Saturday, August 31, 2019

Demonization of Gun Owners: Philadelphia "Wellness Check" Results in Hysteria, Propaganda

On 28 August, 2019, relatives of a former gun dealer called police because, they said, they were concerned the 72-Year-Old man might be depressed and/or suicidal. I do not know if the man was suicidal or not, but old white men commit the largest percentages of suicides. They tend to use guns to do the deed.  The police raided the house, on the authorization of the relatives. It appears to be a nice home in a nice neighborhood. Bustleton is home to many of Philadelphia's police officers and firefighters.

The wellness check turned into a full blown media circus. Swat was called "to assist in clearing weapons". The bomb squad was called. Hazmat was called. Why? Because the man involved, who had been a gun dealer, according to relatives, had a modest gun collection, some inert grenade bodies (easily and legally purchased), a smoke grenade (totally legal), some mercury (totally legal), and about a thousand rounds of ammunition. From
According to investigators, officers encountered a 72-year-old man whom relatives expressed concern that he may be depressed or suicidal. The man was taken to the hospital for evaluation. Relatives said the man used to be a gun dealer.

Police say family members authorized them to enter the home, and upon entering, they found more than 50 guns, hundreds of rounds of ammo, 10 hand grenades, a pipe bomb and liquid mercury. The grenades are believed to be inert.

 Link to video on Youtube

Here is the headline from

Philadelphia Police Find More Than 50 Guns, Grenades And Liquid Mercury In Bustleton Home, Officials Say

Watching some video of the raid by Philadelphia's finest, I winced as the nice long guns were unceremoniously, dumped on top of each other in the back of a police van "to have their serial numbers checked to be sure they were legal".  In today's digital age, serial numbers can easily be checked in the field. The former firearm dealer had been taken to the hospital for an evaluation.

This does not require the guns to be taken from the home. Once impounded by the police, try to get your guns back, especially in Philadelphia. The mayor is notoriously biased against gun ownership. The modest collection of pistols, rifles, and shotguns, say, 55, as the number was over 50, and almost certainly less than 60, or the reports would have said "more than 60", is likely worth 20-30 thousand dollars. It might take more then $30,000 in lawyers fees to fight the city to have the guns returned. The city will be using other people's money and city attorney's to prevent the return of the guns.

50-60 guns is a modest gun collection.  Many people have hundreds of guns. A thousand rounds of ammunition is only 20 rounds per gun. It could be two bricks of .22 ammunition that sells for less than $40, total.

Hopefully, the rule of law will be followed and the guns returned immediately, if the former gun dealer is not adjudicated as a threat to himself.  Proving your self to not be a threat to yourself, is not clear cut and obvious. Some in our society would say merely being old, white, male, and a gun owner shows you to be unfit to have guns.

It only takes one relative who is disgruntled or overly cautious to create this nightmare for the former gun dealer.

In this case, it was the police who turned an ordinary welfare check into a media, anti-gun ownership circus.

If the police cannot, at a glance, tell that an inert grenade body, without fuse or filler, is *not* a grenade, they are incompetent. If they are saying a piece of pipe with, or without end caps, if there is no explosive filler or fuse, is a "pipe bomb" they are incompetent. If they feel the need to call a hazemat team because someone owns a bottle of mercury, which has numerous legal uses, and is completely legal to own, they are incompetent.

Worse, much worse, is the possibility the police are *competent*, but in this case, and others like it, are malicious in order to secure media propaganda and political kudos. They know the guns, inert grenade bodies, ammunition and mercury are legal, but see a great opportunity to grandstand, create a media circus, and gain political credit from a rabidly anti-gun ownership mayor.  That seems to be the attitude of Chief Inspector Scott Small, in the video.

I do not know Inspector Small. Maybe he really is as clueless as he would be required to be, to avoid the perception as a politically correct party apparatchik.

This country has a serious problem of legal firearms theft from gun owners, by police departments.

I hope it is not happening in this case. I would love to be proven wrong.

Maybe, in a few days, we will see a followup where the former gun dealer was found competent, all his guns and legal possessions are returned, at no cost to him, and the police offer an apology for overreacting, but, of course, claim it was all in concern for his safety. Or, if he is not found competent, the guns are turned over to his relatives or fiduciary, to be cared for as the substantial assets they are.

I will not be holding my breath.  The suspicion of potential suicide should not override our Constitutional rights. The suspicion of relatives should not trump all the careful protections provided for in the Constitution, yet that is precisely what is happening. It may take a Supreme Court case to stop this insanity.

Who knows? One or two more Supreme Court appointments by President Trump, and it could happen.

©2019 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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Anonymous said...

Solution. sue the family members for defamation, make them pay to get the guns returned or sue them for replacements. then sue the police for illegal entry and false arrest. I don't have any relatives with the authority to approve entry to my home. I own my home. to get in here you better have a legal warrant. Unconstitutional laws are void. Police need to understand the Nuremberg defense is useless. following orders you know to be invalid is no excuse. Gestappo is a German word. Too many American police think they can act like Gestappo. Near the end of WW 2 the Gestappo were gunned down on sight. the squeaky wheel gets the grease, this second amendment issue may blow up in the liberals face. I personally expect the second amendment issue to be the spark for the next civil war in this country.

C. S. P. Schofield said...

And when the 'worried' relatives discover that the old man's will has been changed to give his entire estate to some Pro-Second Amendment foundation, they will have the nerve to be surprised.