Saturday, January 31, 2009

It Isn't Only in Chicago

Dallas police chief fires four officers It isn't just in Chicago where cops get up to things that they shouldn't. It is just so easy to find stories about Chicago, I usually get lazy. But Dallas also has some problems. The Chief there fired 4 officers:
• Officer Larry Bankston, for working off-duty security jobs at apartment complexes while skipping his police job and falsely collecting worker’s comp.

• Senior Cpl. Edward Mindieta, for allowing a woman who had been a drug informant access to an apartment he rented at a reduced rate.

• Officer Fernando Perez, for using a department car to drive to and from work after his private vehicle had been repossessed.

• Senior Cpl. Anthony Williams, for failing to respond to an emergency call. Investigators found that he ignored the call while he argued with a former girlfriend.
Two of these guys were fired previous but reinstated.
Police chiefs around the nation have complained for years that officers fired for serious misconduct are frequently returned to the job by civil service boards, administrative law judges or other city officials.
Couldn't be some unions behind those appeals, now, could there? [Hat tip Keep and Bear Arms]

"Stand Your Ground" Introduced in New Hampshire - Manchester rep renews 'deadly force' legislation The state allows defense in the home, but this is an expansion of that.
"This is not a gun bill," he said repeatedly during his testimony. He argued that current law preserves a person's right to use deadly force in his or her home, but that's not enough. The bill would expand that right to include any place a person has a legal right to be. In other areas, the law requires a person to retreat when it can be done safely.

Rep. D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, speaking for Republican leadership in support of the bill, said crimes are often, "quick, calculated and organized . . . It should not be incumbent on a victim to decide when it is time for retreat."
All the usual suspects have their knickers in a twist. Prosecutors and police believe their jobs will be harder. Sorry, but we should organize our society to make it easy to prosecute people.

Best of luck to the folks in New Hampshire. [Hat tip NRA-ILA]

Another Nail in the Coffin

Steele is George Bush reincarnated A lot of ink (and electrons) has been spilled on how Michael Steele is the new GOP. Really? He seems like the old GOP to me.
Yanking a well-worn page from Rove’s playbook, he cynically used same-sex marriage as a wedge issue during his failed 2006 campaign for the U.S. Senate. At a rally, he asserted, oddly, that, “marriage is not a purely human institution.”
You have to assume that he meant it comes down to us from the gods, or something. (Be fair.)

So, how exactly is he any different from the GOP of the last 8 years? He tried (and failed, just like every other GOP challenger) to ride a wave of anti-gay hatered sentiment into office. That sounds like he was a typical Bush/Rove Republican in 2006.

Consider his time in office - or part of it anyway.
The Robert Ehrlich/Michael Steele administration was a four-year aberration for Maryland, characterized by a series of assaults on the rights of gay residents. Activists in Maryland accused Steele of perpetuating the notion that gays can’t be people of faith, noting that while testifying before the General Assembly they were often asked whether or not they believed in God. The statewide gay rights group, Equality Maryland, was labeled a “security threat” by the state police and considered a terrorist group.
Yeah, use the police to intimidate and harass people you have political disagreements with. That is how you make friends and influence people.

As I said before, the current state of the GOP is abhorrent to me. I don't think the GOP will win national elections in my lifetime.

A Generation of Sheep

War hero Sid takes on gun thug at bookies | The Sun |News If you keep telling people that they should not get involved, eventually they will believe it.
Sid intervened as burly Henry Rockson, 30, walked in brandishing a pistol and demanded cash from two women behind the counter.

The pensioner barely hesitated and grabbed hooded Rockson. As they grappled, Sid shouted to the other customers — most much younger than him — “Give us a lift.”
Nine other men were in the shop - all younger than Mr. Bannister. No one came to his aid. He ended up needing stitches from being hit over the head.

If one other "man" hadn't been a sheep, they could have captured this guy. But the British no longer believe in self-defense. They are convinced it does not work (evidence to the contrary notwithstanding).

I Thought Britain Was a Gun-free Zone?

Homeowner shot during robbery - Manchester Evening News Apparently that whole gun control thing isn't working out too well for them.
The 37-year-old victim struggled with two men who broke into his home in Barricroft Road, Didsbury, before being shot.
No self-defense. Gun crime. Police making meaningless statements, like criminals should be behind bars. (Gee, ya think?)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thank God That's Over

Unless you are living under a rock, or in a part of the country with no electricity, you probably know that Blagojevich is history. (By the way, "Blago" is a cheap cop-out by folks of Western European heritage that can't be bothered to learn the correct spelling or pronunciation of Eastern European names. What they do to the Indian and Chinese names is a crime. Suck it up - Milorad's last name isn't even that hard, as names go.)

I "got" to listen most of the speechifying that went on today. I think every one of the 59 Illinois state senators made a speech. When someone - I have no idea who - got to "Free at last, Free at last..." I about threw up.

Still, there is one less Chicago politician running around today. Too many more where he came from, and most cut from the same cloth. Patronage, pay-to-play, bribery, extortion or whatever you want to call it isn't a sin in Chicago; it's a way of life. Hey, when even the cops are crooks, what chance do the politicos have? "Don't make no waves. Don't back no losers."

Another of Cop Arrested for (attempted) Blackmail

4th cop charged in tow-truck bribery scam -- This guy even charged interest when his payoffs were late.

And if you were an honest tow-truck driver trying to make a living without paying bribes, you were [expletive deleted].
In the recorded conversations, Akins allegedly boasted that he usually collected bribes on at least 10 cars a week. Akins also described in detail how he arrested another tow-truck driver attempting to take towing jobs that the officer was trying to broker to other drivers, authorities said.

