A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Archive for the ‘Minnesota’ tag

The Minneapolis Police Department is a Bit Red in the Face

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The Minneapolis Police Department is well known for its high speed, low drag attitude. Instead of deescalation and conflict avoidance the MPD prefers throwing down with anybody it can create an excuse to throw down with. In fact the department is so cocksure that it didn’t even try to hide its love of violence in its recent recruiting video. However, many people weren’t amused by the video so the MPD was a bit red in the fact and decided to abuse the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in an attempt to erase the video from the Internet:

Less than a week after an officer from a nearby force shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop, leaving him to die in front of his child and girlfriend (and the world on livestream) the Minneapolis Police Department has perjured itself in issuing a copyright takedown notice to Youtube in order to suppress a controversial recruiting video that depicted the jobs of MPD officers as being a firearms-heavy shoot-em-up.

The video had attracted alarm and criticism by officials and the public, who saw it as indicative of a deep culture of violent, shoot-first policing in the Minneapolis police.

When you start repeating a lie often enough you also start to believe it. The MPD believes that their job is to be domestic soldiers. Who are they at war with? The people. At least that’s the only enemy that exists in Minneapolis because the city isn’t really known for being in a state of civil war. That leads the department to choose violence before deescalation. At this point the attitude is so prevalent that the department’s recruiters can’t even make their recruitment videos looks like anything other than an Army recruitment video. When their videos are finally criticized by the public the MPD resorts to its default tactic, government violence, by threatening anybody hosting the video with a DMCA takedown notice.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 14th, 2016 at 10:00 am

You Can’t Own Property, Man

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Pop quiz time. Can you own property in Minneapolis? The answer is no. You can rent property in Minneapolis but that rental is subject to paying property taxes and utilizing the land in a manner that is expressly approved by the city council. If that last part sounds a bit strange it’s because you down own a surface parking lot. You see, the city council of Minneapolis has a dream. In that dream Minneapolis looked like Mega City I from Judge Dredd. Surface parking lots can’t pack in a million people so they’re on the list of properties to be axed.

So far the city council has been playing a cautious game but that looks like it may change:

It was a routine briefing of a Minneapolis City Council committee on a seemingly unrelated topic, but it offered the chance to rouse a long-simmering issue in Minneapolis:

What can the city do to rid itself of the acres of surface parking lots in and around downtown?

While development activity has seen many of those lots disappear, many remain — too many, according to Council Members Lisa Goodman and Jacob Frey, who used the May 11 briefing to press city assessor Patrick Todd to do something about it.

Like what? Goodman thinks the city should use state requirements that require property be assessed on its “highest and best use” — and not on its current use — to incentivize owners to either develop the land or sell to someone who will.

Because parking is scarce in Minneapolis a person can make pretty decent money with a surface parking lot. That really bothers certain council members such as Lisa Goodman. It bothers her so much that she wants to change the rules to make them unprofitable. That rule change is a simple one. Instead of assessing a parking lot as a parking lot for property tax purposes she wants to assess them as if they were being used for her vision of their best use. Since her vision is high density apartment complexes the assessment would jack up the property taxes to, she hopes, a level the owners can’t sustain. In fact she flat out says that they must not be paying enough taxes:

“If they’re making enough money by selling parking downtown,” she said, “then they’re not being taxed high enough, and they’re certainly not being taxed high enough for a potential Class A office use.”

Do you know what those surface parking lots were taxed enough for? Funding a study to decide on how best to destroy them:

In 2013, amid planning for the new Vikings Stadium, the group HR&A Advisors conducted a $40,000 study of ways to reduce the number of surface lots in Minneapolis. Several council ordinances have sought to force beautification of parking lots, something that could have also increased the costs associated with operating them. And a bill introduced by state Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, would allow Minneapolis and St. Paul to impose a per-stall fee on parking, with revenue going to public plazas, transit lines, bike facilities and pedestrian improvements.

This is another reason you should avoid paying whatever taxes you can. When you pay taxes they are often used to fund your destruction.

What we have here are central planners run amuck. Consumers have already spoken and they want surface parking lots. How can I say this since there hasn’t been any kind of vote? Unlike voting, the market actually indicates what consumers want. Because there are enough consumers paying to use these surface parking lots to make them profitable we know for a fact that those lots are in demand with consumers. Goodman doesn’t like them and instead of offering to buy those lots herself she’s using tax dollars to fund studies to determine the best way to destroy them… in a manner that requires the denizens of Minneapolis pay for it.

In the end I predict that the city council will get its way because it will just keep cranking up the taxes until it bleeds surface lot owners dry. Then those lots will sit empty because if developers really wanted those lots they’d have already bought them.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 28th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Surviving Encounters with the Police

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Tony Cornish gains a lot of favor with Minnesota gun owners for being pro-gun rights. However, he’s also a ruthless statist and apologist for rampant abuses of power by police. Two days ago he submitted a letter to the editor to the Star Tribune that offers tips on how us lowly peasant can survive police encounters. Let’s take a look at his tips and translate them into laymen’s terms:

Lately, some advocacy groups have been asking what we can do to “reduce the use of force by police.” Well …

1) Don’t be a thug and lead a life of crime so that you come into frequent contact with police.

So… don’t be a cop?

2) Don’t rob people, don’t use or sell drugs, and don’t beat up your significant other.

Again, don’t be a cop?

3) Don’t hang out on the street after 2 a.m. Go home.

Don’t work night shifts.

4) Don’t make furtive movements or keep your hands in your pockets if told to take them out.

Shut up, slave, and do what the aggressive man who is showing intent to cause you harm demands you to do!

5) Don’t flap your jaws when the police arrive. Don’t disobey the requests of the police at the time. If you think you are wrongfully treated, make the complaint later.

Again, shut up, slave. If you think you’re being abused you should take it! You can file a complaint later, if you survive.

6) Don’t use the excuse of a lack of a job or education for why you assault, rob or kill.

Instead become a cop so you have the excuse of having a job to assault, rob, and kill!

Tips one and two seem to disagree with tip six. The first two advise you to not live a light of thuggery, theft, and violence, which means you should avoid becoming a law enforcer. But then tip six advises you to have a job that allows you to commit assault, robbery, and murder, which is what law enforcers do. Tip three is bizarre since it’s basically a variation of blaming a woman’s clothing choice for her being raped. The only difference is he’s blaming a person’s work shift for being harassed or assault by the police. I also find the other two tips alarming because they advise you to submit to and cooperate with your abuser.

It probably won’t surprise any of you that Tony Cornish is a former police officer. It also shouldn’t surprise anybody that a man who sought a career choice that gave him power over others sought another career choice that gave him power over others. As you can probably tell from his letter he really enjoys being in a position of power. I wonder how he would feel if he was on the receiving end of the State’s truncheon instead of the giving end.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 9th, 2016 at 10:30 am

You Have No Right To Privacy In Minnesota If You Live In A Multiple Unit Dwelling

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Are you a Minnesotan who lives in an apartment or condominium? If so, a local court of appeals has ruled that you have no expectation of privacy:

Stuart Luhm of Minnetonka had challenged his conviction on drug and weapons offenses because police did not have a warrant to enter his building in the August 2014 raid that was based on a tip from an informant.

The front door of the building is normally locked, but police used a key in a locked box to which police have access, and Brio the drug-sniffing dog confirmed that drugs were probably in the condo unit Luhm shared with a girlfriend.

That was the point when police got a search warrant and found large quantities of marijuana, 93 oxycodone tablets, 7 firearms, and two bullet-resistant vests.

Two members of the Court of Appeals ruled today that there is no expectation of privacy in the common areas of a condominium building. It also said the fact the building owners make access available to police negated the need for a warrant to enter the building.

What makes this case interesting is that the drug dog alerted in the common area and that gave the law enforcers the justification they needed to pull a warrant. Drug dogs are of questionable effectiveness, so the idea that a warrant can be issued because one alerted is a bit absurd in my book. But this ruling effectively opens the doors for law enforcers to enter multiple unit dwellings with drug dogs but without warrants, allow the dog to sniff around, and pull a warrant for any dwelling that the dog raises an alert on. That sounds like a wonderful revenue raising scam if I’ve ever seen one.

