Showing posts with label Guns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guns. Show all posts

Saturday, July 9, 2022

New York and Supreme Court Bruen Decision

In the Bruen decision the Supreme Court rejected New York's "may issue" concealed carry gun licensing standard. The decision's text is here
New York had required concealed carry applicants to demonstrate "good character" and a "proper cause". There were no appeals. So if the local police liked you they might let you have a concealed carry permit. 

But if the local police didn't like you, for any reason, good or bad, legal or not, you couldn't get a concealed carry permit.

To put this into historical context consider that in 1956 Alabama Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a concealed carry permit after his house was firebombed by white segregationists. Alabama in 1956, just like New York until recently, had a "proper cause" standard. 

Because local authorities in 1956 Alabama were inevitably either supportive of or the same white segregationists who were firebombing and shooting Black people, they unsurprisingly denied MLK's application. Similarly New York's gun licensing standards disproportionately denied Black would be concealed carry applicants. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty

I don't have much to write about the Rittenhouse not guilty verdict. I'm disgusted but not surprised. It was apparent from the beginning of the trial and its development that the judge was going out of his way to put not only his thumb on the scale for Rittenhouse but both feet as well. I can not imagine a situation in which an underage Black boy goes to a different state, brandishes a gun which he has no legal right to use, gets into confrontations, shoots multiple people and is acquitted of all charges by way of self-defense. 
And to put the cherry on top of the sh*t sundae, the judge throws out the gun possession charge, claiming that the law is too vague. Legally this is the equivalent of the proverbial Black gangster in Chicago shooting other Black gangsters, using illegal guns to do so, and successfully claiming self-defense. That's just not going to happen too frequently.
The people on the more progressive side of the political spectrum will need to collectively get used to using guns, keeping guns, and bearing guns. The right and their enablers in the justice system feel that they are the only armed people. The justice system is not going to prevent them from shooting you or punish them when they do. Right-wing vigilantes will be encouraged by this verdict.
Like it or not, as a country we are moving past the "Can't we put down the guns and talk?" phase of our political life. This is not that different from the Greensboro Massacre that occurred all those years ago. when I was a youngster. If someone of ill intent thinks you're weaker than they are, there will be problems.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Armed Citizens Escort Black Michigan Legislator to Work

One would imagine because of the ugly history and current situation of Black Americans: Slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, pogroms, constant police brutality and murder, genocidal hate groups, Confederate apologists, etc, that Black Americans would be the biggest and most vociferous proponents of the Second Amendment and armed self-defense that one might find in any nation in history. 

Well one would be wrong. Still, eventually, I suppose it finally might get thru to folks that when you're dealing with hateful irrational unstable armed people, it's in your best interest to be armed as well. 

You may recall that the recent anti-shutdown protests in Lansing, Michigan saw mostly white armed individuals enter the Capitol building, shrieking and yelling. Some had Nazi flags, Confederate Battle Flags and nooses.

Despite all this, given that Michigan law allows open carry (and that the protesters were Caucasian), the Michigan State Police refused to take any aggressive action against the protesters. Somehow other various police forces haven't always shown such restraint when a Black person has attempted to exercise his or her right to open carry in Michigan but I digress.

Anyhow, either to make a point or because she was honestly scared, Michigan Representative Sarah Anthony accepted escort by armed Black citizens. 

WEDNESDAY, May 6 — After a horde of armed and angry protesters swarmed Lansing last week, State Rep. Sarah Anthony brought some extra protection on her way to the State Capitol today.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Black Uber Driver Threatened at Gunpoint

As discussed ad nauseam one of the bad things about being black in a society that runs on the idea of white supremacy is that not only the police but everyday whites feel entitled to question or to reject black presence in what the white person considers to be a "white" space or at least the "wrong" space for that black person to be occupying. This can be something minor such a secretary mistaking the new black manager for custodial help, something major like a self-appointed neighborhood watchman murdering a black teen and everything in between. 

