Afternoon Links

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
  • Man falls, wife calls paramedics, man ends up tased three times.
  • Fascinating article about an experiment in which Charles Darwin created a new ecosystem on a remote island.
  • This little girl has an incredible voice. Caught her performance last night. It was even better.
  • Man whittling in public confronted by police. Ends up dead.
  • John McWhorter: Ending the drug war will do more to help black Americans than marching.
  • The good news is that an online gambling legalization bill is slowly gaining momentum. The bad news comes in reading about how it’s happening, when you see just how ugly Washington sausage making really is.

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84 Responses to “Afternoon Links”

  1. #1 |  djamestn | 

    Just a note on the Mcfarland issue, called the sheriff dept. and they want to know why that they have received 30 + calls from the southern part of US. Got to say they don’t like us southern folk. The lady had issue on why someone from TN had issue with tazing a 64-yr old man for resisting arrest when he is clearing not resisting.

  2. #2 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #1 Danny:”I seriously wonder if police and private security personnel don’t have a big unacknowledged steroid-abuse problem. A lot of this stuff sounds like classic “roid rage.”

    I don’t think that is the problem here. Also, I would be classified as a private security officer (hospital security), and I have never seen evidence of that in among “private officers.” Anyway, these were government police, so why did you bring security personnel into it anyway?

  3. #3 |  croaker | 

    Threadjack: Patient misidentified, scheduled for wrong surgery, beaten by security guards after trying to leave.

  4. #4 |  Leonson | 

    EH- Exactly, it was exempt from the law. The guy had a totally legal knife.

    Officer overreacted and from what I can tell, an innocent person got shot.

    It’s a good thing he didn’t have a dog as well, like some of the homeless in Seattle, or I’m sure it would have been shot too.

  5. #5 |  perlhaqr | 

    Croaker: Radley posted that story 4 days ago.

  6. #6 |  JOR | 

    It’s not roid rage. It’s good ‘ole macho gangster/aristocrat conditioning. “Martial mindset”. The warrior ethic. It’s as hypocritical on the pigs’ lips as it was on the Spartans’ or samurai’s or slaveocratic Sothern “Gentlemen’s” lips, too; ridicule your “lessors” and slaves for their impotence and cowardice, and rage in fear of their insolence when they rise above it to challenge your authority in even the least effectual way.

  7. #7 |  v ~ | 

    seattle police are emotionless a-holes. i wasn’t shot five times and killed for whittling in public, but arrested and put behind bars for allegedly lunging at a seattle police officer with intent to harm him. note: i had no weapon! my dog had just been run over by a car and lost the use of her two back legs. the couple that hit my dog offered to drive her to the animal hospital. i was simply trying to meet them there and asked for the return of my driver’s license, which had been obtained for incident report purposes. the officer in possession of my license said he didn’t think i was capable of driving and wasn’t going to give me my license back. yet his colleague, moments before told me i needed to hurry up and get to the hospital to identify my dog. i may have initially been in shock with the news of my dog being hit. but it was nothing compared to my shock of how insensitive, asinine and megalomaniacal the cop was. he couldn’t resist asserting his power over a 31-year old woman who was in tears because her dog had just been severely injured… so appalled by the treatment i received from the officer, i consulted an attorney, who advised me to file a formal complaint. said complaint generated an “internal investigation”, which you guessed it, resulted in a waste of my time. sheriff andy taylor knew the difference between the bad guys and the good guys, could it really be so hard …

    thank you agitator …

  8. #8 |  Marty | 


    the cops are creating new libertarians at an alarming pace… welcome aboard!

    Sorry about your dog- is he getting better?

  9. #9 |  OBTC | 

    #58 Marty

    “the cops are creating new libertarians at an alarming pace” …

    The “only” problem with that is:
    you might remember approx. a year or so ago, a Missouri (your home state I believe) Fusion Center sent out a report stating LEO’s should be surveilling “extremist” libertarian groups and Ron Paul supporters and report back to the Center any “extremist” activities they observed.

  10. #10 |  BamBam |

    Corrupt state senator from Prince George, MD.
    WTF is in the Prince George water? Killing mayor’s dogs and the countless other abuses makes a long train of abuses.

  11. #11 |  OBTC | 

    #20 Bob

    “Why were they even there?

    Good question – why were the deputies there?
    Based on the news account, how did the deputies hear the so-called “suicide threat” since they came rushing through the door AFTER the paramedics walked out, and I think had to run up some stairs? Did a paramedic say something? Was the victim that loud?

