There’s an old saying; “success has a thousand fathers; failure is an orphan”.
In the wake of the Democrat party’s nationwide electoral humiliation, the left is looking for things to hang their hopes on.
It’s human nature; the good guys were doing it two years ago, too.
So here’s what the Democrats are hanging their hats on; in a blue state, a 67 year old governor who gets mistaken for his entrepreneur anscestors, a superannuated standup comic, and a couple of congressmen dragged out of mothballs at the Museum of Pettifogging eked out wins in a state where…they were expected to eke out wins.
But remember – whatever success there is has a thousand fathers. Er, parents. And the local left is stepping all over itself to claim their piece of the success less-failure.
“In These Times” is the sort of “progressive” publication you can imagine a room full of Grace Kellys producing. I don’t read it much, because it’s just not a challenge.
No, it’s not the callow reference to stereotypes. That’s no surprise from any “progressive” publication:
Mike McIntee, who lives in Eagan and is executive producer [Hah! - Ed] of The UpTake, a citizen journalism-driven, online video streaming website, has seen his first-ring suburb change politically. The residents of Eagan’s cul-de-sacs no longer exclusively resemble an episode of The Brady Bunch, but include different ethnicities and low-income housing.
“White People” = “Brady Bunch”.
Anyway – here’s the interesting part (emphasis added by me):
McIntee also credits the work of Protect Minnesota, which works to end gun violence by turning it into a political issue in urban and suburban areas. Protect Minnesota sent out mailers this election season attacking candidates who opposed gun control. Its gun-safety champions who won on Tuesday include Ron Erhardt, who represents the suburb of Edina. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association’s influence may be waning in Minnesota. Three rural DFLers who were endorsed by the NRA all lost.
The gun grabber group led by Heather Martens known mainly for its comic ineptitude, has done more harm than “good” for the gun grabber movement in the past…couple of decades. They mobilize no significant people (a couple of dozen might turn out for a vital hearing, as opposed to hundreds of Real Americans.
But what of their claims?
McIntee claims “Protect” Minnesota sent out “mailings attacking candidates“: Now, the Minnesota Human Rights community is pretty good at keeping tabs on what the orcs are doing. And nobody seems to have seen a “Protect Minnesota” mailer. None. Michael Bloomberg and the DFL both hit on guns – but both groups carefully excised the hapless “Protect Minnesota” from their strategy.
What “Gun Safety Champions?” Protect MN is a lobbying group, not a PAC. Did they endorse candidates? If so ,they broke the law; lobbying groups can’t endorse candidates.
They’re claiming credit for Ron Erhardt? If Mike McIntee or Heather Martens wants to make the claim that guns were behind Ron Erhardt’s razor-thin win in Edina, feel perfectly free. But be ready to be slapped down hard. It’s an absurd claim.
They’re Claiming They Have The Momentum?: “Three rural DFLers endorsed by the NRA” lost – but then, most rural DFLers lost, whatever their NRA and MNGOPAC endorsement. The election wasn’t about guns! But even so, over 3/4 of MNGOPAC’s endorsed candidates, GOP and DFL, won on election night – and many of the ones that lost in Greater Minnesota lost to other candidates with high GOCRA and MNGOPAC ratings. Either way, gun owners won. To claim the Gun Rights movement lost last Tuesday is a Baghdad-Bob-level bit of delusion.
But delusion is Heather Martens’ stock in trade. From the “Protect” MN website:
From the “P”M website. Click on the link to actually see it.
Look, “Progressives”; if it makes you sleep easier at night thinking that…:
UPDATE: While some media are calling the shooter/hero an “off duty cop” – which implies he was a policeman, with police training, who just happens to also work as a Chief Operating Officer of a food plant, which is enterprising indeed, and maybe even happens in small rural towns in the west – the police report indicates he was in fact a reserve deputy. Which in most departments means he helps with parades, and doesn’t have permission to carry weapons, or weapons training, any different than a regular citizen. The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office may be different – but I’m gonna guess they’re not.
Time will tell. But experience shows us that time will likely tell us that it was a law-abiding citizen with little special training, but a strong desire to keep himself and his co-workers alive.
Someone tell Michael Bloomberg. And Heather Martens.
UPDATE 2: While the fella was a recent convert to Islam, I’m gonna blame “crazy”, rather than “Moslem”, if that’s OK with y’all.
UPDATE 3: A check of the Oklahoma County, Oklahoma sheriff’s department website indicates that their reserve deputies do recieve “basic law enforcement training”, without going into detail. Does this mean they carry firearms, just like regular patrol deputies? I’ll find out.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Heather Martens. She got swept away from the spotlight by the wave of Michael Bloomberg money that came into the state this past legislative session, enriched a bunch of lobbyists…
…accomlished bupkes, and swept on, leaving Heather. Until the next session starts.
I digress. She was out of the spotlight most of this past session, but during the off-season, she’s still keeping busy.
She sent out this email blast earlier in the week, to try to gin up attendance at a rally yesterday morning:
It’s been a difficult few weeks, watching the events in Ferguson, Missouri. The killing of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was remembered Monday at a funeral service, and the protests that followed, have rightly raised many questions for all of us.
The reality is that the tensions in Ferguson are the same ones that people of color experience daily here in Minnesota. These tensions are symptoms of deep, unresolved issues around race in America. The gun industry and its lobbyists have long exploited America’s issues around race to divide us and block meaningful gun violence prevention.
Wait a moment.
Did you catch that?
Chew on that ’til we get to the bottom of the post.
But we can be part of changing that.
Tomorrow (Thursday), a large rally is being planned in Minneapolis,
(A “large rally” may have been “planned”, but it certainly never took place. The local media used to dutifully troop to Heather Martens rallies with a half a dozen attendees; a search today doesn’t show any coverage of a gun-grabber rally yesterday. I digress)
…as over a thousand Minnesotans are expected to speak out for Michael Brown and other victims of police violence. Whether you want to rally, register voters, or invite your friends into the gun violence prevention movement, there is something you can do tomorrow to help Minnesota face these serious issues and redouble our efforts to stop gun violence:
1) You can go to the rally Thursday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. Sixth Street, Minneapolis. [But you probably didn't - Ed.]
2) You can encourage voting bla bla bla.
3) You can invite your friends to be part of a broad-based, inclusive bla bla bla.
Do what makes sense for you – and know that you can be a bla bla bla.
Thank you for all you do,
Protect Minnesota: Working to End Gun Violence
So let’s go over this one more time:
Gun controllers believe only the cops should have guns.
A cop shoots Michael Ferguson.
Heather Martens lumps this, and other police shootings, in with “gun violence?”
If she isn’t lumping in ISIS and HAMAS casualties by the time the session starts, I’ll be amazed.
To: Heather Martens
From: Mitch Berg, Your Longtime Nemesis
For most of the past decade and change, I’ve been running down your accuracy, your knowledge of Second Amendment issues, and the extent to which you confused “purchased lobbying power” with “fact”. Whenever you’ve opened your mouth about anything gun-related, I’ve snickered, comparing your command of logic and fact with, say, Jessica Simpson or Jeanne Kasem.
Say what you will about Minnesota’s gun-control movement – and I certainly have over the past 12 years on this blog – it’s always been local. Even “Grass Roots”, even if only in the sense that “there just isn’t that much grass out there”.
But now, the local gun control “movement” seems to be entirely run from Michael Bloomberg’s offices. The face of Minnesota’s anti-civil-rights movement has morphed from the doddering, morally-incontinent visages of Martens, Kay and Peterson to those of a crew of highly-paid lobbyists who’ve never been publicly associated with gun control, but do know how to spend Bloomberg money.
Which is ironic, since the last has spent the past two years demonizing conservative groups like ALEC for “copying and pasting” bills and being “under the control of lobbyists”.
Of course, the entire war on ALEC was a case of applied Berg’s Seventh Law; when lefties complain about a conservative behavior, they’re deflecting from the same or worse on their part.
Minnesota’s anti-civil-rights “movement”, anæmic as it has always been, has evolved from incompetent low-grade astroturf to pure, out-of-state funded carpetbagging colonial status.
