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[P]
Combining Linux and Gun promotion

By tjansen in News
Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:20:07 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Today there is an article on LinuxPR that completely annoys me: The Linuxfest 2000 in Kansas City will host one of Eric S Raymond's weird Geeks with Guns events. There are people out there who seriously try to convince enterprises to adopt Linux, and then people start hosting gun-shows as part of a Linux fair. Of course, this will easily scare away 50% of the potential visitors and leave them with a very strange feeling about Linux users. And I guess that's why Microsoft did not combine their Windows 2000 presentation with a pro-abortion campaign...


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Combining Linux and Gun promotion | 135 comments (135 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
The writeup's a bit strongly worded... (2.00 / 1) (#20)
by Denor on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:08:00 AM EST

Denor voted 1 on this story.

The writeup's a bit strongly worded, but this is definitely something that will generate conversation!

-Denor


Well, yes... But it could also ope... (3.50 / 2) (#6)
by Neuromancer on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:11:53 AM EST

Neuromancer voted 1 on this story.

Well, yes... But it could also open Linux up to users from Gun shows. I can see how a lot of the people that I know who collect guns, could get into Linux if it were offered at a gun show. A LOT of people in Virginia go to gun shows, so... We're talking about quite a significant market. Plus, your right to own a gun is protected by the constitution, blatantly in black and white. The whole anti-gun thing is a media creation, the number of people who actually want to BAN guns is quite low. As long as we don't make our slogan "Linux: the choice of gun toting gangsters" I think that this could only be a good thing.

Re: Well, yes... But it could also ope... (3.00 / 1) (#48)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:47:14 PM EST

the number of people who actually want to BAN guns is quite low.

Prove it.

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
More people on the freedom kick... ... (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:19:18 AM EST

MrEd voted 1 on this story.

More people on the freedom kick... I suppose the connection between freedom and guns may seem obvious to some people (like ESR) but I'm afraid that I don't see it. In a society without mass adoption of guns, why can one not be as free? Most of the most nefarious, controlling things in our lives aren't easily brought into the crosshairs, if you know what I mean.

ESR's always been a kook though, right? He wouldn't be in the geek spotlight today if he wasn't, and that's fine. Somebody's got to keep an eye on him though. Hehe.

Incidentally, I hope we're not going to be preaching to the choir on this piece... Gun supporters, show your stuff and start arguing! Lemme at 'em!

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


Re: More people on the freedom kick... ... (none / 0) (#38)
by CodeWright on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:44:53 PM EST

You're not preaching to the choir -- I think that ESR's "Geeks with Guns" is a GREAT idea.



--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
Re: More people on the freedom kick... ... (none / 0) (#44)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:36:21 PM EST

And I think he's a crackpot. Let's fight in the parking lot after school. ;)

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
Re: More people on the freedom kick... ... (none / 0) (#74)
by CodeWright on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 05:36:29 PM EST

LOL!

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
Re: More people on the freedom kick... ... (none / 0) (#90)
by Wolfkin on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 07:48:13 AM EST

Here's the connection between freedom and guns:

a) You cannot suppress a technology that people want to use.
b) People who want to take away your freedom, whether ordinary criminals or State storm troopers, will most certainly want to use guns.
c) Unless you can come up with a method of protecting yourself that doesn't involve using guns, when those who are attacking you have them, you will need guns to keep your freedom.

It is often thought that one way to get around the need for an armed populace is to hire police, or more police than have already been hired. Unfortunately, police cannot usually protect you; they're better at finding the criminal afterwards. Additionally, if the State has laws that abridge your freedom, it will be the police that you need defending from.

Randall.

[ Parent ]

Re: More people on the freedom kick... ... (none / 0) (#104)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 10:04:41 PM EST

In principle you can be just as free, but your freedom is based on a hope that your government will be benevolent, not on the fact that your government has no choice but to be benevolent. One of the first things Hitler did in the thirties was take away people's guns. Check out Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

[ Parent ]
On the one hand, you have to wonder... (none / 0) (#4)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:22:20 AM EST

lee_malatesta voted 1 on this story.

On the one hand, you have to wonder about an individual that thinks getting a crowd together with fire arms is good method of evangalism.

On the other hand, I can see the appeal of being able to personally fire a Tommy-gun (as I side note, I live just a few miles away and over the river from the personal house of the inventor of the Thompson sub-machine gun which has long since been turned into a bar and concert hall and is where many of the larger punk rawk shows get held in the Cincinnati area).

It does seem to me that mixing contentious issues, such as fire arms and especially fully automatic firearms, with business is not a good idea. Although, I will give them credit that the geeks-with-guns session at least is not being held on-site at the expo.



I agree ... (none / 0) (#12)
by tzanger on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:33:18 AM EST

tzanger voted 1 on this story.

I agree

ESR does a lot of good things, but he also undoes a lot of them with his activities. If you're trying to drum up support you don't do it this way. These are the kinds of things that make social stereotypes possible.



Wow, talk about a can of worms! Ha... (none / 0) (#21)
by BlueFox on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:34:35 AM EST

BlueFox voted 1 on this story.

Wow, talk about a can of worms! Hashing a story like this is sure to stir emotions on both sides of the fence.

classic troll. esr & guns is not n... (3.00 / 2) (#5)
by Kalana on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:36:58 AM EST

Kalana voted -1 on this story.

classic troll. esr & guns is not news. bonus troll points for mentioning microsoft. not enough writeup. throwing around statistics (50%?) wihtout a shred of evidence or even rationalization.

Stupid move by ESR. These are two c... (2.33 / 3) (#15)
by palou on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:38:22 AM EST

palou voted 1 on this story.

Stupid move by ESR. These are two completely unrelated issues that don't mix well.

Ah, it will scare away people inter... (4.00 / 1) (#2)
by bmetzler on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:44:01 AM EST

bmetzler voted 1 on this story.

Ah, it will scare away people interested in Linux because some other people who use Linux are interested in guns? That's really silly. I'm not pro-gun, but I don't care that others who use the same OS as I are.

People are all different, have different interests, different ideas about society, and different cultures. Learn to accept differences in others, and life will be much better.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
Re: Ah, it will scare away people inter... (none / 0) (#29)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:44:00 PM EST

"Hitler was a vegetarian."
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Skirting Godwin (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by kmself on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:17:25 PM EST

ESR is a free software advocate who happens to be a gun nut.

Hitler was a genocidal fascist dictator who happened to be a vegetarian.

Reverse either situation (but not both) and you'd have an equivalence. However, Hitler isn't principally known for advocating vegitarianism (though he had a number of ideas which became quite popular -- the VW Beetle among them). ESR's situation is somewhat different -- his pro-gun arguments are fairly well known. But that's not his principle activity or association.

This all ends up an ad hominem argument. I don't think less of vegitarianism for Hitler's association with it. I don't think less of free software (or more, for that matter) for ESR's gun advocacy. The issues are orthogonal.

It turns out there are a lot of people with strong opinions using free software -- there are even those who argue whether "free software" or "open source" is the proper term to use -- get used to it.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: Skirting Godwin (none / 0) (#72)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 05:14:36 PM EST

I think that's the point I was trying to make. That's why I had it in quotes. I was showing the sort of analogy which is why Godwin's law is THERE. A lot of anti-vegitarians out there have used the fallacious argument that "Hitler was a vegetarian" which implies that "vegetarians are really evil people," but people still buy into that sort of shit. Okay, "Hitler was a vegetarian" is a bit extreme, but what about "The Chinese government wants to use Red Hat - we cannot allow these communists to taint the name of Linux in that way!" (That, BTW, was a paraphrase of something ESR has actually SAID.)

*I* know that it's a fallacious argument which doesn't mean anything or make any logical sense. But do other people?
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

I realized that, precisely... (none / 0) (#76)
by kmself on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 06:53:16 PM EST

...1.2 seconds after hitting "post" for the final time.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Re: I realized that, precisely... (none / 0) (#80)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:15:07 PM EST

Heh, understandable. I do the same thing quite a bit. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

I agree 100%. Although I believe th... (none / 0) (#8)
by tidepool on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:52:16 AM EST

tidepool voted 1 on this story.

I agree 100%. Although I believe that it is perfectly fine to be interested in guns, their use, and 'gun-users' rights - I do not believe that the meshing of Linux + gun's is good.

ESR, seperate your interests or hurt both of them.

Kripto.org
brewer@kripto.org

On one hand this is nothing new. ES... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by Anonymous Zero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:53:48 AM EST

Anonymous Zero voted 1 on this story.

On one hand this is nothing new. ESR has been doing Geeks With Guns for years. And I don't think there's going to a be shooting range right there on the show floor, in fact I'm pretty sure they'll hold this event well away from the main activities.

Guns and such may rub some people the wrong way, but Linux was a shared interest among programmers before it became a business. Linux conventions were informal user and developer meetings before the big boys moved in with commerical show space. Soon show sponsors will be telling the founding developers of Linux and other open source stuff what they can and can't do at the shows they founded. Big commerical interest will weigh down soon enough.

On the other hand ESR should consider that his friends and collegues are making their living from Linux and open source and it's to everyones advantage that he not scare people away with his political views.

Very disturbing, I don't think ESR'... (1.00 / 1) (#23)
by nhowie on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:02:44 PM EST

nhowie voted 1 on this story.

Very disturbing, I don't think ESR's personal agendas should be mixed like this. If they were skeet-shooting Windows CDs however ...

I had never heard of this Geeks Wit... (3.40 / 5) (#19)
by new500 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:07:31 PM EST

new500 voted 1 on this story.

I had never heard of this Geeks With Guns stuff before

You have no idea how hostile the staff in our company (London UK) are to any association with firearms.

If some managers I've met feel they want to avoid M$ product because of qualitative misgivings that Mr Gates's personality alone indicates a collective state of mind concerning development and the way W$ is going be, how do we say now :

"Oh yes, Linux is an alternative - the guys who promote it are a gun toting degenerates who missed the whole point of personal freedom, but don't let that worry you - honest a personal attitude will [lie] *never* affect how something is implemented by its designers"

"Open-source software is about getting freedom; personal firearms are about keeping it"

Quite apart from the illogic of this statement - good sane people will be inclined to run a mile from even a tenuous association with such madness.

If by writing for or using an operating system I might become ascribed with an endorsement of such "values" - I would be under some pressure, morally and personally as well as within this company - to reconsider what I do.

