The Tide

As we watch the progress of Minnesota’s “Consitutional Carry” bill – which would remove the law-abiding citizen’s requirement to ask the government for a permit to exercise their Constitutional right to carry a firearm – it’s worth noting the tide that is building in Free America for this utterly sensible measure.

So far this year, Missouri and New Hampshire have enacted Constitutional Carry.  That brings the total to 12 states that don’t interfere with their residents’ Constitutional rights.

And North Dakota looks to be likely to pass it shortly (along with a “First Armed Responder in Schools” bill allowing trained school staff to carry permitted firearms).  This shows one of the many good things that happen when a state’s Democrat party is reduced to a shadow organization.

My prediction:  It passes the Minnesota Legislature with bipartisan majority, to get vetoed by Governor Flint Smith.

Let ’em.  Flint Smith can run against that in 2018.

The Passive-Aggressive Dannell Malloy

Connecticut’s governor Dannell Malloy is proposing quadrupling fees for carry permits, as well as raising fees for background checks by 50%:

As part of his budget, Malloy is proposing to increase the state portion of the pistol permit fee from $70 to $300. He also is proposing the cost of the initial 5-year pistol permit fee from $140 to $370.

The increase in fees for gun owners will bring in another $9 million to the state annually, according to the governor’s budget estimates.

Additionally, Malloy is proposing to increase background check fees from its current $50 to $75.

Malloy has, of course, been merely the latest of a series of liberal governors that have spent the last couple of decades turning Connecticut – a state that is home to four of America’s wealthiest cities, a place that by all rights should be financially well-set – into a fiscal basket case, a green fiscal Detroit, a place with the highest per-capita state debt in the country, with a business climate that under decades of stultifying Democrat rule has gone from one of America’s best states for business to the very, very bottom of the pile.

His idea to balance his $3,7 billion deficit?  Raise about $9 million in fees for shooters, thereby making it harder for the poor to protect themselves.

How passive-aggressive is that?

Everything You Say Can And Will Be Held Against You

“Play stupid games, get stupid prizes”.

It’s a mantra my first carry permit instructor, the late Joel Rosenberg, used to drill into his students’ heads.  The point?  The best case of self-defense is the one you don’t need to state in front of a court.  Don’t put on your legal gun and go to roughneck bars, or hang out where stupidity is likely to break out.   If someone provokes you, walk away – using extreme measures.  “When you’re armed”, Joel used to say, “it’s incumbent on you to be the biggest pussy in the bar”.

And the stupidity doesn’t start when the potential violence does.  Oh, no.

One of the things police and prosecutors would do, if you got into a lethal-force self-defense incident, was pore over everything they can find about your past, to find some way in which they can convince a jury that it wasn’t really self-defense.

Remember – under Minnesota law, there are four factors that must be upheld when you claim self-defense using lethal force:

  1. You must not be a willing participant:  you can’t start a brawl, and then shoot someone who breaks a bottle.
  2. You must reasonably, immediately fear death or great bodily harm.  Reasonable means “it’ll convince a jury”.  Immediate means now; if someone says “I’m gonna kill you…tomorrow”, you can’t kill them first.
  3. You must use appropriate force.  In other words, you can only use the force needed to end the threat.  No more.
  4. You must make a reasonable effort to retreat.  Reasonable.  If you’re pushing your baby in a stroller, you don’t need to leave it behind.  If you’re a 70 year old man with a knee replacement attacked by four youths, you don’t need to try to out run them.  And in Minnesota, it doesn’t apply in your house.  In “Stand Your Ground” states, this provision is disregarded.  Minnesota is not a Stand Your Ground state.

When you claim “self defense”, you must meet all four of the criteria above.  That means all four; if you miss one of them – or if a jury can be convinced you missed one of them, rightly or wrongly – you’re in big trouble.

Big Trouble:  Allen Scarsella was convicted of “Riot”, First Degree Assault and some counts of Second Degree Assault for an episode that happened at the protests outside the Minneapolis Fourth Precinct in November 2015.

The jury deliberated for seven hours following two weeks of testimony from nearly two dozen witnesses — including surprise testimony from Scarsella and a co-defendant — before returning guilty verdicts on all counts.

So – how did Scarsella get convicted?

Let’s go through those four elements.

Fear Of Death:   Observers, and even some of the victims, testified that there was a chase, as at least seven protesters ran after Scarsella and his companions.  Was fear of death or great bodily harm reasonable?  We’d have to ask the jurors – but the law doesn’t require one to be a mind-reader.

 Mobs do stupid things.  Call this a definite maybe.  It would certainly be obtuse to rule it out just because you don’t like the defendant or his motivations; people who believe objectionable things have rights, too.

Convincing a jury of this sort of thing is why defense attorneys make the big bucks.

Duty To Retreat:  Well, no doubt there.  Scarsella and his friends certainly tried to get away.   Call this a no-brainer for the defense.

Was Lethal Force Appropriate?:  Well, assuming it was reasonable to assume the threat was immediate and lethal, the shooting ended the threat.  As far as that goes, let’s call it a non-factor.

Not A Willing Participant:  Here’s the thing about jury trials (or so I’m told by my lawyer friends); a big part of the job is making sure the jury likes you, feels for you, identifies with you.  This becomes important when it comes to this criterion of self-defense in particular.

Going where a confrontation might happen might be considered “willing participation” – but in the Darren Evanovich shooting, where a Good Samaritan chased an armed robber into an alley, the prosecutor decided the evidence showed the Samaritan was not a willing participant; he went looking for the purse, not a fight.

But while Scarsella may well have had second thoughts about attending the protest long before the shooting started, the prosecutors also found some evidence that made him pretty  unsympathetic to the jury:

They watched several videos taken before and after the shooting, including ones of Scarsella making racist comments; and they viewed numerous texts where Scarsella described his intent to kill black people.

Now, could a good lawyer have gotten a jury to disregard this?  Maybe, maybe not.    Even racists have the right to defend their lives; self-defense isn’t a popularity contest.

But jury trials, to a great extent, are.  And the prosecution (according to sources familiar with the case) were able to create an impression with the jury that Scarsella went to the Fourth Precinct looking for a fight.  Which blew away his chance of calling himself an “unwilling participant”, and with it, his self-defense claim.

The obvious lesson – if you value the right to self-defense, and you believe things that a jury might find unsavory, then keep quiet about them, especially on social media, text messages and other searchable media.

And it’s not just racial ugliness.  If you’re a shooter, for crying out loud, don’t be jabbering on Facebook about how eager you are to turn your new shotgun on an intruder.  It’l make it harder for a zealous prosecutor to paint you as a slavering gun nut with an itchy trigger finger.

Another obvious point – the Good Samaritan in the Evanovich case, as well as the Broadbent shooting in 2015, involved citizens who followed the rules; after shooting, they called the police and tried their best to render first aid.  Scarsella fled the scene and didn’t call the police and was caught sometime the next day – a bad tactic if you want to claim self-defense.  It’s good to be a responsible citizen.

Like every self-defense shooting, the Scarsella case should be a sobering reminder – in this case, of what not to do.

