Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Firearms’

85-year-old woman grabs gun, forces burglar to call 911 on himself

In Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Second Amendment on August 21, 2008 at 1:19 pm

From CNN:

POINT MARION, Pennsylvania (AP) — An 85-year-old woman boldly went for her gun and busted a would-be burglar inside her home, then forced him to call police while she kept him in her sights, police said.

“I just walked right on past him to the bedroom and got my gun,” Leda Smith said.

Smith heard someone break into her home Sunday afternoon and grabbed the .22-caliber revolver she had been keeping by her bed since a neighbor’s home was burglarized a few weeks ago.

“I said ‘What are you doing in my house?’ He just kept saying he didn’t do it,” Smith said.

After the 17-year-old boy called 911, Smith kept holding the gun on him until state police arrived at her home in Springhill Township, about 45 miles south of Pittsburgh.

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US Supreme Court upholds right to possess and carry a gun

In Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Law, Libertarian, Second Amendment on June 26, 2008 at 8:13 pm

From ScotusBlog:

The opinion can be downloaded here. Relevant quotes from the majority opinion can be found here, and a replay of our LiveBlog can be found here. Tom’s commentary is here.

Answering a 217-year old constitutional question, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession. Although times have changed since 1791, Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority, “it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

Examining the words of the Amendment, the Court concluded “we find they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weaons in case of confrontation” — in other words, for self-defense. “The inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right,” it added.

The individual right interpretation, the Court said, “is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment,” going back to 17th Century England, as well as by gun rights laws in the states before and immediately after the Amendment was put into the U.S. Constitution.

What Congress did in drafting the Amendment, the Court said, was “to codify a pre-existing right, rather than to fashion a new one.”

Justice Scalia’s opinion stressed that the Court was not casting doubt on long-standing bans on carrying a concealed gun or on gun possession by felons or the mentally retarded, on laws barring guns from schools or government buildings, and laws putting conditions on gun sales.

Read the rest of this article on ScotusBlog.

Cirino “Reno” Gonzalez faces retrial on both acquitted counts

In Activism, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, Law Enforcement, People in the news, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond, Taxation, US Government on April 22, 2008 at 11:57 pm

From Bombs, Taxes, and Red Crayons:

Earlier this month, the jury in New Hampshire found Reno guilty on two counts, but could not reach an agreement on two other counts, resulting in a mistrial on those two undecided charges.

The government will retry those two unresolved counts on June 23, 2008, according to a recent filing in the Bob Wollfe’s docket.  The prosecutors have asked the judge to delay Wolffe’s sentencing until Reno’s trial is over, because Wolffe is expected to testify against Reno as a condition of his plea agreement.

In case anyone has forgotten, Reno provided security for Ed and Elaine Brown during their standoff against the US Marshals.  He was found guilty of two counts, and his two co-defendants were found guilty on all counts.  To catch up on the case, merely search for “Reno” on this blog.

Jury finishes deliberating in Brown supporter case

In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, Taxation on April 11, 2008 at 2:00 am

According to Bombs, Taxes, and Red Crayons, it’s been quite a day at the trial of the Brown supporters, but the jury has finally delivered its final verdict.

Earlier in the day, there was an outburst in the courtroom.

Gonzalez’s outburst

Lawyers for Gonzalez and the government met in a room adjoining the courtroom for more than half an hour following the reading of the verdicts. After their conference, they met with Singal in his chambers. The judge later instructed the jury to keep deliberating.

Just before the jury left the room, Gonzalez yelled a message to them.

“Jury nullification is your right,” he said. A second statement was difficult to hear.

Singal called the parties back into his chambers after the outburst.

There was another outburst when a supporter, Joe Haas, yelled “point of order”, and the judge had him removed from the courtroom.  According to the Concord Monitor, Chief Deputy Marshal Gary Dimartino said later that Haas was merely escorted from the building, and he was not arrested.

The jury later returned with guilty verdicts against Cirino “Reno” Gonzalez on the aiding and abetting and conspiracy charges, but they were unable to reach a verdict on the other charges.

It is unknown whether the government will retry Reno Gonzalez on the charges not resolved.

Brown supporters’ trial ended today

In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, People in the news, Second Amendment, Taxation, US Government on April 5, 2008 at 11:46 pm

Bombs, Taxes and Red Crayons has covered today’s cross-examination of Reno Gonzalez, as well as the closing statements in the trial of the Brown supporters.

Here are some excerpts:

When Reno first heard about the Ed Brown standoff, he says he didn’t know it was about tax issues.  All he knew is that Ed had holed himself up his home.  Reno had been “researching” the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco at the time.

Reno:  I didn’t think [the standoff] would last too long.  They would just go in and kill them.

Reno (later): The US Marshals don’t ask questions … I thought this would be another Ruby Ridge.

According to Reno, all three defendants were there to take advantage of Ed’s press.  Jason went to the Browns “because there was a cruise missile that hit the Pentagon” and “he was there to defend the Browns … the only thing else he did was drink beer.”  Riley was there “because he took a military oath” to defend the Constitution and his research had told him that the income tax laws were unlawful.

Prosecutor:  Don’t you care about Ed and Elaine Brown?

Reno:  Ed Brown is kind of a jerk… I’m a realist, not a hero.

Prosecutor:  Did you tell Jason to arm himself?

Reno:  No, I wouldn’t tell a pacifist to buy a gun.

Prosecutor:  Jason Gerhard is a pacifist?

Reno: Jason Gerhard is a good man.