    “Do they routinely escort paramedics around there?”

    It would appear that way, I’ve seen it in my city. Often it’s the paramedics bringing up the rear of a SWAT Raid/caravan.


    So a LEO doesn’t miss a golden opportunity to “program the sheep” by any means possible – preferably through mindless torture, mostly for the LEO’s power trip, amusement and bragging rights.

    P.S. Perplexingly *scratching head* the deputies didn’t slaughter the dog. Back at the station, I bet those deputies got written up for that!

  12. #12 |  OBTC | 

    Press release from the Marin County Sheriffs Dept

    The last paragraph:
    “The Sheriff’s Office takes all allegations of excessive force and/or deputy misconduct seriously and will do so in this case as well. After all the facts have been made public, we are confident the actions of our deputies will be found to have been both within the law and department policy.”

  13. #13 |  Windy | 

    Family: Man shot by police was deaf in left ear

    OBTC, the quote is SOP.

  14. #14 |  BoogaFrito | 

    Anyway, these were government police, so why did you bring security personnel into it anyway?

    Something to do with the hospital security guys who beat up the accident victim a few days ago maybe?

  15. #15 |  ktc2 | 

    Apologize for threadjack but THIS IS AWESOME:

  16. #16 |  Bob | 

    #63: windy

    Family: Man shot by police was deaf in left ear

    OBTC, the quote is SOP.

    Awesome. I’m deaf in my right ear. So if I’m ever mistaken for a felon by cops, I can expect to be gunned down.

    Aside from not hearing on the side that you’re deaf, the two big problems with unilateral deafness are:

    1) Inability to judge range or distance of a sound source. It’s impossible to determine the source of a voice unless you can see the mouth of the person talking. Even then, if it’s an unfamiliar voice, they will be difficult to understand.

    2) Inability to hear anything in noisy environments. Normally, humans use the considerable audio processing in their brain to automatically reduce unwanted noise by 10db, effectively “boosting the signal” of whomever they are trying to hold a conversation with. This is impossible with only one ear.

    Here’s a story! This happened to me once.

    I was at a restaurant with a friend of mine. I was seated with my GOOD ear towards the aisle. I could understand my friend talking because I had heard her voice so often I was very familiar with it, so I could talk to her no problem even though the room was very noisy, I expect I use a form of lipreading and a high degree of concentration to do this.

    So. She suddenly stops and starts pointing to my left. Standing there in the aisle, on the side of my good ear, was the waiter, who had been trying to ask me if I wanted soup or salad for the last 30 seconds.

    I had absolutely no clue he was there, and could not hear a word he was saying.

  17. #17 |  Marty | 

    #59 | OBTC-

    MO is definitely not making me happy with the govt’s behavior.

    cops respond with paramedics to help secure the scene. emotions are high and you get people screaming ‘help my baby’ or whatever- the cops are there to help. the good cops are worth their weight in gold. the bad cops notice that the people have 3 dogs, when city ordinances allow only 2. the good cops calm the scene, the bad cops escalate the stress.

    I’ve known cops to beat us (the fire dept) to the scene and run into burning buildings to get people out. I’ve seen cops shot and still trying to help a victim. a good cop will amaze you. but… I think they make up about 10 to 20 percent of the cops.

    We try to beat the cops to the scene and contact dispatch to cancel them, but they beat us to the scene or arrive at the same time about 1/2 the time.

  18. #18 |  TDR | 

    Eh. Even the good cops are part of a bad system. If you really want the good guys to win, convince your town to disband its police department and hire a security firm.

  19. #19 |  Charlie O | 

    The Marin county case is NOT, repeat NOT, a case of excessive force. It is an assault with a deadly weapon. The deputies were there uninvited and entered the man’s home without cause or permission. I’m afraid I don’t have the patience and fortitude that most others here have. And Mr. Balko, I know in the past you’ve made it clear that you do not support shooting police. However, had this happened to me, I would make it my final mission in life to hunt these to criminals with badges and down and I would execute them without a second thought. Snipe them, kill them coming out of their station house. They would be dead men walking.

  20. #20 |  EH | 

    It’s not roid rage. It’s good ‘ole macho gangster/aristocrat conditioning. “Martial mindset”. The warrior ethic

    Well, the ‘roids ain’t helping.

