Lunch Links

Thursday, March 24th, 2011
  • Cases of Shaken Manchild Syndrome on the rise.
  • DOJ is now on the “war on cops” meme. Some of the proposals mentioned here are troubling (more gun control, looking for federal crimes to throw at people), while other seem pretty sensible. It’s good, for example, to give cops better training on how to deal with violent situations, and to equip them with more protective bullet-proof vests. But the numbers the article throws out still need context.
  • The person who wrote Elizabeth Taylor’s New York Times obituary died six years ago.
  • Police found “54 bags of heroin, 31 empty bags used to package heroin, 8.5 prescription pills and $51.22.” The story is about where they found it all.
  • 85-year-old-man posts Tweet asking college girls to get naked for him in exchange for cash.
  • Speaking of Twitter, here’s a Tweet that rather succinctly demonstrates the absurdity of U.S. foreign policy.
  • This article only summarizes one side of a lawsuit. But damn.

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44 Responses to “Lunch Links”

  1. #1 |  Mike | 

    Sad situation in Salt Lake City, condolences to the family. Time to remind everyone again, involving the state is ALWAYS a bad idea.

  2. #2 |  Random Nuclear Strikes » Pull Over Now Or We’ll Kill You | 

    […] As Radley Balko notes, this is a one-sided account, but… wow. Comments (0) […]

  3. #3 |  Miroker | 

    There seems to be a totally different story regarding the lawsuit here:

    Apparently, the person was involved in some minor traffic accidents during the day, but never stopped for any of them. Regardless of that, shooting the person may not have been justified, but of course, cops are saying he tried to run them over. It this point in time, I do not believe a word that comes from any LEO or department.

    With the way LEO’s are now allowed to get away with cold blooded murder of innocent persons or animals, it is no wonder some people decide to fight back. Do not put me on a jury.

  4. #4 |  SusanK | 

    A novel way to avoid asset forfeiture?

  5. #5 |  Pablo | 

    Is it just me, or do cops recklessly shoot at moving vehicles way too often? I think it is similar to the practice (fortunately less common now) of pursuing someone in a high-speed chase through populated areas over a traffic infraction or some other minor matter. The danger to innocent bystanders, and innocent passengers who may be in the vehicle, is enormous. The driver may or may not be trying to run over the officer (they have been known to lie about that) but is there a reason you can’t just GET OUT OF THE WAY in the time it takes to draw and fire multiple rounds? There will always be ways to catch the driver later. Is it really worth the risk of hitting uninvolved occupants, or having a driverless 2000-pound missile careening all over the place?

  6. #6 |  Pablo | 

    Re: the rise in officers killed–Id like to see a breakdown of how much of this is traffic accidents, vs killed by assailants.

    I don’t think I’ve heard anyone discuss whether this might be due to the ever-escalating drug war and the ever-increasing minimum mandatory sentences for various offenses, including drug offenses. By a certain sociopathic calculus, some individuals may feel like they have more to lose if captured, making it more likely they would shoot it out instead.

  7. #7 |  Mattocracy | 

    Rarely have so few words said so much. Twitter seems like a wonderful way for politicians to throw themselves under the bus.

  8. #8 |  Goober | 

    Wow. Another perfect example of why you should never, ever ask the cops for help or get the state involved if you can help it at all. They will not help you. It isn’t even their job; Supreme Court rulings have upheld that police have no duty to protect you, just to punish you when you commit a crime.

    Apparently, being in diabetic shock is no excuse down there in Utah. YOu just get summarily executed as you sit in your car.

  9. #9 |  Dwight Brown | 


    I’m pretty sure Mr. Balko has linked to this before, but the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has a section that gives preliminary statistics for the year to date, and how they compare with the same date in the previous year. You can find that link here.

    As of right now, it shows 50 fatalities to date in 2011, vs. 45 at the same time in 2010. Of those, 24 are attributed to “gunfire” vs. 17 in 2010, traffic accidents account for 15 vs. 20 in 2010, and “other causes” account for 11 vs. 8 in 2010.

  10. #10 |  Jesse | 

    Training on how to “anticipate and survive violent encounters”?

    How about training on how to avoid creating them?

  11. #11 |  André | 

    Goober: His parents just learned what Brian Aitken’s mother already knows.

  12. #12 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    @#10, Jesse


  13. #13 |  Mattocracy | 

    Even Mormon cops are assholes. Fuck.

  14. #14 |  JT | 

    On a related note:

    7-year old special needs child strangled by cop

  15. #15 |  TomG | 

    Radley – Not sure how McCain’s Tweet has anything to do with America’s foreign policy. I know he’s a Senator, but was he on an administration junket at the time, or his own agenda? I think it better shows how John McCain has gotten totally out of touch with common decency.

