A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘United Police States of America’ tag

It’s Time to Play Sheriff’s Department or ISIS

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Much of the Middle East is currently engaged in a war with a government that has a penchant for broadcasting videos of a guy talking while masked men stand behind him looking all serious. While the location makes it obvious that I’m talking about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the description of the organization alone would apply equally to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department:

Florida Sheriff Peyton Grinnell has a no-nonsense take on handling America’s heroin epidemic.

In a widely-shared video posted on the sheriff’s Facebook page, Grinnell appears at a lectern, flanked by the rest of Lake County’s “community engagement unit” — four Kevlar-clad deputies in face masks.

Here’s an image of Sheriff Peyton Grinnell and his gang of merry men:

Tell me, without the badges and word “Sheriff” plastered on their uniforms, would you be able to tell the difference between them and ISIS? I’d certainly be hard pressed to do so.

The reason ISIS uses this kind of imagery is because it’s intimidating, which makes sense since that government’s goal is to scare people into submission. Supposedly a sheriff’s office is tasked with protecting and serving a community so why would one project an image of intimidation? Perhaps it’s not interested in protecting and serving. Perhaps it’s interesting in subjugation.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 13th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Just Like Government Police Departments

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One of the funniest forms of criticism, in my opinion, is claiming that a new entity will be able to do the same thing a current entity is doing. For example, Alabama just voted to allow churches to establish their own police departments. My favorite part about this isn’t the idea of churches with inquisitors police departments though, it’s this:

Critics of the bill argue that a police department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes.

Oh no! Church police departments may be able to do the exact same thing government police departments already do on a daily basis?!

These critics may want to think really hard about what they’re saying. They may come to an interesting revelation.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 13th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Degrees of Separation from Hitler

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One form of propaganda I’m getting tired of is character assassination. Whenever somebody runs afoul with police officers the tough on crime folks and the media begin performing a thorough background check. Their goal is to find something, anything, that can be used to justify the actions of the police officers.

David Dao, who was roughed up by airport police on behest of United Airlines, is now in the media’s crosshairs and, not surprisingly, they found some dirt on him:

Dao was trying to regain his medical license when he worked at the practice from August 2015 to August 2016, Nadeau said. Dao had surrendered his medical license in February 2005 after being convicted of drug-related offenses, according to documents filed with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure last June. Broadcast and print coverage of Dao’s arrest, conviction and sentencing made his name familiar to some Kentuckians.

What?! Mr. Dao was convicted of a drug-related offense 12 years ago? Well that changes everything! He totally had that beating on United coming!

The absurdity of this practice is difficult to overstate. What does something that happened 12 years ago have to do with the beating Mr. Dao received last weekend? Nothing. But it gives the tough on crime people and propagandists something to latch onto to justify their view of officer infallibility.

And this practice becomes more absurd every year. At one point stories might be run if a victim of police brutality had a history of violence. Then stories might be run if a victim had a history of drug use. Now stories are run when somebody was convicted of a crime over a decade ago. At this rate it’s only a matter of time until the media starts playing Degrees of Separation from Hitler.

“Up next, on CNN, we present a chilling story. Our researchers have discovered that the unarmed man who was gunned down by police after he was handcuffed and placed in the back of a squad car only had 37 degrees of separation from Adolf Hitler!” Mark my words, we’re going to start seeing stories like this (although, perhaps, not exactly this) run when people have been brutalized by police officers.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 12th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Fly the Extremely Hostile Skies

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When you buy a plane ticket you’re renting a seat aboard a particular flight from one airport to another, right? Wrong. You’re buying a chance to use a seat aboard a flight, not a guarantee. Buying a planet ticket is like playing a lottery, albeit with much better odds:

In plain language under Rule 25—on page 35 if you print it out—the agreement says exactly what happens if the flight is oversold. “If there are not enough volunteers, other Passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily,” the language reads. (Of course, the deplaned man was not denied boarding, he was already boarded.)

I’ve been on many overbooked flights. Since I don’t fly very often the fact that I’ve been on many overbooked flights illustrates how prevalent the practice of overbooking is. This mostly works because whenever a flight is overbooked the poor schmuck working at the front desk will offer people who volunteer to take a later flight some kind of compensation and they usually get enough volunteers. However, I’ve often wondered what would happen if they didn’t get enough volunteers. Fortunately, United answered the question:

CHICAGO, IL — A man aboard a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville was forcibly lifted from his seat, dragged down the aisle and removed from the plane as horrified passengers protested and recorded the episode on their smartphones Sunday night at O’Hare International Airport.

