My Hero of the Month

April 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm (Politics) (, , )

My nominee for hero of the month?  A 17 year-old girl.

Did she save a life?  Quite possibly.  Did she face great odds?  Most definitely.  So what did she do?  And how did we not hear about this heroic act?

Well, maybe you did.  The problem is, it got slated for the “news of the odd,” usually reserved for the back pages.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090430/ap_on_fe_st/odd_marching_band_beating

Why do I call her a hero?  Because in this day and age, when the advice is to be a good witness and not fight back, when assorted groups are doing their damnedest to disarm law-abiding citizens… she protected herself.  And she did it with what she had at hand.  If she’d followed the conventional wisdom of the day, she’d have been lucky if she’d escaped with alive… luckier still if she’d only been robbed.  She’s ably demonstrated the main reason I walk with a cane, especially in areas I’m not comfortable.

And so I’m naming this girl, from LA County in California, my hero of the month.  Because she had the guts to fight back, and protect herself, rather than being a good little sheep asking the wolves to kindly see their way to only taking a leg.

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Legalization, Regulation

April 21, 2009 at 7:14 am (Politics) (, , )

First, a better worded argument than most I could make, from somebody who knows more about it

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norm-stamper/420-thoughts-on-pot-vs-al_b_188627.html

There’s just a point I’d like to make in addition.  Marijuana was never banned because of its health effects.  It was banned because William Randolph Hearst was sick of hemp paper competing with wood-pulp (since it was cheaper, more durable, and grew faster), so he made this little film called Reefer Madness to help stir up anti-marijuana sentiment, creating a new Great Evil that needed to be banned.

That, ladies and gents, is why we have to cut down forests in order to make paper.  If we don’t go ahead and legalize (and tax, of course) pot, putting a ton of crooks out of business and creating an entire new industry, let’s at least legalize hemp for the perfectly legitimate uses it has.  It can’t be used to get high, and it’s a lot greener a product than most of what we’re using now that it could substitute for.

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Ten years later….

April 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm (Politics) (, , , )

Courtesy of the Times, a few thoughts about gun control after Columbine.

I went to high school at the time, and got to go through the collective panic attack after the Columbine attacks (along with the rest of the nation, if not world).  Profiles of potential school shooters were distributed.  Plans were made in case it happened.  Security cameras were placed throughout the building.  Once, the school was evacuated, not because of bomb threats, not because of shooting threats, but because a student with a reputation for being an outsider was seen taking a backpack into the restroom (not me, but somebody I knew.)

And a zero tolerance policy was put into place.  Now, a lot of people already have realized how meaningless these are.  My school was even more fun – it was a zero tolerance policy, unless your knife was under two inches in length.  Nobody was particularly happy when I pointed out that an inch-and-a-half penknife was more than enough to kill somebody with, or that our new plans (supposedly approved by the FBI) were largely useless.

And, moreover, none of these things got to the real heart of the matter.  Nor have any of the other solutions adoped after similar shootings.  The people in the article I linked to at the top are right about that.  But they’re wrong about how to actually get at the heart of it.

You see, if you’ve got somebody who’s sufficiently set on killing people, they’re going to find a way.  Ask the guys in Akihabara how much good Japan’s much-vaunted gun control laws did them.  Or maybe ask the people who took the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995.  Ask yourself if Klebold and Harris would have stopped their massacre if they hadn’t been able to get guns… or if they’d have just used more homemade explosives. 

Of those attacks, only Columbine *might* have been stopped, and that’s questionable.  Virginia Tech might have been, but even that could be questioned – if somebody is dedicated to the idea of getting a gun and shooting dozens of people, are they really going to be stopped by the fact that the gun they’re using to commit mass murder is illegal, or being carried somewhere it isn’t allowed?

What *could* have stopped all of these attacks, with the exception of the subway attacks (carried out in a clandestine manner)?

Being armed.

If one person at Virginia Tech had been armed and willing to shoot to kill, the death toll could have been 1, not 32.  The death toll at Columbine could have been 2.  Akihabara, 1.

Some people have suggested that common gun ownership would lead to the high murder rates of the old west, but that’s more likely to be the perfect storm of widespread guns, sparse law enforcement, and rampant drunkenness.  Now, which of those three *can’t* be argued as having justifiable purposes?

What’s more, the stats don’t really argue in favor of it.  Switzerland has mandatory gun training and practically mandatory ownership – and their collossal gun-violence rate of 34 deaths in the course of a year (for the entire country) has spurred gun control advocates to lobby for the end of this policy.  Kennesaw, GA has extremely widespread gun ownership, and its crime rates dropped – they have one of the lowest in the entire Atlanta metro area.

Personally, I think it’s a good thing that it’s easier to get a gun now than it was when the Columbine attacks had happened.  Maybe, if somebody had been armed, 12 students and teachers wouldn’t have died at the hands of two depressive psychopaths with a taste for violence and the resources to make their own explosives, let alone access to guns.

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New digs!

April 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm (Particle Physics) ()

Well, having held off on discussing movies and other things I do *besides* politics and religion for the most part (October excepted), I’ve decided that it’s time to go ahead and set up a second blog.  The Wolfemann’s Den is dedicated to the sort of things I do to relax when I get sick of hearing about the latest shenanigans the XXXX administration is up to (I haven’t met a one yet that didn’t irritate me).

This doesn’t mean that anything’s happening at Dinner Table Taboos – if anything, it just means that you won’t have to wade through nearly as much raving about Halloween or The Legend of Hell House  (or ranting about their respective remakes) to get to the politics, religion, and particle physics.

So, if you liked the sort of things I blabbered on about during October, please check me out at http://wolfemann.wordpress.com – I hope to see you there!

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Lemon laws?

April 1, 2009 at 8:07 am (Politics) (, , )

What Washington’s up to….

So.  If I buy a car and it turns out to be a lemon, I can take it back to the dealership and get a better one.  I wonder if I can do the same with congressmen?

Though I suppose I didn’t buy this group (that was the left’s job).  Folks… I know some people will think that’s reasonable, but consider what it *means*.

If you’re an employee at one of these companies, Tim Geithner’s your HR man.  He does your ultimate performance review, and decides your salary – and if you had a contract before, sorry, you don’t deserve that.

But that’s not the most dangerous part.  The dangerous part is the precedent this sets.  The government can just go ahead and declare itself the ultimate employer?

What would *you* say if you watched the evening news and found out that your congressman had decided that, no, you weren’t *their* bosses (having decided to hire them), but that they were *yours* (having passed a law that says they decide if they want to keep you around.)

This isn’t right.  This isn’t a democratic move – it’s the move of a dictatorship in the making.  I just hope the Senate (or, if not them, the President) sees this for what it is, and actually kills it the way they did those 90% taxes on AIG (and others).

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