Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Roundup

Here are a few items that caught my attention recently even if I don't have time to focus on each of them:

Don't consent to searches
From Robert Guest: "Don't consent to searches: Not guilty edition."

Criminalizing dissatisfied education consumers
The trend toward criminalizing truancy continues in Gilmer. To me, truant youth are voting with their feet about the quality of their education. If it's irrelevant to their daily lives and seemingly offers no future benefit (for those who won't be attending college), dropping out can be a rational choice. I'd rather see resources directed toward improving the educational product than toward using law enforcement to force an unwanted product on educational consumers. 

Questionable bust leads to massive drug sentence for tiny amount
In Wichita Falls, a traffic stop led to a drug arrest garnering a 50 year sentence for possession of less than 4 grams of cocaine. Talk about wasting scarce incarceration resources! A commenter at the Times-Record News identified as TexasWomen offered this perspective:
I'm glad taxpayers are willing to house this man, pay for medical, pay for dental, along with food and water for the next 50 years over 4 grams of cocaine. And you wonder why the US is having financial problems. 50 years for BP CEO is a headline I would like to read. Where are our priorities? This man gets 50 years for a spec of cocaine and not one person who polluted the entire gulf has been prosecuted.
This case sounds squirrelly to me from the media description. The drugs were found at a traffic stop during a so-called Terry frisk (a search for weapons), but I find it difficult to believe the officer mistook a packet with 3.7 grams of cocaine for a firearm. 

Unnecessary force?
Is slamming a handcuffed suspect onto the hood of a car "unnecessary force"? The Paris (TX) PD chief thought so, but a hearing examiner will decide if the officer's suspension stands.

Alleged official malfeasance
A pair of clerks at the Corpus Christi PD resigned after an investigation was opened into records tampering. News coverage so far has contained few specifics, but I'll be interested in learning what records were being tampered with. Meanwhile, at a Bexar County constable's office, "a high-ranking officer and a civilian employee are accused of conspiring to steal $1,000 from the precinct."

Rocks v. Firearms
A Border Patrol agent in El Paso shot into a crowd of youth on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande who were throwing rocks at him and killed a 15-year old Juarez boy with a history of working with coyotes. Experts told the El Paso Times that Mexico is unlikely to seek extradition, but I wonder if US officials would feel the same way if a Mexican cop shot an American from across the river?

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wichita Falls story.

The poor guy had only 3.7 grams. He must have been an upstanding citizen with this one "mistake". Isn't that the way you always try to spin your deceptive stories?

Didn't you, as always, leave out a big part of this story?

The paper said:
Sheppard’s criminal history dates back more than 20 years. In 1988, a Wichita County jury sentenced him to 20 years in prison for burglary of a habitation.

He was paroled and later convicted of possession of a controlled substance: cocaine and a separate charge of delivery of cocaine in 1995. He received two 12-year sentences.

The earlier convictions meant he would be considered a “habitual offender” upon a further conviction. That status set the possible punishment range for his most recent charge — the November 2008 case — at 25 years to life in prison.

Anonymous said...

Re Criminalizing dissatisfied education consumers.......

There also appreared a story in the Dallas Morning News headlined "Texas students to face tougher graduation requirements". Instead of an easier schedule with no math or science, Texas seniors must now take a fourth year of those subjects to graduate with the recommended diploma required by most universities.

Expect more dropouts as a result.

Instead of offering more vocational programs like plumbing, a/c repair, auto mechanics, and such, the legislature imposes this graduation requirement when many are already dropping out under lesser standards.

Not everyone is going to college. Why not offer more vocational ed? If anyone has tried calling a plumber or a/c person then you know you have to wait in line because of the demand for service.

The country is flooded with unemployed degreed professionals. What we need are more vocational workers whose annual income has proven to be more than many of these degreed professionals.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/062610dnmetfourbyfour.1b23ab3.html

Jake

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Let's see, 12:51, you got the info you say I left out from the link I gave you, how does that translate into me concealing the information? Are things you learned through this blog really being hidden from you by the blog owner? That's an odd position to take. The link is there so you can read the story for yourself. If I wanted to conceal the information, I wouldn't have given it out.

