Welcome to your Thursday edition of The Morning Roar!
Military To Scrap $1 Billion Worth Of Ammunition
Trust in government at all levels is at historically low levels. For reasons unbeknownst to me the U.S. military regularly avoids the criticisms that are routinely made of the rest of government. This trend was backed up by a recent Havard University Institute of Politics poll which was featured in yesterday’s installment of The Morning Roar. The poll found millennials (defined as people between the ages of 18 to 29) trust the military to do the right thing 47% of the time. In comparison, the poll participants only trusted the President to do the right thing 32% of the time and the Supreme Court 36% of the time.
A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identifies huge amounts of waste and inefficiencies throughout the branches of the U.S. military. The 51-page report, which was released to the public on Monday, identified more than $1 Billion worth of munitions that are scheduled to be destroyed. Guns.com provided a stellar overview of the damning contents of the report.
In an agreement in place since 1975, the Army serves as the Department of Defense’s (DOD) manager of small arms ammunition. Most of this $70 billion ammunition cache is stored in a series of eight Army depots that have about 30.5 million square feet of storage space and, as of August 2013, housed 1.7 million tons of conventional ammunition belonging to all of the military services.
The study found that of the various military branches only the Army has a modern inventory management system to account for its stockpile, which the systems of the Navy, Air Force and Marines cannot interface with.
As explained in the report, the services meet annually to discuss their current inventory levels and any surpluses they have at what is called the Quad Services Cross-Leveling Review. There, for instance, should the Army have surplus munitions that the Marine Corps can use, a transfer or sharing of ammo is arranged.
In 2012, approximately 44 million “items,” of which 32 million were classified as small-caliber items such as ammunition for machine guns or pistols, were transferred across the services following the annual review. The other 12 million items included demolition materials such as detonation cords, fuses and pyrotechnic initiators, and ground defense items such as grenades.
You read that correctly, the “greatest” military in the world is managing their munitions inventories based upon an almost forty year old agreement. Only the Army has a modern inventory management system. I’d pay money to see the other systems. Are they keeping track by hand?
The different branches of the military have no incentive to eliminate waste from their budgets. They have allowed an incredibly inefficient and wasteful process to carry-on, seemingly without any challenges to the status quo.
This complete disregard for the property of Americans citizens is a byproduct of the culture of coercion that is deemed acceptable in today’s world. The tax consumers that hold jobs in the military and other government agencies are completely detached from the reality that every dollar they spend was confiscated by force from another citizen. Until this moral dilemma is righted and State coercion is eradicated by ending the institutionalization of involuntary theft by governments, we will see varying levels of indiscriminate waste by all levels of government.
Retired State Department Employee Found Guilty Of Murder For Killing Teen Home Intruders
A former State Department security engineer has been convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder for the shooting deaths of two teenagers that were attempting to break into his Little Falls, Minnesota home. Byron Smith fatally shot teenagers Haile Kifer and Nick Brady after the two broke into his basement on Thanksgiving Day in 2012.
During his time at the State Department Smith was tasked with establishing security at embassies and consulates across the globe. He had used his professional expertise to set up a security system at his home in response to break-ins in the past.
A very graphic audio recording taken from Smith’s home during the fatal shootings apparently was an influential piece of evidence and contributed to the jury convicting Smith of murder. In addition to the disturbing recording where Smith can be heard taunting the teens as they died, (can be found here) the fact that Smith did not call police immediately after the shooting contributed to the guilty verdict. Smith waited until the next day and asked a neighbor to call the police.
There was only one way this tragedy could have been guaranteed to not occur, if the teenagers did not break into Smith’s home. If they had not broke into Mr. Smith’s home, then the two teenagers would be alive today.
If Byron Smith was so revered in the security industry that he was trusted with securing embassies and consulates all over the world, then how could he not secure his home to prevent or deter a break-in attempt? It is true that the two teenagers were in the wrong by breaking into Smith’s home, but did Smith use excessive force to thwart the break-in? Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure.
The disturbing audio and video recorded by Smith’s own security system were enough to convince the jury that Smith did not need to fatally shoot the teenagers to protect his life and property.
This case certainly could set a dangerous precedence and muddy the waters for future self defense cases where home owner are simply trying to protect their family.
PA Cops No Longer Need Warrant To Search Vehicles
Bad news for residents of the Keystone State (oh crap that’s me!) Lancaster online published an article on a judgement by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which will make it legal for police officers to search vehicles without a warrant, thus aligning PA state law with federal law.
The ruling, passed on a 4-2 vote, was made in regard to an appeal from a 2010 vehicle stop in Philadelphia.
Local police and legal professionals are calling the opinion “big news.”
“This is a significant change in long-standing Pennsylvania criminal law, and it is a good one,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Wednesday afternoon.
Under prior law, an officer who smells marijuana inside a car, for example, could only search the car with the driver’s consent — or if illegal substances were in plain view.
(Federal officers, like FBI or ATF agents, can search, regardless.)
Now, based on the opinion, it only takes reasonable probable cause for an officer to go ahead with a search without a warrant.
“The prerequisite for a warrantless search of a motor vehicle is probable cause to search,” McCaffery writes in the opinion. “We adopt the federal automobile exception… which allows police officers to search a motor vehicle when there is probable cause to do so…”
Previously, a warrantless search was only allowed if “exigent circumstances” existed, the opinion states.
This change in law basically means that an officer can search your car if they feel they have “probable cause” to search. Probable cause is defined as:
Apparent facts discovered through logical inquiry that would lead a reasonably intelligent and prudent person to believe that an accused person has committed a crime, thereby warranting his or her prosecution, or that a Cause of Action has accrued, justifying a civil lawsuit.
That definition leaves a lot up to the discretion of the police officers. Specifically the terms “apparent facts” and “logical inquiry”. What would be a logical inquiry? Would an individual purchasing fertilizer lead a cop to make a logical inquiry and thus permit an officer to search a car looking for drugs? Where do you draw the line? Is there even a line anymore?
It is a slippery slope down the mountain of tyranny and once you reach the bottom it is almost impossible to claw your way back up. This was a big win for the police state today and a gigantic loss of liberty.
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