My Daughter the Model, Part Two

My daughter had her first ever professional modeling gig, a cover for an independently published Science Fiction novel.  The book has just been released:

$2.99 on Kindle, $8.99 in paperback.

Jan Childers grew up orphaned in the slums of decaying post-diaspora Earth. She was raped, beaten, and starved. Yet she survived.

She escaped to become a citizen of the Commonwealth of Free Planets, and joined the Commonwealth Space Force.

Over the next twenty years, she turned the CSF into the most powerful and dangerous space fleet that history had ever known.

Jan Childers rose to lead that fleet in the Commonwealth’s darkest hour, against freedom’s most deadly enemy — Earth itself.

If this looks interesting, give it a try.

License Guns Like Cars: A Blast from the Past

Gun control is a perennial topic on my social media accounts.  And soon, sure as anything, someone will bring up “we license cars” and “we should license guns like we do cars.” Well, leaving aside the idea that arms, including firearms, are a fundamental right, expressly guaranteed in the Constitution and cars are not, people don’t realize just what “license guns like cars” would mean.

Simply put, if you really mean it, if you mean “like cars” then I’ll take that “compromise” right now.  Right. this. instant.

If we license guns like cars, then, first, licenses are only required for cars and the operators thereof, that will be operated on the public streets.  No license required for use on private property. (Note:  Don’t bother challenging me on this; I used to drive autocross and have not only seen, but driven, more than a few cars that are not licensed, titled, or otherwise registered because they were never intended for use on public streets.  In fact, most of them weren’t legal for public streets.)

Licenses will be available to individuals as young as 16, learners permits (for operating with supervision on the public streets) as young as 15 (depending on the State).

Licenses valid in all 50 States and every municipality within those States.

Licenses valid, by treaty, in most foreign nations (An “international drivers’ license” is simply a translation of your State drivers’ license into various foreign languages so the local law enforcement can know what your State licensed you to drive–has no legal weight in and of itself).

No federal license required for running a business buying and selling.

No background checks for purchase.  Indeed, if you don’t intend to operate it on public streets no paperwork at all beyond a bill of sale (and that’s just to protect you in case the previous owner wants to claim you stole it).

No license required to transport on public streets, concealed or not, (Those cars at the autocross?  They didn’t get there by apportation–they were all transported on public streets, many in ways that would count as “concealed” for firearms in at least some States).  Oh, and at least one state considered (transported in a vehicle) exactly the same, legally, as carried on ones person for firearms so it’s entirely valid to consider a trailered vehicle comparable to a firearm on ones person for purposes of comparison.  After all, if the State considers the comparison valid for one, then it’s valid for the other, if we’re really “licensing guns like cars”.

Dire emergence a valid proactive defense for an unlicensed operator.  If you have a real, life-threatening emergency that calls for the use of your item, then that justifies even an unlicensed user using an unlicensed item on the public streets.

No limits on size, power, or operating mechanism for items that are not to be used on the public streets.

Oh, and because it bears repeating:  no license required for item or operator if not being used on public streets, and even then “dire emergency” justifies non-licensed use on those public streets.

If we “licensed guns like cars” the only time you would ever need a license is if you were going to operate (drive , shoot ) the object (car, gun) on public property.  And dire, life-threatening emergency would be an affirmative defense of operation even without a license.

So, the only time a license would be needed would be for non-emergency use of the firearm.  I.e. hunting and sport shooting.  None would be required for self defense since that, by definition, is “dire emergency”.

“License guns like cars” would be an unqualified improvement on the current situation from the perspective of gun owners because in every aspect where cars are restricted, guns are restricted every bit as much.

So, to make it clear, if we “licensed guns like cars” the only time one would ever need a license is for shooting of guns on the public streets and an actual emergency (like, say, a self-defense situation) would still permit unlicensed use.  In short, there would be no need ever to license the ownership or carrying of guns.

What is it with these online game companies?

Just a very brief comment today.

I used to play a number of online multiplayer games.  Some free, some I played actual real money in.

So why in the world do the videos they show to advertise the game bear no resemblance whatsoever to the gameplay?

Consider League of Angels II:

Nice butts.  Looks like a real time fighting game, right?

But the actual gameplay:

There is essentially no interactivity.  Fights proceed without player intervention.  Completely different game from what the ad implies.

Do the makers have so little faith in their own game that they can’t even show the gameplay in their ads?  They have to “trick” people into trying it by implying the game is something other than what it actually is?

