Category Archives: Local Alabama Interest

Cops set up roadblocks to stop motorists and ask them to “voluntarily” provide blood and spit

No, you didn’t misread that.   From CNN:

The roadblocks went up on a Friday at several points in two Alabama towns, about 40 miles on either side of Birmingham.

For the next two days, off-duty sheriff’s deputies in St. Clair County, to the east, and Bibb County, to the southwest, flagged down motorists and steered them toward federal highway safety researchers. The researchers asked them a few questions about drinking and drug use and asked them for breath, saliva and blood samples — offering them $10 for saliva and $50 to give blood.

This is actually part of a federal “study” being conducted by the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that has been “going on for decades”, but these police state tactics are apparently drawing more fire as a result of recent revelations of the NSA’s vast domestic spying operations.  I wonder how far I would get if I started pulling people over to conduct a study to find out how people feel about being stopped by uniformed cops asking for samples of blood and spit.  When a cop is wearing a uniform, he should be conducting official law enforcement business and not using the suggestion of police authority to intimidate people into “voluntarily” doing anything.

Also in the news today was an admission before Congress by FBI director, Robert Mueller, that the FBI uses drones in domestic surveillance operations, quickly adding that they are very seldom used, as if that is supposed to be reassuring given the bald faced lies coming out of intelligence officials and politicians about NSA spying. The FBI later issued a statement.

“As the Director stated, we have used surveillance aircraft in very limited circumstances to support operations where there was a specific operational need. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) allow us to learn critical information that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without introducing serious risk to law enforcement personnel. As an example, the FBI utilized a UAV at the crisis site during the Jimmy Lee Dykes hostage barricade situation in Alabama earlier this year.”

It should be noted that ICE, DEA, and BATF also use drones domestically.

The federal government’s use of technology for monitoring citizens living in the “land of the free” is making George Orwell’s vision of Big Brother seem quaint.  And this is supposed to make us feel safe?

Domestic drone surveillance receives enthusiastic welcome

The Federal Aviation Administration is planning to establish six drone test sites within the U.S. and Huntsville, Alabama is actively engaged in competing to attract one of those sites to the “Rocket City” area.  According to local TV station, WAFF:

Redstone Arsenal is already the hub for development and management of unmanned aerial vehicles for the army, so if you add testing into the mix, it puts Redstone and the Huntsville area on the map for everything behind drones.

And the competition is going to be tough.

Because more jobs come with the testing of drones, Huntsville is not the only city vying for the opportunity. There is already interest from cities in more than 30 states to be one of six testing sites that the FAA will designate.

Drones have, of course, been in the news because the U.S. routinely uses them to to carry out targeted attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, killing thousands, many of whom were innocent.  It was recently revealed that the U.S. has built a new drone base in northern Africa presumably to support American operations in Libya, Egypt, and Mali.  In terms of domestic use, the White House has been criticized for assuming the power to use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil ignoring  due process requirements of the Constitution.    In this context, the comments of Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle regarding the intended purpose of domestic drones seem stunningly naive:

“It looks at the landfill and makes sure it has the right compaction there and uses a sensor to tell you. It may follow a pipeline and makes sure there is no leakage out of that pipeline,” he said. “That’s the kind of technology you are looking at and the commercial applications that you are looking, which means jobs, money to the area. There is really not enough money in watching people.”

Actually, the largest share of the $75B (by 2025) drone market is expected to be in the agriculture industry.  Law enforcement is expected to account for $3.2B and “all other applications” (including the environmental uses mentioned by Battle) account for another $3.2B.   By Battle’s compass, the militarization of law enforcement and the growing surveillance state are inconsequential to the discussion because that’s not where the big money is.


Alabama considers federal gun law nullification

Alabama State Rep Mike Ball is proposing a law to protect firearms made and sold in Alabama from federal restrictions.

The article quotes Ball as saying:

“If a gun is manufactured in Alabama and it’s sold in Alabama, if there’s no interstate transaction, then why should the federal government be regulating it.”

The bill apparently attempts to short-circuit the Federal government’s view that the the Commerce Clause in the Constitution gives it jurisdiction over all human activity.  This position has repeatedly been tested in court and upheld, so it is doubtful the Alabama law would stand up to challenge by the federal government.

But, if you’re familiar with the work of Tom Woods regarding nulification, you’re probably aware that such a law might prevent state and local law enforcement officers from participating in the enforcement of the federal law.  The federal government has limited police resources and relies heavily on state cooperation.  If enough states climb on the nullification bandwagon, the federal government would probably not be able to effectively enforce the law.  We may soon see this in action as more states follow the lead of Washington and Colorado in legalizing recreational pot use.

And yes, this is the same Mike Ball I wrote about yesterday who introduced the ill-considered bill further restricting where sex offenders can live.

