Doakes Sunday: Previews

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If you want to see where American Liberals will be in a few years, look at British Liberals.

Guns already are banned but violence continues so now mandatory six months jail for second conviction for carrying a knife. All the usual arguments about whether it’s harsh enough, prison overcrowding, effect on gang violence, etc.

No concept that giving ordinary citizens the power to fight back in self-defense might be a long-term better strategy for social order.

Joe Doakes

Not only that, but self-defense itself is becoming illegal.

But let’s be fair; the US was headed the same direction 30-40 years ago.  The good guys – that’d be you and me – fought back and pushed the needle back toward freedom.

We need to do it again, and in many, many more areas.

Deflation

Everytown USA – one of Michael Bloomberg’s astroturf gun-grabber groups – circulated a map claiming that there had been 74 school shootings substantially similar to Newtown since the Sandy Hook shooting.

But what have we told you about anti-gun groups?

Distrust but verify.  Then, almost inevitably, resume distrusting (emphasis added):

The news outlet circulated the graphical map, which came from the group Everytown for Gun Safety, after a shooting that occurred Tuesday at a high school in Oregon which left two dead, including the 15 year-old gunman.

Everytown for Gun Safety, which is backed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, headlined their graphic “School Shootings in America Since Sandy Hook,” suggesting that the shootings it listed had a link of some kind to Sandy Hook — in which Adam Lanza killed 26 people at an elementary school.

CNN and various other media outlets used the graphic in news segments.

Of course they did.

But…

“So on Wednesday, CNN took a closer look at the list, delving into the circumstances of each incident Everytown included,” reads CNN’s report.

It acknowledged that many of the shootings listed by Everytown did not fit the profile of a Sandy Hook-type shooting, in which the attacks are seemingly random.

Instead, CNN said, “some of the other incidents on Everytown’s list included personal arguments, accidents and alleged gang activities and drug deals.” (RELATED: School Shooting Claims Debunked)

“CNN determined that 15 of the incidents Everytown included were situations similar to the violence in Oregon – a minor or adult actively shooting inside or near a school,” said CNN.

The number and severity of school shootings has actually dropped, along with the overall murder rate, over the past 20 years.  And kids are vastly less likely to be shot in school than in, say, a Chicago neighborhood.

Margin

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It’s not strictly speaking a gun-rights case.  But the discussion of the 21-foot rule might be useful to a CCW permittee who finds herself explaining why she shot a person holding a knife, standing a little distance away from her.

The defendant in this case argued with apartment security, went to her car, retrieved a knife, then returned to threaten security with the knife.  The prosecution called the investigating detective, who testified:

“Over defense objection, Detective Ratajczyk testified regarding the continuum of force; the lowest level of force being the presence of a person in uniform, and the level of force then moves from verbal, to physical, to deadly force.  According to Detective Ratajczyk, force in response to a threat is “met with the same force plus one.”  Detective Ratajczyk also testified that he believed a knife is a dangerous weapon, particularly if the knife is within 21 feet of an officer because a distance of 21 feet is the minimum distance an officer with a holstered weapon needs to react to a threat from a knife . . . Even if we were to conclude that the challenged testimony was inadmissible, appellant cannot establish prejudice because there is no reasonable possibility that the verdict would have been different had the challenged testimony not been admitted.  See Post, 512 N.W.2d at 102.  The record reflects that the evidence supporting appellant’s guilt was overwhelming.”

The Court didn’t actually rule on whether the 21-foot rule was valid.  But the court didn’t toss it out, either.  Keep this case in your pocket for the next time somebody claims a knife isn’t a reason to use deadly force.

Joe Doakes

I would love to see the weasel assistant DA who tries to state with a straight face that a knife isn’t a deadly weapon.

Only on Planet Law.

This Is A Spree Killer’s Brain On Lead

Whenever a law-abiding citizen with a legal firearm engages against a criminal bent on a spree killing, the left and media engages in what is at the least misunderstanding and at worst deliberate obfuscation. 

In cases where a citizen kills or apprehends someone bent on a spree-killing – as in the Appalachian Law School and Pearl Mississippi school shootings – in many cases the number of dead is low enough that it doesn’t even qualify as a “spree-kiling”; the average number of dead at mass shootings when a civilian intervenes is two. 

But at other shootings – the New Life Christian Center shooting in Colorado Springs, the Clackamas Mall shooting in Oregon, and this week’s shooting in Las Vegas – it’s a little more complex, and the left and media (ptr) are a little more ignorant, or misleading. 

And so  – purely for educational purposes – I’m going to compare two spree-shootings.  They are for our purposes identical – with one exception. 

