Friday, February 28, 2003

Denver Mayor Wellington Webb agrees to 8 out of 12 items in a proposed settlement offered by the ACLU over the Denver PD's 'spy files'. The 'spy files' were kept by the Denver PD on people whom they viewed as suspicious including various civil rights group members & leaders even though there was no proof of criminal activity. The guidelines for inclusion were based on having reasonable suspicion which is a much laxer standard than probable cause.

The 4 issues that he wouldn't agree to are:

"• That files be kept only when police officers have "probable cause" to believe the person or group is involved in criminal activity.

• That intelligence files cannot be maintained on crimes of terrorism.

• That the lawsuit be kept open indefinitely and that the ACLU be allowed to comment on future policy revisions.

• That the city pay attorney fees to the ACLU.

Although Webb said the city would consider the request for attorney fees once officials know how much money is involved, he called the other three issues 'deal-breakers'."

This from the city where they want to protect their constitutional right to infringe your constitutional rights.

'Stupid leftist gun grabbers' by Sheriff Michael E. Cook
An interesting piece about a man who has been converted to the pro self defense side of life.
In California a man shoots two dogs in self defense. While people often think only of wild bears & mountain lions when they think of defense against animals, some breeds of dogs do pose a legitimate threat, especially when loose in a neighborhood.
A Tulsa, Oklahoma man won't face homocide charges for stopping a sexual attack, but he may face charges if they find he didn't have the right permit.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

This is sad, even for lawyers.

"A prosecutor was trying to block a death row inmate from having his conviction reopened on the basis of new evidence, and Judge Stith, of the Missouri Supreme Court, was getting exasperated. 'Are you suggesting,' she asked the prosecutor, that 'even if we find Mr. Amrine is actually innocent, he should be executed?'
Frank A. Jung, an assistant state attorney general, replied, 'That's correct, your honor.'
That exchange was, legal experts say, unusual only for its frankness."

"To make sure we are clear on this,' Judge Michael A. Wolff of the Supreme Court replied, 'if we find in a particular case that DNA evidence absolutely excludes somebody as the murderer, then we must execute them anyway if we can't find an underlying constitutional violation at their trial?'
Again, Mr. Jung said yes."

"...Jamie Orenstein, a former Justice Department official. 'The justification for closing off innocence-based challenges is that eventually we reach a point where allowing them will prevent very few unjust executions, but will undermine the deterrence and retribution justifications for the death penalty by letting prisoners engage in endless delay'."

"This summer, the federal appeals court in St. Louis provided one sort of answer. Despite what the court said was 'a nagging suspicion that the wrong man may have been convicted of capital murder,' the three-judge panel wrote, the defendant, Darryl Burton, was entitled to 'no relief, even as the facts suggest that he may well be innocent'."

Sadly, another example of zero tolerance. An 8 year old interrogated & arrested for a lunchtime game of 'cops & robbers'.
I am not a parent but I can understand in a limited way what the child's father must have felt as his son was arrested. I can understand why the suit is being filed & why the parents are upset that this would happen to their son. I cannot understand why an officer of the state was able to take away his son though. I'm not questioning the legality of arresting an 8 year old for playing 'cops & robbers': but how can an officer with a broken arm & a dislocated hip arrest an 8 year old by himself?

Badge or no badge my intitial reaction would not have been nearly as calm as Mr. Alston's was. & consequences be damned if I would let the state take away my child because he played a game in which no one was or could be hurt. What is suprising about all this is not the charge, nor the age of the defendant:as we've become too accustomed to PC laws & zero tolerance to be shocked by it anymore. What is suprising is that a parent would be intimidated into letting his child be taken.

I am not faulting Mr. Alston for what he did or didn't do. Respect for the law as personified in a police officer is something that has been ingrained in most of us from an early age, as has faith in the courts to sort everything out. But lawsuits & monetary awards cannot repair emotional damage. Prevention is worth more than any settlement could hope to offer. It is partially our own fault for standing by while things like this occur. It's partially the fault of legislators & bureaucrats who pass these asinine laws & regulations in the first place. But let's not forget that it is also the fault of the LEO's for enforcing such laws.