As for his criminal history, a) his last offense was 15 years ago and b) there's no evidence of anything beyond personal use from the traffic stop. The idea that the man is an onoging danger who merits 50 years in prison is ludicrous. This was an ideal candidate for drug treatment and strong probation, and now instead taxpayers will pay his room, board and healthcare perhaps for the rest of his life. From any public policy perspective that's just dumb.

Otherwise, I took none of the other BS positions you assert in your smarmy, cowardly screed, so I feel no need to defend things I never said. In general, I don't take too seriously somebody who doesn't have the balls to use their name when they criticize others. Nor should anyone else.

Jake I'm totally with you on the vocational ed, I don't know why the schools insist on the fantasy that college is for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Grits, Jake,

The need for alternatives in education has been clear since the late 70's when I began teaching.

Instead of creating Vocational alternatives and general ed alternatives our legislature under the leadership of such brilliant minds as Ross Perot, George Dumbya Bush and Gov Rick Goodhair we just keep going one and only one direction.

If the parents of dropouts and students would only reiterate their children's vote in the voting booth!

Matthew said...

Well Grits... A rock in the face can be just as deadly as a bullet.

I would caution American smugglers from throwing rocks at Mexican police officers and soldiers. I am sorry, if you use deadly force against police officers this is what happens.

Tragic, but predictable.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like this person has an addiction problem and should be treated in a facility.

Anonymous said...

But Matthew, what about shooting across the border? Is that or is it not a violation of Mexico's sovereignty? Oh well, we haven't respected that since 1845. Why should we start now? I say pull the troops out of Afghanistan and send them to Mexico. Annex Mexico as a territory. Not a state. We don't want them to vote. The Southern border then would be easier to patrol and defend/


Charles in Tulia
(I keep losing my password.)

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Matthew, the officer not only shot across the river but shot into a crowd. If you think that's SOP, I sure hope you aren't patrolling my neighborhood.

Matthew said...

Charles in Tulia:

One could also argue that Mexicans throwing rocks and other projectiles at American Border Patrol Agents is a violation of American sovereignty. Also the wave after wave of illegal immigrants also affects US sovereignty on many levels.

As I understand it (I do not have the statistics unfortunately) many Border Patrol Agents are severely injured by rocks being thrown from Mexico.

Rocks are deadly. As a matter of fact "stoning" is a historically recognized form of execution in certain parts of the world.

I personally believe that we need to work with Mexico for a more secure border. However, I think that anyone who throws rocks at law enforcement officers or armed soldiers is just asking to be shot no matter what side of the border you are on.

According to this article (http://www.slate.com/id/2256457) somewhere around 18,983 American law enforcement officers have been killed by rocks since 1792.

I don't know the solution to rock throwers from Mexico; but apparently the Border Patrol is no longer putting up with it. I think that if people do not wish to be shot by the Border Patrol. They really should stop throwing rocks at them.... People in glass houses...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Matthew, you need to read more closely. The article you cite said the following:

"How many officers have been killed by rocks? Three in the United States, but none in almost seven decades."

You're attributing every LEO death in history to rocks, when really "rocks were responsible for three of 18,983 fatalities" since 1792. Not quite as grave a threat as you portrayed, in other words. There's an excellent probability that least that many officers have died from lightning strike since 1792.

Matthew said...

Grits:

I am not saying that is "SOP" but what are the Border Patrol Agents supposed to do? Retreat? Allow the smugglers to pass? Should that be SOP? What is YOUR suggestion?

I would submit that you recreate this little scene and have some experienced group of rock throwers throw rocks at you and see if YOU would be seriously injured.

There is a reason that ancient armies utilized slingers and rock throwers. This is because a rock is a cheap weapon that can kill or seriously injure you. It can damn sure end the career of a Border Patrol Agent.

If you think that the Border Patrol Agents should flee from smugglers or stand there and take it... Well lets just say I am glad that I do not patrol your neighborhood either.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Matthew, he needn't retreat, there's a river between him and his attackers. And firing into a crowd is dead wrong for anybody, I don't care whether you're wearing a badge.

On the one hand you're telling us shooting across the river into a crowd of people is just "what happens" under such circumstances, but now you're "not saying that is 'SOP'." Which is it?

And perhaps it was an oversight, but you failed to acknowledge that you're DRAMATICALLY overstating the risks from rock throwing - by a factor of 6,327, by my calculations. (18,983/3). And really it's more overstated than that - of the three officers killed by rocks in all of US history, only one was from a thrown rock and the other two were closeup beatings. Indeed, the Slate article you mistook your numbers from said "Most departments teach their cadets that a rock isn't deadly beyond 50 feet," and as you know, the Rio Grande is more than 50 feet wide.

OTOH, if you admitted the threat wasn't so grave, then you might have to get off your high horse and stop justifying behavior (shooting into a crowd of people) that would absolutely (and justifiably) get you fired if you ever did it at your job on American soil.

Anonymous said...

I've watched the cell phone camera video but was unable to see a crowd.

Anyone know of another video?

Matthew said...

Grits. I am a realist. You are the one on a "high horse."

When does a crowd become a mob?

When does a mob become a militia?

Okay, lets say a rock isn't normally deadly after 50 feet. Can it incapacitate a person? I would say so.

Trying to harm Border Patrol agents is wrong.

I support every Texan's right to defend themselves. The border patrol is no different. If you want to live in a country where your people and government officials are allowed to be pelted by rocks and other missiles by foreign criminals then screw you.

As for me being fired for shooting someone for using deadly force...

Well if ANYONE tries to seriously injure or kill me then I will stop that act by any means that I can up to and including deadly force. I will do everything I can to prevent a shooting because I am apart of a life saving agency not a life taking one. However, I would rather go through a trial then end up in a wheelchair or the morgue to satisfy your idiotic version of the moral high ground.

People have been killed by rock throwing since ancient times. So until you take a rock dead in the face you just don't know what you are talking about.

Lovely corresponding with you.

Anonymous said...

Matthew:

Sure a rock could be deadly. But I'd rather have someone throw a rock at me than shoot a gun at me. And across the river does matter, especially when the river is a national border.

Charles

Matthew said...

True it does matter. They encroached on our sovereignty. At least one foreign citizen was apprehended. As the agent tried to keep control of the person he arrested on our side of the river (you know the inviolatable international border of which you speak). Foreign criminals pelted him with rocks. In order to defend himself he fired at a person that was throwing rocks at him.

This is what I saw from the video.

This agent will not be prosecuted. He did what he had to do. We do not cater to people that attempt to retake arrestees by force.

Grits I did not see him fire directly into a crowd as you say. From what I could see they retreated across the river and began throwing rocks while spaced quite a ways apart.

It was a justifiable use of deadly force.

I believe that is what the investigation will show.

Look at the video...
http://www.woodtv.com/dpps/news/international/fbi-says-mexicans-chased-away-us-agents-after-shooting-wd10-jgr_3412198

Anonymous said...

I don't have any comment about the rock throwing and shooting.

However, consider those who claim that it is so unfair to make a small effort to slow down the flood of people crossing the US border illegally.

How does Mexico deal with those who cross its border illegally?

The Mexican government is notorious for its abuse of Central American illegal aliens who attempt to violate Mexico's southern border. The Red Cross has protested rampant Mexican police corruption, intimidation and bribery schemes targeting illegal aliens there for years.

Mexico didn't respond by granting mass amnesty to illegal aliens, as it is demanding that we do. It clamped down on its borders even further. In late 2008, the Mexican government launched an aggressive deportation plan to curtain illegal Cuban immigration and human trafficking through Cancun.

How Mexico deals with those who disrespect its own border is a story that is being suppressed by the left leaning "progressive" media. The hypocrisy practiced by the open borders crowd is beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

I think you meant the 50 ft. wide dry riverbed of the Rio Grand. Hasn't been much of a "river" for a long time. And exactly how wide this dry riverbed is could be a moot point. There is a line and one was throwing rocks from the other side of this "line".

