Friday, December 30, 2016

Inside the Tiny, Uncluttered Mind of a Cop

A retired member of the exalted Brotherhood of State-Sanctified Coercion recently rebuked a heretic:

I take umbrage with your article for Lew Rockwell. While certainly I agree with your premise that one should not give to police charities and thereby expect special privileges, you cubby-hole police officers with your example in Idaho.  How utterly disgusting that you berate this officer and his wife for exercising their Constitutional Right to file bankruptcy!  You DO NOT KNOW their circumstances—they may have had extreme medical expenses with themselves or one of their children.

I, Sir, served four years in the incomparable Marine Corps, six years in the active reserve and 20+ years as a police officer in two+ major metropolitan arenas, and, I became disabled while ‘on-duty’.  Contrary to your woeful disrespect for the police and your efforts to transport those ideas to the public, I would like you to know that we do not hate the public, we do not sit in donut shops and often, as you are well aware, we give our lives (Dallas, George, California, New York, Pennsylvania, et al) for the safety of our community just as a soldier in Iraq.  Are you going to write to the wives, mothers, fathers and children of these police officers who gave their ultimate gift of life and berate their husbands, sons and fathers for being a member of the thin blue line? Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his friends.

 We care about people’s lives, we care about the safety of the citizens of our nation and we love our country; and Sir, we don’t become, by and large, police officers and deputy sheriffs to bully the public and to make life miserable just because we are able.  Police die early deaths from suicide, cancer, strokes and heart attacks because of the stress of being a law enforcement officer.  The mean life expectancy of a retired law enforcement officer is 18 months. Because I was serving the citizens of my community, I am 100% permanently and totally disabled and suffer a lifetime of various levels of pain; and here, I have a miscreant (you) with disgusting disrespect narrative condemning the police and one in particular for filing bankruptcy.  You Sir, are disgusting human and miscreant.  The next time someone breaks into your home or assaults you, call your friends and whine to them, I am sure they will reimburse your losses and they will become a posse and hunt for the scum who violated you and your home/family, and don’t use the facilities that were there to protect you and catch the culprits who violated your home and/or body.

May your wife have 10 more children—all different nationalities.  I don’t, generally forget a face or missive, but in your case I’ll make an acceptation. 

With disdain and contempt,

Proud to be an American, God Bless the USA!!

The impenitent blasphemer replied:

I'm not surprised by the reminder that reading comprehension isn't among the skills tested through POST certification. Law enforcement is an occupation that selects for people who tend to communicate through non-verbal means, after all.

Nowhere in my essay did I suggest that people donate to police charities in the hope of receiving "special privileges"; my point is that the people who administer those funds are protected by the legal fiction called "qualified immunity," which gives them an unearned sense of privilege and makes them untrustworthy. This is abundantly demonstrated by the pervasive pilferage from FOP coffers. The recent case in Idaho is merely one of hundreds that have happened nation-wide. You would be wise to call for a forensic audit of your own union kitty; alas, your note suggests that you are a stranger in the house of wisdom.

Mark and Sara Furniss aren't liable to criticism for seeking to discharge their debts through bankruptcy. If you had paid attention to the details -- or had them explained to you by someone who can understand them -- you would have noticed that they tried to use bankruptcy to consummate their embezzlement by listing their victims at the FOP as "creditors" and then heading north to Alaska to escape apprehension. This is attempted bankruptcy fraud.

Were I to credit official claims regarding the abilities of law enforcement officers, I would express disappointed surprise at your inability to recognize the elements of that offense. Since I've studied law enforcement for more than a quarter-century, your performance is precisely what I expected.

Why aren't you incandescent with rage over crimes committed by police, against police -- and the public at large -- when they steal from funds supposedly dedicated to providing for wounded officers, and the families of officers who have died on-duty? I am mortally disgusted by such behavior, and that reaction ripens into rage when I see how "blue privilege" continues to protect such offenders, who are routinely given lenient sentences and sometimes allowed to keep their subsidized pensions. It's odd that this is apparent to a purported miscreant like myself, while being ignored by an upstanding paragon of civic righteousness such as yourself.

