This armed citizen gets it.
The City Council had better get it too.
Here’s another murder that won’t make any national headlines.
Police said Tuesday night that three teens, Keyshara Michelle Deans, 19, Nezyiha Zamir Collins, 19, and Tyreek Qumay Rodgers, 18, were all arrested and charged with accessory after the fact to murder.
Authorities were still looking for 17-year-old Devin Cordell Jones. A juvenile petition and secure custody order for the murder of Veronica Lee Baker were being sought for Jones. On Wednesday morning, the teen was taken into custody and charged with Baker’s murder.
Yes, the names are giveaways. And, yes, some online commenters have picked up on several other suggestions and too-common anomalies. I always, as you know, like to look at the school profile. Here’s Garner High, from which the victim had just graduated. Rest assured that the suggestions, anomalies, and modern cultural problems were there and played their respective roles. It can perhaps be summed up best in the graph one finds upon clicking the “Students” button. My intuition was rewarded; that’s quite the change from thirty years ago – and it’s a pattern that’s repeating across NC and everywhere else. Demographics = destiny. Destiny increasingly looks like homicide.
These are not schools. They’re not even close anymore. Now, they’re starting to resemble hunting grounds.
If this ridiculous legislative idea becomes reality, then the government schools of North Carolina are finished. In fact, that it’s even a hopper item suggests that is already the case.
RALEIGH, N.C. – School employees in one state might be feeling happier these days after learning the bar for failing could be lowered, and by a lot.
The North Carolina legislature is considering a change in the grading system for the state’s public schools.
The bill in question would be based on a 15-point scale, rather than a 10-point scale for grades.
That would mean only scores lower than 39 percent would qualify for an F grade for schools, a far cry from the current 60 percent failure mark in the state and most others.
Student grades would be unaffected by the changing scale system, but would allow underperforming schools to continue operating.
Plenty has been made about lowering passing grades for students. So, it almost stands to “reason” that the same might be done for schools. But, why? If a school is failing, and cannot be redeemed, then shouldn’t it cease operations?
Is this even real? Cant be, can it? Well, yes, it is…
The madness is primarily sponsored by four Democrats from Charlotte:
These crooks and their friends do not have your children’s best interests in mind. Maybe remember that during the next election.
So I just returned from an all-too-short vaca in the mountains – far and away my favorite place. The experience, as always, was near picture perfect.
Part of the reason I seek out the remoteness is to get away from the utter madness and bother of the reality of falling America. Bluntly, I like to leave the post-modern people behind.
Yet, even in the hills, I found it hard to escape the new realities, this time around.
Two things before I go any further:
One, I in no way, here, disparage the people of Appalachia, nor Bryson City, nor that town’s fine newspaper. This is more of a warning to them or, better, a warning to us, through them.
Two, the following reminded me of an older movie about the region in which an elderly woman stubbornly refuses to give her land to some government agent. I cannot recall the name at this time…
Anyway, somehow amidst all my hiking, riding, musing, etc., I found a copy of the Smokey Mountain Times. THIS ONE, for Thursday, July 20, 2017.
Those children look happy and probably are. Maybe we shouldn’t be. SM Times.
It’s a paper, like that of many smaller towns, of feel-good news. I, for instance, did not know about the coming eclipse until late last week. Snorkeling is fun. Planning the week can be beneficial.
But two headlines grabbed my attention, my jaded attention.
The Military is bringing free healthcare?
Last week I had a big rant about how bad the American “healthcare” system really is. And it is bad. But is this the solution?
Undoubtedly many will reap the rewards of the care. That is a good thing in itself. But the issue isn’t wholly self-contained. My main point is that this isn’t how it’s supposed to work in a free and prosperous country – accepting government handouts for basic care.
For charity’s sake, are there no local doctors or nurses available?
And accepting the freebies from the imperial military at that?! Since when was the role of the military to bring free medical services to mountain people? Posse Comitatus? Well, probably not, not here. I can’t see this as the enforcement of any civil law. And I doubt anyone would complain anyway, because free.
