Wednesday Open Thread

Our last open thread is full, here's a new one. All topics welcome.

On James Foley's kidnappers: Before "the Beatles", there were the Belgians. Lots of dots to connect.

The latest victim of police "walking while black" syndrome: Hollywood producer Charles Belk, who was stopped while walking from a Beverly Hills restaurant to his car to feed the parking meter. He was stopped by police who thought he might be a bank robber, arrested and held for 6 hours. After viewing the robbery tape, police determined he looked nothing like the robber and released him, with a half-hearted apology. In his own words, on FB.

< Potential New Audio of Michael Brown Shooting
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    Girl, 9, kills shooting instructor. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Angel on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 07:49:23 AM EST
    Saw this (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:02:40 AM EST
    So sad.  Not the child's fault.  

    What kind of parents (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:06:08 AM EST
    Think it's OK for a 9 year old to be trained on an Uzi?

    Gun nuts (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:13:49 AM EST
    What kind of shooting range owner and instructor (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Angel on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:21:47 AM EST
    would think a novice 9 year-old capable of firing an Uzi?  

    More (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:42:50 AM EST

    Ronald Scott, a Phoenix-based firearms safety expert, said most shooting ranges have an age limit and strict safety rules when teaching children to shoot. He said instructors usually have their hands on guns when children are firing high-powered weapons.

    "You can't give a 9-year-old an Uzi and expect her to control it," Scott said.

    Sounds like the instructor may have been negligent here too.


    That he was negligent is extremely obvious. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Angel on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:52:47 AM EST
    Duh.  Idiots with guns.

    I wondered the same (4.40 / 5) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:25:07 AM EST
    The irony is the perents were so proud of how cute she looked with her Uzi they were videoing when she shot and kill the instructor.  They should be forced to watch it every day for the rest of their lives.  IMO.

    And (4.00 / 3) (#27)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:29:31 AM EST
    She should be removed from their care permanently.
    But it's to late.  She's fvcked.

    Probably for life. Can you imagine? (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Angel on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:52:50 AM EST
    Tea party (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:22:15 AM EST
    types and these open carry nuts.

    While we are on the subject (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:08:58 AM EST
    After fatal shooting of panhandler in wheelchair, driver leads police on I-95 chase

    A driver pulled up to a ramp onto Interstate 95, got out, pumped several bullets into a popular panhandler in a wheelchair, then sped away -- leading police on a 20-minute chase on residential streets and Interstate 95 before he was captured.

    Miami-Dade police took the shooter into custody before noon Tuesday, but did not release the victim's name or give a motive for the killing, which took place at the southbound ramp from Northwest 95th Street to I-95.
    The victim, though not identified by police, was well known to those who lived in the area and those who use the exit ramp. Some who gathered at the shooting site said the panhandler would go about his business, not particularly bothering anyone. He spent most days wheeling his way up and down the street just off the sidewalk, smiling, holding out his cup and asking for loose change.

    Very Popular Place (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:01:47 AM EST
    Ranked #1 of 575 Attractions in Las Vegas

    The girl fired the weapon at the outdoor range that caters to heavy tourism traffic along U.S. Highway 93 between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

    Highway signage and Internet advertising beckons visitors to stop in, fire a machine gun and enjoy a meal at the Bullets and Burgers enterprise at the Last Stop, about 25 miles south of Las Vegas.

    The Bullets and Burgers website markets a unique shooting experience for customers.

    "Our guests have the opportunity to fire a wide range of fully automatic machine guns and specialty weapons," the website states. "At our range, you can shoot FULL auto on our machine guns.

    "Let `em Rip!"

    Las Vegas Review Journal


    F' A$$holes (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 08:24:08 AM EST
    The LAPD morons who arrested (and humiliated) Charles Belk should be fired. It took them 6 hours to look at the video of a bank robber who looked nothing like Mr Belk, save for he was black.

    Arresting someone for walking while black should be a crime.

