“Democrats [are showing an] unprecedented embrace of gun control,” The Atlantic noted [in August]. “The party is betting that support for restrictions is more likely to attract moderate voters than turn them off.”
If nothing else, this shows the goalposts are continuously being moved to the left. If the “centrists” of the party are all in for eviscerating a keystone right and ignoring the crystal clear mandate of “shall not be infringed,” you know what those pulling sentiment in that direction intend to end up with. That also allows those previously considered “moderate” to now be smeared as “extremists,” with accusations of being haters not far behind.
It wasn’t always this way, of course – at one point within the lifetimes of many of us, even Democrat “liberals” were on record expressing belief in the Second Amendment and demonstrating that they understood founding intent in a way that today would have them condemned as insurrectionist traitors.
“By calling attention to ‘a well regulated militia,’ the ‘security’ of the nation, and the right of each citizen ‘to keep and bear arms,’ our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy,” John F. Kennedy responded to GUNS Magazine’s inquiries in the April 1960 issue’s “Know Your Lawmakers” feature. “Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the Second Amendment will always be important.”
“Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms,” then-senator, soon-to-be vice president, future presidential candidate and “liberal” icon Hubert Humphrey had asserted in the February issue. “This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used, and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.”
So much for the lie that the individual rights “theory” didn’t start to gain ground until the NRA started getting more political circa 1977:“While conventional wisdom suggests that an individual’s right to bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the Constitution, it is, in fact, a relatively recent interpretation, according to New Yorker writer and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.”
It’s fair to wonder what it was Toobin “analyzed.” It certainly wasn’t the clear record left by the Framers or prior Supreme Court cases including Scott v. Sanford, Cruikshank, and Miller. Then again. Perhaps he’s just an apparatchik advancing an agenda regardless of the truth, which my looking into past asinine assertions he has made appears to corroborate.
Meanwhile, back at The Atlantic, meet the new exemplar of “moderation”:“He’s laid out an assault-weapons ban for new purchases,” a man named Bill, a managing partner at a small investment firm and a former intelligence officer, told me excitedly, when I asked why he backed Bloomberg for president. (Bill declined to give his last name for privacy reasons.) “And there absolutely should be universal background checks,” he continued. “It’s like, that’s a no-brainer—come on.”“This is the new normal in the Democratic Party: Moderate voters not only support gun-control legislation, but have begun to use the issue as a litmus test,” The Atlantic advises.
So “Bill” is a Democrat? Having an intelligence background, I don’t suppose he actually did any pertinent data collection before deciding that trying to force millions of his armed countrymen to surrender their rights and bend to the will of the collectivists was a “no-brainer”?
Threatening infringements on the right to keep and bear arms did not work for Al Gore (who ended up losing his home state) or Hillary Clinton. Now the Democrats are betting the electorate has changed enough for denial of rights to be a winning issue. That makes fair the question: Has it? Virginia gives us some clues:“Gun control was indeed a core campaign message for Spanberger, the Democratic representative who defeated the Republican incumbent Dave Brat two years ago in a suburban district near Richmond, Virginia, that had long been represented by the GOP. It was also central to the campaign platform of Jennifer Wexton, Spanberger’s fellow Virginian and fellow freshman, who flipped her D.C.-adjacent district from red to blue. By 2019, polling showed that gun control was the top issue for voters in their home state; that fall, Democrats managed to gain control of the state legislature and immediately passed a huge slate of gun reforms.”How did that happen? The New York Times thinks it knows:“Unlike three decades ago, the residents are often from other places, like India and Korea. And when they vote, it is often for Democrats.We will see in November if the demographics have changed enough nationally to give the House-holding Democrats the win for the White House and Senate, and for upcoming federal/Supreme Court appointments. If it is, that “history” the above feature photo predicts, with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris leading the charge against our guns, will prove catastrophic.
“’Guns, that is the most pressing issue for me,’ said Vijay Katkuri, 38, a software engineer from southern India, explaining why he voted for a Democratic challenger in Tuesday’s elections.”
Tag: Second Amendment
Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in Richmond ahead of a rally Monday that is expected to bring thousands of gun rights activists to Richmond.
The state of emergency will be enforced Friday evening to Tuesday evening. It includes a firearms ban on Capitol Square, as well as a general ban on weapons that includes bats and knives.
Northam cited safety threats “similar to what has been seen before other major events such as Charlottesville,” a reference to the deadly Unite the Right rally in August 2017.
“These are considered credible, serious threats by our law enforcement agencies,” Northam said, citing claims that groups plan on “storming our Capitol” and “weaponizing drones over our Capitol.”
Monday’s rally is being organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which says it is expecting between 30,000 and 50,000 people to arrive on the steps of the Capitol to protest gun control legislature proposed by Democratic lawmakers.
