Third Party & Independents Archives

Armed and Dangerous

A man in New Hampshire has just been convicted of criminal threatening.  It’s a win for the police who have gotten this criminal off of the street and behind bars where he belongs.  I’m not sure what kind of country we would be if we didn’t have our police departments on the lookout for these types of criminals and protecting us from them.  This man’s crime?  He had a pocket knife open in his hand, ready to defend himself against two darkly clothed men who were following him down a dark city street late at night.  The thug!  He obviously didn’t know the two people who feared for their lives from his actions were two armed policemen on a training exercise!

Yes, that is correct.  Dustin Almon was walking along a street alone on November 8, 2008.  As he was walking he noticed two men in dark clothes following behind him.  Those two men were Liquor police, one a trainee that officer Anthony Cattabriga was training.  Why that training involved following a man walking down a street was not entered into the record, nor was the name of the trainee.  Dustin looked back twice and then turned around and asked the two individuals “Why are you following me?”  In his hand he had an opened knife with a two inch long blade, his hand held down by his side, pointing the blade to the ground.

The officers, who were both armed with guns and Tasers, responded by saying “police”.  At this point, Dustin closed up his knife and clipped it back onto his belt and complied with all instructions.

Officer Cattabriga testified that he feared for his safety.  Remember, Officer Cattabriga and his partner were following Dustin, in plain clothes, while carrying both guns and Tasers under their jackets.  And HE was the one who feared for his safety.

The judge ruled Dustin guilty after examining the knife.  When his attorney made the very plausible case that Dustin was acting in self defense, Judge Sawako Gardner suggested that it did not matter.  He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.  Dustin HAD no previous record.  He does now.

I am wondering if this is really how we want to be handling interactions between the police, who we give the power to hold a gun to our heads, and the citizens who might just be concerned for their safety with two individuals following them down a street.  Dustin wasn’t doing anything wrong, he wasn’t a criminal and he had never been in any kind of trouble before.  There is no reason to suspect that he was over-reacting to the way he was being followed.

I am sure that there are a lot of people glad that this person was found guilty.  Perhaps next time he is walking down a dark street and being followed by two people who aren’t police officers but muggers, he will think better of defending himself.  That’s the last thing a country like ours wants, an armed and dangerous citizenry.

Dustin’s attorney has stated that he will be appealing the decision. 

Posted by Rhinehold at November 16, 2009 4:13 PM
Comments
Comment #290891

Rhinehold, I don’t get it. You are someone that continuously complains about guns pointed at peoples head, but when its a pocketknife its okay? Which is it? Are people allowed to direct weapons at each other at any time or only when they are actually threatened?

The time for Mr. Almon to take his knife out of his pocket is after he asks “why are two men following me.?” If the two men make a threatening gesture, Mr. Almon has every right to defend himself by any means necessary, but if the two men identify themselves as police or as innocent bystanders, then the knife’s presence should never have been revealed.

Note: I must presume that Mr. Almon was on a public road, where everyone has the right to travel in any direction they choose (excepting one-way streets and the like). On such a public street, there is no expectation of a right not to be followed. This is why celebreties have to coexist with Paparrazi; they can’t brandish knives in an effort to stop the pictures from being taken.

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 16, 2009 6:18 PM
Comment #290893

I have to back Rhinehold 100% on this one…..
Are you sayin’ you shouldn’t be allowed to hold a knife with a two inch blade in your hand when being followed on a dark street at night?!?!? Maybe in china…but this here is America!!! We walk free here….don’t we? Did he threaten anyone with this (tiny) knife? Uh-huh…. what was it he did wrong, exactly? I have been very reluctant to jump on the “constitution is in flames” bandwagon But this is just plain non-sensical. As in nonsense……

Posted by: steve miller at November 16, 2009 6:42 PM
Comment #290894

If the facts are as Rhinehold states, then I agree with him, but often there are significant facts missing from these kinds of stories.

Posted by: gergle at November 16, 2009 6:52 PM
Comment #290895

The law already allows a person to be prosecuted for the mere threat of violence. This is the distinction between Assault and assault and Battery

If you throw a punch at somebody and miss, you can be charged with assault. Doesn’t matter that you never touched them.

In this case, we have a man who, bothered by somebody who seems to be following him turns around and immediately threatens them with a knife while asking them why they’re following them. Maybe they could have been crooks. And yes, they happened to be officers. But do you actually think that it’s a good idea for somebody to be able to brandish a weapon at somebody else on mere suspicion of their intent to harm?

When I was taught martial arts in college, we were told to be very careful about escalating situations, even though we were being taught how to use force if necessary to resolve them.

What are we condoning here? A right to the hair-trigger threat of force from folks who feel threatened?

The question would be, how would you feel if somebody walking ahead of you in the street suddenly stopped, turned around, and pulled a knife on you? Leave aside fantasies of taking the law into your own hands against the scum of the Earth and consider for a moment just how crazy it would be for you.

All too often, such rash and threatening behavior is brushed aside by those who want to champion the right to bear arms, or to confront the criminal element, but really don’t consider how their behavior looks from outside.

I guess that can be metaphorical for a lot of things, but let me posit a hypothetical. What if the other guy was a civilian, just as scared, with a gun? Things could get, well, interesting from there. Something to consider.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 16, 2009 7:51 PM
Comment #290897

Rhinehold, if the fact set is precisely as you describe, then a miscarriage of justice has taken place, and I thank you for bringing this case further into the political and public light.

People have the right to defend themselves, and SHOULD have the right to defend themselves under the equal force doctrine without government retribution. I am pleased to hear this case will be appealed, and give the defendant far better chances of overturning the sentence. Appellate Judges generally have a keener eye to the Bill of Rights and checks and balances upon government abuses of power, than trial judges and lesser courts. I fail to see in this fact set, where any crime at all was committed.

Are two inch blades outlawed in this particular jurisdiction? There must be something more to the fact set than reported here, in order for this result to make sense.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 16, 2009 8:19 PM
Comment #290900

David R. Remer-
This is Maine’s law on the matter:

A person is guilty of criminal threatening if he intentionally or knowingly places another person in fear of imminent bodily injury.

