Open Letter To The Entire Twin Cities Media

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

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

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

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

Not One..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More tomorrow.

“There’s No Use In Self-Defense”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No bond has been set for Rodriguez.

The father and son were unharmed.

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

 

The Mission For Today – And The Next 10 Months

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

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

Deadlines And Commitments:  As of today:

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

But it’s not.  Not quite.

Stay with me, here.

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

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

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

And you’d be right.  For this session.

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

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

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

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

Let’s get on this.

Lie First, Lie Always: Delusions Of Adequacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mission For Today

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

Keep at it.

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

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

Bring the pain.

Bring lots of it.

Time For Some Action

Gun owners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrong. 

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

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

And that means you and I need to step up.

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

Call your representative and your Senator.

And call:

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

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

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

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

This needs to be a political flood of biblical proportions.

Liberal Messaging

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

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

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

…are the intended customer for that particular lie.

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


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

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

I’m inclined to think “b”.

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

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

Then he got up and walked out.

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

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

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

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

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

And here’s his publicly-visible post:

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

That’s pretty much the whole story, right?


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

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

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

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

…Moms Want Action.

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

So let’s sum it up:

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

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

Keep up the good work, Reverend Bence!

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

UPDATE:  From a witness:

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

This was no random happenstance.

Failure Is The Only Option

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

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

BERG:  Er – you’re in it.

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

BERG:  Saint Paul.

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

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

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

BERG:   Wow.  Who’s carrying it?

AARONSON:   Nobody has the balls to carry this bill!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AARONSON:   Sellouts!  Cowards!   Worthless collaborationists!

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

AARONSON:  Only by people who are worthy!

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

AARONSON:  Pretty sweet deal, huh?

BERG:   Huh.  Yes.  Yes it is.

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

BERG:  Pretty cool.

And SCENE.

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

“Duty To Retreat”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tide

As we watch the progress of Minnesota’s “Consitutional Carry” bill – which would remove the law-abiding citizen’s requirement to ask the government for a permit to exercise their Constitutional right to carry a firearm – it’s worth noting the tide that is building in Free America for this utterly sensible measure.

So far this year, Missouri and New Hampshire have enacted Constitutional Carry.  That brings the total to 12 states that don’t interfere with their residents’ Constitutional rights.

And North Dakota looks to be likely to pass it shortly (along with a “First Armed Responder in Schools” bill allowing trained school staff to carry permitted firearms).  This shows one of the many good things that happen when a state’s Democrat party is reduced to a shadow organization.

My prediction:  It passes the Minnesota Legislature with bipartisan majority, to get vetoed by Governor Flint Smith.

Let ’em.  Flint Smith can run against that in 2018.

The Passive-Aggressive Dannell Malloy

Connecticut’s governor Dannell Malloy is proposing quadrupling fees for carry permits, as well as raising fees for background checks by 50%:

As part of his budget, Malloy is proposing to increase the state portion of the pistol permit fee from $70 to $300. He also is proposing the cost of the initial 5-year pistol permit fee from $140 to $370.

The increase in fees for gun owners will bring in another $9 million to the state annually, according to the governor’s budget estimates.

Additionally, Malloy is proposing to increase background check fees from its current $50 to $75.

Malloy has, of course, been merely the latest of a series of liberal governors that have spent the last couple of decades turning Connecticut – a state that is home to four of America’s wealthiest cities, a place that by all rights should be financially well-set – into a fiscal basket case, a green fiscal Detroit, a place with the highest per-capita state debt in the country, with a business climate that under decades of stultifying Democrat rule has gone from one of America’s best states for business to the very, very bottom of the pile.

His idea to balance his $3,7 billion deficit?  Raise about $9 million in fees for shooters, thereby making it harder for the poor to protect themselves.

How passive-aggressive is that?

Everything You Say Can And Will Be Held Against You

“Play stupid games, get stupid prizes”.

