Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Canadian "Wake Up" Moment?

If you want to reduce crime, the (Toronto, Canada) police argue that spending the money on traditional police services would be more effective than spending in on banning guns.
Toronto Police Association says that national handgun ban won't stop criminals 
There's no way in my world or any world I know that this would have an impact on somebody who’s going to go out and buy an illegal gun and use it to kill another person or shoot another person,” Mike McCormack, the president of the Toronto Police Association, said Friday.
GOMEZNSA says:April 12, 2019 at 7:20 PMGee, it ‘almost’ sounds like they have realized that criminals don’t obey laws!
I could not have said it better myself!

Warrant-less searches exception

Bearing in mind that I recently posted a screed against "warrent-less" searches, I now admit that I once permitted such a search.

It happened about 30 years ago, when I was living in a rented house in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon.

It happened on an autumn night, about 8:30 pm, when I heard a knock on my door.   Not expecting any visitors, I looked through the peephole in my front door  and I saw two uniformed police officers ... one who was standing far away, and partially obscured by the garage which projected past the front porch.

(I highly advise that every exterior door have a peep-hole!)

Since I saw only uniformed officers, I carefully asked (without opening the door) "who are you and what do you want?"

The nearest officer replied: "... (name of town) Police; we received a report that you are holding a young girl here against her will.  We want to come in."

Well, that was interesting.   So I replied: "Okay, give me 30 seconds please".

Then I went back to my sofa and hid the pistol I was holding behind a cushion.

Then I opened the door, and asked who told them that story? 

"Sorry, we cannot reveal the name of the complainant.  May we come in and look for the girl"?

Having been informed that they were only looking for another person, I stood back and allowed them to enter.   I informed them that I was the only one in the house.

Both officers had their hands on their holstered pistols.   I stood back and kept my hands in plain sight.  One officer stayed near me at the front-door alcove while the other officer moved though the front room, into the dining room and kitchen, then, moved down the hallway to look through the bathroom, and both bedrooms.

I yelled out to him "The last door on the left leads to the garage, feel free to walk through it; the light switch is on the right as you enter the garage".
I heard him open that door, and waited while he looked through it.  My car was parked in the garage, but he never asked for the keys to search the car.  But I heard him calling out for "anyone there?"

I kept my hands in plain sight of the officer standing by the front door, didn't put my hands in my pockets, and remained silent.

After a few minutes, the other officer returned to the front room and reported that he didn't find anyone else in the house.

They thanked me for my courtesy, and left.

Guns, Guns, Guns ... but no Captive Princess
At the time I had a very large glass-fronted  gun cabinet (hand-crafted in Blond "Birds Eye" Maple by my father as a Christmas gift a few years ago) displaying several rifles and shotguns in the locked but glass-fronted doors.  There were many handguns in the locked drawers below the rifles.  The officer searching the house never mentioned them to me, and I did not bother trying to carry on a further conversation with the officer who had remained with me in the entryway.

Apparently, they were not concerned by the obvious fact that I was a conspicuous firearms owner.   Since Oregon is a "Free State", there were no silly laws requiring that firearms be registered (nor are any such unconstitutional obscenities allowed today).

After they left, with appropriate apologies, I breathed a sigh of relief .. and a silent prayer of thankfulness that I lived in the Free State of Oregon.

In many other states, the officers might have expressed their disappointment by harassing me about the firearms I owned.
They could have asked me to provide proof of ownership about the guns.
They could have asked to see my Firearms ownership License and checked to see if all firearms were registered and whether I had kept all such licences and registrations current. 
They could have searched my house for non-displayed firearms, and called back to their office and checked to see if I had other firearms which were not registered, or whether all registrations were current.

But they (and I'm proud to announce that they were members of the Hillsboro, Oregon Police Department) stuck to their primary duty, and only checked to see if I had a kidnapped girl held captive, and when they were satisfied that I was the only person on the premises, they returned to their primary duty and went on to pursue other leads.

I never learned whether they found the girl.

But if I had never allowed a warrantless search of my home, who knows what suspicions would have resulted in further harassment by LEOs who were not convinced of the original unwarranted charges of kidnapping and suspicion of such heinous crimes on my behalf.

