Would-be armed robber in Arizona learns you shouldn’t bring a knife to a chair, fist and big stick fight:
I love a happy ending.
Would-be armed robber in Arizona learns you shouldn’t bring a knife to a chair, fist and big stick fight:
I love a happy ending.
An armed citizen, whom police are calling a “Good Samaritan”, ended a shooting spree at a Walmart in Washington state.
If only we cared about our school children as much as we do about our Walmart customers.
A motorist who shot a man acting erratically and aggressively – with a knife – after a traffic accident in Fridley last fall won’t be charged.
According to the attorney’s office, Schiffler got out of his vehicle, grabbed a woman and began forcefully groping and kissing her. He also, the attorney’s office said, stabbed at the window of a nearby car with a 4-inch knife.
Another motorist unholstered his gun and told Schiffler to stop. According to the attorney’s office, Schiffler then raised his knife and charged at the man with the gun. The man shot him three times, and Schiffler died from his injuries.
“The evidence demonstrates the shooter had no reasonable ability to further retreat, given the physical surroundings, proximity of other people and the actions of Schiffler,” the attorney’s office said in a press release.
Gun-grabbers might say that’s not the same as “justifiable” homicide. They’re right. It’s better. The cops and the county attorney believe there was no point in taking the case to court; nobody needs to prove it was justified.
I’d say “I love a happy ending” – but of course it’s not a happy ending; even insane and impaired people are human beings, usually with some sort of parents or sibling out there.
But then, so were the people that Mr. Schiffer threatended with a knife.
A good guy with a gun and a baby, attacked by four thugs, fails to become a tragic statistic:
Four men were at a McDonald’s in Memphis’ Orange Mound neighborhood when they attempted to rob the father, police said. David Chase, who witnessed the attempted robbery from across the street and called 911, told WREG the father fought back.
“They jumped out of the car and they started fighting him and trying to take his wallet and stuff,” Chase told the news station. “He was fighting them. He dropped his baby and started fighting them and the child was just sitting on the concrete.”
Chase said he heard three to four gunshots. The father is believed to have shot at least one of the suspects.
Fingers crossed for the good guy.
A Pennsylvania school is planning to fight active shooters…
“Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone. If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” said Dr. David Helsel, [Superintendent of the Blue Mountain school district in Pennsylvania – Ed.] testifying to the House Education Committee last week in Harrisburg.
“At one time I just had the idea of river stone, they’re the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard and they will create or cause pain, which can distract,” Helsel told WNEP.
Helsel says teachers, staff, and students were given active shooter training through a program known as ALICE which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate and they routinely hold evacuation drills for active shooter simulations.
But if a teacher decides to lockdown a classroom, there are rocks in a five-gallon bucket kept in every classroom closet that students could throw if shooters get inside.
And the fact is, yes – with active shooters, any resistance is better than none. It’s just crazy enough to…well, maybe be better than useless.
Speaking of better than useless – the district took some more concrete action:
Helsel says the district has no plans to arm teachers, however, Blue Mountain does have a maintenance employee who is trained and certified to work as school security and is armed.
People may laugh – but it makes more sense than any Twin Cities public school is going to.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
We are told ordinary citizens don’t need guns, we shouldn’t try to defend ourselves, we should leave it to the professionals who have training and experience to do the job safely and correctly.
In other words: “Trust us, we’re from the government and we’re here to help.”
The School Resource Officer who hid outside the school instead of engaging the shooter inside, resigned in disgrace. He’s not the only Deputy who hid and waited. The Coral Springs PD walked past three more cowering deputies to go into the school looking for the shooter. And that’s after years of warnings were ignored. No wonder the sheriff wants to blame Trump and the NRA for this disaster. The officer who resigned may be the only honorable person in that whole department.
And I’m not sure he’s being justly blamed. Think of the TSA screeners at the airport. All federal law enforcement people, supposedly there to protect the public from terrorists. They put on a big show of confiscating a two-inch pen knife and badgering anybody making jokes about bombs, but imagine the Florida shooter had skipped school to show up at the airport. Imagine he had started shooting at people standing in the rope line, or taking off their shoes. How many of those TSA screeners would have charged the gunman? I suspect the answer is “none,” because they’re not warriors, they’re window dressing, and everybody knows it.
Same as the School Resource Officer. He might be a sworn peace officer carrying a pistol but God help him if he shot a kid causing trouble , if he pulled a weapon on one, or even spoke sharply to him. Jesse Jackson would be on the first plane and Gloria Allred would be in the seat right next to him. The school hired the guy to be Officer Friendly. They can’t expect him to suddenly turn into Rambo and they would have been horrified if they thought he might.
The deputy who resigned is a trained professional, all right. But what’s he trained for? Sensitivity to gender issues? Minimizing racial arrest disparities? Reducing truancy? He was great at those jobs. Don’t blame him for failing to do a job he wasn’t hired for, wasn’t temperamentally suited for, that nobody wanted him to do.
In the seminal essay “A Nation of Cowards” – an essay that may not have created an entire generation of Second Amendment activists, but certainly helped them focus their thinking – Jeffrey Snyder wrote:
Is your life worth protecting? If so, whose responsibility is it to protect it? If you believe that it is the police’s, not only are you wrong — since the courts universally rule that they have no legal obligation to do so — but you face some difficult moral quandaries. How can you rightfully ask another human being to risk his life to protect yours, when you will assume no responsibility yourself? Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 salary we pay him? [In 1993 – Ed.] If you believe it reprehensible to possess the means and will to use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon another to do so for you?
Adults who are kibitzing about the cops – but not calling for school sfaffers to assert their moral right, power and obligation to protect the children in their charge and themselves – are hypocrites.
And yes, I said “moral obligation”:
One who values his life and takes seriously his responsibilities to his family and community will possess and cultivate the means of fighting back, and will retaliate when threatened with death or grievous injury to himself or a loved one. He will never be content to rely solely on others for his safety, or to think he has done all that is possible by being aware of his surroundings and taking measures of avoidance. Let’s not mince words: He will be armed, will be trained in the use of his weapon, and will defend himself when faced with lethal violence.
I think this essay needs to circulate again.
So let’s count it down:
A deeeeeeeply troubled kid with a long, long record of violent outbursts – who, by law, could not be expelled, because school districts need that per diem for having kids in the seats.
Multiple credible reports of a kid who “wanted to shoot up the school”, received by the sheriff’s offie and the FBI. 1: the schools had a problem kid with violent outbursts including assaults and threats. But could not expel him by law.
39 calls to 911 for the kid in a short time.
Statemens about Nik Cruz that just keep coming out of the woodwork.
And to top it off, the cop (the ones who Big Left sayis should have all the guns) sat outside the school, literally in a defensive position, and did nothing as the massacre went on inside.
The armed school resource officer assigned to protect students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took a defensive position outside the school and did not enter the building while the shooter was killing students and teachers inside with an AR-15 assault-style rifle, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday.
Israel said he suspended School Resource Deputy Scot Peterson on Thursday after seeing a video from the Parkland, Fla., school that showed Peterson outside the school building where the shooter was inside and attacking.
“What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of Building 12, take up a position, and never went in,” Israel said.
Sheriff Israel noted what readers of this blog have known for years; that the deputy’s job was to get in there and put shots on target. To shake the killer out of his narcissistic reverie. They’ve known this – and, ostensibly, trained on this – since Columbine.
Not charging toward gunfire is a pretty normal human reaction.
On the other hand, everyone who is getting the victorian vapours over the thought of letting school staff carry guns for self-defense? This is your alternative; lived dependent on the frailty of human nature to defend them from the depravity of human nature.
Why not use one of human nature’s more automatic traits – self-preservation – to our advantage? Especially since repealing “gun free zones” will deter the attacks in the first place?
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Concealed carry permit holder shoots a man dead, to stop him from beating a liquor store employee to death.
I love a story with a happy ending.
