Illegal Immigration Impacts All Communities

Yesterday The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) posted an article about a recent City Council meeting in that city. The article illustrates how illegal immigration impacts the daily life of a city.

The article cites a few items from the City Council meeting:

The contentious national immigration debate pushed its way into Charlotte politics Monday night, as City Council voted to loosen the requirements for advisory boards and committees and allow people who aren’t registered voters to serve.

That would also potentially open up the 35 boards and commissions — which advise City Council on everything from zoning to transit to public art — to undocumented immigrants, as board members who opposed the change pointed out.

It was the second time in one meeting that immigration policy came up, as City Council members also debated whether the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department should be conducting DWI checkpoints in immigrant communities at a time of stepped-up ICE enforcement raids.

The article notes the vote on the idea of loosening the requirements for advisory boards:

City Council approved the change to the requirements for boards and commissions in an 8-2 vote, with Republicans Ed Driggs and Tariq Bokhari voting no.

The article notes that on the public safety issue of DWI checkpoints, common sense won the day:

City Council also voted unanimously to accept a grant allowing CMPD to continue DWI checkpoints, after a police official assured members that the checkpoints are planned based on traffic safety data and not in coordination with ICE.

Drunk driving is not an immigration issue–it is a public safety issue. As far as allowing illegal immigrants on advisory boards, do these people have a knowledge of the laws of America? Are they familiar with the U.S. Constitution? Do they sincerely have a stake in the welfare of the community?

 

I Think We Have Gone Over The Edge

The Daily Wire is reporting today that the TSA will be replacing many of its pointy-eared dogs at airports with floppy-eared dogs. It seems that children are less scared of the floppy-eared dogs. So this decision was made not on the basis of public safety, but on the basis of children who might be intimidated by dogs with pointy ears.

The article reports:

“We find the passenger acceptance of floppy ear dogs is just better. It presents just a little bit less of a concern,” Pekoske added. “Doesn’t scare children.”

My former Examiner colleague Anna Giaritelli reports that the TSA currently has 1,200 doggos across the country performing security checks, and about 80% have floppy ears (such as Labradors or Golden Retrievers). In order to phase out the remaining 20%, the TSA is replacing retiring pointed-ear dogs with their floppy-eared cousins. Further, the TSA is purchasing sporting or hunting breeds, since they are easier to find.

“TSA uses five types of sporting breeds: Labrador Retrievers, German Short-haired Pointers, Wirehaired Pointers, Vizslas, and Golden Retrievers,” Giaritelli wrote. “It also uses two types of pointy-ear, or working breed, dogs: the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois.”

Christopher Shelton, branch manager of the San Antonio, TX, canine training center, told Giaritelli that the TSA wouldn’t rule out a pointy-eared pup just because of his or her ears. The dog’s health, willingness and ability to sniff out security risks and its disposition still matter more. Training these dogs costs between $26,000 and $42,000, so the agency can’t be too picky about looks.

I remember coming into Logan Airport in Boston many years ago from an overseas trip. I was surprised to see beagles running around the area where we picked up our luggage. Although it seemed a little odd, it made perfect sense–beagles have very good noses. The top three breeds considered to have the best sense of smell are the bloodhounds, the basset hounds, and the beagles. It’s just that the look of the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois seems much more appropriate for a dog involved in law enforcement.

At any rate, I wish the TSA luck with their new program. It’s nice to see some of the working breeds get the recognition they deserve.

A Guest Post From H.C. “Sparky” Bollinger, USMC (Ret)

I spent 22 ½ years in the Marine Corps. I have operated in around 30 countries, sat off shore of many more. Waiting for an order that often never came. When waiting off shore for an operation, or moving to a new Area of Operations, or even over time and different tours in Iraq, we would be given a Rules of Engagement brief (ROE) by a Lawyer from the Judge Advocate General’s office (JAG). This would spell out legally when we could and could not engage hostiles, or perceived hostiles. However, ever Marine Corps ROE brief ended the same way and on the same note. On the typed copy is was in bold, usually underlined print, often all capital letters, but always said the same thing, “THE RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE IS NEVER DENIED!”

A week ago a landmark court decision in Florida decided on December 12th, vindicates all arguments for the right to self defense and your right to bear arms. This court decision by a Federal Judge sets or affirms legal precedence that the Police have no constitutional duty to protect individuals from harm, even when they know harm will occur and that harm will most likely result in death. This legal precedence is not just for the state of Florida where the case was tried. This is a Federal court and has establish or affirmed legal precedence in all 50 states and US territories.

