We need to fight civil forfeiture and all legislation like it.
It's definitely not everything, but I don't know of a better data source...
Let's you and I both smoke six packs of cigarettes per day for 20 years as an experiment and see whether we can control getting lung cancer and or emphysema to a very large degree.
Is it complete control? No, it's very near that.
Obesity? (which causes numerous other diseases) Yep, we can control that too.
> Is it complete control? No, it's very near that.
It's definitely nowhere near that, especially in terms of things like diabetes (partially genetically determined) or heart attacks. You'd have to go to absurd lengths to control those near-completely. For instance, we know of one good way of controlling obesity, and that is to lock everyone in Nazi-style death camps. You won't get obese if you're fed 1500 kcal a day. You also won't be very happy.
The widespread belief that we have so much personal control over those diseases is probably one of the biggest reasons why they haven't been solved yet.
I personally know several obese people with diabetes who still regularly drink coke (not diet! 40g of sugar per can!) and their doctor has never told them to stop because they've been told it is genetics and their only option is to cut fat intake which does not work.
Everyone dies of something one day but the number of people in the US who die young of heart disease or suffer from diabetes is completely absurd and definitely (for the most part) avoidable.
The idea isn't that obesity is 100% caused by bacteria, or genes, or unicorns. Of course it's a function of your eating choices - you can choose not to eat and you won't die a fat man. The problem is that people arguing obesity is "just a choice" and overweight people are "just lazy" are missing the point that some "choices" aren't practical. If obesity was "just a choice", we wouldn't have this problem after decades of massive shaming of overweight people and massive push for fitness and everything-fit. Instead, the more we shame people for being obese, the more population stays obese. Interesting, isn't it?
Anyway, Yvain discusses this and related topics better than I ever could:
Is it inconceivable that some people just value the pleasure they get from eating more than that of adding a few years to the end of their lives? They're not necessarily lazy or stupid, they just may have different values that you. You can ask someone why they're obese and due to societal pressures they may tell you a story about how they can't stop or its genetics, but actions speak louder than words.
Most people have behaviors that is not beneficial to their health (drinking, living in a polluted city, not exercising the optimal amount). Longevity isn't the point of life.
I'm not aware of enough evidence to say that it's clearly anything... if you have references on this I'd be keen to hear them.
Short of some actual studies in this area, I'm skeptical.
Baumeister's work on ego depletion showed that self-control isn't a constant trait, it varies with other factors, so to show that self-control was the problem you'd have to show that there are no more hidden variables.
I don't know the literature on addiction. What's that opinion based on?
There's definite evidence to support the idea of physiological or external factors influencing obesity, e.g. gut bacterea influencing food choices, envionmental differences changing things like portion size.
It may be in there depending on how you count. Police deaths account for 0.34 per 100,000, greater than war (0.30) and less than tetanus (0.38).
Someone is doing extensive work organizing all this on a daily basis. Too bad we don't know how many were bad guys and how many innocent, but that would be hard to followup and monitor.
If you scroll through and read the stories, most of them seem to be either terrible car crashes or violent criminals.
Presuming that officers work 2080 hours a year and there are 765,000 with arresting power, you are 1755 times more likely to interface with a not-a-cop than a cop on the job. Therefore, you are 160 times more likely to be killed X minutes with a police officer than X minutes with some stranger. 15 seconds with 1 cop is as dangerous as 15 seconds with 160 random people.
My friends in south LA from different backgrounds have a mantra to never call the cops under any condition. The idea is that however bad a situation can get, introduction of the police will incontrovertibly make it a de facto worse situation. Whether true or not, this seems to be a gut intuition to many (search google for "never call the police" to see people express this view).
The crux of the question is two-fold:
1. Does bringing police into any situation generally lead to worse consequences than avoiding them?
2. If we believe that violence is always an inferior solution that lacks efficacy, then why should we invite state-sanctioned violence into our lives voluntarily? Stated another way, why is the government provided service to someone with psychological distress two people with firearms locking them in a cage? Shouldn't we provide a more appropriate government service for this?
My comment was posted in relation to "... kill more people than any terrorist ..." which I don't think has anything to do with civil forfeiture.
There have been single white collar crimes that exceed the value of all US burglaries. Madoff alone stole more than five years of burglaries.
The FBI has their priorities wrong. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports tally a burglary when it is reported, but a while collar crime only when an arrest is made. This creates the illusion that white collar crime is much smaller than it is.
Home burglary is almost dead.
"The median dollar value of items and cash stolen during completed household burglaries increased 54 percent from 1994 to 2011, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The median financial loss during completed burglaries in 1994 was $389 (adjusted for inflation), compared to $600 in 2011. The average dollar loss in 2011 among households that lost $1 or more was about $2,120."
