Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What In Hell Were The Police Thinking...

...or were they simply not thinking at all and just reacting? In July 2014, police officers in Stockton, CA had a running gunning battle with three bank robbery suspects. The surviving suspect apparently fled with a woman he had taken hostage at the bank. Somehow, for some reason known only to the officers, they decided to keep pursuing the vehicle in close proximity, then got into a blazing firefight with its occupants firing at the vehicle over and over and over again with a hostage in it. In all, some 33 police officers fired at least 600 rounds that hit the car (just over 18 rounds each on average). The female hostage was killed and it reportedly has been determined that all of the ten shots that hit the woman had all been fired by police officers.

My source is this brief blog post and this video  (it came out last week) of the attorney who represents the victim's family:

Did you pay attention. The police reportedly had a helicopter following the vehicle, yet the officers reportedly broke protocol and, were in hot pursuit of the vehicle and somehow wound up in a final gun battle with the suspects while firing upon the vehicle with full knowledge that there was a hostage within the vehicle. What the fuck ever happened to backing off, letting the chopper do the following, and calling in the hostage negotiations team???? What in Hades ever happened to not firing if it endangered the lives of innocents.

In my mind, if these officers actually did that of which they have been accused, if they knew a hostage was in the vehicle, they should be facing manslaughter charges at the very least. Of course, there has got to be another side to this story, so I am not going to condemn anyone in my mind just quite yet. I sure would like to find out though, what is the other side and how they arrived at the conclusion that they needed to fire 600 shots into a vehicle containing a hostage whom they knew was there instead of doing something seemingly more reasonable and safer for the hostage!

I just did some looking, here is what I could find of the other side. The police reportedly wanted to call in hostage negotiators but did not have the chance (attributed to Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones) to call them in. One has to wonder if they did not get the chance because they continued the hot pursuit and possibly forced or caused a final shootout with the alleged bank robbing - kidnapping -  hostage taking  - dirtbags. The police reportedly also feared that the bad guys might take more hostages or take over a school (again attributed to Chief Jones). (Source)

As to additional hostages, the reported facts are that the suspects took a total of three hostages from the bank, two employees and a customer, one Misty Holt-Singh, the woman who was killed. The other two hostages were somehow ejected from the vehicle during the chase; either by being thrown out, falling out or jumping out, it was not determined in the linked article at the time it was written. Now don't go thinking that the police officers thought all three hostages had gotten out of the vehicle before the shootout. According to the same linked article above, this one, the police knew that the suspects were using one of the hostages as a human shield at the time of the final shootout! The real irony of that is that the surviving suspect was allegedly reported by the police as the one using Mrs. Holt-Sing as a human shield. They shot her dead but not the bad guy using her as his shield - there is something major wrong with that in my mind, something terribly unjust and unfair and very sad indeed.

So, the thing is the police reportedly admitted they knew there was a victim in the bad guys' car and that she was in fact used as a human shield. Why on earth would they get into a gun battle with the dirt bag scum if such was the case and if already engaged why would they continue to fire at least 10 bullets that struck the hostage instead of ceasing fire for her protection and taking cover or backing off? Remember the helicopter when you think about that. Why did they not back off and let the chopper follow it or the suspect if he was out of the car at that point. Why did they not avoid a violent confrontation in the first place in order to protect the hostage? How did it devolve to the police killing the hostage in a hail of their bullets?

Did her life mean that little to them? What would my life or yours or our kids' lives mean to them? I would like to get some answers, see some valid justification as to why it was allowed to evolve into a blazing gun battle with a hostage in the car, to see something that could justify it all because I don't want to believe the police were as fucking stupid and as outright callous and unconcerned about the life of a citizen as they seem to be accused of. If however, it turns out that they broke protocol, that they were reckless, that they needlessly caused a situation that likely could have been avoided by following tired and true methods in such cases, and that is what led to her being killed - manslaughter charges will be too good for them.

All the best,
Glenn B

Why I Prefer Backpage Over Craigslist

So why do I prefer Backpage over Craigslist? It is pretty easy to figure when you read the terms of service for both of these sites that offer the user a free forum through which to post classified advertisements. In answer to my question, I'll let them do the talking, so to speak.

