Sunday, December 25, 2016

25 years ago today

Twenty-five years ago today, Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned his position as President of the Soviet Union.* The Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time. Russia's experiment with communism had ended after only 74 years.

Today there are young adults all over the world who don't remember the Cold War. Among them are those who think that socialism can still work, if only everyone participates. These aren't just ironic hipsters who say this, but sincere fools who learn about history from the darker, dumber corners of the internet. They use computers that the Soviets could have never invented to access websites that they would have never allowed, and yet come to the conclusion that the economic system that has endured for centuries is somehow inferior to the system that lasted for mere decades.

Kids, if you are reading this, you should understand that communism cannot work on a national scale. If you and 20 of your best friends want to set up your own commune, you go right ahead. But no group of people is competent enough to manage the economy of an entire nation. This country does not hold the free market to be sacred or perfect. We simply use it because it allows us more choices and flexibility in how we live our lives. We don't have to stand in line for bread, we don't have to wear the same clothes as everybody else, and we can even pay money ironic merchandise featuring dead pinkos who would be horrified at the idea of being featured on a consumer product.

* The office of President of the Soviet Union was created in 1990. The official title of the Soviet head of state had varied greatly throughout its brief history.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Libertarian Holiday-Christmas Party
was Wed. Dec. 21
Technical problems -- which turned out to be Firefox preventing an outdated Adobe Flash to function, and didn't notify me for hours.
We did go live around 9:30 to 10:30pm.
We instead recorded much of the meeting and will post it at this link by Friday, Dec. 23:
http://www.ecstatic-theatrics.com/LPIN/Video.html
Starting at 7pm, Wed., Dec. 21, 2016.
Call in your comments or sing carols to 260 484 594six,
or come on by: 1423 Louisedale Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46808
Sorry, Jesus and Starchild will not be at the party,but if they were, they'd be in the spirit.
Kids are welcome.  The home has 2 small dogs.
Food and drink provided but feel free to bring something to share.
We'll play games like Political Charades [now that is redundant] and plan our projects for 2017!



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bring Family and Friends to
The New Year's Day 
"Free Brunch 'Cuz There Ain't No Free Lunch"
 hosted by the Libertarian Party of Allen County, 
11am to 1pm, Jan. 1, 
at the home of LPAC Vice Chair Jeannette Jaquish and husband Tom, 
1423 Louisedale Dr., Ft. Wayne, 46808.
A hot cooked 2nd Breakfast will be served with friendly conversation and overly optimistic plans for the New Year.   
Children welcome. Home has 2 small dogs. Call ahead or just show up.  260 484-5946

Monday, November 28, 2016

Libertarian Christmas Party, Allen County

7 to 10pm, Wed., Dec. 21, 2016

1423 Louisedale Dr., 

at the home of Tom and Jeannette Jaquish, off Sherman or Wells -- go west.
260 484-5946
Bring anything to eat or drink to share. Bring guests.
Kids welcome. Two small dogs in home.
We will play Political Charades and "What Could Go Wrong" Political Improv, listen to political parody Christmas Carols, and make a Wish List of Libertarian events, offices to run for, and projects for 2017. This is a good time to bring new people as we analyze the past and begin new projects.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Libertarian Meeting - Allen County -- All welcome!
7pm, Wed., Nov. 23, 2016
1423 Louisedale Dr., 46808, home of Tom & Jeannette Jaquish, 260 484-5946.
Grub provided; feel free to bring more.
Kids welcome. House has 2 small dogs.
We'll hash out what worked, what didn't, and what we learned from the 2016 Election Campaigns.
We'll talk about 2017 events we want to outreach at, and what issues to focus on. And what skills and equipment our group has and how to make the most of our abilities. And when we do this, it's fun!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Black Swan President

After the 3rd presidential debate, Fivethirtyeight.com gave Donald Trump an 11.9% chance at winning. This is 11.9 more percentage points than I ever gave him. Trump had no experience in politics, the military, or in civil service. He said things that any one of us would get fired for saying. All he had was name recognition and an ego to match. Don't write off Charlie Sheen for President just yet.

