pot calling the fine china black."
Then I thought, "That can't be what I just read. Did I just walk into The Simpsons or Monty Python?"
Then it was, "Wait, this person is supposed to be passingly aware of my background, WTF led to this outburst? Did her brain just shut down and she revert to tribal shouting?"
I bowed out of the conversation, because obviously, no rational discourse was going to be possible. We'd gone from generalizations to epithets, and by "we" I mean "she."
After that, I decided I needed to finish edits on my story collection coming out in August, and then come back to it.
So, let's go back to, "Why don't you actually try talking to some black people?"
I was in high school in the early 80s, peak of the break dancing craze, and I was a pretty damned good dancer. That means I hung out with a lot of black guys—at clubs, at school, at home. They came to my place to practice, I went to theirs. Sometimes our parents invited us or them to stay for dinner. I remember one who had a vivid sense of humor, including self-deprecating jokes when he found out we had watermelon. And yes, occasionally, one of them was a punk, but there were a lot more white punks who wanted to emulate what they thought black people were like.
Most of them lived in a slightly poorer area near the school, with numerous material goods--cars, projection TVs, which I'm led to believe was because their traditional areas were cheaper, so status was shown materially. (And for the record, we spent a couple of years receiving food stamps and other assistance after my parents divorced.)
My mother sold real estate, and occasionally (and let me stress occasionally) someone would ask about racial makeup of a neighborhood, or ask her to limit showings to whites only, and she would tell them it was illegal for her to discuss such things, or to attempt to limit purchases. Interestingly, it was generally poorer whites who were concerned about this, not middle or upper class, and it happened only a handful of times over several years.
Of course, that small element of racism does affect things, as does the natural tendency of people to form into tribes of like-minded individuals.
I had black teachers in school, and they were generally the funnest, most informative and down to earth.
The observant respondent would remember that I served in the US military. They may also be aware that the military is no longer segregated. Guess what? I was trained, and trained with, people of every race and color, some of whom barely spoke English, being either recent immigrants like myself, or from the Philippines, where we have a treaty agreement allowing them to join our military directly.
And, when I got to my permanent duty station, my roommate was…BLACK! Kersey was an odd duck from Cleveland, and we didn't talk much, until the time he threatened to kill me with his bare hands and an iron pipe, and shortly got some mental health treatment and processed out. It seems other people had had issues too.
My next roommate was a white kid from Oregon, an alcoholic, didn't last long, and moved into an abandoned mobile home with no power because he couldn't keep even a minimum wage job.
So, the last three years of my service I roomed with Wendell, who'd trained in an overlapping timeframe with me in Texas, so we already knew each other slightly. Wendell was not your typical black, I guess, since he was an immigrant from Antigua, thereby being British.
Let me elucidate for the civilians: we spent three years serving in the same unit, and sharing a 15' square barracks room. I knew him pretty damned well. We drank together, cruised bars together, did road trips to conventions together, and did a bunch of field exercises together.
Now, I had to sit down and think about all this, because my roommate was not "That black guy, Wendell." My roommate was "Wendell, the sergeant from the Power Section I spent three years of my life with." I've said it before, I will say it again—race is only important if you insist on making it important. If anyone asked, "Who do you room with?" I replied, "Wendell, Power Shop." And no one ever said, "Oh, right, the black guy." Largely because we had a LOT of "black guys" including the First Sergeant, our Section Superintendent and one of the engineers. So, yes, I took orders from black people, Hispanics, Asians, women, and never kept a tally because it never fucking mattered to me. Were they competent? By and large. Did they have the authority to define my tasks? Yes.
Were there racists in the unit? Yes, a few.
Now, for reasons not relevant here, engineering tends to congregate immigrants. My shop had me, a Mexican, and a Filipino and five native born Americans (one of them black). In the unit of 120, there were a couple of other Mexicans (And I mean men with Mexican passports, working on their citizenship, as I was), several Filipinos, another Brit, a German. We hung out in groups of our own nationality, and groups of immigrants vs native borns, and Engineers vs other units, and cadre vs transients, and AF vs other branches, and military vs civilian, because that's what people do. I rarely saw color itself be a defining matter, except among a handful (both white and black).
I do recall one asshole in my shop liked to refer to us as the "Fuzzy little foreigners." Though he generally didn't deliver it in a derogatory fashion, and we wore the sobriquet proudly. And note: I was included in that definition, despite being "White."
It wasn't the only bigotry I encountered from him, and that first roommate, Kersey, repeatedly mocked my birth nation to my face. Words were had over that. Occasionally, other people made comments about "Damned foreigners taking our jobs" and expressed that we shouldn't be allowed to own property or businesses.
