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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More Nannyism Comin' Your Way

Senator Charles Schumer (Demon - NY) wants to link the use of illegal drugs to your Constitutionally guaranteed right to own a gun.  Interesting problem.

For instance, here in California it is all but legal to grow and smoke pot.  We even hand out cards so the police don't arrest you and confiscate your pot.

Ahh, but the feds don't look so kindly on the green bud.

When you fill in the paperwork for a gun purchase, the federal government does your background check.  If you got a state-approved pot card, how's that going to work out for your ability to buy a gun?

Not well, I'd guess.

If you have a pot card in this state and Schumer's plan goes into effect, you've all but signed the paperwork to allow the feds to restrict your access to a gun.

And you know what?  I have not yet been able to find the article or amendment to the Constitution that allows the Feds to in any way prohibit the consumption of pot.

Yet, plain as can be, I can find the amendment explicitly guaranteeing the right to own a gun.  It's right there, second from the top.

The large-capacity magazine issue is an interesting quandary as well.  I personally can't see a need for a 30-round magazine.  But that's me.  You may want one, and I think it's your right to own it.

Here's my stance on gun control:  Whatever is allowed for the police must be allowed for their bosses (that would be us).  If large capacity mags are disallowed, they are disallowed for everyone.  No exceptions.

No one in America is (should be) An Elite.  We've allowed ourselves to be seduced into believing that our employees - be they politicians, police, fire fighters or bureaucrats - are somehow eligible for allowances not granted to us common folk.
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Here is a great example of how these Elites think.

We have a number of refineries in the county in which I live.  Chevron is one of the largest.

It seems that the county somehow over-taxed the Chevron facility.  They called foul and won a verdict to get paid back their overpayment.  To the tune of $18 million.

There is a pissing match going on over who should pay for this refund.  The county wants all of the cities to pay their fair share.  Some cities, including mine, are saying, "BS".  We didn't get benefits, we're not paying it back.

The biggest beneficiary of these taxes was the town of Richmond.  It's where the refinery is located.  Here's their city manager -
Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay said he was not versed on the specifics of the dispute, and that it is too early to worry about any effect on Richmond's budget.

"I think if the cities have an objection to this, then I think they should raise the objection to Chevron," he said. "The root cause is not the county and how they allocated the refund; the cause was Chevron's appeal of their property taxes."
Bad, Bad Chevron for having the gall to ask for a refund of the money that was wrongly taken from you!  Don't you know we have a political machine to feed?

I've been reading a disturbing number of stories on the "arming up" of local LEO departments.  Maybe they're getting ready for some serious 'push back'....

Have you heard of the BearCats?  They're this armored personnel carrier that's been tailored for local police and sheriff departments.

I recently read a story about how some department in Santa Clara (south of SF bay) county just got one of these nearly $300,000 vehicles.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office now owns a BearCat. And no, it's not a pet. 
It's a tactical armored vehicle, a cross between a military tank and a Hummer, used by SWAT teams, the Army and hostage negotiators, and good for "just about anything," sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Rick Sung said. 
The sheriff's office has a refurbished armored vehicle similar to the BearCat. But this vehicle, made by Lenco, is the first of its kind that was purchased through a federal Department of Homeland Security grant called the Urban Area Security Initiative. 
The purchase of this newest model of the BearCat, the G3, was spearheaded by Assistant Sheriff Lindley Zink, 56, who retires next week after 32 years on the job. It cost $285,000.
In describing the vehicle to his peers, Zink wrote that he was just "speechless" about the BearCat's capabilities including the self-contained breathing apparatus system and the ability to detect explosives and traces of radiation from inside the vehicle. 
The BearCat can also withstand bullets fired from .50 caliber weapons. 
Sung estimated the vehicle would be used about a dozen times a year. 
In Santa Clara County, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose and Campbell all have BearCats or similar equivalents, Sung said. 
And while the new BearCat can be used by any law enforcement agency, the vehicle's formal home will be the Gilroy police station so that it can be readily available for use in the southern part of the county.
A three hundred grand gift from the Feds, for the Urban Area Security Initiative.    How nice.  I feel safer already.

And why would a county that expects to have 12 uses of this thing each year, need 5 of them (the sheriff and 4 cities)?

How about you go to Google, key in the name of your county and "Bearcat" to see how well armored your local LEOs might be.

You've probably all heard about how the Miami-Dade police department is buying a (for now) un-armed flying drone like the Predator that is used against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's going to be used to find pot fields and kidnapped children (nice touch).  Yeah, sure.

