Feb 112008

You may or may not remember my incredulous post back in July about the 70 year old woman who was attacked by the police for not watering her lawn. It was, after all, more than six months ago that Betty Perry was tackled by Officer James Flygare, a member of the Orem, Utah’s Neighborhood Protection Unit, while standing on her front porch. I concluded that previous post with the following-

Only after Ms. Perry was completely booked did the police supervisors become “aware of the circumstances”, release her and return to her home, after a visit to the local hospital where she was treated for her cut nose and bruises on her arms from the handcuffs.

Once again, thank God the government is out there protecting my rights and freedoms by assaulting little old ladies for not watering their lawns!

I thought that was the end of it. A cop screwed up, their ‘superiors’ realised the mistake and that was that. Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. According to the Salt Lake Tribune

The city initially apologized for arresting Perry, but prosecutors pressed charges after a Utah Department of Public Safety investigation cleared Flygare of wrongdoing.

Since then there’s been plenty of activity, including famous (or infamous) Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred signing on to defend Ms. Perry. Her trial was actually scheduled to start today, but according to that same Salt Lake Tribune article-

Betty Perry, the 70-year-old great-grandmother whose scuffle with a police officer in July catapulted her into the headlines and caught a Los Angeles celebrity attorney’s attention, has quietly settled her case with the city.

Perry on Friday, three days before her trial was to begin, entered a no-contest plea in absentia to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, according to City Prosecutor Andrew Peterson.

In return, the city dropped the zoning violation charge for not watering her lawn. She has to pay a $100 fine and be on unsupervised probation for six months.

In other words, the cops cleared one of their own (surprise, surprise), the city attorney felt that this brown lawn was damaging enough to the quality of life in Orem that this great-grandmother should be prosecuted, and the same attorney then dropped the lawn charge. But Ms. Perry still has to pay $100 to the city as a fine for peacefully refusing to be arrested on a charge that both the police and the city attorney felt wasn’t important enough to convict her of anyway. Another victory for government and I feel safer already :-\

Jan 052008

I came across this article while searching for information on North Carolina’s Outer Banks region and am passing it along (untouched) in hopes you’ll find it as humorous as I did-

The Town of Duck has named Lieutenant Phillip Ferguson as its new chief of police.

At a ceremony held on Friday, Dec. 21, Duck Town Manager Christopher J. Layton administered the oath of office to Ferguson. Sandy Ferguson, the chief’s wife, pinned on his new badge while their daughter, Piper, and his mother, Anita Ferguson, looked on. Also in attendance were members of Duck’s town council, staff members, and friends.

Ferguson has been with the Duck Police Department since its inception, being the first police officer hired by the town in April, 2003. He was promoted to the position of assistant chief of police at the rank of lieutenant in June 2005. Most recently, he has served the town as interim chief of police.

Ferguson holds a North Carolina Justice Academy Criminal Investigator’s Certificate, a North Carolina Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate with over 2,400 hours of training, and is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Bloodhound Association.

He first became involved with tracking bloodhounds nearly 23 years ago with The Kentucky Bloodhound Search and Rescue Association. Ferguson is currently training and working with his partner, Morse, who whelped Dec. 7, 2000 and is an AKC registered male bloodhound. The bloodhound tracks by an individual’s scent to find lost persons and apprehend criminals.

As if that wasn’t enough, I believe Duck is located in Dare County, and Chief Ferguson “began his law enforcement career with the Kill Devil Hills Police Department.” I just love the South sometimes…

Dec 152007

According to Reuters, things are even worse in Israel-

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli judge has ordered the country’s prison authority to pay an inmate over $1,000 in compensation after he complained of having to share a cell with cockroaches.

Mordechai Yehudai filed a lawsuit complaining of poor hygiene, a lack of fresh air, broken windows and inmates who smoke in a handful of cells, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service said

“The Prisons Service mistreated the plaintiff in a number of ways, including … broken windows, cockroaches as well as incarceration with smokers,” judge Irit Cohen wrote in her verdict, according to newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

The spokeswoman said the inmate’s cell would be cleaned up. Yehudai has been held in three different prisons and has had complaints about conditions in all of them.

“Prisoners have the right to sue us whenever they see fit and we comply with the court’s rulings,” she said.

The last two sentences are really the key to the ridiculousness of the situation. Of course the guy’s complaining about the conditions in the prisons – 1) he’s in prison – that sucks no matter how you cut it, and 2) what else does he have to do with his time? Though I suppose cockroach races were good enough for the M*A*S*H 4077, so they should be good enough for him as well. What’s next? Are prisoners going to be suing for their right to broadband internet access and more fiber cable? Or perhaps they already have?