The man was among four passengers randomly selected on the full flight to give up their seats for United Airlines employees who needed to be in Louisville by Monday, according to witnesses. Flight 3411 was overbooked, according to the airline.

If a flight is overbooked and the airliner doesn’t get enough volunteers then a few cops are sent aboard to rough up a passenger and forcefully remove them. As an aside, I’ll note that the officers had no problem roughing up and removing that paying passenger. But I’ll leave the moral judgement of that fact for you to make.

I would go so far as to accuse United, and every other airline, of fraud since they’re misrepresenting their product. With the exception of the 3,000 pages of legalese hidden in some dark recess of their websites, every airline strongly implies that when you buy a flight ticket you’re reserving a seat aboard a selected flight. Some airlines even allow you to select a seat. However, you’re not reserving a seat, you’re buying a chance at getting a seat, which is not what is being advertised. What makes matters worse is that the State is willing to subsidize this fraudulent practice by providing the muscle to deal with any customers who are unhappy about getting ripped off.

While other airlines also sell lottery tickets instead of flight tickets, they haven’t been caught sending police aboard when somebody loses. Because of that, I would recommend playing the lottery with another airliner. At least then if you lose you might not get roughed up.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 11th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Police Accountability

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A few police departments have finally started firing officers who have committed especially egregious acts. Is this a trend towards holding police accountable? Not so much. As I’ve mentioned before, the system has many redundant defenses against change. While a few police departments are finally stepping up to the plate, at least when it comes to the especially bad cases, the police unions are ensuring those few departments remain unsuccessful:

A St. Paul police officer fired for kicking an innocent bystander three times while a K-9 dragged him in circles should be allowed back on the force, an arbitrator has ruled.

The decision, dated April 3 and disclosed Wednesday, came on the same day that the St. Paul City Council voted to approve a record $2 million settlement with the man who was attacked, 53-year-old Frank A. Baker.

Police unions getting bad cops reinstated isn’t new. In fact, police unions are one of the biggest roadblocks between police officers and accountability. No matter how heinous an officer’s actions are, a police union will step in to protect them from meaningful discipline.

Is there any question about why I’m so cynical?

Written by Christopher Burg

April 7th, 2017 at 10:30 am

The Difference Between Criminal Gangs and the State

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What’s the difference between a criminal gang and the State? Scope:

The Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than $4 billion in cash from people suspected of drug activity over the last decade, but $3.2 billion of those seizures were never connected to any criminal charges.

A report by the Justice Department Inspector General released Wednesday found that the DEA’s gargantuan amount of cash seizures often didn’t relate to any ongoing criminal investigations, and 82 percent of seizures it reviewed ended up being settled administratively—that is, without any judicial review—raising civil liberties concerns.

In total, the Inspector General reports the DEA seized $4.15 billion in cash since 2007, accounting for 80 percent of all Justice Department cash seizures. Those figures do not include other property, such as cars and electronics, which are favorite targets for seizure by law enforcement.

All of this is possible through civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to seize property if they suspect it’s connected to criminal activity, without having to file criminal charges against the owner. While law enforcement groups say civil asset forfeiture is a vital tool to disrupt drug traffickers and organized crime, the Inspector General’s findings echo the concerns of many civil liberties groups, which say asset forfeiture creates perverse incentives for law enforcement to seize property.

Civil forfeiture is a euphemism for armed robbery. With the exception of a few states, assets stolen via civil forfeiture don’t have to be tied to a crime in order to remain in the State’s possession. This is because civil forfeiture is based on the concept of being guilty until proven innocent. Unless you can prove that the stolen property wasn’t tied to a drug crime, an impossible feat, the State will keep it.

In eight years the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) stole $4.15 billion in cash and that figure doesn’t even include all of the other property stolen by the agency. All without having to find anybody guilty of a crime.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 30th, 2017 at 10:00 am

An Entire System of Bad Apples

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When it comes to police are there just a few bad apples or is the entire system rotten to the core? According to people who make excuses for any officer misdeed there are just a few bad apples. But if you look at how the system deals with those bad apples you quickly realize that their claim is false:

Almost five years ago, Darren Rainey, a mentally ill black man serving a two-year prison sentence for drug possession, was locked in a shower by prison guards at Dade Correctional Institution in Florida after they said he defecated on himself in his cell. The water was allegedly turned up to a scalding 180 degrees and he was left in there for hours. He entered the shower at around 7:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead two hours later.

