Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog Break 3 Days

More on Schaeffer Cox from Fairbanks Alaska reports on the latest from gun rights activist Schaeffer Cox, whom we've discussed before.

FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- An Alaska gun rights activist blames his recent legal troubles on a bothersome mother-in-law and local police.

Second Amendment Task Force leader Schaeffer Cox has been arrested twice in recent months -- first in a dispute with his wife, and then for allegedly failing to notify a Fairbanks police officer he was carrying a concealed weapon.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Cox spoke Friday night to about 40 members of the gun rights group. He acknowledged pushing his wife, but said he never punched or choked her as Alaska State Troopers initially claimed.

He blamed the troubles on his mother-in-law, who reported the confrontation to authorities, and he said local law enforcement is engaged in "character assassination" in an attempt to dissuade people from joining the Second Amendment Task Force.

Cox called the state troopers "wicked, corrupt and despicable."

Well, I certainly don't doubt the state troopers are "wicked, corrupt and despicable," but I also have no doubt that Mr. Cox is dangerous and should be disarmed.

What do you think? Is he just another persecuted gun owner? Is it simply a case of his mother-in-law picking on him?

Please leave a comment.

Kurt Hofmann on the Stevens' Retirement.

The National Examiner published an article by the pro gun writer Kurt Hofmann which contained one of the most flimsy rationalizations I've heard in quite some time. The title of the piece is,
How Justice Stevens' retirement might benefit gun rights

At least he said "might."

So if I don't expect the Court to move very far, if at all, toward greater recognition of gun rights, why do I see Steven's departure as helpful? Simply because it's something else to keep the administration and Senate busy for a while. As I wrote last month, the passage of a health care reform law has taken a huge item off the Obama administration's "to-do" list, perhaps moving "gun control" up on that list.

A bitter, hard-fought Supreme Court nomination battle, heading into mid-term elections, puts a big item right up near the top of that list, moving any potential efforts for more "gun control" back down. Any speed-bumps that can be placed in the path of efforts to advance the forcible citizen disarmament agenda are good for the country.

As a comment I suggested that whoever replaces Justice Stevens, assuming he or she has similar opinions about gun control, will certainly be young and vibrant by comparison. This will prove to be a major setback for the so-called gun rights movement perhaps for decades to come.

What I'm waiting for is when one of the conservative members has to be replaced. That will obviously make even a bigger difference.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Gunfight at the OK Mall

The Associated Press reports on a frightening scene which took place in a crowded Oklahoma shopping mall.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Police say a shooting inside a crowded Oklahoma mall has left one person dead and several injured in what witnesses described as a gunfight.

Gunfire broke out late Saturday afternoon in the Arrowhead Mall in downtown Muskogee. The area was crowded with visitors attending the city's annual Azalea Festival.

Four people were taken to Muskogee Regional Medical Center, but a spokesman says their conditions haven't been released.

Police spokesman Pedro Zardeneta says it's unclear whether the person killed was among several involved in the shooting or a bystander.

Shoppers were told by a public-address announcement to quickly leave the mall around 4:15 p.m., and they gathered outside. Several say they heard four or five shots.

Does anybody else think this has to do with the proliferation of guns? Does anyone else think having a "gunfight" in the mall is a throwback to the wild west days, a mentality that is alive and well in Oklahoma?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

8-year-old Brings Gun to School

The reports on another school gun incident.

Marble Falls Police Department officials say they have referred a Colt Elementary School student who brought a gun to campus today to Child Protective Services and mental health professionals.

No shots were fired, and no one was injured, police said.

Officials didn’t name the student because of the student’s age and because the student wasn’t charged. Officials said that under state law, children younger than 10 are barred from arrest or prosecution for any offense.

The student showed the gun to a group of students outside the school, Superintendent Ryder Warren said in a statement. Those students immediately reported the gun to teachers, who then took possession of the weapon and escorted the student to the principal’s office, he said.

Police department officials did not say how or where the student got the gun. Officials said the incident remains under investigation.

