Meleanie Hain Prevails

Looks like the open carry soccer mom got her license to carry reinstated:

Judge Robert Eby said even though the law required him to give her the permit back, he questioned whether Hain showed good judgment by ignoring other parents’ safety concerns.

Hain said she’s satisfied with the result and expects she’ll be back on the sidelines with her gun in the future.

Pennsylvania remains a shall-issue state.  The sheriffs can’t revoke licenses just because you do something that makes them uncomfortable.

An Analogy

To Josh Sugarmann, Bryan Miller, and all the other gun control advocates out there who are using the murder of Meleanie Hain at the hands of her husband to make a point about guns and self-defense, let me offer you an analogy and turn the tables. If Paul Helmke were gunned down in a robbery in the District, would pro-gun people be assholes for pointing out that’s what happens when you don’t carry a firearm?  I would argue they absolutely would be, and would be just as indignant toward anyone on my side who suggested as much. I think most other prominent people in the RKBA movement would too. It would be no more illustrative of the notion that everyone needs a gun to protect themselves than the suggestion that Meleanie Hain’s case is illustrative of the fact that guns are just bad news.

But why is that? I think because we really don’t believe a gun is for everyone. It’s a matter of individual choice and circumstance as to how one chooses, or does not choose, to protect themselves. To the other side, guns are always the wrong solution, for everyone, everywhere, and in every situation, and that’s why you shouldn’t have one. But they don’t advocate the choice, they advocate compulsion.

Sugarmann is Another One …

of those gun control advocates who’s keepin’ it classy:

As an advocate who debated gun control supporters, Hain was well aware of the facts presented in opposition to her views. Yet she parried them as irrelevant to her world, in the same way that the concerns of her fellow Pennsylvania soccer moms were dismissed as the intellectual flotsam of the anti-gun mind. To this mindset, gun homicides, unintentional deaths, and suicides were events that happened to other people who lacked the temperament, training, or personal fortitude to own a gun. In essence, Hain, like many of her fellow pro-gun advocates, lacked an ability to think in the abstract: Her gun experience was positive and whatever negative effects others felt from firearms, the gun, and gun owners like herself, were never to blame. Is it too bold to think that if she had survived her husband’s attack by shooting him to death she would have offered his killing as proof of the effectiveness of the self-defense handgun? Based on 25 years in the gun control debate I don’t think so.

Look, Josh, it’s not any secret that I was not a fan of Meleanie’s activism, but I won’t presume to assume what she did and didn’t dismiss, and smear her with all the standard bugaboos anti-gun folks have for pro-gun folks. But you’re right about one thing Josh, if would have been an example of the effectiveness of self-defense had she been able to successfully defend herself against her husband. Because she’d be alive, and her three children would still have a mother. Surely that would not be a tragedy in your world view just because we would get to make a point? Sometimes I wonder.


The details of the Hain murder have been released. This is horrible. She was on a video chat at the time she was shot, and the person on the other end witnessed the murder. She was apparently doing dishes in the kitchen. The murder weapons was her husband’s 9mm. Her gun was nowhere near her. She had no opportunity to defend herself. Her husband later killed himself with a shotgun. See this story here for different details.

Tasteful Guys

The Freedom States Alliance tries to make the point I figured anti-gun groups would try to make. The Brady Campaign deserves kudos for tastefully staying out of it, rather than try to score political points.

But one wonders what political point the Freedom States Alliance is trying to make?  Scott Hain was a law enforcement officer. He is the kind of person who would have guns even if FSA got their dream of total civilian disarmament.  Does FSA want to argue that battered spouses of law enforcement officers are better off with no protection at all?

According to forum accounts from people who knew her, Meleanie Hain did indeed understand there was a “danger lurking inside her own home”, but that danger was Scott Hain. There is a lesson here, but it’s not the lesson that FSA is trying to sell by exploiting the Hain murder.

It’s a Difficult Thing to Come to Terms With

One commenter on the PAFOA forum in the thread about the Meleanie Hain murder:

I remember reading about her fighting the whole soccor game thing. It’s a shame this happened. I wonder if she just didn’t have a chance to defend her self or if maybe her husband took her firearm and she couldn’t defend herself. Either way this is horrible to hear and she will be in my prayers. RIP

Those could end up being the facts, but I think it’s probably more likely she didn’t have much of an opportunity to defend herself even if she had a gun. Firearms are not an amulet against being murdered, particularly in a domestic situation where you’re not likely going to be prepared at all times to defend yourself against a spouse or intimate partner.

