Thursday, February 22, 2018

On Gun Laws and Tragedy

I have some notes for any anti-gun individuals who might read this post, and a couple for the people on my side.

For the Anti-gun folks:
  1. Police were called to the Parkland shooter's (I refuse to learn the names of these assholes) home MULTIPLE times. As in 39. He posted credible threats on the internet UNDER HIS OWN NAME. People called the FBI twice about him. The armed school resource officer, rather than do his job, decided to sit the shooting out. For all intents and purposes, Law Enforcement at every level failed to do their jobs. These are the same people who'd be enforcing any new gun laws that get passed. What makes you think that they're competent do do that?
  2. If you read the Second Amendment, the operative clause says, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." There's a distinct lack of "unless it'll make people safer" or "unless it saves one child."
  3. Even if the Second Amendment did allow for that, the problem isn't guns. Here are some data points:
    1. 19 dead in a knife attack in Japan
    2. 33 Dead in a mass stabbing at a Chinese train station
    3. 22 stabbed outside a school (according to this article, knife attacks are apparently not uncommon in China)
    4. 334 dead in the Beslan School Siege
    5. 87 Dead in Happy Land arson
    6. 168 dead in the Oklahoma City Bombing.
    8.  If guns were the problem, our murder rate would make Honduras' look like kindergarten play. In fact, if there is a correlation between guns and homicide, it's a negative one.
    9. If you refuse to accept Honduras' homicide rate as relevant, you're admitting that it's more complicated than "Guns cause crime".
  4. Bump stocks aren't the problem either. They've been used once for a mass killing - mass killings are more likely to involve arson, explosives or trucks, than they are to involve a bump-fire stock. And yet people are getting all worked up about a piece of plastic that any chump with a 3d printer (and, if you're willing to do the assembly yourself, 3d printers are surprisingly affordable) can push out by the dozens or hundreds, depending on how committed he is. And you don't actually need a bump-fire stock to bump fire - it just makes it more comfortable.
  5. Do you really want to give Trump more power?
  6. Luty, Metral, Sten, Uru. Do you know what all those names have in common? They're all submachine guns that can be built with minimal tools and hardware store components. The Luty SMG was actually designed with that in mind. Variants of all those guns (except, AFAIK, the Luty) get mass produced by illegal arms factories in various nations and sold to criminals. most of these nations have very strict gun control. 
  7. Gun control is not the answer, not even a part of it. There is, in fact, no simple answer. Allowing qualified teachers to carry, and putting armed LEOs in as many schools as possible is a start, but it isn't a complete answer in and of itself.
For my side:
  1. Specifically for those who voted Trump in the primaries: now that Trump is advocating a useless ban on bump-fire stocks and raising the buying age of guns to 21, do you feel stupid? I hope you do. Just because someone says they're on your side doesn't mean that they actually are.
  2. For the NRA - You quisling fuckweasels. I hope you're happy with yourselves for proposing a ban on a piece of plastic. The president apparently agrees with you.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Myth of Soviet Power in WWII

Much ado is made of Hitler, his ill fated decision to invade Russia right before winter, and, for those who've really drank the cool aid, how the Russians could have kicked Nazi Germany's butt without Allied assistance. However, when you get right down to it, the Soviet Empire would almost certainly have fallen without outside assistance, and certainly wouldn't have been able to do better than a stalemate without it.

20% of all Soviet armored vehicles came from Lend-Lease.
30% of their fighters and bombers were Lend-Lease.
59% of their non-armored tactical vehicles (this category includes Jeeps, trucks, and half-tracks, but it's worth noting that the US sent more trucks than the Soviets total production in this category).
Food aid and petroleum products numbered in the millions of tons.
Then there's the almost 2000 locomotives provided (mostly steam, with less than a hundred diesel locomotives) and close to 10000 train cars to go with them.

I've seen some people make the specious argument that "The Soviets didn't like our weapons, so they got assigned to rear echelon roles where it didn't make a difference". This argument is, of course wrong, for a couple of reasons:
  1. Rear echelon roles are still vital - a Sherman in the rear frees up a T34 for the front.
  2. They likes several of our designs so much that they based designs of their own on them, or in some cases (such as the B-29) blatantly copied it in the post war era.
  3. Sheer numbers meant that entire units were armed with lend-lease weapons - and those units did see combat using those weapons.
  4. It of course completely ignores all the support vehicles, trains, food, and petroleum producs that were also a part of lend-lease.
In fact, we really only need to look at one category to understand just what would have happened to the Soviets without lend-lease - Trucks. The US gave the Soviets more trucks (1 1/2 and 2 1/2 ton models) than the entire non-armored vehicle production of the Soviet Union during the course of the war. Without those trucks, the USSR's logistics capability would have been more than halved. If you can't get ammunition, food, and fuel, let alone replacement weapons and repair parts to the front lines, you can't win.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

32 Years ago...

Honor to all the brave men of the space program who lifted off, never again to set their eyes on the cool green hills of Earth.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Crying Wolf, but Ignoring the Coyote

I remember 2011 quite well. The Republicans had put forth the usual group of spineless, but nice, RINOs as candidates for the presidential election. I supported Herman Cain, who, while not a great candidate, was a darn sight better than any of the other yahoos trying to get nominated for the 2012 presidential election. And then his campaign was devastated by sexual misconduct allegations, allegations which disappeared into thin air the instant Cain dropped his campaign.

