Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

Experience Comes from Bad Judgment, or “Don’t be That Guy

Law-ScaleAndHammerFrom the local paper, we have a list of indictments, and it’s surprising how many of them reflect bad judgment with firearms. Not as many as the drug cases, another form of bad judgment that we’re not going to bother with. (We’ll let some retired medic write that blog).

But enough that it struck us as if there was a theme in this week’s indictments. And that theme is bad judgment and firearms. Let’s see if we can learn from these guys’ experience, so we don’t have to have the traumatic experience of learning from our own.

Good Judgment Comes From Experience

A friend of ours who teaches airline pilots for a living has a saying that applies to flying, but also to any other knowledge domain where the exercise of good judgment is salutary and beneficial:

Good judgment comes from experience.

Experience comes from bad judgment.

Let’s explore some of these cases of bad judgment and apply our own good judgment to them.

Bad Judgment Gets Men Indicted for Criminal Threatening

This might be another charge in another state, involving weapons charges or assault. Some states have a “brandishing” statute. But whatever the charge, these cases reflect the reality that if you introduce a firearm into a dispute where deadly force was not previously in the offing, the courts are going to see you as the bad guy.

Indicted for a charge alleging criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon was Souriya Nachampassak, 39, of 140 Cottage St., Portsmouth. Police allege he held an AR-15 during a dispute about a car blocking his driveway while telling an alleged victim, “This isn’t over.”

We agree with Mr Nachampassak that it’s nice to have an AR-15, and that it’s annoying to have some self-absorbed asshat block your driveway. However, the AR-15 does not apply to the situation at hand. He went pretty instantaneously from the victim of a very minor misdeed to the perpetrator of a much larger one. “This isn’t over,” all right, but for him. 

Proportion, people. You have to keep your sense of proportion about you, and it’s more important to do it when you have a weapon. It’s more important to restrain yourself when you’re carrying or have a firearm nearby. Every State has some sort of rules that constrain the use of deadly force. As deadly force scholar Andrew Branca reports in his book, The Law of Self-Defense, while these rules vary widely from state to state there are certain things they have in common.

One is that deadly force is only a response to a credible and reasonable belief that deadly force is arrayed against you. Not that some briefstain has blocked your driveway. Because urban dwellers have more neighbors, (Portsmouth is a big and dense city by NH standards, population 28k or so), the odds of them getting a crummy neighbor are elevated. You can shoot someone for threatening your life or health, or those of your family. You can’t shoot him for annoying you. And hear this:

If you can’t shoot the guy legally, don’t display the gun. Why not? Well, we bet Mr Nachampassak has calmed down enough that he can tell you, now. If not, his lawyer can. He has a very serious legal problem that began when someone else wronged him, all because he reacted mistakenly. His reaction now threatens his firearms rights and his very liberty.

Let’s move on to the very next case on the docket:

Also indicted for criminal threatening with a weapon was Derrick Mello, 26, of 2 Mariette Drive, Portsmouth. Newington police allege Mello confronted an alleged victim with a pistol, which he loaded and chambered a round during a confrontation.

Here’s another case where nobody got shot, no shots were fired, but the guy with the gun wound up going downtown anyway. And being charged with a serious felony. Even though he probably thought all along he was in the right. We somehow doubt that the dispute, whatever it was, was worth it. What were we just saying?

If you can’t shoot the guy legally, don’t display the gun.

Yeah. That.

Just to make it crystal clear to all of you, the two young men in the next set of indictments are clearly career criminals. They were caught red-handed breaking into a house; one of them had a pistol previously stolen elsewhere. They’re not even legally old enough to buy a gun, but as character runs true, we’re pretty confident in predicting that by the time they’re social security age, they’ll have spent half their adult lives in the slam. But not for this case; right now, their charges are not as serious as the two guys above, and they’ll probably wind up with some combination of time served and probation, this time.

Twins Nicholas and Nathan Harnden, 20, of 978 Maplewood Ave., Portsmouth, were both indicted for charges alleging attempted burglary. Police allege that on March 24 one twin helped the other up to a residential window during an attempt to burglarize a Leslie Road home that was occupied by a woman home alone at the time.

Nathan Harnden was also indicted for a charge alleging receiving stolen property. That charge alleges his possession of a stolen 9mm pistol.

Obviously these guys have seen no detective shows, or they’d know that one twin does the crime while the other establishes the alibi. Maybe these are the kind of twins that separate late in the womb, leaving each with only half a brain (in our experience, undiagnosed semicephalics crowd court dockets everywhere).