In all fairness I have to point out that Arizona makes Texas look like a reasonable and progressive state. In Texas, "under state law, children younger than 10 are barred from arrest or prosecution for any offense." Bravo Texas.

But it brings up some difficult questions which the folks in Arizona don't have to look at when they charge an 8-year-old with whatever crime there is. In this Texas case you have to ask who is responsible and who is to blame. If it's not the kid, then who?

I say the parents, of course, maybe some other relatives. In a secondary sense, not legally but morally, the generally attitude towards guns is to blame. All the gun owners who push for lenient gun laws and encourage others to arm themselves are to blame. The only people free from the taint of this blame are the gun control advocates, those intrepid warriors in the battle for common sense over paranoid and self-serving gun laws.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Ohio Police Instructor Shoots Himself Accidentally

The Oxford Press reports on an embarrassing incident which took place during a gun demonstration in front of 24 recruits.
Robert J. Stewart, 55, was demonstrating the use of a 9mm Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol at about 7:51 p.m. at the firing range when he shot himself in the upper right thigh in front of 24 recruits and several instructors at Butler Tech’s Public Safety Education Center, said Butler County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chuck Laymon.

Stewart, of Bethel, was transported by a Liberty Twp. life squad to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, where he was treated and released late Friday night.

“He seems to be in good spirits, but he’s just a little embarrassed,” Laymon said. “People ask how these things happen, but this goes to show you that if you get complacent or get in a hurry accidents can happen.”

Stewart is a retired law enforcement officer who works as an adjunct instructor at Butler Tech.

Laymon said none of the students in the class was injured, but some were “disturbed by the whole thing.”

I like the lesson taken by the county sheriff, "if you get complacent or get in a hurry accidents can happen" No attempt to blame the gun there. But I do get the sense that only the raw recruits were bothered by the incident, that the veteran policemen and gun owners all take this as part of the deal. Anyone can have an accident, right?

I say this kind of irresponsible gun handling is unacceptable and should result in immediate disqualification for gun ownership. The fact that it was a former policeman is embarrassing indeed, but unintentional discharges of the gun don't just happen, they are the result of inattention and complacency. I say one strike you're out.

What's your opinion? Is that too severe? How many unintentional shootings should a person be allowed before they lose their right to own guns? Is it unlimited? Is it until one results in a felony?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Arizona Man Arrested at Walmart

The Associated Press reported on a shooting incident that happened in the appropriately named town of Surprise, Arizona.
Authorities said a Surprise man has been arrested on suspicion of endangerment when the gun he was carrying discharged inside a Walmart in El Mirage. El Mirage police said the 30-year-old man entered the store around 1 a.m. Thursday and witnesses said he repeatedly fidgeted with a holstered semi-automatic pistol.

When he went to a counter to pay for a video game, witnesses said he removed the gun from the holster — causing the magazine to come loose and fall to the floor. They said he reinserted the magazine and continued manipulating the gun when it fired, sending one bullet into the ceiling.

Police said no injuries were reported. He was booked into the downtown Phoenix jail on six counts of endangerment and firing a weapon in city limits.

I imagine we'll be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing. It should come as no surprise since Arizona is continually increasing their gun rights. I wrote about the newest law yesterday which, when the Governor signs it, will allow permitless concealed carry. On Sebastian's site he called it "Constitutional carry." Now that's what I call spinning things until they're no longer recognizable. Just like the children's game in which each kid whispers a memorized phrase into the ear of the next kid and when it gets to the last one it's totally different, the founding fathers, demi-gods that they were, could not possibly have envisioned people in Arizona carrying concealed weapons and insisting it was a right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment. But that's what they're doing, or seen will be.

About the guy in the Walmart who did all that irresponsible fidgeting with the gun even dropping the magazine, what's next for him? I would guess in gun-friendly AZ he'll get a slap on the wrist and continue bumbling along with his guns until something worse happens. What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Road Rage Near Philadelphia reports.