But this is an intrusion, in a most unobtrusive manner, of the standing army into daily lives. It’s big government, at its best, doing its worst. It’s a demeaning admission that something is terribly wrong. It’s just as bad as this:
We need “Feeding Programs” in America? And they’re growing?
How the hell is any of this good? Well, outside of some hungry people getting meals, how is it good culturally, systemically? It isn’t.
This is further admission of gross failure. Your government and its owners have so wrecked the economy (and you’ve helped them right along – vote, vote, vote) to the point that the only solution is to accept more government handouts for basic needs.
It’s bad enough that we collectively turn our children over to the Great Father in Washington or Raleigh during the school year. Raising and feeding your kids is your responsibility. It’s not the government’s. Now, it seems, the children need Uncle Sucker’s help to eat during the summer months.
We shouldn’t even have a U.S. Department of Agriculture, let alone have it run a “feeding program” for our children (maybe some adults).
Are there no families or independent churches to do this for the parents?
Again, bluntly put, these two stories sound like something of an aid program designed for some third world country. “Feeding programs” and free medicine seem more suited for Rwanda than North Carolina.
Maybe the 21st century is seeing the blurring of the two worlds.
In that old movie, the older woman was as proud as any in the region ever was. She embodied the spirit of Appalachia, of America – defiant even in seeming poverty – independent. The land agent tried to swindle her into signing away her land, her freedom, for some fake welfare BS. She wasn’t having it and blatantly stated why. What was her’s was her’s and she did not need any “help.” I really wish I could remember the name of the film.
There’s a concept the people of Swain County and the rest of what’s left of this country need to remember. Independence and self-reliance are freedom. Handouts and graft, no matter how well-intentioned or how well received, represent slavery.
Sallust, saw his name yesterday on the back cover of a Loeb Classic, warned us that this is all most people hope for. I hope the great people of Appalachia, like their elevation, are just a notch above.
There is no free lunch, nor free doctor.
Literally, out on a horse for the first time in almost twenty years.
A great, all-too-short vacation unto the hills. Get away when you can.
Elk at the park.
Winnebago, the largest and most unpredictable horse I’ve ever ridden. Almost took a tumble in the river. His antics kept me from filming a video. A wonderful animal; actually made the rider work.
Note the glow about the rider…
See a rule, break a rule.
And … thank God for coffee.
Brought to you, kind of, by:
Peter’s Pancakes and Waffles: “Breakfast to Crow About.” Also a cup of black coffee for equestrian recoveries.
Carpenter’s Corner (At The Depot): When mom needs a custom porch swing and youngins want to watch a cool model train, it’s Carpenter’s.
America, bigots, Christians, CIA, concealed carry, crime, firearms, freedom, government, gun control, law, liberals, North Carolina, racists, rights, Second Amendment, Syria, terrorism, Texas, The People, The West, War, white people
For some it’s about taking advantage of tragedy and belittling those they hate. I almost didn’t include this first story due to the inherently bigotry and low-brow “journalism” behind it. Still, here it is. A woman in Texas, a self-described Second Amendment proponent and gun owner, committed an atrocious crime (the facts of which I don’t have and don’t want) – she apparently murdered her own daughters after an argument. The woman was also shot and killed by the police. Three women dead for no good reason – terrible.
Enter Helen Thompson writing on American News X. Thompson offered up an assessment of the crime in terms both racist and anti-Christian.
Too bad for Christian Christy Byrd Sheats two daughter’s, 17 and 22, Sheats had a gun with which to “protect her family.” That gun was used to gun down both girls in the street after a family argument.
Sheats was then killed by police after refusing to drop her weapon, literally bringing home the insanity of the famed phrase “from my cold, dead, hands.”
Note the immediate description of the shooter as a Christian. Would Thompson dare describe a Muslim terrorist as a Muslim terrorist? I think not. I did a quick Googling of “Helen Thompson” and “Muslim” and the first thing I saw was Thompson berating Donald Trump for trying to “initiate a Muslim witch hunt”. I guess witch hunts aren’t even for witches anymore – just Christians.
