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Zimmerman Verdict Will Save Black Lives

July 17, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Neighborhood Watch signNotwithstanding their chances of being hit by rubber bullets at mob rallies glorifying Trayvon Martin as a civil rights hero, African-Americans unquestionably will be safer as a result of George Zimmerman’s acquittal of second-degree murder charges last weekend.

The Zimmerman verdict demonstrates that anyone—of any color—brave enough to risk his life to protect other community members—of any color—against potential criminals—of any color—won’t be punished by being tossed in jail to soothe a nation’s collective racial guilt.  And any law-abiding citizens lucky enough to live near such neighborhood watchmen will benefit from their service.

Ignoring the unseemly labels applied to Zimmerman by penthouse liberals with six layers of home security in front of them who never have to dirty their manicured hands to protect themselves, what is the purpose of a neighborhood watch?

It’s to allow neighbors who live where police are unwilling or unable to respond to every instance of rampant crime to band together, in the hopes of supplementing the efforts of overburdened law enforcement officers.

The neighborhood watch is a storied American tradition that dates back to colonial times, developed in its modern form in the late 1960s, and has spread to countries as far-flung as Australia and South Africa.  During the high-crime late 1980s, criminologists estimated that one in five Americans participated in a neighborhood watch.

Neighborhood watches reflect the twin American values of self-reliance and community engagement, and are demonstrably effective at reducing crime.  Their participants should be commended, not castigated.

But the left insists that crippling private citizens’ efforts to defend their neighborhoods will somehow promote public safety, just as they believe restricting lawful firearm ownership will somehow shame criminals into going straight.

The left calls Zimmerman a “wannabe cop” for putting himself in danger to shield his neighbors at The Retreat at Twin Lakes from a rash of burglaries.  (At least Zimmerman was volunteering his own time.  Can we refer to liberals as “wannabe philanthropists” for volunteering our tax dollars to support their causes?)

The New York Times declared, “In the end, what is most frightening is that there are so many people with guns who are like George Zimmerman.”

No, in the end what is frightening is that there aren’t more people with guns who are like George Zimmerman, and that they are treated like monsters for trying to protect their neighborhoods from vicious criminals who, unlike Martin, often wield firearms.

But what about the racial angle?  The left believe they have made the absolutely devastating point that if Zimmerman had been black and Martin white, the nation would have dismissed Zimmerman as a thug and thrown him in jail.

Salon’s Paul Campos wrote, “Suppose Trayvon Martin had been a 230-pound 30-year-old black man, with a loaded gun in his jacket.  Suppose Zimmerman had been a 150-pound 17-year-old white kid…  How do you suppose the big scary black man’s claim of ‘self-defense’ would have gone over?”

A site called The Political Freakshow photoshopped racially reversed images and cited their juxtaposition as proof that a black Zimmerman “would be headed for death row.”

But you can’t just reverse the races in this hypothetical Freaky Friday scenario.  You have to reverse all of the other details as well.

You have to assume that young white men had committed a recent rash of burglaries in a majority-black community.  You have to assume that the black man had been part of the neighborhood watch and had been the victim of a burglary himself.  You have to assume that the black man had come from a mixed-race background, had a white grandfather, and was tutoring a white woman and her daughter; and that the young white man had a history of vandalism and assault; and that all of the forensic evidence and eyewitnesses suggested that the young white man had been the aggressor.

Under those circumstances, not only would the jury have acquitted the black man on grounds of self-defense, they would have submitted him to the Vatican for canonization.

Look how easily the left turned Martin into a saint.  Beyoncé actually started her Nashville concert Saturday night with a moment of silence for Trayvon and a rendition of “Halo.”  One can only imagine how the media would have treated a black neighborhood watchman who got himself a smashed skull and broken nose fending off the equivalent of a teenaged Alec Baldwin.

The Guardian’s Gary Younge declared “open season on black men” and proclaimed, “Those who now fear violent social disorder must ask themselves whose interests are served by a violent social order in which young black men can be thus slain and discarded.”  When the young men in question—black or otherwise—happen to be high on pot, have an affinity for gang culture and a history of assault, and propagate violent social disorder against a neighborhood watchman, I’d say that all law-abiding citizens’ interests are served.

As is his wont, President Obama butted in a day after the verdict to announce, “We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.”

No, we’re not.  We should be scrapping draconian state and local gun control laws, especially in vulnerable high-crime and minority neighborhoods; issuing more concealed-carry permits; and refraining from demonizing volunteer patrolmen who perform a dirty and dangerous job.  That would be a good start.

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Race-Baiting Only Gets You So Far In Our Justice System

July 03, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

race-baiting-president1Well, what did liberals think was going to happen during the first week-and-a-half of testimony in a race-baiting trial they insisted on holding, despite the rapidly mounting evidence contradicting every wild conjecture and irresponsible accusation central to their case?

The second-degree murder charges against neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin have crumbled to powder in the first seven days of testimony, with prosecution witnesses breaking left and right in Zimmerman’s favor and lending unexpected support to the defendant.

Eyewitness Jeannee Manalo, who told police she had seen a large man straddling a figure lying on the ground the night of the shooting, testified last Wednesday that it was Zimmerman who had been on top.  However, under cross-examination, she admitted that she had based her conclusion on the media’s widely disseminated photograph of Martin as a 12-year-old boy rather than the 6-foot 3-inch, 17-year-old man he was at the time of the altercation.  Manalo confessed to defense attorneys that the media’s photo had colored her interpretation and that she could not conclude it was Zimmerman who had been on top.

The prosecution’s star witness, Rachel Jeantel, betrayed numerous discrepancies in her testimony on Wednesday and Thursday, including reciting two versions of what Zimmerman had said to Martin and three versions of Martin’s last words, and claiming that the confrontation had been instigated by race and then saying it wasn’t.  The climax of Jeantel’s testimony came when she stated that she had heard someone being hit over the phone and somehow knew it was Trayvon.  Defense attorney Don West challenged her: “You don’t know that Trayvon didn’t at that moment take his fists and drive them into George Zimmerman’s face.”  Jeantel’s charming reply: “That’s retarded, sir.”  The consensus among even liberal news outlets was that Jeantel had helped the defense more than the prosecution.