When Ed brought him a sample zip gun and asked if he could make more, Reno said that he was “for firearms, but against mines.  The spring gun had the capability of being used as a mine.”

The most amusing part of today’s blog:

He [the prosecutor] described Jason as someone who was spoiling for a fight and who was very … interested … in his gun.

From an email Jason sent:

I choose to enjoy porn while fondling my gun at Ed Brown’s house.  Try it one day.  It’s the best of all possible worlds.

Is “my gun” what he calls Little Jason, or is he literally fondling a gun while watching porn?  Forget I asked that, I really don’t want to know.  LOL

Jason Gerhard and Danny Riley are not going to testify in their own defense.  Except for the jury’s instructions and deliberations, which will start Monday morning, the trial is over.

What I find sad is that the Brown supporters, and even Ed and Elaine themselves, have abandoned these men when they most need the support.  Their defense witnesses either took the Fifth or else failed to materialize.  Even Elaine took the Fifth, rather than testify on behalf of the men who gave up their own lives to protect hers.  None of the Brown supporters even attended the trial as a spectator, according to JJ; the only spectators were Jason’s mother and (usually) Danny’s brother.

I can’t help but wonder …. had these three men realized that Ed and Elaine would leave them hanging like this,  would they have still made the decision to become involved?

A Conversation With Mike Gravel

In Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Democracy, Democrats, Drug War, Global Warming, History, Iraq War, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Medical Marijuana, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Second Amendment, Taxation, US Government on March 28, 2008 at 1:21 am

Mike GravelEarlier today, I had an opportunity to speak by telephone with Senator Mike Gravel, a presidential candidate who has switched from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian Party. Senator Gravel welcomed my questions, and I had a very positive impression of him. He is extremely well spoken, and quite passionate about many of the issues near and dear to the Libertarian Party.

My purpose, of course, was to ascertain why he decided to switch parties, and whether he truly holds Libertarian views as opposed to only conveniently holding libertarian views in order to get the LP nomination. I quickly discovered that his most basic belief, which he has provably held for over 30 years, is thoroughly libertarian: the right of the American people to bypass and even overturn Congress and the President, when those elected officials act in contradiction to the will of the people.

Senator Gravel believes that “the American people are not empowered to do anything, and this is wrong.” He therefore believes Americans should have the ability to directly make laws through federal ballot initiatives. At present, many states allow citizens to present laws directly through initiatives which, if supported widely enough, will be placed on the ballot to potentially become law; an example of this is Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California. Senator Gravel believes citizens should be able to do the same thing on the federal level, under his National Initiative For Democracy.

The government is a tool, the people can use it. But if the people have the direct power to use it, then you’re going to see the government as a real tool, not the tool you have when the special interests determine how the tool of government is handled, by the lobbyists, who pay for the campaigns, who manipulate you to vote for them. That’s the process that has to change.

When he says that the government has the duty to release information to the public, so they can make sound decisions, he is not blowing smoke, nor is he promoting something he hasn’t already done himself. During the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel released the Pentagon Papers, reading thousands of pages into the Congressional Record, so that Americans would finally know the truth behind that war; and his defiance, by informing Americans of information which was previously viewed as classified, was a pivotal moment in American history.

Under his National Initiative For Democracy we, as citizens, could end the war, end the federal income tax, or pass a federal law allowing Americans to carry guns openly; we could make any law we want, as long as there is sufficient citizen support for it. Senator Gravel says that “the real power in this country does not lie with the leadership, with Congress or with the President; it lies with you, the American citizen”. This program would in fact become an important part of the checks and balances system, which Senator Gravel believes should have been in force from the beginning, so citizens could more easily keep Congress and the President in check.

Of course, when he was running for President in the Democratic Party, the Democrats weren’t very happy with that idea. I asked the Senator whether they oppose it because it threatens their power, or if they oppose it because they believe the average American is unable to make sound legislative decisions. He immediately replied, “Both.” He went on to explain that “the average person in Congress believes they are more intelligent than the average American, and there are a few in Congress who are very intelligent; but at the same time the average American is smarter than the average Congressman, and perfectly capable of making sound decisions.”

His suspicion of the leading presidential candidates was made clear when he said, “Don’t trust anyone who says they have all the answers. Nobody has all the answers; I don’t have all the answers. But the American public knows what is best for them, and I trust them to make those decisions.”

Talking war with Senator Gravel, for someone my age who lived during Vietnam, is like getting into a time machine, and going back to the last destructive war this country faced, when he forced a filibuster to end the draft, and thus end the Vietnam war. Senator Gravel was a maverick, and he defied Congress again and again.

As you may recall, even before we sent troops to Iraq, he warned the American public that there were no WMDs in Iraq. I asked him why, in his opinion, President Bush lied about the presence of WMDs. “Oil. He wanted to get control of the oil, and it’s all just more American imperialism and the military-industrial complex.” He went a step further, and agreed that Bush and Cheney should not only be impeached, but that they should face trial for war crimes. “Americans must stop thinking we’re above the law,” he stated. He believes that the United States should stop getting involved in foreign conflicts altogether, and “stop being the world’s policeman”.

Senator Gravel is completely against the War on Drugs, which he categorizes as a failure. “We spend 50 to 85 billion dollars a year on a drug war that does no good to anybody other than criminalizing people who shouldn’t be criminals. We have 2.3 million people in jail right now, and half of them shouldn’t even be in jail …. if you want marijuana, why not go to a package store? A fifth of gin will do more damage to you, to your health, than will a pack of marijuana. As for the rest of the drugs, why not legalize them and regulate them? We put addicts in jail when they aren’t criminals, but there they learn to be better criminals, to steal and commit crime to feed their habit. It’s a public health problem, and we need to solve it as a public health problem, and save all this money we’re spending to keep people in jail for drugs, $30,000 a year for each of them.”

