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Happy Friday, bikers, Patriots and friends! It is the first Friday of June and it’s going to be a beautiful weekend here in Middle Tennessee. Hopefully this post finds you well. What have you been doing to enjoy spring with the renewed freedom in a post-COVID America? Racy Sicilian™ and I have been doing a lot of riding and look forward to catching up with some of you during our travels. One thing neither of us have enjoyed this spring is the constant trampling on our God Given rights by the #Leftist politicians in Washington DC. The biggest threat to freedom in the United States has to be the spate of gun-grabbing legislation being proposed in our Federal House of Representatives. So with this as a backdrop, I thought a refresher on our Founders Fathers’ intentions when writing and ratifying our Bill of Rights would be a good use of time.
The Bill of Rights
As citizens of the United States, we have several constitutionally protected rights enumerated in amendments to our Constitution, which was adopted by the states in 1788. The first twelve amendments were introduced after the constitution was ratified, by future president, James Madison. These amendments were suggested by another future president, Thomas Jefferson, who was minister to France at the time. Of these twelve amendments, ten were ratified by the states and became the Bill of Rights.
The first three amendments were written to safeguard personal liberties, the next five were written to safeguard personal justice and the last two dealt with un-enumerated rights and reserved powers (protection of the states’ rights). The first three are sacred rights of the citizens of the United States, and are widely considered God Given rights:
First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Second Amendment: Right to Bear Arms (more on this later)
Third Amendment: No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in the time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
These three amendments are the backbone of the liberty we, as Americans, have fought bravely to protect and were largely responsible for our original fight for freedom: The Revolutionary War. Based on Jefferson’s urging, Madison wrote these amendments to protect the fundamental rights of our ancestors – rights they did not enjoy under British rule.
The Second Amendment is what this article is about. It may be the least understood and the most easily twisted (by those who want to limit your freedoms) of the first three amendments. Only 27 words in length, it may well be the most controversial of all amendments in the Bill of Rights:
“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.”
What were the true intentions of our Founding Fathers when they wrote this amendment? Was it so a strong state militia could be easily called to service in the event of an attack by enemies, either internal or foreign? Was it to allow people to keep and bring arms to bear in the event they were being threatened? While easily contorted by those who wish to threaten our 2nd Amendment rights, the answer is very simple. The amendment was written to allow all legally authorized citizens to own firearms and bear them for their protection. The first part of the amendment, referring to a well-regulated militia, is misleading. Because the United States had such a small Federal Army at the time, it necessitated the citizenry be able to quickly assemble to protect the new nation. But the most important consideration about all the amendments in the Bill of Rights, with the exception of the tenth, is that they all apply to individual citizens and not the Federal government or state governments. If the Founders believed it was only about the militia, it would not be placed amongst all of the individual rights.
Our right to keep and bear arms is a God Given right. One should be able to protect themselves, their family and their friends. Federal courts have upheld this right in District of Columbia vs. Hellerand McDonald vs. Chicago. But this sacred right is constantly under assault. Gun rights groups are under constant assault by gun grabbers who want to restrict our ability to keep and bear arms – and most importantly own the types of guns we want to own. In fact, as recently as June 9, 2016, the 9th Federal Appeals Court of San Francisco ruled there was no constitutional right to carry concealed guns. Federal appeals judge, William Fletcher, writing for the 7-4 majority, stated,
“We hold that the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”
While the San Francisco Federal Appeals court is a very left leaning, the gun grabbers had a very significant victory with this ruling. It will inevitably be appealed – probably all the way to the Supreme Court – a court which currently, thanks to President Trump, has a majority of conservative justices. But with Chief Justice John Roberts the wild card, we cannot count on the Supreme Court to protect our Second Amendment rights.
Given our current political climate, we face grave threats to the freedoms our sage Founders desired to protect for all future citizens of our great Republic. Whether it be limitations on free speech, freedom of assembly or our “Right to keep and bear arms,” we must not sit on the sidelines passively. Call or write your U.S. representatives and your senators. Let them know that you want your freedoms protected. Do it today. Once these freedoms are gone, they will be nearly impossible to get back.
Happy Tuesday, bikers, friends and Patriots! I hope all y’all are having a great start to the new week. Here in Middle Tennessee it was a dreary, gray, drizzly and cold weekend. I did ride a bit recently – a whopping 22 miles! And believe me, when I say, it was too cold to do much more!
The picture above was from a NRA-ILA article on March 30, 2018. This was before any of the wrangling for the Democrat nomination for president of mid-2019 when we saw on full display that any of the potential nominees were, in fact, going to “come for our guns!”
On December 30, 2019 I wrote a blog post sarcastically titled, “We are not coming for your guns!” It was not written to highlight a national push for new gun grabbing legislation, but rather for the assault on the Second Amendment in Virginia. But I have also written about the Democrat’s obsession with taking our guns in a blog post on July 3, 2019, “Commonsense Gun Reforms.” Both of these articles are worth a read, if you haven’t done so already.
They Are Coming For Your Guns!
With the knowledge that there would be a Democrat in the White House (because the election was stolen) and a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate (because the election was stolen), the assault on our Second Amendment rights began quietly on January 4, 2021. We can all thank the YUGE assnozzle, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), for proving what I have been saying all along – “They are coming for your guns!” Ms. Jackson Lee introduced HR 127 on that day, a bill named, Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act.
This bill will inevitably go down as one of the most dangerous assaults to the Second Amendment since the founding of our country. Named for Sabika Sheikh, an exchange student from Pakistan, who was killed on May 18, 2018 at Santa Fe (TX) High School, this bill is nothing less than a full frontal assault on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It is interesting to note, that Sheikh was one of ten people killed in the shooting, so one wonders why Jackson Lee named the bill in her honor? My guess is that it is a move to pander to Muslims, and other foreign minorities, which is a typical tactic of #Leftists. This easily allows them to call those who oppose the bill xenophobes or racists!
So What Is In The Bill?
Simply put, this bill aims to license all firearms and ammunition a person owns. As you will see, there is no grandfathering of previously owned guns and ammunition.
Here are some key provisions of this bill:
Firearm owners have to transfer the make, model and serial number of all firearms they owned previous to the bill’s passage, to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – who will maintain a database
Firearms owned before the bill was passed must be transmitted to BATFE within three months
New purchases will be transmitted on the purchase date
The database will be accessible by all members of the public, Federal, state and local law enforcement, all branches of the military and state and local governments (not only do they want to know where all the guns are, they want your crazy neighbors to know as well – and let’s not forget all of the criminals who would like to steal those legally licensed firearms! WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!)
Licenses to individuals will require:
The individual to be at least 21 years old
They must pass another national instant criminal background check
They must undergo a psychological evaluation to prove they are not unsuited to possess a firearm
Complete a minimum of 24 hours of firearms training which is approved by the United States Attorney General
Have purchased a liability insurance policy through the Attorney General (the ultimate red herring!)
