Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Armed Citizen

For every mass shooting and misuse of a firearm you hear about on the news, there are multiple incidents of lawfully armed citizens presenting and sometimes using a firearm to protect themselves and others.  Here are a few of those stories to help balance negative media coverage.

Two robbery suspects thought a pawn shop run by a 74-year-old woman would be an easy target, but Shirley Cornett proved them wrong. Two men walked into a Springdale, Ark., store in early December, pulled out handguns and started stealing property. As one of the troublemakers jumped the counter toward her husband, Cornett pulled out a .38-cal. revolver and shot the man in the arm. He fired back, and the bullet ricocheted off a pile of books and hit Cornett, but didn't break her skin. The suspects fled to a hospital in Fort Smith, about 65 miles away, where police found the wounded man and later nabbed his alleged partner in crime after a foot chase near the parking lot. Charges are pending against the men. Police reviewed surveillance video and said Cornett acted in self-defense. (, Fort Smith, Ark., 12/7/14)

A 14-year-old boy, Anthony Hernandez, protected his grandparents by shooting and killing a burglar who was breaking into the family's Charlotte, N.C., home by climbing through a window. "My grandson told him to stop and get out of here, and he didn't so my grandson shot him," Anne Marie Wyant said during a 911 call. An accomplice has been arrested and charged, and police said the shooting was justified. The Wyants made a commitment to teach their grandchildren about self-defense six years ago, after Anthony's father was shot to death while working at the auto shop he owned. "[Anthony is] his grandmother's hero," Wyant said. "If I was by myself, God knows what they [the intruder and his cohort] would have done to me." (The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, N.C., 12/18/14)

In Baton Rouge, La., a resident shot and killed a man during the daylight break-in of his home in early December. The intruder was shot while he was ransacking one of the bedrooms in a house in the Broadmoor neighborhood, a subdivision where residents don't take to crime. "This is not really a neighborhood to mess with," said Pete Dawson, who lives in the area. (The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., 12/6/14)

Two Palmer, Alaska, burglary suspects who shot one resident of the home they were invading got what was coming to them when the apartment dweller, despite suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, fired back and injured both of the trespassers. Medics treated the 26-year-old resident and he was initially listed in serious condition after being taken to a hospital. Meanwhile, two men suffering from gunshot wounds sought medical help at a regional emergency room. They were admitted and listed in critical condition, and police are investigating whether they are linked to the burglary. (Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage, Alaska, 12/3/14)

Cell phones, a home security system and a gun were used to allow a California homeowner to thwart a home invasion. A 53-year-old Antioch resident, whose name was not released, was working in his home office one day in December. His wife, who had left the home, received an electronic alert from the couple's home security system provider saying that the system had been breached. She then called her husband, who grabbed his gun and went downstairs to investigate. The homeowner found two intruders pawing through his belongings and, fearing for his life, fired several shots, hitting one of the suspects. A few minutes later, two people arrived at the Sutter Delta Medical Center seeking treatment for a man who had gunshot wounds. Police arrested the man and his 19-year-old female companion. No details regarding what charges would be filed against the suspects were available. (San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, Calif., 12/12/14)

Bobby Shaw, a 77-year-old Tyler, Texas, homeowner shot and killed a burglar who allegedly invaded Shaw's home. Shaw, who was in his bedroom, heard glass breaking late one December night. He grabbed a shotgun and went to investigate. Shaw spotted an intruder wielding a large tool. When the man charged, Shaw shot him. (Tyler Morning Telegraph, Tyler, Texas, 12/10/2014)

An armed robbery suspect got a surprise when the man he was robbing pulled out a gun instead of his wallet. The attempted theft occurred in Delray Beach, Fla., in early December. The man who was accosted pointed his gun at the suspect and told him to get on the ground. The suspect originally complied, but he later ran away-leaving behind his .38-cal. revolver-when the armed citizen was distracted. Police have made an arrest, and the man faces robbery and aggravated assault charges. (Sun Sentinel, Palm Beach, Fla., 12/15/14)

Want even more stories?
Breitbart is providing 2nd Amendment stories.
The Blaze is providing 2nd Amendment stories.
Visit The Armed Citizen blog for older stories (the blog seems abandoned).

Other accounts of self-defense collected on this blog:
2nd Amendment Saves a Pregnant Woman,
2nd Amendment vs. a Serial Rapist,

Failures of Gun Control:
UK Government under reports gun violence to pretend their policies work
A great personal account:  My Transformation From Anti-Gun Feminist To Armed Feminist
Knife Control?!
Protecting Children through Gun Control?
Futility of the Gun Banning Philosophy
A Contrast to VA Tech

Thoughts on publicized shootings: Shootings early in 2009, Alabama Shootings, Finland School Shooting. Remember: The only proven method to mitigate the disaster of a rogue criminal shooter is to have more first responders, e.g. CCW permit holders lawfully armed and on scene. These criminals do not respect "gun free" zones, but simply view them as target-rich opposition-free areas in which to slaughter innocents.

CCW Holders are an especially lawful group.

Carrying a firearm is an inherently civilized act.

Right to Carry Statistics.

Does Violence Beget Violence?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Armed Citizen

Firearms are used defensively every day in the United States of America.  Often, the simple presentation of a firearm will diffuse a situation that otherwise would escalate into the harm of a lawful citizen.  Here are a few of those stories.

