Good and compelling: Be rich

So in Maryland, the rule to get a concealed weapons permit was that you need to have a “good and substantial reason” to carry a weapon, and reading this article, it appears that a good reason would be “I am an attorney and carry large amounts of cash.”

This indicates to me that if you are rich and need to protect your money, it is OK, but if you are poor and only wish to protect your life, then you deserve to die.

Stop it!

I keep hearing the right bleat on about how this country is a Christian nation. They are wrong. John Adams, Sr. (one of the founders) wrote in the Treaty Of Tripoli, which was unanimously approved by Congress, and became law in 1797:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims),—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Yet, the Republicans are constantly trying to worm religion into every corner of American life, by using the coercive power of the state to do so. For example, wanting to alter the WW2 memorial to add a prayer to it, or passing resolutions about posting the phrase, “In God We Trust” in public buildings. (Even though the phrase was not a US motto before 1957)

Look, I don’t care if you worship any particular god, but using government to force others to listen to your version of “the way” is not proper. Show me in the Constitution where it says that we are a Christian nation.

A religion is like a penis- it’s great that you have one, but rude to try and cram it down other people’s throats.

Civil rights, 1983 lawsuits, liability

After the incident that I last blogged about, where a Canton, OH police officer threatened a pair of citizens with physical force, I listened to the recording of the City Council President, where he gives his opinion on the whole incident:

The Council President states that the police officer’s actions were logical because the person involved was legally carrying a concealed weapon in a bad neighborhood at 1:30 in the morning, around prostitutes and drug dealers. Excusing the cop’s actions in this manner is a bit of a problem. Let me explain why:

42 USC 1983 provides that, “Every person who under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, Suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress

Meaning that the citizen involved gets to sue both of the officers who violated his rights by threatening harm to him, and will probably be successful. You can sue cities and counties under 1983 in what is called a Monell claim. Under Monell, to hold a municipality liable you need to show that your constitutional injury was caused by a policy or custom of the municipality. Monell liability can be established where a municipal official with final policy-making authority ratifies a subordinate’s unconstitutional conduct and the basis for it. The theory behind municipal liability in this context is that the acts of persons with final policy-making authority are considered to be the equivalent of government policy.

To establish municipal liability, a claimant must show a persistent and pervasive practice of the police department in failing to respond to police misconduct. While a single act of misconduct is insufficient to establish municipal liability, a person in a policy making position can show that the unconstitutional behavior of the municipality approved of the act, and thus made the act a de facto policy. In police brutality cases, the municipal entity’s liability can be established by showing that the city encourageed or authorized the conduct.

By stating that the incident that took place is to be expected when people carry concealed weapons in compliance with state law, he has authorized the officer’s conduct and opened himself and the city to a 1983 lawsuit. Damage awards in civil rights cases can be high. In 2007, a man won over three million dollars for damages he suffered from false arrest and other indignities by Oakland, California police officers. That award included punitive damages.

Officer Harless: background

By now, everyone in the gun community has seen the video where Officer Harless of the Canton, OH police department threatened to put “lumps” on a woman that he suspected of being a prostitute, and threatened to kill a man who was legally carrying a concealed weapon. The law in Ohio states that a permit holder must immediately notify an officer that he is carrying a weapon, if he is approached by that officer. The holder attempted to tell the officer three times, but was told to shut up before he could get the words out. When the officer finally finds out about the weapon, he flips out. See the video below:

I show you this video as background for my next post, where I show you how Canton, OH has officially screwed themselves.

Paid administrative leave and the Constituion

Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows that I am not shy about pointing out when cops have overstepped their bounds. I am not a cop basher, I just call em like I see em, bashing them when they screw up and I support them when they deserve to be supported. This is one of those times.

Whenever a cop does something stupid or controversial, he is placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation, and many people are quick to scream “paid vacation” and “cover up” because they feel that the cop is getting away with the act. The truth is actually quite different.

Since a cop is potentially going to be deprived of something (his job) by a government agency, he or she in entitled to the same rights and protections as an other person in this nation, and as many are quick to point out, cops are civilians the same as the rest of us, and need to be treated in the same way. This means that the government agency, his or her employer, cannot deprive him of his liberty or property without due process of law. When I studied for my degree in Public Safety Administration, we had to take classes on Administrative Law. I will excerpt some of my class materials/papers below, and attempt to explain:

The Fifth Amendment to the U. S, Constitution states “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” Originally this amendment was construed to be applicable only to the federal government. Later, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified to provide “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment clearly applies to municipalities as well. City of Mobile v, Bouldin, 446 U.S. 55 (1950). Further, Section 1983 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code prohibits any person from depriving another of his or her civil rights under color of state law. Section 1983 covers municipal actions as well.

Here we are concerned about a public employee (cop) who is called by the employer to answer for some transgression and punished. The employee appeals, claiming that the public employer violated the employee’s rights by depriving him or her of property (in this instance, the job) without extending due process of law, and deprived the employee of liberty (in this instance, his or her good name in the community) without providing due process of law. A public employee with a constitutionally protected property interest in that employment must be afforded the process prior to termination. Cleveland Bd. Of  Educ, v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532,105 S.Ct 148 (1985).

