In Defense Of Self Defense & Supreme Court Shooting Down DC Gun Laws

It was a split decision, but at least the Supreme Court of the United States has taken a stand on the American Constitution.

Sadly, it has not had much to say on violations of the Constitution carried out by the Bush regime, nor taken any stand on the daily decline in our constitutionally protected rights.

More important to them than the Constitution being torn to shreds were Washington, DC (District of Columbia) gun laws that ban legal ownership of guns by DC citizens.

Mind you, DC, among other cities, has often vied for the Murder Capital of the World title. So, I can see the local law enforcement’s logic in trying to ban guns (for the last 32 years). But, both as someone born in Pakistan and having been taught to handle my father’s favorite Webley & Scott revolver, and now as an American with an affinity for Smith & Wesson/Walther devices, I fully support the right of Americans to bear arms.

Of course, the NRA, of which I should be a member but am not, would probably disagree with my contention that there do have to be some limits on the types, and possibly even number, of guns we can or should be allowed to own.

I support the right to bear arms for several reasons.

My interest in owning weapons includes having them for target shooting, self-defence and all that the Constitution intended as good reasons to bear arms.

However, I also do not think we, or any non-law-enforcement citizen, need some sort of 3000 rounds per minute assault rifle or machine gun to do all of the things above.

We live in unsafe times. Security of the homeland means protecting ourselves not just from would be suicide-bombers but also from armed home invaders, drug dealers, road-rage-warriors, thugs, muggers, petty criminals, gang members, and so many other types of vile scum that can easily snuff out our lives for a few Dollars, or on a whim.

So, I do support the Supreme Court decision shooting down the DC gun laws, but I also hope for two more things.

The Supreme Court, and American courts in general, should also not hobble American law-enforcement from coming down hard on hard core criminals who often brazenly conduct their business better armed than our Police officers.

Of course, it would also be nice if the Supreme Court actually did something more to protect the whole Constitution itself from our increasingly fascist dictatorial executive branch and lame, crippled Congress, and spineless Senate, and not just try to address one particular aspect of the Constitution. What do you think?

Snooping On Big Brother Snoops So Easy

I am a frequent reader of ComputerWorld for many years. It often offers good news and analysis on technology as well as technology related issues. One of the areas that is of interest to almost everyone with a job that requires using a computer (isn’t that everyone these days?) is employers needing to or choosing to monitor on (or spy on?) the PC and net activities of employees. Jaikumar Vijayan has written an interesting article in the April 7, 2008 issue of ComputerWorld, titled “IT ‘Big Brothers’ trying to keep internal users under control”.

One thing most of my readers know quite clearly, is that I am a big proponent of personal liberty, freedom of speech and privacy – citizen rights that the Bush administration has worked hard to destroy for the last eight years. However, on the topic of employers’ rights to monitor to employees’ use of the computer and network, I fully support employers. A PC is given to employees to do work for the business, not as a personal tool.

Sure, most, if not all of us, have had to use the office computer to login to a bank’s web site to pay a credit card bill, or to send a quick email from hotmail or mac.com Mail. However, that is quite clearly not abuse and I know of few employers who would target such use as abuse. (I am sure if the email being sent was sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate, employers could find that objectionable).

But, such one-off “urgent issue” type personal use does not mean an employee has the right to be sitting writing personal emails, trading stocks, watching online videos, visiting porn sites or chatting with buddies during the hours he or she is being paid to do work.

That means more and more companies are using automated and semi-automated tools and policies to monitor use of their IT resources. ComputerWorld’s article (currently available at this link) makes some great points and talks about some products. It starts off by speaking about a technology manager named Tom Scocca at some big company that he did not want identified.

But even before reading the complete article I had to laugh at the silliness of stating “Scocca, (who) asked that his employer not be named.”

Don’t these “Big Brother” snoops know that anyone with a PC can be snooping on them as easily. Suppose one of the people mentioned in this story was really protecting something seriously important. It is laughable to think that a person seriously targeting him or his company can not reverse snoop on him.

Tom Scocca is most likely the same person who can easily be found on the Internet as being the Senior Security Manager at Applied Materials. Since it can established that this person worked at Cisco, and may have attended Santa Clara University.

We can easily see the company proudly tell us that: Applied Materials, Inc. designs, manufactures, and sells semiconductor fabrication equipment worldwide. It operates in four segments: Silicon, Fab Solutions, Display, and Adjacent Technologies. The Silicon segment provides a range of manufacturing equipment used to fabricate semiconductor chips or integrated circuits.

Even without us feeling like being in a Mission Impossible type movie, an attacker could even speculate or analyze what Tom’s attitudes or exposure to technology or even technology philosophy is by doing further research on his past job and even the courses he may have taken in the past. I think the biggest problem is that our IT managers today may be so focused on targeting small fish, they may not even know they are in the bite-path of hungry data sharks themselves.

Food for thought.

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