Now, at least I was able to honestly identify the assholes, since I don't "look" like an immigrant, though I did still have a bit of an accent. They'd usually trot it out right in front of me, against regulations and common sense. But, bigotry works in all directions, and if you assume because I look like a certain imagined stereotype, I must think and act like said stereotype, congratulations, you just did it yourself.
So, moving on, I was Reserve and Guard for 20 years after that, and again, served with many people of many races and cultures. In fact, my last deployment was a 4-way split between Utah Air Guard (mostly Mormons), New Jersey Air Guard (mixed bag), Guam Air Guard (Mostly Chamorro people, and Catholic) and Puerto Rico Air Guard (very Hispanic and very Catholic) in a desert full of Arabs, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Filipinos (all Muslim), Indians (from India, and mostly Hindu, with some Muslims), Georgians (Muslims and Christians), Japanese, Koreans, Aussies and Brits. And being the military—you don't get a choice. You go fix, move or fight with whomever you're told to, and you have to manage to get along. And I enjoyed the hell out of it. We took turns doing Saturday night cultural dinners.
But that was Reserve, meaning I had a real job and a real home otherwise. And in college, I was a stripper. That meant I hung out with other strippers, mostly female, including a Thai and a very astute, striking black woman working her way through law school.
Oh, yes—it was a mostly Asian neighborhood we lived in.
Now, as far as Indianapolis, for anyone familiar with it, go take a look at East 52nd Street. I'll wait. What color are most of the people in that area? Oh, right—THEY'RE BLACK! Didn't matter to me. Most of them were good neighbors, though it was amusing watching the "photographer" next door, who never had models or materials or any camera gear, get busted by 17 cop cars and a SWAT van. That is, until he went to jail for dealing drugs and his ex and her friends burgled my house. But yup, several years in a black neighborhood as one of the few white people, and it didn't bother me at all. My daughter at age 3 insisted on stopping at several local revivals, because she's always loved to dance, and a bunch of people dancing and singing was definitely her thing, even if we're not Christian. (And before that we lived in the Irvington neighborhood, which might have a few blacks, too. I honestly never bothered to keep a tally, as hard as that is for some people to believe.)
A former girlfriend and I had a several month long affair with a full blooded Sauk woman who was a very strong LGBT and feminist activist. We didn't agree on everything, but I certainly learned a lot.
Quite a few of these people—such as the last lady—would have a strong level of agreement with many of your positions. Some would agree in part (and I do myself). Some would not agree at all. In the subjective world of human interaction, there are solution sets of right and wrong, that intersect in various ways. If you're stuck looking for one point solution, you clearly didn't manage calculus, and might need to go back and look at basic algebra again.
But let's move back to my childhood for a bit—I grew up quite poor near Liverpool, originally in a small flat with no central heat and no TV. My father is Scottish, my mother is English, and if you bother to read a little history, you might find that the two cultures had a few issues over the last few centuries.
My maternal grandfather was an RAF officer, and my mother spent several years as a child in Rhodesia, when it was Rhodesia, with all the household and base staff being local Africans. If I recall correctly, India, Cyprus and Kenya were in there, too.
Now, Britain, or rather, England, has its own history, but most of its colonial repressions were overseas, and for different motivations. And that's key. When I meet someone of a different color, my first thought isn't, and can't be, "OMG! This person's ancestors were slaves and my family profited from that!" Nope. The Brits pretty much didn’t keep slaves, my working class family certainly didn't, though several likely served on a few slave-busting ships.
No, when I meet someone of exotic looks for the area I'm in, my default thought is, "Oh, this person must be of or descended from one of our colonies." And even if some of the colonials were lower class, lower class is INFINITELY above "slave." There is simply no way possible for me to look at a black person and feel what a native born American of any color feels. Add to that, I moved here in 1978, so nothing that happened before that can possibly involve me.
If you look at my FB wall, you'll find blacks, Hispanics, whites, Asians (actually in Asia, as well as Asian Americans), transsexuals, gays, bisexuals, white people married to blacks, Hispanics and Asians, and people with backgrounds that include multiple races, cultures and ethnicities.
My friends include agents, authors, editors and technical people of (a variety of) color. We often disagree, and I've noticed that color is an issue for a lot of Americans. It's inescapable. Given the segregation issues shortly before I was born, the war a century before that, and the slavery before that, I accept it's a valid concern. But here's the important part: I don't share that concern, and assuming I do, can or must is trying to stereotype me based on my skin color.
So, you tell me, does that count as "actually talking to black people"? I'm adding up somewhere around a couple of decades or more of my experience, though as I said, I don't really keep a tally for score. I talk to PEOPLE.
See, the problem with a lot of self-claimed "liberals" is they're not. They're only tolerant if you agree with them. This seems to include you. You like it when I agree on certain gender issues. You go childishly apeshit when I just might have an informed opinion that differs slightly from yours, based on my own subjective experiences, broader world view, longer life and different background.