  21. #21 |  Donald | 

    The Seattle shooting and the man who was tazed illustrate why I don’t join in the collective greif whenever a cop gets killed. Last time that happened around here, the funeral was like a goddamn 4th of July parade. All the talk about how heroic this broad was, like she got killed saving children from Osama Bin Laden and Michael Jackson. To me, she was just a dumb slut who ran the light without her sirens on and got herself killed, ruining some innocent guys truck.. One less bitch to write tickets.

  22. #22 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    I wasn’t kidding about the abuse thing for Jackie

  23. #23 |  Bob | 

    “cops respond with paramedics to help secure the scene.”

    I get that, in cases like car accidents, mass injuries, SWAT callouts where a cop could drop a battering ram on his foot and need to be rushed to the Mayo Clinic.

    But this was just a “My husband fell down the stairs” call. No reason for any of that. These clowns just decided to go to amp up the stress level a few notches because no one would question their motives later.

    These are the kind of asshats that would have been looking for that third dog, or any arrestable offense.

    This is where the “Police Culture” fails (among many failures). There is no effort to curb these clowns at all, they apparently just drive around waiting for any call that can feed their adrenaline high. These are the guys that are fast on the radio to respond, not because it’s their job, but because they need to get their dick in there. (To put it metaphorically).

  24. #24 |  TC | 

    “When I heard that story, I was really upset because it was just total counter to what I witnessed,” said Thomas. He says Williams was walking away from the officer.

    “The cop then fired three shots,” said Thomas. “One had to go in the side and the others had to go in the guy’s back ’cause the guy never did turn around. He never approached the cop. Never saw his hands. Never saw a knife. He may have looked back at the cop, but he didn’t do anything threatening.”

    Witness Gregory Reese says he did see Williams turn, but he didn’t think Williams was a threat to the officer.

    “He just turned around and the cop shot him. That’s all I saw. It was really quick,” said Reese.

    Seattle Police said because Williams’ knife was less than 3.5 inches in length, it was legal to carry.

    The officer who shot Williams has been identified as Ian Birk, 27, who has been with SPD for two years. He has been put on administrative leave, which is standard procedure when an officer fires a weapon.

    From the MSNBC link above.

    “”He’s considered a very good officer. He has a good record,” he said. ”


    Actually he is but a punk ass Barney Fife that thinks everybody is as normal as he is! Over aggressive, over trained, under achiever with a gun and a badge! Well this little fuck has popped his cap on a citizen lets all hope to hell he gets rewarded with a cell in the commons!

    It’s a bit of bitch being hearing impaired. As Bob shared with us above, you do NOT HEAR WHAT IS ACTUALLY BEING SAID TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!

    You hear noise, some syllables and make an attempt to put the sounds together into something coherent! Most of the time it does not work, and if on a street or crowded room, machinery is an end game, even coolers or ice machines, forget actually being able to understand one gotdaaumed thing said to you.

    Hearing Aids do not really help, they just add additional sounds to the mix which further confuse you.


    The Tazer boys of CO NPS BCNP…. Barged into a small room with two sleeping occupants, one woke up and was thrown out of the room, the other was very drunk and basically passed out, threw him out of the bed against the wall or furniture, then tazed him! Too bad he was also recovering from a broken neck, an injury less than three weeks old, and the part time mounties KNEW about it!

  25. #25 |  OBTC | 

    “…are there people in the real world who commit murders for a living?
    Probably not full-time. Lots of people kill for money, but they wear other hats as well. They may work as burglars, drug mules, or bodyguards in private security firms. And while national intelligence services occasionally task operatives with targeted assassinations, it’s unlikely that any of them keep “assassins” in their employ who do nothing but kill. Of course, we only know about the murderers we catch. No one can rule out the possibility that a well-paid gun-for-hire is loafing around…

    Um, yes.

  26. #26 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #64 BoogaFrito

    Something to do with the hospital security guys who beat up the accident victim a few days ago maybe?

    Yeah, I think comment #1 was a general statement in response to a number of stories probably including the security guards at that Miami-Dade Metrorail that was discussed a few weeks ago. Clearly security guards seem to be at least somewhat infected with the same mindless neanderthal mentality that many cops exhibit.

  27. #27 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Steroids are used by a larger % of the population than you might think. Having spent 30 years in a gym and around athletic endeavors my own experience is that more than half the guys who are even a bit big are active users or have used.

    That being said, steroids get a very bad name. Remember that steroids are a drug that helps millions of people lead productive lives. They can be used with no deadly side effects. I believe there’s a documentary on cable right now getting some play about the junk science of steroid fear.

