Tennessee Man with Silenced AR-15, Body Armor Arrested for Not Answering Police Questions

Leonard Embody stirred up some trouble in Nashville, Tenn., by walking around town with a loaded AR-15 while wearing body armor. Police arrived on the scene after several complaints, but Embody was not interested in cooperating.

Embody refused to answer the officers’ questions as to whether or not the rifle was loaded and continued on his way. The officers followed Embody and continued to ask him questions.

At one point, the officers took Embody’s rifle and checked the magazine without his consent. The magazine was empty, but they were unable to determine if there was a round in the chamber because the gun was secured by a wire lock.

The police had seen enough. They took Embody into custody and charged him with possession of a prohibited weapon. Embody has since been released on a $3,000 bail.

The problem, of course, is that the police cannot arrest somebody for refusing to provide evidence that he or she has not committed a crime. Police can certainly be suspicious that a gun contains contain ammunition, but the mere presence of a gun is not sufficient evidence to seize and search property. It is akin to police officers arresting somebody because the individual will not allow police to come inside and look around. Guns, like all other forms of personal property, are supposed to be protected under the Fourth Amendment.

via Tennessee Man with Silenced AR-15, Body Armor Arrested for Not Answering Police Questions.

This incident raises some interesting questions. If it is legal to carry around an AR-15, do cops have the right to ask you about it? How would you feel if you saw a guy walking around aimlessly, in body armor, with a weapon? If people feel uncomfortable, and call the police to investigate, what actions can a police officer legally take if so far no crime has been committed? As the law stands in Tennessee, it looks like this man’s rights were violated. This is now the country we live in. 

Externalities

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.-Genesis 1:28

An offshore natural gas rig is burning out of control today in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf has seen more than its share of natural disasters, but drill, baby, drill! If and when the fire is extinguished, gas will still continue to spew from the well, ready to ignite again. A relief well must be drilled to intercept the gas flow, which could take weeks. 

By nature we are very arrogant beings. Most of us go through our days fulfilling our own desires. That’s okay, as long as we don’t harm others. But our participation in society as a whole makes us unwitting co-conspirators in the defiling of the earth and the destruction of our environment. I am supporting slave labor in Bangladesh. I am the Hypocrite driving my car everywhere I go, drinking out of a plastic water bottle, shopping at Wal Mart…

Economics and unrestrained capitalism have been elevated to the level of religion. Objectivism and the Virtue of Selfishness are on par with The King James Bible. The strange mix of American Christianity and greed as a moral imperative is in evidence daily on every level of government and politics. It’s God, Guns, and Green. The slide toward fascism is gaining momentum, perpetuated by our own desire to be comfortable. We are numbed by the inanities of daily life.  We are BORED, despite constant stimulation. We are disconnected from nature, from community, and from ourselves. Our 24-hour news tells us nothing new. The increasingly shrill voices from the left and the right makes us plug our ears. 

It makes me tired and depressed to even think about it. What can I do, besides type on a keyboard? My days are filled with repetitive tasks and child-rearing. I eat, sleep, work, and worry….always worry. What kind of world will my children and grandchildren inherit? As far as I can tell, not a better one. 

Forgive my maudlin babble and please watch this video. Perhaps I will have a better attitude tomorrow. 

A Conservative’s POV: Moral Mondays make sense when GOP compassion is lacking | Other Views | NewsObserver.com

There was a time when I would have groaned with disgust at the coverage of the tumultuous Moral Monday protests. As a conservative activist and blogger (and registered Republican), my feet remain firmly planted on the right, but I have become surprisingly sympathetic to the passionate protesters who gather every week in Raleigh.

What changed? Last October I lost my job of 19 years and officially became a deadbeat. Now, Gov. Pat McCrory has never used that word officially to my knowledge, but he did remark, while campaigning in 2012, that filing for unemployment is “too easy.”

As to the curtailment of unemployment benefits, I understand that money cannot be doled out indefinitely. My problem is the timing – until the recovery really kicks in, there simply are not enough jobs to go around. What are people going to do. no, what am I going to do in the meantime? No one asks. Economic reality has indeed intruded on my tidy little belief system.

via Moral Mondays make sense when GOP compassion is lacking | Other Views | NewsObserver.com.

