Bombs Away

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As we all know, those air marshals in Miami shot Rigoberto Alpizar because he said he had a bomb in his bag. Or did he?

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  1. Did he say it? Is that the question?

    If he said it, then all bets are off. If someone runs at me claiming to have bomb, then I’m doing whatever I can to stop him…IMMEDIATELY!
    You can argue the use of Air Marshalls on a plane. Maybe if we were all armed there wouldn’t be any problems.

  2. Did he say it? Is that the question?

    Yes.

  3. Based on both of those stories, the only person who so far has publicly acknowledged that he said anything about a bomb is the marshall who shot him and his partner.

    I know we don’t know all the facts yet, but this is starting to resemble the london shooting.

    Even if he didn’t mention having a bomb, would the shooting be justifiable if he actually did “reach into his backpack” while beind ordered to get on the ground and having guns pointed at him?

  4. Even if he didn’t say “bomb”, he was trying to cut in front of everybody else waiting to get off the plane. At least from now on, people will be a lot more courteous in deplaning.

  5. “You can’t get on the ground with a fanny pack,” he says. “You have to move it to the side.”

    what a crock of shit, you can’t get on the ground with a fanny pack on? really? was he carrying a couch in the fanny pack or something?

    “I didn’t see him get shot,” he says.

    so he’s positive the guy never said bomb. He also didn’t see him get shot, so he must not have been shot then. I’m not sayin this guy is wrong, but stating you can’t get on the ground with a fanny pack on and being so sure that because you didn’t hear bomb from 24 rows back doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t said. Can we at least wait until we have everyone’s story before pushing the ‘air marshalls suck’ theme?

  6. Maybe if we were all armed there wouldn’t be any problems.

    Or more. I could see where in a somewhat hypervigilant situation such as on a plane, folks might be a bit more willing to shoot, even if they may be mistaken. As seems to be the possibility here.

  7. “They asked, ‘Did you hear anything about the b-word?'” he says. “That’s what they called it.”

    Bologna? Bosnia? Ben-Hur? Botswana?

    My God.

    And I’m immediately suspicious when the officials are saying he’s running up and down the aisle, saying “I’ve got a bomb in my bag,” and not one passenger remembers hearing this.

    This does not look good.

  8. “You can’t get on the ground with a fanny pack,” he says. “You have to move it to the side.”

    That sounds like the scene in Raising Arizona where Nick Cage robs the bank and tells everyone to “Get Down!” “Put your hands up!” to which a customer responds, “Well, which is it? Do you want us to get down or put our hands up?”

  9. Shit. I had a bad feeling about this as soon as the story broke yesterday. And that’s despite the fact that for a libertarian, I’m predisposed to BELIEVE the state story in cases like this.

    My first reaction when my boyfriend told me to check CNN was, “Uh-oh”.

    The bipolar story, if true, makes this even more sad. Men with bipolar disorder have an unusually incidence of dying by gunshot (self-inflicted or otherwise).

  10. I’ve seen officials admit that all of this airline security does no actual good in terms of stopping people from blowing up airplanes, and is a method of reassuring the public. Does the equation change now that people are being shot, instead of “inconvenienced?”

  11. tomhynes,

    You got post of the day. Congrats.

  12. The way it was described on NPR last night, it was only after he exited that he claimed he had a bomb, then he reached into the bag and was shot.

  13. “Or more. I could see where in a somewhat hypervigilant situation such as on a plane, folks might be a bit more willing to shoot, even if they may be mistaken. As seems to be the possibility here.”

    While *cops* may be “a bit more willing to shoot,” I don’t believe that’s true of “folks.” I’ve read somewhere that ordinary citizens are much less likely to shoot innocent people when they use their guns for defense of themselves or others than the police are.

  14. Good thing this guy didn’t realy have a bomb with a

  15. Does the equation change now that people are being shot, instead of “inconvenienced?”

    No. Most people will assume that Rigoberto Alpizar (sounds arabic enough) was probably a terrorist and had it coming and will not bother to follow through with whether or not he was justifiably shot. (Why would the marshals have shot him if he wasn’t a terrorist? Huh?)

  16. It’s working. Big Brother is frightening the crap out of the sheeple. Pretty soon kids will be turing in thier parents for thoughtcrime. Every time a new “terrorist” is “shot in the act” there is applause from the peanut gallery and the collective hate of Osama Bin Goldstein rages onward.

    When you consider the odds of it actually happening, the fact that Americans are so afraid of being blown up in a plane that they give up thier rights one after another and say “Thank You” afterwards makes me sick. I’ve a mind to leave the country…but where can a body go to just be left alone? Is it any better anywhere?

  17. That sounds like the scene in Raising Arizona where Nick Cage robs the bank and tells everyone to “Get Down!” “Put your hands up!” to which a customer responds, “Well, which is it? Do you want us to get down or put our hands up?”

    Great reference, but it was John Goodman and William Forsythe robbing the bank, H.I. was on the way. Also it was “Everybody freeze, Everybody down on the ground”.

  18. If he said it, I can’t blame them.

    If.

    I’ll be suspicious if they claim he was jumping a turnstile after leaving a house under surveillance.

  19. Ugh, worse than a triple post. Forgot to include the right amount of quotation marks.

  20. Things are looking a little grim for the Air Marshalls right about now. I have personal experience with how the authorities will lie to cover their asses so the story strikes a chord. No witnesses heard the guy claim to have a bomb? Wow. That is, well, that’s a BOMBshell.

  21. People make bad judgement calls. If an investigation shows that he made a bad call, then it should be dealt with. Regardless of why he was shot, it wouldn’t change my opinion that pilots should be armed.

  22. TWC – I hear you re: cops lying. Every read a police report about an incedent that you were actually involved in? Some of the ones I’ve read, you’re saying to yourself “WTF?”. Or even give some cops the benefit of the doubt, and not say they’re lying, but misremembering.

    Still, they ususally aren’t very accurate in their reports.

  23. Scene: Air Marshall Meeting Room

    Director of Marshalls: Okay, we’re out there in the thousands, but neither the public nor terrorists believe we’re actually on that many flights. What can we do about it?

    Marshall Bill: This might sound a little crazy, but what if we shoot someone and claim they said they had a bomb? We’ll pick some deranged fellow. No one will mind if he’s deranged.

    Marshall Tom: That’s a great idea! We’ll get some excellent publicity and it’ll never come back to blow up in our faces.

    Marshall Bill: Ha! “Blow up.” Marshall Tom made a funny!

  24. Swill,

    Its been a few years since I have seen that movie, but you are right. That is a great line.

  25. Low, good points, my story was when the Secret Service planted several joints on the carpet right next to my feet on the drivers side of my 59 Chevy pickup truck. I was very lucky not to go down for that and I am eternally grateful to a grizzled old San Clemente police sergeant who essentially slapped those guys up side the head and said something like he’s just a dumb ass, WTF are you guys doing? Cut him loose and get him the fuck outta here.

    Oh yeah, that was before MJ was a ticket in Californicate. I was real scared dude. It ain’t no fun, starin’ straight down the barrel of a .38 with felony dope on the floor.

  26. I, for one, am willing to wait to see how this develops. I understand the shooting if it was for the stated reasons, less so if not. But if this is yet another incident of us getting lied to, well, I’m going to be pissed. Again.

    Of course, the marshals have a tough job, so if this was an honest error, albeit a costly one, I’m not going to freak out. Though I’m never happy when the government kills an innocent man.