The Harnden twins will never amount to anything but prison cell filler, but they’re not in trouble as big as the two guys, Mr Nachampassak and Mr Mello, who introduced guns into routine arguments and instantly became, in the eyes of John Law, the Real Bad Guys™. While the Harndens’ lives continue on their pre-established low trajectory, our two gun-displayers have introduced an inflection point into their lives, from which their lives will never be the same — even if they triumph in court.

You really, really don’t want to be that guy.

Let’s close with another aphorism from the world of aviation:

A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations which require the use of his superior skill. – often attributed to test pilot and Gemini and Apollo astronaut Frank Borman. 

The Culture of Crime: Narcissism

Narcissus-CaravaggioSeth Mazzaglia is a fat, lazy bag of crap who’s into kinky sex. Well, it takes all kinds to make a world, right? But it was his private business, his and the women who were into his sort of stuff — the tying-up and beating sort. At least, until he went too far.

These were the jury’s findings: when Mazzaglia, and a non-self-respecting bimbo of his (let’s call her #2), planned a bondage-oriented threesome. Their designated #3, a Massachusetts woman, Elizabeth Marriott,  declined the honor. So he killed her, strangling the life out of her for not giving him what he saw as his due. Then he had sex with her. (That’ll teach her, right?) Then he and #2 weighted her body and threw it in the mouth of the Piscataqua River off Pierce Island. Marriott’s remains have never been found. The other worthless loser, #2, got a shortened sentence for testimony that helped fry Mazzaglia (“fry” figuratively; it was not a capital case, more’s the pity).

Mazzaglia maintains his innocence, sort of. (He denies the murder but admits the necrophilia and the Mafia-inspired body disposal). His initial story was that Marriott “accidentally got choked” during rough sex, and he only was responsible for disposing of the body of an “accident victim,” and why is everybody always pickin’ on him? His lawyers, as legless a gang of snakes as ever were called to the bar, took delight putting the character of the victim on trial, but then, that’s what lawyers do; and even people of bad character, who make questionable decisions in friendships and relationships, don’t become, thereby, complicit in their own murders. Not legally, anyway.

So the jury heard #2s story and Mazzaglia’s story, and concluded that Mazzaglia was lying through his teeth, and convicted him of murder in the first degree, even though there is not now, and probably will never be, a body for Ms Marriott’s grieving family to put to rest. (Sometimes Neptune does give up his dead. They turn up at a certain point along the shore, sometimes years later. But sometimes the watery king keeps his tributes, for reasons known but to himself).

Now Mazzaglia faces sentencing, and he faces it as he has faced all of life: truculently, with a chip on his shoulder and a degree of self-regard that would be unseemly even in a man with accomplishments to his name. His mother, a woman who surely deserved better of her son, discussed it with him. The call was, as calls into prison tend to be, taped. Here is the transcript (emphasis ours):

Mother: Have the lawyers come to visit you at all?

Seth Mazzaglia: Um, rarely because it’s a bit of a haul for them but they’re supposed to come visit me before the fourteenth. I’m gonna see.

Mother: Okay.

Seth: If there’s any way I cannot attend the fourteenth.

Mother: Either what?

Seth: That I cannot go to the fourteenth. I already know what everyone’s gonna say there so why the hell do I have to be there. And. It’s a waste of my time.

Mother: Yeah well it’s, it’s for them.

Seth: Yeah well I’m not feeling particularly gracious at the moment.

Mother: I know.

Seth: Heh. If I had been found innocent of the big stuff like I should have been, and like I am, now then it might be a different story. Then I might have some sympathy.

Mother: Well.

Seth: But.

Mother: Yeah all you can do is regret your part in it. And.

Seth: Yeah but I’m gonna have to sit there for an hour and a half listening to them yell and whine and bitch and moan and scream about how I’m a monster who killed someone when I’m not. That’s what I’m literally gonna have to listen to the whole time.

Mother: (Unintelligible.)

Seth: It isn’t gonna be like oh you took away our chance of burying her, it’s gonna be you’re a monster and that’s what it’s gonna be over and over and over again.

Seth: Ah.

Mother: So anyway. Anyway. I’m, I mean you can, they’re, they’re in misery, I mean they’re agony, their, their daughter is lost, I would be the same if it were you but, you know, you have to sympathize with what they’ve lost and I, ask, um, ask Jacque and Melissa, I mean and the verdict took long I don’t see why you, eh, it’s you’re allowed to say that. I don’t know. I don’t know what they allow you to do.

