Tuesday, January 3, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 1/3/12

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Not yet a VCDL member? Join VCDL at: http://www.vcdl.org/join.html
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VCDL's meeting schedule: http://www.vcdl.org/meetings.html
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Abbreviations used in VA-ALERT: http://www.vcdl.org/help/abbr.html
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1. Lobby Day is on Monday, January 16th!
2. VCDL meeting in Annandale January 10th
3. VCDL meeting in Richmond January 12th
4. 2012 Traveler's Guide Sale Deadline Coming Soon!
5. Videos of speakers at the VCDL Virginia Tech protest on November 17
6. Anti-gun editorial
7. LTE: Stop the violence; ban the handgun
8. Anti-gun LTE
9. Virginia Republicans to push pro-gun laws
10. Apparently what goes around does come around
11. Should I need a gun when shoe shopping?
12. Man charged with robberies, thefts in Newport News
13. Letter: Armed students increase danger
14. LTE: Tech was slow to issue alert
15. Mental health laws and guns
16. No guns in DC?
17. Like a poll....
18. Unprovoked attacks at heart of 'Knockout King'
19. Nearly one year of shall-issue in Iowa
20. Just one little .22 bullet saves resident from intruder
21. Who might need a gun at work?
22. No guns means NYC is safe, right?
23. The hits keep on coming!
24. Reagan not that good on guns
25. Gun laws becoming more permissive, meanwhile crime is way down - coincidence?
26. I am the gun lobby
27. Local cops ready for war with homeland security-funded military weapons
28. Every picture tells a story, part two
29. CMP Shooter's News 12-21-11


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1. Lobby Day is on Monday, January 16th!
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Lobby Day is coming up soon! It is Monday, January 16th - be sure to get the day off so you can help us pack the General Assembly. This could be a good year for gun owners and we need to start that year off right with a strong presence at Lobby Day.

We plan on starting around 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM, with a rally at 11 AM. More details on this to follow.


TEAM LEADERS NEEDED

To make Lobby Day successful, we need volunteers to lead teams on Lobby Day. If you have attended Lobby Day in the past, or, better yet, if you were a team leader, we need you!

To volunteer to be a team leader, please contact Bob Sadtler at:

bob.sadtler@vcdl.org

** Let Bob know who your Senator and Delegate are. If you have already volunteered, let Bob know who your legislators are.


BUSES

The Roanoke Tea Party has chartered a bus to Lobby Day. The price is $30 per seat and that will cover your trip up and back and the tip for the driver. The bus will leave Tanglewood Mall at 5:30 AM. and may make a stop in the Charlottesville area for a pick up. Arrival in Richmond should be before 9AM., and the bus will leave for the return trip to Roanoke around 2:00 p.m.

You can sign up here:

http://www.roanoketeaparty.com/lobby-day-january-16-sign-up-here/


CARPOOLING

EM Ed Levine has set up a Facebook page for those with Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/events/129376037132262/

-

Michael Burnham is coordinating some carpooling on OpenCarry.org:

http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/showthread.php?t=97925


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2. VCDL meeting in Annandale January 10th
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The monthly membership meeting in Annandale will be held on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at the Mason Government Center.

The meeting will be called to order at 8 PM and run until 9:30 PM. Fellowship starts at 7:30 PM.

We will be discussing the January 16 Lobby Day agenda, and the bills VCDL is working on for the upcoming legislative session.

The meeting is open to the public, so bring friends, family, and co-workers.

Afterward we will adjourn to a local restaurant for continued fellowship.

Directions to the meeting can be found at:

http://www.vcdl.org/meetings.html


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3. VCDL meeting in Richmond January 12th
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There will be a pre-Lobby Day meeting in Richmond on Thursday, January 12, from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at:

Glen Allen Library
10501 Staples Mill road
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Fellowship will start at 6:15 PM.

We will be discussing the January 16 Lobby Day agenda, and the bills VCDL is working on for the upcoming legislative session.

The meeting is open to the public, so bring friends, family, and co-workers.

Afterward we will adjourn to a local restaurant for continued fellowship.


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4. 2012 Traveler's Guide Sale Deadline Coming Soon!
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The Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States has been
ordered and is expected to arrive about the 3rd week in January. If
you do not want to wait to the next local gun show have we got a deal
for you....

The VCDL Fulfillment Center has a copy on order with your name on it!!
If you would like one we need to receive your order by January 11th.

There are two options:

If you want it sent in a sturdier envelope and by priority mail the
cost will be $20.00

If you want it sent in a standard manila envelope and by first class
mail the cost will be $18.00

If you include a copy of your membership card you can reduce the price by $2.

Also, if you typically buy your copy from a VCDL table at a gun show,
please include a note with the show's location so we do not swamp our
coordinators with more than they need.

To order one please send a check or money order to:

VCDL Fulfillment Center
PO Box 254
Garrisonville, Virginia 22463
ATT: Book Sales

Also, please consider including a donation to either the VCDL, the
VCDL-PAC or BOTH!


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5. Videos of speakers at the VCDL Virginia Tech protest on November 17
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Thanks to EM Matt Gottshalk for editing the video of the Virginia Tech "No guns? No funds!" protest on November 17th.

http://vimeo.com/user9854766/vcdlvatech2011


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6. Anti-gun editorial
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From newsadvance.com: http://tinyurl.com/cwsegld


Will debate on guns be one-sided?
By: STAFF
Lynchburg News and Advance
December 23, 2011

The recent slaying of a Virginia Tech campus policeman may not make much difference in the battle between pro-gun and anti-gun forces in Virginia. But it does call attention once again to the state's lax gun laws.

That the fatal shooting of Officer Deriek Crouse occurred on the Virginia Tech campus is a gruesome reminder of the 32 people who were gunned down at the Blacksburg university nearly five years ago.

But have laws reducing the flow of guns and the number of guns floating around the state been tightened since then? Hardly. If anything, the more widespread use of concealed weapons permits has increased the number of guns in public venues, including bars. [PVC: And violent crime is down.]

And some say the pro-gun conservatives in the General Assembly are setting their sights on repealing a gun control law that has made much sense during the decades it has been on the books.

Reports from Richmond say the progun forces in the Assembly -- and they now have majorities in both chambers and an ally in the governor's office-- are taking aim at Virginia's 20-year-old onehandgun- a-month law.

No one has ever satisfactorily answered the central question that underlies the law, which is this: Why does anyone need to buy more than one handgun a month? Gun proponents will say that the Second Amendment offers the right to buy as many guns as you want, but that ignores the question of need. [PVC: NEED has nothing to do with freedom or rights! Maybe the 1st Amendment shouldn't protect the newspapers - I mean who NEEDS to read the paper when they have a perfectly good television or radio? Joseph Stalin would definitely have sided with the News and Advance's position on requiring need to buy a gun, though.]

Philip Van Cleave, who heads up a group known as the Virginia Citizens Defense League, told The Associated Press last week that the group's legislative "agenda is fairly active this year."

Also, the prospects of closing Virginia's so-called gun show loophole don't appear to be great. That loophole allows anyone -- even convicted felons and those with a history of mental illness -- to buy weapons from a private dealer without a background check. [PVC: Doing a little homework before writing an editorial would go a long way. There are no "private dealers" - that would be illegal. There are private sellers. Look at it this way: if I sell you my sofa, that doesn't suddenly make me a furniture dealer.]

Private dealers at many of the open air gun shows do not have to abide by the same laws, including background checks, that apply to dealers selling weapons from licensed shops. Since the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, families of victims have tried unsuccessfully to close the gun show loophole. That would require gun buyers to submit to the same background check required of buyers at federally licensed shops. [PVC: Again, the News Advance is twisting things to make them seem insidious, when they aren't.]

But Van Cleave and his supporters on the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee see the measure as a threat to what they say are their gun rights.

Gun-rights forces also hope to advance bills that would make it even easier to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons, eliminate state background checks and allow people to keep guns of unlimited fire power free of government oversight as long as they are built in Virginia and are never taken beyond its borders. [PVC: YES WE DO!]

Let's put the guns away and focus on legislation that brings meaning to life in Virginia, not the death that can result from the use of weapons -- whether concealed or carried out in the open like they did in the frontier days of the old West. [PVC: Again, written by someone who isn't sure what side of a gun the bullet comes out of. Guns in the hands of good people bring meaning and safety to life in Virginia - so let's not put them away for any reason. Oh, and I KNEW with this anti-gun rant that inevitably the "wild west" was bound to come up and the paper didn't let me down! Are the antis predictable or what? ;-) ]


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7. LTE: Stop the violence; ban the handgun
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EM Dave Hicks emailed me this:

--

From The Roanoke Times: http://tinyurl.com/6rw6nbv


Stop the violence; ban the handgun

Once again, the sounds of a handgun echo across the New River Valley. And we, as citizens, seem traumatized and appear to do nothing to stop this senseless violence.

To say that guns don't kill people solves nothing. Someone has to pull the trigger, but suppose there was no trigger to pull. [PVC: Oh, trust me, there will ALWAYS be a trigger to pull and nothing can be done to change that.]