    Are a lot of cops using steroids? Yes. Does it cause them to go crazy? No. They go crazy because they are violent fucking douche bags…which is one reason why they became cops.

    Most of the steroid madness came from government. ‘Nuff said.

  28. #28 |  Marty | 

    #73 | Bob | S
    “cops respond with paramedics to help secure the scene.”

    -But this was just a “My husband fell down the stairs” call. No reason for any of that. These clowns just decided to go to amp up the stress level a few notches because no one would question their motives later.-

    what if it was a ‘my husband fell down the stairs and is unconscious in the basement’ call? a lot of ems services only respond 2 people to calls- that means they have to stabilize the patient, secure him to a backboard, and carry him up the steps. if that was MY spouse, I’d sure appreciate having a couple of cops running around getting equipment, helping the petite chick medic carry the obese patient, etc.

    the bigger issue is people calling 911 for bullshit and then things go bad… if you need a little bit of help, it’s generally best not to call 911. if you’re in trouble or have the potential to be in trouble with your health, call 911.

  29. #29 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #76 Dave Krgueger: “Clearly security guards seem to be at least somewhat infected with the same mindless neanderthal mentality that many cops exhibit.”

    Well sure, some of them are. This is something that people hiring police and private security officers must be on the lookout for. Any hint that a person is applying because they want lots of “excitement” or crave more power than they currently have is a big problem. Anyone that thinks they are going to be a “hero” instead of a problem solver needs to be shown the door.

    The difference right now is that when security personnel go over the line, they are quite likely to be arrested for their excesses. The same cannot be said of public law enforcement. A word of caution though: if the private security officers are contract security from a security company (in other words, not DIRECTLY employed by the institution they are serving), then employers and the public should be wary.

    For one thing, if you need help (say you are being robbed) and expect a contracted guard to assist you, then you may well be disappointed. Their direct employer (the security company) likely prohibits them from physically intervening to help you due to liability issues. Also, training for these guards is often very limited or non-existent. On the other hand, if the guards are allowed to intervene, and they go crazy, then the institution can just wash its hands of the situation and say, “hey they don’t work for us, you know.”

    The better scenario is a proprietary security department like the one I work with. Things are not perfect, and we do not train in the academy setting like public officers (this can be a disadvantage at times), but I gurantee you right now that we are held to a higher standard of personal behavior than many currently serving police officers.

  30. #30 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #78 Marty: “the bigger issue is people calling 911 for bullshit and then things go bad… if you need a little bit of help, it’s generally best not to call 911. if you’re in trouble or have the potential to be in trouble with your health, call 911.”

    Excellent point, Marty. I’m glad you are hammering this point home. Peter Moskos (former Baltimore Police Officer and current John Jay Criminal Justice Professor) talks about this problem often. In his book “Cop in the Hood,” Moskos has a chapter entitled “911 is a Joke” (a reference to the Public Enemy song of the same name). Moskos says that 911 is great for heart attacks and fires, but not to great for most police related issues. He suggests a culture change in the use of 911, and in the way that police respond to different calls for service (If police respond right away, how often is the offender caught. Not very often, statistically speaking). This could take awhile to catch on (it would be easier if communities had an easy to remember non-emergency number), but it could make a big difference.

  31. #31 |  Marty | 


    Moskos should receive a much wider audience- that’s a great book he wrote! my 15 yo daughter read it, also.

  32. #32 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #81 Marty:

    Agreed! I encourage Agitator readers to visit his Cop in the Hood blog. His vision of what policing could be (without the drug war and related distractions) is very interesting and even inspiring to a criminal justice B.A. like me.

    Thanks again for your comments. If I recall correctly, you were a medic and firefighter. I really feel like you “get it” when it comes to matters of public safety. You speak from experience, not just from ideology.

  33. #33 |  Marty | 

    I didn’t know moskos had a blog- thanks!

    I’ve been a medic or medic/firefighter since 88… it’s funny how my views have evolved…

  34. #34 |  Sinchy | 

    “Both sides of the story”

    One side is complete bullshit.
    The bullshit side is given by a homicide detective who actually uses the phase “rendered him useless.” Thats the amount of respect this cop has for a man in his own home.
    I have never been so angry at any one incident of police abuse as this one. Maybe its my particular mood at the moment, but as an Agitator reader it says a lot about this case that it almost made me punch my computer.
    This cop needs to be charged with TORTURE! And the spokesscop from the news segment need to be charged with something too.