I'm guessing it will also fart lolly-pops down on the adoring serfs citizens as it glides majestically over the kingdom county.

This is friggin' surreal.

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Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Aaron said...

I think you should clarify your "large capacity magazine" section. The laws dont talk about 30 round mags, they talk about 10 round mags.

They magazines they want to ban, and have been banned in the past, are not 30 rounders. They're anything greater than 10. This means that When you buy a Glock 17, one of the most common handguns in the world, you're going to get mags that hold 10 rounds instead of the 17 rounds that gun is supposed to hold. Crippled mags. Stupid.

Personally I've made my investment in many "normal capacity" magazines at the end of the last gun ban. Bought as many as I could at the time.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the empathy for pot heads. Would you like your kids school bus driver to be high on pot? 99% of those with the pot card are simply potheads and have no medical reason for it. Most of your kids will do pot and maybe become potheads simply because we allow it to be available. I am in favor of decriminalizing pot use but punishing the growing or selling of pot.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon 5:56 - (556? too funny!) - I was using the 30 cartridge mags as an example (they were actually 33's I believe).

My point was, there should be no limit imposed on citizens that are not also imposed on the Elites.

Anon 8:05 - this isn't about pot, it's about the feds exceeding their Constitutionally mandated powers. Insert pot, meth, opium, oxy or drain-o. If you want to put it into your body, it's your right to do so UNLESS your state has laws against it (which MAY be Constitutionally allowed).

Regarding the high bus driver: Red Herring. I don't want a bus driver that is high on pot, alcohol or Tylenol with codeine. They can't legally drive drunk, why would it be OK to be high? It wouldn't.

Re-legalizing pot is not going to suddenly make us a nation of potheads. If it were legal, would you suddenly start smoking it?

Me neither. It doesn't float my boat. I've seen the damage that ABUSE of any drug does, so I choose not to use/abuse them.

But, legal or not, people with dependent physiologies will abuse drugs. Why is it my responsibility to pay for police services to stop them from doing so? Let them shoot up, die (or ruin their lives), and become a lesson to others that may be considering drugs.

There are no consequences for their actions. We pay taxes to stop them, they still do it, then we pay to rehab them anyway. WTF?

Regarding kids, any kid who wants any drug - including alcohol - can get it now. The fact it's illegal is irrelevant.

That being said, I believe that if all drugs were re-legalized, there would be an initial increase in their use. People would crash and burn, and usage would return to the levels we're at right now.

In countries where pot's been legalized (Holland?) usage is now BELOW levels prior to legalization. Most people don't want to ruin their lives.

MikeH. said...

"Arming up of LEOs." Their prepping is the best indicator for us to be prepping.

I wonder how well BearCats and sound cannon trucks hold up to thermite and foo-gas? :O


Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to disagree on the LEO section. Believe me, most LEOs don't care if people have guns. In fact, we want good decent people to have them. They are arming because they have been underarmed for so long, the gang members, etc have the assault rifles and we don't have a chance against those. My goal is to live through my shift and if an assault rifle gives me that edge, so much the better.

Same thing with the BearCats. If I was on a SWAT team, I'd want some good equipment instead of riding up in a police car which offers zero protection against bullets. The BearCats aren't being used unless the SWAT team needs it. Now should every agency in every county get one? No. But for those SWAT teams that utilize them, they are a good asset.

Look at Camden, NJ, they just laid off half of the police department. What do you think will happen to that city now? Not for lack of trying by the remaining officers, but because the politicians don't care and they are leaving the officers out there without adequate resources, manpower, and equipment.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous post of 1/19...
LEO's are not any better than the the citizens, although most of them appear to think they are, and if the LEOs and the LEO admirers ("Cops can tell no lies") get to determine who are "good decent people" then we are in for a world of hurt.
It may be true that a small proportion of 'gang members' have an 'assault rifle' (less than .05 percent?) while our privileged 'protectors' the LEO have many thousands of true assault weapons, helicopters, immediate backup via instant electronic communications to dozens of other officers at any time, attack dogs, tasers, body armor, etc.
I can see that you "don't have a chance".
Now, let's put this another way - any weapon you have access to, the citizen should have also. We are in far more danger than you - who wants to mess with with a cop? Criminals generally prey on civilians.
If you have the privileges we don't have, that makes us unprivileged.
Just another perspective, Sir.
Pass the doughnuts.

Anonymous said...

I would agree that the citizens should have the same weapons the police have. And criminals do generally prey on civilians, but believe me, criminals prey on cops too.