It’s got nothing to do, legally speaking, with the fact that these men were police officers. That just made the arrest quicker.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 16, 2009 8:59 PM
Comment #290901

Let me elaborate further on that. The issue, if you pay close attention, is that he turned around with the knife in his hand. He was not first threatened, nor attacked. He acted on mere suspicion.

It’s no good to ask the government to restrain itself if we forget that we as a society must restrain ourselves, and not escalate situations needlessly. The fact that he threatened cops is largely incidental to the offense. The fact that he turned around with a weapon in hand, even if he felt it was in his own defense, against people who had not yet even raised a hand against him is the essence of this case.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 16, 2009 9:04 PM
Comment #290910

Rhinehold you raise another issue, perhaps indirectly, with the testimony of the police officer. To think a trained police officer armed and with another police officer in tow was in fear for his safety over a two inch knife makes me think he is either unqualified to protect and serve his community or he is a liar. Either way he does not deserve his job as a police officer. He has done a disservice to his fellow officers and his community and should resign his position.

I wonder why the judge would fall for such a line. If the officer was in fear you would think the judge would wonder why and would have to believe the perp/victim was also in fear with 2 guys following him in such an obviously dangerous neighborhood.
If the facts are true it is a sad state of affairs that this man will be in jail and have a criminal record for such nonsense. The judge should be ashamed of his decision and the laws are to written and interpreted to strictly and those sworn to uphold them to jaded to be deserving of respect. Their funding should be cut to help prevent further travesty upon the people of this country.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 16, 2009 11:13 PM
Comment #290911

j2t2-
I’m not sure what the distinction is. Would you have nothing to fear from This knife? (a knife of similar size?)

And while we’re trying to figure out things here, I think it would be good to note that he was sentenced like this:

Noting no previous criminal record, the judge sentenced Almon to 30 days in the Rockingham County House of Corrections, with all of it suspended pending a year of good behavior. He was also fined $500 with half suspended pending the same good behavior.

In other words, the most punishment he’s going to get is thirty days in jail and a five hundred dollar fine, and that’s if he doesn’t keep his nose clean. He does keep it clean for a year, and he’s not going to spend a day in jail, and he’s going to have to pay no more than $250.

We ought not to be judging the case, much less the judge, based on Rhinehold’s politicization of it. The straight facts don’t fit this tale of martyrdom that he’s telling.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 17, 2009 12:14 AM
Comment #290920

I have been walking in unsavory neighborhoods before and held my knife in my hand. Women are coached to hold their mace, or pepper spray, or their little billly-club keychains, so why can’t I hold a knife at the ready?

If you think this world is safe enough to assume you’re not going to get jumped and robbed and beaten, or even killed, for no reason, then you live in a place i’d like to live…

Posted by: mike falino at November 17, 2009 7:37 AM
Comment #290922

Isn’t purposely following someone along a darkened city street for an extended period of time “intentionally or knowingly placing another person in fear of imminent bodily injury?” Especially if you do it in a bad part of town.

Posted by: Doug at November 17, 2009 8:51 AM
Comment #290923

Perhaps the trainer was trying to impress the trainee, at the expense of an American citizen, who had done nothing? Does it surprise you? Even our president said the “POLICE” were stupid and failed to gather all the facts. Was the man in the alley a black man, or was he white. If he was black, then it was a case of racism toward him. But, if he was white, then the arrest was legitimate because he was an “ANGRY” white man. Of course, it also depends on if the police were white or black. If the police were white and the pedestrian was black, then the police must have had ties to the KKK, but if the police were black and the pedestrian was white, then the white man must have been connected with a white supremacy group. But if one cop was white and one was black, Oh well, it goes on and on!!! So many senarios.

Posted by: propitiation at November 17, 2009 9:17 AM
Comment #290924

Did any of you guys actually explore the link provided by Rhinehold, specifically the “crime” section?

It seems that Portsmouth, NH, is not really such a hotbed of crime that someone needs to brandish a knife, even at their side, when the supposed “attacker” is 20 feet away.

The population of Portsmouth was just over 20.5k in 2005 (the last year listed at the site I checked). There had been 2 murders committed in this town between 2001 and 2008. Hardly a cesspool of criminal activity.

I think that perhaps we may need to re-evaluate our collective paranoia, and realize that everyone is not out to get us.

IMHO, everybody connected with this incident overreacted, including the judge.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 17, 2009 9:34 AM
Comment #290925

Just in general, what does it say about a society where in cities of any size we have squads of armed police officiers, acting in military style, using heavy vehicles similar to humvees or tanks, on hot standby and ready to roll. We didn’t have that in the 50’s or 60’s, IMO. What has changed about our society that we need that kind of force to enforce civil law? Why do we need unmarked police cars patrolling our streets and highways? What has changed?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 17, 2009 9:36 AM
Comment #290926

So, RM, you believe our ability to protect ourselves should be based on criminal statistics? If your friends or family were one of the two murders committed in the 7 year period, would you feel different?

Here is an interesting link, it’s a shame we have to go to the UK to read it:

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/engineering/article6917828.ece

Posted by: propitiation at November 17, 2009 9:46 AM
Comment #290928

propitiation,

“So, RM, you believe our ability to protect ourselves should be based on criminal statistics?”

So props, do you think that our collective mindset of paranoia should have us scared sh*#less of every single person in our surroundings?

Brandishing a knife, even if the knife is held at your side is an offensive, not a defensive move, and definitely could be perceived as a threat.

“If your friends or family were one of the two murders committed in the 7 year period, would you feel different?”

Absolutely not!

I don’t walk around scared of my own shaddow, and while I am aware of my surroundings, I am not worried about everyone that walks behind me.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 17, 2009 10:39 AM
Comment #290930

Rocky,

This isn’t about someone who was ‘scared of their own shadow’. The individual was being followed by the two plain clothed policemen as part of a training exercise. He was 28 years old so it is not as if he had never walked down a city street alone before, he could tell that the policemen were following him for some reason. Any sane person would be ‘concerned’ about that. His choice was to turn around, *20 feet away* from them, with an open knife in his hand and pointed down to the ground. He wasn’t pointing the knife at anyone, he wasn’t overtly threatening them. He was not withing striking distance of them.

