No More Bayonet Training

I suspect a lot of folks will disagree with the Army’s decision to end bayonet training in basic training. But it seems to be a matter of opportunity costs. In other words, what other things could you be teaching soldiers? One military historian had this to say:

Bayonet training is, in short, used to undo socialization – to “basically to try to mitigate or eradicate the reluctance of human beings to kill each other,” Mr. Kohn says. It is one of the challenges in US or Western society “where we have such reverence for the individual, where we socialize our people to believe in the rule of law, and all of that,” he adds. “What you’re doing with young people is trying to get them used to the highly emotional and irrational and adrenaline-filled situations in which they are liable to find themselves whether they are within sight of the enemy or not – and the reluctance to take a life.”

It would seem that for soldiers who are likely to end up in hand-to-hand combat situations, some knife and bayonet skills would seem to still be warranted. But I can see the logic in replacing it in basic training with other skills that might be more useful. What do some folks who have served in combat think about this?

h/t Instapundit

Tampa Editorial Against Castle Doctrine

The law Pennsylvania is considering does not go so far as Florida’s, but the St. Petersburg Times seems to have a problem with the idea, using a few examples, most of which aren’t examples of how the law isn’t working, because the fundamentally misrepresent what the law in these cases does. Let’s take a look at the cases:

In one Miami case last year, occupants of two cars exchanged gunfire during a high-speed chase and one man was killed. The gunman received a three-year sentence in a plea agreement. Prosecutors worried about potential “stand your ground” immunity.

Prosecutors are going to worry about any potential defense that a defendant can possibly raise. That’s their jobs when considering whether to take a case to trial or to offer a deal. Notice the use of the term “stand-your-ground immunity?” We’ll talk about that later. The law only eliminates a duty to retreat. The defendant received a three year sentence, and plead guilty to a felony. Without more details it’s difficult to assess how the elimination of a duty to retreat played in this prosecution.

In responding to the incident, the Sheriff’s Office had to follow state law that forbids police from detaining a suspect who acts in self-defense. Deputies had to exclude the likelihood that Dooley was standing his ground under Florida law before they could legally arrest him.

And this is a problem why exactly? They still made the arrest. I think it’s actually a smart thing that police should have to make sure a crime was actually committed before arresting someone for it. Don’t you?

The “stand your ground” law is also used by defendants at trial to justify their actions. Rachel Wade, who is serving 27 years in prison for killing romantic rival Sarah Ludemann with a steak knife in Pinellas County, claimed Ludemann had started the fight, pulling her hair and punching her.

Of course she is going to claim self-defense. She would have done that even without the stand your ground law, unless her defense attorney is utterly incompetent. What’s notable here? It didn’t work. She’s serving 27 years.

In another ongoing case, Eric Canonico of south Tampa claimed stand-your-ground immunity after he was arrested for holding three teens at gunpoint, including the son of USF football coach Skip Holtz, in an effort to keep them from attacking his girlfriend’s son. But with facts in dispute a circuit judge refused to dismiss the charges.

Also another case of the law not working out for defendants. So how is this an example? There is no such thing as “stand-your-ground immunity”. It’s not like a suspects gets to declare “I stood my ground!” and then just murder whoever they please and get away with it. All it does is eliminates a duty to retreat, thus preventing prosecutors from judging the actions of people legitimately engaged in self-defense with 20/20 hindsight. Things such as, “You could have slipped down that alley, and there was a police station right there. You didn’t have to shoot the suspect who flashed that knife at you!” Critics of the law will tell you this never happens, but I can promise you this does play a role in many cases. Just ask Gerald Ung once he stands trial, because I can promise you they’ll use the duty to retreat in order to try to defeat his self-defense claim.

Even Florida’s law, which does some things Pennsylvania’s proposed Castle Doctrine does not, still requires you to be in fear of great bodily injury or harm in order to resort to deadly force. This is the standard everywhere. If a defendant did not reasonably believe that he was in fear of great bodily injury or harm, self-defense does not apply if you use deadly force. Of course defendants are going to dispute this, as they always have. Juries are who decide what is fact, and will decide whether what the defendant believed was ultimately reasonable. That is why we have this adversarial system, and juries.

If the St. Petersburg Times wants to convince people that Castle Doctrine laws are a bad idea, they need to do a better job than this. Does it raise the state’s burden of proof in disproving self-defense? Yes. But the state’s burden is already high, and honestly should be high, when it comes to convicting someone of a felony offense. The St. Petersburg Times also need to explain how states, like California, Arizona, and Texas, just to name a few, have gotten along so many years having no duty to retreat. These states essentially already have a “Castle Doctrine” law, and it doesn’t seem prosecutors there have any problems getting convictions.

The Source of the Dwight Evans Smirk

When I sorted through the mess of making sausage passing Castle Doctrine here in Pennsylvania, I noticed something on the face of the Democratic Chair of the Appropriations Committee.

(Rep. Dwight Evans – the anti – had a very smug look on his face as he agreed, so I’m wondering what he got out of that deal.)

I was right to notice it because that smirk meant something. This alert just came out from NRA:

Your NRA-ILA has learned that anti-gun forces are plotting to attach a plethora of anti-gun amendments to House Bill 40 when the Pennsylvania House of Representatives returns to session Monday, October 4.

