Virginia Tech “Shooter”

February 16, 2018

 
My father sent me a link to this article:
 http://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Virginia-Tech-student-arrested-after-illegally-possessing-assault-rifles-471815644.html

This kid’s life is over, and for what? He is not a school shooter, or at least has shot nobody at this time. His actual crime was that he shot from a 30 round magazine instead of a 20 round magazine. At a shooting range. Safely. A rifle he stored IN THE POLICE STATION.

After he checked his rifle out of the police station, he went to the shooting range. The police followed him there and watched to make sure he didn’t use a magazine that was two inches longer and held 10 extra rounds.

Why? Because as a kid on a student visa, he was allowed to have a rifle, but not an “assault” rifle, as defined by a 30 round magazine instead of a 20 round magazine.

The rest of the article is a sludge-fest. He drives an old police car. He did research on bullet-proof vests on his computer.

I look back on my life at Virginia Tech. I always wanted a police car (which I currently drive). If I had stayed, my graduate work would have been in ceramic armor plates. I would have done lots of research on armor.

THIS COULD HAVE BEEN ME.

Your stupid, antigun terminology is going to ruin this kid’s life, just like it could have been mine. I guess that’s the real problem will all of this. You are willing to sacrifice the rights of some for the pretend security of others. “You can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs,” some might say. Well, I say, screw your omelet. I’m not willing to be an egg you crack, and neither should you be willing.

Thank you for reading my post.

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No News

February 9, 2018

 

I don’t have much to say this week.  I haven’t paid much attention to the news.  I haven’t been on Facebook much, either, and I have purged my Facebook of whining.

It’s nice to know that I can detach from all of the politics and nonsense when I want to.

Thank you for reading my post.

Anti-technology

February 1, 2018

Along my commute this morning, I snapped a few cell phone photos of the sunrise.

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It would be easy to say that the “man-made” things in these photos spoiled the photos.

But what is it I should damn? Should I damn the lampposts which have provided light and safety for the people that walk through here at night? Should I damn the power lines that allow me to share these photos with anyone who is interested? Should I damn the roads and cars? These roads and cars make our routine traveling today was seemingly impossible, a mere one hundred years ago (or a brief flash in human existence). Why is it when a deer makes a path through the woods that it is natural and good, and yet when man makes his own path, it is to be damned?

The antitechnologists would have you believe that the world was better man “wrecked” it.  They would have you believe that life was better when man lived in caves, foraged for berries.  They have a strange fascination with the primitive.

Don’t let it fool you.  Life was tough, brutish and short.  In addition to the fact that none of our modern comforts were available, the division of labor that was made possible through technology has afforded us more free time.  It isn’t just that our lives are longer, but the quality of our lives has improved.

No longer does a person have to simultaneously farm his food, sew his clothes, raise his livestock and his children, repair his hovel, mend his wounds and teach his children.  With the division of labor made possible through improved technology, he can purchase these things for cheaper than he can make them himself (in terms of time and effort, which translates to money).

Do you want to light your house with a candle instead of an electric light?  Do you want to face the nearly-routine cycle of house fires?  Do you want the limited light, smoke and wax in your home?  Or would you rather flip a switch, and thank the power company, Thomas Edison, and the others with your gratitude and your dollars?

Would you rather walk (or care for horses)?  Would you rather travel in a manner that does not protect you from the elements, at low speed, for short distances?  Would you rather that a relative moving out of state be gone forever from your life?  Or, would you rather thank the airlines and the car manufacturers with your gratitude and your dollars?

Would you rather return to the days of medicine by leeches and blood-letting?  Would you rather consider it normal to die during childbirth?  Would you rather we return to the “amputate and wait” days of injuries?  Or, would you rather thank your doctors, pharmaceutical companies, researchers and scientists with you gratitude and your dollars?

Don’t buy into the anti-technology mindset that is unfortunately so common today.

Thank you for reading my post.

Trying to Find Reliable Sources

January 26, 2018

I don’t have a well-researched post tonight.  I did have a piece of a story I found on Reddit, but I have no way to verify the incident, so I won’t write a full post on it.

The post was about a man who fell asleep on a plane, developed an erection while he was asleep, and was then sued for sexual misconduct.

I spent a bunch of time looking for the article, but couldn’t find it, so it may be fiction.  Unfortunately, it is believable with today’s ridiculous witch-hunts.

Also, my wireless card may have died on this laptop, but I am going to have to reboot to find out.  Therefore, I’m not wasting any more time working on this.

“S-Hole” Countries

January 19, 2018

Trump allegedly made some derogatory remarks about “s-hole countries.”  Since then, the press has ran with it like a 10 year-old who has learned a new curse word.  There was even a congress critter who feigned tears in pretend outrage.