On Friday, neighbor Jonathan Good testified that Trayvon had been planted atop Zimmerman doing a “ground and pound.”  According to the eyewitness, who had been brought onto the stand to bolster the prosecution’s case, “I could tell that the person on the bottom had a light skin color.”

On Monday, Officer Doris Singleton, who had interviewed Zimmerman at the station the night of the killing, testified that Zimmerman hadn’t known Martin was dead until she had told him, and that he had been visibly distraught.  This reaction undercuts the precondition that the defendant must have malice toward the victim and a “depraved mind” to be found guilty of second-degree murder.  Singleton also reported that Zimmerman had offered his testimony to police without asking for a lawyer to be present.

Also on Monday, the prosecution called FBI audio expert Hirotaka Nakasone, who testified that it was easier for someone who was familiar with a voice to recognize that person on an audio recording.  This seemed to bolster the notion that Martin’s parents had correctly identified the screams for help on the 911 tape as Martin’s.  But upon cross-examination, Nakasone admitted that identification is often biased when made by multiple parties simultaneously, as Martin’s parents did, because the witnesses often reinforce each other’s views.  Indeed, Martin’s father’s first impression upon hearing the tape alone had been that the voice was not his son’s.

On Monday afternoon, lead detective Chris Serino testified that he had originally been skeptical of Zimmerman’s claims and had questioned him aggressively.  Then Serino tried bluffing by telling Zimmerman that Martin may have videotaped the encounter, to which Zimmerman responded, “Thank God!”  That, Serino admitted, was when he had decided that he believed Zimmerman.

And all this before the defense has even started calling witnesses!

The presumption of innocence central to our judicial system occasionally results in a jury letting a black defendant such as O.J. Simpson go free out of some twisted notion of collective racial guilt.  But the formula rarely works in the other direction.

A jury doesn’t find four Caucasian cops guilty of criminal charges of excessive use of force as payback for white racism, not when they’ve seen the unedited videotape of a drug-addled Rodney King rising and lunging at them even after repeatedly being knocked down.  A jury doesn’t find three white lacrosse-playing college students guilty of raping a black stripper just because of their privilege, not after having sifted through her outrageous lies.

And a jury isn’t likely to convict a neighborhood watchman with sterling character references, a racially tolerant background, and forthcoming and impeccably consistent testimony, of second-degree murder just because he’s half-white, especially not when his stoned, racial-epithet-spewing, gangster-idolizing victim boasted a history of assault, vandalism, and theft, and clearly had a bone to pick with the “creepy-ass cracker” he imagined was stalking him.

Liberals, race-baiters—all those who have a visceral desire to see George Zimmerman rot in jail—can’t alter reality, as much as they’d like to.  Our legal system is designed to slow things down, calm people’s tempers, and force us to examine the evidence methodologically and without prejudice, and under those conditions they can’t force the jury or the nation to swallow their argument.

The flimsy, racially instigated case against Zimmerman is falling apart so precipitously that it’ll be surprising if Martin supporters are shameless enough to even express outrage over the defendant’s likely acquittal.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Kimani Gray: Trayvon Pt. II

March 20, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Kimani-GrayHere’s what we know: On Saturday, March 9, 2013 around 11:30pm, two plainclothes officers—Sgt. Mourad Mourad and Officer Jovaniel Cordova—emerged from a maroon sedan on East 52nd St. in East Flatbush and approached a group of eight teenage boys, including 16-year-old Kimani Gray.  According to police and other eyewitnesses, Gray started backing away from the approaching officers in a suspicious manner, and at some point reached for his waistband.  Cops claim he pulled out a gun and aimed it at them, though some witnesses claim he didn’t pull out a gun, and other witnesses didn’t see enough to be sure.  The police ordered Gray to freeze, and when he disobeyed, they fired 11 bullets, 7 of which hit him.  Two hit his right thigh, two the backs of his thighs, one the back of his left shoulder, and one each his left ribcage and forearm.  Gray fell to the ground and was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

We also know that police recovered from Gray’s body a .38-caliber Rohm’s Industry revolver with two spent and four live rounds.  Police learned after Gray’s death that he had been arrested four times for adult charges including grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and inciting a riot.  Police believe Gray was a member of the Bloods gang, based on his presence in two online videos in which he wore a red hoodie and dressed down a member of the rival Crips.  Ex-gang member Shanduke McPhatter, who works with troubled youth in Gray’s crime-ridden neighborhood, set the context for the shooting: “[T]he situation on the streets has grown more complex for law enforcement: gangs are less organized, replaced instead by informal crews with few requirements and in which leadership is frequently up for grabs among increasingly young members.”

Here’s what we don’t know:

We don’t know whether Gray pulled out his gun and pointed it at police.

We don’t know the order in which the bullets hit Gray or whether police shot him in the back.  Coroners are attempting to ascertain these details, which could help determine which way Gray was facing when police shot him.  The fact that only three bullets hit Gray from the back suggests he may have turned and tried to run after being shot in the front; the testimony of eyewitness Camille Johnson supports this account.  That two bullets hit Gray in his right thigh implies police shot him from the front first: had they already shot him five times from the back and side, it’s unlikely they would have precisely targeted two shots to his right thigh.  Four bullets in his thighs suggest cops were not shooting to kill but to wound.

That’s what we don’t know—but don’t worry: not having all the facts isn’t preventing overheated rhetoric and wanton violence from cop-haters and liberals who condescend to people who live in high-crime areas by assuming they don’t want a strong police presence.

Those cop-haters—joined by a smattering of Occupy Wall Street types—have engaged in the following helpful activities while awaiting all the facts:

After a vigil for Gray Monday night, dozens of protestors marched to the local police precinct, where they threw bottles and garbage at the station, forcing police to don riot gear and set up a roadblock.  They threw rocks and glass bottles at oncoming traffic and broke several bus windows.  A group of 60 rioters stormed a local Rite Aid, destroying merchandise and knocking over a cash register.  They struck a pastor over the head with a wine bottle, stole his cellphone, and assaulted the store’s manager.  After looting the drugstore, they hit a local fruit market, where they demolished merchandise and stole money from the cash register.

