Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quote for the Week

I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power to borrow money.

Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Video Response

J. Curtman posted a link to his great response in a comment to the original Harless video.  I'm embedding it below.

More on Officer Harless

Some of the internet chatter over the video of Officer Harless, which I posted here, has tried to paint this as an isolated incident and the reaction of an officer under a potential threat.

Unfortunately, that is not the only time Harless has gone primal at the sight of a gun. 

Here is another video:



Now, unlike readily apparent in the first stop, in this video, it would appear that the officer had reason to stop the vehicle.  None of that excuses his language or demeanor.  No matter the crime, there was no reason to insult the accused.

Also, how many times during incidents like this has his camera "malfunctioned" or otherwise failed to capture  incriminating behavior?  In those cases, as I mentioned before, it would be the officer's word against the accused.

Moreover, the Canton Police Department can no longer argue that the incident last month was an isolated incident.  Two documented instances cannot be distilled into one isolated incident.  Now, the police and council will either stand by his behavior (thus approving it), fire the officer (thus washing their hands of it), or prosecute him for the various crimes he commits on both videos (as they would have done to you and I had we been the ones acting like the officer).

Don't hold your breath.

Source

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mr. President, I Completely Agree!!

Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem.

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is ‘‘trillion’’ with a ‘‘T.’’ That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.

And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.

Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans—a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.

But we are not doing that. Despite repeated efforts by Senators CONRAD and FEINGOLD, the Senate continues to reject a return to the commonsense Pay-go rules that used to apply. Previously, Pay-go rules applied both to increases in mandatory spending and to tax cuts. The Senate had to abide by the commonsense budgeting principle of balancing expenses and revenues. Unfortunately, the principle was abandoned, and now the demands of budget discipline apply only to spending.

As a result, tax breaks have not been paid for by reductions in Federal spending, and thus the only way to pay for them has been to increase our deficit to historically high levels and borrow more and more money. Now we have to pay for those tax breaks plus the cost of borrowing for them. Instead of reducing the deficit, as some people claimed, the fiscal policies of this administration and its allies in Congress will add more than $600 million in debt for each of the next 5 years. That is why I will once again cosponsor the Pay-go amendment and continue to hope that my colleagues will return to a smart rule that has worked in the past and can work again.

Our debt also matters internationally. My friend, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, likes to remind us that it took 42 Presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just 5 years. Now, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from foreign countries. But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours.

Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘‘the buck stops here.’’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.

-Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Raising the Debt Limit
March 16, 2006

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bear With Me a Minute

I'm grateful to have a broad demographic of readers to this blog.  Some are friends and family, some are fellow bloggers and/or gun nuts, and some are people who have only a passing interest, if any, for firearms.  It's that last group of people I want to address today.

I'd like you to take the time and watch this video.  It's a bit long, but I think you'll find it worth the view.  What we have here is Canton, Ohio police officer Daniel Harless pulling behind William E. Bartlett, and beginning an interaction.

Please note, this video shows the two main characters as they interact.  Both Harless and Bartlett are armed.  One is acting reasonably, the other is clearly not.  This incident could have ended in a shooting, but not for the reasons you may imagine.  Further note:  please understand that the language is atrocious, as is the attitude.  Even if you are offended by this language, you really need to take the time and watch it. 



For those who believe only police officers should have guns, you need to reconsider.  Moreover, this is one officer who should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER wear a badge again.

Officer Harless, who has been suspended, was a police officer in Virginia for four years.  Over the last 11 years, there have been 16 complaints against him.  One of the incidents involved a failure to activate the dash-mounted camera.  I can only imagine the result in this case if the camera video would not have been available.  One man's word versus the officer's.  To their credit, the police department, and the police union, are distancing themselves from the incident.  City Council president Alan Schulman blames the incident on concealed weapon carriers and uses the incident to call for more control of guns.  As to what I and my gun have to do with this incident, I have no clue, but apparently, he will feel better once my rights are limited.

I am not police bashing.  I have relatives in the police force.  I have had the privilege (or misfortune, depending on the specifics) of interacting with more police officers than I care to count.  I have only had one instance (a story I may have to tell later) where the officers were less than professional.  In the last few encounters in recent memory, the fact that I was carrying a firearm occupied no more than a few seconds of the officers' time, unless the conversation revolved around guns in general.

Officers are human.  In this case, this human acted irresponsibly, and frighteningly irrationally.  To think that his badge somehow makes him safer around guns is ludicrous.

One final point, I really have not been able to read blogs this week, so if you have already posted this video, let me know and I'll post a link so that we can all join in the conversation.  This post is more for the benefit of those friends who don't read other gun blogs, so this is likely new to them.

H/T Ohio CCW

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quote for the Week

A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living. -Charles R. Swindoll

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gravity 2, Us 0

The men of our family continue to fight gravity, with limited success. I got a call from my brother during lunch yesterday. He was headed to the hospital to go see dad, who broke his leg.

Dad was working on a roof when the roof caved in. He landed fine, but three bundles of shingles fell on his thigh and broke his femur.

He's already had the surgery, picked up some extra screws, and should be out of the hospital by Monday.

The story could have been a lot worse, so we're thankful for how it turned out. I did tell dad that they do make these things called ladders, so perhaps he should use one next time.

Now the real test is for my mom. She's going to have to convince him that when the doctor says to rest, he means it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interesting

I'm in an bit of a hurry, and as usual, I forgot something.  I decide to duck into the local grocery store, grab what I need, and slip out, after paying, of course.

I'm open carrying.

I make it back to my vehicle when I notice an elderly woman sitting in the driver's seat of her car, her eyes red.  She looks lost.