Thirty-two people are killed every day in the United States by guns. That's 11,680 people killed every year. [PVC: If we didn't have criminals committing murders because of drugs, that number would be reduced by probably 90%.]

How can we, as a nation, continue to permit such carnage? Handguns should be illegal except in the hands of those people in our society charged with public safety. [PVC: Let's play Devil's Advocate: if we got rid of all guns, why would the police need them? Because criminals would have guns anyway, or because a criminal can kill you just as well with a baseball bat, perhaps?]

No other industrial nation in the world comes even close to matching our murder rate. Have you examined how other nations address this issue? [PVC: I have. England banned guns and their crime rate is soaring at a time when the U.S. has been dropping. In Japan, they have a much higher suicide rate than the U.S. Lack of guns doesn't slow the Japanese down when it comes to killing themselves.]

If you wish to defend your property, buy a shotgun. [PVC: I wish to defend my life at a grocery store, mall, or movie theater. Would me carrying a shotgun be less intimidating to you, J.P., than my holstered handgun in such an environment?]

As for me, I say ban the handgun. [PVC: As for me, I say don't own a handgun if you don't want to. Just don't tell ME that I can't own or carry one.]

J. P. WIGHTMAN
BLACKSBURG


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8. Anti-gun LTE
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A VA-ALERT reader emailed me this:

--

From The Roanoke Times: http://tinyurl.com/85fpgx3


Pick of the day: Legal guns are a part of the problem
December 22, 2011

Re: Jim Layman's letter of Dec. 13, in which he said, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people" ("People, not guns are the killers"):

My answer is that people kill people with guns. [PVC: and cars, stones, knives, bricks, golf clubs, machetes, tire irons, bats, fists and feet, hammers...]

Are there other ways to kill? Certainly.

But they require more time, thought, effort and are so messy. [PVC: Hmmm...interesting criteria, if tools used to commit crimes are "messy", then Aaron apparently thinks it's ok for them to be legal.]

Had there been another person on the scene with a legally obtained weapon, Virginia Tech police Officer Deriek Crouse still would have died because the killer's legally obtained weapon and his intent were concealed till the last moment. [PVC: I agree - not even another officer on the scene could have saved Officer Crouse from an assassination. Only some massively good luck would have saved him - the murderer's gun jamming, murderer missing, or Officer Crouse noticing the murderer's approach and his weapon quickly enough.]

Legal guns are just as deadly as illegal guns. [PVC: Automobiles, whether driven by a drunk or not, can be equally deadly.]

Unless the perverted interpretation of the Second Amendment is changed, we will continue to read about gun killings in the morning papers. [PVC: This guy would make good Supreme Court material! Some of the Justices couldn't read and understand the single sentence that makes up the Second Amendment either.]

This will not happen until our legislators, state and national, stop taking bribes from National Rifle Association lobbyists. [PVC: Nobody agrees with Mr. Beavers vision for America - that could only happen because of bribes, of course.]

AARON L. BEAVERS
HOLLINS


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9. Virginia Republicans to push pro-gun laws
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Ron Brahin emailed me this:


Virginia Republicans to push pro-gun laws
By Steve Contorno
12/14/11

Pro-gun Republicans in Virginia said they will press ahead with efforts to undo the state's gun laws in coming months, including the state's long-standing one handgun per month rule, even as last week's murder-suicide on Virginia Tech's campus revived painful memories of the 2007 massacre.

A handful of pro-gun bills is already in the works. Del. Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg, filed a bill last week that bars localities from offering incentives to gun owners to surrender their firearms and another banning clerks from releasing the names of individuals who have permits to carry concealed handguns.

Gun bills are a regular feature of any General Assembly session, but for years a Democratic Senate regularly killed them. [PVC: And did so BY VIOLATING THE RULES OF THE SENATE, denying the will of the majority!] However, next year the Senate will be split 20-20 between the parties with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a Republican, casting tie-breaking votes, increasing the chances of pro-gun legislation passing.

The top target for pro-gun groups is lifting Virginia's limit of one handgun purchase per month.

"I really think this year is our best shot to repeal" the law, said David Adams, legislative committee chairman for the Virginia Shooting Sports Association, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association. The group will also push for liability protections for homeowners who shoot intruders inside their homes.

Gov. Bob McDonnell supported the one-gun-a-month limit in 1993, but on the campaign trail in 2009 he pledged to end the restriction. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin reiterated that support Wednesday, saying the limit is unnecessary because of "major advances in computerized background check technology since the law was first put on the books."

Last week, a Virginia Tech police officer was shot and killed by 22-year-old Ross Ashley, who used a legally purchased handgun. The shocking murder-suicide immediately stirred fears of the 2007 mass shooting in which 32 people were shot to death. [PVC: And what does this have to do with all the tea in China? Antis only ammunition is emotion. Doesn't matter if that emotion fits with the matter at hand or not.]

Gun control advocates said they believe many of the previously defeated gun measures could succeed in a statehouse now largely controlled by Republicans.

"Republicans are going to be responsible for what comes out and whatever results from the decisions they make," said Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington. "In all likelihood they will become law. People should get ready for the wild, wild West here in Virginia, and I'm not sure that's what people voted for when they went to the booths in November." [PVC: Ah, yes. Here comes the "wild west" yet again! Sounds like Delegate HOPE would prefer that we didn't have any PEACE in Virginia.]


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10. Apparently what goes around does come around
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The hypocrites in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors get their comeuppance!

From reason.com: http://tinyurl.com/79prk97

Democratic Fairfax Embraces Its Inner Tea Party
Even people who benefit from big government love it less when they have to live under it.
By A. Barton Hinkle
December 16, 2011

You can't get a whole lot more Democratic than Fairfax County, just outside of D.C. Barack Obama carried Fairfax 60-38 against John McCain in 2008. That's six percentage points higher than Obama's statewide margin, which Fairfax helped inflate because it is the commonwealth's largest locality: 13.5 percent of Virginians live there. Four years before, George W. Bush carried Virginia with 54 percent of the vote - but not Fairfax, where John Kerry got 53 percent.

The county board of supervisors reflects the split as well. Seven of the 10 members are Democrats. That makes its recent stance on state government rather amusing.

Each year localities around Virginia draw up their wish lists for the General Assembly session that convenes in January. Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, which means that localities are under the thumb of state government and must go hat in hand to the legislature to get permission to do many things. Fairfax recently completed its wish list for the 2012 session.

And what do the supervisors want from Richmond? "I think the simple message is, 'Please try to leave us alone,' " says Supervisor Jeff McKay.

How very Tea Party of them. Perhaps Fairfax should replace its county seal with the Gadsden Flag - that yellow banner, popular at Tea Party rallies, with coiled snake and the legend, "Don't Tread on Me."

That's not the only way in which heavily Democratic Fairfax sounds sympathetic to the Tea Party rabble. Like those grassroots conservatives in tricorner hats, the county also thinks it is Taxed Enough Already.

Fairfax is one of the richest counties in America. With a median household income in six figures, it comes in second only to the nation's richest county, next-door Loudoun. And yet, as reported recently in The Washington Post, the county's wish list "includes other perennial desires: that Northern Virginia taxpayers see more of the money they send to Richmond, for example."

"Overall, the county would be pleased if the Virginia General Assembly would stop using Northern Virginia as its piggybank," continues The Post. Translation: Fairfax does not want to "spread the wealth around," as Barack Obama put it to Joe the Plumber. But wait - Obama says spreading the wealth around is "good for everybody." Does the county disagree?

When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton famously replied that that's where the money is. Same goes for Northern Virginia: The heavily populated, high-income region generates a big chunk of the state's wealth. Where else should legislators look for revenue - Pearisburg (population 2,700, median household income $40,000)?

What happened to making the rich pay their fair share?

Dig deeper into the county's wish list and you find other gems. It wants more state aid to localities, and opposes any funding cuts ("erosions of the social safety net") that might leave localities on the hook for Medicaid costs. Translation: Let's have lots of health care, paid for by someone else. There's limousine liberalism in a nutshell. As George Mason University's Bryan Caplan once explained, "The wealthy but uncharitable socialist ceases to be a mystery once you understand relative prices. Voluntary charity is costly to the giver, but voting for charity ... is virtually free."

The supervisors also want to prohibit protests at funerals. They support efforts to fight global warming by mandating cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. They want the power to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. They also oppose the push to protect property owners from eminent-domain abuse.

In brief, then, Fairfax officials are eager to order other people about. They just don't want to take any orders from Richmond. Unfortunately, the Dillon Rule says they have to.

Funny thing about that rule. It was named after John Forest Dillon, an Iowa Supreme Court justice back in the Tammany Hall era who thought little of local government. He believed that "those best fitted by their intelligence, business experience, capacity and moral character" did not generally enter local government. So local governments needed close watching.

That's not wildly different from how much of contemporary liberalism looks at ordinary citizens. In the eyes of contemporary liberalism everyday Americans need the firm guidance of their liberal betters lest they make poor choices or, through their choices, produce results liberals dislike, such as unbridled commerce or economic disparity.