1) Don't write off Libertarians. If Trump can win just by spouting nonsense, then a intelligent candidate running on a well-thought out platform can also win.

2) Progressives, before you ever mention single payer in a serious policy discussion again, try to imagine Mike Pence in charge of your health care. This is why we support smaller government: because we have no clue which incompetent, corrupt clowns are going to be in charge in four, eight, or 20 years. America has survived worse leaders than Trump because their power was limited. It's great to want to help people who lack access to basic needs. But be very wary about asking the government to help. There are other institutions better suited to solve these issues.

3) America has survived and thrived under mediocre and terrible presidents. This is why we have checks and balances. And this is why we have to start getting ready for the midterms.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Libertarian Election Night Party!



Everyone is invited to:
The Election Night Party 
for the Libertarian Party of Allen County.
7pm, Nov. 8, 
at the home of Tom and Jeannette Jaquish, 1423 Louisedale Dr.   
Everyone is welcome to enjoy food, games and conversation.  Food provided but feel free to bring booze, beverages or more food.
The house has dogs.  Kids are welcome.
260 484-5946 or 260 750-9013
---
At our October meeting we practiced our public speaking with a mock 3-camera TV talk show.
Robert Enders interviews Marty Bender, Brian Stoner, with Kristi Avery pretends to operate a camera and Mike Tront runs the switcher with help from Laika.  Jeannette Jaquish set up the equipment and Tom Jaquish observes.   
We plan to shoot more news-gathering and issues investigation and humorous videos in the future, for outreach and to undo the fear of public speaking to make us better candidates.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump doesn't want to be President

First of all, I hate writing about Trump. I think he is obnoxious just to get attention, and even the smallest amount of publicity would only serve to encourage him.

Donald Trump has said so many shocking things over the past month that at first I didn't think the 2005 Billy Bush Bus video was any more of a big deal than any of the other nonsense that he says. I finally got around to watching the video.

I have heard people say worse things than that, but none of those people ever plan on running for President. The people that I know who do want to serve in elected office some day try to manage their tone. This particular video was more than Trump saying the word "pussy". He was bragging about being able to grope women without any consequences. We can't prove that he was boasting about something he actually did. But for him to say things that imply he is a sexual predator who hides behind fame and wealth like Bill Cosby suggests that in 2005, a political career was the furthest thing from Trump's mind.

If I was advising Trump on his campaign, I would advised him to admit to the video early on back in 2015 and get it out of the way. Just say the whole thing was an incredibly bad joke and try to move on. If it cost him the primary, it would have saved him the trouble of a failed general election campaign. But voters have notoriously short memories, and this video could have been forgotten by now. I will never get involved in the campaign of a candidate who is as toxic as Trump.

Here is the thing that every political operative knows: if there is pictures, audio, or video of a presidential candidate, you have to assume that the opposition will find it. If they find it, they will leak it at a time that serves their purposes. I don't think it's a coincidence that the story about this 2005 video suddenly broke in early October. Just enough time to get the word out, and stay fresh in the minds of voters.

Trump knew this video was out there, and failed to mention it to his GOP handlers. If Karl Rove were advising Trump and Trump actually followed Rove's advice, this video might have washed right off. In the context of a competent, competitive, political campaign, Trump's actions up to this point make no sense. I have to wonder if Trump's real goal is to destroy the GOP or get Hillary elected. If that's the case, it says something that the GOP was tricked into letting him get this far down that path.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Six possible explanations for Trump's behavior

We expect politicians to lie. They also mix in just enough of the truth to make their lies more credible. But sometimes a politician′s actual intent, beliefs, and motivations are tough to pin down. Most politicians try to win over as many voters as possible, while everything out of Trump′s mouth seems calculated to excite a small number of people while upsetting everyone else. Trump′s strategy is completely contrary to everything we know about politics. Here are six theories on why he is going down this route.

