Sunday, December 21, 2014

And Here Comes Ferguson - Epilogue

At a time when violent crime was in free fall in America (due to technology and demographics and having little to do with incomprehensible Law Enforcement and incarceration strategies and tactics) our Federal government flooded our local Law Enforcement agencies with military equipment and tactics.

The result? Well, if the stuff is there, they will use it. For anything. Including late library books.

How did the NAZI's get their people, members of one of the most advanced civilizations in history, to be complicit in the murder of millions of people? They broke it down in small pieces, giving each person along the way a means to avoid accountability. One guy made the arrests. Another guy loaded them on the train. Another guy drove them to the concentration camp, etc...

While Law Enforcement, prosecution, and the judiciary in America should not be compared to the NAZI's , that would be incredibly unfair, it is much the same phenomena that has caused them to be the producers and architects of the U.S. prison population - irrespective of how hard I try to pretty up the language describing the outcome.

We, the U.S., has the largest prison population in the history of mankind! And no one working as a police officer, prosecutor, or judge has resigned in protest?

WTF???!!!! How is that even possible??!!

I had been waiting to write this post. I was afraid to mention what I thought would happen as a result of the police killings of unarmed people making headlines of late. I did not want to be the guy whose mere thoughts became a reality. But there is no shoving the shaving cream back in this can.

Two lunatics shot and killed 2 police officers as they were having in lunch in Las Vegas. Another lunatic shot  2 police officers, one fatally and the other has been left with life changing injuries, while pretending to be a sniper (there is nothing lower on this earth than a "sniper". Well, maybe a "bomber").  Shortly after, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, 2 unarmed "criminals", were killed by the police. Then another lunatic walks up to a police cruiser and murders 2 innocent police officers in cold blood. (I refuse to use the names of the killers. Their memory should be erased from existence. That would include government agents that are willing to kill and torture to enforce our inhuman drug laws.)

The response from Law Enforcement and their supporters on the Web has, so far, been to take the position that the police were somehow "justified"in  all of the police killings of late... or in some cases it was just a "tragic accident". Some people did not see it that way and were willing to lose their lives to strike out at what they see as their oppressors.

These were crazy people, right? People suffering from serious mental illness? At this time that seems to be the case, but there are a great many crazy people out there. Think about that the next time you "support" Law Enforcement's position that it is ok that we are the only nation in the industrialized world that tolerates the killing of unarmed criminals by the police.

In the future I think family members of those killed by armed government agents are very, very likely to avenge the deaths of their sons and brothers - personally.  In fact, I am kind of amazed that the fathers of some of these victims have not already taken the law into their own hands. In Sicily, for example, the police are very, very careful not to kill anyone. They know that their lives, in fact the lives of their family members, would not be worth a plug nickel if they did. I think it is highly likely that this will start to take place here in the U.S.

There have been other killings of the police that may not have been committed by crazy people.  The Kentucky ambush smacks of someone getting even for an offense they suffered personally. Hopefully, that crime will be solved soon.

I think it is clear that we have reached a crisis point and I think it is urgent that we Americans reconsider the circumstances that government "force agents" interact with The People - from top to bottom. 1/3 of American adults has a criminal record! Not because we are more criminal than other industrial societies (well, if you take out the African America demographic, that is), but because we went f***ing crazy and lost our minds - we are insane with hypocrisy. This must be the moment that we reign it all in. The War on Drugs. No knock raids. Armed extortion via traffic enforcement. The list goes on.

If we don't you can count on more blood spilled by people made angry by the media. Soon blood will be spilt by people seeking revenge for the killing of a son or brother.

Is our goal to have order? Because this isn't it. Is this what "freedom" and "liberty" and our American ideals stand for? Tit for tat killings between the police and the citizenry? WTF did you people in control of our local law enforcement think was going to happen? That the police could kill people over drugs or cigarettes or prostitution (if you have laws they have to be enforced. That means GUNS, and DOGS, and PRISON CELLS, and the resultant GANGS) and the only form of protest would be flower hippies with dreadlocks  singing Kumbaya? Do you know your history? The Federal Government showed up at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian Compound and provoked a slaughter that a certain lunatic (whose name should be forgotten) avenged by blowing up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing 167 innocent people. This is what happens when the government over uses its monopoly on force. People will respond. Is this the kind of society we want to live in?

