Life In A Time Of Mayor Norton

This tweet came out from the Olmsted County sheriff’s office yesterday:

While Olmsted County is not controlled by the city of Rochester, the city is obviously the center of political gravity. And Kim Norton, as passive-aggressive an anti-gun zealot as ever blurted out a made-up statistic, most certainly either had something to do with this, or the DFL culture of the county that spawned her, spawned this culture of passive-aggressive petty tyranny as well.

Remember this at election time.

Declaring The Causes That Impel Us

We’re into month two of the “State of Emergency” in Minnesota.

Let’s stipulate in advance – government does have emergency powers, and should have them, at least as a broad concept. One of government’s few genuinely legitimate roles is to exert its power to react to things that are beyond the power of the individual, or (rarely, at least in theory) subsidiary levels of government; invasions, natural disasters and, yeah, epidemics. We can argue the “should government have emergency power” question if you’d like, but it’s pretty much the status quo.

One of the obligations of a free people – and especially of a free people that wants to stay that way – is to push back when government overreaches. Not just in emergencies (although that’s the subject today), but always, on every facet of liberty. Conservatism holds that order and liberty exist in a constant state of tension; without order (or health) prosperity is impossible; without health, freedom is academic (subsistence farmers don’t have time to petition for redress of grievances); without freedom, order is onerous and, let’s be honest, prosperity is most likely concentrated among those keeping the order.

Government power, like a handgun, is a necessary tool in extreme circumstances. And like any necessary tool, free people need to make sure that the newbie isn’t sweeping people at the firing range with her hand on the trigger, and that goverment isn’t getting drunk and profligate with its use, or abuse of power.

And I think we can make a pretty solid case that Governor Walz’s emergency declaration does exactly that.

First – Covid clearly is an emergency. There is a valid public health reason to treat it as more than just the flu. But the record shows different states taking very different approaches to the emergency, and with very different results; New York State went full-on Mussolini, but between having one of the most densely populated cities in the country and being run by bungling clowns like Bill DiBlasio, it didn’t work; California also went full-on tyrant, but it seems to be working. Other states went the other way; in the Dakotas and the rural west, it seems to be working out fairly well, while in Louisiana and Florida, the libertarian approach (combined with a lot of ill-advised, Italian-style revelry in the face of the threat) didn’t pan out so well.

Minnesota has trended more authoritarian. I get the rationale. But let’s be honest – even if you ignore the ham-handedness of the administration’s management of information (of which more later in the week), it’s fair to say the Governor and his Administration have clobbered civil liberties while reacting to the crisis – in many cases, wrongly.

So lets put together a list of the usurpations:

Life and Liberty

  • While the movement restrictions in Minnesota are fairly benign so far – serving more as a muted threat than an active clampdown – the idea of telling people not to go to their lake cabin (i.e., trying to prevent people from moving temporarily from a place of high desnsity and greater vulnerability to someplace safer) is an intrusion. And Mayor Frey’s active use of the police to curtail traffic isn’t just a muted threat.
  • The ability to visit family, especially in hospitals and nursing homes. To be fair, in many cases this is a private response to the epidemic – it’s why I can’t see my mother, notwithstanding the fact that her husband of nearly 30 years just died – but it’s driven by the response to government regulations and the litigiousness that government regulators have promoted.
  • We’re paying for a lot of government “services” of dubious value in the best of times, that we’re not getting at all today.

The Pursuit of Prosperity

Here, the DFL’s disdain for business and private property rears its head, above and beyond any actual response to the epidemic.

  • The right to transact business is clearly subject to arbitrary, and in some cases seemingly capricious, interference. Small businesses are shut down (as big ones, and business with more, better lobbyists remain open), in many cases without regard to the business’ actual susceptibility to the virus (lawn services? Landscapers? They’re pretty socially distant to begin with). Arbitrarily shutting down businesses regardless of their own instincts for self-preservation, ingenuity and ability to achieve some resiliency against the epidemic (like all the small grocery stores turning their lanes into one-way thorofares) qualifies as a taking in my book. Classic example – liquor stores are “essential”, but vape and smoke shops aren’t. It’s best that your vices not be politically unfashionable.
  • The assignment of “essential” status was clearly utterly politicized.
  • While it seems an act of charity, and might even be justifiable, barring all evictions and foreclosures is certainly an arbitrary taking without some sort of compensation. The idea that
  • Contracts are pretty much irrelevant – business are foreclosed by decree, in many cases, from fulfilling them, and the courts are closed for purposes of arbitrating the results.

Government Transparency

  • The Administration is making huge, life-altering decisions about the economy based on a model that seems to be giving very different results than most other models, and whose proprietors are keeping secret for the most paternalistic of reasons: “On Friday, [State health economist Stefan] Gildemeister said he had concerns that models that let anyone use them might be “irresponsible” because “it allows folks to make assumptions that aren’t very realistic ones.” While “transparency” isn’t necessarily a constitutional issue, the idea that state bureaucrats treat the math and code that they created on our dime like something they have to prorect from a bunch of drooling savages should make every freedom-loving citizen hot under the collar, and ready to vote a whole lot of scoundrels out of office in seven months or so.
  • The legislature, already prone as it is to operating as a “star chamber” with the Governor, Speaker, and the two Majority Leaders, has gotten even less transparent than before; online gatherings (kept just below legal “quorum” status) have been substituting for public committee meetings; policy is being made completely absent public scrutiny.
  • The governor’s “press only” press conference Friday – if that doesn’t bother you, what does?