    By the way, I just happened to peruse our building’s bomb threat checklist today. Among a bunch of inanities (it talks about me searching for a suspected bomb. Huh? I’ll be swimming a mile out on the bay moments after receiving the threat), it has a tidbit about not using your cell phone. It could set off the bomb. Yikes.

  27. Who has an incentive to lie about the situation? Well, certainly the marshals, and probably the dead guy’s wife. Certainly not the other passengers. If there are a sufficient number (would 5 be enough? 10?) of passengers who were within earshot and never heard the guy claim to have a bomb, then the marshals are probably lying. Judging from the several instances I have tried to explain something to law enforcement officers, it would seem that their listening skills are no better than those of the flying public.

  28. TWC – lucky you. Gotta love it when the local cop is cooler than the feds about weed. (And I’m not talkin’ about DEA, most other kinds of feds don’t give a shit about weed.)

    Ethan – re: listening skills of cops, that’s what I’m talking about. I have never read a police report that was anywhere near accurate. So you have to wonder if they’re deliberatly making shit up or if they’re stupid or what. I can imagine both being true.

  29. “I’ve seen officials admit that all of this airline security does no actual good in terms of stopping people from blowing up airplanes, and is a method of reassuring the public.”

    Either they thought he had a bomb, or they didn’t think he had a bomb.

    If they did think so, then they don’t trust their own security screenings. Surprised? Me neither.

    If they didn’t think he had a bomb, then they’re lying. Surprised? Me neither.

    Of course, the “or” isn’t exclusive, and I’d bet both assertions are true: the cops are lying (they usually do – it’s a habit), and they also don’t trust their security systems.

  30. Can I volunteer to be shot by an air marshall? It would make me feel so much safer.

  31. From the Time article:

    “I was on the phone with my brother. Somebody came down the aisle and put a shotgun to the back of my head and said put your hands on the seat in front of you. I got my cell phone karate chopped out of my hand. Then I realized it was an official.”
    In the ensuing events, many of the passengers began crying in fear, he recalls. “They were pointing the guns directly at us instead of pointing them to the ground,” he says “One little girl was crying. There was a lady crying all the way to the hotel.”

    IOW, we’re paying armed terrorists to board planes and terrorize unarmed citizens.

    THAT IS SO FRIGGIN’ k3WL!

    Or at least all the upstanding ‘taxpayers’ are paying them to do so. I opted out of that scam a while ago.

  32. One law enforcement source said the backpack had drawn attention because Alpizar wore it over his chest, not his back.

    That’ll learn ‘im. Don’t mess with our fashion police, furriner.

    The rest of the federal line stinks like a big pile of horse dookie. Lots of people heard the wife say he was sick, but none corroborate Dave Adams’s statment, that Alpizar had run up and down the plane’s aisle yelling, “I have a bomb in my bag.”?

    He ran up and down the aisle yelling, but there’s a vast “conspiracy of silence” among the passengers, to screw the air marshal’s?

  33. Damn that last apostrophe! I hope the grammar police don’t shoot me.

  34. Okay, so the guy has a panic attack on the plane, butts ahead of the first class passengers, and is shot for it.
    The FAMs search his bag, and finding nothing, feel the sudden need to keep their jobs. Ultimately, nothing comes of it.
    Time to start keeping a tally of innocent people saved by FAMs vs. killed by FAMs: currently 0-1.
    You give a guy a gun, and pay him to look for people to shoot, and this is the kind of shit you’re going to get. When you’ve got a hammer…

  35. This is why I loathe authority. I was intensely aggravated by this story along with finding out about the renewal of the PATRIOT Act. The common folk of this country are starting to look like paranoid hypochodriacs about this terrorism business. We haven’t had a single successful or attempted terrorist attack in this country since 9/11/01. And yet, people are still being convinced they need to submit to overwhelming authority to be safe. Fuck the Air Marshals and fuck the TSA. I’m not getting anywhere near an airplane until the authoritarian noose gets loosened.

    The Air Marshalls shooting this guy is like a big game hunter shooting an Iguana because he thought it was a Crocodile, and bragging about how good a hunter he is. Whether or not they where justified in killing an innocent man, they shouldn’t be the least bit pleased with the situation. Instead, they’re all patting each other on the back for a job well done. An innocent man is dead, his life over, because he had a panic attack and got plugged by a couple of zealous authority figures. Even if he yelled “Bomb” that is still awful. I wish the authorities would at least sound a little remorseful about this.

  36. The “official” account of events are either too stupid to be believed or too stupid NOT to be believed.
    If you are trying to blow up the plane, why do you get OFF the plane?
    Why do you announce you have a bomb? Wouldn’t keeping quiet about it be a more effective strategy?
    What kind of suicide bomber brings family members along?
    When news stories make no sense I have to assume there are things we are not being told, or things we are being told are lies. Or maybe no one could possibly make up a sequence of events so non-sequitur unless it really was all true.
    Then again, a hodgepodge of lies tend to yield a highly improbable story. I will coin the term “vandersloot” to describe this scenario.

  37. Hey guys,

    What I want to know is how the hell did he get on the plane with a bomb in his carry on in the first place!!! Especially if it was in a fanny pack? I can’t get on with a push-up bra and earings let alone a bomb. Please, they keep finding my hidden lighters the bas**** but they missed a bomb? Come on, the guy freaked with out his meds (why the hell was he flying with out meds???))) and he ran from the plane and they panicked and shot the poor dude while his wife watched. Then to make sure they didn’t look foolish, the blew up the rest of the woman’s luggage. WHAT!?!?!?!? WTF!!! Sorry but there are too many loop holes in this story.

  38. Anyone else curious about Air Marshall “resource” allocation?

    A 1-hr flight from Miami to Orlando, and 2 Marshalls on board….

  39. >Okay, so the guy has a panic attack on the plane, butts ahead of the first class passengers, and is shot for it.

    I just went through several different news stories about this. Passengers described him as appearing panicked, mentally ill or disturbed, but never menacing. Too bad the marshalls didn’t see this. They’re being defended with statements that their training is all about “shoot to kill.” I guess that kind of training overrides the layman’s apparent ability to distinguish a frightened man from a suicide bomber.

    >people are still being convinced they need to submit to overwhelming authority to be safe.

    I went to an entertainment/gossip related blog and found a thread about the incident. About 15 of 20 posts are of the “sorry, but I feel safer knowing the flight marshalls are there and doing their jobs” variety.

    >Lots of people heard the wife say he was sick, but none corroborate Dave Adams’s statment, that Alpizar had run up and down the plane’s aisle yelling, “I have a bomb in my bag.”?

    Exactly. A blogger at the other site claimed that “dozens” of witnesses were on CNN corroborating that he said he had a bomb. Well, I don’t have cable so I don’t know, but I haven’t read a single account by an eyewitness that corroborates the “official” account. If there is one, I’d love to know about it.

  40. FWIW, local news affiliates here in Dallas have interviewed a passenger who stated that Rigoberto shouted either “I have a bomb” or “There is a bomb” as he ran down the aisle. Granted, those two statements are quite different, but there are witness who heard the word “bomb”, which directly contradicts the witness(es) in the Time and CNN articles.

  41. well i was expecting a hysterical paranoid posting about the miami incident and i wasn’t disappointed. time for you all to head back to the freemen compound.

  42. Roberta,

    The second story (from CNN) indicates that, although he was a citizen, he was coming back from Ecuador via Miami. The first story (from Time) makes it sound like he had just gotten on the plane, freaked out, and tried to get off. So, if true, he didn’t “cut in front of the other passengers waiting to get off the plane,” tomhynes.

