Quiet-List 1997

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Re: Purpose of quiet-list

Peter Donnelly wrote:
> I guess it's fun to vent one's fantasies occasionally, but any advocacy of
> illegal or hurtful actions should not be tolerated here.
A rousing philosophical debate always gets me going, but just remember,
this is only a string of words and if I offend anyone's delicate
sensibilities then let me know and I will withdraw. My motivation is to
discover true things about our culture, the morality of self defense,
and where we draw the line about certain things.

If we are to limit our discussions in this group merely and completely
within the letter of law and to conform to the spirit of legal
etiquette, then let us suppose that electronic counter measures are mere
fantasy of my sleep-deprived mind and go from there. Let us further
suppose that I am now awake and vigilantism is strictly forbidden
because the state must control every means of retribution, no matter how
petty. Yelling at your neighbor to keep the noise down. For example, is
illegal in my county, even though the lawgivers choose to ignore
infractions such as these; we still must obey because any retributive
action is technically illegal. One final supposition, is that this list,
in itself, may be a mechanism to subvert our natural instincts of self
preservation, a wonderfully inventive leveler of public opinion. Who
better to moderate our reactions than ourselves, with a few gentle
shoves in the "proper directions" from benevolent "mind guards." Are we
a living example, or an experiment, of the new world order? The future
of modern society? Laws and enforcement lags sometimes hundreds of years
behind social and psychological discovery, leaving brute force and
ignorant retribution as the only means of justice. But here, on the
quiet list, and maybe on hundreds of lists like this one, are the future
controllers of our culture emerging to maintain the silence of the
silent majority, to channel our helpless anguish into bureaucratic
pigeon holes while the foundations of our corporate machines crumble and
decay? The greater our illusion of control, the less likely we are to

Don't get me wrong. The quiet-list helped us out when our family was at
an all-time low, and I owe a great debt of gratitude for the knowledge
disseminated from the many associated web pages. But I am a man of
action. It is not enough for me to know that I am not alone, that there
are others with the same problems. I want to help solve these problems,
and being a technologist, I naturally look for technological remedies.

These boom cars are fascinating, a technological and social amazement.
For extraordinarily complicated reasons, these drivers feel compelled to
broadcast what they think about society and inflict their beliefs and
ideology on everyone who has ears, functioning or not. I would like to
offer a definition of a boom car as being a car containing loud speakers
that emit sounds that exceed the legal noise limit, and is in fact an
illegal assault vehicle while "booming" its ideological message.

A point of law: If a drunk driver crashes into an illegally-parked car
then the drunk is at fault because she is committing a crime at the time
of the accident. The drunk does not enjoy the same protection against
illegally parked cars as a law-abiding citizen because she is in the act
of committing a crime. When these boom car operators are engaged in
illegal activity, they should not, therefore, enjoy the same protection
of the law as law-abiding citizens if someone wants to defend themselves
against the illegal assault.

Another point of law: Using force to defend one's property from robbers,
for example, is just fine as long as one uses a kind of force that is
equal or less than the force used by the attacker. Sometimes the
attacker gets hurt in the process, but we call this self defense and the
defender is usually not prosecuted for causing this harm. Defense of
one's home is not the same as retribution. Chasing after a robber and
beating her up would be a retributive act, and strictly illegal. One
should be able to defend ones property from illegal activities instead
of standing around wringing ones hands and chattering angrily like a
squirrel in a tree.

Definition: Terrorism is random violence done to random victims for an
ideological cause. I would say that the operators of boom cars are the
terrorists, and those people suffering from these illegal,
undiscriminating, hateful attacks, I would call the victims. Let us
never again confuse the two.

It has been my experience that the law is impotent or uninterested. And,
as far as I can tell, it is the consensus of this list that adequate
laws either do exist or are not enforced, or both. Consciousness-raising
takes years, sometimes hundreds of years to make any real difference in
our lives. Therefore, the only way we can get any peace today, is to
attempt some kind of home defense against these illegal terrorist

Here comes the hard part.

1) If we are to use some kind of force to ward off these terrorist
attacks, are we morally and legally obligated to confine the force
entirely within the bounds of our own property even when the threat
originates from the outside? 

2) What kinds of force are acceptable and applicable? Acoustic energy?
Electromagnetic? Reflected light? Hard projectiles? An invitation to

3) How do we decide what is equal force if we are to protect ourselves
from this kind of terrorist attack?

If we can create a technological problem, then we should be able to
invent some technological solutions. In my opinion, a moral basis for
our defense needs to be clarified rather than left in obscurity by
confusing the issues and vaguely waving toward some possible wrong-doing
in the future. This leaves us only with an excuse to do nothing.

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