Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
 

 
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Contributors:
  •   Please send any comments or suggestions about America 3.0 to:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Free Will

    Posted by James R. Rummel on March 24th, 2005 (All posts by )

    Last year, Ohio passed a law which allowed people to apply for licenses to carry concealed firearms in public.

    Its not easy, though. The applicant has to pass a minimum level of training, submit their fingerprints, allow the sheriff to conduct a background check, and pay a fee.

    Even after all that, the CCW license holder has many restrictions as to where they can go while armed. For example, they cant enter a school building or loiter on a campus. (And we all know how effective restricting legal firearms is when it comes to reducing school violence.)

    One of the provisions in the law is that private citizens can bar CCW license holders from entering their property while armed, even if the property is a business open to the public. This is particularly distressing to me, a fully qualified self defense instructor, since it means that I probably wont be able to protect anyone from violent attack even if the crime should happen right in front of me. Even so, I cant say that I object to the owner of a private business barring me from their establishment. Its their property, after all, and they have the right to make such decisions. I just go somewhere else.

    Lex has posted about a campaign to shut off television sets in bars, restaurants and other public places. A universal remote small enough to ride on a keychain will turn off virtually any TV. The idea is that those who dont like TV will lurk in the crowd, anonymous and unseen, and deploy their remotes whenever they feel like it. Should the owner or an employee turn the set back on, these activists will simply shut them down again. Watching TV in a public place would become impossible if enough people buy the remotes and use them religiously.

    Im afraid that I cant agree with Lex (and Mrs. Lex) about this at all. For one thing, theyve decided to make the decision as to whether or not Im going to watch television in a public place. It doesnt matter what my wishes or the wishes of the owner happen to be, theyve already decided for us.

    Another thing that bothers me is that theyve decided to bypass the usual methods of making their displeasure known. They could picket the business, for example, or gather signatures on a petition to show general support. They could even try to get some legislation on the ballot in order to limit the number of televisions found in public places. Or they could just leave and never spend any money there again.

    Id have to say that the one thing that bothers me the most about the proposal to hijack TV viewing is that it smacks of electronic vandalism. Instead of having some punk deface a building so it conforms to his ideal, we have a group of people who want to force their ideal of a perfect gathering place on the rest of us.

    And, like a vandal, the only way they can get away with it is if they slink around in the shadows instead of standing up to be counted. I think this is a terrible idea. A simple glance at the comments left on some of the posts here will convince you that the people quickest to resort to insult, those least interested in any meaningful exchange, are those who hide behind pseudonyms. Ive already listed a few ways to effect change that are legal and ensure that the wishes of the majority are respected. Why not try them?

    UPDATE
    It looks like Glenn has been seduced by the Dark Side.

     

    17 Responses to “Free Will”

    1. Shannon Love Says:

      Most people think of turning off the TV as a contest between themselves and the TV (or the media or big business) instead of means of dominating the people around them. The TV-off gadgets are actually an electronic form of the hecklers veto whereby the noises person gets to control the discussion. In this case, somebody uses and electronic gadget to impose what THEY want on the people around them.

      I see this behavior a lot. People claim to be controlling things when in reality what they really want to control is people. Gun control advocates are like that.

    2. Ginny Says:

      The owner or barkeep or waitress spends long hours in the bar. They also are trying to make a living. They need to balance not only how much & what t.v. they find pleasant for themselves but also how much their desires (pro or con) affect the till total that night. Balancing those factors is yet another thing a small businessman has to do. But I suspect most of them want that freedom for themselves. And I can tell you, when I had my business, I really resented anyone coming in and making rules for me. The greatest joy of having your own business is that you can pretty much say (4-letter word not actually said to customer and that Jonathan has blocked) you, I don’t need your (4-letter word not actually said to customer and that Jonathan has blocked) and am willing to do without your money.

      As anyone can see in my post of a few days ago, I watch far more television than I should, than any normal person does. But I don’t go to sports bars. That’s me. They can live without my business; this is a college town and on Saturday afternoons those bars are packed. I don’t see any of them going under & the guy sports enthusiasts who barkeep seem quite happy. Personally, I think that’s great and every once in a while, by chance, I spend an hour there and kind of enjoy the fact that it is so not-me.

    3. C Taylor Says:

      A bit of tape over the remote sensor window should solve that problem.

