Defending the Castle

My first house was eight-hundred and twenty square feet, in a “working class” neighborhood beyond the city limits at the edge of hundreds of acres of woods.

I was home alone one day. My days off were Thursday and Sunday, so this would have been a Thursday afternoon.

My (at-the-time) wife had the car with her (the other one must have been in the shop) so it looked like no one was home.

I was back in the bedroom and heard the front door open and someone come in. I glanced out the window but the car wasn’t there so it wasn’t my wife getting home early.

I grabbed the .22 rifle sitting in the corner and walked to the living room and the front door.

There, in the middle of the room looking a bit shocked, was a boy of around 10 years old. I wasn’t pointing the rifle at him, but I had it ready and asked what he was doing in my house. He stammered that he was looking for me. I said “Well, here I am. What do you want?

He couldn’t come up with a plausible story and I told him to get out and to never set foot on my property again. As far as I know, he didn’t.

A couple of weeks later I heard that several houses in the neighborhood had been burgled— with TVs being the most commonly stolen object. This kid wasn’t big enough to carry most TVs of the era (mid to late 1980s), but he was big enough to scope out houses for an older sibling or a parent. I was glad I was paying attention and glad I looked scary enough that I didn’t seem worth the risk.

But I did start locking the door when I was home alone.

My yard eventually became scary enough that no one wanted to come near my house, anyway. Not even the meter readers for the electric utility, who told my dad– their boss– that a Satan worshiper lived in that house. They came to this conclusion because there were skulls and strange “ritual objects” in the yard.  It turns out they were scared of my tomahawk block and my sling target (which was a cow skull on a crude tripod). Plus, I didn’t mow except for a narrow strip right around the house (I’ve never believed in mowing our lawns). Whatever works, right?

Some defense is active and some is passive. I support the use of both.

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“Human-Made Weapons”

I recently saw an anti-gun bigot on Quora make the desperate claim that there can be no right to human-made weapons because those weapons didn’t even exist until a few hundred years ago. He doesn’t believe anyone has the right to own and to carry a gun, and is apparently ignorant of human prehistory, as well.

What is so different about a human-made weapon or any other human-made artifact? How does its history bear on this issue?

And does he mean all human-made weapons, or only guns? Does the fact that it is carried instead of being a physical part of the body make the difference?

Does a rock count since it can be used as a weapon without being altered? What of pointy sticks? Or fire? What if I carry an antler with me all the time?– it’s a deer’s weapon.

Humans don’t (generally) grow horns, antlers, claws, hooves, or fangs. People of his sort believe we should be punished for “only” having a brain, instead. A brain that allows us to design, make, and use weapons which don’t grow on our bodies. He’s insane.

Want to bet he still believes there’s a right to health care or justice? Both of those only exist because humans created them– just like guns.

Does he believe you have the right to not be a slave? The recognition of the right to not be enslaved is a relatively recent discovery. Would he toss that one, too, because it’s not “old enough”?

You know he’d whine it’s not the same thing.

And, the fact remains, the real issue is that there is no right to forbid weapons to anyone under any pretext. That “right” doesn’t exist and can’t be created. Not by legislation or majority opinion.

You just can’t reason with bigots. They hate what they hate because they hate it. Politics makes people stupid.

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Going to Work on Doing What I Should

Happy new year and happy new decade. I know, it doesn’t really mean anything to say it’s a “new year” or a “new decade” since it’s arbitrary, but it feels significant — partly because it’s treated as though it is. I like excuses to celebrate so I’m fine with it.

The winter solstice is a natural time for a year to begin, as would be the other solar divisions of the year: the summer solstice or one of the equinoxes.

The winter solstice was originally celebrated as the new year’s dawn because this is when the sun stops moving farther south and the daylight hours stop getting shorter. This makes it the time of renewal and hope — as it was to our ancestors who recognized their dependence on the natural world more than we modern humans seem to.

This is why there is a cluster of happy holidays around this time of year. The winter solstice is the logical choice for a new beginning, even if we celebrate a little late. Better late than never.

The new year is simply the winter solstice wrap-up party.

Regardless of why, when, or how we celebrate a new year, this event gives just about everyone an excuse to reflect on the year past and plan for a better year to come.

This year I’m thinking about one important point I learned since the last new year: that it’s better to listen than to speak.

Over the past year, I came to realize how hungry people are to tell their stories. All you have to do is be willing to listen to them. With the rush of modern life, and with everyone’s nose seemingly stuck to their phone screen, listening to someone is one of the simplest acts of compassion you can perform.

The flip side of this observation is that it’s pointless to speak if someone doesn’t really want to listen. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. I can explain what I mean, as completely and thoroughly as humanly possible, but I can’t make others understand if they don’t really want to, nor can I make them accept what I’m saying — even if they understand — if it’s not what they want to hear.

