Wednesday, August 31, 2016



It seems as though the nation is facing an epidemic of school teachers getting busted for having sexual relations with students. In Texas alone, 207 teachers have been busted for engaging in sex with students during the last 11 months.

When teachers get caught having sex with students, they will face felony charges and if convicted, they could be sent to prison if they do not get probation.

Are criminal charges really warranted for teachers who have sexual relations with students? In my opinion, not in all cases.

To begin with, such teacher misconduct should not go unpunished. In every case, the guilty teacher’s teaching credentials should be revoked. His or her teaching days should be history!

Society sets a higher protection standard for females than for males when it comes to sexual assaults. This is especially true for minor females because such assaults may result in long term mental health problems. Thus any male or female teacher who has sex with a female student should be arrested and face felony charges.

On the other hand, I’ve never heard of any male student who got lucky with a female teacher having mental health problems. Such claims by parents are a lot of horseshit designed as grounds for a lawsuit against a school district.

This brings me to the male teacher who has or attempts to have sex with a male student. Throw his fucking predatory ass into the slammer! Just as with the girls, this could result in long term mental health problems.

And now for the female teacher who fulfills a boys wildest dreams. As I said, fire her ass and revoke her teaching credentials, but don’t throw her in jail unless the student was under 15-years-old.

Why not throw her in jail for fucking a 15 or 16-year-old? Because many studies have shown that by the time boys reach the age of 15 they have already become sexually active.

My dreams were never fulfilled while I was in school, damn it! My women teachers were all stuffy and all I ever got from them was a swat across the hand with a yard stick.

I know I’ll get a lot of flack for this, but I see no reason why criminal charges are warranted for female teachers who have sex with a male student 15 years of age or older. Let’s get real, the life of that lucky boy is sure as hell not going to be ruined.


By Bob Walsh

A woman visitor at San Quentin State Prison was busted for smuggling on Thursday of last week.

Teri Nicholas, 47, is (was?) a teaching assistant from Los Angeles. She was visiting Bruce Milsap, a death row prisoner. She APPEARED to be pregnant. However, an alert visiting room officer noticed plastic bags in a nearby trashcan that had no obvious source.

It turns out that Ms. Nicholas had smuggled in some peach cobbler, greens, cell phones and chargers all stashed in her fake baby bump. Ms. Nicholas did clear the metal detector, which one would think would have picked up the cell phones and chargers.

She will be back in court on September 13 and could get four years as a guest of the state if convicted on all charges.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s a little additional information.

Milsap, a member of the East Coast Crips gang, was on death row for murdering eight people in the 1990s during a series of robberies in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

And the teacher was carrying 18 cellphones, 18 cellphone chargers, two unidentified blue pills and about 3 ounces of heroin in her baby bump. Another educated idiot flushes herself down the shitter.

Six death row inmates died between 2010 and 2015 with detectable levels of methamphetamines, heroin metabolites or other drugs in their systems, and there were eight non-fatal drug overdoses on death row during that period.


By Bob Walsh

Diane Stuart is the Chief of Police of Hayward, CA. This is a bedroom community in the East Bay area. Chief Stuart is, as of yesterday, on paid administrative leave due to a “personnel issue” pending further investigation.

Stuart, who has been chief for five years, previously worked for the San Jose (CA) PD under the name Diane Urbane. There is no information in the news reports I have read about her being married, divorced or whatever.

Stuart was pretty hot stuff in San Jose, working for their intelligence unit and on the SWAT team among other assignments. When she left to become chief in Hayward she was replaced by another female, Rikki Goede, who is now the chief in Piedmont.

Presumably Stuart did not leave a bad taste at San Jose when she left or they would not have moved in another female chief. She was an assistant chief when she left San Jose.

Captain Mark Koller is the Acting Chief in Hayward pending resolution of whatever is going on.


Creative but unskilled help can be helpful indeed

By Bob Walsh

A few days ago, in the early hours of Sunday, Nikko Gallo, blasted out of his mind on Flakka and LSD, broke into a house in Stuart, Florida. He fought like hell with a man in the house, who outweighed him by 100 pounds. The man’s mother, instead of freaking out, grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and whacked the home invader in the head a few times, helping to subdue him.

The mother was slightly injured by broken glass. I am guessing that Gallo is now in custody or the hospital, but the news blurb I got this from did not say.


By Bob Walsh

Forensic scientists have just finished a detailed post-mortem examination of Lucy, a proto-human who died in Africa about 3.2 million years ago.

Those scientists have concluded that Lucy probably bit the dust as the result of a fall from a fairly tall tree.

Lucy’s remains were discovered in 1974 in what is now central Ethiopia.

I wonder if her family member-survivors will try to sue the survivors of the owners of the tree? (Probably not. The tree probably didn’t have an owner. I don’t think that real estate ownership was an issue back then. Plus lineage would be hard to determine.)


Grits For Breakfast
August 29, 2016

Every municipal budget cycle, police administrators approach local budget writers asking for more officers to combat crime. But hiring more cops is expensive and local officials seldom have a way to judge whether doing so will increase public safety for their constituents.

Recently, researchers conducted "a systematic review of 62 studies and 229 findings of police force size and crime from 1971 through 2013. Only studies of U.S. policing and containing standard errors of estimates were included." Their analysis revealed that, "the overall effect size for police force size on crime is negative, small, and not statistically significant."

The upshot of their meta-analysis: "This line of research has exhausted its utility. Changing policing strategy is likely to have a greater impact on crime than adding more police."

That's not what police chiefs and unions are telling city councils in local budget conversations. Regardless, at this point, the costs of adding ever-more officers without changing policing strategies and adequately funding various support services probably can't be justified in most instances.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The size of police forces may very well not matter in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, etc. that already have well-staffed police agencies. But what about the under-staffed smaller cities and towns? And then there are your rural county sheriff departments that in most instances are woefully understaffed. You better believe that in those smaller towns and rural sheriff departments size does matter!


A thick sheaf of peer-reviewed academic studies refutes the abolitionists’ belief that executing murderers doesn’t deter other murders

BY Jeff Jacoby

The Boston Globe
August 28, 2016

Writing in support of Proposition 62, a California ballot initiative to repeal the death penalty, former El Dorado county supervisor Ron Briggs makes the tiresomely familiar claim that “the death penalty does not make our communities any safer” and “is not a deterrent to crime.”

For death penalty opponents, it is a venerable article of faith that executing murderers doesn’t deter other murders and that abolishing the death penalty doesn’t make killings more likely. Never mind that a thick sheaf of peer-reviewed academic studies refutes the abolitionists’ belief, as, of course, does common sense: All penalties have some deterrent effect, and the more severe the penalty, the more it deters. Let a parking meter expire, and you risk a $20 ticket; park in a handicapped spot, and risk a $200 ticket. Which violation are you less likely to commit?

It doesn’t take a social-science degree to grasp the real-world difference between facing vs. not facing a potential death sentence. Criminals grasp it too.

Dmitry Smirnov did. A resident of British Columbia, Smirnov was smitten with Jitka Vesel, a pretty Chicago woman he’d met online playing “World of Warcraft” in 2008 and then dated for several weeks. When Vesel ended the brief relationship, Smirnov took it badly. He returned to Canada, but kept pursuing Vesel by phone and online. When she broke off communication with him, he began plotting to kill her.

Smirnov returned to the United States in 2011, bought a gun and ammunition, and drove back to Chicago. He attached a GPS device to Vesel’s car so he could track her movements. On the evening of April 13, he tailed her to the Czechoslovak Heritage Museum in Oak Park, Ill., where she was a curator and board member. When she came out after a meeting, Smirnov ambushed her. He shot her repeatedly, firing multiple rounds into the back of her head even after she had crumpled to the ground.

A deranged suitor? Maybe — but Smirnov wasn’t too deranged to first check out whether Illinois was a death penalty state. He headed back to Chicago to murder Vesel only after learning that Illinois had recently abolished capital punishment. When he was questioned afterward by police, according to prosecutors, he told them he had confirmed Illinois’ no-death penalty status “as recently as the morning of the murder.” In an e-mail sent to a friend after the fact, Smirnov — who voluntarily surrendered to the police — made clear that he knew what to expect. “Illinois doesn’t have the death penalty, so I’ll spend the rest of my life in prison,” he wrote.

At trial Smirnov pleaded guilty, and was given a life sentence.

Would Jitka Vesel be alive today if Smirnov had faced the death penalty? Obviously there is no way to know for sure. But we do know for sure that when the cost of a crime goes up, the frequency of that crime goes down. Raise the price of any behavior, and fewer people will do it. The deterrent power of punishment is axiomatic; criminal law would be meaningless without it.

Still, a penalty cannot deter if it is never imposed. California hasn’t executed a murderer in 10 years. Only 13 killers have been put to death since 1972, when the state legalized capital punishment. Hundreds of savage murderers have been sentenced to death — there are currently 746 inmates on California’s death row — but endless legal appeals and procedures have made executions, for all intents and purposes, impossible.

Most Californians understand that their state’s death penalty needs to be fixed, not abolished. Voters defeated a repeal initiative, Proposition 34, in 2012 and appear likely to do the same to Proposition 62, the new repeal measure, this November. According to a statewide poll released last week by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, voters oppose the new death penalty repeal measure by a 10-point margin, 55 percent to 45 percent.

