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Police shooting: don’t trust David French

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As Ben Shapiro frequently notes, droves of people will agree that they want to cut spending, but when attempting to identify specific programs to reduce or eliminate, they draw a blank. The same can be said for many conservatives’ approach to police shootings.

Ask David French, for instance, senior writer for National Review, whether police shootings pose a significant problem in America. At least in 2016, he would’ve told you that it was all a “media-created fake crisis.” So which hot-button shootings were blown out of proportion by the media and Black Lives Matter? Aside from Michael Brown’s death in 2014 and a lukewarm defense of Officer Betty Shelby in 2017, you’d be hard-pressed to get an answer from French.

In fact, it seems every piece he’s contributed to this discussion has been just the opposite, pointed at decrying the officer in question. According to my research, French has not published a single piece dedicated to exonerating an officer who has fired on a suspect.

Even in tepidly standing by the side of Officer Shelby, he used the opportunity to smear Officer Yanez, who shot and killed Philando Castile, despite the fact that the circumstances surrounding the two shootings were remarkably similar, as I noted in June of last year.

In that article, I wrote, “The war on cops needs to end, especially from the Right. I have far less tolerance for conservatives who sell out justified cops in the name of virtue signaling than I do for those on the Left.”

Well, David French is up to his old tricks, so here I am again.

First, the facts of the case as seen here:

Sacramento police responded to reports that a man had broken a truck window just after 4:00 am. They knocked on the door of a nearby home, asked to search the backyard, did so, and came back to the street empty handed. A police helicopter then spotted a suspect breaking the window of a nearby home and, shortly after, jumping a fence. The officers ran up and down the street looking for the suspect, spotted him in the side area of a home approaching the rear, and shouted that he show them his hands. Instead, the man fled. Police pursued him into the backyard, repeated the command to show his hands, and announced to each other that they had seen a gun. They repeated the command, repeated that they had seen a gun, and opened fire. It appears that the suspect, Stephon Clark, died immediately.

All told, Clark was holding an iPhone, not a gun, and the backyard in which he was shot was his grandmother’s. No, none of this should make any difference, but we’ll get to that later.

Addressing police violence, French wrote in 2016, “This is how the Left sustains a false racial crisis: Step One — Begin with the misleading use of statistics.” Not content to merely know his enemy, French has decided to imitate them.

In his recent article, French questions whether the officers faced any significant risk at all, contending, “According to the City of Sacramento, it’s been almost 20 years since a cop was shot and killed in the line of duty.”

But what about the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, where four officers have been shot dead in the last 12 years, one as recently as August 2017? Coincidentally, the officer murdered in August was surnamed French.

Regardless, to imply that a risk is unrealistic because it hasn’t happened in a while is patently unhinged.

Nevertheless, French persists, “Before you object and tell me that routine encounters can and do escalate, I know that. But what I am questioning are probabilities and perspective.” This is absurd. The likelihood of a police officer being shot on duty is remarkably low anyway. Tragically, it still happens. In all circumstances, regardless of probability, police officers must be vigilant, and French’s suggestion otherwise is dangerous. To be clear, I’m not saying he’s trying to endanger cops; I just think he’s not being level headed.

French “[finds] it deeply disturbing and problematic” that “the encounter … took roughly 17 seconds.” Does he not realize that officers can be (and sometimes are) murdered in far less time than that?

Next, he downplays a likely felony (burglary) to a misdemeanor (vandalism) in order to minimize Clark’s offense (just like Castile, Crutcher, Brown, and Sterling, Clark committed at least one serious crime before being shot). As held in Graham v. Connor, “all claims that law enforcement officials have used excessive force … are properly analyzed under the Fourth Amendment’s ‘objective reasonableness’ standard,” meaning we must judge what an objectively reasonable officer would have thought or inferred from available details.

Unlike David French, let’s attempt to put ourselves in the officers’ shoes (remembering, of course, that only police officers can truly understand exactly what they go through): a suspect breaks the windows of a vehicle in the middle of the night, a crime we can reasonably assume might precede some other crime, such as theft. The man then breaks the window of a home, which he more than likely wants to enter — civilian’s are now potentially in danger; this is serious. Hearing police are nearby, the man jumps the fence into another yard — another household threatened. When confronted, he runs — this is a guilty man. He refuses to show his hands, and there’s an object in one hand. It’s dark. This man is a felon. He’s fleeing the cops and resisting arrest. He doesn’t want to go to jail. Now he’s holding something as he finds himself cornered. Might it be a gun? Given what we know, isn’t that at least objectively reasonable? The man doubles down on his belligerence. He doesn’t respond. He doesn’t comply. He stands there with the object in his hand. And just like that, he’s dead. And who’s to blame? His own dumb self.

