Questions. Answers.

Parents of Pizza Hut robbery suspect question why employee shot, killed their son

Because he was threatening his life.

“It was an act of desperation, but I do not believe that Michael would have hurt anyone,” said Hairston.

Apparently his weapon and threats were persuasive otherwise.

“Why in the hell did this guy have a gun?” questioned Hairston about the employee who shot her son.

Because people like your armed, threatening son exist.

“Even a criminal has a right to a degree,” said Grace Sr. “I’m not advocating what my son did.”

It certainly sounds like you are, when you defend his threatening acts.

Maybe you should have taught your son not to threaten people with a gun, even if he’s “desperate” for money. Oh. Wait.

That would require them to take responsibility, instead of dumping it on the victim. It’s so much easier to demand helpless victims for their precious little goblin. Never mind.



San Jose councilman Raul Peralez: Cop pointed gun at me at my home
“When I turned they were already in my backyard and pointing a gun at me,” Peralez told IA. “I heard him say ‘drop it and put your hands up,’ so I complied and didn’t say anything back.”

Where have I heard advice like that before? Oh, yeah.

‘Just Give Them What They Want’ Advice Leaves Key Question Unanswered

“There’s a natural inclination to want to defend yourself, but if you can get through a situation like this and not do anything, and simply give these people what they want, and get the police out there as quickly as possible, that the way to handle it,” the Mesquite Police spokesman advises. “Let us handle it.”

OC Davis

Remember this?


Of course you don’t. [grin]

As one of its responses, UC Davis spent $175,000. Was it on use-of-force training for campus police? Crisis management training for administrators? More classes on constitutional rights for students? Nope. They spent it on an “online branding campaign” to “expedite the eradication of references to the pepper spray incident in search results” about UC Davis.

He calls it a prank

I call it deprivation of rights under color of law, and it’s a crime.

Police Chief And His ‘Drug-Sniffing’ Cat Pull Off Epic Traffic Stop Prank
Video posted to Facebook shows Pratt asking the driver for his license, before asking him and the four passengers what the odor coming from the car is.

They deny having controlled substances inside the vehicle, so Pratt says he’s going to fetch what he claims is his drug-sniffing kitty partner Froo Froo from his squad car.

The video is here (F******k warning).

Let’s take this a step at a time. The aptly-named Pratt was off duty, using department equipment for nonessential personal business.

Under color of law (marked vehicle, uniform, sidearm) he performed a traffic stop for the specifically planned purpose of executing a joke on strangers.

Quick: What’s your first reaction when you see those police lights flashing behind you? Did your gut clench?

He starts the traffic enforcement process, then lies about smelling something suspicious.

Quickly again: How would you react to a claim by a uniformed officer that you are committing a crime? Did your ass-clench wrinkle the seat cover?

He then unlawfully extends the “traffic stop” to conduct a bogus drug search. He then lies to the victims again and says the cat alerted. When you make a false accusation to the police in Utah, it’s a crime. I guess that doesn’t work both ways. Fortunately, they can still file a civil suit for defamation (the accusation — under color of law, no less — that the victims had some controlled substance).

Are you hypothetically sweating, your heart racing, now?

Prat(t) is lucky those folks had a sense of humor. He’ll be even luckier if they maintain it and don’t contact a lawyer. I would.

You know… Prat(t) transported that cat without any sort of restraint. A clever lawyer could argue that violates Utah law on transporting animals. A judge would probably dismiss that one, but it would cost the city in legal fees.

Now let’s consider an alternate-universe scenario: Chief Prat(t) sets out on his little prank. Off-duty. Alone. He picks a target; a vehicle with four occupants. He makes his joke about the cat detecting something. The drugrunners — who actually have a bale of cocaine in the back — see he’s alone and shoot him and drive off. The chief bleeds out on the side of the road. Maybe the criminals would steal his sidearm and other gear, too. Some months down the road, the druggies have sold the stolen gun to someone else, who robs and kills an old lady. Then he gets in a shootout with the cops, and kills one of them before they drop him.

