Shocker: Cops caught on camera committing crimes

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Maybe the title is wrong.   Given the lack of prosecutions, I guess police misconduct must not really be a crime.

This is from back in March, but I found it when I came across a May update.   A San Francisco public defender is releasing video of cops in civilian clothes caught raiding hotel rooms without the niceties of search warrants and they took property without logging it as evidence.  The articles go on to say that the video contradicts the police reports.   I’m stunned.

But the part I found interesting is a later article reporting that the police chief is pissed off at the public defender for fucking up his cases.

Police Chief Jeff Godown held a press conference Thursday [3/31/11] to “push back” against Public Defender Jeff Adachi over dozens of dropped drug cases where surveillance video is the onus for dismissal.

Godown said Adachi has painted the police department with a wide brush and despite wider use of video in apartments and by the general public, police will continue standard protocol.

Yeah, you tell ’em, Chief! You’re not going to let no little stinkin’ rash of dismissals rain on your parade.

Good on the public defender for standing up to the cops on a pretty large scale.  To me that would be about the same as standing up to the Mafia, so I don’t take that kind of courage lightly (especially when it’s someone who doesn’t stand to gain much, beyond his usual paycheck, for doing it).

On a side note, further south in San Diego, there have been so many police misconduct cases lately that they’ve established a hotline.  As we all know, a hotline is a mechanism for blocking complaints from reaching the people they are directed to.

[Posted by Dave Krueger]

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43 Responses to “Shocker: Cops caught on camera committing crimes”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 

    ‘push back’- as if the cops were pushed first.

  2. #2 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    With the War on Terror producing a large number of military vets with combat reactions, I foresee a Real Big Mess coming;

    Cops in some city that a lot of troopies pass through pull a no-knock, no warrant raid on a hotel room that proves to be full of combat troops headed to or from deployment. Result; wounded troopies, dead Cops. Let the circus begin…..

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    good point, c.s.p. the ‘third degree’ techniques cops use for interrogation were developed in the Philippines by soldiers in the Spanish American War. when they came home and became cops, they used their new skills on us. it stands to reason that it’ll continue happening.

  4. #4 |  Matthew | 

    Rough numbers, but of the 8 allegations against police in San Diego, something like 5 have been filed as charges. We’ll see how far they go, but this has been all over the local media, and I think there would be political consequences for not responding adequately (i.e. if many of the charges were dropped).

  5. #5 |  Bob | 

    What? A cop would lie about having been given verbal permission to search? Say it ain’t so! How did they get permission to search? Telepathy? The guy walked in on them already searching through his stuff. It’s pretty clear that the first the guy saw of these “badges” was when they were in his room searching his shit.

    And just to further crush the myth that it’s “Just a few bad apples.” and that “Almost all cops are honest.” The Chief steps up and makes it clear he has the Bad Apple’s backs.

    I love the Chief’s comment: “The video tape is not always the story,”

    Yeah, you have to take into account the fabricated report, too.

  6. #6 |  Lefty | 

    Always nice to see some local news on the agitator. makes me proud

  7. #7 |  supercat | 

    Is there any legitimate reason why the right to confront witnesses does not include the right to question them about past occasions when they have apparently been less than truthful? I know that in practice judges won’t let defense attorneys ask questions about cops’ behavior in other cases, but is there any legitimate basis for such restriction? While a defense attorney, in the absence of such restriction, could waste time by rambling on with lots of irrelevant questions about other cases, a desire not to annoy the jury should keep most truly-irrelevant ramblings in check. While clear and convincing evidence that a cop lied in an earlier case might be regarded as “prejudicial” in future cases, that shouldn’t preclude its introduction. Juries should be prejudiced against liars.

    Of course, given that a cop whose testimony would worthless any time he took the stand would have limited ability to do a useful job, but that such a cop couldn’t be fired because of police unions, it’s not hard to see why judges are all too willing to protect testilying against rebuttal.

