Joe Persell: Context Goes Both Ways

The big DFL strategy in this election, so far, seems to be to scare to death the voters who they haven’t bored to death.

There was a debate on Wednesday in Bemidji.  Since a couple of districts – 2A and 5A – are in play in the Bemidji area, candidate from both were apparently in the ring.

The topic turned to gun control:

In response to a question on gun control, [HD2A GOP challenger Dave] Hancock said shooting incidents usually occur in places where guns are banned.

“If we look we look at the areas where tragedy has occurred with guns, they are usually in gun-free zone(s),” he said. “Where you have people armed and carrying concealed weaponry, the criminal in use of a gun thinks twice.”

That’s pretty much the fact.  Hancock got it right.  No surprise there.

Here’s where it gets interesting – and when I say “interesting”, I mean “A DFLer starts saying things that misinform the uninformed”.  The DFL’s Joe Persell responded to the question; I’m going to add emphasis:

Persell disagreed, saying carrying weapons can exacerbate tense situations.

“Folks that are out there carrying, playing cop … I don’t think we want them to be doing that,” he said. “There’s more instances of people being killed because they are carrying, and they think somebody said something nasty, and they felt threatened, and so they shot them.”

Really, Rep. Persell?

I wanted to ask Rep. Persell to name one example of either of a Minnesotan…:

  • being killed because they were “playing cop”
  • killing someone who “said something nasty” to them.

Conversation:  I sent Rep. Persell an email asking for clarification.  He contacted me, saying he’d been taken out of context in the Bemidji Pioneer.  We wound up having a conversation last night.   I pointed out that there has never been such a case involving a legal post 2003 carry permit holder in the state of Minnesota (although there were a few incidents with pre-2003 permits – the ones issued by sheriffs).

Rep. Persell told me that the conversation referred to the Second Amendment as a general, nationwide issue, and that he was referring to cases like those of Michael Dunn, the Florida man who shot a teenager over, the court case said, “loud music”.

Those cases certainly grab the headlines – the media, being left-of-center and largely anti-gun, makes sure they do.

But even those lavishly-publicized incidents are exceedingly rare.  I ran the numbers, nationwide, a few years ago; in a typical year, a carry permittee is two orders of magnitude less likely to commit any kind of crime than the general public.

So while Persell wasn’t “lying”, per se, he was focusing attention on a type of incident that is exceedingly rare in real life.   While his original quote in the Bemidji Pioneer may have been out of context, the context of his remark is misleading and inflammatory.

The problem with guns, statistically, nationwide, isn’t a guy with a carry permit killing someone unjustifiably.  It’s the thousands of criminals without permits who kill people without regard to the law at all.

Hope that word gets out…

Continue reading

Prayers, Eh?

Word arrives to us that there’s been a shooting at the Canadian War Memorial, with more shooting apparently inside the Canadian parliament building. 

We are reminded that two days ago, one Canadian soldier was killed and another injured when they were run down by a car in Quebec.  The driver, according to Canadian news sources, had “Jihadist sympathies”.

UPDATE:  Here’s the CBC’s live blog:

UPDATE 2:  From the blog, a CBC reporter tweets:

2 men with long hair and scarves ran off after man wearing ceremonial guard uniform shot at War Monument this morning. #ottnews

UPDATE 3:  Highly unconfirmed reports from Twitter say one shooter is dead.

UPDATE 4: CVT news is rpoerting another shooting on Parliament hill.  This is unconfirmed. 

UPDATE 5:  Reports say “several dozen”, perhaps “30 to 50″, shots were fired in the Parliament after the shooting of the Canadian soldier at the War Memorial.   As of a minute ago, it’s still an active shooter situation.

UPDATE 6:  Following situation on Twitter.  The Ottawa Police don’t have any better luck with perimeters than CTU does on “24″; the perimeter for an apparently second (or more) gunman/men has been widened.  Photos of police searching cars on bridges around Ottawa.

UPDATE 7:  Reports say one shooter is on the roof of a building about a block from Parliament.

UPDATE 8:  A reporter shot this video from inside Parliament as the police found one shooter.

All that marble – the echo alone is a weapon…

I can’t imagine the training it’d take to make one run toward that noise.

UPDATE 9: The shooter in parliament was apparenetly shot by the Sergeant at Arms, a Mr. Kevin Vickers.