But even if I am "Wrong" on an entirely subjective subject, then any persuasion aimed at me must be diplomatic and with cited sources, otherwise it's simply an opinion, and available evidence suggests my opinion is more informed than yours…which does not mean it is necessarily objectively correct.
You don' t want actual debate, because it might shake you out of your comfortable worldview. What you want is tribal association.
If you look at me and assume based on my skin color I think like some stereotype of a middle class American white guy—you're a racist. If you assume that all black people agree with the position you've assigned them in your worldview—you're a racist. If you insist that people can't tell the same jokes about this President that they told about previous presidents because he's partly black and that somehow makes things different—you're a racist (especially as you insist simultaneously they can't treat him differently).
Much like the most virulent anti-gays are often hiding a secret part of their orientation that scares them, the most vocal users of the race epithet frequently demonstrate the most stereotyping and racism.
After all, let's look at your screen name again: "[radacted] Protagonist (her FB recognition tag) [redacted]." Ah, yes, the "PROTAGONIST!" The white, middle class, middle American woman flying in to right wrongs and correct perceptions, and tell people how they must think and feel, on behalf of those poor minorities who aren't capable of doing so themselves. And if you have a different perception than she? Well, then maybe you need to talk to people on her approved list, to learn the right things. No right-thinking person could disagree.
(ETA, missed an important item from my notes: It's possible you're not as "white" as you look either, using the contemporary American definition. If so, you should know better. If not, then don't try playing the smug superior card.)
You're not a protagonist. You're not even an antagonist. You're an annoying little nit. And until you can accept and believe there are people with different worldviews, who may cross paths with you, share the path for some of the journey before taking another route, or walk alongside without joining you, you will continue to be only a minor irritant, accomplishing nothing.
In short, you need to learn how to be liberal and tolerant.
You might start by actually looking up the Wikipedia article on the word "privilege" and consider the many definitions and meanings it can have.
And then maybe go talk to some black people…who don't entirely agree with you.
Williamson's Fourth Law
Apr 03, 201311:59PM
If you look for racism, you will probably find it.
Let's consider science fiction:
If your black characters act like white characters, they're tokens, and you're a racist.
If your black characters act like black characters, they're stereotypes, and you're a racist.
If your black characters are in the forefront, you don't consider them capable of command, and you're a racist.
If your black characters are in command (Nick Fury, forex), then you don't have them in the forefront, and you're a racist.
If your black characters are good, they're shallow, and you're a racist.
If your black characters are villains, they're caricatures, and you're a racist.
If your black characters sacrifice themselves for the white characters (Phantom Menace, even though they weren't actually black, and Revenge of the Sith), they're throwaways and you're a racist.
If your black characters are saved by white characters, they're incompetent, and you're a racist.
If your black characters are kept safe, we're back to them being tokens, and you're racist.
If you decide not to mention race and let people draw their own conclusions about the characters, you're passive-aggressive on the subject, and a racist.
If you have a future where people have given up racial issues and interbred all genetic lines, then you've destroyed black race and culture, and you're a racist.
If you don't have Africa ascendant at some point in the future, because you believe environmental and political issues won't support that in your given timeframe, you're a racist.
If Africa is ascendant in your work, but contemporary mores would find your culture offensive, you're fabricating false perceptions and you're a racist.
If your future Africans choose a development that makes them too western, you're provincial and a racist.
If your black characters are conservative and successful, they had to sell out to have a place in your universe, and it's a racist culture. You're also a racist.
If you observe that Americans are predominantly white, the SF readership are predominantly white, and white writers don't get much reader attention from the black community, you're a racist.
If you decide all this is too complicated and don't use any black characters, you're definitely a racist.
The above only applies to a white writer. A black writer can use their characters any way they wish. If you complain about them overdeveloping black characters over their white characters, you're a racist.
A non-white, non-black writer writing about black characters gets a partial pass, if the liberal establishment likes their political position. It's entirely possible for an other minority writer to be racist.
If you try to analyze perceptions in order to make a better presentation of black characters, and discuss those issues online, you're a racist.
Gay Marriage--This Discussion Is A Waste Of Time
Mar 27, 201309:47PM
Observed fact: Gays were not able to marry in the US for the duration of its existence, nor in the colonies before, until the last decade. No harm came to the US from this standard (Which was pretty much the world standard). So, if SCOTUS rules against this issue, the safety and existence of the United States is not in jeopardy.
In the last 15 years or so, several nations and several states have legalized gay unions and marriages. There are no observable direct or indirect repercussions causing damage to the political existence of these jurisdictions. So, if SCOTUS rules in favor, the safety and existence of the United States does not appear to be in jeopardy.
Every opposition to the matter I've heard comes down to either "Our religion doesn't like it," or "We've never done it that way."
Setting aside the religious question as not admissible in court, we come down to, "At the time the nation was founded, marriage was between one man and one woman."
And for the last two months, the Left (including a large number of gays) has been bleating that, "At the time the Constitution was written, 'arms' referred to muskets'" as an argument against any firearm designed after the 1870s.
So, logically, there are no arguments for, and the Left's own logic against.
Argument in favor of gay marriage fails for lack of support, and lack of logical consistency.
Unless, of course, the Left would like to compromise and concede that as time progresses, society and technology do, too. Then, they must apply that argument fairly to groups they don't agree with.
A Response To Someone's Comments On Gun Control
Mar 12, 201301:59PM
Okay, Tad, there are several problems with your post.
First, your comment about "weapons of easy mass murder (like machine guns and rocket launchers) ".
The statement is nonsensical, and doesn't apply to common household guns. I could respond with "no one is talking about legalizing rocket launchers, this is an argument you're only having with yourself." Except that I AM trying to reduce the restrictions on rocket launchers and machine guns. I'll be honest. However, your statement shows you really don't know much about machine guns. In fact, I'd venture to guess TV provides most of your information about them.
Point of fact, I have a Browning 1919A4 conversion. It weighs 33 lbs. It's tripod mounted. I can fire 400 rounds in a minute, but it will cost me $200 in ammo to do so. No one is using these for crime, nor will they ever.
A friend of mine brought his full auto Uzi to our last shoot. Under current law, that gun cost $6000, a $200 tax stamp, requires written permission of the federal government to be taken out of state, and a 32 round magazine ($12) lasts about 3 seconds. Unless you're a trained professional, the best hit rate is likely to be THREE of those 32 rounds, at 15 yards. You won't find any records of anyone committing "mass murder" with these because anyone with the training to do so would find a better way to do it. Automatic weapons serve specific niches. "Mass murder" and "robbing banks" aren't two of those.
Also, the weapons Mme Feinstein is trying to ban are common, everyday rifles. That you don't like their looks (it's because they're black, isn't it?/sarc) isn't relevant. They're common, everyday rifles. Calling them "Assault weapons," a completely made-up term (I might as well call a Hummer a "military style assault vehicle") doesn't change their mechanics, nor define them.
Now, this is a legal and constitutional matter, so you will have to be precise about what you mean, using proper terminology and nomenclature. I understand guns aren't your thing, and you're not comfortable with them. The problem is: That doesn't matter.
Here's a comparison on rhetoric for you to consider:
From Obama's PR people:
"The President believes firmly in protecting our Second Amendment rights.
But common-sense changes can go a long way in keeping our streets and our schools safer -- and there's too much at stake to stand by and wait for action.
The President will not wait. Yesterday, he signed 23 executive actions to start moving our country in the right direction. And he's calling on Congress to act on four legislative measures -- closing background check loopholes, banning military-style assault weapons, "
Then he DOES NOT believe in protecting our Second Amendment rights.
"He believes in protecting a woman's right to choose. He has called on Congress to require waiting periods and ultrasound before abortion..."
"He believes in protecting our First Amendment rights. He has called on Congress to regulate bloggers to prevent hate speech..."
"He believes in protecting the rights of gays. He has called on Congress to strengthen the Defense of Marriage Act..."
"He believes in protecting our right to worship freely. He has called on Congress to pass laws challenging the tax exempt status of churches who argue against science..."
You cannot "protect" a right while calling for limitations on it.
I have a constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. SCOTUS says so. I'm sorry it makes you feel uncomfortable. At this point, your options are education on the subject, or therapy. Otherwise, you're trying to negotiate away my rights in exchange for…what? A "compromise" requires each side to give something. So what are you going to give me in exchange?
I've never heard anyone from your side (well-intended or not) offer a "compromise." What they want is for me to give up something I have, in exchange for…nothing.
No. Happy now?
No? Oh, I'm sorry. How about "No"?
You're not getting what you want. End of discussion. You have nothing to offer, and it wouldn’t matter if you did.
Consider: What can the hardcore fundamentalists offer as a compromise for ending abortion? What can they offer in exchange for outlawing recognition for gay partners? What can they offer in exchange for outlawing pornography?
See the problem? You want 100% of what you have, and 50% of what I have. When you talk about "weapons of easy mass murder," you're conflating the concept with guns that I own, and guns that my teenage kids have owned since they were seven years old http://olegvolk.livejournal.com/551736.html
http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/images/linked/EricBee2.jpg. Perfectly normal, common, guns, of the kind that shoot bullets, like every other gun. You do want to take those away from me, or make it more complicated for me to own them, and in exchange, you're offering me nothing.
So, it's not a compromise, so there is nothing to discuss.
And, SCOTUS says it's a constitutional right on my part. So again…nothing to discuss.
