A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for June, 2017

Background Checks are Legalized Harassment

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Gun control advocates have been clamoring for universal background checks. In their fantasy world a background check is a simple and sensible tools to prevent prohibited individuals from obtaining a firearm. But background checks aren’t simple or sensible if you find yourself on the prohibited persons list.

Unlike the fantasy world gun control advocates live in, here in the real world the government can and do add people to the prohibited list without cause. Whether an incident is due to an honest clerical mistake or purposeful harassment will always remain unknown because the process is opaque. But if your name is wrongly added to the list the only recourse available to you is to sue the federal government, which can drag out the court case to increase your expenses and then finally take your name off of the list voluntarily so that you’re stuck with those expenses:

Recently, Stamboulieh Law, PLLC, posted up on one of their latest cases, Ledet v. USA, where their client Mr. Ledet was forced to sue the United States to get his NICS checks records corrected. Despite having NICS “roll over” and correct the records, Mr. Ledet is not the “prevailing party” in his own lawsuit, as no judgment was rendered as the point of the suit was moot – NICS corrected its records.

Basically, the Court did not issue a ruling as the claimant received “relief” through the successful resolution of the NICS check allowing him to purchase a firearm. Therefore, he was not a “prevailing party”. Per the Court’s judgement:

“[A] plaintiff does not prevail even though its action has caused the defendant to change is primary conduct, because the plaintiff does not thereby obtain a ‘judicially sanctioned change in the legal relationship of the parties.’”

So, in short, unless a court orders the FBI to change its records, the FBI and its NICS division can drag out a case and increase the costs of the plaintiff and so long as they change voluntarily without a court order, NICS is off the hook for costs.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has create yet another avenue for the State to harass gun owners and people who are interested in becoming gun owners. People who have been wrongly placed on the prohibited persons list are looking at massive legal expenses if they want to exercise their so-called right to keep and bear arms.

If gun control advocates were sincere they would be working to fix glaring issues with NICS, such as this one, before demanding the system be made mandatory for all firearm transfers. However, their support of universal background checks doesn’t stem from a desire to keep weapons out of the hands of bad individuals, it stems from a desire to prohibit gun ownership. Under the current laws of the United States an outright ban is difficult to pass into law. But an de facto ban can be established by artificially raising the cost of buying a gun by introducing license and legal fees. Mr. Ledet just got to experience how NICS is a perfect tool for greatly increasing the cost of gun ownership.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 27th, 2017 at 11:00 am

The $3 Million “Justified” Shoot

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One of the more disgusting claims being made by cop apologists is that the jury’s ruling in the Yanez case proves that the officer’s killing of Castile was justified. The jury only ruled that Yanez wasn’t guilty of the crimes the prosecutor brought against him. That’s different from ruling that his actions were justified. Now we have evidence that even the municipal government of St. Anthony thought the actions of its office were in error. How much in error? Roughly $3 million in error:

The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement in his death, according to an announcement Monday by her attorneys and the Minneapolis suburb that employed the officer.

The settlement to be paid to Valerie Castile will avoid a federal wrongful death lawsuit stemming from Philando Castile’s death. The 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker was killed by St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop July 6 after Castile told the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun.

Valerie Castile was probably smart in taking this settlement after seeing how the court system works. Between the prosecution being able to select charges based on whether or not they want to win or lose a case; the jury selection process, which usually results in the jury box being stacked with people of low intelligence and high susceptibility to manipulation; the judge’s almost absolute authority in the courtroom; and various other little tricks the State has available to ensure a jury trial goes the way it wants, jury trials end up being a mechanism for the State to reinforce its own policies by claiming they were reviewed by an impartial body.

If Valerie pursued a federal lawsuit, it’s likely she would end up receiving nothing since the State’s courts have an unsurprising tendency to side with the State.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 27th, 2017 at 10:30 am

No Honor Among Thieves

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The primary job of a police officer is to extort wealth from the subjects of the State by enforcing the letter of the law. Most people don’t sign up for the job since the law prohibits a mind boggling number of peaceful activities and most people are disinclined to initiate violence against peaceful individuals. That means that the State has to recruit from the minority of people who enjoy initiating violence. While this gives the State an army of officers willing to do whatever it says, it also means that it has to deal with its ranks being filled with psychopaths and that has a lot of unintended consequences:

ST LOUIS – A black off-duty St. Louis police officer was shot by a white on-duty police officer from the same department who apparently mistook him for a fleeing suspect, according to a statement from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