In an email to rally participants sent Tuesday, VCDL encouraged a peaceful demonstration. It told protestors planning to go inside legislative buildings to leave their guns at home or in their hotels. But, it also encouraged unarmed protestors to travel with an armed “designated defender” that will wait outside the buildings for them. It’s unclear how the group might update its directive following Northam’s announcement.
“We cannot stress enough that this is a peaceful day to address our legislature,” Tuesday’s email reads. “The eyes of the nation and the world are on Virginia and VCDL right now and we must show them that gun owners are not the problem. Lead by example.”
By violating the First and Second Amendment rights of those opposed to Northam’s unconstitutional gun-banning efforts, Northam is certainly leading by example … the example of a coward.
Pollack became an outspoken advocate for school safety since the Parkland shooting, and he has now written a new book detailing his own investigation into the events that led to the massacre.
“I wanted to look into it, I wanted to honor my daughter to see what happened, and how it could happen that I put my daughter in a school, in a nice neighboorhood, and then I’m never going to see her again,” Pollack said. “I wanted to know the facts. I didn’t just listen to mainstream media, I didn’t jump on that bandwagon — and I found out that there was a multitude of failures and policies that lead up to my daughter getting murdered, that the mainstream media didn’t want to cover.”
In Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created The Parkland Shooter and Endanger America’s Students, Pollack discusses his views on gun control, why he blames Democratic policies for his daughter’s murder, and precautions that parents can take to ensure the safety of their children.
Pollack argued that new gun control laws are an ineffective solution to the school shooting epidemic, in part because current laws are not being enforced. For example, the Parkland shooter had a violent record, but he was not arrested and therefore able to obtain a weapon legally.
“To me, gun control would’ve been if they arrested him for punching his mother’s teeth out and he got a background,” explained Pollack. “Democrats put these policies in place that don’t believe in holding kids accountable or arresting them while they’re juveniles…so if they don’t arrest them and they don’t get a background, then they’re able to purchase weapons legally and a background check is useless,” he said.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” Monday, Pollack said that banning guns is not the solution, and he encouraged people to look at the “underlying causes for these shootings.”
“They’re not addressing mental health…or arresting these people when they make threats…those are the real issues,” he explained.
Responding to a recent video featuring 2020 Democratic candidates promoting tighter gun control as a safety precaution in schools, Pollack said it made him “ill.”
“My daughter paid the ultimate sacrifice because of those Democratic policies and I’ve been hurt by the Democrats more than anybody in this country — and I hold them responsible,” Pollack said.
Pollack met with President Trump five times, he explained, and applauded the President’s initiation of a federal school safety commission to investigate what steps need to be taken to ensure safety in schools across the country.
In his new book, Pollack said he wanted to create a guide for parents to spot warning signs of potential shooters and to explain that Meadow’s death was avoidable.
“[The book is] like a manual or a guide for parents and grandparents to read it and actually look at what happened in Parkland and compare it — these policies are throughout the whole country,” Pollack told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto in an earlier interview.
“Uncovering all of this,” said Pollack, “it did a lot for me so other parents now can learn from it and that’s what brought me to this book. And the book started as just an investigation, but there was so many jaw-dropping failures that I had to educate other parents.”
Discussing the book, Cavuto “dared” viewers to “read this book without a box of tissues,” calling it “stunning and raw.”
Pollack is just getting started, he explained. He is committed to educating parents across the country on being alert and responsive to potential dangers surrounding their children, so no parent has to experience the pain and grief that continues to haunt him more than a year later.
“Every time that there’s a mass shooting,” he explained, “I think about these victims. Like the ones in Walmart or the ones in Virginia at the building where these animals are coming through and they’re shooting … and I picture my daughter being a victim.”
Miranda Devine has a provocative question to ask:
You can’t walk through the streets of Manhattan these days without smelling weed.
Even as evidence mounts of the health problems associated with marijuana, New York has insisted on joining other greedy states scrambling to legalize this deceptively dangerous drug.
It makes no sense at a time when American youth is suffering from an unprecedented mental health crisis.
And, in all honesty, we cannot rule out a connection between increasing marijuana use, mental illness and the recent spate of mass shootings by disturbed young males.
We don’t yet know much about the mental state or drug use of the El Paso or Dayton killers. But a former girlfriend of Dayton killer Connor Betts, 24, has indicated he was mentally ill, and two of his friends interviewed by reporters this week mentioned his previous drug use.
Just last year, the Parents Opposed to Pot lobby group tried to sound the alarm on the link between marijuana and mass shootings, compiling a list of mass killers it claims were heavy users of marijuana from a young age, from Aurora, Colo., shooter James Holmes and Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner to Chattanooga, Tenn., shooter Mohammad Abdulazeez.
Until we understand those links, it is nuts to enact lax laws that encourage more young people to use a drug proven to trigger mental illness.