UPDATE 10:  The NYTimes reported that the Canadian soldier shot at the War Memorial had died.  This is disputed by Canadian sources.  I’ll bank on the Times being wrong, as always in these situations.

UPDATE 11:  The CBC is naming the shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. 

Clearly a Parté Québécois terrorist.

Undercover

 Yesterday, Gabby Giffords came to town. 

You’d only know it from the media, naturally.  When “Everytown” scheduled Rep. Giffords’ appearance, they made a point to keep the location secret, and to only invite media that could be trusted to report the event exactly the way Michael Bloomberg was paying for it to be reported. 

GOCRA sent out a press release:

Gun control advocate Gabrielle Giffords will [met] secretly [yesterday] with politicians, inviting only the press, while excluding the public, especially any dissenting voices.

The press event was announced to news outlets only [yesterday] morning. This is a common tactic from gun control groups, which enjoy lavish funding but little popular support.

Now, I get it; Bloomberg and “Everytown” want to control the media environment around Rep. Giffords.  They want absolute control over how Giffords is presented, so that her message isn’t diluted by any inconvenient dissent.  It’s standard PR optics. 

It’s the point where optics meets reality that is always a problem for the Orcs:

“When an event is announced in advance, gun rights supporters outnumber gun controllers, 20 to one,” according to Professor Joseph E. Olson, who founded GOCRA 25 years ago. He pointed to gun control hearings in 2013 and 2014, where Second Amendment supporters in maroon shirts flooded the state capitol. “Our legislature is not for sale. Why is Gabby trying to buy it?”

Well, clearly part of  our legislature is for sale. 

GOCRA President Andrew Rothman agreed. “Gun control in Minnesota has always been driven by out-of-state interests,” he said. “For years, it was the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation that funded gun control efforts in Minnesota. More recently, New York City’s billionaire former mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has bankrolled gun control lobbyists. Follow the money.”

I’m just into my third decade of observing the irony of the fact that the Democrat party is, and has always been, about waving the bloody shirt of class warfare – and yet on the gun issue, it is they who have always been on the side of the patricians, against the unruly plebeians. 

And those plebeians must be kept out of the public eye at all costs.

Busybody News 12! (With Update)

Someone in Rochester has taken a photo of a man who apparently has a valid Minnesota carry permit, put it on a sign, and posted it on their lawn – to wit:

KAAL TV in Rochester is on the story.

Of course, if you follow the news and the law, you may legitimately ask – what precisely is “the story”?

I can see two stories here:

  • Unless there’s been some accusation of an actual crime, the “story” is that a law-abiding citizen is doing something that he (given that he presumably has a valid Minnesota carry permit, which proves he has a spotless criminal record) is legally entitled to do.
  • One of the man’s neighbors is publicly harassing him for doing something perfectly legal.

I don’t know what angle KAAL is going to take – the “story” is going to run during their evening news tonight.

I have emails in to the reporter and her news director.   Most reporters disdain responding to the peasantry, but we shall see.

This will be a subject on the show tomorrow.

UPDATE:  I got an email from the station’s news director.  I’m less concerned about the station’s motivations than by the neighbors’, at this point.

This is less a matter of media bias to me (at this point) than certain peoples’ intolerance, bigotry and penchant for drama.

Dear Kroger

To: Kroger Foods
From:  Mitch Berg, Hypothetical Gun Owner
Re:  Standing Up To Stupid

Dear Kroger Foods,

Please open some stores in the Twin Cities metro area, so I can shop at them. 

Because any chain that tells Michael Bloomberg and his pet group “Upper Middle-Class Moms Want Action” to go pound arugula is a store I wanna shop at.

That is all.

Thanks, But No Thanks

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun grab group issued a long series of endorsements in congressional races, including over 50 Democrat incumbents.

Conspicuous by his absence? Rick Nolan, in the 8th Congressional District..

And after all he’s done for them…:

Some incumbents didn’t make the Everytown list. The group didn’t endorse Rep. Rick Nolan (D., Minn.), who co-sponsored the House bill to expand background checks. Mr. Nolan, who has an F score from the NRA, is trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Stewart Mills, whom the NRA gave an A rating.

The endorsements were extremely heavy on incumbents, and almost never involved contested races.

Why, it’s almost like gun control is political poison or something…

Flashback

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember when I worried that the new Domestic Abuse legislation would let cops seize guns on a mere allegation from a spouse? I was wrong, and Andrew was right, about the wording of that legislation.

But the Eid case that I sent you illustrates the difference between that the law SAYS and how the law is ENFORCED.

The cops in the Eid case claimed – and the HennCo prosecutor argued in court – that taking a person to lock-up for a 72-hour hold on the fear that he might be a danger to himself or others, was legally identical to a judicial finding of mental illness sufficient to commit a person to a mental hospital after a full-blown commitment trial; therefore, loss of gun rights.

No, that’s not what the law says. But that’s how HennCo enforces it.

Unless you can afford a great lawyer to fight the system, it doesn’t matter what the law says, it only matters what the law does to you. I was wrong about the wording. But was I right about the risk?

Joe Doakes
Como Park

that is always the kicker, with any law: governments in force laws any damn way they please. Or, as the Obama administration has shown us, if they care to do it at all.

Gun Control And Racism, Part MCCXCIX

The goals of gun control, from the very beginning before the American Revolution, are rooted in racism. 

Every single gun control measure in this nation’s history has been passed against a backdrop of “making sure black people don’t kill white people” – from laws disarming slaves before independence, to the post-Civil-War era laws in Texas passed after black Union Army veterans kicked the Klan’s pointy-sheeted tushes, to the Gun Control Act of 1968, a knee-jerk response to the riots that wracked the nation’s inner cities after the assassination of Martin Luther King. 

Not long ago, we Real Americans celebrated the court case that pounded a spike through the head of Illinois’ civilian gun ban – the last in the country after the Heller and McDonald cases euthanized. 

But Illinois is still doing its best to t keep guns out of the hands of inconvenient minorities; over 90% of Illinois’ carry permits have been issued in counties that are mostly white:

Within Cook County, the top five concealed carry ZIP codes per capita are all predominately white, middle class and are in areas that have low crime rates. However, the most violent neighborhoods within the county — all of which are on the South Side of Chicago — are predominately black, where residents earn less than $48,000 annually and hold the fewest concealed carry licenses as a percentage of the population.

“But maybe it’s because fewer poor black people apply for permits”, a lefty might say.

And she’d be right – but not for the reasons they assume (with emphasis added):

Illinois residents say the disproportionate statistics all boil down to cost. Of right-to-carry states, Illinois has the highest registration and training fee, costing an applicant about $650 on average for fingerprinting, taxes and logistics — excluding the price of the gun.

“In these gangbang neighborhoods, people can’t afford the license. They’re making choices between food and medicine, and they can’t even guarantee they’ll get even that,” said Shawn Gowder, 49, who lives in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the South Side, where two homicides have taken place in the last 30 days. “We need to arm ourselves and protect ourselves from these gangbangers, but we just can’t afford to do it.”

Tack on sixteen hours of training – the longest requirement in the US.  Go ahead – fit that in around work and family. 

Of course, “safety” legislation over the past 45 years have done a lot to price firearms, especially handguns, out of reach of poor people. Even a Soviet-surplus Makarov – just about the cheapest useful handgun on the market – will be close to $300, especially in a high-tax area like Chicago. 

If the same data trends occurred in banking and insurance, there might be outcries of “redlining,” denying a group of people access to goods or services because of the color of their skin or income levels. But there’s little public concern expressed so far about the possibility that poor blacks are being disenfranchised from the right to carry a concealed weapon.

“You really need to ask whether or not politicians are consciously trying to disarm certain groups of people,” said Dr. John Lott, a Second Amendment expert and president of the Crime Prevention Center. “Why do they want a law that primarily disarms blacks and gives guns to only well-to-do whites? Don’t they think it should be equal for everyone to protect their lives?”

Lott knows as well as you, me, and the poor people of Chicago that that’s a rhetorical question.

Liberal Math

A kid spends ten years in public school.  Then, less than a year as a home-school kid.  Then enrolls in a public university. 

And then kills his mother and 26 other people.   Four years after ending a year of home schooling.

Obviously it’s Home Schooling’s fault!

Under a new law proposed this week by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, every homeschooling parent with a child who has been labeled with a behavioral or emotional problem would be forced to submit to a host of strict, burdensome regulations.

The scheme put forth in the commission’s draft recommendations on mental health would require homeschooling parents to submit individual education plans regularly to a local education bureaucrat.

School officials could then decree whether parents may continue to educate their own children, reports the Connecticut Post. Administrators could pull the plug on any parents’ homeschooling by declaring that the child failed to make “adequate progress.”

Bear in mind that Lanza was well on his way to loopdie-land when he was in the public school system.  What good did any of them do? 

Members of the Democratic Governor’s Sandy Hook commission have conceded that the additional burdens they have recommended for homeschooling families may be controversial.

Dear Connecticut; the entire United States would be better off if the Blue States seceded – and if you want to get the ball rolling, that’d solve  problems for everyone.

A Good Guy With A Gun

A horrific rampage in Oklahoma, involving a recent convert to Islam beheading one woman and stabbing another, was ended…

by a citizen with a carry permit

More on the show tomorrow, and on SITD on Monday.

UPDATE:  While some media are calling the shooter/hero an “off duty cop” – which implies he was a policeman, with police training, who just happens to also work as a Chief Operating Officer of a food plant, which is enterprising indeed, and maybe even happens in small rural towns in the west – the police report indicates he was in fact a reserve deputy.  Which in most departments means he helps with parades, and doesn’t have permission to carry weapons, or weapons training, any different than a regular citizen.  The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office may be different – but I’m gonna guess they’re not.

Time will tell.  But experience shows us that time will likely tell us that it was a law-abiding citizen with little special training, but a strong desire to keep himself and his co-workers alive. 

Someone tell Michael Bloomberg.  And Heather Martens.

UPDATE 2:  While the fella was a recent convert to Islam, I’m gonna blame “crazy”, rather than “Moslem”, if that’s OK with y’all.

UPDATE 3:  A check of the Oklahoma County, Oklahoma sheriff’s department website indicates that their reserve deputies do recieve “basic law enforcement training”, without going into detail.  Does this mean they carry firearms, just like regular patrol deputies?  I’ll find out.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

The Star/Tribune is covering what appears to be an escalating war between a number of Minneapolis street gangs.  Yesterday’s piece, bylined Libor Jany, breaks things down

…well, almost.  I’ll add emphasis:

The three people shot Tuesday were believed to have had some involvement in the Soundbar shooting, community leaders said.

But those were only the most recent.

Others include:

• Eulalio Gonzalez-Sanchez, 36, of Minneapolis, was gunned down about 6:25 a.m. Sunday at the corner of 22nd Avenue NE. and 7th Street as he walked home from the bus stop. No one has been arrested in the case.

Earl Lee Malone, 18, of Edina, was fatally shot and left in front of a house on the 2600 block of Knox Avenue about 11 p.m. Saturday. Police later arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the shooting, but it’s unclear when charges will be brought.

• Jemario Langston, 17, of Minneapolis, was shot and killed Sept. 16 by assailants who chased him to his aunt’s house. After hearing gunshots, the aunt opened her back door to find his sprawled body. No one has been arrested.

The Bogus Boys have been locked in a long-simmering struggle with several other South Side gangs, including the Bloods, “10s” and “20s,” said Ferome Brown, an activist who attended Tuesday’s meeting and works to steer young people away from gangs.

Many of the gang members he works with, Brown says, grew up in the same neighborhoods.

That’s a good run-down of a neighborhood in crisis…

…but wait.  See the empasized stuff?  Earl Malone?   We talked about him earlier today.   He was shot in self-defense.   The media knows this – as in this WCCO-TV piece filed a day earlier than the Strib’s piece.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the carjacking that Mr. Malone apparently attempted may have been gang-related.   

But lumping a self-defense shooting – one in which a community member defended themselves against an immediate threat to their life and health – is not the same as gang bangers carrying on an endless blood feud.  It’s just not.

Does the Strib know the difference?

Self-Defense

The rumors started flying over the weekend – and Tuesday, we got confirmation:  one of the rash of shootings in Minneapolis over the weekend involved a carry permittee, a 21 year old Minneapolis man:

Authorities believe he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot 18-year-old Earl Malone Saturday night at the intersection of Knox Avenue North and 26th Street.

Police took the 21-year-old man into custody at the scene. Sources tell WCCO the man has a conceal-and-carry [sic] permit, and told police he shot Malone because he had tried to rob him.

According to a Facebook post from the Twin Cities Gun Owners and Carry Forum and the irreplaceable Shelley Leeson – a reliable source on these sorts of stories – the permit holder apparently said Malone was armed, and tried to car-jack him. 

According to police files, the 21-year-old permittee fired three shots; Malone fled, and the permittee called 911, exactly as one is supposed to do.  Squads responding found Malone dead – his gun still in his hand. 

Since the permittee has been released without charges, you may be certain of three things:

  1. He didn’t pick a fight with Mr. Malone.  Indeed, he did everything feasible to get away from the fight (with “feasible” being the operative word).
  2. The permittee legitimately feared being killed or maimed – enough so that the notoriously anti-gun Henco attorney Mike Freeman was convinced the case didn’t need to go to trial.
  3. The use of lethal force was appropriate under the circumstances; if it weren’t, Mike Freeman would pounce like a vulture.

And while the identity of the shooter has not been released, and likely won’t be (for the shooter’s protection, no doubt), I’m going to hazard a guess – and it is only a guess – that the permittee is African-American. 

If it weren’t true, the local media and the cluster of anti-gun pressure groups, who would love to have a Trayvon Martin of their very own to wave like a bloody shirt, would be howling about it right now.

The Mystery Deepens

 As was noted last week, there’ve been two arrests in the first armed robbery in the 150-odd year history of the Minnesota State Fair. 

Two Saint Paul men were arrested in the August 29 robbery of the MN Craft Beer booth, which netted (at least briefly) over $100,000. 

St. Paul residents Antontio Washington, 20, and Jarret Maiden, 35, have been booked into jail in suspicion of being behind the $10,000-plus heist, which was the first armed robbery in the fair’s history.

But there’s a mystery!

As was noted on this blog during the fair, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds was posted, for the first time since “shall issue” carry reform passed in 2003, as a gun-free zone.

And yet…:

State Fair police spokesperson Brooke Blakey tells us the gun believed to have been used during the robbery has been recovered, but declined further comment, citing the active investigation.

So there’s a mystery worthy of Poireau or Holmes.  Two, really:

  • How did an illegal gun make it past the signs at the front gate?
  • How did a gun wind up getting used in a crime where guns had just been made illegal?

Someone explain this to me?

Of No Use Whatsoever

 The BATFE is now collecting racial data when you go to buy a gun:

With little fanfare, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2012 amended its Form 4473 — the transactional record the government requires gun purchasers and sellers to fill out when buying a firearm — to identify buyers as either Hispanic, Latino or not. Then a buyer must check his or her race: Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.

Now, the purpose of the form is supposed to be to collect information needed to screen potential purchasers for criminal background. 

So what’s race got to do with it?  

…“This issue concerns me deeply because, first, it’s offensive, and, secondly, there’s no need for it,” said Evan Nappen, a private practice firearms lawyer in New Jersey. “If there’s no need for an amendment, then there’s usually a political reason for the change. What this indicates is it was done for political reasons, not law enforcement reasons.”

Yet another example of politicized “law enforcement”.

The Good Guys Win Another

Gang youths try to rob a group of Milwaukeeans.

Law-abiding Milwaukee citizen with carry permits shoot back.

Citizens win:

He fatally shot one of the robbers, a 15-year-old known gang member who was already the victim of another non-fatal shooting on August 1.

The teen had previously been charged with armed robbery, auto theft, theft, and fleeing.

Innocent babes in the woods mowed down in the prime of life, unjustly?

Well, mowed down in the prime of life, sure. The rest of it?

Police have arrested another two 14-year-old males, a 16-year-old male, a 17-year-old female, and an 18-year-old male.

Police say this particular group is responsible for multiple armed robberies that have recently hit Milwaukee. Police say the group may be responsible for “dozens” of robberies over just the past three days.

“This is criminals that are running around the city creating opportunities for them to rob people all over and this was just the timing,” Alderman Jose Perez said. “This has nothing to do with the district or the neighborhood.”

Deaths are rarely a good thing.

But better the bad actors than the good ones. Sorry to say.

The Peasants $trike Back

In 2003, and again in 2005, when Minnesota passed its “shall issue” firearm permit law, a slew of businesses “posted” themselves; they put signs on their front doors indicating they didn’t want firearms on their premises.

Two things happened – or, rather, didn’t happen:

  1. There were no crimes in public related to legal post-2003-permitted firearm carriers.  None.  Zero. 
  2. While few anti-gun-rights people made a point of shopping posted stores, pro-Second-Amendment people made a very serious point of steering clear of posted establishments.  Many of us quietly and politely engaged with owners of posted stores, telling them that while we respected their decisions, our consciences would not allow us to shop at stores that disarmed the law-abiding and thus became victimization zones. 

Most “posted” stores quietly dispensed with their signs in the year or two after the Minnesota Personal Protection Act was re-enacted in 2005.  Things stayed pretty well put, Minnesota-wise – except, of course, the number of law-abiding citizens with carry permits, which was well over 160,000 177,000 the last I checked (far eclipsing pre-2003 legislative research estimates of 50,000-90,000 permittees). 

But the Obama Administration has been eagerly working to roll back gun rights, especially in the past two years.  And with Michael Bloomberg bankrolling his efforts, there is a concerted effort to turn law-abiding gun owners into the New Lepers – to try to re-stigmatize gun owners, the way the media were able to do in the 1960′s and 1970s. 

All are, of course, attacking the problem of violent crime by going after those who dont’, won’t, and never have committed any (and by their existence indeed deter it) – but no matter.  It’s not about crime – if it were, Washington DC and Chicago would be crime-free paradises. 

But if you read this blog, you’re probably smarter than that.

Unfortunately, a lot of uninformed and incurious people vote.  And Michael Bloomberg’s money is aimed largely at them.  And so the re-stigmatization effort is in full swing.  We’ve seen this with a small but vocal number of stores dusting off their posting signs – and, this summer, with the Minnesota State Fair posting its “no guns” signs, very possibly illegally.

It’s time for Real Americans – the ones that believe in all ten Amendments in the Bill of Rights – to come forward again and put their money where their mouths are.  Or perhaps to be more accurate, to not put their money where their mouths aren’t. 

It’s time to stop spending money at places that are posted. 

20140904-115701-43021574.jpg

So take note, local merchants; if you’re posted, I won’t spend a dime at your establishment.  If I see you or your ownership siding with the anti-gunners in the media, I’ll also cut you off, and do my best to keep you cut off until you recognize the civil rights of law-abiding Americans.   

That includes you, Minnesota State Fair.  While I broadcast from the Fair annually, and am happy to do it, I will no longer patronize any vendors at the Fair as long as the Fairgrounds are posted.

As much as it pains me to think of ten days of broadcasting at the Fair without Sausages by Cynthia’s Italian Dog, or a London Broil, or the Swiss Crepe from the Crepe stand, or a beer at O’Gara’s on a hot day, I’m not going to spend another dime at any Fair vendor, until the State Fair tears down the “Only Criminals May Be Armed!” signs. 

Be advised, Twin Cities merchants.  You have your rights to run your business any way you want.  But you’re not going far without customers. 

Can you afford to piss off 120,000 of us?   Especially since we’re the ones that tip, clean up after ourselves, and pass word of mouth along?

UPDATE:  I do need to credit the “No Guns = No Money” Facebook page for the image, and the whole “getting a movement rolling” thing.   Check out the page, and support them and, most importantly, the goal.

Coincidence?

This was the first year since the passage of shall issue firearm carry that the Minnesota State Fairgrounds loudly, visibly posted itself as a “gun free zone”.

The Fair’s spokesperson Brooke Blakey was even just a little bit obnoxious about it before the fair started. Near as I could tell, it was the first time anyone associated with the state fair has ever gotten really aggressive about alienating fairgoers with legal carry permits.

You hardly need me to tell you what happened next, do you?

According to State Fair Police Public Information Officer Brooke Blakey, at least two suspects took more than $10,000…The suspects struck when the building was closed to the public, restraining at least one person who had been working in the booth, and a beer supplier.

Police say this is the first robbery of its kind at the Minnesota State Fair.

The fair has it’s first armed robbery in 150-odd use the the month that a fair officer gets snotty about law-abiding gun owners?

Pure coincidence, I’m sure.

CORRECTION:  Flawed as her (and, mostly, the Fair Board’s) reasoning may be, I misread the piece in which Ms. Blakey was quoted.  The obnoxious bit (“She also had talks with gun-rights supporters who – contrary to fair policy – wanted to strap on their sidearms and walk down the middle of Dan Patch Avenue“) was written by Delma Francis, in the Minnesota Womens Press, reprinted in the Twin Cities Daily Planet – both of them shrill leftist outlets supported by liberals with deep pockets. 

I apologize for the error.

Comparing Butchers Bills

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

… 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.