The Strawman. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part as a Gary Johnson supporter. But a lot of things that Trump says seem geared towards making people upset with him and distract from Hillary Clinton′s scandals. He’ll go through the motions by giving speeches and raising money, just so that the plan has plausible deniability. But if he starts leading in the polls, expect him to do something extraordinarily stupid later this month.

The Attention Whore. Running for President is a great way to sell books and get hits for your website. Maybe this is all part of a lucrative marketing strategy. Or maybe Trump loves being in front of the camera and the sound of his own voice.

The Figurehead. Trump has zero experience in government. Most aspiring future Presidents serve in the military or run for state and local offices before taking a shot at becoming the most powerful person in the world. Apparently, Trump is going to let Pence and other members of his administration do all the work and make all the decisions. The trouble with this is that I don’t think Trump even makes a good figurehead. Good figureheads manage their message better. Trump is like that friend of yours who will talk trash to the other thugs in the bar. And yes, America can kick the ass of every other guy in the bar, but when we go out to the parking lot we found our tires have been slashed and several of our allies have unfriended us. Trump has a 1st Amendment right to run his mouth all the time, but I don′t want his words to represent the country as a whole.

The Drunken Master. Trump may be trying to get Hillary Clinton and other progressives to believe that he is an idiot. He says all the wrong things on purpose so that he isn’t taken seriously. Liberal voters are less likely to turn out if they think victory is guaranteed. So look for Trump to start listening to his advisors and managing his message in late September.

It′s all for the lulz. Basically this is the plot of the movie ″Man of the People″. Wouldn′t it be funny to run for President and say whatever pops into your head when you are on camera and have half of the country eat it all up? I would have liked to do that if I ever got to be old, obnoxious, and rich. I′m just jealous that Trump got to do it first.

He′s telling like it is. Of all the possibilities, this one is the scariest. I hope that Trump is smarter than he lets on to be. I hope he is lying about wasting billions on a wall that won′t stop illegal immigration, ending key trade deals that keep the economy afloat, and using torture on people who have not even been convicted of a crime. If this really who Trump is and he really gets elected, we are in for a long four years.


Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Aleppo Challenge

I'll be blunt. Syrians were a lot better off before Americans knew where Aleppo was. They were a lot better off before our President decided that their President must go. They were a lot better off before our government started providing weapons and funding to groups that behead Syrians.

Our country's recent history has involved Presidents surrounding themselves with Very Smart People like Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and She Who Shall Not Be Named who study the facts and come to the conclusion that launching missiles, dropping bombs, and sending troops to troubled regions will somehow make America safer and improve the lives of people living in the region that is being bombed. One of the reasons why I'm voting for Gary Johnson this year is because I'm hoping that Very Smart People won't start another Very Stupid War.

So I propose the Aleppo Challenge. Most of us have Very Smart Friends who post on Facebook and Twitter that Gary Johnson is not qualified to be President because he asked the wrong question during an interview. Make a screen shot of these posts, and save them in a folder. When your Very Smart Friend's favorite candidate goes on to start another Very Stupid War, post that old screenshot in their timeline and congratulate them for being too smart for peace.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

TV Party - Gary Johnson & Bill Weld on CNN Wed., Aug. 3.

Join the Libertarians to watch Presdential and Vice Pres. candidates Gary Johnson and Bill Weld interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN.  
Wed., Aug. 3
1423 Louisedale Dr., Ft. Wayne, IN 46808 - home of Tom and Jeannette Jaquish.260 484-5946.
8pm -  Pizza and fruit salad, coffee, juice, soda.
9pm -  CNN Town Hall with Johnson & Weld. Feel free to bring TV snacks and BYOB. 

