Robert Guest Pulls All Rainbow Lounge Raid Records

Robert Guest, my favorite criminal defense attorney blogger and one-man open records clearinghouse, just got all the records on the now infamous raid on the gay bar in Fort Worth.

He’s too busy to post them, and I haven’t even read through them — busy too — but here they are.

Report Unpatrotic Neighbors, Citizens

Like the rummy at the end of the bar who occasionally awakens enough to blurt out some profound but politically incorrect truth (“Lincoln was a tyrant!” “Organic food is crap!” “The Sopranos ending was awesome!”) before going back to 23.8 hours of uselessness a day — we have John Cornyn.

Today he gets a rare kudos for pointing out the White House’s new “Inform on Your Neighbor” policy.

(I thought the whole “no snitching” thing was good. I’m confused.)

Gates’s Crime? Dissing the State Enforcers

henry_gates_porch_072109Here’s one you don’t hear about much these days — when we’re told Henry Louis Gates’ arrest for failing to show the proper obsequiousness to a Cambridge police officer warranted his arrest.

One has an undoubted right to resist an unlawful arrest, and courts will uphold the right of resistance in proper cases.”

-United States Supreme Court, United States v. Di Re, 1948.

Funny you don’t hear that much in this day and age when we’re expected to act like serfs if we’re stopped, questioned, or detained.

And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.

That quote’s from an LA police officer writing at National Review’s website in response to Gates Gate.

Tell me, are you comfortable with the idea of police thinking they’re justified in shooting you if you assert your constitutional rights?

(h/t ProLibertate)

Good Thing There’s No Crime Problem in Dallas, or The Bathrooms Are Secure, Sir

storyOkay, so comes word that since Monday, Dallas Police have arrested four men for cruising in the bathrooms at NorthPark Center. Comments, of course, have been sober, serious, reflective and not at all in the vein of, say, the Inquisition or anything crazy like that.

Sure, everyone can agree meeting someone in a bathroom for sex is pretty gross, right? Well, not gross, per se. I mean, not for heterosexuals. On airplanes. Any other members of the Mile High Club here? Ah? Yes? I see some hands. So much for that absolute.

And what you do in a stall is supposed to be private. I mean, I hope there’s no hidden cameras in there checking us all to make sure we’re not sporting a half a chub.

And propositioning another person in public isn’t a crime in itself either. Well, technically, it is in Dallas.

SOLICITATION FOR SODOMY-NOT FOR HIRE
Code Section 31-19(a): “In this section SODOMY [ed: their caps] means any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person.” Code Section 31-19 (b): “A person commits an offense if he solicits another in a public place to engage with him in sodomy not for hire.”

(That means what you think it means. If you’re in a bar or on a sidewalk or in a restroom, and you even ask a stranger, your significant other, or even your spouse for a special favor, even one to be granted later, in the comfort of your own home, you just committed a crime. No, this isn’t about prostitution—that’s a whole different section. Good lord. What Talibunny wrote these laws?)

Of course the composed, thoughtful, witch-burning commenters immediately started in with their “Think of the children!” sing-along. Never mind that their precious little snowflakes isn’t what closeted gay males and married guys on the down-low are cruising for when they’re cruising bathrooms.

Never mind that little Josh is in almost exclusively more danger from weird Uncle Steve or the step-father than a stranger.

Strangers were the offender in just 3% of sexual assaults against victims under age 6 and 5% of the sexual assault of victimizations of youth ages 6 through 11.
-Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement,
7/00, NCJ 182990, U.S. Department of Justice (more)

And those same composed, thoughtful commenters, of course, demanded that pictures of those arrested be published, the goal being to shame them. Never mind that a person charged with a crime has not been found guilty of a crime, and that never in history have police brought wrongful charges against anyone. Not in Dallas County, anyway.

I mean, if you’re charged with a crime, clearly you committed it, right? Due process is so pre-9/11.

GEORGE MICHAEL GETS THE MUNCHIES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT* EXCAnd what guy hasn’t been in a restroom where some dude started leering at him? Guess what. You walk away. These sad sacks cruising the restrooms are looking for like minds, not a confrontation. You do your business and get out. Seriously, what guy makes a point of looking at other dudes to see if they’re checking him out?

I mean, I don’t even look at my own business, much less check to see if the guy two urinals over is shaking it too often.

And really, officer, you’re peering in stalls? Who’s being creepy now?

