Police-State Tactics
November 26, 2002 4:19 PM   Subscribe

Andrew McCrae, 23, surrendered without incident about 10 a.m. after a standoff this morning. He alegaledly confessed to the murder of Police Office David Mobilio of Red Bluff, CA on San Francisoco's IndyMedia website yesterday. Before the standoff ended, he told a Concord Monitor reporter "I killed a police officer in Red Bluff, California, in an effort to draw attention to police brutality." [more inside]
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood (42 comments total)
A person claiming to be Andrew McCrae posted this to the IndyMedia site:
"Hello everyone, my name's Andy. I killed a police officer in Red Bluff, California, in a motion to bring attention to, and halt, the police-state tactics that have come to be used throughout our country." and that the shooting was "an action against corporate irresponsibility" The person also claimed that he was safe from prosecution because he had filed incorporation papers in Concord on Nov. 7. And since corporations "murder thousands of people each year." and get away with it, so would he...

Office Mobilio was shot in the head on November 19th, as he was pumping gas in to his police car.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:20 PM on November 26, 2002

You can read McCrae's post in its entirety here.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:23 PM on November 26, 2002


Damn it!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:23 PM on November 26, 2002

...and he'll likely be charged with murder, found guilty, and given a life sentence.

I know we disagree a lot, Steve, but believe me when I say I'm being legitimate and attempting non-snark here- exactly what is your issue?

Is this just a news story, or do you have an an opinion on something, hopefully other than police brutality, since we many of us were treated to a less-than-civil forum on that less than 24 hours ago? This sounds like a combination of that with a possible allusion to "SniperFilter."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:26 PM on November 26, 2002

Interesting defense tactic.

He's right in a way, (look at Union Carbide and Bopaal, India) but usually because corporations have a good legal team delay and hide the blame, hard to do any of that when your a corp of one man.

Good luck with it Andrew, you'll need it ,, at least he's biulding a good foundation for a loony defense.
posted by Elim at 4:27 PM on November 26, 2002

You can read IMC's "response" here.
posted by turbodog at 4:28 PM on November 26, 2002

I don't see your beef XQUZYPHYR. This was an interesting post that I haven't seen anywhere else. It's not on the front pages of CNN.com.
posted by gyc at 4:38 PM on November 26, 2002

I don't think you need to have an "opinion on something" to find this really interesting - and IndyMedia's appropriately-scare-quoted response makes it even more of a story. If a Free Republic poster was thought to have killed a radical environmental activist to make a statement, and the site ran a response that didn't renounce the murder in the slightest, but instead attacked environmentalists, it would still be interesting.
posted by transona5 at 4:49 PM on November 26, 2002

"This was an interesting post that I haven't seen anywhere else."

There are 4,291,041,783 interesting things on the web you haven't seen. Posting them to the front page of Metafilter might be bad. I tend to side with XQUZYPHYR, not that my opinion matters. Plenty of crazy people out there. Plenty of senseless murders. No need to note each here.

The guy is bonkers. Plain and simple. If you don't like corporations then move to Cuba or something. Blaming corporate greed for police abuse is goofy. Shooting cops over it is unforgivable. I'm hoping he gets the chair rather than a few years in a mental ward. We'll see. Thanks for the news.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:54 PM on November 26, 2002

This is yet another example of the anti-globalization movent's extreme violence. How many cops have to die before we realize that left-wing extremism is out of control?
posted by cell divide at 4:57 PM on November 26, 2002

Don't you hate it when total violent nutcases espouse positions that sound similar to things you believe, but aren't?

I suppose libertarians and 'real' conservatives get a lot more of that, so a little balance is only fair.

