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Gun Control & Causality; A philosophical discussion -2015 June 19, 2015

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causeThis is an update from a post in 2014.  

It is now June 2015 and with yet another shooting in the news, the debate is again raging about gun control.

I personally believe these are healthy debates but I am often frustrated by the seemingly illogical positions taken on both sides of the debate.  Last year I wrote a post titled “A Perspective on Killing from a Marine and His Rifle” in which I provide personal as well as third party information on what is required to create a ‘killer’.   Adding to this I am including information that should help people better understand causality and point to the ‘actual’ cause of an event in which a firearm is used.  This is taken from the research brief titled: “Failed State of Security II; Victim Blaming in CyberCrime

With each shooting or killing the relevant question is certainly asked as to “what caused the action?” and “how could it have been prevented?”  We all want to stop crime and violence but we must balance a number of issues.  Irrespective of political leanings or other aspects, to get to the heart of the issue it is important to understand the “cause” of the event.  Many gun control advocates posit that guns are the ’cause’ of the murder.  With this in mind let’s take a look at the concept of causality.

Understanding Causality

The simple term “cause” can be deceptively complex to understand and apply.  The application becomes much more difficult when applied to social issues and events where ambiguity, subjectivity, and moral and ethical aspects must be considered.  While the concept of cause and causality has been studied and debated by philosophers for millennia a commonly accepted definition is still not found.   It was Virgil who, in Georgics 2 in 490 said: “Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas” or “blessed accomplishment theirs, who can track the causes of things.[i]   The difficulty of defining the concept of “cause” is familiar to those with an interest in philosophy or science.  Without becoming a primer on the intricacies of the debate, suffice it to say that cause, like security, is necessarily contextual in nature.   Within the context of Victimology, it is important to understand the distinction between identifying what a person emotionally or philosophically believes is a ‘cause’ of an event that impacts a victim and the philosophical and legal concepts of ‘cause’ as they applies to a crime.

The Philosophical View of Causality

People often ascribe blame  or identify a cause of an event based upon their internal logical calculus or emotional belief as to what ’caused’ the event.  Within the context of firearm violence, this is particularly true.  Firearm control advocates often state that “firearms cause” violence.  While not always explicit even the argument that “if they did not have a gun, this would not have happened” is an implicit nod to the idea that the firearm was the causal agent of the event.  For this reason, it is important to understand the philosophical underpinnings of reasoning and how they apply to determining ‘cause’.  As important is the understanding of errors in logics. Within logic, errors in either reasoning or structure are known as fallacies.  With an understanding of the common fallacies that pertain to identification of cause, it is easier to understand and identify the true, or actual cause of an event. (more…)

Communism, Socialism. Same Difference, Right? June 18, 2015

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Chris Mark:

Dr. Heather Mark talking about the differences of Socialism and Communism.

Originally posted on The Mark Tank:

MarxHow often have you, either in jest or out of frustration, referred to someone as a communist?  What about, horror of horrors, a socialist?  I will admit that I often besmirch my husband’s good name as a result of failure to appreciate the splendor that is the game of baseball.  The term “communist” is not infrequently hurled in his direction during baseball season.  (He’s a remarkably patient man in that respect). Seriously, though, these two terms are often used interchangeably and usually to cast aspersions on someone’s political ideology.  Scratch the surface, though, and the common understanding of these terms is fairly shallow.  That’s not to denigrate anyone’s intellectual abilities.  It’s simply that as Americans, we tend to have a visceral reaction to these terms.  A vestige of the Cold War, for those of us that experienced it.  (Another vestige of the Cold War, for your viewing pleasure).  This…

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New Political Blog! (Dr. Heather Mark and her ‘help’)… June 16, 2015

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MarkTankElection season gets people interested in politics.  For this reason we (Dr. Heather Mark) and I decided to create a new blog TheMarkTank specifically focused on educating people on various political topics!  In truth, Heather will do the heavy lifting and I will try to keep up and sound smart by ‘borrowing’ some of her work!…Either way..please send questions and comments our way.  Heather has a PhD in Public Policy and Public Administration and a BA and MA in Political Science.  In short..she knows politics!…We would love to hear from you. Check out the site!

Dog Training Elite -Dog Training Experts…(Vets..ta ke note!) June 15, 2015

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DTEMany readers likely know that my son Tyler is Autistic.  He is a great little guy (and handsome!) but we are always concerned for his safety as he is ‘non verbal’.  About six months ago we began looking into service animals.  I have done charity work for several service animal trainers over the years and I was…to be blunt….unimpressed.  The trainers charged between $20,000 and $30,000 and it did not seem effective in many cases.  About 2 months ago we ran across a company called Dog Training Elite in Utah.  Their website advertised over “…35 years of experience..”  For this reason I gave them a call.  I spoke with the owner John for about 30 minutes and he was patient enough to answer all of my questions.  I explained that we had a male Rottweiller (Bo) that we felt would be a good dog but that we were new to he process.

To John’s credit he did not try to sell us on anything.  He simply said he would be willing to drive out to our house in Park City and talk with us.  John came out and it was apparent he had forgotten more about training dogs than I will ever know.  He evaluated Bo and said he would be a good fit for a Service Dog.  To be clear, he also said that in many cases an existing dog is NOT a good fit and often people need to find a dog with the right personality traits to be a good dog.  As John explained…Dogs need two things to really be good Service Dogs.  Aside from having a calm disposition they need 1) a desire to please and 2) intelligence.   Their website says:

“Dog Training Elite, is a Utah-based dog training company with over 35 years of experience that specializes in teaching your dog to be obedient for you as well as the rest of your family, with a strong emphasis on teaching your dog the highest level of obedience, despite even the toughest level of distractions. Our programs are certain to meet all of your training needs. Unlike a lot of other dog training companies, we understand that each client has different needs, so we tailor our training programs to accommodate your unique situation. Dog Training Elite has donated their time to those with special needs in training their service dogs.”