But I’m getting sidetracked.

Let’s get back to the bathroom cruisers police have been busting at NorthPark.

All gotchas out of the way, it is for certain that a venue for guys to meet for anonymous, Idaho Republican style extra-curricular activities is not what Macy’s and Dillard’s has in mind in their restrooms. And yes, I think it’s gross and icky.

But the key words above aren’t gross and icky. The key words are their bathrooms.

Guess who should be patrolling the restrooms and showing creepy acting people to the exit? Yep, that’s right.

paul-blart-mall-cop

Let the stores monitor their own facilities on their own dime. Dallas still has one of the worst violent crime rates in the country and a near nine-figure budget shortfall.

And yet we’re sending professional, sworn peace officers into bathrooms to do pecker checks.

I’m sorry, but this kind of behavior just doesn’t get a rise out of me.

It’s Not About Taking Off My Goddamn Shoes

Oh, what joyful timing. Here’s two headlines that came along (thanks, PeterK) that go right with today’s post I wrote over the weekend. The links are about a passenger harassed by TSA bullies for carrying some cash and refusing to be intimidated.

Here’s the first.

Here’s the other.

Oh, and here’s the link to another incident, right here in Dallas last week.

Preface: I wrote what follows in the midst of a storm of anger and furious indignation that hasn’t ebbed one bit.

This is offered with no apologies to anyone for anything, and contempt for everyone.

————

I hate to fly. It’s not the airplanes. It’s the airports. Specifically, the part we actually call “security” as provided by the make-work federal drones that constitute the Transportation Safety Administration.

img_0178I watch them. Groping, dirty apes. I watch what they do. And I watch how ordinary people – you know, you free citizens as we used to say without irony – react in to these little people with big badges on their hollow or otherwise obese chests.

I hate what everyone involved does. I hate what it all stands for. I hate the fact that it’s not going to change because we ask for it, and we don’t have any courage, self-respect or will to change it. Like every other victim in history, we’re getting exactly the kind of government we deserve because we either embrace it, or we’re too cowardly to fight it. That includes me.

I’m so mad right now I could strangle something.

The scene at airport security screening is a defining case study – a simple sentence diagram – of what’s gone wrong not just with government, but American people. It showcases the delusions we cling to, the lies we let the authorities tell us, the even worse lies we tell ourselves, the self-perpetuating circle of it all, the psychological destruction of our spirit, and the reality that the whole thing may – probably is – too far gone to change since we’re all complicit.

The main players in this farce are right there.

The first: The petty, most useless human types given unnatural, near unchecked authority that they lord over ordinary people, demanding respect and submission that no one is entitled to, and that they could not earn without their badge of office.

The second: The victims – the public – they pretend to serve, who give over their most precious possessions – their dignity, their self-respect, their rights, their spirit – all because those won’t fit in the overhead compartment. They give over what can’t be returned. Say thank you. Bow.

I don’t know which group is worse.

Played out every hour at every airport. Changing our very psychology and our nature. Making us a little less every time. The only thing it strengthens in us is our resolve to shore up our illusions as we parrot words we don’t even understand — words like freedom – while we wave flags and chant pledges like primitive tribes chanting to tree spirits.

We’ve become cargo cultists of liberty. The enabling wife who keeps going back to the abusive husband. “He’s really a good man. I made him do it. It’s for my own good.”

So no, it’s not about the goddamn shoes.

I don’t know if the farce at airport security is cause, effect, symptom or what. By itself, not the worst thing. Taken as a piece of the whole and a symbol of the totality of its impact? It’s everything wrong.

I’m not blaming any person, party, agency or group for this.

I’m blaming all of you. That includes me.

Long before Sept. 11, we were headed down the path that Ben Franklin warned about — way overused by bloggers so I won’t even type it, but you know what I mean — regarding liberty and security, and how you can’t have both. The aftermath of Sept. 11 just codified it and sanctified “safety” in our culture as a holy word. The name of some volcano god that we now serve and sacrifice to.

Funny thing is, the whole process of airport security? It just doesn’t work.

Period. Full stop.

The federally run security we have now – just the process – is a failure on the face of it. Internal audits tell the story of how easily the trained security test agents get everything from faux bomb parts to real guns through.

Hell, even mid-size market television reporters have snuck through with contraband. These are guys whose sole life experience is being a television reporter.

So just imagine what can a dedicated, hard man with a zealous belief and a few years experience in war, crime, or the bad side of black ops can do.

