Fumbling Toward a Theory

Fumbling toward a theory about the origins of law and the connection of these origins to modern political viewpoints

Last week at work I had an illuminating post-election conversation with one of our VPs regarding a number of ballot measures that had been voted upon this past election cycle. While he was OK with voting yes on all local tax measures to benefit the local emergency services, road crew, schools, etc, he was enraged about our state income tax. He mentioned how the founding fathers had rebelled against income tax. I had to point out to him that without certain services & benefits paid for out of the state income tax, things here would get “interesting” indeed; that the founding fathers rebelled against the imbalance on taxes sent to England vs benefits received from England (and not against the mere fact of taxation itself); and that the rate they rebelled against was a whopping one half percent per year. We are taxed oh so much more now. Another few percent and it will be just like living under socialism, but without many of the benefits of socialism such as universal health care and free higher education.

What was so interesting to me, though, was the way he was OK with local tax money going to paying for essentials (even if it was tax money he’d rather not have to pay) but was /not/ OK with state income tax money going who-knows-where. The exact tax-money destination he most complained about was the stereotypical nonworking welfare recipient living in Boston-area housing projects. In terms of percentage scale of waste, I don’t see that as being horribly far off from the guys who get paid $50/hour to stand around drinking coffee and lean on their shovels while the asphalt-laying machine chugs along at a few cm per second. After all, is not the whole state sort of like the locality, just on a larger scale and with a few totally-necessary organizational layers added in order to handle the additional complexity?

This exchange got me onto a whole tangent about the nature and origins of law. (Those of you in the know will please excuse this exercise in ignorance.) For as long as I can remember (hell, probably for as long as people have had words with which to kvetch about things) folks have always been bitching about how the march of “growth” (classically expressed as the increase in population) leads to “things falling apart” or “things getting worse”. Among the symptoms & social ills tossed onto the heaping pile of evidence have been such things as divorce rates, violence rates, teen pregnancy rates, crime rates, increased public rudeness, stress levels, and so on.

It must be remembered that for most of human history (with the last 10K years being something of an aberration) nearly all people lived in small communities their whole lives and were surrounded by people who had known them all their lives and who they had known all their own lives. That sort of nonstop, fully-immersive peer pressure is pretty intense to anyone who’s never experienced it, and I daresay that few people alive today have ever experienced it in the prehistorical sense of the word. It would have been all-enveloping and inescapable. In an environment like that, the line between right and wrong would have been almost entirely unspoken but extremely clear to the people involved. To this day people retain a vestigal instinctive sense of right and wrong. Children are born with it. It is what originally passed as law.

Although they do not name it as such, it is that inborn sense of right/wrong that conservatives & libertarians are referring to when they suggest the laissez-faire approach to gun ownership. This is expressed rather clearly in the sentiment that we should just let everyone arm themselves as they please, with almost no restrictions, and “the problem will take care of itself”. That inborn right/wrong sense ensures that no matter what group of random people you lump together (unless they are all escapees from jail, perhaps) the ratio of good to bad seeds will nearly always weigh heavily on the side of the former. The matter of the problem taking care of itself would come out in the form of criminals getting summarily offed by the rest. This is expressed in the sentiment that “there’s hardly any better way to improve the breed”. This is the default behavior people revert to when small groups are cut off from the larger world. Their harshest punishment, however, is usually exile rather than death.

That inclusive family/tribe/clan setting was indubitably better at “enforcing the law” than what we have today. Unfortunately in our last 10K-year old history of forming social organizations larger than simple tribes, we have needed to build (and enforce) systems of codifying behaviors for people who do not know each other intimately enough (or who don’t have enough affection for each other) to perform the task of correcting each other’s behaviors, as would normally happen in the immersive tribal setting.