On the other hand, California voters strongly support a second death penalty measure that will also be on the November ballot. Proposition 66, as summarized by the San Francisco Chronicle, would “speed up executions by setting tight deadlines for court rulings, placing some limits on appeals, and requiring many more defense lawyers to take capital cases.” The UC Berkeley poll shows voters backing Proposition 66, with its mend-it-don’t-end-it approach, by an overwhelming 76-to-24 ratio.

The politics of capital punishment are complicated and emotional, but human nature doesn’t change. Granted, incentives and disincentives are never foolproof. Granted, there will always be cases in which deterrents don’t deter. On the whole, however, when the death penalty is on the books and consistently enforced, a significant number of homicides will be prevented.

Pretty much by definition, murders that don’t happen because criminals are deterred by the prospect of being executed can’t be systematically tallied. But felons often disclose their motives when asked. In a striking 1961 opinion, California Supreme Court Justice Marshall McComb plumbed the files of the Los Angeles Police Department to demonstrate the deterrent effect of the death penalty on the thinking of violent criminals.

McComb listed numerous examples of homicides not committed because a would-be killer didn’t want to risk capital punishment. Among them:

■ Margaret Elizabeth Daly, arrested for attacking Pete Gibbons with a knife, who told the investigating officers: “Yeah, I cut him and I should have done a better job. I would have killed him but I didn’t want to go to the gas chamber.”

■ Orelius Mathew Steward, imprisoned for bank robbery, who acknowledged that he had considered shooting the unaccompanied cop who arrested him: “I could have blasted him. I thought about it at the time, but I changed my mind when I thought of the gas chamber.”

■ Paul Brusseau, convicted for a string of candy store holdups, which he committed while pretending to carry a gun. “Asked what his reason was for simulating a gun rather than using a real one, he replied that he did not want to get the gas chamber.”

Criminals may be evil and pitiless, but criminality isn’t a synonym for stupidity. When murder is punished with death, fewer criminals will murder. When murder is punished with nothing worse than prison, more criminals will be emboldened to kill. In the never-ending debate over capital punishment, that is always what the choice comes down to.


Prop 62's backers can't name an exonerated individual from California's post-1978 death row because there aren't any

By Debra J. Saunders

August 28, 2016

Opponents of California's death penalty have been highly successful at thwarting executions since the state resumed executions in 1992 after a 20-year hiatus. Their latest ploy is Proposition 62, which would repeal the death penalty and resentence death row inmates to life without parole. Measure sponsors argue that capital punishment presents the risk of executing an innocent person, but also state that California's death penalty is "simply unworkable."

That's a cheeky stand, coming from the corner that has been throwing monkey wrenches into the criminal justice system to subvert death penalty law. Over the years, appellate attorneys have introduced endless time-sucking, frivolous appeals that have jammed the courts, largely on technical grounds that have nothing to do with guilt or innocence, e.g., the trial lawyer wasn't top-drawer; the defendant's parents were abusive; lethal injection may not be painless.

In 2006, lawyers argued that convicted torturer-murderer Michael Morales might feel pain in his last moments because of the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol. A federal judge granted their appeal and effectively froze the capital punishment pipeline for a decade.

California Gov. Jerry Brown had pledged to implement the death penalty, even though he personally opposes it, yet his corrections department was happy to sit back and let the law not work for years. In exasperation, the tough-on-crime Criminal Justice Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of the families of murder victims of two death row inmates to prod the state into developing a drug protocol that should pass muster with the U.S. Supreme Court. California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who also said she would uphold California's law despite her personal objections, tried to block the suit on the dubious grounds that the victims' families "lack standing." She failed. The families won. Sacramento finally devised a one-drug protocol, which should go into effect after a vetting period expected to end soon.

So now, just as the obstructionists are about to run out of string, they have put a measure on the November ballot to end California's death penalty.

Anti-death penalty activist Matt Cherry of Death Penalty Focus told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that capital punishment "has failed in California." Since 1992, he added, "just 13 people have been executed," which he noted constitutes about 1 percent of the 930 individuals sentenced to death since 1978. It's like an extorting mobster telling an honest businessman that it no longer pays to work hard and follow the rules: "You might as well just toss me the keys to the shop and save yourself some heartache."

In their ballot argument, Prop 62 supporters warn that when executions resume, California risks executing an innocent person — someone like Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in 1989 before an "independent investigation later proved his innocence." Problem: Texas executed DeLuna. Prop 62's backers can't name an exonerated individual from California's post-1978 death row because there aren't any.

In 2012, I asked Gov. Brown whether he had considered appointing a panel to recommend death row inmates deserving of a commutation. Brown personally remains a death penalty opponent, so his answer is instructive: "As attorney general, I think the representation was good. I think people have gotten exquisite due process in the state of California. It goes on for 20 or 25 years, and to think that they've missed anything like they have in some other states, I have not seen any evidence of it. None. I know people say, 'Oh, there have been all these innocent people.' Well, I have not seen one name on death row that's been told to me."

At a different editorial board meeting, former San Quentin State Prison Warden Jeanne Woodford, Ana Zamora of the ACLU and Berkeley law professor Elisabeth Semel vigorously defended all of the high jinks played by anti-death penalty lawyers. They oppose both the death penalty and Prop 66, which is supposed to streamline executions.

Why does it take a year to process an appeal based on a convicted killer's childhood? Why doesn't the Habeas Corpus Resource Center focus on worthy appeals and stop jamming up the courts with frivolous paper — and then complain about court backlogs? Why have opponents gone after the state for getting lethal injection drugs from compounding pharmacies or other states, after opponents made it impossible to secure drugs from once-legal sources? The answer to everything: Defense attorneys have to do it because "it's the law."

Well, so is the death penalty.

If California voters should decide to repeal capital punishment, do not believe for one minute they won't use every dirty trick to undermine life without parole. And they'll tell you they have to because "it's the law."


The tragic case of a child who killed his abusive, neo-Nazi father

By Kristine Guerra

The Washington Post
August 28, 2016

Jeffrey Hall was unequivocal about what he wanted.

"I want a white nation," he once told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't hide what I am, and I don't water that down."

An unemployed plumber who used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border looking for illegal immigrants, Hall was a rising star among white supremacists.

He would often speak at rallies, promoting the goals of the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi organization in the country, with 46 chapters in 20 states. In a YouTube video of a 2009 anti-immigration rally in Southern California, Hall, the National Socialist Movement's regional director there, is seen holding a megaphone with a smiling Hitler emoji sticker on it as he proclaims the need for "white immigration" and a "pro-white" America.

But Hall's rise in the movement ended abruptly. He died in May 2011, when he was shot at point-blank range while sleeping on his living room couch.

The killer - in a shocking twist - was his 10-year-old son, Joseph, a troubled boy whose childhood was fraught with violence perpetrated by his father.

As the oldest of Hall's children, Joseph, it seemed, was first in line to get a glimpse of his father's activities, including shooting guns and patrolling the Mexican border for illegal immigrants. But Joseph also bore the brunt of Hall's violent outbursts.

On May 1, 2011, hours after a meeting of the neo-Nazi group at Hall's house in Southern California, the boy took his father's revolver from the upstairs bedroom where his stepmother was sleeping.

Joseph fired a bullet into his father's head, just behind his father's left ear.

As his 32-year-old father lay lifeless in a pool of blood, Joseph admitted what he had done.

"I shot dad," he told his stepmother, according to court records.

During an interrogation that lasted more than an hour, Joseph was allowed to give up his Miranda rights - a decision the boy made without an attorney's guidance and, some argue, without fully understanding what that entailed.

And as Joseph's statements to police suggest, he understood little about death and its lasting consequences.

"How many lives do people usually get?" Joseph asked police officers after they arrived at the crime scene, according to court records.

Joseph has been in custody since his father's death. In 2013, the boy was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to serve 10 years in a California juvenile facility.

Many child advocates and politicians think the boy's conviction was flawed. They argue that Joseph, a child with developmental disabilities, could not have realized the wrongfulness of what he had done - and could not have understood what it meant when he gave up his Miranda rights while being interrogated by police after the shooting.

Joseph's culpability and the issue of allowing children to waive their Miranda rights without any legal guidance are now the subject of proposed legislation in California, as well as a pending appeal to the nation's highest court.

"There's not a 10-year-old on the planet who ought to be in a position of waiving a constitutional right without an advice from an adult," said Scott Ballenger, part of Joseph's legal team, which has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review Joseph's appeal, after it was denied by the California courts.

Five years after Hall's death, Joseph's case prompted California legislators to introduce a bill that would provide children with some layer of protection from police interrogation.

Unlike some states, California doesn't have a law that requires young children to receive legal guidance from an attorney or a guardian before they're interrogated.

Introduced in February, Senate Bill 1052 could potentially affect hundreds of children like Joseph who enter the criminal justice system at a young age. It would require those younger than 18 to first consult with an attorney or a legal guardian before they're allowed to waive their Miranda rights - and before they're interrogated by a police officer.

The bill has been approved by the California Senate and Assembly and was sent back to the Senate this week for a final vote. "We have to update our laws to be realistic, to be sure that children have protection before they're aggressively interrogated," the bill's author, state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, told The Washington Post. "Young people don't grasp what they're agreeing to."