The kabuki theater of airport security isn’t there to stop the real threats. At best it’s a speed bump. It’s a little show make you feel good.

This is what you don’t hear much from the people behind the curtain. They know it’s easier to put on a show that squeezes the law-abiding passenger, rather than doing anything about the tiny population of skilled and dedicated bad guys who can get right past their kindergarten perimeter and their Maginot Lines.

Feel safer? Want to know how far down this rabbit hole goes?

Take a look at this attached picture back near the top. Not revealing where I got it, but it’s a nice, roughly 3.5-inch knife that someone carried right through screening at big international airport. The owner carries it every time that person flies.

Now, I’ll grant that it’s not one you’d want to rely on as your daily carry blade — it’s some kind of plastic, nylon, ceramic or composite deal. They’re hard to hone and breakable if not used properly. But they work. I’ve tested some of these “CIA letter openers” on slabs of meat and they can slice and stab right through flesh and meat. In the hands of someone who knows how to use it — that is, going for vital points and avoiding hitting bone — it’s as deadly as any steel blade. Not perfect for slitting a throat, but a jab to the neck will get the carotid or go right through the medium tissue protecting the windpipe. That serration ensures that even if you miss the carotid, once it’s in the neck it won’t take much to saw through to the sweet spot. Won’t go into the base of the skull for the quick, instant kill where you scramble the thinker eggs, but good enough to get the job done.

So there’s your security process. A shamanistic ritual, and nothing more.

That’s not the bad news.

The bad news is this sham is served up at a cost that is far, far worse than any butcher’s bill – and yes, that includes the butcher’s bill of September 11.

Yes, I said it. Someone has to. Get all indignant. I don’t care.

What airport security – stay with me, I’m using it as a metaphor for the big picture so don’t act stupid – what airport security does now is kill our soul and our spirit.

The whole thing is just downright humiliating if you have any pride at all. From top to bottom it’s an affront to the sensibilities of any free man or woman with even a thimble of self-respect.

Those of us over 30 are being taught with every trip to accept it a little more. And even the most ornery of us get a little more indifferent each time, resigning ourselves a step at a time. This is because most older adults remember when airport security was, while a little troublesome, something you still walked away from with your dignity. And the security people — employees of the airport without the arbitrary power to ruin your trip or your very life, and with more accountability and respect for us since they were mostly private or local government employees — actually treated passengers as both fellow citizens and valued customers. They didn’t look at us like serfs.

That’s the over 30ish crowd’s reality.

But what’s got me so seriously angry is that younger adults and especially children — my child, if you must know specifics — don’t know any other way. It drills into them the sickening idea that the natural state of things is submission to authority without question, to fear uniformed government employees, and that hey, that’s just how it is — government has arbitrary, almost unchecked power, and you better do as you’re told.

Whatever our ages, we are being taught to be obsequious, obedient, and to submit to degrading treatment, all in the name of the volcano god called safety. Even if it worked it’s not worth it.

605074-cartman_superWe queue up like farm animals. Strip our shoes, open our bags for searches without warrant or cause, and have our private things and bodies pawed and handled by people you wouldn’t let in your house or even shake your hand. We humble ourselves before government employees who we have come to fear because of the enormous and arbitrary power they have over us to force us to undergo even further humiliations — strip searches, pat down, delays created on a whim that can ruin your travel plans.

They get to treat free citizens like suspects and criminals. They can pull you out and have you put in cuffs at a word, with almost no accountability and no consequence. Simply because, what the hell, they’re having another bad day in a lifetime of bad days, and they already yelled at a waitress and kicked the dog, so now it’s your turn.

We – you and me and everyone – fear asserting ourselves, our rights, and our dignity because one cross look at those petty TSA drones and you can be off your flight, in a holding cell, and on the terror watch or no-fly list. (And let’s not even go into the issue of the ridiculous rise of property theft since the TSA pickpockets took over.)

These lowlifes can search our hard drives and digital pics on return from international travel, rifling through personal, financial, confidential and private effects without warrant, cause, or reason. They have the power to seize even moderate sums of cash and put you through the medieval ordeal of civil asset forfeiture.

We get treated like criminals and suspects and potential threats, and before long, that’s how we start seeing the people around us. And then ourselves.

How many of us say anything beyond a whisper of disgust — when well out of earshot, of course, since you have no freedom of speech at airports either?