Read on:

Step Shooting 1 – Victims Wait For The Police Shooting 2 – A Citizen intervenes
1  Our future perp – a deeply disturbed person – picks a target for their rage.  The target is one that the perp believes will make them a household name, an object of eternal fascination.  The intended victims are people – or associated with people – who the perp believes have wronged him in some way.   Our future perp – a deeply disturbed person – picks a target for their rage. The target is one that the perp believes will make them a household name, an object of eternal fascination. The intended victims are people – or associated with people – who the perp believes have wronged him in some way.
2  Perp spends months, maybe years, planning shooting down to the most infinitesimal detail. It is both fantasy and obsession, occupying every waking and most sleeping hours of the perp’s day. Perp spends months, maybe years, planning shooting down to the most infinitesimal detail. It is both fantasy and obsession, occupying every waking and most sleeping hours of the perp’s day.
3  Perp painstakingly hoards weapons and equipment: maybe an AR/AK, a large-capacity handgun, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, black overalls and ski mask, goggles, gasoline bombs, the works. Absolutely nothing is left to chance.   Perp painstakingly hoards weapons and equipment: maybe an AR/AK, a large-capacity handgun, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, black overalls and ski mask, goggles, gasoline bombs, the works. Absolutely nothing is left to chance.
4  On the day of the attack, the perp painstakingly prepares for the attack, leaving behind video and written manifestos that will later cause experts to wonder what the hell is the matter with humanity.    On the day of the attack, the perp painstakingly prepares for the attack, leaving behind video and written manifestos that will later cause experts to wonder what the hell is the matter with humanity.
5  The perp arrives at the target, yells something vainglorious, and begins shooting. He shoots and kill/wound a few victims before anyone can react.  The perp arrives at the target, yells something vainglorious, and begins shooting. He shoots and kill/wound a few victims before anyone can react.
6  Lost in a reverie – a fantasy, the achievement of that for which they have planned for so long, the shooter saunters through the pandemonium, shooting as people flee, killing and wounding more. The killer is a happy as he has ever been  Lost in a reverie – a fantasy, the achievement of that for which they have planned for so long, the shooter saunters through the pandemonium, shooting as people flee, killing and wounding more.  The killer is a happy as he has ever been
7  Grinning from ear, the shooter blazes away, calmly changing magazines and firing almost at random at fleeting people, grinding his teeth with hatred and contempt as they fall. The police receive several 911 calls about a shooting.  The police start rolling.  The killer notices a sharp “crack” sound by his head.  He turns toward the sound, and sees someone – a middle-aged, middle-class schlub, one of the people he holds in contempt, down the business end of a handgun.  The handgun barks again, and through his adrenaline rush the shooter feels a sharp sting from his left arm.  High on adrenaline, he barely notices the fact that he’s been hit – but he is keenly aware that his plan is off the rails.
8  The killer goes from room to room, calmly slaughtering people at his leisure.  Just has he’s planned.     The killer palpably deflates – not so much from the bullet wound as from the unplanned deviation from the fantasy.  They withdraw into a room just off the main hallway as the citizen – who, pumped on adrenaline, scored no more hits – stands, the slide on his small pocket pistol locked back on an empty magazine, dumbfounded, before remembering his training, shaking it off, reloading and retreating.
9  The killer indulges his caprice, leaving a few people alive in some rooms, calmly finishing off all the wounded in others.  The killer, his reverie thoroughly smashed, falls into a crippling despair, turns his handgun on himself. 
10  More rooms.  More shooting.  More dead.   The killer is dead.  
11  Terrified cell phone calls end with loud bangs, as the killer calmly walks from room to room, killing at his whim.  Survivors – the wounded whom he didn’t finish off, and a few who managed to hide – noted that his expression was calm, serene, almost…happy.   The killer is still dead. 

The civilian, hearing nothing, calls 911 – the lines are jammed, so it takes several tries.  Then, per his training, he calls his lawyer. 

12  The police finally arrive; they engage the shooter as soon as they make contact – following their training  The police arrive – to find few dead and wounded people in a building that echoes with the crying of survivors who are, it is noted, alive and unscratched. 
13  The reverie broken, the shooter returns fire, then withdraws into a room where, after killing a few final victims, he shoots himself.   The police start sorting out the situation, and note that the situation, tragic as it was, was likely saved by the intervention of a law-abiding schmuck with a gun.
14  As a parade of ambulances and satellite trucks howl up to the crime scene, the senior cop shakes his head, and starts securing a very big, gory crime scene.  As his officers cordon off the building, the senior officer meets the citizen.  Although the citizen – per his training – declines to speak until he can talk to a lawyer, the lieutenant tells his sergeant that the guy is the hero of the day. 
15  At the news conference that evening, the chief of police calls the situation a tragedy that they will be investigating for some time.   At the news conference following the incident, the chief calls the civilian a hero who doubtless saved many lives. 
16  The media quietly ponders, on a bunch of “Journo-lists”, how to help this story push the nation toward “meaningful action about gun safety”.  The media buries the story of the mass-shooting that wasn’t. 

For those who aren’t paying attention? The right column is – in broad outline, not actual particulars – what happened in the WalMart in Las Vegas.

Take your pick.

(Bonus:  when the story of the shooting in the right column is discussed in public, the pundits on the left will knowingly smirk and say “the shooter killed himself”, painstakingly ignoring the “why”)

Open Letter To Target Corp

June 9, 2014

To: Target Corporation
From: Mitch Berg, Law-abiding Customer
Re:  Billionaire Trouble

Dear Target,

I’ve been a customer of yours for decades, like most Minnesotans.  I estimate I likely spend well north of $2,000 a year at your stores, counting groceries and clothing.

