Saturday, November 30, 2019

Black Bear Attack Stopped with .45 on Second Floor of Motel

Gregg and dog

On Thursday night, 7 November, 2019 a little after 11 p.m., at the Motel 6 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Greg Sapp was on the walkway outside of his and his wife, Viki's motel room on the second floor. He was getting a smoke. He did not know he would be emptying his Kimber .45 into a charging black bear within seconds.

Link to video

He was facing outward from the motel. Room 240 has one wall in common with the outside of the motel, with another in common with the breezeway that connects to the rooms on the other side of the motel. Greg was at the railing, with his back to the breezeway and the corner of the room. He had left the door of the motel room open a few inches, so he could communicate with Vicki.

The temperature was about 47 degrees. He was wearing a green Columbia winter jacket. It wouldn't be easy to get at a holstered Kimber Ultra Carry II in an inside the waistband holster, wearing a zipped up winter jacket. Greg had put the pistol, cocked and locked, in his right front jacket pocket. Greg says he carries everywhere he goes, where it is legal. Both Greg and Vicki have Tennessee carry permits.

Greg and Vicki had ended up in the Motel 6 by mishap. They were in Gatlinburg to visit a friend from Michigan, who was spending a few days in the city. They had to drive a few hours. The reservations were for a pet friendly motel. By mistake, the staff had put them in a non-pet friendly room. They had brought their dog with them. They had to scurry to find a motel which would accommodate their pet.

View from Room 240 side of Motel, looking through Breezeway
At the railing, smoking, with his back to the breezeway, Greg heard a ruckus behind him.

 Bam, bang, crash.

He turned around, and looked. There, no more than 20 feet away, its feet on a tipped over trash can, was a huge black bear. The bear did not notice him immediately.

But Greg's dog had come out, and peaked around the corner. It growled and emitted a bark,! The bear jumped over the downed trash can, landed with a Woof!, and charged directly at Greg.

Everything happened extremely fast, but Greg had moved into the psychological state of tachypsychia, where everything seems to slow down. This is a common effect when a human perceives a deadly threat. The effect also distorts distance, and can cause tunnel vision, focused on the threat.

Greg said: Oh f*ck! The .45 Kimber appeared in his hand and he was firing, with the bear taking up his whole field of vision. Greg told me:
"Everything went into like, time lapse." "It seemed like it took forever!"
In Greg's heightened state of awareness, he could hear the first three bullets hit.

Thunk, thunk, thunk.

Then his ears were ringing. The bear dropped its head down as he fired the last three shots at extremely close range, Greg said it was three feet or less.

The bear hit the railing of the walkway two feet from him, turned left, and went down the walkway away from Greg, who had the empty Kimber in his hand.

Vicki, standing at railing , facing breezeway, just outside room 240

Vicki, inside the room, heard Greg scream, and heard the shots, fired very fast.
Blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam!

The entire sequence, from the "Woof!" to the bear hitting the walkway took about two seconds.  Vicki made it to the motel door, and onto the walkway, to see the back of the bear moving down the walkway, away from them. Vicki said:
"This thing was huge. It took up almost the whole walkway!"

Walkway wounded bear used to leave the scene, from Greg's position

The bear went down the stairs and into the forest. It was bleeding profusely.

Greg is a veteran with 10 years in Marine Corps Recon. He is 53 years old. He and Vicki have some acreage with their own private range.  He is about 5' 10" tall and 180 pounds. He shoots there often.

His speed and accuracy are the expected results from practice. 

Greg and Vicki called the police. When the police investigated, neither they, nor Vicki, could find any indication any of the bullets had impacted the hotel walls, walkway, or ceiling. All six bullets had gone into the bear and stayed there.

Greg had loaded the magazine with five rounds, with a round in the chamber. He had found, through experience, a fully loaded magazine to be less reliable in his little Kimber.

The cartridges were Federal HST rounds, an aggressive hollow-point design made for defense against humans. The Kimber Ultra Carry II  has a three inch barrel, which likely reduces the velocity by 10-15% compared to a standard five inch barrel.

One neighbor said they had seen the bear previously, and believed it to be 500 lbs.  Greg initially thought it was 350-400 lbs. Everyone agrees it was a big black bear.

In early November, with plentiful food, it would have had four inches of fat on, under the skin.

The HST rounds probably did not penetrate far enough to reach the bear's vitals.  Two weeks after the charge and shooting, a neighbor said he believed he had seen the bear back in the area, but he could not be certain. He said one big, black bear looks much like another big, black bear.

A retired officer commented about the bullet's performance. He said years ago, he had seen a big black bear which had been hit by a car, in the late fall. An officer had shot it with a .40 caliber, in the neck, to put it out of its misery. The .40 caliber hollow point was not sufficient, and a 12 gauge slug was used to finish the job. When the taxidermist skinned out the bear, they found the expanded .40 caliber lodged in the bears neck. It had not penetrated to the spinal column or entered the chest cavity. In a test by, the HST .45 cartridge had one of the most aggressive expansion and the lowest velocities, of self defense .45 rounds.

Greg says he had considered bringing his Glock 29 10 mm instead of the Kimber .45, but he was not expecting to have to shoot a bear. He had left the Glock and took the Kimber. He thinks .45 full metal jacketed ball ammunition would likely have been sufficient to take down the bear.

When the police investigated, they followed the blood trail until it stopped. They did not find the bear. An officer asked why Greg had not retreated to the hotel room. Greg said there was no time to do so.

Blood trail from wounded bear in Gatlinburg

Greg was not cited for shooting the bear. He was cited for reckless endangerment and unlawful discharge of a firearm. The police impounded his Kimber as evidence. The Kimber, with custom modifications, is worth about $1800.

Greg's .45 Kimber

Greg has contacted an attorney and will fight the charges.

The claw marks on the cement floor of the walkway show the bear was very close. There may be surveillance video of the bear at the motel.  The bear did not have to come at Greg.  It was not trapped in the breezeway. The breezeway behind the bear was open, with a stairway leading down, directly from the breezeway.

Vicki said, between the time they had checked in on Thursday, until they checked out, a sign had gone up near the register, warning about bears.

Both Greg and Vicki believe if Greg had not had his .45, he would have been mauled or killed.

Gatlinburg has a lot of bears in the town. There are many stories of bears wandering about the city. The city may perceive them as a tourist draw. Many residents believe the bears pose no threat. Tennessee wildlife managers disagree. From
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency experts are asking Tennesseans to educate themselves, and their neighbors, about proper behavior in bear country. They say bears that become habituated to human food pose a much greater human threat. The smell of grease on a grill, ripe vegetables in a garden, trash and bird feeders not only attract bears, they provide easy meals for bears. Once a bear gets this easy meal, it doesn't forget. And the experts say, "A fed bear is a dead bear," meaning they often have to be euthanized.

The bear experts say that simply capturing and relocating a conditioned, dangerous bear isn't an option.
Gatlinburg is a tourist town. The video of the bear on the walkway of the Econolodge was taken less than two miles from the Motel 6, and posted on 28 October, 2019. It may have been the same bear.

Many people will be interested in Greg Sapp's legal battles. If he loses on either charge, he might lose his Tennessee carry permit.

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

Gun Watch

Australia to Launch Continual Gun Amnesty in 2020

Some Australian Treasures waiting to be registered during the 2017 Amnesty

The Australian states and territories have agreed to make a continuous, ongoing amnesty for people to turn in and register guns that have previously not been registered. The continuous amnesty is expected to start in the second half of 2020. From
Gun owners will be able to hand in their weapons, no questions asked, from next year, when Australia launches a national continuous gun amnesty. 