As people who carry, we’d ideally like to think that the gun offers us protection, and it pains us to see someone who carried one for that purpose tragically murdered. But the fact is that it only evens up the odds. It’s not a guarantee. Someone intent on doing your harm can sometimes get the drop on you, and I think few of us, without hesitation, could draw a gun on someone we love.

Sometimes the good guy loses. Even when they are armed. This isn’t Hollywood.

Tasteless Article of the Day

Goes to Karen Araiza of NBC Philadelphia:

Her gun-toting problems started about a year ago when Meleanie picked an ominous day – September 11, 2008 – to show up at her little girl’s soccer game with the loaded gun holstered to her hip, very visible and very upsetting to other parents.

Gun toting problems? Speaking of it like it’s the same as heavy drinking? But that’s just bias, not tastelessness.  This is where it gets tasteless:

Back in December, Hain was runner-up for The Patriot-News “Person of the Year”. Despite all the controversy, she said her views on the right to bear arms hadn’t changed.

“I am happy being a gun owner.”

Autopsies were being performed Thursday. The Hain children were with relatives.

You can’t tell me those two sentences weren’t meant to play off each other. Congratulations Ms. Araiza, you officially suck.

Tragedy, But Could Have Been Worse

Apparently Melelanie Hain, who you might remember from a year or so ago, was found dead in an apparent murder suicide, after a two hour standoff involving police. The kids are apparently fortunately OK, but I feel for young kids losing both parents. Here’s an account as it happened. Looks like the husband was the shooter, and was a parole officer in Wernersville.

No doubt Brady will be exploiting this tragedy to the max by tomorrow.

UPDATE: Local news channel coverage. They report there was no standoff, and the police arrived on the scene after the fact.

UPDATE: PAFOA Forum thread has several reports of people who say she was concerned about her husband being violent. That would definitely point to the husband being the likely shooter. It’s difficult for me to understand someone staying in that kind of relationship. If you don’t owe it to yourself to get out, you definitely owe it to your kids.

UPDATE: A good point over at PAFOA:

Many of us knew that there were problems for a long time. Many here knew or suspected that their domestic issues were the driving impetus for her interest in guns. Many of us here advised her to leave him and offered her places to stay, and help. This is not in any way to disparage Meleanie, but rather to point out to any and all women in bad domestic situations; you need to get out, get out now. Before it turns into a tragedy.

Meleanie was a great person, mother, activist, advocate, and spokeswoman, and I am proud to say that I knew her. I guess when I get home tonight I’ll look through all my saved PMs, and e mails, and reminisce.

This looks like a very unfortunate case of domestic violence at its worst, and unfortunately, having a firearm is never absolute protection against someone doing you harm.

Context Again

People are coming absolutely unhinged over this Meleanie Hain situation:

“Come on, a 5-year-old’s soccer game?” she said. “I mean, really. But if she was in my club and I told her she cannot carry, I would be sued.”

Gregg-Bolognese said some clubs have approached her about hiring security guards. Some fathers have threatened to take a gun away from anyone who arrives at a game with one, an idea she tries to squelch. Referees have asked if they should carry guns.

What I see here is a bunch of people who really don’t understand why someone would carry a firearm to a kids soccer game, and are coming up with unrealistic and hysterical thoughts for why someone might want to do this openly.  Keep in mind that this league has had problems with overzelous parents.  Those of us in the issue understand the context of open carry, so we know Hain is no threat to anyone.  Most other people do not, which is why, once again, context matters.

You might have a right to carry a firearm openly at a kids soccer game (the sheriff was wrong for revoking her permit) but we’re raising awareness of the issue of carrying firearms in the media in a way the public is going to have a tough time understanding.  Parents who get scared and hysterical at the thought of someone carrying openly at a kids’ soccer game do not have a right to be free from fear.  But they do have a right to vote, speak to the media, and petition the government.  Pooh pooh their fear all you want, but scared parents are dangerous politically, and thin ice is being tread on here.

Hat tip to Arms and the Law

Hearing Tomorrow

Meleanie Hain will have her hearing tomorrow to appeal her revocation of her License to Carry by the Lebanon County Sheriff.  My previous comments on the matter a few weeks ago don’t affect my desire to see Ms. Hain prevail in her case.  Whether or not it’s the best public relations strategy I think is debatable, but the law is not, and she should get her LTC reinstated.

« Previous Entries