“We Talk. You Shut Up”

Criminal-safety groups like to jabber on about having a “conversation about guns”.

Here’s “Protect” Minnesota’s version of “conversation”.

What a bunch of gutless frauds.

Look, don’t get me wrong – it’s not like any criminal-safety advocates can hold their own in a conversation, much less any kind of informed debate with the good guys.

It’s just…

…well, no.  That kinda sums it up.

Lie First, Lie Always: The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence Can’t Seem To Tell The Truth. Ever.

My first carry permit instructor, the late great Joel Rosenberg, drilled into his students’ heads one key, overarching idea; that shooting in self-defense was, at best, the second-worst possible outcome to an incident.  “You’re setting off a nuclear bomb in your life”, he said.

Shooting in self-defense is fraught with peril, for even the most law-abiding citizen and the most legitimate shoot.

And the criteria for “legitimate shoot” – the use of lethal force in self-defense – are both oppressively vague (in Minnesota) and relatively iron-clad.  To you use lethal force legally in self-defense:

  1. You must not be a willing participant in the incident.   You can’t start a brawl, and then draw your gun when someone pulls a knife.
  2. You must reasonably, immediately fear death or great bodily harm.
  3. The force you use must be reasonable; you can only use it to end the immediate threat to your life.
  4.  You must make a reasonable effort to disengage.  One exception in Minnesota is when you’re in your home – which means “within the walls of your domicile”.

There was a shooting over the weekend in Madelia, Minnesota.  The Strib’s John Reinan was on the hagiography beat (a Strib specialty.  The Southern MN News stuck to the facts.

If I had to guess, bsed on the information we have in front of us right now (and Berg’s 18th Law would tell us that relying on the media for actual information is dodgy at best), I’d suggest that shooting at someone’s car to blow out a tire as they’re fleeing is legal in Texas, but probably a bad move under Minnesota law.   Again, just guessing, and the shooter, David Petterson, is innocent until proven guilty.

But I’m not here to talk about the case, or the media’s reporting of it – not this time.

I’m here to continue my mission of making sure every single sentient Minnesotan knows that “Protect” Minnesota, even more than most criminal-safety groups, are to fact what “Baghdad Bob” was to journalism.

The blood was barely dry before The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence – “P”M’s “executive director” and one of about half a dozen actual members – released her opinion.

“Opinion” is putting it as charitably as ethically possible:

Look!  Boogeymen!:  Nord Bence starts out shaky:

We are already hearing chatter from the gun lobby about how unfair it was for law enforcement to charge David A. Pettersen with second-degree manslaughter and intentional discharge of a firearm in connection with the shooting death of Nicholas T. Embertson in Fieldon Township on Saturday. They are saying that this case demonstrates why the Stand Your Ground bill (HR0238), introduced earlier this session by Rep. Jim Nash of Waconia, should be passed.

Not sure what “Gun Lobby” the Reverend Nord Bence is referring to – neither GOCRA nor MNGOC nor the NRA have publicly opined on the case.  Minnesota Gun Rights is a potemkin organization – a scam, if you will.   They are not “the gun lobby”.

They also don’t know the law much better than Nord Bence; “Stand Your Ground” is useless if you don’t reasonably, immediately fear death or great bodily harm.  Not to do the county attorney’s job, but under Minnesota law, shooting at a fleeing car might not fly in court.

Preacher, Heal Thyself:  The Reverend Nord Bence – like her predecessor, Heather Martens, has yet to make a single, original, substantial, true statement on the issue of guns. I’m not sure she’s “lying” – telling untruths when you don’t know any better is merely ignorance.

But while Nord Bence is a comically inept spokesperson, it’s a good thing she’s got preachin’ to fall back on.  Because she’d make a terrible lawyer:

The Nash Stand Your Ground bill is dangerous for many reasons – not the least being the serious risk it would pose to communities of color and immigrants in our state.

Nord Bence keeps saying this.  I’m not sure she could even tell you why.   I’d guess it’s because one of her superiors in the Criminal Safety movement told her “FEELING THREATENED BY A HOODIE JUSTIFIES MURDER” or some such twaddle.

Which ties into this next bit:

 

But we should not forget that HR0238 would also tie the hands of local law enforcement and obstruct their ability to fulfill their sworn duty to protect the communities they serve.  If it were to pass, almost any shooting could be justified because the shooter “felt threatened,”

And again, as we noted a few weeks back, Nord Bence is either legally illiterate, or lying, or both.   While Minnesota’s self-defense laws are a marvel of unclarity, they are pretty clear on the point that you have to have an immediate fear of death or great bodily harm that you can convince a jury is “reasonable”.

Hoodies don’t count.

Will “teenagers speeding away in a car” pass muster?  I wouldn’t bet on it.

The Pettersen case demonstrates why it is so important that law enforcement personnel retain the right to do their job and determine when charges are warranted.

And Nancy Nord Bence demonstrates why “getting your information from “Protect” Minnesota is actually worse than getting no information at all.

Waiting Game

Berg’s 18th Law says to ignore all news about mass shootings for 48 hours; the mainstream media will be more into scooping their competition than getting their facts straight.  

On the other hand, the CBC isn’t the most sensationalistic source out there:

“It seemed to me that they had a Quebecois accent. They started to fire, and as they shot they yelled, ‘Allahu akbar!’ The bullets hit people that were praying. People who were praying lost their lives. A bullet passed right over my head,” said the witness. 

Remember – Canada is a gun free zone.  

Fat lotta good it did, as usual.

 

Shopstopper

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

7th Circuit (which includes Chicago) strikes a blow for the Second Amendment.  Better, but still not correct.  The court won’t take the final step because they know it’s the death blow for gun grabbers.

If owning a firearm is a fundamental constitutional right as Heller and McDonald decided, then it’s entitled to Strict Scrutiny the same as religion and speech, not merely ‘some level of heightened scrutiny’ which is the phony category the court set up for sex discrimination cases. 

 Opinion here:

 Joe Doakes

Dear “Feminist” Bobblehead

You have sown the dumb-protest-sign wind.

You shall reap the dumb protest sign whirlwind.

If you had “as many rights as” a gun, you…:

  • would be liable to getting shot by nervous cops
  • You couldn’t get on an airplane
  • You may not be able to vote because you can’t carry guns in polling centers.
  • Any business can deny you entry
  • Going to school would be a federal crime
  • You would need to be locked in a safe when not in use
  • You’d have to be transported in a trunk or lock box in the trunk when not in someone’s pocket.  Even women in Saudi Arabia don’t have to do that. 
  • you would be blamed for things that are not your fault (which, let’s be honest, is more of a male thing)
  • If you were poor, you couldn’t afford yourself because of arbitrary government regulations designed to destroy you
  • government will pay good money to incinerate you

Sounds like women have more rights under the Taliban.

Still game?

Two Good Guys – One With A Gun, One A Dead Hero

Two men tried to rob a jewelry store in a mall in San Antonio, Texas.

One Good Samaritan tried to intervene – and was killed in the process.

What could possibly go wrong? Accused mall shooter Jason Matthew Prieto.

That’s when a second Good Samaritan – a good guy with a carry permit and a gun – intervened, shooting one suspect and the other one fleeing like the prison shower-room bitch he no doubt is.

The suspects – including Jason Matthew Prieto, shown above, who is alleged to have fled the scene but wound up crashing his car – are up for capital murder.  Much as I oppose the death penalty, I doubt I’ll be found protesting if the State of Texas ever does end up executing them (should they be found guilty).

Six others were injured in the encounter with robbers before police could arrive.

So there were two good guys.  One had courage, but no gun; he is no longer with us.  One had courage and the means to back that courage up with force.  He – and others – are alive today.

Any questions?

The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part V: Everyone With ELCA Hair Looks The Same

All this week we’ve been talking about “Protect” Minnesota’s press release, a week ago today.

And when I say “talking”, I mean “checking its many false assertions, and mocking it to a fine sheen”.

I – like the release itself – saved the worst for last.

Like Going To Courtney Love For Legal Advice:  We noted yesterday – the Reverend Nord Bence is utterly unclear on how self-defense law works.

In this next bit, she transposes that ignorance onto society at large.   I’m going to add emphasis:

Moreover, the Stand Your Ground bill represents a particular threat to people of color and immigrants, who are often met with suspicion by Minnesotans because they look and dress differently. If it were to pass, almost any shooting could be justified because the shooter “felt threatened,” even if the “threat” was a hoodie or a hijab.

This is a flaming lie.

You can not kill people because they make you nervous. Don’t be a moron.

Nord Bence isn’t the first to use it, of course; when self-defense reform was passed (with a bipartisan majority) in 2012, liberal commentators – from bloggers to Dakota County Prosecutor Jim Backstrom and Chaska police chief Scott Knight – made the same claim; that you could kill someone who “gave you stink-eye” or who “made you feel uncomfortable”.

It’s a lie, of course; “I felt uncomfortable” or “I’m scared of hijabs” is not “reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm.”

And if the legal system started letting people off the hook for shooting people for those reasons, then it really, really wouldn’t be the guns’ fault.

And I can’t prove it, but I suspect Nord Bence knows this; while she eschews discussion with people who actually know the issue, she’s certainly had people try to set her straight.    At any rate, it’s a cynical lie, made in a complete vacuum of truth.  She should be ashamed, and I am looking forward to the chance to tell her to her face.

Already minorities are purchasing more guns than ever before because they feel afraid2;

Well, to be fair, the media did spend an entire election cycle pumping up irrational fear.  And they do have the same legal right to arm themselves that everyone else does.  I encourage law-abiding minorities to avail themselves of their rights (not “privileges”) along with the rest of us.

And for all the media’s manufactured barbering over “Stand Your Ground”, there are two facts they somehow never get around to:

  • “Stand Your Ground” was not a factor in the Zimmerman/Martin case.  Not even a little:   Even the prosecutor admitted that Zimmerman never had a chance to retreat.  The defense never invoked Florida’s “duty to retreat” exemption in Zimmerman’s defense, because he never had to.  It was a non-factor.  It was the media, and liars like The Reverend Nord Bence, who made it an issue.
  • Minorities invoke “Stand Your Ground” laws more often than whites when claiming self-defense:  In the only stats we have on the subject, it turns out that black citizens are twice as likely to invoke Florida’s “Stand your Ground” law, per capita.

passage of this bill could lead to a wholesale arming of communities that feel threatened by it.

Which, I suspect, is the part that bothers Nord Bence and her followers the most.  There’s a reason why their events – every last one – take place in lilywhite places like Eagan, and Burnsville, and Kenwood, and at the south end of the Stone Arch Bridge, and not at Plymouth and Sheridan, after all.

We’re Almost Done!:  Finally:

 And more guns mean more gun violence.3

No, they don’t.

Finally:  We wrap up with the big finish:

Protect Minnesota calls upon all Minnesota citizens—84% of whom support comprehensive background checks to keep firearms out of dangerous hands–to voice their opposition to the passage of these radical bills. We call upon leaders from both parties in the legislature to keep these bills from moving forward.

Every anti-gun legislator outside the metro area has been defeated; ask them how many Minnesotans support background checks?  Support for both bills is bipartisan and spread throughout this state, just like in 2012.

So when The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence says:

Yep, Reverend. Game on indeed. See you at the Capitol. I’ll be the one that’s part of a big freaking crowd of friendly, courteous, hardworking Minnesotans. You’ll be the one mincing about at the head of your pack of shrill husks. Bring the pain, ma’am.

And we call on Gov. Dayton to promise to veto these bills if they pass, confident that he will recognize them as bad for Minnesota and dangerous for Minnesotans.

Yes.

Yes, Governor Dayton.  Please, please please please please please.  I beg of you.

Once again, answer to your party’s lunatic fringe, and veto two bills that will pass with unanimous GOP support, and that of every DFLer who’s more than half an hour from downtown Minneapolis.

Give the GOP a club to use to smack up every DFL representative in the third tier of ‘burbs.  Give the GOP a statewide rallying point against the next DFL candidate for governor.  Turn the masses of shooters out; they tend to dial back the intensity of their activism unless they have something to rally around, more’s the pity, but this will serve nicely.

By all means, follow the advice of a woman who, to be charitable, has just expressed cataclysmic ignorance of every single fact she presented in this Doestoyevskian press release.  Of a woman who, as I’ve shown, is wrong on every single substantive claim she tried to make (and she knows it; it’s why she never, ever faces Human Rights advocates in open debate).

Follow the advice of a woman who might, on a big day, muster 100 middle aged white people with ELCA hair to phumpher and rut about, against the masses who turn out on sub-zero evenings in Saint Paul against her, and routinely melt down the Capitol switchboard, just in time for the gubernatorial campaign.

So yes, Governor Dayton.  Take the advice of the Right Reverend, and sow the wind.  The DFL will reap the whirlwind in 2018.

Sounds like a lovely plan to me!

Or, y’know, just sign the bills, follow the will of the people (who’ve been paying attention), and leave the state a slightly better place, at least in one area.

Your call.


The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part IV: I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means

On Tuesday and yesterday, we discussed “Protect” Minnesota’s factually vacuous response to the House’s Constitutional Carry bill – which would allow people who are otherwise entitled to carry firearms to do so without having to jump through hoops.

Today, we’ll shift the focus to “Protect”‘s response to the self-defense reform bill – which The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence refers to as “stand your ground”, because the left and media paid a lot of good money to try to stigmatize that term after the Trayvon Martin episode, of which more later.

Field Marshal Of The Legion Of Invincible Ignorance:  I keep thinking I’ve found the Reverend Nord Bence’s dumbest lie of the lot.  I keep finding worse ones.  But this one may be the bottom of the barrel:

The Stand Your Ground bill (HF0238) would change Minnesota’s existing authorized use of force law by removing the obligation to retreat from danger before using deadly force. If passed, it would be admissible to use deadly force any place and anytime a person subjectively believed their life to be threatened, except against peace officers.

This part is actually true – not that it does Nord Bence’s larger point any good.

The presumption of innocence would be given to the shooter, while burden of proof for prosecution would be with the state. This is the law in Florida that enabled George Zimmerman to get away with the murder of Trayvon Martin.

It’s only two sentences – but they are steeped to saturation in ignorance and untruth.

Reverend: Please read the Fifth Amendment. Get back to us. Thanks.

Read the Fifth Amendment.  The accused always have a presumption of innocence!  The burden of proof is supposed to be with the state!

One wonders if the Reverend truly doesn’t know this – or if she is aiming on purpose for the dumb and illl-informed.

Minnesota currently allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense, which is appropriate. But it’s an objective standard.

That is 180 degrees removed from correct.  It is subjective!

It’s called the “Reasonable Person” standard; would a “reasonable person” – or 12 of them on a jury, as Joel Rosenberg explained it – believe that you were in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm?   That was a start; those same reasonable people had to believe you also used lethal force appropriately, and weren’t taking part in a fight you were willingly part of.

It’s simple in concept, it’s intensely complicated in court, it’s generally logical, it makes lawyers rich…

…and it’s anything but objective.

You have to be able to show you actually were in danger and that you tried to retreat before resorting to deadly force. This bill removes the obligation to retreat and specifically gives the presumption of innocence to the shooter.

No.  The Constitution does.

The bill merely means that a prosecutor can’t try to hold an arbitrary, subjective definition of “retreating” against someone who is otherwise legitimately defending their life.

This is a major change in our understanding of what it means to defend yourself, a completely subjective standard.

Well, the Reverend Nord Bence is close to a point.  If she and her followers were to learn the current law and what the bill would actually do, it’d be a major change in their understanding, all right.

The Future:  The Reverend Nord Bence asks:

Is that what we want for Minnesota?

You’re a 120 pound woman who works at a shopping mall.  As you walk to your car, a man approaches you, draws a knife, and says “Bitch, get in the car”.  As he steps to grab you, you draw a handgun and shoot him.  He bleeds out as you wait for the police.

A decision you made in a fraction of a second ended one life – perhaps justly – and has just changed yours forever; as the late Joel Rosenberg said, you’ve just dropped a nuclear bomb into your life.

The county attorney will look at the evidence, and weigh it against the statute and, in Minnesota, a lot of case law.

  • Did you legitimately fear death or great bodily harm?  There was a knife, and his statements indicated he was bent on mayhem. Check.
  • Were you a willing participant?  Obviously not.  Surveillance camera footage showed you were clearly accosted.  Check.
  • Did you use appropriate force?   You shot him, he dropped, you ceased fire.  You ended the immediate threat.  Check.
  • Did you make a reasonable effort to retreat?   You were 120 pounds and in reasonable shape.  He was 250 and kind of a slob.  Could you have outrun him, thus avoiding the incident?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But here’s what will happen; a decision that you had to make in a second, in a dark parking lot, under the most stress you will ever feel, will be gone over by someone with a BA in Political Science and a JD, sitting in a warm, well-lit office, protected by deputies with badges and metal detectors and guns, to determine if you tried hard enough, in his utterly subjective opinion, to retreat.   If he decides you did not?  You will go to trial, and spend your life’s savings trying to stay out of jail – not over whether you were reasonably afraid, but over the prosecutor’s opinion of your reflexes.    In the hands of a zealous-enough prosecutor, “duty to retreat” becomes an utterly subjective way of punishing people for otherwise perfectly-legitimate shoots.Like the one we just demonstrated.

That is why we need this law.

Oh, it gets worse still.  More tomorrow.


The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part III: That Golden Ticket!

I’m continuing my five-part series going over “Protect” Minnesota’s press release on the Self-Defense Reform and Constitutional Carry bills, which were introduced last week in the House.

But first, a quick aside.

Records:  While the criminal-safety  movement would like you to think otherwise, gun violence is neither generally random nor unpredictable.  Our violent crime rate – which has been dropping for two decades – is not evenly distributed across the population.

I’m not referring to geography here – although the numbers also manifest geographically.

Ethnicity, either, for those of you who are inclined to see racial dog-whistles in all conservative writing.

But it’s a simple fact that if a person gets to age 21 without a violent felony record – whether they’re from rural Kentucky or downtown Baltimore – the odds are pretty good they will go through their entire life without one.

And the vast, vast majority of firearm crimes involve people with records of violent and serious property crime, either as perps, victims, or both.  It’s exceedingly rare that someone of any race with a  pristine record vis a vis violent and property crime shoots someone.  (Mass shootings are usually an exception – but they are also a different  phenomenon and, notwithstanding the coverage they receive, are vastly rarer.  Also, they are overwhelmingly associated with places where victims are disarmed – but that’s another discussion).

This isn’t a tangent; it’ll come back up.

Clairvoyance?:  Consider the following scenario:

A man walks out of a bank.  He’s carrying a sawed-off shotgun (a violation of federal law) and a bag of cash.

A policeman rolls up.  A policewoman jumps out and, taking cover behind her car, yells “Show me a your carry permit!”

That sounds absurd, doesn’t it?  It is, of course.  There’s a crime underway.  The subject’s paperwork is less relevant than the fact that they reasonably appear to be in the middle of committing a violent felony.

Here’s another scenario; a policeman sees a middle-aged black family man, with his wife and his kids, sitting outside a Dairy Queen across from Lake Josephine, drinking malts and talking about their day.   A passing police officer sees the imprint of the butt of a handgun under the man’s shirt.

It’s possible that the guy is carrying illegally – and the cop may well walk over to ask if the man has a permit (he does) and advise him to tuck in a little to avoid getting ninnies riled up.  But it’s pretty much a fact that middle aged family guys, Tony Soprano notwithstanding, generally aren’t gangsters on the warpath.

This discussion brings us to The Reverend Nord Bence’s next point (with emphasis added by me):

The permitless carry bill also represents a particular threat to law enforcement officers, who cannot possibly discern who is a “good guy with a gun” and who’s a “bad guy with a gun” during the few seconds they would have to respond to a lethal threat.

Um, what now?

Does The Reverend Bence think carry permits are externally visible?

If the officer is facing a lethal threat – an immediate threat to their existence on this planet in this lifetime – permit status is irrelevant.  If you present someone with a legitimate fear of death or great bodily harm, the paperwork is irrelevant.

And not just if you’re a cop.   One of the criteria one must face to justify lethal force in self-defense as a civilian is a reasonable, immediate fear of death or great bodily harm.  If someone is waving a gun, a knife, a machete or a chainsaw at you, and a reasonable person – 12 of them, really – would agree that your life is in danger right now, then the law doesnt’ require  you to be a mind-reader, whether you wear a badge or not.

And if your fear is not reasonable, you are going to be in trouble – as Saint Anthony officer Geronimo Yanez is discovering to his chagrin in court, after allegedly panicking and shooting and killing Philando Castile, who was in fact a good guy with gun, and had a plastic card in his wallet  to prove it.

Yanez might be acquitted – he’s innocent until proven guilty – but it points the the fact that when the Reverend Nord Bence says:

If passed, this bill would force police officers to treat everyone they encounter as armed and dangerous.

…she is, as usual, talking through her ELCA hair.  Cops are always alert for danger, but behavior counts – and the consequences of misreading behavior are serious and irreversible for the shooter, whether it’s a cop or a civilian.  And even more so for the target.