I went down to the Capitol last night for a 6PM hearing on SF2639 - Senator Ron Latz’s bill to punish people accused but not convicted of domestic abuse by confiscating their guns and keeping them confiscated, innocence notwithstanding.
We started out on a high note; Michael Paymar’s attempt to create a felony trap for law-abiding gun owners in Capitol-complex buildings got turned into a fairly innocuous tweak to the existing notification law. The law, by the way, dates to 1994, and is utterly obsolete, a relic of a time when law enforcement still kept records on paper files. The notification law is obsolete and needs to be gutted and tossed entirely – but for now, it’s no big deal.
So I showed up at the Capitol. As usual, I was among plenty of friends:
The nose count, last I checked, was 70-75 civil rights supporters to about a dozen civil rights opponents.
I did a nose-count; Real Americans outnumbered people there for “Protect MN”, as usual, by a lopsided margin.
So we waited.
Strategizing got done…:
GOCRA leaders churning on strategy.
…but for the most part, everyone waited. And waited some more.
There were several updates from security; they were busy with other bills; they were going to get through a few more and then take a half hour break before getting to 2639.
So we waited some more.
A few cases of water bottles, courtest of GOCRA, made the rounds. It was warm in there.
GOCRA brought water and granola bars, which theypassed out up and down the line (including to the anti-rights people; I had the singular pleasure of giving water and a granola bar to Rep. Martens).
They took the half-hour break – which ran more like an hour. And then they re-convened – and addressed the Fetal DNA bill. For an hour.
I had to leave; I was fighting a cold, and had to work this morning.
Latz didn’t bring up his gun-grab bill until nearly 11 – after he’d let Heather Martens and her friends in through the back door, essentially packing the hearing room with his supporters. Latz has set himself apart, along with Reps. Paymar, Hausman and Martens, as one of the most virulently anti-civil-rights people in the Legislature; he quite clearly passive-aggressively used his power as committee chair to make the hearing as difficult as possible for the unruly peasants who had the affrontery to oppose him.
Rob Doar, the VP of Government of Affairs for the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, summed it up about the same way: “Senator Ron Latz is wll established as one of the most anti-rigths legislators in Minnesota. Under his leladership of the Jundiciary Committee, we’ve come to expect he’ll use every tool at his disposal to make hearings as difficult as possible for anyone who opposes his agenda”.
At the end of the evening, the bill passed from the Judiciary Committee.
Which is no surprise; the bill was going to pass Senate Judiciary no matter what; Michael Bloomberg invested a LOT of money in this session, and there needed to be something to keep the metrocrat troops rallied, for all that investment; the Metrocrats control the Judiciary Committee. When Bloomberg says “speak”, Latz will bark on command.
Now, reality sets in. There needs to be a companion bill in the House; the House DFL caucus is panic-stricken about their chances this fall, and getting saddled with one of Latz’s gun-grab bills would be poison for a couple of outstate DFLers that are already fighting for their lives. And Tom Bakk - who is an Iron-Range union guy who loves his big-game hunting – knows what long memories us civil rights advocates have. If I had to bet, I’d say this bill dies in committee without getting to the floor, or at the very worst, in conference.
Which is not another way of saying “relax for the rest of the session”. There will be more hearings, more amendments, more attempts to weasel legislation through the system.
You need to call your legislators. Thank the good guys. Politely urge the ones who are wrong to reconsider. Urge the fence-sitters to throw a vote for freedom.
We can win this round. Indeed, we can humiliate the bad guys, just like last year.
In 2013, the grassroots of the Minnesota human rights movement – pro-Second-Amendment groups like GOCRA, the Twin Cities Gun Owners and other genuine grass-roots organizations – dealt the gun-grabbers a humiliating defeat. Even though the anti-rights groups were lavishly funded, were supported by a purchased media narrative, and controlled the entire apparatus of Minnesota government, they were unable to jam down any of their useless legislation.
It was an epic victory of an army of Davids over a phalanx of obese, arrogant Goliaths.
But 2014 is a whole new year.
Since the last session, the anti-gun movement has made some roster changes. In place of last year’s leadership – “Protect” MN’s credibility-free Rep. Heather Martens, Moms Want Action’s shrill, self-caricaturing Jane Kay, and the hysterical, deranged Joan Peterson, a flood of Joyce Foundation and Bloomberg money has enabled the anti-rights movement (in this case, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns”) to hire Richard Carlbom, the architect of the campaign to torpedo the Marriage Amendment, and then to pass Gay Marriage in Minnesota.
And this is going to change the game here in Minnesota.
Unlike the Minnesota gun grab movement’s previous leadership, Carlbom is a smooth, polished PR fixer with great talent at running a nuanced, effective campaign – and he’s already got one improbable win against (at face value) longish odds under his belt.
As a result, this is going to be a different campaign, unlike any that Minnesota’s Second Amendment movement has ever faced.
My hunch? Carlbom will replace Kay/Martens/Peterson’s club-footed yapping, and Michael Paymar’s wide-front legislative bludgeoning, with a more subtle attack:
Emotional cruise missiles replace carpet-bombing: the anti-rights movement has long bludgeoned their audiences with a ham-fisted appeal to emotion. To be fair, it’s their only argument; to be honest, they haven’t done it well. Carlbom won the gay marriage debate in part by personalizing the gay marriage issue – showing that gay couples were Just Like The Rest Of Us. I think you can expect the emotional assault to be much more focused and personalized than in the past; fewer “schoolrooms full of children”; more “let’s talk with this mom, whose son was…[fill in tragic shooting]. Expect those attacks to be far harder to undercut – Carlbom is less likely to focus on the story of a “child” who turned out to be a gang thug than were the hapless Martens or Kay.
The friendly face of “reasonable” authority: The anti-gun movement lost a lot of credibility points by using as its public face the scolding, unctuous, unfluent Martens, the hectoring and red-faced Kay, and irrational Peterson. Expect those faces to be replaced by Minnesota’s very definition of “reasonable”; lots of Lutheran ministers (ELCA, natch), with their Saint Olaf-bred diction and their carefully-trimmed beards, and liberal-but-not-too-liberal, Jewish-but-not-too-jewish rabbis, carefully and calmly asking for “common sense” measures to “prevent violence” and “promote safety”, and lots of other carefully-focused terms calibrated not to alarm tens of thousands of phone calls and thousands of protesters.
Trying to build the “reasonable” brand: Expect less (overt) talk about attacking puffy-faced white suburban caricatures, and more about how “gun safety” and “violence prevention” appeals to our better natures; the things that make us human, and Minnesotan. This campaign has, in fact, already begun, with Strib columns by Lori Sturdevant and Scott Gillespie (see this space tomorrow morning) that stake out this emotional, intellectual space (in a campaign that just can’t be coordinated, and I’m sure is just a fluke that won’t, no, won’t get re-iterated in turn by every other Minnesota mainstream media outlet, nosireebob).
It’ll be a campaign calculated not to alarm, and to appeal on at least a shallow level to the conceit most Minnesotans have that we’re a thoughtful, deliberate people, not given to unseemly rash emotionality and open to “reason”.
Underneath and obscured by it all, of course, will be the facts; that none of the measures they’re proposing will affect actual violence in any way. Nor are they intended to.
But it’ll be done in a way intended to gently gull the gullible, and lull at least a part of the crowd that rose up to repudiate Representatives Paymar, Hausman and Martens in the last session.
So it’s almost time for a new session – one that may be the most dangerous yet for Minnesota’s Real Americans.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
CORRECTION: This past session was 2013, wasn’t it?
Heather Martens (DFL 66A), on the line from fantasy-land: ”There is no history of [a citizen with a legally-carried firearm] being a meaningful deterrent or being able to stop an attack”. (Star-Tribune, November 27, 2012).
Reality: Man with carry permit thwarts armed robbers who’d pistol-whipped shopkeeper in Northeast Minneapolis:
Inside his neighborhood market, Mohamed S. Ahmed was screaming for help after a pair of armed robbers had left him bleeding.