  16. #16 |  HBD | 

    *insert picture of Bush Sr. shaking hands with Saddam*

  17. #17 |  Dave Krueger | 

    85-year-old-man posts Tweet asking college girls to get naked for him in exchange for cash.

    Good for him.

    I’ve been using the internet for years to get women to get naked. They include a director in the space program, a computer code writer, a biologist, a lieutenant in the air force, but a few were college girls. And I hope to still be doing it when I’m 85.

    After reading depressing blogs about police misconduct, political incompetence, and governmental abuse of power, a naked women is a rather nice change of pace.

  18. #18 |  SJE | 

    To those who note that the diabetic man may have been involved in some accidents earlier that day, and to the cops who say he looked like he tried to run them over: this is entirely consistent with someone who is having serious problems with their blood glucose levels, and whose brain is going a little wacky as a result. The solution is not to run them off the road and shoot them.

    Then again, these are the sort of people who
    (1) enters a house and sees a chained dog barking not as “what else would you expect” but “dangerous aggression requiring lethal force”
    (2) considers that an armed homeowner should be able to distinguish between a violent police raid and a violent home invasion, thereby justifying lethal force
    (3) considers it reasonable to use a gun to threaten someone who threw a snowball at his car…..

    If it weren’t for the badge, those folks would have been put in straight jacket and sedated long ago.

  19. #19 |  SJE | 

    To clarify: “these people” refers to cops, not diabetics. A diabetic who acts crazy is a threat, a cop who acts crazy is a hero.

  20. #20 |  Juice | 

    It’s the 22 cents that gets me every time too.

  21. #21 |  Justthisguy | 

    Without having even clicked on the links above, all I can say is that, just from reading the headlines posted there, I intend to Drink Moar. I want to be numb when they come for me: Numb, I tell you!

    P.s. considering the incipient conversion of Radley’s blog into another piece of Huffington’s Toast, I just thought I’d get my grumpy idiosyncratic unmoderated licks in while I still can.

  22. #22 |  Aresen | 

    I intend to Drink Moar

    Never tasted Moar. What’s it like?

  23. #23 |  Rune | 

    A lot better than less a lot of the time, Aresen

  24. #24 |  croaker | 

    @14 Westboro Baptist Church should be protesting at the funeral of this cop, not the funeral of Elisabeth Taylor.

  25. #25 |  Whim | 

    So sad about the Utah diabetic episode resulting in a police initiated homicide. The police get out of their cars before a suspect car is completely immobilized as a pretext for a righteous killing. It has occurred again and again and again.

    And, after seeing any number of documented incidences of police mis-interpreting a diabetic episode for drugged or drunkenness, I just have to conclude that they have absolutely no idea what a diabetic episode even is. They sometimes discover the diabetic Med-Alert bracelet or necklace AFTER the vicious beatdown. That’s on Youtube several places.

    On the other hand, a diabetic has no business messing around with alcohol to the point of DUI, and they should act as a responsible adult to tightly monitor their glucose level, in association with calorie intact and physical activity.

    I have unfortunately been around individuals experiencing a diabetic episode, and they had no idea what they were doing, and while they could operate a car, they were unaware that they had the windshield wipers running on High on a hot, clear, dry day……In 2003, former SD Congressman Janklow blew through a rural stop sign at a high rate of speed, and snuffed a motorcyclist that had the right-of-way. Janklow was a diabetic who admitted that he had been too busy to have eaten when he should have.

  26. #26 |  sup | 

    I know this has been kind of let go lately… but what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? How can police be allowed to use force and weapons to apprehend somebody who has not yet been charged with a crime? What kind of world do we live in where the police can beat and kill people on mere ‘suspicion’ of a crime? It’s completely unconstitutional!

  27. #27 |  croaker | 


    95 year old WW2 Vet Told He Isn’t A Citizen

  28. #28 |  JOR | 

    You assume they object to strangling 7-year-olds more than they object to anything vaguely associated with sexual freedom. The Westboro folks obviously aren’t typical red-state Christians (they’re literally and explicitly anti-American) so I have no idea if they’d be reflexively pro-cop, but I still wouldn’t bet on their caring that much about violence, even against children (at least outside of abortion, and with that crowd, even that’s more a matter of opposing anything that enables sexual independence than it is of valuing human life)

  29. #29 |  croaker | 


    I wonder how many times a diabetic has been arrested as a drug user for injecting insulin?

  30. #30 |  World’s Strangest | Elizabeth Taylor’s Obituary Writer Died Six Years Before She Did | 

    […] via The Agitator | Photo: 20th Century […]

  31. #31 |  SJE | 

    #28: to control access to drugs they limit access to needles. Of course, this makes it very difficult if you are a diabetic or have other medical needs. As a bonus: while it doesnt stop drug use, it ensures that IV drug users all get and spread HIV, hepatitis, etc etc. Who comes up with these things?

