Evening Links

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Because I have way too many browser tabs open.

  • Mexican drug lord hit men dress up like a SWAT team to carry out an execution in Phoenix. The rest of the story is just damned scary. But remember, the violence means we’re winning!
  • Photos of a long-shuttered child development center in Maryland. That the place had problems with abusing children makes the photos all the creepier.
  • I have no idea what to make of this story. It’s just . . . weird.
  • Mississippi legislature set to vote on an important bill regarding the preservation of DNA evidence. That prosecutors and cops down there could still oppose this thing after all that’s gone on down there is just mind-blowing.
  • Speaking of drug war violence in Mexico, Arizona’s attorney general kinda’, sorta’, almost brings himself to say it might possibly be time to at least start talking about the possibility of opening up a debate on . . . legalizing marijuana. I think I put enough caveats in there.
  • Ah, more fun with the “conservative” wing of the NY Times op-ed page.
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  • 34 Responses to “Evening Links”

    1. #1 |  Aresen | 

      Mexican drug lord hit men dress up like a SWAT team to carry out an execution in Phoenix.

      Would Justice Scalia please explain to me how the victim criminal is supposed to know when it’s the police and not the criminals?

    2. #2 |  Antonin Scalia | 

      It doesn’t matter. Just lie on your belly and beg for mercy either way. It’s for officer safety after all, not yours.

    3. #3 |  Chris K. | 

      Aresen,
      You don’t make a distinction. The plan of action for all PEOPLE from now on should be and is at my house SHOOT everyone who busts down the door, regardless of how they are dressed. Now if everyone would do this and make it public that this will be the new Standard Operating Procedure, cops and criminals (but I repeat myself) would think twice. And cops themselves would be begging to see warrants from their superiors before service!

    4. #4 |  freedomfan | 

      On the first item, I see that the drug dealers and hit men dressing up as police are now perfecting their impersonation by actually shooting people. There was a time when you could tell faux cop home invaders were fake because they didn’t swear as much and were semi-polite to the residents. Now that they bust in with an air of superiority and act like the resident is an asshole for even asking why they are there, there is no distinguishing them from the real deal.

      BTW: Bingo, Chris K! And when, inevitably, some authoritarian dimwit sneeringly asks what I will do the next time I want the police to come to my house, it will be easy enough to say that I do not want people busting my door down in the middle of the night, and anyone who enters that way isn’t there to help me.

    5. #5 |  Brandon Bowers | 

      Seems the obvious answer is to stop police from dressing and acting like criminals. Wasn’t SWAT originally just for hostage situations anyway?

    6. #6 |  Aresen | 

      I thought about it a bit, and there is a way to distinguish the two groups:

      1) If you are not involved in criminal activity and have done nothing wrong, it’s the cops.

      2) If they don’t shoot your dog, it’s the drug lords’ hit men.

      ;)

    7. #7 |  James D | 

      Being in the Phoenix area, I can tell that your first story has happened a couple times here and the main outrage people have is that our border isn’t secure. None of the major news organizations have even touched on the angle about that story that you would (no-knock raids, etc).

    8. #8 |  Chris K. | 

      I also am in the Phoenix area. You are correct James.

      Aresen,
      While tongue in cheek, you are correct. But as the case of Ryan Fredrick proved you cannot know until it is too late.

      This is why I advocate shooting all who enter your house uninvited as a policy. If everyone plans on doing so and advertises it, it will reduce if not eliminate No-Knock (no warrant) services and home invasion.

    9. #9 |  troy | 

      Wow, it was fun to see Terry dance that tightrope. If this economy gets worse and stays worse for months, then I think that there will be a shot at legalizing the weed.

      There simply isn’t enough money to go around for the police state that many want implemented in order to attempt to staunch the supply of drugs.

    10. #10 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      #4 Brandon Bowers: “Wasn’t SWAT originally just for hostage situations anyway?”

      Yes, hostage/barricade situations or dealing w/ heavily armed terrorists (recall the raid on the SLA back in the early 70s). These teams were most certainly not used for warrant service. That was accomplished, ideally, by–you guessed it–sending a deputy sheriff, officer, detective, deputy marshal or other sworn LEO to the door, having that LEO knock on the door, and having them explain the reason for their presence (arrest, search/seizure, etc.).

      Fast forward thirty years. SWAT is now an all purpose unit. And criminals learn and adapt. They are street wise like that! So what do they do, they replicate “legitimate” police tactics and use them to further their illicit business interests.

      All this shit is coming across the border. Our urban areas have been killing fields for years, but the tactics used by the cartels will be shocking. It’s time to wake up!

    11. #11 |  Aresen | 

      H O’ H # 9

      Your point is a little unclear. I think you are actually making two points:

      1) A police unit that was originally envisioned for ultra-high risk situations where there was real risk to innocent people is now being used as SOP, raising the overall level of violence and risk to all parties.

      2) The criminal organizations have learned to mimic the behavior of the police for their own purposes. Also, they have become more violent themselves in response to police violence.

