Keystoned

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Neither the Castile shooting nor the Miami shooting seem like racial incidents.  They seem like Keystone Kops incidents: running in circles, nobody in charge, contradictory commands, misinterpreted actions, improper over-reaction.  

When a mass of cops arrive at the scene, who’s in charge?  Who gives the orders?  Who decides when to shoot?  Doesn’t seem to be a consistent policy and as a result, people are getting shot.

 I can forgive an honest error in judgment.  I can’t overlook incompetence. 

 Joe Doakes

A few years (OK – a few decades) back, I read about the training involved in a hostage rescue team, including the danger involved with lots of men running around in a cramped space, high on adrenaline and guns.  The training to develop the teamwork necessary to make the team more dangerous to “the enemy” than to themselves alone was a long, drawn-out process.

Do local SWAT teams, much less patrol cops, get this?

I don’t think so, but I’m genuinely curious.

Policies Matter

Not so long ago, a not overly bright person on a community forum called me a “racist” for asking “what does Black Life Matter” actually want?”

One might wonder if BLM is “racist” for finally answering my question.

Thing is, their ideas aren’t entirely wrong:

1. End “broken windows” policing, which aggressively polices minor crimes in an attempt to stop larger ones.

Broken windows policing has always been controversial.  But it’s worked; it was a key element in turning New York from a crime-sodden wasteland in 1975 to one of the safer cities in America in 2005.

It did lean hard on “communities of color” – because some of those communities have had all sorts of problems, both “broken windows” and crime.  We can debate the reasons for that – and a lot of African-Americans disagree with BLM on that; it’s usually they who are asking for more, and more integrated, police presence in their communities.

Is it possible to get good policing in a trouble community without impacting those, in the community, who are trouble?

2. Use community oversight for misconduct rather than having the police department decide what consequences officers should face.

I don’t disagree in principle:  groups investigating themselves never works.

But community review boards, especially in Democrat-run cities where most police problems are, inevitably turn into political footballs.

Better idea?  Make police carry individual liability insurance.  It’ll have the same effect it has on drivers; it’ll show us who the “bad” ones are, and fast.

3. Make standards for reporting police use of deadly force.

Excellent idea.

4. Independently investigate and prosecute police misconduct.

This would seem to make good common sense.

5. Have the racial makeup of police departments reflect the communities they serve.

A passable-sounding idea in principle; very hard to carry out in practice; if applicants for police service reflect the larger American community – 12% Latino, 11% black, 2% Asian, 75% white – what is “the community” supposed to do?  Assign cops to precincts on the basis of race?

Is it a good idea, though?  If our idea of “justice” is “bean-counting based on skin color”, then haven’t we really lost?

6. Require officers to wear body cameras.

Fine idea in practice, and I support it in principle.

The devil is in the details.  Can we allow officers to turn off their cameras?  Do you want officers stopping at Superamerica to take a dump preserved on the public record?

I’m not asking to be funny or gross.  If you allow officers to turn off the camera for purposes of bodily functions, then you create an opportunity – several, in fact.  Unethical officers will use that facility.   Bureaucrats will create more rules and procedures around cameras, which’ll take more time away from policing.

I’m in favor, but with questions.

7. Provide more training for police officers.

Not a bad idea, provided the “training” is useful.

8. End for-profit policing practices.

We’re talking about civil forfeiture, and even if the other nine proposals had been complete hogwash, this alone would be worth it.  Using funds from “crimes” that haven’t even gone to trial should be stopped, now.

9. End the police use of military equipment.

I’ll meet ’em halfway on this.   The hero gear gets way too much of a workout.  When you have armored cars and police in full battle rattle knocking down doors to serve warrants for non-violent crimes – pot dealers, people who owe the city money, that kind of thing – that does kinda send a message about what you think about “a community”.

10. Implement police union contracts that hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Now that is going to be interesting to see out in practice.

BLM’s got a few useful ideas.  Where they go wrong is in relying on politics and politicians to do the reforming for them.

And To The Banana Republic For Which It Stands

While our professional ninny class was jabbering about the Second Amendment (almost entirely to try to gin up enthusiasm for a geriatric white woman this November), America actually, quietly, and with the nodding approval of an ignorant majority, became an actual police state.

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that evidence found by police officers after illegal stops may be used in court if the officers conducted their searches after learning that the defendants had outstanding arrest warrants.

The Fourth Amendment is as near-death today as the Second was thirty years ago, and for pretty much the same reasons; political expediency.