Nevertheless, doesn't it seem like there's a lot less 'lefty' nutcase shooters? Hmmm.
posted by freebird at 4:57 PM on November 26, 2002

Reading the alleged confession and reasons why the cop was killed is like reading MeFi sometimes:

Corporate greed and irresponsibility and government collusion in same? Check.
Environmental issues? Check.
Human rights issues? Check.
America as Empire? Check.
Terrorists don't hate freedom, they hate corporations? Check.
Blood for oil? Check.
Proposed solutions for ending these problems? Go out and kill a cop after incorporating yourself.

Not cool.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:58 PM on November 26, 2002

Understood gyc, it's just that the interest seems to be in regards to a debate about police brutality, a subject in which a thread was beyond exhausted yesterday. Outside of that element, it's a story about some guy killing a cop... which doesn't really seem very MeFi-ish.

My question was honetly this- if not police brutality, then what are we supposed to be discussing here other than our sympathies for one of the several thousand murders in this country a year- the most of which don't get stories in the news, let alone said news linkes posted in an FPP.

On preview: I can sort of see through transona5 where this issue is going now, I guess. It just doesn't seem like a new, or for that matter, mentioned-once-only, issue. Maybe it's just me.

On preview of preview: I can now definitely see through WolfDaddy where this issue is going, and I don't want to be anywhere near it at all. Good night and a Happy Thanksgiving to all.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:59 PM on November 26, 2002

The point being, XQUZYPHYR, that we've thrashed out all the issues in this guy's alleged confession and to the best of my knowledge, no one's advocated cop killing as a solution. Ergo, guy's bonkers, interesting read for all'a that, but I found the article about the AP stonewalling Indymedia much more interesting.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:06 PM on November 26, 2002

stereolab are a fine band !
im going to go and listen to their sound dust album
rather than sit here gettin all heated about a sad incident between a sick man and a cop and tryin to persuade people with fixed ideas.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:11 PM on November 26, 2002

How many cops have to die before we realize that left-wing extremism is out of control?

... and there's the obvious knee-jerk reaction. Tell you what, I won't bring up all the right-wing extremists and tally up their body count. And as a bonus, I won't compare it to the left-wing's body count. Extremism is bad, plain and simple.

That said, this guy is extremely bonkers.
posted by jragon at 5:20 PM on November 26, 2002

Indymedia's response is beyond idiotic.

Although it looks like the Left now has its own version of an abortion-doctor killer.
posted by solistrato at 5:53 PM on November 26, 2002

Story about the surrender, and a picture of the apparent shooter, at the Concord Monitor site.
posted by sacre_bleu at 6:20 PM on November 26, 2002

Although it looks like the Left now has its own version of an abortion-doctor killer.

What, the Unabomber wasn't lefty enough for you?
posted by sacre_bleu at 6:22 PM on November 26, 2002

jragon, i think cell divide was joshing.
indymedia timing out, so i am in the dark as to their response.
attempting to counter the drift toward pointing the mad finger, and indulging in a spot of pointing myself, with - he is only as mad as the system he is attempting to take on, the system that gives corporations 'human' rights but doesn't have the facility to make corporations responsible for their actions in the same way that, er, humans are supposed to be responsible.
he isn't the only one who wants to raise the issue*, but i'd say that his chosen method of publicity is as sick as the system he attempts to mirror, vile to behold. i doubt he'll sway the middle ground.
it seems amazing to me that a seemingly articulate 23 year old, living in the 'worlds greatest democracy', would feel the need to go to such violent lengths to express his opinion. couldn't he get a public access slot, or something?
whether he is stooge or fool, his actions will associate his message with the stigma of a socially unacceptable crime. are things so desperate?
(.pdf)*'The 1999 Environics Millennium Survey of 25,000 people in 23 developed and developing countries indicates that public expectations that large companies should act in a responsible way are both high and universal.· 79% felt that large companies should be"completely responsible" for protecting the health and safety of workers, 73% for protecting the environment, and 72% for avoiding child labour'
is my pointing the mad finger helpfull? maybe not. maybe affecting the changes people seem to need, to feel comfortable with global capatalism, would be a more positive way to approach the situation than finger pointing.
posted by asok at 6:22 PM on November 26, 2002

sjc: Indymedia's response is beyond idiotic.

