A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Archive for the ‘News You Need to Know’ Category

Why the FBI Loses Control of The People It Radicalizes

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For a long time the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has adopted a strategy where it seeks out people of lukewarm intelligence who are socially isolated and radicalizes them. Once radicalize the target is given a fake bomb and explicit plans on how to use it. When the target finally executes the FBI’s plan they are arrested and charged for terrorism related crimes. In other words the FBI has been creating criminals for it to catch and touting itself as a hero for it.

But what happens when the FBI’s target slips their leash? People die:

THE REVELATION THAT an undercover FBI agent encouraged a would-be terrorist to “Tear up Texas” shortly before he opened fire on a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, last year raises new concerns about FBI counterterrorism efforts that were already under fire for manufacturing terrorism cases rather than halting them.

According to an affidavit filed in a related case last week, Elton Simpson — one of two men who donned body armor and fired assault weapons before being shot dead by a Garland police officer — had been corresponding with an undercover FBI agent. And in a text message roughly a week before the attack, as they discussed the cartoon contest, the agent had exhorted Simpson to “Tear up Texas.”

It was only a matter of time until this happened. Only a government agency could be so idiotic as to expect that it could go around radicalizing people and not lose control over one of them eventually. Humans are creative creatures and don’t always act as expected. While a majority of the people the FBI targets are pretty dull it only takes one creative individual for the FBI’s strategy to backfire.

I’m sure the double standards of the legal system will come into play here as well. If you or I were to radicalize somebody and provide them materials and encouragement to perform a terrorist attack we’d be brought up on charges of providing material support to terrorists. So far the FBI hasn’t faced those charges when it radicalizes somebody and provides them a means to perform an attack. Since the FBI is a government agency the law doesn’t apply to it so it will likely face zero consequences for this case as well.

It’s a big club and we’re not in it.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 30th, 2016 at 10:30 am

If He Didn’t Want to Get Shot He Shouldn’t Have Gone for a Gun

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Every time an officer shoots somebody we’re bombarded with people saying we need to trust the judgement of the officer. In this case, I agree. An officer recently shot somebody who was armed. After reading the details about the case I find myself having to side with the cop apologists. If the man didn’t want to get shot he shouldn’t have gone for his gun:

A $75,000 personal injury case against Glock filed by an Arkansas policeman has been scheduled for trial in a federal court, according to the final scheduling order issued last week.

The jury trial will start Aug. 21, 2017, in a federal court in Helena, Arkansas, the order says. Final arguments and discovery exhibits are due in the beginning months of the year.

The plaintiff in the case, Larry Jones, of Cherry Valley, Arkansas, was injured when his Glock 19C pistol discharged unexpectedly at the shooting range in June 2013, the lawsuit says. At the time he was trying to attach a tactical light.

An officer managed to shoot himself in the foot because he pulled the trigger of his gun when he was trying to attach a light. Why was he trying to attach a light to a loaded gun? Why was his finger on the trigger? Why was the gun pointed at his foot? These are all very good questions but it turns out that the officer investigated himself and found that he did nothing wrong so he’s suing Glock.

I hope this case is dismissed and the officer in question is forced to pay Glock’s legal expenses.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 30th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Justice Department Announced It Will Keep All Federal Slave Laborers

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Private prisons have been controversial. A lot of people believe that for-profit prisons are evil and that all prisons should be owned and operated by the government. Somehow people think slave labor is morally superior when the government owns the slaves. I don’t understand that mentality. A cage is a cage and a slave is a slave. Regardless of my opinion, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that it will keep all future federal slave laborers for Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR):

The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

Since this announcement private prison stocks have fallen pretty hard even though most private prisons hold contracts with state or county governments:

While any reduction in the federal prison population will be welcomed by those released, their families, and by reform advocates, the majority of inmates reside in state or county facilities. Only one in eight federal inmates was in a private facility in 2015.

So this change doesn’t affect many prisoners and won’t put Corrections Corporation of America or GEO Group out of business. But the falling stock prices weren’t unexpected and I bet many of the higher ups in the DoJ as well as those in the know in Congress made a good deal of cash shorting those stocks.

There is also the question of how long this decision will last. In December of last year the DoJ announced that it would stop paying civil forfeiture money under the Equitable Sharing Program. A lot of people heralded the decision as a victory over civil forfeiture. Only a few months later the DoJ announced that it would resume those payments. It’s quite possible the DoJ will announce plans to continue using private prisons in a few months, perhaps around November 4th when everybody is distracted by the election.

One thing is certain, nothing meaningful has changed. The DoJ didn’t announce that it would stop enslaving people or that it would stop using private prisons and abolish UNICOR. It merely said it would stop handing out slave laborers to UNICOR’s competitors.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 19th, 2016 at 11:00 am

If You’re Going to the State Fair Prepare to Be Treated Like a Criminal

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Here’s a heads up, everybody. If you’re planning on attending the Minnesota State Fair, and I don’t know why anybody would, be prepared for longer than usual lines to get in because every attendee is going to be treated like a criminal:

Going to the Minnesota State Fair this year? Make sure you have your ticket in hand and your bag open.

