August 26, 2011

Asking the right questions

Everyone knows the old proverb, "There's no such thing as a stupid question." This is as true today as it was the day that phrase was first coined far back in the distant past. There are no stupid questions. There are, however, irrelevant questions. Consider this article at DEBKA:

DEBKA File: Iran Stirs Up New Conflict

An Iranian backed terrorist organiztion in southern Iraq know as "Ketaeb Hizballah of Iraq", fired three SCUD missiles into Kuwait. I assume everyone remembers 1991 when Iraqi SCUD missiles and American Patriot missiles went head-to-head for the first time with somewhat mixed results? When Saddam Hussein's regime collasped, Ketaeb Hizballah claimed to have taken possession of Iraq's remaining SCUD missile inventory. If true, that means they also have possession of any remaining WMD warheads for these missiles (which would go a long way toward explaining why American forces did not find any WMDs after the regime collapsed).

The article above goes into great detail explaining why Ketaeb Hizballah chose this moment in time to fire three missiles into Kuwait. In all honesty, that question and its answer are both totally irrelevant. It does not matter "why", it only matters that they did. Having done so, it validates their claim to be in possession of SCUD missiles. The far more important questions would be, "How many functional SCUD systems do they have?" and "Do they also have possession of the missing chemical warheads for these missiles?"

It is extremely alarming to learn that an Iranian backed terrorist militia does indeed control at least some SCUD missiles. If we wait until they fire a few chemical warheads into downtown Kuwaiti city it will be too late. That is the worst way possible to learn that Pres. George Bush was indeed right and not only did Saddam Hussein have chemical weapons, those weapons are now in the hands of terrorists.

August 24, 2011

Budget Comparison

I don't know who wrote this originally. If I find out, I'll add their name in an update. My father sent it to me in an e-mail that he got from a friend, and well, instead of forwarding it around I thought it would be better to put it here.

The U.S. Congress sets a federal budget every year in the trillions of dollars. Few people know how much money that is so we created a breakdown of federal spending in simple terms. Let's put the 2011 federal budget into perspective:

•U.S. income: $2,170,000,000,000
•Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
•New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
•National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
•Recent budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000 (about 1 percent of the budget)

It helps to think about these numbers in terms that we can relate to. Let's remove eight zeros from these numbers and pretend this is the household budget for the fictitious Jones family.

•Total annual income for the Jones family: $21,700
•Amount of money the Jones family spent: $38,200
•Amount of new debt added to the credit card: $16,500
•Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
•Amount cut from the budget: $385

So the next time some delusional, half-crazed entitlement-loving Democrat or RINO comes around telling you that the "Tea Party Terrorists" are responsible for our national credit rating being downgraded, just give them the link to today's post.

August 18, 2011

The Gnats are Swarming

On March 4, 2009, I wrote a post about something that had been bothering me for awhile. That post, "A Deadly, Persistant Swarm of Gnats", was a brief, incomplete discussion of a tactic known as "swarm attack". I wrote that post because a few months earlier the Indian city of Mumbai had been terrorized by a swarm attack that lasted several hours and claimed hundreds of casualties. For anyone who understands small unit tactics and asymmetric warfare, the effectiveness of the Mumbai assault came as no surprise. As far back as 2004, people like John Robb were pointing out that terrorist organizations around the world were adopting their training regimens in directions that made a swarm attack a near certainty. The only questions remaining were "when" and "where" such an attack would take place. Either a "lone wolf" terrorist or a cell of up to three could easily plan and execute such an attack anywhere that "public safety" concerns have removed firearms from the hands of ordinary citizens. Columbine High School, Mumbai, and the recent slaughter in Norway are all examples of why "gun-free" zones really should be called "victim-rich free-fire" zones because that is how men bent on destruction see them.

Not even one year ago, in October 2010, the possibility of such an attack taking place in Europe was the subject of much speculation. As I pointed out just this past April, given half a chance I'm pretty paranoid. This is because over the past five decades of my life the sadism eagerly exhibited by some individuals has gone beyond even the bounds of normal insanity. Timothy McVeigh's destruction of the Murrah Building, 9/11, the 1972 Munich Massacre, and even the current situation in the Middle East are all prime examples of sadistic men killing innocent people (sometimes with the eager assistance and support of their women and children). Such violence remains a pretty standard feature of human life and I suspect this is never, ever going to change; therefore, paranoia is a survival skill that more of us should probably employ. At the very least, a heightened sense of personal vigilance and a constant awareness of your surroundings would be a very good strategy to improve your odds of survival in the modern world.