In my opinion, the individual did everything right. He did not point the knife at anyone. It was held down to the ground at his side. That tells me he has had some self defense training. This is what a person, as was pointed out, is taught in such a class. Do not threatened, but do warn.

There is a huge difference between threatening someone with a knife and holding the knife at your side as a warning to stay back. Apparently the nuance was lost on Stephen. The policeman has overreacted, he was ‘shocked’ that his following of a person caused them to become agitated and fearful?

I am not suggesting in any way that people should be brandishing weapons at people for no reason on a daily basis. They should not be threatening anyone and everyone at the drop of a hat. But, that is not at all what has happened here, by the policeman’s own testimony.

I think that you can see what kind of society the people who respond to the article are looking for. That was my real intent for the article, not to make a case of ‘overt government intrusion’. I personally think the cop made a mistake by arresting the person. He should have just explained what was going on and let him go home. The judge was defending the policeman which happens frequently in towns across the US, against the rights to the individual, human nature. It is not a message about the big bad government, as Stephen is making it out to be, it is more of an examination as to how giving people power can lead to such over-uses of the power and how we should always examine whether or not we want to give that kind of power over our lives to others or if we want to live in a society where we still retain that power over ourselves.

As I said, the responses that people are giving are a great indicator as to how people see society and how they expect others to live in it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2009 11:25 AM
Comment #290931

And yes, the judge did provide for a suspended sentence if he stayed in the law’s god graces (I hope he isn’t targetted by a mugger who now knows he will be hesitant to defend himself in the future for fear of going to jail). But that doesn’t wipe the arrest from his previously clean record. He will have to carry this record around with him for the rest of his life now. Thankfully for him, it wasn’t a felony conviction so he can still vote, I hope he votes against the judge in the next election… But when asked in the future if he has ever been convicted of a crime, he has to explain his actions… I wonder if it will prevent him from getting certain jobs.

He gets to be labelled an ‘ex-con’.

Unless he wins on appeal which, I am confident I think, that he will. With any luck he will be able to put this behind him, even though it has taken up his life for over a year, cost him money on lawyer fees, cost him time on defending himself, cost him emotionally due to his worry and fear that he may be going to jail, etc.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2009 11:31 AM
Comment #290932
Rhinehold, I don’t get it. You are someone that continuously complains about guns pointed at peoples head, but when its a pocketknife its okay? Which is it? Are people allowed to direct weapons at each other at any time or only when they are actually threatened?

Warped,

At no time did anyone point a knife at anyone, especially their head. The knife was held in the individual’s hand, pointed to the ground, standing 20 feet away from the policemen.

Are you suggesting that he should have turned around and asked “Why are you following me” and if they responeded by closing the distance and attacking him, he should have taken that time to open his knife holder, pull out his knife, open the blade and then point it up at the ‘attackers’? Do you realize how long that would take compared to how long it would take to close the 20 feet by someone who was intent on doing harm?

I don’t think you’ve thought it out… The right thing was done here, he did not point it at anyone, he did not threaten anyone. He warned by holding it down to the ground in his hand. The police and judge were wrong in this case. And this is based on the policeman’s testimony.

The police initially did the right thing as well, after doing the wrong thing by following him for a training exercise. They immediately identified themselves and the knife was immediately put away. That should have been the end of it, I’m sure that he was glad to learn that he was not in danger as he had feared and would have gone on with his life the past year without being a danger to anyone else who wasn’t following him on purpose…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2009 11:42 AM
Comment #290933

Stephen D., and if it were a woman who walked on the streets with a snub nose .38 in her hand, at night, and raised it as she turned to see who the two men were that were following her? All other facts being the same, I fail to see how this woman could be faulted. And if equal protection under the law means anything, it doesn’t matter whether this was a man, or a woman, a gun or a knife.

If it is a fact that the defendant made no aggressive moves with the knife, then the two men following him were not threatened, but, warned, to keep their distance.

If that is the case, this man should be acquitted on appeal. Restraint should not mean defenseless. Restraint should not mean one cannot warn potential attackers to keep their distance. These are acts of restraint combined with common sense self-defense techniques.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2009 11:52 AM
Comment #290934

Rhinehold,

As I wrote in my first response everybody involved in this case over reacted including the judge.

However,

“His choice was to turn around, *20 feet away* from them, with an open knife in his hand and pointed down to the ground. He wasn’t pointing the knife at anyone, he wasn’t overtly threatening them. He was not withing striking distance of them.”

An open knife, in some one’s hand, regardless that it was pointed at the ground, an overtly threatening gesture. Is not a defensive move.
Any sane person that could see the knife in his hand, would stop, and react themselves.
The man is lucky he isn’t dead, and that the cop was able to defuse the situation simply by identifying himself.
If this incident took place in Los Angeles, or Chicago, or New York, or Boston, this could have ended much differently

Through the testimony in the article we learned that the “victim” turned to look at those that he perceived were following him twice before he pulled the knife and turned around to confront them.
It is not necessary to arm one’s self to be able to see and evaluate a perceived situation.

My point is that the level of fear in this country has risen to ridiculous proportions. One look at the comments section in the link that propitiation provided reveals, IMHO, a misplaced paranoia beyond the bounds of reason.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 17, 2009 12:08 PM
Comment #290936

” police officer armed and with another police officer in tow was in fear for his safety over a two inch knife makes me think he is either unqualified to protect and serve his community or he is a liar.”

from the article: “The pair walking behind Dustin Almon, 28, of 27 Wild Rose Lane, were state Liquor Enforcement cops,” PURE EVIL! They were clearly up to no good, looking for an unsuspecting citizen to ensnare in their web of lies, but if Mr. Almon feels uncomfortable on a street in NH, he’d better stay away from Chicago.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 17, 2009 12:20 PM
Comment #290944

Rhinehold-
There is no nuance with a lethal weapon out. Either somebody else pulled a weapon first, or you are the one who is threatening lethal force, and the other person can pull a gun and blow you away and claim it was in self defense.