After another vigil Wednesday night, rioters were at it again, throwing bricks at officers, hurling chairs, and tossing projectiles through police van windows.  Forty-six hooligans were arrested for disorderly conduct, assaulting police officers, and destroying property.

What does it say that Gray’s supporters behaved this way after his shooting?  It doesn’t imply his guilt, but it certainly doesn’t help their case.  As with the Trayvon Martin shooting, rioters seem to think behaving like savages and harming innocent people will help their legal argument.  Do they really believe it will draw more support for their side?  Do they see themselves as courageous freedom fighters?

There was a time in this country when racial injustice was prevalent and African Americans couldn’t get a fair deal from our criminal justice system.  The time of demonstrable, documentable, provable police bias is long over.  An occasional shooting of an armed or suspicious-looking black suspect in a high-crime neighborhood who disobeys police orders is not proof we are living in Jim Crow America.

During the civil rights era, crusaders for justice stood their ground with quiet dignity and let racist cops and governors disgrace themselves by turning on the fire hoses and releasing the attack dogs.  This new trend—riots in Los Angeles, flash mobs in Philadelphia, ransackings in Miami Beach—is a perversion of civil disobedience and the polar opposite of justice.

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Christopher Dorner, Left-Wing Martyr

February 13, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

LAPD-Cop-Killer-Christopher-Dorner-is-A-HEROWhat’s the difference between Christopher Dorner’s L.A. cop-killing spree that ended on Tuesday and the numerous acts of violence falsely attributed to conservatives and Tea Partiers over the last four years?

No, it’s not that those acts were carried out by conservatives.  Those acts were all carried out by leftists, too.

Dorner was the first case in which the perpetrator outlined his left-wing affiliations up front, and a significant portion of the left supported him.

In all of the other political acts of violence attributed to conservatives since Obama became President, the evidence that the perpetrator sympathized with the left was abundant, yet the media never bothered to piece it together, or insisted that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions (except the conclusion that the suspect was right-leaning).

Meanwhile, the media papered over the content of Dorner’s 11,000-word manifesto explaining his motives and outlining his ideological heroes.  The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, and BBC all failed to mention Dorner’s leftist sympathies in their lead stories.

Dorner praised left-wingers like Diane Feinstein, Joe Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mia Farrow, and Barack and Michelle Obama.  (“Off the record, I love your new bangs, Mrs. Obama.”)  He expressed drooling admiration for Piers Morgan, Chris Matthews, Soledad O’Brien, Tavis Smiley, Anderson Cooper, Jeffrey Toobin, Walter Cronkite, and hacking group Anonymous.  He cursed Wayne LaPierre and his family, Mitt Romney and his family, George W. Bush, and George Zimmerman.

Sounding like a Hollywood liberal, Dorner wrote of gun control, “The time is now to reinstitute a ban that will save lives.  Why does any sportsman need a 30 round magazine for hunting?”  Dorner then parted ways with bodyguard-hiring, filmic violence-glorifying celebrities by openly admitting his hypocrisy: “All the firearms utilized in my activities are registered to me and were legally purchased at gun stores and private party transfers…  [S]hould I be able to purchase these class III weapons…  NO.”

Though the left didn’t report on any of this, they certainly ate it up when they thought America wasn’t looking.  Peruse the abundance of comments on Facebook and left-leaning political sites supporting cop-killer Dorner.  On Twitter the hash tags #WeAreAllChrisDorner and #GoDornerGo were trending before his death.

Dorner’s supporters—who accepted uncritically his flimsy allegations of racism experienced while on the police force—were presumably tickled that he tied up hundreds of LAPD cops for weeks trying to find him, and that 50 officers and their terrified families were under 24-hour police protection.  They were also probably thrilled that Dorner diverted resources from border patrol agents and U.S. Marshals.  (Dorner no doubt lost points for being a former U.S. Navy Reservist.)

Contrast Dorner supporters’ fawning sentiments with the vitriol heaped on American hero Chris Kyle last week when a psychologically disturbed veteran shot him at a gun range.  The left—and Ron Paul—denounced Kyle as a psychotic bitter-clinger.  Liberals were more upset about Kyle’s killing of 150 Iraqi freedom fighters than they were about Dorner’s murder of black victim Keith Lawrence and his fiancée Monica Quan, daughter of former Police Chief Randall Quan, and his other innocent victims.

The left claimed, not that Dorner was a deranged lunatic whose complaints about the LAPD didn’t justify his killing rampage, but that—as the New York Times winked—many could sympathize with his motives.  Dorner was fired in 2008 after filing what was determined, after multiple levels of review and testimony of three eyewitnesses, to be a false allegation of police brutality.  Dorner then swore to carry out “unconventional and asymmetrical warfare” against racist, corrupt LAPD officers in revenge.

The Daily Kos linked to Dorner’s essay and glowed, “[T]he manifesto does highlight the problem of police brutality, which has plagued police departments all over the country for decades…  [P]olice brutality is an ongoing problem and Christopher Dorner is very articulate and powerful in his arguments.”  (Did they really just call an African-American mass murderer “articulate”?)

So is there any substance to Dorner’s charges?  Dorner cited one dubious event in which he attacked two officers for an allegedly racist incident.  After believing that he had heard a fellow officer use the n-word during a ride in a noisy passenger van, Dorner wrote that he “jumped over my front passenger seat and two other officers where I placed my hands around Burdios’ neck and squeezed…  What I should have done, was put a Winchester Ranger SXT 9mm 147 grain bullet in his skull and Officer Magana’s skull.”