And like about 180,000 Minnesotans, I have a permit to carry a firearm.

Minnesotans with carry permits are nearly three orders of magnitude less likely to commit a firearm crime than the general public; we are literally better safety risks, per capita, than your employees are.

Now, a group called “Moms Demand Action”, which is an astroturf pressure group owned and operated by billionaire ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg, is putting a lot of media pressure on Target to bar all firearm carry at your stores, nationwide, after the intemperate actions of a few “open carry” activists in Texas.

While your stores are indeed your property, please be advised that if you bar all firearms – including tactfully-concealed weapons that many of us carry for our and our fellow citizens’ protection, I will…:

  • Take my money elsewhere, and keep it there
  • Do my best, via this blog and my talk show, to make sure everyone I can  possibly influence does the same.

There are twenty times as many carry permittees in Minnesota alone as there are members of all “gun safety” groups.  And while we respect your property rights, given a choice, we will protect our rights first.

It is that important to us.

Yours,

Mitch Berg

———-

I urge you to send a polite email, or phone call, to Target.

In your own words, tell Target that

  • Michael Bloomberg’s money – not a bunch of plucky moms – is behind this astroturf effort.
  • The “Moms” group — actually Michael Bloomberg’s billions — is trying to rope Target into their extreme agenda
  • Permit holders are overwhelmingly more law abiding than the general population
  • I am a law-abiding gun owner/carry permit holder
  • I am a frequent Target shopper
  • I spend my money where my rights are respected

Contact Target as follows:

  • Email:  Guest.Relations@Target.com
  • Phone:  1-800-440-0680

Remember – calm and polite wins the day.  We win battles by being smarter than the Orcs.  This can be no exception.  We are held to a higher standard than they are – and we almost always hit that standard.

We can change Target’s mind, the same way we humiliated Michael Bloomberg in the past two legislatures; by being better, smarter, and much more dedicated than they are.

This post will remain stuck to the top of this blog until late Tuesday morning.

Low Quality Chum

This past twenty years have been good ones, all in all, for the Second Amendment Human Rights Movement.

Even as the ratio of civilian firearms to citizens reaches 1:1 (double the per-capita ownership rate in 1968), the violent crime and firearm murder rates have dropped by half.  The Supreme Court rejected decades of addled legal opinion with prejudice in the Heller and McDonald cases.  And states with “Shall Issue” laws zoomed from eight 30 years ago to over 40 today (and “constitutional carry” states moving from 1 to 3 in the same time).

The orcs are desperate for a victory – even a symbolic one.

And some shooters are giving it to them.

———-

In the 1970s, the anti-gun movement set about an effort to stigmatize gun ownership.  Civilian firearms ownership had long been a natural part of being a free citizen in this country.  Great example – Minnesota didn’t even require a permit to carry a concealed handgun until 1974.

But in the wake of 1968 – with its high-profile assassinations (none of which would have been prevented by any level of gun control) and, more signally, cities full of black people rioting, the left embarked on an effort not only to ban guns legally, but stigmatize them socially.  TV programming and movies started uniformly portraying gun ownership as unnecessary and dangerous at best, a sign of impairment or derangement at worst.  And it sank in; by the mid-eighties, polls showed a majority of people favoring gun control, and a strong-plurality-to-majority having a low opinion of civilian firearms ownership.

And the news and entertainment media still keep that tack alive and well – although the rise of alternative media have effectively outflanked Big Left and Big Media; public attitudes about guns and gun owners have largely flipped.

But it took some convincing.  One of the most important things to convince people of?  That gun owners were real people, just like everyone else.

———-

When I first started hanging out with the Human Rights crowd twenty years ago – GOCRA and Concealed Carry Reform Now (CCRN), one of the first rules given to activists was “no camo”.  Don’t wear camouflage to CCRN/GOCRA events, gun shows and protests and hearings at the Capitol.  Not just hunting camouflage, mind you – the paramilitary stuff was also a no-go.  The movement needed to combat the impression thatbeinga shooter made someone inherently an outsider, self-consciously casting themselves out from society.  We were fathers and mothers, students and lawyers, white and blue collar, Democrats and Republicans -peoplejust like everyone else.

Behind this was a simple bit of human psychology; the first step to taking someone’s rights away from them is to dehumanize them.  To appear to be human makes that hard, if not quite impossible; at the very least, the other side has to expend much more effort, an unseemly amount, to keep dehumanizing you.

If they can’t turn you into a cliche that they can make people dismiss, then your playing field is more even.

And in the world of politics – which is where our laws get written – that’s important.

———

But a group of shooters is doing their best to give the Orcs a new set of cliches on which to focus their rage.

The Open Carry activists at Starbucks, Chipotle, and most recently at a Target in Fort Worth have given the Orcs not so much a “cheap win” as a cheap, unearned boogeyman – the bearded, t-shirt-clad white guy sauntering around coffee shops, fast-food joints and stores, doing their business while carrying not just handguns but “assault weapons”.

There is method to the madness, for open-carry activists; if you don’t use a right, you can lose it.

