Saturday, November 29, 2014

Texas 4-Year-old Dead - No One To Be Charged

KTRK-TV reports that authorities are investigating the accidental shooting death of a 4-year-old boy. 
According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, the incident happened Tuesday morning when the child was inside the home with his 6-year-old brother and 2-year-old sister while their mother was outside smoking a cigarette.  After hearing a gunshot, the woman went back inside to find that her 4-year-old son had been shot in the head.  He was rushed to a nearby hospital but died shortly after his arrival. 
Investigators believe that the shooting was accidental but are still trying to find out who pulled the trigger.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

What Should LE do. Should they be charged if they use deadly force?

Facts to this hypothetical situation:

Officer A  is walking down the street and X says something personal to A.  Officer says X knows that's not true. Then X responds by screaming insults and obscenities at Officer A. Officer B tells X he shouldn't be so rude to A.  X and B get into an altercation where B hits X. X tells B he's dead if he tries to shoot him.

A crowd of around 50 people begins to gather around A and B.  The crowd begins to shout insults at B and throw objects at him.  A call goes out for back up and 7 more officers arrive. One of the crowd tells the officers that the crowd will kill the officers if they shoot.

At this point, the crowd has grown to 300-400 people.  The officers tell the crowd to disperse.

Instead of dispersing, the crowd becomes more rowdy and belligerent.  They are throwing objects at the officers and taunting them.  One member of the crowd threatens the officers with a baseball bat.  Finally, something strikes one of the officers and knocks him down.  That is followed by members of the crowd attempting to hit the officers.  One of the officers is struck during the melee.

I should add that there had been agitation about "police brutality" among the locals, which contributed to why there was the taunting of the officers.

Additionally, most of the members of the crowd were not what people would call "solid citizens"--after all, they are threatening authority and willing to attack them and possibly kill them.

What should the officers do in your opinion?
  1. Retreat
  2. Use nonlethal force to stop the threat
  3. Fire their weapons into the crowd
Should the officers be charged if they used deadly force in your opinion?

Think about your answers to this scenario very carefully.

Nevada Could Soon Put Background Checks on the Ballot

A pro-reform gun group in Nevada this week collected the largest number of signatures ever gathered for a ballot initiative in the state — more than double the amount required by law. The group,Nevadans for Background Checks, is gaining inspiration from the success of a similar initiative in nearby Washington, where residents passed a major victory for gun control last week.

The organization on Wednesday delivered nearly 250,000 signatures to election officials for a state ballot measure that could strengthen the screening and reporting of gun purchases. For three months, members of Nevadans for Background Checks, as well as representatives from Everytown for Gun Safetyrallied support from citizens in each county of the Silver State. They hope to close the loopholes in the law that allow felons, domestic abusers, and mentally-ill individuals to buy guns.

If Nevada’s secretary of state validates the signatures, the initiative will go to the Legislature during the 2015 session. Reform groups, including Everytown, expect background checks to qualify as a valid initiative for the Legislature to vote on next year. But if lawmakers fail to pass the measure, or if Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoes it, the organizations will take the issue directly to voters as a ballot measure in the 2016 presidential election. Members are also pushing for similar ballot initiatives in other states, including Arizona and Maine.

Last year, the Nevada State Legislature passed a bill requiring background checks on all gun sales. But Sandoval vetoed the measure, despite 86% of his constituents saying they favored passing mandatory background checks for all firearms purchases.

The Famous "Hulk Hogan" Quote

“When I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding Hulk Hogan," Wilson said in the testimony that has been released by the St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office. "The face that he had was looking straight through me like I wasn’t even there … He started to lean forward as he got that close, like he was going to just tackle me, just go right through me.”

So said the 6 foot 2 inch, 210 pound officer armed with a gun, talking about a fat teenager acting aggressively. 

I call bullshit on that one.  Like any defensive shooting, the shooter will say anything afterwards to make his actions seem more justified. 

Darren Wilson's Injuries

Cenk on Ferguson

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What bugs me about the Ferguson thing...