French dubiously insists, “It’s one thing to be in hot pursuit of an armed robber or a known, violent felon. It’s one thing to approach a situation where you perceive that innocent lives are in imminent danger. It’s another thing entirely to deal with a person who, to that point, had broken windows, and no other civilian was perceived to be at risk.”

To quote Luke Skywalker, “Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong.”

According to objective reason, the police believed Clark was armed. They believed he may have committed theft and burglary. They believed that, in potentially burglarizing at least two homes, Clark posed imminent danger to civilians. French is totally, ludicrously, irresponsibly wrong.

In contrast, French would have us believe that it is more objectively reasonable to expect police officers to be mind readers. They should have known Clark wasn’t holding a gun. They should have known that he was in his grandmother’s yard. They should have known that he meant no harm in breaking the windows of a vehicle and a home just a few feet from his grandma’s house. They should have suspected that he didn’t respond because he had earbuds in, despite the only evidence to such being that his grandma said Clark might have been wearing earbuds (you’d think officers would’ve noticed this as they attempted to revive his body). And finally, they should have assumed that Clark was running because he was a scared, helpless victim in all of this, merely misunderstood and startled.

Gag me.

What bothers me most is that French apparently knows all of this but doesn’t care. He has previously referenced Graham v. Connor, asserting, “How, pray tell, is a police officer supposed to discern whether a shooting victim ‘actually’ poses a threat other than through their ‘objectively reasonable’ beliefs? How can anyone tell?” Whereas he once wrote, “It’s always a bad idea to flee from arrest, resist arrest, or introduce any unexpected behavior into an encounter with police,” he now claims it shouldn’t have made a difference. In paradoxically defending Officer Shelby but not Officer Yanez, French admitted, “The law does not require cops to be omniscient. It requires that they be reasonable. It is reasonable to believe that a person who won’t obey commands, won’t get on the ground, and is walking back toward (and ultimately reaching in) his car is a threat.”

He makes many similar concessions in this article as well, such as, “The officers seemed to genuinely believe they faced an imminent, mortal threat,” and, “We don’t require cops to be omniscient, and the fact that the ‘gun’ turned out to be an iPhone makes the shooting horribly tragic, not criminal.”

But as French makes clear from the beginning, these facts, the law, and all objective reason are irrelevant.

“Focusing on whether the shooting was lawful misses the larger point.”

Never go full SJW.

French continues, “When we speak about police shootings, we often focus too much on the most basic question — was the shooting lawful — rather than the far more complex and ultimately more consequential question. Was the shooting proper? … I say no. I say that the escalation and response we saw in Sacramento is more akin to the kind of immediate escalation and engagement you’d find in a war zone when chasing a suspected terrorist.”

I have it on the authority of someone who served in Afghanistan as more than a military lawyer, like French, that “you don’t chase [fleeing terrorists], you shoot ‘em.” The escalation of force as shown by these Sacramento officers in verbally warning, chasing, repeatedly warning, and ultimately firing upon a known criminal who, by objectively reasonable standards, posed an imminent threat to both officers and civilians was not only lawful, but yes, it was proper.

As articulated by Jason Angel — senior police consultant for The New Guards, Marine Corps Captain, and my brother, “Unfortunately David French has not realized that he possesses the same ignorance toward police work that Black Lives Matter does. His analysis is egregiously flawed. His attempt to use military service as a comparison does not work for a number of reasons, but he also forgot that non-threatening civilians are killed far more frequently in war than by the police. … At no point does he put himself in the officer’s position and at no point does he recognize that his military experience as a JAG does not give him combat experience or translating experience to law enforcement.”

French suggests a shift in law enforcement training to better resemble military standards, namely law of armed conflict vs. rules of engagement. He posits, “Cops don’t have a law-of-armed-conflict problem — the constitutional standards and state statutes governing when a cop can be prosecuted are appropriate — they have a rules-of-engagement problem.” In other words, they’re not breaking any laws; just arbitrary rules.