Handicap:  I’ll spot Nord Bence a point here:  I’ll help her explain the point that she apparently can’t.

A carry permit can, in theory, help a cop figure out who is and is not a law-abiding citizen, assuming there isn’t a violent encounter underway – something Nord Bence apparently hasn’t figured out.

Of course, all the information a cop needs to know about a citizen’s legal status is available with a call to their precinct, or a few keystrokes on the computer in their squad car, just as fast as checking the validity of a carry permit.

The Reverend Nord Bence may not know that – which is ignorant – or may know it but be trying to fool the ignorant, which is merely repellent.

It gets worse.


  • Monday:  Game On!
  • Yesterday: Data, Data Everywhere!
  • Today:  That Golden Ticket
  • Thursday:  I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means
  • Friday:  Everyone With ELCA Hair Looks The Same

Another Gun-Free Zone…

another terrorist attack:

On Tuesday afternoon, the FBI confirmed the motives of the recent shooting attack at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida. The assailant, Esteban Santiago, claimed to carry out the attack in the name of the Islamic State.

During Santiago’s bond hearing, FBI special agent Michael Ferlazzo confirmed that he did carry out the attack in the name of the Islamic State, according to CNN. At this point, it is not yet clear if he is linked with the terrorist group or if it was a lone-wolf, IS-inspired attack like dozens of others that have recently taken place (Nice, France, Berlin, Germany, Orlando, FL, etc.).

While Florida is a shall-issue state, all civilian carry is banned in Florida airports.

Which is why Santiago was unable to carry out his attack, and nobody died.  Right?

The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part II: Data, Data Everywhere!

All week, we’re going over the “Protect” Minnesota press release from last Friday evening (aka “where politicians take out their trash”).   Because the Reverend Nancy Nord Bence’s work is just too awe-inspiringly bad to tackle in just one post.

Aside:  I can hear you asking already; worse than a Heather Martens piece?

It’s a good question.  The answer is this; point for point, nothing is as factually void as a Heather Martens statement.  And if you let her work in long form, she is capable of packing immense amounts of untruth into a small space.

But pound for pound, the Reverend Nord Bence may have put less fact, less logic and less truth into this press release than any single document in Minnesota history.  It makes Minnesota Progressive Project look like Brittanica.  It’s that bad.

First, Some Background:   Remember what a cesspool of violence Minnesota was in 1973?  When all those otherwise normal, workadaddy, hugamommy people got their hands on guns and, unimpinged by the law, ran out and started killing people?

No?

That’s right.  That’s because it didn’t happen.

And yet, one did not require a permit to carry a firearm, openly or concealed, in Minnesota.  Minnesota didn’t introduce carry permits – the loathsome “May Issue” system the good guys euthanized in 2003 – until 1974.

Which was not long before we started having crime problems in Minnesota.  But correlation doesn’t equal causation.

Next, The Cold Dry Facts:  House File 188, if passed, will allow any citizen who is legally entitled to own and carry firearms to carry them anywhere they’re legally allowed to.  They couldn’t carry them where they’re not legally allowed to – federal facilities, courthouses, schools and places where they’re asked by property owners not to carry.  People who are not legally entitled to carry firearms, due to criminal record or other disqualifying factors, would not.

In other words, law-abiding citizens could exercise their rights without asking government for permission.  Just like their rights to speak, publish, worship, assemble and all the rest.

Exactly as they could before 1974.

Like The Truth, Only The Complete Opposite:  The release starts off with a bang; as caustically cynical a lie as I’ve ever read in print, and I say that neither lightly nor hyperbolically:

The permitless carry bill (HF0188) would invalidate all state laws regarding carrying or possessing weapons in public and authorize anyone to carry a gun without a permit.

This is a lie.

The same people who can’t carry a gun today, can’t carry one under the Constitutional Carry bill. Full stop. Don’t be an idiot.

Anyone who is not entitled to own or carry firearms in Minnesota, will be forbidden to carry guns in Minnesota.

People with felony records?  No carrying for you!

People with many misdemeanor domestic assault violations?  Nope!  Don’t even ask, Chachi!  You’re out!

People who have been determined unable to own firearms, after actual due process?  Nope.  They won’t be able to carry firearms.  At all.  Period.  End of sentence.

And it won’t invalidate law about carrying or handling guns responsibly, in public or private.  The onus will be on the law-abiding gun owner to, well, be law-abiding.

Just as they are today.

Nord Bence actually flirts with fact for a moment:

If this bill were to pass, a permit would be “optional.”

Not if one wished to travel to a state that requires permits.  I’m fairly certain Nord Bence doesn’t know this, which I’ll speculate is why she used the scare quotes.

Unchecked!:  Nord Bence carries on:

Shotguns, rifles, even semi-automatic assault weapons could be carried openly by anyone, without so much as a background check.

Again, untrue

Let’s be honest; the only “background check” that matters is the one the police run when they pull you over.

The federal laws about getting background checks on handguns and “semiautomatic assault weapons” remain unchanged.

Current state laws about rifles and long-barreled shotguns remain unchanged – they need not be registered (and are used in crimes about as often as “Protect” Minnesota says something factual; being long arms, they tend to be a little conspicuous for street crime, and a little inconvenient for crimes of passion).

Which is not to say that people who commit mayhem don’t carry guns.  Clearly, they do.  They just never, ever pay the state $100 and take a background check to do it – because most of the ones who end up committing mayhem with guns couldn’t pass one anyway.

Reverend Non-Sequitur:  Up next, she descends into absurdity (with emphasis added by me):

This bill would prevent local law enforcement from fulfilling their sworn duty to protect the communities they serve. Currently those who want carry permits need to undergo a background check and be approved by law enforcement. According to BCA reports1, between 2005 and 2015, 3,800 Minnesotans were denied the right to carry through this process because of prior violent felony convictions, domestic violence, drug use, violence against police officers, repeated DUI’s, and previous suicidal threats. If the permitless carry bill were to pass today, those 3,800 dangerous individuals would be able to start carrying guns tomorrow.

Uh, no.

If you can’t carry a gun now, the bill won’t change anything. At all.

No, they can not.

People who have violent felony records, and some domestic convictions, can not own, or possess, or be in the same room as, firearms.  Forget about carrying them.    According to several levels of law, state and federal.

People with other behavior – alcohol abuse, drug abuse, violent mental illness – that would otherwise deprive them of the ability to pass a background check, can and do currently have their right to carry – or for that matter, own – guns abridged after due process.

I’ll take the Reverend Nord Bence and her ilk seriously – more seriously than they deserve – for a moment, here; they are of the opinion that making the law-abiding gun owner jump through procedural and financial hoops makes society safer.

It’s a common misconception.

We’ll come back to that tomorrow.


  • Yesterday:  Game On!
  • Today: Data, Data Everywhere!
  • Wednesday:  That Golden Ticket
  • Thursday:  I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means
  • Friday:  Everyone With ELCA Hair Looks The Same

The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight: Game On!

In 1987, as a bill that would require the state to issue handgun carry permits to citizens who were not explicitly barred from having them passed a vote in the Florida state legislature, state senator Ron Silver predicted blood in the streets, and said the state would turn into Dodge City.