Or it could be something as simple as a cop-hating nut who just takes advantage of the situation to kill one.

Funny joke, Prat(t). Good thing cops don’t really believe that traffic stops are dangerous.

Added: I’ve shared this commentary with Chief Pratt. Maybe you’d like to discuss it with him, too.

Added 2: Reader Bruce notes in comments below that “Official Misconduct” applies as well. Gee, Prat(t), it’s not as if the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council has ever disciplined a Utah cop or yanked their POST certification over that. You’d best be lawyering up, and hoping your victims aren’t.

Added 3: You know… Anybody who gets busted for drugs from a Salina vehicle search forever after this is going to point to this video as proof that the Salina PD lies about drug-sniffing critter alerts. I wonder if the mayor thought of all this when he spoke of commending Prat(t).

Added 4: Screw it. I sent this to the Salina mayor, too.

Signs that you may live in a police state

1. The cops dragoon unsuspecting civilians into a live-fire “training exercise.”

Trooper Severely Injured, Gunman Dead in Shooting at Greyhound Station in Richmond, Virginia
Officials said the shooting happened near the end of a counter-drug training mission for state police. Part of the training involves approaching civilians and talking to them.

When a state trooper walked up to one man at the bus station, the man pulled a gun and shot the officer at close range, officials said. The officer has since died and the gunman is also dead.

Reports are varied as to number of wounded and dead, and even the suspect’s condition (even the above article has changed while I type). But the “training exercise” appears uniformly. So there’s no real information on little things like motive. But…

WTF are the cops doing running a “training exercise” in a working bus station filled with civilians who don’t know they’re participating? And why would the cops be using live ammo for an exercise with civilians?

I really want to see some surveillance cam footage of how those cops “approached” the shooter, along with what they were wearing.

Updated speculation: As you can see above (and from various stories), originally it wasn’t specified that the officer who was shot was in uniform. The confusion over who was shot (two officers and a female civilian and the shooter, then two officers and two civilians, then one officer and two civilians…) made me wonder if they had trouble sorting cops and civilians because the officers were in plainclothes. That could be significant in figuring out the shooter’s motivation; was he concerned about a pushy guy in civvies trying to grill him? Or did he have some reason to fear arrest?

NBC has now updated their article to indicate that the “state trooper in uniform walked up to one man”. That would appear to indicate the guy knew it was a cop. But…

Then I read this: “[Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne] Geller added that the shooter approached the trooper, who was dressed in an “identifiable” outfit before they had a conversation and the man drew a gun and opened fire.”

An “identifiable outfit”? Why not just say uniform. Odd phrasing, that. Now I really want to see surveillance footage. Was the cop in plainclothes except for a raid jacket with “Police” across the back?

And who approached whom?

300…?! WTF?

I hope that’s a typo. 30mm cannon in the hands of those lunatics is bad enough.

The EPA disclosed spending includes tens of millions of dollars in checkbook spending on “guns up up to 300MM,” “ammunition up to 300MM,” “body armor,” “camouflage and deceptive equipment,” “unmanned aircraft,” “amphibious assault ships,” “radar,” “night vision,” joint “Homeland Security” projects, and much more –

Added: Apparently not a typo. From page 13 of the report:

$1.4 million was spent on “guns up to 30MM,” $9,907 on
“guns over 300MM,”

The wrong question

Update: My first analysis was based on excerpts from the judges order published in the media. I’ve now read the whole order. And it’s worse than I thought. See edits below.

In response to the federal judge’s order that Apple create code to disable the countdown timer on iPhone’s password input routine (thus, allowing the FBI to mount a brute force attack without fear of the security routine wiping everything), people have asked — in a properly sarcastic manner — “What could possibly go wrong?”

They should be asking, “What could possibly go right?”