But Dorner dismissed the LAPD’s allegations that he was a bully.  He actually listed every city he had ever lived in and encouraged journalists to confirm his pacific nature with his former classmates.  He claimed that being a roughneck was “not in my DNA,” then hedged, “[A]ny instances where I was disciplined for fighting was in response to fellow students provoking common childhood schoolyard fights, or calling me a nigger or other derogatory racial names.”  I never beat anyone up—but if I did, it was because they deserved it!

Throughout his rambling manifesto, Dorner revealed himself to be a serial grudge-holder who defensively strung together unrelated charges against everyone he had ever known, insisting that everything he had ever been accused of was Not His Fault.  (No wonder the left loved him!)  He accused lesbian officers of wielding too much power.  He scolded Asian cops for not stepping in to defend him against officers with whom he was quarreling.  He blamed the LAPD for costing him his naval career and his relationships with his mother, his sister, and his friends.

Dorner accused one officer of having “delusions of grandeur,” then wrote, “You have misjudged a sleeping giant.  There is no conventional threat assessment for me.  JAM, New Ba’ath party, 1920 rev BGE, ACM, AAF, AQAP, AQIM and AQIZ have nothing on me…  I am a walking exigent circumstance with no OFF or reset button.”  (Dorner made Obama seem humble and retiring.)

What is the state of the modern American left?  When a mass murderer declared his leftist sympathies and named specific journalists and politicians who had provided him with inspiration and courage, conservatives were tactful enough to remind the public that liberals weren’t responsible for the actions of a deranged lunatic.  Then the left, showing their true colors, preempted that sentiment by expressing their solidarity with the killer.

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NATO Protesters Try to Recapture That Rancid Occupy Magic

May 23, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Far-right conservatives don’t protest far-left institutions the way leftists protest even center-left institutions.

Witness liberals’ uproar over the NATO summit held in Chicago earlier this week, at which protester turnout was augmented by Occupy Chicago sympathizers seeking to recapture the rancid magic of last fall’s anti-Wall Street movement.

What’s puzzling about the left’s agitation over the summit is that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not exactly the John Birch Society.  The topics on the agenda this year included: removing international troops from Afghanistan by 2013, not intervening militarily in Syria, and rolling back austerity measures in France—all stances you’d think the protestors would be in love with.  Yet leftists marched and rioted and looted all weekend as though Mitt Romney had established Mormonism as the state religion of Illinois.

What is it about leftists and protesting?

Conservatives certainly protest a thing or two, now and then; witness the vigorous and effective Tea Party movement of the past three years.  But note the differences in how conservatives and leftists make their views known:

Raised voices and signs warning of abridged liberties and financial ruin are about as extreme as conservatives get.  In contrast, leftists fancy cop-bashing, firebombing, destroying property, blowing up bridges, threatening public safety, and generally hastening the decline of civilization.

Conservatives target government officials who rack up trillions of dollars in debt.  Leftists target Starbucks patrons, Walgreens shoppers, and elderly diners at family restaurants.

Conservatives hope to send career politicians home to their districts for an early retirement.  Leftists end up sending innocent people to the hospital.

Conservatives obtain protest permits, provide sanitation facilities, buy liability insurance, hire security personnel, and bring portable defibrillators.  Leftists occupy space that isn’t theirs, pee in the streets, defecate on police cars, offer safe haven for junkies, and spread new diseases.

Conservatives protest in their everyday garb, notwithstanding an occasional Ben Franklin impersonator or tricorner hat.  Leftists sport masks, scarves, bandanas, and hoods, dress as zombies and clowns, and splash red paint on their bodies to fake police-induced injuries.

Conservatives label themselves Constitutionalists, neoclassical liberals, and libertarians.  Leftists call themselves anarchists.

Conservatives’ weapons include words, arguments, and quotes, from the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers, and references to Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Ayn Rand.  Leftists’ weapons include cyber attacks, hammers, batons, Molotov cocktails, and assault rifles.

The mainstream media cover for leftist protestors by minimizing the severity of their crimes, blowing out of proportion minor indignities they bear during their uncooperative arrests, and implying moral equivalency between ruffians and cops.  According to the media, for example, leftist protestors don’t wreak havoc; police don’t try to restore order.  Rather, protestors and police “clash,” as if they were the Crips and the Bloods.

The media skim over injuries suffered by the police, but wail over the “safety” of short-sighted protestors who don’t bring enough water to drink.  They smear undercover cops’ efforts to prevent imminent attacks as infiltration, subterfuge, and entrapment.  They approvingly quote protestors who complain that cops are trying to “frighten people,” “diminish the size of the demonstrations,” and spread “fear and intimidation.”

By MSNBC’s reckoning, the noble NATO protestors’ biggest weakness isn’t that their message is incoherent, but that they have “too many messages” to absorb.  Yes, the beleaguered public just can’t keep up with the comprehensive brilliance of The Occupation Diaries of 2012.

Leftists and a complicit media demand ludicrous double standards that permit protestors to dress any way they want without being criticized, disrupt police efforts to control them, and abandon the law in order to save it.  The media remain neutral while leftists turn urban spaces into war zones and harass police squadrons defending the city from their assaults.

The domestic terrorists whose work was on display over the weekend are the ideological descendants of Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and the Weather Underground.  These thugs view the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention as their movement’s crowning historical achievement.

And their techniques are becoming more extreme.  One anarchist group called the Black Bloc recently held training sessions on how to use “improvised explosives, swords, hunting bows, throwing stars and brass knuckles.”  Palestinian brutes in the West Bank throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers are more civilized than these barbarians.

Except that Palestinian militants don’t generally attack their own side for not being militant enough.  The hacking group Anonymous recently tried to shut down the website for the city of Chicago—arguably the most generous, profligate, left-wing dispenser of taxpayer-funded largesse in the U.S. outside of the federal government—because it has a police department that won’t let them rampage with abandon.  Three NATO protestors were charged over the weekend with plotting to attack Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and the Obama 2012 reelection headquarters.

What does it says about the left that they are more likely to violently protest insufficiently liberal institutions than conservatives are to do the same for far-left causes?  It says either that leftists are so intolerant of dissenting views that they can’t stand the existence of entities who slightly disagree with them, or that they hold society in such contempt that they get their kicks trying to tear it down.