Seth: Well my preference would be not to attend the sentencing hearing on the fourteenth. I can get an after action report that tells me everything that I already knows going to happen there.

Mother: I think you have to be there to be sentenced so. I think they have a right to confront you because the jury found you guilty.

Note that it’s all about him. He’s the star at center of things and everybody else is an extra. And his mother, who is trying to convey reason to this great bag of worthless protoplasm, is not getting through. We’re not pshrinks and if we were, we’d shrink (pun intended) from the task of diagnosing this slug’s major malfunction, but he sure does tick all the tick-boxes in the DSM for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

People who worry about guns need to learn about guys like Seth Mazzaglia. This is the cause of crime in microcosm: the Unique and Special Snowflake™, that entitled, self-absorbed narcissist, who doesn’t want to go to his own sentencing for murder because it bores and bothers him. After all, why should the victim’s family have a right to speak (which, in our legal system, they have not, up to this point); from Seth Mazzaglia’s point of view, they’re not him. They’re not special.

In the end, he withdrew his demand not to hear the victim’s family at sentencing, and he was there today. No doubt, rolling his eyes.

Welcome to life in prison, dirtbag. We’d say enjoy but we wouldn’t mean it.

What if a kid took your gun to school?

hp_SauceThat really happened to Richard Tuite of Kingston, NH. He left his pistol in a dresser drawer. A middle school student — whose identity and relationship to Tuite, if any, have been closely held by authorities — stole the pistol and brought it to school to show his friends. One of the other students ratted him out, and a search of his backpack — it wasn’t clear whether this was by school administrators of police — turned up the firearm, producing a pretty good case of HP. (Note: this case is different from either of the two cases of NH seacoast school HP in that story. It’s another one, saints preserve us).

In the end, they figured out that the kid meant no criminal harm, but was just showing off (apparently he intended to sneak the gun back before Tuite noticed it missing), and wound down the panic, the lockdown, and all the things that go with that. All that was left was the shouting — in court.

A Kingston man who owned the loaded handgun that a Cooperative Middle School student brought to school in April pleaded guilty Monday and was fined $1,000.

Richard Tuite…. was sentenced in Plaistow Circuit Court after pleading guilty to a charge of negligent storage of firearms – a violation-level offense.

According to the police complaint, Tuite left the semi-automatic handgun unsecured inside a dresser at his house.

Police said the middle school student took the gun sometime between April 25 and April 28 and brought it to school on April 29 to show other students. School administrators found the loaded gun in the boy’s backpack.

As part of his sentencing, Plaistow Circuit Court Judge Sharon DeVries ordered Tuite to pay a $1,000 fine, which was suspended for a year based on good behavior. He was also ordered to complete a firearms safety class within 90 days and perform 20 hours of community service through the Kingston Police Department.

If Tuite had not pled guilty, he might well have won in court, as it does not seem that all the elements of the crime were present.

Kingston police brought the gun charge against Tuite under a state law that allows a gun owner to be prosecuted if a loaded firearm isn’t properly stored and someone under the age of 16 gains access without permission and uses it in a threatening or reckless manner.

There was no threat, although you can make a case the kid was reckless. Scary thing is, unless the kid’s been gunproofed (and this stunt suggests he hasn’t), he doesn’t even have a clue just how reckless it is.

The statute doesn’t define “properly stored,” but we think we can all agree that if you think it’s resting comfortably in your top drawer while Kid or Grandkid and his friends are trying to finger it to arousal in the Boy’s Room, it’s not properly stored. Q.E.D. Obviously Mr Tuite agrees, too, or he’d have fought this. As it is, he has a blot on his copybook like a bad traffic ticket, and can even hang on to his $1k fine if he can stay out of court, and keep Junior’s dickskinners off his firearm.

The kid, too, may face a day court:

Stratham police also charged the boy with reckless conduct, a Class A felony, and carrying a firearm without a license, a Class A misdemeanor. The status of those charges wasn’t known Tuesday.

You can follow this link if you want to Read The Whole Thing™. The headline writer was all excited about the $1,000 fine, which is why you should never trust headlines — the fine is a legal fiction, unless Tuite blots his copybook again in the next year.

Something tells us they’re not going to mark the kid a felon over this — this is New Hampshire, after all, not New JerSSey. So all in all, this is probably a pretty reasonable outcome, enabled by the fact that this youthful irresponsibility (and adult irresponsibility, or at least, misplaced trust) didn’t lead to a discharge of the firearm and all the drama that would have caused — especially if it hit someone.

As we write this, it’s 2200 hours. Do you know where your firearms are?