There is evidence that the resulting continual lifetime "fight or flight" response is not good for black people. This response may be implicated in everything from higher rates of hypertension to higher infant and birth mother mortality rates to higher rates of strokes and cardiac arrest. In short it's not healthy to be stressed out and under attack all the time.

There was recently another reminder of how when information is processed through a racist mindset even the most innocuous behavior becomes life threatening. This incident also displayed how some whites do not view blacks as adults worthy of the respect granted to adults.

MILWAUKEE —An Uber driver says someone pointed a gun in his face in Milwaukee on Saturday, but it wasn't a robbery. He captured the encounter on video and said it's a symptom of Wisconsin's concealed carry law. In the video, a man is seen with a large, silver gun as Uber driver Darnell Smith records the confrontation near 40th Street and Mill Road early Saturday. "Just because you have a conceal and carry license doesn't mean pull your gun out if you think something is happening," Smith said.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Carjacker Learns That You Don't Mess With Texas

Unfortunately the world is full of people, who as the character Blade opined, are always trying to iceskate uphill. There is not really a way to reason with such people. They don't understand reason and/or don't respect it. All you can do with such folks is attempt to avoid them. And if you can't avoid them then you must use force to stop them from hurting you or yours. 

This is ugly. But this is life. There is a saying that you don't mess with Texas. A would be carjacker named Rickey Wright found this out the hard way, when a mother, unable to convince Mr. Wright not to steal her SUV with her children inside, used a more persuasive argument that ended the confrontation.

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A suspected carjacker is in the hospital after a North Texas woman shot him as he tried to take off in her SUV with her two children in the backseat.
The incident happened just after 10:00 p.m. Wednesday, when Dallas police say the woman stopped for gasoline at a Shell station on Camp Wisdom Road.

The mother, who does not want to be identified, left her children in the SUV while she ran inside the convenience store. Before she returned a man jumped into her vehicle and tried to drive away, but the woman saw what was happening and jumped in the back seat.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Detroit CPL holder practices Self-Defense

I don't have much to say about this incident. On Detroit's east side one man armed with a gun tried to rob another man. The would be victim was legally armed and defended himself, shooting the robber multiple times. The robber is still alive. The victim had no time to call the police. And since the victim is neither bulletproof nor a superhero he had no way to wrestle with the assailant and disarm him without being shot. The victim did run away but again only Superman is faster than a speeding bullet. We stop someone who is wrongfully initiating force against us by meeting that force with equal or greater force.

I do believe that violent street crime has multiple reasons for existing, some of which the government can and should address and resolve and some of which are probably beyond government solution. But that's another discussion. When someone is either shooting at or threatening to shoot you, it's too late to make his parents raise him right. It's too late to give him enough self-respect and material success so that he won't want to risk prison or death. It's too late to rewire his moral code so that he doesn't enjoy hurting other people. The only thing we can do is stop the threat. And the most effective way of doing that is to be armed. There are some areas that are more dangerous than others. People who can should avoid those areas. Most people are not criminals. Most people won't ever be attacked. But I think it is non-negotiable to insist that American citizens retain the right to defend themselves both in their homes and in the streets. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Las Vegas Shooting and the 2nd Amendment

I don't have much to write about the recent atrocity in Las Vegas where a wealthy semi-retired real estate investor and gambler shot hundreds of people at a country music festival. Stephen Paddock murdered 58 people and wounded over 400. Likely many of the survivors will have lifelong issues. It's a horror. No one yet knows his motive. From the information released to the public, it appears that Paddock used bump stocks to increase the rate of fire of his weapons. Bump stocks are legal devices which redirect the gun's recoil to make a semi-automatic weapon behave somewhat similarly to an automatic weapon. Automatic weapons made after 1986 are of course banned for civilian usage. Those made prior to that time are legal but only with strict government oversight.

