Standards by Michael Hooten


Standards  by Michael Hooten

In my day job, I’m a test engineer.  Specifically, I create electronics to test other electronics.  At work recently, I have had an ongoing… debate.  Yes, I think debate is the right word.  Because my boss told me to look at a test and think of some ways to improve it.  And my initial response was, this is a horrible test, and you need to rethink it entirely.

That was not the answer he wanted, of course, but he’s a good boss, and an engineer, so he asked me to explain.  Without getting technical, the short answer is: you are using the system to test the system.

From a test engineering standpoint, this is not only wrong, it invalidates the test.  You cannot verify that a component works by saying that it works in the system, because the next question is usually, how do you know the system works?  And the answer is, because it works with components we previously tested.  With the system.

There are several reasons why this is a dangerous way to approach testing.  First, you have no outside verification.  There is no external standard that you can point to and say, “When I test it this way, I get the same results as when I test in the system.”

But you also have the issue of verifying something is good because it hasn’t really failed yet.  Not enough to notice.  Oh, sure, the whole process may have drifted over time, but it still works, right?  We just want to verify it works.

Now imagine your customer starts complaining that their system isn’t working correctly.  You bring in the defective device, and you test it against your own system, and it works fine.  How do you determine where the fault lies?  What authority do you appeal to?  Your system works.  Theirs doesn’t.  But you are also saying the systems are the same, because they were tested in the same way.

This is circular logic.  I prove that x=y because y=x.  The sky is blue because blue is what we call the color of the sky.  It doesn’t tell me anything in the end.

The product manager said, “Well, we’re doing a qualitative analysis, not a quantitative one.”  And that’s fine, but you still haven’t shown me how you determine your quality.  What is your standard?

So what does this have to do with anything?

If you want to know how well something works, you have to tell me how you measure success.  Larry Correia is famous for saying that the only measurement of a book’s success if how many dollars people give you or it.  But we have the whole Hugo debacle claiming that books are measured by the gender/race/sexuality of the authors and the characters.  Who is correct?  They both are, because they’ve set up different standards, and then they test against those standards.

An SJW does not care how well a book does in the market, because that’s not how they determine value. Likewise, Larry doesn’t care about what the authors or characters look like, he just wants to know how many people are buying it.  And it’s not like those are the only ways of looking at it.

But with everyone talking about different things, it makes it very difficult to communicate.  We see it in politics all the time.  “Socialism takes care of the people that fall through the cracks!” And that goes up against, “Socialism causes widespread economic collapse!”

Both can be true, you know.  And we have some proof of both.  But which is the standard you want to use?  Which outcome has more value to you?

We struggle with this question every day.  I see a homeless man begging on the street.  I have a $20 in my pocket.  But I need to put gas in my car, too.  What do I do?  Your answer depends on a lot of things, but no matter how you choose, someone will always say you were wrong.  Because they judged you by their standards, not yours.  And on an individual basis, we agree to disagree, hopefully.

But what if I believe my standards are so important that I will force you to follow them?  Then we get political parties.  Or regulations.  Or marches, riots, and yelling matches disguised as debates.  Again, your standards will determine your response in a lot of ways.

What does it mean for the country?  Well, America was founded on the idea that we could create a system where everyone could follow their conscience, as long as they all agreed to a few simple rules.  We call those rules our constitution, and they are mostly guidelines for the places where you can’t tell people what to do.

You can’t tell someone how to practice their religion, or to follow a religion at all.

You can’t tell people to house soldiers.

You can’t force people to provide evidence against themselves.

And then the tricky ones:

You can’t tell people what they can or cannot say.

You cannot keep people from owning guns.

But what if someone says something you don’t like?  Well, it depends.  How do you respond?  The Constitution forbids you from silencing them.  But you can say whatever you like in return, even if it offends them.  What if they vow to kill you?  Well, you are not allowed to kill someone (not specifically in the Constitution, but still generally accepted), so it starts getting into a gray area.  Depending on where you live, threatening someone can get you anything from jail to a restraining order. A lot of times it depends on how credible someone in authority finds the threat.

And guns?  Well, the Constitution says you can own them.  We have clarified how you can use them.  And legally, you can go through all the hassle of buying pretty much anything you want.  And if you don’t want it legally, for whatever reason, then it doesn’t matter how many laws you pass.  In this case, you test the effectiveness against your standard.  Legally, you may not kill someone with a gun.  Of course, legally, you may not kill someone at all, with a few exceptions.  So what does the gun control laws do, exactly?  Restrict how guns may be purchased legally.  But no one ever expresses gun deaths in terms of deaths per legally owned guns.  Which is the only standard that tells you how effective your gun control laws are, at least for preventing gun related homicide.  Even the guy in Las Vegas, having purchased his guns legally, took them someplace it wasn’t legal to take them.  So even before he fired them into a crowd, he had broken a law.

In a perfect system, you could control all the variables to get the result you wanted.  But life, real life, is a system that has so many variables that you have to figure out if the one little thing you changed had any effect.  But let’s say you want to lose weight, so you change your diet, and let’s assume you stick to it pretty well.  But your weight doesn’t change.  Do you stick with the diet and just keep watching the scale not change?  Or do you try adjusting something else, like your activity level?  It depends.  What is your real goal?  What standard are you testing to?  Because if weight loss is less important than sticking to your diet, you can complain about the former while still feeling that you are succeeding in the latter.

Pick your standard.  Stick to it.  And be willing to admit that what you value, what you test to, is not the same as someone else.  You can both be right, you can both be wrong.  Just be honest about what you really want.  And please express it clearly.

Maybe our first standard should be to agree which dictionary to use.

319 thoughts on “Standards by Michael Hooten

    1. This. I work with DoD IT/C4 (the acronym, not the explosive, more’s the pity), and we’ve been through several “standards” for interfaces/data transfer in the last dozen years. It’s the MILITARY and they can’t force people to obey a single standard. *SMDH*

      (BTW, *points to self* Test Engineer, too.)

      1. That dates back to the “porn on base” scandals. When base commanders started getting court-martialed because young airmen had porn on their work computers, base commanders basically said “If I’m going to be held responsible for everything on my network, then I have final authority over what’s on it and how it gets there.”

    2. I work with Test Engineers daily. Sometimes to make the systems they need, more often to help explain to the design engineers, no, this Won’t Work, and Here’s Why.

      This comic and the above OP explain a lot of why my migraines came back. No, that’s permabruise on my forehead and the dent in my desk are normal.

      1. Test Engineer what’s that? Rolls eyes toward ceiling, uhhh, never mind they will fall out. Last software job the programmers making the change were the alpha testers (so much wrong with that) & end users’ making the change request for generic software were the beta testers. Lord help us when mandatory updates went out & changes requested by someone else did not meet another client (usually multiple) expectations; never happened, nope, & when I finally retired I could pull my head from the sand … Happened ALL THE TIME. I learned in a hurry when I heard “It’s not right. It’s broken.” to respond with not just “What?” but “What? Why do YOU think it is broken?” Sometimes could even convince clients that the change was the right thing to do. Other times, passed the buck upstairs, otherwise oh well, I got paid either way.

        I agree about the migraines, 90# gain over 12 years (which I still need to lose 50#’s), & the permabruise on forehead from dent in wall corner, a few desk face plants, etc. Good news, never took up self medication of any sort, including alcohol. It’s been over two years since I left. Still get questions from co-workers, my response – “I’m old, I forget.”

      2. I got into test engineering via the expedient of product engineering. Two of the semiconductor companies I worked for figured that if you were going to support the product, you could develop the test program that would characterize the part, then the production program. Curiously, it worked for a long time.

        When we changed test equipment (we had been using some modified testers that were slightly older than our youngest engineers), Someone had to develop the new programs, and a lot of those new ones were my babies, It was actually helpful; most times, I had a few ways of checking something; bench versus the various testers we had set up; IIRC, we never had more than two brands of automatic testers on the same part, but I usually had to deal with issues on 3 different machines each week.

        After Dot Com Bubble (V1.0) turned into Dot Bomb, my position went away, followed by the semiconductor group of Fairly Large Company. (Originally a good sized chunk of Very Large Company) I then fell into a consulting gig, where I was helping a tester company develop a new line of RF test functions. Whee. The lowlight was spending the last month of the consulting gig trying to figure out why the parameters didn’t add up, until my boss asked the guy who checked the standard parts: “Did you include the effects of the leads to the parts?”. The answer being no, he redid the calibration, and we put the correct values in the routines. That settled the issue, we got good correlation, and then the customer went bankrupt, taking the consulting company and my job with it. Gave me enough money to finish remodeling the house and escape the SF Bay Area. (And a strong desire to never return. Once we finished moving, we’ve been able to stay away. 14 years now.)

        Now, the standards I have to deal with are checking tape measures and micrometers. A 1-2-3 block suffices for the first, and an old set of Jo blocks handles the latter. Agricultural work (if Canada thistles were a cash crop, I’d be well off) needs measuring cups, a calibrated eyeball, and occasionally a 100′ tape measure.

        1. I’ve ceased since the “this is why tech can shut up anyone that thinks differently” cartoon. If stores must service anyone that enters than so should these conglomerates who hold more control over perceived reality than the MSM ever did.

        2. Loved the strip, but it went off the rails in 2016. I don’t think I’ve been back since the election.

  1. Of course there are standards you don’t want to admit to: How will this situation add to my power or how will it effect my chances of being elected.

  2. After every shooting tragedy there immediately comes the same refrain: we must pass these common sense laws to prevent this from ever happening again! Except upon examination all those common sense laws would accomplish is to make it more difficult and expensive for law abiding citizens to own firearms. Makes one wonder what the true goals of the gun control proponents really are, and it’s fairly obvious once you press them for the truth that their ultimate goal is to disarm the citizens leaving the means the means of armed aggression solely in the hands of a benevolent and caring government. And if you buy that I have this bridge I’m sure you’d love.

    1. And in most cases those “common sense” laws were already on the books and signally failed to prevent the shooting. I usually just respond, “Second Amendment. Shall not be abridged. Go away.”

      1. Someone on Twitter was suggesting that for our “bipartisan common sense gun control bill,” we should just give them a list of things already out there. See if any of the gun controllers notice.

        1. Present them with a list of Germany’s Nazi era gun restrictions.

          Gun Control in Nazi Germany
          05/09/2014Audrey D. Kline
          There is no shortage of theories or writings related to the rise of the Third Reich and the subsequent Holocaust. Stephen Halbrook’s 2013 book, Gun Control in the Third Reich offers a compelling and important account of the role of gun prohibition in aiding Hitler’s goals of exterminating the Jews and other “enemies of the state.” While much of the early gun prohibition was created with supposedly good intent, Halbrook carefully and meticulously details how a change in political regime facilitated manipulating some well-intentioned gun registration laws and other gun prohibition to be used in inconceivable ways.

          Students of history as well as Second Amendment enthusiasts will find this a fascinating book and will find parallels between gun prohibition in pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany, and attempts to prohibit types of gun ownership and implement other forms of gun prohibition in the United States today. The current climate in the United States surrounding gun prohibition combined with a president who uses his office to impose executive order in ways not historically common gives many citizens pause, especially when looking at the era of the Third Reich. While certain states have imposed gun registration laws recently, enforcement of the laws remains unclear.


          Part III of the book details episodes of enforcement and expansion of gun prohibition by Hitler’s regime. To mark the one-year anniversary of Hitler’s power, the Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich was passed in January 1934, which centralized control over police and led to the replacement of the SA (Sturm Abteilung or Brownshirts) with the SS. Upon President Hindenburg’s death, Hitler assumed the presidency as well, allowing him the ability to rule by decree. Hitler could now declare laws at will and there was no right of appeal for those arrested. The military pledged allegiance to Hitler and the citizenry was instructed to follow Hitler’s decrees.