Unfortunately, some people in positions of power and influence have convinced most people in our world that they don't need to be self-aware. Instead, just do your job, watch some reality television in the evening, play with your kids on the weekend, and let the government watch your back. Unfortunately, the reality is that even in small town California children are dying from lack of police responsiveness. Not that they don't try. The Clearlake situation is a perfect example of why it is unrealistic to expect the police to protect you and your family. The police station was less than three hundred yards from where four year-old Skylar Rapp died. The police heard the shots and immediately ran to the home where the shooting had taken place. It only took them a few minutes to arrive, but even that few minutes was insufficient. The lesson we need to learn from such tragedies is the importance of parents always being fully aware of what is happening around them. If someone pokes a shotgun through your fence, you have to be prepared to immediately respond. Grab your kids, jump in front of the shotgun, pull out your favorite sidearm and open fire, or something! Skylar Rapp died because none of the adults attending the party were paying attention to the fence line less than a stone's throw away. Life had taught them to depend on the government to watch their back and the government was busy with something else.

Consider, for example, that the ATF has been caught red-handed delivering assault rifles to Mexican drug cartels. President Obama himself probably ordered it (Press conference, March 2009). Even as President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were ordering the ATF to escort assault rifles into the waiting hands of Mexican drug cartels, the ATF was requesting new, "emergency powers" that would render the Fourth Amendment useless for anyone who purchased both a hunting rifle and a shotgun at the same time. The vast majority of news outlets are ignoring this story completely, which means that the vast majority of Americans have no idea what has happened or how it will impact their lives. The American people are trusting the government to protect them, but instead the government is providing weapons to criminals while demanding law-abiding Americans be prepared to give up their own. Far too many Americans have no clue that this is happening because the news agencies they are trusting to keep them informed are intentionally not reporting the story!

Also, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have teamed up together to issue a Joint Intelligence Bulletin warning that "lone shooters" and "small unit assaults" could take place in America in the very near future. Even President Obama and Janet Napolitano are coming out with public statements about the possibility of a lone wolf attack taking place in the near future. I don't know about you, but I'm very glad I have a CCW. I'm definitely keeping a firearm within easy reach every time I walk out the door. I would strongly suggest you do the same.

To make matters even worse, we are right now entering a time of increased solar activity that will last another nine years. There is a possibility of solar storms so vast they will bathe the Earth in electromagnetic particles and overcome the protection of the Earth's magnetosphere. This will cause power surges capable of destroying computer chips controlling everything from the family car to nuclear power stations. The only thing you and I will know is our computer and cell phone will suddenly stop working. With communication networks down we will have no way to determine if the collapse was caused by natural solar flares or an EMP-device delivered by an enemy.

I feel something moving through the shadows. I hope I am only being paranoid. I hope you have bottled water, candles, canned food, medical supplies, a firearm and ammunition on hand just in case I'm not.

August 17, 2011

NC Soft's "Wildstar" within the context of my virtual life

Every now and again a game comes along that changes the way we think about playing. The first real virtual playground was Ultima Online. It not only changed the way the world plays games, it gave us a whole new way of talking about them. Some of the words gamers commonly use (like "frag") entered the lexicon from the real world, while others (like "camping") were completely redefined. Players even created entirely new words (like "leet" or "PK") to describe what they experienced as their skills rose and they began competing against one another rather than just against the virtual world.

Ultima Online completely changed the culture of the modern world. It brought us closer together, and it also created sharp divisions between us. For the first time in history players found themselves in constant company with real people from all over the world. Friends were made across international boundaries, lifelong friends that depended on one another emotionally even though they never met in person. As this new virtual community evolved, distinct groups of people formed reflecting different priorities and different approaches to the virtual world. "Roleplayers" threw themselves into the world, memorizing fictional histories, celebrating virtual festival days, and developing a dialect loosely derived from fantasy literature. "PvPers", or "Player-vs.-Player" fans, tore through the world looking for other players willing to go head-to-head using the virtual fighting skills, weapons, and armor provided by the game. Friction between these groups developed very quickly and hybrid groups formed which emphasized both playstyles in varying degrees.