Oh well, at least it has character graphics and animations unlike the older game “Evony” of the sexy advertisements:

I know it’s a shocking concept, but I’d like to actually see what the game I’m going to be playing really is all about.

We have Reached WTF Saturation.

Last Monday there was an eclipse.  For this eclipse a band in which it could be seen as a total eclipse stretched from coast to coast.  Not unprecedented, but rare enough to be notable.

Understand, eclipses are natural phenomena, results of the orbits of the moon and Earth around the sun.

So how in the world can people make them into political issues?

Claims that the eclipse is racist:

It has been dubbed the Great Amer­ican Eclipse, and along most of its path, there live almost no black people…

Oregon, where this begins, is almost entirely white… From Kansas, the eclipse goes to Missouri, still mostly bypassing black people…

From Oregon, the Great American Eclipse will travel through Idaho and Wyoming. (It will catch a tiny unpopulated piece of Montana, too.) Percentage-wise, Idaho and Wyoming are even whiter than Oregon…

The total eclipse will be visible from Lincoln, Nebraska, the state’s capital, which reports a black population of 3.8 percent…

To get the full show, eclipse chasers should go north to St Joseph, almost 90 per cent white and about 6 per cent black, the place where Jesse James died and where Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, was born.

Someone noted that the Eclipse passes mostly over areas that supported Trump:

There are about 240 counties roughly along the central path of the eclipse, a 70-mile-wide trail extending across the country where people will be able to see a total eclipse, meaning the sun will appear completely obscured by the moon.

And about 92 percent of those counties swung in Trump’s favor, while fewer than two dozen counties voted for his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Seriously, how in the world is this “correlation” of any importance at all?  Is this some kind of political astrology?  The moon and planets dictate the administration of Trump?

Are these folk that disconnected from reality?

But it doesn’t stop there.  The Hurricane currently hitting the Gulf coast of Texas?  It’s racist:

… since no one is even talking about the potential racial and socio-economic impact of this storm, it’s doubtful that local and government officials will be thinking about it during the clean up, either.

It’s a shocking idea but perhaps not everything is partisan politics.  And not everything is identity politics.  Some things can actually happen without being political.

Unless, perhaps, one thinks that Trump combines the might of a storm deity and a celestial god in one:  kind of like Odin and Thor combined.  If that’s what you believe, well, we do have freedom of belief in this country.

But do you really want to ascribe to him that much power?

 

A Snippet from a Work in Progress

Attempted Mutiny!


The door to the captain’s cabin eased open silently.  A man in the passageway leveled a crossbow, loaded with a broad-headed hunting quarrel, through the doorway.  With the sharp crack of bowstring striking wood, the crossbow loosed the quarrel which buried itself in the rotund blanket-wrapped form on the bunk.

Kaila, from her position behind the door, grabbed the arm of the crossbowman and pulled.  He tumbled into the room.  With her other hand Kaila swung up with her sword catching the man just under the arm .  The sword bit deep.  Blood sprayed in pulsing spurts.

Kaila released the dying man and pivoted into the doorway.  She bared her teeth at the sight before her.  Men crowded the passageway, too tight-packed to fight effectively.  Her sword licked outward, stabbing into the groin of the first man, then the tip slashing across the throat of the second.  More blood showered the deck, splashing across Kaila.  She spat at the coppery taste and stepped forward, her foot landing on the back of the crossbowman.  Two more strikes and the bodies blocked her progress.  She kicked, shoving bodies back into the remaining men, inducing them to back away seeking room to fight where they did not get in each others way.  Kaila pressed forward, not allowing them that room.

As Kaila fought, her sword began to glow with a dim blue light.

The sound of impact from the hold beyond the passageway told her of the execution of the second part of the plan.  Marek and Keven, leaving no one at the tiller for the nonce, dropped from the hatch behind the crowd pressed into the passageway.

The next man got his curved sword up in time to block Kaila’s attack.  Kaila rolled her wrists and the point of her sword dipped, dropping below and around the man’s sword.  She stepped forward, thrusting into his ribs.  She jerked her sword free and stepped back, reaching up to wipe the blood spray from her eyes.

Beyond the remaining crewmen blocking the passageway Kaila saw Keven’s form shift.  Shillond, his seeming dispelled, stood in Keven’s place, fire burning at his finger tips.  The purser’s cabin door opened and Keven stepped into the passageway, Kreg’s sword ready before him.

