Inciting to riot

Gary Farber asks:

Would you assert that a modest libel law, or copyright law, or
incitement to riot law, inevitably lead to 1984? How about a law
banning private nuclear weapons?

I would say that the risk from a modest libel law or copyright law
is small, though not nonexistent; look at the way the DMCA has been
used to justify schemes that would embed controlware in everyones’
computers. State power is no less real if it consists of NSA or FBI
back doors built in by an acquiescent Gateway or Dell.

If the lawmaker/law-enforcer is a monopoly government, then a law
banning private nuclear weapons would worry me a little more, basically
because I don’t trust governments to have any control over
the weaponry their citizens can keep. History shows that that power
is invariably extended by degrees and abused until the citizenry is
totally disarmed; the case of Great Britain in the 20th century is a
particularly telling one (and its sequel in the 21st is proving
just as bloody and insane as the NRA diehards predicted, with criminal
gangs machine-gunning each other in the Midlands cities while
law-abiding citizens are jailed for carrying pocketknives).

I would prefer the risks of private nukes to the disarmament of the
civilian population. But that’s not a choice anyone will actually
ever have to make, because the intersection of the set of people who
want nukes and the set of people who would obey or be deterred by a
law against them is nil. A law against nukes would therefore be
pointless, except as an assertion of the power and right to enforce
other sorts of weapons bans that are harmful in themselves.

Nukes are different than handguns. Handgun bans are bad, but
they’re not utterly pointless; there is a significant class of
criminals who would carry in the absence of a ban but don’t in the
presence of one. The real problem with handgun bans is that the good
effects of slightly fewer bad guys carrying weapons are swamped and
reversed by the bad effects of far fewer good guys carrying
weapons. It’s all in how the disincentives against crime shift.

An “incitement to riot” law is a huge and obvious red flag. A
political culture in which that becomes entrenched would be one headed
for the überstate fairly rapidly.

But much depends on who makes those laws and how they are enforced. I
could live with a ban on certain sorts of heavy weapons or a Riot Act,
for example, if they were a condition of my contract with my
crime-insurance company, or part of the covenant of my homeowners’
association. Powers that are too dangerous to grant a monopoly
government could safely be delegated to security agencies and
judicial associations that have active competitors, and who do not
in the nature of things have universal jurisdiction.

Mr. Farber may not be aware than anarchists like myself actually
envision living in a society that still has police and courts and a
common legal code, but one in which no one organization has a status
that is uniquely privileged under the law. There would be something
that is functionally not completely unlike a “government”, but it
would be a virtual entity — a contract network of courts,
police, and citizens. I would delegate my right to resist assaults on
my life and property to the police agency that acts as my agents. That
police agency would have reciprocity agreements with other police
agencies; they, in turn, would contract with judicial associations
to arbitrate disputes among their clients. Find a copy of
The Market for Liberty for the details.

Finally, I comment on Mr. Faber’s attempt to reduce the
slippery-slope argument against statism to an absurdity by applying it
to libertarians (“libertarianism, because it values the individual
without regard for society, inevitably leads any individual who
believes in it to become a sociopathic serial killer”).

There are several obvious problems with this argument. First,
sociopathy is a wiring defect only found in less than 1% of the general
population (but including a large percentage of politicians,
and that is no joke). Libertarianism cannot turn people into sociopathic
serial killers because nothing (other than some odd and rare
sorts of injuries to the brain) can turn people into sociopaths.

The argument also ignores a glaring asymmetry in the real-world
facts. Extreme libertarians do not as a rule go on senseless killing
sprees. Governments, even “good” governments, often do. In the U.S.,
the scarifying examples of MOVE, the Branch Davidians, and Ruby Ridge
are before us even if we agree to leave warfare out of the picture and
consider only the last two decades.

But more importantly, the claim that libertarianism values the
individual without regard for society is damagingly false. The
assumption that “valuing the individual” and “valuing society” are
opposed is precisely what thoughtful libertarians reject. Our highest
value is non-aggression, peacefulness — voluntary cooperation.
Our message is that only when individual freedom is properly held to
be the greatest good can a sane, peaceful, and truly just society
flourish.

