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petronius's Journal
petronius's Journal
August 31, 2013

"Do we need them?" isn't the question, the question ought to be "why not?"

Leaving guns for a moment, I will submit that any law or policy restricting any item or behavior ought to be based in a compelling societal goal. In other words, we should never ban anything unless there's a good reason for the ban - and a mere 'nobody really needs this action or item' isn't a good reason.

In the case of these particular rifles, there is no compelling societal reason to keep them out: they are not more dangerous or lethal than any other semi-automatic rifle (despite their 'military' background*), equivalent and identical rifles are widely available, and these are disproportionately under-represented in crime and safety issues. Public safety and crime prevention certainly are compelling societal interests, but the re-import ban doesn't serve those goals in any way.

Guns are common and legitimate items to own, and there's no real reason to object to this particular category of them. People want them (e.g. for target shooting and historical purposes), there's no reason to prevent them, and so the re-import ban is pure theatre (even if the act is "we have too many guns, lets block this tiny set of them to make a statement&quot . It has nothing to do with safety or crime, and is therefore bad policy...

* Elsewhere in the thread I've argued that the nonspecific use of "military" and "military style" is misleading in this context, as in others.

August 30, 2013

When the OP says "more military-style weapons on the streets", why do you

think that phrasing was selected? What impression do you think it was intended to convey? And based on the answer to those, do you honestly think it's "perfectly accurate" in correctly discussing the subjects of this re-import ban?

You know as well as I do what the purpose of the phrasing is, and it's not to be informative. Rather, the purpose is to confuse people into believing that these pre-Vietnam-era semi-automatic rifles are in fact the select-fire infantry rifles seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Which, we know, they are not. (But I'm actually not sure the OP knows they are not - looking elsewhere in the thread it seems he thinks these are modern infantry rifles. Which just goes to show that the spin and deceptive framing has worked.)

You also should know perfectly well that it's irrelevant to this discussion whether or not people like or desire military style or even 'badass looking' guns, because that taste - no matter how much you abhor it or how icky it makes you feel - is irrelevant to policy.

But the question still remains: if a rifle is functionally identical to many typical hunting rifles, and even looks like them, why does it matter that they are "military surplus"? In what possible way does banning the re-import of such rifles affect crime or safety, when exactly equivalent firearms are available from private dealers and directly from the government itself? The answer, obviously, is that it serves no purpose other than theatre, and the emphasis on 'military' is intended solely to influence policy opinions through fear and misdirection...

August 30, 2013

The re-import ban is pure theater, and will have no effect at all on

crime and public safety. The rifles in question are no different from many models that can be purchased today, are still sold directly to civilians through the CMP, are rarely if ever used in crime, and are largely of interest to collectors with a historical bent as well as target shooters. No useful purpose whatsoever is served by banning their re-importation.

I would suggest that "military" and "military-style" are among the most misused and misleading buzzwords in the gun control discussion. It seems that gun control advocates want to conjure up an image of a modern battlefield - with machine guns, heavy weapons, RPGs, and all that carnage - but the rifles in question have nothing to do with that anymore. If a rifle is functionally equivalent to to a bunch of other typical civilian rifles, what is the relevance of whether or not it's military surplus?

August 24, 2013

Truthout recently had an article about offshore fracking in CA

A Truthout investigation has confirmed that federal regulators approved at least two hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," operations on oil rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of California since 2009 without an updated environmental review that critics say may be required by federal law.

The offshore fracking operations are smaller than the unconventional onshore operations that have sparked nationwide controversy, but environmental advocates are still concerned that regulators and the industry have not properly reviewed the potential impacts of using modern fracking technology in the Pacific outer continental shelf.

--- Snip ---


And I also found a nice GoogleMap of offshore platform locations:


And here's a cool map of fracking locations in general:


From what I can tell, though, the platforms near SLO are not those where fracking has occurred (yet). And I'd be pretty leary of attributing any individual quake here to human causes; 4.2 quakes occur quite commonly without any help from us. But I agree that these fracking developments are advancing without proper oversight and analysis, and that is a cause for concern.

Hope the crows settled down without being too annoying...
August 3, 2013

It's shocking how bad some schools can be on this topic. These aren't

even cases of 'unfounded' accusations, this story references cases where the fact of the sexual assault or rape was supported to the satisfaction of Yale (despite their mealy-mouthed euphemisms). And they still came down with these non-punishments. IMO, there is only one appropriate administrative response to a finding of "nonconsensual sex" ( ) or "nonconsensual acts" ( ) - expulsion. Criminal proceedings should be on top of that...

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Inveniet quod quisque velit; non omnibus unum est, quod placet; hic spinas colligit, ille rosas.

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