We’ll see how this shakes out – I don’t think John Choi wants Ramco residents feeling too empowered.
But so far, so good.
It was five years ago yestarday that Jacob Roberts – a loser and delusional narcissist – walked into the Clackamas Mall in Portland Oregon with an AR15, a pistol and a couple hundred rounds of ammunition, apparently intent on giving his pathetic excuse of a life a big finish.
He murdered two Christmas shoppers – Cindy Yuille and Steven Forsythe – and was by all accounts intent on murdering many more; the load of ammo was a dead giveaway.
Then, Nick Meli – an off-duty security guard with a carry permit and a concealed Glock – drew down on Roberts.
The media’s and law enforcement’s accounts vary from this point – a point that the media holds against the notion that Meli is a hero. But by all rational accounts, Roberts saw the gun aimed at him, and did exactly what the FBI, in its study of spree killers after Columbine, said he’d do; delusional narcissists like Roberts (as opposed to terrorists like Omar Matteen) either run away, give up, or kill themselves rather than face the consequences.
Which is what Jacob Roberts did; he retreated into a Gap store and, shortly, shot himself.
The media and Big Gun Control has done its best over the years to bury this story. Meli himself has been very reticent about being in the public eye.
But it’s the position of this blog that Meli was, and is, a hero who saved many lives that day, and kept Clackamas Mall off the list of infamy that Sandy Hook school would join three days later.
Other than different denouements, the episodes had a lot in common; mentally-ill losers who planned to leave this mortal coil in a blaze of demented, twisted “glory”; buildings full of captive victims; and the big one – both were “gun free zones”. Clackamas was posted (but, like the Mall of America, those postings were of dubious legal force, although I don’t plan on being the test case); Sandy Hook, being a school, was “gun free” by federal and state law, backed up by potential felony charges.
Which did those kids a lot of good, didn’t it?
Anyway – a salute.
To: The Mainstream Media, and the cops and prosecutors who are your sources
From: Mitch Berg, obstreporous peasant
Re: World’s Smallest Violin
Dear Cops, Prosecutors and their Media mouthpieces,
Last week, a shooter at a WalMart in the Denver area killed three people.
Colorado being a shall-issue state, and WalMart being an almost-stereotypical hangout for Real Americans , a number of people reacted admirably, courageously and appropriately, by drawing their legal firearms and getting ready to engage.
And that just annoys all of you, doesn’t it?
But those who drew weapons during the shootings ultimately delayed the investigation as authorities pored over surveillance videotape trying to identify the assailant who killed three people, police said Thursday.
Let me put this as delicately as it deserves to be put; f**k you, and your whining about being forced to do your jobs because people had the unmitigated gall to defend themselves. And the media for carrying this whining as if it’s news.
If someone hears shooting in the room they’re in, and their first thought is “I hope my actions don’t impede the police investigating why I am dead”, rather than defending your life, your family and your community (whether by fight or flight, and I’ll never judge either one), then they are mentally ill; if you think that should be the normal response, then you’re a lot worse.
I used to wonder why the news media and officialdom wondered why people these days trust them less than used car dealers. Now, I curse their gall for wasting my time asking why they wonder.
 Defined, in this case, as “people who take all ten amendments of the Bill of Rights seriously, jointly and severally.
One of the few bits of “good” news from the Sutherland Springs mcaassacre is that it was ended by a Good Guy with a Gun.
Details are coming out now – Stephen Willeford responded to the shooting with his AR15, fired a shot that apparently found a gap in Kelley’s body army, and seized the initiative:
Willeford is being hailed as a hero. His actions may well have stopped further bloodshed. Willeford is not a member of the church where the shooting took place, but he his daughter called him and told him there was a man in body armor shooting up the church
Willeford grabbed a rifle and answered the call. He found Kelley (above) outside of the church and shot him. The surprise caused Kelley to drop his rifle, and the shooter then ran to his own SUV and fled the scene.
Johnnie Langendorff was also responding. Langendorff picked up Willeford and the two gave chase. They followed Kelley in a high speed chase and eventually caused Kelley to lose control and run off the road. There, police say Kelley shot himself in the head.