For those that own a scary black military assault rifle ? there are additional requirements to obtain a license:
Undergo specific training for this type of firearm of at least 24 hours
Undergo a psychological examination by a licensed psychologist approved by the Attorney General
Any family members who MAY have access to the scary assault rifle will also have to undergo the same psychological examination
The licensed psychologist will also conduct background interviews of current and former spouses, and at least two other family members or associates of the individual to determine said individual’s state of emotional, mental and relational stability (WHAT THE FUCK??? ?)
This bill puts the United States Attorney General – and Department of Justice – in the insurance business! In order to be licensed the licensee will pay an annual insurance premium of $800! The bill is somewhat vague as it doesn’t specify if an individual licensee has to purchase this for each firearm or if the one fee covers the person and all of their gun collection.
What will happen if you are in violation of any of the provisions of this bill?
If you possess a firearm without a license you face a fine of between $75,000-$150,000 and/or imprisonment for not less than 15 years or more than 25 years
If you transfer a firearm to an unlicensed individual, or loan them a firearm or ammunition, you may be fined between $50,000-$75,000 and/or imprisonment for not less than 10 years or more than 15 years
If you do not have valid insurance, issued by the Attorney General, you may be fined between $50,000-$100,000 and/or imprisonment for not less than 10 year or more than 20 years
In order for any of this to be possible, Ms. Jackson Lee’s bill would strike the previous Federal provision which prohibited the establishment of a Centralized Firearms Registration System. I have written about this before, with regards to the Leftists’ desire to enact Universal Background Checks, in my blog post, “Eliminating Mass Shootings.”
Buried in Ms. Jackson Lee’s bill, under Section 3, Prohibition on Possession of Certain Ammunition, is a provision to outlaw ammunition over .50 caliber – which applies to very few individuals. But most disturbing in this section is the prohibition of magazines, or other feeding devices, which either allow for a capacity of over 10 rounds of ammunition, or can be modified to accept more than 10 rounds – except for a carve out for .22 caliber firearms.
If you possess any prohibited ammunition, that which is over .50 caliber, you may be fined between $50,000-$100,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than 10 years or more than 20 years. If you possess any large capacity magazines, or other feeding devices, you may be fined between $10,000-$25,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than one year or more than five years.
Ms. Jackson Lee’s proposed bill, Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act, is the largest assault on our constitution freedoms since The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 (which was signed into law by our second president, John Adams). While the proposed bill is not law, having recently been introduced, and referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, it clearly demonstrates how out of control the next two years will be for freedom loving Patriots! The Democrat Party knows no bounds with regards to enacting their utopian Socialist ideologies on Americans! I believe that the bill, as written, has little chance of becoming law because there are many moderate #DemonRats, who live in very pro #2A states, who do not want to be defeated in the 2022 election cycle.
One glaring omission of this law, which I find oddly missing, is the confiscation, or buy-back, of their most hated firearms – those scary ass Black Assault Rifles. Other than requiring additional licensing requirements, and limiting magazine capacities, these firearms will remain legal to own. But the question remains, why doesn’t this bill prohibit them altogether? If you read deeper in the bill, it does:
First, there are plenty of reasons, all ambiguous at this time, that the Attorney General could deny you a license to own such firearms (AR-15s, AR-10s, AKs, etc.) through the more stringent psychological examinations. First, the psychologists have to be approved by the Attorney General. If the AG is extremely anti-Second Amendment, they could only approve gun-grabbing psychologists through a stringent litmus test. Second, those psychologists can search for family members, and known associates of yours, who do not like you or believe the Second Amendment only implies to the Militia, as stated in the Second Amendment, and which has been perverted in modern times to mean the National Guard of the states. For more information on the difference between the Militia of the 18th century and the Left’s obsession that the Founders really meant what is now our National Guard, read my blog post, The Second Amendment.
The one paragraph in this bill, which should scare the hell out of freedom loving Patriots is entitled “Revocation of License:”
“A license issued under this subsection to an individual who becomes prohibited by Federal or State law from possessing a firearm is hereby revoked. Such an individual shall immediately return the license, and surrender all firearms and ammunition owned or possessed by the individual, to the Attorney General.” – There it is! Confiscation!!
While I have been an advocate of hunting for many years, I believe the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to protect the citizens of this great country from the tyranny of an overarching, despotic government – not to protect our ability to possess firearms for hunting. What this bill really will do is make owning firearms punitively difficult due to licensing requirements and hefty insurance premiums – which would be paid to the Federal government. Firearms ownership will be reserved for wealthier individuals and those people who are willing to devote a huge amount of time – and effort – to going through the process of becoming “Licensed.” If you believe, like I do, that the Second Amendment is a gift from our Founding Fathers, who believed we have a God-Given right to protect ourselves, this bill, through its punitively expensive insurance requirement, would deny an entire class of law abiding individuals who are more likely to need to protect themselves: the poor. This demographic often lives in dangerous areas where thieves and thugs use illegal guns to commit their brazen crimes. In my view this is the saddest potential outcome: the disarming of people, who are law abiding, and face dangers more often than other demographics of United States citizens. People like myself, have the means to pay the premium for the Federal insurance. We will take the time to jump through all of the licensing hoops to get our licenses. Isn’t this racist on its very face? Doesn’t Ms. Jackson Lee care about the poor people in her district? I think not. She is more interested in pushing an ideological dogma with its roots tied to a socialist utopia.
Today, even in the event this abomination were to become law, it would face a huge uphill fight in the judiciary system. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), since their decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller, has supported the Second Amendment. The SCOTUS is more conservative today, because of Donald J. Trump. We have no reason to believe they wouldn’t strike down this law. So for this reason, I believe Ms. Jackson Lee’s proposed legislation is premature. The biggest #DemonRat wet dream, one which the legislature will inevitably take up, is packing the SCOTUS with more associate justices, all of course liberal gun-hating jurists. If, by the Grace of God, we can prevent this from happening, we will secure the Second Amendment for future generations. God help us if we can’t.
