Thirteen Years Later: I still Remember

Ten years ago this week, I wrote Remember – my seminal post about September 11th, 2001.

Three years ago, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I added a few other thoughts in Memories of September 11th.

I really have nothing else to say that I haven’t said.

Last year, on September 11th, I was in Anchorage for the National Emergency Management Association annual conference where we kicked off things that morning with a moment of silence in memory of that day.

Thirteen years later, I still remember.

And I’ll always remember FDNY Lt. Ray Murphy.


Why Joan Peterson of Protect Minnesota Won’t Publish My Comments (or Yours)…

According to Joan Peterson, the Chair of the Board of Protect Minnesota – the local anti-gun group here in Minnesota – and a board member of the Brady Campaign – in her most recent comment – here’s the reason why she won’t publish your comments:

you have no idea what kind of comments I receive because I don’t publish so many of them. It is just too hard to deal with the continued demeaning comments and those that are not relevant and miss the point.

I publish the ones that seem to make a point or don’t ask me questions in a snarky or accusatory fashion. Many times I answer what you guys ask me in another post. But most of the time, I tell you what I am all about and what I want to do about it in my post.

There is no sense in fighting about this stuff. You all resist even the most reasonable of gun laws without cause. You ( not necessarily you personally) don’t seem to care about the victims, and indeed, often deride them or make rude remarks about them.

We all, meaning me, Baldr, Mike, and the many others who blog on my side, just tire of the offensive comments. It leads to nothing but acrimony.

We so obviously disagree on so many levels that it doesn’t seem possible to have a decent “discussion.” Besides, as I have pointed out, you represent a small minority of Americans. The rest agree with me- even gun owners and 75% of NRA members. So the point is to get Congress to do the right thing because you and some of my readers will never agree with me.

In other words, I won’t publish your comments because you disagree with me.

I’m now up to one hundred and thirty-four comments that she has refused to publish.

It is impossible for Joan Peterson of Protect Minnesota to tell the truth on gun control

Joan Peterson, the blogger at “Common Gunsense”, who also serves as a member of the Brady Campaign Board of Directors – and the chair of the local anti-gun group Protect Minnesota continues to lie about even the basic facts of the gun control / Second Amendment debate.

In a post that Joan has since removed (as of 10:13am CST on 9/1), she claimed in a comment the following about the Texas Department of Public Safety’s 2011 report on permit holders:

One of my readers thought he was sending me links to research or actual facts about gun violence. Unfortunately he sent mostly hyperbolic articles from far right media source, Breitbart misquoting and misinterpreting results of actual studies. But I do thank him for sending me stats about Texas conceal carry permit holders and crime. You can see it here.

Raise your hand if you think 51 homicides by permit holders is acceptable. Or if 1353 incidents of “deadly conduct” is acceptable. Or if 244 “deadly discharge deadly weapon is OK. Or 112 cases of manslaughter and 461 murders committed by CCW holders. This is great information and very useful as well. Why? Because it shows that permit holders are not the law abiding citizens that the gun lobby promised they would be. As I have said repeatedly, though these account for a small percentage of the total crimes, these are people trusted to carry deadly weapons around in public. There should be no crimes committed by these folks. Would these people have committed crimes anyway? Perhaps. But then we shouldn’t have given them the privilege of carrying deadly weapons around in the first place.

As is typical for Joan, she either cannot read the report itself, or she is deliberately misrepresenting the facts – because she is quoting the total # of crimes committed in Texas rather than crimes committed by permit holders – which we know to be significantly lower than this.

My rebuttal comment, submitted to her site, which is now the one hundred and thirty-first comment of mine that she has refused to post, reads as follows:

Your information is completely incorrect on the texas report. You are entirely misreading the columns on the report.

The 51 incidents of criminally negligent homicide is of all citizens. CHL holders have committed 0.

Of the 1353 incidents of deadly conduct, 9 were committed by CHL holders.

Of the 244 incidents of deadly discharge of a weapon, 2 were committed by CHL holders.

Of the 112 incidents of manslaughter, 3 were committed by CHL holders.

Of the 461 incidents of murder, 3 were committed by CHL holders.

Again, permit holders commit violent crimes at a rate several magnitudes less than the general population.

Even though Joan claims that she wants to have a rational discussion, the truth is that she and the other leaders of the gun control movement don’t want that – because it’s impossible for them to tell the truth – even when the facts are staring them right in the face.

Again, my offer stands. Joan, I’ll debate you anytime in public, with a fair set of rules, and with audio and video recording running. How about it?

More at Shall Not be QuestionedPost 1 and Post 2 and at Weer’d World.

Update: Joan is claiming that she accidentally deleted the post and comments. You decide.

Update #2: Joan has the post back up but conveniently left out her complete fabrication of the Texas data. Typical.

