Category Archives: Lord Love a Duck

The Latest Entitlement: Bye-Bye Speeding Tickets

Speed-Limit-Enforced-by-Aircraft_1First, there was a safety net. Enough food so widows and orphans could survive. A roof over your head.

Then, it became a hammock. Cash payments. EBT cards for booze, drugs, junk food. A roof over your (and your kids’, and gangbanger grandkids’, and everybody’s felon boyfriend’s) heads in a better neighborhood, because being poor non-working class should be better than being working class. Then, there was the Obamaphone (which really seems to have started on W’s watch), because what welfare leech impoverished-American should have to dip into the meth-and-oxy money to pay a wireless bill? Then there was multiple Obamaphones so you could replace all the ones you lose in the crack of you ass sofa. What could be next?

What’s next is, permanent traffic-ticket payment holiday for unproductive-Americans. Not for you, wage slave: millions on welfare are depending on you.

Calling California’s traffic court system a “hellhole of desperation” for the poor, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing an amnesty program for residents who can’t afford to pay off spiraling fines and penalties that have resulted in 4.8 million driver’s license suspensions since 2006.

The push by the Democratic governor spotlights concern among lawmakers and court administrators that California’s justice system is profiting off minorities and low-income residents. It’s a civil rights issue that has prompted discussions between the Brown administration and the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the governor’s spokesman, Evan Westrup.

via News from The Associated Press.

The story solicits quotes from all the usual suspects and community organizers:

  • Michael Herald, a “legislative advocate” for the Western Center on Law and Poverty
  • Christine Sun, associate director of ACLU of Northern California.
  • Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles
  • Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles

They even manage to find a guy who’s been out of work for 18 months and needs his license back for his next 18 months out of work, because he’s a minority, right. Los Angeles is just like Bull Connor’s one-party empire and he’s only bein’ picked on ’cause he’s black.

The law? That’s for the white white and Asian working people.

By the way, guess where all those leech lawyers poverty pimps advocates for the downtrodden come down on your gun rights, Californians?

Yes, Virginia, Legislators and Cops can be Imbeciles

There seems to be a general assumption that the police, legislators, and other government authorities understand the law, for example, the law of freedom of speech and its very few, very narrow (and generally, shrinking) exceptions.

Kristin Holmes, 26, was arrested for harassment by computer after she got into an online dispute, she told NBC12.

Holmes said she posted the picture of her pointing the gun at the camera because someone had mistaken her for another woman and started arguing with her.

“So you know the difference when u (sic) come find me,” the caption read.

“It wasn’t a threat,” Holmes, of Chesterfield, said. “I thought it was a funny picture, and then I realized later it was a little bit intimidating. So I took it down.”

OK, so here’s the selfie in question:

thugging5n-3-web

Hmmm. Pretty girl. Weak trigger discipline. Funny picture. But what came next wasn’t funny:

Before she did, someone reported the picture to Henrico police. Holmes now faces up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Holmes was arrested under a Virginia law, passed in 2000, that criminalizes obscene or threatening language online or in public.

This law was drafted, and must be being enforced, by people who have neither read the Constitution nor 1st Amendment case law. And indeed, the story confirms that:

Kevin Carroll, president of the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police, said he wasn’t sure how common similar arrests are but said they usually result from arguments that get too personal.

“It’s not a matter of free speech,” he told the Daily News. “Free speech doesn’t say you have the right to insult somebody else or threaten them in any form.”

via Va. woman arrested for ‘Facebook thugging’ after gun selfie – NY Daily News.

Say what? “Free speech doesn’t say you have the right to insult somebody else?” Well, time to insult the room-temp-IQ moron Kevin Carroll. Kevin, you’re an anti-American doofus. How stupid can one get? Does someone have to feed him with a spoon and wipe his chin? Because he doesn’t have a normal-IQ child’s understanding of what free speech means.

If one doesn’t have the right to insult somebody, you featherbrained imbecile, especially when the object of the insult is as deserving as a crumb like you, one doesn’t have free speech. Whatever lower form of life your mother mated with to [bleep] you into existence, she didn’t bring forth a reasoning, rational human being, but rather a censorious asshat with National Socialist tendencies. You are a pillock, a git, a retard, a mongoloid, a cretin, an idiot, an imbecile. You’re ugly and your mama dresses you funny. You smell of elderberries.

There, we insulted you. Come and arrest us. We can afford representation, unlike the people the  no-good, brain-dead, phony cops of the Henrico, VA PD pick on.

This is a bogus arrest, a bogus law, and cops who only think as much as Carroll does are a danger to the public (and themselves, if allowed sharp instruments). Did we say he’s an idiot? Yes, but it bears repeating. He’s an idiot).

(Apologies to Ken White for straying onto his turf, but this one irritates us).