...and that's what makes this more than just a story about police brutality. Indymedia once looked like it might be an interesting alternative to mainstream news, but the totally unmoderated "open publishing" policy has made it into an open sewer. This isn't the first disaster, either: Indymedia has been rife with neonazis for a while now.

sjc: Although it looks like the Left now has its own version of an abortion-doctor killer.

Actually, it already has one.
posted by 23lemurs at 6:48 PM on November 26, 2002

hm. i live in concord, ca, pretty close to sf. that totally threw me off, why did he file for incorportation in concord, n.h., then cap a cop in cali?
posted by dioxide at 6:51 PM on November 26, 2002

I suppose libertarians and 'real' conservatives get a lot more of that, so a little balance is only fair.

Although it looks like the Left now has its own version of an abortion-doctor killer.

What, the Unabomber wasn't lefty enough for you?

All the people mentioned, plus this latest screwball, all inhabit a world so far beyond politics that to even bring them into the discussion is silly. If these yo-yo's hadn't latched onto some "cause" they would've probably wound up killing someone over a late newspaper delivery or poor lawn care or like one notable nutjob, shooting the president to impress a girl, but that dosen't make for good headlines or chat-show(or mefi-thread fodder) so the political angle gets played.

I predict he'll be used as a scare tactic by the right and a shock tactic by left, sort of McVeigh in reverse, at least until the next outrage. Figures like these people can induce a sort of morbid fascination for those with an interest in how the human mind does(and doesn't) work, but equate their ravings with those of rational humans of whatever political persuasion is a big mistake.
posted by jonmc at 6:52 PM on November 26, 2002

Well, he's right. His corporation's assets probably won't be ceased.

That said, the indymedia 'response' is rather shocking, but was that their actual response, or simply an article about the AP interview?

Indymedia not renouncing this guy would be truly idiotic.
posted by delmoi at 6:54 PM on November 26, 2002

Is the high cost of living really two coins on the eyes?
posted by four panels at 7:00 PM on November 26, 2002

delmoi: yes, as far as I can find the gkd/sf-imc article is the only response, but there is no mention of it on the sf/imc front page. gkd had this to say in front of the link to it: "SF Indymedia Turns Tables on Associated Press: The Associated Press contacted SF Indymedia to find out about this kid who killed a cop in Red Bluff. But I had some questions of my own about the blood on AP's hands".
posted by turbodog at 7:31 PM on November 26, 2002

Indymedia once looked like it might be an interesting alternative to mainstream news

Well, maybe if you lived on Mars and were brain-deficient.
posted by owillis at 7:35 PM on November 26, 2002

Indymedia had nothing to do with this idiot posting his violent ideas.

Violence directed at sentient beings, no matter the grievance, is cowardly, shameful, simpleminded, and ineffective.

Violence is to be condemned wholeheartedly wherever we find it cheered as a solution: on Indymedia, on FreeRepublic....and among certain folks here at MetaFilter.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:35 PM on November 26, 2002

dioxide -- IIRC, New Hampshire has some of the most lax incorporation laws and is a safe haven for many corporations that want a lot of freedom. It's pretty common practice to file for incorporation there even if HQ is elsewhere.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:57 PM on November 26, 2002

The interesting bit in this post is the legal side. Obviously what he did is not analogous to a corporation's actions in Bhupal which caused deaths — first and foremost, nobody thinks the Bhupal incident was intentional (if for no other reason that that it wouldn't be profitable). That having been said, a corporation does shield its operators from certain legal liability; if he had formed this corporation and then hired a hit man through the corporation, would he be liable personally? Of course since he did it himself it's really completely unrelated to his being incorporated.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:01 PM on November 26, 2002

Corporate liability shields do not apply to many kinds of crime, from intentional fraud on up the severity ladder. If, say, your corporation causes massive deaths, and it can be proven that you (an officer or director of the company) knew this would happen and did it anyway, you will be liable. In fact, corporate liability shielding is really very narrowly defined.