What we need to discuss is that you're afraid of something you can't effectively define in words, and you are a published author. If it's that hard for you, how hard is it for others? And why should we pass laws based on ignorance?
Now, here are a couple of links, that demonstrate what happens when people ignorant of a subject pass laws:
Let's look at that last part again:
"Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding."."
Constitutional right. I keep repeating it because a lot of well-meaning people are not getting it: It doesn't matter if you're unhappy. It wouldn't matter even if there WERE a connection between particular guns and murder. Much like there is a connection between homosexuality and AIDS. Provably. We live in a free society. We accept that certain actions of the individual aren't always positive for the body politic. But you can't argue against one without logically arguing against others. You can say "porn causes rape" or "gays cause AIDS" or "guns cause death" and the answer is, "So what?" even if you could make a valid case for them.
And as you can see from the posts above—the laws don't work. No effect whatsoever. Rifles are involved in less than 400 killings a year, out of a third of a billion people. Statistically irrelevant, and no cost benefit analysis would support such laws—the police and legal effort is better used elsewhere. Cases in point: The rifle at Sandy Hook was in compliance with CT's so-called "assault weapon" ban. It wasn't an "assault weapon." At Va Tech, the shooter used reduced capacity 10 round magazines. Banning standard capacity magazines (Definitions again: you don't get to redefine them as "high capacity" or call them "clips" based on your phobia and ignorance) had no effect. So, now New York is asking for 7 round limits…from no limit to 30 to 20 to 15 to 10 to 7 in some jurisdictions. You CANNOT tell me, with that information, that "no one is trying to take away your guns." Yes, they are.
Let's look at New York's law again: We've already effectively eliminated ownership of machine guns. We've had bans on "assault weapons" that prohibit designs from the 1930s. New York's law, now under court injunction, prohibits designs from the 1890s. So tell me, at what year of design do we stop? When is your non-compromise enough? You personally are willing to sacrifice my rights back to the 1930s. That's the equivalent of me limiting you to a manual typewriter, film camera and dial phone, and telling you no one is taking away your right to free speech…but maybe some of those typists have put out some hateful ideas, and need to be stopped. What can't you express with a fountain pen?
So, I'm sorry you're not happy with one of my rights. I'm afraid there is no legal, moral or practical reason for me to compromise. You'll need to come to terms with this, and move on with life.
And regarding Constitutional amendments, which you will never get past 38 states: Remember how Prohibition turned out. If you really want a multibillion dollar black market and a bigger police state, there are much easier ways to do it. Please don't. Because I can build an AK47 in my garage: http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/politics-The%20Steampunk%20AK47.html which means anyone with some 1900s machine tools can make thousands of them for a black market. Remember bathtub gin? Garage AKs, coming your way under a ban. Guns are a 1250s technology. Rifling is a 1570s technology. Self-loading weapons are an 1880s technology. You can't stop it.
That, and a whole bunch of us gun owners have decided liberals are not useful allies to us, http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/blog/item/the-post-in-which-i-piss-off-everybody (about 250K, last time I checked the page count) and are looking out for ourselves. That means we're voting for "right wing" candidates, who will also oppose your positions on gays, porn, religion, speech and race issues. But those aren't my problems, and I have to put mine first. If you're willing to "compromise" my rights away, there is no reason for me not to compromise yours away in return, to save what matters to me. See how that works?
It doesn't matter whether you agree, or like it. It matters that it's what IS.
Now, let's look at other comments:
You said: "And, no, I don't think taking anyone's gun away is the same as inserting a probe into someone's body, nor is mandated anger management class."
And in your universe, you get to decide. In our society, SCOTUS has said you're wrong. It doesn't matter what you think. And that is the end of the discussion. Because if it's not, then your opponents' opinions on those other matters have to be given the same weight as yours. Also, you're admitting you think there are civil rights that can be restricted without it being "unreasonable." That means you have no moral standing to argue against restrictions on abortion, speech, etc. As you note, the question is where is reasonable. If Americans vote for it, using your logic, it's reasonable. Do you really want to go there?
Now, back to this:
"weapons of easy mass murder (like machine guns and rocket launchers) privately, except in certain collector-related circumstances."
"Collecting." So you're okay owning them as toys, but not for their intended use. Doesn't that seem a bit contradictory? "It's okay to own this horrible weapon I hate, for fun. Just don't use it." How would you enforce that? Again, you're using emotion over logic. If they were really that dangerous, and not a protected right, why would anyone be allowed to have them for any reason? "It's okay to have a canister of nerve gas, as a collectible." Really?
You said: "any more than you can drive a nitro-burning funny car down the streets of your neighborhood, unless you live on a drag strip."