You may confirm if you like at /www.facebook.com/AllenCountyLibertarians
 
 http://reason.com/blog/2016/08/01/cnn-to-host-second-town-hall-with-gary-j

Thursday, July 28, 2016

4th Wednesday LP meetings


Monthly Libertarian meetings are the 4th Wednesdays of the month at 7pm,
until further notice.  Locations may change.
Next LP meeting is Aug. 24, 7pm at the home of Vice Chair Jeannette Jaquish, 1423 Louisedale Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46808, 260 484-5946 or 750-9013.
Join us to PRACTICE the 2nd Amendment Squirt Gun G'Zombie Challenge, this Sunday, July 31, 3-5pm at the Big Tent pavillion on the far west side of Franke Park.  (Another practice same time August 20)  We will test different trekkers vs g'zombie strategies and make the game as suspenseful and fun as possible. Afterwards we test the grill, cooking burgers, vegi-burgers, hot dogs, and eat potato chips, fruit salad and cold sodas.  Wear outdoor clothing.  We need more volunteers for the Sept. 3 actual event.  Show up, or call Jeannette at 260 750-9013.

Friday, July 15, 2016

You are invited to the 2nd Amendment Squirt Gun G-Zombie Challenge!

"Stop playing!  It's time for your Standardized Test!!!"



Travel the winding trails squirting dead brained Govt-Zombies spouting atrophied-brain nonsense!
Then compete in or watch:

The LOUD FOR LIBERTY Historical Speech Contest!

Any age may deliver a Liberty themed speech, song, quote, line from a movie, poem, or interpretive dance mime, or tell a story, from 1 sentence to 5 minutes.
Sponsors provide money and merchandise awards.

 Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 
Franke Park, 1140 Sherman Dr., Ft. Wayne, IN 46808
at the west side Teepee Pavillion, north of the Day Camp buildings.

 SCHEDULE for these FREE EVENTS
3 to 5pm - G-Zombie Challenge
5:00 - BBQ Picnic & Games - Meet the Libertarians and their Candidates
5:30 - Check in for:
6:00 - Loud for Liberty Historical Speech Contest

Volunteers needed, especially G-Zombies!
Sponsor an Award of money or merchandise.
Contact Jeannette Jaquish, LPIN Vice Chair
260 484-5946 or 260 750-9013 or jeannettejaquish@yahoo.com

More info at:  http://www.ecstatic-theatrics.com/LPIN/GZombie.html


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Business Meeting - Wednesday, July 27, 7pm

Libertarian Party of Allen County Business Meeting
Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 7pm
at the home of Robert Enders, LPAC Chairman
582 Courtney Dr., New Haven, IN 46774
------
This is a business and planning meeting.
- We need a new Secretary now, and a Treasurer by mid-August
- We are planning events
- We are working with candidates to help their campaigns
- Everyone is welcome
- There will be refreshments. Feel free to bring snacks and drinks to share.

Please call Jeannette Jaquish at 260 484-5946 if you have questions.

More info at https://www.facebook.com/AllenCountyLibertarians/
and
Info about the Sept. 3 "2nd Amendment Squirt Gun G-Zombie Challenge" at
www.facebook.com/livefreeplayfree

Robert's House on MapQuest:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/582+Courtney+Dr,+New+Haven,+IN+46774/@41.064503,-85.0397927,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x8815fbc592d7a9c5:0x70754663ae8c02d4!8m2!3d41.064499!4d-85.037604

Friday, July 08, 2016

Dallas

The murder of five police officers in Dallas was an act of terrorism. It was an act of violence intended to send a political message. As far as I can tell as of this writing, Dallas police responded properly to this act of terrorism.

The murder of innocent black people by police officers are acts of tyranny. These are acts of violence where the perpetrators use their positions of authority to escape repercussions. I propose that shooting by local police departments be investigated on the state level.

