A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Superdickery’ tag

There’s No Kill Like Overkill

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Proportionality is a concept that many law enforcers appear to have trouble understanding. For example, killing a man for selling untaxed cigarettes isn’t a proportional punishment for the crime. Likewise, blowing up a man’s house to catch a shoplifter is not a proportional response to the crime:

In June of 2015, Reason reports, a man named Robert Jonathan Seacat shoplifted from a Denver area Walmart. He stole a shirt and two belts and then fled, first by car and then on foot, before breaking into a nearby home to hide inside.

Seacat was known to have one gun on him, and officers claimed he shot at them, but after the fact, investigators didn’t find evidence he’d fired that weapon or the two other guns that were already in the house. That’s perhaps because, as would later be discovered when police eventually took Seacat into custody, he was by that time probably feeling awful, as he had allegedly swallowed a container of methamphetamine that began to leak into his body.

The house had a security system that alerted the police of the break-in, and the cops arrived armed to the teeth. As court documents show, “50 SWAT officers” assaulted the house using “40 mm rounds, tear gas, flashbang grenades, two armored Bearcats [a type of armored vehicle] and breaching rams,” plus “68 cold chemical munitions and four hot gas munitions.”

And they used all of it to totally destroy this home. Their harebrained plan was to blow up every room, one by one, to herd Seacat into a corner of the house so police could be certain of his location. This process was ineffective as well as counterproductive: It created so much rubble that a police robot was not able to deliver a phone to Seacat for negotiations.

What’s the value of a shirt and two belts from Walmart? It’s probably somewhere between $30 and $50. What’s the value of a house, fuel for a Bearcat, 40mm teargas rounds, flashbang grenades, breaching rams, chemical munitions, hot gas munitions, a remotely controlled robot, and 50 officers’ time? A hell of a lot more than $50.

Shoplifting doesn’t requires a militarized squad of law enforcers to deal with. It requires compensation. Walmart probably has insurance against shoplifting so it was likely covered. In that case the insurance company had a right to seek compensation from the thief, which it could have easily done in small claims court. If the thief refused to appear in court, the judge could have simply ruled in favor of the insurance company or, at most, sent a single officer to kidnap the thief and bring him to court. Such a response would have been proportional to the crime.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 22nd, 2017 at 10:30 am

Creating the Super Bowl Experience

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The toll of the Super Bowl continues to rise. Between the “security” turning the entire city into a prison, shutdown streets, and light rail use reserved exclusively for Super Bowl attendees, things have already become quite miserable for the denizens of Minneapolis. But the Super Bowl experience wouldn’t be complete if some wealthy attendees had their vision offended by a poor person so the homeless shelter near the stadium is being evacuated for the duration of the game:

Dozens of people who use a homeless shelter near U.S. Bank Stadium will be moved to a new, temporary facility during Super Bowl week because of security concerns.

In a deal struck with churches and social service agencies, up to 60 people who normally would spend the night at First Covenant Church in downtown Minneapolis will be relocated six blocks away to a makeshift shelter at St. Olaf Catholic Church. The transition will occur the Thursday before the 2018 game and last through Super Bowl Sunday.

It is, of course, being done in the name of security. However, the 60 people occupying that shelter are no more a security risk than the hundreds living in the condominiums near the stadium so it’s pretty obvious this decision has nothing to do with actual security. But most “security” decisions being made have nothing to do with security and everything to do with security theater being a convenient excuse to ensure the Super Bowl attendees don’t have to deal with the riffraff or Minneapolis.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 17th, 2017 at 10:00 am

No Government Choo Choo for You

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While the Super Bowl itself won’t provide me any entertainment, the National Football League’s (NFL) decision to bring it to Minneapolis has provided me a significant amount of entertainment. Between turning the city into a prison and the possibility of mass transit being unavailable during the big game I’ve already been giving a great deal of entertainment. But the real icing on the cake is that even if the Amalgamated Transit Union doesn’t strike, the government choo choo will only be available to people who have purchased a Super Bowl ticket [PDF]:

Gameday Pass: $30
Only those holding one of these tickets and an official Super Bowl ticket will be able to ride the METRO Light-Rail on game day. This pass is also valid on all bus, Light-Rail and Northstar service on game day and Monday, February 5. Available only from the Metro Transit app.

There are a lot of people who mistakenly believe that “public” transport is owned by the people. “Public” transport is actually owned by the government. If the government decides that it wants to make its transportation system exclusively available to a certain segment of people, there’s not a damn thing “the public” can do about it.

If you rely on the government choo choo, don’t despair. More buses will be made available. They’ll just be slower so plan to leave much earlier than you otherwise would, you fucking pleb:

Buses: For non-ticket holders, buses will replace light-rail trains on the entirety of the Blue Line throughout the day on February 4, 2018. Replacement buses will operate between Target Field Station and Stadium Village Station on the Green Line. Buses run on similar schedules to trains but can take longer; please plan accordingly.

With all of the streets that will be shutdown in Minneapolis during the big game as well as all the additional traffic that will be flooding the remaining streets, the buses are going to end up taking a lot longer. But sacrifices must be made. Just because you paid tax dollars to build and maintain the choo choo doesn’t mean you have the highest priority. The highest priority goes to those who have enriched the NFL, which contributed absolutely nothing to the construction and maintenance of the choo choo. Isn’t it fun being a lowly pleb?

Written by Christopher Burg

November 15th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Let the Games Being

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I’m sure I’ve made my feelings about the Super Bowl coming to Minneapolis obvious. However, I do believe that people should get what they wants and they should get it good and hard. That being the case, I do take some pleasure in the fact that Minneapolis will be turned into a prison for the duration of the Super Bowl. But the icing on the cake could be the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which has declared its intent to strike during the Super Bowl:

Unionized bus drivers, LRT operators and others at Metro Transit voted overwhelmingly to reject a final contract offer and authorize a strike during Super Bowl festivities next year.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1005, which represents about 2,500 workers at Metro Transit, voted 93 percent in favor of rejecting the Metropolitan Council’s last contract offer and authorizing a strike during the period leading up to the Super Bowl.

The City of Minneapolis will be relying heavily on its public transportation system during the Super Bowl since traffic there is a clusterfuck at the best of times and will be worse with the combination of tourists and closed streets. Either the Metropolitan Council gives into the ATU’s demands or the ATU follows through with its threat to strike and the public transportation system is unavailable during the Super Bowl.

I’m expecting the Metropolitan Council to give the ATU whatever it wants but I’m really hoping it won’t and the strike will occur.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 14th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Turning Minneapolis into a Prison to Appease Our NFL Masters

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Back in 2008 the Republican National Convention was hosted in St. Paul. In response the city was basically turned into a prison. Surveillance equipment was setup everywhere, heavily armed and armored officers were out on patrol, streets were shutdown, etc.

If you missed out on that experience or want to relive the experience, I have some news for you. The city of Minneapolis, in order to appease our National Football League masters, is going to be turned into a prison:

The final plans, including which streets are closed and when, are expected to be announced in the next couple of days.

If the most recent Super Bowls in San Francisco and Houston are an indication, the security operation is like none other the Twin Cities has ever seen. Snipers will be on rooftops and in buildings in strategic places. Officers in head-to-toe commando gear will be on the streets gripping assault rifles against their chests.

Minneapolis Police Cmdr. Scott Gerlicher said the influx of federal agents to Minnesota will be the largest in the 52 years of Super Bowl history. “We are prepared for anything that might come our way,” he said last week.

The full extent of the security won’t be visible, but it will be everywhere: in the skies and on the ground. Whatever equipment is available will be used — from tactical vehicles to helicopters and boats.

[…]

In addition to uniformed officers, there will be other obvious visible protections, including 2.5 miles of concrete barriers topped with wire fencing. Some busy spaces will follow NFL bag restrictions (including no purses) and have metal detectors. The airspace will be restricted above the stadium during the game.

All of this for one fucking game.

In addition to turning the city into a prison, the security arrangements will likely impact local businesses. A yet undisclosed number of streets in Minneapolis will be shutdown, which will impact any businesses that rely on them. And I highly doubt the NFL will compensate those businesses for such losses. Likewise, I highly doubt the City of Minneapolis will give those businesses a tax credit as compensation for not being able to use the roads they pay taxes to use. After all, they’re nobodies compared to the might that is the NFL.

I hope that the worse winter storm in the history of the state hits on Super Bowl weekend. It would be fun to see how well these assholes handle security in several feet of snow.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 10th, 2017 at 10:30 am

If Your Device Requires a “Cloud” Service, It’s Not Your Device

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It’s time for a pop quiz. If you purchase a device and its basic functionality relies on a “cloud” service (somebody else’s computer), do you own it?

No, you don’t:

Bricking a device, which usually happens during firmware update gone wrong, is never a good thing. It’s even worse when companies do it to their devices intentionally. According to emails received by users, Logitech will be intentionally bricking all Harmony Link devices via a firmware update as of March 16th, 2018. The bad news was first reported by Bleeping Computer.

According to this Harmony Link review, the device cost $100.00 when it was released. For that $100.00 I’m sure there were a lot of consumers who mistakenly believed that they were buying the device when, in fact, they were merely renting it. Now the owner of those devices, Logitech, is going to turn them off.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 10th, 2017 at 10:00 am

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Let the Rationing Begin

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According to socialists nationalizing healthcare brings a utopian world where everybody can get access to any medical care they need for free. While nationalized healthcare may look good on the surface but when you scratch off the thin venire there is an ugly world or rationing underneath:

The NHS has recently released treatment guidelines stating that patients who are obese or who smoke will be banned from receiving “non-urgent” surgeries unless they first lose weight or quit smoking. While the NHS claims the new guidelines will increase the level of personal responsibility taken by patients, the healthcare bureaucrats behind this rule also acknowledge that it will help to free up limited healthcare resources.