There is the fantasy of self defense, and then there’s the reality, and the reality of self-defense is that it’s a mitigation that’s strongly dependent on somebody creating an imminent threat of life or injury first.

He pulled the knife first. A knife is not a neutral instrument in the eyes of the law. It’s a lethal weapon.

He is lucky to get away with a light sentence, especially since it was cops he pulled it on.

David R. Remer-
Carrying a revolver in your hand and pointing at people? Like I would tell Rhinehold, if you pull the weapon first, no matter how justified it is in your head, it is you who introduced lethal force into the situation.

Taking out the weapon is an aggressive move all its own, David. It signals the intent to use killing force. Unless such force has been directed your way, and remains directed your way, then you’re unjustified in having the weapon out.

And as for warning his potential attackers against attacking him?

He wasn’t mute. Just turning around and confronting them was a warning that the perceived behavior was considered inappropriate.

If they had continued or escalated pursuit after that, he might have had a claim, given that warning if he decided to beat them up. But until another person draws a weapon, or endangers their life and limb with a unarmed attack, the self-defense strategy doesn’t hold.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 17, 2009 2:06 PM
Comment #290948

“from the article: “The pair walking behind Dustin Almon, 28, of 27 Wild Rose Lane, were state Liquor Enforcement cops,” PURE EVIL! They were clearly up to no good, looking for an unsuspecting citizen to ensnare in their web of lies,”

Ohrealy, they identified themselves to their victim as police. Evidently they carry weapons and conduct surveillance on citizens of their state without cause. Whether they were “up to no good” or not the victim of their excess had no way of knowing what they were up to at the time. It was obvious from the officer’s testimony that they were seen by the victim while trailing the victim prior to any action by the victim. Yet they continued to trail the victim, why would they not identify themselves prior to the victim having to take any action? The officer is not deserving of his job, one for bungling the training exercise, 2 for being “in fear” or lying about “being in fear” , 3 for over reacting to the situation and 4 for not defending the victim against these phony charges in court.

The real problem here is the way our justice system has become a numbers game for the prosecution. In the link it was noted the original charges were disorderly conduct and upgraded when the victim stood up for his rights. Instead of serving justice the prosecution decided to penalize the citizen for not paying the disorderly conduct fine. I stand by my original post, this is an abuse of the justice system and funds should be cut to the point the prosecution and police are busy fighting crime in lieu of making criminals out of citizens.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 17, 2009 3:17 PM
Comment #290950

“I’m not sure what the distinction is. Would you have nothing to fear from This knife? (a knife of similar size?)”

Stephen the officer was carrying a gun and a taser, as well as being 20 feet away from the man holding the knife. One they identified themselves as police the man put the knife away. Were I armed as such and in the same circumstances the knife you have linked to(or a longer one for that matter)would not make me fearful.

The officer and his trainee were in the wrong, I mean really a training exercise at midnight on unsuspecting citizens! They should have immediately thanked the man for his involuntary cooperation in a training exercise, as well as for being able to defend himself in such circumstances, then apologized for causing the man to have to draw his knife and continued upon their business.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 17, 2009 3:31 PM
Comment #290952

Stephen,

Would you feel the same way had the individual held a club or baseball bat in his hand? Is it the knife that worries you or the fact that he displayed a show of force against an unknown possibly dangerious situation? The policemen WERE following, he had no knowledge of what their intent was…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2009 3:44 PM
Comment #290953

BTW, this description of the Defense of Self-Defense might be of help here:

“Do I have to be hit first (or a hit attempted) before I can take action to defend myself?”

No! Absolutely not!


Your defense of self-defense may include “preemptive” action (force) on your part.


Lawful “preemptive” self defense is simply the act of landing the first-blow in a situation that has reached a point of no hope for deescalation or escape.

“An attempt to strike another, when sufficiently near
so that there is danger, the person assailed may strike first,
and is not required to wait until he has been struck.”
– 16th Century English Self Defense Law -


Intimidation is a crime. What is intimidation? If someone verbally threatens you, even if they have not yet touched you, they have committed the crime of intimidation, which is considered in most states as unlawful force or coercion. If someone threatens you by shouting, “I’m going to kill you!”, they have already committed a crime. Intimidation. You should, in fact you must, assume that they mean what they say and immediately take whatever action you feel is appropriate under the circumstances! Do not wait until they actually attempt to murder you!


Many self-defense instructors, as well as experts on self defense law, believe that if the situation is so clear-cut as to feel certain violence is unavoidable, the defender has a much better chance of surviving by landing the first blow and gaining the immediate upper hand. In fact, statistics have shown that a single well-placed blow in such a circumstance, has usually been all that is necessary to end the conflict. Certainly not by knocking out the aggressor (that would be considered a ‘lucky punch’), but by convincing the attacker he has made a bad choice and picked the wrong ‘victim’.

Which is just what the individual was doing in this case, making sure that the two people who were following him did not react to him stopping and questioning why they were following him by stepping up a possible attack on his person.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2009 3:55 PM
Comment #290956

I have a conceal carry permit, I live in a relatively safe area, but I am still armed at all times. It has nothing to do with fear; it has everything to do with the right to protect myself. If I were walking down a dark alley with two men in plain clothes following me and perhaps gaining on me, I would turn, pull my jacket back, place my hand on my weapon, inform them I was armed, ask them who they are and what their intensions were. Once they informed me they were cops, I would inform them I have a conceal carry permit. It really takes a stupid person to take a knife to a gunfight.

I can’t believe there are two columns discussing a persons right to protect themselves. His case will eventually be thrown out, if this is the extent of the evidence. I feel sorry for the wives and children of liberals. They would willingly talk the bad guys to death while they were raping and killing their families. This is called yellow streak all the way down the back.

In the meantime, why don’t somebody write a post about the liars in this administration who have given completely false statements about jobs created. It’s pretty bad when ABC, part of the MSM, has to call Obozo (I like this new name) and his administration liars.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/jobs-saved-created-congressional-districts-exist/story?id=9097853

Posted by: propitiation at November 17, 2009 4:36 PM
Comment #290957

Stephen D. said: “There is no nuance with a lethal weapon out. Either somebody else pulled a weapon first, or you are the one who is threatening lethal force,”

That is just about the most sexist piece of reasoning I have ever heard from you, Stephen. If this were a woman, and she had pulled out a pair of scissors, equally lethal, would this comment of yours still hold up under the same circumstances and fact set. I dare say, in most jurisdictions in this country, it would not. So, why is this defendant’s sex the key difference in your mind?

