The Bookworm Beat (10/24/14) — Friday’s New York “E-bowling” wrap up

Woman writingMy friend Sally Zelikovsky came up with the pun about a new sport called “E-bowling” after word emerged that the New York physician, who was ostensibly “self-isolating” himself, actually trawled all over the New York, using subways and Uber, to engage in activities ranging from dining out to bowling. I laughed when I read her pun, but I can’t escape the feeling that the real sport here is the game that our government playing with the American people’s health and well-being.

What stops shooters is guns

Those assembled in the Canadian responded appropriately when Kevin Vickers appeared before him: They applauded long and hard for the man who brought a shooter down with a single shot:

There was another shooting today, in a Washington state high school. A 15-year-old managed to kill one girl and wound several others before a bullet stopped him too — in this case, the bullet was self-inflicted.

My son, ruminating on the Seattle school shooting, and still a little shaken by the false-alarm lock-down in his own school, said to me, “I’m not afraid of being shot. What makes me crazy is the feeling of helplessness.” I agreed, pointing out that, even at his school, where everyone is unarmed, their teachers, who genuinely believed a shooter was on campus, fought against that helplessness by improvising weapons made out of whatever projectiles they had in their class.

Shooters who kill for pleasure or to score political/terrorism points, always go where there are helpless victims. They won’t achieve any of their calculated, sick, and/or sadistic goals if people have the capacity to defend themselves.

What stops these shooters is gunshots.  Sometimes the gunshots come from third parties (usually police who arrive had the scene long after the shooter has gotten a good run for his money).  Such was the case in Austin, Texas (“As Martinez fired, McCoy jumped to the right of Martinez and fired two fatal shots of 00-buckshot with his 12-gauge shotgun, hitting Whitman [the killer] in the head, neck and left side.”); Salt Lake City, Utah (“When Talović turned around and aimed his shotgun towards the team, Scharman and Olsen fired again and killed him. Talović’s body was later found to have been struck a total of 15 times by bullets fired by police.”); Santa Monica, California (“He was fatally shot by officers inside the library and then brought outside where he died.”); and Isla Vista, California (“Rodger was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head; police said he had apparently committed suicide.”).

And sometimes, if the police are pressing in on the killer, or he’s run out of ammunition, the killers use their own bullets on themselves.  We saw this in downtown San Francisco (“The attack continued on several floors before Ferri committed suicide as San Francisco Police closed in.”); in Columbine, Colorado (“Both had committed suicide: Harris by firing his shotgun through the roof of his mouth; Klebold by shooting himself in the left temple with his TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun.”); in Newtown, Connecticut (“The police heard the final shot at 9:40:03 a.m, and believe that it was Lanza shooting himself in the lower rear portion of his head with the Glock 20SF in classroom 10.”); and, today, in Marysville, Washington (“Fryberg, 15 a freshman at the school, died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said”.)

It’s a great irony — and an untenable one for Leftists — but the only thing that stops a shooter, whether he’s crazy, a criminal, or a terrorist, is a gun. The reality that Leftists don’t want to accept is that, until we have 100% certainty that no bad guys currently have or ever will have guns, we are safest when, in a moral society, lots of other people — good and moral people — are armed.  Since that certainty can never be achieved (absent, perhaps, the Barnhouse effect), the safest society is the one in which people of good will carry guns.  By the way, Chicago is a perfect example of what happens when only the bad guys, the ones without any decency or moral compass, have guns.

Let’s make sure the cops aren’t the only ones with guns

There’s nothing in the Constitution that says only police officers may have guns. Indeed, the Second Amendment sees the right to bear arms as one inherent in every individual. This is a good thing and all people should do everything they can to make sure that police don’t become our overlords.

I don’t have any particular bone to pick with police. I appreciate that there are people who are willing to go into often dangerous and often disgusting situations to help make our communities better. I do, however, have a very big bone to pick with police who have become so flush with power that they no longer think they’re the public’s servants but, instead, think that they’re the public’s overlords. Kevin D. Williamson details some appalling examples of instances in which police (with the whole criminal justice system backing them up) got confused about their place in the hierarchy.

The problem isn’t just that the police SWAT some houses here and there, without any citizen recourse.  There’s a much broader downstream problem because of the police’s unfettered strength.  As Williamson notes, the police, like all bullies, go for the easy targets — and in America, those easy targets are law-abiding citizens:

The strange flip-side — the second half of Samuel Francis’s “anarcho-tyranny” — is that the brunt of government abuse falls on the law-abiding. Illinois, for example, makes it difficult for an ordinary citizen to legally carry a gun for self defense — up until a couple of years ago, doing so was categorically prohibited. But Illinois police seize thousands of illegal guns from criminals each year, and the state prosecutes practically none of those weapons cases. The law-abiding — by definition law-abiding — citizens applying for concealed-carry permits get treated like criminals, and the actual criminals do not. If you follow the law and inform Illinois authorities that you have a gun in the home, you invite all sorts of intrusion and oversight. If you don’t, nobody’s really looking. Meanwhile, the streets of Chicago are full of blood, going on 1,600 shootings this year and it’s not even Halloween. Nobody is held responsible for that carnage, but if you put an eleventh round in your legally owned rifle in Oak Park, you’re looking at jail time.