I hope they did find the girl and I hope that it was only a false report; I never was told, either, whether they found that the story of a missing girl was a fraud, or who reported my name, or why.

There are times when Citizens are obliged to concede our rights, in order to "do right" for the benefit of others.

It's not about "ME"; it's about "all of us".

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Electromagnetic Pulse Attacks

The President has instituted a plan to ensure that American defense systems are able to protect themselves against EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse ) attacks.

President Trump Signs Executive Order for Resilience Against Electromagnetic Pulses | Department of Energy
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On March 26, 2019, President Trump signed an Executive Order (E.O.) establishing the first ever comprehensive whole-of-government policy to build resilience and protect against electromagnetic pulses, or EMPs – temporary electromagnetic signals that can disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems across large areas.

This may bode well for the nation, because the alternative defence is to "... use fiberoptic cable which would be unaffected by EMP".

But for the rest of us, who depend upon copper cables to power our homes and our automobiles, the consequences may well mean that we have no access to convenient transportation (cars, trains, airplanes) and communication over systems which are primarily dependent on copper cables ... which are VERY vulnerable.   

National security systems may survive, but the systems which we use in our personal lives may not.

You may not be able to communicate by any electromagnetic means (internet, telephone, etc.) which transmit signals via copper wires.  You can't drive your car, because the circuits are burned out.  

Some say that if the circuit is not in use when the EMP occurs, the system may survive.   Some say that is an oversimplification of the effects of an EMP.

I don't claim to be an authority on EMP ... its cause nor its effects ... but this is a possibility which we should be aware of.   Not that there is anything we can do about it.  (Personally, I'm thinking about buying a wood-stove and a dog-sled; which would be helpful until the refrigerator stops working.  I could always eat the dogs, cooked over the wood stove.)

No, I'm not serious about that.   There is absolutely nothing which the private citizen could do to ameliorate the effects of EMP over much of America.  Any country which depends on electricity to power their homes above a barely subsistence level is vulnerable.   The cost of lives, and the attempt to re-channel national resources to support a newly defined primitive life-style is beyond imagination.

In the words of some long-dead pundant from decades past:
"there's no use worrying, nothing's going to work out all right".
It gives me a queasy feeling to realize that everything which supports our lives depends on the competence of politicians who are elected by the majority of people who are accustomed to living on the Governmental Dole.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

How to respond when the Police want to search your premises.

All that follows may not be applicable in your state; you would be well-advised to consult a lawyer who is familiar with the laws of your state, and familiarize yourself with the applicable laws in your state.  I am not a lawyer, and what I have to say here may not be applicable in your state.

In a situation where the police want to search your property, and they have not acquired a warrant to do so ... you may not have a legal obligation to allow them to search your property.

This is what may be known as an Illegal Entry; or it may be a "No-Knock Warrant".  in the case where Police are permitted by local laws to enter your property for the purpose of executing a search with or without your permission.  

(Confusing?  YES!)

Evidence discovered via a warrantless search, MAY BE defensible in court.
If the searchers discover something which they subsequently present in a court of law as "evidence", it might legally be held against you, regardless of the circumstances .. if you gave permission to  allow them the search.

Any arrest based on a warrantless (or otherwise not-legal) search may be defensible.  You may not be able to defend yourself in court against an illegal search, if you permit it at the time.  Demonstrating that the search was not grounded by a warrant may not be sufficient defense to require the court to ignore the evidence discovered there-in.   If you have uttered words which might be considered as "consenting" to the search, any evidence found during the search may be used against you.

I'm not a member of the bar, so you should seek legal counsel if you find yourself in this kind of quandary; but I encourage you to defend yourself against any charges based upon "questionable evidence" discovered during a search which is not specifically named in a  legal warrant which purports to justify a search of your home and/or property.

Rule #1: Admit NOTHING. It's better to remain silent, and be considered a fool, than to speak and prove to be a fool.