          Confiscated firearms were redistributed to the police and concentration camp guards. The number of searches and arrests continued to escalate, and with the adoption of the Nürnberg Laws in September 1935, Germans or those with ‘kindred blood’ were decreed as citizens, leaving the Jews without citizenship and consequently, without civil rights. A new weapons law was drafted in November that would also forbid Jews from operating in the firearms industry. Though not yet enacted, the draft opened the door for the stealing of the gun manufacturing company, Simson & Co., by Hitler, who claimed that the Jewish owners were guilty of fraud. Additional accounts are given of exploitation of various incidents to further the Nazi campaign against the Jews.

          Nazi Party control of the use and ownership of firearms was quickly implemented and far-reaching, with refinements to the Weapons Law continuing over the next few years. Eventually, in April 1938, Jews were required to register their personal assets if valued at over 5,000 marks. Just a few months later, Jews were required to register at local police stations to receive identification cards. Jews began to flee Berlin and other parts of Germany, as they were able.

          In the concluding section of the book, Reichskristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) is detailed. Jews had been systematically disarmed, and their identity and locations were now on file with local police. It was simply a matter of time before the full shift into deportation and extermination of the Jews would begin. Records support that a campaign to arrest legally registered Jewish owners of firearms was now underway, along with the push by the Nazis to pressure Jews to flee Germany.

          The complete confiscation of weapons held by Jews at this point was sparked by the November 7, 1938 assassination attempt of a German diplomat, supposedly by a Polish-Jewish teenager at the embassy in Paris. The Night of the Broken Glass came in the following few days. All Jewish weapons (including such things as letter openers) were confiscated, and all Jewish organizations were deemed illegal. With the Jews disarmed, Hitler’s plans could proceed with a defenseless populace. The majority of the non-Jewish German population was stunned by what had transpired but too afraid to protest. Isolated cases of resistance remained, such as the now well-known case of Oskar Schindler. When deportations commenced in October 1941, the possessions of the Jews were searched by the Gestapo for anything of value, and completed the disarming of the Jews. The dangers of silent witness are now well known.

          [END EXCERPT]

          Thus, establish federal oversight and management of all police functions (N.B., this was initiated by the Obama DOJ’s abuse of consent decrees in response to BLM-type protests.)

          Require registration of all legally owned guns (allowing confiscation of unregistered guns and persecution prosecution of their owners.

          Extend laws and regulations covering registration to make the process nearly impossible.

          1. You don’t have to go to Nazi Germany. You can look at US History. All you have to do is go to the official legal code for any Southern – and perhaps Northern – state around 1860, and look at the restrictions of providing weapons to, and ownership by, slaves. This carried over into the post Civil War years, where states used these existing laws to disarm freedmen.

            Now, the important thing here is why. There was a fear of a Haitian style slave revolt, and memories of John Turner. In short, the fear was that slaves and freedmen with weapons would rise up against Whites. The British had a similar fear about colonial arms, which is why, on that fine April day in 1775, British soldiers marched to confiscate them (and the rest is history). In the Post Civil War years, there was also the fear that an armed freedman might stand up to a certain faction and up and vote Republican. It’s mighty hard to intimidate someone who could blow you head clean off, mighty hard.

            It all distills down to the same root cause: arms confiscation always occurs when those in power fear it might be turned against them. Always. The regulars hear know it; the lurkers may or may not, and those I challenge to engage in a bit of their own research into the Slave Codes and freedman intimidation following the Civil War.

            Once you’ve done so, ask yourself a question: If those in our past who sought to confiscate arms were the enemies of liberty, and did not act in the best interests of those they attempted to confiscate them from, how are those who wish to do the same today any different?

            1. I suspect that if someone is coming to take your guns away, and this is part of a general action against a group of people (such as happened in Australia, or Germany) your only valid response is to use it against them until they are dead or you are out of ammunition. You already know this isn’t going to be done for your benefit and freedom. History shows you are not going to be able to challenge this successfully in a court of law. Live free or die, death is not the worst of evils.

    2. I recall that after Columbine someone pointed out that at least 19 (gun related?) laws had been broken by the pair and asked if one more was really likely to have changed anything.

      1. Amateurs. 😛 The Newtown, CT shooter violated the law 47 times per one estimate on Baen’s Bar, from first killing his mother (for access to the weapons) to finally performing some ballistic brain surgery on himself.

        But had there been one more, he certainly would’ve gone “man, that’s too far!” and called it off.

        (Because “internet”, yes that last line is sarcasm.)

        1. So now the brainstorm is to pressure the credit card companies not to allow people to buy firearms with them. And it won’t be the government, just “encouragement.”

            1. Obama’s administration already attempted a form of this with [I forget] and it wasn’t particularly effective. All it would take is for one bank/credit card company to advertise itself as the “Gun-buyers’ choice!” and problem solved.

              Besides, I am not sure their contracts allow them to bar specific types of purchases. All it takes is one person killed because their credit card company wouldn’t allow a defensive gun purchase and that card company has new ownership toot-suit!

              You don’t think there’s a single jurisdiction that wouldn’t favor the plaintiff?

              Heck, I’m a bet Texas’ state banking commissioner would tell those banks that operating in that state will require recognition of all legal transactions.

              1. I’d take the bet. First SF, DC, and NYC all would simply toss the case. Second they would say that that just meant that you had to use cash so it wasn’t a true hardship.

              2. Operation Choke Point
                They started with drugs, and everybody knows that’s a righteous fight, so anything else they did must be righteous, too, right?

              3. So has the state of Connecticut. Gun owners refused. Of course the State is slowly removing those weapons by attrition; and the voters and gun owners have not been able to undo the damage.

            1. They already restrict the use of banking systems by marijuana businesses in Colorado and possibly other “legal use states” — which may make the progressive’s position on guns look more like retribution than principle.
              However, once you go down the road of excepting particular transactions from credit card use, are you going to monitor a mixed bag of purchases: “Sorry Ms Jones, you can have the towels and soap on the credit card, but you have to pay cash for the John Wayne video.”
              NOTE: that’s how EBT cards work now for allowable food v. non-food purchases, so it can be done.

          1. And, because it’s “just encouragement” I’m sure it wouldn’t violate those anti-trust laws*, that are designed to prevent EXACTLY this sort of thing.

            (* You know, the only laws that actually make “collusion” illegal.)

            1. Nope. The businesses won’t send Antifa mobs to occupy the offices of the credit card companies. Same way Barack Obama got the Chicago banks to drop their credit standards in the name of “equal housing lending” back before he went into politics. The banks could either drop them, or Barack and his boys would arrange for a mob of “peaceful protesters” to hold an “occupation” of their branches so no one could get in for any other business. Needless to say, the Chicago cops were nowhere to be seen.

    3. It’s hard to find a good way to point out to people, who, while well-intentioned, have been caught up in the narrative, that gun control 1) won’t solve the problem, and 2) is a bad idea. You can’t sway those who are pushing the narrative for gain, but the people who are caught up in it because they want to do something should be able to be swayed by a reasonable argument. I’ve just not found a good one that works well at that persuasion (not even Larry’s Opinion on Gun Control piece, which is the most reasoned argument I’ve seen). The emotions are running too high for most of that group.

      I’ve wanted to use a facetious counter-example to several acquaintances who go on about gun control laws, but I’ve been too afraid that it would be taken seriously and advocated for by some, and fall under the sway of Poe’s Law.

      That example being: clearly the people who are committing these atrocities are all mentally ill. Therefore to stop them from happening, we need mental health control laws. People who are mentally ill should be institutionalized for the safety of everyone else. If those people are all locked up then they can’t hurt anyone. If someone’s got a prescription for Prozac, et. al. then clearly they could be a danger to others, even if they got that prescription legally, and therefore they should be put in an asylum. Total mental health control is the way to a safe society.

      The idea being, that the concept is so wrong and awful that people would be repelled by it, and might consider that maybe, the gun control arguments have the same problems behind them.

      I think a lot of well-intentioned people get caught up in the reasonable desire of “we need to stop these things from happening” and latch onto the tool used instead of the root causes of the problems (whatever those might be) and assume removing the tool will stop the problem. It appeals to a lot of well-intentioned people as an easy solution, especially when pushed by significantly maliciously intentioned people looking to use those events as a way to consolidate their own power. But again, I’m worried that if I present that example as a thing that we shouldn’t be doing with people and with weapons, that some of those people will take it seriously and start advocating for it.

      1. A perhaps more apt one:

        Obviously, mentally ill people who have violent tendencies are a danger to society. So to make sure mentally ill people who have violent tendencies don’t hurt anyone, we should immediately commit all US citizens to mental institutions, making them prove they are not mentally ill people who have violent tendencies before we let them out, and then surveilling everyone that gets let out continuously in case they fooled the testing and are really mentally ill people who have violent tendencies.

        Sure, it violates the basic rights of the vast majority of US citizens, but hey, If It Saves One Childs Life… You’re not against saving lives, are you?

        1. mentally ill people who have violent tendencies

          So, Antifa, right? And Madonna and every celebutard who boasts of wanting to punch Donald Trump in the face. Joe “Shotgun” Biden, too, and at least a third of the Democrats in Congress.

          1. Of course not. Those silly people that think they are supposed to have any right that isn’t a gift from our benevolent god, Government.

          2. It’s already been well-established that progressives, liberals (so-called), and Democrats get a “pass” from any legal restrictions so long as they advocate the proper ideology (not live up to it, mind you).

      2. Start with, “You know, all those things the shooter did were already illegal. And there was plenty of evidence of his intentions and instability before the event, which allowed authorities to detain him legally and prevent the event from happening. None of that stopped him. Why do you think yet more legal impediments (none of which worked previously) would have a different effect?”

        Then proceed to, “In fact, the only thing that has ever stopped such mass shootings or attempted mass shootings was the presence of armed citizens who brought the perpetrator under fire. And you are asking us to make such responses more difficult or impossible?”

        1. Alas, that won’t work. The response will almost certainly be something along the lines of “WRONG! IF GUNS WERE ILLEGAL HE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO KILL ANYONE!”

          My hand to God, I saw a post where the OP appeared genuinely to believe that if guns were banned, wannabe mass murderers would all attempt to kill people with butter knives. Butter. Knives. Because they would be “forced to get creative” since they wouldn’t be able to use guns.

          1. When butter knives are outlawed, only outlaws will eat toast. Yes, it does need some work. But it fits on the shirt.

            1. You are so not going to make me eat a dry English Muffin until you pry this butter knife from my cold dead hands.

          2. I shudder with the schemes this group could create if “forced to get creative” and the goal is a mass casualty event. Things like starting with a drone carrying an incindary device to trigger an evacuation rather than shelter in place. Once the kids come out the doors, a backpack strategically positioned with a pressure cooker, explosives, and a remote detonator is the next threat. When the first responders come in, that is when you use the truck bomb (also remote controlled and in the likely staging area). In the interim, you’ve added some magnesium to the sprinkler system near the door and a timed smoke bomb nearby. Any guesses on the likely casualty count from just these simple steps? I think most of us could beat the lunatic’s kill count without difficulty…

            1. Right now in the US we have the crazies and the disturbed, even when they are jihadi irhabi rat bastard abn eahirat al’umi, so to this point in the US we really have been mostly paying against the junior varsity. Or maybe the T-ball league.

              But in the sandbox and Afghanistan the bad guys have been the top talent available, and the multiple sequential attack pattern you describe is something that has been seen there, with multiple devices placed to herd the uninsured to more kill zones and then catch the first responders as they arrive.

