A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘News You Need to Know’ Category

Another Feeble Excuse by a Cop Who Needlessly Shot Somebody

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Officer Noor’s lawyer is apparently running with the defense that Officer Noor was startled and that is why he murdered Justine Ruszczyk. While that is one of the more feeble excuses given by a cop who needlessly shot somebody, it’s only one on a long list of feeble excuses. For example, and Eden Prairie police officer needlessly shot somebody in June. His excuse? Muscle memory:

Matthew Hovland-Knase, 22, of Bloomington, led police on a chase at 3 a.m. on June 20 that reached speeds of almost 100 miles per hour before stopping at Eden Prairie Road near North and South Lund roads. Sgt. Lonnie Soppeland got out of his squad car with his gun drawn — protocol for high-risk stops, he told investigators — but the gun went off, shooting the motorcyclist’s arm.

According to documents released to the Star Tribune on Friday by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Soppeland told investigators that firearm training earlier that month contributed to the unintentional discharge due to the muscle memory of squeezing the trigger.

“My plan was to hold the suspect where he was until back up arrived,” he told investigators three days later. “ … It was not my conscious choice to discharge my firearm. This all happened very fast, maybe within a matter of a second. I could feel the effect of the adrenaline.”

Funny, if I shot somebody accidentally all would not be forgiven regardless of the training I had received. But rules are different when you’re wearing a badge. Suddenly a negligent discharge becomes a valid excuse.

It’s true, most police departments offer lackluster firearm training. However, lackluster training is not an acceptable excuse for putting a bullet in somebody. Just as it was my responsibility to obtain adequate training when I acquired my carry permit, it should be an officer’s responsibility to obtain adequate training when carrying a firearm.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 25th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Government Kills Again

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Earlier this month I wrote a post about the miracle a socialized healthcare. In its infinite wisdom, the United Kingdom (UK) ruled that Charlie Gard, a baby with a rare fatal condition, had to die in spite of the fact that the parents had raise enough money to try an experimental operation that could have saved his life. After almost a month of fighting with the UK government the parents have finally been forced to give up on seeking the experimental treatment. Too much time has passed and the doctor who was planning to perform the procedure said that he can no longer do so:

The parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard have ended their legal challenge to take him to the US for experimental treatment.

A lawyer representing Chris Gard and Connie Yates told the High Court “time had run out” for the baby.

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He told judge Mr Justice Francis US neurologist Dr Michio Hirano had said he was no longer willing to offer the baby experimental therapy after he saw the results of a new MRI scan last week.

Had the UK government not ruled that Charlie had to die he could have been flown to the United States and a procedure that might have saved his life could have been performed. At the very least the parents should have had to opportunity to try it. But when the government has an iron grip on the healthcare system is gets to decide who lives and who dies and it doesn’t matter what anybody else says.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 25th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Appropriate Signage

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Pretty much everybody I know has been sharing this picture. The sign appeared on the intersection of Snelling Avenue and University Avenue in St. Paul. I think it’s an appropriate warning.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 24th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Adult Daycare

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Colleges have always been epicenters of political discourse. At one time they were considered bastions of free speech where young adults had the opportunity, sometimes for the first time in their lives, to speak their minds without fear of reprimand. Slowly though colleges, like almost every other institution for learning, became adult daycares. Instead of treating students as adults they were more and more treated as older high school students. This treatment of students has become worse over time and now even prestigious colleges like Harvard are trying to control who students can and cannot associate with:

A faculty committee has recommended that the College forbid students from joining all “fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations”—including co-ed groups—with the goal of phasing out the organizations entirely by May 2022.

In a 22-page report released Wednesday morning, the committee proposed that the policy—which would replace existing penalties for members of the social groups that are set to go into place in the fall—apply to students entering in the fall of 2018.

“All currently enrolled students including those who will matriculate this fall will be exempt from the new policy for the entirety of their time at Harvard,” according to the report. “This will lead to a transition period, whereby USGSOs would be phased out by May 2022.”

The committee suggested that Harvard model its new social group policy very closely on those enforced by Williams College and Bowdoin College, both of which forbid students form participating in social clubs during their time as undergraduates.

