Tag: Other offensive facts

More Fake Noose

By Ken Gulley

As America continues to reel from the dilemma posed by the purely political response to Covid-19 and nationwide protests against perceived racial injustice, a sudden rash of “Fake Hate Crimes” have gained national attention.

If you remember the mid-20-teens and the rash of fake hate crimes after the first Black Lives Matter movement after Ferguson, you probably remember this website tracking confirmed fakes: lickity-Link.

Well the new spurt of fake hate crimes seem a bit different. They’re not being falsely perpetuated by the victim but rather being stoked by third parties and the media.

1. While this instance is not the most recent, it is the most high profile.

Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only black driver, made headlines when he and his team discovered a noose purposely placed in their garage prior to races at Talladega Speedway.

Wallace was in the news recently after rightfully criticizing Kyle Larson’s use of the N-word during an online racing session. Wallace later asked for Larson to have a second chance.

Bubba then made headway when he critiqued NASCAR fans for their use of Confederate flag imagery and ran a Black Lives Matter car at Martinsville Speedway.

Soon after, the purported hate crime took place with the discovery of a noose in Wallace’s garage. It was later determined that the noose was in fact used as a pull down rope for the garage door and had been set in place since 2019. The rope, fashioned like a small noose only wide enough for a hand, was not targeted at Wallace or anyone specifically.

The Left was unfairly quick to lambast NASCAR and its fans as racist.

2. Five ropes were discovered hanging from a tree in an Oakland, CA park.

The ropes, described as nooses, led to an open investigation regarding a hate crime. In spite of the lack of a “hangman’s knot” being used, the investigation was pushed forward.

It would seem that the investigation would come to a crashing halt when a man, a black man, clarified that he hung the ropes as workout equipment and not a symbol of hate.


“Out of the dozen and hundreds and thousands of people that walked by, no one has thought that it looked anywhere close to a noose. Folks have used it for exercise. It was really a fun addition to the park that we tried to create,” Sengbe said.

“It’s unfortunate that a genuine gesture of just wanting to have a good time got misinterpreted into something so heinous,” he told the station.


In spite of this clarification, the investigation was continued and pushed forward to the FBI.

3. A black man in Palmdale found hanging from a tree is ruled a suicide.

In spite of Coroner suspicions that the hanging was a suicide, family members, friends, and local protestors have thrown a suspicious eye at police officers for a possible cover-up or even participation in the act. Thats right, they suspect police hung a black man near city halls. That black man is named Robert Fuller.

While a multitude of news media outlets are covering the story, almost all of them have failed to notate a few things:

(1) Fuller had previous attempts at suicide including an attempt to set himself on fire (2) Fuller was placed in a psych ward approximately one month prior to this incident (3) the catalyst for both incidents of self harm seem to point to a love triangle. *It should be noted this information is obtained from an unnamed police source with knowledge of the incident and investigation.

Due to community pressure, LASO has forwarded the case to the AG of California for transparency purposes and to further investigate the possibility of a hate crime.

With a continuation of the investigation, police were ordered to look for further information surrounding Fuller’s death including speaking with Fuller’s half brother – the other male involved in the suspected love triangle: Terron Boone.

During the investigation, Officers located Boone and discovered he had kidnapped, imprisoned, and beaten a former girlfriend for over week in an attempt to conjure evidence surrounding Fuller’s death. A warrant was issues for Boone’s arrest.

When officers attempted a traffic stop to arrest Boone for the above crime, Terron engaged in a gun battle with deputies and was killed. A female in the vehicle (not the victim of the earlier mentioned crime) was also struck and wounded. A child in the car was unharmed.

During NPRs initial coverage of the story, Boone’s act of shooting at the police was not even mentioned. Of course, this spurned protestor’s appeal that a cover-up is taking place.

On top of this, almost every article I read regarding the initial incident surrounding Fuller’s death has also pointed to another black man who was found hanging in Victorville – 50 miles east of Palmdale.

This note by reporters attempts to point to a connection and “spree” of lynchings in these northern cities of the Los Angeles Metro Area.

The Victorville man, Malcom Harsch, a black man, was also found hanging from a tree and questions swirled around his death being a racist murder rather than a suicide.

A few days ago, Harsch’s family released a statement concluding a suicide after video evidence was found of Harsch taking his own life.

BONUS:

Keveon Gomera was arrested after painting swastikas on catholic headstones this past Monday.

It is unknown if Keveon was hoping to pass this act off as a fake hate crime but he also attempted to burn an American flag, attacked a security guard and was caught soon after.

SOURCES:

• Wallace BLM Car https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/09/us/bubba-wallace-confederate-flag-trnd/index.html (Leftist bias)

• Wallace on Larson https://www.autoweek.com/racing/nascar/a32177036/bubba-wallace-breaks-silence-on-kyle-larsons-use-of-racial-slur/

• Oakland Noose https://www.kcrg.com/2020/06/18/nooses-in-oakland-park-were-exercise-aids-man-says/

• Palmdale Hanging https://www.foxnews.com/us/california-robert-fuller-hanging-lynching-suicide-investigation (Right bias)

• LAT Boone Killed https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-06-19/sheriffs-shooting-robert-fuller-brother (Left lean)

• NBC https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/half-brother-man-found-hanged-involved-deputy-shootout-n1231382 (Left lean)

• Harsch Suicide https://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20200619/sheriffrsquos-video-evidence-shows-malcolm-harsch-hanged-himself

• PC Campus Swastikas https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20200623/police-identify-man-charged-with-painting-swastikas-on-pc-campus-gravestones

The Violent Vigilante Murder of Ahmaud Arbery

By Ken Gulley

UPDATE: Prior to the completion of this blog, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) moved to have the McMichael’s arrested and charged: see link: https://abcn.ws/2Aaczof

INTRO

If you’re like me, It has been difficult to locate any news articles that have not been dripping with a highly opinionated narrative of this event.