              If the various reports of first-team bad guys being smuggled across the border from Mexico actually are true, that is exactly the type of multiple phase attack to expect here – and most likely at multiple locations at once, one of which would include a school, given how closely the folks elsewhere watch the press coverage here.

              1. Several of our home-grown attackers have tried to do the double explosion tactic–hell, Columbine was supposed to start with the two bombs going off in the lunch room (although I question the idea that all 480+ would have been killed, it would’ve been very bad), and they set a couple of pipe bombs to distract cops in a different area. (Those went off, so they weren’t just incompetent…fools, small children, USA.)

              1. I had the same reaction at first— then thought again.

                First half is Columbine with a bit of the marathon bombing thrown in and a drone (already known to drug smugglers for both payloads and distraction).

                Second half plays out regularly in the middle east.

                Last point is from multiple TV shows.

                Whole thing has way too may points of failure to be a REALLY good plan for less than a whole crew of crazies, but does a good job of illustrating the kind of tactics that we could use.

            2. I must applaud you for coming up with a very nasty situation using only tactics and techniques that have been used in the last decade and widely publicized.

              1. A college friend and I would brainstorm ways to cause serious trouble. The more creative/effective/dangerous ones have never been committed to paper or pixels. Said friend was a solid citizen, judging by the lack of casualty reports from where I last knew he was living.

                Yeah, the criminal/terrorist mastermind is one thing, but I really don’t want to give any help to the mouthbreathers who want to kill people.

                1. Husband and his reserve crew actually scared the “Go around giving situational awareness talks” guys who’d been doing it for years.

                  Likewise, never put to paper. They reminded the group like six times to not spread it around online or anything….and asked permission to use it for future classes.

                2. Neither do I. My daughter and I skulled out a fairly simple means to really mess things up at a local airport – a method depending on our local knowledge of the terrain, public access routes, combined with knowing about how terrorists have struck at similar facilities. Yes, it would work, based on what has been published about similar and successful strikes, assuming basic competence and good luck on the part of the plotters. And no, nothing that either of us would ever post on a public forum, lest it give ideas. Although we do hope that local law enforcement have been thinking along similar lines.

              2. Not 100% this was in response to my situation above, but if it was, my thanks. My real point is the single worst mass casualty attacks we have seen in the US involve bombs (and things that can explode like airplanes), not guns. The attacks with guns are awful, admittedly, but each of them could have been much worse. To challenge the capabilities of madmen is a dangerous game at best.

                Sadly, just because the tactic has been widely publicized does not mean we are ready for it. See Tom Clancy’s use of an airliner to take out the President and Congress long before 9/11.

            3. I once outlined to my father how I’d undertake a Timothy McVie style attack; including the use of secondary devises and caltrops to hinder first responders, and the elimination of patsiesaccomplices.

              He just looked at me and said, “That’s cold.”

              Makes me think about a quote from Joss Whedon in the commentary on the “Objects in Space” episode of Firefly: “Sometimes you write something that makes you question whether you’re as good a person as you think you are.”

              1. Most of us, I long since concluded, are Odd enough that the stories in response to my post, yours included, do not really surprise me. For example, I am willing to bet that most of us would know precisely which of our friends (and/or family) to call if we needed help in disposing of a corpse.

                The good news is that being law abiding (to a reasonable extent) has some long term benefits we can see. We understand the possible consequences and can do the hard equations. Most of us are even unfashionably patriotic, unless I miss my guess, and believe in supporting your local police. Not all of us have guns but I would guess that we’ll over 80% have a friend who does. So, yes, I think this group is largely made up of good people with certain abilities – including logic, a knowledge of history and a willingness to listen to other Odd points of view.

                Just my 2 cents.

                1. Sigh… that should read that over 80% of our people without guns in their household (or business as applicable) have a friend who does have one or more guns.

                2. The very first day of class my Auditing instructor told us that his goal was to teach us to think like crooks and embezzlers, because only then would we be able to effectively detect such chicanery.

                  That principle applies in many more fields than Accounting. A shepherd must think like a wolf, not a sheep.

              2. Alternatively, Timothy McVie (I’m 100% certain that’s spelled wrong, but I’m not going to look it up) is known to have said that had he read “Unintended Consequences” before the event, rather than after, things would have been a LOT different.

                I have occasionally wondered how different things would have been, had he decided to go that route…

                Of course, one of the major problems is that he did this for Waco Awareness — but Congress was in the middle of discussing what went wrong at Waco, and this completely dumped those talks out of the news. I’m fairly certain that targeting bureaucrats one-by-one would have had the same effect….

          3. Butter. Knives

            Obviously a thought* expressed from somebody who’s never spent time in prison. Or ever seen a prison movie, not even Big Bird’s Big Breakout.

            *Let’s be generous here

            1. Point taken. That said, my interpretation (and that of a lot of the commentors, as well as the person who shared the post) of the OP was that the wannabe mass killer’s first reaction upon realizing they couldn’t get a gun would simply grab an unmodified metal butter knife from the kitchen drawer and attempt to go on a stabbing spree.

              As opposed to, say, grabbing one or more of the steak knives and/or chef’s knives from the knife block on the counter. Or a claw and/or ball peen hammer from Daddy’s workshop in the basement/garage, or go to Home Depot and buy one. Or a sledgehammer. Or an axe. Or go to the gas station and buy a jerry can and a few gallons of gasoline, and then buy some matches from the dollar store. Or order an old High School Chemistry textbook off of eBay and then go to a plant nursery & said gas station. Or Google what happens when you mix bleach with [REDACTED] or [REDACTED] to create toxic gas. Or borrow/steal a truck/SUV.

              You get the idea.

              Heck, Columbine was originally supposed to be a bombing that “out-did” Oklahoma City, but the animals behind it were lousy bombmakers. Going inside and shooting up the place was apparently an improvised backup plan. Those psychos were plenty creative: if they’d been better engineers they’d have almost certainly killed and/or wounded +/- 500 instead a few dozen.

              1. As opposed to, say, grabbing one or more of the … Or a sledgehammer. Or an axe.

                I feel a song coming on …

                P.C. Thirty-One said “We caught a dirty one”
                Maxwell stands alone
                Painting testimonial pictures ohh oh oh oh
                Rose and Valerie screaming from the gallery
                Say he must go free (Maxwell must go free)
                The judge does not agree and he tells them so oh oh oh

              2. Or go to Home Depot and buy the elements necessary to build an entirely automatic firearm. From scratch.

              3. Machete. Twenty bucks at Lowe’s. Buy a pack of weed-wacker twine and some weed barrier and nobody will even think twice.

                Or use the gardening supplies already in your average garage. Or hit a yard sale.

                1. If the limit is arms-reach-plus-length-of-weapon and muscle power only, I am advised it’s aluminum baseball bat all the way.

                  1. You can keep a bat, baseball and glove in your truck and nobody will think twice. Put a machete, sword, rifle, and they go nuts.

                    1. Gardening is the thing, mate. There’s nothing else like it.

                      Get yourself a plot at the Community Garden in your town!

                    2. There have been more than one suspensions of Eagle Scouts who spent a spring weekend sometime before graduation teaching Woodchip Ethics to new novice Scouts & parents on a weekend campout, then didn’t pull the tools out of the trunk of their vehicle (or back of their pickup). Then at school the next day someone spots the tools. Automatic suspension for bringing dangerous items to school; even if said vehicle was not even parked in school parking.

                      For those not in the know Woodchip is learning knife & wood chopping safety & Ethics. This means not only knifes, but hatchets, axes, etc., used to chop firewood for fires.

                      For some reason “Come ON. The are Eagle Scouts!” didn’t cut it with school authorities; go figure.

                      I’ve heard of scouts getting suspended for leaving their safety kit in the day pack which they then use for school book pack. We solved that by having a different book pack from the day scout outing pack, but not all scouts can afford that. Safety kit will have first aid kit, folding knifes (no, no), & fire starting stuff (double no, no). Not part of the Woodchip training material, but something as leaders we learned to make sure this consequence was known to scouts & their parents. Reviewed with everyone at least twice a year.

                2. While you are at Lowe’s be sure to pick up one of these …

                  Nothing quite like it for eradicating weeds.

      3. because they want to do something
        And that is the problem, often. “Do something!” Especially when it’s aimed at the people to whom you’ve given up authority and power.
        Those people can’t stop death or tragedy. It cannot be done.

        But, here’s the real test: What are YOU going to do about it?
        No, not “what will you force other people to do about it” or “how will you get someone with power to enslave other people to do something about it” but what will YOU do about it?
        What if you are a teacher at a school? What if you are driving by? What if you encounter some wackjob spouting off about shooting up his old school? What if you see the policeman or federal agent ignoring something? What if you have an out-of-control teen in your house?
        Because, just maybe, you can stop that death or tragedy.

        The modern concept of “There oughta be a law!” is a way of passing blame and responsibility to others. Which day last week was the Petersen thread? “Clean up your own room” right?

        1. Ah, we did do something. We caught the criminal, he’s in jail, we’re going to give him a trial, and if we’re lucky, the Justice System will lock him up for the rest of his life, or just sit him down on ol’ Sparky one last time.

          1. Some people did something. A bunch of those people died, because the one thing they could not do is actually stop the shooter.

            A whole bunch of other people didn’t do anything. and the shooter was not stopped when he could/should have been.

            But the law didn’t stop him one d* bit.

      4. In order to address this gun control argument it is necessary to understand the structure underlying it.

        Gus Grissom: You’ve got it all wrong, the issue here ain’t pussy. The issue here is monkey.

        John Glenn: What?

        Gus Grissom: Us. We are the monkey.

        Deke Slayton: What Gus is saying is that we’re missing the point. What Gus is saying is that we all heard the rumors that they want to send a monkey up first. Well, none of us wants to think that they’re gonna send a monkey up to do a man’s work. But what Gus is saying is that what they’re trying to do to us is send a man up to do a monkey’s work. Us, a bunch of college-trained chimpanzees!
        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
        Gun Control is the pussy in this debate and our need is to refocus the debate on The Monkey.

      5. Eh, you need to pile some more stuff– like too many mental health days or something.

        I do think we need a way to institutionalize the really obviously dangerously insane folks before they kill someone, or at least stop shoving them into the criminal system.

        1. Or once we’ve shoved them into the badly fitting criminal justice system, not turning right around and letting them out for ‘criminal justice reform’. Horrible, horrible mess, no easy solutions even before you get to the issue of only being able to implement solutions that you can build a constituency for.

          1. This.

            Step 1: Close all the mental hospitals and release all the dangerous menatally ill out on the streets.

            Step 2: When these folks become vast hordes of homeless people, peeing in libraries and pooping on the streets of sanctuary cities, declare a homeless crisis.

            Step 3: When these folks commit crimes, whether property crimes to fund self medication or violent crime just because they can, push them through minimal jail time and release them onto the streets again.

            Step 4: Repeat step 3.

            Step 5: When the public has enough of the revolving door prison system and passes three strikes laws, resulting in repeat offenders being pushed back into prisons for longer terms, declare a prison crisis, cut public prison budgets, outlaw privately operated prisons, and (as in CA) get friendly judges to mandate early release due to inhumane prison overcrowding (alternately, push long term or life prisoners into local county jails without funding to relieve state prison overcrowding, as also is happening in CA).

            If someone wants to look for Russian Collusion, they should see if there’s a playbook these mental health reform/homeless reform/prison reform folks are following with “printed in Moscow” on the title page.

            And I type that with full blessing of the California Democratic Party, which has recently stated emphatically that “We have always been in geopolitical opposition with Russia!”