  8. #8 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    Hey, Totski’s (and u2 Perfesser Moskos) — long court opinion well worth reading in its entirety (if you care, that is):

  9. #9 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Supercat- While you can indeed impeach any witness–including a cop–by eliciting testimony that they are untrustworthy, you can’t introduce specific evidence of prior bad acts out of concerns for judicial economy. Basically, the fear is that if you allow a party to introduce evidence that’s otherwise irrelevant to the trial to show that the witness is untrustworthy, you’ll create a “mini-trial” where instead of trying the defendant you’re now trying the witness. While I’m not a criminal attorney, based on my experience in civil court I think there’s some legitimacy to this concern. Courts are crowded as it is, and allowing evidence of prior misconduct would indeed add days to the length of trial. At the same time, however, if I’m the defendant and I’m getting railroaded by a lying cop I don’t really give a shit about judicial economy. As such, I think it’s something that indeed needs to be addressed. In civil cases there are Daubert hearings in which the court acts as a gatekeeper to weed out experts that are full of shit. I don’t see any reason you couldn’t have a similar procedure for fact witnesses when the testimony of one witness is central to the prosecution’s case. (Or maybe there is such a procedure and I just don’t know about it? Any criminal defense lawyers out there want to chime in?)

  10. #10 |  gottabeKiddingme | 


    It does not seem, sir, that you are grounded in ideology. Ideology is a very useful thing, it’s in a spectrum of activism or committment: there’s intuition, belief, motivation, ideology and dogma. Dogma obviously has it’s disadvantages, but ideology can supply cohesion and a very useful mirror or counterpoint at the very least or very best. Ideology is the result of a foundation. A philosophical or moral or ethical foundation. Ideology strives to be syntactically correct. Diverging from ideology means you are grounded, not floating around in the ether.

    As I look at your writings, I have a sense of your feet not being on the floor, highly biased and frankly opinionated. “I think this is right because of this but on the other hand I feel this way”. You FEEL. There is something so noisomely DEMOCRATIC about that. See, my ideological grounding immediately identifies you as a product of the contemporary American educational system that trained you to think that your OPINION, based on your FEELINGS is somehow valid over somebody else’s life and you BELIEVE that if you gather a consensus among people, you can dictate how other people live their lives. For no other reason because you say so. It’s what YOU THINK IS RIGHT.

    Well, a republic don’t work like that. This republic was founded upon the notion of INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS, and that used to be the doctrine that we’d rather set a guilty man free than see an innocent man persecuted. Now it seems there’s such a thing as acceptable losses right here among us. Now there’s this pervasive feeling of “the greater good”. And you wonder why we have TSA and every other damn government agency putting their hands down our pants.

    See, we might be pompous jerks but we’re ideologically pure as hell, an orthodox libertarian lives in a very precise syntactical universe. From this vantage point, it’s nakedly apparent that you exist in a world of “situation ethics”. There is no definitive right or wrong in your universe. For you, it’s GENERALLY reprehensible to use force and violence on another human but in certain cases, IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT, you are perfectly at home advocating violence against another human, even INITIATING violence against another which is one of the high moral crimes to a libertarian. One of our few unforgivable sins if you will. Logical consistency is cherished among us. It is NEVER EVER RIGHT TO SUBVERT THE RIGHTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO COLLECTIVE BENEFIT EVER, THERE ARE NO, THERE IS NO CIRCUMSTANCE THAT CONTRAVENES THIS. Anybody that suggests otherwise hasn’t thought our value system through.

    And I mean that to cut as deep to the pussy “economic libertarians” at Cato and even Reason Magazine, for whom, without Gillespie, would be a smoking heap of vile double-standards: freedom for the rich, screw the poor. The sword of orthodox purity swings in every direction, it’s a 360 degree intellectual force spectrum. Am I utterly party-line? Nope. But where I deviate, it’s crystal clear, everybody knows it, it’s a matter for focus and discussion. Feet on the ground.