It’s a mantra my first carry permit instructor, the late Joel Rosenberg, used to drill into his students’ heads.  The point?  The best case of self-defense is the one you don’t need to state in front of a court.  Don’t put on your legal gun and go to roughneck bars, or hang out where stupidity is likely to break out.   If someone provokes you, walk away – using extreme measures.  “When you’re armed”, Joel used to say, “it’s incumbent on you to be the biggest pussy in the bar”.

And the stupidity doesn’t start when the potential violence does.  Oh, no.

One of the things police and prosecutors would do, if you got into a lethal-force self-defense incident, was pore over everything they can find about your past, to find some way in which they can convince a jury that it wasn’t really self-defense.

Remember – under Minnesota law, there are four factors that must be upheld when you claim self-defense using lethal force:

  1. You must not be a willing participant:  you can’t start a brawl, and then shoot someone who breaks a bottle.
  2. You must reasonably, immediately fear death or great bodily harm.  Reasonable means “it’ll convince a jury”.  Immediate means now; if someone says “I’m gonna kill you…tomorrow”, you can’t kill them first.
  3. You must use appropriate force.  In other words, you can only use the force needed to end the threat.  No more.
  4. You must make a reasonable effort to retreat.  Reasonable.  If you’re pushing your baby in a stroller, you don’t need to leave it behind.  If you’re a 70 year old man with a knee replacement attacked by four youths, you don’t need to try to out run them.  And in Minnesota, it doesn’t apply in your house.  In “Stand Your Ground” states, this provision is disregarded.  Minnesota is not a Stand Your Ground state.

When you claim “self defense”, you must meet all four of the criteria above.  That means all four; if you miss one of them – or if a jury can be convinced you missed one of them, rightly or wrongly – you’re in big trouble.

Big Trouble:  Allen Scarsella was convicted of “Riot”, First Degree Assault and some counts of Second Degree Assault for an episode that happened at the protests outside the Minneapolis Fourth Precinct in November 2015.

The jury deliberated for seven hours following two weeks of testimony from nearly two dozen witnesses — including surprise testimony from Scarsella and a co-defendant — before returning guilty verdicts on all counts.

So – how did Scarsella get convicted?

Let’s go through those four elements.

Fear Of Death:   Observers, and even some of the victims, testified that there was a chase, as at least seven protesters ran after Scarsella and his companions.  Was fear of death or great bodily harm reasonable?  We’d have to ask the jurors – but the law doesn’t require one to be a mind-reader.

 Mobs do stupid things.  Call this a definite maybe.  It would certainly be obtuse to rule it out just because you don’t like the defendant or his motivations; people who believe objectionable things have rights, too.

Convincing a jury of this sort of thing is why defense attorneys make the big bucks.

Duty To Retreat:  Well, no doubt there.  Scarsella and his friends certainly tried to get away.   Call this a no-brainer for the defense.

Was Lethal Force Appropriate?:  Well, assuming it was reasonable to assume the threat was immediate and lethal, the shooting ended the threat.  As far as that goes, let’s call it a non-factor.

Not A Willing Participant:  Here’s the thing about jury trials (or so I’m told by my lawyer friends); a big part of the job is making sure the jury likes you, feels for you, identifies with you.  This becomes important when it comes to this criterion of self-defense in particular.

Going where a confrontation might happen might be considered “willing participation” – but in the Darren Evanovich shooting, where a Good Samaritan chased an armed robber into an alley, the prosecutor decided the evidence showed the Samaritan was not a willing participant; he went looking for the purse, not a fight.

But while Scarsella may well have had second thoughts about attending the protest long before the shooting started, the prosecutors also found some evidence that made him pretty  unsympathetic to the jury:

They watched several videos taken before and after the shooting, including ones of Scarsella making racist comments; and they viewed numerous texts where Scarsella described his intent to kill black people.

Now, could a good lawyer have gotten a jury to disregard this?  Maybe, maybe not.    Even racists have the right to defend their lives; self-defense isn’t a popularity contest.

But jury trials, to a great extent, are.  And the prosecution (according to sources familiar with the case) were able to create an impression with the jury that Scarsella went to the Fourth Precinct looking for a fight.  Which blew away his chance of calling himself an “unwilling participant”, and with it, his self-defense claim.