With all due respect, it’s a lousy method.  It gains the good guys nothing – least of all in Texas, where the right to carry is as solid as any place in the United States – and hands the orcs something they haven’t had in years; cheap public relations victories.

The open carriers’ response is “why should we let fear of their public relations victory interfere with our exercise of our legal rights?”

Because politics is as much emotional and rhetorical as factual, that’s why.  Law-abiding shooters have won the war of facts over the past thirty years – but we also won the war of emotions and rhetoric.  We – the good guys, the law-abiding Real Americans who own guns – are 2-3 orders of magnitude less likely to commit any crime than non-gun owners.

But then, we were before 1968, too.  It wasn’t the factual war that led to the nadir of the late seventies and early eighties; it was the war for rhetoric and emotion; the false, propagandized fear of guns that the media implanted in the middle-American psyche.

The good guys un-planted that irrational fear, at least in most Real Americans between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre.  We did  it even though we had the media and the political class fighting against us.

And it could all reverse – even if the War of Facts continues in our favor, as it will.

Giving unearned victories to the Orcs is no way to eliminate them from the political battlefield.

So I’ll just say this; if I did have a gun and a carry permit, I’d carry concealed.  And I urge everyone else to do it too.

Deal With The Devil

One the one hand, the MinnPost is running sponsored news again.

And yet again, the subject is guns, and the sponsor is the Joyce Foundation, which is (aside from Michael Bloomberg) the biggest funder of anti-gun groups in the United States.  Before Bloomberg bought the local rights for “Protect MN” and “Moms Want Action”, they were the major funder of gun control groups in Minnesota.

And part of that funding went toward buying favorable media, mostly in the form of risibly bald-faced propaganda.

Of course, Joyce has taken a whack at funding respectable journalism as well.

Investigative reporter Mike Cronin has embarked on a Joyce-sponsored multi-part series on the gun culture.  And like not a few previous such efforts, it starts out as a “gorillas in the mist”-style exploration into what is clearly for Cronin a foreign culture, as he takes his Carry Permit training class from Andrew Rothman (a long-time friend of this blog, president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, and the guy who, if I had a carry permit, would have  taught me my carry permit class two hypothetical years ago).  Which is as good an intro as there is to the “gun culture” as a newbie can have.

Cronin is going through the class, intends to get his permit, and to purchase a gun as part of his investigation into the “gun culture>

And by all accounts, it’s a fair account, so far, although you be the judge.

No doubt Cronin will be looking at the “other side” of the debate; I’ll be watching.

It’ll be interesting to see what Joyce is paying for, this season.

“Anti-Gun”

One question I get from GOP activists, in the run-up and especially since the convention, is “Isn’t Mike McFadden anti-gun?”

Now, if the GOP’s endorsed Senate candidate has taken criticism for anything, it’s being a little enigmatic on some of his answers to policy questions.  That is, obviously, going to have to change soon.  And I suspect it will.

But if there’s one issue where McFadden’s been scrutinized pretty carefully, it’s guns.  And the fact is this:  McFadden supported the “gun show background check”.  And let’s be honest; a lot of people did, including a lot of pro-gun people who hadn’t thought through all the ramifications (it’d be a de facto gun registry).  And I’m going to guess it was an idea that tested out well in focus groups with mixed bags of voters who also didn’t know the issue all that well.

But then McFadden ran up against Minnesota’s shooters – the single best-organized mass of activists in Minnesota.  And the shooters howled.  And McFadden has spent the past three months walking back the gun-show registration idea.

Beyond that, McFadden had nothing objectionable to say (and yes, “what he says” is what we have to go by, since he has no voting record).

So I have two responses:

Flip?:  Has McFadden flipped on gun-show background checks?  Hopefully.  He’s certainly been vocal about not being anti-Second-Amendment at his speeches – it was pretty much the first item on the agenda of his speeches I heard in March and April.  I have no problem with people flipping, by the way, provided they flip in the right direction.  He rates some further scrutiny – gotta keep politicians honest – but I think we’ve got the basis for some optimism.

Perspective:  Let’s say for a moment that McFadden is generally pro-gun, with a few minor warts.  Now, I know “incrementalism” is a dirty word for some of you out there, but a Senator who generally supports the Second Amendment, even with a few flash-points of disagreement, will be an improvement at the national level over Al Franken, who only wants “Organizing for America” to be armed.

Discuss.

 

Half Off

“An armed society is a polite society” — P. J. O’Rourke.

Firearm deaths are off by just shy of half in the past twenty years, even as the number of guns in civilian hands reaches record raw numbers and post-war percentages throughout America.

And that isn’t even the most spectacular good news.  Non-fatal firearm crime is off by right around 75% since 1993:

The bad news?  :

The media – doing the left’s bidding – has convinced people of the exact opposite. A staggering percent of the population – especially women – believe crime has risen lately. 

Caveats:  the crime rate likely dropped as much for demographic reasons as much as anything. 

Counter-caveats: 

  1. There are twice as many gunsper capitain the United States as in 1968.  That’s per capita; in 1968, there was a gun for every two Americans; today, it’s rougly 1:1.  If Michael Bloomberg and Moms Want Action were to be believed (and they are not), the crime rate should have boomed.
  2. The study notes that there are many other factors involved, including regional demographics.  Which is behind the left’s claim that “the places with the most guns have the most violence!”.  The rural south has a particularly high murder rate (as we discussed in debunking this chanting point for the first time, a few years back), for reasons that predate guns, and for that matter the United States itself. 

