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Try, try, again

So, we have had two cases recently of police officers who committed homicide in the line of duty and were later not indicted by grand jury. And we have heard a clamor that they should have been tried anyway, that the grand jury process in both cases was unusually deferential to the officers (in contrast to the process in which a regular citizen’s actions are judged by a grand jury), and that “it should be settled in court!”

My question for those people clamoring for a trial is: What makes you think the result will be any different, save that a vaster amount of money will be spent?  Regardless of the unusual deference given to the officers in the grand jury process in these cases, an actual trial in front of an actual jury will give them even more deference. It only takes a majority of a grand jury to indict, but it takes a unanimous petit jury to convict. And the usual financial and temporal difficulties experienced by  defendants not employed as police officers will not apply – their defenses will be paid for not out of their own pocket, but by the same taxpayer who is paying to prosecute them. The prosecutor will be the same one who presented the case in front of the grand jury and supposedly softballed it.

In short, what do they expect from a trial that they didn’t get from the grand jury at a much lower expense and effort?

(The cynic in me says “another 6 months of media frenzy.”)

Criminal Everything

This isn’t gun related, and it’s not really a case of true over-criminalization (though it easily could be if the state wanted to go after the family for truancy caused by the school), but it’s still something that pisses me off about the nanny culture getting its panties in a twist over any type of non-conformity.

If you’re a school administrator, there are some battles worth fighting. Students who fight, drug or alcohol abuse that impacts the school environment, and maybe even a few slaps on the wrist for overly revealing clothing. Then there are things that aren’t actually disruptive to anyone other than a tight ass who feels an absurd need to punish those who do not engage in groupthink. The principal of Muscle Shoals, Alabama appears to be one of those people.

He kicked out a girl for dying her hair red. Yup, red. Not purple, not blue, not green, not glittery silver, just red.

For the record, those other colors were all colors that I dyed my hair in high school without ever disrupting the school. The closest you might consider a disruption was at the end of my junior year when the school newspaper used me for a trivia question and asked what my normal hair color really was, and no one could remember so they kept asking me throughout the day. Yup, that’s the extent of “disruption” that hair color caused.

Her mother seems to understand how to distinguish between actual problematic behavior in teens and a bottle of red hair dye:

“I dyed my hair when I was her age. I was excited it was that, [that] it wasn’t a tattoo that she wanted or piercings, or something. There are so many girls that do it and there could be worse things. As long as she’s a good student, hair is the least of my worries.”

I framed things the same way to my mom when she was initially skeptical of my blue hair experiment. I could do drugs. I could engage in risky sexual activity. I could get myself arrested. I could “rebel” in any number of harmful ways. Instead, I was an honor student goodie two shoes who rarely did anything against the rules and I just dyed my hair. Hair that grows back. Hair that can be dyed back.

Even though I said at the beginning that this isn’t related to gun issues, I think I need to take that back a bit. The principal’s inability to handle a student who dyes her hair red is engaged in the same kind of thinking of not knowing how to distinguish between a real disruption or threat and something that’s just a little bit outside of the lines of “group” behavior that leads to actions like Six Flags banning veterans wearing military-themed shirts from their parks because the military shirt has a firearm. I’m not sure how you fix that kind of stupid by people who simply refuse to think critically and use a little common sense.

On the St. Louis Riots

Charles C.W. Cooke thinks a lot of folks on the right are having the completely wrong reaction:

Whatever its cause, it is indisputably true that the United States has a problem with blacks killing blacks. And yet this has absolutely nothing to do with the question at hand, which is: “Did a police officer unjustifiably kill an unarmed black man in Missouri?” It is feasible, is it not, to be worried about the internecine violence in America’s inner cities and to want to get to the bottom of an allegedly unwarranted shooting? So why the conflation? After all, whether or not it is intentional, reacting to a community’s grief by raising an entirely separate topic smacks largely of distraction — of reflexively throwing up a roadblock to what is a legitimate line of inquiry in the hope that the subject might swiftly be changed. 

This is exactly right. If the officer in question did, then he ought to be held accountable for it. I don’t know the whole story, There’s a strong movement beginning on the more libertarian leaning portions of the “right” or “conservative movement” or whatever you want to call it, that is becoming increasingly sympathetic to the idea that there are some cops that run roughshod over the communities they serve and are never held properly accountable for it.

But I’ve never understood the tendency to react to injustice by cutting off your right leg to show everyone how angry you are. If rioters were burning city hall, or overturning police cars, I still wouldn’t condone it, but I’d understand. At least that’s where the people are that wronged you. Reacting to tragedy by destroying your own neighborhood is a reaction that baffles me.

The alleged circumstances surrounding the shooting are certainly suspicious, but there needs to be an investigation. Unlike citizens, police are often allowed to shoot fleeing suspects (whether that’s right is another question). But shooting someone who’s actively surrendering is murder. Even if it was a mistake (booger hook on the bang switch), it’s still manslaughter. But that’s not to say everything is as advertised. These are matters for investigators, prosecutors, and if the facts support it, ultimately a jury.

James Brady Passes Away

News is breaking today that James Brady died at 73 years old. As most of you know, he’s the man that the Brady Campaign is named after.

I honestly don’t have much to add since I don’t remember the assassination attempt (I was only 3 months old), and that’s interesting to consider when you look at the Brady Campaign branding. For many of their post-Newtown followers, today’s news articles may be the first time they are hearing about the context of the name.

Creating Child Porn to “Prove” Child Porn

My outrage meter was off the charts yesterday with something that wasn’t gun-related, but it is related to the issue of freedom and the out-of-control state.

In Northern Virginia, a teen boy’s girlfriend sent sexy pictures of herself and he sent one back. Now they want to charge the kid with felonies for child pornography and are trying to “prove” it’s him by creating their own collection of child pornography to compare it against. When the response by the prosecutor and the cops is to think, “hey, we should haul a 17-year-old boy to a hospital and give him a shot to force an erection so that we can take nudie pictures of him all hot and bothered,” it’s time they need to reconsider their choices in life.

I’d also like to point out that the fact that they aren’t bringing the same charges against the 15-year-old girlfriend appears to be a little sexist.

I’m just curious though why there isn’t someone in the life of DA Claiborne Richardson – a friend or family member – who hasn’t sat down with him and said, “Really? Really? Giving a teen boy a forced erection and taking naked pictures is how you want to be remembered for all of history? Making a kid a felon for showing his girlfriend a video of his d*** that she’s probably already seen in real life many times if she’s sending dirty pictures of herself is what you consider an effective use of the justice system? Don’t you think it’s time to reconsider your life and how out of touch you are with reality if you think this is a perfectly reasonable course of action?”

The Meaning of Memorial Day

I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day and take some time out to remember what the day is about – those who have fallen while serving our country.

Here’s a NYT piece that I highly suggest reading today. You might discover you have a little something in your eye that causes them to well up a bit at a few lines, or maybe not.

One of my favorite genealogy blogs puts this in the very real description of her fourth great grand uncle who was one of the first in her family to die for the freedoms we so value today because he died in the Battle of Trenton. He had no wife and no descendants, so he was almost forgotten to history except for a single mention in a pension application by his brother. It’s very touching to see that sometimes these little bits of history do have meaning.

Quote of the Day: Larry Correia

About the kidnappings that have been happening in Nigeria, and the celebrity left’s response:

I did a lot of research on human trafficking and modern slavery before Mike Kupari and I wrote Swords of Exodus. It is a horrible, evil, and surprisingly gigantic thing. One thing I’m fairly sure of about the kind of people who do that sort of thing for a living, is that they really don’t give a shit about a bunch of American movie stars taking pouty selfies of themselves holding up signs with hash tag give our girls back. The disapproval of fat, soft, Americans on Facebook really doesn’t move them. They care about getting paid or getting killed, that’s about it. The self-righteous pouting is useless …

Iraq and Afghanistan have made me skeptical of nation building, but I’m still generally in favor of going in to kill people who need killing (like slave traders).