The obvious lesson – if you value the right to self-defense, and you believe things that a jury might find unsavory, then keep quiet about them, especially on social media, text messages and other searchable media.

And it’s not just racial ugliness.  If you’re a shooter, for crying out loud, don’t be jabbering on Facebook about how eager you are to turn your new shotgun on an intruder.  It’l make it harder for a zealous prosecutor to paint you as a slavering gun nut with an itchy trigger finger.

Another obvious point – the Good Samaritan in the Evanovich case, as well as the Broadbent shooting in 2015, involved citizens who followed the rules; after shooting, they called the police and tried their best to render first aid.  Scarsella fled the scene and didn’t call the police and was caught sometime the next day – a bad tactic if you want to claim self-defense.  It’s good to be a responsible citizen.

Like every self-defense shooting, the Scarsella case should be a sobering reminder – in this case, of what not to do.

“We Talk. You Shut Up”

Criminal-safety groups like to jabber on about having a “conversation about guns”.

Here’s “Protect” Minnesota’s version of “conversation”.

What a bunch of gutless frauds.

Look, don’t get me wrong – it’s not like any criminal-safety advocates can hold their own in a conversation, much less any kind of informed debate with the good guys.

It’s just…

…well, no.  That kinda sums it up.

Lie First, Lie Always: The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence Can’t Seem To Tell The Truth. Ever.

My first carry permit instructor, the late great Joel Rosenberg, drilled into his students’ heads one key, overarching idea; that shooting in self-defense was, at best, the second-worst possible outcome to an incident.  “You’re setting off a nuclear bomb in your life”, he said.

Shooting in self-defense is fraught with peril, for even the most law-abiding citizen and the most legitimate shoot.

And the criteria for “legitimate shoot” – the use of lethal force in self-defense – are both oppressively vague (in Minnesota) and relatively iron-clad.  To you use lethal force legally in self-defense:

  1. You must not be a willing participant in the incident.   You can’t start a brawl, and then draw your gun when someone pulls a knife.
  2. You must reasonably, immediately fear death or great bodily harm.
  3. The force you use must be reasonable; you can only use it to end the immediate threat to your life.
  4.  You must make a reasonable effort to disengage.  One exception in Minnesota is when you’re in your home – which means “within the walls of your domicile”.

There was a shooting over the weekend in Madelia, Minnesota.  The Strib’s John Reinan was on the hagiography beat (a Strib specialty.  The Southern MN News stuck to the facts.

If I had to guess, bsed on the information we have in front of us right now (and Berg’s 18th Law would tell us that relying on the media for actual information is dodgy at best), I’d suggest that shooting at someone’s car to blow out a tire as they’re fleeing is legal in Texas, but probably a bad move under Minnesota law.   Again, just guessing, and the shooter, David Petterson, is innocent until proven guilty.

But I’m not here to talk about the case, or the media’s reporting of it – not this time.

I’m here to continue my mission of making sure every single sentient Minnesotan knows that “Protect” Minnesota, even more than most criminal-safety groups, are to fact what “Baghdad Bob” was to journalism.

The blood was barely dry before The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence – “P”M’s “executive director” and one of about half a dozen actual members – released her opinion.

“Opinion” is putting it as charitably as ethically possible:

Look!  Boogeymen!:  Nord Bence starts out shaky:

We are already hearing chatter from the gun lobby about how unfair it was for law enforcement to charge David A. Pettersen with second-degree manslaughter and intentional discharge of a firearm in connection with the shooting death of Nicholas T. Embertson in Fieldon Township on Saturday. They are saying that this case demonstrates why the Stand Your Ground bill (HR0238), introduced earlier this session by Rep. Jim Nash of Waconia, should be passed.

Not sure what “Gun Lobby” the Reverend Nord Bence is referring to – neither GOCRA nor MNGOC nor the NRA have publicly opined on the case.  Minnesota Gun Rights is a potemkin organization – a scam, if you will.   They are not “the gun lobby”.