We, the people, brought the Second back to life. Who’s going to do it for the Fourth?

UPDATE:  The more I read about the actual case, Utah v. Strieff, the more nuance I see in the majority decision.

Which doesn’t change the fact that the Fourth Amendment has been beaten to a pulp this past 50 years.

Big Brah Is Watching

A longtime friend of this blog writes in re h this story, about Hawaii jumping ahead of San Francisco and Chicago in terms of leaning on the law-abiding gun owner; they plan to enter all the state’s legal gun owners into a federal database: 

Scary enough that they are targeting gun owners.  MORE scary that the database they are talking about already exists

I would be very interested in finding out who currently meets the criteria to be included in the “Rap Back” database and is already entered into that database without their knowledge or acquiescence.

The database – no doubt product of an earlier generation of hysteria – tracks “people in positions of trust” – school teachers, bus drivers and the like, allowing authorities to find out quickly if one of them is arrested for anything.

Sounds acceptable, right?

On its surface, maybe.  But to provision the list you need…what?

To know every gun owner in the state.  Meaning the State of Hawaii has the data they need to beat down any law-abiding citizen’s door when they change their mind about the Second Amendment.

Open Letter To Minnesota Public Radio News

To: Minnesota Public Radio News
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Food For Thought

MPR,

Isn’t it annoying – to say the least – to have to subject your constitutional freedoms to theatrical, unproductive and degrading scrutiny by bureaucrats, to no useful end?

A few minutes after 8 o’clock Monday morning, [MPR Reporter] Mukhtar Ibrahim started filing through the security line at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.
It was a big day for Ibrahim, and figured to be a long one: Day one of a high-profile trial for three local men accused of plotting to join ISIS fighters in Syria.

Ibrahim and a reporter for the Star Tribune approached the security screening and offered their bags for clearance by a security officer. The other reporter, who is white, passed right through and headed for the elevator. Ibrahim was stopped, and told he couldn’t go in yet. He would have to wait for the time when the court opened to the public.

If it saves even one life…!

Ibrahim protested, pulling out a press badge showing he works for Minnesota Public Radio. Not good enough, the officer said. Go wait with the rest of the public.

Ibrahim didn’t argue and instead just collected his wallet, keys, and bag, and went to wait with public spectators. The way Ibrahim figures, he shouldn’t have even needed to flash the badge. He’s been covering cases there for a year and a half: These guys should recognize him by now.

People with a long, proven record of not abusing free speech are almost never a danger!

On Monday, once Ibrahim and the rest of the non-journalists observers there for the trial were let in, he simply walked across the courtroom to the area sectioned-off for members of the media and sat down. But the episode continued to eat at him.

“It messed up my mood the whole day,” Ibrahim said. “I was just really frustrated. I didn’t expect this.”

It is frustrating, isn’t it?  Trying to go about your business, doing something you have a Constitutional right to do, and getting badgered by petty bureaucrats?

“I like to stick to the facts,” Ibrahim said, “so I’ll let people make their own conclusions of this.”

The obvious answer; force all reporters to take a background check.

That’ll fix it.

That is all.

Freedom For We But Not For Thee

The press isn’t so crazy about background checks – when it’s their freedom this being walked all over:

For the first time this year, the Secret Service has a hand in credentialing the media; during previous conventions only the Congressional press galleries were in charge of credentialing the media…[Buzzfeed “editor” John Stanton] Stanton cited concerns about the background checks, the lack of a clear appeals process, and the involvement of a third-party subcontractor, urging his fellow journalists to express their concern over the process.“It seems like an unnecessary step and it gives them in my mind a new and troubling precedence to try and exert authority over the press corps,” Stanton said in an interview. “It creates a logistical burden, a troubling precedent for their ability to have almost a de facto say in who is qualified to be a reporter at these events. What if they use this as precedent to extend to other campaign events or any government events?”

Right – but if it saves just one life…

All Others Pay Cash

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Good article on the War on Cash, but I suspect the most important motive is if Liberals can ban cash, they can control what you buy and when you buy it.  Want to buy bullets or donate to the Republicans?  Sorry, cash card not working.

Once the government gets that control, it never ends.  Trying to buy Twinkies at Cub?  Sorry, the items you scanned to purchase are not on the approved list maintained by your Health Care Provider and forwarded to the IRS to demonstrate compliance with Obamacare.  So we’ve automatically deducted $10 from your bank account as a surtax to off-set your Attempted Weight-Loss Sabotage.

Joe Doakes

Too bad we The People can’t give government a debit card.

No Problem Here. Move Along, Citizen.

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Grandma, what a big passport printer you have.  The better to vet you with, my dear.

I’m sure it’s no problem, the authorities will just  cross check any person coming in from those countries against the court records from there.  They (Syria, Libya, Pakistan, …) have computerized, up to date, accurate records of every criminal and suspected terrorist online and available to the TSA don’t they?

Joe Doakes

As the US gets more fussy about American citizens showing their papers on demand, it’s funny – funny weird, not funny ha ha – that they’re getting less so with foreigners.

A Slow, Languid Blow For Freedom

A Brief Bit Of Background:  Whenever I sit down in a large room with a bunch of co-workers to “meet” a new manager, and that manangers starts their presentation with “I’m a ‘process person'”, I tell my co-workers “Well, time to get our resumes polished up.  This department is screwed blue”.

And I’ve never been wrong.

Another Bit Of Personal Background:  Whenever I decry some miscarriage of justice, and some twerp – often a liberal, Ivy-League law-school grad – smugly intones “the process was met!”, I’m kept from strangling Ivyleaguer with his own intestines only with great difficulty, and sometimes only by other people.

Paging Petty Tyrants: There’s an old cliche; “state and local goverment are the laboratories of Democracy”.  Perhaps it’s true – but Pageville, Missouri is conducting an experiment in democracy’s extinction.

Faced with a court ruling that capped how much the city could earn in traffic fines, they decided to add fines for…

…well, pretty much everything, according to George Will:

Pagedale residents are subject to fines if they walk on the left side of a crosswalk; if they have a hedge more than three feet high, a weed more than seven inches high, or any dead vegetation on their property; or if they park a car at night more than 500 feet from a street lamp or other source of illumination; or if windows facing a street do not have drapes or blinds that are “neatly hung, in a presentable appearance, properly maintained and in a state of good repair”; or if their houses have unpainted foundations or chipped or aging layers of paint (even on gutters); or if there are cracks in their driveways; or if on a national holiday — the only time a barbeque may be conducted in a front yard — more than two people are gathered at the grill or there are alcoholic beverages visible within 150 feet of the grill.

Upshot; it’s pretty much impossible not to violate some sort of law or another in Pageville, MO.

But the city’s pecuniary interest in particular judicial outcomes, which creates an appearance of bias, is not the crux of the argument that the city is violating the 14th Amendment guarantee that Americans shall not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law.” The entire nation should hope that this small city’s pettiness will be stopped by a court that says this: The Due Process Clause, properly construed, prohibits arbitrary government action, particularly that which unjustifiably restricts individuals’ liberties.

That is, the Due Process Clause is not purely about process.

And if this case were a step toward enshrining, Heller-like, the idea that government isn’t about sanctifying process, but upholding the freedom of the citizen, it would be a huge start.

Because the sooner the idea that government exists to protect process is rhetorically loaded into a train and sent to a camp in Idaho to smash metaphorical rocks for a few decades, the better this country will be.

Representative Norton’s MkKarthyistic Kangaroo Kourts

Yesterday, we noted that Rep. Kim Norton – the soon-to-be retired legislator from Rochester who’s going to be pushing the various gun-control bills that the DFL is copying and pasting from their benefactors at Bloomberg – accused people who oppose US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s “idea” of barring anyone on the government’s double-dog-secret “Terrorist Watch List” from buying guns, of “supporting allowing terrorists to have weapons”.

No, I’m serious.  In an incredible display of the kind of logic that most adults were shamed out of using back in fourth grade, Norton accused Bryan Strawser of the MN Gun Owners Political Action Committee of supporting guns in the hands of terrorists:

IMG_4518.JPG

And this introduced an interesting question: what does it take to get on the list?

From that noted conservative tool, the HuffPo, we learn that this watch list is something of a roach hotel; easy to get in, impossible to get out.  I’m abridging the copy from the HuffPo, which you should read in its entirety:

1. You could raise “reasonable suspicion” that you’re involved in terrorism. “Irrefutable evidence or concrete facts” are not required.

In determining whether a suspicion about you is “reasonable,” a “nominator” must “rely upon articulable intelligence or information which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts,” can link you to possible terrorism. As Scahill and Devereaux noted, words like “reasonable,” “articulable” and “rational” are not expressly defined. While the document outlines the need for an “objective factual basis,” the next section clarifies that “irrefutable evidence or concrete facts are not necessary” to make a final determination as to whether a suspicion is “reasonable.” So how could intelligence officials be led to put you on the watch list?