This year so far 8 police officers have been killed (5 by gunfire). In 2010, 162 police officers were killed in the line of duty, 61 by gunfire and another 18 by assaults. Not many other professions have that many people killed every year just because they are doing their profession.

Most LEOs don't think they are better than the average citizen, just different. In fact, police officers actually love it when they can get to deal with a true honest hard working person. I am not out to "get people" or "trample their rights." I'm just out doing my job, just like everyone else. Just like I could never work in a bank, most people couldn't be a police officer.

Just another perspective. And I don't have any donuts to pass.

Anonymous said...

I cannot agree with the anti-cop rhetoric either. I love our police, firemen, military, doctors, nurses, EMT, etc. I know some police should be removed from their job for cause, but lets address these on an individual basis and not defame all police.

Chief Instructor said...

MikeH: Be nice, now ;-)

Chief Instructor said...

Anon 1:37: A bit of my background. Grew up in a cop household. Dad was Oakland PD during the 70's, Marin County Sheriff Lieutenant after that. One brother is a PD chief and has been a cop for 25 years. I've got tons of cop friends (I've now been in 4 cop weddings).

My point: I'm not anti-cop!

That being said, the whole police public "face" has changed dramatically in the past 25 years. Much more confrontational. Much more, "do as I say or I'll make your life miserable". Abuse of the color of authority.

There no longer seems to be an attitude of "to serve and protect". It's now, "us versus them". Sorry, no sale.

Re: Public possessing guns. My first hand experience is about 50/50. I bring up this subject in virtually every social situation I'm in with cops. Seriously, I want to know.

When I tell them I'm an instructor, almost all say that someone like me should be able to carry, but half are not sure about the rest of society. Sorry, that doesn't cut it with me. In my book, we're "all in" unless we've given cause to have a right revoked.

Bearcats: I wholly agree that each county should have one, MAYBE two of these if it's a large county. Beyond that, it's a grotesque waste of money, and a great area of concern.

Re: Camden. Something similar just happened recently with Oakland. Fired something like 10% of the force. The politicians are using this as a pawn to preserve social programs. Fire their asses! They need to understand in no uncertain terms what is important to a successful city.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon 1:14 - LEO's are not any better than the the citizens, although most of them appear to think they are, .

Up until 10 years ago, I would have said you are totally wrong. Then I witnessed it with my own two eyes.

I was on a jury for a meth trial that had a handgun enhancement. Short version: Cop said he found the gun under the bed of the 2-strike meth cooker. Attorney showed a photo of the bed, cop said "that's the bed". Asked the cop if it was well hidden, cop said he had to reach under the bed up to his shoulder (about 2 1/2 feet or so). Next picture was of the bed with the covers lifted, showing it was a platform bed with perhaps 4 inches of space under the bed. Lied his ass off, in court, under oath, and would not recant his testimony.

He was with one of the uber-special, joint drug task forces, and thought his shit didn't stink.

The entire jury discounted every single word he said, and found the meth cooker not guilty of that gun charge (we nailed him for the cooking charge, and another gun charge - the idiot actually admitted to the second one!).

Anyway, it gave me a cleansing of my previously rose-colored glasses regarding LEOs.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon 5:42 - Most LEOs don't think they are better than the average citizen, just different.

The difference is the police know they have the ability to ruin your day if the interaction doesn't go the way THEY want it to go.

"No, you can't search my car. What is your probable cause?"

"Well, your non-cooperation is suspicious to me. I need to call a drug dog to sniff around and see if it gets a hit. They should be here in an hour or so."

"What? It has nothing to do with cooperation. It has to do with my Constitutional rights."

"Yeah, well, you can get on your way right now if you let me poke around in your trunk. Or we can wait for the dog, and we can see how that turns out. Your choice."

Citizens don't have the ability to coerce cooperation between each other. The "If you've done nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide" attitude is so anti-American, and anti- everything I believe in.

It hurts me to see where we've come.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon 8:21 - I love our police, firemen, military, doctors, nurses, EMT, etc.

Interesting list. I see it as 3 very distinct groups.

Police and firemen - public servants, the whole "to protect and serve". With many police departments and individuals, this has changed. Badly. In a broad sense, they're going militaristic. That's NOT their job description. But protecting and serving isn't as cool as having the paramilitary gear and training.

Military - just go out, kick some serious ass, then come home. Absolutely destroy what is in front of you, no apologies, no hand holding, no rebuilding. That's what you have politicians for, after the fact.

