Lie First, Lie Always: Gun Grabber “Science”

SCENE: Mitch BERG is trying out a guitar at a local music shop. As he begins to fingerpick the intro to “1957 Vincent Black Lightning”, Avery LIBRELLE enters the store, sees BERG, and walks up behind him.

LIBRELLE:Merg!

BERG:  Er, hey, Avery.  What’s up?

LIBRELLE:  We know you crazy gun nuts don’t care how many children die for your so called “right to keep and bear arms” -= but why do you oppose funding for basic public health research? What are you afraid of?

BERG:  Afraid?  Nothing.    Absolutely certain of what the criminal-safetyi movement means by “science?”  Now you’re on to something.

LIBRELLE:  Why?  Afraid of science?

BERG:  Hardly.  More like “Pretty certain nothing resembling “science” will take place

Here’s a great example; this message went out yesterday:

LIBRELLE:  So?

BERG:  So?  A survey using a self-selected  group of particpants, recruited by an anti-gun group?  Real “public health”, or even sociological or demographic –  research uses random subjects from a representative population – not people cherry-picked by a constituent that’s looking for a specific result.  And a control group?  Forget about it.

That’s not “science”.  It’s not even demography.  It’s public relations and politics.   If you call it “science”, you’re misrepresenting yourself and, yes, science itself.

Oh yeah – and in the fine print of the message, it says the “researchers” will likely quote you unless the results of the “study” are under a confidentiality agreement.

This isn’t science. This barely qualifies as group slander.  Anyone putting this, or its results, out there as “science” should be charged, at least rhetorically, with malpractice.

LIBRELLE:  Check your privelege, racist.

BERG:  Naturally.

LIBRELLE:  And you need…

(BERG cranks the guitar to 11 and starts playing the intro to “Anarchy in the UK”)

(And SCENE)

Lie First, Lie Always: The Media Are The Gun Grabbers’ Stenographers

Q: How can you tell a gun grabber is lying?

A: They are attempting to communicate via any way, shape or form.  Verbally or non-verbally.  In any language.

John Lott on how the media – knowingly or not – inflates the gun grabbers’ numbers.  And as national carry permit reciprocity gains speed in Congress, it’s going to get worse.

And it touches on something readers of this blog knew almost a decade ago; the pro-criominal-safety lobby’s pet “think” tank is a room full of lying sacks:

The Violence Policy Center (VPC), the source of these claims, asserts that in the 10 years from May 2007 to April 2017, U.S. concealed handgun permit holders were responsible for 969 nonself-defense gun deaths (with any type of weapon, not just handguns).

We’ve dealt with the VPC and their “statistics” on this blog before, and found them to be pure garbage.  Nohitng’s changed since then:

Looking at the VPC numbers for 2016, they claim that 26 permit holders supposedly committed 29 homicides. With over 15 million permit holders nationwide last year, those deaths amount to 0.2 homicides per 100,000 permit holders.

However, there is an arrest and investigation virtually anytime a permit holder uses a handgun in a public place. Almost all of the 2016 cases are listed as pending, and most of the defendants will be acquitted on account of self-defense.

So as I noted in my 2009 piece on the swine at the VPC, they treated all ambiguous cases as cut and dried murder.  And it gets worse:

The tally of 969 deaths is the result of triple and even quadruple counting. Michigan — by far the worst state according to VPC numbers — supposedly suffered 78 homicides and 390 suicides. Supposedly, Michigan was the site of over 40 percent of all deaths attributed to permit holders.

The main problem is that pending cases are counted in the same way as convictions. The Michigan State Police report the number of pending cases and convictions each year.

But since most cases never result in a conviction and many cases can be listed as pending for two or three calendar years, this results in massive over counting.

An additional 30 cases are added in, as a result of news stories. Apparently, no effort was made to check if these cases were already accounted for in the state police reports.

A case that ends in acquittal will, therefore, be counted four times if it is covered in a news story and is pending for three years. Over the past 10 years, 17 Michigan permit holders were convicted of homicide, not 78.

That comes to 1.7 cases per year, out of 560,000 permit holders in June 2016.

Which gives permittees a homicide rate about one quarter that of the state of Minnesota, and about 1/120th the rate for Michiganders as a whole.

That’s over two orders of magnitude safer than the general public.

And yet what do  you suppose the media reports, with airtight incuriosity?

The VPC’s only “violence policy” is their policy of genocide toward the truth.

Lie First, Lie Always: Green On Green

Minnesota’s anti-gun orcs – “Protect” MN, Moms Want Action, and the ELCA – are claiming victory today; the legislative session has ended without two very useful Second Amendment bills even getting to the floor.

The claims is both a lie and, sadly, disapointingly, depressingly true.

Delusions Of Vigor:  Moms Want Action came out bright and early, claiming credit, a mandate, and a groundswell of support for its “keep the cirminals safe” agenda.

It’s false of course; remember, Berg’s 19th Law states things very clearly:

“No Minnesota gun control group has ever made, nor will they ever make, a statement of fact that is simultaneously

  • Substantial
  • Original, and
  • True

And do you think that is still the case?

Well, duh.  It’s called “Berg’s Law”, and not “Berg’s Chanting Point”, for a reason.

The “state” didn’t reject self-defense reform (AKA “Stand your Ground”) or Constitutional Carry.  Indeed, the State as a whole elected a bipartisan majority that would likely have passed Self-Defense Reform; Constitutional Carry might have needed a few more years, but then that’s how reforms happen; sometimes they take sustained effort and patience.

So “the state” rejected nothing.  Either did the Legislature.

And while Minnesota’s Real American groups fully expected Governor Dayton Flint-Smith  to veto both bills – setting up an epic talking point for the 2018 gubernatorial election – it never came to that.

Cave-In, Collapse, Abdication, Capitulation:  Minnesota’s GOP leadership – which controls both chambers of the Legislature, albeit by a razor-thin one-vote majority in the Senate – opted not to let either of the bills out of committee.

They did the governor’s job for her.  They – especially Gazelka and Limmer – gundecked both bills at the beginning of the session.

Limmer’s stated reason?  He wanted to protect his freshmen (from an election that is three and a half years away, no less).

Which makes sense, except he went full steam ahead on a bunch of abortion bills that will bring down the wrath of the leftist goddesses on them anyway!

Nobody was “protected” from anything!

So no.  Moms Want Action and “Protect” MN didn’t “win” anything (although claiming credit for other peoples’ flubs is Politics On The Cheap 101).

This is Green on Green.  An “own goal”.  A shot on our own basket.  Fratricide.

A stab in the back.

Time To Get Serious:  The MN GOP House Leadership apparently thinks that Minnesota’s shooters are toothless.   And let’s be honest; when we don’t see a direct threat to our rights right in front of us, we kind of are.  We get complacent.   We figure we’re good.

We’re not.

Michael Bloomberg is pumping seven figures into criminal-protection efforts in Minnesota alone.  The criminal-protection groups look comical, with their sanctimonious babble and their ELCA hair and their legions of constipated Crocus Hill biddies parading around their tony neighborhoods in their orange shirts pretending to care about the lives of people in The Neighborhood – and they are.  But they are building numbers, and have gotten their big-money masters to yank the Strib’s leash back into line, and as dim and iill-informed and comical as they are, they’ve got money and the biggest megaphone in the state.

All we, the little guys, have is passion, numbers and the truth.  Which isn’t enough unless we used all three, every bloody day.  Because if we’re not advancing, they are.

So call the Big Three.

And if Kurt Daudt tries to fob the blame off on the Senate, please ask  him – why does the Senate control the House’s agenda?

Two decades ago, I left the GOP in part because the GOP on the national level took Real Americans’ votes for granted.

They’re doing it again.

And I’m not going anywhere this time.

 

 

The New Brahmins

Democrat congresswoman tells commoner that her First Amendment rights are “Different” than his:

A bit of background:  when Rep. Demings was a police chief, her gun was stolen from her car; it’s tautological that her gun fell into the hands of a criminal.

Demings is, naturally, a gun grabber:

So that’s two “rights of the people” where this Demcorat rep thinks some people are more people than others.

Open Letter To The MNGOP Legislative Caucuses

To:  The MNGOP Legislative Caucuses
From:  Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  You Never, Ever Learn, Do You?

Deaar MNGOP Legislative Caucuses – House and Senate

Today, after months of wrangling, word dribbled out that the Stand Your Ground and Constitutional Carry bills were not going to get a floor vote.  While the bill wouldn’t pass into law, we wouldn’t need to re-argue it next session – which would be a huge benefit, especially given (cough cough) it’s an election year. 

It was a kick in the teeth for Second Amendment voters.

Which is a bit of a problem.  Can you think of a group in this state that has done more, with less outstate support, than the shooters?   That did more to get your majority?

Thanks for nothing.

I get it – politics are complicated.  Compromises happen.  It’s just that as for me and a lot of people like me, you made the wrong one.

So – not another dime.  Not another phone call.  Not another minute of time until you get your collective head right.

That is all.

Another Good Guy With A Gun

Another episode in Texas last week of an armed citizen intervening in what police term a potential spree shooting.

One James Jones walked into the “Zona Caliente” sports bar in Arlington, got into an argument, and shot manager Cesar Perez,  killing him.

Then, a man – unnamed, except for the cops’ appelation “good samaritan” – with a carry permit shot Jones in the back an unnamed number of times.

Jones was carrying not one but two guns, one of them with its serial number filed off.  He had no carry permit.

The police were cautiously thankful, as usual in these situations:

“We’re thankful that the good ‘Samaritan’ acted quickly and decisively to end the threat,” Cook said. “We never recommend people get involved. That’s a personal decision that a citizen has to make.”

Use of force and firearms expert Emanuel Kapelsohn told NBC News that, from his understanding, the man who took down the shooter reacted appropriately.

“I think it’s to be applauded,” he said. “Not everybody in the world ought to own a gun. Not everybody in the world ought to carry a gun. Not everyone in the world ought to engage an armed criminal where innocent people could be potentially injured.”

“But this good Samaritan obviously had the ability to do what he did,” Kapelsohn added. “Who knows how many people would be dead if he had not acted?”

That’s twice in one week in Texas.

Wages Of Complacency

With the collapse (for now) of the Democrat majorities in Saint Paul and Washington, and especially the election of a pro-2nd-Amendment president, with the concomitant appointment of a suitably pro-2nd-Amendment replacement for Antonin Scalia, the threat to our Second Amendment rights has ebbed just a bit.  The pace of gun purchases and carry permit applications has slackened a bit.  You can find ammo on the shelves again.  You can find a decent AR-pattern rifle for less than the cost of a quality handgun.

The immediate, existential threat to a right that separates citizen from subject has faded just a bit.

And it shows.

This past legislative session, with a bipartisan pro-2nd Amendment majority in Saint Paul, not a single gun bill advanced through the GOP-controlled legislature.  Two excellent bills – a self-defense reform bill (aka “Stand Your Ground”), which  would have lessened the requirement to be a lawyer to use a gun in self-defense, and a Constitutional Carry bill – stalled in the House.

Part of the blame rests with Senate Majority Leader Warren Limmer, who made it clear early in the session that he didn’t want to risk his one-vote majority on “risky” bills that would expose his vulnerable freshmen to controversial votes.

Four years before the next Senate election.    In a session where his Senators wijll be as far-removed from re-election pressure as it’s possible to be.

But OK – part of the job of the majority leader is to keep the majority; to win elections.  And part of politics is picking your battles, and drawing as few targets on your people as possible.  And the GOP in the legislature remembers what happened in 2012, when they overreached on issues that were much more vital to many constituents than they were to the rest of Minnesota.

So risk-aversion is understandable.  Right?

Yeah – but the Senate is hearing two bills on abortion restrictions that are going to draw Liberal Plutobucks and busloads of irate women in pussy hats to the capitol to vent their ninety seconds’ hate for weeks on end.

So the real question is, who are the real risks to the MN State Senate.