51 thoughts on “Inciting to riot

  1. I don’t know how much background you have on MOVE in Philadelphia. For example, were you aware that they killed several firemen during the first standoff near Drexel U? The other key fact is that the row house had been fortified with heavy internal walls with firing slits, and there was gasoline on the top floor where the flash-bang grenade was dropped.

    The Branch Davidians at Waco were isolated in their compound, the MOVE row house was in the middle of the city and could have become a blood-bath if they had not been removed. The firemen did not go in hard to control the fire because of the history of being murdered by MOVE members, so MOVE got the Armageddon they were hoping for…….

  2. “History shows that that power is invariably extended by degrees and abused until the citizenry is totally disarmed; the case of Great Britain in the 20th century is a particularly telling one (and its sequel in the 21st is proving just as bloody and insane as the NRA diehards predicted, with criminal gangs machine-gunning each other in the Midlands cities”.

    Do you have any data supporting this (the implication is that Great Britain is awash with firearms violence, again implied that this is a direct result of Great Britain’s gun control policy), or is it yet another of your opinions that you prefer to state as fact?

    It should be noted that these incidents attract such huge publicity simply because, despite the impression a few high-profile stories may give, in the UK these aren’t common events. (The Midlands incident was headline news over the entire UK for example).

    According to the British Crime Survey for 2002/2003, the homicide risk is 19/million population, with firearms being used in 8% of homicides. Firearms were used in 0.41% of all recorded crime (0.17% if you don’t include air weapons). (Source: British Crime Survey, http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/bcs1.html). Incidentally, the Midlands (which you cite) accounts for only 11% of all firearm offences.

    This data hardly supports your statement. Almost certainly your opinion is a reflection of your pro-gun position, and hence (based on your previous writings) you also require any implementations of gun control (i.e. against your position) to be shown to be failures and also show how they reinforce your position rather than an objective examination of the facts.

    Interestingly, the number of crimes using imitation weapons is now almost a fifth as large as those involving real (not air) weapons (an increase of 46% over the previous year). Also, almost a half (48%) of those charged are between the ages of 15 and 24, which hasn’t changed substantially in recent years. It would be interesting to see if this trend is reflected in other countries.

    NB: Do not misinterpret the above as showing support for gun control or gun advocacy – just that the impression ESR tries to give is simply not supported by the evidence available and if anything it undermines his argument.

  3. “name,” are we to believe the government’s own statistics regarding the use of firearms in the UK? The International Crime Victims Survey, an independent research program, indicates that relative to the rates of crime in the US, the UK and Australia (both of whom have enacted significant restrictions on gun ownership) are more dangerous places to live.

    It should be noted that crime rates in almost all industrial countries is on the decline, and the primary motivator seems to have been social programs to prevent poor folks from resorting to crime.

  4. “name”, thanks for the insightful link. Hearn, do you have the link to the International Crime Victim Survey? I have found this:

    America?which although way up the murder league is quite moderate in other sorts of crime?is in the middle, with Scotland, Denmark and France.

    So it seems that the U.S. has less crime (probably because it is far less urbanized than UK), but it has more gun violence.

  5. Oh, my:

    There is a fear that Charlton-Heston-white gun owners could be used by an ultra-conservative government to control blacks, hispanics, immigrants, liberals. In such a scenario, the gun owners would have no incentive to fight against government since they would have extra priviledges, except for some moral qualms which are easily rooted out by watching Fox channel. Yet they would like to terrorize other groups who are evil-baby-killers, criminals, foreigners, and such.

    Are you for real? Absurd and insulting. Off the top of my head, this has a few quick refutations:

    We are talking about a lot of onery people here, who prize individualism. Many of them do not trust the government at all. They are not likely to do it’s bidding in this way.
    The “Charlton-Heston-white gun owners” demonology is a fevered construct of idiotarian left-liberal minds. It’s their “other” and has little resemblance to real people. Or mabe it’s projection of what they would do if they were in charge come the revolution (i.e. the Red Terror).
    If you are really afraid of this outcome, then get your own guns. (Duh.) After all, it’s legal for that reason; among others.

  6. Zoran – Some of the most controversial aspects of the NRA is its defense of purchasing habits and usage that disproportionately benefit poor, minority gun owners. “Saturday night specials” are mostly bought by poor people, disproportionately minority, who live in dangerous neighborhoods.