You know, if they raised taxes to support acting lessons for politicians, I’d probably agree to it.  At least then they wouldn’t suck at everything.

The news has been screaming that Trump is a racist, and this statement is offered as evidence.  It is a funny argument:

  1.  Trump never said anything about the people or the culture of these countries.  He merely referred to some countries as “s-holes.”  This could be due to pollution, political unrest, or any number of reasons.
  2. If people are leaving these countries, there is something undesirable that is causing people to leave.

Interestingly, nobody bats and eyelash when they show the dreadful conditions of some of these countries on the television.  Nobody seems to consider extreme poverty, war, pollution, and disease part of these cultures, and yet when someone says, “hey, this is an s-hole” he is accused of being racist and attacking a culture.

I’ll address immigration another time.

Thank you for reading my post.

 

*I forgot to hit the ‘Submit’ button on this post yesterday!*

The Danger of the Psychiatric Evaluation

January 11, 2018

There has been some talk in recent weeks of the 25th amendment and what it might mean to President Trump.  For those of you who are not familiar with the 25th amendment, it states:

“In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.”

There are talking heads on the television that would love to use this amendment as a means of removing Trump from office, stating that his “mental health issues” have made him unfit for the office of president.  Therefore, under the 25th amendment he can be removed.

While I agree that a president should be removed from office if they are incapacitated and unable to perform their duties, I caution against using this amendment lightly.  The liberals, still bitter from their year old election loss, would love to have a psychologist or team of psychologists pronounce Trump mentally incapacitated.

This places far too much power into the hands of “experts” and not enough into the hands of the average person.

This is all a thinly-veiled appeal to authority.   If our presidents can be removed from office by a special interest group (such as a panel of psychologists), why vote?  If the final say rests on “experts” rather than the people, let’s not pretend there’s a republic.  Do away with the vote, and we’ll let the “experts” pick for us.

As is typical with elitist liberals, they declare themselves experts in a field, then try to use it to gain a political advantage.  Rather than allowing for a vote, they would rather place the important decisions of the country into the hands of a few “experts.”

Thanks, but no thanks.  I’d rather have a president with an itchy Twitter finger than to be ruled by “experts.”

Thank you for reading my post.

 

Online Reviews

January 5, 2018

I was sitting in the hotel lobby watching some early-morning talk show.  On this show, there was a panel of four doctors and two hosts.  The topic of discussion was whether or not online review services like Google or Angie’s List should be “allowed” to rate health care professionals.

The doctors on this panel argued that they can get bad reviews from people who did not receive the treatment they wanted, (curing incurable diseases), did not receive the medicine they wanted (not being prescribed drugs), or just receiving an anonymous bad rating from a competitor.  They said that “unqualified” people, meaning people without PhD’s were allowed to write reviews about them, and that only “qualified” people should be able to write reviews, if anyone at all.

There’s a lot happening here.  The obvious problem is that such legislation would limit freedom of speech.  That’s just scratching the surface, however.

In their example, what it takes to be qualified is to possess a government-issued certificate.  It is a simple binary question:  yes or no.  Qualified or unqualified.   They believe that all doctors that have this certificate are equal, and that all people without it are also equal- just not equal to those with the certificate.  This means that you are not qualified to speak about your own experience with a doctor, unless of course, you have that paper!!!  It also means that all doctors are equal, and that there is no such thing as a “good doctor.”

By that logic, doctors, you are not qualified to rate a mechanic or a plumber.  After all, last time I checked, many of you are not also certified mechanics and plumbers, so who are you to say whether a mechanic or a plumber did a good job?

Furthermore, it assumes that a doctor knows all about your body, and that you know nothing.  A person who monitors their health very closely may not know about modern medicine to the degree that a PhD should.  However, that person is perfectly qualified to say that, “doctor x gave me x, and I felt worse.  I went to doctor y and he gave me y, and I felt better.”  Nope, this type of “qualification test” would not allow you to say this.

Ultimately, these doctors would ask you to not make any judgement.  Don’t evaluate them.  Just do as they say.

The real question is, “who would ask you to suspend all judgement?”  Notice that, those who scream “don’t judge me!” the loudest, are the most likely to receive a negative judgement.  Those most afraid of an online review probably should be afraid of it!  A good doctor, a good plumber, a good mechanic:  they won’t be afraid of these things.  If there is a legitimate complaint, they can deal with it.  If it is garbage, they can get enough good reviews to offset it.

Once again, be wary of anyone who asks you not to judge them.  This group actually advocates that you not be allowed to judge them.

I threw up a little bit in my mouth as I watched this show.

Thank you for reading my post.