But that's the point. Just as I take my funny car to the dragstrip, I take my .50 BMG to a range 80 miles from here that has a mountain as a backstop. It also is 4' long and weighs 28 lbs, and ammo is five bucks a round, so I'm not exactly going to rob a bank with it. What you're saying is, "You can't own a nitro-burning funny car because you MIGHT drive it on the street." BTW, the nitro burning funny car, as long as the chassis predates emission control, would be perfectly legal, as long as I complied with the driving laws. So it's unreasonable to race on streets or shoot guns on streets except in dire emergency? We agree. What's the problem?
You said: "Just like everything, it's a question of where the lines are drawn."
Correct. And SCOTUS says we're right. Even on the NFA registry, existing decisions on other matters make it pretty clear we're going to win when the discussion gets there, much like the First Amendment people overturned the ban on the Kama Sutra in the 1950s. The line has been drawn. You don't like it. I'm sorry you don't like it. I guess that's a problem for you. Some people don't like gays. Some don't like alcohol. Some don't like meat.
Final note: Based on a tiny handful of incidents over several years, you are, unintentionally, wishing to affect the lifestyles of 94 million families. Consider if someone were to do the same over Penn State and Bradley Manning. Would it be fair or reasonable?
Vice President Shithead Doesn't Understand the Constitution
Feb 19, 201309:26PM
"How can I say this politely?
The Constitution does allow the government to conclude that there are certain types of weapons that no one can legally known. Now, if that were not the case, then you should be able to go buy a flame-thrower that the military has. You should be able to go, if you're a billionaire, buy an F-15 loaded with ordnance. You should be able to buy an M1 tank. You should be able to buy a machine gun. You should be able to buy a grenade launcher. And you can't do those things."
How can I say this politely, Vice President Shithead?
You're a fucking moron:
Now, please cite the part where "The Constitution does allow the government to conclude that there are certain types of weapons that no one can legally known."
BTW, flamethrowers are unregulated by federal law, and the military doesn't use them anymore.
Gun Control, Summarized
Feb 18, 201306:54PM
Any REAL liberal would recognize it as right wing, racist bullshit.
First you require transfers through people with licenses and complicated rules for transport.
Then that mfrs submit guns for destructive "testing."
You set standards for material and production that have nothing to do with safety or reliability (which is of no concern in stopping crime, really--who cares if guns jam, if you're trying to stop crime?), but everything to do with driving up production costs.
Then you require rules on storage and locks.
Sample bullets for "tracking," that every real expert can prove don't help track anything, just add additional labor to the production cost.
Pretty soon you can't get a gun for under $1000 with several hundred $ a year in legal maintenance.
Thus fucking everyone living in poverty from defending themselves, and ensuring that only rich white "liberal" cocksuckers can own them.
It is immoral, it is racist, it is statist, it is classist, it is indefensible, and we need to start calling people on it.
The Post in Which I Piss Off EVERYBODY.
Feb 13, 201301:57AM
Or, How I Learned To Stop Caring.
By way of introduction, I'd like to explain some of my former positions. Please do not reply and tell me why I'm wrong. That's not relevant to this post. These WERE my positions, for right or wrong.
I used to believe women had a right to reproductive choice. As a male, I will obviously never have an abortion. I supported access because birth control is cheaper than abortions, abortions are cheaper than welfare, welfare is cheaper than jail. And I don't believe the government is capable of legislating for every circumstance. Most of the time, a woman and her doctor will make a decision that works for the situation, and until a baby is an independent organism, it's a parasite. This was also important to me because my wife was warned that a further pregnancy could kill her. That's been surgically remedied and is no longer a problem.
I used to believe gays were entitled to relate as they wished, including marriage. What two people do together doesn't affect me unless I'm one of them.
I used to believe it was wrong to treat people differently based on their skin color. Even if a few people fit a stereotype, millions of others do not.
I used to believe there should be a strong division between church and state, that any support of a religious entity using property of the state constituted endorsement and was wrong.
I used to believe people had a right to protest, campaign, rant and create non-violent incidents to express themselves and their positions. I also believed they had a right to publish as they chose. I believed they were entitled to burn the Flag in protest, to make a statement.
I have obviously been at odds with conservatives over these positions. There have been loud arguments, heated discussions and occasional insults.
I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. The Supreme Court agrees with me, which means that right is as valid as abortion, sexual privacy, protest and speech.
This should mean that strict scrutiny applies, meaning the government needs to prove the fabric of society itself is at risk before limiting it. Just as the Press has the right to broadcast troop movements it can see or acquire, regardless of casualties, I have the right to own weapons, regardless of how someone else may act. "Someone might get hurt" is an invalid excuse for restriction.
In fact, it's easy enough to prove that freedom of the press HAS caused harm and even death to people, whether it's troop movements, or the address of a person of interest.
The rights of gays to relate as they wish brings the risk of AIDS (60% of all cases are from gay relations, not drugs or medical contamination.)
