A Significant Failure in the Victim Selection Process

… seems to be a bit of an understatement.

Thugs Try Brazen Robbery, Get Shot by 3 Workers, Each with their own gun

Nice! I expect they needed new underwear after that little fiasco.

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Some followup on the NRV Mall / New River Community College Shootings

 

A couple of weeks ago, just as the gun-control debate in the Senate was heating up, a nameless attention-whore decided to take a shotgun and shoot up the local community college satellite campus. This is MY community college, the one that I am currently taking classes at. Thankfully, he didn’t manage to kill anybody, and only managed to wound two people (which is probably the only reason the anti-Rights blood-dancers didn’t jump all over it).

I call him an attention-whore because he actually posted his intent on 4chan before he started, and posted the address for the local emergency services internet radio scanner, telling people to listen to the chaos he was about to inflict. As a result, the maintainer of that scanner has discontinued it (I assume that’s the reason, based on the note at the link, which says “Due to recent events that have taken place in my community, I have decided to discontinue this feed.”). This is highly irritating to me, since I frequently used it while at work to see if there was a major emergency nearby – usually when I would hear multiple police/fire/EMS sirens. That scanner feed is how I learned about that particular incident, and how I learned about the murder of Virginia Tech Police Officer Deriek Crouse, which occurred only a couple of blocks from my office.

Speaking of learning about these incidents, I also learned (or verified, really, since I already knew) that you cannot rely on those fancy text/email alert systems that most colleges have put in to warn people about emergencies. It wasn’t until about 20 minutes after the shootings that I got the first text message from the college, and that only said that the college was “closing immediately at both locations”. The first message alerting students that “administrators have unconfirmed reports of a shooting” at the mall campus didn’t go out until 40 minutes after the shootings.

In other words, by the time I got the emergency messages, the emergency was long over. I don’t know whether the delay was in getting the message to the administration, the administration waiting to send it, or simply the cellular networks getting overloaded by the sudden batch sending of about 5,000 text messages, but it was essentially useless as an actual emergency alert system. Like always, you are on your own when it comes to your own safety.

And, of course, the school’s policy is to disarm students and staff under penalty of expulsion/firing, and make their campuses into  Gun Free Victim Disarmament Zones. It worked just as well in this case as it always does.

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A hint for our chief executive

Warning shots – like those being fired by the security forces at our embassy in Yemen – only work if the people being warned believe that there’s a chance you’ll actually shoot them if they don’t stop. So far, we have not given them any reason to believe this.

These “protests” are invasions of sovereign American soil, and are acts of war. Treat them as such, and shoot the bastards.

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NYPD Shoots another innocent – but it’s not negligence this time.

It was, however, fatal.

Dramatic security video released by police shows the uniformed officer, his gun drawn, positioned outside the Bronx shop’s front door moments after a 911 call. In a flash, the store manager rushes out the door. Closely behind with his head down is Renaldo Cuevas, who runs full speed into the officer, sending both men tumbling to the sidewalk.

A pool of blood appears to form on the ground the instant Cuevas lands on his back. The officer is kneeling and pointing his semiautomatic at Cuevas when the video clip ends.

I may catch flak for this, but because of how things happened, this looks to be truly an accident, not negligence. I can’t even call a Rule 3 violation, here, given the situation. From the surveillance video, it’s obvious that something from the other direction spooked the officer so that, while he was still monitoring the door next to him, his attention was mainly focused in the other direction.  So when the robbery victims ran out of the shop, he was completely surprised by them and was ready to shoot. The fact that he didn’t shoot either person intentionally is a testament to his restraint, but he didn’t have time to transition from “ready to shoot” mode when the second robbery victim came out the door and ran into him (seriously, watch the video – if you blink, you can miss it). His finger was likely still on the trigger, and the impact either hit just right to manipulate the gun in his hand so the trigger was pulled, or it triggered the officer’s “monkey grip” reflex and he pulled the trigger in the process.

This is a tragedy, but it looks like the only ones at fault are the robbers for creating the situation in the first place. I can’t blame the officer this time. Fortunately, the suspects are in custody, and are facing murder charges.

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[Source: AP article on Yahoo! News, retrieved 9/8/12]

Yet again, armed self defense works.

An armed employee stops a robbery.

A gunshot, fired by an armed employee, interrupted a store robbery in northwest Roanoke late Tuesday.Officers responded to Annwil Grocery in the 200 block of 24th Street near Shenandoah Avenue about 11:50 p.m., according to police spokeswoman Aisha Johnson. Investigators were told that a male had entered the store and showed a gun to the employee at the register, Johnson said. She said the cashier also produced a gun and fired one shot, scaring the male out of the store.