Of course, news like this – and the recent report from the CDC that affirmed that civilian guns do deter crime – is precisely why the left is ramping up their disinformation campaign. 

Because while a lie can travel around the world while the truth is putting its boots on in the morning, once that truth is up and at ‘em, it does tend to pimp-slap the lies. 

So keep slapping.

Oz

Whenever the subject of gun control comes up, the left often reverts to pleading “Look at (fill in the foreign country)”. 

It’s invariably an apples vs. axles comparison, of course. 

But the one that  might – to the underinformed – seem close is the example of Australia, which banned most civilian gun ownership in the nineties.

The left tells us the experiment conclusively proves that gun control reduces violence.

Of course, it’s really just not true.

So Let Me Get This Straight…

A deeply mentally ill child of immense privilege

…from a family that is very, very likely left of center (given where the father lives and the industry he works in), not that that necessarily should matter…

…who stabbed three victims, shot three (of whom four were men and two were women) and critically injured two more with his car…

…in a gun-free zone…

…in a state that has some of the “toughest” gun controls in the country, and spent the last year ratcheting up restrictions on law-abiding gun buyers…

…is the fault of the NRA and the gun-rights movement?

Frivolous

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Since the right to an abortion and the right to bear arms are both fundamental Constitutional rights, this ruling should pave the way to institute some long overdue sensible restrictions on abortions: background checks with photographs and fingerprints, registration with the government, limit to one abortion per year, classroom training before the procedure . . . these are all required to possess a firearm so they should be required to obtain an abortion.

 

Next, I’d like to see the Star Tribune’s registration and the background checks on their reporters.

 

The worst part is the “reasoning” the judge uses.  Citing a few mass shootings, but carefully avoiding the other 99% of the murders he uses as justification, those being the killings committed with guns that were not registered and will never be registered, carried and used by felons who can never legally own or carry. Nothing in these regulations will address the real problem; therefore, the regulations are not substantially related to a legitimate government purpose and should have been stricken down.

 

Joe Doakes

The epidemic of judges ignoring the Constitution is one we as a society are going to need to deal with if the Constitution is ever to really matter.

On The One Hand…

…if I did have a gun and a carry permit, I’d never carry openly.  Part of it is that is that it’s the sort of thing you want to keep under wraps if you ever need it.

Part of it is that the anti-gun movement has trained the weak-minded to be such incredible ninnies.

And part of it is that it is, to some people, a scary imposition.  And while I disagree with them, there’s no point in picking fights I don’t need to.

Indeed, there is a definite point to meeting people halfway in terms of perceptions.  When the group that eventually became GOCRA got organized almost twenty years ago, one of its ironclad rules was “No Camo”; nobody was to wear camouflage to any of the group’s events.  The point?  Help people see that shooters were like them, not like their stereotypes. 

So while I understand and respect the opinions of many of my open-carry activist friends – “a right un-used is a right easily abridged” - I’ll demur on carrying openly, since while there are as many good reasons to carry openly as there are to wear camouflage, there are exactly the same reasons not to. 

Don’t get me wrong; I disagree with Chipotle’s decision to ask shooters not to bring guns into its stores.  They’ve got a lot of customers to keep happy, and the bobbleheads who decided to use a Chipotle to stage their pro-open-carry protests ruffled some feathers. 

The Denver-based company notes that it has traditionally complied with local laws regarding open and concealed firearms.

But in a statement Monday, the company said that “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.”

 Of course, it’s not really about complaints from real people.  There are professional ninnies involved:

The announcement came after a petition by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which has called on other companies to ban firearms in their stores as well.

 Of course, there are two dumb calls here; the “protesters” picked a fight they really didn’t need to – and Chipotle caved in to an astroturf group’s toothless yapping. 

That said?  I’m not boycotting Chipotle, for the same reason as David Harsanyi:

As a 2nd Amendment fan, I believe Chipotle is making a mistake. Yet, it isn’t exactly undermining our Constitutional rights by asking consumers to keep their guns out of their businesses. (Please read Charles Cooke’s dismantling of the perpetually confused Sally Kohn’s attempt to conflate two very distinct ideas.) Though Chipotle acted for the wrong reasons, it has every right to create an experience for its consumers that it finds safe and inviting.

Fact is, if the CEO of Qdoba’s was a libertarian plutocrat who supported all my favorite organizations, I’d still choose Chipotle because when it comes to food I owe more to a good product than a philosophically sound owner. Chipotle was founded on an exemplary idea and its execution and consistency have won my business — even when I disagree with its choices.

And here’s the key distinction, with emphasis added:

Now, if this company was forking over millions to some finger-wagging Michael Bloomberg-funded gaggle of authoritarians I’d would probably have to reconsider. But, as far as I know, that’s not the case.

 That’s the line, right there.

I didn’t patronize Minnesota businesses that posted “No Firearms” signs in the wake of the Shall Issue law passing in 2003.  Neither did so many others that the vast majority of those signs have disappeared. 

