Burning Bibles

Excerpts from the book of Joshua with annotations

        SID  NUMBER:  3981347   PURPOSE CODE:P         PAGE:   3
    CHARGE 001-LARCENY-                                                       
              STATUTE/ORDINANCE-FL812.014            LEVEL-FELONY             

Actually should be “Misdemeanor”, but that would be sane, rational verdict.

    AGENCY-12TH CIRCUIT COURT - SARASOTA                          (FL058015J)
    CHARGE 001 -COURT SEQ                   COURT NO.-581994CF002266XXXANC
              STATUS-                             LEVEL-FELONY     ,3RD DEG
       PROSC DATA-                     LARCENY-                               
                                LARCOVER 300 DOLLARS UNDER 20000 DOLLARS      

Ok here’s what I was talking about. There is no way anyone in their right mind would pay more than $300 for a used bumper for a three year old entry grade truck. I suppose this should be filed along with the DOD’s $5000 screwdriver.

              PRINCIPAL       ,                                               
              STATUTE/ORDINANCE-FL812.014(2C)        LEVEL-FELONY     ,3RD DEG
              DISP DATE-12/07/1994                DISP-ADJUDICATION WITHHEL

No, false. There was a “defense” lawyer. He was a real bozo, actually pitching for the other side, who advised me that “it didn’t make a difference” what the cost of the bumper was.

              FINE-                               COURT COST-   $250

Again false. I paid them $600. Where did that $350 go to? The non-existing “defense” lawyer?

              COMMUNITY SERVICE                            
              ABIDE BY COURT RESTRICTIONS                  

Don’t you just love happy endings?

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Bad Cop, Bad Cop.

The drama in the court room seemed somewhat incidental at the time; my initial focus for the deal was to get through it as quickly as possible.

The year is 1994.

Let's go play "Bad Cop, Bad COP"

I was driving down Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, Florida at 2am one evening. One of the problems with Sarasota is that at 2am the only other people on the road are cops with nothing to do.  They need to make their quota, and they need to do it in a way that doesn’t jeopardize old age, the ‘safe cop’ is always looking for easy marks.   That night  I was pulled over in my Mits Pickup and informed by one of those ‘safe cops’ that I didn’t have a rear bumper, and given a warning.

Now there’s an earlier story about bumpers; in 1987 I had been driving a Honda Civic, trying to eat some Chinese food which was somehow trying to crawl out of the carton. I had slowed down to stop at a red light, when a Chevy pickup truck in front of me suddenly slams on it’s brakes. There goes the front end of my Japanese car, ploughing into the Chevy steel bumper.  Scratches on the Chevy bumper. The whole front end of my Civic is mangled. It was, apparently all my fault.

Gotta be a decent bumper here somewhere

I was also at war, to some degree with tow companies and junkyards; so many of my cars involuntarily ended up there under dubious legal circumstances; on one occasion I had even stolen my car back after it had been towed from a bank parking lot; I won the resulting legal fracas.

So I was determined to redress this. My pal the cop was right gosh darn it, and I would see to it that my car had a proper bumper. I would obtain the bumper the same way the junkyards did,by taking it. If it was OK for them, it was OK for me.

Leak in the money thing

I see the problem right here - your car is a piece of junk

The time is 3am, on another evening. I noticed that the paint-shop in Venice had Three or Four well-used Mits Pickups exactly like mine (the “Mighty Max”).  Crawling under a Mits late at night with a wrench is very difficult. Even more when it’s in a lot in a strange neighborhood, and it’s not a legal thing that one is doing. It’s really not worth it in any case, and in this particular circumstance I got caught.

I admitted my guilt because I felt guilty; I could have played hardball and made them prove my guilt, and I might have had I known that the admission of guilt and my willing cooperation would only be taken as a sign of weakness.

Grand Crack

But the establishment in Sarasota is very hard up.  They really need the easy kill, risk is for the young, as is fair play. The item stolen was equivalent to the same taken off a 1991 Mits ‘Mighty Max’ in the junkyard. Probable cost: “$100-200” certainly less than $300.

Mr Prosecutor wants to charge me for a new bumper, to make it “GRAND THEFT AUTO”.