What seems to be happening with these codified-behavior systems is that they’re becoming worse and worse from both the administrative and enforcement angles. These systems have already turned into tortuously long lists of what-not-to-do items. The larger and more densely-populated the societies in question, the longer are these behavioral lists. All you paralegals out there have already noted how many volumes there are in Mass or Cali general law vs the same in, say, Ohio.

Conservatives and libertarians probably /do/ have a leg to stand on when they suggest adopting a sort of Swiss system and/or removing most restrictions on common citizens arming themselves as they wish. This would presumably work better in smaller social environments than in larger ones. If this policy change was not adequately and equitably rolled out in a place like NYC, for example, it is not too hard to imagine armed gangs rolling in from the Bronx and forcibly “liberating” a whole lot of jewelry, electronics, clothing, and furniture from the nice stores in Manhattan.

The trend in law enforcement, the whole world over, is for nation-states to get more and more like modern police states as the social environments get more complex and as strangers are brought into greater contact with each other. In that sense of the word, I do not see how it is realistically possible to allow folks to act as if one is living in the tribal setting (basically, do what you please if it hurts no one) while living in a much larger society and enjoying the full benefits thereof ~ even if doing so is more in line with our built-in behaviors and innate right/wrong sense than anything else.

As some kind of partial [paleo]conservative/libertarian I welcome the thought of being able to arm oneself as one pleases. For sure it’s going to cut down on rapes if most women are packing .380 autos. Causing trouble with total strangers could be a distinctly unhealthy behavior, quickly weeded out too. It’s not clear if the collateral costs of this policy would outweigh the waste, fraud, and outright stupidity in our current “rehabilitative” penal system and the costs of keeping such a high percentage of our society behind bars. Would not we as a society be better off without the types that simply cannot behave? (some of them are very bad indeed)

The operative reality in highly developed nation-states is for further encroachment of what can only be called “ubiquitous law enforcement” – with thanks to Vernor Vinge for expressing it so well in his book ‘A Deepness in the Sky’. In much of England’s urban environment, for example, overhead video cameras watch the public spaces where strangers would encounter each other. Here in the US we have a long history of Carnivore-like TIA (total information awareness) intelligence-info aggregators being used by the government ~ although it should be noted that the ones kept by corporations are a whole ‘nother breed. Rest assured that the databases containing the records of information traffic to/from your unique IP plus MAC address can provide an extremely comprehensive picture of your online activity. The picture is sufficiently comprehensive that anyone with good EQ or social experience (or police experience) can infer quite a lot from it, including predictives.

The basic premise of ubiquitous law enforcement is that if everything can be spied upon and recorded, the search for evidence, after a crime, is as simple as finding the right records. In the pre-computer age, one of the most extreme examples of this was found in the practices of the Stasi, the state police of Erich Honeker’s DDR (aka East Germany), in which practically everyone was hired to spy upon practically everyone else. They are still digging through the records even today. (for an excellent take on that, please see the movie “The Secret Lives of Others”)

If you’ve read the Vernor Vinge book mentioned above, you’ll know that what we have now in terms of TIA is minor, inconsequential, and ineffectual compared to what could be done by making use of the computing/networking resources of the future.

What we have left of our original society, or rather the remaining intentions of the founding fathers as expressed through the Constitution, in a modern technological era in which it is apparently necessary to opt for some form of ubiquitous law enforcement, is a very good question. Has anyone got answers?

(apologies to any educated people here who will no doubt be gritting their teeth after reading a post like this which so mishandles many deep topics)

63 Replies to “Fumbling Toward a Theory”

  1. Brain’s a little too fried at the moment to give this the attention it deserves. But I’ve always wondered: if the assumption is that everyone’s packing, wouldn’t the criminals just shoot first and then rob? Frankly, I’d rather lose my wallet than my life. There usually ain’t much in either one, true, but I prefer keeping the latter.

