Monday, September 1, 2014

Quote of the Day

I may have run this one before, but it's pretty right on for the US's cult of ignorance:

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
― Isaac Asimov

And before your make stupid comments about ME being the ignorant one:  remember that one is not really allowed to give legal advice unless one is a member of the bar.  In fact, it is against the law to put oneself out as a lawyer or engage in the unqualified practise of law.

On the other hand, I have on more than one occasion shown that you have taken things out of context from legal decisions.

But, you know more about the law than I do.

Can a Smartphone App Fix America’s Gun-Control Problem?

from ssgmarkcr

This app started out looking sort of interesting,

"The 58-year-old inventor has created a new app called Lockdown, which he believes could decrease the country's number of gun-related crimes. The app works with a “clip” containing a GPS chip that a user can attach to his gun. The owner leaves his gun in designated areas and enters a code when he wants to remove his weapon. If someone removes the gun without entering the code, the smart chip sends a notification to the owner's smartphone. The gun owner can then cancel the alert, or forward it to police, family, neighbors, or anyone else he's chosen as an emergency contact on the app."

    This app could have promise as many gun owners have a lot of money invested in their collections and knowing if someone is messing with them is a good thing. And there are many apps out there which gun owners use, such as the app I've mentioned before that lists businesses that post that they ban guns in their venues. 
    But then comes the kicker that likely insures that this app will never become "profitable" without government intervention,

 "In an ideal scenario, Barron said, congress would pass a law that would require gun makers to include Lockdown’s technology on weapons—legislation that could possibly piss off gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association."

    He even has a history of coming up with safety products that work and have become profitable on their own merit in the private sector,

"His company, Public Transportation Safety International Corporation, creates the S-1 GARD Danger Zone Deflector, the plastic arms that extend from the front of buses to prevent people from getting run over."

    I've seen these devices on school buses, a great idea that has a widening market.  While they are mandated in some states, they aren't in others.  However, with the recent exposures of government misuse of surveillance technology, Mr. Barron has just shot himself in the foot so to speak.  I do applaud his honesty though.


Texas Lawful Gun Owner Kills his Friend Accidentally and Goes to Jail

Bret Anderson (Shelby County Jail)

Local news reports 

An East Texas man is sitting in the Shelby County Jail on Saturday after an accidental shooting left another man dead. 

According to Sheriff Willis Blackwell, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office responded to a call of an accidental shooting at a residence on County Road 1024.

Deputies say 25-year-old Bret Anderson and 21-year-old Taylor Keele were handling a 9 mm pistol when Anderson unintentionally fired the weapon. It struck Keele in the chest.

Keele was transported to a San Augustine hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. Anderson was arrested and transported to the Shelby County Jail on a manslaughter charge.
Police say the incident is believed to be accidental, but is still under investigation.

Remember the rule:

The 8 ways to ensure you do time for an accidental shooting:

1. do it in a residential area
2. lie to the police
3. hide evidence
4. be drunk at the time
5. have drugs around
6. have neck tattoos
7. have dred locks
8. be black or Hispanic

Now he doesn't seem to have qualified for the last three, but either he did pretty good on the first 5 or else he was just an exception to the rule.

What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Georgia Legalizes Handgun Vending Machines

Come on, admit it.  Nothing like easy access to firearms, right?

In a ceremony today in Atlanta, Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Firearms Freedom and Accessibility Act (FFAA), which allows the sale of handguns in automated machines that accept cash, credit and debit cards.

The machines will be installed in grocery stores, convenience stores, bars, schools, airports and gas stations. They aren’t required to verify buyers’ identity and won’t perform background checks.

“Millions of people in Georgia lack access to quality firearms,” the governor said in a signing statement. “This bill will finally bring handguns from top manufacturers into every neighborhood and hopefully every household.

“By helping more Georgians to defend themselves, we expect this bill to lower crime significantly. By the end of my second term murder, rape and armed robbery should be nearly eradicated.”

The legislation comes just months after Georgia significantly loosened its gun laws. In April, Deal signed a so-called “guns everywhere” law which allowed registered gun owners to take their weapons nearly anywhere, including bars and government buildings.
BTW, I do know this is satire, but it's the can gun loons get any crazier than satire thing.  I know it's really hard to tell whether gunloons are crazy or engaging in self-parody.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mass shootings, as American as apple pie?

