Weapon of Choice
Sam Aurelius Milam III
For a long time now, concerns for children have provided an excuse for people with an agenda to increase the power of government. Does somebody want restrictions on what can be published?1 Define "child pornography" and publishers no longer have a right to publish. They must be careful that what they're publishing doesn't violate the restriction. They have permission to publish whatever isn't prohibited. Does somebody want to regulate hiring practices? Define "child labor" and people no longer have a right to hire workers. They have permission to hire as permitted by regulations. Does somebody want to regulate who can buy a product? Impose an age limit on its use and customers no longer have a right to buy it. They must always be ready to demonstrate that they're qualified customers. They're permitted to buy as the authorities allow. The list seems endless, and it's all for the "good of the children".
Even though age limitations are entirely arbitrary, they might at least seem to avoid restricting adults, and impose restrictions only on children. However, they don't operate that way at all. The purchase of alcohol or tobacco is a good example. The reformers have enacted ID requirements as a prerequisite to such purchases, allegedly to prevent sales to children. Who has to show ID to buy alcohol or tobacco? Right. Adults do.
I'm tired of having children used as an excuse for the never-ending erosion of my liberty. I'm no longer willing to trade my liberty for the "good of the children". If the reformers can't find ways to protect children without stripping us of our liberty, then I say "don't protect the children". The liberty of the people is far more important than the well-being of the children.
Sam Aurelius Milam III
When I was young, I was able to do most of the necessary maintenance and repairs on my car with a few simple hand tools. The occasions when I needed a "special" tool were scarce. I was largely independent of the licensed car repair institutions. My father claimed that, when he was young, he could often keep his car running with just bailing wire. They don't use bailing wire any more. It's plastic string now. It would surely melt if you tied it around an exhaust manifold. Of course, nowadays, you normally can't even see the exhaust manifold, much less tie anything around it.
The extraordinary complexity of automobile design today forces people to depend for car repairs and maintenance on professional auto mechanics. Most of the mechanics work for institutions that are licensed by the government. In addition to the loss of independence, there are other disadvantages. For example, in addition to repairing or maintaining your car, the people at those institutions just might report you to the authorities if they discover that you've been "tampering" with any of the mandated equipment. Of course, it's become so complex that you can't tamper with it anyway, so maybe that isn't much of a risk.
The reason for my annoyance at this particular time regarding the complexity of automotive design, which has been gradually escalating for decades, and the motivation for this particular article, is an advertisement that I saw recently. It was an advertisement for a new car, a BMW I believe. The back of the driver's seat has little air bags in it. There are detectors that sense steering wheel motion and lateral acceleration of the car. The detected information is used to inflate or deflate the little air bags, providing support for the driver, during turns.
Not only is the idea an outrageous overuse of technology, not only is it hideously overly complex (and thus overly inclined to failure), not only does it add unnecessarily to the already astronomical expense of the car, not only does it further increase the dependence of people on licensed repair facilities, it's a really stupid idea. If the driver is going around the corner so fast that he needs extra back support, then he's going around the corner way too fast. If he's not going around the corner that fast, then he doesn't need the extra back support. QED. Stupid idea.
Here's what I think. The automotive industry should declare a ten-year moratorium on all (or most) new car design activity. Except for alternative technologies, they should shut down their new car design facilities and just keep the current models in production for a while. Maybe, if we're lucky, they'd even resume production on some of those decades-old designs that were so easy to maintain. Meanwhile, they could send all the extra car designers to Afghanistan to figure out better ways to clear mine fields. They could tell them to figure out what to do about the world-wide problem of overpopulation, how to make fusion reactors work, how to make rail passenger service viable again, what to do about all those landfills, how to address the problem of resource depletion, what to do about global warming, or how to solve the problem of urban sprawl. There are thousands of better things that those designers could do instead of devising nonsense that is passed of as improvements in car design.
Teach Your Parents Well
Sam Aurelius Milam III
Reprint: This article appeared in the May 1994 issue.
On Tuesday, April 12, 1994, the MacNeil/Lehrer NEWSHOUR presented a segment comparing Toronto and Detroit, vis-à-vis the prevalence of crime. During the segment, Grace Fouche (of Detroit) expressed perplexity that her son, Sala, while improperly handling a gun had inadvertently killed a close friend. If you think education is dangerous, try ignorance. The young man was ignorant, and the fault is entirely that of his mother. He was ignorant because (as she revealed by her own testimony) she failed to either teach him how to safely handle a gun or make sure that some competent instructor did so. It's really stupid to teach your children everything except for what they really need to know. Guns exist and they aren't going to go away. Most people will probably encounter a gun at least once during a normal lifetime. If the woman doesn't see to the proper training and education of her children, who will? Perplexity is a poor consolation for failure.
|Letters to the Editor
I enjoy your newsletter very much. But I must request that you remove my name and address from your mailing list.
You see, I've found you on the internet and wish to save you the cost of a USPS stamp every month!
Thanks and best wishes,
John; San Jose, California
Re: February's lead article. It is my opinion, based upon the news items regarding the intercepted terrorist messages, that there was sufficient knowledge not only to stop the attack before it happened, but also to identify the perpetrators. I believe the only reason the information will never be made public is that it would confirm my opinion.
Sir James the Bold
Dear Mr. Aurelius
... I have decided that the only way to really effect a change is through the pen. I want to kill them all, but we know it doesn't work that way. Ask McVeigh, Koresh, the victims of the Ruby Ridge incident, any devout Southern boy, the list goes on and on. My sense of fair play demands retribution, but it does not seem to work that way. One day, if it does, I will go that way. At any rate, how are property prices up in that area? How bout in the mountains. I must have mountains to live in, and I need out of this state. Too damn oppressive. What's next? Brown shirts? SS or what? Hitler youth? We could call them Bush Youth. Give them daggers with elephants on them and outfit them with oil money. Fuckin bastards. I guess I rant and rave too much, so I will sign off. Thank you for the sub and the other cool stuff.
Here are examples of property currently for sale in this area: 1 1/4 acres, $83,900; 6 acres, $124,900; 10 acres, $114,900. Each piece of land has a house of one sort or another. Please note, this is river bottom land, not mountains.
Hi Sam I always look forward to your newsletter. Although your ideas at times seem fanatical, I somehow often agree. However, in your last issue I was shocked by your headline: "The people should always be more heavily armed than the police." If you really feel this way, why do we even have police? I don't know how to use a gun and wouldn't want to learn, nor would I want my wife or children using a gun. We pay taxes so that the police will protect us, and so we can spend our time on more productive and more enjoyable activities. Call me lazy, but I disagree with you this time!
Tom; Redwood Shores, California
I didn't intend to suggest that you should be required to own a gun. Indeed, if you don't know how to use one, then you're better off without it. Of course, you're even better off learning to use it. My intended meaning is that the people, as a population, should be more heavily armed than the police. I'll go even further than that. The population must be prepared to defend itself against any armed force that the government might send against the people. Thus, if the government uses army tanks and armed helicopters to attack a civilian residence near Waco, the people should thereafter arm themselves with anti-tank rocket launchers and surface-to-air guided missiles. It's the only way to have any hope at all of protecting the rights of the people from the otherwise inevitable destruction of those rights by the government. In any case, every individual should be able to make his own choice regarding gun ownership. Nobody should be either required to own a gun or prohibited from owning one.
You certainly should have the right to determine if your children will have access to guns. However, I think that you should at least make sure that they are taught how NOT to use guns. The chances are that, sometime during his life, anybody will encounter a gun and handle it. Ignorance can be fatal. I reported one such case in "Teach Your Parents Well", in the May 1994 issue. I've reprinted that article in this issue.
Finally, it's foolish to rely on the police for protection. Not only are they unable to protect you, they're more dangerous than the other, non government, criminals.
Buck Hunter Shoots Off His Mouth
I'd like to look more sexy. Do you think Victoria's Secret might help?
I don't know who she is. She hasn't told me her secret. I don't know if it will help you or not.
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Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor