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Gun Free Zones-An Oxymoron in the Gun Control Debate

“Gun Free Zones-An Oxymoron in the Gun Control Debate” by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

The only real gun free zones are closed and secured locations with controlled access, staffed by armed guards and requiring inspection of persons entering, including anything they are wearing and carrying. Areas marked with gun free zone signs, either required by law or policy, are a fraud on the public and are, in fact, a threat to public safety.

If a licensed citizen carries a gun into such an area, that person commits a crime even though the only crime is violating the law or policy establishing that zone.

If a person with criminal intent wants to go into that zone to actually use that gun to shoot one or more people, what makes anyone think that the sign would deter that person with that intent from that behavior? And, if an otherwise lawful citizen were to violate the law or policy and deploy a prohibited weapon to stop the person with murderous intent, why should that citizen be declared a criminal? Since when is exercising the right to self-defense, a Constitutional and Human Right, a crime?

Irrational, feel-good measures, such as gun free zones do not stop criminals or the insane. Such laws and policies only disarm those who are no threat to anyone. Gun free zones create an illusion of safety only to those deluded enough to believe they work.

Public officials who promote such ideas are either deluded themselves or are acting in a calculated and cynical manner in pandering to the fears of the public they work for. Do you hear me, Seattle Mayor McGinn? And Mayor Bloomberg of NYC and all the other mayors in this country who have joined your club.

 

Understanding the Second Amendment Easy, If…

“Understanding the Second Amendment Easy, If…” by John F Hays, Seattle Private Investigator.

You don’t have to be a lawyer and a constitutional law expert to understand the Second Amendment. The meaning of the Second Amendment is obvious to anyone who knows (1) our history, (2) knows that the Bill of Rights is about individual rights, not government rights and (3) understands grammar.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment acknowledges our human right, pre-existing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, while stating the interest of the government in not restricting or interfering with that right.

A study of our history leading up to the formation of our country and the writing of the Constitution, shows no evidence of government interest in controlling citizens’ possession of arms. If you know of any evidence to the contrary, provide it to me as a comment to this post.

Stipulated: The Bill of Rights is about individual rights, not government rights. Any argument?

The action part of the wording of the sentence that makes up the Second Amendment refers to a right that “…shall not be infringed.” This wording obviously recognizes a right that pre-exists the Second Amendment, as you can’t infringe on something that doesn’t already exist. The first part of the sentence does nothing more than state the government’s interest in maintaining and not interfering with that right. Does anyone reading this post claim that our language has changed so much since then that my interpretation is wrong.

If you accept this argument but you believe that the Second Amendment is an anachronism that should be eliminated from the Bill of Rights within the Constitution, good luck getting that changed.

 

Is Self-Defense a Social Evil?

“Is Self-Defense a Social Evil?” by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator

The issue

Is self-defense an anachronism and a social evil?

Do you believe you have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the Declaration of Independence? Who is responsible for insuring that right? At the societal level, it’s the government aided by the community. At an individual and family level, it’s the individual, the family and community, aided or not by the government.

I’ve heard people claim that personal security is the job of the police and that self defense is an anachronism in our modern country, especially when the means of self defense is a gun. This claim is often made by otherwise intelligent people who are too frightened to see the truth and who are afraid to recognize their own responsibility. Recognizing and acting on this responsibility requires people to do the work to prepare to protect themselves and their families and it requires them to suppress their fear of getting their hands dirty. It’s odd that these same people are OK with hiring mercenaries to do their dirty work for them. Is this the self-righteous piety of the pseudo-pacifist? Is it fear? Is it cowardice? Is it self-delusion? Is it some combination of these factors or something else entirely.

The truth

The police are not responsible for your individual security. Rational/logical argument: it’s the math. Legal argument: it’s the law.

The math argument only requires that you determine two numbers, the number of police officers in your community and the population of your community. The ratio of the first number to the second gives you a small fraction, doesn’t it?

The legal argument is that the courts have ruled on a number of occasions that the police aren’t responsible for your personal security. Just read the following references.

A 2005 Supreme Court decision: http://nyti.ms/V9cUKG

An example: Warren v. District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981), the court stated: ” Courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community. . . .”

A good general discussion: http://bit.ly/V9dDvl

The question

It’s obvious that you have both the right and the responsibility for your own self defense and that of your family. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

 

A Seattle Shootout: Some Lessons for Citizens, the Police and Mayor McGinn

“A Seattle Shootout: Some Lessons for Citizens, the Police and Mayor McGinn” by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

The shootout

At about noon on a Saturday in July, my wife and I were standing, talking, on the SE corner of an intersection in the business district of a popular Seattle neighborhood. We were with friends and were on our way to a day of fun at a festival in the International District. We had stopped at a coffee shop so our friends could go inside to get coffees-to-go. It was a beautiful morning with lots of people out strolling and going in and out of restaurants and shops.

My attention was attracted to yelling coming from the north side of the cross-street we were on, mid-block and east of our position. I looked to see a stocky black male, 30-something, in a green shirt, yelling while facing west towards our location on the arterial street. I couldn’t make out what he was saying; but his voice had an angry tone.

