“Gun Violence Prevention” And Its Inevitable Consequences

Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, banned and confiscated all civilian firearms.

And now, as the Maduro regime’s support frays under the complete collapse of the Venezuelan economy, he’s re-arming…

…well, the right Venezuelans:

“A gun for every militiaman!” Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said to uniformed militia members outside the presidential palace, Fox News reported on Tuesday. The Bolivarian militias, created by Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, already number in the hundreds of thousands and are being used to supplement the regime’s armed forces. Maduro is boosting the number of armed supporters in hopes of keeping control over the country from what he labels “imperialist aggression.”

Yet again – the necessary precursor to dictatorship was the disarming of the law-abiding.

Just a further lesson – there can be no compromise with the tyrants – be they Nicolas Maduro or Michael Bloomberg or Nancy Nord Bence.

Ever.

Lie First, Lie Always: When The DFL Does Polling, The Truth Dies A Little

Kim Norton – the former MN Representative from Rochester who asked for a “conversation about gun safety”, and then blocked everyone who disagreed with the conclusion she’d been given by Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown” – tried her hand at “polling” to try to gin up the impression that there was some actual support for gun control in Minnesota.

Her “polling” was a joke – and I say that as someone who has to know something about demographic statistics for a living – but it needed be nothing but, as it was intended, like most gun control statements, only to scare the uninformed, fool the gullible, and inflamed the uninformed.  Oh, and ingratiate herself with Michael Bloomberg’s minions, the better to pad out her post-legislative career.

Not sure what the motivation is for her, but Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn – a woman whose idea of “discussion” is the same as the cowardly Norton, and has done as little to earn her pointless air of condescension as Senator Ron Latz – is a rep from the only place she could get elected in this state; Minneapolis.

And in her latest subject constituent email, among other questions, she asks:

“Do you support or oppose passing universal background checks on all gun sales in Minnesota?”

Mark my words:  the responses to this question – which will draw self-selecting responses from people motivated to respond on the issue at all, in one of the most liberal districts in the state – will be presented without context by Becker-Finn, and likely the media, as indicative of the opinion of Minnesotans at large.

I’m making a note.  we’ll check back on this.

Led Around By Our Emotional Nose

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I’m trying to break down the anti-gun logic, hoping to find a clue how to convince them to see reason.

Should police be allowed to carry guns in public?

Yes, to defend themselves.

Whose life is more valuable: a policeman or a 26-year-old Black woman?

Equal.

Should she be allowed to carry a gun in public?

No, she has no need.  The cop must go into danger, she need not.

What if she lives in North Minneapolis, works as a waitress and walks home after her shift ends at night?

Even if she has a need, she has no training.  She’ll use a gun wrongly.

Suppose she just graduated from the two-year program at Hibbing Community College and aced her POST boards, but has not yet received a job officer so she’s not yet a sworn officer.  She’s as well educated as the law requires to be a police officer.  Should she be allowed to carry a gun?

No, she doesn’t have the practical experience.  She needs to serve a probationary period under the supervision of an experienced officer to learn when and how to use her weapon.

So a person who has the education and the practical training will never use the gun wrongly?

No, even experienced officers still can make mistakes.  But the odds are better they won’t.

Suppose she was a cop but is taking a couple of years off to raise her daughter as a single mother.  She’s fully trained.  Now can she carry a gun in public?

If the answer is still no, then it’s plain the objection is not education or experience or need, the objection is emotional and irrational.

Irrational behavior should not set public policy.

Joe Doakes

And yet it drives half of our body politic almost exclusively, and a majority of the other half on way too many issues.

That train left the station.  Not sure it’ll ever come back.

As Long As The Bridge Doesn’t Collapse…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If this had occurred in a state park in Minnesota and the boyfriend had been equipped with a revolver and Permit to Carry, could he have shot the rapist dead and escaped prosecution?

The boyfriend was not being threatened, personally, so he can’t use self-defense.  His girlfriend is being threatened so he might be able to claim he killed the rapist in Defense of Others.  Ah, but what about the Duty To Retreat?

“Finally, Bishop also fails to prove the final element of a defense-of-others claim. A person claiming self-defense has a duty to retreat and to avoid danger if reasonably possible. State v. Austin, 332 N.W.2d 21, 24 (Minn. 1983); see State v. Soukup, 656 N.W.2d 424, 428-29 (Minn. App. 2003) (stating that principles of self-defense in homicide cases apply to assault cases as well, including duty to retreat or avoid physical conflict). The evidence demonstrates that Bishop did not attempt to retreat or to avoid the danger. Bishop had ample opportunity to retreat into the secure apartment building or to have avoided any danger or physical conflict by not leaving the building in the first place. There is also no indication in the record that D.B. was moving toward Bishop in such a way as to prevent Bishop from retreating to safety, but rather the evidence demonstrates that D.B. was walking away from Bishop when Bishop stabbed him. Further, Bishop’s family was either inside the locked apartment building or close enough to be able to easily retreat inside before D.B. could become an imminent threat. There is no evidence to support that Bishop took advantage of the reasonable opportunities to retreat or avoid the danger.”  — State v. Bishop, A07-1435, A08-1339, unpublished (Minn. App. 2009).