    So my challenge: can you even articulate your position? Can you even tell me who you are? Do you even know? And I’m looking you right in the eye sport. What the hell are you doing here?

  11. #11 |  David McElroy | 

    If you ever wonder why some of us have given up on electoral politics and decided it’s useless to try to get people elected, this story is a tiny example. The truth is that most people are more interested in results than in rights. The police chief is interested in arresting people and making his department look good. That’s the prevailing underlying sentiment among elected officials. It’s a rarity when anybody in the system stops the train to say, “Hey, wait. This is fundamentally wrong, even if it gets the results we want.” The attitude can exist because the vast majority feel the same way. They want what they want far more than they care about the logic or the procedure related to logic.

    It’s not possible to elect people to create real individual freedom (and have any shot at keeping it), because that’s not what a democratic populace really wants. They’ll give lip service to freedom, but they ultimately want the RESULTS they prefer much more. We can rail about it try to convince others that it’s unfair — so that they might vote for people who actually believe in freedom — or we can quit wasting our time and try to figure out ways to find alternatives to the system. I’ve given up on the first and moved on to trying to find SOME alternative that might work. Floating sea platforms. Buying islands. Colonizing Mars. I dunno. I really don’t at this point. I just KNOW that majoritarian politics doesn’t work and will never get us what we want. (And that’s ignoring the issue about whether majority rule is immoral, which is another subject altogether.)

  12. #12 |  David | 

    Silly. Police misconduct isn’t a crime, exposing it is.

  13. #13 |  supercat | 

    #9 | ClubMedSux | May 14th, 2011 at 2:34 pm “…you can’t introduce specific evidence of prior bad acts out of concerns for judicial economy.”

    That is the stated rationale for exclusion, and I certainly recognize that there needs to be some limit on what defense lawyers can introduce to avoid the possibility of an accused murderer prolonging his trial for decades on end so as to delay execution. For the most part, though, I would think that juror’s human nature would encourage defense attorneys to avoid detours which are genuinely irrelevant or don’t really impeach a witness. A defense attorney who got a cop to admit that when he was a schoolboy he once swiped another kid’s pencil wouldn’t convince a jury that the cop was untrustworthy, but would instead convince the jury that the the defense didn’t have anything substantial with which to impeach him and–just as important–he would convince the jurors NOT TO LIKE HIM. Not a good strategy for a defense attorney.

    While the idea of trying to avoid “mini-trials” is not entirely without merit, the alternative is to bind defendants to factual findings which are not made by a jury (and in many cases, where they had no chance to submit any evidence or argument). I’m well aware that it is common practice to regard factual findings made by entities other than the jury as “super-evidence” for which the defense is not allowed to enter any counter-evidence or rebuttal, but that doesn’t mean that such a practice–as performed today–is actually permitted under the Constitution; it merely means the Constitution is not enforced.

  14. #14 |  perlhaqr | 

    Gottabekiddingme: What the fuck are you jabbering about?

    Do you have any actual instantiations of what you’re referring to, or just some vague “I think you’re being inconsistent” harping?

  15. #15 |  gottabeKiddingme | 

    David McElroy you have just engaged me in conversation.

    Being firmly grounded in orthodox libertarian ideology, I see major trouble in our ideological waters: Property ownership, being synonymous with bodily integrity in our minds, how does freedom function when every square inch of the planet is owned by somebody else? And how does not the historic leftist assertion of “zero sum game” not apply when in order to secure property, we have to acquire it from somebody else, rendinging an expanding population disenfranchised along libertarian lines and even more threatening, MARXIAN LINES?

    Yes my friend, I have observed with dismay that a man can’t even stake his claim on a garbage heap because the courts have determined that GARBAGE IS SOMEBODY ELSE’S PROPERTY. If you stand on it, technically you are guilty of trespass. Yup. Despite all ideological purity, it’s on a collision course with reality. And I’ve become something of a thorn in the side of whom I characterize as “Rockwellians”. I mean I love Lew but it’s always some even more pompous fat rich white guy telling us the true secrets of economizing involve letting go a couple of the house staff and BUY MY BOOK FOR EVEN MORE VALUABLE TIPS.

