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Jay Austin, Tiny House Innovator, Killed in Attack Claimed by ISIS

Austin was part of a group murdered in Tajikistan.

Jay Austin, 29, was killed along with his girlfriend and two others while cycling across Tajikistan. ISIS has claimed credit for the attacks. Austin was the eponymous subject of Jay Austin's Beautiful, Illegal Tiny House, a video I produced for Reason in 2014.

According to the U.S. embassy in Tajikistan, a car slammed into a group of seven cyclists. Assailants exited the car and stabbed and shot the survivors. Three other cyclists were also injured. Euronews published amateur video that purports to show the attack.

Authorities tracked down the car during a search operation. After a chase, one suspect was arrested and four were killed. The U.S. embassy praised the swift response by the Tajik government.

I found Austin a pleasure to interview and I admired his independent ways. When I first met him in 2014, he had been working at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for four years. He understood the nuts and bolts of housing policy and harbored a strong sense of disenchantment with the federal bureaucracy, calling public housing "a failed experiment" and HUD "The Death Star."

Austin resisted HUD's stodgy, institutional culture. He wore chucks and jeans at the office, in defiance of the standard suit and tie worn by other federal employees. "I'm going to be myself or I'm not going to work here," he said he told his employer. They kept him on.

A few months after meeting him, Austin began traveling, taking leaves of absence for months at a time. Two years after that, he quit HUD, leaving behind the 145-square-foot tiny house he built and the community of tiny houses he co-founded to become a full-time traveler. He lived frugally, often backpacking alone through remote parts of the globe, and he blogged and Instagrammed his adventures enthusiastically.

"Everyone should try it at some point in their life," Austin told me while sipping his favorite St. Germain cocktail in the hot tub behind his tiny house on a snowy winter's day. "A month, a half-year, a week without a structure, without a stable place to call home."

Austin was keenly aware how his upbringing in foster care shaped his outlook on life. He learned self sufficiency at an early age; by the time he was in middle school, he felt like an adult. "As a ward of the state," he said, "I was an inherent non-conformist."

Jay Austin, you are missed.

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  • John||

    Terrible thing. But sadly, there are a lot of people in the world that you don't want to meet.

  • Juice||

    Right? Cyclists are the worst.

  • John||

    Yeah, pretty much.

  • perlchpr||

    According to the U.S. embassy in Tajikistan, a car slammed into a group of seven cyclists. Assailants exited the car and stabbed and shot the survivors.

    Were they riding in the middle of the goddamn road? Because this may just be a perfectly normal reaction that ISIS is taking credit for.

  • TLBD||

    You're an asshole for making me laugh.

  • John||

    You would think the State Department would be discouraging American cyclists from traveling abroad in the name of trying to maintain goodwill towards Americans. Is there a worse ambassador for the country than a cyclist?

  • ||

    Not just cyclists, hipster cyclists.

    It's both a blessing and a curse that other parts of American society aren't as brazenly international. They wouldn't have stopped to shoot/stab rednecks for fear of encountering pork products and had they done this to an actual biker gang, there would be no bodies for ISIS to take credit for.

  • John||

    A lot of the reason why the rest of the world so often underestimates the US and thinks they can get away with starting a war with us is that the only Americans they see are effete rich people and hipsters. As Rick in Casablanca said, "there are parts of New York I would advise against invading." The rest of the world never seems to understand that.

  • Longtobefree||

    Because there are no survivors to carry back the tale of horror.

  • perlchpr||

    I can accept that judgement. :D

  • Robert||

    That's what I'm thinking of whoever gunned down Bush's heart doc, who appeared to have made a left turn on a red light & nearly cut him off.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I appreciate world travelers, but for safety's sake stay out of any place whose name ends in stan. Or bama. Or siana.

  • Just Say'n||

    Louisiana hardest hit

  • JFree||

    Tell that to Sianabamastan

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Excellent!

  • ||

    Or siana.

    Indiana's on the border. You can visit, but don't expect wedding pizza.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    or -y

  • Plow Horse||

    Cycling through an Islamic shit-hole on the other side of the world. What could possibly go wrong?

  • SQRLSY One||

    Butt Islam is a religion of PEACE!!!!

  • John||

    The sad fact is that he probably believed that and it was the last thing that went through his head before the car ran over him.

  • Just Say'n||

    You guys are unoriginal. Besmirching a whole faith over some wackos. If you wanted to be creative you could have said something like "He wouldn't have died if we just took in those ISIS refugees"

  • SQRLSY One||

    Point acknowledged!

    I wonder what the per-capita rate is for how many suicide bombers there are for Christianity, versus the rate for Islamicists?

