Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Agitator

Glenn Reynolds linked to this story about the over exuberant police force in Evansville, Indiana whose SWAT force tossed a pair of flash bangs through an old lady's front window in an effort to track down someone who was posting mean messages about them on the Internet (the police, not the old lady).  Proving that they couldn't even rise to the level of 'all thumbs', police chief Billy Bolin's force's target wasn't even at the house they raided and looted all the tech gear from; and then insult on injury they refused to produce a search warrant.  The story reported that "Authorities say it should prove their point, though". What point is that?  That they're nothing but a bunch of idiot thugs that are protected by the courts? Not to sit by idly, I figured out the police chief's e-mail address (hint: first initial, last name, i.e. bbolin@evansvillepolice.com) and sent the following missive:
Looks like from this story that you are doing your best to give police a bad name everywhere.
"Authorities say it should prove their point, though."
Oh it sure does, just not the one that they want!
Your SWAT team should be dismantled. Using flash bangs against an Internet troll? I guess you would have carpet bombed the neighborhood had there been an actual threat?
Born from the crack wars, The Sandmich has cooled quite a bit towards the existence of militarized police forces like SWAT units.  It seems like a solution in search of a problem 99.9% of the time, be it no-knock raids on pot heads, or worse, the wrong houses entirely or bungling up the few things they're supposed to get right.  I fail to see what they're supposed to do that an ordinary police force can't.  (It might be argued that the existence of SWAT units provide their own deterrent, but I'd need some convincing of that).
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Later I was reading that the busy bodies on the Parma Heights city council (the city where my underwater house unfortunately resides) decided to cash in on the 'texting' ban craziness.  The PD reports:
Texting or typing on electronic wireless communication devices while driving in Parma Heights is prohibited after City Council passed an ordinance banning those practices. The ordinance defines electronic wireless communication devices as including wireless telephones, text-message devices, personal digital assistants, computers, iPads or any similar device that is used to communicate text or data.
It goes without saying that I think this stuff is nanny-state bullshky, so I fired off an e-mail to my council person Marie Gallo (who is no doubt in the process of trying to have my street moved out of her district):
So changing the song on my iPod is an offense, but changing the radio station on the radio is not? Or does a radio with bluetooth in it count since it has wireless capabilities?
I'm starting to think that council is in session too much if they have time for this, aren't the laws regarding reckless vehicle operation enough? Guess not.
However, as an interesting addendum to that bit (none of these e-mails have gotten replies BTW), on the way home I was passed by a car that was violating the law in a MOST flagrant fashion. I was sure to alert the council person:
By the way, I noticed that the Parma Heights police officers utilize wireless enabled laptops in their vehicles; will they be giving themselves a citation each time they use the car, or only once per shift?

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