    4. tapemover Says:

      Video zappers should be easy to block by covering the infrared sensor on the tv set. Also some ordinary video cameras and digital cameras can detect infrared signals which would make it easy to identify who is zapping the tv.

      I was sitting in a video conference one and the inset with our end of the line showed bright light coming from the windows with the blinds closed (the sun was heating them) and flashes from our laptops trying to set up infrared links to gossip behind our backs.

    5. Joel W. Prusi Says:

      “A bit of tape over the remote sensor window should solve that problem.”

      The problem with that is that the TV owner wouldn’t be able to control the set with their own remote. If the TV is in a high place, it could be very inconvenient for them to change channels. (or turn it off on the *request* of a patron)

      I’m guessing that it won’t be too long before many public spaces have the blocked sensor window that you suggest, but it’s ridiculous that it could come to someone having to sabotage the functionality of their own TV in their own business just to be able to create the environment that they want.

    6. Wellfutz Says:

      Wouldn’t the first step be to ask the proprieter to either turn the TV off or down?

    7. Billy Beck Says:

      “…like a vandal…”

      That is exactly correct.

    8. Kevin Brancato Says:

      Two comments:

      1) I wouldn’t touch a TV in a private establishment, since ownership and control are obvious, and you could ask to have a TV lowered or shut off.

      But what about the morality of tinkering with TV’s in quasi-government-owned and operated public spaces–in particular, airport seating areas, where TV’s are loud and ubiquitous? In essence, these TVs have no local owner or gatekeeper. Am I expected to protest and lobby and petition the airport, when I may not even know ahead of time if TVs are going to be in the specific terminal/gate area I will be going to?

      2) I should be able to program my palm pilot to do the same thing as the turn-off device — and more, since I can have the Palm Pilot figure out how to change channels and raise and lower volume as well.

    9. James R. Rummel Says:

      Am I expected to protest and lobby and petition the airport, when I may not even know ahead of time if TVs are going to be in the specific terminal/gate area I will be going to?

      You also don’t know ahead of time if someone will be playing their MP3 machine so loud in a public place that you can hear the tune through the headphones. What are you going to do to stop this annoying intrusion on your quiet time? Forcibly remove the batteries and steal them?

      Sure, you have to go to an airport in order to board a flight. But the airport isn’t your property, and you have made a conscious decision to use air travel as a way to get around. It appears to me that you could either put up with it or find some other way to get to where you’re going.

      Wouldn’t the first step be to ask the proprieter to either turn the TV off or down?

      To my mind that’s really the only step you have when dealing with a TV placed in a privately owned business.

      James

    10. Barry Says:

      Apart from the free-market and property issues, it also seems to me that this is a convergence of two non-philosophical problems that individuals have:

      1. Some people are not assertive, and prefer passive aggression to simply asking to have a TV shut off.

      2. Some people are unwilling to accept that they won’t always get their own way about everything when other people are around.

      Or, to put it simply, they’re immature brats. Far be it from me to declare that immaturity or brattiness are B-A-D BAD when, in the right context, they make for good comedy. There are certainly situations, involving a few good friends rather than the general public, where this device might have a good practical joke application or two.

      But the fact that some believe this is a political statement says a lot more about them than it does about TV.

      For the record, I don’t like TV, cancelled cable years ago, and can’t really stand most TV content when I do happen to see it. Why? Because it’s stupid. So is this “movement” and so is this device, at least as part of the “movement”.

    11. Jonathan Says:

      Most of the airports I visit aren’t private property. I don’t like the TVs, which for me tend mainly to add to the annoyances of an already annoying place, but maybe the simplest solution is for airports not to put TVs in all areas. Then people who like the TVs can still watch them and vice versa.

      BTW, the new terminals at the Ft. Lauderdale, FL airport are a model of what appeals to me in a public place: no TVs (or they’re well hidden in the bars), pretty tropical fish in big aquariums incorporated in nice, big, sound-deadening pillars, and a minimum of PA announcements. I think the designers tried to make the place as tranquil as possible.

    12. James R. Rummel Says:

      BTW, the new terminals at the Ft. Lauderdale, FL airport are a model of what appeals to me in a public place: no TVs (or they’re well hidden in the bars), pretty tropical fish in big aquariums incorporated in nice, big, sound-deadening pillars, and a minimum of PA announcements.

      About 1978 or so, I had to catch a flight out of the airport in Columbus, Ohio. At the time it was a small facility, with linoleum floors and some bare plastic institutional chairs scattered around the concourse for people who were waiting for their flights.