This is written by a conservative who has become unemployed and now faces the struggle that millions of Americans face: how to get by. I appreciate his honesty and courage for penning this editorial, but it is so typical of others who have had a similar epiphany after joining the ranks of those they once looked down upon as “moochers” and “deadbeats.” It is not until they are personally affected that they start to realize that things aren’t always so black and white. A relative comes out as gay, and suddenly they support marriage equality. A friend’s Fallopian tube explodes from an ectopic pregnancy and they finally begin to understand that abortion sometimes saves lives. Wouldn’t it be better to expand our little circles, talk to people that are affected by many of these decisions made on The Hill, before a nameless, faceless person faces ruin because of decisions made blindly, based solely on ideology?

The Decline of North Carolina – NYTimes.com Editorial Shines an Unflattering Spotlight on North Carolina

North Carolina was once considered a beacon of farsightedness in the South, an exception in a region of poor education, intolerance and tightfistedness. In a few short months, Republicans have begun to dismantle a reputation that took years to build.

via The Decline of North Carolina – NYTimes.com.

My home state of North Carolina has been in the news quite a bit lately, but unfortunately it’s not been good publicity. This New York Times editorial touches on quite a few of the antics of our wacky extremist legislature, who have in a few short months undone decades of progress.

In addition to the NYT laundry list of backward movements, the folks in Raleigh have actually tried to establish Christianity as the official state religion. They banned measuring sea level changes according to latest scientific methods because it was bad news for the coast. The latest budget proposal includes big tax cuts for the wealthy, but expanding sales taxes, eliminating the personal exemption and state EITC, and additional exemptions for seniors, shifts most of the burden to middle and lower income taxpayers.  In addition to cutting unemployment benefits during a time when 8.8% of the state is unemployed (fifth in the nation) and refusing federal expanded Medicaid funds, these tax measures could push poorer families to the brink of ruin.

With no sense of irony, Republicans attached extensive abortion restrictions to a bill that bans recognition of Sharia law in family court. First of all, an anti-Sharia law bill is ridiculous and offensive. There has not been a single instance of a family law court having to deal with Sharia law in NC. Then they attach these eleventh-hour amendments to it that have NOTHING to do with an anti-Sharia law bill, except for how much it resembles actual Sharia law with regard to women’s rights, or lack thereof.

Some of the restrictions in the “Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act” (I’m not kidding!!) include restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion services, banning of sex-selection abortions (is that a big problem? I’d like the stats on that), and new regulations that would cause all but one abortion clinic in the state to shut down. 

Mere hours after attaching these unconstitutional amendments, Senate Republicans decided to hold a vote, after which the bill was passed by a 29-12 vote. Zero public discussion. Yeah, that’s NC democracy 2013 style. 

As I’ve mentioned before, North Carolina is the country’s second most gerrymandered state, which is a form of disenfranchisement that undermines true representative democracy. Asheville, my home, and probably the most liberal town in the state, was literally chopped in half and rendered impotent in the last election.   As has been rightly pointed out to me, Republicans aren’t the first to have done this. But if this is what happens when Republicans get the upper hand, God help us. I mean really, please, Jesus…help us. 

Arrests mount as NC legislative session nears end :: WRAL.com

Protests are nothing new at the legislative building. Before the GOP takeover two years ago, conservative activists held mass rallies. In July 2001, about 700 showed up at the “Tar Heel Tea Party” to protest a proposed tax increase. According to an Associated Press account, protesters in the House gallery chanted “No new taxes!” and threw tea bags onto the chamber floor. One protester was escorted from the gallery. None were arrested.

via Arrests mount as NC legislative session nears end :: WRAL.com.

There have been over 700 arrests since the Moral Monday Protests began in Raleigh. Teachers, preachers, retired persons, students are being arrested. Reporters covering the story have been arrested. One woman was arrested for yelling “shame on you” as legislators voted on an anti-abortion bill that could be one of the most restrictive in the nation, leaving only one clinic open in the entire state.

There aren’t enough prosecutors to take each case to court. The expense of arrested people for misdemeanors must be enormous and I’d love to know that number. Worst of all, with NC having the fifth highest unemployment in the nation and some of the highest corporate taxes, we don’t really need to make ourselves look so freaking backward! No one wants to come here while these loonies erode our civil rights in the legislature. How about LISTENING to the people that you serve? 