Rule #2: Never agree to a warrantless search.   The first words out of your mouth should be "Show Me Your Warrant".  If the would-be searchers cannot present a warrant, the search is not legal.  Evidence found in an illegal search may not be used in evidence against you in court ... but don't count on it.  Note carefully the conditions and terms of the warrant; it should include the areas to be searched, and the objects for which they are searching.  If they are looking for guns, and happen to notice a sword in a closet ... the sword may not be a significant finding, or anything found in the closet may not be subject to confiscation.   But if they are looking for "weapons", it may be taken in evidence.

Rule #3: The next words you speak (and the last words) should be: "I need to have my lawyer present before I answer any questions or consent to a search".

Rule #4: Heed Your Lawyer! Nobody else: and certainly do not heed the advice of anyone who has the power to arrest you.

There are defenses: in some states, if you do not consent to a search of your privately owned property, under certain circumstances evidence found may not be admissible in a court of law.   Again, you will probably need to present the search warrant (if one is offered) to you attorney to ensure that your rights have not been  violated by a too-exuberant exercise of search which are not permitted under the terms of the search warrant. 

The terms of a search warrant should include the areas to be searched, and the objects for which the searchers expect to find.  Which is not to say that if the searchers are looking for machine guns and the find illicit drugs, they must overlook the drugs, but that confuses the mission and may sometimes obviate their findings.  (If the police are looking for machine guns and find an ounce of drugs in a pill-box ... the machine guns could not be expected to be found in a pill-box, and so the finding of a pill-box of drugs may not be the result of a "legal search".   But don't count on it!)

This commentary is much too short to completely address the issues involved in Constitutional law, and it is not intended to be definitive.  If you have issues which are not addressed here, you are invited to raise them with the expectation that they MAY be discussed in subsequent issues.

Sunday, April 07, 2019


IF POLICE COME FOR YOUR GUNS: DO NOT RESIST, COOPERATE, sort it out in the courts. It is the law. Yes, the very same legal system who ordered the firearms confiscation. If not resisting and cooperating is in your opinion “dropping to your knees, and handing them over” that would be your opinion.

I'm not sure what the law is ... which is one of the reasons why this "law enforcement" thingie is so confusing .. is that police need to be specific about what they are searching for .. and they need to have a warrant  (a legal document) specifying they are searching for ...

search warrant of a private home

Essentially, if the police want to search your home, they must have a warrant signed by a judge.  If it is not signed by a judge, it is not a legal warrant.  That's the first hurdle they must surmount.

Then, there's the Constitution of the United States of America ..

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Comman Takem

Joel's Gulch is a refreshing counterpoint to the "we don't wanna confiscate, we just wanna alleviate the menace" crowd:

Nyet, Tovarich. | The Ultimate Answer to Kings:
This isn’t frickin’ New Zealand, Bernie. This is America. We’re descended from bootleggers, smugglers and gun-toting traitors, and before you got hold of the college campuses we wrote songs about it. Not everybody here went to college, Bernie, and not everybody who goes to college buys the bullshit. Do you really think this is going to end well?
Not to gild the Lilly, but I'm glad that bold 2nd Amendment supporters such as Joel are providing the erudite (and common-sensical) counterpoint to the smooth talkers who would cheerfully take your guns ... if they can only find someone to do the dirty work for them.

Make no mistake.  The smooth talkers would will confiscate all firearms in America if they thought they can get away with it.  (Not to mention finding enough Law Enforcement Officers willing to do the job ... all both of them.)

Oh ... LEOS actually aren't anti-Second Amendment.

Friday, March 22, 2019

When the Hound becomes too useful

There comes a time, when training a dog, when you need to let the dog run free and hope that he comes back from time to time to predate the foxes in the chicken coop.
The difficulty lies in hoping that the dog remains faithful to the master.

Today, it seems almost trite to compare the American experience with that which others have lived through, in the process of moving from the status of "sub-state" to "Equal State".

Looking back at the history of the British Empire, we see that other "colonies" (other than the American Colony) of the Empire have accepted the culture of England, and yet have established their own selves as viable sub-cultures.

Perhaps the English have learned to be less assertive of their culture, and in doing so their 'friends' have become friends, rather than sub-states of England.