I am not even a lawyer and I know that much. It's sad when someone holds such a passionate view that they're willing to sacrifice their life for it, or kill for it, and they don't even bother to do the basic research to determine if their view is true or not. If I were an anti-corporate activist (and in some senses I have been, and am), I'd probably be asking myself right now if I was giving out misinformation that could have caused someone to believe something like this. I may have, and this really bothers me.

This is why I find the non-response of indymedia rather bizarre and disturbing, and actually kind of surprising. They haven't thought of it like that, I guess. I would have expected at the very least a brief disavowal of this kind of murderous action, or a recognition that IMC does not support or condone murder, even of the police. Without any mention either way, I'm left to conclude that either they don't care, or they support murder. "IMC is an open-posting newswire" is pretty far from "IMC doesn't condone violence against anyone."
posted by rusty at 8:41 PM on November 26, 2002

Indymedia is an insult to the idea of progressive journalism. On the one hand, it claims absolutely no responsibility for what gets posted on its site. Fair enough - if that's all it were. But then it expects actual, practicing journalists to give it the same respect as all other media organizations get. Indymedia doesn't fact-check, Indymedia doesn't respect copyrights (posters can cut-and-paste newspaper articles without attribution or proper credit), Indymedia makes no claims to objectivity. And, as this situation shows, Indymedia clearly has little desire to take a position when its operation somehow goes awry and gets hijacked by an obviously disturbed man desperate for attention (one comment even said the AP must be jealous because Indymedia "scooped" the wire service on the story). I'm all for a forum in which people can express their ideas, even if they're just preaching to the choir. But to then claim that said forum is somehow superior to all other media organizations, and should be recognized as such, that just blows me away.
posted by risenc at 8:57 PM on November 26, 2002

IndyMedia? It's not on my daily (or weekly) reading list) Once a month - probably not. Maybe once every two months. It seems rather haphazard. So much for anarchy.
posted by troutfishing at 10:45 PM on November 26, 2002

risenc: well said.
posted by turbodog at 12:11 AM on November 27, 2002

IndyMedia's 'response' is a such a clear cut cast of sidestepping and introduction of a strawman argument it should be taught in Flame School.
posted by PenDevil at 12:28 AM on November 27, 2002

Rusty my man, you beat me to it. I'm no fan of corporations evading responsibility for deaths and injury, but in my mind there are miles between someone knowing that a certain action (or inaction) *could*, or even might *likely*, cause harm, and someone popping a cap in someone else's head. Rhetoric is all well and good, but news like this highlights the problems caused by unhinged individuals losing sight of the line between analogy and reality. Corporations have been responsible for many, many deaths. Many people have gone unpunished for what were criminal acts committed in the name of business. Killing another person to prove that point is sicker than any rationalization a corporate greedhead has made to justify his/her inhumanity.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 1:28 AM on November 27, 2002

If any pundits launch into wicked diatribes about how liberalism begets violence you are more than welcome to throw this quote from McCrae’s confession back in their face:

“I, myself, am an Army veteran, not so well-decorated as the Gentlemen I mention. Nevertheless, I am a graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School, Airborne School, and Jungle Operations Training School.”

So in the last couple months there have been two Army veterans who’ve gunned down innocents in the streets. Months before that, a few returning Army Afghan vets killed their wives and girlfriend in unrelated events. If you’re looking for a weak pattern that’ll resonant a bit more.

I should be clear: I’m not indiciting his service as a cause of his violence. Only the pathetically illogical would try to score points in the culture war with an argument as lame as that. Likewise to anyone who tries to indict his liberal ideology for the same. To do so would be illogical, pathetic and lame. People go nuts sometimes, it’s hard, if not impossible, to know why, how or when.

risenc: “Indymedia doesn't fact-check”

If you mean employ fact checkers then neither does the New York Times. The NYT, like every single paper in the US, trusts its journalists to get the story right. If you mean double check the published facts then, again, neither does the NYT. They print corrections all the time. In fact, recently they got Israel’s capital wrong.