  16. #16 |  gottabeKiddingme | 

    David McElroy, CONTINUED, FOR YOU BRO.

    We’re poor-as-piss mountain folk. Part indian and I mean PRACTICING indian, we sing, we dance, the whole thing. We don’t have any land anymore. Just a few private properties, a few small acres here and there. And unlike some of the bigger tribes that have treaties, we never had one, the Dutch came and wiped almost all of us out. Recently what’s left of our elders got together with some other tribes who remember us and it was determined that we’re supposed to share our medicines now and our songs and whatever we remember to just people in general. Whoever will listen. Because we see something that makes us even sadder than what happened to us and our culture. You are the indians now. We always knew. And we can’t help but think there’s a reason. Why we stuck around until now. Bro, my people went through a genocide. We know how it feels.

    The terrible prophecy of Chief Seattle is well known to many of you: “when you have caught the last salmon and cut down the last tree only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten” was only part of it. The prophecy included a race that could practice such hateful violence, we knew that this violence would some day turn inward and you would consume yourselves. I think that’s why the rest of that prophecy don’t get around too much. It’s not exactly happy news. And there’s nothing terribly romantic to YOU ARE GONNA DIE.

    And the big new thing about many of our traditional elders, they are dropping like flies these days but they told us to include you. They forgive you. We are ordered to forgive you.

    Can you forgive yourselves?

    I know it’s tough. But if you are ready, will you take my hand? I forgive you. Or I want to with all my heart. Can you take my hand and forgive yourself? Because it’s gonna take both our strength to turn and forgive the others. And I’ll tell you something Dave and everybody else reading:

    You aren’t the people that made war on mine. You guys are totally different people. And prophecy now states that many of our people are being reborn into your households. So the fact is now we really are one people.

    There’s a couple of things I can point to online so you can see this is not just talk, it’s reality. One is This was initiated by us natives but now it’s this totally pan-religious thing. That was the direct result of prophecy. Another more recently is where 3 generations of us got together and tried to tell you everything we know about food. And somehow we’re trying to sing to people but I’m not a great lead man for that, I love singing but I’m told my voice peels paint and makes people’s toenails curl. Also I’m told that my face gives children nightmares. Not our children, your children. Brown and red children smile at me. Shoulda seen when they pressed me into going door-to-door for Ron Paul during the last election. When I knock politely on somebody’s door, they generally look at me and scream and call the cops.

    Hey bro, if it seems like I’m trying to cheer you up by telling jokes, I am. Hey man, buck up. If you really want to freak out I’ll tell you what Talking Rock says, the prophecy rock. It says what’s happening now is pretty much what’s happening now, time is about to stop, we’re all gonna have to try to look out for the “little brother” which means you guys and you know you are supposed to be helping too, you are just a bit beat up and in need of some healing and rest.

  17. #17 |  gottabeKiddingme | 

    So David McElroy since your voice rings so clear, good news. We’re pretty good at fixing people up. Are you anyplace near Arizona? Or you could get in touch and we’ll sing for you. And if you don’t get in touch but give us permission, we’ll sing for you on our own and that’s generally the way it works. People send us notes and ask us to sing for this or that and we do. When we feel like it. If we think the request is sincere and we actually think we can help because people tend to think we got a song for everything but we don’t.

    One of our true warrior brothers from another phratry called me up the other month and he was crying his eyes out. This guy is a fearsome warrior. My brother what is wrong? He’s all crying and saying “I need you to sing for me” and I’m like “surely brother, what has happened?”

    He said his cat died.

    “Ummmm…….uh… we don’t have a song for that but if you like I can make something up.”

    He said “could you please?”

