Examples and consequences

SF author and civil-rights activist Joel Rosenberg has been unjustly arrested. Good coverage at PopeHat; essentially this is harassment following a Nov 5th assault on Joel by a cop while he was pursuing a FOIA request related to his first arrest, on bogus charges that prosecutors subsequently dropped.

I have very mixed feelings about this one, because I suspect I may, in a manner of speaking, have helped get Joel in trouble.

I don’t know Joel Rosenberg very well. I’ve met him face to face maybe twice, long ago at SF conventions. We had a few on-line dealings back in Genie/CompuServe days, pre-Internet. Neither of us had found our power yet; I was just another technogeek and Joel was a decent mid-list SF and fantasy author. Wasn’t till years after our limited contact that he discovered what he came to consider his calling as a firearms instructor and Second Amendment activist.

Joel, determined to assert his rights under the law and the U.S. Constitution, did exactly what I would do; he went to City Hall and talked with them about it. In fact, I don’t have to use the subjunctive; I did exactly that barely a day after the Heller ruling in 2008.

Because my police chief is a small-town conservative who’s actually read the Constitution and cares what’s in it, I got back a handshake and a smile rather than a criminal assault and a ration of shit. But it could have gone the other way, too, and very well might have in my nearest big city. The cops in Philadelphia have some funny (read: ignorant and wrong) ideas about firearms rights. Even in Malvern I went in aware of the outside possibility that I might be assaulted, arrested and harassed. But I went in anyway because I understood it to be my duty as an American, a patriot, and a man.

Joel understands this duty. He is an American, a patriot, and a mensch (he’s Jewish, so I get to use that fine Yiddish word that connotes decency, uprightness, moral fortitude, and a sense of responsibility). He caught the blowback that I didn’t. Not long after he was assaulted I sent him a brief supportive email.

The reply I got back was quite a surprise. He said my support meant “more to me than you know”. The rest wasn’t very clear (he had to have been under a fair bit of stress about then) but suggested that I might have at some point after I knew him become one of his heroes or role models or something not completely unlike that considering he’s three years older than me.

So, maybe I helped Joel get in this trouble. It makes me happy to think that I might have assisted him in finding the determination to challenge injustice; it’s the kind of good example I’ve worked very hard at trying to set. But by the same token I now feel like I might be partly responsible for the injuries to liberty and dignity that he is now undergoing, and that ain’t so good.

On another level, I know that’s silly. Joel Rosenberg is a man. He makes and owns his choices, and I have no doubt he took his risks with eyes open, same as I did. We should honor him for that; I know I will.

Matters have not deteriorated yet to the point where anyone is talking legal defense fund, so far as I know. If they do, I plan to give generously. So should you.

UPDATE: I have donated $100 to Joel’s defense fund. Please consider doing likewise.

80 thoughts on “Examples and consequences

  1. No, different Joel Rosenberg. It’s this one.

    Joel taught my last carry permit renewal class. He also, literally, wrote the book on carrying a firearm in Minnesota. He’s honest, smart, and knowledgeable. He’s not some wild-eyed fanatic. A substantial portion of his class is about why you should think long and hard and maybe not carry a weapon.

    It’s also worth noting that the Hennepin County attorney rose to that office because Minnesota elected his predecessor, Amy Klobuchar, to the Senate. Klobuchar would have pursued a similar course, and she is as leftist (though not as much a prime asshole) as Landslide Al Franken; her predecessor, universally regarded during his term as one of the worst senators then serving, was the man just elected governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton. Minnesotans, especially those in the Twin Cities, don’t take a back seat to anywhere short of, say, the People’s Republic of Berkeley in left-wing moonbattery.

    When he does have a legal defense fund set up – or a fund for going after the Hennepin County authorities – I will contribute, even though I cannot afford to.

  2. You need to be *extremely* careful about it, but there is mileage to be gained in actively provoking unlawful actions from cops (as regards the second amendment and related state laws). Depends heavily on how shitty your state laws are, of course. Several of my ‘colleagues’ have succeeded in extracting handsome cash settlements in court after wrongful arrest, detention or borderline assault. It didn’t take many courtroom victories before the cops got the message that there were knowledgable people out there that wouldn’t take their fascist shit any more. Thankfully, we’re smart enough not to provoke any “Nevada Costco” incidents…just a refusal to disarm and produce ID will usually get the typical thug cop pissy enough to land him in legal hot water – until they learn their place. Nowadays, things are pretty peaceful no matter where you go, concealed or open-carrying.

    I hope Joel toughs it out and sues for a hefty check. I will feel good knowing some of my federal theft^H^H^H^H^Htax dollars are in his pocket.

  3. “…I will contribute, even though I cannot afford to.”