In the wake of the atrocity many people who were generally already pro-gun control were greatly outraged. They called for more gun control: bans on bump stocks, bans on semi-automatic rifles, increased fees, taxes and insurance on gun owners, limits on the number of weapons or ammunition any one man could purchase, warrantless searches of gun owners' homes, medical sign off to own a gun, lawsuits against the NRA or gun manufacturers, profiling of white men, registering of all guns nationwide, confiscation of all guns except for police or military use, and the repeal of the 2nd Amendment.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Open Carry and Double Standards

There are studies which claim to show that police are more likely to use violence against black citizens regardless of the threat level. That is to say that police, black, white or other, tend to view black skin as a threat in and of itself. Other studies claim to show the opposite. Anecdotally there are numerous examples of police violence against black people. Police have shot black men because police mistook a wallet for a gun. Police have choked black men to death because they didn't think the black man was submitting to arrest quickly enough. Police have tackled and body slammed black schoolgirls because they didn't like their attitude. Police have shot black boys because they thought the black boy's toy gun was real. Police have shot black men who were holding BB guns in stores which sell BB guns. Police have shot black men who opened doors in housing projects. Police have shot black men who called police for help. Police have shot black men who were running away from them. Police have publicly strip-searched black men and black women just because they felt like it. Yada, yada, yada. Some police appear to have a lower threshold for using violence against black citizens. It doesn't take much for a black person, armed or not, to put some police officers in fear of their lives. The flip side of this is that some police appear to, with white citizens, at least be open to the idea that deadly force should be a last resort and not the first/immediate one. Michigan is an open carry state. You may legally carry a loaded firearm on your person. This is highly unusual though. Most people don't do it. And there are exceptions to open carry based on location.

Open Carry activists James Baker and Brandon Vreeland, upset about an earlier run-in with the Dearborn police, decided that they needed to file a complaint. They also decided that the best way to make this complaint was to visit the police station and use cameras to document their grievance. Nothing unusual about that right? Nope. Oh I forgot to mention that along with the camera they took along body armor, masks, and a pistol and rifle. They wanted to test the police department's fidelity to the law and the constitution. They didn't prove anything to me other than not being black has its privileges. They weren't immediately lit up. I can't imagine too many black people in today's world doing what they did and living to tell the tale. Video is below. It's a good thing Baker and Vreeland weren't carrying BB guns. Cause then they might have gotten shot.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Michigan Trump Supporter Pulls Gun on Kids

The problem with extreme partisanship is that people can no longer distinguish between a group of people who do not agree with you on some important issues and a group of people who are evil and need to be violently suppressed, expelled or exterminated. This problem is something that impacts both putative sides in American politics. There is one side that is much more likely to be armed however, and when you start mixing politics and guns usually bad things happen. I can understand the sense of violation experienced when someone steals something from your porch or commits an act of vandalism on your property. However you can't threaten deadly force in retaliation. You certainly can't do that when the alleged offenders are children. And it's that much worse when the people you threaten aren't even the people who committed the offense. Then you're not a man standing up to protect your property or your family. You're just a hothead who wants to get revenge.
An Allen Park man upset that his campaign sign was destroyed, grabbed his gun and now he's facing charges for pointing that weapon at children. It appeared Michael Kubek wasn't home Thursday night after being released from lockup for allegedly holding six kids at gunpoint at about 8 p.m. Saturday night.
FOX 2: "Did the kids seem scared?"
"Yes, yes," said a neighbor.

The neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said she was spooked too. The News-Herald reports Kubek made the kids sit in the grass at the corner of Pennsylvania and Sterling in Allen Park as they stared down the barrel of his gun. Kubek was fuming because he thought they destroyed his Trump lawn sign.
FOX 2: "What was he saying to them?"

"He was using very profane language," the neighbor said. "Real bad language."
Kubek reportedly told police he neither saw or had proof the kids wrecked his sign, he only heard them outside of his house, saw the sign ruined and the kids running. He reportedly told police he showed the kids the business end of his gun because he felt threatened and outnumbered and his pistol was unloaded. Kubek is now facing six counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. He got out of jail on a $5,000, 10-percent bond. Legal experts say that's pretty low considering the circumstances.

When you consider that Michigan is among the states that doesn't prohibit guns at polling places Tuesday could be very interesting indeed. 


