Posts from April 2013

Shameless Self-promotion Sunday

Happy Sunday, everyone. Time to get Shameless.

Around here, I am trying to get my office into some semblance of tidiness, doing some background reading for a paper on the emergence of the fast-food industry, and making the final arrangements to get myself up to Birmingham for Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice’s May 1st march for immigration freedom. (Wednesday, May 1, 4pm–7pm, starting in Linn Park, Birmingham, Ala. See you there?) ¿Y tú? How’re things where you are? Got anything big coming up? Anything you’ve been working on lately? What have you been up to this week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.

War on the Informal Sector (Cont’d)

Here is some moderately good news about a ridiculously awful story, from Occupied Las Vegas:

Three years after a confrontation between Las Vegas police and a costumed street performer in front of The Venetian spawned a lawsuit, the Police Department has agreed to settle with Zorro for $105,000.

Jason Perez-Morciglio, who performs as Zorro on Las Vegas streets, and his brother, Sebastian Perez-Morciglio, sued in June 2010 after they said Venetian security officers kidnapped and detained them for more than an hour on Jan. 15, 2010, before kicking them off the property. The brothers also alleged that Las Vegas police officers illegally handcuffed and searched them at the resort.

These security guards handcuffed the brothers, searched their persons and belongings, demanded identification, and photographed them, the lawsuit documents said.

On Monday, The Metropolitan Police Department’s Fiscal Affairs Committee agreed to pay the brothers $105,000, something that Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who sits on the committee, thinks was the best option to avoid negative exposure for the department. The potential cost could have been significantly more, Sisolak said. . . .

For the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, which provided general counsel for the brothers in the lawsuit, the impact of the settlement transcended monetary value.

The main thing in the case is that it was never about the money. It was about verifying again that the sidewalks in front of the hotels are a public forum, and the people have a right to First Amendment activity there, said Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the ACLU of Nevada.

According to Sisolak, accompanying the settlement was what he called a clearer and more definitive policy on how officers will handle street performers on the public sidewalks.

— Colton Lochhead, Las Vegas police settle lawsuit with street performer,
Las Vegas Review-Journal (April 22, 2013)


Yes, please.

I was going to post this the other day, but I had to wait until after Monday, because the author really is perfectly serious about it. Alex Seiz-Wald, at Salon, has recently discovered the chatter in gun-enthusiast and gun-rights circles around the fear of back-door gun-control legislation — by means of restrictions or prohibitions on ammunition sales, if new controls on guns themselves prove not to be politically viable. And so he picks up on some anecdotal Data-less Trend Stories about panic buying of ammunition in response. So, we get this story, from a putatively liberal political commentator:

With gun nuts hoarding bullets, will cops be disarmed?

Gun owners terrified of nonexistent plans to restrict ammo are hoarding bullets. Now police are running out.

. . . And there are plenty of members of Congress making hyperbolic claims about gun control, and a right-wing media eager to heighten and repeat the warnings. Not to mention the NRA, the most powerful voice on guns in the country and the market leader on paranoid gun rhetoric for decades.

But what those rushing to stockpile guns and ammo seem to miss is that their actions have consequences on the people whose job it is to keep us safe.

— Alex Seitz Wald, in Salon (27 March 2013) (emphasis added)

Now I have no really strong convictions about what those rushing to stockpile guns and ammo think about or don’t think about. Maybe if you want to know that, rather than to speculate about the mind of the intra-cultural Other, you could ask some people who are doing that, instead of spending the entire article interviewing self-serving budget-hungry police chiefs. But I do know that many people would be much safer if police were unable to buy any bullets at all. Did police bullets keep Kimani Gray safe? Emma Hernandez? Angel Alvarez and Luis Soto? Alonzo Heyward? Sean Bell? Amadou Diallo? Who seriously believes that keep[ing] us safe is what heavily-armed police do? Who is the us that they have in mind when they think that?

In all seriousness, this is really nothing more than another Data-less Trend Story but if it were true, it would be the best thing I’d heard all year about NRA fans. I don’t even own any guns, and don’t have any plans to get into them, but if the story is true that just makes me wish I had the money to run out and buy up boxes of ammunition right now. Because I have no use for it, but the cops do. And that’s precisely the problem with the cops.

Disarm your local police.