Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You Could Get Tased...

#Taser #Police .
...If you are blind and afraid in Dayton, Ohio. The story goes that the police showed up at this lady's home to serve/arrest her son. The problem is that she is 1) BLIND and 2) has been robbed before by thugs claiming to be the police.

The police claim that they didn't know the woman was blind when they tackled and tasered her.

Hello? One of the first things law enforcement agencies - by accepted procedure - are supposed to do is identify what persons are expected to be at a residence/address before trying to serve/arrest and individual. Come one, guys, this is basic police procedure. You should have known who the resident of record is and just a smidgen of investigative preparation would have avoided this situation. And if you aren't aware that thugs are committing home invasions using the "Police, Open Up" tactic you shouldn't be police officers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Taser Use Needs Regulation

#taser #police .
In Lubbock, Texas a drug dealer has been freed because officers used a Taser to make him give up the damning evidence. Instead of serving a FIFTY year sentence the guy is out because cops tasered him repeatedly, including shots to the groin, even after they took him to the hospital for treatment. The perpetrator would not open his mouth to where the officers suspected he was hiding the drugs.
Officers arrested Anthony Hereford in May of 2007 for evading an earlier traffic arrest when they noticed he had something in his mouth, possibly drugs, which he refused to spit out. "They threw him on the car, choked him out. He still wouldn't open his mouth. They tased him again," said Hereford's attorney, Susan Rowley.

The officers involved, Williams, Arp, and Holmes, then took him to the hospital where Rowley says the incident continued. "They tased him another 8 to 10 times, mostly in the groin, while he was hand cuffed, while the medical staff was there, at the hospital," said Rowley.
Hereford was convicted but that was overturned when the Appeals Court stated the evidence should have never been admitted.
"They agreed that evidence should never have been let in. That it should have been suppressed because it was illegally obtained. When you torture someone to get evidence. You can't do that," said Rowley.
Torturing for evidence? Where are we, the former Soviet Union?

The problem, which is pervasive among our law enforcement community, is that the Taser is seen as a tool to be used to obtain compliance and not one to only be used for self defense or in the defense of others.
The Opinion also said, "No one accused the defendant of being violent or physically aggressive." State Representative Delwin Jones said there is a distinct difference between self-defense and non compliance, and tasers should be used in self defense. He feels policies should restrict and guide taser use, and he hopes law enforcement steps up to make those policies. "I think they're the ones that have a responsibility, and if they refuse that responsibility, that's when legislative action occurs. Hopefully they will develop guidelines that are strong enough," Jones said.
Tasers are less lethal weapons and not less than lethal weapons. They harm the target and can kill. Too many departments and officers have viewed them as a magic tool to effect arrests and avoid the dirty work of taking a subject down. If the Taser is deployed in defense of the officer's welfare or that of a third party, or even to prevent the subject from harming their self, we understand. Otherwise, we do NOT. I hope the Lubbock, Texas officers are held responsible for what should be viewed as criminal behavior.
Rowley agrees the police department should examine their taser use, but isn't confident that will happen. "They kind of laughed about it in court. They were smug about it. It was not an issue to them, and maybe with this decision coming down they'll understand," she said.
The citizens these people are supposed to protect must make it an issue.

Elsewhere, Taser International seems to be promoting nonchalance regarding the use of Tasers in the face of the recent Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision about when Taser use is acceptable according to Wired.

Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals appeared to restrict police officers’ use of Tasers, ruling that the stun guns should only be fired when the situation “compels the employment of such force.” Now, Taser International has given its version of what the court’s decision means: business as usual.

“Media accounts of the ruling indicated that this was some new and sweeping restriction on the use of TASER ECDs ["electronic control devices"]. It’s not. This judicial opinion actually follows well-established law and applies it to a specific fact situation,” the company asserts on its official blog.

How many people will die and how many more criminals will be set free before law enforcement and Taser International admit that Americans have basic rights? I have no objection to law enforcement having the tools to keep us safe as long as the use of those tools respect the natural rights of each individual. It is time for our society to enforce that respect on law enforcement if law enforcement will not embrace it on their own.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You Could Get Tasered...

#taser .
...If you try to bite the nice officer who responds to your tantrum when you can't have it your way at Burger King. That's what happened when a man couldn't get his char-broiled burger his way and ended up charred himself with a ticket to ride the lightning courtesy of the Knoxville PD.

And then there is this guy in Florida who tasered and then cuffed himself with items he burgled from an unmarked Ocoee PD car. Then he called police to get him out of the cuffs...

The mind boggles.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Temporal Chess Tactics and Webserver Etiquitte

#chess #iccf #ccla .
So here I am playing out the string on a few Correspondence Chess games over at ICCF while I reassess my openings and other aspects of my game... I had finished all but four of my games from various tournaments. In the CCLA event I had two games left against the other co-leader. We were tied for first with no other competition and only our games left to play. Each of us as Black had gained small advantages and my opponent broached the possibility of draws. I agreed and offered draws in both games.

Oops. I misunderstood his offer. He took the draw in the game where I had an advantage but opted to continue the game where he had the advantage. Long story short, I was able to fight to a dead draw and we concluded that event tied for first. That was satisfying.

In a couple ICCF Higher events (here and here) I had concluded all of my games except one in both events against another opponent who employed a very annoying time strategy. This guy allows his time to get down to less than a day left and then tries to play a version of speed chess. This strategy has afforded him little success as he usually times out or otherwise defaults. I have seen him allow his time to get under 30 minutes to make a move.

As I said, this is a very annoying ploy as - at least for me - the flow of the game is interrupted by not seeing any moves for 40+ days at a time. Making the experience even less enjoyable is that no matter how close the guy gets to the time limit, the server gives him an extra 24 hours every time he makes a move until he makes the next control. Then he gets another 50 days (plus however many extra days he gets when his clock goes under 24 hours) to torture his opponent.

Let me clarify... When the guy gets down to hours and minutes left to make a move and then successfully makes the move, the server adds 24 hours time to his clock. So, if he had only 30 minutes left and then made his move instead of having 30 minutes to make his next move he has another 24 hours.

And that repeats every time he makes a move.

I understand that with the way correspondence chess and the servers are set up this is necessary. It's still annoying when someone games it like that and I think it lacks sportsmanship.

A look back in his history on the server will show that this does not win him many games, but he does get the odd draw from others who appear to tire of the ploy. His event history is chock full of games of less than twenty moves where he has a loss with neither side having an appreciable advantage or draws of between ten and twenty moves. In the game he just lost to me he offered a draw on his 13th move.

So here I am the other day stewing a bit over this and wishing I could just conclude the games. I made a move in the early morning and set in to await his reply which - if he makes the control - will give him another 50 days to stretch out the game as it is the 30th move. What I and my opponent did not know was that there was scheduled server update that kept it off line for 12 hours.

I awoke the next day to an email from the server stating my opponent was -7 hours on his clock so I logged on and claimed (and was awarded) the win on time. When I went back later to make a move in another game my opponent had left a message decrying the server outage and demanding extra time to make a move... No, thanks. I'll take the point. That point gives me a tie for second in the event (my best finish in the Higher series to date) one point behind the winner. If he had managed his time just a tad better the outage would have had no effect on him. He had already been awarded 14 extra days by the server, anyway.

Our other game awaits his move and he has 30 or so days on his clock. I hope he makes better use of his time in that one.