Why MA is a Mess, Part 32,767

Here is a lineup of MA politicians at some worthless hack or other’s funeral:

LS_081010_LeLach_funeral_TEW

No word on whether the dead guy in the Caddy wagon was supposed to finger the one who took the money, from behind the one-way window. If so, he held to the Massachusetts politicians’ code: Omertà. They’re all here to be sure he took their secrets to the grave — or maybe, that he’s really dead and not in a safe house singing to the Feds.

It is an interesting lineup. Every one of them is a liberal Democrat, and an extreme anti-gunner. And they have a few other things in common:

  • Left: Salvatore F. “Slippery Sal” DiMasi, not a veteran (VN draft evader), former Speaker of the House (2004-2009), anti-gun politician, and convicted felon. Slippery Sal is currently BOP Inmate Number 27371-038 in the Butner, NC, Federal Correctional Institution, doing eight years for seven counts of corruption, scheduled for release in 2018, although he and his allies in the Party and the Boston Globe are campaigning for a pardon or commutation.
  • 2nd from Left: Thomas M. “Felon” Finneran, not a veteran (VN draft evader), former Speaker of the House (1996-2004), anti-gun politician, and convicted felon. (Before he was known as “Felon” Finneran, he was “Fingers” Finneran. Guess why). Finneran doesn’t have a BOP number; he copped a plea to a single count and probation, when they had him dead to rights on obstruction of justice and perjury in connection with redistricting scheme aimed at racially cleansing the State House and Senate.
  • 3rd from Left: Charles F. “Good-time Charlie” Flaherty, not a veteran (pre-VN draft evader), former Speaker of the House (1991-1996), anti-gun politician, and convicted felon. Flaherty went down for Federal tax evasion for bogus, padded expenses, and State conflict-of-interest violations for taking bribes from lobbyists.
  • 4th from Left: Robert “Made Guy” DeLeo, not a veteran (VN draft evader), current Speaker of the House (2009-some future indictment), anti-gun politician (he’s the author of the no-right-to-long-guns law), and fully in the tradition of his sticky-fingered predecessors. He’s not a convicted felon — yet — but give him time, he was just named as an undicted co-conspirator in a recent bribery trial; he hasn’t been indicted because he’s a political ally of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and “activist” Attorney General Eric Holder.

The next three hacks are State Representative Dave Nangle, not a veteran, anti-gun politician; State Rep Kevin J. Murphy, not a veteran, anti-gun politician; and UMass-Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan — not a veteran, an anti-gun hack in an academic sinecure, formerly an anti-gun politician, and a guy who parlayed the upper-middle-class salary of a Congressman, and a reputation for scratching the backs that scratched him, into a net worth in the tens of millions.

At various times during the public self service of all the above Massachusetts politicians, the Majority Leader of the State Senate was Billy “The Corrupt Midget” Bulger, anti-gun politician, and brother and support system for Mob figure, serial killer James “Whitey” Bulger. (The Brothers Bulger are the only guys on this page who actually served in the military, and both were honorably discharged, even though Whitey spent much of his time in the stockade).

Nothing to see here, or as Da Speakahs might put it, “What choo lookin’ at? Do you know who I yam?

 

Lifestyles of the Young and Criminal

handcuffs_1Read the following, and form a mental picture of the two boys (one 12, one 16) described in the story.

Police say a 12-year-old Florida boy is under arrest and accused of fatally shooting a homeless man in the head.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Chris Butler said Thursday that the boy was arrested in the killing of 54-year old Thomas Trent.

The State Attorney’s Office has not yet filed charges in the case.

Trent’s body was found June 28 at a vacant business building.

Butler says surveillance video from a nearby dental care office and a tattoo business showed two young men walking near the site of Trent’s slaying at 2:25 a.m.

A sheriff’s arrest report shows that the other boy in the video — identified as a 16-year-old — was found and identified the 12-year-old as the one who shot Trent.

via 12-year-old Florida boy arrested, accused of fatally shooting homeless man in the head | Fox News.

Do you think you could guess…

  1. What they look like?
  2. How they are dressed, for example, where the waistline of their shorts sets on their bodies?
  3. How their vocabulary compares to the average 12- or 16-year-old’s?
  4. Where they got their gun or guns?
  5. What connection they have, if any, to their fathers?
  6. What are their mother’s sources of income?
  7. Whether they use controlled substances or alcohol, and where they get the money for such luxuries?
  8. Who pays to house them?
  9. How they’re doing in school? Hey, stop laughing, we’re being serious here.

Extra bonus question: what are the odds the victim was a drug user, mentally ill, or both?