      6. “But again, I’m worried that if I present that example as a thing that we shouldn’t be doing with people and with weapons, that some of those people will take it seriously and start advocating for it.”

        Too late. Stalin defined all his opponents as crazy, and you can find any number of “scientific studies” proving that conservatives and Christians are crazy by definition.

      7. One step in putting forward a counter argument is to ask them questions:

        1. What “common sense laws” do you think we should impose?
        1A. Point out significant flaws

        2. How will those prevent people who are intent on breaking laws?
        2A. Point out significant flaws

        3. What is your definition of an “assault weapon”?
        3A. You know this step by now, right?

        As people advocating for such “simple, common-sense solutions” have, pretty much by definition, not applied serious thought to this issue it is generally easy to shoot poke holes in their arguments.

        1. However, of late it’s been rubbed in my face that “gun control” advocates don’t want to apply logic if that logic contradicts there feelz.

    4. “Somebody fix this!” may be one of the most dangerous phrases in English.

      And yes on “commonsense gun control.” What about “commonsense FBI control,” since they were advised that the shooter had plans and did not look at them? “Commonsense school control” since the student had been in trouble many times, had a history of problems, and was no longer a student and so should not have been able to enter the building in the first place.

      I’m tempted to inquire of the “guns did it” crowd, what do you say about the people in China who stab and kill tens of people at a time, including in one case twenty school children? Please tell me how China’s strict gun control laws protected those children.

        1. We all know that dying by gun is so much worse than dying by a blade, because the hydrostatic shock from the bullet entering the body obliterates the soul.

      1. Common sense education control is totally a legit talking point. Folks who can’t read or do math would have a harder time implementing effective spree killings.

      2. Guns are only third on the list of lethality in mass murder sprees. Explosives are first, and arson second.

      3. When i was living in Japan, some nutcase in a neighboring city grabbed a kitchen knife from a department store display rack and stabbed a bunch of people.

        In short order, the department stores had removed the knives from their shelves. You had to take the knife display placard up to the customer service counter if you wanted to buy one.

        Far be it from me to object to how a sovereign nation wants to run their affairs, but this is not any more of a sane response when done with knives than it is with guns.

    5. In almost two decades I think Trump is the only president under whom actions that would protect people when the DOD got smacked for their NICS failure. Every other one it is just a way to stand on bodies to get your wish list. And I think a good chunk of the reasoning for the wish lists are the ‘hurt that other guy to make me feel better’.

    6. The failures of LEOs in the Florida school shooting are directly responsible for the shooting, in my opinion (I stopped reading the news once it started flooding with calls for gun control). They had multiple reports that should have resulted, by existing laws, in this psycho’s inability to purchase weapons.

      Laws that are not enforced may as well not exist. In a sane world, insisting that immigrants that commit crimes be deported wouldn’t meet opposition, (the ‘family is deported with them’ is because of a wave of crimes done by underage teens, notably in Victoria and there was a Sudanese woman who blamed the government for ‘too many laws, not enough handouts’ for why young Sudanese ‘act out.’)

      1. Shadow, in defense of the LEOs, Cruz’s last name put him into an Official Government Victim Group. If the FL LEOs had dropped by his house for a “stop and frisk” before he committed a crime, the cries of “Hispanic profiling!!!!!!” would have been heard at your house. Even the threats: “That’s just Latin machismo! How dare you assume that white behavior is the only thing non-threatening!!!”

        When we have a system so screwed up that a Chicago police Lt would rather take a beating that put her in the hospital than justifiably shoot the perp, because of the harm and harassment that would be visited on her and her family by various racialists of the BLM or La Raza persuasions, there’s no way for the cops to do anything effective.

        1. Didn’t the police visit their house when he lived with his mom a lot though? So him being quietly entered into the databases would’ve been fine, right? /s

          Hon, if you can find my eyes, they rolled away from me. ;P
          But hey, that’s a clear signal that if you’re black or Hispanic with a long history of red flags including mass shooter aspirations, it’s cool to shoot up schools, the NRA will be blamed anyway!

          1. Eh, tbh it’s pretty global. The Tuscon shooter that killed a judge and normalized a politicos iq was well known to police. Usually it’s the either fully off rocker or malice cases that get held. And few of them get adjudicated. So it never flags.

              1. Which is why the MSM has been so savagely committed to discrediting Breitbart as “Fake News.”

                Unlike CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, or Rolling (Sabrina Erdely) Stone or the New (Stephen Glass) Republic or New York (Jayson Blair) Times or Washington (Janet Cooke) Post.

  3. So far as I’m concerned, the Constitution defines the standards. And where it says that certain things are exempt from government interference, the standard of success is how little actual interference the government puts on the right in question.

    1. Truly saddens me just how much of our government seems dedicated to the task of redefining precisely what exempt means.
      Some 22,000 federal, state, and local gun control laws, infringe much?
      Under current forfeiture laws your property can be seized and it’s on you to prove it wasn’t obtained illegally.
      And we are coming perilously close to abrogating both the speech and religion protections of our First Amendment.
      I could go on, but suddenly I’m tired and discouraged. Think I’ll go to the range and punch holes in some paper while I still can.

      1. Even the feds mess up the forfeiture stuff. Know of a guy, caught as red-handed as one can get (100 acre farm 40 acres of corn grown to hide the 80 acres of marijuana) and they feds and local chops messed up the case so bad, he still owns the farm, and now has the govt paying him to raise elk. All his jail time was tax caused, and he had a legal income that paid the property taxes while he served his time so they couldn’t take that from him.
        BTW, don’t let your weed get two to three feet taller than your corn.

            1. phone typing/swiping, while in a rush.
              120 not 100, but the total property is actually more than that, but not all is able to be planted. Not that I don’t mis-math at work sometimes.

          1. He was more a seed operation than a smoking goods source. But, to cut down the weed plants, they had to use weedeaters with a saw blade on them. So, when you drove past the first few rows you saw were sweet corn. Farmers hereabout tend to “protect” their field corn with a few rows of sweet so the deer, coons, et al don’t go deeper for their dinner, and the plants are slightly different in color. So, seeing a bit of sweet and slightly darker, deeper in, not a big deal, right? Plus to make sure it was hid, the weed was planted a good bit after the corn, so you can’t see the tops are not the right color . . .
            Until . . .

            1. Hell, did he pay off every crop duster working in the area? Anyone flying just nearby to that field would have seen the difference, and all it takes is one phone call to the sheriffs office…

              Which of course is why you pay off the sheriff.

              1. not a lot of flying dusting up here, as even a place as cropped as his was can often be a tetris looking thing with no easy Airtractor flyways. Plus really this is the back of beyond so it took them some time to finally find his place, and it was still sorta by accident. It was a somewhat hidden in plain sight situation and a deputy driving by thought “Hey! that looks wrong” and after figuring out how big it was someone fudged a bit to to ensure getting the warrants, then things went downhill from there (“Hey, lets get the State AND Feds involved! What say?”) who also seemed to fudge on additional paperwork. This was right as forfeiture was put in place, and someone got greedy and flubbed it enough to queer the trial. So even though he was guilty as hell, had burlap sacks of seed, a seed press to make biodiesel and crank case oil, they never got him on a single drug related charge. Ostrich Egg, Face, some assembly required.

                1. Gee, wouldn’t smart criminals perhaps pay select local LE (or DA), not to prevent them from finding their operations, but rather to get all overzealous once they are inevitably found so as to poison the case?

      2. And we are coming perilously close to abrogating both the speech and religion protections of our First Amendment

        SCOTUS already struck down the right to petition the government when it refused to hear the appeal of California’s gay marriage edict.

        1. SCOTUS already struck down the right to petition the government

          No, you still held the right to petition; there’s nothing in the Constitution that requires your petition be heard.

          I gather they are considering requiring all petitions be on soft, 2-ply quilted paper with non-water soluble ink.

  4. “Standards? Standards? We don’t hold to standards, we hold others to standards.”
    Unwritten first plank of Progressive Platform

      1. “An thou harm none, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” Aleister Crowley, et al.

        FTFY. That precondition never seems to get quoted.

          1. Buddy of mine got the opportunity to attend a conference where LaVey was attending. He said when that guy walked into the room, you knew it before you saw him, because your skin would start crawling…..

            1. Oh, probably.

              On the other hand, if it’s only one micro-aggression, then that’s one ppm, and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t meet any kind of toxicity threshold.

  5. In mechanical engineering there’s a thing called “tolerance stacking”*. Say you have two half-inch thick washers, and they sit together on a bolt and need to fit in a one-inch slot. If the allowed thickness variation on those two washers is plus or minus an eighth of an inch, you could have a washer that’s just within tolerance measuring 5/8″ thick, and another washer measuring 3/8″ thick, both of which just happen to come together on the assembly line and get put on the same bolt, and look! They fit! The stack of washers slides right into the 1″ slot! Hooray!!

    But the next set of washers grabbed from the parts bin happens to include two washers that both measure 5/8″ thick. When assembled together, there’s no way they fit in the slot, so the assembler has to go all British on the parts, whipping out his fitting files to file the washers down until the assembly fits.

    And if the next grab into the washers bin yields two 3/8” thick washers, the assembly will fit, but it will rattle around in the slot instead of fitting tightly. The British assembler has to get out his shim-washers to tighten things up, or he could grab more washers at random from the bin to try and get a tight fit in that slot.

    This is tolerance stacking – two parts that are within production tolerance that are both at the outside range of what’s allowed, when assembled together, end up outside the required dimensions.

    The true fix is to design the parts tolerances with a view to their eventual use so they can’t stack up to be outside the required dimensions when assembled. **

    But I have never seen these concepts applied to laws; basically “If we say you have to do X, and we separately also say you have to do Y, how do X and Y play together in the real world?”

    * I know, tolerance stacking exists in all flavors of engineering – I’ve certainly seen EEs hit it in circuit board design – but it’s easier to illustrate mechanically. Besides, MEs never get any props.

    ** Note that this was the difference between a WWII Merlin V-12 engine produced by Rolls Royce and those produced by Packard in the US: The RR Merlins were the result of hand craftsmanship, with parts painstakingly fitted together, while the Packard Merlin parts just went together correctly in the first place, critical dimensions being properly specified with a view to their eventual assembly. This is why it took a bit of time for Packard to spin up production after they got the British design – they had to go through and “fix” things so it could be mass produced.

    1. If it won’t fit, force it*. If it breaks, it needed to be replaced anyway.

      *Or use a larger drill-bit and enlarge the hole. (Words guaranteed to attract the attention of shop foremen, parts-runners, QC monitors, and other individuals notably lacking in senses of humor.)

      1. Found one young man early in the wee hours (I’m usually one of if not the first one in the shop of a morning). Said poor soul was stapled, epoxied, and duct taped to a piece of equipment. Said piece of equipment had:

        1) Guards removed. Nono numbah 1.
        b) Safety plate (keeps the bits from going beyond a certain depth) disengaged.
        iii) No PPE equipped. Nada. No gloves, no safety glasses, nothing.

        In his (minor) defense, we’re allowed to use equipment for personal use, *if approved* after hours, with supervision for the new hires. These would be Four and V.

        Made sure equipment was locked out. Tagged it. Held a safety seminar right there for first shift. Took questions.

        We asked said poor sod if he was ever going to do something that stupid again. Then we took the duct tape off his mouth. Vigorous denials (seven hours without a potty break will do that to you).

        Didn’t have a workplace accident for more than a year after. Maybe longer, I left the company at that point.

        1. That must have been well over 30 years ago, because his immediate next step would have been a lawsuit (and criminal charges for everyone involved) today.