New games then arose based on marketing perceptions of what players "really" wanted. Hundreds, possibly thousands of titles failed as companies overemphasized roleplaying or PvP playstyles in an effort to create the perfect virtual balance between the two. My first venture into the virtual universe was through Lineage II which began life with a strong emphasis on roleplaying and gradually drifted into an entrenched PvP environment. When I left the game several years ago, players had become far more dangerous than the monsters built into the game by the designers. The possibility of another player coming over the hill and killing my character from a distance while I was engaged with one of the game world monsters had become so commonplace that for me, the game world felt more threatening than walking down a real world alleyway late at night carrying a bag of money. It stopped being fun.

My next virtual world was City of Heroes. This virtual world is designed in such a way that roleplaying and PvP play are completely and permanently separated. PvP zones are clearly marked and can only be entered through precise points. It is almost impossible to accidentally wind up in a position where one player is in danger of being attacked by another. But the aspect of City of Heroes that I learned to love most was the complete freedom in creating unique, aesthetically pleasing characters. When they added the ability to create unique missions my enjoyment of the game grew in leaps and bounds. Now I as a player had complete freedom to either enjoy the game as designed by the creators or to create my own mini-version of the game with a unique story, unique enemy group, and semi-unique environment.

I've been playing City of Heroes for over seven years now, and I've created hundreds of unique characters. The game only allows me to save three player-created missions, but I have used the "Mission Architect" tools to create and delete dozens of unique missions with (at least for me) fun, fascinating enemy groups and interesting stories. As a writer, the Mission Architect has become my favorite aspect of a game that I already enjoyed immensely. Participating in the virtual community has kept entertained for thousands of hours, time that I probably could have used more productively, but for me, that was not the point. Living in Japan I felt completely isolated from reality, as if the world around me was a virtual world where I only half-understood the rules and could never quite predict how any given character would react to me. My "real life" felt less real than my virtual one. In many ways, playing City of Heroes kept me sane.

But seven years is a long time in today's world. Over the past seven years America has become involved in two massive, very expensive wars and recently they added a third one. Against the wishes of my family (and to their complete bafflement) I returned to America three years ago and have spent far more time working to return my homeland to a Constitutional Republic of free people than I have playing any game, even City of Heroes. I have gone from six-hour game days to oftentimes less than five hours of gameplay in an entire month. My average number of blog posts per month has exploded and I have spent countless hours writing to politicians at all levels of our society about firearms legislation, the debt crisis, international relations, and so on. Over the past three years I have written more letters to the editor to more publications than in all the years of my entire previous life combined. Not a day goes by where I am not writing or calling someone, somewhere to either complain about a decision they made or compliment them on one. My real world has become very real indeed!

But that doesn't mean I've ignored the virtual universe. I still love playing games, after all. The past two weeks my focus has shifted from politics back to the game industry. Behind this shift is the sudden awakening of Carbine Studios from a prolonged hybernation into the public introduction of their very first game. Information is still sketchy, but the cinematic trailer above is very impressive. Interviews focusing on game mechanics at sites like "Rock, Paper, Shotgun" and "PC Gamer" have me completely enthralled. For the first time ever, I have even joined Twitter! I love science, science fiction, fantasy, and anime-inspired graphics. WildStar combines all the things I love about gaming and does so in a unique, colorful way. I don't know yet if it will support my creativity as well as City of Heroes, but if it does, then I might be moving my virtual life from its current home to a brand new one!

Update, August 20, 2011: Gameplay demo video!

August 15, 2011

Xenophobia, Bogyphobia, and Hollywood

Hollywood is prone to really weird trends. Sometimes these trends are the result of political activism, sometimes these trends are in response to perceived fads in popular culture, and sometimes these trends are in response to religious fads sweeping through Hollywood's upper crust. At this point in my life I've suffered through so many of these weird trends that I often go years between visits to movie theaters. The current trend started a couple years ago and is one we haven't seen since the end of World War Two. I'm not sure whether it represents a ballooning xenophobia among Hollywood elites, or merely another episode of mass bogyphobia sweeping through both producers and consumers. I'm talking about the recent explosion of movies featuring really nasty alien invaders:

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Cowboys and Aliens
Apollo 18

and so on.

