Friday, March 30, 2012

Atrocity quote of the day.

Via Balko, the following:
Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a former Marine who had heart problems and wheezed if he walked more than 40 feet, triggered his medical alert system pendant. The system operator came on the loudspeaker in his one-bedroom apartment, asking: “Mr. Chamberlain, are you O.K.?” All of this is recorded.

Mr. Chamberlain didn’t respond. So the operator signaled for an ambulance. Police patrol cars fell in behind — standard operating procedure in towns across America. Except an hour later, even as Mr. Chamberlain insisted he was in good health, the police had snapped the locks on the apartment door.

They fired electric charges from Tasers, and beanbags from shotguns. Then they said they saw Mr. Chamberlain grab a knife, and an officer fired his handgun.
Here's the money quote, and the point entire:
Kenny Randolph listened from his apartment across the hall. “They put fear in his heart,” he says. “It wasn’t a crime scene until they made it one.”
Do read the whole thing--if your blood pressure permits you to do so safely.  Circulate it to everyone who still whines the "just a few bad apples" mantra, and if anyone challenges you on it, ask the perfectly reasonable question:  if this does not convince you that there is a systemic problem, an immunity problem, an impunity problem--then what would?  Would anything convince you?  Tell me, for the record, so that when it happens I can send you a note and say "okay, what about now, can we please talk about this now?".  Hell, at this rate it just won't take that long.

As Billy Beck put it, not very long ago:
And they killed Jose Guerena in no time at all. "Jose Guerena". That was his name. Man, it gets hard to remember them all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The War On All Of Us, part 668: bounties.

No, it's not an Onion article.  Yes, you are reading it right--they shoot someone, they get paid.  Not a salary.  A fucking bonusGrigg, writing in Republic magazine:
Twenty Albuquerque police officers involved in recent shootings received checks from the local police union ranging from $300 to $500 — a system criticized by many observers, including at least one police union leader, as akin to payment of “bounties.” 
"akin" to a bounty?  That's a bit uncharacteristically polite of Grigg, who perhaps is wearing his best "reporter" hat here.

Note carefully, too, that this is cops paying cops.  Boy, it sure is a good thing that we've got all those "good apples" protecting us from the "few bad ones", 'cause this is like taking absolute power and turning it into a goddamn arcade game.

A bounty.  For serious.  Any questions?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Got Claire?

It's been an easy time to be down, lately.  It's depressing to watch the considerable traction that the professional race-baiters have been getting in making the Trayvon Martin case into something it's not.  (Seriously, does Jesse Jackson ever tire of his all-but-patented "what does it take to get you honkies to start my race war for me?" message?)  Or the transparently coordinated push among the victim-disarmament crowd to use that same "multiple-meme-perfect" case to destroy one of the few vestiges left of law that might actually protect the individual from the state ("castle doctrine/stand your ground"), as well as hack at the progress that's been made in CCW reform across the country over the last quarter-century.  All while Gunwalker continues to decay after its effective rug-pulling ceremony courtesy of "the opposition party" (which of course isn't), while the "give war a chance" crowd relentlessly beats the drum on Iran, while the normal election cycle progresses into the predictable "okay, playtime's over now, so STFU about these tired concepts like Constitution and reform;  here are the candidates we pre-ordained in the first place and you'll vote for one of them and like it, 'cause what else you gonna do, natch" period that leads us into National Public Masturbation Day in November, and while the drone army gears up to deploy stateside, without apology or even a modicum of Vaseline. 

And this is in addition to the "as always" general onslaught of tyranny that we get every damn day:  criminalizing everything from food to finger pointing, more spying and surveillance, more insistence that Our Betters will handle us from cradle to grave...and continual promises of getting it more, longer, harder, just as soon as humanly possible.

Yeah, it's easy to get depressed.  Furious, even.

Just when you need her, enter Claire:
Why do we choose — and it is a choice — to be so freaking grim? Why do so many of us feel that if we’re not at some psychological watch-post 24 hours a day we’re somehow failing in our duty to Penny freedom?
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Years ago, for me at least, it was Claire who really opened my eyes to the horror, and since then has reliably provided perspective on staying true to the goal in the face of the horror.  Because the goal is not to defeat "the enemies of freedom"--much as that might feel awfully satisfying--the goal is to live free.  I need to be reminded of that, and there's no one like Claire to do it.