You are doubtless aware....

No, strike that; going on the evidence [above] I would be unwise to entertain a generous estimate of your awareness.

A long line of judicial precedents documents that police officers have no enforceable duty to protect any individual citizen from criminal violence. This is even true when one is literally being hacked to death just a few feet away while apprehending an armed psychopath who had eluded the police. Take a second and Google "Joe Lozito" for the details of that case. Lozito subdued a knife-wielding serial killer while a member of your bold fraternity of badge-wearing badasses cowered behind a subway door just a few feet away. While Lozito was recuperating in the hospital, the cowardly officer was being feted as a "hero" -- and the city dismissed Lozito's legal claim by invoking the well-settled doctrine that the police have no particularized duty to protect the public.

Slogans about the selfless service of law enforcement don't find traction among people who have studied the issue to any depth.

Since police and rapists are the only violent predators who expect their victims to submit without resistance, it is appropriate that the coda of your puerile note obliquely expresses the hope that my wife will become the victim of serial rape. I am constrained to point out, however, that the word "acceptation" is not a synonym for the word you must have intended to use, which is "exception."

Have a nice Christmas, if possible.

Will Grigg

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

We Don't Need Costumed Overlords and Tax Farmers

Gone, but not missed: The former Bunker Hill, Indiana Police Department.

Bunker Hill
, Indiana, is a village of 900 people. It has not been consumed by the maelstrom of criminal violence that – we are told – would descend on any community even briefly deprived of the divine protection offered by a police department. The village obviously didn’t need the department it had until December 12, when the Town Marshal and his four reserve deputies walked off the job to protest decisions by the town board. 

“We have had issues with the town board, and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” former Marshal Michael Thomison explained. Most of his complaints had to do with proposed budget cut-backs, and a refusal on the part of the council to purchase body armor for all five members of the department. 

“I did not want to send someone out there with bad body armor,” grouses Thomison. “I told them we have to provide this…. They were just not receptive to having a police department.”

It’s just no fun to play dress-up and swagger around the village unless the kids get the full costume and all of the accessories. The historical resonance of the village’s name notwithstanding, Thomison and his buddies were not under siege by heavily armed adversaries, nor was there any realistic expectation that they ever would be.

Crime is practically non-existent in Bunker Hill – the most recent report lists one violent and ten property crimes – and the village is fifteen minutes away from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in the county seat of Peru (a deranged cartographer was apparently responsible for assigning city and county names). It’s therefore reasonable to consider the police department as an unnecessary expense, and a potential source of avoidable trouble. That latter consideration, ironically, was underscored by the disgruntled officers themselves, who have accused town councilors of asking them to conduct unlawful background checks on each other.  The municipal officials stoutly deny ever making such requests. 

What is the purpose of inflicting a police department on a minuscule settlement where crimes against persons and property are practically unknown? The obvious answer is that while such towns might be welcome havens from private criminal violence, there can be no sanctuary from revenue collection – and this is the core function of government law enforcement agencies, as Sheriff Eddie Soileau of Louisiana’s Evangeline Parish has recently reminded us.
"I swear to be a diligent tax collector": Sheriff Soileau takes the oath.
Soileau’s office is dealing with budget cuts, layoffs, and a Justice Department civil rights investigation, and is thus determined to pare operations down to the basics. To that end, he asked for, and received, an advisory opinion from the state’s Attorney General regarding the following question: Can he legally operate “without having law enforcement duties,” and simply carrying out the role of a tax collector?