Americans, say liberals, cannot be left to their own devices. So it is entertaining to watch a locality where such an ideology defines the political center - Fairfax is a bedroom community for federal bureaucrats - chafe under the very sort of paternalism it otherwise endorses.

There's a lesson in that. Even people who benefit from big government love it less when they have to live under it.


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11. Should I need a gun when shoe shopping?
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Who needs a gun - the police will save you! But, er, who will save you and the police when the POLICE are overwhelmed? Fortunately even more police showed up and even escorted shoppers back to their vehicles...

EM Pete Clark emailed me this:

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This is just on the absurd side, it's a SHOE sale!


From joineugene.com: http://tinyurl.com/cpwdanl


Deputies Respond To Dulles Town Center Mall Crowd Early This Morning
December 23, 2011

LCSO, VSP Respond to Dulles Town Center Mall For Crowd Control During Early Morning Shoe Sale


(Statement Just Released) The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office responded to the Dulles Town Center Mall early this morning when a crowd of several hundred shoppers, hoping to buy Nike shoes at a bargain price, became unruly.


On Friday, December 23, 2011, shortly after midnight, shoppers began gathering in the north side parking lot of the Dulles Town Center Mall (DTC), near the Cheesecake Factory restaurant, some from as far away as Washington, DC and Richmond, VA. Several sports outlets in the area, including the Finish Line and Foot Locker stores at DTC, had advertised Nike's Air Jordan shoes for sale at a low price. The stores were to open at 3AM and quantities were limited.

Mall security tried to keep the crowd, numbering over 250, from gathering near the entrance. When some were able to gain entry into the mall, dozens began rushing in, but were made to go back outside. The Sheriff's Office was called for assistance. The responding deputies were quickly overwhelmed by the unruly crowd, which pushed and shoved the deputies against walls and glass doors.

Additional deputies, including members of the Civil Disturbance Unit were called out. Mutual aid was unavailable from neighboring jurisdictions due to similar incidents in those counties.

Virginia State Police responded, sending 11 units.

Law Enforcement authorities were able to bring the crowd under control without serious incident. Deputies and Troopers assisted the stores with a lottery for the shoppers. Over 350 tickets were handed out and customers were allowed to come inside as their numbers were called. Officers kept order at both stores as the sales were completed and even escorted those lucky shoppers to their vehicles afterward.

The Mall, which was closed for the duration of the incident, was able to open for regular business by 7:30 AM.

No arrests were made, nor are any expected. One woman suffered a leg injury during the original melee. She was treated and released at the scene by rescue personnel and remained on site to complete her purchase. The Sheriff's Office also took one report of a wallet lost to a pickpocket.


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12. Man charged with robberies, thefts in Newport News
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Jack Gergely emailed me this:

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You probably have seen this, but just in case. I like the part where the two police forces are congratulating themselves on their teamwork, but not a word about congratulating the CHP holder who is the one who actually stopped the criminal in the first place!

Jack Gergely
Newport News


From dailypress.com: http://tinyurl.com/cgpunjb


Man charged with series of robberies and thefts in Newport News
The suspect was arrested at hospital after apparently being shot by robbery victim
BY Mike Holtzclaw
December 21, 2011

NEWPORT NEWS-- Police in Newport News have arrested a man and charged him in a string of robberies after the man showed up at a Portsmouth hospital with a gunshot wound.

Police say Martel Harris, a 21-year-old Carrollton resident, was apparently wounded when one of his robbery victims opened fire with a concealed weapon. He was treated and released at Maryview Hospital in Portsmouth, at which point police arrested him on charges of robbery, attempted robbery, grand larceny and the use of a firearm in commission of a felony. He was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Holly McPherson, spokeswoman for Newport News police, said the charges relate to three separate incidents in Newport News on Tuesday.

According to the police report, Harris attempted to rob a man at gunpoint just after 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the 1100 block of James Drive. About 20 minutes later, McPherson said, Harris stole a vehicle from the parking lot of the Riverlands Apartments.

Just before 8 p.m., police say, Harris returned to the apartment complex and robbed a 54-year-old man in the parking lot. When Harris pointed his gun at the robbery victim, the man produced his own concealed weapon and fired several shots. It was unknown at the time if the robbery suspect had been hit.

Early Wednesday morning, Portsmouth police notified Newport News police that Harris had shown up at Maryview Hospital with a gunshot wound. McPherson credited "exceptional teamwork of the two police departments" with the identification and arrest of Harris.

She said the stolen vehicle was recovered on 35th Street in Newport News.


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13. Letter: Armed students increase danger
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Board member Bruce Jackson emailed me this:

--

From lubbockonline.com: http://tinyurl.com/7ps5sqh


Letter: Armed students increase danger
December 19, 2011

My condolences go to those affected at Virginia Tech, and my concerns as a student lead me to the question: Should concealed weapons be allowed at Texas Tech? No one really knows the answer. If someone with good aim could prevent a murder, why wouldn't you let him bring a gun on campus?

But let's do a thought experiment in which every single student has a concealed handgun (and is willing to use it), and a shooting has just occurred. Once the attacker fires the first round, two students might shoot in the attacker's direction to protect the bystanders. Confusion then instills, and the two shots of protection result in four shots being fired by the bystanders at the protectors. Then those four bullets initiate eight more. Then those eight initiate another 16, and so on and so forth.

It's called exponential growth. Bullets fired = 2^x, where x equals the number of individuals with guns. Lets say 100 people are in the area. 2^100 is something like 126,750,600,228,229,401,496,703,205,376 -- quite a few bullets, if you ask me. [PVC: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Talk about over thinking a problem and not basing a theory on any kind of reality... If you start with a false premise, you can prove anything! He is clearly not a math major either. Each shooter would have two bullets coming his way, in this impossible scenario. So in a classroom with 25 people, all armed, there would be 50 bullets fired, not 33,554,432!]

However that's too extreme. My real fear is that someone's '81 Buick is going to backfire, which sounds a lot like gunfire. And maybe this happens the day after a big win, so I'm on campus doing Guns Up, like every good Raider should. If the car sounds like a gunshot, and my hand looks like a gun, I might get killed, all in the name of protection. [PVC: HAHAHAHA! Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes! So, let's assume someone in a bowling alley throws a strike. One of the pins jumps out of the bowler's lane and lands in the next lane, causing that bowler's ball to be diverted unexpectedly into the gutter. The second bowler gets angry and throws a water glass at the first bowler, who ducks, causing the glass to hit the pregnant mother holding a toddler in her arms, knocking her out. All in the name of having some fun bowling. I never realized how dangerous a game it is!]

LUKE HORTON/Lubbock

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14. RT LTE: Tech was slow to issue alert
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VT President Steger gets a well deserved kick in the rear end in this LTE!

EM Dave Hicks emailed me this:

--

From The Roanoke Times: http://tinyurl.com/7dgsull


Tech was slow to issue alert

Since Virginia Tech officials knew for hours before this latest murder that a vehicle stolen by an armed and dangerous man was on its campus, one of two things must be true:

Either the school did not issue any sort of alert to all campus police officers, in which case it let Deriek Crouse walk into a deathtrap, or it had its police on alert, in which case the university -- once again -- failed to make public mention of a gun-wielding felon on the loose until it was too late.

Whichever is true, how many more times does Tech have to mismanage campus security to the point of a chalk outline before a change of leadership occurs?

Recall, too, that this was on the day administrators were fighting to dismiss a $55,000 fine for lapses in issuing timely warnings on April 16, 2007.

I understand the cold calculus of putting the Tech brand ahead of lives. People are a renewable resource; few teams sell out the Sugar Bowl.

But at some point, does not the body count created by Tech's habit of mishandling campus safety become a greater liability to that brand than the admission of President Charles Steger's twice-demonstrated incompetence?

JOSEPH PIERRO
MECHANICSVILLE


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15. Mental health laws and guns
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From loudountimes.com: http://tinyurl.com/bvezcu4


Virginia Tech killing ignites debate on guns, mental health
By By Peter J. Smith
Virginia Statehouse News
December 17, 2011

ALEXANDRIA -- The recent shooting of a police officer at Virginia Tech has resurrected a debate on gun control in Virginia and has raised questions about whether the state's mental health screening laws are strong enough.

Ross Truett Ashley, 22, of Radford, shot and killed Virginia Tech Police Officer Deriek Crouse, a 39-year-old father of five, and then shot and killed himself in a nearby parking lot, according to Virginia State Police.

This incident has rocked the Virginia Tech campus, which was the site of a 2007 massacre, when mentally-ill student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 33 fellow students, faculty and himself.

Now Republicans, with their newfound control of the General Assembly, may seek to extend conceal-and-carry permits to public universities. The law now allows Virginia's public universities to set up their own public safety regulations, including making campuses so called "gun-free zones."

Mark Owczarski, spokesman for Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, said the university stood by its right to keep guns off campus.

"Our perspective has been for a long time -- and recent events have not changed this -- that guns and weapons do not belong in the classroom," he said.

