Example of Abuse– and Culture

This is an anecdote regarding the abuse of power and responsibility that law enforcement officers have.

The reporting officer alleged that both Ruiz and Glashoff found women’s profiles had been browsing women on dating websites like Tinder, eHarmony, and Match.com while working at the investigations bureau office of the Fairfield Police Department

Court documents allege the officers then used a police-issued computer to look up the women they found appealing in a confidential law enforcement database that connects to the DMV and state and federal records.

 

Now spending time on dating sites instead of solving crimes is a bad problem….but the major concern is the use of the database for personal reasons. This is a great example why registries for anything, especially gun ownership, is a bad idea in my opinion. The ease of abuse is frightening.

What is worse in my view is this:

Court documents go on to say Sgt. Ruiz and Detective Glashoff would perform the searches and have conversations about the dating sites in front of other officers.

The court documents allege another Fairfield officer reported the incidents to his superior back in June.

Emphasis above mine — because consider how long it had probably been happening, how they got the idea that it was okay to even run the searches and why every single officer who knew about it didn’t immediately stop it.

One — just one — officer complained when probably several or more knew about it.

The goal of the Investigation Bureau operates using two divisions: Major Crimes Division and Quality of Life Division.

Major Crimes Division

Major Crimes Division is commanded by a Lieutenant and Sergeant.
The division employs 10 detectives who handle crime in the following catagories:

The division also has a Police Probation Team Unit that addresses juvenile crime and diversion.

Quality of Life Division

Quality of Life Division is commanded by a Lieutenant and two Sergeants (Gang Unit and Narcotics Unit).
The division uses several units to address crime in the community:

How many officers knew about their activities? We’ll never know– and isn’t that a problem also — but it was probably more than 1….probably half a dozen or more. How many officers have done the same or related invasion of privacy? We won’t know and isn’t that another problem.

 

And isn’t this just lovely?

If the allegations are found true, the officers could face felony criminal charges.

Both officers remain assigned to their regular duties.

Yeah— facing the possibility of felony charges and still working — able to access the same databases….doesn’t that just thrill everyone?

And this is a relatively passive abuse; what happens when the police have other tools available to them?

 

The deputy police chief in Dallas told Fox News over the weekend that Americans had the misperception that police forces were over-militarized because departments had not painted armored vehicles blue.

During an interview about the unrest after Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro pointed out to Dallas Deputy Police Chief Malik Aziz that “the perceived militarization is a problem.”

Aziz argued, however, that police departments were not over-militarized, and that people were more concerned about the misapplication of military equipment that was procured through Department of Defense programs.

“There are a lot of applications for it,” he insisted. “What is catching so much attention is the misapplication or the misuse or the deployment of it. And I’ve heard that from around the United States.”

 

The equipment used in policing is an issue; the way it is used is an even greater problem. Deputy Police Chief Aziz is correct in that aspect. So what does he offer as a solution?

But Aziz said that local police department still needed to solve the problem of “misuse or misapplication.”

“And that comes with training,” he continued. “We’re going to have to train police departments to respond. We’re going to have to train leaders, chiefs of police to respond better for leadership and command decisions. And that way, people won’t feel like they don’t have any value or equity in the system when it looks like a war zone.”

Training — professionals involved with resolving problems well recognize how vacant and nearly worthless that answer truly is. We need to train officers in ethics, morality, not breaking the procedures and policies??

That is the solution???

So Deputy Police Chief Aziz just what is the correct training needed to deploy sniper rifles to cover a peaceful protest? What is the correct training need to roll out Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles during riots — making sure the paint scheme is correct?

There has to be a better answer.

 

 

 

 

Scattered Thoughts on Kolbe Decision

Random Thoughts from the  Kolbe Decision.

Assuming that recent sales have increased the number of assault weapons in the
current civilian market to nine million, such weapons would represent about three percent of the civilian gun stock.

 

Let’s see — 12,000 homicides with all firearms around 475,000 firearm related violent crimes per year according to the Bureau for Justice Statistics. Even if every homicide and firearm related violent crime was accomplished by a separate gun owner (estimated around 46,000,000) that means rounding up for easier math 500,000 divided by 46,000,000 times 100 to express as a percentage — 1.09% of all gun owners were involved in a homicide or firearm related crime ! Half the percentage of gun owners.

