Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guns Don't Kill Gun-Control, People Kill Gun-Control

Gun-control is right on target!
When a person buys a gun, they usually have a purpose in mind.  I'm not a gun owner myself, but it would seem that most most people buy a gun either for self-defense or as a hobby (data about guns in the US).  In today's culture, these motivations are judged as reasonable. On the other hand, buying a gun in order to kill a whole bunch of children is judged as unreasonable. I think that there are ways to help ensure that guns are used for those reasonable purposes, and nothing else.

Aloha Style - A Licensing System

No guns? No problem!
No matter if one wants to buy the gun for protection or for recreation, one needs to know how to handle it safely.  Furthermore, the gun itself needs to be kept in good working condition to avoid unexpected hazards. This can be easily achieved using a licensing system, as Hawaii has demonstrated.  Such a system can ensure that all gun owners are educated about and trained to use the types of guns that they want to use (very similar to a driver's license). Furthermore, guns themselves need to be registered, and regularly checked for quality issues.

Fingerprint Safeties

The one and only you.
Ideally, only people who are registered to use a gun should be able to work the trigger.  Although current technology doesn't seem to be able to provide a good solution, fingerprint safes exist, and should be mandated by law.  Anyone who buys a gun should demonstrate that he or she has a registered fingerprint safe at home.   When the technology for fingerprint safeties on guns becomes realistic, it should be mandated instead.

The Future: GPS Restrictions?

Out of this world protection!
It may sound a bit sci-fi, but I don't think that it's too unreasonable to expect GPS technology to continue to improve.  One can imagine that guns acquired for defense purposes can not only be restricted for particular people, but also for particular locations.  A gun bought for home defense should only be able to be used in the home, not in a nearby school.  GPS-restricted guns may be able to provide this in the not-too-distant future.  Of course, this GPS limitation may need to be "released" in target ranges, but I'm sure that if you give a few geeks a little bit of time, a dependable solution would be found.

Towards a Perfect Solution?

No.  I don't think a perfect solution can exist in the foreseeable future.  Even if guns didn't exist at all, people would still be able to kill each other.  But guns makes death all too easy to achieve. If there are ways for society to make it a little harder on murderers, and a little less likely for accidental death to occur, then it would be negligent not to implement them.

A wise person once said: don't let the perfect get in the way of the good.  Incremental changes that bring us to a better society are worth making.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Aliens, Kings, and Trucks

    You're driving to visit some friends, and you have time.  You see a truck up ahead: how do you feel about it?  Is it a threat, one that must be passed as quickly as possible.  Is it an annoyance, one that slows you down on your most-important journey?  Or can it be something else? Something entirely different?

Me, Driving Behind a Truck
Can this truck be, in fact, an opportunity?

A good friend of mine, Adam, stumbled upon a whole new approach to trucks: driving behind them!  Yes, trucks give you an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the road.  An opportunity to drive without worrying about who you pass and who passes you.  An opportunity to drive without people cutting you off or driving up your rear in hope to push you forward a little bit faster.  Trucks don't make abrupt stops, either.

I tried this out over the weekend, and I must admit: it's not easy breaking old habits on the road. I tend to fear the trucks, having thoughts about their tires blowing off or random stuff falling out of them and onto my precious little car.  Or thoughts about the truck's doors suddenly opening and little green men in gray overalls jumping out and using some new magical technology to pull my car into their truck and take off to a far away planet in which the primary source of nutrition is aged cheese.  Alas, one can rest assured that these things rarely happen. And yet, it was hard for me to just sit back and enjoy the ride behind the truck.
Not behind a truck

I felt as if I was doing something wrong.  If only I pass that truck, I could get to wherever the heck I was going that much faster!  And if I have a way to get there faster, shouldn't I be?  Isn't time my most precious possession?  How could I just pass up an opportunity to drive just a little bit faster?

Well, my friends, I did just that.  I passed up this "opportunity" to drive faster, and instead, took on the real opportunity: the opportunity to drive behind a truck.  And I have to tell you, my friends, that for the time that I drove behind that truck I was king.  Not some fake king living in the Dark Ages, but a real king: a king of my time, a king of the road!