ESR doesn't speak for me

Posted 12 Sep 2001 at 14:26 UTC by Guillaume Share This

Given ESR's status within the hacker community, and especially his status in the medias, I think I won't be the only one wanting to expressively distance from him following up his recent comments on the last events.

In this article from ESR, which he apparently posted to various news sites, one can find the following quote :

We have learned today that trying to keep civilian weapons out of airplanes and other areas vulnerable to terrorist attack is not the answer either -- indeed, it is arguable that the lawmakers who disarmed all the non-terrorists on those four airplanes, leaving them no chance to stop the hijackers, bear part of the moral responsibility for this catastrophe.

I hereby wish to express that I totally disagree with these views and find them irresponsible, and that in no way do I consider Eric S. Raymond to be a member of the same community than me on this ground.

Should ESR's views ever be represented in the global media and be tagged as the ones of the hacker community, at least there will be a place where other members sharing my reaction to this can be reckoned.

However, I also understand that advogato may not be the most appropriate place for this. I picked it because articles there tend to last longer than on the typical news sites, and that there are less chances that answers will degenerate into a pro/anti gun control debate. So raph, if you feel this isn't the place, feel free to remove this, I won't protest and will try to find somewhere better to put it.

Agreed, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 14:35 UTC by TheCorruptor » (Master)

I'm sorry to say, but I have to agree, ESR had no right to posture his politcal viewpoints in such a manner so soon after this tragedy. I found it abhorant that he could use this "opportunity" to write (IMHO) an ill-informed, highly contentious politcal argument in the face of such horror. I do not wish to be associated with his political opinions in anyway -- especially ones so contentious.

The man may be able to code, and is respected as such (by me), but there is an obvious reason why his political opinions are on the fringe. I will think twice about reading any other articles from him in the near future.

Could Be Much Worse, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 15:00 UTC by Waldo » (Journeyer)

After all the remarks that I'd seen in the recentlog, I'd expected that he'd say something truly terrible. By the time that I actually read his comments, I've got to say that I was considerably less than upset. Perhaps it's a little early for the "arm the populace" argument, but there are far worse things to be said than that.

Full disclosure: I own a gun and a motorcycle. FWIW.

guns + planes, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 15:09 UTC by mobius » (Master)

High speed projectiles in a fragile pressurized machine thousands of feet above the ground, carrying dozens of people. What a great strategy for reducing loss of life!

I agree, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 15:32 UTC by dick » (Master)

ESR does not represent me in any shape or form. I wish he would stop claiming to.

I will give him a 0.10 right.... (not even half right), posted 12 Sep 2001 at 15:53 UTC by cmacd » (Journeyer)

He is right that decentralization might have helped, but not decentraized vigilanti security.

If the work that was done in large buildings were to be acomplished in places that are spead out and connected with redundant infrastucture, there would not be a point of failure for these crazy folks to attack.

The idea that random folks being equiped as a matter of course with weapons would somehow deter crazy folks who are already planning a Kamakazi attack is just not credible to many people.

The use of a firearm in an aircraft in flight is very likely to result in at best a forced landing. Small holes in the skin of the plane will result in a loss of presure, which will require the plane to move into denser air.

He got some facts wrong too, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 15:54 UTC by Shenka » (Journeyer)

In the last paragraph ESR states:

"Perhaps it is too much to hope that we will respond to this shattering tragedy as well as the Israelis, who have a long history of preventing similar atrocities by encouraging their civilians to carry concealed weapons and to shoot back at criminals and terrorists. "

This is plain wrong. Israeli laws disallow citizens to own firearms, our laws are very strict about this point. Special sections of the population can get special permits: officers in the army and those who live in dangerous area and volunteer in the local police force for at least 3 years. Our citizens don't shoot suspicious persons on the streets, we call the police like civilized people.

another tribe, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 16:09 UTC by graydon » (Master)

I disagree with eric on this, but I disagree with him on most things. I don't like guns, I think ayn rand was a fool, and I don't program in order to get chicks.