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Facebook Threat Posts: Pebbles and Bam Bam

Every time someone goes on a shooting rampage the people who knew the assailant are either shocked and heartbroken (usually the assailant's parents) or they are not surprised at all. The people who weren't surprised only wonder why the assailant took so long to crack. These folks are often seen on television interviews smugly declaring they knew so-n-so wasn't right in the head, and never felt safe or at ease around him. Folks who fall into the second category are often the assailant's co-workers, spouse or significant other, or anyone else who is able to evaluate the person without looking through the rosy lens of motherhood or fatherhood. A challenge that we have in a supposedly free society is that we want to protect ourselves and everyone else from crime or violence without arresting and convicting people for what they might do. Our idea of justice normally includes the requirement that we only punish people for what they've done. There is a huge gray area/exception to this, obviously. Planning to perform a crime is usually a crime and something for which you can be arrested and charged. If you and your buddies get together every Thursday after work to plan your multi-million dollar bank robbery but are discovered and arrested, it's not much of a defense to say that sure you might have been planning multiple felonies but you never did them. But is talking junk on Facebook or other social media something which is or should be a crime? If I say someone gets on my nerves so much that I could kill them is that hyperbole or an actual threat? Your perception of that depends on your perception of the person making the statement. The average man or woman saying something like that probably doesn't mean it. But there are some people, either through mental instability or actual past criminal or violent history, who make statements like that and must be taken seriously. And there are other people, who while they may have no rap sheet or known psychological issues, say or do things which are so outrageous that they also must be closely watched if not arrested and charged. Former Washtenaw County mental health/disability worker Grady Floyd falls into that last category.
A deleted Facebook post likely saved a man who brought two handguns nicknamed "Pebbles and Bam-Bam" to his Washtenaw County job from facing any criminal charges, a police report shows. Detectives attempted to retrieve any evidence of a threatening post seen by many of Grady Floyd's co-workers at Washtenaw County Community Support and Treatment Services, but since Floyd deleted it, prosecutors declined to authorize charges.
Floyd admitted to police that he wrote a threatening post so colleagues would stop talking bad about him, according to the police report. He also admitted to changing his Facebook profile picture to one of him holding a shotgun and an AK-47 with a grenade launcher to intimidate co-workers. Floyd was in possession of two handguns when he was arrested the morning after his co-workers contacted authorities about the threatening Facebook post, the report says.These, he explained to detectives, were "Pebbles and Bam-Bam," not the long guns.
While prosecutors declined to authorize criminal charges, Floyd still lost his job, something he is contesting in recently filed lawsuits. Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office Det. Mark Neumann wrote in the police report that when he looked at the Facebook profile on Feb. 11, the picture was still up, but the message had been deleted.

Co-workers who saw it summarized it thusly, according to the report: "I'm just going to put it out to my so-called co-workers at CSTS. I am not putting up with this (expletive) (expletive) anymore. I am tired of people hating on me. I have two kids named pebbles and bam-bam who can deal it. I am going to shut you up permanently. Once they go off you are done, you are dead. You know you are. I do my (expletive) job. You haters need to leave me alone."
I can certainly sympathize with someone feeling put upon at their job, overlooked, demeaned, discriminated against, bullied or knowing that they just aren't a good fit. But I don't think it's too much to ask that people who have those feelings leave their job, find a way to deal with the issues, work with the appropriate authorities to resolve the problems, talk it out with mental health professionals or do any number of other things short of going on social media to threaten people. Floyd's threat reads depressingly like any number of other paranoid rantings by other workplace gunmen. I am surprised that the county prosecutor is so far not going to authorize charges but I'm more surprised that Floyd is suing to get his job back. To me Floyd's statement is the very definition of a hostile, unsafe workplace. Think of the worst boss, co-worker or direct report you ever had. And then think of them posting a death threat to you on Facebook. Would you want to come into work the next day? Or would you wake up the next morning and get yourself a gun? I don't see this as a free speech issue.

Should Mr. Floyd be prosecuted?

Should he get his job back?