    “Never feel sorry for a man that owns a plane”
    (Anthony Hopkins – “The Edge”)

    ;-)

  4. You need to be *extremely* careful about it, but there is mileage to be gained in actively provoking unlawful actions from cops (as regards the second amendment and related state laws).

    Better hope you have reliable witnesses familiar with police procedure if you do, because it’s becoming increasingly illegal to video- or audio-record cops in the line of duty.

    And people wonder why there are guys like Julian Assange out there so dedicated to applying a bit of the best disinfectant to government’s dirty secrets.

    (Btw, there’s a new site opened up called OpenLeaks — promises to be Wikileaks without Assange’s douchebaggery. Interesting.)

  5. Talk about a man of principle!

    I often wonder if I have the balls to do the right thing in face of threats.

  6. Better hope you have reliable witnesses familiar with police procedure if you do, because it’s becoming increasingly illegal to video- or audio-record cops in the line of duty.

    Wait … they can record me with their cop car cameras, red light cameras, security cameras, traffic cameras, and toll booth cameras, but how dare I record them?

    Can someone please tell me when I moved to Nazi Germany?

  7. Thank you Mr. Rosenberg. You are displaying rare courage in this age of boot licking cowardice.

  8. >Wait … they can record me with their cop car cameras, red light cameras, security cameras, traffic cameras, and toll booth cameras, but how dare I record them?

    Some animals are more equal than others you know.

    Fear and Loathing, the parasite class range of emotion. They know the authority to be illegitimate, and they know the grasp to be tenuous, thus the violence of reaction when a plebe dares not tow the line.

    It’s all they’ve got…..sad really.

  9. >s/owns/owned/ … it, like pretty much the rest of my economic life, was a casualty of the Great Dempression.

    I wish it was just a function of the Democrats…that could be solvable..

    sorry if you really did lose your aerial conveyance…

    CAVU 2U

  10. Can’t think of much to add except that Mr. Rosenberg has my respect and gratitude. Hope he wins the case(s) with prejudice.

  11. Some animals are more equal than others/blockquote>

    George Orwell wrote that in Animal Farm. I read that in high school. The teacher was a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party. I think that teacher, as with Orwell himself, may have had a profound impact on my politics. :)

    Rather than lying down, saying “give me the boot!” we should all have the courage of Mr. Rosenberg and assert our rights under the law.

  12. @Morgan:

    Better hope you have reliable witnesses familiar with police procedure if you do, because it’s becoming increasingly illegal to video- or audio-record cops in the line of duty.

    Wait … they can record me with their cop car cameras, red light cameras, security cameras, traffic cameras, and toll booth cameras, but how dare I record them?

    Yep. See Are cameras the new guns? Note the ratcheting effect implicitly assumed by the title. Cameras are moving towards guns as something that are problematic to posses, while guns just “obviously” belong in that category.

    Can someone please tell me when I moved to Nazi Germany?

    A lot of Germans who were alive in the 30s will probably be happy to explain to you that relocation isn’t actually a necessary prerequisite in order to start living under those conditions.

    I wish Joel well, and I hope enough people see through the slanted news coverage that the whole incident does more good than harm. Eric, please do keep us posted about any defense fund.

  13. Wait … they can record me with their cop car cameras, red light cameras, security cameras, traffic cameras, and toll booth cameras, but how dare I record them?

    They can also lie to you, but if you lie to them, you go to jail.

    They can also testi-lie (or just have an erroneous recollection that they honestly recount on the stand) about what you told them under interrogation, and if you don’t have the recording to prove otherwise, the judge/jury will always believe the cop instead of you. That’s why it’s imperative that they not be able to get away with criminalizing the recording of interactions with cops.

    There is a technical side to this as well: Cops will confiscate cameras and/or demand you erase the audio/video you took. I don’t have a fancy cell phone, but for those who do, is there an app that lets you stream your video up to a server, so that even if your phone is taken from you, you (or your survivors if they also kill you) can then upload excerpts to YouTube to show the public what the cops are trying to hide?

    Also, does anyone have a bluetooth earpiece with a hidden camera in it that can stream A/V back to a device that isn’t obviously being used to record?

  14. I don’t have a fancy cell phone, but for those who do, is there an app that lets you stream your video up to a server, so that even if your phone is taken from you, you (or your survivors if they also kill you) can then upload excerpts to YouTube to show the public what the cops are trying to hide?

    Yep! qik will even post it to YouTube, Facebook, etc., for you. I imagine if you want to stream it to your own server, that’s a bit harder, but I’m sure you could write a little scripty that monitors new videos posted to your YouTube account and downloads them for you.