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2009 4:45 PM
Comment #290959

propitiation,

“I have a conceal carry permit, I live in a relatively safe area, but I am still armed at all times.”

And I am quite sure that you feel more secure for it.

Personally I have never felt so insecure that I might need to invoke possibly deadly force to protect myself.

“I feel sorry for the wives and children of liberals. They would willingly talk the bad guys to death while they were raping and killing their families. This is called yellow streak all the way down the back.”

No, it’s called using your head for something other than to hang a hat on.

I am 57 years old and I have never felt at any time I was in a situation that I regretted not carrying a gun. I do own one, and I know how to use it, as does my wife.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 17, 2009 4:50 PM
Comment #290972

Agree Propriation, we have a government that routinely lies to the nation. Healthcare, jobs, immigration, etc, and there seems to be no consequence when the lies are surfaced. By jove, I think I’ll go out tomorrow and buy a lawn mower and see if I too can create 50 jobs. A failed government, IMO. And, so many institutions guilty of helping to prop up a failed government. So many institutions acting as full blown arms of the government. FOX is going to run a couple of more ACORN’s this week. Tonight on O’riley he interviewed a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC had complained a number of times to CNN regarding Lou Dobbs and there are some who think this led to CNN firing Lou. Some of SPLC’s beef was that Lou reported that illegal immigrants carried leprosy and he initiated the ‘birthing’ thing about Obama and that he did this regularly. Interesting name the SPLC. Haven’t heard them say a thing about the federal government refusing to enforce the law of the land. IMO, should be called the Southern Poverty Our-Law Center.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 17, 2009 9:05 PM
Comment #290974

A retiring thought Propiation. Shouldn’t we just nix the tautology and concentrate on government reform = like how to put accountability into the political equation?

Posted by: roy ellis at November 17, 2009 9:31 PM
Comment #290979

I am going out a limb here but I’ll wager that Mr. Almon is a White guy. If he was Black odds are they would have shot him 20 times and if not he would be grateful he only got a little jail time.
I might also point out that if all one has to defend themself with against two attackers is a two inch knife, the best option is to run like hell. Second best is to palm the knife and keep the element of surprise because you;re sure not going to intimidate any one.

RH
Whats next. Are they going to outlaw cutlery?

Posted by: bills at November 17, 2009 10:36 PM
Comment #290982

j2t2-
The question is not what happened once the police officers identified themselves, or what weapons they might have had concealed on their persons

The question is, who brought out the weapon first?

And are you asking for police officers to ignore weapons pulled on them?

The law works like this: you are empowered to use lethal force only in self-defense.

We can get so focused on overarching issues that we start messing with the laws in ways that do not end up working in our favor.

Can a cop not say, “Gee, if I don’t identify myself and pull my weapon, this guy might try to hurt me?”

There were alternatives available to this man. He didn’t have to turn around with a knife.

We have to apply the judgments made of this man to others. If we decide that a man displaying a knife at civilians, much less police officers is alright, we give that right to brandish a weapon at people in threat to anybody who wants it.

It may not be entirely fair in social terms, but the law cannot afford to be fair merely on a social level, it has to be consistent as a means of resolving disputes between citizens and each other, and between citizens and their government.

Rhinehold-
The baseball bat or club would not have made matters any better, but I don’t feel that as a matter of personal opinion. Either weapon, in this situation, would carry the threat of lethal force if displayed the way he displayed them. Hell, a branch he picked up off the ground could convey that threat.

But I’m not saying that as a matter of personal opinion. This is how I understand the workings of the law according to the sources I’ve read. It’s my unsentimental appraisal of things.

More from your source (which I had to look for):

The most important limit to the defense of self-defense is that the level of response must not exceed the threat. This may seem a bit fuzzy, but that’s the way most self defense laws are written. The reality is, if all self defense laws were absolutely clear, there would be no need for lawyers. We can only imagine…

But let’s stay on subject.

Basically, if a ‘victim’ uses excessive force they become the aggressor. Force becomes excessive when it exceeds that which is needed to assure one’s own safety.

Nobody had drawn a weapon on him. He had not yet even tried to escape from those tailing him. He in fact turned to confront them. He then showed them a knife at his side.

He became the aggressor. Since they never showed any weapons, his threat exceeded their level of response. He did more than was required to ensure his safety, since neither of the two cops made a real move to hurt him.

This is about the politics of our relationship with the authorities to you. You are trying to establish a standard based on a sentiment that people have the right to stand up to government aggression.

Me, I’m mainly concerned with the law. I think the rest of it is just melodrama that masks essential questions with partisan outrage. I’m hardly interested in following that line of logic. I want something that won’t change with the convenience of the politics.

Propitation-
I have no problem with a person’s right to defend themselves, and nor would most liberals have a problem with it, your overheated prose aside.

The law isn’t a game of black hats and white hats. It can’t simply apply in the favor of a privileged class, and against the others. It must apply equally.

Don’t feel sorry for our wives and children. We defend them the same as you. It seems to me that you have to imagine us being similar to these implausible stereotypes you see in movies and propaganda films, the folks who act like no reasonable person would.

But I guess that’s the point. Your leaders can’t get you to hate us enough to distract you from their corruption, their lack of a serious alternative to our policy without making you believe that we’re either the worlds worst monsters or the most brainless fools.

You’d do better in assuming that we’re people just like you, who just believe things differently.

And as for Obozo? Well, crap. You’re just going to have to tell me how I’m supposed to be impressed by anything other than the sheer volume of Republican hatred for Obama.

David R. Remer-
The gender is irrelevant. Could you tell me what the utility is of an argument that tries to trap me in that kind of guilt-trip accusation?

If that woman doesn’t have reason to believe at that moment that she’s going to be hurt, raped, or killed, she cannot reserve the right to brandish a weapon at them. We cannot simply take out a weapon any time somebody makes us uncomfortable.

