Radio Reminds Me Of My Home Far Away

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism from 9AM-3PM.

  • Ed is off on assignment.  I”ll bae on from 1-3PM Central. We’ll be talking with Chris Cannon, Tom Tagtmeier, and of course, plenty about HF1467.
  • The King Banaian Show! – King is onAM1570, Business Radio for the Twin Cities!  Join him from 9-11!
  • And for those of you who like your constitutionalism straight up with no chaser, don’t forget the Sons of Liberty, from 3-5!

(All times Central)

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of sanity. You have so many options:

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  • streaming at AM1280’s Website,
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  • Podcast at Townhall, usually by Monday
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Join us!

Weekend Plans

Christopher Cannon is a standup comic who’s been on Comedy Central, done some albums, works the circuit – the whole thing.

He’s also one of the few people alive who remember me when I was a liberal; we went to  high school together.

And he’s going to be hosting “Comics For Courage” – a benefit for the Wounded Warrior project – this coming Saturday night at the South St Paul VFW  (111 Concord Exchange S, South St Paul, MN).

It does in fact sound like a fun night out!

One Day At The Legislative DFL Caucus

(SCENE:  A DFL Legislative Caucus meeting over breakfast at the bar at the Kelly Inn.   Paul THISSEN, Ryan WINKLER, John LESCH, Phyllis KAHN, Scott DIBBLE, Carly MELIN, Sandy PAPPAS, Alice HAUSMAN, and Linda BERGLIN are sitting at a large table..  They are whispering amongst themselves as they wait for Tom BAKK)

LESCH: (to MELIN): If a Birther doesn’t believe The President is American, what is a Winkler?”

WINKLER: Hey, shut up!

BAKK: (Enters with a flurry and a bustle, takes a seat at the head of the table): Hey, all.

THISSEN: Hey, Tom!

ALL (mumble their greetings)

BAKK: Sorry I was late.  I got held up in the Central Corridor construction getting here.

HAUSMAN: But Tom?  The construction is like four miles away.  You just had to walk across the street.

BAKK:  I think my driver was running out the clock ’til his pension!

(ALL chuckle)

BAKK: OK, we gotta come up with some messaging.  But I need a cuppa coffee first.  (Turns to MELIN) Get me a cuppa coffee, wouldja?

THISSEN: One for me, too…

MELIN: Er, I’m not a waitress…

BAKK: I didn’t ask for an autobiography, toots.  Cream, five sugars, and hustle.  (MELIN, visibly upset, gets up and walks to bar).   OK – so what’s on the table here?

PAPPAS: The Gay Marriage Ban amendment, for starters.

BAKK:  OK.  Big one.  2/3 of Minnesota will vote for it.  How do we spin this?

THISSEN:  Yeah!  Ideas, please!  Ideas!

WINKLER: Maybe introduce  a ban on all marriage?

(BAKK looks at Winkler for a beat or two, as…)

LESCH:  How about “Vote against it, or John Lesch will uncork a can of whoopass on you?”

WINKLER: Ooh, bitchin’!

BAKK: No…no….

KAHN: How about “Goddess Will Strike You Dead”….

BERGLIN: Let’s just spin this as “Hate”.

BAKK:  Hm.  Hate.  The GOP is Hateful.  I like it!

THISSEN:  Brilliant!  Brilliant!

(MELIN  returns, puts coffee on table in front of BAKK and THISSEN).

BAKK:  OK – now, the budget.

DIBBLE: How about “The GOP are acting like a bunch of pansy Nazis?”

LESCH: Yeah!

THISSEN:  Good!  Goooood!

BAKK:  Hm.  A little aggressive.

THISSEN:  Good Goddess, what a dumb idea, Dibble…

(Silence for a few moment)

HAUSMAN:  How about “The GOP exhibits their hate by not passing a budget”

BAKK:  Hmm.  It’s got a zing to it.  I like it.

THISSEN:  I could kiss you, Alice!

HAUSMAN: (Facepalm)

BAKK:  OK, next item…

(Former Senator Ellen ANDERSON stops by table).

ANDERSON: Hi, guys!

(PAPPAS, LESCH, KAHN, DIBBLE, BERGLIN, HAUSMAN, MELIN and other greet the Senator).

THISSEN:  Hey, Ellen!  Great to see you!

BAKK: Ellen, we’re kinda busy here…

(THISSEN draws a can of pepper spray and discharges it at Anderson, who beats a hasty, coughing retreat).

BAKK:  OK.  What’s next?



LESCH:  How about “Why do  Republicans hate jobs?”

BAKK: Bingo!

THISSEN  (claps with excited glee).

BAKK:  Keep ’em coming!

DIBBLE:  Union pensions?

BAKK: “Why does the GOP hate public employees!”

THISSEN: Yaaaay!  Keep going!

KAHN: Publicly funded art!

BAKK: “Why does the GOP hate artists!”

(THISSEN hops up and down with glee)

WINKLER: The Vikings stadium!

BAKK: Why do the ReThugLiCons hate sports fans!”

(THISSEN does a spry cartwheel between the tables)

MELIN: Racino?

BAKK: Why do Republicans hate Indians!

(THISSEN loses consciousness in a paroxysm of unfettered glee, falls face-first into the omelet in front of Mary Lahammer, sitting at a neighboring table).

BERGLIN: Native Americans.

KAHN: Ahem. First Nations.


LESCH: The Ku Klux Klan!

BAKK:  Why does the GOP hate hate?

(Everyone stops).

BAKK:  Wait.  Back up.

PAPPAS: Sheesh.

BAKK: OK.  Well, we got the basics down.  Let’s get to work, people!

(ALL adjourn to drinking coffee and eating breakfast).

LESCH (Digs in briefcase, pulls out sheaf of paper).  Hey, what the hell is this?

WINKLER: (Reads front page) Governor…Dayton’s…budget…proposal…?  Huh?

BAKK: Never heard of it.  (Handing coffee cup to MELIN) Hey, cupcake, put a head on this, huh?

Death Or Great Bodily Harm

Joe Doakes from Como Park writes (with occasional emphasis added):

Watch this video when you’re sitting down but not eating. At first, it looks like a typical chick-fight: slapping, hair pulling, minor kicking, nothing major. Certainly no reason to suspect the victim is in danger of Great Bodily Harm. Keep watching until you get to the 2:00 mark, then STOP it. Seriously, don’t watch the ending yet.

Here’s the video:

Remember – STOP THE VIDEO at the 2:00 mark.  Don’t peek.

If the victim in this video had been a pistol permit holder who resisted the assault by brandishing the pistol, would she have been justified?

Should she have run away, out the door into the parking lot where the attackers were waiting? Where else could she have retreated to, the bathroom where the attack started? The kitchen where the staff stood around watching but not helping? Was she legally obligated to flee McDonalds? How? Where?

What if the third time the attackers returned, the victim felt she was too weak and battered to safely flee so she drew her permitted pistol and opened fire? Would that use of force have been justified as self-defense?

In Minnesota?  Currently?  A county attorney, sitting in a warm office with a cup of Starbucks on her desk and a Sheriff’s deputy guarding the building will decide that according to whatever abstruse legal theory she thinks applies, and whatever political priorities her superiors have committed to.

Now, turn the video back on.

The problem with present self-defense law is that up until the minute of that video, any reasonable observer would have said no, deadly force is not justified, it’s just some chicks acting stupidly. There’s no danger of serious harm so no right of self-defense. But watch the ending again.

That’s the danger of allowing the prosecutor and jury, sitting two years after the fact, with six months to spend analyzing the evidence from every angle while experts debate the proper course of action. The last few seconds of that encounter changed lives forever. Should the victim have been legally obligated to endure it? Or should she have had the right to prevent it?

Should she have been able to Stand Her Ground, using deadly force if necessary?

Gotta smash some eggs for a better society, right?



Since the left’s been jumping up and down about the low turnout at the Tea Party rally (on a windy, freezing day in an off year after an epic conservative victory) I figured it’d be fun to show a really dead movement.

This is the last “Million Mom March” event in Minneapolis a few years back:

More camera people than “Moms”.

Now that’s a dead movement.

Heather Martens: Fifteen Lies

I try to be civil.  I really do.

But it needs to be said; Heather Martens is a liar.

Maybe not in every single area of her life.  She may well be perfectly good, ethical human being in some areas of her life.  I don’t know.

But it is an unassailable fact that virtually everything Heather Martens has ever written about guns, gun laws, gun owners and the Second Amendment is wrong; it seems improbable that she’s unaware of how much of her oeuvre is just plain not so.

