Sam Harris On Guns + My Own Thoughts

Anybody interested in the problem of gun violence and America’s unique relationship to firearms (should be all of us), should take the time to listen to this podcast by Sam Harris. It’s probably the most sane and level-headed analysis I’ve heard on the subject in a media landscape dominated by hyperbolic zealots on either side of the spectrum. It’s one-and-a-half hours well spent.

Let me share, briefly, my own feelings on the subject. To set things straight from the get-go, let’s agree to the following: It is indisputable that America has more guns per capita than any other western civilized country we care to compare ourselves to. It’s also indisputable that we have more gun deaths (total and per capita) than any other advancedĀ  nation. It is much easier to get hold of a gun in America than in any other modern, first-world nation. The correlation between the number of guns in our society and the high occurrence of gun violence can hardly be denied. If we cannot agree on these things, don’t bother reading further; you are not a reasonable-minded person.

Still, a few years ago, for whatever reason, I got it into my head that I wanted to own a pistol. The local gun shop in the neighboring town of Monroe informed me that the state of Connecticut requires one to have a gun permit in order to buy a handgun. They kindly offered to provide the training necessary to get the certification. After a six-hour course, including firing a total of twelve shots (the only shots I had ever fired in my life at that point) with a .22-caliber revolver at a shooting range, and passing a 30-question written “test” (open-book, discussion with the other people taking the class allowed, and self-grading of said test), I was given a diploma certifying that I had fulfilled the state-mandated requirements. At the local police station I submitted my application and finger prints for a criminal background check and after about six weeks received notification that I could pick up my pistol permit at the state police facility in Bridgeport. I now had the state’s blessing to own and carry a gun in public.

That very same day I headed off to a gun shop and, on the advice of the store clerk, bought a 9mm Springfield XDM semi-automatic pistol with a total capacity of 19+1 rounds (legislation passed after the Sandy Hook massacre now prohibits me from loading it with more than ten rounds when not on my property, which is rather good news for the 11th person I plan on killing).

Next stop was the shooting range where I had previously “qualified” by shooting a revolver twelve times. The inadequacy of this qualification soon became apparent when I discovered that I didn’t know how to load the magazine of my newly acquired pistol; small wonder as this was the first time I’d ever held a semi-automatic pistol in my hands. Let me repeat this since it’s not insignificant: I was licensed by the state to own and carry any kind of legal firearm, yet I had never operated, and did not know how to load my pistol.

No matter how hard I tried I could only stuff a couple rounds into the magazine before it jammed. I finally sought the help of the range officer on duty, and after he also failed to load up the magazine, he finally discovered the problem: the store clerk had sold me two boxes of .40 caliber ammunition to go with my 9mm pistol.

What I’m trying to say here is that even in Connecticut (and even after Sandy Hook), the requirements to own and carry a pistol, are woefully inadequate. It is absolutely crazy to allow somebody with the training I received to own, buy and carry, openly or concealed (which is the law in CT) any kind of firearm.

I agree with most, if not all, of what Sam Harris said in his podcast, and have become more convinced than ever that what I said in a previous post is true: we need to repeal the second amendment of the US constitution. Or rather, repeal and replace, since I don’t want to ban guns. But the way 2A is worded makes it very difficult to come to any kind of consensus as to what it actually means in practical terms. The gun nuts (the Ted Nugent fan boys) will always point to “the right of the people” and “shall not be infringed”, while the gun grabbers (Bloomberg et al.) will emphasize “a well regulated militia”, and they will both be right. My own vision for a revised 2A might include words to the effect that gun-ownership is indeed an individual right, but not any gun for anybody at any place, and the power to regulate requirements and limitations is given to congress. I believe Sam’s analogy to the requirements to get a pilot’s license is appropriate and sound. I say this knowing full well that any member of Congress who proposes a repeal of the second amendment will have committed political suicide more effectively than declaring an unbelief in Jesus.

 

2nd Amendment Rights – How Technology Defines Them

2nd amendment rights virgin post in a brand spanking new category here on OGNDY.

My SEO plugin (WordPressSEO by Yoast) suggests that I should put my chosen key word/-phrase at the beginning of the article, which is why I just shamelessly and blatantly did it in the 2H heading (also suggested by the plugin) above (still flags it as yellow, though, go figure (OK, I think I got it now)).

Enough about that! I’m trying out a new category tentatively called “Transcribed From The YouTube”, reason being I’m very uninspired in a creative sense these days (didn’t write much about the election, see?), but I still need to keep my blog going with fresh content on a regular basis so as not to die off in the search engines, should I ever figure out a way to monetize the site.

