The SWATTING of Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick is a crime of violence

Following the SWATTING of the Parkland students Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick I was expecting to read about lots of democratic politicians condemning the SWATTING and pointing out that these are not “pranks” or “hoaxes” but dangerous acts that have led to deaths and need to be addressed as such.

What I found out, and what most people don’t know, is that SWATTING is a misdemeanor in many states.

I don’t know if the SWATTING of Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick, fits under 7026, the new Florida school safety law, but if it does, then it’s a class 2 felony. See section 1362 below. The problem is that these cases might turn on how prosecutors interpret the act of SWATTING combined with the intent of the callers, and that might not be known until after suspects are arrested.

I think that SWATTING needs to be taken much more seriously, especially following the case of Tyler Barriss, the man behind the  fatal Wichita swatting case.

Read what the government called the act in a brief from the government’s case against another SWATTer, Mir Islam

“Swatting is, in fact, a crime of violence. It is an assault with a deadly weapon in which the police are used as proxies to commit the assault.

By definition, the crime entails an armed police response. When the responding officers are threatened in the fake 9-1-l communication with physical harm or death if they respond, the officers invariably arrive at the premises in force, with guns drawn and trained on the premises and its occupants. The prospect for injuries or fatalities in the police response is manifest.”

I want to point out these specific SWATTING actions happened after the MSD School Safety act passed, which made making threats felonies. The good news is that one of the Florida politicians I’ve talked to has been looking into this and sees the need to develop a specific bill for this crime. However, if the case comes up under current SWATTING law the perpetrator might only be charged with a misdemeanor, which would send a message that protecting gun control activists isn’t important.

Back in 2012 there was a major case of SWATTING where conservative media were targeted. Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss asked the Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder to look into the SWATTING of Conservatives. At the time Saxby said.

“Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse. Those who choose to enter into that political discourse should not have to worry about potential threats to their or their family’s safety.”
The money-losing conservative publication Washington Times wrote about how Florida Republican Sandy Adams drafted a letter to Eric Holder asking him to act.  Here is a link to that letter. It had 85 signatories. The Republicans elevated the SWATTING of conservative media to a national issue and news story. Why hasn’t this happened in this case?

Rep. Katherine M. Clark’s [D-MA-5] introduced a federal bill, H.R.3067 – Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017 a few years ago. It made SWATTING a felony on a federal level. But to date there are only seven co-sponsor, 5 Republicans 2 Democrats. None from Florida.

Rep. Brooks, Susan W. [R-IN-5]* 06/27/2017
Rep. Meehan, Patrick [R-PA-7]* 06/27/2017
Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH-2] 07/19/2017
Rep. Woodall, Rob [R-GA-7] 07/26/2017
Rep. Khanna, Ro [D-CA-17] 09/05/2017
Rep. Messer, Luke [R-IN-6] 01/10/2018
Rep. Kustoff, David [R-TN-8] 03/14/2018

Here is an article about that bill following the SWATTTING of Parkland students from HuffPost that provices some history ‘Swatting’ Is Endangering Lives, Aided In Part By A Legal Loophole

Many stories mentioned H.R.3067 – Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017, but without a vocal group of people, it might never get to a vote. But there should be huge conservative support for a SWATTING bill.

Tyler Barriss, confessed to SWATTING which led to the death of Andrews Finch

The story of conservatives being SWATTING is long and convoluted, but it might be useful to understand why there should be conservative support for a SWATTING bill. The history of conservative SWATTING was detailed in this story by David Weigel in the Daily Beast.  At that time politicians rallied around the conservatives who were being targeted. I’m hoping that Democrats and progressive politicians will do the same when gun control activists are targeted. 

BTW, the case of Tyler Barriss, the California man whose swatting lead to the death of Andrew Finch, has an interesting Florida connection that illustrates the need for more resources. The Panama City Beach Police Department wasn’t able to confirm the identity of Tyler Barriss, the man who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in a fatal Wichita swatting case. If his earlier case of SWATTING had been solved, the Wichita death might not have happened.