It's the ignorance surrounding what a Grand Jury does and how it is supposed to work.  And it doesn't come from just the general public since I saw one "legal scholar" make a comment that there should have been rigourous cross examination.

There are two different parts of the criminal process for determining whether a case should go to trial: the preliminary hearing and a grand jury.  Neither of these two proceedings involves a finding of guilt or punishment of a party.  In fact, no "jeopardy" attaches and one can be retried if found "innocent" in one of these proceedings.  The difference between the two is that a preliminary hearing looks like a trial it is open to the public with a prosecution, defence, and judge addressing the matter: None of those are present in a grand jury.

Grand jury proceedings are much more relaxed than normal court room proceedings. There is no judge present and frequently there are no lawyers except for the prosecutor. The prosecutor will explain the law to the jury and work with them to gather evidence and hear testimony. Under normal courtroom rules of evidence, exhibits and other testimony must adhere to strict rules before admission. In fact, a grand jury has broad power to see and hear almost anything they would like.

Well, almost everything.  United States v. Williams, 504 U.S. 36 (1992) points out that there is no right to testify or produce exculpatory evidence:
It is the grand jury’s function not ‘to enquire … upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,’ or otherwise to try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine ‘upon what foundation [the charge] is made’ by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice § 360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.
The difference in procedures and rules lead to a situation that a former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler would comment that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.”  Of course, that is also due to the fact that the burden of proof in these proceedings is less than a regular criminal trial: preponderance of the evidence v. beyond a reasonable doubt.  In other words, is it more likely than not that a crime occurred.

Federal law required a grand jury indictment before beginning a criminal proceeding.  There were 162,000 federal cases filed in 2010:  Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them. Of course, this was a state proceeding rather than a federal one (and the feds love cases they can't lose). On the other hand, “If the prosecutor wants an indictment (in a non-federal case) and doesn’t get one, something has gone horribly wrong,” said Andrew D. Leipold, a University of Illinois law professor who has written critically about grand juries. “It just doesn’t happen.”

 Of course, a lot of commenters are thinking that the prosecution didn't want to bring charges, but this is a high profile case with a lot at stake.  What better than to pick a procedure where these is no real scrutiny.  In fact, ordinarily the proceedings in a grand jury case should be sealed, but they have been released in this case to try and give some form of legitimacy that this was some form of adversarial proceeding, which gets to the comment about cross examination.

That didn't happen here.  In fact, from what I heard the prosecution basically discounted anyone who contradicted Officer Wilson's defence.  Additionally, this was done without any real cross examination, yet there is this mysterious "grand jury proceeding" to lend an air that "justice has been done" when that was hardly the case.

Of course, I can guess that people who believe that a white person can carry a gun late at night in a known drug and prostitution area will find that the police acted with justification in shooting an unarmed black youth who may have been surrendering.  If the police officer in the first instance faces reprimand--shouldn't he also in the second one?  In fact, it would seem more important that justice is done in the second situation since deadly force was actually used.

The real issue is not so much whether Michael Brown was an innocent young man as much as whether justice has truly been done.

Of course, that is something that far too many people have missed in this situation.

See also:

The Originalist's dilemma

Justice Scalia has a fallacy that the Constitution must be interpreted within its original meaning, yet he must admit that he should be incredibly incredibly (yes, I mean to say that twice) wary about overturning laws made by elected officials if he is going to do that.


This power is not expressly granted in the Constitution.

In fact, as I have pointed out many times before, this power comes from the case of Marbury v. Madison, which also said: It cannot be presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect.

So, should he be very wary about declaring laws unconstitutional since that is not a power which is expressly granted by the constitution? 

Additionally, since he went against Marbury once to the detriment of public safety in the Heller decision, should he admit that decision committed the grossest of errors in his political philosophy?

In fact, if anything the Heller decision totally contradicts his claimed belief in that the document should be interpreted as originally intended.  After all, the Second Amendment was implemented by the Militia Act of 1792--not the guns for criminals acts.

Scalia is not as clever as he would like to paint himself as he has painted himself into an ideological corner which those cleverer than he is can laugh at his folly.  The ultimate farce is that he is claiming powers which have not been granted to him by the document he claims to believe in.