We see it again and again. Most (though certainly not all) criminals, when confronted with deadly force in response to their own threats of deadly force, will turn tail and run. Contrary to the claims of the gun banners, self defense can work. While a gun is not a guarantee of success, it is still the most effective tool for defense against violence.

Carry your gun!

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[Source: Roanoke Times article, retrieved 8/10/12]

Quote of the Day: Changing Pants Edition – 2012-07-24

Linoge expands on someone else’s comment about acting during a mass shooting, and in doing so hits one out of the park.

Bravery is not the absence of fear; bravery is the overcoming of fear. I can only hope I will be able to do what I need to when I need to, and then I will worry about little details like changing my pants later

Somebody is unexpectedly trying to kill you. Fear is both natural, inevitable, and acceptable in that situation. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Then do what you have to do to look out for you and your own in spite of your fear.

If your pants are a bit damp or dirty when it’s all over, at least you’re still alive to change them.

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Grandmother survives armed robbery and shootout

By a miracle it would seem. Take a look at the picture in the article. Eight bullet holes in the hood, one in the grill, and both front windows shot out (the bullet hole in the windshield was apparently from her gun). From what I can tell from the article (all standard MSM caveats apply), the bad guys took a pretty tactically sound approach, with one in front of the vehicle and one on the driver’s side. They ordered her to unlock the truck and give them “the money,” probably referring to the nightly deposit from her convenience stores. She decided to fight, assuming that they were going to kill her anyway – and probably rightly so, considering that she later realized that she recognized them as regulars at one of her stores and probably would have been able to identify them later – and drew her pistol. In the firefight that followed, she hit one robber in the chest and forced the other to retreat. It’s more than likely that they had followed her before to plan this out. She survived because she was willing to fight.

But Jay G does a pretty good job covering that angle. Like he says, “Give them just what they’re asking for – hot lead.” I want to look at something else from that article.

Campbell said she owns several guns of all calibers, and given that she owns 13 convenience stores in Macon, Fort Valley and Columbus, she always keeps one on her hip and one in her car. Each store also has at least one gun.

If you listen to the anti-Rights cultists, this is a sign of paranoia, and evidence that she is mentally unfit to own firearms (of course, to the anti-Rights cultists, wanting to own any gun is evidence of being mentally unfit to own firearms). After all, why would anyone need* more than one gun, right (or at least one of each type – rifle, shotgun, and pistol)? And look at those numbers – that’s a minimum of fifteen guns that she owns – why would any one person need that many guns? And why would anyone need to carry one all the time? It’s paranoia!

Well, maybe because you never know when and where you’ll need one. Here’s one good example of the fact that a certain amount of “paranoia” is both normal and healthy. In fact, it looks like she was just “paranoid” enough to keep herself alive. While there’s no guarantee they would have killed her, they sure didn’t hesitate to start shooting when it looked like she was going to resist! And we all know that compliance does not guarantee safety.

Yet the anti-Rights cultists would rather have her robbed, probably murdered, and possibly raped (what, do you think someone willing to commit armed robbery and probably murder would hesitate at committing rape?) than have a violent criminal killed.

Remember, it may be “just money”, but the criminal has already decided whether it’s worth your life or not. You will never know what that decision was until it’s too late, so your best bet is to act as if the answer is “yes”, and give them what they want. Hot lead.

Remember, self defense works. And always CARRY YOUR GUN.

*Not that “need” really has anything to do with it.

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[Source: Article in The Telegraph (Macon(?), GA), retrieved 4/25/12]

(h/t Jay G at MArooned)

A critique of one legislator’s opposition to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law

Sebastian points us to a for/against pair of opposing editorials on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Like Sebastian notes, it’s good to see an MSM source at least printing both sides of the issue, but I do want to point out some issues I have with the “against” editorial writer’s reasoning.

It was just after 4:30 one quiet morning in Tallahassee when a gun fight broke out between rival street gang members, the gunfire piercing the slumber of many residents in this part of the Panhandle where ringing church bells are the more typical Sunday wake-up call.

When it was over, 15-year old Michael Jackson was mortally wounded, later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The two other gang members? According to the trial judge, they were acting in self defense in the 2008 shootout, and under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, the killing was justified. “The law,” said Judge Terry Lewis, “would appear to allow a person to seek out an individual, provoke him into a confrontation, then shoot and kill him if he goes for his gun. Contrary to the state’s assertion, it is very much like the Wild West.”