    He probably didn’t want to carry his meds for fear of having them confiscated by Customs. But the marshalls are now on “paid administrative leave”? I call that “vacation.”

  43. All we know is the guy didn’t have a bomb and wasn’t in his seat. The rest is unclear. Do we know he was reaching for something or if he even heard or saw the air marshalls yelling at him?I’m not sure we can rely on any witness statement either – unless you were with the victim the whole time and heard exactly what he said. If the plane’s engine was running and/or the fans were on, chances are you didn’t hear much at all. It’s possible this victim didn’t hear or see the marshalls either.

    Here’s why you can’t always rely on good witness accounts either. This happened to me. I was chasing a young, african-american kid across the street after he “assaulted” my wife. I grabbed him by the back of his neck in front of two other witness and yelled at him and said “if you ever come back, I’ll kick your ass.” And then I let him go. One of the witnesses was black, the other latino. The police arrived after I went back home and took witness statements. The kid and two witnesses both said I yelled “I’ll kick your black ass”. I never said “black”. Now imagine if you read that in the paper? Of course you would think I said “black ass” when two witnesses corroborate the story.

  44. Now that I’ve seen the story on NBC with Brian Williams, I’m ready to comment.
    If I had been a sky marshall, I would probably have fired too.
    Back when every other plane got hijacked to Cuba (early ’70’s), I had a little run-in with a sky marshall. (I was telling my fellow passengers the joke about: “Hi, Jack!”)
    Sky marshalls are put into very tense situations, so who wouldn’t be grumpy and have a hair-trigger finger? Especially on the old propeller-driven puddle-jumper where this one almost blew my ass away.
    Now excuse me as I revert to my recitation of the well-known? Alponse and Gaston routine.
    Let sky marshalls be Alponse. Let random airplane passengers be Gaston.
    Who will be the first to kill?
    It’s like Archie and Meathead trying to get through the doorway at the same time.
    One of the two should never have been dreamt up. Or, at least, scripted to simultaneously perform airplane security.
    Sky Marshalls are Meathead/Alphonse.
    Other airline passengers, Archie/Gaston, would have more of their wits about them in a stressful situation.
    This latest episode of sky marshalls on parade is another in a government-sponsored series where body counts are not a fair measure of success. In fact, quite the opposite.

  45. Anyone else curious about Air Marshall “resource” allocation?

    I brought up these related points at grylliade.org, after hearing them from a (contrarian) talking head on Fox News this afternoon:

    1. Now that cockpit doors are reinforced, hijacking a plane seems like a longshot. Anyone who wants to inflict violence on a plane can go on a murderous rampage, but it’s still just a murderous rampage, and not a manned flying missile.

    2. Someone who wants to blow up a plane, like the shoe bomber, with half a brain, unlike the shoe bomber, would either go into the bathroom and try to blow up the plane (out of observational range of the air marshals, at least until they start staffing the bathrooms – will they hand out paper towels and cologne?), or put a bomb in the luggage, or use a timer, or whatever. Air marshals seem pretty damn useless in stopping bombs.

    I went to an entertainment/gossip related blog and found a thread about the incident. About 15 of 20 posts are of the “sorry, but I feel safer knowing the flight marshalls are there and doing their jobs” variety.

    Therein lies the political issue, of course.
    —–
    Can I volunteer to be shot by an air marshall? It would make me feel so much safer.

    Classic.

  46. >All we know is the guy didn’t have a bomb and wasn’t in his seat. The rest is unclear.

    Well, you’re correct, and I think most people here are aware that eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable.

    Nevertheless, it’s a tragic and alarming event and based on news reports so far, makes very little sense.

    Chances are there will be an investigation, the marshals will be exonerated, and members of the public will be left to decide for themselves if they acted improperly or not. For myself, it sounds like at the very least (like, if he actually did claim to have a bomb) they were trigger happy. Was it necessary to shoot the guy 5 or more times? I don’t see how it could have been.

  47. This is to address the comment by jf, reference “dead mans switches”. Generally all of the suicide bombers use something like this http://oditechnologies.com/products/fuse_assembly.html It’s called a safety fuze igniter. You pull the pin, then pull the end cap off the cardboard tube, thus igniting the safety fuse. Once you pull it you have a certain amount of time before the fuse burns down to the cap, and sets it off. Generally anywhere from minutes to seconds, depending on how long you cut the safety fuse. This is the system used by most suicide bombers. At one point in time they used a lot of electric blasting caps, with the accompanying dead mans switches, but since those caps can be initiated by RF energy, the Israelis used to drive up and down the streets blasting RF energy out of a special vehicle, and making everyones suicide vests blow up prematurely. Just a little bit of trivia from your friendly neighborhood bomb tech. By the way, the standard for those Air Marshals to shoot that guy is something we, (in the law enforcement field), call “reasonable belief”. If they had a reasonable belief that he posed a threat of death or great bodily harm to others, then they were well within their obligation to dump him. Finally, if he was of his meds, and having such an extreme episode, then his wife had absolutely no business bringing him onboard that flight in the 1st place. Thats just common sense.

  48. This is tragic, but I agree with Brad that this guy should have never been on a plane. Air travel can be stressful for the mentally healthy. This was an accident waiting to happen.

  49. Of course, if the government hadn’t made it impossible for him to buy his medications without a note from a locally licensed doctor, perhaps he wouldn’t have had the episode.

    I don’t think we will ever now what exactly happened. Perhaps he did make the threats, in which case the marshalls were correct in shooting him. BTW, two gunmen can easily put 8 rounds in someone by shooting two double-taps each – which is hardly excessive if one is trying to take down a person with a light fire-arm. On the other hand, given the marshalls’ record of brutality and excessive force I would not be surprised if they had overreacted and killed a guy who was merely fleeing the plane without obeying their orders.

    Speaking of excessive force, what was the point of forcing passengers to disembark from the aircraft with their hands over their heads? It’s not like he had accomplices who had committed illegal acts taht were trying to escape by mixing with the passengers.

    I personally think that the Feds are not really interested in preventing hijackings and the like. The cheapest and safest way to prevent hijackings that turn aircraft into missiles would be to have a cardboard box at check-in, full of a variety of hand-guns loaded with frangible ammunition. Loan them to any passenger who wants one for the duration of the flight.

    The current system ensures that should someone sneak a weapon onto an aircraft, they will probably be the only one armed on the aircraft. The policy is insane.

  50. A guy freaking out with a panic attack saying “There is a bomb!” seems more likely.

  51. surf writes: “A 1-hr flight from Miami to Orlando, and 2 Marshalls on board….”

    Can’t have a terrist crashing the plane into the Magic Kingdom, can we?

    bill writes: “A guy freaking out with a panic attack saying “There is a bomb!” seems more likely.”

    That’s what I was thinking. Bipolar guy, after going through all the security, starts getting paranoid and frightened, gets the idea there’s *already* a bomb on the plane. Flees.

    That is, if he ever mentioned a bomb at all.

  52. To about 3/4 of the posters in this thread: it’s “marshal.” Only one “L”.

    BTW, the official story stinks out loud.

  53. First off, this a tragedy. The poor, sick guy.

    Second, this is a victory for the terrorists. They must laughing their asses off. They don’t just kill people for the sake of killing them, but to goad into doing stupid things. Like this.

    Last night, Joe Scarborough asked, “Does this show that the Air Marshall program is working? Does it show that we need more Air Marshalls?”