Judging by the legislation the GOP majority has agreed to work on, it’d seem leadership ranks those risks in the following, descending order:

  1. Pro-lifers, who turn out by  the thousands for pro-life events at the Capitol, give until it hurts, and treat it as a life-or-death issue (as, indeed, it is) always.  No pause.  And who make their electoral muscle utterly nakedly visible every time they need to, by mobilizing money, volunteers, and (in most of Minnesota), decisive numbers of votes.
  2. The DFL. 
  3. Second Amendment Groups.  Because while nobody, but nobody, turns out the troops on the defensive like the shooters, when the alarm turns off, we all go back go normal, like the battle is won.  We don’t turn up for hearings.  We don’t donate money – MInnesota’s 2nd Amendment lobby has not one paid staffer; Everytown pays four or five people to organize the issue, full-time, in Minnesota alone.  The good guys?  All volunteers.  And volunteers burn out, need to find jobs, get families – they do all the stuff real people have to do.

The pressure seems off now.  But all it took was a decade of taking our eye off the ball in the seventies and eighties, and we very nearly lost the Second Amendment.  The game can turn faster than a late-inning Twins lead.

There is no relaxation when it comes to protecting freedom. And when politics is your medium, you have very few friends, and an awful lot of people who need to respect you.

And sometimes, you gotta give them a reason to respect you – if not your reason, then your power.

Judges Gone Wild

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This case turns on an idiotic interpretation of the statute which these three judges made, I suspect, because the judges don’t agree with the notion of individual citizens having a right of self-defense and therefore choosing to sabotage that right by intentionally being obtuse.

The case hinges on the definition of “carry” as in “carry a pistol in a public place.”  What does that phrase mean?  The court decided “carry” was not defined the same as the section of the statute right before this one, but instead was intended to have an entirely different definition in the broadest general sense to mean “convey or transport,” the same as you’d “carry” a bag of groceries from the car to the house.  Can anyone imagine them being as cautious, as restrained, as obsequious to Webster’s Dictionary, when deciding a gay rights or abortion case?

Everybody knows the way you carry a gun in the car when driving from your house to the shooting range is to unload the gun, put the gun in a case, put the case in the trunk, and drive to the range.  When you get there, you park, take the gun case out of the trunk and carry the gun case into the range.  That is the ordinary, normal, and perfectly acceptable way to transport a firearm.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re stone-cold sober or not: the procedure is the same.

Yes, technically, you have “conveyed or transported” a gun in a public place, and yes, technically, you did it with your hands so the gun is “on or about your person,” but until this case was decided, nobody would have believed you were “carrying a gun” within the meaning of the Permit to Carry statute. And it’s even dumber to believe there’s a distinction between carrying a pistol in this manner versus carrying a rifle or shotgun in this manner.

This ruling is idiotic.  The Permit to Carry statute was intended to make it easier for honest citizens to carry a loaded gun in public, typically in a holster.  Everybody knows that – it was endlessly debated; enacted and struck down and enacted again; and it’s been working just fine since it was adopted.  I suspect these judges simply don’t like the law.

Note well: this is a City of St. Paul case meaning the liberal Democrats running this city are ones pushing the judges to tighten and narrow and undermine the law statewide, using a pathetic excuse for legal reasoning.  Now imagine what they’ll do to you if you are forced to shoot somebody.

Joe Doakes

If the City of Saint Paul (and Minneapolis) can’t repeal the Pre-Emption Statute, they’ll undermine it in court.

Concentrated

2% of US counties have 51% of the murders, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center:

54% of US counties had zero murders in 2014 (the most recent year for which national crime data is available by county.

69% of counties have no more than one murder, and about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country.

The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders. As shown in figure 2, over half of murders occurred in only 2% of counties.

m sensing a bit of a correlation, here:

2016 Election results by county

So it seems Democrat governance is correlated with death.

And – wait for it – here’s another correlation:

 

 

A Good Kid With A Gun, Y’All

A mass stabbing attack left one dead and three wounded at the University of Texas Austin.

It could have been worse, but…:

Eyewitnesses have reported seeing a student pull out a concealed handgun on the suspect, and made him back down.

While one can expect the UT and Austin media to downplay such a story – after they all doubled and tripled down against lawful carry on campus – this blog presumes the story true, and that the unnamed student is a hero.