Such amendments include: a ban on semi-automatic rifles; “one-gun-a-month” purchasing restrictions; a prohibition on the use of out of state Right-to-Carry permits by Pennsylvania residents while inside the Commonwealth; mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms; mandatory storage of firearms within the home; and increased regulations of firearm ownership in Philadelphia. Two other amendments to this anti-freedom laundry list are currently pending.

Don’t Forget Your State Races

I have been harping on the importance of state representative and senate seats for ages, but this news from Governing just makes the point all that more stark:

When Governing last assessed the 2010 state legislative elections in July, the situation looked grim for the Democrats. The Democrats had 21 of their chambers in play, compared to just four for the Republicans — by far the most lopsided split we’ve seen in any of the past five election cycles.

Now, a few months down the road, the Democratic outlook for the state legislatures has only worsened. …

Putting it all together, we estimate that the Democrats are on the verge of losing a net of four to 12 Senate chambers and six to 15 House chambers. At the higher end of those ranges, the control numbers for state legislative chambers would be fully reversed. Today, there are significantly more Democratic-controlled state Houses and Senates. But if the GOP makes strong enough gains, it could hand the Republicans sizable leads in both chambers — just as the decennial redistricting process is set to begin.

In all, we’ve shifted 18 chambers from their July ratings — all in the Republicans’ direction.

Found via NCSL.

Time to Re-up My EFF Membership

EFF is going after Righthaven and the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a big way, and I have to hand it to the Democratic Underground for standing up to these bullies. It appears to me that the Righthaven guys are now in way over their heads:

Opsahl noted three intellectual property attorneys from the San Francisco law firm Winston & Strawn LLP are working on the case for the Democratic Underground on a pro bono, or public service, basis. They include Andrew Bridges, whom Opsahl called one of the nation’s foremost intellectual property attorneys, with extensive experience defending Internet service providers.

Also working on the case for the Democratic Underground are J. Caleb Donaldson and Kathleen Lu of Winston & Strawn, Opsahl and Corynne McSherry of the EFF; and Las Vegas attorney Chad Bowers.

Righthaven are also now suing and Virginia Citizens Defense League. I’m not really going to be happy until these people are disbarred for this unethical behavior. I’m happy to live in a state where barratry is still a crime. Not that it helps people being sued in Nevada much.

More on Making Sausage Passing Castle Doctrine

As I mentioned last night, some kind of deal was made so that Castle Doctrine would be released from Appropriations today. The good news is that it was finally released on a 26-8 vote.

What jumps out at me are some of the names of people voting with us on this bill. Josh Shapiro was last rated D by the NRA – that’s hardly a pro-rights grade. Bryan Lentz takes pride in his F rating, so he’s definitely not a friend to gun owners. And yet they both voted with us, not once, but twice. That’s how far disconnected the Philly politicians are on this issue. It’s not enough for them to oppose it, but they have to put up roadblock after roadblock to keep a bill that gives us more opportunities to defend our lives from criminal attack from even being allowed a full vote.

Concealed Carry in New Jersey

Every once in a while we get a bill to make New Jersey a shall issue state. They never go anywhere. One recently was introduced by State Senator Jeff Van Drew. The requirements to get the license are insane, though it is technically shall-issue. It’s a 500 dollar annual fee, requires semi-annual qualification with a gun of the type you’re carrying, and your qualification will be the same as police. It does not, as best I can tell, have any reciprocity, but New Jersey technically will issue (if it did issue) to non-residents. So it would be possible to get a permit to carry in New Jersey as a Pennsylvania resident, you’d just apply directly to the New Jersey State Police. The media is not happy with this bill:

The idea that New Jersey needs a bunch of paranoid people toting ballistic binkies in public places is ridiculous — regardless of the safeguards. And, of course, the Legislature has more pressing issues, like property tax relief, a pension Armageddon, ethics and others. When did guns jump to the top of the list?

Nothing like a little condescension to start your day! Bryan Miller isn’t happy either. Our side is also not happy because of the insane requirements. Ordinarily I’d say we should support this law as a step in the right direction, and go back and try to correct the problems later, but I think ANJRPC may be setting up a lawsuit, since they’ve been pinging members asking about whether they’ve been denied a permit unfairly. Given that, I’d be reluctant to make the law harder to challenge.

National Coffee Day

According to my favorite state government reporter, it’s National Coffee Day today. Normally, I could care less. The only coffee we ever drink is the stuff from Starbucks that probably has some coffee in it, but you wouldn’t know with all of the other crap they put in it. At least until recently.

When we announced we were headed to the Big Island, a friend from NRA mentioned that her father owned a coffee farm where he grows, processes, and sells his own coffee. We made it out there on our last full day on the island, and indulged in a couple of bags. We bought one to try out ourselves, assuming that we’d use it for things like ice cream or other decidedly non-coffee culinary adventures. Instead, this coffee has turned us into weekend coffee drinkers. We went out and bought a french press since we didn’t have a coffee maker (but we did own a coffee grinder!). Every weekend morning now has a new tradition – getting up and having a cup and a half of delicious Kona coffee.