Good afternoon, Patriots! Your old Grey Beard Biker still holds out faith that Donald Trump’s legal team will successfully challenge some of the voter fraud which happened in the key battleground states of: Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia. Anyone with an intellect of a 5th grader knows this election was rigged, from the beginning. When impeachment, #COVIDHoax and Anarchy from BLM/Antifa riots didn’t erode Trump’s support, they were left with stealing the election by:
Printing millions of ballots which would be mailed out to addresses which no longer had registered voters living there, sending ballots to children, felons and even illegal aliens
Democrat attorneys working with state election officials and secretaries of state to arbitrarily change voting laws – allowing votes to arrive after the polls closed
Democrat operatives harvesting 100s of thousands blank ballots which could be used to manufacture however many votes were needed for Biden to win in the key battleground states
Millions of blank ballots printed in China and sent to the United State
Semi-trailer loads of ballots being sent across state lines into Pennsylvania – a state Biden was losing BIGLY in
Thousands of easily hacked Dominion voting machines switching votes from Trump to Biden – or not even counting votes for Trump – these machines were used in every state which experienced high levels of fraud
Election poll workers not allowing poll watchers to actually watch the vote being counted – sometimes being kept 30-50 away from where ballots were counted – and other times the counters would seal themselves in rooms with cardboard covering the observation windows
Yes, friends, the fix was in. No campaigning was needed by #CreepyUncle Joe Biden or #KneelingSlurping Kamala Harris. They were going to be elected no matter how many votes needed to be manufactured for these two lowlifes.
This fraud – which was not even well hidden – and my belief in our judicial system – continues to keep me optimistic that Donald Trump will be inaugurated next month. And let us not forget that Vice President Mike Pence is the president of the United States Senate and can refuse to count electoral votes from states which obvious voter fraud occurred in. While this is a nuclear option, it does remain an option. One which I would fully support to secure continued free, trustworthy elections in our great Republic.
But heaven forbid, Biden/Harris are inaugurated next month. What kind of changes can we expect?
Taxes and Waste
One thing we can definitely count on is a large increase in our Federal income taxes. They say that families making less than $400,000 per year will see no increase in their already punitive taxes. But with all the wet dreams the leftists have there is absolutely no way on earth that this is anything but a lie from Biden/Harris. How do you pay for this stuff without huge increases in Federal government theft from us individual taxpayers:
Forgiveness of student loan debt to all students who attended public institutions of higher learning
The Green New Deal
Affordable housing for everyone
Universal healthcare (government run and insured)
These wet dream wishes will require trillions upon trillions of dollars to fund. And we know that every one of these dreams of theirs will become a bureaucratic nightmare which never runs smoothly and makes hundreds of thousands of new Federal jobs for bureaucrats. Bureaucrats which require two other bureaucrats to do the same amount of work as one worker in the private sector.
Foreign Relations with China and Iran
Donald J. Trump has been harder on China than any other president. Period. He has placed YUGE tariffs on goods they used to dump in the United States like steel, aluminum, electronics and prescription drugs. Additionally he has severely curtailed the theft of the intellectual property of American companies in several industries: electronics, computers, software and music. This is why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wants Trump out of office. This one man has ruined their economy.
With Biden in the White House, someone who has freely sold his influence to enrich his family, the CCP will see a normalization of relations with the United States. Jobs will go back overseas, tariffs will go away and Americans will suffer job losses to China in historic levels.
It’s hard to believe there is any country which loathes Donald John Trump more than Iran. One of the first actions Trump took from the Oval Office was to terminate the Iran Nuclear Deal. Obama and Biden believed this to be one of their greatest accomplishments – one which in actuality would do nothing to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb. One need look no further than previous Secretary of State John Kerry’s visits with top Iranian officials, in Norway and Germany, to try to salvage the deal his fingerprints were all over. These visits were a clear violation of the Logan Act. So, yes, with Biden in the White House, you can pretty much bet we will reenter the fake nuclear deal with Iran. Hell, we may even send them a few more planes filled with United States cash!
Building hundreds of miles of impenetrable border walls has been a major accomplishment of Trump’s first term. When congress would not give him funds to build the wall, he used military funds to build the wall, claiming the influx of illegal aliens was a national security crisis. And he was correct.
With a Biden/Harris administration, the border wall will definitely get no additional funding. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if his administration would dismantle large chunks of it. Biden has fallen into lockstep with the New World Order/Democratic Socialist wackos and fully embraces open borders. Hell, he knows that those illegal aliens will be a prime customer for his Medicare for All and by receiving free things from the Democrats those illegals will be a YUGE illegal voting bloc for Democrats who cannot win without cheating.
Trump has been one of the strongest U.S. presidents with regards to protecting our Second Amendment rights. Biden/Harris hate the Second Amendment. Never forget that Joe Biden said, “You don’t need an AR-15 – it’s harder to aim, it’s harder to use, and in fact you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun.” Or who can forget what Kamala Harris said when she was campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, “Upon being elected, I will give congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws, and if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action.
Here are some of the things the Democrats are salivating for regarding the 2nd Amendment:
Assault weapon ban – “Hell we cannot allow those scary black military rifles on the streets!”
High capacity magazine bans – limit all magazine sizes over 10 rounds
Universal Background Checks
Firearm and gun owner registrations – #3 will never work without these
Repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act – allowing gun manufacturers to be sued for a madman using their products to kill people – in other words suing them for making a product which does what it was manufactured to do: shot projectiles through a barrel (SMH)
Confiscation of “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines from gun owners who legally own them
Reduce the amount of firearms an individual can own
Break the National Rifle Association (NRA)
Require the reporting of someone who purchases multiple firearms at the same time
Having Joe Biden and Kamala Harris inaugurated will be terrible for our country. Terrible for our freedoms. They did not win the 2020 General Election – they stole it right in front of our eyes. All of the accomplishments Donald Trump gave the country will be swept away. Over four years – assuming those two Democratic weenies cannot steal another term in 2024 – the country will be fundamentally changed. Ronald Reagan very presciently said, on October 27, 1964, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
The fight isn’t over, Patriots! Never give up hope. Never fold your hand. Always fight for our country. Do not let this generation be the generation which allows freedom to become extinct. We cannot allow those damn communist bastards to permanently fuck up our country. If that happens, we will never, ever get it back.
Spring has officially sprung, fellow bikers! While your ever-lovable Grey Beard Biker rides year-round, the 2020 riding season is officially here. Where will 2020 take you? Perhaps to Smoky Mountain Thunder over Memorial Day Weekend? I certainly hope so. It is an amazing event that will make even the toughest biker well up with tears remembering the sacrifices our veterans have made to protect our freedom. We all know that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!
We all cherish the Second Amendment. It is a very simple sentence:
“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.”
But this single sentence has been perverted by the gun control crowd more than any other sentence in our founding documents.
Our Founding Documents
Before we dive too deep into the Second Amendment, let’s take a look at all of our Founding documents:
The Declaration of Independence was our original document. It was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, with input from Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman. This document declared our independence and described what our Founders were striving for: a democratic republic. It would be ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
The U.S. Constitution was the operating blueprint for the United States. It was officially ratified by all of the states on June 21, 1788 and became the effective rule of the land on March 4, 1789.
The Bill of Rights was our next founding document and became the first 10 amendments to our U.S. Constitution. After the adoption of our constitution, many of our Founding Fathers were concerned about a lack of protection for the citizens. These Founders were primarily aligned with the Anti-Federalists and included the most outspoken critic of the Federalists, Thomas Jefferson. These wise men wanted protections for the people including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and protection against an overarching Federal government. These ten amendments would be drafted on September 25, 1789 and ratified by all states on December 15, 1791.
