Wednesday, February 22, 2017

18 U.S. Code § 241 - Conspiracy Against Rights

Let's see Donald Trump start vigorously enforcing "18 U.S. Code § 241 - Conspiracy against rights: If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same...

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section...they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death."

Start with the DC City Council and Mayor for their gun control laws. Move on from there.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Our Responsibility: Preparing for Low Probability/High Consequences Events

Juliette Kayyem, in The Atlantic magazine :
The “never again” standard is as absurd as it is simplistic. It is as vague as it is damaging. It tried to convince Americans, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that invulnerability was a possibility. This has hindered homeland-security planners for a decade and a half: Knowing that no security apparatus can stop all forms of harm, including “lone wolfs,” progress is better measured in how well people prepare and educate themselves for the inevitable. What if the United States simply accepted, as a nation, that bad things happen and get ready for that possibility?
I agree with Juliette Kayyem about preparedness rather than a hopeless focus on prevention, but what does this really involve at the personal level?

With the exceptions of hurricanes in hurricane zones, major earthquakes in earthquake zones, and the like, most threats are individually highly dispersed and/or low probability/high consequences events.

Just as we reasonably expect our home to never burn down, but have insurance anyway, should we consider these individually improbable events like terrorism against us personally something we should individually insure against? If so, what to do?

I suspect that government in a relatively free society cannot deal easily with highly dispersed threats like terrorism or even random crime: police cannot be everywhere at all times, nor should we want them to be.

Several million Americans have gotten concealed carry licenses, while millions more have gotten their state legislatures to do away with the need for CCW licenses entirely. So far as I can tell, there have been no great negative consequences to either of those events. If there have been, the news media, no friend of law-abiding private citizens carrying handguns, has done a lousy job of covering them.

Imagine what might have been different in Orlando or Paris if if even a few people had been carrying guns. Given the US experience with legal concealed carry, background crime would not have been 'blood in the streets', while one or two people shooting back might have saved dozens of lives.

Even a strong defensive mindset might have made huge differences in the kill counts: apparently no one in Orlando or Paris counter-attacked even though the murderers had to pause multiple times to reload. Imagine if someone had the defensive mindset to attack, either with a chair, a bottle, or even barehanded. Instead they got out their cell phones and shot videos.

Wrong mind set.

The less radical preppers may be on to something: personal responsibility for one's self and family. I'm not talking about the quasi-millenarianist End Of The World As We Know It people, but those who take preparing for disasters quite seriously, with food, water, medical supplies, defensive weaponry, communication equipment -at least battery powered receivers so one can hear news reports- a ready reserve of cash (actual cash in small bills, in case the ATMs and cash registers are down for a few days or weeks), sanitation, and the like, sufficient for a few weeks.

It seems outright foolish not to have such preps if one lives in a hurricane or earthquake zone, but perhaps people in the rest of the country might do well by considering their own circumstances and prepare for the more likely disasters.

An interesting aspect to preparing for 'normal' short term disasters is that the preparations are pretty much the same: preparing well for the more probable issues also prepares one for the less probable.

I have come to believe—as a security expert but also as a mother of three—that among all of its flaws, the worst aspect of “never again” was that it let experts like me run the show. We have failed to show that the conflicts and choices inherent in protecting the homeland are really not that different from those Americans and people around the world encounter every day. In our day-to-day lives, people try to protect those closest to them, but they also plan for the bad things that will happen. The essential aspects of those two priorities—preparedness, planning, flexibility, communication, back-up systems, learning from mistakes—are essentially the same. By too easily separating the homeland from the home, experts have failed to nurture the vigor and resiliency which is the greatest strength of a nation that was built on vulnerability: the American public.

And if the United States could build resiliency one home at a time, maybe, in another 15 years, the country will have stopped asking the question to some anonymous bureaucracy with strange acronyms and esoteric risk assessments: “Are we safer?” Instead, people should start embracing, “Am I ready?”
Taking personal responsibility is self-empowering. What is right about that?

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Friday, February 10, 2017

The Good Old Days of Carrying Guns On Airplanes

Back in the 1960s it was not all that unusual for people going hunting to carry long guns in soft cases right into a plane. Hard cases hardly existed, except for some leather ones, because no one in his right mind would put a gun in checked luggage: too big a chance of damage. While few people could get a permit to carry a handgun in those days, those who had a revolver or pistol in their briefcase would never have been challenged, either, because no one looked. Or cared.

I remember as a kid going through General Mitchell Field in Milwaukee with my Dad and a pair of Browning A-5 semi-auto shotguns in soft cases. After checking in we went up the escalator to the concourse, where a couple very polite gentlemen in grey suits buttonholed us and asked if they could speak to us. Asked when our flight left, looked at our tickets, then sent us on our way with "Have a great hunt!"