There’s no honor among thieves. If given the opportunity one thief will gladly steal from another or, in this case, shoot another. With that said, I do appreciate it when violent gangs confine their violence to their own ranks.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 27th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Monday Metal: Lords of the Hunt by Dragony

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I hope you’re in the mood for some cheesy power metal because that’s what we’re listening to this week:

Written by Christopher Burg

June 26th, 2017 at 10:00 am

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It’s Not Your Property, Serf

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Can you own property in the United States of America? Many people would make the mistake of answering yes to that question. But the United States itself as well as the individual states that make it up are democracies and democracies mean that individuals cannot own property. At best an individual can lease property from the government. If, for example, an individual fails to pay their rent property taxes the government will revoke their lease. And it’s not even a contractual lease because the rules can change whenever an empowered voting body votes to alter the terms:

Tom Erickson feels like someone is taking a bite out of his front yard.

A 12-foot-wide strip of lawn will become part of a multi-use path, which he says will reduce his front yard by about a third.

“It’s incredible to me that they can just grab your property,” said Erickson, who is fighting Woodbury city officials over the plan to create the path along Commonwealth Avenue.

Mr. Erickson paid a large buy in for the privilege to lease the property he currently lives on. He probably thought that his buy in entitled him to perpetual use of the same amount of property so long as he paid his rent on time. But the city officials voted to change the terms of his lease so now he’ll likely have to pay the same amount of rent (or more if the officials decide the trail increases his property value) for only two-thirds the amount of property.

What Mr. Erickson is experiencing isn’t unusual. City governments are constantly voting to change the terms of their denizens’ leases. Oftentimes they completely invalidate leases so they can be transferred to somebody else (this is usually referred to by the euphemism “eminent domain”). So Mr. Erickson should be grateful that he is being allowed to continue living on any of the property he’s currently paying rent for.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23rd, 2017 at 11:00 am

Twin Cities Pride Disassociates Itself with Local Gang Members

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After Officer Yanez was declared not guilty by a jury a lot of people are finally waking up to the realization that the police can literally get away with murder. This realization has lead a great deal of anger as well as a desire by many to disassociate themselves from the police as much as possible. The organizations of Twin Cities Pride, for example, announced that they will only have the legally mandated police presence. Not surprisingly this decision has created some butthurt in police circles:

St. Paul Deputy Police Chief Mary Nash said she was disappointed and that her colleagues have shared their frustration.

Nash, the department’s LGBTQ liaison, said 12 to 25 St. Paul officers have taken part in the parade in previous years.

“I understand people are angry and we can respect their feelings, but the reality is at the end of the day if we can’t work together it becomes more challenging to become better as a community and to become better as a police department,” Nash said.

It’s hard to work together with people who take every opportunity to steal from you and have a propensity for killing you because you had a taillight out, you were selling cigarettes, the officer smelled cannabis, your skin was too dark, or any of the plethora of other reasons cops have murdered peaceful individuals. Perhaps if the police made themselves easier to work with more people would be willing to work together with them.

At least Nash’s statement was, I believe, heartfelt and pretty decent. Bob Kroll’s statement? Not so much:

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said organizers should be “ashamed” and called the action “disturbing.”

“It’s shameful to see this group of leadership head in this direction,” Kroll said in a statement. “With the uptick in terrorist attacks worldwide, this outward anti-police sentiment is alarming. For an organization that prides itself on being accepting and inclusive, the hypocrisy amazes me.”

Uptick of terrorist attacks? That’s the kind of old fashioned fear mongering that I’ve come to expect from Kroll. As for this disassociation going against Pride’s history of inclusiveness, I will paraphrase one of the dumbest phrases I constantly hear from the alt-right and statist libertarians and apply it intelligently. Inclusiveness isn’t a suicide pact. Just because you’re inclusive doesn’t mean you have to associate with people whose job is literally extorting wealth from you.

I’m glad to see some pushback against the police. Perhaps someday there will be enough pushback to wake some police officers up enough to perform some serious introspection. If that were to happen, they might change their behavior and everybody could benefit.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23rd, 2017 at 10:30 am

Taxes Them Again

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Whenever you mention privatizing roads some statist inevitably says, “But then we’ll all have to pay tolls to use the roads!” This is an especially funny criticism because many states including Illinois, Florida, and Texas charge tolls. And now Minnesota is looking to do the same thing:

State lawmakers have given Minnesota transportation officials an assignment: Study the feasibility of toll roads here and report back by January.