I don't want that level of "order", thanks. And if you give this some thought, you won't want that kind of "order", either.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

And Here Comes Ferguson - 3


-continued from the previous post


The Grand Jury has spoken in the police killing of Michael Brown. I have little to add to that decision.

While it is clear that I look askance at the current state of Local Law Enforcement in the U.S., and believe that it has become unhinged from its purported roles and goals, I must say that of all of the police killings that occurred in recent years, the Michael Brown incident is likely among the least for asserting Law Enforcement wrong doing.

We have had people shot and killed by Local Law Enforcement for holding a BB gun while shopping at Walmart, for moving their car when another police officer told him to and another officer thought he was attempting to run down the officers after a college football game, and because the police mistook a power drill for a firearm.

No one protested these killings of completely innocent people, but when a 6'5" 300 lbs young man viciously assaults an officer and gets shot during the fury of confrontation... and look, I get it. It was just the straw that broke the camel's back. And I do think that the officer in this case could have chosen actions that would not  have resulted in the shooting death of Michael Brown... but it is certainly reasonable to believe that the officer was scared and excited and not making the perfect decisions that are easily made when writing a blog post. It is also reasonable to conclude that the officer chased down Michael Brown and slaughtered him - just as he was trained to do.

Unfortunately, that is not illegal in the United States. In Europe, with over twice the population of the U.S., the police almost never kill criminals because they are not trained to kill criminals. They are not trained in "force elevation" that has no end before the slaughter of human life. In the United States, that is the standard. A citizen can go from Jay walking, to assault, to a slab at the morgue in the 90 seconds or so that the confrontation between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson took. In Germany, Law Enforcement fired a total of 85 bullets during 2011. 85 in an entire year! Darren Wilson fired 12 rounds from a .40 Sig (an elephant gun) semi-automatic pistol at an unarmed man in a heavily populated urban neighborhood. Maybe you think that's ok. What about the kids in the house behind that unarmed criminal? Is it ok for them to be struck by one of those 12, .40 caliber rounds fired by a police officer that feared for his life from an unarmed man that had already been shot in the hand?

Think about that.

Darren Wilson did exactly what he was trained to do. What we in the U.S. have permitted our Law Enforcement Officers to be trained to do. To "force escalate" until the perpetrator is dead without concern for the safety of the citizenry. After all, the officer "feared for his life".

Law Enforcement points to the 30 to 50 officers killed by gunfire in the line of duty each year, and that is a fair point. Why does Law Enforcement not point to the hundreds of innocent people killed each year by police shootings and high speed chases?

Because nobody with talent and the capacity for critical thought is measuring and statistically examining outcomes.

Is that really what The People want? Going only on the postings on Facebook it would seem that white Americans are quite comfortable with local Law Enforcement killing "criminals", or killing at any time that they claim they "felt their life was in danger". Black and brown people are not, and are accompanied in this sentiment by White Liberals. Count me in the later camp.

There are a number of questions we, the civilian authorities controlling Law Enforcement, have to ask:

Why are "The People" so angry at Law Enforcement? Think about it: If Officer Wilson asked me to step onto the sidewalk my response would be "of course, officer". Michael Brown became enraged by Officer Wilson's lawful command and physically attacked a uniformed officer.

Why?

Maybe Brown was just crazy. Maybe he was a thug. Or maybe he has spent his entire existence living in an environment of an armed occupation of outsiders that have been extorting money from "his people" for traffic violations and kidnapping "his people" and putting them in cages  for "War on Drugs"  violations. Now throw in the Liberal application of free housing, free food, and free healthcare... because obviously (to Liberals) these are defective people and have no capacity of making their own way in this life... and viola! Dysfunction at its finest.

America has built an entirely automobile dependent system for employment and shelter, and the economic system simply does not afford people in the lower 25% of income to be able to afford a car, gas, and most important, insurance and traffic ticket costs. African Americans dominate the lower quartile of income in America.

I know that this is hard to grasp for my fellow coastal elites... but this is as real as it gets for African Americans living in urban centers and seedy suburbs. From the article:

By the time Bolden got to St. Charles County, it had been well over 36 hours since the accident. “I hadn’t slept,” she says. “I was still in my same clothes. I was starting to lose my mind.” That’s when she says a police officer told her that if she couldn’t post bond, they’d keep her in jail until May. “I just freaked out,” she says. “I said, ‘What about my babies? Who is going to take care of my babies?’” She says the officer just shrugged.
"The officer just shrugged." And there it is.