    His guest replied that it shows that the system worked, and that everything happened the way that is was supposed to. I kid you not, an innocent man was gunned down, and their response wasn’t even, “That’s too bad. You can’t blame the cops.” It was, “Yipee! It works!”

  54. Rule of thumb, which served me well regarding the London shootings and steered me in the right direction for this one, too: ALWAYS be suspicious of whatever excuse government agents use to explain why they shot and killed an unarmed man.

  55. As with the guy in London, the details matter a lot. If the guy said that he had a bomb, and if he ran from the marshals, and if he failed to comply, and if he instead of showing his hands put them into his bacpack – I hate to tell you guys, but that is green lights to shoot all the way down. Not only would the marshals be obligated to shoot, they would be obligated to deliver massive damage instantly to motor control centers in either the center of the body or the head. They are supposed to stop a guy from being able to push a button.

    It is a tragedy, and I would hazard to guess that I have as much or more experience with people afflicted with bi polar disorder as anyone reading this, but if this happened to my similarly afflicted family member, I’d think of it more like getting struck by lightning than murder.

    Things that would be mitigating factors obviously include what did this guy actually say, was he trying to comply, and did he not put his hands in his backpack when ordered not to. Those can all change the story.

    What doesn’t matter one bit is whether someone was screaming that this guy is mentally ill and that he hasn’t taken his meds. That increases the need to shoot, if anything.

  56. I think everyone has missed the obvious here. This is an obvious ploy by the government to make up for the low scores on being ready for the next terror attack. It seems a little odd that the day after the low scores the brave air marshalls protected the skys by shooting a guy that said he had a bomb. He and his wife were probably Homeland Security agents as well and the shooting was about as real as a Bruce Willis Die Hard movie shooting.

    It’s something to think about if not spread over the Internet until it’s the topic on Nightline.

  57. Actually, he said, “I have a bong!” which, as we all know, is just as dangerous.

  58. Actually, Captain Pendant, you are all wrong. It is mar?chal. You don’t frighten us, English pig-dogs!

    (Hakluyt, how am I doing with my French so far?)

  59. Jason, “What doesn’t matter one bit is whether someone was screaming that this guy is mentally ill and that he hasn’t taken his meds. That increases the need to shoot, if anything.” No, it doesn’t. It means that he almost certainly doesn’t have a bomb. Not all security threats are the same, and the fact that the marshals can’t make important distinctions is a problem.

    People charged to use deadly force among the passengers on an airplane should have the training to tell a panicked guy having a mental episode from a suicide bomber.

  60. Jennifer’s right–we should always be on our guard when government agents do something like this. That doesn’t mean that the action won’t turn out to have been justified from the standpoint of the marshals, but I’m not willing to give them an easy pass, either. Personally, I think it looks like a situation where the marshals thought that they had no choice (shoot or allow the passengers to get blown up). The problem here–as in London–is that the fear of bombs has created a kill-first policy. I understand why that has happened, but shooting people for doing something suspicious is a little disturbing. Not, I hasten to add, does this case sound merely “suspicious” if the guy really was running around saying, “I have a bomb”.

  61. Shouldn’t the TSA have, like, sniffer dogs for crazy people?

  62. joe:

    You are wrong.

    “People charged to use deadly force among the passengers on an airplane should have the training to tell a panicked guy having a mental episode from a suicide bomber.”

    There is no such training in the real world. If the guy is just twitchy, you have time to figure it out and talk him down. If the guy says he has a bomb, you had by God better take him at his word, especially when he runs from you, refuses to show you his hands, then puts them in a backpack.

  63. People charged to use deadly force among the passengers on an airplane should have the training to tell a panicked guy having a mental episode from a suicide bomber.

    Especially if, as other passengers have noted, that he was acting a little crazy before they got on board.

    I’ve spent a lot of time in close quarters with bipolar folks, and severe manic behavior should be readily “diagnosable” by anyone with even a little bit of training. And the “I have a bomb” vs. “There is a bomb” … jesus h.

    Of course, coming down on the side of Alpizar against the Air Marshals invites the possibility of real terrorists with real bombs smuggling them onto planes, then behaving manically, and then running off the planes that they smuggled their bombs onto, with their bombs, into the terminal, and then exploding them there. Then where would we be, “second guessers”?[/jackass]

  64. Some people in manic swing are delusional and some aren’t. Recognizing that someone is swinging high doesn’t mean you know they don’t have a bomb, it means you know they are currently in an agitated state.

  65. If he said that he had a bomb, well, I hate to say this, but the shooting was justified. Tragic, but justified. In the compressed time frames that they have to make a decision, being told that he’s unstable doesn’t exactly weigh in favor of giving him the benefit of the doubt.

    If he said that “there is a bomb” and he’s fleeing from it, and his wife is saying that he’s delusional? Well, that’s a much grayer area. Cops encounter crazy non-terrorists every day. My mother works in an ER and she encounters crazy non-terrorists every day. Hell, just turn on COPS and you’ll probably see a crazy non-terrorist. Anybody who’s going to carry a gun and wield authority while working around the general public needs to be prepared for the possibility that he’ll encounter a crazy non-terrorist. Such encounters are far more likely than encounters with actual terrorists.

    Yeah, I know, an Air Marshal is there to deal with terrorists, and that’s what he’s trained for. Well, part of dealing with terrorists is being able to identify them and distinguish between a real terrorist and one of the more exotic members of the general public.

    My inclination is that while mistakes made in gray areas are understandable, the fact is that life is full of gray areas. People who make deadly mistakes in very gray areas probably shouldn’t go to jail for it, but they certainly haven’t demonstrated the necessary judgement skills to continue in a position of authority and trust.

  66. downstater, Cap’n Obvious: The one thing that gives me a little hope is that every time something like this happens, the people who were there see exactly how the police state works (random guy getting shot, cops putting guns to people’s heads, etc.) and at least they may be disillusioned and spread the word. I hope. OTOH, one year from now all most people will probably remember is “Oh yeah, didn’t they shoot some guy who said he had a bomb?”

  67. Okay. Forget that you know for a fact now that there is no bomb. Let’s say the guy said ‘there is a bomb’. The guy will not show them his hands when challenged and he is completely non compliant in every other way. What are we saying the marshals should have done when his hands went in his bag? Nothing? Ask him politely not to do that again? Run like hell away from the plane they think is about to blow up?

  68. Jason-

    It will depend on details. If the only thing he said is “There is a bomb”, then I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

    If he appends to that sentence “…on the plane”, then things become much grayer.

    If his wife is right there saying that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, that makes things grayer.

    If his wife is only saying that he’s unstable, that weighs in on the side of the Marshals.

    Details will matter a lot here. You can say that I’m being nitpicky, but I’d say that I’m holding them to very high standards. They are entrusted to carry lethal weapons, exercise authority, and if necessary use lethal force. They should be held to a high standard, and not just given a blank check. It’s also worth keeping in mind that cops encounter crazy non-terrorists on a daily basis, and most of those crazy non-terrorists aren’t killed. So it’s not like law enforcement officers have never managed to handle a crazy non-terrorist without lethal force.

    Details will matter a lot here. I’m not presuming them guilty, but I’m not giving them any slack either.

  69. Does anybody agree with me that the question isn’t whether sky marshalls can be improved; the question is whether there should be sky marshalls?

