Monthly Archives: July 2012

Biology and Gun Control, or, War, what’s it good for?

This is probably a topic better suited to being ripped apart by LabRat, but I’ll give it the thumbnail sketch. (Via Shall Not Be Questioned)

One of the ongoing debates simmering in evolutionary biology lately is the competition versus cooperation argument. On one side, we have the more traditional Darwinian position that competition is the primary driver of adaptation, and hence survival of any given species.

But more recently, the idea is gaining traction that humans may have evolved most successfully not due to “survival of the fittest” but rather, “survival of the kindest,” quoting Dr. Dacher Keltner, Co-Director of the Greater Good Society at UC Berkeley.

Oh, dear God. Where do we get these people? It’s a classic rhetorical fallacy of False Dilemma. Either we are purely competitive psychopaths always ripping each other apart for the smallest advantage, or we’re wonderfully cooperative creatures who live in a fantasy world.

Horseshit. We are both. How we treat you is determined by what sort of group we feel you fall into. If you are of our tribe, great, we’ll help you out. That is assuming that you are following the tribal rules. If you aren’t of our tribe, we will compete with you unless helping you is to our advantage. It’s not that hard. Insiders get cooperation, outsiders get shot in the face.

This is one area where Western culture is clearly superior to most non-Western culture. We haven’t so much trancended tribalism as we have expanded the definition of it to include people who share our belief systems. Somalia is filled with people who owe their allegiance to their clan, where we’re filled with people who believe that if you act like an American, you’re as good as a brother. We’ve defined our tribe, American, to be anyone who accepts and espouses American ideals. That doesn’t mean we will universally like you, but you’ll be family. We’ll at least invite you to Thanksgiving dinner and talk bad about you rather than talk bad about you behind your back.

The real problem with this “Survival of the Kindest” malarkey is that it makes people think that competition and warfare are somehow set in opposition to cooperation. They aren’t. Competition is rarely one on one. Most competition is a team sport. All of warfare is a team sport. You cooperate with the people on your team and you compete with those who are not.

If you’ve got the time, pick up the Harry Turtledove “Worldwar” series. I am convinced that Turtledove doesn’t write to tell a story, he writes to answer a question. The question that this series answers is, “War, what is it good for?”

The series pits humans against an invading alien race who happen to show up in the middle of World War II. The aliens have been planning the invasion for hundreds of years, and are just certain that they are going to crush the pitiful humans. The problem is that due to constant warfare between competing groups of humans, we’re no longer riding horses clad in maille while trying to whack each other with swords. For the aliens, 500 years isn’t enough time to change anything, but for us we’ve gone from knights almost to atomic weapons.

Turtledove’s answer appears to be “the constant competition of war, coupled with the cooperation within the various warring groups, leads to intense technological advancement. Those groups that didn’t adapt and improve were swept away by those that did.”

I think he’s right.

I sort of hope that they never solve this one

Do we arrest the shooter or do we give him a medal?

A 16-year-old girl was raped Sunday night, and her attacker – whose criminal history spans more than 20 years – was shot to death as he walked down the road away from her Richburg home, Chester County authorities said.

The girl called mom, mom called the cops, cops found his ass in the road just down the street with his birth certificate ballistically cancelled.

In the 1990s, according to the State Law Enforcement Division, (Suspect) was convicted of several assault and battery and disorderly conduct, drug and weapons possession, and copper theft charges. For his most recent conviction, a nonviolent burglary in 2007, he was sentenced to three years probation.

No one knows anything, no one’s saying anything.

I don’t blame them for keeping quiet. He sounds like the sort of person who needed to catch a bullet.

And they wonder why we think they are humorless prigs

Leftists are apparently unable to deal with humor.

In keeping with the theme in today’s Weekly Briefing and the call therein for less know-it-all commentary, this post will not pontificate at any length about how offensive and troubling the “Random Thought” published today in the “Education Update” newsletter of the John Locke Foundation was. We all make dumb mistakes and have told “jokes” we’d like to have back.

 So what is the “NOT funny” joke that they are so worked up about?

Random Thought

The most “American” Olympic sport is Modern Pentathlon. I mean, it sounds like your average summer day in Detroit – swimming, running, riding, shooting pistols, and trying to stab a complete stranger with a sharp object.

So what part are the Lefties objecting to? I can see their point about the horseback riding. There’s not much of that in an average summer day in Detroit. Were they upset that Baltimore, Philly, Newark, New Orleans, and our beloved President’s own Chicago weren’t part of the joke?

Meanwhile in Sarah Brady Paradise: A Gun but no Suspects edition

Cops in Northern Ireland had to release the three they arrested after a shot was fired, but they didn’t come away from their investigation totally empty.

They have recovered a gun and other items in follow-up searches.

A gun? You mean one of those infernal devices that only Americans use to kill each other? The things that are banned in the UK?

Yeah, gun control works really well, doesn’t it?

What Scalia actually said, or, Cannons For EVERYONE! (*Video*)

There’s been a lot of talk about Associate Judge Antonin Scalia’s interview on Fox News. A lot of it seems to have been hype.