"We're [expletive] him, charging him with all kinds of [expletive]," Akins said on the recording.
10 cars per week at 100 bucks per car ain't a bad living. Somebody call the IRS - I think this guy owes some back taxes.

And you can tell the new guy in charge of the Chicago PD isn't from the city that's home to Blagojevich.
"I expect all of our police officers to uphold the law," Police Supt. Jody Weis said Wednesday.
Yeah, like that's gonna happen. I think I would settle for no officer actually breaking the law as a first step.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

AFA Has Their Knickers in a Twist

Pepsi's Gay Ad Aggravates Christian Group American Family Association is in a snit over a Pepsi advert that isn't even airing in America.
The ad, which is currently being broadcast in the United Kingdom, shows a young man hitting on another man after passing over several attractive women.
Heaven forbid that we acknowledge the fact that gays, in fact, do exist. The AFA wants to push us all back into the closet - turn back the clock to the pre-Stonewall era. Not gonna happen.

The AFA says this ad promotes the gay lifestyle. (Though I would guess the AFA actually used a less PC term than "gay.")

As far as I am concerned, any organization that pisses off the AFA can't be all bad, and PepsiCo really pisses them off. So of course they have started a boycott.
That boycott was promoted by the drink giant's contributions to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nations largest gay rights advocate, and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), a support group for parents with gay and lesbian children.
Funny, but I don't think hate is a family value.
Among the values promoted by the PepsiCo Foundation is ensuring a work environment that is respectful and where associates are valued for their contributions. I hope this helps clarify this grant by the PepsiCo Foundation
I will have to find some Pepsi products, and give them some support.

Butterfly Wings

I've had this song running around in my head for the past few days, and can't get it out of my head... The 3rd stanza follows:
You can't place faith in a new regime
that fascist faith will kill you
a hurricane triggered by a butterfly's wings
your conspirators betray you
It is of course "Butterfly Wings" by Machines of Loving Grace.

And no, I still haven't seen the new Punisher movie, I have this CD in my collection from back in the day. Butterfly Wings for a taste.

Think a Restraining Order Will Save You?

Ex-Husband Arrested For Murder She got a restraining order. It didn't save her.
At the time of the murder, Augustine Munoz was free on bail for violating a domestic violence restraining order. After police found Alamo's body, Munoz's bail was revoked and he was returned to jail.
She got a restraining order. He violated it. He was arrested, but released. Then she was killed. He is charged with the murder.

Restraining orders are interesting legal documents, but they won't protect you from violent persons. If you think you need a court order, you also need a plan for what you will do if that order is violently violated. I prefer firearms, you may have other thoughts, but you shouldn't rely on the system. You should rely on yourself.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Smoked Goblin? Aisle Five

Injured owner kills would-be robber in market shootout Two thugs walk into a store. One draws a gun. Things go bad for him.
Martinez and another man walked into the store, where Martinez fired at least one shot at the owner, wounding him, Sgt. Mark Robinson said.

The owner drew a gun and returned fire, hitting Martinez in the chest, the officer said.
The injured goblin died in the parking lot. The store owner was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The second goblin is in police custody.

I would say, "Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0," but they did injure an honest merchant.

Self-defense works. Self-defense is human right.

Call 911, or Is It Dial a Prayer?

Grant Park Neighbors Question Fire Response Time - | WXIA | Atlanta, GA On hold for 2.5 minutes, then the Fire Department was sent to the wrong location. Yeah, I want to bet my life on that system.
Firefighters now admit they were sent to the wrong address on the other end of Grant Park and said the 911 computer system had crashed just before the fire.
All the homeowner could do was stand and watch his home burn down.

This tragedy was related to a call for fire department services. Do you think a call about a home invasion, or rape, or any violent crime in-progress would have received different treatment?

Calling 911 is a fine thing when everything works out, but it is a system built and run by imperfect humans, and it doesn't always work the way we want it to. Better have a contingency plan, and in the case of fire services, property insurance. Things can be replaced. Concentrate on what can't be replaced - your life - and figure out how to defend it.

The systems cannot always save you, not even when they work perfectly, and they don't always perform perfectly. Learn first aid, have good insurance and develop a plan for your personal safety. Know what you will do when 911 doesn't come to your rescue.

Monday, January 26, 2009

An Honest Chicago Cop? (ex-cop anyway)

Former cop draws fire for alleged remarks to college students -- If you can use "honest" and "Chicago Police" in the same sentence that is.
As if Chicago police need another black eye.

This one could come from a punch extended halfway across the country, from a former Chicago cop who allegedly has been recorded on tape telling students at Colorado State University that beating suspects and paying off informants with drugs is just a way of life for police in "Chi-town."
I'm sure this kind of thing is limited to Chicago, and that it never happens anywhere else.</sarcasm>

The First Hundred Days

I am so glad that Obama's speech at the State Department has re-energized our diplomatic corps. [Click the image at right for a larger view - it is interesting]

They are so energized, they are doing web searches (no BLOG Searches) on Sigourney Weaver. Maybe Hilary is considering her for undersecretary in charge of Aliens.
I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
That attitude could be useful, but it just doesn't sound like the Democrats.

Some People Don't Know the Meaning of "It's Over"

WTHR - Man shot after breaking into ex-girlfriend's home Restraining orders are interesting legal documents, but they won't stop a person bent on doing violence.
A restraining order didn't keep a woman's ex-boyfriend from breaking into her home this morning, where she shot him.
He broke into her home and attacked her in front of her two children. She managed to get away from him and get a gun.