See, what is supposed to happen is that the people working in Law Enforcement, who are witnessing this kind of inhuman treatment of their fellow man, resign in protest. Why don't they? Two things: they have become inured to human suffering, and; they have been co-opted by the system in that they are debt and paycheck slaves just like the rest of us and they don't want to give up the prerogatives that come with government employment, a gun, and a badge. Prosecutors never had a heart to begin with, so no point calling them out on this, and most judges are former prosecutors (why no former Public Defenders as judges? You know the kind of people that actually can feel for their fellow man?).

Between the harassment from local Law Enforcement for traffic and vehicular violations (no registration (it costs money); no insurance (it costs money)) and the War on Drugs and its draconian prison sentence/gulag system, it is little wonder to me that the American People occupying the bottom 25% income bracket absolutely despise the authorities and the system irrespective of how many freebies the system hands out.

But our local governments are not interested in lowering our police killings to Europe's levels. Our local governments are in desperate need of cash because of municipal employee unions like your local police, and a major source of that cash is to run an extortion racket of armed thugs in uniforms and claim they are here to protect you! Isn't that just delicious!!??

And yet we have places - Oakland, Detroit, Memphis, et al - 20 or so counties where the vast majority of violent crime in America occurs. We, our system, created these pockets of incredible lawlessness populated by ruthless criminals that certain members of law enforcement in these locals are forced to confront at risk to their own lives - and the lives of the rest of us. And Law Enforcement in the other 3000 American counties? They are in the extortion business.

"See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true." - Milton Friedman

We created the drug cartels. We created the gang problems plaguing our inner cities. We created the demographic that commits half of America's crime - fatherless black males 15 to 24 years of age by dragging their fathers off for long prison stints over drugs and then having government fill his shoes as provider. We could fix it in a snap and in the end the War on Drugs will come to its inglorious end, but that will mean deep budget cuts for all manner of government agencies from prisons and police to welfare and healthcare - and those benefitting from that will fight this to the last man.

In the final analysis, America needs Law Enforcement to maintain order, but America is going to have to reconsider how to manage and fund the people it appoints to maintain that order. And we must be willing to examine and correct our failures, something that government personnel have not proved to be particularly competent at. I don't think a single thinking person missed the fact that the shooting of Michael Brown did not result in greater law and order in the city of Ferguson, MO. Perhaps thinking people will see that the War on Drugs and the armed extortion rackets of Local Law Enforcement are not promoting an orderly, law abiding, and respectful society.

And just once I want to see a police officer, prosecutor, or judge resign in protest over something.

Anything.







Tuesday, November 18, 2014

And here comes Ferguson, Part 2


- continued from the previous post

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man by a 28-year-old white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., (in addition to the explosion in the streets of Ferguson) the internet exploded in battle lines and conclusions being drawn.

Was it race? Of course it was, but before you think I have gone daft let me explain:

As I have already pointed out, Europe, with more than twice the population of the U.S., almost NEVER shoots and kills its citizens – even when the criminal is twice the size of the Law Enforcement Officer (“LEO”) as was the officer’s (only possible) reasoning in the Ferguson shooting. Yet many, if not most, non-African Americans were not terribly disturbed by the idea that in America LEO’s kill over 1,000 people per year – many of them unarmed (and many more not an immediate threat). (For those of you holding the 400 people per year number reported by the FBI, please see my previous post as to why that number is absurd at best – and certainly a national disgrace as reported.)

So what is up with non-Leftist/non African American America?

In addition to a high percentage of militarized mindsets (look, Europe does not have millions of ex-military personnel running around. America provides for Europe’s defense, and however you might feel about it the fact is this: America puts a lot of young men through its militarization indoctrination programs. This indoctrination is vastly different than that used in Israeli or Switzerland’s military indoctrination programs. To argue that this does not have a lasting effect on these people – both positive and negative – would be an impossible position to support. The idea that such militarized mindsets are a natural fit for Law Enforcement is, I think and if I may be permitted the use of understatement, an idea that needs to be reexamined), a lifetime mind soak in the Hollywood glorification of murder and mayhem, and still more indoctrination in the various institutions, churches, and other organizations from the Boy Scouts on up (I know, my inner Quaker is showing through). In addition to the aforementioned, I think it is safe to say that:

Non Liberal/Non-African Americans (let’s call them NLNA Americans) are simply “exhausted” (exasperated?) with the dysfunction of the African American demographic. That “exhaustion” is so thoroughly unexpurgated that G-d fearing NLNA American 
human beings have taken to publicly mocking Michael Brown’s grieving mother and father, unable to empathize with the suffering that other parents should and normally would be able grasp in the face of a mother losing her child – 18 years of diapers, little league, trips to the doctor, Halloween costumes, Christmas gifts, school projects all ended in a hail of bullets on the discretion of a 28 year old pre-frontal cortex that wanted to carry a gun for a living.

