A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Your Government Doesn’t Love You’ tag

It’s Not Your Body, Slave

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I’m of the opinion that each person has the right to do whatever they want with their own body. My opinion isn’t shared by the government. As far as the government is concerned it owns your body and therefore has the final say regarding what you can do with it. For example, if you’re suffering from a terminal illness and want to try an experimental treatment, the government isn’t going to allow you to do so:

WASHINGTON — In a surprising rebuff to President Trump and Republican leaders, the House derailed a bill on Tuesday that would have given patients with terminal illnesses a right to try unproven experimental treatments.

The bill was considered under special fast-track procedures that required a two-thirds majority for passage, and it fell short. When the roll was called, 259 House members supported the bill, and 140 opposed it.

Most of the opposition came from Democrats, who said the bill gave false hope to patients and could actually endanger people dying of incurable diseases, because it would undermine protections provided by the Food and Drug Administration.

We wouldn’t want terminally ill patients trying experimental procedures because that might endanger their lives!

This is just another example of blatant partisanism. The Democrats didn’t shut the bill down because experimental procedures could endanger the lives of those who are already dying, they shut the bill down because it was introduced by Republicans. But both parties do agree that without the passage of this bill it is still illegal for terminally ill individuals to seek experimental treatments, which means both parties are claiming that they own those terminally ill patients. That is the real tragedy of this entire mess.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 15th, 2018 at 10:30 am

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

You Can’t Take the Sky from Me

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Swarm Technologies applied to the Federal Communications Commission Fascist Communications Club (FCC) for permission to launch a handful of satellites. The FCC denied the company’s application. But the United States doesn’t have a monopoly on spaceflight so Swarm Technologies shopped around and was able to get its satellites into the air thanks to India. Now the FCC is claiming that it owns all of space:

One company might not have been willing to take “no” for an answer, however. IEEE Spectrum has discovered that the FCC accused startup Swarm Technologies of launching four of its tiny SpaceBEE (Basic Electronic Elements) communication cubesats without obtaining the necessary approvals — in effect, it would be the first satellite maker to go rogue.

The FCC denied Swarm’s application to launch its satellites in December 2017 on the grounds that they posed a safety hazard to other spacecraft orbiting Earth. That apparently wasn’t a deterrent, as the SpaceBEEs appear to have launched aboard one of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles on January 12th (you’re looking at the rocket above). Needless to say, that left officials fuming. The FCC revoked Swarm’s approval for a subsequent mission that would have taken place this April, citing an “apparent unauthorized launch and operation” of the four satellites.

The fact that the FCC revoked Swarm Technology’s approval for future missions is especially funny since the company demonstrated that it didn’t need FCC approval to get its satellites into space. But doing so probably fed some petty bureaucrat’s power trip and that’s all government approval is capable of doing in a global economy.

The world has become more connected. It’s trivial to communication with people on the other side of the globe in real time. Traveling across oceans takes a matter of hours, not days or weeks. If the government of a region is standing in your way, you can shop around for a region that will allow you to do what you want to do and transport whatever you need to that region. If worst comes to worst, a company can move itself entirely to a friendlier region.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 13th, 2018 at 11:00 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


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President Trump is taking the issue of violence so seriously that he’s meeting with executives in the video game industry instead of winding down the country’s overseas wars:

A variety of potential actions have been discussed to limit school violence in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL last month, from the uninspired option of raising the minimum age of potential gun-buyers to President Trump’s controversial suggestion of arming teachers. But a familiar target for blame appears to be on the mind of the president, as well. In today’s White House press briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump would soon meet with “members of the video game industry” to see what could be discussed around “protect[ing] schools around the country.”

A lot of people are rightly poking fun at Trump for his announcement. Of course many of the same people are also angry because Trump is blaming one inanimate object, video games, instead of another inanimate object, guns. It always amazes me how people can learn only the part of a lesson that jives with their worldview.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 7th, 2018 at 10:30 am