Two from Balko: First, there was another isolated incident on Saturday, this one in Hampton, Virginia. A 69-year-old man with cataracts was ratted out by a "confidential informant" for selling prescription painkillers. Since CIs never, ever lie, that was good enough for the cops who blasted in his door Saturday morning.
William A. Cooper had poor eyesight because of cataracts and would often sleep late, said Richard Zacharias, 58, a retired NASA employee who was renting a trailer home from Cooper and planned to buy it from him.Yeah, he took a shot at the violent home invaders, and it was the last thing he ever did.
Both of those factors, Zacharias said, might have caused him not to realize that it was the police that were in his home at 10 a.m.
"People around here sleep with a gun beside their bed because of all the home invasions we've had," Zacharias said. "The guy was a nice guy. The guy was a good guy."
"The investigation thus far supports the actions of the officers," [Hampton police chief] Jordan said Saturday. "They were met with deadly force and had no alternative other than to return fire."Because no matter how idiotic or spurious or just plain vicious their reason for being there in the first place, police have no responsibility in such matters. You show them a gun, and they will Guerena you into the next world and sleep like babies afterward. Officer safety is paramount, you know.
The second piece is a Rutherford Institute essay on the results of the new, improved powers the FBI has granted itself for "investigating" "terrorist suspects." Remember Cointelpro, and all the blessings it brought American society? If you liked that, you're gonna love the brave new world brought to us by our
Now comes the news that the FBI intends to grant to its 14,000 agents expansive additional powers that include relaxing restrictions on a low-level category of investigations termed “assessments.” This allows FBI agents to investigate individuals using highly intrusive monitoring techniques, including infiltrating suspect organizations with confidential informants and photographing and tailing suspect individuals, without having any factual basis for suspecting them of wrongdoing. (Incredibly, during the four-month period running from December 2008 to March 2009, the FBI initiated close to 12,000 assessments of individuals and organizations, and that was before the rules were further relaxed.)Sleep sweet, citizens - your faithful Sheepdogs will keep you safe in your beds from those evil ol' terrorists. Unless the opportunity arises to come for you. Then they'll feast on your flesh.
This latest relaxing of the rules, justified as a way to cut down on cumbersome record-keeping, will allow the FBI significant new powers to search law enforcement and private databases, go through household trash, and deploy surveillance teams, with even fewer checks against abuse. The point, of course, is that if agents aren’t required to maintain a paper trail documenting their activities, there can be no way to hold the government accountable for subsequent abuses.
These new powers, detailed in a forthcoming edition of the FBI’s operations manual, extend the agency’s reach into the lives of average Americans and effectively transform the citizenry into a nation of suspects, reversing the burden of proof so that we are now all guilty until proven innocent. Thus, no longer do agents need evidence of possible criminal or terrorist activity in order to launch an investigation. Now, they can “proactively” look into people and groups, searching databases without making a record about it, conducting lie detector tests and searching people’s trash.
That decrepit old Third Amendment is looking less obsolete by the day.