Silver, being a Democrat of some integrity, admitted several years later he was completely wrong, and that the law was an untrammeled success.

In 2003,  Senator Wes “Lying Sack of Garbage” Skoglund, during the debate on the Minnesota Personal Protection Act (which also instituted “Shall Issue”), said that the law would “allow gang members to get carry permits”.   Which would, I suppose, be true, if you found a gang-banger who was 21 years old and had a clean criminal record, in which case the term you’d be look for is “citizen”.  Anyway – it hasn’t happened.  In 14 years, carry permittees have killed perhaps a half dozen people; in every case but one, it’s been ruled justifiable (and the one exception was someone who shouldn’t have gotten a permit to begin with).

In sort, it wouldn’t be a gun control debate without someone claiming the sky would fall if the law-abiding citizen were able to exercise his or her rights – and a slow walk back five years later as the predictions turned out to be universally false. .

Speaking of universally false, The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence is in the news!  And it almost reads too pat to be good fiction that she does it with a press release that ends with:

We cannot allow the gun-rights fringe to divide our communities, put police at risk, and turn our friendly and forward-looking state into…

Wait for it…

One wonders if she even realizes that the “OK Corral” analogy undercuts her point?

Wait for it…

…the OK Corral.

It never, ever fails, does it?

The Game, It Is On:  Last week, two bills were introduced in the Minnesota state legislature:

  • HF 188, which if enacted would allow any Minnesotan who is not  prohibited from having firearms to carry a firearm without needing to pay for and carry a state permit.  It’s based on the idea that law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have to pay for a state permit to exercise that right.
  • HF 238, which would reform self-defense law by removing the arbitrary and subjective “duty to retreat” from the law on self-defense, as well as codifying the law-abiding citizen’s rights to defend their domicile and property.

In response, “Protect” Minnesota – a group that has for over a decade provided comic relief to Minnesota’s Second Amendment debate  – released a press release on the bills.

They released it at 7:30 PM.  On a Friday night.  The time when most politicians in the know release damaging information – because it’ll be forgotten about by Monday.

And they tried to make up for bad timing with pure volume; unlike most such political press releases, it’s as long as a a Madonna speech, and about as coherent.

The piece isn’t just groaningly, flatulently long; it’s so full of falsehoods – through malice or through incompetence, it matters not – that it really leaves only two possibilities; they really are that badly informed, or they assume that the public is and want to help keep them that way.

At any rate, it’s so bad, I am actually going to break it up into four parts over the rest of the week:

  • Tomorrow: Data, Data Everywhere!
  • Wednesday:  That Golden Ticket
  • Thursday:  I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means
  • Friday:  Everyone With ELCA Hair Looks The Same

So tune in every day over lunch for something that “Protect” Minnesota won’t give you; facts.  And the truth.

Democrat Rule

What happens when you count the dead over the past sixteen years in Chicago – which hasn’t had a Republican, much less conservative, mayor in several generations?

You get more blood and gore than our two official war zones, that’s what.

What do you suppose would happen if the mainstream media and Hollywood covered Democrat failures like they covered George W. Bush’s mistakes?

“But Mitch!  You heard the President last year – Chicago’s violent crime wave is happening because people can buy guns in Indiana.”

If that were true, then why isn’t Indiana awash in blood, too?

No, for some reason Indiana  –  and, for that matter, most of Illinois – has a fraction of Chicago’s violent crime rate.   Of course, the feds have been derelict in their own job, opting out of the business of prosecuting “straw buyers” – who, along with theft, provide most of the guns used by Chicago’s gangs.

Maybe some of the gun movement’s shrill scolds can whitesplain us why the US attorney for Northern Illinois hates black people…

Heather Martens, Whitesplainer

Behold the spokeswoman for Minnesota’s minority community.

Voice of Minnesota “minorities”, Heather Martens, exploiting a dead woman to no avail back in 2013.

It’s Heather Martens, longtime “executive director” and, for most of the decade, pretty much sole “member” of “Protect” Minnesota, a criminal-safety group famous for its comic ineptitude.

She left “Protect” Minnesota a while ago; word has it that MIchael Bloomberg realized that he’d be throwing even more money away if he was filtering it through her; Minnesota’s Criminal Safety movement is essentially run from New York today (the Reverend Nancy Nord Bence notwithstanding).

Given that she isn’t formally involved in the Criminal Safety movement anymore, I’m not sure why the Strib is giving her free space to recite her chanting points.

But give her space, they did, last Friday.   The op-ed was titled “Story on ‘gun rush’ by minorities lacked evidence”.   And I’ll had Martens this much; she’s an expert at “lack of evidence”; she makes Jesse Ventura look like Alan Dershowitz.

I was disappointed in the Star Tribune’s article “New fear bolsters gun rush in state” (Jan. 1), which amounted to a grossly misleading advertisement for the gun industry.

If Andrew Rothman ordered a pizza in the woods, and Heather Martens wasn’t there to hear it, would he still be “advertising for the gun industry?”

The subheading, “Worried for their safety, minorities have increased applications since Nov.,” is not supported by any information in the article. The article itself states, “There is no data on the number of Muslim-Americans buying guns, and permit application records don’t reveal demographic information beyond the age, gender and the county of the applicant.”

One suspects Heather would recoil in horror at the notion of registering Muslims for any other reason – but she wouldn’t mind making the rest of us walk around with yellow “gun” shapes sewed to our shirts.

The only evidence of a “rush” on guns by Somalis and other minorities is the word of gun lobbyist Andrew Rothman and the existence of one minority gun group.

Well, yeah – and a lot of anecdotal evidence from an awful lot of other people, minority and gay and liberal.   Perhaps Ms. Martens believes NBC and the BBC are also emissaries of the “Gun Lobby”.

There may or may not have been any such rush on guns.

Which may or may not undercut the entire stated point of this op-ed.

You’ve got to hand it to Rothman, however. He scored, with no proof, a front-page story normalizing gun carrying for a market the gun lobby has been unsuccessfully pursuing for years.

And since Ms. Martens is putatively concerned about “evidence”, we’ll await her proof that the surge, if any (heh heh), is in any way related to “gun lobby” marketing efforts, rather than minorities, gays and liberals discovering what Second Amendment supporters of all races (including Dr. Martin Luther King) have always known.

Now for the reality. Gallup’s research shows that American household gun ownership reached a near-historic low of 37 percent in 2014, compared with 57 percent in 1977. According to the General Social Survey, overall household gun ownership has dropped fairly steadily for decades (though a small number of people continue to increase their already large collections, keeping the gun industry profitable).

And, as pointed out in this space, the Gallup Poll was a fairly risible effort – a telephone poll of a “minority” in this country, before the last election, when gun owners were legitimately reticent about talking.   Thin evidence?  Perhaps – but then, given Gallup’s performance in the last presidential election, not as bad as I might have once admitted.

Speaking of thin evience, it’s the point of the article where Ms. Martens drops a series of unsupported-to-fictional statements in hopes of gulling the gullible – a practice I call “Heathering”.

