Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/3/19: Morons, And More.

Good morning!

Still working on the appellee brief in my defense against the frivolous law suit by an angry banned Ethics Alarms commenter whose boo-boo I bruised. How do you write a professional, respectful, effective rebuttal of a 70 page brief that is basically nonsense? I know how to argue against a real good faith legal assertion–indeed, my enjoyment of brief-writing nearly got me stuck in the traditional practice of law. But “this is deranged crap that doesn’t constitute a valid appeal and that wastes the time of everyone involved” isn’t a professional response, just a fair one.

1. “You know…morons!” At least two people—I can’t find the link for the second one, but it was a child—were wounded when spent bullets shot into the air by New Year’s Eve celebrants fell back to earth and hit them. This happens every year. Why do people think shooting guns into the sky is safe? In WW II, my father had to promise a court martial for any soldier under his command who shot a weapon into the air.  This is basic Law of Gravity stuff, but it seems to elude an amazing number of gum owners. I’m only aware of one move that ever featured a death from a falling bullet: “The Mexican,” a failed 2001 Brad Pitt-Julia Roberts comedy.

2. “You know…morons!” (cont.) The Netflix horror hit “The Bird Box,” which involves a blindfolded Sandra Bullock leading her similarly burdened children on an odyssey to escape an apocalyptic threat that only strikes when it is seen, has spawned a web challenge in which people are encouraged to try doing everyday tasks wearing blindfolds. This prompted a warning from Netflix:

“Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.”

Boy and Girl are what Bullock’s character’s children are called, because she is so certain they are doomed that she doesn’t want to name them. I am tempted to say that anyone so stupid as to try this challenge should not be discouraged, because their demise will only benefit the rest of us. But that would be mean.

True, but mean.

3. Follow-Up…The Federalist has more on the unfolding Steele Dossier scandal. I do not see how any result of the Mueller investigation can hold up in court, no matter how much the mainstream news media spins it, with the degree of procedural irregularity and prosecutor misconduct we already know is behind it. Presumably this is why the focus has shifted to the extremely dubious theory that Trump violated election laws by paying off a sex partner, something he would have probably done whether he was running for office or not, and also a transaction that didn’t involve campaign funds. The media keeps reporting the latter as if it is an unquestioned crime (apparently because Michael Cohen was induced to plead guilty to it), but it just isn’t a crime, and I believe in the end that theory will be thrown out of court too. Continue reading

Would Gun Rights Advocates Support “Jamie’s Law”?

shot by kid

I’m proposing a new gun control law that would be named after Jamie Gilt, who this week was accidentally shot in the back by her 4-year-old son, who was seated in the back seat of her truck at the time. The child had picked up a .45 handgun that she had left on the floor of the vehicle. “Jamie’s Law” would ban gun ownership for life if an adult leaves a firearm, loaded, within the reach of a child below a certain age. Personally, I’d be fine if the cut-off was 18, but just to keep the law as close to Jamie’s situation as possible, let’s say 10 or under. Would that be unreasonable?

We could make the law really specific to Jamie, who is an idiot, by banning gun ownership by anyone who leaves guns lying around for kids to play with AND maintains a Facebook page called “Jamie Gilt for Gun Sense,“…well, with their name, not Jamie’s. Yes, Jamie—did I mention that she is an idiot?—did this while promoting responsible gun ownership. I wonder what she would consider irresponsible gun ownership. Maybe giving a child a loaded gun to suck on, instead of a pacifier.

I’m not too fond of the million or so anti-gun types who went on the page to insult and berate Jamie, who is in the hospital. (I see that the page has been taken down since last night.) I’m sure she feels bad enough already, in part because she was shot and also because she will be the face of foolish gun owners for the foreseeable future. What she should feel is lucky. The only difference between Jamie and Veronica Jean Rutledge, shot dead in a Walmart by her two-year-old in 2014, is moral luck. Actually, what Gilt did was more reckless that the conduct that killed Rutledge: Gilt was driving, and Rutledge at least had her gun in her purse, not in plain view. Both Rutledge and Gilt were lucky their children weren’t killed.

What do you think about Jamie’s Law?

Maybe gun owners who do this should be banned from having custody of children, too.

(Of course, it goes without saying that they would be presumed innocent until proven Gilty….)*

_______________________

*I’m sorry, I really am, but there’s a place in Hell for people who pass up set-ups like this.

Comment of the Day: “Observations On Obama’s Executive Orders On Guns And The Golden Dancer Presidency”

Are smart guns...smart?

Are smart guns…smart?