All states and territories agreed to the first-ever continuous amnesty yesterday at a meeting of police and emergency services ministers in Adelaide.
Details of how the amnesty would proceed are still to be worked out. Previous amnesties have differed significantly.

One point for negotiation will be if firearms can be turned into gun shops, and the gun shops allowed to register the guns and pay the people who turned the unregistered gun in.

This helps to insure valuable property is not destroyed for no good reason.

Another advantage of this system is the government does not have to pay for turned in firearms. If they are worth much, or the gun shops will pay for them.

A continuous amnesty has been in place in some Australian states for a number of years.

When I observed the last nationwide amnesty, conducted in 2017, many Australians I talked to mentioned the potential of a permanent amnesty, because it offered so many advantages.

They only people opposed seemed to be the dogmatic hoplophobes. They wanted a system the made all guns into prohibited contraband, only grudgingly allowed for specific purposes for short periods of time.

That system was essentially put in place with the draconian gun laws passed in 1997, under Prime Minister Howard, who hated guns with a unreasonable passion.

During the 2017 amnesty, gun owners who already had a license, could register guns they "found" and add them to their license, if they qualified.

A permanent amnesty can benefit everyone to some extent. Those who want all guns registered will have more guns registered. Gun owners will have a means to add desirable, but unregistered guns to their collections.

The government will claim it is doing something useful. There has been a strong push by gun owners in Australia to reform some of the draconian measures of the old 1997 law, such as mandating confiscation of guns and criminal charges for the most minor of law violations. One .22 cartridge found under the seat of a farm vehicle could result in confiscation of all guns and loss of a firearms license for life.

My examination of the 2017 amnesty found 20% of the guns turned in were old, broken, airguns. 

Having an unregistered, broken, airgun of in your possession carried the same sort of draconian penalties as having shotgun or rifle in your possession. There was no legal way to dispose of the item until the amnesty was approved.

There is no true "national" law about possession of guns in Australia. In Australia, the states have arguably more power than individual states in the United States. It is a strong federal system. The national firearms law consists of control of imports and exports, and an agreement between the states, which can be changed at will.

It would be nice if the new agreement between the states would eliminate some of the silly parts of the old agreement, such as treating air rifles the same as high powered hunting guns; making it harder to legally own a slingshot or crossbow compared to a hunting rifle; and making the export of private arms exceptionally difficult and costly.

It does not seem likely to happen, but the new administration seems a bit more reasonable than the last one.

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

Gun Watch

WA: Armed Homeowner Confronts Suspect, Fires Three Shots, Officers Shoot, Kill Suspect

The homeowner noticed someone suspicious parked in his driveway. He went outside to confront the man, the two got into a fight, and the homeowner fired three shots.

"(The homeowner) felt very threatened and he felt very concerned for the safety of his family and himself and he opted to warn or fire rounds or the suspect knew he was armed and he needed to leave now," said Officer Loretta Cool.
More Here

MI: Armed Citizens Stops Altercation between Suspects and Employee

During the altercation, a citizen fired a warning shot in the parking lot because they were afraid for the person being attacked by the suspect, police say.

One of the suspects is a white man with brown hair and should have a laceration on one of his palms.
More Here

TX: Homeowner Shoots Tire of Vehicle that Rammed Wrong House

Officers on the scene tell 3News just before 1:30 a.m. Thursday, the suspect began ramming his truck into a vehicle parked at a home on Barcelona causing some extensive damage to the house.

The homeowner came out and shot the suspects tire to prevent further damage to the house and danger to his family.
More Here

PA: Security Guard Returns Fire, Wounds Suspect

Police say a security guard and a 33-year-old man were standing outside when a car pulled up and started firing at them.

The man was struck once in the arm.

The security guard returned fire, shooting the 27-year-old passenger in the hand.

More Here

Friday, November 29, 2019

WA: Domestic Defense, Woman Shoots, Kills Estranged Husband

MCCLEARY, Wash. -- A woman says she had no choice but to defend herself and her friend when she shot and killed her estranged husband Wednesday night at a McCleary home.

The man had a domestic violence protection order against him and she says he broke in and attacked them with a knife.
More Here

Followup OH: Three Juveniles Arrested in Home Invasion Gunfight

Bellefontaine Police, and numerous other law enforcement agencies have worked diligently today to make three arrests in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Bellefontaine resident Caleb Chamberlin.

Anthony Scartz, 24, also of Bellefontaine, was shot multiple times during the incident, and is currently being treated in a Columbus hospital.
More Here

AL: Resident Shoots, Kills, Intruder who Attacked Him

 The shooter was a resident at the home located in the 24000 block of Garrett Road. The shooter reportedly came home and found the intruder. The intruder then attacked the resident.
More Here

PA: Burglar Shot, Warrant Issued for Shooter

Once on the scene, police learned that 35-year-old Keith Wilson had broken into the apartment and assaulted a resident.

Police say Wilson was then shot by a resident of the apartment, but is expected to survive his injuries.
More Here

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The School Shooting in California was done with a Homemade Gun

Shortly after the murders at the Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, just North of Los Angeles, the news coverage faltered and died away.

I and others speculated something in the facts about the case did not fit the current media narrative in the push to further infringe on Second Amendment rights. California has some of the most restrictive laws on gun ownership, sale, possession, and carry in the United States.

A clue to the lack of coverage: the police did not announce the model or make of gun. It was not an AR15, as that would have been useful to the infringement narrative.

Those thoughts were verified today as Los Angeles County Sheriff Villanueva released the information the .45 semi-automatic pistol was homemade. From
Ghost guns are a growing problem for law enforcement. The parts are relatively easy to obtain and the guns do not take much expertise to build. So even though California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, they are only based on traditional firearms made by manufacturers where ownership can easily be traced.

In Southern California, one-third of all firearms seized are ghost guns.

"Congress and state legislatures enact all these crimes about gun registration but now the gun industry is creating a way to just bypass the entire thing by creating a mechanism to manufacture weapons yourself," Villanueva said.
People have been making their own guns for hundreds of years. It has always been legal to make your own gun in the United States. For there to be a functional right to keep and bear arms in the United States, there has to be a right to access arms. One of the most fundamental rights to access is the right to make your own.

It was only recently that some jurisdictions, such as California, have placed infringements on the right to make your own guns.

The reason is clear. As governments place more and more infringements on the right to keep and bear arms, particularly on the right to buy and sell those arms, people respond by making their own.  The more draconian the restrictions, the more people resort to making their own. The number stated by Sheriff Villanueva is amazing. He claims one third of all firearms seized are homemade.

This is happening in the United States with more than 400 million factory manufactured guns in circulation, where there are, conservatively estimated,  forty billion rounds of ammunition stored in homes, garages, and closets all over the country. This is happening in a state with long, porous borders, and no effective border control.

This is happening in a state where, for the price of a family's four day vacation to Disneyland, one can buy the Chinese drill presses, lathes, milling machines, and 3D printers to set up a small shop in a garage to a few produce homemade firearms every week.  This method of production was commonly used in Europe circa 1900.  The machinery today is easier to use. The power is relatively reliable, even in Southern California. The materials are easier to procure. Plans for making such guns are easily accessible online. Online how-to videos are common.

Far more sophisticated shops for automobile repair, hobbyists, and crafts already exist in the tens of thousands in Southern California.

If one third of firearms used in crime are homemade in Southern California, the attempt to lower crime rates with infringements such as gun registration, bans on certain types of pistols, background checks for ammunition, and waiting periods, are futile.  It is not the Second Amendment which bans various restrictions from lowering violent crime. It is the laws of physics and chemistry.

None of these restrictions have been shown to reduce crime anywhere. Some of the most easily produced homemade/small shop guns are sub machine guns.

They are commonly produced in countries where personal freedoms to access information, materials, and machinery are far more restricted, than are allowed by the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution.

They are commonly found in  Australia, where the authorities admit 10% of guns confiscated are homemade; in Brazil, Canada,China, India, Israel,and the
Philippines, and wherever onerous controls are imposed on the acquisition and ownership of arms.

Semi-automatic and full auto firearms are made in crude, small shops for sale in the black market all over the world. They are made in places with far less access to machinery and technology than Southern California. 

Sheriff Villanueva attempts to make some sort of point by referring to gun tracing and registration. Registration has never been effective in reducing crime rates.

Tracing gun ownership, a lower level of control, has never been effective either. They may appeal to those addicted to government control of the population. In practice they have no effect on crime. There is no difference in the lack of ability to trace a gun which is stolen and a gun which is made in a basement or garage.  The only mild difference is that a few guns may be returned to the legal owners. That does not effect violent crime.  The vast majority of the 400+ million guns in private hands in the United States are not registered and not "traceable".

The modern history of over 160 years of gun controls in the world shows there is no relationship between legal firearms ownership, illegal firearms ownership, and levels of  violent crime.

One of the major reasons violent crime is not reduced, is guns are fairly easily made, and are thus relatively easily available on black markets. They are at least a 500 year old technology. "Modern" firearms are over a 160 years old. Semi-automatic rifles and pistols have been commercially available in the United States for over a 110 years. The technology for making guns has kept pace, and is well within the purchasing power of a hobbyist or low level criminal.

Ammunition is easily produced by hobbyists, but very little is needed for criminal purposes. What is expended by one dedicated target shooter in a year, is enough to fuel the entire criminal enterprise in Southern California for the same period (between 20,000 and 50,000 rounds).  A criminal only needs a few rounds. A dedicated target shooter needs tens of thousands.

Modern ammunition has a shelf life of at least 100 years.

Physics and chemistry limit the effectiveness of gun control to reduce crime more than the Second Amendment does.

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

Gun Watch 


TX: Two Reported Robberies and a Shooting of Possible Suspect

Police say a teen shot twice at someone, there was an altercation and the teen was shot. Police would not give any further details, except to say one person was transported to the hospital for treatment.
More Here

OK: Domestic Defense, Woman Shoots at Man who Threatened her with Knife

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – Police say a woman shot at her boyfriend Tuesday during a domestic dispute.

Police say the man, Edward Earl Davis, had a knife, and they’re viewing this as an act of self-defense.
More Here

CA: Gun fight, Store Clerk Shoots, Kills 1 of 2 Robbery Suspects

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Sheriff’s office investigators said one man is dead following an apparent gun battle between a store clerk and would-be robbers Wednesday evening at an East Bakersfield market.
More Here

Student Shooter Used ‘Ghost Gun’ Built From Parts

The gun used in the Southern California high-school shooting last week was a “ghost gun” with no serial number, law-enforcement officials said Thursday.

The .45 caliber handgun used by Nathaniel Berhow to kill two fellow students and wound three others at Saugus High School on Nov. 14 was built from parts that can be easily purchased online, the officials said. The 16-year-old shot himself as well and died the next day.

Homemade ghost guns have grown in popularity in recent years and cannot be traced because they lack serial numbers. Law-enforcement officials say they appeal to people who can’t pass background checks.

In 2017, for example, a Northern California man, who was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a restraining order, killed five people using a semiautomatic rifle that he made himself.

Investigators use serial numbers on guns to trace weapons used in crimes. Guns sold by gun dealers, where buyers must go through a background check, have serial numbers because federal law requires gun manufacturers to put them on the firearms that they sell.

Investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are trying to determine whether the gun in this case, a 1911 model pistol, was made by the shooter’s late father, Mark Berhow, who was an avid hunter and firearms enthusiast. Police had seized firearms that were registered to Mark Berhow after he was detained in 2016 for a mental-health evaluation, law enforcement officials said. He died in 2017.

When police searched the gunman’s home, they found another ghost gun, as well as other gun parts. Investigators are trying to find out whether the ghost gun was built after the father’s registered guns were seized by police.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said this week that no motive for last week’s attack has been uncovered. The shooter, who had a girlfriend and other friends, didn’t fit the stereotype of a school shooter, the sheriff said.

But at home, life had been a struggle for the teen. Mark Berhow had been arrested for domestic violence and struggled with alcoholism, law-enforcement officials said. The gunman’s parents fought for custody of him before the father died, according to court filings.

Authorities have seized more ghost guns in recent years. In the Los Angeles area, about one-third of all guns seized by the ATF are these untraceable weapons without serial numbers, according to the agency. In August, a man with a long rap sheet prohibiting him from owning a firearm used an AR-15-style ghost gun in a shootout with police that killed a California Highway Patrol officer in Riverside, Calif.

A new California law requires those who assemble ghost guns at home to get a serial number for the firearm. Online gun stores sell kits for such guns, which require a small amount of work to complete.

The starting point for building one is an “unfinished receiver,” a metal or polymer piece that houses the firing mechanism. It can be purchased without a background check, because the ATF doesn’t classify the part as a firearm. Buyers can finish the receiver with a drill press or a computerized metal-cutting machine and then add the remaining pieces to complete the gun. A finished receiver is considered a firearm by the ATF.

Boyfriend uses AR15 to Defend Self, Girlfriend against Masked Home Invader

Image from google maps

At about 4 p.m., on 31 March, 2019, a suspected gang member broke into an apartment at Blackhawk Apartments in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Blackhawk apartments are a large, two story apartment complex in a decent neighborhood. A couple was inside the apartment, in the bedroom.  From

The man grabbed his Tactical AR-15 pistol after hearing what he thought were multiple people entering his apartment and took a position on one knee, pointing his firearm toward his bedroom doorway, documents said.
The armed home invader, Edwin D. Calligan, 23, was wearing a mask and was armed with a semi-automatic, 9mm handgun.

Screenshot Image from, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

Calligan broke down the front door. The boyfriend was inside the apartment with his girlfriend, in the bedroom, when they heard the door being broke. He grabbed his AR15 pistol and took up a defensive position covering the bedroom door. He thought, from the noise, there were multiple home invaders.

As Calligan appeared in the doorway, masked, dressed all in black, with a two-tone semi-automatic handgun in his hand, the resident fired. He is not sure if Calligan fired simultaneously or not.

The gunfight continued into the living room, where they exchanged more shots. The invader, Calligan, ducked into the kitchen for cover, while the resident with the AR15 pistol and Calligan continued to exchange fire.

The resident retreated to the bedroom and Calligan, wounded, ran out the front door, bleeding heavily.

When the police investigated, they found numerous empty 9mm and .223 casings on the floor of the apartment. The home defender estimated he fired between 14 and 17 rounds out of a 40 round magazine in his AR15 type pistol.

The blood trail indicates Calligan was hit when he was in the kitchen. The police found a loaded 9mm magazine lying on the floor in the kitchen. Perhaps Calligan was attempting a reload when he has hit.

Calligan was transported to the hospital by people who appeared to be waiting in Calligan's black Equinox outside the apartment. He had a bullet wound in the upper front of his right thigh, with an exit wound in his buttock. Calligan's black Equinox was left in the hospital parking lot. 

The resident was able to identify Calligan from a photo array.