That isn't to say Restraining Orders have no purpose.
While it may not have kept Seats away from the woman, the order made it clear to police who was the victim and who was the suspect. They say he's going to jail because she acted in self-defense.
So this is an instance where "you are likely to shoot someone you know" comes into play. Is it a bad thing that she shot someone she knew? She did so in legal self-defense after all.

But the main point is, as one commenter to the story pointed out, "When seconds count, police are minutes away." A court order didn't protect this woman. A firearm did.

Gratuitous Movie Review

OK, so Prayers for Bobby is a "Lifetime Event." That's made for TV movie for those of you not paying attention to the "Women in Peril Network." The movie is getting a lot of hype because Sigourney Weaver is in it. She plays an over-bearing, bible-thumping mother who basically drives her gay son to commit suicide.

The one thing Prayers has going for it, is that it is based on a true story, but being a Hollywood view of Middle America, the screen-play hits the religious angle over the head a few-too-many times. I didn't read the book, so maybe this is how it actually played out, but it feels forced, when it probably didn't need to be.

I didn't think it was all that good. The final speech delivered by Weaver is OK, but the rest of the movie is pretty poor. Or maybe it is just too predictable.

The funny thing is, that Lifetime resurrected Doing Time on Maple Drive, which is one of my favorite gay, coming-out stories. They ran it as a break from repeating Prayers constantly. Being fiction, Doing Time can engage on more than one level. It also has a great supporting performance by Jim Carrey, who plays the drunken, older brother of the main character. (A VERY young Jim Carrey.) It has the added bonus that no one dies, and still the characters at the end are evolving. It also manages a bit of humor in dealing with tough subjects. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

I am almost surprised that they didn't trot out Andre's Mother as well. Another story of a mother who can't accept her son being gay until after he is dead. Though this is an AIDS story, and you don't see those much any more. (Longtime Companion is the best of these - see it if you can.)

Stories about gays, and gay youth in particular, committing suicide and/or dealing with family rejection are not unique, though Hollywood doesn't deal with them often. I think they could have done a better job with Prayers for Bobby.

Is This Justice?

JusticePolice Board rarity: 2 cops fired :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 2 cops have been fired for doing bad things. (I have a feeling that the union will appeal.)

But this is the bit that caught my eye.
In the second case, Officer Larry Guy Jr. was fired for beating Amando Lucas in the head while he was handcuffed with his arms behind his back in 2005 at a Target store. It was caught on surveillance tape.

Guy, an 11-year officer, also was found guilty of trying to erase tapes of the beating. He was charged with attempted obstruction of justice, battery and official misconduct, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and got 18 months of probation.
Why is it that they never actually have to face the music for their illegal actions? And how was he ever still on the job after a taped beating of a handcuffed man?

So why were the obstruction and misconduct charges dropped? Couldn't be favoritism could it? I know a lot of people are offered pleas to keep the courts from bogging down, but officers of the law should be held to a higher standard, not given a pass.

Maybe I Should Start a "Cops Behaving Stupidly" Category

The Associated Press: Boy, 14, dupes police, patrols Chicago for 5 hours So someone walks in off the street, and everyone assumes they are who they say they are.
A 14-year-old aspiring police officer donned a uniform, walked into a Chicago police station and managed to get an assignment — patroling in a squad car for five hours before he was detected, police said Sunday.
I don't honestly know whether to laugh (at the bumbling insanity that is the Chicago PD) or cry (because "Chicago's Finest" don't know a 14-year-old kid isn't a cop).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It Seems that What You Don't Know, Might Kill You

Criminals don’t keep up with the news
This I have learned over time.

A very small percentage of people get away with serial crime. Over time, all the rest get caught. Some get killed.

It’s in the newspapers.

It’s on the news.

Here in Fayetteville, we had another case of a homeowner who killed an intruder in what police call a justifiable homicide.
Describes this incident and two others in the recent past where bad guys have met armed good guys in Fayetteville. And with the gun sales going through the roof, there are more and more armed good guys every day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gays Want All These Special Rights - Like Going to the Market Unmolested - Woman attacked in apparent Uptown hate crime Yeah, that is what we want, special rights. Like the right to walk a block to a local market before going home.
She told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Thursday night after getting off work, she decided to walk a few blocks to Rainbow Foods before walking the block home.

That’s when two men in front of her started calling her derogatory words that referred to sexual orientation. She said before she knew it, she was being beaten in the head, the face, and kicked repeatedly in the stomach.
I mean be reasonable, why should she have the right to be free from severe concussions?

More self-defense would help of course, but do we just ignore that hate?

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Homeowner Fights Off Intruders They picked the wrong home to burglarize.

The homeowner armed himself, before investigating a noise. He found 3 thugs rummaging through his living room. He fired a warning shot - the returned fire but missed. He then shot one in the leg.
"It's a bold thing to do to break into someone’s house, “ says Lt. Terry Hastings with the Little Rock Police Department, “but criminals need to realize, you have a right to protect yourself inside the home and people are doing just that now."
One guy was arrested. Another guy was shot in the leg, and arrested. The third guy is still being searched for by police, who say they have "good information" about him.

Self-defense is a human right. And in Arkansas, it is your legal right.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Concealed Carry Permit Holder Stops Burglar

Dallas Homeowner Shoots, Kills Alleged Burglar - Pretty straight-forward.
There was no one home when Flores initially entered the house, but soon after Bircher arrived home and confronted the burglar. Flores had stolen a gun from inside the home and used it against Bircher, but the homeowner has a concealed handgun license and was carrying a weapon.