Wrap your mind around that for a moment.  Let that sink in good and deep.

Michael Brown’s mother lost her 18-year-old son in a police shooting in which, by all accounts, he was trying to surrender; and yet many people cannot feel her pain?

These are not NAZI’s. Or cannibals. So how did these NLNA Americans get so desensitized to another human being’s agony?

Consider this: A demographic of the American melting pot that has determined to self-separate itself from everyone else must succeed on its own (i.e., Jews in America). Insisting on separating – by personal style, mannerisms, speech, diet, music, etc… while holding others in contempt  - demands that the self separating group succeed in its separation on its own and by the merits.

And while I recognize the victimization of African Americans throughout the history of America up until the Civil Rights movement, it has been over 40 years, and Trillions of $$ spent to wind up with a demographic that literally fills the nation’s prison’s, where 90% of its children will require food assistance from the government, more than half will require housing subsidies, where the vast majority are born to single mothers, where 1/3 of their pregnancies are terminated via abortion and where 2% of the American population commits 50% of its crime (black males between 15 and 24). What country in the history of the world has had a seemingly permanent and entrenched underclass such as this?

Is this the legacy that the Civil Rights movement and the late, great Martin Luther King worked for?  I rather think not.

In short we have on the one hand a demographic that has lost its ability to empathize with its fellow man and on the other hand a demographic that has run so far off of the rails that its young adults attack police officers and get shot… in no small part because of the absurd circuitous logic of this particular cluster f***.

And a third appendage – the American Left - that has contributed mightily in bringing all of this about and is doing everything that it can to exacerbate the issue for its own political agenda (to keep abortion safe for America).

-this is the 2nd in a series of articles.

-to be continued

Saturday, November 8, 2014

And Here Comes Ferguson

First in a series of articles regarding the impasse and dilemma confronting America with its current system of Local Law Enforcement.

The Grand Jury's decision in the Ferguson, MO case of a police officer shooting an unarmed 18-year-old man is due any day. The world is watching.

The uncomfortable questions that society is being confronted with:

When is it acceptable for the government to kill a criminal in the field? What are the circumstances that would make the killing of a human being by an armed government agent justified? "What if" what is acceptable and justified in the minds of the police, prosecutors, and judges is substantially different than what is acceptable and justified in the minds of the citizens of the community these local officials are sworn to protect?

I have had a number of conversations with people working in Law Enforcement about this case. Universally these Law Enforcement Officers ("LEO's") are of the opinion that the officer in question should not be "second guessed" by any non LEO person - but especially not by civilians and elected or appointed officials "that have not carried a gun to stand up to danger and to protect others from danger" that have the temerity to question police actions and activities.  A better example of the "hero complex" I can't think of at the moment. Somehow doing such questioning and independent thinking makes the the questioner and thinker anti-Law Enforcement. In short, the police and the judicial system firmly believe that they should be able to police themselves with no input from the rest of us, in this, you know, democratic Republic?

Is this what our "War on Drugs" and polluted American Body Politic has brought us to? (I think it has. The reader will have to draw their own conclusions.) And we, the citizens, have so little in the way of protections in this system that it is hard to frame that circumstance with a government that draws its authority to govern from the people. Read this, and noodle that for a day or two. How can we in the other 49 states that do not have independent oversight of police killings actually believe that we live in anything other than a police state?

Loretta Lynch, current presidential Appointee to the Office of Attorney General of the United States had this to say in her closing arguments in the Abner Louima case (never heard of that? Police in New York shoved a broom handle up the rectum of this helpless prisoner while in lock up and nearly killed him):

Don’t let these defendants push us back to the day when police officers could beat people with impunity, and arrest people for no reason and lie about it to cover it up,” Lynch told the jury during her closing argument that day in 1999.

Perhaps we should not have second guessed the officers in that case as well?

Society desperately needs its LEO's. Is it out of order to demand accountability of LEO's? And to make adjustments in failing, or worse, disastrous, law and policy?