You would hate to think that mass shootings are incredibly common in the US.  After all, it seems that only the biggies seem to make it to the press these days since the topic is beginning to seem like an Onion Article: "we'll only cover them if 20 people, make that 30 people, no 50 people died".

I thought there actually was a definition of this term, but there doesn't seem to be:
Broadly speaking, the term refers to an incident involving multiple victims of gun violence. But there is no official set of criteria or definition for a mass shooting, according to criminology experts and FBI officials who have spoken with Mother Jones.
Generally, there are three terms you'll see to describe a perpetrator of this type of gun violence: mass murderer, spree killer, or serial killer. An FBI crime classification report from 2005 identifies an individual as a mass murderer if he kills four or more people in a single incident (not including himself), typically in a single location. (The baseline of four fatalities is key) Source
That may be why there is a "mass shooting" where 12 people are shot, but they don't die.  It doesn't really make the news either.

If we are going to come up with a number, there is this site which comes up the the number 200 for the period from 1 Jan 2014 to 17 Aug 2014.  I'm sure that number will be questioned, but it is a lot.

Part of the issue with the open carry movement is how much does it prevent or promote the occurrence of mass shooting in the US?  Actually, we can say that for either open or concealed carry since the big argument for more permissive carrying of weapons is that they somehow stop crime.

On the other hand, if it ends up enabling mass shootings, is it such a great idea?  And let's face it: there is a lot of gun violence in the US.

One thing I've been see a lot in the comments n Kroger's facebook page are the pro-gunners saying that a business could be sued if it is a gun free zone and there is a mass shooting.  Their claim is that the business is liable if an armed civilian could have stopped the shooting.

But, the whole matter hinges on how foreseeable the event would be.  As U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson said in regard to the litigation around the Aurora Cinema shooting "I reiterate that this court is in no way holding as a matter of law that Cinemark should have known of the danger of someone entering one of its theaters through the back door and randomly shooting innocent patrons."

Wouldn't the issue be if the business made it easier for a mass shooting to happen by allowing the instrument of destruction onto their property If the matter hinges on foreseeability?  In other words, if a business allows a person to bring a weapon of war onto their property and a mass shooting happens because of that--it would then be liable for what happened.

Likewise, one would have to be able prove that an armed civilian would have actually stopped the event, which hinges on both the foreseeability that an armed civilian would have actually been present and the actual ability of armed civilians from stopping mass shootings in the past.

Given situations such as the Columbine Shooting where the shooters engaged an armed Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy and other mass shooting incidents where armed citizens were present, yet did nothing to stop the incident (e.g., the shooting in Tucson where Gabby Giffords was shot).  There seems to be a significant evidence problem in proving that an armed civilian would stop anything: even if they were present.

NRA Shill Dave Kopel Adds 'Misogynist' To His CV

And why the heck not?  After all, if you have bigot, racist, liar, and Holocaust-revisionist on the list---well, what the hell--why not try for the whole shebang?

Seems Dishonest Dave is really, really upset (in a manly way, of course) about Shannon Watts calling herself a 'stay-at-home-mom.'  Because she used to be a communications and PR exec with bigtime firms like GE and Monsanto--Dishonest Dave believes a woman couldn't possibly be a a mom and also head up a group called "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America."

It's impossible.  You can't do both, reasons Dishonest Dave.  Therefore, Shannon Watts is just a canard to fool innocent Americans.

Et tu, Dishonest Dave?

Prose and cons: Back in '93, local Independence Institute activist David Kopel co-wrote an op-ed piece with a fellow named Theodore H. Fiddleman that accused the federal government of a "coverup" in the Branch Davidian debacle. The only "coverup" that can be proven so far is that Theodore H. Fiddleman doesn't exist. The name is a pseudonym used by Paul Blackman, chief researcher for the National Rifle Association's research and lobbying arm.
Readers of numerous letters to the editor across the nation haven't known, of course, that "Fiddleman," instead of being "a freelance writer from Arlington, Virginia," is really the grinder-in-chief of the NRA's propaganda mill. The charade was uncovered in July by the Washington Post, and there was much hemming and hawing by Blackman and his allies. Kopel, who merited only a small part in the Post story, doesn't hem or haw. He knew Blackman was Fiddleman, he says, and he defends his pal.

Government surveillance cameras?

OK, given that most of the CCTV cameras I see are owned by private individuals, this strikes me as amusing.