Bishop was convicted because he failed to retreat when he acted in defense-of-others.

Yes, I know: the quoted paragraph makes no sense.  The first sentence talks about defense-of-others but the next three talk about defense-of-self, then back to others before concluding his failure to retreat deprived him of ALL defenses, self and others.  The court seems to blend the two theories.  And this is the appeals court, the one that is supposed to correct mistakes of law made at the trial level, but they don’t seem to understand the law, either.

I was taught the defender stepped into the shoes of the victim.  If the victim could not retreat, the defender didn’t need to retreat.  But read the quoted paragraph again.  It’s perfectly possible to read that language to mean the boyfriend with the revolver was required to leave his girlfriend while he retreated to safety, that he was not allowed to intervene to defend her.  Is that really the law of the land so the boyfriend must stand there and watch?  Or is the court mistaken so he can safely pull the trigger?

This is where Duty To Retreat leaves us – confused and bewildered and uncertain of our rights.  Are we allowed defend our loved ones, or must we leave them to be raped or killed?  If for no other reason, clarity and certainty make Stand Your Ground so important.

Joe Doakes

As the memes from MN Gun Owners Coalition put it, you need to be familiar with a dozen bits of case law if you plan to be ready to defend yourself or others outside your home.

Otherwise, “duty to retreat” is just a make work program for lawyers.

The Long Con

Matt Windschitl called out “Iowa Gun Owners” as a scam from the floor of the Iowa state legislature.    We’ve met Windschitl in this space before; I’ve interviewed him on my show,

Iowa Gun Owners is the Iowa “branch” of the “Minnesota Gun Rights”. – which is a misnomer, as MGR actually is headquartered in Iowa.

Windschitl savaged IGO for taking credit for Iowa’s recent passage of “Stand Your Ground” legislation, pointing out that not a single legislator had heard from Aaron Dorr, and the group had not even registered as lobbyists.

The TV story shown in the link above notes that Aaron Dorr doesn’t take a salary “from the group”, and that most of the group’s  nearly $300,000 in donations went to “direct mail” expenses.

Unmentioned;  the Dorr Brothers own the direct mail company that serves IGO, Minnesota Gun Rights, and several other state gun and pro-life groups.

This is the first serious media attention that’s been paid to the Dorr brothers’ operations.  It should not be the last.

Unwarranted Sanctimony

The Evanglical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), aka “Unitarians with Lutefisk” (Keillor said it, not me!), are the far-left-leaning wing of American Lutheranism.  The people who gave us “ELCA hair” are headquartered in Minneaopolis, and often seem to spend more time on politics than faith; among certain ELCA circles, “faith” seems to be little but a common theme for (inevitably leftist) politics.  (Most mainline Protestants and Catholics in the Metro are no better).

One of their less-informed stances, like that of most of the dogmatist American left, is on civilian firearms and the Second Amendment.

And they’ve been taking some heat on the issue – because while, like my own former Presbyterian organization (the Presbyterian Church in the USA), the leadership is about as ideologically diverse as a the crowd at the Whole Foods in Berkeley, the folks in the pews on Sundays are all over the place politically (or were: the ELCA, like the PCUSA and other American liberal denominations, is hemorrhaging membership faster than the Gary Glitter fan club).

Anyway, some of the folks in those pews are law-abiding citizens who value the right to keep and bear arms, and they’re not shutting up and taking it from their self-appointed betters.  And  it seems to be rankling the ELCA; someone wrote a post on the ELCA’s “Engage” website responding to some of the flak they’ve gotten.

Well, not so much “responding”.  But we’ll come back to that.

I have received several angry replies to my “Stomping Stand Your Ground” blog. The writers deserve a response.

Although they don’t get a “Response” so much as getting “tut-tutted” by someone who really doesn’t know much about the issue.

One writer called the blog “shameful and disgusting…politically motivated crap. If my church supported this, I would be looking for a real church.” Another wrote “What load of crap! This Lutheran group ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

The ELCA has been supporting this “crap” about actions in support of gun violence prevention (GVP) since 1989.