Even if we estimate firearm at the low side of 270,000,000 — that would be 0.019% of all firearms being used in a crime each year. Heck even if every gun crime was committed by ‘an assault weapon” (9,000,000 per the decision) that is still only 5.55% of all the assault weapons being used in a crime each year. What does she think that other 94.45 % are being used for?

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Further, although the court recognizes the need to build proficiency with a firearm for the purposes of hunting or self-defense, there has been no indication from the Supreme Court that competitive marksmanship in itself is a purpose protected by the Second Amendment.

Oh, Joy….look at that. The court recognizes the need to be proficient but that competitive marksmanship — a sport that predates the founding of our country isn’t protected.

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Intimidation v. Fear

The Inigo Montoya line keeps running through my mind every time someone talks about how Open Carry — and for some anti-rights cultists Concealed Carry — talk about how it is “intimidating”

 

Inigo Montoya - You keep using that word "Intimidate" I don't think it means what you think it means

 

 

Let’s look at the definitions and see if it makes sense or I’m completely off base. Please and I mean this, let’s talk about this.

in·tim·i·date

[in-tim-i-deyt]

verb (used with object), in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing.

1.to make timid; fill with fear.
2.to overawe or cow, as through the force of personality or by superior display of wealth, talent, etc.
3.to force into or deter from some action by inducing fear: to intimidate a voter into staying away from the polls.

Look carefully at those definitions and see that for the most part action is required on the part of the person — “to make”, “to force”. Intimidation requires action, deliberate action on the part of the person doing it.
On the other hand, the definition of fear better covers what happens; a person decides or experiences a feeling based on their own mental state.

fear

[feer]

noun

1.a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. Synonyms: foreboding, apprehension, consternation, dismay, dread, terror, fright, panic, horror, trepidation, qualm. Antonyms: courage, security, calm, intrepidity.
2.a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights. Synonyms: phobia, aversion; bête noire, bogy, bogey, bugbear. Antonyms: liking, fondness, penchant, predilection.
3.concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
4.reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God. Synonyms: awe, respect, reverence, veneration.
5.something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of: Cancer is a common fear.

No deliberate action is required on the part of the other party, e.g. the Open Carry advocate.For some people this will be a distinction without meaning; intimidation or fear results in the same thing they’ll say; that people do not want to see firearms in public.

 

And this is one of the biggest issues I have with pro-rights advocates decrying Open Carry. In pushing against Open Carry of long guns they are making the exact same argument as the antis!

Think about it carefully and you’ll see what I mean. How many times has an anti argued they shouldn’t have to be any place where people have guns. That the mere presence of firearms makes them uncomfortable.

How many times have we’ve seen some pro-2nd Amendment advocate say “If I see someone walk in with a rifle, I’m going to get ready draw” or worse “I’ll assume the Open Carrier is about to shoot up the place and confront him”. Just for the mere presence of a firearm??? Really folks.

 

 

Oh, I understand the thought process that goes behind it — A pistol is what you use to fight to your rifle, right? But isn’t that a mindset that we gun owners have created. Or stolen from the military?

Does the general public really see any difference between a rifle carried in public and a pistol openly carried in public?

Frankly, I’ve seen a lot of people on “our side” talking about how Long Gun Open Carry “scares” the public but I’ve failed to see the direct media reports from people there at the events saying they were afraid. Time and time again the reports of “people being afraid” come long after the fact by people who weren’t there (Looking at you Moms Demanding Attention) or were completely fabricated (Fort Worth Police Department, can you explain ala Jack In The Box).

 

 

I want to make sure I’m very clear here. I support Open Carry and the activism going on in Texas. I don’t support the continued carrying in restaurants, not because I think it is wrong, but because that activity was so easily turned against us.