    2. Ah, yes. Approximate arithmetic. Two things approximately equal to the same thing may not be approximately equal to each other; approximately two and approximately two may be more or less than approximately four.

          1. Significant figures are fun. 🙂

            Every now and then I’ll see someone write “the Bible says pi is exactly three.” I usually respond by saying that if you multiply two numbers, the product only has as many significant digits as the factor with fewer sig figs.

    3. This is why it took a bit of time for Packard to spin up production after they got the British design

      It is also why, once spun up to production, the Packard plant produced engines at a far far faster rate. You can spend time “fixing” units or you can spend it fixing the production line — it all depends on where your focus lies.

      1. It’s actually of some interest that the planes equipping the RAAF at the end of WWII and immediately afterward were P-51s, not late model Spitfires.

    4. The same thing happened with the Bofors 40mm cannon. Once the Chrysler engineers got done with it they cut production time by better than 80%.

  6. I have a major problem with the point of view here. The Constitution applies to governments, not you and I. The only things in the Constitution that directly control you and I are: The limits on who may run for office. The definition of Treason. All else is either powers granted to government or powers forbidden from governments, or restrictions on how powers granted to governments may be used.

    1. Which is a different set of system parameters from everything we hear in the media, or how Michael is thinking, or how 99% of politicos operate.

      So, how do we get them to change system settings, or even to shift to a different system?

      1. Article V Convention. Other than that, somehow reset society to be something almost totally different from what it is today.

        1. Alas, I think “somehow reset society to be something almost totally different from what it is today” would pretty much be the prerequisite for an Article V convention making things better instead of worse.

          1. Possibly. But those are about the only two options I can think of. And I think we should try an Article V convention first as it’s the only legal way open to us. If it didn’t bring us back on the path to limited government, we could always consider extralegal methods…

            1. Sadly, I’m seeing more and more evidence that we’re likely to end up with the reset coming because of a hot civil war. One side does not want to be reasoned with and the other side has elements that are just as adamant that they’re not going to be reasonable, either.

              1. Well, there are some things that aren’t open to compromise. And those things are very much the things those who won’t be reasoned with insist on controlling. Do you know the acronym TWANLOC? It stands for, “Those Who Are No Longer Our Countrymen.” And unfortunately, it’s an accurate characterization of a large portion of the left these days.

              2. We’ve been allowing “reasoning” for decades, and all it’s done is move everything left. That way lies socialism and it doesn’t work.
                There are worse things than war.

                1. Their “reasoning” is based on fallacious premises. The annoying part is that one of their premises is that everything we show as proof is automatically disbelieved.

              3. It’s actually real simple: The Left has lied to us so many times that we would have to be insane to give them control by giving up weapons, or allowing them to make rules for us. And since they persist in trying to enslave us, we have no choice but to remove them from our midst.

    1. Not really…you just have to know how to translate leftist into English. They’re usually pretty clear on what they intend to do.

        1. That’s what I mean about translating leftist to English. If you try to understand what they say as standard English, it comes across as lies. But if you know what they mean by the words they use (which is very often either entirely unrelated to the English meaning of the words or is exactly antithetical to those meanings) you’ll find they’re telling you exactly what they plan. You just have to get the translation right.

            1. Have you ever read “The Devil’s Dictionary”? That kind of a thing.

              They really are consistent– when they say “justice,” they mean something like “favor the person I am sympathetic to.”
              When they say “have a conversation,” they mean “you need to listen and agree with me as I lecture.”
              When they say “science,” they mean either the atheistic assumptions of a world-view built by assuming that only things which can be tested by science, or “accept my appeal to authority, generally in the form of quoting a person involved in something at least vaguely grant-for-research involved.”

              1. Thomas Sowell’s A CONFLICT OF VISIONS covers it pretty well. One of his examples is that, to someone with the “Unconstrained Vision,” “justice” is not a PROCESS, it’s a RESULT. Not “the game was played strictly according to the rules,” but “the right side won.”

                If the right side didn’t win, then there was no justice. Period. And no discussion of the rules is relevant.

                We can’t discuss justice with them because they aren’t speaking the same language. It just *sounds* like English.

  7. Once upon a time, the Bible was accepted as the standard for what was moral and should be legal. However, at least since Nietzche declared that God was dead, the intelligentsia have been deprecating that standard until it is considered obsolete. Sectarian wrangling about variant implementations hasn’t helped. The proposed replacements “wassinitforme” and “yourbetterssayso” are both inferior.

        1. Speaking of– got a pleasant little surprise.

          Beater of a car, covered with various “edgy” stickers…noticed one from like six cars back, said “God’s Dead.” Some sort of symbol in the middle. Sigh, keep going…. happen to get up close, it’s the “God’s Not Dead” logo from the movie with the guy who played Hercules. ❤

        2. Most people couldn’t pour piss out of an open toed shoe if you put the instructions on the sole.

      1. “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

        Is one translation.

        He wasn’t glorifying it. He was lamenting it.

    1. I’ve never been all that impressed with Nietzche. If anything, he was a severely troubled man.

        1. To philosophers. The everyday person has almost no use for philosophy as philosophy.

          1. That’s a whole other topic. I could rant about it, but since I’ve avoided digging into it because *ick* and huh? and parsing gobbledygook-flarvored jargon, I would be blithering in ignorance and making a (worse) fool of myself.
            But I understand it is part of the mindset of college level indoctrinators.

  8. I spent 35 years in the test engineering world. Only I had to test the system using the system. I designed tests to determine if a computer was performing to it’s specifications, and wrote code to make the determination running on the computer being tested. Thus my point. It’s not always possible to test outside the system.

  9. America was founded by people who valued liberty, freedom with personal responsibility that was pretty much based on the 10 Commandments and the Golden Rule. Don’t take what belongs to someone else, and treat other folks the way you want to be treated.

    Most of us here believe in, and live our lives in accordance with that value.

    Now the folks on the Left, the communists, the Democrats, the fascists (including those who call themselves Antifa without realizing they’re behaving as fascists), the progressives, and the socialists, do not believe in the value of Liberty. An awful lot of them don’t believe in the 10 Commandments or the Golden Rule or any of the other cultural-religious equivalents. About the only thing they value is if something makes them feel good, and whatever gives them that is their right.

    Now Michael Hooten states a premise that both can be right, by their own standards. He recognizes that we’re both using two completely different value systems, and suggests that maybe our first act should be to agree to a common standard. Unfortunately, that presupposes that there IS a common standard that we can reach. Science Fiction and Fantasy writers are among the most flexible, imaginative people in existence. Yet I don’t see anyone coming up with that hypothetical standard. I strongly suspect that such a standard is pure unobtainium. I see more willingness to live and let live from the right than I see from the left; with a right that is slowly coming to the understanding that this is an existential battle looming on the near horizon. We’ve got what amounts to two continental plates jammed up against each other, and the tension, the pressure, is high and going higher daily. One of these days soon, something’s going to hit the locking points hard enough to release this mess in one big quake. We’re seeing the fore-shocks now. Is your political quake kit ready?

    1. I strongly suspect that such a standard is pure unobtainium.
      Confutus has it right on that point. It’s not unobtainium, but we can’t go back unless we eliminate the post-modern relativism.

      About the only thing they value is if something makes them feel good, and whatever gives them that is their right.
      That’s called hedonism. And it’s a religion – just like the one it replaced.

    2. “fascists (including those who call themselves Antifa without realizing they’re behaving as fascists),” Oh, they know; they’re just lying to everyone else.

      1. No, honestly they don’t think they’re fascists.

        They think they’re good socialists/communists.

        1. No, honestly they don’t think they’re fascists.

          They think feel they’re good socialists/communists.

          Fixed it for you.

          Although, honestly, I was tempted to fix that first sentence by just inserting a comma after think.

    3. ncluding those who call themselves Antifa without realizing they’re behaving as fascists

      Minor quibble: They know fully well they are. They just don’t care or think their behaviour is justified due to ‘punching Nazis.’ (I have watched some entertaining videos of what happens when they try to attack people who actually fight back. Crying and cowed bully body language is the least of it.)

        1. Back when we lived in Townsville, Housemate was walking back home from walking Vincent to school, and saw an older Asian (he guessed Korean) lady walking along at a relaxed pace maybe a hundred meters ahead of him. (Straight road, so you can see right down the path) She reached the crossing and as she crossed a bunch of young hooligans on bicycles on the way to the local TAFE thought it would be fun to try steal the umbrella she held in her hand (it was an overcast day). Sensing trouble and thinking he might make it in time to at least get the umbrella back and kick some idiots’ arses, Housemate picked up his pace, but instead got close enough to witness the old woman take out the group of young idiots with very fast martial arts moves – they were on the ground, stunned, or thrown into the street before Housemate managed to take more than a few steps. The hooligans picked themselves up, crossed the street from Housemate’s side of the road and fled.

          Housemate saw them a few more times afterward; if the old Korean lady was there too, the hoons would go out of the way to avoid her. (They eventually DID try to pick a fight with the Housemate; which they very quickly regretted. Bicycles can be a weapon easily turned against their users…)

          1. (They eventually DID try to pick a fight with the Housemate; which they very quickly regretted. Bicycles can be a weapon easily turned against their users…)

            Heh. … the old broom handle through the wheel spokes?

            1. I was thinking more along the line of the bicycle battle in the oily warehouse in ‘The Transporter’.

  10. The Constitution forbids you from silencing them.
    Well, technically, it forbids you from using gov’t to silence them. It’s state laws that generally forbid you from tying them up and shoving an old sock in their pie hole.

    1. “Constitution forbids you from silencing them.”

      BUT it doesn’t say I have to stay there and Listen to them. I can turn off the TV, Radio, etc. It also doesn’t say I can’t scream & throw a tantrum to drown them out, but I out grew that long time ago, & that is exhausting. Granted they haven’t.

      Hmmm maybe if we all carried a big sign that says “Listening to toddlers throw tantrums. The biggest whinny baby toddlers are ___________” Start filling in the blanks folks.

  11. But no one ever expresses gun deaths in terms of deaths per legally owned guns.
    So, something like 200+ million legally-owned firearms in America? And how many have died in mass shootings in the last… 50 years? About 1,000, by WaPo’s account (yes, I know). Assuming that 200+ million is constant (yeah, I know, but numbers are easier that way), that’s 1 dead for every 200,000 firearms. It’s even crazier if you go with the high end of firearm ownership estimations (more like 600 million).
    So: at most 1/200,000

    1. Cue the screeching of “That’s still far too many! One gun death is far too many! Think of the children!” etc. ad nauseum.

    2. Curiosity got a hold of me, and I did a little comparison research (links left out to avoid moderation filters).

      Found an old (2014) USA Today article that states in the years 2002-2011 (9 years), “more than 9,000” children were killed in car/motor vehicle/road crashes. So on average, over 1000 per year.

      An LA Times article from the same year says that there are 253 million cars on the road in the US.

      A 2017 Forbes article says that 1297 children per year, on average, died from a gunshot (all types, suicide, accidental, etc etc) between 2002 and 2014.

      And a 2015 Washington Post article claims 310 million guns in the US in 2009 (357 million in 2013, but that’s bordering outside the range of the years in the Forbes article. The 2009 number seems a better median).

      So per year, on average, about 4 kids die per million guns in the US. And about 4 kids die per million cars in the US.

      Given that the numbers are roughly equal, you would expect, that, if people really were concerned about children’s lives, there would be an equally large hue and cry for banning of cars to protect kids as there is for banning of guns to protect kids. There would also be the cry for suing car dealerships and auto manufacturers when children are killed because someone misused their vehicle.

      But, of course, child safety is not the motive for the gun control narrative-drivers.

