Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

The Militarization of “Protesters”

Posted: September 7, 2014 by ShortTimer in Crime, Culture, Government, Leftists, Media
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Ferguson’s rioting is now yesterday’s news, except that Eric Holder is going to investigate the crap out of it to get justice immediately, while Fast and Furious is apparently a cold case.  But I think it’s important to bring this up before it’s totally forgotten.

Among the complaints about the Ferguson situation was “the militarization of police”, which is an argument I’m pretty skeptical about.  People seem to pine for a past that didn’t quite exist, demand that cops facing Molotov-throwing rioters still act like Sheriff Andy Taylor, and seem to miss that the reporters aren’t filming the crowds as much as the cops – and missing out on the crowd helps to miss the point.

First off, a quick photo of the “good ol’ days” before the police had rubber bullets and tear gas and sirens and MRAPs and flak jackets and before Tennessee vs Garner (where cops could apprehend by fire) and before Miranda rights:

1964 chester police riotBut if you notice something about the protester (called a rioter in the caption, but it’s easy to give him all benefits of the doubt) – he’s dressed pretty normal.

This is from the Harlem Riot of 1964:

harlem riot 1964 a

In that particular incident, there was protesting, rioting, and looting.  Given the situation at the time, the guy on the ground could be any of those, and the police could be quelling a disturbance where he’d just attacked someone, or they could be racist thugs in uniform beating the crap out of an innocent man for getting “uppity”.

But those guys are also dressed pretty normal for the time.

These people in Ferguson are not:

If you watched more than a couple minutes in, you saw “protesters” wearing helmets and gas masks.  Here’s a screenshot from 1:03 of a “protester” putting on their helmet & gas mask:

ferguson protester helmet and mask

That’s escalating a situation.

Among the handful of people yelling, there are also a dozen people there to record an incident that they are precipitating.  There are agitators there with cameras specifically to instigate – that’s why they brought gas masks and helmets.

ferguson protester helmet 2

The police there were dealing with rioters, looters, and arsonists across the city.  The police are trying to disperse a crowd that started aggressive and is getting worse and they’re using non-lethal crowd control techniques that are being neutralized by some agitating “protesters” who came ready with countermeasures.

You can hear the self-important glee in the voice of the man recording the incident.  He’s one of those folks who gets off on the confrontation, because it puts him at the front lines of what he thinks is important – but it’s a situation he’s working to create so he can applaud himself further.

In his own mind, he’s putting his life, and talent, on the line.

dick thornburg

What’s really going on is he’s just making the situation worse by escalating it.

No one looks at that video (or any of the rest of it that shows the “protesters” in Ferguson) and says “gee, I want that in my neighborhood”, or thinks “well, that sure showed the police that they should review their procedures, policies, and institutional culture that led to the shooting of Michael Brown and the community is concerned that there should be an impartial review of the incident”.

The militarized protester is armored for the confrontation, and armed with the camera to record the confrontation he precipitates in order to show he’s the victim and justify the beliefs he brought in to begin with.

There are as many people recording as there are with their hands up yelling.  They’re brought in by the lure of cameras and the feeling of attention, while that helmeted, gas-masked agitator is using them to prop himself up.

And then of course there are the people throwing firebombs.

ferguson molotov 1

A lot of the actions on the part of “protesters” is contingent on police response being very restrained.  “Restrained!  They teargassed those people!”  Yes, restrained.

Unlike in other nations (like Colombia, above), our policemen do have rules, and are held accountable.

That’s why police in the US work to use crowd control that has the least likelihood of causing permanent harm, while preventing personal and property damage in the community the police are hired by.  They ultimately are supposed to be there to serve and protect – and for every rioter there are several people in their homes who would like to go to the store tomorrow and not find it burned down.

The protester who’s gone out to confront police with a helmet and gas mask is, again, working to negate the police ability to use crowd control that’s relatively harmless.  They want confrontation – whether as an instigator for their own ego purposes as above, or for their own ideological ends.  They want an escalating conflict where their weapon is their camera and where they have a mob to do violence for them, and where they can stay and outlast police tactics until the police have exhausted peaceful options.

Clausewitz’s most famous quote was: “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.”

For some, escalating their politics to conflict, especially with a police force that is duty-bound to protect its city and maintain order, is a win-win.  If the “protester” militarizes but with the focus on generating a narrative rather than taking ground, he gets his propaganda victory every time the police are forced to act.  He points his camera at the police and not at the broken windows, burned shops, or at the people hiding inside their homes while riots run on their streets.  He ignores the people who can’t get to their homes, can’t get to their workplaces, can’t get to stores for food, can’t go outside without fear of a mob – he ignores those in favor of his own political ends.  He gets a sympathetic national media to report his story while ignoring the people terrorized by his actions and the actions he instigates.  The instability he brings destroys communities and he rewrites the narrative to blame his ideological foes – the police, the business owners and citizens of the city who left – everyone but the person responsible for the violence of the conflict – the militarized protester himself.

It’s asymmetrical warfare and it’s quite effective.

I am also immediately reminded of the Christian/Newsome murders, and this mob attack yesterday in Mississippi.  There are a myriad more examples that are conspicuous by their absence from the national debate, as well as the easy punditry of “what would the story be if the races were reversed?”

Militarization of the Police… Or Not

Posted: August 20, 2014 by ShortTimer in Crime, Culture, Government, Media
Tags:

The last couple weeks worth of rioting and looting in Ferguson, Missouri over what’s looking less and less like the outright murder of an unarmed teenager and more like a cop who had to defend himself against multiple attacks from a thug who’d just committed a strong-arm robbery has led some punditing pundits to pundificate over the militarization of police.

In the pundit mind, it goes “cops with cargo pants and rifles means militarization of police leads to warrior cop leads to police see people as the enemy to be oppressed leads to police start oppressing people everywhere”.

Rich Lowry at NRO turns around the point that the whole militarization theme has been overblown, and started without any militarization and helmets and rifles and MRAPs at all:

It was ridiculous and wrong for police snipers to train their weapons on peaceful protestors in Ferguson. But, when you get right down to it, the militarization of police has had basically nothing to do with events there, even though the Left and parts of the Right have wanted to make that the main issue.

When Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, the officer was presumably wearing a typical police uniform and driving a typical police car.

Just so you get a visual of that, and the story from an eyewitness on scene discussing it:

No MRAPs in there, no fatigues, no helmets, no Wiley X goggles.  And the eyewitness’s own description as the body lies in the street is not what the papers and news have been saying for the last couple weeks, either.  None of it has to do with “militarization of the police”.

Lowry continues with this point:

Finally, there’s the argument that the militarized police were inciting the crowd. This wasn’t entirely implausible, although it seemed unlikely because it should be possible for lawful, well-intentioned people to restrain themselves from throwing things at cops whose uniforms and vehicles they don’t like. Sure enough, after a night of calm in the wake of the “demilitarization” of the police response and the insertion of Captain Ron Johnson, the lawlessness started right up again.

Yeah, actually the first part is implausible.

See this crowd:

>Tea Party Tomorrow

That’s the big DC Tea Party protest from a couple years back.  There was no violence there.  They even picked up their trash when they left.  Harry Reid called those people terrorists, though.

See this crowd:

guns across america slc ut

That’s from a guns across America rally in January 2013 in SLC, Utah.  And this one’s from January 2013 in Austin, TX:

guns across america austin tx 2

Lots of folks there.  Folks with guns, even.  Yet there was no looting, no rioting, and no violence.

By contrast, this is what a lot of “protesting” in Ferguson, Missouri looks like:

ferguson quiktrip

Not with signs, but with fire bombs.

ferguson molotov 1

ferguson molotov 2

ferguson molotov 3

The first protests and the last “protest” are not the same.

That’s the reason for the police response that looks like this:

ferguson mrap

Police riot gear and riot equipment may look more military today than in the past, but the “militarization of police” idea is due to media perception that molds public perception, sensationalizing the uncommon, and whipping up a new crisis.

Just for contrast, here’s a cop with a belt-fed machinegun – state of the art in 1918 – and what helped turn the Great War into an industrial slaughter that killed millions.

NYPD-traffic-motorcycle-policeman-Indian-cycle.-May-18-1918I don’t see the cops with the MRAP having any belt-fed weapons.  Instead their weapons are precise, and they have many non-lethal options that don’t consist of batons.  They are also filmed constantly.

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Generally speaking, I have seen cops wearing kevlar vests.  I have seen a handful of law enforcement agents carrying longarms (and those were Border Patrol agents out in the boonies dealing with very different threats, or game wardens who are almost always approaching someone who’s also armed).  I have never seen an MRAP on the streets of the US.  Of course, I also don’t frequent places where looting is a pasttime.