Gender is irrelevant, the self defense laws are essentially the same whether you’re a man or woman. I don’t know what I said that might give you the misapprehension that I favored one gender over the other.

Roy Ellis-
ACORN. Yep, pick an obscure organization, without a national reputation of much consequence, and make scapegoats out of them, make them out to be some kind of evil secret society.

Sigh.

I’ve seen it happen enough, and I numbly wonder about the limits of this. When do we get around to the merits of their agenda, instead of again and again being told of the world-destroying properties of everybody else’s?

When are we going to get past stirred-up speculation and vicious gossip, and get down to practical policy? This nation is aching, hoping for people to take their needs seriously, not just blow them off, and I’m serious when I say no party has been perfect, and each party will suffer to the extent it ignores these things.

I do not assume the people are powerless. That is a dangerous thing to assume, But we haven’t quite been awake as we should be.

What we have to realize is that people, good and bad, are going to look to our interests, and the government we fashion together as citizens has to be a compromise of that. Now we can do the party leader’s bidding, and just settle into armed camps supported by propaganda, or we can realize that at basis, our society is built on the individual use of reason multiplied on the scale of an entire society, and from there built on the emergent, strange-looped consequences of that reason.

We can let ourselves be ruled by the crosscurrents of emotion, or we can approach this with some kind of reason. We have more choice that we realize. We just have to let ourselves make that choice.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 17, 2009 11:01 PM
Comment #290984

Roy Ellis:

Accountability is synonymous with personal responsibility. There is no responsibility. For the last 50 years children have had their heads filled with mush. Those kids are now the politicians, lawyers, teachers, and professors. Those from the left, on this site, are eat up with this same mush. They have no principles and no courage. Our nation is being dismantled. I believe you and I both realize the problem is on both sides of the political spectrum. Those in leadership positions are in it for themselves and their personal gain. Obozo has brought Chicago corruption to the WH and all the left can do is defend him. The stimulus is a lie, and thank God, there are a few in the MSM who are now asking questions. Billions of dollars spent and thousands of jobs supposedly created. But, it’s all a Chicago lie. A terrorist kills American soldiers on an American base, in America, and all the left can do is say “he worked alone, he is a criminal”, and all Obozo could do was mention it as an after-thought. The congress calls for a complete investigation and the administration calls for them to hold off. Why? Could it be, he doesn’t want anything brought out that involves “Muslim Terrorists”? The left hated Bush so much, they are willing to sacrifice our nation to disassociate themselves from any of his policies. Because of hatred, they would put the citizens of NY in danger, place judges and jury members in danger, destroy the CIA, and ruin any chances we have to gather intelligence in the future. Crooks like Rangel, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and that little tax cheat weasel running the treasury should be in prison, but the left defends them as upright politicians. Global Warming is the biggest scam that has ever been and signing a world treaty will destroy our sovereignty as a nation, and yet the left continues support it. The national healthcare policy has nothing to do with healthcare. It has everything to do with power and money and yet the left can’t see beyond their own socialist goals and realize it will not help Americans up, it will bring us down to the level of third world nations. And to top it all off, we are broke. While Obozo is in China trying to tell the Chicoms how impotent he is, they are asking him how he is going to pay for this monstrosity of a healthcare program. I think the American people would like to know the same thing. From 1779 until 1982 our national debt rose from zero to 6 trillion dollars. From 1982 until now it has doubled to almost 12 trillion. By next year it will be 14 trillion. Our economy is shot, in reality 17-18 percent of the population is laid off, businesses are going belly up everyday with no hope of anything better in the future. What does the left do; they blame Bush, even though the democrats have had control of the congress for the last 3 years. Blaming Bush doesn’t fix the problem. It takes personal responsibility to fix the problems, but that was taken out of our educational system years ago. Medicare is broke, SS is broke, in fact everything the government has its greedy mitts in is broke, and the left says what we need is more and bigger government. What a joke. I have never been one to believe in conspiracy theories, but I believe there is a concerted effort by the left to destroy our nation. The fed is printing money, with nothing to back it, and the dollar is falling, why do you think China is so concerned? Oh, by the way, China owns 1 trillion of our debt. How much do we have to produce in this country to pay 14 trillion dollars off? You would think that even liberals on this web site would be concerned about their children’s futures.

This is to SD:

“It seems to me that you have to imagine us being similar to these implausible stereotypes you see in movies and propaganda films”

Actually, it was before your time, but I picture “LIBERALS” as that pot smoking, make love not war, bunch that used to hang around carrying flowers and spitting at US service men at the airports. I also remember them as the gutless, yellow cowards that ran to Canada when they received a draft notice. You know what, I didn’t care much for Vietnam either, but I felt a sense of patriotism to do what my country called me to do. I picture liberals as that professor friend of Obozo’s, the one that resorted to throwing bombs and attacking the “Establishment”. Liberals have been around for a long time. They were the ones who sided with the king and ratted out patriots to the English. I believe Benedict Arnold was a liberal.

Lastly you said: “Your leaders can’t get you to hate us enough to distract you from their corruption”

Perhaps you could list the politicians who are now being investigated for corruption?

