Saturday, February 14, 2015

Three Years post-Trayvon: What Has Changed?

Asks the author of this article.

Not much, apparently.  Left-wing apologists in the media continue to misrepresent the facts in  the Martin-Zimmerman case.  The facts revealed during the trial indicate that Martin attacked Zimmerman, who defended himself  by shooting Martin.  Martin unfortunately died of his wounds.

Trayvon Martin was NOT murdered.

The verdict was not even close. No civil rights case was brought against Zimmerman due to lack of evidence.  THERE WAS NO CASE.

Similarly, Darren Wilson was not indicted for the shooting of Micheal Brown because the facts of the case did not warrant prosecution.

The author conveniently neglects to mention other cases where justice served minority victims when the circumstances were different: Theodore Wafer, sentenced to 17 years, Michael Dunn, sentenced to life in prison, Markus Kaarma, sentenced to 70 years is prison.

The justice system works for most people, most of the time.

CCW Reciprocity - Four Points to Ponder

This article appeared on the Reasoned Politics blog today, and it gave me some points to ponder.  I give my take on them in order:

1) "Shall Issue" concealed carry permits are here to stay. 

This is certainly true, with more than 8 million permits active.  Anti-gun rights people are nervous about people carrying in public, but the fact is, a lot of people are already doing it in most of the country, with the exception of blue coastal states.  This is not going to change, and I do not think a Federal Statute prohibiting concealed carry would have a prayer of passing in Congress. And we're close to getting carry in some form included as part of the 2nd Amendment.

2) A reciprocity bill could be used to increase training requirements. 

There is precedent for Federal law to set minimal standards for state issued licenses. See the Real ID law that is driving drivers license requirements.  In general, I think that this could be a good thing overall.  While keep and bear is a right, guns are deadly weapons and real safety laws (as opposed to fake "gun safety" laws pushed by the anti-gun rights groups) could be a net plus if done correctly.  We would have to resist attempts to make training requirements so onerous as to eliminate the right.

3) A reciprocity bill would encourage more people to get permits - even if their state does not require them.

I think that this is definitely true. Look at all the people getting non-resident Florida and Utah permits to increase the states where they may carry.

4) Gun control advocates might be able to get some things they want - such as expanded background checks - in return for agreeing to national carry permit reciprocity. 

Yes, indeed they could.  I would be willing to exchange universal background checks for national reciprocity, depending on the details of the background checks bill. Attempting to require full background checks for loans of guns to family members, friends, or at shooting ranges, or any of the other shenanigans attempted by the anti-gun rights people would sink the deal. So would increasing the scope of prohibited persons, and the national introduction of "gun violence restraining orders".  Universal background checks would be for permanent transfers ONLY!

This won't happen, of course.  The gun-grabbers idea of compromise consists of limiting existing rights in some manner, and compromising by not limiting even further. After all, they have to leave something on the table to pass more feel-good legislation during a later election cycle.


Even more problematical would be the blue coastal states that severely restrict concealed carry today: New York, California, Maryland, and New Jersey.  These states HATE the idea of people from other states carrying concealed weapons.  In spite of 25 years of evidence, authorities in these states think that more guns on the street are dangerous. If a national reciprocity bill is passed by Congress, there will be intense pressure from these states for the President to veto the bill.

Anti-gun people have not ever really compromised on gun issues.  It is not in their nature to negotiate in good faith on this issue, so we should not, unless there is no other way to advance the right. We must compel them to accept expanded gun rights, through Congress and the courts.  We have done well in these venues so far, and the future looks promising.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Moynihan Was Right, But Nobody Listened

There is much wisdom in this article, but the Left will not admit it. Why Black America continues to support the left is an ongoing mystery to me.

From the article:

"But even as we note this progress, the political gains have not redounded to the black underclass, which by several important measures—including income, academic achievement and employment—has stagnated or lost ground over the past half-century. And while the civil-rights establishment and black political leaders continue to deny it, family structure offers a much more plausible explanation of these outcomes than does residual white racism."

Open Carry Activists - Here We Go Again, in Texas

I have been reading Mike Vanderboegh at Sipsey Street Irregulars for several years, and usually agree with his sentiments. But I think he is wrong about the political  effects of in-your-face-open carry.  Here is my comment to his post:

"Yeah, it pretty much is the OC activists fault.  While I sympathize with your position, that a right not exercised is not a right, the fact is that the optics of in-your-face-OC are terrible, and the practice scares the Hell out of some people, and it gives political power to our opponents.
This has been demonstrated multiple times in the past, particularly in California, where similar OC events have led to the elimination of all OC of firearms.
Just because we can do something does not mean that it is smart, in the short term, to do the thing. In-your-face-OC has not helped in Texas. I believe that you're wrong on this."