Let’s go to the tape. Watch the whole thing, it’s good. You might even want to buy the book. But for the Gun Control stuff skip to 6:55


(RSS Readers click HERE for video

He is saying that there are undoubtedly some restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. He’s also saying that those particular limits have to be explored in future cases.

He brings up the old law of “affrighting,” which is basically the same law we have in North Carolina called “Going Armed to the Terror.” It is a misdemeanor to take a dangerous and unusual weapon and parade around with it for the purpose of terrorizing people. It’s basically a “don’t be a dick” law.

The most important thing he is saying is that any limits on arms must be based upon the sorts of limits that were acknowledged to be appropriate at the time that the Constitution was written.

What’s going to be really interesting is when he’s presented with the historical information about crew served weapons. He thinks that cannons are not covered. He’s going to be shocked when he learns that at the founding of this country to well past the writing of the Constitution, cannons and warships were privately owned. In fact, we can prove that the writers of the Constitution considered cannon and warship ownership by private citizens to be normal.

[Congress shall have Power…] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

We don’t issue Letters of Marque anymore. While we are not a signatory to the treaty forbidding them, we generally follow that treaty. What is a letter of Marque? It’s basically an official commission from the government for a private person to attack enemy shipping without being branded a pirate. What do you think that a person would have to have in order to attack enemy ships with? You guessed it, a ship, armed with weapons appropriate to naval combat.

So there you have it. The very text of the Constitution tells us that it was not considered wrong for private citizens to own a ship nor to fill that ship with cannons.

Makes it pretty tough to argue that the Government has the power to prevent people from having cannons without running afoul of the Second Amendment, doesn’t it.

Want to know more about the privateers of the Revolutionary War? Here’s a list of about 2,200 of them. When you can point to a list of over 2,000 private warships in a country that had less than 4 million residents, you can’t even claim they were rare.

Why can’t you just call a cop?

You don’t need a gun, you can just call a cop to come and help you, right?

A citizen who saw an armed robbery happening in a Portland pharmacy flagged down a police car and pleaded for help to stop the robbery. When the good sumaritan told the officer what was happening this is the response he got: “He told me he was off duty and I should call 911,” said Rob Anderson, 31. “He rolled up his window and drove away.”

The cop might get reprimanded if they can figure out who did it, but he did not violate the rights of the guy getting robbed. You see, the Supreme Court has already ruled that you do not have an individualized right to police protection. You have a right to expect the State to provide policing to keep the peace, but you don’t have a right for the cop to show up for your particular problem.

Of course, the robber was armed, so the store clerk could have just shot him. And so could the “Good Samaritan” who ran for the police. The two of them eventually chased the criminal down and held him for the cops who finally responded, but it would have been easier for all concerned had the clerk just shot the robber in the face.

Michelle Dockery Monday: She’s coming to visit

Well it looks like Michelle is here in the States. Strange that she didn’t mention it to me. Not a phone call nor even an email.

THE stars of Downton Abbey were out in force this weekend whilst on a promotional tour of the States, where they gave fans a sneak preview of the dramatic third series.

Well she, or her assistant should email me directly. I’m a fairly busy guy and it’s only polite for her to give me a bit of warning before she comes to see her favorite blogger.

Meanwhile in Rebecca Peters Paradise: Three Armed Robberies, One with a Gun edition

The gun grabbers are always on about “gun violence.” That pretty much tells you that they don’t really mind if you end up stabbed so long as no one uses a gun.

There were four armed robberies in Brisbane in one night. Three with knives and this one.

Police are also looking for a man and woman who walked into a bottle shop with a gun on Craigan Street at Strathpine about 7pm last night demanding cash.

One of the two staff members in the store filled a bag with money from the cash register and the pair fled, also taking alcohol as they ran.

 Luckily for the knife wielding robbers in the first two incidents, Australia doesn’t allow anyone to have a gun for self-defense. That means the robbers are pretty safe while they ply their trade.

Strange how the government makes use that the robbers don’t have a hostile work environment. It’s almost like they are allies.

Meanwhile in Sarah Brady Paradise: Riots, Shooting, and Sectarian Violence edition

Say what you like about American gun culture, but we generally don’t have mass riots over what flavor of religion we adhere to.

The PSNI is to study footage of the dissident republican gun attack on officers during rioting in north Belfast last week.

It shows the gunman firing towards police lines from within a crowd gathered at Brompton Park in Ardoyne.

After the last of 17 shots rings out, youths clap and cheer.

If you’re interested, here’s the video


 So, aren’t handguns banned in the UK?

Must not be a very effective ban.

Meanwhile in Rebecca Peters Paradise: Jewel Heist edition

Well the ban on guns didn’t stop him. The ban on robbing people didn’t stop him.

Police are continuing to search for a gunman who held up a Spearwood jewellery store yesterday.

At 12:13pm a man entered the Shiels jewellery store at the Phoenix Shopping Centre with a gun and tyre lever.

He threatened staff with the gun before smashing a glass display with the tyre lever and stealing a quantity of jewellery.

What are they going to do next, ban tire irons?

Gun control only takes guns out of the hands of the law-abiding. The crooks will always have what they need.