Friday, October 31, 2008

Attitude Counts for a Lot

Women chase would-be purse snatcher, Harrisburg police say - Midstate PA Local News So a goof-ball tries to rob six women with a BB gun. The elect to keep their own possessions. He shoots 1, giving her a minor injury, and the other 5 chase him down.
[The goof-ball] was charged with three counts of robbery, six counts of aggravated assault, six counts of recklessly endangering another person and flight to avoid apprehension. He was placed in the Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Way to go.

Another Ex-boyfriend Who Doesn't Understand “It's Over!”

Woman's ex shot during shootout at her Fort Worth home | Dallas Morning News So the ex shows up at woman's house, and is told by the current boyfriend that she isn't home. This isn't BS - she wasn't home.

Of course the ex - who showed up with a friend, or another thug, depends on your point of view - didn't believe that she wasn't home. (Liars never believe a truth that doesn't meet with their approval.) So the ex and the thug try to force their way into the house.
The two men tried to enter the home and fought with the boyfriend before shots were fired.

The two men were hit and fled to a nearby home where they were apprehended and taken to John Peter Smith Hospital.
The two goof-balls are charged with assault.

Self-defense may be a human right, but the "authorities" in this case are still investigating, since they really want to charge the current boyfriend with something.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Palm River Homeowner Defends Shooting Attacker What is a 62-year-old single teacher to do when an intruder enters her bedroom?
The 62-year-old Memorial Middle School teacher told authorities she armed herself when she heard a noise and shot when the man accosted her in her bedroom.
The dead-guys mother is saying that the dead guy knew the teacher and even been in her house.
"He has never been in my house. Never," Enzor said. "No one comes in my house."

Debbie Carter, a sheriff's spokeswoman, said detectives were told Enzor "knew [Johnson] from the neighborhood."

Enzor denied even that much of a relationship.

"I may have seen him in the neighborhood, but I never knew him," she said.
Relatives of dead bad guys never want to admit that some shootings are justified, as this one appears to be.

Shoot First and Ask Questions Later

Anaheim officer mistakenly kills man on his front lawn - Los Angeles Times If you or I did this, we would be arrested for manslaughter if nothing else. When cops do it, it is a "tragic situation."
An Anaheim police officer chasing burglary suspects shot and killed an innocent 20-year-old man who heard a commotion and emerged from his house early Tuesday holding what authorities said was either a broomstick or a shower rod.
The officer involved is on leave.

He was shot twice in the chest and pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Alexander was married last week, and his wife, Renee, 19, is expecting a baby girl in December, his family said.

He was a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Riverside, where he played football, and as a student worked in the commissary at March Air Reserve Base.

Alexander also volunteered as an usher and did charity work at his church.
The phrase "trigger happy" comes to mind. Anyone you meet is an enemy, and shooting them is OK. What do you think will happen to this cop? 30 days non-paid leave? A reprimand in his permanent file? He might lose his job (though I am sure the unions will argue that point), but I seriously doubt that he will face criminal charges for negligently discharging his firearm.

I want to categorize this as cops behaving badly, but I can't. I wasn't there and he may have been justified. But the point remains that cops are all to eager to shoot people who are no threat to them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Self-defense in Texas

MyFox Dallas | Suspect in Ski Mask Shot to Death in Arlington Home Break into enough homes, and eventually you will meet an armed homeowner.
Arlington police were called to a home in the 900 block of Carthage Way around 10:30 Monday night where they found a man shot to death.

He was wearing a ski mask and had been shot to death inside the home.
A second goblin ran away, and police are still investigating.

Castle Doctrine - basically - in Israel

'Burglar killer should receive citation' | Israel | Jerusalem Post Given how clear the Old Testament is on the subject of self-defense (it's OK), I'm a bit surprised this is an issue.
The homeowner said he had opened fire after the intruder tried to stab him. He was detained for questioning, following which police said he would be released. Police said two other burglars fled after the shooting and that a knife was found at the scene. Prior to entering the home, the burglars sedated the family next door and robbed their home.
Sounds like a straight-forward case of defense of self and family. But the bleeding hearts have their collective knickers in a twist.
Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On, on the other hand, denounced the homeowner and reiterated her opposition to the bill. "The Knesset," she said, "has enabled a trigger-happy finger. It was only a matter of time before the license to kill, which was granted by the Knesset in legislating the Dromi Bill will become reality. Burglars should be behind lock and key, and it is inconceivable that someone who kills them should be exempt of culpability."
I guess he should have let the guy stab him, in her view.

Likud MK Yisrael Katz, a proponent of the Dromi law, had this to say.
Burglars must know that their blood will be on their on heads and that the basic right to self defense is the only way to create deterrence and to try and prevent this disturbing phenomenon where people feel unsafe in their own homes.
At least someone has their priorities straight.

The legislation is named for Negev farmer Shai Dromi, who was charged with manslaughter after defending his farm from intruders. His prosecution caused a public outcry and a change in the law.

Self-defense is a human right.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

FBI report: Anti-gay crimes up - USATODAY.com You may have seen several news stories around today (USA Today is pretty typical) that scream about anti-gay hate crimes being up in 2007 over the previous year.
There were 7,624 hate crimes reported in 2007, down 1% from 2006. Crimes based on sexual orientation — 1,265 in 2007 — have been rising since 2005. A hate crime is one motivated by bias against a person's race, religion, sexual orientation or other status.
There is however a small problem on the data collection side.