President Trump was right to highlight mental illness in his remarks Wednesday on the El Paso and Dayton shootings, not that his unscrupulous critics will listen, so determined are they to brand him a white supremacist.
We know from a 2018 FBI report that 40% of “active shooters” in the US between 2008 and 2013 had been diagnosed with a mental illness before the attack and 70% had “mental health stressors” or “mental health concerning behaviors.”
So for anyone actually interested in preventing future such massacres, the so-called “red flag” legislation Trump is advocating to deny people with mental illness access to firearms is the most logical measure and the one most likely to be embraced by both sides of politics.
But it also should apply to marijuana use, seeing as the two go hand in hand.
You can’t address the youth mental health crisis without considering the effect of rising teen marijuana use.
Among American teenagers, the drug’s “daily use has become as, or more, popular than daily cigarette smoking” according to the National Institute of Health’s 2017 Monitoring the Future study.
We’ve successfully demonized cigarettes while new laws send kids the message that marijuana is harmless.
Yet we’ve known for more than a decade of the link between marijuana and psychosis, depression and schizophrenia.
In 2007 the prestigious medical journal Lancet recanted its previous benign view of marijuana, citing studies showing “an increase in risk of psychosis of about 40 percent.”
A seminal long-term study of 50,465 Swedish army conscripts found those who had tried marijuana by age 18 had 2.4 times the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia in the following 15 years than those who had never used the drug. Heavy users were 6.7 times more likely to be admitted to a hospital for schizophrenia.
Another study, of 1,037 people in New Zealand, found those who used cannabis at ages 15 and 18 had higher rates of psychotic symptoms at age 26 than non-users.
A 2011 study in the British Medical Journal of 2,000 teenagers found those who smoked marijuana were twice as likely to develop psychosis as those who didn’t.
Another BMJ study estimated that “13 percent of cases of schizophrenia could be averted if all cannabis use were prevented.”
That’s more than 400,000 Americans who could be saved from a fate worse than death.
Young people and those with a genetic predisposition are most at risk, particularly during adolescence, when the brain is exquisitely vulnerable.
The evidence of harm is overwhelming, and it defies logic to think that legalizing marijuana won’t increase the harm.
And yet marijuana activists pretend there is no problem and baby-boomer lawmakers, perhaps recalling their own youthful toking, ignore the science.
To make matters worse, the marijuana sold at legal dispensaries today is five times more potent than the pot of the 1970s and ’80s, according to a thoroughly researched new book by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson: “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Violence and Mental Health.”
Berenson reports that the first four states to legalize marijuana, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, have seen “sharp increases” in violent crime since 2014.
If we care about mental illness, which has been spiking up at an alarming rate in recent years among young people, especially teenage boys, we should care about the convincing evidence of marijuana-induced psychosis.
We didn’t have to wait for three mass shootings in two weeks to know that young males are in crisis.
Youth suicide is at an all-time high and rates of serious mental illness in this country are on the rise, especially among people aged 18 to 25, the cohort most likely to use marijuana.
Young people born in 1999, the birth year of the El Paso shooter, were 50% more likely than those born in 1985 to report feeling “serious psychological distress” in the previous month, according to an alarming study published this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
With all we know, it’s time to put the brakes on marijuana legalization before it’s too late.
You might say that there is no proven link between marijuana and mass shootings. You would be correct. There is also no proven link between violent video games and mass shootings. That’s not stopping anyone from proposing things to stop mass shootings without any evidence they actually will stop mass shootings.
What’s worse than doing nothing? Doing the wrong thing, particularly when you’re not sure what you want to do will achieve what you want to achieve. Unless, of course, your interest is in restricting people’s rights and really not in reducing violence.
Few things are more frustrating than watching members of the media, politicians, and activists who often know very little about guns, have the resources to hire security when they face threats, and don’t understand the weapons criminals use telling me what I “need” to protect my family. And what they invariably tell me I “need” is a weapon less powerful than the foreseeable criminal threat.
Or, let me put it another way. My family has been threatened by white nationalists. Why should they outgun me?
Few things concentrate the mind more than the terrifying knowledge that a person might want to harm or kill someone you love. It transforms the way you interact with the world. It makes you aware of your acute vulnerability and the practical limitations of police protection.
If you’re wealthy, you have a quick response: Hire professionals to help. Let them worry about weapons and tactics. If you’re not wealthy, then your mind gets practical, fast. You have to understand what you may well face. And despite the constant refrain that semi-automatic weapons with large-capacity magazines are “weapons of war,” if you know anything about guns you know that what the media calls a large-capacity magazine is really standard-capacity on millions upon millions of handguns sold in the United States.
This means it’s entirely possible that a person coming to shoot you is carrying something like, say, a Glock 19 with a standard 15-round magazine.
So, how do I meet that threat? Unless you’re a highly trained professional who possesses supreme confidence in your self-defense skills, you meet it at the very least with an equivalent weapon, and preferably with superior firepower.