What's the worst experience you ever had at work?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nine Year Old Girl Armed With Uzi Kills Arizona Shooting Range Instructor

I believe in the individual right to keep and bear arms. I tend to be skeptical of many new gun control proposals. That said I am aghast that anyone would permit a child to attempt to operate an Uzi submachine gun in automatic mode. That makes about as much sense to me as letting a child drive a semi-trailer, fly a Boeing 777, represent someone in a death penalty case, or do anything else where the life of that child or the lives of others around the child will be put at risk by the child’s actions. Unfortunately not everyone agrees with me. You may have heard about the nine year old girl who apparently wanted to fire an Uzi.  Her parents took her to Bullets and Burgers Shooting Range in Arizona where instructor Charles Vacca assisted her in shooting the machine gun in single shot mode.  He then switched the weapon to automatic mode and moved to the girl's left. Unfortunately the recoil of the submachine gun was far more than a nine year old girl could handle. That's unsurprising.  I mean it's not like she was a veteran member of Spetsnaz or Shayetet 13. The Uzi's muzzle drifted upwards and to the girl's left. Vacca was shot in the head and died. It's a tragedy. But it's also a quite preventable one.  While gun safety experts, police or military veterans can review the video to determine if Mr. Vacca was in the proper area and/or can check the gun to determine if there was anything wrong with it, the rest of us can make an even simpler fix. Preteens don't get to fire automatic weapons. That's so freaking simple isn't it? If you wouldn't let a nine year old command a nuclear submarine then why would you let them operate an Uzi. The Uzi will still be there when that child grows up.  There's no rush. Ultimately the blame here must rest with the parents and with anyone else who thinks that children should be playing with guns. Guns aren't toys. Video below (it cuts off before the death).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Self-Defense In Detroit Home Invasion

A Detroit mother opened fire Monday night when three suspects broke into her home. Surveillance cameras caught it all.The mother tells 7 Action News she "didn't have time to get scared." When she heard the door to her home on Woodrow Wilson being kicked in, she immediately warned the three teenage intruders and then opened fire. One of the teens dropped a handgun on his way out the door. He then tried to get back inside the house a second time, but was again met with gunfire. Once again, he took off and all three were arrested shortly after the incident by Detroit Police.  These young criminals were indeed fortunate that they were not killed as they tried to break into this woman's home. Although incidents like this may indeed be statistically rare if you are the person confronted with this behavior that's small comfort indeed. Notice that the woman defended herself and her children with a scary looking "assault rifle". Unfortunately there are people in this world who are "bad", "warped", "bent", "evil" or whatever other pejorative word you wish to use. Ultimately I suppose you could pity such people but in my view such pity can only be doled out once they're safely behind bars or six feet under the ground. If one happens to be unfortunate enough to run into such miscreants bent on taking something that is yours, immediate and massive counter force is the only thing which they will respect. Incidents like this are why I am unsympathetic to people who tell us we don't "need" guns to protect ourselves or that no one "needs" a magazine capacity with more than an arbitrary number of rounds. As far as I am concerned the only bad thing about this incident was that the mother didn't light up all of the home invaders. Please note that although the police arrived quickly after the fact and arrested the criminals it was impossible for the police to be there at the moment that the thugs decided to break down the door. We are ultimately responsible for protecting ourselves and those we love. Watch video here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reaction to Chris Kyle's Murder

Chris Kyle, a former US Navy SEAL, was the most dangerous sniper in the history of the US military. He had over 150 confirmed kills and multiple Bronze and Silver Stars. Kyle was wounded in combat. He completed four tours of Iraq and once killed a rocket launcher bearing insurgent from a little over a mile away. In short he was the best at what he did. When he left the military to be with his family he wrote a best selling autobiography, American Sniper, detailing his story. He didn't take any of the royalties from this book but instead donated them to the families of SEALS killed in combat.  He also gave away the money he made from appearances or book signings. Kyle started a non-profit foundation, FITCO, to work with veterans suffering from disabilities, whether physical or emotional/mental like PTSD. Kyle did a lot of hands-on volunteer work with veterans. He was pretty dedicated towards raising awareness of the challenges that veterans face reintegrating into society and doing what he could to help veterans meet those challenges.