These reports are interesting in that they help law enforcement understand the magnitude and proportion of these crimes, but year-over-year comparisons are mostly meaningless, and location-to-location comparisons are problematic to say the least. The FBI refrains from such comparisons and warns against them.

Very few law enforcement agencies report hate crimes. It was even fewer just a few years ago. Of those that do report, the mechanisms whereby crimes are reported as bias crimes can be a bit questionable. These make some of the numbers suspect, and cross agency comparisons meaningless.

For example, the 2006 UCR Hate Crimes report (released in late 2007 - the FBI is always about a year late) recorded one (yes 1) hate crime in Alabama, the infamous noose-hanging of the "Free the Jena Six" incident. Do you think there was only 1 race-related, and no religious or sexual-orientation hate crimes in Alabama in all of 2006? Really? There is this bridge you might be interested in....

In 2007 only about 15% of law enforcement agencies reported hate crimes. As that number increases (or if it were to decrease) the total number of crimes will probably change accordingly. And even when the agency reports, it is sometimes questionable how certain crimes do or don't get classified as a hate crime. This can be a genuine disagreement about classification, or a simple paperwork error. In any event, this systematic problem with the data makes - as the FBI usually tries to make clear - comparisons between locales questionable, and in this case makes cross-year trending difficult or impossible.
Valid assessments about crime, including hate crime, are possible only with careful study and analysis of the various conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. (See Variables Affecting Crime.) In addition, some data in this publication may not be comparable to those in prior editions of Hate Crime Statistics because of differing levels of participation from year to year. Therefore, the reader is cautioned against making simplistic comparisons between the statistical data of this program and that of others with differing methodologies or even comparing individual reporting units solely on the basis of their agency type.
But that hasn't stopped the mainstream press from making those "simplistic comparisons" and screaming about the results.

Now I have no idea whether hate crimes are increasing or decreasing. I know they are under reported, (or at least categorized incorrectly) in many areas. And I know that back in the day, some cops didn't think beating up gays was a crime, and that there are probably still some on the job today. Do you think they are careful about filling in the Hate Crimes reporting forms? What I do know, is that you can't make simple comparisons about complex statistical reports unless you are only interested in the propaganda factor. But hey, this is the mainstream media. Of course I don't imagine that most journalism majors took any statistics classes in college. (Bias or stupidity? Tough call.)

Oh, the good news about that 15% of agencies that report hate crimes? They cover a little more than 85% of the US population. See the whole thing at the FBI website. It is a bit fragmented, but it is an improvement over a few years back when all they published was a single, very large PDF file.

A Failure in the Victim Selection Process

Would-be robber shot and killed He tried to rob a store and was apparently stopped by a concealed carry permit holder.
(Cleveland) – Police say a 26-year-old man wearing a mask went into the Cleveland Aviary pet store on Bosworth Monday afternoon. He threatened a clerk with a knife to the throat – demanding that the clerk empty the cash register.

Another person in the store came into the room and told the would-be robber to drop the knife. The would-be robber threatened that person – and that person pulled a gun and shot the suspect.
They don't say anything about CCW, but they also don't say anything about this being a cop.

Self-defense is a human right, and it works, and CCW may save you, even if you aren't carrying.

One would hope this is just a formality...

Harris Co. pawn shop owner may face charges in killing | Front page | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle But then I don't know... do you trust the Justice System?
Thomas threatened to kill the owner, who was working behind the counter. He took out a pair of handcuffs, ordering the man to his knees, deputies said.

When the owner refused to comply, Thomas fired at him, but missed. The owner was able to retrieve his own pistol and shot Thomas several times, deputies said.
Why bother a Grand Jury? If this is really what the police report says, why are they pursuing it? A formality? Or an attempt to prosecute self-defense?

Castle Doctrine in New York

Your home really is your fortress | stargazette.com | Star-Gazette Who'd a thunk it.

According to this article, New York State does have a version of the castle doctrine.
That means you can kill an intruder who is breaking into your home to burglarize, rob, rape, kidnap or seriously assault you or a family member -- and you won't get arrested. The same goes for anyone who is trying to burn down your home or blow it up, according to New York state law. Shoot an arsonist or bomber in your home, and you're not guilty of a crime.
Of course you have less protection outside your home. But it is something.

Seems to be a fairly complete description of what is currently the case in NY.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tales of Torture

No, this isn't a Halloween movie, it is the story of police misconduct in Chicago, and the conspiracy of silence among the press, the cops, the attorneys, the city. Torture cases ignored too long :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Carol Marin
In 1982, police killer Andrew Wilson's face looked normal going into an interrogation room, but resembled ground beef hours later. In 1982, then-Police Supt. Richard Brzeczek said he wrote a letter bringing that to the attention of Daley and Devine.

If that was a tragically missed opportunity to stop the torture of black men on the city's South and West sides, there were many other opportunities that we in media and those in power took a pass on.

A few years after the Wilson revelations, the then-head of the Office of Professional Standards, the watchdog over police misconduct, raised serious questions about the electro-shocking of suspects.

When told, the Chicago Police Department did nothing.

In 1990, OPS investigator Michael Goldston catalogued 50 cases of alleged police torture. The department suppressed his report and made Goldston's life a living hell. Thanks to a court order, the report was finally made public in 1992.

It was front-page news for a minute. But nobody, including the mainstream press, law enforcement, state or federal prosecutors or the judiciary did much of anything to demand answers.
Some people pursued the issue, but they were mostly on the outside of power.

So now, after the people most responsible can't be charged with torture (the statute of limitations has expired) we finally see some action.
What accounts for our collective failure?