  2. I’ve met girls in bars that I later learned were packing heat in their purses. We got along fine and I got to kiss them goodnight. It seems sensible especially for women at times alone in the urban environment. On the other hand, the need for full-auto assault rifles and hand guns for “hunting” pushes the envelope. Maybe a nice compromise would be to register militia members so that it’s OK for them to have such weapons in the hopefully remote possibilities that they are called upon to defend our country or to overthrow the government.

    Recall the USA was founded by revolutionaries, and they wanted us all to have the ability to overthrow our government if it overstepped it’s bounds, however that would be defined.

  3. Nudge,

    For your consideration.
    The origin of the word ‘Lord’, comes from the old english ‘hlaf weard’ meaning ‘bread guard’.

    He who controls the food makes the law.

  4. Full-auto assault rifles, or full-auto of just about any weapon is legal, with the right ATF permits. A riot shotgun will work in pinch anyway. Automatic weapons in the hands of an amateur are ineffective, a waste of ammo and dangerous. In the hands of a professional, a force multiplier.

    Hand guns for hunting isn’t so unusual, even for things other than long pork. It’s the next level of thrill for some hunters.

    “Maybe a nice compromise would be to register militia members so that it’s OK for them to have such weapons in the hopefully remote possibilities that they are called upon to defend our country or to overthrow the government.”

    Or whom to arrest first. We don’t need anymore lists or registrations.

    “Recall the USA was founded by revolutionaries, and they wanted us all to have the ability to overthrow our government if it overstepped it’s bounds, however that would be defined.”

    Consider the heinous constitutional, civil, economic and humanity crimes of Gaius What-me-worry Bush et al in the past eight years and then consider that illegal immigration bans and gay marriage bans seem to be the only issues that gets people out in the streets protesting these days.

    WTF is up with that? W. T. F?

  5. Perhaps the next Magna Carta will be about social versus personal privacy needs. In the early 90s talking about such technological possibilities, my opinion was that attention was the primary consideration. The fact of the matter is that the dynamic is always going to be in play. We will be subject to, and subject ourselves to, increased levels of monitoring. Will something be watching? Of course. Will it be a person? I doubt it.

    The question that needs to be asked, as it was in the village, is where do we fit in? Nowhere at this point, just look at religion. Is the short age of personal privacy over? Yes. Is that all bad? Not really. I’m not a privacy freak, particularly when lots of information was always available to those who wanted it. Now, we offer it for free on our blogs. As Philip Greenspun stated ten years ago, my cell phone number has been online for years, and nobody has ever called.

    My personal problem is the difference between the facade and the real person. Many doctors, lawyers, and traders I know smoke pot, state that on a blog, and you ain’t getting a job. But, why is somebody reading a personal blog? Do we have to be serious 24/7? Personally, it is about ethics. I have managed my office’s email for a decade and change, and never read another person’s email. I really doubt that this is often the case.

    BTW, I’ve had a gun, and let’s just say that brains are a sufficient weapon. I pool them in with fake breasts as something of an indication of self-esteem. I’ve been on both ends of guns, and the scariest was when it was in my own hand…

  6. Many moons ago, there was this cartoon movie based upon Felix the Cat. It was very graphic, I recall, and violent. It was my first date with an old girlfriend of mine. I recall the date better than the movie, as the former lasted all weekend.

    I’m with thal, make love, not war.

  7. “Recall the USA was founded by revolutionaries, and they wanted us all to have the ability to overthrow our government if it overstepped it’s bounds, however that would be defined.”

    Doom and others, I disagree with your gun stance. The bill of rights, from what I understand, included the bit about guns because there was a problem with soldiers traveling about doing as they pleased in your house because they had the numbers and guns. It was practical to have a gun so that you could fend them off if need be. They knew the truth of it back then: Warriors are of a different mindset, once trained to kill, and then doing it repeatedly, they have left society and gone elsewhere. They need to be defended against.

    Doom, if they (fill in your favorite fascist tool) have automatic weapons, I’m supposed to have a 22 rifle or a pistol? Fuck that.

