An Ugly New Wrinkle

The shootings in Ferguson earlier this week were an ugly, new-ish wrinkle in the situation.

Among all the sturm und drang from the left about America’s gun laws and the sheer number of guns available in the US, the use of guns in demonstrations, even riots, is relatively rare.  It happens, of course; my old colleague John MacDougall reported carrying a gun with him when he covered the riots in North Minneapolis in 1968; some rioters shot at police during the LA riots.

But for the number of guns available in the US, very few of them over come out during periods of unrest.

Now,  I’m sure the shooters in the audience took note of this part of the story:

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said one officer was shot in the face, just below his right eye, with the bullet lodging behind his ear. The other officer was hit in the shoulder, and the bullet came out his back…Authorities believe the shots came from a handgun fired about 120 yards away. There were no suspects in custody.

120 yards?  With a handgun?

Either there’s a rogue SAS trooper or Olympic marksman in Ferguson,  or the “luckiest”, fluke-iest crook in the US, or two of the unluckiest cops – or someone was firing a pistol-caliber scoped carbine.

The Closer

I’ve always liked Curt Schilling.

Partly because he was a great pitcher, instrumental in breaking the Red Sox’ World Series curse.

Partly because he’s one of very few baseball players to come out of the closet as a conservative.

And partly because he opened a can of medieval online whoopass on some internet creeps who tried to professorbilly his daughter online.

Some Twin Cities leftybloggers might be feeling the heat.  Just saying.

Who Has Two Thumbs…

… And predicted this two years ago?

Less than two years after Minnesota raised its cigarette tax to one of the highest in the country, cigarette smuggling has become a growing business in the state. Now officials want more money to combat the problem.

Minnesota Department of Revenue officials seized or assessed untaxed tobacco products in more than 40 percent of the 374 retail inspections conducted through the first three quarters of last year. Before the cigarette tax jumped $1.60 per pack, or 130 percent, retail inspections found untaxed tobacco products only 8 percent of the time. The agency typically conducts 700 inspections a year.

Why, as it happens, you read it here first.

Not that it takes a rocket scientist to figure this out. But it seems the DFL has banned rocket science.

And Justice For All

The “study” is laughably unscientific.

The “evidence” may well be cherry-picked to fit the writer’s premise.

But the premise makes intuitive sense.

All of these women were arrested for the same thing – sex with a minor, varying only slightly in age – so there’s virtually no difference in the objective eyes of the law. And yet some of them got absolutely no prison time, while others were jailed for over 20 years. Do you see any difference in the offenders?

Justice has never been “blind”; there’s a reason lawyers tell their clients to wear suits and get haircuts before trials.   And I’d be interested in knowing:

  • a more complete listing of offenders
  • the demographics of the judges issuing the sentences

But it does appear as if the sentence for sleeping with a high school boy is being handed down by a college-age guy…

Expectations

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Police reassured citizens that downtown St. Paul is Safe, despite a string of violent attacks on innocents by groups of yutes wearing gang colors.

You keep using that word . . . .

Joe Doakes

According to the SPPD and it’s statistics, in 2014 the Downtown district had 14 rapes. 71 robberies, 60 aggravated assaults, and other violent crimes averaging out to about 14/month.

Among the responses from some city and light rail apologists: “It’s a city. What do you expect?”

Hands Up: Don’t Spread Narratives Without Thinking

After a couple of months of investigation, the Justice Department – that would be Eric Holder’s Justice Department – has reached the same conclusion in on the Michael Brown case that the state grand jury did several months ago:

Let’s reiterate that. Eric Holder’s Justice Department has looked at the case and decided that the evidence indicates Officer Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown.

This is actually not much of a surprise. When local prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury’s decision not to prosecute the officer, he strongly emphasized that federal investigators had access to the exact same evidence, which was his way of expressing confidence that they would reach the same conclusions. The Times report confirms this: “The federal investigation did not uncover any facts that differed significantly from the evidence made public by the authorities in Missouri late last year.”

have you noticed we only get asked to have a “conversation about race” after an ugly, inflammatory event that jacks everyone’s emotions to 11?

Tickets To The Theatre

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This case explains the Minnesota law on when you can plead self-defense. The burden is on the Defendant to prove facts to the judge before being entitled to argue self-defense to the jury. The judge decides what defense you can present to the jury. You have no Right to plead self-defense.