The only relation Erics statements bear to a childish prank is one adjective : misguided


== Idle Random Thoughts. Usual disclaimers apply. ==
Wow, that's a lot of preconceived notions right th (none / 0) (#32)
by Pelorat on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:01:15 PM EST

You'd be under pressure for using an operating system that also happens to be used and contributed to by people who own guns? Hate to break it to you, but that's gonna rule out *all* of them.

And what the hell does someone's politics/beliefs/attitudes have to do with the quality of their code? It doesn't alter one's ability to design and code a program. There's no 'gun-toting-freak taint' that negatively affects programming.

How depressing it must be to work in an environment that suppresses freedom of thought and opinion like that.

Not everyone who owns a firearm is a 'degenerate'. And keep in mind that there are also a whole hell of a lot of degenerates who *don't* own guns.

[ Parent ]
In general, I agree, but..... (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:56:23 PM EST

You'd be under pressure for using an operating system that also happens to be used and contributed to by people who own guns? Hate to break it to you, but that's gonna rule out *all* of them.

This is exactly so. Pretty much every tech company I know of has someone that is giving the company a black eye. One example is the large relational database software company head that is an unabashed womanizer having mulitple (serial?) lovers that get new cars and the like for doing the wild monkey dance with him.

And what the hell does someone's politics/beliefs/attitudes have to do with the quality of their code? It doesn't alter one's ability to design and code a program. There's no 'gun-toting-freak taint' that negatively affects programming.

I think that the real problem is that ESR is not just a programmer, but rather a self-appointed spokesperson for, not just Linux, but for the entire open-source movement. Because he is in such a role, he has a responsibility to portray attitudes in his professional life that move the movement forward instead of casting the movement in the light of a bunch of powder-crazed, gun-toting lunatics. (Not that everyone who owns a fire-arm is such, but that is the impression I get of what write-ups I have seen of gwg events, added to ESRs implied threats -supposedly meant in jest- to Bruce Perens, gives me a picture of mad men, not reasonable people.)

I do give ESR credit for having the gwg show at a safe place (a shooting range) and I assume that he takes intelligent precautions when transporting his personal firearms.

But I do think he is mixing areas that should not be mixed. Just as when people mix politics with religion, the result is bad politics and bad religion, the result of mixing other causes that have absolutely nothing to do with each other dillutes both causes.

Not everyone who owns a firearm is a 'degenerate'.

Exactly.

And keep in mind that there are also a whole hell of a lot of degenerates who *don't* own guns.

I couldn't agree more.

[ Parent ]

Re: I had never heard of this Geeks Wit... (none / 0) (#49)
by PresJPolk on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:48:46 PM EST

It's too bad you didn't name your company.. then we'd know to avoid it, because it's clearly run by people who don't know how to make logical decisions.

[ Parent ]
annoying bias. ... (none / 0) (#13)
by aml on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:10:18 PM EST

aml voted -1 on this story.

annoying bias.

Re: annoying bias. ... (none / 0) (#47)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:44:40 PM EST

And all the more reason that it should spark discussion. If you don't like his bias, argue against it in a bloody comment!

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
I would like to see people reaction... (1.00 / 1) (#14)
by jonr on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:37:22 PM EST

jonr voted 1 on this story.

I would like to see people reaction to this. IMHO, some hobbies should not mix!

From what I've read in the past, ES... (4.00 / 3) (#11)
by Mulad on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:43:22 PM EST

Mulad voted 0 on this story.

From what I've read in the past, ESR's GwG events have been safe. They take place on firing ranges, not in the middle of parking lots. Besides, there are many people out there who have never fired a gun, but would like to do so as an educational experience. People would be more likely to get hurt at a rollerblading event than a GwG event.. Yet you are more scared of the GwG event.. doesn't quite seem right to me.

Re: From what I've read in the past, ES... (none / 0) (#25)
by teethgrinder on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:24:39 PM EST

It's not about whether it's safe or not. It's about whether it's good publicity to "blast off" a Linux show like that. The discussion about gun control is heated enough and that heat has nothing to do with Linux.

[ Parent ]
Re: From what I've read in the past, ES... (none / 0) (#40)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:16:01 PM EST

It's not the whole events that he's pulling... I could care less how safe they are, I could care less how dangerous they are. Can you picture ESR trying to pull a William Tell stunt? Anyhow, I don't think the safety of such a gun event is the issue.

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
I'd have to say from seeing esr liv... (none / 0) (#24)
by nutate on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:45:38 PM EST

nutate voted 1 on this story.

I'd have to say from seeing esr live that he makes a good point to "the suits," but some of his guns / racial commentary (check out his site, it's there albeit minimally) are perhaps too non-pc for people just wanting to check out linux.

On the other hand, some people might just think it was funny.

Re: I'd have to say from seeing esr liv... (none / 0) (#91)
by Wolfkin on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 07:54:31 AM EST

Maybe I'm just dense, but I've read most of ESR's site, and I didn't see any disturbing comments about race. Could you give an example, so I (and perhaps others) could check it out?

Randall.

[ Parent ]

Re: I'd have to say from seeing esr liv... (none / 0) (#135)
by nutate on Tue Jun 27, 2000 at 05:01:30 PM EST

Looking back at this, let me see if I really have any evidence to back my bald statement up with.

Ah yes, here it is in http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/racism.html

Obviously, Eric's intentions are not racist in any way, so in that respect, my earlier comment was a lie, I just think this essay disregards Barry's work with SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and the fact that the Federal gov't actively caught Barry in a slightly uncivil buy and bust type of thing... That and you don't snort crack, you smoke it. esr just falls into many traps familiar to libertarian philosophy, but he has done great work for the "Open Source Movement"...

I still don't believe what we've come to. The second age of the racial double standard, a sick parody of the bad old days when a black man was presumed guilty. Marion Barry abuses the D.C. mayor's office and snorts crack on video and `movement' blacks march in the streets to get him acquitted. `Afro-centrists' agitate for their own (segregated) schools and curricula that would consciously try to write the white man out of the black child's version of history. Race-norming. Quotas. `Diversity' enforcers coercing students and academics throughout America's universities to avoid any action or speech or even thought that might be `racially offensive', while never doubting their own entitlement to treat anyone with a white skin as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Plot to Oppress Blacks -- guilty until proven innocent. When did the fight for freedom decay into this obscene scramble for handouts and privileges and discrimination for our color this week, please?

[ Parent ]

That is kinda weird. The two activi... (2.00 / 1) (#3)
by Pelorat on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:48:50 PM EST

Pelorat voted 1 on this story.

That is kinda weird. The two activities have zero commonality beyond a faint sense of 'libre of action'... there's no reason to combine them into a single trade show. It'd be like Microsoft hosting a pottery convention.

Yeah, post it! Free/Open software ... (3.50 / 4) (#16)
by Kartoffel on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:50:22 PM EST

Kartoffel voted 1 on this story.

Yeah, post it! Free/Open software is all about freedom. Pro-gun people are also bigtime proponents of freedom. Both things have a pretty strong libertarian bent yet the majority of firearm afficionadors are not computer geeks, nor do most linux d00ds spend time at the range on a regular basis. But when you get down to the core values, both groups tend to care about the same thing. I think it would be interesting to see points of view from open source people who are in favor of gun control. Another point: Linux and open source has been getting a TON of hype recently. There are a lot of bandwagon jumpers who may or may not really agree with the spirit of free software but are promoting Linux for their own benefit. I don't see a parallel to that in the world of guns (in other words, there isn't much pro-gun sensationalism in the media).

Re: Yeah, post it! Free/Open software ... (none / 0) (#26)
by sugarman on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:33:28 PM EST

I don't see a parallel to that in the world of guns (in other words, there isn't much pro-gun sensationalism in the media).

So I take it you don't watch movies or television at all then? There isn't much pro-gun sensationalism because there doesn't need to be: its already ingrained finely into nearly every show and movie out there.

What does the k3w1 d00d action hero use? A gun.
What do the cops have on those reality programs when laying a beatdown on some drunken, shirtless luser? A gun.

Even though there may be rallies against gun ownership, all the activism goes straight out the window as soon as the kids go watch the next big Hollywood blockbuster. About the pnly place in pop-culture where guns don't seem to be advocated is *pro-wrestling*. Take that for what it's worth.
--sugarman--
[ Parent ]

Re: Yeah, post it! Free/Open software ... (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:31:22 PM EST

I disagree. While the Linuxers and the Gun Nuts (ESR uses it, so can I) both wax eloquent about liberty, the results are entirely different. First off, Linux doesn't kill people. It doesn't allow you to shoot a robber who turns out to be your son's girlfriend. Linux is computer code. Guns kill people, or rather people kill people with guns.

That said, I believe Linux is about sharing and building. Guns are about personal power, and I refuse to believe anyone who claims otherwise. No matter what idealogical good you use your guns for, the reason you want one is because you want the power. And when that is the core motivation, problems arise with those who have other goals besides "Liberty" (a.k.a. "What's mine is mine and I'll shoot your head off if you tell me otherwise").

Oh well, this ended up more of a rant than I had intended. Hehe.

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
But BOTH are about personal power! (no message) (none / 0) (#64)
by error 404 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:39:50 PM EST



..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Re: Yeah, post it! Free/Open software ... (none / 0) (#86)
by Cariset on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 09:22:16 PM EST

Guns are about personal power, and I refuse to believe anyone who claims otherwise. No matter what idealogical good you use your guns for, the reason you want one is because you want the power.

Yes, guns are about power. But since when is power inherently bad? The biggest selling point of guns is that they allow you to be taken seriously when you say "these are my rights, and no one will take them away from me". (Which is quite distinct from saying "if those were your rights, I'm taking them from you".) Power is not just used to oppress others, it's also used to resist oppression.

You can get the same sort of effect with swords, or martial arts, or a can of mace and a butcher's knife, or in some cases lots of computer knowledge. In many cases, the only way to be taken seriously is a display of power, and for that purpose none of the above methods are quite as effective as pointing a gun at someone (for example, at a rapist). And people want to be taken seriously. They want to be respected, they want to have others pay attention to what they feel is important. Guns are a way to do that. (I know

    I'm
much more likely to pay attention to you if you've got a gun pointed at me.) And the sad truth is, that the people by whom it may be most important (in terms of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness) to be respected, often won't pay attention unless you've got a gun.

