Saturday, March 8, 2014

Is The Military Truly Defending Our Freedom?

I am a concerned citizen who is wondering about whether or not the military is truly protecting my constitutional rights.  I recently was made aware that citizens are not allowed to carry firearms on military bases. I am concerned, because I believe in my 2nd amendment rights, the right to bear arms.  This has led me to ask the question, is the military truly defending my freedom?
 
The United States prides itself on being the land of the free. So, what is freedom? According to Google it is defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”  Now who would provide hindrance or restraint? Depending on your age you would either say your parents or the government.  As an adult, or old enough minor, if you do something the government disapproves of, you may be fined, given community service, put under house arrest,  incarcerated, sentenced to death, or any combination of the a fore mentioned. The freedom we enjoy in this country was designed by the nation’s founding fathers. They were intentional in their wording of the Constitution and of Bill of Rights.  They listed things that the government should never do, thus providing us with enduring freedom. 

 Among those many and wonderful rights is the second amendment:
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
 Before we continue “well regulated” in vernacular of the founding fathers really means well equipped, trained, and armed. Here is more on that

Being raised  in the United States we are told over and over how the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines are always out there risking their lives to defend our freedoms. The basis of that claim is the oath of allegiance every member of the military swears:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
Does the military  protect the country from foreign threats? Yes. But do they defend our rights from domestic threats? IE the government?  When entering a military base, you will notice that the bases are gun free zones.  If you have ever tried to exercise your second amendment right on a military base, and got caught, you are more than likely reading this in prison. So you might be thinking, “What's the big deal? Bases need to be safe.” Here's the thing, access to bases are not very restricted.  You can drive on to them and they are more like suburbs with grocery stores, schools, and other conveniences.  They have more in common with a gated community than what is portrayed on TV. In fact I, a civilian with civilian parents, went to high school on a military base. Everything that happens in a normal suburb happens on a military base including speeding tickets, robberies, murders, and mass shootings. And the second amendment does not have exceptions for any gun free zones. So how does the military rationalize violating citizen’s right to bear arms? I tried to email the Commanding General of Fort Carson to get an answer:  (I have altered the email to remove the officers identity, but kept my spelling and grammar mistakes…)

Dear Fort Carson Commanding General,

I am a civilian. I have a Colorado concealed weapons permit. And I just called to see if I can conceal carry on Fort Carson. After first being told I could I was then told that I cannot conceal carry or even have the pistol in the vehicle on base. And if caught I would be brought up on federal felony charges. I know the commander of the base has the power to decide what is allowed.  I'm just very confused why someone who would swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" would choose to violate the 2nd amendment of the constitution and force their subordinates to violate their oaths by arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning someone for merely exercising their 2nd amendment right?
Don't worry I won't bring my pistol on base and I will try to avoid coming on base as much as possible due to the inconvenience of having to secure the weapon elsewhere. But I would like you to think on this.
I'm curious how you rationalize this and I would love to hear that this policy will be changed.

Sincerely,
A very concerned citizen.
P.S. I look forward to hearing from you. And BTW your Commanding General hot line website seems to be non-functional.

Instead of the commanding General I got the Public Affairs Officer and got a reply with the law and regulations that violate our rights:
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Sir - Here is the federal law governing possession of firearms and dangerous
weapons in Federal facilities.  It does not differentiate between open or
conceal carry. I have copied all the regulatory guidance we follow. Thank you for inquiring on this matter. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

18 U.S. Code § 930 - Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal
facilities
(a)Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
Here is the regulatory guidance on conceal carry, weapons registration, and transportation of a privately owned weapon.
Prohibited & Regulated Conduct (FC REG 210-18)
2-4-h. Concealed weapons.
(1) Only authorized personnel (e.g., law enforcement personnel in the performance of their duties) may possess a concealed weapon on FC. County, state, and federal civilian (non-law enforcement) concealed carry permits are not recognized or valid on FC.
(2) Under no circumstances will the transportation of loaded or concealed handguns, shotguns, or rifles be permitted, except by duly authorized law enforcement personnel, or by military personnel in the performance of their official duties. However, small knives (3 inch blade or less), that are not prohibited weapons, Gerber Multi-tool, Leatherman, and similar tools may be carried in any manner.