I'm dismayed whenever libertarianism and programming are associated; in my mind, it is as nebulous as associating people who write books as communists or those who read newspapers as capitalists. I do all three. what does that make me?

maybe some people are in eric's tribe. maybe many; but not me.

Lack of judgment, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 16:24 UTC by jbuck » (Master)

ESR most definitely does not speak for me, and if he keeps it up, everytime he uses the phrase "our tribe", images of "Lord Of The Flies" will enter the heads of all he speaks to.

ESR has the right to express his opinion, however wrongheaded (after all, his method of defense against hijacking has already been tried: in the period before airline searches, everyone could carry guns onto planes, and the result was a rash of hijackings on an almost weekly basis).

But someone who pretends to be the leader of a movement should show better judgment. The principal issue facing hackers going forward is that the climate has now changed, drastically, and it may be much more difficult now to keep support for basic liberties, like the right to use crypto. This is not the time to advocate the right to carry guns onto planes! Attempts to associate rights that have larger support (like the right to privacy) with rights that have lesser support (the NRA's interpretation of the 2nd amendment) are stupid politically. The task of the leader of a movement is in part to persuade. ESR simply isn't up to the job.

ESR bashing was trendy for a while, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 16:36 UTC by Zaitcev » (Master)

    However, I also understand that advogato may not be the most appropriate place for this. I picked it because articles there tend to last longer than on the typical news sites
In other words: "I love to pee in public transit. It stinks longer and all over the town."

The saddest thing is how ESR haters use such pathetic excuse to jump on their agenda. The bait was rotten and smelly, and the hook was placarded, as quoted above!

I was just thinking the same thing, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 17:09 UTC by Iain » (Master)

So last night, I made an image. And the wonderful people at Cafepress are selling TShirts with it on.

I am not making an money on these shirts, just in case people try to accuse me of doing so.

RE: ESR bashing was trendy for a while, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 17:42 UTC by Guillaume » (Master)

I don't hate esr, I respect some of his work and even agree with some points on the article I quote. I do profoundly despise his pro-gun activism, but that's my own business. I've got better things to do than bashing him.

However I don't want people to think that the hacker community supports the idea of letting people carrying weapons aboard planes, that's all. Had he not sent this to several news sites as newsforge indicates, I would not have posted this.

Clueless, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 18:12 UTC by chakie » (Master)

I think ESR's comments were extremely clueless. With guns on planes we'd see a lot more serious accidents. Violence on airplanes has increased the last few years, partially this is because of people getting drunk and starting to making trouble. Imagine what a pissed off drunken passenger with a gun who gets angry at for instance personnell on the plane might do? Or guns getting fired by mistake. "Shit, I fired this concealed weapon by mistake when I tightened the seat belt. Sorry. I'll pay for the plane window.".

These recent events are no excuse for arming the people. I'd be more afraid of the common people with guns in everyday life than of the rare criminal...

ESR is a crazy bastard, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 18:31 UTC by yakk » (Master)

ESR is a crazy bastard. There are lots of them here in this country.

Their love of guns and violence and their arrogance about the superiority of this country scare me more than any terrorist. Now that Bush is ignoring all sorts of biological weapons and missile treaties the rest of the world has to be even more worried.

Beware of rouge states that harbour militaristic terrorists - beware of the USA.

Hmmm...., posted 12 Sep 2001 at 19:04 UTC by technomancer » (Journeyer)

His article is interesting, although I DO NOT agree with allowing weapons on airliners, I do agree with a number of his points. For example: "If we accept "anti-terrorism" measures that do further damage to our Constitutional freedoms, that will have been a victory for terrorism." This is a very dangerous time for our (I say our as I am in the US) civil liberties, although it seems that people are at least AWARE of that fact in the media and government.

Also, ESR made no claim to be speaking for anyone but himself in this article, so people need to relax about him misrepresenting his personal statement as a statement for all hackers and worry more about journalists misrepresenting his personal statement.

what does 'an eye for an eye' mean?, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 22:20 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

it doesn't mean, "if you lose an eye, you should take their eye".

it means, "if you take someone's eye, you will lose yours".

retribution is gasoline on the fire. try sand, instead.