Update #3: Weer’d has more on the “deletion”.

Joan Peterson from Protect Minnesota & the need for a “discussion”

Joan Peterson, board member of the Brady Campaign and Chair of the Board for Protect Minnesota, writes that We Need to Talk about gun violence and gun control:

We do need to have a serious discussion about what’s going on in our country concerning guns and gun permit holders.


We need to talk about the wisdom of letting citizens carry guns around with them wherever they go. We need to talk about why it is dangerous to ramp up fear and paranoia amongst people who have been led to believe in myths and outright lies about our nation’s President. Violent talk and promoting fear and paranoia just may lead to tragedy. What is the sense of all of this? I say there isn’t any. We need a whole lot more common sense when it comes to American gun laws and the American gun culture. Will we have the serious discussion that the nation deserves about this public health and safety issue? Please talk to your own legislators and Congress members and ask them to get busy and have a discussion that will lead to action in the name of the victims of gun violence and the devastation to our families and communities.

Except that Joan and her organizations, along with the majority of the gun control / anti-gun community, never engage in this sort of discussion. Across their events, their Facebook pages, twitter posts, blogs, and elsewhere they censor, refuse to post, refuse to debate, and generally talk only within their own community.

For example, I submitted the following comments to Joan’s post above – none of which have been posted:

japete writes: “We do need to have a serious discussion about what’s going on in our country concerning guns and gun permit holders. “

Yes, we do need to have a serious discussion. Let’s have that discussion.

I’m curious where it is that you propose to have this discussion considering the heavy handed censoring that occurs here on this blog, on the Protect MN Facebook page, on the Moms Demand Action Facebook page, on the Protect MN / Northland Chapter Facebook page, on the Brady Campaign Facebook Page, on the CSGV Facebook Page, on the Moms Demand Action Twin Cities Chapter Facebook page, on Baldr’s blog (which now simply doesn’t have comments at all), on the Mayors Against Illegal Gun Facebook page…

Where is it that we’re going to have this discussion? Freely, in the open, without censorship of comments, facts, and opinions?

This is one of more than one hundred and thirty comments that I have submitted to Joan’s blog that have never been posted. None of my comments are insulting, demeaning, use profanity, or blame the victims – Joan’s most common reasons for censoring her comments.

Others are writing on this issue today as well – including Sebastian at Shall Not be Infringed and Weer’d Beard at his own blog.

So here’s my challenge to Ms. Peterson: I’ll engage in a discussion with you anytime, anywhere, as long as there’s no censorship, an open/public forum, and that the proceedings are recorded with both video and audio.

About two hours should provide a good discussion. I’m free on Monday, Labor Day.

How about it?

Update: Joan has more…

The Lies of Joan Peterson of Protect Minnesota

It’s truly difficult to count the number of falsehoods and lies in this post by Protect Minnesota Board Chair Joan A. Peterson, aka japete. Joan is also on the board of directors for the Brady Campaign.

She’ll probably never post my comment – so here it is for posterity:

japete quotes an article that states : “People are not being asked to give up their guns.”

Except that your organization, Protect Minnesota, testified in favor of multiple bills in this year’s Minnesota Legislative session that did exactly that.

And then : “Semi-automatics are physically capable of firing at the same speed, but their firing rate is limited by the speed with which a human being can pull a trigger – a somewhat slower rate, to be sure.”

Patently false. Semi-automatics are significantly slower firing than automatic weapons.

and then : “Two hundred years ago we had murder, too, but we did not have fully-automatic rifles with astronomical firing rates and high-capacity magazines.”

Are fully automatic rifles being used in crimes? I think not. “Assault Rifles” as your organization defines them are used in an astronomically small number of crimes each year as well.

And then: “Let me make it clear, for my second amendment loving cousins and all those who take the time to read this : Nobody wants Grampy’s coyote shooter. Nobody wants my twenty-two. Nobody is coming for old west sharpshooters, skeet shooters, the weapons of honorable veterans, the pearl handled revolver sold on Pawn Stars or the guns I have personally observed Ted Nugent use in his pursuit of wild game on shows aired on the OutDoor Channel.
I have not seen a regulation that would stop me or anybody I personally know, or even any responsible gun owner I have ever observed, from procuring game, from practicing gun sportsman and marksmanship, or from use on the family farm or in the family home.”

Except your organization proposed and testified in support of a bill that did *exactly that* this year before the legislature.

Stop lying about what Protect Minnesota really testified in favor of – because what you’re quoting here isn’t accurate.