SB 1052, if it becomes law, won't have any effect on Joseph's case, though it spurred the legislation.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Former Congressman and New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner is caught again sexting his dick to a woman “friend”

The Unconventional Gazette | August 30, 2016

Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 after getting caught displaying his dick to six women on the internet. In 2013, during his unsuccessful campaign for mayor of New York, Weiner got caught sexting again, this time to a woman by using the AKA “Carlos Danger.”

Now Carlos has been caught waving his weenie yet again. The New York Post reports Weiner sent explicit photos to a woman “friend” multiple times over the past 19 months and to whom he described his sexual fantasies and masturbation in messages, calling her “literally a fantasy chick.”

It is well-known that Carlos Danger is the hubby of Huma Abedin who happens to be Hillary Clinton’s best pal and top confidante.

Huma announced Monday that she’s had it with the smart phone weenie waver and is giving him the heave-ho. Perhaps she should have taken Anthony’s sexting toy away from him when he got caught doing it again three years ago.

Coincidentally, a recently retired Secret Service agent who asked not to be identified told The Unconventional Gazette that there seems to be more to what’s going on between Hillary and Huma than a professional and platonic relationship.

The agent said he was assigned to Hillary’s protective detail. Every time Hillary and Huma went into her study, Hillary gave him explicit orders that under no circumstances were they to be disturbed. Then she would shut the door and he could hear it being locked.

He says that after a while on several occasions he could hear what sounded to him like high-pitched moaning and groaning being emitted from behind the closed door. And he would also hear exclamations such as “Oh God, oh my God!” coming forth from within the study.

The agent says he did not believe Hillary and Huma were engaged in prayer on those occasions.

The Unconventional Gazette has no reason to doubt the unnamed agent’s account. After all, Hillary’s hubby Bill has a long record of cheating on his wife. And Carlos Danger has a record of cheating on Huma, albeit over the internet. Obviously both husbands, Bill and Anthony, have not been sexually satisfied by their spouses, Hillary and Huma.

Do the moans, groans and godly exclamations coming from behind closed doors mean that Hillary Clinton could become our nation’s first Lesbian President?


‘The smell is torture,’ San Fernando Valley residents say of Sunshine Canyon Landfill

By Dana Bartholomew

Los Angeles Daily News
August 28, 2016

GRANADA HILLS -- Six months after Stephen Beck moved into his newly built Legends at Cascades condo in Sylmar, he awoke to a noxious bedroom window invader.

An overwhelming smell of garbage.

“What we are talking about is stench,” said Beck, 75, who had moved into his home less than a mile from Sunshine Canyon Landfill in October 2009. “Like a pile of fruits or veggies that are rotting.”

“They can throw red herrings. But the fact is, we can smell it. It’s not BS. It’s in our face,” he said. “So, what we’ve learned to do is close our windows. That’s how we’re forced to live.”

Beck was among more than two dozen San Fernando Valley residents to testify in Granada Hills on Saturday before an independent air district law panel now considering a proposed nuisance abatement order in response to thousands of dump odor complaints.

During the first of an expected five public hearings, the five-member South Coast Air Quality Management District Hearing Board considered an air district proposal that aims to control the stench wafting from the 362-acre Sylmar dump, the county’s largest.

If approved, it would be the second order of abatement against landfill owner Republic Services in five years.

From 2009 to last month, South Coast air regulators received 9,224 complaints, from mostly Granada Hills and Sylmar. In the past three years, the district has issued more than 90 notices of violation.

“In the proceeding before the board today, the district alleges the odors are the result of insufficient gas collection, inadequate treatment of incoming daily waste, and inadequate daily and intermediate cover procedures,” Nick Sanchez, an attorney for the SCAQMD, told the board.

“As a result of the odors emanating from the landfill, a considerable number of persons living in the community and attending (its) elementary school have been forced to remain indoors,” Sanchez said.

The courtlike hearing drew an estimated 50 people to an auditorium at the Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences in Granada Hills.

It was in 2011, after decades of complaints from Valley residents, that the landfill and the air district reached a mutual agreement in a first abatement order to control odors.

Since then, Republic Services has spent $27 million to corral methane and other gases and control smells from emanating from the landfill within Los Angeles and L.A. County at the base of Newhall Pass.

The improvements include installing nearly 600 gas collection wells drilled into 58 years of waste, in addition to 15 miles of pipe leading to flares or a small power plant that burns off the gas. Plus 20,000 oak trees, fence-line misters and other odor stopping measures.

Since 2011, the large earthen bowl at Sunshine Canyon that collects up to 2.3 million tons of trash a year has tripled its ability to collect landfill gases, generally the source of nighttime complaints from nearby residents.

Now the Phoenix-based company is battling a nuisance order petition that would limit the dump’s daily intake of trash by a third, lop off three morning hours of operation, and demand improved covers to control garbage gases.

Landfill representatives say diverting as much as 3,000 daily tons to landfills in Simi Valley and Chiquita Canyon near Santa Clarita by 175 garbage trucks will further pollute the air by driving extra distances to distant dumps.

“It’ll have absolutely no impact on landfill odors, because the waste in the landfill generates gas for decades,” said Thomas M. Bruen, an attorney representing Republic Services, of the proposed restrictions. “The only way to control odor is to have a good gas collection system, which we believe we have.”

In a way, the entire air district nuisance rules and odor complaint and verification process was on trial, as attorneys for Republic Services zeroed in on roughly 30 local residents organized through social media they say have generated the most complaints.

“That rule, and the district policy, is under attack during these proceedings,” said the SCAQMD’s Sanchez.

A recent lawsuit by the company to get the names of complainants protected by the air district was defeated in court. Condo tenant Beck was among the plaintiffs on a class-action lawsuit filed in 2012 against Republic Services, now verging on a settlement.

Councilman Mitch Englander, who represents the North Valley, issued a letter in support of a nuisance order. “This community has suffered enough,” he said.

Steve Lee, who represents a group fighting an expansion of Chiquita Canyon near Val Verde, said he doesn’t want to see diverted garbage sent over from Sunshine Canyon.

“We don’t want the trash to be sent to us,” he said.

Wayde Hunter, who has fought the ills of Sunshine Canyon for 30 years, said Sunshine Canyon collects millions of tons of fresh trash each year “despite an odor problem they’ve not been able to correct.”

Four years ago, Nurha Hindi-Chahayed and her family bought a house in Granada Hills less than a half mile from the landfill. Six month later, she and her three kids experience the same sour whiff as Beck.

“The odors that we smell in the morning terrorize our morning routine,” said Hindi-Chahayed, president of the parent-teacher organization at Van Gogh Charter School, considered the epicenter for landfill smell. “Kids hold their noses when coming to class. We cannot hold morning assembly.”

“The smell is torture,” she said.


By Chuck DeVore and Randy Petersen

Real Clear Policy
August 17, 2016

In a recent Real Clear Policy article, Sean Kennedy examines Texas’ violent crime rate, questioning the Lone Star State’s policy of improving public safety while reducing incarceration. Unfortunately, by cherry-picking data of questionable quality, Mr. Kennedy undermines his central claims.

Start with the facts. Over the past decade, Texas closed three prisons while cutting its juvenile detainee population from about 4,000 in 2006 to 1,331 earlier this year. These reforms focused on keeping non-violent offenders out of costly lock-ups and used a portion of the dollars saved toward proven treatment, rehabilitation, and reentry programs. Texas did not reduce penalties for violent offenders, let alone murderers. The result: Reduced recidivism, lower costs, and a state-wide crime rate reduced to levels not seen since 1968.

This is the Texas model of reducing both crime and incarceration rates, and it has been successfully implemented in varying degrees in some 40 states as well as informing pending federal criminal justice legislation. So impugning Texas’ criminal justice reform efforts isn’t just messing with Texas, it’s questioning the basis of criminal justice reform work across the nation.

The idea that crime rates and incarceration are joined at the hip has been thoroughly discredited. Incapacitation of criminals via incarceration is a factor in crime rates, to be sure. But most criminals eventually get out of prison, and, when they do, helping them stay out is vitally important.

Moreover, there’s no evidence that recent criminal justice reforms pioneered in Texas have any connection to the increases in violent crime seen in some U.S. cities. To the contrary, over the past several years, crime rates have fallen faster in states that have reduced imprisonment rates than in those where prisons have continued to grow. Many of the cities now experiencing violent crime increases, such as Chicago, are in states that have yet to implement comprehensive sentencing and corrections reforms.

This isn’t to say that current criminal activity, largely concentrated in major urban centers, might not have something to do with the so-called Ferguson Effect or the Mexican drug cartels’ replacement of marijuana smuggling with heroin. Criminal behavior and crime rates are the result of a complex interplay of demographics, policing, sentencing, incarceration, rehabilitation, reentry, and other factors. For that reason, parts of the system can be improved while others fail, resulting in increased overall crime.

So, what, exactly, is the problem with Texas?