They also don’t know the law much better than Nord Bence; “Stand Your Ground” is useless if you don’t reasonably, immediately fear death or great bodily harm.  Not to do the county attorney’s job, but under Minnesota law, shooting at a fleeing car might not fly in court.

Preacher, Heal Thyself:  The Reverend Nord Bence – like her predecessor, Heather Martens, has yet to make a single, original, substantial, true statement on the issue of guns. I’m not sure she’s “lying” – telling untruths when you don’t know any better is merely ignorance.

But while Nord Bence is a comically inept spokesperson, it’s a good thing she’s got preachin’ to fall back on.  Because she’d make a terrible lawyer:

The Nash Stand Your Ground bill is dangerous for many reasons – not the least being the serious risk it would pose to communities of color and immigrants in our state.

Nord Bence keeps saying this.  I’m not sure she could even tell you why.   I’d guess it’s because one of her superiors in the Criminal Safety movement told her “FEELING THREATENED BY A HOODIE JUSTIFIES MURDER” or some such twaddle.

Which ties into this next bit:

 

But we should not forget that HR0238 would also tie the hands of local law enforcement and obstruct their ability to fulfill their sworn duty to protect the communities they serve.  If it were to pass, almost any shooting could be justified because the shooter “felt threatened,”

And again, as we noted a few weeks back, Nord Bence is either legally illiterate, or lying, or both.   While Minnesota’s self-defense laws are a marvel of unclarity, they are pretty clear on the point that you have to have an immediate fear of death or great bodily harm that you can convince a jury is “reasonable”.

Hoodies don’t count.

Will “teenagers speeding away in a car” pass muster?  I wouldn’t bet on it.

The Pettersen case demonstrates why it is so important that law enforcement personnel retain the right to do their job and determine when charges are warranted.

And Nancy Nord Bence demonstrates why “getting your information from “Protect” Minnesota is actually worse than getting no information at all.

Waiting Game

Berg’s 18th Law says to ignore all news about mass shootings for 48 hours; the mainstream media will be more into scooping their competition than getting their facts straight.  

On the other hand, the CBC isn’t the most sensationalistic source out there:

“It seemed to me that they had a Quebecois accent. They started to fire, and as they shot they yelled, ‘Allahu akbar!’ The bullets hit people that were praying. People who were praying lost their lives. A bullet passed right over my head,” said the witness. 

Remember – Canada is a gun free zone.  

Fat lotta good it did, as usual.

 

Shopstopper

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

7th Circuit (which includes Chicago) strikes a blow for the Second Amendment.  Better, but still not correct.  The court won’t take the final step because they know it’s the death blow for gun grabbers.

If owning a firearm is a fundamental constitutional right as Heller and McDonald decided, then it’s entitled to Strict Scrutiny the same as religion and speech, not merely ‘some level of heightened scrutiny’ which is the phony category the court set up for sex discrimination cases. 

 Opinion here:

 Joe Doakes

Dear “Feminist” Bobblehead

You have sown the dumb-protest-sign wind.

You shall reap the dumb protest sign whirlwind.

If you had “as many rights as” a gun, you…:

  • would be liable to getting shot by nervous cops
  • You couldn’t get on an airplane
  • You may not be able to vote because you can’t carry guns in polling centers.
  • Any business can deny you entry
  • Going to school would be a federal crime
  • You would need to be locked in a safe when not in use
  • You’d have to be transported in a trunk or lock box in the trunk when not in someone’s pocket.  Even women in Saudi Arabia don’t have to do that. 
  • you would be blamed for things that are not your fault (which, let’s be honest, is more of a male thing)
  • If you were poor, you couldn’t afford yourself because of arbitrary government regulations designed to destroy you
  • government will pay good money to incinerate you

Sounds like women have more rights under the Taliban.

Still game?

Two Good Guys – One With A Gun, One A Dead Hero

Two men tried to rob a jewelry store in a mall in San Antonio, Texas.

One Good Samaritan tried to intervene – and was killed in the process.

What could possibly go wrong? Accused mall shooter Jason Matthew Prieto.

