Friday, August 9, 2013

Do your friends have arrest records?

Gandhi, Christ, Martin Luther King, Michael Collins, and just about any other man worth looking up to has stood his ground and taken his lumps. Whether it be a police baton, a cat-o-nine-tails, a fire hose, or even simple imprisonment in a man-made cage, it is rare for a man of conviction to not be punished for his beliefs.

If a man will not stand firm in his conviction, out of fear of retribution for his insolence against the powers that be, he is no man.

Obviously, I cannot look down upon the man who will do what is necessary for his own literal survival, and likewise the survival of his own family. The risk of jail is not something to be taken lightly, and every political activist knows that one may very well find himself either in jail for a civil disobedience action or a trumped-up charge intended to silence him.

Today's activist is no different. I've gone to jail in defense of my right to be left alone. I stood my ground, I got hauled off to a cage, I was ridiculed by my armed kidnapper and her accomplices in uniform, and in the end I saw the magic words “DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE”. That's happened on more than one occasion. Sometimes it took hours before I was let out of my cage, sometimes longer...but the handcuff key worn around my neck is a constant reminder of what I am and where I've been.

I fucking earned my key. I've never been arrested for (or even charged with) a crime involving an actual victim, aside from a simple traffic ticket for “failure to yield right of way” that I still dispute. I can no longer count on the fingers of one hand, the number of times I've been put into a cage, only to be released with all charges dropped before ever stepping foot in front of a judge aside from the JP who set my bail.

When I see my friends incarcerated for exercising their God-given rights (sometimes in full compliance of the law but irritating policemen who think such rights shouldn't exist, other times in direct violation of laws that shouldn't exist in the first place), it does bother me.

When I see my fellow Texan John Bush arrested on a public street in Austin for vocally expressing his opposition to the president, in an act that is protected by his natural (and constitutional) right to expression of an opinion, I get upset. When I see Eddie Free get arrested at the Jefferson Memorial (built in honor of a man who, as a colonial land-owning slave-holder, found a conscience and set his slaves free) for nothing more than silently moving his body in an unapproved manner, I get upset. When I see people like Antonio Buehler getting hauled off to jail for photographing police abuses of a pair of young women, I get upset. When I see video footage of Catherine Bleish being harassed and threatened by an Austin PD officer that has been stalking her facebook page under an assumed name, I get upset.

When I see MY FRIEND ADAM KOKESH being arrested for merely asserting his right to armed self-defense, and facing a felony prison sentence in the District of Criminals for committing a simple act of defiance against government by doing something that is done quite regularly (and legally) right here in my home state of Texas, I get pretty fucking upset. For the record, that act was simply possessing a pump-action shotgun on a public street.

I've lawfully walked across my hometown's police station parking lot with a pistol-grip Mossberg Pursuader (20”bbl, 8rd tube, “riot configuration”) slung across my shoulder without causing a stir, because it wasn't illegal in this state. I turned 18 years old, purchased it from Walmart, and it was mine after showing ID and filling out what was then known as “yellow papers”. I still own it, and can lawfully walk down my street with it slung over my shoulder on any given day of the week. Why? Because our legislative zealots haven't given the cops the authority to arrest me for doing so yet.

In the District of Criminals, however, the ownership of a firearm without the simultaneous government-authorized ownership of the magical “Police Officer” costume is considered criminal. So criminal, in fact, that it took a precedent-setting US Supreme Court decision (aka the “Heller” case) to settle once and for all the fact that an American citizen had the right to possess a functional firearm within ones' home.

Under no circumstances may a peon without said magic costume possess a firearm without first getting a permission slip from the local government of the District of Criminals. Even with this permission slip, firearms may not be carried in a vehicle by peons without the magic costume even when traveling from point of purchase to their homes, without jumping through hoops set forth by the government of the District of Criminals. Under no circumstances whatsoever is a peon allowed to possess a functional firearm within the borders of the District of Criminals upon any public street without wearing the magic costume, unless he has the permission slip and is traveling from point-of-purchase to the address listed on his permission slip. Under absolutely no circumstances whatsoever is any peon without a permission slip allowed to display a functional firearm upon a public street.

It matters not that a firearm is, in and of itself, a non-animated object incapable of doing anything whatsoever without outside assistance...or that men wearing the magic costumes are, in reality, nothing more than costumed men. It's illegal for a peon to have a firearm outside ones' home inside the District of Criminals, for any reason whatsoever. If you commit this mortal sin, men with firearms and magic costumes will kick in your door, throw grenades inside your house, take away your guns, point their guns at you and your friends, and ultimately lock you in a cage.