Frank Serpico (yes, the real Serpico) has an article out about the appalling corruption in New York when he was a young cop, about the fact that he is still a pariah amongst New York cops, and about the fact that this corruption continues today, with out-of-control police.

What’s different now from Serpico’s time is that the police don’t even have to bother to pal up with the criminals to get cash.  Thanks to seizure laws, the police can be the criminals, shaking people down for all the money they’ve got.  Already a decade ago I was working on cases about civil forfeiture laws that enabled federal and state police to seize cash, cars, jewelry, homes, and anything else that was valuable with impunity just upon suspicion of certain crimes.  Worse, because the money raised this way goes into local, state, or federal bank accounts, judges went along with these seizures because they get paid out of the same pot.  At long last, though, the MSM may be catching up with this particular abuse of power.

The “Allahu Akbar”-ness of the hatchet swinger in New York

Turning to those honorable police who are in the front line between citizens and criminals, I haven’t had the chance to see how the media is playing the case of Zale H. Thompson, the man who used a hatchet to attack four police officers in Queens, slashing one officer’s arm and giving the other a terrible head wound before he was shot dead by two other officers. (You see, guns not only stop shooters, they also stop hatchet wielders.) I’m willing to bet, though, that the media will try to distance itself from Thompson’s Facebook page, which is a veritable treasure trove of fealty Allah and jihad. Fortunately, Zombie is paying attention, and captured the images for posterity.

There are common threads to all mass shooters or random attackers:

Class 1, which seems to be the smallest class, is composed of people who are genuinely and completely disconnected from any semblance of reality. They’re out there killing because they’ve received a message from Zomblot of the Planet Xdafjsiokd, and that message is to kill all glowing pink rocks . . . and you, clearly, are one of those rocks.

Class 2, which often shows up in schools, is young, male, either a Democrat or from a Democrat home, with divorced parents or a completely absent father, and using psychotropic drugs of one type or another.

Class 3, which the media claims is as fictional as the Loch Ness monster, is the one the rest of us are seeing all over the place, on every continent except for Antarctica: He’s male, probably young (no older than his late 30s), Muslim (either by birth or conversion), and he’s utterly fascinated by jihad, so much so that his attacks are often accompanied by the cry of “Allahu Akbar.”

In all cases, gun control works to the attacker’s advantage, because he has the pleasant sensation of aiming at fish in a barrel, none of whom are equipped to fight back.

The vicious misogyny of the American left

I have to admit that I paid very little attention to the screaming headlines about the alleged Palin family brawl. There’s nothing new about the MSM salivating over any story, true or not, that casts a negative light on a woman who was a vice-presidential candidate six years ago and who, since then, has taken up permanent residence in Leftist heads.

By ignoring the Palin brawl story, though, I missed the real story, which is the vicious, gleeful misogyny that so-called “feminists” display when it comes to Palin women. You see, it turns out that Bristol Palin was, in fact, quite brutally attacked. CNN anchor Carol Costello, who routinely takes up the feminist flag for stories about girl-friend beating in the NFL, reacted with unseemly joy when she had the opportunity to share with her viewers the footage of Bristol Palin’s tearful recounting of a man’s violent attack against her:

“Sit back and enjoy!” Costello exclaimed as she introduced her audience recently to the audio in which Bristol Palin recounts how she was attacked. “You’ll want to hear what she told cops about how it all started.”

Costello also confided in her audience that she had a “favorite part” of the audio which could later become courtroom evidence. Ghoulish.

Charles C. W. Cooke, who freely admits to disliking Palin as a political candidate, wrote a splendid attack against the media’s passion for Palin pain, not to mention the double standard that sees a media blackout when Vice President Joe Biden’s progeny engage in disgraceful and illegal activity:

To take potshots at clownish figures such as Lena Dunham, we have learned, is to invite indignant death threats. And yet, when a veritable legion of male comedians elects to use foul, carnal, and, yes, “gendered” language to dismiss Palin and her family, our contemporary Boudiceas shrug at best and offer endorsements at worst. Sarah Palin, as the abominable bumper sticker has it, “isn’t a woman, she’s a Republican.”