Docs/nurses/EMTs - job choice, usually private businesses (btw, I have a son who's a paramedic). I don't hold them in an special esteem for the job choice they've made, other than acknowledging and appreciating it took a great deal of time and effort to attain their status. After that, I care what they do, not what they did.

To your main point, the police must understand that we are their bosses. Each and everyone of us. I guarantee you that not many (any?) cops think that way.

They don't treat you the way you treat your boss at work when you've brought a possible error to their attention.

Why's that?

Of course, I'm talking about non-violent situations. Traffic tickets, etc.

If the officer is not able to distinguish between how to act in a violent vs. non-violent situation, they need a different career.

Yes, they're held to a high standard, but they are very well compensated for that.

Anonymous said...

Maybe my experiences are different than yours Chief. I'm anon 5:42. I have to say that any police officer who lies in court does not deserve to be a police officer. They should be thrown in jail for perjury, the same as everyone else.

And any cop who keeps you beside the road for an hour waiting for a dog has no idea what they are doing. That is way past the time you can detain someone under reasonable circumstances.

What I have found is that people think they know the law, but in reality they do not. Now we don't make the criminal statutes, just enforce them. If the statute says concealing a taser is illegal, and you are concealing a taser, then you can go to jail, whether you believe you should go or not. If you (or anyone, even me) does not like a law, write your representative and have it changed. Respect goes both ways too. If you start yelling at me, don't expect me to be all nice and cuddly back.

Do I think the government is encroaching on our rights? Absolutely, which is one reason why I read sites like this. I have to say that I will never give a police officer consent to search anything. If they want to search my car, they had better have the probable cause to do it. Maybe I'm different than other cops, but that's pretty much how I stand. I'm not out looking to screw people over and usually give peopel the benefit of the doubt and/or find a better solution (a ticket instead of jail).

Anonymous said...

You are correct that police, fireman, EMT, military, doctor, nurse, etc. are job choices. But I do kond of put them on a pedestal. Not that a EMT is a better person than a 7-11 worker or that a doctor is better then a teacher. But these are the people who protect us and help us usually in time of our greatest need. I don't think movie stars or rock stars deserve our adoration but I do think the people who are their to protect us and help us when we are in trouble or injured deserve our respect and recognition. Just as I respect the common citizen who saves the little old lady next door when her house catches on fire I respect our first line public servants who do similar things everyday. I wave at the policeman who drives past my house when I'm outside. I conciously think how lucky we are to have good men and women become firemen when I see them at a fire or other emergency.
Let me modify what you said about the military. Their job is to prevent war as much as it is to destroy things. We exist today for one reason only; because every nation who would challenge us knows our military would destroy them. None of our diplomats could do their job without the military standing behind them. The world would have devolved into chaos decades ago without our military. If/when our politicians reduce our mitary might we will be devoured by a pack of nation wolves in a heartbeat. You cannot over estimate what we owe our military. My biggest fear is one day in a flash of light everyone will suddenly understand what a strong military has done for us and what a weak military really means to us. Make no mistake, all the proud free governments and their people who don't really like our military might will disappear from the face of the earth as well. We have always been in a struggle for our very existence and our military has been so effective that we don't even realize it. Soon, I fear, we will all realize it.

suek said...

Not really on topic, but still worth a read:

Anonymous said...

Our military is only as good as our politicians who decide to use them. Just because our military has the ability to KA, has no bearing on the legitimacy of the AK'ing.

Anyhow, for a perspective of our po-lice, go here:

Go back about a year and count them. Keeping in mind the wall of silence. These are just the ones that have been caught.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon 5:45 - If you start yelling at me, don't expect me to be all nice and cuddly back.

Of course not. But I'd also not expect a LEO to bring down hell on my head.

Back to the main issue - the militarization of our PDs, you guys have all of these paramilitary equipment, and want to use it.

Literally daily, you can read stories of "no knock" warrants being served on homes with no credible evidence to suggest the occupants will be violent.

AND no one gets fired when there's a screw-up. How about a couple pairs of eyes read the intelligence reports before conducting a tactical assault on a citizen?

How about you just call them and say, "Hey, we're outside and have the ability to ruin your day. Wanna come out? You have 1 minute."

If they say yes, there's no harm, no foul. No one is injured, no one is put in danger (LEOs and civilians).

If they say no, you ruin their day.

But, a no-knock tactical assault is never conducted without the sign-off of a Captain or assistant chief. If it is a "bad" assault, he/she loses his/her job, career and pension.

