Comparing Butchers Bills

In five months of testing an operation, the “green line” has racked up five train versus auto accidents, one injured pedestrian

… And now, a fatality - a woman wearing headphones apparently walked in front of a train near the U of M. 

For comparison sake, light rail has been operating in the Twin Cities (counting the “blue line”) for about 10 years, now – almost as long as we’ve had uninterrupted handgun carry permitting.

The butchers bill for trains? It’s now up to six dead – and the “Green Line” is just getting started. In that time we’ve had one carry permittee involved in an unjustifiable homicide – and the killing itself had nothing to do with her permit.

If we can save just one life…

Return To Mockery

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Heather Martens.  She got swept away from the spotlight by the wave of Michael Bloomberg money that came into the state this past legislative session, enriched a bunch of lobbyists…

…accomlished bupkes, and swept on, leaving Heather.  Until the next session starts.

I digress.  She was out of the spotlight most of this past session, but during the off-season, she’s still keeping busy.

She sent out this email blast earlier in the week, to try to gin up attendance at a rally yesterday morning:

Dear [redacted],

It’s been a difficult few weeks, watching the events in Ferguson, Missouri. The killing of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was remembered Monday at a funeral service, and the protests that followed, have rightly raised many questions for all of us.

The reality is that the tensions in Ferguson are the same ones that people of color experience daily here in Minnesota. These tensions are symptoms of deep, unresolved issues around race in America. The gun industry and its lobbyists have long exploited America’s issues around race to divide us and block meaningful gun violence prevention.

[Scraaaaaaaaaaatch]

Wait a moment.

Did you catch that?

Chew on that ’til we get to the bottom of the post.

But we can be part of changing that.

Tomorrow (Thursday), a large rally is being planned in Minneapolis,

(A “large rally” may have been “planned”, but it certainly never took place.  The local media used to dutifully troop to Heather Martens rallies with a half a dozen attendees; a search today doesn’t show any coverage of a gun-grabber rally yesterday.  I digress)

…as over a thousand Minnesotans are expected to speak out for Michael Brown and other victims of police violence. Whether you want to rally, register voters, or invite your friends into the gun violence prevention movement, there is something you can do tomorrow to help Minnesota face these serious issues and redouble our efforts to stop gun violence:

1) You can go to the rally Thursday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. Sixth Street, Minneapolis.  [But you probably didn't - Ed.]

2) You can encourage voting bla bla bla.

3) You can invite your friends to be part of a broad-based, inclusive bla bla bla.

Do what makes sense for you – and know that you can be a bla bla bla.

Thank you for all you do,

Heather Martens
Executive Director
Protect Minnesota: Working to End Gun Violence

So let’s go over this one more time:

Gun controllers believe only the cops should have guns.

A cop shoots Michael Ferguson.

Heather Martens lumps this, and other police shootings, in with “gun violence?”

If she isn’t lumping in ISIS and HAMAS casualties by the time the session starts, I’ll be amazed.

Twenty Years Ago On The East Side

Hard to believe it’s been twenty years since Guy Harvey Baker – a Gulf War Marine veteran with, clearly, mental illness issues – killed officers Ron Ryan, Tim Jones, and a police dog named Laser

The PiPress has a fairly good retrospective of the events – with one crucial omission:   

Ryan, 26, was checking on a man — Guy Harvey Baker — who was sleeping in a car in a parking lot at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood about 7 a.

He picked up a .38-caliber revolver from his lap and shot Ryan.

Scores of officers joined the search for Ryan’s killer. Jones had the day off, but he came in to help.

Laser picked up Baker’s trail about 10 a.m. on Conway Street, not far from Johnson Parkway.

Mara Gottfried’s story is excellent.  But she leaves out how the police actually found Baker’s “trail” on Conway later that morning – and, in a way, the story of a man who is both the story’s unsung hero and third (human) victim.

Lyle Granlund - 48 years old, at the time – was having breakfast with his kids on the upper level of a three-plex he owned across from the parking lot.  One of his sons yelled that there’d been a shooting.  Granlund grabbed a handgun and loaded three rounds – all he could grab at the moment – and went to his window.  He saw officer Ryan on the ground, and saw Baker driving toward another woman, standing in the doorway of a nearby apartment building, apparently getting ready to rub out the only known witness to the shooting. 