Terrorism and tyranny are two sides of the same coin. One often leads to the other, creating a vicious cycle that can spin out of control for years. Terrorism and tyranny are both equally wrong and must be universally condemned.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

TV Party Tonight! (June 22) See Gary Johnson on CNN!

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, the Libertarian President and Vice President candidates are featured on CNN's Libertarian Town Hall tonight, Wednesday, July 22, at 9pm ET.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/15/politics/gary-johnson-bill-weld-cnn-town-hall-libertarian/index.html
All are invited to join us in a TV party at 8pm for free dinner, then watch the show at 9pm.
Location: Jeannette Jaquish's house, 1423 Louisedale Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46808.  260 484-5946.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

If you are alive to read this, Memorial Day isn't meant to honor you in particular. This is the day meant to honor those who died while serving the military. These men and women never got their discharge papers. They will never collect VA benefits. They will never see the movie that Kathryn Bigelow, Oliver Stone, or Steven Spielberg made about their war. And they won't read this blog post.

Each year, Memorial Day honors more and more people. Let's hope for a time when the number of people honored on the last Monday in May no longer rises.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Public bathrooms

Expelling bodily wastes shouldn't have to be a cultural or political act. I feel like I shouldn't have to talk about this subject on this blog, but here goes some of my thoughts on the matter.
1) Using the proper bathroom shouldn't be a matter of law, but a matter of common courtesy. Most of us are uncomfortable using the bathroom in front of strangers of the opposite sex. We use the bathroom that is most comfortable to us, and we try to avoid making other people uncomfortable. Bathroom have stalls so we don't have to see each other's genitals. If a person who looks like a man but has a vagina uses the men's room, I shouldn't feel uncomfortable because I shouldn't be aware at all of his vagina. He wouldn't share this info with me unless we were good friends.

I understand that there are safety concerns. People seem to be worried that sexual predators would proclaim their gender to that of their preferred victim, march right into the public bathroom, and assault somebody. But a man who claims to be a woman would stand out like a sore thumb. What makes predators so dangerous is that they do their best to blend in. Few people had any idea that Bill Cosby, Jared Fogle, or Dennis Hastert were monsters until we heard about it on the news.

We don't need state laws that tell us what bathroom to use. Will these laws be enforced by bouncers carding everyone who has to pee? Or can we just agree that if someone reasonably looks male or female, then we don't need them to prove it?

Ultimately, who pees where should be decided by building management and not the state or the federal government. Sometimes one bathroom is packed full or out of order, so people end up using the bathroom that they normally wouldn't use. Management should have the discretion to allow this. On the other hand, if a man decides to make an ass of himself by proclaiming his "femininity" and following women into the bathroom, management should have the option of having him removed.

Even with schools, it's best to leave restroom policy to the school boards. Schools have a vested interest in keeping adolescents with penises from impregnating adolescents with vaginas on school property, so boys and girls have been historically kept separate. If a school decides that a transgirl does not post a threat to the other girls, and the other girls are comfortable with this, then I'm not going to lose sleep over the matter.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Trump will be the GOP nominee. Now what?

I actually feel bad for the Republican Party right now. I wish that every political party would nominate their very best candidate for President. The race should be competitive so that whoever wins works hard to keep the job.

Trump doesn't seem to care if he wins. He wants to run his mouth. He says things that sound great to the GOP base but make everybody else mad. Name recognition and wealth were enough to carry him through the primaries. But it's way more fun to run for President than actually be President. Do you know all the pressure you feel in a job interview? Trump feels none of that, because this is a game to him. No matter what happens, this will all work out for him. A billionaire who wants to be President is absurd as a millionaire who wants to work at Wal-Mart.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have high unfavorability ratings. In past years people have talked about "wasted votes" and what not. But this year, the only reason NOT to vote Libertarian is if you actually DON'T want a Libertarian in the White House and you actually would prefer Hillary or Donald to Gary Johnson.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Arena proponents should be honest about why they want an arena.

You want a new arena. It's okay, just say it. It's okay to want things. It's okay to want a bigger house or a nicer car. It's okay to want a newer computer or a bigger TV. It's okay to want a boat even though you don't live near the water or a flood plain.

Or maybe you expect to benefit directly financially. It's fine to admit that or even brag about it.

But can you really credibly say with a straight face that the entertainment industry is the best use of your tax dollars? There are so many things that are more important but are less exciting: roads, sewers, fire departments, etc. If you want an arena so badly that it influences the way that you vote, fine. But to insist that you support a project because of its economic impact is disingenuous. All civic projects have both economic benefits and consequences. People are hired to build the project and people are taxed to pay for it. Traffic patterns change, Commute times are increased for some and reduced for others. Retailers can gain or lose business because of these traffic patterns.

I'm especially suspicious of businesses that support new downtown construction projects after moving all their operations to the outskirts. It's like slapping a Greenpeace bumper sticker on your own Hummer.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Annual Convention Details Finalized

It is that time once again when the Libertarian Party of Allen County, Indiana will be hosting its Annual Convention at Richards Restaurants, on Washington Center Road at Interstate 69, between Lima Road (Exit 311) and Coldwater Roads (Exit 312) on April Fools Day 2016 from 6-9 pm.

Prices for Dinner average $10 per person maximum

There will be a brief Business Meeting which will then transition into our Nominating Convention where we will begin to discern candidates to run for office on the November General Election Ballot. Our goal is to provide VOTERS with a better option, a more sound choice. This year in Allen County there are 17 Positions available for Voters to change the way Government operates in Cities and Towns across the Hoosier State:

COUNTY OFFICES:

County Treasurer, County Coroner, County Surveyor
County Commissioner - District 1, County Council at Large

STATE OFFICES
State Senate: Districts 14, 15, 16
State Representative: Districts 50, 52, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85

Nominations will be accepted at this time during the Convention.

Are you tired of the way County Government spends your tax dollars? Are you frustrated with the General Assembly passing political pork instead of passing on a positive future for all of Indiana This is the year that you can make that difference by running under the Libertarian banner and finally offering Voters something better than the lesser of two evils. Send a PM to LPAC Chair Robert Enders for more details and to throw your hat into our ring come November's General Election.

Please RSVP via LPAC's FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE Thank you.

You must become a member of the local Party (which is free) at a minimum to vote and may do so during the Convention. You are encouraged to join the State or National Party for $25 annually and forms will also be available for your convenience. Per the most recent revision in our ByLaws there will be no Officers elected at this meeting slated unless an immeadate circumstance arises.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Apple of My Eye

First of all, let's concede that the FBI has every right to look into Syad Farook's iPhone. Farook is a notorious dead terrorist and he may have spoken to terrorists who are still alive and unknown. The iPhone in question is the property of San Bernardino County, who has eagerly consented to the search of the phone. Not even innocent people have a reasonable expectation of privacy when using a phone issued by their employer.

Apple has their own reasons for refusing the FBI's request. If this iPhone can be cracked into, then all iPhones can be cracked. This makes the iPhone a less desirable product.

But are lives really at stake here? Farook intentionally destroyed his own personal cell phone. A competent terrorist would have NOT used his government-issue phone to contact other terrorists. This is probably why he didn't bother to destroy the iPhone.

It would seem that governments on all levels have a new dilemma when it comes to encryption. On the one hand, they need the ability to monitor their own employees. On the other hand, they need to keep sensitive information out of the wrong hands. But most people already know better than to use hardware that the IT department can monitor when they are up to no good. So we should be grateful that this iPhone is difficult to spy on, for now.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Should women be required to register for the draft?

No. Nobody should have to register for the draft.