Mabel Fletcher, 64, was sleeping when her dog woke her with a forewarning bark, She scrambled in the dark for the 9 mm handgun that she keeps in the nightstand next to her bed. As Fletcher retrieved her firearm, a woman she did not know came into her bedroom. The woman advanced threateningly, so Fletcher fired. The woman continued to act erratically and throw things at Fletcher, including an ironing board. Fletcher described the inci­dent, "She was wild. I didn't want to shoot her, but I didn't want to get hurt. I told her to stop, but she kept coming at me." Fletcher fired a second time, but the woman lunged at her once again. Fletcher fired a third and final time, causing the intruder to flee through a window. The intruder was later arrested and is facing charges including aggravated burglary, drug abuse, possession of drug abuse instruments and criminal trespass. (The Enquirer, Middletown, OH, 9/5/13)

A masked man entered the Holiday Grocery Convenience Store around 9 p.m. brandishing a handgun covered by a bag. He pointed the gun at the woman behind the counter and said, "Give me all your money or you're going to die." The terrified store clerk opened the cash register as she was told. The burglar climbed over the counter to grab the cash, but was interrupted when the store owner came from the back room with his own firearm. The suspect was shot once in the chest, He ran out the front door leaving a trail of cash as he went. Officers arrived . shortly thereafter. The burglar was found a short distance away and was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for his gunshot wound. Sgt. Rob Troxler lauded the store owner's actions saying, "The clerk was protecting his business and defend­ing his store employee." (, Jacksonville, FL,9/22/13)

Robert Jones, 77, heard glass shatter when a man threw a chair through a picture window in Jones' home just before 2 a.m. Jones retrieved a firearm he kept in his home and confronted the man. Jones warned the intruder that he had a gun and that he would shoot, but the suspect report­edly continued toward him. Jones then fired a single shot into the intruders torso. Jones called 911 and police arrived shortly thereafter. The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a gunshot wound and it was determined that he was under the influence of narcotics at the time of the break-in. He now faces multiple charges including a felony charge of burglary. (Missoulian, Missoula, MT, 9/24/13)

Byron Park, 54, a Domino's Pizza employee, was making a delivery to a hotel just before midnight. As he returned to his vehicle, he was confronted by a 34-year-old man wield­ing a knife and demanding money. Park responded by pulling out his concealed handgun and firing once. The robber sustained a fatal wound to the torso. Maj. Tod Goodyear said of the incident, "[Park) was protecting his life. The guy had a deadly weapon and was going to kill him if he didn't give his money up." (Florida Today, Melbourne, FL, 8/25/13)

When a woman, her son and her son's girlfriend made arrange­ments to meet with the pro­spective buyer of their smart phone, they never expected it to transpire the way it did. After making arrangements online, they arrived at the QuikTrip convenience store where the meet-up was to take place. The woman waited in the car for the buyer to show up while her son and his girlfriend entered the store. Three men showed up, one of whom jumped into the woman's vehicle with a gun. He demanded money and the phone. The woman's son then exited the store and saw the robbery taking place. When he saw that one of the robbers had a gun, he pulled out his own handgun and fired causing them to flee. All three men were later caught by police. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jonesboro, GA, 7/2/13)

After an elderly woman moved into a nursing home, her 18-year-old grandson began staying at her house. He was home alone early one morning when he was awakened by a noise coming from a back room of the home. He grabbed a shotgun from under the sofa he was sleeping on and went to investigate. He spotted what looked like the light from a flashlight coming from behind a curtain covering a glass door. As the teen moved forward, the back door was kicked in and he was confronted by two burglars. The teenager fired several shots. One suspect fell to the ground with a fatal gunshot wound, while the other fled the scene. He was later found at a nearby hospital being treated for gunshot wounds. It was last reported that he was in critical condition. The teen staying at his grand­mother's home was not injured. (Houston Chronicle, Baytown, TX, 8/29/13)

Want even more stories?
Breitbart is providing 2nd Amendment stories.
The Blaze is providing 2nd Amendment stories.
Visit The Armed Citizen blog for older stories (the blog seems abandoned).

Other accounts of self-defense collected on this blog:
2nd Amendment Saves a Pregnant Woman,
2nd Amendment vs. a Serial Rapist,

Failures of Gun Control:
UK Government under reports gun violence to pretend their policies work
A great personal account:  My Transformation From Anti-Gun Feminist To Armed Feminist
Knife Control?!
Protecting Children through Gun Control?
Futility of the Gun Banning Philosophy
A Contrast to VA Tech

Thoughts on publicized shootings: Shootings early in 2009, Alabama Shootings, Finland School Shooting. Remember: The only proven method to mitigate the disaster of a rogue criminal shooter is to have more first responders, e.g. CCW permit holders lawfully armed and on scene. These criminals do not respect "gun free" zones, but simply view them as target-rich opposition-free areas in which to slaughter innocents.

CCW Holders are an especially lawful group.

Carrying a firearm is an inherently civilized act.

Right to Carry Statistics.

Does Violence Beget Violence?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Savannah and coming out over the pulpit

There's a story that's been making news lately, and a lot of the sensation is because of simple misunderstanding of LDS conduct, tradition and rules.

Here's an excerpt from a paper on the story:
 On the day in May that Savannah stood up to speak in front of her Mormon congregation, she did not get through everything she had wanted to say.

The 12-year-old was telling other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that she is a lesbian. “No part of me is a mistake,” she said during a testimony meeting, a monthly event at her church in Eagle Mountain, Utah. “I do not choose to be this way, and it is not a fad.”