"An attack on the Kings' soldiers is an attack on the King". Funny how some ideas die hard. Had Mr. Alston forcibly resisted his 8 year old son being taken away he would have faced charges. His legal troubles would be immense. But if I were a parent then those would be troubles I'd get into willing if it meant protecting my child. Now if my hypothetical child would have been throwing rocks at cars or taking a kids' lunch money, then perhaps I could see some justification in his being detained temporarily as a scare tactic to induce future good behavior. But over a game of cops & robbers played with paper cut in L shapes???

Perhaps I'm wrong. If any parents out there feel this is an over reaction & that Mr. Alston did the right thing feel free to write & correct me.
Upudate on the NAACP's lawsuit : a judge ruled that the opposing counsel may be called as witnesses. This may mean the lawyers in question would not be able to represent their clients.

For a previous blog on this case, look here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

The 'Assault Weapons' & 'high' capacity magazine ban is due to sunset in just 19 months. Here's an article covering some of the details, but be warned, it if full of errors & I just don't have time to pick through them right now.

This is one excerpt worth remembering though, concerning our "pro-gun" president Bush:

"A White House spokesman said the president stands behind his campaign commitment to support an extension of the ban, but he would not say if Bush will ask Congress to do so."

The Colorado Senate passed SB24. Here's a letter I received on the subject from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners:

"This week the State Senate passed SB24, Sen. Ken Chlouber's concealed
carry bill.

The bill itself passed out of the Senate with 23 votes, 5 more than the
required 18

Since Republicans now control the Senate, and thus decide who is the
chairman of the
"committee of the whole" Senate for Second Reading, most of the
amendments offered
by Democrats were ruled as "not fitting under the title."

Understand what is happening here: the Democrats, mostly from Denver,
used just this
circumstance 2 years ago as a way to run a series of anti-gun
amendments to a
concealed carry bill. The Democrats then used these recorded votes to
attack sitting
Republican legislators - especially on the "guns in schools" issue - in
the 2000 elections.

Though RMGO had worked to add language to prohibit a statewide database
of permit
holders, which was successful in the Senate State Affairs Committee,
Chlouber joined
with hardcore anti-gun Denver Democrat Sen. Ken Gordon to strip that
language from
SB24. That means that sheriffs can, and will, enter all permit holders
into a statewide
database, effectively creating a dangerous persons list, a perfect tool
for tyranny.

Sen. Doug Lamborn fought hard to keep the database prohibition language
in the bill.
Lamborn used a procedure called an "amendment to the committee of the
whole" to
force a recorded vote on this issue. 6 Senators voted to prohibit a
statewide database
of permit holders: Lamborn, Bruce Cairns, Mark Hillman, Andy McElhany,
Dave Owen
and Senate President John Andrews. For those keeping score at home,
this serves as
a list of the stalwarts for gun rights in the State Senate.

We were able to slightly move the training requirement. Sen. Bruce
Cairns offered an
amendment on Second Reading to change the requirement to have training
within the
last 5 years: it has now changed to 10 years. Though this amendment
passed, this
hardly makes SB24 a good bill.

SB24 was assigned by the House Speaker into the Local Government, a
with no conservatives. This wasn't by accident.

What is wrong with SB24? Here is a short list:

No database prohibition

Training requirements - hunter safety not included, and there is a 10
year time limit on

Fee -- $100 plus $30 fingerprint fee plus the required training makes
this bill affordable
to Ross Perot, but out of reach for many Colorado citizens.

Safezones - K-12 public schools; any facility that has security
personnel and weapons
screening devices.

Fingerprint logging - SB24 requires applicants to submit their
fingerprints, which are
then forwarded to the FBI and entered into their fingerprint database.

Existing permits expire early

Residency requirement - Rather than allow sheriffs to issue permits to
residents (which would provide a safety outlet when cities like Denver
refuse to issue
permits, as they are now threatening), SB24 requires you to apply in
your county of
residence. It also fails to allow visiting out of state citizens to

What you can do: call your State Representative today at 1-800-811-7647
or 303-866-
2904 and urge him/her to either fix SB24 or kill it."

