L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 196, October 28, 2002
PREDICTABLE POST-ARREST MEDIA FRENZY?
To a British audience, the pictures this week of Charlton Heston
brandishing a rifle above his head at a meeting of gun triumphalists -
declaring that liberals would have to prise the piece from his cold,
dead body - suggested that a country which tolerates so many ad hoc
battalions of licensed snipers should not be surprised when one of
them starts getting undesired targets in his cross-hairs. But to spot
this obvious connection would cost President Bush re-election.
- - -
John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, man and boy, seem to have a
special bond. Mr Muhammad told people they met that Mr Malvo, a 17-
year-old Jamaican, was his stepson, but there are no documents to
<<Whatever their legal connection, they clearly shared something far
deeper: a fascination with guns and a chilling indifference to human life.
- - -
Like the Sept. 11 atrocities, the sniper attacks offer no reason to
diminish the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans. But small adjustments
in favor of greater security are in order. Ballistic "fingerprinting"
of all firearms sold in this country - new and used - would provide a
database that might hasten the identification of weapons used in
<<Opponents of gun control are balking at this simple improvement in
federal law. They ought to be chastised by the havoc that one man with
a rifle was able to cause this month.
- - -
With 10 deadly rifle shots in the Washington suburbs killing eight
people, wounding two and making headlines around the world,
politicians in the nation's capital have been eerily silent on the
issue of gun control. ...
<<In contrast, the governors of Maryland and Virginia, ... took on the
issue on Sunday as the outcry from gun control advocates began to
<<Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening [said] that his state, among the
most aggressive in regulating and controlling the proliferation of
deadly arms, should consider expanding its "ballistic fingerprinting"
<<"I believe it should" be expanded nationally, Glendening said,
adding that Maryland should consider expanding the law from handguns
to rifles and other long-barreled weapons.
<<"I do know there are some people who are opposed to this and argue
that somehow this would eventually lead to a restriction on gun
owners' rights," Glendening said. "That is not the case at all.
<<"It simply says that if we have that shell casing, as we do now in a
couple of cases, we'd be able to determine exactly which gun that came
from, where that gun was sold," he said.
- - -
The leader of the largest U.S. gun owners' group on Sunday dismissed
a plan to "fingerprint" bullets, an idea promoted by gun control
advocates after the Washington area sniper attacks.
<<The chief executive of the National Rifle Association, Wayne
LaPierre, said ... that ballistic fingerprinting legislation in
Congress was a "technical fantasy" that would not help solve cases
like the Washington sniper attacks.
<<"A sniper, a criminal with steel wool, with a cleaning kit, with a
drill can completely change the characteristics in the time it takes
(someone) to drink a cup of coffee," LaPierre said. ...
<<A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would require firearms be test-
fired before they were sold and their unique "fingerprints" entered
into a computer database accessible to law enforcement agencies. ...
<<Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat who backs the
fingerprinting bill, said ... that the ballistics fingerprinting plan
is "common sense" and has the support of most police organizations.
<<"What this database does, very simply, is link the bullet to the
gun. So if you find the bullet, you can then find the gun, where it
was purchased and who purchased it," Schumer said. ...
<<LaPierre said the proposal is useless because the database would be
too large and a gun's fingerprint changes over time.
<<"Every time you fire a gun, the ballistics change. Talk to any
firearm expert in the country. All you're doing is you're giving them
obsolete baby pictures and you're taking the police off the street,"
- - -
[Maryland] Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Kathleen
Kennedy Townsend unveiled a new advertisement Friday slamming her
opponent's record on gun control, and rebuffed immediate criticism
that she was politicizing the sniper shootings.
GOOGLE AS GOD
... researchers at the highly-respected Berkman Center for Internet
and Society at Harvard University have found that [Google] is actively
removing sites from its database ...
[Researchers] discovered over one hundred sites which can be found by
searchers in the US but not by those in Germany or France. ...
... Google spokesman Nate Tyler said ... that the sites were removed
to avoid the possibility of legal action being taken against the
company, and that each site was removed only after a specific
complaint from the government of the country concerned. ...
What is happening is that a government is saying to Google: 'we don't
like that website - so drop it from your database' and the company is
The problem is not that content is being censored - that is inevitable
and in many cases desirable. ...
The problem is that Google itself is deciding what should be censored
and that its motives are entirely commercial, making it possible for
government agencies to influence it without having to go through due
process or defend their requests in public.
I believe we need to move towards an internet that is properly
regulated, where decisions like this can only be made through the
I would rather have a net where Google and other search engine
providers had a legal obligation to provide full and comprehensive
results to the best of their technical ability and to inform searchers
of any areas where content had been removed from their index on legal
grounds, even if that also gives governments the ability to block
certain sites from the index.
Google contact information:
Praise and complaints: firstname.lastname@example.org
Not satisfied with search results? email@example.com
Report errors, bugs and broken links: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a question and/or need help using Google: email@example.com
2400 Bayshore Parkway
Mountain View CA 94043
phone: (650) 330-0100
fax: (650) 618-1499
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