This woman appears to be the poster child of white, GOP America. She praised her religion, loved veterans and country music, praised Ronnie Reagan and George W., and loved her guns. She was a Texas resident, originally from Alabama. This woman literally reeked of right wing Americana — of normal, gun-loving life. She loved her grandmother, had been bitten by a black widow, and basically, seemed to love life and her children.
The white America. Would Thompson ever write about one of the thousands of murders committed by blacks each year (47% of total murders vs. 10% of the population)? No. It’s just a white, Christian, all-American kind of thing. Y’all wouldn’t understand.
Thompson didn’t even call for more gun control beyond her ridicule. “No good guy with a gun stopped this senseless murder by a ‘good guy’ with a gun,” she ranted – what a tired, worn, anecdotal, and worthless “argument”. If not even true in this case – the police officer “good guy” used a gun to stop the white, Christian bad gal.
Maybe some of the problems the left has with guns in America comes more from a hatred of America and its people than from a hatred of guns. These cretins, seething in their hatred, want the government to disarm all the white Christians – and everyone else of decent persuasion.
I have no use for the government at all. Some people on “my side” do. Droves of my friends boast about obtaining their concealed carry permits. Actress Kelly McGillis just joined the ranks of the permitted carriers following an attack at her North Carolina home.
I like that they have armed themselves in a world seemingly gone mad but I do not like the way they have done it. Why a permit from the state? I know it’s the law in most places. I understand that. Most people who get the permits are law-abiding. It’s a law that shouldn’t be abided by – or exist. Why should there be permits for the exercise of the right to carry anyway? Rights do not require permission slips.
I sympathize with and applaud Mrs. McGillis’s decision to arm and defend herself. I found it odd though that she took the measure following a home invasion. North Carolina does not require a permit of any kind to defend oneself at one’s home. I realize she obviously wants protection outside her house too. Thus the permit. And, thus, my problem.
Running to the government for permission to protect one’s life is little different in my mind to running to the government to prohibit others from protecting themselves. Either way, the government is not the answer. Usually, it’s the problem.
In a sense everyone wants reasonable “gun control”. Some, like Thompson, would have the state “control” guns by banning them from white, Christian hands at least. Gun owners generally favor the responsible, personal “control” of the individual firearm. If, to them, that means acquiescing to a state law, then they do it. Either way it’s the state, the state, the state. How about some gun control for the state itself?
In addition to regulating firearms, the government has a long history of widely distributing them, usually with terrible consequences. Most of government works like that – they find a small problem and come up with a solution that creates a bigger problem. I suppose it justifies their existence. I don’t see the need.
A few years ago the ATF was caught red-handed selling and then giving guns to Mexican drug cartels and to criminals. Some of those guns came back, fast and furious, and were used to kill Americans. The ATF isn’t alone. They are novices compared to the CIA. The “intelligence” agency has taken to giving arms to Syrian “rebels”. Many of those weapons were stolen and ended up on the black market – gun show of choice for terrorists. And, you guessed it, some of those arms have killed Americans. By arming one side (maybe more) of this conflict which does not concern the U.S. the government helps generate more angry “refugees” who then migrate to the West for various purposes – some for aid and reflief, others for revenge and crime. Little problem, “solution”, bigger problems.
Government agent Joe Biden oversees “gun control” while exploiting “loopholes” at a Jordanian gun show. NYT.
The left tries to scare people with stories of white, Christian Americans wielding automatic assault rifles and rocket launchers. They want the government to do something about it despite the fact it isn’t a problem. The government does do something! It supplies “Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades” to rebels and then to the black market and to terrorists. Nice, huh?
Another of the left’s arguments for more government control is that the firearms available when the Second Amendment was ratified were flintlocks and thus those are the only ones the people are entitled to keep and bear. By that logic, shouldn’t the CIA be running muskets and not rocket launchers? Maybe people like Thompson should limit their writing to quill pens. All beside the point.
How about less government for a change? How about limiting or banning the state’s use of firearms (and rockets and grenades)? Might that make for a safer society? As is, they give us freedom control, crime, war, mindless intervention, black markets, and terrorism; all that in addition to rules, regulations, taxes, inflation, oppression, etc. More government, more crime. Why have it or its controls?
I have several burning hot and trenchant columns underway but this morning I figured they could wait. Christmas is almost here and this short post will brighten your day and lighten your heart – positive material for a crazed world. It has nothing to do with law, government, or any political or economic topics. It’s a the story about a great American business and tradition.
When it chances to rain I sometimes don a high-quality, hooded raincoat emblazoned with a “12” logo patch. People occasionally inquire as to the meaning and origin of the garment. I love telling the tale.
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, about halfway between Blowing Rock and Boone, just off U.S. 321, there is the most remarkable hideaway. There one will find a tiny, tiny little (very small) amusement park on the side of a mountain.
Disney World it most certainly is not (praise God). It is a chapter from an older, homier book of Americana. It may be the ultimate roadside destination, a place to shame South of the Border or Wall Drug. Tweetsie Railroad is one of my absolute favorite places anywhere. Time stands still in the mountains.
Tweetsie started in the 1950s and, instantly finding perfection, hasn’t changed. I first went there in the very late seventies and was awed. Many years later, when my daughter was a tiny tot, we decided to visit the park for a family getaway. I was over-awed this time. Tweetsie was (and is) the only place from my childhood that is exactly the same as I remembered it from my youth. It literally coverts you into a little kid again. More magical than any kingdom.
The name from crafted from the defunct East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. Tweetsie is also the name of old No. 12, the park’s flagship steam locomotive. Yes, they have real, full-size, and fully functional trains. No. 190, The Yukon Queen, puffs along on alternate days. The trains are the preeminent attractions.
No. 12 in station.
All day long these fire-breathing beasts of iron and steel haul delighted families around the mountain. The passenger cars are manned by cowboys. About a third of the way around the train stops at a little village. The cowboys get off and engage in gunplay. Sometimes it’s the result of a robbery. Later the show stops at a fort where another battle unfolds against a tribe of hostile yet inept Indians. Cowboys and Indians in the 21st Century. The fun is neither political nor correct, yet fun it is.
A chairlift carries patrons to the top of Miner’s Mountain. There, and down below, are a variety of shows, acts, rides and entertainment. Up top the summit is ringed by a smaller train ride. The smaller train enters a tunnel and stops so folks can watch mice ride around on an even smaller train. A train within a train within a train.
Behind the mine tunnel is a petting zoo filled with animals. Good, inexpensive carnival food abounds. Midway up the mountain is an arcade, a ferris wheel and a race track. Special occasions are common, including dog shows and Thomas the Tank Train. Thomas is there in the late spring: full size too. He’s propelled by No. 12 at Mr. Tophat’s request.
Tweetsie is open from early April through Halloween. Tickets are $44 for adults and $28 for children (toddlers enter for free). Season passes are $95 an $65, respectively.
Fun for all ages.
Fall is, in my opinion, the best time to visit. The scenery is perfect and the temperature is always ten to twenty degrees cooler than the low lands. The park is open at night around Halloween for the Haunted Train experience.
This is truly an old-fashioned family friendly place. There’s something for everyone. I have been many times during different seasons and always had a grand time. The type of thuggery and foolishness too common these days is simply not tolerated. I’ve never seen anyone out of line. I suspect the cowboys would shoot any hooligans.
Accommodations, from rustic cabins to modern hotels are all over within a ten-mile radius. Boone and Blowing Rock offer numerous other fantastic activities. Everything up there is clean, safe, refreshing and jolly. The smell of wood fires, pumpkins and apples permeates the air. The sounds are of laughter, wind in the trees, and falling water.
Tweetsie even boasts a number of convenient Cigar smoking locations. The towns are also Cigar friendly. Boone hosts a few small tobacconists while the gas station in Blowing Rock has a well stocked Humidor and a decent wine selection. Good food and ale is available in plenty. Blowing Rock even has a local brewery. The place to eat at is The Peddler Steakhouse. They have the finest beef and fare and are operated by attractive co-eds from App State.