There are many reasons most Americans, including minorities, aren’t behaving the way the gun lobby wants.

So while neither Martens nor (for sake of argument) Rothman “has any evidence”, Martens states this as a conclusive fact?

Huh?

First, bringing a gun into the home puts the family at greater risk of injury or death. The Annals of Internal Medicine reported in a 2014 meta-analysis that a gun in the home doubles the risk of homicide and triples the risk of suicide. Unsecured guns also pose a lethal threat to young children.

And without context, that sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it?

Of course, the study doesn’t control for who it is doing the shooting; is the gun “in the house” of a felon?  A gang member?

As usual, Martens seems to think that simple hardware corrupts people.

The push to market guns to people of color is particularly ironic in light of the gun industry’s history of championing an extreme white supremacist agenda.

As has been noted in the past, this is a complete fiction.  The National Rifle Association armed Martin Luther King’s bodyguards, and allowed them to train at their range in Virginia – one of very very few integrated facilities in the DC area in 1960.

In 1977, extremists took over the formerly moderate National Rifle Association. In the post-civil rights movement era, the NRA found it advantageous to play on white Americans’ fear of people of color, and the organization has now become a platform for racist rhetoric from white supremacists…

WHOAH!

OK!  Strap yourselves in!   She’s going for the big claim here!

Here comes the “Evidence” she was talking about!  Here’s where she’s going to deliver on her claims!

Wait for it…wait for it…

….like board member Ted Nugent.

Oh.

Ted Nugent.

An over the hill rocker and loose rhetorical cannon who’s said some deeply stupid things.

But “supremacist?”

Feel free to pony up the evidence, Heather.  You’re verging on defamation, here.

Still – her claim about Nugent – devoid of fact as it is – is about as close as she’ll get to a fact in the rest of her wrticle.

In 2003, when [shall-issue carry] was being debated here in Minnesota, proponents dismissed all predictions of political intimidation with guns. But such intimidation is now commonplace. Men (it is almost entirely men) now openly carry loaded weapons to legislative hearings about guns at the State Capitol and to other government meetings and political events.

Intimidation?  With guns?

Why, that’s illegal!

Surely there were complaints filed, police called, a paper trail created?

No.  There was not.  What happened was a group of people, following the law to the letter, did something they were legally entitled to do.  The Capitol Police say, openly, that the carriers were among the most diligently law-abiding people in the building.

There was no “intimidation”.

Ms. Martens – feeling “intimidated” by law-abiding people doing things that are perfectly legal is your prerogative.  Whining about it puts you on par with people who don’t like being in rooms with black people.

A gun-toting group took over a national wildlife refuge in Oregon, with no legal consequences.

Ms. Martens is apparently as ignorant about the Fifth Amendment as she is of the Second; there were legal consequences.  There were arrests, arraignments, a trial…

…and an acquittal.   That, Ms. Martens,  is a legal consquence.

Following a shooting last year in Minneapolis at a demonstration led by people of color, one man whom a prosecutor identified as a “white supremacist” is soon to be tried on charges of shooting and wounding peaceful demonstrators.

Well, wait, Ms. Martens – there’s going to be a trial.  At issue was whether the protesters were peaceful, or in fact a legitimate threat of death or great bodily harm, potentially leading to a self-defense claim.   Until then, the suspect is innocent until proven guilty.

Now, this blog has made great sport of pointing out, debunking, and roundly mocking Ms. Martens’ endless parade of lies – all the while scampering away from any engagement from those who know better.

And it’s all been good clean political fun, as these things go, so far.

But next, Martens slides over the edge, from being a befuddled ninny to complete moral depravity.

Gun carry laws don’t go far enough for those who want to return to the “good old days” when it was easier for white men to kill black men with impunity.

We carry guns because we want to kill black people?

Wow.  And Martens thought Rothman made a claim with no evidence.

It seems I’ve been giving Martens too much credit all these years; where I used to think she was just a gabbling ninny, it seems she’s really something much, much less innocent.

That’s why the gun lobby invented “Stand Your Ground” or “Shoot First” laws, which allow a person to shoot and kill, in public, anyone they deem threatening — and people of color are well aware who that means.

Well, no – that’s not how “stand your ground” works.

But “people of color” are aware of what the law means; they use “Stand Your Ground” in self-defense cases twice as much per capita as white shooters.

In Heather Martens’ weird little world, where black people are nothing but hapless victims, I’m sure that comes as a shock.

So let’s recap:  in a column where Heather Martens accuses Andrew Rothman of presenting no evidence to support his claim, she presents…at best no evidence to support any claim, and at worst, evidence that debunks her and, finally, marks her as a fairly toxic little person.

Dear Minnesota Minorities:  you might want to specifically terminate Ms. Martens as your official spokesperson.

Trending

Nine guns were purchased last year for every 100 Americans:

Driven by terror threats and a potential Hillary Clinton administration, sales of guns in America soared to record levels in 2016, according to the FBI.

Just released FBI background check numbers, which roughly equate gun sales, totaled some 27,538,673, 4 million more than in 2015 and nearly double the number in President Obama‘s first year.

The numbers do not include many guns sold to or given to friends and family.

Sales hit record levels for some 19 months in a row as the number of terrorist attacks around the world and here at home increased, driving purchases by those seeking protection. The increase paralleled increases in those seeking a license to carry a concealed weapon.

The battle over gun control is a fundamentally class-based one – and the proles won.

So far.

Complacency is misplaced.

Get The Sad Trombone

Gun-control melodrama Miss Sloane has bombed at the box office.

Well, no.  That understates it.  Howard the Duck and Ishtar bombed.  Miss Sloane was dropped from a single B-29, and like that iconic single bomb, has a decent shot at helping to bring a war to an end.

After lavish television advertising – Miss Sloane had a bigger TV budget than the inescapable Rogue One – and fawning reviews from liberal critics and media, the movie earned $3.2 million dollars.  Which, divided by the number of screens and a $10 ticket price, meant an average of around ten people attending each showing.

And it wasn’t for lack of trying to get people to show up. Out of the 200 highest-grossing movies of 2016, only ten exceeded the $15.9 million television advertising budget of Miss Sloane, and seven of those did so by very small amounts. Miss Sloane spent more than the Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, Star Trek, Pete’s Dragon, Arrival, Doctor Strange, and Hacksaw Ridge. It had twice the advertising budget of such hits as Sully, The Girl on the Train, and The Secret Life of Pets. For every dollar spent on advertising, Miss Sloane brought in just 21 cents in ticket sales. By this measure, it came in dead last out of the 200 top-grossing movies in 2016. No one else was even close. Coming in second-to-last was Collateral Beauty, which made 53 cents per advertising dollar. The average movie made almost $2 for each dollar spent on advertising.

Of course, the movie’s core conceit – that gun grabbers are a bunch of plucky, underfunded underdogs, duking it out with a “gun lobby” that is floating in money – is a preposterous fiction.  Michael Bloomberg and other anti-gun plutocrats fund the “safe criminal” movement lavishly.