First of all, even if you still feel that the draft might be necessary, why should the government bother with Selective Service? If you go to public school, the government already has your address and vital data before you even turn 18. If you've never been to public school, you either come from a rich family and they will find a way to keep you stateside or you're Amish and you have contentious objector status. And there are many other ways in this day and age for the government to track you down, unless you are a fugitive or living off the grid. If you are a fugitive, the military wouldn't want you. If you are successfully living off the grid then they should make you a better offer than simply threatening to charge you with draft evasion.

Second of all, would the draft even matter in a age of drones and nuclear weapons? Only suicidal terrorists want to attack the US. Yet foreign terrorists only manage to kill fewer Americans than domestic street gangs. And has anyone bothered to check if these street gang members are registered with Selective Service? Technically, even felons have to register.

Which brings us to another point about the draft: it creates perverse incentives. If healthy people are required to fight, that makes a lot of people want to be unhealthy. Of course the military tests for drugs, so people will tell you to smoke so much dope that your piss turns olive drab. The military has weight limits for recruits, so many young people might put off that diet until their 26th birthday.

Was the draft ever necessary? During the war of 1812, when British troops were setting fire to the White House, America didn't bother with a draft. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9/11, recruiting centers were so packed that many men were told to come back later. When America is under attack, American are eager to fight. It's when our government wants to get involved in other countries' squabbles that the military finds itself short of volunteers.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

My take on the FBI's video of the shooting of LaVoy Finicum



This is what I see when I watch this low quality footage. Other people might see different things. Feel free to comment.
1:09: Suspect vehicle (white Dodge pickup with crew cab and camper) stops in the middle of the road. Police have guns drawn
8:10: Suspect vehicle takes off again and flees at high speed. This is a felony.
9:15: Suspect vehicle encounters the police vehicles blocking the road. The suspect vehicle veers to the left. An officer lunges toward the suspect vehicle which is still moving. I don′t know why he would do this. It is dangerous and you can′t stop a truck with your body.

9:20 The driver of the Dodge pickup gets out. He has his hands up as if he wants to surrender. He is staggering though the deep snow. Then he puts his arms down. It looks like he′s flailing as if he lost his balance. Or maybe he is reaching for his gun. But his arms are clearly down, so the police shoot and kill the driver.

Normally, if you are armed and you need to surrender to someone else who is armed, you keep your hands up to show that you cannot fire at them. You keep your arms up until they tell you to put them down. The police knew he was armed. If they believed he was reaching for a weapon, then they were justified in shooting him. This doesn′t look like a murder from the video.

Monday, January 04, 2016

My take on the Oregon protests

This story starts in 2001, when Dwight Hammond and Steven Hammond set fires on federal land that burned 127 acres. They were convicted of arson, and a judge gave Dwight a three month sentence and Steven a one year sentence. The defendants claim that this was to control an invasive species, the prosecutors claim that it was to cover up illegal poaching.

Even if the Hammonds were telling the truth, I can't really condone setting fires on federal land as a form of pest control. In my opinion, arson is worse than bank robbery. Most bank robbers just slide a note over the counter, the tellers follow their training, and the FDIC reimburses the bank for any cash that isn't recovered. Arsonists are more reckless and destructive, causing more property damage and risk to human life than bank robbers. But the mandatory minimum sentence for arson is 5 years, while the minimum sentence for bank robbery is 10 years.

The Hammonds received less than minimum sentences and served their time. But an appeals court ruled that they should have received longer sentences, and that they should go back to prison. While I would agree that they should have received 5 year sentences in the first place, I also feel that if you are charged, convicted, and serve the original sentence, the government should leave you alone unless you commit another crime.  I think that the law should err on the side of the defendant throughout the entire process. But that isn't what the law requires. The law requires that the Hammonds go back to prison.

People do have a right to protest prison sentences if they feel that the sentences are unfair. But they don't have a right to take over a government building. I would much prefer that this standoff end with no bloodshed. But if these protesters use lethal force to resist arrest, then the moral responsibility for what happens next falls on them.