Mr. Kennedy admits that crime plummeted in Texas as prison populations were reduced right through 2014. But he goes on to say, “Now violent crimes — especially homicide — have spiked again in Texas’ biggest cities,” suggesting that Texas’ criminal justice reforms are to blame. But there is no correlation between increased violent crime in Texas’ largest cities and criminal justice reforms largely aimed at nonviolent offenders. In fact, there’s a long history in Texas and a large body of research that shows these well-implemented alternatives not only cost less but work better than the prison cell. Such reforms, when implemented correctly, reduce recidivism and crime rates.

If we misdiagnose the problem, we won’t find the solution. Kennedy points to two charts showing the number of homicides and violent crimes committed in Texas’ five largest cities for the first six months of 2014, 2015, and 2016. Because FBI statistics are only available through the first half of 2015, Kennedy combines raw data from the police departments themselves as well as from the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association, a lobbying and advocacy group.

The problem? A staffer at the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association warned us that their data are “not scientific” and used only “as a benchmark for the agencies to see where they stand in relation to one another.” Further, the data are not checked for accuracy but simply self-reported by the member agencies, who return a survey sent out by the association. This ought to raise red flags.

How do Kennedy’s data compare to the official FBI data available for two of the three periods on which he reports? Not well.

For instance, Kennedy asserts that the number of homicides in Houston went up 57.8 percent in the first six months of 2014 compared to 2015; the FBI data says 44 percent. Both indicate a large jump, but the difference between 57.8 percent and 44 percent is statistically significant.

Kennedy’s overall violent crime number for Houston is even more at odds with available data. He claims that the number spiked by almost 25 percent, comparing the first half of 2014 to first half of 2015. The FBI data for the same period doesn’t show such increase, but, rather, a decrease of 1.8 percent. Factoring in population growth, the decline in violent crime in Houston over that period is closer to 3 percent — far lower than Kennedy’s 25 percent.

Since the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association didn’t report Houston’s statistics in their compilation of data, Kennedy likely derived the figure (7,957 violent crimes from January 2014 to June 2014) from the Houston Police Department. But that department reported 10,000 violent crimes for the period while the FBI lists 10,401. Thus Kennedy’s base year for Houston is more than 20 percent lower than it should be, undermining his subsequent calculations.

Now, let’s take a look at 2013 data. For the first half of that year, Houston reported 10,106 violent crimes. Comparing the first six months of 2013 to 2016, the overall number of violent crimes rose by 14.7 percent in three years. Factoring in population growth and using the proper baseline for 2013, we see that violent crime rate is up about 9 percent in three years and about 13 percent over the last two, more than a third less than Kennedy’s 36 percent jump.

Looking at the 29 major Texas cities comprising 39 percent of the state’s population that reported 2014-2015 data to the FBI, (Austin didn’t report), we see violent crime going up in 15 cities and down in 14, an average increase of 4 percent (not factoring for population growth). For urban centers statewide, violent crime was up 2.4 percent. Factoring in population growth, the violent crime rate in these cities over the first six months of 2015 compared to 2014 increased about 0.6 percent.

Murder spikes are concerning, but the violent crime rate is more telling. Murders are, thankfully, a small proportion of the aggregate of violent crimes in any city, so a movement up or down is a large percentage of that small number. Keep in mind that the Uniform Crime Report, a database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Information on national crime statistics and used in innumerable research efforts, only captures the most serious offense from any single incident. For instance, if a victim is killed as a result of a rape, robbery, or aggravated assault, only the murder is counted. So it would be more alarming if the murder rate and the violent crime rate were rising in tandem (they’re not).

Since violent crime, especially homicide, is relatively rare, property crime rates can provide a better barometer of trends and the effectiveness of criminal justice policies. What happened to the number of property crimes in Texas’ major cities (excluding Austin) reported to the FBI? Down by 5.9 percent from the first half of 2014 to the first half of last year. Converting to a crime rate, property crime in these cities is down almost 8 percent.

The Major Cities Police Chiefs Association report, which is comprised of 61 urban law enforcement agencies (and does not take population growth into account), indicates that violent crime, including homicide and non-fatal shootings, is up nationally by 2.3 percent from the first half of 2015. This means that the violent crime rate in this subset of cities is up on the order of just over 1 percent — not good, but certainly not a massive crime spike. For the full year, 2014 to 2015, the violent crime rate is up a similar 2.2 percent.

So it’s simply not the case that, in aggregate, violent crime in Texas’ major cities “has risen year-on-year for the first time in a generation,” as Kennedy asserts. On the contrary, Texas crime rates are at historic lows and its incarceration rates are heading lower, mainly due to a shift in treatment of non-violent offenders, which leaves more room in state lockups for the violent. These successful criminal justice reforms have resulted in improved public safety and a lower cost to taxpayers.

The evidence from Texas is clear: Criminal justice reforms have improved public safety, not imperiled it. The Lone Star State is a model for the rest of the nation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I think somebody has messed with those crime statistics to make it look like Texans are safer under the criminal justice reforms.


Mr. Putin knows that President Obama and his first secretary of State, who would like to succeed him, are appeasers of the first order

By Monica Crowley
August 26, 2016

The guns of August — a phrase first used to describe the outbreak of World War I — is a real phenomenon. Maybe it’s the heat, but there’s something about the eighth month that seems to inspire armed conflict. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The collapse of the Soviet Union began with a coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991. Reports of North Vietnamese attacks against U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964 gave President Lyndon Johnson the pretext to win broad congressional approval for an expansion of the war. Adolf Hitler readied the invasion of Poland in August 1939 and attacked on Sept. 1.

And now, as Russian President Vladimir Putin masses more than 40,000 Russian troops near the Ukrainian border, we once again hold our breath during the last full month of summer.

Mr. Putin has already annexed Crimea and holds sway over large areas of eastern Ukraine. He has recently ordered stepped-up military and naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea. And he has accused Ukrainians of “terrorism,” presumably as a pretext for more aggressive Russian action.

No one should be surprised if Mr. Putin pushes further into Ukraine, perhaps even with a full-blown invasion. Why shouldn’t he? There is nothing and no one to stop him — certainly not the American president or the craven Europeans.

After all, Mr. Putin knows that President Obama and his first secretary of State, who would like to succeed him, are appeasers of the first order.

During the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama criticized the Bush administration for damaging relations with the Russians through “provocative” acts such as promising our Eastern European allies a missile defense shield and criticizing Russia for its invasion of democratic Georgia. Mr. Obama promised that he’d work to restore relations with Russia through an incentives offensive. Mr. Bush had used sticks; Mr. Obama would use carrots. How could the Russians not want to give up their national interests for a new partnership with Mr. Obama? Through Mrs. Clinton, he would “reset” the bilateral relationship.

In March 2009, she presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a red plastic button. Stamped on top was the Russian word for “RESET.” Or so she thought. “We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” she asked eagerly. Mr. Lavrov took one look at the button and suppressed an eye-roll. “You got it wrong,” he replied. He then told the U.S. secretary of hope and change that the Russian translation of the word on the button wasn’t “RESET,” but “OVERCHARGE.”

Mrs. Clinton laughed nervously and said, “We won’t let you do that to us.”

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton then proceeded to do exactly that, by showering the Russians with unprecedented concessions — from canceling the Bush administration’s plans to deploy a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe to promising no “first use” of nuclear weapons to refusing to expand and modernize our nuclear arsenal to completing the disastrous U.S.-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — to show them that we could be partners.

The Russian response? Instead of embracing the Obama administration as farsighted, enlightened anti-Bushes, the Kremlin stepped up its stonewalling on Iranian sanctions, didn’t resume compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe agreement, and threatened to target U.S. missile defense sites in Europe with their offensive missiles unless Mr. Obama dropped all missile defense plans. It also threatened to withdraw from the New START Treaty completely if Mr. Obama didn’t accede to its demands.

Mr. Putin then went further, accusing the United States (and reportedly, specifically Mrs. Clinton) for allegedly stoking protests against his party, United Russia, after a suspect parliamentary election win in late 2011. And a top Russian general warned of a new “arms race.”

Mr. Obama gave the Russians a yard and predictably, they took a mile.

His naive approach ignored several things. First, the Cold War didn’t end when the Soviet Union collapsed. It simply changed form.

Second, Russia has its own national interests, which are diametrically opposed to ours, and that reality will never change.

And third, Mr. Obama's “I HeartRussia” approach ignored the fact that Russia had become far more authoritarian under Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, had killed those who dared to speak about rampant corruption and oppression, was seeking to reassert control within the former Soviet Union, and was intervening in the Middle East on the side of bad guys like Iran and Syria.

Instead of confronting Mr. Putin on these issues, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton waved him through.

Mr. Obama once said, “I don’t think countries around the world are interested in testing our credibility when it comes to these issues.”

Well, testing our credibility is the only thing our enemies are interested in. Enemies poke and prod us, and when we bend, ignore or appease them, they believe we are weak. When we fail that credibility test, they then step up their aggression. Witness: Pearl Harbor, the entire history of the Cold War and Sept. 11.

Mr. Putin knows the Obama-Clinton drill: American power is being drawn down to near unprecedented levels. And he is taking full advantage of it. It’s a tragedy that their deliberate failure of leadership is costing so many others their sovereignty, freedom and lives.


Donald and Hillary meet at a bakery on the campaign trail.

As soon as they enter the bakery, Hillary steals three pastries and puts them in her pocket.