Now I've been a science fiction fan my whole life long. My first encounter with science fiction was a children's book about a young boy who builds a spaceship from cardboard and glue. That night a friendly Martian comes along and magically transforms the boy's dream ship into a working spaceship. They visit the moon and maybe a few stars (hard to remember now) and then the boy returns home. I graduated into Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, and even now my bookshelves are weighted down with books by David Brin, Philip Jose Farmer, and Kathleen Ann Goonan. There's really nothing that compares with a quality science fiction story written by someone who has taken the time to understand the science behind the tale they are telling.

But alien invasions one after another? Really? Is that the best contemporary Hollywood can do? It makes them seem paranoid. Why has this sudden fear of aliens swept over the writers and producers of Hollywood movies? Is this related to the popularity of Scientology among Hollywood's richest, most successful creators?

I don't know. I only know that it's getting to be kind of boring. Science fiction is a beautiful and diverse genre. Focusing on alien invasion is like focusing on metaphysics. Interesting from time to time, but quickly becoming boring and repetitive. I guess this is another year when I'll be sitting at home playing games instead of contributing to my local movie theater.

How about a nice story of an alien ambassador who helps prevent a nuclear war? Or maybe a space colony that befriends little furry animals because they seem like nice pets only to discover that the pets are a highly advanced, highly simplified society so far ahead of our own they seem magical and enlightened? How about a story about an alien anthorpologist who lives as a human, learns his people's enemies are planning to invade Earth, and changes his role into liaison and diplomat to help his adopted world survive?

With so much variety at your fingertips, why focus on violence and destruction?

August 13, 2011

Remember who we are!

As the road to the 2012 Presidential election begins to slope downhill and the race launches into the final dash, it is essential that we who consider ourselves to be part and parcel of the Tea Party Movement and Second American Revolution take a moment to remember who we are and how we got here.

It all began with a blog post at The Patriot Act had just been passed and Karl Denninger was furious, rightfullly so. He recommended that Americans everywhere who opposed this draconian and tyrannical piece of legislation fire the opening shot of a Second American Revolution by sending their congressional respresentatives a single tea bag in an envelope with no accompanying letter or explanation. Remember, this was post-anthrax scare. One of the things he recognized is that doing so would trigger investigations and interviews. Millions of government foot soldiers would be dispatched to ask ordinary Americans why they were flooding the halls of congress with "suspicious materials". An official report would written up, congressional representatives and the Whitehouse would all be briefed on the findings. The government itself, using its own resources, would be forced to conduct a massive poll of the American people and publish the findings internally. The "tea bag protest" was a direct shot straight at the heart of our constitutional government.

Then came President Bush's TARP. Even though a large portion of that money was never spent, shortly after he took office President Obama passed not one, but two additional stimulus packages. And then just a short time ago, the "tea party" representatives allowed the "debt ceiling" to be raised to an unimaginable level and naturally the Senate approved this complete betrayal of the votes we cast back in 2010.

Watch Bob Basso's Thomas Paine video at the top of this post once again. At that time the debt limit was less than ten trillion dollars and that was only three years ago! That means the government's credit limit has been raised by nearly a third at a time of such economic woe that hyperinflation is an ever-present danger. Even worse, some lunatics in Washington D.C. actually see hyperinflation as the most logical path to take to get our country out of debt!

If you support the Tea Party that does not mean you support the Tea Party Patriots, the Tea Party Nation, the Tea Party Express, or even Tea All of these advocacy groups are good places to be and it is important to use them as vehicles to make your voice as loud as it can possibly be, but keep in mind that each of these groups is headed up by individuals with their own private agenda. Each of these desires first and foremost to be seen as the only genuine voice of the American people.

Do not let the leadership of these groups steal your thunder. Depending on collective power to achieve a social and political goal is a dangerous path to walk upon. The demands of a liberal progressive media for conformity to an America that is completely alien to the vision of our forefathers is exactly the beast that we are fighting. Replacing a liberal progressive fascism with a constitutional fascism will not improve our lot one bit. It will only mean that a different set of tyrants has grasped the reins of power and is leading us over a different cliff than the one we are already racing toward.