    Now these NRA positions are not controversial with other gun owners. No, they’re controversial with liberal anti-gun forces who love to harp on their compassion for minorities.

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  8. “are we to believe the government’s own statistics regarding the use of firearms in the UK?

    One should always be sceptical of sources and take bias into account, but in the absence of contrary evidence I will give the statistics the benefit of doubt (obviously keeping bias in mind). I am also inclined to give the statistics more weight than ESR’s opinion generalised from isolated incident(s).

    “The International Crime Victims Survey, an independent research program,”

    The Britsh Crime Survey is not official government crime figures – those are reported separately. The BCS is more like the ICVS you mention, and interviews 40,000 people annually, and takes account of unreported crime.

    “indicates that relative to the rates of crime in the US, the UK and Australia (both of whom have enacted significant restrictions on gun ownership) are more dangerous places to live.”

    Well, let’s be careful of generalisation here – the data shows that crimes against clearly identifiable individuals are more prevalent. This is not the same as saying that somewhere is more dangerous than another. It would be more correct to say that you are more likely to be a victim of theft, threat or assualt in the UK and Australia. With regard to homicide or firearm usage, the ICVS does not collect such data so it’s impossible to draw any conclusions in those directions (from the ICVS data alone), or say, without qualification, that one place is “more dangerous” than another – for example, if Place A had double the number of assaults than Place B, Place A would be considered “more dangerous”. However, if Place B has double the number of homicides than Place A, I think most would agree the opposite is true. Hence, trying to draw a link between risk of crime and gun ownership restrictions (or lack thereof) from the ICVS data, as you seem to imply, is logically flawed. What can be said, from the BCS, is that if you are a victim of crime in Great Britain, the chances are absolutely tiny that a firearm will be involved. I’ve only had a brief look at the FBI UCR, but it would appear that this is certainly not the case in the US.

    My main point was that ESR’s opinion (i.e. gun control is bad, Great Britain has gun control, Great Britain must therefore have huge gun violence issues, therefore his position supported), and the picture he tries to paint is simply not supported by the available evidence (the opposite in fact), and, if anything, undermines his argument against gun-control.

    NB: Nor does the BCS show gun control works either – gun control / advocacy is, in my opinion, not a simple issue that can be easily argued for or against nor one that can reduced to simple arguments either.

  9. Sorry – didn’t turn on auto-BR.

    “are we to believe the government’s own statistics regarding the use of firearms in the UK?

    One should always be sceptical of sources and take bias into account, but in the absence of contrary evidence I will give the statistics the benefit of doubt (obviously keeping bias in mind). I am also inclined to give the statistics more weight than ESR’s opinion generalised from isolated incident(s).

    “The International Crime Victims Survey, an independent research program,”

    The Britsh Crime Survey is not official government crime figures – those are reported separately. The BCS is more like the ICVS you mention, and interviews 40,000 people annually, and takes account of unreported crime.

    “indicates that relative to the rates of crime in the US, the UK and Australia (both of whom have enacted significant restrictions on gun ownership) are more dangerous places to live.”

    Well, let’s be careful of generalisation here – the data shows that crimes against clearly identifiable individuals are more prevalent. This is not the same as saying that somewhere is more dangerous than another. It would be more correct to say that you are more likely to be a victim of theft, threat or assualt in the UK and Australia. With regard to homicide or firearm usage, the ICVS does not collect such data so it’s impossible to draw any conclusions in those directions (from the ICVS data alone), or say, without qualification, that one place is “more dangerous” than another – for example, if Place A had double the number of assaults than Place B, Place A would be considered “more dangerous”. However, if Place B has double the number of homicides than Place A, I think most would agree the opposite is true. Hence, trying to draw a link between risk of crime and gun ownership restrictions (or lack thereof) from the ICVS data, as you seem to imply, is logically flawed. What can be said, from the BCS, is that if you are a victim of crime in Great Britain, the chances are absolutely tiny that a firearm will be involved. I’ve only had a brief look at the FBI UCR, but it would appear that this is certainly not the case in the US.

    My main point was that ESR’s opinion (i.e. gun control is bad, Great Britain has gun control, Great Britain must therefore have huge gun violence issues, therefore his position supported), and the picture he tries to paint is simply not supported by the available evidence (the opposite in fact), and, if anything, undermines his argument against gun-control.