 

He concludes, “It’s time to change the rules.” But what does that mean? Who decides the rules? What will they be? What measures will be taken to ensure these rules are not conflated as law?

What is the proposed punishment for a lawful action that violates French’s beloved rules? Instead of jail time, should we protest and insist upon the firing of an officer who legally shoots a suspect in a manner we don’t like? Will this somehow heal the divide between police and civilians? Will this assuage police officers who are already petrified to do their duty for fear of punishment?

“I say no.”

Thankfully, David French doesn’t speak for National Review generally — here’s an excellent take on this shooting and French’s piece from Jack Dunphy, an actual police officer who knows that French is full of it. And here’s another piece written by another police officer for The New Guards on the proper way to react to a police shooting.

I advise scrutiny in reading anything of this nature — it’s a serious topic. Where possible, talk to actual cops. I’m not nor will I probably ever be a police officer, but that’s why I never write any articles on police work without consulting either my cop brother, my cop father or both; trust them, not me.

And definitely, don’t trust David French.


Richie Angel is the Editor at Large of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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Conspiracy Theory

Were Obama and Biden at the center of the FISA Russiagate scandal?

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Were Obama and Biden at the center of the FISA abuse scandal

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton has been seeking the truth about Russiagate since the release of the Steele Dossier following Donald Trump’s presidential victory. There have been many personalities involved Jim Comey and James Clapper to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC. But two people who haven’t been asked much about it are President Obama and his Vice President, Joe Biden.

One would think something as important as Russian meddling with a United States presidential election would get the attention of the Commander-in-Chief and his right-hand man. Yet, neither have been engaged by mainstream media about the incident, and most importantly how much they knew about the shady dealings their Department of Justice had those pushing the Steele Dossier as reason to approve the FISA warrants into the Trump campaign.

Fitton joined Sean Hannity last night to discuss the matter. They posed questions that need to be asked directly to President Obama and Vice President Biden. Could they have been involved in pushing the Russian hoax to embarrass their successors?

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Conspiracy Theory

Evidence that Ilhan Omar married her brother

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Evidence that Ilhan Omar married her brother

The story from Ilhan Omar’s camp is that any insinuation that she married her brother to help him become an American citizen should be relegated to fake news and right-wing bloggers. But as we detailed last month, even the newspaper that endorsed her is starting to ask questions.

Mainstream media will start picking up on the story more, though it’s unlikely any of them will reveal the information they find unless it’s conclusive. When dealing with conservatives, mainstream media tends to run with any accusation regardless of credibility as long as a scandal is involved. When the subject is a progressive, media outlets only reveal the truth when they’re absolutely sure there’s no way around it and the cat is already being let out of the bag. Otherwise, they sit on it.

But as the President calls attention to it, the media will have to at least check on it. Most will still dismiss it as a right-wing conspiracy theory, but those willing to do their jobs properly will find the evidence is at least worthy of further investigation. Even in bits and pieces, it’s very damaging. A new video by Alpha News MN details an opening round of evidence that should be worth a watch. There is more to come next week.

It seems it isn’t a matter of “if” but “when” Ilhan Omar’s history catches up to her in the public eye. In that scenario, how will the “Squad” member react? She’s thought about it. Others likely have as well. Will she ever tell the truth?

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Conservatism

18th century firearm technology, 21st century lies

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18th century firearm technology 21st century lies

Repeating and semiautomatic firearms existed long before the recent phenomena of school shootings

One of the Liberty Grabber Left’s favorite lies is to claim that repeating or semiautomatic firearms are the cause of mass murder tragedies because they only recently came into existence. Hence the line ‘21st Century laws for 21st Century weapons’ line of Bovine excreta parroted by the Marx for our lives Astroturf effort.

This is a continuation of our ‘Conversation’ on guns in honor of Gun Pride Month and AR-15 Appreciation Week. In the usual circumstances, this ‘conversation’ consists of accusations of collective guilt of more than 120 million innocent gun owners with a lecture that we should be glad to give up more of our Liberty. All of this is predicated on outright lies such as that previously referenced.