Were this to turn into a law Minnesotans would not only have to continue paying property taxes for local roads and gas taxes for state roads but they would also have to pay a toll on various roads. That is where privatized and government roads differ. On privatized roads you may have to pay a toll. However, unlike tolled government roads, you aren’t required to pay a tax in addition to the toll.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 23rd, 2017 at 10:00 am

Lies and Damn Lies

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Since Diamond Reynolds livestreamed the aftermath of Castile’s death the cop apologists have been desperately trying to spin the preceding events in a way that justified what Officer Yanez did. Now that the jury has ruled that Yanez wasn’t guilty of manslaughter based on the explanation of the statute that was provided to them, they’re celebrating. Of course, their celebration involves making a great many false claims.

One of the worst dens of cop apologists that has popped up on the Internet in recent times is Blue Lives Matters. Whenever an officer is involved in a use of force case the writers of that site are quick to character assassinate the victim, anybody connected to the victim, and anybody who disagrees with their narrative. Not surprisingly, their spin requires a great deal of speculation or outright false claims.

On Monday the site posted this article to celebrate Yanez’s court victory. It’s not only a great example of the tendency for cop apologists to revel in death but also a great example of the speculation and false claims their narratives are often based on. For starters:

“Philando Castile responded, “I don’t have to reach for it,” while reaching in the area where his gun was located.”

This statement is entirely speculative. Many cop apologists have pointed out that the dashcam footage doesn’t show what was happening inside of the car, which is correct. However, usually immediately afterwards, they then say that Castile shouldn’t have been reaching. Since the dashcam video doesn’t show the inside of the car there’s no way to know whether Castile was reaching for anything, had both of his hands placed on his steering wheel, or was playing with a Rubik’s Cube while eating ramen with chopsticks.

It was later determined that Castile was high on marijuana at the time of the stop, which impaired his ability to listen to Officer Yanez when he was instructed not to reach for his gun. Officer Yanez shot Castile after he ignored orders and reached towards his gun.

This is speculative but bordering on lying. Toxicology noted that Castile had THC in his body. However, that doesn’t mean he was impaired (“high”). THC can remain in the body for months after using cannabis so the fact that it was in his system doesn’t indicate that he had recently used the it. Furthermore, different people react differently to THC. Some people are not impaired by even high levels of THC. There is no way to know whether or not Castile was impaired from the THC in his system.

In fact, Officer Yanez asked for Philando Castile’s license and insurance near the beginning of the stop and Castile had already handed over paperwork before informing Officer Yanez about his gun.

I’m highlight this except because of what comes afterwards. From the court documents here are the contents of Castile’s wallet after he was killed. Specifically note his drivers licensed (middle card on the right side).

Philando Castile didn’t have a driver’s license to turn over to turn over because his license was suspended.

As you can see, this is entirely false. Castile clearly had a drivers license to hand Yanez and since it was in his wallet after he was killed he hadn’t handed it over yet. Officer Yanez clearly asked for Castile’s license and registration. Castile hand’t completely complied with his order before being shot. Even if Castile was reaching for his wallet, which we don’t know he was, he was doing so under orders from Yanez.

St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez had stopped Castile’s vehicle on July 6, 2016, because he believed Castile might have been involved in a convenience store robbery a few days earlier.

If you’ve watched the dashcam footage you know this is false. The footage makes it very clear that Yanez pulled Castile over for a broken taillight (the taillight was actually broken). While the article claims that pulling Castile over for a broken taillight was really just a clever ruse, there is no evidence whatsoever supporting that claim.

After making speculative and outright false statements the article moves on to character assassination.

Castile’s long previous criminal history does not show a tendency toward violence, although he had been stopped 52 times in the past few years for traffic-related issues.

Long criminal history is hyperbole at best. Castile was stopped 46 (six of the 52 noted incidents were for parking violations, not traffic violations) times but it was always for minor traffic-related incidents:

Castile had been stopped before, when officers spotted him not wearing a seat belt, or when an officer ran his plate number and found his license had been revoked for not paying an earlier fine. Numerous stops came after he didn’t use a turn signal. A few came after he was speeding. He was stopped for rolling through a right turn on a red light, having window tints that were too dark, and at least twice for not having a rear license plate light. He was rarely ticketed for the reason he was stopped. His interactions with police eventually slowed. Although he was continuing to receive licensing and insurance violations, there were only seven incidents involving police contact from 2011 to when he was killed.