An analogy: nuclear weapons. Look at the relationship between India and Pakistan. Look at the effect of the "Israel has nukes" rumor. Look at how much attention the US pays to foreign countries that have the ability to launch a nuclear attack on our home soil, vs. those that don't. You can bet that if Cuba had nukes, that silly embargo would have been lifted long ago.

I'm not arguing that they're good, just that they exist, and we have to deal with the consequences. In places like Britain, it's almost possible to argue that handguns don't exist. NY, and the US in general, are completely different stories.

As for the second amendment, a single person with guns isn't any threat to a government/megacorp. However, an armed populace is much harder to invade or oppress than one that is disarmed. Think distributed power. That's how the US got its freedom from Britain. The colonists had guns for defense, and knew how to fight together for defense, and when Britain pushed them too far, they used this power to fight back. That's the importance of having "a well regulated militia" - think of a random network of computers vs. a structured distributed computing network (eg. Beowulf cluster). One is much more powerful than the other.

And as for ESR and the original topic, although he is a public figure related to a specific group, he has other interests, and we should not expect or require him, or any other person, to give them up for the "greater good". If he's misrepresented the community as a whole, that's a different matter. I'm not aware that he has, but then, I don't keep close tabs on his doings.

[ Parent ]

Re: Yeah, post it! Free/Open software ... (none / 0) (#115)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 02:29:54 PM EST

Linux also doesn't allow you to save your life and your family when some strung-out lowlife breaks into your house to kill you. Effective self-defense with firearms happens over a million times a year in the U.S., usually with no shots fired (a simple display of force being sufficient).

Basic rule of gun safety, be sure of your target. Use a flashlight if you have to. Owning a gun brings a heavy responsibility, but most legal gun owners live up to it.

Sure it's about personal power--the power to protect myself and my family. For women, it's the power to equalize force and not be a victim of any would-be rapist who outweighs them by a hundred pounds. Linux is about power too--the power to change code and fix bugs myself if I want to, instead of begging Microsoft.

And a concern for liberty is not equivalent to base selfish materialism. Try reading some Thomas Jefferson or something.

[ Parent ]

Are you opposed to the paintball wa... (4.00 / 1) (#1)
by dblslash on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:55:35 PM EST

dblslash voted 1 on this story.

Are you opposed to the paintball wars which occurred between vi and emacs proponents in past Linux conferences? I'm all for good clean fun to be had at these conferences, whether that take the form of invading a local theater for the premiere of Star Wars, or invading a local firearms range for an afternoon of target practice.

Re: Are you opposed to the paintball wa... (none / 0) (#46)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:41:51 PM EST

That's a fantastic idea!!! Hell, let's get ESR going on about Geeks with Paintball guns! But paintball matches between bitterly opposed text editor clans and the principle of 'gun control vs. guns for the public' are two different issues.

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
this has already happened (none / 0) (#58)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:26:32 PM EST

I can't remember which Linux show it was, but someone organized a vi vs emacs paintball shootout. Needless to say, the vi team massacred the emacs folks.

[ Parent ]
Re: Are you opposed to the paintball wa... (none / 0) (#63)
by dblslash on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:37:08 PM EST

I was trying to point out that just because paintball has nothing to do with Open Source or GNU/Linux doesn't mean that people can't engage in that activity at GNU/Linux conferences. The same goes for mass caravans to Star Wars. GNU/Linux conferences aren't just about software. They're about the community and the people in it.

[ Parent ]
Re: Are you opposed to the paintball wa... (none / 0) (#75)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 05:59:38 PM EST

And yet I say that ESR is doing the Linux communnity a disservice by equating Linux and guns as ways to achieve liberty.

Geeks can do whatever they like at conventions!

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
Personally, I agree with Eric - gun... (2.67 / 3) (#17)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:57:13 PM EST

porkchop_d_clown voted 1 on this story.

Personally, I agree with Eric - gun ownership is the flip side of open source. If you want to be free, you must be willing to protect your freedom. Gun ownership isn't about crime. It's about preventing what happens in places like Bosnia from happening in America.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.

What the? (none / 0) (#27)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:33:56 PM EST

Bosnia has nothing to do with people having guns and everything to do with a bunch of ethnic groups that all want the same space and all beat on each other when they manage to get control. Why do you think the Serbians hate the Bosnians? It's not as simple as black and white.

I'm personally mixed on the whole gun issue, but guns are not a panacea, just like gun control is not a panacea.

[ Parent ]

Re: Personally, I agree with Eric - gun... (5.00 / 2) (#28)
by teethgrinder on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:38:36 PM EST

If you want to be free, you must be willing to protect your freedom.

Agreed. But to be naive enough to believe that your posession of a gun would protect you from any "hostile takeover" is what continues to amaze me about gun-nuts. At least be honest enough to say "I like my gun. Its power. Its cool. I dont wanna have it taken away." but please dont come to me with that stupid "protecting freedom" crap.

[ Parent ]

Hell Yes (none / 0) (#45)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:38:54 PM EST

There's nothing that turns me off gun supporters more than the rhetoric. Spare it and just admit that you want more power in your life.

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
Re: Hell Yes (none / 0) (#93)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 12:12:08 PM EST

Isn't that what freedom is? Power over the course of your own life?

[ Parent ]
gun ownership is part of the problem in the former (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:09:55 PM EST

For the record, a good deal (but certainly not all) of the atrocities commited by the warring factions in the former Yugoslavia are being committed by private militias. If the general populace had not been armed, the genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass executions, systematic rapings, and torture would only have been perpetrated by the government instead of hundreds of independant, rag-tag militias. Somehow, I doubt that the same level of horrors would have been wrought if the only people with guns were the governement.

On the other hand, similiar atrocities were committed in parts of Rwanda where the most prevelent weapons of were machetes and knives....



[ Parent ]
hey Rusty what's up with the title truncation? (none / 0) (#35)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:12:54 PM EST

Why give us such an input box with a large number of characters if only the first fifty or so characters of the post title are displayed?

[ Parent ]
Re: gun ownership is part of the problem in the fo (none / 0) (#118)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 02:51:55 PM EST

Oh, yeah, governments in the past century have a great record of kindliness when they're the only ones with guns. Just look at the Nazis, the Soviets, and the Chinese, for starters.

[ Parent ]
I don't think you get it. (none / 0) (#122)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 04:48:47 PM EST

Granted some governements (even the government of the US) have committed some terrible atrocities. None of those atrocities, however, is on the same scale of what happens when social groups full of hatred toward each other are armed with firearms. Was the holocaust a horrible event? Yes! But, it would have been far, far worse if the both the Jewish and non-Jewish populations of Germany were armed in the same manner as the people in modern day Yogoslavia.

[ Parent ]
Re: I don't think you get it. (none / 0) (#132)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 03:00:05 PM EST

That is the most disgusting comment I've seen in a long long time. You're telling me that it was better that six million Jews be led like sheep to slaughter in the ovens, than for them to have the ability to defend themselves. Go visit Auschwitz sometime and see if you still feel the same way. And read up on the history of the Jewish heroes in Poland, who held off the Nazi army for weeks with just a couple dozen firearms.

[ Parent ]
Question... (none / 0) (#97)
by w3woody on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 02:39:27 PM EST

Personally, I agree with Eric - gun ownership is the flip side of open source.

There are those who believe that polyamory (that is, being open to having multiple lovers in an open relationship) is the sexual equivalent of open source. How would you feel if Eric was a polyamorist, rather than a gun enthusiast? Would you be more happy with the open source movement? Or less?

[ Parent ]

This disgusts me, heard a bit about... (3.30 / 3) (#18)
by abe1x on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:59:06 PM EST

abe1x voted 1 on this story.

This disgusts me, heard a bit about ESR's views, didn't realize the extent of it all. He's entitled to his own opinion, but why mix it in with open source advocacy? Can only do harm as far as I can see. And what's with gun lover's calling themselves "gun nuts". Have they ever heard of PR? Maybe that's part of owning guns, you want people to think you are crazy enough to actually shoot them.

Seriously, I lived in London for a while where there are virtually no guns (even the cops don't have them) and its ridiculous how much safer it feels walking the streets. How can anyone look at stats comparing murder rates in countries with lots of guns to countries with few and then post articles claiming gun control doesn't work? Lets hope this sort of stuff doesn't get spread to the mainstream press, its the last thing the open source movement needs.

Re: This disgusts me, heard a bit about... (none / 0) (#30)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:47:16 PM EST

Seriously, I lived in London for a while where there are virtually no guns (even the cops don't have them) and its ridiculous how much safer it feels walking the streets.
And I've lived in New York City where it is also illegal to own a gun and guess what? It's ridiculous how much safer it feels to be walking the streets in a city where it is legal to own guns.
How can anyone look at stats comparing murder rates in countries with lots of guns to countries with few and then post articles claiming gun control doesn't work?
Easy. Look at stats comparing crime rates in cities that outlaw guns to those that don't. In a city without legal firearm ownership, criminals have little to fear.

[ Parent ]
Bad logic and bad statistics. (none / 0) (#33)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:03:20 PM EST

First, the bad logic:

Seriously, I lived in London for a while where there are virtually no guns (even the cops don't have them) and its ridiculous how much safer it feels walking the streets.

And I've lived in New York City where it is also illegal to own a gun and guess what? It's ridiculous how much safer it feels to be walking the streets in a city where it is legal to own guns.

This is comparing apples to oranges. The original post was about an environment where there are no firearms, not about an environment where firearms are illegal. Or are you seriously contending that NYC has few or no guns within the city limits?

Now we'll look at the bad statistics (from the original poster):

How can anyone look at stats comparing murder rates in countries with lots of guns to countries with few and then post articles claiming gun control doesn't work?

I've only ever heard of one study that did a controlled exhaustive study of the correlation between the number of firearms and the amount of violent crimes per capita. The conclusion was that there is absolutely no correlation between gun ownership and the relative safety of an area.

In other words, for every 'safe' gun free city such as London, England, there is a 'safe' city with a large number of firearms. And for every 'unsafe' war zone like large parts of Liberia, there is an 'unsafe' city with few if any firearms.

Even so, our beloved Anonymous Hero gives us more illogic:

Easy. Look at stats comparing crime rates in cities that outlaw guns to those that don't. In a city without legal firearm ownership, criminals have little to fear.

Considering that cities that outlaw private gun ownership include some very lovely cities with little or no crime in countries such as Japan and many parts of Europe, this 'rebuttal' makes no sense.