The Tea Party Movement is not about your favorite advocacy group. The Tea Party Movement is about you, personally and individually, doing your own homework, reaching your own conclusions, and demanding that your elected representatives take your opinion even more seriously than they do their own.

This is the United States of America. Our government works for you. You do not work for it. Do not ever let your elected representatives and the army of faceless bureaucrats that make up federal, state, county, and city employees ever forget that their existence depends on you! If you stop paying taxes they will starve. If you exercise your Second Amendment perogative and take up arms they will die. The final responsibility for the future of our nation does not depend on politicians and public employees. Both of these collectives are nothing more than parasites sucking away your hard-earned dollars to pay for their homes, cars, private schools, and fancy vacations.

You run this nation and it is high time we fired a whole passel of the parasites that have been feeding off our good will. Demand your local government simplify its bureaucracy, reduce their pay, eliminate corruption, and cut their budget to the bone. Demand congress and the Senate do the same thing at the federal level. Our government has become a parasite and the parasite is killing us. We must reduce its size and expense and we must do so now. If we do not succeed in restoring the sovereign power of our nation to the people themselves we will wind up exactly like the Chinese Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the British Empire, and the U.S.S.R., dead chapters in a history book that nobody reads.

August 11, 2011

The Dystopian Nature of a Socialist Utopia

Max Hastings shows why he makes the big bucks while I struggle along on the lunatic fringe of cyberspace. An excellent, thorough, and brilliant analysis of why youth in the U.K. (and in American cities!) are prone to sudden, violent acting out.

Mail Online: Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters

August 10, 2011

Septermber 17th, on Wall Street

Just yesterday I brought to light a genuine grassroots movement to spread patriotic discontent with the current state of our government. The "Can you hear us now?" campaign is not organized, not funded, and not supported by any major political action group, not even the Tea Party. It started with a young woman in a small town in Mississippi named "Tina Sims". Sadly, it was hours after I made yesterday's post that my sister pointed out to me something I should have known, September 17th is "Constitution Day". This makes Tina Sims desire to have patriotic Americans line the streets of their hometowns in support of a smaller, more efficient, less expensive government even more important than I first realized.

Naturally Tina Sims is not the only one who recognizes the importance of Constitution Day. This morning I learned that there is also a well-funded, well-organized movement backed by dozens of far left political action groups scheduled for the same day. Their movement is a call for big government, crushing taxation, and forced confiscation of the wealth of private citizens they deem "too rich". Their movement is called, "Day of Rage" in memory of a horrific riot that took place in Chicago in 1969. The 1969 riot was organized by the Weather Underground and the Students for a Democratic Society, two of the most violent 1960s radical groups.

So now you personally must make a choice. Sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option. On September 17th, we will find ourselves trapped between two national movements, one with the backing of global communist organizations, the other backed by no one and representing nothing more than the dreams of ordinary Americans for freedom from government intervention in their daily life.

If you are reading this, then you now know that both of these movements will be active on the same day. Pay close attention to which movement gets the most media exposure and which movement gets ignored. Coverage choices made by your favorite network will tell you right away if they support a global drive toward a totalitarian world government or the preservation of a free America.

Like it or not, the day has arrived when each of us must decide the future we dream of for our children. For three years I have been warning that this day was coming and now it is here. On September 17th who will you support, patriots dedicated to a smaller government or Marxists dedicated to an oppressive New World Order?

You must choose. Choose wisely.

August 09, 2011

September 17th at 9am, right in your own front yard

Lloyd Marcus: Patriots Picket Across America

On September 17th at 9am, starting on the east coast and following the sun west, Americans of all sizes, shapes, colors, and status will be holding up handpainted signs saying, "Can you hear us now?". Some of them will be in their front yard, some of them will be at busy intersections, some of them will be at their workplace.

We want the deficit cycle reversed. Not stopped, reversed. We want the debt ceiling lowered. We want the government to get it hands out of our pockets, its lawyers out of our offices, its inspectors out of our businesses, and its regulators out of our homes.

We want our country back and we want it back now.

August 06, 2011

When did lying become morally acceptable?