"My instinct is that racism, pro-police bias and bias in terms of poor black suspects, made it something that the press and prosecutors didn't want to deal with," [Flint Taylor of the People's Law Office] said.
I think it is mostly pro-police bias, which still exists in a lot of places, even after everything we have seen, from Jon Burge to Brett Darrow.

Armed Business Owner Defends Himeself

Pawn shop clerk kills would-be robber | CRIME | KHOU.com | News for Houston, Texas Self-defense works, even in the face of armed attackers.
Police say Thomas produced a handgun, threatened to kill the owner and informed the owner that he was there to rob the store.Thomas took out a pair of handcuffs and ordered the owner to kneel behind the counter. When the owner refused to comply, Thomas fired a single gunshot at the owner but missed. The owner was able to retrieve his own handgun and shot Thomas multiple times.
He died a few hours later.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0. Self-defense is a human right.

Police Don't Want to Believe in Self-defense

90th Homicide a "Defend The Castle" Case - News - nbc4i.com - He shot a man who attacked him in his home. He must be guilty of some crime.
A Mithoff Street man told police he was defending himself against an intruder when he shot the man he claimed had "attacked him inside his home," according to police reports.
...
Police indicate they are questioning the unnamed resident and issued a search warrant at the house as detectives continue to investigate the incident. The report will then be forwarded to the county prosecutor to see if charges against the resident are warranted.
Cause law-abiding folks don't own or use guns, even in legal self-defense.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Media Bias

The dangers of liberal bias - The Boston Globe Interesting to see something like this in the Boston Globe.

Consider this statement, in reaction to someone from New York City complaining that rural voters don't know what is in their best interest.
It never occurred to this NYC musician, living in an adjacent suburb to the Big Apple, that she might not be qualified to know what is in their best interest. With no direct experience of tacking up a crazed horse in below-freezing temperatures, never having sat in a saddle for 12 hours, not knowing what scours are, with no pig bucket under her sink, not having to drive 30 miles down the road to her own mailbox - of course, she knows what is best for them. She recycles, eats organic produce, and there's a bird feeder in her backyard: all signs that she is right with the world.
The attitude that "I know what is best for you," is the hallmark of the Left. If you don't agree with the Left you are an idiot (or "self-hating" if you happen to be a racial or religious minority or gay or lesbian).

Anyway, take a look.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jon Burge and the Midnight Crew From Area Two

Ex-Chicago cop Burge arrested in torture cases :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State The wheels of justice grind slowly. But in Chicago, they tend to not grind at all. Not charged with torture, since the statute of limitations has expired, but with perjury and obstruction.

The allegations were that for a very long time, Chicago police area 2, was home of a bunch of torturers.
Burge was fired from the department in 1993 after the Chicago Police Board found he tortured accused police killer Andrew Wilson into giving a confession. But Burge was never charged with a crime at the time, and he moved to Florida soon after his dismissal.
He was fired, but I think he was able to retain his pension. Not sure about that.
In 2006, a $7 million report by special Cook County prosecutors found that Burge, a former Vietnam veteran, and his underlings tortured criminal suspects for two decades while police brass allegedly looked the other way.
Maybe the feds can do what Chicago will (almost) never do, prosecute a cop.

It's the eeeevil bankers fault

Key to the Crisis: It's the Housing Market, Stupid - TIME This is an interesting article. While they try really hard to blame the mortgage industry for wanting people to live up to the terms of signed contracts, buried in the guts of the article, more than half way to the end, we discover that conspicuous consumption only works if you can afford it.
But ultimately even lenders' best efforts might be crippled by a harsh reality: plenty of homeowners are never going to be able to pay for their houses, no matter how generous the terms, because someone — the homeowner, the mortgage broker — lied about or simply ignored income and assets. Cena Valladolid, chief operating officer for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern Nevada, says that more than half of the homeowners who seek help from her non-profit are living in houses they never had a realistic shot of affording. The best advice she can offer in the depressed Las Vegas real estate market is to ask the lender to allow a short sale, so that the house might be sold for less than what's owed on the mortgage.
In my current role of caregiver for a sick relative, I get to watch a lot of television. (More than is healthy perhaps.) I find Home and Garden Television a bit disturbing. People buying homes they have no chance of affording. First time home buyers who don't even want to invest the time to paint the interior of a perfectly good house or condo. (They want to buy one that is the color they like - in short, a new home.) What happened to the starter home?

One particularly disturbing person said a reasonable choice was living at home with mama to save more money, because she couldn't afford the house of her dreams. Hello? What happened to that first small apartment? And the parents (helicopters hovering the background) seem to think that is reasonable. Didn't the American Dream used to be about standing on your own, self-reliance, and making a place in the world? When did it become about granite counter-tops and walk-in closets?

I love my parents, but as soon as I graduated from college I got a job and moved out. Actually as soon as I graduated from high school I went to college and except for one summer always had internships or jobs away from home.
In a September 2008 survey by Campbell Communications, an outfit that works with the mortgage industry, property taxes were the third most-cited reason people thought they might stop making mortgage payments, illustrating that the financial pressures on overwhelmed homeowners go far beyond the terms of their loans. "Many of the people who bought homes were not prepared to be homeowners," says survey designer Tom Popik. And all the loan modifications in the world can't change that.
In Florida, it is frequently the case that people are shocked to discover that the cost of insurance is comparable to a mortgage payment. Hurricane coverage is required in most of the state, and it isn't cheap. (And of course, since the state can't let the market set rates - they would be "unfairly high" or something - the state is now one of the largest, if not the largest, wind storm damage insurance provider in Florida.) And they are shocked about loans/taxes/insurance because they spent more time researching what stereo system to put in the family room than they spent researching the true cost of home ownership. They wanted a nice, large house, and they wanted it now. Wanting what you want and wanting it now is the attitude most 2-year-old children have. Yet people seem surprised when that perspective isn't sophisticated enough to deal with the reality of the economy. Adults are supposed to understand the principle of deferred gratification, but whole generations it seems have refused to grow up.