What does this mean for Joe Citizen? If this case is not overturned on appeal. It firmly establishes that the individual and only the individual is responsible for his or her safety. With this one court decision, that is likely if not surely to be upheld by higher courts up through the Supreme Court, the individual is firmly within his or her Constitutional right to defend themselves, and as stated in the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. This ruling gives substantial legal weight to the argument for Constitutional carry and the individuals inalienable right to save and preserve one’s own life.

What does this mean to gun control lobbyist, groups, and politicians? This ruling in Federal court obliterates all barriers imposed by “May Issue” concealed carry states and cities. States and cities will still have wiggle room to impose some sort of firearms safety course in the same legal spirit as a driver’s license, however legal bars outside criminal records, drug abuse, or mental health will loose all just standing under the law unless it is shot down on appeal. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Senator Feinstein, Michael Bloomberg’s arguments that individuals do not need firearms for self defense and that the police are responsible for public safety just had the rug yanked completely out from under them. Their argument was always on tentative ground at best, since when seconds count, the police are minutes away. The Department of Justice determined that the average police response time to a 911 call is over 4 minutes, the average interaction time between a criminal and his victim is 90 seconds. This is a not a dig at police officers, as a retired Marine who is currently employed as a tactical firearms and martial arts instructor, I am a staunch supporter of law enforcement, and many of my friends and coworkers are law enforcement or retired law enforcement. This is simply a matter of time, space, and logistics. Now, it is firmly established that even if the police respond to, or are in observance of a crime, they are not required to intervene, they can even refuse to intervene, and not be held accountable to the department, city, county, state, federal government, or even the Constitution of the United States.

Just as Smokey the Bear says, “only you can prevent forest fire,” you, and only you, are 100% responsible for your safety, only you are responsible to save your life. The 2nd Amendment was just reaffirmed as your legal means to do so.

Just my two cents,

H.C. “Sparky” Bollinger, USMC (Ret)

Thank you, Sparky. Below are my comments.

 

There are actually two decisions reported in The New York Times on December 18th:

The school district and sheriff’s office in the Florida county that is home to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had no constitutional duty to protect the students there during the deadly February massacre, a federal judge has said in a ruling.

The decision was made in a lawsuit filed by 15 students who said they suffered trauma during the Feb. 14 attack in Parkland, Fla. A total of 17 students and staff members lost their lives; 17 others were injured.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, 20, the former Stoneman Douglas student who is accused of opening fire at the school on Valentine’s Day. He has pleaded not guilty, but his lawyers have said he would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence.

The Dec. 12 ruling, by Judge Beth Bloom, came on the same day that a county judge, Patti Englander Henning, came to the opposite conclusion. Judge Henning found that Scot Peterson, the armed sheriff’s deputy who heard the gunfire but did not run in and try to stop the attack, did have an obligation to confront Mr. Cruz.

The article further states:

“Neither the Constitution, nor state law, impose a general duty upon police officers or other governmental officials to protect individual persons from harm — even when they know the harm will occur,” said Darren L. Hutchinson, a professor and associate dean at the University of Florida School of Law. “Police can watch someone attack you, refuse to intervene and not violate the Constitution.”

The message is clear–every American has to take responsibility for their own safety. If you are not comfortable with guns and want to feel safe at home, keep a can of wasp spray on your night stand. It won’t kill an intruder, but it might slow him down and give you a chance to escape. There are also other personal safety devices available. The right to bear arms should not be infringed. Our Founding Fathers placed it there so that we could defend ourselves in all situations–from criminals and from government tyranny. Giving up the right to bear arms would result in the end of America as we know it.

Things Haven’t Changed, But You Wouldn’t Know It If You Watch The Mainstream Media

This article is based on two articles, one from Breitbart posted today and one from The San Diego Union-Tribune, dated November 25, 2013. If you watch the mainstream media, recently you heard how inhumane it was to use tear gas on people trying to break through the southern border of America. No one mentioned that this was not the first time this approach was used, or that tear gas was probably the most harmless approach available to the border agents that were faced with people charging the border.

Breitbart reported today:

Five years almost to the day before President Donald Trump’s border officers blocked migrants with tear gas, authorities under President Barack Obama used identical tactics along the same stretch of border near the San Ysidro Port of Entry, according to 2013 press accounts.

From The San Diego Union-Tribune in 2013:

A group of about 100 people trying to illegally cross the border Sunday near the San Ysidro port of entry threw rocks and bottles at U.S. Border Patrol agents, who responded by using pepper spray and other means to force the crowd back into Mexico, federal officials said.

The incident has raised concerns among advocates on both sides of the immigration debate, as well as Border Patrol representatives.