This kind of thing really ticks me off. It is entirely too typical of those who seek to set themselves up as our superiors. They cannot be trusted because they themselves do not distinguish between truth and deception. Elitists with aristocratic pretensions do not ascribe to morality or ethics beyond greed and self-service. And then, when they are called on it, they blame their accuser of the very same hypocrisy they have built their lives upon. Using Lies and Deception in Public Forums to Expand Your Business Exposure

Here is a particularly juicy quote:
It’s important that you position yourself as an interested and sincere forum contributor rather than a businessperson looking to move products.

Note that the idea of intentionally lying to forum participants about your purpose for participating is not only seen as morally acceptable, it is encouraged as being the intelligent, rational course of behavior.

When did immoral behavior become culturally valid? When did we start believing that the only intelligent, rational form of public discourse was self-serving narcissism, greed, and deception? Why do we uphold immorality and unethical behavior as something to be admired, respected and emulated?

No wonder they fear the Tea Party movement. They are creatures of darkness and cannot abide the light of honest citizens.

August 04, 2011

Oh no, you don't!

I really hate it when this happens. Just as I get all excited about new developments in the game industry I learn about yet another Congressional overstep! The badly misnamed "Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011" has nothing to do with pornography and will NOT protect our children! This bill is nothing less than the expansion of the Patriot Act into cyberspace. It will shred completely the already bleeding Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

Write your congressional representative today. This bill must be stopped and stopped now!

Firefly Universe Online

Just a few days ago I reported that Carbine Studios is finally preparing to release more detailed information about there as yet unnamed MMORPG. Today I learn that Firefly Universe Online is not only coming in out of the cold, it's doing so in a very big way! And, of course, in keeping with this same theme, just yesterday I reviewed the first hard science fiction book on space travel to be released in decades.

Science fiction fans rejoice! We are once again back in style!

August 03, 2011

Review of "Heaven's Shadow"

There are many kinds of science fiction. Some, like "Contact", "2001, A Space Odyssey", or "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", contain far more mystical speculation than hard science. Others, like "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel", "The Bones of Time", or "Neuromancer" stay grounded in the real world of current scientific knowledge while speculating on how future developments might affect our lives. "Heaven's Shadow", by David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt, is one of these.

It opens with two groups, NASA and a Russian/Indian/Brazilian coalition, racing to land on the surface of an enormous Near Earth Object as it passes Earth. They discover that the assumed meteor is in fact a gigantic alien craft of some kind. As they explore the craft a variety of mistakes are made, including the detonation of a "suitcase" nuclear device on the craft's surface. Despite those mistakes, or perhaps because of them, the interactions between the alien species and humanity lead to the alien's recognition that humans might be helpful allies in an ancient, inter-universe conflict which is the subject of "Heaven's War" due out in July, 2012.

Along the way the book explores themes of life, death, love, and loss through realitistic interactions of a variety of colorful characters that includes both professional astronauts and rambunctious teenagers. The inclusion of both children and adults, the intimate portrayal of the role of technology in daily life, and the shift from past to present and personal to international all add up to a page-turning level of suspense that falls slightly short of Clancy or Ludlum, but is refreshing in what could just as easily have been a dull collage of facts and figures (which is a trap far too many hard science fiction writers fall into).

History is a hard beast to ride for a writer, often leading to unrealistic expectations in readers. In the past few decades there has been far too much mystical science fiction for my taste and far too little hard science fiction focused on the interlinked roles of everyday technology and extraordinary space flight. "Heaven's Shadow" marks a pleasantly surprising return to space-based, hard science fiction built from both realistic characters and realistic scientific assumption.

August 01, 2011

Punishing the law-abiding is not justice

Governments, academics, and game stores are once again responding to the actions of a deranged terrorist by punishing the law-abiding:

Vancouver Sun: Norwegians call for tougher gun laws
The Independent: Noted British academic outraged by events in Norway
Rogalands Avis (in Norwegian): World of Warcraft and Call of Duty removed from store shelves

I'm sorry, but this reaction is just as insane and delusional as the actions of Anders Behring Breivik. Because he hated and feared Muslims, Breivik bombed a government building and shot down in cold blood dozens of unarmed children at an unarmed island summer camp. The problem is not that Breivik had easy access to "highly dangerous killing instruments". The real problem is that no one on the island was prepared to defend themselves against a madman with a gun. To make matters even worse, Breivik dressed himself in the uniform and badge of a police officer. For all any of his victims knew as the attack unfolded, they were being shot down by a representative of the government, a government that forcibly disarmed them and then delayed responding to emergency phone calls, giving Breivik nearly a full hour to leisurely destroy every life on the island that he could find.

