There’s a REASON This Doesn’t Happen in Texas

Crazed thug terrorizes neighbourhood

NEIGHBOURS living on one of Tilehurst’s vandal-plagued estates endured an early hours terror ordeal when a thug ran amok during a crazed wrecking spree.

And householders in Combe Road claim they were forced to watch help-lessly as the yob caused thousands of pounds worth of damage because it took police 20 minutes to arrive.

Reading police dispute that and say officers were there in 11 minutes.

This is pretty much immaterial, because there were lots of citizens proles around watching the guy, and no matter when the cops showed up, he had time to do this:

But both sides are agreed the man, thought to be in his early 20s, smashed nine car windows while hurling threats and abuse at terrified onlookers early last Saturday.

Nilesh Kale, who lives in Combe Road, said: “At about 12.30am I heard a lot of people shouting in the street.

“I ran downstairs and saw that the passenger side window of my car had been smashed to pieces.

“This guy was threatening to knife some people who were looking out of their windows.

“I am really concerned about the safety of my family and we are always worried about what happens.”

He added: “The police were okay but if they had been here just minutes earlier they would have caught him red-handed.

“There really needs to be some more police presence in the area.”

Neighbour Stan Kwiatek said: “I was in my porch having a cigarette when I heard a noise like glass breaking.

“Then I heard shouting coming from down the road and when I looked out I saw this guy on top of a car kicking the windscreen in.

“He then came along to my car and when he spotted me he told me he would come back and burn my house down and he threatened to cut me up.

“He then went and tried to kick someone’s door in before he came back across to me again.

“He was probably there for about 10 minutes or more, but the police were so slow in coming, I reckon they took about 20 minutes to arrive.”

The man is still being hunted, but Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Nikki Maylin said officers responded to the call in 11 minutes.

She said: “We did arrive within our target set for immediate response.”

And I’m sure the residents of Tilehurst are so comforted to hear it. One citizen – ONE – armed with shotgun would have served to A) stop the man and hold him for the cops, B) chase the crazy bastard off before he did more damage, or C) drop him in the street and end the situation. If someone threatened to knife me or burn my house down, I’d choose option C.

Note that none of the above options were available to any of the good citizens of vandal-plagued Tilehurst.

No, they have to wait 11 to 20 minutes for the police to arrive. It’s within their target set for immediate response.

More Political Cartoons!

Mike Ramirez of the LA Times nails it, as usual:

Chuck Asay of the Colorado Springs Gazette does too:

And again:

And one more:

Ed Stein of the Rocky Mountain News gets it, too:

Chip Bok of the Akron Beacon Journal understands this connection, though:

Finally, Henry Payne of the Detroit News illustrates that Detroit hasn’t heard about El Cajon’s new revenue source:

The Power to Tax is the Power to Destroy

I’m sure this has been covered by other gun-bloggers. Pardon my tardiness. But this is another reason I will never register nor license my right to possess firearms. (I’m less than sanguine about concealed-carry licensing, but I’m willing to comply with it. For now.)

It seems that New York governor Pataki has decided that, in order to raise revenue, New York ought to change its handgun licensing system.

While Gov. George Pataki’s 12th annual budget address last week to the state legislature may not have harbored many surprises, gun owners from across the state were caught off guard by what they view as another attempt by Pataki to take their handguns away.

Pataki has presented a number of legislative initiatives since taking office that have not endeared him to the sportsmen and women in New York.

If Pataki follows through with this latest threat, his 2004-2005 budget bill will include a request for a new law which would require all gun owners — even those with lifetime licenses — to renew their licenses every five years. This new provision by itself would fall short of the objective — if indeed his objective is to strip them of their guns — but the $100 license fee and the $25 fee required for every handgun they own could amount to a hefty bill for some of the more enthusiastic collectors.

And it gets worse. Pataki proposes to remove the cap on processing fees that can currently be charged by local authorities. That could, and probably would, get ugly.

Gun owners in Westchester County feel they already are under fire. The county legislature there has already taken a series of measures during the last few years which have not been friendly to gun owners. Gun owners are now fearful that if they are given the opportunity, Westchester County authorities would price them right out of the market.

Lawmakers would be able to claim that they have not blocked anyone’s right to buy a handgun. Instead, they would simply make it economically prohibitive to own them. Activists feel it would not be very long before many jurisdictions in the state, under the guise of trying to “solve a crime problem” — whether real or imagined — would start charging exorbitant fees for processing handgun licenses.

This is the same tactic employed in England. Introduce a simple “commonsense” unburdensom regulation that no “right-thinking” person would oppose. Then, slowly, make it more and more expensive to exercise the right to arms. After all, gun owners are a minority. They don’t have that much political pull. (If it weren’t for that meddling NRA!).

Hey, Pataki? Why not just confiscate gun owner’s cars? That’d get you lots of income.

UPDATE: I was right. The Feces Flinging Monkey was all over this yesterday, with good advice and links for New Yorkers.

Another Friday Five

You have just won one million dollars:

1. Who do you call first? My wife.

2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself? I pay off all my debts. Edited to add: Then I’ll buy a DSA FAL.

3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else? A Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder for my wife.

4. Do you give any away? If yes, to whom? Yes. Immediate family.

5. Do you invest any? If so, how? Half of whatever is left over after taxes goes into mutual funds.

This is Good,

A humor piece in the Houston Chronicle for explaining Houston to Bostoners, and Bostoners to Houston has this cute little quip:

The New Englander’s Guide to Houston

By now you have probably accepted the fact that your parka will merely be taking up space until the moment you step outside at Logan or T.F. Green airports next week. And you may have gotten used to the fact that Houstonians are annoyingly, and sincerely, friendly. They can afford to be, since they don’t have the strict gun-control laws that we have back in Massachusetts.