 

But I also think we need to very strongly and solidly support people Openly Carrying Long guns because failing to do so will provide leverage for the antis. Just because something makes a person uncomfortable or fearful is no reason to curtail the exercise of a right. From Nudity to Open Carry– folks grow up and deal with it. There are things we should make socially unacceptable because they are harmful to society but the vast majority of things are simply “I don’t want to see because it makes me feel icky” — as in this example.

 

 

We need to let people know their fear of an inanimate object or people exercising their rights is not a sufficient reason to stop that person from doing so. Maybe this hits home especially for me due to personal experience.

 

I was in college at the local junior college when on two separate occasions (years apart) I was told by two different female students that my mere physical size (6’2″ and 190# at the time) “intimidated” them. Both agreed that I had not acted untoward (I try to be a gentleman), that I had not crowded them or intruded into their personal space, acted hostile or anything else. Just that my physical size intimidated them.

Now this was two class mates out of hundreds so I took it with a grain of salt but it stuck with me and continues to be something I’m aware of. It is also appropriate to the discussion — should I have not gone to school because someone was fearful, should I have changed my schedule based on the 1 in a 100 reaction? Absolutely not, it was their issue to deal with. I’m not trying to be cold blooded here but they simply needed to deal with it.

 

 

And this is exactly how some people see Open Carry, it is exactly how some people see Concealed Carry — ‘Oh…the presence of a gun ‘intimidates’ me; you have to stop what you are doing’.

 

Because the next time they make that statement it might be “Anyone except for the police owning a firearm intimidates me; we need to ban all guns”

Please join the discussion.

Training Effectiveness

Let’s imagine there is an organization providing training for people wanting to get their Concealed Handgun License — in one class only 7 out of 27 students passed the written examination on the first attempt. An examination that requires students only to get 70% of the answers correct.

Well that could be a fluke, right? Just a bunch of people who didn’t take it serious.

What if you found out that out of the last 4 classes there were similar problems; students seemingly unable to master the concepts of when to use force, what the law says, etc?

I don’t know about you but I would worry just how much those students had learned.

 

Now what if I told you that organization was the Dallas Sheriff’s Training Academy?

 

An exclusive NBC 5 investigation reveals a crisis inside the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.  

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Training Academy is at risk of being shut down by the state because last year’s recruits did so poor on the state’s basic licensing exam.

NBC 5 Investigates obtained records from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which certifies Texas Police Academies, that indicate only 25 percent of last year’s recruits passed the exam on the first try.  

Their records show 27 recruits took the exam at the academy in 2013 but only seven passed on the first try. The state requires 80 percent of recruits pass on the first attempt and every police academy in Texas did that last year, except Dallas County who had the worst percentage in the entire state.

NBC 5 Investigates learned the state put Dallas County’s academy on probation last fall, which means they are at risk for losing their license.

NBC5 posted that report back in May — sorry blog and real life issues kept me from addressing this sooner.

Does that fill you with confidence and security knowing that it took multiple attempts for the majority of the class to get a “C” on the final exam? In interest of full disclosure, for a Concealed Handgun License with its admittedly shorter/less comprehensive test also requires a passing grade of 70% on the examination.

Before last year, the academy had stellar grades.  In 2012, recruits logged a 100 percent passing rate.

Law enforcement training experts said a sudden drop often points to a poor recruiting class or poor teaching and that both could be a problem.

 

Follow up investigations reveal that the issues do not appear to be with a single class.

NBC 5 Investigates obtained copies of the scores for the last four academy classes. A score of 70 is a passing grade for individual cadets, but in the last four classes the average score on the problem solving and critical thinking portion of the test ranged from just 50 to 60 percent. Three of the last four classes had failing scores on the force options section — which gauges their knowledge of when it’s OK to use a weapon.

Recent Dallas County academy classes also had scores averaging below 70 percent in test areas including controlled substances, arrest search and seizure, traffic laws and crisis intervention – mental health code training.

In one recent academy class, the average score on the family code and juvenile justice portion of the test was a mere 36 percent.

So, let’s consider the ways that the recent classes, including the 2012 class which had a 100% pass rate could have passed.

a. The prospective peace officers took the test repeatedly until they got it right.
b. The prospective peace officers received illegal assistance in passing the test.