[ Parent ]
Re: Bad logic and bad statistics. (none / 0) (#83)
by Potsy on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:51:06 PM EST

I've only ever heard of one study that did a controlled exhaustive study of the correlation between the number of firearms and the amount of violent crimes per capita. The conclusion was that there is absolutely no correlation between gun ownership and the relative safety of an area.
Have a look at the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0226493644/qid=961200812/sr=1-1/102-6570394-7579330">&quot;More Guns, Less Crime&quot;. It is the most comprehensive study of gun ownership and crime statistics ever performed, and it shows a strong correlation between increased gun ownership and reduced crime.

I'm curious as to what study you're referring to that found no correlation between gun ownership and decreased crime. The only studies I've ever heard of are one's like Lott's. Can you provide a reference?

I have also noticed that people in favor of gun rights tend to use logic and empirical evidence in their arguments, usually with references to back it up. Gun control advocates, on the other hand, tend to use fear and emotional arguments with little or no evidence, and no references to back it up. Why is that, do you think?

Interesting side note: the author of the aforementioned book, John Lott, received <a href="http://www.ssaa.org.au/lottthreat.html">death threats from gun-control advocates after he first published his findings. (Presumably, the threats would have been carried out with a knife or a club.)

[ Parent ]

Re: Bad logic and bad statistics. (Working links) (none / 0) (#85)
by Potsy on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:57:29 PM EST

Argh. Every time you hit "preview" it turns the quote character into the string "&quot;", even within a URL tag. It's annoying. Anyway, I forgot to fix it in my last message before posting. Here are the clickable links to my above post: The book is called "More Guns, Less Crime", and the author recieved death threats from gun-control advocates after he published his findings.

[ Parent ]
Re: Bad logic and bad statistics. (none / 0) (#105)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 01:03:02 AM EST

I highly suspect that the 'definitive' study you mention cherry picks its data.

I found a summary by Gary Kleck of Aldine de Gruyter's Guns and Violence: A Summary of the Field at http://teapot.usask.ca/cdn-firearms/Kleck/point-blank-summary.html

Here is an excerpt:
The findings of aggregate studies are summarized in Table 1. Their findings are almost exactly evenly split between 12 findings that support the idea that higher gun levels increase crime rates and 11 findings that do not. All but a handful of the studies are technically very weak. They rely on small samples, sometimes including as few as nine, or even four cases; only Bordua (1986) had more than 50 cases. In combination with the multicollinearity that typically characterizes aggregate data, this implies very unstable results. Most use measures of gun ownership which are either known to be invalid or whose validity is unknown. Eight of the studies did not control for any other factors that might be as- sociated with gun ownership and could affect crime rates, making it impossible to check whether any observed association between gun and violence levels were spurious; 11 studies controlled for no more than two other variables.

Anyone that wants can go read the entire article, but a bit of common sense would seem to serve to demonstrate to most people that the point I am trying to get across is valid.

Image a city in Liberia, where gun ownership is very widespread. This city, being full of political and cultural factions that hate each other is filled with violence. Now imagine a city in rural Kansas where gun ownership is wide spread, but violence is relatively rare. There is little, if any proven correlation between gun ownership and rates of violent crime. Violence depends on the cultural norms on cultural norms and mores, not the ownership of firearms.

And having a figure head such as ESR that has in the past, implied threats of bodily harm (supposedly in jest) to other figures in the open source movement (Bruce Perens) disturbs me especially when he uses Linux events to promote his pro-gun stance.



[ Parent ]
Re: Bad logic and bad statistics. (none / 0) (#114)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 02:10:17 PM EST

Suppose you compare the same location before and after gun control laws are put in place / removed. England and Australia both in recent years introduced draconian gun control laws, and suffered an increase in violent crime. The same can be said for a number of large American cities.

[ Parent ]
mixing topics (none / 0) (#121)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 04:44:28 PM EST

In discussing guns there are two distinct, but seperate discussions.

1. Whether guns are more hurtful or harmful.

2. Whether gun control is effecacious or not.

I think it quite possible that guns, in some but not all situations, are more harmful than helpful. Now, whether or not some types of gun control will help the situation any is an entirely different proposition. Some types of gun control (such as mandatory trigger locks and firearm saftey courses combined with registration of firearms) make a whole lot of sense to me while other types (outright banning all firearms) do not.

In other words whether or not gun advocacy is a good thing is an almost entirely independant proposition from whether gun control is a good thing.



[ Parent ]
Re: Bad logic and bad statistics. (none / 0) (#129)
by Potsy on Mon Jun 19, 2000 at 02:10:35 AM EST

The study by Lott does not cherry-pick data, as you can see by looking at the book itself. The data, methodology, and analysis are revealed in full detail for all to see and scrutinize. As another poster pointed out, many gun-control advocates have been unable to poke any holes in Lott's study.

Your example of a city with a high amount of political tension is beside the point, since Lott's study talks about gun ownership reducing violence related to crime, not political unrest.

[ Parent ]

Re: Bad logic and bad statistics. (none / 0) (#131)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 02:53:44 PM EST

ESR himself on his gun page links to a summary by Gary Kleck of his own research. Kleck is pro gun-control but, as ESR says, is willing to follow the facts where they lead. Anyone who really is interested in the facts would do well to read it.

[ Parent ]
Re: Bad logic and bad statistics. (none / 0) (#87)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 10:06:02 PM EST

The original post was about an environment where there are no firearms...

Really? Can you guarantee that there are no guns anywhere in London? If you encounter a mugger on the street or robber breaking into your home, are you really going to assume with 100% certainty that they are not armed, just because you're in England? Are you willing to bet your life on that?

[ Parent ]

Troll. (none / 0) (#42)
by MrEd on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:21:45 PM EST

Good trolling! Strongly worded, with no backing statistics, and no logic at that. Bravo!

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
Re: Troll. (none / 0) (#101)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 07:02:48 PM EST

If you want statistics, get More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott. His analysis is exhaustive, and a lot of gun control advocates have admitted that they couldn't poke holes in it, even though it didn't change their minds.

[ Parent ]
Re: This disgusts me, heard a bit about... (5.00 / 2) (#50)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:55:19 PM EST

Gun control is an all or nothing affair, where grey areas emerge between that, it doesnít work out. Obviously in London there are literally no hand guns, the police donít even carry them, and theyíre not widely produced or sold to the public, in effect you have a vacuum, this creates a level playing field.

It also means the average petty thief or honest citizen doesnít carry a gun because they donít feel threatened to the extent they feel the need to have the capability to kill someone. Availably and price is a concern, but the issue of guns is totally down to one of mentally, even when handguns were legally available in Britain, people didnít buy them; ďnobody has guns, it would never be used, so why should I buy one? Everyone will just think Iím a nutĒ. So obviously when some nutcase managed to get his hands on a couple of guns and killed ten 6yr olds, a nation which was apathetic towards guns decided to ban them, fearing a vicious circle of gun problems raging over the pond.

Is this gun control a result of an oppressive government? Maybe, but it certainly had mass consensus, you could call it an ignorant public, but they couldnít exactly the see the benefits of guns, the majority of people were indifferent toward them.

I hope you can see the logical reasons why this gun control happened, itís not simply not a black or white issue of freedom or oppression, in a society without guns do I have less freedom? I certainly feel safe walking anywhere without fear of being shot, I can walk into college or a public building without being searched or having to go through mental detectors or fences. The whole idea of schools having security guards and fortified defences bemuses me, why should children be educated in a fortress that has more resemblance to a prison than a place of learning, is that freedom?

People counter this by saying you could equally be in as much danger from a knife, and should that be banned too, and where will it end. Heard of a drive-by-stabbing latterly? A knife serves a logical purpose that can be used for many things, the same goes for a crowbar etc, but the sole purpose of a gun? Ö to injure or maim people, you canít exactly say itís useful for chopping carrots.

On the other hand, whatís the point of outlawing guns in NY City, an area that is surrounded by other jurisdictions that permit their sale, where there is a high penetration rate of guns and where you have a market that produces and sells guns like a common commodity? I sympathise with the situation in the US, itís caught in a vicious circle, if every nut had the distinct possibility of carrying a gun, then Iíd want one too, no doubt about that! What happened if the US moved to strict gun controls anyway Ö the whole scene would further more move underground, as long as thereís guns out there (or the mentality towards guns), legal or not, you cannot escape the vicious circle. This is where I draw the conclusion of all or nothing

Iím not a pacifist, but not everyone out there is balanced with sound judgement and responsibility towards guns, it only takes a few nuts with guns to upset the equilibrium.

As for reason of having guns to protect yourself from your own government, does this really apply in the 21st century?

On a final note, I find it ironic that S&W is actually a British firm.


[ Parent ]
Re: This disgusts me, heard a bit about... (none / 0) (#78)
by cpt kangarooski on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:10:11 PM EST

The fundemental reason that we have the 2nd amendment is in order to defend ourselves against those who would take our freedoms, be they foreign or domestic. (Additionally it's covered under property rights, as well as guns not being particularly dangerous unless used by someone; fight criminals not stuff)

Obviously it's a last resort sort of thing. But it's good to have a backup plan - you'll regret not having one if you need it.

This is still quite applicable. If you don't think that guerilla wars work you should look closely at what happened to the US and French in Vietnam (although there were regular army units in North Vietnam too) and what happened to the Russians in Afghanistan.

Conquerers have two options: Either they can kill _everyone_ which is difficult in terms of repopulating the land and in preventing resistance. The Nazis were big into this, but it doesn't happen as much as you'd expect. The other option is to rule the original inhabitants, which is much more commonplace, but provides fertile ground for guerillas.

If the conquerer is domestic, it is also likely that large portions of the military would remain loyal to their oaths instead of the rulers.

Like I said, it is unlikely that we will have to do this ourselves. But I'm unwilling to sell out everyone who comes after us in case they do need the ability to defend themselves. And since nothing lasts forever, I wouldn't be at all suprised if they eventually do.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Re: This disgusts me, heard a bit about... (none / 0) (#79)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:10:46 PM EST

Don't you guys have IRA type shootings? What about bombings? This is an honest question (I'm in the U.S., the news media doesn't know there's a whole planet outside of the U.S.).

Isn't there some gun violence in Europe? I've heard that road signs in rural Greece have bullet holes in them.