Since the right to keep and bear arms is one of the things that separates a “citizen” from a “subject”, then yes – the ELCA should be ashamed of their pro-authoritarian stance, and anyone who believes that we, The Peoplle (of all faiths) are supposed to be citizens, not subjects, in our secular, political life, should have some pointed, acerbic questions for the ELCA’s temporal leadership.  (And so should you Catholics and PCUSA Presbyterians and Episcopals and Methodists, too).

Churchwide Assembly action happened in 1989, 1993, 2013 and 2016. Furthermore, the Church Council acted in 1994, the Social Statement “For Peace in God’s World” calls for the need to create peaceful environments, and the St. Paul Area Synod passed two strong GVP resolutions in 2013 and 2016. The ELCA must be a “crappy” church.

If you believe that the best way to secure Peace in God’s World is to keep authoritarianism, dictatorship and tyranny at bay – and I do – then yes.  Those resolutions, as they relate to disarming the law-abiding citizen – are prima facie evidence of a church that is, if not “crappy”, at least more suited to life under an authoritarian regime than a pluralistic democracy founded on the idea of self-government.

I would argue that the will of God and the ethics of Jesus are unabashedly nonviolent in focus. Violence is the result of the Fall and not God pulling the triggers of violence.

And it’s here that the writer – knowingly or not – gets insidious.

All violence is not the same.  Invading Normandy to free Europe is not the same as invading France to enslave Europe.  Freeing a concentration camp through force of arms is not the same as driving people into a camp via force of arms.   Shooting someone who is threatening to kill you or your family is not the same as threatening to kill someone or their family.  To slop them all together under an intentionally-vague label is rhetorically shoddy – and morally repugnant.

The gun in the hands of the law-abiding citizen deters violence; the gun in the hands of the would-be victim of violence turns them, often, into non-victims.

Jesus’ disgust at weapons is clear in his words “Enough!”, “No more of this!” and “Those who live by the [gun] shall die by the [gun].” The Sermon on the Mount is his “magnus opus” on nonviolence.

The Sermon on the Mount decried revenge killing; some religious leaders at the time were preaching that the doctrine of “an eye for an eye” meant that revenge killing was acceptable.  Jesus corrected those false teachings and put the kibosh on that with his sermon.  (Too bad Mohammed never had such a sermon, huh?).  It was not a foreclosure of self-defense.

God and Jesus must be crappy.

No, but the writer’s interpretation of scripture is a tad, er,  fecal.

The Bible also endorses self-defense in several places:  in Exodus 22:2-3 we are told “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.”.  Which reads a lot like Minnesota’s case law on self-defense; you can defend yourself from an immediate threat to your life and health.  If you do it later, as revenge, then you are in huge trouble.

Proverbs 25:26 says “A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.”   Allowing wickedness – whether street crime or political tyranny – to oppress the faithful is wrong.   LIfe – ours, and those of our fellow humans – is a gift from God; to allow the wicked to destroy them is an affront to His creation.

Anyway – you gotta figure that even if the learned scribe from the ECLA can’t do theology, they’ll at least have some Old Testament evidence and logic on their side.

Right?

You actually read this blog, right? What do you think?

Another called the article “misleading and false.” The sources for my comments are Protect Minnesota,

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

As I’ve shown in this space for the past fifteen years, “Protect” Minnesota has never – not once – made a substantial, true, original statement about guns, gun owners, gun laws, the Second Amendment and its legal history, the law-abiding gun owner’s affect on crime, or anything else.

Among the informed, using “Protect” Minnesota as a source is tantamount to admitting you know nothing about the subject.

…The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, State Health Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Center for Health, plus Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins Universities. I will trust these sources immensely more than those quoted by the gun lobby.

Let’s ignore for a moment the “Appeal to Authority”  – the logical fallacy of using the provenance of your sources as evidence, rather than the actual facts.  Saying “my sources are better than your sources!” are the mark of the seventh-grader who hasn’t learned debate, or logic, yet.

Leaving aside the risible “Protect” Minnesota, the other sources – I’m familiar with all of them – have deep flaws in the information they present.

What are those flaws?  We could go through them point by point, study by study, and systematically refute their applicability and authority.    Indeed, we have, and do, do that; it’s one of several reasons the good guys have been winning this debate for the past twenty years; the facts are on our side.

But I suspect we won’t be going through the with the anonymous writer, because the pro-criminal-safety movement – including the ELCA’s Reverend Nancy Nord Bence, the false-witness-bearing head of “Protect” Minnesota – have told their various adherents not to “engage” with Human Rights activists.

Seems exposure to the facts has caused the Kool-Aid to wear off with some of the less zealous disciples.

