A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Minnesota’ tag

How Things Have Changed

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I’m a huge fan of the Hardcore History and History on Fire podcasts so I was excited when I saw that the hosts, Dan Carlin and Danielle Bolelli respectively, posted a conversation they recently had. The two discussed several things including modern political discourse.

One thing Dan said really resonated with me. He noted that he remembers a time when certain concepts, such as support for freedom of speech, were so close to universal in the United States that you could take them for granted in a political discussion and how he has a difficult time operating in an environment where that is no longer the case. I’m not a very old man but even in my relatively short life I’ve seen some dramatic shifts in political discourse. When I was in college certain near universals still existed including support for freedom of speech (although that was dying) and due process (which was also beginning to die). While an individual may not actually have believed in those concepts, they almost always, especially if they were a politician, paid lip service to them. Today’s world is a different one. Consider this fiasco that just went down here in Minnesota:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota House committee has passed a proposed “red flag” law that would allow families and police to get court orders to temporarily remove guns from people judged to be an imminent danger to themselves or others.

Due process, at one time, meant that an individual was only punished after a trial. Today due process isn’t even paid lip service. Rather legislation, of which this is just the latest example (civil forfeiture probably remains the most overt example), blatantly violates the concept of due process. What’s fascinating though is that these violation of due process aren’t met with widespread opposition. Gun owners are opposing this instance for obvious reasons but most people seem to either not care or, worse yet, enthusiastically support it.

I’ve even seen comments from professors who have reported surprise that students have expressed disagreement with the idea that authoritarianism is bad. Even my short life witnessed a time when the concept of authoritarianism was almost universally reviled (if not necessarily in practice, at least in words) here in the United States. Now support for authoritarianism is growing on both sides of the political spectrum.

I make no effort to hide my disgust with politics. Part of my disgust stems from the fact that many previously near universally supported concepts such as freedom of speech are no longer near universal. Expressing support for such concepts in today’s political environment oftentimes leads not just to disagreement but to a complete breakdown of civility (for example, depending on the other person’s political views, you might find yourself being labeled a fascist or a communist). Trying to have a reasoned debate in an environment where no ground rules exist most people appear disinterested in either being civility or establishing ground rules is, frankly, impossible.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 1st, 2019 at 10:00 am

Nothing to See Here

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The judge presiding over the Mohamed Noor case has announced that no audio or video recordings of the trial will be allowed:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge says there will be no audio or video recording allowed during the trial of a former Minneapolis officer who shot and killed an Australian woman.

Mohamed Noor is charged with murder in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was shot after she called police to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.

If I were in the judge’s position, I’d do the same thing. Noor really put the Minneapolis justice system in a bind. Most law enforcers have the decency of fabricating some kind of plausible (if you use your imagination) justification for their unnecessary use of force. Noor just flat out executed a woman. Letting him off is going to require jury instructions that no judge would look good giving and certainly no judge would want to be recorded giving. At least that’s the only explanation of which I can conceive that explains the recording prohibition.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 26th, 2019 at 10:00 am

How to Shutdown the Post Office

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

But cold weather? Yeah, they’re going to bitch out:

USPS announced Tuesday afternoon they are suspending mail deliveries Wednesday in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, Iowa and western Illinois. Pickups from businesses, residences and collection boxes are also suspended.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 30th, 2019 at 10:00 am

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Getting Leadership Ousted in the Minneapolis Police Department

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If officers executing unarmed individuals isn’t enough to get leaders in the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) ousted, what is? Apparently Christmas decorations:

Just days after controversy erupted over a racist Christmas tree on display at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct, Chief Medaria Arradondo has assigned a new inspector to lead the north Minneapolis precinct.

Images of a Christmas tree decorated with beer cans, cigarettes and police tape spread quickly on social media Friday. It was condemned by members of the public, activists and Minneapolis City Council members, including Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, who represents the area. Ellison said it’s “the type of thing that always instills fear in the community.

We’ve learned something here. The value of an unarmed person is worth less in the eyes of the MPD than bad publicity generated by a Christmas tree. While that’s not exactly a happy thing to learn, at least we know.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 7th, 2018 at 10:00 am

The Plebs are Becoming Unruly

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All isn’t well in the People’s Republic of Minneapolis. The patricians are having a tough time conducting their very important government business due to the fact that the plebeians are becoming unruly:

Maintaining order in meetings has become a struggle for the new City Council. It has created a dilemma for a council majority brought to power on a progressive wave, putting former activists in the difficult position of having to hush their constituents just to get through the agenda.

It appears that a bunch of plebs have realized that members of their ranks being elevated to the patrician class hasn’t resulted in a better life for the plebeians. I doubt this lesson will stick though. These activists will probably still scream about the importance of voting, which will perpetuate this cycle of former and current activists eating each other. At least it gives those of us watching from a distance an entertaining show.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 11th, 2018 at 10:00 am

If You Shoot Somebody, Perform CPR and You Can’t Be Charged

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I’m sure you’ve heard a number of legal urban legends. A prevalent one from my youth was that a law enforcer had to stop following your vehicle after you took a third right turn. Another similar urban legend is that the ruling of a court is illegal if the flag in the courtroom has a gold border because that makes it a maritime flag and the court a maritime court. I now have another one to add to the list: you cannot be charged with murder if you perform CPR on the person you shot:

Attorneys for the former Minneapolis police officer say his attempts to revive victim with CPR vindicate him.