  70. It’s nice to see that some things do remain consistent. The fact of the matter here is, not a single one of you has the real world training, or experience, to judge whether the AIR MARSHALS acted as they were supposed to. Yet many of you have absolutely no problem in using your 20/20 hindsight to judge what these cops did. They had seconds to act, with what information was in front of their faces. Not a single cop in the entire United freaking States is trained to be able to discern if a person is having a bi-polar episode in 5 seconds Joe, asshat. Tarran, they made the people leave the plane with their hands over their heads because that is SOP, (standard operating procedure), for every anti-terrorist agency in the civilized world. If you think really hard about it, you’ll figure out why, maybe. Finally, the Air Marshals absolutely do not have a “Kill First Policy”, and there is not a single Federal, State, or local cop that goes out daily wanting to kill people. Anyone who intimates otherwise, should probably be required to sit and think for a solid hour, before they post another ill advised comment.

  71. That increases the need to shoot, if anything.” No, it doesn’t. It means that he almost certainly doesn’t have a bomb.

    Joe, sorry but it is you who are wrong. And since Jason stated his family member is bipolar, perhaps he does know what he’s talking about.

    I noted above that an extraordinary amount of bipolar males die by gunshot. Why? Because they DO get paranoid, as well as sometimes grandiose and even megalomaniacal/messianic notions. I have known people with this condition who literally sit with sniper rifles, aiming out their own bedroom windows for days on end.

    Therefore, the fact that the man was mentally ill and off his medication DOES make him more dangerous to the public, not less.

  72. Not a single cop in the entire United freaking States is trained to be able to discern if a person is having a bi-polar episode in 5 seconds Joe, asshat.

    True. But cops encounter mentally ill people every day and somehow manage to refrain from killing most of them. Shootings only happen in unusual situations. So details will be very important here, to see just what happened, and whether they really had legitimate reason to use deadly force.

    If the Air Marshals are to be considered an elite agency, and if they are to conduct their duties amidst the general public, they should be at least as competent as your average cop when dealing with a situation that confronts law enforcement officers every day.

  73. Does anyone here agree with me that Ruthless just won the internet award for the most ill conceived, and assinine question ever posed on the internet? Ruth, I’ll bet the relatives of almost 3000 people that died in 2001, can give you some reasons for the Air Marshal program. Hell, if you don’t mind me using your 20/20 hindsight, I’ll say that if we had the Air Marshal program in 2001, that we have today, we’d have 2 buildings still standing in New York, 3k people still alive, and 2 wars that never happened. John Kerry would be President, and taking his vacations in France, instead of Crawford. The dems would be inviting Bin Laden to Camp David for a peace conference. Libya would still be trying to develop nukes. The big wheels at the UN would still be raking in hundreds of millions in kick backs from Hussein. Iran would already have nukes, and North Korea would have already annexed the south.

  74. Details will matter a lot here. I’m not presuming them guilty, but I’m not giving them any slack either.

    Yes, T. Now you seem to understand how litigation works and how to cleanse yourself of pre-judgements.

  75. Brad,
    … or not.

  76. Is anyone else thinking that maybe the TSA should invest more time into actual airline safety, so that accidents like yesterday’s don’t take the lives ot 6-yr-olds?

  77. Thoreau, I come into contact with mentals on a daily basis, and I’ve never shot a single one of them. Then again, after ten years in this line of work, I’ve never had one put us into a deadly force situation. A couple of my co-workers were not so lucky, and both of those mentals are now deceased. Unfortunately for the Air Marshals, they don’t have any less than lethal options where a bomb/bomb threat is concerned, and the safety of the many will outweigh the safety of the few everytime in a situation like that. I’m not asking anyone to give these guys a free pass, and you can believe me when I say they are certainly not getting one now. A after action investigation is being conducted on them now. At my department, we fondly call it “the inquisition”. It’s not fun, it’s not games, and many cops that are completely cleared, end up quitting the job completely, and eventually losing their families to post incident stress. Some of you really, really, need to know what you are talking about before you open your mouths.

  78. What, no security-camera footage?

    “Mentals”? Sheesh. There’s some typical police sensitivity for ya.

  79. Brad,
    You’ve strengthened my argument for why sky marshalls should not have been dreamed up in the first place.

  80. Ruth, I posted that to illustrate just how ridiculous 20/20 hindsight can be. You have no way of knowing what will happen, so you plan for what can happen. In this case, unfortunately, a man died. That it was found out later that he did not have a bomb, just makes it that more tragic, but it does not make the officers wrong. For anyone who studies law, there is ample Supreme Court precedent to back them up. Finally, if I am off duty, and dropping my kids off at school, and some mental wearing a back pack waltzes in and says he’s going to blow the school up. I’ll shoot him right where he stands, before I’ll take a chance with anyone elses lives. I’d hope anyone here can honestly say they would do the same.

  81. Poco, “mentals”, is the internal term we use. It’s a lot easier than saying, “poor mentally challenged individual”. Save the politically correct stuff for your weekly meetings at the student union.

  82. Brad,
    In my comment of 8:33 PM, I said:
    “If I had been a sky marshall, I would probably have fired too.”

  83. Brad,

    I think you need to argue with what people are actually writing rather than what you are reading.

    Couple of points.

    For example you said,

    “Tarran, they made the people leave the plane with their hands over their heads because that is SOP, (standard operating procedure), for every anti-terrorist agency in the civilized world. If you think really hard about it, you’ll figure out why, maybe.”

    This was a response to a question I posed, “what was the point of forcing passengers to disembark from the aircraft with their hands over their heads?” Apparently you completely missed my next sentence, “It’s not like he had accomplices who had committed illegal acts taht were trying to escape by mixing with the passengers. ”

    The purpose behind the SOP is that in hostage taking situations, which this was not, sometimes the hostage-takers try to escape by blending in with their victims. Here, there was no conspiracy, no group, nothing that needed vetting. It was at best silly, and at worst demonstrated a hostility towards the people the air-marshals claim to protect.

    Now let us turn to your hyperbolic attack trigerred by Ruthless’ question. The 3000+ reasons you cite actually argue against you, and not for you:

    Let’s see, four teams of hijackers took over four aircraft and attempted to use them as missiles. The teams were able to easily take the aircraft because

    a) the govrnment does not permit aircrew and non-government employees to be armed on aircraft

    b) the government promulgated a regulation calling ofr air-crews to coopeate with hijackers.

    On two of the aircraft, there was no attempted resistance and they proceeded to their targets unmolested.

    One the third aircraft, a few of the passengers figured out the implications of the hijcakers actions. However, they could not convince the pilot to attempt to retake the aircraft in time to prevent it from hitting a target.

    On the fourth aircraft, the passengers, using improised weapons at their disposal, and aided by information gathered informally from fellow citizens on the ground, took matters into their own hands, and attempted to retake the aircraf. They were unsucesful in recapturing the aircraft but prevented it from reaching its destination.

    Now, what has been the TSA’s response.

    First, it has severely limited law-abiding citizens’ options for defending themselves, by continuing the ban on fire-arms and extending it to a wide range items that can be made into improvised weapons.

    Let me be blunt. If I want to get a gun on an ircraft, I can do it, especially if I have an organization helping me. No security system is unsubornable or evadable. So, the net effect of these laws are to *increase* the tactical advantage of any hijackers.

    But, I hear you cry, we have heroic air-marshals defending a small percentage of the aircraft. Great! Except that they do not provide anything near full coverage, and they have had some spectacularly craptacular episodes. The one that leaps to mind is the U.S. Army Col they dragged into detention because he watched them “too closely” as they threw a drunk they had flexi-cuffed in the next seat. These guys don’t have to worry about being polite, about pissing off or injuring the wrong person, why? They probably have the only weapons on the plane. If they hurt someone through werrors in judgement, they wont have to face a lawsuit, the govt will pay for their defence and any judgements against them.