  15. Incidentally, on the topic of recording police, there are no dash mount GPS devices with cameras built in that I can find. There are plenty of dash cams that have a GPS for tagging the video, but nothing that looks and behaves like a GPS but has video recording built in. I’m thinking that this is something that needs to be made.

  16. Incidentally, on the topic of recording police, there are no dash mount GPS devices with cameras built in that I can find. There are plenty of dash cams that have a GPS for tagging the video, but nothing that looks and behaves like a GPS but has video recording built in. I’m thinking that this is something that needs to be made.

    That. What a fabulous idea. Anyone here with the chops to prototype something like this? Would it be expensive to put together a concept to shop around to the various manufacturers?

  17. I ‘mount’ my android to the dash for GPS and the camera is pointed right out the front window. I’d like to setup a Qik hot button to start the recording.

  18. > I ‘mount’ my android to the dash for GPS and the camera is pointed right out the front window.

    As has been noted previously here- the smartphone is the gadget devourer.

  19. I work for a private security firm at a site where I work closely with a lot of law enforcement officers. I’ve actually discussed the issue of recording devices with several of them, and the consensus seems to be that they LIKE being recorded. A recording can protect them against false accusations of police brutality, and show that whatever actions they took were justified. I imagine this view would not be shared by officers inclined towards genuine brutality or corruption.

    One problem that does arise, however, is recording of the site itself. The first step in staging a terrorist attack or something similar would be reconnaissance, particularly conducting surveillance of the target. It’s not a good idea to let “bad guys” of any sort get footage or pictures they can analyze to identify security vulnerabilities.

    There is also the question of moment-to-moment intel on a tactical situation. There have been a few occasions where hostage takers have been able to see what the hostage rescue teams were up to simply by watching the news.

    Ideally, (and such a technical solution might be feasible within the next few years) a system could be implemented wherein uniformed peace officers are required to have a small recording device built into their uniform, continuously recording their interactions with the public. The footage could be uploaded to a publicly accessible database in a time-late fashion so that the public can keep the cops honest without getting immediate intel that could endanger the officers or compromise legitimate crime fighting efforts. The trick would be carving out appropriate exceptions that would enable undercover work and protect ongoing investigations from disruption without ruining the effectiveness of the system.

  20. >I ‘mount’ my android to the dash for GPS and the camera is pointed right out the front window. I’d like to setup a Qik hot button to start the recording.

    This works, but no everyone who would need such a device has or can afford a smart phone / service though that is changing. More importantly though, it only records the interaction in front of your vehicle. Most consumer dash cam devices smartly record both forward and to the drivers side to capture the interactions at the driver’s window. I suppose a mounting device with a side facing camera can assist in that, provided the phone can handle both streams.

  21. Here’s the scan of Joel’s Arrest Warrant

    Joel is someone I hung out at SF cons when we showed up at the same ones. This infuriates me. And tempts me to buy a bus ticket to go to the arraignment.

    I want a set of sunglasses that inobviously record digital video (or the aforementioned bluetooth headset) or some sort of concealable camera that wirelessly streams to some server somewhere.

  22. @Jatz:

    One problem that does arise, however, is recording of the site itself. The first step in staging a terrorist attack or something similar would be reconnaissance, particularly conducting surveillance of the target. It’s not a good idea to let “bad guys” of any sort get footage or pictures they can analyze to identify security vulnerabilities.

    Arguments for the real-world version of “security through obscurity” are almost as specious as arguments for the computer version. (I only say “almost” because there is a larger cost to upgrade physical plant than to upgrade software, and, in some cases, obscurity could be a useful temporary measure.) Real security starts with the assumption that, whatever you know, the enemy knows as well. Then, if you find out there is something that you really can’t let the enemy know, then it probably shouldn’t be publicly viewable, should it?

  23. @ esr:

    Joel’s a friend, and I can assure you that you’re not really responsible for this unfortunate series of events- what touched off a lot of this was the false arrest of his wife some months ago by the Minneapolis Police Department. Joel, among others, has been working to clean up local law enforcement for quite some time (Google “Metro Gang Strike Force” for some ideas of what’s been going on up here in the last few years), and the arrest of his wife on trumped-up charges is what finally set him on the warpath.

    @ all:

    For more info on the situation, including legal defense fund, etc.:

    http://news.ellegon.com/

    For background on how he/we got here:

    http://www.familymattersii.com/

  24. I should have mentioned above that Joel is home as of yesterday, having been bonded out of the Hennepin County jail.

  25. I hope Joel Rosenberg gets cleared and a big award out of this, but fining police departments for abuse is not a general solution. It’s been going on for a long time, and the police are, if anything, getting more abusive.

    I believe the changes will need to be cultural and political– curbing police abuse has to be important enough to the general public that it’s a political issue.