    On the other hand, discriminating on the basis of nominal religion is indeed odious! I would dearly LOVE to see Donald's walls and ICE-torturing-of -illegal-humans-torturing budgets to be largely re-directed to a crash effort to develop (or refine, the parts are already here) affordable and reliable brain-scan "tech" to tell the sheep from the goats at the border. Violent shitheads need not apply, and religion could be ignored!

  • ||

    The notion that you can affordably and reliably detect violent tendencies via brain scan is a religion.

  • SQRLSY One||

    That's what they said about moon rockets and plate techtonics and a bunch of other things way back when...

  • Shirley Knott||

    They also said it about phrenology, horoscopes, and a bunch of other things.
    Fmri is nearly a fraud, no other technologies do better.

  • ||

    Fmri is nearly a fraud, no other technologies do better.

    Nearly a fraud, in no way apply to the general population in any sort of real time, and is arguably nullified premise-wise by empirical data. A violent felony conviction and, independently, an immediate family member with violent history/felony conviction a more reliable indicator of future violence than FMRI. Unless you're going to assert that simple exposure violent family members can induce brain morphology changes *well* after cohabitation/exposure, then the idea that you'll catch them all with brain scans is bunk on premise.

  • Grakkus||

    "Besmirching a whole faith over some wackos"

    Virtue signal harder.

    Islam is a primitive, garbage religion and Muslims are fucking trash. Yes all of them. Fuck you and anyone else who defends those pieces of shit.

    Ya ya, you know some good ones, except you don't, you're just lying.

  • lap83||

    Islam sucks but not all Muslims are bad people, some have just not seen the light yet. They're kind of like liberals. Some are really just decent people who have been duped

  • Grakkus||

    All of them.

  • lap83||

    Also considering how some Muslim countries treat apostates, I can't help but feel a bit bad for them

  • Cloudbuster||

    If they saw the light, they'd renounce Islam.

  • Wanderer||

    I can agree with your point.

    But then, is there any valid reason to accept non-apostate muslims in the US ?

  • AZ Gunowner||

    Islam is evil.

    Any Muslim who affirmatively claims to be Muslim either doesn't know what his/her religion commands or believes it.

    If he tells you that Islam is not evil then he either doesn't know what his "religion" commands or is lying to you about it.

    The so-called reformers are mostly lying about because even they refuse to come to grips with what the "religion" commands.

    Any civilized human being upon learning just exactly how evil Islam is would renounce it on the spot.

  • ||

    Islam is a primitive, garbage religion and Muslims are fucking trash. Yes all of them.

    Good thing we have good, old-fashioned ass-backward bigoted American rednecks to put them in their place!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Funny how some people admit there are good Americans and refuse to admit that life is considered cheap outside the USA.

  • Mcgoo95||

    "Funny how some people admit there are good Americans and refuse to admit that life is considered cheap outside the USA," says the guy who thinks its okay to murder someone for being pushed.

  • khm001||

    "Good thing we have good, old-fashioned ass-backward bigoted American rednecks to put them in their place!"

    This is the same anti-American bigotry of the dead dumbass in this article that got him and his girlfriend killed.

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

    I generally find most people to be pleasant. But I'll grant that some groups have more than their quota of assholes.

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

    Which faith is getting besmirched? Islam or progressivism?

  • khm001||

    The whole religion sucks; ISIS faithfully represents the religion. Not a single muslim run country exists non-muslims or even most muslims want to live in.

  • Fats of Fury||

    Butt Islam? Is that a slam on the way they pray?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Some people want to allow any of those Islamic shit-holers to enter the USA.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Fats of Fury||

    Well, it'll clear the bicycle lanes for sure.

  • 10mm||

    hahahaha!!

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    Folks! We have a winner!!! HAHAHAHA!!!!

  • croaker||

    Proves that stupid is sometimes fatal.

  • dave b.||

    You people do realize that Tajikistan is in Central Asia on the silk road, right?

  • ||

    There're Muslims there, therefore it is a shithole full of baby-rapists.

    It is known.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Evidently there are murderous religious fundamentalists that run down bikers.

  • ||

    Evidently there are is at least this one murderous religious fundamentalists group of people you know nothing about other than what you've been told by the state-run media in an incredibly corrupt country that ran down bikers this one time.

    FTFY

  • Cloudbuster||

    The refrain of NAMALT grows increasingly strained with each daily act of Muslim terrorism around the world.

  • perlchpr||

    Is that "Not All Muslims Are Literally Terrorists"?

  • ||

    The refrain of NAMALT grows increasingly strained with each daily act of Muslim terrorism around the world.

    Well, I happen to know a few Muslims who have never bombed anything, so that would seem like pretty solid empirical proof of NAMALT.

