“Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has imposed a mandatory curfew in the city from midnight to 5 a.m.,” abcnews.go.com reports, “in an effort to prevent potential looting.” Copy that. With multiple thousands of submerged, abandoned homes in upscale neighborhoods, the Bayou City is ripe pickings for amphibious bad guys. Something up with which HPD Chief Art Acevedo will not put . . .
The curfew is a “tool to assess the intentions of the people who are out there,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said, warning residents to stay off the streets during the curfew unless “absolutely necessary.”
The Houston Police Department is going to stop assisting in search-and-rescue missions to focus on “going after criminals and keeping the good people of Houston safe,” Acevedo said . . .
“This is the state of Texas. We’re a welcoming city, but we are not going to tolerate people victimizing, especially committing armed robberies in our community,” the police chief said. “We’re going to catch you, and I promise you this: We are going to push hard — I’ve talked to the district attorney — to seek the fullest prosecution possible available for any crime that is committed.”
The police chief added, “Secondly, we’re going to urge juries and judges to give you the toughest sentence that you can possibly get.”
“So word to the wise: Don’t come to Houston,” he said, “because you’re going to be caught. And I guarantee you when you take advantage of people and prey on them in these circumstances, that’s despicable behavior and we’re all going to push hard to make sure you don’t see the sunlight anytime soon.”
You may remember Chief Acevedo as the former Chief of Austin; a gun rights averse law enforcement
politician officer who demonstrated his anti-gun animus by loudly and publicly opposing licensed open carry (which passed anyway).
So it’s no surprise that the tough-talking cop placed all his faith in his officers and forgot to mention the thousands of armed Texans protecting life and property — law-abiding men and women exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
A practice that will make itself known in Houston soon enough, as and when residents return to their homes. And maybe before. But not at the shelters, where our man Taylor reports firearms are strictly prohibited. No one’s being frisked mind you. At least not yet . . .
It’s true Acevedo left his police chief job in Austin to go on to be police chief of H-town. But long before that he spent decades rising through the ranks of California Highway Patrol. His Antigun persona is super strong. He knows the buzzwords and speaks the lingo. He hits all the antigun liberals right in the feels. Having to live under his boot for years here in Austin ( I’m 24 years in public safety in the live music capital of the world) I believe him to be one of the most politically dangerous chiefs in America.
You’re right, Acevedo is what a threat to liberty wearing a uniform looks like. He’s been infuriated and frustrated with gun tolerant Texas law from the day he arrived from the left coast. His calls for stricter gun control in the Lone Star State fell on deaf ears and so did his failed lobbying of the legislature to create a copy of the California law that would make it a jailable offense to have a blood alcohol concentration of .04%, which is roughly a couple of beers. Even though the law never passed, then Austin PD Acevedo ordered his officers to arrest anyone with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Under Acevedo’s leadership, APD routinely arrested, jailed, and filed criminal charges on drivers with BAC’s of .03 & .04 despite the fact the minimum under State law is .08, and he got away with it because the liberal Austin city council loved their squirrely Chief.
If that is true, former Austin Police Chief Acevedo is a criminal and the feds should imprison him for the rest of his life for felony conspiracy as well as deprivation of rights under color of law. Note that deprivation of rights under color of law includes prison time of several years and fines (that HE has to pay, not the Austin Police Department) of several thousand dollars for each instance.
AND WHY DID HIS UNDERLINGS FOLLOW THOSE ORDERS TO ILLEGALLY ARREST, KIDNAP, AND JAIL THE PEOPLE OF AUSTIN?!?!?!?
Because cops ALWAYS follow orders. No matter what.