One hopes the writer of this piece is made of sterner stuff – more below – but this next bit casts doubts:

I am pleasantly surprised that no one criticized the references to the Second Amendment nor to our nation’s Founding Documents of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It is nice knowing they are not “crappy.”

Fourth Grade called.  They wanted their big finish back.

Speaking of “big finishes”:

Stand Your Ground escalates the probability of gun violence.

No, it doesn’t – the statement relies on turning a dubious correlation into a  specious causation – but let’s take it at face value for a moment.

If someone shoots someone wrongly – as an aggressor, in commission of a robbery or a gangland shootout – then “Stand your Ground” is irrelevant.   If someone is not the aggressor, and shoots a rapist, a robber, a burglar, a kidnapper, an attacker, then you can say an act of “gun violence” has happened.  But you’d be portraying an act of self-defense – where, by legal definition, someone legitimately feared for their life and health – into an evil act.

And that, itself, is downright evil.

Not “crappy”.  Evil.

Note to readers:  I’m going to try, in a spirit of respect, inquiry and attempt for mutual understanding,  to send a link to this story to the people from “Engage” to see if they will, y’know, engage.  Please feel free to do the same; tell ’em I sent you.

I’d very much like to invite the people behind “Engage” on my show for a rational, factual debate on the subject.   I doubt they’ll do it; I don’t think they have the confidence in their command of the issue, legally, theologically, morally or factually.

But hope, as they say, springs eternal.

Continue reading

An Actual Sensible Gun Law

Illinois enacts harsh sanctions against trafficking stolen and straw-purchased guns:

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to dramatically increase the penalties for those caught illegally transporting guns into Illinois.

First-time offenders could face up to 20 years in prison, and repeat offenders could face up to 30 years under the new gun trafficking law, which takes effect immediately.

The governor was joined by top Republican lawmakers as he signed the measure at the Illinois State Police crime lab on the Near West Side. He said the goal is to reduce the growing epidemic of gun violence in Chicago. There already have been at least 460 homicides and more than 2,700 shootings in 2016; during all of last year, there were approximately 490 homicides, and just shy of 3,000 shootings in Chicago.

Illinois is basically doing what Obama’s useless USA Attorney for Northern Illinois was too lazy and politically-focused to do; the USA trumpeted to Chicago’s criminal underclass that sending your mom or girlfriend to Indiana to buy a Glock wasn’t worth his time.  

And you have to ask yourself – why is it that “Protect” Minnesota or Everytown for “Gun Safety” never, ever suggest measures like this, and focus exclusively on attacking, defaming and bullying the law-abiding gun owner?

Lie First, Lie Always: Rev. Nancy Nord Bence, False Witness

To:  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
From:  Mitch Berg, Presbyterian peasant
Re:  False Witness

Dear ELCA,

One of your reverends is lying through her impeccable teeth:

Your reverend keeps telling black people and Muslims that the HR288, the “Self Defense Reform Act”, is a special danger to them, because, she says, it’ll allow people to shoot people who “make them feel uncomfortable”.

It’s a lie.  Nothing more – and if you take your Ten Commandments seriously, nothing less.

The Reverend has had the truth about this matter explained to her, repeatedly.  “That hoodie / disdasha / person’s skin color made me scared” is not grounds to use lethal force in self defense1.

Ever!

She is not “mistaken”, and she certainly isn’t telling the truth.  She is not only willfully misleading people – she’s using her clerical office to lend her lies credence.

Is this the example your clergy should be setting?

Please see to this

That is all.

Continue reading

Open Letter To The Entire Twin Cities Media

To:  The Entire Twin Cities News Media
From:  Mitch Berg, ornery peasant
Re:  The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence

Back during my brief and unlamented reporting career, I had not a few editors and producers warn me off using certain sources – the ones that had a habit of feeding them bum information.

I’m going to do the same for you today.  To wit:

On the subject of guns, the Reverend Nancy Nord Bence – the director of “Protect” Minnesota – has never made a single, substantial, original, true statement. 

Not One..

Every word in there is a key qualifier.  I don’t doubt that she makes true, substantial, original statements about other things – Lutheran theology (I’ll let you Missouri Synod people mix it up on that), her family, sports trivia, whatever.   Those are not at issue.

But on the issue of guns, gun laws, gun owners, violence statistics, then the Reverend Nord Bence and her organization have never – not once – made a single statement that is simultaneously substantial, original, and true.

She/they may have made statements that are substantial and true – like, repeating broad statistics from the Department of Justice website (before they embroider them, anyway) – but the statements aren’t original.

They may have said things that are substantial and original – like “Stand your Ground is a threat to minorities and immigrants” – but it’s not true.   It’s devoid of fact.

