Zero Percent Failure is the Acceptable Rate for Self Defense

In the President’s speech of January 5th, 2016, one of the items he spoke about taking action on was using federal money to help fund the development of “smart guns” with the following words used as the underlying reasoning:

We need to develop new technologies that make guns safer. If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?

If there’s an app that can help us find a missing tablet — which happens to me often, the older I get — if we can do it for your iPad, there’s no reason we can’t do it with a stolen gun. If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure they can’t pull a trigger on a gun.

In answering these (what one can only assume were supposed to be rhetorical) questions, I’d simply point the reader to this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or even this (in the interest of promoting my own writing, and to illustrate the basic reality that when one relies on a software layer to control or access a physical device that can have deadly effects if misused, one better be able to rely on that software 100% of the time, in any and all conditions).

Setting aside my libertarian notions about the lack of need for government funding to develop such technologies as “smart guns” (which would basically consist of a reminder that the market is free to develop any and all solutions they think they can sell, and they don’t need federal funding to do that), the simple reason that the free market has largely not spent much effort trying to fill this niche is because they do not feel that they will be able to move the product.

Yes, it’s more complicated than that in some instances. For example, such technologies have been built. By multiple vendors. And yet the average American citizen buying a firearm for self-defense hasn’t bought them. And every single solution offered can be defeated, circumvented, or utterly obliterated by a dedicated individual intent to do harm. If Criminal A is willing to shoot Target B, do you think he’s not willing to bust out a power drill after searching YouTube for 5 minutes to find a how-to on destroy an RFID sensor in a smart gun? Or, even more likely, won’t he just instead pick up a stolen non-“smart gun”, of which there are already roughly 310-350 MILLION in the US that are currently legally owned?

Moreover, guns, when purchased and employed for self defense, have to be expected to work 100% of the time. Any software or electronic failure could have catastrophic effects. Imagine, if you will, an intruder breaks into your home, and you don’t have a gun of any sort. Imagine your response is to dial 911 to get the cops to come, however fast they might be able to get to where you live, and now imagine your battery is dead, because you forgot to plug that phone in before you went to sleep, after spending the whole day posting cat pictures or gun control pleas to twitter or whatever website you visit most with that phone. 

Sure, you have a charging cable. Sure, it’s right next to where you put the phone on your nightstand. You plug the phone in, and find yourself surprised that it’s going to need to charge for a while before it can even boot up it’s smart phone operating system, which means it’ll be 30 minutes before you’re making that phone call to the police. Now let’s be generous and say the intruder means to do you harm, but they don’t have a gun, either. They only have a knife. How long do you suppose before you bleed out from a knife wound? Probably about 6 minutes. So you die, then your phone finishes charging, and it is entirely too late for anyone to call the police. Or you don’t die, but you’re almost dead, and your fingers are covered in your own blood, such that when you try using your fingerprint to unlock it, you can’t. You can’t slide the emergency call slider, either, for the same reasons. You relied on a complicated hardware/software solution, and something went wrong.

Is it really any surprise that those of us who have actively taken training to defend ourselves and our families with firearms don’t want to make our firearms more like our smart phones?

“Nobody [but Phoebe Maltz Bovy] Wants To Take Your Guns”

As additional evidence of what we are repeatedly told isn’t the case, in fact, being the case, New Republic ran Phoebe Maltz Bovy’s article articulating a specific desire to “take all the guns” on December 10th. Rather than point out the speciousness of Bovy’s absurdist call for action, I’m going to just assume this is click-baiting on behalf of New Republic, and not meant to be taken seriously by anyone. I think that’s rather generous of me.

For future reference, the difference between “trolling” and “click-baiting” is that, in the case of “click-baiting”, there is a financial motive to sell more ads. That said, trolling seems a less crass and more noble pursuit.’s password icon

The other day was the first I had noticed this:Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 10.49.46 AM

Now, whenever you authenticate (at least on your localhost), has replaced the usual asterisk character for the inverted key symbol while awaiting your password entry.

