Brickbat: The Last Place You Look


A man has admitted taking San Luis Obispo, Calif., Police Chief Deanna Cantrell's gun after she left it in the restroom of an El Pollo Loco restaurant. Skeeter Carlos Mangan has returned the weapon. Cantrell said she removed her gun while using the restroom and left it behind when she was finished. A spokesman for the police department said he's not aware of any disciplinary actions against Cantrell. But officials say she will be attending training on firearms safety practices, something you'd hope she would have done before becoming a police officer.

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  1. So… nothing but dead threads to post on, so I’m gonna put this here.

    For those who still pretend that we haven’t moved into some new area of “news” coverage over the last 20 years, I give you the top of the page at

    Clerk tells customers to ‘go back to their country’

    Opinion: ‘Send her back’ will be the Trump era’s defining slogan

    Crowd surprises Rep. Omar at airport with new chant

    Trump claims he disavows racist ‘Send her back!’ chant

    Lemon and Cuomo reenact Trump’s 13 seconds of silence

    So… reasonable to have Trump/Omar kerfuffle as your top story. I mean, we did fire shots at Iran earlier in the day, but war is old hat these days. So that much is fine.

    But they went and dug out some local story where a clerk got fired for being rude to customers and tied that to Trump. And they ran a piece on Omar that goes way beyond puff piece and deep into propaganda territory. Even the DNC would blush at their language, here from a hard news article:

    Trump’s name barely came up at the event, which featured campaigning nurses, doctors and activists who argued that health care was a human right and should be guaranteed to everyone.
    The policy heavy evening which was earnest, passionate — and to a non-partisan, perhaps a little bit dull. It could hardly have been different from Trump’s seething North Carolina rally on Wednesday night. Were it not for its most famous panelist and her large media pack, it would have been just like any other liberal community meeting taking place all over America.
    Omar, arguing for expanded coverage without co-pays and high health care premiums, didn’t come across as the crazed American-hating Communist that Trump has been demonizing all week.

    I think the author meant to say “could hardly have been more different”, but you get the gist. The reasonable people of the DNC are discussing reasonable policies that are good for America, like nationalizing the healthcare system (or at least the insurance industry) and are not in any way similar to communism. This is what passes for hard news these days.

    And then, talk about being neutral arbiters of the truth, they say “Trump claims he disavows …chant” Certainly not intended to leave the impression that he actually supports the chant… right?

    Remember, this is not in an opinion section. This is their version of “hard news”, above the fold on page one.

    NPR was similar, saying Omar received a “hero’s welcome amid Trump’s attacks” as their top headline. Interesting. No headlines about Trump receiving a “hero’s welcome” at any of his rallies over the last 2.5 years amid attacks from his political opponents. But we are down the middle here at taxpayer funded NPR. Other top headlines feature Trump introducing an immigration bill “Amid furor over racist tweets” and the House voting to condemn “racist comments”. At least the last one put “racist comments” in scare quotes.

    So, for those still convinced that this is just straight news reporting and not propaganda – exactly how would propaganda look any different?

    1. Hmmm…I wonder what’s on Fox News right now…

      Everything about Trump and Omar.
      And then stories about the Corvette, Top Gun, and Jerry Seinfeld.

      1. Yes. Trump v Omar, I guess it sells better than shooting down a drone near Iran. Maybe if they had video of flaming airplane guts?
        The top story on Fox News, currently, is somewhat anti-Trump. The lower stories are more critical of Omar. Looks like some algorithm or editor needs a little tune-up at Fox.

        1. He’s right though…. Fox is definitely taking up some of the mantle of defending Trump. The other news providers look like straight DNC talking points turned into news stories. Here’s Fox:

          Omar vows to push back after Trump tweets, crowd’s ‘send her back’ chant

          MEDIA BUZZ: Some Democrats angry at the squad while backing them against Trump

          MSNBC host criticized for saying none of Dem ‘squad,’ including AOC, are ‘socialists’

          Hannity: Nancy Pelosi ‘powerless’ to stop Omar and ‘The Squad’

          Omar introduces resolution defending boycott of Israel, likens it to Nazi Germany, Soviet Union

          So that’s their top block. Pretty much entirely focused on the same thing, and their first headline is a straight news headline covering Omar saying she’s going to lead the fight against Trump. The networks are all running with that same clip, so you can’t really argue with putting it at the top – even though I’m gonna say shots fired between the US and Iran is a bigger deal than back-bench democrat getting in twitter spat with republican president. I’ll go ahead and acknowledge their years of experience over my zero years of experience and say that if they all think minor name calling is more important than war, then they must be right.