    Nick, my breasts are not fake and my self esteem is wrapped up in lots of stuff that has to do with how creative and cool I am, but I can assure you, it is not wrapped up in rifles or guns. I have loved the cleverness of the bill of rights since I was 9. I got a carry permit pretty recently. I have come to it that being trained and armed is a responsibility. Why on god’s green earth would I look to others to protect me? Katrina taught me that. Get real. Cops are the mop up team after the crime. Rarely do they get to “protect.”

    I have been on the other end of a gun more than once. I still do not want them restricted or banned to sane, trained, law abiding citizens. Never drawn one on anyone though…

    I was being followed/tracked when I was carrying one day. It was bad, every thing I did to evade, he did, and then he hid. I had to go by his hiding place to get home. At first I was bucking up and getting ready (surprised at how calm I was), mentally rehearsing the draw, and then I realized all I had to do was get off the street and get help. I walked into a “cash your paycheck early” place and called my husband. The ladies there were great, they were packing too, looking for scumbag’s ass! What a great idea, getting off the street! My husband rode his bike with me (he was at work, commuted on bike) while I walked the rest of the way home. Being green can mean you are a little more vulnerable.

    That is the closest I came to drawing. Glad I remembered I had other options. That is key, I will keep looking for those other options, but if I need fire power, I am within my rights to try to obtain the best equipment and training I can.

    Look at Mexico (that shit is out of control and headed for us, a hollow nation state).
    Look at Argentina

  8. Nudge, a properly calibrated sense of fairness (or of that which is equitable) is indeed the spackling of antiquity and modernity alike that fills the nooks and crannies of tribal elder/judicial discretion. While the complexity of a given body of law may tend to track the size or complexity of a particular society, almost invariably, words such as “reasonable”, “foreseeable”, etc. find their way into the codes.

    As to a reasonable expectation of privacy, well… if a person isn’t doing anything wrong, what might he or she have to hide? If a person hates the idea of being on video when in The City, there’s always the countryside or luxuriating in the trusty warren (a concept that’s only coincidentally perhaps related to former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger).

    The gun issue is more difficult and complex. As MOU so importantly notes, a lot can be said for trusting and responding to your animal instincts. Taking those precautions that can be reasonable had and doing what can be done to simply stay the hell out of harm’s way are critical to prey animal life extension. And who here, regardless of how well armed you might be, really thinks that they aren’t subject to being preyed upon by some (perhaps even unforeseeable) hostile entity against which you are impossibly outgunned and outmanned.

  9. “And who here, regardless of how well armed you might be, really thinks that they aren’t subject to being preyed upon by some (perhaps even unforeseeable) hostile entity against which you are impossibly outgunned and outmanned.”

    A tactical island in a sea of contextual subjectivity.

  10. Well, I’m glad to know most of my ZK friends are packing, know how to use them (muy importante) and are showing amazing restraint, in the case of MOU. No offense, MOU, but urban Memphis sounds a bit unruly to me.

    Agree that Mexico is losing the war on crime. On his last visit to Mexico City, my hispanic colleague here and his father were robbed at gunpoint, probably by off-duty police.

    Let’s all hope we don’t have to use them on other humans. I’d prefer hunting quail, pheasant, chukka, guinea fowl and rabbits (sorry, Bunn Bunn), but I keep buck shot handy for larger game.

  11. “sea of contextual subjectivity”

    Is there such a thing as contextual objectivity? Why does it feel like we’ve been down this road before.

    You think that you can’t be killed? Or that you can anticipate and be ready for anything? I doubt that you think such things, subjectively or objectively.

    Holmes’ hollow points may increase or decrease our chances of survival. Difficult to say.

  12. contextual subjectivity?

    Are you talking about Systematic Theology or something of the sort? Sounds like a dave question.