From 1994 to 2011, the rate of all burglaries (attempted and completed) decreased 56 percent, from a peak of 63.4 to 27.6 victimizations per 1,000 U.S. households. The number of burglaries experienced by U.S. households declined 47 percent, from about 6.4 million burglaries in 1994 to about 3.4 million in 2011
I'm not surprised that median went up, I would expect that as a side effect of a significant drop in the rate.
Table 5 sort of shows what I was getting at, burglaries of lower income households dropped a lot more than burglaries in general. One explanation of that is that lower end break ins aren't worth it anymore.
If that is the case, the average would go up without the rest of the burglaries really changing.
(I guess that could be described as a change in the distribution of burglaries rather than a shift in the distribution; I read your reply here as pointing to a shift)
One thing we don't know is how many small-take thefts just go unreported now, as break-ins (of autos, especially) have become epidemic. My city doesn't even send a response for property crimes now. The victim just files a report on their website for insurance purposes. A friend in Berkeley had two petty burglaries in the past year-plus and didn't report for that reason.
So you've got expensive non-unique items that others want in easier to find locations, a definite win for the burglar I'd think.
Last time our place was burgled, they ignored laptops and cameras and went for the jewelry.
The general spending of all people on electronics is much higher now than in 1994.
So the rate is lower, the security is higher, the value of available goods to steal in any given home are higher.
It doesnt matter if they cant hock them at pawn shops. I have ~20 computers in my home.... many monitors etc...
So yeah the rate is down, but the value and density of targets has increased -- but it metered by also much more vigilant and camera ready people
...and the spare key for my car, which they used to steal the car.
There are ~20 break-ins and car prowls a year in our town, a small one near Seattle. They've caught a few of the bad guys doing this (it is a chancy and protracted process).
Mostly they seem to be looking for laptops, cash, jewelry and similar small things easily sold (guessing, for drug money). We also have a lot of mail getting stolen, so identity theft is a thing, too.
We're not under siege, but burglary is not dead, either.
Source: I just got half of my S4 replaced with brand new parts for 1/4 the price of the parts themselves because I gave them my broken screen (with working electronics).
There's some justification for this: It's very common to say "a burglary has clearly occurred but we don't know who is responsible", but with white-collar crime it's almost impossible to know whether an act was illegal until you've identified who did it.
Lot's of burglary stats are manipulated too in order for police to not draw heat from the public http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE82818620120309
It's hard to miss a burglary, but a white collar crime, cleverly done, can escape notice indefinitely.
*OK, maybe I would agree with donated to certain causes, if chosen carefully.
"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Rand Paul has introduced legislation to restore the protection the amendment should provide: https://reason.com/blog/2015/01/27/rand-paul-reintroduces-bi...
President Obama appointed Loretta Lynch as AG, who has a proven track record of using civil asset forfeiture to advance her career. http://www.cato.org/blog/loretta-lynchs-worrisome-answer-civ...
Edit for clarity.
They're killing more people than terrorists though:
None; even outside the "secured" areas, airports are one of the most heavily patrolled places open to the public.
Obviously, that doesn't make attacks impossible, but characterizing that locale as "unprotected" is unreasonable.
The security screening line is (just) outside of a particular layer of security; the area of the airport outside that layer, including the line, is still one of the most heavily patrolled areas open to the public in the US, it is not "unprotected".
(I'm probably on the list already anyway.)
And the state has been known to kidnap your children if you try to dispute the issue.
The fact that a hearing is part of the process is largely irrelevant because other parts of the system to conspire to keep victims from reaching the hearing or getting justice.
That says that federal account balances from seizures totaled $4.5 billion in 2014. It also says that Madoff and Toyota each contributed more than $1 billion to those accounts.
edit to add: It seems likely that the seizure is only related to the Madoff case, not that it came from Madoff directly, in another comment I linked a BBC article saying the forfeiture came from JP Morgan.
I got that far and decided I wasn't going to spend any more time looking into the claims as presented in the link and flagged it.
They just if you comment nothing else, it's OK to mention it as an aside to a more useful comment.
While in the United States it sounds alarmist to think of this all as a system of organized, police-mandated shakedowns, that's very common here. In 4 out of 5 times I hear folks get pulled over by cops, the driver had to pay a bribe. Police regularly go to businesses demanding regular payments else they shut down the companies.
I wouldn't have give this a second thought before, but after living here, I see what its like living under degraded institutions.