That is perhaps understandable. What happened was not only horrific but there seemed to be no true effort at seeking justice. Until now…

Below, I’ll attempt to present to you the raw facts of the violent incident and then save the opinion portion for the end. Sources and links are presented at the bottom.

WHO

The encounter takes place between a 25 year old man named Ahmaud Arbery and two other adults, Gregory and Travis McMichael.

Ahmaud, a black man, is a former football player and was actively seeking to land an electricians job in his home county of Glynn, Georgia.

Gregory, 64, is a former investigator for the district attorney in Brunswick, Georgia (Glynn County) and a former police officer. Travis, Gregory’s son, is 34 years of age.

WHERE

The incident took place in a small riverside community of Satilla Shores, in Brunswick, Georgia. Brunswick is 60% black and 33% white. The town is sparsely populated in parts and hugs a large number of waterways that branch out to the Atlantic Ocean. The area is filled with wetlands and wooded areas.

WHAT & WHEN & HOW

On Sunday, February 23rd, a call came into 911 Dispatch stating that, “a black male running down the street” might be responsible for a “rash of burglaries” in the neighborhood.

The caller advised dispatch that there was a man, “in a house right now. It’s a house under construction.” When 911 Dispatch attempted to get a clarification for what crime was occurring (outside of a possible trespass). No answer was given but rather the caller (name censored) stated, “He has been caught on camera a bunch before at night. It’s kind of an ongoing thing here.”

Instead of waiting for police, Travis and Gregory notified their neighbor and loaded up onto a pickup truck to confront the man they suspect of the recent burglaries. That man was Ahmoud Arbery.

During the encounter and video shot by the neighbor trailing the Arbery; Arbery can be seen running at a jogging pace wearing khaki shorts and a white shirt. Arbery zig-zags to avoid the truck which cut of his route of travel.

After going out of sight in front of the vehicle, a shot rings out as Travis attempts to “detain” Arbery. Arbery engaged Travis and attempt to disarm him while Gregory dismounted the pickup truck. As the struggle continued, two more shots ring out. Blood can be seen on Arbery’s white shirt as he stumbled away from the truck and fell to the ground where he died soon after.

WHY

The MicMichael’s maintain they were attempting to detain a suspected burglar involved in a rash of burglaries in their neighborhood.

According to Georgia State Law, a citizen arrest is lawful if it meets certain criteria:

“A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a private person may arrest him upon reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion.”

Furthermore, the McMichaels declare that during the attempted detention, Arbery attacked Travis. The attack, the McMichaels allege, alters the detention and turned the incident into one of self-defense. Georgia law, like most state laws, allow for justifiable use of firearms in instances where the victim of an attack believes their life is in danger.

Only 1 official police report of a burglary is documented in the area 7 weeks prior to this incident. Therefore the notion of a “rash of burglaries” is brought into question. Though it is not uncommon for many more instances to go unreported.

According to the anonymous neighbor (who’s house was “trespassed”) a man was seen on video who looked like Arbery. The man was seen walking onto the dock of the home that went out to the Little Satilla River. The anonymous neighbor could only confirm a possible “trespassing” violation at this time.

THE DELAY

According to media sources and official reports, a police investigation was conducted listing the McMichaels as “suspects” of a homicide. Homicides can be justified or not. With Travis and Gregory as cooperative parties in the investigation, the report was handed to the District Attorney’s office for evaluation on possible criminal charges.

Given Gregory’s prior profession as an investigator for the District Attorney’s office, two DA’s had recused themselves from the investigation for conflicts of interest and any depiction of impropriety or bias toward the McMichaels.

The third prosecutor, Tom Durden, sent the case over to a Grand Jury rather than pressing for charges from his own office. The move itself has led to part of the outrage.

The video that leaked led to national outcry and speculations of racism (among other things). The limited and short in scope. Much like police body worn cameras, it doesn’t tell the entirety of the story but it does offer an objective viewpoing and a voice for the decedant (where none would usually exists). Outside of loud gun shots, nothing said could be heard between Arbery and the McMichaels.

LEAK & OUTCRY

The video itself has been in evidence since the incident. The investigating department and District Attorney’s office had refused to hand over the video to Arbery’s family attorney until it was leaked online. That in itself is not unusual but will no doubt adds to suspicion.

The public both in Georgia and throughout the nation have since become inflamed by the incident and its subsequent delays – undoubtedly hampered by the recusals and the corona virus measures taken in the state.

Politicians have also jumped into the fray. Some for political points no doubt and others to answer the call of the public’s outcry.

On May 5th, Governor Brian Kemp (R) offered the state’s law enforcement personnel (GBI) resources and oversight into the investigation taking place at the county level.

Joe Biden (D) suggested the video clearly showed a man “killed in cold blood.” Former Congressman & Prosecutor (R) Trey Gowdy questions why the investigation “took a video [becoming public]” before actions were carried out – acknowledging that the minority communities must question if justice would ever be pushed had there been no video in this case or others.

MY TAKE (Opinion)

As a law enforcement officer, I have to practice objectivity. On most calls for service, I am not present to see the allegations presented by a civilian regarding an assault or similar allegation against another person. Objectivity comes naturally to me by practice.

I want you, the reader, to practice your best to be objective with me. Put aside the forced “two white men kill an unarmed black man” racism narrative that is being pushed by the media and lets consider the facts at hand. I will address those issues later.

(1) Legalities of the Incident

The Legalities of the incident are first and foremost important factors to this tragedy is to be judged. The two overarching legal issues here are that of a citizens arrest (a) and self defense (b).

(a) Given that the actions by the McMichaels – who determined to locate and detain Arbery as a suspect in a series of burglaries – to try and affect an arrest. The two men essentially instigate the entirety of the incident. Therefore must determine first if the citizen arrest itself was justifiable.

There are two key issues with the McMichael’s claims of a citizen’s arrest. First, at best, the incident at hand was tantamount to a trespassing incident. No burglary took place on this date and time and therefore the “citizen arrest” in this instance is unlawful (see law above) as the crime committed was no longer taking place.

Now, as a police officer, there are times where I must detained people on the basis of suspicion of a crime. This is a lawful act in my duties. And sometimes we are wrong. Police officers can detain and arrest in felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions (only if present and witnessed by the officer).

The statue above does not allow citizens to affect an arrest for anyone for a crime below a misdemeanor.

Now lets suggest the McMichael’s thought a burglary had just taken place. Is their platform solid? Even in law enforcement, officers must be careful about the action of detaining or arresting someone based on the crime at hand. We call it, “having a solid platform.” It isn’t worth the fight (literally) at the present moment or later in court (via civil lawsuits) to justify why you had to subdue the jaywalker with flurry of baton strikes. It’s not worth the battle. Now had the same use of force taken place against someone wanted for murder, then the battle is worthwhile.

The call to 911 made by someone among the McMichael’s party does nothing to defend the mindset that they believed a burglary had just taken place. At best it suggest suspicion of prior incidents.

This therefore violates another key portion of the legal statue that states the incident must be committed “in his presence or immediate knowledge of.” A “stale” felony (one that occurred at a different time) does not warrant a civilian to act to arrest anyone.

Furthermore, it is difficult to suggest that Arbery was attempting to flee. Arbery can be seen jogging steadily toward the McMichael’s truck (which was parked ahead of him waiting) – not running away from him. Had Arbery desired to get away, he could easily flee toward the wooded side yards of the streets he ran on – not jog through the street in plain view.

(b) Self-defense.

Georgia is a “stand your ground” State. In such states, individuals who are on the receiving end of unlawful violence need not back down before defending themselves with reasonable force. Such a removal of a need to stand down is similar to the right afforded to law enforcement (CPC 835) but does not extend them the duty to place themselves in such situations with authority. Gregory being a former law enforcement official lost similar authority and rights when he retired.

Other states that do not have “stand your ground” laws limit the scope of self defense to homes or specified areas. While those states don’t explicitly suggest the right to self-defense outside certain areas, it is understood to be both reasonable and implied that one may defense themselves to a violent attack.

Deadly force is also applicable if the person reasonably believes that the attacker poses a threat of great bodily injury or death. The law does note that (a) you cannot be the aggressor and (b) you cannot be involved in the crime.

Many have attacked “stand your ground” laws especially in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death at the hand of George Zimmerman. But the legalities behind the law are not an issue – what is an issue is the perversion of the law in the minds of vigilantes like Zimmerman and in this case the McMichael’s.

In fact the “stand your ground law” gave Arbery the right to fight with all his might and try and disarm Travis.

The McMichael’s did not have a legal basis to detain or arrest Arbery and therefore were indeed the aggressors in this situation. Also consider the video. While obscured and very short in length, the initial shot happens almost immediately upon contact between Arbery and Travis. I would venture to judge that there was hardly any time to suggest that Arbery posed any grave danger to Travis, especially given that Travis was armed and Arbery was not. This, therefore, makes Travis the aggressor.

At minimum, the case should be forward by the DA as voluntary manslaughter – if not murder. In my opinion, especially with the lack of standing on either legal issue above, a charge for murder is most accurate.

(2) Socio-Politicization

As with most of these incidents, race is highlighted and politics come into play some times more than they should.

Two white men killing an unarmed black jogger made it very easy to do without much trying. Then add the fact that the incident took place in the south, in a state that incorporated the confederate battle flag into their state flag in 1956 before purging it in 2001.

To completely ignore the racial implications present is to be intentionally ignorant (a soft way of calling someone stupid). Trey Gowdy acknowledges that eloquently on Fox News (see link).

The incident has the hallmarks of a modern day lynching without the overt racism.

We have no idea if the McMichael’s are racists or not. In the court of public opinion, they have received that label and that appears to be all that matters. It is my hope that the facts above show you that both Travis and Gregory were clearly in the wrong regardless of race or racism.

Outside of the implied historical context of the South and the similarities of old lynchings gangs that would take place – I have no evidence to prove that either men were racist. Afterall, Gregory served as an investigator for the DA in Brunswick and likely helped many in the majority black community find justice. That also does not prove him not to be as racist either subconsciously or overtly. Many will argue the subconscious take over in such matters. Perhaps, but thats not something we can neither measure nor prove.

If there is anything to be happy about in this tragedy, it appears that both the Left and Right have found grave fault and major issues with the actions taken by these two men and the subsequent lack of justice from the DA’s office. We both agree something must be done, and answers must be given.

Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t excuse many on the right end of the spectrum from hiding behind the “wait to all the facts come out” excuse to avoid the issues and evils behind bias and/or racial injustices. Thats a damn shame. After all, we conservatives hold government in suspicion and tout the corrections of Republicans in Congress to overthrow the evils of the Jim Crow Democratic South. We therefore should have no issue understanding the lingering effects of what governments helped institutionalized there.

That said its also important to understand how and when race should play a factor. All too often the Left has willingly used race in situations where it is unwarranted – making it difficult and exhausting to those on the Right to swallow situations where it is warranted. When they boy cries wolf, he is no longer taken seriously.

I have already seen some on the Left, friends included, ready to condemn all of America and all of the Caucasian community for the stupid actions of these two men. One friend suggested they weren’t willing to say the South has changed since the civil rights area – spitting in the face of all of the heroes who fought so hard to change things in those communities.