Neither possibility is particularly flattering to their movement.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics


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Race-Baiters Batting .000 in Trayvon Case

April 25, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Up till now, the most accurate reporting the mainstream media have done on the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case has been relaying the fact that Martin had Skittles and iced tea on him when he was shot.  At the rate they’re going, I won’t be surprised if it emerges that he was carrying Pop Rocks and Four Loko.

Here is a partial list of the wild, reckless, irresponsible claims the left-leaning media have made in the Martin-Zimmerman case, every one of which has been rendered highly suspect or outright false:

Zimmerman is a white racist who killed Martin because he was black.

Multiple acquaintances of Zimmerman’s, including black friends, testified to reporters that Zimmerman—who is half-Hispanic—isn’t racist.  Zimmerman comes from a multiracial family and, during the period when the shooting took place, was tutoring a black neighbor’s two young children and helping raise money for her all-black church.

Maybe Zimmerman wasn’t racist, but he racially profiled Martin and told a 911 dispatcher Martin looked suspicious because of his race.  Zimmerman also uttered a racial slur.

In an egregious act of journalistic malpractice, an NBC producer chopped up the 911 audiotape to make it seem as though Zimmerman had found Martin suspicious because he was black, when in fact Zimmerman was merely responding to the dispatcher’s request to identify Martin’s race.  As for the slur, forensic experts enhanced the sound quality of the tape to isolate Zimmerman’s voice and concluded, not that he had used the archaic term coon, but that he was lamenting the cold.

OK, Zimmerman may not have racially profiled Martin, but he was a trigger-happy vigilante who shot Martin because of the cover provided by Florida’s barbaric Stand Your Ground law.

As Walter Olson and others have explained, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is utterly irrelevant in the Zimmerman case.  If Zimmerman stalked Martin and shot him in cold blood, then obviously he didn’t act in self-defense.  If Martin set upon Zimmerman, knocked him to the ground, and started pummeling him, as Zimmerman claims, then Zimmerman couldn’t have safely retreated, which is what Stand Your Ground opponents would have potential victims do instead of fighting back.  Either way, Stand Your Ground has no bearing on the propriety of Zimmerman’s actions.

Well, Martin wouldn’t have started a fight with Zimmermanhe was a sweet, innocent kid.

The night he was shot, Martin was serving a suspension for carrying a plastic baggie with traces of marijuana.  Previously he had been suspended for tardiness, truancy, and spray painting graffiti on school property.  Martin had been reprimanded for possessing an assortment of stolen women’s jewelry and a lock-breaking device.  His Twitter account revealed an affinity for gangsta culture, a flood of misogynistic tweets describing graphic sexual fantasies, and the suggestion that he had assaulted a school bus driver.  Photos of Martin displayed a menacing figure grimacing at the camera with a grill over his lower teeth.

Martin’s school suspensions are irrelevant.  He may have gotten into a bit of trouble now and then, but clearly Zimmerman was lying about Martin bashing his head into the concrete.

Police on the scene confirmed Zimmerman’s injuries and the presence of grass stains on his clothes.  When ABC News released a grainy surveillance video taken in the Sanford Police Station that didn’t show obvious wounds on the back of Zimmerman’s head, the media jumped all over him and called him a liar.  When ABC later released an enhanced video that showed clearer evidence of two gashes on the back of Zimmerman’s head, liberals claimed the evidence was inconclusive and that conservatives were playing Columbo.  When multiple witnesses attested that Zimmerman had bandages on his head and nose the day after the shooting, skeptics questioned the witnesses’ credibility.  Finally, last week ABC released a graphic photograph taken just after the incident showing thick rivulets of blood streaming down the back of Zimmerman’s head.  Liberals have been silent while trying to figure out how to squirm out of the latest corner they’ve painted themselves into.

Confronted with evidence disproving their claims of discrimination, race-baiters always shift the standard of proof to make their case just one step harder to discredit, so that they get a clean slate from their previous raft of false accusations and must meet only their current, self-determined burden of proof.  When that standard is refuted, they cry, “Yes, but…” and move on to the next unmet standard, claiming that all of the previous standards are irrelevant to their case.  The logical endpoint of this burning platform approach to argumentation is for the left to claim that, okay, the facts don’t support their case this time around, but the problem they are decrying is nonetheless legion.

If the sheer volume of circumstantial evidence exonerating Zimmerman accumulates to such a degree that a majority of the population comes around to his side of the story, the left won’t ever admit that they were wrong.  They won’t take responsibility for the multiple retaliatory beatings across the country incited by their inflammatory race-baiting.  Just as they did with false rape allegations against the Duke lacrosse players, the flurry of phony noose-hanging and anti-black vandalism incidents on college campuses, the apocryphal rash of black church burnings, the Tawana Brawley case, and a million other made-up incidents, liberals will simply claim that the charges against Zimmerman were fake but accurate, because they drew national attention to a problem that in fact exists only in their heads.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Secret Service Broke After Paying Biden’s Rent; Skimps Hooker Budget

April 18, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

The Secret Service paid Vice President Joe Biden over $20,000 in rent last year for the privilege of residing on his property while protecting him.  Apparently one of its agents couldn’t cough up $50 to pay a Cartagenero hooker last week.  Coincidence?

Eleven Secret Service staff members were sent home from tony beach resort city Cartagena and put on administrative leave, ahead of President Obama’s arrival Saturday for the 6th Summit of the Americas, for the indiscretion of having invited a squadron of prostitutes to their hotel rooms.  One of the hookers brought to the posh Hotel Caribe was upset over a lousy $47 an agent had failed to pay her.  She went to complain to the police, who forwarded her case to the State Department.

Several hotel waiters reported that the week before the scandal, agents had been drinking heavily and carousing at the Caribe.  The prostitution scandal broke the day before Obama was scheduled to arrive in South America, and took place just a few blocks from his hotel.

