Friday, December 30, 2011

Let's be careful about what we say on the Internet

If you have new information about an ongoing criminal matter, it's usually best to share that information with law enforcement. Be advised that if this is something that you heard from someone else, without any independent verification, then it may not be something that you want to share on the Internet. Some lies can feel like facts when information is scarce. Remember when Richard Jewell was falsely accused of planting the bomb that he found at the Olympics? Before you write your next blog post or say something on Facebook, you should read what John Scalzi wrote about libel.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

This date in history

Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as Soviet president on this day 20 years ago. Russia had declared its independence the day before.

There are now adults attending college and serving in the military who do not remember this. We will be vulnerable to the same fate if we are arrogant enough to think that we are immune from it. Occupying Afghanistan and economic mismanagement tends to take a heavy toll on superpowers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why you should be worried about indefinite detention

There are religious terrorists out there. There are also secular terrorists out there. For that matter, I suspect some terrorists are as sincere about their religious beliefs as politicians are about their campaign promises.
There are also right wing terrorists, left wing terrorists, anarchist terrorists, and people with no coherent ideology who just want to blow up things and hurt people. Terrorists can be of any race or ethnicity.
Terrorists can look like anybody. Even elderly and disabled people have joined these movements. So anybody can be mistaken for a terrorist. Maybe a disgruntled neighbor might leave an anonymous type about you taking flight lessons or a chemistry class.

There are a couple of reasons why this will make us less safe:
1. When a suspect is captured, our justice system takes further steps to ensure that the right guy is in custody and the actual perpetrator is still at large. One of these steps is called a trial. Some people might insist that it is better to punish the innocent than let the guilty go free, but allowing people to establish their innocence helps ensure that guilty people do not go free.
2. Here's a hypothetical scenario. Let's say a bomb goes off in Chicago, and some group calling itself the Detroit Lions Liberation Army claims responsibility. The government arrests 10 Lions fans and doesn't give them a trial. Would this make Lions fans more or less loyal to America? Now replace "Lions fans" with "Southerners", "abolitionists", "African-Americans", "Mormons", "Japanese-Americans", "German immigrants" or any other group that has ever been placed under suspicion.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Brief update

We'll be having a meeting later this month. Since it's at a private residence, I'm not going to announce somebody's address to a bunch of trolls. But the odds are that we have a few lapsed members who haven't been getting our emails. Maybe you have a new email address or an over zealous spam filter. Anyway, contact me and I'll you where and when the meeting is.

Also, I saw this video, and I hope it drives a nail into Rally for Rail's coffin.