Evil Mr. Rogers? Why I Don’t Miss Television

Below you will find a ridiculous, mean-spirited example of why TV sucks these days. The mindless drones at Fox and Friends waste several minutes discussing how FRED ROGERS ruined a generation of children with his “you are special” message. I was one of those children who watched Mr. Rogers every day. I watched Sesame Street and Electric Company and Saturday cartoons. There were a few other shows that I watched, but not many. Why? Because we only had a few channels and kid’s programming wasn’t available 24/7. Instead, I read books, explored the woods, built forts, went fishing, read books, played make-believe games, and listened to music. 

Jump ahead thirty-plus years…kids have computers, laptops, smartphones, handheld gaming devices, tablets, e-readers, iPods, several generations of X-Box, Playstation, etc. There is nonstop television, any movie or tv show you want to watch on-demand, DVRs to record them all. Every kid has a device that can take pictures and record, keep them in touch with their friends, Facebook, Twitter, Redditt…you get the picture. Kids are not required to use their imaginations or focus on a single thing at any time. And we adults have been numbed and disconnected by technology as well. 

The Fox and Friends jokers go on and on about how Mr. Rogers ruined a bunch of kids by telling them “you are special” although they weren’t special at all. It caused them to grow up entitled and lazy. They reference “some professor” and “a study,” but never elucidate which person and study they are talking about. 

Well, I’m no expert on anything, but I suspect that part of the reason that Gen Xers like me aren’t doing so well has nothing to do with Mr. Rogers. Many of us had divorced parents and had to shuffle back and forth between them. We spent much time alone, due to both parents working, giving rise to the term “latch-key kids.” This made us both independent and more likely to respect our marriage vows. It made us more involved in our children’s lives, because we knew how painful it was when parents didn’t have time for their kids.

We have lived through historic inflation, stagflation, and several recessions. We put ourselves through college, racking up massive student loans, only to find there were no jobs waiting on the other side. The American Dream lost its luster after its heyday in the 50s and 60s, because along came trickle-down economics and later the lords of austerity, just when we needed help the most. Living under crushing debt, we still manage to do some things right.

Bridging the time before widely available computers and technology and the modern day, Gen Xers are comfortable in both worlds. Gen Xers are people like Jon Stewart, who skewers politicians and modern media on a nightly basis with humor and occasional brilliance. Gen Xers have brought us Google and YouTube, which basically brings the world to our very fingertips. Gen X is more socially responsible, aware, tolerant, and accepting of differences than previous generations. 

But I won’t go on about how awesome my generation is, because I don’t believe it is any better or worse than any other generation. Whatever our flaws, they were not spawned by Mr. Rogers, who, so far as I can tell, was a truly good man, a patriot, and a humanitarian. I truly loved the man and his make-believe neighborhood that didn’t resemble my own in the slightest. How dare he give encouragement to this lonely generation?

Turn off the television! I am the first to admit that I am overly addicted to technology, but I think cancelling my cable subscription has been the smartest thing I’ve done lately. We have been eating as a family more often, getting outside more, reading more, and talking to each other more, just plain LIVING LIFE more! What could be wrong with that? We still have our holy internet and our little tech devices. It takes baby steps to wean one’s self off of total access all the time. 

For some reason, our Internet has been spotty lately. The other day, my daughter was whining about being bored because the Internet was down. In typical parent-fashion, I started spouting off about how we didn’t have such things to distract us when we were little. “My dad used to say only stupid people get bored! We didn’t have computers/internet/DVR/smartphones…” blah, blah, blah. I was inwardly cringing, listening to myself and sounding so much like my own parents when I whined about not having an Atari or a VCR. My daughter laughed and wondered what she would rant at her own kids about. We mused about that, imagining the scenario: “We didn’t have bionic limbs and instant download of knowledge to our brains and warp-speed transporters and cell regenerators!” The more things change, the more things stay the same.

One thing I know is that kids are indeed special. They are hope, they are the future. It can never, ever be wrong to tell them so. Don’t worry about giving them a little bit of confidence, because the world is waiting to beat them down. You don’t have to help. Fox and Friends, I would really like to see that “study.”