Bedfellows

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I was glad to see the City talking about Third Degree Riot charges – unlawful assembly including violence.  About time.

 But the violence people were out-of-towners!  We’re not responsible for them.

 Yes, you are.  A group of people who voluntarily come together for the purpose of committing a crime is a criminal conspiracy.  Walking on the freeway is a crime. Every member of the conspiracy should be equally liable for whatever additional crimes are committed during their intended criminal act.

 Don’t want to be liable for the crimes of your fellow gang members, don’t accompany the gang to the rumble.

 Joe Doakes

When the unintended consequences are pretty much intended, they’re not…well…you know.

Memories And Memory Holes

Do you remember when the left and mainstream media tried to tie Sarah Palin to Jared Loughner’s spree killing in Tuscon, which wounded Gabby Gifford (and killed a bunch of people the media don’t care about) because she’d completely innocently used “crosshairs” on a map?

Of course you do.

Do you remember when Al Sharpton told people to kill cops in as many words?

Speaking of memory holes:  it’s been five days since the slaughter in Dallas.  By this point in most recent mass-killings, we has a lot of detail about the killers; Holmes, Mateen, Loughner, Lanza, Harris and Klebold, Cho, even Hassan.   And we’d had detailed dissections of the firearms they’d used – because those were the real enemies, natch.

And yet a cursory examination shows very little interest, it seems, in Micah Jackson’s past, and very little scrutiny about his SKS rifle.

We don’t know the details, and that means you or me.  But if someone wanted to bet me $100 that the silence was because Jackson was a known “progressive” activist, and the SKS was an utterly unmodified, thoroughly plain-jane rifle, I wouldn’t take the bet.

Keep Those Lines Blurry

I’m going to share a little secret, just between the two of us; I always get nervous, during gun control debates, when the topic turns to the technicalities of different types of guns.

Don’t get me wrong; illiteracy about guns is one of the things that gun controllers exploit to ram down their factually-vacant, emotion-laden “points”.  When the vast majority of people, and even some shooters, don’t know the difference between an “assault rifle” (an intermediate-caliber (less powerful cartridge than a rifle!) selective-fire long arm) and an “assault weapon” (a set of fluid cosmetic characteristics that have nothing to do with lethality), it’s impossible to have a literate debate.

Which, to gun controllers, is a feature, not a bug.

But this reared its head in an illuminating way in the Dallas shooting.

Exactly as predicted by Berg’s Eighteenth Law of Media Latency, the media got everything wrong about the Dallas shootings for the first 24-48 hours.  It was not a group of men “triangulating” their prey – it was one guy, Micah Jackson.

And he was not shooting the official boogeyman (also: only gun most media people can name, other than “Glock”), the AR15.

There are many configurations of AR15.

He was in fact shooting an “SKS” – a World War II-vintage Russian design.

It’s as rugged as any other Russian design; it’s bone simple to maintain; it’s just about the least-expensive military-grade rifle available on the legal market in America (still widely available for under $350; a few years ago, they were around $100 apiece).  It’s become an incredibly popular hunting firearm.

And, since “big magazines” are the boogeyman-du-jour, it holds ten rounds, in a non-detachable magazine, in its unmodified form.

Some gun-rights supporters jumped on this, to note that this, in and of itself, invalidates the “assault weapons” debate entirely.

It does – but not in the way the pro-gunners think it does.

Because while the SKS isn’t a modern, utterly modular design that can be rebuilt in a nearly infinite variety of permutations like the AR, it is the basis for some ingenuity.  There are parts on the aftermarket to turn an SKS into a poor man’s AK47:

This, too, is an SKS – with aftermarket adjustable stock, replacement magazine well that uses AK47 magazines, and an aftermarket forearm with an accessory rail holding the foregrip and bipod, this “tacti-cool” SKS is not one degree behind the fashion curve.

Now, while parts of the media are announcing that Jackson used an SKS (after frantically learning how to spell it), not a single outlet (as this is written) has shown a picture of the murder weapon.

Maybe they don’t have it.

And maybe they do, but it resembles the first SKS – a humble, unadorned, vaguely antique-looking rifle that looks like an awkwardly-designed hunting rifle.

My point:  like the AR, almost any rifle can be modified into an almost-unrecognizable form.

There are, as we’ve seen above, SKSes that metamorphose from awkward, boxy antiques to menacing-looking Hollywood specials.

And there are AR15s that are modified to look and function little differently than Grandpa’s hunting rifle:

Wood furniture, ten round magazine. That’s not threatening, is it?

Even better example:  the Lee Enfield Mark1 “SMLE” was the standard rifle of the British army from the early 1900s to the late 1950s.

An “SMLE” Enfield that served in both World Wars, and quite possibly well beyond. It looks like a hunting rifle, because these days it is.

It looks like a hunting rifle – and indeed it was, and is, used as one in vast numbers in the US (although the ammunition is hideously expensive; $2 a around.  Ask me how I know).