Full Context of Bundy Statement

I know it’s from Media Matters, but it’s pretty much just Clive Bundy speaking for himself:

I wouldn’t have too much to say about this if he just used the word “negro.” My grandparents used to call them “colored people,” and never quite managed to adopt the modern sensibilities on the topic of race relations. They were not racist people, but held on to a lot of old ways of thinking on the topic. But as bad as my grandparents, who were a generation older than Bundy, could get on the topic of race, I could never imagine them saying anything like this. There’s even a part at the end, not mentioned by the Times, where he says “Down there, they were probably growing their turnips.” The context seemingly suggesting that they were happier enslaved “down there,” growing turnips.

Patrick H made what I think is the best argument in the previous comments:

We still fight to let the KKK protest. We still fight to let Nazi’s speak about Jews however they want. Why? Because its freedom.

Remember the quote “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist…”

Whether Bundy deserves our support should ONLY be on whether he is right in his fight (whether that’s because he is right, or because who he is fighting), not because he has unpopular opinions.

It’s a fair point. We defend the right of the KKK to speak and protest not because we agree with them, but because we believe their freedom to do so. We defend a lot of things in this society in the name of freedom that we find repugnant. In fact, that is the definition of freedom-loving. But this argument forces me to admit that it’s not just this late statement that makes me reluctant to support this situation.

What freedom is at stake here? Is there a right to use public land without paying fees? Is there a right to use public land at all? Every post and argument I’ve seen which argues this situation is bigger than Clive Bundy, bigger than grazing cattle, bigger than turtles, etc, still has me scratching my head trying to understand how this is so. There are certainly grievances at work here at legitimate as the Mississippi is wide, but a lot of us have grievances with this Administration. What makes this one special?

As we mentioned previously, BLM is currently engaged in a big land grab along the Oklahoma and Texas Border. Here you’re talking about real private property rights being put at risk. This is most definitely a freedom issue, and I’d be more inclined to agree that it’s much bigger than any individual person affected.

I will say this: I do believe Cliven Bundy and his family have a right to not be needlessly killed by their government. Given how heavy BLM and other federal agencies were rolling in, it was clear there was the potential for another Waco-like situation. I don’t blame anyone for stepping up to make sure that didn’t happen. I’d agree that was the right thing to do. But I think if you’re going to start a civil war, it had better be over something very important. That citizens have the right to not be murdered by their government is that important, but one family’s use of public land is not. The big problem I have with the Bundy Ranch situation is it’s hard to tell where the line between stopping another Waco, and starting a civil war over one familys’ unfettered “right” to graze on public lands starts and ends.

UPDATE: Here are his full remarks:

Cliven Bundy: Blacks “Better off as Slaves”

Union Cemetery

These men were killed or maimed fighting the idea that there were people who were “better off as slaves.”

While I’ve had quite a bit of sympathy to the idea of standing up to an overreaching federal government, my instinct on the Bundy situation was to keep him at arm’s length. To be frank, the dude set of my alarm bells. Now I notice a direct quote of Bundy in the New York Times that would seem to suggest that I was right be wary:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

I get the greater point he’s trying to make, that life on the dole is degrading and dehumanizing, but really? Blacks were better off as slaves picking cotton? As if slavery, slavery is not a degrading and dehumanizing institution? I might agree that welfare doesn’t help the poor in the long term, but slavery was evil.

Sorry, this isn’t someone I’d want to take a bullet for, and it’s hard to fathom why anyone else would too, now that this much is clear. While I certainly don’t support Fed snipers or SWAT teams turning this situation into a bloody conflict any more now, than I did when I wrote this, I don’t stand with racists who think slavery was a better institution for Blacks than welfare.

Happy Easter

To all who celebrate: Happy Easter. Bitter and I got a really good deal on a Smithfield ham the other day, and so we intend to bake that along with some sides. Given that I am a ham fiend, and don’t get to eat it very often, I’m starving myself now in anticipation.

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