I don’t always do what I know I should, but I’ll keep working on it. Next year at this time I’ll look back and see how I’m doing and see what new things I’ve learned.

Onward into 2020.

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Was a Crime Committed?

Someone I know was told to show up for grand jury service this morning. So this seems like a good time for a link-heavy refresher on what is and isn’t a crime.

No victim; no crime.

Unless there is a “somebody” who can be pointed to (or specifically named) who had their life, liberty, or property harmed, there is no crime. There is nothing to take to court regardless of the legislation alleged to have been violated, and no matter how much evidence there may be that the legislation was violated, or how “serious” the employees of the state seem to think the violation to be. Somebody was murdered, somebody was raped, somebody was robbed, somebody was intentionally hurt, somebody was kidnapped, somebody was archated against– crime. Otherwise, no crime.

With a bit of a qualifier I’ll get to momentarily, accidents can’t be crimes even if somebody was harmed. There has to be intent for it to be a crime. The courtroom is not the place to decide on restitution for accidental harm done.

However, negligence which accidentally results in harm to somebody might be a crime in some cases, depending on how likely the act was to cause harm and how easily that harm could be foreseen by rational people. Hypothetical example: If I’m shooting at a paper target on the other side of a crowded room at my house and just as I squeeze the trigger someone steps into the bullet’s path, I was criminally negligent. Shooting the person might have been an accident, but any reasonable person could have foreseen the result of my action. It would be different if I were shooting at a target outdoors, having made sure of my target and the surroundings, and a time traveler suddenly materialized in my bullet’s path. In most cases, it’s not that obvious, though. Since this is subjective, tread carefully in this area. It’s always more ethical to let the guilty “get away with it” than to punish even one innocent person. And restitution instead of punishment is always the ethical choice, especially in the case of accidents or negligence.

Being offended doesn’t qualify as being harmed.

The State isn’t a “somebody” and neither is society.

Possession of anything, absent someone besides the someone doing the possessing being specifically harmed by that thing, can never be a crime.

The State’s courtrooms are probably not the proper place to seek justice even in cases of actual crimes.

To be better informed, learn from the Fully Informed Jury Association.

And this is why they’ll never let me on a jury.

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The Modifier

If there’s one trait which characterizes me, it’s that I modify things. I can’t help it. If I see something that I believe could be better, and modifying it to make it better seems to be within my abilities, I try.

When I was a kid this often meant I broke things and then felt ashamed.

Now I’m more likely to recognize when something is beyond my abilities– but not always. I still break things.

This trait is why my flashlights all have LED bulbs in them now. It’s why my vehicle has Fischer cup holders (not an affiliate link), why I made litter boxes for the cats, why I made myself a standing desk years ago, and why I can never seem to leave “well enough” alone.

Most of my former bosses seemed to appreciate this quality as I was good at solving problems with what I could scrounge up and modify.

But I don’t stop at physical things.

When the English language seems inadequate to a task, I coin a new word. “Archate” is not the first by any means, nor was it the last, but it is the one I most hope will eventually catch on.

The reason I coined “archate” is that I really like the Zero Aggression Principle as worded by L. Neil Smith, but I knew it could be better. It was essential, but not sufficient because it didn’t cover everything humans have no right to do– everything which violates the equal and identical rights of their fellow humans. Yes, some people try to define theft, fraud, etc. as “aggression”, but it’s a stretch.

The ZAP, in my opinion, needed modification so I searched dictionaries for a word which suited it better than “aggression” and found none.

So I coined a word and modified the ZAP to become the Zero Archation Principle. Did I break it or make it better? I can’t know the answer to that, but I can say with complete confidence that I don’t feel any shame over my modification this time.

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Unshakable Faith in The State

A couple of nights ago, an odd confluence of things made me consider my statist family members.

I’m currently watching The Man in the High Castle after I accidentally subscribed to Amazon Prime for a month, and then I ran across this piece of fiction in The Voluntaryist, and that combination started some wheels a-turning.

Had Germany won WWII, would my parents have grown up to be loyal Nazis? Believing the Bible told them that God had put that government over them and it was their duty to obey and be good citizens?

It really seems as though nothing can shake their faith in the U.S. feral government and its escalating police state. They may oppose certain policies or even most politicians, but they never question the institution of political government itself. They refuse to consider that the U.S. government might not be ethically superior to all others or that perhaps political government isn’t necessary at all. And, of course, they are enthusiastic supporters of the State’s reproductive organs. They are good Americans in all the ways the U.S. government wants.

So, had they grown up immersed in a slightly different political environment, would they manage to question its legitimacy when they can’t seem to do that with this one now? Would any “patriotic American” be able to do that?

I wonder…

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