First, I am NOT a supporter of Chief Acevedo or following the minutiae of criminal law. The law reads something like “no one shall drive impaired to the least extent while under the influence or alcohol or drugs. A PRESUMPTION of intoxication shall be found if a BA is .08% or higher.” This means you can’t legally drive if you’ve had one beer or they find ANY alcohol in your blood. It also means you could be arrested for driving impaired after taking a PRESCRIBED narcotic pain medication or smoking marijuana. We have the same thing in AZ. The reason most agencies don’t arrest everyone with a BA under the presumptive level is because the courts would be completely OVERWHELMED. In AZ (Maricopa and Pima counties) the County Attorney specifically said they will NOT prosecute anyone for DUI unless they were at least a .08%, UNLESS there were other aggravating factors involved such as a person was killed or very seriously injured (I.E., lawsuit or bad press potentially involved). Believe me – cops let a lot of people go who could be arrested for DUI. But if a chief insists on following the law to the letter (even if the person won’t be prosecuted) then the officers have to follow that guidance or lose their job. They are not breaking the law – they are following it because the chief said to. I DO NOT agree with this kind of law enforcement but know the law before you begin criticizing police officers unjustly – this is how stupid shit starts against police officers, people interpreting law when they don’t know what the law is.
I’m not familiar with Texas law. In my State, There are two presumptive BAC levels for over 21 year old drivers. A driver is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol if the BAC is .08% or higher. A driver is presumed not to be under the influence of alcohol if the BAC is under .05%. It is possible for a driver to be arrested for DUI between .05 and .08 if observations/sobriety tests indicate probable cause to be arrested for DUI.
The funny thing about that presumption of NOT being intoxicated under .05% is that I’ve stopped people who were all over the road, slurred speech and couldn’t pass a field sobriety test who blew under .05%. Some were first time drinkers, others ??? Didn’t happen very often but they were still a hazard to themselves and others. If there wasn’t someone else in the car who wasn’t intoxicated, I’d go through the motions but they never ended getting formally charged. Can’t just let them go because Murphy says they will kill a family of four five minutes later.
Maybe they’re just shitty dumbass drivers.
“Sec. 49.01. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
(2) “Intoxicated” means:
(A) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or
(B) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.”
The “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol” part is the key to this discussion.
I don’t think most people understand the downward trajectory that Houston has been on for the last three decades. It’s a far cry from the city portrayed in Urban Cowboy.Thanks to dramatic shifts in demographics it’s now controlled by liberal democrats who share Acevedo’s anti-gun views.
I live in Spring, TX…three blocks from the Houston city limits.
Our politicians wouldn’t dare mess with our gun rights. Way to many conservative upper-crusters here.
I live in Spring as well. Howdy neighbor!
Given his politics, Acevedo is predictably ignoring the obvious contribution that gun ownership and Texas stand-your-ground laws make to keeping the bad guys away during emergencies. How much more effective it would have been had Acevedo (never gonna happen, however) started talking about the numbers of private citizens in the area who are armed and who can legally defend their lives and property. I fully expect Acevedo to try to stop rescuers from carrying guns into flooded neighborhoods. Anybody who goes into the 5th Ward or most other areas without a weapon right now is nuts.
When the flooding started Acevedo was talking about how he didn’t think private boat owners had the necessary “training” to do rescues. Typical.
Let JWT know there are reports of thieves ‘playing possum’ as flood victims and robbing the rescuers.
He should consider borrowing Nick’s 10/22 breakdown in that cordura case.
“Reach out, reach out and touch a thug…” 🙂
Heard on the radio earlier today.
And there are these charming citizens in the flood zone:
“Hurricane Harvey Rescuers Report Looters Shooting at Boats”
“Volunteers Helping Harvey Victims Attacked in Houston”
“John Bridgers, the founder of the all-volunteer rescue group Cajun Navy, told the Houston Chronicle on Monday that one group nearly had its rescue boat stolen, while another was shot at after being unable to help a group of trapped people.”
Jon may wish to re-consider that rifle, or at the least, armour…
Here’s one –
“A couple of our guys’ boats broke down,” he said, describing that looters “were trying to take the boats from them of course they were just trying to get out. Not sure if those guys are people out there pretending like they need to be rescued and then they’re robbing the boats. There’s also people that were out there on the boats and they were out there pretending to be rescuers and robbing the people. This is just what’s happening.”
Reported by the “Cajun Navy” yesterday.
No guns in shelters? Oh yeah just leave those outside next to the kiddie pool or in your houseboat… Good thinking guys. Keep the guns away from the control of their owners. That’s responsible.
Actually, that’s pretty standard policy per the Red Cross Shelter Operations rules. If you don’t like it, you can go somewhere else. No one is making you go to the shelter. Believe me, there are a lot more rules than that when you stay in a shelter and for many of these people, exercising their 2A rights is not exactly high on their list.