  26. # Morgan Greywolf Says:
    > Can someone please tell me when I moved to Nazi Germany?

    It is a bad thing that has happened to this man. But Morgan, it bears no resemblance at all to Nazi Germany. Such ridiculous hyperbole plays into the whole “crazy bearded guy” narrative.

    However, I agree with your general point. I have said it before, and I will concur with the commentator who said it here, it should be an absolute right for every citizen to film the police in action. The idea that such action would be illegal is really dreadful. It is, FWIW, part of the same poison that allows TSA screeners to peep under women’s skirts in private walled off rooms.

    Who will watch the watchers? There is only one group of people who can watch the watchers, and that is the citizenry of the country. And they need to have the right and the means to do so.

  27. @ Corporate Code Monkey

    I think Morgan is referring to the police treatment of cameras.

  28. What happened to Joel Rosenberg isn’t Nazi Germany. It isn’t on any sort of obvious path to Nazi Germany.

    It isn’t Jim Crow. He probably had to go out of his way to be at that sort of risk, rather than being subject to random police/legal system attack just for living in the area.

    Say, something like this. And no, I don’t know whether it was racist or color-blind outrageous abuse.

    The high risk isn’t a genocidal ideology, it’s the steady grinding losses of ongoing attacks from the police and the courts.

    So far as rhetoric is concerned, the problem is that we don’t have a strong symbol for that situation, so it’s tempting to fall back on invoking the Nazis and the Soviets. but perhaps not ideally useful.

    A little more about the scope of the problem. It’s possible (if you have unusual resources) to sue the police and you might get a big settlement– but it’s extraordinarily difficult to do anything to clean up the system.

    Both links from The Agitator, an indispensable resource for tracking American police and justice system abuses.

  29. “A little more about the scope of the problem. It’s possible (if you have unusual resources) to sue the police and you might get a big settlement– but it’s extraordinarily difficult to do anything to clean up the system.”

    Because no matter what we do, we in the end have to end up paying it from money they confiscate from us.

  30. And the reason it’s fines paid with tax money is that there’s an unwillingness to punish (or even to fire) the individual police officers (and judges and prosecutors and forensic labs and medical examiners) who commit the abuses.

    Obama did some good work along those lines before he became president. He promoted a law which required Illinois police to videotape interrogations and confessions in capital cases. He said he’d push for more such laws, but nothing’s happened.

    I expect to see a reaction here of “oooh, that awful Obama”, but I think it’s fair to say that he’s been a little busy, and he probably would have supported such laws if there’d been strong public interest in them. There isn’t.

    A high proportion of Americans apparently think that anyone who’s arrested must be guilty, and when that attitude is common, all formal protections are weakened.

    I don’t know how much that attitude is just identifying with the police and the justice system, and wishing for such arbitrary power for themselves, how much is concern that opposing an irresponsible “justice” system is a huge amount of hard and possibly dangerous work, how much is a belief that police abuse doesn’t matter because it only happens to bad people– this can overlap racism, how much is a belief (encouraged by the police and justice system) that if they don’t have a free hand, they won’t be able to protect the public at all.

    In any case, what do you think might help? Better art about police? (I blame Dirty Harry for part of the problem.) Political pressure? Public campaigns about the problem?

    I do not believe gun ownership is a good solution to the problem.

  31. >I do not believe gun ownership is a good solution to the problem.

    Not by itself, no, but the combination of civilian weapons with castle doctrine laws is both important and effective.

  32. Castle doctrine only helps with abuses in one’s home. And it will not be enforced as long as it’s commonly believed that the police should be unconstrained.

  33. Nancy Lebovitz Says:
    > In any case, what do you think might help?

    I think this has been asked and answered Nancy. Transparency. The right and the means to film police and other such institutions in action. When the police can take actions in a dark room where nobody sees that is where there is a problem. Someone brought up the Stanford Prison Experiment recently. If the abusive “guards” had to explain to those outside the “prison”, including their Moms, why they behaved that way, and if they got continual feedback from the outside as to the acceptability of their behavior, things would have been very different (I suspect.)

    I’ll say it again: TSA agents, dark walled off room, naked pictures: bad.

  34. Oh also in support of ESR’s point, I just read this in the local paper. Not the castle doctrine. Not CCW. But still another dead bad guy, and another brave “you want me to do nothing: are you crazy” sort of a guy. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, and often they kill people who deserve to be killed.

  35. Oh one more thing about that guy who killed the armed robber. I am conflicted about him. On the one hand he apparently had a set of balls, because he took down the bad guy. But on the other hand he was going into a tanning salon for his appointment. To me, those two facts just don’t seem to go together somehow… Anybody have an explanation?

  36. Corporate Code Monkey, transparency isn’t going to happen and/or isn’t going to matter unless a sufficient number of people want the police to be controlled.