Granlund - an expert marksman – pondered taking out Baker.  But he held up, worried that the Ramsey County attorney, the infamously anti-gun Tom Foley, would prosecute him.  So he opted to fire two shots through Baker’s back window, shattering it and leaving the rounds (intentionally) in Baker’s dashboard, to hopefully scare Baker off and mark the car for the police.  He saved his third round, in case Baker decided to come for him.  But no – Baker accelerated away from the scene of the Ryan shooting…

…and it was by the shattered window that the SPPD found Baker’s trail, a couple hours later, nearby on Conway Street.

I interviewed Granlund later that year, for the old Gun Owners Action League (a predecessor of GOCRA) newsletter.  Granlund told me that while the SPPD remained officially mum about his contribution to that day’s search, more than one senior Saint Paul cop had come to his door in the following days, paying their respects to his effort to save their fellow officer.  A lieutenant left him his SPPD tie pin – a gesture that Granlund, in our interview, still found deeply touching.

I wrote about Granlund again, almost ten years ago, in a piece that includes a lot of useful background and  a link to a now-disappeared column by Ruben Rosario. 

 Granlund was right, of course; Foley did try to prosecute him.  Their attempt to get him for “reckless discharge” foundered when the police lab found Granlund’s two rounds exactly where he said they’d be in Baker’s car.  The Ramsey County Attorney’s office dropped its  attempt to prosecute Granlund only when the SPPD told Foley he’d get no cooperation from the police.  Someone listing himself as a retired SPPD cop tells the story in this thread

Oh yeah – and Granlund was denied a Minnesota carry permit; the SPPD that (quietly) regarded him as a hero also didn’t think he had any reason to need one. 

Gottfried picks up the story from 20 years ago today.

Baker heard the dog whining outside a fish house where he was hiding, saw Jones through the window and, through the side of the shack, shot the 36-year-old officer with the gun had stolen from Ryan. When Laser bit his leg, he shot the dog, too.

No prosecutor will ever issue an indictment, and no jury will ever hear the case – but in a very real if indirect way, Officer Jones was killed by official gun-control hysteria. 

The tragedy didn’t end that day.  When I spoke with Granlund, probably in September or October, he was clearly upset that he’d not been able to save Jones by killing Baker.  It went much deeper than that; Granlund spent the next ten years depressed about the episode.  He died in 2004 of a heart attack, at age 58, and is buried in the same cemetery as Officer Ryan. 

The lesson?  Let nobody tell you that an armed citizen can’t do immense good; one, and God only knows how many more, people are alive today because of Granlund’s action. 

And let no weasel government official get away with terrorizing the law-abiding citizen without a fight – preferably ending with a prosecutor sent to the unemployment line at the polls.

The families of the slain officers are the main focus of Gottfried’s story, of course.  I’ll urge prayers – or whatever your worldview does – for the families on what has to be a miserable anniversary.

It’s Like A Sidewalk, I Suppose…

Joe dogs, Park emails about a recent court decision:

The hallway outside your apartment is not part of your home, even if it’s a secure building.
If you are attacked in that hallway, you are not allowed to defend yourself, you must retreat into your own apartment.
The court probably got the law right based on current statutes. Which explains why we need Stand Your Ground legislation more than ever.
Joe Doakes

that’s the big catch about winning cases in court – you have to start from a basis of good law.

And Minnesota has a long way to go.

Firing Blind

A much-better-than-you’d expect piece from the BBC on shooters who happen to be blind.

Upside:  some great interviews with blind shooters, some of whom are startlingly accomplished with firearms.

No, I’m not making that up.

Downside:  while journos do usually try to find a counterpoint on any story, the best the Beeb could come up with was Stevie Wonder, who  apparently thinks the idea of blind people with guns is crazy.   And if you can afford as many bodyguards as Wonder can (assuming he needs them), he could be forgiven the assumption.

I used to produce a show for Don Vogel, a blind guy who hosted a talk show at KSTP in the eighties.  After beating him in “Horse” by “HOR” to “HORSE”, I suggested a trip to the range.  He was interested, but we could never quite pull it together. 

Anyway – the article is worth a read!

For Second Amendment Freedom

Hot on the heels of yesterdays’ legislative report card from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance comes today’s list of endorsements from the Minnesota Gun Owners’ Political Action Committee

The 78 additional endorsements join four endorsements for state representative previously announced by the MN Gun Owners PAC. A full list of endorsed candidates is below.