Kyle was supposed to help work security at the Super Bowl but evidently decided to decline that opportunity in order to volunteer with a veteran he didn't know, Eddie Ray Routh, who was suffering from PTSD. The men went to a shooting range. Apparently, at some time on Saturday, Eddie Ray Routh murdered both Chris Kyle as well as a friend of Kyle's, Chad Littlefield. So a man who survived four tours of Iraq and an Iraqi bounty being placed on his head was murdered in the US. Kyle leaves a wife and two small children behind.

Now this isn't the first time this has happened to a combat veteran. And it definitely won't be the last. The news is full of stories where someone survives the war zone abroad only to return home and get murdered. Usually when things like this happen, people murmur words of sympathy and curse the evil person who took the life. But see, Chris Kyle was also something of a conservative who was quite proud of having served his nation in the Armed Forces. He also was not a fan of current gun control proposals or the current Administration. I haven't read his book yet but it's probably a pretty fair bet that Kyle was probably close to if not 180 degrees different from my political beliefs.
So evidently that made it okay for some people to snark or joke about his untimely death.
Whether it was the Mother Jones editor  implying Kyle's death showed we needed more gun control because even SEALS aren't safe, random twitter users calling Kyle a hillbilly liar, saying his death was poetic justice or karma, alternet commenters calling Kyle a "mass murderer","psycho", "serial killer", or Ron Paul saying that "live by the sword die by the sword" there was an unseemly number of people that were eager to denigrate Kyle (and by extension all soldiers) after his death.

I am not a fan of an interventionist foreign policy. I did not and do not support the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. But once we're there, we're there. Chris Kyle did not commit war crimes. He killed people in a war zone who were trying to kill him or other Americans. He wasn't sitting in Langley dropping bombs on children and or writing memos claiming the right to kill Americans. He put his life on the line overseas to save soldier's lives. And upon his return he continued to look out for soldiers. He died trying to save a soldier's life. There are American veterans today who are alive because Chris Kyle was watching their backs. You may or may not think that makes him a hero, but there's no way that makes him a bad guy as far as I can see. But even if you do think that Kyle was a bad person for his politics or his attitude, I don't see why someone should crack jokes or make light of his death. Is that where we've come to as a nation? Someone politically opposed to us is murdered and we hurl insults and unfunny jokes? That's disgusting. I have family members who served in Desert Storm. I am very glad they returned safely. Another younger relative is at West Point now. In the unthinkable event of their murder I wouldn't have much nice to say to anyone who implied that their death was somehow karma for their "bad" deeds or politics. Even if you think that our foreign policy is wrong and needs to be radically changed as soon as possible, (and I certainly do) I just don't think you do your argument or yourself any favors by making fun of dead soldiers. Something has gone very wrong in our political culture when someone's death just invites more vitriol. Given time and experience Chris Kyle may have become a modern day Smedley Butler. Or he may not have. He may have stayed most comfortable on the right. Either way he (nor most other human beings) did not deserve to be murdered and then mocked after death. Again, it's not about if you agreed with his politics or not. It's just basic human decency.

One of Kyle's last interviews from January 2013.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

NRA Gun Ad Attacking Obama

I don't have any deep analysis here. I just want to know what do you think of this new NRA advertisement. Slate writer Matt Yglesias tweeted that he was
"Pretty comfortable saying that the president’s children are in fact more important than yours"

What do you think?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Marine Joshua Boston on Gun Ban: Unconstitutional Laws aren't Laws

The atrocity at Sandy Hook caused much discussion about what the United States Congress and/or the President can do about gun violence in this country. There has been a lot of talk about Senator Dianne Feinstein's proposed assault weapons ban, Vice-President Biden's task force on guns and President Obama's hints about assault weapons bans or other possible actions that he can take without Congressional approval. As you might imagine almost none of these ideas have gone over very well with people with expansive or as they would term it strict constitutional views on gun rights. One man who is getting some attention for speaking out against such possible gun control legislation is (former) Marine and Afghanistan Veteran Joshua Boston, who recently responded online at CNN to Senator Dianne Feinstein's proposed assault weapons ban legislation
in pretty much the same manner as King Leonidas responded to a Persian demand to throw down his weapons all those centuries ago. His letter in full is just below:

Senator Dianne Feinstein,
I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government's right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime. You ma'am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one. 
I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America. I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.
I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public. We, the people, deserve better than you. 
Respectfully Submitted,
Joshua Boston Cpl, United States Marine Corps 2004-2012

This letter quickly went viral. It summed up succinctly and some would say ominously the issues faced as the US struggles with the problems posed by gun violence. In order to further illuminate his stance Cpl. Boston was recently interviewed. He reiterated his viewpoint and gave a little more insight into where he was coming from regarding the right to keep and bear arms.  He didn't take anything back.


As you can see these beliefs are fervently held. One person can be written off as a kook or gun nut. But if Boston is just the tip of the spear so to speak, this could mean that any legislation, even if passed, won't have the desired impact, just as the previous ban did not. After all rifles are used for a very very small portion of murders. Check out the 2011 numbers for handguns or for other weapons used.

Let's dive a little deeper and use a quick analogy to see if we can understand where Boston and people like him might be coming from. Since 1973 there has been a right to have an abortion. Millions of people consider that fundamentally settled law and don't much care to hear the other side's objections. If there ever were a Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade and/or a President and Senate that would appoint justices who would do such a thing, I expect that roughly 50-55% of the country would have a serious problem with any new anti-abortion laws that proliferated. In fact I think that millions of people would simply and proudly refuse to abide by such laws, viewing them as unjust and unconstitutional. Period. I do not see any scenario in which the heads of NOW or NARAL would simply say "Well the law's the law" and agree to accept it.

Well you may not agree with the analogy but I think that is pretty close to how many gun rights people view Feinstein's proposed legislation. You are never going to get them on board because in their view owning a weapon is a fundamental constitutional right. Unlike abortion, there is a specific amendment which supports their POV. Giving that up is simply not an option. Feinstein's proposed legislation wouldn't just ban the future sale or importation of "assault weapons" however those might be defined. It would also require anyone with a grandfathered weapon (various semi-automatic handguns, rifles and shotguns) to register them under the National Firearms Act. This is the same law under which machine guns are handled. So according to Feinstein, owning a semi-automatic weapon means that the government could and should treat you exactly the same as if you own a machine gun. That is you should be on a national list and agree that the BATF and/or other agencies could stop by your home at any time with or without warrant to inspect your weapons and insure that you are abiding by every single law which applies. You wouldn't be able to transfer this weapon without governmental permission. Any violation could result in fines, criminal charges and/or confiscation. There are also extra fees and other restrictions but I think you get the idea. It would be a massive expansion of governmental control over legally acquired handguns. It would have the over night potential of turning millions of gun owners into criminals. Obviously this is the proverbial camel nose under the tent. 

So Feinstein's legislation could be dead on arrival. It certainly won't get much (any??) Republican support in the House. If passed, we know of at least one person who would ignore it. And I imagine there are several others. Here however there are valid and important competing claims to the cries of defiance and "Come get them" emanating from some gun owners. In a republic, aren't we often obligated to obey laws that we don't like? Isn't that the whole point of civil society? Isn't the military sworn to uphold the law and the Constitution? If people feel free to ignore laws they don't like how can we possibly have a functioning society? Who the bleep does Boston think he is? If Feinstein's law passes will overfed weekend warriors really have the guts to stand up and tell the US government to stick it where the sun don't shine? Regulating guns is not the same as banning them, after all.

I don't have the answers to those questions. All I can say is that obedience to the law is not always or even necessarily the highest moral good. A country that can't seem to find and remove 11-20 million illegal immigrants is a country that will not be able to nationally register, track or ban upwards of 200 million semi-automatic weapons. We do need to have a national conversation on access to guns. We also need to talk about many other things. But having that conversation with senators and mayors who have already shown their contempt for the Fourth and Fifth Amendments doesn't make me think they will show any more respect for the Second. I think that many gun rights advocates will be getting in touch with their inner Thoreau.

It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law so much as for the right. 
If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law
-Henry David Thoreau


Was Boston showing contempt for his oath of enlistment? 

Do you support an updated and improved Federal Assault Weapons Ban?

Do you think a Ban will pass?

Can you ever justify breaking the law? If so, when and how?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breaking News: Florida Stand Your Ground Shooting - Michael Dunn kills Jordan Davis

I don't like music that is audible at insanely high decibels outside of your vehicle. Not everyone is a fan of whatever your particular music may be. I think it's rude to make everyone else listen to your favorite music whether they like it or not. Were I an officer of the law I would be handing out numerous disorderly conduct tickets for such behavior.

But despite the fact that I am irritated by such behavior I've never had a desire to shoot people for playing their music loudly. See not only is shooting someone morally worse than playing music loudly, it would probably result in me going to prison for a very long time where chances are, I'd have to get used to much much more offensive behavior patterns than someone playing music at a level I found unpleasant.

But evidently some people aren't bothered by the possibility of going to prison.
From the same state that brought you the Trayvon Martin situation comes another case where a Caucasian or non-black man shot and killed an unarmed black teenager and then tried to say he was threatened.


Florida’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law is back on the national stage after the murder of yet another unarmed, black teenager. Michael Dunn, a 45-year-old Florida resident, is invoking the controversial law after a recent confrontation turned fatal, The Orlando Sentinel reports. According to authorities, 17-year-old Jordan Russell Davis, a black teenager, and several friends were confronted by Dunn, a white man, who pulled alongside the teens' SUV in the parking lot of a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station. Dunn asked them to turn their music down, and after an exchange of words, he fired between 8 and 9 shots at the vehicle, several of which hit Davis, causing his death.
Dunn was arrested on Saturday and charged with murder and attempted murder. His lawyer said that her client acted "responsibly and in self defense." During a telephone interview with ABC 25, Dunn’s daughter Rebecca defended her father, saying he did not intend to kill anyone and was responding to a threat. "He got threatened and had to do what he had to do, and it's sad, so sad," Rebecca Dunn said. "A terrible tragedy on both sides. It really is. I don't know. What are you going to do in that situation? You don't know what you are going to do. He just reacted".
I am not offended by the defense attorney or Dunn's daughter making the statements they did. That's what I would expect them to do. I am offended that someone who isn't an officer of the law apparently feels it necessary to initiate a confrontation with someone, kill them and then claim self-defense. As usual, we should wait to see what other facts may arise but right now it doesn't look good for Dunn. I have had road rage. I get angry at people on a regular basis. If I shot everyone who ever annoyed me I would have run out of bullets by now. But somehow in my time on this planet I've managed not to murder anyone. That's because I have control over myself and know the difference between right and wrong. Unfortunately some people don't. Or worse, some people think that they don't have to control themselves around certain other people. I think that the public image of young black men, heck black men in general is so bad that independent of context, everything they do can be considered a threat by someone who sees them in a certain light.
A black musician responding in kind to a white comedian's nasty insults becomes a verbal rapist. A teen allegedly playing loud music becomes a threat to your life. For some people the mere existence of black people can be threatening, evidently. I don't know how to fix this. One way to start would be to repeal the Stand Your Ground law, but that's really an after the fact solution. Certainly it should be made clear to everyone that you can't start a confrontation and then kill someone in "self-defense". I fully expect that Dunn's defense team will try their best to find any dirt they can on Jordan Davis. Maybe he spit on the sidewalk once. Maybe he jaywalked when he was ten. Maybe he got into a fight in kindergarten. But his true crime was annoying Michael Dunn. And for that he received the death penalty.

**UPDATE. Our very own Leigh Owens aka The Godson discusses the case. Special thanks to Leigh and to the Storyteller for getting info out.


1) What is wrong with Florida?

2) Is it time to repeal the Stand your Ground Law?

3) Do you think Dunn was drunk?

4) How do we avoid these sorts of things in the future?