It also raises questions about medical cannabis users. What happens when a dog raises an alert on an apartment because it caught the sent of cannabis? The law enforcer can obtain a warrant, kick in the door, shoot the family pet, and basically force the medical cannabis user to divulge their medical history to somebody who isn’t a medical professional to avoid being kidnapped for the crime of not having purchased a single family house.

Since drug dogs are of questionable in their effectiveness, this ruling also opens the door for legal harassment of non-drug users. If a law enforcer wants to harass somebody living in an apartment all they have to do is bring a drug dog into the common area, claim the dog raised an alert on the apartment, pull a warrant, and legally enter and harass the person for however long they so choose (and maybe find evidence of another crime while they’re tossing the joint).

Of course, privacy has been dead for a long time in this country. This ruling doesn’t change much. But it’s worth noting because it’s a great example of how the courts and law enforcers often work together (as opposed to act as checks and balances against one another) to expand the State’s ability to expropriate wealth from the populace.

Road Pirates

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Yesterday was Memorial Day. Being a holiday at the end of the month the road pirates were out in force. You see, despite citation quotas being illegal, a lot of police departments have unofficial quotas that officers are encouraged to fulfill so at the end of the month enforcement tends to increase. Holidays provide a convenient excuse whether it’s enhanced drunk driving enforcement, texting while driving enforcement, or seatbelt enforcement. This Memorial Day was seatbelt enforcement.

Mandatory seatbelt laws are enforcement of the nanny state, which means they enjoy widespread support. The general population is gullible and tends to roll over and accept new laws that protect them from themselves. Seatbelt laws are one such case.

When an individual decides to not wear a seatbelt the put themselves at additional risk. The key word there is “themselves.” If I refused to wear a seatbelt that wouldn’t affect you in any way. Even if we were in the same vehicle, if we were in an accident I might go flying through the windshield to my certain death but you would remain in your seat. Yet a good number of people seem to believe it’s appropriate for the State to send men with guns and no accountability after anybody who decides not to wear a seatbelt. Somehow the act of a police officer zooming down the highway with their seizure inducing lights flashing so they can pull somebody over and cause a massive traffic clusterfuck as people desperately try to merge over a lane to avoid getting a ticket themselves is a perfectly reasonable way of dealing with an action that only puts the person performing the action at risk.

TANSTAAFL

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Free K-12 schooling! Free college! Free healthcare! The State sure is magnanimous!

Unfortunately, to the chagrin of utopians, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch:

WILLOW RIVER — Scott Killerud was about to throw away a mailing about the 2016 enrollment period for MNsure last November when something caught his eye.

“Just as I was going to drop it in the trash, I was like — wait a second. What did I just read?” the Pine County farmer said.

What caught his eye was a notification that if you’re 55 or older and on Medical Assistance — Minnesota’s version of Medicaid — the state places an estate claim with which to recover its costs after you and your spouse have died.

Killerud was younger than 55, but his wife, Ellen, had reached that age the previous September. The couple, who supplement their farm income with part-time jobs, were told when they signed up for insurance through MNsure in 2014 that their income level qualified them for Medical Assistance.

But they didn’t know about the estate claim until Scott saw that mailing.

The State is in the business of stealing wealth, not handing it out. Whenever it claims to be giving something out for free you can be assured it’s part of a scam that is actually granting it further power to plunder the people.

Health insurance is the peak of the latest pyramid scheme. Acknowledging the fact that income taxes offer little in the way of plunder from people with little income, the State has created a program that allows it to take assets instead. This is especially important because it’s not unusual for retired individuals to have little in the way of income but a sizable sum in assets. By getting these individuals to sign up with MNsure, the State of Minnesota can give itself access to wealth that was previously outside of its grasps.

There is a lengthy list of things you should always be wary off. At the top of that list should people offering free stuff.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 18th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

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Do you know why we can’t have nice things? It’s because there are quisling out there ready and willing to cooperate with their oppressors:

MINNEAPOLIS – A Maple Grove bar owner and manager have been charged after being caught illegally importing Spotted Cow beer that they then sold at their establishment.