      For point 1, I agree wholeheartedly.

      For point 2, I think that criminal organisations have never shrunk from any form of brutality. Only when a modus vivendi has been established with the government organs does crime violence decrease as part of an understanding that the criminals will be tolerated unofficially, so long as they do not offend society as a whole. In such cases, the criminals tend to limit violence to their fellow criminals without disturbing the general order.

      Continuing a little further on the subject of criminal violence, when a situation exists where the profits of a criminal enterprise are very large, such as the drug war, in true capitalist fashion, more people try to enter the field. When the only method of competing is to physically eliminate the competition, the amount of violence rises.

    12. #12 |  Frank Hummel | 

      So this happens in Phoenix? I thought the toughest sheriff in the US rules there…

    13. #13 |  claude | 

      “I thought the toughest sheriff in the US rules there…”

      If by toughest you mean “an outwardly appearing conservative man in his 60′s who likes to watch young, firm, muscular young males wearing pink underwear”… yeah thats him.

    14. #14 |  nic | 

      The pictures of the asylum are fascinating. I’ve been hospitalized several times for “mental” problems, so these old pictures are really moving to me. Speaking of which there’s another website that has quite a lot of these types of photos, I don’t know the person who took these pictures, but he has quite a collection, especially ones of state hospitals and “insane asylums”. Gives me the chills.
      http://www.opacity.us/locations/

    15. #15 |  claude | 

      Replace one of the “young” in the above post with “hairless”. Thanks.

    16. #16 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      #10 Aresen:

      Sorry if I was unclear.

      “For point 2, I think that criminal organisations have never shrunk from any form of brutality.”

      Agreed, and I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. I only meant that the SWAT fetish has provided criminals w/ a way to cloak their ill intent in legitimacy, at least long enough to fool their victims.

      The criminal justice system has provided observant thugs with convenient cover by using SWAT too much, but this has not, as you rightly point out, made them any more or less violent. It has just made things more confusing for the victims of these home invasions. Also, your economic analysis of the effects of prohibition was flawless, in my view. I only hope that more people will see things in a similar light in the near future.

    17. #17 |  Antonin Scalia | 

      1 in 31 people in prison/probation in 2007

      http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/03/02/record.prison.population/index.html

      Sorry for the threadjack.

    18. #18 |  Frank | 

      Here’s a clip of the Carter County Sheriff in action.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPE2ySTIGRM

    19. #19 |  MacK | 

      Doesn’t a warrant expire with the statute of limitations for the crime?
      If so that warrant expired 75 years ago.
      The youngest the check floater could be is what maybe 95-100?
      This is just another sheriff Lott looking for his 15 minutes of fame by being stupid.

    20. #20 |  TomMil | 

      #19 – The thought I had was, “they clean once every 80 years?”

    21. #21 |  Randy | 

      Re: AZ AG

      Major CYA in that whole segment. He wants to start a debate about legalization, which he doesn’t favor. Okay……..

      It’s likely he knows that legalization is the only way to end the threat but won’t risk any political capital by saying so.

      While it seems we are seeing some major shifts in attitudes toward reforming our drug laws, it’s been the violence the drug war engenders (from LEO’s here and organized crime in Mexico) that has finally started some people to wake up. Prohbition may end one day, not because it is the right thing to do, but because it will become the pragmatic thing to do. If so, I’ll welcome it, regardless of the reasons for the change.

    22. #22 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      The business of David Brooks is government, and business is good. Government will be a larger part of your life than ever before.

    23. #23 |  bob42 | 

      The United States’ War on Drugs has raged on for for thirty+ years, during which time the government has stolen property from citizens and used it to promote violence, death, and near civil war in South American countries.

      It’s utterly disgusting to me that our politicians have murdered thousands of people in South America, and then pushed out propaganda saying “teh operation was a success!”

      When the violence, death, and lawlessness they created hits a bit closer to home, these elected criminals’ knee-jerk reaction is to fight the fire throwing gasoline on it.

      - There’s just plain Dumb
      - There’s dumber than a fence post Dumb
      - And then, there’s Drug Warrior Dumb

      I’m not speaking only about the jack booted clowns who get their jollies by shooting dogs. I’m speaking more about the spineless, immoral, selfish, and stupid politicians that willfully perpetuate this insanity and arrogantly refuse to entertain even a notion that what they’re doing doesn’t work and can’t work.

      As far as I’m concerned any politician in office that still refuses to approach the drug problem rationally has committed intentional murder in my name, using my money. I take it personally.

      If the treasonous bastards had an ounce of integrity they’d resign immediately and turn the job over to someone who would actually live up to their oath of office.

      But even worse than the flaming drug warrior politicians and propagandists are those who pretend to be ambivalent about the disaster they created. These are the ones who dodge the issue and the questions altogether. They are even more spineless and immoral because the fact that they actively avoid discussions is an indication that they know they’re wrong — Yet they lack the guts to face the issue honestly.