I do know of Marines who went to New Orleans after Katrina to deal with the looters and rioters and anarchy… but I was on the other side of the globe at the time.  And of course I’m familiar with the National Guard having been called in to a lot of civil disturbances.

But the thing is, those are all still rare.

SWAT raids are rare.  They make the news because they’re exciting to the press, and the press principle of “if it bleeds it leads”, but they’re rare.  When I’ve asked people about if they’ve ever seen a SWAT raid in real life, the answer is almost invariably no – or is incredibly rare (unless they’re in law enforcement, but even then the answer still tends towards scarcity.)

Even SWAT raids that go bad are rare.  And the type of 2AM no-knock raid on the drug dealer’s house that gets the wrong address and results in overzealous swat clowns shooting an old man in his bed – are clearly unacceptable and should result in Hammurabic punishments for whoever okayed and participated in the raid.  But their seriousness makes us see them as more common, and no doubt the number of raids gone bad should be zero… but that discussion isn’t any part of what’s going on in Missouri.

Crime is on a downward trend, but political race-baiting and pushing class warfare in a classless society is on an upward trend.

From CBS St. Louis:

Protesters filled the streets after nightfall Monday, and officers trying to enforce tighter restrictions at times used bullhorns to order them to disperse. Police deployed noisemakers and armored vehicles to push demonstrators back. Officers fired tear gas and flash grenades.

One looter who came out of a QuikTrip told The Washington Post that he was proud of what he was doing.

I’m proud of us. We deserve this, and this is what’s supposed to happen when there’s injustice in your community,” DeAndre Smith told The Post. “St. Louis — not going to take this anymore.”

This goes to the heart of the matter – there’s an entitlement mentality where a looter has decided that since the facts aren’t all out there yet about the confrontation between Brown and the cop that by default the cop is wrong, and it’s right to loot local businesses.  Because A did something to B, then C is entitled to terrorize D.

Read that sentence again:

One looter who came out of a QuikTrip told The Washington Post that he was proud of what he was doing.

I’m proud of us. We deserve this, and this is what’s supposed to happen when there’s injustice in your community,” DeAndre Smith told The Post. “St. Louis — not going to take this anymore.”

He “deserves” to loot.  And looting and mayhem is what’s “supposed to happen” when there’s “injustice”.

The owner of that Quiktrip, the employees working at that Quiktrip, the people who shop there are all finding their livelihoods and lives wrecked or harmed or at the very least inconvenienced because he thinks he deserves to steal.  And lest they run to authorities demanding something be done, the reminder that “snitches get stitches” was put on the side of the building.

Number 7 of the Peelian Principles comes to mind:

To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

When a large part of the public has decided that they will reject not just the police, but the concept of law and order, and threaten those who would want actual justice, there is a societal ill that is not caused by cops wearing jungle boots.

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The problem isn’t some perceived militarization of the police – at least not there.  For all the hype of leftists and some libertarians screaming “MRAPs do not belong on our streets” – the answer is that they actually don’t – they don’t belong there any more than the actual military in the form of the National Guard does – but they will be there if the real problem strikes.

The problem is a lack of civilization of the society.

From the LA Times:

A U.S. Border Patrol agent can be sued for firing across the border and killing a 15-year-old Mexican boy, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, a decision with potentially broad consequences for the highly charged issue of law enforcement’s use of deadly force along the border.

The decision by a three-judge panel in New Orleans said the allegations in the 2010 shooting of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, if proven in court, would amount to “an official abuse of power so arbitrary as to shock the conscience.” Because of that, the case can go forward, the judges ruled.

That “15 year old boy” was someone in the employ of a cartel.  Cartels use teenagers because if they get caught, the American judicial system still thinks it’s 1950 and sends them right back because “children are special” or some such mush-brained feel-good nonsense.  This allows cartels to have very effective scouts who can deliver information on operations almost immediately.  They’re treated with kid gloves by the fedgov and they take every advantage of it.  The law treats them as misguided waifs, rather than career criminals – and thus provides criminal organizations with operatives who are immune to the law.

What the story buries is that the “boy” was throwing stones at the agent while the agent was handcuffing another smuggler.  The “boy” was high in a drainage ditch with an angle to exploit plunging fire while the agent was fighting with another alien he was apprehending.