"He shot at me four or five times and thank goodness he missed," explained Bircher. "I got off one or two rounds and I guess I hit him."
I guess so, since the bad-guy was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Self-defense is a human right, and in Texas, anyway, it is your legal right.

No Racial Profiling Here

LAPD rejects study finding racial profiling by officers - Los Angeles Times Yale University scholars apparently don't know what they are doing. Or so says the LAPD.
Top LAPD officials, speaking before the civilian commission that oversees the department, acknowledged that minorities are more frequently subjected to searches and other action during stops than are whites, but dismissed the claim of widespread racial profiling among officers and defended the department's efforts to address the issue. They also attacked the study, saying that analysis of data from traffic and pedestrian stops cannot accurately determine whether officers are biased.
Imagine that! Actually looking at what officers do to determine what they think. Why not just ask them if they are prejudiced? They wouldn't lie would they?

Of course they want to lean on crime statistics, but the behavior is in both high crime and low crime neighborhoods.
The problem is that the ACLU study found that minorities are more likely than whites to be stopped, searched and arrested even in low-crime neighborhoods, and where they make up only a small percent of the residents.
No smoking gun, just a lot of smoke.

What if you were arrested for something you didn't do?

"Errors" in fingerprint analysis.... Hasn't this been solid science for generations? Fingerprint experts errors: LAPD errors may be linked to other cases - 1/16/09 - Los Angeles So what would you do if told your fingerprints were somewhere they couldn't be?
The first problems came about in the fall when two people were implicated in cases they knew nothing about because of analysts' mistakes. The charges were eventually dropped, but now the LAPD said they have to look at other cases for mistakes.
About 1000 cases are being reviewed.

Are these simple errors? The cynic in me says it is more than that. But, they have taken some action... firing one fingerprint analyst, and even reassigning supervisors. More than they usually do, though I have to believe more than one persons was responsible for those 1000 cases.

Funny What Isn't in the News These Days

While we get a run-down of what Michelle Obama is wearing to what dance, the problems of the world seem to be ignored by the press.

Maritime piracy remains a problem, though there are interesting developments. Spain, Japan and China are getting into the anti-piracy force. Though China has more on its mind than just fighting pirates.
Another Chinese objective is to chip away at India's maritime dominance in the Indian Ocean — a theater critical to fashioning a Sino-centric Asia. If China can assert naval power in the Indian Ocean to expand its influence over the regional waterways and states, it will emerge as the preeminent Asian power.

The geopolitical importance of the Indian Ocean today is beginning to rival that of the Pacific. Much of the global oil-export supply passes through the Indian Ocean rim region, particularly through two constricted passageways — the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and Oman, and the piracy-plagued Strait of Malacca.
India isn't taking that lying down of course.

It is also a big deal for Japan to get involved, because when the US government wrote the Japanese constitution at the end of WWII their military - the Self-defense Force - was made strictly defensive. Projecting any power abroad is a big deal for them.

Maybe you wonder why you should care about stuff halfway around the world. It is hurting trade, but mostly European trade. (It is a long way around the Cape of Good Hope, if shipping has to bypass the Suez Canal for the longer journey.) Well, it is impacting you in other ways.... even mundane stuff like the price of tuna has been impacted. More stress on Europe's economy means they are less able to buy stuff from us. (We still do send them some stuff.)

Anyway, I'm sure none of this is as important for the evening news to report as pictures of Obama's first phone call from the Oval Office.

Break-in Stopped by Firearm

MyFox Kansas City | Police Say Clay County Homeowner Shoots Alleged Intruder He pulled his car into the yard and was yelling at the house. When he forced the door open, he got shot.
Authorities say the homeowner called 911 dispatchers to report that an unknown man had driven his vehicle up to their front door, and was standing outside screaming at their house.

Authorities said that as the homeowner talked to dispatchers, the suspect allegedly forced open the front door of the home and began to go inside, where he was confronted and shot by the caller's spouse.
He was heavily intoxicated (what a surprise) and now he is suffering from life-threatening injuries.

Self-defense is a legal right.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Armed Clerk Stops Armed Robber

Attempted robbery suspect shot and killed | The News-Sentinel - Fort Wayne IN The clerk was seriously wounded. The robber was more-than-seriously wounded.

Now some will say that this clerk should have cooperated, but cooperating with violent criminals doesn't keep them from being violent criminals.

Self-defense works.

When you're caught, red-handed...

It can be hard to maintain your innocence. Chicago cop admits extorting tow truck driver :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Chicago Crime Illegal activities among Chicago's police? What a surprise.
A 22-year police veteran pleaded guilty in federal court this morning, admitting he extorted a tow truck driver. Michael Ciancio, 56, admitted he took bribes and personal car repairs from a tow truck company owner in return for sending wrecked cars from accidents its way.
I wonder how many others will be caught in this net. (Could this be a plea deal? This article doesn't say.)

And 100 bucks per tow in bribes? How much does it cost to have your car towed in the Chicago? I hate to ask.

This is disturbing on several levels

Fake black cab driver 'drugged and sexually assaulted 14 women in taxi after pretending he won the lottery' | Mail Online The first level is just the idea of a serial rapist. A London cabbie who drugged and assaulted women.
A predatory London taxi driver drugged 14 women passengers with spiked champagne to sexually assault them in the back of his cab.
The second level is that women would trust anyone they never met before just because he drove a cab. I don't trust every cop I meet, let alone cab drivers.

At least they caught the bastard, but I don't expect the British courts to hand down anything remotely like justice. Rape isn't taken all that seriously in the UK.