First Amendment

  • The banning of group gatherings of all kinds – as opposed to pushing for voluntary enforcement of containment and distancing – pretty much forswears all protest against government overreach.
  • The enforced closing of places of worship – as opposed to strongly suggesting people wear masks, stay at home if sick, and observe spacing between family groups in services – is a clear violation of freedom of religion.
  • While closing places of worship by decree is onerous, many churches – including my own – closed voluntarily. But there are aspects to faith – Sacraments like Last Rites, Baptism and Confession, for Catholics, and there are many others in other faiths – that must be done in person, and where remote exercise is banned as a matter of doctrine. I’ve been informed of cases where priests have been barred from hospitals; no avenues left open for the administration of such Sacraments, whether through prudent adaptations (priests in masks and PPE, isolation rooms, whatever) or not. One administrative size fits all, whether talking about an ad agency or a church. This – not just the closing down, but the forbidding of any adaptation – has to be a clear violation of the First Amendment.
  • Freedom of assembly? Do I even need to say it?
  • Along with that – the right to petition for the redress of grievances, private or public, is pretty much toast until the courts decide to start meeting again.

Second Amendment

  • Many counties are curtailing the ability to apply for, or renew, carry and purchase permits.
  • The operation of the ranges necessary for taking permit training is pretty much shut down.
  • Thanks to a law passed by a bipartisan majority in 2015, government in Minnesota can’t confiscate guns, or shut down gun stores unless literally every other business in the state is closed, due to a state of emergency. This was an admirable bit of foresight – it doesn’t take a vivid imagination to see Jacob Frey, Melvin Carter and Kim Norton (frothing anti-gun ninny mayor of Rochester) sending their cops door to door in times like this. More on this later.

Fourth Amendment

Fifth Amendment

  • With the courts pretty much closed your right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury is pretty much toast for the duration.
  • And the closing down of the Judicial Branch offices give defense attorneys – who, unlike prosecutors, have no online access to Judicial Branch records – a serious disadvantage in prepping for cases for when they can get to trial.

Privacy

  • Government is using your cell data to track the effectiveness of social distancing. While we’re assured that government and the big cell providers they’re in bed with aren’t mis-using that data, we all know that’s only as safe as the government’s least ethical employee.

Got more (specific to Minnesota, for now)? Leave ’em in the comments, please.


I gave the example of Minnesota’s gun rights movement’s successful drive to foreclose government’s ability to confiscate firearms and abrogate the 2nd Amendment during crises. Gun Rights groups in Minnesota are big, well-organized, and badly funded (you can sure help out) but make up for it in volunteer action and the justice of our cause.

The lesson, though? Minnesotans need to get together in the same way to put stronger guard rails on the other excesses of government emergency power we’re seeing.

Lie First, Lie Always: When The DFL Does Polling, The Truth Dies A Little

Kim Norton – the former MN Representative from Rochester who asked for a “conversation about gun safety”, and then blocked everyone who disagreed with the conclusion she’d been given by Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown” – tried her hand at “polling” to try to gin up the impression that there was some actual support for gun control in Minnesota.

Her “polling” was a joke – and I say that as someone who has to know something about demographic statistics for a living – but it needed be nothing but, as it was intended, like most gun control statements, only to scare the uninformed, fool the gullible, and inflamed the uninformed.  Oh, and ingratiate herself with Michael Bloomberg’s minions, the better to pad out her post-legislative career.

Not sure what the motivation is for her, but Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn – a woman whose idea of “discussion” is the same as the cowardly Norton, and has done as little to earn her pointless air of condescension as Senator Ron Latz – is a rep from the only place she could get elected in this state; Minneapolis.

And in her latest subject constituent email, among other questions, she asks:

“Do you support or oppose passing universal background checks on all gun sales in Minnesota?”

Mark my words:  the responses to this question – which will draw self-selecting responses from people motivated to respond on the issue at all, in one of the most liberal districts in the state – will be presented without context by Becker-Finn, and likely the media, as indicative of the opinion of Minnesotans at large.

I’m making a note.  we’ll check back on this.

New Years Resolutions For MTV And Other Ofay Social Justice Warriors

A week back, I linked to the fairly noxious MTV video showing a raft of millennials giving “white guys” a series of “new years resolutions”.  I’m not going to  display it again – once was plenty.

But I figure, one good turn deserves another.  I’ve got some resolutions for Social Justice Warriors to observe for the coming year.

Enough with the Whitesplaining:  Y’know who I consider the apex of credibility when it comes to running down the crimes of the Caucasoid ethnicity and the scourge of “white privilege”?    Upper-middle-class white pseudoacademics with advanced degrees and cupboards full of Whole Foods packages, that’s who!

The next such person to whitesplain (condescendingly explain the sins of “whiteness” while being, y’know, white) me is getting pantsed.

Snowflakes Who Cried Wolf:   Not everything that you disagree with is “hate”.   Not everyone that disagrees with you “hates” you.

When you call all disagreement, all difference of opinion, all dissent, all views different than yours “hatred”, you make any meaningful discussion impossible.

Speaking of which:

Silence Is Golden:   Stop jabbering about “seeking a dialogue” or “wanting a conversation” about an issue, and then aggressively blocking all attempts by people who disagree with you to actually have the disagreement.  I’m not gonna name names, but it’s  hypocrisy and cowardice, Kim Norton and Alondra Cano and “Protect” Minnesota .

Innocence Until Proven:  Believing that suspects are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of one’s peers does not make one “pro-rape”.  Say it around me and you will get your face singed so bad you won’t be able to get a tan for 20 years.

You’re welcome.

Lie First, Lie Always: And Out Come The Ghouls

The last spent cartridge casing had barely pinged off the ground when the ghouls of Minnesota’s “Safe Criminals” movement came streaking out of the shadows to rip the bloody shirts off the (ahem) victims of an ISIS terror attack to try to jam their agenda down our throats.

Kim Norton – fresh from utter failure in the legislature, and apparently on her way to a fat, cushy job with a pro-murderer-safety non-profit:

Theatrical deep breath, here.

OK.  From the top:

  • Universal Background Checks:  For whatever reason, notwithstanding the fact that Omar Mateen had been under investigation for his terrorist sympathies and was famously unstable, Mateen didn’t come up on any background checks.  Why?  Bad reporting?  Official political correctness?  Let’s assume both.  Either way – while “universal background checks” would have made owning a gun harder for any of Mateen’s potential victims, it would have done nothing to stop him.
  • Rethink Carry Laws:  OK, let’s think.  Had one single gay man in that bar – a “gun free zone”, as usual – had a gun, it might have changed the course of events (as it does more often than our disinformed, and sometimes disinforming, media believes).  Of course, carrying a gun in a bar is a misdemeanor in Florida, which seems not to have been much of a deterrent to Mateen.  So yes, maybe it’s time to “rethink” the law to de-stigmatize the law-abiding citizen.
  • Not “normalizing carrying”:  Ever notice how places where law-abiding citizens normally carry are almost never the target of mass shootings or terror attacks?  And when they are, the attacks are more likely to end with dead shooters and terrorists?

So yes, Kim Norton – take a moment to stop gorging yourself on the blood of innocent victims and do some re-thinking.   Please.

Of course, Kim Norton is a gun-grabbing ninny because she gets paid for it (or will be, soon).    Rabbi Latz – apparently the brother of Senator Ron “I Went To Harvard, Don’t You Know” Latz – tweeted in response to a local human rights advocate who pointed out exactly what I pointed out to Rep. Norton, above:RabbiLatz

That Latz, rabbi at a “progressive” congregation in Saint Louis Park (who was in the process of dislocating his spine while bending over backwards to pin this atrocity on gun owners, rather than an ISIS terrorist) is in mid “smug response” with this tweet is the sort of inevitability that you learn to accept when dealing with orcs and the gun issue.

That a liberal rabbi, in the midst of a smug, know-nothing dismissal, tries to invoke the dissenter’s soul is purely loathsome.  The “Rabbi” is a blot on his calling.

Later, when I called him on his lack of command of the facts, he sniveled:

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 7.14.03 AM

“Rabbi” Latz is a thug and a wanna-be bully for abusing his ecclesiastical position to support a political agenda (an agenda I believe, and can prove, to be morally retarded, but that’s really irrelevant to the issue at hand – thuggish bulliness).   I may not “have all the answers” – but despite the fact that he has none, he not only trumpets his ignorance, but wraps it in unearned self-righteousness.

There may be few people in politics I respect less than “progressive” clergy.

A Good Grandma With A Gun

An 80 year old woman in Sultan, Washington shot and killed a man who was trying to go all teppanyaki on her husband:

The woman called 911 at about 8:30 p.m. from the home in the 13700 block of Woods Lake Road and said “she had shot an intruder after he broke into her home and stabbed her husband,” Ireton said.

The suspect, a 25-year-old Gold Bar man, died at the scene.

“At this time, detectives do not believe the suspect was known to the residents of the home and that this was an attempted home burglary,” Ireton said.

Note to Kim Norton, Ron “I Went To Harvard” Latz and The Right Reverend Nancy Nord Bence; maybe if the woman took a background check, the guy wouldn’t have broken in?  Right?

How Can You Tell We’re Not In Minneapolis?

Because outside the Twin Cities,every once in a while, the editorial cartoons slip up and tell the truth about Democrats;.

The Rochester Post-Bulletin printed this editorial cartoon about Rochester Representative Kim Norton yesterday:

  
Not bad. Not bad at all.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement. During a session in which representative Norton has wasted taxpayer time jabbering about exploding bullets” and numbers from surveys that wouldn’t rule in elementary school music teacher, I think I could come up with something pretty good, here, too…

  
Yeah, that works too.

Everything You Need To Know About Heather Martens, “Everytown” And Moms Want Action

To:  The Twin Cities Media
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  A Guide To Gun-Grabber Rhetoric

Dear Media,

When the topic turns to guns, the Second Amendment and gun control, there is so much that so many of you are groaningly misinformed about.

Now, many of you are actually doing what, 20 years ago, would have been unthinkable; going to people on the gun-rights side who know something about the issue, like Andrew Rothman and Bryan Strawser – as you write your stories.  Not all of you, but enough so that one can be satisfied the facts can be found – which is a good start.

But I think many of you are unclear on a basic, unalterable fact about the gun issue that needs to be reinforced.  I’ll emphasize it here.   Remember it in your dealings on this issue, and you will have a good head start.  I’ll give it some emphasis, so it sticks out:

The Minnesota “gun safety” movement – Heather Martens, Jane Kay, Kim Norton, Joan Peterson, singularly or as a group – has never made a statement about guns, gun rights or “gun safety” that is simultaneously original, substantial and true.  

What does that mean?

I’ve provided this little truth table to help you figure it out:

They may have said something that was: For Example: But:
True “The Colt M1911 is a good choice for self-defense” (Heather Martens, House Public Safety committee testimony for magazine limits) It’s neither original (Jeff Cooper started saying it in the seventies) nor especially substantial (it’s a matter of opinion, and it added nothing to the “debate”, such as it was.
Original It’s easier to get a gun than a book in Minneapolis It’s original-ish, but it’s not true (for the law-abiding citizen).  You could argue it’s insubstantial – I’d stay “trite and manipulative” – as well.
Substantial “Gun Violence is on the rise” Its not true – it’s down over half in the past 20 years . It’s not original, but that’s the least of the problems.
Original and (in a sense) true-ish “A majority of Minnesotans favor universal background checks” There might be a survey that shows a majority of Minnesotans, not selected for knowing and caring about the issue, might have answered “yes” to the question.  It’s insubstantial, of course; most of those polled have no idea about the substance or ramifications of the proposal; when they do, the numbers changed
Sort of original and vaguely substantial-sounding “Background checks have lowered crime; eliminating them raises crime” Nope.  You’ll find that the “drops in crime” tracked with similar drops in nearby areas that didn’t institute background checks.  The crime hikes?  They tracked with crime increases in urban areas where criminals just don’t get background checks.  False!

Apply this test to everything Heather Martens, Joan Peterson, Jane Kay, Nick Coleman, “Everytown” and “Moms Want Action” say; is it original, AND substantial, AND true?  Ask someone who knows the facts about the issue – Rothman, Gross, Doar, Strawser, or even lil’ ol’ me.

And you will – inevitably and without meaningful exception – find it to be an absolute truth; the “Gun Safety” lobby in this state has never, not once, said something that was true, original and substantial.

Never.

(Want to challenge me on that, gun-grabbers?   Let’s do it. In public.  Neutral turf, neutral moderator, debate rules.  I will win, you will slink from the room at best, slink from the room behind a screen of ad-homina at worst.  I’m up to the challenge.  Let’s pretend that you are, and go for it).

Lie First, Lie Always: The Strib Marinades In The Bloomberg Kool-Aid

The Star/Tribune’s editorial board is a group of people, apparently in their sixties and seventies, who seem to spend their days pining away for a time when the media could say anything they want without fear of being caught out in public by people who know better.

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

Those days are long gone.  Only the editorial board doesn’t seem to know it, or recognize it, as shown in last week’s editorial calling for, at the least, hearings on a “universal background check” bill.

And like everyone on the institutional left, they participate – with all the grace of a German jazz band – in the left’s only real tactic on the issue of gun control; Lie First, Lie Always.

Why, it’s almost as if Heather Martens, in addition to being a State Representative, is a Strib editor…

Continue reading

Kim Norton: Minnesota’s Greatest Gun Salesperson

GOCRA notes that since Barack Obama and Kim Norton started their parallel offensives against guns (in the hands of the law-abiding citizen), Minnesota carry permits are flying off the shelves as fast as guns of all types.  January was a near-record month for permit applications:

The number of valid Minnesota carry permits is now 221,712, an increase of more than 6,000 in the last month, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

That’s the second-largest increase ever. The largest increase occurred in March 2013, in the wake of calls for increased gun control following the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Permittage-2-4-16

The sharp increase following the San Bernadino, California mass murder — and subsequent calls for more restrictions on firearms — was entirely predictable, according to GOCRA President Andrew Rothman. “Nothing gets people more interested in exercising their rights than the threat of having them taken away,” he said, noting a similar increase after Sandy Hook.

The people are generally smarter than their legislators:

GOCRA’s founder and chairman, Professor Joseph E. Olson, emphasized that although police arrived at the San Bernadino scene in under five minutes, the killers had already taken 14 lives and fled the scene.

“The only solution to a mass murder incident is instant counterfire,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who is shooting back: police, security, or an ordinary citizen. All that matters is that someone is. As history shows, after the first armed resistance, the murderer will almost always either give up, or run for cover — and often commit suicide. Either way, the presence of instant counterfire ends the murdering. Nothing else does.”