      And the only thing surprising to me about all of this data is that the car deaths are as low as they are. I would have thought that number to be several times higher.

      1. Did you notice that the raw number of crashes is going *down*, too?

        70s, it was something like 50k, generally with multiple casualties each.

        94, it was 36.25k crashes, with 40.7k fatalities.

        15, it was 32.2k with 35k. fatalities.

        Fatalities of those inside of vehicles has gone way down, non-motorists has stayed about even, motorcyclists has roughly doubled.

      2. Every time someone states that “x children are killed by guns each year”, I want to know what age range they’re talking about (and usually don’t get a response). Some studies cited have used a range up to and including “children” as being up to 24 years old…

        1. Used to, you were legally an adult at 18 or 21. Under Obamacare, you can be a child until 27.

          The average age of a USAAF bomber pilot in WWII was 21.

    3. Since Columbine the major events I can think of have been something like 5 schools, 3 entertainment venues, a church, a Christmas party and two political. Of these Vegas and the Bernieboy shooter are the only two that were neither minors with known psych issues, prohibited persons who the govt had let slip thru cracks, nor persons whose actions were questioned and reported to authorities. Of the latter maybe two of them didn’t have sufficient cause for any action. So over 20 yrs we have four major events where current preventative strategies could have been materially insufficient (as opposed to incompetent). Seems smaller than many other catastrophic events.

      Oh, I neglected ft hood and Navy Yard but the latter should have been treated when hearing voices. Former let’s give full benefit of doubt and say it was not recognizable. Still seems that existing law and procedures need to be better enforced vs just adding another one to plea bargain away unless you are to be a DA’s example.

        1. Ya. Remember reading that again over past few days. And even ignoring the two major outliers (Bataclan and Norway) it holds up. But because it’s not even touched on anywhere it may as well not exist. It’s just a piece of propaganda from the evil NRA according to most of the enemy combatants that share our borders.

        2. Devil’s advocate, and then explaining why it’s not a flaw:

          The timing on that is for a section of time when there were an unusual number of very high number gun-sprees in other countries.

          Why that’s not a sign of bad will: they didn’t choose the period, Obama did…..

  12. In a perfect system, you could control all the variables to get the result you wanted.
    But Marxism/progressivism believes you can perfect it all through Science! In the meantime, you do what you gotta do…..

  13. Well, you are not allowed to kill someone (not specifically in the Constitution, but still generally accepted)

    Fifth amendment (No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law), then fourteenth (nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law).

    Although the implicit “private individuals aren’t gov’ts which this document is written for but they don’t get to murder” is not spelled out, true.

    1. It wasn’t considered necessary because 1) state’s laws and 2) common law. That common law assumption broke down when we dropped a consistent morality from the equation.

    2. …and now “due process” has become “indict a ham sandwich” and “civil forfeiture” and “preventive custody”…

      After all, it’s due process when they say it is.

      1. I don’t have a problem with civil asset forfeiture, I have trouble with the possibilities for abuses (some of the examples spread around are even abuses! Amazing how when you dig into stories, many of the supposed victims are Dindonuffins…but a simple requirement of conviction for a crime would fix that); indict a ham sandwich has been around since the start; and an awful lot of of the abuses of various “preventive” anything that they go for are already flatly illegal. If only folks would scream to get the people who actually did it, rather than trying to attack the entire building; it’s like folks WANT to give the nasty, abusive twits a mote-and-bailey defense.

      2. A not guilty ruling should result in the government paying all defense expenses. Otherwise you get guilt by exhaustion where the defendant pleas because bankrupt.

        1. This falls apart when it’s applied to breeding animals, which are often confiscated at the mere accusation of neglect/abuse (no actual neglect/abuse required). By the time the not-guilty comes down from on high, the animals are all either neutered or scattered to the four winds (and ~30% of puppies die in custody).

          Even if this sort of thing weren’t a problem, civil asset forfeiture encourages a corrupt police culture where it’s more about what profits the department than about crime or justice.

          1. I should have noted a bit better. This is regardless of the concept of ‘asset guilt’ that is the fig leaf for CAF. Too often you are destroyed merely by the cost of the lawyers to fight your case. More at the ‘indict a ham sandwich’ part of our injustice system.

          2. Accusations of work law violations, too.
            “Oh, these strawberries will rot in two days? Well, you’d better admit that you violated work laws then, huh?”

            I try not to get started on the animal “welfare” bs.
            I have literally never seen a pet shop, but hardly a month goes by without some demonization of how it was terrible to actually have a store where normal people could get specifically bred pets, rather than needing to try to find a breeder and pray they’re not a fraud. The local PetCo has animals from the shelter you can adopt…for over a hundred dollars…and you’re supposed to feel all virtuous about basically paying designer-store prices for Goodwill product, without even the ability to bring it back for a full refund if it turns out to be a vicious monster….

  14. Michael Hooten states a premise that both can be right, by their own standards.

    Step one is to force into the open that there are two (at minimum) incompatible standards being pushed, one which is appropriate to Citizens and one appropriate to Subjects. So long as The Left is allowed to proclaim their standard the default, “common sense” one there cannot be any debate allowed. They own the confirmation bias industry and it is up to us to break their grip.

    1. Well, piffle! That was supposed to append to the referenced Mike Houst comment at 3:11 pm but my internet connection dropped out and reset and apparently WP thought I was making a fresh remark.

      My regrets for the confusion.

  15. Noted without additional comment:

    Florida college leads the way in campus safety with new gun program
    After the horrific shooting which took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., a spotlight is being placed on another Florida school’s cutting-edge program to protect students. Southeastern University is the only college campus in the Sunshine State to allow staff to carry guns on campus.

    This voluntary Sentinel Program started in the summer of 2017 and operates as a partnership between the Polk County sheriff’s office and the university.

    “In addition to all the training, threat assessments, individual intervention, and technology we have invested into our security programs, we know one more critical thing we can do to reduce the number of lives impacted in an active assailant incident is a shorter response time for the good guys to interrupt and stop the bad guy,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

    Under the Sentinel Program, volunteer staff members are vetted, selected, and trained for active assailant incidents. Individuals participating in the Sentinel Program are appointed by the sheriff as volunteer “special deputies,” which have no authority to act in any law enforcement capacity outside of an active assailant incident on campus.

    Each special deputy undergoes a criminal background check, drug testing, and a psychological evaluation as well as 100 hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training for the purpose of providing security on campus during an active assailant incident. This 100-hour block of firearms instruction is 25 percent more instruction than the standard that is required for certified law enforcement officers. In addition to the 100 hours, special deputies are also required to complete 32 hours of deadly force training.

    “The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is a paramount concern for us at Southeastern University,” Kent Ingle, president of Southeastern University, said in a press release. “We are excited about this new program that will result in well-trained staff being available on campus to rapidly respond to any active assailant threat. We are committed to providing the safest learning environment possible for our university community.”

    Southeastern University describes itself as “a Christ-centered institution of higher learning… committed to equipping the next generation of leaders so that they can go into the world as influential servants in their careers and their communities.”

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Well, okay, one additional comment, launching off that “Christ-centered institution” bit: He did say something about selling your spare cloak and buying yourself a Glock, didn’t He?

    1. a psychological evaluation as well as 100 hours of comprehensive firearm safety
      Heck, most of your psych eval can probably be accomplished by watching them during the firearms training. Do they play with their weapon? Do they have a bit of a gleam in their eye? Work from there.

      And, yes, RES, you’re pretty close on that Biblical quote. 🙂

      1. I sure got no 8 hours per year. Maybe about 2 hours. (But it’s been 40 years since I was armed on duty.)

    2. That’s my sheriff, and I thanked him personally for starting up that program. Wish the Florida legislature would get off it’s collective fundament and enable campus carry.

      1. I believe there is some dispute over the translations. One school holds that the requirement is for a Colt, because “God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal.”

    3. RES
      Re: buying a Glock
      Rev 19: 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

      Browning Model 1911

      1. I think not. As has been written, “God made men, Sam Colt made them equal, and John Browning made them civilized.”

      2. Blessed be the Lord my God, who makes my hands to war and my fingers to pull a trigger smoothly and consistently.
        Psalm 144:1 (GWB paraphrase)

      3. The Sikh religion commands its followers to do various things, one of which is to carry the kirpan, which is a knife. In many countries with severe knife laws Sikhs are allowed to carry their knives. And even the US Military allows them to carry the kirpan in uniform.

        In Pakistan there are the various tribes of Darra Adam Khel. The imams of the Islamic State of Pakistan, in true British fashion, decided it was just fine for the Darra to reject Islam, declared the Darra lands to be an “autonomous region”, and set up roadblocks, in effect, putting the Darra on a closed reservation, and then ignoring them as much as possible.

        I’ve never been able to get a good handle on the Darra religion. It comes across as something between “Hold my beer and watch this!” and “Guns, guns, guns!” Like the Sikh, weapons are a part of the Darra religion… but since they could no longer buy weapons made elsewhere, creation of weapons has itself become part of the deal. And they keep current; they make pistols and machine guns, among other things. And while a few decades ago they were mostly guys squatting on the ground using files and anvils, some of them are using CNC machining centers now.

        Since they’re knee-deep in guns, there’s a whole industry dedicated to smuggling firearms off rhe reservation, where they eventually show up all over the middle east, and even in gun shops in the US.
        (all your guns are belong to US) This drives the Pakistani government nuts, but not nuts enough to start a civil war against an internal subpolity that’s armed to the teeth and is happy to stay on their reservation.

        Someone once asked Jack Vance how he came up with some of the bizarre cultures he described in his novels. He replied that he stole most of them from anthopology books…

  16. Interesting. At NRO Jim “Morning Jolt” Geraghty draws attention to these results in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll:

    But Americans are roughly split on this proposal, with 50 percent in support and 46 percent opposed, a stark contrast from the 80 percent support for the ban in 1994, the year it was enacted. The current level of support is little different from 51 percent in 2016.

    Also. . .

    A slight 51 percent majority of parents with children under 18 who live at home say the Florida shooting could have been prevented if teachers were able to carry firearms, compared with 38 percent of Americans without young children. There is a smaller parental divide in support for banning assault weapons, a policy backed by 46 percent of parents and 51 percent of non-parents.

    What’s more, Americans are fairly unified in seeing mass shootings as a mental health problem, much less so than seeing it as a problem with gun laws or the Second Amendment.

    Americans are more unified in saying improved mental health screening and treatment could have prevented Florida’s attack, with more than three-quarters of Democrats, Republicans and independents in agreement on this question.

    Asked about mass shootings more broadly, the public says by a roughly 2 to 1 margin that they reflect problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems rather than inadequate gun control laws. Fully 8 in 10 Republicans say mass shootings are mainly reflective of problems dealing with mental health issues, as do more than 6 in 10 independents. A slight majority of Democrats, 52 percent, say they mainly reflect inadequate gun laws.

    Meanwhile, the New York Times and Survey Monkey ask Americans how they feel about the recently passed tax cuts, and surprise! They like them more with each passing month. …


    Remember, when imbibing information from the MSM you are drinking in enemy propaganda. Even when true it is not likely to be accurate.

    1. Since when have our DC rulers actually cared about actual polls. They know they have enough bought and paid for support and that fear of the other guy will get them reelected even if they never follow through. And even if they are ousted for doing the bidding of our superior class they will fail into a nice lobbying job.

  17. I think I have to disagree with Mr. Correia.

    I’ve thought for many years that, on one hand, the statement, “I like this book, but I don’t claim it’s good,” and on the other, the statement, “This is a good book, but it’s one that I don’t enjoy,” are meaningful; and that if you don’t understand the distinction, you don’t really understand art. Or literature, specifically.