The Reverend may have said things that true and original – like “Ron Latz supports our agenda” – but they were not substantial contributions to the debate; they were, as lawyers say, de minimis.  

And of course, as we’ve shown in several long series of threads on the Reverend, her predecessor in the office, and their “organization”, they have a long history of saying things that are substantial but unoriginal and false; of things that are original but insubstantial and false, and of course things that are true but insubstantial and unoriginal.  That goes without saying.

But the overriding realization is that the Reverend, and her precessessor Heather Martens, and their entire organization have yet to say a single thing on Second Amendment issues hat is simultaneously all three things – original, substantial and true.

And I’ll welcome the chance to prove it to any or all of you, point by point, with or without the Reverend there to speak on her behalf. The challenge is rhetorical – she openly tells her group never to engage with dissenters, and all too many of you in the media indulge her inability to defend her largely fraudulent agenda.

But this isn’t about her.  This is about you.  You need to stop treating the Reverend and her group as a legitimate source on Second Amendment issues.

She is not.   She feeds you false information, and you – God bless you all, journos tend not to know much about the subject – run it without any serious fact-checking.

More tomorrow.

“There’s No Use In Self-Defense”

One of the pro-criminal, anti-liberty movement’s fondest conceits about guns is that “nobody needs more than <fill in a number> rounds of ammunition for self-defense”.

These, of course, are people whose only background in self-defense is watching “Law And Order”, where firing one or two shots sends the perps flying head-over-heels backwards.

In real life, of course, things are much foggier. The average cop fires seventeen rounds for every hit they score – which is great, if you’ve got 18 rounds and you’re only facing one perp.  And, movies notwithstanding, one shot doesn’t always take a perp down; with enough adrenaline, or drugs, perps have been known to kill the good guys even after they’ve been hit several times; it’s very rare for a shot to take someone down immediately – and adrenaline can carry someone up to the ragged edge of bleeding out.

Of course, some perps rely on the force of numbers.  “Home Invasions” are a particularly scary form of robbery, where multiple people, usually armed, storm a house simultaneously.  It’s usually pretty safe – for the robbers.   The shock and numbers usually cow the homeowner – or make resistance a short,, sharp, ugly thing.  Because when a homeowner only has six rounds, the only thing separating a living homeowner, a body on her kitchen floor and a couple of robbers high-tailing it across the lawn, and a dead  homeowner in a ransacked house, is blind luck.

We’re written before about cases where civilians – including chidlren – have used the AR15 to defend themselves against violent home invasions.

Thirty Chances At Life:  And I’m doing it again.

The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the triple homicide in the 9100 block of South Clearview Drive.

Wagoner County deputies said at about 12:30 p.m., three masked intruders entered the home, which was occupied by a father his 23-year-old son.

Deputies said the son shot and killed the three intruders with an AR-15. Police said two of the intruders were juveniles and another was an adult.

Deputies said Elizabeth Rodriguez, 21, was arrested after authorities said she drove the three intruders to the Broken Arrow residence. Rodriguez was arrested on three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree burglary.

No bond has been set for Rodriguez.

The father and son were unharmed.

As we’ve noted before in this space – the people who say there’s no legitimate self-defense use for 20+ rounds in a magazine really have only the most academic possible understanding of the topic.

 

The Mission For Today – And The Next 10 Months

As this is being published, there’s a hearing going on down at the State Office Building.

With that in mind, let’s run down the current situation for the two Second Amendment bills we’ve been following:

Deadlines And Commitments:  As of today:

  • “Constitutional Carry” is pretty much dead for this session; House Public Safety passed it, but it never went to the floor, since the Senate never passed a companion bill.  It’s not been added to the House version of the Public Safety omnibus bill, since the Senate isn’t adding it.  It’s effectively over – for now.
  • The Self Defense Reform bill – which, in cases of otherwise-legal self-defense, would take away a county-prosecutor’s discretion to try to send you to jail for not running as fast and as far as he thinks you should – looks like it’s in the same situation.

But it’s not.  Not quite.

Stay with me, here.

The Long Game:  At the hearings  House Public Safety Committee is going to be voting on Representative Nash’s Self-Defense Reform bill.

After which it will go to the floor for a vote.

You might way “What’s the point?  There’s no Senate companion!   It’s dead!”

And you’d be right.  For this session.

Here’s the deal; if it passes from the floor this session – the first of the biennium – it remains passed for the next session.  We don’t need to pass it in the House again for two more years, if needed.

This means we’ll have ten months to pressure the Senate into listening to the real will of the people.

