Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The race card

In this case, six black students in Jena were arrested for beating a white student. The defendants state that they beat the student because he was hurling racial slurs. The case got quite heated, and drew national attention from Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, who claimed the charges were unfair.

They say that this was a simple school fight, for which the penalty is supposed to be three days suspension. I would hardly call a beating delivered by six men against one that put a man in the hospital with hemorrhaging in the eye to be a simple fight.

It turns out that the victim in the case never said a single racial word. The race incidents didn't happen. The defendants have now admitted it.

I am sick of 'the race card' being constantly thrown down. It seems that when something happens to a black person, the first thing you hear is "RACE! IT IS BECAUSE I AM BLACK!"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Healthcare for all?

In a previous post, I was talking on a frequent theme here: government healthcare.

You hear it all the time: people bleating on about how other countries get "free" healthcare, and how the systems in Canada and the UK are so much better than here in the United States.

Canada, where the country's Supreme Court ruledthat the quality of medical care provided by the state system in Quebec was so terrible that the law against private health insurance had to go. Private clinics are opening around the country to provide care to people who'd rather pay for medicine twice than accept the government's "free" healthcare.

In the United Kingdom, where about 11.5% of Britons carry private insurance in addition to the taxes they pay for the National Health Service, government-provided dentistry is such a shambles that people have declined the service and dentists now make more from private-pay patients than from the government system.

Instead of being able to get healthcare at my own expense, suited to my needs, I will get a plan that is selected for me by a bureaucrat who only cares about keeping his job. This will have all the efficiency of the post office, the customer service of the DMV, at the cost of the welfare system.

No thanks. Keep the change.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How are rights safeguarded?

Marco Rubio, a candidate for Senate from my own state of residence, is attempting to get elected for the Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez. He had this to say on Twitter:

I have a feeling the situation in Iran would be a little different if they had a 2nd amendment like ours. #sayfie #tcot #nra

I think that this is true. An armed people is much more difficult to oppress. True to form was the Huffington Post reply:

But when I consider the sorts of things the Iranians could stand to borrow from America, a poorly worded amendment dealing with gun ownership rights and militias is way down the list. I think that maybe Iran could stand to have some separation of powers, a line between church and state, a free press, freedom to worship, the right to assemble, the right to speak freely, a freedom from unlawful searches, due process of law, womens' suffrage, and a government that doesn't terrorize its citizens with armed thugs or threaten its neighbors through terrorist proxies.
I have a question for you: Just how do you think that those rights are safeguarded? How does a disarmed populace fight off a totalitarian, theocratic dictatorship? After all, Iran has already proven that they do not have free elections, they have already shown that they are willing to kill their own citizens, censor their press, persecute on religious grounds, and generally commit all of the atrocities that you speak of. So with all of this in mind, just how do you suppose that an unarmed populace will win these freedoms?

The more disparity there is between the force that the citizens of a government can bring to bear, and the force that a government can bring to bear on its people, the bloodier that fight for freedom will be.

In the US Constitution, all of the Amendments of the Bill of Rights are important. The Second plays an important part in securing the others, for a government that is outnumbered 100 to 1 by a well armed populace will think twice before gunning down young women in the streets.

So many lefties are so fond of saying that "if the protesters had guns, then the situation would be a bloodbath." I would point out that there are some words that come to my mind when only the oppressors have weapons: massacre, genocide, purge.

People who believe that everything in life can be solved without violence are living in a fantasy world where no one is ever greedy or power hungry. Let us hope that we in the United States never have to learn any different.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The weather

Today's weather? Well, according to my home weather station, the temp is 100 degF (37.8 degC) with 60% humidity. That gives us a dew point of 83.6 degF (28.67 degC) and a heat index of 129 degF (53.9 degF).

I cannot believe how hot it is out here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Paramilitary rank structure

Several people have emailed me as of late, not understanding how the rank structure works in the fire/EMS field. As a general guide, I will try to spell it out. Since fire departments nationwide differ in titles and terminology, I will say that what is true for most departments is not always true in others.