We continued through the concourse and onto the plane. The very nice stewardess, knowing they would not fit in the overhead hat racks, took them and put them in the coat closet until we got off at the destination. We then walked off the plane and through the concourse with our shotguns. Repeat on return home, with dead ducks in our luggage.

It turned out that LBJ was coming in an hour or so after our plane departed. No sweat at all, which in retrospect is interesting, given how LBJ happened to be President in the first place.

My guess is that if we went back to that there would be surprisingly few incidents.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

8 U.S. Code § 1182 - Inadmissible aliens

Yes, President Trump DOES have the legal authority to stop people coming in from other countries. Any people, all people, any country, all countries.

That pesky 8 U.S. Code § 1182 - Inadmissible aliens
"(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President.
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline."
This is not a new law: It was enacted in 1952. IIRC, Jimmy Carter used pesky 8 U.S. Code § 1182 (f) to prohibit the entry of certain Iranians aka "any class of aliens", and to track down some lranians aka "any class of aliens" already here legally and deport them.


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Sunday, December 04, 2016

Jehovah's Witness At The Front Door, or The Perils Of Missionarying

Once upon a time, in the wild days of my bygone Youth, a very nice Jehovah's Witness lady in a knee length dress came to my mother's front door and was doing her best to save Mom, when our large, very wet, and smelling-of-fish Golden Retriever came barreling out of Lake Michigan after her morning swim, careened around the corner of the house, and silently drove from behind into the house through the nice Jehovah's Witness lady's legs.

Jehovah's Witness lady stood up about 5 inches taller than a person her height could rightly stand up and took her leave shortly thereafter. Very shortly.

Last time a Jehovah's Witness EVER came to our door.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

What Will An Attorney General Jeff Sessions Do About The 'Legal' Pot Industry?

The nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is causing some nervousness in the 'legal' marijuana industry, because Sessions is anti-pot and pro enforcing laws.

I am amazed that so many apparently smart people are willing to publicly commit multiple federal felonies simply because a liberal sitting President say's HIS administration won't enforce those laws.

What did these idiots THINK could happen in a subsequent administration? What part of "multiple federal felonies" is unclear to them?

While I think the federal anti-marijuana laws are flagrantly unconstitutional, it is simply the case that a majority of the Supreme Court is foolish enough to disagree with me. I disagree with prohibition: That does not matter one whit. The laws exist, and the Court has, however wrongly, upheld them.

People foolish enough to publicly commit multiple federal felonies have no one to blame but themselves when they are prosecuted and imprisoned.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Will Progressives Re-think Their Struggle For Greater Federal Power?

I doubt it: Greater federal power is what progressives are for.

Several years ago -back in 2013, in fact- I started asking lovers of gun bans, particularly AR-type guns, who would contemptuously dismiss any claim for need for Americans to be armed as the ravings of the lunatic Right: "Would any sane German in 1913 have said it was even possible that within the remaining lifetime of an already middle-aged German, the German government, government of one of the most educationally, philosophically, and industrially advanced countries on Earth, would build extermination factories and run over 6,000,000 innocent people through them?"

Yet that is exactly what happened. It took only 25 years to descend from the pinnacles of European culture into the Holocaust.

I was interested to find that nearly all responded with "That cannot happen here, because THIS IS AMERICA!" Apparently the phrase "This is America" is a magic talisman against evil, even among those who like to harp on the evils that America has participated in, harped in some cases to the point that one might think they considered America the rightful predecessor and inheritor of Naziism.

Yes, chanting 'THIS IS AMERICA' will surely protect us forever from the all powerful state which has surveillance drones, satellite surveillance, GPS enabled cell phones, GPS enabled automobiles, self-driving automobiles which might someday be hacked by federal law to deliver us to the appropriate authorities, NSA recording all email and telephone calls' meta-data in the world (is it still only the meta-data? Was it ever? If so, must it remain so limited?), recording of all financial transactions involving a check, credit, or debit card -at the same time we are moving away from the financial privacy of cash, and $100 bills with less buying power than a $20 bill in 1973-, military armored vehicles distributed to police forces great and small, a political party already with a demonstrated history of claiming to the Supreme Court that the 1st Amendment allows criminalization of a movie criticizing a politician during an election campaign? And claims that the government could ban any such book as well? (If you doubt that, read about "Citizens United", for the Administration did in fact make the claim in oral arguments that they could ban a book criticizing Hillary Clinton, just as the movie criticized her.)

Will Progressives re-think their commitment to ever greater federal power? I doubt it, because ever greater federal power is exactly what Progressives want.

But of course, a Holocaust can't happen here because THIS IS AMERICA.

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