Test of Pennsylvania Castle Doctrine

Pretty recently, we got ourselves some castle doctrine and stand your ground here in Pennsylvania too. The Allentown Morning Call is reporting on a story that presents a test of the new law. Prosecutors said even if the law hadn’t changed, they probably still would have declined to prosecute. What tends to steady a prosecutors hands is that juries are generally more forgiving of crime victims dispatching their attackers than prosecutors tend to be. I’ve said previously that all stand your ground really does is make the law reflect what juries tend to do anyway. It honestly doesn’t change that much, but it does pull some options off the table for a prosecutor who doesn’t like self-defense that just wants to nail someone. Think about the Gerald Ung case for a minute. Duty to retreat didn’t play a role there (Ung was retreating when he was attacked), but would you really want to give prosecutors an extra tool to go after someone who committed legitimate self-defense? Bet their future that the Jury will do the right thing anyway? Make them pay six figure legal fees to go to trail because the powers that be in a big city don’t like the plebes to be able to have guns to defend themselves? Castle Doctrine laws are more a statement of principle than a desire to fix an actual problem, and I think most people agree with the principle it states.

Speaking of the Pennsylvania law, our arch nemesis (every blog should have an arch nemesis!), Max Nacheman of CeaseFirePA, is busy misrepresenting self-defense laws, the Martin case, and pooping all over due process on Public Radio here in Pennsylvania. I thought the attorney, Peter Georgiades, on our side, did an excellent job. Max Nacheman is pretty clearly not a legal expert, and it was enjoyable to see him go up against someone that was. Give it a listen. It’s worth 24 minutes if your time.

Why No Discussion of Black on Black Crime?

The Daily Caller wants to know:

The reason so many people want to discuss Trayvon’s shooting is that it advances a narrative of racial hatred, while discussing black-on-black murders does not. But the black community would be far better off if there was an open dialogue about black-on-black crime and the black community’s culture of death.

The media is much much more comfortable speaking about racial hatred than they are black-on-black crime. I’ve often believed gun control is a cop out to avoid having to discuss the topic. Suggesting that we ought to disarm blacks, without disarming everyone else, is thankfully, legally and politically untenable and would be regarded by most people as a racist policy. But it’s perfectly OK to suggest laws that apply to blacks and whites equally, but just happen to make the right to own and carry a gun much more difficult for blacks to exercise because of the cost and discretion often given authorities to deny “unsuitable persons.”

It’s always been a very interesting coincidence that most of our gun laws are aimed at making gun ownership more expensive. This is a minor burden to whites, who’s average household income is 67% higher than the average household income of blacks. But for poor blacks, who’s need for self-protection is probably considerably more acute than your average suburban dweller, a 120 dollar gun permit might be a difficult obstacle. That’s why I think everyone ought to be outraged at the latest ruling from New York City, which suggests New York’s insane fees for exercising Second Amendment rights are just fine constitutionally:

The judge says there’s no evidence the fee has stopped anyone from exercising their rights. He says the city showed the fee helps cover administrative costs.

Easy for a well paid, comparatively, judge to say. If the public demands to interfere with individual rights for the public good, the public should bear all the cost. To do otherwise is to say that some American’s rights are more important than other Americans. Bloomberg should be ashamed.

Brady Campaign and Due Process

They’ve never heard of it, apparently. Nor have they apparently heard of checking your facts before making a claim. Kudos to the Daily Caller for, pardon the pun, calling them out on their deception. I wish more media would research and call gun control groups out for their lies:

The Brady Campaign sent this statement to TheDC Monday evening: “It has now been reported that the Sanford Police Department is in possession of the gun that George Zimmerman used to shoot Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, however, still has his concealed carry license and he still has the ability to buy a gun and carry it into public spaces.”

I’m sure the Brady Campaign believes the police are naturally letting shooters walk away with critical evidence, and they aren’t liars at all. I’m also sure they have a strong belief in due process, and don’t believe that people should be deprived of their right to keep and bear arms, or life, liberty or property without due process of law. I see that the Second Amendment isn’t the only part of the Constitution the Brady’s wish didn’t exist. Does this also mean they support the law of the mob?

The Narrative Continues

Even though by now it’s abundantly clear, based on witness statements, that Stand Your Ground had no bearing on this case, the narrative continues:

This stopped being about Trayvon Martin days ago. The media is now in a full court press to blame the laws, despite the current witness testimony that essentially reveal that Martin was on top of Zimmerman before the shooting occurred. Duty to retreat is not at issue here. It can’t be at issue. Zimmerman had no means of retreat. The entire question, as I have said since the beginning, will hinge on whether Zimmerman is faultless.

ATREX Launch

Some folks might remember me mentioning a NASA rocket launch from Wallops Island, Virginia about a week ago. Early this morning they did it. I stayed up for it. For a clear view with no tall trees, I walked up to the nearby elementary school soccer field 3 times, only to have them hold for shipping in the exclusion zone. Third time, at 4:55, was a charm. The rockets only burn for a few seconds after launch, so I didn’t really see them until they started releasing the chemical tracer. I watched the tracers for a few minutes, noticed four, but could not see the fifth, and then headed home.

I took pictures and video, but the trails were dimmer than I expected, so they didn’t turn out. I did not notice any conspiracy theorists running from their homes screaming “They’re poisoning us! they’re poisoning us! This is how they keep us all compliant!” once the chemtrails started to disperse. My guess is they were fast asleep, dreaming of things the CIA is secretly transmitting into their brains.

UPDATE: Some official NASA photos:

ATREX Rocket at Launch


UPDATE: Video here.