    But if I don’t accept the idea that a book is good just because it pleases me, or because I enjoy it, then equally I’m not going to accept the idea that a book is good just because a large number of other people enjoy it. And it sounds as if that’s what Correia’s claim means. I think he’s wrong: A book can have huge sales and still be bad.

    On the other hand, just because someone asserts, rightly, that there is such a thing as aesthetic worth doesn’t mean that their standards of aesthetic worth are sound. Adherence to a specified ideology, for example, isn’t a valid standard. (I serve on the jury that selects the Libertarian Futurist Society’s finalists for the Prometheus Award; most years we say, about a nominee or two, “Yes, this is libertarian, but it’s not well enough written.”) That I think Correia is wrong on that point doesn’t mean that I think everyone who disagrees with him is right, or has valid standards.

    1. Literature is one of those areas where I definitely disagree with Correia. He hates the idea of kids being forced to read “the classics” in school; I think it’s very important, although I disagree with current authorities as to what those classics are.

      I do, however, want to say a word or two in defense of popularity. If something is popular, especially if it remains popular for a long time, that means that it speaks to something in a lot of people. It’s often worth considering what that “something” is, whether the work in question is Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code, Twilight, or (saints preserve us) 50 Shades of Grey.

      1. Erm…. The problem is that not all of the classics — and in fact, not very many of the classics — are written for kids, suitable for kids, or are rightly read by kids.

        Most of the classics were written for middle-aged or old people, and only older people have the experience of life that enables them to appreciate said classics.

        I wouldn’t stop kids from voluntarily reading classics for old people, because I don’t usually believe in discouraging freedom of reading. But a lot of that stuff just swishes over one’s head, emotionally and in terms of wisdom, until one has encountered some of the stuff the classics are talking about.

        There are classics that are more accessible and kindly to the young, and that’s what kids should be reading in school.

        Finally, I advocate audiobooks or reading out loud for all Greek and Latin philosophical works. (It makes it a lot easier to pause the book and argue out loud with the text, and it also helps one stay awake and actually pay attention to the philosophy.) But nobody should be forced to read that stuff until college or afterward.

        1. Plus the class is focused on reading the deepest meaning of what color choice meant instead of what actually was going on.

          Teacher issues don’t help.

        2. I disagree on “middle-aged or old”. I think 15 is plenty old enough for most of the classics. (And they’re a LOT tamer than the crap that is being pushed because of progressivism.) Some of the classics should be in college, but some of them must be introduced in high school in order to graduate a moral, wise, discerning citizenry.
          And a lot of the information that “swishes over one’s head” is because of a definite lack of history and philosophy education in the years preceding.

          1. It’s not a matter of objectionable content, it’s a matter of being able to get what it’s saying–or recognize the falsehoods built in, for some of them.

            Kind of like how I read Terry Pratchett as a teen, but holy cow did I not get what I get in my 30s. It was fun, then; it’s something to think about, now.

            Most of the classics are not fun.

            1. I read a lot of books when I was too young to get what was going on, and not only classics; I read the Heinlein juveniles, aimed at boys in their teens, starting when I was around seven. (Though I could make a case for the Heinlein juveniles being “classics.”) It seems to me that reading something that’s over your head can stretch your mental reach.

              1. If you do it because you want to, yes.

                If you’re forced to do it for your own good, it’s like trying to feed a nursing infant table-food– you might do actual harm, and it’s very likely they won’t want to that dish again for ages. If they grab it, though, even if they don’t end up liking it they’ll eat it later.

          2. I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame when I was 11 or 12 (this was probably in 1966 or ’67). It was loaned to me by our next door neighbor, who was a high school English teacher. Probably a lot of it whizzed overhead at high altitude; nonetheless, it apparently kept my attention as I finished it in just a few days.

            Actually, I probably read (voluntarily) more classics as a kid than I ever have as an adult.

  18. No right is absolute. As a classic example your freedom of speech does not permit you to yell fire in a crowded theater without suffering consequences for your actions.
    A major problem with most of these so called common sense gun control proposals is that if applied to the crowded theater case they would require theater patrons to be fitted with locked ball gags prior to entry.
    There is in fact a vast difference between being held responsible for acts committed vs prior restraint against things one might or might not do.
    Another assumption I find troubling is that many seem to think that if an individual intent on committing mass murder were to go to a gun store and be denied a purchase that they would simply give up. It’s a simple hierarchy of methodology. Try the legal stuff first, if that fails go to plan B, then C, and so on until your goal is achieved. The belief that a monster willing to commit atrocious unspeakable acts will be deterred at first attempt is fantasy of the most foolish sort that results in a false sense of undeserved safety and security.

    1. Yeah, everyone knows explosives are the more effective technique. Common sense education control. Growing up poor leads to a depraved mindset that promotes violence. Engineering education only for the wealthy!

    2. Any freedom will have negative consequences.
      -Freedom of speech means that demagogues and charlatans can work on a gullible public and spread propaganda and lies.
      -Freedom of religion means that cults and charlatans can flourish.
      -The legal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” means that guilty people will go free because of legal technicalities.
      -Trial by a jury of one’s peers means that an emotional appeal can also free the guilty.
      And so on.
      But, if you abridge these freedoms, while you may see a short term gain, you will see a long term erosion of how your society functions, if it doesn’t go outright tyrannical.

    3. I agree with most of your post, but could we please retire the “fire in a crowded theater” line? It was an outdated cliche even when it was first used in the “Schenck v. United States” decision, and Schenck was a horrible decision that has since been overturned. There’s no reason sensible people should be quoting it.

      1. I only brought it up because it is the argument trotted out every time the gun control proponents want to argue that they have a right to impose restrictions on a constitutional right.
        Personally, I’ve always hated the saying as in fact I do have the perfect right to yell fire anywhere I want. But if I do it maliciously with intent to cause harm I am liable for whatever damage I may cause.

        1. I admit I am kind of fond of it, as it allows me to point out that a) yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theatre is perfectly okay if there is an actual fire, b) laws against falsely yelling “Fire!” might be in effect but the practical reality is that determining 1) who it was that yelled “Fire!” in that darkened theatre is practically impossible and b) proving beyond reasonable doubt they knew their cry was false is also practically impossible … thus the prohibition is ineffective, unenforceable and thus irrelevant.

          1. Well, they *felt* there was a fire! And If It Saves Even One Life, they should get a commendation for shouting.

      2. I’m glad to have someone point out that problem and cite the case. That Holmes made that comparison is one of the clearest pieces of evidence I’ve saying of his ruthless authoritarianism, right up there with his “three generations of imbeciles is enough” crack in the decision justifying forced sterilization.

  19. Half Devil’s Advocate.

    Suppose we were to take away guns from everyone we couldn’t be sure was stable.

    You can be fairly sure someone is stable if you can ensure that you know that a) they have been an adult for a number of years in a jurisdiction that can be trusted to have provided details of any misbehavior b) they haven’t been administered certain psychiatric drugs c) they haven’t been using recreational drugs. These criteria happen to exclude stoners and illegals. So, this gun control regime would make it easier to murder both stoners and illegals on a mass scale, if it could be implemented.

    The Democrats are absolutely not going to deliver on their end of such a compromise.

    Ergo, we can have certain conclusions about their true motivations, agenda, and targets.

    1. First off, who decides? Not that anyone has ever used the powers vested in our government agencies in a partisan fashion against their political opponents, but any lawyer worth their bar certification can always find an “expert” who will swear to whatever they’re paid to. So this power to disarm the unstable could be used to render any certain group defenseless.
      And then there is that assumption that removing guns could actually be accomplished. Sure, anyone could be put on a NICS list and forbidden from buying a gun legally, and of course as we all know once something is illegal the practice is eliminated. Two perfect examples that come to mind are Prohibition and the infamous War on Drugs. Just look at how well those social experiments have turned out.
      Too, there is such a thing as the law of supply and demand, the scarcer a thing is the more valuable it becomes. And a firearm isn’t all that difficult to create from scratch if you don’t need precision accuracy and high quality. During WWII machine pistols were being built in bicycle shops at a cost not much more than a good meal would run.

      1. Better, we all know the dangerously insane never try to kill anyone with something BESIDES their legally owned firearm.


        Definitely need to fix the involuntary institutionalization rules. If someone is dangerous enough to disarm on mental health grounds, he’s too dangerous to have walking around.

        Following due process, too.

  20. The problem here is that we could only possibly agree on the same dictionary if both sides were interested in mediation. Too many factions on the Left aren’t. They can’t be. Their agendas can’t survive clear examination.

    Now, there are factions on the Right that this is also true of, but they aren’t controlling any large degree of the narrative.

    The gun controllers can’t propose an honest position, because their honest position is ‘nobody should ever have any kind of gun, ever’. They held that position in the 1970’s, and it got them nowhere. It got them BACKWARDS, in fact. But we all know they haven’t changed their goals.

    1. Right now, in PNG, where the road to legal gun ownership is more difficult than in Japan, and where gun violence is high, there’s a proposal to put a total gun ban into effect.
      This will just make things worse. The gangs will still get their guns from Indonesia. The undermanned, underfunded, and overwhelmed police departments will be less effective. And with the private security companies disarmed, you’ll see an increase in armed robberies.
      After all, it’s not like the police will be able to get there to do anything.

      1. After all, it’s not like the police will be able to get there to do anything.

        Police: chalk outlines drawn where you need them, when you need them!

        Until environmental activists declare chalk to be contributing to climate change.

        1. There’s stories of the police asking for fuel money before they can head to the scene of a crime.

      2. A favorite saying on the pro gun side of the argument here in the US is: when seconds count the police are only minutes away.

    2. Their honest position is that they saw all the other countries have civil wars which were won by the soviet backed communist faction, and wanted that for here.

    3. we all know they haven’t changed their goals.

      Pfui. One of the most salient characteristics of Progressives is their constantly changing goal posts. Hell, meet them halfway and you’ll find they’ve moved their goalposts back thirty percent. For them, Zeno’s paradox about Achilles and the Tortoise is a How-To manual.

  21. Raises hand:

    Okay, so I’m slow here. I take it that testing by the system entails putting a part into a system and if it works call it good to go. Does that mean testing outside the system means subjecting a part to various tests to the point of failure, and cataloging a list of specs, and then selecting the part based on those specs.

    Yet this raises another question: What determines the specs? How do you know if the system actually functions as designed? More tests to destruction? Hand it to the biggest klutz in the company and see what they do to it?

    I ask because one of the most common things we hear when it comes to hardware and software is “That’s never happened before.” I want to go “Really. So do we charge you for beta testing?” And we have ended up kludging fixes that, if I understand correctly, is testing by the system.

    I’m not trying to argue; I’m trying to learn.

    1. I used to work in semiconductor testing. Specifications were extremely detailed to the electical, thermal and logical charateristics.

      Devices/die are tested when on wafers and later when packaged. The wafer held by vacuum on a metal chuck is stepped in the x/y plane and then raise so the bond pads touch probes attached to a card which is hooked to a test rig. Engineers write specific programs to test each die customized to the type of the die. Similar programs and test equipment is used when the dies that pass wafer test are packaged.

      Some of the devices we tested were as simple as a diode or as complex as a secure microprocessor. The testing regimen for the later may be quite complex. Other devices may require strict temparture baths or ovens while testing. Lasers may be used to fix, trim or code the die.

      Very few companies outside the miltary, aerospace or medical community are required to test their software in extreme detail. But software testing has become more commonplace even through most of it is just beyond the cargo cult state. If software companies really took quality and secuirty serious, software would cost an order of magnitude more than it current does.