About half of Castile’s charges were ultimately dismissed after he paid fines, made plea bargains, took driving courses, and in one case paid $275 to not have two violations show up on his record. (Previous media reports said he had been stopped 52 times; however six of those incidents were for parking violations.) He represented himself in most of the cases. At least three times the court granted him a public defender, which is provided to defendants who cannot afford a private attorney.

Hardly a long previous criminal history. After attempting to assassinate Castile’s character the article moves on to assassinating his girlfriend’s character.

After the Philando Castile shooting, Diamond Reynolds lied after Castile was shot and said that he didn’t have any criminal history. Reynolds also lied by claiming that she was Castile’s fiance, when she wasn’t. She claimed that she was held overnight by the police, when she was only interviewed for two hours before an officer bought her groceries and took her home. And Reynolds claimed that police didn’t provide first aid to Castile, when they did.

We now know that Reynolds’s account of the shooting did not reflect what happened.

Diamond Reynolds was later arrested in an unrelated case for being involved in an attack, using a hammer to attack other women.

This is a great example of the tactic I mention early on in this post. The writer wasn’t only content with assassinating Castile’s character but he felt the need to assassinate the characters of those connected to him. What Reynolds did or did not say after Yanez killed Castile has no relevancy on whether or not Yanez’s actions were justified or not. Likewise, her previous arrest is entirely irrelevant to the case. The only reason to bring it up is to establish guilt by association.

I hope this analysis was educational and illustrated some of the common tactics used by cop apologists when an officer is involved in a seemingly unjustified use of force.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22nd, 2017 at 11:00 am

Police Training

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Being a police officer is a pretty safe career choice. However, many police officers seem to think that everybody is out to get them. Why might that be? Perhaps it has something to do with the training they receive:

[Grossman] views the world as almost unrecognizably dangerous: a place where gang members seek to set records for killing cops, where a kid “in every school” is thinking about racking up “a body count.” His latest book, Assassination Generation, insists that violent video games are turning the nation’s youth into mass murderers. The recent wave of “massacres” is just the beginning. (“Please stop calling them mass shootings!”) He smacks the easels: “These [thump] crimes [thump] are [thump] everywhere!” He foresees attacks on school buses and day care centers. “Kindergartners run about point-five miles an hour and get a burst of about 20 yards and then they’re done.” It won’t just happen with guns, but with hammers, axes, hatchets, knives, and swords. His voice jumps an octave: “Hacking and stabbing little kids! You don’t think they’ll attack day cares? It’s already happening in China. When you hear about a day care massacre,” he shouts, “tell them Grossman said it was coming!”

That’s not the end of it. “More people are signing up with ISIS than we can count,” Grossman says. He predicts a terrorist organization will soon detonate a nuclear bomb off the West Coast. “We have never been more likely to be nuked, and we have never been less prepared!” Terrorists will send “suicide bio-bombers” across the border to spread deadly diseases. “The day will come,” Grossman insists. “Folks, it is very, very bad out there!”

This is the guy who has trained more U.S. police officers than anyone else. The guy who, more than anyone else, has instructed cops on what mind-set they should bring to their jobs.

David Grossman, for those who don’t recognize his name, is the dumbass that brought us the idiotic wolves, sheep, and sheep dogs parable. In his world view there are three categories of people. The first is the sheep, which is composed of everybody who doesn’t agree with his paranoid worldview. The second is the wolves, which include everybody from ISIS to kids in schools who are obsessed with racking up a body count. The third is the sheep dogs, which is composed of everybody who shares his paranoid worldview.

When you realize he’s paranoid and the man who has taught more police officers than anybody else you start to understand how police transformed from peacekeepers to professional soldiers waging a war. How can you have a peacekeeping force, which is what the police are always sold as, when its standard training involves telling members that everybody they look at in the world is planning to murder them?

If people really want to reform policing in the United States, a goal that I don’t think is possible at this point, they need to advocate for giving police realistic training.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22nd, 2017 at 10:30 am

Reefer Madness

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Anybody who has watched Reefer Madness knows that marijuana can send people into psychotic rages. Take Officer Yanez, for example. One sniff of the devil’s weed made him go from a calm cop who was issuing a citation for a broken taillight to a hardened killer:

The officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year told investigators that the smell of “burnt marijuana” in Castile’s car made him believe his life was in danger.

Of course cannabis doesn’t send people into psychotic rages. It actually has quite the opposite effect. If Castile was being influenced by cannabis he was probably more compliant and relaxed than normal. Likewise, had Yanez toked up before hitting the road it’s possible that Castile would still be alive today.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22nd, 2017 at 10:00 am