It's provable that if we required proof of need before awarding a driver's license, we'd have less car accidents.
So, the argument that "guns kill people" is null and irrelevant to the discussion. Lots of things kill people. That's not relevant to our civil rights.
Now, over this position, I've had at least 5 death threats (though of course, no "liberal" actually has the balls to attempt so).
I've twice been reported to Family Services on the grounds that I have guns in the house, which means I'm a danger to my kids (which complaints were laughed at, here in Indiana).
I've been accused of racism...because I own guns.
I've been accused of fascism…because I own guns.
I've been called a coward…no "real man" needs a gun to protect himself. This is a surprise to me as a veteran, who carried guns regularly for the purpose of protecting myself and others, but what do I know?
I've been called a "Fat, Fox News watching, McDonald's munching, inbred, retarded, drooling redneck imbecile."
I've been told I have a small penis.
I've been told I'm insane to "imagine fighting the government" by people with no military experience who also hate the government, sometimes for the same reasons.
I've had a date tell me I "seem so normal, for a gun nut."
I've been called a "rightwinger." Indeed. A gay/female/black/abortion/separation of church and state/free speech supporting rightwinger.
I've been told this right doesn't exist, that if it exists I can't "pretend" it's more important than wage inequality for women, or gay marriage.
When the Heller Decision was decided in favor of gun ownership, I was told "I hope you all shoot yourselves with guns, because I can't marry the man I love!" by an alleged friend.
There's apparently a "Right to feel safe," and my owning a gun destroys it, because I might shoot someone. However, if I say a gun makes me feel safe, I'm paranoid and insane.
I've been told I support "baby killers."
I've been threatened with having my Wikipedia page vandalized, by someone who claimed he was more of a man than me.
I've been told I can't be trusted. How can anyone know I won't go on a shooting spree, because I own an "assault rifle"?
So much for liberal tolerance.
I didn't realize I was so evil and hateful an individual I deserved to be treated in such fashion.
But when I look at the arguments, I think they may be correct:
"At the time the Constitution was written, the weapons in question were muskets."
You know what? You're right. And marriage was between one man and one woman. So what's with gay marriage? No longer will I offer any moral support, oppose any online statements attacking it, speak out for it. They have the same right as anyone—to marry someone of the opposite gender. And given that all gays support raping little boys (just like all gun owners support shooting school kids), I don't think I can support them. We should do things just the way they were done 220 years ago. That's the liberal way.
"The Heller Decision was by an activist court. It doesn't count."
Indeed. Just like Roe v Wade was an activist decision. It doesn't count.
"We're not trying to take your guns away, just have reasonable limits. It's a compromise."
And some people want reasonable limits on abortion, like waiting periods, gestational time limits, ultrasound, etc. It's a reasonable response to an activist court decision, and reasonable restrictions on a right, for public benefit. Don't come whining about your right to murder babies, and I won't come to you whining about my right to shoot school kids.
And no one is saying you can't ride the bus. You just have to sit where people think is reasonable. No one is saying women can't work. They just have to get paid what is reasonable for the work they do, allowing for the fact they're going to leave the workplace and raise a family. It's a compromise.
"Assault weapons are an extreme interpretation."
True. And not allowing any religious emblems on government premises is an extreme interpretation. As long as they're privately paid for, what's it to you? No one is saying you can't belong to the Christian church of your choice, just not to extreme groups, like atheists or Muslims. It would be paranoid to think anyone was trying to infringe on your legitimate right to be free from state religion, just like I'd be paranoid to think they wanted to take my guns. Quite a few states had official churches well into the 1800s. This is not an infringement on your freedom of religion.
"Given Sandy Hook, you have to make reasonable compromises."
"We just want licensing and safe storage requirements so the wrong people don't get guns."
"Publicizing the information lets people make informed choices about who they live near."
Accepted. In exchange, gay men should make reasonable compromises over Penn State. They will simply have to accept being registered and kept a safe distance from children. This isn't a violation of their rights. It's just common sense. The public has a right to know.
This should apply to protests, too. No reasonable person would object to being identified. They should welcome it—it means they can't be wrongly maligned. All union members, blacks, gays and feminists should be signed in with ID before a march or gathering, just so we can track the real criminals to keep the rest safe.
"The country survived without assault weapons for 240 years."
True (well, no, it was 135 years, depending on your definition of "assault weapon"). And it survived without women in combat even longer. The infantry's trying to scare off women? Serves them right. Things were working just fine the way they were.
"This woman is being badly portrayed on the cover of a book."
No, no, that's an accurate portrayal, just like all military contractors are sociopathic mercenaries who torture people, all gun owners are moral cowards with Walter Mitty complexes and all gun dealers exist to make money from gangbangers. It's silly to suggest one group is singled out for inaccurate portrayals when we know the other portrayals are spot on.