    Tajikistan is

    1) extremely poor
    2) a politically unstable dictatorship
    3) former Soviet, and thus run-rampant with corruption
    4) traditionally one of the weakest, yet geographically most defensible regions populated by an Iranian group (the Tajiks) that has been surrounded by hostile Turks (Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Uighers, etc.) for eons, and thus is highly, highly insular
    5) recently the site of a nasty civil war that could re-erupt at any moment

    But let's stride past all those reasons why the place may be roughly as dangerous as, say, Northern Mexico for a cycling trip and just go straight to "Fucking Muslims!"

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Square = Circle|8.1.18 @ 2:54PM|#
    Evidently there are is at least this one murderous religious fundamentalists group of people you know nothing about other than what you've been told by the state-run media in an incredibly corrupt country that ran down bikers this one time.
    Evidently there are murderous religious fundamentalists that run down bikers.

    FTFY

  • ||

    Hope you didn't strain anything leaping to that conclusion - I know you're no spring chicken!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I'll be fine, as long as I have my ID.

    Its clear that you dont travel much around the World or have been to dangerous places.

    America is great for being so safe.

  • ||

    Yes there are lots of dangerous places. Like Mexico. Or Venezuela. Guess they must all be full of Muslims. Thanks for the education!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We get it, Muslims can do no wrong and are the danger equivalent of Mexicans and Venezuelans.

  • ||

    Muslims can do no wrong and are the danger equivalent of Mexicans and Venezuelans

    You don't think Mexico or Venezuela are dangerous places? Do you not read the news?

  • billdeserthills||

    Turns out cartel members aren't any better behaved than intolerant 'refugees'

  • dave b.||

    All of those Russian speaking Asian baby rapists

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Evidently, Russians did rape and/or kill babies in Afghanistan.

  • dave b.||

    Which has literally zero to do with this conversation. Not to mention that these are not Russians, they are Asians who speak Russian. And the Russians in Afghanistan weren't Muslim.

  • ||

    What is all this nonsense you talk? There are only two races of human: American and Un-american.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    There is a reason why I read these...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Evidently, there are only Muslims and non-Muslims.

  • ||

    Evidently, there are only Muslims and non-Muslims.

    Is that a response to me? Because if so, it doesn't make any sense.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If it does not make any sense to YOU, then it was in reply to your comment that made no sense.

  • perlchpr||

    Evidently, there are only Muslims and non-Muslims.

    Well, I mean, in the most literal sense, this is true.

  • ||

    Well, I mean, in the most literal sense, this is true.

    Fair enough.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Whoa! You need to get some comparative terminology there.

    American humans and un-American sub-humans

  • John||

    Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school has been officially recognised by the government since 2009.[97] Tajikistan considers itself a secular state with a Constitution providing for freedom of religion. The Government has declared two Islamic holidays, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, as state holidays. According to a US State Department release and Pew research group, the population of Tajikistan is 98% Muslim.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tajikistan#Religion

    It is a Muslim country.

  • ||

    Yes. It is a Muslim country. We are in agreement.

  • John||

    Yes. And it is a Muslim country. Why does it being in Central Asia mean it isn't a Muslim country? Afganistan is in Central Asia and on the Silk Road. Muslim doesn't mean Arab.

  • ||

    Why does it being in Central Asia mean it isn't a Muslim country?

    Why do you think what he is saying is "It's okay, there aren't any Muslims there" rather than "why wouldn't you want to cycle through one of the most scenic and historically significant and fascinating trade corridors in human history?"

  • dave b.||

    Finally, someone gets it. It's not like I don't know it's a Muslim country.

  • ||

    In fairness, a lot of people hear "I wouldn't mind going there" as "I don't believe there are any Muslims there."

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I never hear that.

    Boom! Countered your anecdote.

  • John||

    You wouldn't want to cycle through there because it is a remote, Muslim country and likely to have people who mean you harm. It is a shame. The rise of radical Islam has made large sections of the world off limits to westerners. They no longer do the Paris to Dakar Rally because of the threat of Islamic radicals. That sucks. But it is the way it is.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    O=[] goes to Tajikistan all the time. He can introduce you to villages full of Muslim residents.

    He never has anything bad happen to him and neither will you.

    Its very safe and Islam is the religion of peace.

  • ||

    Now you're just flailing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I was following your lead.

  • ThomasD||

    So is the northern part of Afghanistan.

    What is your point?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lets open the borders and let in anyone who wants to enter the USA!

    We might not get murderous Islamic fundamentalists who want to run down innocent bicyclists.

  • ||

    Since we don't care about the welfare state or borders, let's just subsidize the colonization of the ME by rednecks, hillbillies, biker gangs, white nationalists, fundamentalists cults, and violent minority ethnic gangs. As long as the President doesn't declare war, it's just a libertarianism-need-not-apply cultural issue.

  • Hooha||

    "We might not get murderous Islamic fundamentalists who want to run down innocent bicyclists"

    Then why let them in? The Bay Area could be driveable again within months!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I never thought of it THAT way!

