Arbitrary and stupid

Did you know that there are certain holsters that are considered to be in the same class with machine guns? These holsters are controlled by the National Firearms Act, and are called ‘any other weapons.’ They require a $5 federal tax stamp to own one with the gun.

Here is the funny part: you can own the holster, and that is legal. You can own the gun, and that is also legal. Own the holster AND the gun that fits in it without the form and the tax stamp? Federal Felony. 
Can you tell them apart? One of the following pictures is an AOW, and one is not:

There is no real difference in form or function, but if you should buy the wrong one at your next gun show, or make one yourself, you will get five years in club fed as a result.

Gun control laws are stupid and arbitrary. (and it is the top picture that is the AOW)

TSA does it again.

So a terminal at JFK had to be evacuated because a TSA screener forgot to plug in his metal detector. Funny thing is that he is (judging by his name- Alija Abdul Majed) an Arab/Muslim. It took hours to re-screen passengers. Of course, the entire exercise was a waste of time, as anyone who was intent on doing anything could have easily hidden a weapon in the sterile area, left to be re-screened, and then retrieved the item once he was back in the supposedly sterile area.


Everyone is a terrorist

Here is a list of things that the FBI says make you a possible terrorist:

if you pay cash for small purchases like a cup of coffee, or for large purchases
using encrypted files
shaving off your beard
SCUBA diving without certification card, or SCUBA training to get a certification card, being a SCUBA diver without a logbook, diving using “rebreathers”, use dive equipment for extended dive times or deep dives
taking pictures with a cell phone, having more than one cell phone, buying more than one disposible cell phone, not activating a prepaid phone at the time of purchase
At work: likes to work alone or unsupervised, and if at work, is willing to do tasks that no one else wants to do
people who are overdressed, underdressed, or are dressing to blend in
playing paintball on your own property
buying waterproof matches, MREs, or flashlights
absence from work for charity work
study of fields that can be used for terrorism like chemistry, gunsmithing, SCUBA training, rappelling, marksmanship, etc.
When renting a vehicle, inquiring about its fuel capacity
receiving a large number package deliveries
having weapons on your property, or buying bulk ammunition
refusing to allow landlord to enter rental property on demand, or changing locks without landlord permission
having offensive tattoos, or asking to have offensive tattoos concealed, covered, or altered
owning remote controlled model aircraft
use of model rocket engines and igniters
buying firearms and ammo outside of hunting season
requesting hotel room in specific location or floor
arrive at hotel with too little or too much luggage
persons mumbling to themselves
excessive sweating

This list covers so many activities that it is useless. If you read the list, everyone is a possible terrorist, because if we just focus on Muslim males between the ages of 16 and 35, the terrorists will know this and exploit it. Except looking harder at Muslims is profiling, and we can’t do that, that would be insensitive and discriminatory, thus ensuring that the terrorists don’t need to disguise themselves as non-Musilms.

The Scam of traffic safety

A cop with a stopwatch is more believable than a GPS unit. At least, that is what the Ohio court system believes, if their March 2010 ruling is any guide. In this case, a man was clocked by a cop in an airplane at 84 miles an hour. The way this works, is that a cop in a plane times cars with a stopwatch as they pass over quarter mile segments of the highway. The time to traverse the quarter mile is then used to compute the speed of the vehicle.

The problem here is that the driver had a GPS tracker placed in his car by his employer in order to control speed limit violations. The tracker indicated that he was going 50 mph, not 84. The court ruled that they could not accept the reading of the tracker without expert testimony from the manufacturer that would testify to the accuracy and method of operation of the device. According to the court:

“Barnes presented no evidence from a person with personal knowledge regarding how the GPS calculates speed, whether there is any type of calibration of the equipment used to detect speed, whether the methods employed by his particular company to detect speed are scientifically reliable, or the accuracy of the GPS’ speed detection,” the panel said. 

 This would have required that the accused hire an attorney and expert witnesses to attend the trial. To beat a $35 traffic ticket (I wish. In Florida, a speeding violation of 84 in a 65 will cost you $180) you are expected to spend several hundred dollars.

Meanwhile, the government has a bottomless checkbook with which to defend their cash cows. In Sonoma county, CA in 2009, the government of Petaluma spent tens of thousands of dollars to beat the GPS readings. Protecting speeding ticket fines, a $10 billion per year scam, is of utmost importance.

The Soviets were free

There are an estimated 800,000 full-time law enforcement officers in the United States: 120,000 Federal and 620,000 State and local.

That breaks down to 1 Fed for every 2,500 citizens, and one cop for every 375 citizens. Contrast that with this article about the Stasi and Gestapo:

The Soviet Union’s KGB employed about 480,000 full-time agents to oversee a nation of 280 million, which means there was one agent per 5,830 citizens. Using Wiesenthal’s figures for the Nazi Gestapo, there was one officer for 2,000 people. The ratio for the Stasi was one secret policeman per 166 East Germans. 

(even though the math for the Soviets is incorrect)
We have ratios of police versus citizens that is more than that of the Soviet communists, and rivals that of  the Gestapo.

But we don’t live in a police state. This is a free country, after all.