Notice the morph, in the news story, from “boy” to “young men” and back again. No doubt the kid will be cleaned up considerably for showtime before Judge “Turn-em-loose-Bruce” Bleedinheart, looking angelic and beatific in his youthfulness. We’ll be told, as if we were Officer Krupke, that there’s really nothing wrong with the cold-blooded little reptile, it’s just that, “he’s depraved on account of he’s deprived.”

Who cares why he’s depraved? Old enough to kill, old enough to chill. To ambient temperature, that is. There are good, decent people languishing on transplant waitlists, who need those kids’ kidneys to live: why not make it happen? It would be a double win for society, restoring good cells whilst cleansing cancer cells from the body politic.

We see this as just one more wretchedly predictable result of a subsidized criminal underclass. But hey, Bloomberg will mark it down as an exemplar of “gun violence.”

That’s right, the gun just decided to shoot that bum, and bent the two boys to its steel will. Happens alla time.

‫Allah hu Fubar! FOOM!

Oldest trick in the guerrilla warfare book. A little something extra in the occasional mortar round, or in this case, 7.62 x 39mm cartridge.

The US did this as a psychological operation in the Vietnam War, designed to shake the NVA’s confidence in their Russian and Chinese weapons suppliers. The Germans did it to the Russians in World War II.

Now, is someone doing it to the jihadis? Or did this guy just get a bad ice cube in his cocktail of death-to-whomever this morning? We can’t say. Certainly, Comblock ammo manufacture was a bit dodgy, and some of the Arab and Iranian ammo plants make Vodka Friday at Soviet State Arsenal No. 5376 look like a routine day shift at a Swiss medical device factory.

Of course, in 2014, when your AK reverts to kit form in your very hands, somebody’s got you on GoPro or cellphone video. Smile, Hadji, you’re an intertubes celebrity. Pity he didn’t get this on Ian’s new high-speed camera.

We’d have bet this guy was not a brain surgeon…

Brain-SurgeryBut we might have been wrong. The latest poster child for How Not to Open Carry is a doctor and director of a neuroengineering program. From the fine jihadis at al-Reuters:

(Reuters) – An Arizona doctor was arrested on suspicion of pointing a rifle toward a woman and her 17-year-old daughter inside a busy Phoenix airport terminal, police said on Monday.

They said Peter Nathan Steinmetz, 54, removed the AR-15 style rifle from a hanging position over his shoulder inside Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s busiest terminal on Friday and pointed it in the direction of the women.

No shots were fired and it was unclear whether the rifle was loaded. Steinmetz was arrested shortly afterwards on suspicion of two felony counts of disorderly conduct with a weapon.

….

The website of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix said Steinmetz was a director of its neuroengineering program. A woman answering the telephone at Steinmetz’s home said he has been advised by his attorney not to comment.

via Doctor held for pointing rifle toward women at Phoenix airport -police | Reuters.

Look, if you want to carry a gun, get a license and a belt and holster. You might be very proud of your hardware, but not everyone is a gun nut ready to admire your free-floating rail system or EoTech holo sight.

We frequently rambled about the sharp end in hadji clothes with a couple of pistols underneath. (Say what you will about the shalwar kameez, the ubiquitous man dress, but it rocks for concealing just about anything). We saved plates, brain bucket, and long guns for when we expected specific trouble.

We haven’t seen anything in our shire in New England that would indicate we need to gun up to the M4 (or AR-10, Thompson, AKMS, etc., etc.), and we kind of think Phoenix can’t be that much worse off. So if Dr Steinmetz was anticipating the Zombie Apocalypse, he seems to have jumped the gun.

Hat tip, Tam (and Tam…. and Tam. She’s our tripwire… the Arizona Zombies have to go through Indiana on their way here).

How to Fire Your Gun andYourself

Apollo the dog

The victim: Apollo, age 16 months.

A cop in Illinois just essentially gave himself the sack. And it was over something most departments don’t care about: blowing away a dog. He just had the bad luck to work for a department that did think it was a big deal. We read about it at Reason:

Killing a dog for doing what dogs do most certainly didn’t have to be done. Firing the cop did, and Hometown’s police chief, Charles Forsyth, did just that on Monday, calling the incident and aftermath an “emotional rollercoaster” for the family, the community, and the police department. A Justice for Apollo Facebook page garnered more than 10,000 likes since being created on Friday.

