Wednesday, June 17, 2009

McKeesport PA City Councilman Paul Shelly

The reports on the arrest of a city councilman for pulling a gun.

City Councilman Paul Shelly was arrested on charges that he pulled a gun on a McKeesport business owner who wouldn't post his campaign sign.

Ed Batista, of Eddie's Dry Cleaners, told WTAE Channel 4's Sheldon Ingram that the alleged incident happened Saturday at his store on Walnut Street.

"I said, 'Shelly, you need help, you's a sick puppy,' and he said, 'Im'a show you what a sick man I am,' and he went around his waist and took out either a 9 mm or a 380 -- they both look alike -- and he pointed it at me,"

Shelly was arrested a short time later in the 1200 block of Patterson Avenue, police said.Shelly was charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.

I can only imagine the pro gun response to this, it's anecdotal, they'd say. "This incident is just 1 out of 800 gazillion. It proves nothing."

Well, I have a slightly different take on it. I say it's typical behaviour of that segment of the gun-owning population that shouldn't be armed in the first place. The problem with quantifying it is that many of these incidents go unreported, especially if no shots are fired. Then, you've got the ones which do result in the discharge of a firearm by a lawful gun owner, but which are really criminal acts that get described as justified DGUs (defensive gun uses).

Last week I made a wildly exaggerated remark which received a number of attacks, and rightly so. After reading those comments and giving some reflection to the question, I have to stick with the lower figure of 10%. Here's what I said before:

The question is how big is this problem group. Some people say it's tiny, practically insignificant. I say it's 10 or 20 or 30%. This is what we're haggling about, among other things.

The problem group is 10%, that's my bottom line. My question is, if someone is sure they are not a member of that group, why would they get so upset over my talking about it? Wouldn't they, as responsible gun owners, have more of a stake in identifying and weeding out these bad characters than anyone else?

What's your opinion? Do you think the lawful gun owners, all 50 million of them, are responsible people to the 99th percentile, as has been suggested around here?

Please leave a comment.


  1. MikeB,

    Since you didn't link to the trouncing you took on Weer'd's site, I thought I would post that same comment here. Let's see if it gets through "moderation".

    MikeB wants to say that the percentage of law abiding gun owners who commit crimes is as high as 30%.

    Let's do a little simple math and see if that makes any sense with the known facts.

    I'll give him every advantage and say there are only 50 million gun owners.
    50,000,000 X 0.30 (30% expressed as a decimal) that means 15,000,000 people are committing crimes.

    Is that every year, once every other year?

    Yet the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that less then 500,000 firearm related crimes occur each year. It would take 30 years of crimes to equal MikeB's 30% crime rate.

    Using 10% gives a little better results
    50,000,000 X 0.10 = 5,000,000. Again 500,000 firearm related crimes means that it would take 10 years of crimes to reach Mikey's numbers.

    If so many "normal law abiding" people are committing crimes --- WHY aren't the newspapers reporting this? They certainly try to make the most of every opportunity to dance in the blood of the victims?

    Bob S.

    Now, you might claim the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) "cooked" the numbers, but really do you have any proof other then your own vivid imagination?

    Even if the "unreported" crimes are twice the reported violent crimes, 10% of the gun owners would be 5,000,000. Actually it would be higher since the estimate is closer to 80,000,000 gun owners.

    That is 8,000,000 people PER YEAR at 10% that would have to committing firearm related crimes.

    That means the citizens, the local police, county sheriffs, state police, multiple federal law enforcement agencies (DEA, FBI, ETC) are under reporting firearm crimes by a factor of 16

    Now is that reasonable to believe???

  2. "I say it's typical behaviour of that segment of the gun-owning population that shouldn't be armed in the first place."

    You're right. All politicians should be disarmed immediately along w/ their security. They should rely on the reaction response of police only.

    "The problem group is 10%, that's my bottom line."

    Do you have any evidence for this or is it just what you 'want' to believe?

    Well, I'm sure we all know the answer to that.

  3. Here's a list of Mayors that have been convicted of various crimes, including firearms:

    Passaic, NJ Mayor Samuel Rivera
    Frank Melton, of Jackson MS
    Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
    Birmingham, Al Mayor Larry Langford
    Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon
    Jeremiah Healey of Jersey City
    Racine, WI Mayor Gary Becker.

    What do they all have in common? They were all members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

  4. What at all in this story would lead you to believe that this Paul Shelley is little more than a crook himself? Why would you think we would defend his actions?

    I realize we have nothing but this short media blurb to go on and we all know how reliable the media can be but what here makes anyone think that this guy is a typical lawful gun owner instead of a criminal?

  5. Bob About that trouncing, I admitted on Weer'd's site and over here that I was over the top with the 30% figure. The reason I didn't link back to Weer'd is because he asked me not to. Don't you remember in one of his self--righteous hissy-fits he said he felt it was immoral for him to accept links from a site like mine. I'm still laughing about that.

    And while we're at it, you went into spinning mode again, Bob.