Sex offenders: Can’t be around other people and can’t be around each other

A bill introduced by Alabama State Rep Mike Ball would make it illegal for sex offenders to live near each other.  It is already illegal for sex offenders to live within 2000 feet of schools or day care centers.  So, in effect, sex offenders are very likely to congregate simply because existing laws limit where they can live.  An extreme example of this effect was the Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender colony in Miami, also known as “Bookville” after Ron Book who wrote the ordinance that barred sex offenders from living within 2500 feet of a school.  At its peak more than 100 sex offenders lived in a shanty town under the bridge.

From the Wikipedia article:

In November 2011, the Miami Herald reported on the fate of the former Julia Tuttle Causeway colony, which former residents nicknamed “Bookville”. Analysts studying the colony unanimously agreed on two relevant issues: the inability to find a stable home for offenders increased the risk that they would re-offend, and the close proximity of offenders to schools or parks does not increase the possibility that past offenders will re-offend.

Grandstanding like this is common because sex offenders are fair game.  No one is going to come to their rescue, so law makers can go nuts writing new laws to get their names into the headlines.  Sex Hysteria!, covered the ludicrous restrictions placed on sex offenders by parasitic politicians who, completely devoid of any common sense, never gave the unintended consequences the slightest consideration.  And, once enacted, no politician is going to recommend backing off for fear of being labelled as soft on rapists.

Essentially, even after a sex offender serves his prison time, he is condemned to a life sentence of persecution and public humiliation.  He is permanently denied any chance at redeeming himself and returning to anything resembling an ordinary life.  Even murderers aren’t treated that harshly.  Even if you’re not opposed to the harsh treatment, one can only wonder if subjecting people who live among us to that degree of misery, alienation, and hopelessness is going to make us safer.

Was this cop ever actually charged with a crime?

I’ve blogged a couple times (here and here) about a local area cop who was fired for shooting a deer with his own rifle while on duty, but the more I read about this, the more I wonder whether the so-called “charges” leveled against him were really charges in the criminal sense of the word.  In other words, is he going to be prosecuted in criminal court or is termination the only penalty he faces?

In any case, Scoggins is in the news again as he prepares to appeal his termination once again.  While, these articles repeatedly speak of “charges” and even use the word “prosecution with regard to his firing, there has been no mention arraignment, bail, or trial date which makes me think he may indeed be getting special treatment because he’s a cop.  Wouldn’t an ordinary citizen accused of the same violations be facing criminal charges?

Firing of local cop upheld

A few weeks ago I posted about a cop in Muscle Shoals, Alabama who was fired for shooting a deer with his own personal rifle while out on patrol in his squad car.

WHNT TV reports that, yesterday, the Civil Service Board upheld the city’s dismissal of the officer.  In addition to being fired, Greg Scoggins also faces charges of hunting without permission, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, and reckless endangerment.

I posted about this relatively non-serious event for its local interest value, but it does offer some contrast to a national trend of letting cops off the hook for abuse of power and misbehavior that has much more serious ramifications.  Police routinely avoid consequences for bad behavior that would land ordinary citizens in the slammer.  The refusal of police to charge fellow officers (as well as prosecutors and other government officials) for offenses is called “professional courtesy” and can include everything from speeding to DUI to corruption to covering up much more serious crimes.


This “Thin Blue Line” sticker on a vehicle can serve as an identifier to law enforcement that the driver is among the class of people for who “professional courtesy” is extended.

Cops are held to a lower standard than the public when they should be held to a higher standard.  No one has a god-given right to their job, least of all a public servant and any cop who thinks he is above the law doesn’t deserve to be a cop.  While he certainly has the right to challenge the criminal charges against him, the bottom line is that he should be subject to exactly the same treatment as any ordinary citizen who commits the same act, whether it be speeding, illegal hunting, driving under the influence, or violating someone’s rights.

So far, it seems that the city of Muscle Shoals is holding this officer accountable.  Hopefully this is the rule rather than the exception.

Cop fired for shooting a deer (to protect the public)

A Muscle Shoals, Alabama cop is in trouble for shooting a deer.  He apparently used his own rifle, carried with him on patrol, to kill the 10-point buck.  As a result, he was fired and charged with reckless endangerment, hunting without a permit and hunting with the help of a motor vehicle.

The cop claims he was protecting the public because the deer could wander into the road creating a traffic hazard.


What makes this story unusual with respect to much of what we read about on sites like The Agitator, is that the cop received any punishment at all. American law enforcement culture revolves around the belief that laws are for ordinary people.  No ordinary citizen would get a pass using the excuses this cop is using and neither should he. Cops should not be held to a lower standard. They should be held to a higher standard. After all, they are law enforcement professionals, right?