Yesterday, Minnesota Public Radio ran a “commentary” column by Martens (entitled, I kid you not, “Bill would encourage citizens to shoot first, even when they could walk away instead”) that may be the richest single trove of concentrated untruth in one place since Baghdad Bob strode the stage.

Lie #1: HF1467 Legalizes Murder!

[Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder] wants to legalize a kind of murder.

It’s hard to count the number of ways this statement screams “stupid”.

  • Current law “legalizes” defending oneself with lethal force – under certain, rigidly-delineated circumstances.
  • For that matter, the concept of self-defense is a part of Western legal thought going all the way back to the Bible.  It’s broadly and correctly recognized as the second-worst possible outcome – but it’s been legal, within limits, pretty much forever.
  • Cornish’s law changes nothing about that “legalization”; as we’ve noted in the past few days, it only removes some of the ambiguity from the current law, and gives legitimate self-defense shooters the benefit of the legal doubt.

Either Martens is trying to scare people into submission, or she’s an idiot.

Reading this next bit, I could easily go both ways (emphasis added).

Lie #2: HF1467 Will Legalize Shooting People For No Reason!

I’ve read Martens’ piece at least half a dozen time as this is written. And every time I think “This is the most cynical lie of the bunch”, I remember some other part of the article that’s even worse.

But this one may be the dumbest – or most craven – lie of them all:

House File 1467, which ought to be called “Shoot First,” (sic)

[But it’s not.  Which doesn’t stop Martens from calling it “Shoot First” for the rest of the article.  I get it – rhetoric is rhetoric.  But it leads her down a factual dark alley later on – Ed]

will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee this Thursday. It would allow the killing of anyone who enters another’s yard, even when the person is unarmed and posing no threat; and it would allow the killing of anyone in a public place who seems threatening — again, even if the person is unarmed, and even if walking or driving away is a safe option.

Cornish’s law “allows” no such thing.  Self-defense with lethal force in Minnesota will still rest on four links in a chain; you…

  • …must not be a willing participant
  • You must reasonably fear death or great bodily harm (and “Great Bodily Harm” means “seriously maimed”; limbs, eyesight, brain damage.   “He seems threatening” won’t cut it.
  • Lethal force must be reasonable.  “If the person is unarmed and poses no threat” doesn’t come close.
  • You must make reasonable efforts to avoid using lethal force.  This is a gross ambiguity, entirely dependent on County Attorney discretion, and Cornish’s bill adds some black and white to the law.

And the fact is that if your case is missing any of those four elements, you are screwed.  And should be. And Cornish’s bill doesn’t change that; as I pointed out Wednesday, it merely removes some ambiguity from current law.

Martens should know this; she’s been getting her head handed to her on this subject for a solid decade.  That means she’s lying.

Lie #3: The Out Of State Rabble Will Kill Us!

Martens tries to address some of Cornish’s proposal’s technicalities

Also buried in this bill is a loosening of concealed-carry permit laws to recognize all other state’s pistol permits in Minnesota, even states with lax background checks that issue permits valid for life.

“Lax Background checks?”  All states use the same federal government system.

Notwithstanding that, it is a fact that there has never been any empirical link between  a state’s acceptance criteria and their carry permittees likelihood to commit crimes.  None.

Lie #4: It’ll Be Easier To Buy Guns!

Martens claims..:

It also makes it harder for local law enforcement to prevent prohibited purchasers from getting permits to buy guns,

On this Martens is 180 degrees removed from reality.  While Cornish would make a “permit to purchase” a handgun expire after five years, rather than one – it would also require them to be reviewed and if necessary rescinded for cause during those five years.

Current has no such provision.


Lie #5: It’ll Hurt WomenandChildren!

Martens claims that Cornish’s bill…:

…limits law enforcement’s ability to confiscate weapons in domestic violence situations.

This is just face-palmingly dumb.

The bill bans confiscations after disasters, and establishes consequences if government oversteps its authority.

Domestic Violence is never mentioned in HF1467.

Not only that, but the bill requires the state to provide more data to the Federal database against which background checks are run

(a) When a court places a person, including a person under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, who is charged with committing a crime of violence, into a pretrial diversion program before disposition, the court must ensure that information regarding the person’s placement in that program and the ordered expiration date of that placement is transmitted as soon as practicable to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. When a person  successfully completes or discontinues the program, the court must also report that fact as soon as practicable to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

2.19(b) The court must report the conviction and duration of the firearms disqualification imposed as soon as practicable to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System when a person is convicted of a gross misdemeanor that disqualifies the person from possessing firearms under the following sections:

…meaning that “Domestic violence” convictions, among others,  will be more likely to turn up on Carry or Purchase Permit applications than under current law.

Lie #6: Everything You Do Is Deadly!

Martens’ selective cognition is especially on display in this next lie:

The Shoot First bill (sic) includes the words “self-defense,” but it uses obscure legalese and a bizarre redefinition of the common word “domicile” to make the bill apply to much more than self-defense. “Domicile” is redefined to include not just a person’s home, but also the “curtilage” (fenced yard), “appurtenances” (outbuildings or garages), and even occupied cars (or conveyances).

OK, that was actually factual; it may have been the first fully factual significant statement in Martens’ article.  It may well be the last.

It is a fact that Cornish’s bill expands a person’s “domicile” to include their yard, their garage, their car and the like.  This is a good thing.  Because while Minnesota’s “Castle Doctrine” law gives the citizen certain presumptions while in their home, those presumptions end at the door – which is why some ignorant but hopeful homeowners say, sometimes-but-by-no-means-always jokingly, “if someone tries to attack you on your porch, shoot him and drag him inside!”.  It will prevent absurdities like being convicted for failing to retreat into their house if they’re attacked in their garage.

Still, kudos to Martens; she managed one true fact.

The lie comes next:

If someone enters “by force or by stealth” — in legal terms, that means as little “force” as turning a doorknob or opening an unlatched gate — then the person is “presumed” to intend to badly hurt someone. In court, a presumption cannot be rebutted, so no evidence would be allowed that showed the dead person had entered the yard by error, by invitation of the homeowner, to rescue a drowning child, or for any other reason.

True, more or less.

Of course, there’d be the little matter of showing that lethal force was justified, and that the property owner had a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.  Absent both of those, the property owner will more than likely be convicted of some sort of homicide.

(And it’s interesting to watch people like Heather Martens come up with scenarios that reflect their view of their fellow human; that an otherwise law-abiding citizen would sit in his back yard inviting strangers into his yard to “legally” shoot them to death.  Huh? How many moons orbit Heather Martens’ world?)

A Brief Divergence Into Facts – Which Prove Cornish’s Case, And Undercut Martens’, Anyway

Martens writes:

The main rationalization for this bill is the false claim that Minnesotans can’t legally defend themselves [it’s a strawman, of course; nobody said any such thing.  Merely that there are ambiguities in the law that would be well rationalized before a law-abiding citizen’s life is ruined – Ed] and that even if someone invades a Minnesotan’s home, the homeowner must run away. In fact, self-defense is legally protected in Minnesota; we already have “Castle Doctrine.” Here are three examples from recent years:

(For those of you who take Martens seriously, I’ll emphasize the bits that lead you to where she undercuts herself).

Minneapolis: Vang Khang shot two police officers who had invaded his home by mistake. Khang was not prosecuted and collected over half a million dollars from the city.

Coon Rapids: Gerald Whaley shot and killed an unarmed teenager who entered Whaley’s home, apparently believing it to be a vacant house. Whaley was not charged.

Rockford: Eric Cegon shot and killed his partner’s ex-boyfriend, who was armed and breaking into the couple’s home. Cegon was not charged.

One wonders if Martens thinks the cases above were mistakes; Khang’s home was assaulted by a SWAT team carrying out a no-knock raid on the wrong house.  Don’t think Khang was in the right?  How often do you think you can shoot cops and have it stand up in court.  The Cegon case was a blazingly legitimate shoot (I covered it when it happened).  And the Whaley case (I’m not intimately familiar with it) was dismissed by a county attorney who has shown himself not to be especially friendly to citizens and self-defense.

And all three are a digression – because, as I emphasized, all three occurred in the citizens’ houses.

So what if Samantha Simons’ (Eric Cegon’s girlfriend) ex boyfriend had cornered the two, and their child, in the garage rather than the bedroom?

Probably  nothing; Wright County is good GOP territory; the law-abiding can catch a break.

Proponents of Shoot First (sic) laws have no examples of Minnesotans who have been sent to prison for defending themselves.