She says to Donald, "See how clever I am? The owner didn't see anything and I don't even need to lie.” I will definitely win the election.

The Donald says to Hillary, "That's the typical dishonesty you have displayed throughout your entire life … trickery and deceit. I am going to show you an honest way to get the same result."

Donald goes to the owner of the bakery and says, "Give me a pastry and I will show you a magic trick."

Intrigued, the owner accepts and gives him a pastry.

Trump swallows it and asks for another one.

The owner gives him another one.

Then Donald asks for a third pastry and eats that, too.

The owner is starting to wonder where the magic trick is and asks, "What did you do with the pastries?"

Trump replies, "Look in Hillary's pocket"


A young man from Arkansas goes off to college. Halfway through the semester, having foolishly squandered all of his money on his girlfriend, he calls home.

"Dad," he says, "You won't believe what modern education is developing! They actually have a program here at university that will teach our dog, Ole Blue how to talk!"

"That's amazing," his Dad says. "How do I get Ole Blue in that program?"

"Just send him over here with $1,000," the young says "And I'll get him in the course."

So, his Father sends the dog and $1,000.

About two-thirds of the way through the semester, the money again runs out. The boy again calls home.

"So how's Ole Blue doing son?" his Father asks.

"Awesome, Dad, he's talking up a storm," he says, "But you just won't believe this -- they've had such good results they have started to teach the animals how to read!"

"Read!?" says his Father, "No kidding! How do we get Ole Blue in that program?"

"Just send $2,500, I'll get him in the class."

The money promptly arrives. The young man and his girlfriend are able to buy enough marijuana to last the whole semester.

But, the young fellow has a problem. At the end of the year, his Father will find out the dog can neither talk, nor read. Even though he was always pretty much able to lie his way out of trouble, he asked his girlfriend to help him think of a really good lie to tell his Dad. She very quickly came up with a plan for him.

She has him shoot the dog.

When he arrives home at the end of the year, his Father is all excited.

"Where's Ole' Blue? I just can't wait to see him talk and read something to me!"

"Dad," the boy says," I have some grim news. Yesterday morning, just before we left to drive home, Ole’ Blue was in the living room, kicked back in the recliner, reading the Wall Street Journal, like he usually does. Then Ole' Blue turned to me, and asked, so, is your Daddy still messing around with that little redhead who lives down the street?"

The Father went white and exclaimed, "I hope you shot that lying sonuva bitch before he talks to your Mother!"

"I sure did, Daddy!"

"That's my boy!"

The kid married his girlfriend and they both went on to law school.

He became Governor of Arkansas and President of the United States, and you already know what a liar his girlfriend turned out to be!

Monday, August 29, 2016


San Francisco Forty-Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem

Born to a white mother and absentee black father, Colin Kaepernick was adopted by a white family. During his high school years Kaepernick excelled in baseball. football and basketball. He is now the starting quarterback of the NFL’s San Francisco Forty-Niners.

During the pre-season games, Kaepernick has refused to join his teammates in standing while the national anthem is played. He explains:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

It seems obvious that Kaepernick is talking about the police getting away with murder.

What an ungrateful asshole. This country has rewarded him, a half-black man, with a multi-million dollar salary for playing games. If this country oppressed people of color as he claims, Kaepernick would be lucky to have a job digging ditches.

I say, pay off the ungrateful asshole's $9 million contract and throw him out of the NFL!

Unfortunately that’s not going to happen. 49ers coach Chip Kelly says his quarterback has the right as a citizen to protest by not standing during the playing of the national anthem and he does not intend to take any action against Kaepernick.

The NFL released a statement saying, “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.” Encouraged, my ass … they should be required to stand!

Yes, Kaepernick has the right to express himself freely, but free expression can have unwanted consequences. Obviously, there are no consequences in the NFL when a player dishonors our great nation and calls our cops murderers.

Fuck Colin Kaepernick, Chip Kelly, the Forty-Niners and the National Football League! God Bless America!


By Bob Walsh

Regular readers will remember I recently wrote a piece speculating that K-Mart (sometimes known as KrapMart of K-Fart) might be going belly up. This was based on speculation in a news piece provided mainly by line staff who were commenting on lack of stock, lack of staff, etc.

I worked in retail for a fair number of years. I realize that the cash register jockeys might not see the big picture, but they certainly know what is going on in the trenches better than the suits at headquarters.

There is a pretty extensive piece by Haley Peterson in the Business Insider that says that Sears (part of Sears Holding which owns both Sears and K-Mart) is bleeding cash and is running their stores seriously understaffed. Many of the stores that are still semi-functional have very new, marginally trained and almost totally inexperienced staff in the stores. Some stores only have one or two functional checkouts for the entire store. Building maintenance is not being done. Total
items sold has dropped by two-thirds in some stores. Their Shop Your Way Rewards program has been somewhere close to an unmitigated disaster.

Some new hires last only a month. Turnover is very high and retention of senior staff is a serious issue.

Some of the staff who gave quotes for the article speculated that Sears brick-and-mortar operation may go the way of the Dodo bird relatively soon. They could, at least in theory, turn into an on-line only operation. I admit I don’t know how workable that would be, but it will be interesting to see how they do this coming Christmas season. For a lot of retail Christmas covers the overhead for the rest of the year. If you don’t have a good Christmas you can’t keep the doors open in April.


By Bob Walsh

There is a very interesting piece in the local fishwrapper (Stockton RECORD) today by their principle columnist, Michael Fitzgerald. He goes into some detail about the cozy relationship between the Lodi Unified School District and the First Baptist Church of Lodi. He describes it as having the appearance of a “school to Jesus pipeline.” He is almost certainly right.

A local atheist group, the Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers, submitted two FOIA requests to the district in order to dig into its relationship with the church. The group found the following.

There is a program called 180 Teen Center which is an arm of the First Baptist Church. It is a line-item on the church’s budget and describes its employees as “missionaries.” This group does get funding from other sources and keeps its own bank accounts and its own payroll, but it is without a doubt an arm of the church.

The 180 Teen Center is allowed to send staff into at least some middle schools and high schools in the district. They invite teens to the center. Their written material and their Facebook page say nothing about a religious connection, though the religious connection is very obvious when you actually enter the building.

The founding director of the 180 Teen Center is now a pastor at the First Baptist Church. His wife is now the Teen Center’s director.

The Teen Center recently purchased a very nice 35 foot Winnebago from Lodi Unified for less than 20% of its fair market value. The guy who handled the sale was at the time the Director of Personnel for Lodi Unified. He is now a Principal in the district. He is also on the board of the First Baptist Church.

Over three years the school district paid the Teen Center over $111,000 to provide “counselors” [proselytizers] to the school district.

The Teen Center staffers liberally plaster posters advertising Upwards Sports Programs around the schools. This group advertises itself as “promoting the discovery of Jesus through sports.”

As Fitzgerald said, this may not, strictly speaking, be a violation of the Second Amendment but it may very well be what the lawyers (other than Hillary Clinton) would call “excessive entanglement.” It is a recognized valid legal concept.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in East Texas the woods are thick with them Baptists. It looks to me like this is a clear violation of separation of church and state. Anyone other than a Baptist or Evangelical would resent their tax dollars being used to further a Baptist church.

This story reminds me of my favorite bumper sticker:

Everyone else thinks you’re an asshole


By Bob Walsh

Regular readers will remember this incident. A nine-year old girl shot and killed a firearms instructor at a range in Arizona two years ago. The instructor allowed the nine-year old to fire a fully automatic Uzi with (IMHO) inadequate supervision and preparation. In any event the man is dead and his survivors are suing the gun range.

The family asserts (probably correctly) that the mini-Uzi should never have been placed in the girls hands. The lawyer asserts that Charlie Vacca, the firearms instructor, was killed because that act was fundamentally unsafe. That is also probably correct.

I suspect that much of this will hinge on whether or not the instructor or some other person at the range allowed the youngster to shoot and what authority, if any, the instructor had over the situation. My inclination, based on very little information, would lead me to believe that the instructor was largely responsible for the situation ASSUMING that he had control over the situation and veto power over who was allowed to shoot under his direction.

I actually have significant training and experience in this area and I would certainly never have let a physically small, young child fire a fully automatic weapon with zero preparation and orientation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I think it’s a stretch for the family to sue the range when it was the stupidity of their loved one in allowing a 9-year-old to fire an Uzi that caused his death.

Every firing range I’ve ever been to where there was an instructor present, that instructor was in charge, not the range operators. Now this another stretch, but maybe the family would have a better legal standing by suing the range for employing an idiot instructor.


by Rachel Marshall

August 24, 2016

The Department of Justice did something groundbreaking last week: It declared our nation’s bail system unconstitutional. In a brief filed in support of a class-action lawsuit challenging the bail system, the DOJ held that jailing people who are facing charges unless they can afford to post bail impermissibly discriminates against the poor.

As a public defender in Oakland, I know all too well how much our bail systems are used as a way to lock up the poor while allowing the wealthy to avoid jail. Every day, I see jails full of people who would be free if they simply had a few more dollars to post bail. Our nation’s bail system allows those with money to buy their way to freedom while others sit in cells simply because they are poor.

