Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strange and Bizarre Stories From the Police State

"Offered for your consideration" is a handful of stories that are completely unrelated, at first blush. 

First: why is there a secret morgue near Joplin, MO?  Police railroaded a CNN crew away from the place in this video:

Everyone knows there were tornadoes in Joplin and everyone knows there were many victims.  Anyone who thinks about it, and puts in the context of other stories we've heard, knows that there's probably some amount of collecting body parts and trying to match them into sets of remains that can be given an identity.  I'm sure some of the bodies are in a condition that family members wouldn't want pictures of.  But I don't think people want to watch that; I think most people are just curious about the magnitude of the tragedy.  I can understand you don't want cameras in there in respect to the survivors, but to essentially make the entire thing secret?  Why not just have a spokesman outside or in a nearby place to talk with the news media?  This is the sort of total blackout secrecy tactics the CIA and NRO use: just make everything secret.

The next story is about the terrible crime of pruning your trees on your own commercial property
The church was fined $100 per branch cut for excessive pruning, bringing the violation to $4,000.
$100 per branch?  The "City of Trees" (Charlotte, NC, by the way) will get rid of the fine if they destroy the trees and replace them.  No, really. 
The fine will be dropped if the church replaces each of the improperly pruned trees, said Tom Johnson, senior urban forester for city of Charlotte Land Development Division.
I'm speechless.  So if you let the trees grow back the pruned branches, (which is why you prune a tree, after all) that's a $4000 fine, but if you kill the tree and buy a replacement, that's better?  Did a nursery write this law? 

As Borepatch says, North Carolina used to be a nice place, now it's doing its best to become the Massachusetts of Dixie.

Finally, the story about the Department of Fatherland Security's "Future Crime"-like FAST system is getting wider circulation and made "The Blaze" today.  This is the system that they plan to use at bowl games and other big sporting events that they think are terrorist targets.  Or places to round up Threepers, Bitter Clingers and other anti-regime groups. 

The system strikes me as a lie detector (polygraph) in different clothes.  The way they say it works is to examine your physiological responses and compare it to expected values, which is exactly what a polygraph does.  In other words, like all polygraphs, it works by intimidating you into thinking it works.   

It always struck me as funny that on one hand, the government gave polygraph tests to all sorts of employees, while on the other hand, the three letter agencies were teaching classes in how not to get caught by a polygraph.  "Lie detector" tests are inadmissible in courts because the technology has basically been discredited (summary here - but just Google or Bing "beat polygraph") for more. 

And what do all of these stories have in common?  The Government knows better than you, is there to protect you from yourself, and will send police to enforce that. 


  1. I can certainly understand limiting camera presence at the morgue itself, not permitting capturing video of remains that could be very upsetting to families and friends of the dead, but for these jack-booted thugs to refuse to allow these men to proceed on a public highway, and to threaten them in the way they did is illegal.

    In a book I purchased a while back, the residents of Wyoming decided to resist Federal attempts at gun confiscation, which was assisted at times by local law enforcement, IIRC. Traffic stops, traffic blockade/inspection points were set up in various parts of the state. In this novel, residents - without any need for a leader - took it upon themselves to remove these impediments to free passage within their state. That spontaneous response of the state's citizens as portrayed in the novel was heart-warming, engendering rewarding feelings of patriotic fervor in this reader, at least.

    I anticipate that this is a distinct possibility in the future, especially if DHS and TSP decide to begin limiting unrestricted (i.e. un-groped or scanned) movement by private vehicle, as opposed to the already limited travel by commercial vehicles. Or if there is a concerted effort at gun confiscation. I imagine that sort of response could even happen here in Montana, as well.

    It was an enjoyable book, BTW: _Neither Predator Nor Prey_, by Mark Spungin. Also good in that genre: _They Came For Our Guns, They Came For Our Freedom_, by Wiliam Lafferty; the _Enemies Foreign and Domestic_ series by Matt Bracken (excellent, must read), and of course, the classic _Unintended Consequences_ by John Ross (which he and his publisher are no longer supporting or making available - I contacted them both - so feel free to download the full novel off the Web.)

  2. I read Unintended Consequences last summer, thanks to an occasional commenter here. It's quite a story. I gotta say, there are places where I said "where the heck is he going with this??, like when he first introduces the little girl who wets the bed and gets slapped around by her dad, but all the characters had their unique places.

    I haven't read the Enemies Foreign and Domestic series, just a few sample chapters. I like Bracken but have serious time problems.

  3. John Ross's writing and plot development may be a little rough in spots, but he did a great job of taking interesting parts of the gun culture and history and tying them all together into the final enjoyable denouement.

    I don't watch television - haven't been hooked up to an antenna, dish or cable since 1987, so I have a little more time to read than some folks. Yeah, if it wasn't already obvious, I'm not exactly "mainstream" ;-) Being "retired" since 2008 helps, too. Do like watching movies, though.

    The first two books are short, fast reads and fun, in spite of their lack of polish. Matt is indeed a great guy. I was hoping to run into him somewhere in the Caribbean, but my enjoyment of cruising ("Fixing your boat in exotic places") didn't last long enough to make it past the Bahamas. When you _are_ able to find the time, he is well worth reading.

    I'm afraid that his books may be a bit apochryphal, predictive of what is to come. Especially the second book's description of how things develop in the Southwest. Which is certainly one of the reasons I am as far north as I am, as much as I love the Four Corners area with its terrain and history. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Western Montana is beautiful in its own right.