      The only color came from murals on the walls, showing a carpeted and lively airport with large potted plants and fountains playing in the middle of the public areas. Bars and restaurants were open, and the tanned and fashionable crowd went about their business with smiles on their faces. The captions stated that this was what Columbus International would look like someday as soon as the city fathers got the money.

      The flight I needed to board was cancelled due to bad weather, but I could catch another plane in Cleveland, Ohio which would take me to Chicago so I would be able to board a connecting flight and complete my journey.

      The Cleveland airport was the exact image of the murals, except the crowd wasn’t as fashionable or tanned. They weren’t smiling, either.

      But murals showed the Cleveland airport of the future, a bustling and high-tech facility that was low maintenance and efficient. It was going to happen just as soon as the city fathers could expand the airport.

      So I boarded my flight and deplaned at O’Hare in order to continue my journey. The airport at Chicago looked exactly like the murals in Cleveland. I suppose the Chicago city fathers knew that they had the penultimate in airport design because there weren’t any murals on the wall.

      James

    13. Jonathan Hawkins Says:

      There are so many potential misuses and possibilities for abuse for this product and “activism”. First off, the “activism” comes from an only-slightly-more-moderate school of thought than the ELF, ALF, and Critical Mass folks. These are people who don’t give a flying monkey about the needs and wants of others.

      Secondly, these are going to just be exceedingly popular in school settings, where the teacher is simply trying to use video images to educate, and which already has a problem with the local idiot bringing in a universal remote. Problem is, these keyfobs are much harder to detect and confiscate than a universal remote controller. Ironically, I’m sure many of the morons proposing such “activism” are educators themselves, given the extreme degree of liberalism present within the educational profession.

      Ultimately, why stop at this? Hate the laptop users in your favorite cafe? Bring a 2.4GHz wireless network jammer! Don’t want cell phones going off while you’re trying to enjoy your latte? Bring your handy cell phone jammer.

      Sheesh.

    14. Geoff Matthews Says:

      Count me as someone who agrees that this isn’t a good idea. Try pulling this off in a sports bar and your life is in danger.
      If you don’t like the TV being on at a public place, ask the owner about it. After that, go somewhere else. It’s their place, their TV, and you’re there at their pleasure.

    15. UML Guy Says:

      Hey, I got a great idea! I don’t like crying babies in airports. Somebody make me a concealed stun gun so I can put them unconscious without the parents tearing me limb from limb.

      (Just in case I didn’t pull it off well, that’s sarcasm.)

      We sometimes have to put up with situations that are harmless, but that we wouldn’t choose for ourselves. Adults learn to cope with grace. It’s called character. Adolescents (of all ages) look for ways to force everybody to do what they want.

    16. Random Numbers Says:

      While TV-B-Gone looks like a neat gag, it’s one I will not use. If we start making choices for the spaced-out marching morons who dwell in Tubeville, what moral authority do we have to object to others making choices for us?

    17. Kevin Brancato Says:

      James,

      You also don’t know ahead of time if someone will be playing their MP3 machine so loud in a public place that you can hear the tune through the headphones. What are you going to do to stop this annoying intrusion on your quiet time? Forcibly remove the batteries and steal them?

      That would be a crass, stupid, anti-social and senseless response. Especially since I’m likely to get beat up. No, I’d ask him (do women play music too loud in public?) very nicely to turn it down. (I’ve done so on an airplane, and it works). However, that’s not possible with the airport TV.

      I understand CNN Headline News comes packaged with my trip to Chicago. And though I frequently agree to fly and accept the consequences, I did not make a political agreement that U.S. airports should not have private owners. Hence, non-private-owners and their annoying TV’s, are in some real but vague sense, thrust upon me. I can’t expect a choice of TV or non. But, I’m used to that sort of thing. One deals with it.

      And personally, I wouldn’t use a gizmo to shut off the TV in any public space, but it seemed to me that your original argument about respecting ownership, though not logically requiring the ability of people to work differences out with the owner, hinted that the ability to dicker or make a small stink is the civilized route. Since the airport TV owner is absent, and couldn’t care less, a TV zapper is really messing with the other TV viewers. This is just childish.

      I also oppose these zappers, and would not carry around an adapted Palm Pilot. The TV killing power is just too strong, and I’d wind up becoming some wiseass electronic graffitti artist.