font-family: 'Arizonia', cursive; Michael Stichauf - "As I understand it now...'til it changes": DUI checkpoint loophole, Walgreens employee disarms thief, Playing political "football" with Homeland Security budget

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

DUI checkpoint loophole, Walgreens employee disarms thief, Playing political "football" with Homeland Security budget

My Take On This Week's Stories

This is my attempt at committing to a weekly post, discussing a couple of the more interesting stories from the previous week.

Dui Checkpoint Loophole

A St. Louis T.V. station, KTVI, did a segment on Florida attorney, Warren Redlich's brilliant strategy for drivers to get through D.U.I. checkpoints without rolling down their windows and without police contact for the duration of the checkpoint stop. Here is a video of Redlich going through a checkpoint in Miami, Florida on July 24, 2014;

For everyone out there who feels the way I do about bad coppers, as well as GOOD POLICE OFFICERS, you've got to feel good about this terrific service Warren Redlich has given us! 

In a nutshell, this is Mr. Redlich's advice; You make up a flyer with the following, printed on it- 
I will remain silent
I will not consent to a search
I will not roll down my window
I want my attorney
In the video, you can see Redlich show his flyer as they pull him off to the side. You also see him showing the officers his drivers license. If you go to the link that I gave you through clicking on the word "segment" above, there is also the option of having the flyer and your D.L. in a plastic bag which you then hang out the window of your car as you go through the checkpoint. Of course, the purpose of this is so the officers have the opportunity to put their hands on your D.L. (make sure your window is shut though, this way the officer CAN'T SAY that he smelled alcohol on your breath, thereby opening the door to testing you on a breathalyzer). 

I am a huge believer in civil rights, the fact that coppers (not good police officers) abuse these rights on a regular basis is an issue I've written about. Yet, drunk driving is a problem that every state must continue to deal with. Consequently, I have mixed emotions about this issue. I applaud Mr. Redlich for this tactic but it also sends a shiver down my spine when I think of the fact that there might be a drunk driver who uses this technique and five minutes down the road, kills someone. 

In the segment that KTVI, St. Louis did, they interview an attorney about the effectiveness and legality of the tactic. He makes a great point and for us Chicagoans, a very scary and valid one! He says that when you ask the question whether this tactic works and is it legal for a driver to use, you need to look at it in two different views, the "practical" one and the "legal" one. Yes, it is legal. That's all well and good but is it practical? Now you've got to take some things into consideration. There's always that chance that you run across a copper who becomes incensed that you dared to defy him! BAM-CRASH!! Your driver's side window is shattered and you've just been dragged through it by Mr. Copper! Every driver has to ask himself that question; Do you REALLY want to risk a confrontation? In Chicago? No, I don't want to risk it! Plain and simple. A very interesting topic.

Walgreen's employee disarms thief

In Chicago, a Walgreen's employee threw caution to the wind and helped Chicago police officers disarm a thief who grabbed an officer's gun and was able to fire off a shot. 

Ray Robinson was working at an Andersonville Walgreens store on
Thomas Thompson
Valentine's day when he noticed an individual exiting his store with some items that he cuffed. The news stories that I've read didn't say whether Mr. Robinson had a chance to call police before the thief left but as he followed Mr. Thomas Thompson out the door, two Chicago Police officers were right there. That's when things broke bad!

A struggle broke out as the officers tried to detain Thompson. Thompson punched one of the officers and hurt him good. Next, during the struggle, Thompson gained control of one of the officer's gun and was able to fire a shot! This is where Ray Robinson turned into a hero and joined the fray! The Chicago Tribune Redeye describes Robinson as, "short and slender" at "5 foot 6, 130 pounds" and Thompson as "6 foot 3, 250-pounds" but Robinson didn't care.

Most people, at this point, would have their "flight response" in high gear but not Ray! When that shot went off, Robinson said, "I'm thinking, the cops don't have control of the situation. It's getting really dicey." 

"I knew the one cop was hurt", Robinson said. "I grabbed his hand I forced (the gun) to the cement. By the grace of God, I was able to get my other arm up there and was able to pry his finger off the trigger. I just knew they needed help."

Thomas Thompson, 33, is a former soldier with an honorable discharge from the Army. He is currently resting his head on a pillow at the stately Cook County Jail, charged with attempted first-degree murder, disarming a police officer and possession of a controlled substance, to wit cocaine. If he can come up with 10% of the $500,000 bond, he can be back at home, sleeping on his own bed. We ALL hope that's not gonna happen. 

