Saturday, December 04, 2004

Ways things change

I've been thinking about some of the ways things change, and the things that drive the changes.

Right at the moment, firearms are in mind. Lots of people get hung up on the 'guns are bad' idea and either cannot or won't see it any other way.

Once, armies were a core of nobles and attendants, supported by lots of peasants and slaves. When going to war they often took a lot of peasant levies along, but they were mostly for work parties and to get in the way of the enemy.

Then the gun arrived.

When they stopped being clumsy, unreliable toys, they became essential. First cannon, then individual arms. And they changed armies, and the society they were supported by/created by. It takes years to learn to use a sword and shield well; add in a horse and lance, longer, it's best to grow up learning it(nobles). The bow is the same, years of practice to become skilled enough to be useful. And able to handle a bow strong enough to be really useful in a fight. Think Welsh, and Mongol, growing up with stronger bows every year. /side note: it would be interesting to find out how many people wound up with repetitive-stress injuries; sword and bow and axe practice means a lot of the same motions/
But you can train someone to the point of useful skill with a musket in a few weeks. You don't need untrained peasants to wave sticks now, you need people who can take and follow orders and train to be steady under fire. Long term, that means more than changes in an army, it means changes in the society as well.

A gun means you don't have to be big and strong, or spend at least an hour a day practicing, to be able to protect yourself. Yes, bad guys used guns; they've always used the weapons available. Now you had a weapon that made you able to fight a big bad guy even if you were small. /side note: I don't care what people say about empty-hand martial arts, and stun guns, and batons; anyone who lets a bad guy get within reach, if you don't have to, is a fool. The idea is to protect yourself; leave ideas like 'honorable combat' where they belong, which is not in your head when someone attacks you in your home, or a parking lot, or wherever/

Much has been made of the Japanese being the people 'who gave up the gun' because it didn't suit their warrior ethic. Horsecrap. The Samurai used guns, and very effectively, when it suited them. Where the gun did not suit them was in the hands of peasants; it's hard to be a noble samurai, lopping the heads off insolent peasants, if the peasant can shoot you before you're in reach of your sword. They had already banned peasants having weapons of war, firearms were just included in the ban.

Especially as guns became more generally useful, you could tell more about the relative freedom, and respect for the individual, in a society by the attitude toward them. Many places, only military/police/nobles were allowed them most of the time(peasants; Britain, in contrast, pretty much integrated them as more of the arms a subject was supposed to have/know how to use in time of need (yes, I know they did have some restrictions, especially as to religeon of owners; it was still generally expected that a loyal subject of the crown had the right to arms and self-defense. It wasn't until the 1900's that British law began restricting the ownership of arms from honest subjects)

For a lot of people who emigrated to North America, it was a given that you would possess arms, and practice with them. It was considered important enough that when the 2nd Amendment was first proposed, most states though it unnecessary; the right of free men to arms seemed so basic to them that they thought it didn't even need to be mentioned. A couple of states insisted they would not ratify the Constitution unless it was, and so- thank you, founders- we have the 2nd Amendment. Otherwise we might well have gone the way of Britain and Canada and Australia.

This is a short & dirty bit of thought on the matter, but I think it holds true.
I may add to it later.

Status of the world

Well, Bambi is still in the forest, little bugger evaded me this time. (But wait 'till next time, hahahahahhaa)

We've now had several days of below-freezing lows, so hopefully I won't have to mow again. This does mean getting some gas stabilizer to keep the carb in the mower from gumming up over the winter. I may add some to the bike also, just to be on the safe side.
Interesting thing about Oklahoma, in the middle of winter you can get days where, with jacket & gloves, you can ride comfortably; sometimes chaps help. So I don't like to take it out of commission for the season, since I may get some chances to ride.

Cats are insane (see TwoLumps) A dog might decide "I'm gonna go check out the other room" and wander off to do it. A cat jumps up and screams "I've gotta be somewhere else RIGHT NOW!!!" and takes off like you just stuck a stun gun to their tail.

I wrote about the baby-killing in the Netherlands. There's probably no country more steadfastly opposed to the death penalty, for any crime, than the Netherlands. But they can quite calmly write a protocol for how to kill infants and children. Oh, those sophisticated Europeans, why can't we be like them?

The U.N. is trying to push new rules ordering /ORDERING, I SAY!/ that no country can take any kind of military action, no matter what, without U.N. approval. This from an organization that won't take action to stop actual genocides. "We won't do anything about the murder of your citazens, but we won't approve you doing anything, either!" This is one of the reasons why any U.S. politician who says we should subordinate ourselves to the U.N. should be thrown out of office- possibly at the end of a rope.
Further on this, the U.N. has been trying for years to totally ban the ownership of 'small arms' by private citazens of any country. They include all handguns, rifles and shotguns in that category. A big part of their reasoning is that this would keep insurgents from acting against existing governments.
Think about that; no matter how corrupt, cruel, oppressive a government is, the U.N. would rather have it 'stable' than see people have a chance to rebel against it. Oh, no, you have to to through the U.N. to do something about it! We won't act, especially if there's money in not acting, but they damn sure don't want the peasants to do anything about it.
Personal opinion, you have two things at work here. One is the attitude of an organization to gather power to itself no matter the consequences to anyone else. And I think the other is the carryover from a lot of European/royalist/communist attitudes that you cannot let the commoners do anything without approval. The mess in Bosnia was one demonstration of this, I think; remember all the countries that wanted someone(else) to do something, but at the mention of giving arms to people to protect themselves they practically gave birth to purple cows? They'd rather have seen that go on for years than actually 'allow' anyone arms with which to defend themselves. The U.N. has that attitude and is continually trying to make it impossible for anyone to do anything without their approval.
Screw the U.N.