2-2. Registration.
a. Personnel who live on FC and maintain a privately owned firearm on this installation will register the firearm(s) with the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES), Security and Access Control Division. This requirement applies to all personnel regardless of status or rank (e.g., military, Family member, guest, unaffiliated civilian, etc.), and regardless of which of the authorized locations (e.g., Family housing, arms room or the Police/Provost Marshal Division (P/PMD) is used for storage of the firearms. Personnel required to register their POW's, will do so within five days from signing into FC or from the date of purchase of the weapon.
b. Military personnel who reside off-post are not required to register privately owned firearms, unless they intend to bring the firearm on post. All privately owned firearms must be registered prior to bringing the weapon onto FC.
2-4. Transportation and use of privately owned firearms and weapons on the installation.
a. Privately owned firearms may only be transported on FC, if the individual
is transporting the weapon to or from a place of authorized storage, sale, hunting area, hunter safety class, firing range, gun or repair shop, or for any other lawful purpose not in violation of this regulation. Privately owned firearms will be transported in vehicles only while traveling in a direct route to and from these activities. No stops are authorized.
b. The carrying of a loaded firearm in a vehicle is prohibited. Privately owned firearms carried in a vehicle will be secured in the trunk. For vehicles without a trunk, firearms will be encased in a container other than the glove compartment and carried in such a manner that they will not be readily available to the driver or passengers. Motorcyclists may transport unloaded weapons inside a saddlebag or motorcycle luggage.
c. Firearms used for hunting on FC may be transported in the passenger compartment of a vehicle as long as they are unloaded and cased, and only while the possessor of the firearm(s) is actively engaged in hunting. As an exception, muzzleloaders may be transported with a round in the chamber as long as the firearm's firing cap or priming powder is removed, rendering it unable to fire.
d. Privately owned firearms may be used on FC only at designated ranges and
designated hunting
and fishing areas.
Respectfully,
*** ******
Garrison Public Affairs Officer

I explained that it is within the federal law (as unconstitutional as it is) to allow firearms:

Dear ******,

Here are the parts that gives the commanding officer a choice on
enforcing these:
18 U.S. Code § 930
(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to--
(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.

Declare self defense to be a lawful purpose or recognize carrying with conceal carry permits as a lawful purpose. Even declare exercising your 2nd amendment right a lawful purpose would work.

(h) Notice of the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) shall be
posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal facility,
and notice of subsection (e) shall be posted conspicuously at each
public entrance to each Federal court facility, and no person shall be
convicted of an offense under subsection (a) or (e) with respect to a
Federal facility if such notice is not so posted at such facility,
unless such person had actual notice of subsection (a) or (e), as the
case may be.

Take down any signs and assume no one has notice.

As far as the regulations who actually writes those?  Those regulations seem specific to fort Carson and I would assume the base commander would have the power to change those. unless I'm wrong about the regulations; my original statement: "I know the commander of the base has the power to decide what is allowed." is still valid and so are the questions I asked.
So I would like you to think on this.
I'm still curious how violating citizens 2nd amendment rights which every member of the military swore to protect is rationalized. And I would love to hear that the regulations will be changed.

Sincerely,
A very concerned citizen.
P.S. I look forward to hearing from you.
Then waited over a week and sent:
Hello again.
Its been a while since I last emailed you and have not received a
reply. I am still looking forward to to your reply.
Sincerely
A very concerned citizen.

So the officer finally replied:
Sir - these regulations are pretty standard across federal installations. I cannot answer why commanding generals make the decisions they make. Many subject matter experts provide advice on local regulations.
I know that I will never answer your questions to your satisfaction, but I have provided as much information as possible.

So there you have it. The freedoms that are afforded by the constitution and who the military are sworn to defend are violated by the military. And it's not that they are coerced into violating our rights and their oaths they just chose to do so.  They protect us from foreign threats but assist domestic threats to the constitution and our rights.

UPDATE:

I want to clarify I did not write this to insult or dishonor the military. I did talk to a veteran before writing this and he agreed with the points I was trying to make. We all know of the significant sacrifice members of the military have made in defense of this country, and in no way was I trying to belittle that. Also I know the majority of servicemen have next to no input on the decisions of their higher ranking officers. I just wanted to point out that the very rights these men and women died for are being violated on their bases and even their cemeteries. I expected the anger I've seen to be directed at this travesty, not the person pointing it out. My hope in writing this was to raise public awareness of this issue and hopefully invoking a change in the military’s unconstitutional regulations.


As for the reason I wrote this: 

I had to deliver a desk an army wife had purchased from me on craigslist. She was unable to transport the desk so she asked me to deliver it. Before heading on base I called the public affairs office and asked them about carrying on base since I was carrying that day. She told me it was fine just inform the guard at the gate.  And I almost did just that. But something bugged me about that. So I called again and got someone else who informed me that If I got caught trying to carry on base they would charge me with a federal felony. Sadly both were wrong, no felony but up to a year in prison. So had I followed the first person’s advice I would have announced I’m carrying, IE a confession, and the guard would have arrested me and I would be in prison right now. Does that make you concerned? It should. I definitely did not feel the army was protecting my freedoms that day. The funny thing is had I carried and told no one they would have never known because the security only did a quick peak in the back and under the SUV. Instead I found a place to secure my weapon off base for the whole affair. Regardless of the hypocrisy and stupidity of the situation I still delivered the desk and I even assembled it for the army wife.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is the best way to boycott Google?


