Morning Ed: United States {2016.01.18.M}

An officer in Brooklyn managed to hand out 19,000 parking tickets last year.

Huh. Maybe we do need a border wall with Canada after all.

Undercover narcotics detective Jacob Grant was shot several times in the abdomen… by his superior officer.

The VA supervisors who oversaw the catastophe on 2014 are back on the job.

If you need an elderly woman for a photo op and don’t have one, it’s a bad idea to dress a man for the part, it turns out.

For Sale: A Town in South Dakota. It’s a couple hours outside of Rapid City, which makes it less convenient than the town in Wyoming that was sold in 2012, though not as isolated as the one sold in Wyoming last year.

US News reports on the urban/rural divide on guns. A lot of the interstate comparisons rely a lot on suicide rates. Which is not typically how it is portrayed. There is a similar disconnect on car deaths versus gun deaths.


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41 thoughts on “Morning Ed: United States {2016.01.18.M}

  1. The link in the VA item goes to a piece about universal basic income and reparations for stay-at-home moms.

    The last item reminds me of a European study I saw once where they summed murders and suicides by country. The result was that all of Europe was pretty consistent for total violence, but that in the northern countries people tended to kill themselves and in the southern countries they tended to kill someone else.

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    • in the northern countries people tended to kill themselves and in the southern countries they tended to kill someone else.

      I don’t think it’s a strong one, but IIRC there is a slight statistical correlation between urban-area temperature rises and their murder rates. People do seem to go a little crazy from the heat.

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    • The last item was indeed interesting. I’ve noticed a rather pronounced shift equating suicide by gun with homicide by gun. As if Suus- and Homo- were no longer up to snuff helping us sort out the relevant factors.

      And, for the record, I too am also happy that vehicular deaths have finally become almost as rare as homicides.

      (Was that a Vox article for the original source?)

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  2. Presumably the undercover officer did not initiate force against his fellow police, so why was he shot? Prophylaxis? Is that what usually happens in drug stings, but we just don’t care, because they’re low-life scumbags? This time we do, because it’s an undercover cop?

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    • No shit.

      The allegation in the lawsuit is that the shooter approached the car from the wrong side, didn’t attend a briefing the day before, and didn’t recognize the undercover cop.

      Not a word about ‘Shot a dude who posed no threat to you’.

      You would *think* that would be the bigger problem, that someone who legitimately posed no threat (And can actually ‘prove’ it, as much as we can prove motives.), *and* is also literally the most knowledgeable person imaginable about ‘how to behave’ when faced with screaming cops, *still got shot*.

      Nope. No one seems to have noticed that not a *single item* on the lawsuit list would have applied if the victim hadn’t been a cop, but still wrongly shot. No one seems to be asking ‘Why did you shoot that guy, or anyone, *anyway*?’, it’s all ‘You shouldn’t have shot that specific guy because he was a cop.’.

      The police appear to have officially given up the idea that they shouldn’t shoot non-dangerous people, and are operating solely on the idea they shouldn’t shoot *police officers*. The alternative doesn’t even occur to *any police officer interviewed here*, including the one who was shot.

      I mean, we already knew that, but it’s interesting to have it confirmed in a lawsuit.

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      • http://www.abqjournal.com/626997/news/new-details-in-shooting-of-officer.html shed a bit of light on the whole mess.

        I piece that together roughly as:
        – The original plan had been to have one cop in the car, in the driver’s seat, buying some meth. Then a bunch of uniformed cops swarm the car and arrest the sellers.
        – On the day of the sting, at the meeting one cop missed, it was decided to have two cops in the car, one in the driver’s seat and one in the driver’s side back seat.
        – The uniformed cops swarmed the car, at which time the plainclothes cops pulled their own guns on the sellers (as planned?)
        – The one cop who’d missed the briefing saw that someone in the car, who he thought was not a fellow cop, had pulled a gun, and shot the bejesus out of him.

        Nowhere in this whole thing is there any questioning of whether deliberately going into unpredictable situations in guns-drawn raids, over $60 in methamphetamine, is remotely a good idea.

        Presumably if the person who was shot had actually been selling meth, had seen a man brandishing a gun rushing the car where he sat, and drawn his own gun in self defence, not a tear would have been shed nor a hand wrung (and furthermore he wouldn’t likely have survived because “officer safety” often means handcuffing the bleeding and barely conscious shooting victim and withholding first aid until paramedics arrive).

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        • Well, that makes the situation a little more understandable, I guess…

          …although I, like you, am completely baffled as to why anyone needed guns drawn.

          Or why the undercover cops needed to pull theirs. They’re in a *car* with the criminals, sitting next to them. How do you safely hold a gun on someone sitting next to you in a car and demand they…get out of the car? Disarm themselves?

          Answer: You do not do that safely, because that is impossible. You cannot hold a gun on someone sitting a foot next to you, especially if you’re (like most people) right-handed and they’re sitting on the right of you. There is no possible way to maintain any sort of safe distance and stop them from grabbing your gun.

          Wouldn’t it make more sense for the police to demand *everyone* get out of the car, and then, you know, the undercover cops are sent back to the police station to file a report?

          Or, since this is happening *on the street*, you, uh, just pretend to arrest everyone, then people don’t know those are undercover cops. I’m not pretending that this is some super complicated undercover stuff that is a huge secret require fake arrest processing and putting them in lockup and faking bail and everything, but perhaps you at least stick them in the back of a police car and drive off also so as to not having the undercover police revealed to *everyone on the street watching the drug bust* would be a clever idea.