This defensive use of an AR15 style firearm illustrates the qualities of the platform for home defense. The firearms are light, handy, easy to control, and have sufficient magazine capacity to minimize the necessity of reloading. While there was only one assailant in the apartment, confederates were in a car outside. They drove Calligan to the hospital. In the dozens of shots fired, only one connected with a person. Calligan was the only person wounded in the gunfight, in an apartment complex, in a city.

The couple of dozen shots did not appear to result in over-penetration. No one else was injured.

It has not been reported what brand of .223 ammunition was used in the AR15 pistol, or the type of bullets.

It is not uncommon for most bullets fired in combat to miss their intended targets. The strange concept that a defender only needs a limited number of cartridges, such as 5 or 7 or 10, to effectively defend themselves, is shown to be incorrect by this example.

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

Gun Watch

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

MI: Security Guard Shoots Robbery Suspect

According to authorities, a man attempted to rob the store but was shot twice by a security guard.

Police said the attempted robber fled the scene through the parking lot and into a nearby neighborhood.
More Here

Correction IN: Man who Shot, Killed Dominick Drake, was not his Father

The 911 caller, Ricky Drake, 72, told deputies that Dominick Drake, 24, was out of control and had threatened him with a knife and a large whiskey bottle, Koch said.

Ricky Drake told deputies he felt threatened by Dominick Drake and fired a single shot from a .45-caliber handgun, striking the 24-year-old in the chest, Koch said.
More Here

CA: Domestic Defense, Current Boyfriend Shoots Ex who was Choking Him

The disgruntled man started to choke Kyle and wouldn't stop, Kyle told NBC 7. He warned his attacker he'd shoot if he didn't release his grip, but the choking continued. He said he feared for his life so he fired one shot into the man's leg. Then he dropped his weapon immediately and began giving the victim first aid until paramedics arrived.
More Here

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

FBI Arrests Houston Officers in Fall-out of Harding Street Raid, Deprivation of Rights

The Federal investigation into the no-knock raid on 7815 Harding Street in Houston Texas, on January 28th, 2019, where the married couple, Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas were killed in their home, has resulted in indictments and arrests for three people. Those three are former officers Gerald M. Goines, 55, Seven M. Bryant, 46, and neighbor Patricia Ann Garcia, 53.

There were many suspicious facts about the raid that raised red flags from the start. Initially,  the Houston Police Department, Police Chief Acevedo, and the Houstion Police Union circled the wagons and insisted the raid was legitimate. 

In August, the Harris County Prosecutor Charged Goines and Bryant with crimes. They were arrested and released on bond. Now, both have been charged and arrested on the federal charges, and the neighbor across the street, Patricia Ann Garcia, has been arrested on federal charges.  From
A federal grand jury returned the nine count indictment Nov. 14 against Gerald M. Goines, 55, and Steven M. Bryant, 46, both former Houston Police Department (HPD) officers. Also charged is Patricia Ann Garcia, 53. All are residents of Houston. The indictment was unsealed this morning as authorities took all three into custody. They are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena H. Palermo at 2 p.m. central time.
Former officer Goines is charged with two counts of depriving victims of their Constitutional rights against unreasonable searches.  According to HPD Chief Acevdo, the charges are under Title 18 U.S.C. 242, deprivation of rights under color of authority.

Both Goines and former officer Bryant are also charged with obstructing justice by falsifying records; Goines for false statements in his offense report and tactical plan connected with the search warrant, and Bryant for false statements in a supplemental report, after the raid was conducted. There are three more obstruction charges against Goines for statements after the raid.  Goines faces sentences of 20 years to life.  Bryant faces up to 20 years on the falsification of records charge.

Images from Houston Police Department, source, 23 August, 2019, combined, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten.

Garcia is charged with conveying false information. Cheif Acevedo says she was the neighbor across the street from 7815 Harding Street.
The charges against Garcia allege she conveyed false information by making several fake 911 calls. Specifically, on Jan. 8, she allegedly made several calls claiming her daughter was inside the Harding Street location. According to the indictment, Garcia added that the residents of the home were addicts and drug dealers and that they had guns – including machine guns – inside the home. The charges allege none of Garcia’s claims were true.
In Cheif Acevedo's statement, he says Garcia was charged with Title 18 U.S.C. § 1018, but I find the maximum sentence for that section is one year in prison. The press release from the DOJ, Southern District of Texas, says she faces a five year maximum sentence. The charge may be Conveying False Information with Malicious Conduct, which has a maximum sentence of five years in prison, under  18 U.S.C. § 2292. 

The arrest warrants were issued in the Southern District of Texas on 14 November, 2019, according the Chief Acevedo. Goines and Garcia were arrested in Harris County, Texas. Former Officer Bryant was arrested in Fort Bend County, Texas. Garcia was arrested at 7812 Harding Street, according to Chief Acevedo.

Acevedo mentioned all three arrestees were transported to the FBI field office in Houston.

Police Chief Acevedo held a press conference shortly after the arrests were announced. His spin was considerably different from previous press conferences. In this press conference, he claims the investigation by HPD into Goines, Bryant, and Garcia all started mere days after the incident. But the HPD did not initiate charges or arrests of these individuals. In fact, it appears the HPD disapproved of the charges and arrests by the Harris County prosecutor earlier this year. Now Chief Acevedo is attempting to take credit for the FBI charges and arrests.

Chief Acevedo now says " is another step in that journey towards justice and the journey to justice for the deceased individuals, Ms Regina and Mr. Tuttle."

Later, he says:
"Our number one responsibility is to the Tuttle's, the Tuttle family, Regina and her family, and the officers who went to execute what they believed to be a lawfully obtained search warrant based on factual information provided by the case agent, ."

This is a considerable difference in attitude from Chief Acevedo's comments a few months ago. In May, according to Reason, Acevedo was still blaming the Tuttles for the raid.
Although Police Chief Art Acevedo has said the affidavit for the search warrant was falsified, he continues to defend the investigation that led to the raid, citing a January 8 call from an unnamed woman who reported that her daughter was using drugs at the house and described Tuttle and Nicholas as armed and dangerous drug dealers. Acevedo also said neighbors had thanked police for raiding the couple's home, which he said was locally notorious as a "drug house" and a "problem location."
Speculation: Might this be related to the Federal indictments, the families independent investigation, and the lawsuit by the family?

 Link to Acevedo Press Conference Video

In the latest press conference, Chief Avecedo admits that most (more than half) homes in Texas are likely to have guns.
"..most houses, I would say a greater number, you would find firearms than not."
This undercuts the idea the mere presence of firearms is sufficient to justify a no-knock raid. It also emphasizes a loose end in the investigation former officer Goines. From
Goines swore in search warrant affidavits that “knocking and announcing would be dangerous, futile,” because he claimed a confidential informant had seen a gun inside. Those claims led judges to grant no-knock warrants, which accounted for 96 percent of all the search warrants he filed in the last seven years, a KHOU 11 Investigation has found.
But in every one of the more than 100 drug cases based off those warrants, there’s no record of Goines ever seizing a gun after executing a no-knock search warrant.
HPD deserves some credit. They interviewed and taped then officer Goines in the hospital. The interview video and written replies were critical in unraveling the lies which were used to build the case for the warrant.

I suspect there are ongoing federal and Harris county investigations about what happened to the guns that were found in the 100 drug cases based on Goines' no-knock warrants. The idea that *no* guns were found is absurd.

There were numerous rumors floated over the past 10 months that it was Regina's mother who called the police. This was predicated on the caller complaining that her "daughter" was doing drugs at 7815 Harding Street.