As a general rule, the fire and EMS service follows a quasi-military rank structure, with each person in the department knowing the chain of command, and their place in it.

Ambulances (no matter what they are called) typically have two people assigned, many times an EMT (who is the driver) and a paramedic. The paramedic is in charge.

Engine and Ladder trucks typically have a Company Officer and Driver, along with one or more firefighters. (The driver is not a rank everywhere) The officer is in charge of the unit, and the engineer is basically his platoon sergeant.

An ambulance and an engine or ladder are frequently bundled together. In such a case, the officer on the engine outranks the paramedic. In some cases, the driver of the engine does as well.

Other positions include district supervisors called battalion Chiefs, who supervise 5 to 8 engine/ladder crews, and Division Chiefs, who supervise 5-8 battalions. The idea is to keep the number of supervised personnel to a manageable level, and 5-8 is it. This is called the 'span of control.'

Orders given are to be obeyed. The senior officer calls the shots. This must be so, because when snap decisions need to be made on an emergency scene, ruling by committee doesn't work.

Finally, the dash cam

The OHP has finally released the dash cam video from the incident in which trooper Daniel Martin choked a paramedic because the Trooper believed the medic's EMT partner flipped him the bird.

During the first 39 seconds of the video, you see the trooper overtake the ambulance. It looked to me like the ambulance pulled to the side of the road as soon as they were clear of the vehicle that was pulled over to the shoulder. You decide.

The trooper, after arriving at the scene of the call, did not even get out of his vehicle before chasing down the ambulance and pulling it over. This is where things get ugly. His first words to the driver were, "You don't need to be givin me no hand gestures, I ain't gonna put up with that shit, you understand me?"

Then at 5:24, he says "He is going to jail. You don't talk to a state trooper like that!" Ten, at 6:10 the Trooper's microphone is mysteriously shut off. Compare that segment of the video to this one

you can see that the point where Trooper Martin's microphone is shut off is just before the Trooper began choking the medic. I wonder what was being covered up here? I wonder why the other dash cam video from the other vehicle is missing. The second trooper claims he shut it off, because he felt it wouldn't be needed.

That says it all. There is nothing on the dash cam that shows the paramedic attacking the trooper. The medic never tried to put the trooper in a headlock, as Trooper Martin claimed in his report. In other words, the Trooper lied in an official report. Isn't that perjury?

The trooper was wrong, just as I suspected. Assaulting a person under color of authority. Unlawfully threatening deadly force (aggravated assault). Perjury.

No charges filed. Free pass for the cop. This cop does not need to be on our streets with his obvious attitude and behavioral problems.

Trooper Martin you are a douchebag criminal with a badge. OHP, and all other cops who cover for this sort of behavior: This is why so many people distrust and dislike the police. Stop covering for these criminals who are giving you a bad name, and throw them from your ranks. That would go a long way to rebuilding your image.

Edited to add: The "emergency" the cop was responding to? Apparently, it was to pick up his wife, who was waiting for a ride. If you listen to the dash cam tape at 1:32, you hear the car door open and close, and a woman says "Hey babe."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oklahoma Trooper vs. Paramedic, revisited

Last month I reported on an incident in which an Oklahoma Highway Patrolman by the name of Daniel Martin choked a paramedic because the Trooper believed the medic's EMT partner flipped him the bird.

More information has come to light. The DA has determined that there were crimes committed, but decided that charges would not serve the public interest. In other words, the police are not being held accountable for violating the law, and violating the civil rights of the motorists they pul over.

District Attorney Max Cook (District 24) sent the letter to Colonel Van M. Guillotte on the same day he publicized his decision not to file charges in the May 24 incident captured on video.

In the letter DA Cook wrote, "It is my opinion Trooper Martin's handling of this situation was inappropriate from the outset." Cook added, "... I expect law enforcement officers to treat all citizens with respect. I do not think this can be said about Trooper Martin's actions on May 24, 2009".

The letter was first made public by the Okemah News Leader.

The OHP now says it has closed the investigation into the confrontation between Trooper Daniel Martin and a Creek Nation ambulance crew. A day earlier a spokesman finally confirmed that Martin has been on administrative leave. OHP still refuses to release the dash-cam video from Trooper Martin's vehicle.