    NB: Nor does the BCS show gun control works either – gun control / advocacy is, in my opinion, not a simple issue that can be easily argued for or against nor one that can reduced to simple arguments either.


  10. I would prefer the risks of private nukes to the disarmament of the civilian population.

    What drug are you on you fuckwit ?

  11. “But more importantly, the claim that libertarianism values the
    individual without regard for society is damagingly false. The
    assumption that “valuing the individual” and “valuing society” are
    opposed is precisely what thoughtful libertarians reject. Our highest
    value is non-aggression, peacefulness \x{2014} voluntary cooperation.
    Our message is that only when individual freedom is prproperly held to
    be the greatest good can a sane, peaceful, and truly just society
    flourish.”

    Mr. Farber’s belief that libertarians value the individual without
    regard for society is not just damagingly false, it’s downright absurd.
    The same dismissive ignorance is displayed by many of the comments left
    to VodkaPundit’s “So Long, Harry Brown” screed. Notably, “a pure
    libertarian would charge a fire department to cross his lawn to get to
    his neighbor’s burning house.” Please. As has been pointed out before,
    “society” is an abstraction. Without individuals, there is no society.
    To value the individual, by definition, is to value society, is it not?
    One couldn’t very well claim to value individual human life while
    exhibiting shameless opportunism in a neighbor’s moment of need. That
    sort of behavior is best left to the statists and their supplicants.

  12. Eric, have you had a chance to look at the newly published Heinlein book? It doesn’t look perfectly anarchist, but I might call it it libertarian. I’d like to see your response.

  13. Or are you referring to “To Sail Beyond The Sunset”? I bought it recently, and have not read it yet.

    But I have always loved Hienlein, and have appreciated his common-sense view of humanity.

    Note: the above comment originally has an ordered-list tag in it, for clarity – and was stripped out by the b2 commenting software. The points were:

    1. We are talking about a lot of onery people here, who prize individualism. Many of them do not trust the government at all. They are not likely to do it’s bidding in this way.

    2. The “Charlton-Heston-white gun owners” demonology is a fevered construct of idiotarian left-liberal minds. It’s their “other” and has little resemblance to real people. Or mabe it’s projection of what they would do if they were in charge come the revolution (i.e. the Red Terror).

    3. If you are really afraid of this outcome, then get your own guns. (Duh.) After all, it’s legal for that reason; among others.

  14. I actually meant For Us, the Living, which Heinlein wrote before his novels but which they’ve only now published. (I also meant ESR, but feel free to send me your thoughts. Or put them here, assuming ESR doesn’t mind us hijacking the thread.)

  15. The Problem With Anarchists…
    It strikes me that one of the problems with Anarchists (of the capitalist species) is the name they choose to use. Anarchist implies chaos, lack of rules, and lack of order. The very word anarchist, etymologically means against-authority. Anarcho-capitalists don’t advocate these positions at all. By using the word “anarchist” they end up with the situation where they are associated with bottle throwing loosers rather than being taken seriously as a practical and serious political philosophy. So to all you anarcho-capitalists out there may I recommend a name change?

    The essence of anarcho-capitalism is not lack of authority, or lack of rules, but rather choice of authority and choice of rules. In many respects anarchy is democracy taken to the ultimate degree — choose your own government, even if it is different than the one your neighbor chooses. Also, the essence of anarchy is a free market in services traditionally reserved to monopolistic government, or, to put it another way, competitive governments.

    So, I suggest that anarchists change their name to “ultimate democratists” or “choosable government-ists” or perhaps “government trust busters” or something similar that better conveys to listeners what they truly advocate.

    Of course there is a lot more shock value at parties to say “I’m an anarchist”, but if you want to actually educate people and mold the views of the public, a name change seems in order.

  16. name – It’s actually an “in your face” response to statist insult. You can describe current US levels of freedom (as proposals, not description) to people in authoritarian states and they will very often term what we describe as heavy statist solutions as anarchy, unworkable anarchy. I have an entire series on my blog militating for a Department of Anarchy in order to institutionalize the impulse to streamline and make government smaller.