Monday, January 19, 2009

High Employee Turnover, Low Pay and Limited Training

The title is from a description of 911 centers. Improved Training Resisted for 911 Calls | | The Ledger | Lakeland, FL A story about Florida. Most states do require certification for 911 dispatchers. Florida does not.

OJT would be fine, if distracting veteran employees and later rookie mistakes didn't cause life-and-death problems.
Like many Florida 911 centers, Bradenton trains employees on the job. After 14 weeks, employees are expected to work solo. Within a year, nearly three of four have left - overwhelmed or simply unsuited for a job handling nightmare scenarios at $26,166 a year.

Bradenton is emblematic of the vast majority of Florida's 911 centers, which are plagued with high employee turnover, low pay and limited training.
Budget for training? And give up the budget from where?

Next time you go visit The Mouse, consider what happens if you need help from 911.
Low pay and low standards place emergency call-taking among the most menial of jobs. Many 911 workers come straight from low-skill jobs at retail stores and fast-food chains and within a few weeks are coordinating help for heart attacks, house fires and shootings.
If you want to read a litany of mishandled calls, untrained dispatchers, and other why training is resisted by the people in charge, take a look.

Calling 911 is a fine thing, if it works. It doesn't always work the way it should. Excuse me if I don't want to put all of my money on a bad bet.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Good Guys Come Out on Top

Woman Shoots Burglar in Triangle Home Armed homeowner stops home invasion.
When an alarm sounded at a home in the 3300 block of Dondis Creek Drive after 10 a.m., the 47-year-old woman inside the home discovered three men trying to break in, grabbed a handgun and confronted the group, according to police.
One was shot. He and a 2nd thug were arrested soon after by police. (He has life-threatening injuries.) The third guy is on the run.

Self-defense works, and it is a human right. (2 out of 3 ain't bad.)

Chicago's Crime Problem

Erasing the 'murder capital' title Murders in Chicago came to 509, which almost equaled New York City - which has 3 times the population - had 522. That 509 was a 16% increase over the prior year. Other violent crimes also increased.

What will Chicago do? More of the same, namely, a war on gangs.
Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis aims to crack down on gangs with a new Gang Mobile Strike Force of 400 officers who are able to roam the city and be active where problems are most prevalent.
But not everyone is convinced.
"They've been waging a war on gangs for 40 years, and like Vietnam or Iraq, it's not working," UIC's [University of Illinois at Chicago] Mr. Hagedorn says.
With budget shortfalls, they can't even hire all the police they say they need. (Yet they are sending a small number to DC for the festivities.)

Mayor Dumbbell will call for more gun control. And the new regime in Washington, DC, will probably oblige.

911 Call Center Screw-ups

Examples Of Mistakes Made at 911 Call Centers Most screw ups result in verbal or written reprimands. This is an example (there are many) that involves someone who was shot.
Discipline records show that Keasler asked the man who had shot him and when the man said he did not know, the 911 operator began speaking in an "uncaring tone of voice."

The caller hung up and did not get help until he called back and spoke to another 911 operator.
Calling 911 is fine thing, but it doesn't always work out as advertised.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

“An acerbic, abrasive, aggressive, outspoken, brazen, witty, exhaustively, fiercely intelligent dyke”

Fascinating Queers: Queen Camille’s Sexual Persona An interesting profile of one of my favorite people, Camille Paglia.

Most of what you think you know about her is (probably) second hand, from her enemies, of which she has a lot.
Like always, Camille’s tough as nails. She says, “The only thing that will be remembered about my enemies after they’re dead is the nasty things I’ve said about them.”
Worth a look.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Justice is Rarely Meted Out to Cops

JusticeFormer BART cop arrested on murder charge - San Jose Mercury News But this is a case where a citizen had a video camera.

I usually don't cover stories that receive quite this much media attention. Why bother? You have seen this covered on the evening news - though usually in the form of the riots surrounding the issue.

In case you have been living in a cave... Johannes Mehserle, who was a Bay Area Rapid Transit (or BART) police officer, shot a man in the back.
Videos appear to show him shooting Grant as the 22-year-old was facedown on the ground at the Fruitvale BART station.
The man was in custody, on the ground, and this officer shot him in the back. Some would call it execution style, but that would really be in the back of the head.

Mehserle, resigned, and left the area. He was arrested and charged with murder.

On the economic stimulus front, the family of Grant, the 22-year-old shot, are suing BART for wrongful death to the tune of 25 million. I expect they will win. I wonder if BART will apply for funds (at least 25 million?) from the pork economic stimulus package, you know, the new 800 million dollars promised to increase things like rapid transit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Smoked Goblin? Aisle Five

Clerk shoots would-be robber in Halifax County A straight-forward case of armed self-defense beating armed robbery.
The clerk told the sheriff's office a man entered the store around 6:30 p.m. armed with a handgun and demanded money. The sheriff's office said the clerk shot the suspect who then left on foot.
Police found the guy a couple of hours later with a gunshot wound to the chest. The goblin "has been charged with attempted armed robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a felony."

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

Chicago Thugs Run Into Legally Armed Citizen in Indiana

Chicago Teen Killed In Shootout After Robbery - Of course nothing like this could happen in Illinois, since the law-abiding are disarmed, but in Indiana, it is possible to defend yourself.
The robbery victim, a 38-year-old Gary man, had just pulled into the parking lot of McTavern's at 7443 Indianapolis Blvd. around 11:30 p.m. Saturday when Banks and the 17-year-old walked up and demanded the man's wallet and fur coat.

The man said "wait a minute" as the 17-year-old -- identified by the Lake County Coroner's office as Kenneth Denson of 648 E. 131st St. in Chicago -- counted to 10, said Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller.

