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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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”.