[…]

We could debate and wonder about all of this, but one horrific detail is not debatable. When Darren Rainey was removed from that shower, his skin was falling off of his body. This is not normal — particularly in light of the fact that “confinement in a shower” was ruled as one of the primary causes of his death.

[…]

That Darren Rainey died on their watch, in a shower that they put him in for hours on end, with skin falling off of his body, and they didn’t even lose their jobs or law enforcement certification, and that many of these staff members are still working in law enforcement is incomprehensible. What worse could happen on a staff member’s watch in Florida than this?

Here we have a few bad apples who locked a mentally ill man in a shower, with water far hotter than the legally allowed hottest temperature of 120 degrees, until he died. At the absolute minimum that’s a negligence-related death that would probably get most people charged with manslaughter. Yet those few bad apples were protected by another bad apple, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, who didn’t prosecute the officers after seeing the evidence. Those bad apples were also protected by the bad apples who are charged with personnel matters who should have fired the officers on the spot.

Perhaps there were only a few bad apples at first but it’s obvious that the entire system is rotten at this point.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 22nd, 2017 at 11:00 am

Payback

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If there’s one thing the State won’t tolerate, it’s disobedience:

Authorities are opening a federal criminal investigation into WikiLeaks’s publication of troves of documents detailing purported CIA hacking programs, CNN reported Wednesday.

The FBI and CIA will collaborate on the probe, according to CNN, which reported that it is focused on determining how the anti-secrecy organization obtained the documents and whether they were leaked by an employee or contractor.

Notice how the criminal investigation is being performed against WikiLeaks and not the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)? That shows you where the State’s priorities are. Much like when it went after Snowden instead of the National Security Agency (NSA), when the State is given a choice to go after criminals within its agencies or the people who blew the whistle on those criminals, it always chooses the latter.

Once again I must reiterate the point that the State doesn’t exist to protect the people, it exists to exploit the people and will go to any extent to do it.

Threw It On the Ground

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Hypothetically speaking, if you walked up to a teenage girl, grabbed her, and slammed her into the ground what would you expect to happen? If you said that you’d expect to go to prison you don’t have a badge:

A North Carolina police officer who was shown on a video throwing a 15-year-old girl to the ground while trying to break up a fight at a high school in January will not face criminal charges, the Wake County district attorney said this week.

The district attorney, N. Lorrin Freeman, said in a statement that a grand jury had declined to bring criminal charges against the officer, Ruben De Los Santos, for his actions in the cafeteria at Rolesville High School on Jan. 3. Ms. Freeman had asked the grand jury to review whether the case showed “willful failure to discharge duties” and “assault on a female.”

Grand Juries tend to indite everybody unless they have a badge. For some reason, when the accused party has a badge, grand juries almost always vote against pressing charges.

On the upside, the officer resigned:

The police department in Rolesville, a town of about 5,000 people 15 miles northeast of Raleigh, said it put the officer on paid administrative leave after the incident. He resigned last Thursday, the department said in a statement.

Hopefully that means that a police union can’t force the department to hire him back. The downside to this is that the officer is free to terrorize people in another community.

At the end of the day, this story yet again demonstrates that if you want to beat the shit out of people legally you can become a police officer.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 10th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Shut Up, Slave

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When a slave by the name of Delvon King failed to stop talking in Robert Nalley’s courtroom, the muumuu-clad judge ordered one of his thugs to shock the shit out of the slave. Nalley’s thug, of course, dutifully complied:

And then the judge took a smoke break:

Courtroom video shows Delvon King—who despite the judge’s orders won’t stop talking—falling to the ground and screaming in pain during a hearing about what questions should be submitted to prospective jurors. According to the video of the 2014 episode, the judge told the courtroom deputy, “Mr. Sheriff do it, use it.”

King then hit the floor and screamed in agony, according to the video.

“All right we’re gonna take five and I’ll be back,” the judge said before he left the courtroom. All the while, King was on the ground and moaning.

This incident demonstrates yet again that there are separate rules for slaves and the king’s men. If I shocked the shit out of somebody in my place of business because they failed to stop talking I’d be brought up on charges. Such behavior is not acceptable for lowly slave like me. But when you’re adorned with the king’s muumuu, you can get away with such behavior because you get to play by a separate rulebook.

The judge’s thug also deserves criticism here. Upon hearing an order to shock somebody for talking too much, a decent person would have told the man giving order to go pound sand. Violence is not an acceptable response to somebody running their mouth. But that officer isn’t a decent person. At best he’s a mindless automaton who follows whatever orders he’s given. At worst he’s a sadist who sought the position of police officer so he could legally inflict pain.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 9th, 2017 at 10:30 am