Does either scenario fill you with confidence and security about the peace officers coming out of that organization? Especially when you consider that once they passed the test; any department or agency could have hired them!

 

The anti-rights cultist generally harp on how people who carry firearms need to be trained like professional law enforcement officers are trained. Yet the reality of the situation is peace officers aren’t held to incredibly high standards. I’ll be covering the training requirements in more detail later. I want to assure people this isn’t a knock on law enforcement in general; more of pointing out the problems with a major training institution and the tendency of the antis to put law enforcement on a pedestal.

The simple fact is most officers are decent people trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately they are also working for agencies usually headed by political appointees or elected officials trying to stay in office. Unfortunately most officers do not possess the in depth knowledge of the law or the Constitutions.

In fact, I was shocked that for a Basic Peace Officer certification only 8 hours out of 643 — a measly 0.16% of the of the time — is spent on the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution and the Texas  Constitution.

Please join the discussion.

 

And thanks for sticking around and the messages regarding the blog; it really helped to know that people were reaching out to me during the past couple of months.

 

 

Another Reason Not To Live In Dallas

Regardless, that’s what Dallas police Chief David Brown advocated to City Council members wednesday in an effort to give his officer access to the private financial records of criminal suspects.

“This information can be used to take down these organizations — multiple drug houses, open air drug sales,” the chief said. “We can access this information.”

Brown asked the Council to let officers access private banking and financial information that’s protected under the federal Bank Secrecy Act. Brown said this information — already being collected by the feds, but tightly controlled — would help him take down local drug dealers.

Yep, Let’s not worry about the people’s rights when trying to enforce impractical drug laws.

Makes me wonder if there is an ulterior motive behind this action.

The vote lets the City enter into an agreement with the Department of the Treasury to access financial records at no cost to the city.

Brown said the arrangement will let Dallas keep drug money it seizes instead of sharing it with federal agencies.

That couldn’t possible be an ulterior motive, could it?

Positive Open Carry / LEO Interaction

Congrats not only to the Come and Take It – Texas group but the Austin Police officer !

This is how it should be.

.

.

Now if we can get Open Carry of Handguns.

 

If You Get Gibberish Emails

You’ll know why

An Illinois-based digital artist has created a Gmail plugin that automatically adds blacklisted words to every email in an attempt to protest against online surveillance.

Ben Grosser has designed the ScareMail plugin in a way that, he says, will be ensure that even benign emails are picked up by the security filters of America’s National Security Agency.

I had thought about adding black listed words to my communications; glad someone found a way to automate the process.

Grosser’s idea takes the opposite tack to encryption tools including PGP and Silent Text, and to the IP-masking service Tor, which are designed to hide the contents of messages or the sender.

“One of the strategies used by the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) email surveillance programs is the detection of predetermined keywords. These “selectors”, as they refer to them internally, are used to identify communications by presumed terrorists,” said Grosser.

“Large collections of words have thus become codified as something to fear, as an indicator of intent. The result is a governmental surveillance machine run amok, algorithmically collecting and searching our digital communications in a futile effort to predict behaviours based on words in emails.”

ScareMail generates a chunk of text to append to the end of every email sent, containing as many selectors as possible.

The NSA could eliminate those emails from their filters if they choose though.

The plugin warns recipients by prefacing the text with the warning “Following Text Generated by ScareMail” — which would make it trivial for the NSA to ignore it in its current form.

But by doing so they increase our privacy; if enough people use this, the NSA would be overwhelmed with false positives or have to ignore large chunks of people’s communications.

“All ScareMail does is add words from the English language to emails written by users of the software. By doing so, ScareMail reveals one of the primary flaws of the NSA’s surveillance efforts: words do not equal intent.”

More accurate to say is not all words equal intent. Sometimes they do but to give up our essential liberty of free speech and privacy in the vain hope of safety is not something I’m willing to do. It isn’t something the government should be forcing people to do.

 

ScareMail is available as a plugin for Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and the source code is free for all at Github.

So folks, if you start seeing ‘scary words’ in my emails; you’ll know why.

Please join the discussion.