Two big events today. Went and picked up my concealed carry permit, and bought my first handgun (also my first gun, period). I decided on a Springfield XDm Compact 9mm. Why this gun? I wanted something that was reasonably forgiving to shoot but compact enough to conceal. It also has an ambidextrous mag release, which is nice since I am sinister (my favorite term for a left handed person). With the neverending caliber wars, I initially leaned toward buying a .40 cal, what decided me on 9mm was the price. Shot placement matters, and I can afford to practice 25% more with 9mm over .40.
Next project: Figuring out how to carry the thing while I’m backpacking. Seems like there are 100 different solutions out there, and all of them sorta suck.
The paranoia over illegal immigration has gotten ridiculous. They are treated as “the other”, and are frequently treated as if they don’t have any rights at all. Even those who are fine with “criminals” being treated like this should be appalled at the treatment of American citizens by the US border patrol agents. Mr. Richman at C4SS said it better than I can. Go read what they wrote.
Borderlands: What’s Happening to America?
“This intolerable condition should outrage every American. Have we been reduced to a society of scared children who would rather have government agents harassing us wherever we go than take our chances with freedom?”
John Kerry has headed to the Middle East to solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue. His latest ceasefire proposal contains this gem:
1. A one-week, temporary cease-fire, during with Israel Defense Forces troops will not leave the Gaza Strip entirely and will continue to locate and destroy Hamas tunnels.
That’s a very strange definition of a ceasefire, Mr. Kerry. Usually a ceasefire means both sides stop attacking.
An armed doctor in Pennsylvania just stopped a shooter. The assailant was a psych patient who entered the office with his caseworker, drew, and fired on the case worker and the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist drew from concealment, and shot the assailant three times. The hospital immediately rushed the assailant to surgery, prognosis is pending. Good shooting, doctor. I’ll need to do a post on concealed carry as a nurse (and why I don’t plan on carrying at work) soon.
Against the State: A Libertarian Manifesto, by Lewellyn Rockwell. I felt this work had several good points. It has one of my favorite summations of the principles of libertarian anarchism:
The anarcho-capitalist society demands of the public only that it acknowledge the basic moral ideas common to just about everyone: do not harm innocent people, and do not steal. Everything we believe follows from these simple principles.”
He also sums up my journey over the past few months – “What’s the difference between a minarchist and an anarchist? About six months.” I’m about three months in to looking at these issues in depth, and may be running a bit ahead of schedule!
I was also disappointed in his long section on environmentalism, which seemed to spend much more time demonizing the environmentalist movement and trivializing the issues environmentalists find concerning than it did in discussing how an anarchist society can provide effective solutions on these issues. He clearly falls in the “drill, baby, drill” camp of environmental policy, and seems to see no value personally in preserving wilderness. Toward the end of the chapter, he does briefly acknowledge that some may want to preserve wilderness, and that libertarianism provides an effective mechanism to do so through collective purchases of the land, but his attitude that this is a silly waste of money still seems to leak through. He also tied the environmental movement directly to Nazis, an argument that will be much more effective in driving people who care about the environment away from libertarianism than it will be in bringing new people to the movement.
I felt his chapters on war and the war on drugs were much stronger (probably because I agree with him on these!). He strongly argues against the racism inherent in the war on drugs. He also advances arguments that the war on drugs harms people far beyond those who end up imprisoned, stating that it has been used as the primary excuse in widespread restrictions on civil liberty and our right to privacy.
Overall, I felt the book provided a pretty basic overview of libertarian thought. This is unfortunate, because I feel like its tone makes it an ineffective book in bringing new people to the movement. Its arguments will already be familiar to anyone who has explored libertarian anarchism to any real degree.
I don’t get why so many people support Israel in the current conflict. The immediate trigger for the assault on Gaza was the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli settler teens. The Israelis describe the kidnappers as “members of Hamas,” but when Hamas is the government of Gaza, blaming the full organization for the actions of a couple members is like blaming the Democrats collectively for any crimes that happen in the USA. The responsible people are those who perpetrated the act and those who supported them in the act, not the larger political organization that was unaware of – and have condemned – their actions.
The response was a massive crackdown throughout Gaza, the arrest of hundreds without warrant, charges, or trials. Israel has a long history of torturing and abusing Palestinians in their custody, so there is good reason to believe these people are being treated very poorly. Of course, the only abuse that got the American media excited was when the Israeli police accidentally pummeled an American citizen – because Americans are the only people who count.
The Palestinians attempted to strike back after this crackdown, firing rockets toward the Israelis. Their accuracy is abysmal, but you fight a war with the weapons you have, not the weapons you want. In return, Israel launched a massive bombing and shelling campaign, killing hundreds of civilians and a handful of Hamas militants. They have shelled hospitals, schools, and shelters. They have killed hundreds of kids. Destroyed homes, infrastructure, and resources. Now they say they will not stop until they have destroyed all the tunnels and weapons in Gaza. Since all you need to make a rocket is some construction explosives, some pipe, and a garage workshop, the level of oppression this would entail is abominable. All you need for a tunnel is a shovel.
But the right wing of this country, which strongly supports civilian gun ownership, laws against illegal immigration (what do you think the Israeli “settlers” are?), and supposedly supports individual rights, cheers with each bomb that kills a Palestinian. “Israel has a right to defend itself.” But Palestinians have no rights at all.
All my patients were alert, oriented, and pleasant. A rare night indeed! I even got a thank you card from a former patient. Nights like this make me love my job.