In a nutshell that’s why my first line of defense in my home is an AR-15. One of the most ridiculous lines in yesterday’s New York Post editorial endorsing an assault-weapons ban was the assertion that semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 are “regularly used only in mass shootings.” False, false, false. I use one to protect my family.
Why? The answer is easy. As a veteran, I’ve trained to use a similar weapon. I’m comfortable with it, it’s more powerful and more accurate than the handgun I carry or the handgun an intruder is likely to carry, and, while opinions vary, multiple self-defense experts agree with me that it’s an excellent choice for protecting one’s home.
What’s more, like the vast, vast majority of people who own such a weapon, I use it responsibly and safely. Don’t believe me? It’s the most popular rifle in the United States — one of the most popular weapons of any kind, in fact — and it’s used in fewer murders than blunt objects or hands and feet.
Here is the fundamental, quite real, problem that gun-control advocates face when they try to persuade the gun-owning public to support additional restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms: The burden of every single currently popular large-scale gun-control proposal will fall almost exclusively on law-abiding gun owners.
Even in the case of our dreadful epidemic of mass shootings, the available evidence indicates that so-called “common sense” gun-control proposals popular in the Democratic party (and the New York Post) are ineffective at stopping these most committed of killers. As my colleague Robert VerBruggen pointed out yesterday, a large-scale RAND Corporation review “uncovered ‘no qualifying studies showing that any of the 13 policies we investigated decreased mass shootings.’”
It’s one thing to ask millions of Americans to sacrifice their security for the sake of the larger common good. It’s quite another to ask for that same sacrifice in the absence of evidence that the policy will accomplish what it is designed to accomplish.
The criminal who seeks to harm my family has already demonstrated that he has no regard for the law. He doesn’t care about magazine-size restrictions or rhetoric about “weapons of war.” He doesn’t care that he evaded a background check or that he placed his girlfriend in legal jeopardy by using her as a straw purchaser. He doesn’t care if a previous felony conviction renders his gun possession unlawful.
By contrast, I care about the law. I want to remain law-abiding, and I want my family to remain law-abiding. I have immense respect for our nation’s legal system and its political processes. And so, as a person who has that respect and who also feels the keen anxiety of real threats aimed at the people I love the most, I’m making a simple request: Don’t give the white nationalists an advantage. Don’t give violent criminals the edge in any conflict with peaceful citizens.
In your well-meaning ignorance, you seek to provide greater security at the price of liberty. In reality, you would sacrifice both to no good end.
Dan Wos looks at the constitutional-carry debate in Alabama:
While the citizens of Alabama seek to regain their God-given right to defend themselves, anti-gun politicians use delusional arguments to thwart their efforts. Senator Vivian Davis Figures accused the Alabama citizens she represents of having mental problems for wanting Constitutional Carry in their state. After a clear understanding of the bill in question, it would seem the Senator is a bit misguided and may have some mental problems of her own.
SB4, (otherwise known as a Constitutional Carry Bill) is welcomed by gun-owners across the state of Alabama, primarily because of the way it would prevent good people from being cornered by over-zealous gun-grabbers. The handgun permit system currently in place requires a permit in vehicles but not outside vehicles often turning law-abiding citizens into law breakers for simply traveling to the grocery store.
Paul Arnold from BamaCarry (an organization defending gun rights in Alabama) said, “SB4 makes the permit process optional but does not do away with the permit system or background checks at the time of purchase.”
Arnold also said, “98% of BamaCarry members would still acquire a handgun permit for reciprocating purposes while traveling or purchasing a new firearm.”
This doesn’t stop the rhetoric from the agenda-driven Senator as she laid on a heaping helping of fearful, misleading anti-gun propaganda. Let’s look at what Senator Vivian Davis Figures said in a committee hearing on SB4.
Senator Figures said, “Why would you want to do certain things that really put people at greater risk?”
Clearly, Senator Figures doesn’t understand that SB4 does not eliminate background checks and in no way puts people at risk, but in typical anti-gun fashion, she uses the fear-campaign as a desperate attempt to get people on board to oppose the bill. Her statement also implies that anyone who votes for SB4 would be “putting people at greater risk.” A typical shaming tactic often used by the gun-grabbers. This is similar to the “blood is on your hands” accusation often thrown at gun-owners.
Senator Figures said, “You even want to repeal a part of the law that’s in place now about carrying weapons into a demonstration, where everyone knows that the emotions are high,”
This statement was particularly disturbing because it reveals very little about Alabama gun-owners and more about Senator Figures herself. This was her Freudian slip moment. The implication here is that “when emotions are high, people will shoot each other.” When Freud talked about “Projection” he explains it as a way of people placing their own innermost personal thoughts onto others. He said it was a way for people to blame others for thoughts that were occurring in their own mind. In this case it appears that Figures believes people will be unable to control themselves when emotions are high. Maybe Figures is revealing more about herself than she would like her voters to know. How would she be able to assume others would act out in an emotionally-reactive way if she wasn’t already intimate with that very problem? Maybe Senator Figures doesn’t trust others with guns because she wouldn’t trust herself with a gun.