    In re the tanning appointment: I believe America, and perhaps the west generally, have been a historical outlier so far as men fussing with their appearances is concerned.

    If you look at Tudor England or the Renaissance, men and women are about equally dressy. Fancy clothing takes attention.

    I suspect you’ve bought into the idea that violence is masculine and caring a good bit about one’s appearance is unmasculine.

  37. > Corporate Code Monkey, transparency isn’t going to happen and/or isn’t going to matter unless a sufficient number of people want the police to be controlled.

    Although that is true, this is an interesting case. A small amount of success is likely to lead to a larger and growing success. The public outcry against some of the recorded scenes of police brutality, and the significant consequences of that to the police are not small. I don’t remember all the details, but recently some cop shot a guy to death here, claiming he was going for his taser, but grabbed his glock instead. He is being prosecuted for some variant of manslaughter/murder.

    Another great thing about filming the cops is that the TV news and the Internet just love that visual, and love the narrative of black sheep cop goes too far.

    To put it another way, a small amount of video will have a big effect, and will make more and more video available. For sure, we all need to resist attempts to make filming the cops illegal, but, right now, in most places, it is still legal.

    > In re the tanning appointment: I believe America, and perhaps the west generally, have been a historical outlier so far as men fussing with their appearances is concerned.

    I think you are mistaken. For sure we have the image of Tudor dandies prancing in their doublets and jewels. But that was for the elite. John Edwards still today gets $300 haircuts, and I bet Barak Obama’s suits cost more than my car. For the majority of regular men, appearance has always been low on the totem pole, and for women it has always been much more important. There are obvious evolutionary reasons why that is so.

    Nonetheless, my impolite remark was not so much directed at appearance in general but at tanning in particular. It is, in a sense, the apotheosis of stupidity when it comes to appearance. Doing something that is basically quite unhealthy to make one’s self look healthy is a foolish vanity. A trait not often associated with the “sheepdog” class that Eric often talks about.

  38. Castle doctrine only helps with abuses in one’s home. And it will not be enforced as long as it’s commonly believed that the police should be unconstrained.

    “Commonly believed” by whom? Dick Wolf? People living in gated communities? I suggest you spend a few minutes having some discussions virtually any average law-abiding working class[1] individual living in an urban environment and ask them if they think the police should be unconstrained. The look on their faces will be absolutely priceless, I assure you.

    [1] Labouring class for those of you on the other side of the Atlantic.

  39. @Corporate Code Monkey:

    To me, those two facts just don’t seem to go together somehow… Anybody have an explanation?

    There’s lots of possible explanations. For example, tanning and attempting to disarm someone who has a gun pointed at you could both be considered foolhardy under most circumstances, so maybe he’s just not very bright. Or, how about, someone who makes the time to tan themselves probably has a lot of other appointments in their lives, and no dumb criminal is going to put them off their schedule?

    But my personal favorite possible explanation is that he saw his one chance to be a real hero at a place he goes where lots of good looking chicks hang out, and he took it. Evolutionarily, that’s a strategy a lot of men are going to go with. Sure, some will wind up dead, but enough will have huge reproductive success that the strategy will live on.

  40. Having lived in MN from the time I retired from the Navy (1994) through 2007, I had the opportunity to join the Minnesota Carry crowd. I also had the opportunity to meet Joel Rosenberg. He used to hang out with Mark and teach carry classes at the Last Gun Shop in Minneapolis. (http://www.creditcardshotgun.com/) Joel is somewhat of an activist when it comes to the Carry Issue. Some of the carry instructors in the state don’t like him as Joel tend to grate on their nerves. He[‘s definitely NOT one of the many “Sheeple” one would find up there.

    The problem with what has transpired is that a flagrant violation of the MN Carry Law has been violated by a local judge.

    “Subd. 23.Exclusivity.

    This section sets forth the complete and exclusive criteria and procedures for the issuance of permits to carry and establishes their nature and scope. No sheriff, police chief, governmental unit, government official, government employee, or other person or body acting under color of law or governmental authority may change, modify, or supplement these criteria or procedures, or limit the exercise of a permit to carry.”

    ( https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=624.714 )

    This issue had been discussed as long as the new law had been in effect, (Aug 2005), as I remember. Nobody was happy with Hennepin County. Joel may not have the financial resources to fight this, but he does have access to some of the finest lawyers in MN who deal with gun issues. I’m very interested in seeing the outcome of this because, in my opinion, the judge should have NEVER been able to write that order. There’s also the fact that Joel wasn’t actually in the court house, but in the police station, which is physically attached to the court house. I hope that Joel comes out on top

  41. @Jessica:

    You should really try to keep your separate personas separate; it confuses me when one of them implicitly acknowledges that it is the other :-)

  42. But my personal favorite possible explanation is that he saw his one chance to be a real hero at a place he goes where lots of good looking chicks hang out, and he took it.