  • Sevo||

    I'm reminded of 'speed-climbers' who try to out-race each other climbing rock walls and get careless about belaying with completely predictable results.
    Suffice to say, my sympathy is greater in some circumstances than others...

  • TJM||

    Very sad. Call me crazy, but it seems the world offers far better places to explore than Tajikistan, i.e. anywhere near Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.

  • ||

    Horrific. Sad for those people. RIP.

    But why do people go cycling - of all things - in such places?

    If it were me - and it is my plan - you go to cycling meccas like Italy, France, Spain and even Belgium. Shit, even the United States and Canada have breathtaking routes.

    You not only get to cycle, but you do it in peace in some of the most beautiful terrain and scenery in the world.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I think there's often a pull with young people to sometimes go to the most exotic locale possible-- to be outside of the tourist realm.

    And I think the "remote" possibility that things can and sometimes do go horribly wrong actually adds to the sense of adventure.

  • Sevo||

    "And I think the "remote" possibility that things can and sometimes do go horribly wrong actually adds to the sense of adventure."

    The woman was not a 'teacher'. She was a professional student at Cal, in her early 30s, at the time, majoring in some 'studies' or other.
    Last I heard of her, she had written a play about the experience (article in the SF Chron). I'm guessing the two guys represented the audience; never heard another word about it or her.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Sure, who wants to go to a hip cocktail party and bring up their bike tour in the Poconos? Gotta have some meat to it to impress.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    ^ This.

  • Homple||

    Your choices are insufficiently exotic. No Cool Person cred to be found in those places.

  • ||

    I'm in the minority o people that doesn't think it's 'cool' to go to dangerous places; or even do dangerous things.

    Meh to me.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Don't you eat Poutine? That's pretty dangerous.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I had tater tot poutine at the county fair last night, and I'm pretty sure it's about to corrode it's way out via a newly created orifice.

  • ||

    The part that baffles me is the willing defenseless nature of such an excursion. It's like a rape fantasy. Killed in a gun battle in backpacking on the border of Iran I get. Unarmed, pantomiming pro-Iran/anti-US propaganda at the point of a gun? The lady thou dost protest too much, methinks.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its Darwinism, really.

    I am not against the tiny house thing but it was turned into a lefty thing and this guy almost got a Nobel in economics for it (I'm joking but barely).

    Anyone who has traveled not as a pompous American, but a traveler that actually looks at what they visit, knows that life is cheap outside the USA. There are far magnitudes more people outside American that will kill you for some reason that you are unaware of and take your shit.

    Many Americans think just because you are safe in America, you are safe everywhere in the World. They live in a bubble. I like America being safe, which is why I try and keep it like that.

  • JFree||

    Anyone who has traveled not as a pompous American, but a traveler that actually looks at what they visit, knows that life is cheap outside the USA. There are far magnitudes more people outside American that will kill you for some reason that you are unaware of and take your shit.

    Well I for one want to thank you for sharing those insights. Just knowing that you had to spend years traveling thru and enduring the shitholes of the world - probably not even bathing or escaping to some hotel - but persisting in wading thru the deepest and most dangerous shitholes while observing it all - makes me realize how hard won those insights are.

    I want to apologize to you for my initial reaction in thinking that I was merely reading the rantings of a rather dumb baboon. Again thank you.

  • Mcgoo95||

    Your initial reaction was correct.

  • Mcgoo95||

    He's like the anti-Tony and just as annoying.

  • dave b.||

    Tajikistan is in the mountains of Central Asia

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That is the same as boring old Canada where you dont have to worry about getting killed by ISIS members.

    Well, maybe you do have to worry about ISIS in Canada now.

  • ||

    Because of that fuckstain Trudeau and his piece of lint brain.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I feel bad for ya Rufus. The numerous times that I have been to Canada, I have met the nicest people who love beer, food, and hockey (not in that order).

    Not sure how the Socialist Canadians get so much on the books to steal from the productive Canadians.

  • John||

    Yes it is. It is also a Muslim country. Do you not think Muslims only live in the Middle East?

  • dave b.||

    Why do you keep parroting that it's in a Muslim country as if we didn't know that? Is cycling supposed to be limited to Europe and the Americas?

  • John||

    Sadly yes. You can no longer travel safely or freely as a Westerner in large sections of the Muslim world. I don't understand why you can't see that. This guy was murdered by ISIS for God's sake. I would love to cycle through eastern Turkey and Northern Iraq. But I won't be doing that any time soon.

  • ThomasD||

    Clearly this guy was someone who liked living outside the ordinary, and liked being seen as such.

    Also, that region has some spectacular scenery with a tremendous amount of ancient history - the last Sassanid rulers probably traveled that route when they fled the Muslim invasion and became part of the Tang royal court.