 J. E. Houghton illuminates one of President Obama’s wish list items for gun safety—fascinating. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Observations On Obama’s Executive Orders On Guns And The Golden Dancer Presidency” :

I would like to offer an observation concerning one of President Obama’s executive order policies: To direct federal agencies to promote “smart gun” technology through the procurement power of the Federal government. The President compares guns to smart phones and asks why we can’t use the same modern technology to limit access and use of guns like we do with smart phones. (Vice President Biden’s post-Sandy Hook commission came up with a similar recommendation.)

This may sound like a good idea to some, mostly people who have no knowledge of guns and do not depend on guns for their own personal safety, national defense or homeland security.

Continue reading

Thoughts On Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez, An Especially Dangerous Ethics Dunce

Quick, Tatiana! Michele Bachmann is on "The View" in 3 minutes!

Quick, Tatiana! Michele Bachmann is on “The View” in 3 minutes!

The “dangerous” part is illustrated by the section of the Washington Post headline that reads Mich. woman who shot at shoplifters gets 18 months probation….”  Then there’s the part that briefly made me think that the Post was becoming a hoax site: “…vows to ‘never help anybody again.”

A Michigan judge sentenced concealed carry permit holder Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez to 18 months of probation and took away the permit, as punishment for her shooting several  rounds at a shoplifter’s fleeing auto outside a Home Depot on October. 6. Disillusioned that the law took a dim view of her playing amateur “Starsky and Hutch,” she wailed, “I tried to help. And I learned my lesson that I will never help anybody again.”

Thoughts:

1. What an idiot. There is more stupidity packed into that statement than you will find in a room full of Ben Carson fans. She “tried” by shooting a gun at shoplifters? What she tried to do is irrelevant. Good intentions matched to moronic conduct mitigates nothing. Now, because she was properly punished ( I would say leniently punished) for irresponsible vigilante use of her weapon and what would have been excess force even if she had been Starsky, she’s going to punish humanity by never helping anyone ever again, so there!  Continue reading

Anti-Gun Zealots Must Reconcile Their Rhetoric With This, Or Concede That Their Adversaries, And All Citizens, Have A Right To Protect Themselves

In Macon, Georgia, a coordinated mob of teens attacked a Walmart like a scene out of “Dawn of the Dead.” Surveillance cameras revealed this:

The Macon Telegraph reports that a group of about 50 teens swarmed the store and began destroying property, apparently for the fun of it. A customer in a motorized scooter was pulled from his seat and dragged on the floor, police say.  17-year-old Kharron Nathan Green entered the store at about 2 a.m. last Sunday morning and flashed “gang signs.” At his signal, a group of about 50 people, apparently teens or a bit older, charged into the store. They departed when police arrived. Green, was the only one arrested, not because he was the ringleader, but because he is an idiot. He returned to the scene of the crime to fetch a dropped phone.

That nobody was seriously hurt or killed is moral luck, nothing more.

Is it relevant that all of the teens appear to be black? Sure it is, though many news outlets—like the Macon Telegraph, in fact— didn’t think so, because that creates inconvenient implications. For one thing, it was very relevant to any police officer trying to deal with the onslaught, as having to shoot one of the mob if he was aggressive would have the cop branded as a racist killer  and possibly railroaded into a murder trial by the Georgia equivalent of Marilyn Mosby. Continue reading

AGAIN: Irresponsible Gun Owners Must Be Charged

"...but since this is a .357 magnum, the most powerful handgun on Earth, and will blow your head clean OFF.... I think I'll go shopping with my little boy with this in the holster, unfastened, and bullet in the chamber!"

“…but since this is a .357 magnum, the most powerful handgun on Earth, and will blow your head clean OFF…. I think I’ll go shopping with my little boy with this in the holster, unfastened, and bullet in the chamber!”

CBS informs us that in Wassila, Alaska, where you know who dwells, a 4-year-old boy was shot in the leg Saturday on a public sidewalkwhen his mother’s .357-caliber handgun fell out of its holster, struck the pavement on its hammer and fired.

No one has been charged, we are told.

Well, that’s cretinous, and as a society, our law enforcement has to send more responsible messages than that.

Again, as I noted here and here and here, all since the dawn of 2015, the fact that the child or an innocent bystander wasn’t killed by this reckless and stupid gunowner was pure chance, moral luck. As far as her conduct goes, there is no difference. She is the equivalent of a drunk and speeding driver. This isn’t an accident that “can happen to anyone.” This can happen to idiotic gun owners who don’t know basic gun safety and allow guns to be in the close vicinity of children. Why was her holster unfastened? Why did the gun have a bullet in the chamber? Why wasn’t she aware that what she was doing might make the gun fall? Why did she feel she had to carry a cannon of a hand-gun with her on a weekend outing to beautiful downtown Wasilla?

Charge her, prosecute her, throw her in jail, take away her gun privileges, and have child protection services investigate the home.