Funny they mention that:

2. You could post something on Facebook or Twitter that raises “reasonable suspicion.”

 

According to the document, “postings on social media sites … should not be discounted merely because of the manner in which it was received.”

Someone who doesn’t like you reports you to a governnment bureaucrat, who thinks “what the heck, better safe than sorry!”, and will never be held accountable for it…

…and boom!  There you are!

(Whoops – can I say “boom” anymore?)

And if you think government wouldn’t do that?  Do you really think Lois Lerner was the only bureaucrat to abuse her authority for political ends?

3. Or somebody else could just think you’re a potential terror threat.

The guidelines also consider the use of “walk-in” or “write-in” information about potential candidates for the watch list. Nominators are encouraged not to dismiss such tips and, after evaluating “the credibility of the source,” could opt to nominate you to the watch list.

In other words, there are no checks and balances.

And these next two…:

4. You could be a little terrorist-ish, at least according to someone.

(Given the liberal fad of “Swatting” conservatives – calling the police to report a conservative is dealing drugs and child porn and guns out of their houses, to draw a swat team, it’s not an idle threat).  Or…

5. Or you could just know someone terrorist-y, maybe.

…should make your blood run cold, when you remember #6:

6. And if you’re in a “category” of people determined to be a threat, your threat status could be “upgraded” at the snap of a finger.

The watch-list guidelines explain a process by which the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism can move an entire “category of individuals” to an elevated threat status. It’s unclear exactly how these categories are defined, but according to the document, there must be “current and credible intelligence information” suggesting that the group is a particular threat to conduct a terrorist act.

And the Obama Administration has designated vast swathes of people who disagree with him as potential terrorists.

If you’re a pro-lifer?  Second Amendment activist?  Tax protester?  Land rights, Tenth Amendment, open-government, anti-war?  You name it – you could find yourself on the watch list for any reason.

Or…no reason at all:

7. Finally, you could just be unlucky.

The process of adding people to the terror watch lists is as imperfect as the intelligence officials tasked with doing so. There have been reports of “false positives,” or instances in which an innocent passenger has been subject to treatment under a no-fly or selectee list because his or her name was similar to that of another individual. In one highly publicized incident in 2005, a 4-year-old boy was nearly barred from boarding a plane to visit his grandmother.

And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.  There’s no due process; there’s noplace to file an appeal.

You’re screwed. Your liberties can be held hostage by any petty bureaucrat, any ex-spouse, anyone who really, wants to mess you up in the most passive-aggressive yet damaging way possible.

So I’d like to ask Kim Norton (if she takes questions, which she does not) – how many of our civil liberties does she believe should be subject to a secret list with no due process or accountability?

Komissar Kim Norton, MkKarthyist

We’ve gone around and around with Representative Kim Norton of Rochester.  Norton, who is retiring from the Legislature after this coming session, is going to be carrying Michael Bloomberg’s water; she’ll be sponsoring, so we’re told, a number of gun control bills.

Not that you can get a straight answer out of her; although she went into great detail in the Rochester Post-Bulletin in which she called for a “conversation about guns”, she also told anyone who wanted to engage in dialog (as opposed to echo-chamber monologue) that she really had no idea what she was going to put into any bill, and had nothing to talk about.

Which is kind of hilarious, if you think about it.

Of course, on Twitter over the holiday weekend, she found a specific proposal to support – from Bloomberg’s chief streetwalker in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand.

And her response (below) to MNGOPAC leader Bryan Strawser is one for the record books, and one that every Rochester voter should take up with Ms. Norton:  That’s right – for opposing denying civil rights to people who wind up on a non-transparent, easily-abused, unsupervised grab bag of names collected so willy-nilly it’s become the stuff of folk legends, for which the Feds don’t have to tell why, or even whether, you’re on it, Rep. Norton, one of the DFL’s inner circle thought leaders, equates you with a terrorist.

Remember when Democrats were opposed to mysterious starchambers handing down secret lists of enemies, with no transparency or accountability?  I’ll bet Rep. Nortdon does.

This is today’s DFL.

Question:  Do you suppose anyone in the media will question Rep. Norton on this?

Giving Up Freedom For Security…

France’s “state of emergency” is trampling whatever civil liberties the French may have actually thought they had.

Which, on the one hand, highlights what a different place the US is – where fundamental human rights are endowed by our creator, not an allowance from a benificent state (although big government has been leaching that away for decades, too).