          So let’s look at the rest of Fox’s block. The cover the “media buzz” and say some Dems are angry at “the squad” even as they back them against Trump. That’s an angle that nobody else is looking at – and it isn’t really propaganda-ish. It is not ant- or pro- either party. If anything it works against the “secret Trump agenda” of elevating the most extreme elements of the Democrat caucus and as such would be pro-establishment and anti Trump, anti proggie.

          Then they cover some MSNBC host claiming that the self-described socialists are not socialists. I didn’t bother reading the article, but I wonder if that wasn’t more of a libertarian-style “no true Scotsman” argument made by someone who thinks he’s the only real socialist. Anyway, that’s pretty inside baseball for top of the page.

          Hannity criticizes Pelosi….. This is the same as CNN having a story about Don Lemon – it is just an ad for their show. But it should be beneath either of them to put it as a news story in their top billing.

          And then a news story about Omar, where they attempt to reinsert her anti-Israel positions by covering her resolution on boycotting Israel. Clearly that’s here as a diversion from the main thrust of the anti-Trump narrative, and as such is counter programming to the propaganda of the left. However, it is a legitimate story that should be part of the context in a “who are the players” news spread. It would play less as partisan side-taking if they also had an article covering the history of Trump’s comments that have elicited controversy on race. Actually, that’s the article that a true non-partisan should write: A list of Trump’s statements and how they’ve been cast as racist – presented correctly that could be an objective piece that lets the reader decide for themselves if this is all partisan politics and name-calling or legitimate criticism of a racist leader. Proper context would also include a history lesson in the use of the “racist” label as a weapon by the left.

          He’s right – they do have an article covering the new Corvette prominently displayed. Have to wonder if that one isn’t a pay-for-play product placement article. And they also have a Top Gun trailer announcement. I don’t know anything about that movie, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and speculate that Fox studios is making it.

          And the first article of their “regular” feed is this: Trump mocks ‘staged’ greeting for Ilhan Omar, accuses media of ‘sick partnership’ with squad.

          It is interesting that Trump had to point that out. Because the other media outlets credulously reported that as straight news – “Look at Omar getting a hero’s welcome” and they all pointed out the identical thing – that she was greeted by a different chant. It was very obvious that her campaign coordinated the cadre of supporters and their messaging – as well as the press pool who flocked to see her get off of the plane. That story was clearly a willing press putting out her campaign propaganda – and there is no way that every single one of them didn’t know that this is what was happening , after all, they were there as the campaign staff organized the supporters. They couldn’t have missed it, yet they reported it as a spontaneous show of support rather than a staged media event. So shame on them. If Trump is more perceptive than you are…. well, I was gonna say you are pretty dumb, but nobody is that dumb. You just went along with the propaganda from the campaign at that point. In other words, you were lying.

          So, in conclusion, Fox was definitely on Team (R) on this one, but only marginally so. They covered the straight news and then they boxed it with counter-programmed context. That’s definitely a partisan point of view. But it is nowhere near the level of dishonest and biased coverage displayed by the supposedly “unbiased” mainstream press. Although I will say this – NBC News is surprisingly muted on their main page today – they do cover all of the propaganda stories that paint Trump as a racist -right down to the firing of a gas station worker – but they also prominently feature real news stories. I suppose they have their MSNBC wing to do the hard push.

          Meanwhile, ABC shows everyone how it is done. Their top headline: Rabbi in Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s district compares Trump rally to ‘Nazi Germany’

          Why wait for someone else to Godwin the thread, amirite?

          1. Oh, and I read the Fox press release rip about the Corvette. The base model is a sub 3 second zero to sixty, mid engine sports car….. starting under $60k. wow.

        2. I think shooting down a drone is a nice lead in for Top Gun…

          (Expected plot, much like Stealth and/or Maverick’s dad’s backstory: Cruise gets shot down over N Korea saving Goose’s son when he did something stupid. Rescued due to heroic effort from next generation led by super-she-ra pilot “Phoenix” playing the role of Iceman [no mistakes] who also has to look out for Goose Jr)

    2. @Cyto: It’s not news, it’s narrative. Which is the same as propaganda.

      @Apeshit: try to stay on subject without deflecting “well, what about FOX news, huh?”

  2. Arrest him for being in the ladies room. Or her the mens.

    1. “Arrest him for being in the ladies room. Or her the mens.”

      No longer a crime, it is now a right.

      1. If he was an employee who was cleaning up at the end of the evening, he might have had a very valid reason to be in there.