ABC7 identified the police officer only as a 15-year-veteran of the force. Forsyth told me this morning he would not be releasing the name of the fired officer but also said there is no built-in arbitration or appeals process for the now ex-cop to turn to. He suggested the officer, like any employee fired by his employer, could launch a lawsuit if he wanted, but confirmed that the officer was no longer with the department and would not be drawing a pension.

via Cop Shoots Dog on Friday, Gets Fired on Monday, No Appeal Available – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

Reason quotes a local TV station, so we looked up their story and learned:

On Friday, Apollo was shot and killed by a Hometown police officer in the front yard of the dog owner’s home, and she says her daughter Alexis saw it all.

“My quick reaction was to grab her and run inside because she fell to the floor and started screaming,” said Nicole Echlin, Apollo’s owner.

Echlin says she questioned the use of deadly force- especially in front of her daughter- but she says the officer showed no remorse.

“He just said it had to be done. He walked up to me, told me that and walked away,” said Echlin. 

Echlin says Apollo was a loving dog, and a great companion to Alexis, who she says is handling the situation well.

The dog “bared his teeth” at the officers, and one, Robert Norris, drew and fired a single shot point-blank into the dog’s head. No word on whether his chief “bared his teeth” at the officer during his exit interview. (Chief Forsyth has also decided everyone is going to get training on non-.40 methods to interact with a dog, a good call).

apollo_as_a_puppy

“Thanks, Chief Forsyth, for doing the right thing.” -Apollo

Some guys shouldn’t be cops. If you’re so scared of dogs you’re compelled to shoot them, even when they’re not actually chewing on somebody, you’re that guy.

Jesse Ventura Summons the Streisand Effect

Jesse Ventura says he sued Chris, and then after Chris’s death, Taya, Kyle to protect his reputation. Two words: “Streisand Effect.” Even if Kyle’s story wasn’t true (and the testimony was certainly contradictory), it was probably better for him to be known as Glass Jaw Janos than to get the grief he’s getting now, as SOF guys and SEALS pile on him and make him out to be the King of the Blue Falcons. Here’s one image rocketing around the net:

Jesse Ventura widow suit

Ow.

Keep it up, Jesse. “It’s only a flesh wound!” Yeah, that’ll buff right out. Here’s another:

Jesse Ventura hit me

That’s completely unfair, because Jesse sued Chris while he was still among us, and just persisted in his suit after Chris’s murder gave him the chance to make a statesmanlike exit. But that’s the nature of the Streisand Effect: the whole Intertubes piles on. The internet is not where you go to find fairness, or kindness, or restraint. But it is where you find your real reputation, for good or for ill.

Marcus Luttrell, who’s the kind of nobody that doesn’t act in movies but has movies made about him, got his licks in on his Facebook page. At press time, “Tim Ritter, Joseph Burch, Sebastian Smith and 72,344 others like this.” Ventura may not care: before paying a third to a half of it to his attorneys, he’s got $24.88 per “like” of Marcus’s Facebook slam of him. And, as Jesse’s noted, it’s not like he’s going to be blowing it on booze at SEAL conventions any time soon.

That SEAL/UDT “Never Quit” can work against a guy, as Ventura seems doomed to learn. But he has doubled down, saying he’s now going to sue the publisher and more people, because all those people are besmirching his stellar reputation. How can you besmirch a reputation like Ventura’s?

Jonn Lilyea at TAH:

As soon as he left the courtroom, Jimmy went straight to Russia Today studios for his first interview. During that interview, he told the audience that they shouldn’t be mad at him, they should be mad at the jury for finding in his favor and awarding him $1.8 million. Of course, he could have dropped the law suit when Chris Kyle was murdered. He does some more whining…

“I’m already damaged…. I can’t go to a SEAL reunion anymore. That was the one place where I always felt safe. I can’t go there anymore without looking over my shoulder now wondering who is going to come after me next.”

As Jonn points out, if whoever’s “next” is really next, doesn’t that suggest Chris Kyle was first?

(Note: references to “Jimmy” or “Janos” refer to Jesse Ventura’s birth name, James Janos, under which he served in the Navy UDT. He later took the stage name “Jesse Ventura” and still later changed his name legally to his stage identity. That’s why you see people mocking him by several names).

Let a Thousand Streisands Bloom

Here’s SF retiree “Uncle Jimbo” Hanson in a brief, profane video that can be summarized as, “Don’t take the money, assclown.” Hanson writes, “I think this is worth some internet torches and pitchforks….” (See comments above about the Streisand Effect, Jim has nailed a perfect analogy).

Laughing Wolf (C. Blake Powers) at Blackfive posted another hilarious picture under the title Janos the Anos. We don’t think he likes him.