The man opened a rear door to his Cadillac Escalade, withdrew a hidden handgun, and fired at Denson.
The 17-year-old died at the scene, the 2 other thugs were arrested after a police chase.

The Chicago press describes the dead guy as a teen, which is literally true, but my guess is that had he survived, he would have been charged as an adult with armed robbery (attempted anyway) and a number of other crimes.

Self-defense is a human right, and in Indiana, it is your legal right. Maybe word will spread among the thuggish in Chicago, and they will stay out of Indiana in the future. I really doubt they are that smart.

If a Homeowner with a Shotgun, Asks You to Leave...

You might want to consider leaving. Victim was once friends with shooter | Caller-Times I think I might not want to antagonize a pissed-off homeowner with a 12 gauge.
The homeowner told deputies that Minns was pounding on the door of his home on Portia Lane, south of Rockport .

According to the sheriff's department, the homeowner answered the door holding a 12-gauge shotgun and told Minns to leave.

According to statements taken by police, when Minns didn't leave and tried to enter the home, he was shot twice and died at the scene.
Someone tries to break into a home, and forcing your way in applies, then that homeowner has the right to stop you.

This illustrates the "you are more likely to shoot someone you know" issue, and why that is a red herring. The homeowner did know the dead guy. That doesn't mean the shooting wasn't justified. (The investigation is on-going, as the authorities determine if it was justified.) Self-defense applies even against friends (or old-friends-become-enemies), ex-husbands or ex-wives, ex-s of any flavor if they become violent.

Anyway, self-defense is a human right.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Congressional Motors Announces the 2012 Pelosi

Classic Iowahawk. Don't know how I missed it.

Political Headache

So, is there such a thing as a "Free-market Democrat?"

I don't know. I guess I will have to try to find out.

I just know that the Republican party has abandoned me, and a lot of people like me. It continues to move in the direction of gay-bashing bible-thumpers.

"Fiscal conservative" and "Republican" don't seem to go together. Not when Republicans are sent to Washington, anyway. Borrow and spend Republicans. Is that really what the "Contract with America" said? I didn't think so. (How many Republicans will vote for the upcoming $800 million pork-barrel bill, because they are getting theirs?)

And so we come to it...
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them ...
etc. etc. While I am not setting up a new country (or even a new party), I do have a list of grievances. Not as exhaustive as Jefferson's (or was that Paine's). Anyway, here are a few of them.

The Right loves to talk about the Liberal Democrats' "litmus test:" abortion. Well, the Right has the same litmus test, they just check for the opposite reading. Why was Harriet Miers nominated to Supreme Court? What was her qualification? As near as I can tell, aside from being a friend to George W. Bush, she was steadfastly opposed to abortion for religious reasons. That sounds like a litmus test to me. Is there no aspect of person's life that government should refrain from controlling? What area would that be?

The past few elections, the Republicans have tried to use state-level constitutional amendments against Gay Marriage as a way to "get out the vote" and defeat Democrats. How's that working out for you? Not so good, huh? I suppose some folks are still saying gay marriage will destroy straight marriage, but the truth is straight marriage is in trouble without any help from us. Are all those gay marriages in Canada, Europe, Israel and a handful of states sapping the sanctity out of your marriage? Or are you all getting divorced at astronomical rates for your own reasons? And, as always, I will ask again... If you are opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds, why are you opposed to the Employment Non-discrimination Act? Does ENDA violate the sacred right of employers to fire queers? Oh, you aren't opposed to ENDA? Have you written to your reps stating your views? (Here's a link if you want to do so.)

Gays serve in the military. They always have. They have often served with distinction. Current law (Don't Ask, Don't Tell) explicitly states that gays can serve in the military, as long as no one does anything or says anything to upset the homophobes. And if gays could serve openly I am sure there are some people who wouldn't want to join. Just as I am sure that there were racists who didn't want to serve in an integrated service. But is that really how we want to arrange our society? (Unit cohesion was exactly the argument used to stave off integration, and I'm sure it hurt unit cohesion in units populated by racists when the services were integrated.)

This list isn't exhaustive. It took more self-control than you can imagine not to weigh in on the "War on Christmas" arguments that were flying around... (Why exactly is Christmas celebrated on December 25th? Why was the Solstice moved off the 25th in 1592, when the Gregorian calendar was adopted - by Papal decree?) The treatment of Wiccans by Veterans' Affairs under W. Religious freedom? Not for you non-Christians. Or the treatment of Wiccans by W. Should I go on?

And so I remain a small "l" libertarian. In favor of small government, fiscal responsibility, individual freedom, and individual responsibility, government that isn't in the business of legislating morals or protecting me from myself. Just no longer with a place in any party. I guess it has really been that way for a while. (Yes, the Libertarian Party is still insane.) There used to be a fiscal-conservative wing of the Republican party. If it exists, it is without power. Maybe there is a free-market wing of the Democratic party. If it exists, it is also without power. Politics suck. Now where did I put the aspirin?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What Happens if You Call 911, and the Police Get Lost?

Lack of police services in Rose Township causes delay aiding victim; Oakland County undersheriff explains the problem - Fenton Press - You wait. If you need medical treatment, and there is some evidence of violence, you will wait for medical treatment.
Standard best-practice protocol states in cases that include weapon involvement, combative victims, overdoses or suicide attempts, police must first secure the scene.
That's fine. Safer for everyone, as long as police know where you are. (Don't they have GPS?)
Although the Oakland County sheriff's unit unit was quick to respond to the call, police went the wrong way on the victim's road -- in the opposite direction.
Many minutes passed before the medical help - waiting patiently - figured out what happened. The police remained clueless.