It's THAT important that there be consequences before you wrongly conduct an assault on a citizen.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon 7:47 - who brings more benefit to a community - a police officer or the owner of a hardware store that employs 50 people?

We, as a society, make the choice to grant some of us - LEOs - some extraordinary powers. They can arrest with only probable cause. They can speed in their cars when pursuing bad guys, etc.

Now, those LEOs make the business of the hardware store owner much easier. He doesn't have to "pack heat" because of the implied threat that LEOs will come after bad guys if he's robbed.

It's a hand-in-hand relationship. If the hardware store doesn't make money and hire employees - all of whom pay taxes - the LEO is out of a job.

So, why do we hold the LEO in higher esteem than the hardware store owner? Both contribute to the city, just in different ways. In my eyes, neither is more important than the other.

Both gain or lose respect by how they treat their customers.

Re: Military - I agree that our military has likely prevented more wars than it has directly participated in. The "Big Stick" theory.

We're cutting their legs out from underneath them. When we commit troops, their primarily "Rule Of Engagement" should be to kill all the bastards that are pointing guns at you.

Our response should ALWAYS be out of proportion to whatever injury we suffered. It's to send the message, "Don't mess with us, or you'll die."

Afghanistan, for instance, should have been a two week campaign of dropping Daisy Cutters all over that desolate country. The only boots we should have had on the ground should have been spotters and snipers.

Then come home and let the politicians deal with it.

Don't even get me started about Iraq...

Chief Instructor said...

Anon 8:24 - pretty interesting stuff. I would like to spend some time and look behind the numbers. If they are in fact accurate, this is very disturbing.

And as you alluded to, this only contains reports that made it into the public media.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of procedures in place to prevent serving a search warrant on the wrong house. Does it happen? Yes. Should it ever happen? No.

Believe it or not, in order to serve an arrest warrant on someone (and kick in their door), a police officer has to have probable cause they are the residence. A search warrant is signed off on by a Magistrate or a Judge, though typically a Magistrate. You have to have probable cause to obtain a warrant.

No Knock warrants are typically served on those houses where knocking would cause evidence to be destroyed and/or greatly increases the risks to the police officers serving the warrants. Most of the time, if a no-knock warrant is served, it's for drugs. It would be great to be able to say, come out in a minute. But you can destroy a lot of stuff in a minute. Typically drug dealers have weapons, hence when there are a lot of drugs in a house, firearms are pretty much a given. Any police officer who believes there won't be a weapon on a drug search needs a new line of work because they will end up getting killed or getting someone else killed.

And search warrants (at least where I work) aren't served without at least a Sergeant signing off on it. I do agree with you that there should be punishment if someone totally screws up a warrant and gets the wrong house. If you lie at any time in trying to get the warrant, then you should be fired and/or thrown in jail. Most police officers don't have paramilitary gear. The SWAT team does and some smaller departments do. But in larger departments, most of your line officers only have a handgun and a shotgun in the car (if they are lucky).

And I actually am enjoying the fact we can have this discussion civilly. Sometimes emotions reign supreme in these discussions.

Anonymous said...

I am not trying to say police, firemen, EMTs, doctors, Nurses and our military are MORE important then anyone else and that includes the owners of hardware stores. I am defending them and putting their value in perspective. I think all people have the potential to contribute to community and the nation. But I also think it is worthwhile praising people when they deserve it and defending them when they need it. I happen to like little old ladies, young children (older children too) and I like our firemen, EMT's, police, doctors, nurses and military. I tear up when the national anthem is played and I get choked up when I see our military come home from deployment. I find it hard to be critical of a whole group of people for the sins of a few.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon 1:44 - It seems as though far too often, proper planning and rationale are not followed when the no knocks are conducted. While I want the police to be safe and protected, I want the same for citizens. It just seems that too often, the inclination is to come in in a paramilitary tactical mindset when it's not warranted.

And thanks to you as well for your insights. Very much appreciated.

Anon 6:50 - But I also think it is worthwhile praising people when they deserve it and defending them when they need it.

No argument there.

I find it hard to be critical of a whole group of people for the sins of a few.

I'm being critical of the system that has evolved. There is no rational reason to have so many armored tactical assault vehicles for a civilian setting. There is absolutely no justification to have drones flying over free American cities in the name of safety.

How can we possibly have laws either on the books or being drawn up that make it unlawful for citizens to video record police officers who are on duty? Yet we're told that when cities install video cameras to monitor citizen activity, we need to shut the hell up because there is no expectation of privacy while outdoors?

These are the things I'm criticizing.