Humberto Fontova, one of the wonderful gifts that Castroite oppression gave these United States, collects some dreamy Ventura quotes about Fidel Castro and his Cuba. Essence: better than the USG, says the rassler. Lord love a duck, this guy had a reputation?

As a former editor of a nationally significant newspaper, Robert S. McCain had to learn about libel and defamation law. He explains that that Kyle did something a journalist would (or should) not do:

He asserted private knowledge.
This is a line that no smart journalist would ever cross: To claim to know something bad about somebody, a private fact otherwise unknown, on the basis of information not publicly available.
Any reporter could publish a story about the conflict between Ventura and Kyle — the alleged barroom confrontation at the heart of this lawsuit — and write that Kyle says X, Y and Z happened, including Ventura’s denials that any such confrontation occurred, without fear that his reporting could be construed as libelous.
Kyle’s problem was that, if his altercation with Ventura actually occurred, it was not a matter of public record. Nobody called the cops; there was no police report filed. In fact, it appears that Kyle’s editors at Harper Collins recognized the potential liability involved in publishing that anecdote, so that Kyle’s book referred to Ventura as “scruff face.” It was only in subsequent media interviews that Kyle himself said that Ventura was the subject of the anecdote, and thus the truth or falsehood of Kyle’s version of events — his claim that Ventura said vile things, and that he knocked Ventura down — was central to the defamation lawsuit.

But that importance of truth or untruth suggests that it might not be over for Ventura in another way: given the judge’s remarkable jury instruction that the truth or falsehood of what Kyle said didn’t matter at all, Ventura’s success is at risk if Taya Kyle appeals:

I do not believe this case was correctly decided. In a defamation case, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant knowingly or recklessly published a falsehood. Based on what has been reported of the trial, Ventura and his witnesses cast doubt on Kyle’s story, but did not disprove it, as witnesses for the defense testified that Kyle told the truth.
If lawyers for Kyle’s estate appeal the case, I feel they have a good chance to overturn the verdict.

Like McCain, whose expertise in this realm of law we respect, we don’t know what happened that night. We do know that Jesse Ventura is a jerk, and Chris Kyle wasn’t, and that certainly colors our perception of the hostility that arose between the two of them.

If we may be forgiven a display of the other branch’s insignia, for a moment:

Keep Calm and Honor Chris

Our Recommendation:

Let’s take arguendo the claim that Jesse only did this to protect his reputation. It’s possible; he wouldn’t be the first or only guy to have a higher opinion of himself than everyone else does. He still has a possibility for a graceful exit and we’ve already suggested it in a reply to a comment in the previous thread: donate the money to a neutral, SEAL or SOF charity (like the SEAL Foundation or the Special Operations Warrior Foundation). Better yet, do it as a joint donation from Jesse and Taya Kyle, and very, very publicly bury the hatchet. That’s his best, and unless we’re missing something, only, path to reputational recovery. If we were Jesse, we’d be having our expensive lawyers discuss this with Taya’s expensive lawyers already.

But then again, if we were Jesse, we wouldn’t be mired in a reputational problem caused by mouthing off in a bar.

Frame-up Fails: Walker Walks

Walker from his arrest mugshot.

Walker from his arrest mugshot. For him, the nightmare is over.

In Maryland, New Jersey detective Joseph Walker was attacked by a fat, angry thug named Joseph Harvey Jr. Harvey and his friend Adam Pidel charged Walker, despite being warned that Walker was a police officer and would shoot them. They continued, and Walker shot Harvey. Pidel then stopped, but Harvey resumed his charged (and Walker resumed shooting him, scoring two more hits). In all, Walker fired three shots and scored three boiler room hits. Harvey has gone to the place where he can no longer menace any motorists.

And the might of the State of Maryland landed hard on Walker. Police and politicians are hostile to out-of-state cops carrying in the gun-free zone (and murder hot spot) of Baltimore and elsewhere in Maryland. They can’t stop it, because a national law pre-empts them, but they can pull out all the stops to make an example of anyone who takes advantage of the Federal law to cull the native criminal class — as Walker did. And so an ambitious prosecutor mustered an at-all-costs attempt to imprison Walker on first degree murder charges, or anything else that might do the job. That attempt failed before noon today as the jury acquitted Walker on all charges.

Bringin' the hate: Anne Leitess, would-be frame artist.

Bringin’ the hate: Anne Leitess, would-be frame artist.