That’s when a second Good Samaritan – a good guy with a carry permit and a gun – intervened, shooting one suspect and the other one fleeing like the prison shower-room bitch he no doubt is.

The suspects – including Jason Matthew Prieto, shown above, who is alleged to have fled the scene but wound up crashing his car – are up for capital murder.  Much as I oppose the death penalty, I doubt I’ll be found protesting if the State of Texas ever does end up executing them (should they be found guilty).

Six others were injured in the encounter with robbers before police could arrive.

So there were two good guys.  One had courage, but no gun; he is no longer with us.  One had courage and the means to back that courage up with force.  He – and others – are alive today.

Any questions?

The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part V: Everyone With ELCA Hair Looks The Same

All this week we’ve been talking about “Protect” Minnesota’s press release, a week ago today.

And when I say “talking”, I mean “checking its many false assertions, and mocking it to a fine sheen”.

I – like the release itself – saved the worst for last.

Like Going To Courtney Love For Legal Advice:  We noted yesterday – the Reverend Nord Bence is utterly unclear on how self-defense law works.

In this next bit, she transposes that ignorance onto society at large.   I’m going to add emphasis:

Moreover, the Stand Your Ground bill represents a particular threat to people of color and immigrants, who are often met with suspicion by Minnesotans because they look and dress differently. If it were to pass, almost any shooting could be justified because the shooter “felt threatened,” even if the “threat” was a hoodie or a hijab.

This is a flaming lie.

You can not kill people because they make you nervous. Don’t be a moron.

Nord Bence isn’t the first to use it, of course; when self-defense reform was passed (with a bipartisan majority) in 2012, liberal commentators – from bloggers to Dakota County Prosecutor Jim Backstrom and Chaska police chief Scott Knight – made the same claim; that you could kill someone who “gave you stink-eye” or who “made you feel uncomfortable”.

It’s a lie, of course; “I felt uncomfortable” or “I’m scared of hijabs” is not “reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm.”

And if the legal system started letting people off the hook for shooting people for those reasons, then it really, really wouldn’t be the guns’ fault.

And I can’t prove it, but I suspect Nord Bence knows this; while she eschews discussion with people who actually know the issue, she’s certainly had people try to set her straight.    At any rate, it’s a cynical lie, made in a complete vacuum of truth.  She should be ashamed, and I am looking forward to the chance to tell her to her face.

Already minorities are purchasing more guns than ever before because they feel afraid2;

Well, to be fair, the media did spend an entire election cycle pumping up irrational fear.  And they do have the same legal right to arm themselves that everyone else does.  I encourage law-abiding minorities to avail themselves of their rights (not “privileges”) along with the rest of us.

And for all the media’s manufactured barbering over “Stand Your Ground”, there are two facts they somehow never get around to:

  • “Stand Your Ground” was not a factor in the Zimmerman/Martin case.  Not even a little:   Even the prosecutor admitted that Zimmerman never had a chance to retreat.  The defense never invoked Florida’s “duty to retreat” exemption in Zimmerman’s defense, because he never had to.  It was a non-factor.  It was the media, and liars like The Reverend Nord Bence, who made it an issue.
  • Minorities invoke “Stand Your Ground” laws more often than whites when claiming self-defense:  In the only stats we have on the subject, it turns out that black citizens are twice as likely to invoke Florida’s “Stand your Ground” law, per capita.

passage of this bill could lead to a wholesale arming of communities that feel threatened by it.

Which, I suspect, is the part that bothers Nord Bence and her followers the most.  There’s a reason why their events – every last one – take place in lilywhite places like Eagan, and Burnsville, and Kenwood, and at the south end of the Stone Arch Bridge, and not at Plymouth and Sheridan, after all.

We’re Almost Done!:  Finally:

 And more guns mean more gun violence.3

No, they don’t.

Finally:  We wrap up with the big finish:

Protect Minnesota calls upon all Minnesota citizens—84% of whom support comprehensive background checks to keep firearms out of dangerous hands–to voice their opposition to the passage of these radical bills. We call upon leaders from both parties in the legislature to keep these bills from moving forward.

