This and That, Libertarian Commentary #16-11E By Nathan Barton
Why are traffic accidents and fatalities up so much in Montana last year and again this year? Helena Independent Review says that Montana leaders are meeting to figure out what to do, citing potential causes being cheaper fuel, better winter weather, too little patrolling, and apparently more time to travel? Sounds to me like there are a LOT of possible reasons, especially since the death rate is not uniformly increasing across the state. But it also seems to me that once more government is trying to get involved and do things that it cannot really control – just pretend to.
CNS News reported that the Dominican Republic, which is 95% Roman Catholic, wants the current US ambassador, an open homosexual and homosexual activist, and his “husband” to be removed, threatening to declare them persona non grata if the FedGov doesn’t get the pair out.
Shucks, did I miss something? Supposedly our ambassadors and other FedGov personnel in other countries around the world are supposed to be promoting so-called “American Values” of “liberty” and “freedom.” As defined by the current DC regime’s hot points, this includes support for equal rights for women, equal rights for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) females and males, free speech, free trade (not free markets), open elections (but by secret ballot), and opposition to such evils as manmade climate change (formerly global warming), homophobia, religious prejudice, pedophilia, weapons of mass destruction, self-defense (at least that using firearms), and unbridled capitalism. That is quite a list; as I said, did I miss something?
Why do I say that? Because the White House has not asked for ANYthing to punish this evil Dominican Republic; no boycotts, no authorization for use of force to get regime change going, no trade bans, not even a UN resolution condemning this evil action. What is wrong in DC?
NH: House passes jury nullification bill, 184-145. The Tenth Amendment Center tells us, “The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would require courts to inform juries of their right to vote ‘not guilty’ when ‘a guilty verdict will yield an unjust result.’ A coalition of nine representatives, led by Rep. Daniel Itse, introduced House Bill 1270 (HB1270) in January.” Well, that is neat, and hopefully the “Free State” will see its upper house and governor pass the bill, but I don’t bet on it. It is too much of a limit on the power of the Nazgul and the lawyers. Once an accepted part of American jurisprudence, it is now a phantom that many of us pursue but with only slightly more hope than of finding a living unicorn with silky white hair and an IQ close to Mr. Ed’s.
Another piece of good news here. Opera becomes first big browser maker with built-in ad blocker, as reported by Venture Beat. “Opera, the pioneering Web browser developer, is introducing a new version of its desktop computer browser that incorporates ad-blocking features directly into the browser, promising faster page-loading times. Faster loading Web pages, increased privacy and security and a less intrusive web browsing experience are behind the growing demand for ad-blockers. However, their growing popularity is cutting into the growth of online advertising sales.” I like Opera, and am using it more and more in place of the very poor performance I’m getting from Firefox, Chrome, and MIE, but I am sure that the advertisers will find a way around this blocker, too. I do not mind advertising: I grew up with it on broadcast television in the 60s. But there is a natural limit, and I object very much to it taking up 80% of my bandwidth, AND clogging my operating system and hard drive with garbage. Almost as frustrating is the way that adverts are so targeted: I can do a search on something on one browser – something for a friend like “what is a good thread count for bedsheets” – and for the next two weeks I’m flooded with ads for linen from Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, WalMart, Target, and places in California and Pennsylvania I never even heard of. Advertising on-line, as with billboards and free want-ad newspapers, has its own version of the “tragedy of the commons” – abuse and overuse, just as “public grazing land” and “waters of the United States” are overused and destroyed by people who don’t think about it.
This is kind of “old news” by now but I was reminded of it when a liberal correspondent used this as an example of how some parents are so stupid and irresponsible and should be forced to do certain things. In Florida, officials are investigating how 4-year-old who shot mom got the gun. The Boston Herald story says: “Sheriff’s investigators in north Florida were trying to determine how a 4-year-old boy got his hands on the gun he used to shoot his mother as she drove a pickup truck. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Joseph Wells says 31-year-old Jamie Gilt of Jacksonville owns the .45-caliber gun the boy fired Tuesday afternoon. … Wells says Gilt told deputies her son had accidentally shot her. She was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition, she said. Investigators had not been able to interview her, Wells said. … Under Florida law, it is a misdemeanor for someone to store or leave a loaded gun where a child has access to it.” Tom Knapp had noted: “There’s no such thing as an “accidental” shooting absent a defective weapon, but it seems to me the mom has already paid in a very direct way for her firearms negligence.”
I think Tom has the right of it. Apparently they were in a pickup and the child pulled it out of the mom’s purse. Not a whole lot to investigate, really, but always an excuse for a great hoploclastic/hoplophobic headline. Do you suppose that .45-cal pistols are smarter than either 4-year-olds or 9-mm pistols and able to cozen the child into doing the deed? Perhaps the sheriff’s officers will use enhanced interrogation techniques on the gun – or the child? Seriously, this is more than just simple firearms negligence. It is possible (indeed, very likely) that the mom (and dad, assuming there is one at home) failed to teach their child to respect firearms, and maybe let him watch too many TV shows and movies. A four-year-old may not be able to understand death, but CAN understand what happens when a .45-cal round goes through a milk jug filled with water, a watermelon, or a piece of wood, and equate that to what can happen to a human or a car or truck. And if the 4-year-old hasn’t already been taught to stay out of mama’s purse, that is yet another problem. It isn’t just gun negligence, it is bad parenting all the way around.
Mama’s Note: So many things here… First, while teaching children about guns at a young age is important, same as for hot stoves, knives, running out into the street, etc. And the same goes for teaching respect for other people’s property. The fact is that a four year old does not have the cognitive ability to apply those lessons well and requires all the other supervision and “safe storage” measures parents should and mostly do take with all dangerous objects. And for toddlers, almost everything can be dangerous!
Second, this woman demonstrates some serious lack of training herself, and some rather serious carelessness. Leaving a purse in the back seat, as I understand the story, is negligence all by itself – whether it contains a gun or not. Purse carry is not a good idea to start with, as this incident demonstrates, but a woman’s purse usually contains other things dangerous to a young child. Most semi-autos have either a manual or some passive safety features that a four year old should not be able to manipulate. I’d like to know how he managed that, even if he was strong enough to actually pick up and point a .45! Anything is possible, I guess, but this combination really stretches my credibility.
In the end, stupidity is usually it’s own punishment. And this lady paid a bunch – even possibly now becoming a “prohibited person.” Hopefully, she also learned and will improve because hers was mere ignorance and carelessness. Ignorance is the lack of knowledge. Stupidity is the refusal to learn.