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of desperation. It’s the sound of a lawyer who has a client that is so irredeemable that he doesn’t believe that he can make a valid argument in a court of law. Would it surprise you to know that the lawyer who made this argument is the Officer Noor’s lawyer? I didn’t think so.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 17th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Minneapolis’ Very Own Tent Town

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Minneapolis has achieved another milestone in its march towards progress, it now has its very own Hooverville:

Yanez lives at the heart of a sprawling homeless settlement that has formed and grown quickly this summer in the shadows of the Little Earth housing project near the intersection of Hiawatha and Cedar avenues in south Minneapolis.

Their numbers have multiplied in recent weeks, reaching about 60 men, women and children this week, turning this narrow stretch of grass into one of the largest and most visible homeless camps ever seen in Minnesota.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Every large city has a homeless population living within it. People who share hardships often come together and form a community. However, by forming a community these individuals have also made their existence undeniable, which will likely cause them more hardship in the near future.

City officials do not like homeless individuals. When city officials learn about the existence of a group of homeless individuals, they tend to sic their dogs on them. The angle of this story is that this Hooverville is a public health crisis. That will likely be the justification city officials use when they send their law enforcers to confiscate these individuals’ tents and tell them that they have to go be homeless somewhere else (that is, after all, how city officials always “help” the homeless).

Written by Christopher Burg

August 14th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Government Giveth and Government Taketh Away

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One of the most aggravating aspects of living in a major metropolitan area is that a vast majority of the people living here mindlessly parrot whatever the local government tells them to parrot. If, for example, the local government says that there is a housing shortage and that the only way to bring housing prices down is to build a lot of high-density residential buildings, a vast majority of people living here will start demanding more high-density residential buildings be built. Moreover, if the local government says that people should be using mass transit, a vast majority of people living here will start telling everybody to use mass transit. But what happens if you decide to use mass transit and then the local government takes it away from you:

Metro Transit says it is suspending dozens of bus trips because of a driver shortage, effective Tuesday.

The suspensions started just after 6 a.m.

Metro Transit said in an online posting it was stopping 67 bus trips on 40 of its routes until further notice. The transit agency says it is short about 90 drivers, despite a recent push to recruit new operators across the Twin Cities.

There are quite a few people living in the Twin Cities, especially in Minneapolis, who have fallen for the local government’s mass transit propaganda so fully that they no longer own their own automobile. It works for them because the government is subsidizing their transportation by providing mass transit at taxpayer expense. However, government is an arbitrary beast and can giveth one moment and taketh away another.

What happens if you’re one of those poor schmucks who relied on one of those 67 bus trips to get to and from work? If you own an automobile, you at least have the option to drive. If you don’t own an automobile, you’re not stuck paying for Uber or Lyft rides twice a day, which will get pretty damned expensive.

Relying on an arbitrary beast like government is one of the most foolish things an individual can do. At any moment a bureaucrat may decide that the service you rely on is no longer necessary or is impossible for the government to reliably fulfill and it will go away. When that happens, you have zero recourse.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 2nd, 2018 at 10:00 am

Grandstanding Is Easier When You’re Shielded from Consequences

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Advocates for gun control are in a virtuousness competition. This competition has lead to some rather hilarious moments. For example, the Eden Prairie City Council here in Minnesota attempted to demonstration its virtuousness by proposing a resolution that would ask firearm sellers in the city to not sell ascetically offensive firearms. The entire debate was meaningless because of state preemption, which prevents municipalities from passing their own gun control laws, but it allowed the city council to broadcast to the world how virtuous they are.

Now the St. Louis Park City Council, also here in Minnesota, is considering stepping up the game by outright violating state preemption:

Some St. Louis Park City Council members have set their sights on a state law that limits cities from creating gun restrictions.

After discussing gun laws with students from St. Louis Park High School at a May 21 study session, Mayor Jake Spano said, “We’re openly discussing flouting state law and getting sued. I’m not interested in picking fights for no reason, but at the same time this has got to stop.”

They realize that doing so would get them sued so why would they even consider such action? Because if they go through with their plan and they are inevitably sued, they don’t have to suffer the consequences. The St. Louis Park City Council members won’t have to payout if they lose such a lawsuit, the tax payers in St. Louis Park will.

Grandstanding is easier when you’re shielded from consequences. When city council members do something that gets the city sued, they get to sit back and relax while the city pays for lawyers and, if the city loses the court case, pays out the fine. The icing on the cake is that while the city is paying out for the members’ grandstanding, it is also still paying their salaries.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 17th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Heads Up Fellow Minnesotans

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If you live in Minnesota, you’ll want to keep an even more careful eye out for road pirates because they’re having an annual fundraiser:

A statewide extra enforcement campaign cracking down on speeding and aggressive driving begins today and runs through July 22, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

More than 300 agencies are involved in the campaign, and while cost of tickets may vary across counties, drivers should expect fees around $110 for traveling 10 mph over the speed limit.

What can you do protect yourself? My favorite tool for defending myself against road pirates is Waze. There are many helpful Waze users (including me) who report any law enforcers that they see on the road. If you live in a major metropolitan area, Waze is usually pretty good about alerting you to lurking road pirates. However, since it relies on crowdsourced information, it tends to be less effective in rural areas. With that said, if you live in a rural area, you could always start an awareness campaign to get more people using it.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 12th, 2018 at 10:00 am