The Louisiana State Constitution, replied the Attorney General’s office, specifies that he is to be “the collector of state and parish ad valorem taxes and such other taxes and license fees as provided by law.” Where law enforcement is concerned, the sheriff’s duties are a matter of discretion. He is required to “keep the peace and make arrests,” but is not required to appoint a specific number of deputies to carry out that function. “Should a sheriff choose not to appoint deputies to assist in his law enforcement role, we could cite no statute that would forbid such a choice,” concluded the AG’s opinion. 

Odd as this might seem to people who were suckled on resilient myths about sheriffs and police officers as valiant defenders of the public and protectors of private property, Sheriff Soileau’s arrangement actually restores his office to its primordial purpose.

Following the Norman conquest of England, the existing kinship-based system for defense of property and settlement of disputes was supplanted by a feudal order enforced through royal appointees called shire-reeves or shire-riffs – antecedents of the modern sheriff. Their duty was to maintain the “king’s peace” by collecting taxes and preventing private efforts at restitution for injuries. It was impermissible for subjects to settle disputes among themselves, since this would deprive the royal treasury of the fees imposed through the embryonic state’s “justice” system.

This is the disreputable origin of the venerable office of the local sheriff, the only lawman whose occupation is even remotely compatible with the American constitutional tradition. A spare handful of contemporary sheriffs, at most, see their role as protecting property rights, rather than serving the privileged elite that preys on the public, and they can expect to be harassed and driven from office. 

Everything the State says is a lie, everything it claims to own it has stolen, and every act undertaken to enforce state edicts is a crime. The disappearance of a law enforcement agency enhances the personal security of those residing in any community where such a blessed development occurs.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast examines the wrongful rape and kidnapping conviction of Idaho Falls resident Michael Whiteley:

Please be sure to visit the Libertarian Institute.

Dum spiro, pugno!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Get Your Kids Out of the "School-to-Prison Pipeline"

Ever and always alert to new and inventive ways to turn innocent people into fodder for the State’s carceral apparatus, the Missouri state legislature enacted a measure that will treat teenage altercations as felonies if they occur either on school grounds or between public school inmates in transit to or from their local mind laundry.

The Hazelwood School District, in a dispatch to the parents who surrender their children into their daily custody, explained that “if two students are fighting and one child is injured, the student who caused the injury may be charged with a felony. Student(s) who are caught fighting in school, bus, or on school grounds may be charged with a felony (no matter what the age or grade level).”  (Emphasis added.)

Yes, even grade school students or kindergartners will face the prospect of being detained, handcuffed, and charged with an offense that could lead to a prison term of up to seven years. Rational people would never inflict such grotesque punishments, of course, but as Springfield resident Gavin Devic can attest, rational people are not at the helm of the Show-Me State’s educational soviet.

Devic wasn't shunted through the school-to-prison pipeline, but the local drug prohibition apparat will probably succeed in derailing the disciplined, accomplished young man's academic and athletic goals. Just as some people claim that it is possible to experience a "contact high" through exposure to marijuana smoke, adherents of the prohibition cult believe that it is possible for people to experience "contact culpability" in similar circumstances.

Gavin has maintained a GPA very close to 4.0 while working two part-time jobs and compiling an enviable record of 75 wins in wrestling, an achievement that had earned him multiple scholarship offers. On December 2, faced with the unfamiliar prospect of some free time, Devic allowed himself the indulgence of a short nap that was interrupted when a friend showed up to invite him to go to a dance at Parkview High. As Devic got into his friend's car it became clear that the other young man had been consuming the Satanic Communist Demon Weed Marijuana.

Since Gavin had not partaken of the substance that makes incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions lose bladder control, he assumed that he wouldn't get into trouble. Like too many other people he underestimated the sadistic resourcefulness of those who act on behalf of the evil fiction called the "State."

Shortly after he arrived at the dance, Gavin was pulled aside by one of the "resource officers" who prowl the school's hallways in search of young lives to ruin. In compliance with his training and professional expectations, the officer lied to Gavin by claiming that he displayed all of the indicia of marijuana use, including the fact that his "eyes were low" -- something that could be explained by the student's half-Asian ancestry.

