Dec 182012
 

Annabel,

First, for the most part I agree with much of the Coffee Party ideals that you’ve laid out over time.  As a Libertarian, my primary motivation is to lessen government control and invigorate personal freedoms.

This morning I read your post regarding your responses to pro-gun folk.  Unfortunately, I think you’ve responded to some of the more hyperbolic claims (though not all without any truth), which makes the pro-gun crowd seem a bit absurd.  I’d like to take this opportunity to rebut some of your comments, and hopefully add to the discussion.

Dear friends who can’t tolerate anyone bringing up gun control

In this section, I feel some lines are blurred.  The primary point that you are making, however, appears to be that regulation and a ban are different.  I agree with this.  However, regulation can effectively ban things.  For an example, let’s look at the recent BuckyBall fiasco (or click here for additional info).  In this case a federal body with no legislative authority, the CPSC, effectively shut down a company because a few children were injured by their products, despite warnings on the packaging.  These magnetic desk toys harm far fewer people than many other every day items – certainly fewer than guns.  This kind of reaction from the government is exactly what the seriously pro-gun crowd fears.  Sometimes hyperbole is more than paranoia.

Dear friends who say that calling for better gun laws is like calling for a ban on cars

Fair points.  Except that I would say that only a very specific selection of guns are created to kill people.  Most are made to protect people or to hunt animals.  The only guns explicitly made to kill people are assault rifles and sidearms designed for the military and various militia around the world.  This is a relatively small fraction of guns that are manufactured.  Just because something can kill people does not mean that it’s made to kill people.  Tasers are “non-lethal,” but still kill people with an oddly high probability.

Dear friends who say that Newtown is about mental illness and we should only discuss improving healthcare for the mentally ill

Perhaps “only” is too strong of a qualifier, but this is not an unreasonable approach.  A foundation of our country is supposed to be personal responsibility, for better or worse.  That includes placing responsibility on those responsible for actions.  Smith & Wesson doesn’t kill people as a company.  The guy who runs the local gun shop?  Probably doesn’t kill people.  The legislators who don’t create more stringent gun laws?  The judges who uphold our Constitutional rights?  Also probably not out slaying random citizens.  Just like in rape cases, we need to blame the person who is directly and immediately responsible for committing the crime.  Just like it’s not a woman’s fault for being raped because she dresses “provocatively,” it’s not anyone else’s fault but the shooter’s that people died by his or her hand (hand, and not gun, being imperative language here).

Dear friends who say the problem is the person not the gun

Well yes.  But this is also a bit of a misnomer.  Just like a terrorist will find a way, so will a lunatic.  I often joke in an agitated way about the TSA and it’s regulations.  I find it amusing that somehow matches are okay and a lighter is not, despite the fact that they both create fire.  Or that I can bring my keys on a plane, but not nail clippers.  I’m fairly confident that if I intended to physically harm someone on a plane, my keys would make a better weapon than nail clippers.  It’s about placing blame in ways that allow people to feel safe.  The problem isn’t the gun or the person with the gun, it’s the person who wants to kill people.  I’m additionally confident that if he couldn’t get a gun, he could’ve built a pipe bomb, or stolen a car and run kids down after school, or any number of other ways to harm others.  How can an inanimate object be to blame?  It’s simply a logical fallacy to believe that it possible.

Dear friends who say we need guns to protect ourselves from the government

I think, perhaps, you’d be surprised to find out that we wouldn’t need tanks and fighter jets and rocket launchers to overthrow our government.  We’d just need people and guns.  I’m a combat veteran with six years in the U.S. Army and a tour in Afghanistan.  I know first hand how resistance can be utilized with lesser equipment.  The Taliban don’t have tanks or Apaches, or armored vehicles, or a nuclear arsenal.  Yet they continue to kick our collective butts on their turf.  The American Revolutionary War was fought by some guys against the King’s Army – and we won (with a little help).  Look to the Arab Spring to see a multitude of examples or how regular plain old people without modern/better equipment or training have overthrown governments.  We just need ourselves and our guns.  Legitimately.