Ain’t that the truth!

More Asset Forfeiture

It seems El Cajon, CA has jumped on the bandwagon, and is now seizing vehicles from men arrested for picking up prostitutes. Read on:

El Cajon begins seizing vehicles for solicitation of prostitution

When it comes to prostitution, El Cajon means business.

A new law empowers the city to assume ownership of vehicles police seize from men soliciting prostitutes, and officers tested it for the first time Tuesday night.

“The welcome mat has been withdrawn in El Cajon,” Mayor Mark Lewis said. “Before, all they had to do was pay a fine and they’d get released. Now, they have to explain what happened to the family station wagon.”

Really? What if the car is borrowed? Continuing:

City officials countywide are watching the development in El Cajon and could follow suit should the law prove effective in a city where prostitution-related arrests nearly tripled last year from 2002.

Police departments in the region routinely impound cars used in crimes, but only a few are allowed to assume ownership of the vehicles.

That’s sure to change.

On Tuesday night, police staked out a busy corner on Main Street east of downtown as three female officers posing as prostitutes and wired for sound lured a seemingly endless stream of potential customers.

One man, who did not agree to buy sex, told the undercover officer he’d heard of the new law, apparently had second thoughts and drove off before making a deal, police said.

Officers cited 12 people and seized 12 vehicles during the Tuesday night sting, Sgt. Steve Shakowski said.

Those cited – solicitation of prostitution is a misdemeanor – were shocked to learn about the new consequences.

“I think it’s a little overboard,” said one of the accused, lugging a bag of thinset mortar for tile and a sack of hardware that police allowed him to retrieve from the bed of his $20,000 pickup just before it was towed to an impound yard.

Police estimated the value of the vehicles seized at $91,000.

Hey, one night, twelve vehicles, $91,000 blue-book value. The city can probably sell them for 50% of the value to brokers, and they clear an easy $45k.

So the hard part will be finding a balance where they reduce prostitution without severely affecting this new revenue stream.

How, exactly, does this differ from making “solicitation of prostitution” a misdemeanor punishable by a $20k fine? And would you not consider this an excessive amount?

“We’ve had some discussions of a similar ordinance,” said San Diego police Sgt. Mark Sullivan, a member of the countywide Prostitution Task Force.

Oceanside police also are considering taking ownership of cars of persons arrested for soliciting prostitution. Capt. David Heering said yesterday that an Oceanside police proposal is sitting on the city attorney’s desk waiting for clearance.

El Cajon’s law differs from others in the state in that the accused can request a hearing before a judge to determine whether the vehicle was confiscated legally. The owners – whether they were the person arrested for the crime, or not – have two days to request an administrative hearing, the results of which may be appealed to the Superior Court and beyond.

The added oversight is intended to prevent misuse of the law and to minimize the number of cases that end up in court, City Attorney Morgan Folley said.

Of course. Can’t have the proles clogging the courts. And check out that time period! Two whole days! Gee, how generous.

The ACLU unsuccessfully challenged Oakland’s version of the law in 1998. In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld a similar law in Michigan.

The majority opinion, cited “a long and unbroken line of cases” since 1827 holding that “an owner’s interest in property may be forfeited” even though the owner did not know it would be put to illegal use.

Oh, right. Let’s just stretch the precedents as far as they can possibly go. It’s for a good cause. It’ll never be abused. We’re from the government and we’re here to help you!

Quote of the Day

If you have ever seen a four-year-old trying to lord it over a two-year-old, then you know what the basic problem of human nature is and why government keeps growing larger and ever more intrusive. — Thomas Sowell


Oh, This is GOOD

From the comments of Curmudgeonly and Skeptical comes this jewel:

Back in December of 1999, one of my Left Wing co-workers was telling me about her Y2K preparations, which came to several thousand dollars. “Oh, we’ve just about got everything, now. Our seed corn arrived last week and we have it sealed in air-tight containers…” (presumeably we were doomed to return to pre-industrial revolution agraria)

When she asked me what I stocked for Y2K, I just smiled and said, “5,000 rounds of .223 NATO”. I smiled and asked, “Now, where did you say you live?”

I don’t think that she knew I was joking.

Why Don’t I Ever Find Something Like This?

Via Say Uncle, it seems another Florida cop managed to leave his assault rifle laying on the side of the road.

Check out the links at the bottom of the story, too. So much for “no guns in schools.”

I feel so much safer now.

(Note, though, that in the first incident the first graders who had been through the Eddie Eagle NRA safety training did what they were supposed to do. Bet you won’t see that reported over at JoinTogether.)

Movie Review: Monster

My wife and I went out last night to see Monster, the movie about Aileen Wuornos, the prostitute turned serial killer who was put to death on Florida’s death row in 2002, 12 years after she received six death penalties. Charlize Theron plays the part of Wuornos, and she’s received a lot of Oscar buzz for it. To play the part, Theron, like DeNiro in Raging Bull put on a lot of weight for the role. She wore contact lenses and a dental appliance, and received a considerable amount of “make-down” in order to turn her from this:

into this:

This is Wuornos:

The Oscar buzz is well deserved. Theron is astounding as she takes us on a guided tour through the final steps of Wuronos’s self-destruction.

It’s a tremendously powerful performance.

The supporting cast is excellent as well.

It’s a very well made film.

It’s also about as enjoyable as a two-hour plane crash.