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Journal: Everything about this story disgusts me

Journal by Ender_Stonebender

A few days ago, a local eight-year old girl was shot while sleeping at home. Although that's digusting and obviously a bad thing, that's not what set me off.

This story, in which the local police conflate "assault rifles" (a term that's been used in laws but has no legal definition) with automatic weapons, is what got me angry.

"Assault weapons are good for one purpose only," he said, "and that's to kill other human beings."

There are two problems with this statement. One: These weapons are useful for target shooting, or hunting vermin in farm country. Two: The same (flawed) logic can be applied to ANY weapon - other rifles, shotguns, handguns, swords, machetes, pointy knives. Which seems to be what happened in Britain, where civilians generally don't have guns (barring a few collector's items) and doctors have called for a ban on pointed knives.

Police recovered a bulletproof vest, two pistol grip 12-gauge shotguns, a .308-caliber hunting rifle with a scope, a .22-caliber revolver -- and two semi-automatic AR-15 rifles.

They recovered a clip and ammunition for the rifles. They also found two loaded clips for an AK-47 assault rifle, but not the weapon itself.

So they found ONE "clip" for TWO rifles? Something doesn't add up here. Oh, that's right, the cost of magazines soared last year on fears that Obama would reinstate a ban on high-capacity magazines. I bet one of the confiscating officers just added another 30-round magazine to his personal collection.

"It almost seems like a status thing," Sullivan said. "If you're a big, bad drug dealer, you have to have an automatic weapon in your house."

Big problems here: AR-15s are, by definition, not automatic weapons. They are semi-automatic - that is, when the trigger is pulled, one round is fired and the next is put in postion to be fired; the trigger must be released and pulled a second time before the second round is fired. Automatic weapons fire the next round without the need to release the trigger - and continue to do so until the trigger is released or their are no more rounds in the magazine. An "automatic AR-15" is not an AR-15, it's an M-16! (I'm not even going to start on the magazine/clip thing.)

"You don't need a 50-round clip to go hunting," Harmon said. "I'm not against responsible gun ownership at all. I defend the people's right to defend themselves, but nobody needs an assault weapon to protect themselves."

Who said they're for self-defense? Maybe gun collectors just have a hard-on for military equipment and this is as close as they can get.

Gun enthusiasts, collectors and legal owners would disagree. People like Bill Bunting, an influential Pasco County Republican and certified NRA instructor. He pointed out that the suspects arrested in Sunday's murder all have criminal records -- and they're barely adults.

"Unfortunately passions are running high and I can understand where the chief is coming from," Bunting said. "But people need to take heed ... and find out why these kids weren't sitting in a juvenile facility.

"It's not the gun, it's the person."

Damn right, Mr. Bunting! That final sentence is the one that should have led the article. A gun is an inanimate object; with no one touching it, it is little more than an expensive paperweight. It it no more good or evil than your television, or your car, or a pen. It is what people do with these things that is good or evil.

So those of you out there that own guns: Don't use them for evil. Use them for good if you must. But try not to get into situations where you need a gun at all.

User Journal

Journal: This is why we browse at +2 3

Journal by Ender_Stonebender

Honestly, I had a hard time deciding how to moderate this. Troll, flamebait, off-topic? It's all of them! Not to mention completely stupid. I wish that Slashdot would run a yearly poll to let us pick a new moderation option - the options available are insufficient to describe things at the level of detail I'd like.

User Journal

Journal: Friends/Foes update 1

Journal by Ender_Stonebender

Not that anyone cares, but:

RickTheRed - thanks for adding me to your friends list. Comments are enabled, so if you stop by, let me know why you did it.

t_allardyce - welcome to my foes list! Want to know how you got there? Okay, it was this: "Executive, Legislative, Judicial; more like: Bureaucracy, Helping, Terrorists. A TRUE PATRIOT will do what HE is told". The first sentence is true, but the second is not. A TRUE PATRIOT will not need to be told what to do; he will take the initiative and do what is needed himself without prompting. Take this idiotic sig off your posts and I might even move you over to my Friends list, since I agree with several other opinions you've expressed here on /.

--Ender

User Journal

Journal: Stuck at work on a Saturday

Journal by Ender_Stonebender

So I'm stuck at work today; and today is Saturday.

"What?" you say. "I thought you had a real job that didn't make you work Saturdays!" Well, most of the time, it doesn't. But this is the Holiday Shopping Season, which is the busiest time for credit card processing. And I work for a credit card processing company. Company policy requires that we have at least one person from each group available to solve problems between 8 AM and 8 PM on weekdays and noon to 8 PM on Saturday. As soon as our busiest day (transaction-wise, not total-amount-of-money-moved-wise) falls on Sunday, someone is going to insist that we have someone working noon to 8 PM on Sunday as well. And, conscientous guy that I am, I'll have to agree with them, because they'll be right, it is important to have someone around to solve issues in this critical period for merchants.

--Ender

User Journal

Journal: Credit card processing 7

Journal by Ender_Stonebender

Okay, here's the deal: Using your credit card is easy. That's because MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express have worked very hard to make sure you didn't have to do much.

Here's the mnemonic for remembering how it all works: M.A.N.I.C.

That stands for Merchant, Acquirer, Network, Issuer, Customer.

Merchants are, obviously, the people with things they want you to buy. They obtain (buy, rent, lease, whatever) a credit card terminal or e-commerce solution, which is then programmed to connect to an acquirer. (Custom and semi-custom solutions are quite common in this industry.)

Acquirers are generally banks. They provide a group of merchants with connectivity to the credit cards networks, as well as certain other services, such as certifying terminal applications, reporting functions, etc.

Networks are...well...credit card banks. They connect the various banks to one another using their own message standards. (Note that in the case of Discover and I believe American Express, the network and the issuer are the same entity.)

Issuers are the banks that hand out credit cards. They connect to the network(s) and keep track of how much money you have available on your card. (Not how much you've spent. They may not know that, due to situations like restaurant tipping and the rules for dealing with CCs at hotels.) They also send you the credit card bills and charge you interest.

Customers are people buying stuff. That's you.

So here's what happens: Customer walks in Merchant's shop and choose PrettyShinyThing to buy. Merchant rings up merchandise, Customer forks over card. Merchant swipes card through terminal. Terminal verifies that card in not totally bogus (First six digits of credit card number are in a range known to be "valid", check digit is correct, expiration date is not in the past, etc.) Terminal sends authorization request to Acquirer. Acquirer does some other checking on the authorization request, reformats the message and sends it to the appropriate network. Network forwards it to the appropriate issuer. Issuer decides if Customer has enough funds left in their Open To Buy. If so, that amount is deducted from Open To Buy and a response is sent to the network authorizing the transaction. Network routes this back to Acquirer. Acquirer reformats and routes back to the Merchant's terminal. The terminal then prints a receipt for Customer sign. Depending on the setup, the Merchant may need to send in a settlement request at the end of the day, or in some cases this may be unnecessary.

So that's the deal with card credit processing. And I bet thought that it was simple.

Brain damage is all in your head. -- Karl Lehenbauer

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