..., posted 12 Sep 2001 at 23:12 UTC by Malx » (Journeyer)

After explosions in Moscow (Russia) one from national force tells on TV, that Internet must be forbiden, becouse "anyone can read there how to make bomb, which wasused to destroy several civil buildings".
It's politics... It's way to control and programm human masses.....

Opportunism, posted 12 Sep 2001 at 23:49 UTC by ncm » (Master)

Eric Raymond doesn't speak for me either.

Eric's politial fetishism has led him astray before, such as when he recently equated not enforcing someone's copyright monopoly to threatening them with lethal weapons. This one is a new low in political opportunism.

"There is no peace without justice."

ESR does speak for me, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 00:24 UTC by sethcohn » (Master)

Since most of the comments are 'anti' ESR, I want to voice that ESR does speak for me.

Flight 93's crash shows that under stress, good men will do the right thing, even at the cost of their own lives. If a few of those good men on board had weapons, even if the 3 terrorists on board had as well, the crash might not have happened. I would rather trust in the overall balance of good men, than believe in the worst case that everyone should be treated as evil/incompetant/whatever.

Studies and RealWorld examples prove that drugs legalized solve the drug problem. Studies and RealWorld examples prove that widespread weapons don't cause widespread shootings. Yet, in both cases, Politicians (Capital P) ignore that, because they don't care about the facts: The agenda drives them, not the reality.

Just to balance the article replies a bit...

A suitable forum?, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 00:32 UTC by GJF » (Apprentice)

Advogato has become entirely dominated by talk of the tragedy. Some articles, and dozens of diary entries.

It is clear from the sheer volume of comment that many of us consider this an appropriate forum for this discussion. And in my case, I have relied on Advogato as my main source of considered comment on the event and its repercussions. For me, Advogato is a window into how the people of the US and other nations feel, and possibly, how you/they will respond.

Is the US preparing for war?

Will we be dragged into it too?

As for ESR, I don't agree with him, but at least he has never concealed his libertarian views (he has written in support of guns before). I do agree with his view that it would be tragic for the US people to accept loss of civil liberties because of the actions of terrorists.

Take care.

Not that I ever felt ESR spoke for me, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 00:42 UTC by Radagast » (Journeyer)

But this is obviously political opportunism of the worst kind. If I cared about "Open Source", as opposed to free software, I'd call for ESR to step down from any positions he might hold within the OSI and other organizations.

It's not like you see RMS or the FSF pull shit like this. I'm convinced RMS has strong opinions on a large number of political issues, but he doesn't pull them into the mix because he knows it will alienate people. ESR, on the other hand, seems to think he can pull the mythical "hacker tribe" around by a collar.

ESR, RMS, Europe and USA etc, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 01:15 UTC by gregorsamsa » (Master)

one of the reasons that i was interested in what we found by studying the contributors of LSMs is that i sensed that neither RMS nor ESR were quite in tune with the diverse communities of contributors. and more exactly that we in the US might be overstating the Americanness of the communities. Sure enough, our numbers showed that 48% of the contributors were not using e-mail addresses ending in .com, .edu, .org, or .net 37% were explicitly European. We know that many non-US folks use .com, .edu, .org and .net so it's a safe guess that most of the LSM contributors are non-US.

ESR and, to some extent, RMS represent terms of debate found on US fringes and their groundings philosophically have particular US bents to them. ESR's paleo-2nd ammendment rants must sound especially odd to people from places outside the US -- they sound odd within the US too but we get versions from many other cranks who claim to speak from hundreds if not millions of like-minded people.

I'm not sure that anyone without a truly international perspective can claim to speak for any part of the 'hacker' communities. Some ESR's greatest limitations are his localness and his imagination that all others are motivated by the same things that motivate him.

ESR, RMS and America, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 01:26 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

ESR is a pure America product, no doubt about it. RMS? Not really American-centric. Rememeber Microsoft calls RMS "un- America"?