While making these observations, I became aware of a 30-something, tall, slim black male and a short, slender black female crossing from a restaurant on the NE corner of the intersection, toward a point just east of us on the cross-street. These two people were obviously together and would have been unremarkable but for three things. One: She was paying a lot of attention to the yelling man up the street and seemed to be reluctant to follow the man she was with. Two: He gave a couple of sharp and abrupt hand signals to her, indicating that she should come along with him and quit lagging behind. Three: When he made these gestures, he pulled up his gray t-shirt and exposed what appeared to be a gun tucked in his dark colored pants. The view I had was so brief in duration that I couldn’t be sure I had seen a gun. She continued to hold back as he headed east on the sidewalk, moving closer to the yelling man. When she finally speeded up to catch up with her companion, I turned my attention back to my wife. Then the shooting started.

I pulled my wife to me and took cover behind a metal utility pole. Simultaneously, our friends came out of the coffee shop. I ordered them and the people at the tables in front of the shop to get down and stay down. Thankfully, they complied.

The shooting lasted only seconds. When it stopped, I looked east up the street and saw the woman who had been with the guy in the gray t-shirt coming out of a hairdressing salon behind the coffee shop. I saw a black SUV leaving the scene headed east. People flooded out onto the street. The woman headed east and away from me; I followed her.

When the police started to flood into the area, I directed the attention of one officer to the woman, an associate of one of the shooters and a material witness. When I tried to explain why he should talk to her, he asked me if I was a cop. When I told him no, he said “Then be quiet”. Not wanting to risk arrest for interfering, I stood and waited, listening to her lie about not being involved. I expected him to next turn to me. Instead he turned and walked away. A second attempt to get the same officer’s attention resulted in another rebuff when he directed another officer to talk to me. At that point all I could tell this officer was that the woman had already left the scene but that she had been in the salon and the folks in there might be able to ID her. Having done all I could, I rejoined my wife and friends. We went on to have a great day.

I was left angry and frustrated by the way I was treated by the officer who rebuffed me twice, allowing a material witness to leave a crime scene, unidentified. Rather than forgetting the matter, I sought out a meeting. I wanted to talk to the officer, his boss and the watch commander for the unit involved. The watch commander set up a meeting at the precinct.

Without going into the details, I’ve got to say that I left the meeting pleased that we had been able to talk openly about the situation. They listened actively and attentively to my concerns and were able to explain to my satisfaction how officers responding to such situations can be, or can appear to be, a bit rude. The safety of the public and the responding officers and securing the scene of the crime takes precedence over everything else.

They also informed me that the woman had been ID’d by the folks in the salon and that she and the shooters were gang associated.

The lessons for the public? Chill; it’s not about you. Oh, and get out of the line of fire.

Don’t expect polite and respectful behavior from police officers at active crime scenes, especially when the crime is violent and the scene is still chaotic. They are under a lot of pressure and are trying their best to re-establish safety and order.

Do demand answers when you have not been treated with respect; but do it after the situation is over.

When the shooting starts, don’t stand up and gawk. Don’t move closer to the action. Take cover or escape safely. Stay out of the fight unless it comes to you. Then fight as if your life depended on it, because it might.

For those who legally carry concealed firearms, the situation I describe did not warrant drawing a weapon. None of us standing or crouching behind cover on the corner were being directly threatened. We were within range of the bullets being fired; so cover and/or escape were our best defense.

Lessons for the police? Lighten up.

Command and control doesn’t require rudeness. Polite but firm will work for most otherwise good citizens who want nothing more than to help you do your job, if they can.

Unnecessary use of authority can be a barrier to getting the cooperation and information from the public necessary to do your work. Use your authority only as much as you have to in getting the job done.

Lessons for Mayor McGinn? It’s the gangs, not the guns.

Rather than trying to constrain our Second Amendment rights, strictly enforce existing gun laws. They are more than adequate, if enforced.

Aggressively go after the gangs that are the cause of the vast majority of gun violence in Seattle. And to help you accomplish that…

Go to Olympia and ask legislators to introduce mandatory, minimum sentences for those convicted of crimes where guns are used in crime or where persons committing violent and non-violent crimes are found possessing guns.

There should be no compromise with violent felons who endanger the public as well as each other. Ask the legislature to change the law to disallow plea bargaining on gun charges associated with any other felonies.

 

The Gun Violence Fantasies of Seattle Mayor

The Gun Violence Fantasies of Seattle Mayor by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator

Mayor McGinn persists in trying to stem gun violence by trying to create a Seattle Parks gun ban in spite of courts rejecting the idea as contrary to state law. The courts are correct; so the mayor and the city attorney will go to the state legislature to try to get them to give cities the right to make their own gun control laws. My prediction? It won’t happen.

“A park is no place for a gun,” says the mayor. This simple minded statement shows that either the mayor is incredibly ignorant regarding human behavior or extremely cynical in offering up feel-good but ineffective laws to please the gun control crowd. I’m sure that will get him some votes in the next election; but if he were to get what he wants, it would have absolutely no impact on gun violence in Seattle.