Kirsten Nelson, spokeswoman for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, which advocates for public universities and colleges, said these institutions "need to be the ones to make campus safety decisions, and we support their purview to do that." [PVC: Oh, yeah - tell that to Blue Ridge Community College, who had a gun ban shoved down their throat from a bunch of unelected bureaucrats.]

State Sen.-elect Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, supports the universities and colleges' gun restrictions and supports improved mental health services at those institutes of higher education.

"People expect a university to provide a safety net," she said.

Favola added that enhanced mental health screenings for potential gun buyers also should be on the table.

"There are lots of opportunities to fall through the cracks. I'm trying to find opportunities for cracks to be filled," she said.

Ashley's acquaintances told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that they feared he had serious mental health issues. Authorities have not confirmed or denied public speculation that Ashley was mentally ill.

But state Sen.-elect Dick Black, R-Leesburg, said state and federal laws banning those with mental illness from possessing firearms were enough.

Firearms dealers must perform criminal background checks on potential gun buyers before every firearm purchase. Dealers check the prospective purchaser's name against state and federal databases for criminal history or legal eligibility to own a gun, including whether the individual has a history of mental illness.

Philip Van Cleave, president of Virginia's Citizens Defense League, or VCDL, a grassroots gun advocacy group, said enhancing the mental health screening process would hurt law-abiding people with ordinary health problems. VCDL is lobbying the General Assembly to overturn the right of public universities to enact conceal-and-carry bans on campus.

"We don't want a situation where if you voluntarily went to a doctor for depression, then it will cost you your gun rights," Van Cleave said. "Some people would not get treatment and just try to stick it out in order to keep their rights."

But Josh Horowitz, executive director of Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a national organization against gun violence, said the state should have more tools in its background checks to stop mentally ill individuals from buying firearms.

"Other states have the tools to put temporary holds on people from purchasing a gun, such as a psychiatrist or therapist who knows a person is mentally ill, but hasn't been stopped by an adversarial legal process," he said. "We don't have that here."

Van Cleave said the checks were ineffective, and are at best a "cosmetic Band-Aid" to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. He said determined criminals could obtain weapons through "straw purchases" -- asking a friend with a clean record to purchase a firearm for them.

"There is no way to prevent that," he said.

Favola said that while gun control laws may not have prevented the recent murder at Virginia Tech, she sees potential in reforming the way the community health services board interacts with the college and university communities to provide mental health services.

"We need to reform the system to be outcome oriented -- helping clients with mental health issues get well, instead of doing the very minimum of service that the law requires," she said. "We need enough money funding our community services boards and more flexibility in Medicaid reimbursement to provide the mental health support these kids need."

Gun advocates said that instead of clamping down on gun ownership, lawmakers should extend conceal-and-carry legislation to the state's public universities.

"We need to let good people protect themselves, and that is a disincentive to criminals trying anything," Van Cleave said.

Black said he would support such a proposal, saying that gun-free zones encourage criminals to kill by removing the uncertainty that someone other than law enforcement could stop them.

"If you prohibit law-abiding people from carrying concealed firearms, then you prevent them from being in the position of potentially stopping a murderer," he said.

But opponents said removing those restrictions on campus would make universities more dangerous. [PVC: Isn't that exactly what anti-gunners said regarding shall issue concealed carry laws? The sky is falling, blood will be flowing in the streets, shootouts over fender benders, etc. Instead, it seems that the blood actually flows in gun free zones!]

"I don't think anybody in the entire campus safety apparatus -- from administrators to police officers -- thinks armed students would make campus safer," Horowitz said. "The general public is against it, and Republicans will have a tough slog trying to make that sell."

"It's going to be very sad if that bill gets introduced," Favola said, but she expressed pessimism that Democrats could stop it. "I'm not sure with the current make-up of the Senate that we could stop it again."

Favola said she has not yet developed model legislation on gun control for the General Assembly, but she is focusing on mental-health community services.

James Martinez, director of the Office of Mental Health Services at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, declined to comment.


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16. No guns in DC?
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John Treaster emailed me this:

--

From foxnews.com: http://tinyurl.com/ccl6mc3


Authorities in D.C. Seize $7 Million in Guns, Drugs After Yearlong Undercover Sting
December 19, 2011

WASHINGTON - Authorities in Washington say a yearlong undercover gun and drug trafficking operation has led to 70 arrests and the seizure of $7.1 million worth of drugs and firearms.

D.C. police and agents with the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the operation along with other federal authorities.

Authorities say officers posed as gangsters, businessmen and bodyguards and a fake recording studio was set up in November 2010 where undercover agents purchased guns and drugs.

"This was a significant result for the District," D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a press conference. "Had those drugs and guns made it to our streets, the consequences would be devastating."

The operation netted 161 firearms, including 29 assault weapons, along with methamphetamine, cocaine, PCP, marijuana, heroin and ecstasy. Authorities say one of the suspects, Christopher Washington, offered to sell grenades and rocket launchers to the agents. Another, James Deale, allegedly sold AR-15 assault rifles and rare made-to-fit handgun silencers to the agents, according to the Washington Post.

"They had real connections to real gun traffickers," D.C. Police Sgt. Dale Sutherland told the Washington Post. "It is unusual to get that many guys that have a 'connect' where they can get guns steady."

Targets were lured to the phony studio by confidential informants, where their meetings and deals were recorded by hidden audio and video equipment, the Washington Post reports.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier says the people arrested were "extremely dangerous." The team uncovered connections to a Mexican drug cartel [PVC: In other words, those were BATFE supplied guns] and gun traders from outside the region.


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17. Like a poll....
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Dean Rogers emailed me this:

--

Philip,

The links below are links that allow folks to weigh in regarding pending legislation and automatically notify their house/senate representative regarding their position.

It is not "state politics" which is the thrust of VCDL, however, a couple of the Bills that are pending relate to matters very near and dear to our hearts (and firearms).

check out this:

https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr822

https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr308

https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2615


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18. Unprovoked attacks at heart of 'Knockout King'
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Stephen Wenger emailed me this:

--

From the Associated Press: http://tinyurl.com/7r7shxz


Unprovoked attacks at heart of 'Knockout King'
By JIM SALTER
Associated Press
Dec 24, 2011

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matthew Quain still struggles to piece together what happened after a trip to the grocery store nearly turned deadly. He remembers a group of loitering young people, a dimly lit street - then nothing. The next thing he knew he was waking up with blood pouring out of his head.

The 51-year-old pizza kitchen worker's surreal experience happened just before midnight earlier this year, when he became another victim of what is generally known as "Knockout King" or simply "Knock Out," a so-called game of unprovoked violence that targets random victims.

Scattered reports of the game have come from around the country including Massachusetts, New Jersey and Chicago. In St. Louis, the game has become almost contagious, with tragic consequences. An elderly immigrant from Vietnam died in an attack last spring.

The rules of the game are as simple as they are brutal. A group - usually young men or even boys as young as 12, and teenage girls in some cases - chooses a lead attacker, then seeks out a victim. Unlike typical gang violence or other street crime, the goal is not revenge, nor is it robbery. The victim is chosen at random, often a person unlikely to put up a fight. Many of the victims have been elderly. Most were alone.

The attacker charges at the victim and begins punching. If the victim goes down, the group usually scatters. If not, others join in, punching and kicking the person, often until he or she is unconscious or at least badly hurt. Sometimes the attacks are captured on cellphone video that is posted on websites.

"These individuals have absolutely no respect for human life," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said.

Slay knows firsthand. He was on his way home from a theater around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 21 when he saw perhaps a dozen young people casually crossing a street. He looked to the curb and saw Quain sprawled on the pavement.

Slay told his driver to pull over. They found Quain unconscious, blood pouring from his head and mouth.

Quain was hospitalized for two days with a broken jaw, a cracked skull and nasal cavity injuries. He still has headaches and memory problems but was finally able to return to work earlier this month. Hundreds gathered in November for a fundraiser at the restaurant where he works, Joanie's Pizza, but he still doesn't know how he'll pay the medical bills.

"I don't remember much of what happened," Quain said. "I was hanging out with a friend, celebrating the Cardinals in the World Series. I went to the store and saw a group of kids who looked out of place, suspicious, but I shrugged it off. I got around to the library, and the next thing I remember is waking up on the corner with the mayor standing next to me. I tried to say `hi' but my jaw was broken."

It isn't clear how long Knockout King has been around, nor is the exact number of attacks known. The FBI doesn't track it separately, but Slay said he has heard from several mayors about similar attacks and criminologists agree versions of the game are going on in many places.

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom said the city has had about 10 Knockout King attacks over the past 15 months.

Experts say it is a grab for attention.

"We know that juveniles don't think out consequences clearly," said Beth Huebner, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "They see something on YouTube and say, `I want to get that sort of attention, too.' They don't think about the person they're attacking maybe hitting their head."

Scott Decker, a criminologist at Arizona State, said the attacks are a modern extension of gang-like behavior - instead of painting over another gang's graffiti as a show of toughness, they beat someone up and post a video on social media sites. The postings spur copycat crimes.