And I personally didn’t patronize Hewlett-Packard, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, KFC or Taco Bell when they donated big bucks to the Brady Campaign.  Either did hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of others – which is why those donations have evaporated.  Working to show up Moms Want Action’s! message as the vapid lies they are, and destroy their credibility with thinking people?  Goes without saying. 

But asking people to keep their guns out of plain sight in deference to the customers who may be hoplophobic ninnies, but whose money hits Chipotle’s bottom line with the same satisfying “ching” yours does? 

I’m not thrilled, but I get it.

For Those Of You…

…who’ve wondered “whatever happened to Landen Beard…”

Well, we don’t have any indication whatsoever that he was the BATF agent who flashed a gun at someone in rush-hour traffic yesterday, shutting down traffic in I94 while cops chased him down…

…and then released him.  Because the law apparently allows “undercover” plainclothes cops to threaten people with lethal force when they’re one cup of coffee short for the morning.

“Police powers” have gone way, way too far.

Of Those With Cow, And Those With Moo

This session, Senate File 2639 (and its house companion, HF3238) have been the subject of a lot of misunderstanding (including on this very blog).   The bills would define how local authorities enforce federal law regarding dealing with firearms in the hands of those accused of domestic abuse.

The bills have also been the subject of an amazing amount of grandstanding rhetoric.

We’ll talk rhetoric first.  Then we’ll talk about the bill.

Aiming Low:  Representative Tony Cornish has, for a long, long time now, been the prime mover for Minnesota’s Second Amendment movement in the Legislature (after the retirement of Pat Pariseau).  Nobody has ever, ever called him “soft” on Second Amendment issues and escaped without being laughed out of the conversation.

But Cornish isn’t stupid.

After the debacle of the 2013 session – where the DFL marched into the legislature with reams of gun-regulation and confiscation bills copied and pasted from California, New York and Pennsylvania, and got publicly humiliated by the “Army of Davids” that the Minnesota gun rights movement mobilized, and a bipartisan assortment of pro-Human-Rights legislators – the anti-rights crowd, led by a more capable batch of professional politicial consultants and armed with shopping carts full of Michael Bloomberg’s cash, came to the Capitol with a brand new plan.  Their goal; find an emotional, red-meat issue that crossed party lines and would involve ratcheting up some sort of gun regulation, to eke out a win and help take the stench of death off of gun-control political efforts.

And there has been no better year since the seventies for the DFL to try to jam something down.  Remember – the DFL controls both chambers of the Legislature, and the Governor’s office.

All they’d have to do to pass any law – magazine restrictions and backdoor registration, to say nothing of taking guns from those accused of domestic abuse – is close ranks.

The fact that any such move would be political suicide is the result of two decades of organizing by the Minnesota 2nd Amendment movement – GOCRA, the MN-GOPAC, the NRA, the Twin Cities Gun Owners, and more. 

But politics is a two way street.  Both sides can play it – and Michael Bloomberg and the Joyce Foundation bought themselves some consultants who know how to play.

Remember – Tony Cornish, and all the other pro-human-rights legislators, are facing a DFL majority.   To avoid getting steamrolled, one of two things is needed:

  • Being OK with being steamrollered, or
  • canny negotiation.

Cornish and the rest of the pro-human-rights lobby chose negotiation. 

We’ll come back to that.

We Interrupt This Story For Some Law  – Domestic abuse is no laughing matter.  The law provides victims of domestic abuse some remedies under the law.  It also provides those accused of domestic abuse with the the right to due process.

Here, more or less, is now the process works (and every situation is different, so curb your inner lawyer.  Or outer lawyer, if you went to law school):

  1. Joe alleges his spouse, Jane, is beating him.  He goes to get a restraining order
  2. A judge signs off on an ex parte order (which means “one party”) “order for protection” (OFP).  The OFP prohibits contact (to say nothing of abuse) between Jane and Joe.  Firearms are, however, not an issue – yet.  It’s a temporary order, until the hearing (aka “due process”)
  3. Joe has Jane served a copy of the OFP.
  4. Jane has the option to request a hearing to review and contest the order.   She can (and probably should) bring a lawyer – it’s serious business (this, by the way, is the part many accused of domestic abuse skip, which screws things up for them badly).
  5. If  the judge believes, after the hearing that Jane is a significant threat to Joe’s safety, the judge may make the order “permanent” (which really means generally three years or so).
  6. If the order finds that the threat is really serious, the federal “Wellstone Amendment” may prohibit Jane from possessing firearms.

And it’s here that the contention slips in.

SF 2639 and HF 3238 were originally given to the DFL by Michael Bloomberg’s organization.   I’m not sure that Alice Hausman would have been arrogant enough to submit the bills in their original form,  which did not allow those accused any due proces at all, with guns required to be stored elsewhere as soon as the complaint was filed, before any hearing took place. 

Power Changes Everything - Like its namesake, the “Wellstone Amendment” is big on pronouncements and short on details.  It says those accused of a certain level of domestic abuse shouldn’t have firearms.  It leaves the details to the states.