    Patrick, you know, that was exactly my first thought to Jessica’s question. The tough-looking hero guy always gets the chicks in the movies, you know? OTOH, I think back to news interviews with the “hero” person who thwarts the bad guy, and they almost always say “I didn’t even think about it, I just did it.” I wonder how much truth there is to that, or is it genuinely more instinctual? Never having been in that situation, I’m not sure I can answer that adequately.

  43. # Morgan Greywolf Says:
    > I wonder how much truth there is to that, or is it genuinely more instinctual?

    I have been teaching kids (and some adults) Karate for many years, from white belt on up. I think I have a perspective on that having seen many people is high stress situations (albeit artificially high stress.) Basically, the way people react is pretty random if they have no training. Some people have an instinctive reaction of attack, but most people step back and wait for something to happen. However, that can definitely be trained out of you if you want. Drugs and weapons significantly change the way people react though.

    I wonder if the other martial artists here have seen a similar pattern?

  44. # Patrick Maupin Says:
    > You should really try to keep your separate personas separate; it confuses me
    > when one of them implicitly acknowledges that it is the other :-)

    I’d rather be judged by what I write than the byline under which I write it.
    Even corporate code monkeys occasionally have something useful to say.
    Caprice is a great leveler.

  45. Martial artists covers a wide range – and training even more so; conditioned reflexes are likely to get people in deep trouble compared to thinking. I don’t recall the name but one of the empty hands fighting teachers trained to step forward as a startle reflex – which isn’t the answer to traffic, subway travel or to the ground opening – and so it goes.

    Also I’ve seen reactions as more haphazard not even pseudo-random Bill Gates usage to the contrary.

    Hence such things as Jeff Cooper’s color code – not an instinctive response but a preplanned response triggered. See also Boyd for starting the loop and going forward.

    In the instant case Mr. Rosenberg decided to take the indignity rather than to react with his other weapons – but he had other choices and made a choice.

    Notice that the political system tends to approve of order – see e.g. Ben Franklin on the subject of trade-offs – when the Ramparts Division officers in LA were flagrantly violating human rights they then had strong but very local community support for doing the necessary community policing – folks who opposed neighborhood standards didn’t live in the neighborhood. There’s a tension between Dirty Harry and Magnum Force see also Charles Bronson on method acting – that’s what he’d do in the circumstances if it happened to him.

    Maybe Nancy’s Buttons could come with a hatpin length concealed weapon like Joe Foss’s MOH?

  46. I have donated $100 to Joel’s defense fund. Please consider doing likewise.

    I have contributed as well, and in the interest of following Eliezer Yudkowsky’s advice, I will go against type and mention it here.

  47. Morgan Greywolf, I deduce that there’s a lot of people who believe the police should be unconstrained (or at least fair to middling unconstrained) from the fact that there’s quite a bit of abuse by the police, and no significant movement to constrain them.

  48. @Nancy:

    I deduce that there’s a lot of people who believe the police should be unconstrained (or at least fair to middling unconstrained) from the fact that there’s quite a bit of abuse by the police, and no significant movement to constrain them.

    I agree with Jessica that video is going to help this; in fact, that video is already helping this. It’s Rodney King all over again, on a broader scale. Without video, you have a “he said/she said” issue, and most people are going to give the cop’s story a fair amount of deference, because cops have to go up against bad guys who lie all the time, and also, because we don’t really believe that all cops are bad. With video, it’s a completely different story, and good cops recognize that video is a tool that can help weed out the good from the bad. So much so that it’s getting to the point where, at least where I live, police can be suspended for not recording video when they are supposed to.

  49. @ Big RobT

    As far as the court complex goes, the Judicial brance is not subject to all of the terms of 624.714… it comes down to, it’s really a matter of separation of powers…

    624.617 subd 23. prevents any body under legislative authority from banning the lawful carry of firearms.

    The courts (not being directly under the authority of the legislature) have the ability to mandate what goes on in the courts. Judges can (but rarely do) overturn other judges mandates.

    609,66 does provide the lawful course of actions for carrying in a court complex, but ultimately, the courts have the final say.

    Where they do not have any say is outside the Judicial branch… such as a police chief’s office (Executive branch).

    The objective of the order is valid, but the scope of coverage is not.

  50. On the other hand, the general resistance to DNA review and the acceptance of plea bargains as standard practice suggest to me that Americans are generally too trusting of the legal system.