As Savannah, now 13, was nearing the end of her comments, after she had come out to her fellow worshippers, her microphone was switched off. She tapped it and then looked to a church leader to see what had happened.

He told her that she could return to her seat.
Edit:  Here's a version I like better because there are more details:  USA Today version

So, what's going on here?  Why was the choice made to cut off Savannah's microphone?

It isn't so uncommon, and it wasn't a matter of silencing her.  I've seen the microphone cut off in Sacrament meeting before, and it's always been for a specific reason:  to prevent a congregant from saying something they might regret later, usually something about which they should counsel with parents and leadership before discussing with an entire congregation.

Anybody, straight, gay, bisexual or questioning would have their mic cut off if they started talking about personal sexuality.  We don't do that.  They'd have their mic cut if they went off on a political rant.  We don't do that.  Those are personal things we don't share with a congregation.

Oh, and we don't record during Sacrament meeting.  Not when our child is giving a talk or singing or playing an instrument.  We. Do. Not. Record.  We do not have our friends record.  Our family doesn't record.  It isn't done. The congregants around Savannah's friend should have asked for the meeting to be paused until recording stopped.  It's not okay to do that in one of our meetings.

As usual, LGBT advocates are jumping to call members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hateful.  This shows a deep misunderstanding of why we do what we do.

Remember some time ago when the Church clarified that we won't baptize children living in homes with same-sex parents?  It was quite an uproar.  It shouldn't have been.  Below is a quotation explaining it, but the short version is that we don't want to put children in a confusing position where what we teach regarding the Law of Chastity is at what odds with what they see at home.  We don't want to cause confusion, anger, or harm to families. Here's a quotation, and the full interview is available through this link:  Church Provides Context on Handbook Changes Affecting Same-Sex Marriages
Michael Otterson: Why are the children of these same-sex partners an issue here?

Elder Christofferson: Well, in answering or responding to your question, let me say I speak not only as an apostle in the Church, but as a husband, as a father and as a grandfather. And like others in those more enduring callings, I have a sense of compassion and sympathy and tender feelings that they do. So this policy originates out of that compassion. It originates from a desire to protect children in their innocence and in their minority years. When, for example, there is the formal blessing and naming of a child in the Church, which happens when a child has parents who are members of the Church, it triggers a lot of things. First, a membership record for them. It triggers the assignment of visiting and home teachers. It triggers an expectation that they will be in Primary and the other Church organizations. And that is likely not going to be an appropriate thing in the home setting, in the family setting where they're living as children where their parents are a same-sex couple. We don't want there to be the conflicts that that would engender. We don't want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different. And so with the other ordinances on through baptism and so on, there's time for that if, when a child reaches majority, he or she feels like that's what they want and they can make an informed and conscious decision about that. Nothing is lost to them in the end if that's the direction they want to go. In the meantime, they're not placed in a position where there will be difficulties, challenges, conflicts that can injure their development in very tender years.

The situation with polygamist families, for example, and same-sex marriage couples and families really has a parallel. For generations we've had these same kinds of policies that relate to children in polygamist families that we wouldn't go forward with these ordinances while they're in that circumstance and before they reach their majority. That's the same sort of situation we're dealing with here, so it's something we have had a history with. It's a practice that really is analogous that's been the case over many generations.
This is the same situation for Savannah.  She chose the wrong forum and method to come out of the closet.  To prevent regret and misunderstanding, the leadership chose to pause the discussion to be resumed in a more appropriate setting.

There are gay Mormons, and it isn't an easy road.  Of course, being gay rarely is.  Here's one person's story and how he chose to deal with it:  Club Unicorn: In which I come out of the closet on our ten year anniversary

Note that Brother Weed didn't do this over the pulpit.  He knew that wasn't appropriate.  He did it in an appropriate forum.  The Church hasn't tried to silence him.

Savannah won't be silenced, either.  She also won't be allowed to talk about her personal sexuality over the pulpit--again, we don't do that.  Her parents should have known better and realized the inappropriateness of the forum.  In this case, though Savannah was also expressing faith in God and her belief in the perfection of His creation, she chose to put her coming out of the closet before God.  This is an act of pride.  We have a lot to say on that subject, and if you're interested, here are two great talks:

Beware of Pride
and a decades later follow-up by President Uchtdorf:
Pride and the Priesthood

In short, we do not put our personal feelings or challenges before our adoration of God.  To do so is prideful, and will slow or halt one's progress in drawing closer to Him.

I wish Savannah the best.  I wish the media would cease making her heartfelt expression into a circus.  I understand that they feel they're supporting her, but they're also using this as a way to advance their agenda.  That won't help Savannah or her family.  Unfortunately, unlike her congregation and its leadership, the media doesn't actually care about Savannah's well-being, but only how they can use her and her story.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Armed Citizen

For every mass shooting and misuse of a firearm you hear about on the news, there are multiple incidents of lawfully armed citizens presenting and sometimes using a firearm to protect themselves and others.  Here are a few of those stories to help balance negative media coverage.

A Jefferson City, Mo., couple were in their home when a man with an 8-inch knife in one hand and a knife sharpener in the other entered their residence through an unlocked door. The intruder started yelling and charged at the husband, who fell to the floor when the burglar took a swipe at him. The homeowner's wife heard the ruckus and fled the home to get help. The distraction she provided by running through the room to leave gave her husband time to take cover under an air hockey table. In a fit of fury, the home invader tried to stab the husband, thrusting his knife through the hockey table and breaking the blade. The homeowner scooted away and ran to his bedroom, locking the door behind him. As the madman tried to break through the bedroom door with the knife sharpener, the husband retrieved his handgun. When the intruder entered the bedroom, the resident aimed and held the bad guy at gunpoint until the police arrived. (News Tribune, Jefferson City, Mo., 10/19/3015)

Just weeks after a Detroit resident was approved for concealed carry, the man protected himself during an attempted mugging. Three teens, at least one with a gun, approached him and demanded his money. The victim handed over $220. While the teens were momentarily distracted by counting the money, the victim drew his own gun and fired. One teen was shot in a leg; another was shot in the chest; the third ran away. The two injured suspects fled on foot while the victim called 911. The injured pair showed up at Sinai Grace Hospital, claiming that they were held up and shot while they were walking down the street. The case has been handed over to the Wayne County prosecutor's office. No charges will be brought against the armed citizen. (Fox 2 Detroit, Detroit, Mich., 10/19/2015)

In Meridian, Miss., a woman was caught off guard when a man kicked in her front door while she was upstairs. The-resident saw a stranger standing in her living room, retrieved her handgun and shot the intruder three times in the chest. He ran from the house but collapsed and died outside. Meridian Police Department Detective Dareall Thompson said the resident was acting within her rights under the Mississippi Castle Doctrine. "Once they are inside, A, they are trying to do bodily harm or, B, they are trying to take property from you," Thompson said. (The Meridian Star, Meridian, Miss., 10/20/2015)

Two women and two children were lucky an armed citizen was around when a man tried to carjack them at a Sunoco gas station. The first victim had just made a purchase and was getting back into her car when the suspect opened her door and started yelling and trying to pull her out of the vehicle. The woman fought back and yelled for someone to call 911. The suspect then walked to the street, where traffic was stopped. He stood in front of a car, which had a woman and two children in it, yelling, "Help, help, someone is trying to kill me.The suspect opened the driver's door and pulled the women out by her hair. The automobile, with the children still inside, lurched forward and rolled until it struck a gasoline pump island. The commotion got the attention of a passerby, who pulled his licensed handgun and held the suspect at gunpoint. The accused carjacker faces multiple charges. (Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 10/06/2015)

An armed friend of a Stafford County homeowner thwarted a burglary. According to the Stafford County sheriff's office, the friend stopped by to check on a tree stand that he and the homeowner use for hunting. He saw copper pipes piled outside of a broken window. He then saw two individuals going through the homeowner's belongings in the basement. He approached the two thugs and held them at gunpoint while he called 911. By the time the sheriff arrived, two other friends of the homeowner had joined the effort to keep the criminals in check. The suspects face various charges. No charges have been brought against the homeowner's friends. (The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va., 08/28/2015)

Early one morning at Cafe Azzurri, in Waterbury, Conn., while eight to 10 people were inside, a man armed with a handgun came inside and tried to rob everyone. One of the patrons, who had a legally registered handgun, fatally shot the robber in response. The armed citizen remained at the crime scene until the police arrived. Police said no charges have been brought against him. (NBC Connecticut, West Hartford, Conn., 10/11/2015)

Want even more stories?
Breitbart is providing 2nd Amendment stories.
The Blaze is providing 2nd Amendment stories.
Visit The Armed Citizen blog for older stories (the blog seems abandoned).

Other accounts of self-defense collected on this blog:
2nd Amendment Saves a Pregnant Woman,
2nd Amendment vs. a Serial Rapist,

Failures of Gun Control:
UK Government under reports gun violence to pretend their policies work
A great personal account:  My Transformation From Anti-Gun Feminist To Armed Feminist
Knife Control?!
Protecting Children through Gun Control?
Futility of the Gun Banning Philosophy
A Contrast to VA Tech

Thoughts on publicized shootings: Shootings early in 2009, Alabama Shootings, Finland School Shooting. Remember: The only proven method to mitigate the disaster of a rogue criminal shooter is to have more first responders, e.g. CCW permit holders lawfully armed and on scene. These criminals do not respect "gun free" zones, but simply view them as target-rich opposition-free areas in which to slaughter innocents.

CCW Holders are an especially lawful group.

Carrying a firearm is an inherently civilized act.

Right to Carry Statistics.

Does Violence Beget Violence?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Happy May Day!

This May Day, I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on what Communism has done for our world.  Here's a helpful primer:

Communist Body Count

This fellow has thoroughly researched this issue.  I'd thought Communists and the communist ideology had slaughtered or staved approximately 100,000,000 human beings.  Boy, was I wrong.  It's almost 150,000,000 using middle-of-the-road estimates.  Here's a partial list, but go check out the full post on Scott Manning's blog linked above.

Communist Body Count: 149,469,610



People’s Republic of China
Body Count: 73,237,000

1949-Present (57+ years and counting) R.J. Rummel originally estimated China’s body count between between the years of 1949-1987 to be 35,236,000 (Rummel 1994). This excluded 38,000,000 million that died of famine during the Great Leap Forward. After the release of Mao: The Unknown Story, Rummel became convinced that the Chinese government was directly responsible for the famine, thus increasing his original estimate by 38,000,000 (Rummel 2005). 1,000 was added for Tienanmen Square in 1989 (Courtois 1999).


USSR Flag Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Body Count: 58,627,000

1922-1991 (69 years) The body count only covers the years 1923-1987 (Rummel 1996).


