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“I hope I’ve done a good job,” he said. “I’ve certainly tried to do as good a job as I can. There are sacrifices that I’ve had to make, that my family has had to make.”
Eric Holder’s resignation seems sudden to those of us who don’t mingle in political circles, myself included. But in the days leading up to this announcement, I did notice one headline that spins the rusty little hamster wheel in my head. We’re all familiar with the Fast and Furious controversy. Well, it seems that Holder had sought to delay documents required by a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by JudicialWatch.org. He wanted to delay the release until just days before the upcoming mid-term elections. That request was just denied on Tuesday, September 23. Just two days later, Holder has announced his resignation.
Now, it is entirely possible this is just a coincidence. There were rumors that Holder would leave just after the 2012 election. But the Fast and Furious documents are thought by many to prove Holder’s knowledge and direction of the events of that case, including the illegal transfer of firearms that were ultimately used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Holder has long denied any knowledge of the specifics of Fast and Furious and the Obama Administration has tried its best to hang the entire operation on the Bush Administration by saying the program started under Bush. While true in the most basic sense, it was under the Obama Administration that the program expanded and became the Fast and Furious hot potato we all know today, With this seemingly sudden and coincidental resignation, one has to wonder if there’s something in those documents that really does tie Holder to something so egregious that it was impossible to stay in that post.
Holder’s departure is certainly welcome news to the firearms community but, it means we are going from the known to the unknown for the remainder of the current administration. If you were thinking it couldn’t possibly get worse than Holder, you’re wrong. It’s somewhat telling no one seems to know who might replace Holder. Rest assured though, anyone nominated by the Obama administration is unlikely to be friendly to gun owners or have any respect for the 2nd Amendment as an individual right. I’d put money on Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California, or possibly James Cole, currently Holder’s right-hand-man at the Department of Justice. I’m sure there are others but, the people that jump to mind without thinking too hard. Either way, there will be a fight for Congressional approval. It seems doubtful the conflict would endure through the end of Obama’s presidency but, time will tell.
I watched this video after a friend posted it. Sadly, I could almost see this coming. I’ve heard (and it is just hearsay) this is not this officer’s first rodeo. And it seems his agency may recognize a pattern of behavior…so they are cutting him lose. Victim is alive by luck alone.
When you ask why places why Sanford and Ferguson erupt the way they did, it is because, right or wrong, there is a perception that incidents like this are the rule rather than the exception. I know that perception well because some part of me has it. I grew up hearing of officer involved shootings on a nearly daily basis and being warned to walk the straight and narrow to avoid the same fate. Only problem was, sometimes straight and narrow isn’t good enough to avoid contact. Without passing judgment, the fact is good people still occasionally get shot because they innocently made the wrong move at the wrong time.
The words “furtive movement” were all but drilled into my head. I learned to move only as directed and, in the kindest terms, demand that the officer tell me what he expects. If something requires me to reach into my pocket or into my vehicle, I tell the officer but, I often wear my ID in a wallet around my neck to avoid the need. I’ve gotten into the habit of having my ID handy BEFORE the officer can ask for it. Again, trying to avoid being a “furtive movement” victim.
In this case, I’m sure the issue is partly a training issue with respect to the officer. The guy was doing as told by the officer but didn’t react or move in a manner the officer expected. In turn, the officer has a pavlovian response influenced in no small part by hundreds of training videos officers see every year that start the same way but, end with a dead cop. The result, cop operates as trained because he wants to go home at the end of his shift.
After a review by the state attorney general, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday that it would allow a Philadelphia woman charged last year with illegally bringing into New Jersey a gun that was legally registered in Pennsylvania to enter a pretrial-intervention program and avoid jail time.
The prosecutor’s previous stance in the case involving Shaneen Allen, 27, was to make the case a “deterrent,” either forcing a plea or bringing it to trial. The mother of two could have faced up to five years in prison.
If you’re not familiar with the case of Shaneen Allen, you should be. We’ve mentioned her before. Until now, her case has been a complete miscarriage of justice. An example of the courts and prosecutors putting politics ahead of public safety and the interests of justice. Now, it looks like maybe, just maybe, justice will be served.
Shaneen Allen is a single mom who, after being robbed previously, applied for and was issued a license to carry a concealed handgun in her home state of Pennsylvania. She wanted to protect her family and, in accordance with the law, had no criminal history. The only “crime” she has ever committed was making the mistake of driving into New Jersey and an otherwise trivial traffic violation that ultimately led to her arrest when she elected to be honest with the officer who pulled her over about her possession of a handgun.
The prosecutor, Jim McClain, initially had no interest in allowing Allen to enter a pre-trial intervention program like the one he allowed for Ray Rice. McClain said the charges against Allen were, “too serious to warrant divergence.” Shocking given that Allen’s procedural error is merely a “crime of location” in which no one was injured or in anyway inconvenienced other than Allen herself. By comparison, Rice knocking a his fiancée unconscious and then dragging her limp body out of the elevator like a piece of trash can only be described as a crime of violence and one that most people would think should be prosecuted. McClain’s priorities seemed to be 180 degree out of phase with the rest of the world.
But last week, McClain motioned to push the trial back. We worried this might just be McClain looking for another angle to stick the knife in but, as it turns out, the state attorney general stepped in. Shaneen Allen now has an opportunity for a pre-trial diversion McClain and Superior Court Judge Michael Donio had originally denied to Allen but, granted for Rice. Hopefully, Ms. Allen can walk away from this and somehow retain her right to own and carry a firearm so long as she stays out of New Jersey.
Responding to complaints from the GOTR crew and more importantly, our listeners and fellow citizens, the Office of the District Attorney of Harris County has offered an explanation of what happened this weekend. To say the least, we were disappointed by the weekend’s events and the DA’s office has tried to offer some explanation. Speaking through their Public Information Officer, Jeff McShan, the DA’s office says they are looking at “the big picture.”
As mentioned, a friend of the show was the victim of a burglary last week. This burglary occurred just hours after it was announced that District Attorney Devon Anderson had joined Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, promising to seek solutions against and actively prosecute gun crimes. Just 48hrs later, her office was presented with a an opportunity to deliver on those promises. McShan says his boss is “tough on crime,” but having her Assistant District Attorney refuse mutliple charges seemed like a contradiction and joining PAGV, co-chaired by New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., and Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer, neither of whom are known to be friendly to gun owners, likely does her no favors among the conservative voters she’ll need for her re-election campaign.
So, what is the long version of this “big picture” explanation? Well, according to McShan, the ADA refused charges of burglary because in the eyes of the court, simply possessing the guns does not mean they had anything to do with the burglary. As someone who once found himself in possession of a stolen gun, I’ll vouch for that answer and that answer alone with one critical exception. In my case, I never wavered in the facts of how I came to possess the gun and everything I told the cops was readily verified by everyone involved. Well, everyone except the suspect originally involved in the burglary who, if I remember correctly, was already in a hospital with multiple blunt force injuries when police went looking for him. In this case however, the suspects’ stories about how they came into possession of the stolen guns changed multiple times and were in conflict with each other during their encounter with police. In law enforcement, I’m told they call this a clue. An indicator of deception if you will. You know…A lie. But it’s not proof they knew the guns were stolen according to the ADA. And so, she also refused charges of possession of stolen property. By the way, this is where that “big picture” argument comes in.
You see, the claim is that the ADA who took the call from deputies, knew that a conviction for possession of stolen property might be easy but, could mean a short sentence…As little as six months. So with that in mind, the ADA instructed the deputies to release the suspects, seize the weapons and refer the case to investigators. You see, if investigators can make a burglary arrest, that is a 2nd degree felony. A 2nd degree felony punishable by a minimum of 2 years or a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. So why not arrest them AND investigate them? Well, because again, the ADA was “looking at the big picture.” You see, the DA’s office says that possession charge, which they originally said might be an easy conviction, might also be an easily dismissed by a judge. Again, Anderson believes her ADA made the right call. Be that as it may, it was only after the deputies made their fourth and fifth call to the ADA, citing chapter and verse of Chapter 46 of the Texas penal code regarding possession of prohibited ammunition in this case, that charges were finally accepted and an arrest made. The suspects have since bonded out on that charge and have a pending court date for it.
One hopes there really is an ongoing investigation regarding the suspects’ involvement in the burglary. But the “big picture” in our experience, being that it’s a burglary with no loss of life or significant injury, would suggest that further investigation is unlikely. The DA may be tough on crime but, burglaries are rarely listed as “cleared” by law enforcement agencies. Burglaries, in the big picture, are not considered “violent” crimes that police agencies consider a priority. I honestly hope that isn’t the case here but, having experienced my own burglary, I have little faith that anything more will come of this case. Conviction is not assured and there’s an election coming. At the end of the day, the district attorney’s job is to convict the accused and get re-elected. This case does not figure into that equation but, maybe, just maybe, Anderson will prove me wrong.
Today’s podcast is up. Just prior to recording, we learned a friend of the show was burglarized last week, losing a number of guns in the process only to actually see the guns in the hands of the likely thieves at Shiloh! As if that wasn’t bad enough, the on call assistant district attorney wasn’t willing to accept charges for possession of stolen property and the suspect were initially released by responding deputies. To say this left us fuming doesn’t quite cover it.
This is a long over due post. In fact, it’s a year overdue and it’s good news with respect to the growth of the hunting industry. Anyone who hunts in Texas knows that all of us “youngsters,” (those of us born on or after September 2, 1971) are required to attend a Hunter Education course to hunt fowl or game in Texas. Since inception, the program has required a two-day course with the first day being spent in the classroom and a second, 4-5 hour day “in the field.”
Between urban sprawl gobbling up habitat available for “field days” and a declining numbers of instructors in many areas, it has gotten harder and harder for many folks to find their way into Hunter Education classes. Kids lucky enough to live in forward thinking school districts can actually attend advanced hunter education classes through their high schools. For the guys living in big cities who don’t get bit by the hunting bug until they are adults with jobs and other responsibilities, finding a class is difficult enough. But, the prospect of spending two days in a class full of kids ages 9 to 16 does not make for an ideal weekend. Enter a decision by Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to streamline the Hunter Education program last year, just in time for the 2013 hunting season. As of September 2013, experienced shooters and hunters age 17 and older can skip the classroom and complete their Texas Hunter Education requirement entirely online.
There are now several websites offering online only, Texas Hunter Education classes such as https://texashuntered.com. The process is pretty straight forward. You sign up at the site. They provide instructions on how they conduct the course, usually presented in eight to ten segments with quizes at the end of each. Having passed all the quizes, you move on to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Hunter Education Final Exam. Again, presented entirely online. Most of these sites do not charge a fee until you have passed the final exam. And upon passing, most allow you to print a temporary Hunter Education ID card to use until TPWD sends your official card in the mail 1-4 weeks later. So if the reason you’ve never hunted in Texas is because, like so many others, you haven’t been able to find your way into a traditional classroom, you now have an opportunity to correct that problem from the comfort of your living room. Highly recommended.
Statement by the President
One year ago, our dedicated military and civilian personnel at the Washington Navy Yard were targeted in an unspeakable act of violence that took the lives of 12 American patriots. As we remember men and women taken from us so senselessly, we keep close their family and friends, stand with the survivors who continue to heal and pay tribute to the first responders who acted with skill and bravery. At the same time, we continue to improve security at our country’s bases and installations to protect our military and civilian personnel who help keep us safe. One year ago, 12 Americans went to work to protect and strengthen the country they loved. Today, we must do the same – rejecting atrocities like these as the new normal and renewing our call for common-sense reforms that respect our traditions while reducing the gun violence that shatters too many American families every day.