John Yannarell was a middle-aged engineer living a quiet life in a bucolic hilltop exurb in outer Montgomery County, as the single parent of a teenage daughter.

Now he faces criminal charges, including attempted murder, in a startling allegation of road rage directed at a seemingly random driver on Route 422 in early-morning traffic.

Elizabeth Cox, 31, was driving east toward her job at an eye doctor's office when she called police at 7:15 a.m. to warn of an "erratic driver swerving in and out of traffic" behind her, police said. Near Mile Marker 186 in Upper Providence Township, she pulled into the right lane to let him pass.

Then the worrisome car, a silver 2008 Buick Lucerne, passed her on the right shoulder and the driver fired a gun at her, police say.

Cox first felt "a jolt or a bump and thought someone has sideswiped her," Trooper Denea L. Durham said.

But when Cox saw blood, she realized she had been shot - apparently by the middle-age white man she saw driving down the shoulder.

It turns out he was not all that law-abiding at least when it came to driving. Maybe his boat and his web site weren't enough to "blow off steam."

Court records show that Yannarell has been cited eight times since 2002 for disregarding traffic lights or stop signs in Montgomery, Delaware, or Chester Counties. He pleaded guilty in seven of the cases and was found guilty in the other. He was also cited for speeding in 2005 in Montgomery County.

Though he was a flawed driver, acquaintances said Yannarell displayed no warnings of a combustible demeanor.

Yeah, he was a flawed driver. What's the chance that a guy who has that much trouble obeying stop signs and red lights displays no other indications of instability? I'd say none. Maybe the folks in Pennsylvania have to look a little closer at the folks they allow to own guns.

And what about the gun? I hate an article that doesn't focus on the gun at least a little. I'd like to know what kind of gun it was, where it came from and what was he doing with it in the car. I'd like to know about his gun history along with his driving history.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Another Dubious DGU

The Dallas Morning News reports on the acquittal of country singer Billy Joe Shaver. At least this one was hard-won.

It took a McLennan County jury just two hours Friday to acquit Texas country singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver of aggravated assault in the 2007 shooting of another man in a bar parking lot.

An unlawful carrying charge remains pending. Judge Matt Johnson set a $7,500 bond on that charge and told Shaver he was free to go.

Earlier Friday, Shaver testified that he acted in self-defense when he shot Billy Coker in the face near Waco on March 31, 2007. But prosecutors maintained that no other witnesses described Coker as "violent or mean."

Some folks have accused me of thinking that no DGU is legitimate. That's just not true, but in this case there are a few things in the article that make me wonder. The first is, "no other witnesses described Coker as "violent or mean.""

Here's another one:

During cross-examination, prosecutor Beth Toben asked Shaver if he was jealous that Coker had been talking with Shaver's ex-wife, Wanda Shaver, in the bar.

"I get more women than a passenger train can haul," the defendant replied. "I'm not jealous."

That kind of bragging macho talk often betrays the very quality it attempts to deny. If I may venture into a comparison for a moment, it's not unlike the macho tough-talking gun owner who insists he's not motivated by fear and paranoia.

Coker had told authorities that Shaver told him, "Where do you want it?" before shooting him in the cheek. Friday, however, Shaver testified, "I actually asked him, 'Why do you want to do this?' For one reason or another, someone turned it into, 'Where do you want it?'"

After the shooting, he said he called friend and fellow Texas singer-songwriter Willie Nelson and asked for his recommendation of an attorney. Then, Shaver said, he left town out of fear of Coker and his family.

So, with Willie Nelson's lawyer and celebrity, I believe he appeared as a character witness, the jury believed the shooter's version of what was said immediately before the shooting.

I certainly don't claim to know what happened, but I suspect this may be another of the many so-called legitimate DGUs which are nothing of the kind.

What's your opinion? What do you think about the pending charge? Shaver was not supposed to be carrying a gun in the first place. Is it even possible to do something legitimate with a gun you have illegally in your possession? Even that sounds like a bit of a stretch. I'd say this is Texas Justice, but a different kind from what we usually point out.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.