Most of you embrace it. A few resent it quietly. And even those few who seethe over it – we take it too. And we come back again for another helping of humiliation.

We’re all cowards.

This is how the process kills our souls.

And worse, we’ve come to accept that the very most basic rights we have – those specifically detailed in the first half of the Bill of Rights — do not apply if “safety” is invoked, or some crap about implied consent is said.

When exactly did airports become Constitution-free zones?

Oh, you’ll cite necessity. Yell “September 11” and show your “Never Forget” bumper sticker. Screw you, and screw that.

The protections you – we – so quickly surrender – those rights – were put in writing for exactly these kind of extremes. Our rights aren’t enshrined for sunny days and ordinary occasions. It’s for the worst of times.

Those rights were enshrined and are most important when everything goes to shit. It’s not a luxury. It’s not there for when it’s convenient.

There’s a name for the kind of government where your rights are suspended every time the authorities make claims of “national security” or “public safety.”

There’s also a name for the role we’ve embraced. Our forefathers and their soldiers gave their lives and fortunes to reject it.

“Our forefathers.”

Let’s not kid ourselves. The side that fought for freedom made war on their own government over a goddamn tax stamp and a list of injustices that, frankly, these days would be a relief if it was all we had to deal with.

Look, face it, sunshine. The side that fought for dignity, freedom and the very rights we toss the minute there’s a hint of danger was just one-third of all American colonists.

One-third of the people didn’t care either way.

That last third were the willing servants content with being ruled and protected. They’re modern America’s real forefathers.

We just take it. We even help them justify and rationalize it. Long as we get to vote on one of two parties and pick our new royalty, we can call it freedom even though they do as they please.

Why? Because we also embrace the delusion that freedom is in the ballot box, and not the Constitution, which is supposed to be a limit on them, not a blank check on us.

The whole ugly rotten farce of it all, played out right there at airport security, showing you exactly the toll the sham takes.

Old con. Nothing new.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. – H. L. Mencken

It’s getting worse, naturally.

How are you loving the idea of your wife, your young son, or your grandfather going through one of the new X-ray scanners that allows these bottom-feeders to look right through their clothes at their naked bodies?

You’ll get used to it.

Look, I’m mad, not stupid. I know that terrorists and criminals can do a lot of evil. But while they can kill, they can’t take your rights and your dignity. Only one thing can do that and claim it’s for your own good, and all nice and legal.

I’m not saying give up on security at airports. But let’s also look at what made possible Sept. 11 before anyone starts waving the bloody shirt.

1) Every passenger except the hijackers was disarmed. And we’re not talking super-genius hijackers, and yet they got blades aboard. Just blades. Which work when you know that everyone else doesn’t have one. (This is why schools are a favorite of psycho shooters, by the way. As “gun-free zones” they know they have a massing of targets that won’t shoot back. Few mass shooters pick gun stores and police stations for their venue, no matter how crazy they are. Funny, isn’t it?)

2) The policy preached to passengers, air crews and — to this day by most police to citizens — is “don’t fight back.” Disarm, and don’t fight back. Let us government people handle it.

This is why what happened on United 93 is all the more heroic and amazing — those men and women there did what should be natural to anyone facing any threat but we’ve been taught is wrong – they took the law into their own hands and they fought back.

So fine, big man, what’s your answer?

I don’t know. Not here to provide every detail.

But I do know the overriding objective and the first priority should be the rights, dignity and just basic respect for people. It’s our right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and that no claim of security justifies treating people like threats to be neutralized, or suspects just for breathing.

Here’s a few ideas.

Turn all security back over to individual airports to be run, administered, or contracted out as they please.

There are tests for explosives that are neither invasive nor require stripping your shoes or people rummaging through your stuff like Michael Jackson sneaking into a daycare. Use them.

Here’s a thought you knew was coming: Empower passengers by allowing those with state-issued CHLs to carry their sidearm on flights. Don’t even start about Wild West shootouts at 50,000 feet. You tried that one when they passed CHLs, only the venue was parking lots. Oh, and if you think a bullet hole causes explosive decompression you’ve been watching too many movies.

How much trouble would someone make if they knew others may be around them able and equipped to stop them? Look, you know it’s not even hard to get knives on planes, so you’re already at greater risk.

Details are unimportant. The purpose of the policies – and what we place precedence on – is what’s doing real harm.

Because it’s not about the goddamn shoes.