“This year, there are many races where there is a clearly defined choice between a candidate that does not respect the civil rights of gun owners, and those who do, ” said Bryan Strawser, Executive Director. “We will be mobilizing our grassroots supporters to get gun owners to the plls in August and November on behalf of our endorsed candidates.”

The full list of MNGOPAC House endorsements is below the jump:

Continue reading

The Really Good Guys

Since we’re talking endorsements, the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee has issued its endorsements for this round of elections:

• Tony Cornish – House District 23B, Republican Party of Minnesota
• David Dill – House District 3A, Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party
• Steve Drazkowski – House District 21B, Republican Party of Minnesota
“Each of these three representatives has a long track record of strong and vocal leadership in support of the constitutional rights of Minnesota’s gun owners,“ said Mark Okern, Chairman, Minnesota Gun Owners PAC. “Tony, David, and Steve are power brokers, “ Okern said. “When they talk gun rights, their caucuses listen.”
“We are confident that Representatives Cornish, Dill, and Drazkowski will easily win re- election and continue to be steadfast supporters of the civil rights of gun owners in Saint Paul during the next legislative session, “ said Bryan Strawser, Executive Director.

More, I’m told, to come.

Rep. Ron Erhardt: “I’ll Blow Your Head Off”

The Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance has spent the past few weeks compiling its biennial legislative report card.

As, for that matter, have a lot of Minnesota activist groups. It’s election season, after all.

But I’m going to guess not very many got a response like a GOCRA volunteer got from Minnesota state representative Ron Erhardt (DFL, HD 49A) of Edina:
20140803-132016-48016012.jpg

“No more surveys! You come near me, I’ll blow your head off” was Erhardt’s  response, according to GOCRA.  I have sent Rep. Erhardt an email asking for elaboration.

I’m trying to imagine what’d happen if a pro-life Representative had said that to a volunteer from Emily’s List?  If a fundamentalist Christian rep had said something like that to a gay marriage advocate?

I’m not saying that only Democrats have this sense of depraved entitlement.

Just that only Democrats can get away with it in this state.

Note to Aaron Rupar, Rachel Stassen-Berger and Tom Scheck:  Boy, wouldn’t this be a big, juicy story to report on!

(Note to the Dario Anselmo campaign:  Merry Christmas)

Frustration

Joe Dokes from Como Park emails:

Dear Diary: Today was a frustrating milestone — 15,000 consecutive days of living in a home where a firearm is present, and not a single person shot. Not one! What Am I Doing Wrong? Why don’t I fit in? No wonder the young people in North Minneapolis don’t want to hang out with me (note to self: research what neat-o tunes the hep cats are grooving to, these days; Barry Manilow is out).
Joe Doakes

I think it’s one of those things when you just know you’re part of the in crowd. Or not.

When Seconds Count

When Michael Bloomberg (and all of that money of his) entered the anti-gun market, some of us worried that all of those Jacksons would bring a new air of professionalism to the anti-human-rights movement. 

And in some ways it has.

But in others?

Just saying – this video by “Everytown for Grabbing Guns” pretty much underscores exactly the points we shooters have been making all along:

When seconds count, the police are minutes away. 

If the improbably cute mom had had the means to deal with the inevitably evil ex, the police would just need to clean up the mess.

Junk Science, Junkier “Journalism”

In recent years, this blog has made great sport of criticizing the MinnPost‘s coverage of Second Amendment issues, noting that much of their coverage has been both anti-gun and comically poor, and pointing out they are sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, which actively sponsors many anti-gun groups (including Protect MN here in Minnesota, and the national-scoped “Violence Policy Center”, or “VPC”). 

On the other hand, Joyce has sponsored the work of reporter Mike Cronin, who is three parts into a series on America’s gun culture (check out his installments so far on his introduction to shooting, attending a permit training class with Andrew Rothman, and his conversations with violence victims).   The series, thus far, is genuinely fair and balanced; I’ve talked with Cronin, and he seems interested in keeping it that way.  That’s all to the good. 

Continue reading

One For The Good Guys

Armed robber tries to stick up a store in North Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Police responded to a report of an armed robbery just before 9 a.m. at the Handy Stop on the 2600 block of West Broadway Avenue. When officers arrived, they learned an armed suspect entered the store and attempted to rob it at gunpoint.

Armed store owner had a dissenting opinion:

Police said at some point, the suspect and the store owner exchanged gun fire. Nobody was hit as a result of the gun fire, and there were no injuries in the incident. The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived and is still at-large.

There are few news stories in the world that make me happier than criminal scum leaving the premises, in cuffs, on a stretcher or, Heaven forfend, a gurney (let’s not call it “happy” in this case), or even at a dead run with soiled undies as a law-abiding citizen sweeps up shell casings behind him. 

They’ve just got to set Michael Bloomberg spinning in the coffin he sleeps in.

Marketing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It’s nice to feel welcome.
20140724-082838-30518143.jpg
Joe Doakes

i’m always puzzled by stores that post themselves “no firearms”. Carry permit holders are, on average, about 3% of Minnesota customers. Members of every gun-control organization combined amount to less than 1% of 1%.

How many people would you rather have stay away from your business?

No Pep

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Stopped at Pep Boys on South Robert to buy epoxy for a cracked bumper. Pep Boys Bans Guns In This Store. I asked if that was a franchise decision but the counterman said no, all Pep Boys stores are corporate. So I went up the street to O’Reilly Auto Parts instead.

No, I wasn’t carrying. But if they don’t want my business on my terms, I’m happy to take it elsewhere.

Joe Doakes
Como Park

As everyone should.

I haven’t voluntarily patronized a posted business since 2003. I’ve specifically thanked businesses that took down their idiot signs.

Now is no time to let old habits die.

The Good Cop

Detroit Police Chief James Craig attributes part of 37% drop in armed robbery to armed homeowners making life a little too, er, “brisk” for the city’s thugs:

Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns.

“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.

Even more notably?  It’s been two months since the last major home-defense incident, the last of a flurry of such incidents in which criminals scampered away from law-abiding homeowners who engaged them.

Sometimes the criminals got hurt.  Other times, merely humiliated – sometimes on camera:

It may not be the acme of Christian charity, but watching homeowners humiliate punks at gunpoint warms my heart.

Anyway – urban police chiefs tend to be toadies, on a policy level, to the liberal Democrats who appoint them.  It’s good to see Craig breaking that particular noxious mold.

My Apologies To Heather Martens

To: Heather Martens
From: Mitch Berg, Your Longtime Nemesis
Re:  Apology

Ms. Martens,

For most of the past decade and change, I’ve been running down your accuracy, your knowledge of Second Amendment issues, and the extent to which you confused “purchased lobbying power” with “fact”.  Whenever you’ve opened your mouth about anything gun-related, I’ve snickered, comparing  your command of logic and fact with, say, Jessica Simpson or Jeanne Kasem.

But Rolling Stone’s Krystyn Gwynne has certainly qualified for a job on “Protect MN”‘s executive committee. 

That is all.

Dear Open Carry Activists

To:  Open Carry Activists
From: Mitch Berg, Longtime Second Amendment Trench-Fighter
Re:  A Modest Request

All,

The Minnesota carry permit does, indeed, allow one to carry one’s firearm openly.  But most people who have them don’t do it – partly because there’s no sense in letting potential criminals know who they need to take down first, and partly because we are, indeed, surrounded by hysterical ninnies. 

So in a sense, you are to the gun movement what guys with waxed chests and buttless chaps cavorting about a Gay Pride parade are to the gay movement; the fringe exception that confirms the stereotypes in the minds of the undecided. 

But that’s the least of the things I’m writing to complain about. 

Over the past month or so, your “protests” have given a bonanza of free chanting points to Michael Bloomberg, and backed a number of corporations up against a wall; while they’d always been “live and let live”, “don’t ask, don’t tell” about guns, and followed state laws, now they’re being pressured into taking individual (and sometimes illegal) action against gun owners. 

In other words, you’re forcing people and businesses to take sides on the issue.  And when people go from “no information or interest in an issue” to “being forced to take sides NOW”, what side do you think they’ll come out on?  Think about who runs the media before you answer that. 

Now, I’m not talking about groups like the one in the Twin Cities that hosts open-carry events at businesses that agree to host them.  Those are good things. 

I’m talking about using businesses’ private property to host your protests against their will.  You’re no better than Occupyers when you do that. 

May I suggest you stop using unwilling private businesses for your protests.  Maybe switch to City Hall,  or the State Capitol?

They’re the ones you need to reach, anyway.

That is all.

Yes, Mr. Vice President. Yes, We Will.

