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Peddling Outrage While Leaving Out Key Facts

It seems that Media Matters set their sights on Cam Edwards yesterday, challenging him on biography. See, at one point Cam said he received a resolution from the Oklahoma State House. It turns out it was a citation recognizing from not only the House, but also from the Lt. Governor. Yup, big discrepancy there.

However, their focus is on trying to make him look like he’s a media version of “stolen valor” by claiming an Emmy award. They even got the local executive director to back up the claims, yet Media Matters and the executive director aren’t acknowledging that Cam did actually receive an award giving his name in the honors section for his “significant contribution” on the documentary that won the Emmy. It’s signed by their president and everything.

Now, Cam did take time to update his bio to be more accurate. I mean we don’t want the Media Matters folks to worry their heads about the “Great Oklahoman citation” wording any more. And now it’s clearer that it came from not just the House, but even the Lt. Governor at the time. But more importantly, he did re-word it so it more accurately reflects that his work was part of a team effort that won an Emmy.

As Cam notes, this is part of the effort to keep everyone outraged about everything. Even with evidence presented that raise questions about their accusations (right now, MM is calling the Emmy thing a “lie” on their front page, despite having been provided the evidence that he did receive an honor from them), it’s not about accurately reporting the situation.

National Firearms Law Seminar

If you’re an attorney or just interested in firearms laws, then you shouldn’t miss the National Firearms Law Seminar at the NRA annual meeting.

I have to say that this year’s program really stands out for the combination of nationally known speakers, as well as the practical topics covered a bit more in-depth by some of the lawyers working on Second Amendment issues you may not have heard about yet.

For one, the lunch speaker is Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame. Having heard him speak before, I can say that he always delivers a really good presentation that informative as well as entertaining. The program notes that his lunch speech will look at “the transformation of the Second Amendment from an ’embarrassing’ outlier to the Bill of Rights, to a provision that, like other parts of the Bill of Rights, protects identifiable individual rights in court.” Massad Ayoob will be giving a presentation on armed self-defense, highlighting mistakes “by the shooter at the scene, and by defense counsel in court.” That should be quite interesting, even for the non-attorney.

In my opinion one of the most interesting topics looks like it could end up being the session on the Brady Campaign’s recent litigation strategy against individual FFLs. The description of this talk by Cord Byrd notes that they have been “utilizing state laws including negligent entrustment, negligence per se and public nuisance to circumvent the protections afforded by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.” Then you have the always wonderful Sarah Gervase who packs so much practical information for attorneys into her topics each year talking about civil rights actions in firearms cases for this year’s Nashville seminar.

Registration is online, and there are discounts for various folks – law students, those who only want to attend the lunch speech by Glenn Reynolds, just a half day, and even for non-attorneys. There’s pretty much no way that you won’t walk out of the sessions learning something new if you choose to attend.

Even as someone who isn’t a practicing attorney and who doesn’t do the legal analysis for the blog, there’s usually something I pick up that gives me so much more context and understanding about the cases we hear about during the next year. More importantly, as I’ve met many people who maybe had a little minor offense, often nothing related to firearms at all, when they were 18 who are still paying a penalty with their firearms rights when they are 68 over the years, I’ve realized how invaluable it is that defense attorneys should know at least something about this area of law and how it impacts their clients.

What a Pain it is to Deal with Freedom

I had to take a couple of breaks from this Atlantic piece on how awful it is that the First Amendment allows unpleasant people to say unpleasant things in an unpleasant manner.

Yes, freedom does mean that some people will live and speak in a different manner than you – maybe even in a way that is offensive. Speaking out and telling them how offensive they are is often a great tool to get them to quiet down. In fact, such results might even be considered social shaming, which is a form of punishment that exists outside of government. It involves things like individual people making the decision to no longer support the people who offend them and letting them suffer social consequences that can often be extremely unpleasant. However, the Atlantic writer appears to believe that since such punishment doesn’t involve a police gun to the head, handcuffs, and a court room, it’s not actually any punishment at all.

I think what really got me going was the extreme elitism on display in this bit:

No one with a frontal lobe would mistake this drunken anthem for part of an uninhibited and robust debate about race relations. … If the First Amendment has become so bloated, so ham-fisted, that it cannot distinguish between such filth and earnest public debate about race, then it is time we rethink what it means.