    The philosophy behind the TSA is the same one that got a bunch of people killed in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina: government officials want to control things, and they are willing to let people die rather than cede control.

    When I point this out, often people are outraged. They point out that I am ungrateful to people putting their lives on the line to defend me.

    The thing is, I don’t want these guys to defend me. I don’t think they do a very good job, and I’d like to fire them. I don’t want them to risk their lives on my behalf, but instead to do things that make them happy. Their obstinate refusal to aceede to my wishes frees me of any obligation towards them.

  84. Brad, how about recognizing the difference between shop talk and a civilian audience and not using your offensive jargon among the latter? But thank you for that illuminating bit of insight into your mental processes. QED.

  85. So Air Marshals, in the name of Making Americans Safer, actually increase the chance that an American who is old or senile or suffering from a mild mental problem will be killed without trial.

    Wonderful. How long before we have a marshal fatally shooting a little boy who was too young to realize that he should not have been acting out that cops-and-robbers fantasy he saw on TV the night before?

  86. Joe:

    >I kid you not, an innocent man was gunned down, and their response wasn’t even, “That’s too bad. You can’t blame the cops.” It was, “Yipee! It works!”

    This attitude is driving me crazy. And as for other citizens saying they feel safer knowing the system works — I really don’t understand this point of view. Granted, most people are not likely to freak out on an airplane, thus placing themselves in this sort of danger. But how the death of an innocent man can be construed as proof that the system works is beyond me. I don’t see how it can be an illustration of anything other than the fact that the system has a serious flaw. Whether or not it’s necessary to accept the flaw, or if there are things that can be done to make another incident like this less likely, are other questions. But unless the system is designed to kill innocent people, this incident cannot be evidence that it works.

  87. But how the death of an innocent man can be construed as proof that the system works is beyond me.

    It’s the same mentality which says “Our prisoners in Abu Ghraib and our secret prison sites deserve what they get because every last one of them brought down the World Trade Center.” There is a certain type of person who loses all of his IQ points when he’s scared shitless, and when this happens this person feels that we’ll be safe so long as the government does SOMETHING. Mind you, this something doesn’t have to make sense, and doesn’t have to be directed toward the ones who are actually putting us in danger. Just so long as people can see the government doing SOMETHING.

    Shooting unarmed guys definitely counts as doing something.

  88. Brad, how about recognizing the difference between shop talk and a civilian audience and not using your offensive jargon among the latter? But thank you for that illuminating bit of insight into your mental processes.

    No. Use of jargon to an audience unfamiliar with it betrays absolutely zilch about a person’s thought processes. I advise great care when trying to assess other people’s mental states by their word choice, especially if you don’t know how those words are defined by the speaker.

  89. Remember, Brad: even if you cop-guys still buy into that “to protect and serve” business, “mentals” are not among the people you’re supposed to protect and serve.

  90. linguist, if Brad hasn’t tact enough to realize that “mentals” is offensive to civilians (at least this one), then I don’t know how that can be construed as anything but insensitive, or at least ignorant. Which is scary yet somehow not surprising in a cop.

  91. or at least ignorant. Which is scary yet somehow not surprising in a cop.

    Judges in Connecticut have already ruled that it is NOT discrimination if police departments refuse to hire intelligent people. (No joke–a guy with an IQ of only around 120 was not hired in New London, because they said he was too intelligent and would soon get bored with police work.)

    So our safety is in the hands of a bunch of trigger-happy guys, legally above the rest of us though their intelligence is, by order of the court, below ours. Nice, huh?

  92. Brad (just to join the pile-on) – I have to disagree with your assertion that the 9/11 attacks would have been avoided if we’d had an air marshal program then. For one thing, we did have one then, although it was tiny. But even with our expanded program, it’s estimated that marshals are on about 5% of flights. 19 out of 20 is pretty good odds, especially if you’re willing to die in pursuit of your goals anyway.

    BTW, everyone else – I think we have a new nominee for the latest poll over at the other place…

  93. Brad, on the shoot-to-kill issue, I think they probably are trained to kill anyone in a bomb-triggering situation. In fact, I’d be incredibly surprised to hear otherwise. After all, if they see a guy setting off a bomb and just sit and watch, they and a plane full of people go klabooey. I agree that cops aren’t generally looking to kill people, though.

    Of course, the issue here is that there wasn’t a bomb, and the circumstances may not have warranted a lethal shot. Then again, maybe they did. Stay tuned, I guess.

  94. The ONLY question here is whether he said he had a bomb. If he did not, then the air marshalls have no good reason to shoot him.

    If he did say he had a bomb, I don’t care what they took out your luggage and I especially don’t care if he “looked menacing” (Hey look, a poorly lit guy! He’s tall and has a scar! Kill him!)

  95. It’s getting so that, just as every time I read of some horrendous “hate crime” (e.g., graffiti with racial slurs, vandalism of a car, physical attacks leaving superficial injuries), my gut reaction is to think it’s probably a hoax, so now every time I read of anti-terrorism folks shooting someone dead, my gut reaction is to think it was probably an innocent guy who took some ambiguous action that the cops interpreted as hostile. Funny how rarely my gut reaction turns out to be wrong in either case.

  96. Seamus,
    Are you thinking of the guy who got shot at the London tube station?
    Whatever happened to that case?

  97. if Brad hasn’t tact enough to realize that “mentals” is offensive to civilians (at least this one), then I don’t know how that can be construed as anything but insensitive

    by which you mean he’s insensitive to YOUR feelings, not the “mentals” in question. Brad already gave you the full definition for “mentals” as he uses it. You simply refuse to accept his chosen abbreviation, because you choose to see “mentals” as a slur on the people referred to. That’s your choice, and not Brad’s fault. As for whether this is tactful of not, it’s the exact same argument as the one going on over at the Merry Christmas thread.

  98. >The ONLY question here is whether he said he had a bomb. If he did not, then the air marshalls have no good reason to shoot him.

    >Some of you really, really, need to know what you are talking about before you open your mouths.

    If he said he had a bomb, their actions were justifiable. But I doubt we’ll ever find out if he said it, and I don’t see why we should be expected to just accept that he did. I realize the marshals are not on trial and if they ever go to trial, it won’t be the public deciding the case, based on what it sees in the media. Which is as is should be. And Brad, as a law enforcement officer, you obviously have a very particular (and valuable) perspective on an event like this. But you know, as citizens, so do we. You can’t stop people from being concerned and from making their own judgements about what has occurred. It is and always should be a big deal when an innocent person is killed at the hands of law enforcement, and given that this is the first (hopefully only) instance of an innocent person dying at the hands of the TSA, the case is a watershed. So you need to get over yourself and accept that the public will have a lot of questions and opinions about this event. This is also as it should be. As citizens, it is our right and even our duty to question the actions of law enforcement on any matter that we see fit. If you can’t handle it, if you feel the need to come around insulting people trying to sort this thing out, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work.

  99. I never said we should assume he had a bomb, vabs. I’m just saying the more we allow our legal arguments to be clouded by irrelevant bullshit like whether someone “looks menacing” the worse off we ALL are.

  100. dagny,

    I didn’t think you had implied that we should assume he had a bomb (or that he said he had one?) I understood your argument. I quoted you only to acknowledge that yes, if he said it the actions of the marshals were justified. The rest was me defending my right to be skeptical about what happened and whether the situation could have turned out differently — i.e., whether the marshals could have done a better job discriminating if deadly force were required. I’d still like to know with how many bullets he was actually shot. Reports have been that 5-6 shots were fired, but how many actually hit him, could he have been subdued but not killed? I think Thoreau is right that the details are very important here.