And on the other, shows how fragile the freedoms are that we take for granted.

It also shows why the most important piece of gun legislation signed by Governor Dayton this past session was the law barring the State from confiscating legal guns during a “state of emergency”.

The Wrong Target

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals want to repeal the Second Amendment to stop gun violence. Seems to me the better solution is to repeal the Fourth Amendment.

If cops can stop-and-frisk anybody at any time for any reason or no reason, then there is no worry about racial profiling so cops can take guns away from the 8% of the population that commits 50% of the murders: young Black men in dangerous neighborhoods.

If cops can kick down any door at any time for any reason, they can disarm drug dealers who use firearms as tools of the trade, to defend their profits and kill poachers on their turf.

And if cops get a report about 20-something losers with a grudge, they can swoop in to take firearms before the next school shooting begins.

Why should anything about you be private from the government?  If you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to hide, right?

Joe Doakes

Heather? Jane?  Joan?

Rep. Norton?

I’d love to get their response…

The Improper Wiring That Dare Not Speak It’s Name

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Guy who’s nuts shoots up his own apartment and sets fire to it.

Another guy who can legally own guns because he wasn’t committed.  The judge let him go.

The problem isn’t guns.  The problem is nuts.  The civil commitment laws make it nearly impossible to put away nuts where they’re unable to obtain guns.  If it were easier to obtain civil commitment, there’d be fewer of these incidents and less work for ACLU lawyers . . . a win-win!

Joe doakes

True.

Which is why it’ll never happen.

 

Community Hygiene

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Never let a crisis go to waste.

Sen. Harry Reid wants expanded background checks:  “Is that asking too much? Couldn’t we at least do this little thing to stop people who are mentally ill . . . from purchasing guns?” Reid said on the Senate floor.

Den. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) specifically mentioned an effort aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people diagnosed with mental illness.

President Obama noted last week that once again, someone got a gun who shouldn’t have had access to it.

The South Carolina church shooter sparked the talk but he wasn’t mentally ill, not according to existing law.  So Democrats are using bait-and-switch tactics to argue for restrictions on people who have Not been diagnosed with mental illness but who act strangely, hold unpopular opinions or have few friends.  After all, we must Do Something, before those lone-wolf weirdos snap and kill people.  Sounds perfectly reasonable, right?

One small problem:  it’s unconstitutional.

The Second Amendment was adopted to ensure Congress would not regulate firearms, because the Founders feared an arbitrary and powerful central government like the one they’d just thrown off.  In the Founders’ time, it was universally understood that children, felons and the mentally ill shouldn’t have firearms and those limitations continue, under District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 US 570 (2008).  But who are “the mentally ill?”

Federal law prohibits ownership by a “mental defective.”  There are court cases discussing whether “mental defective” is different from “mentally ill” for gun control purposes (mental defective might mean “retarded but not dangerous” and thus not be a disqualifying condition).  Leaving aside that hair-splitting, Federal law defines “mentally defective” as having been adjudicated such or committed to a mental institution. 18 USC 922(g)(4).  The Code of Federal Regulations, 22 CFR 478.11, further clarifies that “adjudicated” means a determination made by a court.

Yes, but so what?  Federal law, federal regulations, Congress can simply change them, right?  That’s where it gets tricky.  There are a long line of Supreme Court decisions holding that when the government acts to deprive a person of a fundamental Constitutional right, that person is entitled to Due Process consisting of, at a minimum, notice of the charges and a meaningful opportunity to be heard before a neutral decider.  That means a court must make the decision, after hearing, at which the burden is on the government and the accused has a chance to rebut the state’s case.

You’ve heard it’s nearly impossible to get a person committed these days, no matter how much they need it?  Clayton Cramer’s book “My Brother Ron” is a heartbreakingly frank, scrupulously researched account of how civil liberties lawyers created the case-law that now controls.  And the case-law is not limited to civil commitments: Due Process extends to mental illness for purposes of gun control, which means the government cannot deny guns to people merely because they are weirdos, act strangely, hold unpopular opinions or have few friends.

What the President and Democrat Congressional leaders propose to do is precisely what the Founders explicitly designed the Constitution to prevent.  The plan is unconstitutional on its face.  Of course, that’s never stopped Democrats before.

Joe Doakes

As we saw last week, the left isn’t above writing new law from the bench to suit “community” demands.

Expectations

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The newest racial incident involving police:

I had to laugh early in the tape when I heard a girl with a Black accent yell at a cop “I’m calling my mother on you.”

Honey, if you had a Mother worthy of the title, you wouldn’t be threatening to call her on the cops; you’d be praying to God the cops didn’t call her on YOU.

If I went home and said: “Mom, the cops were mean to me at the race riot,” I’m dead certain her response would NOT be: “Those dirty sons of guns, oppressing your First Amendment Rights, we’ll sue them.”

I’m dead certain her response would be: “You went to a race riot?  What the Hell is wrong with you?  Wait till your Father gets home.”

Of course, I had a Mother who gave a damn and a Father who came home.  I guess I need to check my privilege.

Joe Doakes

The “Texas pool party” incident has been interesting on a couple of levels.

Counting Those Chickens:  The burgeoning “Cops are guilty until proven innocent, because Video!” crowd that is so in vogue on the left and among some Libertarians should get some pause with this case, as it seems – if you believe the pushback from the police union, anyway – that there was a big ugly incident before the video starts, with trespassing and fighting and assaults, which the local, mostly black, residents called in to the police.

I said “Should”.  They won’t, of course.   Dogma means never having to say you’re sorry.

Pathology Verging On A Berg’s Law:  As we’ve learned after every high-profile mass-shooting, as well as after every controversial, racially-tinged event in recent years; the mainstream media will get all the basic facts wrong for the first 2-3 weeks.  Any impression of any ambiguous event will be colored by the fact that the mainstream media – everyone from CNN to MPR – will, without exception, be simultaneously be playing the story for sensationalist ratings, and have coverage that is entirely at the mercy of sources who are in the bag for one side of the story or another (and that side is usually the “progressive” one).

The media won’t give honest coverage to a story like this, or Ferguson, or Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown, until it’s not a “sexy” headline-grabber anymore.

Hobby Horses:  Don’t get me wrong.  I have a serious beef with bad cops – and lazy, entitled and incompetent ones, too.  I’ve encountered some of each in my time in Saint Paul – along with good, even excellent, ones who came through when my family and I really needed it.

And I understand why young (and not-so-young) black males and their supporters are concerned about prejudice and the dangers it brings.  I say this while remembering that young black males do commit a disproportionate amount of crime.

And, most interestingly, while the “Cops are guilty until proven innocent” crowd has a thin veneer of urban activists, that veneer is wrapped around a lot of white liberals – and, increasingly, libertarians, who, God bless ’em, are as white as it gets.

More interesting still?  I’ve seen research that shows black inner-city residents support aggressive, strong policing.  Not every aspect of it, and not everything aggressive cops do, of course – but they, the people who live daily with the worst that urban culture provides, tend to want the cops to have a solid, aggressive (and fair, and just, and even-handed) presence in the neighborhood.

As with most such stories? I’m pretty much sick and tired of everyone.

Force Protection

It seems the St. Paul Police Department and/or the Ramsey County Sheriff office (the article is a little unclear on which) has gotten itself involved in a First Amendment case.

Now, to me, the case itself, involving a police dustup with of those “First Amendment activists” who seems to have all the time in the world to prowl the streets with a video camera trolling for the faintest whiff of police misconduct – is less interesting than this quote from an officer of the St. Paul police union (Emphasis added):

“I don’t know of a time in our profession where we as cops have needed to be any more vigilant about our personal safety and the security of our facilities, than the present,” said Mark Ross, treasurer of the St. Paul police union.

Blame it on cable TV; cops aren’t the only ones who think it’s the most dangerous time in history.

It’s not:

Even with the uptick in the past year or two, it’s less dangerous than it was five years ago.  Or ten years ago.  There are are 1/4 fewer cop killings than there were 20 years ago.  And less than half as many as a little over forty years ago; 1973-74 were more dangerous than 9/11.

I added emphasis to this part:

“There are safety considerations too numerous to list as to why a person making videos of police officers and police facilities creates enough reasonable suspicion to stop, detain and identify somebody engaged in that type of activity.”

Too numerous to list?  No, I think it’s worth a little time and discussion.

Go ahead and list the “safety considerations” of people videotaping cops, officer.

Every last one of them.

I get it; the “video activist” involved was one of those pains in the ass who’s constantly sniffing around looking for something to wave around; he’s sort of like an assistant county attorney, if you think about it.

But let’s hear the “safety considerations” that a guy with a camera offers you that every other person out there, no matter what they’re doing, doesn’t also present every police officer, everywhere.

I’m serious.