    Funny thing (now that I’ve looked into it further), contextual objectivity appears to relate to quantum mechanics and, according to wikipedia, the term expresses the attempt “to reflect all sides of any story while retaining the values, beliefs and sentiments of the target audience.”

    Sounds like a leftist (and by that I include the fascist) chasing his tail, or at the very least yet another attempt to repackage subjective Like dave once said, only god can be objective.

  13. Thanks for the great comments, guys :)

    MOU, thanks, and I am in awe of your ability to figure out that post as being a matter of contrasting of mechanical and organic solidarity. Did not even know such things existed. This is what I get for bailing out of college early and never looking back :(

    Your urban environment sounds dangerous indeed, and I’m glad to know you’re well-armed with your wits plus more. Ducking into the store was a smart move since the folks there would have been most likely armed anyway ~ kind of the way the folks in pawnshops usually are.

    Even out here in the lightly populated area of central Mass (lightly compared to Boston at least) I’ve had two close calls with stalkers in the past decade. The first one was some kind of creep who followed me around in large stores .. I had made the tactical error of being a little too regular/predictable in what stores I would be in at what times etc. I hadn’t even noticed him as being an issue until one of the ladies working in store security approached me and told me about it. After that I got very careful about having a less predictable schedule and noting which cars were in the parking lot etc.

    The second one came about because I dared to walk locally for exercise in the evenings after work. Never saw him up close, but he drove an old blue pickup and idled along in it, maybe 100 yards back, too far away to get the plate number. Had to think about that one, and it turned into a case of whether to get a big Rottweiler, a gun, or a treadmill. I went with the treadmill.

    I would probably be packing if the laws here were any less excessive, but here in Mass it’s effectively like what you would have needed to do in East Germany to own a gun privately. Their intention is to make the process as annoying and invasive as possible in order to keep people from going through it. In places like Ohio, though, all you need is your drivers license, and they don’t differentiate between long/short guns and openly-carried vs concealed.

    Nicholas, about brains being sufficient .. no offense, but you’re a guy and your take will necessarily be different when it comes to options for getting out of a jam.

  14. Doom, FWIW I grew up in the country in a semi-agricultural setting. Everyone there had guns. The parents were very good about training us on gun safety and how to use all the basic kinds of them and making sure we got practice. The restraint thing you mentioned is practically a non-issue if you’ve had the right kind of training. If anything, extreme familiarity with the hardware (and what it does) probably makes you /less/ likely to use it under the wrong circumstances.

    If you’re ever in a situation in which other humans treat you as a form of prey, you probably won’t forget it anytime soon.

  15. OK, since no one here followed up on that part, the bit in the Vernor Vinge book about ubiquitous law enforcement had to do with a very special type of network localizer. In the current era they are just beginning to experiment with self-organizing networks .. some of which come in the form of credit-card-sized units (with solar cells) that communicate wirelessly with their neighbors and form an ad-hoc network with embedded computing power. Presumably it’s some kind of DARPA project at this point.

    For the moment, this sort of network stuff is crude .. but what if the nodes were as small as dust motes? Having them stuck all over you would facilitate a pretty all-inclusive violation of privacy. Quite possibly the only privacy you would have then would be in what you kept to yourself and never spoke about or communicated to anyone, especially by electronic means.

    MOU, those places you named in your post (Mexico, Argentina, Iraq) are all characterized by either inept policing or local crime interests arming themselves to the level of the police, or beyond. I believe that an inevitable part of TLE will be a vast change in the level of “protection” offered by police everywhere. Personal security will necessarily be much more of a DIY thing when there’s no gasoline available to get a cruiser to drive 15 minutes to answer your 911 call.

  16. like all times and in all cases that i could possibly be aware of, societies of all sorts have prescibed behaviors, both explictly and tacitly. they also have codes of punishiment for straying from these behaviors, again, both explicite and tacit. so do apes, monkeys, cats, dogs, lions birds, and all other gregarious animals, to a greater or lessor degree, so i’m not sure what you’re getting at.

    you don’t like gun laws? these will either become more rigid or be widely ignored at some point.