I will start this rant off by first pointing out that Harvard is a private institution and therefore can set whatever policies it damn well pleases. After all, this post isn’t aimed so much at criticizing the colleges themselves but the students who attend them.

The fact that students continue shackling themselves with debt for the “privilege” of having their lives micromanaged into adulthood baffles me. Sure, having a degree from Harvard looks damn good on a resume but there are other options out there. You can, for example, still get very good jobs from attending much cheaper universities. Hell, you can get a job that pays well by attending a technical school. Better yet, you can flex your entrepreneurial muscle and become your own boss without ever having to give a dime to an adult daycare.

Harvard is proposing to control who students can and cannot associate with. The proper response to such strong-arming is for students to practice their right of voluntary association to disassociate with Harvard. Harvard is a private institution and therefore governed heavily by market forces. If enough students decided to go elsewhere, it would cut into Harvard’s profits. That would eventually force it to decide to either start treating its adult students like adults or to slowly decay into a penniless institution whose staff is left having to reminisce about the good old days when they could afford to pay high-quality teachers instead of cut-rate rejects who were fired from every other institution.

Colleges don’t have to be daycares. It’s within the students’ power to change it.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 14th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Murder Includes a Nice Severance Package

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Killing Philando Castile has been lucrative for Officer Yanez. Not only did he enjoy a paid vacation but he also received a generous severance package:

“A reasonable voluntary separation agreement brings to a close one part of this horrible tragedy. The City concluded this was the most thoughtful way to move forward and help the community-wide healing process proceed.”

According to a copy of the agreement supplied by the city’s attorney in the matter, Yanez will receive a lump sum of $48,500 minus applicable deductions and tax withholdings.

He also will receive payment for up to 600 hours of accrued personal leave. The agreement did not note how much time he has accrued.

Yanez was making $72,612.80 a year when he fatally shot Castile on July 6, 2016, during a traffic stop on Larpenteur Avenue in Falcon Heights.

$48,500 plus 600 hours of accrued personal leave for murdering somebody is a pretty decent deal. Granted, he’ll have to hang low for a while and wait for this entire mess to blow over before another department will likely take him on.

When a police officer screws up they receive a paid vacation until whatever they did falls out of the news cycle. When they screw up more they might get fired and have to wait until their union forces their department to reinstate them. When they really screw up they are brought before a grand jury to be exonerated. When they really screw up they’re brought before a jury to be exonerated and given a nice severance package.

I must say, being a police officer and screwing up sounds like a good gig.

Perhaps We Should Start Copyrighting Communications

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Law enforces in Oakland, California pulled the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in to assist with a murder case. The assistance that the local law enforcers were looking for was the FBI’s Stingray cellular interceptors, which the agency was more than happy to provide. However, the FBI didn’t bother acquiring a warrant before deploying its interceptors, which didn’t sit well with the suspect’s attorney. In response to the attorney’s protest the Department of Justice (DoJ) said that it didn’t need a warrant because cellular signals are emitted and therefore not private:

The DOJ says that because the stingray was configured to act like a “pen register,” originally a century-old device designed to capture incoming and outgoing calls, and solely capture non-content data, then it was not a search. Use of pen registers, as well as the use of 1970s and 1980s-era “beepers” (short-range FM radio transponders) that can reveal a given location, have been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court. Plus, because Ellis wasn’t found in his own apartment, but in another apartment, he could not claim a privacy interest. And finally, even if Ellis could claim a privacy interest in his phone, that still doesn’t matter, DOJ attorneys claim.

“However, signals emitted from a phone are not the same, since they are not by their nature private,” prosecutors continue. “They reveal nothing about the person and are being transmitted out to the world, or at least to a third-party service provider, just like the beeper signals in Knotts.”

This brings me to an interesting point. Cellular signals are encrypted, albeit poorly. In order to intercept cellular signals Stingray devices have to break that encryption. If we look at another law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), we can see that the actions taken by the government would be considered illegal if they were being used to bypass some form of copyright protection.

The DMCA makes it illegal to bypass any copyright protection mechanism, no matter how shitty it is. If a copyrighted work is encrypted with the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a broken encryption algorithm, and an unauthorized party breaks that encryption to bypass the copyright protection they have committed a crime under the DMCA.