        1. Advice has always been “leave the gun, take the cannoli”. Though maybe not in the “ladies” room.

        2. Or he might have entered on request when a lady was concerned that there was a gun in the bathroom.

  3. That is a really nice Dell keyboard though. Love them things.

  4. Skeeter is dam lucky he isn’t in jail.

    1. Especially given that his name is Skeeter.

    2. He’s lucky he wasn’t killed trying to return it. He must have kept it hidden in a bag and just handed over the bag before they realized he had a gun. Still probably tased him bro.

  5. Let’s play a game of “what if a ‘civilian’ did this?”

    Yeah, he’d stay out of prison, keep his job, and just have to attend a few firearm-safety seminars. Sure.

    1. They’d get brought up on terrorism charges, probably sex trafficking as well, causing some woman to post a tweet that says: “I can’t even breathe”, and yahoo would pick up the story and run an article responding to the tweet titled: “This is literally all of us now”, and you would go to jail.

    2. Let’s play a game of “what if a ‘civilian’ did this?”

      Yeah, he’d stay out of prison, keep his job, and just have to attend a few firearm-safety seminars. Sure.

      Before even getting into the restaurant, open carry is illegal in CA. It’s unclear whether *Chief* Cantrell holds or qualifies for a CCW (because CA). But in lots of other shall-issue states, if 50% of El Pollo Loco’s sales are alcohol, the gun has to stay in the car no matter what.

      1. I don’t think El Pollo Loco sells alcohol.

        1. I was not aware that it is barely a franchise chain. Or possibly two franchise chains. In two countries. Whatever, didn’t realize it wasn’t independently owned/operated.

      2. Pollo Loco is a fast-food Mexican chain. Essentially, a Taco Bell that can actually cook.

  6. Another example of how the female anatomy is incompatible with police work.

  7. Didn’t know the restrooms in El Pollo Locos were “Free-gun” zones.

    1. This is my rifle
      This is my gun
      One is for fighting
      One is for fun

  8. So, why is she unholstering in a bathroom?

    1. Spanx? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    2. I’m a little fuzzy on why a police Chief is in full dress and carrying a gun into a restaurant anyway. I’m probably a little out-of-date on the whole ‘ranking officers wear uniforms and are armed at all times’ policies. I’m fully aware of the shortcomings of suit coats and shoulder holsters but seems like if you’re entitled to carry and, like a chief, don’t expect to walk into a lot of gun battles, a decent shoulder holster or any other of the wide array of carry options would solve a lot of problems.

    3. With most ways of carrying the gun except a shoulder holster (which creates an unsightly bulge for most men or women under about 180 pounds), or in the purse (which means it’s not only unreachable when a mugger sticks you up, but it’s likely to be stolen along with the purse), you have to remove the gun or the gun belt to drop the pants. With the gun on a belt that’s threaded through the trouser’s belt loops, you can in theory undo the buckle and lower the trousers, but the weight of the gun makes this difficult to control. With a separate gun belt, of course the belt has to come off. With an in-waist-band holster (which seems to have become the most common method of concealed carry), the holster has to come out first (with the gun inside) and go back on last.

      Judging by the news reports, about 90% of the time someone forgets a gun and leaves it in a public place (or sets it on top of their car and drives off, etc.), it’s a cop. Occasionally, it’s a career criminal that never took a gun safety course, got the gun through the black market or theft, and committed state and federal crimes by having a gun at all. I can recall only one news report in a decade of a “civilian” who was carrying legally and forget his or her gun, while I hear about several cops losing their guns every year. That might be reporting bias, but I think at least the local news rag would run a short item when a civilian was charged in court for this.

      So cops seem to have a special problem with keeping track of their guns. Is it simply being too arrogant to take care? Is it that police departments also provide the holster and gun belt and specify how they are worn, so cops can’t choose a carry method that works better for them? Or is it that, unlike law-abiding civilian carriers, some cops subconsciously don’t want the gun in the first place?

  9. I love the LA Times headline. “Man admits taking police chief’s gun from El Pollo Loco bathroom, police say”
    Are they implying that he should have left it there not knowing if the dumb ass who left it behind was coming back or that the dumb ass was a cop? Why doesn’t it say “Man potentially saves many lives by keeping dumb ass cop’s misplaced gun out of the hands of children and criminals”?

    1. Because the press obediently passes along police press releases as written.

      1. If they truthfully re-phrased the press releases, they might have to become reporters instead of stenographers and ferret out the stories themselves.

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