In spite of what Law Enforcement would have you believe, crime in general, and violent crime in particular, is in free fall in the U.S. FREE FALL. There is no other way to describe it. The media outlets bombard you with videos of crime do that for their own reasons... to make you angry; to sway your vote; to control you... but "facts are stubborn things", and the salient fact here is that violent crime is in FREE FALL.

Yet police budgets continue to grow exponentially. Why?

And with this increased police budget comes increased police violence, not just actual shootings and beatings but the drawing of firearms by police and threatening to kill citizens with this act - hey, that is violence! How many videos have we seen on youtube of an enraged police officer pointing a FIREARM at a human being because that human being was holding a camera? Or beating that citizen and seizing his/her camera? How is it possible that the officers in these videos are still working in Law Enforcement? (This is an officer sworn to uphold the Constitution... perhaps a a redirect to the 4th Amendment is in order?)

The FBI is incredibly efficient in the collection of crime data with one glaring exception - the killing of citizens by Local Law Enforcement. That data is reported, not collected, voluntarily and at the discretion of the reporting Law Enforcement agency. The entire State of California, 1/8 of the American population and perhaps 1/4 of police involved killings, is pretty much excused from reporting the killings of civilians by police under the California Supreme Court's insane Copely decision.

I had LEO's telling me that the facts were that "only" 400 Americans are killed each year by the police. Where did they get that statistic? From the FBI and its voluntary system of reporting that does not include the State with 1/4 of the police involved killings!!!

The United Kingdom had THREE, count them... 1... 2... 3...!!!!!  instances in which their police forces actually FIRED a weapon in an entire year. (The number of killings was ZERO (I guess they are bad shots?). An industrialized nation with a population of over 64 million people and absolutely zero police killings of civilians? Does that mean that every criminal arrested in the U.K.was smaller than the LEO making the arrest? Isn't that the justification of the shooting of Michael Brown? That he was 6'5" and 300 lbs and the officer was afraid for his life based on the size of Michael Brown?

How do Americans reconcile the facts in the U.K. to what is happening on the ground in America (well, the fact is we don't have the facts... I think we need to ask ourselves why not? And for what reason?) We have become so desensitized to violence that people will read this and actually come to the defense of the police rather than questioning the blood on the ground. Worse, our LEO's, like the rest of us, have come of age in front of the blue spectrum light of the TV screen soaked in the Blood of "The Terminator", "Scarface", "Rambo" (Eric Frien anyone?), "Robo Cop", "Dirty Harry"... the list sickens me and it has sickened the people now walking around with guns and badges.

(I avoid watching violent movies for the most part, but sometimes I forget to click off advertisements on youtube... so, here we have an aging actor Liam Neeson, 60 years old, several face lifts and a bad case of ink head hair dye pretending to be an LEO (Air Marshall) on a flight between NY and London in which ol' Liam solves all of the problems on an AIRPLANE, 36,000 feet over an ocean, filled with K1 JET FUEL, with... wait for it... A F******* GUN. This is what we have all been poisoned with since childhood, including our current Law Enforcement personnel. Anybody here besides me see a problem?)

Are there bad people out there that can only be addressed and neutralized with extreme (deadly) force? Of course there are.

Was Michael Brown one of that number?

Law Enforcement seems to think so.

The people of the Ferguson community? Not so much.


-to be continued...




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Does U.S. Energy Independence mean US$ Independence for the Rest of the World?

For over 4 decades the U.S. has been an International Debtor - and a big one. There is an old saying:

"If you owe the bank $1 Million, they own you. If you owe the bank $100 BILLION, you own them."

I think that that is very instructive in noodling the following untested hypothesis:

When the U.S. becomes "energy independent" (and it will, one way or another) of the Rest of the World ("ROW") the ROW will become US $ independent.

Or something like that.

Right now, the US$ is unquestionable the world's "reserve currency". But isn't that status a mathematical fact and necessary outcome of being the world's biggest debtor in a fractional reserve banking world? How can the US$ be the world's reserve currency without the US$ DEBT that comes with running a massive trade deficit which was mostly for Oil? Well, I guess it still could be... but The Powers That Be would have to come up with a new mechanism for that... and that would require the cooperation of certain nations that would have no discernible interest in continuing US$ hegemony.