These amendments obviously included the Second – which we freedom lovers cherish. Over the years, there have been continuous attacks on the Second Amendment by those who wish to limit our ability to “keep and bear arms.” The biggest being the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 – a law which fortunately expired after 10 years of doing nothing to prevent violent crime with firearms. But the calls for new assault weapon bans continue along with other proposed legislation including: Universal background checks, restrictions in magazine capacity, banning of all semiautomatic firearms and gun registries. The biggest fallback fallacy of those wanting to take away our freedoms is, “the founders never envisioned modern weapons.” Or, “it only applies to the militia” – which they falsely claim to be our National Guard. This is all a bunch of hooey. Every single one of the Bill of Rights speaks to individual rights, with the exception of the Tenth Amendment – which provides that all rights not reserved to the Federal Government are reserved to the states.
Federalist No. 46
The Federalist Papers were written by three of the Founding Fathers: John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. These essays were originally written anonymously under the pseudonym, Publius, and were used as a way for these Founders to speak directly to the “People” – before the ratification of our Constitution.
Federalist No. 46 was written by James Madison and spoke to the “right to keep and bear arms.” Keep in mind this was before the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Some of the key portions of No. 46 are:
With regards to our right to bear arms, Madison writes, “The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States; an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and conducted by governments (states) possessing their affections and confidence.” Madison continues, “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments (states), to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government (Federal government) of any form can admit of.”
So, what does this all mean? First, the citizens of the United States are the last protection against any enemy, foreign or domestic. Domestic? Yes! Madison, and all of the Founders, recognized that a strong central government, with an ambition to force its will on her people, is dangerous to all God Given rights. Including speech, the press, assembly and the right to a speedy trial. Second, Madison recognized that these God Given rights are not given by the government. This includes the right to protect yourself. Someone attacking you is wanting to take away your rights to everything outlined in the Bill of Rights – with the exception of the Tenth Amendment. So, the next time a gun grabber tells you that you don’t need a gun, confidently tell them that it’s the Bill of Rights – which includes your right to live how you choose and protect yourself.
It’s happening right before our very eyes. America is in a state of decay. What happened to our great country? Our Founding Fathers, nearly 2 1/2 centuries ago, took 13 small British colonies and declared them independent of the British throne. They knew that the throne would consider them traitors and that they may all swing from the nearest tree. But these brave men created the greatest country on the face of the earth. Since then, we cleansed ourself from the shackles of slavery – with a loss of nearly 10% of our men – in the Civil War, fought fascism and Nazism in Europe and became the world’s greatest superpower. The Patriots who founded our country, and those who paid the supreme sacrifice to promote freedom, must be ashamed of what we have become.
Main Stream Media
One need look no further than the current Main Stream Media (MSM) to see the decay. While they claim to be presenting the news, nearly everything they report as “real” news is shrouded in a blanket of ideology. Their ratings have continued to decline over the past decade, but their followers believe what they spew because it validates their own beliefs. This is not journalism – this is the promotion of one political viewpoint over another – which is not American.
This same MSM provides a platform for politicians they agree with: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, Ilhan Omar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and all the other leftist politicians. Some of those they are providing a microphone to preach anti-American garbage, anti-Semitic trash and socialist doctrine. These politicians do not hold the same views as the average American and are chipping away at what has made America great for over 200 years.
Their policies promote open borders, expansion of the welfare state, Medicare for All, free secondary education and the slow erosion of our Second Amendment. They cannot win on the battlefield of ideas. Their platform is hollow and revolves around class warfare, racism and redistribution of wealth. Simply put, they have to give things away to receive votes. Unfortunately, the entitlements they promote will come at a punitive cost to the American taxpayer.
Antifa is a stain on the great fabric of our country. While peaceful protests and civil disobedience have been key to the advancement of our great nation, Antifa represents neither. Antifa is an acronym for Anti-Fascist and represents a broad militant group. Fascism, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as:
“A political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”
Nazism during Adolph Hitler’s formation of the Third Reich has many of the same traits as fascism: nation above its people, centralized autocratic government, a dictatorial leader and suppression of opposition.
Antifa claims to be anti-fascist, often trying to suggest President Donald J. Trump is a fascist, but this is simply not true. Trump is not a fascist. He does not forcibly suppress those who disagree with him. Rather, he calls out his opposition to ensure the people understand what he is dealing with. He is not in charge of an autocratic government. He is the chief executive of a government which still has three distinct branches. Lastly, Trump does not promote the government over the people. He understands that the government is the subject of the people and not the other way around.
Antifa, on the other hand, is fascist in nearly every way. While their chosen name may lead one to believe they are truly anti-fascist, their actions do not support that position. They are protesting a government in which the people vote their legislators and president into office – far from an autocratic form of government. Unlike in a fascist government, the President of the United States can only serve two terms. Antifa members have become violent against many of those they protest, recently beating up a gay reporter, confronting Pro-Life marchers, attacking Trump supporters and blocking traffic. This is nothing like the civil disobedience Henry David Thoreau promoted from Walden Pond. Lastly, they claim to be against white supremacy but come to their protests behind masks – much like the Ku-Klux-Klan did during the 19th and early20th centuries. This is unacceptable in a country which was built upon providing its citizens the freedoms enumerated in our Bill of Rights.
Indoctrination of the People
The Democrats having been losing in the arena of ideas since the Ronald Reagan years. Since the election of William Jefferson Clinton as president, this country has been moving more towards a far-left ideology – one drip at a time. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack H. Obama are disciples of the teachings of Saul Alinksky. Alinsky was the first “community organizer” and wrote the book, “Rules for Radicals” – which provides the modern Democrat Party many of the tactics they use today. The current hatchling of Democrat 2020 hopefuls, and their minions in congress, have not mastered all of Alinsky’s Rules, but some of them they have. Grey Beard has graded their mastery of each one:
Power is not what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have:B- (they attempt to show their power, but the majority of Americans still recognize them as weak – especially on the laws of the land)
Never go outside the experience of your people:D– (they are constantly failing here – with the same tired old faces spewing the same old hatred)
Whenever possible, go outside the experience of your enemy: C- (Trump usually has them tongue tied and resorting to the same old talking points)
Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon:B+ (Ridicule and class warfare is literally the only thing many of them are accomplished at)
A good tactic is one that your people enjoy:A- (Their people love to see them attack Trump, capitalism and religion)
A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag:F (Their call for impeachment and continued investigations of Russian Collusion is way beyond its expiration date – move on already)
Keep the pressure on:B (One must give them credit – they are trying)
The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself:C (most of their plans are still quite terrifying to Patriots)
The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition:B (They have been building their organization through societal indoctrination for many years)
If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive:B (Medicare for all is a good example of their success – the more moderate Democrats have been slowly coming around to this)
The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative:C- (This may be the least understood of Alinsky’s Rules – the newest socialist members are trying to do this by throwing out something really unacceptable – like the Green New Deal – with the more moderate Dems offering a compromise which a short time ago no one would have ever seriously considered – this is perhaps the most dangerous of the Rules)
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it:A+ (Credit where credit is due – the Left has built an entire political agenda around attacking Trump and impeaching him)
Grey Beard Biker’s Summary
Do not underestimate the power these far-left ideologues have to fundamentally change our country. For years they have been formulating their tactics and have quietly worked to take over our education system, starting with the most malleable in society: our children. The leftists knew this was a long-term play – sowing the minds of these children would take a great deal of time before bearing fruit. Today’s Millennials represent a bumper crop for the Left. They have been patient, and unfortunately, they have succeeded in brainwashing an entire generation. All of us Patriots need to start taking these young people back. The risk of not doing so is beyond grave.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position where you have to defend yourself with lethal force, your continued freedom will depend on whether the police, prosecutors and courts believe all five of these components were properly met. If there is any doubt in their minds, that each one was met, your legal team will have to convince a jury that you did in fact meet them.