How Many Guns are Stolen Each Year?

Re-posted for the edification of Kurt Hofmann who loves to play dumb and avoid Google when it's convenient to do so.

How Many Guns Are Stolen Each Year?

One of our favorite commenters recently expressed doubt as to the claim that a half-a-million guns are stolen each year. Of course, this is a guy known to bend the truth a bit in the name of a good argument, so it's hard to tell if he was even serious.  Furthermore, he's a guy who firmly believes in the million-plus numbers of DGUs which are based on telephone interviews with self-aggrandizing gun owners boasting about their exploits. But, with hard numbers of stolen guns reported around 200,000, even though such reports are not required and may very well reflect badly on the stupid gun owners who keep their guns under the pillow for safekeeping, this unnamed commenter finds it hard to believe the true number is up around a half-a-million.


Guns stolen from homes: Almost 600,000 guns are stolen each year from private homes, according to poll data on gun-owning households.

Johns Hopkins University puts the number at 500,000


“I think [the report] needs to be put in context,” said Lawrence Keane, assistant secretary and general counsel at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the gun industry. The number of guns that are stolen each year is likely to be much higher, Keane said, referring to a widely cited survey by the U.S. Department of Justice that suggests it’s closer to 500,000. However, even half a million stolen guns represents a small fraction of how many guns are sold, manufactured and imported in the United States every year, he said. (The ATF estimates that about 6.5 million firearms were manufactured and another 3.2 million were imported in 2011.)

US Bureau of Statistics gives the number of REPORTED guns stolen.

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics released a report last November with lower -- but still alarming -- numbers. According to the report, 1.4 million firearms were stolen during burglaries and other property crimes between 2005 and 2010. That's an average of 232,400 annually. 

The ATF gives us the number REPORTED, even though it's not required. One can only guess at the multiplication factor required to reach the actual number of guns stolen.

In 2012, NCIC received reports reflecting 190,342 lost and stolen firearms nationwide. Of those 
190,342 lost and stolen firearms reported, 16,667 (9% of the total reported) were the result of 
thefts/losses from FFLs. Of the 16,667 firearms reported as lost or stolen from a FFL, a total of 
10,915 firearms were reported as lost. The remaining 5,762 were reported as stolen. 

Stop the Insanity: Ban Guns

Gerald Ensley

The Tallahassee Democrat

I'm not talking about gun control. I'm not talking about waiting periods and background checks.
I'm talking about flat-out banning the possession of handguns and assault rifles by individual citizens. I'm talking about repealing or amending the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Second Amendment has been misinterpreted. It says guns are permitted to a "well-regulated militia." That means trained citizen soldiers called into action for emergencies — because in colonial times every able-bodied man was required to be a member of the militia. It does not mean everyone with $50 and a driver's license is entitled to own a gun.
That's what former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger said in 1990, when he called claims of Second Amendment protection of individual gun ownership, "a fraud on the American public." Earlier this year, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called the Second Amendment one of the six great flaws with the U.S. Constitution. He called for it to be amended to say gun possession was only for state militias, not individuals.
Every legal opinion for 200 years denied individual gun ownership was a right — until the steady lobbying of the National Rifle Association created a climate that allowed a conservative U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 to strike down a handgun ban in the District of Columbia, and fuel the sense of entitlement of gun owners.

L.A. City Council Approves Safe Storage and Ammo Control

Local news reports

Ammunition sales would be tracked electronically in Los Angeles under a measure tentatively approved Tuesday by the City Council, which also directed staff to draft an ordinance to  require gun owners to store firearms in locked containers or use trigger locks to disable them when not in use.
The City Council voted 11-0 in favor of a proposed ordinance that would require licensed ammunition dealers to transmit sales records to the city via an online form, doing away with what one councilman described as the city’s “draconian” method of requesting physical records.
If given final approval by the council on second reading and signed by the mayor, the measure would make it a misdemeanor crime if retailers fail to comply with the reporting requirements.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Congratulations, Jon Holzwarth! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Southern Beale