What this mean:  Your job – our job – is, if not crystal clear, at least vital:

  • Today – as in, today – call the members of the House Public Safety Committee.   Tell them this needs to pass.
  • Before The Bill Comes To The Floor (and I’ll let you know when it does):    Call your representative.  Tell them you will not be amused if HF 238 isn’t passed.
  • Before the next session:  Get on the horn with your Senator.  Their leadership just missed a golden opportunity to score a win with three whole years before their next election.  They can still do it with two years of cushion.  Don’t blow it.

Let’s get on this.

Lie First, Lie Always: Delusions Of Adequacy

It’s been a frustrating week to be a Real American in Minnesota – an American who believes that law-abiding citizens should have more rights in the eyes of the law than criminals.

More on that tomorrow on the show.  Oh, yes – the show will fairly crackle with rage.

But there’s some comic relief.  Grim comic relief, under the circumstances, but relief nonetheless.

She Who Has Never Made  A Single Substantial, Original, True Statement About The Issue:  It’s been interesting seeing what the Reverend Nancy Nord Bence has rattling around her little ELCA-coiffed noggin.  This was in her email blast yesterday (emphasis added to highlight particularly comic passages by me):

I am pleased to announce that the House public safety committee omnibus bill introduced today in committee does NOT contain the Permitless Carry or Stand Your Ground bills! That was the goal of our Cure Gun Violence lobby day and rally on Tuesday—and we succeeded!

Make no mistake about it – the criminal-protection, black-victim-disarmament lobby, after spending ten times as much as the Real Americans in this past year for almost no results, obtained a victory of sorts, for now.  But they didn’t win it.   It happened due to nothing they did on their own.   Not one iota of it happened due to anything The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence’s fact-free rambling, the sanctimonious preening of the Dreamsicles, or the trunks full o Jacksons that the Bloomberg lobby spent.

No.  The GOP gave it to them.  They “won” a forfeited game.

Leadership in the Senate, apparently rendered pusillanimous via winning the majority, decided to play “protect the incumbents”, even though it’s three years ’til the election.

House leadership, hearing this, decided to play it “safe” – thus earning themselves a raft of well-deserved and impassioned primary challenges supported by a group of people…

…who, I can tell you right now, are pissed off at having their votes courted, but their policies ignored in the breach.

It was the kind of stupid error that makes being a Republican such a trying thing in this Godforsaken state.   How hard is it to dance with the ones that brung you?

But it wasn’t “Protect” MN’s f****ng win.  Those lumpen fossils and caterwauling shrews dominate their little echo chambers in Crocus Hill and Kenwood, and not a hell of a lot more.

The Lesson:  Even after years of winning, and of beating back serious challenges while in the minority, Real Americans not not relax.  We can not be complacent.  We can not trust the party for which most of us worked our asses off.

Mission For Today

Y’know that calling that all of us Second Amendment Human Rights supporters need to do to keep the Constitutional Carry and Self Defense Reform bills alive in the Omnibus bills?

Keep at it.

It’s having an effect – if only by  making certain GOP leaders nervous.

A few of them made the mistake of thinking that a couple dozen plush-bottom yoohoos in orange t-shirts and ELCA hair waving stacks of Bloomberg money could cause them more electoral pain than 20,000 members of GOCRA, MNGOC, tens of thousands of NRA members, and other law-abiding shooters  could serve up.

Bring the pain.

Bring lots of it.

Time For Some Action

Gun owners.

When we’re on the defensive – as we were 3-4 years ago, here in Minnesota – we are the most motivated people in politics.  We make people sit up and listen – or we throw them out of office.

But when times are less perilous?   It’s another story.  And it’s understandable; unlike the anti-gun / criminal safety movement, we have jobs, families and real lives.  We can’t just drop everything and run down to spend a day at the Capitol for anything but a serious emergency.

And let’s be honest – compared to 15 years ago, never mind 30 years ago, we Real Americans of the 2nd Amendment movement are doing pretty well.  The 2nd Amendment may be the only liberty where the needle has been pushed the right way – but we have pushed it.

But complacency is what got us the 1970s.  And it could happen again.

This year, there are two important 2nd Amendment-related civil rights bills on the agenda:

  • HF188, authored by Rep. Jim Nash, would make permits to carry optional throughout Minnesota. A law-abiding citizen should not have to beg government permission to carry a firearm – and the little card has no bearing on whether people commit crimes or not.  
  • HF238, also authored by Rep. Nash, provides some much-needed reforms Minnesota’s self-defense laws, codifying decades of case law (thus removing nobody-knows-how-many felony traps from the rules of self-defense), removing the so-called “duty to retreat” in Minnesota law.

Now, it’s was a fair bet Governor Dayton would have vetoed either or both bills.

