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Brett Bellmore
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My 4 year old son, Victor, was so excited to show me his very first blog comment, then, "poof!". Still, I suppose it wasn't on topic...
Toggle Commented Jan 7, 2013 on The Running of the Deer at Obsidian Wings
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"This past year I resolved to run 1000 miles." :O I've sprained my ankles repeatedly, with ligament tears. There's a reason I get my exercise on the epicyclic machine: I'm trying to put off those artificial joints the doctor was telling me were in my future. Though I hear they're improving, maybe they won't be so bad by the time I'm in my 60's.
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"You don't live there, why would you even give a crap either way?" I'm fond of the rule of law, and the Bill of Rights doesn't incorporate local option. Suppose Greenville re-instituted slavery; You don't live there, why would you give a crap either way?
Toggle Commented Dec 24, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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Ok, hip hop artists. Focus on the difference between Montana and D.C., not the difference between D.C. and London. Because right now you're blaming Montana for murders in D.C., and that doesn't make any sense. Yeah, before the Cincinnati revolt the NRA viewed it's job as managing the decline in our rights. They figured that if they sold them away in dribs and drabs, they could stretch out the process of losing them for another generation. Turned out the membership thought we could keep them, and didn't like having the organization run by sell-outs.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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Entertaining, Bobby; I especially enjoyed this: "The Iyer et al studies conclusively demonstrated that the single libertarian moral good of liberty, specifically “negative” liberty, is quite different from the morals of either liberals or conservatives. This single moral good is the driving factor from which all other libertarian values are derived." Well, duh, that's why we call ourselves libertarians. The real mystery is why you call yourselves liberals, given your values. Countme-In, the point here is that "responsibility" exists on a continuum, which means you're not rejecting "responsibility" if you don't accept somebody elses preferred level of it.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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"The definition of responsibility is "I am responsible for making my choices and the consequences to me'. So the conservative can deny the respsonsiblity for the conseqwuences to other people of his/her role in political life." I am responsible for my choices, and their effects on pretty much anybody, but you're trying to make me responsible for the effects of other people's choices. I notice you're not blaming the marketers of first person shooter games. You're not blaming newspapers for giving the jerk notoriety, leading to the perfectly predictable string of copy-cat events. You're not blaming the drug warriors for gang violence, which kills a lot more people than school shootings. Why, you're not even blaming the ACLU, which a few months earlier managed to defeat a law in Connecticut which would have streamlined the process for committing the jerk, maybe preventing the massacre. No, you're blaming me, who, like most gun owners, has never hurt a soul, and never will. Because blaming the jerk is unsatisfying, him being already dead and all. Ditto for the mom who didn't properly store her guns knowing she had a crazy son. You're blaming me, because you fundamentally don't believe in individual guilt or innocence, you're a collectivist to the core. And I'm an individualist. We're never going to agree with each other.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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"I hope you find that a more accurate characterization of the situation." Yes, rather more accurate. Now, 1. If a gun accepts a magazine at all, it will accept a 30 round magazine. Magazine capacity is determined by the magazine, not the gun. So a proposal to outlaw any gun that accepts a magazine capable of blah blah blah, is a proposal to ban any gun that accepts a magazine. That's most of them. 1a. And if an after market magazine of 30 round capacity didn't exist for a particular rifle you wanted to ban, you could simply pay to have one developed to extend the reach of the law, it's fairly cheap. 2. Any hunting firearm is going to be, by this standard, high velocity, and at least intermediate caliber, unless you're gunning for squirrels or birds, or rabbits, or something similarly tiny. So, again, you're talking about most hunting guns, and all self-defense guns. 3. Additional accessories, such as flash hiders, are easily removed or added, and generally have little utility outside of special circumstances. (Such as pig hunting, where AK-47 variants with large magazines are actually recommend; Feral pigs have mean streak, don't die easy, and often run in packs.) So, while the jerk (I continue my boycott of mentioning his name.) did in fact use the sort of pseudo-military firearm gun banners want to go after first, most hunting guns with common aftermarket magazines would be absolutely equally suitable for dishing out mayhem. So, to sum up, while you freak over a Bushmaster, your ban, if it were to have any effect at all, (Even granting the laughable assumption of no effective black market.) would have to extend to the majority of firearms in America. Essentially every hunting arm that accepts a magazine, and pretty much all self-defense arms as well. So, can we dispense with the idea that it's a modest compromise measure? No, it's pretty darn radical, would have an impact on tens of millions of people. You'd think people would have learned there lesson from Prohibition, but the War on Drugs proved they didn't, and now you're proposing a War on Guns.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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Tony, are you under the impression that somebody is by definition irresponsible if they don't accomplish an absolutely zero chance of anything bad happening? Do you perchance lock your car in a vault, so nobody can hot-wire it and go for a joy-ride, and maybe run somebody over? Do we require pool owners to surround their pools with steel cages, not just fences, so that nobody could deploy a ladder to enter and drown? Are all the cliffs in national parks equipped with hand rails to prevent falls? You can be responsible and still have something bad happen. As it happens, I think her precautions were, given the circumstances, (A son she was getting ready to have committed living in the same house.) a trifle inadequate. Are we going to enact a law stating that you have to store your guns in a safe if you're planning on having your son committed? How fine grained do you want this legislated caution to be, anyway? Or maybe you want everybody to be forced to live as though somebody in their household were homicidal deranged? Wouldn't that be lock your car in a safe when you're not driving it overkill? (Yeah, I used that word just to annoy you.) I grew up in a world where pools didn't have to be fenced, and guns were stored in closets, and survived. I don't think my parents were madly irresponsible for their conduct in this respect. Rather, I think what's mad is the conviction that, any time something bad happens, you have to identify who's responsible, and God forbid you pin it on the guy who actually pulled the trigger.