Posted by: propitiation at November 17, 2009 11:23 PM
Comment #290987

“the original charges were disorderly conduct and upgraded when the victim stood up for his rights”

You have to have a good lawyer to defend yourself from the other lawyer’s accusations in front of a third lawyer, the judge. If you try to do it yourself, you will get screwed. The judges and prosecutors work together, and in a case like this, the accusation of a police officer is considered proof of guilt in the real world.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 18, 2009 12:18 AM
Comment #290998

Well, a little more tautology can’t hurt. The wall came tumbling down and the chance for a new world order was thrust on the world stage. The EU got the nod and the US followed suit. Economies of the world would ‘harmonize’ their trade policies. This would diminish the likelyhood of trade wars and give everybody a bite at the apple. Under the mantle of free trade (no protectionism) US businesses set out to find the cheapest labor in the world. Soon we had the IMF and WTO and World Court. The US had a small problem with sovereignty issues in subjecting the country to international law, so the government chose to ignore the sovereignty issue and do their harmonizing in the background sans public debate. Since the US was consuming the lions share of resources and maintained a relatively high standard of living the government realized these were barriers to competing in the global economy with unfettered trade. Their plan was to work to bring middle class wages into line with the rest of the world. Since there were large disparities in wealth in most nations this would make the US a better fit among nations. But, since this would probably be disturbing to most of the population there was no public debate. The government set about deregulating the financial sector, releasing businesses from pension funds responsibility, and facilitating the immigration of millions to provide a cheap labor force. For years the government worked at dismantling the backbone of the middle class economy, but without debate, all done in the backrooms of congress. The first wave of 3-4 million immigrants were given citizenship and quietening the protest by promising to control the southern border and restrict illegal immigration. Instead, the government ignored their promise and the law of the land by refusing to enforce immigration law. No fewer than 20 temporary worker visa programs were established to bring cheap labor into the country. Again, taking their que from Europe, the government sought to establish a tripartite trading region between the US, Canada and Mexico. Again, because of sovereignty issues, there was no debate. Negotiations were secretly conducted and national sovereignty was pushed aside. US learning instituions were wide open to train foreign students, most of whom chose to remain in the US. Fifty percent of graduate study programs are filled with foreign students. As their policies against the middle class began to take its toll services like healthcare and education became cost prohibitive for many. Middle class wages became stagnant or fell. Exacerbated by such policies many in the middle class took on debt, lost their home equity and/or lost their home. Today, millions are without healthcare insurance and jobless. The government depleted tax revenue reserves and borrowed trillions of dollars to support the ‘too big to fail’ financials and selected industries. GM, the largest car manufacturer in China, was bailed out of bankruptcy with taxpayer dollars while many of those dollars went into the construction of new GM facilties in Brazil and a half dozen other countries.
Governmen policies to bring the US in line with developing countries has been moderately successful. Wages are still far too high to claim success. However, with a huge foreign debt brought on by government the middle class can likely do nothing but stumble forward and fall repeatedly for the foreseeable future. One in eight citizens felt the pangs of hunger in 2008. Crop subsidies will likely be cancelled as a protectionist policy which will increase food prices. It’s also likely that congress will pass a healthcare bill that only a few can afford. Unclear, too as to how a wage earner making $10/hr can afford to educate their children. So, in looking forward its easy to perceive that the government will achieve their goal.

Propiation, does that help you develop a conspiracy theory?

Responsibility/accountability. What if, instead of trashing our sovereignty and going behind the backs of the citizenry the government would have chose to obey our laws, respect the Constitution and engage in government ‘of’ the people, ‘for’ the people and ‘by’ the people. What if government had engaged in an honest dialogue with the people? What if they developed policy to promote balanced trade among nations? This country could have been a locomotive pulling the train for the developing world. Agreements with countries around the world could have been reached to bring the power of US business and establish incubator businesses in all countries ‘who chose to participate’ in such programs. What if government had chose to build agribusinesses across Africa rather than doling out condums and billions in cash to support the tin-pot dictators and their Swiss accounts?
What if?
Are we willing to hold government accountable for their actions? Are we willing to support a new political party with an agenda to reform government and keep it that way? Is it too late?

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 18, 2009 12:03 PM
Comment #291003

Roy Ellis;

I completely agree. The sad thing is that Unions, who say they are against the current trade policies, continue to support politicians who are against the American workers. The “Card Check” has nothing to do with workers rights. It is a means to force American workers to join a union, which in turn increases the money to unions through dues. The union leaders are as corrupt as politicians, and don’t represent their union membership any more than politicians do their constituents. In fact, once a union leader gets in office, it is virtually impossible to get him out. Most unions work like governments, such as; in a state, if a congressman or senator takes a position in the president’s cabinet, the governor of that state appoints someone to fill the position until the next election. In unions, when a person in leadership position gets close to retirement, he makes sure he is re-elected to the position and when he retires, he appoints someone to take his place, virtually insuring the replacement a guaranteed lifetime position. IMO there is nothing more corrupt than unions. They may have been good for the American worker in times past, but this changed when the pot smoking, tree-hugging liberals of the 60’s took control.

Most blue-collar union workers are against illegal immigrants being given a free pass to citizenship, but the union leaders continue to support politicians who encourage illegals to come into the country, with a guarantee of citizenship.

Are we going down the tubes? Yes. Is there any hope for our nation? IMO, no. I know this will draw personal attacks, but I am a Christian and a bible teacher. I have been teaching the bible for over 35 years. Not just in church classes, but also in Bible College. I say that to say this, my main area of teaching is prophecy. I do not hate liberals as conservatives are accused of doing, and I am not in a state of depression at the direction we are going. I know what the bible teaches, and I realize the direction we are going is in complete agreement with the Word of God. Loss of sovereignty, global currency, global court system, even national healthcare and a climate change bill, all work to lead us down that road to a European based UN government.

But men have strayed so far from their creator, they willingly rush headlong into oblivion.

Posted by: Propitiation at November 18, 2009 1:25 PM
Comment #291008

Propitiation-
Why not blame Bush? Did he not grant trillions in tax cuts while simultaneously creating hundreds of billions in new spending and fighting two wars?

Did he not leave us two badly complicated wars in the wake of his administration?

Damn it, you make it so much about how nasty the liberals are, but nasty or not, Bush did what he did, and his Republicans in Congress supported him to the hilt.

Let’s get out of fantasy land. Let’s get out of easy stereotypes.

Let’s stop being distracted by these hot button issues, and these PR campaigns by the right that do little for most people in restoring the Republican’s reputation.

Democrats aren’t perfect. But at least they are under political pressure from their people to actually deal with the problems at hand in this country. The Republicans seem content to play the same damn political games, trying to win 2010 and 12 by an artificially produced absence of Democratic Party legislation, rather than by contributing something practical to the country.

You guys can’t keep this up forever without doing more harm to your party and your country. It’s already strained as it is.