Russia Flag Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic
Body Count: 3,284,000

1918-1922 (4 years) This body count does not include the 6,210,000 killed in the civil war (Rummel 1996).


North Korea Flag Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Body Count: 3,163,000

1948-Present (58+ years and counting) 1,663,000 is attributed between 1948-1987 excluding the Korean War (Rummel 1994). 2,500,000 is the mid-estimate for those who starved to death between 1995-1998 (U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea 2006).


Cambodia Flag Cambodia
Body Count: 2,627,000

1975-1987 (12 years) The body count estimate is complete (Rummel 1994). The offical country name was Democratic Kampuchea during Pol Pot’s reign and then known as People’s Republic of Kampuchea afterwards.


Afghanistan Flag Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
Body Count: 1,750,000

1978-1992 (14 years) The body count estimate is complete (Courtois 1999).


Vietnam Flag Vietnam
Body Count: 1,670,000

1975-Present (30+ years and counting) The body count covers the years 1945-1987 for Vietnam/North Vietnam and excludes 1,062,000 from the Vietnam War (Rummel 1994).


Ethiopia Flag People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Body Count: 1,343,610

1974-1991 (17 years) The body count includes 10,000 political assasinations during 1977-1978, 1,000 children killed in 1977, 110 massacred in an Orthodox church in 1975, 80,000 during the civil war between 1978-1980, 250,000 that died in 1982 through Transit Camps, and 2,500 killed in a bombing raid (Courtois 1999). Another 1,000,000 is added for the famine during 1984-1985 (BBC News 2000).

There's more.  See the full list here:

You may be wondering about Marx himself.  Didn't he have any good ideas?  Actually, it turns out he was a scumbag who simply didn't understand how money works and was pretty angry about it.  His idiotic ravings have caused more deaths than any other ideology conceived by human beings and probably inspired by whatever version of Satan you happen to believe in.  For the full version (and the podcast I listened to did have profanity, so be warned this may contain some):

Happy May Day.  If you think humans deserve freedom instead of bullets to the back of the head and starvation, reject Communism.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The media's been awfully quiet about this one

I've taken the liberty of editing a word I don't use here, but otherwise, I believe this fellow has nailed it.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Most Ridiculous Story Ever: Dead criminal’s family complains victim’s AR-15 made the fight unfair

There's a truly odd thing going in our society, and I think it's linked to making "Victim" the highest profile and most noble of categories.  It's completely ridiculous.  This story is the poster child for it:  Dead criminal’s family complains victim’s AR-15 made the fight unfair

The short version is that three young me broke into a home armed with knives and brass knuckles.  Note:  Those are deadly weapons.  The homeowner's son awoke to the noise of the break in and grabbed what he had on hand.  An AR-15 rifle.  In that position, any intruder should have fled the house.  These three didn't, meaning they were crazy, stupid, determined to hurt the resident or all three.  He shot them all dead.  Loss of life is always regrettable.  I wish criminals would choose some other path that didn't involve harming others and exposing themselves to harm.  Nevertheless, if the choice is between a lawful person being harmed or killed and their assailant being harmed and killed, I'd rather see the assailant stopped every time.

Now here's where it gets ridiculous:
Leroy Schumacher, grandfather of Jacob Redfearn, says his grandson made a bad choice but didn’t deserve to die. “What these three boys did was stupid,” said Leroy Schumacher to ABC News. “They knew they could be punished for it but they did not deserve to die.”

Schumacher complains that it wasn’t a fair fight and his grandson didn’t have a chance to defend himself… while breaking into another man’s home and attempting to rob him. “Brass knuckles against an AR-15, come on, who was afraid for their life,” he continued.
Grandpa is addled, but correct.  These boys didn't deserve to die for their poor choices, and had they stopped making them, they wouldn't have.  They could have never burglarized a home.  They could have run (as most burglars do) when they heard someone was home.  They could have run when they saw an AR-15.  They didn't.  They forced the resident to defend himself and as a result of their incredibly poor choices, that resident defended himself with what he had available.  They died as a result of their choices--choices that forced the lawful citizen into a horrible, unwanted position.  All the resident wanted was a nap, unmolested in his home.

Let's dispense with the idiotic notion of a "fair fight" during the commission of a crime.  If a criminal breaks into a home, there is no expectation of a fair fight.  The homeowner gets to defend himself or herself however he or she can.  There is no obligation to play by any gentlemanly rules of conduct, especially given 3 to 1 disparity of participants and knives and brass knuckles.  The criminals came in expecting to be the overwhelming force part of the equation.  They wanted an unfair fight.  They got one, just not the way they'd planned.  However, even if the home had been filled with a platoon of heavily armed marines when the criminals had broken in, those marines as the lawful residents have the absolute right to defend themselves by whatever means they have on hand. 

As for "Who was afraid for their life?" let's reiterate.  Outnumbered 3 to 1 against armed attackers, the resident was likely afraid even with an AR-15 in hand.  They had deadly weapons.  It wasn't a kung fu movie where a hero can disarm and disable 3 attackers, it was real life where the good guys sometimes get killed.  Fear is the normal condition to being awoken by 3 armed home invaders and defending oneself is an instinctive response.  If you doubt it, corner a rat in its nest.  See how it behaves.

If this were an isolated incident, it would just be an oddity.  It isn't. 
An armed elderly man in Dallas shot and killed a suspected burglar after finding him trying to break into his Dallas home this week. However, he was also forced to defend his actions after the would-be robber’s family showed up at his home.