Here is a list, verbatim, of items, services and content prohibited from Craigslist Note, according to them it is only a partial list of things they ban from posting on their site:

"Here is a partial list of goods, services, and content prohibited on craigslist:
  • any good, service, or content that violates the law or legal rights of others
  • false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent content; bait and switch; keyword spam
  • offensive, obscene, defamatory, threatening, or malicious postings or email
  • anyone’s personal, identifying, confidential or proprietary information
  • spam; miscategorized, overposted, cross-posted, or nonlocal content
  • postings or email the primary purpose of which is to drive traffic to a website
  • weapons; firearms/guns and components; BB/pellet, stun, and spear guns; etc
  • ammunition, clips, cartridges, reloading materials, gunpowder, fireworks, explosives
  • US military items not demilitarized in accord with Defense Department policy
  • child pornography; bestiality; offers or solicitation of illegal prostitution
  • pet sales (re-homing with small adoption fee ok), animal parts, stud service
  • food stamps, WIC vouchers, SNAP or WIC goods, governmental assistance
  • alcohol or tobacco; unpackaged or adulterated food or cosmetics
  • prescription drugs, medical devices; controlled substances and related items
  • recalled items; hazardous materials; body parts/fluids; unsanitized bedding/clothing
  • stolen property, property with serial number removed/altered, burglary tools, etc
  • ID cards, licenses, police insignia, government documents, birth certificates, etc
  • counterfeit, replica, or pirated items; tickets or gift cards that restrict transfer
  • lottery or raffle tickets, sweepstakes entries, slot machines, gambling items
  • postings or email offering, promoting, or linking to unsolicited products or services
  • affiliate marketing; network, or multi-level marketing; pyramid schemes"

You will note that I highlighted, in light purple and boldface, those that I might want to sell or want to buy with some regularity. Now, let's take a look at what Backpage has to say about those items that I highlighted, again, verbatim from their site. Also note that, unlike Craigslist where they listed prohibited items under a special section for them instead of in their terms of service, Backpage very openly shows the following in its terms of service as they do everything else in that is normally covered in a TOS.

"18. Posting any material advertising weapons the use, carrying, or advertising of which is prohibited by applicable federal, state, or local law. You are solely responsible for complying with any and all laws and/or regulations applicable to the transfer of firearms under both applicable local, state and federal laws. The transfer of firearms is heavily regulated and restricted, and failure to strictly comply with all such laws is a serious crime and may result in criminal prosecution. All transfers of firearms, whether by sale, lease or loan, including private transactions, must go through a licensed firearms dealer. Any exception to these laws, such as air guns, knives, accessories, certain antiques, and some gun parts that may not require transfer by a licensed dealer, should be first confirmed by you prior to purchase. It is your responsibility to comply with all such laws, including any and all city, county, state and Federal laws when accessing or using this site. It is also your responsibility to locate one or more licensed firearm dealers in your area and/or the area of any buyer or seller listing here who are able and willing to assist you with any such transfer. We do not offer any assistance with respect to locating a licensed dealer for your transaction or otherwise with respect to your transaction. By listing any firearm, you represent and warrant to us that you legally own and possess the item you wish to list here and have fully complied with and will continue to fully comply with all laws and regulations applicable to your listing, transfer and/or sale. By agreeing to purchase any firearm, you represent and warrant to us that you are of legal age, and are not otherwise prohibited by law from purchasing, transferring, owning, or possessing the firearm listed, and that you have fully complied with and will continue to fully comply with all laws and regulations applicable to your transfer or purchase; "

Wow, did they just in essence say that legal sales of firearms are permitted through their site and only sales of illegal ones are forbidden? Yes they did, ammo and other weapons are allowed too. They are not control freaks as they seem to be at Craigslist. You will note that Backpage terms do not even mention pets or animals and yes they have a section to advertise them for sale unlike Craigslist that would seek to control and ban you from even doing that. In other words, Craigslist it seems is, in sum and substance a liberal leftist type of sales site exercising maximum control and offering less service while Backpage is much more conservative in allowing its users much more of a free market. I use both of them to one extent or another but I much prefer the policies of Backpage, they are much more in keeping with the ideals of America (at least the one in which I grew up) than with the apparent control freaks who want to ban this and that while keeping a tight rein on the rest of us. Overall, I much prefer Backpage to Craigslist for their classifieds. Why more folks don't utilize Backpage is beyond me!

All the best,
Glenn B