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          • I mean, what is even the logic here on them pulling guns?

            Revealing the undercover cops during the arrest *risks their lives*. Now they’re possible hostages because, duh, they’re *too damn close* to the criminals to be safe.

            Whereas if they *aren’t* known to be undercover cops, the criminals obviously aren’t going to take them hostage. (1)

            At the *minimum* you separate them out before revealing they’re cops, although I’m still a little baffled why you’d reveal them as cops in front of everyone *at all*.

            Oh, wait, I know what the logic is. The undercover cops really wanted to get in on the penis^Wgun brandishing, and thought it was unfair to leave them out.

            1) Well, there’s a possibility that they might attempt to make the driver drive away…and that’s why the car should have a hidden disable button, so the car can innocently fail to start right then.

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            • I think we’re all vastly overestimating the intelligence and planning skills on both sides here, cop and criminal.

              Likely due to TV and movies.

              The average criminal isn’t that smart, and the average cop doesn’t need to be any smarter, especially when dealing with low level stuff like basic drug busts, robberies, bar fights, drunk people, and speeding.

              I suspect the smart cops go into management equivilant or something big like homicide, whereas the smart criminals….generally don’t get caught, because they’re smart enough to play the odds and stay under the radar.

              Also, I suspect most criminals — when faced with police pointing guns at them, just surrender. (Although that, of late, seems to increasingly the more risky play. I mean if you shoot back you at least have a small chance….beats dying on the ride to the station, you know?)

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    • On two different occasions I’ve lived in very small towns which were targeted by the Feds for undercover drug ops. The first was in a pretty economically depressed town here in CO (the town has flipped since then), and everyone knew who was “dealing” in advance of the sting op. And I mean, like, everyone new, including people like me who’d never used cocaine. Given that the “dealers” were townies, and the cops were largely townies, there is simply no way *they* didn’t know who was selling. Feds shows up, placed a few moles out there, and some really decent people ended up in jail and having to sell all their property to pay legal bills, etc etc. Of course, they never targeted anyone higher than the street level sellers, never implicated the cops, never got to the higher level dealers who had connections outa state (or even outa town), etc.

      The second was a really tiny town in Texas near the Mexico border. Lots of undercover feds trolled the townies and since everyone knew they weren’t locals they only managed to get a few folks busted for MJ possession, not dealing, and again none of the big-time movers were ever identified let alone charged (cuz there weren’t any*) and quite a few decent people ended up getting thrown in jail. One woman lost custody of her kids. Another dude had to sell his property to pay legal fees, etc etc.

      * A few years later the sheriff of a town a hundred or so miles north was busted, tho, for trucking in bales and using his cops to run security on deliveries. So there’s that.

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  3. Before we judge him, it’s important to note that the superior officer in the undercover cop shooting has been institutionalized, where in-between fits of giggling and twitching, he has been observed writing “KILL CLOUSEAU” on the padded walls with his toes.

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  4. 1. This number of parking tickets a year is not actually that surprising considering that Brooklyn has two million people in a very dense area and not a lot in terms of street parking and parking lots. Plus the guy is right. People don’t read the signs. There are lots of places in Brooklyn where you will see people just double park because there is no other way to get a spot.

    2. Rhode Island story: Oh Rhode Island!!!

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    • I didn’t read the article, but IF he worked all 365 days of the year, 8 hrs/day, that’s 6.5 tickets per hour he’s writing (52 tickets, each and every day of the year).

      Given that we know he did NOT work 365 days, adjust that average upward. Exactly how fast a pen-hand does this guy have? And why aren’t you concerned for this poor overworked person, just because he doesn’t work in an Amazon warehouse?! ;-)

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        • Probably, but I assume there’s still data entry – at minimum, the plate # (unless the device does image recognition and they just snap a shot), the code for the parking violation(s), and the violation location (unless the device does GPS). It’s still got to take a couple minutes, I would think.

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          • There are a number of people who are regular commenters here who could write that app, given some research time. Seriously, given a contemporary smartphone, if it couldn’t snap the photo, find and identify the license plate number, record the location, and query the database to see if that car had been reported stolen, all in something under 5-10 seconds, I’d be having (unpleasant) words with my development team.

            The bulk of the work could be done while the phone holder walked to the next vehicle in line.

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          • I don’t know how representative this is, but I watched a parking office walk up to a car, the print and place a ticket on it in under 30 seconds last summer. The meter was expired, and I suspect that she already had the license plate from an earlier pass (and just had to verify that was the same car) and that the meter had already alerted the system, so that all she had to do to give the ticket was press one or two buttons on the touch screen.

            The parking cops there (around the Capitol) record all the license plates, it appears, so their system may be faster than the one regular ol’ parking cops use, though.

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      • The article said he made nearly 30,000 dollars in overtime. His base salary is 36,000 dollars. Guy is interesting actually. He is an engineer and headmaster from Haiti who came here to flee violence and political unrest.

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      • Even at just 2000 hours per year, that’s less than 10 per hour. And it sounds like he got tons of OT. In a place like New York, I bet you can be scouting your next victim while you’re still waiting for the citation on your current one to print out. If everybody was putting up those numbers, that would be a little bit suspicious, but one guy at the tail of the distribution? I can believe it’s legit.

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        • When I said people just double park their cars, I meant you could see an entire block or two of double parking. Not just a random car here and there. There are also alternate side of the street parking rules that people miss a lot probably. Basically one of the major hassles of owning a car in NYC is that you have to get up really early a few times a week to move your car for the street cleaners.

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