    Maybe not a crime. But an excellent (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:00:55 AM EST
    Federal civil rights claim for money damages. (And the city will be paying plaintiff's attorney fees.)

    When civilians... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:06:10 AM EST
    break crimes all we hear about is deterrent...we must set an example!  We must deter others!

    Where's the deterrent when the law breaks the law and the victim's only recourse is to sue the lawbreaker's employer, who pays off with other people's money?  

    Equality under the law would seem to demand that either all victims only recourse is to sue, or all lawbreakers face criminal justice.


    Yes That too! (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:05:59 AM EST
    Eyewitness (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by vicndabx on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:10:32 AM EST
    A witness then positively identified Belk as the second suspect, according to the news release.



    Eyewitness Testimony is Unreliable (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:44:09 AM EST
    Which would also apply (3.00 / 3) (#34)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:53:36 AM EST
    to the people in Ferguson....

    Seriously? (3.25 / 4) (#41)
    by sj on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:57:12 AM EST
    That's your "conclusion"? Relating one's view of an event is a completely different thing from positively identifying the actors in those events.



    Um, (3.50 / 2) (#46)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:16:12 PM EST
    I know you have reading comprehension abilities, although apparently you aren't using them today.

    As Squeaky so nicely pointed out, and linked to Jerlayn's many comments, eyewitnesses are inherently unreliable.  

    That DOES include the people in Fegruson.  Not because they mis-identified the actors (as you seem to think) - but because they may not be totally accurate in their accounting of the events.

    Seems you got a little bit of squeaky-brain freeze on you.


    No disagreement from me (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by sj on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:33:33 PM EST
    About eyewitness misidentification being a big problem. But it is a MUCH larger problem when related to identification of people/individuals rather than events.

    What should happen to get a fuller picture of an event is to get the perceptions of as many people as possible (e.g. the elephant's ear, the elephant's trunk, the elephant's leg...  you get the picture) and then, from all those data, build a comprehensive picture. Can you see how that doesn't work when ID'ing a suspect? Can you see how those are completely two different things with two completely different sets of problems?

    I don't see a single person here who has declared that a witness exists who knows exactly what happened that day. Nor has a witness come forward who says he or she has the total picture.

    Your trying to impeach everybody's story because no one can believe their lying eyes is actually kind of reprehensible.


    Remembering Faces (4.00 / 3) (#47)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:24:09 PM EST
    Remembering a face and remembering that someone was shooting at you are entirely different things.

    The former, shaky and proven to be unreliable.

    The later, unmistakably etched in sometimes mind.

    To conflate the Police arrest of Charles Belk by the LAPD and minimize it by saying Police make mistakes... big deal.

    to challenge the eyewitness accounts of the shooting of Michael Brown by PO Wilson by suggesting that people are bad at remembering faces is a load of BS.


    Try Reading Before Making Stupid Comments (3.00 / 2) (#39)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:10:53 AM EST
    In your ongoing quest to defend the police you have once again misrepresented a fact.

    Eyewitness testimony relates to the fact that Identifying the suspect by eyewitness is not dependable.

    First link:

    Columnist Ronnie Polaneczky writes about three men in the Philadelphia area who were arrested on the basis of mistaken identifications.

    Second link:

    Columnist Ronnie Polaneczky writes about three men in the Philadelphia area who were arrested on the basis of mistaken identifications.

    Third link:

    Eyewitness identification procedures often cause victims to believe with certainty that their mistaken identifications are correct.

    Fourth link:

    Problem is, confidence in the accuracy of an identification doesn't correlate with actual accuracy

    Belk (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Uncle Chip on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:13:18 AM EST
    'The Beverly Hills Police Department regrets the inconvenience to Mr. Belk, but was under obligation to thoroughly verify that he was not the suspect before releasing him,' the statement from the police read.

    Hows about doing that before he is arrested, fingerprinted and thrown in a cell.

    However, referring to the continuing troubles nationwide, Belk said that the 'time has come for a change in the way OUR (sic) law enforcement officers 'serve and protect' us.

    Yep -- it's long overdue -- and should not be limited to blacks but include kids that answer the door with wifi controllers, girlfriends of cops, kids carrying toy guns, people with wrong addresses swatted in their homes ... and dogs.

    The Belk Arrest

    When people start buying guns (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:19:47 AM EST
    To protect themselves from the police instead of the "gubment" (and if this continues they will) I wonder if the 2nd amendment lunatics will be as excited about "protection"

    Huh? (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:26:55 AM EST
    When people start buying guns To protect themselves from the police instead of the "gubment" (and if this continues they will) I wonder if the 2nd amendment lunatics will be as excited about "protection"

    Isn't that why people buy guns? Isn't the Police and the government the same entity?

    I, for one, have never seen a difference.


    Well, it would be interesting to see (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by scribe on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:56:15 PM EST
    The thing is, a couple weeks ago the people of Missouri passed perhaps the most aggressively pro-gun version of the 2nd Amendment as an amendment to the then-existing version in their state Constitution.  Under just about any reading of that provision, as adopted, the people of Ferguson would have been perfectly within their rights to have been carrying just about any legally-ownable gun, openly or concealed, in the streets during their protests.  A fortiori, they would have been well within their rights to sit on their front porches with a shotgun or AR on their lap.

    Now, what do you think would have happened if they had actually exercised those rights?


    Tanks.... (none / 0) (#52)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:04:22 PM EST
    Or More tanks..

    This is a good thing..

    We should get the NRA down to Ferguson.


    Ask Cliven Bundy (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:33:54 AM EST
    If there is a difference between the police - who he repeatedly deferred to - and the gunpbment.

    Yes in the minds of the right there is a difference between the local police who are likely to defer to them and the gubment who does not.


    What Loons.. (none / 0) (#17)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:35:45 AM EST
    Another incompressible position from the wingnut central.

    I asu e everyone saw this (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 12:03:24 PM EST
    Huey P. Newton Gun Club leads open-carry rally in South Dallas

    When people start arming themselves for protection from the insanely over militarized police and their exploitation I wonder if the coddled white gun nuts will as excited about the second amendment.


    Indeed (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:39:08 AM EST
    If armed resistance to the militarized police occurs it will not be the Cliven Bundys of the world.

    I believe Bundy made some distinction (none / 0) (#49)
    by scribe on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:44:46 PM EST
    between local cops (who his ilk deem to be OK - the county and the sheriff are the highest legitimate form of government and law enforcement, yadda yadda) and the feds (not OK).

    I don't believe that argument has ever held up when tested in court but, like believing the earth is flat, some people continue to buy it.


    Context (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:37:20 AM EST
    To understand some of the distrust of police that has fueled protests in Ferguson, Mo., consider this: In 2013, the municipal court in Ferguson -- a city of 21,135 people -- issued 32,975 arrest warrants for nonviolent offenses, mostly driving violations.

    A new report released the week after 18-year old Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson helps explain why. ArchCity Defenders, a St. Louis-area public defender group, says in its report that more than half the courts in St. Louis County engage in the "illegal and harmful practices" of charging high court fines and fees on nonviolent offenses like traffic violations -- and then arresting people when they don't pay. The report singles out courts in three communities, including Ferguson.

    Just like around the U.S., these municipal court fines in Ferguson are for low-level offenses, usually traffic violations. Harvey calls these "poverty crimes." Typically, he says, someone gets stopped for a rolling stop at a stop sign, or for a broken tail light. Then police find other problems.


    Blacks make up 67 percent of the city's population, but are 86 percent of motorists stopped by police. Whites make up 29 percent of the population, but 12.7 percent of vehicle stops.

    "However, this data seems at odds with the fact that searches of black individuals result in discovery of contraband only 21.7 percent of the time, while similar searches of whites produce contraband 34 percent of the time," the ArchCity Defenders report notes.


