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!
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.
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!