Contrary to popular belief, the goal of a government is to make money for the members of the government. It does this through expropriation. In order to maximize its profits, a government needs to convince the people it’s steal from that it’s a legitimate entity, which requires throwing them bones. “Free” healthcare is a pretty large bone. By setting aside some of its stolen money a government can convince a lot of people of its legitimacy, which allows it to keep stealing for longer. But “free” can quickly begin to cut into the government’s profits. Once that happens the government begins finding ways to curtail the “free” goods or services.

The National Health Service (NHS) is going for the low hanging fruit by cutting off smokers and obese individuals, which will likely enjoy popular support since both conditions are voluntarily brought on by the individual. However, the rationing won’t stop there. At some point the NHS will likely being to issue guidelines against treating people with certain “undesirable” traits such as genetic conditions that cause an individual to be more prone to develop a debilitating condition. To make matters worse, the British government won’t refund any tax dollars to those who are deemed ineligible for “free” healthcare, which will deprive those individuals of money they could spend on private healthcare options.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 9th, 2017 at 10:00 am

A Different Set of Rules

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If you roughed somebody up and then detained them, what do you think would happen to you? I suspect that you’d be tossed in a cage for assault and unlawful detainment. However, if you wore a shiny badge and a magic suit, you might get fired from your job but somebody else would certainly get stuck paying the bill for your transgression:

A Utah nurse who was roughed up and arrested on July 26 by a Salt Lake City cop because she told the officer that he needed a warrant to draw blood from an unconscious patient has settled for a $500,000 payout.

Body cam footage from the scene shows University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels calmly telling the officer, who was trained for the task of blood withdrawal, that he cannot take a blood sample because the patient, who was involved in a vehicle crash, had neither been arrested nor gave consent. Then the cop lunges and grabs the nurse as she was fearfully backing away. He rushes her outside the hospital, and handcuffs her. All the while, she’s screaming that there’s no reason for her detainment.

[…]

The $500,000 settlement is to be paid jointly by Salt Lake City and University Hospital. A hospital officer on the scene told the nurse that she would be obstructing justice if she interfered with Payne’s investigation.

Emphasis mine.

While the officer in question was fired, he didn’t have to pay out the $500,000 settlement. Instead his employer, Salt Lake City, and the nurse’s employer got stuck with the bill. Having that kind of shield from liability is one hell of a job perk. Unfortunately, possessing such a shield doesn’t incentivize good behavior.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 2nd, 2017 at 11:00 am

For $19.95 You Too Can Rent a Weapon of Terror for 90 Minutes

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I’m predicting that it’s going to become a lot more difficult to rent a vehicle in the near future because of the attack perpetrated in Manhattan yesterday:

TRIBECA, Manhattan — A man described as a “lone wolf” deliberately drove a rented truck into a West Side bike path in lower Manhattan, killing at least eight people and injuring 11 others in the first terror attack in New York City since 9/11.

A high ranking police source tells PIX11 News the suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov from Tampa, Florida. Saipov was brandishing two fake guns when he exited the truck after the multi-block rampage, yelling “Allah Akbar,” which is Arabic for God is great.

Since the attacker supposedly yelled, “Allah Akbar,” this attack was labeled terrorism, which brings us to a rather important point. For the low price of $19.95 (for 90 minutes) the attacker was able to acquire a weapon of terror from Home Depot. Asymmetrical warfare tactics are difficult to counter specifically because the weaponry is cheap and readily available.

Unfortunately, this attack will likely make renting a vehicle a huge pain in the ass in the near future. Because its logo is on the side of the truck, Home Depot will feel the need to demonstrate its piety to the State. It will likely do this by establishing new policies for vehicle rentals that include a bunch of new hoops for renters to jump through. Such policies will be futile but that doesn’t matter since they’ll be implemented for show, not for actual security reasons.

Make no mistake, terrorism is winning the War on Terror. Almost every attack that gets labeled terrorism results in the lives of everyday people being inconvenienced by more bureaucracy that does nothing to improve actual security. This attack will likely be no different in that regard.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 1st, 2017 at 11:00 am

When Voting Actually Matters It Becomes Illegal

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My dismal opinion of democracy is no secret. Part of the reason I have such a low opinion of democracy is because voters are handed an artificially restricted list of options and told that that list enables them to voice their opinion. However, if your opinion is that a governmental officer should be disbanded a ballot doesn’t give you the ability to voice your opinion. Moreover, if the people decided to voice an opinion that isn’t on an artificially restricted list of options, their act of voting is declared treason, sedition, or rebellion:

Spain’s chief prosecutor has called for charges including rebellion – which carries a maximum 30 year jail term – to be brought against Catalan leaders.

José Manuel Maza said they should also face sedition charges following the region’s declaration of independence.

When voting actually matters, i.e. when it causes actual radical change, it’s suddenly declared illegal by the government. Catalonia isn’t a unique example in this regard. Almost every attempt by a people to vote themselves out of a governmental body has been declared illegal by said governmental body.

As Max Stirner pointed out, “Whoever will be free must make himself free. Freedom is no fairy gift to fall into a man’s lap.” There is no checkbox on a ballot that will grant you your freedom. If you want to be free, you must overcome any attempt to curtail your freedom.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 31st, 2017 at 10:00 am