    Yes (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:06:08 AM EST
    And given the honesty (not) of police in general, particularly when they have a mandate, quota or whatever is driving them, chances are that many of these charges are bogus.

    These are a population group that cannot afford a lawyer to defend themselves.


    No worries (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:17:15 AM EST
    They arrange payment plans

    Black Panther (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:02:25 AM EST
    photographed less than 20 miles from my house


    Oddly nowhere near a polling place

    Wonder What The Panther's Diet Is? (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:07:04 AM EST
    Golden retrievers?

    Wolves go for the golden retrievers (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by scribe on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:50:10 PM EST
    I used to go to a fishing lodge in a small town in Canada where people kept their dogs inside at night.  There had been incidents of the local wolves coming into back yards and killing pets in their doghouses/kennels.  And sometimes eating them.

    Where I live now, when people put up posters to advise that their mop-dog Fluffy or their cat Cuddles has suddenly gone missing from the yard, the usual response, sotto voce, is that they are now Coyote Chow.


    Probably rabbits (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:08:32 AM EST
    There zillions of them.  Must be the mild wet summer

    Deer, mostly, then wild pig, etc. (none / 0) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:44:26 AM EST
    That works too (none / 0) (#31)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:50:59 AM EST
    All over populated.  Wolves have also returned.

    Would add (none / 0) (#37)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:05:24 AM EST
    All the result of wiping out the predators.  Good for Mother Nature.  

    one, unfortunately.

    Quick story.

    A few years ago I was running with my dog on a trail in a state park near my house and noticed the dog had found something at the edge of a clearing near some trees by a stream bed and was acting weird so I investigated.

    He had found a deer's foreleg and all the grass in the area was completely stomped down to the ground.

    A few days later I ran into a park ranger and told him what happened, and he said "Did you look up into the tree branches?" I said "No, why?" and he said, "'cuz that is likely where the mountain lion was." "Usually they eat their fill, cover the remains with leaves, and then climb a nearby tree to watch over and protect their meal."

    A little unnerving.


    Last summer (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 12:05:52 PM EST
    The dogs and I were out in the yard after dark and heard the freakiest scream.
    We were all like, WTF.
    We went inside.

    Good decision. (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 12:10:26 PM EST
    Palestinians shouldn't try legal means? (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by CityLife on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:14:34 AM EST
    Look at the State Department spokeswoman saying that if Palestinians seek justice by joining the International Criminal Court (ICC) it would "badly damage the atmosphere" with Israel "whom they ultimately need to make peace." Another perverse excuse from the U.S. to hinder efforts to hold Israel accountable for war crimes!
    (I think she is reading a prepared statement, I don't think she thought up this perverse excuse on the spot.)

    Well, the United States is not a member (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by caseyOR on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:10:34 AM EST
    of the ICC. If we joined the ICC we would have to either stop killing at will around the globe, or spend a whole lot of time trying to defend ourselves at the Hague. Our indiscriminate use of drones, for example,  would generate quite a bit of court action.

    We do make use of the ICC when it suits our purposes. Keep in mind, our purposes are never suited by being held accountable for our own actions. And I doubt that our purposes would be suited by having Israel held accountable, as would certainly happen if the Palestinians joined the court.


    Jon Stewart, national treasure (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:53:43 AM EST
    "Fit The Description" (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:11:19 AM EST
    Reminds me of all the mistaken identities that occurred last year when Christopher Dorner, a black male, was running around killing people on So Cal.

    First the cops riddled a pickup truck with over 100 bullets which was driven by two Hispanic females delivering newspapers, and then they rammed a different pickup truck and fired multiple times at its driver through its window, this truck was driven by a white male who was on his way to the beach to go surfing.

    Neither of the two pickup trucks matched the color nor make/model description of Dorner's truck, and of course none of the people inside the trucks matched Dorner's description.