Chad Perrin: SOB

15 March 2009

the futility of "gun control"

Filed under: Liberty — apotheon @ 10:17

As I've mentioned in discussion, in response to a couple of recent SOB entries that touch on the subject of "gun control" legislation, I think it's highly unlikely that eliminating all the guns in the world would have any hope of reducing violent crime rates. Eliminating firearms actually eliminates much of the biggest fear violent criminals have: the ability of a would-be victim to defend him/her self from aggressors.

That aside, however, there's also the simple problem that in the real world you simply can't eliminate all the guns in the world, now that they've been invented. It's not even just a logistical problem of trying to track them all so you can round them up once you've outlawed manufacture: there's also the simple fact that outlawing manufacture won't stop manufacture. My friend Jassen commented on this point to me in IMs today. Note that I haven't looked into the specifics of the numbers he mentioned, but they sound about right to me:

First, note that (as he pointed out) setting up a for-profit meth lab is likely to run you about $30,000. Then, check out his commentary on the futility of trying to effectively ban all firearms:

MASS PRODUCTION of firearms can be done with under $10,000 of equipment set up in a spare bedroom.

They can confiscate and melt down every firearm in existence. But first they need to confiscate and ban all lathes, mills, and CNC machines. Oh, wait, if they do that then the politicians wouldn't have limos or private jets. My bad.

The fact of the matter is that a gun is actually a very simple, purely mechanical machine. All it really has to do is ignite a fast-burning chemical, and contain pressure in a tube behind a small, weighty projectile. If I'm willing to settle for a one-shot gun that will probably destroy itself the first (and only) time it's used, I could make that myself — probably for under $20 — and I'm no machinist or gunsmith.

Fed Gov destroys economy, literature, for "the children"

Filed under: Liberty — apotheon @ 09:27

The Congress of the United States of America, in another stunning act of incompetence, has passed a law called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, in a panicked reaction to some Chinese toys with lead-based paint in them that were imported to the US. It has already had a number of untoward side-effects:

The federal government is now in the book-banning business. "Anne of Green Gables, Beatrix Potter, Baden-Powell’s scouting guides, and other deadly hazards" are being destroyed and thrown away around the country because it has now become effectively illegal to distribute children's books published before 1985. The American Library Association has taken the position that it doesn't apply to libraries, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission is making threatening noises and "recommending" that public libraries "sequester" children's books from before 1985 where children can't get at them. Many small businesses, meanwhile, are in grave danger of going out of business, as they must effectively destroy much of their stock of products (since doing so is significantly less expensive than testing the products).

Many major publishing houses in New York might be less annoyed by this, however — which, now that I think about it, might be part of the reason the New York Times doesn't seem to give a damn. Actually, it's worse than that: the New York Times paints anyone unhappy with such effects as a moustache twirling villain. Check out that link; it's full of links to information about libraries, small businesses, and major corporations all running afoul of this absurd law's unreasonable reach. Strings of links to reports of small businesses tossing out or destroying their inventories and/or going out of business litter the thing, as do quotes from prominent people in organizations that represent the injured industries. I certainly hope that Chip Gibson, the president and publisher of Random House Children's Books, is representative of major publishing houses when he says "This is a potential calamity like nothing I’ve ever seen. The implications are quite literally unimaginable . . . It has to be stopped." I'm not holding my breath, though. I'm sure some board members at several publishing houses are happy about the children's books market getting cleared of a major competitor (used books).

Speaking of major corporations — how about Honda pulling all of its youth motorcycles from US markets?

Yet another casualty of this destructive law: Honda has sent a letter to dealers announcing that it will withdraw youth motorcycles and ATVs from the U.S. market. It says lead figures as an intrinsic part of the alloys used in building the vehicles.

The irony, of course, is that of all the imaginable safety hazards posed by the existence of youth motorcycles and ATVs, the danger that kids will eat the darn things must rank at the very bottom.

In the midst of an economic crisis that has stock traders and heads of low-income households poised on window ledges, ready to dive to a penniless death, the federal government saddles us with a law that is destroying whole industries, all "for the children". Think of the children!™ Maybe our Congresscritters should think more of children, too — such as the children who might end up using motorcycles and ATVs that are too big for them (and thus more dangerous), who will be increasingly excluded from the market for classic literature, and who will be impoverished when their parents' jobs evaporate.

This asinine, horrific, probably corrupt, and in some respects downright evil bill was passed very quickly and almost unanimously. Attempts by a couple of less-idiotic Congresscritters to reform the bill to correct its worst excesses have been crushed by Congressional committees with extreme prejudice. Write to your Congresscritter and let him/her/it know just how reprehensible you find this whole mess.

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License