(Yes I see the irony of this being posted on a Google owned site.)

Google has been getting more political and I’m finding that the company I used to like has started supporting things that I disagree with like so called gay rights. So I've decided to punish Google by boycotting them in the one place where it will hurt. Let me explain.

Boycotts have a long history  they go back to 1830 and probably even before. They have in the past destroyed or significantly diminished companies. Boycotts have always been about punishing someone by not purchasing anything from them or subscribing to their services.  So how do you boycott Google which is provided for at no cost? You could just stop using their services like search, email, and YouTube. That might work. Or would it? The truth is that Google makes money by selling ad space. 97% of their revenue comes from ads.  And those ads show up everywhere. Have you ever read a blog? Even one you found on Bing? Well then the chances are you supported Google. So how do you stop this giant from getting money for your everyday browsing? The answer is rather simple. Since Google is the biggest provider of ads online then you just block those ads from showing up. Well how do you do this? You install a simple piece of software called an ad blocker. These will actually prevent your computer from downloading any ads to be displayed on your computer. Side benefit is it speeds up browsing and de-clutters what you are viewing.

Ad blockers tend to be specific to the browser you are using. So if you have internet explorer you will need to download one for that. If you have Chrome there is one for that and so on.
Here is a nice article about the various Ad blockers out there for a laptop or desktop computer:
http://dottech.org/17516/block-ads-in-firefox-internet-explorer-chrome-and-opera-how-to/

But what if you have a cellphone? Well if you have an android phone you can look at this article:
http://lifehacker.com/5851038/how-to-block-ads-in-android-browsers-and-apps

And if you have an IPhone you are going to have a much harder time getting an ad-blocker installed. There are guides out there but it requires you to jailbreak your phone, something Apple has been trying to prevent since it was first done. For this and various other reasons Apple is another company I never want to buy anything from. But that’s another story.

So there you have it if you get ad blockers installed you will be on your way to boycotting Google, even if you still use their search engine and other free services.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don't tear down the Martin Drake power plant.


Dear Colorado Springs City Council and Mayor.

I've heard some disturbing news about plans to close the drake power plant. I would like to say that I think that is a horrible plan.

Here are several reasons for not closing:
1) Its paid for and a new plant would put the city in massive debt.
2) A new plant would have to be paid for by me and other citizens and we can't afford either new taxes or rate hikes.
3) Increasing rates will make you look incredibly foolish by first turning off street lights because they cost too much money, and then increasing the cost of the same electricity that powers them. Have you even thought of this?
4) It is a historical part of Colorado Springs a part of the landscape. Do you realize it’s nearly 90 years old? Colorado Springs has had a long history with electricity going back to Nikola Tesla and the Drake power plant is a reminder of our heritage.
5) As for aesthetics the steam cloud it creates is a familiar to me as the mountains. When lit by motor city at night it actually looks very cool.
6) Also several business rely on the cheap power produced here so increasing rates might drive them out of business; or make new ones not come here in the first place.
7) I will vote against you if you tear it down. And convince my friends and family to do the same.

As for the reasons I've heard for closing it:
1) Cheap natural gas: Drake is able to produce electricity using coal or natural gas. So this point is moot.
2) Aesthetics: so you think it looks ugly. So does a good part of down town like the rail road tracks, and the warehouses.  It would be far cheaper to build a privacy wall around the power plant or even paint something pretty on its walls then to build a new one.
3) It pollutes: So do cars but the emission tests have been lifted on those in El Paso County. So I don't think we have an issue with clean air. And the plant has been extensively upgraded to burn a lot cleaner.

I honestly can't think of a rational reason why this is being considered.

Sincerely a concerned citizen
-JP

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Dyson DC41 Review (Flawed)

This is a great product and is probably the best vacuum out there. But that hasn't stopped me from noticing a few defects. There are really 2 major ones that nearly made me return this product.