[ Parent ]

Uzi's and Thompsons? Geez, one woul... (2.33 / 3) (#9)
by Rand Race on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:59:21 PM EST

Rand Race voted 1 on this story.

Uzi's and Thompsons? Geez, one would think high-tech geeks would be packin' FA-MASs and H&K G-11s.... damn Heckler and Koch and their closed source caseless ammo! I preffer a sportscar for my penis extension, and sportscars wouldn't be as troubling to many as people killers are.

I'm waiting for the BeOS and Bombs convention.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

Re: Uzi's and Thompsons? Geez, one woul... (none / 0) (#81)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:18:49 PM EST

Well, you've got'a rent Death Race 2000. That'll change your opinion of sports cars.

[ Parent ]
Definitely. ESR should /not/ be com... (1.00 / 1) (#7)
by inspire on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:20:07 PM EST

inspire voted 1 on this story.

Definitely. ESR should /not/ be combining his passion for guns with his passion for Linux, at least not as the de-facto spokesman for the OSS movement.

Combining two distinct political ideals like this just devalues them both.
--
What is the helix?

Golfing? (4.50 / 2) (#31)
by jscott on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 01:58:57 PM EST


Well, what if I was in charge......

<sarcasm> Perhaps it would have been better if they went golfing? Oh, no, wait. Then you're filtering out low-income people and minorities. Maybe a live concert? Damn, not everyone likes Steely Dan as much a I do. Oh, oh a good 'ol BBQ with some ribs, maybe a pig roast! Bye, bye, Vegans and Vegetarians. How about a goddamn monster truck show? Whoops, there go the environmentalists. Well, I guess it's fsck everyone. Who want to go to a Linux promo that's only about Linux? Doh, it's gonna be another on of those geek-ridden bi-mon-sci-fi-con things.... Count me out. </sarcasm>

No matter what you try to promote along side something else, there's bound to be some controversy
-- cat /dev/null > ~/.sig
Re: Golfing? (none / 0) (#36)
by zirk on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:25:12 PM EST

I would tend to agree with you. How many of these "big companies" that are involved with trade shows host cocktail parties? So are they advocating drunk driving? I don't personally have anything to do with alcohol, and I'm not really offended if others choose to, and I'm not gonna start raising a big stink because Bob Young wants to host such a party, so why the hell should anyone else care if a bunch of geeks wanna get together and shoot guns. Big deal, it should be a non-issue. Anyone who judges Linux by what it's advocates do on personal time are being closed minded. Use Linux for Linux' sake, NOT for the sake of the fact that you're personal beliefs totally mesh with those of everyone else who uses it.

[ Parent ]
So what? (4.00 / 3) (#37)
by PresJPolk on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 02:27:55 PM EST

No community is homogenous. Deal with it.

In response to numerous posts (3.00 / 2) (#51)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 03:56:56 PM EST

Gun control is an all or nothing affair, where grey areas emerge between that, it doesnít work out. Obviously in London there are literally no hand guns, the police donít even carry them, and theyíre not widely produced or sold to the public, in effect you have a vacuum, this creates a level playing field.

It also means the average petty thief or honest citizen doesnít carry a gun because they donít feel threatened to the extent they feel the need to have the capability to kill someone. Availably and price is a concern, but the issue of guns is totally down to one of mentally, even when handguns were legally available in Britain, people didnít buy them; ďnobody has guns, it would never be used, so why should I buy one? Everyone will just think Iím a nutĒ. So obviously when some nutcase managed to get his hands on a couple of guns and killed ten 6yr olds, a nation which was apathetic towards guns decided to ban them, fearing a vicious circle of gun problems raging over the pond.

Is this gun control a result of an oppressive government? Maybe, but it certainly had mass consensus, you could call it an ignorant public, but they couldnít exactly the see the benefits of guns, the majority of people were indifferent toward them.

I hope you can see the logical reasons why this gun control happened, itís not simply not a black or white issue of freedom or oppression, in a society without guns do I have less freedom? I certainly feel safe walking anywhere without fear of being shot, I can walk into college or a public building without being searched or having to go through mental detectors or fences. The whole idea of schools having security guards and fortified defences bemuses me, why should children be educated in a fortress that has more resemblance to a prison than a place of learning, is that freedom?

People counter this by saying you could equally be in as much danger from a knife, and should that be banned too, and where will it end. Heard of a drive-by-stabbing latterly? A knife serves a logical purpose that can be used for many things, the same goes for a crowbar etc, but the sole purpose of a gun? Ö to injure or maim people, you canít exactly say itís useful for chopping carrots.

On the other hand, whatís the point of outlawing guns in NY City, an area that is surrounded by other jurisdictions that permit their sale, where there is a high penetration rate of guns and where you have a market that produces and sells guns like a common commodity? I sympathise with the situation in the US, itís caught in a vicious circle, if every nut had the distinct possibility of carrying a gun, then Iíd want one too, no doubt about that! What happened if the US moved to strict gun controls anyway Ö the whole scene would further more move underground, as long as thereís guns out there (or the mentality towards guns), legal or not, you cannot escape the vicious circle. This is where I draw the conclusion of all or nothing

Iím not a pacifist, but not everyone out there is balanced with sound judgement and responsibility towards guns, it only takes a few nuts with guns to upset the equilibrium.

As for reason of having guns to protect yourself from your own government, does this really apply in the 21st century?

As for Mr Raymond, heís free to peruse whatever leisurely pursuit interests him, however I cannot see any positive benefits of correlating this with the Linux community, why doesnít he just keep them separated?

On a final note, I find it ironic that S&W is actually a British firm.


That's not the issue (none / 0) (#53)
by PresJPolk on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:05:52 PM EST

The question here, to me, isn't whether guns are "good" or "bad."

The question is whether a prominent, self-conscious Open Source advocate should abstain from taking a prominent position on other issues.

Should Eric Raymond care whether people may form an irrational opinion about Open Source software because he happens to enjoy going with a group of people to shoot some guns at a firing range?

[ Parent ]
close (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:29:41 PM EST

The question is whether a prominent, self-conscious Open Source advocate should abstain from taking a prominent position on other issues.

This is not really the issue. I have no problem with ESR being a Linux advocate and also being a gun advocate. I do take issue with ESR wearing both hats at the same time as inevetibly occurs when he starts organizing gwg sessions as part of a Linux expo.



[ Parent ]
I couldnt agree more.. (none / 0) (#111)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 06:29:15 AM EST

I agree entirely.

[ Parent ]
Let me get this straight... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by milph on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:01:55 PM EST

A lot of people expect an organization like Geeks with Guns NOT to time their events for times when (most) everyone's in the same town for a convention?

I think you're reacting on an emotional rather than a rational level.

-milph

Thoughtcrimes (none / 0) (#54)
by drivers on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:16:14 PM EST

I don't think anybody here has any say in what ESR says, thinks, or does.

Re: Thoughtcrimes (none / 0) (#82)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:26:05 PM EST

We do have a say. ESR as a self proclaimed OpenSource leader MUST be put under severe scrutiny. His somewhat extremist views on certain issues must be tempered for his voice is often thought to be representative of the whole community.

I like donating some of my stuff to the community and hence feel a part of it but don't want to have absolutely anything to do with libertarians. If ESR wants to speak on my behalf he's only allowed to talk about software when it comes to OSS. I don't want to see him push his own agenda under the cover of "advocating Open Source".

Can someone please take his job?

[ Parent ]

Re: Thoughtcrimes (none / 0) (#94)
by Nat Lanza on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 12:31:41 PM EST

No, nobody has the right to make ESR think or do what they want. But everyone has the right to comment on his actions. The "this is a free country, you can't tell me what to do" attitude pisses me off. Of course I can tell you what to do. Of course I can give you my opinion. That's the point of free speech. What I can't do is force you to go along with my wishes.

[ Parent ]
gun nut? (1.00 / 1) (#55)
by conner_bw on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:20:24 PM EST

I am disappointed to find out this "gun nut" wrotel "cathedral and bazaar" Owning a gun does not, in any way, prevent the fact that someone else can put a bullet in your head. Liberty of the individual is not a nuclear arms race. Protecting that liberty with a gun is even less ideologically parallel to the collective mass that is linux. Shoot first, die next.

Re: gun nut? (none / 0) (#100)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 06:55:45 PM EST

Sure it does. Effective defense with a firearm happens quite frequently.

[ Parent ]
Let us re-frame this argument (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by PresJPolk on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:21:13 PM EST

Richard Stallman's personal home page happens to take a stance on a contraversial issue too: marijuana. Will all the anti-gun rights people here criticize him, too? Or is it just guns that are to be banned for software advocates?

I have seen too many people hurt by using marijuana. Does that change my opinion of the Free Software Foundation? Of course not. It wouldn't be rational for me to feel differently about an organisation committed to supporting free software, just because its founder has interests in issues beyond computer software.

I accept the fact that advocates have lives, and care about more than just their niche of advocacy. Do you?



Let us re-frame this argument to be closer to real (1.00 / 1) (#61)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:34:33 PM EST

Richard Stallman's personal home page happens to take a stance on a contraversial issue too: marijuana. Will all the anti-gun rights people here criticize him, too? Or is it just guns that are to be banned for software advocates?

Has RMS ever been part of organizing a free software convention and, as one of the official scheduled activities, set up a geeks-who-toke session?

I could be wrong (and will be willing to admit it if anyone has evidence to the contrary), but I think not. The situation is nowhere near the same.



[ Parent ]
Re: Let us re-frame this argument to be closer to (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by PresJPolk on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:57:37 PM EST

Funny.. I can't find mention of the Geeks with Guns on the linuxfest page. I also can't find mention of Geeks with Guns on the opensource.org page.

The only reason these conventions, and Geeks with Guns, are mentioned together on the Geeks with Guns page (which is on Raymond's personal page, not in the opensource.org domain), is that Raymond decides to have fun with one, when he's out of town for the other.

Raymond holds the Geeks With Guns functions, in the same way others would have a computer gaming session, or a boozing session, or any other social function. Conventions happen to bring together a lot of people, who otherwise have no contact save online communcations.

[ Parent ]
Re: Let us re-frame this argument to be closer to (none / 0) (#106)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 01:26:58 AM EST

Oops. I guess I over-stated my case.

I still think it would be closer to my scenario, than yours. Like if RMS had a tradition of holding geeks-that-toke sessions that just happened to coincide with most of the major expos that he is invited to speak at. I don't think that RMS' mention of cannabis on his personal home page is anywhere near ESR's organizing gwg sessions.