The two men, Brandon Hlavka, 37, of St. Michael and David Lantos, 28, of Brooklyn Park, were charged with a single felony of transporting alcohol into Minnesota for resale on Feb. 4.

Lantos, the bar manager, and Hlavka, the owner, of Maple Tavern were busted in April of last year after someone reported they were selling the Wisconsin beer on tap.

The New Glarus Brewing Co. beer is not a licensed manufacturer in Minnesota and its beer cannot be sold in the state.

Alcohol laws here in Minnesota are, well, really fucking stupid. There are different rules for alcohol that is sold only for on site consumption, referred to as on sale liquor, and alcohol sold only for off site consumption, referred to as off sale liquor. You can only buy on sale liquor at bars and restaurants and off sale liquor at liquor stores. Grocery stores can only sell liquor if they have a store separate from the grocery section. And the list goes on and on.

In this case the bar owners were importing beer from a company that isn’t licensed here in Minnesota. Here in Minnesota that’s a felony. You read that right, selling beer from an unlicensed manufacturer is a fucking felony.

These laws wouldn’t be as big of a deal if it wasn’t for quisling like the one who turned these bar owners over. If nobody cooperated with the laws the laws would be much harder to enforce. Unfortunately there are people who are willing to ruin the lives of others because their religion of statism mandates that individual humans are of less value than the arbitrary decrees issued by the political clergy. It’s fucking sick.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 12th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Petty Tyrant Syndrome Leads To Gentrification

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I’ve found another outbreak of Petty Tyrant Syndrome. This time it’s happening right here in the Twin Cities. The overlords of Columbia Heights are tired of all the blue collar workers on Central Avenue. Why? Apparently blue collar workers give off the wrong image. Instead of having the street populated with productive people the overlords wants people unproductively sipping lattes in coffee shops. In order to bring up this unproductive utopian vision the overlords have banned any new automobile related business from opening on the street:

Columbia Heights residents can buy an oil filter on nearly every corner of Central Avenue. But there’s no coffee shop where they can linger over a newspaper and sip a latte.

That’s a problem, city leaders say.

Fearful that a glut of mechanics, auto-parts stores and gas stations along Columbia Heights’ main drag is pulling down the city’s image and muscling out other businesses, the City Council is banning new auto-related businesses for up to six months.

City leaders figure that will be enough time to tighten up zoning regulations and set more design controls with an eye toward attracting a more eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and small service businesses along Central Avenue.

You thought I was joking about that sipping lattes remark, didn’t you? Here again we have a handful of people using their power to force everybody to comply with their vision of what is best. Because they’re unproductive bureaucrats who have time to sip lattes in a coffee shop for hours they are forcing everybody else to go along with their plan. I can’t help but think that there’s also a desire to see auto shops booted from the street because they’re run by people who get dirty doing their job. As we all know, people who get dirty are better heard, not seen, at least when you’re a petty bureaucrat trying to foster an image of sterile sameness.

Even more important to the overlords than their vision is the issue of income. Not for the businesses but for the city. Trendy hipsters with more money (technically it’s their parent’s money) than brains are cruising around on their brakeless fixies so they have no need for automobile related businesses. They’re also a major part of the group dumb enough to pay the stupidly high rental rates of high-density luxury apartments. So without them it’s hard to attract developers of said apartments, which means the city doesn’t get to collect absurd amounts of property taxes. Gentrification exists because cities want to increase their income and the easiest way of doing that is to replaces the lower and lower-middle class with the upper and upper-middle class. And in the end that’s what the result of this ban and rezoning scheme will be, gentrification.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 22nd, 2015 at 10:00 am

Competing Slave Labor Organization Courts Minnesota

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I saw several of my friends excited by the fact Minnesota has, so far, not taken Corrections Corporation of American (CCA) up on its offer to reopen and operate a closed prison:

Like many states in the “tough on crime” era, Minnesota is struggling to reduce overcrowding in its prisons and jails. For now, the state’s government is paying counties to house over 500 incarcerated people that its prisons can’t hold. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the notorious private prison operator, says they have a long-term solution for Minnesota.