Plan a trip if you can. Again, I really recommend the fall. Do be mindful of Appalachian State home football games on fall Saturdays. Even on game weekends early planning will provide a room reservation. I think the place would even benefit the modern micro-aggresion obsessed set. Initially, duct tape could ensure they don’t complain about the cowboys and Indians. The tape could be removed when they start laughing along with the normies. Highland therapy for the soul. Perfection incarnate. Plan a visit soon.
ABC News 11 out of Raleigh, North Carolina reports today there are two less Democrat voters over in Wilmington. See the story: http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=9062720. This news has far greater implications.
It seems some normal, ordinary man was at home when four “gentlemen” who, by the way, would look an awful lot like Obama’s sons, came calling. The visitors were not selling Am-Way. Rather, they intended to rape, rob, kill, or otherwise victimize the residents of the home. Unfortunately, for them, the homeowner obviously had not heard the news about the Sandy Hook shootings, nor had he turned in his firearms to the local Gestapo.
As I said, FOUR thugs went into the man’s house. But, only TWO of them came out! That’s right, this guy joined about 6,500 other Americans who used guns to defend themselves that day. Sadly, two thugs got away. Here are their pictures, which look a lot like pre-existing mug shots to me:
(Funny how violent felons aways have mug shots handy. ABC, 11, NC.)
If you see the two survivors, call the cops, or better yet, send them off to burn with their friends. Seriously, I hope they are brought to justice and maybe, just maybe, they can learn a terrible lesson here and possibly walk away better men someday. They face a long list of charges. In Georgia, they would also face murder charges – for their dead homies. In GA, a criminal conspirator faces murder charges if one or more of his co-conspirators dies during the commission of the underlying felony. Maybe NC has a similar law.
The homeowner here is to be commended for helping clean up the streets of his town. He is also likely in need of counseling. No-one wants to kill other people, no matter how despicable they might be. Still, in the end, this man acted like a true American. He’s a hero.
You know what? I bet he fired more than two bullets in order to drive off the invaders. There are more than a few un-American types slithering around places like Washington, D.C. who are hell-bent on making sure the People are restricted to lower-capacity firearms. Then, they will take away all your firearms. After that, they may take your homes and possessions to “redistribute” to thugs such as those pictured above. I hate these people. I hold them far more accountable for the decline of our nation than the low street savages whom they defend. The cretins just want a thrill or some free stuff. The gun-grabbers have an agenda.
One of their tired and moronic battle cries is that “nobody needs an AR-15 to hunt…” They hate the AR and all similar weapons (unless carried by their shock troops). They hate the idea that any “common” citizen can field a gun with a 30-round (or greater) ammunition capacity. Stories like the one out of NC demonstrate, conclusively, the need for high-capacity weapons (I say automatic weapons too). Last year, right across the river from where I live, the exact same scenario unfolded. A shopkeeper, who lived at his business, confronted four felons who crashed a van through his wall. He had an AR-15 pre-loaded with a 30-round magazine. The felons fared poorly but the citizen almost ran out of bullets – even with the dread weapon he carried.
One of the commentors on the above news story (I love reading those comments) noted that you do need high-capacity rifles for hunting. “Some animals come in packs.” This is true of hogs, coyotes, and criminals. It’s even truer about the ultimate and most dangerous creatures stalking the American people – government thugs. As I write, a pack of these demons seek to disarm the free People, a crime more notorious than any home invasion.
I hope the likes of Barry Sotoro, Joe “Shotgun” Biden, Dianne Feinstink, and The Jerk choke on their satanic initiatives. At the very least, they can take a few high-capacity magazines and shove them.
Keep calm, and shoot on!