I'm more than willing to concede that ESR has the right to be a gun advocate and a linux advocate. I just wish that he would not mix the two of them. Its not a real good match.



[ Parent ]
Re: Let us re-frame this argument (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by tjansen on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:51:59 PM EST

If there is a headline on LinuxPR that smoking grass with RMS is the main event of a Linux fair: yes.

[ Parent ]
Re: Let us re-frame this argument (none / 0) (#88)
by PresJPolk on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 10:29:49 PM EST

Blame the marketing company if you don't like that; don't blame Eric Raymond.

If you look at the Geeks with Guns page, you'll see this event isn't the first. Raymond has been organising them for almost 2 years now. This one just happens to have been paid for by Mobius Marketing, and publicized by the same.

Did Eric Raymond, or Geeks With Guns, put out the press release? Nope. Mobius Marketing did. Raymond wasn't even quoted in the press release (let us not call it an article, it was a press release written by Mobius Marketing).

Don't blame Raymond; he's just having fun with some other hackers like he always does at conventions. It's just this marketing company that's making a big deal out of paying for it.



[ Parent ]
um...I don't think you have a clue... (none / 0) (#110)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 06:26:20 AM EST

I think the difference here is that you can't shoot someone with a joint. You can offer them one, but you can't kill them (with it), unless you have a knife/gun to force them with.

This is quite unlikely and anyway, what about alcohol? Its far more damaging to ones health than marijuana, and its legal (and also consumed by many people who own guns).

[ Parent ]

Re: um...I don't think you have a clue... (none / 0) (#112)
by PresJPolk on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 11:29:39 AM EST

That's exactly what's going on here. People aren't mad because Raymond's mixing guns and software; they're mad because he has guns.

If this were purely a matter of mixing contraversial issues, then marijuana would be treated the same way as guns: being associated with drug use would disgust at least as many people, as being associated with gun ownership would.

This is the same kind of political exclusionism that exists in other communities.

[ Parent ]
Re: Let us re-frame this argument (none / 0) (#126)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 07:58:01 PM EST

[RMS' Home page] happens to take a stance on a contraversial issue too: marijuana. Will all the anti-gun rights people here criticize him, too? Or is it just guns that are to be banned for software advocates?

Messrs Stallman and Raymond are entitled to hold opinions on controversial matters. However their profile within the community gives them a voice but also a responsibility for using it, which IMO would be best served by keeping their opinions on unrelated issues separate from software.

I have seen too many people hurt by using marijuana. Does that change my opinion of the Free Software Foundation? Of course not. It wouldn't be rational for me to feel differently about an organisation committed to supporting free software, just because its founder has interests in issues beyond computer software.

Congratulations on your broadmindedness (yawn).

What annoys me about this attitude on both parts is its egocentricity and lack of professionalism. You make the point that another company is promoting the GwG event, but I've seen several press releases, regarding Linux events at which ESR spoke, on which his gun advocacy and the fact that he has a black belt in karate are part of his bio. I've been doing martial arts for 18 years and have senior rankings, and I practice with various deadly weapons including firearms, but I don't include those things on my resume - partly because it's potentially divisive and alienating, but also because it has nothing to do with my profession (software development). Oh yeah, I've had the occasional hit on a joint - and that stays out of my resume too.

If I got up after a business presentation and started talking about my hobbies, I'd probably piss off some of the attendees with my choice of hobby, but also probably piss off the rest because I'm wasting their time with egocentric stuff irrelevant to the task at hand. If I kept doing it, my customer base could well decline and I'd get fired - deservedly.

I accept the fact that advocates have lives, and care about more than just their niche of advocacy. Do you?

Well actually, no, not until/unless I get to know them personally. I don't invite salesmen in to hear them talk about their golf games or what restaurants they like.



[ Parent ]

-1 lack of objectivity (none / 0) (#57)
by theFish on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:25:17 PM EST

Yeah, ESR is a dork sometimes (who isn't), but the politically correct view that law abiding citizens with guns == evil is bogus. When the police (who do shit to stop "crime") and the armed forces disarm, then it might be a different discussion.

This writeup "completely annoys" _me_

WTF? (none / 0) (#60)
by freakazoid on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:31:44 PM EST

I find it amusing that a bunch of self-styled pro-liberty people are trying to tell Eric how he should think. If you really think that you can have freedom without the ability to protect it yourself, think again. And before people start going off about how "guns don't protect you" or whatever and quoting statistics, know this: *any* tool (especially a car) is dangerous in the wrong hands. Let's start advocating education, particularly about gun (and car) safety and proper use, rather than advocating censorship and removal of individual liberties.

My owning a gun doesn't infringe on *your* freedom any more than your owning a car can infringe on mine. Both can kill, but cars kill a hell of a lot more people than guns do. The only person I know personally who's been killed by a gun shot himself. Intentionally. However, I know several people who have been killed by cars.

So, let's hear it for car control and banning car displays at Linux conventions!

Flames welcome. If you don't want to clutter up k5 with flames, flame me personally. The email address above is correct.

--Sean

Re: WTF? (none / 0) (#62)
by Aztech on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:35:40 PM EST

Itís naÔve of you to compare a gun to a car, a can serves logical purpose that can be used for many things, the same goes for a knife etc, but the sole purpose of a gun? Ö to injure or maim people, you canít exactly say itís useful for chopping carrots.

[ Parent ]
Re: WTF? (none / 0) (#66)
by freakazoid on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:50:10 PM EST

Perhaps naive, since as far as I can tell guns are safer than cars. However, one can hardly say guns aren't useful, since you already pointed out how they *are* useful. If someone comes into my house uninvited and has an intent to harm me or my property, you bet I'm going to injure or maim them. I have a dog who will hopefully scare them off, because the *last* thing I ever want is to have to shoot someone. That's why anyone who has a gun for home protection should have lines of defense that they can use before the gun: motion detector lights, a dog, an alarm, mace, a taser, whatever. If you really want to kill someone, all I can say is you're sick.

I could also mention that some people use them for hunting, but I think animals in general are more innocent than people.

BTW, while I am against any kind of bans on guns, I am quite in favor of education (as I've already mentioned) and strong penalties for misusing a gun or allowing it to be misused. On the other hand, no liability should arise if a gun owner takes reasonable care, so if someone pries open your gun safe and steals your gun and robs a store with it, it doesn't make sense for you to be liable for that.

Great, now I have to put a writeup on my web page on my opinion about guns.

--Sean

[ Parent ]
you miss the obvious (none / 0) (#68)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:52:04 PM EST

but the sole purpose of a gun? Ö to injure or maim people, you canít exactly say itís useful for chopping carrots.

Coming from a lower-middle class family and having many relatives that live in rural settings, a good portion of the meat in my diet growing up came from animals we hunted down and shot with firearms. There are purposes for firearms other than shooting people. Now, some types of firearms (such as the Thompson sub-machine gun and the Uzi) do seem to be designed for only killing people and your argument does hold its weight against weapons of that sort.

BTW, one of the film's I watched as part of the firearms safety course I took at the age of 12 involved John Wayne showing how to make cole slaw with a .22 rifle.



[ Parent ]
Re: you miss the obvious (none / 0) (#73)
by Aztech on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 05:22:28 PM EST

heh, I think there's more efficient ways of making cole slaw ;)

I take your point about hunting, I should of been more specific and said "hand guns" of the mass (over) produced and marketed variety.

Handguns are banned in the UK, however people can still use shotguns for hunting.



[ Parent ]
Re: WTF? (none / 0) (#99)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 06:52:58 PM EST

Damn straight, and if anyone is interested - well, no one is but I'll spout off anyway - I am strongly in favor of restricting the distribution of guns in the U.S.A. to an approximately equal extent as we restrict access to cars. Most important would be establishing some kind of nationwide standards. As it is, New York's gun laws are a dead letter because Florida's ridiculously slack gun laws end up supplying each and every one of the criminals in New York City with guns. So what I would propose were I Tsar or something would have the effect of a crackdown here in Florida, while in New York it would amount to a liberalization (by which I mean a lessening of restrictions) of gun laws there.

But I would like to ask you, have you ever worked nights behind the counter at a convenience store? You get minimum wage, and the on-the-job death rate is higher than that for cops. Most American gun owners have no legitimate use for guns (i.e. one which outweighs their childish TV-inspired gun hobby's inherent danger to the rest of society), but with American society the killcrazy mess it is these days, not everybody. In general, guns suck, I won't own one, American gun-lovers as a class are mostly nuts, but if I had once again to work nights as a clerk in a convenience store in Tampa, Florida you can bet your ass I'd go get me another gun like the one I used to have.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.
[ Parent ]

car control exists (none / 0) (#65)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:47:39 PM EST

At least in the USA. I can't drive (or even ride in the front seat of) an automobile without wearing a seat belt. I can't drive without an operator's license. I can't drive unless of a legal age. I can't drive under the influence of any dis-orienting substance (whether the substance itself is legal or not). I can't even get license plates for my car unless it passes certain tests and meets certain restrictions. Personally, I would like to see even tougher restrictions on automobiles. The US society is way to dependant on the car.

And, I wish that guns were controlled to at least the extent that automobiles are controlled in the United States.

I don't support an outright ban of firearms, but I do support sensible gun control measures such as mandatory trigger locks, not being able to transport a loaded weapon in an automobile (here in the state of Ohio, ammunition is not even allowed in the same container as a firearm while being transported in a car), not being able to fire guns within certain areas (like within the city limits), and the banning of certain types of weapons (boy am I personally glad that hand grenades are illegal). IIRC, more injuries and fatalities occur from accidental discharge of firearms than outright violence (eight year old Johnny is much more likely to get his head blown off by playing with dad's loaded revolver than by getting shot by someone intent on murder). Though, in some neighborhoods, in some cities in the US, it can sound like a war zone.

What I would like even more is to see our culture in the US change from being individualistic and aggressively comptetive in nature to being cooperative, neighborly, and peaceful. A change in culture would save many more lives than further legal restrictions on firearms (but until the culture does change, firearm restrictions are very necessary).