Mr. Ray Robinson, 48, is definitely a hero. Left in the wake of the incident are two, unfortunately injured, police officers who also heroically tried to do their jobs by arresting a thief. They, I'm sure, are grateful that an individual like Mr. Ray Robinson was working that day AND willing to jump in and help them as they were surprised by a hulking goof like Thompson. Think about this; any other person who happened to be working and at the scene that day, probably would have chosen NOT to get involved! And they wouldn't have been at fault for that! That being the case, we would be mourning the death of two Chicago Police Department officers. Thompson already showed that he was willing to fire at the officers and would have shot those men had Robinson not been there to pry his fingers off that trigger!

We don't see heros in Chicago much. On Valentine's Day, 2015, Chicago was fortunate enough to have a Mr. Ray Robinson willing to step up and become one!
No picture is available of Mr. Ray Robinson.

Playing political "football" with the Homeland Security budget

This Saturday, the 28th, the budget of the Homeland Security Department will run out. Because 86% of the employees are considered "essential employees", they will be required to work because their job is important to the security of the United States. They will be working but they won't get paid, unless the President AND the Republicans stop using the budget as a political football! 

The Republicans have decided to attach amendments to the funding that would require the President to stop implementation of a program that would defer the deportation of some 5 million illegal aliens. In other words, the Republicans are saying, "Unless you stop playing the way you are playing, we are taking our ball and going home!"

One of the reasons the Republicans are using to justify their actions is that they are saying that this President has abused his power, the power of the Presidency, and has acted more like an Imperial Monarch than an elected official who should be beholden to the voters and the citizens of the United States. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you surely can't hide from the facts and the facts are these. The biggest indicator of a President acting like he doesn't have any constraints on his power, is in how many "Executive Orders" he has issued. To date, President Obama has issued 144 "E.O.s". Compared to Bush's 291 "E.O.s", President Obama has issued less than half in more than three quarters the amount of time. At the rate that President Obama is going, he will end his Presidency with about 192 "E.O.s", still 99 less than Bush. You never heard the Republicans threatening Bush's budgets because of Presidential overreach. 

Now, on the other side of this issue, President
The President
Obama needs to, somehow, come up with another idea about what to do with the immigration issue. For those who believe in the theory, "What part of "illegal" don't people understand about the "illegal alien" situation", it's got nothing to do with being against ANY minority group. It's about obeying the law as it is now. If you don't agree with it, work to change it. Yes, people understand that the issue is difficult but that's why we've elected the public officials to the offices that they hold. If our public officials want the job of running our country, then they need to do the jobs that we've elected them to. 

Tom Ridge
This situation is exactly the reason why the actions by BOTH sides are terrible. Regular, everyday Janes and Joes are caught in the middle. Tom Ridge, former head of "Homeland Security" said the employees of "Homeland Security" are the ones who will be made to suffer for the "political folly" created by his fellow Republicans. 

Here's the deal, though. When all is said and done, the Republicans, who are deluding themselves into thinking that the Democrats will end up being blamed for this funding problem, are refusing to fund an agency which will end up depriving average, everyday individuals, who live from check to check, their weekly paychecks! It's the Republicans who have the power to say, "You know what? We have the power NOT to drag innocent people into our PERSONAL HATRED of this President. Let's fund this agency so these people can live their lives." That's what the Republicans have the power to do! As it stands now, the Republicans are blinded by their hatred and their personal animosity of a President who they feel, doesn't deserve the office that the Electorate and the citizens of the U.S. have legally elected to the Presidency! According to the L.A. Times, Rep.
Mr. Principles
Curt Clawson, a Republican from Florida says, "I'm just not that scared of sticking to principles and fulfilling campaign promises that we made back home." Okay, Mr Principles, then you pay these people from your pocket and the pockets of your Congressmen friends. Better yet, if you really believe in your principles, then cut the funding for your paychecks, not someone else's. Why isn't it EVER the funding that ends up paying the salaries of the Congressmen and Senators, who want to talk about it being "principles" upon which they govern this country, being cut! What Americans need to start to understand, and I really hate to say this, is that your elected officials don't care about you! What they care about is their power and how they can expand it. Whether this situation ends up being resolved by Saturday or not, it doesn't matter. The Republicans have proven that they will stoop to any level in order to satisfy their insatiable hatred for this President and to increase their power! I'm sure there are situations which can be used to show that the Democrats have the same desire for power. Fortunately, they haven't been the cause, yet, of any American citizen being deprived of their lawfully earned paychecks.

And that's, "As I understand it now... 'til it changes". Thanks for reading.
Michael K. Stichauf.