 

The Keystone Gungrabbers: As If On Cue

On Friday, in discussing the brouhaha over the Big Lake High School Trap team, I noted that “Protect” Minnesota, the habitual liars who lead Minnesota’s gun-grabber movement, disavowed one of their own oranization’s facebook posts.  This is merely the most ridiculous in a long pattern of such japes by the organization and its leader, the Reverend Nancy Nord Bence.

As if on cue, they sent out an email blast on Thursday:

I internally started a retraction countdown timer.

Was I disappointed?

You’ve actually read this blog, haven’t you?  Of course not.  It took 27 hours before this crossed:

It seems this sort of thing happens with every single email that the Reverend Nord Bence sends. 

So – not only has “Protect” Minnesota never, not once, made a substantial, original, true statement about the gun issue, but they’re approaching zero in statements about their own organization.

The media uses them as credible sources on this issue precisely why, again?

Our Morally Incontinent Would-Be Overlords Speak Again

This was “Protect” MN’s response to the Big Lake dust-up yesterday:

In what way does this statement do anything but put the Big Lake High School Trap team – high school kids, doing a sport sanctioned by their school, under rigorous supervision, who are learning the safety rules vastly  better than most people (and some cops)  on the same level as Adam Lanza?

This is the loathsome voice of gun control in Minnesota.

UPDATE:  They spiked the post.

So – not only are they loathsome, but they’re cowards.

What’s the matter, “Protect” MN?

Can’t stand behind your words?

No wonder you run away from head-to-head debate.  Every time you open your mouths against people who can defend themselves, you come out looking not-ready-for-prime-time.

UPDATE 2:  According to a source who spoke with WCCO television,  the Reverend Nancy Nord Bence had this to say about the disappearance of the post equivocating the Big Lake Trap Team with Adam Lanza:

[Nord Bence] said: “That post was made without our knowledge and has been deleted.”

Schwoops!  Down the memory hole?

Does Nancy Nord Bence not control “Protect” MN’s website?    Is there a, pardon the expression, loose cannon on their staff?

Much more seriously:   I know that media people read this blog.   Someone please explain why you use these people as a credible source?

  • They have no respect for facts.
  • They make it up as they go along.
  • They are accountable to nobody and nothing.
  • They have never, not once, made a substantial, original, true statement about the gun issue.

What other source would you cut that kind of slack for?

Big Lake. Big Litter-Storm.

The fastest-growing school sport in Minnesota today is trap-shooting.  All over greater Minnesota, even into the outer Metro, trap teams are popping up, and drawing all kinds of students into the shooting sports.  The growth in terms of numbers and percentage is overwhelming; we’ve got regular commenters on this blog who can go into the specifics, but it’s been pretty meteoric over the past five to ten years.

But they never promised us a rose garden, as they say.

The Big Lake school district is refusing to allow the Big Lake High School Trap Team’s official team photo into the school’s annual for this year.

Because never mind the breakdown of the nuclear farmily, or a popular culture that glorifies violence to those who are least able to process what “violence” actually  is and who have no concept of the permanence of “mortality” (teenage boys), marketed with slick cynicism by a Hollywood advertising machine that has no soul.  And never mind the fact that Big Lake is well within the part of Minnesota that has a murder rate roughly half that of Norway.  Or the fact that while trap shotguns are, technically, weapons, the sport isn’t about violence – certainly nothing compared to the martial overtones and actual pummeling of high school football.

No.  Apparently photos of guns are enough to make people violent.

“It’s policy”, says the district – not allowing “weapons” into the yearbook.

Photo courtesy MNGOPAC

But a search of district policies shows nothing about weapons.   You can’t bring a gun to school (which may be why Big Lake has never had a school shooting?  I don’t know), but there is nothing in the district’s policy about pictures of skeet guns in the hands of a school-sponsored team that is participating in a legal, school sanctioned event.  

Anyway – the students on the trap team are doing their best to whip up a litter-storm of Biblical proportion, and I’m going to do my best ton contribute to it.

Polite, measured, reasonable phone calls and emails to be Athletic Director, the Principal and the Superintendent are in order.

As Breitbart said, politics is downstream of culture.   It’s battles like this – where the idiots of our society try to de-normalize conservative values – that are where the war for the culture take place every day…

…and where you and me can actually affect them.

I’m off to kick up that biblical litter-storm.