I expect that next the Left will try to force lenders to change the terms of the contracts. (Isn't there something in the constitution about contracts?)

Welcome to the Socialist States of America. (Or is that more of a Fascist state? Hard to tell.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Self-defense Works, Even for University Students

Self-defense went on, while I was out of town.

Cops: 2 killings look like self-defense | www.azstarnet.com � Two goblins - one armed - break into a students home, and he responds by grabbing his own weapon and defending himself.
The student fired, then called police to report the shooting. When officers arrived, they found the two men dead inside just past the doorway.
The responses of some neighbors (who are shocked and scared) are interesting. In particular:
Jenny Wise also moved into the neighborhood in August. The 19-year-old sophomore said she wasn't home at the time of the shootings. She had gone to a party, and when she arrived home around 2 a.m. she found her street taped off and flooded with police.

"It's really the scariest thing," Wise said.

"I've lived a sheltered life. This seems like a nice little neighborhood. I don't know what I would've done if two guys tried to get into my house," Wise said.
Hat tip to Smallest Minority who says
Well, Jenny, you're too young to purchase a handgun for yourself, but you can receive one as a gift from a family member. Short of that, I recommend a shotgun. And some training.
[Via Uncle]

"He seemed surprised"

Tulsa World: Intruder persists, is shot by resident Someone drunk is pounding on your door - trying to break it down - shouting about how "you are going to get it!" What would you do? That's what I would do, too.
The homeowner didn't hesitate to take action.

After grabbing his handgun, Manning pressed his shoulders against the door to try to keep the intruder from coming in. When Manning looked through a window on the door to get a look at the intruder, he saw a "huge man full of rage," he said.
Despite warnings that he would be shot, the idiot eventually broke into the home and was shot.
As soon as Wickham realized that he had been shot, he seemed surprised, and it appeared to calm him for a while, Manning said.
Hey, if you ignore warnings that you will be shot, you shouldn't be surprised when you are shot after ignoring those warnings.

The goof-ball was charged with "first-degree burglary, attempted escape from arrest, public intoxication and two complaints of vandalism." Bail was set at $22,150. Can anyone explain that? Why not 25K? or 20K? or 22,250?

Last word goes to the guy who defended himself.
Manning is still unsure why Wickham wanted to break into his home, but he advises others to reinforce their doors and be prepared to defend their homes.

"People have to be alert and aware," he said.

Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0

Burglary suspect shot to death by homeowner, 2 others arrested | WHAS11.com They suffered a catastrophic failure in the victim-selection process.
Kentucky State Police say it all unfolded just before midnight last night, when three men attempted to burglarize a home on Brown Avenue in Shelbyville.

But they say the homeowner shot one of them.
The other two were arrested when they called to get directions to a local hospital. (It doesn't say, but you have to guess they called 911.)

The homeowner has not been charged with a crime, because self-defense is not against the law.

What a Complete Waste of Time

I took a trip back to the boat. The plan was to move to a different marina.

First the engine wouldn't start. Diesels have a tendency to pull a vacuum in the fuel system, this was tough to get rid of - harder than usual. (A lose hose clamp on the fuel filter?)

Then after getting that taken care of, the exhaust system needs repair. $150 (or less) worth of parts. A small amount - as boats go - but that's what happens when you leave things in a corrosive environment like salt water.

The real issue is that the new marina ticked me off with a host of new regulations. (I had been there in the past, and was on the waiting list for pretty long time.) For the 15 dollars a month difference, I would rather not be ticked off.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tough Day for Robbers

Lots of bad guys ended up on the losing side this week.

cbs13.com - Homeowner Shoots Alleged Thief Three Times Even in California, self-defense works.
a homeowner on Vehicle Drive apparently shot a man three times. The homeowner is claiming the [criminal] was trying to break-in to his home.
They don't know the difference between a criminal and a victim.

KXAN.com - Austin, TX | Resident shoots intruder in stomach You would think robbers in Texas would have gotten the memo by now - there are a lot of armed folks in Texas.
Crayton kicked in the door to a bedroom. Police said there were two other victims in that room and one had a gun.

"I don't think he anticipated that," said Sgt. Miller. "I don't think he anticipated anyone being there."

The victim in that room took aim and shot Crayton in the stomach.
Homeowner Takes Gun From, Shoots Invader - Orlando News Story - WKMG Orlando Carrying a gun doesn't make you a dangerous person, you need to know what you are doing. This goblin learned that the hard way.
Three males kicked in the door of a home on Pine Run Terrace in Marion County around 1:15 p.m. and beat two residents at gunpoint, deputies said.

The homeowner somehow retrieved the assailant's gun and shot him, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
One in the hospital and another being "questioned." The third guy is on the run, but they have a good description.

Intruder shot 4 times in Tifton : WFXL Fox 31 He may have been in Tifton, but he was shot 4 times in the head.
The Tift County Sheriff’s Department says a man who was trying to break into a mobile home on Highway 125 South in Tifton Wednesday night was shot by the homeowner.
Break into enough homes, and you will meet an armed homeowner.

