A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Shut Up Slave’ tag

To Protect and Serve

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People often think that I’m being hyperbolic when I say that law enforcers will escalate even petty infractions into violence but we continue to see examples of them doing so. The latest example comes from California. A 52-year-old woman was selling flowers without a permit and found out how even minor disobedience is treated by the brave men and women of law enforcement:

A California woman found herself subject to a brutal takedown by a police officer who spotted her attempting to sell flowers without a permit.

Juanita Mendez-Medrano, 52, was arrested after working a sidewalk in Perris near to where a high school graduation ceremony was being held last month.

In an unsettling cell phone video, which surfaced on Monday, Mendez-Medrano is seen holding the flowers in her hands just before an officer is seen grabbing her by the arms, grasping her neck and tackling her to the ground in the violent arrest.

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‘Unlike the other vendors, Ms. Mendez-Medrano refused to cooperate as necessary to allow our officer to issue her a citation. She refused to provide her name, and attempted to walk away,’ the police news release said.

Because she refused to give her name so that the officer could issue her a bullshit citation the officer felt that it was appropriate to smash her into the concrete sidewalk.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 20th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Remember That Officers are Easily Spooked

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A few days have passed since an innocent woman was gunned down by a rabid Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer. Conveniently both officers’ body cameras and the car’s dashboard camera were turned off and the only other witness is dead so the only account we can get is that given to us by the officers. Now that a few days have passed the officers have had a chance to get their stories straight and their excuse for this shooting is even more feeble than most excuses given to us by cops who gunned down a person under extremely questionable circumstances:

As they reached West 51st Street, Officer Harrity indicated that he was startled by a loud sound near the squad. Immediately afterward Ruszczyk approached the driver’s side window of the squad. Harrity indicated that Officer Noor discharged his weapon, striking Ruszczyk through the open driver’s side window.

Much like a wild animal, police are apparently easily startled by loud noises. Unlike a wild animal though, when a police officer becomes startled they apparently shoot the first person they see who isn’t also a cop.

This excuse is ridiculous and the fact that it’s the best that they could come up with shows that they aren’t worried about even appearing legitimate. I’m guessing the fact that Yanez got away with murder has emboldened police officers to the point where they no longer feel the need to bother justifying their acts of murder. They know that the chances of them being punished in any meaningful way are roughly equal to those of winning the Powerball lottery.

My hope is that the State sees this situation as egregious enough to toss us lowly serfs a bone and actually punish this officer for his misdeeds. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 19th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Jeff Sessions Announces Justice Department Will Increase Theft

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Jeff Sessions apparently came to Minneapolis (nobody told me, not that I would have cared). Fortunately, being a government employee, he didn’t have to worry about being murdered by Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers but I digress. During his trip to the Twin Cities he announced that his department is planning to steal more property from innocent people:

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department will issue new directives to increase the federal govenment’s use of civil asset forfeiture, a controversial practice that allows law enforcement to seize property from suspected criminals without charging them with a crime.

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“[W]e hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture—especially for drug traffickers,” Sessions said. “With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners.”

Some people might claim that the people being robbed aren’t innocent because they’ve been accused of a crime but civil asset forfeiture occurs before somebody has been found guilty of a crime, which is the problem. Under a justice system where one is supposedly innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt there is no justification for stealing an accused individual’s property. So, yes, Jeff Sessions announced that his department is going to be stealing from innocent people and that should have everybody up in arms.

What makes civil asset forfeiture more egregious is that the loot is shared with municipal and state police departments (the “partners” Sessions mentioned), which means their officers are motivated to perpetrate more thefts. The practice also skews the focus of police departments. As I’ve pointed out before, police departments make no additional money by solving burglaries, armed robberies, assaults, rapes, and murders. Departments do, however, make additional money by accusing individuals of violating federal drug prohibitions. Since departments are rewarded for focusing on drug-related crimes that is where they invest their resources. Meanwhile people who have actually been victimized are left with little chance of seeing justice served.

When you pay taxes to fund your local police department you’re actually funding the thieves who are motivated to rob you and their motivation comes from the practices being encouraged by government goons like Jess Sessions.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 19th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Adult Daycare

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Colleges have always been epicenters of political discourse. At one time they were considered bastions of free speech where young adults had the opportunity, sometimes for the first time in their lives, to speak their minds without fear of reprimand. Slowly though colleges, like almost every other institution for learning, became adult daycares. Instead of treating students as adults they were more and more treated as older high school students. This treatment of students has become worse over time and now even prestigious colleges like Harvard are trying to control who students can and cannot associate with:

A faculty committee has recommended that the College forbid students from joining all “fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations”—including co-ed groups—with the goal of phasing out the organizations entirely by May 2022.

In a 22-page report released Wednesday morning, the committee proposed that the policy—which would replace existing penalties for members of the social groups that are set to go into place in the fall—apply to students entering in the fall of 2018.

“All currently enrolled students including those who will matriculate this fall will be exempt from the new policy for the entirety of their time at Harvard,” according to the report. “This will lead to a transition period, whereby USGSOs would be phased out by May 2022.”

The committee suggested that Harvard model its new social group policy very closely on those enforced by Williams College and Bowdoin College, both of which forbid students form participating in social clubs during their time as undergraduates.

I will start this rant off by first pointing out that Harvard is a private institution and therefore can set whatever policies it damn well pleases. After all, this post isn’t aimed so much at criticizing the colleges themselves but the students who attend them.

The fact that students continue shackling themselves with debt for the “privilege” of having their lives micromanaged into adulthood baffles me. Sure, having a degree from Harvard looks damn good on a resume but there are other options out there. You can, for example, still get very good jobs from attending much cheaper universities. Hell, you can get a job that pays well by attending a technical school. Better yet, you can flex your entrepreneurial muscle and become your own boss without ever having to give a dime to an adult daycare.

Harvard is proposing to control who students can and cannot associate with. The proper response to such strong-arming is for students to practice their right of voluntary association to disassociate with Harvard. Harvard is a private institution and therefore governed heavily by market forces. If enough students decided to go elsewhere, it would cut into Harvard’s profits. That would eventually force it to decide to either start treating its adult students like adults or to slowly decay into a penniless institution whose staff is left having to reminisce about the good old days when they could afford to pay high-quality teachers instead of cut-rate rejects who were fired from every other institution.

Colleges don’t have to be daycares. It’s within the students’ power to change it.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 14th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Mistaken Identity

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It’s a day ending in “y” so there must be another “isolated incident” where one of the “rare” bad apples in law enforcement performs a heinous act. Today’s heinous act involves a case of mistaken identity. Officers were searching for a 25 to 30-year-old 5′ 10″ tall 170 pound black male. When they came across a 19-year-old 5′ 2″ tall 115 pound black girl they mistook her for the suspect and served and protected the shit out of her:

On the day Tatyana Hargrove rode her bike to try to buy her dad a Father’s Day gift, temperatures in Bakersfield, Calif., had reached triple digits, so she stopped on the way home to take a drink of water in the shade.

The 19-year-old girl turned around at the intersection where she had paused and noticed three police cars. One of the officers, she said, had already drawn his gun.

What followed, according to both Hargrove and police, was a case of mistaken identity and an altercation in which police punched Hargrove in the mouth, unleashed a police K-9 dog on her and arrested her. Though the incident took place June 18, it gained wider attention this week after the Bakersfield chapter of the NAACP shared a video of Hargrove’s account on its Facebook page that garnered millions of views.

On the day police stopped Hargrove, officers had been looking for a suspect — described as a 25- to 30-year-old, bald black man standing 5-foot-10 and weighing about 170 pounds — who had threatened several people with a machete at a nearby grocery store, according to a police report.

She was black, the suspect was black, and they all look alike, right? According to these fine officers that must be the case but I’d bet money most of us lowly untrained civilians would be able to tell the difference immediately.

Had the arrest not been captured on video it’s likely that this entire incident would have disappeared down a memory hole. Since this was caught on video though it means that there will likely be an internal investigation that will find that the officers followed their training and are therefore innocent of all wrongdoing. But to show how benevolent it is, the department will likely be willing to drop the charges against the girl (as is often the case, the girl was charged for “resisting or delaying an officer and aggravated assault” even though the officers delayed themselves by assaulting her instead of continuing their search for the suspect). With that said, there is a chance that the officers involved will be fired from the department… only to be reinstated when their union strong arms the department into doing so. There might even be a jury trial where the prosecutor brings the most difficult to prove charges they can against the officers, evidence is withheld from the jury, and the jury is given instructions on how to rule based on the letter of a law written in such a way that an officer cannot be charged under it.

You know, when I put it that way, it really sounds like we live in a police state. Weird.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 13th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Perhaps We Should Start Copyrighting Communications

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Law enforces in Oakland, California pulled the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in to assist with a murder case. The assistance that the local law enforcers were looking for was the FBI’s Stingray cellular interceptors, which the agency was more than happy to provide. However, the FBI didn’t bother acquiring a warrant before deploying its interceptors, which didn’t sit well with the suspect’s attorney. In response to the attorney’s protest the Department of Justice (DoJ) said that it didn’t need a warrant because cellular signals are emitted and therefore not private:

The DOJ says that because the stingray was configured to act like a “pen register,” originally a century-old device designed to capture incoming and outgoing calls, and solely capture non-content data, then it was not a search. Use of pen registers, as well as the use of 1970s and 1980s-era “beepers” (short-range FM radio transponders) that can reveal a given location, have been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court. Plus, because Ellis wasn’t found in his own apartment, but in another apartment, he could not claim a privacy interest. And finally, even if Ellis could claim a privacy interest in his phone, that still doesn’t matter, DOJ attorneys claim.

“However, signals emitted from a phone are not the same, since they are not by their nature private,” prosecutors continue. “They reveal nothing about the person and are being transmitted out to the world, or at least to a third-party service provider, just like the beeper signals in Knotts.”

This brings me to an interesting point. Cellular signals are encrypted, albeit poorly. In order to intercept cellular signals Stingray devices have to break that encryption. If we look at another law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), we can see that the actions taken by the government would be considered illegal if they were being used to bypass some form of copyright protection.

The DMCA makes it illegal to bypass any copyright protection mechanism, no matter how shitty it is. If a copyrighted work is encrypted with the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a broken encryption algorithm, and an unauthorized party breaks that encryption to bypass the copyright protection they have committed a crime under the DMCA.

Perhaps people should start claiming copyrights on the contents of their phone calls and text messages. Maybe they could then gain some protection against organizations that are bypassing the poor encryption that is used to keep their communications confidential.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 13th, 2017 at 10:00 am

What’s the Difference Between the IRS and a Thief

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What’s the difference between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a thief? There isn’t one:

The unmarked vehicles arrived in the morning. More than 20 armed agents poured out.

Hours later, Mii’s Bridal & Tuxedo was out of business after serving customers for decades. Its entire inventory of wedding gowns and dresses as well as sewing machines and other equipment were sold at auction.

The hastily-called sale held inside the store netted the IRS about $17,000 — not enough to cover the roughly $31,400 in tax debt alleged, court records show. The balance is now likely unrecoverable.

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Regarding the speed of the sale, the government said in legal filings that the IRS used a special law that allows for a streamlined procedure if the agency determines the goods seized could “perish or waste” or become greatly reduced in value.

As a result, the IRS didn’t have to post advance public notice of the Mii’s sale or wait at least 10 days before selling the goods, as is normally required.

How are tuxedos, wedding dresses, and sewing machines perishable goods? They’re not. The IRS just made shit up so it could perform this act of theft without giving the owners enough time to involve lawyers.

While I spend a great deal of time brining up civil asset forfeiture laws, there are other laws on the books that allow the State to legally steal property without convicting the owner. Arcane tax laws are often used in this way. In this case the IRS once again used, or should I say abused, laws against structuring. I’ve mentioned this before but there is a law that requires people making deposits greater than $10,000 to report them. Many businesses don’t realize this is a law, they only realize that the bank requires them to fill out a bunch of additional paperwork if their deposit is above $10,000. So to avoid paperwork many businesses take deposits over $10,000 and divide them into multiple deposits that are each under $10,000. Doing this violates the law against structuring so the IRS combines the fact that many small business owners are entirely unaware of this law with the fact that it’s illegal to justify rolling in, seizing a small business’s assets, and auctioning them off.

These kinds of laws violate the concept of private property. So long as they continue to exist nobody in the United States can be said to actually own property, they can only lease property for as long as the State permits them.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 11th, 2017 at 10:30 am

To Server and Protect, Just Not Too Often

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One claim statists continue to make is that the government is necessary to provide for those in need. They claim that in a world absent of government the most vulnerable people in our society would starve to death, be tossed off of cliffs by family members who are tired of caring for them, or thrown into cages and forced to fight to the death for the amusement of the mob. But in a society with a government all of their needs will be provided for… unless, of course, they need too much:

West St. Paul and South St. Paul have taken steps to restrict housing options for people who receive state assistance for being both low-income and disabled, despite Dakota County’s misgivings.

City officials say such residents call police too often and that their communities have more than their fair share of rental properties catering to their needs.

“We have enough of these properties in the community,” said Tom Seaberg, a South St. Paul City Council member. “It’s not a discriminatory thing, it’s an economic issue.”

It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

The statists’ claims fall apart once you analyze the nature of government. Government isn’t some benevolent entity that can triumph over human greed. Government is simply the largest criminal gang in a territory. Like any other criminal gang a government is interested in gaining at least some approval from the community since an approving community makes its job of expropriating wealth easier. To this end it offers people within its territory the option to buy protection from it… to protect against it, provides jobs by hiring people within its territory to perform menial tasks, and diverts some of its loot to people within its territory. However, as with any other criminal gang, when an individual becomes too bothersome to the government it will either cut them off or execute them.