UPDATE:  They’re hearing us:

Big Lake School Board Chairman Mark Hedstrom told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS via email that he wants to see the trap team included in the yearbook.
“I have made a request to the superintendent to please add this item to (Thursday) night’s school board meeting agenda so the board can look at making an exception (to) this handbook guideline,” Hedstrom wrote.
The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Big Lake.

Big Lake-ians (?), your mission is clear. Make sure your school board hears you.

Sometimes the voice of reason has to be louder than the voice of stupidity, ignorance and tyranny to be heard at all.

UPDATE 2:  In a statement redolent with “HOLY CRAP, MY EARS HURT”, Big Lake HIgh School has walked back its decision.  The picture will appear in the annual.

Thanks.  Good job.

Politics is downstream of culture.  The water downstream is a little more drinkable today.

Good Guys 3. Criminals 0. “ELCA Engage” Bummed.

Three armed men tried to rob a Nashville store the week before last, guns blazing, robbery in mind.

An armed citizen changed their plans:

An unnamed person inside a Nashville (TN) sneaker shop went John Wick on three armed robbers last after they made the mistake of charging into the store with guns blazing.

A man died after he was injured during a shootout at a Bordeaux shop late Thursday night.

It happened inside retailer Hot Kicks, located in a strip mall at 3101 Clarksville Pike, around 11 p.m.

Metro police told News 2 a group of people were inside the store when at least three armed suspects came in through an unlocked back door and began firing.

One of the people in the store returned fire, while others took off running, according to police.

Metro police said officers found one man near the back door with several gunshot wounds.

None of the customers or staff of the store were injured in the exchange of gunfire. One of the three robbers was found critically injured outside the back door of the shop by police, and died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The other two suspects arrived at TriStar Centennial Medical Center leaking from fresh holes, and one of those two robbers is now in critical condition.

I love a happy ending.

 

No Facts Were Used In Writing This Column: Des Moines Register Edition

Iowa passed a self-defense reform law in its most recent session, mere weeks ago. Commonly called “Stand your Ground”, what it does is removes the “duty to retreat” – which is really a “duty to remember a lot of state statutes about attempting to disengage” – from the affirmative legal defense for self-defense.

Now, if you’ve followed this blog, you know the continuum of events:

  1. “Stand your Ground” law is proposed.
  2. Newspaper columnists write alarmed, “sky is falling”, uninformed stories about the subject.
  3. A bunch of other stuff happens.

The Des Moines Register and Daniel Finney are no exception.

And I’d like to try to do something about that.  Ignorance is a tragedy.  Let’s stop the tragedy.

It Wouldn’t Be An MSM Article about Guns…:   Finney starts off with some history.

In this case, history of newspaper people’s myopia:

 

About 20 years ago, when there was an outbreak of shootings in the metro, The Des Moines Register ran a list of tips suggesting what people should do if they were caught in the crossfire.

This was the photo that the Des Moines Register ran with the online version of this piece. No, no scaremongering here.

One of the tips was duck and find cover.

This list generated a lot of laughter, both in and out of the newsroom, because the advice was seemingly so obvious that it engendered a, “No, duh” response.

But for those who remember Nick Coleman as a columnist, that’s not quite a low enough standard.

But I digress:

These days, though, “duck and cover” is out of fashion.

Earlier this month, Gov. Terry Branstad signed sweeping changes to Iowa gun laws that include expanding the so-called “stand your ground” laws.

That part is true.

I point it out because it’s just about the last part of this column rooted in objective fact.

Out Standing In The Field::  Finney isn’t the only one on the Register’s staff that doesn’t really get the law:

As standout Register Statehouse reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel writes, the new law says you don’t have to duck and cover or run away.

Instead, if a person is “any place where the person is lawfully present,” they may defend themselves with deadly force.