RMS's views in many issues probably can be found in left-wing people of many countries. I am refering to these on, outside the area of Free Software. RMS is more world-compatible than ESR in political views outside software.

internationalism of RMS, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 02:40 UTC by gregorsamsa » (Master)

please note that i say 'to some extent RMS.' i think that RMS's philosophy is more understood in europe and other areas with a stronger socialist but government-doubting (not government-denying) tradition.

that said, it's not clear to me -- and i'm still thinking on this -- that RMS is actually an internationalist or what sort he may be.

perhaps i'm too american myself ;->

Take my job please?, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 05:04 UTC by nym » (Master)

Seeing ESR's musings on the terrorist attacks attributed to "Eric S. Raymond, Open Source advocate" in the Mercury (online edition) certainly struck me the wrong way.

While I respect his right to differing political views from my own, and his right to voice them; I question his motivation in doing so. What was he thinking? How do these views best represent the Open Source community?

With the exception of ESR, virtually every other community "leader" (be it of corporations, countries, or communities) put aside their political agenda on Tuesday to express their shock and horror at the senseless loss of life, and how they would do whatever they could to help. Wouldn't that have been a nice message from the Open Source community? Perhaps even pointing out how Open Source might be setting an example in terms of the international collaborations on software development projects, how Open Source has broken down barriers of race, religion, geography, etc, etc, etc.

I wonder if it might not be time for us to take ESR up on his touch- in-cheek offer of last year, to have him replaced with someone who is not so quick to hurt the sensibilities of the community that they claim to represent.

Perhaps I'm being too sensitive. Emotions are certainly running high. But one thing that I know now more than ever is that ESR does not speak for me.

ESR does not speak for me, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 07:15 UTC by bagder » (Master)

As I already wrote in a diary entry, ESR does certainly not speak for my views of things.

Geeks with Guns - teaching responsibility or just too much ?, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 07:34 UTC by rmorrell » (Master)

While the American Constitution is a powerful and necessary document the publicity in the past that Geeks with Guns has attracted has luckily stayed in the US. Thank FUCK it doesnt spread over the atlantic. While I have no doubt that teaching people that gun control is important it should represent exactly that. The issue is I lecture about OpenSource, I stand on stage with luminaries, I used to work at VA and Linuxcare - I see the adulation from the younger members of the community to hard working individuals like ESR and RMS. Now I am a trained sharpshooter, I have shot guns all my life, I was brought up on rural farmland in the UK and I have owned guns. It is however thank god ILLEGAL in the UK to own a sidearm and while ESR is within his rights to use his guns in his personal sport - to be seen on the web and at Linux events talking about guns and talking to reporters about guns (you can avoid questions...) gives the young community the wrong signals.

I draw your attention to:

The fact that ESR posted this article so soon after this tragedy shows what little respect he has for the fact that so many of us are still waiting for news of friends who are missing and that a softly softly approach like we took at might have been more sensible.

I really am DREADING the day and have been since I heard about Linux companies wanting to get involved with Geeks with Guns, that I pick up my newspaper and read about some Slackware T-Shirt wearing 14 yr old going mad with a shotgun or 9mm pistol in downtown Delaware. Imagine the fallout for all of us. We're already seen by the lesser "educated and aware" members of the management community as being "different" because we develop software thats free. I'd rather not be seen as being a geek with a gun, more a geek that did something really cool in the community like use my software to finance a local hospital purchase of a mother baby unit outright like we just did.

What more can you say - it was anal.

Pushing your agenda with the help of 6000+ dead people, 101, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 17:38 UTC by jLoki » (Master)


Flight 93's crash shows that under stress, good men will do the right thing, even at the cost of their own lives. If a few of those good men on board had weapons, even if the 3 terrorists on board had as well, the crash might not have happened. I would rather trust in the overall balance of good men, than believe in the worst case that everyone should be treated as evil/incompetant/whatever.

(Does that make the victims of the other three planes 'non-good men'?)