It would seem that the argument is that if you can’t speak eloquently and aren’t engaged in thoughtful debate, then your First Amendment rights should be “rethought.”

I have to say that one reason this elitism on speech probably drove me a little more up the wall today is because I just witnessed someone in another forum who, to be blunt, is currently incapable of speaking eloquently or engaging in what the writer would consider “earnest public debate.” While her form of rather odd text speak at all times is nearly impossible for others to follow, that doesn’t mean the government needs to declare that she deserves less in the way of protection for her speech than what I deserve because I am likely capable of being more articulate in expressing the same things.

Freedom means that some people will make different choices that you don’t like. The beauty of freedom is that when those people are in charge, you can make the choices they don’t like and feel confident that you won’t be put away for the “crime” of those statements and actions.

NRA Convention vs. CPAC

Charles C. W. Cooke of National Review did this interview with a Philadelphia radio station yesterday, and I loved a comment that he made about the size of CPAC – a general right-of-center, every issue you can imagine convention – versus the NRA annual meeting which is largely single issue.

“And this is going to sound ungrateful, but it’s small because I’m used to the NRA convention which is Madison Square Garden-sized.”

This is the argument I used for years with people in the conservative movement when pointing out that they need to look more to what the NRA has done over the years. It seemed like the gun issue was so often overlooked, yet the NRA consistently turned out more people to participate than anything that was happening in DC circles. So it’s kind of funny to hear Cooke mention the vast difference in size for an event that wants to represent an entire “side” of the political aisle and the many different issues that come along with it.

Besides, the NRA convention is more fun in my experience. I was sick of CPAC by the time I went for the fourth time. Most of my friends felt the same way when I was in DC. But I still look forward to the NRA convention. While I’ve shifted what events I tend to visit at the convention, there’s still something interesting going on each day. I like that it’s a chance to dig deep into the issue – whether it’s connecting with other people passionate about grassroots, the law, or just getting out to shoot.

Anyway, go listen to the interview since I think it’s a really good one beyond the NRA comparison. I’ll have to add Cooke’s new book, The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s Future, to my wish list now.

Charges Dropped in New Jersey Antique Gun Case

It would seem that someone gave the Cumberland County, NJ prosecutor a clue that putting an elderly man away for 10 years (likely life in his case) is not really an appropriate move for someone who collects 18th century stuff and managed to pick up a flintlock pistol. Charges have just been dropped without further comment from the DA.

Brady Campaign Backs Down from Promises to Anti-Gun Pols

It would seem that the Brady Campaign staffers were making funding promises to Pennsylvania officials that they may have had no intention of keeping.

Back when Pennsylvania municipalities were regularly passing gun control ordinances, several cities only went through with the measures that violated state preemption laws because the Brady Campaign/Center promised, via MAIG and CeasefirePA representatives, to pay for the defense of those ordinances if the cities were sued.

Well, now the threat of lawsuits is looming and the Brady Campaign is telling the media that they never made such promises by claiming that the person who made the promises wasn’t really speaking for them.

While the local Fox affiliate dug up city records from Lancaster and Erie that showed they made those promises, we recalled another instance in Radnor. Except, Radnor lawmakers demanded the promise in writing. From Sebastian’s 2010 report on that meeting:

Commissioners seemed skeptical when CeaseFirePA mentioned that the Brady Campaign would pick up the tab for any lawsuits against the ordinance, and indicated they’d want it in writing. It’s my opinion the Bradys will be very reluctant to put anything into writing, so I think that’s a strategy to use going forward. Get your local politicians to demand that. If the Bradys don’t deliver, that’s another point, and it may start the politicians wondering whether the promise is worth anything.

It seems that now we have the proof that the Brady promises on this issue really were worthless.

In Lancaster, the pledge came from Max Nacheman who represented MAIG and Brady at the time and would later represent CeasefirePA. In Radnor, it appears that Commissioner Elaine Schaefer called the Brady Campaign herself and got the pledge that the group would defend the town. So the Brady Campaign is now trying to claim that the exact same promise made in at least 3 different cities via at least 2 different people, was really just some random miscommunication?

Yeah, that’s totally believable.