Reasonableness of your actions is judged both objectively and subjectively. In the event that the police turn your case over to the prosecuting attorney, objective reasonableness will primarily be determined by interviews with witnesses, physical evidence – and if the case goes to court – testimony by expert witnesses. Subjective reasonableness is primarily going to be determined by your actions and any statements you make (Hint: a subject of an upcoming article). Let’s examine both of these.
Objective reasonableness is an imaginary litmus test. Essentially, it implores someone to consider if a reasonable person would make the same decisions and take the same actions you did if in exactly the same situation.
This imaginary person is a law-abiding citizen, does not have anger issues, does not do drugs and never drinks to excess. He/she would be cautious by nature. Average in every way, he/she would not have above average intelligence or super human strength.
When considering objective reasonableness, the police and district attorney may well transfer your physical characteristics to the imaginary person. If you are old, frail, small or handicapped you would likely fear for your life more quickly than a healthy man in his mid-20s. As such, a lower threshold would have to be exceeded before you began to become fearful and the fight-or-flight instinct kicked in – that point in time when you believed the threat was imminent.
In a self-defense case the court may also allow Mr. Reasonable to have specialized knowledge which you possess. A good example would be if you knew the person was extremely violent, unstable or had a reputation as a vicious fighter. If you were to find yourself in a position where he was coming quickly at you with clenched fists, and in an obvious rage, you may believe the threat to be imminent more quickly than if you did not have this specialized knowledge. Having this knowledge transferred to Mr. Reasonable is only fair because a reasonable person with such knowledge would be more likely to react quickly.
Other specialized knowledge, such as your previous understanding of the Tueller Drill (for more information see the article on Imminence) can be passed to Mr. Reasonable – and he, like you – will know that a knife wielding man is an imminent threat at 21 feet – which may not seem reasonable to everyone. But if you were to find yourself in court, you will most likely need to prove that you knew this before you used lethal force. Owning a book which cites the Tueller Drill, with a receipt, would be proof. Attending a self-defense class, prior to the incident, which provided information on the Tueller Drill may well suffice as proof.
If Mr. Reasonable would have taken the same actions you did, you have passed the litmus test for objective reasonableness. But that does not mean you are out of the “proverbial woods” yet.
Subjective reasonableness takes into consideration all of the things you did and said. Just because Mr. Reasonable would have acted like you did, from an objective standpoint, if you did not believe you were innocent, there was not an imminent threat or your actions were not proportional, you are at risk of not passing the subjective reasonableness test. You may be wondering, “How would the police or prosecutor know I did not believe this if I did not tell them?” This is where your statement to the police may come into play. If you were to say, “I was not afraid for my life,” or “I could have taken him with my fists,” you are in jeopardy of losing your self-defense claim because there was not an imminent threat and your actions were not proportional to your perception of the threat.
Other things which can cause police and prosecutors to fail your self-defense claim, due to subjective reasonableness, would be running from the scene, hiding from police or tampering with evidence. These actions will immediately cause them to believe you were not the innocent party.
In closing, remember that you must be able to prove the following to claim self-defense: you are INNOCENT, you believed there was an IMMINENT threat of death or serious injury, your use of force was PROPORTIONAL, there was no reasonable avenue of AVOIDANCE and a REASONABLE person would have taken the same actions.
Note: Neither the Grey Beard Biker or Michael are an attorney. While he has been involved in self-defense for many years, this article is provided for informational purposes only. Check with an attorney to understand your state’s laws.
This article was originally published in Thunder Roads Tennessee/Kentucky magazine and is used with permission. It was written by Michael Noirot – a/k/a the Grey Beard Biker.
Other articles in this series can be read by clicking on the following links:
Your whiskery, ever lovable Grey Beard Biker does some of his best thinking early in the morning while sipping his coffee. And while he may not be very talkative early in the morning, he thinks he is quite wise at this time of the day. This morning, reflecting on last week’s Democrat Presidential Debates, one thing which kept spinning around the cobwebs of his mind was their prophetic calls for “Commonsense Gun Reforms.” This group of 20+ wannabes are so damn predictable. Whether it’s student loan forgiveness, healthcare for all, reparations for the downtrodden, government funded abortions or commonsense gun reform they all spout the same stupid talking points.
But the Grey Beard is getting ahead of himself. Having read the linked article yesterday, on Personal Defense World, he was reminded of the Bullet Points article he wrote for the July issue of Thunder Roads Tennessee/Kentucky magazine. You see, when GBB wrote this article in mid-June, he was obviously being quite prescient about what would be said in last week’s debates. Let’s examine the July 2019 Bullet Points article (reprinted here with permission)….
Second Amendment – Danger On Our Flanks
Hello, fellow bikers. Greetings from middle Tennessee. Today, as I write my monthly article for Thunder Roads Tennessee/Kentucky, I am preparing to take a Father’s Day ride. Father’s Day is among my favorite holidays, only being surpassed by Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. It is a day to reflect on our fathers and grandfathers.
Speaking of reflecting, all of us Second Amendment loving Patriots need to reflect on the current state of political duress facing each of us. We definitely need to be involved in our political process as we are currently facing a serious threat on our flanks. Look no further than the current slate of 23(?) Democrats who have officially announced their candidacy for their party’s presidential nomination. All of these candidates will have a chance over the coming months to state their positions – and all of them have a position on the Second Amendment. Let’s look at some:
Joe Biden’s (D-DE) official position on guns is that he wants universal background checks, bans on “assault rifles” and adoption of finger print activated “smart guns.” While on the stump, in May, he admitted that the “Second Amendment exists,” but it doesn’t mean, “[everyone is] entitled to own a gun.”