Also they (Indians) say "if you see a dead body don't call the police, you will end up in prison for murder"
and if you time, a detailed report which is 186 pages of PDF http://ij.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/policing-for-profit...
There was a post some time back about some new building and equipment a Florida PD built with their stolen money.
Before you can change reality you must first understand the reality that exists.
Police steal and murder without consequence. They are a gang of murderous thugs protected by a corrupt court and legislative body.
 http://www.thecrimereport.org/news/crime-and-justice-news/20... -- Linked from the link.
This is the amazing thing about the government provided judicial system-- for many crimes, instead of making the victim whole, the "justice" system instead profits via fines, or denies the victim justice by incarcerating the criminal.
Which would be better for, say, a person convicted of stealing a car and then wrecking it-- going to jail for 5 years or paying the owner of the car 5 times its retail value (over the next 10 years)?
The "justice" system will put him in jail, making it effectively impossible for him to repay his victim and make the victim whole.
Whether this supports an argument for a police state or not, it certainly supports an argument for corruption-- denying victims compensation and taking it for yourself (in the form of fines, or more bodies for the prison industrial complex which pays you back in campaign donations) is corruption.
It also seems it was paid by JP Morgan.
Money seized in drug busts: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9149048...
Drug cartels and homicide: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defe...
Yet, reports in the media  fit a common pattern: the officer encounters a person carrying several thousand dollars in cash, and takes it asserting it was drug related. This assertion doesn't require proof or even that the person involved be charged with a drug offence.
 John Oliver, Last Week Tonight, Oct 5, 2014 / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEpZWGgJks
Is stealing wrong? Yes, yes it is. How many more decades of a failed war on drugs policy do you need before you accept and argue for a change of course?
When bad laws create the incentive which results in 10,000s of murders it is imperative to change those incentives, even the Mexican government is now clamoring for change, but the war on drugs is too convenient for the status quo and justifies all sorts of government empowerment.
But in the face of a murderous institution I'm happy we have some fellow Willing to equivocate and defend senseless murder, torture, and theft, good job dude.
Personal attacks are not allowed on Hacker News. We ban accounts that do this, so please (re-)read the guidelines and don't do this.
1. Presumption of accuracy Just because the cops claim that the money is "Drug money" doesn't make it so. As a victim of asset forfeiture, that money was claimed to be "Terrorism" money but it was laughable on its face.
2. Presumption of guilt. Even if it was taken from a genuine drug dealer, the dealer is innocent until proven guilty, but the money is taken before this proof is achieved. Thus this denies the dealer the opportunity to provide for his defense.
Someone I went to high school with was the victim of this. He was not a drug dealer, he was a doctor. An oncologist who had a great many terminal patients. He was raided by the DEA because he was giving these cancer patients "too much" pain medication. His assets and house were frozen, he was taken to jail and his wife and kid were left homeless while he had to try and defend himself...with no money to hire a lawyer. His wife worked part time as a receptionist in his office- so the prosecutor threatened to put her in jail as an accomplice, forcing his kids into the "Care" of the state if he didn't take a plea deal. He had no money for counsel, and no choice so he plead guilty. This is a doctor whose "crime" was caring for his patients. You would say he must have been guilty because he was convicted. And therefor this is drug money, but that's a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, and misses the point that he was forced to plead guilty by having his ability to hire a defense team denied to him via the theft.
Finally, you're being absurd to say that you have access to the courts and that they are impartial. As my case showed me, the judge knew that the affidavit for seizure of the property was fraudulent-- he knew it, because he had been presented proof of it the week prior-- yet he still authorized the theft. The cops and the judges and the prosecutors all work for the state, and the judges are not independant. They are dependent on keeping their job by towing the line.
This is why cops and judges are almost never prosecuted. No cop would dare testify, no prosecutor will bring charges and no judge would allow the case in his court.
It's also somewhat wrong for this purpose, but it's less wrog. Traditionally the word has been associated with banana republics and politically unstable nations whose heads of state and ruling elite sell off national assets, rob their citizens and otherwise stripmine their entire countries, before fleeing.
In this case you have police turning into criminal gangs, protected by the justice system. And with civil forfeiture they are literally engaging in legalised highway robbery.
In all seriousness, that is getting very close to a police state.
Do you have an independent reference for that, by any chance?
It would also be interesting to hear your opinion as to typical motive for doing such a thing.
In a civil case, there are public-interest agencies who may be interested, or with a strong case a skilled attorney could take your case on contingency.
What public-interest agencies are you talking about? As far as I can tell, the ACLU, EFF, and a handful of others provide no-cost support for a negligible portion (way less than 0.1%) of civil cases.
Note well: This comment is not a statement that everything is fine with police in the US.