For example, here in Minnesota during the 2016 campaign, groups affiliated with the safe criminal lobby spent well over a million dollars – easily ten times as much as the Human Rights movement did – and employed at least four full-time paid staffers.   Not a single person in Minnesota is paid to lobby the legislature or organize the community; the movement is entirely volunteers, working on their own time out of pure devotion to the Bill of Rights.   In other states – Nevada, Washington, Maine – the spending ratio was closer to 30 to 1.

I suspect most Americans can tell the movie doesn’t pass the stink test;  Sloane’s premise reeks like a full pea-soup diaper on a dog day in the bayou.

And its failure is of a piece with the collapse, over the past fifteen years, of nearly every single Hollywood anti-war movie.

When I saw the trailer – during one of my ever-so-brief episodes of watching broadcast TV – I heard the trailer in the background.  I think it was the normally-excellent Sam Waterson, playing one of the “gun lobby” bad guys.  I think I envisioned a character wearing a black cape and top hat, twisting a painstakingly-maintained handlebar mustache as he tied Ms. Chastain…er, Sloane to the tracks.  I actually laughed out loud.

But hey, Hollywood; keep ’em coming.

They Are So Close…

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is leaving Alary’s after a Bears game, when he runs into MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau.  Dressed in a hemp power skirt, her brunette-but-slightly-prematurely-gray hair cut into the style known as “ELCA Hair”, she is on her way from her Lowertown condo to the MPR building.  

SILBERMAN:  (In her “NPR” voice – a nasal brogue that bespeaks an Ivy League education, and sounds like it may have ironic clarinet music in the background) Mr.  Berg.

BERG:   Oh, hello, MyLyssa.

SILBERMAN:  So you’re still a Second Amendment activist?

BERG:  I am.

SILBERMAN:  And you oppose closing the “Gun Show Loophole” with mandatory registration?

BERG:  Yep.

SILBERMAN:  Why?  It’s clearly commonsense.

BERG:  I’m going to refute you with an NPR story.   Yesterday, NPR reported that the Obama Administration has done away with a 9/11-era program that allowed the creation of a registry of people from several countries linked to terrorist activities.   (BERG draws iPhone from pocket, shuffles through to find a recording).  I believe this the report, from NPR’s Tom Gjelten:

GJELTEN: Among those who would speak out – the American Civil Liberties Union. Hina Shamsi is the national security director there.

HINA SHAMSI: We would absolutely oppose this program. And as we have said, if this form of discriminatory registry is put in place, we stand ready to sue and to challenge it.

(BERG stops the recording)

SILBERMAN:  Right.  So?

BERG:  Listen to this next bit.  I’ll crank up the volume for a few parts”

GJELTEN: A new registry could bring out law-abiding Muslims. But human rights lawyer Banafsheh Akhlaghi says it would probably not reveal the would-be terrorists the government should be worried about.

AKHLAGHI: They aren’t going to voluntarily come into a federal building, give you their fingerprints, give you their name and their identity and allow you to take photographs of them. The good guys do that.

(BERG stops the recording again)

BERG:   So terrorists aren’t going to come in and register themselves…

SILBERMAN:   Right.  That’s absurd.

BERG:   Exactly.  But criminals – people who commit violence with guns?  They will come in and, in effect, register with a background check when they buy guns?

SILBERMAN:  You are clearly “fake news”.

BERG:  Clearly.

(And SCENE)

The New Puritans

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is shopping for a generator at Menard’s.  As he pores over the spec sheet, Moonbeam BIRKENSTOCK steps around the corner.  

BIRKENSTOCK:  Merg!   The “christian” college, “Liberty University”, is building a gun violence range for its students.

BERG:   It’s a gun range.  And so what?

BIRKENSTOCK:  It’s weird.

BERG:   Hardly. It’s a conservative institution.  Many of its students are shooters.  The campus 2nd Amendment group is large and active, and shootings sports are popular among students.  It’s not unreasonable to assume that a shooting-sports-friendly campus is going to be a draw for students who are, like most Liberty students, to the right of center.

BIRKENSTOCK:  But guns on campus!  Isn’t that just kind of weird?  Shouldn’t school be a place of non-violence?

BERG:   Non-violence?   You mean like “gun-free” Virginia Tech?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Yes!

BERG:  Where a gunman killed 32 students and faculty?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Don’t confuse me with irrelevant details.

BERG:  Er, right.  So – why should Liberty not provide that facility, if it’s an obvious marketing spiff for them?

BIRKENSTOCK:  There should be no guns at places of higher learning.

BERG:  Question for you, Moonbeam:   should colleges teach abstinence only sex education?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Good heavens, no.  That never works!

BERG:  Because people naturally gravitate toward things they enjoy?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Yes!

BERG:   So abstinence only education can not work when it comes to sex, but is the only acceptable solution when it comes to guns?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Why do you hate women and minorities?

BERG:  Naturally.

And SCENE. 

Fake News

In New York City police precinct released this tweet over the weekend

From the top, The “arsenal” includes:

  • A toy musket, complete with orange “I am a toy!” Muzzle cap.
  • A BB gun.
  • An airsoft “shotgun”
  • A couple of martial arts practice swords, most likely plastic
  • On the right side –  a garden machete, available for $10 from any Walmart or garden store.
  • And, tuckedin under the butt stock of the BB gun? A single, tiny, 25 caliber pistol, very likely nonfunctional.

We get it – it’s dangerous being a cop.  Weapons in the hands of ne’er-do-wells are a bad thing.

But this sort of thing bespeaks one of two things:

  • Cops who don’t think much of their citizens
  • Cops who are trying to suck up to political leadership who doesn’t think much of their citizens, and would like to see them all “disarmed”.

You know what’s got my vote.

Dimes will get you dollars it fooled the average New Yorker and/or “gun sense” ninny.

:

To Protect And Serve…The Special Interests That His Bosses Kowtow To

Not that you’d know if have a life, but Minnesota’s little coterie of gun-grabber groups had a “March” yesterday.

Of course, they didn’t march where the actual violence was.  They “marched” about the tony, safe fields of Boom Island, nestled into the upscale neighborhood across the river from Downtown Minneapolis; close to the killing fields of North Minneapolis as the crow flies, but still a million miles away.

The ELCA Hair was safely covered with hand-knit artisanal wool caps.   The orange Dreamsicle t-shirts were covered by more North Face on the “Marchers” than on the actual north face of any mountain in the area.

There was much misplaced bravado, at least on social media (“SEE YOU AT THE CAPITOL” indeed – but not for long, since not a single one of your bills will make it to the floor of the GOP controlled legislature, absent some hue and cry to do so – and the last election pretty well refudiated the notion  that there is any such hue and cry).

But there was one other “Marcher” that drew this blog’s interest:

It’s a Minneapolis police lieutenant (I won’t name him), wearing a Dreamsicle cap.

Leftenant:  you’re wearing a cap from a group that wants to deny a God-given liberty to law-abiding American citizens, along with your uniform and badge.

Does this give us some idea of the treatment law-abiding gun owners can expect in your area of responsibility?

I can’t imagine that this is legal, even under Janae Harteau’s special-interest-friendly set of policies.

If you’re a law-abiding citizen in Minneapolis who exercises your Second Amendment rights, be careful.

But you knew that.