Early in World War 2, when the British Army had left most of its equipment in France, there wasn’t enough production capacity to build enough machine guns to equip the Australian and New Zealand armies.   An Australian officer invented a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption based on an Enfield that turned it into a light machine gun:

Yep – it’s a Lee Enfield rifle, with a bunch of home-made parts bolted on, turning it into a machine gun.

The real point being, cosmetic and even technical definitions of firearms are virtually meaningless in the long run; even under Nazi occupation, machinists built fully-automatic submachine guns in machine shops for the various resistance movements (the “NRA” of their day, in the various Nazi-occupied countries).

One of these two was built in Enfield, England. One was built in a machine shop somewhere in occupied Poland. Take a moment and guess which is which.

No, cosmetics, and even abstruse technical terminology, has absolutely nothing on the motivation and, sometimes, ingenuity, of the person doing the shooting.   Some, like the Polish guerrillas and the Australian Army, use those motivations and ingenuity for good (or “as good as we can get”, anyway).

Micah Jackson’s technology was more or less irrelevant; he could have committed precisely the same mayhem with any number of common hunting rifles.  Maybe more.

Falcon Heights And Dallas

I’m going to take a moment to cite Berg’s Eighteenth Law of Media Latency:  “Nothing the media writes/says about any emotionally charged event – a mass shooting, a police shooting, anything – should be taken seriously for 48 hours after the original incident.  It will largely be rubbish, as media outlets vie to “scoop” each other even on incorrect facts.

Yesterday was a pretty crappy day for everyone – except the “let’s force everyone to one extreme or the other, for easier framing” community.

We’ll come back to that.

First, let’s talk about Falcon Heights.

On Edge:  Watch this video:

Kinda scary, huh?

Kinda makes you want to curl up in an armored coccoon, doesn’t it?

Sources in law enforcement tell me that this video is shown to most new police recruits on or about their first day of training, these days.

Not a video of a cop settling a dispute between errant neigbhors.

Not a video of a cop catching a sex trafficker (let’s assume they’re real, while we’re up).

Not one of a cop setting a young stalker straight before he seriously screws up his life.

No – the impression that police departments start their rookies off with is that “any situation you’re in, any contact you make, anything you do and anything you don’t do, can end up with you being gunned down like Old Yeller by the side of the road.  Be careful out there.

What message does this send to new cops?  “There are two kinds of people out there; people in badges, and people who might kill people in badges.  Be careful out there”.    It’s a sort of siege mentality.

We’ll come back to that.

Take a little siege mentality.  Add in what may have been really poor training; the Saint Anthony Police Department has come in for some criticism even before Wednesday’s events.

Part of that poor training, perhaps?   In carry permit training, students (of all races) are warned; handling cops if you get pulled over is one of the most dangerous parts of having a carry permit.  All cops get cautious when the “g” word comes up; some of them go way beyond (notwithstanding the fact that carry permittees are a couple orders of magnitude less likely to shoot anyone, much less a cop, than the general public).  If it turns out Castile was a carry permit holder, and he was (as his girlfriend pointed out in the video she shot from the scene) reaching for his permit as most people are taught in their carry permit training, then at least one cop needed some better training on that subject.

Was Castile the victim of racism?  Perhaps.  Although the herd consensus that there’s an epidemic of racist cops killing black people is not exactly statistically clear-cut, much less unanimous.   All shootings, including those involving the police, are complicated.

So on the one hand, you have a police force that operates from a basis of “force protection”, rather than “protecting and serving the community” – more of a military than civil concept – and a community with some serious beefs over how that works in the community, at a time when racial tensions are the highest they’ve been in fifty years (thanks, President Obama, for all that racial healing), in a state where the dominant political establishment is politically tied to both the police unions and the non-profit “social justice” sector”.

Sound like it’ll be hard to unravel?  You’re probably right.

Dallas:  And any chance of unraveling that first Gordian Knot got blown away in a fusillade of sniper fire last night in Dallas.

I can’t begin to comment; Berg’s Eighteenth Law applies to me, too.

More on the show tomorrow.

Fraud Alert

Lately, the anti-gunners have been quoting “Shootingtracker.com” as a “source” in claiming that “there’s a mass shooting ever day in the US”.

Of course, “mass shootings” – a shooting in which four or more people are killed or injured, no matter what the motivation of the shooter/s, is not the same as a “spree killing” or “rampage killing”; most “mass shootings” involve shootings that are offshoots of other crimes; robberies, gang activity and the like.

Spree killings – like Orlando, San Bernardino, Red Lake, Tuscon, Columbine, Virginia Tech and the like – have “murdering people at random”, or “targeting a specific group” (gays, Jews, Americans, the military) as the sole goal of the episode (along, sometimes, with political terrorism).

Anyway – I had a hunch about the site.  So I checked it out.