Perhaps people should start claiming copyrights on the contents of their phone calls and text messages. Maybe they could then gain some protection against organizations that are bypassing the poor encryption that is used to keep their communications confidential.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 13th, 2017 at 10:00 am

The Freest Country on Earth

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A lot of people in the United States mistakenly believe that peacekeeper and law enforcer are interchangeable terms. In a nation where the only laws on the books were laws against harming others that could be true. But a vast majority of the laws in the United States have nothing to do with harming others, which is what a vast majority of prisoners are being held for victimless crimes:

In light of that, let us review some statistics which demonstrate just how destructive the mass incarceration of victimless criminals has become to our society. The 2009 federal prison population consisted of criminals who committed these crimes:

Drugs 50.7%

Public-order 35.0%,

Violent 7.9%

Property 5.8%

Other .7%

Drug offenses are self-explanatory as being victimless, but so too are public-order offenses, which also fall under the victimless crimes category. Public order offenses include such things as immigration, weapons charges, public drunkenness, selling lemonade without a license, dancing in public, feeding the homeless without a permit. etc….

86 percent of prisoners in the United States are incarcerated even though they didn’t harm anybody. In other words, the officers who arrested them weren’t keeping the peace but were disrupting it.

Cop apologists are quick to claim that without police officers society would deteriorate into Mad Max. Again, this argument might carry some weight if police officers were peacekeepers but they’re not. The job of a police officer is to enforce the law as it is written. Since a majority of laws create victimless crimes that means the majority of police interactions involve individuals who haven’t disrupted the peace in any way. In order to do their jobs police officers necessarily have to be the initiators of aggression in the majority of interactions.

Without law enforcers the United States would actually be more peaceful since less people would be aggressed against for perpetrating victimless crimes.

To Server and Protect, Just Not Too Often

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One claim statists continue to make is that the government is necessary to provide for those in need. They claim that in a world absent of government the most vulnerable people in our society would starve to death, be tossed off of cliffs by family members who are tired of caring for them, or thrown into cages and forced to fight to the death for the amusement of the mob. But in a society with a government all of their needs will be provided for… unless, of course, they need too much:

West St. Paul and South St. Paul have taken steps to restrict housing options for people who receive state assistance for being both low-income and disabled, despite Dakota County’s misgivings.

City officials say such residents call police too often and that their communities have more than their fair share of rental properties catering to their needs.

“We have enough of these properties in the community,” said Tom Seaberg, a South St. Paul City Council member. “It’s not a discriminatory thing, it’s an economic issue.”

It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

The statists’ claims fall apart once you analyze the nature of government. Government isn’t some benevolent entity that can triumph over human greed. Government is simply the largest criminal gang in a territory. Like any other criminal gang a government is interested in gaining at least some approval from the community since an approving community makes its job of expropriating wealth easier. To this end it offers people within its territory the option to buy protection from it… to protect against it, provides jobs by hiring people within its territory to perform menial tasks, and diverts some of its loot to people within its territory. However, as with any other criminal gang, when an individual becomes too bothersome to the government it will either cut them off or execute them.

Governments don’t provide welfare for altruistic reasons, they provide welfare to buy the acceptance of at least some of the people they’re exploiting. But if the welfare starts eating into the politicians’ profits they cut it off. The municipal governments of West and South St. Paul have made a simple business decision by telling people who use “too much” of their services to buzz off. By doing so those two municipal governments should be able to increase their profits by both immediately cutting the amount of services provided and creating an atmosphere where residents avoid using their services for fear of being the next individuals run out of town.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 7th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Survival Tips for Minnesotas for the Next Two Weeks

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For the next two weeks the road pirates are going to be increasing their fund raising efforts enforcement of the arbitrarily set speed limits:

On Wednesday, Zak, a lieutenant with the State Patrol, joined with officials from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to put on the demonstration to show how long it takes to stop while traveling at various speeds and how drivers’ reaction time goes down the faster they go. It comes as law enforcement from 300 agencies statewide begin a two-week speeding enforcement campaign from Friday through July 23.

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The state’s crackdown on speeding coincides with a national effort and is paid for using funds allocated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While officers will be on the lookout for lead-footed drivers statewide, target teams will be stationed along routes known to see fast drivers, including I-494 in Bloomington, near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and on I-94 in the construction zone from Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center.