This is what happens when you put the government in charge

You must speak to us, Post Office tells pensioner who can't speak - Telegraph This guy lost the card that verifies his benefits. To get a replacement, the government needs to "speak with him." The problem? He doesn't speak.
Mr Berry's sister, Jean Spencer, said she explained to customer services that her brother could not speak or hear, but said they would not accept it.

She said: "I explained that he could not speak but they said they still needed to speak to him.

"Eventually we wrote a letter and his daughter, who does sign language, telephoned every day.

"We even went into his local Post Office, where they know him, and they telephoned them up with him there but they would not accept that.

"It's been really frustrating for him. Luckily he has family and we've kept him going but what if a person like him has no family?"
Bureaucrats are not people. People have hearts - bureaucrats are heartless. They left this guy without benefits for 5 weeks.

Now, of course, after they have been completely embarrassed by the press, they are "very pleased to confirm that a new card was issued to Mr Berry last week and we are very sorry for the delay."

Gee I can't wait until we get socialism too. Just think how great everything will be when every aspect of your life is controlled by the same people who run airport security theater.

Here We Go Again

Pirates hijack ship in Gulf of Aden near Somalia | guardian.co.uk Pirates keep on going. The governments of the world appear helpless.
Armed pirates have hijacked another ship in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia today, bringing to 11 the number of vessels being held by pirates.
Nothing will be done. The pirates will collect a ransom. Some people will be hurt or die. The pirates will get rich, and the situation will get worse.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Police report: Homeowner kills break-in suspect : Memphis Commercial Appeal What would you do if you were attacked by a 20-year-old intruder in your home?
He fought the man and is believed to have been struck several times with a pistol before he shot the intruder, who died at the scene.
Self-defense is a human right.

Self-defense works

Homeowner shoots man who tried to break into his house | ShreveportTimes | The Times An irate husband rams his car into his wife's vehicle. She ran for friends house, and he tried to break in. He got shot for his trouble.
The husband was taken to LSU Hospital where he underwent surgery. Deputies describe his injuries a life-threatening.
Police are hoping they can charge the homeowner who did the shooting with some crime. Because they no doubt believe the world would be a better place if we didn't help one another and just relied on the government for everything.

Who Watches the Watchers

CRIME Blog | The Dallas Morning News When there is so much money to be made in the War on (some) Drugs, the people who are supposed to be good guys, will become bad guys.
A South Texas sheriff was arrested today in a conspiracy to smuggle illegal drugs into the state, federal officials say.
Are we winning this war?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

If you have all those tanks, you're gonna need fuel

Pirates Seize Tanker Off African Coast - NYTimes.com Another ship seized by Somali pirates. Making the "international community" look like a bunch of Keystone Cops.

Last week it was ship full of tanks. This week, a tanker.

2 dozen ships seized this year, with a few "close calls," and no one seems to be doing anything effective to stop it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Love The Left's Idea of "Safety planning"

Domestic abuse: Does prevention work? - GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA: Stay out of the kitchen. Stay away from the stairs. (They are dangerous!) Carry a cell phone. The cell phones in Massachusetts must have magical properties.
a client would be instructed to carry a cell phone to summon help and prevent an abuser from entering the home.
Funny, but I think a 12 gauge or .357 magnum would do a better job keeping someone out of my home than a cell phone could.

But what am I thinking? Suggest self-defense? Why before you know it, people might be relying on themselves for all kinds of things. We can't have that!

ACORN, Community Activism, and Lies

Barack Obama's Involvement with ACORN Unearthed, Missing Article Recovered | Cleveland Leader Interesting that some in the media - the mainstream media - are finally finally reporting on ACORN. ACORN is one of many groups that thought people with little or no ability to repay a mortgage, should be able to get a mortgage. Fannie and Freddie were of that mind as well.

The interesting thing is the Obama connection, which both the Obama Campaign and ACORN are trying to hide.
Let's take a look at a quote from a 2004 article - Case Study: Chicago- The Barack Obama Campaign - written by Toni Foulkes, a Chicago ACORN Leader, which was published in the journal Social Policy. Did we mention that Social Policy recently pulled this particular article from their website, while leaving links to all other articles up?
Obama taught classes for ACORN and was described as "an old friend."
As recently as March 2008, the Los Angeles Times also made reference to Barack Obama's involvement with ACORN:
"At the time, Talbot worked at the social action group ACORN and initially considered Obama a competitor. But she became so impressed with his work that she invited him to help train her staff." (LA Times, March 2, 2008)
Not that it will make any difference. Another Teflon candidate.

Cops Behaving Badly in Chicago

New light shed on police complaints :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES The "punishments" handed out are as interesting as anything.

Chicago has new agency to track allegations of police misconduct. The police are no longer investigating themselves. Which is probably a good thing.

The "suggested punishments" are an interesting view on the existence of two sets of rules. (One for cops, one for the Little People.)
• May 2007: An officer allegedly kicked and mistreated a detainee in the Shakespeare District. Videotape evidence backed the complaint. IPRA recommended a 30-day suspension for the officer and a 15-day suspension for a partner who failed to report the abuse.
Do you think assault and/or battery should be punished by suspension?
August 2007: A detective allegedly struck a citizen’s head against a Plexiglass partition in the Albany Park District and verbally abused the person. The detective admitted the conduct and agreed to a one-day suspension.
One day? Isn't that assault, bashing someone's head into a partition? (And was it Plexi, or Lexan? One is bullet-proof - and really hard - the other isn't.)