This is, of course, exactly what law enforcement now knows about spree killers; resist them with lethal force, and they usually run, give up, kill themselves, or – as in this case – all three.
Just as we said.
First things first: Berg’s 18th Law is still in full effect; it’s been mere hours since a man murdered 27 people at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church, near San Antonio; anything you read in the media will be crap.
One thing we do know? Churches in Texas are “gun free zones”. Nobody in that church was legally authorized to carry a firearm to defend themselves or their fellow parishioners.
Like nearly all mass shootings, it took place in a “gun free zone”.
Just like David Lillehaug and Nancy Nord Bence like it.
You post your property “no guns allowed?” I’m not going there. I’m not spending money, I’m not worshipping, I’m not saying “boo”. I will consider them a threat to my safety.
But Wait: What’s this that the mainstream media is pretty roundly ignoring about the attack? The shooter was himself shot by…
…an armed citizen:
Stephen Willeford managed to shoot Devin Kelley before jumping in another man’s truck and chasing him down, the Daily Mail reported.
Texas Department of Public Safety chief Freeman Martin said Willeford “grabbed his rifle and engaged the suspect” after Kelley left the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, where he opened fire with an assault rifle and killed 26 people.
And just as law enforcement teaches about mass shootings these days – if you show a mass shooter any resistance, they usually break off the attack, and either give up or kill themselves.
The man who killed at least 26 people in a Baptist church in a rural Texas town on Sunday died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CBS News in an interview on Monday morning.
Tackitt said gunfire was exchanged between the gunman and two armed citizens during a vehicle chase after the shootings.
The church was a gun-free zone – naturally. But the rest of Texas was not.
UPDATE 2: The USAF apparently neglected to report Kelley’s domestic conviction to the NICS – allowing him to buy the guns he used.
Liberal hamsters love to amuse themselves by saying that there’s no civilian use for guns with 30 round magazines.
Which might be true, if you could guarantee all attackers were solo and not very persistent.
But in North Houston, three attackers fired over 40 shots at a homeowner…
…who returned fire with an AR15, killing two of the dirtballs and wounding the third in what police are calling a case of self-defense:
Wounded, the three thugs exited the vehicle and continued the pitched firefight on foot. The homeowner who is an avid marksman continued returning fire hitting all three, stopping them before they could reach his property.
One of the men was immediately killed at the scene, while the others were rushed to the hospital. A second shooter was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, while the third is in critical condition battling for his life.
According to news reporters, aside from being an excellent marksman the Texas homeowner is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and goes to the shooting range regularly and practices his skills with his AR-15, the weapon he usually has by his side when sitting on his porch late at night.
Instant gun experts babble that “assault rifles” are “designed to kill as many people as fast as possible”. It’s poppycock, of course; they’re designed to not run out of bullets before your attacker runs out of attacks.
In the past couple weeks, we discussed the shooting at the Verizon store in Inver Grove Heights, where a good guy with a gun took a scumbag off the streets (for a couple years, anyway.
We’ve talked in this blog a zillion times about the four criteria one needs to satisfy to use lethal force in self-defense. This may be the best definition of “reasonable, immediate fear of death or great bodily harm” I’ve seen:
The moment of truth inside the store for the employee, according to charges against Mays, came when the “defendant pointed a gun at [the victim’s] head and told [the clerk], ‘Make it easy on me.’ ”
With the gun still trained on his head and believing he was about to be shot, the clerk “pulled his gun from his waistband and fired what he believed to be three shots.” Mays was hit twice by gunfire and survived.
No doubt to continue the process of turning his life around that he was on and that we’d most assuredly have been hearing about had he died.
The shots sent the accomplice fleeing in a minivan, which was recovered Monday by police in St. Paul and will be searched for evidence later this week.
Police Lt. Joshua Otis said authorities are not disclosing the identity of the clerk for his safety because the other suspect remains a fugitive.
Anyway – salute, Mr. Anonymous Good Guy With A Gun!