This has got to stop.

[But don’t call her a gun owner. She isn’t a real gun owner. Real gun owners don’t act like this. To call her a gun owner gives her dignity that she doesn’t deserve, and promotes bigotry against true gun owners, who by definition are responsible, peaceful, and observe gun safety principles at all times. If you don’t believe me, just ask the President. He understands. This is how he thinks, after all.]

One More Time As A Child Finds A Gun And Kills: Prosecute the Parents

DSC_1306

This time the locale was Elmo, Missouri, and it was a five-year old pulling the trigger. The victim was a 9-month-old boy, but it’s basically the same tragic, stupid story….just like in the Idaho Walmart, where the two-year-old shot his mother, or the Albuquerque motel room where another toddler shot both of his parents, who were just lucky and lived. (They have been charged with child abuse. Good.) A gun owner negligently, recklessly, criminally leaves a firearm, loaded, where  young children are and a tragedy results.

Alexis Widerholt, the mother of the children, called 911, and when emergency crews arrived they found that her the baby had been shot in the skull with a .22-caliber magnum revolver.

Somebody has to go to jail for this, maybe several people. Authorities say the gun belongs to a relative, but not the mother. If she knew the gun was in the house, she’s accountable. Anyone responsible for putting the loaded gun where a kid might find it is accountable. Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them away. Unless the mother didn’t know about the gun (she originally told the police it was a paint gun, either out of panic, confusion, or ignorance), she needs to lose the right to parent them, at least for a while. Continue reading

Wait–What Idiot Thought We Wanted A Sequel To The Idaho Walmart Shooting?

Does this graphic look familiar? It should: I used it only a month ago, and for the exact same reason.

Does this graphic look familiar? It should: I used it only a month ago, and for the exact same reason.

From the Washington Post:

“A toddler reaching for an iPod in his mother’s purse grabbed a loaded gun instead before shooting both his parents in an Albuquerque motel room on Saturday, according to news reports. Police said the bullet hit the father in the buttock and the mother, who is eight months pregnant, in her right shoulder, but did not strike a 2-year-old child who was also in the room, according to Fox News.”

Gee, I guess Monique Villescas and John Reynolds, the lucky parents in this near tragedy, were so amused at the death of Veronica Jean Rutledge at the hands of her toddler that they just couldn’t resist trying the old “let’s leave a loaded gun where a small child can reach it” trick themselves. Or, I suppose, they might just be irresponsible fools.

Observations:

1. Two of these incidents in a little more than a month ?! What are the odds that Rutledge and these boobs were the only Americans leaving loaded guns within the reach of young children? Continue reading

Irresponsible Gun Ownership and Consequences

smoking-gun

Here we go again:

A 15-year-old boy  shot and killed his younger brother during a game of “cops and robbers” using what they thought was an unloaded handgun. The boy called police to their home in Eagan, Minnesota, and told them he had shot his brother, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Though police said the facts would be presented to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office for review, but no one is in custody and no charges are expected.

Investigators say the boys found their father’s 9mm handgun, which had been hidden unloaded, with a magazine holding cartridges nearby. At some point, the handgun was loaded by one of the boys, and assuming it had been unloaded, the brothers  began to chase each other in a game of “cops and robbers.” police said. The 15-year-old unintentionally fired,  striking his brother in the chest.

The father should be arrested and charged with negligent homicide. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Hard Lesson Of The Walmart Tragedy: Bad Ethics Kills”

First The Washington Post suggests that my commentary on the tragic shooting death of Veronica Jean Rutledge by her two-year old son in an Idaho Walmart as using “the accident as an excuse to grandstand on gun rights,” then the website Raw Story writes that my post is a talking point for both sides in the gun rights debate.”  Neither is true; neither is remotely true. The post wasn’t even about guns: the topic is accountability for reckless and irresponsible conduct by parents and their consequences. Do journalists even read the stuff they link to?

The comments to the post, however, are another matter. Naturally some of them opine on gun policy, and an interesting query arrived from a reader in India, who wrote:

Hello all… I’m from India and we don’t have such gun laws here.. but it looks like, the only news that I see concerning America are “school shootings” and “accidental ones” every week. I have nothing against America and I love your country .. but owning a gun, seems to be a sign of insecurity to me. and I repeat, the only news I see is a regular pattern: “kid goes on shooting spree” or “kid accidentally discharges weapon”.. Don’t you see what’s happening b’coz of these Gun laws ? anybody can be careless about anything… nobody is perfect. I’m only airing my views about this.

This prompted an excellent Second Amendment explanation from 2014 New Prolific Commenter of the Year joed68. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Hard Lesson Of The Walmart Tragedy: Bad Ethics Kills”: Continue reading