    Personally I'd love to go see the Great Wall of Gorgan, but being neither young, nor single, nor childless, there are a whole lot of things that I'd like to do, but probably never will.

  • Moo Cow||

    Wait. Didnt we just defeat ISIS?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Unlike Boosh, that Mission is NOT Accomplished.

    Hey, did you hear that the USA defeated the Nazis? Oh wait, the Nazis are still around and trying to take your shit like Socialists do?

  • majil||

    So, the guy was an idiot is what you are saying ? Could have done it with a lot less words.
    The brains on of this guy became a stain on his parents mattress.
    Who says, "Hey ! let's go ride bikes around a bunch of filthy grungy little boy raping killers ! What fun ! "
    "But we will look cool and hip doing it and people in Starbucks will snap their fingers when our names are mentioned "!

    With people like these idiots ,no wonder the muslim wackos are not afraid of us

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    Good to see a fellow misanthrope in the house.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    What a fraud. Why would one misanthrope want to come across another misanthrope?

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Misanthrophilia?

  • majil||

    I don't dislike people , i just feel better when they're not around .
    ( nod to Bukowski )

  • Paloma||

    They need to see the original The Hills Have Eyes.

  • JFree||

    Authorities tracked down the car during a search operation. After a chase, one suspect was arrested and four were killed. The U.S. embassy praised the swift response by the Tajik government.

    Sounds kind of normal - to us outside that country. But looking at a local reporting of that (warning - slow loading, in Russian, some gruesome images), my guess is:

    a)they prob did get the guilty people

    b)any real notion of why they actually did it is bogus cuz extracted thru dubious/excessive means. My guess is it is more an internal civil war within Tajikistan (where those cyclists end up as soft proxies for the opposition to foreign military presence - French, Russian, US - there - not anything 'globally' relevant).

    c)the US is clearly siding with the Tajik state (dictatorial, corrupt, harshly secular) - knows that blowback is expected - and deceives Americans who might consider traveling there with their travel advisory.

  • Mcgoo95||

    How dare you come here and make reasonable, totaly plausible assertions that it could be something other than bloodthirsty Moslims. Shame on you.....

  • Ken Shultz||

    Terrible tragedy.

    Condolences to all his friends and family.

  • jjjjj||

    Coffee was spilled on my shirt this morning. ISIS has already claimed credit for it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Is it the Java ISIS cell?

  • Cloudbuster||

    My condolences regarding his death, but

    1.) Cycling across Tajikistan is fucking stupid.
    2.) Tiny houses are ridiculous.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Austin began traveling, taking leaves of absence for months at a time.

    Ah, the wonders of living off tax dollars.

  • Juice||

    cycling across Tajikistan

    Y tho?

  • dave b.||

    Why not?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Why not? So what is this story about?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Islamic religious nuts cut this American's head off while shooting an ISIS video ran some bicyclists over and then stabbed the survivors to death.

  • Longtobefree||

    Why not?
    Civil war
    Thieves
    US hating mobs
    ISIS
    etc

  • Hooha||

    Didn't read the article, huh?

  • ||

    Why not?

    People got killed there, man! That doesn't happen just anywhere. It takes Muslims for that to happen.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Yes, Tajikistan is pretty much identical to Ohio Amish country in terms of risk of violence.

  • ||

    Yes, Tajikistan is pretty much identical to Ohio Amish country in terms of risk of violence.

    Would you go cycling through rural Northern Mexico?

    If not, is it because of the Muslims?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Mexico is a 3rd World country like Tajikistan.

    In 3rd World countries there is more risk for Americans traveling.

  • ||

    In 3rd World countries there is more risk for Americans traveling.

    Exactly

    Do you see my point now?

    Probably not.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Mexico is more dangerous than the USA for most Americans.

    Same goes for Tajikistan.

    Same goes for most places in the World.

    Muslims dont like Americans, generally. Much of Islam is at war with non-Muslim countries.

  • ||

    Mexico is more dangerous than the USA for most Americans.

    Same goes for Tajikistan.

    There you go. See? You get that Mexico isn't a Muslim country, right?

  • AZ Gunowner||

    Yes, many places in the world are definitely not safe.

    But in Muslims countries you have not just the normal risk from violent criminals you also have the risk from a "religion" that preaches violence against non-believers.

    This was a mixed-gender group cycling down the road. I'm guessing the girls weren't wearing full-body bags or even headscarves.

    That's like catnip to serious Muslims.

  • losmazeman||

    ^ This.

  • JFree||

    Northern Mexico is OK re the Muslims. But central Mexico is being overrun by Muslims. And Mexicans too. It's like a giant smelly place with a bunch of brown people yelling and looking angry in a foreign language. And doing unspeakable things to goats. And did I mention that it smells too. Like a giant shithole fueled by farting beaners and curry.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I know O=[] I just got run down on my bicycle and stabbed to death in Georgia USA.