Side by side, Keven and Kaila filled the passage, limited by the tight quarters to a thrusting game, but with the reach of the shashyns, more than a match for the remaining crewmen.  Keven’s sword pierced one.  Kaila’s another.

In the hold, Shillond reached out.  One of the crewmen’s clothes burst into flame.  Marek, struck the back of a crewman with a slashing blow before he could turn to face the new onslaught.

Kaila took a step forward, raising her sword to point at the face of the nearest man before her.  He looked down at the bodies forming a gruesome carpet on the deck.  He looked up.  His eyes met hers.  His hand opened.  His sword dropped to the deck.

In moments the remaining men, five in number, followed suit.  Weapons dropped, they clasped their hands before them and plead for mercy.

“There is but one penalty for mutiny,” Kaila said.

“Hold, Kaila,” Marek said.

Kaila stepped back. “Majesty?”

“As King of Aerioch, I claim your lives.  You will serve me without question–” He nodded to the bodies on the floor. “–or you will die.”

Nearly falling over themselves in the crowded passageway, the crewmen fell to their knees.  An incomprehensible babble arose as each man strove to declare, louder and faster than the next, his loyalty to King Marek, captain of this vessel.

Kaila schooled her face to stillness as blood soaked, and dripped from, her hair and clothing.


The above is from the forthcoming sequel to The Hordes of Chanakra:

$4.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read in Kindle Unlimited, $14.99 in Paperback

Pulled into an alternate world mired in the middle ages, Kreg finds allies in Kaila, a rough swordmistress, and her wizardly father. He’s also found their foes – an unending horde pouring forth from the small nation next door.

Now, he’s in a race against time to find the true source, before everything he cares about ends in fire and death!

In Memory of Sophie Lancaster

Yesterday was the 10th “anniversary” of the death of Sophie Lancaster.

collect-picture-of-sophie-lancaster

Sophie was a “Goth” girl in Lancashire England.  While walking home on August 11, Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were attacked by a group of youths.  The only apparent motive for the attack was that Robert and Sophie were attired in Goth fashion.

They started by attacking Robert.  When he was knocked unconscious Sophie tried to protect him by cradling him in her arms.  The mob continued their assault, now focused on Sophie.  According to witnesses, members of the mob would run over and kick Sophie in the head and jump up and down on her head.  So severe were the couple’s injuries that emergency services arriving on the scene were unable to immediately determine which was male and which was female.

At least one of the attackers actually bragged about the attack as if he’d done something noble, saying to friends, “There’s two moshers nearly dead up Bacup park – you wanna see them – they’re a right mess”

Sophie and Robert were taken to the hospital, both in comas.  Robert gradually improved with some memory loss of the attack and events leading up to it.  This is not uncommon for traumatic injuries that involve unconsciousness.

Sophie, however, was not so fortunate.  It was eventually determined that so severe was her brain injury that she would never recover.  Her family agreed to cease life support on August 24, 2007 and the life of Sophie Lancaster passed from this world to whatever, if anything, may wait beyond.

Five youths involved in the attack were eventually arrested.  It is not known how many others might have been involved.  The five were first charged with “grievous bodily harm” but following Sophie’s death the charges were upgraded.  Of the five, two were convicted of murder and the other three had the murder charge withdrawn on a guilty plea of “grievous bodily harm”.  The five received sentences (after appeals) ranging from four years and four months to life imprisonment with a minimum (I presume, not being familiar with the British legal system, this means before eligible for parole) of fifteen years and six months.

Sophie, of course, is dead forever.  There is no appeal on her result.

My Daughter the Model

Just a brief one tonight.

Monday, we were down in Nashville, visiting my friend Oleg Volk for the eclipse.

While we were there, he took some pictures of us.  The pictures of me are for another post.  For now, I’m talking about my daughter.  In particular, Oleg used my daughter as a model for cover art for a forthcoming novel by Richard F. Weyand.  The author liked the photo and decided to use it for the cover.  And, yes, my daughter got paid for it:

20953845_10212520132333838_6551517657901972827_n

Some other photos from the same trip, both posed and “candid”:

Trump is a new Hitler?

I have to say it, I miss Jon Stewart.  While he was extremely left-wing, there were limits to his hyperbole and he was willing to poke fun at his own side from time to time.

What we have now is Trevor Noah.  On returning from a recent vacation to South Africa he said “Turns out, I left the third world and landed in the Third Reich.”

Really?  You think America has become the Third Reich?

Let’s look at that, Trevor (I can call you Trevor, right?  On second thought, I don’t care whether you give me permission or not.)

Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933.

We are, at this writing, 215 days into Trump’s term.  Let’s compare:

  • Feb 27 (+28 days) Reichstag Fire.
  • Feb 28 (+29 days) Reichstag Fire Decree suspending many key civil liberties of citizens.
  • Mar 22 (+51 days) Dachau Concentration camp opens
    • Also in March (exact day unspecified Max +60)
      • Orianenberg Concentration Camp opens
      • Ofthoven Collective Point opens
      • Oberer Kuhberg concentration camp Opens
  • Apr 1 (+61 days) Anti-Jewish boycott
  • Apr 7 (+67 days) Jews and other political opponents to Nazis banned from civil service positions
  • Apr 25 (+85 days) Limit on number of Jewish students in schools
  • May 10 (+100 days) Mass public burning of “Non-German” books
  • Jun (unspecified date, Maximum +151 days)
    • Breitenau “Wild Camp” greatly expands political prisoners
  •  Jul 5 (+156 days) Kenma Concentration Camp becomes operational
  • Jul 14 (+165 days)  Law requiring forced sterilization of people with mental and physical disabilities enacted. This also included Roma, “asocial elements”, and “Afro Germans.

So, well before this point in Hitler’s term Germany had suspended civil liberties, restricted Jews from civil service jobs and school attendence, boycotted Jewish businesses, had mass, public book burnings, had five concentration camps open for business, and had begun the forced sterilization of “defectives”.

And that’s just the legal actions.  It does not even consider the widespread violence and thuggery going on–not just “offensive speech” but real violence putting real people in real hospitals (or would if they were lucky enough to be allowed to go to a hospital).

Trump?  Trump has appointed a Supreme Court Justice who has said he will follow the law and the Constitution in deciding cases, not whatever happens to be “popular”.  He has ordered the executive branch to remove two regulations before it can pass any new regulation.  Oh, and he has said some things that people consider to be “mean”.

If Trump and his supporters are Nazis, then they are the biggest slackers in history.  More likely they are not and, Trevor Noah and those saying similar things are spouting pure nonsense.

In short, Mr. Noah, in the words of a great philosopher, “You went full retard.  Never go full retard.”

Tolerance and Intolerance

So there’s this going around:

popper paradox

A popular interpretation of this is that it allows the use of force to shut down people who aren’t using force but simply engaging in speech that the person finds objectionable.  Some of the common expressions of this is “bash the fash” and “punch a Nazi”. In neither case do they actually mean folk rounding up minorities or other “undesireables” and sending them to concentration camps or engaging in any other actual violence or use of force.  No, they mean people who simply speak in ways they find objectionable–arguing in favor of policies they don’t like or voting for and speaking in favor of politicians to whom they object.

When you use force to shut down others speech, however repugnant you may find that speech to be, you aren’t resisting intolerance.  You are the intolerance that needs to be resisted.

“But!” Some will say. “Free speech is limited!”

And, to a very limited extent that is true.  There are some very narrowly defined limitations on free speech.  We have slander and libel laws where speech (or print) that is

  1. defamatory
  2. false
  3. made knowing it is false (or with “reckless disregard for the truth”)

is illegal.  We also have laws against incitement to riot and similar laws which basically requires a situation where ones speech (it doesn’t only apply to speech, but speech is what we’re interested in here) can reasonable be expected to lead directly to violence.

 

Now take a look at who are making those kind of statements?  Going to a protest with a lot of angry people saying “Bash the fash” or “Punch a Nazi”?  Um, go read the preceding paragraph again.

History has seen any number of atrocities.  People by and large don’t commit atrocities because they think they’re evil.  They commit atrocities because they think the people they are slaughtering are evil.  The leaders of such movements may be coldly cynical in whipping up a frenzy for their own ends, but they do it by convincing the frenzied that the targets of that frenzy deserve it.

Using violence to shut down opposing ideas is the roadway to atrocity.  It’s broad and well-paved, with a downward slope that makes the trip really, really easy.  And with every step down that road it becomes harder to turn around because turning around would require admitting that you are the villain in the piece–an admission few have the moral courage to make.

As always, the proper response to odious speech is more speech.  If someone speaks out in favor of Nazi values, or Communist values, or Libertarian values, or whatever values you find most objectionable, speak out.  Say why their views are repugnant and why people should follow yours instead.

Don’t use violence to shut down opposing views.  All you do is show the world that you do not trust your own arguments.

And if you don’t trust them, then why in the world should I?