        1. I’d believe 4 orders of magnitude–I’ve done battle with code, and worked on a few stinkers myself. (Never sold software to the outside world, but “Some Software Projects Should Be Throttled at Conception”.)

          1. I have never sold software either. Didn’t see a lot of “this software just should stop now”, didn’t have time for the silly stuff. Some clients on last position conversations would go:
            “we need this”,
            “okay are you sure”,
            “are you really really sure”,
            “okay, here is the quote”
            “Do it” Signed Quote is returned.
            “It’s done”
            Then about 80% of the time the following:
            “Someone complained we need it this way” … the way it was before …
            “That’s how it was, here are the email trails. Let me know. FYI. Same charge to change it back.”

            The bad news. These were Government Employees. I’ll leave off what level & where.

            1. The worst project was when my boss got a bug “to make the tester’s software easier to use”. Two of us (the other guy overseas) worked on it for months (with a bit of #1 do A, #2 undo A, add B that makes C impossible). When we finally got on the same page and came up with an alpha program, the performance was abysmal. Some major tweaking, and I got it to work without a hideous penalty, and released it to my coworkers. Who felt the entire concept stunk.

              The basis of the OEM language was C, and fairly well thought out. It had macros that would set up the instruments and connections, and the development tools would let you see pretty what was going on. The concept of the new system essentially took over the accounting, (instrument A would use Line 1 to connect to Pin 42, while instrument C used Line 3 to go elsewhere) and would let the hardware automagically return to a previous state. The problem is, the test engineers found it too alien to what they were used to, and in many cases, it was like adding training wheels to a racing motorcycle. I couldn’t disagree. I implemented my boss’s vision, but (in retrospect) he was one to fall in love with his own ideas. I implemented the concept as best as I could, but…

              I don’t think any of the new system stayed in production programs; for a brief period, it was getting used as setup code, with all the following routines ignoring the state system. That boss changed companies shortly afterward.

              Thus my throttling comment.

              1. I’ve spent time on both sides:
                Defending the testers because management says “you keep holding up deployment! Why do you keep finding things wrong?!”
                Telling the testers to get their head out of the box because they want to claim a lack of old method for achieving A equals lack of ability to achieve A, or they’re testing to some ideal in their heads instead of the stated requirements. (And yes, we don’t have much automated testing, as the system is severely stove-piped and very complex, with multiple systems inputting and receiving outputs.)

                1. Last job, testers holding up deployment was not a problem. 1) there were no testers after the programmers. 2) there was no scheduled deployment releases. Change or new feature requested. Programmer got assignment, programmer developed the specifications from the result wanted & what programs already did. Make change & test. Send to client requested. Depending on feature, everyone else got change, 1) if they report a problem & date stamp on their program is older than current version, 2) they needed a change, or 3) general broadcast release to get everyone to same code base, which occurred every 2 years or so (it was that big of a pain in the fundamentals) & lord help us if the general release was because of library interface changes, cascading nightmares ensued.

              2. Heard of that. Never experienced it directly.

                I’ve seen software go obsolete because hardware moved on & did not make sense to continue software in question, or company focus changed. Essentially got downsized do to both at the same time (well the fact the company in question was in bankruptcy didn’t help).

                By obsolete I mean the actual function of the software program. Not okay new software system, but we still need the functionality of some of the older individual programs we’ve been using. Yes, older programs not used, & not converted, but what they did was implemented within the new system. Did a lot of the latter.

                Talk about throttling comment. You know the yearly insurance forms required by Obamacare, “proof” everyone is suppose to get that you’ve had insurance? I implemented that for the last software I worked on. One of last major items I wrote before I retired. Have no idea if they will continue to run it. Guess it is good information. FYI, there are 2 or 3 components. One for individuals, 1 for reporting to federal government, & 1 for up the chain for entity, which FYI, has to be different from what the Feds wanted, and every client has to have their own version (it’s been 3 years since I wrote the darn thing).

                1. And the IRS computer system couldn’t actually accept the files you so carefully output because they didn’t update them….

        2. When I was working in the field, our definition of software was “the thing you create to make the hardware do what the salesman said it would” — but we couldn’t always close the gap.

          1. Or “software is free” because it prevents that expensive hardware from being a door jam or boat anchor – YMMV

        3. I’m a really good software blacksmith, but I actually do know what rigor is. I keep meaning to learn enough category theory to make sense of Haskell.

          We’d probably have more software engineers today, 46 years after Parnas, if H1-Bs hadn’t redirected the candidates into law school.

          1. I was out of the industry before H1-Bs had any impact; the Silicon Valley buzzwords were “Virtual Fab” and “Offshoring”. As a stateside product/test engineer, Virtual Fab == Real Headaches.
            Before the company sold off the semiconductor group altogether, they moved everything to SE Asia. Then the virtual fabs weren’t too far off in time zones.
            OTOH, I was sort of the H1-B for that consulting gig. Paid a lot better, though, until they went under.

    2. A good chunk of my product and test engineering was working with new circuits. Some circuits (we did optical/electronic stuff, then got into high speed circuits before the bubble hit the blade) were start-from-scratch new, while others were derived from chips we already built.

      The process, such as it was: Marketing/design/production would come up with a set of goals for the chip, and what specs we wanted it to meet. (For instance, an optocoupler IC would have to run at certain logic levels with a certain amount of input current, and would have to do it so fast, at specified currents. The easy (usually) part was defining the temperature; that was determined by the application.

      We’d work with the designer and layout people to get a part that was actually testable, for certain definitions… We’d get the artwork and turn it into the masks for the build, and once we’d have silicon, we’d start characterizing. First a continuity test, then a high-tech version of a smoke test. If it passed that, we’d check parameters. We’d vary forcing parameters (supply voltage, input current, timing, and temperature).

      If we had working parts, we’d get some assembled. The back end product line (we’d do the silicon stuff, others the LEDs/lasers, and the back end put them together) would do much the same testing over parameters, and usually would do some kind of stress testing. This might be a simple burn-in; power up the parts, maybe toggle inputs, and let them bake for a bunch of hours at temp (usually 1000 hours and pretty close to maximum allowed die temperatures). If other environmental factors were key (humidity, thermal shock, and so on), those would be done. Military parts usually got the full shake and back in production; commercial usually when the packaging was new tech. YMMV.

      This all generated a boatload of data. We’d reduce it, and tried to answer the question: Can we build it correctly? Does it do what we need it to do? Is this what our customers want? (wishlist modified by reality).

      Where things get crunchy is when the part gets used in ways we either didn’t anticipate, or if the parameters weren’t really testable. One part that looked really simple was a bitch to produce, because its behavior was dependent on the exact intensity and wavelength of the light hitting the photodiode. I had a back end engineer unhappy because I couldn’t give him the specs he needed to make the verdammt part work correctly. In the long run, the part went obsolete, with a sigh of relief from all people.

      I’d had parts that go sideways depending on the data it received; in my case, the incoming signals were much dirtier than the part would see in “the system”, but we couldn’t affordably move all the drive circuits adjacent to the chip. That was fun.

      I never got to test anything quite as complex as a Pentium CPU, but we got close. One project was going to be fun, but the bubble burst before the R&D people were able to produce a working design. Not sure how many components were on that chip, but my simplest was a resistor; with a parasitic diode if the process wasn’t quite right.

      No, we didn’t let Mongo deal with the parts (came close once; destroyed half my characterization sample); he normally did the QA on the test programs. 🙂

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  23. Wasn’t the problem that they had with the Hubble mirror from their making sure the mirror was perfectly calibrated – according to instruments whose calibration was tested by devices that were themselves out of calibration, but no one thought to check the veracity of the test equipment for the test equipment (possibly of the test equipment)???

    1. The problem was one of those cascades of screwups. A whole bunch of different people didn’t do their jobs.

      An astonishing number of airline crashes and train derailments happen for the same basic reason.

      1. “A whole bunch of different people didn’t do their jobs.”

        Also: school shootings, planes flying into buildings, dead veterans in the USA, …

      2. Idiots remove themselves comparatively quickly.
        Things get hinky when two of the surviving idiots intersect.
        Don’t be the third idiot.

    2. To the best of my recollection, the optics were set up and finished in a test fixture that was supposed to replicate their placement in the satellite, but the locations weren’t identical. They made a corrective element (a monocle, I suppose) to cure that particular screwup.

    3. That’s actually common. We certify meter testing equipment periodically, but we have two different types of meters stuck back with a record of test values. If something looks screwy, you run the tests on those, and see how it matches previous values. Yes, Murphy could visit both meters, but we’re trying to decrease the likelihood of us missing a calibration error.

      1. Good way to do it. Our test equipment gets calibrated every three months or so (less depending on use), and we check the logs against known values. And still get snafu situations every so often. There is no known electrical/mechanical device made by humans that is immune to “gremlins.” Such things are also known as poor maintenance, metal fatigue, corrosion, mold growth (happened in the pressure vessel somehow), and so on…

    4. BTW, this reminds me of a job on a Saturday where we where working at a small factory. We had to kill the power, and, us being older heads, waited until it was tagged out and looked for clues it was really de-energized. Still, things can and have happened, and after making sure an alternate feed was also dead, we checked secondary voltage with our multimeters and went to work.

      I was rewiring the meter bases (yes, two, a main meter and a backup), when the Operations Manager says “Have you checked the voltage?”
      I say “Yes, but check behind me.”
      He does, using my multimeter. Everything looks dead, and he proceeds with his work. We finished ahead of schedule and without incident.

      First thing Monday morning, the warehouse guy comes around changing out our mulitmeters. Why? Because there was a recall on them. Seems that some failed to detect voltage. And all the meters of us who were on that job were recalled.

      Stuff like this is why we don’t work without out safety gear.

      1. My mother bought a house built just after WW-II when I was a sophomore in college. The wiring was somewhere between eccentric and illegal, but I wasn’t in a position to redo it. Did get a thrill when I was changing a light fixture, with the relevant fuse in my pocket, and still found an energized line. Finished the job after pulling the master fuse.

      2. First thing my mom added to the tool kit she gave us as a house warming gift: one of those little wands that starts to glow when it’s near a “hot” wire.

        1. We have a variation of that for determining if a primary line is hot. It’s a device that attaches to the end of extendo sticks (those telescoping insulated rods we use to do some line work from the ground). It beats the old way we had called “fuzzing” the line. In that, with all our protective gear on, we held a screwdriver onto the power line and listen for a light fuzzing sound (several thousand volts will do that). That, BTW, isn’t reliable, but primary voltage will destroy a voltmeter, and fuzzing was the best we had then.

  24. Joke I heard just yesterday:

    A software tester walks into a bar. Orders a beer. Orders 0 beers. Orders 99999999 beers. Orders a lizard. Orders -1 beers. Orders a fhqwhgads.

    1. Lemme guess: and the receipt for the bar tab is:

      1 beer
      1 beer
      1024 beers
      1 bear
      1023 beers
      billing for 4 days and 3 nights at the Love Canal luxury resort and casino. 🙂

    2. Somehow I’ve gone all these years and never heard that one. ROFL!

      “Don’t try to use the arrow keys in an entry box, and you have to use the period by the shift key, not the one on the number pad. And you have to save the file without an extension, otherwise it goes to V’ger.”

  25. Lazy software tester walks into a bar, and orders a bottle and two empty glasses. He leaves one empty, fills the other until it runs over, samples each, and says he’s tested the boundary conditions.

  26. Standards- something to aspire or get close to. My son painted the fire hydrants in town IAW NFPA standards for his Eagle project. According to the fireman who helped us set up the project, NFPA is getting rid of the standard. Because it was too hard for fire departments to adhere to it….

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