Dec 212017
 

It is (or at least was) a common trope in Westerns for someone to be accused of being a horse thief, and to face a hangin’ as a result. These days, lots of people react in horror to the concept of a death sentence for theft… “property isn’t worth a human life” and similar tired bromides are often trotted out. But horse thieving was seen as worth a hanging for the simple fact that the horse – a piece of property – WAS very often the owners lifeline. Without a horse, the owner could be stranded, not only putting his life at risk, but those who depended on him. Take a mans horse and chances are you’ve just killed someone.

These days the closest analogy to a horse is a car. And if you take someones car… well, they get on the phone, call a taxi or get an Uber, get where they need to then contact the insurance company and get the car replaced. It’s a hassle and a financial hit and a pain, but it’s not the clear threat that a stolen horse was in earlier times. So does that mean that theft is not longer the heinous villainy it once was? Hmmm…

Porch pirate steals Utah boy’s life-saving medication

Someone thought they had the right to steal a random package and as a result they’ve put a small child’s life at risk. Go on, tell me why that should not be at least considered assault. Or child abuse or attempted manslaughter or depraved indifference or some such.

There have been a number or proposed and implemented “solutions” to the problem of “porch pirates” stealing stuff in broad daylight. Such as this one:

Porch pirates beware, this package shoots back

It’s a “bait box” that when picked up fires off a blank shotgun shell. It makes a loud noise, and that’s about it; the idea is that it scares off the thief, causing them to run away and rethink their thieving ways. There are those who question the legality of it, since they erroneously believe that:

1: It’s an explosive device (it’s not… gunpowder isn’t an explosive)

2: It’s a firearm (it’s not, as there is no barrel and no projectiles)

It just makes a loud bang. The chances of it actually injuring the thief are minimal.

An actual boobytrap would be illegal. Even something that simply traps the thief would be illegal… gates that slam down, a trapdoor that dumps the thief into a holding cell, a box covered in cartoony instant glue, or a taser, all would be illegal under the current set of laws. But… should they be?

The reasons for banning boobytraps are not without merit. While I would not go up to a neighbors door and mess with a package in front of it, another package delivery guy might; a Girl Scout hawking Thin Mints might; or any of a number of other random, innocent people or even critters might nudge a box or even pick it up intending to be helpful.

But: if someone winds up getting injured or dead while in the process of stealing other peoples stuff, should we *really* feel too bad about it? At the same time, should we perhaps consider people who do stuff like this, willingly putting random peoples lives potentially at risk in order to steal a box of stuff they don’t even know what it is, to be unworthy of remaining in society? Executing porch pirates might be a tad excessive… but deportations to penal colonies (I understand a lot of space has recently opened up in Syria) seems like it might be worth considering. Granted, deportations are an unlikely and joking suggestion, but how about:

1: *Hard* labor

2: A *permanent* additional tax on all their future income and a lifetime ban on all public assistance

3: A return to corporal punishment: public floggings, perhaps

4: Drafted into some sort of military or public service (similar to #1)

These are not poor desperate people stealing a sammich cuz they’re starving. They are not even idjits who have poor impulse control. They are scumbags who go out of their way to harm regular folks, and are indifferent not only to the cost, but to the *risk* they impose on others.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:15 pm
Nov 212017
 

About 3/4 of an an hour ago I was in my driveway minding my own business when my west-facing two-car garage door started shaking violently, and for no readily apparent reason. No other “symptoms” were in evidence. I stood there like an idjit for a while, looking at the sky (no sign of interesting contrails), off to the west at the hill between me and ATK (no sign of smoke or bits blowing into the sky) and at the rest of the world (no sign of stuff falling over). Something like 15 to 30 seconds later, it happened again, the garage door shook like someone was physically banging on it. There *may* have been a slight swaying in the ground, but I wasn’t sure of that.

Earthquakes are nothing new, but rest assured that having sizable structures suddenly shaking by themselves is a little disconcerting.

So far the USGS website shows no earthquakes anywhere nearby. I called a neighbor and he reported a similar experience in his workshop, so at least it wasn’t just be going bugnuts. I wonder if it was something “funny” going on at ATK… a rocket test,a burnoff of propellant, a series of detonations. Hmmm.

 Posted by at 2:06 pm
Oct 142017
 

Police arresting nine people a day in fight against web trolls

In Britain, you can actually be arrested for posting comments that “cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another.”

Once again: you can be arrested for annoying someone. Couple that with the BritGuvs determination to crack down on vaguely-defined “far right” speech online, and hoo boy, glad I’ve got that First Amendment thing. Here, when some idiot troll starts causing annoyance, I can simply hit the “ban user” button and the problem is solved. Or, heck, simply ignore them. But in Britain? Call the cops, I guess, someone said something I didn’t like.

No, no, no way in hell that this sort of system could *ever* be abused, nosiree.