[snip]

If it is a sign of poor “judgment” to choose as veep someone whose children are a mess, why does Joe Biden get a pass for the conduct of his son, Hunter, who was kicked out of the Navy Reserve for having been discovered using cocaine?

Breaking my usual rule of keeping National Review off my real-me Facebook page (because Leftists would never dream of reading it), I posted Charles Cooke’s post there, along with a comment to the effect that disliking Sarah Palin cannot justify laughing at a brutal physical attack on her child. The response from my Leftist friends was predictable. Since they couldn’t possibly say anything to exonerate this misogyny, they were completely silent.

For more examples of MSM glee in a woman’s brutal assault, check out Ashe Schow’s round-up.

And the vicious misogyny of the Muslim Middle East

This video’s been kicking around for a while, but I only saw it today. It shows a Saudi family hanging an Ethiopian maid up by her heels and beating her with a bat, like a living, breathing pinata. I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure I heard some of the people assembled to watch this beating laughing as the maid screamed in agony.

The CDC has admitted that the immigrant flood correlates to measles outbreaks

The MSM doesn’t want you to know this, but conservative news outlets are reporting that the CDC has conceded that there’s definitely a correlation between the illegal Central American immigrants that the Obama administration shipped all over the country without pausing for silly little stuff like quarantines and new measles cases. Other diseases are also following in the illegal immigrants’ tracks:

Measles, respiratory illness, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases continue as a prime concern for the millions of Americans conflicted about the perpetual arrivals of illegal immigrants pouring into the country. While some diseases have emerged from the Philippines, Africa, Asia and Europe, the unprecedented amount of undocumented aliens is a major issue.

Even Hollywood is taking notice as actress Tori Spelling was reportedly admitted and placed in quarantine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California Monday for respiratory concerns that some media say could be Enterovirus related.

Hospitals throughout America are reporting record breaking numbers as their emergency rooms are overwhelmed beyond capacity. Figures as of October 20, 2014 show the largest reported cases of these mystery illnesses included over 4,300 children at Children’s Hospital Colorado. In just one day 540 children visited the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and 340 cases were reported by a Mobile, Alabama children’s hospital. Many hospitals have ceased admitting children temporarily as they determine ways to deal with the outbreaks.

Medical labs testing confirm many of these cases are Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). The Obama Administration has been working overtime to keep the reporting and narrative away from blaming the ongoing illegal and undocumented immigrant invasion into the country. Media reports show at least eight known deaths from EV-D68 in the U.S. in 2014.

Perhaps the White House doesn’t want Americans to know that out of over 70,000 illegal immigrant children who crossed into the U.S. almost 48,000 came from Honduras, Guatemala and Salvador. In these countries measles and the EV-D68 virus are quite common. If we include these children’s family and friends, not listed an “unaccompanied,” over a quarter of a million people from Central and South America have entered the U.S. illegally this year.

Incidentally, eight people have now died from the Enterovirus.

The American medical establishment may be way too complacent about Ebola

We expect the Obama government to tell us that everything is under control when it comes to Ebola. Yeah, sure, if “under control” looks like this:

Meanwhile, even as some doctors are also insisting that our medical system is more than capable of handling and isolating Ebola cases, never mind the possible “E-bowling” habits of infected people, one doctor, who started working in Russia and then came here (and became a Republican), is not so sanguine. He thinks that the medical establishment is grossly underestimating the demands more than 20 Ebola cases would have on our medical system:

When the kidneys no longer work, we start patients on dialysis but how do you safely do it while caring for a patient with Ebola. The answer is you don’t.

The only facilities that could attempt something like this are BL4 isolation wards where the staff practice such techniques while wearing spacesuits. They have dedicated machines that are separated from the other hospital patients. There are only 4 such facilities in the country and the number of such beds is around 20; that is all there is, for the entire country.

Read the rest here. (Hat tip: Wolf Howling, who is on hiatus from blogging)

When it comes to Ebola research, the irony is so thick you can taste it

A lot of conservatives have been pointing out that part of our problem with Ebola is that the CDC has been so busy spending money on trendy things that it’s had little left for old-fashioned epidemic disease control. In other words, it’s been focusing on salt in diets, obesity, and cigarettes to the exclusion of just about everything else.

Here’s the irony: to the extent that the CDC was able to squeeze in a little actual contagious disease research alongside all its trendy lifestyle work, it did so because of . . . Dick Cheney. Bloomberg explains.

We may start changing our minds about working or partying when sick

When I was a little girl — well, actually even through high school — when I got sick, my mother kept me home. She did so because when she was growing up it was considered extremely rude to spread the cold or flu amongst your classmates, colleagues, and social group.