I look at her and she looks up.  Her eyes catch a glimpse of the gun on my side.  For some reason, her face clears and she opens the door.

"Sir," she says, "My husband passed away recently and I've just been told by someone that my tags expire this month.  He always took care of everything and I'm not even sure what that means.  Can you help me?"

I walk her to the rear of her car, and I point out the stickers on her license plate.  Sure enough, they expire at the end of the month.  I give her directions to the nearest DMV and walk her through what she needs to do.  She goes on her way, as do I.

I couldn't quite figure out what was different about that encounter.  I guess that, as many people as walked past her, perhaps she only felt comfortable asking for help from the one with the gun.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quote for the Week

No matter what your religion, you should try to become a government program, for then you will have everlasting life.

Lynne Martin

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Places We've Never Been

1.  Wal-Mart #2313, Streetsboro, OH
2.  Wal-Mart #2540, Clarion, PA
3.  Toy's R Us #6015, Hobart, IN
4.  Macy's East #27, Merrillville, IN
5.  Wal-Mart #1618, Merrillville, IN
6.  Sam's Club #8174, Merrillville, IN
7.  Foot Locker #0729, Merrillville, IN

Why does this matter?  Because some knuckle-dragging, scum-sucking, worthless piece of wasted oxygen* has somehow gotten a hold of our debit card numbers and taken our money over the weekend.  Yes, we're only temporarily broke, and we'll get our money back soon enough.  And yet, I hope and pray you get caught.  Soon.

*Of course, I mean that in a good, Christian kind of way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Overheard on the Scanner

Dispatch:  Dispatch to 230

230:  This is 230, go ahead.

Dispatch:  Can you respond to a domestic assault in the second sector at 3413 Main Street?  It's been pending for a while and I have no first sector cars available.

230:  Sure, I'll take it.  I'm coming from [location about 20 minutes away].

Dispatch:  At this location, you have a 17 year-old male making unwanted sexual advances to a 13 year old and a 14 year old relative.

-o-o-o-o-

Let me get this right.  Someone calls because a 17 year old is making sexual advances to two young relatives.  The message has been pending at dispatch because there are no officers available in the sector.  Finally, dispatch decides to call in a car from another sector.  That officer is another 20 minutes away.

Yep, hang tight!  We'll be right there!

When seconds count, police are only minutes away.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quote for the Week

Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.

Albert Einstein

Friday, July 8, 2011

Caylee's Law

In the aftermath of the verdict in Florida, some legislators have decided that the remedy for those who commit crimes is to pass yet another law.  Since Casey Anthony did not report her daughter missing for over a month, they want to pass a law that makes it a felony if you fail to report a child missing after a certain period of time.

I understand the outrage at the jury's result.  I also understand the human need for "someone" to pay.  But, let's face it, there are times when no one pays at all.  It is a sad fact of humanity.  And in those instances, we should not automatically assume the only fix is to broaden the reach of the government so more people are caught up in the net.

Don't get me wrong.  I understand why people think this might be a good idea.  Although I have not seen the text of the law, what I understand of it seems benign.  However, do we really believe this law would have changed anything other than given her an additional felony conviction?  Would it have saved the child?  No.  Would it have caused one single moment of pause in the mother's mind?  No.  So, in effect, we are passing a law that many know will have no deterrent effect, but we do it just because we can pile on after a verdict we don't like.  It is simply an emotional response to a current event.  That is not how law should be made.

Instead of automatically giving the government more power to control us, how about forcing the prosecutor to put on a better case.  The only acceptable result after this case is for the prosecution team (attorneys, police, investigators, etc...) to return to their offices and figure out how to be so good at what they do that this does not happen again.

That, in turn, will create a better society for all.  That's something one more law will never do.


H/T To Kevin Smith at Ace Law Letter, who made me think.  On a Friday, no less.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony Verdict

It's been interesting to me to listen, read, and watch the reactions to the Casey Anthony verdict.  Everyone, from the casual observer, to the court news junkie, has an opinion.

Regardless of your opinion of the result, there are several things to take away from this.

1.  We have a flawed legal system, no doubt.  And yet, it is the best in the world.  If I am ever in a situation where I have to personally confront the legal system, there is no other country in the world I'd rather it be.

2.  You have to hand it to the defense attorneys.  They had a difficult case, a client absolutely hated by the public, a heinous crime, and yet, they were able to pull it off.

3.  The legal standard to keep in mind is "reasonable doubt."  The defense does not have to prove that the defendant did not do it.  They only have to show that there is some doubt, some reasonable doubt, that the defendant did it.  The prosecution has to prove the case to a very high standard, such that by the time the prosecution is done, the jury sees there is no reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty.  Yes, I know that we're talking about a mushy, subjective standard, but that's the system we have.

4.  Let's face it, the only reason people are upset with the verdict is because they don't agree with it.  I'm not sure, were I ever charged with a crime, that I would want the public at large to decide my fate.  In some places they call that an angry mob. 

5.  Finally, remember another side effect of this trial.  Every time a supposed guilty person goes free (then again, if a jury says they're not guilty, are they? Doesn't the same hold true if they were to find her guilty) the prosecution has learned a valuable lesson.  They have been beat back, and in this case, publicly.  The idea is that the next time they bring a charge, they will be that much more prepared.  The next time the police question a suspect, they should be that much more careful.  The next time the evidence technicians process a scene, they will take that much more care. 

That's the way the system is supposed to work.  Whether we like it or not.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Conversations at Home

Daughter:  Daddy, can I buy a machine gun?

Dad:  Can you afford it?

Guest:  That's an odd conversation.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o

Hope you had a great time celebrating our Independence!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Quote for the Week

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776