Since the threat of violence against motorists is going to increase I feel the need to point out some survival tips.

  1. Don’t be black. Studies have shown that road pirates tend to respond more violently to black individuals.
  2. Use Waze to both report any road pirates and to receive warnings about any reported road pirates.
  3. Turn on your smartphone’s camera, preferably to livestream the stop, and lock the screen. You want to have a record of the entire stop in case you’re murdered but you don’t want the phone unlocked because the officer might decided to rummage through it for evidence of more crimes. While such a search may be illegal the Supreme Court has ruled that illegally collected evidence is admissible in court.
  4. If you are a permit holder remember that Minnesota law only requires you to disclose if you’re carrying a firearm to an officer if they specifically asks. Don’t volunteer such information. If you do the police officer may panic and fire multiple rounds into you at point blank range. If this happens the officer will be acquitted of any wrongdoing.
  5. During a traffic stop make sure you have your license and proof of insurance out before the officer gets to your window. Failing to do so will require you to move your hands when the police officer is at your window and that might spook them. Like any wild animal, a spooked police officer is unpredictable.
  6. Have both hands firmly of your steering wheel at all times. By firmly I mean gripping your steering wheel so hard that your knuckles turn white. Only consider moving from this position if the officer gives you a direct order to do so.
  7. Assume the most submissive position possible. Police officers like to feel dominant. If they feel that their authority is being questioned in any way they might “fear for their life” and shoot you dead.

While this list could be extended I’m going to keep it brief in the hopes that you’ll be able to remember every point if you’re pulled over. If you follow these tips your chances of surviving a police encounter should increase. If for some reason, say due to your genetic makeup, you’re unable to follow one or more of these tips, well…

Written by Christopher Burg

July 7th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Deescalating the Police

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Cop apologists love to point out that police officers are trained professionals and that their training makes them more trustworthy than the people who complain about their actions. Why is it then that untrained civilians are expected to deescalate the police:

The system is designed to exonerate police officers, not provide justice for their victims. My incident, however, gives me new insight into just how much the law values police lives over the citizens they are supposed to protect.

Chief Rausch said that when investigating complaints, it is essential to understand an officer’s mindset to determine the facts. A mindset is not a fact.

Here are the facts that Janish appeared to focus on – the unmarked cab, a black person, the duffel bag and the license plate.

Then here are other facts that he ignored – he knew his mother-in-law was selling the car, it was broad daylight, and I knew her first name, but not her last name. I offered to show him the keys, registration and bill of sale signed by his mother-in-law.

Those are the actual facts. Officer Janish’s mindset was the scenario he created in his head. His fears weren’t facts.

The moment I arrived at Officer Janish’s mother-in-law’s house I became a suspect, and under the law, it seems that Officer Janish became a victim. He could have stayed at his house, called 911 and waited for the sheriff’s department to arrive. Instead he grabbed his weapon and came outside to confront me.

Had I not reacted calmly, Officer Janish likely would have been within his legal rights to shoot me although I wasn’t doing anything illegal. My mere presence with a duffel bag was deemed a threat.

Had the author, Tonya Jameson, not reacted calmly he could have been another Philando Castile and it’s likely Officer Janish would have suffered no consequences. This is yet another situation where an untrained civilian was required to deescalate a supposed trained law enforcer.

Cop apologists have a lengthy list of appropriate responses during police encounters. If it’s a traffic stop make sure to have your proof of insurance and drivers license in hand before the officer gets to your vehicle. Make sure both of your hands are firmly placed on the steering wheel. Ask the officer how he wants you to proceed and follow his instructions to the letter. Don’t make any sudden movements. If you’re stopped by an officer on foot make sure your hands are visible and nowhere near your pockets. As with during a traffic stop, ask the officer how he wants you to proceed and follow his instructions to the letter and avoid sudden movements. Oh, and remember that if an officer is abusing their authority or using unnecessary violence against you that you must shut up and take it. The only appropriate place to deal with that kind of situation is in the courts.

According to cop apologists law enforcers are trained professionals but must be treated in a similar manner to wild animals. This attitude is nonsense. Since law enforcers are trained professionals the burden of deescalating situations should be on them. However, the legal system is setup to require the opposite, which is one of the reasons why police remain mostly unaccountable for their actions.