Joel, as he does with some regularity, adds equally indispensible context to the basic observation:
George Herbert, whoever he was, said "Living well is the best revenge." I have found that true. So many people, too many of whom have Internet pulpits from which to scream, have not quite grocked that simple fact and spend their time hollering about "lines in the sand" and such. That has its charms, and I've done it myself, but what does it really accomplish? If the enemies of freedom are really evil, in their effect if not their stated intentions, what good does it do to structure your whole life around hating them for it? That only makes them important and importance is, after all, exactly what they want. Yes, activism has its place - god bless the activists. But a good belly laugh is also an excellent answer to their depredations. The one thing a bully - especially one who's bullying you for your own good - can't STAND is to be ignored. Or noticed only to the extent of laughing at them.

Yes.  And I do understand that, when I can take a deep breath, let go, and remember why all this matters.  When I'm strong enough to do this, I'm not only a lot happier, but I'm a hell of a lot more effective in persuasion and approachability in the bargain.  I'm also better for my wife and girls.  "Set condition Yellow, and carry on."

Claire, Joel:  I needed this today.  Thank you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Holder's legacy, summarized.

Oh, this is good.  From Minimalist Political Posters at The People's Cube*.

No no.  Look at it sideways.

*I don't know anything about this site, other than that I chased a link there.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Illegal Everything" with John Stossel

I've heard some good things about John Stossel here and there over the last few years, but haven't seen anything firsthand until now.  Via Radley Balko, I invested the 40+ minutes to watch "Illegal Everything", and boy, could we use a whole lot more of that kind of work.  To the extent it is representative of Stossel in general, I may have to start paying a little more attention.

Some may note that it appears to be Faux News that carries Stossel, at least here, and for some that's enough reason to ignore it.  Thing is, as the old media (yes, Faux News is very much "old media" in its approach) continue to slide further and further into irrelevancy, anomalies like this seem to be on the rise--and I should also note that Balko, himself, recently left Reason to write for the Huffington Post.

Make of all that what you will, but also don't let it get in your way.  "Illegal Everything" is worth it just to witness the lockstep continuity of sleaze put forth by each and every one of the featured Establishment flacks paid--with your money--to lecture you back on what Momma don' 'low round here.    :-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Marko nails another one.

Over at The Munchkin Wrangler, Marko Kloos has delivered another winner.  This one examines the mindset of the armed individual, and does it well.
You’re not the better human by not fighting back. You’re not the better human for choosing to have no claws or teeth. You’re not the better human for delegating responsibility your personal safety to some underpaid guy or girl with a tin badge. And you damn sure don’t get to claim a halo for your attitude.
Amen, brother.  As with many things that he does, this is a useful resource to share with others.

And yet I remain a pain in the ass on some things.  In the context of the real value the article may have for an individual, this may be simple prurience, but one thing that stuck out at me was this passage:
All they care about is the thing they want from you–your wallet, your car, your body, whatever–and they want it now and with the least amount of fuss. And if they feel that the transaction is taking too long, puts them at risk in any way, they have no compunction about hurting you badly or killing you on the spot. This is not paranoid hyperbole, or some sort of effort to dehumanize muggers and rapists. It’s observed reality, and if you doubt that, all you have to do is to open the “Crime” section of any newspaper. (Better yet, talk to a beat cop.)
Now I think Marko has the very best of intentions here, but over the last coupla generations those idealized "beat cops" he speaks of have started to look more and more like the demographic he's discussing in the main part of the paragraph.  That's not paranoid hyperbole either.  Not anymore.

I admit, it's a nit in an otherwise excellent work.  But many of us have grown even more weary and wary of badged, legitimate predators than we are of the freelance kind.  At least with the latter, you don't have to add official impunity to the list of problems you have to solve when you fail to avoid a fight.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Explaining government... a non-Kool-Aid drinker.

Loved that.  Hell, most of the time that I venture into that territory without airbrakes, people sure look at me like I'm an alien.