Corey Booker (D-NJ) is proposing a national (Federal) gun licensing program which would impose minimum standards for gun ownership across the country. Prospective gun owners would have to apply for a license, and sit for an interview, in much the same way one applies for a passport. Additionally, universal background checks and assault weapon bans are part of Booker’s wish list.
Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) is also promoting far reaching gun regulations including such “common sense” reforms as holding the gun industry responsible for gun violence, banning “military” assault rifles and the establishment of a nationwide gun licensing system.
Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) is proud of her NRA “F” rating and touting it on her own campaign website, where she calls for passing universal background checks – which would inevitably require national gun registration – closing gun sale loopholes (which don’t exist) and banning assault style weapons.
Kamala Harris (D-CA) is making executive action the centerpiece of her plans on gun control, where she would implement “near universal background checks,” revoking gun manufacturers’ licenses (which they don’t need today) and require anyone selling more than five guns per year to obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
John Hickelooper (D-CO) also promotes his NRA “F” rating, promoting a policy on gun reform which will include universal background checks, national gun licensing, raising the national age for gun purchases to 21, restricting magazine capacities, banning all assault rifles and providing Federal grants to states which pass “Red Flag” laws.
Eric Swalwell (D-CA) states that he will no longer turn a blind eye to gun violence, proposing “truly” universal background checks, for guns and ammunition, push states to enact “gun violence restraining orders” and remove all “weapons of war” (code speak for those scary black assault rifles) from our communities, “once and for all.” This created a Twitter firestorm, where Joe Biggs Tweeted, “So basically Swalwell wants a war… You’re outta your fucking mind if you think I’ll give up my rights and give the gov all the power.” Swalwell, in true gun grabber speak, quickly responded to Biggs, Tweeting, “And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit.”
Now, this is nothing new for leftist politicians. They have been after our guns for a very long time. But the biggest threat is that they are listening more carefully to a media which is unhinged when it comes to guns. A media which neither understands gun owners, how guns work or the current Federal requirements of background checks. This is setting up a very dangerous dichotomy which blurs what we have today to what their Utopian societal dreams truly are. They cloak most of their proposals in the grossly overused phrase, “common sense gun reform.” But please don’t be fooled by anything any one of these candidates refer to as common sense. They totally prove the adage, “common sense is not so common” today.
The Grey Beard Biker realizes that the General Election of 2020 is still a long way in the future. Do not be lured into thinking their proposals are not an imminent threat. The politicians running to lead our state and Federal governments are attracting growing numbers of supporters who believe government should be larger. That the government should provide the things we have provided ourselves for generations: health care insurance, free college tuition, free abortions and student loan forgiveness. These people also want a country free of any reference to God, a country where free speech is limited to those whom they agree with, a country where the government sanctions killing babies – even after they’re born, a country where everyone – including the dead and illegal aliens – can vote – as long as they vote for them. But most importantly they want a country free of guns – unless you are an ultra-rich celebrity, politician, athlete, philanthropist, or Democrat/Socialist donor. Then you can own guns for the times you leave your walled compound with your armed gestapo. Do not let them take our country, brothers and sisters. Act today. Talk to your children and young people around you. The fight is here. Entertain your Grey Beard Biker as he dissects some of their stupid ideas:
Universal Background Checks
Every time a heinous crime is committed with a firearm – be it a pistol or rifle – the gun grabbers reiterate their call for universal background checks. These anti-freedom politicians never even wait for the victims’ bodies to cool before they step up to a supportive press to call for “commonsense gun reform” – which is followed immediately by a fresh call for universal background checks.
So what would a universal background check bill entail? First, universal background checks would require background checks on sales of firearms between individuals. Today, private sales do not require a Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealer to perform a NICS (NationalInstant Criminal Background CheckSystem) be run by the FBI before the transfer. With a universal background check bill in place, a father could not give his son a shotgun for Christmas!
What those Leftists proposing universal background checks know, but will never admit, is that universal background checks cannot work without one very critical component: a gun registry. Without the gun registry the government would have no idea who owns which guns. They would have no way to enforce background checks between individuals without the registry.
You must recognize they position new regulations as commonsense, knowing they will have to come back and enact more stringent laws to enforce their simple, commonsense gun reforms. This is their way of slowly moving further to the left, one little commonsense gun reform at a time. It’s kind of like dropping a frog in boiling water. He will jump right out. But if you put him in water and slowly bring it to a boil, the poor frog won’t realize he is the main course until he is well on the way to be cooked. Sooner or later, that dripping faucet will fill a pool. Drip, drip, drip, drip…
Never forget that their ultimate goal is to get rid of all guns. The universal background check will lead to a gun registry which is necessary for them to create their Utopian Society – free of all guns. Without the gun registry, they do not know where the guns are. With it, they know exactly where to send their gestapo to confiscate all of our guns.
Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO)
While not part of every Leftist wannabe president’s platform, they all support Extreme Risk Protection Orders – better known as Red Flag Laws. Several states have already passed such laws: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. No surprise here. These leftist states are all against personal freedom when it comes to the Second Amendment. Designed to temporarily remove guns from someone who poses an immediate threat to themselves or a spouse, these laws may seem “commonsense.” Everyone can agree that someone can suffer a temporary lack of judgment during a breakup, financial crisis or custody fight. This could lead them to do something horrendous which they would never normally do. The problem with these ERPOs is how they are obtained.
ERPOs are obtained by a family member, friend, neighbor or acquaintance going to a judge and asking for the order, Ex Parte. Ex parte means that the person being accused is not present. The judge will make a decision to remove someone’s firearms based solely on testimony of an individual without speaking with the accused being interviewed. This is fraught with pitfalls. What if the person requesting the ERPO is themselves a gun owner and is actually the person planning to use the firearm illegally? By obtaining the Red Flag order, the police will go and remove the only protection the accused has against the person who is a risk, leaving them with no means of protection. Lastly, who decides when the person deemed an Extreme Risk can get their property back. Without equal protection under the law, these ERPOs are dangerous. The Grey Beard Biker could get behind these laws if they offer both parties parity in protection.
Assault Weapon Bans & Restrictions on Magazine Capacities
These two gun grabber proposals do not need a lot of examination from your Grey Beard Biker. First, the scary black assault rifles the leftists propose to either ban or confiscate are no different than the common semi-automatic hunting rifles in gun safes across the country. They want to define them by simple cosmetic accoutrements like pistol grips, forearm stocks or collapsible butt stocks. But, at the end of the day, these two guns operate the same – one bullet fired with each trigger pull. A true assault rifle – or “weapon of war” – has a select fire switch – offering single shot, three round burst or fully automatic fire. These firearms are already highly controlled and have not been used in any mass shootings.