That’s fine for this guy, he’s an obvious trouble-maker; but what about the next time a White guy shoots a Black yute and Al Sharpton’s mob shows up? Are we going to get even-handed justice or political theatre that denies God-given rights existing long before the Constitution was adopted?

I showed this case to an acquaintance, who said:

“As for the question whether this Defendant had a reasonable belief of personal threat to his well-being: Of course he did. Only White, liberal, former-prosecutors-appointed-judges don’t know that.

In this Defendant’s world, in the cesspool that he swims, the true state of affairs, the reality, the actual fact is that yes, whoever is banging on the door at that time of night is more likely than not armed, and is almost certainly there to do you harm. It’s as true for a Black man living in North Minneapolis as for an Italian in Brooklyn or a Cuban in Miami.

Liberals can’t reconcile this reality with their self-delusion as to the underclass. They believe the Poor are Victims and Victims are Passive, except when they’re erupting in well-deserved riots against Rich White people. The notion that people in the under-class routinely behave worse than people in the middle class is contrary to The Narrative. Liberals prefer their vision of reality to the Defendant’s objective reality and thus deny him a chance to justify his actions.”

I think Minnesota’s law is too strict. If you want to argue self-defense, you ought to be allowed to. The jury can sniff out when it’s a bogus
claim. Preventing Defendants from putting on a defense is bad policy.

Joe Doakes

i’m trying to imagine a group that would push back harder against having their discretion pared back than prosecutors and the police; judges would probably qualify.

But Joe is right. That would’ve been one of the handy benefits of the “Stand Your Ground” law the Governor vetoed a few years back.

Selective Disservice

When gun grabbers compare crime rates between the US and Europe, if you ever noticed that they focus entirely on lethal shootings?

There’s a reason for that:

“There are over 2,000 crimes recorded per 100,000 population in the UK, making it the most violent place in Europe. Austria is second, with a rate of 1,677 per 100,000 people, followed by Sweden, Belgium, Finland and Holland. By comparison America has an estimated rate of 466 violent crimes per 100,000.” The Guardian
So hey, Europe, how ’bout you shut the f*** up about gun control?

The left’s duplicity about the real comparison in crime rates between the US and Europe is verging on Berg’s law territory.

Law

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A former federal judge looked at the Grand Jury evidence and explains why they got it right.

Joe Doakes

I’m not one to trust government much or easily.  But there’s a “government and its institutions are always wrong!” current among some of my libertarian friends that, while not entirely inaccurate, is more and more tending to serve as a substitute for reason and thought.  And that’s no better than some slavering droog who drools over reruns of “Cops”.

Encouraging News

During the Los Angeles “Rodney King” riots over twenty years ago, one of the most redeemingly hope-inspiring images was that of the city’s Korean shopkeepers took to their streets and rooftops to defend their stores from looters.

At a very difficult time in American history, Americans used their constitutional liberties to keep barbarism at bay.

I’m not an especially emotional person – far from it – but I feel a little swell in my heart when I see the images.  Like the “You can’t take our freedom” speech from Braveheart, the images of the plucky Koreans make me proud to be American – and human.  (Here’s the story, complete with political subtext).

And it was with that in mind that I found this story to be so inspirational:

A group of four black Ferguson residents reportedly armed themselves and descended upon a white-owned business following a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. But unlike many of the Ferguson demonstrators, the armed men were there to protect the business, not destroy it in protest.

The well-regulated militia.

The men told the Las Vegas Review Journal that they feel indebted to the white store owner, Doug Merello, who has given them employment over the years.

The black residents reportedly chased off groups of teenagers who allegedly wanted to loot the store. They also reportedly had a close-call after they were mistaken for looters by soldiers with the Missouri National Guard. One of the men was reportedly handcuffed temporarily until Morello could explain to the soldiers what they were doing at his business.

This is a great and noble thing.

What Not To Do

I can almost hear every carry permit instructor in the Twin Cities writing down the details of this case as their prime example of what never, never, ever to do with your firearm and permit:

The complaint said [Matrix Richard] Lee got up and ran at the woman to retrieve the purse, but she drove at Lee and lifted her arm making some sort of gesture that, in fear of being shot, prompted Lee to grab his handgun, insert a full magazine and fire around the fleeing vehicle. The driver apparently gave him the finger, and angrily, he fired an additional shot at the car in effort to pop the tires, Lee told police.