"It's adolescent and early adults, largely male, showing how tough they are. It's done to show off," Decker said.

Earlier this year in Chicago, a group of teens followed an elderly homeless man at a train station. One of the teens walked up to him and punched him in the face, knocking him out as the teen's friends laughed and mocked the man. The exchange was captured on video and posted on a hip-hop site, where it got about a quarter of a million views within two days. The teen was not arrested because police couldn't locate the homeless man to see if he wanted to press charges.

The crimes aren't limited to big cities. In 2009, Adam Taylor had just entered a parking garage in Columbia, Mo. Surveillance footage from the garage showed a group of teens following him. One of the teens attacked, punching Taylor and sending him crashing into a brick wall. A few seconds later, the others joined in, punching and kicking him as he lay on the ground. Taylor suffered bruising on the brain, whiplash and internal bleeding but survived.

Hoang Nguyen wasn't as fortunate.

The 72-year-old retired schoolteacher immigrated to St. Louis from Vietnam with his wife less than four years earlier to be near their daughter. The couple was returning to their apartment after walking to a grocery store on an April morning in broad daylight.

They took a shortcut through an alley, where they saw a group of young people approaching. Suddenly, one of them charged. Hoang was attacked as he stepped in front of his wife to protect her. The attack went on as he begged for mercy, she told police.

Hoang died of massive injuries. Elex Murphy, 18, was charged with first-degree murder and allegedly told police the attack was part of the Knockout King game. His attorney declined to comment.

St. Louis authorities are going to the source to combat further attacks. A special police squad has been assigned to focus on Knockout King, and a city prosecutor is designated for the attacks. But Isom said equally important is an outreach effort to talk to students.

"Certainly we take this very seriously and we're making every effort to stop it," Isom said.


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19. Nearly one year of shall-issue in Iowa
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People WANT to be able to protect themselves. When the government changes to a "shall issue," there is a strong response. Here in Virginia we have over 275,000 permit holders now!

Stephen Wenger emailed me this:

--

From desmoinesregister.com: http://tinyurl.com/d2mr79o


'Unbelievable' rise in weapons permits
Interest grew substantially after law reduced sheriffs' ability to deny them
By TOM ALEX
Dec. 22, 2011

The number of Iowans seeking permits to carry handguns and other weapons has increased 170 percent during the first 11 months of 2011 -- a trend one Iowa sheriff calls "unbelievable."

During the first year in which a new law gave sheriffs less discretion over which residents can be denied permits, 94,516 Iowans sought and received non-professional weapons permits from January through November, the Iowa Department of Public Safety reports.

Data from the state's three most populous counties show an even greater surge in weapons permits in key urban areas. In Polk, Linn and Scott counties, the number of permits issued thus far in 2011 is 271 percent higher than in 2010.

"It really has been amazing," Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals said. "Interest has continued the whole year here."

The increase is attributed to a change in state law that took effect Jan. 1 that requires Iowa sheriffs to give weapons permits to almost everyone who asks for one. Previously, a sheriff could deny a permit for any or no reason.

A spot check statewide shows:

In Polk County, which includes the Des Moines metro area, 9,720 permits have been issued in 2011, more than three times the number in 2010, when 2,597 permits were issued.

In Linn County, which includes Cedar Rapids, 5,293 permits have been issued this year through Dec. 13. In all of 2010, 1,921 permits were issued.

In Scott County, which includes Davenport, 4,212 permits have been issued through November. In 2010, 670 permits were issued.

And in Cerro Gordo County, which includes Mason City, 1,221 permits have been issued through Dec. 13. In 2010, 482 people sought weapons permits.

"It's unbelievable," Pals said. "It hasn't slowed. The permits used to be one-year permits. Now they are good for five years."

Scott County Sheriff Dennis Conard, who has seen a 570 percent increase in permits, said few problems have cropped up despite more Iowans having handgun permits.

He believes people who qualify for a permit are not likely to cause trouble.

"I didn't expect any problems with the people who qualify, with the gun law or anything else," Conard said.

In Des Moines, Jose Aquino has a new permit -- and says he feels safer with a gun.

Already an owner of four firearms, Aquino, 27, was looking at handguns at Ron's Pawn and Gun, 125 Army Post Road, in Des Moines, last week.

When he spotted a weapon apparently made for a woman he recoiled playfully. The owner of the store, Tracy Adams, gave him a closer look at a petite raspberry-colored handgun.

This one is popular with women, Adams said.

"No thank you," Aquino said, smiling. He scanned a display case that had larger, darker-colored semi-automatic weapons.

Aquino, who owns Vision Night Club in West Des Moines, said he likes having a permit that is good for five years instead of one. He's also glad he doesn't have to get separate credentials to purchase a weapon. His carry permit is good for that, too.

"No one is out to get me," Aquino said. "I'm not worried about that. I pray to God I never have to use it. But I definitely feel safer when I carry it." Asked if he was carrying a weapon at the moment, he nodded. Asked to show it, he pulled up his shirt to expose the handle of a semi-automatic handgun.

He said he bought his first gun two years ago. He didn't feel he was mature enough to handle one until then.

"Now I just love guns," he said. "I know it is a big responsibility."

Aquino is critical of requirements that allow citizens to obtain permits without completing at least eight or nine hours of training and practical experience at a range.

Firearms like the easy-to-conceal .380-caliber Ruger LCP and the Taurus TCP were all the rage earlier this year at Ron's Pawn and Gun.

But that trend has yielded to larger firearms and smaller guns of a larger caliber, according to Adams.

Why are more Iowans seeking permits?

"The majority of people I've talked to said they'd just always wanted one," said Pals, the Cerro Gordo County sheriff. "And now they can in Iowa and they are following through with it. The training that's required is a lot easier now."

Pals said it's not uncommon to see a husband and wife showing up to get permits together -- or even a group of friends.

In Linn County, Maj. John Godar of the Sheriff's Department said increased availability of mandatory training has added to Iowans' interest.

"Instructors, some from out of state, came in and started teaching classes," Godar said. "Some gun dealers and sporting goods stores sponsored classes."

Keith Romp of Controlled Chaos Arms of Baxter said interest in classes has remained high throughout the year.

"People have always had an interest in exercising their Second Amendment rights, and now they are following through with it," said Romp, a Polk County deputy who holds many of his training classes at a range in Searsboro.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, said personal safety is an issue of nationwide concern.

"This is not the case just in Iowa. This is across the country," Arulanandam said. "People are placing a higher premium on safety."


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20. Just one little .22 bullet saves resident from intruder
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Deborah Anderson emailed me this:

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In Magalia, California, just one little .22 bullet saved a resident from an intruder to his home. Sure pays to be armed and ready to defend yourself!

Blessings,

Deborah Jane Anderson


From chicoer.com: http://tinyurl.com/6w84h7u


Magalia man shot to death after forcing way into home
By ROGER H. AYLWORTH
12/20/2011

MAGALIA -- A 29-year-old Magalia man with a prison record dating back to at least to 2003, was shot and killed Monday night after he allegedly forced his way into a home in the 15100 block of Jack Pine Way.

John Randolph Shanks III was pronounced dead in the home around 8 p.m.

The male resident of the home, who has yet to be identified, reportedly shot Shanks once in the chest with a .22-caliber handgun, according to Butte County sheriff's Sgt. Jason Hail.

Hail said Shanks, who was wearing a bandana over his face when he entered the home, originally went to the front door and demanded to be let in. The man then allegedly forced his way through a sliding door.

The resident then shot Shanks. Arriving deputies found Shanks on the floor in the hall of the house. Deputies attempted to resuscitate the man, but were unsuccessful and Shanks was pronounced dead in the home.

Hail said it was not immediately clear why Shanks allegedly forced his way into the house.

Hail also said Shanks and the man who shot him apparently knew each other, but it doesn't appear to be drug-related, nor did it appear to be "a random act of violence."

A second man, described as being white, in his 20s, about 5-foot-6, with a stocky build and light hair was with Shanks according to Hail, who supervises the sheriff's investigations unit.

The second man fled the scene uninjured, said the sergeant.

Hail declined to comment on whether Shanks was armed.

No charges have been filed against the shooter.

Shanks was released from state prison in mid-November, but he reportedly failed to report to the Butte County Probation Department as required.

Hail said probation had issued a request that law enforcement be on the look out for Shanks, and were in the process of getting an arrest warrant for the man.

According to Butte County Court records and Enterprise-Record archives, Shanks was sentenced to state prison in May 2010 for felony attempting to evade a peace officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

That stemmed from an incident that March in which he'd crashed his car into a garage on South Park Drive in Magalia, then ran off to a friend's house where he was captured.

He was also sent to prison in 2007 for felony attempting to evade a peace officer, after leading a deputy on a high-speed chase through Paradise that ended when he crashed into a tree on Steifer Road.

In 2003 he was sent to prison on a charge of "resisting an executive officer."