But Minnesotans, backed by the criminal justice reform movement sweeping the country, are responding with “No thanks!”

CCA wants to reopen the shuttered Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, MN, and lease space to the state.

My friends have attributed this to this states great progressive nature. Truthfully the reason CCA hasn’t been taken up on its offer is likely because the Minnesota government already operates a slave labor organization and CCA would just provide competition. Why would the organization that already monopolized slave labor let a third-party involve itself in the racket? Especially with CCA’s track record of charging states that fail to provide their contractual obligation of slave laborers?

CCA has made a fortune off of slave labor but their influence is waning because many state governments realize having a middleman complicates matters. Maybe CCA will find a sweetheart deal that will convince Minnesota to allow competition to MINNCOR but I doubt it.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 2nd, 2015 at 10:30 am

The Illusion Of Control

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On Friday six people were shot in Minneapolis:

Police said the incident happened around 2:30 a.m. on 5th Street between Hennepin and 1st avenues near an alley by Sneaky Pete’s.

Minneapolis police officers were nearby and took three people into custody. Two guns were recovered. The six who were shot received noncritical injuries and were treated at Hennepin County Medical Center.

“Violent acts like last night’s shootings are abhorrent and contrary to the values we hold as a city,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a statement.

The mayor pledged a full investigation into the circumstances leading to the incident, which occurred around the time most downtown bars close. However, in an e-mail exchange with the Warehouse District Business Association executive director obtained by the Star Tribune, First Precinct Inspector Michael Kjos said there was no evidence that the two rival groups involved in the violence came from a bar or nearby business.

Kjos said the area was “saturated with police officers” and several officers witnessed the gunfire but did not engage because there were too many pedestrians in the area. The arrests and recovery of the two handguns followed a foot chase, Kjos said.

The responses have been typical. Calls for more gun restrictions, hiring more police officers, and restrictions on establishments that serve alcohol are being made. Gun restrictions have only ever served to disarm people willing to follow the law. Officers were on the scene so having more available wouldn’t have changed anything. And there was no evidence that the perpetrators had been in an establishment serving alcohol so additional restrictions on bars wouldn’t have made any difference. What this story demonstrates better than anything is that centralized controls are ineffective.

The question still remains, what can be done to deal with situations such as this? Contrary to popular belief the solution isn’t relying on third parties to deal with the problem. As with anything else in life the only solution is to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

You cannot control the actions of others so the first step is getting that silly notion out of your head. Once you’ve accepted that fact you need to ask what steps you can take to make yourself safer. For situations such as this the most effective option is avoidance. Our subconscious is pretty good at picking up on subtle signs of danger. Oftentimes people write off these feelings by telling themselves they’re just being paranoid. Don’t do that. If the little voice in your head is telling you something isn’t right then you should listen to it and vacate the area.

Another step would be to keep a clear head, which means not drinking. But telling people not to drink is worthless because they aren’t going to listen. Instead I will take the middle ground by pulling a page from the responsible drinker’s playbook. Every group is supposed to designate a sober driver. There’s no reason that person should only be concerned about driving. I like to think of designated drivers as designated adults. Their job is to ensure everybody gets home safely. In addition to driving that should also involved being the lookout. If their little voice is saying a situation is dangerous they should inform the group that they need to be elsewhere. Granted, herding drunks is like herding libertarians but a designated adult can only put forth their best effort and each person is ultimately responsible for themselves.

If you’re not drinking you should also carry a gun. You can’t control when you’ll find yourself in this kind of situation but you can increase your odds of survival. As with popular belief regarding centralized control the popular belief that having less armed individuals increases overall safety is bullshit. Relying on a third party for protection isn’t a solution because you can’t guarantee a third party will actually protect you. Take charge of your defense and carrying the most effective means of defending yourself when you’re responsible enough to do so (i.e. not when you’re drinking).

Stop asking what “we” can do. There is no we. There is only you so ask what you can do. Until you ask the right question it’s impossible to come up with the right answer.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 15th, 2015 at 10:30 am