Archive for category: Libertarianism

Violent Crime Up, But That’s Not A Reason to Panic

26 Sep
September 26, 2017

Reason has an article on the release of the new Uniform Crime Reports from the FBI.

http://reason.com/blog/2017/09/25/violent-crime-rose-again-in-2016-for-sec

My favorites parts from this:

“Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts, pointed out that only five years since 1971 have had lower violent crime rates than 2016. In 2005 and 2006, the U.S. also experienced a similar two-year rise in violent crime. “There were dire warnings from police, only to have crime then continue to drop,” Gelb said.”

And

“John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham University Law School, cautioned that crime is a complex, geographically concentrated phenomena, and that it can’t simply be attributed to how many people are or aren’t being sent to prison.

He noted that Chicago, which has been experiencing an unprecedented spike in murders over the past several years, was responsible for about 20 percent of the national net increase in homicides. However, half of Chicago’s rise in murders were confined to five neighborhoods with 9 percent of the city’s population. “So in other words,” Pfaff said, “five neighborhoods in Chicago explain 10 percent of the national increase in homicide rates.””

Contrary to world stereotypes, America is still mostly peaceful – even while being having a heavily armed populace. Moreover, almost all of the violence is found in cities, particularly impoverished neighborhoods.

There aren’t any easy answers to helping those neighborhoods. Most likely, the solutions will require a multitude of approaches that will anger both of the major camps.

Felons and Guns

23 Sep
September 23, 2017

Time for another unpopular opinion –

Felons who have done their time should have all their rights restored once they have completed their sentence. This includes Second Amendment rights. There are a few reasons:

  1. In this day and age, about the only people who haven’t committed a felony are infants. Between “tough on crime” initiatives and administrative law, Americans committ at least two or three felonies a day. Why should someone lose their rights because some prosecutor decided to selectively enforce a law against someone?

  2. “But what about violent felons?” A person with a propensity for both violence and crime are dangerous whether or not they have rights restored. This subset of our population would be dangerous even if they only had access to weapons that could be bought from a hardware or general store. Or fabricated from items bought at a store. Or hell, just buying gasoline.

  3. Kinda related to above is the assumption that a violent person with criminal intent would suddenly decide to get his/her weapons through legal means instead of stealing it or buying it off another criminal.

Here’s what it boils down to IMHO. Currently, we are over-criminalized AND that over-criminalization is selectively enforced. Hence, it is very easy for the state to deprive people of their civil rights, but very difficult for a person to get his/her civil rights restored. Furthermore, because the state is inefficient, other people are having their rights delayed because we do not restore people’s rights when their sentence is completed.

Tallahassee – Where All Capitalism is Crony

19 Sep
September 19, 2017

I really do love my state, but it has some flaws. No, not the weather or the bugs. Most of the issues reside in the legislature. More to the point, with the legislators who seem to think that cronyism is how an economy is supposed to run. This is particularly true of the utilities sector. Case in point:

http://www.wftv.com/news/local/want-solar-panels-you-still-have-to-pay-florida-utilities/276475576

I’m sure the utilities, or their PR firms, have some reason for working to deny people the choice to be completely off the grid. It may even sound somewhat plausible. Yet it still comes down to private firms using government force to make people use their services.

H/t McThag

After All, It’s Not Their Money

01 Sep
September 1, 2017

Across the bay, the city of St. Petersburg wants to force homeowners to add solar panels anytime they put on a new roof.

http://reason.com/blog/2017/08/31/st-petersburg-wants-to-force-you-to-put

They might make an exception for existing homes, but any new buildings, the city council at wants panels. And the homeowner or building owner gets to foot the bill. For another $10K. That’s about three times what I paid to put a new roof on my house last year. It’s about double what my mom paid for her roof.

All the council wants to focus on is all the energy they think this will generate. They refuse to think about:

  1. Solar isn’t as efficient as they expect.

  2. The cost to upgrade the grid to handle all that new energy generation.

  3. It will slow down development in St. Pete due to rising costs.

  4. People will have to take on more debt to do roof replacements. This will most likely lead to an uptick in foreclosures because some people will be unable to pay.

  5. Those who have to save up the cash will forgo necessary roof replacements, which will lead to even more problems, and more drains on people’s limited resources.

Of course, it’s not their money. So why should they give a damn if their brilliant idea hurts people.