The State Fair says bags, purses, coolers and packages will now be subject to search at each of the fair’s 11 entrances. Prohibited items include weapons and fireworks but also alcoholic beverages, drones, bikes, skateboards, skates and hoverboards. Other items may also be refused at the discretion of fair management or police.

Of course this is being done under the guise of security. Realistically it’s nothing but security theater though. Searching bags won’t, for example, find any weapons being concealed on a person’s body (although that’s something they cannot legally prohibit if a person has a carry permit but the law has never stopped the State from violating people’s rights). Also notice that alcoholic beverages are prohibited, which will greatly boost the profits of the State Fair alcohol vendors. Drones, bicycles, skateboards, and hoverboards aren’t a security risk to anybody so giving officers discretion to ban them in the name of security is nonsense.

There’s something else worth noting here. The Minnesota Agriculture Society, which runs the Minnesota State Fair, is a public corporation [PDF], which is a fancy way of saying a government created and owned corporation. The Stair Fair grounds are owned by the State of Minnesota. In other words the Minnesota State Fair is a government event run by a government corporation that happens on government property. If the Bill of Rights actually meant anything these bag searches would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment since warrants aren’t being issued against each fair attendee. But the Bill of Rights, like all government laws, doesn’t actually apply to the State so it can violate your rights with impunity and if you complain it might investigate itself and determine it did nothing wrong.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 17th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Putting You in Danger to Protect You

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When a suspect attempts to flee from the police should the officers pursue? Most people will instinctively say they should. But one has to ask whether it’s more dangerous for the police to enter into a high-speed chase with a suspect or allow the suspect to flee. Oftentimes in the zealous pursuit of suspects the police end up putting a lot of lives in danger:

More than 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed in police car chases since 1979, and tens of thousands more were injured as officers repeatedly pursued drivers at high speeds and in hazardous conditions, often for minor infractions, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The bystanders and the passengers in chased cars account for nearly half of all people killed in police pursuits from 1979 through 2013, USA TODAY found. Most bystanders were killed in their own cars by a fleeing driver.

Police across the USA chase tens of thousands of people each year — usually for traffic violations or misdemeanors — often causing drivers to speed away recklessly. Recent cases show the danger of the longstanding police practice of chasing minor offenders.

5,000 people killed primarily in the pursuit of revenue from traffic violations and misdemeanors. This is especially ridiculous when you consider that ever car has a government mandated unique identifiable number bolted to the vehicle. An officer could just call in the make, model, and license plate number and wait for a safer time to deliver the citations.

Whenever somebody argues that the police do something to keep us safe we must ask whether the tactics being used by the police are more dangerous than whatever they’re supposedly combatting. Is heroine really more dangerous than no-knock raids leading to dead pets or family members? Are people who exceed the arbitrarily posted speed limit really more dangerous than having a police car with bright flashing lights on the side of the road causing chaos on the highway? If the tactics are more dangerous than the activity being policed then the police aren’t keeping anybody safe, they’re needlessly putting them in danger.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 16th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Sometimes You Just Need an Exorcism

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It’s nice to know there are still forces out there willing and able to challenge the State’s revenue generators. Police officers in Scotland apparently learned that demons don’t care about their truncheons or guns:

A mother and her teenage son were said to be “extremely distressed” after experiencing what the Daily Record describes as “violent and unexplained circumstances”.

The family, who live in South Lanarkshire, called police on Monday and Tuesday.

“The officers attended expecting it to be a mental health issue but they witnessed the lights going off, clothes flying across the room and the dog [the family’s pet Chihuahua] sitting on top of a hedge,” a police source said.

“The officers called their superiors, who also attended, thinking the cops were perhaps being a bit silly. But it’s being taken very seriously.”

A priest is understood to have blessed the house in Rutherglen after officers got in touch with the Catholic Church.

Perhaps I’ve been playing Doom wrong all along. Instead of slaughtering demons it may be beneficially to encourage their presence on this planet to challenge the power of the State. Granted, the demons would probably want to establish their own government but once they’ve taken care of the current governments we could exorcise them back to Hell. At this point I’m willing to entertain any ideas for eradicating statism.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 16th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Not the Exercise They Were Expecting

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Yet another person has been killed by a police officer. This time the victim was a 73-year-old retired librarian. There was no crime, real of fictions, involved in this shooting though. Instead negligence during a citizen academy lead to live ammunition being used during a shoot, no shoot scenario:

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) — A police “shoot/don’t shoot” demonstration in Florida went shockingly awry when an officer shot and killed a 73-year-old former librarian with what police said was real ammunition used by mistake at an event designed to bring police and the public together.

Authorities didn’t immediately say how a gun with a live round came to be used at Tuesday evening’s demonstration, noting blank rounds are typically used in such classes. The officer has been placed on administrative leave, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.

“We were unaware that any live ammunition was available to the officer,” Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis said at a news conference Wednesday. “The officer involved is grief stricken. We’ve got officers assigned to him to make sure he’s psychologically stable.”