Sunday, February 8, 2015

An Online Security Methodology

I read this article today, and was inspired to share the following description of my online security methods.

I am surprised that the article did not mention the indispensable tool for online security: a password manager.  There are many of these, and they make creating and remembering strong passwords a breeze.

Here is one that is free and used by many people:

http://keepass.info/

But there are many others. Most importantly, the password database file created by the password manager is encrypted, so your passwords are safe even if the file is lost.

Using the password manager as the basis, here is my online account management methodology.

1. User name: if required, I use a email address as the user name, but if allowed, I will use a random string, which I can generate here. I never use my name, or anything else associated with me.  Why make it easy for an attacker?

2. Password: I use as long of a password as the site will allow, but never less than 32 characters. My password manager will generate this for me. I use as many different types of character (lower and upper case, numbers, punctuation, symbols) as the site will allow.

3. Security questions: Doug is correct when he says one should not use real answers for these because that makes one vulnerable to a social media attack. On the other hand it is good to use human readable and speakable answers in case one must speak with an agent over the phone.  I use a random phrase generator to get the answers. I then record the questions and answers in the Notes field of the appropriate entry of the password manager.

4. Banking Passwords: these warrant special handling. I use a separate password manager database, with the password to the banking database stored in my primary database.  This database is in turn stored on an encrypted USB stick. I NEVER leave my banking password database on my computer or anywhere online or in cloud storage.

5. I use this program for USB stick encryption.  I encrypt USB sticks if they hold any data that is sensitive, recording the passwords in my primary password database.  Even if the stick is lost, your data is safe.

Online security is achievable, but it requires some work. Luckily, a password manager do a great deal of the heavy lifting.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Compromise is Not Possible

In response to this article by Oleg Volk:

No, compromise is not possible because the anti-gun people are dishonest.

We see the trick played over and over again: first establish a regulatory framework ("assault weapons", prohibited people, background checks) that is fairly limited in scope. Then, when events provide a pretext, move the goal posts of the framework: change the definition of an assault weapon, include categories of prohibited people, require background checks in more circumstances, etc.

By these means the right may be slowly eliminated, one reasonable step at a time.

No compromise is possible because the other side will never consider that any amount a regulation to be "enough".

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Smart Guns Are A Dumb Idea

This post is inspoired by this article: http://gunssavelives.net/gun-industry/smart-gun-to-be-marketed-to-us-law-enforcement-market-after-consumer-market-backlash/

I am amazed, in this age of product liability law, that any company is willing to sell this product. Take a look at this product from a different point of view. It is not that Armatix is promising that the gun is safe, rather, they are promising that the gun will ALWAYS fire if the owner needs the gun to fire, and they are also promising that the gun will never fire if the authorized owner is not holding the gun in proximity to the watch.

But we all know that electronic technology at consumer level prices is notoriously unreliable, or at least not reliable enough to make the claim that the gun WILL ALWAYS operate correctly. First, all electronics runs on batteries. Are the batteries rechargable? How long does a battery last? Does the gun notify you of a low battery condition? All electronics operate only within a certain temperature range. What is the allowed range for the gun? How does the electronics interact with the mechanics of the gun to prevent firing? Can this mechanical interlink be defeated, allowing the gun to be fired by anyone?

My guess is that the answer to my last question is "YES".

Hence, as I see it, this gun is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Perhaps this is real reason why we have not seen prototypes coming out from REAL gun companies like Smith & Wesson, Sturm & Ruger, or Colt. Perhaps they fear lawsuits marketing a product that truly is a solution in search of a problem.

I am not against this type of technology. But I am not going to pay a premium for a product that I believe would be cumbersome to use, unreliable, and is available only in .22LR, from a company that has no history of firearms design and manufacture. Check out their web site. They offer only one gun for sale, and they offer no literature that would help answer the questions I asked above. Sorry, no thanks.

If this technology is ever proven to work reliably, with electronic security that I can control (my own encryption keys and signature) and only adds about $50 to the price of the gun, then I might consider buying it. Afterall, cell phone lock technology is making cell phone theft a losing proposition. Perhaps the best result of this technology would be to make firearm theft a losing proposition as well. In terms of injuries due to accidental/negligent discharges I think gun safes and firearms safety training are cheaper and better solutions.

Now, as for laws mandating this technology, and eliminating legacy firearms? I'll fight them tooth and nail, but I fully expect this to be an added requirement to the DOJ Roster in California by our wise and benevolent legislators in Sacramento.