Circumstantial

Some of my liberal readers have been asking what I think about the Tom Hackbarth story.

My response; I can’t think much, since there’s really not much story. KSTP-TV’s piece reads, pretty much in its entirely:

State Rep. Tom Hackbarth was carrying a pistol when he told St. Paul Police he was jealous and looking for his girlfriend.

Officers took the gun from him calling his behavior “borderline terroristic.”

We’ll come back to what the police said and, more importantly, did.

The House GOP leadership reacted quickly and, under the circumstances, appropriately, suspending Hackbarth from his slated committee chairmanship for the next sessoin pending some sort of resolution.

Now, predictably, the regional leftymedia is in full dudgeon over this story.  As is their wont, they are filling in the blanks with a whoooole lot of innuendo, supposition, and flat-out fantasy.

As PJ O’Rourke once said, “I’m not a liberal, so I’m not an expert at stuff I know nothing about”.   I’m not going to pretend to have answers.  Indeed, all I have are questions.

Everything Is Stalking:  The accusations against Hackbarth aren’t all that clear; he was accused of “stalking-like” behavior by the always-articulate Saint Paul Police Department.  No charges have been filed.

That last bit is rather vital; no charges have been filed.

Remember – in the world of domestic law, including “abuse”, “domestic violence”, “stalking” and the like, men are considered guilty until proven innocent.  If the police had had anything beyond suspicion, they’d have come up with something.

Was Hackbarth doing something inappropriate?  It’s possible.  Very, very possible.  Hackbarth is separated, after 25 years of marriage.  Being “separated” is an emotional Cuisinart set on “mangle”;  a lot of hitherto-buried emotions run very close to the surface; people do things that they’d never normally do in real life (and I’m pleading the Fifth Amendment at this point).

So what did Hackbarth do?  We don’t know; not at all, other than “not enough for the SPPD to charge him with anything at all“, but apparently enough to draw their interest.  We’ll come back to that, too.

That complete lack of known facts hasn’t stopped the regional leftyblog brain trust from jumping to conclusions like a bunch of synchronized Shamu clones at a rhetorical Sea World.

Conservatives – Guilty Until Proven Anything At All:  The City Pages’ Hart Van Denburg gets the “who, what (sort of), when, where, why and how”, in his piece on the incident – and still manages to squeedge in some innuendo to fill in the factual blanks:

Republican state Rep. Tom Hackbarth went looking for a date the other day in a Highland Park alley, with his Smith and Wesson .38 strapped to his waist.

Innuendo; as Ven Denburg himself notes elsewhere in his story, Hackbarth has a carry permit.  Connecting his “stalking” and carrying a gun is convenient, and connecting the two certainly fits the institutional left’s narrative about conservatives, shooters and social interactions.  But it’s an innuendo unsupported by any actual facts – like, say, arrests or charges or any indication of intent that’d link the two factoids.

Which takes us to innuendo number 2:

The Most Important Right Of All:  Van Denburg continued:

He chose an odd place to park his pickup truck, too: The Planned Parenthood clinic lot, where security cameras caught him on tape.

Saint Paul’s pro-abortion community has come to regard all of Ford Parkway as its private property.  While the building itself doesn’t jump out at you, once you do know what you’re looking for, it’s hard to escape the fact that there is more going on in the neighborhood than just a baby-disposal mill.  There are apartments, stores, the Highland Park library, houses…people all over the place.  Ford Parkway is not all about Planned Parenthood.

But you’d never know that from the leftymedia’s reaction.  Was “near the Planned Parenthood Clinic” an “odd” place to park, as Ven Denburg called it?  Or was it a place to park his pickup, that happened to be near Planned Parenthood?

A justifiably skittish guard at the Ford Parkway clinic called the cops to report an unidentified man carrying a gun on the property. No surprise there.

More innuendo.  “Justifiably” skittish?  Planned Parenthood’s “justifiable” skittishness has led to a “justifiable” suspension of large chunks of the First Amendment within eye-and-earshot of the clinics in Saint Paul and elsewhere around the country.  And now, apparently, the Second Amendment as well; being seen with a firearm that is legal and permitted under Minnesota law “justifies” Planned Parenthood’s rent-a-cops calling in the heat?

What other civil liberties does Planned Parenthood get to selectively excise?

Worse, naturally, are the “Feminist” bloggers.  “Red Sonya” from the always-incontinent Shakespeare’s Sister tries Hackbarth and finds him guilty based on…well, you guessed it, more innuendo:

Who the hell decides that, after meeting someone for coffee, you are immediately entitled—nay, obligated—to make sure that she’s not with another man?! Oh, stalkery entitled douchebags with unchecked privilege and no sense of boundaries who believe that women are their property and have no respect for their autonomy, that’s who!

Perhaps.

Or people (male and female – it swings both ways pretty equally) whose senses of boundaries are temporarily (one hopes) warped by their current circumstances.

Or both.  We don’t know – because “Red’s” take is based entirely on filling in the factual blanks with a whole lot of PC filler.

While stalking is frightening enough, the loaded gun makes this even scarier. Hackbarth does have a permit for concealed carry, so his actions weren’t illegal.

Buuuuuuut…

But since he began his controlling behavior immediately after meeting this woman, I’m skeptical of his ability to shrug off this event—and, from his twisted perspective, her “lie”—without having a douchetantrum of massive proportions.

What a wonderful world, where people can issue the binding diagnosis of “douchetantrumitis” (let me check the DSM-IV for that one) while knowing zero facts whatsoever.

When guys like this escalate, altercations easily become fatal with the addition of a loaded gun to the mix.

And they much more easily don’t.

Look – it goes without saying that stalking – or even just being excessively clingy after less than a whole lot of dates – is a bad thing.  And it doesn’t excuse any bad behavior to add “don’t discount the weirdness that comes with the whole emtional bumper-car ride that goes along with divorce, because everyone reacts differently, and most everyone does something that they’ll wind up regretting one way or another, whether it’s getting married to the first person you sleep with or blowing all your money on strippers maybe just having a real hard time getting used to the differing expectations people have in the dating world after being off the market for most of three decades”.   Readjusting to single life can be a real bitch.

[Side note to conservative grownups in the audience; watch some idiot leftyblogger take that last sentence and run a post entitled “Berg Excuses Stalking”, ignoring that bit at the front where I said “It doesn’t excuse bad behavior…”.  It’s pretty much inevitable – Ed.]

The Victorian Vapours:  Oh, yeah – Hackbarth had a gun.  After his run-in with the SPPD, it was confiscated.  And then, after all was said and done, he got it back.

But the presence of a firearm – especially in the hands of a conservative, anti-abortion Republican who is engaged in liberal innuendo-fodder – acts on leftybloggers and lefty journalists like a green-and-yellow cape does on a Vikings fan.

The normally sensible David Brauer left a comment in a Facebook thread:

[O]f course, it seems like creepy potentially violent stalking, but then again, these gun dudes carry their pieces around everywhere. it’s like their wallet. and of course, he was in scary, scary Highland. It’s no Cedar, Mn!

Well, doy.  It doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have it with you when you need it.

And check out the leftyblogs (rhetorically, mind you – don’t actually read then) for the number of references to the fact that the revolver was “fully loaded”.   Huh?  You’d carry an empty gun?  To what – butt-whip a robber?  Or a half-loaded one?  For what – impromptu games of Russian Roulette?

Grrr. I’m sorry.  Dumb people bug me.

Oh, yeah – let me reiterate; he got the gun back when the episode was over.  Which may not be any sort of testimony to Hackbarth’s alleged actions or state of mind, but it is a pretty good sign that he did nothing remotely illegal – and that’d be in an area of law where telling a woman that those pants do make her butt look bigger is fifth-degree domestic assault, a misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail and a $10K fine.

(The above sentence is intended as satire.  The first idiot leftyblogger – and I’ll stipulate that that isn’t entirely a redundant phrase – that tries to run that into “Berg advocates stalking and makes light of domestic violence” will both incur my disinterested wrath and be lying, anyway.  Just don’t go there).

Berg’s Seventh Law?Remember – “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”.  The leftymedia is romping and playing with the Hackbarth story because somewhere out there there is a video of a DFL legislator standing outside an elementary school in full S&M garb, bellowing expletives at a first-grade teacher that spurned his advances, waving a katana.

No, I can’t prove it.

Any more than any of the innuendoids above can prove any of their stuff.

But it’s a law, after all.

UPDATE: Welcome, “Developers are Crabgrass” readers.

Which is sort of like saying “hey, look at all the leptons”.  Both of them are at present largely hypothetical, abstruse constructs.

Oh, yeah – read my piece above.  Zaetsch is lying, as usual.  The guy wouldn’t know “factual” if “factual” spiked his Metamucil.  Read my actual post – something Zaetsch, or whomever sent him the link, clearly didn’t do – and decide for yourself.

Better yet, leave a comment and engage in the discussion.  If you’re used to the level of conversation over at all the blogs that are part of the “Stillwater Asylum” – “Lloydletta”, “The Dump”, “Crabgrass” and wherever Bremer is ranting and whatever pseudonym Weiner us using these days – you’ll find things are a whooooole lot more rational here; you have to bring some intellectual game, in a way you’re not used to .  Give it a shot!

37 thoughts on “Circumstantial

  1. As far as the Planned Parenthood (sic) part of the story goes…..I am in the Ford Parkway/Highland Park shopping district on average….say once every other week for the past 3 years. For those not good at math, that comes out to about 50 visits.

    I have no idea where Planned Parenthood is there. If it is after dark and I need to pull over and park in the area, I suppose I could park in the lot and not know it.

    I am not quite clear on what the connection is between this guy and said organization.

  2. If we were to say, for argument’s sake, that instead of having a loaded pistol, he arrived on the LRT in pursuit of his girlfriend/internet acquaintance, would this even be a story? No, despite the fact that more people have been killed by the LRT than by conceal carry permit holders since each arrived in Minnesota.

    And from what I can see, Chuck is correct. Just because every lefty in the area knows the location of Planned Parenthood, doesn’t mean that everyone else does.

  3. If Hackbarth is rotten get rid of ‘im. Otherwise use his story to slam the haters on the left.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to send people out to vote with message that the GOP is the party of integrity?
    The retards on the left made heroes of the Kennedys and Bill Clinton. Have they no shame?

  4. Got to say the Strib handled the story right. Headline is about Hackbarth losing his leadership roles, which is newsworthy and details the incident without turning it into what the leftie bloggers are asserting. The writer quotes PPM as saying the office had been closed for an hour. Makes you wonder why the guard called the cops, but we really don’t know what he saw other than the gun. Sounds like the cops did the right thing too.
    Somebody ought to take Hackbarth aside and explain to him the perils of internet dating. It’s full of scammers. And now he has a PR problem.
    Stalking? Hardly.
    Bad judgement? Certainly.

  5. Mitch, Thank You for the comments on this issue!

    One thing to note: This phony gun issue wouldn’t even have been a topic of discussion hadn’t Tom chosen to change from his sport jacket to what was probably a warmer casual jacket.

  6. 1st rule of carrying, don’t do anything stupid while carrying. Hackbarth did something dumb while carrying.

  7. Most liberal Democrats are anti-Christian bigots. Really Anti-Catholic bigots. Dave Thune and the left staged a violent protest on John Ireland Blvd, right by the St Paul Cathedral. So therefore Dave Then wants to blow up the St Paul Cathederal (using leftest logic).

  8. I don’t have a problem with planned parenthood guards being concerned about someone on their property – which is presumably private property – after hours when there is no legitimate reason for a person to be there.
    Given the extremely violent nature of the anti-abortion movement, they kill people who are legally people, and do serious property damage, someone who has no legitimate business being there carrying a gun raises a reasonable cautionary concern.

    I take issue with your choice of words Mitch “just a baby-disposal mill”. It is a legal location for a variety of reproductive and other women’s health services.

    I don’t quite understand why, if he did nothing illegal, the GOP is removing this guy from a leadership position. Either he did something wrong, or he did not.

    However, as a woman, I can understand that checking up on the whereabout or activities of a woman whose name you cannot provide because you are interested in a dating relationship with her? Seriously? THAT is sick. As a woman, that would concern me. Heck, it should concern a guy if a woman is doing it, on the basis of online dating initial contacts.

    “maybe just having a real hard time getting used to the differing expectations people have in the dating world after being off the market for most of three decades”. Readjusting to single life can be a real bitch.”

    Yeah, I suppose it can, but that doesn’t really quite explain what Hackbarth did – ‘readjusting to single life can be a bitch’ or ‘differing expectations’. This kind of possessive surveillance has never, ever been acceptable in any decade for single people. Someone who has a problem with these kinds of boundaries IS a legitimate concern for women, it is not ok, and trying to minimize it by making excuses for how hard it is for this guy getting a divorce just doesn’t fly.

    But no, I would never take that empathy for the pain a man goes through over a divorce as sympathy or condoning violence or stalking behavior. That would be inconsistent with the Mitch Berg I know.

    People change their plans at the last minute all the time, going to a different restaurant, taking a different vehicle, maybe deciding to eat in and watch a movie, change the time at which they are going to do something. Friends cancel. The assumption that this man made, that this woman’s choices or changes in her stated plans were appropriate for him to spy on……..sorry, that is just plain creepy, intrusive, leaping waaaay over an appropriate boundary.

    This man doesn’t have an actual relationship with the person he is checking on; he has a minimal online acquaintance. This woman is in no way accountable to him for her decisions, or even for a white lie excuse to not meet with him if she is trying to be polite and not hurt his feelings. Once she declines to meet him for whatever reason, it is none of his damn business what else she does. It is her privacy, her autonomy, and she can properly change her mind a dozen times after she tells him NO without her behaving inappropriately or immorally or unethically. This woman didn’t owe him an explanation, and his checking up on her is frankly creepy.

    There ARE relationships where people have some varying measure of accountability to each other for their whereabouts and activities, depending on that relationship – parents and children, spouses, individuals in committed or otherwise serious relationships, in some situations employers and employees. THIS isn’t one of those, by all accounts – Hackbarth’s.

    THAT was what struck me as distinctly odd and disturbing about this, other than where he parked. And as a woman, a man acting inappropriate in that way, would concern me more if he had a loaded gun, permit to carry or not.

    So, for those reasons I have no problem whatsoever with what the police department did, or the security guards at planned parenthood – given the inappropriate and creepy actions of Hackbarth. The GOP? I don’t know that this is an appropriate reason to change a leadership position, unless they have other information NOT available to the public about how he is handling his divorce pain or concerns over marital violence allegations coming out in the future as the divorce proceeds. THAT was the part of the story that made me wonder what we don’t know that perhaps they do, that could explain their action.

  9. Similar shoe, different foot. Mitch if la Belle Bun were to make internet contact (maybe not online dating, but say through a mutual acquaintance) and she decided to decline an invitation from a guy. Then this guy turns up armed, and looking for her, to see if she was ‘where she said she was going to be’ with her friends, a guy who didn’t really know her, didn’t have an established dating relationship…….as a conscientious parent – like Kermit and some of the other commenters here who are clearly good dads – would you be concerned at the guy’s behavior? Would you find it acceptable if the guy had just broken up with his long time high school sweetheart? Or would that make you more concerned, not less, that the guy was more emotional on the rebound than he would be otherwise?

    I’m guessing your sympathies in that situation wouldn’t be with the guy’s reasons for his behavior.

  10. DG,

    I don’t have a problem with planned parenthood guards being concerned about someone on their property

    Hard to tell from the story, but it appears he wasn’t “on their property”.

  11. I take issue with your choice of words Mitch “just a baby-disposal mill”

    I suppose you would rather I call it a “gynecological day spa”, right?

    Sorry, DG. It’s a place where people get babies sucked out of them to their deaths. Is it legal? Sure. That doesn’t mean I have to acquiesce in it.

  12. I don’t quite understand why, if he did nothing illegal, the GOP is removing this guy from a leadership position. Either he did something wrong, or he did not.

    You miss the distinction between “wrong” and “illegal”. It’s entirely possible he did something wrong without breaking any laws.

    And as the GOP leadership knows all too well, our in-the-bag media will erase the distinction as best they can.

  13. However, as a woman, I can understand that checking up on the whereabout or activities of a woman whose name you cannot provide because you are interested in a dating relationship with her? Seriously? THAT is sick. As a woman, that would concern me. Heck, it should concern a guy if a woman is doing it, on the basis of online dating initial contacts.

    Well, yeah – which is why I noted that when they’re separated, people often do really dumb things that they’d never do in their right frame of mind.

  14. Yeah, I suppose it can, but that doesn’t really quite explain what Hackbarth did – ‘readjusting to single life can be a bitch’ or ‘differing expectations’. This kind of possessive surveillance has never, ever been acceptable in any decade for single people.

    First you say “it doesn’t explain” it, and then you show precisely how it explains it.

  15. Someone who has a problem with these kinds of boundaries IS a legitimate concern for women, it is not ok, and trying to minimize it by making excuses for how hard it is for this guy getting a divorce just doesn’t fly.

    I WAS NOT MAKING EXCUSES.

    I WAS EXPLAINING.

    There is a HUGE difference.

  16. But no, I would never take that empathy for the pain a man goes through over a divorce as sympathy or condoning violence or stalking behavior. That would be inconsistent with the Mitch Berg I know.

    I was NOT condoning.

    I was explaining.

  17. People change their plans at the last minute all the time, going to a different restaurant, taking a different vehicle, maybe deciding to eat in and watch a movie, change the time at which they are going to do something. Friends cancel. The assumption that this man made, that this woman’s choices or changes in her stated plans were appropriate for him to spy on……..sorry, that is just plain creepy, intrusive, leaping waaaay over an appropriate boundary.

    Well, yeah – if that’s what happened.

    But you don’t know that that’s what happened.

    It’s not “excusing” anything to say “get the facts before you go writing the narrative”.

  18. THAT was what struck me as distinctly odd and disturbing about this, other than where he parked.

    Er, why?

    Even leftymedia commentators who’ve seen the surveillance video have admitted it’s very, very, very clear that he had no idea “where he parked”.

    Or is that just another narrative detail you’re filling in?

  19. And as a woman, a man acting inappropriate in that way, would concern me more if he had a loaded gun, permit to carry or not.

    Well, it’s rather important to note – and I suspect you missed this – that the woman had nothing to do with this story. She never saw Hackbarth, according to the details the SPPD released through the media. It was purely Hackbarth’s statement to the police. For all we know, the woman involved still has no idea about the incident.

  20. So, for those reasons I have no problem whatsoever with what the police department did, or the security guards at planned parenthood – given the inappropriate and creepy actions of Hackbarth.

    WAIT.

    What “creepy actions”?

    From the information we actually have, all we know is that…

    1. He parked. It happened to be in a lot near Infanticide R Us.

    2. He changed jackets, at which time the Kapo at Kinderschwitz saw the gun on the CCTV camera and called the cops.

    3. The SPPD came roaring in like they’d caught Tim McVeigh driving his van downtown. Not unjustifiably, perhaps, given the inadvertent location, but still.

    4. Hackbarth told ’em what he was there for – which happened to be “doing something kinda dumb”. I offered an explanation for this behavior.

    5. The SPPD released him and gave him his gun back, because – foaming ire of women and pro-infanticidebots notwithstanding – he did nothing illegal.

    Did I miss something?

    Oh, wait – did I just FACT CHECK you?

    🙂

  21. The GOP? I don’t know that this is an appropriate reason to change a leadership position,

    Given the biases in our regional media and their fondness for throwing bombs at the GOP? Of course…

    …although please note there was no “change”; more of a “putting on hold”.

  22. unless they have other information NOT available to the public about how he is handling his divorce pain or concerns over marital violence allegations coming out in the future as the divorce proceeds. THAT was the part of the story that made me wonder what we don’t know that perhaps they do, that could explain their action.

    Um, why?

    There was nothing about his marriage anywhere in the story, other than the fact that he is separated.

    There is not a single, solitary ‘nother iota of information to go by on that.

  23. Similar shoe, different foot. Mitch if la Belle Bun were to make internet contact (maybe not online dating, but say through a mutual acquaintance) and she decided to decline an invitation from a guy. Then this guy turns up armed, and looking for her, to see if she was ‘where she said she was going to be’ with her friends, a guy who didn’t really know her, didn’t have an established dating relationship…….as a conscientious parent – like Kermit and some of the other commenters here who are clearly good dads – would you be concerned at the guy’s behavior?

    Of course I would.

    But let’s keep in mind that the situation is NOT the same. The cops did not grab Hackbarth from the woman’s doorstep.

    As I noted IN the piece, I am not excusing Hackbarth’s behavior – although am noting that to the best of our knowledge, the target of the behavior had no idea it was going on.

  24. Would you find it acceptable if the guy had just broken up with his long time high school sweetheart? Or would that make you more concerned, not less, that the guy was more emotional on the rebound than he would be otherwise?

    To answer your question in the terms in which you framed it: Of course it’d be unacceptable. And while I’d *understand* the emotions involved, it would not excuse any behavior that affected anyone else.

  25. I’m guessing your sympathies in that situation wouldn’t be with the guy’s reasons for his behavior.

    Let’s try to be clear on two things, here:

    1) Again – I’m neither expressing “sympathy” nor “support” for Hackbarth’s alleged actions; I am responding to the leftyblogs’ and leftymedia’s attempt to lynch Hackbarth over it with their avalanche of innuendo and misinformation about the situation.

    2) I’m pointing out that, as far as we know, the SPPD’s entire knowledge of Hackbarth’s “stalking” (and thus, the medias, and yours) came from…Hackbarth himself.

  26. Dog Gone Says: I take issue with your choice of words Mitch “just a baby-disposal mill”.

    Our it could be called “Fetus-Exterminators-R-Us”; catchy isn’t it.

  27. Dog says: “Given the extremely violent nature of the anti-abortion movement, they kill people”

    All the pro-life people I know do things like particapate in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, adapte unwnated children, volunteer at places like Urban Ventures, give heavily at their churches so those churches can help the needy. That sort of thing.

    Dog, you really need to stop hanging out with violent people.

  28. There’ve been two killings in the past twenty years, both of which were carried out by people way out on the fringe, both of which were roundly condemned by the mainstream pro-life movement.

    As opposed to the murder of the anti-infanticide protester in Owosso, Michigan, by Harlan James Drake, about which the pro-infanticide movement was utterly silent.

    Sorry, DG. Yet again, you take a tiny thread of incidents and try to spin it into a blanket assumption.

    You and Pen really, really need to stop doing that.

  29. Dog Gone asserted:

    “Given the extremely violent nature of the anti-abortion movement…”

    Using the approxiametly 50 MILLION homicides of children in utero since 1973 as a point of reference, your assertion the anti-abortion movement is “extremely violent” fails on the basis of objective fact.

  30. nachman,

    DG is postmodern, the truth is immaterial as long as she controls the narrative. In other words, no need for objective fact, the truth is whatever she says it is.

  31. Mitch says “As opposed to the murder of the anti-infanticide protester in Owosso, Michigan, by Harlan James Drake, about which the pro-infanticide movement was utterly silent.”

    Shhhhh, you are not supposed to talk about it. That case has a 100% media blackout. It was reported that day when someone walked up to this guy and put a bullet in his head. Later in the day when the killler was caught and he said “I just hate pro-life people”, this story was killed by MSM.

  32. Yes, because abortionists don’t kill “people”. Just potential people. Children in waiting, as it were. Almost babies.
    Anyone who defends abortion is just as guilty of infanticide as the baby killers.

  33. Perhaps some day I will talk about adaption in my family and how I would not be here if Planned Parenthood had its way.

  34. If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does it have? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

    Killing a person is bad. Sometimes it’s necessary, but it’s always bad.
    Redefine the dead baby as “not legally a person;” still bad.
    Rename her in a foreign language as “fetus;” still bad.
    Make the process legal and pay for it with taxpayer dollars; still bad.
    Limit couples to one child and require it after that one; still bad.

    Doesn’t matter who parks in your parking lot to change jackets or whether he just voted, is on the way to church, and is carrying a pistol.

  35. Perhaps it’s all a big misunderstanding caused by ignorance. Perhaps we should handle it as other such situations, with education.

    Permit holders should be instructed not to change jackets in the parking lots of Planned Parenthood offices. And to make sure they know where those offices are, maps should be distributed. And to eliminate doubt, Planned Parenthood offices should be marked by flashing alternating red and blue neon signs.

    Surely there can be no objection to these few sensible precautions?
    .

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