The caller was no relation to the Tuttles. She only lived across the street. The "daughter" in the house never existed, except as a fabrication. As there was no other woman in the house, people concluded Regina was the non-existant daughter.

It is now understood 7815 Harding Street was the targeted address for the raid. Early speculation of a mix-up with another address (7815 Hardy Street) was not correct. The police did not mix up the addresses. Chief Acevedo did not help when he mixed up "Hardy" and "Harding" in early reports.

There is an unresolved ambiguity about how the .357 revolver was not included in the initial inventory at the scene, then showed up later.

One advantage of our litigious society, is pressure can be exerted in cases such as this.

The deaths innocents and wounding of officers could have been entirely prevented, if the warrant had been presented in a reasonable manner. No-knock warrants are controlled much more tightly now, according to Chief Acevedo.  No-knock warrants should be exceedingly rare in the United States.

A question for readers to consider: Houston is a heavily Democrat city. Would the federal investigation of the Harding Street no-knock raid have occurred if Hillary Clinton were President?

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

Gun Watch

TN: Armed Victim Fires at Armed Robbery Suspects

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A man robbed of his phone and wallet in South Nashville Monday morning pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots at the people who robbed him, Metro police say.
More Here

CA: Gunfight, Business owner Fights Robbers, Retrieves 100 lbs of Silver

“After they were gone, I realized what just happened. I grabbed my gun and went after them …. and I saw one of the guys still on the street around the corner there ,” said Mammoser. “And I told him, ‘Hey, stop!‘ And I had my gun and I point it at him. And he turned around, and shot at me, so I shot at him twice.”

Just then, the second robber drove up in a car, and the gunfire continued.
More Here

NV: Death of Thomas Vonbehren Considered Self Defense

Las Vegas police believe an east valley shooting on Friday night that left a 58-year-old man dead to be a case of self-defense.

The man who died has been identified as Thomas Vonbehren by the Clark County coroner’s office, which did not list a city or state of residence.
More Here

TN: Disarm, Student takes Gun from Robbery Suspects

In that second case, police said two people went up to the students. One pulled out a gun.

When one of the students told them to "chill out," he grabbed the gun turning it around so it pointed toward the suspects.

Both suspects ran off after not getting away with anything.
More Here

Monday, November 25, 2019

NICS in October, 2019 Breaks Records for Background Checks, Sales

The National Instant background Check System (NICS) for October, 2019, showed record levels of background checks. The previous record for October was in 2016, during the presidential election, when many thought Hillary Clinton would be elected, would appoint at least three hard core Progressive Leftist judges to the Supreme Court. Those justices would be expected to reliably lie to Congress to be confirmed, then violate their oaths of office, and reverse the Heller decision. Second Amendment rights would be gutted.

It did not happen, but it was a tremendous incentive for people who thought they might want a gun to purchase one. October, 2016 set the all time record for NICS background checks for the month: 2,333,539 total background checks. The number, less the 1,221,917 permit checks and rechecks, becomes a good proxy for the firearms sold in the month: 1,105,323.

In October of 2019, three years into the Trump Presidency, the comparable numbers are: Total NICS, 2,393,609.  Permit checks and rechecks, 1,288,274.
Firearms sales proxy, total less permit checks and rechecks, 1,171,692.

The firearm sales proxy for October, 2019 shows a new record with an increase of six percent.

Record level sales are not much of a Trump Slump.

The United States has reached a new normal for firearm sales, fueled by Barack Obama's administration and the aggressive push for more and more restrictions on firearms ownership and use, pushed by the legacy (progressive) media, social media, and billionaire dollars from Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Oprah, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, Rupert Murdoch, and George Soros, according to an article in Forbes from 2016.

Second Amendment activists and a hundred million likely American gun owners, have actively fought back, with the aid of the NRA-ILA, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Gun Owners of America (GOA), and numerous smaller groups and state organizations.

It has been a David and Goliath fight, with Second Amendment supporters battling extreme odds in massive funding by the Billionaires, massive free publicity by the legacy (Progressive) media, and hostile federal appeals courts populated by Progressive judges. A 100 million potential voters have a weight beyond mere money and media access.

The ongoing fight has publicized political concerns about gun ownership as never before.  Candidate Robert Francis (Beto) O'Rourke publicly called for confiscation of AR15 type rifles, as well as any other semi-automatic firearms designated as "assault weapons" in some future law.

The weak response from the rest of the Democrat field seemed to castigate him for going too far, at this time. A prominent Progressive personality on the view told him to keep such plans secret until he was elected.

The publicity, along with large supplies of firearms at historically low prices, has fueled the buying spree.

At some point, the demand for firearms will either be saturated or driven underground by infringements on the Second Amendment. Either the Second Amendment will be enforced by the courts, in which case the demand will drop; or the the Supreme Court will refuse to enforce the Second Amendment as a fundamental, enumerated part of the Bill of Rights, and legal demand will be destroyed by infringements.

The Supreme Court, doing its job, seems the most likely course. When gun laws have been reformed, and Second Amendment rights restored, crime has either remained the same or dropped.

I predict near record high levels of firearms sales to continue through the 2020 election cycle.

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

Gun Watch 

SC: Man Shot by Homeowner During Altercation

Investigators said Taylor and the homeowner got into a fight inside the home and then the homeowner shot Taylor.

Deputies said they believe Taylor ran from the home after he was shot and collapsed in the driveway.
More Here

Update NY: Man, Invited into Home by 14-Year-Old Girl, for Sex, Shot by Girls Father

Steven L. Rossi, a Buffalo man shot in the right shin by a North Tonawanda father who caught him having sex with his 14-year-old daughter, pleaded guilty Friday to third-degree rape, known as statutory rape.

Rossi, 35, of East Utica Street, faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 28 by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon.
More Here

FL: Violent Man Shot as he attempts to Break into Home during Custody Dispute

“The suspect was trespassing, committing a burglary, committed a battery which is both serious felonies, and he had a right to protect himself in his home,” said Judd.

The incident is being called a justifiable homicide at this time, but the sheriff said there would be a full investigation into the incident. The victim is not being charged at this time.
More Here

FL: Burglary Suspect Shot in House

The shooting occurred near the area of Second Street and Meridian Avenue. Police believe the shooting victim, a man in his 60s, was attempting a burglary at 208 Meridian Ave.
More Here

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Walmart Shooting Stopped by Armed Citizen in Oklahoma, days after Constitutional Carry Restored

Image from ABC, text and green added by Dean Weingarten

Link to video

On Monday, 18 November, 2019, at about 9 a.m., a man, confirmed as Yayo Varela, Jr. killed two people in the Walmat Parking lot in Duncan, Oklahoma.

A witness at the Walmart double murder in Duncan, confirms the murderer was stopped by an armed citizen.  The murderer killed a man and a woman in a parked red sedan in the parking lot. The woman is reported to have worked in the Walmart in question.

A witness told ABC news:   "He told him to stop, then after that, he did stop, and then the gunman turned the weapon on himself."

The Daily Mail has reported the woman was the estranged wife of the murderer. From the
A man shot and killed his estranged wife and her new boyfriend in a Walmart parking lot in Oklahoma before turning the gun on himself when an armed citizen intervened.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, a man wearing all black opened fire outside the supercenter in Duncan, which is located at 3393 North 81 Highway. Duncan is about 80 miles south of Oklahoma City.

Officers from the Duncan Police Department said the wife and her boyfriend were found dead inside their car. 
So far, it is impossible to know if this was the start of a mass public killing. Some mass killings have included domestic killings. Both domestic killings and mass public killings are often stopped with armed intervention, often by privately armed individuals. It is common for both domestic and mass killers to commit suicide when confronted with armed force.

The windshield of the car shows nine bullet holes, three on the driver's side, six on the passenger's side.

The FBI, which only recently started tracking intervention by armed citizens,  states that concealed handgun permit holders stop 8% of active shooters. The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) reports the FBI only catches one half of the incidents.

In the United States, people with carry permits are now over 18.66 million. That is over 7 percent of adults in the United States. The number of people who can legally carry handguns is much larger, because sixteen states now have Constitutional Carry.

Oklahoma restored Constitutional Carry in their state 17 days before the Walmart killing.

Constitutional Carry is the right to carry loaded handguns in most public places. It is the state of the law which existed when the Constitution was written and when the Bill of Rights was ratified. It remained the state of the law for forty years until the original writers of the Constitution were dead. The last of them, Jame Madison, died in 1836

Vermont always had Constitutional Carry.
15 States have passed some version of Constitutional Carry since 2003.
  • 2003, Alaska restored Constitutional Carry to the exercise of Second Amendment rights.
  • 2010, Arizona restored Constitutional Carry.
  • 2011, Wyoming restored Constitutional Carry.
  • 2013, Arkansas passed Act 746 into law. It is effectively Constitutional Carry. Some county prosecutors have threatened prosecution. None has occurred.
  • 2015, Kansas, and Maine became Constitutional Carry club members.
  • 2016, Idaho, Missouri, West Virginia, and Mississippi became Constitutional Carry states.
  • 2017, New Hampshire, and North Dakota restored Constitutional Carry.
  • 2019, South Dakota and Oklahoma, and Kentucky have restored Constitutional Carry.
No increases in murder have been noted as Constitutional Carry has been implemented in the 15 states.

Constitutional carry has been gaining in popularity. Several states are likely to restore Constitutional carry in the next few years. Those include Montana, Indiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Utah, and Iowa.

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

Gun Watch

OK: Employee Holds Burglary Suspect at Gunpoint for Police

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – An employee of a Tulsa business held a burglary suspect at gunpoint overnight before officers arrived.

More Here

SC: Armed Woman Stops Home Invasion, Assault

Once back at the victim's house, the man forced his way inside, grabbed her by the neck and threw her down, according to deputies.

When the victim pulled out a pistol, the man took off running. The video of the man was captured by a nearby resident's surveillance camera. You can watch it above.
More Here

FL: Domestic Defense? Woman Injured, Shoots, Kills Man

According to a press release from GPD emailed to WCJB, they responded to the Treebecka Park Apartments on SW 20th Avenue when a woman called them to report that she had just shot her ex-boyfriend in self-defense.

More Here

Followup CO: No Murder Charges in Fight where Kelly Kiess was Killed

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. – Prosecutors said Friday they will not formally charge two men involved in an October fight at a Lone Tree apartment complex in which two handguns were pulled and a woman was shot and killed.

More Here

Followup GA: Robbery Suspect who was Killed Identified as Chaplain's Son

An alleged robber who was killed during a shootout with his intended victim outside a DeKalb County gas station over the weekend has been identified as the son of the chaplain for Auburn University’s football team.

More Here

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Candidate Elizabeth Warren: #EndTrafficViolence

Image from twitter

Candidate Elizabeth Warren has opened a window into the Progressive mindset. It does much to explain the war on guns and the Second Amendment.

Ride Fast creates great satire with his comment:
No one needs a car that was originally designed for war.
In previous articles I have elaborated on how "gun violence" is an Orwellian phrase, designed to force you to think about disparate issues in a specific way.  It is designed to link suicides, murders, accidents, and justified homicides all together with only  one solution: infringe on Second Amendment rights to possess, carry, and use guns.

Given the intense support of the legacy (Progressive) media, the term "gun violence" works well to program those who do not look deeply into the issue. They often weakly support restrictions on gun ownership and use, especially after particularly horrific crimes are broadcast in the media for weeks or months.

Elizabeth Warren, called Pocahontas by President Trump, (for her decades long benefits from a false claim to be of Cherokee extraction) has decided to clone the term for draconian regulation of transportation. The new term is "Traffic Violence".

Both terms are rooted in the fairy tale fantasy of a perfect world created by Leftists.

Violence is neither good or bad. For some things to live, other things have to die. We cannot have foxes and bears and wolves without other animals being violently killed. We cannot keep a country without using violence to prevent invasion, subversion or rebellion. You cannot keep food, shelter and your family safe without either being willing to use justified violence yourself, or to delegate to the government the power to use violence for you, or both, to prevent people from stealing your means of survival or killing, raping and enslaving you and yours.

The fantasy driven left has pushed the idea that violence, in itself, is evil.

Violence is neutral, like gravity. It can be used for good or evil.

Traffic accidents tend to be violent events. When most people think of violence in a political context, they think of crime, of willful violence committed against another person. From the  Google dictionary, violence:
behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
There is a legal definition: 
the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force.
There is a secondary definition:
strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.
The term "gun violence" takes most people's assumption of the primary definition and the legal definition, and twists them with the secondary definition to include suicides and accidents all under the "gun violence" propaganda term.

Warren's #EndTrafficViolence takes the word twisting a step further, to include all three definitions into one Orwellian phrase, mostly applying to traffic accidents.

I do not think it will work. It is a step too far, taken by a far left candidate desperate to cater to far left activists in her presidential primary bid.

It is a good example of the Orwellian word games the legacy (Progressive) media and the Democrats use to fuddle and emotionalize debate, to rule the nation. It has lost its punch as alternative media exposes its perfidy.

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

Gun Watch

MI:Gunfight, Berrien County Resident uses Rifle to Stop Armed Home Invasion

The Benton Township Police Department said when officers arrived on scene, residents of apartment said two masked gunmen forced their way into the apartment and ordered the people in the living room to “get down.”
A person inside a bedroom heard the commotion, got a rifle and left the room. The resident saw one of the suspects who was armed with handgun, at which time gunfire was exchanged, according to the BTPD.

More Here

TX: Road Rage may have become Defensive Shootng

Both vehicles exited the freeway and stopped at a stop sign. Gilliland said that was when a man in the sedan got out of the car, walked up to the box truck and started trying to open the driver’s side door. The driver of the box truck pulled out a gun and shot the man in the face, Gilliland said.
More Here

Followup OH: Two Suspects of Armed Home Invasion in Rootstown Arrested in Ravenna

According to police Bryson Miller, 18, and Demario Underwood, 22, were wanted in connection to the robbery.

Investigators say the two men forced their way into a home in Rootstown on November 3 and exchanged gunfire with the homeowner. The homeowner and one of the suspects were shot.
More Here

TX: Gunfight, Armed Customer Shot, Killed by Armed Robbery Suspect

According to Houston police, two customers and an employee were inside the store when two armed people walked in and announced a robbery. One of the customers -- later identified as Austin Michael Thomerson -- who was also armed, intervened and was shot in the chest, police said. The two robbers fled the scene, police said.

More Here

MS: Homeowner Shoots through Door of Poolhouse, Wounds Suspect

According to Griffith, the homeowner said he heard someone in his poolhouse, fired a gun through the door and struck a man in the stomach.

More Here

Friday, November 22, 2019

VP Biden Combines Several Absurdities in One Gaffe

Vice President Joe Biden is known as a gaffe machine. He regularly produces headline inducing gaffes. How much of this is simply the changing media landscape is uncertain. It may be many Progressive politicians produced copious gaffes, but they were simply not reported to the American people. 