And the original versions of the two bills, as sent from Michael Bloomberg’s organization, did terrible things with those details;  they would have invoked the Wellstone Amendment when the initial, temporary order was invoked (i.e. before any hearing), required the accused to store their guns with the police (for a “reasonable” fee that would be anything but in real life) and served as de facto gun registration.

And in a state like New York or Connecticut, with a weak or nascent gun rights movement, that’s exactly what would have passed.

But Minnesota’s Real Americans have spent the past two decades organizing one of the most potent grass roots movements in the state.  It’s a movement that has swayed entire elections in the past (the 2002 House race).  And after the humiliations the DFL suffered in 2013, they figured they weren’t going to get away with the ”loud and stupid” strategy favored by the likes of “Moms Demand Action” and the like.

So the DFL came to the gun rights movement, looking for a solution that would give them a “win” on domestic violence, but not stir up the hornet’s nest needlessly.  And the movement – GOCRA, the NRA and the like – gave them the solution.  To return to our example above, Jane will need to store any guns she owns with friends, the police, or a licensed dealer, but only after the hearing for the permanent order.  The new bill will require Jane to transact this within three days, and for the police to notify the judge two days after that.

No guns move before “due process” – a hearing, with counsel – has taken place. 

Ever. 

Let’s make sure we’re clear on what just happened – and I’m going to put this in loud blue text to make sure everyone catches it; even though the DFL controls both chambers and the governor’s office, they had to come to the Gun Rights movement to get some form of their bill passed.   And the bill got turned from Michael Bloomberg’s fascist nightmare into something that can exist in a free society. 

It wasn’t perfect.  But when you’re outnumbered two chambers to none, and have a DFL governor who will follow whatever way Big Left pulls his leash, “perfect” isn’t an option.

Everyone’s A Kamikaze With Someone Else’s Plane - When you walk into a restaurant, and see two items on the menu – peanut butter sandwich, and lard sandwich – you can try to order a Porterhouse with a baked potato.  You can order it, and order it, and order it again.  All it’ll do is give you a pissed-off waitress, and no food at all.

And that’s the strategy that some “gun rights” groups, including Iowa-based “Minnesota Gun Rights”, took.   They spent the session demanding that the pro-Second-Amendment minority impale itself on demands to completely reject the legislation – which was the “porterhouse steak” option in a restaurant full of peanut butter and lard.

Their “plan”:  pretend that fuming and spluttering and making grand pronouncements and handing the DFL a cheap chanting point for the fall would be anything other than an invitation to a catastrophe for liberty. 

This, of course, gives us not only the prospect of watching a Michael Bloomberg-penned bill get signed into law and the wholesale violations of rights that would follow, but to the Democrats going into the fall elections with reams of Alita-Messinger-paid ads saying that GOP legislators “voted to give guns to wife beaters”.  It’s a message that only the stupid would believe – but as the 2010 election showed us, there are 8,000 more stupid Minnesotans than smart ones.  And that’s all they need to maintain control of the House – giving the DFL even more time and power to jam down even worse gun laws.

And worse, in its way?  These astroturf groups engaged in “blue-on-blue” campaign that was either deeply stupid or intensely cynical, trying to brand not only the GOCRA but Tony Cornish as weak-kneed on gun rights.

Over a bill that was going to pass in some form no matter what anyone did, but which the DFL had to come to the Gun Rights movement for anyway.

Representative Cornish, writing on Facebook, gave us perhaps the best quote there is on the subject:

When the train is coming down the track, it’s admirable to stand and raise the middle finger, but…sometimes it’s better to do the damned best you can to change it’s route and avoid a much less desirable fate.

And those were the only two choices;  throw a finger at Bloomberg, get run over by the train, and have a law that would allow people’s Second Amendment rights to get run over as well – which isn’t even a symbolic victory, since it would make taking back the House that much harder – or enact a bill that basically gave a framework to federal law that protected due process.

When you get a choice between peanut butter and lard, take the peanut butter.  And this fall, find a better restaurant.  One with some cooks that know how to cook a porterhouse.

“…Being Necessary For The Security Of A Free State…”

Citizen militias have been winning parts of Mexico back from the narcotraficantes.  

To do this, they’ve broken what pass for “the rules”; they’ve fought violence with violence; they’ve used weapons that are utterly illegal in Mexico (assault rifles, obtained by the same illegal means that people always use to obtain guns where guns are banned). 

And it’s worked. 

And it worked against a backdrop of, at best, government incompetence (they’ve never been able to make a dent in the narcotraficantes stranglehold on the area) or complicity (the narcos have bought off or co-opted vast swathes of Mexico’s government, including judges, law enforcement and the military). 

So now that the government is trying to co-opt the one thing that’s worked against the cartels

The government will go town by town to organize and recruit the new rural forces.

“This is a process of giving legal standing to the self-defense forces,” said vigilante leader Estanislao Beltran.

… is it surprising that some of the locals aren’t buying it?

But tension remained on Friday in the coastal part of the state outside the port of Lazaro Cardenas, where other “self-defense” groups plan to continue as they are, defending their territory without registering their arms. Vigilantes against the demobilization have set up roadblocks in the coastal town of Caleta.

