Note to self: Avoid the police state of Paragould, Arkansas

They are effectively declaring martial law.*

[Paragould Police Chief] Stovall told the group of almost 40 residents that beginning in 2013, the department would deploy a new street crimes unit to high crime areas on foot to take back the streets.

“[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” Stovall said. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID.”

[...]

[Mayor] Gaskill backed Stovall’s proposed actions during Thursday’s town hall.

“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” he said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”

The Constitution, you say? Probable Cause, you say? Don’t worry, the police chief has answers for that nonsense!

“To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason,” he said. “Well, I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you’re doing out. Then when I add that people are scared…then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area.”

See? There’s a lot of crime, so the Rights of non-criminals can be set aside! Easy!

The mayor apparently backed down a little on the severity of this police-state plan, but it looks like he still intends to have police in battle gear out patrolling the streets like some Amerikanized Gestapo unit.

I suggest the subjects of Paragould learn the phrase “Papieren, bitte!” It sounds like you’re going to be hearing it a lot. Your police department has become the standing army our nation’s founders were worried about, and your government is perfectly willing to use them to control you.

To paraphrase a great pearl of wisdom from Battlestar Galactica, “There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the police become both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.”

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* Note that the linked article is dated December 15, 2012. The town may have abandoned this plan, but I haven’t found anything to indicated that, so I am assuming that the plan is still moving forward.

[Source: Paragould Daily Press article, retrieved 1/9/13]

Legislative update: McCarthy Magazine ban

New York Representative Carolyn McCarthy – she of “the shoulder thing that goes up” infamy – has today introduced a bill to ban “high-capacity” magazines. The bill would ban the sale or transfer of any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Additionally, a bill has been introduced in the New York Senate to ban “assault weapons” and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This one has no grandfathering and mandatory surrender, and makes possession a felony.

No word yet (that I’ve seen) on Feinstein’s bill.

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(h/t SayUncle for both the McCarthy story and he New York state bill.)

Reminder: Watch Congress and your state legislature today.

Today is the start of the new legislative session, and Senator Feinstein has promised to introduce her anti-Rights “Assault Weapons Ban” today (here’s a Google search link – I’m not going to link directly to her site). Illinois is ramrodding an even worse bill through their legislature, and they already have passed it out of committee and expect to vote on it as early as tomorrow. Other states are moving or preparing to move on their own anti-Rights bills.

As I said, I won’t link to Feinstein’s page directly, but here’s a summary of what she says she’s going to introduce today, copied directly from her website:

    • Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
      • 120 specifically-named firearms;
      • Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and
      • Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.
    • Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
      • Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test;
      • Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and
      • Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.
    • Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
    • Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
      • Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment;
      • Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes; and
      • Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons.

This bill is  worse than the ’94 AWB, and it’s extremely unlikely we’ll get a sunset provision this time. I fully expect that the anti-Rights cultists will, if there is resistance to the bill as proposed, drop individual provisions until they can force something through. They will most likely try to hold out for at least the ban on all private sales, and possibly a magazine restriction as well. There are rumors – and it is important to note that they are only rumors at this point – that the Republican leadership may be willing to cave on this issue, and they may be willing to cave to Feinstein and her ilk on those points as a way of showing that they are willing to “compromise”.

I’d like to point out a couple of things based on the summary of that bill:

  1. The magazine restriction makes no mention of grandfathering, and “Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment” does not specifically include magazines.
  2. It creates an NFA registry of all grandfathered firearms, making future confiscation easier. It isn’t clear whether or not this NFA registration would require the $200 transfer tax that applies to other NFA firearms, but it is likely.
  3. It requires all owners of grandfathered firearms to be photographed and fingerprinted like common criminals.

All gun owners need to pay attention. Contact your legislators – call, write, email – and let them know that we will not tolerate passage of any part of this bill, nor will we tolerate any ban or restriction on private sales. Contact them as soon after the bill is introduced as you can – a ramrodding similar to Obamacare, or what is currently going on with the bills in Illinois, is not impossible and I would not be surprised if they tried it. If we’re not vigilant, it is entirely possible that Obama could have this ban on his desk early next week.

Call. Write. Email. Make our voices heard.

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Voting complete

And yes, in what is probably not a surprise for anyone here, I voted for Gary Johnson for President.

I voted for the Republican candidates for House and Senate (R, D, or “write in” were the only choices for those two races, and the candidates in both races are pretty much straight party-liners as far as I could tell), “yes” to amend Virginia’s constitution to limit eminent domain, and “yes” to restrict when the General Assembly convenes for their annual post-veto session.

People are voting at you. You might as well go vote right back at them.*

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*  If anyone can remember who originated that wonderful quip, please let me know. I think it was Roberta X, but I’m not really sure, and I can’t find where I first saw it.

Quote of the Day – 2012-10-15

From an article at United Liberty by Doug Mataconis.

On the whole, the conservative argument to libertarians regarding the 2012 election has been dismissive, insulting, and based more on the false assumption that we want to be loyal Republicans.

This is, in a vast majority of the cases I’ve seen or experienced so far, unarguably true – libertarians who complain about Romney and talk about the possibility of voting for Gary Johnson are met with insults and ridicule, and occasionally even outright hostility.

Food for thought. And while you’re digesting that, think about the possibility that, if everyone who thought that “A vote for [$LIBERTARIAN] is a vote for [$LEAST_DESIRED_CANDIDATE]” stopped accepting that fear-mongering self-fulfilling prophecy, maybe the Libertarian candidate would actually have a chance of winning.

Don’t accept the FUD. Vote for the candidate you want, because voting for the lesser of two evils again and again only results in more and more evil.

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(h/t PostLibertarian by way of Borepatch)

That debate thing last night

Yeah, I watched it. I wish I hadn’t. That’s 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Biden came off as a jerk right from the start, with his constant mocking grin and barely restrained laughter during Ryan’s responses, and his almost as constant but more consistent interrupting and forcibly talking over Ryan. He spent a good part of the debate “shouting” down his opponent rather than debating. At least the grins and laughter faded away a bit towards the end.

Ryan came off as calm, prepared, and willing to have a civilized debate on the issues, but this same civilized behaviour allowed Biden to overpower him and appear stronger. He did call out Biden on the near-constant interruptions at one point. He later obviously started to lose his temper over it while they were discussing troop drawdowns in Afghanistan, but recovered pretty quickly. I do get the feeling they were edging towards classified (or at least sensitive) information about troop deployments, and Ryan wanted to say more but was unwilling to cross that line, leaving Biden to claim a rhetorical victory there. Of course, Biden had to interrupt and talk over Ryan to get the last word in in that exchange, but that last word was enough.

Ryan made a tactical blunder early on in bringing up the gentleman who lost his family in a car accident, considering that Biden lost his wife and daughter the same way in 1972. He also didn’t seem to do a good job of articulating why he couldn’t get more specific about his ticket’s economic plan when asked (which I think boiled down to “we have a general framework, but can’t really be specific until we start negotiating it with Congress”), and didn’t do a good job responding to Biden’s question about how they disagreed with the administration’s timeline for troop withdrawals after saying they agree with the administration’s timeline for troop withdrawals (he said it – that the administration shouldn’t be making such a timeline either public or absolute, but that the Romney campaign agreed with the proposed timing – but Biden managed to drown that out so that it probably didn’t register with most viewers).

He also managed to miss a golden opportunity to emphasize a point Romney apparently made during the previous debate about how many small business owners’ incomes are taxed before they pay expenses, so that the theoretical small business owner “making” $250,000 only takes home about $50,000, but gets taxed on – and reported as earning – the full million (someone did a really good post on this after the last debate, and I’d really like to link to it, but I can’t find the darned thing).

The moderator was pretty useless, except when she was debating Ryan directly, which is absolutely inappropriate behaviour for a moderator. A five year old could do better with 5 minutes instruction. Her refusal to rein in Biden’s interruptions, and her direct engagement against Ryan on at least one occasion, are what has earned this post the “Media Bias” tag.

All in all, I’d have been better off spending that two hours playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.

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I keep hearing that a vote for Johnson is a vote for Obama.

Well, maybe not.