  17. For the moment, this sort of network stuff is crude .. but what if the nodes were as small as dust motes? Having them stuck all over you would facilitate a pretty all-inclusive violation of privacy. Quite possibly the only privacy you would have then would be in what you kept to yourself and never spoke about or communicated to anyone, especially by electronic means.

    what you seem to be objecting to is not “law”, per se, which just a set of codified taboos and has no power in and of itself, but the use of various technologies. well, as everyone should know, technology is not something that can be controled. “it” controls us, as your example illustrates.

  18. if the technology is there, it will be used, one way or another. some will say the tech and it’s use is sent from god, others will say, not my god.

    in the good old days of low population density, you could gather up some women and say, fuck you and your god, i’m outta here. comeon girls, let’s go to the land of fruit and honey. just follow me.

  19. law codes, particularly in agricultural/industrial societies are attempts at compromise, but they do nothing to address the underlieing problem, scarcity. that’s why they always fall apart. conditions on wich they are based have no choice but to deteriorate. as conditions deterior attempts are made to reinforce the existing social set up, which only make matters worse, cause it aggrivates the inherant scarcity.

    you should know all this by now.

  20. contextual subjectivity:

    properly calibrated sense of fairness
    tribal elder/judicial discretion
    complexity of a given body of law
    complexity of a particular society
    reasonable expectation of privacy
    doing anything wrong
    Taking those precautions that can be reasonable

    Tactical situation:

    regardless of how well armed you might be, subject to being preyed upon by some (perhaps even unforeseeable) hostile entity against which you are impossibly outgunned and outmanned.

  21. Yes, I agree it always freaks me out to here about the crap women go through. I of course grew up around criminals with guns, so my bias is against them. People are generally bad shots. Laughing and “saluting” was stupid and pointless, but alas I was never hit.

    I do understand, although guns rarely seem to be the solution. Frankly, I cannot think of a situation where a women has used one effectively to end an altercation. No bias, men either… There are just more men with guns… I’m sure it happens. Personally, instead of calling the cops I chased people down the street with a gun. Not a great idea… The police go through training under duress to ensure that the decision-making process is established.

  22. So long as you’re now talking about a “tactical situation” instead of a “tactical island”, I guess there’s less of a need to add the tactical [whatever] element to your contextual subjectivtiy penumbra. I’ll say it again, if possible, avoid closed systems. That would be kind of a joke, my good man… damn, there I go again with being subjective. Oh well. There ain’t no satisfying some people.

    dave, thanks for the link.

  23. A long-winded commentary on a long-winded post with a long-winded title. Maybe I should draw my gun and get you’ll to shut the F up.

  24. UR, you’re the one trying to illustrate something, the term “contextual subjectivity” which you (not I) foisted into the discussion, via a cluster of perhaps related examples drawn from what I wrote. You don’t like penumbra? How’s about pointillistic constellation? How about I just let you have the last word? Go ahead and say whatever else you have to say. I promise probably not to reply.

    You’re right, Doom. This IS fucking pathetic.

  25. “Another few percent and it will be just like living under socialism, but without many of the benefits of socialism such as universal health care and free higher eduction.”

    This is exactly my problem. You want to tax the hell out of me fine! But, at least let’s have a decent education and health system. Arguing whether Germany has an effective healthcare system is a silly point.

  26. This just in! All white people shall report to the cotton fields at 5 am tomorrow for orientation. Don’t be late.

  27. “As to a reasonable expectation of privacy, well… if a person isn’t doing anything wrong, what might he or she have to hide?” – Bunn Bunn is, of course, less eloquent than when William S. Burroughs said:

    “There’s no such thing as an innocent bystander. After all – what were they doing there in the first place?”