The homeowner, a repeat burglary victim, found 33-year-old Deyfon Pipkins attempting to climb in the house through the window and fired at least one shot at the criminal, hitting his target.

Once police identified the suspect as Pipkins, officers notified his family. Some of those family members showed up at the house and expressed their anger at the homeowner for not issuing a “warning.”

“He could have used a warning,” Lakesha Thompson, Pipkins’ sister-in-law, said. “He could have let him know that he did have a gun on his property and he would use it in self-defense.”

The suspect reportedly had a extensive criminal record and had served time in prison. He was previously convicted of theft, possession of a controlled substance and criminal trespassing.
Source here.

This is nigh unbelievable.  An elderly victim doesn't have any obligation to notify a criminal that he's armed.  That might give the criminal time to do something about it.  Showing up to protest the actions of a lawful homeowner defending himself should lead to some very satisfying arrests for trespassing. 

We have taught people, even criminals, that there is no consequence, nor should there be for wrong choices.  We've allowed people to characterize criminals as victims.  Neither of these things are true, and should be objected to strenuously by lawful people.

Monday, February 27, 2017

#BlueLivesMatter so let's save some

On, a story caught my eye.  After Another Cop Killed, LA County Lawmakers Demand Investigation Into Laws That Let Criminals on the Street
Some, like the police officer's union and Michael Rushford, the President of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, hold Governor Jerry Brown responsible for signing 2011's AB 109 which went into effect in 2014, for “realigning” hard core criminals from prisons to county jails and probation and parole...

KABC reports that there are two other voter-approved initiatives, Proposition 47, which stopped 'non violent' criminals from going to state prison, and Proposition 57 which will, when it’s fully implemented, accelerate prison sentences.

The suspected killer, Michael Mejia, is a convicted robber, car thief, meth abuser, and hard core gang member. He was arrested five times after being released from state custody, according to the LA Times. 
I understand the frustration.  The fact is, keeping criminals behind bars has done a lot to reduce crime across the US and in California in particular.  However, there's a reason Brown had to sign AB 109.  He was ordered to reduce prison population by a federal judge.  Personally, I think the appropriate thing to do would be to release prisoners into the panel's neighborhood.  I'm fine with razor wire, tents and bologna sandwiches for prisoners.  However, Brown had little choice, and the law's unlikely to change soon.

There is something LA county can do right now to save lives. 

Passerby shoots, kills motorist assaulting deputy after traffic stop

Hero With A Gun Stops Murder Of Arizona Trooper

Those two stories were fairly high-profile, but there are a ton more (linked here).  Sacramento County, California is making it easier to get a CCW permit, and it's no wonder.  CCW holders are even more law-abiding than police officers.  Further, some statistics show that while the effect is not massive, more CCW permits seem to lead to lower crime rates.  To be fair, other sources do disagree, including Gary Kleck, who's been honest about all his research even when it doesn't support his own point of view. 

What we do know is that CCW holders are largely law-abiding and they save police officers.  And while most criminals don't think very far ahead when they commit crimes, they do fear armed citizens more than they fear the police. 

Issuing CCW permits may have a modest effect on crime.  CCW permit holders do save police officers.  Criminals worry about whether their victim may be armed where CCW permits are issued.  So, LA county, give it a shot.  What we know for sure is that issuing CCW permits doesn't hurt anything.  At worst, you'll give a few criminals pause and save the lives of a few police officers, all at very little expense to taxpayers, since CCW holders pay for their own training, firearms and permits.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Why Trump has the potential to be the greatest president in living memory

I've stated many times that I don't care for Trump.  This past week he's done some things that have me scratching my head, like proposing a 20% tariff on Mexican goods to pay for a border wall and claiming that will make Mexicans pay for the wall when the tax will be paid by Americans, not Mexicans. 

You may be wondering with that intro what impressed me this week.  It's a concept that Trump expressed in a position paper that many Americans don't know or have forgotten.  It's all but dead in American law schools.  It was expressed in September, but people seem to have discovered it more recently.

We'll get to his statements in just a bit, but let me introduce the concept, one we've discussed before in prior posts.  There are rights that were part of the colonist's heritage.  They were tradition, considered natural or inalienable rights.  They weren't granted by anyone, but governments were expected to respect them, as they weren't granted by governments, but rather by the very nature of being human.  These rights pre-existed the Constitution.  They weren't granted by it, but rather guaranteed by it.  That means they also can't be taken away by amending the Constitution.  I've heard historians say that the Bill of Rights was objected to by several of the founders not because the guarantees were bad, but because they felt all Americans understood these rights, and infringement upon them would result in another revolution.  I'm so happy they ratified the Bill of Rights anyway.  They had no idea how a hundred years of reeducation would affect the average American's understanding of her rights.

Benjamin Franklin commented on the freedom to express one's thoughts as a fundamental principle for any free country a half century before the 1st Amendment was introduced:

"This sacred privilege is so essential to free Governments, that the Security of Property, and the Freedom of Speech always go together; and in those wretched Countries where a Man cannot call his Tongue his own, he can scarce call any Thing else his own." The full letter is available here.

Once again, the right pre-existed the Constitution and was guaranteed by it.  You can repeal the words in the Constitution, but you can't change the natural law.  The right exists whether it's guaranteed on paper or not.

What Trump Said in his Position Paper
“The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period,” the position paper began.