Now county officers often cover a huge area. It is impossible for them to know everything. And although everything turned out OK in this incident, it shows up the fact that calling 911 is not a magic solution to all your problems. People make mistakes. Police are minutes away under the best conditions. People get lost, making some minutes many more minutes.

A lot of bad things can happen in that time.

Calling 911 is a fine thing. But it shouldn't be the only thing you do. Learn first aid, CPR, and develop a plan for your personal protection. You need to survive those minutes until help arrives.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Chicago Cops and High School Students

Police investigating alleged strip search of teens -- A bad mix on the best of days. In contradiction of police - several policies actually - a Chicago Cop acting as a school security officer strip searched two students.

Aside from the violation of policy on strip searching minors, there is the small question of the Fourth Amendment.
Neither of the girls was ever told they were suspected in the fire, or have since been told they were suspects -- meaning the officer's alleged actions violated the constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure, Fennerty [attorney for one of the families] said.

"There was no probable cause to search these girls in this manner," he said.
Welcome to the police state.

This is making less sense to me as time goes by

Blogging was once fun, bordering on an obsession that I did all the time. Now I do a few searches a week, in a continuing effort to let people know that self-defense works, domestic violence affects everyone, etc.

But when I realized that the Dems were going to win this round, politics lost a lot of interest. What little time I spend on it I feel should be spent writing to my reps. But I don't think anything will stop the reintroduction of another weapons ban. Probably the first of many. Together with everything else we will see in the next 4 years.

Living in the Socialist Republic of America doesn't appeal to me, but when large scale socialism is ushered in by a Republican President - ostensibly a conservative Republican - I don't see much hope for freedom in America. I mean if the Republicans are going to act like big-government, big-spending Democrats, I guess it makes sense that people would vote for Democrats.

(Side to note to all old, gray Republicans: You may think you would make a good President, but between Bob Dole and John McCain, I think we have proved that you won't be elected. So don't run in the primary. Find a young up-and-coming colleague and support them. It doesn't matter though, the Republicans are in the hands of the religious right, and that also turns off a lot of voters - me included.)

So I don't know where to go from here. I may keep up a low-level of blogging, but I'm not sure why. I will stay here because of family commitments, but I will leave eventually. Small Caribbean island anchorage. Keep moving.

Even in Illinois, Self-defense is Legal

Daily Herald | No charges for Waukegan store clerk who shot robber The People's Republic of Change has to admit that self-defense is legal.
A Lake County grand jury said Wednesday no criminal charges should be brought against a Waukegan store clerk who shot and killed an armed robber.
The comments are filled with people who think the clerk should be hung out to dry, and the authorities conducted "an exhaustive investigation" because they were hoping to charge him with something.

Illinois lacking a strong version of the Castle Doctrine, some are betting the relatives of the dead guy will be suing the clerk and the store.

Self-defense works. And it is legal, even in the People's Republic of Change Illinois.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

Suspected Burglars Shot; 1 Fatally | WOAI.COM: San Antonio News The 20-year-old son of the homeowner grabbed a gun during a home invasion. He shot one guy in the neck. (He later died.) The other guy he shot in the head. (He is in critical condition.)

When are the bad guys going to learn that homes in Texas contained armed homeowners (and their families) who are willing and able to defend themselves? Probably never.

Self-defense Works in Ohio

Colerain Township Homeowner Kills Intruder :: WKRC-TV in Cincinnati Armed homeowner defends himself from a home invasion.
Hamilton County deputies say two men broke into the apartment in the Burgandy Court apartments on Rocker Drive in Colerain Township around 11:30 last night. There was apparently a shootout between a person who was inside the apartment at the time and the men.
One bad guy was shot several times and later died in hospital. The other is on the run, and police are looking for someone who may need medical attention.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Some People Don't Matter

Sexual assaults on female inmates went unheeded | Detroit Free Press That is the way the Michigan Dept. of Corrections ran things.
For years, rights groups warned that male guards were sexually assaulting female inmates in Michigan prisons. For years, those warnings went unheeded. Now, state taxpayers may pay a price too. More than 500 women are suing. They stand to collect $50 million so far, with more trials to come. This is their story.
The state had a simple defense: These women are prisoners, and prisoners lie; if something did happen, it was the act of a few rogue guards; and if something did happen, the women didn't report it. So how could the Department of Corrections prevent what it didn't know was happening? The state said it thoroughly investigated any allegations it knew about and the claims of abuse were exaggerated.

"To say the department just sat back and did nothing, just let everybody run the place is just totally false," Allan Soros, an assistant attorney general, said at the first trial.

Nonetheless, a series of human rights reports throughout the 1990s said sexual assaults on female inmates were rampant and corrections officials tolerated the climate.
Tolerated it because some people don't matter.

Is this Justice? Hardly.

Self-defense Works More Often in 2008

'Justified homicides' more than doubled Interesting - the statistics are local (San Antonio) but seems there is a nationwide trend.
According to [San Antonio] Police Department statistics, justified homicides in 2008 rose significantly, from seven in 2007 to 17 mirroring a nationwide trend. Of the 17, city and other area police officers were involved in seven.

“Nationally, it appears that justifiable homicides have increased,” criminologist James Alan Fox said. “The reasons could be many. We seem to be sending a message that it's acceptable to (use deadly force) even if there is a chance of fleeing.”
Of course that criminologist has his knickers in a twist over the "don't retreat" parts of the new Stand Your Ground laws. He seems to think that fewer justifiable homicides would result if we went back to forcing people to flee. He is quiet on whether it would have any other impacts - like more murders or more rapes.