1791, 42 USC 1983, 911, advice, Americans, Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Fund, arrest, Augusta, authority, Bill of Rights, Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Agents, citizen, citizen-police encounter, clients, concealed carry, Constitution, Courts, crime, don't talk, education, evidence, felony, Fifth Amendment, firearms, Georgia, government, gun, H.L. Mencken, illegal, incrimination, James Duane, law enforcement, lawyers, libertarian, Libertarian Party, Ludowici, militia, Miranda v. Arizona, Natural Rights, North Carolina, open carry, permit, police, public, right to remain silent, searches, Second Amendment, self-defense, self-preservation, sheriff, South Carolina, States, Switzerland, Terry v. Ohio, Vermont, warrant, witness, Youtube
Don’t talk. Do not ever talk to the police under any circumstances whatsoever, ever. Ever. This is the general libertarian legal advice given by good lawyers who wish to spare their clients and anyone else listening the possibility of unwittingly implicating themselves in criminal activity, whether they were actually involved or not.
I like this advice and tend to give it to clients myself. However, as with most legal issues, this matter is not quite that simple. Well, maybe it is, but there are reasons why you might need to address the cops. I’ll get to those a little later.
On March 10, 2013 I will address the Libertarian Party of the greater Augusta, Georgia area. I was asked to speak on the subject of citizen interaction with the police in general and, more specifically, interactions involving a citizen carrying a firearm. I will do so happily. This column is a preview of what I will likely discuss.
There are two federally recognized (sometimes) natural rights which are affected by such situations – actually, they are different tangents of the same right – the right to self-preservation. The first involves not implicating oneself in wrongdoing, the second involves the right of self-defense. The Constitution lists these rights under Amendments V and II, respectively. All State Constitutions recognize the same rights to a degree somewhere within their texts. I’ll stick with federal language as a universal representation:
The Fifth Amendment reads: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
The above subject primarily deals with the “witness against himself” clause, though due process is implicated as well.
The Second Amendment reads: “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.” This relates, obviously, to carrying a weapon while interacting with the police.
Both of these rights, despite laws and court rulings in their favor, have experienced considerable erosion since the ratification of the Bill of Rights (most rights have). I will not necessarily discuss the origin of the rights, their history, or their decline herein. As is, I will just accept them as plainly written.
Back to not talking to the police. Many attorneys, including yours truly, generally advise against talking to government employees of any stripe, not simply the police. This extends to telephone conversations (including 911 calls) as such calls are frequently recorded. I recently posted a link to this video (Don’t Talk to the Police): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc. The video is a 50 minute discussion of our subject by Regent Law School (Virginia) law professor James Duane. The advice is excellent. You’ll notice though that immediately after saying he will never talk to the police, professor Duane talks to a police officer. There are almost always exceptions to a general rule.
I’ll cover a few of those now. If you are a law professor who gives such a talk and you invite a police officer to participate, you will need to talk to the police. If you’re a nice person who walks by a cop on a sunny morning, you might say, “Good Morning!” – that’s talking to the police. If your child is kidnapped late one night you will probably call the police before anyone else. If you are the victim of another type of violent crime you might talk. If you are drunk, high, suffering from low blood sugar, or under a mental delusion, you might talk to the police, not remembering any of this advice at the time. If your friend, relative, co-worker, or neighbor is a cop … you get the picture.
Other government employees sometimes require your verbal attention too. These examples are almost too numerous to list. They range from telling a campaigning CongressCritter to buzz off when he disturbs your breakfast at the local cafe (happened to me once) to asking a clerk where the county vehicle tag office is.
Most of these examples are innocent enough. However, sometimes the police arrest and persecute people for innocent interactions. I had a client once who singed an insurance policy while paying for it. He was later arrested and charged with felony insurance fraud based on his signature. The crime didn’t even involve his particular policy. In such cases, no advice is sufficient; one must engage a competent attorney and fight the system.
My subject matter here is really how to interact with the cops when you are approached about a possible criminal action wherein you might be a suspect.
I recall from law school there are three tiers of citizen-police encounters. The first is a simple and voluntary meeting (like some of my above examples) wherein the citizen is free to leave. If you find yourself in a Tier One and you suspect the officer is probing you, ask if you are free to leave. If you are, do so immediately. Remember you do not have to say anything to the police no matter what they ask or say. In these simple situations you can just walk away and terminate the encounter.
