Who am I? Why am I here?


In the 1992 Vice-Presidential debate, Adm. James Stockdale, who was Ross Perot’s running mate, introduced himself by saying, “Who am I? Why am I here?” It was a rhetorical question that got a great reaction from an audience that up to that point had very little information to go on about the candidate, although he did not perform well thru the rest of the debate. Still, it was the most memorable statement of that event that I continue to think on even to this day. I do hope to leave a better overall impression with the membership here.

I have lived in the general area of Charlotte, North Carolina for over twenty years. I moved here from Georgia looking for a job in the IT industry, found that, and also settled down and got married. I have been a Libertarian since college, both philosophically and a member of the political party, even running for partisan office three times since 2000. I have been directly involved in both county and state parties and participated in petition drives to get the state party recertified before we got the retention laws changed.

That covers the “Who am I?”, at least in broad strokes. As for, “Why am I here?”, I became interested in the forum after following @jonstokes on Twitter. While I don’t always agree with his proposals, I think its important to have a site where we can hash out these kind of policy discussions in a civil, measured tone. Twitter and Facebook just are not suited for that task.

I’m interested in science, technology, and outer space. I love both good science fiction and horror stories. But one topic has motivated me more than any other over the past 30 years I have been politically active, and that has been the defense of our fundamental right of self defense as expressed in our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Even while in high school I was reading my father’s subscription of the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine. Going into college, I joined up with the student marksmanship club. I watched and read and listened to everything I could surrounding the debates over the Brady Act and the Assault Weapon Ban in the early 90s, and I wrote and spoke out against then whenever I could. I even played a tiny, tiny part in the move by the Georgia legislature to clarify their concealed carry laws in the mid 1990s. As the new millenia was coming around, and I was moving from GA to NC, I celebrated as the Brady waiting period gave way to the instant background check, and crime fell. The Assault Weapons Ban sunsetted after 10 years, and crime fell. State after state transitioned from no concealed carry to may issue to must issue to, in a few cases, not requiring a license at all, and crime fell. The Heller and MacDonald cases were won in the Supreme Court, and crime fell.

I admit it takes no small amount of hubris to think one more small voice can make a difference in the cacophony of opinions that blares out from all side on this and every other topic these days on the internet. I certainly won’t be as well remembered as Adm. Stockdale, infamously or otherwise. Yet I do hope to be able to at least positively add to the debate, and if I can get just one person to reevaluate their support for gun control, I’d consider that a success.

(Note: Most of this post is taken from my one and only posting on Medium. You can search for it if you like.)

(Additional note: I am hoping this topic will be used by other members to introduce themselves as well.)


Thanks for jumping in @cicero418, good to see you here!


Seconded. I’m going to add a bio, too, when I get a minute.


Very nice introduction cicero418!

I will answer the same questions, this looks like a good new member intro thread:

Who am I? At no point do I plan on using my real name on this forum. I have no idea what the political climate is like in the specific field I hope to go into and I have no plans on putting future employment prospects at risk. EDIT: To be honest, I think I’m worried about someone assuming I would hate them as a person for having views that differ from me on this issue, simply because of the impression they may have from “vocal” NRA-types.

Though I am not affiliated with any party and have no plans to be, the politics of gun laws in the US has become such a hot-button issue that I would rather not take my chances. I prefer to be judged on skillset and not on political views.

I am very interested in using unstructured data analysis techniques to see how the press tends to report on this subject and whether certain statistical errors are common in the way reporting is done. More on that in future posts!

Why am I here? I own no guns. I am not a member of the NRA. In fact, I would say I do not care much about “second amendment” issues in the context of constitutional law. For me, my interest is in cost/benefit assessments of firearms proliferation and/or laws, as well as the question of whether it’s even going to be possible to implement many restrictions on firearms in the future.

To cut to the chase:

  • I don’t think the NRA’s rhetoric is helpful to gun owners
  • I don’t even think they’re cost-effective at what they do
  • I don’t care about “constitutional” arguments very much
  • My focus is on statistical/economic analysis of gun laws
  • This forum/group looks promising thus far, so here I am

I will read through more of the existing forum posts before I begin posting more myself. There are a few things I would like feedback on before I begin working on them in detail. More to say later.

Quick Edit: To clarify the meaning behind my username, this article should give some context.

Apologies for giving such a God-awful website like Vice traffic.


@Reduce-Incarceration it’s great to have you, and I hope the forum can attract more folks like yourself who aren’t gun owners but who are interested in taking as objective a look as they can at this issue.


I’m really surprised there aren’t more people who take the view of “I may not own one of those but I don’t want law enforcement bogged down from doing anything that would stand a chance at reducing crime.”

On that subject, it would be wise to draw more attention to how social network analysis can be used for effective community intervention in the handful of zip codes where most firearm homicides take place: