A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Law and Disorder’ tag

We Require More Stolen Money

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The constitutionality of speed cameras has been raised in several court cases. Many of these cases have resulted in speed cameras being ruled unconstitutional because the people who were ticket had no opportunity to defend themselves. A case in Ohio recently found this to be the case. However, the city that was sued is claiming that it will be financially ruined if the ruling isn’t reversed:

The village of New Miami told the Ohio Supreme Court last week that its “fiscal integrity” would be compromised if a lawsuit succeeds in stopping the use of speed cameras. In January, the state Court of Appeals sided with motorists who challenged the constitutionality of the one-square-mile speed trap town’s photo radar program (view ruling). To avoid paying the resulting $3 million in refunds, New Miami is begging the high court for relief.

“The village now faces financial ruin should the Twelfth District’s overly restrictive reading of the sovereign immunity statutes be allowed to stand, and the matter proceed to final judgment,” New Miami attorney James J. Englert wrote.

If a private company claimed that a ruling should be reversed because it was detrimental to its bottom line, the judge presiding over the case would probably laugh at the company’s lawyers and then tell them to get the fuck out of the courtroom. This would be especially true if the company was found to have stolen the money in question. But rules are often different for governmental bodies. When a governmental body steals it’s usually referred to as “taxation,” a “citation,” or an “inspection fee” and considered legitimate.

Personally, I hope the judge refuses to grant the city relief and it ends up having to go into bankruptcy. Any organization that is only able to survive on theft should be tossed into the dustbin of history.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 14th, 2018 at 10:30 am

More Heroes Doing Hero Things

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You might make the mistake of thinking that an individual who carries a toy gun to plant on anybody they decide to shoot is a bad person being but they’re actually heroes:

Last week, the beginning of an explosive corruption trial involving eight members of Baltimore’s elite Gun Trace Task Force revealed that a handful of Baltimore cops allegedly kept fake guns in their patrol cars to plant on innocent people—a failsafe they could use if they happened to shoot an unarmed suspect, the Baltimore Sun reports.

It’s almost as if positions of power that lack accountability breed corrupt behavior.

I’m not sure whether corruption has become more common in law enforcement departments or has simply received more coverage by the press. Arguments can be made for either. But I think it’s obvious that corruption is far more common in modern law enforcement departments than most people realize. I also think it’s likely that we only see the tip of the iceberg and a majority of corruption remains hidden.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 13th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Just Hero Things

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What do you do when you’re a law enforcer who killed a child when driving over twice the posted speed limit? You sue the mother, of course!

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – – A police officer officer being sued for speeding through an intersection and killing a young boy is now suing the boy’s mother, saying the crash was all her fault.


The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s investigation of the incident determined APD Officer Jonathan McDonnell was going double the speed limit while responding to a call in May 2017.

However, he says the mother was the one driving carelessly when she turned in front of him.

Laws are for thee, not for me.

Antoinette Suina, the mother, didn’t break the law when she turned on a green light. Officer McDonnell, on the other hand, was breaking the law by driving 80 miles per hour. And less we forget, his driving record before the accident wasn’t exactly stellar:

The Albuquerque Police Department officer whose cruiser collided with a woman’s car last month, killing her 6-year-old son and critically injuring her 9-year-old daughter, has been disciplined in at least six driving-related incidents during his nine years on the force, according to records obtained by the Journal.

So the officer not only broke the law but has a history of doing so. If he didn’t have a badge, things would not be looking good for him and his chances of winning this lawsuit would be roughly zero (and he’s probably already be in a cage). However, he does have a badge so the rules are different. He actually has a chance of winning this lawsuit because he can claim that the accident happened while he was performing his duties and that usually acts as a get out of consequences free card.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 9th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Shut Up, Slave

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Many Americans continue to believe that courts are where justice is done. It’s easy to make that mistake since the courts are usually part of an organization with the word justice in its title. However, courts aren’t where justice is served, courts are where slaves go to beg their masters for leniency or to beg them to inflict harm on another. Sometimes these masters are kind to the slaves, other times they are not:

In Tarrant County, Tex., defendants are sometimes strapped with a stun belt around their legs. The devices are used to deliver a shock in the event the person gets violent or attempts to escape.

But in the case of Terry Lee Morris, the device was used as punishment for refusing to answer a judge’s questions properly during his 2014 trial on charges of soliciting sexual performance from a 15-year-old girl, according to an appeals court. In fact, the judge shocked Morris three times, sending thousands of volts coursing through his body. It scared him so much that Morris never returned for the remainder of his trial and almost all of his sentencing hearing.

The action stunned the Texas Eighth Court of Appeals in El Paso, too. It has now thrown out Morris’s conviction on the grounds that the shocks, and Morris’s subsequent removal from the courtroom, violated his constitutional rights. Since he was too scared to come back to the courtroom, the court held that the shocks effectively barred him from attending his own trial, in violation of the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, which guarantees a defendant’s right to be present and confront witnesses during a trial.

While it’s nice that the case was thrown out, merely throwing the case out won’t solve the long term problem. The judge in question was found to have violated an individual’s constitutional rights by physically assaulting him to such a degree that the individual was afraid to return to the courtroom. Unless the judge faces consequences for his actions, there is nothing dissuading him or other judges from doing the same thing or worse in the future.

A major problem with today’s “justice” system is the professional immunity culture. So long as a government agent in the “justice” system is acting in their official capacity, they are basically immune from suffering consequences for bad actions. Officers routinely get away with perjury. Prosecutors routinely get away with withholding evidence that might help the defense. Judges routinely get away with violating the constitutional rights of individuals in their courtrooms. The lack of consequences creates an environment where others feel safe performing misdeeds themselves. There is no hope of reforming the system unless this culture of professional immunity is dealt with but it won’t be dealt with because the people charged with holding members of the “justice” system accountable are also members of the “justice” system. Not surprisingly, whenever the “justice” system investigates itself it finds that it did nothing wrong.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 8th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Learning Unfortunate Lessons the Hard Way

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I feel bad for the students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. When they really needed protection, they were abandoned by those who were tasked with protecting them. Unfortunately, a couple of the surviving students are probably going to suffer all over again because they are filing a lawsuit against the school, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the Broward County Sheriff’s Department for their roles in failing to protect them:

Two survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., have announced they will sue the school, the FBI and the local sheriff’s office for failing to prevent the deadly February attack.

Anthony Borges, 15, and his family said on Monday that he intends to sues the Broward County Public School District and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Miami Herald.

The lawsuit, when it is filed, will allege that there should have been more done to protect students and teachers inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 when a former student walked into the school and killed 17 people.

These kids already had to learn that when things get bad nobody is going to save them. Now they’re probably going to learn that law enforcers have no duty to protect them.

The students may receive something from the school district but I doubt they will see anything from the FBI or the sheriff’s department. While both of those agencies dropped the ball, they are allowed to do that because the Supreme Court said so. Moreover, since nobody in the United States is allowed to cease paying taxes to a federal or local law enforcement agency that fails to provide protection, the agencies have no motivation to provide protection.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 8th, 2018 at 10:30 am

It Gets Worse

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The aftermath of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has become like the history of Russia, every chapter can be summarized by saying, “And then it got worse.”

As word spread that an armed attacker was shooting up a Parkland high school, two members of the Miramar Police Department’s SWAT team responded to the scene.

They had been training in nearby Coral Springs earlier that day and wanted to help end a deadly mass shooting that claimed 17 lives.

But their own commander said he didn’t know they were going. And the Broward Sheriff’s Office — worried about over-crowding a chaotic scene with law enforcement officers — didn’t ask for them to show up. BSO already had its own SWAT team in motion.

Eight days after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the two Miramar officers, Det. Jeffery Gilbert and Det. Carl Schlosser, were temporarily suspended from duty with the SWAT team. They remain on active duty with the department, according to a Miramar police spokeswoman.

While four officers were sitting on the sidelines, whether due to cowardice or being ordered to do so, two officers from the Miramar Police Department SWAT team attempted to respond to the scene. Now they’re the ones being punished.

They’re being punished for disobeying orders. While I can see why one wouldn’t want unexpected people running to a scene to which others are already responding, we know that nobody was responding to the school shooting. That being the case, it seems foolish to punish these two now. But it seems like many departments have developed a culture where following orders is the most important criteria for an officer, not helping those who the department is supposedly tasked with helping.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 8th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Spook Squad

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I’ve often wondered how Geek Squad stays in business. The prices it charges for even the most trivial repairs are absurd. More and more I’m becoming convinced that Geek Squad stays in business because it is being propped up by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI):

After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years. The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants.

EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit last year to learn more about how the FBI uses Geek Squad employees to flag illegal material when people pay Best Buy to repair their computers. The relationship potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.

While Geek Squad has been caught red handed working with the FBI, any employee at any computer repair company could be operating under the same deal. The FBI has a vested interest in access the information on as many computers as possible and people who repair computers often have unrestricted access to a lot of information on a lot of computers.

If you’re going to send your computer to somebody else for repairs, here are my recommendations to guard your privacy. If the device you’re sending in has a removable hard drive, remove the drive that is in it and replace it with a blank drive (one that has never been used to store personal information). On the blank drive install the operating system that came on the device and a user account with generic credentials (this is one of the few times where the password “password” is a good idea) so the repair person can log in. By doing this you ensure that the repair person doesn’t have access to any of your personal data. When the device comes back, format the drive that you provided the repair person, remove it, and install the hard drive with your data again.

If your device doesn’t have a removable drive, ensure that the first thing you do when you initially start the device after getting it out of the box is enable full disk encryption. When you need to send the device in for repairs, format the drive, reinstall the default operating system, setup a user account with generic credentials, and send the device in. When the drive comes back, wipe the drive again and restore your data from a backup. For those who are wondering why full disk encryption should be enabled it’s because formatting a drive doesn’t necessarily erase the data. By default formatting a drive wipes the file allocation table but leaves the data preserved. Enabling full disk encryption ensures that the data on the drive is unreadable without the proper decryption key. While formatting won’t erase the data, the data will be unreadable to the repair man if they attempt to restore the old file allocation table to pilfer your data for law enforcers.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 7th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Most Hated Person in America

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There are several contestants for the coveted Most Hated Person in America award. Trump has been the likely winner for 2018 but now he faces some stiff competition:

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has identified to Fox News the captain who, according to sources, directed responding deputies and units to “stage” or form a “perimeter” outside Stoneman Douglas High School, instead of rushing immediately into the building, as the mass shooting unfolded there.

Multiple law enforcement and official sources said the commands in the initial moments after Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire would go against all training which instructs first responders to “go, go, go” until the shooter is neutralized. As law enforcement arrived, the shooter’s identity and exact location were still unknown.

Multiple sources told Fox News that Captain Jan Jordan was the commanding officer on scene. In an email responding to Fox News’ request for information, a BSO spokesperson wrote, “Capt. Jordan’s radio call sign is 17S1.”

Before giving Jan all of the blame, it should be noted that this remains an allegation. I’m sure the department is desperate to throw somebody under the bus and several officers could be trying to do that with Captain Jan. Unless more information comes to light, it’s difficult to say. But this is America so individuals are guilty until proven innocent so I’m pretty sure Jan will win that coveted award regardless.

No matter how one looks at it, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office really fucked up the handling of this shooting. While it’s easy to pin the blame on a single individual, the problems in the department likely run far deeper than just one incompetent individual.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 7th, 2018 at 10:00 am

When You Hire Storm Troopers to Enforce Laws

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Apparently the San Francisco Police Department is hiring many of the Storm Troopers who found themselves unemployed after the Empire fell:

Authorities in San Francisco released body camera videos on Tuesday of a dramatic shootout in which police officers fired their weapons at least 65 times in 15 seconds at a murder suspect.


“Nobody was struck by gunfire during this incident. The evidence in the case so far indicates Armstrong fired two rounds from a weapon, and that seven officers fired 65 rounds from their department-issued weapons,” SFPD Commander Greg McEachern told KTVU.

65 rounds were fired and nobody was hit? That’s almost impressive.

What makes this matter funnier is that these are the people to whom gun control advocates want to give a monopoly on legal gun ownership. While any gun owners is capable of firing 65 rounds and failing to hit a target, they are at least held accountable for their actions. The officers involved in this shooting will probably face no consequences for recklessly endangering bystanders, especially since they were extremely lucky and failed to hit any of them.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 6th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Incarceration without Conviction

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Here in the United States we have a right to a speedy trial… according to four out of seven judges:

New York State’s highest court has tossed out a murder indictment against a man who sat on Rikers Island for more than six years awaiting trial, ruling the delay was caused by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which kept him locked up as it struggled to bolster its case against him.

In its split decision on Thursday, the New York Court of Appeals wrote in unusually pointed language that “incarceration should generally follow conviction, not precede it.” The court’s decision, which cited the defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial, was issued less than a month after a federal appeals court in New York vacated a marijuana distribution charge against a man from Cattaraugus, N.Y., who spent seven years in jail and never went to trial.

The real takeaway from this story is that this ruling came down to a single judge. Three out of the seven judges apparently thought it was perfectly acceptable to incarceration a man for six years even though he hadn’t been convicted of a crime.

Stories like this are why I refer to the United States as a police state. A man lost six years of his life just so a district attorney could build a valid case against him. Then only four out of seven judges thought that the incarceration was unlawful. Now the district attorney and everybody else involved in keeping that poor bastard in a cage for so long will likely walk away unpunished. At most a civil suit will result in the man receiving some taxpayer money as an inadequate form of apology. Many Americans assume that a country has to be as bad as North Korea to qualify as a police state but all that is really necessary is for government agents involved in enforcing laws to go unpunished when they abuse their power. Once an environment of accountability ceases to exist, government agents are free to punish anybody they want for whatever reason they want.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 1st, 2018 at 10:30 am