Thursday, December 4, 2014

Did You Get A Flu Shot This Year? More Bad News From The CDC!

So, did you get a flu shot this year? I did but it may not help me much in preventing me from coming down with the flu. The screwed up thing about it is that now the CDC is saying the vaccine that was given to folks this time may not be all that effective against this year's strain of the flu. In addition, they are indicating that this years variety is expected to cause more hospitalizations and deaths of those who come down with it. Next thing you know they will be telling us this is the zombie strain! More here.

Stay well,

Yet Another Blog Roll Update

Just added 'In the Middle of the Right' over on the right side bar under TAKE A SHOT WITH THESE SHOOTIST BLOGGERS, NOT AT THEM. Web address:

All the best,
Glenn B

Blog Roll Update

New blog - My Gun Diary - added to the blog roll over on the right sidebar under: TAKE A SHOT WITH THESE SHOOTIST BLOGGERS, NOT AT THEM. Web address for this blog is:

All the best,
Glenn B

The Eric Garner Killing - The Grand Jury Decision - My Two Cents

The Grand Jury failed to bring a true bill (indict) New York City Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the killing of Eric Garner (source). Mr. Garner had been informed he was under arrest (for selling loose cigarettes on the streets of Staten Island in July 2014) and was then placed into a chokehold by the officer when he resisted arrest. I see a possible flaw with the Grand Jury decision despite not having all of the evidence available to me. As in a grand jury investigation though, I think that I have enough evidence to determine probable cause at least on which to base my opinion.

First of all, the medical examiner returned a finding of homicide (not as defined in a dictionary but as defined by NY State law - Secondly, while many - including the officer - claim he did not have criminal intent to harm Mr. Garner, the officer's intent says nothing toward certain of the charges he could have, and almost certainly should have, been facing. Criminally negligent homicide (involuntary manslaughter) does not require him having intent to kill someone, it has to do with having done so by way of being criminally negligent. I could walk down the street shooting my guns in this direction and that and kill someone. I would almost certainly be charged with at least criminally negligent homicide because the killing, on the face of it, would have been the result of me negligently firing my gun and that negligence would be seen as rising to the criminal level. I think that there was more than enough probable cause to believe that officer Pantaleo was criminally negligent.

The thing that truly irks me though is the fact that a choke hold is considered deadly force in any training I received (within at least 15 years of my retirement from LE) and allow me to assure you - my training in that area has been extensive. The restraint technique used by the officer apparently was questionable as a chokehold but would not have been questioned in the training I received as far as I can recall. It was, in my opinion, a choke hold. It was designed to cut off blood flow in the carotid arteries. Cutting off that blow flow does not always result in death, just as a gunshot does not, but in all likelihood it can and often does result in death - thus it is considered deadly force. The NYPD banned officers from using chokeholds and that ban was in effect when Mr. Garner was killed. Regardless of the ban (and note even with the ban, it may have been allowed in cases where deadly force was permitted) I have watched the video several times and do not see the need for the application of deadly force and it certainly seems like it was deadly force to me. I also am familiar with the law in NY State covering the application of deadly force - the degree of threat against the officers never rose, in my opinion based on 32 years of LE work, to that level as required by NY State law. Of course, the officer could have seen and articulated that differently being he was the one in the situation. Yet, I am more than just a bit flummoxed as to why the officer was not charged. Note, I am not saying he is guilty of anything but that it seems to me there was more than enough evidence to find probable cause that a crime was committed relative to the killing of Mr. Garner and there seems to have been more than enough evidence to indicate probable cause that the officer had committed that crime. Maybe if the authorities are transparent, we will see that there was evidence to indicate otherwise but I am blinded to it now as I have not seen or heard that evidence. In Fergusson, MO, there was ample evidence to completely exonerate the Officer Wilson in the death of Michael Brown but it just does not seem to be even close to the same in this case.

Short of other evidence, therein lies enough for me to have a reasonable and strong doubt of the wisdom behind the grand jury decision. Having had a wealth of first extensive experience with grand juries - I know that, in a GJ proceeding, very little evidence is needed to bring an indictment as would be to bring a conviction in criminal court, that since it is probable cause being determined and not guilt. That sufficient evidence seems to be there - with no apparent mitigating factors such as Mr. Garner's resistance to arrest rising to the level where deadly force would have been needed to end the threat to the officers posed by him - to have indicted is crystal clear to me. (Again, without all the evidence but I have never been in a  grand jury proceeding where all the evidence was presented as was in Fergusson and I don't know if all of it was presented in this case.)  Still, the decision has me wondering if this was not a case of  prejudicial treatment (not racial) in favor of a police officer by the prosecutor. Knowing NYS politics, that is unlikely but it is possible, especially with those considerations in mind. So, I question the decision of the grand jury not to find a true bill. Of course, all that means is I would like to know and examine more of the evidence. Hopefully it will be divulged (if not already done) so that we mere citizens can review it and rest assured that our police departments and governments are not running amok and totally disregarding even our most basic right - that to life. Sadly though, I fear the worst in that regard.