How Baltimore Celebrates Memorial Day

baltimore PD escutcheonSo far: 26 shootings, 9 fatal, bringing the monthly count to 33. But the cops are giving the public what it wants. The people of Baltimore wanted less policing so badly they rioted over it, and now the shooters in all 26 shootings are still at large.

Well, unless they, too, have been shot. First responders are having a hard time keeping up with the dropping bodies. CBS Baltimore:

Councilmember Mary Pat Clarke links the violence to a city still reeling from weeks of unrest.
“It was an earthquake kind of time and i think we’re still dealing with the aftershock,” she says.
The latest victims died early Monday morning. In the Western District a memorial marks the spot where a man and a woman were shot. The man later died, the woman is in critical condition.
North from there, a triple shooting. A man dies after he’s shot in the chest. Then cops discover two other males shot in the incident, including a 17 year old, after they walked to a local hospital.
Neighbors in Govans describe this as a quiet community and say they’re surprised the gun violence spilled into their streets.
“It’s scary because I’ve got kids. I don’t want anything to happen to my kids, especially around here. It’s a peaceful neighborhood,” one person said,
In the Eastern District traces of dry blood after a man is shot in the head and left in critical condition.
WJZ media partner The Baltimore Sun reports 35 people have been killed so far in May making it the deadliest month in Baltimore since December of 1999. Some say the 3-day surge of violence may be a sign of a police department stretched too thin.
“They’ve gone right from the troubles to this spike,” one resident said.
Since the beginning of the year, 108 people have died due to violence in the city.
So far none of the victims have been identified and no arrests have been made. If you have information on any of these shootings you’re urged to contact police.

via 26 Shootings, 9 Fatal, Over Memorial Day Weekend In Baltimore « CBS Baltimore.

Funny, the guy who claims responsibility for the state of crime in Baltimore, former mayor Martin O’Malley, when he was Governor targeted non-criminal gun owners in Maryland for punitive action, and made every effort to drive the state’s gun manufacturer, Beretta out. (Successfully, from his point of view). He also did what he could to drive a wedge between the population of the city — especially, according to The Wire show creator David Simon, the black population — and the police. Having sown the wind, he now wants to ride the whirlwind to more power. (And Simon, for all his criticism, still supports him).

Probable cause from a Baltimore police officer has always been a tenuous thing. It’s a tenuous thing anywhere, but in Baltimore, in these high crime, heavily policed areas, it was even worse. When I came on, there were jokes about, “You know what probable cause is on Edmondson Avenue? You roll by in your radio car and the guy looks at you for two seconds too long.” Probable cause was whatever you thought you could safely lie about when you got into district court.

Then at some point when cocaine hit and the city lost control of a lot of corners and the violence was ratcheted up, there was a real panic on the part of the government. And they basically decided that even that loose idea of what the Fourth Amendment was supposed to mean on a street level, even that was too much. Now all bets were off. Now you didn’t even need probable cause. The city council actually passed an ordinance that declared a certain amount of real estate to be drug-free zones. They literally declared maybe a quarter to a third of inner city Baltimore off-limits to its residents, and said that if you were loitering in those areas you were subject to arrest and search. Think about that for a moment: It was a permission for the police to become truly random and arbitrary and to clear streets any way they damn well wanted.

Simon’s Marshall Project review is one of those Read The Whole Thing™ things, especially for his views of O’Malley:

The drug war began it, certainly, but the stake through the heart of police procedure in Baltimore was Martin O’Malley. He destroyed police work in some real respects. Whatever was left of it when he took over the police department, if there were two bricks together that were the suggestion of an edifice that you could have called meaningful police work, he found a way to pull them apart.

But to be honest, what happened under his watch as Baltimore’s mayor was that he wanted to be governor. And at a certain point, with the crime rate high and with his promises of a reduced crime rate on the line, he put no faith in real policing

O’Malley needed to show crime reduction stats that were not only improbable, but unsustainable without manipulation. And so there were people from City Hall who walked over Norris and made it clear to the district commanders that crime was going to fall by some astonishing rates.

…Martin O’Malley’s logic was pretty basic: If we clear the streets, they’ll stop shooting at each other. We’ll lower the murder rate because there will be no one on the corners.

… They’re an army of occupation. And once it’s that, then everybody’s the enemy. The police aren’t looking to make friends, or informants, or learning how to write clean warrants or how to testify in court without perjuring themselves unnecessarily. There’s no incentive to get better as investigators, as cops.

And the downside of statistically-based policing, that O’Malley imported from NYFC, and this downside has also surfaced there: when everything depends on the books, you have incentives to cook the books:

What can you do? You can’t artificially lower the murder rate – how do you hide the bodies when it’s the state health department that controls the medical examiner’s office? But the other felony categories? Robbery, aggravated assault, rape? Christ, what they did with that stuff was jaw-dropping.