…As the crowd kept advancing and throwing rocks and bottles, she said, more agents came to the scene and used other “intermediate use-of-force devices” to push back the group. The agents also contacted Mexican law enforcement.

Tijuana’s top police officer, Public Safety Secretary J. Alberto Capella, said “There is no information that we can provide.” He referred questions to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The spokesman for Tijuana police, Rafael Morales, said the agency’s officers did not intervene and had no knowledge of the incident.

Caston said several agents were struck in the arms and legs with rocks, and that one agent was hit in the head with a filled water bottle.

“While attacks on Border Patrol agents are not uncommon, the agents showed great restraint when faced with the dangers of this unusually large group, and fortunately no one was serious injured,” said Paul Beeson, San Diego sector chief for the Border Patrol.

The agency did not specify the time of Sunday’s incident.

This type of rush on the border has not been seen since the late 1980s and early ’90s, when groups of border-crossers would run into the U.S. while agents tried to apprehend as many people as possible. The practice mostly disappeared after Operation Gatekeeper began in 1994 and brought with it tall fences, walls and more agents.

How did the press treat President Obama during this incident versus how the press is treating President Trump during the recent incident? Double standard anyone?

When You Neglect The Obvious

The following is a December 2017 News Release from the U.S.D.A.:

VALLEJO, Calif., December 11, 2017 – The USDA Forest Service today announced that an additional 27 million trees, mostly conifers, died throughout California since November 2016, bringing the total number of trees that have died due to drought and bark beetles to an historic 129 million on 8.9 million acres. The dead trees continue to pose a hazard to people and critical infrastructure, mostly centered in the central and southern Sierra Nevada region of the state.

“The number of dead and dying trees has co ntinued to rise, along with the risks to communities and firefighters if a wildfire breaks out in these areas,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester of the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region. “It is apparent from our survey flights this year that California’s trees have not yet recovered from the drought, and remain vulnerable to beetle attacks and increased wildfire threat. The USDA Forest Service will continue to focus on mitigating hazard trees and thinning overly dense forests so they are heal thier and better able to survive stressors like this in the future.”

Moore continued, “To increase the pace and scale of this important work, we need to fix how fire suppression is funded. Last year fire management alone consumed 56 percent of the USDA For est Service’s national budget. As fire suppression costs continue to grow as a percentage of the USDA Forest Service’s budget, funding is shrinking for non- fire programs that protect watersheds and restore forests, making them more resilient to wildfire an d drought.”

Though California received record -breaking rains in the winter of 2016-2017, the effects of five consecutive years of severe drought in California, a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and rising temperatures have led to historic levels of tree die-off. The Tree Mortality Task Force (TMTF), with support from the Governor’s office and comprised of more than 80 local, state and federal agencies and private utility companies, continues to remove hazardous dead trees. To date, the TMTF members have collectively felled or removed over 1 million dead trees; this includes over 480,000 dead trees felled or removed by the USDA Forest Service.

The TMTF members are using a triage approach to this tree mortality crisis, first focusing on public safety by removing dead and dying trees in high hazard areas. To further improve forest health, the USDA Forest Service and CAL FIRE have increased their pace and scale of prescribed fire. The USDA Forest Service has treated over 55,000 acres and CAL FIRE has com pleted over 33,000 acres in fuel treatment projects. By combining tree removal with prescribed fire, crews will be able to decrease overly dense stands of trees, reduce greenhouse gases, and protect communities across the state.

“Tree mortality at this magnitude takes on- going cooperation between public, non- profit and private entities,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and California’s state forester. “California’s forests are a critical part of the State’s strategy to address climate change. By working together and using all the resources at our disposal we will be able to make more progress towards our common goal of healthier, more resilient forests that benefit all Californians.”

With record breaking levels of tree die-off, the TMTF has used t his event as an opportunity to collaborate on several fronts: from public workshops about reforestation, public outreach in urban and rural areas, and awarding over $21 million in grants aimed to protect watersheds, remove dead trees and restore our forest s. The TMTF continues to collaborate on the efficient use of resources to protect public safety and build consensus around long -term management strategies for California’s forest lands.

“The Tree Mortality Task force has provided an essential venue for co ordination of response efforts, exchange of ideas, reporting, and accountability for the ongoing statewide response to this incident,” said Supervisor Nathan Magsig of Fresno County. “Leadership from the Governor’s Office, CAL FIRE and Office of Emergency Services has helped to ensure county issues are heard and addressed. Monthly coordination of the 10 most impacted counties has resulted in a more effective use of resources and has allowed counties to share ideas and successes.”

With a staggering 129 mil lion dead trees in the state, the work of the task force is far from over. The strong foundation built will continue to be an advantage as the TMTF continues to address tree mortality and its impacts.