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21. Who might need a gun at work?
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John Treaster emailed me this:

--

From dailymail.co.uk: http://tinyurl.com/d8jbvw6


Boss killed by office worker who went on deadly shooting rampage because he 'did not like management'
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
December 18, 2011

Pictured for the first time, this is one of the two men shot dead at his desk by a co-worker struggling to cope with financial pressures.

Robert Lindsay, 53, from Chino, California was killed by a gunman at his office in Irwindale, Southern California as fellow employees cowered behind their desks.

The killer has been identified as Andre Turner, 48, from Norco, who had reportedly targeted managers at the firm before shooting himself dead.

A hint at a possible motive: Reports say Turner's house faced possible foreclosure and was recently listed for sale at $120,000 less than he paid for it.

As well as Mr Lindsay, he killed 56-year-old Henry Serrano of Walnut, California and injured two other co-workers.

Employees at Edison International in Irwindale, Southern California, were described as hiding behind their desks while the man roamed the office with a gun.

A budget meeting was held shortly before the shooting began, but it was not immediately known what was discussed.

A source told the Los Angeles Times that Turner 'told some people to leave and he was very deliberate about who he shot.

'He did not like management.'

KCAL 9 reported Turner's wife Jean was concerned her husband may have been one of the victims, and didn't find out that he may have been the shooter until hours later.

The station also reported that Turner's daughter had also worked for Edison on the second floor of the building, but was recently laid off.

A neighbour of the Turners described the couple as 'great people.'

Authorities have so far not released any information about a possible motive, but KCAL 9 reported that Turner may have been 'underwater' on his house payments.

A phone number listed in his name rang unanswered.

Edison International Chairman and CEO Ted Craver said: 'This is one of the most horrible days in our company's history. We are deeply saddened by today's tragic events.'

Two other employees, a female Hispanic adult and a male adult, are currently in critical condition, according to L.A. County Sheriff's officials.

Ron Orona of El Monte said his daughter, a 23-year-old employee who works in one of the adjacent buildings, said Turner had been in her building and talked to her boss about five minutes before the gunfire broke out.

She heard the shots, and reached for her phone in a panic.

'She called me and said dad, there's two gunmen and 12 people have been shot,' Orona told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. 'She was a little shook up, as I was.'

Turner shot himself and no gunfire was exchanged after officers arrived.

The complex is surrounded by a fence and patrolled by a security guard. Employees need a security card to get into the building, said Gil Alexander, a spokesman for Southern California Edison.

About 200 employees work at the facility.

Irwindale is a small industrial city of about 1,400 residents in the San Gabriel Valley, 22 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.


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22. No guns means NYC is safe, right?
*************************************************

From abcnews.com: http://tinyurl.com/bohwpya


NYC Police: Man Says He Set Woman Afire Over Debt
By CRISTIAN SALAZAR
Associated Press
December 18, 2011

As Deloris Gillespie went up the elevator to her fifth-floor Brooklyn apartment, carrying groceries, a man was waiting. His face was one her neighbors later recognized, and that she surely must have.

Surveillance video from inside the small elevator shows that he looked something like an exterminator, with a canister sprayer, white gloves and a dust mask, which was perched atop his head like a pair of sunglasses. The sprayer was full of flammable liquid.

When the elevator opened Saturday afternoon, the man sprayed the 73-year-old woman, who turned around and crouched down to try to protect herself, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. The attacker sprayed Gillespie in the face and continued to spray her "sort of methodically" over her head and parts of her body as her bags of groceries draped off her arms, Browne said.

Then, Browne said, the attacker pulled out a barbecue-style lighter and used it to ignite a rag in a bottle. He waited a few seconds as Gillespie huddled on the floor. Then he backed out of the elevator and tossed the flaming bottle in.

Neighbors in the Prospect Heights building quickly reported a fire, but had no idea that a woman was being burned alive.

Overnight, a 47-year-old man stinking of gasoline went into a police station and implicated himself in Gillespie's death, Browne said. The suspect, Jerome Isaac, told police he set her on fire because she owed him $2,000 for some work he had done for her, Browne said.

Jaime Holguin, who lives on the same floor as Gillespie, saw surveillance pictures of the attacker and said, "Oh, my God!"

Holguin, the manager of news development for The Associated Press, said the man in the surveillance pictures looked like a man who had lived with Gillespie for about six months last year and appeared to have been helping her out. He was certain Isaac was the man who worked for Gillespie after seeing post-arrest pictures of the suspect.

Gillespie's arrangement with Isaac appeared to have ended by early 2011, but months later Holguin started seeing the man nearby on the street, looking "a lot more disheveled" and pushing a cart full of aluminum cans.

Browne said that after setting Gillespie ablaze, Isaac set another fire at his own apartment building nearby, then hid on a roof before turning himself in to police.

Isaac, of Brooklyn, was arrested Sunday on murder and arson charges. The Brooklyn district attorney's office had no information on whether he had an attorney.

Residents were evacuated and kept away from the six-story building for hours Saturday night as police investigated. On Sunday, Holguin said, the fifth floor was a mess, with a melted elevator door and a layer of water on the floor.

Holguin said he and his girlfriend had taken the elevator on their way out of the building shortly before the attack. They didn't see anyone on the floor with them but did notice an odd smell, as if someone was painting, he said.

Holguin said police told them later that the assailant was already in the building and perhaps had hidden on another floor when they left their apartment.

He remembered Gillespie as nice but sometimes a little off. "At least with me, some days she'd be very, very pleasant, and then the next time, she would almost ignore me," he said.

Gillespie also went through a period this year where she would place duct tape over her apartment door whenever she left, Holguin said.

As for the man who worked for Gillespie, Holguin said they had exchanged hellos and occasionally talked about Holguin's dog.


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23. The hits keep on coming!
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This school system would be better off if run by the kids than the adults.

From wkrn.com: http://tinyurl.com/88tsr6u [video]


Boy disciplined after waving gun-shaped pizza slice
By Andy Cordan
Dec 14, 2011

SMYRNA, Tenn. -
For the rest of the semester, a Rutherford County elementary student has to eat lunch at the "silent table" for allegedly waving around a slice of pizza some say resembled a gun.

Nicholas Taylor attends David Youree Elementary School in Smyrna, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.

School leaders say the 10-year-old threatened other students at his lunch table with a piece of pizza with bites out of it so it looked like a gun and when asked about it was initially not truthful.

Nicholas' mother LeAnn calls her son's punishment "absolutely ridiculous" saying he was just playing around and never said anything derogatory or anything about shooting anyone.

"The kid across the table from him said it looked like a gun so he picked it up and started shooting it in the air," she told Nashville's News 2 Investigates.

Taylor said she learned of the incident when the school sent her a note saying her son was threatening other students.

James Evans, spokesperson for the Rutherford County School District, said the boy isn't being punished because he had a piece of pizza shaped like a gun.

He's being punished because "some students reported he was making some threatening hand gestures, that he was shooting other kids at the table and they reported it to a teacher," according to Evans.

He continued, "The student didn't tell him the truth about it so he got silent lunch for six days."

Evans called the punishment minor but said the message is clear.

"I realize some might say we are going overboard but the principal is just trying to use an abundance of caution and send the message that we don't play about guns and it's not something we joke around about," he said.

To that, Taylor said her son knows he shouldn't play with guns.

"We don't have a gun in the house," she said. "He plays with light sabers. He's a big Star Wars fan."

In addition to lunch at the silent table, Nicholas has spent time with the school resource officer learning about gun safety.

Taylor said the school system has made it clear that if her son eats his pizza into the shape of a gun again and there is a similar occurrence, he will be suspended. [PVC: Tyrannical idiots.]


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24. Reagan not that good on guns
*************************************************

Member Terrell Prude' emailed me this:

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Hi Philip,

Is EM Sadtler aware that it was "the Reagan in California" that hurriedly and gleefully signed the Mulford Act of 1967, the basis of the current anti-freedom gun laws in that state? Is he also aware Reagan backed two "assault weapon bans", both California's of 1989 and the Federal one of 1994?

Whether you're Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, I'm afraid Pres. Reagan was not a friend of the Second Amendment, despite his NRA life-membership. It was "the Reagan in me" that, years ago, had me believing that guns were bad news.

--TP


Terrell's comments above were in response to VA-ALERT 12/21/11, Item #3, "Heston DVD":

EM Robert Sadtler emailed me this:

--

Philip, I have to recommend that ALL gun owners, particularly those who consider themselves "activists", have a copy of the NRA's Charlton Heston compilation "Patriot At The Podium". It is a collection of 28 speeches and short films (one hundred minutes worth) done during his tenure as NRA 1st Vice President and President. Particularly stirring are the short films "Torch With No Flame" and "The Reagan In You". If you wonder where my enthusiasm came from...this is it. If it hasn't changed my life, it has certainly changed my perspective.


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25. Gun laws becoming more permissive, meanwhile crime is way down - coincidence?
*************************************************

Oh, and gun sales are way, way up, too. Sarah Brady is running for the Alka-seltzer about now.

Michael Burnham emailed me this:

--

Philip,

I was reading the news today and couldn't help think that there was a positive correlation between these two stories.