    I’m not an anarcho-capitalist, I’m a minarchist. That means that I would actually have to see it work before I would sign on to the full agenda of the anarcho-capitalists. I don’t think it’ll work but am willing to leave the door open if I’m wrong.

  17. But that’s not a choice anyone will actually ever have to make, because the intersection of the set of people who want nukes and the set of people who would obey or be deterred by a law against them is nil.

    A law can influence behavior in several different ways. Two of the most obvious are through deterence of a type of behavior (fear of punishment), and through prevention of a certain behavior (physical prevention of some sort). In the case of gun bans it is deterence that is the mst important factor because the number of people who actually have guns taken off them is trivial in comparison to the number who are detered by fear of being punished. In the case of nuclear weapons however it seems like prevention would play a more important role. You are right that few of the people who want nukes would be detered by fear of punishment, but you are wrong to ignore the potential for preventing those people from obtaining nukes (by seizing equipment, destrying it, and so on).

  18. “Handgun bans are bad, but they’re not utterly pointless; there is a significant
    class of criminals who would carry in the absence of a ban but don’t in the presence of one. “

    It’s refreshing to hear a pro-gun activist admit something like this.
    I (someone who has an F.I.D. card but no longer chooses to own a firearm), for the most part
    stear clear of the gun debate because it’s very seldom carried out in a reasonable matter.

    I think the majority of Americans would frown on the goverment taking away the right to own firearms.
    I think the same majority has no problem, and in fact welcomes measures such as waiting periods that
    allow proper backround checks to be performed, restrictions on the carrying of handguns (especially in
    urban areas where using one to defend one’s self would cause more risk to neighboring bystanders than it
    would be worth in terms of deterrance or real self defense), restrictions on moving firearms across
    state lines to circumvent local and state permitting laws, and training/competency requriments as a pre-requisit
    for ownership.

    Your two “Top Ten” lists, http://www.ibiblio.org/esrblog/index.php?m=200206#68 hit the nail
    right on head for me when it comes to the abortion debate. I see no difference in most gun debates.
    Unfortunately, the extremists on both sides are so afraid of the other using the “chip away
    at the stone” approach that neither is willing to give an inch. Politician’s are forced to get in
    one boat or the other. Any indication that one might try to find middle ground and form some reasonable
    and (for a change) useful public policy cost them the votes on both sides. This is the perfect
    breeding ground for the “Lawful citizens are unarmed while criminals are turning inner cities into
    the Wild West” syndrome.

    In the state where I live, citizens who wish to own firearms are forced to choose between two
    constitutional rights. In order to get an F.I.D. card now, in MA, one has be subjected to
    fingerprinting. Which is more important, the right to own firearms or the right not to be
    subjected to unreasonable search and seizure? Right next door, in NH, it’s realatively easy to
    purchase all the firearms you can afford. This checkerboard pattern exists all the way accross the
    United States and any attempt by a reasonable a polatition to discuss a cohesive policy that could actually
    help to make it easy for law abiding citizens to own and become proficient with firearms while
    making it harder for criminals and dim-wits to terrorize the nation with them would probably get
    him/her shot, by both sides.

  19. cont…

    Until the debate moves into the center, the status quo will remain.
    It will be more hassle than it’s worth for most law abiding citizens to
    own firearms but it will all too easy for thugs and dolts to get their hands
    on them.

  20. We are Americans. Let’s be honest. We are the Spartans of the modern age. If we give up our gun culture, the next generation will be wimpy like the French. Guns around the house are good tools to familiarize kids with our attitude to life. The gun has a big impact on our psychy. As long as we have the gun, nobody, no American government, no foreign invader will ever subdue us. With every American owning a gun, knowing how to use it and WILLING to use it, I pity the fool that tried to take away our freedom. Foreigner or Home born. If we throw away our gun, we throw away our can do culture and within a generation, we will be a nation of sissies like the French during WW2.

  21. “Mr. Farber’s belief that libertarians value the individual without
    regard for society is not just damagingly false, it’s downright absurd.”

    It’s also not my belief. You might want to work on your telepathic skills a bit.

    “We are the Spartans of the modern age.” That’s alarming news. You might want to look into what happened to the Spartans. Also, the minor note that their ideology was one of near-totalitarian statism. Are you sure you want to stand by what you’ve said there?