It’s about what we’ve all created that leaves you weaker and less…just, less. Less. For every encounter.

Could my ideas slightly increase the danger in flying? Maybe. Then I remember that security now doesn’t do anything to stop people from things like, you know, flying with knives.

Look, we’re all gonna die of something, and the truth is for most people the biggest danger is from being a fat ass and a lazy slob.

Pass all the laws you want. Death won’t stop. It doesn’t care.

When did we stop caring about how we live?

I’d like to think instead of breaking us down, it’s going to get to the point we push back. We draw a line. We say, “No more. We want it back. We won’t be tagged, pushed, stripped, numbered, or intimidated. Keep it up, and you’ll see what’s inside us.”

But I don’t think there’s anything inside us. We’re getting exactly what we want and deserve.

Goddammit all.

How can people be so scared of death when they’re already dead inside?

UPDATE: A good friend just pointed out something in the links at the top, which counters my dour conclusion and offers a spark of hope. Thanks to technology — a phone audio recording made by the guy victimized by the TSA thug — there’s a slim hope that if we have any spirit left in us and any desire to stop living the lie that the TSA protects us, maybe we “can level the playing field.” But that requires having enough dignity left to care when it’s put right there in front of you.

Monday Roundup: Violence in South Dallas But Not Really South Dallas…

  • Two dead, three seriously wounded Saturday night and none of them — or all of them — or maybe some of them? — were in South Dallas. Except when they were in neighborhoods in South Dallas, in which case that’s not South Dallas. Or something like that. Ask Rawlins. Bring aspirin.
  • You know what will make downtown Dallas great? Besides that the 12 weekends a year when we’ll have drunken conventions at the People’s Hotel? Pep rallies. Yes, pep rallies. (Seriously? I’m beginning to think that even his editors don’t read what he turns in.)
  • And speaking of, Robert Guest asks all the right questions (that a newspaper reporter failed to) about Flower Mound polizie police apparently busting down the door of a residence not based on probable cause, but rather the refusal of residence to let them in.
  • You can look at someone’s hand an know if they’re gay. Seriously.

Monday Roundup: Can I Borrow Your Towel? Just Hit a Water Buffalo

  • When most Democrats, Republicans, the media, and right-thinking people are behind something big, expensive and grand — like they are the commuter rail scheme (or the hotel, or the Trinity Parkway) — you just know it’s probably a bad idea. I’m just going to sit here maturely and sup upon the bitter disappointment from everyone who wants to tax drivers for the benefit of a single digit percentage who feel good about themselves for taking public transportation. Muhahaha.

Monday Roundup: Look, This is Free So Quit Griping

I’m sure this $100 million deficit has nothing to do with the city’s powerful leadership or well-considered priorities.

This guy needs to talk to these guys.

I find it surprising that no one wanted his byline on this story. And Miss Congeniality 2? Not quite as awesome as I expected.

Bethany continues the fight with TXU.

Click it or ticket — they can stick it, Robert Guest says.

Thursday Roundup: Does This Look Infected?

  • Dallas is going to be losing one of its better watchdogs when city hall reporter Dave Levinthal decamps for Washington, DC this summer. The worn cliche in our business is that if all sides are mad at you, you’re doing your job right. (Though I don’t think anyone in our business ever stops to think, “Maybe I’m just an a-hole.”) Well, Dave did his job right, and kept an eye on the horseshoe for everyone. So it’s our loss. Oh, and Dave? The Bills suck.
  • “To do nothing is to turn our back on the problem,” Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said. Every time there’s a really bad piece of legislation, someone says this or a variation, “To do nothing is not an option.” Yes, doing nothing IS an option, if the “something” you want to do is stupid, unneeded, or downright oppressive. This kind of statement is a blank check that draws on your wallet and your rights. A pol needs a metaphoric kick in the teeth when he says this.
  • Robert Guest has a gem of a find: Even cops are told to get an attorney when they talk to cops. If you’re the subject of an investigation, the person asking the questions does not have your interests in mind. Even police know this. So follow their example — don’t ever, ever, ever speak to the police without an attorney.
  • So Texas is the second youngest state, with a median age of 33.2 (thank you for the decimal, Mr. Spock), which should be justification enough to RIF Steve Blow.
  • And it doesn’t explain the Six Flags mascot, which SWAIM rightly notes is like being kicked in the eyes with AIDS. Seriously — could this look any more like a child molester?

mister61