So they cooked the books.

Oh yeah. If you hit somebody with a bullet, that had to count. If they went to the hospital with a bullet in them, it probably had to count as an aggravated assault. But if someone just took a gun out and emptied the clip and didn’t hit anything or they didn’t know if you hit anything, suddenly that was a common assault or even an unfounded report. Armed robberies became larcenies if you only had a victim’s description of a gun, but not a recovered weapon. And it only gets worse as some district commanders began to curry favor with the mayoral aides who were sitting on the Comstat data. In the Southwest District, a victim would try to make an armed robbery complaint, saying , ‘I just got robbed, somebody pointed a gun at me,’ and what they would do is tell him, well, okay, we can take the report but the first thing we have to do is run you through the computer to see if there’s any paper on you. Wait, you’re doing a warrant check on me before I can report a robbery? Oh yeah, we gotta know who you are before we take a complaint. You and everyone you’re living with? What’s your address again? You still want to report that robbery?

They cooked their own books in remarkable ways. Guns disappeared from reports and armed robberies became larcenies. Deadly weapons were omitted from reports and aggravated assaults became common assaults. The Baltimore Sun did a fine job looking into the dramatic drop in rapes in the city. Turned out that regardless of how insistent the victims were that they had been raped, the incidents were being quietly unfounded. That tip of the iceberg was reported, but the rest of it, no. And yet there were many veteran commanders and supervisors who were disgusted, who would privately complain about what was happening. If you weren’t a journalist obliged to quote sources and instead, say, someone writing a fictional television drama, they’d share a beer and let you fill cocktail napkins with all the ways in which felonies disappeared in those years.

See what we mean? That’s how you have a weekend with over two dozen shootings (and counting! The night is young), and zero arrests.

When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws Will Have Crazy Girlfriends

The look of cray-cray: Shaynna Sims smirks at the mugshot machine.

The face of bughouse cray-cray: Shaynna Sims smirks at the mugshot machine.

The good news: the victim in this case was already dead (none of the stories say, of what, which, given the decedent’s rival’s relative youth, is interesting). But at least this particular crime isn’t a murder. That’s pretty much the full reach and extent of the good news.

Prosecutors added a fourth felony charge against 26-year-old Shaynna Sims on Thursday, accusing her of removing both breasts and a toe of the deceased woman during a viewing at a funeral home in Tulsa. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison.

What, that’s it?

‘Fraid so. Fact is, our laws were evolved for the usual run of axe whackers and baby rapers, an element of society that always seems to have been there, at least since Cain slew Abel. The law’s just not ready for Industrial Strength Bughouse Cray-Cray®.

Sims was arrested at the dead woman’s apartment after she attended the viewing on April 30. Police said Sims also stole the dead woman’s shoes and was carrying a knife with the woman’s hair attached to it.
Witnesses told officers they saw Sims reach into the casket during the viewing. The dead woman’s face was found slashed from her hairline to the tip of her nose, her makeup was smeared and her hair was on the floor, police said. The additional mutilation of the woman’s body was discovered as it was being prepared for cremation.

via Oklahoma woman accused of removing dead rival’s body parts – SFGate.

Sims and the decedent were apparently romantic rivals for Sumdood, who goes unnamed in the story. He must be a real prize.

Note: no guns involved, but the Bat Guano Crazy® is strong with this one.

How would you deal with her, if you could imagine your own perfect set of laws into being?

What’s the right penalty for Shaynna Sims?

 
pollcode.com free polls

 

Decisions, decisions.

Can’t she collect ’em all?

More on the Pennsylvania Registry-not-Registry

pennsylvania_state_reg_formIn comments to our last on the Pennsylvania State Police’s gun-registry-that-is-not-a-registry-because-it’s-so-fulla-holes, we were challenged by a Keystone State resident who doesn’t recall filling out the PSP form. Here’s what we’ve learned.

At one time, they just had the dealers send 4473 copies, but some time relatively recently (~10 years ago), their lawyers had them discontinue that, and generate their own form, PSP SP4-113 (+ variable numbers).

The PSP deliberately does not put this form on the intertubes. That is because their registration bureaucracy, the Firearms Records Unit, came up with a complex numbering system, where each form is uniquely numbered to the FFL that sold the gun (or handled the transfer, for a pistol between private parties). There is also a state ID number which is used not just to ID dealers but also for private transfers done by any county Sheriffs who offer this service. PSP explains:

FORMS SUPPLIED BY PA STATE POLICE – ONLY AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST:

Application/Record of Sale Form (SP4-113)

This form will be provided by the Pennsylvania State Police and all requests for this form must be submitted in writing. You can fax your requests to (717) 772-4249 or mail requests to Firearm Records Unit, Pennsylvania State Police, 1800 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110. Note the pre-printed numbers on this form are assigned to your dealership. Therefore, you can not loan copies to other dealers or duplicate this form. Please allow several weeks for the processing of your order. This form is not available online.

