Mar 132011
 

Is this what the Justice Dept wishes our Police Forces to become?

Your city’s finest?  Apparently not quite so fine these days, at least not if the Justice Department has its way.

The Department of Justice – increasingly a source of political correctness, and sadly less frequently a source of justice – has decided that the solution to ‘too few’ black people being in certain police departments is to lower the entrance exam standards.  Presumably if it is easier to pass the police entrance exam, more black people will qualify, and then, presumably, police departments will give priority to filling racial quotas rather than hiring the best people for the job.

Interestingly, neither the Police Officer’s Union nor the NAACP will publicly support this latest move by the Justice Department, with the Fraternal Order of Police President saying, quite rightly, ‘It becomes a safety issue to have an incompetent officer next to you in a life and death situation’.

So, quite possibly, people might die as a result of this Justice Department move, including the people who shouldn’t have been employed as police officers, their partners and colleagues, and members of the public they are supposed to be protecting.

Is this really what the Justice Department intended?  Isn’t this definitely a case of the cure being worse than the ‘problem’?

Of course, there’s nothing new to the sad truth that political correctness trumps effective policing, every which time, every which way.  But that’s no reason to accept continued interference with one of the key services a civilized society provides to itself – maintaining effective law and order.

More details here.

Mar 092011
 

Sting or Entrapment?  Mission Creep or Commendable?

Don’t get me wrong.  I detest creeps who prey on young children as much as anyone else, and feel society’s needs would be well served by lining them up against the wall and shooting them, whether it be in the balls or in the head.

But.

We have to be very careful to be just as ethical and fastidiously honorable in law enforcement actions to apprehend pedophiles as we do to arrest petty criminals.  Indeed, because the stigma attached to even the slightest hint that a person may be a pedophile is so great – and, unfortunately, the rush to convict so overwhelming, law enforcement needs to be very careful before filing such charges.

And if we ever, if we ever start to reason ‘well, this sort of crime is so bad that we should be allowed to cut corners to apprehend such terrible people’ then before we know it, those same corners will be cut for every other sort of crime and misdemeanor too.

So, how should law enforcement catch pedophiles?  Should they passively sit back, eat donuts, drink coffee, and wait for someone to file a complaint?  Or should they be more pro-active and try and do some crime prevention rather than crime detection?  I think we’d probably all agree that a pro-active approach is a good approach.

And who should be doing this?  Local police forces?  State bodies?  Federal agencies?  Because pedophiles will often travel to their victims, it is appropriate to involve not just local police but state and federal bodies too, with the FBI seeming to be the logical federal level organization.

Now.  Let’s look at a recent expose revealing how the Homeland Security Department had set up a fake website selling sex tours to – no, not to Thailand or Asia, and not even to Eastern Europe.  Instead, they were selling sex tours to, of all places, Canada (sorry, Canucks!).

Two big questions here.

First, why is the Homeland Security Department involved in setting up fake websites to catch pedophiles?  Their Mission Statement, lists five areas of responsibility :

We have five Departmental missions:

  1. Prevent terrorism and enhance security;
  2. Secure and manage our borders;
  3. Enforce and administer our immigration laws;
  4. Safeguard and secure cyberspace;
  5. Ensure resilience to disasters;

Which of these missions does setting up honey-trap fake websites for pedophiles come under?  You might think ‘safeguarding and securing cyberspace’ is perhaps the closest category, and for sure, none of the other four come close.  But if you read what they say about their cyberspace mission, it is all about protecting against hackers and cyberterrorism and protecting the internet structure, not about catching bad guys privately doing personal bad things via the internet.

So, I ask again.  How and why did the DHS take it upon itself to set up this pedophile sting operation?  This would seem to be extreme mission creep, and it isn’t as though we’re short of other agencies that can (and sometimes do) carry out similar actions.

Now for the second big question.  Let’s look at the actual form of what DHS did.  They set up a website, then trolled all through the internet, posting fake recommendations about the website to encourage people predisposed to that sort of thing to go visit it.