As search of the friend's car turned up a small quantity of the prohibited plant and related accessories. Under questioning, and doubtless seeking to mitigate his own punishment, the friend initially said that the pot and paraphernalia were jointly owned (as it were) by the two of them. This was an obviously self-serving claim on his part, but it was sufficient to "prove" Gavin's guilt in the eyes of people predisposed to punish, rather than investigate.

The perfidious friend later recanted his story and provided a statement exculpating Gavin. At his own expense, Gavin obtained a drug test proving that there was no THC in his system. An incident report filed by the school resource officers grudgingly admitted that “nothing illegal or prohibited” was found on Devic’s person. All of this mattered not to the local prohibitionist priesthood, which cannot look upon pot use with even the least degree of allowance, and will sternly punish even the appearance of "evil."

Gavin was suspended from school for ten days, barred from athletic competition for a month, and lost his A+ scholarship eligibility, which would have covered the first two years of in-state tuition at numerous colleges. The "citizenship" component of that scholarship was ruined by the suspension.

"I am losing all the options I was setting up for myself," Gavin laments. This is entirely in harmony with the purpose of the state-run school system, which is to indoctrinate inmates in the idea that their lives belong to the state, not to themselves -- and that those lives can be ruined, in an instant, at the whim of those who presume to rule the rest of us.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast examines the bizarre and infuriating case of Idaho Falls resident Michael Whiteley, wrongfully convicted of kidnapping and raping his ex-wife -- a woman who twice recanted her accusations, and provided evidence that Whiteley was framed to cover up a rape committed by a police officer:

Please be sure to check out the Libertarian Institute.

Dum spiro, pugno!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Snouts in the Trough, Hooves in the Till: Why You Shouldn't Donate to a Police Charity

Tax-subsidized embezzlers: Mark and Sara Furniss

To understand why the public cannot confide in government-employed police to protect private property, it is useful to consider how frequently police steal from each other – and members of the public who ingenuously donate to police-operated charities. This isn’t because police officers are under-paid; it is because their occupation cultivates a sense of privilege and contempt for other people’s property. 

The median annual household income in Idaho is roughly $49,000. Mark Furniss, 46, was making almost $20,000 a year in excess of that figure when he resigned from his job as a Boise Police Officer on October 20, the same day that he and his wife Sara filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. At the time, Sara was employed as a “safe schools assistant” in the recently created West Ada School District. 

Together, Mark and Sara Furniss easily cleared $100,000 a year in salary and benefits, which is more than enough for their family of four to enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle in Boise. Yet Mark and Sara allegedly used their positions as president and office manager, respectively, with Treasure Valley Lodge #11 of the Fraternal Order of Police to embezzle $73,000 over a five-year period.   

The couple’s pilferage from the FOP’s accounts was noticed no later than February, which is when he was confronted by the organization’s president over his use of a union credit card to buy tickets to a Pittsburgh Pirates game and make more than $500 in personal purchases at a department store. A forensic audit was conducted, which quickly discovered that Mrs. Furniss had been systematically overpaying herself (she drew a salary from the FOP), misusing a lodge credit card, and had caused hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees. She later disclosed to investigators that she had set up an automatic withdrawal from an FOP account to pay the family’s cable television bill.

Detective Gary Marang of the Nampa Police Department, which has investigated the matter to avoid a conflict of interest, recalled in an affidavit that the couple also used FOP funds to make a $2,700 down payment on a travel trailer. They most likely intended to make use of that trailer to flee the jurisdiction: After filing for bankruptcy on October 20 (listing the FOP as among the “creditors” who would be stiffed by them), Mr. and Mrs. Furniss reportedly planned to head north to Alaska in search of a “fresh start.” 