Every anti-gun legislator outside the metro area has been defeated; ask them how many Minnesotans support background checks?  Support for both bills is bipartisan and spread throughout this state, just like in 2012.

So when The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence says:

Yep, Reverend. Game on indeed. See you at the Capitol. I’ll be the one that’s part of a big freaking crowd of friendly, courteous, hardworking Minnesotans. You’ll be the one mincing about at the head of your pack of shrill husks. Bring the pain, ma’am.

And we call on Gov. Dayton to promise to veto these bills if they pass, confident that he will recognize them as bad for Minnesota and dangerous for Minnesotans.

Yes.

Yes, Governor Dayton.  Please, please please please please please.  I beg of you.

Once again, answer to your party’s lunatic fringe, and veto two bills that will pass with unanimous GOP support, and that of every DFLer who’s more than half an hour from downtown Minneapolis.

Give the GOP a club to use to smack up every DFL representative in the third tier of ‘burbs.  Give the GOP a statewide rallying point against the next DFL candidate for governor.  Turn the masses of shooters out; they tend to dial back the intensity of their activism unless they have something to rally around, more’s the pity, but this will serve nicely.

By all means, follow the advice of a woman who, to be charitable, has just expressed cataclysmic ignorance of every single fact she presented in this Doestoyevskian press release.  Of a woman who, as I’ve shown, is wrong on every single substantive claim she tried to make (and she knows it; it’s why she never, ever faces Human Rights advocates in open debate).

Follow the advice of a woman who might, on a big day, muster 100 middle aged white people with ELCA hair to phumpher and rut about, against the masses who turn out on sub-zero evenings in Saint Paul against her, and routinely melt down the Capitol switchboard, just in time for the gubernatorial campaign.

So yes, Governor Dayton.  Take the advice of the Right Reverend, and sow the wind.  The DFL will reap the whirlwind in 2018.

Sounds like a lovely plan to me!

Or, y’know, just sign the bills, follow the will of the people (who’ve been paying attention), and leave the state a slightly better place, at least in one area.

Your call.


The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part IV: I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means

On Tuesday and yesterday, we discussed “Protect” Minnesota’s factually vacuous response to the House’s Constitutional Carry bill – which would allow people who are otherwise entitled to carry firearms to do so without having to jump through hoops.

Today, we’ll shift the focus to “Protect”‘s response to the self-defense reform bill – which The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence refers to as “stand your ground”, because the left and media paid a lot of good money to try to stigmatize that term after the Trayvon Martin episode, of which more later.

Field Marshal Of The Legion Of Invincible Ignorance:  I keep thinking I’ve found the Reverend Nord Bence’s dumbest lie of the lot.  I keep finding worse ones.  But this one may be the bottom of the barrel:

The Stand Your Ground bill (HF0238) would change Minnesota’s existing authorized use of force law by removing the obligation to retreat from danger before using deadly force. If passed, it would be admissible to use deadly force any place and anytime a person subjectively believed their life to be threatened, except against peace officers.

This part is actually true – not that it does Nord Bence’s larger point any good.

The presumption of innocence would be given to the shooter, while burden of proof for prosecution would be with the state. This is the law in Florida that enabled George Zimmerman to get away with the murder of Trayvon Martin.

It’s only two sentences – but they are steeped to saturation in ignorance and untruth.

Reverend: Please read the Fifth Amendment. Get back to us. Thanks.

Read the Fifth Amendment.  The accused always have a presumption of innocence!  The burden of proof is supposed to be with the state!

One wonders if the Reverend truly doesn’t know this – or if she is aiming on purpose for the dumb and illl-informed.

Minnesota currently allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense, which is appropriate. But it’s an objective standard.

That is 180 degrees removed from correct.  It is subjective!

It’s called the “Reasonable Person” standard; would a “reasonable person” – or 12 of them on a jury, as Joel Rosenberg explained it – believe that you were in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm?   That was a start; those same reasonable people had to believe you also used lethal force appropriately, and weren’t taking part in a fight you were willingly part of.