The bail system is founded on a simple but flawed concept: People need a monetary incentive to ensure they return to court. When someone comes to court after being arrested, a judge reviews the charges, the person’s prior convictions, the person’s likelihood of fleeing, and any public safety risks, and then decides whether to release the person on his own promise to return to court, whether to deny bail altogether, or whether to grant bail. If bail is set, an accused person can post cash to get out of jail, and so long as he makes his court appearances, he will get the money back at the end of the case.

Of course, most people don’t have large sums of money readily available to post bail. As a result, in many parts of the country those in jail rely on the commercial bond industry. A bondsman will post bail on someone’s behalf but will charge 10 percent of the total amount even if the person beats the case.

And there are many people who cannot afford even the bail bondsman’s 10 percent rate — and so must stay in jail for days or weeks as they await trial. Today there are almost 750,000 people in local jails (not prisons), most of whom are awaiting trial. Our jails swell with poor people never convicted of anything.

“Jane”: A case study in how the bail system hurts poor people

Let me tell you a story about a former client of mine, whom I will call Jane (not her real name; although she has given me permission to share her story, I have changed all names and some identifying details). Jane was dating a man who, unbeknownst to her, was married. Late one night, Jane was at her boyfriend Bob’s home when he left on an errand. Moments later, Jane heard pounding on the door and windows, and screams outside the house.

The terrified Jane grabbed a knife to protect herself. She heard a window break and people outside. When she opened the door, two women angrily confronted her in the dark. “Who are you?” one of them demanded. “I’m Bob’s girlfriend,” Jane explained. “Well, I’m his wife!” the woman responded. A violent fight broke out — Jane claimed the two women attacked her first, and they claimed she attacked them — and things got bloody.

Jane had a great self-defense case. Although there was dispute over who started the fight, Jane was the one alone and inside when multiple people confronted her in the dark after banging on the doors. There was a great deal of helpful evidence on Jane’s behalf, including the fact that she was the one to run out to a neighbor’s house to call 911.

Jane’s family was able to post her bail of $35,000 for her with a bond agency early in her case. But a judge then raised her bail after the prosecutor pointed out that the alleged victim’s injuries were severe. Jane was taken back into jail, where I met her for the first time. I could only talk to her through a glass wall.

Jane was devastated by her arrest. She was set to graduate from adult school in a few weeks, and she had an 8-year-old daughter to whom she was desperate to get home. But her family simply could not afford the new bail amount of $130,000.

Because Jane was eager to get out of jail as soon as possible, she was adamant about moving the case along as quickly as possible. So we set it for a speedy preliminary hearing. Jane stayed in custody as we fought the case aggressively at a preliminary hearing with the information my investigator had gathered quickly. Jane sat next to me at the hearing, wearing a jail jumpsuit. After the hearing, in which a judge found enough evidence to set her case for trial, Jane wanted to continue to fight her case. Yet just a few weeks after the hearing, a prosecutor offered her a deal: Plead guilty and get out of jail immediately.

Jane faced two choices. She could get out of jail right away by pleading guilty to a crime she knew she did not commit — and which she was confident she could win at trial. Or she could fight the case and stay in jail for months until her case could go to trial. The choice was simple for her — she chose the route that would get her back right away to her daughter and home and school.

As a result, she not only has a felony on her record but is on felony probation, which means she is vulnerable to being sent to state prison if a judge (without a jury) finds that there is even just a 51 percent chance (a much lower standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard) that she had violated probation in any way, no matter how minor.

“Joan”: A case study in how a middle-class person can navigate the bail system just fine

Now imagine a very different story: the story of a hypothetical client I will call Joan (a composite drawn from numerous cases). Joan was involved in an incident nearly identical to Jane’s. But Joan is from a middle-class family that was able to come up with the money to post bail. When the judge later raised her bail because of the severe injuries, Joan agreed to pay for an ankle monitor to allow her to remain out of jail, rather than posting more money. The monitor cost $20 a day, which Joan could afford.

Since Joan was out of jail and there was a great deal of investigation to do, she and her lawyer decided at her first court date to waive her right to a speedy preliminary hearing until they had all the necessary information. They also set up a meeting to talk about the case and her options, and to visit the scene of the crime together.

Meanwhile, Joan went back to school. Just a month after her arrest, she received her high school degree. Her lawyer brought to court photographs of the smiling Joan in her cap and gown hugging her daughter while holding her diploma. Upon her lawyer’s recommendation, Joan also began doing community service. She began looking for a full-time job now that she had her degree.

Meanwhile, the investigator had located a neighbor of Bob’s, who had a surveillance camera that caught part of the incident. It captured the two women pounding on the door for what turned out to be 15 full minutes.

Joan came to court dressed in a suit for her next court date. She handed her lawyer a stack of character letters, all of them describing her as a wonderful community member. There was one from her daughter’s teacher, one from her pastor, and even one from an ex-boyfriend, who talked about how he never saw Joan display any violence in her life.

Her lawyer showed the prosecutor the letters and the video, but the prosecutor still wanted Joan to plead to a felony. He offered her a felony with no jail time, but Joan wasn’t interested. “I can’t have a felony on my record. I am looking for a job,” she explained. Her lawyer set the case for another court date to try again.

Meanwhile, Joan continued to thrive and her lawyer continued to build her defense. The defense investigator had finally succeeded in locating Bob, who had been dodging her, and he admitted that he had invited Joan over that night. He provided a helpful statement, which the defense turned over to the prosecutor. The investigator also secured a statement from the neighbor who had called 911. He stated that he’d observed on numerous occasions that Bob’s wife had a violent temper.

At the next court date, based on the new information, the prosecutor offered Joan a misdemeanor with no jail time. Joan turned down the offer, and her lawyer set the case for a preliminary hearing. At the hearing, her attorney was able to attack the prosecution evidence with the information she’d gathered. Although a judge did find enough evidence to go forward with the case, he made a long record about what a close call it was and how it seemed like it could have been self-defense. The case was set for trial.

Meanwhile, Joan had gotten a full-time job, and her employer submitted a character letter for her. On the day of trial, the prosecutor agreed to allow her to attend some anger management classes and then have her case dismissed in one year if she stayed out of trouble. A year later, Joan’s record was clean.

Although Joan is not a real person but a composite of many of my clients who fought their cases out of jail because they could afford to post bail (or were released on their own by a judge), the contrast between Jane and Joan is real. The only difference between them is money. Every day, innocent people plead guilty simply because they cannot afford bail. Every day, people who are out of jail get better plea deals than people in jail. Every day, people with money receive better results from the criminal justice system than do the poor.

The different outcomes of Jane and Joan can be blamed on our country’s bail system.

Bail is not the only way to prevent an accused person from fleeing

If bail is truly designed to prevent an accused person from fleeing, there are far more efficient and equitable ways to do so. After all, some places, like Washington, DC, have almost eliminated monetary bail altogether. Instead, a pretrial services program evaluates individual risk levels and decides what kind of supervision to provide to ensure someone returns to court.

For example, if someone is deemed a flight risk, he can be ordered to wear an ankle monitor, which will track his location with far more precision than just seeing if he appears on the day of court. Ankle monitors — which in Oakland cost around $20 to $30 a day — are far less costly than incarceration; in Alameda County, it costs an average of more than $142 a day to jail someone. And electronic monitors carry the added advantage of alerting the system to someone skipping town immediately — as opposed to having to wait until a next court date to see if an accused appears.

The truth is if someone is looking to flee, he is probably going to flee regardless of whether there is money at stake. Indeed, for someone with a lot of money, the money posted for bail may be insignificant. For another who struggled to post bail through a bondsman, he probably wouldn’t be able to pay the bondsman the remaining 90 percent of the bond anyway, even if he did skip town, so even if the bondsman comes after him for the rest of the money, it will be difficult to recover it from someone with nothing.

Indeed, it is not as though the only consequence of missing court is forfeiting one’s bail. When someone misses court or flees an area, a judge not only places a warrant out for his arrest but that person can be charged with a new crime for failing to appear in court, or absconding. Certainly the threat of having to do jail time and facing a new charge is far worse than losing money. So it is clear that bail isn’t really about ensuring court appearances.

But even if one believes money can be a sufficient incentive to get people to court, how do we justify a system that sets standard bail without considering a person’s actual ability to pay? If we want to set bail amounts based on the nature of a person’s criminal history and the severity of the charged offense, why not tie those factors to a percentage of someone’s assets and income, rather than on a static number? Instead of establishing one amount of bail per crime, we should do an evaluation of what percentage of that person’s income provides sufficient incentive to come to court.

Sure, there are some crimes (like murder) that society may determine should never merit bail, regardless of income. But for most crimes, don’t two people with identical criminal histories and charges who only differ based on their economic statuses deserve different bail amounts? If Jane had a total income of $20,000 and Joan had an income of $200,000, wouldn’t it be far more equitable — as well as effective — to set bail at $2,000 for Jane and $20,000 for Joan than to set it at $20,000 for each of them?

By establishing a one-size-fits-all bail system, what we have really done is set up a one-size-fits-the-rich system, whereby those with money have little difficulty posting bail, while the poor have no ability to pay and are trapped in jails as a result. If we really believe people need a financial incentive to come to court and want to ensure that all people have an interest in returning to court, a proportionate bail system would be the answer.