Pro tip: if they are fleeing, and so far away that you have to steady your arm for a long range shot at a moving target, you are probably not “in immediate fear of death or great bodily harm”.

If the facts of the case are exactly as presented (always the caveat when the mainstream media is reporting on self-defense cases) then Mr. Lee would seem to deserve to be prosecuted for a whole dogs breakfast of charges, not the least of them reckless endangerment.

And not only will Mr. Lee truly deserve it, but I think we need to take a close look at whoever his carry permit training instructor was, just in case.

Flashback

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember when I worried that the new Domestic Abuse legislation would let cops seize guns on a mere allegation from a spouse? I was wrong, and Andrew was right, about the wording of that legislation.

But the Eid case that I sent you illustrates the difference between that the law SAYS and how the law is ENFORCED.

The cops in the Eid case claimed – and the HennCo prosecutor argued in court – that taking a person to lock-up for a 72-hour hold on the fear that he might be a danger to himself or others, was legally identical to a judicial finding of mental illness sufficient to commit a person to a mental hospital after a full-blown commitment trial; therefore, loss of gun rights.

No, that’s not what the law says. But that’s how HennCo enforces it.

Unless you can afford a great lawyer to fight the system, it doesn’t matter what the law says, it only matters what the law does to you. I was wrong about the wording. But was I right about the risk?

Joe Doakes
Como Park

that is always the kicker, with any law: governments in force laws any damn way they please. Or, as the Obama administration has shown us, if they care to do it at all.

Nuisances

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If the Church shuffling around bad priests is a public nuisance for purposes of making it easier to sue, can the same theory be applied to schools who shuffle around bad teachers, or police departments who shuffle around bad cops, or courts who shuffle around incompetent judges, or even the federal government who shuffles around bad employees (whatever happened to Jamie Gorelick)

Or is this simply a claim against a despised religious minority in a state known for its Know Nothing heritage?

Joe Doakes

Not to mention a makework program for lawyers?

A Good Guy With A Gun

A horrific rampage in Oklahoma, involving a recent convert to Islam beheading one woman and stabbing another, was ended…

by a citizen with a carry permit

More on the show tomorrow, and on SITD on Monday.

UPDATE:  While some media are calling the shooter/hero an “off duty cop” – which implies he was a policeman, with police training, who just happens to also work as a Chief Operating Officer of a food plant, which is enterprising indeed, and maybe even happens in small rural towns in the west – the police report indicates he was in fact a reserve deputy.  Which in most departments means he helps with parades, and doesn’t have permission to carry weapons, or weapons training, any different than a regular citizen.  The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office may be different – but I’m gonna guess they’re not.

Time will tell.  But experience shows us that time will likely tell us that it was a law-abiding citizen with little special training, but a strong desire to keep himself and his co-workers alive. 

Someone tell Michael Bloomberg.  And Heather Martens.

UPDATE 2:  While the fella was a recent convert to Islam, I’m gonna blame “crazy”, rather than “Moslem”, if that’s OK with y’all.

UPDATE 3:  A check of the Oklahoma County, Oklahoma sheriff’s department website indicates that their reserve deputies do recieve “basic law enforcement training”, without going into detail.  Does this mean they carry firearms, just like regular patrol deputies?  I’ll find out.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

The Star/Tribune is covering what appears to be an escalating war between a number of Minneapolis street gangs.  Yesterday’s piece, bylined Libor Jany, breaks things down

…well, almost.  I’ll add emphasis:

The three people shot Tuesday were believed to have had some involvement in the Soundbar shooting, community leaders said.

But those were only the most recent.

Others include:

• Eulalio Gonzalez-Sanchez, 36, of Minneapolis, was gunned down about 6:25 a.m. Sunday at the corner of 22nd Avenue NE. and 7th Street as he walked home from the bus stop. No one has been arrested in the case.

Earl Lee Malone, 18, of Edina, was fatally shot and left in front of a house on the 2600 block of Knox Avenue about 11 p.m. Saturday. Police later arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the shooting, but it’s unclear when charges will be brought.

• Jemario Langston, 17, of Minneapolis, was shot and killed Sept. 16 by assailants who chased him to his aunt’s house. After hearing gunshots, the aunt opened her back door to find his sprawled body. No one has been arrested.

The Bogus Boys have been locked in a long-simmering struggle with several other South Side gangs, including the Bloods, “10s” and “20s,” said Ferome Brown, an activist who attended Tuesday’s meeting and works to steer young people away from gangs.

Many of the gang members he works with, Brown says, grew up in the same neighborhoods.

That’s a good run-down of a neighborhood in crisis…

…but wait.  See the empasized stuff?  Earl Malone?   We talked about him earlier today.   He was shot in self-defense.   The media knows this – as in this WCCO-TV piece filed a day earlier than the Strib’s piece.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the carjacking that Mr. Malone apparently attempted may have been gang-related.   

But lumping a self-defense shooting – one in which a community member defended themselves against an immediate threat to their life and health – is not the same as gang bangers carrying on an endless blood feud.  It’s just not.

Does the Strib know the difference?

Self-Defense

The rumors started flying over the weekend – and Tuesday, we got confirmation:  one of the rash of shootings in Minneapolis over the weekend involved a carry permittee, a 21 year old Minneapolis man:

Authorities believe he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot 18-year-old Earl Malone Saturday night at the intersection of Knox Avenue North and 26th Street.

Police took the 21-year-old man into custody at the scene. Sources tell WCCO the man has a conceal-and-carry [sic] permit, and told police he shot Malone because he had tried to rob him.

According to a Facebook post from the Twin Cities Gun Owners and Carry Forum and the irreplaceable Shelley Leeson – a reliable source on these sorts of stories – the permit holder apparently said Malone was armed, and tried to car-jack him. 

According to police files, the 21-year-old permittee fired three shots; Malone fled, and the permittee called 911, exactly as one is supposed to do.  Squads responding found Malone dead – his gun still in his hand. 

Since the permittee has been released without charges, you may be certain of three things:

  1. He didn’t pick a fight with Mr. Malone.  Indeed, he did everything feasible to get away from the fight (with “feasible” being the operative word).
  2. The permittee legitimately feared being killed or maimed – enough so that the notoriously anti-gun Henco attorney Mike Freeman was convinced the case didn’t need to go to trial.
  3. The use of lethal force was appropriate under the circumstances; if it weren’t, Mike Freeman would pounce like a vulture.

And while the identity of the shooter has not been released, and likely won’t be (for the shooter’s protection, no doubt), I’m going to hazard a guess – and it is only a guess – that the permittee is African-American. 

If it weren’t true, the local media and the cluster of anti-gun pressure groups, who would love to have a Trayvon Martin of their very own to wave like a bloody shirt, would be howling about it right now.

The Mystery Deepens

 As was noted last week, there’ve been two arrests in the first armed robbery in the 150-odd year history of the Minnesota State Fair. 

Two Saint Paul men were arrested in the August 29 robbery of the MN Craft Beer booth, which netted (at least briefly) over $100,000. 

St. Paul residents Antontio Washington, 20, and Jarret Maiden, 35, have been booked into jail in suspicion of being behind the $10,000-plus heist, which was the first armed robbery in the fair’s history.

But there’s a mystery!

As was noted on this blog during the fair, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds was posted, for the first time since “shall issue” carry reform passed in 2003, as a gun-free zone.

And yet…:

State Fair police spokesperson Brooke Blakey tells us the gun believed to have been used during the robbery has been recovered, but declined further comment, citing the active investigation.

So there’s a mystery worthy of Poireau or Holmes.  Two, really:

  • How did an illegal gun make it past the signs at the front gate?
  • How did a gun wind up getting used in a crime where guns had just been made illegal?

Someone explain this to me?

More Abuse

The same prosecutor who approved a pre-trial diversion program for football player Ray Rice, a fairly routine step in New Jersey for first-time offenders (especially non-violent ones, which Rice was not alleged to be) - and the judge who ordered the diversion – is doing his best to throw the book at a 27 year old black single mother of two whose only “crime” was inadvertently driving into Camden, NJ with a handgun that was perfectly legal in Philadelphia, and for which she had valid Pennsylvania carry permit.

Shaneen Allen wants to know what makes her so different from Ray Rice.

Allen, a 27-year-old Philadelphia mother who says she mistakenly entered New Jersey with a handgun legally registered in her state, was not accepted into a pre-trial intervention program, unlike the former Baltimore Ravens running back who was caught on an elevator surveillance camera punching his then-fiancée and current wife. The disparate decisions, made by the same prosecutor and approved by the same judge, leave Allen facing more than three years in prison and Rice free, though disgraced. 