    Another minor historical point is that before asserting, or believing, that “the French” are “wimpy,” I’d suggest looking into “Verdun.”

  22. I am reminded of the Million Mom March, that famous scene where Rosie O’Donnell calls for “sensible gun control legislation”. Of course what’s “sensible” is going to be defined by people like Rosie, and what’s sensible for you may not be sensible for her (she has armed guards with her at all times).

    By usurping the ability to define what’s “sensible” or “modest”, statists gain the power to call their opponents raving lunatics with relative rhetorical ease.

  23. Allow me to extend your comments on sociopaths… They tend to be created when prior to the age of about 6 a child is subjected to both overstimulation and a lack of structure. This circumstance, while arguably increasingly common in our society, is quite predictable, detectable, and preventable. For an adult to develop sociopathy, he would have to have his empathy surgically removed. I hope that this medical technology is never developed and I trust that the remainder of society continues to have the tools to deal with this uniquely disruptive population.

  24. “I don’t know how much background you have on MOVE in Philadelphia. For example, were you aware that they killed several firemen during the first standoff near Drexel U? The other key fact is that the row house had been fortified with heavy internal walls with firing slits, and there was gasoline on the top floor where the flash-bang grenade was dropped.”

    Every version of the MOVE fire that I’ve heard involves a chemical bomb dropped from a helicopter onto the MOVE house, not a flash bang. This information comes from straight media outlets, not fringe left-wing sites. MOVE may have been beligerent and, perhaps dangerous, but that does not justify the use of a bomb in a metropolitan area, sparking a fire that destroyed a city block. Obviously, the safety of the surrounding neighborhood was not paramount in the authorities minds.

  25. This talk of anarcho-capitalism as a coherent political theory is really interesting to me–thought provoking and challenging…. I’ll have to find a copy of the Market for Liberty.

    One obvious question: how do you prevent said “network of courts, police, and citizens” from becoming tyrannical? It seems that there is no check on their power. Do you leave that up to the free market? (Sounds dangerous)

  26. Update! Come one we want to hear more!

    I hope this donesn’t become outdated like the other 90% of the internet!

  27. “Extremist are the enemy. We must do all we can to stomp out extremist where ever they may be.”

    It’s a good thing someone made that observation. It’s a terribly controversial thought.

    :-)

    One of many places Eric and I will agree, I expect, is that original thought often comes from the extremes.

    Another is that everyone should read my blog blog every day.

    Okay, just kidding there.

    After all, Eric blogs every day, and so has his say.

    Yeah, I welcome Eric blogging more often; I’m just wacky that way.

  28. Every version of the MOVE fire that I’ve heard involves a chemical bomb dropped from a helicopter onto the MOVE house, not a flash bang. This information comes from straight media outlets, not fringe left-wing sites. MOVE may have been beligerent and, perhaps dangerous, but that does not justify the use of a bomb in a metropolitan area, sparking a fire that destroyed a city block. Obviously, the safety of the surrounding neighborhood was not paramount in the authorities minds.

    It was 2 pounds of C4 in a black satchel bag. I watched it live on TV. MOVE did have a rooftop sniper’s nest built out of railroad ties, which water cannons had been unable to demolish. But still, 2 pounds of C4 was a bit excessive (as were the 10,000 rounds fired into the house). The real kicker is that once the fire had caught, a command decision was made to “let the fire burn” and use fire as a weapon as well. The fire ended up engulfing 61 homes over 3 city blocks, and killing all children of MOVE members as well as the adults (except one adult & one child who esscaped).

    s/n:r

    ps – what the hell happened to the blog, Eric? Do or don’t do, there is no try.

  29. It’s so sad that a brilliant man keeps falling prey to gun-mania. It’s odd that ESR’s logic fails to take him beyond the “It’s MY gun and I LOVE it!” stage to analyze the true effect handguns have in the US. The stupid (STUPID) sheep analogy is ridiculous. God, that is the dumbest pro-gun story I have ever seen. My experience is this:
    I have NEVER met anyone who was saved from any situation by THEM having a gun, and I know MANY (I count 8 off the top of my head) who were at the wrong end of a gun in the hands of criminals. I had a “friend of a friend” pull a gun on a gang who was in his yard. The legal hassles from pulling a gun kept him busy for months, and the gang came by a few weeks later, killed his dog, trashed his car and home. Is he going to now shoot those guys?
    C’mon man. Keep following the logic of the gun arguements. You can follow computer programming, so this will be easy for you. Don’t stop with the “it’s freedom!” arguement, because it is only freedom for YOU, so keep reasoning beyond that. Look at what benefits mankind in general. It is not death dealing devices.

