Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Brandishing - paint ball guns.

Because paint ball guns spark the thought "splotch or paint", they are seldom considered in the same category as firearms.

I want part of that fixed.

I want a paintball gun being handled inside or on a moving vehicle, or in a public place, to be considered the same as brandishing a loaded pistol, rifle, or shotgun.

Many paintball guns can be cranked up to cause injury to unprotected body parts, especially the face. And, unlike the guns Mexican drug cartels are buying - contrary to supposedly trustworthy sources (US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, US President Barack Hussein Obama, the President of Mexico), paintball guns can fire in automatic mode.

The paintball goo might be machine washable. That doesn't do much for buildings that don't fit in washers. Or for broken glass, startled and scared drivers, etc. Or the obscured vision of paint-splotched windshields or car windows in the midst of traffic.

The paintball gun, used in public, has as great a chance of causing property harm and injury as a firearm. And brandishing a paintball gun, or drive-by shootings with a paintball gun, should be handled as if the gun were a gunpowder-propelled firearm.

Unlike a pistol, a paintball gun cannot be considered a prospect for personal defense - meaning there is less reason to have one in public than a loaded gun.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Patents - meant to enrich the inventor - or the public?

I had an interesting discussion yesterday with a younger gentleman, about 22 years old.

I mentioned that I had contacted US Senator Inhofe about several views, including patents. The discussion began with federal taxes, and one initiative to replace income taxes with sales taxes, applied to both business to business sales and sales to consumers, as many states do today. I felt that business organizations cannot be taxed, as a business *collects* taxes - makes their products and services more expensive. I also feel that patents should never have become the negotiable instruments that they have today.

I feel that a patent should only be issued to a living, breathing US citizen, or citizen of another nation for international patents. A business organization should not be eligible to receive, or to be sold, a patent.


My understanding of the intent of the patent system, was to enrich the public domain, indirectly.

The nation and community benefit from inventions that solve problems, that make use of resources, and that simplify tasks. To encourage this, inventions are needed. In addition, those inventions need to be made available to all, or they benefit very few.

Thus, for a limited period of years, the US Patent Office issues a patent on an invention. Today the inventor can use that patent, and a slew of lawyers, to permit others to exploit that patent, usually by assigning the patent, by selling it, or by licensing its use in return for royalty payments and licensing fees. At the end of the protection period, that invention enters the public domain, becoming general knowledge that anyone can use.

Copyrights originated in a similar fashion. The original post office was an arm of the United States Government, and what we call "postage" today was considered a tax - on the information submitted and quite unrelated to the costs of conveying mail from sender to recipient.

Because tax had been paid on that information - the letter, the manuscript (book as submitted to a publisher), the sheet music - it was considered to be a legal document - and the tax bought the author protection from unauthorized copying. Thus an author could send a book submission to three publishers, and only the one he authorized would be allowed to legally print the book for publication. Or music, or whatever. Presumably an article in a newspaper or magazine could not be used in a competing publication, without authorization from the original author - or they purchaser of that article from the author.

Since those early American days, courts have amended and modified and interpreted what is and is not copyrighted, and what that protection covers. Fair Use is a concept that says students studying material may make a copy for that purpose, of most anything, with exceptions. Someone buying a computer program could, usually, copy the program to their computer. Today there are lots of rules and exceptions, and most anything can be copyright just by someone claiming to have a copyright on it.

Expiration date.

My comment to Senator Inhofe's office was that those holding patent and copyright protections, have failed grievously in what I consider the responsibility inherent in being granted that protection - to actively publish material once the protected period has expired.

Unless inventions and thoughts and communications enter the public domain - the nation and community fail to benefit from encouraging the production of art, or the invention of new ideas.

The other expiration.

Since the intent of patents and copyrights are to benefit the author and inventor to encourage new ideas - then that protection, even if sold or licensed, should expire on the death of the author or inventor.

A company assigned a patent by an employee should see that assignment expire at the moment the employee leaves the company - and should not be subject to any form of non-compete agreement regarding the matter of the patent or other restrictions on the patent.

The MPAA and RIAA should be taken to task, and held accountable for the vast libraries of material they have failed to make public domain on expiration of their original copyright. Rather that being seen to "protect their interest", extending protections instead hurt the nation and community.

Elvis has left the building.

Elvis Presley died (maybe). Nothing done today will encourage him to continue producing music, movies, or promotional merchandise.

Cost of unexpired patents.