Let's not forget a few facts here. ESR has been wrong in a few of his rants before and this one's no exception. While it has already been pointed out that he's either lying or misinformed about Israeli gun politics, he's also wrong on the gun part in Airplanes. Allowing concealed guns aboard would not shift the power from hijackers to victims as the hijackers would have them, too. Of four hijacked flights, only one seemed to have had the courage and maybe the knowledge of what would happen, to try to overpower the terrorists. The effect is the same. A few holes pinched in the cabin will kill and crash a plane in some if not most cases. Wild firing passengers might actually crash a plane over some area that's not uninhabited as the Somerset area was. With the balance of power not shifting at all, it is unlikely the other planes would have done any different than they did. Plastic knifes on one hand and nothing on the other give you a much better chance of overpowering the hijacker than guns on both sides. In this light I would not think guns would have prevented anything.

Then, there's the question of ethics. I've seen a few groups and people so far trying to push unrelated agendas through by abusing a tragedy that killed friends of mine and thousands others. I feel disgusted when reading rants like Eric's. He's a gun activist and I am grateful for everyone trying to defend my right to own and carry guns. I, myself carry and own guns, advocate the right of everyone to own and carry one, but I would not even remotely think of abusing a tragedy like this one, mix it with misinformation and make it part of my fight for the second amendment.

If I'd allow ESR to speak for me, I'd allow someone to speak for me who makes a mockery out of the death of my family in Buchenwald and Auschwitz by claiming this to be a result of the disarming of the germans during the third reich (my grandfather, a survivor, actually told me that the fact that his neighbors did not have guns to force him to leave his hideout saved his live during the progroms). I'd also allow someone to speak for me who spreads misinformation and abuses tragedies like this one to push his agenda. No, ESR will never speak for me.

Eric is right at one point: We learned that a lot of those measures we've been told are there for our protection, don't protect us against attacks. Neither Echelon nor guns on airplanes will be able to prevent terrorism. No gun I know off stops Anthrax or Botulism from spreading, no echelon device can help read Osmanas PGP encryped mails to his minions.

What was the purpose of this declaration?, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 21:00 UTC by bratsche » (Master)

I happen to also disagree with ESR, but I think Guillaume's post was completely pointless. Even if I agreed with ESR, I would never say that he speaks for me. Declaring that he does not speak for me would be stating an obvious fact.

ESR speaks for himself. He doesn't speak for Guillaume, he doesn't speak for RMS, he doesn't speak for Bill Gates, George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, Daniel Barenboim, me, or anyone else but himself. He doesn't speak for the Open Source Community (perhaps it is arguable that he he may speak for the Open Source Movement the way RMS speaks for the Free Software Movement, but the organized movement is different from the individuals involved in it), whatever company he may work for, or for America.

Politicians may speak for their country, the Pope may speak for the Catholic Church, Miguel de Icaza may speak for the Gnome Project, but none of them speak on behalf of the individuals within their groups.

RE: ESR bashing was trendy for a while, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 21:03 UTC by jLoki » (Master)


The saddest thing is how ESR haters use such pathetic excuse to jump on their agenda. The bait was rotten and smelly, and the hook was placarded, as quoted above! I agree with you - using this tragedy, the death of thousands of people for any agenda is wrong. And that's why I distance myself from ESRs statements here. Gun control has nothing to do with this tragedy, the pure thought of (ab-)using it to push any agenda, to spread FUD, to promote xenophobia or anythin else, fills me with pain.

I have lost a good friend on Monday, I am sure is is his wish to try to stop people from abusing his death to promote their thoughts on unrelated topics.

Resist the cycle of hate and violence (that's Randy Bush's signature) - your comment above does not necessarily sound like you are willing to resist. Please, try.


Why are we discussing this here?, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 21:09 UTC by lordsutch » (Journeyer)

I've read the article, and I don't see anywhere in it where he claims to speak for anyone other than himself. I don't think ESR or anyone else gives up their rights to have opinions on non-geek topics just because they're leading individuals in the free software movement... or even geek topics, for that matter. Alan Cox, for example, expressed some political views about the DMCA and travel to the U.S. a few months ago, yet I don't recall anyone distancing themselves from him at the time (despite the debatable politics of his statement).

Frankly I think more people get their panties in a twist because of the content of ESR's political views, rather than the fact he chooses to express them.