Furthermore, you are talking about Texas here. Many people have lots of guns. If you are concenered about them keeping control over all of them, are you suggests ng that people just wheel their gun safes into the shelters with them?
Spoken like a true anti 2A zealot. Red Cross should amend their silly Operations guide to allow the responsible carry of firearms. But hey, you never really know who is carrying concealed.
The Red Cross is as leftist progtard an organization as you can find. ANYWHERE. Poster child for big spending “NGO”.
Good luck with getting them on even neutral on firearms.
Throughout the evolving narrative of this crisis, armed private citizens—and there are undoubtedly plenty who are carrying but wisely not telling anybody about it— have not been the problem. The problem is with armed criminals.
I watched the Chief Announce the death of an officer due to flooding. The way he spoke was disgusting. He didn’t talk about the facts around the death, but how good of a guy this person was. Like the Acevedo was happy this cop with wife and kid, had died for him.
WHAT? That is NOT what I saw at all and I watched it live. He was in tears making this announcement and clearly felt guilty for not allowing the divers to go in and try to retrieve him while still underwater. That would likely have been a suicide mission for those divers under the existing conditions. Get your “facts” straight.
I’ve seen enough Obama crocodile tears to know when a politician is faking. Emotions are high in Houston, Leave the crying to the flood victims
Ummm…anyone notice the relative lack of deaths compared to Katrina? This is a MUCH larger catastrophe. So I don’t think the local 5-O are doing so bad. I would defend me and to the death. It’s Texas…I’m not defending that creep.
“Ummm…anyone notice the relative lack of deaths compared to Katrina?”
It’s a different topography in ‘Nawlins.
The 9th Ward was (and still is, what’s left of it) in like a ‘bowl’ that filled up *fast* after the levee failed.
Those who elected to stay in their homes were hit by a flood that rapidly rose to level of their roofs. Those trapped inside their homes climbed into their attics hoping the water wouldn’t rise higher.
And then the water did rise higher, and they drowned in their attics, trapped…
Sure Geoff…and the dumbazzes who refused to leave with 165mph winds forecast below sea level. It was a comment on the “chocolate city” VS an only slightly inept city run by an idiot Houston mayor. New Orleans is a pathetic example of a failed state. I’ll stick by my original comment…
Water Walker, 62 year old resident of Baton Rouge here. Don’t try to insinuate that New Orleans is indicative of a failed STATE! NOLA is only indicative of a failed CITY.
Walker, one more thing. The Cajun Navy is way more representative of the hardworking, self sufficient and generous people of Louisiana than the NOLA peeps.
Another reason he didn’t mention the many armed homeowners could be because many of them aren’t home to defend their turf. Those are the most prime looting targets.
It should be noted that Texas has the toughest anti looting laws in the country. Simple burglary is a 5 to life prison term during a designated disaster.
I’m sure that’s serious for those who get caught… But how many actually get caught? What is the clearance rate for these crimes? How many of them actually go to jail at all? Not many, I’d wager.
Trusting cops and courts to take care of the problem doesn’t seem very rational in that case.
Considering the frequency with which I see purported screen prints of facebook postings like “here’s a picture of me and my homies looting rich whiteys’ houses”, I’d say that there’s no fear of LE in Houston.
If I remember correctly, Texas allows the use of lethal force to prevent the commission of a crime. Can anyone confirm?
Deadly force is authorized in TX under certain conditions, basically:
1) to defend yourself or an innocent other who is being threatened with imminent death or serious injury, and you have no “duty to retreat”
2) to defend your home (or vehicle) if an uninvited, forcible entry is attempted or imminent, and you have no “duty to retreat”
3) to defend your property from vandalism, destruction, or theft under certain conditions, including, a) it is during the hours of darkness, and, 2) you reasonably believe it would be impossible, or too dangerous, to stop the action in any other way.