More Details in the Zimmerman Case

The AP is reporting that Martin was suspended from school for having a baggie that contained pot residue in his backpack. That in itself is not interesting, but if the kid went out to the store to catch a toke on the way, it could explain Zimmerman’s suspicion, and provide us with objective grounds for suspicion. This would point towards Zimmerman’s suspicion being reasonable, depending on what the toxicology report has to say. I guess the only thing that I wouldn’t understand is, don’t most people who get high off pot get really mellow? I don’t think it’s generally regarded as a drug that makes people violent, and I’d tend to think someone high on pot would only be dangerous to you if you were a bag of Doritos.

But police are now reporting that Martin decked Zimmerman with a single blow:

With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered, authorities have revealed to the Orlando Sentinel.

That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say.

The big ??? still out there, to borrow a term from Tam, is what prompted Martin to deck Zimmerman. Was there a witness to that? The entire question of whether this is self-defense or not hinges on the answer to that question.

UPDATE: It would seem the narrative of the kid being a star student and untroubled is falling apart as we speak. This still does not answer ???, but I don’t excuse people, even people grieving, for manipulating the media and attempting to drive a narrative that is untrue.

Working For Both Sides?

Over at Calguns Forum, they seem to have discovered that Mike Bloomberg’s Senior Counsel for Firearms Policy, Laurin Grollman, is, according to someone at CalGuns, “the the same attorney who is of counsel on this brief for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. as amicus curiae in support of petitioners in McDonald v Chicago?”

Could certainly be. She wouldn’t be the first attorney that worked for the industry to end up playing both sides.

Our Founding Fathers on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Philip Mulivor e-mailed to discuss his new book, Proclaiming Liberty: What Patriots and Heroes Really Said About the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The author notes:

The premise of Proclaiming Liberty is simple — the Web is littered with false or inaccurate quotations about the right to arms, and I felt the time had come to take out the trash. I vetted more than 130 key quotes—including nearly all the famous firearms-related remarks attributed to our Founders—by checking them word-for-word against original books and documents. Many of those books and manuscripts predate the Declaration of Independence.

The book debunks several phony quotes and sets the record straight on dozens of others. I included reproductions of title pages from centuries-old books used in my research. To many readers, though, the real value of the book is contained in the detailed citations for each quote (all are in MLA format for the benefit of students).

This sounds pretty interesting to me, since we’ve all seen a lot of quotes out there falsely attributed to certain Founders. It’s great, I think, to have an authoritative source. This is definitely a must have if you’re going to participate in Internet gun discussions. If there’s one thing we all hate, it’s when someone is wrong on the Internets.

National Reciprocity in the Senate

I’m becoming less optimistic about the prospects for National Concealed Carry, mostly because the GOP seems more interested in election year posturing than actually passing anything. In order to actually pass something, it requires cooperation from the Democrats. It must be a bipartisan bill to achieve success.

We had a bill introduced, S. 2188, which started off the gate with bipartisan support, being sponsored by Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). Then Senator Vitter and Thune introduced their bill, S. 2213. The Thune bill is identical to the one that failed last time in the Senate, which including a measure to deal with Vermont, allowing Vermonters to carry without a permit in any state. I’d be happy to have this measure, but I think it has a few political problems:

  • It’s not in the House version, so it’ll complicate things in conference.
  • Schumer had a several of votes in his pocket against the identical bill last time. Schumer played a very clever game: he lined up all his no votes, then once it became clear he could defeat the bill, he allowed some of his vulnerable no votes to switch to yes. One of those was our Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. Remember that when he tells you he’s pro-gun this election.

Senator Crapo has pulled his co-sponsorship of S. 2188 and given it to S. 2213. S. 2188 added Senator Tester (D-MT) and Senator Baucus (D-MT). S. 2213 has 29 co-sponsors, but they are all Republicans. Not a single Democrat has signed on to S. 2213. While it’s quite good to have both parties competing for our votes, the end result of this partisan divide is going to be that we don’t get a bill passed. Without cooperation from the Democrats who control the Senate, it’s just not going to happen.

The Republicans are essentially treating gun owners as a hobby horse, to be trotted out and ridden at election time. We had an opportunity for a bipartisan bill, but that’s not the direction the GOP wants to go. Strategically, I think this is a mistake. It would far better benefit the GOP to put a bill on Obama’s desk than it would trying to snipe at a handful of Democrats who the GOP thinks are vulnerable. Perhaps the GOP is worried if they did that, Obama just might be tempted to sign it? I don’t think he can politically, especially not with this Florida thing blowing up on him.

My bet is we get no National Reciprocity bill this Congress.

Consolation: Still Under 40

Today, in fact the very moment I have scheduled this post to go up, I am creeping ever closer to being the stereotypical FMAWG (Fat Middle-Aged White Guy) of our opponent’s imaginations. It’s kind of funny how people say middle-aged to generally mean people in their late 40s and 50s, when it’s conceivable your life is half over, possibly, even in your late 30s. Especially for me, considering one grandfather made it to 76, and the other shuffled off his mortal coil at 59 in a case of chain smoking, raging alcoholism and poor diet that eventually lead to diabetes and shortly after a stroke.

Given that, I am making a concerted effort, at 38, to get into better shape. I’m trying to walk at least a mile every day, and do two miles three times a week, weather permitting. Cutting back on liquor, beer, and wine, and laying off the candy when I’m in the office. I just don’t want the extra calories. My goal is to drop weight slowly, just like I put it on.

But hey, today’s my birthday, so screw all that. I’m going to eat some cake with a bourbon chaser, after going out for wings and beer. Bitter is making me yellow cake with chocolate frosting, which has been my gold standard since I was a kid. And I still have the cake dish my mother used to use.

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