Learn more about tree mortality and the work to restore our forests in California at the USDA Forest Service ‘s web page Our Changing Forests . To learn about how to be prepared and protect your home against wildfire and your trees against bark beetle attacks visit CAL FIRE’s web page Ready for Wildfire.

###

Media Notes:

Tree Mortality Website
2017 Tree Mortality Aerial Detection Survey Results
Tree Mortality Combined Map, 2014- 2017
Tree Mortality Progression Map, 2014- 2017
Animated Tree Mortality Progression Map, 2014- 2017
Tree Mortality Project Pictures
CAL FIRE Prescribed Fire Video B -Roll
CAL FIRE Tree Removal Video B-Roll

If you follow the link to the original article, there are multiple links in the Press Release.

Cleaning up the forests is one way to help control forest fires which can begin for a number of reasons. Some are man-made and some are the result of lightning strikes. Even in drought conditions, if the forest has been properly cleared of dead wood and potential fuel, a fire will be much more easily contained. The fires in California are tragic and the loss of property is enormous, but some of this disaster could have been avoided had the State of California cleaned some of the forests during the winter months.

This was an avoidable disaster.

When You Don’t Understand The Problem, You Won’t Find The Right Solution

Breitbart posted a story today about high knife crime rates in Britain.

The article reports:

Trauma surgeons have warned that Britain’s knife crime “epidemic” is putting the National Health Service (NHS) under strain, as figures revealed the number of incidents reached a record high of more than 40,000 last year.

The Daily Telegraph reported the 40,147 knife offences recorded in England and Wales — the highest figure since records began in 2011 — marked a 57 per cent increase from the figure for 2014.

Knife crime has risen for four consecutive years since 2014, when then Home Secretary Theresa May curbed the use of stop and search — a policing tactic officers insist saves lives but which is branded “racist” by campaigns that globalist financier George Soros’s international grantmaking organisation Open Society Foundations has bragged about funding.

…”It’s across our urban centres, not just London. It’s a disease we need to work closely together to try to control as best we can,” said Adam Brooks, a consultant surgeon based in Nottingham, where the audience heard his major trauma centre had treated as many young knife crime victims aged 15-25 in the past five months as it had in the whole of 2017.

Generally speaking, British citizens do not own guns. Generally speaking, British policemen do not carry guns. Because guns are scarce in Britain, criminals have used knives. The problem is obviously not the weapon–it is the criminal intent on committing a crime. Banning guns has not helped to protect citizens, it has simply limited their ability to defend themselves.

It should also be noted that the change in the law had a negative impact on public safety. Calling people ‘racist’ to intimidate them might get results, but the results are not in the best interest of the public.

Time To End My Naivety

I am relatively  new to the south. I lived here for a few years as a child, but have been away a long time. Thirty-five years in New England left me immersed in a culture I was not really aware of until I left. Southern culture includes guns, gun safety, hunting, and other forms of recreation and personal protection that are totally alien to me. Recent events have convinced me that it is time to embrace that aspect of the culture of my new home.

I love steak. As far as I am concerned, steak comes from a styrofoam and plastic package in the supermarket meat section. By faith I accept that and refuse to look past the obvious. Until recently, I believed that my safety was the responsibility of the local and state law enforcement people and that they would adequately do their job. I still believe that they do their job to the best of their ability, but it has occurred to me that I need to look past the obvious and begin to take some responsibility for my own safety.

The shootings in Paris and in California both took place in locations with strict gun laws. In both cases, the shootings occurred in gun-free zones. I believe that the end result would have been different in both cases if one of the intended victims had been armed. Despite the fact that the news is reporting today that the weapons used in California were legally purchased between 2007 and 2012, gun controls in California have supposedly taken those weapons off the streets. Obviously, not everyone in areas where certain (or all) guns are banned is interested in following the law.

I am not enthusiastic about learning to shoot and learning to defend myself, but on the other hand, I definitely have a vested interest in my own safety. At least temporarily, I believe that we have reached a place in America where good people have to take responsibility for their own safety. Unfortunately, the police cannot be everywhere at once, and there are obviously some people in this country who want to do us harm. Historically speaking, police will tell you that most murder victims are murdered by family members or people they know. This means that as long as you are careful in choosing your friends (and hopefully have upstanding family members) you are unlikely to be a victim of a killer. Since Paris, San Bernardino, and other incidents involving members of the military on American soil, that has changed. It is time to put away our naivety and learn to protect ourselves. Hopefully at some time in the future, the threat of terrorism will be gone, but it will still be to our advantage to know how to defend ourselves.