Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TV News And Antigun Bias/Armed Lunatics

     Flash!  Breaking News!  Newtown mass shooter may have been studying Norwegian mass shooter!

     Really, this is news?   I am far from the first to have already been pointing it out: when you give these madmen such staggering publicity, it gives other crazies the notion that killing a lot of people is a great way to get famous.  Knock it off.  Deny 'em names.  Deny 'em fame.

     Side note, the Norwegian killer was referred to by a newsie as "the worst mass killer of all time."  Really?  Stalin, Hitler, Mao, all the lesser murderers that ran their extermination systems, the human experimenters of Unit 731, they somehow don't count?  Horror is, sadly, as quantifiable as any other human activity.  And over and over again, the lesson is that you stop bad guys killing people by sending in armed good guys -- one at a time or whole armies at a time, it's what you do.

- - -

     Speaking of which, there's dissention over the Californian ex-cop killer, who (probably) suicided while local police were in the process of burning down the cabin in which he had holed up.  (Tear gas is flammable, how convenient).  Plenty of folks think they should have set up a perimeter and outwaited him; after all, he was getting any resupply.  Others are cheering on the burning, and deriding the first group as impractical fluffheads who care nothing for officer safety.

     Couple of points--

     First, policing is not really about officer safety; if the plan was to keep them safe, they'd armor up their cars and never get out.  Cops, like it or not, are the pointy end of the spear.  As a civil force -- not soldiers! -- they end up hanging on to the nasty end of that pointy stick; they don't operate in a war zone.  Sometimes that means hanging back and waiting, when waiting will do no harm.  (Look up the Indianapolis Baptist Temple situation for an armed standoff that just stood off until everyone was thoroughly sick of it and quit.)

     Second, it is best if justice is done and seen to be done.  The ex-cop in CA was pretty clearly deranged but burning him down leaves his claims standing unresolved.  Getting him into court and either demolishing them as the fantasies of a diseased mind or uncovering a systematic pattern of racism in LAPD would still leave his crimes unjustified and he'd've been locked up for them essentially forever, even in CA,* but there'd be no question about the motivating circumstances and no halfwits standing up like he was some modern-day Spartacus.

     Frikkin' work the system.  You don't get shortcuts even if you've got a badge and a spiffing uniform.  And you guys cheerin' 'em on, will you please take a step back and realize that while it's a good thing to stop a murderous madman, it's not an unalloyed good for the State to do so by means that are too easily construed as street justice without trial.
* While I would personally prefer "shot in the act by one of his intended victims" or a public hanging after a fair trial, you've got to take what you can get and locked away forever provides nearly the same societal benefit at relatively low cost.


Tam said...

They launched non-incendiary CS grenades in, and lots of them, to no effect, before they decided to use the more effective incendiary CS grenades. (Although it would not shock me if an ex-cop who had armor and a suppressed SBR might also have thought to bring along a mask...)

He wasn't just sitting in the cabin, he was actively keeping up steady fire from inside the cabin. There were other occupied cabins in the vicinity, in addition to the officers outside.

The sticking point with me is that we all would agree that people, even police people, have the right to shoot back while being shot at, and if one of them had been able to spot the guy inside the cabin and shoot him in the noggin, that would be justifiable self-defense, but trying to flush him into the open where (one hopes!) he would have at least had the option of surrender is somehow not cricket.

BatChainPuller said...

I seem to always get a bit queasy when I see domestic law officers exterminate people. This seems to be true whether it's Waco, or Ruby Ridge or some innocent Georgia grandmother or Fairfax sports bookie or even John Dillinger.

Roberta X said...

I'm tempted to add these comments to the post, as the two of you have pretty much summarized point and counterpoint.

I guess for me the problem is that dead men make such effective martyrs; they can't speak for themselves and demonstrate their lunacy, pettiness or outright murderous nature.

Tam said...

At any point in the process, amidst all his hostage-taking, back-shooting, murder and rapine, he could presumably have thrown his hands up and said "Quitskies!" and instead he shot himself in the grape after the po-po, instead of reducing the house to splinters with sustained heavy rifle fire, shot two different varieties of tear gas grenades through the window, and this is somehow being equated with Waco, where nobody was actively engaged in shooting at anybody and hostage negotiators were on the phone with the occupants when some Johnny Hurryup thought it would be a splendid time to roll in the tanks.

Tam said...

(I'll add that I believe that, given the circumstances, at least when compared to the clown-shoed Keystone Kops antics of the LAPD, the San Berdoo sheriff's dept was a model of restraint.)

Anonymous said...

“The ex-cop in CA was pretty clearly deranged but burning him down leaves his claims standing unresolved”

Not true at all. He had hearings about his case and was found to be a liar under oath and dismissed. The mope decided that he didn’t like the results and that killing people would make America see his point of view. That logic escapes me but it was his idea.

The mope could have surrendered to the press at any point during the rampage and had his big show trial. He could have aired his alleged grievances in public for the record. Instead his idea was to kill more people.

No tears or concern from me. I won’t even mention his name.


Robert Fowler said...

After killing a innocent couple and a couple of cops, he sealed his own fate. He could have stood naked in the street in downtown LA with his hands up and he still was going to die. Even if he slipped on a bar of soap in the shower.

Another lesson, one man paralyzed almost all of southern Kalifornistan for a week. If it ever gets down to time to shoot, what are they going to do when it's 10 or 100? I think most would change sides, I hope.

Anonymous said...