As for the actual content of ESR's views, I can't say that arming random people on planes is a particularly good idea; however, I do know the hijackers wouldn't have pulled off such a stunt on an El Al plane with armed security on-board.

Lastly, lest anyone lose sight of things, the people on flight 93 who apparently got the best of their hijackers are perhaps the greatest heroes in this whole tragedy. Even though we may never know who they were, god knows how many innocent people they saved by their selfless action.

Re: What was the purpose of this declaration?, posted 13 Sep 2001 at 21:09 UTC by Guillaume » (Master)

> Declaring that he does not speak for me would be stating an obvious fact.

To me, and most hackers around, yes. But ESR's history with the media since he became famous with TCatB makes this fact not so obvious for people external to this community, IMHO.

Guns on planes, posted 14 Sep 2001 at 02:32 UTC by omarius » (Journeyer)

Though I share many of Mr. Raymond's views on firearms use and regulations, I also must disagree with him in this context. I most wholeheartedly support the right of American citizens to carry firearms, concealed or otherwise; however, on an airplane, a gun in the hands of any person not specially trained has more potential for causing unintended harm than under most other circumstances I can imagine-- even in a clear-cut case like a hijacking. I do believe that there should be guns on planes -- but only in the hands of air marshals. A single armed guard on each of those planes could have prevented this tragedy altogether, or at least forced it to take another form.

Outside of airplanes, though, I tend to agree with Mr. Raymond. A co-worker of mine, who had served in the Marine corps, pointed out to me that in one of the bombings of the last couple of years (I do not remember which one), a Marine guard on duty had to load his service pistol in order to fire upon a speeding truck approaching the building -- he had to keep it unloaded for "safety." Such rules are ridiculous. Unfortunately, the flipside to the beliefs of extreme firearms-freedom advocates are the beliefs of "anti-gunners" who feel that firearms should be reserved for police and soldiers--and as in the case above, only under special circumstances.

Perhaps this political spectrum will shift somewhat in light of this week's horrific events. We are no longer a country at peace dreaming of a day when perhaps violence will shunned by all men and women. We are a country at war, shocked into a new view of our place in the world. We have been attacked, and we shall defend ourselves with all the might and power available to us. I believe citizens retain this same right, but in the case of an airliner in flight, perhaps we should be content in the future to have someone defend us.

I'll take my two cents, now, please. :)


Gun ownership prevents violence!, posted 14 Sep 2001 at 03:56 UTC by Ilan » (Master)

Look at Afghanistan. Everyone carries a gun around there, and no violence to be found.

Count Me In..., posted 14 Sep 2001 at 05:11 UTC by asleep » (Journeyer)

If IN means not wanting ESR to be my spokesman.

I have stated many times in the last few days how impressed I was not to see the Al Sharptons and the Bill Clintons of our country NOT jumping up and yelling information on their viewpoints. I was impressed that they knew now was the time to keep it zipped and let the .gov do their job.

ESR broke my heart when he did this. Now, I'm no ESR fan (outside of his code contributions) but this just cemented my dislike for him.

Rection to ESR's article overdone, posted 14 Sep 2001 at 09:42 UTC by chalst » (Master)

I think parts of ESR's article are in bad taste, but I think the reaction to it is overdone. I, too, am concerned about a new wave of anti-terrorist legislation in the USA (and perhaps in EU countries), that will cripple civil liberties and legal protections from harassmment as effectively as similar legislation has done in the UK. That, and not the gun-mania, is the real point of ESR's article, and he does not pretend to be speaking on behalf of the open source community.

something i like better, posted 14 Sep 2001 at 14:29 UTC by mbp » (Master)

esr's argument about guns on planes doesn't wash with me either, and I wish he'd made it plain that a fair fraction of the community disagrees with him.

Before you write him off, you might like to read his Reflections on McVeigh, which I found much more reasonable.