  28. By way of corollary, I equate an irrational expectation of privacy with a fervent belief that one’s invisibility is directly driven by the degree of one’s innocence.

    Burroughs… that guy has a good name. Does he write?

  29. OEO sez:

    “Don’t worry Sarah, I’ll defend your honor against these sad leftist pinkos that inhabit the commentary at Kuntslur’s blog site, especially that twat Nicky P”.

  30. OK, working on it (at least I am). Bunn?

    Geez, I guess we’re getting respectable. Bound to happen, eventually.

  31. Well, if that’s how you feel, then go with your feelings about her. Life’s too short.

    I’d just let it happen. But that’s me. You do what you want to do, please.

    I respect what you’re doing, BTW. Don’t stop having fun, or being my friend.

    Delete this comment, also. Thanks.

  32. OK, but it’s done now, is it not? Comments we cared to keep from mine at 3:13 am have been moved over. Bunn elabored some but moved his link, also.

    You started this mischief with that “politics is gay” remark. Shame on you, but that was funny, couldn’t resist commenting.

    I have lots moron to say about you and Nudge, but will do it by email, assuming you want to hear it.

    Meanwhile, Happy Vetran’s Day tomorrow.


  33. [note to JR: keep the 3:41 comment, musta been something good about that one]

    You’d better either leave it in context with my earlier “OEO sez” post or, better, just delete it.

    You’re going to get me in trouble with Nudge.

  34. Bunn Bunn, may I offer an alternate to what you said above? Instead of:

    “I equate an irrational expectation of privacy with a fervent belief that one’s invisibility is directly driven by the degree of one’s innocence ”

    .. how about ..

    “One’s apparent innocence, in the eyes of the authorities, may best be said to depend on their airtight ignorance of one’s intentions and activities”

    Doom, comment away by email. If I’ve offended you with the lack of scholarship and depth of ignorance manifest in this post, please accept my apologies. Believe me when I say they did not really cover this subject very well in what little time I spent at college.

  35. Doom, check your email, the one with the really long domain name .. didn’t have your other address handy :)

  36. Nudge, I see you’ve arrived before JR had a chance to clean the place up! My apologies. We were starting a Vet Day party at your post. JR rightly called Bunn and myself on it.

    BTW, I liked your post much better than the comments it generated, including my own. The title was a bit long, but JR shortened it well.

    I hate it when JR hits me with the truth. Good one, JR. Of course you’re going to get more. And, I am lazy. Been using the duties at work and the global collapse as excuses for not writing more.

  37. OK, when do we unroll the big screen, darken the windows, and watch Gallipoli on 16mm? And yes, I know someone who’s got a mega 16mm collection and a basement theatre.

  38. Is so Veteran’s Day, sez so on my calendar.

    Remind me to tell you about my work on real Weapons of Mass Destruction, most of which date from WWI.

  39. Doom, thanks for the compliment. No kidding, I am fully astride this issue and it’s very frustrating. I’ve known enough former Commonwealth dwellers & Europeans to know it shouldn’t be necessary to arm oneself constantly in cowboyish fashion; I know there are a //lot// of people emotionally unsuited to touch firearms; but at the same time I was raised around firearms, am comfy using and carrying, and would probably be carrying if the laws here weren’t so obscenely invasive. My feeling is that the government has no business whatsoever maintaining a list of who has which firearms, or which people are registered to have firearms.

    All of this is horribly conflicted, of course, and it’s not possible to rationalize it all. Dayum. I need to rewrite this thing or write a second part to it or something like that.

  40. I gotta return to this topic later. JR: should I do a whole new post or continue the commentary here re personal responsibility & firearms? Long topic. TIA.

  41. I’m sorry, Bif just stole my heart with Nigel Mansell. Oh! I know, it’s so faggy , but this Brit can race, yo.

  42. Of course it got more clinical after that, but the first three sealed it for me because they wrap up the human experience in less than 20 words.

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