He is therefore in support of decriminalizing and regulating all drugs. “If you need to get some coke, go to a doctor and get a prescription. If you’re an addict, you’ll have to register so we can help you. But the way we do it now, we catch you with drugs, we throw you in jail, and you don’t get any help.”

With regard to whether legalizing all drugs would increase addiction, he states, “That’s what they told us about alcohol, during Prohibition. Alcohol is more addictive than marijuana. Should you go to jail for having marijuana, when you don’t go to jail for having whiskey and alcohol? It’s a stupid policy, it’s gutless, and it’s damaging our inner cities. Seventy percent of the people in jail are African-Americans, and most of it is for drugs. It’s gutless on the part of our leaders to not solve this, to not treat it as a public health problem rather than a criminal problem ….. For those who say we have a drug problem, yeah, we have a problem, and it’s with stupidity at the highest levels of our government.”

As for those in prison for drug offenses, he would educate nonviolent drug offenders – whether it’s a college degree or technical training – then grant them a full pardon so they can not only be released from prison, but also have the tools they need to immediately become fully productive members of society.

He is for Second Amendment rights, saying “I have a weapon, and I’ll fight to keep it.” Insofar as how openly Americans should be able to carry weapons, he referred me back to the federal ballot initiative, saying that the American people should decide that issue.

When I asked him about reducing the size of government as well as its spending, he agreed that it has gotten completely out of hand, and that severe cutbacks should be made. The first steps would be dismantling the IRS (which would no longer be needed with his national sales tax program), and the “War On Drugs” arm of the DEA (since all drugs would be legalized). He also believes that “if we empower the people to make laws, they will shrink the government.”

I could actually hear the thrill in his voice when one question pointed out that libertarians are, by and large, for open borders. He believes that we have so many illegal immigrants here because our own laws caused them to not have work available in their own country; he states that 1.3 million farming jobs were lost in Mexico when NAFTA was passed. For that reason, he believes repealing NAFTA would cure most of the illegal immigration, as more jobs are created in their home countries. As for those who are already here and don’t want to leave, he wants to simply “put them on the path to citizenship.” He believes that we should create completely open borders, similar to what is in place in Europe, whereby citizens could cross into or from Canada or Mexico, with no questions asked.

It is undeniable that the federal government is deeply in debt, and must raise revenue. Senator Gravel, however, is opposed to the income tax, since it over-taxes the poor and middle-class, and grossly undertaxes the wealthy. He therefore proposes dismantling the IRS altogether. He would replace the income tax with a 23% sales tax, and give a rebate each month to every American family to pay for necessities. Senator Gravel believes that this would allow the poor and middle class, who spend mostly on necessities such as food and housing, to have far more disposable income. He believes this program will create the same amount of federal revenue, but in a manner which is far more fair to the poor and working class.

“I don’t know whether it’s a step to end taxation, but at this point it is a good way to fund needed revenue. Right now we tax income and investments, and investment income is taxed at a lower rate than income. We don’t tax the wealthy, and that’s what’s wrong with our system.” He again reiterated that the American people could make the final decision regarding whether federal taxation should eventually end, through his ballot initiative program.

Senator Gravel believes that Social Security funds should be left alone, rather than used by the government for other purposes as is now the norm. At this point, most Americans have already paid into Social Security. He wants everyone’s Social Security funds invested in the free market, and he wants everyone to get an accounting of their money and interest earned, just as if they had invested it with a bank; and if they die before spending what they have invested and earned, he believes that the surplus in their Social Security account should go to their heirs.

As for private investments, he believes his sales tax program with refunds for necessities will give the average American the additional funds needed to save in an IRA or other investment vehicle, as additional retirement savings to supplement what they have already put into Social Security.

He is aware that many libertarians are against Universal Health Care, but believes his plan will meet libertarian standards. He came up with the idea of a Healthcare Security System 30 years ago. Senator Gravel pointed out that he knows the healthcare system “up front and personal”. One year, he ended up with over $150,000 in healthcare costs, and went bankrupt as a result.

He believes the Democratic health care plan, wherein businesses are forced to provide health insurance for their employees, is “the wrong way to go, because it is not the responsibility of businesses to provide healthcare; their job is to be competitive in the global marketplace.” So instead, he wants to enact a Universal Single Payor Voucher plan, similar to the plan which the Veterans Administration has in place. Every American would be given a health care voucher. The vouchers would have a very modest co-pay, and a very modest deductible. Americans would have their choice of hospitals, their choice of doctors, and a choice of five or six plans. There would be no exclusions for preexisting conditions.

He doesn’t think we need to raise taxes in order to provide health care for all Americans; we just need to make our healthcare system considerably more efficient than it is at present. He believes that if we computerize healthcare records, it will streamline the system, because he says 30% of healthcare cost is in paperwork. He intends to provide every American with basic healthcare services, and if they want more or different coverage, they can choose to buy additional or supplemental plans in the free market.

He is aware of Ron Paul’s belief that the Federal Reserve is responsible for the inflationary effects which are harmful to poor and middle-class Americans. Senator Gravel wants to reexamine the Federal Reserve, and study the gold standard with an eye toward a global monetary system, which will better protect the value of our money in a global marketplace.