The problem with this effort and the sentiment behind it is the irrationality of expecting that thugs with guns are going to be deterred by unenforceable laws. Does the mayor have a budget for fencing and gating all the parks in Seattle and then setting up a TSA style “security” system at the gates to detect weapons?

The thugs with guns who actually pose a threat to people in parks and everywhere else in the city will continue to carry and act as predators. Those who have State concealed carry licenses will continue to carry. Stalemate!

Legally armed citizens aren’t the problem. The mayor needs to concentrate on dealing with criminals through the efforts of the community groups and social service agencies trying to get at the root causes that turn innocent children into armed thugs. He also needs to do more to support the police whose job it is to deal with the consequences of parents, communities and society-at-large failing to prevent children from choosing lives of violent crime.

 

Guns, Violence and Society – Addiction

Guns, Violence and Society – Addiction By: John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator

In spite of the best efforts of my history and civics instructors, I eventually found out that they lied and distorted many things about the history and government of my country of birth. They didn’t do this out of malice. They were doing no more than unconsciously engaging in the propaganda and indoctrination that they were subjected to in their own educations. It’s what the political classes do in every country. The victors not only get the spoils; they get to write or rewrite history, the revisionist history that glorifies the winners and ignores or justifies all the less than glorious truths behind their “victories”.

I’ve been around for more than 66 years and I’ve been paying attention for most of that time. I credit my political awakening to the Jesuits who ran my high school and the first university I attended. Though I am no longer a Catholic or a Christian, I greatly appreciate Jesuit involvement in my intellectual development, such as it is. They taught me two things that inform my way of thinking to this day. They taught me how to think, as opposed to what to think; and they taught me to question authority. These are dangerous traits, but are, in fact, essential to citizenship in a democracy. How can we learn and advance as a nation if we don’t know the truth about our past and the current machinations of those in power? How can we aspire to match the potential espoused in our high and mighty principles if we aren’t willing to look at our failures at living by those principles?

Our history starts with an invasion and the forceful taking of land belonging to indigenous peoples. By violent revolution, we broke away from an onerous overseas government. We continued our violent subjugation of the indigenous people, an effort that continues, in a somewhat less overt way, to this day. We fought wars to establish our northern and southern borders. We fought an internal war over the economic and human rights issue of slavery. We’ve had labor wars. We’ve had outbreaks of violence directed against voluntary and involuntary immigrants (Africans, Chinese, Japanese, Hispanics, Irish etc). We’ve experienced political assassinations and attempts at assassination. We’ve fought numerous foreign wars, some seemingly justified, some not. Violent crime, domestic violence, sexual violence, gang violence, road rage, highway carnage fueled by alcohol and drugs, the Drug War, the list goes on.

Modern culture is rife with violence and we wallow in it willingly. Movies, TV, music, games, sports, all glory in violence. Billions are spent producing and consuming violence. We honor and pay handsomely the actors, singers and athletes who feed our blood lust.

We are a product of violence…and we love it.

The debate continues over the effect of media depictions of violence on human behavior, especially that of our children. Now we are debating whether violent and hateful political speech can influence or cause violent behavior. We love to debate. We hate to actually engage collectively in defining problems that can be solved, finding real solutions and doing the hard work to attain them.

We are like alcoholics; and like alcoholics, we must admit to our addiction to violence before we can begin the journey to a cure. As a citizen, I have a stake in this situation. As a Seattle private investigator, working mostly in criminal defense, the stake I have has become more clear and tangible.

 

Guns, Violence and Society – The Issue

Guns, Violence and Society by John F. Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

For me, the Tucson shooting illustrates the topic of guns, violence and society better than any other incident in modern history. It has gotten me fired up to dive into this most contentious subject. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. While the gun control issue was certain to arise again, as it does after every high-profile shooting incident, I find it particularly interesting how long it took for the anti-gun faction to get into gear. Of course that meant that it took correspondingly long for the pro-gun faction to react to their opponents. I suspect the pros were holding their collective breath wondering what the antis were up to while the antis were trying to prepare a response that wouldn’t disrespect the victims but would make some kind of sense in the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court findings on the Second Amendment.

District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller

McDonald, et al. v. City of Chicago, Illinois, et al.

Over the next several posts, I want to try to dissect the gun control issue in a way that supports a rational discussion by otherwise reasonable people who hold a range of opinions that exist along a spectrum from totally banning firearms to removing all government imposed controls. I will not define my position at this point because I don’t want to be dismissed by those readers who might react with strong emotions to my observations and analysis. Accept or reject my ideas as you will; but, give me the benefit of the doubt until you have heard me out.

Come along for the ride. I welcome disagreement; but think first; and then comment if you wish to contribute. Of course, I have the right to terminate the involvement of anyone whose comments are rude, uncivil, or obviously deranged.

 
© 2012 HSI Investigations, A Seattle Private Investigator