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson's industrial level womanizing and promiscuity were well known in Washington, D.C. The American public was kept in the dark for decades. 

From the
While saying he supports the Second Amendment, Biden called the absolutist arguments of some gun-rights supporters “bizarre.” Noting people can’t own machine guns or bazookas, Biden said, “Why should we allow people to have military-style weapons including pistols with 9-mm bullets and can hold 10 or more rounds?”
Military-style pistols 9mm and more, which hold 10 or more rounds, and which fire a shot with every pull of the trigger, have been available for over 160 years.  The Chaineux double action revolver was patented in 1853; the LeMat revolver held 9 rounds of .42 caliber (10.5mm), and 1 of 20 gauge (15mm), and was used in the Civil War. The C96 Mauser was chambered in 9mm in 1916. They are not a new phenomena, and for most of that period were essentially unregulated, in much of Europe until after WWI, in the United States to the present day.

They were commonly available in England until after WWI. In England, crime was much lower and murder far less common when those firearms were easily available, including homicide with firearms and mass murder. It is clear 9mm pistols, which hold 10 rounds or more, are not a cause of crime and mass murder, or, at minimum, not a significant cause.

There are several answers to Biden's question: Why allow them?

1. Because not allowing them is a violation of the Constitution and the rule of law.

2. Because not allowing them violates the principle that the federal government is limited in what it may do, under the 9th and 10th Amendments.

3. Because not allowing them is bad policy based on emotional simplicities.

4. Because not allowing them is likely to invite a backlash ranging from civil disobedience, to black markets, to civil war, any one of which is far worse than the problems mentioned.

5. Because there is no demonstrable harm associated with their legal possession and use, which is not offset by a greater good.

Far left Democrat Vice President Biden continues:
He called the anxiety among young people over being shot in school these days “overwhelming” and “not just in tough neighborhoods but in great neighborhoods like this.”
Yes, the anxiety level is high, not because of the existence and common availability of such pistols; rather because of the hype and hysteria promulgated by the Progressive media.  In the media's unhinged desire to ban citizen ownership of common guns, there is much emotion, but little logic. There is much evidence the media hype is far more responsible for the current uptick in mass killing at schools, than the availability of guns.

Biden continues his irrational tirade, apparently believing the Progressive media will cover for his silliness, as it has for decades.
Mentioning his own shotgun ownership, Biden talked about Delaware goose-hunting restrictions that limit hunters to three shotgun shells. “We protect geese from Canada more than we do people,” he said.
Nationwide restrictions on shot gun hunting magazines were put in place, nationally, in 1937. They were a response to declining populations of waterfowl, both ducks and geese. The international treaty with Mexico was ratified in 1936. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had issued emergency orders to protect migratory waterfowl in 1934, 1935, and 1936.  From a letter by J.N. Darling, to FDR, on 4 February, 1935:
A short open season, while not so productive of immediate increase in the duck population as a closed season may be so regulated as to contribute more permanent results in the long haul toward our final objective, if by prohibiting all artificial baiting, prohibiting the use of automatics and repeaters of more than three-shell capacity, and reducing live decoys to a minimum, the hunting of migratory waterfowl may be permanently rid of those pernicious practices which have been responsible for the heavy slaughter and commercialization of the sport.
Following Biden's inappropriate comparison of people to geese, we should have unlimited hunting for humans, and not reduce magazine capacity of the instruments used until human populations have been reduced by 90% or more in all of North America. We should have butchered humans carcasses sold in grocery stores; we should be selling people to farmers to raise for human consumption. Given recent leftist suggestions about the benefits of cannibalism, a sarcasm tag is in order.

The silliness of the comparison is so egregious, it serves as a reminder of the irrationality of the entire debate. I am reminded of a roommate in my freshman year in college, who was offended by deer hunting. He said deer should be given rifles to even the odds. I would have been happy for him to leave dozens of rifles scattered about the woods, available for easy pick-up.

The idea that deer should be armed to "even the odds" when hunting them is absurd. Deer are not people. Humans are qualitatively different from animals.  

It is not surprising that modern leftists have routinely equated humans and animals. It explains much of the willingness of the Left to slaughter vast numbers of humans.

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

Gun Watch

Followup IN: Apartment Dweller with AR15 Shot Armed Home Invader

The man who shot him was with his girlfriend when they they heard glass break and realized it was the front door.

The man grabbed his Tactical AR-15 pistol after hearing what he thought were multiple people entering his apartment and took a position on one knee, pointing his firearm toward his bedroom doorway, documents said.

Calligan appeared wearing all black and a mask and came into the doorway pointing a semi-automatic handgun.
More Here

FL: Gunfight at Home and Driveway, no Injuries

A neighbor told Action News Jax a small gray car — possibly a Honda — drove up onto the curb and the occupant began firing bullets into the home and at the white car in the driveway. A young man was inside the white car at the time. A witness said he fired back in self-defense.
More Here

TX: Gunfight, Manager Stops Armed Robbery, no Injuries

A store manager and a pair of would-be robbers exchanged gunfire Saturday at a store on Texas Avenue, police said.
No was injured in the gunfight and police Sunday still were searching for the two men involved in the aggravated robbery.

More Here

OH: Gunfight, Employee in Akron Shoots, Kills 1 of 2 Armed Robbers

Police say two masked men, armed with guns, came into the store to rob it.

Two employees were working at the time, and a 26-year-old clerk drew his gun and fired. The shot killed one of the suspects, according to WJW.
More Here

Thursday, November 21, 2019

TX: Homeowner Disarms Armed Robber, Shoots, Kills Same

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A robbery suspect was shot dead by a homeowner in a neighborhood in southwest Houston, police say.

More Here

GA: Gunfight in Statesboro, Roommate and Home Invader both Wounded

Detectives say once they started talking to witnesses, they learned Tillman and another suspect forced their way into the apartment with guns.

One of the people living in the apartment had a permit for the gun he had and shot Tillman. The second man, a roommate, was wounded accidentally.
More Here

MS: Gunfight, Armed Homeowner Wounds 1 of 3 Suspects

After a sheriff's deputy responded, he heard several gunshots up the road and headed to a nearby home.

There, a different homeowner who said he saw two men in his car and another man nearby, came out with his shotgun and exchanged gunfire with one of the suspects, according to Calhoun.

Calhoun said the homeowner believed he had struck one of the men and deputies later learned from a local hospital that someone arrived with a gunshot wound.

More Here

ME: Disarm, Intruder Disarmed, Shot, Killed

During the break in, the intruder and another man, who also wasn't supposed to be there, struggled for the weapon resulting in the suspect being shot by the other man. Maine State Police report that the suspect then fled the scene and died outside.

More Here

GA: Gunfight at Gas Station, Armed Victim Shoots, Kills Suspect

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A man is dead after an attempted armed robbery in a convenience store parking lot developed into something much worse.

Police told 11Alive that they were called to the QuikTrip located at 3975 Flat Shoals Parkway, Saturday. Police initially believed that the victim and the shooter got into an argument after a crash. But new information shows that it was actually an attempted armed robbery.
More Here

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How Judges Ignore Law and the Constitution on the Right to Arms

For the last 50 years, I have been hearing or reading versions of this argument:

The Second Amendment is clear. All we have to do is bring a case before the court(s) and we win. Why doesn't the NRA, local lawyer, local defendant or whoever, just push a case forward? The law is clear!

When I was young and naive, I wondered the same thing. Why wasn't the NRA bringing a Second Amendment case before the courts, and specifically, to the Supreme Court?