They do make a graphic instructional version available [.pdf], of which we’ve made an illustration here (it embiggens). You can see from this illustrative sample that the form was originally drafted to be used with short and long guns, but now it is required only for handguns.

While a single 4473 can cover multiple guns (our personal record is six), this state form must be done all over again for each gun in a multiple buy — even though they’re all on a single federal form. For each firearm sold or transferred, the dealer collects a $3 surcharge and a $2 Instant Check Fee, which are aggregated and remitted monthly to the State Police.

The copies our Fed friend found in a violent career criminal’s closet, in the boxes with the guns, were copies of this form — PSP SP4-113.

When the other copy gets to the Firearms Record Unit, it’s supposed to be entered in the database, but LEOs think it’s far from a certainty that this will happen, soon, or at all. That’s how you wind up with felons with over-the-counter guns in Pennsylvania —

Meanwhile, some jurisdictions are busting even licensed carriers if their guns don’t show up in this registry-that-isn’t. These cases may not stand up in court, but they’re a way to hassle gun owners — one of new Commissioner Marcus Brown’s major goals for the State Police.

Pennsylvania State Police Fails at Guns, But Tracks Yours. Ineptly.

Pennsylvania_State_PoliceWe have written, and written, and written yet again, about the Pennsylvania State Police’s awkward relationship with service pistol selection, training, and employment.

After a run of accidents with one brand, they recently changed guns and brands again, again. And managed to shoot one of their own troopers to death on his first day training with the new pistol.

It was his instructor who shot him.

This demonstrates that no one should consider himself above following the most basic firearms safety rules, “A.N.D.”:

  1. Assume it’s loaded and act that way (actually, we would say, assume it’s live; don’t trust safety features);
  2. Never point it at anything you don’t want to shoot;
  3. Digit off the bangulator until it’s bang o’clock.

Failure to observe these rules, whether or not it results in a discharge, whether or not the discharge creams some poor throg or just rockets off to a rendesvous with some part of Mother Gaia, is gross negligence. Yeah, we’re aware the courts don’t say that. The courts are wrong, on this. Had that instructor introducing the SIG 227 (not to mention, all the guys who shot themselves, their wives, suspects, and bystanders “accidentally” with the outgoing Glocks) followed even one of those three rules (or the four, or seven, or twenty-eleven rules some lists include, all of which include some version of these three), we would have never heard about that training class. We haven’t yet had a few years to see if the PSP is safer with the SIG than they were with the Glocks. This wasn’t an encouraging start.

They’re Also Teaching This

This SIG, an OK service pistol compared to other 70s-80s Double-Action/Single-Action auto pistol designs, is their first DA/SA pistol since the .40 S&W Caliber Beretta 96. They used Berettas (92s and 96s) for a while, before moving to Glock in .40, then to .45 GAP, then to .45 ACP, then to SIG. (That recap may have missed a couple. Hey, it’s been great for hobbyists who like to have pistols with the PSP logo: collect ’em all!).

Any DA/SA has a different manual of arms than the simpler Glock, and the PSP’s SIG 227 in particular has more to master than the firearm that it replaces. So they’re teaching their troopers… what? If they have a “long shot,” to manually cock the hammer before firing. Yes, this improves first-shot hit probability, but it adds a layer of complexity to what is already one of the more complex DA/SA systems.

We agree that there are training advantages to the SIG system where one lever does one thing and one thing only and always, but it’s more complex than the simple Walther hammer-drop safety that’s been around since 1929. And it’s a big change for a force of 4,000 or so cops, of whom perhaps 3,500 really couldn’t care less about guns, and who are mostly of average intelligence, just like the usual run of citizens.

The complexities of a service weapon change can always be overcome with good training and lots of drill, but it’s an open question, after the recent shooting, how good the training is; and you know and we know, and the PSP knows, that the troopers — possibly excepting recruits in Academy classes — are not going to get as much drill as they need to master the SIG operating system. The 500 or so who take firearms seriously will give themselves this drill on their own. Hell, there are probably 100 or so who compete or shoot recreationally, and take inordinate pride in their mastery of their sidearm. But you’ve got to reach the average guy and gal with in-service firearms training.

And that’s something a lot of trainers, who became trainers because they love, live and breathe firearms and shooting, don’t “get” instinctively. They assume everybody’s as into guns as they are. (If they train for long enough, the scales fall from their eyes. Big time).

Fact is, a lot of cops take improving their skill with guns as seriously as the typical office worker takes improving his or her typing speed. “Meh. I passed the qual, I’m good to hook.”