“Indymedia doesn't respect copyrights (posters can cut-and-paste newspaper articles without attribution or proper credit)”

As you say, some people posting to Indymedia don’t respect copyright. Indymedia volunteers produce their own content. If you’re saying IMC posters are equivalent to IMC volunteers, does that make you and I MetaFilter volunteers?

“Indymedia makes no claims to objectivity”

Nor should any media, anywhere. Objectivity is not an achievable goal in an inherently subjective experience. Every story, every journalist, every medium has a bias.

“Indymedia clearly has little desire to take a position when its operation somehow goes awry and gets hijacked by an obviously disturbed man desperate for attention”

The NYT and the Washington Post were also “hijacked by an obviously disturbed man desperate for attention.” The difference being the man that hijacked those esteemed publications did it during his murder-by-mail spree.

I really have no idea what people are expecting Indymedia’s reaction to be. Do you seriously want some spokesperson from the organization to stand up and say, “Murder is bad.” A lot of the commenters in the thread did and their opinions are just as valid as any IMC volunteer’s. What’s more, there really is no spokesperson for IMC. There may be for the locals, but all the volunteers have their own opinions. Due to the organizational structure — consensus based decision making — there is very little that can be said “officially” by an IMC so soon after an event like this. Any statement would, I imagine, have to be agreed upon by a group in charge of such things. Maybe SF.IMC will come out with an official statement, maybe they’ll let the volunteers speak for themselves.
posted by raaka at 1:43 AM on November 27, 2002

Raaka: The NYT can at least hold journalists responsible and accountable for printing articles which are untrue or contain errors. IndyMedia can't and seemingly won't. And I have yet to ever see Indymedia post anything that looked even vaguely like a correction or retraction.
posted by PenDevil at 5:34 AM on November 27, 2002

My peanut gallery response to the question of whether this was front-page worthy is a resounding YES. This is, I believe, the first case of someone posting their intent and subsequent action to commit murder on the web. Unfortunate and sad, yes, but a strong message to those who doubt the internet's importance in "real life".
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:52 AM on November 27, 2002

before we realize that left-wing extremism is out of control

Well, the extreme right wing's famous
and moderation
will save us all
no doubt about it

"If you're so pro-life, do me a favor: don't lock arms and block medical clinics. If you're so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries."
Bill Hicks
posted by matteo at 8:08 AM on November 27, 2002

What’s more, there really is no spokesperson for IMC.

IMC gives statements to the press all the time, through office volunteers and staffers deputized for the purpose, I'd guess..who decides to deputize them isn't clear. The Seattle IMC, at least, has its own office,: reporters know where to go if they need a quotation.

...and even the "Indymedia response" we are all talking about is bylined (in part) "sf-imc".

IMC's problem is their total refusal to moderate: even to remove death threats, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Racist claptrap, and now a murder confession. The original idea - a clearinghouse for news with a leftish slant, moderated with a light hand- was a good one. "Open publishing" clearly isn't.

Raaka: the NYT does have an ombudsman, and the Unibomber manifesto was printed in the NYT and the WP in an attempt to stop the killing: the bomber had promised to stop if his manifesto was printed. Both that decision and the "objectivity" of both papers are questionable...but let's not compare apples to oranges.
posted by 23lemurs at 8:28 AM on November 27, 2002

Something a little different about this particular nutjob is that he's ex-military. That alone isn't enough to draw any conclusion about contributing factors, but I think it likely played no small part in this guy's descent into his twisted world. Given the problems involved with re-integrating soldiers, I wonder what the military knew of his problems when he returned to civilian life...
posted by holycola at 8:43 AM on November 29, 2002

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