“We don’t want them to come, we don’t recognize them,” vigilante Melquir Sauceda said of the government and the new rural police forces. “Here we can maintain our own security. We don’t need anyone bringing it from outside.”

This is precisely why the Second Amendment is, and must always be, a right of the people; because government at best is modestly capable of doing the right thing, and at worst is as bad as or worse than the problem, when it isn’t itself the problem.

Correction

A spokesman from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance responds to Joe Doakes’ piece this morning.

The letter from GOCRA follows, with added text bolded by me:

———-

Doakes is referring to the modifications to 518B.01 on page 4.

At 4.16, you can see the existing language:

4.16 Subd. 6. Relief by court. (a) Upon notice and hearing, the court may provide
4.17 relief as follows:

and at 6.16, in the same subdivision, here’s where the new language starts:

6.16 (g) An order granting relief shall prohibit the abusing party from possessing firearms
6.17 for the length the order is in effect if the order (1) restrains the abusing party from

Due process is preserved.

———-

In the chaos of this past few weeks, I’d missed the final version of the bill. 

It’s not perfect – but as the spokesperson says, due process is preserved.  And in a session where the only thing that separates “good” laws from “bans on magazines over seven rounds” is canny and tenacious negotiation rather than slogineering in pursuit of prinicple, it’s really the better of many possible endings.

UPDATE:  More on this story tomorrow.

The Harsh Reality

NOTE:  As noted in a subsequent post, Mr. Doakes is in rare error about the effect of the bills he refers to.  Please see the linked post for the response from GOCRA – which includes comments from Joe Doakes indicating that he misread the law.

Unlike some bloggers, I never remove posts – but I will make sure the context is clear. 

———-

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Amending the statute relating to loss of firearms rights.

Allegation of child abuse – must have actual notice of the hearing so you can attend to contest issuance of the order.

Conviction for domestic abuse, stalking – you lost your case at trial, so you had notice and could contest the verdict.

Standard ex parte 518B.01 domestic abuse restraining order – no such requirement. Your domestic partner complains and you instantly lose your right to possess any firearms, for self-defense or hunting or anything. You don’t even have to turn in the firearms – the court must order the cops to go to your house and seize them, without a warrant.

It already passed the House so it should become law this session. Ripe for abuse and unlikely to save lives. But who will stand up against it?

Joe Doakes

“Standing against” it is the easy part.  Derailing a DFL political train, not so much.

The state is full of gun groups (some of them actually based in Iowa) that “stand against” this bill, loudly and with impeccable principle.

The problem, of course, is getting the votes to force changes to the bill.  Some of the most noxious provisions did get stripped out early (back in March), but the DFL is waiting with the “What you support wife-beaters?” line at a moment’s notice.  Count on it.

And remember – they have the votes, and leadership that owes Michael Bloomberg a victory, even a small one, after all the money they poured into this state in the past couple of years.

So some version of this bill is going to pass.

And if you’re a gun owner, the only solution is taking back the legislature with actual pro-Second-Amendment legislators.

Not posturing.  Not bellowing about principle, or demanding a “constitutional carry” bill in a DFL-controlled legislature where we barely avoided a seven round magazine restriction last year.

UPDATE: More on this story tomorrow.

A Vote Against “Transparency”

I get why people open-carry.

Logistically, it’s less of a hassle; wearing a holster on the outside is more comfortable, and quicker to get to if, heaven forfend, you need to use your gun in a hurry. And I get the political motivation behind the “Open Carry” movement as well; “If you don’t use your rights, you lose them”, say its proponents, and I don’t disagree.

But if I (hypothetically) did own a firearm, and did want to carry (again, hypothetically), I imagine I’d still carry concealed.  Partly it’s because I see no reason to let any neer-do-wells know that I’m the guy they have to worry about first.  And partly because the urban culture among which I live has so painstakingly trained the law-abiding citizen to be such ninnies around guns.

As we see in this story from Fort Worth, in which the news reports claimed fast food workers ran for the freezer at the sight of guys with guns:

It turned out the men, some of them from the group Open Carry Texas, were just staging a demonstration of their right to bear arms, Fort Worth, Texas, Police Sgt. Raymond Bush told ABCNews.com.

“When police showed up, there were four to six men carrying rifles,” he said. “The employees were in fear for their lives.”

No arrests were made and the gun owners went home after their demonstration.

Of course, the media are among those that’ve been training urban society to be ninnies, so you can usually count on them getting the story wrong:

[Demonstration organizer CJ] Grisham denied reports employees hid in the freezer, claiming they were the result of a customer’s false 911 call.

“There are a lot of people in that area who completely disagree with gun rights,” he said. “They have been doing this to us for months now – call the police with false reports of us waving around guns, scaring people.”

It’s worth noting that here in the Twin Cities, a pro-carry group has been staging such demonstrations for months, now . And even in ninny-run Saint Paul, their “demonstration” – which involved eating at a Culver’s on University Avenue – went smoothly, with neither gunfire nor police response.

Still – I figure that if I owned and carried firearms (hypothetically), I’m one ninny away from having a very complicated day.  And I have enough complications – and that’s not hypothetical.