I realize people not in Colorado may not be interested in this but there is a lesson for non-Coloradans: the NRA & the Republicans are not as pro-gun as they would have you believe. I refer you to this earlier blog on the same subject.

If you do live in Colorado now would be a real good time to start writieng &/or calling you Representatives & urge - no, demand that they kill this bill in the house.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Update on the Florida man on whom the stasi, er I mean the neighbors called the police because he had firearms in his home.
The people who reported guns in his home to the police were not his neighbors but bank officials. His home is being foreclosed upon & this article while being sensationlist dribble does include the details. At least some of the details about the man's financial condition.
He owes $16,500 on a $94,000 house. Not a small amount, but not a particularly large one either. Here's where it gets interesting: Hillsborough County Code Enforcement has a lein on his property totalling $26,400. That total climbs by $100 every day.

"Code enforcement supervisor Jim Blinck said Walters was cited for problems with his roof, the trim of his house and overgrown conditions on his property. Blinck said if the bank completes the foreclosure and seizes the house, that act will wipe out the county's code lien."

It's a shame journalistic standards seem to be as low as they are. The recent story is filled with implications that despite no laws being broken by his gun ownership he is still untrustworthy because of his reclusive nature. The headline still announces the "standoff" that occured on Feb. 17th. The "standoff" was due to the police not realizing the man wasn't at home. It'd have been nice to learn why the county thinks $100 is an appropriate response to take against a man for the condition of his own property, or if perhaps the foreclosure was because he refused to pay the county & couldn't sell the house or fight the county in court over the "fines". & of course any allegations of the bank officers over reacting when they called in the man's 'arsenal' were omitted as were any comments about the police over-reaction to the man's gun collection. I guess decent journalism just doesn't sell like it used to.
Sheryl Crow was asked not to make anti war statements at the Grammy's.
Now I am a little torn by the whole war thing myself. I don't think we're going about it the right way & I think our foreign policy in general has been more than a little screwed up since around 1900. On the other hand Hussein's a tyrant & whether or not he poses a direct threat to us he does pose a direct threat to his people & his neighbors.

With that out of the way I think since it's the Grammy's dime then they can call any shots they want. It would therefore be innappropriate to agree to their terms & then go against their wishes when the mic was on you.
The appropriate response to the Grammy reps would have been to ask them to change their mind & let any speaker speak briefly in any way he/she saw fit. If they refused then politely & very publicly refuse to participate in the Grammy's untill their policy changed.

I don't really agree with Ms. Crow's ideas. I think war sometimes is the only answer even if it's a regrettable one. Peace is something I value, but like most things in the real world it depends on the price. I value freedom more than peace & if it takes war to achieve the former then I'll live without the latter.

With that out of the way I am disappointed in Ms. Crow's decision. If you believe in something you should stand up for it. To be fair though I have never been a fan of the Grammy's. Sure, I'd watch them every now & then but the awards part of the show never really impressed me. I always imagined if I was a nominee I'd politely asked to be dropped on general principles. So perhaps Ms. Crow is feeling a pressure that I am immune to & thus it's a bit unfair of me to be disappointed in her. I don't place the same value on awards that she does & I don't even espouse her political views. But despite the rationizations to the contrary I'm still just a bit disappointed.
Ohio cops respond to complaint of busty snow woman.

"Goodlet said the officer didn't demand that Lynn alter her artwork, but she left the conversation thinking she would be arrested for disorderly conduct if she didn't comply."

Sunday, February 23, 2003

In Colorado, as in many parts of the country there seems to be a problem with people masquerading as police officers. I have never heard of a case where it happened, but it is possible for a person pretending to be a cop to completely disarm an individual by simply asking for his/her weapon as many cops do when engaged in a traffic stop. I have always felt this practice was a violation of rights, even if the weapon is surrendered temporarily but I also feel that because of situations like this it is a dangerous thing to do.
Ever wondered what jury duty would be like? Armed Females of America has an article about what being a juror should be like.
This is something any & all AOL users should look at. It's on Dean Speir's site The Gun Zone & the rest of the site is worth looking into as well.