    To bad, I was not carrying my pistol that I usually carry concealed in Tajikistan.

  • John||

    Everyone should try it at some point in their life," Austin told me while sipping his favorite St. Germain cocktail in the hot tub behind his tiny house on a snowy winter's day. "A month, a half-year, a week without a structure, without a stable place to call home."

    I wish dumb asses like this guy would ever realize that they can only do that because millions of other people do have structure and do things like keep the lights on and police the streets and the million other things that are necessary for the civilization this dumb ass takes for granted to exist.

    It is not that he shouldn't be able to do this. If he can afford it and wants to do it, good for him. It is the conceit that everyone should do it and that such a thing would even be possible that makes such people so annoying.

  • H. Farnham||

    As someone who has and provides structure for my family and myself to keep the lights on, I find the overall sentiment of your comment somewhat troubling.

    As far as I can tell, this person was not violating the rights of others in any way, but his right to life was ruthlessly cut short. I don't think it requires a response of bleeding-heart compassion from everybody, but to call him a dumb ass seems anathema to the spirit and principles of libertarianism.

    I don't know much about the guy, but it seems he's worked hard, innovated, and contributed to society and civilization. Why should we begrudge him speaking about the virtues of going off the grid for varied lengths of time. A week without structure is possible for almost anybody to attain if they really want to.

    I say good on him for pursuing his interests and freedoms, despite the risk and uncertainty involved. I wish society in general would move more in the direction of embracing risk and freedom.

  • JFree||

    Well said

  • Hooha||

    People shouldn't be mourned, let alone applauded, for making unnecessarily self-destructive decisions. Least of all if those decisions entail forcing their most insufferable cultural norms on a society that has no patience for that stupid bullshit.

    Did he deserve to die for these bad choices? Of course not. The people who killed those cyclists are human garbage and should be burned alive to make an example, but nobody should lose any sleep over the violent deaths of people who make a hobby of skydiving into volcanoes.

  • ||

    Least of all if those decisions entail forcing their most insufferable cultural norms on a society that has no patience for that stupid bullshit.

    What in heaven are you even talking about?

  • Hooha||

    I see you don't live anywhere road cyclists are a regular phenomenon. That, or you are one yourself, which would explain a lot of your apparent naiveté and confusion.

    In either case, it would be difficult to explain to you, and I doubt you're asking in good faith, so I'm gonna' take a pass on this bait.

  • ||

    I live in the Bay Area.

    So, let me see if I can suss out what you're saying.

    This guy was riding a bicycle when he got killed. People annoy you by riding bicycles and getting in your way. Therefore people who ride bicycles are Progressives. Therefore, this guy was a Progressive. Therefore, he deserved what happened to him.

    Am I getting that right?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    No he was dumb and thought his Lefty street cred would be his protective underwear.

    Muslim religious folks murdered him.

    The Silent Majority would like to prevent that from happening in the USA.

  • ||

    No he was dumb and thought his Lefty street cred would be his protective underwear.

    And you know this because ______.

  • Mcgoo95||

    Because he's captain assume. It's all he does, in case you haven't noticed.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Hey Mcgoo95, how's it going captain ass?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its always the same story when these people are victims of foreign incidents.

    "I looked American, I acted American, and only spoke English".

    "Somehow the bad guys found me".

  • Mcgoo95||

    Better to stay huddled in the corner of your home carressing your gun, in that case.

  • H. Farnham||

    Should we not have applauded Neil Armstrong or Amelia Earhart (different outcomes) for their self-destructive decisions? Does the scale of their achievements and endeavors make it ok to celebrate them.

    You're entitled to your opinion, and I don't harbor any animosity toward you for it. Personally, I choose to admire all those who face risk, accept consequences, and ask nothing from others in the course of pursuing their goals.

  • Hooha||

    Yes, their ambition and intent matters. Those explorers were pushing the boundaries of human achievement - I believe - on behalf of mankind. Tiny house guy was attempting to achieve some dangerous personal goal with no discernible value to anyone other than himself. The comparison is insulting to Armstrong and Earhart, honestly.

    I think it's great he lived fearlessly - I get what you're saying and I agree to an extent. Too many, myself included, are easily moved to inaction by fear. But when the scorpion stings the frog, it's absurd to laud the frog for giving the scorpion a chance.

    Unless the frog was trying to get to the moon for all frogkind; Then yes, there's a certain nobility in that, as opposed to raw, abject foolishness.

  • H. Farnham||

    Maybe the frog was only trying to find a better pond for himself. Is there not nobility in that?

  • Hooha||

    He doesn't need to give the scorpion a ride to do that. That's why I was very specific about 'unnecessary' risk.

  • ||

    Yes, their ambition and intent matters.