Like countless others, the Mark and Sara rode the housing bubble and fell hard in 2008 when it burst. Their financial disclosure form lists a total of $572,992 in assets, including a Meridian home valued at $230,000. Their estimated liabilities are $384,095, which includes “more than a dozen credit cards and five charge accounts,” observes the Idaho Statesman. They had also purchased two expensive late-model SUVs. Despite the fact that they both drew very generous tax-subsidized salaries, they listed their monthly income at $869, with $5,742 in monthly expenses. Perhaps the most shocking line item in the form was the disclosure that the total value of the family’s checking accounts was $864. 

In the two weeks prior to the couple’s November 25 arrest, their FOP chapter had collected more than $73,000 through a GoFundMe account to raise money for three officers – two humans and a “K9 officer” – who were wounded in a shootout with a fugitive. It would have been useful for the public to know that the people in charge of the lodge’s finances had embezzled nearly an identical amount.
Nice tie, Mike.
Mark and Sara have two very young children, a fact that will be taken into account when they are given the customary Blue Privilege discount at sentencing time. Former Richfield, Ohio police officer Michael Simmons benefited from official leniency when his own longstanding embezzlement from the local FOP was discovered. 

Simmons has confessed to stealing more than $26,000 the FOP’s “Shop with a Cop” program, which is used to buy Christmas gifts for poor children. 

One might expect to see exemplary punishment imposed on someone who committed a Dickensian offense of that kind. One would be wrong to do so, when the offender is a member of the state’s enforcement caste. 

As was the case with Mark and Sara Furniss, Simmons squandered  money raised for charitable purposes on personal expenses and luxuries, including electronics, clothing, tools, and tickets to sporting events. Rather than being sent to prison for felony theft, the 42-year-old Simmons was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence, two years of probation, and 500 hours of community service. He will also be required to pay back only $15,000 of the money he stole, so full restitution – which is the only legitimate punishment for a crime against property – will not be required.
According to Richfield, Ohio Police Chief Keith Morgan, one reason Simmons won’t be required to pay back the full amount is because “the program’s lax bookkeeping made it difficult to pin down exactly how much was stolen and how much went to legitimate purchases,” reports the Akron Beacon Journal. 

Simmons’s attorney, Mark Guidetti, says that the judge’s very generous terms will allow Simmons to move on with his life and get another job. Now that he is tagged with a fourth-degree felony, it’s likely that he won’t find another gig involving a gun, badge, and qualified immunity. 

Embezzlement from FOP lodges is stunningly commonplace. One would expect that law enforcement officers, zealous for the honor of their coercive fraternity, would inflict exemplary punishment on those within their ranks who steal from their comrades in the brotherhood. As with so many other offenses, however, “professional courtesy” applies even to those who can’t keep their snouts out of the FOP’s trough. 

Former Hernando County, Florida Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Glatfelter was given five years’ probation after siphoning away $14,000 from the local FOP lodge – and more than $1,000 from a special fund established to benefit the family of a colleague who had died in an on-duty traffic accident. Struthers, Ohio Patrolman Thomas Granchie was allowed to resign without facing administrative charges after he admitted to stealing nearly $5,000 from his FOP lodge in 2007.  Judge William Kobelak spoke sympathetically of  Granchie as he sentenced the thirty-year veteran officer to 90 days house arrest for what should – and would – have been felony theft if committed by a Mundane.

“I want to look at him as a person with both good and bad things in his life;” Judge Kobelak said, apparently treating Granchie’s decades of service to the murderous abstraction called the “State” as extenuation for his self-serving felonious conduct. “This black cloud hanging over his head is always going to be there.”

Actually, that black cloud dissipated very rapidly. It was Granchie’s tax victim-provided police pension that proved to be permanent; this was made possible when the court dismissed the felony count and allowed the thief to plead guilty to a single charge of misdemeanor theft.
Such conduct is to be expected wherever large pools of money are entrusted to people who are clothed in “qualified immunity.”

The state-allied pharmaceutical industry, it is partners in the prison-industrial complex, constitute the real "drug cartel" -- this week's Freedom Zealot Podcast: