Law Enforcement

Rule of Law or the Managerial State?

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The Donald Stirling case is actually a good measure of where our democracy is headed. As I noted in my previous post, in some states, all parties must know they are being recorded for the recording to be legal. This is the case in California. Stirling broke no laws. It seems V. Stiviano did if either party were in California during the recorded sessions. 

I became suspicious when news was released through the woman’s attorney that she claims she did not release the tapes to the pubic, but that an unnamed third party did. Stiviano claims that Stirling consented to be taped and that she gave the tapes to someone else for “safe keeping”. 

Absurd.

So, let’s see which is victorious: Rule of Law or the Managerial State. If Stiviano is not prosecuted and she did indeed break the law, than I deem “polite totalitarianism and mob rule the order of the day.

Let’s Roll

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“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” ~Isaiah 6:8

After the Virginia Tech University shootings in 2007, I wrote an article published in the Bangor Daily News, entitled “This is Not Us”. In the article I stated that the shooting did not define America, that Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter, was an outsider, an aberration.

I was wrong.

Since the shootings at VT, a series of mass murders across America have proven me too hopeful in the American people. We asked for the secular, and we got nihilism. We asked for a public forum without a whisper of God, and we produced a hopeless generation. Hopelessness is the logical end-state for a Godless universe. Intelligent people, as most of these shooters appear to have been, easily see the meaningless of everything if in fact God does not exist.  A byproduct of hopelessness is rage.

The VT shooter

This is another symptom of the great winding down of America. Its great cities crumbling and abandoned, its people getting dumber, its strength waning.

And so our society has shifted from one that controlled itself with internal mechanisms, to one that must now be controlled by external rules. the Liberals have it right: No God=Fewer Internal Inhibitions=Need for totalitarian state that controls our evil, even if it be with evil.

The 2nd Amendment was created by and for spiritual people. Nay, religious people.  Taken out of that context it is insanity to arm a populace. There are some people who simply should not own guns, just as there are some people who should not be free.  But as has been said: Guns cause crime like spoons cause Rosie O’Donnell to be fat.  As far as I’m concerned, the teachers should be armed.

We summoned the Genie, and cannot easily put him back in the bottle.

One side of America is inhabited by a hyper-violent , feral youth. On the other side are the secular, near-pacifistic dreamers, lolling in their agnosticism, jamming their fingers in their ears when they hear talk about what happens to us after we die. So, when the feral child meets the pacifist-intellectual-agnostic-socialist, the armed barbarian wins. The stunning fact is that almost no one knows how to stop a shooter, even an untrained one,  once he begins blasting innocents in close quarters. So great is the schism between our tepid, liberal moralists and the demon brood they bore, that it’s like watching the Frankenstein Monster rampage through its creator’s sterile laboratory.

When Major Nidal Malik Hasan carried out his Jihad at Fort Hood in 2009, killing 12 Soldiers  and civilians and wounding 29, I was stunned that no one tried to stop him. It took two civilian police officers with  guns to bring him down. No Soldier tackled him while he was blasting away, no one punched him while he was reloading, and certainly no Soldier was carrying a weapon so as to defend the innocent. Not one Soldier had the training or the mindset required to bring down Hasan.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan

I remember thinking that I wished I could have been at Fort Hood, that readiness center where Hasan shot so many people. Much of my professional life has been spent preparing for such an incident. As a police officer, I ran various scenarios through my head on a regular basis. I don’t know if I could have saved anyone, but I hope I would have tried.

After the shootings at Columbine High School, police departments significantly changed their training. The old protocols for shootings inside buildings called for responding officers to surround the building and wait for SWAT to arrive. Columbine proved the ineffectiveness of this strategy. While officers surrounded the school Klebold and Harris executed fellow students in cold blood. Officers did nothing. The law enforcement community knew it could not stand by again while people died. It was a police officer’s duty to face danger, to run to gunfire while others ran away. Thus the genesis of “active shooter” training. The first officers on the scene are now trained to form their own entry team, if the shooter is killing people, and go in to get him.

Klebold and Harris

I studied various ways of disarming people carrying firearms. These included Israeli Krav Maga and Russian Systema. Krav Maga taught me that while a pistol gave its wielder great power, it also focused his attention on maintaining control of it, and also that defensive moves must be accompanied by a powerful offensive attack to quickly stop the threat. Russian Systema taught me that angles of movement toward a gunman significantly reduce his chances of hitting you.

Of course none of this would have made me completely safe. But I have come to grips with he fact that I may die while trying to do something I think is right. It must have been the same thinking that Todd Beamer had, when he uttered the immortal words: “Let’s roll” as he and others moved to stop the al-Qaeda jihadists who’d hijacked Flight 93. 

Todd Beamer: “Let’s Roll”

Yesterday I looked at the photos of some of the children that died in the Connecticut school shooting. I began to cry.  Why couldn’t I have been there? I wish I’d been there. I’m not second-guessing what other people did, but I am dismayed that yet another massacre happened and ended only when the person doing the shooting merely ran out of gas. I don’t want to be a hero. But I’ve come to grips with what’s worth fighting and dying for. And I’ll be damned if some 130 lb psychopath mowing down 4th graders  is going to kill me before I make him eat the barrel of his own weapon.

Every good man should think about what he will do in such a situation.  Every good man should have already considered what he is willing to fight and die for before that event takes place.  And by fighting I don’t mean throwing yourself in front of bullets. I mean taking out the aggressor. We need more Todd Beamers.

To me, a few more children seeing this Christmas would have been something worth dying for.

Hackers, Cyber War, and Faux Heroes

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The group calling itself, Anonymous, recently hacked Stratfor, a  corporation specializing in strategic intelligence analysis.  The hackers made off with 90,000 credit card numbers and the personal identity information belonging to people who pay for Stratfor’s highly regarded work.  George Friedman owns Stratfor.

To make matters worse, hackers claiming affiliation with Anonymous have threatened retaliation against victims of the theft who are speaking to the media or protesting the action of Anonymous on Facebook.  Anonymous says it will spray the personal information of these people all over the internet.  Furthermore, the hackers say they will steal $1 million and donate the money to various charities.

The age of the Faux Hero is upon us.  To many here in America, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Anonymous are heroes.  A similar ethos can be detected in the ranks of Occupy Wallstreet; a mere instinct of rebellion, anarchy, arrogance and envy.  Many who idolize Assange and Manning believe quite deeply in a world of black helicopters, Twin Towers immolated by Bush administration zealots, and Federal Reserve connections to the Bavarian Illuminati.

Essentially, the above noted micreants and OWS are considered by some to be revolutionaries fighting against the New World Order.  As with the Jacobins in the French Revolution, those taking part in the Occupy Wall Street movement emphasize the “right to eat” over the right of merchants to earn money.  Also mimicking the French Revolution is the utilization and exploitation of the underclass in order to solidify political power.

In a previous post I compared Assange to Robespierre.  The Anonymous group dons the Guy Fawkes mask as its mascot.  Interestingly, Fawkes could be considered somewhat of a right-wing religious zealot, something I’m sure most in Anonymous would be averse to.

Bradley Manning, a troubled soldier who hated the Army, violated the oath he took and motivated by spite, launched thousands of classified documents into the greedy hands of Bill Maher’s IT clone, Julian Assange.  The argument that everyone has a right to this information is absurd.  The information is not legislation, but in many cases communication between individuals that contains the names of people who would be endangered if revealed.  Releasing this information also provides our enemies with clues to our military’s intentions.  George Washington would not have revealed his plans at Valley Forge in the name of transparency and Operation Overlord was one of the most secretive undertakings in history.  Anyone releasing the Plans to Overlord would have spent a very large amount of time in prison.

I recently completed a college class titled Cyber Warfare.  For those not familiar with the concept, cyber warfare is defined as the use of computers, digital mediums, and the internet for the purposes of damaging, stealing, or disrupting the critical infrastructure, banking systems or military of a state.  While doing research for the class, my computer became infected with malware from sites critical of Vladimir Putin and more recently, my personal information and email address were stolen from Stratfor’s data base by the loose conglomerate calling itself Anonymous.  Fortunately, I do not pay for Stratfor’s services, so Anonymous was not able to get any of my banking or credit card information.  I have been receiving emails that are clearly from malicious actors who obtained my email address from the public forums on which Anonymous posted tens of thousands such addresses.

Personally, it wouldn’t bother me a bit if one of Anonymous’ hackers got liquefied in a drone strike.  At the very least I would like to see many of these hackers’ computers destroyed in a cyber counter strike.  It’s only fitting.  But the fact that Anonymous and other organizations hide under a veil of false heroism, a myth of modern day Robin Hood pilfering will probably keep such criminals, malcontents and sociopaths in business for a while.

Still, I can hope that the last thing some of these idiots hear is the dull buzz of a Reaper drone.

Robespierre, Julian Assange, and the tyrrany of the individual.

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To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is barbarity.~Maximillien Robespierre

The West so easily believes the propaganda of its own enemies. America, forged in the heart of individual freedom, now falls prey to the lies of psuedo-freedom fighters whom throw around the words fascists, tyrants and murderers as if they were play-things. George Bush was a fascist, remember?

And any such individual now becomes the defacto hero of Berkley-ites, mindless anarchists, and 16 year olds with a laptop surfing the internet in Mom’s basement. Unfortunately, the Right falls for it, too. Afterall, who likes tyranny?

But who elected Julian Assange as the arbiter of justice in America? While we hold individualism in sacred honor, in this networked modern world, the individual is capable of nearly as much tyranny as a government. This is not to demote American ideals, only to point out that an individual has no more rights than any other, and that Rule of Law is what our Democracy is founded upon; not mere liberty, which in the hands of some becomes an excuse to do anything they please and hide their lawlessness under a self-woven cloak of freedom.

Government surely should be checked. It must serve its people. But it should not serve a lawless, self-righteous, mob. Our Founding Fathers considered their actions with sober intelligence.

Assange is a modern incarnation of Robespierre, capable of swaying large swaths of people with talk of liberty and denunciations of tyranny. He works knowing that people will fixate on those two words without stopping to consider what they actually mean. But in the end it is a mere self-satisfying power-grab. Also like Robespierre, Assange is capable of almost unspeakable brutality, a brutality that hides itself in the digital, information based world we live in. He is willing to throw away the lives of people he doesn’t even know in order to raise up an ideal in which he doesn’t himself even believe in. And many worship him because he’s one man against a government. They drank Assange’s Kool-Aid. And that Kool-Aid has created a new generation of enrage’s.

Robespierre was willing to slaughter anyone that stood in his way. So is Assange. He is in fact what he accuses the government of being: A Machiavellian construct.

Let’s end with another quote from Robespierre, which one can easily imagine coming from the lips of Assange:

The goal of the constitutional government is to conserve the Republic; the aim of the revolutionary government is to found it… The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation; it owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death… These notions would be enough to explain the origin and the nature of laws that we call revolutionary … If the revolutionary government must be more active in its march and more free in his movements than an ordinary government, is it for that less fair and legitimate? No; it is supported by the most holy of all laws: the Salvation of the People

Beautiful words which poured from the lips of an utterly brutal ideologue.

Tyner’s argument is junk

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I know that just about everyone has heard about John Tyner, the 31 year old who threatened a TSA employee with arrest, should they touch his “junk”.

I have a degree in law enforcement, and am fairly well versed in law when it comes to searches and seizures. I’m not however, a lawyer, though I’ve faced them many times as a witness for the State of Maine in criminal proceedings. In my current professional  field, I’m trained to resist the urge to let media coverage determine what’s important. It’s called a “shiny object”. That is, it glitters in the media spot light, so many assume that the story is in fact a new or important story. In reality, this situation has been addressed decades ago in courts of law. And no one really cared until this was caught on video, and the entertainment media began its usual drum beat, harkening the long awaited cataclysm so many on both the Right and the Left believe so imminent. Plus, people think it’s funny that Tyner used the word “junk” to denote his genitals. To me, he just displayed a severe lack of class.

Let’s look at this issue, first, from a legal perspective. Many are saying that this is a violation of peoples’ rights of privacy. I’m not sure if they mean that the courts have improperly allowed the 4th Amendment to be trampled on, or if TSA is ignoring the law. But they would only be correct in asserting the former, because the courts decided decades ago that people being searched at airports and at customs checkpoints in fact are submitting to consent searches. There are signs that tell people that they will be searched before they pass through the detectors and into the screening area. We need only look at the 4th Amendment to see that it places no more emphasis on a body than it does a bag that a person carries:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

  

There is no special protection for the human body. The person, house, papers and effects are offered equal protection under the law. But it’s this pat down that has people up in arms. Yet, as long as there have been x-ray machines in airports, people have been placing their bags into the machines to be what? Searched. With X-rays.

Here’s a case decided in the 9th circuit court of appeals that explains why Tyner did not have the option after passing the the screening area, to simply say that he now did not want to be searched and didn’t want fly:

United States v. Aukai

“The constitutionality of an airport screening search, however, does not depend on consent, see Biswell, 406 U.S. at 315, and requiring that a potential passenger be allowed to revoke consent to an ongoing airport security search makes little sense in a post-9/11 world. Such a rule would afford terrorists multiple opportunities to attempt to penetrate airport security by “electing not to fly” on the cusp of detection until a vulnerable portal is found. This rule would also allow terrorists a low-cost method of detecting systematic vulnerabilities in airport security, knowledge that could be extremely valuable in planning future attacks. Likewise, given that consent is not required, it makes little sense to predicate the reasonableness of an administrative airport screening search on an irrevocable implied consent theory. Rather, where an airport screening search is otherwise reasonable and conducted pursuant to statutory authority, 49 U.S.C. § 44901, all that is required is the passenger’s election to attempt entry into the secured area of an airport. See Biswell, 406 U.S. at 315; 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107. Under current TSA regulations and procedures, that election occurs when a prospective passenger walks through the magnetometer or places items on the conveyor belt of the x-ray machine. The record establishes that Aukai elected to attempt entry into the posted secured area of Honolulu International Airport when he walked through the magnetometer, thereby subjecting himself to the airport screening process.

Although the constitutionality of airport screening searches is not dependent on consent, the scope of such searches is not limitless. A particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it “is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [] [and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose.” Davis, 482 F.2d at 913. We conclude that the airport screening search of Aukai satisfied these requirements.”

The law serves us, we do not serve the law. There is a real reason for not letting people just walk away when they see the will be searched. It’s the same thing at police traffic checkpoints. I was a cop for almost a decade, so I have a lot of familiarity with search and seizure law. If a car is seen to turn around and drive the other way as they approach a police checkpoint,  the police have the right to pull the car over. This too, is a decades old rule, so let’s not get pulled into conspiratorial arguments about new justices being activists.

The case that upheld the constitutionality of sobriety check points

is US Supreme Court, Michigan Dept of State Police vs. Sitz, 496 US 444 (1990). Also checkpoints have been upheld in US vs. Martinez-Fuerte.

Tyner, argues (rudely) during his interaction with TSA officials, that it is not an assault, only because the government is doing it (the search). Assuming his argument is true, he negated his assertion that he would have the TSA person arrested for assault if they touched his “junk”. What he is really saying is that he doesn’t feel it’s fair that the government has more power than he does. Does anyone anywhere believe that the government doesn’t in fact wield more power than the individual? Would we want it any other way?  This fact was settled hundreds of years ago when Thomas Hobbes penned Leviathan. Most people, even Tyner most probably, agree that the state must have more power than the individual. For the state’s primary responsibility is security of the people. In order to provide security, the state must have a monopoly on violence; that is, it must be able to bring more guns to a fight than any gang that decides to pick up arms. If it cannot do so, the state, and all the benefits that come with it,  will not last long.