The results of my mom’s policy were two-fold. First, I started malingering because all I had to do to miss school was say “I don’t feel good.” Second, between real and faked illnesses, I missed way too much school, which affected my grades. It was only when I was in college and beyond that I figured out that, whether at school or at work, unless I was actually keeling over, staying at home would hurt my grades or my career too much.

When my kids were little, I sent them to school when they had colds because keeping them home until the sniffles ended would have meant keeping them home for weeks. All the other moms did the same, and that was fine. Obviously, if the kids had fevers, or vomiting, or diarrhea, things would have been different. But for colds and general yuckiness . . . school it was for the kids (and work for the parents).

During all those elementary school years, none of the kids got terribly sick, and all of us felt that we were doing the appropriate thing by giving our kids’ immune systems a work-out. In addition, because the kids brought everything home, we parents gave our own immune systems a work-out too. Once my kids hit middle school, all of us pretty much stopped getting sick.

What I’m working up to is the fact that, in America, going out into the world when you’re a bit sick means you don’t miss important things and you buff up your immune system. Certainly, no one dies. And really, that’s always been the big difference between my generation and my mother’s generation. In Mom’s time, when people, including kids, got sick, some of them died. They got polio (in America), and measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, and scarlet fever. Getting a cold could mean pneumonia and, in a pre-antibiotic era, pneumonia could mean death. The risks of illness were so high they outweighed any potential benefits from attending more school or work.

I mention all this because a Russian-born writer, looking at the E-bowling document in New York, is asking why Americans go to school, and work, and social activities when sick. The answer is that, right up until this disease summer, the downsides were limited and the upsides were huge. I foresee things changing….

Charles Krauthammer says something wonderful about Obama’s bystander presidency

For those of us who have been paying attention, there’s nothing new in Charles Krauthammer’s most recent article about the fact that Obama seems to be a bystander to his own presidency. We know that Obama is always more surprised and then more angry than anyone else, as if the endless management failures during his administration aren’t his fault.  If he was a good manager, these things wouldn’t happen.  But if he was even a manager who just showed up for work every day, at least he wouldn’t be surprised and the one he would be angry at would be himself.

What’s new is this exquisite paragraph that Krauthammer wrote (bolded emphasis mine):

The one scandal where you could credit the president with genuine anger and obliviousness involves the recent breaches of White House Secret Service protection. The Washington Post described the first lady and president as “angry and upset,” and no doubt they were. But the first Secret Service scandal — the hookers of Cartagena — evinced this from the president: “If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry.” An innovation in ostentatious distancing: future conditional indignation.

John Kerry is the rotten fish head at the top of the State Department hierarchy

Hillary was bad; Kerry is worse. (I haven’t forgotten Hillary’s role in the deaths of the Benghazi four. I’m just talking general about her role as leader of the State Department.) Just as a fish rots from the head down, the State Department under Kerry has gone from vaguely hostile to Israel to actively hostile to Israel. Moreover, working in tandem with the rest of the anti-Israel Obama administration, this active hostility is resulting in severe damage to Israel, which is America’s long-standing, most reliable ally in the Middle East — not to mention the only truly free country in that dark, bloodied, benighted region.

John Hinderaker catches Rob Stein, founder of Democracy Now, speaking the truth about power

The Left is always nattering on about “speaking truth to power.” What’s incredibly rare is to catch one of them speaking the truth about power. Rob Stein, however, did do so. I won’t spoil the surprise of this rare burst of honesty. You need to follow this link.

When it comes to Michael Brown’s family, you can’t make these things up

Even before Drudge latched on to it, Joshua Pundit caught the fact that Michael Brown’s family — the one in Ferguson — has come to blows about which family members have the right to milk his death for cash.

Natural selection and vegetarians

I’ve always known that, if you examine a human’s teeth, digestion, and overall health, it’s very clear that we humans are biologically programmed to have meat as part of our diet. What we know now too is that, when it comes to men, the downsides of vegetarianism hit even closer to home.

Meryl Streep to bring Florence Foster Jenkins to the screen

I’ve posted here before about Florence Foster Jenkins, the fabulously wealthy opera aficionado who booked herself into Carnegie hall to share her tuneless, aimless arias with the world. Meryl Streep has been tapped to play Jenkins in some sort of biopic. Little is known about the proposed movie, but I actually think this is a perfect movie for Streep. Because Jenkins lived in pre-media era, Streep will have to be an actress, not just a mimic, and she’s always at her best when she stops parroting other people’s mannerisms and just acts.

San Francisco in her pre-modern heyday

Fred Lyon, a native San Franciscan and professional photographer, loves to take pictures of his home town. The results can be seen at his website and, when it comes to pictures of San Francisco in the 1940s and 1950s, his work is spectacular. Whether one loves the City that once was, as I do, or simply enjoys beautiful black-and-white photography, this is an album that’s worth checking out.