    So I kinda made one up on the spot, a kinda mashup between trouble and warning and lullaby and I did it part in English and part in Llennappe-Algonquinn. It went “Quee, quee, quee, my little child, where is your nose?” because the “where is your nose” game is something we play with children at bed time. It’s native peek-a-boo. “Quee” is a historic alarm cry, it means calamity is at hand, grab your weapons and hide the women and children. So my song had to do with the alarm and tragendy, but then focussed on the cat and the medicine is a lullaby so the cat would lie down and go to sleep. Because you don’t want dead spirits hanging out.

    Well I sang this and I know how attached we are to our animals and how they are part of our families. And the great warrior said he felt much better and thanked me materially because we get compensated to sing. Usually in tobacco or booze. Sometimes with brownies or eggs or whatever people have. The only thing we frown upon is we don’t like to get the manaska, the paper money. Although I once did get a phone-card.

    Anyways, you seem like a good and sincere person and we have a pretty good track record for patching people together and sending them out to do righteous battle and maybe, who knows, we can find a patch of dirt and put down a new tribe. We’re throwing our support into humanity and you might as well get some support while the getting is good. The food website is a good way to get in touch with us.

  18. #18 |  Clark | 

    My mind is blown.

  19. #19 |  Carl Bussjaeger | 

    Huh. All these enhanced investigative techniques and SF _still_ hasn’t caught my brother’s murderer. WTF? When the city started worrying about things like Happy Meals and circumcision, I figured they must have solved all their other, more serious, problems. (And you’d think that with the research suggesting that circumcision limits the spread of HIV/AIDS, a place like San Francisco would _mandate_ the procedure.)

    #5 | Bob | May 14th, 2011 at 12:55 pm: “What? A cop would lie about having been given verbal permission to search? Say it ain’t so!”

    I saw one cop’s affidavit in which he rationalized getting a search warrant on the grounds that the suspect consented to a no-warrant search. When basic logic escapes these clowns, you can’t expect them to understand law. Of course, if this had been Indiana,I guess the whole 4th amendment search thing would be moot.

    #15 | gottabeKiddingme | May 14th, 2011 at 3:41 pm: “Being firmly grounded in orthodox libertarian ideology,”

    At the risk of triggering another bizarre rant… which “orthodox libertarian ideology” is that? Minarchism? Anarchism? Propertarianism? Anarchocapitalism? Basic NAP/ZAP? Georgism? [L]iberarian? [l]iberatarian? Objectivist? And so on. I mean, I’ve seen every variant stake that claim, and exclude the others.

    Damn. Didn’t realize that I had to be GBKM’s version of whatever the hell “libertarian” is to post here. Hey, Radley, when you get back, could you post the appropriate libertarian purity oath for us confused commenters to sign?

  20. #20 |  Rick H. | 

    GBKM: tl;dr

  21. #21 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: #19: The Agitator wouldn’t have a comments section if there were an ideological purity test. A lot of us don’t live on the libertarian reservation; I certainly don’t. One of the things that I like about The Agitator is that it facilitates civil but intellectually vigorous discussions between people with differing but usually sane viewpoints.

    Re: #19: GBKM, you’ve entered into some strange territory today, and I don’t know how to respond to a lot of your arguments. Your understanding of what constitutes libertarian orthodoxy is pretty far off from mine.

    I don’t read Reason often enough to be able to evaluate your claims about Nick Gillespie being the only real economic conscience on its staff, although on first glance I’d say that you’ve exaggerated your case. That said, I agree with your basic premise about libertarianism being a tool of the wealthy and callous towards the poor. I notice that sort of thing all the time.

    Right now, my biggest concern about this general attitude is that it will sink Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy (on the admittedly low chance that he wins the GOP nomination or launches a viable run as an independent). I can easily see him winning the votes of small businesspeople, gold bugs and hard core civil libertarians but scaring the hell out of everyone else with his full frontal, starve-the-beast attacks on federal services.