The idea that someone would think a gun could make people do violent things is a disturbing look into their thought-process and may expose more about them than the people they are accusing.
Senator Figures said, “I’ve always gotten an ‘F’ from the National Rifle Association and that’s a proud ‘F’ that I receive… I just don’t understand the mentality of what you guys or – or what you guys continue to push to do,” she said. “Particularly, with all the gun violence that is happening, to allow a person to be able to get a gun who has mental problems – to me that says the person who’s pushing that has some mental problems. They don’t understand why people with mental issues shouldn’t have a weapon.”
This statement rambled a bit but a few key points practically jump off the page. When she states she just doesn’t “understand the mentality of you guys,” she seems to be saying that she has her view and all else is irrelevant. Then she threw in the ever-popular “gun-violence” term just to remind everyone that guns are the cause of violence. This is often used to redirect anyone who might want to actually place the blame on the person pulling the trigger. Can’t have that. If people realized violence is a human thing, we might force politicians to look at some of their own failed policies.
Then Figures attacks the citizens of Alabama again by restating they have mental problems but she also implies that SB4 would allow mentally-disabled people the ability to purchase guns. The Bill, does not do that but like all true anti-gun politicians, Figures doesn’t let those pesky facts get in the way of her mission to disarm the people she works for.
16 States already have Constitutional Carry in place without incident. That’s the part the Anti-2nd Amendment Radicals hate, because it shows their argument for gun-restrictions to be irrational.
In the world of this state senator, all mass shootings would end when the shooter ran out of bullets, instead of what happened Saturday, as reported by the Daily Caller:
The man who fired a semi-automatic weapon inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego on Saturday froze, dropped his gun and sprinted to his car when he saw Oscar Stewart come barreling toward him, yelling so loud the priest at a neighboring church could hear.
“Get down!” Stewart yelled, according to his wife and others who were at the scene. “You motherfucker! I’m going to kill you!”
Others who were there later told him it sounded like four or five people were shouting. He thinks maybe an angel was standing behind him and speaking through his voice. When the shooter ran, he immediately gave chase.
Stewart, 51, told The Daily Caller on Sunday he doesn’t remember any conscious thought from the moment he heard the gun shots until it was all over — he just acted on instinct to stop the shooter and prevent him from leaving so he couldn’t hurt more people somewhere else. The Iraq combat veteran said his military training kicked in.
“I knew I had to be within five feet of this guy so his rifle couldn’t get to me,” Stewart said. “So I ran immediately toward him, and I yelled as loud as I could. And he was scared. I scared the hell out of him.”
Stewart served in the Navy in explosive ordnance disposal from 1990 to 1994, then enlisted in the Army in 2001 because of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
“Looking back, it was kind of a crazy idea to do, but I did it.” He was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and left the military in 2004, as a staff sergeant. He’s now in construction work.
When the gunman opened fire, he was in the back of the synagogue. By the time he got to the lobby, the shooter had killed one woman, blown the finger off of a rabbi, and injured two others.
“I heard gunshots,” Stewart said. “And everybody got up and started trying to get out the back door, so I — for whatever reason — I didn’t do that. I ran the other way. I ran towards the gun shots.”
“When I came around the corner into the lobby area, I saw the individual with a gun, and he fired two rounds. And I yelled at him and I must have yelled very loud, and he looked at me, and I must have had a really mean look on my face or something, because he immediately dropped his weapon and turned and ran. And then I gave chase.”
Stewart said he chased him all the way out to his car and began pounding on it — the shooter had managed to lock himself in. When Stewart saw him reach for a rifle, he punched the side of the car as hard as he could, intending to figure out a way to drag him out of the car. That’s when a Border Patrol agent who attends the synagogue came running out to the parking lot, yelling for Stewart to get down because he had a gun.
Stewart says this man may have saved his life and pointed to his use of a civilian’s gun as evidence that gun control isn’t the answer to these kinds of tragedies. Stewart was off-duty and was apparently handed the weapon by someone else on the scene.
“It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun,” he told the Caller.
The agent fired several rounds into the lower part of the vehicle, intending to disable it, but the shooter managed to drive away. The two of them then grabbed a phone from someone and called the police to report his license plate. The shooter later turned himself in.
After he sped off, Stewart ran back into the synagogue and found a woman he knew, 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye, unresponsive on the floor in the lobby. He began CPR and continued trying to bring her back to life as a couple of doctors arrived and began to assist him. She didn’t make it. The two had talked occasionally, and he remembers her as a passionate and kind woman.