For all its strengths, though, it felt to me like it pulled up short of the most appropriate final punchline:  after all the candor and calling everything what it really is, there should be a final exchange--call it a comprehension review quiz, perhaps--that would go something like this:
Alien dude:  But when Election Day next comes, you'll go right back into the voting booth and legitimize it all over again, with your vote.
Earthling:  Well yeah.  That's the way the system works.
Alien dude:  Okay...well, I guess we can at least agree on that.

Sure, maybe that's a little bit too snarky, but is it in any way wrong?

Hat tip to Claire.  It does not surprise me in the least to see Larken Rose's imprimatur on the narrative, either:  that fella does have a valuable skill.  :-)

Outwitting your betters, vol. 291

Via JD Tuccille, the following interesting segment from one Jonathan Corbett:

Now he certainly seems to have a huge blind spot of apparent faith that the system was ever actually about protecting us, but if he keeps on target and is honest about what he finds, he'll figure that out eventually anyway.  In the meantime, it cannot hurt to get this in front of as many people as possible.

I especially liked the out-of-the-blue Gunwalker reference / comparison.  Again:  his thinking is ultimately flawed because he intimates that we actually do need thugs with guns to protect us...from thugs with guns, but if he can call out the system's cynical exploitation for what it is, then a useful purpose is yet served.  And again:  if he's paying attention, he'll catch up.  (And if not:  we certainly haven't lost anything.)

Mike, David:  your work does matter, see?   :-)

Goad? What goad?

Sounds about right to me:

Hat tip to BusyPoorDad over at Claire's

Why Mike Vanderboegh can't be an ATF snitch.

First of all:  no, nobody asked for my opinion.

It's been a little bit now since the big recent pissing contest between supporters of Mike Vanderboegh and of "Kerodin" (and to a lesser extent, between the principals themselves), and it occurred to me during all the tiresome flap that there seemed to be an obvious point nobody was really making.  (Apologies if I just missed it.)

Among the fecal flingery were accusations that "Kerodin" was an ATF plant, and then that MBV was an ATF plant.  Oh gawd, "the work of the enemy done for free," indeed.  As Joel so brilliantly put it:  "See, this is why I don't do militia any more..."

Now for full disclosure, I don't know much about "Kerodin" at all.  What little I've seen doesn't resonate with me at all--it never did--but I simply don't know enough to form a conclusion I'd rely on.

And I admit, I did really want Mike to remain above it all,  and not take what really did look like fight-picking bait to me.  But he did.  I can even understand why he did*, but it's still a disappointing blemish on an otherwise outstanding gadfly record.

But MBV as an ATF snitch just made me laugh.  Laugh.  Why, you ask?  (I realize you didn't ask.  It's just a construct of opinion writing.)  Now that's simple.  For that to be true, or even plausible, it would mean that ATF must have been capable of producing a snitch-provocateur of the quality of Mike Vanderboegh.  And that's just rainbow-shittin' unicorn territory right there.

Think about it.  Has anyone ever heard of a fed-snitch or -plant that wasn't laughably one-dimensional, pluperfectly tailored to the agency's meme-set (usually all the memes at the same time, oddly enough), and above all possessed exclusively and only of an authoritarian-statist approach to...everything?  They stick out like sore thumbs:  "Q:  How do you tell the federal snitch at the militia meeting?  A:  He's the only one talking about blowing shit up."

Mike is the very antithesis of all this.  He quite openly advocates "leaderless" organization.  He understands how to share information so that people can draw their own conclusions.  He is well-versed in the historical hubris of the state, and does not pull punches in exposing it.  He is delightfully self-effacing.  And most of all, he understands the difference between aggression and reaction.  (For that reason alone he could not viably be a product of the state.)

Nope.  MBV couldn't be a snitch.  The government just isn't capable of being that creative.

* Additionally, I'll simply forgive him that prurience.  MBV has been an absolute, ah, wolverine regarding the Gunwalker case for over a year, at great effort and cost to himself, only to discover recently that the real fix was in, ultimately, from among ostensible friendlies.  Not a surprise, really, but disappointing in a way that gets even to hardened cynics.  After that much investment and admirable success even within a rigged system, he's earned himself a lash-back or two.