Grandfather of teens who killed after breaking into a man’s house, threatening his life and health, complains that the homeowner had an “unfair advantage” in the three-on-one fight because he had an AR15:
They got into a confrontation with the man who owned the home. Moments later the homeowner’s son emerged with an AR-15 and killed all three criminals.
Now the grandfather of one of the criminals is saying it wasn’t fair that the homeowner had an AR-15.
He says that it gave the homeowner an unfair advantage.
Oh, no. One middle-class schlub has an advantage over three thugs who came equipped to deal him a three-on-one beatdown. How horrible.
That is, of course, the point behind “assault weapons”; to not run out of bullets before your enemy runs out of attacks.
(Disclaimer for the record: I would never shoot a human, even in self-defense, and I’d never own a gun, because they terrify me).
A judge in Steubenville, PA was ambushed outside a courthouse – and returned fire:
[Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph ] Bruzzese was shot in an ambush-style attack outside the Jefferson County Courthouse on his way into his office Monday morning.
County officials said the courthouse, which was closed today as the investigation progresses, will remain closed Tuesday.
Mavromatis said the family of the shooter, who was shot and killed by a probation officer who happened upon the exchange of gunfire between the shooter and the judge, has been notified.
The shiooter was counting on the judge being a helpless victim.
It’s so fun when they’re wrong. Not for them, of course.
Permit-holder in Inver Grove Bites shoots an armed robber:
According to Inver Grove Heights police, the clerk was in the back of the store when they were approached by two men, one whom was armed. While being held at gunpoint, the clerk drew his own gun and shot the suspect.
When the shots were fired, the other suspect fled the scene with some stolen cell phones. He is still on the loose.
That’s two carry permittees stopping crimes in two weeks.
I suspect the cops will not identify the shooter, so as to avoid any possible retaliation – but the clerk is a hero.
This has been added to the Good Minnesotan With A Gun series – which is piling up fast.
Henco has affirmed that a Minnetonka man shot an attacker / stalker in self defense, and all but carried him down Excelsior Boulevard on their shouders:
Following the strong recommendation of investigators, the Hennepin County attorney’s office said this week that 65-year-old James LaCount, of Minnetonka, will not be prosecuted for fatally shooting Thomas Luetzow on June 23 at the Public Mini Storage in the 2800 block of Hedberg Drive.
LaCount “described elements consistent with heroic actions of self-defense” when he shot the 58-year-old Luetzow with a facility employee close by, police Sgt. Troy Denneson wrote in a summary of his department’s 20-page report submitted to prosecutors. “Physical evidence and eyewitness recollections appear to confirm LaCount’s explanation of events.”
Given that it took place in Henco, that’s bureaucratic shorthant for “Mr. LaCount’s actions were pure as the driven snow”.
He was one of the good guys:
The retired refrigeration technician also credited his being able to legally carry a gun in public with sparing him more serious injury, or worse.
“If I hadn’t had [the gun], I’d probably be dead now,” he said. “It’s that simple.”
It absolutely is.
Minnesota put its permit-to-carry law on the books in 2003, but not until after substantial public debate about whether the streets would become more dangerous.
“Substantial” meaning “A lot of it”, not “of intellectual heft”.
And after the Castile incident, the LaCount episode shows a very different result when interacting with the police:
Police Chief Scott Boerboom also credited an exhausted and bloodied LaCount with properly interacting with officers as soon as they arrived on the chaotic scene in order to help them properly assess the situation.
“From the onset, when we approached Mr. LaCount, he immediately said it was self-defense and he had a permit to carry,” Boerboom said. “He wanted to make sure, and it helped us initially get an idea about what was going on here.”
The case file also disclosed that LaCount, weakened from abdominal surgery, was sitting down and leaning against a vehicle when police arrived. He also made sure to not have his handgun on him, leaving it on the ground for officers to recover.
That’s another good Minnesotan with a gun alive today.
Wes Skogland? You’re still a lying sack of garbage.