Two U.S. Supreme Court decisions address these questions: Board of Regents V. Roth, 408 U.S. 564 (1972); Perry v. Sinderman, 408 U.S. 593 (1972). The decisions in Roth and Sinderman involved tenured teachers who were fired and who subsequently claimed violation of due process as to their property and liberty rights. These decisions were applicable to all public employees, whether tenured or non-tenured. The court held that a public employee has a property interest protected by due process if he or she could show a “legitimate claim of entitlement” to the job – a contract, or tenure, or even oral or implied understandings – creating a reasonable expectation of continued employment.

A recent decision in the third circuit, Schmidt v. Creedon, F.3d (3rd Cir. 2011) (pdf) makes clear that absent extraordinary circumstances, prior to suspending a police officer for any reason, a police department must provide the officer with notice and a hearing. A good explanation can be found here.

So when you hear that a cop has been suspended pending investigation, it isn’t a Union that is protecting him, it is the same Constitution that protects everyone.

It’s like they are trying to lose

Obama the President is turning out to be unpopular, and he is being torn up in the polls by “unnamed Republican.” The presidential race has not even begun yet, and the Republicans are virtually guaranteed a win. Then they go and say stupid, shit that makes people not want to vote for them. Like this:

Asked if his view could lead any community to stand up in opposition to a proposed mosque, Cain replied, “They could say that.” He pointed to opposition to the planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., as an example.
“Let’s go back to the fundamental issue that the people are basically saying that they are objecting to,” Cain said. “They are objecting to the fact that Islam is both religion and (a) set of laws, Shariah law. That’s the difference between any one of our other traditional religions where it’s just about religious purposes.”

Here in Florida, I can’t buy alcohol on Sunday until after noon.

Nationwide, your very own (Republican) party is opposed to gay marriage, because it will hurt the religious sanctity of marriage, what ever that means.

You want to know why many cannot relate to, or vote for, your party? Because you are a bunch of Bible thumping, in your face religious hypocrites who continually like to spout off about the Constitution, but only when it suits your purposes.

(As opposed to Democrats, who quote the parts of the Constitution THEY like, when it is convenient to their purposes, like flag burning and porn, but ignore it when they want to ban guns or redistribute my pay.)

Back door gun bans

Let’s say that as a government, I want to make it illegal for citizens to carry guns, but a certain founding document and political expediency would prevent me from doing so. Instead I decide that I will create a legal climate that forces others to do so in my stead.

1 I make all property owners legally liable for any shooting that any guest or employee perpetrates against any other guest or employee. That means anyone who is on your property that shoots anyone else, the victim can sue the property owner.

2 You also make the law so that the property owner is exempt from the above situation, as long as the property owner prohibits weapons on the property.

This means that the property owner has been coerced into prohibiting weapons on the property, as there is a large reason to prohibit weapons, and no reason not to. In this case, it is not the property owner’s freely made decision to prohibit weapons, that decision was made under duress.

Furthermore, this decision and legal climate will do nothing to stop crime, while preventing the law abiding from defending themselves. The net result of this would actually increase violent crime, since criminals are now free from the threat of defensive force.

That is the reality of “no guns” policies in America today. Since a property owner would be sued by anyone who is shot, and legally insulated from liability if the shooter violated a property owner’s prohibition on weapons possession, no one can rightfully claim that a no weapons policy of a property owner is a choice that was made free from coercion.

This is why Pizza Hut prohibits its drivers from carrying weapons. They could be liable if an employee shoots a robber, but are held harmless if the driver is killed by an armed robber. There are those who say that the employee could always choose to work elsewhere, but since the law is the law everywhere, there is no real choice. Very, very few employers choose to take the chance of facing a multimillion dollar award just to save an employee that can be replaced with a simple want ad.

One at a time: A range report

There are many who claim that Liberals are stupid and illogical, especially when it comes to gun rights. I would agree that some of them are. I would also say that some know better, but deliberately hide the truth to fit an agenda. Some Liberals realize that the right to defend one’s life and health from attack, aided by the right to keep and bear arms, is just as important as other human rights.

However, it is my opinion that the vast number of people who say they do not like guns or are afraid of guns, do not have this opinion because of logic, they have this opinion out of ignorance. I am not saying this as an insult, as I know a few people who think this way, and they are pretty intelligent people, who in many cases, will listen to reason and can be convinced to change their mind. Let me give you a couple of examples:

There was Julie. She was a fairly liberal, college educated Jewish woman that I dated for about two years. When we met, and she found out that not only did I own guns, but actually routinely carried one, she nearly went ballistic. She was especially concerned that it was legal to carry a gun into a bank, because an armed person might rob the bank. I pointed out to her how illogical her position was, and how a having a gun doesn’t make you a bank robber any more than having a computer makes you a hacker, and told her: “So a person is about to rob a bank, when he realizes that it is illegal to have a gun in a bank, and so he goes home and gets a job?”

A year or so later, she told me that I was one of the least violent people she had ever met, and that I had totally changed her opinion on gun owners. Even though she now has no interest in owning a gun herself, she is at least no longer antagonistic towards gun owners, and has seen the light.

There is Jennifer. She has been a friend of mine for about 10 years, and is a 30-something college educated professional who works in the medical field. She is a self described Liberal, and until she met me had never even seen a gun before, except on TV. I took her to the range last night, and she genuinely enjoyed it, even though she tells me that she would not care to own a gun herself.

I made jokes, and put her at ease. I told her that for safety reasons, it is customary for first time shooters to dress like Catholic Schoolgirls, so that other shooters know that they are new and are careful around them. She laughed, and then said, “Not a chance.” 

A little gentle persuasion, and a trip to the range to shoot a Sig Mosquito, and she is hooked. I gave her a lot of encouragement, a quick safety lecture on the four rules, and let her shoot the less powerful guns ( Sig Mosquito and a Glock 19 with subsonic ammo). Couple that with a large target at 7 yards, and she did well. She grinned like a Cheshire cat. All of her shots were in a 6 inch group, and she kept the target to show her Liberal family and friends. After,. we went to dinner, and she told me that she had been afraid and nervous all day, and now saw that there was nothing to be worried about.

Perhaps I will take some of her liberal family and friends shooting as well. No matter what, I will not start them off on a scary hand cannon or large bore moose gun. No, I have a Sig Mosquito, and a Ruger 10/22 that is used specifically to teach people new to guns that shooting can be safe and fun.

That is how you win the fight. Many Liberals are smart, conscientious people who will make the smart, logical choice, if the information is given to them in a non confrontational, non intimidating way. We will win the fight for our rights, because logic and reason is on our side.

Orlando Slantinel Opinion on Open Carry

The Orlando Sentinel Slantinel has published a commentary by columnist Mike Thomas on the Florida Open Carry movement. I want to take a few moments and respond to his screed.

So you are walking down Park Avenue, window shopping for all the stuff you once could afford, and suddenly coming down the sidewalk you see three gunslingers.

It’s like the Wild West except they’re drinking lattes, and instead of six-shooters, they have Glocks clipped to their matching Gucci belts.

Would this bother you?

Well, it could happen because the “open carry” movement has come to Florida.

More “wild West” references. I remember the Sentinel (and other outlets) bringing out the tired references to the “wild west” every time there is a gun law coming up that they don’t like. Funny thing is, the wild west scenario they dream of never seems to happen.

Open carry means just that. Any law-abiding citizen is allowed to openly carry a handgun.

If they are law abiding, why is it a problem? Don’t you anti gun people who oppose our rights constantly say that the goal is to disarm criminals? Since I can already carry a concealed firearm nearly anywhere I want, what you are really afraid of is seeing the icky, scary guns. The only thing that changes with this law is that I won’t have to worry if my coat flies open on a windy day. 

These guys conduct open carry demonstrations, where they stand around like exhibitionists, exposing their weaponry for all to see. What would Freud think?

 Insert obligatory dick reference here.

They even have figured out a way to hold these events in Florida. By state law, you are allowed to open carry while you are fishing — a frightening thought if you’ve ever been to Sebastian Inlet at the opening of snook season.

So they go to fishing piers and stand around with their guns on hips, pretending to fish. And if someone hooks a stingray, they’re not even allowed to shoot it. Well, maybe if the stingray raises its tail it would be legal under Stand Your Ground.

GASP!! Law abiding citizens have found a way to COMPLY WITH THE LAW. Then, we slam on the Stand Your Ground Law at the same time. Aren’t you clever!

Read the whole thing, and you will understand why I canceled my subscription to that paper.

Images courtesy of Rob Allen

that I will support and defend the Constitution

 I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

I have taken this oath three times in my life. When I enlisted in the military at age 18, when I reenlisted in the military at age 22, and when I was sworn in at my current employer. (Of course the one from my current employer was a little different.) Each time, I considered the Oath I was taking as not just some words that I repeated. I took this oath as a solemn promise that I swore to uphold, even to the point of giving my life to keep that promise. 

The Oath Keepers is an organization that swears to uphold that promise. They are not a militia. They do not advocate committing crimes. They simply make these ten promises:

  • We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.
  • We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people
  • We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.
  • We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.
  • We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
  • We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
  • We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
  • We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control.”
  • We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
  • We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

 In other words, they are agreeing to live up to their oath of office. Our elected officials, who take a similar oath, should take this to heart. As unlikely as some of the above items are, how cold anyone be threatened by the statements being made above? The only way they could take these statements as a threat, is if they had some plan in place that would cause oath keepers to refuse their orders.

This is why it surprises me that a young man who calls himself an oath keeper has reportedly had his child taken away by child protective services because of this oath. Apparently, taking the oath of office required. Actually following it is cause for your child to be taken from you.