Dear friends who treat the Constitution as some holy scripture from God and who think they have divined the correct, original, literal, interpretation of it

This is a double-edged sword.  If we allow too much leeway in interpretation, then the government holds to power to eventually interpret it however they choose.  With legislation like the USA PATRIOT ACT, apparently many members of Congress feel they can mock the Constitution to begin with – why give them additional ammunition?

Dear friends who think we need more God in the classroom

On this, I agree wholeheartedly!

Dear friends who think we need more guns in the classroom to protect our children

Now you’ve turned the hyperbole train on yourself with: “Why stop at arming teachers? Why not arm children?”

First, children don’t have the frontal lobe development to discern appropriate actions where violence is concerned.  Simple biology and psychology tells us this.  But why NOT arm teachers, even if it’s only some?  Or allow/require schools to hire an armed guard?  A teacher friend of mine disliked my stance on this over Facebook, and asked why the police couldn’t just step up patrolling.  It’s interesting to me that teachers seem to not realize that they get paid exactly in the same fashion as police officers.  If there isn’t enough money for enough teachers, there probably isn’t enough money for more officers.  Maybe we can have one FEWER teacher at each school, and one ADDITIONAL officer to protect them all.  I bet the teachers would love that, too.

Dear friends who fear that your guns will be confiscated

While I agree that the NRA leadership isn’t exactly helpful in making things safer, I understand the fear that they harbor.  I’m not paranoid.  I highly doubt that in my lifetime the government will ever come for my single assault rifle (that I legally own).  However, I do fear that sometime in my children’s or grandchildren’s lifetime that this could happen.  Protecting the future of our country is as important as protecting the present.

So, there we have it… my piece of the discussion.  Annabel, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my comments.

-Jesse

Jan 222012
 

So, recently I’ve had a few conversations with people (most notably Samir) about why I enjoy Apple products.  I’ve been given a bit of crap about loving my iPhone and shunning Android.  Apparently this is seen as anti-geek, a step away from the tinkering fool I once was.  My argument has been, for quite some time regarding the iPhone and the Mac (I’ve had both for about two years now), that I simply don’t have the time or energy to deal with the nuances and bullshit of Windows and Android.  I don’t want to hunt for drivers, verify version compatibilities, change out this, that or the other thing, anytime I want to install a new app.  I want it to “just work,” and it does.  This pleases me.

Another thought has been creeping out from my subconscious lately about the simplicity involved here.  Sometimes it’s a matter of visual appeal – simple, clean interfaces – though Windows has been making great strides to this effect as well of late.  Sometimes it’s a matter of overall simplicity.  Last week I downloaded Pages rather than get a new version of MS Word for Mac.  I love Word, I know Word… some might say carnally.  Word and I have been involved for a very, very long time.  I can make Word do just what I want it to, when I want it to, almost every time.  The thought of moving to a new word processing app made me apprehensive, to say the least.  After only a week with it, thought, I can say that apprehension was for naught.  I still don’t have the working knowledge of Pages that I do of Word, but it’s just so… so…  pretty.  I don’t mean this in the typical geek way; I can’t skin it with Gears of War logos or a Star Wars font.  I can’t make the borders match my guild colors.  I mean it in an artistic way.  It’s clean, sleek, even minimal, and I love it all the more for those reasons.

Maybe I’m losing geek cred with every conversation I have like this.  If that’s the case, so be it.  My hardcore days are over.  I don’t use linux (despite the BSD shell in OSX), I don’t crack lines of perl out anymore, and I don’t play MMORPGs into the wee hours of the morning.  Yeah, I said it.  What now?!