Regardless of which side of the “comfort” issue you come down on in regards to prisoners, there’s one simple solution – do away with government, all of its ridiculous laws, and its wasteful legal system. Replace it with a system of arbitration and restitution. Then there will be incredibly few people in prison and they’ll be private prisons so these things will no longer be an issue.

Dec 142007

At least this time the cops provided us with a humorous story while wasting our money. From WWSB in Sarasota, Florida

Man in cooler for deflating Frosty

Frosty got flattened, and a man wound up in the cooler. Authorities say Lance Word, 18, tackled and popped an inflatable snowman decoration on a lawn Saturday in this suburban New Orleans community.

Police arrested Word and booked him with simple criminal damage to property. He posted bond and was released from jail.

Slidell Police Capt. Kevin Foltz said the blowup decorations, which came onto the holiday market in recent years, have been targets in the past.

“A lot of people seem to like to pop them, although that the boy tackled it … that’s something new,” he said.

Foltz said Word was apologetic. The decoration cost $120, he said. [emphasis mine]

So, we (as in taxpayers) paid at least one police officer to go out to the scene, another couple to book and process the guy, a Captain to talk to the press about the incident and who knows what all. The article states he was booked for “simple criminal damage to property”. Well, according to (Louisiana based) Babcock Law Firm

Louisiana Simple criminal damage to property law
LA R.S. 14:56

A. Simple criminal damage to property is the intentional damaging of any property of another, without the consent of the owner, and except as provided in R.S. 14:55, by any means other than fire or explosion.

B. Whoever commits the crime of simple criminal damage to property, where the damage is less than five hundred dollars, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

Where the damage amounts to five hundred dollars but less than fifty thousand dollars, the offender shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than two years, or both.

Where the damage amounts to fifty thousand dollars or more, the offender shall be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not less than one nor more than ten years, or both.

So now this ‘criminal’ not only has to take up court time, but he may pay the state up to $500 in fines and may have to serve up to 6 months in jail (at an average taxpayer expense of $100 per night) none of which does anything for the victim. All of this over a $120 inflatable snowman! Does this seem like justice to you? Does it even seem rational? The victim would have been whole with a $120 check and/or a replacement snowman!

Dec 102007

Dual confession time:

  1. I have no idea if I used “whom” correctly in the title. It sounds better to me, but if you know the rules for “whom”, please comment and let me know for future reference.
  2. Despite understanding anarchy innately at a young age I spent many, many years in liberal circles and was often swayed by their views.

It’s the second confession that’s the most salient to this post. One of the things one most hears from liberals in their daily conversations (and one of the most frequent arguments against anarchy) is that the government somehow holds corporations and business back from screwing the little guy. The theory is that businesses don’t care at all about their customers and simply want to leech every last penny from our overburdened wallets. Of course, this is a complete fallacy that I’ve addressed here in the past, but this weekend provided an amazing example of the flip side…

From the Associated Press via Yahoo! News

An employee closing Trig’s Minocqua Shell for the night mistakenly entered the price of a gallon of gasoline as 32.9 cents instead of $3.299 on Monday night.

He left about 10 p.m., but drivers could still use their credit cards to buy gas.

Word of the bargain spread fast in the rural northern Wisconsin community, with 42 people buying 586 gallons of gas in an hour and 45 minutes. One person had pumped 27 gallons and two purchased 18 gallons.

Local police saw the horde at the station and called store manager Andrea Reuland, who went to the station and pushed the emergency stop.

“There were cars two deep at each of my pumps,” said Reuland, who knew many of the drivers and told them they were being dishonest — the main store sign had the correct price.

“I was very upset that there’s that many dishonest people,” she said. “They knew there was a problem, and they took advantage of an employee’s mistake and I think that’s terrible.”

This is exactly the kind of story the blogosphere loves and posts about 33 cent gas have been springing up all over the place. The problem is that most of the posts (and most of the comments) seem to be taking the side of the thieves. Yes, I called them thieves. People are cheering for the people who gleefully paid only $0.33/gallon for their gas and booing the police and station manager who put an end to the “jackpot”.

Of course, this mentality is a result of the disgust people have with the ever-increasing gas prices here in America, but, as usual, they’re aiming at the wrong targets. The average gas station only earns one or two cents per gallon of gas. It’s not the station owners who set the prices, but the oil companies themselves. This station owner has been robbed of more than $1700 in gas. Yes, I’m aware that there are laws on the books stating that businesses must honor the “shelf price” of a product, but if you think the law is the be-all end-all of right and wrong then you’re either new here or just visit to look for arguments. The only reason there was such a rush at the station was because people were telling friends, family and strangers about the “bargain price” and they knew it was a mistake. As is most often the case, the consumers were just looking out for themselves and were happily screwing over a gas station that had served their community for years. So I ask: who’s screwing whom?

Oh yeah… and kudos to the police officer who was apparently the only moral person in the area that evening for calling the station manager to end the theft!