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Matthew, you're a "realist" who claimed that every US LEO death in history was caused by rock throwing. I agree "Trying to harm Border Patrol Agents is wrong," but do two wrongs make a right? More importantly, do all wrongs justify lethal force? If he had faced a "mob" that was pursuing him, I'd be with you. A "mob" that's withdrawing onto Mexican soil while he already has his suspect in custody on the US side? That's a different story.

You asked earlier if the agent should have retreated, btw, so I was interested to see that, according to this source, "An FBI spokeswoman told The Associated Press said that Mexican soldiers pointed their rifles and chased away U.S. Border Patrol agents after the shooting." So in the face of ACTUAL deadly force - armed soldiers pointing guns toward the United States - they turn tail and run. But a 15-year old throwing a rock, the brave man shoots him. And you think our "sovereignty" was successfully defended? Please!

9:47, the most important backers of "amnesty" are US business interests, which is why, for example, that's the route Ronald Reagan took on the issue. The immigration debate isn't (or shouldn't be) about what's fair to Mexico, but what's best for the United States.

Anonymous said...

The border problem is a sham. Our border patrol is understaffed. Mexican illegals and other foreign nationals are becoming more aggressive, and in the face of America’s capitulation, the threat of violence is growing and will continue to grow.

The question isn’t how many will be killed by the rocks or the bullets at the border, it is how many will be killed by the ones who aren’t coming here for the purpose of seeking out a better life.

The border patrol has a very dangerous job to do, but we don’t hear much about bravery or patriotism when in fact they are there to protect our borders from what is without question a foreign invasion.

As for the comment about America never respecting the borders of Mexico, the history of the world we lived in then had a history too. I wonder how many Mayan and Aztec Indians felt that the Spanish had crossed a line.

In today’s world, we do have borders, both Mexico and the United States and that is reality.

The proud Mexican Nationals that come here and those who sympathize with them to the extent that American Flags are replaced with Mexican Flags should consider that “they are leaving Mexico,” and certainly not because the Mexican Government and way of life is so great.

My only wish would be to stop all the BS on both sides, so that those who wish to come to America and become American citizens can, and for those who wish to come here, or those here who are American citizens who want to revolt against America for ‘any’ reason be sent packing to wherever they wish to go.

The politicians who are playing this game with our borders are to blame, certainly not the border patrol who do in fact risk their own life everyday. While it is unfortunate that this happened, I can’t say for certain that I would have felt that my life was being threatened if I were there instead; the only one who can is the border patrol guard. I find it very difficult to believe that his intent when he woke up that morning was to shoot anyone.

We know for certain the intent of those trying to cross our border and throwing rocks. What they are doing is in fact illegal and often lethal.

TDCJEX said...

Is it SOP to shoot across a international border into a crowd and hit teenaged boy who might have bee n throwing rocks that has zero chance of hitting you while detain some one ? He placed his arrest in danger and had his weapon out and ready to shoot before the rocks which were not only danger the Border Patrol cop . Go try to throw a large rock capable of dong danger over 33 feet you can't .


If that had been Mexican cops shooting across the boarder and hitting US citizens the same cop supporters here would be demanding a full scale invasion .

In fact it is act of war to shoot across a international boarder as agent of a nation . The Border patrol violated lots of laws both Us Mexican and international he should face legal action here and in Mexico . Why do I know the cop will walk away unscathed legally . That will only escalate tension on the border .

The full video shows that there was not a threat at all the boy was in Mexico . If he was throwing rocks the chances of a rock traveling over 30 ft and actually hitting the Boarder Patrol agent are slim to none . Go out ad try it .He had some one detained he should have retreated as he endangered his suspect and himself . by his action not form the alleged rock throw but from many one else who might want do something .

Yes I know some one is gonna comment that he did all these thong but that is irrelevant . The border patrol deliberate shot and killed him . If we had any sense of justice we would extradite him to Mexico where he would face there version of Justice here. Then be sent to a Mexican prison where he would face their version of prison justice when you are a US cop . But it just shows if you are a cop you can commit capitol murder get away with it . That is just plain wrong he should be held criminally responsible to the fullest . If it means death so be it .Though I like LWOP better for his kind .

R. Shackleford said...

He shouldn't have shot into the crowd, but I too would be liable to react poorly to some little jackass and his pals winging rocks at me day in and day out. I would've gone with teargas though.