  30. On gun control, it is a simple question of “why”. Why take away my gun?

    You do realize that it is already utterly illegal for me to harm anyone not actively attacking me, no matter if I use my fists, a rock, car, airplane or gun, right?

    You do realize it is already utterly illegal for someone convicted of a felony for them to own guns of any kind, right?

    So if you want gun control, which by definition effects only those who do not harm others, tell me why you want to take it away from me. Give me a specific reason.

    I think you will find, if you are honest with yourself, that you fear guns themselves. It’s not me you fear at all, since there are infinite ways I could harm you that don’t involve guns.

    Support for gun control is a phobia. It is a mental disorder where the prohibitionist has an irrational fear of inanimate objects. At the same time, this irrationality manifests a abnormal trust of authority even though cops and governments kill innocent people by the millions. Thus Rosie abhors guns in ‘private’ hands, but has armed guards and wants street cops to carry machine guns.

  31. I found this thread interesting, and thought I’d comment. Taking away guns from citizens is useless. If I am a law abiding citizen then taking my guns won’t affect the level of crime in the country. Have nation wide laws that govern purchasing fire arms as well as stiff requirement to do so would make a difference. So would actually punishing criminals. People want to blame everything from music to tv for our current problems, but it all starts with personal responsibility and punishing those who break the law. A man kills someone and becomes of his sad life he ends up with 6 or 7 years in prison instead of a needle in his arm. Start executing more murderers, start making prison like it used to be (no tv and fun), and start seeing the crime go away. No gun law will change crime without punishing the crimes they do with the gun.

    BTW, there is no such thing as Anarchy. Some people are leaders, some people are followers. Followers will always look for a leader, and a leader will always want to lead. 1 man leading 2 is still in principle a government, and organization. Men will band together to fight off those who wish to take advantage of the lack of organized protection (ie police). Groups of leaders and followers will make pacts to better protect them selves. These groups will make rules to define their relationship. These things are all in fact forms of goverment and as the populace grows or as threats mature more rules will be made, more government developed. It how things work. It’s the way humans are. If we were all truly made of love and peace and no man would ever harm another we could live in a cutesy little harmony, but the bottom line is that isn’t the way it is. Some mena are killers. There will always be these men, and we will always need to defend ourselves.

  32. I own guns. Mainly rifles but a couple of pistols too. I don’t carry but would if I lived in a high-crime neighborhood. I don’t keep loaded guns at home but would if I lived in a high-crime neighborhood. If they outlaw guns, I will be an outlaw. I enjoy target shooting at the range. I don’t hunt because food is cheaper for me at the store; it isn’t for some others I know that live where I was raised as there are lots of deer there.

    I don’t think that a “universal” law works very well. What plays in NYC doesn’t play in Boise.

    Name, you’re welcome to come try to take my guns away. I don’t think you’ll succeed. Sending the cops won’t work either; they may get them in the end but I’ll definately do my best to prevent it. I have the right to defend myself, my family, and my property. Against _any_ and _all_ comers. Rest assured that I will.

    Lastly, your points aren’t well thought out.

    “for example, if Place A had double the number of assaults than Place B, Place A would be considered “more dangerous”. However, if Place B has double the number of homicides than Place A, I think most would agree the opposite is true.”

    No, I would rather live in a place with 25 homicides and 25 assaults than a place with 1 homicide and 25000 assaults. I’d rather take my chances on being shot at once a year rather than being beaten until I’m brain-dead.

    Unlike your experience, I have in fact defended myself with my guns – multiple times. I was shot at by a stupid deer hunter (on _our_ land) when I was a kid (maybe 12) and returned fire with my .22. On a couple of occasions taking an encased rifle out of my trunk avoided potentially ugly situations. I didn’t need to unzip it but would have used it in need.