Nature’s colorful bounty

You’ve probably seen most of these pictures before, but they’re so lovely, I wanted to share with you a post that puts all of them together in one place.

An update on the story about the liberal mugged by reality, plus news about shoddy police tactics

I wrote a few days ago about my liberal friend who was shocked by the way the judicial system treated a friend of hers who got arrested for allegedly doing a bad thing.  I have absolutely no idea whether the guy is guilty or innocent.  This post posits all three possibilities.

The guy ended up being charged with 21 counts, many of them duplicative, and all of them carrying very high minimum sentences.  He will almost certainly plea bargain.

If he’s guilty, a plea may be a good deal for him.

If he did what he is alleged to have done, but there are extenuating circumstances, that’s irrelevant in terms of deciding the risk of going to trial.  The moment a jury concludes that he committed the acts, he’s done for.  So again, a plea bargain is the way to go.

And then there’s the question of whether he’s innocent.  By charging him with 21 acts, the prosecutor, by bringing 21 counts against him, has already sent a signal to the jury that this is a “bad” man.  The legal presumption may be innocent until proven guilty, but a jury will almost certainly think “Boy, that’s a lot of smoke.  How about if we just convict him on one of the charges?”  The jurors won’t know, of course, that just one of those charges can mean decades in jail.  So again, the best bet for the guy is to plead out.

So think about that for a moment — we have created a judicial system where a person, whether guilty, innocent, or with a good excuse, begs to go to jail rather than to face the stacked deck in court.

But there’s more to it than that: This system encourages lousy police work, because the police know that they probably won’t be called upon to answer for it before a judge and jury.  Police are rational and they are overworked.  Even the best and most decent of them will eventually fall down the slippery slope of dangerously careless policing.

Did I say dangerous?  I meant it.  Please read this post by my friend Mike McDaniel (whose home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor).  It describes the terrible outcome of the kind of shoddy police work that our judicial system actively encourages.

A friend gets a hard lesson about the “liberal” police state

I was quite tired yesterday when I read something interesting.  Having read it, I jotted down an idea for blogging about it.  That note says “loving the individual versus loving the system.”  I then went to bed.  Today, I’ve spent the last several hours trying to remember what I read and what my cryptic little note meant.

Quite obviously, of course, the note refers to the difference between true conservatives, who believe in individualism, and Leftists of every type who speak of the individual, but only as a prop to justify state power.  The problem is that I’ve said this multiple times before at this blog.  What was new and exciting to me was something that I read that more perfectly illustrated the difference between conservative and statist.  I suspect that whatever that interesting trigger was, it’s gone forever, which is too bad.

However, having that thought in my mind did come in handy today when I got a call from a friend.  Someone she knows got arrested on the charge of doing something very bad.  He and his family don’t have much money, so they cannot afford a good lawyer.  Instead, he will get a pro bono public defender pulled from a pool of available attorneys — which means it’s very hit and miss whether the attorney has the actual skills to represent him.  The multiple charges against him carry automatic and lengthy prison terms — in other words, mitigating circumstances are not allowed.  I don’t know whether this person did what the police say he did but I do know that, if he actually did do what was alleged, there are actually mitigating circumstances.

But here’s the deal:  Because of the mandatory sentencing, his pro bono lawyer has already told him to plea bargain.  A trial is just too risky, because the outcome is binary — you win or you go to jail forever — and the attorney isn’t good enough to raise a reasonable challenge to the state’s charges.  That means that, even if this guy is innocent or there are extenuating circumstances, the risk of having his day in court is so great that the system is forcing him to spend the next decade or more in prison.

This is profoundly undemocratic.  We are guaranteed under the constitution a right to a fair and speedy trial, but the system is designed so that people have no incentive to take advantage of that inherent right.  The problem isn’t even as simple as rich defendants versus poor defendants.  It’s the fact that prosecutors layer on as many charges as possible, regardless of their validity, simply to force a plea bargain.  Rich people can hold out longer, but ultimately prosecutorial overreach is a “get into jail very not free” card.

My friend, who is heartbroken, was fulminating about the “police state.”  I agree.  I don’t blame individual police officers or even individual prosecutors (many of whom I count as my friends in the legal world).  They are operating in a system that cedes them greater and greater power, and with power inevitably follows corruption.  This is especially true when there are no checks on that power.

I see this increased power flowing not from the conservatives, who are normally considered law and order types, but from the statists, who are control freaks.  An inevitable byproduct of a control-freak is increased enforcement.  That is, control is meaningless unless you have the brute force to effectuate it.

