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. 

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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.

It’s Like A Sidewalk, I Suppose…

Joe dogs, Park emails about a recent court decision:

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

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

And Minnesota has a long way to go.

Firing Blind

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

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

No, I’m not making that up.

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

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

Anyway – the article is worth a read!

For Second Amendment Freedom

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

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

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

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

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The Really Good Guys

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

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

More, I’m told, to come.

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

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

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

But I’m going to guess not very many got a response like a GOCRA volunteer got from Minnesota state representative Ron Erhardt (DFL, HD 49A) of Edina:
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“No more surveys! You come near me, I’ll blow your head off” was Erhardt’s  response, according to GOCRA.  I have sent Rep. Erhardt an email asking for elaboration.

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

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

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

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

(Note to the Dario Anselmo campaign:  Merry Christmas)

Frustration

Joe Dokes from Como Park emails:

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

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

When Seconds Count

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

And in some ways it has.

But in others?

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

When seconds count, the police are minutes away. 

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

Junk Science, Junkier “Journalism”

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

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

Continue reading

One For The Good Guys

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

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

Armed store owner had a dissenting opinion:

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

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

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

Marketing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It’s nice to feel welcome.
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Joe Doakes

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

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

No Pep

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

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

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

Joe Doakes
Como Park

As everyone should.

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

Now is no time to let old habits die.

The Good Cop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Apologies To Heather Martens

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

Ms. Martens,

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

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

That is all.