[ Parent ]

Re: WTF? (5.00 / 2) (#70)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 05:02:18 PM EST

For starters, nobody's telling ESR what to think or trying to suppress his liberties. However, ESR has this long-standing tradition of speaking for "the Linux community" when he's really just speaking for himself. He presumes that all real Linux users believe the same things that he believes, and when someone disagrees, he labels them as not being part of the community. Remember when there was a rumor that the Chinese government was going to adopt Red Hat Linux as its official OS and then ESR went on a rant about how "the Linux community" will not stand for such a thing?

Secondly, there is car control. I can't just go to a car show and buy a car and drive it around without a license (which is per the owner, not per the car, unlike how a gun license is per the gun), car registration (which is what a gun 'license' really is), or automobile insurance (no such thing as gun insurance).

Third, what kind of a tool is a gun? It can be used for self-defense or for hunting. "Self-defense" is a bit of a two-edged sword, though; mace is non-lethal and is definitely an equalizer against, say, an attacker with a knife. Mace will not kill someone (unless they are allergic to it and they don't get treatment). Mace will not accidentally go off, and doesn't require precise aiming, and if an innocent bystander happens to be where the victim is pointing the mace, they'll get affected by the mace but not, say, killed. It's probably a lot easier to aim mace, as well, and is certainly more effective at point-blank range.

So, what sort of a tool is a gun? How many people in the inner city hunt non-humans? What good is a handgun against a grizzly bear?

The USA has a HUGE death rate due to guns. Most of it is accidental. All of it is unnecessary.

Oh, yeah, I thought of another 'useful' purpose for guns - committing suicide. If you don't have the creativity to tie a noose or the intestinal fortitude to slit your wrists, though, maybe you really shouldn't be trying to kill yourself, hm?
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: WTF? (none / 0) (#98)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 06:51:39 PM EST

Yeah, sure. A couple years ago a college girl in my town walked out of a nightclub to her car, where she was accosted by a goblin with a gun. She maced him. He shot and killed her.

It's well known that illegal drugs are available in prison, the most controlled environment there is. There's no way guns are going to be unavailable to free criminals, and countries like England and Australia are who have tightened their restrictions on guns have seen violent crime go up. Self defense is the most fundamental right there is, and in many situations the only effective form of self-defense is a firearm that you know how to use.

As for the number of accidental deaths due to guns, it's a lot less than the number due to cars, and less than the number due to a lot of other things that are less useful than guns, and that nobody even considers regulating. Swimming pools, for example.

[ Parent ]

I agree (about the car thing anyway) (none / 0) (#92)
by Dacta on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 08:23:56 AM EST

So, let's hear it for car control and banning car displays at Linux conventions!

Sure, I'm all for that. It makes sense from an enviromental point of view, too.

Since all people who believe in Open Source believe in environmentalism, lets have a "Ban All Cars" show attached to LinuxWorld next year.

See how annoying that is? Firstly, I shouldn't try and characterise all open source people as environmentalists. Secondly, I shouldn't try and connect the two separate thing I believe in together, because it does them both harm.

Back to the gun thing. ESR shouldn't have done this (assuming the linuxfest website advertises it, because I can't connect to it to check) because:

  • It puts a lot of current Linux developers and users off side.
  • It puts a lot of potential Linux developers and users off side.
  • From the gun lobby's point of view, it creates a new set of people who are opposed to their views, are already organised, and possibly are willing to become policially active to offset (what they view as) the harm ESR is causing to the "Linux Movement"

It's got nothing to do with begin pro or anti gun.

If the Linuxfest website doesn't advertise it, and the only mention of it are on ESR's mailing list and personal website, then I guess that is okay from the "Linux Movement" point of view.

[ Parent ]

Re: WTF? (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by w3woody on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 02:32:11 PM EST

I find it amusing that a bunch of self-styled pro-liberty people are trying to tell Eric how he should think.

I don't care if he likes guns, if he wants to organize a gun show, or even if he wants to shoot a few rounds off with his "geeks with guns" friends. Personally I'm not a gun person, but I do support the right for others to own and use guns for either recreation or for hunting for food.

Having said that, I can't understand why Eric would go off and have a sort of "mini-gun show" during a Linux fair. It makes about as much sense as if I were to organize a tribal gathering of my tribal elders (I'm native american) to hold a protest against the Federal Government. It makes as much sense as if a group of Pagans held a skyclad ritual asking for the spirits of Gaia to clense the world. It makes as much sense as having a group of polyamorous couples holding a "love-in" on the exhibition floor (and adding a new meaning to the term "exhibition.")

See, my problem is this: we all have our own pet beliefs, thoughts, ideas, projects and other related issues which we support as strongly as Eric's support of guns. But the Linux show is not a show about guns, indians, religion, or sex--it's a show about the Linux OS and things related to Linux. Using one's position in one community to convert that community to one's pet issues is to me as appropriate as bringing in your Harley into church--it's really out of place and annoying to those whose beliefs on your pet (and totally unrelated) issue differs from yours.

P.S. Try to convert me into a gun nut, and I'll try to convert you into a polythiestic, polyamorous bisexual pagan!



[ Parent ]
Guns are bad. (none / 0) (#109)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 06:23:12 AM EST

What VALID reasons can a person have to own a gun? 1) egoism: I own a gun therefore you better not piss me off or I'll shoot you. 2) "self-protection": now how the hell does this one work? Its like the nuclear arms race; you have a gun to protect yourself, I buy a gun to protect myself from you, and so on until everyone has a gun and no real reason for it. 3) hunting/target practice etc..,: this is the only truly valid reason I can think of for owning a gun.

[ Parent ]
Re: Guns are bad. (none / 0) (#116)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 02:39:38 PM EST

1) only applies to murderous criminals who will get guns on the black market anyway. Legal gun owners aren't interested in risking life in prison just because someone annoyed them. 2) works quite well for women who have a little trouble protecting themselves from much larger men, and works well for all of us who want to protect ourselves from criminals who don't use guns for defense, but for offense.

[ Parent ]
If only guns weren't so controversial (none / 0) (#67)
by tommasz on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 04:51:41 PM EST

First off, I don't own any guns but I'm not against their ownership. That said, I wonder if calling attention to such a controversial issue (in the US at least) is a good idea at this stage in the "life" of Linux. A lot of Linux installations snuck in the back door, on "outdated" (as in can't run Windows 98/NT) boxes, and were placed in key areas without official permission. Linux earned the right to stay there based on performance. Even today, while Linux has received a lot of press coverage, it is still not considered by all to be a even up substitute for Windows. The age of advocacy is not over, and won't be for a while. That means it's important to keep the focus on the OS, not side issues. They may be important to some but they divert attention and possible alienate the very people we wish to convince to join us.

Combining hobbies (none / 0) (#71)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 05:05:54 PM EST


I generally do not combine my hobbies because you tend to dilute the experience. But then again, a parachute deployed linux-controlled minisub with a FN Minimi mounted on top would be kinda cool.

Saider

I don't like Raymond (none / 0) (#77)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:05:06 PM EST

Just like some others here I too would be glad to see ESR not speak on our behalf. What is most disturbing however is tha ESR has something in common with Charlie Manson. I'm not sure what exactly though.... It's in the eyes.... there's something.... definitely.

Dig up some pictures from the web if you don't believe and have a look for yourselves

The Gnu Fascism (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by mar1boro on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 12:13:18 AM EST

The "gun show," is such a wrongheaded move. I would be glad to pack up
my arsenal and go empty some brass with ESR, but not at a linux expo. It
is a bad judgement call, but apparently his call to make. Enough about that.

I'm pretty sure there is a more important factor to consider here
than ESR's firearm fetish. How about his and the FSF's actions, and the
direction they are "leading" the Open Source "movement" in?

I am not a big fan of Raymond's. I do believe he is quite a
thinker. But I have watched the advent of Open Source (read: GPL) and,
more specificaly, the FSF's attempt to impose hegemony. The once truly
open community of hackerdom is changing from one of achievement
through cooperation _and_ competition to one where "Liscence Police" rule the day.

Is the cost worth it? Is there a way to forward the cause of Open
Source and keep Intellectual Property out of the hands of non-creative
bean-counters, without becoming a bunch of witch-hunters? Those
of you who have witnessed this know exactly what I mean.



It's the image thing (none / 0) (#95)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 01:53:43 PM EST

I don't agree with ESR's stance on gun ownership, but I defend his right to that stance.

That said, there are plenty of corporate types (especially in Europe, where the Second Amendment is regarded as no more than a cultural anomaly) who on seeing "Geeks With Guns" are likely to associate Linux with the Michigan Militia. And that really doesn't help the cause.

Yes it's related (none / 0) (#102)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 07:21:03 PM EST

Have any of you considered that while Linux users are still a small minority in the U.S., there are an awful lot of gun owners, most of whom have a fairly libertarian bent, who might look at these events and decide that free software is worth taking a look at?

I personally think open-source and guns and crypto are, indeed, related. There are a lot of powerful people around who would like to see us all consuming approved content only, operating closed-source software by companies like Real who track our interests, leaving our communications open to any law-enforcement agency with a passing interest, and basically acting like sheep rather than citizens. There are a lot of citizens who take exception to that. We use software that we can examine to see how it works, and change if it suits us. We encrypt our communications, just on principle. And, yes, we put in a fair amount of time at the firing range, because governments are a lot less troublesome if they have a healthy fear of their citizenry.

Re: Yes it's related (none / 0) (#108)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 06:15:56 AM EST

Most gun owners are libertarian bent? Most gun owners are rednecks who would like to go around shooting blacks, jews and communists. Don't be a fool. Gun rights has nothing to do with freedom of speech, it has to do with freedom to (possibly) kill other humans.

[ Parent ]
Re: Yes it's related (none / 0) (#113)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 01:58:45 PM EST

Congratulations on buying into mass media stereotypes without checking things out for yourself. I know a lot of gun owners, and none of them fit that nasty stereotype. Not one. As for jews, check out Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

[ Parent ]
Centuries out of touch with reality (none / 0) (#124)
by Bart Meerdink on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 05:28:24 PM EST

"...governments are a lot less troublesome if they have a healthy fear of their citizenry"

LOL, maybe a 'I shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot the deputy' Eric Clapton fan?

This is Really ridiculous. You are centuries out of touch with reality on this subject, as are many in the US. Incredible but true. And yes, I'm from the Netherlands.

[ Parent ]

freedom of {foo} (none / 0) (#103)
by farlukar on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 07:29:42 PM EST

I think anyone should do the things he/she likes, as long as it doesn't involve other's peoples lives too much.
If people like tools intended to kill people - I don't care.
Promoting tools intended to kill people - ...hmmmm...
Promoting guns on linuxfest... - ???