The difference between a sting and an entrapment is never clear or easy.  One test is that a sting merely allows a person to do something they were going to do anyway, whereas an entrapment entices or lures people to do something they might not have done if it were not for the encouragement that was part of the entrapment process.

So where on the spectrum is this fake website?  Don’t you feel it is uncomfortably close to entrapment – particularly because the website makes it really easy to go to Canada rather than travel far away to eg Asia for such perversions?

Now for the other big question.  Why should we care or worry, if the bottom line is that bad guys are taken off the streets, and our children are protected?

We should worry because it is the thin end of the wedge.  Indeed, think about this.  A government organization which has no authority or tasking to do this type of work, takes it upon itself to carry out this project.  We’re past the thin end of the wedge already – we have government agencies assuming new powers and duties that were never given to them.

So the DHS is evolving from protecting our nation against terrorism and overwhelming natural threats and weapons of mass destruction to now choosing to go after pedophiles, one by one – indeed, they’re not even trying to protect our children against these creeps, they’re trying to protect Canadian children instead!

Which begs the question – yesterday it was terrorists, natural disasters and weapons of mass destruction.  Today it is sting/entrapment operations against Americans seeking to have sex with Canadian children.  What will it be tomorrow?

And that’s the really scary question.  Our government is expanding out of control.

 

Mar 082011
 

So, what do most burglars do when breaking into a house?  Yes, they start stealing things, right?

And if they become aware of the home owner returning home, what do they do?  Hopefully, they leave quickly!

But that’s not what happened when a man in Portland, OR, broke into a home there.  Instead of going for the family silver, he went for – the shower!  And in the process of showering, he somehow became aware of the woman who lived there returning home.  So, what did he do next?

Well, you’ve probably already figured out this guy is not your normal type of home invader.  Instead of hiding, or running away, he – yes, he dialled 911 and asked the police to help, for fear of what the woman might do if she discovered him, dripping wet and buck naked, in her shower.  For whatever reason (and hopefully correctly) he feared she might have a gun, and apparently, whether armed or not, she had one or possibly two angry German Shepherds with her.

For full details of this puzzling crime, read this report.  You might want to listen to the audio transcript of the various 911 calls placed by both the burglar and the home owner, too, for extra laughs.

But if you do listen to the audio – and you should – you’ll notice one other thing.  Here’s the scene :  Inside the house is the burglar, perhaps still in the shower.  Outside the house, on the porch by the front door, is the woman, her youngish daughter, and a growing number of neighbors.

The woman wants to go in the house to get a coat, because she is cold standing outside on her porch.  The 911 operator sensibly manages to persuade her not to go back inside.

And then the first police car arrives.  But what does the policeman do?  Get this :  He waits in his car for backup to arrive, waiting until it is ‘safe’ for him to go up to the porch.  The 911 operator is quite happy to have the woman, her daughter, and various neighbors standing on the porch, but the police officer will not approach them or the house until he has backup.

Does that sound right to you?

Let’s think in general terms about this as well.  What would you do if you returned home to encounter a burglary in process?

The correct thing to do is – assuming no-one else near or dear to you is inside the house – to immediately leave your premises, and retreat to a safe location where you can observe, and call the police.  But if you have loved ones inside and at risk, you’ve got some hard decisions to make; hard decisions we’ll talk about another time.

If the burglar leaves, don’t intercept him, and have no contact with him.  Keep your distance and allow him to safely depart the scene.

Still stay out of your property though – no so much because the police don’t want you disturbing ‘the evidence’ (sadly, and depending on where you live and what happened, the police may not do much at all in terms of fingerprinting or in any other way doing ‘detective’ stuff) but rather for fear that there may still be other burglars inside.  Have the police check out your property for you before going back inside yourself.

Remember – you don’t want to corner a wild animal, and neither do you want to corner a criminal.  You’re not paid to do these things.  Leave such dangerous actions to those who are.  And even they won’t do it without backup.