    The 10% equal to 8 million, didn't all have to commit crimes that were reported. Remember the ones that are nothing more than brandishing the firearm in a threatening manner or the ones where actual shots are fired but no one calls the police. It's funny, we talked about that before, but you still distort what was said.

  6. MikeB,

    Look at the distortion now.

    You refuse to accept that Defensive gun uses can be as high as 2,500,000 per year but you readily believe that 8,000,000 gun owners a year are brandishing their firearms ILLEGALLY or that actual shots are fired but no one calls the police.

    Doesn't that defy logic, reason and commonsense????

    This is the continued pro-ignorance approach that shows you are doing this for the control, not the crime.

    You showed your true colors on Mike W's Blog in response to my comment.

    Hope this goes through so all your readers can see what you believe

    Bob said, "the removal of our rights, the confiscation of our firearms, the implementation of laws that impact the legitimate owner more then the criminal.....those are actions that are diametrically opposed to the values of freedom, liberty and self determination that defines our country."

    If it takes all those things to correct the gun violence problem in the U.S., then I suggest they aren't "diametrically opposed to the values of freedom, liberty and self determination that defines our country."

    You say they are "diametrically opposed," I don't. I'd say if guns are causing as much trouble as they are, yeah I know they're inanimate objects, then some changes need to be made in what we call "freedom" and "rights."

    You heard it hear from MikeB himself. If him or any one else "believes firearms are causing as much trouble as they are, then we need to make changes to our freedom and our rights.

    Not throw the criminals in jail, not address the causes of the problems not address the culture that creates the violence....simply get rid of the guns.

    Now we know MikeB's true colors in his own words.

  7. MikeB,

    How about addressing the fact that IF as many gun owners are committing crimes as you believe than the crimes have to be UNDER REPORTED BY A FACTOR OF 16??

  8. Surely if pulling guns on innocent people (which is a CRIME) is "typical behavior" then you have some established EVIDENCE of gun owners and CCW holders doing this.


    Sorry Mike, you are once again full of shit.

  9. So MikeB, I'll ask again. You are now pushing this unsupported '10%' number to justify legislation affecting all firearm owners.

    Would you be willing to support legislation that effected only 3% of the population yet accounts for nearly 30% of the crime?

  10. Mike W., When you say things like this, "Sorry Mike, you are once again full of shit," it makes me wonder why you cannot disagree without resorting to personal attacks and insults. Why is that Mike? Is it my fault? Is it because of what I write, I deserve it and you're only telling the truth? Wouldn't you have to be responsible for this, you and you alone? So I ask, why is it so difficult for you to be civil?

    I'm asking you, please, lighten up on the personal attacks and the criticisms of my blog and writing style and all the rest of the nasty remarks, which now comprise about half of what you say over here. Believe it or not, I'm doing the best I can to run a controversial and fairly civil discussion over here.

    Please limit yourself to the substantive and valuable input which makes up the other half of your comments. These I truly appreciate.

  11. I feel the same way Mike W. does. You throw out numbers on what you 'feel' is right yet dismiss the numbers from the FBI.

    Do you have some evidence to support your 10% hypothesis?

    Should we expect more *crickets*?

    If yes then you're FOS.

  12. MikeB,

    You had absolutely no trouble trying to call Tom out as a liar on my blog, did you?

    How polite and "disagreeing without resulting to personal attacks" was that?

    When some is a not telling the truth, the people need to know that.

    If I said that I knew you were engaged in a horrendous criminal act...but offered no proof..wouldn't you call me a liar?

    When you say that 10% of gun owners -- people who are my friends, people I work with, People who are my family -- are criminals and abetting criminals ; YOU BET I'm going to ask for some proof.

    When, and only WHEN, you don't offer proof...then I'll call you for what you are...isn't that fair?

  13. MikeB - There are only so many ways to ask you to back up your unsubstantiated assertions and accusations.

    If you're full of it we're going to say so.

    You don't like that characterization, but given your position and your inability to defend it saying you are full of shit certainly fits all available evidence.

  14. Bob said, "When you say that 10% of gun owners -- people who are my friends, people I work with, People who are my family -- are criminals and abetting criminals ; YOU BET I'm going to ask for some proof."

    Bob, I'm a bit shocked by this admission. I honestly thought your family and friends were among the 90%.

  15. MikeB,

    You've been infected with the OneUtah Reading comprehension failure bug.

    This is the applicable part

    gun owners -- people who are my friends, people I work with, People who are my family

    Now seeing how you don't identify WHICH of the gun owners are the part of the 10% --you are indicting ALL gun owners as being part of it.

    I know you may have trouble following that but it is true. I'll try to take it slowly

    You are saying some part of gun owners are criminals.

    I have friends, family and associates that are gun owners.

    Therefore, you are saying some part of my friends family and associates are criminals.

    You say this without any evidence, any proof, any statistics, anything other then the wild ass guess that you pulled out of a body orifice.

    I'm going to take it personally because you are smearing my friends, my family, my associates.

    You became all upset when I applied the same reasoning the same analogy to a different crime.

    Didn't you take it personally?