America is one of the least racist multi-ethnic nations on earth. People that condemn America for these crimes as a whole ignore the fact that more African’s have moved to the US voluntarily for freedom and prosperity than ever came on slave ships.

Another friend of mine put Arbery’s name alongside other famous killings of black men like Alton Sterling – saying “we can’t go jogging” and “we can’t sale CDs.” This is highly ignorant as it ignores the fact that such instances are rare (and therefore gain national attention) and completely different.

Sterling wasn’t just selling counterfeit CDs, he was a documented gang member who just threatened a woman with a gun despite being on probation (restricting him from firearms) before fighting the police and dying while trying to pull a gun on the cops. His death is nothing like that of a Arbery and does little to heal the issue of race – rather suggesting instead that the black community is willing to stand beside the wrong and treat them as if they were in the right.

Lebron James stated “We are literally hunted everyday/everytime.” While undoubtedbly hyperbolic, the statement is nowhere near the truth and only moves to assist the paranoia and reactions black men have to certain situations involving the police (since this issues is being lumped in) – turning simple investigatory situations into confrontations. But i understand his frustration and anger. Failing to understand that sentiment and pain is exacerbated by those who dismiss it outright.

Lastly, while it is the job of the defense attorney to justify their client’s actions – in this case the McMichael’s – it doesn’t mean the public is accountable to the actions undertaken. Yes, Arbery had a short criminal record (shoplifting as an 19 year old) and bringing a gun to a HS basketball game as a 13 year old but neither acts were factors in McMichael’s justifications nor are they relevant to the perceived threats and crime that supposedly took place on that day.

Even if Arbery had correctly been identified as the burglar from previous incidents – the McMichael’s ability to detain Arbery and their defense justification would still be indefensible as they agitated the situation. They made the move as civilians to threaten a fellow civilian far from the scene of a crime they did not witness.

Not even in criminal trials are Law Enforcement Officers able to bring up the active parole or probation status’ of certain individuals duding a trial. So, far be it from the public to utilize these past indiscretions to excuse or justify the McMichael’s actions against Arbery.

This is a tragedy that should have never happened. Two men went above and beyond the law, violating the law, and arrest a man with force not authorize to them in any way. The the result was horrific.

Imagine yourself, presumably minding your own own business only to be accosted at gun point by strange men who are obviously not uniformed law enforcement officers. How would you react?

This thought is something that leaps off the page in my mind. As a police officer, during a report of a lawful detention and arrest, I have to explain what I was wearing and how it signified I was an officer with the authority to enforce the law. Simply being one is not enough for the court, it has to be written on me and a badge or a symbol must be showing. Now imagine trying to defend the act of an arrest by a citizen without the very uniform presence let alone probable cause.

A man’s life was taken, a son was lost. While some may argue that the outcome was not what either McMichael had in mind, I can tell you that I’ve spoke with thieves who never intended to injure or kill their victims as well. It happened and they should be brought to justice for murder.

Sources:

• NBC https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/celebrities-express-outrage-over-shooting-death-black-jogger-georgia-n1202016 (Liberal lean)

• NYT https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/06/opinion/ahmaud-arbery-killing.html (Left lean)

• FOX https://www.foxnews.com/politics/georgia-ahmaud-arbery-outcry (Right bias)

• WP https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-killing-of-ahmaud-arbery-renews-the-question-of-whether-black-lives-matter/2020/05/07/8832e3c4-8fd5-11ea-a9c0-73b93422d691_story.html?outputType=amp (Leftist bias)

• BBC https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52557609 (Liberal lean)

• CNN https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/07/us/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-demands-justice/index.html (Left bias)

• Time https://time.com/5832731/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-georgia-murder/?amp=true (Liberal bias)

• WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/video-sparks-calls-for-arrests-in-shooting-of-black-man-in-georgia-11588880193 (Right lean)

• 11A https://www.11alive.com/article/news/crime/greg-and-travis-mcmichael-ahmaud-arbery-case/85-30f3b687-5a10-4a60-a7d7-007d388466f6 (local affiliate)

• FOX https://www.foxnews.com/media/trey-gowdy-ahmaud-arbery-case-grand-jury (Right bias)

• State Law: https://statelaws.findlaw.com/georgia-law/georgia-self-defense-laws.html

• CPC Authority https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=835a.&lawCode=PEN

• NR https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-georgia/amp/ (Conservative bias)

• PB https://theproofblog.com/2016/07/28/34/ (Conservative bias)

A RETURN TO THE NORM?

Covid 19 has presented government with a plethora of different challenges, a principal one being how to track and determine real cases of this virus.

Yesterday news broke of a 17 year old boy in LA County who had died. The media jumped on the case as a death attributed to Covid 19 but that information has now been placed on hold seeing that the teen suffered from a number of complications prior to being infected. The US mortality rate for those infected is hovering around 1.4-1.5% (or 0.5-0.6%) more than the yearly viral influenza.

This season’s Flu (A and B )have been especially lethal with somewhere between 23,000 and 59,000 deaths – a noticeably large range given the difficulty in tracking this “regular” disease, let alone a more highly contagious one (by means of transfer) like Covid 19. Some 38M Americans have had the flu this season (ranging back to Nov) and 390,000 required hospitalization. Without getting into the fallacy of making a comparison between the two viruses, the numbers beg the question about whether we will ever be able to accurately track Covid 19’s spread AND death rate, given the difficulty of tracking yearly influenza rates.

Doctors have admitted many could have had the virus and merely wrote off it’s mild symptoms as the flu or a cold, never truly addressing it. It is reported that Italy among other have simply written off most elderly deaths as Covid 19 related by regional association even without accurate tracking and testing given.