Mr. LaCount has been added to my “Good Minnesotan with a Gun” archives. It’s up to six justifiable homicides now – and that doesn’t include who episodes from the late ’00s that involved bouncers shooting lethally-aggressive patrons (if you can find the link, shoot it over to me…)
I got this from a high school friend of mine.. He lives in a major city in the Southwestern US. I’m concealing his identity for obvious reasons.
He had a close encounter with a couple bad guys over the weekend. Or, should I say, a couple bad guys had a close encounter with him:
Two Hispanic males, mid-20’s, broke down my front door and entered my home this morning at 9:13 AM. I was monitoring them on my security cameras at the time, and when I sensed something was wrong, I grabbed my loaded 9mm from my safe and met them as they reached my kitchen. Seeing my weapon pointed at their heads, they immediately started screaming, “Oh, sh*t! Oh, sh*t! Oh, sh*t!” and turned and ran out the front door, jumped in their car, and tore off. They didn’t have a chance to touch anything, but they might need a change of skivvies.
I love a happy ending.
Of course, that happy ending was brought to you by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.
And who knows? Maybe the two miscreants will take their close call with having their brains splattered over a granite countertop to get their “lives” back on track?
Several happy endings!
Another episode in Texas last week of an armed citizen intervening in what police term a potential spree shooting.
One James Jones walked into the “Zona Caliente” sports bar in Arlington, got into an argument, and shot manager Cesar Perez, killing him.
Then, a man – unnamed, except for the cops’ appelation “good samaritan” – with a carry permit shot Jones in the back an unnamed number of times.
Jones was carrying not one but two guns, one of them with its serial number filed off. He had no carry permit.
The police were cautiously thankful, as usual in these situations:
“We’re thankful that the good ‘Samaritan’ acted quickly and decisively to end the threat,” Cook said. “We never recommend people get involved. That’s a personal decision that a citizen has to make.”
Use of force and firearms expert Emanuel Kapelsohn told NBC News that, from his understanding, the man who took down the shooter reacted appropriately.
“I think it’s to be applauded,” he said. “Not everybody in the world ought to own a gun. Not everybody in the world ought to carry a gun. Not everyone in the world ought to engage an armed criminal where innocent people could be potentially injured.”
“But this good Samaritan obviously had the ability to do what he did,” Kapelsohn added. “Who knows how many people would be dead if he had not acted?”
That’s twice in one week in Texas.
A mass stabbing attack left one dead and three wounded at the University of Texas Austin.
It could have been worse, but…:
Eyewitnesses have reported seeing a student pull out a concealed handgun on the suspect, and made him back down.
While one can expect the UT and Austin media to downplay such a story – after they all doubled and tripled down against lawful carry on campus – this blog presumes the story true, and that the unnamed student is a hero.
Three armed men tried to rob a Nashville store the week before last, guns blazing, robbery in mind.
An armed citizen changed their plans:
An unnamed person inside a Nashville (TN) sneaker shop went John Wick on three armed robbers last after they made the mistake of charging into the store with guns blazing.
A man died after he was injured during a shootout at a Bordeaux shop late Thursday night.
It happened inside retailer Hot Kicks, located in a strip mall at 3101 Clarksville Pike, around 11 p.m.
Metro police told News 2 a group of people were inside the store when at least three armed suspects came in through an unlocked back door and began firing.
One of the people in the store returned fire, while others took off running, according to police.
Metro police said officers found one man near the back door with several gunshot wounds.
None of the customers or staff of the store were injured in the exchange of gunfire. One of the three robbers was found critically injured outside the back door of the shop by police, and died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The other two suspects arrived at TriStar Centennial Medical Center leaking from fresh holes, and one of those two robbers is now in critical condition.
I love a happy ending.
“Play stupid games, get stupid prizes”.
It’s a mantra my first carry permit instructor, the late Joel Rosenberg, used to drill into his students’ heads. The point? The best case of self-defense is the one you don’t need to state in front of a court. Don’t put on your legal gun and go to roughneck bars, or hang out where stupidity is likely to break out. If someone provokes you, walk away – using extreme measures. “When you’re armed”, Joel used to say, “it’s incumbent on you to be the biggest pussy in the bar”.
And the stupidity doesn’t start when the potential violence does. Oh, no.
One of the things police and prosecutors would do, if you got into a lethal-force self-defense incident, was pore over everything they can find about your past, to find some way in which they can convince a jury that it wasn’t really self-defense.
Remember – under Minnesota law, there are four factors that must be upheld when you claim self-defense using lethal force:
When you claim “self defense”, you must meet all four of the criteria above. That means all four; if you miss one of them – or if a jury can be convinced you missed one of them, rightly or wrongly – you’re in big trouble.
Big Trouble: Allen Scarsella was convicted of “Riot”, First Degree Assault and some counts of Second Degree Assault for an episode that happened at the protests outside the Minneapolis Fourth Precinct in November 2015.
The jury deliberated for seven hours following two weeks of testimony from nearly two dozen witnesses — including surprise testimony from Scarsella and a co-defendant — before returning guilty verdicts on all counts.
So – how did Scarsella get convicted?
Let’s go through those four elements.
Fear Of Death: Observers, and even some of the victims, testified that there was a chase, as at least seven protesters ran after Scarsella and his companions. Was fear of death or great bodily harm reasonable? We’d have to ask the jurors – but the law doesn’t require one to be a mind-reader.
Mobs do stupid things. Call this a definite maybe. It would certainly be obtuse to rule it out just because you don’t like the defendant or his motivations; people who believe objectionable things have rights, too.
Convincing a jury of this sort of thing is why defense attorneys make the big bucks.
Duty To Retreat: Well, no doubt there. Scarsella and his friends certainly tried to get away. Call this a no-brainer for the defense.
Was Lethal Force Appropriate?: Well, assuming it was reasonable to assume the threat was immediate and lethal, the shooting ended the threat. As far as that goes, let’s call it a non-factor.
Not A Willing Participant: Here’s the thing about jury trials (or so I’m told by my lawyer friends); a big part of the job is making sure the jury likes you, feels for you, identifies with you. This becomes important when it comes to this criterion of self-defense in particular.
Going where a confrontation might happen might be considered “willing participation” – but in the Darren Evanovich shooting, where a Good Samaritan chased an armed robber into an alley, the prosecutor decided the evidence showed the Samaritan was not a willing participant; he went looking for the purse, not a fight.
But while Scarsella may well have had second thoughts about attending the protest long before the shooting started, the prosecutors also found some evidence that made him pretty unsympathetic to the jury:
They watched several videos taken before and after the shooting, including ones of Scarsella making racist comments; and they viewed numerous texts where Scarsella described his intent to kill black people.
Now, could a good lawyer have gotten a jury to disregard this? Maybe, maybe not. Even racists have the right to defend their lives; self-defense isn’t a popularity contest.
But jury trials, to a great extent, are. And the prosecution (according to sources familiar with the case) were able to create an impression with the jury that Scarsella went to the Fourth Precinct looking for a fight. Which blew away his chance of calling himself an “unwilling participant”, and with it, his self-defense claim.
The obvious lesson – if you value the right to self-defense, and you believe things that a jury might find unsavory, then keep quiet about them, especially on social media, text messages and other searchable media.
And it’s not just racial ugliness. If you’re a shooter, for crying out loud, don’t be jabbering on Facebook about how eager you are to turn your new shotgun on an intruder. It’l make it harder for a zealous prosecutor to paint you as a slavering gun nut with an itchy trigger finger.
Another obvious point – the Good Samaritan in the Evanovich case, as well as the Broadbent shooting in 2015, involved citizens who followed the rules; after shooting, they called the police and tried their best to render first aid. Scarsella fled the scene and didn’t call the police and was caught sometime the next day – a bad tactic if you want to claim self-defense. It’s good to be a responsible citizen.
Like every self-defense shooting, the Scarsella case should be a sobering reminder – in this case, of what not to do.