I wonder why that is? Could it be that the trooper is made to look more guilty on the dash cam video? Also of interest is the fact that Trooper Iker, the other Trooper present during the incident, claims that he sht off his dash cam during the incident, because he didn't think it would be needed. In yet another surprise admission, the Trooper admits that the woman who was in the patrol car with him during the incident was his wife. Must be nice to mix business with pleasure.

This trooper is a hothead, and is not fit to wear a badge or carry a gun. This cannot be an isolated incident. I wonder if this is the standard that the OHP aspires to. I also find it predictable that when a cop is accused of breaking the law, the dash cam video is always lost, missing, damaged, or the police just refuse to release it. The OHP is whitewashing the incident, and is also claiming that the Trooper did not violate policy, either through the use of force or by allowing hi wife to ride along with him.

I hope the Paramedic lawyers up and sues these Troopers and the OHP for violating his civil rights. In my opinion, this was aggravated battery- this was a person who (even according to the DA) committed a crime. The fact that he did this while armed makes this aggravated battery. Just because he is a cop does not excuse this in my mind, it in fact makes this worse.

Edited to add: Read the DA's letter to the OHP here. Hat Tip to STATter911 blog

Active shooters

In the recent shooting in Washington, DC, we see that a recurring theme is again repeated.

It started out as a normal day. Dozens of visitors, including school groups, were passing through the museum as the beginning of the summer tourist season began in earnest. Then, police said, a red Hyundai driven by von Brunn double parked on 14th Street outside the museum's entrance. When he got to the museum's door, Stephen T. Johns, who had been posted at the museum for six years, opened the door, police say.

Von Brunn then lifted his rifle and shot Johns in the chest at close range, officials said. Two officers immediately returned fire, hitting Brunn in the face, and he fell backward out the door, police said.

All of the officers were employees of Wackenhut Services, a large private security firm that provides protection for several government buildings, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the museum, the guards look just like police officers, with crisp uniforms, .38-caliber revolvers on their hips and silver badges with an image of a lion on a scale on their chests.

Again and again, we see these active shooter scenarios repeated throughout the country. Nearly impossible to predict, once the shooting begins, the only way it will end is for someone to confront the shooter and meet deadly force with their own deadly force. The only difference is whether the gun used to stop the rampage is already there, or will be brought to the scene in the holster of a police officer 15 to 30 minutes later.

A defender with a firearm at the scene of one of these massacres in the making can reduce the death toll and save lives. This is just another example of that. Since not every place has armed security, since we cannot all afford armed private bodyguards, and since we cannot predict when or where we will become the target of some whack-job's homicidal rage, our best defense is to become proficient in using a firearm for self defense, and carry a firearm daily. The life you save may be your own, as well as the lives of those around you.

To you anti-gunners who complain that you don't want someone with a gun around your kids, remember this: Even if firearms were made illegal thi afternoon, criminals would have them anyway. I feel better knowing that I can defend the lives of my children, and I will not hesitate to protect yours, either.

I have significantly more training than the security officers in the link above, I have been through an FBI background check, and statistics show that I am less likely to commit a crime with a firearm than your average police officer.

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Obama control

Now I see that the Obama administration is proposing a law that would REQUIRE all Americans to get healthcare insurance. That's right- you will no longer be allowed to pay for your own care. They will, according to the administration, allow the poorest people to qualify for Medicaid.

Not only that, but he plans on taxing the two highest tax brackets to pay for it. The two highest tax brackets include people who make more than $171,550. So much for the campaign promise that no one who made less than $250,000 would see a dime in new taxes.

Another facet of this plan includes a law that would require employers to provide healthcare coverage for all of their employees. How may jobs do you think that is going to cost? You cannot stimulate the economy and create jobs by making those employees more expensive. The employers will simply respond by laying off more employees, and either going out of business or moving their business overseas.

This would place the Federal government directly in charge of another 17% of our economy. The Obama administration already has control of the banks, the auto industry, and now they want healthcare. What next?