“She had different political views, so we had interesting discussions when we talked,” he said. “We didn’t just talk about the weather. It was kind of cool. She was a very loving woman.”
Stewart considers her the real hero. Eyewitnesses said she jumped in front of the rabbi to save his life.
“People in the aftermath here have been saying it’s important to be strong and defend ourselves. I also think it’s important to know that being strong and defending ourselves requires a lot of sacrifice too.”
“I don’t know if I consciously made the choice to potentially sacrifice myself,” he added. “But I did. And this lady, she stood and she jumped in front of the shooter and she saved the rabbi’s life. When somebody said I was a hero, I’m like, she was a hero. I just did it instinctively, like an animal. There was no conscious decision. I just did it.”
He may not call himself a hero, but Stewart believes his actions effectively stopped the shooter. He doesn’t think reports of the shooter’s gun jamming as the reason he fled are likely to be true, because he was using a semi-automatic rifle. “Full automatic weapons will jam,” he said. “Semi-automatic weapons do not jam.” He thinks maybe the shooter had emptied his magazine. Whatever the case, the shooter let the slung weapon drop and fled.
“He was in the act of shooting when I saw him,” Stewart said. “When I yelled at him he turned and looked at me, and he like froze. And then the look on his face was one of amazement at first, and then one of fear. He saw me coming, and I was ready to do whatever I had to do to stop him.”
For his part, Stewart doesn’t attribute the shooter’s actions to a larger agenda and was reluctant to connect him to a larger political context. He doesn’t blame President Donald Trump and expressed hope that people don’t try to blame anyone else for the man’s actions. “He was an individual acting alone,” he said.
“If you’re ignorant and you don’t know what people are like, you don’t know that I’m a person just like you. I go to work every day in a manual labor job. I’m not some, you know – supposedly he said in his manifesto that the Jews control this and that — I don’t control anything. I go to work just like you every day. He didn’t know that.”
“If he had gotten to know me, he would know that I’m a great person, that I’m a nice guy, that I’m a very caring person,” he continued. “My apprentices — they all love me. They say that I’m the best teacher in the world, you know, that I care, that I try to teach them, and if he had known any of these people, like the lady Lori who died. She would go give Easter baskets to kids and that’s not even a Jewish thing, you know. … She was just a warm person.”
If anything’s to blame, he says it’s social media and the increasingly disconnected world we find ourselves in. “The whole media thing — people don’t get to know people, and they get to sit in a cocoon, and sit and make opinions on what somebody writes. It’s not good. We need to interact more.”
“The most important thing I want to share is that we need to know each other,” he said. “If you make an opinion on anyone, you need to know what they’re about, and who they are. You can’t generalize and say every blue person is evil because they’re blue. That’s ridiculous.”
There is perhaps no more significant power of government than its power to imprison individual citizens and deprive them of their personal property, and thus there should be no power more closely scrutinized.
It’s fitting, then, that a new proposal to seize property is termed a “red flag law” since it raises so many red flags.
Wisconsin’s new Attorney General Josh Kaul proposed such legislation in his inaugural address, calling for the passage of a bill “that will allow law enforcement or family members to go before a judge and ensure that someone who is a threat to themselves or others is temporarily disarmed.”
Governor Evers signaled support for this, as did Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who cautioned that while he is “open to the idea,” he is concerned about “the scope being too broad.”
That may be an understatement.
Red flag laws, which have been passed in six states—most recently in Florida last year—pose substantial risks to both Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights (to say nothing of Second Amendment rights), as they allow for the confiscation of firearms without the protection of due process as it has been traditionally understood.
The Fourth Amendment provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.”
Probable cause generally exists only when “there is a reasonable basis that a crime may have been committed (for an arrest) or when evidence of the crime is present in the place to be searched (for a search).”
Under a red flag law, however, a family member may request that a judge confiscate an individual’s firearm based on the mere suspicion that he is mentally unfit to own one. Even if there is no evidence that a crime has been committed or is even likely to be committed, the judge can order guns seized.
Even more troublingly, the subject of the seizure might not have an opportunity to defend himself or even know of the allegations against him until law enforcement officers show up at his door to confiscate his weapons.
This Kafkaesque nightmare isn’t just an overwrought hypothetical; it’s actually happening.
Just two months after Florida passed a red flag law in the wake of the Parkland shooting, Broward County Sheriff’s Department bailiff Frank Joseph Pinter was accused of making threatening remarks to a colleague that allegedly included “all you rats should be exterminated.”
Six months earlier, The Orlando Sun-Sentinel reported, Pinter was spotted leaning over a courthouse atrium and pretending to shoot at people below him. Another bailiff accused Pinter of saying to him, “I’m going to exterminate you.”