Responsible gun owner/prominent 2nd Amendment “gun rights” advocate Jon Holzwarth was babysitting his three-year-old son and his neighbor’s four-year-old grandson when a totally responsible thing happened: his son somehow was shot in the mouth. Imagine that:
According to Snohomish County deputies, the shooting happened in a bedroom that was locked.
Holzwarth told them he heard a loud boom and ran to the bedroom where his son, Michael, and his neighbor’s 4-year-old grandson were playing.
He forced the locked door open and initially thought his son had gotten hurt that way.
At Providence Everett Medical Center, doctors discovered the boy had been shot in the mouth.
He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
No one answered at Holzwarth’s door where a sign reads: “We don’t dial 9-1-1″ with a metal cutout of a pistol dangling below.
There were also emblems about guns on his Jeep.
On Saturday, his son was struggling to survive from a gunshot wound — a tragic irony not lost on his neighbor.
Oh, yes. The irony. I’m sure Holzwarth’s guns protected his family dozens and dozens of times before this tragic incident, though.

Rattlesnake vs. Hawk

Ferguson Burning


A Missouri grand jury has decided not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the Aug. 9 shooting of unarmed Ferguson teenager Michael Brown, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said tonight.

McCulloch said that the grand jurors ruled that "no probable cause exists" to indict Wilson on any of the five possible charges that they were asked to consider. He said that the jury was "presented with five indictments" ranging from "murder in the first degree to involuntary manslaughter."

The prosecutor repeatedly stressed the physical evidence that the 12 jurors considered, saying that it "tells the accurate and tragic story of what happened."

"All 12 jurors were present for every session and all 12 jurors examined every piece of evidence," MuCulloch said, adding that the jurors are "the only people who have heard and examined every witness."

Oklahoma Mom Killed by her 3-Year-old Who Found a Gun Under the Couch

Local news reports

A mother in east Tulsa is dead after her toddler son accidentally shot her in the head, police say.
The 3-year-old son was interviewed by child specialists to try and piece this horrible tragedy together, Sgt. Walker confirmed. As he was buckled into the police car, he repeated "mommy shot."
The 26-year-old mom was home with her 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.
The mother of the victim, who also lives at the home, arrived home to find her daughter shot in the head.
A neighbor tells 2NEWS reporter Liz Bryant the toddler found the gun underneath the couch. She also confirmed the woman is in the Army.
Walker said it appears to be a large caliber handgun. He said there are other guns in the home, but not out in the open.
"But not out in the open," sorta like the one the kid found. 

Utah 12-Year-old Killed by Younger Sibling - No Mention of Any Charges - Naturally, It Was Just an Accident

Local news reports

Such events offer a tragic reminder that firearms need to be securely stored in homes, "at minimum a trigger lock, at maximum a safe. A safe is your best bet for weapons safety," the lieutenant said.
A tweet from the Davis County Health Department Sunday night said: "We urge all families to lock up firearms and discuss gun safety with children."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bill Oddie's BankWatch

Quote of the day

“the middle classes have ruined everything”
From the same source: "Nigerian millionaire Kola Karim, who has no idea how many cars he owns."

Florida Man Kills One Cop, Wounds Another and is Killed Himself

Yahoo reports

A man who had made previous threats against police set his house on fire Saturday and ambushed the first sheriff's deputy who responded, fatally shooting the deputy and wounding another before he was killed by a police officer who lives nearby, a law enforcement official said.
The man's name and address had been entered into a law enforcement computer system because of previous threats, but the 911 dispatcher who entered the fire call put in the address of a neighbor who reported the blaze, so the alert wasn't activated and the Leon County deputy who responded first had no warning, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.
The gunman was hiding outside the house when the deputy approached about 10:15 a.m., the official said. He shot the deputy from behind, shot him again after he fell and then took the deputy's gun. The gunman then tried to take other weapons from the deputy's car, but they were locked down, said the official said, who had spoken to law enforcement officials handling the case.
The gunman, who lived at the end of a cul-de-sac, then shot another deputy, who escaped serious injury because of a bullet-proof vest. A Tallahassee police officer getting ready to work the Florida State University football game heard the shots, ran outside and fatally shot the gunman, who was hiding as other deputies and officers approached, the official said.