Put another way, conservatives expect people to behave well.  Rather than micro-managing that behavior, they would like our institutions to teach good behavior as a moral, not a police, imperative.  Think about it this way:  If you remove God from the equation, the Ten Commandments are still a perfect list of core moral behaviors that lead to societal cooperation:

Exodus 20:1-17

Then God said all these words: “I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.

Commandment 1
“You are to have no other gods before me.

Commandment 2
You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline. You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, ADONAI your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.

Commandment 3
“You are not to use lightly the name of ADONAI your God, because ADONAI will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.

Commandment 4
“Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. You have six days to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat for ADONAI your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work -not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the for eigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. For in six days, ADONAI made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why ADONAI blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.

Commandment 5
“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which ADONAI your God is giving you.

Commandment 6
“Do not murder.

Commandment 7
“Do not commit adultery.

Commandment 8
“Do not steal.

Commandment 9
“Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.

Commandment 10
“Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

People who willingly abide by these rules are good citizens.  Conservatives do not believe that they are perfect, but that they will err on the side of decency and morality.  The problem, of course, is that without God as the  ultimate, albeit abstract enforcer (which is the case with statists who will not cede any micromanagement even to God), you’re left with nothing put police power to carry out your increasingly petty and overreaching decrees.

Since there are no big rules, there can only be thousands and tens of thousands of petty little rules.  And petty little rules need an awful lot of law enforcement.  And a lot of law enforcement means a vast concentration of power centered on policing.  It also means an overwhelmed prison system that incentivizes going to jail rather than presenting your case.

What was fascinating was that my friend, in the midst of her unhappiness, had an epiphany:  Sen.  Dianne Feinstein is one of the leading lights of state power.  It’s true.  The minatory, bossy, arrogant Feinstein is certain that she knows everything better than you.  She goes about armed or with guards, but she knows that you’re too stupid to be armed.  Or if you are allowed to be armed, she knows which gun you should use and how many bullets it will take for you to defend yourself.  She knows what you should be paid for your work, she knows how much of your income the government can spend better than you, and she knows that it’s up to her to control even the minutest details of your life.

My friend, though, hasn’t quite connected all the dots.  After fingering DiFi as the living embodiment of Big Government, my friend said, in a bewildered voice, “I don’t understand how she could have come out of San Francisco.”

I’m not shy.  I told my friend that SF is the perfect DiFi breeding ground.  Take away San Francisco’s endless tolerance for public nudity and gay sex, and you reveal a City government with pure tyrannical instincts.  The Board of Stupidvisors micromanages the city in every way possible and has since the Leftist takeover in the 1960s.  Here are just a few examples, which appear in posts I’ve written over the years:

San Francisco: America’s homegrown anarchic totalitarianism

San Francisco mulls expanding gay rights program at expense of academic programs *UPDATED*

The politics of City budgets in liberal cities *UPDATED*

Socialist governments just LOVE to control food

We’ll spend your money no matter what

American taxpayers officially on the hook for a 1.7 mile tunnel in SF

Life for the law-abiding in San Francisco

You get what you pay for with city government

Only in SF is JROTC a “controversial” program

Dealing with government bureaucracies

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad, nude world — if you live in San Francisco

The streets of San Francisco (or, this is Nancy Pelosi’s city)

San Francisco’s pro-tenant laws and ethos drive up the cost of renting

Life in an increasingly fascist city — what San Francisco’s plastic bag ban means

Pro-Life versus Get-A-Life

This definitely wasn’t the post I intended to write, but it will have to do.

The “shoot to wound” proposal in New York

When I was in law school, one of my classmates was a lovely man who had decided to go to law school after several years as a police officer in Oklahoma.  I forget the context of our conversation, but he once told me that, in law enforcement, you never shoot to wound.  Shooting is binary.  Either you don’t need to shoot at all, or if you need to shoot, the only way to ensure a safe outcome for both officer and innocent bystanders is to shoot to kill.  In other words, by the time you’re firing, the time for some hypothetical “shoot to wound” has already passed.  As part of that point, my friend told me that, unless you’re a sharpshooter, in a chaotic, adrenalin filled situation, you can’t shoot for delicate targets such as a hand, foot or knee.  You go for the big target — the torso — or the second biggest target — the head, and then you shoot to kill.

Despite his long, long years as a lawyer, I have no doubt that my friend is shocked and horrified, as are New York cops, at the new rule the Legislature is mulling over, one that requires them to shoot to wound:

City cops are livid over a legislative proposal that could handcuff the brave officers involved in life-and-death confrontations every day — requiring them to shoot gun-wielding suspects in the arm or leg rather than shoot to kill, The Post has learned.

The “minimum force” bill, which surfaced in the Assembly last week, seeks to amend the state penal codes’ “justification” clause that allows an officer the right to kill a thug if he feels his life or someone else’s is in imminent danger.