District Attorney Anne Colt Leitess, who led the attempt to frame Walker, was bitter and angry after the jury rejected her office’s entire case, including multiple fallback arguments and lesser-included offenses her underlings dangled before them to bait a conviction on something, anything. But the jury didn’t bite, and Joe Walker is headed home to his family, while Leitess’s client, Harvey, is still dead. You could argue that that’s the best outcome for society — in both cases.

Race was a factor in Harvey and Pidel’s attack on the Walker family (the two Maryland brutes are white, the Jersey cop and his family black) and seems to have been a factor in Leitess’s relentless pursuit of Walker: even after the trial, she condemned him: “I am concerned that Mr. Walker, as a law enforcement officer, is a very aggressive person,” she told the press in an angry interview, nostrils flaring and lips curling in a contemptuous sneer. She further accused him of “aggressive, threatening behavior” and “hiding behind his badge.” Unlike Harvey and Pidel, Leitess didn’t refer to the Walkers as “niggers,” at least, not in front of the cameras.

Note the message on Harvey's t-shirt. Nuff said.

Note the message on Harvey’s t-shirt. Nuff said.

For example, according to testimony as reported in the media, two bellowed statements from Harvey were, “What’s your fucking problem, nigger?” and, “I’ll fucking kill you, nigger!” The jury may have taken Harvey’s expressed intent into account when asked to judge Walker’s defense of self and family.

Leitess has declined to prosecute Pidel. 

 

A police defense nonprofit complained about Leitess’s and her underlings’ misconduct during the case. Of course, complaining is what nonprofits do, especially when they want to raise money. It’s unlikely that there will be any finding that Leitess’s conduct strayed outside the very broad bonds of what is normal prosecutorial discretion. It’s just tough luck for Joe Walker that he was the ham sandwich du jour.  The Capital Gazette:

[National Police Defense Foundation executive director Joseph] Occhipinti said that in order to get an indictment, [Assistant State's Attorney Michael] Dunty misrepresented what happened on the night of the shooting.

A prosecutor held responsible for misrepresentation? Occhipinti can ask, but it ain’t gonna happen.

The Baltimore-Washington media were about as angry as Harvey had been, with TV reporters (such as the one that autoplays after an obnoxious ad for the third-rate insurer Hartford, on the Baltimore Sun site) expressing shock and anger that Walker could “just shoot a guy.”(If it wasn’t for The Hartford, we’d include the video, because the guy’s mystified outrage needs to be heard to be believed).  Of course, TV reporters could scarcely be blamed for being ignorant about the case and about self-defense in general: they’re typical of the low-information news consumers who get their news in predigested, inaccurate chunks from their own stations. And the reporters didn’t use the n-word; you gotta give them that.

A CBS Local story is typical, retelling the story in tones that make Walker look like a guilty man who beat a solid rap:

It was June 8, 2013, when Walker, his wife and kids in their minivan were cut off by a car driven by Anne Arundel County native Joe Harvey and one of his friends. A racial slur-filled road rage episode followed for more than a mile. When it was over, Harvey lay dead on the side of the highway, shot three times.

After getting the date right, that’s pretty much the limit of accuracy in this post. Actually, Harvey flipped out because he thought Walker’s minivan cut him off — testimony in the court case agreed on that. The racial slurs all came from Harvey and Pidel (one of them also seems likely to have thrown a bottle at the van). And Harvey and Pidel attacked the Walkers after Walker stopped. “A road rage episode followed.” Subject, verb, but they don’t teach that in J-School these days.

Walker’s conduct is certainly subject to criticism, if for no other reason than that it put him at the mercy of an Ahab of a prosecutor and a Maryland jury — that’s not a position any rational man would reason himself into. In a road rage case, it’s better to let some guy blow off steam in his car and remove yourself from the scene than it is to confront him. And if you’re legally carrying a gun (with or without a badge), you should feel the weight of that firearm as a pull towards the side of restraint and moderation. Had things gone that way, Joe Walker would not have had the scare of his life and a months-long ordeal in the courts. Of course, improving the gene pool by whacking Harvey would have been left to someone else, but this is the classic case where it does not pay you to be the volunteer.

For the best coverage of the case (if spotty because of the lack of public streaming or transcripts) we recommend, as always in self-defense cases, Andrew Branca of the Law of Self-Defense book and blog. He covered this case at Legal Insurrection, where’s he’s part of a crack legal blog team.

UPDATE

This post has been corrected, to eliminate a bonehead error in the first line that made Walker a “Maryland” cop. He is a Jersey cop who came close to being a Maryland <i>con</I> but is now home with his family. Thanks to Joshua in the comments for the correction! -Eds.