They’d pistol-whipped him, pointed the gun at his face – and they weren’t done yet:
Outside the northeast Minneapolis store, two men pounded on the window, trying to get back into the University Market after Ahmed managed to lock them out.
“They seemed really agitated, super agitated,” said Matt Dosser, who was walking by about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. At first, “nothing made sense, then I saw the gun.”
Dosser, who has a permit to carry a gun, reached for his own weapon.
One of the robbers “turned around and looked at me,” Dosser recalled. “He stared at me. I had my weapon up. I didn’t point the gun at the person. I had it at the ready, out of the holster.
The robbers scampered away like the cowardly pieces of demi-human garbage they are.
On Wednesday, police spokesman John Elder called Dosser’s actions “a noble thing. He acted honorably. Did this person possibly save [Ahmed’s] life? Absolutely.”
Why does Representative Heather Martens hate Arab grocery store workers?
…of Cindy Yuille and Steven Forsythe, who were murdered a year ago at this minute (3:25PM Pacific Time) in the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Oregon by Jacob Tyler Roberts, an insane, delusional narcissist…
…and the many, perhaps dozens, of people whom Roberts couldn’t murder in the ensuing minutes and hours, because Nick Meli – a citizen with a carry permit and a .40 cal Glock 22 – made Roberts stop short, and then end his shooting spree by killing himself. (We talked about it yesterday).
If you see Representative Heather Martens, Jane Kay, their PR flak Doug Grow, Michael Paymar, Alice Hausman or any of the Twin Cities’ other gun grabbers, please do me a favor and remind them – Nick Meli saved more lives in that moment than they and their groups of smug, sanctimonious, sputtering hamsters ever will.
I almost missed this one in the scrum of this past few weeks.
A couple of weeks ago, when Representatives Paymar and Martens tried to jam down a ban on law-abiding citizens carrying their legally-permitted firearms in the Capitol complex, the Strib’s Abby Simons wrote the paper’s follow-up piece.
It ended with a quote from Representative Martens; like most of Martens’ statements, it reeks of crap from rhetorical stem to stern. But I’ll emphasize the part I want to focus on today:
Heather Martens, executive director [Ha ha ha! - Ed.] of Protect Minnesota, an organization geared toward ending gun violence [Ha ha ha! - Ed.] and an advocate for the ban, said the intimidation happens when a loaded firearm is worn openly, as it was earlier this year during a hearing.
“There is no history of someone like that being a meaningful deterrent or being able to stop an attack,” she said.
If you read this blog, you are smarter than that.
John Lott showed how “someone like that” – multiplied by millions – have deterred hundreds of thousands of crimes in shall-issue states, as compared with discretionary or non-issue states (back when there were more of both).
As to stopping those attacks? Well, we’ve been through this before. Here’s a partial list of attacks stopped by law-abiding, non-police, private citizens with legal firearms:
An episode in Richmond, VA in the nineties where a shooter who intended to copycat the Luby’s Cafeteria massacre (in Killeen, TX) was stopped after killing one person, by another citizen with a legal handgun.
House extended ban on all-plastic guns for another 10 years. Meaningless gesture. Nobody gets shot with them, banning them won’t stop people from making them any more than banning cocaine stops people from using it. Posturing to divert attention from real government failures in every other area.
My grandson has a plastic gun. He carries it in a holster on his cowboy belt when he rides his hobby horse. I wonder if Rep. Paymar is intimidated by that, too?
Heather Martens will no doubt make them a priority in the next session.
To prevent them from “intimidating” other kids.
You think I’m joking. But if I’ve learned anything living in a city full of liberals with no fear of being held accountable, today’s sardonic jokes are tomorrow’s laws.
“There is no history of someone like that being a meaningful deterrent or being able to stop an attack,” she said. Seriously?
Someone should inform Abby Simons, the Star Tribune journalist who wrote the article, of some facts about permitted carry holders stopping crime, just for the variety of citing actual truth for a change.
It strikes me: Rep. Paymar says the presence of armed citizens in the legislative chamber intimidates legislators. Pistols carried openly are intimidating. Really? All of them? How about when cops testify while in uniform, openly carrying their firearms, is that intimidating? If so, then you should disarm everybody in the hearing room, which you’re not going to do because there’d be nobody to provide protection.
If openly carried pistols don’t intimidate you on a policeman’s belt, why not? Cops shoot far more innocent people every year than permitted carry holders. Why are pistols carried openly on cops’ belts not intimidating? Because you trust cops implicitly but not citizens? Why is that . . . and what does it say about your attitude toward the people you’re supposed to be representing?
If intellectual honesty and logical consistency were gasoline, Heather Martens couldn’t drive around the inside of a Cheerio.
Minnesota is one of only a few states that allows private firearms to be carried at the state Capitol without screening. In addition, committee chairs don’t have the authority to keep people from carrying guns into hearings — no matter how volatile the topic of discussion.
At the Nov. 5 committee meeting, a public safety official described and example of a concealed carry permit holder expressing anti-government sentiment and a plan to bring a gun to the Capitol. Members of the committee who support gun carrying expressed their disapproval of such behavior. But sitting right in the hearing room was a group aligned with the gun lobby wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Nobody on the committee appeared to realize that Guy Fawkes was known for his attempt to blow up the English Parliament, and a recent movie glorified Fawkes’ effort.
The safety risk of loaded firearms is known – but the use of guns for political intimidation is becoming more brazen every year. This is unacceptable in a democracy. Our public safety officials and legislators should be allowed to know when individuals are coming in with guns and keep guns out of all or part of the Capitol complex.
It would be irresponsible to wait for a tragedy to happen in Minnesota before making our Capitol safer. Please give law enforcement and legislators who run hearings the ability to protect our free speech and our safety at the Capitol.
I have to wonder – has Representative Martens actually been to an “Occupy” rally (back when the were still happening)? The places were crawling with those creepy masks.
But let’s take Heather Martens at her stated word. The legislature has to guard against “Anti-Government Sentiment?”
So now Rep. Martens is trying to gut the First Amendment, too!
Here’s the letter I sent back through their little email spam-bot widget:
This, like everything “Protect Minnesota” has ever written or said, is a lie.
Capitol Security staff are pretty clear about it; carry permittees are the most polite, least bothersome groups of protesters that ever show up at the Capitol.
By the way – the “anti-government sentiments” Ms. Martens is referring to was a guy in a Guy Fawkes mask. Ms. Martens is filling in the details about “blowing up the Capitol” – because, as usual, she’s lying. And, apparently, she’s no more comfortable with the First Amendment than the Second.
Please stop wasting taxpayer time participating in Heather Martens’ Joyce-Foundation-funded charades.
Not sure it’ll get through, but it was fun to write.
This email came out from Rep Heather Martens (DFLiar, HD66A) earlier this week:
Tomorrow at 10:30 am, the legislature’s committee on Capitol security will decide whether to continue to let people carry loaded guns in the Capitol.
At a meeting earlier this month, it became clear that some concealed carry permit holders have used their loaded guns for political intimidation.
And there’s your lie.
There was no “intimidation”.
Go check for yourself. Call the folks at Capitol Security. They’ll tell you the Second Amendment Rights crowd, guns or no, is the very best-behaved group of protesters that ever comes to the capitol. Friendly, polite to a fault, never even the faintest shred of a problem. Which is an amazing feat with group that always numbers in the hundreds every time they show up.
Not a single problem. Ever.
Martens – as always – is lying.
It’s The Bigotry, Stupid: Martens points out that there’s some fear, classism and bigotry at work here:
A legislator on the committee expressed disapproval of such behavior.
I don’t doubt that “a legislator” might have said something like this. Some DFL Metrocrat no doubt does have an aversion to guns, and people carrying them.
But why do we pay them any more attention than we would a legislator who was afraid of black people?
It’s entirely possible some ninny is afraid of people exercising their law-abiding rights. People get intimidated by free speech, too. Do we dignify it with a response? Or do we call it what it is?
(Fact: the only “intimidation” carried out by an unelected official during the gun hearings was the loathsome gun-grabber who walked up to the daughter of a GOCRA organizer and told her “you’ll be a better person than your father when you grow up”).
But he then said nothing should be done because nobody has been killed yet at the Capitol.
Nor will they ever be – by a carry permittee, anyway. Statistically, you are at greater danger of being shot by a Democrat legislator than by a legal carry permit holder.
I Gotcher Call To Action Right Here: Martens puts out a call to her anemic, arthritic, utterly white little legion:
Please contact committee members to urge them to take decisive action. They should allow security officials and legislators to limit where guns can be carried at the Capitol.
We can’t wait for something to happen in the Minnesota Capitol building in order to make the Capitol safe. And political intimidation should be unacceptable at our state Capitol.
Once more unto the breach, Real Americans. It’s time to light up the switchboards.
Which ones? For some reason, the members of the select committee on Capitol Security aren’t published (or at least five minutes of googling didn’t turn up a list). Start with the Public Safety Committee. You know the drill.
A little bird forwarded me this email from “Protect”MN to its mailing list. I’ll add emphasis:
You are Invited!
What: A house party fundraiser with Protect Minnesota
When: Monday, November 25, 5:30-7 p.m.
Where: [Redacted] Fremont Ave., Minneapolis [And no, it's not North Fremont. Or north of 38th Street South. If you catch my drift - ed.]
Why: To raise funds for a new campaign to change the conversation around gun violence prevention
How: By creating a strong new campaign, we will be able to overcome those promoting a culture of gun violence
With comments from: Richard Carlbom, former campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families at 6 p.m.
Co-host levels available:
$250 – $500
Suggested minimum contribution: $40
And so the Carlbom era of gun control in Minnesota begins.
Before Richard Carlbom, the gay marriage debate in Minnesota was between people who believed in principle that marriage was a gender-blind civil right, and people who believed that it was a religious institution intended for the creation and raising of future generations.
After Carlbom, it became a battle between good, compassionate people who cared about rights, and evil bigots.
And that’s what the anti-civil-rights movement – and its highly-paid consultant, Carlbom – wants to do with the civil right of self defense; frame it as a battle between people who represent a “culture of violence”, and people who believe that with enough laws, we can create a violence-free utopia.
Like Chicago. Or Washington DC.
“Protect”MN and Carlbom want the uninformed and gullible to conflate “armed self-defense” with gun violence; to lump people like this, this, this, this, this, these and thousands of others in with gang-bangers, thugs and spree killers.
I was going to title the piece “Rep. Heather Martens: Her Lips Are Moving” – but now that Protect MN has hired Richard Carlbom, the PR father of gay marriage in Minnesota, I have to upgrade my approach.
Because while Representative Martens has never made a substantive true claim in all her years of working for victim disarmament in Minnesota, it’s time to start tracking Carlbom by the same standards.
An email went out to “Protect”MN supporters the other day. Here was the money quote:
… Guns without a certain amount of metal can slip by metal detectors in public places. There is no reason responsible gun owners would need to have unconventional weapons like these. The Undetectable Firearms Act keeps guns that evade critical security measures off the streets. The law is set to expire on December 9. We urge legislators to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act to keep these dangerous guns away from airports, courtrooms, and other public places.
Now, the fact is that no such weapons have ever been produced.
The “Undetectable Firearms Act” is an utterly empty gesture. It affects no crime. It affects no manufacturing. It is yet another empty gesture that groups like “Protect”MN flop in front of their ill-informed followers to give their shapeless concerns some rallying point.
I responded to the petition:
It’s not. This is empty legislation – even the feds have not bothered to enact any regulations due to this “act”, because *it refers to weapons that don’t exist*. There ARE no “undetectable firearms”.
The MInnPost is an organization I’d very much like to respect. It includes a raft of people I’ve considered good reporters.
But over the course of Minnesota’s gun debate over this past session – brought on by Minnesota DFL legislators launching a raft of authoritarian gun bills, including at least one that called for confiscation of certain firearms – the MInnPost has shown a very crafty bias toward the anti-Second-Amendment crowd. From Erik Black’s series suggesting that the Second Amendment was just too complicated for modern people, to the fawning coverage the entire publication gives Heather Martens (“Executive Director” and one of very, very few actual members of “Protect Minnesota”), down to Doug Grow’s apparently pre-written slime job on Representative Hilstrom’s compromise “good gun bill” during the past session, the MinnPost has supported the orthodox anti-gun line to a fault.
No, correlation doesn’t equal causation. The fact that the MinnPost threw all sense of objectivity and journalistic detachment to the wind this past session on the gun issue and getting a nice-sized grant from a group that has bankrolled anti-gun groups around the country for over a decade could be purely a coincidence. And it’s not like opposing the Second Amendment doesn’t come along with the left-of-center beliefs most of the staff hold.
Given the outcome of the legislative session, the tone of Tuesday night’s meeting sponsored by Protect Minnesota was surprising.
Heather Martens, who leads the organization that long has been a force for advocating for stricter gun-control laws, urged the 23 people who attended the North Minneapolis meeting to think about the “successes” that came out of the session.
On first blush, that may seem like a hard thing to do, given that gun-rights organizations got all they wanted: No universal background checks, no limits on magazine capacities, no assault rifle bans.
But “Protect Minnesota” doesn’t exist to convince people. It exists to manipulate the media – and, via them, the people.
Confederates! With Guns! Defending Slavery!
Which may be what led to this next statement by Grow (with emphasis added):
And by the end of session, cowed legislators refused to even have a floor vote on anything resembling major gun-law change.
That’s just wrong.
The legislators weren’t so much “cowed” as organizing behind Deb Hilstrom’s Good Gun Bill (Ortmann’s in the Senate). Half of the House, comprising reps on both sides of the aisle, co-authored her compromise bill. And when the backroom “negotiations” between the metro DFLers (who were carrying Heather Martens’ water to the point that one, Rep. Alice Hausman, let Heather Martens do her job for her) broke down, the bills were scuppered from the floor by a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and responsible outstate DFLers.
But that doesn’t fit the “big bad NRA!” narrative, does it?
History Is Written By Those With The Printing Presses
Grow carries on his stenography for Martens (emphasis added):
Martens told the group there was victory in the bipartisan support for $1 million to fund a law that requires the state to file data with the feds on those who should be prohibited from owning firearms.
The law requiring the state to file the data was passed in 2009 but was never funded, essentially making it useless.
Will Grow mention that it was a DFL legislature that scuppered that funding? The metrocrat Democrats didn’t want a bipartisan-backed background check to give the impression that it worked better than actual harassment of the law-abiding citizen.
“But Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln…”
Grow feels obliged to list the outcome of the tiny group’s self-therapy session:
Phone-banking (more than 1,000 calls to legislators sitting on the fence).
Legislators reported that constituent calls ran at least 50:1 against the DFL’s bills.
Media coverage was complete.
Yeah, the suspense was killing us on that one.
That’s what Heather Martens does – get friendly media coverage. She’s the Larry Jacobs of the gun issue – the one, single, sole person that every Twin Cities “journalist” calls for the left’s take on guns in Minnesota.
We’ll come back to that.
“Wait – That Was Your “Intellectual” Argument?”
One of the other “Successes”, according to Grow:
Finding a “visceral” message, one that appeals to the emotions as well as the intellect.
I got a laugh there.
Emotion is the only message Heather Martens’ group has! Talk with any of her group’s “members”, I dare you. You’ll get a broadside of anger and grief over Sandy Hook (but never, ever Chicago, or any other crime scene where the kids don’t look like the children of NPR executives) – and not even the faintest whiff of an “intellectual” message.
Although, as always, I do invite Heather Martens on the NARN to make that “intellectual” case. I’ve been asking for nine years, now.
You Don’t Do Business Against The Family
As Martens via Grow noted above, one of their “successes” was “complete” media coverage.
Now, there’s no surprise there. Most of the media editors and producers in the Twin Cities support gun control. Other reporters, I suspect, haven’t the depth of knowledge on the issue to know that pretty much everything Heather Martens has ever said on the issue is a lie.