It was entirely a matter of the prosecutor’s discretion – and that of the judge confirming the decision:

Atlantic County prosecutor Jim McClain recommended Rice for the program in May, months after denying the single mother’s application. And Superior Court Judge Michael Donio, who signed off on the agreement that spared Rice jail time, denied a motion by Allen’s attorney to force McClain to reconsider.

Let’s make sure we’re clear on what happened:  Ms. Allen crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge from Philly into Camden.  Before she could turn around and get back to Philly, she got pulled over for a routine traffic stop.  When she showed the cop her license and insurance, she also showed him her carry permit and said she had a gun in her purse.  That might have been too much honesty – according to her attorney, Evan Nappen (with whom I spoke last night while sitting in with Mark Walters on “Armed American”), the judge told her she was, basically, in trouble for being honest.   It may also have not been a bad idea; if the cop had for whatever reason seen or found an unannounced gun, it could have gotten sticky.

Ms. Allen’s trial has been rescheduled, and switched to a new judge – which is probably a good thing for her.

But there’s a great question for the people of New Jersey; why are there two tiers of justice in Atlantic County?  One for former Rutgers football stars, and one for commoners?

 

The Good Guys Win Another

Gang youths try to rob a group of Milwaukeeans.

Law-abiding Milwaukee citizen with carry permits shoot back.

Citizens win:

He fatally shot one of the robbers, a 15-year-old known gang member who was already the victim of another non-fatal shooting on August 1.

The teen had previously been charged with armed robbery, auto theft, theft, and fleeing.

Innocent babes in the woods mowed down in the prime of life, unjustly?

Well, mowed down in the prime of life, sure. The rest of it?

Police have arrested another two 14-year-old males, a 16-year-old male, a 17-year-old female, and an 18-year-old male.

Police say this particular group is responsible for multiple armed robberies that have recently hit Milwaukee. Police say the group may be responsible for “dozens” of robberies over just the past three days.

“This is criminals that are running around the city creating opportunities for them to rob people all over and this was just the timing,” Alderman Jose Perez said. “This has nothing to do with the district or the neighborhood.”

Deaths are rarely a good thing.

But better the bad actors than the good ones. Sorry to say.

Ferguson

What do I think about what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri?

Re the Brown shooting:  On the one hand, American police do a lot more shooting than any other police force in the world.  More shots were fired in that single incident in Ferguson than were fired by the entire German police force in six whole weeks. 

On the other hand, African-Americans do get a disparately-harsh response from law-enforcement.   It causes some to prejudge all cases involving black shooting victimes.

On the third hand – that cuts both ways.  We don’t know the facts – not all of them – about the Brown shooting, but we’ve seen the media whitewash the likes of Darren Evanovich, trying to create a racial incident out of what turned out to be a perfectly clean self-defense shooting. 

On the fourth hand, if Brown was going for the officer’s gun, that’s a legitimate cause for self-defense.  Even for a regular citizen.  If someone grabs your gun, the law doesn’t require you to read his mind as to what he intends to do with it. 

On the fourth, we may not ever really know why the scuffle happened, or exactly what happened. 

And that, in fact, is the only real response I have to add.  Remember the media’s reports in the first hours, days, even weeks after Columbine?  Virginia Tech? The Giffords and Aurora Theater and Newtown shootings?  Remember how close to the actual facts of the stories they got?

Not at all.

So I’ll wait for the facts to shake out, assuming they ever do.

Regarding the Police Response:  I’ve written before about how I oppose the militarization of the police.  And the first couple of days of the Ferguson PD’s response was the Keystone Kops led by Major Frank Burns.  Oh, don’t get me wrong; I have no problem with the DoD selling military firearms and armored vehicles to police departments – provided they sell them to law-abiding citizens, as well.

And yet when the Ferguson Fusiliers were withdrawn and replaced by the kinder, gentler, New-Ageier Missouri State Police?   The violence ebbed ,then came back as bad as ever, prompting local, black residents to wonder to the media why the cops weren’t shooting looters.  And now the National Guard is involved. 

The Charlatan Caucus:  Of course, where there are grievances, there will be grievance vultures.  And sure enough, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are on the scene – which in and of itself devalues much of the local community’s complaints. 

As bad, in their own way?  The media – which continue lead with inaccurate info, when they’re not making the story about themselves.

Frustration

Joe Dokes from Como Park emails:

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

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

One For The Good Guys

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

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

Armed store owner had a dissenting opinion:

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

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

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