Remember Paul John Scott?
He’s the “writer from Rochester” who wrote the infarmous op-ed in the Strib last year telling fellow (what else?) liberals that it was OK, even necessary, to expunge all Trump voters from your life and social circle.
Rochester? You Owe Us An Apology: Scott has a writing style reminiscent of a junior high girl writing Sylvia Plath fan fiction while listening to Goth-teen music. And that’s the best thing I can say about him and his writing.
But he’s gotten another op-ed in the Strib, which makes me think that the Strib must be getting paid by some government program to employ otherwise unemployable writers. Or maybe that Scott saw some senior editor in bed with a live boy or a dead girl.
Now, I’m not writing you to “fisk” Scott’s op-ed – entitled It’s the guns, stupid. But that doesn’t affect you, right?” in the hyperventilating, “everyone’s a hypocrite!” style that’s become so popular among the snowflakes. The article – which is little but a bunch of “Everytown” chanting points gurgitated with no more critical analytical thought than my dog puts into fetching my shoes in the morning – isn’t worth my time; I’ve it a million time. I’ll blow through its most egregious offenses later. Probably. It’s almost too stupid to bother with.
But I’m not here to talk about John Paul “I Have Not Yet Begun To Whinge” Scott. I’m here to talk about the Strib.
Not Even Punching Tickets Anymore: It’s been a pattern at the Strib for decades, now. If you’re anti-gun – no matter how dim, fact-free and risible you are (Heather Martens, Nancy Nord Bence and their ilk seem to have an open invitation to write any time they want) or even the dreary Scott – you can pretty much measure the curtains for your byline.
Dissent? Well, other than a few letters to the editor from “Fudds” seemingly chosen for their half-literate irascibility, the Strib will not publish an op-ed, no matter how good – especially, I suspect, because it’s good.
So who did the Strib pass over for including in the op-ed section?
My friends at the MN Gun Owners Caucus have been diligently trying to place an op ed – any op ed – challenging the flood of anti-gun drivel that romps and plays in the Strib’s op-ed section.
Among them was this piece by Sarah Cade, a shooter and activist. Also She wrote a piece in defense of HF238 and HF188 – the “Self-Defense Reform” and “Constitutional Carry” bills that were introduced this session (and, shamefully, died).
I’m going to publish her submission to the Strib in its entirety – because someone has to. Judge for yourself which is a more worthy effort:
COMMUNITIES OF COLOR NEED STAND YOUR GROUND
Minnesota desperately needs common sense gun laws – just not the ones you might think. Bills HF238 and HF188 sought to remedy unreasonable components of the current system, but were not included in the public safety omnibus. These bills should be included as amendments.
Sarah Cade. Photo: Oleg Volk. Courtesy Sarah Cade.
HF238 included a provision commonly known as “stand your ground.” Stand your ground laws serve an important purpose for communities of color: they defend the innocent from overzealous prosecution. Ideally, a self defense claim should center on whether your use of force was reasonable under the circumstances, not on whether you could run faster than your attacker or whether you memorized the blueprints of the building before making the split second decision to defend your life.
Stand your ground removes the requirement to prove you could not retreat in court. Rather than forcing you to prove a negative, it places the burden of proof where it belongs: on the state. The concept that a person is innocent until proven guilty is a cornerstone of American justice – or at least it’s supposed to be.
In reality, exercising your right to self defense leads to further victimization by the legal system. As a person of color, I know that racial stereotypes make a judge and jury less likely to give me the benefit of the doubt than my white peers. I also know that the legal system will attempt to intimidate me into taking a plea bargain for a crime I didn’t commit. These problems are compounded if I’m poor, don’t know my rights, or can’t obtain competent defense. Stand your ground laws help protect me from a system that chews up and spits out people who look like me.
Contrary to the misinformation put out by Minnesota’s leading gun control group, stand your ground does NOT allow you to shoot people for wearing a hoodie, it does not allow people to “shoot first,” and it does not allow people to shoot anytime they feel subjectively threatened. In fact, it’s hard to repeat those statements with a straight face if one has even a passing familiarity with Minnesota’s byzantine web of self defense laws (although they helpfully make the point that our laws need simplification and reform so laypeople can understand them).
Stand your ground would not change the requirement to act reasonably. Just like under current precedent, in order to present a valid claim of self defense, a person must have BOTH an “actual and honest belief that he or she was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm,” AND “the existence of reasonable grounds for that belief.” (State of Minnesota v. Baker 1968)
“The lack of a duty to retreat does not abrogate the obligation to act reasonably when using force in self defense. Therefore, in all situations in which a party claims self-defense, even absent a duty to retreat, the key inquiry will still be into the reasonableness of the use of force and the level of force under the specific circumstances of each case.” (State of Minnesota v. Glowacki 2001)
Despite overblown claims of racism, stand your ground is not in itself a racist law — mostly because there’s nothing to enforce. Instead, it is a DEFENSE that is invoked to protect the rights of an individual in court. It helps people of color defend themselves successfully from a predatory legal system that is stacked against them at every level, from arrest to sentencing.
According to data collected by the Tampa Bay Times, stand your ground provisions are more likely to be used to successfully defend black people than white people. Black people are 16.8% of Florida’s population, but make up 33% of SYG acquittals, while white people are 77.7% of the population, but account for only 56% of acquittals (note that the homicide rates for blacks did not increase, so this discrepancy is NOT due to the myth of suspicious whites shooting first. Instead, it means more blacks are avoiding unjust prosecution).
As a person of color who is also a gun owner, I know that HF238 and HF188 would help me, and people who look like me, to protect ourselves. I know similar provisions are common in other states (the majority of states have some version of stand your ground; over ten have permitless carry), and that the hysteria about these laws is fueled by fear rather than rational analysis.
I also know that our justice system is plagued with racial inequality at every level. Stand your ground doesn’t change that, as it’s outside the scope of one bill to solve such pervasive problems. However, it does help defendants of color avoid unjust persecution, and that’s a step in the right direction.
Sarah Cade is a competitive pistol shooter and a volunteer Team Leader for the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.
So let’s get this straight. The Strib spiked Cade’s well-written, reasoned, impeccably researched article upending the left’s narrative on the gun issue, but published a rank, uninformed recitation of fallacious chanting points by the mopey Plathbot Paul John Scott.
Want better from our media? Absolutely.
I’ll deal with the few points in Scott’s little outburst that need addressing below.