From USA Today: http://tinyurl.com/c9ge2mt


States loosen concealed carry gun laws, stir debate
By Elizabeth Crisp
12/19/2011

JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi resident who receives a concealed carry permit and takes an eight-hour course can now carry a gun on college campuses, in bars and in courthouses.

As of this summer, Wyoming residents need no permits for concealed weapons. And in Indiana, private businesses must allow employees to keep firearms in their vehicles on company property.

Those and other recent changes on the state level represent a growing shift toward loosening state gun regulations, according to University of Chicago professor Jens Ludwig.

"When you look across the states, they are definitely moving in the direction of allowing concealed weapons in more locations," Ludwig says.

Supporters of the trend see it as a boost for gun rights. The National Rifle Association tracks the legislation online and has praised the new state laws.

Others say the trend could pose a threat to public safety.

"The gun lobby won't stop," says Brian Malte, of the Washington, D.C.-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Malte described the way he sees the trend for the past 10 years: guns "anytime, any place and for anyone."

Proponents of the shift say they are just trying to give law-abiding citizens a way to protect themselves.

"Somebody who's disturbed or a crook -- they're not going to care (if it's illegal to carry a gun in certain locations)," says Mississippi state Rep. Greg Snowden, a Republican who was one of three authors of an amendment that paved the way for the new policy here.

Alaska, Arizona and Vermont, like Wyoming, do not require permits for concealed guns, according to the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action.

Lawmakers in Colorado and Utah made similar proposals, but those bills died during the states' most recent legislative sessions, legislative records show.

Florida this year passed a law that would prevent pediatricians from asking about guns in patients' homes, according to the NRA legislation tracker. A federal judge has temporarily blocked the measure. Doctors found in violation would have lost their medical licenses and faced fines of up to $10,000, according to the law that was passed.

University of Mississippi Police Chief Calvin Sellers says he supports the right to own firearms, but he still thinks Mississippi's newest policy could be a "bad law."

"I just don't like the idea of people having firearms in a classroom," he says.

There have been several high-profile campus shootings in recent years, most notably the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting that killed 33 people and injured 25, and the shooting there earlier this month in which a campus police officer was killed by a gunman who subsequently killed himself.

Aside from the high-profile cases, David Burnett, spokesman for a national student-led group that supports concealed carry laws for college campuses, says he thinks allowing students to carry guns can help in situations of sexual assault, armed robbery or other crimes.

"This isn't just about the rare college shooting incidents," he says.


--------


From USA Today: http://tinyurl.com/csx8trg


FBI: Violent and property crime down in early 2011
Associated Press
12/19/2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI said violent and property crimes reported to police are dropping despite tough economic times.

An FBI report out Monday said violent crimes reported in the first half of 2011 were down 6.4% compared to the first six months of 2010. The number of property crimes, including burglary, larceny and vehicle theft, decreased 3.7%.

All four offenses in the violent crime category -- murder and non-negligent homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault -- decreased between the first half of 2010 and 2011. Robbery experienced the biggest drop of 7.7%.

The report is based on information from more than 12,500 law enforcement agencies. There were drops in every region of the country.


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26. I am the gun lobby
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Jeff Knox emailed me this:

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In case you didn't see this.
Very fitting with your comment on the AP legislative situation story in the last Alert.
Jeff

From firearmscoalition.org: http://tinyurl.com/ccmo7jo


I Am The Gun Lobby
By Jeff Knox
The Knox Update
December 17 2011

Attention Lamestream Media...

To all of those "reporters" and pundits at ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, the New York Times and all the other Times, the Boston Globe, the Spokane Spokesman-Review, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Arizona Republic, all of the Tribunes, Stars, and Ledgers;

Let me make something perfectly clear: The NRA is not the Gun Lobby. Neither is the NSSF, nor the GOA, nor even The Firearms Coalition, nor the hundreds of grassroots and activist organizations or the thousands of local gun clubs. I am the Gun Lobby. Whenever you talk about the Gun Lobby, you are talking about me. All those groups and entities work for me, but they are not me, and they do not necessarily speak for me. My power does not derive from my personal wealth nor financial support from the industry that serves me. My power comes from the fact that I am one of tens of millions who understand that individuals have the right and the obligation to protect themselves from criminal assault, and that no one -- not the government, not the media nor anyone else, has the right to decide what, when, where, or how I responsibly exercise that right and obligation. We - each of us - are the Gun Lobby, and we're not going away, We're not backing down, and we're not giving in - not one little bit.

It infuriates me when I hear "reporting" and editorializing about "the powerful Gun Lobby" and "the intransigent Gun Lobby" and sometimes even "the evil Gun Lobby," as if we were a handful of rich fat cats in safari shirts sitting in a mahogany-lined room full of leather, stuffed animals, and cigar smoke plotting how to increase our profits by increasing crime. We are the people! We are the 80 to 90 million people in this country who own guns and the tens of millions more who do not own guns, but fully support our right to do so.

Unlike the anti-rights groups like the Violence Policy Center and the Brady Campaign, we do not get the bulk of our money from wealthy do-gooder endowments like the Joyce Foundation or wealthy individuals like Mike Bloomberg. I am the Gun Lobby and I get my money by working for it in factories, on construction sites, in small businesses, stores, shops, farms and ranches. I pull the money I use to support or oppose candidates and to pay my professional advocates, not from tax dollars or union dues, but from my own back pocket.

Unlike my opponents, I do not derive my power from friends in the media or from minions in state and federal offices. I derive my power from the volunteers I can muster and the votes I can deliver. I want little from politicians -- mostly to be left in peace. If a politician disturbs my peace, I will do my best to fire them and hire someone else to do the job. That's not bullying, or threatening, or undue influence, that's the American ideal as expressed in the First Amendment -- Americans expressing their will and support for the Constitution with our individual votes.

Unlike the Bradys and Bloombergs who advocate for regulation, limits, bans, and government controls over law-abiding citizens, I do not advocate government making any decision for any responsible individual. I do not advocate the arming of teachers or the arming of students, or the arming of anyone. Instead I oppose their being forcibly disarmed, and defend the right of all responsible people to make their own choices. I do not assume that thoughtful, responsible people will become heartless killers or mindless idiots because a gun is present. I reject the notion that "the trigger pulls the finger," as some of my opponents have suggested. I trust responsible adult citizens to be responsible adults, and that trust has been proven consistently everywhere it has been given. I reject the idea that a sign on a wall or a policy in an employee handbook can, will, or ever has stopped someone intent on murder and mayhem from carrying out their criminal acts. To the contrary, I believe that such acts can and have been prevented and curtailed by responsible citizens who had the means and were willing to place themselves in harm's way for the sake of others. I believe that it is wrong to disarm such people based on their job or where they happen to be.

I am the Gun Lobby. I am deeply rooted in the ideals and principles of this great nation. I am a true American and a true grass roots movement, not like the externally funded, Astroturf organizations that oppose me. Certainly there are honorable and committed individuals who truly believe that guns are the problem, that guns cause crime and that giving the State a monopoly on violence is the key to establishing a peaceful and safe society. I know that those people are wromg.

I am many, diverse, and have varying levels of knowledge and understanding, but I am unified by a single individual truth: that no one has the right to make me helpless in the face of violence to myself, my family, my community, or my country.

Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit and link is included. Text is available at www.FirearmsCoalition.org. To receive The Firearms Coalition's bi-monthly newsletter, The Knox Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 1761, Buckeye, AZ 85326.

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27. Local cops ready for war with homeland security-funded military weapons
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The militarization of our police continues to concern me. This is NOT a good trend for our liberty. I don't want our police killed or hurt, but I don't want to live in a police state either. Remember, when the military has a mission it does whatever is necessary to achieve that mission - including killing everybody in the way and asking questions later. Police have a very different mission - to only use deadly force as a means to self-defense. Those lines are continuing to blur.

From thedailybeast.com: http://tinyurl.com/77nfjt4


Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons

A decade of billions in spending in the name of homeland security has armed local police departments with military-style equipment and a new commando mentality. But has it gone too far? Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting report.
by Andrew Becker , G. W. Schulz
December 21, 2011

Nestled amid plains so flat the locals joke you can watch your dog run away for miles, Fargo treasures its placid lifestyle, seldom pierced by the mayhem and violence common in other urban communities. North Dakota's largest city has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there's not been a single international terrorism prosecution in the last decade.

But that hasn't stopped authorities in Fargo and its surrounding county from going on an $8 million buying spree to arm police officers with the sort of gear once reserved only for soldiers fighting foreign wars.

Every city squad car is equipped today with a military-style assault rifle, and officers can don Kevlar helmets able to withstand incoming fire from battlefield-grade ammunition. And for that epic confrontation--if it ever occurs--officers can now summon a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. For now, though, the menacing truck is used mostly for training and appearances at the annual city picnic, where it's been parked near the children's bounce house.

"Most people are so fascinated by it, because nothing happens here," says Carol Archbold, a Fargo resident and criminal justice professor at North Dakota State University. "There's no terrorism here."