A more general question is: How do judges routinely escape consequences when violating their oaths of office; when implementing their preferred policy instead of enforcing the law? How are they able escape consequences when they do this instead of enforcing the U.S. Constitution and state protections of the right to keep and bear arms?

Men are not perfect. Men will always be tempted to abuse power. Men will always be tempted to accumulate power for their personal benefit. If men were perfect, we would not need government. Because they are not perfect, we need limits on governmental power.

The designers and writers of the Constitution set up a system to limit governmental powers through checks and balances inside and outside the government.  The legislature has power to set up courts and impeach judges; the President has power to appoint judges; Judges have power to judge cases, which involves an intrinsic ability to interpret the law, as written by the legislature.

In addition to internal governmental checks and balances, the writers of the Constitution depended on the people to limit governmental power through elections and by petitioning the government, informed by a free press and freedom of speech. That depended on people's understanding the governmental processes and having a common understanding of natural law and Judeo-Christian moral law. Public outrage can result in a check on judges who put their political preferences above the law. A final check against tyranny was the right to keep and bear arms.

An insidious ideology undermining of all these concepts crept into the United States about 1900, though it had beginnings much earlier, and has always had a following.  It was the philosophy known as Progressivism, or more generally Leftism. Secular Humanism contains many of its elements.

Two of the main differences in Progressive philosophy are: man is perfectible, not limited; man is unconstrained by outside forces, either God or nature.  Progressivisim is, essentially, a religion which substitutes government for God.

In a brilliant address to the Federalist Society, Attorney General William Barr explained the disadvantages Conservatives have in a contest with Progressives:
In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.

Conservatives, on the other hand, do not seek an earthly paradise. We are interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing. This means that we naturally test the propriety and wisdom of action under a “rule of law” standard. The essence of this standard is to ask what the overall impact on society over the long run if the action we are taking, or principle we are applying, in a given circumstance was universalized – that is, would it be good for society over the long haul if this was done in all like circumstances?

For these reasons, conservatives tend to have more scruple over their political tactics and rarely feel that the ends justify the means. And this is as it should be, but there is no getting around the fact that this puts conservatives at a disadvantage when facing progressive holy war, especially when doing so under the weight of a hyper-partisan media.
Progressive ideology has been accepted by most of the knowledge elites in the United States for decades. It has taken over academia, particularly the "elite" colleges. It has taken over the mass media for 50 years or more. It has taken over almost all the educational establishment, and most of the entertainment industry. Here are some key Progressive themes:
  • Man is not limited by God.
  • There is no absolute right or wrong.
  • Limits on government power are bad.
  • Rule by administrators is better than rule by representatives 
  • Policy should be made by experts, not politicians
  • The elite have the right and duty to rule. 
  • The elite have the right and duty to create public opinion and control the flow of information.
One of the most pernicious ideas promoted by Progressives is the concept of a "living Constitution". This eliminates effective Constitutional restraints on government.  Judges are to implement Progressive policy preferences that exist at the time the ruling is made. Those preferences change with time and whim.

Conservatives or originalists believe the only way Constitutional law should be changed is by the amendment process.

When originalists talk about a case, they talk about the law and the intent of the law; when Progressives talk about a case, they talk about outcomes. If a particular outcome is not what a Progressive wants, they feel free to change the law with judicial rulings.

The Progressive agenda is fluid and changeable, dependent on what is in vogue with the knowledge elites at the moment.

100 years ago, promoting racism against blacks was a prime part of the Progressive agenda. 50 years ago a colorblind society was a Progressive value. Now, anti-white racism seems to be a prime Progressive value. 50 years ago, the First Amendment was favored by Progressives, because it empowered the knowledge elite. Now it is out of favor, because it fractures the power of the knowledge elite. At any time, the Progressive agenda is aimed at concentrating more and more power in the hands of the elite.

In the American judicial system, Judges are to follow the law fairly and impartially, with reference to the written law and deference to the legislature. They are *not* to create their own law, or to work to advance a particular agenda, or to advantage or disadvantage particular groups. When they create law contrary to the U.S. Constitution or state constitutions, they violate their oaths. When they advance a political agenda by their selective interpretation of law, they violate their oaths.

Judges should not invalidate law because of the outcome of the law. They should only invalidate law if a particular law violates basic principles of law or Constitutional principles.

Progressive theory holds that judges should always judge the law by the outcome of the law, in particular, as it affects the Progressive agenda. This makes judges into super-legislators, or worse, tyrants.

Most judges, in ordinary cases, do not have the ability to change law. Judges and justices change the law in appellate courts and supreme courts in the states and the federal system.

Honorable people expect judges to be constrained by their oaths; judges who subscribe to Progressive ideology do not believe oaths should be adhered to, if they interfere with the Progressive agenda. Progressive ideology considers oaths to be mere superstition, if not backed up by the ability of someone to enforce them.

Honorable people expect judges to be constrained by moral outrage; but the people are informed by the Progressive media. The people are told the judges are doing what is right and correct, because it advances the Progressive agenda.

Honorable people expect the legislature to impeach judges who violate their oaths. Most of the legislature has been accepting Progressive premises for 40-50 years or longer. Those who have not accepted Progressive premises fear the outrage of the Progressive media.

A short and incomplete list of the legacy (progressive) media is the New York Times, AP, the Washington Post, The LA Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and many more.

Image how different appellate and supreme court decisions would be if the legacy (progressive) media consistently and routinely castigated judges for violating their oath of office. Image how different the decisions would be if the legacy (progressive) media called for judges who violated their oaths to be impeached.

What would have happened with Justice Ginsburg if the legacy (progressive) media had claimed she was as much a threat to the Republic as they have claimed President Trump is a threat?

Instead, the legacy (progressive) media have consistently promoted Progressive ideology.

The checks and balances of the Constitution have been disabled, undercut, and broken as Progressive ideology became the ideology of the elite in our educational and media institutions.

We have judges who ignore the Constitution, because they do not see the Constitution as any real constraint; they do not see their oath as any real constraint; they do not believe in objective reality, honor, or truth.  They believe in the Progressive agenda.

It is easier for a population to change their elite, than it is for the elite to change their population.

In the U.S. Constitutional system, there is a remedy. The remedy is to elect a President who appoints the judges, a President who will appoint individuals who have shown they respect the Constitution, who respect the rule of law.  Those individuals must have honor and integrity. By definition, this rules out judges who value Progressives ideology above truth or honor.

President Donald Trump is appointing a record number of Article III judges. Article III judges are those in the federal district and circuit courts, and at the Supreme Court. He has appointed 160 out of 870 Article III judges so far. He will likely appoint another 40 during his first term. He may appoint another 100 during his second term. That would be 320, or 37% of all the Article III judges. There are already some judges on the bench who are originalists and textualists. Originalists and textualists  can not be ideological Progressives.

When a clear majority of the Supreme Court Justices are originalists and textualists, and a majority of Article III judges are originalists and textualists, we will have a chance of obtaining consistent Constitutional decisions from the courts.

It is not enough. It is important to break the Progressive ideological strangle hold on the information flow in society. It has to be broken, so honorable judges are honored, dishonorable judges are dishonored, and legislators are not in constant fear of a dishonorable Media elite.

President Trump is in office because the Progressive media is losing its grip on the information flow in American society. As it loses its grip, legislators will be less fearful; the population will be better informed, and the checks and balances in the American Constitutional system will work better.

As Progressive judges are replaced with honorable judges, an expectation of judicial rulings consistent with the Constitution will no longer be a naive.

No elite gives up power willingly. The media elite are fighting to keep their power with all their might.

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

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