The list is quite long. The punishment is usually suspension, though in a few cases this new board "recommended" the officer in question be fired. Of course then the unions step in to defend their own. There really are two sets of rules: one for cops, and one for everyone else. And they aren't held to a higher standard.

Gwen Araujo - Have We Forgotten?

Gwen AraujoThis week marks the anniversary of the murder of Gwen Araujo Are we not remembering, or do we just not care? Gwen's murder is usually overshadowed by Matthew Shepard. (A quick Google News Search shows 600 and some news stories on Shepard, and 4 on Araujo.) If it wasn't for the movie that was made, I doubt many people would know her name.

Should someone die for being different? Is it OK to kill someone because they aren't who you thought they were? Rolling Stone has a pretty graphic description of the murder, maybe you should go look at the hell Gwen endured before answering that question.

Some lawyers seem to think it is OK to kill based on your biases.. It is called the “Gay Panic” defense. They tried it in this case because Gwen Araujo was transgender. She was murdered because some guys she had been intimate with couldn't stand that she wasn't who they thought she was. The jury wasn't buying it in this case, but all too often murderers get off. Consider the case of William Palmer.
He claimed he picked up Chanelle Pickett in a bar without realizing she was biologically male. The medical examiner testified that Pickett was beaten and "throttled" for eight minutes, but the jury acquitted Palmer of murder and manslaughter, convicting him merely of assault and battery. Decrying Pickett's two-year sentence, transgender observer Toni Black said "I've seen people get more jail time for abusing animals. ... We've been judged expendable."
People make bad decisions all the time. They take chances they shouldn't. This does not absolve others of their responsibilities under the law - or under morality. Making bad decisions should not be a capital offense.

Would you want to live in a world where anyone considered to have "made bad choices," or was "expendable" for other reasons, could be killed with impunity? Think Nazi Germany, and consider what the pink triangle and the black triangle meant. Remember Srebrenica and all the other places where genocide was (or is) carried out. Think about the way Saudi Arabia treats its citizens. Do you want to live in a place like that?

The whole "gay panic" defense (or "trans-panic" in this case) is another attempt, in a long line of legal maneuvers, to say that people are not responsible for their own actions. They panicked. They freaked-out. Circumstances conspired to rob them of their free will. The devil made them do it. Sorry, no. Unless you are legally insane, you are responsible for every one of your actions. You may not like that, but being an adult is a bitch.

Unfortunately, juries are still buying this "defense."
A gay Atlanta man was bludgeoned to death and his confessed killer walked free after claiming he was forced into a sexual act and responded in self-defense. The killer of a Kentucky man whose body was stuffed in a suitcase and dumped into a lake also claimed he acted to thwart a sexual advance and was convicted of manslaughter instead of murder.
No witnesses, except the killer, to these "sexual advances." A bit convenient if you can just say "he came on to me," and that makes it OK to commit murder. (Would this work for any woman the subject of an unwanted "sexual advance?" I didn't think so.)

This defense didn't work in the case of Gwen Araujo, and California has moved to limit it. In at least one other state, a ruling against the "defense" has been issued by the courts.

Of the four people who brutally murdered Gwen Araujo, 2 were sentenced to 15-years-to-life for second degree murder, one plead no-contest to a manslaughter charge and is serving 6 years, and the fourth is serving 11 years as part of a plea bargain.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I Love Stupid Criminals

Orlando Sentinel - Bank robbery suspect nabbed after running out of gasoline Don't forget to put gasoline in the getaway vehicle.
Deputy Tim Robinson of the Orange County Sheriff's Office saw a man park his pickup truck on the shoulder of Eden Park Road in Seminole County and put on his flashers after he ran out of gas Tuesday afternoon. The deputy realized the truck fit the description of the getaway vehicle in a bank robbery minutes earlier and took the driver into custody.
In the words of Bugs Bunny, "What a Maroon!"

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Your Tax Dollars at Work

ACORN Vegas Office Raided in Voter Fraud Investigation - FOXNews.com Elections ACORN does get tax dollars, and will get more under the "bailout" passed into law recently. Lots of money. (Think of something that starts with "B.")
Bob Walsh, spokesman for the Nevada secretary of state's office, told FOXNews.com the raid was prompted by ongoing complaints about "erroneous" registration information being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also called ACORN.

The group was submitting the information through a voter sign-up drive known as Project Vote.
Why should little things like phony names or non-existent addresses keep people from voting? And they would be voting Democratic.

This isn't an isolated incident.
In 2006, ACORN also committed what Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed called the "worse case of election fraud" in the state's history.

In the case, ACORN submitted just over 1,800 new voter registration forms, and all but six of the 1,800 names were fake.

More recently, 27,000 registrations handled by the group from January to July 2008 "went into limbo because they were incomplete, inaccurate, or fraudulent," said James Terry, chief public advocate at the Consumers Rights League.
So remember this when someone on the Left brings up the recent court decision that states can require someone to show ID in order to vote. They aren't mad because they think it will keep legitimate voters away from the polls, they are mad because it puts a crimp in their plans for vote fraud. If the ends justify the means, then stealing an election via fraud is justified, no? [hat tip to Days of our Trailers]

Monday, October 06, 2008

Housing Crisis - Financial Crisis - Sanity Crisis

Right Side of the Rainbow: Who’s responsible for this mess? So is it the Democrats or Republicans who got us to the point of the Subprime Mortgage crisis? Probably a bit of both.

This video is a collection of clips from a 2004 series of hearings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.