New Report on “Release Time”

31 Aug
August 31, 2017

From Reason comes news of a new report released by the James Madison Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute on how much taxpayer money is used by government employees to do union work.

http://reason.com/blog/2017/08/31/report-florida-unions-milk-taxpayers-for

The big news is Miami-Dade spending $9 million in salary for hours its employees were doing union work. Well, maybe. No one knows for sure because Miami-Dade doesn’t ask the union to account for those hours.

Since I live in Tampa, I took a look at this part. Almost $367,000 for FY16. Again, no accountability as to what union members were doing during those “release hours”.

So, my question is why should I be forced to pay through my tax dollars for public employees to work for the union, which definitely doesn’t have my interests as a taxpayer at heart?

Why Am I An Optimist?

29 Aug
August 29, 2017

Because as bad as civil discourse on social media can get, there are people who prove that when the fecal matter impacts the turbine the good get going. Case in point: the Cajun Navy.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/ct-cajun-navy-hurricane-harvey-20170828-story.html

These are folks who dropped everything, hitched up their boats, and drove for hours on the chance that they can rescue people in their darkest hour. Not because someone was paying them or they were forced to at gunpoint, but because of an altruistic desire to save lives. One guy in the article reports rescuing forty people. Forty Frickin’ People.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m generally optimistic when it comes to people.

Giving the Police Military Hardware

28 Aug
August 28, 2017

The Trump administration is reversing an Obama administration decision and opening up the spigot for police agencies to receive surplus military equipment. What could go wrong?

Well, let’s look back at SWAT team histories. Originally they were developed for dealing with very specific, low occurrence, high threat situations. In that context, it makes sense to have a group available. Except the only place where SWAT teams are regularly taking down heavily armed bad guys is on television. Instead, SWAT teams are doing drug raids. And it’s not like they’re hitting the Cocaine Cowboys of 1980’s Miami.

Giving military equipment to police encourages those police to find new and inventive ways of using them. Usually in the highly violent world of SWAT.

Going To Do My Civic Duty

27 Aug
August 27, 2017

I got something that I haven’t gotten for about fifteen years – a jury summons. It’s been even longer than that since I sat at the courthouse waiting to be called. That got me to thinking of what has changed in my thinking since the last time I sat in the pool.

1. I started carrying a gun on a regular basis. That alone has radically shifted my worldview, but then I attended trainings and started learning about the legalities of self defense – and the intricacies of the legal system.

2. I don’t have the automatic deference to police that my younger self had. Because of the powers that a police officer are granted, I’m more likely to hold them to a higher standard.

3. I don’t trust forensics as much as I used to. Some forensic tools, such as DNA testing, were developed through rigorous processes, and are generally reliable. Others, such as handwriting and hair analysis, were developed in crime labs, and are less reliable. Then there’s the small item of the numerous lab scandals.

4. I no longer expect the heroic prosecutors and scumbag defense attorneys. If anything, I don’t trust either side. Probably about as much as I trust MSNBC and Fox to present their cases.

And now I have to go through my EDC and start yanking out stuff that is not allowed at the courthouse. That may take a bit.

Florida Executed A Murderer, And That’s Not A Good Thing

24 Aug
August 24, 2017

One of the many reasons I hate the current state of the judicial system – it has forced me to be against the death penalty.

I don’t think it’s morally wrong to put certain people to death. There are some crimes that are too heinous and some people who are too dangerous that I truly believe the death option needs to be there.

However, with something where someone is paying the one penalty with no reversal, the most rigorous safeguards should be in place to prevent an innocent person being executed. Except, the people charged with ensuring those protections are enforced are instead ignoring them. Particularly, the prosecutors.

Time and again we see prosecutors breaking evidentiary rules to win a conviction. We see people let off of death row because of evidence suppressed by the prosecution.

So thank you to all the scumbag prosecutors. Thank you for making me want to save the life of a murderer.

Story Idea – Narrative Cop

23 Aug
August 23, 2017

I’ve been binging the latest season of Hawaii Five-O. I don’t know why I enjoy it.

The show’s tropie, oversimplified, and generally a popcorn action flick every episode.

While watching, an idea came to me. A cop show/novel/story where the protagonist is considered a brilliant detective. Why, because (s)he can identify the narrative and solve the crimes based on how it interacts with the current media narrative.

Uniform Cop: The deceased is a known gang member who was seen making a drug buy two days ago. Probably killed by a rival gang.

Narrative Detective: No, I talked to his relatives outside. He was turning his life around. This was a corporate hit. Probably some nefarious scheme to keep essentials out of the hands of the poor.