Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

A juror in the Derek Chauvin trial has spoken to the press about his time on the jury, and some of what he says should frighten us all.  

Brandon Mitchell was Juror 52.   He is quoted in a CNN story as saying, 

“During the opening statements, I was curious or find out what the defense was going to bring to the table and convince us jurors. I didn't see any avenues to which they could go."

At the beginning of the trial, during opening statements, before a single witness is sworn or a single scrap of evidence is presented this juror is wondering what the DEFENSE is going to bring to convince the jurors that Chauvin was not guilty?  HOLY CRAP!!!!   In our system of jurisprudence, we are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. At the beginning of a trial a juror should NEVER be wondering how the DEFENSE is going to prove it’s case.  The ONLY side that must PROVE anything is the Prosecution!   The Prosecutor must prove the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt.    

The statement by this juror that he wondered how the DEFENSE was going to prove their case, along with the jurors written statement in his juror questionnaire that he wanted to be on the jury “because of all the protests and everything that happened after the event” he felt the trial was historic and he want to be part of that- says this juror was exposed to the case in advance, and that he did not go into the trial with an open mind.    

In this country, we are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, based upon the preponderance of the evidence.   Jurors are supposed to understand that, and a guilty verdict MUST be one that is arrived at through a process such that when the verdict is delivered, no one should be able to point out obvious flaws and errors.  

In this case, based on the published statements of this juror, there is HUGE concern that Chauvin did not get a fair trial.  At least one juror felt Chauvin was guilty going in, or at least that the defense needed to PROVE Chauvin innocent.  

This should frighten ALL of us.   Every one of us should have absolute faith that our judicial system will treat us fairly and that if accused of a crime, we are presumed innocent until proven guilty.   All of us should be afraid that if ever taken to court, we might have a Juror 52 who goes into the trial, wondering how the defense is going to prove us innocent.  


Monday, April 26, 2021

BREAKING - SCOTUS to hear NYSRPA v Corlett

BREAKING NEWS- From this morning’s orders list issued by the Supreme Court- the Supreme Court WILL hear New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett sometime this fall (October 2021 Term).  The question before the Court will deal with “good cause carry”- a scheme in place in seven states (NY, NJ, MA, MD, DE, CA & HI) that limit carrying a firearm for self defense to those that show “good cause”- meaning a specific threat to them that is well beyond that which is experienced by the general public which includes even the threat of domestic violence.   This will be the first case since McDonald where the Court will hear a question which goes to the CORE of the Second Amendment.  Does the individual have the right to BEAR arms outside the home for self-defense. 

Case documents for NYSRPA v Corlett (20-843) may be found here.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

How Gun Control Advocates and Media Are Making Things Worse

This morning, I heard two [deceptive] “facts” on the “news.”  Some 40,000 people are killed a year in what was termed as “gun violence” and there have been 54 “mass shootings” so far this MONTH.   Perhaps, a better way to state what was heard was that it was propaganda, being spread by the mass media.  This propaganda being spread by gun control groups and the media is making matters worse, when it comes to violence with firearms.   

Is there gun violence in the US? Of course there is. Is any innocent life taken or any injury to an innocent person horrific and a tragedy? Absolutely.  Do we, as a nation need solutions to the problems? Again, of course we do.  However, the alleged “facts” [actually propaganda] being pushed by people like David Hogg, Michael Bloomberg, former Rep Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Senator Mark Kelly are at best distorting the truth. More likely, the propaganda they are spreading  will cause harm and make matters worse.  

The numbers the gun control crowd throw around (and the same numbers the media repeat without question) do not tell the full story.   When the gun control crowd and the media say there have been 54 mass shootings this MONTH, they paint a picture for the general public of 54 “Columbines” or 54 events like we just saw in Indianapolis.  The public would be surprised to learn that the “54” includes gang drive-by’s where multiple people are wounded.  This number includes a felon in a stand-off with police in his home, where the felon wounded a couple police officers and was then killed by officers returning fire.  The number includes a parent who killed their family and then themselves (a family annihilator).  In fact, the number includes any situation where a gun is fired and three or more persons are wounded, including the shooter. This however is NOT the definition used by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The CRS definition is “a multitude homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms -not including the offenders- within one public locations... not attributable to any other underlying criminal activity.”   By using the CRS definition, there have been about 8 mass shooting incidents per year between 2017-2020 and 3 this year.  Although even one event is abhorrent, there CERTAINLY a were NOT 54 THIS MONTH!  

The other big number thrown around is 40,000 people killed in gun violence.  HOWEVER, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program database homicide data for the last fully reported year (2019),  there were 10,258 homicides with firearms, down from a five year period high of 11,014 in 2017.  Why the huge disparity?  The gun control groups (and media who are repeating these numbers) are including every accidental firearm discharge as well as suicides and LAWFUL firearm usage- or in other words, self defense and lawful use of force.  

Why does it matter what numbers are used? For gun control groups, the use of these numbers is intended to portray to the public a much larger problem than what actually exists to push through their agenda.  The gun control groups are not technically lying, but they are spinning deceptive numbers to try to convince the public - through inference at minimum- that their proposed solutions are the ones that should be implemented.   They want to ban so-called “assault rifles,” despite the fact that true assault rifles are almost NEVER used in a crime (finding the exact date an assault rifle - one capable of bursts of fully automatic fire at minimum- was used in a crime is difficult/next to impossible).  Homicides with ANY type of rifle accounted for 364 homicides in 2019.   On average over the last five years, there have been 315 homicides a year with ALL rifles.  An “assault weapons ban” would have a negligible effect on homicide, since over the last five years, rifles accounted for less than 2.2% of homicides   

Further, by lumping suicide, accidents and homicides together, the gun control groups and media distract from the REAL problems and REAL solutions that may found, in favor of the illusions of expanded background checks, weapon bans, etc.   Suicide is a mental health issue- NOT a firearm issue.   Japan has an incredibly high suicide rate, despite banning firearms since the 1970’s.  They CLEARLY prove that a person does not need a gun to commit suicide, AND prove that a person who definitely wants to commit suicide WILL find a way - even without a gun.   Therefore the solution is in mental health, not in gun control.  

Gang violence will also not be solved by any type of weapons ban or increased background checks.  Criminal gangs get their firearms by theft, and background checks do not stop theft.  Gang problems occur because of drugs and poverty, and no gun control proposal addresses those issues.   

Firearms deaths from accidents are very often preventable.  Firearms Safety Education goes a very long way to helping reduce accidents.   Instead of banning guns, we should be teaching how to handle them safely.  

There are real solutions to violence- regardless of the weapon used.  But those solutions will NEVER be found with gun control groups and the media spreading propaganda that distracts from the real problems.    We NEED mental health care reform in this country.   We NEED to better address the poverty and other issues that drive gangs and drugs.  We NEED Firearms Safety Education- like the classes the NRA has been providing for decades and decades.   But as long as we allow the media and gun control groups to keep push propaganda for the sake of an agenda, people will needlessly die, because the public has been distracted from the real problems and real solutions.