The time has come to return to the real world.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 18, 2009 6:22 PM
Comment #291017

SD:

Is it possible for those on the left to discuss any problems we might have without blaming Bush? First, I have blamed Bush and the Republicans many times. I was against the TORT that Bush proposed, and I was definitely against the Republicans in congress supporting it. I am not against tax cuts of any kind. Liberals fail to realize, the tax money is our money. Congress is not giving us anything when they cut taxes and they don’t have to find the money in budgets to give us tax cuts. It is already ours. The difference is, if they are going to tax us, then use the money responsibly. The left looks at tax dollars as an endless supply of money that can be used for their pet projects. I don’t have a problem with using tax dollars for the support of our nation, but I do have a problem with tax dollars being used as a means of redistribution of wealth. And this is the goal of Obozo, his czars, and the liberal democrats.

Wars cost money. Keeping our nation safe costs money. Again the difference between conservatives and liberals is we want to fight the enemy on his turf, but liberals want to wait until he kills Americans on our own soil, and then begin the deliberation process. Further Stephen, I might inform you, we are not at war, and the enemy we are not fighting, are not terrorists. By the statements of Obozo and the libs, we are simply dealing with criminals. If you don’t want us in the Middle East, simply come home, case closed. You have the majority. Don’t blame us if we are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obozo promised his own party he was bringing the troops home.

“Damn it, you make it so much about how nasty the liberals are, but nasty or not, Bush did what he did, and his Republicans in Congress supported him to the hilt.”

The democrats controlled the congress he last 2 years of Bush’s administration. Why worry about what the republicans were doing?

“Let’s stop being distracted by these hot button issues, and these PR campaigns by the right that do little for most people in restoring the Republican’s reputation.”

Are you really concerned about the Republicans reputation? I don’t think so. I personally believe the future of our nation is a hot button issue.

“But at least they are under political pressure from their people to actually deal with the problems at hand in this country.”

By “their people”, are you referring to the 20% of the population who are liberal? According to Gallop and Rasmussen polls, there is a majority against EVERY bill liberals and Obozo want to pass. Maybe liberals should be under a little more pressure from the American people, they certainly haven’t been listening to them.

“The Republicans seem content to play the same damn political games, trying to win 2010 and 12 by an artificially produced absence of Democratic Party legislation, rather than by contributing something practical to the country.”

Republicans don’t have to anything except set back and listen to the people. You want to pass laws? Well pass them, you have the majority. The truth is, democrats are scared to death. They know they are signing their own demise without being able to say a bill passed by partisan. Evidence: after the healthcare bill passed congress with one liberal republican on board, the Democrat talking point was, “it was a by partisan victory”, hog wash.

“You guys can’t keep this up forever without doing more harm to your party and your country. It’s already strained as it is.
The time has come to return to the real world.”
HAHAHAHA! Get used to it. The conservatives are taking back the Republican Party. Why would a liberal give a crap what harm is being done to the Republican Party? Again, hog wash. The party that is strained is the Democratic Party. Your people are scared to death, and the ironic thing is that the Democratic leadership doesn’t give a crap for Democrat Senate and Congressional seats. As long as they pass their agenda, they are willing to sacrifice the majority.

Posted by: propitation at November 18, 2009 10:00 PM
Comment #291018

This is great, it answers all questions:

http://biggovernment.com/2009/11/18/finally-a-congressman-with-a-solution-stop-complaining-so-much/

Posted by: propitiation at November 18, 2009 10:09 PM
Comment #291067

propitiation-
What I’m telling you is that not much has changed of the low opinion of the Republican Party in the past few years, despite their promises again and again to come to the rescue of people from liberalism.

You think people are just mistaken, deluded?

I’m sure you must have a multitude of reasons why it is the liberal’s and the moderate’s fault that the Republican’s policies didn’t work.

But what I see is that systematically applied Republican policies systematically failed. You applied the wrong assumptions to reality and they simply did not play out. There’s always room for the carefulness and discipline of conservatism, but what we have here is simply politics allowed to radically depart from reality in order to oppose the liberal agenda as strongly as possible.

Let me say that more clearly: the Republicans are no longer Conservatives, but radical anti-liberals. They acknowledge little in the way of their failings because any such acknowledgment helps the liberals, and we just can’t have that, can we, if beating them is all that it’s about.

As for Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, there we see some of the sad wages of that anti-liberalism, as policy was constructed less with an eye to results, and more with an idea to proving the liberals and the realists in foreign policy wrong.

I’m no pacifist. Read my archives. Republicans seem to have a blind spot for defense spending, not acknowledging waste and corruption, not acknowledging the sheer excessiveness of our obsession with space-age weapons meant to confront enemies that have been defeated for a generation.

I simply put to you the question: what kind of results are we getting for all this spending? Why is the manpower situation so bad at this point, that people are forced to go into repeated deployments?

Yeah, I hear your people talk about supporting the troops. They talk, but hold up bills designed to help troops with their coverage. They talk but are more interested in fuming about the liberal media than resolving the issue of armor that came up early in the war.

They talk, but keep a terrible policy in place, even though everybody and their dog could tell things were going downhill.

I wasn’t a pessimist about these policies from the start. I thought Bush would get his crap together. After all, defense was a point of pride among Republicans, right?

I did not expect people to be that willing to let political considerations undermine decent policy. I did not think Republicans were willing to let things get that bad.

What has scared me and ticked me off about Republicans these last few years is the degree to which they are willing to let policy go wrong and justify that policy going wrong, in order to avoid giving liberals even an milimeter of an opening. And to me, that seems more than just alarming, it seems stupid. They failed to realize that chronic deterioration of policy itself would itself exact a terrible political price.

What really hacks me off is that now the Republicans want the Democrats to pay that price, while they reclaim what they believe they are entitled to.

The Difference between you and I is that I know in substance the things your party has done wrong. You’ve only got wild-eyed prophecies of doom. I’ve got a horrible, traumatic history of the last several years to refer to. You have the mistakes of what must be two generations ago by now, the mistakes the party I belong to has long ago atoned for, learned its lesson from.

Your people have got to realize that your party screwed up. Otherwise, you’re a threat to this nation’s continued prosperity and security, anytime you get elected or re-elected.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 19, 2009 3:47 PM
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