Patents and copyrights should be used to encourage the enrichment of the thought and art, and lives, of Americans. Companies formed to exploit patents via lawyer mobbing hinder the free working of a capitalist society, and cost the United States greatly.

There is a price to be paid, for protecting the interest of the inventor for a period - related work is hampered and made more expensive as people in related work try to identify patents that they may be infringing, try to arrange licensing, or work around techniques that have been patented. The software industry is but one example were well-trained lawyers have been able to hamper the interests of the United States for the enrichment of patent farms. Getting patents clearly and promptly, when expired, into the public domain limits the abuse and stifling effect that exists today - which hampers inventions and inventors that were supposed to be receiving encouragement.

Who is to benefit?

My friend wanted me to agree that patents were for the good of the inventor. But that is only true indirectly. The purpose of issuing and defending patents is to encourage inventors - to enrich the nation and community, on the expiration of that patent.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gun control - or tyrant protection?

I like this excerpt:
When the people decide that conditions in their town, county, state or country must change, they will change them. If the leadership has been wise, they will be able to do it peacefully through a secret ballot which is honestly counted, but if the leader has become inflated and too sure of his own importance, he may bring about the kind of action which was taken in Tennessee.

SOURCE: The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tenn., August 7, 1946; pages 1, 6.

McMinn A Warning — By Eleanor Roosevelt

This refers to the Battle of Athens, a small town in Tennessee that proved the site of the most recent incident, where armed citizens defended themselves from abusive government. The result? Election corruption was overturned in Athens, TN in 1946.

Thanks to Nathan Brindle for the reminder.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Punishment for heinous acts

Anger at a child killer

Lila at Total Survivalist Libertarian Bitch Fest wrote about her anger at a Florida man, Richard Anthony McTear Jr., 21, charged with murder for snatching her 18 year old girlfriend's 3 month baby, and throwing the infant from the car on a Tampa interstate highway.
A swift execution would be too good for this man. I say burning at the stake!!!!!


My father was a man of few angers. I think I learned from him that tragedies and wrongs must be met with resolve and dispassion. The first two dogs I recall growing up with were put down - shot - because the first got into the livestock and injured calves, the second attacked my cousin when she arrived late one night. In each case, the dog was treated humanely until the time came. No question was asked, the understanding that once a dog tastes fresh blood, it will attack again, was borne out through experience. The dog wasn't held to be at fault, precisely, but the penalty was still applied.

Capital punishment

In high school one year our National debate topic was about capital punishment. One very interesting argument came from Great Britain's experience. When Great Britain stopped making executions public - they saw a decline in murders and capital crimes.

Responsibility, not passion.

My own feeling about McTear, the child killer, is that his trial should be circumspect, fair, and restricted to the facts of the case. Any punishment must be applied, but should be kept to local coverage only. If sentenced to death, the penalty should be quickly and quietly applied. This is not about punishment, he will learn nothing from any sentence likely, and only the judge in the case has any position of authority to impose legal consequences for this illegal act.

Child killing.

I am appalled at the crime, and see it as a heinous act of disrespect to the mother, her family, the community, and the nation.

Deterrence - making examples of people - doesn't work with people you don't respect, and that don't respect you. Yelling "Be quiet!" at a child throwing a tantrum, it raises the energy level, the passion, and excites the tantrum to fresh and louder levels. Getting extravagant, exacting "appropriate" sentences against criminals, makes the process livid, it focuses attention on the gruesome details, not the tragedy of a life unavailable to build the community.

When we express anger at heinous acts, we surrender control to those looking for attention, for recognition. Because being ignored is such a deeply personal evil, there are many people that could become perpetrators. We need to avoid copycat murders and copycat assaults and we have to stop making showcases of gruesome crimes. We are inciting criminals, not "enlightening" the nation. When news teams compete to have the freshest, the clearest, the most factual coverage of crimes - we make that national showcase a goal, a reason for a certain type of person to strive for a place in the nation's attention.

News coverage, if meant to enable the nation to better itself, might use a test. Will a story enable voters - citizens - to make a better choice at the ballot box? Will this story cause citizens to invoke their right to communicate their fears, hopes, and needs to representatives, their Senators, their community and state leaders? Is this story about civics, about the nation, or is this just a lurid local story that will sell soap? Will this story inspire action to correct a wrong or support a good work?

So, if McTear should receive a death sentence, I pray for myself, for the nation, and for the spirit of his victim, that his death occur in the dead of night with the minimum witnesses in a forgotten location, and go unreported. He has earned nothing more.