The numbers aren't official until the FBI puts them in the UCR for 2008 (which if they hold true to form, won't be before 3Q 2009.) But the comparisons between cities are interesting - even if the FBI warns against doing them.
New York and Chicago, for example, noted increases, while other major cities, including Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, recorded fewer violent deaths than in 2007, according to the Associated Press.

In Texas, Austin's homicides fell from 30 in 2007 to 23 in 2008, according to the Austin Police Department. In Houston, authorities recorded 54 fewer homicides last year, from 348 in 2007 to 294, according to the Houston Chronicle.
They find a bleeding heart to lament the Castle Doctrine. Some people who break into your home in the middle of the night might be there for an innocent reason. Yeah, right. And I have title to bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in. Someone who breaks into my home while I am there is a threat. But the Left doesn't like it when people act on their own behalf. We should rely on government for everything. Even the things they can't supply - like personal safety.

Elderly Man Defends Himself

Springfield Man Shoots Home Invader - News Story - WHIO Dayton How are the old or the infirm supposed to defend themselves from the young and the thuggish if they don't have firearms?
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- Springfield police said an elderly homeowner opened fire Saturday on a man trying to enter his home.
No word on the condition of the would-be home-invader.

Self-defense is a human right. Armed self-defense is the only hope of the aged or the infirm.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Off the Headlines, But Still a Problem

AFP: New year sees at least five Somalia pirate attacks: IMB Funny how piracy has dropped completely off the news. I know there are other things going on, but is the (admittedly tragic) death of a celebrity's son more important than a threat to global trade? Enough to push that threat off the radar entirely?
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — The first days of 2009 have seen at least five pirate attacks off Somalia, but the bandits are becoming desperate as the international community cracks down, a maritime watchdog said Saturday.

An Egyptian cargo ship with 28 crew on board was hijacked on New Year's Day, while four other vessels were threatened but managed to escape, some with the help of warships and aircraft belonging to nations patrolling the region.
And in another case.
In a sixth incident not yet reported to the IMB, the Danish navy said one of its anti-piracy warships rushed to the rescue of a cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden Friday and rescued five pirates after they were forced into the water.
The pirates, sensing a threat to a VERY lucrative operation, are becoming much more aggressive. Things will probably get worse before they get better, but at least something is finally being done. Things may get better in the long run.

That doesn't count the problems in the South China Sea, however.
As recently as December 1, Indonesian pirates attacked a ship off Tioman island in eastern Malaysia’s South China Sea. Three previous attacks were made in the same area.
One step at a time, I guess.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

Homeowner Stops Burglary | WSAV They tried to break in while he wasn't home. Their trouble started when he arrived home.
Tom Sturgess was returning to his residence when he noticed a Ford Crown Victoria parked in his driveway. Sturgess blocked the Crown Victoria by parking behind the vehicle. Sturgess who was armed with a pistol, walked up to the Crown Victoria to see what was going on. Sturgess began to question 27-year-old Arthur Lewis Clark, a passenger in the vehicle.

27-year-old Darron Eugene Johnson, who was not in the vehicle, aggressively approached Sturgess. A physical altercation between Johnson and Sturgess followed resulting in Johnson being shot in the foot by Sturgess. Clark remained in the vehicle until police arrived. Both Johnson and Clark were taken into custody by police.
Both are in custody. Both are charged. Both are "persons of interest" in other burglaries in the area.

Legal self-defense works, and is a benefit to society, since police cannot be everywhere that law-abiding citizens can.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Armed Business Owner Defends Himeself

Columbia, South Carolina | Officials: Would-be robber shot by fireworks stand owner He tried to rob a fireworks stand, and got a surprise.
Officials say Thursday afternoon around 3:30pm, a man attempted to rob the owner of a fireworks stand on Shakespeare Road. That's when authorities say the owner shot the suspect.
The injured guy is in the hospital in stable condition.

The owner of the business will not be charged. Self-defense is your legal right. (It is also a human right.)

How Does the Union Decide Who to Defend?

Chicago police union faces suit over Burge defense -- I have no idea whether there is merit here or not, but it is interesting that the Chicago police union doesn't defend everyone in the union.
Raysurnet Morris and William Whitaker, who both are African-American, say the union refused to pay their legal fees, while at the same time funding Burge's defense. Burge is white.
So how do they select who to support and who to toss to the wolves?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Step 1: Arrest the Bastards

The Associated Press: 4 arrested in N. California gang rape of lesbian These 2 "men" and 2 boys (4 monsters?) gang raped a woman - targeting her for because she was a lesbian.

I first wrote about this monstrous attack on December 20th. I am surprised at how quickly these guys were identified and arrested.

It was a monstrous attack.
The 45-minute attack started when one of the men approached the woman in the street, struck her with a blunt object, ordered her to disrobe and sexually assaulted her with the help of the others, according to detectives.
These guys, when convicted, need to be removed from society for a VERY LONG time.

Chicago Off to a Quick Start

Police investigate first Chicago homicide of 2009 -- After 508 homicides in 2008 (a 15% increase from the 442 recorded in 2007), the first homicide occurred early on New Year's Day.
A 47-year-old Chicago man was fatally shot in the head after an early morning dispute on the city's West Side.
This isn't a nationwide problem... as the story Utah murder rate drops in '08 illustrates.

Will Chicago do anything differently in 2009? Probably not. Real change would require Mayor Dumbbell to admit that his strategies suck. Continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results is one definition of insanity.

Update: The Associated Press: Baltimore not as bloody in '08 with fewer killings. No, it can't be Mayor Dumbell's policies, can it?