Missouri

Police should wear body cameras to protect themselves when they’re accused of wrongdoing

body-mounted camera

It seems that there is at least one area of agreement (with caveats) between some in law enforcement and some civil libertarians: cops should wear body cameras. The how, when, and where is still a question for all concerned but at least there seems to be some agreement on the broad outlines.

PoliceOne.com’s editor-in-chief Doug Wyllie argues that police departments should embrace the idea of body mounted cameras on almost every police officer. Wyllie writes:

In the week following the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson (Mo.), many have asked me for a comment and/or my commentary on the matter. My reply has generally been, “What, precisely, might that comment be? We know very little detail regarding the incident itself, so any ‘analysis’ on my part would be tantamount to irresponsible speculation. Further, analysis of the rioting and looting (and police response to same) would be redundant — we’ve got reams of columns on crowd control tactics and strategies.”

One thing, however, merits mention in this space. It’s directly related to the first thought that came to my mind when news of this tragedy broke: “Man, I hope that officer was wearing a body camera.”

Todd Akin and the “War On Women”

I’m sick and tired of this “War on Women” meme. It portrays women as nothing more than helpless vaginas that need subsidized abortion, free birth control, subsidized daycare, special loans in order to start a business, special laws to negotiate a decent wage, and all sorts of things only sugar daddy government can provide. It is dehumanizing and insulting to the millions of strong, independent women everywhere and the millions of men who love them. If you want to see what a real “War on Women” looks like, here it is. Finally, just because someone opposes abortion and wants to cut government spending does not make them a misogynist. In fact, many feminists believe that women can and should stand on their own without the help of the government.

No, Let’s Keep Todd Akin

Unlike many on the political right (arguably) in America, I’m not going to argue for Todd Akin to drop out. In fact, I am going to argue that he should stay in his Missouri Senate race, as a sort of painful yet absolutely necessary medication for the Republican Party.

Akin, as I’m sure you are aware, is the bozo who went on the radio and said that in cases of “legitimate” rape, a woman’s body would shut down the pregnancy, thus abortion should be illegal. It has got to be the dumbest thing said in politics over the past ten years, if not the past fifty. Nevermind that there is no way for a woman’s body to know that it is being raped, and then determine it must abort on its own (I don’t even think a woman’s body can abort pregnancies like that), you just don’t put “legitimate” and “rape” in the same sentence, period, unless there is a “not” between them.

In any case, despite the national party disavowing the fool, and numerous calls from conservative leaders and conservative media outlets, Akin has decided to remain in the race. (He’s even attacked Mitt Romney for calling for him to step down.) Despite this monumental tomfoolery, I believe it would be good for the GOP to have Akin remain in the race…

…and then lose disastrously in November.

This Week in the Race for the GOP Presidential Nomination

This week will be the busiest that we’ll see in the race for the Republican presidential nomination this month. Coloradans and Minnesotans will be headed to the caucuses today while Missourians will be voting in the nonbinding primary that precedes their March 17 caucuses. We can also expect to see the results of the Maine caucuses this Saturday. After this week, we’ll see only a handful of caucuses and primaries in Guam, Arizona, Michigan, and Washington before Super Tuesday on March 6.

Public Policy Polling shows former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) with a comfortable lead in Colorado with 37%. Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) trails Romney with 27% while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) clock in with 21% and 13% respectively. It looks like we can expect another big win for Romney in the Centennial State.

The race could get a little more interesting in Minnesota, Missouri, and Maine. Santorum leads the field in a tight race for the North Star State, but that race is still very much up in the air with a range of only 13% between Santorum and Paul, who is polling in fourth place. Santorum looks to be headed for a win in the Show-Me State’s nonbinding primary; he leads with 45% to Romney’s 32%. Meanwhile, Politico is calling the race for the Pine Tree State a two man race between Romney and Paul.

If these numbers hold, what could all of this mean for the race going forward?

Missouri cannot produce sources for militia report

Remember the MIAC report on militias (you can read it here)? It has come back up in the blogosphere after an open records request to find out what information was used for the conclusions in the report:

This is an extremely chilling chapter in American history. The controversial MIAC “threat advisory” is the stinging report wherein Missouri and other state law enforcement agencies were told to profile as possible “terrorists” all individuals concerned about unemployment, taxes, illegal immigration, gangs, border security, abortion, high costs of living, gun restrictions, FEMA, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve.

The MIAC advisory also stated that potential domestic “terrorists” would be attracted to gun shows, shortwave radios, action movies, movies with white male heroes like Rambo, Tom Clancy novels, and presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin.