I've got a big holly bush at each front corner of the house, practically covered with berries. I need to prune them back, but I'll wait 'till spring; the berries make the birds happy.

Have you ever actually moved through a house with a sword, seeing how you'd use one in the event of a burglar? I'll take firearms, thank you.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Stick that fork in Britain again

Check out Nanny Knows Best, for the latest in how the all-knowing minions of government are making sure the British subject is properly controlled- er, taken care of.

Can't trust peasants to change their own light bulbs, you know.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Up-to-date European Healthcare

At Wizbang, found this.

I am at a loss. That a society can slide to this and simply take it in stride...

Both my kids were premature. Both of them might well have been murdered by these 'doctors' because of their health problems. They are 22 and 20 now, and doing quite well.

If some doctor had informed me that he killed my child because 'their health problems would have kept them from having a proper life', or I found out about it later, said doctor better have his will made out. Because I would have killed him. No question.

Someone once pointed out that if a government does not/refuses to protect citazens from crime, the citazens have a right to take the law into their own hands. Well, if doctors/government decide they can kill your child and you have no say because
"A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so rests with doctors"
then a parent has the right to take what actions are necessary to protect their children. And other's children.

Yes I'm writing this in the heat of the moment. I hope I never lose that heat at the idea of such things being done.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Life do keep things busy

The weather has now dried out a bit, no rain for a few days, but with temperatures bouncing between 20's-30's for lows and 40's & 50's for highs, alternating dry north winds and humid southerly winds, the ground isn't going to dry out anytime soon. This means, among other things, that the grass will keep growing /I may have to mow again/ and the ground will remain soft, making it hard to mow in some places. Most of the time I could get out to chase deer, it was wet enough, or another front coming through, that the critters were bedded down and not moving. And the jacket that feels so nice in the morning may be damn hot in the afternoon.

I have a niece who in the past has had liver trouble. She's now basically in liver failure, as I understand it, and they're setting up to transfer her to Pittsburg. There's a world-class transplant center here in town, but the doctor they want to use is in Pittsburg, so...

So far, grocery shopping hasn't been too bad; either I've been there before/after the crowd, or the crowd is at the other end of the store. It won't last, but it's nice while it does.

I was going to send in a target for Neanderpundit's postal match, but with the above stuff combined with work, there won't be time/weather to get to the range. Dammit.

At least Day by Day is back up.

Monday, November 29, 2004

"Can I search your vehicle?"

Kim du Toit has a link to a story about a Brit who was asked if the cops could search his vehicle for 'training purposes'. They arrested him for having a Swiss Army knife in his case. That's in Britain, where owning damn near anything is illegal anymore, but similar things happen here.

A lot of agencies/cops are real big on "Do you have any guns/drugs/whatever in your car? Can I search it?". If you say yes, anything- ANYTHING- they may find can be used against you. A lot of them don't care if you're traveling through, and your offense is not having a legal firearm cased properly according to local/state law, they'll bust you.
And if you say no...
I've heard far too many stories- including from people in the law enforcement community- about how they bully/threaten people to push them into saying yes. And they can make you sit on the side of the road for a time while they summon a drug dog to sniff around the car, and if he alerts on anything- including prescription meds- they'll use that as cause to take the car apart. And from what I've heard, they'll use the various criminal history databases in ways they're not supposed to be used to try to find 'cause' for a search.

There's far too many people with badges out there who have gone completely into the "us vs. them" attitude toward EVERYONE; and it's costing all the way around. The cops look with distrust/contempt on anyone not a member of the club; citazens treated with obvious contempt tend to return it; and someone who gets their vehicle taken apart because they dared say 'no' to a search are going to have a bad attitude toward law enforcement ever after in many cases. Doesn't do to tell them 'it was just one jerk', because after that the attitude of other cops that they may have glossed over in the past now becomes obvious and resented.

In some ways the Patriot Act has made it worse. Yes, I know there's no record of it being actually abused(that I know of), but the fact that some agencies can do damn near anything and blanket it under that- even theoretically- really pisses a lot of people off. The actions of a lot of the TSA people at airports is a good example; they can do something really egregious, and if you object you can be arrested. Doesn't matter that they were wrong, WE'RE THE TSA, PEOPLE, and you better put up with anything we do or else! And it is abused, and people rightly resent it, and that takes things further downhill.

Personally, I would never agree to a search of my vehicle. If they think they have legal reason to search my vehicle- or house, for that matter- they can damn well get a search warrant. I know I'm not a legal scholar, and there's so many complications in this/one of the damn problems/ that there's probably ways they can search without a warrant. But I'll not agree to help them, and if they go outside the bounds I will file a complaint, or get a lawyer if I think it's warranted.

I keep remembering Martha Stewart went to prison for "lying to a federal investigator". She wasn't under oath, wasn't in a courtroom, but they were able to convince a jury that she 'lied' to an investigator in an informal interview about a crime they can't prove she committed.

Ain't all this wonderful?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

This ain't dissent

Insty has a link /no, I'm not going to put it up/ to a post saying the goal for the left is to make sure we lose in Iraq.

This clown is specifically wanting to see the terrorists and mideast Nazis win.

As somebody put it, there's a big difference between dissenting and being on the other side.

Ok, this is amazing!

This article tells about a woman who is walking, years after a spinal cord injury, after therapy using umbilical cord stem cells.

If this pans out to be more than a one-time thing, it's bloody wonderful. I've read that fetal stem cells have not really worked out well, but umbilical cells are a different matter. They seem to work much better, and don't involve the ethical problems with fetal cells.

I hope this works out.

Found at Instapundit