    Ambition, intent, *originality*, *objectivity*, and success. Armstrong and Earhart aren't (exactly) famous because they just decided to go for a jaunt in a rocketship or airplane one day and there's heaps of evidence that they intended to complete their goals, come back alive, do it again, and aid others in doing the same. The latter parts of this is the lifestyle that Austin kinda-sorta actively opposed or shunned and, as a result, it's not entirely clear that the plan wasn't to get himself killed. It's fine if you want to live life as a gypsy or vagabond but that kinda definitively means that people don't have to shed tears at your failure and passing.

  • kcuch||

    I have no idea why a dilettante like Earhart is celebrated as some kind of hero. She took her daddy's plane for a ride with some guy who told her where to go. She founded no new air routes, or landing strips. She built no navigation beacons and discovered no new lands or civilizations. She added nothing to navigation or aeronautics or even to wimmens (where are the wimmens flight schools she must have championed (she of course championed no such thing). She didn't accomplish her goal. She apparently was a crappy aviator.

    Like this cyclist and the war zone mountain hiking trio (sounded like such a great idea at the time) she was a spoiled brat kid spending other people's money for a hoot.

  • ||

    As far as I can tell, this person was not violating the rights of others in any way, but his right to life was ruthlessly cut short.
    ...
    I don't know much about the guy, but it seems he's worked hard, innovated, and contributed to society and civilization.

    It's almost like you didn't read the article. He worked for HUD. Until he just kinda stopped. In the interim, he had the breathtaking idea of 'tiny houses'. He didn't actually invent tiny houses as popup campers, mobile homes, trailer parks, vans, efficiencies, etc. had all been around for centuries and at least half a dozen other architects and homebuilders had launched the 'Tiny House' movement before Austin was involved. What he invented, sort of... within HUD, was a buzzword to help his small, cheap, affordable housing ideas catch on at HUD. It's not clear whether his progressive lack of attendance was the result or cause of the dismissal of his ideas but, ultimately, they seem to have been largely dismissed. On the coattails of this unbridled success, he chose to go cycling in Tajikistan. Had he survived, he may've gone on to develop some kooky political ideas and become a highly-renowned Jr. Senator from Vermont.

  • Mcgoo95||

    Or he might've just been the guy who sold tiny homes and liked to see remote parts of the world with his friends.

  • Cloudbuster||

    A good summation of a life poorly spent.

  • John||

    Which part of "if he can afford this and wants to do it, good for him" did you not understand? It is not that he shouldn't be able to do this. It is his conceit in thinking everyone should or could that is the problem. He did this because he was lucky enough to be born in a society that functions and where large numbers of people don't do what he advises and in doing so provide him with the luxury of being able to do this. Good for him but people like this guy should understand that.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties dont like when Socialists (including religious socialists) in other countries think non-locals are not sharing their bourgeoisie bicycle wealth and take it from them.

    Good thing all those flyover states provide soldiers, sailors, and airmen to protect the USA from hordes of people looking to take American stuff.

  • ||

    It is the conceit that everyone should do it and that such a thing would even be possible that makes such people so annoying.

    Did you miss where this guy grew up in foster homes and was travelling on a shoe-string budget?

  • ||

    Did you miss where this guy grew up in foster homes and was travelling on a shoe-string budget?

    You're misreading it in favor of Austin and/or against John's (supposed) meaning. I have three kids and a wife; forcing them/us to live on a shoestring budget like foster kids is arguably immoral.

  • ||

    Being more verbose; bachelors should be free to bachelor it up, but just because everyone else around them isn't bacheloring it up the way they are doesn't mean they're living in some kind of morally-culpable material excess. If the guy enjoys a shoestring budget and has the time/ability to raise mixed-gender kids in a one-room house (or no kids at all), it's his house and kids to do with as he pleases. The same way it's my house to add individual rooms for each kid. The main difference being, I'm not drawing a paycheck for (not) espousing my one-room-per-kid policy at HUD.

  • John||

    Well said. That is exactly what I meant. the other thing is that if everyone bachelored it up, we wouldn't have a civilization and this guy wouldn't have the luxury of doing this.

  • ||

    I have three kids and a wife; forcing them/us to live on a shoestring budget like foster kids is arguably immoral.

    I must have missed the part where he advocated abandoning your family to do it.

    How does "everyone should do this at some point in their lives" = "everyone should quit their jobs and bum around the world?"

  • John||

    Isn't the "this" quit their jobs and bum around the world? Everyone can't do that.

  • ||

    Isn't the "this" quit their jobs and bum around the world?

    You're missing the "at some point in their lives" part.

  • JFree||

    I must have missed the part where he advocated abandoning your family to do it.

    He existed. And that existence was apparently offensive to someone else. Therefore he obviously advocates all sorts of offensiveness. Therefore, his death should be - if not applauded, well at least enjoyed as schadenfreude

    Or something

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties sure do think a lot of themselves.

