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Guns and Crime

Was Jason Van Dyke convicted to keep the peace?

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Was Jason Van Dyke convicted to keep the peace

Only the twelve men and women on the jury that convicted Jason Van Dyke of 2nd-degree murder will know what motivated their decision. The shooting death of Laquan McDonald and the subsequent release of dashcam video showing the incident has further widened the gap between Chicago police and the people they serve.

There have already been plenty of protests as well as political repercussions. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired shortly after the video was released. Mayor Rahm Emanuel went from being a rising superstar for the Democrats to choosing not to run for reelection. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez was voted out of office.

One thing is certain. Had the jury not convicted Van Dyke, Chicago would be a huge riot zone today. Property would be burning. Fights would be breaking out. Guns would be used in a city that’s not supposed to have guns. It would be chaos unlike anything the city has seen in decades.

Did the jury convict to save Chicago?

Compelling video

The two pieces of evidence that made conviction easy were the attempted police coverup of the events and the dashcam video. The coverup will lead to more trials, keeping the wounds from the shooting open in Chicago for a while. But the video was likely all that was needed for jurists to justify their decision.

Here’s the incident itself. Warning: It is graphic.

This appears to be a situation where use of non-lethal force such as a stun gun would seem appropriate. The knife-wielding McDonald was clearly dangerous. He was energized by a false sense of invulnerability by the PCP coursing through his veins. Walking in the middle of the street in a threatening manner meant that he needed to be taken down.

But he could and should have been taken down without 16 bullets being fired at him. He didn’t lunge at the police as was originally reported. He represented a clear and present danger to the police and everyone around, but with multiple officers around and an empty street, the need for lethal force is hard to argue.

A tougher job than most realize

The infamous 21-foot-rule says that a person wielding a knife can kill a person carrying a gun if they’re within 21 feet of their target. This rule applies to holstered weapons with their safety applied. Van Dyke’s and other officers’ guns were out and ready to be fired. Nevertheless, McDonald was much closer than 21 feet when he spun around just prior to being shot.

Did Van Dyke fear for his life? It’s possible. What many citizens do not acknowledge is that situations like the ones police face with assailants like McDonald require extremely difficult split-second decisions. It’s easy to say McDonald was not a real threat for people watching the video, but being tasked with taking him down 14 feet away makes it very difficult to know when to shoot.

Here’s a Mythbusters video that put the 21-foot-rule to the test.

Being a cop is a tough job. I personally support the police and their decision-making the vast majority of the time. This particular incident is challenging to defend. I stand by my assertion that non-lethal force could have been used.

It can be debated whether or not Van Dyke should have been convicted of 2nd degree murder. Chicago is not burning as a result. Should that justify the verdict or did it stand alone on its own merits? Only those in the jury box know for sure.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Gene Ralno

    October 6, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    I wouldn’t want to be a cop in today’s world. It’s riddled by nuts, felons, terrorists, illegal aliens, gangsters and mobsters running wild in the streets. Cops are faced with doing a job that varies according to the conditions and risking their jobs if they take action. The alternative is to ignore the streets, have a donut and look the other way. As citizens, we need to choose for them. That PCP nut would have killed them all if they let him. Stun gun? Rubber bullets? OK but we weren’t there.

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Entertainment and Sports

As Jussie Smollett story evolves, let’s not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment

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As Jussie Smollett story evolves lets not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment

When a juicy story hits social media, the instant reaction is to run with it and all the implications. That’s the nature of our on-demand, always-on, real-time media world. The only thing faster than hot takes from the first hint of a story are the assumptions made by both sides regardless of the details.

Such is the case with Jussie Smollett, the actor who was allegedly attacked by MAGA-loving bigots. Smollett, a gay man of color, was allegedly targeted on the streets of Chicago, but now reports are coming in that it may have been an elaborate hoax designed to help him save his job on the cast of Empire.

But so far, police have only confirmed that Smollett is still being treated as a victim. Yes, there were two persons of interest questioned by police. Yes, Smollett skipped a voluntary interview with police this morning. Yes, the story was strange from the start and this new narrative seems to match much better regardless of which side of the political or cultural aisle you’re on.

And yet, nothing has been confirmed.


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It’s incumbent on us, whether journalists or simply social media users, to wait for the facts before jumping to conclusions. It works in both directions.

Was it all a hoax? Possibly. Some who are looking at he evidence today and the report released by local Chicago news may come to the conclusion that a hoax was likely. But let’s not assume until the truth is revealed by officials.

 


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Democrats

Democrats push background check bill in the House

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Democrats push background check bill in the House

As social media buzzes about the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting, Democrats hope to put their latest iteration of gun control on the floor and onto the Senate. Called a “bipartisan” attempt to initiate more background checks on firearm purchases and sales, many conservatives on Capitol Hill are speaking out against it.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill yesterday.

My Take

Gun control bills, of which this is merely the first to be pushed by the current iteration of Democrats, usually have two things in common. First, they don’t address the problem they’re allegedly trying to solve; neither the Parkland shooting nor any mass shooting in the 21st century would have been prevented had this bill been in place. Second, they are a stepping stone through which leftists will attempt to initiate more draconian laws that eat away at our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

As with the abortion issue, the gun control issue is one in which “common sense” is used to push harsher laws down the line.

It should be strange to cognizant Americans that Democrats continue to push laws that make it easier to kill preborn babies while making it harder for innocent people to defend themselves with firearms. Are you seeing a trend in their mentality?

 


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Guns and Crime

Freedom-lovers, keep an eye on AG William Barr

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Freedom-lovers keep an eye on AG William Barr

Today, William Barr is likely to be confirmed to be the next Attorney General. While he’s a qualified leader to take the reins over the Justice Department and a strong patriot, there are concerns that we must remember as he joins the Trump administration.

First and foremost, Barr’s record on the 4th Amendment is abysmal.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

One would hope the top law enforcer in the nation would be an ardent defender of the 4th Amendment, but Barr has demonstrated not only a willingness to circumvent it at times but has also expressed annoyance that it prevents law enforcement from doing its job, particularly as it pertains to stopping terrorism. He’s also a fan of the Patriot Act, though if anything it didn’t go far enough.

Sadly, only a tiny handful of Republicans in DC seem to be concerned.

The tribalism that has infected the country and plagued groups on both sides of the political aisle has struck once again. There would be plenty of objections from conservatives if Barr had been nominated by President Obama or another Democrat, but since he’s a Trump nominee it appears he’s going to fly through with no GOP Senators objecting other than Rand Paul.

It’s a shame that the President decided to go with Barr. It’s likely he did so based on Barr’s objections to Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian hacking of the election, but otherwise Barr’s record is one that doesn’t seem very conducive to freedom. We’ll be keeping a close eye on him.

 


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