Governments don’t provide welfare for altruistic reasons, they provide welfare to buy the acceptance of at least some of the people they’re exploiting. But if the welfare starts eating into the politicians’ profits they cut it off. The municipal governments of West and South St. Paul have made a simple business decision by telling people who use “too much” of their services to buzz off. By doing so those two municipal governments should be able to increase their profits by both immediately cutting the amount of services provided and creating an atmosphere where residents avoid using their services for fear of being the next individuals run out of town.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 7th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Deescalating the Police

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Cop apologists love to point out that police officers are trained professionals and that their training makes them more trustworthy than the people who complain about their actions. Why is it then that untrained civilians are expected to deescalate the police:

The system is designed to exonerate police officers, not provide justice for their victims. My incident, however, gives me new insight into just how much the law values police lives over the citizens they are supposed to protect.

Chief Rausch said that when investigating complaints, it is essential to understand an officer’s mindset to determine the facts. A mindset is not a fact.

Here are the facts that Janish appeared to focus on – the unmarked cab, a black person, the duffel bag and the license plate.

Then here are other facts that he ignored – he knew his mother-in-law was selling the car, it was broad daylight, and I knew her first name, but not her last name. I offered to show him the keys, registration and bill of sale signed by his mother-in-law.

Those are the actual facts. Officer Janish’s mindset was the scenario he created in his head. His fears weren’t facts.

The moment I arrived at Officer Janish’s mother-in-law’s house I became a suspect, and under the law, it seems that Officer Janish became a victim. He could have stayed at his house, called 911 and waited for the sheriff’s department to arrive. Instead he grabbed his weapon and came outside to confront me.

Had I not reacted calmly, Officer Janish likely would have been within his legal rights to shoot me although I wasn’t doing anything illegal. My mere presence with a duffel bag was deemed a threat.

Had the author, Tonya Jameson, not reacted calmly he could have been another Philando Castile and it’s likely Officer Janish would have suffered no consequences. This is yet another situation where an untrained civilian was required to deescalate a supposed trained law enforcer.

Cop apologists have a lengthy list of appropriate responses during police encounters. If it’s a traffic stop make sure to have your proof of insurance and drivers license in hand before the officer gets to your vehicle. Make sure both of your hands are firmly placed on the steering wheel. Ask the officer how he wants you to proceed and follow his instructions to the letter. Don’t make any sudden movements. If you’re stopped by an officer on foot make sure your hands are visible and nowhere near your pockets. As with during a traffic stop, ask the officer how he wants you to proceed and follow his instructions to the letter and avoid sudden movements. Oh, and remember that if an officer is abusing their authority or using unnecessary violence against you that you must shut up and take it. The only appropriate place to deal with that kind of situation is in the courts.

According to cop apologists law enforcers are trained professionals but must be treated in a similar manner to wild animals. This attitude is nonsense. Since law enforcers are trained professionals the burden of deescalating situations should be on them. However, the legal system is setup to require the opposite, which is one of the reasons why police remain mostly unaccountable for their actions.

Colorado Initiative to Hinder Education

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Why are there so many people who believe that everything they don’t like should be illegal? There’s an initiative in Colorado to prohibit children under the age of 13 from using portable electronic devices:

If a Colorado initiative gets its way 49 other states are going to be looking like anarcho-capitalist havens. Initiative 29 or the “Preservation of a Natural childhood” could make selling smartphones, tablets, and any sort of handheld wireless technology to anyone aged 13 and younger illegal which is anything but natural.

A group of concerned parents decided that since they didn’t have such wonderful tools growing up they are “unnatural” and therefore bad for children. Parents not wanting their children to have portable electronic devices isn’t bad in of itself. But these concerned parents aren’t keeping their rule within their own homes. They’re demanding that the State enforce their household rules throughout Colorado.

Their claim is also fucking stupid. Children using portable electronics is unnatural? I wonder if parents who were born immediately before the invention of the printing press tried to prohibit children from acquiring books because they believed books were unnatural. If technology is unnatural then we’ve all been deprived of a “natural” childhood because we’ve all grown up in an era where technology is pervasive.

Not only is their claim stupid but they are also advocating that children throughout Colorado be deprived of incredible educational tools. Smartphones, tablets, and other portable electronic devices offer direct access to mankind’s greatest collection of knowledge, the Internet. There is also a plethora of education apps available for these platforms. I frequently use several foreign language apps such as Duolingo and Memrise on my iPhone. Apps exist for teaching children mathematics, how to read, how to code, about science, and many other valuable skills. To deprive children of these tools just needlessly handicaps their education.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 6th, 2017 at 10:30 am