  16. Bob, I was going to give your friends and relatives the benefit of the doubt and put them all in the 90%. But if you insist, I guess it would be fairer to admit that probably 10% or so of them shouldn't have guns.

    Why do you get so huffy and puffy about that? Are you trying to say you know not one single person who has a gun and shouldn't, maybe for drinking or drugs or depression or anger or just plain stupidity or irresponsibility? Not one? Is that your contention?

  17. *crickets*

    Why am I not surprised?

  18. Funny thing is that i am not a gun owner (or borrower, or stealer). I have never held a gun, rifle or shotgun in my hands within the McKeesport City limits. I support the Right to Bare Arms but I made a conscious decision as I moved into adulthood that i'd rather get out of a situation with my wits and, if need be, my hands, than with a weapon.

    FYI, I am not a crook either. Have never taken a penny for anything during my political career.

    How about a blog on the character assasination of an honest man who was judged guilty and has to prove himself innocent?

    Best Regards,

    Paul Shelly
    Mckeesport City Council

  19. Paul Shelly said, How about a blog on the character assasination of an honest man who was judged guilty and has to prove himself innocent?

    Thanks for commenting personally, Mr. Shelly. Please forgive me for furthering the slander. My frequent commenters can tell you I just write about what's in the news and rarely check anything out.

    Are you suing the ones responsible for those lies? How does that work? Was it an attempt to destroy your political career on the part of your rivals? Was the dry cleaner Ed Batista in on it?

    Please give us some more detail or send me some links so I can do just what you asked,write about "the character assasination of an honest man."

  20. I can only give you the facts that have already been released to the media.

    1) I don't now nor have I ever owned or possessed a firearm.

    2)I was at the gentleman's store that day. First on business that parted amicably earlier in the morning and a second time, at the request of the accuser. He asked me, on arrival, not to come in, I left. No verbal or physical altercation.

    3) I have never had a history or been charged with any sort of physical violence. Those that know me know me to be more of a peacemaker.

    4) The police, with no evidence or witnesses, chose to send me for arraignment on hearsay.

    5) I am the first declared candidate for Mayor. Election day is in May 2011.

    6) I have been critical of the mayor's POLICIES (not the man) concerning a potential enviro hazard at lake Emilie that is killing catfish.

    7) I was, and am, the most outspoken council person concerning the police overtime scandal in Mckeesport that the mayor has declared "Closed", despite the fact that neither council, the controller or the DA have been satisfied as far as information requests are concerned. I am not out looking to hurt any officer or their family. We have a fine force in general. My only concern is that all monies are properly accounted for and returned to the taxpayers who elected me.

    I have been advised by counsel and many friends to seek civil damages in the case once cleared.

    I am not a litigious person by nature but am leaving all of my options open at this point.

    You can research my take and that of others at my blog: , in the Post-Gazette Online, The Pittsburgh Channel (WTAE-TV News) and the Topix Mckeesport Forum ( ).

    I am reachable by email for specific or off the record comments at .

    Thank you for posting my response.


  21. Mike,

    My hearing is this Monday the 13th at 9:00 AM.

    I expect full acquittal of these reidiculous and completely FALSE charges.

    I hope the media is interested in "Why was an innocent man incarcerated?" as they were in running with the baseless lies against me.

    I'll keep you posted.


  22. As a side story, I was just speaking with a gun carrying bar owner friend of mine. He wasn't carrying last Wednesday on Karaoke night (he Dee-Jays in a tux and forgot his "piece".)

    A drunk that he doesn't know, walks up to him and pulls what looks like a real gun on him...

    THe drunk fires.

    It's a LIGHTER!

    My friend says that if he were carrying, he'd have drawn and probably fired.

    Wouldn't that have been tragic.

    Just another reason I don't carry.


  23. Paul,

    But what if the gun had been real... what a crazy world we live in.

  24. Mike,

    Thanks for all of your coverage in the past. FYI, all charges against me were dismissed (finally!). It seems that my accuser is in County Jail for threatening to kill a McKeesport Policeman. During discovery, I learned that my accuser had spent five years in the Federal Pen for ARMED robbery, and had been convicted of several other felonies.

    It feels good to have this cloud removed from my head.

    As you and I now know, it was purely politically motivated.

    Thanks again!


  25. Paul, All the best to you. Keep us in the loop if anything else interesting comes up.

  26. Mike, FYI I am once again getting politically active in McKeesport, We have been plagued with a rash of gun violence this summer. At least 7 deaths I know of in this little town of less than 20,000 people. One of the young men shot and killed, Chauncey Williams, was like a Son to me. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The shooter meant to kill the guy sitting next to him I am told. It and all the other losses are tragic. Whether or not the men killed were model citizens or not, they did not deserve their fates. Nor did their Mothers, Fathers, Siblings and other loved ones. My commitment right now to the city is to go to work as a concerned organizer to Stop The Violence in McKeesport (and the Mon Valley)

    Any help from you and your readership would be appreciated.

    In addition, I am planning to make a far better run in 2013 and regain a seat on City Council. In that way, I will be in even a better position to fight this problem.