The next nine months are going to be intense.  And if Bernie or Hillary wins the election, look for the lines at gun stores to make the lines at Star Wars look like the lines outside Truth.

Disparity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Compare the green shaded areas on this map:

with the red circles on this map:

I know, I’m comparing apples to oranges but it’s the best available data to make my point.  The area of the state with the most shots fired has the fewest permits to carry.  Why is that?

Perhaps because criminals don’t obey laws?

Joe Doakes

Let’s ask Kim Norton.

This Is “Gun Safety”

Chicago has dragged their feet and obstructed the law-abiding gun citizen’s attempt to protect themselves ever since the day the Heller decisions was announced.

And the city’s murder rate is setting new records; January saw 51 homicides, the bloodiest January since the gory days of the ’90s.

Gang conflicts and retaliatory violence drove the “unacceptable” increase in homicides, the police department said in a statement. But the rise in violence also notably comes as the Chicago Police Department faces increased scrutiny following the court-ordered release of a police video showing a white police officer fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times, and as the department implements changes in how it monitors street stops by officers.

Chicago routinely records more homicides annually than any other American city, but the grim January violence toll marks a shocking spike in violence in a city that recorded 29 murders for the month of January last year and 20 murders for the month in 2014. In addition to the jump in killings, police department said that it recorded 241 shooting incidents for the month, more than double the 119 incidents recorded last January.

Some on the left – including, I suspect, Kim Norton – might think that the spike in violence is despite the city’s intransigence on guns in the hands of the law-abiding.

Some of us know better.

A Good Guy With A Gun?

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

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

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

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

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

Police were planning to look at store video.

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

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

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

Our Illogical Ninny Overlords

Told that the State Capitol Police wanted to hold “active shooter” training for the legislature and its staff, Rep. Kim Norton decided to introduce a bill repealing last year’s law allowing law-abiding carry permittees to have their legally-carried firearms in the Capitol complex.

And the logic was…

…entertaining:

screenshot-www.facebook.com 2015-12-31 15-34-52

 

If law-abiding citizens can’t bring guns to the capitol, criminals won’t shoot anyone.

Just like nobody sells crack, drives over the speed limit or after too much to drink, or robs liquor stores any more; because they are laws against each.

Norton is wrong, by the way; at least 18 states allow law-abiding citizens to carry their legal firearms in the state Capitols in one way or another.

That’s the reason so many Real Americans have such a hard time taking gun-grabbers seriously; they’re not serious.

 

Shots Fired

Rep. Kim Norton is going to come for your guns this session.

It may not work, but it’s the next measure in what Big Left hopes to make into a steady drumbeat that eventually wears the great, underinformed middle down on the issue.

But the facts are out there.

Location, Location, Location:   If you live in Minnesota, you know that North Minneapolis is the state’s little Oakland.  While Minnesota as a whole has a murder rate of 1.6 per 100,000 people, the North Side’s violent crime (about 30 murders last year, in a population of under 40,000 people) teases out to a murder rate of 75/100,000 – higher than Venezela, double that of Columbia.

Of course, Minneapolis (and Hennepin County in general) has among the lowest legal firearms ownership rates in the state:

So if the left’s conceit  – less guns (in the hands of the law-abiding) equals less crime – would seem to predict a nice, low crime rate in Minneapolis.

But the MinnPost ran a piece earlier this week – and for starters, it confirmed what everyone already knew; the North Side is a shooting gallery, at least judging by the MPD’s “Shot Spotter” system.

Here’s a “heat map” of the city:

screenshot-www.minnpost.com 2016-01-19 12-16-08

 

 

There’s a faint dribble of shooting in the “Phillips” neighborhood (between Franklin and Lake, east of 35W and west of Hiawatha), and some in the central core of the south side between 35W and probably Chicago (and just so we’re accurate, here, the shot-spotter microphones are only installed in high-crime areas; we don’t see shots fired in Linden Hills or along Minnehaha Creek because there are no microphones in Linden Hills or along Minnehaha Creek.  But there are no microphones there because, objectively, there really isn’t a big “gun violence” problem there.  Or Nordeast.  Or by Nokomis. Or even on Lake Street east of Hiawatha or much west of Nicollet.

More telling?  Shooting has been trending down on the south side for the past six years:

screenshot-www.minnpost.com 2016-01-19 12-16-33
Even the NYTimes knows that North Minneapolis is a free-fire zone:

But as Willesha Moorehead, who came here from Chicago a dozen years ago, can attest, struggle is baked into its streets.

Seven of her friends or members of her family, including the father of her first child, have died from gun violence in North Minneapolis. She has struggled to get work, in part because she could not find child care for her two daughters, she said. And for the past three years she has bounced between the homes of friends and family because she could not find affordable housing.

The problem, the NYTimes seems to imply, is that not enough money gets spent on the North Side:

Public transportation is poor, residents say, and though local officials are planning to spend more than $1 billion on a light-rail line, North Minneapolis residents have been critical because it will run through downtown and the suburbs but skirt their community.

So clearly, the answer is to crack down on guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens in Northeast and Saint Paul and Anoka and Thief River Falls.

That should solve it.

The real problem?  The government has been using the North Side as a warehouse for the poor for a couple of generations now.  The city has been fine with that – they’re a nice pool of captive DFL voters – but now, the social consequences of keeping a bull pen full of dependents is catching up with the city.

Again.

Why We Fight, Part IV: The Underdog

In Charles C.W. Cooke’s fantastic piece in National Review last week on the power of emotion in the gun debate, he made an excellent point; the gun debate is about more than just cold numbers.

Much more.

Influence:  I grew up in a family that was very uncomfortable around guns.  My mom didn’t let me have toy guns when I was a kid; and while I enthusiastically built my own, parts of the whole distaste rubbed off on me.

Until I was about 14 years old.  Then, on one of my sojourns through the history section at the Jamestown public library, I found a copy of The Black Book – a collaborative record of the history of Nazi atrocities against the Jews in Europe, and of Jewish resistance.

The Synogogue in Baden-Baden, ablaze after Kristallnacht.

Maybe I was way too young to read it. Maybe it caught me in my formative years.  Maybe it warped me.

All I know is, nobody ever had to teach me “Never Again”.

And it occurred to me; barring the Jews that managed to get out before the war started, or the lucky few who were hidden and smuggled away by the resistance, the Jews that survived were the ones who found guns, and fought their way through the war.

The Bielski Brothers gang; a group of Jews, mostly escapees from the various ghettos, who fought for years in the swamps of Belarus. Hundreds of Bielski’s people survived the war – the largest single Jewish partisan group.

And even from the depths of Concentration and Extermination camps, access to even a few guns bought some lucky, tenacious Jews a shot at survival.

Some of the 50-odd survivors of the uprising at Sobibor, soon after the war. The guy on the right in the back row is Leon Feldhendler – a mild-mannered businessman from Krakow who led the revolt, who killed SS troopers with a homemade shiv, led 300 to freedom and 50 to survival, and who lived to the end of the war – to be killed by antisemitic goons in 1946. Evil never sleeps.  Its why we fight today.

And even if they didn’t survive – was it not better to die on ones feet, facing the enemy, maybe taking a few with, than to be slaughtered like sheep?  To be an instrument of God’s vengeance, in some  way small or large?

(There is a sliver of the academic grievance-mongering community that believes memorializing those who were able to fight back is prejudiced against those who died without fighting.  Nonsense.  Anyone who says they would or would not be among those who, under mortal but imponderable threat, absolutely would leave the world of the normal to go out and fight against an enemy that seems, at that moment and in that place, omnipotent and unbeatable, has been watching too many movies.  Although having the mindset is a good start.  At any rate, that particular bit of grievance-mongering is simply daft; do you think those who died in the gas chambers begrudged those who fought in the forests the shot they’d taken at freedom?  Do you not think those who fought in the forests fought, as best they could, on behalf of the victims who could not?  This sort of academic navel-gazing repulses me at a level too deep to discuss).

It’s not “the” Holocaust; it’s Rwanda. The things that are supposed to “never” happen “again” keep coming back to haunt us.

And so, even when I still called myself a “liberal”, maybe even a “progressive”, I slowly, furtively began feeling my way toward being a Second Amendment supporter.

It’s been accepted as a truism among Real Americans for decades – there’s never been a totalitarian dictatorship in a country with civilian gun ownership.  It’s not entirely true – the Nazis allowed some tightly regulated civilian guns – but one of the first of the Nuremberg restrictions on Jewish life barred Jews from having guns.

“Never Again”, Israeli-style.

It was the first, necessary step on the road to the Holocaust – denying the Jews the actual ability to be more than a speed bump on the way to extinction.

And I, and every Real American who learned the right lessons from history, live “never again” every day we go to the range.

Enforcing Non-Violence:  But one needn’t go to Europe, or even back seventy-five years, to find oppressed citizens winning their freedom through force of arms – in this case, the threat of it.

Martin Luther King gets a lot of credit – justifiably so – for leading the fight for civil liberty for blacks in South at the end of the Jim Crow era.   And even when I was in school, not all that long after the fact, we were taught that King’s victory was a victory of non-violent resistance.

The March on Selma was dangerous enough outside the watchful eye of the media. Out in the backwoods of Alabama and Mississippi, what was a civil rights worker’s recourse?

And it was true – in places like Montgomery and Birmingham, where and when the northern, urban media was there to keep a spotlight on things.

But much of the battle for justice and political equality was fought outside the glare of the media’s Klieg lights, in sharecroppers shantytowns and hollers and delta villages that hadn’t changed much since the Civil War.

The militia? You’re damned right it was.

And there – as documented in the book This Non-Violent Stuff’ll Get You Killedby Charles Cobb – it was black men and women, World War II veterans and lone activists and mutual-self-defense groups, with hunting shotguns and war-surplus rifles and relics handed down from God only knows when, black people seeking equality, their franchise and their justice stared down the Klan over open sights, deterring the worst of the violence, just as their great-grandparents, back from the Union Army, had nearly a century before.

Black man, German pistol. BTW, don’t EVER put your fingers on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. How many accidents has this photo inspired? Good Lord, people…

Even King himself carried a handgun through most of his travels, and his home was reportedly an “arsenal”.

Nicholas Johnson goes back further than Cobb, in Negroes and the Gun: the Black Tradition of Arms.   The case is convincing; had blacks not been able to deter Klan and supremacist violence in the sixties, the battle for equality would have been at the very least an incredibly bloody one, and at worst been either impossible, or a fault-line leading to another civil war.

All Together Now:  So we are a nation that is built on not merely the idea of freedom, but the notion that it’s our job to stay that way.   We are a people who know that government is at best imperfect at protecting us from crime, much less insulating us from tyranny.  And we – the ones who pay attention – know that at times, heaven forefend, it’s The People’s job to seize that freedom back.

Iraqi Christians, arming themselves to resist ISIS. What, you thought genocide ended in Rwanda?

And while the gun-grabbers ascribe a lot of motives to Real Americans’ struggle, from “defending gun industry profits” to “compensating for something, yuk yuk”, those are the reasons that keep us fighting, year in, year out.  They are the reasons we, the Real Americans, are the most successful grass-roots political movement in recent years.

And they are the reasons we can not rest on our laurels.  Evil never sleeps.  Either can we.

There you go, Heather Martens and Kim Norton and Barack Obama.  That’s why we fight.

And why you will lose.

To Sum It Up In A Sentence:  Freedom is endowed to us by our creator – but not everyone got the memo; history shows that the need to deter or repel threats to freedom, and life, are lamentably common.

This Series:

The Client Is Obviously Guilty

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

See, we need to get rid of this concealed carry law cause this is what happens.  Shots going off in Target because somebody with a concealed handgun …….

Yeah, except that he was a felon ineligible to possess a gun, clearly didn’t have a carry permit.  But let’s not have that cloud the discussion on the need for more gun control to take guns away from permit holders and other legally owning guns.

Joe Doakes

Remember – according to Rep. Kim Norton, if law-abiding citizens can’t carry guns at the Capitol, there will be no risk of mass shootings.

The Gore Line And The Rail Of Death Line

Yet another pedestrian has been killed along the Rail Of Death Line from downtown Minneapolis to the Airport.  I’ll urge prayers for his family and the people in his life.

screenshot-www.iridetheharlemline.com 2016-01-03 22-00-12

Map borrowed from “iridetheharlemline.com”. I do not ride the Harlem line, but it’s one of the better maps of the TC rail system I’ve seen…

This follows on two more train-pedestrian accidents on the Rail of Death Line, as well as the Gore Line through Saint Paul, last month.

If It Saves Even One Life…:That brings death totals to:

  • Twelve dead on the Blue Line of Death in a little over ten years.
  • Three dead on the Gore Line in about 18 months.
  • And – I didn’t know this at all – four deaths on the Northstar.

That’s more deaths than in every spree killing in Minnesota history – and we’re paying for it.

Minnesota doesn’t need any spree killers, Kim Norton.  We have our transit system.

Alondra Cano: Transparent As An Iron Curtain, “Conversational” As Rain Man

Busted last week for using public data to try to shame constituents who disagreed with her participation in a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mall of America, Alondra Cano is sorry…

…that all you dissenters are such racisssss rubes:

“It was not my intent to put anyone in danger by any means, and this was not an attempt to punish anyone,” Cano said. “But it was actually an attempt to have a public conversation about the importance of Black Lives Matter and how the public should continue to have that debate publicly without fear of having to hide your thoughts behind some rationale that doesn’t make sense.”

“…behind some rationale that doesn’t make sense”.  Hmmm.

Of course, her “public conversation” talk would seem less bullshit-y if Cano actually had a conversation.  She didn’t. She took the four dissenters contact information from a city server, and published it on Twitter – which is sort of like “having a conversation” with someone after you’ve hung up the phone with them.

And her “conversation” – like Heather Martens and Kim Norton before her – is, of course, a monologue; everyone who criticized her on Twitter got blocked; she responded to no media requests.

Which is an interesting response for someone who claims “”I did it out of a belief in government transparency and public discourse”;  intimidate dissenters, ignore questioners, hide from reporters.

When They Say No, They Mean Maybe; Maybe They Mean Yes

First things (ahem) first: Jay Furst, the top editor at the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin, and I go way back, more or less.  He was working at the Jamestown Sun back when I was at my first radio job, during the tail end of the Carter administration.  When I moved to the Cities, he was working as a PR guy, and gave me some useful advice for breaking into the big city.  I’ve always known him to be a good reporter.

And like any good reporter, he’s not to be denied a story that he has every right to cover:

Rule No. 1 for public meetings: Don’t tell reporters they can’t be there…A new local group called the Coalition Against the DMC had an organizational meeting at VFW Post 1215 Thursday night. One of the organizers, Diana Friemann, put a public notice in the Post-Bulletin calendar of events last week, for print and online, to announce the meeting…The item said where, when and what the meeting was about, and Friemann was listed as the contact. It said, “Help stop the tax-and-spend agenda of DMC.”