Can the government command the tides? Can the government command the rules of the market? Or as one Australian put it. Not Everyone Should Own a Home Because not everyone can afford it. If you hand out a lot of questionable loans, eventually you are going to have a lot of defaults. It isn't rocket science.
Fannie and Freddie dominated the mortgage industry because ultimately government was prepared to fund activities that prudent lenders would not. When their implicit government guarantee became explicit, America's system of government-directed lending on socially desirable, but commercially imprudent, lending stood exposed.
In Australia, there is one other big difference with home loans. You can't "walk away" from a bad mortgage. If the sale of the house doesn't cover the debt in America, the bank eats the difference. (Hence the number of banks failing.) Down under, if the sale of the house doesn't cover the debt, the bank will come after the borrower for the difference.
When Australians borrow money to buy a house, they know that if they default and the mortgaged property doesn't cover the debt, they will be responsible for the shortfall. And the lender will chase them for it. It's a neat way of reminding Australians to borrow responsibly.

In America, where populist post-Depression laws in many states have mandated loans be nonrecourse, the opposite is true. Americans can take out a mortgage more or less as a one-way bet. If you can't afford the repayments and can't refinance, you just send the keys back to the bank. Borrowers wipe their hands of liability.
Prepayment penalties?
Prepayment penalties are either prohibited or severely restricted in the U.S. Thus, an American lender who makes a 30-year fixed rate loan that the borrower can prepay at any time without penalty is simply making a bet about the average life of a loan. And while it's true that there are good quality statistics about how long American loans usually last, these are necessarily averages. Averages don't reflect actual experience and are especially misleading when real outcomes are at the extreme. If market interest rates fall below the fixed interest rates, borrowers will simply refinance at lower rates. Another fine deal for borrowers. If market rates rise above the fixed interest rates, borrowers will stand pat. So loans are terminated by borrowers when they are profitable for lenders and loans last longer when they are unprofitable for the banks. Who would want to be an American lender?
In the long run, when the government intervenes in the market like this, it will destroy the market. Witness the situation we have today.

Do you think the mortgage market will rebound? Why? Because it would be nice if it did? Because you need it to? Because your house is your only investment? The housing market (and real estate in general) of the past 15 or 25 years is a house of cards, and it has crashed. Hoping to rebuild it under exactly the same circumstances seems a bit crazy to me. Expecting government to fix the problem? It created the problem.

Back to the Future - Chicago Style

The more things change, the more I don't trust government. After disbanding scandal-plagued Special Operations Section, Chicago police to start special gang unit -- chicagotribune.com The Chicago PD got rid of its Special Operations Sections, because murder-for-hire, home-invasions, and a host of other crimes committed by Chicago Police officers was a bit hard to swallow, even in Chicago.

So of course to celebrate one year anniversary of the demise of SOS, Chicago will reconstitute SOS.

First, here is a description of the end of the old.
SOS was disbanded last October amid a scandal over a team of officers who are alleged to have robbed and kidnapped victims for years under the guise of police work. Seven officers are awaiting trial on criminal charges. In addition, the U.S. attorney's office has an ongoing probe into whether there was a police coverup that allowed the rogue officers to operate for years despite mounting misconduct allegations.
So what is there solution?
A year after disbanding the scandal-plagued Special Operations Section, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis is launching a similar unit to fight gangs, according to internal police documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

In a draft memo to his command staff last week, Weis said he is even giving former SOS officers first crack at applying for the elite assignment, the document show.
Sometimes it is hard to tell the cops apart from the criminals.

The mission of the Mobile Strike Force will be identical to the old SOS.

The roster of the MSF will (or may - they are being given first crack, not being drafted) contain some of the same officers as the SOS. (Anyone not currently under investigation or subject to disciplinary actions.)

How long it will be before it is business as usual?

Special Operations Section. The Midnight Crew from Area 2. The history of problems with CPD is immense. Why should anyone believe that the MSF will be so much different from the SOS?

Piracy: A Growth Industy

Pirates Hit Six More Ships Off of Somalia | Danger Room from Wired.com

"If you give a mouse a cookie, he's gonna want a glass of milk."

Well the piracy business is becoming very profitable. So, of course it is a growth industry.
As if seizing a ship-load of tanks and small arms wasn't bad enough. Pirates have attacked six more vessels off the coast of Somalia in just the past week, according to data from NATO. The now-infamous, weapons-clogged MV Faina remains in pirates' hands. And international tensions are ratcheting up by the day.

The latest attacks brings the total number of "piracy-related incidents" in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast to 93. A dozen vessels are currently being held for ransom -- their last known whereabouts are on the NATO slide, above.
No one seems willing to do the heavy lifting to put an end to this. So it goes on, and the situation gets worse.

The last I heard, the pirates were going to get a couple of million for the MV Faina but the guy doing the negotiating was arrested. But in general, they get fairly sizable (considering Somalia) payments for ransom of boats and crew.

More money. Less penalty. So what do you think is going to happen?

Russia is getting into the game, so maybe somebody will have some backbone.... but I doubt it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cooperation is Supposed to Secure Safety, Isn't It?

toledoblade.com -- Suspect arrested in robbery, shooting The Left loves to say "just give the criminal what he wants, and you will be safe." Of course, this is always a man, talking about robbery. I wonder if rape ever enters their mind.

Of course cooperation with violent criminals does not turn them into non-violent criminals.
[The victim] said he handed over his wallet and turned to run but was shot in the right hand and right shoulder.
So cooperation resulted in injury. He gave the robber "what he wanted." He handed over his wallet. What happened to his safety.