And then again, maybe not; antagonizing shooters helped the DFL lose pretty much all of rural Minnesota; Dayton could easily have doomed a few more of the remaining outstate Democrats by vetoing these bills – and caused any number of other headaches by vetoing the omnibus bills they were going to be parts of.

But the GOP caucuses haven’t put the bills into the omnibuses yet.  Word has it that Senate leadership is “playing defense”, trying not to lose seats (notwithstanding their next election isn’t until 2020).  And if the Senate isn’t going to push the bills, there’s no point in the GOP pushing them.  Right?

Wrong. 

And there’s a report that at least one GOP legislator from a safer-than-safe district is afraid of the Dreamsicles.

It’s time for the GOP to pay back some of the political capital that the 2nd Amendment movement has invested in it.  And  if safe Republicans are going to profess political “fear” a couple dozen  ELCA-haired, deluded bobbleheads in orange?   It might be time for them to re-learn what political “fear” really is.

And that means you and I need to step up.

It’s Go Time.  It’s time for all law-abiding 2nd Amendment human rights supporters to get on the line and burn up the phones, today.

Call your representative and your Senator.

And call:

House Speaker Rep. Kurt Daudt
Office: 651-296-5364
E-Mail: rep.kurt.daudt@house.mn

Majority Leader Rep. Joyce Peppin
Office: 651-296-7806
E-Mail: rep.joyce.peppin@house.mn

Public Safety Committee Chairman Tony Cornish
Office: 651-296-4240
E-Mail: rep.tony.cornish@house.mn

Politely tell them that they need to deliver.   We’re not complacent, and our support is not to be taken for granted.

This needs to be a political flood of biblical proportions.

Liberal Messaging

On issue after issue after issue, the left’s messaging strategery seems to have changed to “pummel the public with inflammatory, scaremongering lies; the votes of the gullible, the incurious, the demented and the un-bright count the same as the votes of smart people, and are easier to secure”.

Focusing on the 2nd Amendment “debate” – it’s the one I read most constantly – the evergreen example is “Stand Your Ground laws allow people to KILL people because of the way they’re dressed”.

It’s balderdash, as we’ve explained in this space over and over.  The smart people know this.  The dumb people…

…are the intended customer for that particular lie.

With that in mind, New York’s junior machine apparatchik Kirsten Gillibrand has sounded off with a level of perspicacity reminiscent of Betty McCollum:


I was going to say “someone’s been watching too many “Miami Vice” reruns” – but that’d be too charitable.  While most liberals (and some Republicans) start out dumb on the gun issue, and some don’t get smarter (McCollum, ibid), it’s not like these hamsters exist in a vacuum.  It’s not like some NRA lobbyist, somewhere, hasn’t made Senator Gillibrand aware that silencers are far from silent.

Which means one of two things: Sen. Gillibrand is incurious about anything that doesn’t comport with the narrative she’s been given by her superiors, or she doesn’t care, and passing the narrative is the only goal.

I’m inclined to think “b”.

Lie First, Lie Always: The Anti-Gun Amateur Hour

Earlier this morning at the House Public Safety Committee hearings on the “Stand your Ground” billl, a “pro-bill” testifier erupted in a caracature of a pro-Trump, white supremacist tirade; at one point, he reportedly said it was time for gun owners to return to “lynching” people.

Then he got up and walked out.

He’s utterly unknown to Minnesota’s close-knit 2nd Amendment activist community.

The moment I saw the photo (a screen grab from video),  that voice in my head that monitors stereotypes screamed “Carlton graduate and non-profiteer paid to be a false-flagger”.

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

“He” registered for the event as “Ross Koon”

And, sure enough, searching for “Russ Koon” leads you to a Facebook profile.

And here’s his publicly-visible post:

So he misrepresented himself about being a pro-gunner, and his “testimony” was a “satirical” sham designed to defame people he pretty much hates.

That’s pretty much the whole story, right?


Of course not.  Anti-gun ghoul Joan Peterson tweeted instantly:

Coincidence that the doyenne of Minnesota criminal-safety is right there ready to go with a tweet in support of this bit of “satire?”

But that’s just a clenched old liberal exercising her penchant for overheated hypberbole – right?

Of course not.   Mr. Koons’ pro-criminal-safety pedigree goes back a ways.  Turns out Mr. Koon’s mother is one Mary Koon.  And Mary Koon is a pastor at ultra-liberal Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, and publicly lists as her “likes”…

…Moms Want Action.

(“But” you might say, “that doesn’t make her a member!”.  Perhaps.  On the other hand, it’s pretty much all you need to do to be counted as a member, so we’ll run with it).

So let’s sum it up:

  • The scion of one of Minnesota’s white, privileged “elite” liberal families lied about his personal beliefs, in order to…
  • Slander gun owners in front of the legislature, and did it…
  • …with the obvious, full knowledge of Minnesota’s anti-gun/pro-criminal-safety “elite”.