  22. #22 |  Carl Bussjaeger | 

    #21 | Andrew Roth | May 14th, 2011 at 7:09 pm: “Re: #19: The Agitator wouldn’t have a comments section if there were an ideological purity test.”
    Damn. Left off the [sarc] tag. M’bad.

    “…with differing but usually sane viewpoints.”

    Uh oh. GBKM’s lib-purity, sanity checks… Man, Radley just isn’t going to ever let me post here again. [grin]

  23. #23 |  Stick | 

    Apparently, the best way to get cops busted is to catch them saying things like ‘Mexican’. It seems to draw ‘condemnation from civil-rights and minority organizations.’ I found this link when I was harrassing the people at ‘American Renaissance’.

    Here’s the link (Sorry, I don’t know how to make a proper link).

  24. #24 |  Stick | 

    It made the link thingy all by itself!

  25. #25 |  JS | 

    Carl Bussjaeger “At the risk of triggering another bizarre rant…”

    lol well said!

  26. #26 |  JS | 

    Stick “Apparently, the best way to get cops busted is to catch them saying things like ‘Mexican’. It seems to draw ‘condemnation from civil-rights and minority organizations.”

    Which only serves to firther endear them to many of their core supporters.

  27. #27 |  Whappan? | 

    @Andrew Roth
    “I can easily see him winning the votes of small businesspeople, gold bugs and hard core civil libertarians but scaring the hell out of everyone else with his full frontal, starve-the-beast attacks on federal services.”
    Ron Paul actually advocates repealing legal tender laws and allowing competing currencies, not going back to a traditional gold standard. Also, if you really listen to him, he acknowledges that we can’t immediately dismantle the welfare state, medicaid, medicare SS, etc. He actually wants to drastically reduce military spending so we can “shore up” domestic entitlement programs in the short run, with the intent to phase them out long term.

    Also, regarding libertarianism being “a tool of the wealthy and callous towards the poor” may I point you towards Bastiat. In a nutshell, just because libertarians don’t want the state involved in charity doesn’t mean they are opposed to charity, a safety net, etc.

  28. #28 |  EH | 

    Do you alcoholics feel better after all that vomit?

    It should be perjury for an officer to file an inaccurate police report.

  29. #29 |  demize! | 

    Libertarian Orthodoxy? I just post hear because they seem to hate cops. Seriously, I believe in Liberty for myself and others, the profound right to be left alone if I’m not bothering anyone. I have in the past coming from a Left perspective, had the usual stereotypes of Libertarians, but upon furthur research and through sites like this one found that I was lacking perspective. As I’ve evolved politically I have found that the right left identifiers have become less and less meaningful for me.

  30. #30 |  Bergman | 

    Not to threadjack, but since we appear to have orthodox, unorthodox, sane and insane libertarians here, I figure I’ll ask a question that has always troubled me about libertarian ideology:

    About half of the libertarians I have ever met in person have been both a heavy smoker and rabidly pro-smoking. I’ve encountered those who weren’t online and off, but I’ve never had the chance to ask this before (and arguably I’m thread-jacking to ask it here). My question is, how is bombarding another person with tobacco smoke any different than the concept of “I am free to swing my fist wherever I like until it intersects your nose”? Would a pro-smoking libertarian support a right for non-smokers to carry around jars of concentrated butyl mercaptan, and unscrew the lids near smokers?

  31. #31 |  Leah | 

    Bergman, this thread was jacked far before you came along…

  32. #32 |  Dave Krueger | 


    Speaking only for myself, I don’t know of anyone who is “pro-smoking” in the sense of recommending that people actually do it (except maybe Ayn Rand), but almost every libertarian I know believes that it is up to the owner of the property and not the government to determine whether to permit it on his own property. Unfortunately, since all commercial and much non-commercial property was confiscated when the government decreed that it is a “place of public accommodation”, activities like smoking have now become a political issue.

    Of course, some property is public (parks, airports, libraries, etc), so the government obviously has some right to set the rules in those cases, but then most libertarians that I know will immediately argue that much public property shouldn’t even be public (parks, airports, libraries, etc).