    I can’t fault your conclusion, but I think the wording isn’t quite right — how about “On the other hand, the lack of public outcry over the legal system’s general resistance to DNA review and the acceptance of plea bargains as standard practice suggest to me that Americans are generally too trusting of the legal system.”

    IOW, I don’t think you’ll find a “man in the street” who will claim that exoneration by DNA evidence is a bad thing; but I agree that exoneration by DNA evidence tends to show that the accuracy of the legal system is far less than 100%, and there are entrenched interests which don’t want that generally known. These entrenched interests don’t want you using DNA to prove you were innocent, but they also don’t want you questioning whether DNA can truly prove you are guilty, either.

    What’s even worse is those cases where it has been shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that false DNA matches have occurred.

  51. but I agree that exoneration by DNA evidence tends to show that the accuracy of the legal system is far less than 100%, and there are entrenched interests which don’t want that generally known.

    The legal system has never, ever been anything close to 100% accurate; I can’t believe that that’s not generally known since it seems pretty obvious to me.

    As for DNA evidence, it’s only as good as the quality of the work done to process it, from field collection to evidence chain handling all the way to the lab procedures used to process it. Any breakdowns in proper procedures can cause false positives as well as false negatives. Sometimes improper handling is discoverable, but sometimes it’s not.

    That’s why we still have a right to a trial by jury.

  52. Patrick Maupin Says:
    > by DNA evidence tends to show that the accuracy of the legal system is far less than 100%,

    It should be said that the legal system does not seek 100%. “Beyond a reasonable doubt”, the standard for criminal trials, is meant to be 99%. The old saw from Blackstone is “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” However, is it better than 100 guilty go free than one innocent? How about 10,000 guilty than one innocent? If you wish you can guarantee that an innocent never suffer punishment by the simple expedient of shutting down the courts and legal system. Then nobody, innocent included suffer punishment.

    Here is the thing though. If we don’t punish the guilty, then these guilty persons go on to repeat their crimes, and so, as a second order effect, the innocent suffer because the guilty go free. If 10 guilty murderers go free to save the one innocent murderer from the gallows. Then these guilty might go on and commit five more murders. Consequently, we have a net increase of four innocent deaths.

    One of the most severely disregarded atrocities of western democracy is the court system. Being government agencies, they are spectacularly inefficient and ineffective. Accused can spend countless weeks, months, years in legal limbo waiting for the leviathan to work through its machinations. In the civil arena, justice is almost unavailable in certain areas, because the cost and delay are so spectacularly large, that it just isn’t worth it.

    If justice delayed is justice denied, we have to conclude that there isn’t much justice in the US courts systems. And don’t get me started on the prison system, where something in the order of 25% of men are regularly abused both sexually and physically, and we all laugh behind our hands and talk about “prison justice.”

  53. Oh man… Long ago I assisted his wife with information on taking care of their iguana. Named Ellegon, of course.

  54. >If we don’t punish the guilty, then these guilty persons go on to repeat their crimes, and so, as a second order effect, the innocent suffer because the guilty go free.

    “The best punishment is immediate execution at the hands of the intended victim.” Approximate quote from memory, but can’t remember the source; maybe Claire Wolfe or L Neil Smith?

  55. Maybe Jeff Cooper? Thinking about it more, I seem to remember it from long before I read anything by Wolfe, so I’m pretty sure that she’s not the original source.

  56. @Morgan:

    The legal system has never, ever been anything close to 100% accurate; I can’t believe that that’s not generally known since it seems pretty obvious to me.

    I think Nancy’s assertion that “Americans are generally too trusting of the legal system” is the real root of the problem, especially when you replace “American” with “potential juror.” A lot of people assume that everybody in the legal/police system is competent and doing the job we would imagine they should be doing — trying to find the right bad guys and putting them in prison. That’s a huge assumption to have to overcome in those cases where it isn’t true.

  57. Thanks for the support, folks. We — I’m speaking for my family; I’m neither a pope, an editor, nor do I have a tapeworm — appreciate it more than words can convey.

    Silvermine: actually, it was my sister, Sharon, who was living with us at the time. The confusion is understandable; Sharon shares my last name, while my wife (of thirty-odd — sometimes, with me, very odd — years), Felicia Herman, has never found any reason to change hers.

  58. That this happened in Minneapolis, the San Fransisco of the North, is not surprising. I spent some time there on business during the 2004 electoral season and was shocked to learn how little the folks there value their property or liberties. Driving down streets with yard signs exclaiming how the owner would like to pay for taxes was certainly an eye-opener to this libertarian-minded Texan. Best of luck to Mr. Rosenberg and his family.

  59. So, Nancy, how many jury summons have you answered? Just curious.

    (I’m in the Dallas area and I’ve answered 5 summons in 15 years. I got selected for one civil case.)