My court appointed lawyer was a service to me in a way which is much, much WORSE than having NO LAWYER AT ALL. “It doesn’t matter”, he tells me. “Even if you only touch a screw, it’s still GRAND THEFT AUTO.”. I bat the issue around with him several times, just to make sure: “It doesn’t matter” he keeps on telling me.

This is not a tiger

Patently, I know now that he was wrong, the distinction I was correctly arguing in court was right as I see from a quick internet search: In Florida, in the year 2000,a theft between $1 and $300 is known as PETIT THEFT. It is a misdemeanor. I was charged with “GRAND THEFT” which applies to items between $300 and $20000 in cost.

But under the advice of Mr Public Defender I agreed to the “Grand Theft” charge, accepting his claim that it didn’t matter, any item $1-$20000 off A CAR (religious awe here) is grand theft. I trusted him not because I thought that as a Public Defender he would be a great, savvy lawyer.  I did not expect that. I did expect that he would at least know the law, and be able to advise me correctly as per the rules and regulations, and he did not.

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Which is to say that this:

is not this:

any more than this:

is this:

Any questions?

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The war on the ‘homeless’

When I was approached in the parking lot as mentioned previously, It became obvious that the cop knew what he was looking for and was certain I had it.

So you might ask the question:

How did the cops know I had the flare launcher?

Well, here’s the clincher: they knew because I told them, I didn’t consider it wrong or illicit to have and I felt totally justified in using it in the way I had proposed.

It is almost as interesting as that other issue, what is and what is not a “gun”…. to which the answer is simply that for those who worship violence, everything is an instrument to that end.

So what was I doing walking down the street at 6:30 PM with a large backpack, a situation that may seem suspicious to some. It’s called “laundry”.

When one lives on a boat, one does wear clothes, and those clothes do get dirty. Thus it is occasionally necessary to take those clothes, put them in a bag, or a backpack and take them to the laundry.

I had taken the little flare launcher with me; a habit of carrying it around gained from some events on the mooring that had put me on edge; some persons were diving on it, unfastening the shackles I had so carefully placed around a network of cinder blocks, an arrangement which had worked to hold the boat wonderfully through el-nino, but was failing due to human intervention, as opposed to natural cause.

So I am doing this, I have my dirty clothes in my backpack, I have kayaked to the shore, I am walking through a residential neighborhood at night ~6:30pm when I find I am being followed by a black sedan.

When the door opened on the sedan I poked the flare launcher in the car ready to hit-and-run in the event that these folks were at all related to the unfriendlies diving on my mooring.

Perhaps a bit lame; with the added weight of the backpack it is doubtful I could have run very far or very fast if in fact the occupants had been hostile, and it was explained to me that they were police, the four of them in the unmarked car, and it was I who was the suspicious character.

I felt irritated. “Someone minding their own business, walking on the sidewalk with a backpack is a suspicious character to these swine.”

The next day I went to the police station to confirm that the occupants in the car were in fact police, not yahoos; I showed the chief my flare launcher and explained my strategy.

And that, I thought would be it. A simple misunderstanding. I was mistaken, there was no threat to my safety or person, and they in turn could rest assured that simple folk such as myself proceeding alone along the sidewalk were no threat to the coveted residential neighborhood.

But I was wrong, having seen the vulnerability of my solitary passage they had every intention of exercising the belligerence which I had (correctly as it turns out) sensed coming from them.

I would soon be made to understand the outrage over my ‘flare launcher’ and the tenacity of the plan to use it to stop a gang-bang, righteous indignation of that, that an unarmed pedestrian, the lowest of the low would dare to challenge the might of the auto empowered.

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Attempted laundry


driving a red dodge neon rental car in Sarasota, Florida.

Oops, wrong neon, more like

I park in the marina parking
lot as I have a boat I moored in the harbor that I was fixing up and
living on.

A little better than this, but
you get the idea.

A cop pulls up, walks over to
my car, pulls his gun out and points it point blank at my head, as I
am sitting there at the steering wheel with the window down in the
parking lot.


He wants my $20 flare launcher.

I dig into a pocket and give it
to him.

I am handcuffed, taken to the
police station.

Gunz rule! How foolish of me to
think any differently.

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