    I don’t know of any libertarian who advocates that you should have the right to smoke on someone else’s property if they prohibit it.

    Given the power that government has now granted itself over other people’s property, I’d say it’s fairly clear that the concept of private property is largely dead in the U.S. What powers we exercise as “property owners” are really just those powers that the government permits us to have.

  33. #33 |  Highway | 

    Bergman, I think one of the problems with your descriptions is the intent. People who smoke don’t have the intent of assaulting other people. Other people just don’t like the atmosphere around them, even though it’s mostly harmless.

    Plus, you mischaracterize the ‘pro-smoking’ position. It’s not that it’s pro-smoking. It’s anti-control. In the case of smoking, that means it’s anti-government-decreeing-that-the-owner-has-to-exclude-a-behavior.

    Now, in the case of your proposed response, no libertarian would support that, because your intent is to assault another person. That is completely against the non-aggression principle. And while you might think that people smoke around you just to annoy you, that’s likely not the case.

  34. #34 |  Bob | 


    Heh. Yeah, this thread is already fully jacked. Might as well finish the job!

    I take it Butyl Mercaptan smells bad. Ah. Skunk smell. Mmm. Yummy.

    interestingly, I would expect even the most rabid pro-smoking person to be appalled at the behavior of opening said jar for exactly the reason you imply, because it’s an assault on the other person.

    You have to go into the psychology of addiction and two features of the human mind: The first being it’s ability to compartmentalize logically opposing views and rationalize both as ‘true’, and the complete lack of any clairvoyance or mind reading ability at all.

    It’s simply impossible for a smoker to really know how much I, as a non smoker, am annoyed by cigarette smoke. It would be like someone telling me how horrible coffee is. I wouldn’t understand because I’m so acclimated to the stuff.

    Knowing that, I’d like to think I’d have compassion for the views of people that hate coffee, but no one has ever told me that they think it’s vile and would prefer i don’t drink it in their presence.

    The real difference, then… is the simple fact that most coffee drinkers (Like me) have a couple of cups in the morning, then don’t need any more for the rest of the day. So any “coffee hating” really doesn’t come up.

    Smokers, on the other hand, are compelled by an uncontrollable addiction to smoke all day long, with most being unable to go for more than a few hours without a smoke. As such, two components of the self image: “I must smoke” and “I don’t want to bother others” are in direct and constant conflict. This cognitive dissonance forces the compartmentalization and rationalization that allows both components to be true.

  35. #35 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I can’t see how this can even be discussed outside the issue of property rights. If I own a bar and permit smoking, it’s really no different than making the bar clothing optional. Not only is it none of the government’s business, but if someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to patronize the place. The fact that second hand smoke may or may not be injurious is immaterial because the choice to voluntarily engage in risky behavior (going into that bar) should be the decision of the individual.

    I should also point out that the health care costs associated with risky behavior should also be borne by the person engaging in said activity rather than, say, taxpayers.

  36. #36 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I should also have pointed out that addiction has nothing to do with it, because the very arguments that support the right to smoke can be used to support non addictive activities. In other words, addiction is not a factor in the logic.

  37. #37 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    OK, since the thread has already been jacked, I thought about something when Dave made the crack about no one advocating smoking except for Ayn Rand. It’s been bugging me for a while and I wanted to run it by some fellow Agitator commenters.

    I have seen multiple references to Rand’s admiration for a serial killer of late. For instance, an article written by Johann Harri in Slate (“How Ayn Rand Became An American Icon: The Perverse Allure Of A Damaged Woman”) states:

    “The newspapers were filled for months with stories about a serial killer called William Hickman, who kidnapped a 12-year-old girl called Marion Parker from her junior high school, raped her, and dismembered her body, which he sent mockingly to the police in pieces. Rand wrote great stretches of praise for him, saying he represented ‘the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul. … Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should.’ She called him ‘a brilliant, unusual, exceptional boy,’ shimmering with ‘immense, explicit egotism.’ Rand had only one regret: ‘A strong man can eventually trample society under its feet. That boy [Hickman] was not strong enough.’

