Saturday, October 07, 2017

I agree with the NRA

I agree with the NRA.
There’s no reason your right to life should take priority over my liberty. There’s no moral reason “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” actually have to happen in that order. Intrinsic human value only exists when we have liberty. That’s why I value people in, say Venezuela, or Burma, or Saudi Arabia or Russia, or Cuba, or New Jersey less than I do people in societies with liberty. I can’t pretend to value life without valuing the means to let me end that life really, really quickly when I’m walking home drunk and you’re black, or wearing a hoodie or something. No, clearly the Founding Fathers had absolute rights in mind when they wrote the Bill of Rights, otherwise the Supreme Court wouldn’t have ruled 5-4 in the Heller decision that all that “well-regulated militia” stuff was bullshit and doesn’t count when you strictly read the original text of the document. I mean, clearly what they had in mind wasn’t the single-shot muzzle loaded weapons of the day, it was the future of semi-automatic assault weapons that can be modified so they’re functionally automatic for less than the cost of my phone. Morally and Constitutionally, I agree with the NRA.
I also agree with the NRA on the economics. We know that federal entitlement systems like Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security face serious financial problems in the future. The only way around that is to cut the benefits to people, unjustly taking from those who have been paying into the system for years, or to cut the number of people. We can take as a given that the partisan gridlock in Congress isn’t going to find a real solution to this, but we, the greater American public, have it within out power to solve this problem for ourselves.
In addition, we know America is slipping in the international rankings. The Legatum Institute in London released their 10th annual global Prosperity Index last November and in their rankings of the top healthcare systems around the world, Israel broke the top 10. Israel, where a good day is one where you can eat a slice of pizza without a suicide bombing. Japan broke the top 5. The US didn’t even place. In their overall ranking of prosperity, the US ranked 17’th behind New Zealand (where a minister got hit the face with a dido), Canada (who will soon be building a wall to restrict illegal immigration from the south), and Luxembourg (which I’m betting you can’t find on a map).  Let’s make America great again. We have to get #1 spot in something. Let’s make it defense spending and incarcerated citizens and gun violence. A couple of days ago NPR reported that the US ranks 9’th in per capita income and average education level. This is sad, but it’s also not going to change any time soon. Let’s solve for the things that we can solve for, and win where we know we can win. In comparison to say, education or healthcare, or average income, we can get the #1 spot in the area of firearms. The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reports that the US had an average of 3.85 violent gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2016. By comparison, El Salvador, the world leader in violent gun deaths, had an average of 42.77 per 100,000 people. And we have a lot more people than El Salvador. That’s a lot more room for growth. If we can get guns into churches, pre-schools, government buildings, nuclear power plants, and beaches, we can bring that number way up. This is within our reach. Let’s Make America Great Again! And in case you’re curious, the Philippines, where the government sanctions extrajudicial killings for drug offenders only had 7.42 violent gun deaths per 100,000 people. Imagine if someone is overdosing and instead of giving them a shot of Narcan, we just shot them. We could pass Duterte like Kobe dunking on Danny DeVito. This is doable America.
We also have to consider our personal privacy. In an age where billions of Yahoo accounts can get hacked, where millions upon millions of individuals have their personal details compromised because Equifax doesn’t have a reasonable process for patching Apache Struts (or just the fact that they’re fucking using Apache Struts, are you kidding me, what are you, running that shit on WinNT too?!?!), where even our own government can give up personnel information from OPM to China and secret NSA toolkits to Wikileaks, we have to ensure our personal privacy is safe. That’s why it’s great that nobody know how many guns there actually are in the US. I mean a couple of ivory-tower liberal academics think they have some idea. Like the BBC reports, we kind of think there’s about 300 million guns in the US, but nobody really knows. And we think about a third of the population owns them, but we’re not really sure. That keeps you vigilant, makes you practice your situational awareness. I mean sure you might like your neighbors, but you don’t really know them and they don’t really know you either. Let’s keep it that way. You might get my Social Security number but not even the ATF, where Firearms is actually in the name, knows how many firearms there actually are. Tangential note, how come it’s the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives but it’s the “ATF”. This is government failure at it’s worst, they can’t even get an acronym right. And you might get my credit card number from some hacked list on github, which you could then use to buy a gun, but hey, that card’s under my name, not yours, your privacy remains intact, just the way it should be. That’s why the Dickey Amendment has been in force for so long. Privacy. Blocking the government from even doing research into gun violence ensures that my private information doesn’t end up in some report somewhere that can be hacked. I mean sure, it makes it a lot more difficult to get evidence on actual gun violence but that’s a small price to pay for my privacy. This is the government actually doing what it should for once. The ATF gets something like 1,000 requests each day for gun traces, but federal law ensures that their database is non-searchable.  