Florida Man Arrested Immediately for Accidental Shooting Now Has Charges Upped

Local news reports

A man who was arrested Thursday after telling police he accidentally shot his friend is now facing harsher charges after the shooting victim died.
The 20-year-old employee, Eduar Martinez said that when his friend, 23-year-old Nicholas Alligood, came into Joy Grocery Store on North U.S. Highway 17, Martinez picked up a .380-caliber gun kept at the store for security and began handling it.
In a 911 call released Thursday, Martinez is heard speaking to a dispatcher about the shooting.
"I just, I just, I just hit somebody on accident with a gun," Martinez said to the dispatcher.

If JFK Had Lived

eternal flame

If JFK had lived, so too, would have 58,000 Americans and untold millions of Vietnamese. If JFK had lived, we would not have spent two trillion dollars on nuclear arms. The money could have been spent, as JFK suggested, on education. America might not have become the hopelessly dumbed down nation that it has become. If JFK had lived the Federal Reserve would have eventually gone the way of the two previous central banks in the United States. The US Congress would have retaken the constitutional power of coining money, interest free money. America would have remained solvent.

If JFK had lived, he would have continued to confront the oil companies and today, we might have achieved energy independence and could be paying about a buck for a gallon for gas. Alaska would be the new Middle East and the petrodollar, which threatens to plunge us into a world war over Syria and Iran, would no longer be a problem. The world would be coming to the US for its energy needs and our economy would be booming.

If JFK had lived, the people would have had their true representative in the White House. The events in Cuba so changed John Kennedy, that he became a true Ron Paul in the last two years of his life. It was the last time, that anyone, outside the elite establishment, had anyone in top level government that cared for them.

Obama Hate - North Dakota Style


“Darkly-Colored And Full Of Sh*t:” The Barack Obama Memorial Landfill

Maybe the Obama-hate deniers can tell us again how Bush received the same level of disrespect.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lying Fox News Actress Megyn Kelly Forced to Tell the Truth on the Immigration Executive Action

Washington Museum Finds a Solution

museum guns1.jpg
The Lynden Pioneer Museum, near the Canadian border in the northwest region of Washington state, nearly removed 11 weapons on display as part of a WWII exhibit because of new gun legislation.

Fox News

Luginbill [Troy Luginbill, director for the Lynden Pioneer Museum], the museum's only full-time employee, said he was concerned about the financial burden of having to perform background checks in order to return the weapons to their owners after the exhibit ends next May. Then a local gun shop owner came forward and volunteered to cover the cost of approximately $400 for background checks for each of the guns.

“It’s a financial hardship for them to pay for the fees to register the guns,” said Melissa Denny, owner of Pistol Annie’s Jewelry and Pawn in nearby Bonney Lake, told “So we decided to step up and help. It’s normally a $40 fee for each weapon. We just waived it for them.

“I like to champion for the underdog because we are one of them,” added Denny, who opened up her shop two years ago.

Some said Luginbill was being overly cautious and that the new law was never meant to apply to cases like his.

Now, that wasn't so hard was it?  I guess Kurt will have to find another example of the "atrocity" which this law is responsible for.

Cleveland Cops Shoot Boy, 12, Carrying 'Airsoft' Toy Gun


Cleveland police shot and wounded a 12-year-old boy who was allegedly carrying an "airsoft" toy gun at a recreation center, police said. The 12-year-old was shot in the torso and was in surgery Saturday, police said in a statement, and two officers were placed on administrative leave.
Police said the officers were responding to a report of a person waving a gun around at a playground at the Cudell Recreation Center at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, and the boy was shot after he refused to put his hands up and reached in his waistband for what appeared to be a handgun.
The handgun turned out to be an "airsoft" replica toy gun, which shoots pellets in a similar way that a BB gun does. Cleveland police said in a statement that an orange marking designed to make the toys distinguishable from real firearms had been removed. Police said the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and police are investigating the shooting.