Memorial Day 2013

Today, we pause to memorial those that have gone before us and sacrificed their lives in the name of the freedoms that we each enjoy today. Three remembrances from amongst the thousands that will be shared today:

First, former Navy SEAL officer Leif Babin writing in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Combat is hard. It is alarmingly violent, ear-shattering, dirty, exhausting and ugly. It is marked by chaos and confusion and self-doubt. But combat also highlights the determination and sacrifice—and courage—of those who persevere. Through such times, an unbreakable bond is formed with brothers-in-arms.

Those bonds were tested greatly as our task unit suffered the first SEAL casualties of the Iraq War: Marc Lee and Mike Monsoor. Later, Ryan Job died of wounds received in combat. These men were three of the most talented and capable SEALs I have known. They were also loyal friends. Their loss is deeply personal to their families and to their SEAL teammates. As Marc’s and Ryan’s platoon commander, I bear the crushing burden of responsibility. I will forever wish that I could somehow take their place.

As a result, Memorial Day is deeply personal—to me, as it is to any veteran, to any military family. It is a time of mixed emotion: solemn reflection and mourning, honor and admiration for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.

Yesterday, the LA Times reran their seminal piece from 2004 entitled The Unapologetic Warrior about Marine Corps Major Doug Zembiec, later dubbed “The Lion of Fallujah” for his heroic leadership of his men in that fight:

Anyone who prefers that their military officers follow the media-enforced ideal of being diffident, silent about their feelings, unwilling to talk about their combat experience and troubled by the violence of their chosen profession should skip this story.

Marine Corps Capt. Douglas Zembiec is none of these things.

Zembiec, an All-American wrestler and 1995 graduate of the Naval Academy, is the charismatic commander of Echo Company of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division. During the monthlong battle in Iraq earlier this year for the Sunni Triangle city of Fallouja, no combat unit did more fighting and bleeding than Echo Company, and during it all–from the opening assault to the final retreat ordered by the White House–Zembiec led from the front. He took on the most dangerous missions himself, was wounded by shrapnel, repeatedly dared the enemy to attack his Marines, then wrote heartfelt letters to the families of those who were killed in combat, and won the respect of his troops and his bosses.

It was the time of his life, he acknowledged later, for by his own definition Zembiec is a warrior, and a joyful one. He is neither bellicose nor apologetic: War means killing, and killing means winning. War and killing are not only necessary on occasion, they’re also noble. “From day one, I’ve told [my troops] that killing is not wrong if it’s for a purpose, if it’s to keep your nation free or to protect your buddy,” he said. “One of the most noble things you can do is kill the enemy.”

Major Zembiec was killed in Iraq on a following deployment. His death did not go unnoticed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who remembered Major Zembiec in a speech that same year. Owen West also remembered him in a WSJ column after his death.

A fitting end, borrowed from the good Captain LeFon, who we also remember this Memorial Day.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

–Laurence Binyon

February 20th, 2013 Testimony of Bryan Strawser before the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee on SF458

Remarks as Prepared…

Thank you Mr. Chairman and thanks to each of you for an opportunity to address this committee.

My name is Bryan Strawser – I live in Woodbury, Minnesota. I’m a 20 year corporate security and crisis management professional.

I am a NRA Instructor, a Minnesota Permit to Carry Instructor, and a member of the board of directors of the Oakdale Gun Club, one of the largest gun clubs in Minnesota.

Like others, I am here on my own time – and I’ll be here tomorrow taking a day off of work and grad school.

I am here to testify in opposition to SF458

Given the time constraints, I will make a few simple points.

First, much of the testimony around this bill today has focused on the 40% of firearms transactions as the basis for this proposed legislative change. This number is based on a sample of only 251 transactions 20 years ago.

This number has been challenged as recently as a few weeks ago by the Washington Post who described the use of this figure as deserving of two Pinocchinos for its level of falsehood.

Second, criminals are not going to follow the requirements of this law. As we have heard in testimony this evening, the criminal element will continue to trade in firearms illegally.

Third, This bill calls for a permit to purchase fee of $25 and requires a firearms transfer to happen at a federal firearms license holder – who may charge another fee not to exceed $25.

This law makes it more expensive for the law abiding citizen to follow the law.

The US Government’s own National Institute of Justice in a January 2013 memo stated that universal background checks will not be effective unless they are coupled with mandatory firearms registration, a firearms surveillance program, and a crackdown on straw purchasers.

Finally, we’ve heard a lot today about the tragedies in Sandy Hook, Aurora, and other mass shootings. Nothing in this bill would have stopped or prevented those horrible situations from happening.

I agree that there are challenges with the background check system in the United States and here in Minnesota. Let’s get the right records into the system and start prosecuting the criminals that are violating our existing firearms laws. The right place for these sorts of criminals is behind bars – not on the streets.

I strongly reject the notion, as many here do, that the actions of criminals are in any way shape or form – the fault of law abiding citizens – or law abiding gun owners.

Thanks for your time.