Yup. I'm taking you at your word. Want money? Don't care. Want a petition signed? Call someone who who gives a shit. Want a link spread? Yawn. Women or gays or blacks or Hispanics don't feel they're being treated nicely? So what?
First they came for the blacks, and I spoke up because it was wrong, even though I'm not black.
Then they came for the gays, and I spoke up, even though I'm not gay.
Then they came for the Muslims, and I spoke up, because it was wrong, even though I'm an atheist.
When they came for illegal aliens, I spoke up, even though I'm a legal immigrant.
Then they came for the pornographers, rebels and dissenters and their speech and flag burning, and I spoke up, because rights are not only for the establishment.
Then they came for the gun owners, and you liberal shitbags threw me under the bus, even though I'd done nothing wrong. So when they come to put you on the train, you can fucking choke and die.
Or you can commit seppuku with a chainsaw. I really don't care anymore. This is the end of my support for any liberal cause, because liberals have become anything but.
UPDATE: A friend of mine observes that he voted for legalized pot and gay marriage in his state, and now those same activists, with time and resources freed up, are attacking his right to keep and bear arms.
No, it really doesn't make sense to help them, they will only stab you in the back. They're not "liberals" and they don't want "liberty." They want liberty for them, but not for you.
At one time, we used brown paper bags for groceries. We then drew on the brown paper, wrapped our school books in them, made masks of them, used them to wrap packages, to carry goodies and snacks, and occasionally burned them for fuel, or sent them to the landfill to produce valuable methane.
Then some "ecologically minded persons" came along and said paper bags were bad for the poor trees, which were grown specifically for the purpose of making bags. This is like claiming steak is bad for the domestic cattle population. Or that apple juice is bad for the apples.
So we switched to plastic.
Now, occasionally a paper bag would tear. But you could stack two dozen cans in them and they'd fit the shape for easy support while carrying. Plastic bags are the wrong shape, too small, have to be carried in bundles each holding a couple of items. And, they're not biodegradable, are harmful to animals, and none of the local resources will recycle the damned things. Then we have the article above.
This is one of the thousands of reasons why whenever someone opens their mouth about the environment, if they are not an engineer, a scientist, or someone holding a sheet of figures, you smile, nod and ignore them.
Dismantling the Mouthbreather in Chief's Gun Policies
Jan 16, 201312:36PM
The following is a list, provided by the White House, of executive actions President Obama plans to take to address gun violence.
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
Meaning "nothing." This is supposed to already exist. The mass of the bureaucracy makes it awkward, and adding more bureaucracy is not the answer.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
So, abolish HIPAA? Because that's exactly what it does in this case.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
In other words, tell him to do his job? And would this include NOT selling guns to Mexican drug lords?
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
This is already the case.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
I've never met an FFL who didn't know how to do that. It's already in the "guidance." You can even call ATF and they'll talk you through it.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
Ads about gun safety from idiots who don't know a fucking thing about guns. Great.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Because criminals are very concerned about keeping their weapons secure.
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
You want to do what the NRA, GOA, CCRKBA and most conservatives have been asking the Feds to do for 30 years? And people say you can't teach a pig to sing. Will this actually happen, though?
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
This might help, if it's actually a searchable database...and if local LEO actually use it...something the President has no control over.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
Oh, right. You haven't had one for several years. [Popeye voice] How embarassking! /Popeye voice
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
"You: Curl up in a ball in the corner and kiss your ass goodbye. You: set up a command post and have press releases ready about how bad guns are."
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
Will this involve a paradigm or actualization and implementation of core competencies? Because it sounds like corporate board room bullshit.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
What about knife violence? Domestic violence? Drunken violence? Maybe the cause is People? Nah, that's too hard and would require real thinking.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
"Hey, head lawyer: What do you know about mechanical engineering? No? DAMN!" But let's look at that: We should spend billions, most of our profits, to develop something that won't work, is easily disabled, that police and military will be exempt from using, and might get me sued if it fails and someone dies, or fails and lets a criminal shoot? How about, "Go fuck yourself." Does that work for you?
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
So what? What exactly does asking someone about guns in their homes do? And as I read the 1st and 5th Amendments, I can tell the doctor to go fuck himself, or say nothing at all.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
Wow! There are doctors who don't know that?
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
So...exactly what the NRA proposed...hidden down around the end. Sneaky, sneaky. I see what you did there.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
Assuming they all have the same floorplan, environment, local demographics and threats, that's brilliant. Wait, what?
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
I won't comment on this because it might actually be useful, but I have no idea what he actually said.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
I'm withholding comment until I'm sure that doesn't mean "Waste more money, create a bunch of buzzwords not in DSM IV and outrage the mental health community."
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
"Mental health is a good thing. We should definitely get some for Washington."