A good guy with a gun shoots two robbers at a pizzeria in Levittown, Pennsylvania:
The shooting happened late Tuesday night at Porfirio’s Pizza and Pasta, located in a shopping plaza in Levittown, about 25 miles northeast of Philadelphia.
The customer took out a gun and shot both men after they allegedly pistol-whipped him, Middletown Police Chief Joe Bartorilla told reporters.
The police are still investigating. But I’m pretty sure we all know where this ends up.
The FBI released the details of their initial investigation into the Saint Cloud mall mass stabbing last month, including the first public look at the store video. MPR News covered it.
Warning; the video is graphic, if you haven’ been completely desensitized to violence:
The investigators also praised Jason Falconer.
Falconer’s actions are instructive to anyone who is a carry permittee, and – with a little luck – to voters this fall:
Thornton said Adan had asked Falconer if he was Muslim. Falconer, said no but saw the knives and identified himself as an officer.
Adan initially turned away from Falconer and the officer followed repeating that he was law enforcement and ordering the man to drop the weapons.
If you were a citizen with a carry permit and a legally-carried handgun, at this point, you’d have a bit of a conundrum.
The Minnesota self-defense statute allows lethal force in self-defense to protect one’s self “or another” from death or great bodily harm. But case law also establishes a “duty to retreat” (outside one’s home) – you have to undertake all “reasonable” means to avoid the use of lethal force.
What is “reasonable?” For your purposes as a citizen, that will be decided by a county attorney. As Joel Rosenberg used to say, while you, the citizen, had seconds to decide whether to defend yourself or not, under immense stress, often under low-light or confusing conditions, with a lethal threat bearing down on you, the county attorney will take days or weeks, in a well-lit, warm office, with sheriff’s deputies guarding him, to decide that question. And at the end of the day, it’ll likely be at least in part a political decision; a DFLer will often file charges (although we’ve been surprised in the past), while a DA in Kandiyohi or Pennington counties will hail the shooter as a hero.
In other words, it’s vague. Intentionally so; county attorneys like to have lots of discretion; they don’t like to have to work under all sorts of immutable rules any more than you do. Of course, you and I don’t hold peoples’ lives, freedom and lifes’ savings in the palms of our hands, either.
That was the crux of the”Stand your Ground” law that passed the Minnesota legislature in 2012 with a decisive bipartisan majority, only to get vetoed by a governor who was acting as a marionette of big-money anti-gun special interests; put the benefit of the doubt on the side of the law-abiding citizen.
Oh, yeah – and the next time some gabbling anti-gun hamster asks “why does anyone need more than seven shots?”, you can show them what happened in Saint Cloud; Jason Falconer is an expert “three-gun” competition marksman and marksmanship instructor, an absolute master of the craft of putting pieces of lead into things.
And here’s what happened (I’ve added emphasis):
“Upon following Adan into Macy’s and repeatedly announcing his authority and commands to drop the knives, Adan ran toward Falconer with the knives raised two separate times, then continued to crawl toward him with a knife in his hand even after being shot during to separate prior charges at the officer,” Thornton said.
Falconer fired 10 rounds, striking Adan six times, he added. Store video showed Falconer shooting while backing away from Adan as the attacker continued to approach with his back turned.
Adan fell to the ground multiple times after being shot and still had a knife in hand. He tried to get up a final time using a store sign for balance.
So – an expert marksman (and cop) fires ten shots at contact range, and misses four times (which is actually abnormally good, even for point-blank range engagements); he scores six hits, during most of which the attacker kept charging.
If the shooter had been less expert, and hit the attacker fewer times? If the attacker had been high, or dissociative? If the defender had a smaller-caliber firearm (Falconer’s pistol was a 9mm)? If the defender didn’t have any unobstructive, flat, clean room to back-pedal away from a charging man with two knives?
If there’d been more than one attacker?
Even with a “large” magazine, a defender in that situation could very well have learned what a Thanksgiving turkey feels like.
The lesson for the law-abiding gun owner?
No compromise. No retreat. No surrender.