In May, the Sheriff’s Department had had enough from what it deemed to be a dangerous employee and sought what is known as a “risk protection order” under Florida’s new law. Without granting Pinter an opportunity to defend himself or explain his conduct in court, a judge determined that “there is reasonable cause to believe the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or others in the near future” and ordered his guns to be confiscated.
That afternoon, deputies took all of Pinter’s guns, ammunition, and even his concealed carry permit. He had no idea that there had been a judgement against him (or even that an action had been filed against him) until his guns were being confiscated.
Needless to say, this is antithetical to constitutional protections against what is rather obviously an unreasonable seizure. Pinter may well have been mentally disturbed, but there was no probable cause that he had committed a crime that would warrant government repossession of his personal property.
That he was not offered a chance to defend himself against the allegations against him compounds the issue by presenting a rather clear violation of Pinter’s Fifth Amendment right to protection against deprivation “of…property, without due process of law.”
When the only standard for seizure of property is a vague determination of risk to self or others based on evidence presented only by those who are seeking to seize property, what chance does the individual possibly have of keeping said property?
And what chance does he have if he doesn’t know an adjudicative proceeding against him is taking place?
Under Florida’s red flag law, Pinter was finally afforded the opportunity to challenge the seizure of his weapons several weeks after they had been seized. Only then—weeks after punitive action was taken against him—was he allowed to defend himself against the allegations that led to that punitive action.
Now Wisconsin’s Attorney General and Governor are proposing a nearly identical law, apparently unbothered by the radical infringements on individual civil liberties. The stated end—ostensibly lowering gun deaths—is a noble one, but even it cannot justify such unconstitutional means.
Quite simply, the power of government to seize property—even potentially dangerous property like firearms—is too significant to leave citizens—even potentially unstable ones—unprotected.
Earlier today I reported about the hysteria over the releasing of blueprints for guns that could be assembled with a 3-D printer.
A federal judge blocked the release of those blueprints. But, the Huffington Post reports via Yahoo! News:
Gun rights activist groups found a way around the temporary halting of 3D-printed gun blueprints by publishing another set of blueprints on a new website Tuesday, which they say is activity protected under the First Amendment.
“Through CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, we intend to encourage people to consider new and different aspects of our nation’s marketplace of ideas – even if some government officials disagree with our views or dislike our content – because information is code, code is free speech, and free speech is freedom,” reads a statement on the site, which was created by a variety of groups including the Firearms Policy Coalition and the Firearms Policy Foundation.
The site features downloadable blueprints for a variety of firearms, including the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, the AR-10 battle rifle as well as the Liberator, a single-shot handgun.
It went live the same day that U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik blocked a settlement that President Donald Trump’s administration had reached with digital firearms nonprofit Defense Distributed, which had been granted permission to relaunch its website on Wednesday with blueprints.
Attorneys general from eight states and Washington, D.C., announced Monday they were suing the federal government in an attempt to halt the settlement.
“There are 3D printers in public colleges and public spaces and there is the likelihood of potential irreparable harm,” Lasnik said.
Defense Distributed had been hosting schematics for seven different firearms from July 27 until the site’s founder Cody Wilson announced on Twitter Tuesday that the site was “going dark.” Thousands of the blueprints had already been downloaded by Tuesday.
Three comments on this story point out the silliness of this latest anti-gun controversy:
- MakerBot Replicator Z18 – 3D printer $6,499.00 MakerBot PLA Filament $160.00 per roll,Not cheep for a use and lose 1 timer.
- Even though this new era of 3D printable parts to manufacture firearms is in controversy, it may come as somewhat of a surprise that it is still completely legal to make and own a homemade gun.
- Anyone with minimal mechanical ability can build a zip gun from hardware store supplies in under 5 minutes…. Why is this such an issue?
Brandon Burdette added on Facebook:
Ghost guns only seem to terrify the political class. No average person I’ve met really gives a crap.
I wonder why that is.
CBS News reports a story from my former area:
A Wisconsin high schooler is fighting to wear shirts with images of guns to school. Matthew Schoenecker says his T-shirts reflect his personal beliefs, but after the Parkland school shooting, administrators at his high school said his shirts were inappropriate and that he could no longer wear them. He is suing his principal over the ban.
Shooting is an activity the Shoeneckers enjoy as a family, but it’s one Matthew now says is being used against him.
“They just said something like, ‘You could be the next school shooter maybe,'” he told CBS News’ Nikki Battiste.
The remarks are part of the backlash the 15-year-old now faces for wearing T-shirts with images of guns and a grenade in school.
Matthew says he’s been wearing the same shirts since the fall. But his parents say it was only after the Parkland school shooting in February, that the school’s principal sent home a letter telling Matt to “change the shirt” because “it was inappropriate.” When Matt refused, he was moved to a cubicle for two days.
“He says, ‘Well, your son’s T-shirt’s promoting violence,'” Matt’s mother, Pam Schoenecker said. “I said, ‘His T-shirts celebrate diversity. And then his other T-shirt says, ‘love.’ How is that promoting violence? None of the times was he able to answer that question.”