There is a great possibility that the death rate is even lower than the current 1.4 or 1.5% – while keeping in mind that it is believed the issue has yet to peak. So now the difficult question must be had and answered – with difficulty tracking the accuracy of the contagion’s infection rate, and issues with the death rate – when do we return to normal?

We obviously cannot live like shut-ins forever. We will eventually have to break out of this self-isolating routine – so where is that red line? Cuomo said all the measure taken in NY are worth it if one life is saved. Great sentiment but nothing more. It’s illogical and unreasonable thinking.

This question of when and how to return to norm is being ignored and only being brought forward by those on the Right. The Left is happy keeping people living out of the government’s hands – we know this. So they pass the buck and allow the Right to take the heat. The Left seems content with virtue signal type sentiment that avoids facing the reality that we as a nation cannot go on living like this. This isn’t about sacrificing old people over this nameless and faceless idea of an economy. It’s about returning people to their livelihoods which allow them to live fruitfully and raise families. We all know people out of work, laid off, furloughed and struggling to run their businesses (many of which they invested with their life savings). So for Leftists to simply rest on their laurels and say those of us on the Right just want to save the economy – no – we want to save the livelihood of Americans. Sacrificing millions of people’s livelihood to potentially save one life is not logical, Mr. Cuomo, even when you paint it as a noble platitude.

I don’t have all the answers. The answer no doubt must be measured and carefully procured. While Doctors and experts knowledge and potifications are important, they don’t run cities or nations. Their expertise, while appreciated greatly, doesn’t denote wisdom. And a wise decision is what is ultimately needed here, before we start anew. When we return to normal, we need to be careful not to reignite the fire of the contagion as it appears Honk Kong may have done. And if the ultimate goal (sans a cure) is to “flatten the curve,” we need to ultimately understand that this is something we’ll all have to live with.

SOURCES:

• NYT – https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/us/california-coronavirus-death-child.html (Left lean)
• NPR https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/23/820435849/fact-check-trump-says-50-000-could-die-from-flu-so-far-its-half-that (Left lean)
•Ncov2019 https://ncov2019.live/data
•NYP https://nypost.com/2020/03/20/coronavirus-in-ny-cuomo-orders-lockdown-shuts-down-non-essential-businesses/ (Right lean)
•CNN https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/03/23/asia/hong-kong-coronavirus-quarantine-intl-hnk/index.html (Left bias)

The Gun Debate

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The topic of the week, and no doubt, the topic anytime we experience such heinous tragedies like the one that took place at a Parkland HS in Florida, is the issue of guns. No doubt, any loss of life is a tragedy, but losing 17 at once in a place where we Americans send our young ones is completely unacceptable.

Since that incident, new agencies have rolled out mountains of articles with lofty and emotional rhetoric but very little facts concerning the truth behind gun control’s success or lack there of. In fact much of the debate is centered around emotional responses as opposed to finding practical things that will truly work.

So far, more blame has been placed on the gun, specifically the AR-15 Rifle, than it has on the shooter. With that, many on the right have feared an emotional reactionary response by government officials to “fix” the problem. For them, a “fixing” of the problem is a restriction on their freedoms. Much of these emotional responses are not based in fact but ignorance.

I don’t blame the emotional responses. The events that triggered this latest hullabaloo around guns is undoubtedly an emotional one. What we cannot do, though, is allow emotions to supplant reason and logic.

I am a gun owning American. My job and my lifestyle require it. Even if they did not, I would still likely seek out ownership for the simple basis to practice a rare government protected right. While I sympathize with the emotional reactions from those on the left side of the aisle, I do not agree with their assessment on gun ownership in the USA. I am truly a gun skeptic and I believe there is great reason to be.

Below, we will challenge and address some common arguments from the left & anti-gun crowd, address common mistakes, note some peculiar inconsistencies, and offer my take on some Left & Right-winged solutions. I’ll try to be brief.

Common Mistakes

1. The AR-15 is an military grade assault rifle/weapon.

  • The AR-15 is not military grade nor is it an assault-rifle. The “AR” stands for Armalite Rifle, which is the name of the company. The AR-15 does not refer to any specific type of Rifle, thought it was originally created by Armalite, it’s become a common platform for rifles from various makers.
  • The AR is also not meant for military use. While the system was designed to be useful for the military, it was ultimately rejected as a weapon system that does not carry strong enough round (.223/5.56 caliber) among other issues. While the AR-15 has become a popular gun, and is growing in popularity for hunting, the system was not designed for hunting big game. Many hunting rifles have stronger and higher caliber ammunition, range and impact (aka more firepower) than the AR-15.

2. Automatic Weapons should be illegal/are illegal.

  • This one is a bit trickier. Technically, assault weapons are in fact illegal. The gun-lobby and gun owning Americans have accepted this concession and allowed the government to restrict the sale of automatic weapons to guns made prior to 1986.
  • Automatic weapons are effectively illegal under 3 certain conditions: 1) they require an extensive background and documentation which usually take 9-12 months of federal paperwork 2) the weapon cannot be made post-1986. All pre-1986 weapons are grandfathered and can be bought-sold with heavy restrictions 3) the documentation paperwork requires a $200 postage stamp (tax) and clean record. Due to the limitation and rarity of weapons, they often run in the high thousands.

3. Semi-automatic weapons vs. Automatic weapons.

  • The language surround guns, especially AR-15s, is often filled with adjectives meant to bring fear. “Military styled semi-automatic assault weapons.” The only accurate part of the quote is “semi-automatic.” Semi-automatic weapons are recoil powered engineering. The gun is only able to shoot one round, per pull of the trigger. Once the shell of a round is expelled from the chamber, another round is fed and locked in place for the next trigger pull. One squeeze, one round.
  • An automatic weapon is also recoil powered but mechanized in a way that allows multiple rounds to exit on one trigger pull. Often referred to as “machine guns,” like those found in The Godfather or Mission Impossible, automatic weapons are largely illegal in the USA outside above stated special licensing and/or governmental duty weapons (LEO, Military, etc).

4. AR-15s kill more people than any other gun.

  • The AR-15 is in fact a very uncommonly used weapon for gun related homicide. In fact, considering all types of rifles (beyond the AR-15), the vast majority are killed with handguns. Rifle related deaths are under 5% annually.

– NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/sunday-review/the-assault-weapon-myth.html (Left lean)
– HP: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/assault-weapons-deaths_us_5763109de4b015db1bc8c123 (Left Lean)

5. The NRA controls the gun conversation and is the most powerful lobby in Washington DC.

  • The NRA is one of many lobbying organization that run around DC but in terms of power, it is the largest pro-gun lobby representing 5 million gun owners and approximately 1 in every 5 gun owners.
    When compared to other lobby organizations, the NRA is quite tiny:

“1998 and 2016, the NRA spent approximately $13 million on all candidates, parties, and leadership political action committees, according to the Left’s favorite fact-checker, Politifact. The NRA also spends money on “outside expenditures,” meaning ads they cut themselves, for example, in the amount of $144.3 million, plus another $45.9 million on lobbying. That’s a grand total of $203.2 million on political activities over 18 years, or approximately $22.6 million per 2-year election cycle. The NRA spends far more in presidential years than non-presidential years — according to OpenSecrets, the NRA spent some $54.4 million in 2016 on politics.”

“According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, labor unions spent $1.713 billion on political activities and lobbying for the 2016 election cycle alone. That’s not unusual: they also spent $2.2 billion on political activities in 2008 and 2010, and $1.69 billion in 2012.”

– DW: https://www.dailywire.com/news/27236/kimmel-media-say-nra-buys-politicians-heres-why-ben-shapiro (Conservative lean)
– OS: https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?indexType=s (Nuetral)

Common Arguments

1. Mass shootings don’t happen like this in other countries.

  • The left likes to point at Europe as the “civilized west” and supreme example of how a nation should be run. So while it’s easy to point to the world and prove that the US isn’t completely out of control, comparisons with the likes of Mexico or Brazil will win no one over. So what if we compared the USA with Europe?

“Here’s the list of the 18 countries with the top death rate per million people from mass public shootings from 2009 through 2015:

Norway: 1.888*
Serbia: 0.381
France: 0.347
Macedonia: 0.337
Albania: 0.206
Slovakia: 0.185
Switzerland: 0.142
Finland: 0.132
Belgium: 0.128
Czech Republic: 0.123
United States: 0.089
Austria: 0.068
The Netherlands: 0. 051
Canada: 0.032
England: 0.027
Germany: 0.023
Russia: 0.012
Italy: 0.009

– CR: https://crimeresearch.org/2015/06/comparing-death-rates-from-mass-public-shootings-in-the-us-and-europe/ (Nuetral)

* It should be noted, Norway’a high number is inflated by one major mass event resulting in 77 murders. America is a nation of 325+ million people so perspective is important.

2. The 1994 Assualt Weapon Ban continuation would prevent mass shootings.

  • According to statistics, the AWB of 1994 had little to no effect on crime, as most gun related homicides were committed with non-assault weapon handguns.
    Pre Assault Weapon Mass Murder Incidents resulted in 8.2 deaths per incident. 7.4 deaths per incident during the ban and 8.8 after the ban. This is within the margin of error. Also, the greatest issue at hand is actually the amount of mass incidents, not the type of weapon used or number of killed.

– NR: https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/06/assault-weapon-ban-no-orlando-shooting-guns/ (Conservative)

3. Australia’s gun buy-back program eliminated mass shootings, why can’t we follow suit?

  • The Biggest problem with this argument is that it completely ignores the 2nd Amendment which is based in the natural right to self defense and freedom from tyranny (we’ll come back to that soon). Australia does not have a Bill of Rights with a guaranteed protection of the legal ownership of arms (guns).
  • Furthermore, Australia had a very low amount of mass shooting events to being with. In fact, the mass shooting incident occurrences were so low, “zero” mass shootings fall within the margin of error for the total count prior to the ban, making the post-ban measurements fairly inconclusive.
  • Lastly, the gun by-back program has led to a rise in violent crimes. It’s fairly easy to find your prey when your victim is guaranteed to be unarmed.
    The gun confiscation also had no significant affect on murder rates and suicides.

– Univ of Melbourne: http://c8.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/Lee%20and%20Suardi%202008.pdf
– Center for Crime: http://c3.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/Baker%20and%20McPhedran%202007.pdf

4. The 2nd Amendment was written in the 18th Century when muskets were the gun of the day so it is therefor unfit for today.

  • First, repeat fire weapons, though rare, were around at the time of the American Revolution and were a growing technology the founders were aware of – as a number of the founders were engineers, scientists and inventors in their own right. (Daily Caller: Right lean http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/29/these-guns-dispel-the-notion-the-founding-fathers-could-never-have-imagined-modern-assault-rifles/)
  • Secondly, the 2nd Amendment was written in 1789 and ratified in 1791 in the immediate aftermath of the Revolutionary War with Great Britain. The founders understood rifles and arms to be important tools to help toss off tyranny – not just good for hunting. In fact, “arms” can be easily noted to be the most advanced weapons of the day and included canon weaponry. While I am not clamoring for the average person to have jet planes or nukes, the pro-gun American has given up numerous concessions and rights concerning what they could own as a firearm.
  • California has even moved to ban magazines larger than 10 rounds, understanding that such is sort of a workaround toward ridding of weapons entirely.
  • Important to note, the amendment is not relegated to a “militia” solely but supports the existence of an individual right (meaning regular citizen ownership).

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the people are armed and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force at the command of Congress can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power.”- Noah Webster, Father of American Edu

– Vox – Left lean: https://www.vox.com/2016/8/22/12559364/second-amendment-tyranny-militia-constitution-founders
– NR – Conservative lean: https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/04/second-amendment-protects-individual-right-keep-bear-arms/

5. Guns murders top 30,000 per year therefore guns ownership is no longer justifiable.

  • One of the major issues with the Gun Statistics shown nationally is the lack of understanding behind the definition of Homicide. In fact, if you look up “homicide” on dictionary.com, you’ll be told that it is an “unlawful killing of another; murder.” This is not entirely accurate. Homicides, from a legal understanding, also include self defense, suicide, accidents and manslaughter.
  • You’ve probably read this before in some form but it’s worth noting: (note the most data from 2014/15 estimates unless otherwise shown)

The U.S. population 324,059,091 as of Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Do the math: 0.000000925% of the population dies from gun related actions each year. Statistically speaking, this is insignificant! What is never told, however, is a breakdown of those 30,000 deaths (2015 est), to put them in perspective as compared to other causes of death:

65% of those deaths are by suicide which would never be prevented by gun laws. Suicidal people will find a means to kill themselves without guns. Guns merely make the act quick and painless. Suicides are not a crime.
• 15% are by law enforcement in the line of duty and largely justified (99% of the time).
• 17% are through criminal activity, gang and drug related or mentally ill persons – gun violence
• 3% are accidental discharge deaths

So technically, “gun violence” is not 30,000 annually, but drops to 5,100. Still too many? Well, first, how are those deaths spanned across the nation?
• 480 homicides (9.4%) were in Chicago
• 344 homicides (6.7%) were in Baltimore
• 333 homicides (6.5%) were in Detroit
• 119 homicides (2.3%) were in Washington D.C. (a 54% increase over prior years)

Essentially, 25% of all gun crime happens in just 4 cities. All 4 of those cities have strict gun laws, so it is not the lack of law that is the root cause.

This leaves 3,825 for the entire rest of the nation, or about 75 deaths per state. That is an average because some States have much higher rates than others. For example, California had 1,169 and Alabama had 1.

Now, consider which states have the strictest gun laws, such as California, so it is not guns causing this. It is a crime rate spawned by the number of criminal persons residing in those cities and states. So if all cities and states are not created equally, then there must be something other than the tool causing the gun deaths.

Are 5,100 deaths per year horrific? How about in comparison to other deaths? All death is sad and especially so when it is in the commission of a crime but that is the nature of crime. Robbery, death, rape, assault all is done by criminals and thinking that criminals will obey laws is ludicrous. That’s why they are criminals. It should be noted, the vast majority of these victims are minority men.

But what about other deaths each year?
• 40,000+ die from a drug overdose–(2017 number is now 50,000 from Heroin alone).
• 36,000 people die per year from the flu, far exceeding the criminal gun deaths
• 34,000 people die per year in traffic fatalities(exceeding gun deaths even if you include suicide)

Now it gets good:
• 250,000+ people die each year (and growing) from preventable medical errors. You are safer in Chicago than when you are in a hospital! (Note* these do not include troublesome prescription signing).

Some notes I added: 893,000 abortions conducted in 2016. Again, the vast majority of these victims are minorities.

  • Most Importantly are the statistics on how many lives are SAVED per-year because of firearms. Give the number of instances are difficult to measure, the low number of lives saved is still significant: 250,000. The high end of possible lives saved using guns is 3 million.

– FBI: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s
– Times – Left lean: http://time.com/5011599/gun-deaths-rate-america-cdc-data/

Peculiar Inconsistencies

Left:

  • I’m not sure if it’s extremely ironic or simply ignorant that the left has a general depiction of police and law enforcement as nominally corrupt, racist and otherwise cruel but also want government & Police to have the only right to bear arms.
  • Take it a step further and call it downright suicidal to believe President Trump is a fascist, or the reincarnation of Hitler, yet also desire for his government to eliminate the protections of the 2nd Amendment.
  • The left was quick to point out the failures of law enforcement deputies to enter into Thw HS and perform their duty to stop the killer – yet they still maintain the belief that we should not allow people to own various types of firearms (or all types of firearms) in an effort to defend themselves. Can we or can we not count on government to protect us?

Right:

  • Isn’t it a bit contradictory to believe federal government is terrible at conducting backgrounds for potential incoming refugees but its completely satisfactory and even overbearing for simple background checks for firearm purchases? Mind you there are major differences to note but this seems to fly in the face of “the central government is no good” idea presented by the right.
  • The right doesn’t trust public education at the collegiate and secondary school level as they believe children are becoming increasingly “indoctrinated” with Leftist worldview but definitely don’t mind giving the same people firearms in the classroom.
  • The right openly supports statistics showing the failures of gun control but also supports the suppression of research by the CDC.

 

Commonly Presented Solutions

Finding solutions to the problem at hand is not simple. Both sides are seeking very practical solutions that can be put into place immediately. Here are some I have commonly heard requested:

Left:

1. Require gun owner licensing, gun registration and liability insurance as with vehicles.

  • First and foremost, all legal firearms are registered, like vehicles. This is primarily to keep documentation for ownership and doubles by helping in criminal cases (serial numbers).
  • The obvious issue here is that vehicles are not constitutionally protected. Driving a vehicle is a privilege. Owning a firearms is a Right.
  • Since the Federal government determined firearms as a Right afforded to individuals, placing barriers in front of said Right (like requiring insurance or licensing) create significant problems.
  • Consider the right to vote. In the Jim Crow South, barriers were placed in front of minority voters by requiring tests or taxes at the voters poll. These restraints on firearm ownership would likely be translated in a similar way.

2. Ban AR-15s or semi-automatic rifles.

  • As explained above, banning either of the above mentioned weapons is problematic in that it will be considered a great incursion on gun rights. Furthermore, the argument for banning such weapons is extremely weak as noted earlier, rifle homicides account for less than 5% of all gun deaths in the United States.

3. Voluntary surrendering of high powered firearms.

  • I may sound like I am repeating myself but the left’s fascination of blaming the AR-15 is blinding their ability to see the real issue – and it’s not the gun – it’s the person behind the gun.
  • AR-15s account for a tiny percentage of gun crime. Even considering the last major mass shootings, the simple handgun (in its various caliber and types) out-kill rifles by over 95%. In fact, knives are responsible for more deaths than the AR-15, annually. (FBI: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-12)
  • The recent viral videos showing law abiding gun owners surrendering, destroying and otherwise “quitting” their AR-15s is nothing short of stupid. Listen, if they do not feel they can be responsible for the weapon, then more power to them but their act is nothing less than “virtue signaling.” By that I mean, it acts as a “show of pompous morality” than anything actually effective. In one case, a man who had an AR-15 for over 30 years surrendered his weapon as if it would one day leave his home and commit a crime on its own. Why not keep the weapon and use it for good? The left wing media posts and praises these ideas and in doing so it willing to shame all those who maintain their weapon for their protection.

Right:

1. Armed Guards at schools.

  • While posting arm guards at schools would act as a “targeted hardening” tactic used by airports, sporting arenas and high value personnel (politicians), doing so may create nightmarish logistical and financial issues for many cash strapped states and local school districts. Where would the money come from? If the money is federal by what means, what training and who are the actors? The solution can work but would create other issues. Are those worthwhile?

2. Arming teachers:

  • President Trump stated he would be willing to create a system of bonuses for teachers who would be willing to carry arms in schools. While there is precedent for arming teachers (See: Israel), are we really asking underfunded teachers to spend money on guns, ammunition and training?
  • Another form of this idea to remove the “gun free zone” posting at schools and allowing teachers who are already trained to carry at their own will and giving tax credits to them for continuous training.
  • An acquaintance of mine challenged this position by suggesting the level of liability on teachers who shoot would be overwhelming. While this is certainly an issue, I asked if it would be worthwhile giving the students and staff a chance to live as opposed to waiting many more minutes for police response. He responded by saying they did not deserve said chance because the risk of liability and the possible proliferation of firearms is not worthwhile. Interesting.

3. Mental Health Reform

  • When the federal government shuttered mental health programs all over the US, treatment for people suffering from mental health issues were reprioritized to the bottom. Now, many suffering from such issues end up trapped in a revolving door of prescriptions, institutionalizations and confinement.The issues go unaddressed and often go overlook.
  • Many of the recent mass shooters are all shown to have some form of mental health problems. Increased prioritization of mental health issues may result and/or help remedy such mass events and/or decrease instances of suicide via firearm.

The issue surrounding guns is not one to be taken lightly. Neither is the conversation. Far too many people, on both sides, are simply unwilling to meet on middle ground and discuss the issues. The Left screams that the right is complicit in murdering children for it desire to maintain their rights, and the Right screams at the Left for being complicit and willing to surrender all of their freedoms to the Leviathan.

I do not have immediate solutions to the problem. I do believe America can bolster and encourage long standing dramatic cultural changes that can ultimately fix or at least help allege some of what we are experiencing. Our issues are a deep heart (or spiritual) problem. When you look deeper at the profile of such mass killers, you will find common issues like mental health and other less glaring but very important issues like the lack of a strong biological father figure in the home.

Am I seriously asking for more fathers to be men in hopes of helping curve violence like that scene in Las Vegas and Parkland? Absolutely. Consider the insanely powerful statistics for the “father effect” on a household and how there is a dramatic decrease in likelihood to use drugs, be incarcerated, experience mental health problems, become violent, become a criminal etc., if a father is in the home.

(Fatherly – liberal lean): https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/science-benefits-of-fatherhood-dads-father-effect/
(FOTF – conservative lean): https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-q-and-a/parenting/the-significance-of-a-fathers-influence

There are also other spiritual remedies for America. While we declare, “In God We Trust,” yet we have shunned and expelled God from schools, even pushing away common sense rules like the Ten Commandments (which most people both secular and spiritual would declare as a good list of rules). We can’t hold prayers in school or even discuss True morality, instead we have replaced it with relativist thought and Darwinism. Ironically, those who taught such ideologies picture themselves as the moral superior individual.

Finally, there is also one immediately applicable solution. Media and others must stop enticing more violence by “celebrating” and “memorializing” these mass shooters. When Dana Loesch of the NRA stated the media loves mass shootings, she did not say this out of anger but rather enlightenment. Media has always stated, “If it bleeds it leads.” Such stories circulate in our media for months and lead on every headline. Unfortunately,  publicizing these killers names and faces, actually encourage more people to seek out fame through similar means. So far, only one small but influential media organization the conservative oriented, Daily Wire ran by Chief Editor Ben Shapiro, has vowed to stop publicizing these killers names and faces. It’s a very practical move. If mass media would be willing to join the Daily Wire, then perhaps some of these potential killers would lose their desire to act. One could say, until they act, the mass media is far more liable than for the next mass shooting than any claim made against the NRA.

So lets continue to pray for this nation as we struggle through such tragic times. While the left may mock our prayers, we know their effectiveness in transforming the hearts and minds of both the prayer and those it’s directed toward. Action of course, is a part of any good plan.

– (LAT – left lean) http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mass-shooters-fame-infamy-20151002-story.html
– (UA – left lean) https://www.as.ua.edu/2016/04/27/when-fame-breeds-infamy-shooters-who-want-attention-a-growing-phenomenon/

Clear, Reasoned, Conservatism