It’s simple in concept, it’s intensely complicated in court, it’s generally logical, it makes lawyers rich…

…and it’s anything but objective.

You have to be able to show you actually were in danger and that you tried to retreat before resorting to deadly force. This bill removes the obligation to retreat and specifically gives the presumption of innocence to the shooter.

No.  The Constitution does.

The bill merely means that a prosecutor can’t try to hold an arbitrary, subjective definition of “retreating” against someone who is otherwise legitimately defending their life.

This is a major change in our understanding of what it means to defend yourself, a completely subjective standard.

Well, the Reverend Nord Bence is close to a point.  If she and her followers were to learn the current law and what the bill would actually do, it’d be a major change in their understanding, all right.

The Future:  The Reverend Nord Bence asks:

Is that what we want for Minnesota?

You’re a 120 pound woman who works at a shopping mall.  As you walk to your car, a man approaches you, draws a knife, and says “Bitch, get in the car”.  As he steps to grab you, you draw a handgun and shoot him.  He bleeds out as you wait for the police.

A decision you made in a fraction of a second ended one life – perhaps justly – and has just changed yours forever; as the late Joel Rosenberg said, you’ve just dropped a nuclear bomb into your life.

The county attorney will look at the evidence, and weigh it against the statute and, in Minnesota, a lot of case law.

  • Did you legitimately fear death or great bodily harm?  There was a knife, and his statements indicated he was bent on mayhem. Check.
  • Were you a willing participant?  Obviously not.  Surveillance camera footage showed you were clearly accosted.  Check.
  • Did you use appropriate force?   You shot him, he dropped, you ceased fire.  You ended the immediate threat.  Check.
  • Did you make a reasonable effort to retreat?   You were 120 pounds and in reasonable shape.  He was 250 and kind of a slob.  Could you have outrun him, thus avoiding the incident?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But here’s what will happen; a decision that you had to make in a second, in a dark parking lot, under the most stress you will ever feel, will be gone over by someone with a BA in Political Science and a JD, sitting in a warm, well-lit office, protected by deputies with badges and metal detectors and guns, to determine if you tried hard enough, in his utterly subjective opinion, to retreat.   If he decides you did not?  You will go to trial, and spend your life’s savings trying to stay out of jail – not over whether you were reasonably afraid, but over the prosecutor’s opinion of your reflexes.    In the hands of a zealous-enough prosecutor, “duty to retreat” becomes an utterly subjective way of punishing people for otherwise perfectly-legitimate shoots.Like the one we just demonstrated.

That is why we need this law.

Oh, it gets worse still.  More tomorrow.


The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part III: That Golden Ticket!

I’m continuing my five-part series going over “Protect” Minnesota’s press release on the Self-Defense Reform and Constitutional Carry bills, which were introduced last week in the House.

But first, a quick aside.

Records:  While the criminal-safety  movement would like you to think otherwise, gun violence is neither generally random nor unpredictable.  Our violent crime rate – which has been dropping for two decades – is not evenly distributed across the population.

I’m not referring to geography here – although the numbers also manifest geographically.

Ethnicity, either, for those of you who are inclined to see racial dog-whistles in all conservative writing.

But it’s a simple fact that if a person gets to age 21 without a violent felony record – whether they’re from rural Kentucky or downtown Baltimore – the odds are pretty good they will go through their entire life without one.

And the vast, vast majority of firearm crimes involve people with records of violent and serious property crime, either as perps, victims, or both.  It’s exceedingly rare that someone of any race with a  pristine record vis a vis violent and property crime shoots someone.  (Mass shootings are usually an exception – but they are also a different  phenomenon and, notwithstanding the coverage they receive, are vastly rarer.  Also, they are overwhelmingly associated with places where victims are disarmed – but that’s another discussion).

This isn’t a tangent; it’ll come back up.

Clairvoyance?:  Consider the following scenario:

A man walks out of a bank.  He’s carrying a sawed-off shotgun (a violation of federal law) and a bag of cash.