      I look forward to that day in the future where politicians, both state and federal, are embarrassed about the way they’ve executed this insane war.

      Until then, the next time I get close enough to one of my elected reps, I’m going to throw my shoe at them. A dirty, smelly, nasty muddy old shoe.

      And if the shoe hits them, I’ll apologize to the shoe.

    24. #24 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      “I look forward to that day in the future where politicians, both state and federal, are embarrassed about the way they’ve executed this insane war.”

      You must not know politicians very well. Will. Never. Happen.

      Everything else you wrote is good.

    25. #25 |  UCrawford | 

      Regarding the old check charge, maybe the police officer was just bored and curious what he’d find. It’s a town of 13,000 people, after all…there can’t be that much going on. And technically it’s an official warrant so he’s supposed to serve it. Maybe the guy just believes in going by the book. Isn’t that what we’re always complaining the cops don’t do?

    26. #26 |  billy-jay | 

      @25:

      No. That’s not what we’re complaining about. At least, I’m not complaining about that.

    27. #27 |  freedomfan | 

      Boyd Durkin’s comment on how David Brooks’ business is government reminded me of a thought I often have. Even aside from any direct statist political bias they may have, statism makes government the easy way out for lazy journalists.

      Whatever the issue, it’s always easy for a reporter to ask “What is government doing about this? What does the President, Senator, Mayor, or Police Chief have to say?” Why bother investigating root causes of problems and considering unintended consequences of policies? Those things require thought and research. The easy thing to do is to assume that any problem that exists is one that government ought to be fixing and just call up a politician and see what his comment is. The reporter already has the numbers or those people (or their spokesmen) on his speed dial, so why do extra work?

      Of course, a responsible reporter wouldn’t assume that a government official even has anything to say about most issues, and he would be wary of the inherent bias that such an assumption adds to his reporting. And, that official, if he had any spine, would be clear when the issue involves one of the majority of life’s situations which it is not the government’s job to fix. But, politicians know that reporters like to falsely assume that not-having-a-program-to-deal-with-X is the same as not-caring-about-X. And, sadly, most politicians are panic-stricken that it might look like they don’t feel everyone’s pain, all the time.

    28. #28 |  bear | 

      Where in Laurel, MD is this scuttled children’s developmental center? Anyone know?

    29. #29 |  Michael | 

      Just imagine what alcohol Prohibition would have been like with SWAT teams!? Hey, maybe a good sci-fi/fantasy episode! A story on how it would look, now, if the 18th amendment was never repealed

      I wish the jurors in the Frederick trial could have read about this fake SWAT crap, before they sent him to prison for ten years! If they don’t want us to shoot, then they, damn well, better figure out the way to stop it! Thing is, with the SWAT teams running rampant, it give the fakes an easy go of it! I am terrified! Just another reason to stay hidden out in the rural America!

      The cop with the 80 year old warrant just lacks wisdom, to say it nicely!

    30. #30 |  UCrawford | 

      Billy Jay,

      I should probably restate what I’m saying.

      Aren’t we usually mad because cops often ignore due process to make their job easier? I’m not arguing that the guy who bounced the check 80 years ago should be thrown in prison or that the charge itself is still valid (it probably isn’t) or that the warrant itself isn’t a waste of taxpayer dollars at this point, but it isn’t the police officer’s job to determine which valid warrants he can ignore. He’s just serving the warrant which (as he states) he’s legally required to do. And as long as he’s not busting down some old guy’s door with a SWAT team, who really cares? The warrant was apparently legit…the guy apparently owes the money (less than $40). Worst case scenario it’s a waste of time because the offender is already dead or the statute of limitations applies and the charge is quashed. Best case scenario some company gets its $30 bucks back.

      Is it inefficient and silly? Sure…but then so is most of what government does these days. The cop himself is just serving a warrant.

    31. #31 |  MacGregory | 

      Fake SWAT, real SWAT, whats the fucking difference? The result would have been the same.

    32. #32 |  MadTom | 

      bear (#28)

      Near as I can tell (per http://virtualglobetrotting.com/map/31931/ ), it’s in the northeast corner of the intersection of I-295 and SR-198.

    33. #33 |  fmb | 

      “legalizing marijuana” – This is an incorrect term, since it is the laws on marijuana that are illegal. I’ve taught for more than 15 yrs that the 18th amendment is proof that Congress has no authority to prohibit anything. If the Congress was required to obtain permission (amendment) to ban alcohol, then Congress is still required to obtain permission (amendment) to ban any other thing. As pre Jefferson, any law that is unconstitutional is void on its face.

      But once more, Right is overweighed by might. THEY have the bigger guns.

      Dominus providebit!

    34. #34 |  Aresen | 

      bob42 # 23

      Until then, the next time I get close enough to one of my elected reps, I’m going to throw my shoe at them. A dirty, smelly, nasty muddy old shoe.

      I have some old shoes that I used to wear when I was mucking out stables. :)

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