Violent criminals are not changed by your actions. You can cooperate if you want. I will choose self-defense whenever possible.

The good news is the victim is out of the hospital, and a suspect is in custody.

Pretty Surprising to See This on CBS

Dispelling The Herbert Hoover Myth, NRO: Liberals Love To Point To A Do-Nothing President Hoover And Blame Conservatives For The Economic Crisis - CBS News What made the Great Depression Great? Some of the things Hoover did (he didn't stand back) like create protectionism and raise a lot of taxes together with some of the things FDR did made the Depression horrible.
Summers should know better (in fact, I’m sure he does). The Great Depression was not made “Great” by government inaction. Indeed, FDR’s New Deal may have been wonderful in some mytho-poetic sense, and maybe some of its reforms can be defended in some broader context, but as an effort to end the Great Depression, the New Deal was a failure. As my colleague Mark Steyn writes, “Lots of other places - from Britain to Australia - took a hit in 1929 but, alas, they lacked an FDR to keep it going till the end of the Thirties. That’s why in other countries they refer to it as “the Depression,” but only in the U.S. is it ‘Great.’”
So it will probably happen again. Obama doesn't like free trade. Obama will raise taxes - on a lot of people. Obama will tie small business into knots with mandates, regulations and gods know what. Should be a bumpy ride.

Friday, October 03, 2008

So Much For Being Able to Defend Yourself in the UK

Brazilian student faces GBH charge for 'defending home from serial burglar' | Mail Online You are attacked with a knife. You defend yourself, injuring your attacker (he got pushed to the ground and hit his head). You are charged with "grievous bodily harm with intent."

The lawyers are insane.
The law refuses to lay down strict rules about what constitutes 'reasonable force'. But last night a lawyer explained: 'If someone were to attack you with a balloon you cannot respond with a knife.'
Funny, but you don't see too many attacks with balloons. And this was an attack with a knife.

What exactly should he have done?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Don't Expect This to Show Up on the Evening News

U-M study: Gun shows don't increase homicide, suicide rates | The Detroit News Don't expect the anti-gun media to report this news.
ANN ARBOR -- Gun shows don't contribute to increased homicide or suicide rates, according to results of a study announced Wednesday by the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

The joint University of Michigan and University of Maryland examination of gun death data in the weeks surrounding more than 3,400 California and Texas gun shows concluded tighter regulation of the flea market-like operations did nothing to reduce firearms-related deaths in the following month.

Researchers compared gunshot death data surrounding every known gun show in California and Texas between 1994 and 2004. California has some of the most stringent gun sale rules in the country. Texas is among the least restrictive.

"To the extent that 33 regulations such as those in place in California reduce any deleterious effects of gun shows, one might expect to detect a larger effect in a relatively unregulated state such as Texas. Our results, however, provide no evidence to suggest that gun shows lead to a substantial increase in the number of homicides or suicides in either California or Texas," said U-M professor Brian Jacob, head of the Ford School's Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy.
But why clutter the issue with facts? [hat tip NRA-ILA]

How Would She Defend Herself Without a Weapon?

Putnam Township homeowner says she shot at men who tried to break into her home, police report - MLive.com Two against one. How do you defend yourself without some means of leveling the playing field?
The female homeowner had called 911 to report that two men entered her home through an unlocked door, and one struck her in the face, police said. The men fled into a swamp behind the home after she fired shots at them, police said.
OK, the unlocked door might be a problem. (Are all the doors and windows of your home always locked? No, not always?) But the firearm kept her safe. Too bad the bad guys got away.

And escaping into a swamp? I guess there are no gators in Michigan. (Are there?) That wouldn't be such a good idea in Florida.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

You Don't Often See Self-defense and Domestic Violence in One Story

Woman Shoots, Kills Ex-Boyfriend, Claims Self-Defense - WLKY Louisville So here is an example of someone being shot and killed by someone they knew. The Brady Bunch would point to this statistic and say it it proof guns are evil. But the shooting appears to be justified.
"He showed up unwanted yesterday and that he allegedly assaulted her and that's what led to all this," [Kentucky State Trooper Steve] Pavey said.
It isn't the first time the dead has caused trouble. He was the father of a couple of the woman's children. She is now married to someone else. I guess he doesn't understand when "It's over!"

Police will let the grand jury make the determination, but it looks like self-defense.

Factchecking the Factcheckers

Hawaii Reporter: Factcheck And Brady Campaign Share Same Sugar Daddy, the Annenberg Foundation It seems Factcheck.org isn't completely free from bias. Since they get their funding from a biased source, this isn't too surprising.

Factcheck had an issue with some NRA statments about the Obamamessiah. The "research" done by Factcheck.org amounted to parroting campaign literature and using the Brady Bunch as a source. (No bias there!) The trouble is, their facts are wrong, and the NRA is right.
There's another possible explanation behind FactCheck's positions. Just last year, FactCheck's primary funding source, the Annenberg Foundation, also gave $50,000 to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence for "efforts to reduce gun violence by educating the public and by enacting and enforcing regulations governing the gun industry." Annenberg made a similar grant for $100,000 in 2005. (source)

Regardless of the cause, it's clear that while FactCheck swoons over a politician's rhetoric, NRA prefers to look at the more mundane details - like how that politician voted on a bill and what kind of impact that legislation had or may have had on law-abiding gun owners.
Who are you going to believe?

The Hawaii Reporter has the details on what the NRA got right, and what the Brady Bunch/Factcheck.org/Annenberg got wrong - or just plain lied about. Go take a look.

Who guards the guards? A free press sure helps.