Senator Gravel was pivotal in shepherding the Alaska Pipeline though Congress, but at this point he would oppose any effort to drill for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Preserve. He states that instead, he wants us to end our dependence upon oil within five years. His goal would be to replace oil with alternative energy sources.

I asked Senator Gravel if there was any one moment – a light bulb moment, if you will – in which he realized that he was a libertarian. He stated, “Not really. It’s an awareness that goes back 30, 40 years, that the best way to to change things was from inside, within the power structure. Now, it’s time for a change. I am joining the Libertarian Party to become its presidential nominee. I can take the Libertarian Party to a level they’ve never been before. I am against war, I am against taxing income, I am against the war on drugs. I am for smaller government, open borders, and the ability of the American people to self-govern. I am a libertarian. I scored seven out of seven on Reason’s “Seven Ways To Win Votes” – I am for internet gambling, for medical marijuana (but I go much further than that, by decriminalizing all drugs) …. so I’m more libertarian than Ron Paul, because he scored lower. And I will work very hard as the Libertarian Party’s candidate, I will get the libertarians the national playing field they need to grow. And not just libertarians, either. I will raise the playing field for all third parties.”

All in all, Senator Gravel impressed me as sincere, intelligent, and passionate about libertarian issues. I did not at all get the impression that he is a pseudo-libertarian; I think he’s the real deal, because his actions even decades ago indicated that he is a libertarian. He left the Democratic Party because he realized that they are not receptive to his ballot initiative plan, and are not in agreement with his healthcare plan, his opposition to the War on Drugs, and many other issues. He has the presence, he has the speaking ability and dynamic personality, and he has the name recognition and contacts to place us on a more even playing field.

The Democrats’ loss may very well be our gain.

Senator Gravel suggested that those interested in more information about his views read his book “Citizen Power: A Mandate For Change”, which can be ordered online here. It is also available on Amazon.com, but their new book price is actually several dollars higher than the price on his website. Amazon’s description of the book is as follows.

As author of Citizen Power in 1971, Senator Mike Gravel determined that much of what he wrote then is apropos in America today; hence, the release of Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change that reflects the accuracy of his evaluation of problems then, his current position on a number of issues facing America now, and the process that Americans can undertake to become empowered as lawmakers in partnership with their elected officials. Most chapters of Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change present material from the original book, as well as new information and revised positions. The exceptions are Chapter 2: The National Initiative, and Chapter 7: The War on Drugs. All other chapters cover similar topics in both books, but with the senator’s fresh insights for today’s world. Each chapter ends with how the National Initiative, once enacted, could help solve the problems presented in that chapter. The Table of Contents is as follows: Chapter 1 – Now It’s the Citizen’s Turn Chapter 2 – The National Initiative Chapter 3 – America’s Failure in Education Chapter 4 – Tax Reform – The Fair Tax Chapter 5 – The Health Security System Chapter 6 – National Environmental & Energy Policy Chapter 7 – The War on Drugs Chapter 8 – Crime & Punishment Chapter 9 – The Shroud of Secrecy Chapter 10 – American Imperialism Chapter 11 – Global Governance Chapter 12 – Who Stole the American Dream?

All three customer reviews give the book five stars. There is a “look inside the book” feature, and based on that material and given that it was originally written in 1971, then updated recently, I don’t think there is any real question whether Senator Gravel is a libertarian. Based upon his statements in that book, it appears that he was a libertarian even before there was a Libertarian Party.

Here are the reviews:

It’s all about lawmaking!,

February 25, 2008
By Goodrich (Dearborn, MI USA) – See all my reviews

Those who still want Mike Gravel’s original Citizen Power, but can’t afford to pay over $200 for the few rare copies that are available, will be pleased with the new Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change. In some chapters, Senator Gravel has incorporated substantial excerpts from his original book and then updated his thoughts on each issue, often admitting that his position on a certain issue in the 1970s was naive and that he now views that issue with a mature mind. This is a refreshingly candid look at a presidential candidate’s positions on key issues facing the American people today. Most importantly, however, is Chapter 2 and supplemental appendices about the National Initiative, which Senator Gravel and some of the nation’s top constitutional scholars crafted to empower citizens as lawmakers; after all, lawmaking is the cornerstone of democracy. All subsequent chapters address how the National Initiative for Democracy (NI4D)would work to alleviate problems, such as healthcare and education.

From ending the war on drugs to restructuring the UN,

March 8, 2008

Senator Gravel has produced an engaging book! He presents complex and difficult issues facing the US and the world in understandable prose and proposes solutions that call for transformational change. In response to a legislative process controlled by corporations and special interests Gravel proposes the National Initiative on Democracy that would empower the people to legislate through direct democracy in national referendums on issues. In response to ineffective global governance Gravel calls for a restructuring of the UN including an end to veto powers for the permanent members of the Security Council. I was delighted to see his position on American exceptionalism. Granted that we are #1 in the world in the numbers of people in our prisons, on many key measures such as education, healthcare we are far from being the best in the world. I was most pleased by the optimism of Mike Gravel’s vision for the future of America in the world. He sees solutions to problems such as global warming, energy, and national security through greater cooperation with other countries. The beginning of his space policy statement on page 59 is particularly encouraging: “SPACE REPRESENTS A LIMITLESS FRONTIER for humankind. Laws modeled on the Law of the Sea need to be agreed upon to make energy, natural resources, and knowledge available in a manner that fosters greater cooperation, rather than greater competition, among all nations. In keeping with this spirit, space must not be militarized.”