Now, they claim to have retained no records of the sources that were used for this report. Nor, they claim, do they even know who wrote it.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s response to ALG’s Sunshine Law Request, “[b]ackground material was not retained by the author during drafting” and “[t]here is no record listing the individual who wrote the report.” In fact, the only record the state of Missouri apparently claims it has of the report was its single draft version, for which there were no material differences between the report that actually went out.

Here’s why the Second Amendment matters: Ferguson business owners guard their property against looters

Shortly after Ferguson, Missouri began to resemble a war-zone, David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and senior editor at The Atlantic, reaffirmed his support for increased gun control by tweeting this:

Keep in mind that the initials protest in Ferguson were peaceful, according to Radley Balko. It was only after protesters were greeted with a militarized police presence, complete with assault weapons and armored vehicles, that the situation devolved into rioting and looting.

Still, Frum repeated his anti-gun refrain with a follow up tweet moments later:

Obama interrupts his vacation to return to Washington for meetings on foreign and domestic crises

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama has finally figured out that the optics of a two-week vacation in Martha’s Vineyard while Ferguson, Missouri and parts of the Middle East are on fire may not sit well with the American public. So, he decided to interrupt his vacation to return to Washington:

In a rare move for him, the president planned a break in the middle of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to return to Washington on Sunday night for unspecified meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and other advisers.

The White House has been cagey about why the president needs to be back in Washington for those discussions.

Part of the decision appears aimed at countering criticism that Obama is spending two weeks on a resort island in the midst of so many foreign and domestic crises.

Yet those crises turned the first week of Obama’s vacation into a working holiday. He made on-camera statements on U.S. military action in Iraq and the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. He called foreign leaders to discuss the tensions between Ukraine and Russia, as well as between Israel and Hamas.
[…]
Obama is scheduled to return to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday and stay through next weekend.

There could be another Left-Right alliance forming over the issue of police militarization due to the scenes from Ferguson

Ferguson, Missouri

The tragedy that took place over the weekend in Ferguson, Missouri, in which Michael Brown, a recent high school graduate, was senselessly shot and killed by a local law enforcement officer, has sparked a debate over the issue of police militarization.

Although libertarians have, for years, talked about the militarization of police and the use of the weapons of war in communities across the country. Radley Balko even wrote a fantastic book about the issue and continues to cover it extensively. But the militarization of police hadn’t received a significant amount of attention from the media and lawmakers. At least until now.

Police in the St. Louis suburb responded to what was a peaceful protest by showing up with tactical gear, military-style weapons, and armored vehicles. The situation has obviously devolved since the first protest into rioting and looting by locals, actions that simply aren’t justified and only make matters worse.

Back in June, United Liberty’s Matthew Hurtt wrote about the state and local law enforcement agencies’ acquisition of surplus and refurbished U.S. military equipment —including armored vehicles, machine guns, and other leftovers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — for use in communities around the country.

State legislatures aren’t waiting on Washington to reject Obama’s big government agenda

Amidst reports concerning the House’s changes to the USA FREEDOM Act and how the recently passed new version fails to address issues with the 702 section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – allowing the government to continue its “back door” searches of electronic and phone communications of Americans in contact with foreigners – the Tenth Amendment Center reported that at least two of the five nullification bills that passed last week keep the federal government from tracking cellphone data without a warrant.

Bill SF2466, which passed with tremendous bipartisan support through both Minnesota state House and Senate, bans law enforcement agencies in Minnesota from obtaining tracking information on cellphone users in the state without a warrant.

Senate Joint Resolution 27 in Missouri also protects the consumer’s data by adding electronic communications as one of the objects protected by the state constitution. The resolution should be up for a vote by Missouri residents this November after passing the House.

California legislators join anti-NSA push

NSA

In response to the ongoing domestic surveillance controversy, two California legislators have introduced legislation to prohibit state agencies from providing any material support to the National Security Agency.

California state Sens. Ted Lieu (D-Torrence) and Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) have introduced the Fourth Amendment Protection Act (SB 828), based on legislation promoted by the OffNow coalition. The measure would ban state agencies and subdivisions from providing public utilities, such as water, to the NSA or any other federal agency which “claims the power…to collect electronic data or metadata.”

“The National Security Agency’s massive level of spying and indiscriminate collecting of phone and electronic data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a direct threat to our liberty and freedom,” said Lieu in a statement.

“I agree with the NSA that the world is a dangerous place,” Lieu said. “That is why our founders enacted the Bill of Rights. They understood the grave dangers of an out-of-control federal government,” he added.

Similar legislation has been introduced in a handful of other states — including Arizona, Kansas and Missouri — and has been hailed as a way to “nullify” the NSA’s controversial (and unconstitutional) domestic surveillance program.

 


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