    I guess there are two things going on in my mind. First, I wonder if indeed he said he had a bomb or if the marshals are covering their asses. In respect to this issue, I think it’s valid to look at circumstantial evidence, such as whether other passengers heard him say it. Second, I wonder if the marshals were in a position to get a more accurate reading on the situation that might have led them to use less than deadly force on the man. After all, they were passengers on the plane and their fellow passengers seemed to understand the context better than they did. Again I refer to Thoreau’s comments — these officers should be held to a very high standard.

    Hey, I’ve already acknowleged that as a member of the general public I can’t have an effect of the outcome for the marshals, and also that I’ll probably never know what really happened. What can I say? Occasionally some event happens that nudges me out of my usual, semi-apathetic state of learned helplessness and this really did it.

  101. P.S. I think that the actions of the marshals can be justified to the extent that they should not be held liable for a wrongful death, but that they might still be in that grey area where we can say they could have responded better.

  102. “Reports have been that 5-6 shots were fired, but how many actually hit him, could he have been subdued but not killed?”

    If they were using bullets, no, he couldn’t have been subdued but not killed. The idea of shooting to wound rather than to kill is something from the comics, not real life.

    And yes, Ruthless, I was thinking of that guy in the London Underground station. As far as I know, the case is still under investigation.

  103. Looks like sky marshals aren’t the only ones choosing to err on the side of caution:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051209/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/brazil_missionary_killed

  104. >If they were using bullets, no, he couldn’t have been subdued but not killed. The idea of shooting to wound rather than to kill is something from the comics, not real life.

    OK, but once he’s been hit they could decide to stop shooting, couldn’t they?

    Yes, I know, I wasn’t there and in their position.

  105. Poco, sorry if the “shop talk” offends you. Unfortunately for you I spend most of my days dealing with people who are looking for something to be offended about, so when I do my net surfing, I have a tendancy to really not care if I offend those people. By the way, our “shop talk” for people reporting a crime is “complaintant”, but our term for new age pain in the asses, who spend most of their time being outraged, is “complainers”.

    Jennifer, it sounds to me like you just hate anyone in a position of authority, and feel that the tentacles of the state are closing in on you at any minute. I’m not sure what your beef with cops is, but I advise the next time you are in trouble, call a hippy. As far as protecting and serving go, I’ve got a nice half dollar sized bite mark/scar on my left arm from saving the life of one of those “mentals”, so I’ll use whatever term I care to use. I earned it. As far as the court case you cited, I can’t seem to locate it using google. Do me a favor and provide some proof eh? The fact that you seem to think that cops are just big dumb guys with guns, tells me one hell of a lot about your grounding within the real world. Maybe that was true 30 years ago, but those people are all retired now. I suggest you do some research before you make any more assinine sweeping statements.

    The problem I have had, and the reason I’ve been rather abrupt with a couple of you, is that I see you all jumping straight onto the backs of those two Air Marshals, before a investigation has even begun. These are two average human beings, doing one of the hardest Law Enforcement jobs in this country. It’s very stressful, underfunded, and poorly run. A guy who was my partner for 3 years, is a current Air Marshall, so lets say I have a little more of an idea of what goes on than some here. These guys have families, and they are the same as you and I.

    Heres a little factoid for some folks here. Maybe after this we won’t have to worry about Jennifer ever flying again.:} Non-Federal law enforcement officers have been able to carry hanguns on domestic flights for a couple of years now. The odds are, everytime you fly somewhere, someone other than a sky marshal is carrying.

  106. LOL Brad,

    Do you know the difference between most of your friends in law enforcement and most of us who post here?

    The people who pay us money do it voluntarily rather than at gun-point. The big difference between you and a mafia enforcer is that at least the mafia enforcers don’t pretend that they are doing the guys who provide them with protection money a favor.

    “Non-Federal law enforcement officers have been able to carry hanguns on domestic flights for a couple of years now. The odds are, everytime you fly somewhere, someone other than a sky marshal is carrying.”

    Whopee! Someone who is in no way accountable to me, who views me as a “civilian” or “mutt”, can carry a gun, but I’m not allowed to protect myself. You know, that makes me feel *so* much safer.

    Seriously, you and you friends would be doing us a great favor if you quit your jobs with the govt, and started earning your pay by either making something or providing a service that people are willing to pay for voluntarily. Trust me, as someone who left the military to do just that, you’ll feel much better about yourself if you get paid honest money for honest work.

  107. Brad-

    Actually, the fact that non-federal law enforcement officers are able to carry makes me feel safer. Why? Well, the media is reporting that a lot of Air Marshals come from military or federal law enforcement backgrounds. My understanding is that those backgrounds don’t have quite the same level of day-to-day exposure to run of the mill crazies.

    How many soldiers routinely have to deal with guys off their meds? How many FBI agents deal with belligerent drunks on a daily basis? How much time do ATF agents spend dealing with domestic violence? How often do Marines have to subdue a fleeing shoplifter or guy who doesn’t want the cops to find the joints in his pocket?

    I figure that you and other local cops are much less likely to confuse those people with terrorists. I know there’s no magic formula for distinguishing between the crazy non-terrorist and the suicide bomber, or the guy who just robbed the duty-free shop and the guy running away from the bomb blast. Or figuring out whether the evasive guy is hiding anthrax spores rather than pot.

    But I’ll bet you have a better instinct for identifying those people than somebody who doesn’t have to face them on a daily basis. I’ll bet that your instincts have prevented you from making mistakes that people with less experience might make.

    I’d feel safer with you on the plane than with a guy who doesn’t have that experience.

  108. As far as the court case you cited, I can’t seem to locate it using google. Do me a favor and provide some proof eh?

    Type in the word “police” and the phrases “New London” and “Robert Jordan.”

  109. Oh, and Brad, after you do that Google search and realize I was right, you need not apologize for your accusing me of making assinine sweeping statements.

    By the way, “asinine” has only one “S.”

  110. “OK, but once he’s been hit they could decide to stop shooting, couldn’t they?”

    They *did* decide to stop shooting. I mean, they’re not shooting now, are they?

    Seriously, though, cops are usually trained that once they’ve started shooting, they shouldn’t stop unless (1) they can no longer get in a good shot (as when the target ducks behind a wall), (2) they know damn good and well the target has been incapacitated (which, by the way, *doesn’t* just mean hit and lying on the ground), (3) they run out of ammo, or (4) they realize they’ve made a mistake. Number 4 rarely kicks in before numbers 1, 2, or 3.

  111. CORRECTION:

    “…or the guy who just robbed the duty-free shop and the guy running away from the bomb blast.”

    should be:

    “or the guy who just robbed the duty-free shop and the guy running away from the bomb that he just planted.”

  112. Well Jen, you managed to pull a case from the Peoples Republic of Connecticut, and use it to paint a few million people as dumb. A court case from 5 years ago, and from a city of 25k as well. It sounds more like they chose not to hire that 49 year old because of his age, but had to find an excuse that was legal. Either way, you will willingly take that information, and use it to paint a nation of public safety personell? Once again Jen, you are just confirming my opinion of you.

  113. Brad: “public safety personell”

    Is this shop talk for “power-hungry, barely accountable, trigger happy dipshits?”

    Granted, I know not all cops are like this, but you know you’re being disingenous when you say that most aren’t. Or maybe you don’t even realize it. Either way, as “civilians” I think we have a different perspective than you, because you probably don’t even see all the bullshit that we see pigs do on a daily basis, or you’ve made up excuses to defend it.