Ten or more military members serving the Southern Command, at least one from each service branch, were also caught up in the scandal, but were allowed to stay in Cartagena over the weekend due to their needed expertise.  The military staff were confined to their living quarters, ordered not to communicate with anyone, and prohibited from ordering anything stronger than virgin piña coladas.

Ronald Kessler, author of the exposé In the President’s Service, calls Colombiagate “the biggest scandal in Secret Service history.”

He names, among other factors responsible for the Secret Service’s laxity in recent years, its failure to keep abreast of the latest advances in firearms—a deficit I’m sure the rabidly pro-Second Amendment Obama administration is quickly working to correct.

Kessler cites as evidence of the Secret Service’s shoddy standards Tareq and Michaele Salahi’s ability to crash the 2009 White House State Dinner, a security breach that became a national embarrassment and stoked fears of future lapses that might endanger the president and his staff.  He also references the recent intruder who managed to scale the fence surrounding the White House and start crawling across the lawn before the Secret Service captured him.

Obama has inexplicably allowed Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan to hold his post despite these screw-ups.

Kessler argues that the president is particularly unsafe now, because replacement agents who were hurried in to replace the Cartagena 11 haven’t had time to acclimate to their new environment.  Secret Service management’s failure to change its attitude has also set the stage for future indiscretions.

New York Representative Peter King and California Representative Darrell Issa, who have proven their national security credentials via their investigation of homegrown Islamic terrorism and the Fast and Furious gunrunning scheme, respectively, have pledged to look into the scandal.

Meanwhile, the toadying media is proclaiming that Obama still has confidence in the Secret Service—without asking whether he should have confidence, or whether the American people have confidence.  Rather than apologizing and accepting responsibility for the incident, Obama and his cronies have chided the media for their “flashy” coverage of a story they label a “distraction.”

(Obama also noted that he would ‘wait until the full investigation is completed until I pass judgment.’  Had the unpaid Cartageno hooker been black, he would have already claimed that the Secret Service “acted stupidly,” and that “If I had a daughter who was a prostitute, she’d look like María.”)

The Cartagena incident is a perfect example of the broader pattern of the Obama administration’s incompetence, abuse of power, sense of entitlement, waste of taxpayers’ money, tin-eared response to scandal, and indifference toward fulfilling government’s legitimate, limited functions.  (Also Democrats’ lax morals and seedy sexual proclivities.)

These sleazy secret service recipients, most of whom are married, may not have cared that they were cheating on their wives.  But their irresponsible actions exposed them to potential blackmail, which could put the president’s life in danger.

As for the sex angle, I know Obama wasn’t directly involved in the affair, but when’s the last time a Republican presidential administration’s reputation was marred by a major sex scandal?  Say what you will about the vastly overblown Tailhook incident under George H. W. Bush: at least its instigators weren’t putting national security at risk.

The Secret Service horndogs also made the administration’s trade and security goals for the Americas Summit more difficult, given that distracted and titillated attendees—including 33 heads of state—spent the weekend winking and elbowing each other over the behavior of the boobs who were supposed to be protecting the president.  The scandal jeopardized Obama’s ability to stand up against Latin America’s overwhelming pressure to end sanctions against communist Cuba and include her in future summits held by the Organization of American States.  (As for other administration goals, such as convincing Brazil and fellow developing nations of the value of reckless U.S. monetary expansionism, I’m happy to have these efforts hampered.)

Before Obama was inaugurated, liberals used to gasp that a black president would be uniquely susceptible to assassination.  It turns out that the greatest facilitator of such a scenario is the bumbling security outfit our incompetent commander-in-chief has retained to protect him.

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Liberals Outlaw Crime-Stopping While Redneck

March 28, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Apparently “the system worked” in exonerating Casey Anthony, but we don’t need the system in order to be certain Trayvon Martin’s shooter is a racist, cold-blooded murderer.

Several weeks ago, 28-year-old George Zimmerman spotted 17-year-old Martin ambling around the Retreat at Twins Lake gated community in Sanford, Florida and called 911 to report suspicious behavior on Martin’s part.  Zimmerman followed Martin throughout the complex by vehicle and on foot, against the 911 operator’s recommendation.  At some point, Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, and Zimmerman shot Martin.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee told reporters there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest the shooter: “In this case, Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense.  Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.”

Never mind—the left wants him arrested, charged, and prosecuted anyway.  They’ve jumped to the conclusion that the attack was unprovoked and racially motivated.  Civil rights groups insist the Sanford Police Department and Seminole County State Attorney’s Office are racist.

Zimmerman had served as captain of the neighborhood watch patrol and had been instrumental in eradicating a recent rash of crime.  The Retreat had endured dozens of burglaries and a shooting in the past year, with residents having called the police hundreds of times to report suspicious activity.

Homeowner association secretary Cynthia Wibker testified on Zimmerman’s behalf: “He once caught a thief and an arrest was made.  He helped solve a lot of crimes.”  Resident Frank Taaffe believes Zimmerman’s motives were benevolent: “I just know he’s a good person and really cares for the neighborhood.”

Police records support Zimmerman’s account of the shooting.  Their report notes that officers “found Zimmerman bleeding from the nose and back of his head.  The back of his shirt was wet and had grass clippings on it, as if he’d been on his back on the ground.”  Zimmerman’s bloody nose and the testimony of one resident who witnessed the scuffle suggest that the 6-foot, 3-inch Trayvon Martin was punching Zimmerman.

The witness told reporters, “The guy on the bottom [Zimmerman], who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, ‘Help!  Help!’ and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911.  When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on the top [Martin] beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point.”

Early reports suggested that two gunshots bracketed a male’s cries for help.  Later reports clarified that there was only one gunshot. The number of shots and their timing is critical.  The earlier, disconfirmed view suggested that Zimmerman shot Martin, Martin cried for help, and Zimmerman shot Martin to shut him up.  The newer view suggests Martin was pummeling Zimmerman, Zimmerman screamed for help, and Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense.  Supporting this interpretation, Martin’s father, upon hearing the 911 call, confirmed that the cries were not those of his son.