Trump went on to explain that the right to keep and bear arms is a right that pre-existed both the government and the Constitution, noting that government didn’t create the right and therefore cannot take it away.

He also rightly denoted the Second Amendment as “America’s first freedom,” pointing out that it helps protect all of the other rights we hold dear.

From Conservative Tribune
I confirmed with a second source, though many don't trust this one anymore:
On September 18 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump released a position paper on gun policy in which he stated, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed…period.”

Trump explained that our Founding Fathers protected Second Amendment rights in this way because the sanctity of all other fundamental rights rests on the existence of a people who are free and therefore armed. To put it plainly, Trump said, “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms protects all our other rights.”

He used the position paper to remind Americans that the United States is “the only country in the world that has a Second Amendment”–the only country in the whole world in which the right to keep and bear arms is recognized as a natural, individual right upon which the government cannot infringe. Trump echoes the sentiment of Founding Father James Madison here. It was Madison who used Federalist 46 to describe the “advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.”

It should also be noted that Trump understands that the Second Amendment does not create a right. Rather, that amendment recognizes pre-existing rights and protects them from government intrusion. In light of this view of the Second Amendment, it should come as no surprise that Trump’s entire gun policy rests on expanding the exercise of gun rights rather than expanding the presence of gun control.

From Breitbart
If Donald Trump truly understands and believes this, it is as he would put it, "Yuge."  This would mean he understands the Constitution's origin and intent, not just the words on the page.  I have a hard time believing this given how he's used the Kelo decision in private business, yet no president in my memory has expressed so clear an understanding of the sanctity of our rights.  I don't even recall President Reagan articulating this, though readers are welcome to correct me.

Looking at the bullet points of President Trump's expressed opinion is also encouraging:
* Nominate United States Supreme Court justices that will abide by the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States that includes upholding the Second Amendment.

* Defend the rights of law-abiding gun owners:
  • Military bases and recruiting centers - to have a strong military, we need to allow them to defend themselves
  • National right to carry – should be legal in all 50 states
  • Background checks - we need to fix the system we have and make it work as intended. What we don’t need to do is expand a broken system.
  • Gun and magazine bans - the government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own
Once again, if he truly means this and understands it, it's very encouraging, and President Trump has the potential to be the best President in living memory.  I'm jaded enough politically not to get too excited, but I sure would love factory capacity magazines for my firearms and to see some of California's ridiculous restrictions stricken down.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why the fuss over Betsy DeVos?

Full disclaimer:  I don't like Trump and didn't vote for him.  The only worse outcome for the 2016 presidential election would have been for Hillary Clinton to win.

President Trump's cabinet choices have really upset Democrats, and although I don't like President Trump, by and large I've found his choices for the posts of Secretary fairly good.  That's probably why they upset the Democrats so much.

This week, I was a bit stunned to see a friend complain about the nomination of Betsy DeVos for the post of Secretary of Education.  Part of my perplexity was the fact that people were claiming she was unqualified, but there are no real qualifications for the post.  Harambe could do a great job.  So could my 11 month old kitten (he's young, but very enthusiastic).  The Department of Education arose from smaller offices in 1980.  That's right, Darth Vader has been around longer than the Department of Education.  It has done very little besides throw around federal money for education loans and grants, with the unanticipated income being skyrocketing tuition costs for universities.  Where there is easy money, someone will sponge it up enthusiastically, even if it means years of repayment for American graduates.  The Department of Education hasn't done any real good for our education system, which seems to have functioned better when it was completely controlled by states and municipalities.  Funny how local control and accountability works better than distant bureaucracy.

So, the post of Secretary of Education really doesn't matter any more than instagram pictures of what your friend had for breakfast.  It's of passing interest, but has no impact on your life or mine.

To figure out what the excitement was about, I did a bit of searching.  It turns out the NEA really doesn't like her (now, for me that's a high recommendation that she's a great pick).  Here are their reasons, and I'll summarize:

Here's the very short version.  I will add letters to their objections contained in the initial paragraph but not explicitly expanded in the supporting paragraphs:
Last week, President-elect Donald Trump nominated as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a [A.] billionaire and [B.] conservative mega-donor who has [C.] no classroom experience, and [D.] whose work in public education consists mainly of efforts to privatize it.

1. Betsy DeVos has no training or experience in education.
2. Like Donald Trump, DeVos is an ardent supporter of “school choice” privatization schemes, despite a complete lack of evidence that privatizing public schools produces better education.
3. DeVos has invested millions lobbying for laws that drain resources from public schools.
4. DeVos has fought against the regulation of charter schools.
5. Betsy DeVos is not a good fit for a position overseeing the civil rights of all students.
I've added the orange letters.

Let's start with their enumerated objections.  Point 1. is that DeVos doesn't have any experience in education.  I'm not sure what they think a Secretary of a department does.  Secretaries of Departments take the President's overall policy and goals and translate it into high-level directives for their subordinates to carry out.  The subordinates are still working at a very high level.  They aren't going into classrooms and trying to teach anyone.  They aren't going to individual schools and trying to manage the site (a Principal's job).  They're working with very high-level policy.  So really, all you have to do to be the Secretary of Education is have ideas about education, or be able to follow the President's ideas and be able to run a bureaucracy or be able to hire capable people who can.  I was exaggerating above.  My cat couldn't do this despite his intense interest in classroom manipulatives.  Harambe is still a possibility.