That sounded like an interesting meeting, so a P-B reporter contacted her to learn more. Friemann told him the media wasn’t welcome at the event and wouldn’t be allowed to report on it, and she asked not to be identified…

Well, that’s not the way America works. You can’t call a public meeting and then tell reporters not to show up. You can try to keep us out — you can put a guard at the door, frisk me for my reporter’s notebook, take my camera — but all you’ll do is assure that a story will run. We might not get all the information, but we’ll report that something happened.

As long has Hillary Clinton or Mark Dayton have nothing to do with it…but I digress.

Seriously – bully!  Kudos!  That is, in theory, what the Fourth Estate is supposed to do!  It’s their First Amendment right – not to get censored by government – and it’s their job!

So let’s fast-forward to this past Monday night.  Furst organized – as he has, monthly, for about ten years now – a public forum at a Rochester library to discuss Kim Norton’s Bloomberg-issued gun grab proposals.  Oddly, although a number of people at the forefront of Minnesota’s 2nd Amendment movement offered to come to Rochester to speak for the good guys, Furst declined, preferring to have people from the Rochester area.  Oddly, representing the 2nd Amendment movement at the event was…a Twin Cities area gun trainer who is apparently a great guy but not necessarily a public speaker, and Representative Duane Quam – one of the good guys in the Legislature who has earned his “A” ratings from every  rights group that matters, but not someone whose rhetorical style is compared to Jeremiah Wright.

Anyway – if we Second Amendment supporters have learned anything over the years, it’s “control your narrative” – which means control your sources.  Which means get your own sources; your own video, your own copies of numbers, everything. Trust no-one, least of all government, even less of all media, to tell a true, accurate story.

And so the various Second Amendment freedom groups urged their supporters to videotape the presentation, to capture for ourselves all the inaccuracies and fabrications Rep. Norton was sure to issue.

And they did . Which is where Furst picks up the story, in a piece from this past Tuesday in the Post/Bulletin.

The guy sitting next to me at the front table had a pistol on his hip, and I’ll assume there were other guns in the room as well. Nobody who wanted to carry a gun was turned away from our Dialogues event. Nobody got kicked out. I just asked in advance that people choose not to carry. I’ll assume a number of people ignored that, and certainly one of our panelists did.

Yeah, Mr. Furst – the Second Amendment is on a par in every way with the First Amendment.  And if you tell us we can’t exercise our rights in a place – a public one! – where we have every right to, we’re going to practice it twice as hard.

Sound familiar?

There were Rochester police officers on hand to check permits to carry, though I don’t know that any were checked.

Because most cops know that law-abiding citizens with carry permits are safer than law-abiding citizens without ’em.

Nobody’s rights were infringed, but the library — our host for the event — appreciated my request that people leave their guns at home.

So let’s get this straight; we’re utterly absolutist about some civil rights, but extremely casual about others?

Anyway – by way of “controlling the narrative”, some of the Civil Rights activists came with cameras:

Interestingly, when I arrived that night, a man had set up a video camera in the front row, intending to tape it (as was recommended by a Minnesota gun rights lobby)…Then I learned that in fact the library has a policy not to allow videotaping for privacy reasons, which is their right,

Precisely as it was the right of the group in Furst’s first piece to request no media be present; i.e., not at all, if they’re in a public place.

They can ask. Should they be asking the public to park their civil rights at the door, in a place where they have every legal right to be?

though the library in fact videotapes the Dialogues events (and makes people aware that videotaping occurs).  They asked him not to use his camera; he refused.

Which brings us back to the “control your content” bit.  When the DFL power structure wants evidence to disappear, then voilá, it disappears.

I asked him myself and he said it was a library policy, not a statute or higher law, and he’d videotape if he pleased. He was fairly cold and crisp about it.

As any reporter would be when asked not to to their job, in a public place, at a public event, at a place they have every right to be at.

It’s a simple fact; we can not trust the media or this state’s public institutions to tell the people the truth about this issue.  It’s not necessarily due to bias (although there is plenty of that out there too); most reporters in this state don’t know the difference between a magazine and a clip.  When Kim Norton says something like “we need to ban exploding bullets”, most reporters will nod and write “Kim Norton addressed the plague of exploding bullets”.  They don’t know any better.

Now, just about every blogger, talk show host and activist has had this conversation with someone in the media; the media figure will respond “but you’re not a reporter”.

To which we, the people, need to respond “On this issue, yes I am.  I can actually tell the story to the people who weren’t here and don’t know, accurately and fairly (and “fairness” and “bias” aren’t necessarily incompatible).  People reading/watching my account will get a more accurate, more knowledgable, more complete, and fairer picture of what happened here than they will from reading/watching yours.  There is nothing about your tin ‘journalist’ badge that gives you a first class seat on the First Amendment plane”.

After the event, he thanked me and said he didn’t intend to create a stir. I thanked him for attending. But as the videotape incident suggests, absolutely nothing is easy about this issue.

Well, some things are;  Rights are rights.  Upholding them takes work.  Even the ones that aren’t fashionable.

And in that, Kim Norton is in league with the plantation owners in the old South.