Besides the obvious which you stated, which is that he almost certainly had a freaking mask... Trying to flush him out with gas would be fine if they didn't know, 100%, that using incendiary canister CS was going to start a fire. That was their intention. They might as well have tossed molotov cocktails on the house. I've started plenty of fires with smoke grenades, thrown and shot, and incendiary CS works exactly the same way. If I tossed a smoke grenade in the middle of a typical suburban home, I'd be a hell of a lot more surprised if it didn't start a fire than if it did.

If they couldn't even get a bead on him to shoot him from the outside, then how could they possibly know if he was alone? He could've easily had hostages, and then the police would've barbecued some innocent folks all in the name of officer safety. I'd rather not live in a world where burning down a building to "flush out" a target is a viable tactic, thanks. If we accept it, under the guise of "police protection", how long before the majority of standoffs are resolved this way?

The suggestion that the cops had any intention of taking him alive is, well, pretty funny to me. They wanted him dead, and their actions make that obvious. I see no series of actions the crazy guy could've taken that would have ended up with him alive, in custody, once he was cornered. He could've tossed his guns out a window and hung a white sheet saying he surrendered, walked out naked, and still been killed. No doubt he would've "had a gun in his hand" or "resisted arrest".

The presence of people in nearby houses certainly does not justify the police actions. It's not hard to cordon off an area and evacuate people who are in danger. Setting a building on fire and then letting it burn freely, endangering all the buildings in the surrounding area (though it looks like the fire danger wasn't all that high) doesn't fall under the guise of preserving public safety, in my eyes.

Unlike most of y'all, I've actually been in many situations where I got to choose between doing what was right at the expense of my own safety and taking the easy way out and possibly killing innocent people. So, I get it. And what happened here was wrong. Shoot him while he's shooting at you? Sure. I'd never have a problem with that. Torch the building without any real idea what's inside? That's absolutely unacceptable, and it sets a terrifying precedent while most people are content to pat the cops on the back for taking down that scumbag through any means necessary.

What the police should have done is sack up and hit the house with SWAT. It was a hard target and some of them would've been shot (and probably lived). Boo fucking hoo, that's their job! The whole point of SWAT, in theory anyway, is to take down tough targets with minimal collateral damage. In the time it took me to write this paragraph I thought of two approaches that would yield a reasonable chance of taking him alive, and if not at least the possibility of collateral damage would've been minimized.

I don't care that he's dead. He brought it on himself. I do care quite a bit about the circumstances surrounding his death. Cops don't get to decide who lives or dies, no matter what they did. If he'd been a child serial killer they would've tried harder to take him alive, but since he was targeting cops, their tribe, he had to be taken down no matter what. That is unacceptable in the extreme. And, the cops used dangerous, amateurish tactics from start to finish that could easily have killed twice as many innocents as the scumbag did. It's pure freaking luck that there aren't half a dozen bodies in the morgue chalked up to trigger happy southern CA cops.

- weambulance

Tam said...

" Trying to flush him out with gas would be fine if they didn't know, 100%, that using incendiary canister CS was going to start a fire. That was their intention."

Then why go through all the drama with the non-pyrotechnic CS first? Why did they just not start with the "burners"?

"If they couldn't even get a bead on him to shoot him from the outside, then how could they possibly know if he was alone? He could've easily had hostages,"

Because they had eyes on him when he entered the structure and were subsequently contacted by the owner who confirmed that the cabin was not rented out.

Look, I'm not saying that this was some model situation for how to deal with a barricaded suspect, and am frankly sickened by the people who are cheering that a person, even a sick **** like the guy in question, got killed rather than arrested and tried, but I'm not buying that they set out to Joan of Arc this guy as part of their plan.

Roberta X said...

I don't know if they did or didn't plan on it but, in fact, that's what they did. It was a suboptimal outcome, one that will fuel nitwits and yammerheads for decades to come, and make people with sincere doubts about the increasing militarization of police look like yammerheads and nitwits by association.

Dangerous and probably unhinged murderer taken out of action, yay, but I don't think it's brass-band-rated resolution, just a difficult, dangerous job they were able to accomplish -- and if it was done without rancor, the officers involved are inhumanly unemotional.

I don't think it's the best ending; I don't think it's the worst, either.

Anonymous said...

RobertaX - [I]t is best if justice is done and seen to be done. [emphasis original]

Hear her! Hear her!

Was "justice" done in the case of the murderous ex-cop? He's no longer a problem and that's a Good Thing(TM), but... Does "justice" require due process? Or can justice be done in a Judge Dredd world where the police simply eliminate malefactors at will?

Sticky problem.

Frank W. James said...

What the whole thing revealed to me was (1) the LAPD is actually pretty incompetent and they made the NYPD look far better by comparison; especially so in the marksmanship category, (2) the comments made that were recorded indicate a desire by many officers on the scene to kill this miscreant by fire, not gunfire, but actual fire, and (3) it demonstrated how a terrorist group who did their homework and announced their intention to kill named police administrators via the web and then proceeded to do so would achieve a level of success far beyond normal capabilities.

As for San Bernardino Co. officers, yes they were better than the LAPD, but remember the LAPD SWAT was on scene and we don't know who actually threw the 'burners' into the building.

Overall, it was NOT a shining moment for southern California law enforcement and it is one that I truly hope i NEVER repeated here in the Midwest.

Hopefully, people back here have more professionalism, more respect for the Constitution and simply more common sense...

All The Best,
Frank W. James