Linux needs guns like a fish needs a bicycle.
______________________
$ make install not war

Gay Geeks (none / 0) (#125)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 06:36:11 PM EST

While we're at it, why don't we try branding Linux as something only homosexuals do?

Any takers for Gay Geeks?

The point is that if your trying to appeal to a mass audience you want to limit the number of issues you back because you can assume that your audience is going to consist of the intersection of the supporters of each individual cause. The more issues, the fewer supporters.

But if you think Geeks with Guns is a smart idea, and helpful to the open source movement, you'll probably back Gay Geeks too... Let's all come out of the closet and admit we use Linux!

[ Parent ]

Geeks against Guns, anyone? (none / 0) (#107)
by oxidised on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 05:10:17 AM EST

Is anyone interested in establishing a Geeks against Guns (GaG) website to articulate the case for gun control and to make the point that not all geeks are right-wing libertarians and anarchists (some of us are left-wing libertarians and anarchists ;-). It would be very useful to have a website which could be referenced every time publicity for Geeks with Guns (GwG) appears.

The site could also encourage GaG sympathisers to write to (or rather, email) all of the board members of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and VA Linux (Eric S Raymond is a high profile board member of both of these organisation, I believe) suggesting that:

  • Mr Raymond ceases-and-desists his public pro-gun activities (such as the GwG events and his pro-gun pages which are juxtaposed to the widely-read open source writings on his personal web site)
  • each of these organisations issue statements dissociating themselves from Mr Raymond's unfortunate political views and puerile hobbies.

If you are interested, please reply to this message indicating interest in the title of your reply. If you don't agree, please do not bother trying to explain to me why gun control is a stupid idea.
Sincerely, Oxidised.

Re: Geeks against Guns, anyone? (none / 0) (#117)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 02:47:34 PM EST

Hmm...you don't want to be bothered by arguments that gun control is a bad idea, but you want to make arguments that gun control is a good idea. Gee, I'll bet those will be balanced arguments that take all sides into account...on top of that, you want to attempt to censor the political activities of someone you disagree with. Do us all a favor and don't run for office anywhere.

[ Parent ]
Re: Geeks against Guns, anyone? (none / 0) (#120)
by oxidised on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 03:50:29 PM EST

Anonymous Hero wrote: Hmm...you don't want to be bothered by arguments that gun control is a bad idea, but you want to make arguments that gun control is a good idea. Gee, I'll bet those will be balanced arguments that take all sides into account...on top of that, you want to attempt to censor the political activities of someone you disagree with. Do us all a favor and don't run for office anywhere.

No, it's just that I have been thoroughly exposed to the arguments against gun control and find them unconvincing. I never suggested that the Geeks against Guns web site would not be partisan, just a foil against the equally partisan pro-gun Geeks with Guns pages. Are NRA advertisements balanced?

And no attempt is being made to curtail Mr Raymond's activities. He can shoot guns until he goes deaf and develops lead poisoning for all I care. However, as a figure with a high public profile in the open source movement, he is not at liberty to link his hobby with Linux or the open source movement. If they want to hold GwG gatherings in conjunction with Linux conferences, fine, but Mr Raymond must not promote them. Likewise, he should not associate his views on guns (which go way beyond just "guns are fun" - they have a distinctly political character) as published on his Web site with his widely-read and very influential papers on open source development. Mr Raymond needs to realise that with influence comes responsibility, and responsibility always limits your personal freedom. Ask anyone who has children...(there are benefits too, of course).

Finally, you have to remember that outside of the US, gun control tends to be very popular with voters. Even so, I'm not planning on running for office soon.
Sincerely, Oxidised.
[ Parent ]

Re: Geeks against Guns, anyone? (none / 0) (#127)
by adamsc on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 08:13:22 PM EST

No, it's just that I have been thoroughly exposed to the arguments against gun control and find them unconvincing. I never suggested that the Geeks against Guns web site would not be partisan, just a foil against the equally partisan pro-gun Geeks with Guns pages.
You'll note that nobody has said that you cannot or should not create such a site. The only controversy you've raised has been when you've claimed ESR should not be allowed to continue promoting his beliefs in exactly the same manner you wish to promote yours.

(As a side note, make sure your numbers add up when you create your GaG site. One of the reasons I've seen for the support the anti-gun control-groups enjoy in the geek community is that emotional arguments tend to carry little weight with geeks and hard data hasn't historically been a strength of the gun-control advocates. A site which relies only on "It's for the childen" and annecdotal evidence won't accomplish any of the things you want.)

And no attempt is being made to curtail Mr Raymond's activities. He can shoot guns until he goes deaf and develops lead poisoning for all I care. However, as a figure with a high public profile in the open source movement, he is not at liberty to link his hobby with Linux or the open source movement. If they want to hold GwG gatherings in conjunction with Linux conferences, fine, but Mr Raymond must not promote them. Likewise, he should not associate his views on guns (which go way beyond just "guns are fun" - they have a distinctly political character) as published on his Web site with his widely-read and very influential papers on open source development. Mr Raymond needs to realise that with influence comes responsibility, and responsibility always limits your personal freedom. Ask anyone who has children...(there are benefits too, of course).
ESR's gun advocacy pages predate the open source papers to which you refer, so it's not as if he's trying to subvert the popularity of his open source writings to support his gun control writings. Besides, you are making the very large mistake of treating ESR as if he was a PR spokesperson hired by the open source community and known only as such. He wrote essays on many topics he found interesting and placed them on his website. One of the essays he authored got considerable attention and has been recognized as a major influence in the open source community. This means that ESR, as an individual, has become well known.

The misunderstanding comes from the way that many people came along later and know of ESR only in connection with TC&TB and his prominence in the open source community. From that standpoint, it looks like he is abusing his position to promote other goals.

If ESR was invited to speak about Linux at a conference and instead devoted his speech to gun advocacy, I'd even agree that he was acting irresponsibly. In reality, ESR wrote about many topics. Some of the things he wrote about made him famous [in the open source community], whereupon he continued to say exactly what he'd said before. It's not as if he's tried to hide either his views or his advocacy of them. The groups which have established some sort of relationsip with ESR knew exactly what they were getting into.

Finally, you have to remember that outside of the US, gun control tends to be very popular with voters.
Surely you aren't claiming that popularity with voters makes something right.

[ Parent ]
Re: Geeks against Guns, anyone? (none / 0) (#130)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 02:15:54 AM EST

what's your opinion on intellectual property? should it be allowed? (sounds unrelated, but it is)

[ Parent ]
Re: Geeks against Guns, anyone? (none / 0) (#134)
by adamsc on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 11:41:00 PM EST

what's your opinion on intellectual property? should it be allowed? (sounds unrelated, but it is)
Yes, but in a much more restricted fashion. A shorter period of time and not for concepts. E.g. RSA patenting the RSA algorithm is good but RSA patenting the idea of public key encryption is not.

[ Parent ]
Re: Geeks against Guns, anyone? (none / 0) (#128)
by anonymous cowerd on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 11:07:17 PM EST

> However, as a figure with a high public profile in the open
> source movement, he is not at liberty to link his hobby
> with Linux or the open source movement.

Well it's certainly legitimate - because it's true - for ESR to say "I dig open-source software, and at the same time, I love guns." It would deserve all kinds of recrimination if ESR were to publicly assert, for example, "Most if not all Linux-heads dig guns; it's inherent in the deep philosophy of open-source to wanna shoot things. So, general public, whenever you hear 'Linux,' think 'small-arms fire.'" But has ESR ever tried to equate Linux with gun-nuttery? That's the question. I haven't ever read anything like that, which is why I simply ignore ESR's amusingly cranky gun mania.

Anyway I can understand and to a degree sympathize with ESR, I've shot off a gun a few times myself in the woods. The BANG was good. Real good. I blush to realize what a trad Freudian, accurately alas, deduces from that bare confession, but documentary honesty compels me. Anyway, bang or no bang, due to the fatal danger to distant strangers that inheres in firing off supersonic bullets into the random dark, after reflection for fun I prefer fireworks. Do you know that it's harder to get a pack of firecrackers in this damn state than it is to get a gun? In fact, in order to get some with the intent, say, to celebrate as a True American the birthday of our country, you have to lie. To want firecrackers for that's illegal, so instead you fill out a form saying you plan to use them for agriculture, you know, scare off birds.

The result of all this (no, really, that's an exaggeration and a false cause, the real reason is they're stupid) is that in Miami every year this neat thing happens. New Year rolls around and everyone wants to make merry. This seems natural and expectable. In a faroff more sober culture, as Dog wanes and Dragon waxes, laughing kids and greybeards too, gravely or festively (depends upon how you think about "next year") fire off sticks of firecrackers to celebrate. Same here except instead, as our clock ticks down and over, hordes of firecracker-deprived yet enthusiasm-filled Miamians run out on their back porches and fire their handguns and rifles into the air. Well we're all amateur physicists here and we know what goes up must come down. Pretty damn fast too, when it's lead with a spin on it. Miami's dense with people, and no kidding, every single God damn year - straight down out of the sky, anonymous - somebody else gets hit and killed.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.
[ Parent ]

Count me in. (none / 0) (#119)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 03:48:51 PM EST

Good idea for restoring the balance and getting some good general press for the OSS for a change.

[ Parent ]
I'm interested, lets get a mail list going (none / 0) (#123)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 05:02:33 PM EST

I'm highly interested in joining/helping start a Geeks Against Guns (gotta love the obvious acronym) movement.

I've taken the preliminary step of registering a discussion list on egroups. Anyone that wants to join can visit the lame group web page at: http://www.egroups.com/group/geeksagainstguns.

People can also subscribe by sending mail to geeksagainstguns-subscribe@egroups.com

[ Parent ]

GwG: Linux as subculture, as clique, as high schoo (none / 0) (#133)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 10:28:42 AM EST

The real problem with GwG at the Linux expo is that it shows that Linux is the private property of a few insiders who can do with it as they please. It demonstrates, rightly or not, that the 'Linux community' is just a high-school clique. If you are offended by GwG, or find it out of place at the Linux expo, then too bad for you, because you haven't got the status of an Eric Raymond to stop it. And that's detrimental to Linux and Linux users everywhere.

Combining Linux and Gun promotion | 135 comments (135 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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