Two female witnesses, roommates Mary Cutcher and Selma Mora Lamilla, initially buttressed Zimmerman’s account, but Cutcher went to police days later and changed her story, claiming officers on the scene hadn’t been interested in everything she had to say.

Sergeant Dave Morgenstern disputes Cutcher’s account of the investigation, calling it “inconsistent with [Cutcher’s] sworn testimony to police.  Actually, officers who were canvassing the neighborhood looking for potential witnesses the evening of the shooting contacted her, and she said she did not want to get involved.”

The latest version of Cutcher’s story is that “there was no punching, no hitting going on at the time, no wrestling.”  Cutcher conceded that whatever fighting took place was over before Zimmerman and Martin had reached her backyard.  She admits it was possible that Martin had subdued and was attacking Zimmerman.

Cutcher hasn’t provided any evidence that what she told police the night of the incident was incorrect.  She merely claims she may have read too much into what she saw.  Her admission doesn’t invalidate other witnesses’ reports or Zimmerman’s grass stains and wounds.

Additional testimony from Cutcher and Lamilla revealed that Zimmerman’s behavior after the shooting was not that of a man who knew he’d committed an unprovoked murder against an innocent bystander, let alone a vicious hate crime.

On Tuesday, Anderson Cooper interviewed Cutcher and Lamilla, the latter of whom stated, “By that time [of witnessing the scene], you hear like a shot—like some other noise.  I run away from my backyard and I look at the person [Zimmerman] on his knees on top of a body [Martin].”

Cutcher added that Zimmerman was “straddling him.  One [leg] on each side, on his knees, with his hands on his back.  I immediately thought, Okay, obviously if it’s the shooter, he would have ran.  I thought, He’s holding the wound, helping the guy, taking a pulse, making sure he’s okay.”

So Cutcher implied that if Zimmerman had killed Martin unjustifiably, he would have run away.  Instead, he stayed at the scene, tenderly holding Martin’s wound, taking his pulse, and remaining with him until police arrived.

The national rush to judgment, the left’s abandonment of presumption of innocence, and the death threats that have forced Zimmerman to leave his home, abandon his job, and flee to an undisclosed location are all belied by the flimsiness of the case against him as a hate crime felon.

Once again, as with their smears against the Tea Party as racist, their campaign against Sergeant James Crowley in the Henry Louis Gates phony racial profiling case, and their uncritical acceptance of a black stripper’s disproven claims she was raped by white Duke fraternity brothers, liberals’ interest is never in justice.  Their interest is in using tragic cases like Trayvon Martin’s to perpetuate a society tormented by specious racial grievances and a permanently victimized minority underclass.

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Pepper Spray Is the New Patchouli

November 23, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) Essential Oil in...

Image via Wikipedia

The police warned that if protestors didn’t move, force would be used to remove them.  Protestors didn’t move.  Force was used to remove them.

What’s the big deal?

Liberals were aghast at last Friday’s video showing Police Lt. John Pike shooting pepper spray at a row of seated protestors blocking a walkway at the University of California at Davis.  The protestors were barricading the path against officers trying to arrest students who had violated the college’s order prohibiting pitching tents on the quad.

Curiously, the seated protestors had their heads down and eyes covered during the entire 10-second assault.  This may have had something to do with the fact that the sadistic monster Pike had raised his bright-red pepper spray can in the air and shaken it for about five minutes before spraying, in order to warn the protestors about what was coming.  In the video, onlookers can be heard calling out, “Keep your eyes closed!” “Cover your eyes!” and “Protect yourself!” Upon being sprayed, none of the seated protestors appeared to cry out in pain, though it was difficult to hear over the onlookers wailing, “You guys are supposed to protect us!”

One hysterical woman in the video can be heard yowling, “Why are you doing this?  These are children!”—which I guess is supposed to be aurally reminiscent of “It’s for the children!”

For those who don’t belong to the Young Democratic Socialists, pepper spray is a commonly used, non-lethal crowd control agent that is a chemical cousin of mace and other tear gases.  It induces watery eyes, runny nose, and coughing—which can’t be any worse than the symptoms of Zuccotti Lung.

Contrary to occupiers’ claims, the seated protestors were not willing to move out of the way if asked.  Officers can be seen trying to drag protestors away after the pepper spray cans had been pulled out, but the arm-linked protestors refused to move.

The police appear to have carried out their pepper spray raid, not to cruelly inflict distress on the protestors, but to soften them up to make it easier to remove them from the walkway.  As former Baltimore Police Chief Charles Kelly noted, “When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them.  Bodies don’t have handles on them.”  Even after being sprayed, the protestors remained limp, forcing multiple officers to drag them away.

The UC Davis protestors, despite the widespread impression of them as beleaguered innocents set upon by hordes of machine gun-toting Gestapo, far outnumbered the police patrolling them.  UC Davis reports that there were 35 police officers on the scene Friday, compared to 250 protestors and onlookers.

Overwhelming numbers of unhinged protestors in any setting have the potential to wreak havoc, as evidenced by violent Occupy-driven confrontations over the past two months in other U.S. cities.  Even small groups of committed protestors can inflict costly wreckage, as demonstrated by the handful of Occupy protestors in Rome several weeks ago who injured hundreds of people and caused millions of dollars in damage.

The Occupy protestors have no concern for the well-being or safety of police officers, i.e. individuals in a dangerous profession who otherwise protect protestors in their daily lives.  As one commenter at the website Boing Boing ordered, “[D]on’t pepper spray non-violent protester [sic] you intent [sic] to arrest.  Just arrest them and move on.  If you get hurt, so be it.  You are a police officer.  Your job is inherntly [sic] dangerous.”  Yes, their job is inherently dangerous, due to chaos-instigating criminals like Occupy protestors and the people who sympathize with them.

There are numerous ways of hindering police work besides pushing back against cops or throwing bottles, urine, and feces at them (though the Occupy protestors have tried all of those methods!).  Even passive forms of resistance such as building human chains or walls to prevent police from getting by, or sprawling out on the ground and refusing to move, can justify retaliatory force.

