Diverting 911 Funds

Cash-strapped states raid 911 funds

More than $200 million collected from cell phone users for upgrades to the 911 system has been diverted in the last two years to plug state budget holes, keep campaign promises and, in at least one case, buy police uniforms, an Associated Press analysis has found.

Never, ever rely only on the authorities to keep you safe or help you when you need it. Especially if anyone in power has campaign promises to keep.

Oregon, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Tennessee are among the states that have dipped into their 911 money recently. New York and Rhode Island have been diverting their funds for at least five years. States started collecting the funds in the 1990s.

In the fiscal year that ended in June 2008, Rhode Island collected $19.4 million in 911 fees and used $5.8 million for 911. The rest went to the state’s general fund.

If only politicians would make campaign promises to upgrade the 911 system, they could raid the 911 upgrade funds to keep their promise to upgrade the 911 system.

Tough week for pizza guys

Got google alerts for all of these stories today:

South Haven, MI: Pizza delivery driver robbed at gunpoint

Portsmouth, VA: Pizza delivery driver robbed at gunpoint in Portsmouth

New Castle County, DE: Delivering pizzas downright dangerous

Akron, OH: One of the females made arrangements for a pizza delivery driver to be at a location so the male could rob him

Raleigh, NC: Pizza shop worker shot in robbery attempt

Databases in Delaware

Jeff Soyer: Cops Fish Mental Health Records

In a good piece of investigative reporting, the Delaware News Journal has uncovered the fact that state police there routinely access databases intended only to be used at the time of a firearm purchase. Even for that, it’s being abused.

The story is here: Gun checks may violate federal law

When the firearms unit was created, the debate in the House was “strictly about purchases, not enforcement,” said House Minority Leader Richard C. Cathcart, R-Middletown. “It seems to me this violates — at a minimum — the intent of the legislation.”

Cathcart, who received an “A+” rating from the NRA before his recent re-election, said the supercheck process needs a quick statutorial fix.

“Obviously, there is a right to bear arms, but the way this is being applied, basically they’re saying it’s a privilege, and they have a right to take away that privilege from people,” Cathcart said. “I have a huge problem with this.”

You should read the whole thing.

Once that data is out there, it’s going to be looked at. Not always by the people or for the reasons intended. If this supercheck backdoor gets closed, you can bet that a future incident, maybe not even gun-related, will convince someone that a “lack of communication” led to tragedy, or that law enforcement’s lack of access hampered their ability to do their job. And the “back door” will possibly become law for the common good.

Even in Delaware

Sebastian points us to a story with a happy ending:

Victim shoots man during robbery try
An armed robber who tried to stick up a man Monday night ended up getting shot when the victim pulled out his own gun, police said.

Says a commenter:

What a heartwarming story for the Holiday Season. It is people like this man that was being robbed that show the generosity to share a bullet with a robber that make this country great. God Bless him.

When it comes to gunfire, ’tis far better to give than to receive!

Sebastian also points out that the would-be victim is an open carry activist.

It’s cool to rob Pizza Guys

Police: Delivery drivers targeted

Delaware:

Since Oct. 31 there has been a rash of holdups in northern New Castle County targeting food deliverymen. Five of the seven robberies and one failed attempt have occurred in the past week, most recently Monday night.

The article offers a number of safety tips. Don’t bother looking. None of them include anything about defending yourself. One says not to resist because the money isn’t worth the risk. That’s possibly true, but many of these robberies involve the delivery driver getting beat first. A policy of “don’t resist, it’s just money” simply encourages more copycats, which is exactly what we’re seeing.

Open Carry in Delaware

Sebastian notes success on the street, which doesn’t always translate from legal rights.

Noted is the fact that open carry often isn’t tactically sound, but just as successful use of a gun in self-defense doesn’t always mean pulling the trigger, successful deterrence doesn’t always mean even drawing.

For deterrence to work, the enemy needs to know that the threat exists. Concealed carry implies that the threat might exist, but open carry leaves no doubt.

Not that I’m advocating open carry over concealed. But open carry is often portrayed as a death sentence by pro-gunners and as unnecessarily threatening by anti-gunners. I don’t believe that it’s necessarily either.