An interesting summary of some of the many laws regarding speech and computers in the UK includes a paragraph on the communications Act of 2003:

Sending by means of the Internet a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or sending a false message by means of or persistently making use of the Internet for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety is guilty of an offence liable, on conviction, to imprisonment. This wording is important because an offence is complete as soon as the message has been sent: there is no need to prove any intent or purpose.

Say, that’s neat. You can be arrested and sentenced to imprisonment for annoying someone without even having intended to.

Sadly, even Utah isn’t immune from the scourge of the easily offended delicate snowflake. The local news last night had a story about a guy who set up a Halloween display (Halloween is *big* in Utah… I’d say it’s right up there with Christmas in terms of interest, enthusiasm and maybe even money). His original display? I larfed my keister off. Because it’s funny, that’s why:

Having just watched “The Purge: Election Day” less than a week ago, I got the gag. But apparently there are a lot of humorless would-be British-style speechcops out there in Facebookland, and even in the guys own neighborhood.

Utah man says his ‘purge and purify’ Halloween sign isn’t racist or political

People saw the “MAGA” and promptly assumed that the homeowner was promoting racist violence. Oy.

As a result of the online and IRL backlash, the homeowner changed the display, rewording to to be more accurate to the tagline of the movie:

As sad as this tale was here in Utah, imagine if the guy had been living under British laws. He could have *easily* been arrested, especially since the people who were offended – or at least who pretended to be – claimed that the message was right wing.

FFS. If you can’t have fun with murder and bloodshed and horror on Halloween… what *can* you have fun with?

Still, the laws are what they are. One can hope that people in Britainland will start overloading the police with complaints about *everything* online that annoys them. How about online photos of Communist mass murdering psychopaths on Irish postage stamps? Surely that’s annoying to any Brit who suffered directly or indirectly at the hands of communism.

 Posted by at 12:09 pm
Sep 022017
 

Last few days the local news has been blowing up over the release of body cam footage showing a cop arresting a nurse. In the end, who’s in trouble here? The cop. Oh, boy howdy, the cop. Every bus the governor, mayor and chief of police can find, they’re preparing to throw him under… and for good reason. Here’s the short form:

1: On July 26, there was a high speed pursuit. The idjit being chased managed to hit a semi truck near Wellsville, resulting in an impressive explosion; idjit was killed, truck driver – who *everyone* acknowledges was doing nothing wrong – was injured.

2: Injured truck driver was taken to University Hospital in Salt Lake City.

3: For some reason, detective Jeff Payne decided that he needed to have a blood sample from the unconscious truck driver, and he needed it Right Now. Presumably this was to test for booze or drugs or some such in the truck driver… reason able enough, I suppose, under the circumstances, but his need fr it seems to have been excessive.

4: On-duty nurse Alex Wubbels knew the law and Hospital policy: they’re not allowed to draw blood from a patient for the cops unless:

A: The patient consents – which he couldn’t, being unconscious.

B: The patient was under arrest, which he wasn’t.

C: The police have a valid search warrant calling for a blood sample… which they didn’t have (but could have obtained easily enough)

5: Detective Payne was having none of it, and threatened the nurse with arrest for obstruction of justice.

6: Nurse contacts her supervisor via cell phone with a speakerphone

7: Supervisor tells the detective that the nurse is right, and that he’s making a mistake in threatening the nurse.

8: Detective goes ape and aggressively arrests the nurse.

9: In the end no charges are filed because, duh, nurse broke no laws

10: And then in late August the bodycam footage is released to the public and the detectives career hits a bit of a speedbump.

The truck driver patient is reportedly a reserve police officer in Rigby, Idaho; the going assumption is that detective Payne wanted that blood sample Right Friggen’ Now in order to absolutely clear the reserve police officer of any taint of guilt in the incident (even though, again, there’s no suspicion that anyone but the original idjit was responsible for the crash). The truck river is still in the hospital in serious condition.

Oy.

Video shows Utah nurse screaming, being handcuffed after refusing to take blood from unconscious victim

And so now…

SLC mayor, police chief apologize for officer who arrested nurse; criminal investigation to follow

Ruh-roh, Raggy.

 

Here’s the full near-19-minute footage.

Hard to come up with a better representation of detective Payne than this…

Here are some other angles:

 Posted by at 3:34 pm
Aug 222017
 

Looks like for once I made the right choice: yesterday after the eclipse I launched directly out of Mackay, Idaho, and headed south on 26/84. The traffic was heavy, but not so much so that it stopped things from moving at highway speeds and I managed to get home in about 4 hours. I didn’t take the shorter I-15 route because I figured it’d be swamped. I later heard that other folks who *did* take I-15 made decent time; it wasn’t too busy.

It looks like what happened was that everyone in eastern Idaho also assumed that I-15 yesterday would be a nightmare and decided to wait till today to head south. With the result that I-15 became the parking lot the media had promised, just a day late.

Note that the northbound lane is *empty.*

 Posted by at 7:36 pm