Blood Money

So, it turns out that the Memphis police department had its hands on two guns that later were used in high-profile shootings. I had no idea this went on. None. I’m naive I guess, but I thought that, if the police had custody of your guy one of three things would happen: 1. It would be returned to you at the appropriate time. 2. It would languish in an evidence locker. 3. It would be destroyed.

Who even knew there would be a 4? Who knew that 4 would be “sold off”?

All this nonsense about how guns are dangerous and how we have to get them off the streets and police departments are in the gun trade?

I know that the gun nuts are going to probably come down on the “What? I don’t see a problem,” side of this issue, but as much as the hippie liberal in me is mortified and embarrassed by this story, I also think this is a huge problem for gun owners. The police now have a huge incentive to take your guns from you and keep them from you, if they can.

I don’t know. I find this really troubling on a lot of levels. There are a lot of people in this country who think that, when a gun enters police custody, that that’s a dead end for that gun unless it’s returned to its owner. They’re going to be very angry to learn that a gun which the police have assured us has been taken out of the hands of a criminal is ending up back in the hands of criminals. Right or wrong, that’s just a fact.

This is going to be a national embarrassment for the state.

But I also find it troubling because the door it opens for corruption is so huge. Once you can sell off and profit from the things you confiscate from “criminals,” or once your budget becomes dependent on having a certain amount of money every year from selling the property of “criminals,” doesn’t it behoove you to find a lot of “criminals” with valuable property you can sell?

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The Census, Revisited

I continue to find amusing the number of folks who seem to think that this year the census is some brand-new, super-intrusive overstepping of the government, especially in terms of asking you what your race is.  “Oh,” the cries ring out, “look at how they did things in 1790.”

Folks, this is the era of the internet. We can look and see how they did things in 1790.

And what did they give a shit about in 1790? The name of the head of the household, how many people of roughly what age were living in it, what genders those folks where, and how many slaves they had, which was, of course, a way of asking about race.

I think that, if you’re going to be arguing for a return to the 1790s census, you should be arguing for the right to not have to name anyone but the head of the household. Of course, that’s bound to set up some red flags in your family–“Daddy, why can’t my name go on the Census?” “I don’t want the government to know you existed. I mean, exist.”

Still, people, my point is this–the internet exists. You are typing your angry rants (as do I, so no finger pointing here) on the internet. Look at the census forms before you start spouting off about what they did and didn’t count.