Restrictions on high-capacity magazines are not affective in reducing the body count of a determined madman. With practice, swapping magazines can be quickly done – even in an extreme stress situation. One need just remember the Virginia Tech shooter who used common semi-automatic pistols to kill 33 people! Pushing either of these commonsense gun laws will prove folly and will do nothing to prevent the next mass shooting.
Ammo restrictions are something which were nearly unthinkable three years ago. Today, several states have enacted laws which require background checks to purchase ammunition, limits on how much can be purchased, how often purchases can be made and how much ammunition you can possess at one time. The states with the most restrictive ammunition laws are California and New York who require background checks at the point-of-purchase. But other liberal states are not missing the chance to limit your personal freedoms. Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey all require ammunition purchasers to pass a background check to obtain a license to buy ammunition. These are prime examples of leftist gun grabbing laws designed to keep law abiding gun owners from exercising their rights, as codified by God and the Second Amendment. The current laws in these states will do absolutely nothing to prevent gun violence.
Interviews with murderers and gangbangers in prison have proven that these people are not buying guns and ammunition legally at a local gun store or big-box retailer. They get their stuff illegally on the street. But, mark Grey Beard Biker’s words, every one of these candidates will support background checks on ammunition sales and limits on how much ammo a person can possess. Swalwell has already come out and said he supports this restriction. In fact, his state, California has already passed such a law. These laws are more about taxing people than making our streets safer.
Grey Beard Biker Recommendations
Ranting about stupid leftist gun grabber proposals is not something Grey Beard will do without offering recommendations which make sense and which will reduce potential body counts. So here are some Grey Beard Biker Approved Commonsense things our legislators can do now:
Enforce current laws regarding FFL background checks and prosecute everyone who lies on form 4473 to attempt an illegal gun purchase – this includes straw purchasers, those who lie about current orders of protection, previous felonies or previous dishonorable discharges from the military
Require every state to immediately report commitments to inpatient mental health facilities, whether they are voluntary or involuntary. These records should be instantly available to the FBI and stored in one FBI database. Currently, at best, these are reported to the NICS system sporadically – or worse yet – not at all!
Require all schools have either SROs, specially trained teachers or armed forces veterans present and fully armed in our schools. It is well documented that those bent on killing large quantities of people stay clear of “gun-free zones.” – not necessarily because they don’t want to die – but because they do not want their death toll diminished because an armed good guy kills them too quickly.
Provide firearms safety training in all public schools – by taking away the curiosity young children have with guns they will learn to respect them and use them safely
Together, legal law abiding gun owners working with their legislators can make our children and innocent people safer in our streets. An armed public, is after all, a polite public and a good guy with a gun is the best protection against a bad guy with a gun.
The Grey Beard Biker loves the “land of the free.” A key tenet to the foundation of our great republic is the Second Amendment. The 2A is not open to negotiation and is very simple in its wording:
“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.”
With the exception of the Tenth Amendment, our Bill of Rights are centered on the individual. Whether it’s the right to free speech, free assembly, freedom of religion or the right to a speedy public trial – by an impartial jury or our peers – the Bill of Rights protects the individual from the tyranny of an overarching government.
Tonight, I write about our Second Amendment. Over the decades, politicians have tried to pervert what the true meaning of the “right to keep and bear arms” means. Since 1871, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has protected our Second Amendment rights – rights given to us by God, not our government or its leaders. It is, by far, the oldest civil rights organization in our great republic.
For the past 30 years your lovable Grey Beard Biker has been a proud member of the NRA. Today, he is a Lifetime Endowment member. In the grand scheme of things this really do not mean much. The NRA never asks me what I think, rarely checks up on what I am doing – unless it needs money – or does anything besides sending me requests for more donations. But this does not mean they are not doing things to protect my right to “keep and bear arms.”
Unfortunately, over the past several months the NRA has come under scrutiny. It appears, by all things which are being reported, that the NRA has:
Tied itself to an unscrupulous company which drained millions of dollars from its coffers;
Provided monetary instruments to its board members which may be less than ethical;
Provided their Executive VP, Wayne LaPierre, with a golden parachute very few CEOs of major companies could ever hope to negotiate
Today, the NRA finds itself embroiled in lawsuits in New York State which threaten the very existence of this once proud organization. They are at risk of losing their non-profit 501(c)(3) tax designation. This could make them liable to pay taxes, as a for-profit company, for several tax years. Currently, the NRA has less cash reserves to pay back taxes. Making matter worse, they are involved in a civil lawsuit with their longterm partner, Ackerman McQueen, which the NRA claims duped them out of millions of dollars for marketing services. The details of this civil suit are not known, but it is rumored that the NRA spent over $115 million with Ackerman McQueen over a six year period of time. This is serious change, friends.
Save the Second
Today, a grass roots organization is trying to “right the ship” over at the NRA – Save the Second. They are not interested in breaking up the NRA or parceling it out. They are trying to save it from itself. They believe that the organization is out of touch with its members and is drifting rudderless in a storm. On their website, they list five very specific goals:
Reduce the size of its board of directors from 76 to 31
Create term limits for its board members
Require board members to be present for board meetings
Get membership involved in the organization
Focus exclusively on protecting the Second Amendment
The Grey Beard Biker, as a 30 year member of the NRA, fully supports what Save the Second Amendment is doing. The NRA has lost its focus and is at serious risk of becoming insolvent. They rely on the generosity of its members to cover their daily operating costs and their war chest, to fight a serious flank attack from a Leftist assault, is seriously compromised.
Your lovable Grey Beard Biker is asking you to get involved. Go to Save the Second’s website and learn about what they are doing. If you are in a position to support them, donate to the cause. By all means, sign their petitions. With the current political climate in this great country there is no guarantee that any organization can protect the Second Amendment. Over the years, the only organization which has consistently been there to protect what we cherish is the NRA. Let’s all come together and ensure the NRA is there to protect what we value for our generation – and future generations.
Hello fellow bikers. If the proverbial “shit hits the fan,” and you have to use your firearm to protect yourself, you may find yourself in a world of legal trouble if the law believes you did not operate within some basic rules. Your freedom will inevitably require you to have a legitimate self-defense claim. There are five basic principles of a successful self-defense claim:
This particular blog post will focus on the first principle: Innocence
Your actions will have to satisfy all five of these principles for a successful self-defense claim. If they are present, you will prevail. If they are not all present, you may spend a very long time in prison. This month we will focus on Innocence.
After the dust settles, you must be viewed as the innocent party. While this may seem easy enough to prove, there are many things which can happen which makes you the aggressor.