Perhaps the cops could have “stepped over” or “brushed past” the protestors, as some Occupy apologists have glibly suggested.  The protestors sob that they were seated and non-violent when they were sprayed.  Boo-hoo.  They aligned themselves with an anarchic, violent mob, and they telegraphed their intention not to comply with police.  Maybe they would have let themselves be peacefully pushed aside had it come to that.  But the police don’t have time to administer a psychological evaluation to each rally participant to determine his or her propensity for causing mayhem under stress.

When cops say move, you move—even if you’re curled in a fetal position on the ground with flowers in your hair listening to Cat Stevens and nursing orphaned kittens.

The UC Davis police could have acted a lot more brutally, including prodding or beating protestors with batons.  The occupiers should consider themselves warned: Trust fund brat refuses to move, trust fund brat gets spray tanned.

Protestors in the UC Davis videos can be heard chanting “Shame on you!” at police after the incident.  Actually, shame on patsy mayors like Michael Bloomberg and Jean Quan for not empowering police to clear out these animals ages ago.

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Occupy Wall Street: Abandoning the Law to Save It

October 19, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

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Last week a concerned reader took issue with my negative comparison of the Occupy Wall Street protests to the Tea Party rallies—in particular my statement that “Tea Party rallies have been amazingly peaceful, with not a single arrest… across hundreds of cities and thousands of events…”  The reader was correct—there were in fact Tea Party arrests I had overlooked.

In March of 2011, Jim Canelos was arrested in Mohave County, Arizona for wearing a flag hat at a county supervisors’ meeting that prohibited wearing hats.

In February of 2010, Mervin Fried was arrested in Kingman, Arizona for bringing a symbolic pitchfork to a protest in a county administration building.  Fried argued that the county already allowed citizens to carry guns—a more dangerous weapon—into government buildings, and was later acquitted.

Most notably, in November of 2009, ten protestors angry over ObamaCare were arrested for engaging in disorderly conduct outside Nancy Pelosi’s office in Washington, D.C.  The ralliers were discovered to have been organized by rabid anti-abortion activist and Democrat Randall Terry of Operation Rescue.

That’s it!  A dozen Tea Party arrests in two-and-a-half years, most tied to anti-abortion protestors.  Given the media’s left-wing slant, you can be sure that every arrest ever made at a Tea Party rally in the tiniest hamlet in the country has been thoroughly documented.

Now that we’ve gotten that straight, let’s examine the arrest record of Occupy Wall Street, which just hit its one-month anniversary:

•    Several weeks ago in New York, over 700 protesters were arrested for marching into the vehicular lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge against police orders and cutting off traffic;

•    Last Tuesday 129 protestors were arrested in Boston and 6 in D.C. for trespassing and disorderly conduct;

•    On Saturday 92 protestors were arrested in New York for occupying a branch of Citibank, knocking down police barriers, and other offenses;

•    Also on Saturday, 53 protestors in Tucson, 24 in Denver, and 19 in Raleigh were arrested for occupying public parks after closing time;

•    On Sunday 175 protestors in Chicago were arrested for setting up a tent city and occupying Congress Plaza near Grant Park;

•    Also on Sunday, 46 protestors were arrested in Phoenix for refusing to evacuate a public park at closing time

This is just a partial list and includes only roundups at the most high-profile rallies in the biggest cities.

Let’s not forget the recent riots abroad, mostly in Western Europe, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests.  In Rome on Saturday, police arrested protestors for breaking windows, destroying statues, spraying graffiti on churches, vandalizing bank lobbies and ATM machines, smashing police cruisers, and setting dumpsters, cars, and military depots on fire; attacking police with batons, rocks, bottles, fire extinguishers, and bombs; injuring hundreds of innocents, mostly police officers; and causing millions in damage to public property and untold damage to private property.

(In one delicious footnote, Roman protestors expressed indignation that police hadn’t made more arrests of their most violent compatriots early on, so that the whole group wouldn’t be discredited.  Damned if you enforce the law, damned if you don’t.)

So let’s examine the totals: 12 arrests for the Tea Party rallies, which have been going on for 30 months; and 1200 arrests for the Occupy Wall Street mobs, which have been going on for 30 days.

It’s awfully close, but I’m going to have to suggest that Occupy Wall Street is less law-abiding than the Tea Party.  Yet to hear the mainstream media present it, Occupy Wall Street is every bit as peaceful and legitimate as the Tea Party.

The disparate treatment given to these wildly uneven tallies reflects the double standard set by the left-leaning media: One Tea Partier raising his fist in anger over intrusive government is as alarming as one thousand Occupy Wall Street protestors clashing with police.

Some commentators have noted that Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party both began out of anger over the nation’s largest banks being bailed out.  Though the sources of their grievances overlap, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street have used vastly different tactics to get across their messages.  Ironically, the Tea Party, which is more suspicious of government, has been following the letter of the law.  Occupy Wall Street, which favors more government regulation, has been trampling all over the law.

This irony is easily explainable: The Tea Party believes the government has legitimate, limited functions, such as the power of the police and courts to protect people from the initiation of force and violation of property rights.  In contrast, Occupy Wall Street believes legitimate functions of government include providing universal healthcare, free college education, and a living wage; naturally, they see its policing functions as rather superfluous and heavy-handed, if not downright militaristic.

Thus, we have the spectacle of defense lawyers representing over 800 defendants in Manhattan’s criminal court system demanding that all charges be dropped for the protestors, and threatening individual trials for the miscreants, thus further clogging the system’s already overstuffed caseload.  (Prepare for agitators to crow that their struggle was victorious and their motives vindicated after overburdened prosecutors inevitably throw in the towel.)

Just before the fall 2008 bank bailout, which most Democrats supported and most Republicans opposed, President Bush infamously observed that he had “abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”

The members of a protest movement that claims to be concerned with justice have been wildly indiscriminate in their violation of the law.  Occupy Wall Street protestors apparently believe they must abandon our civilized system of government in order to save it.

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