It occurs  that the "American Experience" has served to teach England that they could no longer usurp the prerogatives of their nation-states.  Certainly, countries such as Australia and New Zealand (perhaps others, including
 the Caribbean Islands) seem to have achieved a degree of independence, notwithstanding the support of their former masters.

In declaring their independence from England, the Americas may have provide a primogeniture lesson to the British that their outlying nations will not accept complete subservient role in their relation.   Whether their unique solutions are viable is subject to discussion

New Zealand and Australia (for example) have chosen to retain a useful relationship to England, which serves their mutual criteria ...  a degree of independence,. and a mutual trade agreement. among other issues which are still being discussed.

These new-found agreements may not have been possible if England had not suffered the debilitating loss of America as a "Colony" due to the arrogance of the British Masters.

Since that time, England has become more cognizant of the needs of their nation-states, and worked diligently to become "partners", rather than "masters" ... to the benefit of all concerned.

Had the Americas not rebelled against their master, this lesson might not have been driven with sufficient strength that England could learn that it was no longer the "Master", but a partner, to its "hounds" ... eg: Australia, et al.

The world (and England!) have benefited from this new international relationship.  And American has learned from England that trade relations are more important  (and more lucrative) when trade is based on mutual profit, rather than the ability of a powerful nation to take advantage of a less powerful nation.

We do not want to impose our morality on other nations; we hope to demonstrate that our morality is more advantageous to our citizens and to our national prosperity than nations which impose ...

... but whether or not that independence includes a "Right to Keep and Bear Arms" or not; that is a side-bar to the discussion, and one which will not be discussed in THIS article.

(NOTE: "Freedom" has various meanings, and the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States does not apply globally; different states have different experiences.  What works more-or-less for "us" does NOT work for others@)

As Others See Us
Opinion | Hate Speech, Guns and the New Zealand Massacre - The New York Times: I lived in New Zealand for nine years. I have never encountered anything that could be called a gun culture. Indeed, Kiwis are very critical of the gun violence that they see in the United States. Many New Zealanders, upon returning from their first visit to the United States, express disquiet over seeing armed police officers. While New Zealand police officers now have access to arms, they normally do not carry them. In New Zealand there is no basic right to bear arms, and there is nothing comparable to the perverse influence of the National Rifle Association.
(New York "Times/Letters to the Editor, March 18, 2019)
In a follow-up I hope to discuss related subjects, such as socialism, a Free Market Community, and the Second Amendment ... and how they are  inter-related.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Back In The Saddle Again

For the benefit of my Constant Readers (both of you) .. yes, I am still here and the reason that I have not been blogging recently is because I have endeavored to accept a kinder, gentler attitude towards the world at large.

I thought that would make it a better place to live.  Unfortunately, nobody else noticed the movement and it's still a crappy place to live, so I will now resume my normal schedule of broadcasting the news that sucks:

In Oregon:

Portland Statue University (a community college at best) demands that Campus Cops patrol without firearms because it "makes the students feel safer".

Apparently, a Campus Cop drew down on a student, mistaking him for a nefarious individual who had been threatening other students.  This student freaked out and so the entire campus freaked out .. never mind that the cops are trained and experienced, and the unidentified wanna-be terrorist is now "The Only One" on the campus with a gun.

Well, if it makes you teen-age students feel safer knowing that a freak with a gun will NOT be countered by a "good guy with a gun", that's your choice.

I wish you well, and hope that the memorials which your co-students will build in your honor are glorious.   They will probably be in place until the expensive floral arrangements die, and the the flowers will hit the same dustbin in which your remains will be consecrated.

AS LONG AS YOU "FEEL SAFE", that's all that's important.

Me?  I'd rather know that I was safe.  But I'm old, so what do I know?

Parenthetically, as far as I know, PSU (Portland State University) is part of OUS (Oregon University System), which has decided that students and faculty are allowed to possess weapons on campus.

I was an employee of the "system", and I carried a firearm for over 20 years on campus.  Never needed it; never worried about it.   Everybody in my office knew I carried, and nobody ever mentioned it as a concern for their safety.