4) On the other hand, there is some question about using deadly force to stop the commission of a theft or felony that you come upon in progress. For example, if you see a looter leaving a store with an expensive computer under his arm, it isn’t generally legal to use deadly force to stop him. If you are the store owner, that’s one thing, it’s technically YOUR property (or at least under your control), so the other rules above apply. However, if there is no physical threat to you or innocent others involved, and it is not your property, you could try to make a “citizen’s arrest” but in doing so, the use of deadly force would be problematic. If a deadly force encounter ensued from such an attempt, it would be reasonable to infer that you initiated it, which could make you liable for the escalating consequences. Generally speaking, the courts tend to hold that ordinary citizens have a right to use deadly force to defend themselves (and/or innocent others) from violent assault, and to protect their personal property (under the conditions mentioned above), but they tend to see shooting someone who is stealing from someone else, as “punishment” (rather than self defense) and they typically consider punishment to be exclusively the province of the court system, not the citizen. This is why you can shoot someone who is breaking into your house (that’s self-defense), but you can’t keep shooting him if he starts running away without any of your stuff (that’s no longer self-defense – he’s fleeing – so now it’s “punishment”). Further, exactly what was technically going on at the time is ultimately going to be decided by a jury, and juries are not judges or lawyers, nor do they always see things the way you might. So in TX, generally speaking, it would not be a good idea to use deadly force to protect property other than your own, and not always then.
A curfew? How is that anything but a violation of 1A’s peaceable assembly?
How about a violation of our unalienable right to travel (which is not mentioned in our Bill of Rights) or our right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures (the Fourth Amendment in our Bill of Rights)?
I personally believe curfews to be antithetical to liberty and the founding principles of our nation. Why do they persist? Because they do not directly affect 95% of the population who therefore cannot be bothered to be concerned.
So are you saying that a duly elected government and duly appointed law enforcement is never justified in ordering a curfew even in a disaster such as this? One in which death and widespread destruction of many thousands of homes and billions in property has occurred? Wake up and smell the coffee.
My coffee didn’t write 1A’s peaceable assembly clause and nor does it have anything to do with the travel inherent in said assembly. Regardless, I do not see any “disaster exception” in the text of 1A nor in 9A.
I believe the concept of “strict scrutiny” would come into play if a curfew is challenged in court. The authorities would need to demonstrate a definite public safety need for a curfew, especially a long one.
There’s a definite emergency in the affected areas. IMO, the curfew would pass the “strict scrutiny” test.
No rights, not even those protected by the constitution, are absolute.
Your are wasting your time pointing out things like strict scrutiny. Things like that are just too complex for some. Like Nancy Pelosi said, “The Constitution does not say that a person can shout…yell ‘wolf’ in a crowded theater. If you are endangering people, then you don’t have a constitutional right to do that,”[sic]. I’ll give her the credit, at least she understood the concept.
Your are wasting your time pointing out things like strict scrutiny. Things like that are just too complex for some. Like Nancy Pelosi said, “The Constitution does not say that a person can shout…yell ‘wolf’ in a crowded theater. If you are endangering people, then you don’t have a constitutional right to do that,”[sic]. I’ll cut her some slack, she at least understood the concept.
If IT’S not the ProAggressive LibTards , leftists, globalists, or Socialists…Then its our Armchair Ultra Conservative types [The friends of Mussolini] REASONING away Freedoms , or Liberty! IT Has absolutely nothing to do with our Civil Rights, or some kind cockamamie idea that OUR Civil Rights are some how Limited under certain type of circumstances as per order of our Government!?!? NO! Its the action that makes It a CRIME! NOT THE 1A under free speech !
Just as with “gun control,” curfews don’t prevent crime. Criminals are not interested in obeying “laws.” The only real purpose of these laws is to increase the government control over ordinary people who are not the problem – and may actually be endangered because their options are limited.
Out after curfew and the popo shoot you. No more thieving.
Someone moving about a neighborhood (regardless of whether they are walking, riding a bicycle, driving a car, canoeing, motorboating, etc.), could be looking for a home to loot. Or they could be looking for a lost family member. Or they could be going to purchase supplies. Or they could be moving to a better/safer location. Or they could be patrolling their neighborhood to stop looters. Or …
That fact that someone MIGHT be up to no good is not a righteous reason to force everyone to stay inside.
The fact that the people who want to force everyone to stay inside their homes are “duly elected” or “duly appointed” is irrelevant.