Oil imports have fallen from 12mm + per day to around 5mm per day over the past 7 years. Fracking gave us 4mm+ of that, ethanol another 900k, and efficiency accounted for the balance. Those 7mm (7 MILLION!!) barrels per day of imports that have disappeared? They are NEVER coming back. Not ever. So its all up to U.S. and Canada producers (and Canada will become ever more 51st State-ish in this environment. Apologies, Eh?).

So without that trade deficit for oil, which was financed with funny money (and domestic production has been and will continue to have to be financed with REAL money) it is not readily apparent to me why the ROW would be so interested in trading with each other in US $'ers. Or where the $'ers would come from in the first place if they are not being lent into existence to finance the trade deficit.

For those that might say "well, the U.S. was a major Oil exporter at one time. What's the big deal?" Yes, we were a relatively major oil exporter at a time when the world's currencies were tied to Gold - that was a world with Gold as the "reserve currency". That is not the case now.

If my hypothesis is anywhere close... well, there are serious implications for U.S. financing of its budget deficits and social services deficits and the currency itself. After all, currency valuations are subject to the same supply and demand dynamics as any other commodity.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Reasonable Purpose other than the Self Serving

Q: Anyone reading here know the difference between a hero and a terrorist?

A: You can negotiate with a terrorist.

And who define themselves and are presented as "heros" in our culture?

People with guns. 

Think about it. Every day, farmers, commercial fisherman, roofing contractors risk their lives to put food on your table and keep the rain off of your head. And often they do it for a lot less money than a police officer gets paid (well, maybe not with Alaska fisherman... they seem to do very well).

Anybody ever hear of a government agency lowering their flags to half staff because a roof repair worker fell off of a roof in an effort to keep a family dry?  Or a commercial fisherman drowned or farmer hacked up by his tractor in an effort to keep you food on the table of the Average American?

Of course not. These people are doing these jobs for their own self interests and accepting the risks associated. The same thing that police officers and firemen are doing - yet even though police and fire public servants have much safer jobs somewhere along the line someone needed a hero and - Viola!

Our Hero.

They get paid every friday, have more vacation, sick, and holiday time than fisherman, roofers, or farmers... but somehow "we" owe "them" our gratitude for their "service".  Bullsh#!. Every payday I am square with the farmer, the roofer, the fisherman, and the police officer. I owe them nothing more, and the first 3 owe me nothing more, but that is not true of a police officer. He does owe me something. We entrust him with powers of arrest and death for the sole purpose of maintaining order not for the purpose of extracting and extorting money from the citizenry. Yet that is precisely what the job of police officer has become for the majority of an officer's time while on duty.

Look in the file of any local police officer. How many arrests for violent crime or serious property crime versus how many traffic citations? They are not here to maintain order. They are here to extort money. What was (if it ever was) "serve and protect" has become "cite and collect". Just try and do an outside "time motion study" of a police department. Just try. We can't even get an accurate count of the number of people killed by the police. And that is not an accident.

You doubt this? California is home to 1 in 8 Americans. Yet most of California's killings by police are not reported to the FBI!! Here, read it and weep. Or be disgusted. Or sick. I am. The Copely decision (here is a link to a copy of that disaster) is just one more incestuous back scratch between the police, prosecutors, and the prosecutors' future job in the judiciary.  Yet police will claim that only 400 people per year are killed by local Law Enforcement Officers across the U.S. in any given year. This is a national disgrace.

The crazy thing is that violent crime is in absolute free fall across the U.S. It is unfortunate that the writer of this article can't (or won't) get his facts completely straight. The ONLY number that matter is the per capita rate. He uses this initially, and then moves over to absolute numbers for his percentage declines. For example, while all rapes are down 35%, since 1970 rapes per capita are down 90%!!

So what the heck is up with ever increasing police budgets? Part of it is the Federal effort to support the economy out in "fly over land" (the U.S. between New York and California). Part of it is to provide jobs for veterans returning from war with little to no skills - but they can carry a gun or a stretcher. Never mind that these people are willing to kill their fellow man and to put human beings in cages for decades over a non-violent "crime" and that the U.S.  has the largest prison population in the history of mankind... never mind that they don't know the difference between Malum en Se and Malum Prohibido.... challenging this system has, so far, been an effort in futility. And challenging our "heros' will be met with derision, ad hominem attacks, vitriol, and rage. Well, given the police use of steroids this should not be unexpected. (Does any one out there, besides me that is, have a problem with enforcers of our drug laws using illegal drugs?)

And is it any surprise that the kind of person that wants to carry a gun for a living and is willing to use force is more likely to use steroids than say, lawyers or doctors? You tell me.