PPP’s newest Nevada poll finds Barack Obama’s lead in the state falling to 4 points at 51-47. [...] When Gary Johnson’s included he gets 3% and actually takes mostly from Obama, pulling his lead over Romney down to 48/47. That could be something worth keeping an eye on.

Emphasis mine.

One thing to remember is that the Libertarian platform – and Johnson’s campaign in particular – has many points that appeal to nominal Democrats as much as it has points that appeal to nominal Republicans. In particular, there are many Democrats who are financially conservative but who abhor the Republican Party’s continual pandering to the socially conservative crowd. When given an alternative, they will happily – and even eagerly – vote for that alternative. Many Democrats are greatly disillusioned with Obama, even angry. But they can’t bring themselves to vote for Romney because of the Republican Party’s social baggage. They, too, would willingly vote for a third party to express their dissatisfaction.

Johnson will draw votes from both main candidates, not just from Romney. The old saw that “third parties can’t win” is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and if enough people stop listening to it now, more people will stop listening to it the next time, and eventually the third parties will be able to win.

Continual voting for the lesser of two evils has brought us nothing but more and more evil. Stop listening to the FUD and vote your conscience. It’s the Right Thing to do.

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[Source: Public Policy Polling article, retrieved 10/11/12]

(h/t Politico)

Jennifer Agee Murder Update – 2012-09-27

If you don’t remember my last post on this subject, I don’t blame you – it’s been a while. Just to refresh your memory:

Almost a half-hour before Jennifer Carter Agee was shot to death in the parking lot of a Sheetz convenience store in Roanoke on Memorial Day 2011, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office was warned that her sheriff’s deputy ex-husband, Jonathan Agee, had a rifle and was driving to Salem to kill her.

But [then-Sheriff] Hunt told his dispatch center not to issue a “be on the lookout” alert to other law enforcement agencies, saying he would take care of the situation himself, according to a sheriff’s office radio call log. He ordered a dispatcher “not to mention anything,” that log shows.

[Source: Roanoke Times article dated 1 June 2012]

As I have noted before, it is entirely possible that Jennifer Agee would still be alive had Hunt not withheld critical, urgent information from the neighboring agencies. They could have found her before her husband did and taken her into protective custody, or they could have found and stopped him before he found her. Instead, we have an innocent woman murdered by her ex-husband in front of their daughter, and a State Trooper injured in the line of duty.

Others agreed. Back in June, after an investigation, a special prosecutor charged Hunt with the common law crime of “misconduct in office”.

Well, on Tuesday, we saw some infinitesimal measure of justice delivered, when Hunt was convicted on that charge.

A prosecutor and a defense attorney questioned more than 20 witnesses across seven hours at a bench trial Tuesday in Franklin County General District Court, all to probe one issue:

Was former Sheriff Ewell Hunt guilty of misconduct in office, based on his handling of the warnings that preceded a fatal Memorial Day 2011 shooting rampage believed to have been committed by one of Hunt’s former deputies?

Once testimony was heard and arguments made, retired General District Court Judge John Quigley took just a few brief moments to announce his decision.

“I don’t have a problem with what he did. It’s what he didn’t do,” Quigley declared, and found Hunt guilty of the misdemeanor offense.

Sadly, it’s only a $500 fine and a 30 day suspended jail sentence, not even the full sentence available. Additionally, Hunt has already filed his appeal to the Circuit Court, where the case will be completely re-tried. But if it sticks, it will at least be a permanent stain on his official record.

It will match nicely with the stain on his honour.

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[Source: Roanoke Times article, retrieved 9/26/12]

(h/t to reader Dwight Brown for reminding me about it. Thanks!)

A hint for our chief executive

Warning shots – like those being fired by the security forces at our embassy in Yemen – only work if the people being warned believe that there’s a chance you’ll actually shoot them if they don’t stop. So far, we have not given them any reason to believe this.

These “protests” are invasions of sovereign American soil, and are acts of war. Treat them as such, and shoot the bastards.

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How to build that small business.

You can’t. As SayUncle is learning, before you don’t build that, you have to pay the government to let somebody else make that happen.

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