The bill — drafted in the wake of Sean Bell’s controversial police shooting death — would force officers to use their weapons “with the intent to stop, rather than kill” a suspect. They would be mandated to “shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg.”

Under present NYPD training, cops are taught to shoot at the center of their target and fire their weapon until the threat has been stopped.

“These are split-second, spontaneous events — and officers have to make a full assessment in a fraction of a second,” said an angry Michael Paladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association. “It is not realistic, and it exists only in cartoons.

“It’s moronic and would create two sets of rules in the streets if there is a gunfight. This legislation would require officers to literally shoot the gun out of someone’s hand or shoot to wound them in the leg or arm. I don’t know of any criminal who doesn’t shoot to kill. They are not bound by any restrictions.”

Read the rest here.

This one is right up there with the medal the military is contemplating for courageous restraint — an honor, Rush Limbaugh says, correctly, will surely be awarded only posthumously.

Is there anyone else out there who thinks it utterly insane that we, as a society, blithely assume that our troops and police should take all of the risks on our behalf, while we systematically strip them of their right to defend themselves against the bad guys?  Oh, wait.  Of course it makes sense.  I’m just looking at this whole thing wrong.  If you’re a Progressive, the troops and police are the bad guys.  It’s the ones on the receiving end of the evil cop and evil American soldier guns who are poor, misunderstood victims of the man, of America, of white imperialism, etc., and it’s only right and proper that they have the upper hand in any engagement.

Feh!

Sanity returns (at least temporarily) in Chicago

I blogged yesterday about law enforcement run amok, in connection with the decision to prosecute a mother who left a sleeping child in the car, while she walked a few feet away — something every mother in the world has done. As you may recall, I was quite heated in expounding upon the idiocy of a system that would terrorize a good citizen in this way. I suspect I wasn’t the only one generating heat, because Chicago’s prosecutors abruptly decided to drop the charges against Treffly Coyne:

Charges will be dropped against a woman who briefly left her 2-year- old daughter alone in the car to take her two older daughters to pour coins into a Salvation Army kettle, prosecutors said Thursday.

The woman, Treffly Coyne, was charged with misdemeanor child endangerment and obstructing a peace officer after a Crestwood police officer spotted her sleeping daughter alone in the vehicle Dec. 8. The mother claimed she was close by at all times and was gone for just minutes.

Coyne’s trial was supposed to begin Thursday, but prosecutors could not meet the burden of proof and decided to drop the charges, Cook County State’s Attorney spokesman John Gorman said.

Her husband reacted with relief and anger. If convicted, his wife faced up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500.

“We shouldn’t have had to fight this long and this hard when my wife never did anything wrong,” said Timothy Janecyk. The planned dismissal of the charges “only shows they tore my family apart for no reason.”

Coyne, who was arrested in a loading zone near the entrance of a Wal- Mart store, contended 2-year-old Phoebe, who was sleeping, was safe inside the car after she locked it, activated the alarm system and turned on the emergency flashers.

She said she was never more than 30 feet from the vehicle, did not step inside the store and was gone for only minutes. And her attorney said because the car was always in sight, Coyne’s daughter never was unattended.

Crestwood Police Chief Timothy Sulikowski said he disagreed with prosecutors’ decision.

“We stand by the actions of our officers that night and they were looking out for the best interests of the child,” he said.

Sulikowski said that while police were obligated to report the case to the state’s child welfare agency, Coyne would not have been arrested had she cooperated and not refused to give them basic information, including the child’s name.

“By not providing us with that information and the information of her child, at that point we don’t know that that child is hers. We don’t know if that child has been listed as a kidnapped child or a missing child,” he said. “Absolutely, she forced this.”

Coyne has acknowledged that she did not tell the officers her child’s name after she called her husband on her cell phone and he told her not to say anything until he arrived. She said she was afraid and only wanted to wait for her husband, but police arrested her before he did.

I trust that you’ve figured out by now that this harassment against Treffly was because she didn’t immediately give the police the investigation they demanded. I’m extremely supportive of police, and I fully appreciate how difficult and dangerous their job is. But to harass a mother like this, to threaten her with the loss of her children, because she fell silent, is a horrific act of police ego and overreach, which was then, not only rubber-stamped, but enthusiastically endorsed by the entire Cook County political and prosecutorial system.  Shame on all of them.
And now I have only one last question: what kind of name is Treffly?

How New York should handle Ahmadinejad’s proposed visit to Ground Zero

Much cyber-ink was spilled today about Ahmadinejad’s insistence that he visit Ground Zero. The upset, of course, was that we knew he wanted to go there, not to mourn, but to gloat. As it is, the matter was a tempest in a teapot, since his request was denied.  (But see the update, below.)