Sure enough – the shooting I wrote about last week, in South Carolina, where a citizen with a carry permit shot and wounded a man who’d shot and injured three others at a bar, ending what could have been a much bigger, much uglier crime?

Sure enough.  They counted it.

How much you wanna bet “Protect” MN calls this “just another mass shooting” as a result?

The Terrible Hours

You’re in a room.

Between you and the exit – any exit – is someone who is busily killing people.  So you’re not going anywhere.  Probably not, anyway.

You’re in the midst of a spree killing – sometimes called a rampage killing.  You’re surrounded by crowds of people, as someone – one person, most likely – is carrying out some deluded or diabolical plan to kill…

…well, lots of people.  Maybe you’re in a gay bar, and the killer’s faith hates gays.  Maybe you’re in a synogogue, and the killer hates Jews.  Maybe you’re in a classroom, and the killer hates classrooms?  Or you’re in a church basement, and the killer hates you, whether you be Episcopal or Black or Unitarian.  Maybe it’s just because you’re a westerner, and they’re there to make a point, and inflict terror upon the rest of us westerners.   Or maybe they’re just doing the bidding of the voices in their head.

Either way, here you are.  When you woke up this morning, you didn’t expect to be involved in a spree killing.  Only one person in the room did.

You’re not him.

But there’s no getting around it.  And barring some miracle, there’s no getting away from it;  There are two exits from the space you’re in – but the shooter can see both, and has been mowing down anyone trying to get to the exits for quite some time.  Once, he stopped to reload, and someone rushed him with the only weapon he had available, his bare hands and shoed feet; perhaps he didn’t realize one can reload with a round in the chamber; that bit of resistance, valiant as it was, ended with a body on the floor.

Seeing someone shot down trying to attack the attacker took the fight out of the rest of the people in the room with you.

You may be dimly aware that the room you’re in is a “gun free zone” – an irony that causes not a single laugh.   You’re probably not aware; you may be like most Americans, and have never considered making carrying a firearm part of your lifestyle.  You might have even been one of that tiny, dim little fraction of the population that thought those signs made you safer.

But here you are.


The first transcripts of the 911 traffic in and around the Pulse night club have been released.

These are preliminary transcripts – but if they’re even remotely accurate, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to reach a couple of inescapable conclusions.   And it’s not from the mainstream media, so it’s got that going for it.

I’ve included the entire list of transcripts below the jump.

In the opening moments of the massacre, Omar Matteen engaged the cop who was providing off-duty security.  The cop and Matteen exchanged fire; neither was hit, and Matteen retreated into the club, where the massacre continued.

It took six minutes for five or six officers to show up; they broke out a patio window and, armed with “patrol rifles” (it’s a marketing term for “pretty much the same gun Matteen had”, for police departments and city councils that don’t want to have to explain to their dimmer constituents why they’re buying “assault rifles”), entered the building.

And took cover, as the shots continued.

I’m not going to monday-morning-quarterback the cops.  I’d damn sure take cover if someone was in a room, shooting.

Standards and Practices:  At the Columbine massacre, the Jefferson County (CO) SWAT team, nervous about reports of bombs in the building, held up outside the high school for four hours before entering.  By this time, all the victims, and the two killers, were stone cold dead.

This caused some significant outcry at the time; why had the citizens of Jefferson County spent all that money lavishly outfitting a SWAT team to not one degree behind the current SOCOM fashion curve, only to have them turn out no more useful to saving lives than the Jefferson County VFW Drum and Bugle Corps?

And to their credit, law enforcement did some studying.  They found a couple of things about spree/rampage killers:

  • They tend to exist in a fantasy world.  In this fantasy, killing will make them…something. Important.  Martyrs.  Popular.  Something.
  • The planning for the attack tends to be extremely elaborate (by the planner’s standards, anyway).
  • That many rampage killers – not all, but most – carry out their final “mission” in a sort of reverie; this is the culmination of their entire fantasy life.
  • Breaking that reverie – by upsetting the plan, interfering with the fantasy, and “getting inside their decision loop” – is essential in thwarting an attack once it’s underway.
  • The best way to do this – or at least the best way available when prevention has ailed, andonce the shooting starts – is to shoot at the shooter.  And preferably hit him.  But any resistance will do, really.  Because…
  • …once the shooter meets resistance, their reverie usually breaks, and their long-fantasized plans go awry, they usually – not always, but usually – panic; they break off the attack, they give up or, frequently, they kill themselves.  Sometimes it doesn’t work – Matteen kept shooting after he met resistance (I’ll speculate that his terrorist motivations may be part of the reason for this).  Sometimes it works amazingly well; Nick Meli had only to point his gun at Jason Roberts (he checked fire out of worry that he’d hit a bystander), causing Roberts to withdraw into a nearby store and kill himself, still carrying hundreds of unspent rounds.   More according to the theory – Jeanne Assam shot and wounded Matthew Murray inside New Life Christian Center, after he’d already killed two (and two more at an earlier crime scene); Murray withdrew and ended his worthless life.
  • Because of this observation, the convention wisdom among law enforcement became to “get in there and engage active shooters”; rather than wait for SWAT teams and bomb squads to assemble and stage and come up with a plan, individual officers, armed with whatever was in their cars or on their persons – “patrol rifles”, shotguns, handguns – should move toward the shooting, and try to put some lead in and around the shooter.  To seize the initiative, to take control of the narrative.
  • While cops don’t say this in public, of course, it doesn’t really matter if the person putting that fire into and around the shooter has a badge or not; incoming bullets all sound the same. This blog has compiled a sizeable list of mass shooters thwarted by civilians with guns – currently 16 and counting.  From Nick Meli to Dr. Lee Silverman, the list of regular schnooks who’ve thwarted mass shooters is much, much longer than the media and the ignorant (pardon the redundancy) are willing to comprehend, much less admit.