    Guns don’t kill, people do. The gent in “Life if Brian” contended that being stabbed was worse than crucifixion. I contend that I’d rather be shot than stabbed. I’d also rather be shot than beaten severly with a steel pipe. England can outlaw guns but they can’t make crime go away. Reducing gun violence just means more beatings with blunt objects. No thanks. I’ll pass.

  33. personally, i have only needed to draw a gun once to actually defend myself. i was 9 at the time i think. thank god we didn’t have any “lock up your safety” laws. to this day day i question if i could have pulled the trigger. that’s alot for a nine year old to deal with. i knew how to operate the gun, knew it was loaded, had fired it several hundred times on the target range. it was definately not a lack of skill. it was the simple question of, “could i kill another human being to defend my own life?” all it needs is a yes or no answer, yet is such a loaded question that for it to be truely answered is a painful prospect, especially for a 9 year old. i would love to live in a land where that question would never come up. alas such a land does not exist and likely never will. as long as there are rules (of any kind) there will be the small amount who choose to break those rules. years later looking back, i am thankful for two things regarding that event: first and foremost; that i could ask that question of myself — that meant that i could do something to prevent my own death. second, that i didn’t truely have to answer — the gun in my hand was sufficient to save my life.

    –ShadowDancer

  34. Freedom against a modern “representative” gov’t requires a politically powerful populace. The real threat to peace and order in the USA is anything which dilutes the direct participation of the populace in the affairs of state. For example, the electorial college and block district voteing instead of one person—one vote. We all know that if we vote liberal and live in a republican state…we might as well not even vote. That’s gov’t without honest representation and it pisses the populace off. It makes revolutionairies out of farmers and regular folks and breeds parania, so they organize. Look, unless we curtail the purchase of our federal gov’t by corprate money and make in this country a direct pipeline from the governed to the governers then well will melt down as a nation for sure.
    Mousillini said (paraphrased): “Fascisim really ought to be called corporatism because it is the complete merger of government and business.”
    The whole reason that the man in the street no longer trusts his government is because of the one-sided bias that both parties have toward the corporate sponsors which facillitate their expensive electorial campaigns. Tear apart the progressive corporatization of politics, repeal the block counting of votes, give free air time equally to all candidates (including outsiders and independants) allow them to participate in debates and publish the voteing records of each individual senator and cogressman freely on the web (in plain fucking English) and then folks will not hate, and fear a government that is increasingly sold out to a quasi-fascist corporte allegance. I’d rather pick up a ballot than a gun…but i’ve got to be re-assured that ballots really count for something, and right now i’m not convinced. My two cents.

  35. Hi, Eric!

    First of all, thanks to your contribution to free software and open
    source world. All Linux users must be grateful to you.

    Although your explanation about Linux and communism wasn’t that clear,
    IMHO, I think that maybe we could discuss some points. I would like to
    talk about it, if you don’t mind.

    I’m a Brazilian History teacher and Computers Systems (free sotware
    based) professor. I’m 34 years old (not a political extremist, too) and
    I play bass in a rock and roll band in some pubs in my town.

    Sincerely yours,

    Leonardo Barzi de Carvalho

  36. The UK still has much lower murder rates than the US. However, it has far higher murder rates than it did in 1900, when private citizens could legally own not just handguns and rifles, but machine guns, grenades, and howitzers.

    In addition, gun crime has increased significantly since the most recent clampdowns on guns after the Hungerford and Dunblane killings (80s and 90s respectively). This suggests that, at the least, handgun bans do not *reduce* violent crime, as ban proponents often suggest.

    Whilst I don’t think that the howitzer ban is the main reason for the surge in violent crime over the last century, it does show that it is possible to have an incredibly low crime rate whilst still allowing total freedom to own personal firearms. Britain in the Victorian era had the lowest crime rate in known history, possibly excepting Switzerland.

  37. Pingback: A Day in the Life of an Enterprise Architect: Thought Leadership

  38. “…but in the absence of contrary evidence I will give the statistics the benefit of doubt.”
    – name Tuesday, February 3, 2004 @ 14:27:49

    “The longer we go without a denial of such things—this story is true.” – Dan Rather

  39. Hi, I thought I’d just leave this message on your blog. I hope you don’t mind. I’ve been trying to find blogs where people are talking about programming and when I was looking, I found this one on you article. thought I would say hi, before I go off to find some more info on this field.

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