This was just the most egregious episode in a hearing where the anti-gunners essentially beclowned themselves, treating the hearings like a private flash mob.

Keep up the good work, Reverend Bence!

(Thanks to the crew from MNGOC for all the research on this post)

UPDATE:  From a witness:

He didn’t immediately leave the building. I watched him get hugs and attaboys from several of the anti-gunners present, including the lady in charge of handing out red Everytown shirts.

This was no random happenstance.

Failure Is The Only Option

SCENE:  At the Minnesota State Capitol.  Mitch BERG, laptop in hand, is walking between the House and Senate chambers when he encounters Dorbert AARONSON, chairman of the group “Gun Owners of Minnesota”, a non-profit incorporated in Des Moines, Iowa.

AARONSON:  Excuse me – do you know the way to the Minnesota state capitol?

BERG:  Er – you’re in it.

AARONSON:  Ah.  Sorry.  I just got into Des Moines,

BERG:  Saint Paul.

AARONSON:  Right.  Saint  Paul.  I”m here for a hearing on a gun rights bill.

BERG:  Ah. So am I.  The Constitutional Carry bill.

AARONSON:  Yeah.  We’re supporting the bill that we drew up.  It requires immediate dropping of all firearms regulations.

BERG:   Wow.  Who’s carrying it?

AARONSON:   Nobody has the balls to carry this bill!

BERG:   Wow.  So how’s it ever going to pass?

AARONSON:  It’s not supposed to pass.   It’s supposed to educate the voters.

BERG:   Educate them…that the way to change policy and win freedom is to demand things that are politically impossible?

AARONSON:   You have to have the courage to demand the impossible, and nothing less!  It’s called the Politics of Confrontation, and we are masters of it!

BERG:  Masters of…what?  What bills are you behind the passage of?

AARONSON:   We passed “Shall Issue” carry permitting in 2003…

BERG:  No, you didn’t.  That was GOCRA!

AARONSON:   We passed the Capitol Carry, Silencers, the prohibition against confiscating guns after natural disasters…

BERG:   All of those were the result of GOCRA, MNGOPAC and the MNGOC.  Your group had nothing to do with any of those!

AARONSON:  We educated voters to demand nothing less than everything!

BERG:  But by demanding things that can not ever pass, you open the door for our rights to be further

AARONSON:   Anything less than everything is nothing, and anyone who settles for anything less than everything is a complete sell-out!

BERG:   You mean the legislators bringing the bills today…?

AARONSON:   Sellouts!  Cowards!   Worthless collaborationists!

BERG: So in other words, you and your group are focused exclusively on things that can only be reached incrementally – and you reject incrementalism.  Which means the goals can never be reached.

AARONSON:  Only by people who are worthy!

BERG:  Huh.  But if it can never be reached, and you keep fundraising forever on the issue…

AARONSON:  Pretty sweet deal, huh?

BERG:   Huh.  Yes.  Yes it is.

AARONSON:  See this watch?  It’s a Rolex, wrapped around another Rolex.

BERG:  Pretty cool.

And SCENE.

(NOTE:  Any similarities between the fictional character above and the Iowa-based “Minnesota Gun Rights” are purely coincidental, and probably unintentional.  Honest).

“Duty To Retreat”

One of the bills being heard tomorrow morning at 10:15 AM at the State Office Building will be HF238 – Rep. Nash’s “Defense of Dwelling and Person Act”, sometimes called “Stand your Ground”.

This is an absolutely vital bill.  Here’s why.

To use lethal force in self defense in Minnesota, you have to meet four criteria:

  1. You can’t be a willing participant
  2. You need to reasonably and immediately fear death or great bodily harm
  3. You can only use enough force to end the threat
  4. And, at least outside your home, you have a duty to retreat.

The first three, while somewhat subjective, are relatively clear to most people, it’s this last that causes problems.

What is the “Duty to Retreat?”  How far?

Are you obliged to run away if you have a bad knee?  If your are beset by multiple younger, faster assailants?  If you are part of a group being held at gunpoint?

Those are not idle questions.  As the graphic above points out, there are at least a dozen bits and pieces of case law that govern the “Duty to Retreat” under Minnesota law.  Which one applies to your situation?   If you’re a lawyer, sitting in an office with a subscription to WestLaw, you can probably rustle up the data with a little bit of time, and gather the various interpretations.

If you’re walking to your car through a dark parking lot, and some suspicious character is tailing you?  Less so.

County attorneys like having discretion on these sorts of questions.   It’s wrong, and needs to be stopped.

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.