Apparently, though, someone from Orlando didn’t get the memo.  Or, more likely – I’m guessing, here – the SWAT team, in a situation of immense stress and confusion, held off doing anything drastic while they figured out what to do.

When Seconds Count…:  As Bob Owens at Bearing Arms notes, around the point in the transcript where Mateen is reloading his magazines.  I’ll add emphasis:

The terrorist has been killing at will, unimpeded, for 20 minutes, longer than any mass shooting in recent American history [except possibly Columbine – Ed.] (in 1966 Charles Whitman, the University of Texas bell tower sniper was still active 20 minutes into his rampage, but civilians and police were actively firing on his position).  Virginia Tech was over in 12 minutes. Sandy Hook took five.

This terrorist was charging magazines, as the OPD waited and victims bled out on the dance floor and in bathrooms.

He had time to reload (as in “put more bullets in his magazines” – perhaps twice.

“High capacity magazines” were clearly irrelevant to this situation, by the way.  As they were at Virginia Tech, where the shooter used mundane handguns with regular (12-15 round) magazines.

Victims are bleeding out, no longer responding to the dispatchers they called to save their lives.  Other callers, including a nurse who is among the wounded, are warning that victims are losing too much blood.

No one is coming.

No one is coming. 

It isn’t until 38 minutes into the terrorist attack that the now-reloaded shooter calls Orlando PD and announces that he is a Islamic terrorist aligned with the Islamic State.

At this point, a competently trained SWAT command, having learned from the Russian experience at Beslan that terrorists call to “negotiate” only to stall for time and improve their positions to kill more people, should have recognized that the best option for a shooter in a confined space with hostages is to throw in flash-bang grenades and storm in while he was disoriented to take him down.

And yet they didn’t.

Why?  We don’t know, yet.  Maybe we never will.

At the end of the day, a cop wants to go home safe.

Who can blame ’em?

Defense:  Well, I’m no monday-morning quarterback.  If I’m a patrol cop, armed with a rifle I’ve rarely trained on, in a thin kevlar vest that might turn a pistol bullet or shotgun pellet but not a rifle round, going into a dark room full of screaming people, floors slick with blood, and the deafening sound of rifle fire in a confined space booming all around?  I might well take cover, and stay there.  Maybe hiding behind the brick I’d crap.

And the Supreme Court has ruled as much, saying that while it’s police’s job to try to protect you, they’re not really liable if they don’t.

On the other hand: the taxpayers of Orlando, like those of every major city, have spent years and millions outfitting police SWAT teams with all sorts of high-test body armor, flash-bang grenades and other right-with-the-SOCOM-fashion curve hostage rescue goodies, and the exquisitely expensive training that goes with with it (or so one hopes that’s where the money went).

Why did the Orlando SWAT team wait until 5:02AM – three hours after the first 911 call – to breach the wall and go into the club?  Why did it take fifteen more minutes to kill Mateen?    We don’t know.

How many died in those three hours?    Go through the transcript (below he jump), and count the number of people whom callers report expiring to blood loss as they huddled in piles on the dance floor, or to cell phone contacts quietly dropping off the line, leaving nothing but the sounds of gunshots and screaming in the background, as victims slowly bled out.

Go ahead.  Do it.

It sounds like an awful place.  Who can blame the SWAT team for being careful?


You.

You, huddled on the floor and playing dead in the room full of frantic people and a growing toll of wounded, maimed and dead bodies, can blame them.   As the hours tick by, as the blood on the floor gets sticky and dry, as the gunman reloads, kills another handful of people, reloads again and again.

It’s you who won’t be going home.

Could it have been different?   If one other person in the room with you had had the means to react in a meaningful, e.g. life-threatening, way?

Maybe.  There are no guarantees, least of all when bullets are flying.    Who knows – maybe they got hit before they had a chance to draw.  Maybe they’d draw, but get shot first.

Or maybe they’d trade fire with the killer, and lose – but un-nerve the killer, allowing at least a  few people to escape.

Or maybe, just maybe, the citizen with the gun would catch a few lucky breaks; the killer doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head, after all.  A couple of shots to the back while the killer was looking the other way, and suddenly it’s camera crews and yellow tape.

But as the hours drag on, it’s pretty clear – the only help that’s coming is from outside.

Sometime.  Maybe.  Hopefully before you join the dead.


NOTE:  While I intend my comment section as a discussion, and tolerate dissent and cognitive dissonance better than most, be advised; comments I deem stupid will not be deleted; they will be mutilated for my pleasure.  

The judgment of “stupidity” is all mine; it doesn’t mean “disagreement”; just stupidity.  I know it when I see it.

There will be no other warnings.

Continue reading

When People Complain About Donald Trump’s Appeals To Base Nature…

…they really need to get some perspective.

The Philippine president-elect has encouraged the public to help him in his war against crime, urging citizens with guns to shoot and kill drug dealers who resist arrest and fight back in their neighborhoods.

In a nationally televised speech late Saturday, Rodrigo Duterte told a huge crowd in the southern city of Davao that Filipinos who help him battle crime will be rewarded.

“Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun — you have my support,” Duterte said, warning of an extensive illegal drug trade that involves even the country’s police.

If a drug dealer resists arrest or refuses to be brought to a police station and threatens a citizen with a gun or a knife, “you can kill him,” Duterte said. “Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal.”

That’s more than a wall.

Mindreading

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Killing a police officer could become a hate crime. That’s a bad idea that is part of a larger trend of bad ideas. Punishment should depend on the act, not the motivation. I oppose the law.

Criminal law is intended to deter bad acts. Swift and certain punishment of the first bad actor will deter others from committing that bad act. Anything that makes swift and certain punishment less likely diminishes the disincentive and thereby weakens the overall purpose of criminal law.

Example: Street Thug A shoots and kills a police informant. Street Thug B shoots and kills a plainclothes undercover police officer. Why should Street Thug B’s crime be worse than Street Thug A’s crime? Murdered is murdered. How will adding an extra year to the sentence deter Street Thugs from shooting people?

Hate crime laws put the jury in the position of divining what was in a person’s heart at the time of the crime. “Who knows what Evil lurks in the hearts of men?” is a catch phrase for a vigilante, not a blueprint for justice.

Even worse, the notion sets some classes above others for arbitrary and political reasons which leads to rent-seeking and long-term fragmentation of society into special interest groups clawing to be above each other in the hierarchy of rights and punishments. In ancient times, a Lord could kill a Commoner by paying a nominal fine, but a Commoner who killed a Lord was tortured to death. America was specifically intended to put a stop to that. Hate crime legislation is a step backwards in time, it sends us in the wrong direction.

Joe Doakes

But it makes someone feel good.

Which is becoming our new legal standard.

Strib and NoMi: Accidental Honesty

The Strib ran on op-ed by a Mickey Cook, of North Minneapolis.

The whole thing ably reflects the elephant in the Metro DFL’s collective room; the CIty of Minneapolis has, for decades, left North Minneapolis to other people to fix.  While the City has invested endless money, time and care in the South side, Northeast and Dinkytown, the Northside is the hot potato in a perennial game between the City, the State and the Feds, with everyone going “Not It”.

It’s a good piece; read the whole thing.  Here’s the pullquote:

This community is falling apart, and Minneapolis is investing in an overpriced football stadium downtown and green ways and bike lanes that go largely unused in “NoMi.” The City Council is voting to ban plastic bags, while investors shoehorn complex after complex of “affordable housing” into north Minneapolis neighborhoods. Yet we can’t even maintain the mainstays of a decent retail chain store or a reliable grocery store that isn’t constantly threatening to pull out. We can’t get take-out without getting taken out. We have no peace with all of the boom cars.

Mr. (?) Cook has got the problems figured out cold.

The solution?  Let’s talk (emphasis added):

We can see you, Minneapolis. We can see the lack of attention from the police chief and the mayor, failing to enforce what few laws we do have.

There is no shortage of laws in North Minneapolis, or anywhere else in the state.  Everything that goes wrong in NoMi breaks some kind of law or another.

But enforcement?

We can see the rats’ nest of bureaucratic yarn tangle. These two officials have wholeheartedly turned their backs on this neighborhood. Their predecessors, as far back as I can remember in my four decades of living in Minnesota, have never summoned enough gusto to get things truly under control.

One wonders what sort of effort, or gusto, it would take – and whether Minneapolis’s Social Justice caste (based more in Kenwood and Crocus Hill than in NoMi, and sodden with political clout in both city halls and the state capitol) would tolerate it.

But least of all would the Social Justice caste tolerate the one thing the citizens of North Minneapolis could do that would give them a genuine voice; break their ties with the DFL and vote for an alternative to the failed one-party system that’s gotten them where they are.

Interesting Times

It’s been a fairly violent year in Saint Paul.   This past weekend was worst of all; nine total shootings, with two dead:

On the upside, I haven’t noticed the metro’s anti-gun crones blaming the shooting wave on the law-abiding gun owner yet; partly, I suspect, because they’re still learning how to update blog posts, and partly because most Metro gun grabbers don’t know where Saint Paul is (outside the Griggs Building, anyway.  BTW, if you’ve ever asked yourself “why is there a Green Line stop at Fairview Avenue, it’s because the Griggs Building is the home for most of the Democrat, Union and “Social Justice” non-profits who provide most of the Green Line’s non-criminal riders).

The bad news?  It‘s still a DFL-run city:

Addressing the root causes of violence has also been important to the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council, said Deanna Abbott-Foster, the executive director. Sunday’s homicide occurred in Dayton’s Bluff.

“We’re hoping not just to respond to violent incidents, like a murder, where we all rise up and say, ‘Oh no!’ and then go back to business as usual,” Abbott-Foster said. “We’re hoping to … take a more holistic approach and ask, ‘What’s happening here?’ There’s a lot of poverty, a lot of unemployment, all kinds of issues that lend themselves to violent outbreaks.”

Yeah, focus on that.  That’ll work.

Because poverty causes crime, right?   Like, as P.J. O’Rourke wrote 25 years ago, “if you took Thurgood Marshall’s bank account away, he’d wind up selling crack at the Port Authority”.

No.  A society where there is motive, opportunity, and increasingly little consequence for dumb people to try to take what isn’t theirs is the problem.

And after years of dodging that, er, bullet, Saint Paul is arriving in the 21st century in the worst possible way.

Damn That NRA!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Thieves used the cab of a semi-truck to smash down the door of a Ventura, California gun store to steal guns.  Video is on-line.

 15 guns in the hands of criminals and no background check!  Damn the NRA.

 Why won’t Congress pass common-sense legislation making semi-trucks safer?

 Joe Doakes

And storefronts!

Oh, wait – they already did.  The thieves got bigger trucks and heavier chains.

Why, it’s almost as if criminals will go above and beyond what the law tries to prevent them from doing…

Two Americas, Redux

As you may recall, I had the great pleasure of hobnobbing with Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager last week.

And we were regaled with Hugh’s optimism…on many fronts.  He’s an optimistic guy.  He also just landed a drive-time network talk show contract with; I’d be pretty sunny too.

But one of Hugh’s rays of sunshine continues to be his faith in the criminal justice system; that it’ll work the way it was explained when he was a 1L at Michigan Law, or maybe 9th grade civics class.  He has that faith in the system that only people in the system have.

In this case, it’s the faith that Hillary will ever be indicted, much less tried, for deliberately breaking federal law with her email server.

It’ll never happen.

Kevin Williamson:

People like Hillary Rodham Clinton do not go to jail without first becoming governor of Illinois or mayor of Detroit, and Herself always has her sights set on a higher office than those. But even relatively lowly players in her world escape jail time. Lois Lerner turned the Internal Revenue Service into a branch of the Obama campaign, using the agency’s fearsome investigatory powers to harass tea-party groups and conservative organizations. She’s enjoying a fat pension right now rather than the federal hospitality she so richly deserves. Kamala Harris, who is trying to do much the same thing with the office of the attorney general in California, probably is headed to the Senate. The Texas prosecutors who harassed Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tom DeLay, and Rick Perry for wholly imaginary crimes are in no danger of facing real recriminations.

One of the few legitimate reasons for a goverment at all is a fair, predictable, just system of justice.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has violated a half-dozen national-security statutes, has criminally withheld information from investigators, and much more. It is a safe bet that the consequences of her doing so will be considerably less than those of failing to pay a parking ticket issued by the duly constituted authorities of Muleshoe, Texas. Something about that isn’t right.

When you lose that, in addition to all the obvious things, you lose…one of the few legitimate reasons to have a government.

Justice

Up to a quarter of death penalty cases involve some degree of prosecutorial misconduct;  prosecutors behaving badly is behind a majority of the over 130 people released from death row in the past forty years.

But how often do the prosecutors and police involved in twisting the legal system against the defendant pay?

Well, once, anyway:

Today in Texas, former prosecutor and judge Ken Anderson pled guilty tointentionally failing to disclose evidence in a case that sent an innocent man,Michael Morton, to prison for the murder of his wife. When trying the case as a prosecutor, Anderson possessed evidence that may have cleared Morton, including statements from the crime’s only eyewitness that Morton wasn’t the culprit. Anderson sat on this evidence, and then watched Morton get convicted. While Morton remained in prison for the next 25 years, Anderson’s career flourished, and he eventually became a judge.

And in exchange for railroading an innocent man, what happened?

In today’s deal, Anderson pled to criminal contempt, and will have to give up his law license, perform 500 hours of community service, and spend 10 days in jail. Anderson had already resigned in September from his position on the Texas bench.

It’s a start.

I urge you to read the whole thing.

Focus

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Every week, the Court of Appeals releases opinions on criminal cases.  Every week, there’s an ineligible person in possession of a pistol.  And these aren’t all of the ineligible persons in possession – these are only the ones that had a good enough legal argument to appeal.  There’s no telling how many other felons had guns but didn’t appeal, or plea-bargained the charge away.  It’s a genuine epidemic and nobody is going anything about it.

So here’s the question for every one of those cases: Where’d this particular felon get this particular pistol?  Did he pass a background check?  Order it off the Internet?  Buy it at a gun show?  Which Obama gun-control proposal would have prevented him from acquiring the pistol?  We don’t know because the court doesn’t report that fact and if the cops asked at all, the felon undoubtedly lied to protect his source.

Maybe we need an incentive program?  Maybe the cop says “Look, man, you’re going away.  Nothing can change that.  But if you give up the name – and the name checks out – we hand you $1,000 cash, tax free.   Plus you get a carton of Marlboros and one extra hour of yard time each week.”

Maybe it wouldn’t work.  But maybe it would.  We know from the War on Drugs that cracking down on suppliers is far more likely to dry up the supply than piling more restrictions on innocent, law-abiding citizens.  Why not use a proven technique in the War on Crime?

Joe Doakes

That presumes that the Minnesota left – who control law enforcment in the state – are interested in addressing crime.

Absolute Moral Authority

Jesse Hughes – lead singer of the band “Eagles of Death Metal”, the band that was playing at the Bataclan in Paris the night of the Paris Massacre – says what every gun rights activist already knows; the only response to bad guys with guns is good guys with guns:

“Did your French gun control stop a single [expletive] person from dying at the Bataclan?” Hughes said. “And if anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.”

The left’s answer, inevitably, is a series of academic postulates that wither as fast as the crowd at Bataclan under reasoned scrutiny, to say nothing of real-life events.

Dear MOA: With all due respect: QQQQ.

The only reasoned response?  You, and you alone, are responsible for your and your family’s protection.  And while the world is demonstrably safer than it was, 20 and 70 and 200 years ago, human nature means that evil, some time, some place, will be waiting for someone, somewhere – whether in the form of a lone mugger, a couple of rapists,  a gang of terrorists, or a government full of gangsters.

By the way – there’s been four terror-related mass shootings, and ten terror attacks altogether, since the Charlie Hebdo massacre, with a total death toll of 152, and 388 injured.

In Zürich, where handgun carry permits are relatively plentiful?  Holding steady at zero and zero.  While correlation doesn’t equal causation, it fits a pattern that we see here in the US, and that they saw in Israel in the seventies; terrorists (like delusional mass-shooters in general) avoid places where there might be resistance.

Cause And Effect?

Panera is the latest large chain to succumb to the blandishments of “Harpies For A Criminal-Safe World” “Moms Want Action” (a fully-owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg).

Bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread has joined a growing list of retailers including Starbucks and Target  by announcing that customers should leave their guns at home.

It makes no difference to me – I have eaten at Panera exactly thrice, and the last two, it was because someone else was picking up the tab.   I never ever really want an $8 grilled cheese sandwich that bad.

In the weeks and months leading up to this policy announcement, Panera Bread sought advice from Michael Bloomberg-backed Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, now part of the former Mayor’s $50 million Everytown nonprofit.

Behind every dumb decision about guns…

“Panera deserves our thanks and our congratulations for taking this important step, and I applaud the company for proactively consulting Moms Demand Action as it developed and implemented its policy,” said the group’s founder Shannon Watts, who has herself become the focus of ire from open carry activists and the NRA in recent months following efforts to see retailers and restaurant chains change their firearms policies.

And everyone deserves Moms Want Action’s(a fully-owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg) thanks for taking this action, which will end “gun violence” at Panera restraurants nationwide…

…oh, wait.   Never mind.

Why I Oppose The Death Penalty, Part MMMIX

Convictions gained through official misconduct; it’s not just for Manitowoc County Wisconsin any more.

Among those exonerated, 58 had been convicted of homicide, including five people who had been sentenced to death, it said. About three-quarters of the homicide exonerations included official misconduct, it said.

Another large group involved drug possession. Many times people held in custody falsely confessed to a crime to avoid a trial where they faced much longer sentences, the report said.

Texas was the top state for exonerations, propelled by conviction integrity units set up in its most populous counties. The state known for its tough approach on crime has also been a national leader in prosecutorial reform.

“For the integrity of the system, it is the right thing to do,” said Inger Chandler, head of the Harris County District Attorney’s Conviction Review Section, where there were 42 exonerations in 2015.

As long as prosecutors’ employment depends on politics, our “Justice” system will have a noxious layer of endemic injustice baked in.

A Little Trouble

I’m not sure a lot of people on the left really understand what the Hillary Clinton email scandal entails.

And I’m not sure reading this excellent synopsis by Deroy Murdock will help – because if there’s anything liberals “get” less than economics, it’s intelligence.

But for those with ears to hear, Murdock’s piece is pretty damning.  Some of the consequences of having a foreign power “out” a “Special Action Program”:

  1. Intel officers responsible for those programs must be alerted.
  2. Once alerted that SAP was mishandled and on a system that has been attacked, it is only prudent to end those programs.
  3. What does ending those programs mean? Depending on the SAP involved, it could mean redoing war plans, terminating ongoing covert actions, rethinking how the exposed covert actions must be done and executing on that new plan, or, if it reveals a source, removing that source from his environment.
  4. That has a significant impact. Presume, if you will, that it was a source. If that source were providing intel of such value that it rose to the SecState, now we’ve lost that source.
  5. Intel officers care about their sources, and for two reasons. One, we’re human beings. We don’t want those assisting us and our country to be hurt, even though we recognize the danger in which they are placing themselves. Two, the business model doesn’t work very well if sources think they’ll be outed. The US intel community already has so much trouble in that regard due to Edward Snowden and Bradley [now Chelsea] Manning. This just compounds it. Think about the next meeting between a prospective source and a CIA case officer trying to recruit that source to risk his/her life for the United States: “Are you sure a high-level official won’t out me?”

Read the whole thing.

And give it to your liberal friends.  See if the eyes glaze over with incomprehension.

A Good Guy With A Gun?

A couple of wannabe thugs apparently tried to turn a craigslist transaction into a heist in Shakopee yesterday.

And while the article doesn’t say so explicitly, reading between the lines, it would appear the Fugs picked the wrong guy:

Police radio reports indicated that the apparent victim of the attempted robbery had a handgun and fired at the would-be robber. Shakopee police and other law officers were looking for a silver-gray Chevrolet Venture van with at least two people inside, with at least one armed with a revolver.

Radio reports indicated that the robber ran from the scene toward the White Castle restaurant near Walmart and then got into a vehicle, which reportedly got on Highway 169. The State Patrol was looking for the vehicle.

The apparent victim was waiting near the Walmart garden center entrance for police. He apparently was not injured.

Police were planning to look at store video.

The article doesn’t say so explicitly – but waiting for the cops at the store after an incident is the behavior you’d expect from someone who took carry permit training.

Kim Norton and Heather Martens, obviously, would have preferred that the victim submit meekly, and maybe die.

UPDATE:  The Strib is being veeeeeeery slow to release the facts of this case, including who shot first and who shot who.

This Story…

…is being treated as a sign of how very out-of-touch and cripplingly politically-correct Chicago, and the city’s airport authority, are:  airport cops – who are unarmed at O’Hare and Midway Airports – are being instructed to scamper away and hide in the event of a mass shooting at either airport:

“If evacuation is not possible, you should find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Block entry to your hiding place and lock the door,” but Matt Brandon, secretary-treasurer of the airport officers union, told CNN they have serious issues with the protocol.

“These men and women are sent to the Chicago police academy, and trained as police officers, and being a former police officer, I know your first instinct is to go to the problem — not run away from the problem.”

On the other hand?  I think every cop in America should be given the opportunity to contemplate facing a mass shooting with nothing but their wits and charm…

…well, no.  Not every cop in America.

Just every urban police chief.

Every urban police chief – the ones the gun grabbers always cite as supporting gun control – should be inveighed spend some time in a “gun free zone” as a “gun-free” person.  Not as a Blue Noble with the power of life and death.  No – just like every other schlub.

Failing that, though?  Unarmed cops at two of the major airports in one of the biggest “gun-free” cities / crime cesspools in the country?

Just brilliant.

A Laughing Matter

While the Democrats love to prate and gabble about “gun violence”, they stay rigorously clear on the one “gun safety” measure that has a proven record of, y’know, reducing gun crime – prosecuting criminals who use guns.

The federal legal framework for going after gun criminals has existed for a long, long time – but different administrations, shall we say, approach the issue with different degrees of vigor:

Hinderaker:

The Clinton administration talked a good game on guns–remember the “assault weapons” ban?–but when it came to actual law enforcement, its record was horrendous. (Someone should mention that to Hillary.) Things shaped up considerably under the Bush administration, which achieved record levels of gun-crime-related convictions. But when Barack Obama became president and Eric Holder took over the Department of Justice, enforcement went straight downhill. Over the course of the Obama administration, it has only gotten worse. Today, gun convictions are down 35% since the Bush administration peak in 2005 and 2006. Obama and Holder had an agenda, but it wasn’t law enforcement.

So on guns, as with regard to most other issues, Barack Obama is all talk. He isn’t interested in solving problems, he is just seeking political advantage. His corrupt administration can’t end soon enough.

Unless, of course, it’s replaced by something worse.