Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cops and the Right to Self Defense

This is an article I wrote for the Oregonian, and they published it. You can read the whole article here

Police and the mentally ill: Cops have a right to self-defense
By James Wolfer

Portland Chief Mike Reese announced last week his desire to transform police training, saying that he wants to transform it from a " 'fear-based model' -- where officers are taught to think a motorist reaching toward a floorboard is going for a gun -- to one founded on 'competency and confidence' -- where a mentally ill man isn't treated like a bank robber."

First, I'd like to say how much respect I have for the new police chief. He sure has his work cut out for him in that revolving door that is the chief's position in the Portland Police Bureau. And while there is definitely room for improvement in police training with regard to the mentally ill, removing the "fear-based training" model altogether would be disastrous.

The police need to assume, for their own survival, that someone reaching might be reaching for a gun. Police deaths are up nationally. According to statistics available from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, officer deaths in 2009 were 42 percent higher than in 2008 across the board in the U.S., with 80 percent of those deaths resulting from gunfire. Statistics are not yet available for 2010, but it seems that almost every week an officer is killed somewhere in the country. Some of those shootings have happened here in the Northwest. How quickly we've forgotten the four officers assassinated in Lakewood, Wash., just last December. Even here in Portland, people, some of them mentally ill, have attempted to fight police with deadly weapons. While some are protesting the police "profiling" and killing of Otis Keane, many in the public fail to address the fact that Keane shot first. He shot an officer in the legs, twice, before being fatally shot by the other officers involved. Thankfully, the officer survived, but what would have happened if he had not? Would the public have been appeased? I doubt it. Most likely, there would still be protests against the police for killing their attacker.

The Portland Police Bureau could use more training in dealing with the mentally ill. But the Portland-area public also is in dire need of education on what happens when someone, mentally ill or not, tries to use deadly force against the police: the officers will defend themselves with deadly force. The police have a lawful right to self-defense, to survive an attack and go home to their family at the end of the day, regardless of the attacker's mental state.

James Wolfer lives in Southwest Portland.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Arizona at it again; targets "anchor babies"

This has to be my favorite part:

"If you go back to the original intent of the drafters ... it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon (illegal) aliens," said [John] Kavanagh, who also supported Senate Bill 1070 -- the law that gave Arizona authorities expanded immigration enforcement powers.

Read the rest of the article here.

In summary:

A proposed Arizona law would deny birth certificates to children born in
the United States to illegal immigrant parents...

John Kavanagh, a Republican state representative from Arizona who supports the proposed law aimed at so-called "anchor babies," said that the concept does not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

"If you go back to the original intent of the drafters ... it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon (illegal) aliens," said Kavanagh, who also supported Senate Bill 1070 -- the law that gave Arizona authorities expanded immigration enforcement powers.

Under federal law, children born in the United States are automatically
granted citizenship, regardless of their parents' residency status...

Kyrsten Sinema, a Democratic state representative, strongly opposes the bill.

"Unlike (Senate Bill) 1070, it is clear this bill runs immediately afoul of
the U.S. Constitution," she said.

"While I understand that folks in Arizona and across the country
support S.B. 1070, they do so because we have seen no action from the federal
government," said Sinema. "Unfortunately, the so-called 'anchor baby' bill does
nothing to solve the real problems we are facing in Arizona."

The founding fathers were illegal aliens. In fact, the first few presidents weren't born here. James Madison was the first president born in the nation known as the United States. We are a nation made of immigrants (unless you are Native American Indian). If children born here, even to illegals, are not citizens, then what exactly would qualify as citizenship? Do infants now need to apply for citizenship?

I don't agree with illegal immigration. It's illegal. And we have to do something about it. But not this. Children born here have always been, and always should be, United States citizens. Arizona is seeking to directly punish children for the crimes of their parents. And that just isn't right.

What further angers me is that this bill is being pushed by Republicans. Republicans, the party of Abraham Lincoln. Republicans, the party that pushed for the end of Slavery. The party that has expoused patriotism so fiercly, is now pushing yet another unpatriotic law, built upon unpatriotic ideas.

If this passes, can the Union recover? Probably. But we'll definitely be a little further away from the Constitution than we were yesterday.

Crossposted to Republicans United

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An argument for more guns

This was an interesting and well written essay, by Major L. Caudill USMC (Retired).

"The Gun Is Civilization"
As the Supreme Court hears arguments for and against the Chicago, IL Gun Ban, I offer you another stellar example of a letter (written by a Marine) that places the proper perspective on what a gun means to a civilized society.
Read this eloquent and profound letter and pay close attention to the last paragraph of the well as a profound quote from Thomas Jefferson.
The Gun is Civilizationby Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)
Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.
In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.
When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed.
People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.
Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.
The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal andeasily employable.
When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation...and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.
So the greatest civilization is one where all citizens are equally armedand can only be persuaded, never forced.
By Maj. L. Caudill USM C (Ret)
And now a word from Thomas Jefferson: "False is the idea of utility ... that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction of liberty. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... such laws serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -- Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States writing in his 'Commonplace Book', 1775

I read this in the opinion section of my local newspaper, the Oregonian. I found it extremely well thought out, and logical. It doesn't attack any side, just merely proposes its thesis and defends it well.

I don't carry a gun. I don't even own one. But I probably will someday, and I believe that having a gun and being well trained in it's use is a huge deterrent for property crimes, and an equalizer in person crimes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

No Cops Allowed

First, let me say how nice it was to just take a break from blogging. I started school in April, taking online classes for a Masters degree, and working full time at my 9-5 M-F job, and a weekend job. I've been busy! Needed a break from the bloggin'...just didn't have the energy to write.

This article caught my eye:
In mid-May, Portland police Officer James Crooker went to Southeast
Portland on a patrol call. With a few minutes to spare, he decided to get a
coffee. So, he popped into the Red & Black cafe on Southeast 12th Avenue near Oak
Street, bought a coffee and was heading out when a customer approached him,
saying she appreciates the hard job that police officers do every day in
Portland. One of the co-owners of the cafe, John Langley, has another
point of view. While the officer and customer were chatting, he walked up and
asked Crooker to leave, saying he felt uncomfortable having a uniformed officer
in the vegan cafe. The incident, which was brief, speaks volumes about the
tensions between Portland police and some members of the community who are more worried about police shootings than protection. Crooker said he was surprised to be shown the door but left immediately. He said this marked a first during his nine-year in law enforcement, two in Portland and seven in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. "The places that I've been kicked out of before have been places like the methadone clinic," he said. "I've never been kicked out of a regular cafe." But the 36-year-old
officer, who was born and raised in Portland, said it's all part of working this
city's streets in a uniform. "We have a unique relationship with the community,"
he said. "You're there to protect them but on the other hand they don't know
what that involves. Being gracious is part of it." A former Marine who served in
Iraq, Crooker didn't take the incident to heart. "It was not personal," he said.
"He was being hostile to my uniform," he said. Langley, who did not raise his
voice during the encounter, agreed. "It's not about the police," Langley said.
"It's about what the police represent to many people who frequent the cafe. The
cafe draws vegans -- of course -- along with homeless people and animal-rights
and environmental activists who Langley said have been targets of police abuse
and harassment. But the cafe also draws customers like Cornelia Seigneur,
who blogged about the incident on her website. Seigneur, a freelancer for The Oregonian who
was enjoying lunch with her daughter on May 18 when Crooker came in, was the one
who approached him. "There have been some unfortunate situations recently,"
Seigneur said. "But overall the police are out there day in and day out
protecting us." She said she struck up a conversation with Crooker to show her
support for police, who she said saved the life of a friend after he was shot by
gang members. When Langley asked Crooker to leave, she was startled. "It was
shocking," Seigneur said. "Everyone deserves to have a coffee, and he was served
a coffee. It was humiliating." She said there were only about three other people
in the cafe and that no else seemed to notice the officer. But the incident has
fired a reaction, with dozens of comments pouring into Seigneur's website. It's
been so overwhelming that she took the blog post down but put it back up
Thursday afternoon. The cafe, too, has received a deluge of calls, with about
half supporting the cafe and the rest expressing anger. "We've received
threats," Langley said. "People have threatened to attack us and break our
windows." Still, he has no regrets. "I never expected a police officer to come
into the space," he said. "If it happened again, I wouldn't serve him."

The customer that was thanking the Police Officer has a blog, and has started a movement not to boycott the place that didn't serve the officer, but to highlight places that do.
Her original blog post
Her facebook campaign

Police Officers put their lives on the line every day to protect their communities. We hear about the mistakes and the bad apples first and foremost. The more common stories of police officers helping people-stopping to help you change a flat, educating children on drug abuse, etc. are left out of the news. And that is sad, and only perpetuates the negative, false thinking that this cafe owner exhibited.