That only works if the qual is really good, tough, and criterion-referenced to the sorts of shots officers have to take in the real and gritty world. Like the old-school (pre-TSA-dumbdown) Air Marshals’ qual, or the qual that another government agency uses for its contract personal-security detachment contractors. (And those were/are quals with consequences: meet the standard, or hit the bricks, even if you have seniority).

Personally, we consider cocking the hammer for the first shot from a DA/SA service pistol to be an advanced technique for someone that has already mastered the firearm and the course of fire. Obviously, we have a difference of opinion with the Pennsylvania State Police firearms trainers on that.

Is that a SIG he's reaching for? If so, you know whose training range this is....

Is that a SIG he’s reaching for? If so, you know whose training range this is….

Hey, We’re All Ate Up About Guns, But We’re Databasing Yours. All Wrong.

The Federal agent who works in one of Pennsylvania’s largest and most violent cities was blunt. Pennsylvania says they don’t have a registry.

“Then how come law enforcement can call up and ask if someone has firearms?” Not, he said, that the database is any earthly use to a line agent. “It is my experience that you go with the opposite of what the PSP says. I let them tell me what the database says. And then I assume the opposite.”

“Oh,” we said. “You mean, because if the gun’s registered, even if he has it, he’s probably not a cop shooter? And if he comes up no-gun, he might be a gangbanger who got his guns on the black market?”

“You don’t get it. I assume the opposite, because their database is so ate up it’s usually 180º off. If they say no, I get the body armor on and a long gun. If they say yes, I don’t bother.”

“Wow.” We thought he was exaggerating. He emphasized that he wasn’t; he really so mistrusts the PA registration database that he uses it the way most of us use a Fidel Castro presidential endorsement. “Because the database is always wrong,” he repeated.

Trust Us or Else

 

“I have arrested [men with serious/violent prior felony convictions and multiple legal ownership disqualifications].” (Edited to remove an exact description and prevent people guessing his agency). “They had felony convictions that were evident. They had the PA registry forms in the box with their handguns, and the PSP said he has no guns. These were not new sales either, so they [the PSP] had time to get it [the pistol ownership record] in there.”

PA Reg form

 

So the system, in PA, is not preventing career criminals from doing something they don’t even try in most states, buying guns themselves in legitimate commerce!

And just to complicate things, the registry has no way to take a gun off once it’s sold out of state. So it’s packed with tens of thousands (at least) of firearms that (1) are extremely unlikely to surface at a PA crime scene, and (2) will “trace” to the wrong guy, if they do. What use is that? Pennsylvania gun-rights advocates go a step farther, arguing that the database, a typically lousy product of government work though it may be, is unlawful.  Indeed, black-letter Pennsylvania law () says:

[N]othing in this chapter [6111.4, the gun laws — Eds.] shall be construed to allow any government or law enforcement agency or any agent thereof to create, maintain or operate any registry of firearm ownership….

and

[N]othing in 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 6101-6122 [the DV laws] shall be construed to allow any person or entity to create, maintain or operate a database or registry of firearm ownership….

But case law has essentially nullified those provisions. For the anti take on it, see the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a group that promotes registration as a necessary step towards confiscation (see also here). Pro-gun viewpoints can be found at two state pro-gun groups, FOAC and PAFOA. The PA Supreme Court has ruled that the prohibition doesn’t apply to the State Police database precisely because it is so bad and inaccurate.

 

Despite that, anti-gun chiefs here and there encourage cops to run the serial numbers of firearms and then confiscate if they don’t come up to the person in possession. The legal support for that is weak, but it’s a way to confiscate legally-owned guns and/or make The database has been criticized by some lawmakers, all significant pro-gun groups in the state, and the PSP was excoriated for it during an FBI audit, according to a lawmaker opposed to the database.

As far back as 2000, the PSP response to legislator criticisms was to release a letter, ostensibly to the legislator, to an anti-gun activist, Jonathan D. Silver. Silver wrote about the PSP’s position in the anti-gun Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While Silver interviewed the legislator neither he nor the PP-G made any attempt to discuss  with him the letter that was the PSP’s “reply” — which the ostensible recipient hadn’t actually received. (It’s unclear if any attempt was made to send it to him, or if it was only written for the benefit of Silver, the newspaper, and the PSP’s allies in antigun groups).

The case law, thanks to careful judge-swapping by the PSP and a succession of anti-gun Attorneys General, has allowed the PSP to retain this useless database so far. Some legislators continue to fight it. (That was his 2013 repeal; here’s some info about  his current-session version.

Bottom Line

These guys can’t buy guns and get the magazine capacity it says on the box; they can’t even operate their own guns safely; they can’t hold a bozo instructor who kills a student with an ND accountable; they can’t even run an illegal registry straight, to the point where it’s so jacked up the Supreme Court said, “We can’t count this worthless crap as a registry.”

LEOs agree; the information in the database is at best worthless, at worst, completely inverse.

Suggestion for the new, kinda-Stolen-Valor Commissioner from Maryland:  Fix your own guys’ firearms training, first. The public only has confidence in the firearms ability of the State Troopers to the extent they’re not paying attention. Then, when you’ve got that fixed (and it’s a big job that probably requires a bunch of difficult firings), figure out why the hell you’re wasting money on a worthless database, whose worthlessness was the technicality that saved it from doom at the hands of the Supreme Court.

Will he take that suggestion? Well, he was selected for his creativity in stretching statutes in service of anti-gun politics. What do you think? In a long tenure in Maryland, he did nothing to improve firearms training there. He doesn’t even believe people who disagree with him should have first amendment rights.

The troopers of the Pennsylvania State Police are not really any different from the cops in any other agency. What is different is the leadership. As Napoleon said, “There are no bad regiments, only bad colonels.” Of course from the bad leaders’ point of view, there are no bad leaders, only bad luck.

Pennsylvanians: brace yourselves for more bad luck.

The Fat Lady Sings for Maryland’s Ballistics Imaging Program

fat_lady_singsAfter a ten-year experiment with the moral equivalent of King Canute’s chair, one of the most anti-gun States in the Union is about to sing the final dirge for what anti-gun groups still promote as an “anti-crime” technology — not because it solves crimes1 but because it inconveniences and punishes gun owners. Inconveniencing and punishing gun owners was fine with Maryland politicians, but the inconvenience and punishment to the state’s budget for a non-usable technology: a ballistics imaging database, into which all guns passing in lawful commerce in Maryland were to be entered.

A stored sample and casing from a 2011 study selling overselling IBIS technology

A stored sample bullet and casing from a 2011 study selling overselling next-generation IBIS technology

The system never produced a single conviction, and, indeed, only six “hits” in all its years of operation. (The Washington Post’s anti-gun reporters Ruben Castaneda and David Snyder once falsely reported that the system had produced a conviction, but that’s the Post for you; the trial transcript shows that the murderer was convicted on eyewitness testimony, ballistics did match bullet to gun using traditional optical-comparator methods, and there was no testimony placing the straw-purchased murder weapon in the murderer’s hands).

Both houses of the Maryland General Assembly in the past week acted in near unanimity to end that state’s decade-long dysfunctional experience with what was once billed as a crime scene investigative tool, but that was never used to solve a single crime.  In fact, the ballistics imaging program now on its way out was unsupported by the very state police charged with operating it and had been unfunded for years.

And yet firearms manufacturers, Maryland’s firearms retailers and law-abiding firearms purchasers continued to bear the costs of this ill-conceived and moribund program for years and will continue to do so until October when the collection of cartridge casings will finally cease.  New York was the only other state to so encumber its state crime lab with unlamented ballistics imaging technology and had already discarded it as a costly failure that never solved a single crime in the Empire state.

via Maryland Ends Ballistics Imaging Program and Provides a Lesson | NSSF Blog.

The Maryland State Police, like gun owners, knew the Maryland Integrated Ballistics Identification System (MIBIS, MD-IBIS or Maryland IBIS) was a turkey all along; within a year of the startup of the system, they knew they hated wasting money that could have gone for effective programs like DNA testing on the useless gun database, the NRA noted at the time.

In the end, the Maryland State Police report provides three primary recommendations: 1) discontinue the program and moth-ball the equipment; 2) enact legislation repealing the current law to require collection of casings; and 3) transfer personnel and funds to the state DNA database program.

The report concludes that MD-IBIS “has not proven to be a time saving tool for the Firearms Examiner or an investigative enhancement to the criminal investigator. It has simply failed in the Mission and Vision concepts originally established for the Program.”

That’s from 2005. Anti-gun politicians kept the system alive for ten more years after that, claiming that it was fighting crime when all it was doing was burning a hole in the budget for actual crime fighting.

Those accountable have been fired — true or false? (Of course, false. There is no accountability in government).

The DOJ and anti-gun activist Anthony Braga at Harvard’s JFK School of Big Government are still pushing this failed initiative, as are the anti-gun groups.

A lot of forensic science is not especially scientific, with the so-called scientists and technicians forming part of the prosecution team. Sometimes they are so eager to help the prosecutors that they lean on the evidence a little, or a lot.2 Others are certified by diploma mills3.

Meanwhile, Maryland can at least spend its forensics money on proven DNA analysis. Finally.

Notes

  1. Forensic ballistic matching does not stand on solid scientific ground, which is surprising to people raised on TV shows like CSI: Unrealistically Attractive Cops solve Unimaginably Impossible Cases. In fact, there are questions about the solidity or lack of the same of the underlying science — links are to ABA and National Academies of Science reports — more here.
  2. In Massachusetts, crime lab chemist Annie Dookhan falsified tests in over 20,000 cases involving over 40,000 defendants. Lots of criminals got out of prison because of her misconduct… and Dookhan got in, for five years.
  3. One credentialing authority generally accepted in courts has exams with “questions suitable for a grade school child,” and once certified a cat. That’s CSI in the real world.