    This is truly fucked up talk. Rand seems to be gushing praise on an apparent psychopath. Based on her behavior later in life, I wonder if Rand was, as Harri suggests, profoundly damaged by her experiences in the Soviet Union, or if she was herself– at minimum–a borderline psychopath. I mean, the accounts I have read (even by liberatarians like Brian Doehrty, author of Radicals For Capitalism) make her and her Objectivist cult seem kind of like a right-wing, non-violent (as far as we know) Manson family.

    Are the fans of Ayn Rand unaware of this aspect of her past, are they somehow overlooking it or what? If this information is accuarate, how could anyone take Rand seriously? If anyone is out there, I would appreciate feedback or clarification. As a frequent Agitator commenter, I know that plenty of liberatarians have no use for Rand (and Rand had little use for libertarians, it seems), so I’m not finger pointing, I’m just curious about this issue.

  38. #38 |  perlhaqr | 

    Dave: The question wasn’t about banning smoking or not in a given location (which of course must be tied to property rights) but rather whether the act of smoking, the production of secondhand smoke, and the pollution of air (which, I believe, we can all agree that people need in order to live) constitutes an act of assault or battery on another person, who is not smoking.

    The question of whether something is assault or battery is orthogonal to whether the rules of a location allow that assault or battery. For example, Angry Hour at Fight Club Bar, where the rules over the door clearly state that by coming to angry hour, you understand that there may well be fights, you may well be drawn into those fights, and you may well end up injured, and if you don’t like it, don’t walk through the fucking door.

    The punching that ensues is still battery. But it’s not prohibited battery at the location in which it is occurring.

    Likewise the atmosphere at Cigar Bar, which is full of secondhand tobacco smoke. The question of whether that smoke operates as battery against other people is orthogonal to the question of whether that battery is acceptable and understood.

  39. #39 |  perlhaqr | 

    Helmut: Rand clearly had some issues going on regarding sex, consent, and normal standards of interaction between human beings.

    But, just as Thomas Jefferson’s slave owning doesn’t entirely negate his philosophy, neither does Rand’s fucked up sexuality negate hers.

    Of course, I’m an anarchist, which is a group that Rand hated with a passion. So I’m not about to be all “Everything Rand did is awesome!”, unlike some of her more… enthusiastic fans.

  40. #40 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Perlhaqr: Thanks for the response. I’m an independent liberal w/ strong classical liberal leanings. She would have considered me to be a socialist parasite. I think she pretty much hated anyone that didn’t genuflect in her presence or anyone who dared to show normal human compassion.

  41. #41 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #38 perlhaqr

    The question of whether something is assault or battery is orthogonal to whether the rules of a location allow that assault or battery.

    I guess I don’t see it as assault and battery (which implies an unwanted attack) if someone agrees to it, just like I don’t see sex as rape if someone agrees to it.

    Once you’re inside a bar that permits smoking, you have already voluntarily announced your consent to be around smoke, so the smokers are simply taking you at your word. To then call it assault seems like changing your mind after the fact, similar to changing your mind after sex and claiming that you were really raped (although we all know that never really happens).

    The bottom line is that, if you are voluntarily on private property where smoking is permitted, don’t claim that you’ve been assaulted.

  42. #42 |  Zeb | 

    If you are going to consider tobacco smoke some sort of assault on people, then you would have to do the same with all of the other minor irritants that people are exposed to regularly. If you leave premises that are under your control, you consent to being exposed to things you might not like.

    It is definitely a good thing that fewer people smoke than used to. But I find an unfortunate side effect in that people seem to be turning into a bunch of spineless pussies who think they have a right to be protected from everything they don’t like, even if that means trampling others’ property rights.

  43. #43 |  | Popehat | 

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