 

Check Your Privilege

December 15, 2017

If you are straight, white, cis-gender, male, able-bodied or any combination of these, chances are you have heard (or will hear in the future) the phrase, “Check Your Privilege.”

This expression is used when you make an assumption about some social situation and have not, in the eyes of the opponent, properly addressed the plight of those who are marginalized in some way.

The expression can be meant to open up a real discussion, as if to say, “check your premises.”   However, more often than not, it is used to silence you by pointing out past oppression, slavery, or mistreatment by a group of people who look like you.

Embedded in the privilege discussion is that you haven’t worked as hard as someone else, or perhaps you didn’t earn all that you have.  It is implied that if you had been born under different circumstances, you would have not been so fortunate.

You may hang your head.  You don’t know about slavery, having never experienced it.  You may not have escaped the inner city to get your college degree.   You may have never experienced life from a wheel chair.

If you insist that you worked hard for you position and the things you have, you are a racist/homophobic/sexist/ablest jerk.  You may even find yourself with no defense to these statements.

Forget all of it.

The proper response to “Check Your Privilege” is “Or What?”

People don’t run around saying these things to actual Nazis or Klansmen or Terrorists.  Those people don’t care about being called a racist.  They don’t care whether their ancestors had slaves- they would have them today.

You are (hopefully) not one of these people.  You own no slaves, and want none.  You don’t actively say you won’t hire women.  You don’t beat people for being gay or how they dress or what gender they identify.  You don’t actively want life to be difficult for anyone for conditions to which they have no control.

When someone says “Check Your Privilege,” the only weapon they have is your own guilt.  Your own guilt for the very common thought, “I’m not good enough.”

Is it any wonder that these discussions occur in college classes, where most students and faculty suffer from “impostor syndrome”?  Impostor syndrome is when you constantly feel like you have risen above your competence level, and is experienced by practically everyone with an above average IQ.

Is it any wonder that, over the years, I’ve lost more former college students to suicide than car accidents?

But you have a defense.  Their only weapon is your own guilt.  Don’t give it to them.

By replying “Or What?” you acknowledge that their statement is an empty threat.  It is an unbacked attempt to silence you.  There will be no answer, at least no logical one.  They counted on your guilt, and you won’t have given it to them.  The best they can do is to resort to more obvious ad hominem attacks, such as calling you uneducated, backwards, etc.  You know, standard liberal drivel.

In Objectivism, this concept is called, “The Sanction of the Victim.”  It is best demonstrated in Atlas Shrugged, during Hank Reardon’s trial.  He goes before a panel of judges; they expect him to grovel and confess his sin- the sin of being a businessman.  Instead, he refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing.  To paraphrase, “it is bad enough to whip a man, but to force him to first manufacture the whip used against him is a special kind of evil.”

Don’t give it to them.  Don’t deliver them a weapon to use against you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2017

While there are a lot of politics surrounding Thanksgiving, the relations between the Europeans and the Natives, who gets to work on Thanksgiving day and so on, I am going to skip all of that for this blog post.  I will, instead, quote one of my favorite parts of Atlas Shrugged.  The scene is at Hank Rearden’s house during Thanksgiving dinner.  After an awkward family Thanksgiving Dinner, he goes to see Dagny, and while with her, says,

“You know, Dagny, Thanksgiving was a holiday established by productive people to celebrate the success of their work.” (1)

May your Thanksgiving be happy!

Thank you for reading my blog!

  1.  Rand, Ayn.  Atlas Shrugged.  Signet Classic, 1996,  pp. 439.

Catching up On Atlas Shrugged

November 3, 2017

I have not written much about rereading Atlas Shrugged.  It is still my favorite book, and I am glad that The Atlas Project has given me an excuse to read it again.

On schedule, I have finished reading Part I, finishing up with Chapter 10:  Wyatt’s Torch.  (SPOILER ALERT)

When I think about Ellis Wyatt, I can really relate to his character.  I used to think that all Ayn Rand characters had the same personality type (and unfortunately, that did not include me).  Then, after much more careful consideration, I find myself aligning more with Ellis Wyatt than any other character.

Granted, I am not the petroleum genius that Ellis Wyatt was in the novel.  However, he occasionally displays his anger in the same ways that I do.  At one point he smashes a glass when he realizes that his success will be ruined by the government soon enough.  Also, when dealing with the looters (and, Dagny Taggart, who he mistakes as a looter), he delivers ultimatums, rather than conversation, as he recognizes there is nothing to discuss.  Finally, when the government finally loots him, he sets all of his assets on fire to keep them from being destroyed by the government.  I hope that I would have such courage.

Anyway, I have been watching this character, and find him to be probably one of my favorites in the book.

Thank you for reading my post.