Millions of Norwegians who would never dream of performing such a callous and sadistic crime own firearms. They use their "highly dangerous killing instruments" for target shooting, weekend competitions, and hunting. Some of them are collectors who own dozens of firearms and not a single round of ammunition. Why should these law-abiding citizens of a free country be punished because one lunatic took exception to the liberal policies of his government? In order to prevent such a tragedy from occuring again, would it not be better to train and arm the adults on the summer camp island? If the camp's counselors and administrators had been armed and proficient, they could have stopped this tragedy while the Norwegian police were still trying to determine if the weather was pleasant enough to fly a helicopter.

Breivik enjoyed war games. Why does that mean that millions of law-abiding Norwegian gamers who fully understand the difference between reality and virtuality must be denied access to their favorite games? How does punishing students, office workers, busboys, cooks, and millions of other people from all walks of life prevent mass murder? Despite decades of research and millions upon millions of taxpayer funds passed over to academics of all types, not a single legitimate research project has ever found a direct connection between enjoying war games or first person shooters and mass murder. The fact that a mere handful of deranged individuals play these games and then go on killing sprees does not indicate that all those millions who also enjoy the games are going to magically follow in their footsteps. Removing computer games from store shelves will do nothing to prevent the next deranged shooter from slaughtering innocents. Thinking that it will is exactly the same kind of delusional thinking demonstrated by Breivik, McVeigh, and the terrorists of 9/11 who "trained" on Microsoft Flight Simulator.

The idea that the masses must be punished in order to prevent deranged individuals from performing acts of violence is collectivist. Attempting to engineer a modern culture through denial of individual freedoms is a completely Marxist idea. Disarming free individuals does not bring a violence-free utopia. It does precisely the opposite. By removing weapons from their people governments down through history have empowered themselves to use genocide and mass murder as tools of political expediency. The end result of a disarmed populace is always the same. Sooner or later the government in question will demonize one class of their citizens and make every effort to kill each and every individual in that class. The Chinese Communist Party slaughtered farmers, the German National Socialist Party slaughtered Jews, the Khmer Rouge slaughtered the economically successful, right now in Iran and Syria the governments are slaughtering advocates of a free society. In every single historic case of mass genocide, disarming the free people of their society was a prelude to official mass murder in numbers that are staggering to comprehend.

Breivik killed around 90 of his fellow citizens. This is a terrible tragedy. I would not want to do or say anything to lessen that. In 2003, a similar number were killed by an out of control pyrotechnics display at a nightclub in Rhode Island. And yet, no one called for the closing of nightclubs or the banning of pyrotechnics in rock and roll concerts. Tragedy is part and parcel of life in the real world. We will never live in a world without tragedy. While it is true that we should not be seeking to bring about mass murder, nor should we be looking for ways to make the work of mass murderers easier, responding to a tragedy such as the one in Norway by removing the rights of free citizens to pursue their hobbies and harmless competitions is not the answer.

There is no utopia in our future. It is time to abandon the idea that government is somehow magically responsible for making the world a better place. Putting too much power in the hands of government is a historical formula for greater oppression and massive genocide. The only realistic way to make our world safer is for each of us individually to be prepared to step up and take charge when events spiral out of control and disaster is imminent. Keep exits open, clear, and easy to see. Arm responsible adults and train them in firearms proficiency. Teach children the best routes of escape should an emergency occur and keep emergency supplies readily accessible. Basic first aid, basic survival, and basic self-defense are the responsibility of every adult citizen. Abrogating that responsiblity to the police or some other government agency can only have one end result: dystopia.

You and you alone are responsible for the safety and education of your children and yourself. It is delusional and insane to assume that a government bureaucrat is more objective, more intelligent, and more capable of responding to danger than you are. You and you alone are the first line of defense. The only way to prevent another mass murder is for you to have the skills and tools necessary to step up and end the rampage the moment it begins. The only way you can have access to those skills and tools is to prevent power-mad government bureaucrats from stealing your freedoms when a tragedy occurs.

Your future is your responsibility, not the government's.