In an altercation, the aggressor is generally going to be
viewed as the person who threw the first punch, brandished a knife or pulled a
gun. In some states, words alone can cause you to be the aggressor. Tennessee’s
laws are a bit vague with regards to who the aggressor is:
(e) The threat of
force against another is not justified:
If the person using force consented to the
exact force used or attempted by the other individual;
If the person using force provoked the other
individual’s use or attempted use of unlawful force
Provocation is the key to Tennessee’s innocence claim and the fact that Tennessee has not clearly defined provocation, you must CLEARLY be the innocent party – not the provocateur.
Additionally, you can easily find yourself in a position where competing narratives of the event may portray you as the aggressor – especially if the witnesses are friends of the thug you were protecting yourself against. If this proves to be the case, an overzealous prosecutor may well pursue charges against you.
Proportionality, or the lack thereof, can also cause you to be viewed as the aggressor, not the innocent party. If the thug you are protecting yourself from throws the first punch, but you immediately escalate the encounter by pulling a concealed firearm, you will be in serious jeopardy of losing your innocence – and your claim of self-defense.
While the rules of being viewed as the aggressor vary from state-to-state, the Federal court system has simplified it somewhat with their finding:
“An affirmative, unlawful act reasonably calculated to produce an affray foreboding injurious or fatal consequences…” Michael J. Edwards v. United States
The keys to this are affirmative – meaning not accidental, unlawful – meaning well, unlawful and calculated to produce an affray – meaning the aggressor was the one who deliberately escalated the situation beyond what was necessary. And lastly, foreboding injurious or fatal consequences – meaning there was imminence that you are in serious risk of being maimed or killed. If it can be proven the thug exhibited these, your claim of innocence may be sustained and you will likely be cut loose and not face criminal prosecution.
There are a couple other actions which may cause you to lose your claim of innocence:
Pursuit/Sustainment – If you pursue or sustain the altercation you will no longer be considered the innocent party. In other words, if the thug decides fighting you is not in his best interest, and verbally communicates he is disengaging, and you try to sustain or further pursue him, you will become the aggressor.
Mutual Combat – If after a brush up with the aforementioned thug, you agree to meet him, or take the fight outside, you will have lost your innocence – and perhaps sunk your entire self-defense claim.
Escalation – This was mentioned earlier, and should be reinforced. If you find yourself in a fist fight, or a war of words, do not escalate the encounter beyond what it is – a nonlethal fight. If you pull your pistol at this point, you will be considered the aggressor or provocateur – meaning you are in serious trouble.
Now, if you find yourself in a position where you may have lost your innocence in the altercation, you may still be able to regain your innocence.
The person using force abandons the encounter or clearly communicates to the other the intent to do so; and
The other person nonetheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the person
The Tennessee statue is clear here. You must attempt to disengage from the altercation and most importantly, you must verbally (preferably loud enough to be heard by everyone nearby) communicate your desire to end the affray. At this point, if the thug pursues the fight – or escalates it – you may well regain your innocence.
One other consideration you must keep in mind. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs will sink a self-defense claim. If you are planning on enjoying some adult beverages, leave your gun at home – or locked up where you cannot gain access to it. If you are under the influence and find yourself in a life-or-death situation, your best defense is not going on the offense. If you pull your sidearm under these conditions – even if you are the innocent – you are in serious legal jeopardy. If you have your weapon you must make the choice between potential death and a very long incarceration. But you risk much if you put yourself in this situation.
Note: Neither the Grey Beard Biker or Michael are an attorney. While he has been involved in self-defense for many years, this article is provided for informational purposes only. Check with an attorney to understand your state’s laws.
This article was originally published in Thunder Roads Tennessee/Kentucky magazine and is used with permission. It was written by Michael Noirot – a/k/a the Grey Beard Biker.
Other articles in this series can be read by clicking on the following links:
If you are reading this, you are most likely a defender of our Second Amendment. You may even conceal carry a handgun when you leave the house. If so, congratulations on taking your safety, and the safety of your family and friends seriously. We all know that the best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But do not fall into the same trap many people do: that carrying a handgun makes you “bullet-proof.” It simply does not.
In fact, if you have become lazy because of that gun on your hip, you may be in more danger than an unarmed citizen who is very vigilant. Vigilance is the key to your safety and those with you – and vigilance starts with situational awareness.
According to Wikipedia, Situational Awareness is defined as:
“…the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event.”
And while situational awareness is a key component to riding a motorcycle safely – Eg. Is that car approaching from the side road going to run the stop sign and pull out in front of me? – many riders leave their situational awareness with their helmets when they climb off their scoot. In other words, they become unaware of everything going on around themselves.
Increasing your situational awareness starts with PAYING ATTENTION! Pay attention to everything going on around you. If you are like many people, that smart phone you are self-absorbed in is putting you at risk. Do not walk around in public with all of your attention focused on your social media networks. I have walked up to friends who are on their iPhone and greeted them several times before they were even aware I was there. That same person will never be able to defend against an attack by a thug if they are only paying attention to liking their friends’ Facebook posts.
It would be helpful to look at the way a thug intent on doing harm thinks. First, you must think of these people as being like a tiger which is stalking their next meal. Like that tiger, they purposely scope out the weakest animal in a pack before they spring forward to attack. Shit-bag thugs do the same thing. If they are going to commit an armed robbery they will look for the softest of targets – that person least likely to defend themselves when they spring forward to attack. Perhaps it’s that person peering intently into their smartphone. Perhaps it’s that person walking along the dark sidewalk talking to their girlfriend on the phone. Or perhaps it’s that person in the restaurant sitting with their back to everyone else. These are their easiest targets – those who due to their total lack of situational awareness have left themselves the most vulnerable – and least likely to be able to fight back. Even if they are packing a concealed handgun, they will be unable to act quickly enough to use it in their defense – and may even have their gun taken away from them and used against them.
Here are some suggestions which will help you increase your
Avoid dangerous areas – Do not put yourself into a situation where you will be more likely to have to defend yourself.
Remove your smartphone from your consciousness when you are in a public place. It is okay, even preferable, to have it with you, but your attention should not be focused on it.
If you are walking into your corner gas station put your phone in your pocket. Look around the establishment before you enter. Is it well lit? How many people are in there? Are there any people who look dangerous? (Yes, it is okay for you to profile people.) What can you use for a barrier if the proverbial “shit-hits-the-fan?” Where are the exits? Have you examined the people present well enough to describe them for a police report? If not, you are not situationally aware of your surroundings.
Do not sit where you have blind spots. Avoid sitting with your back to everyone else in that restaurant. I personally like to find a corner table and have my back to the corner.
Events change and you need to change with them. Closely examine newcomers entering the restaurant, pub or gas station.
Most importantly remove anything which can become a distraction.
The more you practice situational awareness, the easier it becomes. Be aware of the people around you. Be aware of the structure you are in. Search out exits. Scan faces. Stay away from dark areas where you can easily be ambushed. Do not ever become the prey because your concentration is elsewhere.