In other words, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

John Hancock, according to the legend, was once asked why he signed his name to the American Declaration of Independence from England, knowing that it was considered “treason” by the king and he'd surely hang for it if he were caught. Hancock replied by stating that he'd heard the king suffered from poor eyesight in his elder age, and didn't want the king to have any difficulty in reading it.

There's a reason why my heroes (and most of my friends) have arrest records. Those without them generally aren't worth looking up to, because they've never stood for anything worth standing for in their lifetimes.

Monday, August 5, 2013

How to build your in-car surveillance system for under $300

In the past decade or so, our police departments have become rather unruly with their application of the law, and have chosen to abandon the law completely when dealing with people would prefer to not consider themselves subservient to those who wear the magic costumes issued by the state. This occasionally results in beatings, false charges being levied against motorists, and even roadside body cavity searches being perpetrated as a punitive measure for those who choose to assert their rights as free individuals.

Most police cars these days are equipped with onboard recording devices that capture both audio and video of traffic stops, but they are most often only released to the public when the footage benefits the police. In cases where the audio or video shows police officers engaged in immoral and/or illegal activities, the footage is either “lost” or otherwise prevented from open and public disclosure for some reason or another, leaving the victim of such behavior simply hanging in the wind.

Over the past several years, the “smart phone” has gone from a cellular telephone with an attached camera to a full-on computer that happens to be equipped with a telephone...and also has audiovisual recording capabilities. Law enforcement agencies have traditionally stopped the recording of their activities by suggesting that the telephone threatens their personal safety, violates a state wiretap statute, or contains “evidence needed for use in a criminal investigation” so it may be seized and deleted.

Even though cellular telephone apps now exist to provide instant mobile-broadband uploads to secure servers, and our courts have ruled that it is completely legal to record a public official in his public discharge of public duties, resistance of filming the police is still an ongoing issue in this country.

So what's the solution? Build a recording device that will capture footage inside and outside the vehicle stealthily, and record it to an on-board storage device.

For under $300 plus the cost of commonly-found supplies for fabricating enclosures and making electrical connections, you can have a full-function five-camera audiovideo recorder that records to a portable USB hard drive without ever having to utilize a cellular telephone. If you wanna get fancy with it, you can even attach a USB WiFi dongle that will transmit the video via cellular broadband through your smartphone's data connection to a secure server!

How is this possible?

Discover the Raspberry Pi.

Huh? What? The Raspberry Pi is a microcomputer. No, let me rephrase that. It is THE microcomputer. It would be small enough to fit into a standard Altoids tin if the manufacturer had used a circuit board with rounded corners. Yes, it's that small. It contains a processor, ethernet port, a pair of USB ports, half a gigabyte of RAM, an SD card, an RCA analog video output, and a 3.5mm analog audio output.

Oh, and did I mention that it costs less than $50? Yeah, you read that right. Less than $50.

Couple that with five generic webcams, the additional “Pi Face” I/O interface board, a 7-port USB hub, a power supply, a pair of microphones, a 12v hardwire power supply, a portable hard drive, and a pair of momentary switches. The whole shebang can be purchased for less than $300.

BOOOOOOOM! After configuring the software and the I/O interface, you now have a recorder that begins filming the driver door looking outward, passenger door looking outward, front of the vehicle forward, rear looking rearward, and also an interior view mounted in or near your third-brakelight assembly that captures all the action from inside the car. Recording can be started with an easily-accessible pushbutton momentary switch, and stopped with another momentary switch that is typically hidden in the same manner as a standard auto security system's “valet” switch to prevent officers from stopping the recording.

With some skillful installation, the front and rear cameras can easily be mounted into the grille and rear bumper areas. Driver and passenger area cameras can be mounted into the plastic trim around the door sill areas, and the interior-view camera can be mounted into the overhead console. Infrared LED bulbs, invisible to the naked eye, provide light picked up by digital cameras, and are easily installed along with the cameras in a stealthy manner. Disguising the interior cameras as a custom set of stereo “tweeter” speakers makes the installation even easier, and is even more easy if the vehicle came pre-equipped with such tweeters from the factory. Night-time washout will generally only occur from headlights of the patrol car at the rear-facing camera.

If the computer unit and hard drive are installed inside the dashboard, the wires can be ran under existing factory trim pieces in the same manner as a custom stereo unit, and will never be seen unless the car is literally torn apart. Mounting the portable hard drive underneath the factory glove box or center console will keep the unit safe, but allow its retrieval by doing nothing more than removing a few screws.