On the other hand, men on the opposite side of the political spectrum - Roman Polanski and Bill Clinton - engaged in blatant sexual misconduct and rape, and the left went on the warpath to protect them. Never mind that Polanski was a pedophile - "it wasn't rape-rape". Forget that the power dynamic between Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, and the silencing of numerous others accusing Clinton of assault and sexual impropriety - after all, it's just one "vast right-wing conspiracy" to discredit the Clintons.

The extreme difference in media response, with liberals only getting brought down when it's so blatant that the media can't hide it - and as Polanski proved, sometimes not even then - and Republicans getting lambasted when subjected to any claims of sexual impropriety... claims which go away when the Republicans in question are no longer politically relevant, and which usually happened decades in the past, with statutes of limitations well past...

If this dynamic is to be broken, or at least mitigated, so that you don't automatically cause roughly one half of the country to disbelieve you on sexual assault accusations leveled towards a Republican candidate then a couple of things need to happen:

  1. I don't care what Judge Roy Moore does - whether he goes to the Senate or obscurity - you better at least force a settlement out of him. It's too late for a criminal conviction (a point against you BTW), but you need to achieve something other than the destruction of his political career to retain credibility. Otherwise a fair number of people will (rightly) view your future accusations as both not credible, and as political weapons. Of course, it also doesn't help that most of what he's being accused of isn't actually illegal... but some of the things he is accused of were actually illegal, so if there's any truth to the accusations, we'd better see a result.
  2. Don't allow ANYONE, to get away with shit just because they share your politics. If you know (not suspect, KNOW) that someone is doing something (as, apparently most of Hollywood did about Weinstein) then f***ing report it to the police. Don't let it fester. Don't hold back until the statute of limitations is past (this one is important, both for credibility, and to ensure that sexual predators get taken out of circulation). Don't say that it wasn't "rape-rape". If you have personal knowledge of sexual misconduct, you have an obligation to do something about it. Of course, if you're the victim, reporting (or not) is your prerogative, and you may very well have some good reasons for not reporting. But Weinstein's actions were well known by far more than just the victims.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

On the 11th hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month...

The Armistice was signed.

Friday, October 27, 2017

They won't stop

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Yes, I'm going to "Die" on that Hill

I've seen a LOT of pro-second amendment gentlemen and ladies saying that Bump-Fire stocks, being a useless accessory, and the anti-gun narrative being what it is right now, that we need to sacrifice Bump Fire to avoid another assault weapons ban. Some of these people have been calling the rest of us out for calling the NRA everything from retarded to traitorous, and saying that we don't want to die on this particular hill. It turns out, we were right, and they were wrong.
If the anti-gunners want me to support a bump-fire ban, they'll have to trade something for it. I'm not compromising, because with anti-gunners there is no compromise. We give them an inch, and they take a mile. We let them write laws, and they churn out poorly thought out garbage that doesn't achieve anything other than pissing people off.
I'll waste political capital defending an accessory that I literally have no tactical use for, in any situation. And that includes if I was the one taking potshots at people to validate my pathetic existence. I'll waste that capital, because the bill is so poorly written that it'll affect things that are actually useful, and because if this bill passes the anti-gunners will smell blood in the water and go for more. I'll waste that capital, because, even if the bump-fire had made the jackass more effective (and it didn't, because bumpfire is less effective than pulling the trigger as quickly as you can) the actions of one depraved individual are no reason to take away the rights of all the law abiding citizens out there. I'll waste that capital, "die" on that hill, because this isn't going to do anything to stop the next guy, because bump-fire stocks are ridiculously simple, all you need to bump-fire is a belt loop and your thumb, and because the government has no right to decide what I can and can't own.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tastelessness Personified

Dr. Jerry Pournelle, one of Science Fiction's more notable names, died just over a week ago. His politics were somewhere to the right of Stalin, so naturally, character assassination is already going on.
The author of this screed, in addition to having the poor taste to post it so soon after the death, can't figure out that author's are not their characters, and considers the fairly libertarian Pournelle to be the grandfather of the Alt-Right. I can't say I'm particularly surprised by that, since jackasses like this managed to portray Heinlein as a fascist, and David Drake as glorifying war. This is so horrendously over the line that I don't really know what to do, other than to wish that they end up inhabiting a gutter so foul that even the fleas don't want to latch on to them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Because 9/11 Truthers are Retarded

Cross posted from the book of Faces:

A 9/11 Truther just told me that the planes slamming into the towers wouldn't have had much effect, because the planes are primarily thin aluminum, just like a beer can. He even helpfully provided weights (fully loaded 747: 395,000, fuel load: 120,000lbs). My response, with names redacted to protect the retarded (my response incidentally also ignores the structural framework of the aircraft):
At approximately 22 miles an hour, the plane would have the same energy as approximately 6.3 pounds of TNT (note that I used the Truther's figures, and subtracted fuel from the equation).
At the estimated 402 miles per hour that the Twin towers were hit at, (an eminently reasonable estimate, because that's the usual fight speed of such an aircraft), it would have about same energy as just over a ton of TNT. Assuming a 45% loss of energy as per the Truther's figures again, we still have approximately 1167.46 pounds of TNT.
If I throw a f*cking beer can at your head at 400 miles an hour, it doesn't matter that it's a f*cking beer can. In fact, it's beer canness makes it worse for your head, because it's going to come apart and dump all of that energy into your witless dome. And even the skull of a 911 truther isn't thick enough to survive that. The same principle applies to the twin towers and the aircraft.

Add fuel to the mix, and the kinetic energy equation gets worse. Then the fuel catches fire and burns at a temperature that robs the steel of it's structural strength.