In April, Matthew filed a lawsuit alleging that “there are no school rules explicitly banning wearing clothing that depicts firearms” and that doing so “violated his freedom of expression.”
“He is perfectly within his First Amendment rights to wear those shirts,” John Monroe, Matthew’s lawyer, said.
Monroe is being paid by Wisconsin Carry, a pro-gun group.
“The issue here isn’t really a gun issue, it’s a speech issue. And, you know, if Parkland had never happened,” Monroe said.
Cases like Matthew’s are popping up across the country. In Nevada, a middle school student is suing his school district after it also barred him from wearing T-shirts containing images of guns. In a statement to “CBS This Morning,” a school spokesperson said, “the child was not harmed in anyway except for being asked to wear a sweatshirt over his shirt.” Lawyers in both the Wisconsin and Nevada case say the schools allowed students to participate in school walkout activities supporting gun control.
“I just, I just think they’re hypocrites….You can promote an anti-gun agenda but then you have a student that comes in there, knows history, knows the Constitution and you’re going to tell him he can’t,” Pam said.
“This is a complex issue. I think that schools should have the ability to regulate a student’s clothing for a whole host of reasons,” CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said. “We don’t want violence in schools. We don’t want gang signs, we don’t want people with Nazi swastikas….These things are all obvious that we would not condone. But the mere picture of a gun? Is that sufficient?”
While the lawsuit is pending, Matthew can still wear his favorite shirt to school, expressing a belief the Schoeneckers say is a just a normal part of their lives. But why not just stop wearing the shirts for a while?
“Because that’s just who Matthew is….He’s always gone hunting, he’s gone target shooting,” Pam said. “The Second Amendment thing, the Constitution, all of that is part of our family.”
“I get where they’re coming from. But at the same time, they’re expecting my son to change who he is because of what is going on in another part of the country,” she said.
The Schoeneckers said they are not asking for financial damages in their lawsuit. They just want Matthew to be allowed to wear his shirts in school. CBS News reached out to Markesan High School and its attorneys, but they declined to comment.
WISN-TV in Milwaukee also reports:
Nine Marquette University High School students on Wednesday morning walked out of class to show support for the Second Amendment.
“We’re here for the Second Amendment,” said junior Jack Dubois, who was wearing an NRA sweatshirt to make his point. “There’s not many of us because our school doesn’t support it. They said, basically, ‘You’re going to get [detention] if you walk out.'”
The students were taking part in walkouts happening nationwide called Stand for the Second. They are protesting to guarantee their constitutional rights to bear arms.
WISN 12 News spotted school officials scattered around the building, even hearing one worker yelling at the students to come back in.
“It’s not just about the Second Amendment. It’s about the First Amendment,” said junior Jack Kujawa.
Shortly after making this statement, Kujawa was interrupted by a school official, who said, “I warned you. Don’t be late.”
A Marquette University High School spokesman told WISN 12 News that “no student was told they would face detention for walking out. Students were allowed to leave the building to express themselves via the walkout, and it was the position of the school that they would be allowed to express their First Amendment rights.”
WMTV in Madison reports:
Organizers of a pro-gun rights rally scheduled for Saturday say many supporters plan on legally and openly carrying guns. The rally is happening on the same day as the first Dane County Farmers’ market of the season.
The rally is being organized by the local chapter of The National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans.
“We want to celebrate our right to bear arms and we kind of like want to be an outreached hand to the community. We don’t want to be intimidating in any way,” said Thomas Leager, National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans Wisconsin organizer.
Leager said a few hundred people are expected to attend, many of them openly carrying a gun. It is legal to openly carry a gun on the Wisconsin State Capitol grounds.
“It’s just one of the things that we want to celebrate our rights and kind of help inform the public,” Leager said.
Some farmers’ market vendors are concerned about how the rally could impact safety and business.
Jennifer Patrello, a manager at Stella’s Bakery said they will not be at the market this weekend because of the weather, but she said she is worried the guns could turn shoppers away and negativity impact business for vendors.
“We believe that everyone in our group is intelligent and knows how to carry a gun responsibly,” Leager said.
Organizers of the event say they’re working with Capitol Police. The rally is set to start at 1 p.m. Capitol Police and the Madison Police will be monitoring the event.
The organizer of the farmers’ market said they do not have an opinion on the rally. She said shoppers who don’t want to be around the protest are encouraged to get to the market early. It opens at 6:15 a.m.
Those last two sentences prompted James Wigderson to comment:
There is a gun rights rally scheduled for Madison [today] for 1:00 PM. WMTV says families who want to attend the farmer’s market without being around people lawfully carrying guns should get there early. We’re looking forward to WMTV’s future warnings to families who want to avoid obscene signs at leftwing rallies at our state capitol.