UPDATE 20150516 2359

Just have to note: The Washington Post, which was so anxious to see a Maryland IBIS success story that it had two of its reporters (and layers and layers of editors) make one up, still hasn’t got around to reporting on Maryland’s decision to kill the database. We guess it takes time to make $#!+ up.

More Jade Helm Assclownery

Jade Helm logo -- we bet they regret the motto now.

Jade Helm logo — we bet they regret the motto now.

You know that 5% that don’t get the word? Well, Texas isn’t just big in area, ranches, and all kinds of other measures: their 5% seems to be a lot bigger than 5%.

Of course, maybe we get that impression because we’re reading Texas media, and you’ll never escape that 5% if you’re in the default position of the modern mediot — embedded neck-deep in your own lower colon.

BIG SPRING – Military officials have negotiated contracts with local ranchers to conduct Jade Helm training on their property, according to Big Spring Mayor Larry McLellan.

However, he said residents will not be “forced out of their homes” to accommodate troops during the large-scale military exercise, scheduled to run July 15 through September 15.

McLellan had no details about the contracts supposedly offered to Big Spring homeowners. Military officials were not available to answer questions about how many ranchers were being displaced or inconvenienced due to Jade Helm, and how much they would receive in compensation.

What are these landowners being compensated for?

Now, it’s possible that some tent camps may be set up on sombody’s ranch — with his permission, while paying him a rental. But a lot of these are for training areas that SF teams and other SF troops are going to walk through. Leaving, if they’re on the ball and comporting with their training, no trace. 

How this bubble-headed TV clown gets from there to “ranchers… displaced,” we’ll never know.

It’s possible some staff section or exercise headquarters will want to rent a barn, equipment shed, or outbuilding. What happens if the landowner says no? This will probably shock the $#!+ out of you, the loyal 5% still getting your news from TV newsreaders selected for their head of hair, but in that case they thank him for his time, and go and ask some other landowner. 

Another reason private land is hired is for personnel and equipment drop zones. It’s totally obsolete, everyone agrees, but there really isn’t a better way to get a lot of teams on the ground fast 1,000 kilometers deep in a denied area than low-level static-line parachuting. Likewise, one of the best of a bad lot of ways of resupplying those teams — it’s very hard to carry more than, max, mission gear and sustenance for one lousy week — is to drop the supplies by parachute. It worked in a half-assed way for the Chindits and Marauders, it worked for the Mobile Guerilla Force in Vietnam, and it works today. With a HSLLADS or CDS bundle or two, a small team is good for up to another month.

Jade Helm operations planners previously confirmed training will only be conducted on private and public land with the permission of landowners or regional authorities.

What part of “with the permission” went over this airhead’s sole professional qualification, that is, hairdo?

One lifelong Big Spring resident told NewsWest 9 he would not accept any amount of money to surrender his home to troops.

“I support our troops, but when they’re trying to take over our civilians, that ain’t cool,” he said. “[Those are] their homes. That’s where they live.”

And… where did this guy, Timothy Yanez, get the idea he was being asked to “surrender his home?” Hint: it wasn’t from exercise planners. It came from the small brain under the hairdo. He’s answering a question she put to him — a ridiculous question, if you understand the exercise.

McLellan told NewsWest 9 residents could anticipate “[hearing] more airplane traffic,” but no other major changes.

You know, more airplane traffic. Which is how those paratroopers and resupply bundles get to those contracted drop zones in the ranches arrayed around Big Spring.

via Big Spring Landowners Paid to Accommodate Jade Helm, Says Mayor – KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |.

Contrary to ratings-driven hysteria, when our guys do need to practice door kicking, they do it with targets, dummies, or (at the very highest level of training), live, experienced and specifically trained role players inside. Not some rancher (or ranch hand’s) unsuspecting family. (Which would get our guys, who are loaded with blanks for the exercise, shot by a bunch of defensively-oriented Texans. That is, if we were dumb enough to be the dummies the news media think we are).

One last thing, a clip of this was used twice to illustrate the exercise.

channel_9_bullshit_jade_helm_report

 

Yeah. A firing party at a memorial service for KIAs in Afghanistan. You can just see it going through their well-coiffed but vacant heads: “Hey, people in uniform. Shooting guns! Must be a military exercise. Perfect action clip to illustrate that Jade Helm story.” We bet no one at the station even knew what that firing salute was or when the military uses it.

Well, they’ve got a First Amendment right to write any ill-considered and thoughtless drivel they want to. And this time, they sure did!

Breaking: More Pistol Pain at the Pennsylvania State Police

Pennsylvania_State_PoliceWe’ve reported in the past at great length on what we’ve called the Pistol OCD of the Pennsylvania State Police (link is to a Google search of Weaponsman for PSP stories, not all of which are pistol-problem-related). They’ve been through more pistol models and calibers in fewer years than any group of two or three statewide agencies you care to name, but they’re reporting a new problem with their new Sig 227 pistols.

They have found that if they load the pistol per spec — 10+1 — they have jams, to be specific, stovepipes. They have directed the troopers to load the pistols 9+1, neither chambering a round to load a full mag, nor replacing a round and inserting a 10-round mag after chambering from the mag.

We haven’t heard of anybody else having this problem with the 227. The New Jersey State Police had such stovepipe problems with Smith & Wesson P99s that they returned to the HK P7M8 briefly before going to… drumroll please… SIGs (in 9mm, in their case).

As we mentioned, this is a new problem. The P227 already has had a troubled rollout at PSP. In an initial introductory class, an experienced firearms instructor had a negligent discharge that struck and killed one of his students, Trooper David Kedra. Later, the instructor, Corporal Richard Schroeter, would be charged with a much lighter charge than a non-trooper would face in such a killing, reckless endangerment. The Kedra family was not amused, but their concerns were blown off in a mealy-mouthed statement byDistrict Attorney Risa Ferman. (Ferman presented the case in such a way as to sway grand jurors to sympathy for Schroeter, so that Schroeter could face a mild misdemeanor, and keep his job). Some details on the grand jury testimony here.

The four other troopers who trained with Kedra on the day of the alleged shooting testified to the grand jury they did not see Schroeter make sure his weapon was not loaded, nor did he show the weapon to two other troopers to show it was unloaded. The presentment said firearms instructors in the Pennsylvania State Police typically show an unloaded weapon to at least two other troopers to verify it is unloaded.

Schroeter is such a class act that he’s refused to even apologize to Kedra’s family. He continues to insist that he checked the weapon and he was sure it was unloaded.

Systemic problems with firearms selection and training? Nah, that can’t be it.

Ironic that the P227 was selected in large part because of a rash of negligent discharges with Glocks soured PSP on the brand in general, and its pull-trigger-to-disassemble procedure in particular.

Previous WeaponsMan coverage of the PSP:

That may not be all of them, but it’s enough to give you a picture of this agency’s gun follies.

Is he Trouble, or a Trouble Magnet?

George Zimmerman artActually, we wanted to use a crude word beginning with “A,” after a girl we knew who was an A—— Magnet. But we didn’t, we used “Trouble.” And he is George Zimmerman, whom I think we all expected to retire to obscurity after he was tried for his self-defense shooting of young thug Trayvon Martin. George has not fulfilled that expectation in any way, shape or form: his latest advent into the headlines is not like his rather admirable foray into art (left). Nope: media are reporting he got shot in the face in a road rage incident. George’s wounds are not life-threatening. (Update: the round was fired at him, and entered the cabin of his truck, but missed; he was injured only by flying glass. George does not seem to have returned fire). 

zimmerman_s_ridgeline

 

So, trouble, or trouble magnet?

zimmerman_involved_2_fox_35It’s worth noting that the media, deeply invested in the Saint Trayvon story and the six-years-out-of-date angelic kid picture, initially reported only, “George Zimmerman involved in road rage shooting” — not that George was the shoot-ee, not the shoot-er. Initial media reports are often wrong, of course, and when the media has a prefab Narrative handy, they’re almost always wrong.

The story has been a great chance for the media to stir up the Trayvon crowd, though, and recap the frequent “Zimmerman arrest!” highly hyped stories, none of which has turned into charges against the most famous Peruvian-American in the country, let alone convictions. 

zimmerman_involved_1_fox_35According to Fox 35 Orlando (which initially ran with the juicy hed, ZIMMERMAN INVOLVED IN SHOOTING (caps theirs, since broomed), the shooter may be a man named Matthew Apperson who has a long-running dispute with Zimmerman, and who accused him of a road rage attack in September, 2014, in a case that collapsed due to Apperson’s shifting story and lack of corroborating evidence.

Zimmerman was treated and released at a hospital in Sanford, FL (other media suggests he was only hit with glass from a gunshot that missed him), and was interviewed on the scene by police; his Honda Ridgeline, showing a bullet hole in the passenger side window, has been towed. Apperson has also spoken to police.

Police are likely to get to the bottom of the story a lot sooner and more accurately than the hacks at Fox 35 Orlando or any other media outlet. (The reporters and editors at Fox 35 didn’t blurb or promote the new headline like they did the ones shown here suggesting Zimmerman was the shooter. Media ethics for you!)

More media:

http://www.wesh.com/news/george-zimmerman-involved-in-shooting-in-lake-mary-police-say/32943828