Our bail system perpetuates our nation’s war on poor people

What becomes painfully clear from looking at our bail system is that it is not designed to be either efficient or fair. Instead, our bail system exists as a way to perpetuate our nation’s war on poor people. Our criminal justice system “trusts” the wealthy more and gives them benefits my clients never see. Chief among them is the farce of a fair and equal bail system that ultimately lets the wealthy out of jail for nearly all but the most serious crimes, while poor people remain in jail for even the most minor ones.

What makes this all the more infuriating is that the right to be free from “excessive bail” is so fundamental to our nation’s values that our founders included it in our Bill of Rights. How did we get to a place so far from what our founders envisioned?

This year marks 40 years since the passage of the 1966 Bail Reform Act, which was intended to ensure that the criminal justice system didn’t jail people facing charges simply because they were poor. The bill shifted the factors federal judges considered in setting bail and created a presumption that those charged with non-capital offenses should be released. If a judge determined that the person needed additional incentives to come to court, the judge could impose additional conditions designed to ensure attendance in court.

Yet the 1970 and ’80s brought with them heightened fear of crime, and in 1984 a new federal bail reform bill passed, this time allowing judges more leeway to consider things like “community safety” in setting bail or even denying bail altogether. The bill changed the presumption away from release in certain offenses and led to increased bail for many people. Meanwhile, each of the 50 states developed their own vastly different approaches to bail, ranging from cash bail systems to bondsmen-centered industries to the DC. approach that barely uses bail at all.

Why we need to get rid of our bail system altogether

Forty years after the Bail Reform Act, the DOJ’s powerful statement against the bail system is mobilizing a new push for bail reform. But we need to go further than reform. We need to eliminate our bail system altogether.

By eliminating our bail system, we need to create a presumption of release for those arrested for all but the most serious offenses. To support that release, we need rigorous and well-resourced pretrial services agencies whose sole task is ensuring that the accused show up in court. Well-funded pretrial service programs — like those used in DC — can best evaluate individuals charged with offenses and determine what those individuals need to return to court.

Some will need little incentive to return, and a gathering of some contact information in case they miss court will suffice. Others may require an assigned pretrial services employee to monitor them regularly and check in to ensure they are attending required programs or classes while their case is pending. Still others may compel electronic monitoring so that the courts can keep close tabs on them as their case progresses.

The focus, however, needs to be not on imposing requirements for the sake of them (after all, these are people who have not been found guilty of any crime, so punitive requirements are inappropriate) but on meeting each individual’s needs to get them back to court. To do this successfully, pretrial service programs need to be well-staffed and well-resourced, with the focus always on helping people make their court dates and not on burdening them with unnecessary requirements.

Although this dramatic change would require a great deal of upfront costs, the success of DC’s program demonstrates it is well worth it. Since DC instituted its pretrial services program in the 1990s, about 90 percent of those facing charges show up to their court dates and 98 percent avoid any arrests for violent offenses while their cases are pending.

And DC has saved close to $400 million a year by avoiding jailing costs for those who are facing charges. Indeed, these kinds of pretrial services programs may even prevent future crime by connecting people to housing and treatment that make them less likely to commit future offenses.

Robert F. Kennedy (who was United States attorney general at the time) named our current problem back in 1964, when he testified, “The rich man and the poor man do not receive equal justice in our courts. And in no area is this more evident than in the matter of bail.” As Kennedy said, “One factor determines whether a defendant stays in jail before he comes to trial. That factor is not guilt or innocence. It is not the nature of the crime. It is not the character of the defendant. That factor is, simply, money.”

Forty years later, not enough has changed, and my clients remain in jail simply for being poor. Yet the DOJ’s briefing is a huge step toward progress in the area of bail. Let’s embrace their call for radical change and push for the elimination of bail altogether. It’s time to start a real war on poverty — and end the war on the poor.

Sunday, August 28, 2016



Republican Gov. Paul LePage became enraged when he thought State Rep. Drew Gattine had called him a racist

During a town hall meeting in North Berwick on Wednesday, Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage thumbed through a three-ring binder which he said contained the photographs of drug dealers arrested by the police and that 90 percent of them were black or Hispanic.

LePage was criticized as being racially insensitive for making those remarks.

On Thursday he left the following voicemail message with Democratic State Representative Drew Gattine:

“Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cocksucker. I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I'm a racist. I've spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker. You … I need you to, just friggin. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”

LePage didn’t stop there. He invited reporters to the governor’s mansion and told them he wished it was 1825 so he could challenge Gattine to a duel.

“When a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist, now I'd like him to come up here because, tell you right now, I wish it were 1825. And we would have a duel, that's how angry I am, and I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you, I would not be [Alexander] Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes because he is a snot-nosed little runt and he has not done a damn thing since he's been in this Legislature to help move the state forward.”

Gattine denies he called LePage a racist.

Now there are calls for LePage to resign. And there are also calls for the police to conduct a criminal investigation into his remarks.

And then there are the civil libertarians who say that the photographs in his binder prove that the police in Maine are guilty of racial profiling.

As for me, I think it’s kind of refreshing to have a governor use some colorful language in saying what’s really on his mind.


By Bob Walsh

Yesterday a new bridge over the Bosporus opened up. It is billed as the widest suspension bridge in the world, at 192 feet. The bridge, which cost about $3 billion, is hoped to ease the ungodly traffic jams in Istanbul.

The straight, which separates Europe from Asia was (according to legend) first bridged with a pontoon bridge by Alexander the Great while he was busy conquering pretty much all of the known world.

It is humbling to know that by the time Alexander was my age he had been dead 30 years.


By Bob Walsh

OK, that is maybe a SLIGHT overstatement. This year California began to require standard vaccinations of rugrats attending both public and private school. The old stand-by snivel of “personal belief” is no longer valid. In order to get around it you need a physician’s letter asserting that there is a valid medical reason for your linoleum lizard to not have his or her shots.

U. S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego County has just refused to block implementation of the law. The judge noted that it was not the court’s place to question the wisdom or lack thereof of any particular piece of legislation.


By Bob Walsh

The Honorable Aaron Persky, who tossed a near-freebie to a Stanford University jock convicted of raping a passed-out woman, has voluntarily removed himself from the criminal docket in Santa Clara and moved to the civil bench.

Judge Persky has in fact served on the civil bench before, and the move is reviewable annually. It will take place on September 6.


By Bob Walsh

In the formerly great state of California you now have the right to off yourself legally, with certain restrictions.

Riverside County Judge Daniel Ottolia declined to suspend the law, though did allow a group of physicians to continue to pursue legal actions against the new legislation. The physicians group maintains that the law lacks adequate legal safeguards.

Both sides will be back in court December 5 to continue arguments.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve long favored legal assisted suicides similar to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.


One of the Jewish students who was attacked reported they shouted “fuck Jews” and proudly showed off their Nazi symbols

By James Badcock

The Telegraph
August 26, 2016

Students from a German school in Buenos Aires wearing swastika armbands and fake Hitler moustaches attacked pupils from a Jewish school in a resort where several Nazi war criminals lived for decades after the Second World War, including Dr Josef Mengele, Auschwitz’s “Angel of Death”.

The incident drew swift condemnation for the pupils and the parents who were accompanying them during the school’s end-of-course trip to San Carlos de Bariloche, in the Andes.

The town became a haven for fleeing Nazis who were welcomed by the sympathetic Peronist regime.

According to witnesses, pupils from the Lanús German School arrived at a party in a nightclub dressed as Nazis.

“Some of them were in leathers with swastikas painted on their chests and backs,” Dan, one of the students who was attacked, told Argentina’s TN television channel.

“We wanted them to be thrown out of the club but they shouted 'f------ Jews’ at us and proudly showed off their symbols.”

When bouncers at the club refused to eject the pupils in fancy dress, there was a “confrontation” which turned into a fight, according to Dan.

The boys dressed as Nazis were finally expelled from the club.

Silvia Fazio, the principal of the Lanús German School, apologised, saying the incident was “absolutely indefensible” and that the children involved would be punished.

“They will have to make some act of atonement for the damage caused,” said Ms Fazio, starting with a visit to Buenos Aires’s Holocaust museum alongside students from the Jewish school.

“There is much to reflect on,” she added.

She stressed that the trip to San Carlos de Bariloche was not organised by the school, but arranged privately.

“There were many adults who made mistakes, such as the parents who were with the children, the trip coordinators [and] the club staff.”

However, Ariel Cohen Sabban, president of the Argentinian Delegation of Israelite Associations, said: “We think the real root of the problem is in what goes on at the institution these boys attend, because these kind of attitudes must be prevented by educational means.

“This is not a joke or a laugh. These symbols reflect an ideology that culminated in the Nazis’ assassination of six million Jews.”

He said if the boys involved are aged 16 or over, they could face prosecution for using Nazi symbols and propagating theories of racial superiority.

Adrián Moscovich, executive director of Buenos Aires’s ORT school whose pupils were victims in the attack, said the incident underlined the importance of continuing to teach children about the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity.