R. Shackleford said...

Also, this locking up of some poor bastard for 50 years for under an ounce of coke is wicked retarded. Drug counseling and probation would have been the ticket. Now, those idiots in Wichita Falls have saddled us with a tax bill for life. How much will that cost us in total, as opposed to spending a pittance to return him to the productive end of the citizen pool? Stupid.

el_longhorn said...

Regarding the BP shooting, let's talk facts:

It's broad daylight, the officer has a helmet and probably a bulletproof vest. He has backup seconds away. The kids have retreated back to Mexico and are pretty far away (100 feet?). The danger is minimal, at best. There is just no way the use of deadly force is justified in this situation.

And this whole "rocks are deadly" thing is total bullshit. After the Lakers won the championship, there were reports that people threw rocks at the police. Funny how they didn't start blowing people away in response...I wonder why? I am going to have to start keeping track of every time people throw rocks at police and see how many officers respond with gunfire.

Anonymous said...

02:21
A lot of people seem to think that "drug counseling" is some kind of magical process. The idea seems to be that people somehow managed to stumble into drug use and that when they are finally given the chance to hear some words of wisdom from a drug counselor they will eagerly change their entire way of living.

Wouldn't that be nice. Many of those sentenced for drug possession have sworn an oath of loyalty to the criminal gang they are associated with. They are making a lot of money selling drugs and are completely involved in a criminal lifestyle. Just about every significant relationship they have supports that lifestyle.

Many of them are drug sellers and are not addicted. The lifestyle of recovery is completely opposite in every way from that of their criminal gang. They have little interest in severing all the connections they have ever known. The idea that a drug counselor is so powerful that he can change all that is absurd. Most of them see the drug counselor as being from a different world. A few make a change, but very few. Some try but are completely overwhelmed by the impact of their community.

We may say, "lets divert them from prison to drug counseling." Unfortunately that process may consist of them trying to fake out their drug counselors and secretly selling drugs in the NA parking lot for a few weeks and then being back to being a menace to society.

TDCJEX said...

Must anonymous trolls make totally unfounded statements that are not close to reality . Does he or She live a perfect life and never ever do anything wrong make a mistake have a bad day even have very poor judgment . I am trying to find out where these perfect people with perfect lives come from .I have not found any yet , They must drop in from an alternative universe ( sarcasm )

3:30 says “Many of those sentenced for drug possession have sworn an oath of loyalty to the criminal gang they are associated with. They are making a lot of money selling drugs and are completely involved in a criminal lifestyle. Just about every significant relationship they have supports that lifestyle.”

That is not true can you prove it most drug users and dealers are not associated with a gang . Andd do not swear some oath of loyally they are loyal to one thong their wallets .That might play on TV but is it not what really happens .

Moist of the problems associated with drug use are because drugs are illegal should they be legal those problems will be greatly reduced. . I don't see Coors and Anheuser Busch shooting at each other other tobacco companies shooting at each other.

Want ot lower health care cost make most drugs available with out prescription
I thought conservatives wanted a limited government . Not one that tells you what you can and cannot put in your body andwhat intoxicant you may and may not use .If anything alcohol is far more ofa social problem than all ilegla and prescription drugs combined. .I have seen what happens when a person is abusing alcohol . They can do a lot of harm one way or another . We deal with it in many ways . Thogh increaong prison is the treatment a troubled person gets . It is not working that is very clear

Rehab fails because it does not address the reason a person intoxicates themselves. . It makes a assumption .hat drugs and alcohol have special powers and take on near god like attributes . They are inanimate objects . People choose to use them for reason why is unique that person . Legalizing is the frist step getting them help . Rehab can work if it address why a person uses drug and also if we admit that people can and do use drugs responsibly . And that not every one who uses a drug is a addict .

Also getting rid of the need for a prescription for most drugs will reduce health care cost most of us go to doctor to get a prescription . The governments role is to make sure the product is what the seller claims and is made to some standards . To prevent things like fraud .

Instead of making uninformed comments go find out for your self read some academic journals sing up for SSRN Google it