Next time the matter arises, though (and it will), I do have a suggestion for how to handle the visit. My idea comes from a story I heard about Teddy Roosevelt’s tenure as president of the board of New York City Police Commissioners. I don’t know if it’s a true story or not, but if it isn’t, it should be.

The story goes that, while Teddy occupied this position, a famous German anti-Semite came to speak in New York. Because he was such an incendiary speaker, and because he was journeying to a City that already had a huge Jewish population, the German man demanded police protection. Despite the outcry from people who would rather have seen the man stopped at the border, or left to his own devices on New York’s hostile streets, Teddy agreed to the man’s request. The German and his followers were convinced they had emerged victorious, until the morning when the German’s police protection appeared. It turned out that each of the armed men surrounding him was a Jewish police officer. The story ends there, but one has to assume that the man spent his entire visit haunted by the fear that, if someone were to attack him, his guard would be slow, very slow, to protect him.

So, perhaps, if Bloomberg eventually feels compelled to allow Ahmadinejad to visit the site, the mayor should make sure the assembled guard is composed of Jewish police officers or officers who are refugees from the Iranian revolution.

UPDATE: Whoops. Seems it’s back on again, so apparently my idea is still in play. Anyone in government listening?

Second guessing cops

I’ve taken a news story and put the facts in a different order.  The story essentially starts with the last point, and organizes the facts based on that point.  I’ve put the last point last, because it’s an after-the-fact conclusion that should not color the report.  I wonder if you’ll agree with my understand of the facts, and think that, at the very least, the reporter got ahead of himself with his upfront conclusion. 

What police knew:

[Richard] Desantis, who lived with his wife and two young children in a Santa Rosa, had fired about 10 pistol rounds into the ceiling of his home before Santa Rosa police officers showed up at his door at about 1:19 a.m.

***

Desantis’ wife, Patricia, had called the county’s 911 dispatch center and asked for help, saying that her husband had fired shots into the attic with his handgun because he thought he heard strangers’ voices. She said her husband was bipolar, and had stopped taking his medication.

Minutes later, police officers arrived and found the couple in the driveway — along with two young children.

Police said Desantis’ wife was holding her 2-year-old girl in her arms and yelling at the officers that this was a mental health problem. Officers ordered Richard Desantis to the ground.

***

Police investigators said Desantis also used methamphetamine.

***

According to the police, Soares used a nonlethal weapon to fire a 3-inch-long plastic projectile at Desantis’ lower body to stop his assault. The projectile apparently broke Desantis’ arm, but he continued charging at three of the officers. Celli, Mann and Menke each fired one round. Two bullets struck Desantis in the torso, stopping his advance.

An ambulance crew said Desantis was dead at the scene. Detectives later recovered one rifle and two handguns from inside the home, including the one used to shoot into the ceiling.  

What police may or may not have known:

“She had disarmed him before the cops were there,” [Eric] Safire [the wife's attorney] said. “She said, I got the gun, I got the gun. … I can’t say whether they heard her. He gets down on his knees with his hands up, then for some unknown reason advances toward them in some fashion.”   (Emphasis mine.)

What police are being accused of doing (per the opening paragraph in the news report):

A Santa Rosa ironworker was unarmed and in need of medication for bipolar disorder when he charged police and was shot dead early Monday in the driveway of his home, officials said Wednesday.

The death of Richard Desantis, 30, marks the second use of lethal force in four weeks by law enforcement officers in Sonoma County against a person with some form of mental illness.

In the earlier case, a 16-year-old Sebastopol boy was shot dead on March 12 by sheriff’s deputies who were called to his home after he threatened to kill his 6-year-old brother.

A lawyer representing Desantis’ widow asserted that both shootings were unjustified. “Evidently, the (police) training in Sonoma County is not effective,” said attorney Eric Safire of San Francisco.

It’s entirely possible that police may have overracted.  It’s just as likely though, that things played out another way.  Police knew as they approached the property that a deranged man was firing guns wildly, with young children nearby.  He was in front of the property when they arrived and, I have no doubt, they repeatedly yelled at him to get down.  Meanwhile, his wife was also screaming (and I bet the children were screaming, too).  The man partially complied, and then, this same man who had been reported as firing guns within his home, lunged at them.  He was undeterred by a warning, non-lethal shot.  So they shot again, and again.  In other words, based on the exact facts reported in this story under the opening opinion accusing the police of malfeasance, there’s very good evidence that, on the ground, without Monday morning quarterbacking, the police responded appropriate to a volatile and apparently dangerous situation.

As it is, it’s a terrible tragedy for a family whose mentally ill, drug abusing father was shot down in front of them.  That doesn’t mean, though, that it was the fault of the police that the situation ended as it did.