Records are securely kept away from any computer system and all on paper. How you gonna hack paper motherfucker? In order to protect my personal privacy from online thieves, I agree with the NRA.
I also don’t like people. There’s too many of them. They make a lot of noise and they keep voting for hypocrites and morons so I’m all in favor of doing what we can to have less of them. I thus agree with the NRA. Hey, side note, did you know there’s an actual medical / legal definition for the word moron? Yep. Psychologists used it in court cases to describe someone with an IQ between 51 and 70. “Imbecile” was used to describe someone with an IQ between 26 and 50 and “idiot” for someone with an IQ between 0 and 25. So in the Buck v Bell decision, which hasn’t actually been overturned and is therefore still set precedent, when the court says “three generations of imbeciles are enough” in order to justify forcibly sterilizing a rape victim, that word has an actual meaning. And when the Secretary of State calls the President a ‘moron’, that may mean he has access to medical records the rest of us haven’t seen yet. Anyway, in 2015, the Annual Review of Public Health published an article which noted that 64% of suicides in 2012 were gun related deaths. Restricting firearms access for the suicidal would mean unnecessary risk for pedestrians beneath tall buildings, bridges and other easily accessible jumpable locations.  Quoting the BBC (Note to Ted Cruz, that’s the British news agency, not the kind of BBC you ‘like’ on Twitter) “So many people die annually from gunfire in the US that the death toll between 1968 and 2011 eclipses all wars ever fought by the country. According to research by Politifact, there were about 1.4 million firearm deaths in that period, compared with 1.2 million US deaths in every conflict from the War of Independence to Iraq.” Clearly we can’t rely on war for population control. The Council on Foreign Affairs reports that between 2001 and 2011 an average of 517 people were killed each year by terrorists. If you exclude 2001 (because of 9/11) that number drops to an average of just 31 deaths per year. In the US, there’s only an average of 19 shark attacks per year and on average there’s a fatal one only every two years. Clearly sharks and terrorists are just fucking lazy. But the US Department of Justice reports that between the same 2001 to 2011 period, we averaged 11,385 firearms related deaths each year. Now I will admit that according to the CDC, America averages about 610,000 deaths each year from heart disease, but we keep doing all this goddamn medical research, so who knows how long that’ll last? And the unfairly named Dickey Amendment prevents the CDC from even studying guns, so we don’t really have a good comparison here. More research is clearly needed. It’s too bad our government can’t do that research.   No, I don’t like people and simply as a matter of efficiency and practicality, I have to agree with the NRA.
I believe in stability. I like patterns, I like consistency. The BBC reports that in 2015 there were 372 mass shootings in the US, that’s just a little over one each day for every day of the year. Incluing two on Christmas of 2015 (Florida and Alabama). Jerry Seinfeld had this idea called “don’t break the chain”. Basically he’d mark on a calendar every day he worked on his material and used that as a motivational tool to avoid procrastination. The longer the chain the more painful it would be to miss a day and ‘break the chain’ of work.  You see it today with kids who hand off their phones to friends when they’re going to be outside of coverage areas so they can keep their social media streaks. I don’t want to see us get lazy and complacent. If we start restricting access to military style weapons it’s going to be that much harder to keep our streak going. So I agree with the NRA. On a related note, in 2015 the Mass Shootings Tracker records five separate mass shootings on the 4’th of July, 2015. I can think of no greater celebration of our nation and its freedoms than the exercise of our Second Amendment rights and only two people died for the expression of those freedoms so like, way less than in some half-assed, quasi natural disaster like a hurricane in Puerto Rico.

And keep in mind, the NRA always says that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And they're right. The shooter in Las Vegas shot himself before the police entered the room, thus stopping a killer of five dozen and an attempted murderer of hundreds. The NRA must think he's a really good guy!