In case you haven’t kept up, if one enters the wrong password into an iPhone too many times, it assumes the phone is in the wrong hands and self-wipes. The FBI has a phone that belong to one of the shall-not-be-named San Bernardino terrorists, but the password is set.

Enter an idiot judge. The Honorable Dumber N. Boxofrox ordered Apple to develop new code to disable the countdown feature, and to tailor it to work only on the single terrorist’s phone by hard coding it to only work with a couple of identification strings associated with that phone, and install it there. Sounds nice, right? Limited scope.

Correction: The ordered change to disable countdown (and eliminate delays in entering password attempts) is not limited to the terrorist’s iPhone. In addition to the new “FBiOS,” Apple is required to provide a separate data recovery/backup/”Software Image File” application to copy everything in flash memory. That application is the only thing required to work only on the single instrument.

Now let me explain what would really happen. Apple would basically be writing a new variant of the operating system. They would install it (as an update) to the phone in the FBI’s custody. FBI eventually unlocks phone, images everything on the phone.


That is inevitably going to include the operating system, which means the FBI would now be in possession of the security-bypassing OS. They could turn it over to hackers to decompile the code, then scan for the two hard-coded ID strings. At this point, they could either type in two new strings for whatever other iPhone they might have laying around in an unrelated case, or change the code to not require the IDs at all. A brand new electronic forensic tool, provided free of charge by Apple.

Correction: No need to reverse engineer anything. Plus, the FBiOS must allow the Feds to enter passwords via WiFi or Bluetooth; i.e.- remotely, just as the FBiOS would be uploaded remotely. Once they have the OS in hand, the FBI can do it to anyone without even the need to reverse engineer the FBiOS. They’re demanding a turnkey mass covert surveillance tool from Apple.

But the Feds would never steal some company’s code, would they? Or go sneaking around spying without a warrant. And it would never occur to them to use a variant of a Stingray to generally access other phones and surreptitiously upload their little bit of malware.

Hell, you know they would. Personally, I suspect that’s exactly what they want. Since the terrorists were savvy enough to kill their data trail by disappearing their computer hard drive, I doubt they left anything useful on the iPhone. At most contacts, which the FBI can already get by subpoenaing their billing records from the phone company.

So let’s assume for the sake of discussion that they do this. We’ll even give the Feebs enough credit to say they don’t get hacked by another 16yo kid who steals data from them… you know, like new OS code.

But in this hypothetical scenario, they’ve released the code into the wild. Into iPhones whose security has been crippled by definition. Don’t lose your phone or get it stolen Correction: With remote access, no one has to physically steal your iPhone; whoever ends up with it can get any data…just as easily as the Feds. Or install malware (keystroke loggers, audiovisual bugs, GPS tracking, etc.) on it and return the iPhone they “found.”

I suspect jealous spouses and significant others would be a ready market, as well.

And recall that Apple programmers say that what the Feds are demanding would work on newer iPhones, too; not just the older generation terrorist’s smartphone, of which there are probably millions in use anyway.

What with people jailbreaking phones anyway, it would only be a matter of time before some hacker generated his own malOS. For that matter, maybe the FBI should hire that 16yo to hack that phone for them.

Oh. Wait. Then they’d have to pay him. When they can force Apple to do it free.

A good thing to remember

…if you can.

Taser shock disrupts brain function, has implications for police interrogations
In a randomized control trial, volunteer participants were subjected to Taser shocks and tested for cognitive impairment. Some showed short-term declines in cognitive functioning comparable to dementia, raising serious questions about the ability of police suspects to understand their rights at the point of arrest.

We don’ need no steenkin’ probable cause and due process

White House Threatens to Veto Bill to Shut Down Operation Choke Point
“Requiring federal banking agencies to satisfy a written materiality requirement is unnecessary, overly burdensome, and could impede the federal banking agencies’ ability to ensure financial institutions comply with important regulatory obligations, including maintaining effective risk management and controls,” the OMB said.