Slow Joe Biden, in an interview with gun-owning gun-control advocate John Walsh:

“‘John, every one of them [is scared of the left's boogeyman, the NRA],’” the vice president replied, according to Walsh. “‘Because the NRA will run a tea-bagger against you. . . . They’ll put 5 million bucks against you.’”

As they should. 

It’s one of the reasons I’m a member.

Targeted

After a month of so of coercion by Michael Bloomberg and his chorus of paid puppets, in a campaign that cost the former New York mayor and chief scold millions, Target turned around and did…

…next to nothing.

Oh, they asked gun owners not to carry in their stores – meaning “carry openly”. 

Now, let’s be honest;  if I, Mitch Berg, Second Amendment activist, owned a general-market retail operation, I would also ask people, nicely, not to carry openly in my store.  Money from the tiny minority of anti-gunners, and the larger minority of people who are scared, put-off or confused about guns, is just as good as anyone else’s, and people who are opposed to or irrationally afraid of gun are a solid 20+% of the market in most major metro areas – a small part of the market, but bigger than the open carry activist minority.  Why send them all running away from my store?

Target is asking, not telling, gun owners to please not agitate the ninnies among their customers, thank you very much.

For all you open carry supporters in the audience:  I get it.  A right not exercised is a right that can be taken by default.  But the same goes for the rights of private property owners; they’ve got a right to give the customers the experience they, not you, design for them.  And they’ve decided – not incorrectly – that open carry will scare away more ninnies than it will bring in shooters. 

So while the open-carry movement may call this a setback (or a call to action), for the mainstream of the second amendment movement, it’s a small win, or at the very least “not a loss”.

Snipers In The Mist

The Chicago Police discovered a “sniper nest” atop a public parking garage near a Chicago college:

Officials say they found a high-powered semi-automatic rifle about a block from the campus of Kennedy King college, near 64th and Lowe last Thursday. Officers say the nest was found on top of a garage across from a soccer field on campus.

Snipers.  Deadly, cold-eyed marksmen…

A US Marine sniper. With his rifle. With a long, match-grade barrel, to use the most of the high-powered round’s power to give the bullet the highest velocity and straightest flight path possible.

…with weapons that can reach out hundreds of yards – sometime over a mile – to put a bullet precisely into a human head.

At the scene, officers recovered a fully loaded Mac-10.

(SCREAAAAAAAATCH)

A MAC-10?

A MAC-10

The MAC10 is a civilianized version of the MAC-10 submachine gun – an ultra-short-barreled weapon designed to “Spray and Pray”; fire 20 shots a second at point-blank range.  But being civilianized, it doesn’t ”spray” – it’s semi-automatic.   It has a four-inch barrel – the same as a modestly-respectable handgun.  But it’s not even as accurate as a modest-quality handgun (and even a high-quality target handgun is useless beyond about 30-50 yards).  The MAC’s  “sights” are a v-notch cut in a piece of steel.  It’s got a trigger pull like an old Mattel cap gun.   And it fires pistol ammunition, meaning by definition it is not “high-powered”.

It is a glorified, heavy, badly-balanced, expensive handgun, with an effective, aimed range of about 30 feet.  Not “a block and a soccer field and change”.

Kennedy King officials say they have notified students. Although, it does not appear that anyone on campus was ever in any danger.

Indeed.

I know that the NRA and other Second Amendment groups offer classes to journalists about how not to sound stupid when talking about firearms.  Someone might want to send the TV station behind this story a gift certificate.

Target Tuesday

Target is still under siege from “Michael Bloomberg in Drag” (a more accurate way to refer to “Moms Want Action”, which was always a checkbook advocacy group and is now basically Bloomberg’s pep squad) to ban law-abiding citizens from carrying legally in their stores.

It’s time to let Target know who the real customers are:20140701-123420-45260664.jpg

Remember – keep it civil. Good manners wins the day. Target’s people have had enough of the shrieking harpies from “Bloomberg In Drag”.

Progress!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Population of Chicago in 1930: 3.3 million. Crime_in_Chicago”>Number of homicides: 399. Gun control: none.

Population of Chicago in 2010: 2.7 million. Number of homicides: 436. Gun control: plenty.

Chicago in Al Capone’s day was known for gang violence but modern Chicago gangs kill more victims from a smaller pool.

Chicago gangs doing it better.

Joe Doakes

Who says there’s no such thing as progress?