Some will argue that the measures go beyond the actual threat. They also point out that the recent underwear bomber failed in his attempt. Is this the kind of security we want? There are only three pieces needed to make a bomb: Explosives, a switch and a power source. If one can get their hands on the materials, the rest is fairly easy. Do we want to hedge our security on the fact that the last terrorist didn’t correctly hook a wire to the 9 volt battery? How many planes would have to go down before the entire industry shut down? Before people no longer wanted to fly? All because a 20 second pat down–on principle supposedly–is a bad idea. If a bomb were found tomorrow in one of those 20 second pat downs, would people still argue that the searches aren’t a good thing? Is anyone really that offended that a pat down is occurring or are they being pulled into the media hype? I say the latter. Hope is not a plan of action, and not changing the way we screen passengers as terrorists adapt is legalistic insanity. It’s also fraudulent, as many people arguing this type of search really just don’t like the War on Terror. They see it as a Bush legacy.

We need only ask ourselves this question  to know whether the pat down procedure will be effective:

If you were a nihilistic terrorist with a bomb, would you target an airport terminal that patted people down, or one that did not?

Effective? Go one month without a screening process at any major airport in America and see what happens. I’d bet my next 16oz. Heineken that a plane would blow up. The hallmark of the modern terrorist is the soft target. Not military targets. Politicians, markets, mosques, political and civilian structures. The terrorist cannot fight our military and win on any regular basis. To give him any more opportunity than he already has to attack the best prize of all is sheer political stubbornness. Why is a plane such a great target? Because even if a suicide bomber were to wade into a crowd of people and detonate, he would not be able to kill as many people as he can with a plane. In a plane, he’d kill a dozen people around him in the blast, and then hundreds more die when they hit the ground. Plus, airlines are a major part of the US and global economy. It’s a node, whose destruction would have a cascading effect. Almost any high school has a police officer assigned ot it. How many shootings are there at high schools? Should we not have a cop with a gun posted at high schools? If the cop makes $35,000 a year, and never has to pull the trigger, should we pull him out of the school because there’s been no violence? Are we that sure that security is only the result of people not trying or thinking about committing violent acts? Human nature cannot be changed. The only way to stop violence is to make it an unviable option.

Walk on to any military base, and you’re subject to search of all your bags and your person. You consented when you came through the gate. Just as people argue that military personnel consented to giving away some of their rights when they joined, so does the person who flies consent to a search when he or she flies. The signs tell him so beforehand.

What we cannot do is fall prey to hyperbolic rhetoric. “Beginning of the end” speak that’s so in vogue. As Ralph Peters said, it is America’s apparent duty to mind the brute children of failing cultures. It is not us that is failing. it is the culture that feels it necessary to place bombs amidst children and innocent civilians. We’re only trying to stop them from doing so.

In ending:

1) Patting people down is minimally intrusive (less than a minute).

2) It likely deters people from wearing bombs under their clothes and bringing them on to planes;  we know Islamic terrorists place bombs under their clothes and  do so over and over around the world.

3) The procedure is legal since the 1970s, as supported by case law .

As such, John Tyner, though famous for 15 minutes, is just plain wrong.

America’s Army needs a cop’s mentality

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Why was Iraq so hard? Because our Army doesn’t know people. It knows field manuals, it knows regulations. It knows it can’t mess up, or the media’s going to jump all over it.

Cops know people. At least the best ones do. And a police officer can be all things to all people. He can help an old lady across the road, or he can kill an armed and threatening bank robber. He’s trained to be polite and have a plan to kill anyone he meets. He’s professional, courteous–and deadly proficient with his weapon.

The great police officer doesn’t sit at the station waiting for a call. He’s driving through the neighborhoods. He’s shaking peoples hands, reassuring them that he’s on their side. He’s getting a feel for the human terrain, a coalesced amalgam of culture, personality, psychology.

A great cop has instincts, cultivated by a day to day  grind on the streets. He senses what he could not know. Talented people are sometimes oddities outside their talent’s fiefdom. Some people just know people. That have a knack. Modern war is a media and perception war, almost as much as it’s a war of truth and destruction.

The Army needs fluidity, creativity, even artistry. It needs programs that not only cultivate these talents, but ones that teach leaders to recognize them.

The last administration failed to know the human aspects of warfare in the post-modern world. It could wage linear war on a scale never before seen, but when our enemies melted away behind curtains of humanity and learned to manipulate our own media in ways the administration did not understand, Iraq fell into civil war. It never had to be that hard. Barack Obama would not be president right now if the war had been properly fought after Saddam’s regime fell only a month into the conflict. Paul Bremer disbanded the Iraqi Army and prevented former Baathists from taking part in the new government. But the Baathists were the only ones with education, and most of them were former military people. So guess what? We had lots of guys with PHDs and no jobs. However, they knew how to pull a trigger and they could learn to make bombs. They wanted their power and their earnings back, and ensued on attacking Shia Mosques and Coalition convoys, as well as civilian infrastructures, in order to destabilize and discredit our efforts. Mujaheddin swarmed into the country, drawn by the overblown newscasts of American difficulties. Then things got worse.

We should have seen this coming.

Only one man was able to see the forest for the trees. That man General David Patraeus– a warrior and a scholar–US Army Ranger and paratrooper, brought his 101st Screaming Eagles into Nineveh Province in the largest Helicopter-borne assault in history. There they fought door to door, block by block, pushing the insurgents out with bullets and guts. In their wake, they shook the hands of the people who only wanted a regular, peaceful life; to be able to go to school and to work.

The 101st walked the dusty streets, sniper’s bullets at times whizzing by harmlessly, at other times evading a soldier’s body armor and finding a deadly home in a face or neck. But they kept walking and they kept talking.

The Iraqis found hope and trust in those meet and greets. No longer were the Americans absent from the core of the brutality, where the insurgents had moved about so easily, planning at will their next attack, planting bombs anywhere they pleased. The terrorists were being dimed out by the Iraqis. There’s a bomber that lives over there, in that house. There are men who carry guns into the basement of that Mosque every night.

The insurgency crumbled. Al-Qaeda had over reached, and America began winning by showing both strength (killing those who wanted to kill us) and gentle restraint. We thanked Iraqis for letting us search their homes. We turned their power on. We backed our words with action. Truth smashed perception. Now, Al-Qaeda’s beheadings worked against them. Iraqis wanted McDonalds, not Sharia. And the world is better for it, trans-fats non withstanding.

There is a place for the gritty warfighter who only knows marching, MREs and line and column formations. But more and more, there is a place for the oddity. The savant, who like Claudius, everyone doubts because of his apparent weakness, but in the end shows talent.

In this case, Claudius must carry a M-4 carbine, and sport a cop’s instinct for the Human Condition.

Boy do I miss “The Job.” Boy–I can never go back.

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The story about the Dallas police officer who recently resigned because of the attention  he received by stopping Houston Texan’s running back Ryan Moats, has got my blood boiling–and remembering why I can’t ever go back. I got so sick of this stuff.

I love it. Knuckleheads all around the blogoshere (man, are there a lot of them; it’s pretty much ruined the fun of doing this for me) are saying that Moats wouldn’t have been stopped and held if he were white. They say that the officer has no compassion or common sense. Really?

Guess what. People lie when you stop them for traffic violations. They’ll say anything. They have to get to the bathroom. There’s a nuclear bomb in their trunk and they’re trying to get it to the Department of Energy as quickly as possible. Moats in this case  was telling the truth. He also blew through two red lights, which could have caused someone else to die on that evening, not just his mother-in-law.

People have to get used to the fact that in law enforcement there are a lot of tough and bad situations and many times the best answer based on available information is a lesser of two evils.

And I say that the police officer was asked to resign, and only because 1) Ryan Moats is black, 2) He’s a famous athlete.

 

I want to be a hermit. It’s why I gave up on philosphy which raised more questions than it answered and it’s why I don’t argue nearly as much with boneheads. I do however, like to embarass them by issuing challenges. For instance, one guy the other day said that you get worse at everything when you get older. This is actually the opposite of what I’ve experienced. He, of course, is 20 years old. I asked him to name one thing he’s better at than me. (Yes, I was a little irritated). He said armwrestling. So we armwrestled.

He changed his mind.

 I find that idiots aren’t very good at anything other than being stupid.