A peek into police culture

I was recently required to go to a class on the incident management system. The class was comprised of about 60% police supervisors and 40% fire supervisors. The class gave me an opportunity for some insight into the way that cops (especially the supervisors) view the world.

The class presented the supervisors with a few scenarios, and challenged those supervisors to set up a command structure that would adequately manage the situation. Since this was a class attended mostly by cops and was being taught by cops, the scenarios and the conversations were mostly cop-centric. It was a learning experience, but perhaps not in the way that was intended.

The first scenario was that a child services worker was doing a well being check on a home, after receiving a tip that one of the children in the home was being sexually molested by the father. When she arrived at the home, she found that the father was home alone with 3 children, ages 9 through 14, and he was intoxicated. The social worker told the father that she was removing the children from the home, because the only adult was intoxicated. The father refused, an argument ensued, and the social worker was asked to leave. Social worker attempts to take the youngest child with her, and is shot in the stomach by the father. Socail worker staggers outside and 911 is called.

The cops said that this is an active shooter situation, and their primary objective is to enter the home as soon as they have three officers present, and “take out the bad guy.” I am betting that they were not talking about shooting the social worker.

After this first scenario, we took our first break. The topic of discussion during the break was how the “new NRA law” was stupid and creating problems for police. One of the cops said that they tried to work with the NRA, but that the “gun nuts” were being uncooperative and would not give an inch. Another used an example (paraphrasing, my memory isn’t perfect)
“There is this guy who has been “Baker Acted” several times, and has even fired shots at police officers. We were at his house, and he has guns. Now normally, I would just take the guns, and he would never see them again. Thanks to this new law, this guy keeps the guns. Now I am forced to risk leaving the guns there and getting sued when he shoots someone, or taking the guns, and getting sued by the NRA.”
Third cop says: “The odds of being sued by the NRA are low. I’m still going to take them.”

There are a number of false assumptions there, but it seems to me that if a person has shot at cops, wouldn’t he be convicted of at least one felony and thus be prohibited from firearm possession?
If he was found to be a danger to himself or others after being Baker Acted, wouldn’t a court have found him incompetent, and wouldn’t he then be prohibited from owning firearms?
Why does a cop think that he has the power to confiscate private property, simply because he thinks he is the “only one” that is trained and competent to handle firearms?


Officer Benjamin Stanaland of the Orlando police department is a tyrant. He has twice been reprimanded for violating people’s constitutional rights, yet he still holds a job as a police officer.

In the first case, he arrested a man for refusing to give the officer his name in February of 2010.

In the latest case, used an unsterilized Q-Tip to test a motorist’s mouth for drugs without the man’s consent during a traffic stop. According to the law and department policy, officers must use sterilized gloves and agency-issued tongue depressors and swabs. Stanaland said he purchased the Q-Tips from a Walgreen’s pharmacy.

Why is he still working as a cop?

Civil rights, 1983 lawsuits, liability

After the incident that I last blogged about, where a Canton, OH police officer threatened a pair of citizens with physical force, I listened to the recording of the City Council President, where he gives his opinion on the whole incident:

The Council President states that the police officer’s actions were logical because the person involved was legally carrying a concealed weapon in a bad neighborhood at 1:30 in the morning, around prostitutes and drug dealers. Excusing the cop’s actions in this manner is a bit of a problem. Let me explain why:

42 USC 1983 provides that, “Every person who under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, Suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress

Meaning that the citizen involved gets to sue both of the officers who violated his rights by threatening harm to him, and will probably be successful. You can sue cities and counties under 1983 in what is called a Monell claim. Under Monell, to hold a municipality liable you need to show that your constitutional injury was caused by a policy or custom of the municipality. Monell liability can be established where a municipal official with final policy-making authority ratifies a subordinate’s unconstitutional conduct and the basis for it. The theory behind municipal liability in this context is that the acts of persons with final policy-making authority are considered to be the equivalent of government policy.

To establish municipal liability, a claimant must show a persistent and pervasive practice of the police department in failing to respond to police misconduct. While a single act of misconduct is insufficient to establish municipal liability, a person in a policy making position can show that the unconstitutional behavior of the municipality approved of the act, and thus made the act a de facto policy. In police brutality cases, the municipal entity’s liability can be established by showing that the city encourageed or authorized the conduct.

By stating that the incident that took place is to be expected when people carry concealed weapons in compliance with state law, he has authorized the officer’s conduct and opened himself and the city to a 1983 lawsuit. Damage awards in civil rights cases can be high. In 2007, a man won over three million dollars for damages he suffered from false arrest and other indignities by Oakland, California police officers. That award included punitive damages.

Officer Harless: background

By now, everyone in the gun community has seen the video where Officer Harless of the Canton, OH police department threatened to put “lumps” on a woman that he suspected of being a prostitute, and threatened to kill a man who was legally carrying a concealed weapon. The law in Ohio states that a permit holder must immediately notify an officer that he is carrying a weapon, if he is approached by that officer. The holder attempted to tell the officer three times, but was told to shut up before he could get the words out. When the officer finally finds out about the weapon, he flips out. See the video below:

I show you this video as background for my next post, where I show you how Canton, OH has officially screwed themselves.