But Doug Grow’s piece – really, his entire history covering Martens for the MinnPost – has been at a level of obsequious fawning that outstrips the rest of the media.
Well, I’ve got a theory. And remember – it’s just a theory. I’ve got nothing but circumstantial evidence to back it up.
But do you remember way up above, where we pointed out that the MInnPost gets big bucks from the anti-gun Joyce Foundation?
This might not be “conflict of interest” for Grow, in any actionable sense of the term. But I’d think that identifying the fact that both Doug Grow’s and Rep. Martens’ jobs are paid for, in whole or part, by a non-profit supported by liberal plutocrats that is the single major funder of anti-gun organizations might have been worth a mention.
Again, correlation doesn’t equal causation.
But given the complete abandonment of any sense of balance or concern for fact on the part of the MinnPost in covering the Second Amendment issue – not to mention Grow’s obsequious. fawning, toenail-painting coverage of Martens and her “group” this session - ”causation” doesn’t seem like a big stretch.
It’s been my contention for quite some time that Heather Martens – “Executive Director” and likely sole steady member of “Protect Minnesota”, and unelected Representative from House District 66A – has never, not once in her entire career as an anti-civil-rights pundit, made a single original statement that was substantially true.
Martens (center) adjusting the leashes on Jane Kay of “Moms Demand Action” (left) and Rep. Paymar (even farther left, but to the right of the picture) last week.
NRA Lobbyists Fail — Background Checks Move to House Floor
Yesterday, the Minnesota Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee passed H.F. 285, a bill that would ensure background checks for all pistol and assault weapon purchases at gun shows. The bill passed 10-8 and will head to the House floor. Despite only covering gun shows, Rep. Paymar, the chair of the committee, has vowed that H.F. 285 will ensure that universal background checks are debated on the House floor. Click here to read the whole story.
How many ways is this story wrong?
What “NRA Lobbyists” “failed”?: While the NRA has sent a rep to put in an appearance at one hearing, all of the heavy lifting against the DFL’s gun grab bills was carried by the MInnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance – which, unlike “Protect Minnesota”, is an actual grass roots organization with thousands of actual members, hundreds of whom came out to support civil rights over this past month while “Protect MN” managed, on a good day, maybe a dozen. Martens is lying.
With More “Failures” Like This…: Martens’ posting is an attempt to put lipstick on a pig. Gun-show background checks – which are useless in preventing crime, would have saved not a single life at Newtown or Virginia Tech, and are only a burden to the law-abiding citizen – are the very last of the measures with which the extremist DFL metrocrats marched into battle last month. The Metrocrats and Martens have been decisively rebuked by bipartisan majorities on…:
Ugly Guns Untouched: Banning “Assault Weapons” – which proved useless in preventing crime from 1995-2005.
Citizens Not Hamstrung In Face Of Violent Criminals: Restricting magazine sizes – again, useless in preventing crime of any type, much less mass killings.
The Law-Abiding Citizen Prevailed: Making Minnesota’s carry permit laws more niggling and onerous – from the effort to run applications past unelected police chiefs rather than elected sheriffs, to eliminating recourse for unjust denials, the DFL tried to make law-abiding carry permittees – among the safest constituencies in all of Minnesota, with a violent crime rate a couple of orders of magnitude below the general public (including metro DFL activists)
Success Has Many Fathers: Failure Is An Orphan: Most importantly; a bipartisan majority of the entire House, including many DFLers, signed on to a bill specifically targeted as a rebuke to “Protect Minnesota” and the extreme Metrocrat left. Half of the House, over 100 total members from both parties, co-authored the Hilstrom bill; Paymar’s bill had eight.
And all of this with a DFL legislature that is fundamentally disposed to support Martens and her organization’s agenda.
Viewed against that context – which, naturally, neither Martens nor her sycophants in the regional media will never provide – the conclusion is inescapable; “Protect Minnesota’s” 2013 agenda been a complete failure.
But Martens has successfully defended her title as least truthful lobbyist on Capitol Hill. So at least there’s that.
When you’re a conservative, distrust of the media – like most large institutions – is part and parcel of the job.
You probably accept that, for whatever reason – from systemic bias to cultural confirmation bias to being paid off by George Soros – that the media has a comprehensive bias toward the left.
And you notice it on some issues more than others. For example, you notice that anti-gun groups – for example, “Protect Minnesota”, led by Representative Heather Martens (DFL – 66A), a woman who has never, not once, uttered a substantively accurate or true original statement about guns or the Second Amendment – gets breathless, slavish coverage from the Twin Cities media, whose mania for “balance” obscures, in their coverage, the fact that the pro-Second-Amendment movement includes thousands of actual activists, while Martens’ group and the other antis muster…
…well, Martens and about a dozen of her pals.
And it doesn’t take a political rocket scientist (?) to notice that while their groups have virtually no electoral clout, Martens is apparently a big enough cheese among DFLers on Capitol Hill that she gets treated like, well, a Representative herself.
So after the hearings broke up last night, I watched who went where for a bit.
After he got done with the media, Rep. Paymar lit his afterburners and ran for the bleachers to meet Representative Martens and Jane Kay from Action Moms:
Kay, Martens and Paymar, talking about how much clout they have when those Million Moms finally show up. Someday. Honest.
DFL stenographer and former Strib columnist Doug Grow – now with DFL PR shop MinnPost – painted Jane Kay’s toenails:
Hey, maybe his story about last night won’t be pre-written!
And at the end of the night, you had pretty much every anti-gun activist in town gathered with the DFL PR coalition:
Grow, Kay, Nick “I’m Not The DFL’s Monkey” Coleman (from “The Uptake”), a staff guy and Martens talking, presumably, about what a bunch of wingnuts their opposition are.
Us gunnies? We had the fun down front:
Second Amendment attorney David Gross mixing it up with an anti who claimed we should “learn our history”, that firearms confiscation had nothing to do with the Holocaust. The anti, by the way, reportedly had walked up to the child of one of the GOCRA members in attendance and said “You’ll grow up to be a better person than your father” at a hearing last week. These people ooze class, don’t they?
I was down at the State Capitol yesterday for a press conference, as Representative Deb Hilstrom (DFL Brooklyn Park) introduced the gun bill/s we talked about yesterday.
The bills, as we noted yesterday, would exert the state to solve actual problems – close gaps in the background check system, add mandatory penalties for using guns in crimes or possessing them illegally…
…y’know. Controversial stuff.
At the presser, I saw a big group of legislators from both chambers and both parties lining up to support Hilstrom’s proposal. Reps, Senators, Democrats, Republicans – it was probably the most bipartisan assembly I’ve seen that wasn’t in the lounge at the Kelly Inn after hours.
Not just legislators; guys in uniform. They weren’t just there for the fun of it – guys in uniform never are. No, they were from the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.
And I saw media. Oh, lord, did I see media.
And Heather Martens was there, naturally; where there is truth about the Second Amendment, Martens will be there. To lie. And lie and lie and lie (note to the media who bothered to speak to her; she has uttered not one substantial word of truth in her years at the capitol. Ask me).
And the “groups” she represents put out a call for their “membership” to turn out in force to oppose this bill – probably remembering the hundreds of Second Amendment supporters who turned out daily to oppose the DFL’s gun grab bills a few weeks ago.
We’ll come back to them.
One person who was not there was Doug Grow, from the MInnPost.
To be fair, I haven’t seen Grow in person in over 20 years; I might not recognize him.
Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, has discovered again that there is no comfortable middle ground when the subject is guns.
At noon at the Capitol, Hilstrom, standing with Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek and Rep. Tony Cornish, the gun-toting legislator from Good Thunder, introduced a gun bill that she said “can bring people together’’ on the volatile subject of guns.
No, no bias here.
The Astroturf Consensus
Grow, like most of the Twin Cities mainstream media, labors under the delusion that there’s a large, organized mass of people supporting gun control, and that they were out in force yesterday.
Her words were still echoing in the Capitol when critics, who had hoped for much stronger actions from the Minnesota Legislature, lambasted the effort of Hilstrom and a bipartisan group of 69 other legislators to “close gaps’’ in current state gun law.
“This is just a band-aid over a huge problem,’’ said Jane Kay of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, an organization formed in the days following the mass shooting of school children in Newtown, Conn.
Only in America can a two-month old pressure group with fewer members than there were legislators standing behind Hilstrom get the breathless adoration of the media. Which is what “Moms Demand Action” and “Protect Minnesota” both are; astroturf checkbook advocacy groups funded by liberal plutocrats with deep pockets – with “membership” numbers in the single digits.
Provided they share the goal of fluffing the left’s withering narrative on gun control.
Of course, Grow wasn’t the only offender; Pat Kessler of Channel 4 asked Hilstrom why the bill included no universal background check which, he asserted, “70% of Minnesotans oppose”.
The correct answer – the polls ask people about background checks without explaining the consequences of those checks as the DFL and Governor Messinger Dayton currently propose them; they will result in a de facto gun registry, which is a necessary first step to universal confiscation.
More on gun-related media polls in another piece soon.
The Pre-Written Story
But Grow himself is the real problem here. His piece, while short on the sort of insight that actually engaging people on both sides of the issue might have given it, is long on evidence that Grow wrote the story long before yesterday’s press conference.
There’s the inflammatory reference to every leftymedia member’s favorite boogyman:
The bill has the support of the National Rifle Association, presumably because it does nothing to require background checks on all gun sales and because it does nothing to restrict sales of military-style weapons or even the quantity of rounds in ammunition magazines.
The bill has the support of gun-rights organizations because instead of wasting time and effort putting niggling restrictions on the rights of the law-abiding that didn’t affect crime in any way the first ten years they were tried, they actually address the real problem; criminals, the insane, the addled, and the holes in the data the state sends to the Feds for the background check system.
(And while the NRA makes a nice, recognizable, stereotyped boogeyman for the lazy propagandist, the NRA actually has very little to do with the day to day heavy lifting of the gun rights movement in Minnesota. It’s the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance that turned out 500 or more people a day to attend the gun grab hearings a couple of weeks back. Grow either doesn’t know that, or doesn’t want people to know that. You know where my money is).
More evidence that Grow wrote the story entirely off of DFL and “Protect Minnesota” chanting points?
Despite the fact that it’s a bill that authors hoped would unite people, it seems to be dividing. Yes, there was a mix of Republican and DFL representatives standing with Hilstrom, Cornish and Stanek. But there were no law-enforcement organizations represented at the news conference where the proposal was unveiled.
Here’s the video of the press conference:
See all those guys in uniforms?
Scroll in to 1:12. That’s Sheriff Rich Stanek, Hennepin County Sheriff, speaking on behalf of the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.
Either Grow is lying, or he wrote the entire story with no knowledge of the facts of the story.
Short On Fact, Long On Jamming Words Into Peoples’ Mouths
Grow follows by saying…:
There also were no DFL senators, though presumably the bill will be as attractive to outstate senators as it appears to be to many outstate DFL representatives.
Grow throws that in there as if it’s a substantive fact related to the bill itself. It’s not. While most outstate legislators no doubt remember the DFL debacle of 2002, it’s also more than plausible Tom Bakk wants to keep his powder dry.
In other words, presence of no DFL senators is a non-factor, unless you’re a low-information reader.
Grow next swerves through fact – and in so doing, undercuts his own premise. I’ll add emphasis:
Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, and the chairman of the House public safety committee, has indicated he has no desire to have the bill heard by his committee. Paymar is pushing a bill that would require purchasers of guns at flea markets and gun shows to go through background checks.
Yet, given the large number of co-authors with Hilstrom, there likely are ways for the bill to weave its way through the legislative process.
Yes. There are a large number of co-authors; so many they had to submit it not one, not two, but three times to get them all on. Over half of the House is signed on as authors of the bill.
Michael Paymar wants to thwart the will of the representatives of over half of Minnesota’s voters?
Putting Thirty Shots From An AR15 Into A Strawman
Finally, Grow takes his whacks at some of the legislators who’ve violated the DFL’s narrative:
[Representative Tony] Cornish, usually a lightning rod in the gun debate, said he was taking a different role regarding the fate of this bill.
“Several of my statements (in the past) have been controversial,’’ he said. “Today my role is to be a peacemaker.’’
No sooner had he said that than he uttered a statement that raises the hackles of those hoping for stronger gun measures.
“I want to thank the NRA for helping (on the bill),’’ he said. He went on to say that the bill “contains nothing for gun owners to fear.’’
Er, who’s “hackles” got “raised”, here? And why?
Was it the involvement of the NRA? Your dog whistles aren’t our problem.
Or was it the quote about gun owners having nothing to fear? Is that the actual goal, here?
Hilstrom, in her seventh term, refused to talk about her true feelings of the bill. Rather, she kept speaking of the importance of “passing a bill that will solve real problems.’’
She did point out that she never has sought the endorsement of the NRA and that in the past she has received a “C,’’ “D,’’ and “F’’ from the NRA.
If she’s doing the right thing – which, for a majority of Minnesotans, is “solving problems”, rather than attacking the law-abiding gun owner – then I don’t care if she’s a life-time “F” rating. And I don’t care about her true feelings; I don’t care if she’s being used as an escape hatch by the DFL to get out of the embarassment of the Paymar/Hausman gun grab bills.
Finally: I owe the Twin Cities media an apology. I’ve said that Larry Jacobs is the most over-quoted person in the Twin Cities media. And he is. David Schultz is right up there.
But in the “single-issue” category, Heather Martens – “Executive Director” and, near as we can tell, one of less than a half-dozen members of “Protect Minnesota” (and de facto representative of House District 66A) and a woman whose entire body of public assertions is lies, dwarfs them all:
Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota, derided the bill as “NRA-approved.’’
Boo! Boogeyman! Hiss!
Listen, MinnPost-reading dogs! There’s your whistle!
“Any bill that fails to address the gaping holes in our background check law falls far short of the public’s demand for the right to be safe in our communities,’’ Martens said in a statement.
And there’s another lie. The bill does address the gaping hole that exists in the background check laws.
No, not the misnamed “gun show loophole”, which is another media myth. The real gap is the data that the state isn’t sending to the feds; the Hilstrom bill fixes it.
GOCRA’s Mountain, Grow And Martens’ Molehill
Leaving aside the fact that Grow got pretty much everything in this story wrong – and wrong in a way that suggests not only that he wasn’t at Hilstrom’s press conference but that he wrote the whole thing straight from chanting points long before Hilstrom took to the microphone – the most pernicious thing about Grow’s story is that it tries to create the impression that there’s a genuine battle between two titanically-powerful sides to this debate.
In terms of legislators? A bipartisan sample of over half of the House is on board co-authoring Hilstrom’s bill(s). A thin, runny film of metro-DFL extremists is backing the Paymar/Hausman/Simonson gun grab bills.
In terms of the public? Last month, GOCRA put out a call for people to come to the Capitol. And they did.
“Protect Minnesota” and “Moms Demand Action” put out a call yesterday for people to come out and protest against Hilstrom’s bill.
Here they are:
Well, not literally. But no, other than Heather Martens, nobody showed up.
There are literally more DFL legislators co-authoring Hilstrom’s bill than there are members of “Protect Minnesota” and the “Moms Demand Action” put together.
In St. Paul, however, where he’s the face of gun rights at the Capitol, he’s sometimes less popular, even downright loathed, particularly this legislative session, when a minor blizzard of gun bills has been introduced.
Not to worry, Cornish says confidently, he and other Republicans have enough votes, along with those from rural DFLers, to block any proposals that gun-rights advocates oppose.
“They won’t pass,” he said.
A one-time city cop, deputy sheriff, conservation officer, police chief and, yes — speaking of big guns — Army tank commander, Cornish legally packs what he advocates, either a .40 caliber Glock on his hip — if he’s wearing a sport coat — or a Smith & Wesson in his pocket.
“After being shot at a couple of times and receiving a number of death threats, and never knowing whether I might come across someone I arrested years ago,” he said. “Well, I guess after 36 years as a peace officer, I’d just feel bare without it.”
Plain-speaking, Cornish seems at times a throwback among legislators, reminiscent, in his forthrightness, of Charlie Berg, the onetime DFLer, onetime Republican, mostly independent lawmaker from Chokio in west-central Minnesota.
Sometimes underestimated, in that respect he’s also not unlike the outwardly wacky but ultimately effective retired Sen. Bob Lessard of International Falls.
Of course, every time the “G” word pops up in the Twin Cities mainstream media, the media beat a path to the door of Heather Martens, “Executive Director” (also likely only actual member) of “Protect Minnesota”. Maybe the editors insist, and she’s the only anti-gun person in their collective rolodex.
The media seems to be unaware of the simple fact that every single substantive declaration about the gun issue, that Heather Martens has ever made, beyond the gurgitation of the odd statistic, has been a lie.
And Dennis Anderson’s piece, like every piece of coverage Martens has ever gotten in her misbegotten public life, is more of the same; I’ll add emphasis to the most dissociative of Martens’ lies:
” [Cornish says the] …background-check system needs to be improved, but it’s complicated and it will cost money,” he said. “If we mandate upgrades to the system, we’ll have to get it right, and it’s going to cost money.”
Heather Martens of Protect Minnesota, a group that would like to see gun laws tightened, wants Cornish to go further.
“We just don’t agree with him, and we don’t think he operates in good faith,” Martens said. “He believes guns are an unlimited right, no matter how many people die. We believe gun deaths can be prevented and that prevention is warranted.”
Martens is ranting – and she’s counting on the public to be both stupid and gullible too.
Cornish, like every single significant pro-Second-Amendment figure, anywhere, believes that there are limits: criminals, the insane, the chemically-addled, at a fair and clear statutory point, must not get guns. People who use guns to commit crimes must be punished. People who get carry permits must know the laws and know how to handle their guns without hurting themselves or others.
Those are limits. Those are gun controls that, unlike anything Heather Martens says (or hands off to the legislature), actually work.
Cornish disagrees. Background checks on gun sales between private parties? “No.” Restrictions on modern sporting arms, or what commonly are called assault-style rifles of the kind he uses to hunt coyotes? “No.” Prohibition of high-capacity magazines? “No.”
“None of those will reduce crime,” he said. “And none of those bills will pass. We’ve got the votes to block them.”
Thank God for Tony Cornish.
And in the Almighty’s own way, thank God for Heather Martens. The harsh, incoherently-gabbling, upper-middle-class elitist pathological liar symbolizes the myopia and hypocrisy of the gun control control movement as capably as anyone since Carl Rowan.
Aren’t the Democrats the ones who complain that their opposition is in the back pocket of lobbyists?
We’ll come back to that.
We’ll also come back to this: until redistricting last February, I spent close to two decades in the old House District 66B, which was represented by long-time DFLer and teachers union mouthpiece Alice Hausman.
Hausman, speaking at an event for which she apparently couldn’t find a lobbyist to substitute for her.
Republicans in the district used to call her “Alice The Phantom”, because she was rarely seen out and about in the district, except for the odd photo op. Redistricting put her in 66A – but she’s the same Alice Hausman she ever was.
Like I said, we’ll be back.
I went to the Capitol last night. As usual, the number of pro-Second Amendment people dwarfed the number of orcs – in the overflow room I was in, it was 100 to about five, and that was much closer than it usually gets.
Hearings for the bills their people were introducing. Representative Hilstrom, Savick, Schoen, Simonson and Slocum were largely absent from the morning’s testimony – at least, testimony from opponents of the gun grab bills. I’m going to hazard a guess they’re present for the votes.
But more egregiously, Representative Hausman was absent for the readings of both of her gun grab bills – the magazine capacity bill and the “assault weapon” grab. Which is not uncommon in the House; Reps have busy schedules, and it’s not uncommon for other representatives to fill in for them.
So who read Hausman’s gun grab bills?
Heather Martens, “executive director” (and, likely one of about three actual members, and that’s being charitable and assuming that they don’t actually charge to be members) of “Protect Minnesota”.
Heather Martens, exploiting an earlier crime victim in front of the Minnesota House.
(No, I’m not kidding. The late Joel Rosenberg used to tell stories of going to “Citizens for a “Safer” Supine Minnesota meetings – Martens had to rename the group again after what was left of CSM’s credibility evaporated a few years back – where Martens presided over a table with nothing but Second Amendment activist ringers. Not a single actual gun-grabber showed up for these meetings)
Martens – who, as has been noted in this space for the past decade, rarely if ever says a single truthful or factual word about the gun issue in public – read both of the bills to the committee for the record. It’s the job the Representative is supposed to do.
This was brought up to Michael Paymar, the committee chairman. He said it was fairly common for people to fill in for Representatives in front of the committee.
Which may or may not be true, but I’m going to hazard a guess that those people who fill in are almost never registered lobbyists.
I say “almost never”, because it’s against the House of Representatives’ purported “Permanent Rules“:
2.39 EXECUTIVE BRANCH OR LOBBYIST PRESENCE IN COMMITTEE. No House committee, division or subcommittee shall permit any member or staff of the executive branch, registered lobbyist, or lobbyist principal, to be seated at the committee table with members of the House during official proceedings of committees of the House.
“Presenting a bill to the committee” certainly counts as being “seated at the table with members of the House”.
So the facts are these:
Representative Hausman was absent – according to staff, off doing non-House business – during the introduction of not just one but both of her gun grab bills
Both of her bills were read by a registered lobbyist
If a Republican had done this, there’d be an uproar
BONUS FACT: After all of the DFL’s whinging about “model bills” last year, in an attempt to impugn ALEC, all of the DFL’s gun grab bills are cribbed from legislation in other states, and are pretty obviously not just model bills, but really stupid ones
So there you go, District 66A. Your voice has been given over to a special interest group.
As we noted on Tuesday, the Strib’s coverage of the fact that over 100,000 Minnesotans have carry permits (six weeks later than it was covered in this space) had good news and bad news.
The good news? Larry Oakes, the Strib reporter, did a decent job of finding some sources on the pro-gun side. Like a few Strib reporters before him – Conrad DeFiebre was the first – he seems to have tried to do a fair job.
And maybe it’s that urge – and reportorial “duty” – to be fair that pushed Oakes into his mistake, and the bad news; Oakes took Heather Martens seriously.
That may be a form of “good news” in a sense; fifteen years ago, there were a couple of anti-gun groups, and a slew of Metrocrat DFL legislators who would queue up to bash on the Second Amendment and its supporters. Now, Martens is pretty much the best anyone can manage.
State data shows that since the law took effect, permit holders were convicted of 882 non-traffic crimes, including 66 assaults, two robberies and two killings. Many were committed with guns.
I don’t know the “66 assaults” or “two robberies”; I’m going to dig into those.
I’ll show you why in a moment. Let’s focus on the “two killings”.
I had a hunch where the “two killings” numbers came from. I called Mr. Oakes at the Strib. And he confimed – he’d been pointed to the numbers at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension by Martens.
The BCA doesn’t go into a lot of detail about what killings are what – but let’s presume that the “two killings” are not the two justifiable homicides in Hennepin County over the past couple of years – the Grumpy’s shooting, where a bouncer shot and killed a patron that was threatening him (and cut him!) with a knife, and the Evanovich shooting last fall, where a good samaritan killed a mugger who’d just pistol-whipped a woman in the parking lot of a Cub foods on East Lake, and then drew on the samaritan (who shot first, taking out Evanovich and ending a bit of a crime wave on East Lake). HenCo attorney Mike Freeman – no fan of civilians with guns – ruled both of those shootings justifiable. So those are of no use to Heather Martens or any anti-gunny.
To the best of anyone’s knowledge, other than these two, there have been two other shootings involving carry permittees, and the BCA records seem to line up with them.