Had they lived in Susan Gaertner’s Ramsey County at the time?  Gaertner would have had every means (and likelihood!) of prosecuting them for murder, because they didn’t retreat as fast and far as they could.  She might have lost – but Cegon and Simons would have had to prove their innocence in court, against the full weight and budget of the Ramsey County Attorney’s office, even though the shoot was in every possible way legitimate.

And that is, in fact, just plain wrong.

Lie #7: State Boundaries Make A Difference

Martens mixes up her laws in the next bit:

But in states that passed Shoot First laws [I keep asking lefties who use that terms – “does it make sense to you to shoot second when your life is legitimately in danger?  They never, ever answer – Ed] (over law enforcement’s objections), [to be accurate, “big law enforcement” is a political, not ethical, organization] unintended consequences abound.

But will Martens favor us with any?

As Paul A. Logli, president of the National District Attorneys Association, pointed out, such laws “basically giv[e] citizens more rights to use deadly force than we give police officers, and with less review.”

That is a completely absurd statement, presented without the faintest support; police in every jurisdiction have deadly force rights that are vastly more lax than private citizens.

There are some states who passed “Make My Day” laws which moved some presumptions of innocence in favor of citizens…

but not in Minnesota. Because Minnesota’s criteria for legal self-defense aren’t changing; not under Cornish’s bill, or any other!

In Minnesota, the associations of police chiefs, peace officers and county attorneys all opposed Shoot First (sic) in 2008, when it was rejected by the House Public Safety Committee.

And I showed where at least one of them – Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom – was a liar in doing so, too.

Lie #8: If I Repeat A Strawman Over And Over, It Becomes Fact!

Undeterred by the fact that Minnesota has no “Make my day law“, and Cornish isn’t proposing one, Martens presses on with a trail of irrelevancies:

One consequence of Shoot First (sic) laws in other states has been the shooting of unarmed people in incidents that go uninvestigated or unprosecuted. For example, Jason Rosenbloom of Clearwater, Fla., was in his neighbor’s yard – unarmed and wearing a T-shirt and shorts — when the two were disputing how much garbage had been put at the curb. Kenneth Allen shot Rosenbloom once in the stomach and once in the chest. There was no investigation.

And this could have happened for a lot of reasons; facts in the case that Martens doesn’t know (or bother) to report, vagaries of Texas law, even error on the part of law enforcement (it happens).  We don’t know…

…and it’s irrelevant, because the criteria for legal self-defense in Minnesota aren’t chanaging.

Lie #9: The Biggest, Reddest Herring There Is!

Martens continues:

Another consequence has been to encourage people to take a life, even when they face no danger. Joe Horn of Pasadena, Texas, called 911 from inside his house when he saw two apparent burglars leaving his neighbor’s house. The 911 operator told Horn to stay inside. But Horn said, “The laws have been changed in this country since September the first, and you know it,” referring to the passage of Shoot First (sic) in Texas. “I’m going to kill them.” He did, shooting both men in the back, and he was cleared by a grand jury because of the Shoot First (sic) law. Afterwards, Horn himself told the Houston Chronicle, “I would never advocate anyone doing what I did. We [human beings] are not geared for that.”

Maybe it’s not a lie – provided that Martens truly believes Minnesota is somehow governed by Texas law.

I don’t know the details of the Horn shooting – and it’s for damn sure that Martens doesn’t, not really – but reading the text of HF1467 that Martens herself quoted above, and Minnesota law, shows that Martens is just raving; Horn was outside his “domicile” as defined in the bill; if you shoot two people in the back, the odds are good that they presented you no danger of death or great bodily harm, and lethal force (under Minnesota law, present or proposed!) would not be reasonable!  It doesn’t look like the kind of shooting that’d fly in a Minnesota court.

Martens either doesn’t know that, or doesn’t want you to know it.

Diversion Into Illogic: All Killing Is The Same!

Martens next indulges in the logical fallacy of “questionable cause“:

Horn said it well. Normal people don’t take another person’s life unnecessarily. People who are inclined to do so are considered sociopaths. Shoot First (sic)laws encourage normal people to act like sociopaths, and provide a way for sociopaths to kill with impunity.

“Sociopaths kill.  The Cornish law makes it (ostensibly) easier to kill in self-defense.  Therefore, self-defense shooters are like sociopaths”.

You don’t even have to approve of the Second Amendmente, like guns, or believe in self-defense to see that this is just plain twaddle.

Lie #10: We Don’t Need To Match No Steenking Causes And Effects!

Martens continues to romp and play in the world of law:

According to an Orlando Sentinel article, in the first five months Shoot First (sic)was in effect in Florida, 10 central Florida people were shot in cases where Shoot First (sic) came into play. All but one of the people shot were unarmed.

Unmentioned – quite possibly because it’s inconvenient to her case, but more likely because she’s parroting chanting points from a  national anti-gun group; no details about any of those ten shootings.  Were the “unarmed” people ex-spouses stalking ex-wifes?  Were they in a kitchen, surrounded by knives that were one thrust away from becoming a deadly weapon?

Is an unarmed ex-boyfriend harmless and innocent because he’s not carrying a weapon?  Ask your local feminist advocate.

We don’t know whether the ten casesd Martens cited were legitimate or not.  Martens wants you to think they weren’t – but she doesn’t know.  And in any case

Lie #11: Minnesota is not Florida!

Minnesota is not adopting Florida law. no matter now much Martens tries to obscure the difference!

Lie #12: Minneosta’s current system is the model of uniformity!

Martens continues babbling about Florida:

A clear result of the Shoot First law (sic) in Florida is wide disparity in the way cases are handled by different police departments. In some shooting cases, there was no investigation at all, while in others, detectives investigated for up to 20 hours. Uninvestigated cases in Florida and Texas included ones in which drunk or disoriented people went to a stranger’s door and were shot.

Which is, by the way, exactly how things work in Minnesota.  A shooting – any shooting – in Ramsey County will be investigated to a fine sheen, and will almost inevitably result in an arresat.  A shooting in Kandiyohi County that looks like a legit self-defense case will likely be off the books before the ink is dry.

Lie #13: If Only We Banned Anger!

I almost feel too sorry for Martens to continue – but principles are principles!

In Shoot First (sic) states, disputes between neighbors have turned deadly.

As they do in Chicago, where civilians gun ownership is still effectively banned.  And in New York, Washington and Los Angeles, where it’s strongly legally discouraged.  And in Newark, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Flint, which have more restrictive laws that Minnesota has now.

“Shoot First” laws don’t kill people – people do!

Lie #14: The Law Is Still The Law!

Martens steers for the big conclusion:

People can now shoot others over small provocations.

As we’ve shown, over and over – no, they can’t. It is simply not true.  Under Minnesota law, self-defense with lethal force does, and shall continue, to require reasonable fear of mortal danger, and must be reasonable under the circumstances.  This remains utterly unchanged.

For the last time;  all Cornish’s bill does is remove ambiguity in favor of people whose self-defense shootings are blazingly, obviously legitimate.

That is all.

Not A Lie, But Just Stupid

Martens closes:

Any legislator who votes for Shoot First (sic) places a very low value on human life.

Heather Martens places no value whatsoever on honesty and integrity.

It’s nothing new – except, perhaps, to Minnesota Public Radio.

So Before We Go…:

Why does Minnesota Public Radio publish crap like Martens’ chain of lies – which is all she ever has to say about the issue of firearms – without question?

Closed Circuit To You Know Who

There are many, many reasons Barack Obama is not qualified or fit to serve as President.

Let’s focus on the ones that matter; he’s a socialist; his background for office was never adequate; he oozes contempt for everyone who’s not like him; many of his supporters are reprehensible scumbags; he’s incompetent; he ran on a platform of “restoring Respect” for America, and then went on to lose it; his meddling has multiplied a national debt that already had us on the road to ruin; he’s at the head of one of the most corrosive movements in American history.

Put another way – what if his Birth Certificate is fake? Even if it’s fake, and even if an impeachment movement got him removed from office, it wouldn’t undo the damage he caused.

There is no miracle “get out of hell free” card with Barack Obama or the socialists; we have to get rid of them the hard way.  At the polls.  One vote at a time.

While there’s still time.

OK, but how about his law school admission?  Oh, there’s a shocker – a lawyer or petty academic who got where he wanted by paper-chasing, up-sucking and ass-kissing!  That’s never happened!

I’ll say it again; you don’t get rid of Barack Obama and the detritus of his administration by niggling about with paperwork.  You do it by getting the American people to vote him out of office.

We’ve got a year and a half.

Chanting Points Memo: “The GOP Is Legalizing Murder!”

It’s perhaps a sign that Minnesota is becoming at least incrementally less “blue” over time, that Rep. Tony Cornish’s “Stand Your Ground” bill is, er, drawing fire only from the most  extremes of the Twin Cities left.

But being the Twin Cities, the extremes get disproportionate coverage from the regional media.

And so as HR1467 works its way through the process,  likely to a floor vote in the fairly near future, it’d probably be useful for you, the Real American who supports Second Amendment rights for the law-abiding citizen, to get a jump ahead of the Extreme Left’s chanting points, to help you respond effectively when you run into it among your crazy aunts, the mailroom staff in line at the cafetria, your worthless professor, or wherever.

With that in mind, I’d like to walk you through a few of the Extreme Left’s chanting points about the “Stand Your Ground” bill – either memes they’ve used already, or ones that my 24 years’ experience in this field tells me will pop up eventually – and provide you with some responses.

Because I’m a helper, that’s why:

“If HF1467 passes, a murderer will be able to claim “self-defense” to get immunity from prosecution”:  Well, no – at least, not as a function of the Cornish bill.  It’s not unusual for murderers to claim self-defense;  the guy who shot St. Paul Police Sergeant Jerry Vick six years ago tried it.   Of course, most such attempts come a-cropper;  the standard for self-defense…

  • …one cannot be a willing participant
  • There must be reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm
  • The use of lethal force must be reasonable
  • The shooter must make reasonable efforts to avoid the use of lethal force…

…is already a pretty high one.  Imagine what it’d take to meet that standard, under any circumstances (whether self-defense is an affirmative defense or if the state must disprove it); a killer would have to find a victim with whom they had no history of animosity; they must set up a situation where that victim appears to attack the perpetrator with lethal force (and remember – planting weapons on a body is a very risky proposition, and if you don’t know exactly why, then there’s probably a good reason not to tell you), and to create the impression that they had tried hard enough not to shoot…

…in other words, they’d have to want to plan the “perfect crime” to kill their intended victim and claim self-defense – which is both equally feasible under current law and First Degree Murder.   Cornish’s bill does nothing to make psychopathic killers’ jobs any easier.

And let’s be honest; the number of killings that start as planned hits is infinitesimal.  The vast majority of murders are crimes either of passion, depravity or stupidity; wives shooting husbands, drug dealers killing each other, morons blasting people at bars.  Not planned assassinations.

Go over the story of any random murder committed from passion, depravity or stupidity – say, a gang banger shooting another gang banger  (let’s call them Josh and Taylor, respectively) outside a nightclub.  Let’s say Josh and Taylor get into a fight over colors, turf and drug sale territory and adjourn to the parking lot, where Josh shoots Taylor, and flees the scene.   Upon arrest, Josh tries to claim self-defense.  But…

  • …there’s a club full of witnesses who report that they were arguing, pushing and shoving, and threatening each other.  Under MN law, you have to strenuously avoid participating in the fight.
  • Witnesses, and possibly surveillance video, shows that Josh drew his pistol after Taylor took a swing at him with a beer bottle; fear of Death or Great Bodily Harm is not reasonable.  They also show  the shooting was not”reasonable” to protect Josh’s life, and that from the moment they left the bar Josh was aggressively pushing toward, not away from, the late Taylor.

So sure – Josh could claim self-defense.  The police at the scene would likely have all the evidence they needed to render that claim a bit of black comedy on Josh’s way to prison.

Just like under current law.

“It’s a “Shoot First” Bill!”: I’m not sure if anti-gunners even think about this one at all.  Has it occurred to them that, in a situation where one reasonably fears death or great bodily harm, that “shooting second” would be a really, really awful idea?

Do they honestly believe that the penalty for being the unwilling target of a lethal attack should legitimately be death?

Or do they just not think that hard about their chanting points?

“Claiming “Someone gave me the stink eye” will get you off the hook for murder“.  Only in a world where every investigator and prosecutor is a gabbling moron.

What this particular meme – and yes, “Spotty” from Cucking Stool used it, word for word – really means is the extreme left thinks, or wants the public to think anyway, that the Cornish bill will put an end to the investigation of killings, provided the shooter claims self-defense.

Anyone wanna put some money on that bet?

Killings – and shootings, and for that matter drawing and brandishing of firearms – should always be investigated.  Even if it’s a potential victim shooting a Level Eleventy Sex Offender who attacks her in a parking lot at the office while he’s wearing only a “Scream” mask and carrying an assortment of meat cleavers and chainsaws; the cops and prosecutors must go over the incident to make sure it was legitimate.  Nobody argues that, and Cornish’s bill doesn’t even try.  It merely says that someone who appears to have a solid case for self-defense – if the shooter legitimately appears to be…

  • …an unwilling victim…
  • who reasonably feared death or great bodily harm…
  • in a situation where lethal force was reasonable, and…
  • who did a reasonable job of trying to avoid killing anyone…

…should be considered innocent until proven guilty, rather than forced to prove they’re guilty-with-an-explanation – bearing in mind that if any of those four criteria are in question, it’s really not an issue at all.

“It says people can kill people who walk in their yards!” – Well, no.  Currently, if you shoot someone in your home – as in, between your front and back doors – there’s a presumption that that person was up to no good – provided there’s a reasonable fear that person is trying to kill you, etc, etc.  Cornish’s bill expands that presumption to the rest of your property – your yard, your garage, your car. A rapist in a woman’s garage is no different than a rapist in your house; there’s no rational reason for the law to treat them differently.

There are plenty of reasons to disagree with Cornish’s bill; all of them are based on a political, or emotional, rather than ethical, agenda.

Which will bring us to Heather Martens’ piece at MPR.  More at noon.

Feeding Frenzy Time

Heather Martens – formerly of “Citizens for A “Safer” Supine Minnesota”, now with some other astroturf group that is, most likely, a re-branding of CSM, wrote a “Commentary” on Minnesota Public Radio today in re Rep. Cornish’s “Stand Your Ground” bill (HF 1467).

Here’s the “Commentary“.

Here’s the bill.

I’ll have a piece out on it tomorrow.  Actually, I’ve found 15 serious outright lies – as in, statements that are 180 degrees divergent from reality – and 2-3 major logical fallacies so far.  So much, in fact, that I may break the piece up into, well, 15-18 pieces, running every half hour all day tomorrow.

The piece is that bad.

And there is just no way I should have all that fun by myself.

So I’m going to do something I haven’t done in years; I’m going to sound the horn.

Bloggers, Tweeter and Facebookers; it’s time for a good old-fashioned feeding frenzy; a Blog Swarm on Martens.  And on MPR for printing a “commentary” that can’t pass even the most rudimentary fact-checking, as part of what is seeming more and more like an editorial position to start pushing for more gun control.

If you write a piece – a blog post, Facebook update or Tweet – about Martens and MPR, leave a note in the comment section.  I’ll post a “Carnival of Truth” tomorrow recapping everyone’s efforts.

Central Corridor: Picking The Winners, Telling The Fairy Tales

Your tax dollars at work:  the Feds signed on to paying half the cost of the Central Corridor at a lavishly-covered pep rally yesterday, featuring…

…bureaucrats.  Like FTA administrator Peter Rogoff, who spoke at the rally yesterday:

“This project truly embodies the president’s vision for winning the future through infrastructure investment…”

“Gotta destroy the city to save it”, I guess.

It will create thousands of construction jobs now while paving the way for many thousands of jobs that will come to the Twin Cities through the economic development successes surrounding the new rail line,” [Rogoff] told an enthusiastic gathering of…

…of who?

…more than 100 local, state and federal officials…

I’m sure that some University Avenue businesspeople will show up in the story eventually.  Just positive.

By 2030, weekday ridership – projected to exceed 40,000 – will top Hiawatha LRT ridership as people gain new access to nearly 300,000 jobs in the two downtowns, at the University of Minnesota and in the neighborhoods in between.

“Central Corridor represents an historic economic opportunity to connect St. Paul residents to jobs, businesses, services and educational opportunities throughout the region,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “At the same time, it’ll transform one of St. Paul’s most iconic streets and strengthen the communities that surround it.”…

…provided that those “jobs” decide to align themselves along a corridor where already-lavish mass-transit and freeway development hasn’t drawn them after fifty years of trying.  It’s a simple fact – cities aren’t developing the way they did fifty years ago.  The urban rim – the third-tier suburbs and exurbs, the Maple Groves and Woodburies and Elkos – are where the people, and the jobs, are going.  If you don’t believe me, believe Joel Kotkin.

Or believe neither of us; just try to find an example of a light rail development in the Twin Cities area that promised vast economic benefits, and delivered only slightly-altered patterns of decay.  That’s right – the Hiawatha Light Rail line.  Been on that route lately?  The brief spurt of condo development along the route deflated quickly when the housing bubble burst; the only real “development” anywhere along the route has been among bars (catering to the hordes of people who ride the train from the Mall to Twins and Vikes games, as well as the Hiawatha’s bar-hopping crowd) and some developments along East Lake that are more driven by changing demographics and lavish city investment than the light rail line, unless you want to claim there’s a surge of people riding the train to and from the East Lake Target Store or Pineda Burritos.

Anyway – let’s scan the list of other notables and see if there are any University Avenue business people (emphasis added by me):

“On this day that is 30 years in the making, we must recommit to making Central Corridor all that it can be: to heal the wound that a freeway opened in the West Bank decades ago, to fully integrate light rail with every mode of transit, and to connect transit-dependent communities to every opportunity,” said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

…”We are turning into reality our vision of a network of interconnected transitways,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin.

Hm.  Just more bureaucrats, so far.

We’ll keep looking:

The Central Corridor light-rail line will revitalize University Avenue as a lifeline between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Streetcars operated on University Avenue continuously from December 1890 to Oct. 31, 1953. With a streetcar operating as often as every three minutes, there was an energy and vibrancy to the street life along the avenue.

Supporters expect Central Corridor line will rekindle that same kind of energy and enthusiasm as neighbors meet neighbors, students meet professors and business people meet customers aboard busy trains and at busy rail stops.

A reference to the glory days of the streetcar.  Let’s come back to that.

Let’s keep looking for businesspeople:

“When completed, this project will bring the community together in a way not seen since the age of the street car, but also in a manner modern and contemporary,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough.

McDonought is – I’ll be kind – trafficking in fantasy.  For starters, streetcars were simple little rattletraps, mechanically even simpler than buses, that stopped every block or two, more or less like buses.  Light Rail is big, heavy, “fast”, like little trains rather than buses on tracks.  Light Rail doesn’t bind communities.  It gets people through them in a hurry .

And that’s even if “communities” were the same as they were during the glory years of the streetcar, which they’re not. Urban development has changed in the past fifty years.  The big cities – all of them, not just Minneapolis and Saint Paul – developed at a time when the Big City was where the factories, bureaucracies and banks were; where the capital got invested.  Transit – the fabled streetcars – brought them from the “suburbs” (which, back then, were places like “50th and Bryant” and “Battle Creek”, not Wayzata) to jobs at Ford, Honeywell, the mills along the riverfront, the big banks downtown…

…all of which are now gone, or have radically realigned, taking the need for a big, centralized city with them.

“The federal grant commitment of $478 million is the largest federal grant ever received in Minnesota for a transportation project,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh.

Rep. Betty McCollum, whose district includes the rail line, collaborated with state and local officials to secure federal funding for Central Corridor as a member of the House Appropriations Committee.”Today’s federal commitment to the Central Corridor represents a great achievement for Minnesota,” McCollum said. “The Central Corridor is an investment in infrastructure that will help meet the demands of our growing community and create new economic opportunities for generations to come.”

“With this commitment, the federal government has recognized that the Central Corridor is not only an important part of an efficient transportation system in Minnesota, but also a vital piece of our efforts to ensure economic vitality in the Twin Cities and beyond,” Sen. Al Franken said. “This new rail line will offer a critical transportation alternative for commuters and create badly needed jobs in our region.”

Not a single University Avenue businessperson.  I wonder why?

It’s simple – the Central Corridor is going to be a disaster for businesses in the Midway.  That’s s given; even CCLRT supporters are saying so, now, after years of denying it, accompanied with that “you gotta break eggs to make an omelet” sneer and the same patronizing “change is scary to some people” you get from junior managers trying to make a budget cut turd seem like paté.   The death toll is rising every week; rumors have it the newly-remodeled Rainbow on Uni at Snelling will close, at least for the duration of the project; others are dropping, week by week.

Beyond that?  Even when (and if – remember the Hiawatha Corridor?  We’ve been waiting seven years for that dog to hunt; it’s still lying on the porch) the economic development takes off, it’ll be in the form of gentrification around the small number of stops on the line.  There, property values and rents will drive out the few businesses that survive the construction.  Chains, with their national and international capital depth, will move in; local businesses will get squeezed out.

Eggs will be broken.

Government is picking winners and losers – and trying to tell you it’s for everyone’s good, because soon we’ll go back to the fifties, the golden age of the lunchpail job and the bedroom community and the trade union, and everything will be all right.

And you know how fairy tales turn out, right?

While Out And About This Weekend

Christopher Cannon is a standup comic who’s been on Comedy Central, done some albums, works the circuit – the whole thing.

He’s also one of the few people alive who remember me when I was a liberal; we went to  high school together.

And he’s going to be hosting “Comics For Courage” – a benefit for the Wounded Warrior project – this coming Saturday night at the South St Paul VFW  (111 Concord Exchange S, South St Paul, MN).

It does in fact sound like a fun night out!

No Pain, No Gain

Polls are showing the GOP didn’t nake nearly as big a hit from Ryan’s budget plan as the Dems hoped:

Ryan and other Republican House members already have faced hostile questions at town-hall-style meetings in their home districts from seniors and others about the GOP proposal to turn the nation’s health care program for the elderly into what would essentially be a voucher system. The GOP budget blueprint would overhaul Medicare, turn Medicaid into block grants for the states and trim trillions of dollars in spending on discretionary programs. It would lower tax rates for top earners and corporations.

“The bad news for the Democrats is that even after the Ryan budget comes out and has been attacked for a little while, the Republicans have an advantage,” says Joseph White, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University who studies budget politics and policy.

Republicans have held their political base intact, he says, but the nation is still polarized along partisan lines, and spending cuts are easier when they’re discussed in the abstract. “Everybody can find something they don’t like,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean there’s a majority to cut anything in particular.”

The Dems so hoped there’d be a free-fall.

Hunting And Pecking Into History

I miss typewriters.  My high school graduation present was a portable manual typewriter, which I used until long after I got my first computer.

But I miss them only in the most perverse, sentimental sense. I hated shopping for typewriter ribbons; I hated white-out and correction tape.  But in my day, I could type 70 words per minute on a Selectric, and not much less on my manual.  I even had a collectible one, once – something I picked up at a rummage sale that dated back to the thirties.

But the era of the typewriter is officially over; the world’s last typewriter factory just closed:

It’s an invention that revolutionised the way we work, becoming an essential piece of office equipment for the best part of a century.

But after years of sterling service, that bane for secretaries has reached the end of the line.

Godrej and Boyce – the last company left in the world that was still manufacturing typewriters – has shut down its production plant in Mumbai, India with just a few hundred machines left in stock.

Most of them were built for – I think this is hilarious – government.

UPDATE:  It seemed a little premature.  And it was; there are several other factories still operating.

Although the government is still the primary market.

The Vote

It’s likely that Minnesota voters will be able to decide on a constitutional amendment defining “Marriage” as a dude and a chick.

Or, as every single leftyblogger and tweeter put it, “THE GOP APPEALS TO HATE”.

Not sure where “hate” comes from; if gay marriage supporters make their case, they’ll get their way.

Of course, they won’t; most Minnesotans oppose gay marriage.  Which is why the DFL is appealing to really, really crude rhetoric.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk yesterday demanded that the GOP “focus on the budget” – notwithstanding the fact that the GOP caucuses got their budgets in weeks earlier than the DFL ever did in recent memory.

Look – I believe marriage is intended to be a mixed-gender thing, but a contract is a contract, so I’ve always supported civil unions.  Gay marriage isn’t a major issue to me; gays’ per-capita income is reportedly higher than that of straights, and marriage will rectify that soon enough.

But the DFL’s habit – crutch – of calling everything they don’t like “hate” is getting comical…

Oh, Great

The Good New: We will probably eventually win the war on terrorism, one way or the other.

The Bad News:  Our biggest opponent may be yet to come; scientists are learning more about the ingenuity of the Fire Ant:

Ants have exoskeletons that are naturally hydrophobic, or water repellant. A single ant can walk on water because of the buoyancy of the air bubbles trapped next to its body, and the water’s own surface tension. However, when thousands of ants stand on top of each other, their multiplied weight should cause them to sink. But for years, biologists have observed fire ant colonies floating down flood plains and rivers in their native South America.

For the first time, a group of engineers has attacked the question of ant flotation from a physics perspective. Ants float as a group because they can harness the power of nearby air bubbles. Grasping each other’s mandibles or front legs with a force 400 times their body weight, the ants are able to trap small pockets of air between them — like a group floatation device.

“The ants are so tightly knit together, that air pockets form between the water and the ants, and water cannot penetrate through any part,” said Nathan Mlot, a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and one of the study’s authors.

“Ants are like little computers, acting on a few simple rules of engagement,” said Mlot.

Today, floating.

Tomorrow – hijacking planes?

Absurd Theatrics

When I coined the various “Berg’s Laws“, they were – doyyyyyyy – tongue in cheek.

And yet for all that, they are absolutely impeccable reflections of human nature . Especially Berg’s Seventh Law:

Berg’s Seventh Law of Liberal Projection – When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character or respect for liberty, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds.

It popped into mind this past week, when Governor Dayton, the DFL and the media (pardon the serial redundancy) accused the GOP of “theatre of the absurd” in its budget process.

The House GOP Caucus reponded – but “Berg’s Seventh Law” could have sufficed.

Becuase for all of the Governor’s chatter about “absurd drama”, it’s he that’s been stalling.  Which is, naturally (and according to Berg’s Seventh) behind the chatter:

To help the process along, the Legislature requests of all governors that they submit their bills within 15 days of their recommendations. This year, that deadline was March 1.

How mal has the governor’s feasance been?

Agriculture funding bill, introduced March 28, 27 days late.

State government finance bill, introduced March 28, 27 days late.

Health and human services budget bill, introduced March 28, 27 days passed deadline.

Transportation finance bill, introduced March 22, 21 days too late.

Environment and natural resources funding bill, introduced March 22, 21 days too late.

Higher education bill, introduced March 21, 20 days too late.

Governor’s tax increase bill, introduced March 21, 20 days after the deadline.

Education finance bill, introduced March 17, 16 days passed the deadline.

To recap: After failing to meet the deadline to even get his own budget bills considered by the Legislature, Governor Dayton is now demanding the Legislature meet his new arbitrary deadline.

The reason for this – as for most instances of Berg’s Seventh – is simple; Dayton can count on the fact the media will carry and promote his narrative, to cover his own slow, ponderous tracks.

You Know How You Can Tell There’s A Second-Amendment Bill In The Hopper (Part II)?

This morning, we went over the claims from “Spotty” from Cucking Stool that Rep. Cornish’s “Stand Your Ground” bill (HF 1467, which we discussed at great length last week) would allow people to make spurious claims of self-defense and, literally, get away with murder.

It won’t, of course – although Minnesota’s “progressives” want you to think so.  We’ll come back to that.

What it will do is bring some much-needed rationality to Minnesota’s self-defense law.

Let’s go through a  hypothetical example that, unlike Spotty’s, actually occurs in the real world.


Say that you are a woman.  You’re walking from your garage back to your  house, coming home from a picnic.  It’s dusk.  Your two kids are indoors, but the back door is open.  Suddenly, you hear a shout; it’s that stalker-y collections lawyer you met on, the one you told to pound sand after a noncommittal first date and a weird second one.  You told him you weren’t feeling it, and he’s been stalking you ever since.  You’ve even explored taking out a restraining order – but there’s no restraining him now.  He’s standing where he could come between you and the back door of the house.  He has a knife – a big, long knife.  Being a carry permit-holder, you grab your pistol and point, frantically remembering what your carry permit instructor taught you about the law last year:

  • He’s got a knife – so you have reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm to yourself and your children.  Check.
  • You are not a willing participant in this incident; you’ve made your lack of interest clear (which is one of the things that’s set the little fella off). Check.
  • If someone is coming at you with a knife, then you can probably convince a sane jury that lethal force is reasonable. Check.
  • You are in the back yard of your house.  The law re self defense says that you have to be sure of all of the above and make every “reasonable” effort to disengage and avoid the use of lethal force.  As you stand in the back  yard facing a stalker moving toward you with a knife, you need to decide; do you retreat toward the house to protect your kids, even though he could cut you off?  Or do you retreat back toward the garage (because defending your children means, conceivably, advancing on him)? And if he follows you, do you retreat completely off your property?  You need to decide this immediately, under life or death pressure, with your adrenaline pumping, in dimmer-than-ideal light, under mind-boggling stress.  However, the question “did you make every reasonable effort to avoid shooting” will be decided by a cop at a secured crime scene after the fact, and – more importantly – by a county attorney in a nice, warm, brightly lit office, protected by sheriff’s deputies and a metal detector.  How will they decide?  If you live in Kandiyohi County, you’ll probably get the benefit of a doubt.  If you live in Ramsey?  Your fate will be decided by a former frat boy who graduated in the top 60% of his class at the U of M Law School, who got his job because of his DFL party connections with Susan Gaertner, and who keeps his job based on how he pleases his city and county’s DFL leadership, who believe as a matter of policy that a shooting is a shooting is a shooting, whether it’s a woman defending herself or a gang-banger shooting a 15 year old girl.  Feel safer now?  Uh-oh.

Back to “Spotty”.

And  here are two subdivisions that deal with the consequences to the user of deadly force after the event.

The bill says that if some one even claims self defense, they are immune from arrest — which might include even detention at the place of an incident of the use of deadly force — until an arresting officer weighs all of the circumstances. The would be hard to gainsay the absurdity of subdivision five and the complete impracticality of its application. It makes the police into arraignment judges.

And he goes on to say…:

But subdivision six contains the most monumental change in the criminal law. Under current law, in both federal and state courts in Minnesota, a defendant has the burden of establishing self defense. Once the acts are established beyond a reasonable doubt, i.e., the weapon was used by the defendant, the defendant must show that the killing or wounding was justified. The proposed statute flips that burden around, placing it on the prosecution.

Now, I’m nothing if not a civil guy (unlike more than a few of my critics, including “Spotty”).  But between this passage, and his little opening fantasy, it’s pretty clear he hasn’t the foggiest idea how “Self Defense” works.

Let’s say that you are the woman in my example above.  As the stalker charges toward you, you shoot.  Two shots to the chest; he drops like a dog.  The cops respond; and say “Good shot, he had it coming, you had to protect yourself and your kids, there was no way you could have done it differently under the circumstances”.  But there’s a body – so the county attorney opts to press charges, based on the fact that, in the County Attorney’s opinion (sitting in his brightly-lit office, with a cup of coffee on his desk and all the time he needs to think through all the angles) the fact that there was a shooting is all that matters; county policy is to “arrest and charge the gun” – no matter who used the gun, and why.

Which means the woman in my example will be arrested, and charged with murder, and have to float bail and hire a lawyer and go to court and say “yes, I killed the guy – but he came to me, he had a knife, and it was clear my kids and I were in lethal danger, and my response was reasonable, and under the circumstances retreat was, if not impossible, unreasonable “.  After which the County Prosecutor gets to tell a jury – also working in a nice, brightly-lit room, with sheriff’s deputies guarding them and all the donuts they can eat – that no, you should have run up the stairs, or out the back door, or put your gun down and negotiated with him, or anything but end his unstably-minded life.

The best you can hope for is that your attorney can convince 12 people who couldn’t get out of jury duty that you were in the right (for between $10,000 and $50,000 in court costs and attorney fees); your life’s savings will be exhausted, your credit will be shot, you have a good chance of losing your job – but you will have proved your innocence of murder – something no actual murderer has to do (because they’re innocent until proven guilty, remember?) while you, a law-abiding citizen who shot in self-defense, are “guilty with an explanation”.  The worst?  That your lawyer does a bad job, and that your judge – a DFLer, maybe? – gives jury instructions that virtually ensure your conviction, and a prison term, and a lifetime in court defending “wrongful death” suits, because you were found guilty of…well, not “wrongfully killing” someone, so much as of not retreating far and fast enough.  And in between the two, there’s the chance that the County Attorney fights you so aggressively on the case that, even though you were right to shoot, you have to take a plea bargain, because you are bankrupt and can’t afford to continually fight the entire weight of the County’s legal bureaucracy by yourself; to take a smaller felony in exchange for maybe, someday, getting your life back.

Unlike “Spotty’s” little flight of fancy at the top of the post, this scenario actually happens.  Ask Martin Treptow.

So Cornish’s bill would allow two things:

  • In cases where the shooter has met all of the criteria for self-defense (not a willing participant, and the fear of death or GBH, the lethal force and the attempt to disengage are all “reasonable”), it would allow law enforcement to recognize the fact that it was a justifiable shoot, without putting the defendant behind the legal eight ball from the very beginning.
  • In shootings that meet all the criteria, it switches the burden of proof to where it belongs; the state.


The bill also immunizes the vigilante from civil liability — to anybody, including bystanders waiting at the bus stop or walking down the street.

Well, sort of.  Here’s what Cornish’s bill says, with emphasis added:

7.23 Subd. 5. Criminal investigation; immunity from prosecution. (a) An individual|

7.24who uses force, including deadly force, according to this section or as otherwise provided
7.25by law in defense of the individual, the individual’s dwelling, or another individual is
7.26justified in using such force and is immune from any civil liability or criminal prosecution
7.27for that act.

7.28(b) A law enforcement agency may arrest an individual using force under
7.29circumstances described in this section only after considering any claims or circumstances
7.30supporting self-defense or lawful defense of another individual.

In other words, it gives clear-cut cases of self-defense a chance to be resolved without making a thoroughly-lawful shooter go through the entire judicial process as a criminal on trial, and protects people who carry out thoroughly legitimate self-defense shootings from retribution in civil court from the people they shot.  (Not bystanders; the law would not legalize shooting bystanders; the imperative to “know  your backstop” doesn’t change).

Back to Dog the Red Herring Hunter:

The practical effect is that if a defendant says “I felt threatened,” it is the prosecutor’s burden to show that the defendant was not “reasonably” threatened.

Again, I’m not the one who is going to come around with the personal insult – but “Spotty” is a lawyer in real life.  I’m not sure if he’s just unfamiliar with how the system works, or if he’s being willfully disingenuous.  But it’s not enough to say “I felt threatened”; it isn’t now, and it won’t be under Cornish’s law.  If the body on your floor is  not holding a knife or gun, it’d be well within the cop’s discretion to say  I know you claim to have shot in self-defense, but it appears at the least  you were mistaken” under Cornish’s proposal, whereas today he’s more likely forced to say “I know you’re innocent, but our county policy is “arrest the gun””.

The burden of proof for demonstrating, for example, insanity or diminished capacity as a defense to a crime also rests with the defendant. If this bill becomes law, it would give the user of deadly force a procedural advantage not shared by any other defendant seeking to use an affirmative defense.

“Spot” is begging the question here – using Minnesota’s current treatment of self-defense as “evidence” that Minnesota’s current treatment of self-defense is the right approach.  It’s illogical, notwithstanding that it’s wrong.   “Affirmative Defense” – saying “yes, I committed the crime, but there are some factors due to which you should modify my culpability” – makes sense, arguably, for modifying the consequences of acts committed under diminished capacity.  An obviously legitimate self-defense shooting should not be treated as analogous to someone who hacks someone up and offers up the bits and pieces as a sacrifice to his invisible masters.  Defending life and limb from predators is an unalloyed good; it should not be treated as an anomaly to be carefully screened and treated.

Under the bill, if an insane man shot somebody, he would have a better chance of beating the rap by claiming he used  the gun in self defense than defending on the basis that was insane.

Only if you assume cops and, yes, county attorneys are complete idiots.  Can “Spotty” spell out a case where an insane man…:

  • …who was not a willing participant in a fight, and…
  • …who had a legitimate fear of death or great bodily harm, and…
  • …in a case where his use of lethal force was reasonable, and…
  • …where he did whatever was reasonable to avoid the use of lethal force…
  • …in a place where he had, as Cornish’s bill spells out, the “legal right to be”?

I’m guessing this doesn’t even rise to the level of a reasonable hypothetical.

And for my money, if you shoot somebody, or knife them, it ought to be you who has some explaining to do.

If “Spot” thinks no explaining will be involved after even a perfectly legitimate shooting, he’s clearly floating free of all reason.

Fortunately Spot’s “money” isn’t what governs us.   Our elected legislature and governor are.

Cornish’s bill will come up in the Public Safety Committee on Thursday.  It’ll likely pass on a straight party-line vote (although outstate Dems will likely support it as well – they know the power of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance  (GOCRA) outstate), but please contact everyone on the committee anyway (info below the jump).  After that, it’ll likely pass the House and Senate the same way, and go to the Governor.

Who will face a conundrum; sign the bill and keep his promise to the outstate but largely pro-Second-Amendment DFLers who believed him when he said he kept a pair of .357s in a lock box in his bedroom for self-defense, and that he was (against his entire voting record) a pro-Second-Amendment guy, or veto it and lose still more outstate legislative seats in 2012 (because outstate DFLers who forget the power of GOCRA will live to regret it).

Update: Forgetful old dog that I am, I neglected to mention that the post was prepared with the able editorial assistance of MNO.

As I’m a kind and gentle guy, I’ll let that blooping slow-ball sail outside for an easy ball.

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You Know How You Can Tell There’s A Second-Amendment Bill In The Hopper (Part I)?

Because “progressives” are telling fairy tales about guns again.

Back in 1987, when Florida became the first major state to pass a “shall-issue” law, Senator Ron Silver set a standard for rhetoric (“It’ll be like Dodge City”, “there’ll be blood running in the streets”) that he, at least, had the decency to admit was overblown ten years after the fact, when it turned out that not only had nothing he or the bill’s other detractors predicted came true, but that law-abiding citizens with carry permits were about 1/100 as likely to commit any crime at all as the general public.

The standard was “topped”, of course, here in Minnesota during the final debate on the Minnesota Personal Protection Act.  During the final debate on the floor vote in 2003, the Senate DFL caucus came out to the floor wearing flak jackets.  Wes “Lying Sack of Garbage” Skoglund continued his years-long trail of just-plain delusional fantasy, claiming that “gang-bangers will be able to get permits” and “I’m worried carry permit holders will be stalking me”.

Of course, every single casualty of post-MPPA carry permits to date – I can think of one, actually – was ruled justifiable.  The Hiawatha Light Rail line kills more people in a typical year, none of them justified.

Still, you can’t blame “progressives” for resorting to fantasy and delusion when attacking pro-Second Amendment legislation; since the facts are against them and the law (from the SCOTUS on down) is against them, it’s really all they have.

And “Spotty” from Cucking Stool is reliably cliché-driven on the subject (yep, he’s even done the “gunnies are teh compensating” narrative, a few years back).  So he’s not exactly breaking new ground with this post on the Cornish “Stand Your Ground” bill (which I wrote about last week).  Although it’s an interesting little view into a “progressive’s” fantasy life:

But officer, I felt so threatened

Sir, I see you standing over the dead body of that man, and you’re holding a gun. Care to explain yourself?

Well, officer, I shot him.

I figured that. But can you tell me why?

He threatened me.

What did he say?

Well he didn’t say anything, actually.

Did he pull a gun or a knife, or take a swing at your?

No, not really.

What do you mean, “not really?” What did he do that you felt justified in killing him?

He gave me the stink eye and well, he kind of sucked his teeth. It really scared me.

Okay then. Sorry to bother you. Say, can you move aside so we can get at this guy? We have to take him to the morgue and call his family and stuff; I need to pull his wallet.

Sure; no prob.


This may be a scenario coming to a corner near you.

But only if the cop and the county attorney don’t bother figuring out if the shooter had a legitimate fear of death or great bodily harm (“stink-eye” doesn’t cut it, even in the most conservative counties in Minnesota), or if lethal force was appropriate  under the circumstances (ibid), or if the shooter was a willing participant in the squabble.

Which are, I’m sure, annoying technicalities to “Spot”, but pretty much life-and-death to anyone who needs to defend his/herself.

Also, the law.

I’m just picking on Cornish because’s he the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee in the House — of the chief authors of HF 1467, a bill that, inter alia, removes the obligation of a person to retreat from a threatening situation, if possible, before opening fire. Under the bill, if an individual “reasonably” (ah, the devil is in the details, isn’t it?) believes there is a threat to him or her or a third person, they’ll be justified in using deadly force to meet the threat. It’s a little more complicated than that, but you can read the whole bill at the link. And here are some of the key sections of the bill. It’s in pdf format,

[Well, not just PDF .  See 609.065, Subd. 2 in the linked bill Ed.]

Here are the circumstances when deadly force is authorized. The first subsection is already permitted under Minnesota law, the second probably is, too, save for the issue of a safe retreat. The third subsection is quite vague, and it is a complete departure from current Minnesota law. A “forcible felony” might include something like breaking and entering (burglary) on property that is not occupied, and which is not even yours. This is the true vigilante section of the bill.

I’m getting tired of typing “this is just patent rubbish”.  I need a hot key of some kind.  But you get the idea.

There is nothing “vigilante” about it.  One of the biggest ambiguities of Minnesota’s self-defense law is that while current law – dating back to well before the Minnesota Personal Protection Act – allows citizens to use lethal force to defend themselves “or others” from death or great bodily harm (henceforth “GBH”), it gives prosecutors immense, and arbitrary, power over how they treat self-defense shooters – and force self-defense shooters to go down a very hazardous legal path to justify their actions.

The next subdivision of the proposed statute is the part that eliminates the duty to retreat if you can. The law has always permitted you to defend yourself, with deadly force if necessary, if you can’t retreat. But you do have a duty to avoid violence if you can.

“If you can”.

“Spotty” writes it with the blasé tone of someone for whom the concept is utterly academic.

If you’re ever in a life or death situation, it’s not.

Let’s delve into reality over the noon hour today.

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Curious Fixation

A while ago, I was back visiting my parents in North Dakota.  While I was there, I visited a friend of mine from high school and college, who works as a campaign manager for Democrat-NPL (that’s NoDak talk for “Democrat”) legislative candidates in the central part of the state.  She told me to meet her at her office, and we’d go out for a drink.

I met her at her office, behind a vacant burger joint on the East Business Loop.   She was wearing sweatpants and an “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt stained with ketchup.  It was 11:30AM and she reeked of cheap vodka.

“Um, hey, Fee”, I said.  “How ya doing”.

It almost looked like tears were going to well up in her eyes.  “How the f**k do you think, Mitch?”   She fished in her desk and picked out a half-empty bottle of Phillips vodka and two much-used styrofoam cups.  “I am a Democrat in…” she paused, filling both cups to the rim “…North Dakota”.   She handed me the first cup.  “We lose every election by 80-to-30 or even worse…”, she said, stopping to take a swig, “and that was in 2008, when we could get all twenty-teen Demcorats in town to actually come to the polls”. she slurred.

She poured another as I furtively emptied my cup into a long-dead potted plant.  “So”, I started, “how’d your campaign go?”

A bit of animation flashed across her worn face as she lurched forward in her chair to grab a folder. “Here’s my big drop piece”, she said, talking about a piece of literature volunteers drop at peoples’ doors.  A plain white piece of paper, obviously printed on a cheap printer that needed a new toner cartridge, read ”

Vote for Steinkampf-Bjornson, so our campaign manager doesn’t take an overdose and choose the sweet release of death over managing turd campaigns that have no chance in hell of winning in North Dakota, you f****ng rubes“.

“Seems a little…”, I started, waving the bottle away as Fee tried to refill my cup “…downbeat, maybe?”

“Hah!”, she blurted as she tried and failed to stifle a fume-rich belch.  “It worked, didn’t it?  I didn’t f*****g kill myself, did I?  Huh?  Anyway – nobody saw it, because we had no volunteers to hand ’em out…”

“It must be hard to be a Democrat in North Dakota”.

“Oh, God, Mitch”, she said, a tear welling up and she slouched on the side of the desk facing me, putting both hands on my arms in that too-familiar way drunks do.  “My next campaign slogan may be “Vote Dem-NPL.  I mean, F**k it, why not?”  I mean, I can at least keep people on message!”.

We went to the Wonder Bar, just off main street – an old railroad bar that hadn’t changed much in the past sixty years or so.  I had a beer.  She banged through five or six boilermakers.  I ended up dropping her off at her mom’s house, where she lives, because being a full-time campaign organizer for the D-NPL in North Dakota pays about as well as being a paper boy.

And as I drove away, I thought “it is totally fitting that she runs hopeless campaigns with an air of hopelessness.  Why should she act like she’s doing anything that will ever affect politics?

And I smiled.  It’s good to be king.  Of another place, anyway.


Twin Cities “progressive” blogger “Phoenix Woman” – who probably isn’t from Phoenix, and I’ve got suspicions about the other bit – tweeted the other day, for not much reason:

@mitchpberg So Mitch, how was the @CopelandFor66 victory party? #ohwaithelostto #maryjomcguire #p2 #MNGOP

Which struck me as a bit of a reach.  I mean, no kidding – the Senate District 66 Special Election was not a victory!  Far from it – Mary Jo McGuire held one of the safest DFL seats in the state by an 80-20% margin.  Which, if you think about it, isn’t exactlty “man bites dog”.  It’s not even “dog bites man”.  It’s a “dog licks dog” story.  The DFL elected another career apparatchik, and the GOP had a lousy result.  Not exactly shocking.

Now, I’ve written about this in the past – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the GOP in Saint Paul, as in Minneapolis, faces an uphill battle.  Not only is the DFL powerful – it really is their only power base in Minnesota – but decades of getting trounced in local, legislative and 4th CD Congressional elections means that Republicans really only turn out at all for Senate, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections; there, you can see as much as 30-odd percent of Saint Paul voting GOP; for local elections, where conservative-leaners are used to their vote not really counting for anything, the numbers are lower.  In Senate District 66, 8,000 people voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin, and over 7,000 for Tom Emmer; just under 1,000 turned out to vote for Copeland.

Now, I volunteered on Copeland’s campaign.  And as someone who did a lot of work for Copeland, I put the best spin I could on the campaign while it was in progress.

For whatever reason, “Phoenix” “Woman” – and the other liberal bloggers and tweeters whose autonomic bleating she’s recycling – apparently believes that, because it’s an uphill fight, ‘Saint Paul Republicans should have moped around like my friend Fee, up above.  That we, the urban conservatived, should gliumpf around like Cure fans and wallow in doom.  Even more…bizarre, “she” seems to think that the fact I projected optimism about the campaign I was working on somehow discredits me.

Well, sorry, logical leprechauns – but the campaign was a victory.

Oh, not in the sense that Greg Copeland is in the Senate – we didn’t come close to pulling that off.

But a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step.  The Copeland for Senate campaign was just the first step in a long, long – as in, maybe ten years – effort to make the 4th CD competitive.   And it was a decent start, at least behind the scenes; we had more volunteers than we’ve had in the last five campaigns combined.  The campaign raised a lot of money – and more importantly, the campaign raised money!    We knocked on doors that hadn’t been knocked by a Republican since George HW Bush was President.

There’s a long way to go – doy – but hey, what choice is there?  Mope around like some kind of Oberstar supporter?

Pinheads Gone Wild

Andy Post at MDE  points us to a tweet yesterday from a DFL staffer for St. Paul DFL Senator Dick Cohen:

Dumb remark by the overly-entitled child of boundless political privilege?  In and of itself, sure.  And, as such, more or less forgettable.

Post, however, wonders if the DFLers will show the same outrage as they did when a GOP Senator’s assistant sent an imprudent – dumb, really – email over the winter.  Kim Kelley, a legislative assistant to Senator Scott Newman, told the Minnesota Nurse’s Association that the Senator would not meet with their rep, since the Nurse’s Association had donated to Newman’s opponent’s campaign.

He linked to “Sally Jo Sorenson” of Bluestem Prairie.  Sorenson, always on the lookout for affronts to DFL integrity, amended a post she wrote last January in which she wrote about the flap in January:

Here’s the intact email, since the Kelley email no longer works:

From: []
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2011 2:00 PM
To: Eileen Gavin
Subject: [Eileen Gavin] Meeting

Hi Eileen-

Unfortunately, Senator Newman will not see any organizations that donated to/supported his opponent Hal Kimball. After some careful checking, I discovered that the MNA had donated to Kimball’s campaign. Your association will be unable to schedule an appointment with Senator Newman.

Kim Kelley

Legislative Assistant

Sorenson rejects the idea that there’s any moral equivalence between a bobbleheaded LA’s caustic, sneering contempt for Christians, and another bobblehead bringing a hint of retributive spite into getting access to a Senator.

And guess what – she’s right!

They are two separate, equally noxious issues.

Kelley let slip the worst-kept secret in politics; donations buy you access, and pissing off politicians loses it.  The Minnesota Nurses Association is no more welcome with Scott Newman than the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance is with, say, Tom Bakk.  Oh, it’s good politics to meet with, and especially to be seen meeting with, ones’ opponents (and Sorensen does note that Newman did actually meet with the MNA after all), but let’s not kid ourselves; there’s a reason special interests pony up for campaigns.  (And the more politicians try to “reform” it, rather than illuminate it, the worse it gets).

Don’t kid yourself; if a young evangelical Republican tweeted a dumb jape about Eid, or Passover, or…well, any non-Christian observance, really, the long knives would certainly come out.  But Kaplan?  Well, she’s what you get from young “progressives” who’ve come up through an academic and political system that teaches smug, giggly, entitled intolerance.  And stop the presses – a  Jewish (presumably – I mean, it’s not a stretch to think Kaplan is at least ethnically Jewish, but given my family name, I’m not insensitive to the possibility it’s not) 20-something hipster is bagging on Christians.

It’s pretty piddly, really.  But so is most petty intolerance.