Being duly elected and duly appointed means they have been chosen by the people to make those kind of decisions. It’s called an elected government. Maybe you prefer anarchy? Especially in a disaster of epic proportions. The curfew we are talking about has been enacted because large areas have abandoned homes, flooded roads, sink holes, no electricity, street lights, no traffic lights, little or no law enforcement, fire protection or emergency medical resources. In some areas the local hospitals are even closed. What emergency response and law enforcement resources are available are limited and extremely stressed. Now some people are complaining it’s a violation of their rights. That’s a very, very astute observation. Of course it is. But under the circumstances, perfectly legal and morally justified. In fact not ordering a curfew would be grossly negligent an abdication of responsibility and leadership.
Once the water recedes enough for homeowners to get back, survey the damage, and plant the FEMA trailers in their driveways, looters will have much more than the police to worry about. I can’t imagine a homeowner living out of the upper floor of his/her house and a FEMA trailer, with the downstairs in shambles and nearly broke from the uninsured losses, being too friendly toward a looter or even suspected looter. Nor can I expect the prosecutor or a jury to care about the results. As long as the recovery will take in some areas, there should be serious thought given to creating armed neighborhood watches, appropriately deputized. This should definitely include the poorer sections as well as the wealthy. Who knows, it might reduce crime permanently and allow the working people in the poor areas to finally take back their neighborhoods from the thugz.
“Something up with which HPD Chief Art Acevedo will not put.”
Someone afraid to end a sentence in a preposition?
Speaking as someone who lives halfway between Houston and Galveston, there’s a lot of us who never left. And while we’re not making a big deal out of it (no armed patrols or anything), I’m sure there’s a whole lot of people digging their deer rifle or duck gun out of the closet and putting it nearby. We’re watching the neighborhood, paying attention to who’s here and who’s not, and keeping an eye out for anything strange.
After Ike there was a lot of disaster “tourists” cruising the ‘hood noting which houses were boarded up and which were not. I made sure to make my house obviously occupied and stared down a few cars driving by. I haven’t seen the “tourists” too much this time around, but the water is just now receding and roads are now drive-able. We’ll see what happens today.
Overall not too worried, but other areas were under mandatory evacs and I’m sure they’ll make easier picking.
Also, I’m actually glad for the curfew. It’s reasonable in times of crisis or disaster. As long as it goes away when things return to normal. I don’t need random people cruising the area at dark.
Also the message that “if you get yourself in trouble during this time, we won’t help” is refreshing. Put the responsibility back on the people and let them know the risks. I’m good with that.
“I don’t need…” eh? So the rights of other citizens are to be subject to a test of your need of their ability to possess them? Got it.
That particular thinking has led to a lot of people being dead right.
But still dead.
Rational people tend to not put themselves in harm’s way for no good reason.
Completely agree, but there’s a big difference between choosing not to go out into the storms vis-a-vis an unconstitutional policy of government violence on those who go out in storms.
The curfew – during an active emergency – is to protect the rights of all citizens in the affected area from those who would inflict violence and crime upon them. Once the emergency is over, the curfew is rescinded. This has been an acceptably policy and position for our country since it’s inception.
If you actually have a reason to be out and about in flooded areas after dark, by all means, go out. Just expect to be stopped and questioned.
“I don’t need random people cruising the area at dark.”
And I don’t need random people telling me when and/or where I can move about on public roads.
Consider this: one evening a few years ago, a nasty tornado devastated several homes about 8 miles away from me. The next day, I set out with lemonade, snacks, and stuffed animal toys to comfort the children who lived in those homes, and to help with the aftermath. The local police would not let me in to the affected area because I did not live there, none of those people received my help, none of their children received comfort, and their cleanup took a LOT longer because no one from the outside could get in to help. That was the asinine result of government measures to reduce looting: making things significantly worse for the residents.
As President Reagan famously said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
your intentions to help others is admirable. But it’s not an all or nothing affair. So the po-po turned you away the morning after a tornado? Big whup. Consider this.
1 – there may not have been time to fully assess damage, therefore they needed to limit access to the area. There could be downed power wires, roads could be impassable, emergency rescue crews could still be working. They need to keep the area clear until it’s safe. That’s a legitimate (local) govt action.
2 – usually within hrs, or a day at most, there are legitimate emergency response organizations on the ground to help. Red Cross, United Way, etc. Any volunteers looking to help should register with them. That way volunteers can be given up to date info, access when safe, priorities on where to help, and liaison with local police to grant access.
If you simply turned away after the first attempt and gave up, then, well, I’m not sure what else to say.
Also, some random person showing up with an unmarked van full of candy and toys, asking where the children are at, … Come on, man. That just sounds creepy.
Don, right now the request is being made for more civilian help, not less. There is a need for anyone with any medical experience at the relief locations.
Also, some random person showing up with an unmarked van full of candy and toys, asking where the children are at, … Come on, man. That just sounds creepy.
It may be a tank keeping help out and victims in, but it’s marked, so that’s OK.
When did citizens become suspect when they’ve done nothing (yet), while enforcers are in charge, good, and right, regardless of what they have done already.
It wasn’t creepy unless you are willing to believe that a child predator would bring his/her spouse and two young children along. Also, the local police were turning everyone away. For days. Long after the roads were passable and there was no danger of broken natural gas lines or downed electrical lines.
Look, I can understand local police being on hand to warn people about potential dangers and cordoning off a KNOWN hazard such as a broken gas main. Beyond that, local police/curfews do nothing more than add SEVERAL DAYS to the recovery effort.
I am happy to report that Texas actually invited outsiders to come with their boats and help ferry everyone to dry ground. Government getting out of the way and actually inviting/coordinating outside help — what a refreshing change.
JW – not arguing that point. Yes, in the current Harvey situation, more help is welcome. But in the scenario put forth by Uncommon, possibly different. I was stating that there are some legitimate reasons to delay volunteer help. I’m sure you understand. I’m just applying common sense.
Bierce – I’ve never argued that cops/etc. are all good, trusted, pure as driven snow. I’m cynical and suspicious of everyone. But hey, hyperbole and all that. And random people are instantly suspicious in my book. Just saying.
Anyway, got some storm damage to clean up, been fun. JW – keep up the good work. Thanks.
Join your local volunteer FD or EMS or Civil Defense etc. Get some training, so the NEXT time you’ll be a helpful/useful asset rather than a PITA/distraction.
Just as the Army doesn’t need people showing up at a fire base outside of Kabul planning to “help” with operating a 120mm mortar and the FD doesn’t need dimwits wandering around in a burning building with their 2lb Extinguisher.
I wouldn’t ever sign a “mandatory evacuation” order I damn sure would a curfew. 2am activities define Stupid people, Stupid places, Stupid TIMES.
Funny that the media hasn’t reported any incidences of looting that I’m aware of. So I guess the curfew is just to impress the uninformed of his desire to protect his unarmed constituents;-)
If tonight is anything like last night, the curfew is in name only. Lots of people around all night long and into the morning, nobody stopped.
Discretionary charge as a means of control.
All of us that suffered little or no damage from the storm are thankful it happened to somebody else.
Stayed for the storm, lucky and blessed that nothing happend to us and our property. Before the storm I prepped food, water, fuel, generator, etc and we were ok. I live in the far suburbs and areas around me got flooded with high water. Rainfall in my area in 5 days was 30″ or so. There have been reports from friends and second/third hand gossip of armed attempts in certain areas nearby. Nothing on the news of it yet. I have emptied my safe and have guns stashed throughout the house. Range toys, NFA, handguns, etc. My kids and family understand that 911 is a joke right now, and police may not come for hours. This is a true SHTF moment that I will learn from and plan accordingly.
I’ll be listening on the scanner app again tonight…Interested to see how much the curfew matters.
how about this quote when he announced the curfew.
“You cannot drive, nor be in any public place. We have had problems with armed robberies, with people with guns and firearms,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.
those people with guns and firearms will getcha every time!
“Houston Under Curfew to Stop Looters, Chief Acevedo Forgets to Mention Something”
No surprise … Chiefs of Police are almost always political appointees, thus they share the political views of the politicians in charge of a City, and Houston has been run by (and run down by) liberals for several decades.
Houston used to be a relatively wealthy City, with an endowment fund of several billion dollars. It is now at least ~$6.8 BILLION in debt (the publicly admitted amount, so the actual amount is much, much, much higher) and there is literally no tax base to get out of that hole.