The first “killing”, if my sources are correct (and they pretty much always are) was a 2010 suicide; a man in Duluth who had pled guilty a week earlier to sexual assault.
There are a couple of interesting details about this case, though:
For starters, his permit should have been yanked when he pled guilty – in court, that moment – if not when he was arrested for felony sexual assault. So if the man – Brock McCarthy was his name – ever had a permit, he shouldn’t have when he killed himself. That’s if the system worked as it is supposed to.
He shot himself in his home. His permit was irrelevant.
It was a suicide. Not a murder. While suicide is a tragedy (that, in this case, was connected to another awful crime), it’s different than killing a second or third party who doesn’t want to get killed.
While suicide is a tragedy, one needn’t have a carry permit – or a gun – to do it. People without permits – or guns – do it all the time. The only difference with gun suicides is that it’s rarely about “seeking attention”, like cutting one’s wrists or taking pills. It’s about wanting to check out, now. Tragic? Sure. A rap on carry permits? Nope. Fishy to present as a “killing”, in the sense of a person killing another person?
The second killing was one Michelle Rae Wilson, who killed her boyfriend in 2008 in St. Paul. Wilson was convicted of second-degree murder. I’m familiar with the case; my friend the late Joel Rosenberg covered it extensively. It was a fair cop. It was also in her home – the carry permit was irrelevant.
(On the off-chance that the other homicide was the shooting at Nye’s back in 2005? The permit-holder was using a pre-”Shall-Issue” permit, one of the ones issued with the full police discretion that, Heather Martens would have you believe, made them safer than the ones we’ve had for the past nine years).
Martens’ point was to try to impugn carry permittees – as Oakes’ next quote made clear:
Martens said it debunks the notion that all permit holders are law-abiding.
Let’s shoot that strawman in the face. Nobody said “all” permittees were law-abiding. Merely much more law-abiding than the general public.
As Oakes, to his credit, allows Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance boss Andrew Rothman to note:
Rothman responded that permit holders commit much less than their share of crime, citing as an example that though one in seven Minnesotans has a DWI on their record, only one in 545 of the state’s permit holders got one after getting a permit.
“No one ever claimed permit holders would be perfect,” Rothman said, “but the numbers show (they) are consistently orders of magnitude more law abiding than the general public.”
Let’s look at Minnesota statistics. Leaving out the two justifiable homicides and the suicide, there has been one unjustified murder carried out by someone who had a carry permit in 10 years. There are over 100,000 carry permittees. Divided over ten years, that yields a murder rate of .1 per 100,000. The murder rate in Minnesota averages around 2/100,000. Carry permittees are 20 times safer than the general public. So far.
And in terms of danger to the public? From 2003-2010, there were 1107 murders in Minnesota (give or take a few – I did the math in my head). That’s an annual murder rate of about 2 per 100,000. Against that, we have one non-justifiable homicide carried out by a permit-holder. That boils down to an annual rate of .002/100,000, meaning a typical citizen is just shy of three orders of magnitude less likely to be murdered (unjustifiably, anyway) by a carry permittee than by a non-permittee.
We’ll look into the “robberies” and “assaults” later.
Whatever the overall affect on society, Easton, the Twin Cities gun instructor, said he thinks that carrying has made him a safer member of it by giving him what he perceives to be “a sense of grace.”
“When you’re carrying a gun, you can’t afford to get accused of causing trouble, so you let things roll off your back,” he said. “You wave with all five fingers.”
Very, very true.
So there are two lessons from Larry Oakes’ story:
The Strib is making an effort to cover the issue relatively fairly.
On the other hand, if Heather Martens opens her mouth, she’s lying.
The Strib is finally on the story – and there’s good news, and there’s bad news.
The bad news? They – in this case. reporter Larry Oakes – still can’t resist a bunch of the usual clichés:
[A carry permittee named Pat Cannon] not a vigilante. He’s not a nut. He’s just another average Minnesotan who has acquired the power to kill.
Why do I suspect the Strib newsroom is the only place, besides a DFL meeting (PTR) that “Vigilante” or “Nut” would have been suggested? I mean, you get used to it when the MSM talkes about gunnies – this sense that underneath it all it’s just a little “off”.
But here’s the good news – Oakes balances things out relatively fairly:
[Permit training instructor Evam] Easton said the permit holders he knows “are lawyers, real estate agents — especially women who have to show houses alone — landscapers, a video engineer, a network technician, a radio show host [Quite a few of the, actually - Ed.], a couple of legislators, a mediator who talks divorced couples through sticky situations … a lot of typical, average careers.”
And to his credit, Oakes finds a couple of “experts” who are not completely ludicrous on the subject:
“America has long had a gun culture, but now it’s becoming a carry culture,” said Adam Winkler, a professor at the UCLA School of Law and author of “Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America.”
Winkler traces the roots of the shift to fears spawned by the social and political upheaval of the 1960s.
“People began to see the gun as something for personal protection, not just hunting,” Winkler said. Meanwhile, as gun-control advocates pushed to get handguns banned in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, the NRA “changed overnight” in 1977, Winkler said, from stressing support for hunters to focusing like a laser on the right to bear arms.
Those factors helped trigger a handgun rights movement that swept the country, and by 2011, 37 states adopted so-called “shall issue” permit laws, taking away officials’ discretion to deny permits to people who are of legal age, sound mind and have no criminal history.
Not a bad whack at history for an MSM piece, all in all. And it’s perhaps a sign that the Twin Cities media is growing in office ever so slightly that Andrew Rothman is getting as many calls as some of the more risible antis:
Rothman said it’s no surprise that a greater proportion of permit holders live where the gun culture is generations deep.
“If you grew up in Minneapolis, it’s easy to believe that guns are just plain trouble,” he said. “But you don’t have that out in the country, and the square miles are huge. If you have a dangerous situation, the police can be 30 minutes or an hour away.”
And Oakes does in fact manage to get outside the traditional envelope of media sources:
[A woman], a 40-year-old professional from the Twin Cities, asked that her name be withheld for the same reason she started carrying: A man with a violent history is stalking her.
She got a restraining order, but even the judge who signed it told her it wouldn’t necessarily protect her. So both she and her husband got permits and carry.
“I don’t want to ever have to use it, and I would rather not have the responsibility,” she said.
So so far I have to give kudos to Oakes.
And I can’t fault Oakes for his editorial drive to lend some balance to what has, so far, been a favorable story about Minnesota carry permittees.
But I saw the next section head…:
A mixed record
…and my Martensdar went off.
“Martensdar” is that feeling any Minnesota Second Amendment activist gets when Heather Martens is about to be cited as an expert source in the Twin Cities media (see also: Jacobsdar, Daveschultzdar).
And lemme tell you, my Martensdar is one finely-tuned machine:
The law “has not been a net benefit to our society in any way,” said Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota — Working to End Gun Violence. “They promised that if lots of people had guns everybody would be safe. Here just [recently] we had a 5-year-old child killed while sleeping on a couch. I think we were sold a bill of goods.”
Maybe Oakes is new to the guns beat. Or maybe – this is actually the most likely – he can’t find another anti-gun “expert” in the Twin Cities. It’s plausible that Oakes doesn’t know the single fact anyone needs to know about Heather Martens.
So here it is: If Heather Martens says or writes something about guns, it’s a lie.
And she’s in traditional form with the statement above, with two toxic lies in one paragraph:
Nobody, but nobody, “promised that if lots of people had guns everybody would be safe”. We showed with a preponderance of evidence that we’d be safer - and we are. Violent crime is down in Minnesota – especially the parts with the strongest gun culture.
The five year old was not killed by a carry permittee. He was killed by a juvenile (you need to be 21 to get a permit, and 18 to buy a gun legally, which I’m pretty certain the gun involved in the murder was not) on a block that was in effect a self-contained criminal enterprise, among a group of a adults among which one might suspect few would qualify for a carry permit (due to criminal records), in a city that was, and remains, hostile to the law-abiding gun owner.
But that’s not all.
There’s some even more misleading information in Martens’ contribution to Oakes’ piece.