He said that “reflecting on these facts is a vital exercise in order to understand the present and build a future in which democratic and pluralist values are consolidated”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In addition to harboring Nazi war criminals, Argentina had earlier opened its doors to large numbers of Jewish refugees,, and it did so when most other countries, including the U.S., turned a deaf ear and blind eye toward Hitler’s persecution of the Jews.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


California officer's Badge Deflects Bullet During Shootout

By Hailey Branson-Potts

Los Angeles Times
August 26, 2016

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California -- A man who shot at Huntington Beach police officers, hitting one officer in the badge, led police on a high-speed chase through three counties before dying in a fiery crash in the Cajon Pass, authorities said.

Just after midnight Friday, Huntington Beach police responded to a domestic violence call at a home near Bushard Street and Yorktown Avenue. As two officers in two separate cars were pulling up, a man was getting into his vehicle to leave the residence, said Officer Jennifer Marlatt, a spokeswoman for the Huntington Beach Police Department.

The officers followed the man, who made a U-turn, drove toward the officers and started firing at them from his vehicle, Marlatt said.

A bullet ricocheted off the police badge worn by one of the officers, who was treated at a hospital and released Friday morning. He was in good condition, Marlatt said.

The other officer returned fire, and the man, whose name has not been released, kept driving, initiating the pursuit.

He drove through Costa Mesa and Santa Ana, then got onto the freeways, leading California Highway Patrol officers through Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

For "reasons that are still under investigation," the man drove off the Cleghorn Road offramp on the northbound 15 Freeway, said CHP Officer Steve Carapia.

The driver veered to the right and went down into an embankment, where his white Nissan Altima burst into flames, Carapia said. The car was consumed by the fire, and the man died. He was the car's only occupant, authorities said.

The crash happened in an area affected by the Blue Cut wildfire, and there were burned spots all around, Carapia said. Firefighters responded quickly to keep the fire from spreading and extinguished the fire.

The Cleghorn offramp on the northbound 15 Freeway was closed Friday morning, as was one lane of the freeway, Carapia said. The offramp would likely be closed for several hours, he said.

"This investigation is complex," he said. "There are many agencies involved, so it's going to be a while. It's going to last through the afternoon."

The Huntington Beach Police Department declined to release details about the gunman or the domestic violence call.

The investigation into the officer-involved shooting, as well as the pursuit and the domestic violence incident, would be handled by the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Marlatt said.


By Bob Walsh

Three people were killed on Thursday and another seriously wounded in Scarborough, Ontario. They appear to have been shot with bolts fired from a crossbow.

Brett Ryan, 35, is under arrest on suspicion of these crimes. He was at one time a suspect in, and was charged, for a string of bank robberies though there is no solid information on the disposition of the charges.

There is a press blackout on this story in Canada so there is very little information available.

I wonder if Canada will now institute crossbow control.


By Bob Walsh

Ms. Jaycee Dugard, who was held captive and brutalized by federal parolee for many years, can NOT sue the federal government for failure to supervise Phillip Garrido properly.

That decision came in the form of a 2-1 vote by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth District, based on the Federal Tort Claims Act. This ruling upholds a lower court decision in the matter.


They were supposed to teach other officers how to be good cops, but two trainers at Commerce City Police Department apparently decided to play Pokemon during part of the training session

By Tom McGhee

The Denver Post
August 23, 2016

Police work isn’t supposed to be fun and games.

And a pair of Commerce City police training officers learned that lesson the hard way and are no longer training recruits after superiors discovered they were leading their charges on Pokemon Go expeditions instead of showing them the law enforcement ropes.

The officers were removed from field training duties last week.

Instead of looking for bad guys, the officers and recruits were using their mobile device’s GPS capability to track down virtual critters, called Pokémon, who appear on game player’s screens, as if they are nearby.

“When supervisors discovered this performance issue, it was immediately addressed; the officers’ training duties were removed and these duties have yet to be restored,” Julia Emko, Commerce City spokeswoman, said on Tuesday. “The city takes reports of misconduct very seriously and investigates such claims, taking decisive action when appropriate.”

The news comes after the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to a request from the Commerce City Police Department to review that will include a look at hiring and recruiting practices.

The department requested the review after incidents of officer misconduct. Two officers were charged with crimes committed while on duty. Kevin Lord pleaded guilty to evidence tampering after making a false report that he had been shot, and John Reinhart faces three misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual contact for allegedly touching women during traffic stops.


Guns are everywhere in my neighborhood. I want my community to know what bullets can do — and how they can exercise their rights

By Maj Toure as told to Mike Spies

The Trace
August 19, 2016

Polls show that an overwhelming majority of African Americans see gun violence as a raging crisis — more urgent than mass incarceration, or abusive policing — and tougher gun laws as the solution. But the policy reforms that might reduce shootings are excruciatingly slow to arrive, which is perhaps why more than half of blacks, according to the same surveys, trust personal firearms ownership to make them safer.

Maj Toure, a 29-year-old African American man, agrees that the United States has a gun violence problem, but he has found his calling among those who reject stricter regulation and embrace guns themselves as the answer. He is a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, where, according to a recent analysis of city police data, a person is shot every six hours on average. Growing up, Toure witnessed gun death up close. As an adult, he joined the Republican Party and the NRA.

Over time, Toure came to believe that the residents of his North Philly neighborhood would inevitably come into contact with firearms, often at a young age. He reasoned that if they learned the proper way to handle the weapons, and understood and obeyed the rules that govern them, Philadelphia might see a reduction in violence.

In August 2015, Toure sought to test his theory, launching a group called Black Guns Matter, which, despite the name’s similarity, is not affiliated with Black Lives Matter. To ensure that he reaches as many people as possible, he teaches free firearms training classes at the Philadelphia Firearms Academy. Next month, he will take his program on the road, holding seminars in 13 cities, including Baltimore, New Orleans, and Oakland.

Here’s Maj Toure in his own words, as told to Mike Spies of The Trace.

I’ve seen someone get shot, okay? It’s an unfortunate situation. Seeing people get shot is not glamorous or exciting. TV makes it like a guy flies through a window. No, it’s not like that. I’ve seen people’s heads open up. Frankly, I wouldn’t explain to someone what it feels like to see someone get shot. I don’t want to traumatize them. They don’t need that gruesome experience inside of them. I want to offer them training so they don’t ever have to get there.

Black Guns Matter is about training. We’ve been going for a year, but because of incidents with law enforcement over the last six months, it’s picked up a lot of steam. We’re getting much more attention. The ratcheting up is both good and bad. It’s bad because it’s due to murders. It’s good because it means more information is getting into the hood.

Our goal is to educate all hoods across America about the Second Amendment rights they have. A lot of times in my community, firearms are available before you have the information to even handle them properly. You can run across a gun at 15. What we want to do is, if anyone runs a across a gun at a young age, we want them to know what to do and not to do. It’s about making sure people from my demographic aren’t doing the wrong thing.

If you’re ignorant about firearms but are also exposed to them at a young age, it will lead to stupid decisions. When I was growing up in Philly, I saw a clear difference between those who had respect for the tool and those who didn’t. I was lucky and had uncles in the military; I saw their attachment to their rifles was different. They respected the tool; they knew how to fieldstrip and care for it. The military mindset is very regimented and very organized. Some of my homies obviously didn’t have that structure.

That’s why I got more and more involved in the Second Amendment fight: I saw too many friends going to jail for the same thing — they were missing the information; they didn’t know the rules. It’s the not knowing that causes them to not take the extra step. Sometimes they’ll be like, “I already have the gun. I bought it. Forget the paperwork.” But not going through the right procedures to carry it can get you five years in jail. Five years based on ignorance. And a lot of guys, they just don’t know you need a license to carry a concealed gun. But they’re not criminals. They work at a job and they take care of their family. They bought that gun legally.

Look, man. Black Guns Matter isn’t just for black people — it’s for anyone who has been disenfranchised, oppressed, or slandered. We’re the ones on the streets, and we’re going to use the Second Amendment to defend ourselves against any tyrant. If police don’t want to protect us, we’ll protect ourselves. We’ll protect ourselves from the scumbags in our community. I don’t call the police, ever.

But violence can be easily avoided. Most of the time, conflict can be handled way before firearms are involved — I’m talking about conflict resolution. I mean, I’ve never had to shoot anyone. Having a firearm doesn’t mean you have the right to commit an act of violence. But unfortunately, if it comes to that — and it very rarely does — you need to be trained to handle the situation. Like when you have a .22 caliber handgun — a small firearm — even that, the first time you fire it, can be overwhelming. It gives you a certain level of respect for the tool. When you see what a .45 can do to a person’s face, or a watermelon, you have a whole new respect. But I don’t think people should go there; you only go there when someone gets violent and you have no choice but to defend yourself.

The rules guiding the use of deadly force are clear: Don’t point a gun at someone unless you fear for your life. But harassment? Harassment doesn’t mean you take someone’s life. If someone says, “Maj, I don’t like your hair,” well, you know what, I can walk away from that. Deadly force is only used in spaces where you have no other option. That’s why it’s key to understand conflict resolution. A lot of gun rights organizations are leaving that out: You only shoot when you have no other option. What George Zimmerman did, for example, was not acceptable.

And that’s why, if you’re going to exercise your Second Amendment right, you need training. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t have a gun. I’m saying, if you’re going to carry a gun, you need to learn how to do it properly and legally.