A policeman rolls up.  A policewoman jumps out and, taking cover behind her car, yells “Show me a your carry permit!”

That sounds absurd, doesn’t it?  It is, of course.  There’s a crime underway.  The subject’s paperwork is less relevant than the fact that they reasonably appear to be in the middle of committing a violent felony.

Here’s another scenario; a policeman sees a middle-aged black family man, with his wife and his kids, sitting outside a Dairy Queen across from Lake Josephine, drinking malts and talking about their day.   A passing police officer sees the imprint of the butt of a handgun under the man’s shirt.

It’s possible that the guy is carrying illegally – and the cop may well walk over to ask if the man has a permit (he does) and advise him to tuck in a little to avoid getting ninnies riled up.  But it’s pretty much a fact that middle aged family guys, Tony Soprano notwithstanding, generally aren’t gangsters on the warpath.

This discussion brings us to The Reverend Nord Bence’s next point (with emphasis added by me):

The permitless carry bill also represents a particular threat to law enforcement officers, who cannot possibly discern who is a “good guy with a gun” and who’s a “bad guy with a gun” during the few seconds they would have to respond to a lethal threat.

Um, what now?

Does The Reverend Bence think carry permits are externally visible?

If the officer is facing a lethal threat – an immediate threat to their existence on this planet in this lifetime – permit status is irrelevant.  If you present someone with a legitimate fear of death or great bodily harm, the paperwork is irrelevant.

And not just if you’re a cop.   One of the criteria one must face to justify lethal force in self-defense as a civilian is a reasonable, immediate fear of death or great bodily harm.  If someone is waving a gun, a knife, a machete or a chainsaw at you, and a reasonable person – 12 of them, really – would agree that your life is in danger right now, then the law doesnt’ require  you to be a mind-reader, whether you wear a badge or not.

And if your fear is not reasonable, you are going to be in trouble – as Saint Anthony officer Geronimo Yanez is discovering to his chagrin in court, after allegedly panicking and shooting and killing Philando Castile, who was in fact a good guy with gun, and had a plastic card in his wallet  to prove it.

Yanez might be acquitted – he’s innocent until proven guilty – but it points the the fact that when the Reverend Nord Bence says:

If passed, this bill would force police officers to treat everyone they encounter as armed and dangerous.

…she is, as usual, talking through her ELCA hair.  Cops are always alert for danger, but behavior counts – and the consequences of misreading behavior are serious and irreversible for the shooter, whether it’s a cop or a civilian.  And even more so for the target.

Handicap:  I’ll spot Nord Bence a point here:  I’ll help her explain the point that she apparently can’t.

A carry permit can, in theory, help a cop figure out who is and is not a law-abiding citizen, assuming there isn’t a violent encounter underway – something Nord Bence apparently hasn’t figured out.

Of course, all the information a cop needs to know about a citizen’s legal status is available with a call to their precinct, or a few keystrokes on the computer in their squad car, just as fast as checking the validity of a carry permit.

The Reverend Nord Bence may not know that – which is ignorant – or may know it but be trying to fool the ignorant, which is merely repellent.

It gets worse.


  • Monday:  Game On!
  • Yesterday: Data, Data Everywhere!
  • Today:  That Golden Ticket
  • Thursday:  I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means
  • Friday:  Everyone With ELCA Hair Looks The Same

Another Gun-Free Zone…

another terrorist attack:

On Tuesday afternoon, the FBI confirmed the motives of the recent shooting attack at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida. The assailant, Esteban Santiago, claimed to carry out the attack in the name of the Islamic State.

During Santiago’s bond hearing, FBI special agent Michael Ferlazzo confirmed that he did carry out the attack in the name of the Islamic State, according to CNN. At this point, it is not yet clear if he is linked with the terrorist group or if it was a lone-wolf, IS-inspired attack like dozens of others that have recently taken place (Nice, France, Berlin, Germany, Orlando, FL, etc.).

While Florida is a shall-issue state, all civilian carry is banned in Florida airports.

Which is why Santiago was unable to carry out his attack, and nobody died.  Right?