Mar 072011
 

FL Turnpike sign

I don’t know when you last drove on one of the toll roads operated by the Florida Turnpike Authority, but believe you me, it can be an expensive experience.  What do they do – pave the roads with gold?

Anyway, so there you are, pulling up to the ticket collector’s box, and you’re due to pay maybe a $7 or greater toll.  The good news is that the Florida Turnpike website says

Customers can pay their toll with cash (U.S. Currency) on Turnpike facilities.

That’s kinda sorta what you’d expect, right?  Indeed, they won’t even take a credit card.  If you don’t have one of their Sun Pass transponders, your only other choice is to reach into your wallet and pull out some green.

But – wait.  You’ve got a couple of dollar bills, and then nothing smaller than a twenty.  No problem, you pass it over to the toll collector, and they tell you you’ve got to show some photo ID and refuse to let you leave the toll booth until you do.

If you object, they threaten to call the Florida Highway Patrol to presumably arrest you or force you to show ID.

And if you complain to the Turnpike management, they’ll deny it ever happens.

But a FL resident took a series of recordings to prove how widespread the practice of demanding ID before changing $20, $50 and $100 bills was, and subsquent document discovery action against the Turnpike Authority showed them scrambling to erect a facade of obfuscation and lies about the program.

Here’s a fascinating expose on what has been going on – be sure to watch the video in the top right as well as to read the article.

What is not explained by the Turnpike Authority is why they did it.  Sure – there’s an excuse – to catch counterfeiters; but in the 885 occasions when they received counterfeit bills, they never once passed the information about who presented the bill to them, to either the local authorities or the US Secret Service.  And a much simpler approach would be to do what any store does – to simply use a counterfeit detecting pen on the banknotes.

Some bully boy is on his own little power trip, just because he can.

The Authority is now anticipating being on the receiving end of a huge class action lawsuit that could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.  But where will this money come from?  From the citizens of FL – the same people who have been bullied illegally by the Turnpike Authority into unnecessarily showing ID.

How many people will lose their jobs over this?  You know the answer to this already, don’t you – no-one.  Will anyone lose their pension?  No, almost certainly not.  And that’s the real outrage.  Public service employees shamefully and shamelessly abuse their jobs, with no negative consequences whatsoever.

 

Feb 142011
 

The Taurus Judge takes .410 shot shells and .45 Colt cartridges

Here’s an interesting couple of videos – the first being an interview with a homeowner in the Denver CO area who was forced to defend himself against three intruders who broke into his house one night.  At least one of the intruders was armed; the homeowner defended himself successfully with his own pistol, and subsequently was interviewed on a local news program.

The second interview is with the Denver District Attorney who explains why, according to Colorado law and the facts of that particular case, he decided the shooting was justified – note in particular how one of the two reporters was trying to feed him a line about it being a vigilante shooting, and his very reasoned and rational response.

His decision as to this being a justifiable act of self defense of course probably would not apply in other states and/or in other situations, but it gives you some insight into the way the legal mind works in reviewing a home defense situation, as well as insight also into how you may react and what you should expect.

Also on the linked page is some commentary from Front Sight founder, Dr Ignatius Piazza, on the situation, and about how it is generally better not to agree to a television interview after being involved in an incident such as this.

I was interested in the handgun that was used – a Taurus Judge – a five chamber revolver that shoots either .410 shotgun shells or .45 ‘Long Colt’ (not regular ACP) rounds.  The shotgun shells need to be short 2.5″ long shells, rather than longer 2.75″ or 3″ (although Taurus now make a model that will handle the 3″ long shells too), and can have various different loads in them.   The 000 buck rounds hold just three balls (in 2.5″ length).

This review isn’t very positive about the Judge in terms of self defense, although it seems likely that it could be effective as at least a ‘scare them away’ weapon; perhaps loaded with the Number 4 shot, which very rapidly disperses to cover a large area.  I’ll try shooting one some time to let you know what the recoil is like – my guess is that it packs an awful punch.