Why the Bombings Mean That We Must Support My Politics", posted 14 Sep 2001 at 15:46 UTC by ask » (Master);sid=2001/9/12/102423/271

"Why the Bombings Mean That We Must Support My Politics", posted 14 Sep 2001 at 15:48 UTC by ask » (Master);sid=2001/9/12/102423/271

A somewhat different view..., posted 16 Sep 2001 at 09:09 UTC by brendan » (Apprentice)

Here is a slightly different view of the events of Tuesday, from Michael Moore of "The Awful Truth" fame...

A small quote:

"[Americans] have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador) that I suppose we shouldn?t be too surprised when those orphans grow up and are a little whacked in the head from the horror we have helped cause."
It also describes how Osama bin Laden was originally trained and financed by the CIA.

Just thought I'd include that for a bit of balance... it shows that the issues here are far from black and white.

People are diverse, posted 21 Sep 2001 at 03:24 UTC by RoUS » (Master)

The idea that random folks being equiped as a matter of course with weapons would somehow deter crazy folks who are already planning a Kamakazi attack is just not credible to many people.

The 'crazy people' may not be concerned about preserving their lives, but they probably do care about accomplishing their missions. An alert, hostile, and empowered collection of passengers might well dissuade them -- or at least foil the mission, as the events on Flight 93 apparently did.

As for firearms aboard aircraft.. Of course no-one is going to be armed with tungsten penetrators, not even the Sky Marshals! There are numerous non-penetrating disabling payload types for small arms. (Just ask okcrum.) And I don't think that anyone is suggesting that all pax should be carrying; but the possibility that even one might be armed would change the situation. Not necessarily for the better, but neither necessarily for the worse.

'Admiral Yamamoto: "You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass." Advising Japan's military leaders of the futility of an invasion of the mainland United States because of the widespread availability of guns. It has been theorized that this was a major contributing factor in Japan's decision not to land on North America early in the war when they had vastly superior military strength. This delay gave our industrial infrastructure time to gear up for the conflict and was decisive in our later victory.'

My full disclosure: I own several firearms, am a lifetime member of the NRA, hold multiple expert marksman ratings, and am a certified firearms safety instructor.

ESR does speak for me (sort of), but..., posted 26 Sep 2001 at 01:10 UTC by Omnifarious » (Journeyer)

I think that random guns on airplanes are a bad idea because high speed projectiles in a pressurized environment are always a bad idea. But, people armed with something on the airplane isn't. The people on flight 93 were not vigilantes. If they had had a better and quicker way of disabling the hijackers, the hijacker pilot might not have crashed into the ground.

People reacting with violence to a life threatening situation are not vigilantes. Authority and the American system of justice are not magic wands which mysteriously solve all problems.

I do think it was irresponsible of ESR to say what he did. As a self-elected spokesperson for the Open Source movement, he should be more responsible and talk about issues that are within the bounds of his self-appointed role. Political opinions about things other than Open Source are clearly out of bounds.

Evening the score, posted 26 Sep 2001 at 17:53 UTC by neale » (Journeyer)

An important point that everyone seems to be forgetting is that the hijackers didn't use guns at all--they apparently used packing knives. So the playing field was very much level: I'm sure many passengers had pocket knives or other sharp objects which could be used as weapons.

All political issues aside, the banning of guns on airplanes is about ripping the hull open. If you're going to call for allowing guns on-board, you may as well tack on a call for allowing aerosol spray cans while you're at it.

Best Weapons are with free agents always., posted 27 Sep 2001 at 19:59 UTC by mirwin » (Master)

ESR seems to have lost some of his common sense. I am very disappointed in him. I carry my best weapons with me at all times and I am always packed even when buck or bare ass naked in the shower or at a nudist beach. Four hundred civialians with guns in an eggshell at 50 or 60 thousand feet is a recipe for disaster. Someone will miss or shoot a buddy or a window. Remember Ruby Ridge where professional terrorists trained by the U.S.G. and yet to be remanded to the State of Idaho for trial for murder allegedly shot colleagues in the back either on purpose or through miscoordination?

I have combat chattered this subject with knowledgable blue collar workers local in the Coquille Valley. These are men who work hard manual labor nearly daily and associated routinely with Veterans of Foreign Wars, Masons, Elks, Lions, and free agents going their way.