    It is likely that ISIS never knew who was in that group of bicyclists. If you dont work for a living like locals and have time to bike with groups of other non-locals, you might be a target.

    Lefties just cannot understand how things like this keep happening to them, when they are just trying to save the Asians from capitalism.

  • John||

    No one is applauding his death. And he said in so many words "everyone should do this". No, everyone shouldn't do that.

  • H. Farnham||

    What I got from the article is that the "this" he's referring to is the next quotation: "A month, a half-year, a week without a structure, without a stable place to call home." It seems he's acknowledging that not everybody can or should roam the entire world like a hobo, based on the stated variation in time-frame from week to half-year. As it might fit to my situation, I would take this as a suggestion to use a week of vacation and go camp out on a friend's land with my family: no cellphones, radios, or amenities. Eat only MRE's and whatever fish I catch out the river.

    I think he's only trying to persuade others to see his point of view without even a hint of coercion or derision. I just don't find his comments objectionable at all.

  • JFree||

    but but but sputter - if everyone did that for a week, then some of them might like it and want to do it more often. Like once a year or so. And then they might demand an extra weeks vacation or something.

    And what would happen to the elder generations conversations with that generation? Eh? Eh?

    My old Dad used to say to me, 'Money doesn't buy you happiness.'

    'E was right. I was happier then and I had NOTHIN'. We used to live in this tiiiny old house, with greaaaaat big holes in the roof.

    House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in one room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture. Half the floor was missing; we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of FALLING!

    You were lucky to have a ROOM! *We* used to have to live in a corridor!

    Life as we know it depends on making sure those bluffs aren't called. ISIS did all true Yorkshiremen a great big favor.

  • JFree||

    But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya' go off and try to one-up us.

  • Longtobefree||

    Life is better in the USA than anywhere else on the planet.

  • Mcgoo95||

    But the intentional homicide rate in the US is five times higher than Tajikistan's. Weird....

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yet, the USA does not have unarmed bicyclists get run over and then the survivors stabbed to death under the ISIS flag to wails of "Allah Ackbar!"

    Lefties think they have made the World a better place and the freedoms that they enjoy because America is awesome equates to the rest of the World.

    Americans feel sorry for people who take precautions and then something bad happens. NOt many Americans would feel sorry for an American going into ISIS territory and demanding that gay marriage be accepted and then being killed.

  • Mcgoo95||

    .....nobody has ever shot up a nightclub in 'merica. Nobody has ever blown up a marathon in 'merica. Nobody has ever mowed down concert goers in 'merica. I also find your reductionist opinions highly uniformed and annoying. Also why to you assume to constantly be the voice of Americans and libertarians? It gets old. The only more surprising to me is how many people agree with you around here any more...this place ain't what she used to be.

  • ThomasD||

    Does " intentional homicide rate" include suicides?

    How is this rate calculated?

    What sort of reporting requirements are there in Tajikistan?

    Do you think the numbers reported by Tajikistan (assuming they actually exist and are not 'estimates') are valid?

  • Mcgoo95||

    Probably not really, but WHO knows?

  • ThomasD||

    So the World Health Organization takes the numbers Tajikistan sends them and reports them as gospel?

    And apparently Tajikistan's rate is quite similar to that of Canada...

    Geez, thanks for that really, really useless bit of fluff.

  • ThomasD||

    And, wandering through the numbers...

    They are both higher than that of Cyprus.

    Yeah, sure, those are totally credible numbers...

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Drug war. Rich country.

  • Cloudbuster||

    It's a fucking paradise. You should move there.

  • hive of scum||

    "Life is better in the USA than anywhere else on the planet."

    The large number of people unjustly imprisoned would beg to differ.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Even jail in the USA is better than jail in non-USA jails.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Furthermore, many countries just kill you instead of imprison you.

    America imprisons too many people but stop trying to equate the USA to other countries relating to safety.

  • Mcgoo95||

    Says captain assume, with no idea what he is even talking about..

  • VinniUSMC||

    Thanks captain assume mcgoo. We are well aware that you have no idea what you're talking about. No need to narrate yourself.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Drug war. Rich country.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I wonder if my life insurance covers murder during shithole tourism.

    -jcr

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Anybody biking an average of 50 miles or more per day should be denied coverage. Bicycling that much is a suicide attempt. I know this after bicycle commuting 60 miles a day for 3 years.

  • JBSparks||

    You gotta stay out of Islamoland and North Korea.

  • Marilyn6||

  • khm001||

    "I'm going to be myself or I'm not going to work here"

    This is the narcissism that got him and his girlfriend killed. He doesn't have to fit into the world. The world has to change to fit him or he's not going to live here. Well he and his girlfriend no longer live here. At least his genes will no longer infect our world and weaken our race.

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