Gravel’s Populist Manifesto,

March 19, 2008
By D. Douglas (California) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

An eloquent and lucid political manifesto by an increasingly refreshing, honest and prudent politician.
Citizen Power showcases a myriad of power-to-the-people proposals, and sways from your politics as usual demagoguery, while Gravel’s prose is filled with solemnity and earnestness, contrary to his political opponents.
The book’s motif is the National Initiative for Democracy, a populist program that will enable ordinary citizens to become legislatures, moreover eliminating large bureaucracies and big government lapdogs.
An emphasis is brought upon the military-industrial complex and its draconian, unproductive results. Suggesting the ultimate disintegration of the latter, if not grave consequences will ensue
Gravel’s proposals on education is most interesting, and offer an ingenious subsidiary, if utilized in orthodoxy, to our failing educational system.
The War on Drugs chapter was dismaying at least, and produced a sharp contempt for the activities our government continues to perpetuate.

I have probably forgotten important topics of this book, and my review is ultimately asymmetrical and lackluster. I can only recommend this fine book, so you can make your own judgments and discoveries.

Senator Gravel was kind enough to state that, if any of our readers have additional questions, I can phone him again to get those answers. Therefore, if you have any questions which aren’t answered here, post them and in about a week I will give him another call to get your answers for you.

Supreme Court: Oral argument re Second Amendment

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, First Amendment, Law, Libertarian, Politics, Second Amendment, US Government on March 20, 2008 at 8:18 pm

The Supreme Court website has released an mp3 file as well as a transcript of the arguments in DC v Heller, the current Supreme Court case regarding the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and its application in Washington DC.

You can listen to the oral arguments here.

You can listen to the oral arguments, while following along with a simultaneous written transcript along with photos of the speakers, here.

You can also merely read the transcript at the second link.

What do you think of the arguments?  How do you think the Supreme Court will rule on this case?

The unreported near-slaughter at last week’s SuperBowl

In Media on February 9, 2008 at 12:58 am

AR-15 assault rifleI don’t remember hearing about this before. Do you? Yet, it should have been big news when it happened.

A would-be bar owner angry at being denied a liquor license threatened to shoot people at the Super Bowl and drove to within sight of the stadium with a rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition before changing his mind, federal authorities said. Kurt William Havelock, who ultimately turned himself in, had vowed to “shed the blood of the innocent” in a manifesto mailed Sunday to media outlets, according to court documents. “No one destroys my dream,” he wrote.

The documents say he was armed with an AR-15 assault-style rifle Sunday when he reached a parking lot near University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, where pre-game activities were happening.

“He waited about a minute and decided he couldn’t do this,” FBI agent Philip Thorlin testified at a detention hearing for Havelock on Tuesday.

Read the rest of this article at Sports Illustrated.

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Brown Supporters Arrested

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2007 at 10:18 am

Reno GonzalezFour supporters of Ed and Elaine Brown have been arrested on various federal charges pertaining to help provided to the Browns since their convictions, and at least one of them is looking at a possible 125 years in prison.

Among those arrested include an LFV MySpace “friend”, Cirino “Reno” Gonzalez (pictured at left), as well as Jason Gerhard (arrested while at boot camp, and at whose home authorities found a pipe bomb), Daniel Riley (the man who was walking the Browns’ dog and was confronted by the feds a few months back), and Bob Wolffe (the supporter who left the scene of an accident while driving the Browns’ vehicle).

According to the Concord Monitor, a local Plainfield, NH newspaper, Reno is the most well-known of the four men among Brown supporters:

Gonzalez, a former military contractor, was the public face of the Browns’ home for several months this summer when he lived at the house and posted frequent updates on their status online. Gonzalez appeared in online photos and videos, many of which showed him armed. He also posted long, rambling accounts of goings-on at the house and his evolving political views.

He was charged with conspiracy, accessory after the fact, and one count of carrying and possessing a firearm in connection with a crime of violence.

The indictment alleges that he purchased the .50-caliber rifle in April. In a blog post a few days later, Gonzalez bragged about owning the gun.

“I get sad knowing not everyone has one,” he wrote on his MySpace page. “Then I think about everyone . . . that is not even close to being ready.”

Gonzalez’s hearing was brief. He pleaded not guilty and will remain in federal custody. A judge in Texas already ruled that Gonzalez should remain held until trial. According to Magistrate B. Janice Ellington’s ruling, Gonzalez is “both a flight risk and a danger to the community.”

“The defendant resisted attempts by the Marshal to arrest him at a residence where numerous firearms, including assault weapons, were present,” the ruling said. “During the arrest, defendant attempted to gain access to those weapons.”

Gonzalez’s father, Jose Gonzalez, said in an interview that it was not surprising that his son appeared to resist arrest, because he was sleeping and startled when marshals arrived about noon last Wednesday.

According to the Alice Echo-News Journal and a blog post made by Gonzalez’s friend Donna Van Meter, Gonzalez’s custody hearing in Texas included rumors of a possible escape plot and an outburst by Jose Gonzalez, who was escorted from the courtroom.

Reno’s trial is scheduled for November.

I had an online conversation with Reno not long ago, and he had agreed to an interview exclusive to LFV. Unfortunately, due to other more pressing personal concerns, as well as waiting to see how his planned trip to Iraq with Cindy Sheehan would proceed, I never got around to doing that interview before he was arrested. However, he seemed to have moved away from supporting the Browns, and toward engaging in anti-war activities, which of course was my point of interest.

Most interesting in the affidavits released by the feds in these cases is that Danny Riley, hailed as a hero by Brown supporters for refusing to tell the feds anything about activities at the Browns’ home, seems to have been doing the exact opposite of what he led others to believe. In fact, it appears he told the feds quite a few things about what was going on at the Brown house, including the location of weapons, and may have been the federal informant referenced after these arrests (Riley was arrested as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not an informant). Brown supporters, not surprisingly, are more than a little upset about this allegation, but still unsure whether to believe the feds at all. Here is an excerpt of a blog written by Reno’s friend Donna Van Meter, with regard to the allegations about Danny Riley:

i ask myself how can they do this, it is all false charge, and why did Danny tell the Marshals where the supplies on the Browns property is located? what also gets me is that in court the marshal said that there was an informant on the property that was working for them.

HOW DARE YOU STAB PEOPLE IN THE BACK whomever you are……

danny i really hope it wasnt you but they are pointing fingers at you. i really hope it wasnt you. but if the Marshal says it i know it isnt automatically true, the whole testamony was false where it concerned Reno, lets hope they are wrong about you too, cause in the beginning i got that feeling you were a traitor to ed and elaine, but i thought damn maybe i was being too judgemental, dont like second guessing my gut feelings, and i have had too, in pertaining to your honesty danny.

i feel numb and sick.

The affidavits and indictments supporting the arrests can be seen as follows:

Bob Wolffe:
Investigator’s Affidavit
http://www.cheatingfrenzy.com/wolffe1a.pdf
Indictment
http://www.cheatingfrenzy.com/wolffe3.pdf

Reno Gonzalez:
Investigator’s Affidavit
http://www.cheatingfrenzy.com/gonzalez1a.pdf
Indictment
http://www.cheatingfrenzy.com/gonzalez3.pdf

Danny Riley:
Investigator’s Affidavit
http://www.cheatingfrenzy.com/riley1a.pdf
Indictment
http://www.cheatingfrenzy.com/riley4.pdf

Jason Gerhard:
Indictment
http://www.cheatingfrenzy.com/gerhard1.pdf

Another Gun Hater On A Confiscation Rampage

In Constitutional Rights, Police State on August 13, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Straight Outta Chicago!

Why aren’t others joining the call for gun control?

August 13, 2007
LAURA WASHINGTON
It’s summertime, and the livin’ sure ain’t easy. The temps are sizzling and the guns ubiquitous. It’s a toxic and combustible mixture. Throw in the preachers, politicians and some cops and a whole lot of guns. Just don’t throw in a match.

We anguish over school shootings like the massacres at Virginia Tech and in Red Lake, Colo. Every single day, dozens of shootings take down urbanites across America.

We have become blithely dulled by the headlines. A 10-year-old girl in Englewood shot to death at her own birthday party. During the last academic year, 34 Chicago schoolchildren were lost to gun violence. Early this month, three college students were shot to death in a Newark, N.J., schoolyard.

A few know the clock is ticking and they are doing what they can. Mayor Daley knows. Daley may be the Evil Enemy of Black People to some, but he is doing more than just about anyone to get guns off the streets. He has made gun control a signature issue and has vainly pushed to get anti-gun state legislation through the intractable and juvenile Illinois General Assembly.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and a Catholic priest, Father Michael Pfleger, the Evil Enemies of White People to some, are awaiting trial for mounting a protest outside Chuck’s Gun Shop in south suburban Riverdale.

Now comes a report that nearly half of people murdered in the United States in 2005 were black. Most were ages 17 to 29, according to numbers released last week by the U.S. Justice Department.

While blacks make up about 13 percent of the nation’s population, they comprise 49 percent of all murder victims. And the vast majority — 93 percent — were killed by African Americans. Most likely wielding firearms.

We have succumbed to what the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence calls “a culture of death.” We are playing with fire.

The lefties and black radicals whine about the disproportionate number of black men in prison. Yet the jails are not big enough for all the trigger-happy crazies who are out on the street, like the gang-bangers warring over their corner crack franchises. The social justice types should instead aim their ire at the storefront merchants and dealers who push death in the name of the U.S. Constitution and the National Rifle Association.

The guns are aimed at all of us, and there’s nowhere to hide. The child caught in the crossfire. The family argument that turns deadly because dad’s got a pistol in the drawer. The drug dealer who’s packing heat. The road rage that goes too far. The depressed high-schooler looking for revenge in the classroom. It all comes back to too many guns.

Jackson, Pfleger and Daley are doing their part. Where is everyone else?

Where are our elected officials? Where are our presidential wannabes?

During the last presidential election cycle, the Democrats shamelessly pandered to the deer hunters of Pennsylvania and Northern Michigan.

Gun control has rarely been mentioned during the interminable slew of debates in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. It should be a signature issue.

Gun fever has ravaged our communities. We need a prescription, not a home remedy.

The following is my unofficial response and I strongly encourage every LFV reader to e-mail her as well: lauraswashington@aol.com

Miss Washington,

I am an African-American who is strongly supports the Second Amendment. I do know that people, not guns, kill because guns do not go off on it’s own. Also as an African-American, I realize that there are many facets to the problems in our communities but abolishing guns nor doing away our rights as responsible gun owners will solve these problems. Why do you consistently want to punish the majority of law abiding gun owners for the irresponsible few?

The reason why we have more blacks in our penal system than any other ethnic group is because we have too many non-violent drug offenders locked up for small amounts of narcotics. Face it, the judicial system is against us. Minorities will do 6 to 8 times more the sentence of our white counterparts for the same crime. Do you think thats fair? The drug trade is a highly profitable one. Decriminalize drugs and treat it like alcohol and cigarettes and the crimes associated with with it will plummet! Do you see Marlboro and Camel fighting over territories? The only beer “wars” I see are when the companies pour millions of dollars into advertising on TV.

Everything we do that’s against the law, seems like a felony these days. The amount of felons amongst black males is through the roof. Many employers will not employ ex-felons; don’t black males deserve to be employed? I guarantee that the majority of them would rather have a good paying job than slinging crack rocks on the corner, trying to make ends meet. Instead of addressing real problems, you think dismantling my right to bear arms is the magic bullet to solving the ills of our communities? You must have failed history because fifty years ago, blacks during segregation did not have the right to bear arms. Blacks were practically defenseless against marauding Klansmen seeking to hang them for their pathetic propaganda games.

Jesse Jackson has taken up the anti-gun issue only because he failed as a “civil rights” leader and pushes his new agenda to re-invent himself. Just remember Hitler forced his people to give up their guns and look what happened; millions died in concentration camps. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; I’ll defend those values with my gun to protect my right to bear arms.

Sincerely,
Chris Bennett

Update: I got this response from Ms. Washington

Dear Mr. Bennett,

Thanks for sharing your thoughtful comments about the column on gun control. I appreciate you taking the time to write. You make some good points.

Best, Laura Washington

DEA Agent shoots himself during anti-gun presentation……

In Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Humor on August 10, 2007 at 10:23 am

….just as he’s saying he’s the only one in the room professional enough to handle the gun.

Happy Bastille Day. We need a new one.

In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, George Bush, Guantanamo, History, Human Rights Abuses, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Protest, Second Amendment, Terrorism, War on July 15, 2007 at 6:40 am

Originally posted yesterday on my blog for Bastille day. Forgot to transfer it over til today. Oh well, better late than never…

According to wikipedia,

On 5 May 1789, Louis XVI convened the Estates-General to hear their grievances. The deputies of the Third Estate representing the common people (the two others were clergy and nobility) decided to break away and form a National Assembly. On 20 June the deputies of the Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath, swearing not to separate until a Constitution had been established. They were gradually joined by delegates of the other estates; Louis started to recognize their validity on 27 June. The Assembly re-named itself the National Constituent Assembly on 9 July, and began to function as a legislature and to draft a constitution.

The blue-blooded Chimperror, Cesar Potus George Dubai-ya Bushitler II, has brung back the clergy and the nobility back to a level of undue influence in civic life. Perhaps we need a new storming of the Bastille?

In the wake of the 11 July dismissal of the royal finance minister Jacques Necker, the people of Paris, fearful that they and their representatives would be attacked by the royal military, and seeking to gain arms for the general populace, stormed the Bastille, a prison which had often held people arbitrarily jailed on the basis of lettre de cachet. Besides holding a large cache of arms, the Bastille had long been known for holding political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government, and was thus a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The general populace being increasingly outgunned by regime agents? Check. People jailed arbitrarily? Check. Political prisoners? Check. Absolutist, hereditary rulers? Check.

The storming of the Bastille was more important as a rallying point and symbolic act of rebellion than a practical act of defiance.

Shortly after the storming of the Bastille, on 4 August feudalism was abolished and on 26 August, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed.

Ending feudalism and having citizens rights? Yeah, we kinda need that again. Check!

McCain: The Manchurian Candidate

In Censorship, Civil Liberties, Communism, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Fraud, History, Iran, Iraq War, Middle East, Military, Nanny State, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Second Amendment, Terrorism, War on May 18, 2007 at 6:41 am

With all the attention we have been paying to Republican Presidential candidates Adolf Giuliani and Ron Paul lately, I thought it would be only fair to say a word or two about creepy warmonger
John McCain.

Here he is singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and laughing about it.

What did the Iranians ever do? Never mind, war criminal McCain has never met a war he didn’t like.

McCain can’t help but remind me of the
Manchurian Candidate.

This illustrious member of the Keating Five Savings and Loan scandal Senators and noted gigolo is also well known for the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act.

Somewhat less well known is that he also co-sponsored the McCain/Lieberman gun show bill, which would have given the federal government the administrative power to prohibit all gun shows, and to register everyone who attends a gun show. According to wikipedia, “Since 2004, McCain has gained the unique distinction of receiving an F- rating from Gun Owners of America; and further unlike any other 2008 Republican Presidential Candidate has a dedicated section/compendium within the GOA web site, which contains numerous pages relating to John McCain’s very own anti-Second Amendment initiatives while in the Senate”.

Wikipedia also points out that he hired a board member of the Project for the New American Century, Randy Scheunemann, as his foreign-policy aide and is considering Billion Dollar Bob Riley for veep.

Oh, and his anti-torture provision? Not all it’s cracked up to be.

To sum it all up, I have to give McCain the maximum number of flushes.

Outright Libertarians survey – Steve Kubby for President

In Children, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Health, Immigration, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Military, Politics, Taxation on May 17, 2007 at 5:55 am

Since Stuart mentioned the Outright Libertarians interview with George Phillies, here is their interview with Steve Kubby, from their blog.

Unlike the problem with immigration that Stuart mentioned in George’s answers, Steve’s were traditionally libertarian down the line.

Read the interview after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry »

This is why we can’t have nice things.

In Big Brother, Crazy Claims, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Police State, Terrorism on May 10, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Jesus tits, does Alabama suck.

This is what the mouth-breathing yokels in their government have to say about small-government types, under the context that we’re all terrorists: Read the rest of this entry »

Kent McManigal Ends Presidential Trail

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Second Amendment on May 4, 2007 at 9:34 am

Kent McManigal made the following announcement today:

Kent McManigal The End of the Trail

After a lot of thought I have decided to end my campaign. Last night while trying to delete spam comments, I accidentally deleted most of the content on the Boston Tea Party’s website. That was the last straw for me. I appreciate all the encouragement and support I have received in the past two and a half years. I apologize to anyone who is disappointed that I have withdrawn. I will probably keep blogging, and plan to change KentForLiberty into something other than a campaign site. I have come to realize that we will never get government back in line with the Constitution or with what is right by using methods approved and “allowed” by that same rogue government.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think a part of the LP community is surprised and disappointed by Kent’s departure. When I opened my computer for the day, there were several messages on the subject.

I am not shocked by it, but I wish he had stayed. Kent made the LP race more interesting, as I think many will agree. To my mind, Kent was that dark horse who could have walked away with the nomination, had Phillies and Kubby delegates clashed, not unlike what happened at the last LP presidential convention.

Kent was the one LP candidate who defied categorization. At first, to be honest, I really wanted to put him into the nutcase category. After all, he obviously doesn’t fit into the mainstream category. Yet, the more I read, and the more I talked to him, the more I realized that Kent is an original who defies categorization.

I first discovered Kent’s candidacy through, of all people, Gene Chapman. I looked at his website, and made a smartass comment on a forum about how Kent looks like he’d kick Gene Chapman’s ass for calling him a Communist. I stand by that statement, incidentally. Kent misunderstood and thought I was making fun of the way he dresses, and we began a correspondence which has continued to this day. I’m proud to call Kent McManigal my friend. I can’t categorize him any other way.

Needless to say, I support him no matter what he decides for his own life, because that’s what friends do. I hope I am not betraying a confidence when I say that this is a question over which Kent has struggled for a while now. He has hinted at it on his blog, after all. And now ….. well, the LP world is just a little less interesting for me today. I hope you understand.

Yeah, saw this coming.

In Civil Liberties, Nanny State, Politics, Second Amendment on April 30, 2007 at 6:40 pm

Virginia caves to the black ribbon crowd.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Monday closed the loophole in state law that allowed the Virginia Tech gunman to pass a federal background check and buy the weapons used in the massacre.

Kaine issued an executive order requiring that a database of people banned from buying guns include anyone who is found to be dangerous and ordered to undergo involuntary mental health treatment.

It’s not particularly annoying, but it’s still an expansion of state power, done in the name of nannystatist fearmongering. “OMG KOREAN ZERG RUSH NEVAR FORGETT!!!11eleventyone!” Yeah, this is bullshit.

Wealthy Convicted Felon Fugitives Given Special Treatment

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Crime, Law Enforcement, Personal Responsibility, Taxation, Terrorism on April 26, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Ed and Elaine BrownEd and Elaine Brown have been holed up in their Plainfield, NH house for months, daring federal law enforcement to bother them. While normally that’s not a problem, since I don’t want federal law enforcement to bother me at home either, Ed and Elaine Brown have been not only convicted of federal crimes, but also sentenced to prison for those crimes. They have also repeatedly referred to the outcome of any attempt to take them into custody as another “Waco”, and have openly stated that they will kill anyone who tries to take them into lawful custody. Now, that’s a problem.

Elaine is a very successful dentist (or at least she was, until all this happened). Ed is usually described as a “retired exterminator”. Basically, he lives off his wealthy wife, which I guess is nice work if you can get it. However, if Ed and Elaine Brown were young financially disadvantaged African-Americans, they’d have been toast long ago. See, my problem with this situation has nothing to do with the Browns’ convictions per se – and in fact, the nature of their conviction is irrelevant to me – but rather my concern is that everyone is supposed to be equal under the law. Obviously, though, that is not the case.

This whole mess started years ago, when Ed and Elaine decided there was no law which requires them to pay federal income taxes. So, they didn’t, and quite predictably the IRS came a-knockin’. They had failed to file or pay taxes on over $1.3 million in income, and refused to pay or even discuss payment when the government demanded its money, so they were criminally prosecuted. They then tried to buy their way out of trouble by offering to pay the back taxes, but it was too late. Read the rest of this entry »

Ethiopians still in Somalia

In History, Middle East, Military, Personal Responsibility, Terrorism, War on April 24, 2007 at 3:44 pm

I hate to say I told you so. But, I told you so.

The Virtue of Trust

In Constitutional Rights, Economics, Nanny State, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Second Amendment, Socialism on April 19, 2007 at 8:01 pm

Here is some mental tobacco for you to chew on – “In order to flourish and survive, we must trust our fellow humans”. A trusting and open society is also a safer, healthier and flourishing society. Despite the fact that several of us may have jobs where we deal with people of poor quality, I believe that the population, as a whole is more worthy of trust than we are led to believe. You may be thinking that I am being too optimistic here, but please consider what I have to say.

When you drive, you are placing your trust in your fellow man. You expect people to follow the rules of the road and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. When you drive, not only are you are placing trust in your fellow humans; you are also placing trust in “the great unknown”. When traveling you are placing trust in your pilot, hotel staff, taxi driver, mechanics,concierge etc. Each time you dine at a restaurant or shop at a supermarket, you are placing trust in the providers of those goods and services. Think about all of the transactions you make on just a daily basis. Unless you are a hermit and are completely self-sufficient, you must rely on the goods and services of others. Read the rest of this entry »