Certainly a tragedy, but the last sentence contains a gravely flawed bit of reasoning by the judge. Why should mere words invalidate a person’s ability to defend themselves against deadly force? If I were to verbally deliver every one of the gravest insults known to man to your face, does that give you the right to shoot me? Should I not be allowed to defend myself without having to first try to run away in the face of an immediate threat to my life?

If the dead gang-member pulled a gun in response to mere verbal insults, then the other two were defending themselves – and the proper defensive response to deadly force is deadly force. “Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill ‘em right back.

Additionally, the SYG law does not protect someone who is “engaged in an unlawful activity” (FL Statute 776.103, parts (2)(c) and (3)). I direct your attention to FL Statute 877.03, regarding “Breach of the Peace” and “Disorderly Conduct”, violation of which is a second degree misdemeanor – in other words, a crime. Deliberately “seek[ing] out an individual” for the purpose of “provok[ing] him into a confrontation” is a crime, and (despite my statement above) actually does remove the protection of FL’s SYG law. But, like any other crime, it does require that the state first prove guilt of that crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Which is the way it should be.

In Miami-Dade, Circuit Judge Beth Bloom ruled that Greyston Garcia, who had chased and then fatally stabbed a man attempting to steal Garcia’s car radio, was “well within his rights to pursue the victim.”

The victim, she ruled, had swung a bag at Garcia, thereby justifying Garcia’s deadly response. He never once called 9-1-1. But he is now a free man.

He leaves out a couple of points in this case that are mentioned in the other editorial supporting SYG. To quote in part:

The new provisions of law, commonly known as “Stand Your Ground,” provide that a law-abiding person can meet force with force only if it is necessary to do so to defend a life or stop a forcible felony. [...]

One of the few examples that Smith points to was the recent case where a victim of a burglary chased the thief to recover his stolen property and was attacked by the criminal. The thief swung a bag of stolen radio equipment at the victim in an attempt to bludgeon him. At the hearing, a medical examiner testified that the 4-to-6-pound bag of metal being swung at the victim’s head would lead to serious bodily injury or death. [Emphasis mine.]

So, the man was acting to stop a felony (I assume here that the value of the radio and damage to the car would lift the crime to felony status). It’s not clear from the information presented if it was a “forcible” felony under FL law, but that is really irrelevant here, because he didn’t use deadly force until he was presented with a threat to his life, and it was clearly a case where the classic “citizens arrest” using non-lethal force to restrain the thief would be justified (a witnessed theft of the person’s own property).

But “Stand Your Ground” is not just about guns or gun rights. It’s about the ability to extend the same home self-defense rights to the streets: to kill — with a gun, a knife, even a car — anyone someone perceives as a threat.

This is an oversimplification that misses a critical part of the law: It doesn’t allow someone to kill “anyone [they perceive] as a threat”. It allows the use of force, yes, up to and including lethal force, against a person someone reasonably perceives to be an immediate threat, if that force is reasonably believed necessary to stop that threat. The distinction is absolutely critical.

Absent a witness, the presumption of innocence remains with the individual who delivered the fatal strike.

If you believe that’s a problem, then I’ve got some bad news for you. In America, the presumption of innocence remains with anyone charged with a crime, always. That’s always been the way our legal system is supposed to work, from the very beginning. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

An arrest cannot happen unless law enforcement finds probable cause, essentially moving the decision of guilt or innocence outside a jury’s reach.

Again, that’s how our legal system works. In all criminal cases, the police cannot arrest you unless they have probable cause to believe that you have done something illegal. It’s all because of that pesky Fourth Amendment thing. It does not “mov[e] the decision of guilt or innocence outside a jury’s reach” because the jury has never been able to hear a case before probable cause has been established – and if there’s not enough evidence for mere probable cause, how is a jury going to get anywhere close to “beyond a reasonable doubt”?

Oh, and FYI, just because the police don’t arrest someone immediately doesn’t mean they can’t come back and arrest them weeks, months, or even years later. But if they arrest someone before they have all the evidence together, the whole “speedy trial” part of the Sixth Amendment comes into play, meaning that even a truly guilty defendant can force a trial before the police have all the evidence needed to get a conviction, thereby getting an acquittal simply because the prosecution wasn’t ready.

Since its passage seven years ago, the number of “justifiable homicides” in Florida has soared 200 percent.

A statistic presented without context is meaningless. How many of those would have been prosecuted and resulted in a “not guilty” verdict under previous laws? How many would have involved a duty to retreat under the old law but the shooter was otherwise blameless? What has the murder rate done in the same time period? What has the overall violent crime rate done over the same period? These are only some of the questions necessary to understand if this increase is good or bad, and whether it’s related to the SYG law or not.

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[Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial, retrieved 4/10/12]

The Media Lies: Part II – The Dowdification of George Zimmerman

Les Jones did a post based on a comment I made at Weer’d’s blog, and I thought I should probably do my own post on it as a follow-up to yesterday’s post. It’s a contemporary and easily verified example of the media lying by misquoting, in what can only be a deliberately misleading and malicious attempt by MSNBC to paint George Zimmerman as an unapologetic and open racist.

“This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher from his car.

The thing is, that’s not really what he said. If you look at the transcript of the 911 call, or listen to the recording, you can easily see that for yourself. And while the words MSNBC published did come from Zimmerman, you’ll see that an important part of that conversation is missing. A part that makes what he actually said incredibly different.

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: Okay, is this guy, is he white, black, or hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

That paints an entirely different picture, doesn’t it? One that’s far less damning to Zimmerman in the court of public opinion.

If they’re going to lie that brazenly about something that’s so easily verifiable, what else are they lying about, in this case and in others? I and others pointed out the problem with their quote in comments at their site four days ago, but it has not been changed and no retraction or correction has been published that I am aware of. This means it can only have been deliberate.

Do not trust the news media. Whether it’s to boost their ratings, to advance their political agenda, or simply because they’re too lazy to learn the truth, they cannot be trusted.

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[Source: U.S. News on MSNBC.com article, retrieved 3/23/12 (for my comment at Weer'd World) and again on 3/27/12]
[Source: Examiner.com transcription of George Zimmerman's 911 call, retrieved 3/23/12 (for my comment at Weer'd World) and again on 3/27/12]

(h/t SayUncle)

Remember, the news media lies

… and sometimes we don’t learn about it until 40 years later.

Kitty Genovese was beaten, stabbed, raped, and killed in full view of dozens of New Yorkers on March 13, 1964. It became an infamous case, an example of urban disinterest and apathy. Nobody called the cops. Nobody cared. She was horribly killed in front of people who just didn’t want to get involved.

[...]

Or is that really how it really went? Again, not exactly.

Most of the basic elements of the story are accurate. Miss Genovese was stabbed to death while crying “help me!” by apartments containing 38 people. One witness later on admitted that he “didn’t want to get involved.” But here’s the rest of the story.

See, it turns out that the attack happened at 3am, only one person was woken up to witness it, she was only attacked twice, and one of those attacks was in a secluded location where nobody could see it.

Go. Read. Learn.

And remember how the media lies. Remember that story (any story) you saw on a subject you know about, and how they got easily researched information totally wrong? Why do you then trust them to get the details right on the very next story? This is known to many as the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

Remember all this when you hear all the news media reporting about how the “racist monster” Zimmerman “stalked and chased down” Treyvon Martin and “killed him in cold blood”. When you go and look at the verifiable facts (police reports, 911 tapes, etc.) and compare them to what is being reported by the media, two things become apparent.

  1. The media is lying through it’s teeth, by omission, by malicious misquoting, and by the use of images designed to prompt specific reactions and biases.
  2. What actually happened is not as clear-cut as most people believe.

I think Tam has the best summary of what is known.

An honest assessment would say that this is what we know:

  1. Zimmerman was out doing his neighborhood watch thing and saw Martin.
  2. He called 911 and followed Martin in his vehicle.
  3. When Martin walked someplace that Zimmerman couldn’t follow in his vehicle, he got out of his vehicle and followed on foot.
  4. ???
  5. In the process of getting his ass beaten, Zimmerman busts a cap in Martin.

The entire case turns on what happened in the ???, but don’t tell that to the media, the folks playing poker with a deck full of race cards, the victim disarmament crowd, or apparently the frickin’ President of the United States of America.

Note that the police and prosecutors are saying that they are not releasing all the evidence in order to protect the investigation and prosecution. This is normal procedure in any investigation where there is a possibility of charges being filed. So, how about everybody drink a big glass of calm the frell down and wait until all of the real facts are known before calling for Zimmerman’s public lynching? And while you’re at it try and remember how our legal system is supposed to work, too – they have to be able to prove that Zimmerman did something to nullify his self-defense claims, not just say “no it wasn’t”.

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[Source: Word Around the Net blog, retrieved 3/26/12]
[Source: Seeker Blog, retrieved 3/26/12]
[Source: View From The Porch, retrieved 3/26/12]

(h/t Firehand)

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