Like Fargo, thousands of other local police departments nationwide have been amassing stockpiles of military-style equipment in the name of homeland security, aided by more than $34 billion in federal grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Daily Beast investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

The buying spree has transformed local police departments into small, army-like forces, and put intimidating equipment into the hands of civilian officers. And that is raising questions about whether the strategy has gone too far, creating a culture and capability that jeopardizes public safety and civil rights while creating an expensive false sense of security.

"The argument for up-armoring is always based on the least likely of terrorist scenarios," says Mark Randol, a former terrorism expert at the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress. "Anyone can get a gun and shoot up stuff. No amount of SWAT equipment can stop that."

Local police bristle at the suggestion that they've become "militarized," arguing the upgrade in firepower and other equipment is necessary to combat criminals with more lethal capabilities. They point to the 1997 Los Angeles-area bank robbers who pinned police for hours with assault weapons, the gun-wielding student who perpetrated the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, and the terrorists who waged a bloody rampage in Mumbai, India, that left 164 people dead and 300 wounded in 2008.

The new weaponry and battle gear, they insist, helps save lives in the face of such threats. "I don't see us as militarizing police; I see us as keeping abreast with society," former Los Angeles Police chief William Bratton says. "And we are a gun-crazy society."

"I don't see us as militarizing police; I see us as keeping abreast with society."

Adds Fargo Police Lt. Ross Renner, who commands the regional SWAT team: "It's foolish to not be cognizant of the threats out there, whether it's New York, Los Angeles, or Fargo. Our residents have the right to be protected. We don't have everyday threats here when it comes to terrorism, but we are asked to be prepared."

The skepticism about the Homeland spending spree is less severe for Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York, which are presumed to be likelier targets. But questions persist about whether money was handed out elsewhere with any regard for risk assessment or need. And the gap in accounting for the decade-long spending spree is undeniable. The U.S. Homeland Security Department says it doesn't closely track what's been bought with its tax dollars or how the equipment is used. State and local governments don't maintain uniform records either.

To assess the changes in law enforcement for The Daily Beast, the Center for Investigative Reporting conducted interviews and reviewed grant spending records obtained through open records requests in 41 states. The probe found stockpiles of weaponry and military-style protective equipment worthy of a defense contractor's sales catalog.

In Montgomery County, Texas, the sheriff's department owns a $300,000 pilotless surveillance drone, like those used to hunt down al Qaeda terrorists in the remote tribal regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Augusta, Maine, with fewer than 20,000 people and where an officer hasn't died from gunfire in the line of duty in more than 125 years, police bought eight $1,500 tactical vests. Police in Des Moines, Iowa, bought two $180,000 bomb-disarming robots, while an Arizona sheriff is now the proud owner of a surplus Army tank.

The flood of money opened to local police after 9/11, but slowed slightly in recent years. Still, the Department of Homeland Security awarded more than $2 billion in grants to local police in 2011, and President Obama's 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contributed an additional half-billion dollars.

Law enforcement officials say the armored vehicles, assault weapons, and combat uniforms used by their officers provide a public safety benefit beyond their advertised capabilities, creating a sort of "shock and awe" experience they hope will encourage suspects to surrender more quickly.

"The only time I hear the complaint of 'God, you guys look scary' is if the incident turns out to be nothing," says West Hartford, Conn., Police Lt. Jeremy Clark, who organizes an annual SWAT competition.

A grainy YouTube video from one of Clark's recent competitions shows just how far the police transformation has come, displaying officers in battle fatigues, helmets, and multi-pocketed vests storming a hostile scene. One with a pistol strapped to his hip swings a battering ram into a door. A colleague lobs a flash-bang grenade into a field. Another officer, holding a pistol and wearing a rifle strapped to his back, peeks cautiously inside a bus.

The images unfold to the pulsing, ominous soundtrack of a popular videogame, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Though resembling soldiers in a far-flung war zone, the stars of this video are Massachusetts State Police troopers.

The number of SWAT teams participating in Clark's event doubled to 40 between 2004 and 2009 as Homeland's police funding swelled. The competition provides real-life scenarios for training, and Clark believes it is essential, because he fears many SWAT teams are falling below the 16 hours of minimum monthly training recommended by the National Tactical Officers Association.

"Luck is not for cops. Luck is for drunks and fools," Clark said, explaining his devotion to training.

One beneficiary of Homeland's largesse are military contractors, who have found a new market for their wares and sponsor training events like the one Clark oversees in Connecticut or a similar Urban Shield event held in California.

Special ops supplier Blackhawk Industries, founded by a former Navy SEAL, was among several Urban Shield sponsors this year. Other sponsors for such training peddle wares like ThunderSledge breaching tools for smashing open locked or chained doors, Lenco Armored Vehicles bulletproof box trucks, and KDH Defense Systems's body armor.

"As criminal organizations are increasingly armed with military-style weapons, law enforcement operations require the same level of field-tested and combat-proven protection used by soldiers and Marines in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other high-risk locations," boasts an Oshkosh Corp. brochure at a recent police seminar, where the company pitched its "tactical protector vehicle."

The trend shows no sign of abating. The homeland security market for state and local agencies is projected to reach $19.2 billion by 2014, up from an estimated $15.8 billion in fiscal 2009, according to the Homeland Security Research Corp.

The rise of equipment purchases has paralleled an apparent increase in local SWAT teams, but reliable numbers are hard to come by. The National Tactical Officers Association, which provides training and develops SWAT standards, says it currently has about 1,650 team memberships, up from 1,026 in 2000.

Many of America's newly armed officers are ex-military veterans from the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Charles Ramsey, who was police chief in Washington, D.C., on 9/11, upgraded the weaponry when he moved to Philadelphia in 2008. Today, some 1,500 Philly beat cops are trained to use AR-15 assault rifles.

"We have a lot of people here, like most departments, who are ex-military," Ramsey says. "Some people are very much into guns and so forth. So it wasn't hard to find volunteers."

Some real-life episodes, however, are sparking a debate about whether all that gear also creates a more militarized mind-set for local police that exceeds their mission or risks public safety.

In one case, dozens of officers in combat-style gear raided a youth rave in Utah as a police helicopter buzzed overhead. An online video shows the battle-ready team wearing masks and brandishing rifles as they holler for the music to be shut off and pin partygoers to the ground.

And Arizona tactical officers this year sprayed the home of ex-Marine Jose Guerena with gunfire as he stood in a hallway with a rifle that he did not fire. He was hit 22 times and died. Police had targeted the man's older brother in a narcotics-trafficking probe, but nothing illegal was found in the younger Guerena's home, and no related arrests had been made months after the raid.

In Maryland, officials finally began collecting data on tactical raids after police in 2008 burst into the home of a local mayor and killed his two dogs in a case in which the mayor's home was used as a dropoff for drug deal. The mayor's family had nothing to do with criminal activity.

Such episodes and the sheer magnitude of the expenditures over the last decade raise legitimate questions about whether taxpayers have gotten their money's worth and whether police might have assumed more might and capability than is necessary for civilian forces.

"With local law enforcement, their mission is to solve crimes after they've happened, and to ensure that people's constitutional rights are protected in the process," says Jesselyn McCurdy, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "The military obviously has a mission where they are fighting an enemy. When you use military tactics in the context of law enforcement, the missions don't match, and that's when you see trouble with the overmilitarization of police."

The upgrading of local police nonetheless continues. Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio now claims to operate his own air armada of private pilots--dubbed Operation Desert Sky--to monitor illegal border crossings, and he recently added a full-size surplus Army tank. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly boasted this fall he had a secret capability to shoot down an airliner if one threatened the city again. And the city of Ogden, Utah, is launching a 54-foot, remote-controlled "crime-fighting blimp" with a powerful surveillance camera.

Back in Fargo, nearby corn and soybean farmer Tim Kozojed supports the local police but questions whether the Homeland grants have been spent wisely. "I'm very reluctant to get anxious about a terrorist attack in North Dakota," Kozojed, 31, said. "Why would they bother?"

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28. Every picture tells a story, part two
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James Durso emailed me this:

--

From onlygunsandmoney.blogspot.com: http://tinyurl.com/7sbfhec


[SNIP]
In October, I posted a graphic developed by Rob Vance that showed the progress in the growth of firearms carry rights from 1986 through 2011 as a percentage of the U.S. population. In 1986, 90% of the U.S. population lived in states that severely restricted carry rights or had none at all. Today, over two-thirds of Americans live in states with either shall-issue carry or constitutional carry. The conclusion was that shall-issue is the new norm.

Recently, the FBI released its Uniform Crime Reports statistics. Rob generated a new graph plotting these violent crime rates against the growth of less-restrictive firearm carry rights over the period of 1986 through 2011.


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29. CMP Shooter's News 12-21-11
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Michael Irvin emailed me this:

--

From odcmp.org: http://tinyurl.com/c8lwqv6


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VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
(VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization
dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to
Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

VCDL web page: http://www.vcdl.org [http://www.vcdl.org/]
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