The first issue is that they got rid of the foot lever that typical vacuums have to engage the beater bar. Instead you just force it down and start vacuuming and when you are done you just put it back up and it latches and stays upright. This is pretty neat but when you are putting it upright there are 2 distinct things that happen, it engages the wand hose and then it engages the lock that holds it up. The switch for the hose is much louder and happens first so this leads you to believe the vacuum is upright and to let go when it is not latched properly causing it to fall over if you are not quick enough to catch it. This makes me respond by putting it upright much more forcefully then I want to do to something I’ve bought for nearly $600.

The second main issue is the path the air flows to the motor. There are 3 zones in the canister. The air goes from the outer to the inner getting cleaner as it progresses. The outer one is for big debris and dust, and then air flows through those tiny cyclones on the top and deposits its finer dust in the middle zone. Finally after leaving those cyclones the air goes through the filter (accessible though the top of the canister) and down the inner zone to the motor then finally out through the filter in the ball. The problem with this is that when you empty the canister the dust can and will cross contaminate from the other zones and into the post filter, inner zone. This means next time the vacuum is started it will suck in that dust into the motor and the ball filter.

So here is the story of how I found out about this defect: to test out the DC41 I took it to a house that was very dirty (some parts had not been vacuumed for a year) and vacuumed nearly the whole house. I had to empty the canister 3 times. After the 3rd time the vacuum got clogged (A peppermint in the narrow hose tool) and it activated the thermal cutoff. After learning about the thermal cutoff and what it meant, I took apart the vacuum and cleaned out all the access ports. Also looked at the post motor filter and saw that it was absolutely filthy but the filter in the canister was still white. So the dust was bypassing the canister filter somehow. So I figured it was when I dumped the canister the dust plume went everywhere including back up into the part of canister that is meant to be dust free. That amount of dust can’t be good for the motor.

Here are a few more nit picks:

It feels a little harder to navigate then the DC25

I wish it had a light and something to automatically rewind the cord.

Sometimes it feels like it’s about to break in my hands.

It does not have a spot for all the tools.

The hose wand sometimes doesn’t extend all the way out of the hose and sometimes causes the airway to be blocked when used. I think the DC25’s wand was better.

The reason I decided to keep this vacuum is the active base plate, I have a lot of wood flooring in my house and I want to get as much dust up before I use the Swiffer. Using this vacuum I now only have to use one pad each time I clean with the Swiffer instead of several.

And the DC41 will not be facing that dirty house again so it will never be that full of dust again.

Here are few good things about it:

It has great suction.

It survived that dirty house.

Its cord is long enough that I can plug it in anywhere and vacuum the entire floor.

Ultimately I think this is a great vacuum but for $600 I expect the best with no flaws and this has 2 too many flaws for that price. Unfortunately I can’t find a better vacuum so I’m stuck with this one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review of Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

I just read starship troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. It was definitely not what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it. It’s completely different from the movie. He spends like 60% of it in boot camp the other 30% in officer training and 10% in combat. During most of the time while in boot camp, he has flashbacks to his social and political class. And during his officer training they talk mostly about social and political stuff. So this is political and social essay hidden as a science fiction book. Considering this was written in 1959 it seamed like he was talking about today’s society. He was spot on with a lot of subjects. I would recommend this book.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review of The Circle by Ted Dekker.


I just read the first three books of the circle series by Ted Dekker. I was quite disappointed. The first book had a good hook with the main character living in two worlds. When he falls asleep in one he awakes in the other. This was very interesting. One of the worlds was loosely based on the Bible where in one generation they go from the Garden of Eden to the equivalent of crucifixion of Christ. The other is modern day where some baddy is trying to take over the world with a virus. The mechanics of jumping between worlds and seeing his version of the bible was the only thing that kept me reading. Other then that the characters are just too simple, and the plot is rather weak. He kills off and brings back characters so often that you expect everyone who dies to come back. The events in the modern earth are so unlikely and insulting to my intelligence that in the last book I just scanned though them so I can skip ahead to the bible world, which itself was very predictable. So my conclusion is that I would not recommend these books to a friend.

But here are books I would recommend:
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jorden and Brandon Sanderson,
The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson,
The Honor Harrington series by David Weber,
The Banned and the Banished series by James Clemens,
The Gaunt’s Ghosts series by Dan Abnett,
The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson,
The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z by Max Brooks,

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Smudge proof Touch Screen password screen.

The current problem with touch screen password screens is that smudges can give away what your password is if you don’t clean them right after you log in. The smudges reveal where you put your finger to press the numeric touchpad or the pattern you put in.

The simple solution is to randomly change the location of the buttons each time the screen is presented. This only works for numeric touchpad’s though and has the issue of people expecting numbers to be in order. So I recommend using colors instead.
Here are examples of what it would look like:



This would eliminate the issue of smudges giving away passwords making a much more secure way of protecting cell phones.