It would seem that town officials are now learning what we’ve been trying to tell them for years – you can’t believe the false promises the anti-gunners tell you when they are trying to get their agenda passed. They need something to call a “win,” and if your budgets take a beating due to legal expenses because they told you to do something illegal, they don’t care. It’s still a “win” for their agenda even as taxpayers lose.

Not the Brightest Gun Shop Burglars

Today has had a bit of excitement in Bucks County. One of the local gun shops was the location of a “standoff” between police and two men from Philadelphia who were attempting to break in.

After stealing a vehicle, the suspects entered through the roof and figured they would go through the ventilation system. They managed to remove at least a sheep mount from the store before the cops managed to get them out of the building.

These ever-so-brilliant suspects realized that they would be caught, so they figured they would call 911 and claim they found a dead body somewhere else in town and the police who were already set up outside and trying to get them out would just leave and let them walk away. That just got them another criminal charge out here in Bucks County.

According to reports, they tried to claim that they just randomly broke into that building because they were homeless. Sure. Stealing a truck, driving to a gun shop, getting at least some product out of the building, but it was just because you wanted to get warm? Oh, and there just happened to be drugs on them, too. Yeah, no jury here will buy that sh*t.

However, it turns out that neither one of these geniuses likely knows what it’s like facing a jury. Sure, they both have arrest records from Philadelphia, but the vast majority of their charges were nolle prossed.

One of the suspects appears to have quite the history with guns, as he was arrested for illegally carrying firearms at 15. He has a record that’s 4 pages long filled with many charges involving theft, burglary, and assault. Yet, this is the same city filled with people demanding more gun control. It’s clear that they aren’t making do with the laws they have, and now a suburban gun shop and neighboring stores are paying for those decisions not to prosecute.

Stagecoach Mary – The Well-Armed Woman of Montana

I have to admit that I adored reading this write-up on Mary Fields of Cascade, Montana. She was the second woman and first African American to deliver mail for Wells Fargo Co.

In her stay in Montana, she took on many tough traditionally male jobs and those were sometimes dangerous enough that she would slap a gun on her hip. Even beyond being a well-armed woman, the legends surrounding her seem pretty epic. Consider that the article says she was “one of very few black people in the new state at all, and most likely the only one with a pet eagle.”

By the time she retired from her mail route, apparently her birthday was celebrated as a local holiday for the school kids.

Suing Because – GUNS!

So a California gun dealer is being sued for being in business. Not for supposedly doing anything wrong or making a sketchy sale, but for existing in the first place.

In December, a shoemaker who had a business next to a firearms retailer, was bringing coffee over to his business neighbor. Unfortunately, robbers were running out the store at the time and knocked him down on the sidewalk outside of the business. When he fell, his head hit on the sidewalk and he died days later.

The family is suing claiming that the gun store is negligent for not being robbery-proof. Their argument is that because the store was robbed before, the owners didn’t take any effort to secure it in a way that their husband/father would not have died.

The first link has security footage that shows the shoemaker was knocked down outside the premises, so that means the only security measure that the store owner could have taken to ensure this action could not happen would be to wall off all entrances and exits so that no one could possibly access the sidewalk from inside the shop.

So, really, the gun shop is being sued because they exist at all, not over security concerns that would have had any substantial impact on the situation. In fact, the lawyers actually told the press that they reason they consider the owner negligent was because she allowed customers to enter the building freely during business hours.

It’s just sad because it sounds like the shoemaker and the gun shop owner were friends since he brought her coffee every day. If it was really as unsafe as the shoemaker’s wife and children claim it was, then why did her husband and their father choose to enter the supposedly “dangerous” premises every day?

Gun Control is for “Wealthy, White Individuals”

Wow. Just wow. One of the former city officials who backed the Bloomberg/CeasefirePA effort to enact local gun control laws said that his city needs to fight on behalf of gun control because he wants to keep the city safe for “white, wealthy individuals.”

Michael Donovan, a former member of city council who supported the lost and stolen gun law, said Allentown should be joining other prominent Pennsylvania cities in their fight against the state law.

“Allentown is the third largest city in the state,” he said. “It is claiming a renaissance for wealthy, white individuals who wish to be safe. I believe the mayor has a responsibility to join the fight against this law.”

No, I’m not kidding. The gun control ally really did say that out loud to a reporter. But, it got buried at the bottom of the story. Do you think if he was a Republican that this would be at the very bottom of the story?

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