  32. #32 |  Radley Balko | 

    ….a naked women is a rather nice change of pace.

    This is true in almost any context, save I guess for someone who has already spent the day looking at naked women.

    And even then . . .

  33. #33 |  RWW | 

    Bullet-proof vests for people prone to thuggery (to put it mildly)? Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

  34. #34 |  GÄC | 

    Regarding the “War on Cops,” I’d like to see the flip side – the cop’s war on the population. Have a feeling that the number of unarmed, non-threatening “civilians” (and related, the number of pets) killed by cops is greater than the number of cops killed by criminals.

  35. #35 |  Greg C | 

    Just saw an interesting local news report. Guy in my town arrested for attempted murder of police serving a warrant in his house. DEA shot tear gas through his windows, used battering ram. Neighbors described the scene as “something out Call of Duty.” The guy shot after his windows ( which were shown on news) were shot out. The guy lives alone and is a licensed gun owner according to his son. His son and brother were interviewed. Both claim they are unaware of any drug dealing and the guy owns a dumptruck business. Neighbors said nothing suspicious.

    I was very surprised how balanced the news report was. They allowed the son to explain why his father might shoot. Basically said (quoting from memory): “Someone shoots out your windows and you have a gun- Aint you gonna protect your home?” Usually whenever there is any incident with police the only person interviewed ins the president of the FOP, who physically resembles a pig.

    Of course ” it is unknown if any drugs were found”.. charges at this point are only related to the defensive shots.

  36. #36 |  DaveG | 

    Feel bad for the woman in Scranton who had her small fury business raided.
    Why would the government want to close her small storage area?
    We have send too much of our drug business overseas already, I support her attempt to bring a backdoor business through the front door

  37. #37 |  albatross | 

    Re the Westboro Baptists folks: I think the same rule applies in real life as on the net: Do Not Feed The Trolls.

    They want attention, and I gather they get some payoff from it in terms of lawsuits against people they convince to act badly in response to their nasty but legal behavior. (I don’t know if that’s the goal of their behavior, or merely a happy coincidence.)

    The best response is no response. They’re trolls. Toss them off private property, and ignore them on public property.

  38. #38 |  Bronwyn | 

    @ albatross

    They’re a family, and most of them are lawyers. They raise money for their travels, as you suspected, through lawsuits on their own behalf, and from the earnings at their family law firm.

  39. #39 |  Highway | 

    GAC, someone on a Reason thread did some calculations on likelihood of being injured or killed in an encounter with the police. Unfortunately I can’t find it now. The results were pretty asymmetrical tho, with the non-police coming off far worse, by something like a factor of 10.

  40. #40 |  random_guy | 

    Highway, it was in a thread on agitator. Where in cop vs. non-cop interactions the non-cop was ~9 times more likely to be killed than the cop.

    The numbers are still incredibly small, like a few dozen cops a year dying from actual homicide on the job. But if there is a war on cops going on the non-cops are losing.

    Its not as bad as it sounds but still pretty bad. Undoubtedly some of the people killed were posing an imminent threat to those around them, thats often why cops are called in the first place. But the issue becomes muddied because what is considered a justified killing is based on the cops own reports, so even the guy who got shot twice in the chest for holding a golf club in his living room during a late night SWAT raid may get counted as an aggressor. A far greater number of cops are killed by traffic accidents, from chases and running lights/stop signs. The statistics are a little fuzzy on how many accidents the cops are at fault for. Professional courtesy kind of makes it hard to figure out how many cops actually caused their own fatal accidents, and if they killed or injured other motorists in doing so.

    Even given the above, Its still obvious that cops killing innocent (or at the very least non-threatening) people or even cops killing themselves with poor judgement and reckless behavior, is a far greater problem than cops getting killed by average citizens. Either way they get a hero’s funeral and their name on a wall in Washington. Which personally I think should have a wall directly across from it with all of the people killed by state agents.

  41. #41 |  Salve Regina | Truth and Justice For All | 

    […] Balko says in The Agitator:  “85-year-old-man posts Tweet asking college girls to get naked for him in exchange for […]

  42. #42 |  Highway | 

    Thanks, random_guy. That’s why I couldn’t find it on Reason. :)

  43. #43 |  Lonerider | 

    The Utah Highway Patrolman, Lawrence Hopper seems to be quite a celebrity. He is a “spokesman” in at least a dozen news reports over the last 4 years.

  44. #44 |  Jim Majkowski | 

    “Immediately after hearing Officer Jones discharge his gun in a careless, reckless manner, the only thing you can hear on the dash cam video was Trooper Hopper exclaiming, ‘Oh, no! Oh, shit!'”

    I am looking forward to his sworn testimony.