We concluded that we would charge the guns and upon taking first injury drop and allow buddies to run over us on the their way to the terrorists. This gives us all maximum chance of survival (including the terrorist whom we wish to see humiliated before the world court of opinion as the incompetent thinkers they clearly are ... specialized insects targetted by cowardly billionaires hiding at home behind the skirts of cowardly tryrants that wish to draft children to send off on Jihad .....) by dog piling on the terrorists so that the structure of the plane can be kept intact.

If noone manages to secure any deadman switched wired to bombs, then at least we will have died minimizing the damage done to those who remain behind on the ground, even though we failed to save ourselves.

Another suggestion that arose was bombing the Afghan people with butter, (food; water; tools to create food, water and portable homes and schools; and pamphlets in native language requesting they do not take preciptious action in rebelling against tyrants but hunker down and live! Defend if necessary but run away if possible. The world civilization now emerging on Terra is assembling the united might necessary to deal with those who insist might makes right. This force will eventually be cabable of extracting criminals from countries or hideyholes with minimal casualties. The American Nation is organizing to deal with its own corrupt leadership. Enough is enough. No longer will American criminals be allowed to engage in economic warfare and blackmail against our peace loving neighbhors no shall we allow the U.S.G. to make deals keeping or placing terrorists and/or criminal thugs in charge of countries, nations, multibillion corps, NPO, etc. etc. So some of my fellow citizens believe anyway. We are encouraged by the precision of the language that seems to be emerging from the Oval Office and Congress in this time of peril. At least some of our employees seem to be getting it. Meanwhile we continue to build our local communities and educate our fellow citizens particularly in the United States. The concentrated power of the American Nation's military must not be controlled by corrupt forces any longer or our planet and species are in extreme peril of self destruction.

Perhaps esr should go relax and do some target shooting while he ponders who is best qualified to accurately place a bullet inside an eggshell. A software hacker flack agent or a combat engineer trained by the U.S. military (and others) to serve as an Air Marshall. NASA had a bright future once, decades ago in land of faded glory and has beens, until they allowed moronic flacks and press agents make the UNIVERSE look boring and routine. It is my sincere hope that the communities who have protyped and proven out the open paradigm so efficaciously in software related projects will not make the same mistake with software and the internet. This is a bit selfish on my part because I believe you masters among us who have created this wonderful body of freely available intellectual capital have planted the seeds of a new thrust into space for all mankind. I believe there are nepharious forces in control in places in this planet who would prefer that most of us remain ignorant sleeping infants instead of arising as giant citizens who cannot be denied their inalienable rights.

Perhaps if esr cannot think effectively he can restrict his activities to defending those who can with force used defensively only if absolutely necessary while planning to account for his actions before a court and jury of his peers, or if he is peerless then at least due process and a jury of legally recognized citizens.

Sincerely, Love Michael R. Irwin

OS movement needs new celebraties^W message, posted 4 Oct 2001 at 15:36 UTC by jrobbins » (Master)

I almost titled this posting "OS movement needs new leadership", but then it seemed absurd to call ESR one of it's leaders. Open source developers don't really need leaders, they do their own thing independently. The real leaders lead by the example set in the succesful OS projects, large and small.

I would actually like to thank ESR for the service he did the community with his early philosophical writings. Those good days seem to be in the past now. It is not just ESR, but many of the other loudest voices in open source don't seem to have much insight to add. Comments like the one from ESR on arming passengers only serve to erase his credibility.

Any idiot could make irresponsible proposals, but when ESR does it, it distracts from the OS mission that so many of us have worked so hard on. The idea that passengers should be armed is only an expression of an extreme value system that is totally impractical. The fact that ESR said it could color OS in the same light. Luckily OS has real merits that outshine such comparisons.

Frankly, I think OS as a movement could really use a new crop of celebraties starting around the new year. On second thought, "celebraties" is the last thing we need. We need some new large, successful, visible projects. And the next message should be practical and strategic, rather than philosophical. Maybe the advogato community could help by pressing ahead with public discussions of open source methodologies in real use.

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