Point 1. also encompasses objection C., which is that DeVos has no classroom experience.  To be Secretary of Defense, you need not have served as a private in the military.  To be Secretary of Agriculture, you need not have run a small farm.  The argument that a Secretary of Education must have classroom experience is designed to inflame idiots who don't think too deeply.  You know, useful idiots.

Point 2 is even more fun.  The NEA feels school choice is bad.  That's been the position of the Left because school choice takes money from school bureaucracy and directs it to private institutions or home school students.  Taking money from school districts means these fiefdoms, the outposts of the least intelligent and capable political administrators, a part of the new royal class (politicians) are deprived.  I digress.

The writer says there's "a complete lack of evidence that privatizing public schools produces better education."  That statement worded as it is, is true.  However, it doesn't address school choice.  There's plenty of evidence that works rather fabulously, and that's why the Left wants it shut down.  Let's have a look at one example that the Obama administration defunded in Washington DC over the objections of parents.  For the full article, please read here:

From that article:
The $20 million annual program which began under George W. Bush has proven extremely effective. Nearly 6,000 kids from lower-income families have benefited from these scholarships - which reach more than $8,300 a year for primary school and more than $12,500 a year for high school.

That's still about one-third lower overall than what it costs per pupil to educate' students in Washington, D.C.'s public schools. Almost all -- 97.4 percent -- of the students who get the money are blacks and Latinos.

The scholarships are popular with parents. Several years ago when President Obama tried to shut down the program, black and Hispanic parents locked arm to arm with Republicans in Congress who support the program and marched in front of the Capitol.

That was an amazing optic. In the 1960s and 1970s civil rights leaders and "community activists" fought against laws that prevent blacks from getting in to the public schools.

Now liberals refuse to let them out.

Research by Patrick Wolf at the University of Arkansas tracked how well these kids did over time. Graduation rates of voucher students were 21 percentage points higher compared with those who applied for the vouchers but didn't win (91% to 70%); and the graduation rate was 35 percentage points higher than the graduation rate for all D.C. public schools.
Oops.  This program did a far better job educating minority students than DC public schools at a 1/3 lower cost to taxpayers than public education.  That's really embarrassing.  No wonder it had to go.  All those Black and Latino students benefiting from it were getting in the way of the Left's agenda, so back to public school they went to get an inferior education and graduate at a much lower rate.  Nice work, Obama and Democrats.

In short, point 2 is a complete lie.  We can also throw out point 5. here because it's a restatement of point 2 but written in a vaguely inflammatory manner to insinuate DeVos is a racist.  It had to be written that way, because there's no evidence she is.  "Donald Trump’s nomination of DeVos is deeply concerning to many civil rights groups, because school choice schemes promote racial segregation and undercut civil rights enforcement that is routine in public schools."  Tell that the the 97.4% Black and Latino DC students who were doing better using vouchers but were forced back into public school by the Left's ideology.  Most voucher systems focus on performance, not race.  A result of disparate impact means not that there's a problem with the systems, but rather a problem with the outreach to and focus on education in disadvantaged neighborhoods.  This has to do with socioeconomic status, not race, but the Left likes to focus on skin color more because you can count heads a bit easier.  That approach suggests to me that the Left and this author are racists, not DeVos, who would like to see any student willing to work hard succeed regardless of skin color.

Point 3. isn't a problem for me.  In a year-end project for my Advanced Placement U.S. History class we studied funding in our district.  In leaner years, the district spent more wisely and more money was spent on classroom education.  In more heavily funded years, it spent money on refurbishing the district offices, including installing a $10,000 air curtain system over the front doors that didn't work properly and so was shut down.  A $10,000 paperweight was far more important to them than new books, or technology improvements in classrooms.  It was clear to me then and later during my 2 years as a classroom teacher that throwing money at education isn't effective.

What happens when money is taken from public education and given to higher performing private schools?  There's suddenly competition.  Public schools have to spend money on actual education instead of air curtains so they can compare favorably with private institutions.  Massive, ineffective, wasteful bureaucracies hate having their shortcomings so starkly exposed, and that's all Point 3. is about.

Point 4. made me laugh out loud.  Regulation doesn't equate to accountability or performance.  As California schools have had increased regulation and requirements for teachers, our performance has dropped.  We keep doing more of it, though, not because it works, but because the Left and the NEA believe it should.  Good for charter schools and DeVos for fighting ineffective rules and focusing on improving scores and graduation rates instead.

Let's cover the objections presented in the introductory paragraph of the article.  Here it is so you don't have to scroll up:  "President-elect Donald Trump nominated as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a [A.] billionaire and [B.] conservative mega-donor who has [C.] no classroom experience, and [D.] whose work in public education consists mainly of efforts to privatize it."

A.  Anybody appointed to the post of Secretary of a department is likely to be wealthy.  That's true under every president.  This is an objection for idiots.

B.  Oh, no.  DeVos is a conservative who puts her wealth into what she believes.  Kind of like liberal movie stars do.  It's evidently only bad when conservatives do it.  Once again, an objection for idiots.

We've covered C.

D. is only a good thing.  Competition makes complacent school administrators have to fight for their funding, as they should have to.  Choice is good (why does the Left only believe that regarding reproductive rights?).  Freedom is good.

Based on the Left's objections to DeVos, I've come to support her.  I appreciate their strident objections giving me the opportunity to review something I'd normally pay very little attention to.  If we could vote for the Secretary of Education, I'd vote for DeVos over anybody the NEA would find acceptable. Except Harambe.