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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Because WE define responsibility as being responsible for what WE do. You define responsibility as being responsible for what somebody else who is assigned to the same group as you does. They're completely different and incomparable understandings of "responsibility". And I categorically reject your understanding of the term. Hold me responsible for killing somebody when I kill somebody. Not before.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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Accurate terminology is essential to reasoned discussions. Generally if somebody rejects using accurate terminology, its because they're rejecting reason. An understandable thing in people whose aims aren't supported by reason.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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" She bought herself an assault rifle" No. She. Did. Not. You're demonstrating nothing more than your ignorance of actual firearms terminology. An "assault rifle" is a rifle of intermediate caliber capable of select fire, which is to say, it can fire one shot per trigger pull, or be set to operate as a machine gun. Lanza did not buy one of those. She had a Bushmaster .223, widely used in hunting and target shooting, and not capable of operating as a machine gun. The rub is that innocents will be killed with weapons whether or not they're restricted.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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Yup, there's the rub; Almost everybody these laws that are being proposed would impose on aren't going to do anything to hurt anybody, because all the stuff you can do with a gun to hurt somebody is already illegal.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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"I recognize all of the arguments explaining why assault weapons are no different than any other rifle, however the fact is that they are different. They are specifically engineered to be effective when used in a firefight at close(r) range. That's why they exist." No, that's why assault rifles exist. Assault weapon is a PR term deliberately designed by the Violence Policy Center to confuse people into thinking it's assault rifles being banned. The only real common thread between various "assault weapons" is the fact that they're the current target for banning; That's why the '94 assault weapon ban included a long list of guns called out by name; Because they weren't really a technically distinguished group of firearms. Just the current list gun controllers wanted to ban. "IMO, the desire to not disturb or trouble the deep weirdness of human beings is not a sound basis for making public policy. In fact, I would argue something like the opposite." Our views are certainly opposite on this. The desire to not disturb or trouble people is ALWAYS a good reason for refraining from passing a law, which requires substantial countervailing reasons to overcome. If those "deeply weird" people aren't actually giving anybody trouble, that countervailing reason will be lacking. We're all "deeply weird" in the eyes of somebody, somewhere.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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"But when I have to surrender more of my privacy to buy a pack of Sudafed than I would buying a gun (in some circumstances), that suggests, to me anyway, that there is room for prudent, non-rights-infringing steps that might help." Absolutely. Lots of room to ease the stupid restrictions on buying Sudafed.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Guns and Contamination at Obsidian Wings
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"The "right of the people peaceably to assemble" is hardly an individual right. I challenged anybody to "assemble" by himself, peaceably or otherwise." You don't have to be part of a government approved organized group to peaceably assemble, and especially not to petition the government for redress of grievances. The government can't set up approved "peaceably assemble clubs", or "redress of grievance associations", and then prohibit anybody outside of them from exercising those rights. That makes it, in the relevant sense, an individual right.
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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"but I also disagree with the USSC's reading of the Second Amendment to ignore the "well regulated militia" portion of the amendment, which means as the law of the land, Brett's view has a stronger legal basis." Eh, so do I. Lousy decision, Heller. The minority would have perpetrated a worse one, though, rendering the amendment totally empty. The right is a right of the people, which means an individual right, just as it does in the other amendments speaking of a "right of the people". It is a right meant to advance a "well regulated" militia. "Well regulated" meant, in the parlance of a time before the regulatory state, "well trained/equipped". Secondary sources make clear that the intent was that, by securing a right of citizens to own militia style weapons, a population owning them and familiar with their use would be guaranteed, allowing a militia to be expediently raised even if the government didn't bother maintaining a militia system. Like guaranteeing a right to own firefighting equipment, because you worry that arsonists might get hold of the government, and disband the fire department. So, I agree the Heller court blew the preface; The right is actually a right of the people, not the militia, to own and carry weapons suitable for militia service. Assault rifles, in short. It had nothing to do with hunting, and only secondarily anything to do with self defense. But the intent of the founding generation is too explosive for today's political class to stomach, it evinces too much trust of the people, and too little trust of the government. So the majority replaced the right to military arms with a right to whatever civilian arms the government hadn't gotten around to banning during 80 years of Court neglect. Better than the minority, which would have simply rendered the amendment a dead letter, but still not a very good ruling.