So right off the bat I’m letting you know that I’m transcribing videos, or parts of videos, that I stumble upon on YouTube. I don’t think I violate anyone’s copyright (or 2nd amendment rights for that matter) in doing so, but if you disagree and think I’m unlawfully taking advantage of the fruits of your intellect, take a number, get in line and call my lawyer. What I’m saying is, sue me.

So as this shall not turn into a completely meaningless endeavor, I will only transcribe from videos that for some reason pique my genuine interest, be it because they have something important to say, that it’s said in a particularly artful manner, that it’s something stupid, something I agree with, disagree with, whatever; it is something I for some reason thought was worth sharing. I may or may not overtly express my reasons (figure it out for yourselves) and I will not identify the video. I will, however, offer a one million dollar prize to anyone who recognizes the transcript and can send me a link to the source video. (I don’t actually have a million dollars, so if you win and I don’t pay (I won’t), take a number, get in line and call my fucking lawyer.)

I’ll make this inaugural post without further comment other than to say that the guys in the video are concerned about their 2nd amendment rights.

“(…) Of course, this is one of those things that gets thrown in our faces all the time as gun owners, but, you know, back when the 2nd amendment was actually conceived and drafted and signed and everything like that, and the whole constitution and all this, our founding fathers, you know, we had all, all of the civilians and military had all the same firearms. You know, it wasn’t uncommon for a male to go and serve in the military to grab his rifle off the, off the mantle and go fight, ’cause that’s all he had.”

“Oh yeah.”

“So you know, the peo…, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed…”

“Well, that’s what it says.”

“…and, so I mean, they mean the same technology as the military, because, back then, that was the height of technology.”

“That was the height of technology that time and it should not be any different nowadays, I mean, a lot of folks out there think the 2nd amendment only applies to hunters. OK, no! Not at all! If I want to grab the AR off my mantle and go to battle, then I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna grab it and go!”

“Right.”

In the future I may attach my own views to the transcript and make it into a true opinion piece, making it more legitimate than just shamelessly fishing for SEO brownie points, but for now it’s just a way to get free content easily, while also being a training exercise in search engine optimization (something I’ve been putting off since ca 2002).

Below is an image of the original transcript in yours truly’s hand.

An image of a handwritten document concerned with 2nd amendment rights.

This image of the handwritten transcript that is the subject of this posting is included for no other reason than to provide 2nd amendment click bait for the search engines.

Post script:

Here is the analysis the SEO plugin made of this article:

The keyword density is 0.45%, which is a bit low, the keyword was found 4 times.
The copy scores 67.3 in the Flesch Reading Ease test, which is considered OK to read.
The keyword / phrase appears in the URL for this page.
Keyword / keyphrase appears in 1 (out of 2) subheadings in the copy. While not a major ranking factor, this is beneficial.
The images on this page contain alt tags with the target keyword / phrase.
This page has 3 outbound link(s).
The keyword appears in the first paragraph of the copy.
You’ve never used this focus keyword before, very good.
The page title contains keyword / phrase, at the beginning which is considered to improve rankings.
In the specified meta description, consider: How does it compare to the competition? Could it be made more appealing?
The meta description contains the primary keyword / phrase.
There are 893 words contained in the body copy, this is more than the 300 word recommended minimum.
The page title is more than 40 characters and less than the recommended 70 character limit.

 

I Am A Cunt And So Can You

I have an Internet acquaintance that I’ve been chatting with on and off for the past few years via various forums, email, Facebook and the like. I’ve never met him in the physical realm, but he seems like a standup guy and I hold him in high regard. He recently mentioned to me that Sam Harris had written in his blog a book review, recommending it too atheists in need of arguments when debating the existence of a god with religious people. (For those of you who don’t know, Sam Harris is an author/philosopher/neuroscientist/the fourth horseman of the “neo-atheist” movement.)

I knew from previous exchanges with my friend, himself a student of philosophy (we’ve discussed various topics such as politics, philosophy, religion, atheism, guns, bodybuilding, illegal performance enhancing drugs and the widespread practice of male circumcision in America) how much he likes Sam Harris and enjoys his books. I was therefore a bit surprised when he told me that reading Harris’ blog and the book review in question specifically, had turned him against Harris, and stated quite emphatically that he didn’t know who would be the bigger cunt; the guy who wrote it, the guy who reviewed and recommended it, or those who read it.

I haven’t read the book in question nor Harris’ review of it, but any book that provides the atheist with valid ammunition in debates with theocrats and “people of faith” of any creed; creationists, intelligent designers, hardline Bible thumpers, Muslim jihadists, and even “moderate” non-literalist, cherry picking Christians and Reform Jews, is, in my opinion, a good book. The guy who wrote it, a good guy. The person who reviews and recommends it, also good. As is the person who reads it for the specific purpose of arming him/herself with arguments to debunk religious poppycock. If that makes me a cunt, then so be it. I’ll take it as a compliment.

Let me finish off by saying that the Bible is bullshit, the Koran is a lie, and the Baghavad Gita did not fall from the sky (credit Corporate Avenger), and the sooner we can rid society of the scourge of belief in ancient fairy tales, mythology and omnipotent, judgmental sky zombies, the better.

Obama Beats The War Drum

It was OK to kill 100k Syrians with guns and rockets for 2 years. Then about a year ago Obama claimed a red line had been crossed and there would be hell to pay for a certain Syrian dictator named Bashar al-Assad (not that there’s any shortage of dictators we’re all chummy with all over the world, now and past) and now he’s all resentful and pissed off and trying to act macho and shit because the American people, the US Congress, the Brits, NATO, the UN and everybody else tells him to back off and stop being a hypocrite, and Putin thinks he’s a girly man. He’s been such a wuss for so long I suspect he’s overcompensating.

We were quite happy to look the other way while upwards of a million Tutsis were massacred by Hutus in Rwanda back in the 90s. We’re still pretending we’re not aware of what’s going on in Somalia or Kongo. But they didn’t use gas or guns, just machetes, so international law probably wasn’t even violated. But now we have the Patriot Act and the Dept. of Homeland Security and the NSA that are so busy spying on its own citizens it’s even doubtful we have theĀ  the power to punish Syria with an already thinly spread imperialistic military. Anything and everything we do can and will be justified in the name of national security. I’m just thinking out loud here.

I wonder if a dead Arab cares if he was killed with poison gas, a bullet, a machete or a poorly aimed drone.

No matter how you spin it, what England, France, the US and other western powers dicked around with in the Middle East and south-west Asia, Central- and South America and Africa over the course of the last century, had unintended consequences that are now coming home to haunt us. Yes, I said it, we are not without blame in the political clusterfuck that is going on right now.

Like most 2nd term presidents Obama is more concerned with his “legacy” than getting shit done. I bet he’s going through designs for his Presidential Library as we speak.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m disappointed with his performance and don’t think he is a particularly good president, but he’s not exceptionally bad either. Generic, perhaps, except for him being black? He would make a good Ken doll. I voted for him twice and don’t regret it. But I was naive in thinking electing the first black president would make America a better place. I was wrong. It only brought the scum that had been hibernating for 40-or-so years out from under their rocks, more vile, hateful and belligerent than ever. But that’s a topic that deserves its own post.

Virgin Gun Post

Just to get the Guns, Ammo & Shooting category going. In my old age I went and got myself a gun permit. After some back and forth and quite a few dollars down the drain (due to my own ignorance), I’ve ended up with a Springfield XDM Compact 9mm as my “main” gun. I have several at this point, but I’ve noticed that gun guys like to refer to their favorite gun as their “main gun”, my “EDC gun” (everyday carry gun), “my CCW (concealed carry weapon) and other such macho terms.

Personally I don’t carry anything but myself, and with dignity to boot, even though my CT permit entitles me to both concealed and open carry. At this point I’m quite happy to leave my gun at home unless I’m on my way to the range.

xdm-compact-9mm

Springfield Armory semi-automatic pistol XDM Compact 9mm.

 

xdm-compact-9mm-xmag

Springfield Armory semi-automatic pistol XDM Compact 9mm with extended magazine.

The photos shown are stock photos stolen from Springfield Armory’s website. The short magazine holds 13 rounds, and the extended 19. I’ve added a pinky extension to my short mag to improve the grip, but honestly I don’t notice much of a difference. It looks cool, though. I’ve become quite proficient at making holes in paper at 15′ distance. So if you’re a piece of paper up to no good, stay away from my house, or else…

I’m NOT a member of the NRA, by the way. Through a convolutedĀ  process I’ve come to support the 2nd amendment to our constitution (in my interpretation, mind you), but I’m not a single-issue voter. The NRA (National Rifle Association of America), although they claim to be a single-issue organization, is far from it, and has a long list of political agendas that I’m not prepared to fund. I guess you could call me armed and liberal.

The Springfield XD and XDM series of semi-automatic pistols are made in Croatia, by the way. God bless America!