  60. @Nancy

    True, but something here doesn’t pass the smell test (e.g., the excessive bail). It could just be my “personal liberty infringement” breaker on overload; it’s been on a hair trigger of late.

  61. The question about jury service is relevant in this case because the jury watches the judges. If you duck jury duty you are shirking your responsibility as a citizen to oversee the judicial system.

    Full disclosure, called twice, served twice, voted to convict both times as there was no hint of governmental hanky-panky.

  62. > The question about jury service is relevant in this case because the jury watches the judges.

    Meh. The lawyers and judge typically get up to a lot outside of what the jury is allowed to see. Excluded evidence is the worst. It might be hard to get a feel for some of that in some trials.

    > If you duck jury duty you are shirking your responsibility as a citizen to oversee the judicial system.

    I’ve been called multiple times, seated a few times (3 or 4), but only sat through one full trial. The other 2 or 3 settled shortly after voir dire. Several times when I’ve been called, they don’t even bother selecting jurors from the pool — apparently, the lawyers look at the juror information cards, calculate who they will strike and who the other guy will strike, and who they might be able to convince the judge to strike, and so figure out who the actual jury will probably be, and then, based on their calculated odds, settle.

    One time we were thanked by the judge and told that, due to our willingness to show up and render justice, four cases that were ready for trial all settled.

    The most surreal jury duty experience I had was when, in the jury pool (in Austin, which is not a tiny town), my brother was seated directly behind me by their random process. During one break during voir dire, after talking with my brother, I went to the bathroom and the plaintiff was in there in a cloud of cigarette smoke so dense I could barely find the urinal. I hate cigarette smoke, I hate people who smoke in the bathroom, I hate people who break the law by smoking inside in a public place, and I hate not being able to find the urinal, so the next time they had a break, I managed to get up to the judge before the two lawyers left, and with me leaning in to the judge so none of the other jurors heard me, and the lawyers leaning in to hear what I was saying, I explained to the judge that I saw the plaintiff smoking in the bathroom, and that it really pissed me off. They’re right — the truth will set you free.

  63. You were correctly let off on that one – the guarantee of a jury trial is for an unbiased jury (not one of your peers).
    The function of a jury is that of a check on judicial power, just as one of the functions of an armed citizenry is a check on governmental power on general.

  64. > You were correctly let off on that one – the guarantee of a jury trial is for an unbiased jury (not one of your peers).

    I absolutely agree that our rules and shared social mores demanded that I inform the judge immediately once I realized that I had become biased against one of the parties before the trial even started, and that he strike me from the jury pool. Whether that’s really justice or not is above my pay grade.

  65. In that case, yes. It would have been both unjust and unconstitutional to seat you on the jury after the bathroom incident.

    As to plea bargaining, we allow people to plead guilty without a trial, so bargaining on what you plea to would seem husband equitable as well. Likewise settlement in a civil case. Voir Dire exists to strike the biased in the opinion of each lawyer.

  66. Given that evidence to prove guilt can set a verdict of guilty in the presence of a not guilty plea, can evidence to prove innocence set a verdict of not guilty in the presence of a guilty plea? It’s true that a guilty plea is unlikely to come to trial, but I wonder about people who were convinced to plead guilty for a reduced sentence in the face of apparently damning evidence, later being exonerated by DNA or similar. Does the guilty plea invalidate the possibility of revisiting the case?

  67. > Does the guilty plea invalidate the possibility of revisiting the case?

    IANAL. No, but the burden of proof shifts dramatically. A guilty plea means that the defendant now has to prove he is innocent.

    Yours,
    Tom

  68. AFAIK a guilty plea is the end of the road. Having said under oath that you’re guilty, you’re estopped from ever again claiming to be innocent. If evidence clearing you ever shows up, tough luck.

  69. > AFAIK a guilty plea is the end of the road. Having said under oath that you’re guilty, you’re estopped from ever again claiming to be innocent. If evidence clearing you ever shows up, tough luck.

    There are innumerable extant counter-examples that prove this statement false. Here’s one for a start.

  70. does anyone have a bluetooth earpiece with a hidden camera

    I just Bing’ed that phrase and got a lot of hits. I followed a couple of them, and it looks like you can get one for about a hundred bucks.

    Good luck, Joel. Make them pay personally, please don’t add to the Mpls. tax burden.

  71. William B. Swift said:

    “The best punishment is immediate execution at the hands of the intended victim.” Approximate quote from memory, but can’t remember the source; maybe Claire Wolfe or L Neil Smith?

    There’s a quote by L. Neil Smith that goes something like
    “The only acceptable form of capital punishment is performed at the time and place of the crime, preferably by the intended victim of the crime”

    This is a re-translation from a German issue of his books

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