21 December 2012


No internet link sausage platter today; instead, I'm going to expend some ammunition that was stored under questionable circumstances. Bring on the zombies!

  • My first bullet point today is inspired by a cross-reference between the World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems § F60.2 (10th ed.) — the definition of dissocial personality disorder (the more-rigorous-and-less-culturally-bound successor to "sociopath"), requiring at least three of:

    Callous unconcern for the feelings of others;

    Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;

    Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;

    Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;

    Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;

    Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

    — and this morning's statement from the... individual who leads a major gun-rights group I shall not dignify by naming:

    [R]ather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws, and fill the national media with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action, and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away. The media calls semi-automatic fire arms, machine guns. They claim these civilian semi-automatic fire arms are used by the military. They tell us that the .223 is one of the most powerful rifle calibers, when all of these claims are factually untrue, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Worse, they perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban or one more law imposed on peaceable, lawful people will protect us where 20,000 other laws have failed.

    As brave and heroic and as self-sacrificing as those teachers were in those classrooms and as prompt and professional and well- trained as those police were when they responded, they were unable — through no fault of their own, unable to stop it. As parents we do everything we can to keep our children safe. It’s now time for us to assume responsibility for our schools. The only way — the only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection.

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or from a minute away?

    (reparagraphed for clarity) which sounds exactly like the kind of central-to-the-definition-of-mental-illness person who shouldn't be trusted behind the trigger under his own criteria as disclosed in other speeches.

    If there is a real point to gun rights for persons not part of the state apparatus — that is, to those who are not part of a well-ordered militia (like the speaker quoted above) that is (purportedly) essential to the security of the state — it is to allow the body politic to respond to force-imposed tyranny with force of its own. Disobedience of this kind extends well beyond "civil", or "nonviolent." However, claiming that preservation of private ownership outside of a militia of antipersonnel firearms is a necessary counterweight to government tyranny (or even corporate tyranny when it goes as far as Marsh) is at best a tautology. Those who will find it necessary to oppose tyranny with force are already outlaws for other reasons (even if they are protesting unjust laws).

    Then, too, this presumes not just the presence, but the effectiveness, of an armed guard in deterring and responding to the deranged. Given that the organization in question spends exactly no time in any of its "weapons-safety" courses on target acquisition, it's highly unlikely. Shooting at targets is not like shooting at people... unless the shooter has a different class of "moral failings." (Such a "protector" is probably in uniform and thereby a better target him/herself...) And it's not like there aren't other, and more effective, ways of standing up to bullies...

  • ... like ensuring that culture doesn't become a con game. Guns don't work too well at that.
  • Meanwhile, over across the pond, the UK is trying to relax some of the digital-copying annoyances by modifying its interpretation of copyright law. I'm still pondering all of the effects, but I will note that it leaves several loopholes wide enough to pilot the RMS Titanic through, including the definition of what constitutes "personal" for "personal copying" and the failure to confront the distinction between an owner and a licensee — not to mention the information/expression dichotomy that UK courts only marginally understand (but is at the core of both the US constitutional enablement and the Berne Convention, however much data aggregators try to deny it).
  • In the steadily-deepening-neepery of trademark theory, Nike's recent sale of Umbro raises the " it's a floor wax and a dessert topping" problem, in a slightly different fashion. Is branding a designation of origin or an investment — or both? Or merely a litigation bear of very little brain (PDF)? One of the real problems with trademark theory is that it has become part of the "intellectual property" toolbox, but originated in the "consumer protection and unfair trade practices" toolbox.

    OK, have the children (and authors who don't think ahead) been scared off by the neepery? Good. This stuff matters. Consider, for example, the recent sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, and combine that with the ongoing consolidation in the publishing industry. Just thinking out loud, are any media-property print works antithetical to Sternkriege (auf deutsch to avoid certain search results) presently distributed by Penguin... and about to be distributed by Random Penguin? Inquiring minds (and inquiring royalty-statement auditors) want to know!

Dammit, my magazine jammed. Please hold back the zombies for a few minutes while I clear it... No! I swear I checked this ammo yesterd