Further, the law says “a person may be wrong in their estimation of danger or about how much force is necessary ‘as long as there is a reasonable basis for the belief … and the person acts reasonably in response to that belief,'” Pfannenstiel reported.

real “standout” reporter would have asked a few more questions, and found out that that’s pretty much how the “Reasonable Person” standard works.    If a complete stranger revs up a chainsaw and charges toward you yelling “I’m going to kill you, you sonafabitch”, and you shoot her, and deep in her heart she actually intended to stop at the last second and tell you it’s an elaborate practical joke?   The law doesn’t expect you to be a mind-reader – and no reasonable person would ever convict you for it.   –

At any rate, when Mr. Finney says…:

I wish Polk County Attorney John Sarcone and his colleagues the best of luck figuring out how to interpret what a “reasonable basis for belief” of someone feeling they’re in danger.

…you can tell he needs to talk with an even stand-outier capitol reporter, because they have to do it with every single self-defense case today.  

Let’s Take A Break From The Column For Some Actual Facts:  Mr. Finney:   there are some subjective but firm factors that everyone has to meet to claim self-defense; I wind up citing them on this blog so often, I made a separate page for them.

  • Don’t be the aggressor
  • A jury would believe you legitimately feared being killed, maimed or raped
  • You use only the force needed to stop the threat
  • A jury would believe you tried hard enough to disengage before resorting to lethal force.  What’s “hard enough?”  In Minnesota, that’s the subject of a dozen pieces of case law; I’d imagine Iowa is – or was – the same.   “Castle Doctrine” laws eliminate this in your home.  “Stand your Ground” eliiminates this, and only this, anyplace else where you have a legal right to be.    And that is all.  You still have to convince the cops, the prosecutor or the jury of the other three criteria!

Situational Awareness:  Back to Mr. Finney:

I’ll use an example from my own life. I used to walk a 3-mile loop in my parents’ east Des Moines neighborhood. Periodically, I crossed paths with a woman who was also out walking.

Every time the woman saw me, she crossed to the other side of the street. I understand that. She didn’t know me.

I’m 6-foot-4. I’m heavy. And, especially in the fall, it was getting dark out.

While most violence, including rape and homicide, is committed between people who already know each other, the woman was being cautious. I was a large man she didn’t know at twilight.

Better safe than sorry.

Well, yeah – that’s common sense.

But common sense doesn’t trump ignorance.  As we’ll see with Mr. Finney’s next bit:

I tried to keep an eye out for people around me, but I was also listening to my workout mix cassette tapes (yeah, I’m that old). On hills, sometimes I put my head down and gritted through the climb.

What if I was walking at a fast clip and happened to come up behind this woman or bump into her?

It seems to me the way that law is written, she could shoot me dead, and the law, as written, would say she was free to go.

This is far-fetched, of course.

No, it’s not far-fetched.

It’s ignorant.

Mr. Finney:  If she shot you, would a jury believe you posed a threat of death, mutilation or rape?  A real jury, not a fantasy nightmare jury?

Not sure how you behave around strange women in the dark, Mr. Finney, but as a 6’5 guy with an air of calculated menace living in a neighborhood full of college-age women, I go out of my way to appear innocuous and unthreatening when out and about after dark.

Of course, Finney is not merely ignorant about Iowa self-defense law; knowingly or not (I tend to think most reporters don’t know better and never get around to asking, because their editors never make them); he’s trafficking a lie about “Stand Your Ground”, one that I see, almost unaltered, from uninformed columnists all over the place; “Stand your Ground means you can shoot people who make you nervous”.

As we’ve pointed out in this space countless times in the past, it’s an ignorant myth.

I’m going to ignore the rest of the article; it’s no better-informed, but it’s off topic.

But Mitch – Why?:  You might be thinking to yourself “Mitch – you’re fisking yet another reporters’s badly-informed column about a law he or she clearly doesn’t understand.   For like the 1,000th time in the past 15 years.  Why?”

Because Don Quixote is my role model?

Well, maybe a little.  But there’s a more important reason.

I sent Mr. Finney an email, gently setting him straight on his many factual errors.

But if you know some 2nd Amendment activists in Des Moines, feel free to have them send Mr. Finney the link to this piece (his email address is at the bottom of the article).     Because newspaper columnists, for all their vaunted contact in the community, tend to live in echo chambers – especially columnists in “blue” cities like Des Moines (to say nothing of Minneapolis and Saiint Paul).

And sometimes, a little dissonance makes the chamber a little less echo-y.

“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.

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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.

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