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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Cute. Much more efficient energy storage than those "generator charges a capacitor" deals, which usually run for a disappointingly short while after cranking.
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2012 on Another neat invention at Obsidian Wings
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"I think the approach to the issue of gun safety needs to be to identify first of all the reasons why a civilian might nnedd a gun (and I want one! isn't a need)," Laura, it is a right. Not a privilege. The very definition of a "right" is that you don't have to demonstrate need to do it. You folks keep saying you don't want to abolish the 2nd amendment. (Except, of course, for those of you who say the opposite.) But you keep demonstrating you mean to convert a constitutional right into a privilege. And converting a right into a privilege IS abolishing the right. We've just come off about 80 years where there was a concerted effort to abolish this right. At times open, mostly covert. Very seldom as honest as repealing it, mostly pursued by "interpreting" it into a mere privilege, which privilege could then be denied without cause. For all that (some of) you deny this intent, everything you folks say demonstrates it's still what motivates you. No. Just no. We've just been through a rare atrocity, and are in the middle of the ensuing media effort to whip up public hysteria to the point where legislators will have the cover to do something stupid. It won't last, the media can't sustain this sort of onslaught forever. In a couple of weeks people will be thinking rationally again. Says a lot about your positions here, that your only hope of enacting them is to act while people are still hysterical and not thinking clearly. This is not the mark of a rational cause. So, again I say, no. Maybe we can revisit this topic in a couple of weeks, when there's at least the potential you folks are thinking clearly, and you've had to give up on trying to exploit the grief. I think there's not much more to say right now.
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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On the contrary, his story is perfectly relevant: He's pointing out how you're responding to a smaller death toll with a much more extreme policy. This makes it hard to defend the policy as a rational response to the deaths. Either drunk driving demands a vastly more expansive response, or you're over-reacting to the gun deaths.
Toggle Commented Dec 18, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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"And let's not overlook the noxious Mike Huckabee and Bryan Fischer - yes, Brett they are on your side." In about the same sense Sharpton and Farakan are on your side. You identify with them, I assume? Think of them as best buds? Regret that you weren't at Crown Heights to help egg on the crowd? I can match you sickening loonie for sickening loonie, and raise, if you like. Or we can just accept that each of us is responsible for what we ourselves do. What did I suggest in response to this? Examining the mental health system, that's what.
Toggle Commented Dec 17, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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Why, I'm offering much more than you are, Sapient: I'm not using this tragedy as an excuse to advance my preexisting political goals. I'm not the one snatching up and waving the bloody shirt here, you might try to remember that. It's the other side doing that.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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I suppose there's a technical difference between "no evidence" and "hopelessly inadequate and mixed evidence", but it seems a bit pedantic to get so exercised about the difference. No, that doesn't mean that you don't have a correct answer, just that you don't have any reason to suppose the answer you like IS the correct one.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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They were worse than slavery for the people involved, who just incidentally ended up dead. Not, I suppose, for the people on the outside watching. I think it pretty clearly indicated that, yes, beyond a certain fairly minor point, efforts at gun control in the US do seem to involve abuses. Atrocities, even. Somewhat similar to the war on drugs, which had the Move bombing to it's credit. When you're trying to prohibit possession of something, you tend to end up committing abuses, because non-abusive law enforcement techniques just can't get the job done.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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"Hey Brett, would you mind answering the question I asked in this comment? Thanks." Turb, this comes down to the difference between trying to do something, and succeeding at doing it. We're not obligated to ignore everything gun controllers attempt and fail at. "Compared to these outrages, death by drone is a mere piffle." I never asserted that these, and the lesser events that led up to them, were the worst government abuses in history. Do you care to assert that they WEREN'T abuses? 'cause I think burning dozens of people alive is at least a little bit abusive.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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"and wonder if a serious effort at gun control would just lead to more government abuse" Why would you have to wonder this? Didn't live through the late 80's, early 90's, maybe?
Toggle Commented Dec 15, 2012 on Watering the Tree of Liberty at Obsidian Wings
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