Mind you, I am not saying - even for one instant - that I believe that this was a departmental thing or even a multiple officer offense. During the arrest, Mr. Garner obviously resisted and the officers, who were ordered to enforce the ridiculous law were, under the circumstances, more than justified to use enough proper force against him to negate the threat he posed by way of his resistance. I think that all of the officers used proper restraint during the process with the possible exception of Officer Pantaleo. Bringing Mr. Garne to the ground to control and handcuff him was the prudent and proper thing to do - again under the circumstances. Doing so could have been easily accomplished without deadly force but again it seems to me that the officer in question almost immediately resorted to the use of deadly force in as much as I believe that the application of a choke hold was the use of deadly force. As to the other officers, none used a weapon, they did not shoot him with a TASER nor did they stun Mr. Garner with a stun gun, they did not spray him with OC Spray (pepper spray) nor did the beat him with flashlights or night sticks nor with expandable batons nor even their fists. They brought him to and held him on the ground and handcuffed him. They apparently used the minimum amount of force necessary to restrain him. I salute them in that regard, too bad though that they were not able to handle it without violence but then it was Mr. Garner who resisted. I am not blaming him for his own death, merely explaining why physical force was used at all and that in no way, in my opinion, should negate the restrictions on the use of deadly force.

All that aside, for now, I have to abide by the findings of the GJ just as should everyone else. For the federal government to want to prosecute this officer in a civil rights case seems ridiculous at best. To date, there has been no mention of any hard evidence to indicate there was a racial motive in this case except that one man was white and the other black. If that is enough to say that this was a racially motivated homicide and to bring such charges, then every criminal act committed by a person of one any given race against a person of any other given race, should have to be charged as a race biased crime. If, however, there is actual evidence of racial bias having been exercised against Mr. Garner by Officer Pantaleo, then let the civil rights case be brought against the officer because racial bias has no place in law enforcement. Otherwise, the federal government should get off of the politically fueled race baiting merry-go-round.

As for the incident coming about in the first place: That is the fault of over intrusive government in general in that such governments insist on enacting and enforcing over restrictive laws upon the liberties of the citizenry. Think about why this incident happened. It came about because NY City and NY State governments insisted on passing laws taxing tobacco - what is in essence a weed that one could grow in one's backyard. Then after that, they decided to enforce those laws relative to that taxation to the point where they actively sought out violators for arrest and prosecution - suspects whom they believed were illegally selling not huge amounts of untaxed tobacco but individual cigarettes called loosies.

Mind you, I am in agreement that if the law taxes tobacco within the intended constitutional restrictions on government, then tobacco should not be sold without collection and remittance, by the seller, of the tax due to the taxing authority. However, let's consider that in NY marijuana possession does not incur an arrest if the amount is under 25 grams. Marijuana, last time I checked, is still considered an illegal and dangerous drug in NY state. Yet the authorities in New York city (as everywhere else) pursue a man for ridiculously minor offense relative to a legal substance, with a fervor beyond reason, for something that probably should not even be illegal in the first place (the taxation on a weed). They seem hell-bent on destroying any liberties of the People merely in order to fill their coffers. To seek out, arrest and prosecute a man for selling loose cigarettes is not only overly restrictive of liberties, it is a huge waste of vital police manpower and other resources that could have been used to solve or even prevent crimes of  much higher degree of criminality. Such police action unnecessarily places both the public and police officers in harm's way as can be seen by the outcome of this event and it is ultimately all based upon the greed for money and power by government officials. 

Add to that the attitude of all to many police officers today, that they MUST enforce the law AT ALL COSTS because they are sworn to do so. The fact is that they are sworn first to support and defend the Constitution; never are they sworn to violate rights or liberties. Based on that alone, I must say, we need change from the way things are done and that change is primarily wrapped around the now unbridled rampant abuse of our governments trampling over our rights and liberties. We need to reign in government, and make those in it abide by the Constitution as it was intended and not as progressives or tyrants (both on the right or left) would interpret it.

Until such changes are made, tragedies like this are bound to repeat themselves and continue almost unabated because there is no penalty paid by government authorities for committing them. Yes, Officer Pantaleo will in all likelihood face departmental charges and may lose his job. There almost certainly will be a civil claim filed (one by the family of Mr. Garner in the amount of 75 million dollars has already been reported - source 880 WCBS radio in NYC last night). The government will likely pay a huge amount of dollars by way of a settlement but that does not effect the law makers and enforcers in any way except maybe for bad press. They are indemnified by law and covered by our tax dollars. So, while the government must pay, the bureaucrats have no to little true remorse, and no incentive to change the way they do business, because they pay with money out of our pockets not theirs. They will continue to enact and enforce liberty restricting and petty laws in order to help fill their coffers and boost their power with money brought in from taxes and fines and will continue to do so unrestrained unless we put a stop to it. As to the fines and unnecessary taxation, the truth is that instead of the government actually making money by way of fines and taxation in such cases, the government (the City of NY in this case) will almost assuredly loose tens of millions of tax dollars to settle the lawsuit with Mr. Garner's family and you can be assured that they will, in all likelihood, make a settlement with them. You can also be certain, that unless we change things by way of the ballot box, they will continue along their tyrannical merry way to enact and enforce more and more liberty restricting laws on a regular basis.

All the best,
Glenn B


Parental Fears

I just sent my son a text message. He probably will tell me, when I see him tonight, that I am an asshole because of what I sent him. Yet, I am pretty sure he will heed my advice - anyway I hope he does. You see, he works in Brooklyn in or very near to a predominantly low to mid-income African American neighborhood. Based on past events of a similar nature, I would guess that there will be protests there over the Eric Garner grand jury decision not to indict the NYPD cop for the killing of Mr. Garner. There may also be violent riots or incidents. There is a good chance that if there is violence, it will be racially motivated and will be against whites; again that is based on past events of a similar nature. I hope that trouble does not come his way but if it does - I just gave him some advice on how to avoid trouble - I hope he takes it.

All the best,
Glenn B