The second tier is known in legal circles as a Terry stop (see: Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). It is also more commonly called an investigatory stop. That means the approaching officer is officially investigating some alleged or potential criminal wrongdoing. The citizen is not necessarily free to leave and is technically under detention, even if temporarily so. A Tier One becomes a Terry stop if the officer responds that the citizen is not free to leave. At this point the citizen should shut up. The exceptions are again to ask if you are free to leave or if you are under arrest and to tell the officer you do not consent to any searches. Do not ever consent to searches.
The police are not supposed to arbitrarily initiate Terry stops (they do sometimes). Rather, they are supposed to have “articulable suspicion” that a crime has or may have been committed and that the citizen is a likely suspect or witness. The standard for such suspicion varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and by the individual case, though the common maxim is the officer must have something more than a hunch about the possible crime. Fuzzy, yes.
Terry stops originate from many sources: tips or reports of crime, something the officer witnesses, an emergency, a man-hunt, or something else. Frequently, the police have nothing at all in the way of evidence. Thus, they turn to the citizen for incriminating evidence. Citizens offer the evidence against themselves voluntarily in most cases. If you ever saw the TV show Cops, then you know a suspect will immediately start babbling on about what he did or didn’t do. This usually digs the suspect a nice hole – with bars. This is why you shouldn’t say anything. Do not help the police do their job. At this point you will either be arrested, further temporarily detained, or released regardless of what you say. Talking won’t help, so don’t do it.
The third tier is a formal arrest. If you are arrested you must absolutely cease talking period. At some point the police will advise you of your Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)) – you know these from TV. They will tell you you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can and will be used against you. Did you get that? Anything you say will be used against you. Give them nothing. Under arrest you only make one statement, repeatedly in necessary: “I want an attorney.” The police usually stop questioning at that point, sometimes they don’t. Just do not answer or make any other statements – at all. Be silent as you have the right.
Silence is the better rule in most of these encounters. By talking you will either implicate yourself or possibly give the officer(s) something else to consider in your prosecution. Sometimes officers hear things wrong or falsely report what a citizen says. They can make you out to be a liar. You’re not lying if you’re not talking.
I have been retained by several clients just over the issue of voluntary interrogations. I stopped the practice entirely after so many such incidents. The client would get a call from the police, asking the client to “come downtown” to answer a few questions or make a statement. Once a client demanded to visit the Sheriff to make a statement all on his own – over a non-issue. My constant advice to all of these folks was to not go and to say nothing. Most did not listen and I had to accompany them to the Q&A sessions. At those meetings I objected to each and every question the police asked and every statement the client uttered. That did not stop most of these people. I have literally watched as people talked themselves into felony prosecutions. Seeing the process as pointless and potentially liability-inducing on my part, I stopped participating. Don’t put your attorney through such torture. Don’t talk.
I’ve also been hired by clients after they talked to the police. I have read many statements and listened to many recording wherein a client essentially convicted himself. Often, without their own damning, idiotic testimony through such statements, the government would never have had a case to try. Don’t talk to the police.
Firearms add an extra dimension to the issue. America is the most heavily, privately armed country in the world. We should rejoice! The primary reason for the Second Amendment was to ensure the People would always be able to fend off a tyrannical government, all other purposes are ancillary.
Unfortunately, much has changed since 1791. Today, many Americans are afraid of firearms (and much else) and defer unwisely to the government for protection. Their fears are fueled by a few isolated stories from the lamestream media. Many of these cases, I suspect, are false-flag operations of the government, ginned up to alarm the frightened people. Remember always – “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H.L. Mencken.
In the old days, no-one looked twice at a person carrying a gun in public. It was what Americans did. You can still find the practice accepted in many rural communities. The practice is open and notorious in Switzerland (God bless the Swiss).
(A Swiss Militia member openly carrying a battlefield rifle in a grocery store. The blonde woman is not concerned – free people are not. Source: Google Images.)
The local LP sent me a video of a law student telling off a police officer who “detained” the student over a firearm. I seem to have misplaced the video link. You can surely find it or something similar on Youtube. Here’s my take on the matter. First, Americans have every right to go armed just about anywhere they want to, even though many jurisdictions illegally attempt to block this right. Second, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor – more on that in a second. Third, in the Georgia and much of the South, we are lucky to have pro-gun law enforcement. Many officers welcome armed citizens.