But the internet changes everything. We have data, or proof of the lack thereof, at our finger tips. The U.S. needs far better management of far fewer Law Enforcement officials. We will all be safer for it.

Police Training has become a Danger to Americans

Yesterday I participated in a discussion with a group of Law Enforcement Officers ("LEO's") regarding the use of force.

What I gleaned from the discussion was nothing short of mind bending.

The complete lack of effort on the part of the LEO's participating to understand the mathematical and statistical implications of their assertions compounded by their dismal view of civilian command of military, police, and other civilian authorized use of force agencies left me dumbfounded and disgusted.

Society needs law enforcement personnel. We don't need law enforcement personnel that believe that their authority derives from any other place than the people that they serve. Violent crime is in free fall in the United States. Yet Law Enforcement has become increasingly militarized and desensitized. How did this happen?

This particular group of LEO's was using a video from a police killing from 1998 in which a man exits his vehicle during a traffic stop, acts erratically, and then reaches into his vehicle retrieving an assault rifle and engages in a shoot out with the officer. It appears that the criminal has either killed or seriously wounded the officer and then he drives off.

It is truly a grotesque thing to watch.

In looking at the video and listening to the commentary from the LEO's it occurred to me that using this video for training must be done with great care. Of course LEO's should be trained to handle the incredibly remote possibility that a non-felony stop could result in a lunatic jumping out of his car with an assault rifle. Yet no mention of the dangers to the rest of us from LEO's amped up and traumatized by watching such videos. The people training these LEO's must have a better understanding of statistical analysis and probable outcomes.

How many times per year does a shoot out occur from a non-felony motor vehicle stop? (Please... the response that "if even one shoot out"... is not relevant to the discussion of statistical outcomes. I understand that it IS relevant to an individual officer. That does not mean that the risk of Law Enforcement can be shifted to the citizenry, but of course that is precisely what is being tacitly suggested and accomplished) Now, how many interactions with "innocent" people are escalated into a confrontation? How many of those are due to the officer's stress and "training" (from watching such videos and training for the infinitesimally low probability that an officer will face such a circumstance)? Had it occurred to any of the LEO's that I was speaking with that the risks in any LEO/citizen confrontation are overwhelmingly borne by the citizen? And that those risks evolved this way because of the statistical nature of their training? Not even a little bit. These were all tough guys (and gals) not mathematicians or statisticians.

So what happened when someone with analytical skills approached them to think of this problem in another way? Attacks, insults, invective, etc... they were completely incapable of thinking about this problem in any way other than by training for more use of force and any civilian authority that did not see it their way was not supportive of Law Enforcement.

Something, the stress of this training perhaps, or a lifetime in a media soaked environment of violence in which Liam Neeson solves every problem (on an AIRPLANE!!) with a burst of gun fire, is making some LEO's act in deplorable ways towards the innocent civilians that they are sworn to protect. How many times have we seen videos of LEO's pointing their GUNS at people that were merely recording them with a cell phone? It happened so often that a U.S. Circuit Court had to make a ruling that doing so was a Constitutionally protected right and that any State laws prohibiting such recording were Unconstitutional.

Where was the outrage on the part of Law Enforcement that one of their own would so callously threaten the life of another human being? It was not to be found.

And there is another problem here.

Civilian authority needs to stop using Law Enforcement for tax collection, and Law Enforcement, if it wants to repair its image, must be a leading force for change. Whenever I see a local LEO's patrol car on an interstate highway doing radar duty I cringe. That officer is not serving his local population. That officer is serving his union's and the local fiefdom's need for more revenue. This is occurring precisely because crime is in free fall and the number of officers required to meet the security needs of the community is far less than the number on the payroll, and the rest of us are having to deal with unnecessary confrontations with LEO's, an event the average person views only 2 or 3 steps below having a root canal.

Law Enforcement has a problem here. The U.S. has experienced a rash of police involved killings and shootings of innocent and unarmed civilians during traffic stops and in response to 911 calls in which the caller's description of events is taken at face value and turned out to be nothing but drama - and another innocent person lies dead in the ground with no one being held responsible. Were all of these confrontations necessary to maintain order? The short answer is "No".

I had the poor taste to bring this up with these LEO's. Rather than listen to the view point of a politically seasoned guy with fair statistical and analytical skills I was confronted by an authoritarian know-it-all attitude. Sound familiar?