  114. “Jennifer, it sounds to me like you just hate anyone in a position of authority, and feel that the tentacles of the state are closing in on you at any minute. I’m not sure what your beef with cops is, but I advise the next time you are in trouble, call a hippy”

    Not to speak for Jennifer, but very few people have a problem with authority per se, just the unrestrained (or virtually unrestrained) application of it. When cops are out there enforcing bullshit, nonsensical or evil laws they get promotions, and when they do something that is both immoral AND illegal, it tends to get swept under the rug. Now why do you think anyone would have beef with that?

  115. Well Jen, you managed to pull a case from the Peoples Republic of Connecticut, and use it to paint a few million people as dumb. A court case from 5 years ago, and from a city of 25k as well. It sounds more like they chose not to hire that 49 year old because of his age, but had to find an excuse that was legal. Either way, you will willingly take that information, and use it to paint a nation of public safety personell? Once again Jen, you are just confirming my opinion of you.

    “People’s Republic of Connecticut!” Wow, what a brilliant, witty, original comment that I never ever heard before! Takes real intelligence to come up with a witticism like that, yessirree.

    Brad, dear, I am assuming that your reading comprehension is as poor as your spelling, else you would have seen that it wasn’t just Jordan who was rejected for having too much intelligence. Nor is it just New London, or even just Connecticut, with such policies in place.

    And the reason I have contempt for cops is because of the “Blue wall of silence.” Cop kills an innocent man? Well, don’t worry–he might lost a week’s pay but he certainly won’t go to jail. Cop gets the wrong address on a search warrant, breaks into the wrong house and shoots the people who live there? Oooooops. But don’t worry–he won’t lose his job.

  116. How the fuck did you end up at a libertarian site anyway? Patrolling cyberspace for them evil druggies?

  117. Actually I’ve read some real good stuff over here in the past. Came here from Instapundit originally. I think you’ll find that most cops are Independents in their voting, and on a lot of things, agree with libertarians. As far as the labels I supplied to describe you, they are no more insulting, or accurate than the ones you used to describe me and mine. If you were a true libertarian, you’d see my point. Finally, I don’t need to troll cyberspace for druggies. I can get those on nearly any traffic stop I make. Personally I think they should legalize every drug out there, as long as they have an additive in them that makes you sterile/barren. ;}

  118. Brad, do cops seriously think that all people who don’t trust them are all either overprivilged rapist daddy’s boys, or spoiled suburbanite bitches who keep getting raped in unsympathetic ways?

    Holy fucking shit.

    That actually scares me more than the various bad-cop-destroy-innocent-person’s-life stories on Hit and Run today.

  119. . Yeah it might be in place then, but when it comes to another cop doing things that are felony bad, you can bet the herd will distance themselves from him in a heartbeat.

    In all seriousness, if you could send me some links of honest cops blowing the whistle on bad cops, I’d like to see them. Honest cops, though–not bad cops blowing the whistle in exchange for a reduced prison sentence.

  120. Stereotypes Jennifer. Look them up, read my post again, and then review your response. I would think that someone who has the temerity to comment on other peoples intelligence levels, would at least have some rudimentary skills in reading comprehension.

  121. One name Jennifer, Serpico. Seriously though, I have no idea if this is on the net or not, but one of my best friends happens to be a sgt at Detroit PD. A couple of years ago, the DOJ was basically in charge of doing internals for Detroit. He was running a TAC team in one of the precincts, and discovered that two of his guys were ripping off dopers. He turned them in, they were indicted, and convicted. He’s still a supervisor, and in a different precinct now. I won’t use his name, because I don’t have permission, and it’s a little tough to get since he’s currently in Iraq with his guard unit. I’ll ask him when I rotate over in march with my guard unit. The thing is Jenn, when what he did happens, you will rarely ever hear about it. The only things you do hear about are the things that make the news. If you are not close to, or a member of the community, you only have what you see in the papers, to go on. I’ve got no problems with you and others being ignorant because you are on the outside, but I do have problems with you painting some very honorable people with a broad brush out of that ignorance.

  122. Stereotypes Jennifer. Look them up, read my post again, and then review your response.

    Look them up, I shall. Which search terms would you recommend I use to back your story, as I recommended the words to back mine?

  123. Brad,
    Like a Timex, joe here has taken a lickin’, but kept on tickin’.
    I truly hope to see you here again and again on as many topics as you see fit to enlighten.
    We really need your perspective.

  124. Dunno if that was sincere or not Ruth, but thanks none the less. Honestly though, I have no idea if those Marshals were right or not, and I refuse to judge them. I was not there, and I don’t have that right. If they screwed up, they will pay, but we all know that when we raise our right hands. On another note, I do realize that more often than not, the law enforcement community is opaque to those who are not a member. This is not so they can more easily get away with things, but instead more because they just don’t trust civilians. If anyone ever has any questions, I’ll be glad to answer them to the best of my ability. It’s been a long strange trip for me from being a college journalism major, to a Marine, back to being a student, a bartender, a “trigger happy goon”, and finally a over educated bomb tech, but I’ll try to help where I can.

  125. Peace out.

  126. Serpico:

    did it in 1971. credited with being the “first cop to testify against corruption”.

    weakens the case a bit when the name is 34 years old.
    “Well Jen, you managed to pull a case from the Peoples Republic of Connecticut, and use it to paint a few million people as dumb. A court case from 5 years ago, and from a city of 25k as well.”

    pulling a name from 34 years ago is pot and kettle here.
    so the one famous example proves the case?

    jason: or officer tackleburry (David Graf, RIP).
    (http://www.uselessmoviequotes.com/umq_p012.htm)

    how does that citizen feel about ID?

  127. A)She asked for an example and I gave her one, two actually, but one net provable. How the hell am I supposed to be on top of every cop scandal? I once informed a supervisor when I caught a jail officer making some inappropriate moves on a female inmate. He was an idiot, and he was fired. Does that count?

    B) Also, gave more info on how those things generally go. Usually not a huge amount of press, unless what they did makes a big splash.

    C)The rate of attrition through misconduct in my line of work, is about average for most union shops. Down south where they are not unionized they get fired more often, and for more minor things.

    D) To be real honest, until Jennifer, and Andy got into the swing of things, I had never before realized that this was some kind of quasi cop-hating website. I’ll not be posting here again, since life is definately too short. Who knows, maybe the government will one day exempt you all from taxes, police protection, EMS/Fire service, and make you fly from your homes to your destination, since the roadways are paid for with my taxes. Until then, if you are ever in Michigan on I-94, maybe we’ll get to have a chat. Take care folks.

  128. Brad, don’t go! We don’t hate cops. We hate the government they work for. But I’ll always give a cop the benefit of the doubt, until he/she starts acting like a power-mad asshole (and I’ve met a few of those, even with my squeaky clean record).

    Okay, we hate some cops. But only the kind that do bad things, like those New Orleans cops who are thankfully getting canned (which demonstrates a change in culture.). Even when I read about cops who shoot people with sticks or potato peelers, I don’t hate the cops. I hate the supervisors who assert they were adequately trained.

    But there are still a lot of cops, a lot of police departments who think that they’re above and beyond the critiques of civilians.

    There’s a site here:

    http://www.policeabuse.org/

    which observes and records police behavior. It reports the good departments as well as the bad. And it’s essential that police and police departments are observed and held to very high standards. It’s only since such observations have occurred that police departments have been holding their officers to high standards of behavior.

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