Training scenarios like this are why non-lethal ammunition such as Simunitions exist. Most training ammunition requires the use of a conversion kit that is also unable to chamber live ammunition. Why was live ammunition available to the officer? Why was he using a firearm capable of chambering live ammunition? There had to be multiple layers of people not giving a shit for this kind of death to occur.

But, perhaps, this exercise wasn’t really a shoot, no shoot scenario. Perhaps it was an exercise in investigating yourself and finding that you did nothing wrong. Either way, I doubt the officer will face the same punishment that you or I would if we negligently killed somebody.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 11th, 2016 at 10:00 am

The Armed Robbery Epidemic in Minnesota

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Did you know there was a rash of armed robberies in Minnesota last month? You wouldn’t have known it from the headlines since the media seemed more interesting in covering the dumpster fires that are the presidential campaigns. But during the month of July over 13,000 Minnesotans were victimized of armed robbers:

ST. PAUL, Minn. – More than 13,000 motorists are a few bucks poorer after being ticketed during a recent statewide speed enforcement crackdown.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) says officers, deputies and state troopers wrote 13,214 citations for unsafe speeds during the crackdown, that was carried out by more than 300 law enforcement agencies between July 8 and July 22. That compares with 16,410 speeding tickets issued during last year’s campaign.

There were also 1,543 seat belt citations compared with 2,101 in 2015, which suggests a bit of progress in the campaign to improve driving and road safety in Minnesota.

Oh, I guess I was mistaken. Since the men with guns who were robbing people had magic suits and badges these incidents weren’t labeled armed robbery but “traffic citations.” We truly live in a world of Orwellian doublespeak.

I think an important question must be asked now, why were these officers sitting on the highways looking for prey instead of solving crimes? I’ve been told by many statists that there aren’t enough police officers to deal with all of the crime. If that’s the case why are they sitting in their cars instead of finding muggers, rapists, murderers, and thieves?

This is why I roll my eyes whenever some boot licker tells me that I’m only free to criticize cops because the cops are keeping me safe from criminals. The police don’t seem very interested in dealing with criminals. Most of their time seems to be invested in harassing motorists exceeding an arbitrarily chosen speed, kidnaping people using recreational chemicals, and shooting the neighbors of people selling those recreational chemicals (apparently the officers can afford to fuel a BearCat but can’t afford somebody to double-check addresses before a raid).

Written by Christopher Burg

August 5th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Rocket Surgery

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The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has released a report that nobody will find surprising:

It’s not just your brakelight-riddled imagination: Freeway congestion in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul was the worst on record last year, according to a new report from Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The agency’s annual report on freeway congestion said congestion was up from 21.1 percent in 2014 to 23.4 percent last year. That’s the highest number since the agency started collecting data in 1993.

Anybody who lives in the Twin Cities knows that traffic congestion is terrible. But it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to know why congestion is so bad. The blame is entirely on MnDOT. The brilliant men and women at MnDOT thought it would be a jolly good idea to tear up most of the major traffic arteries simultaneously. When you tear up a major traffic artery more traffic is forced onto the remaining arteries. If you tear up all but a few arteries the few remaining ones quickly exceed capacity and nobody can go anywhere quickly.

Not only did MnDOT decide to tear up all of the major arteries but it also seems entirely unconcerned with finishing any of the projects in a timely manner. Highway 100, for example, has been torn up all summer and still isn’t finished.

MnDOT’s report illustrates what everybody living in the Twin Cities already knows: whoever is in charge of planning road construction projects is a sadist who gets off on inflicting pain on motorists.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 4th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Guilty by Association

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The State of Texas is preparing to execute a man (I know, what else is new). His crime? Being acquainted with a murderer:

They were there to call for Gov. Greg Abbott to halt the impending execution of Been’s uncle, Jeff Wood, who is scheduled to die on August 24, just five days after his 43rd birthday, for a crime that everyone, including prosecutors, admits he did not commit.

[…]

Wood was sitting in a truck outside the Texaco when Danny Reneau went inside and shot Keeran dead. Wood has said he had no idea that Reneau even had a gun or that Reneau would shoot his friend. Yet under the law of parties, prosecutors were allowed to impute to Wood the same level of responsibility for Keeran’s death as Reneau, the triggerman.

An extension of the theory of accomplice liability, the law holds that if two or more conspirators agree to commit one crime — say, a robbery — but instead, one of them commits another crime — say, murder — each party can be held responsible for the murder, regardless of individual intent, based on the notion that the conspirators should have anticipated that the crime committed would actually happen.

Guilt by association isn’t a crime. While Jeff Woods may have been friends with the murderer and in the vehicle with the murderer he wasn’t the murderer and therefore isn’t at fault for the murder. But in the magical Neighborhood of Statist Make-Believe the rules are made up and logic doesn’t matter. Things like having victims or causing damage aren’t necessary for putting a man to death. All that is needed are some arbitrary words written on a piece of paper and voted on by suit-clad mother fuckers in a marble building and suddenly a person can be executed for simply being acquainted with a criminal.

The fact that the State is willing to murder somebody for a murder he didn’t commit should be enough to illustrate the fact that the State doesn’t dispense justice.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 4th, 2016 at 10:30 am