It’s a very nice touch, though I’m not sure how long it’s been there. Regardless, kudos to the team. Elegant AF. Now, to see if I can dig through the frameworks to figure out how to call up the same functionality for other situations…

Pursue Gun Control at your Own Peril

Eric Meyers at the Liberal Gun Club writes:

So yeah, that happened. As many of us who were paying attention knew, the end game here on that particular right is actually confiscation. As I mentioned in my article about comparing Australia to the US, the difference is we actually have the right to keep and bear arms written into the constitution. Not just the federal constitution, but the constitutions of forty-four states. If you really want to change that, then pursue a constitutional amendment. Get two-thirds of the Congress to agree, and three-fourths of the states to buy in on the federal level – and 44 states to buy in on the state level – then you have it done.

Until that point, the current law of the land is that people can own guns. 30+ percent of Dems admit to owning them, and a larger portion of Reps do. Consider when you’re pushing for expanding gun control to an extreme, that losing 30% of your base ensures that we’ll lose elections.  Have we forgotten President Bill Clinton’s famous 2012 warning? And it doesn’t even have to be because they voted for the other party or a third party – creating massive amounts of voter apathy will certainly get the job done just as well.

The rest of his entry is good, as well, and should be read by those who spend their energy pursuing the elimination of Constitutional rights of their fellow Americans, no matter what their reasons are. As a libertarian, I’m not too concerned about helping the Democratic Party win in the next election cycle, nor am I concerned with helping the Republican Party with the same goal. No matter what, I know that no one who represents my views somewhat fully is going to be elected. Worse still, I live in California, so my legislative and executive branch votes are predictably already in the bank for the party currently pursuing my disarmament, which is an entirely depressing separate issue, altogether.

What I do know is that I will not vote for someone who wants to strip rights away from me because they’re scared of something they fail to understand. I also know that I’m not the only one who feels strongly enough about that subject to go out and vote, and that the number of people with strong feelings in a similar vein will, in the end, outnumber those who feel strongly in the opposite direction.

Subject Matter Expertise

As can be expected these days, the cable news networks are filling the pipelines of media with hour after hour of coverage of the latest “gun-related” tragedy, the terror attack in San Bernardino. And as can be expected, a sizable percentage of the folks invited to run their gobs on said cable news networks are getting a sizable percentage of the facts dead wrong.

CNN’s infographics department ran this image, describing the armament found in the now-dead suspects’ home:


In the event you aren’t remotely familiar with firearms terminology, the very idea that there are “.9mm rounds”, “.223mm rounds” or “.22mm” rounds is laughable. Get out a metric tape measure, and try to see just how tiny these sizes would be. Basic fact checking isn’t for everyone, I guess.

Meanwhile, Gregg Jarrett, a Fox News commentator, described the California-mandated “bullet button” as being a “modification” which allows the gun user to insert the tip of a round of ammunition into it, thus converting the gun from a semi-automatic, legal rifle into a death-spraying full-auto “assault weapon”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The “bullet button” required on Scary Black Rifles in California actually serves one function; it makes standard reloading of a magazine more difficult, by necessitating the use of a tool in order to eject the magazine, above and beyond simply pressing the magazine release button.

You know, I understand that cable news wants to sell ads, so they need to fill the dead air in between those ads with jabbering pertinent to $recent_tragedy, but it wouldn’t be that hard to do a little vetting of the sources they invite to fill that dead air, so as to make sure that people passing themselves off as “subject matter experts” were, at the very least, not completely subject-illiterate. Instead, they’re filling the air with the laughable and absurd rantings of “Subject Matter Know-Nothings”. That doesn’t bode well for the “national conversation” we’re all being beseeched to engage in. There’s a very simple rule that applies; if you don’t know the answer to a question, please take the opportunity to just shut your mouth. And if you’re not sure whether or not you know the answer, I assure you, you don’t.