Let’s assume for argument’s sake, you encounter an officer with a dimmer view of freedom. Georgia and most other States allow concealed carry of weapons – usually with a permit. I think those permits are UnConstitutional. A few States like Vermont do not regulate of require such licenses. This issue is slowing making its way through the courts. We will see what becomes of it. For now, if you carry concealed, play the government’s game.
To avoid an unwanted and unnecessary confrontation over your gun, carry concealed. If they (the police or the easily alarmed) can’t see the weapon, they can’t inquire about it. Some State’s licenses come with the requirement that a citizen inform any approaching or present law officer that they have a license and are carrying. North and South Carolina come to mind. This is also UnConstitutional. Georgia is not such a State. Say nothing in Georgia. In fact, if you have the gun well concealed, say nothing wherever you are. If they don’t know, they don’t know – and they don’t need to.
If you carry openly, which is your right, you may expect someone to alert the police to “a man with a gun.” As a result, you may be approached by an officer. This would be a quasi-tier one/two encounter. Carrying a gun itself is not justification for any suspicion of wrongdoing. The police will inquire anyway. They may go as far as to handcuff you while they check your license and the gun. This a violation of your civil rights. I had a friend who was stopped by a traffic officer in Ludowici, Georgia one night. The officer inquired about my friend’s pistol and took the gun to “check it.” The officer then announced he would have to keep the gun until the next day in order to verify it really belonged to my friend and was carried properly. This was in keeping with Ludowici’s long-standing policy of public harassment.
Before I became really upset about the story my friend told me it had ended well. The Ludowici police chief, realised his officer had broken the law, immediately dispatched a courier to hand deliver the gun back to my friend. As my friend was happy, the issue died. A bloodless victory is the best kind as we say in court.
However, if you find yourself in a similar situation, the best thing to do is keep quiet. Do not tell off the officer as the afore-noted law student did, even though you are completely right. The police sometimes get nervous and arrest or murder “uppity” civilians and make up a good excuse for their actions in their report. The street is not the place to fight for your rights – unless the officer endangers your life. You can use force against the police if necessary, just as you would against any other armed thug. But, these situations are messy at best.
It is usually after such an encounter you should act – by contacting an attorney. You may very well have a civil rights action against the police (State or local) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (or a Bivens action against federal officers [Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)]). An attorney can advise you in a particular case.
Two more specific situations, very briefly. First, if you are involved in a self-defense shooting you will likely have contact with the police. In such cases always identify yourself as the victim of the underlying crime. In order to legally use deadly force against another, one must reasonable belive that one’s life is in imminent danger from a criminal actor who simultaneously posses the ability and the proximity to in fact endanger innocent life. This is the general public standard, in most jurisdictions you have more leeway on your own property (stand your ground and castle statutes).
If you have to shoot someone (I hope you never do), report only the fact of the crime and that you ended it per the standard I just stated. The police may want additional statements. Do not make them. Tell the officer you take the matter very seriously and that you need to, accordingly, speak with your attorney before making any additional statements or answering any other questions. Again, if you are arrested (not always a given, here), say absolutely nothing. I am referral attorney for the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Fund, based in Washington State, http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/. The Fund has produced an excellent series of videos on this subject. Legal and tactical shooting experts discuss in-depth how to handle these situations with your gun and with the law. I recommend you purchase and review these videos.
Second, if you are at home and the police knock on the door, do not open it. Do not let the police in volutarily for any reason. This by itself constitutes a consentual search (at least cursory). If the police have authority (a warrant) to enter your home, they will do it rather than asking you for permission. If they ask, they have no authority. Don’t help them gain it. I have former clients in prison because they opened a door for the police. Don’t do it and don’t talk to them.
Remember, in a specific case you may have, consult with a specific attorney for legal advice.
As for advice, nothing herein constitutes legal advice. Consider this, rather, a general legal education. When you see the police use common sense and do not talk if you can help it. Doing the first and refraining from the second may save you many headaches.