Heather and I used to joke that Bo was untrainable.  He is super sweet and super calm but he is also a 130lb Male Rottweiller. He is stubborn with a capital R..and all other letters.  I am not exagerating when I say that after the first 1 hour session Bo was responding to commands (‘come’, ‘sit’) and by his third session he was ‘heeling’ and ‘sitting at distance’.  Long and short, the methodology works!

I am not going to go into their training methodology because it is proprietary and I don’t want to give bad info.  I will say that the cost of training Bo is 1/10th (you read that correctly) what other trainers charge and it is effective.  Owners are required to work with their dogs at least once per day.  You have homework!

In addition to being expert trainers, John and company were able to explain all of the ins and outs of Service Dogs…the laws, regulations, and other aspects that I was unaware of.  Their experience and insight is invaluable! In addition, you get a very personal touch from people who are not only experienced but truly love and value dogs.  It has been as much as an education for Heather and me as it has been for Bo.

If you are looking for a service dog and you are willing to put some work into the process..I would highly recommend Dog Training Elite.  They are in Utah, Arizona and Nevada.  I understand they are now opening a few new sites in other states. Give them a call and talk to Robin, John or Seth.  Ask a hundred questions and let them give you some info.

In addition to training dogs they also work with Not for Profits and support wounded veterans!  One of their trainers, Seth is a wounded veteran with a Service Animal.  Watching what his Malenoise could do was absolutely impressive!…

If you are looking for a service dog or considering a service animal give them a call!  We are very happy and Bo is doing great!  Hit them up on their Facebook, as well!

超限战 – “Warfare without Bounds”; China’s Hacking of the US June 11, 2015

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Unconditional_warfare

“Pleased to meet you…hope you guessed my name…But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.”
– The Rolling Stones; Sympathy for the Devil

With the recent US Government’s acknowledgement of China’s hacking of numerous government websites and networks, many are likely wondering why China would have an interest in stealing employee data?  To answer this question, we need to look back at the 1991 Gulf War. You can read my 2013 Article (WorldCyberwar) in the Counter Terrorist Magazine on this subject.

In 1991, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq in defense of Kuwait.  At the time Iraq had the 5th largest standing army in the world.  The US led coalition defeated the Iraqi army in resounding fashion in only 96 hours.  For those in the United States the victory was impressive but the average American civilian did not have an appreciation for how this victory was accomplished.

The Gulf War was the first real use of what is known as C4I.  In short, C4I is an acronym for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence. The Gulf War was the first use of a new technology known as Global Positioning Systems (GPS).  The Battle of Medina Ridge was a decisive tank battle in Iraq fought on February 26, 1991 and the first to use GPS.  In this 40 minute battle, the US 1st Armored Division fought the 2nd Brigade of the Iraqi Republican Guard and won decisively. While the US lost 4 tanks and had 2 people killed, the Iraqis suffered a loss of 186 tanks, 127 Infantry Fighting Vehicles and 839 soldiers captured.  The Chinese watched the Gulf War closely and came away with an understanding that a conventional ‘linear’ war against the United States was unwinnable.

After the Gulf War the Chinese People’s Liberation Army tasked two PLA colonels (Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui) with redefining the concept of warfare.  From this effort came a new model of Warfare that is published in the book “Unrestricted Warfare” or “Warfare without Bounds”.  Unrestricted Warfare is just what it sound like.  The idea that ‘pseudo-wars’ can be fought against an enemy.  Information warfare, PR efforts and other tactics are used to undermine and enemy without engaging in kinetic, linear battle.  Below is a quote from the book:

“If we acknowledge that the new principles of war are no longer “using armed force to compel the enemy to submit to one’s will,” but rather are “using all means including armed force and non-armed force, military and non-military, lethal and non-lethal means to compel the enemy to accept one’s interests.”

“As we see it, a single man-made stock-market crash, a single computer virus invasion, or a single rumor or scandal that results in a fluctuation in the enemy country’s exchange rates or exposes the leaders of an enemy country on the Internet, all can be included in the ranks of new-concept weapons.”

It further stated: “… a single rumor or scandal that results in fluctuation in the enemy country’s exchange rates…can be included in the ranks of new concept weapons.”

On April 15, 2011, the US Congressional Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations conducted a hearing on Chinese cyber-espionage. The hearing revealed the US government’s awareness of Chinese cyberattacks. In describing the situation in his opening remarks, subcommittee chairperman Dana Rohrbacher* astutely stated:

“[The]United States is under attack.”

“The Communist Chinese Government has defined us as the enemy. It is buying, building and stealing whatever it takes to contain and destroy us. Again, the Chinese Government has defined us as the enemy.”

Given the Chinese perspective on Unlimited Warfare, it becomes much more clear that what we are seeing with the compromises are examples of ‘pseudo wars’ being fought by the Chinese.  It will be interesting to see how or if the US responds.

*thank you to the reader who corrected my referencing Mr. Rohrbacher as a female.  My apologies to Chairman Rohrbacher!

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