Lawyers in the case say it’s the first time that an appeals court has extended the protections of the U.S. Constitution to a noncitizen on the Mexican side of the U.S. border.

“It’s a huge human rights victory,” said attorney Robert Hilliard, who represents the boy’s family. “It gives you a voice inside a U.S. courtroom. They have to focus on, ‘Did the border agent do something wrong?'”

It’s a “human rights victory” if you call being able to throw stones at federal agents a “human right”.

Border Patrol officials declined to comment on the decision, which reaffirmed the long-standing rule that the agency itself cannot be sued because of the government’s sovereign immunity. The agent, Jesus Mesa Jr., is liable to the suit because his actions went beyond his lawful authority, the judges said.

“No reasonable officer would have understood Agent Mesa’s alleged conduct to be lawful,” they wrote.

EVERY reasonable officer would’ve understood Agent Mesa’s conduct to be lawful.  He was fighting with one alien and getting stones thrown at him by another alien.

This is what happened to one agent down in the Rio Grande Valley a couple years back:

rgv rocking 1

He went to go catch a group of aliens who proceeded to ambush him and throw stones at him and his vehicle.  A chunk of concrete thrown by an alien went through his window and smashed him in the face, incapacitating him.  I don’t know about other injuries, but I know the group was large (numbers I heard were in the 20s), and a motorcycle tire was thrown through the back window of his vehicle as well.

It’s not exactly uncommon, either.

usbp rocking 2

Thing is, a rock is a perfect weapon against US agents.  Hamstrung by racist organizations like The Race with lawyers that exist to target federal agents, an illegal alien can throw a rock, cause harm, and immediately say they were unarmed.  As soon as their projectile is in the air, they can claim they don’t want any trouble.  They can reach for another one and throw it, and they can play the same game over and over.

The very thing they were hired to do was to apprehend illegal aliens breaking into the country – whether simply breaking in or smuggling.  And with this ruling, a federal agent can now be stoned to death or face a lawsuit – or be forced to retreat from doing their job – ever.

“These are not small harassing attacks,” said Shawn Moran, vice president and spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council, referring to the rock-throwing incidents. “They are more like biblical stonings.”

Moran added that agents were now “open to civil liability for doing their job.”

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To those in the media, they’re just “kids throwing rocks” and the judges are right and the agent is a maniac who wants to murder honor students.

Some of those people claiming it’s just “kids throwing rocks” would find their perception changes if they were to be pelted with stones and rocks and chunks of concrete in order to get them to understand the actual perception of a “reasonable officer” who’s being rocked.  If Mesa’s lawyer told the judges he was going to throw stones at them for a while in court, and then did so, it would’ve been a 3-0 in favor of Mesa.

Via Breitbart, Eric Holder’s gunrunning ATF is planning to use drones:

Attorney General Eric Holder admitted Tuesday that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was in the process of looking at the use of domestic drones.  …

“Within the Department, the only component that uses these vehicles at this point is the FBI,” Holder explained. “The ATF in the process of working through to see if they want to make use of them.”

And via the Daily Caller, Eric Holder getting mad at being called out for being held in contempt.  Full video of the exchange between TX Rep Louie Gohmert and Mexican-cartel-arms-merchant General Eric “You Don’t Wanna Go There” Holder:

Gohmert is entirely too nice to Holder, and unfortunately seems to try to address a couple too many points as his time runs out.

Remember Fearless Distributing, the ATF’s plan to create crime in Milwaukee?  Or the score of other crime-creating ATF programs in the last year or so?  Apparently just like the ATF’s Gunwalker Operations like Fast and Furious and Castaway, they’re just going to go ahead and never answer any congressional inquiries and simply expect to never be held accountable.

From FOX:

Rep. Darrell Issa has subpoenaed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for information about what he calls a “dangerously mismanaged” program, which originally was launched to get crime guns off the street.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, has been looking into complaints about the program for months. Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

Issa, R-Calif., claimed this week that the ATF has stonewalled him by withholding documents and shown a “complete lack of cooperation.”

“I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena,” he wrote to ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “… The time for hollow promises is over.”

Yup, now is the time for coverup and the media to carry the Obama administration’s water.  For those who say FOX is a conservative news outlet, it’s worth reading how this story is written when it comes to the ATF’s actions.

Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

If you’re not familiar with it, read the Journal-Sentinel article.  There aren’t “missteps” that drew criticism.  The entire operation is based around the premise of creating crime in order to say they fought crime.

Details on problems with the program first emerged last January, when The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on missteps in Milwaukee under the program known as Operation Fearless. In that operation, thousands of dollars in merchandise, as well as several guns, were reportedly stolen from ATF agents.

Again, “missteps”, like this was Chevrolet launching a car with wipers that didn’t work.

Details of other similar operations in other cities later emerged, including claims that one operation was located across the street from a middle school. House committees are now investigating, on the heels of the controversy over the botched anti-gun trafficking Operation Fast and Furious.

And here we get to a big one, and a whopper that somehow exists across the media.  Operation Fast and Furious was not botched.  It did just what it set out to do.  It armed the cartels, got guns to the cartels, blamed American gun stores, and got people killed… and when F&F guns were found at murder scenes, ATF supervisers were practically “giddy” (in the words of whistleblower John Dodson).

There was no “botched” about it.  Fast and Furious worked as intended – just the intentions are so insane that people refuse to accept it for what it was.

When congress began questioning whodunnit, the local ATF guys like Bill Newell gave non-answers, the higher-ups gave no answers, and the paper trail consisted of the DOJ issuing redacted blacked-out non-documents to congress while shredding the real thing:

That's not a print of Malevich's "Black Square".

The FOX story continues, but with watered-down treatment again:

ATF agents, though, have defended the storefront program, saying lawmakers overstate the problem.

“Putting this into context, there were deficiencies with the storefront operations, but there have been many successes and it still remains a viable technique when managed well,” ATF Deputy Director Tom Brandon told lawmakers recently.

The operation in Milwaukee, despite its flaws, resulted in dozens of arrests.

“There were deficiencies?”  The ATF defends it, despite it being a crime-creating program, because people will report it without asking why, and without simply restating what it did and how it did it.

Dozens of arrests are meaningless as a statistic against crime, and dozens of arrests when a fedgov agency is off creating crime being used as a defense is horrible.

It’d be like if the Army said of the My Lai Massacre, “Putting this into context, there were missteps, but we got a body count of 347 probable enemy, so it still remains a viable technique”.

Again, keep in mind this is FOX that’s writing the bland media line about what the ATF did.  Other outlets simply don’t report it at all.

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The only reason this stuff has continued is because the press refuses to do their job.  And the few hard-nosed real reporters left are left hung out to dry for doing their jobs.

Colorado has made news in recent weeks for pretty much decriminalizing marijuana, and they’ve made news in the last year for working to criminalize and infringe upon citizens’ right to keep and bear arms.

But federal law may have already done those forces wanting to disarm Coloradans a big favor, as anyone who’s filled out a Form 4473 to buy a gun already knows from question 11.e.:

4473 marijuana

18 USC 922(g)(3) is the law that provides the basis for that question, and defines a person prohibited from owning a firearm thusly:

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person—
(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
(2) who is a fugitive from justice;
(3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));

to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

18 USC 922(g) is a bit long, especially in contrast to “shall not be infringed”, so it isn’t all that surprising that it would be overlooked.

21 USC 802 still lists marijuana as a controlled substance and illegal narcotic, thus every user in Colorado is an unlawful user under federal law – and thus their right to own a firearm is abrogated.

The penalty for toking up and owning a gun?  10 years and a $250,000 fine.

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You can claim the right to put what you want in your body, but it now comes at the expense of the fedgov denying you your right to protect yourself from harm.  And unlike drug laws, which the Obama administration has chosen to slack off on their duty to enforce, they choose to enforce gun laws though creation of crime, and with Fast and Furious went out of their way to murder people in other nations just so they could go after citizens’ rights in the US.

Judging their actions, this administration is certainly not a fan of pot rights, though it may find it convenient to hop on the bandwagon and have a large section of the population of the state thankful for being able to blaze away their troubles and worries created by this adminstration’s other decisions.

The current administration has made it abundantly clear that they don’t care for citizens with guns and plan on using backdoor “executive actions”, and doubtless they’ll use Colorado’s new decriminalization of marijuana as a means to use federal laws against stoners with guns.

Stoner guns especially.

eugene stoner

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*Just to be totally accurate, there are about four people in the US who could both smoke pot in Colorado and still own a gun, because it’s contingent on federally legal use.  But Irvin Rosenfeld lives on the east coast, not Colorado.