The problem for gun confiscation brigades is that – as is typical – this often repeated lie fails to match up with reality. We’ve already proven that there were many ‘assault weapons’ technologies that existed long before the 21st Century and Long before the writing of the US Constitution.

Firearm technologies didn’t start in the 21st Century.

Perhaps Leftists fail to realize that weapons technology has always been on the cutting edge [pardon the pun]. They also fail to realize that small arms are usually mass-produced, very durable and extremely valuable antiques. This means that many examples of these weapons in reside in museum and other collections with patent numbers and other indicia that prove their lineage.

This means that there are many examples of these Pre-Constitutional Assault weapons as well as patents and other forms of documentation that eviscerated the ‘They only had single shot muskets at the time of the Constitution’ lie from the Liberty Grabber Left. The fact that many of these technologies existed long before the time of the founding fathers destroys that mythology.

The ‘Cambrian explosion’ in assault weapons technology of the 19th Century.

The development of self-contained cartridge ammunition changed the world with the assault weapons of the 1800s. Cartridge ammunition combined the essential elements of propellant, projectile and primer [ignition] into one unit, that could be easily loaded into the breech of a gun. From that point on, it was just a matter of working a lever or bolt to load and fire a cartridge. Thus it was this point in time mid 19th Century that someone could quickly load and fire a number of rounds.

This innovation also vastly improved the revolver, repeating firearm technology that had already been around for centuries, resulting in the famed ‘six-shooter’ seen in every western. Easily loaded and carried, a couple of these guns could have made for a deadly mass shooting during the early 1800’s.

The fact is these early ‘Assault Weapons’ were around 170 years ago and over a century before the school shooting phenomena. Proving the point that these mass murder tragedies were not caused by the presence of repeating firearms.

The 19th Century development of semi-automatic technologies.

Later on in the same century, it was discovered that the excess chemical energy from the combustion of the propellant in a cartridge could be used to unlock the bolt, eject a spent casing and load a fresh round. This semi-automatic process made it far easier to use a firearm, with the working skills built into the weapon. This is why these are in common use, and wildly popular with the more than 120 million gun owners in the country. It is also the reason these very reliable and easy to use firearms are the prime target of the Liberty Grabbers.

The Borchardt C-93 was the first commercially viable semi-automatic firearm produced in 1893. For those counting up the Leftist Lies, this still wasn’t the 21st Century. Please take note that these are the types of weapons used in school shootings and were on the scene 70 years before these became a phenomena. Not to belabor the point, but this also proves that guns aren’t a factor in recent occurrence of these tragic events.

Other weapons and mechanism were developed at this time to the point that the technology was relatively mature at the turn of the Century [This would be the 20th Century – still not the 21st Century]. To the point that any miscreant of recent times could have replicated one of their crimes over 100 years ago – but did not.

The steep rise in school shooting in the 1980’s and 1990’s

Dennis Prager recently discussed this issue in a “Fireside chat” and a column: Why So Many Mass Shootings? Ask The Right Questions And You Might Find Out.

America had plenty of guns when its mass murder rate was much lower. Grant Duwe, a Ph.D. in criminology and director of research and evaluation at the Minnesota Department of Corrections, gathered data going back 100 years in his 2007 book, “Mass Murder in the United States: A History.”

In the 20th century, every decade before the 1970s had fewer than 10 mass public shootings. In the 1950s, for example, there was one mass shooting. And then a steep rise began. In the 1960s, there were six mass shootings. In the 1970s, the number rose to 13. In the 1980s, the number increased 2 1/2 times, to 32. And it rose again in the 1990s, to 42. As for this century, The New York Times reported in 2014 that, according to the FBI, “Mass shootings have risen drastically in the past half-dozen years.”

[Emphasis added]

Link to the book: Mass Murder in the United States: A History by Grant Duwe

The Takeaway

Repeating and semiautomatic firearms have been around for Centuries, mass shootings are only a recent phenomena of the past 40 years. A phenomena that has been on the decrease as of late: Schools are safer than they were in the 90s, and school shootings are not more common than they used to be.

Guns aren’t the problem, they have been around for over 500 years. If they were the problem, why didn’t these take place 300, 200, or 100 years ago? It wasn’t the sudden appearance of guns at the onset of these tragedies soon after the sixties, then what was it? In his column, Dennis Prager had some thoughts. We will explore that issue in a later column.

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