Jan 162012
 

If you have an iPhone and need a case, I recommend one of these:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/burbskate/works/8280100-steve-jobs-in-carbonite

I almost got one last year, but the maker got a C&D from Apple. They are back on the market now, and if I hadn’t just spent a bunch on another sweet case, I’d go for this bad boy. If you want something a little more subtle (or more expensive), I also HIGHLY recommend these:

https://www.elementcase.com/Vapor-Pro-iPhone-Case-a/276.htm

I love mine. Peep has the Vapor Comp, which is also sweet, and slightly cheaper.

So, Steve in Carbonite – recommended on a cool factor. Element Cases – recommended from use.

Oct 292008
 

I think posting here more than once every quarter might be helpful to my head. Let’s see if I can stick with that plan. In light of that, here is the update on me!

I’m back to work, finally. Performing contract IT work for IBM, making a decent wage and enjoying my time there. I’m also back to school… full time no less! Working and edumacating myself, both full time, is quite a task I must say. I had originally changed my major to Physics before the semester started, but I have changed it again, for likely the last time, to Writing and Rhetoric. I think it’s a good fit!

Last weekend, TM and I went to Theatre Bizarre. The easiest thing I can say about it is that it is aptly named. Think about a very dark, devilish Moulin Rouge and you’ll be on the right track. For any of you in Southeast Michigan, I highly recommend buying tickets to next year’s event. It’s money well spent.

Well, I plan to start blogging here a bit more coming up. Let’s hope that works out.

Jul 192008
 

As some of you may (or may not) know, I recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.  During that time, I made many wonderful contacts in the computer and gaming sector via email and was able to bring in donations to our unit for gaming and computing (including consoles, components for three full gaming PCs and more games than I could shake a stick at… and I tried).  It really did make things more tolerable over there.  After a long week of fighting the good fight, it’s nice to be able to kick off your boots and frag your buddy in Halo 3.

Now, more on point, I am beginning a drive for donations to other units in Afghanistan that are related to ours.  For as much love as the troops do get these days, sadly troops deployed to Afghanistan are often overlooked due to some odd out of sight, out of mind mentality.  My mission now that I’m home is to drum up video game donations to send to these units in areas similar to the one I was in, meaning remote Afghanistan.  Currently, across these units I know of many laptops (PC Games, software), a couple of Xbox 360s, at least one PSP and one DS.  I’m not currently aware of any PS3s out there, but I’m sure there will be one.

What I’m looking for is your kind donations of new or used video games for the above mentioned systems or hardware that you think they may be willing to use (extra controllers, batteries, memory cards…  systems?  :p).  They don’t have to be in GREAT condition, just usable.  If anyone is interested, please email me  X E P H E R Y S(@)gmail(.)com for more information.  Thanks!

May 122008
 

Hi Everyone!

As some of you may know my mother, Lisa, has Multiple Sclerosis. She constantly suffers from vision loss, muscle spasms, cramps, or even temporary paralyzation of whole limbs. Some days her fatigue is so extreme that she can’t even get out of bed. Jen and I are doing this bike ride for her and for everyone else that suffers from MS. We want to raise money for research that will hopefully lead to more effective treatments and perhaps even a cure for MS (currently there is none). We need your help! Plus, hey… the donations are all tax-deductible!

Please feel free to forward this email on to family, friends and coworkers that you think might be interested in helping this very important cause.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to creating a world free of MS but they can’t do it without our help. It’s faster and easier than ever to support this cause that is SO important to me. Simply click on the link at the bottom of this message, enter my name and complete the brief donation form. If you prefer, you can send your contribution to the National MS Society, Michigan Chapter at 21311 Civic Center Dr. Southfield, MI 48076. Please make sure you indicate my name so my account can be properly credited.

Any amount, great or small, helps to make a difference in the lives of people with MS. I appreciate your support and look forward to letting you know how I do.

(link to donate now button or to the donors Participant Center)

Thank You!!

Jesse Williams
Team Williams

P.S. If you would like more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, how proceeds from Bike MS are used, or the other ways you can get involved in the fight against MS, please visit www.nationalmssociety.org.

***The bike ride is May 31, so please hurry!!***

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