Based on previous cases, I think that the police already have a suspect, but haven’t announced, possibly because the suspect(s) are on other states or are minors. (Several major SWATTING cases involved minors and people located in other states or countries)

I hope that the person(s) who SWATTED Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick and the people who sent them death threats earlier are all brought to justice. If they are tried and found guilty of a felony they will lose the right to own guns. That would be enforcing laws already on the books.

SECTION OF 7026 of MSD School Safety Act dealing with threats

Section 17. Section 836.10, Florida Statutes, is amended to
1364 read:
1365 836.10 Written threats to kill, or do bodily injury, or
1366 conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism; punishment.—Any
1367 person who writes or composes and also sends or procures the
1368 sending of any letter, inscribed communication, or electronic
1369 communication, whether such letter or communication be signed or
1370 anonymous, to any person, containing a threat to kill or to do
1371 bodily injury to the person to whom such letter or communication
1372 is sent, or a threat to kill or do bodily injury to any member
1373 of the family of the person to whom such letter or communication
1374 is sent, or any person who makes, posts, or transmits a threat
1375 in a writing or other record, including an electronic record, to
1376 conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, in any manner
1377 that would allow another person to view the threat, commits a
1378 felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s.
1379 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Another View On War

Do you want to watch an anti-war movie following Memorial Day? I recommend watching The Americanization of Emily. The screenplay is by Paddy Chayefsky, who wrote Network. As you know, I’m a huge fan of Network. It changed the way I looked at the news businesses. This movie stars Julie Andrews and Jame Garner.  It goes places you really don’t expect, and makes a case against war in a very different way. It was also anti-war about WWII, the “good war” which people have an easier time justifying.

Here’s the set up: In wartime London just before D-Day, Lieut. Comdr. Charlie Madison (James Garner), an aide to eccentric Rear Admiral Jessup (Melvyn Douglas), specializes in supplying the top Navy officers with luxuries such as party girls. Madison is a proponent of cowardice as a virtue because he believes reverence of heroism promotes war. He falls in love with Emily Barham (Julie Andrews), his British motor pool driver, a young woman who has lost her husband, brother and father in the war.

I’d love to share all the long quotes from the film to show just how interesting the views are and how brilliant the screenplay is. Here are three clips from the scene with . . . → Read More: Another View On War

Keep Praising Unarmed Good Guys Who Tackle Shooters

Keep Praising Unarmed Good Guys Who Tackle Shooters By Spocko

Friday’s school shooting was stopped by Jason Seaman, a former defensive end now a science teacher who ‘immediately ran up to the un-named student, swatted the boy’s cocked gun out of his hand before tackling the pupil to the ground.” He was shot three times in the abdomen, hip and forearm, he has been released from the hospital.

Pictured Indiana, Noblesville West Middle School, science teacher and school football coach, Jason Seaman.

One day after the heroic tackling, Trump and Pence tweeted praise for Jason Seaman, in contrast to the two weeks it took them to praise James Shaw, the other hero who tackled a shooter armed with an AR-15 at a Waffle House.

Hero James Shaw speaks during a press conference on the Waffle House shooting Sunday, April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn. Shaw wrestled the gun from the suspect. (Wade Payne/The Tennessean via AP)

Unarmed people can stop shooters by tackling them. 

We need to remind the media and the public of other examples and repeat the cases of unarmed people stopping the shooter and saving the day.

The reality is that there are many stories of shooters being stopped . . . → Read More: Keep Praising Unarmed Good Guys Who Tackle Shooters

Fox News Ramps Up Intimidation Machine Before NRA Convention

Prior to the NRA convention, the NRA PR team works with Fox News and their home grown trolls to intimidate and discredit gun-control activists. A coordinated attack is underway right now.

Amanda Gailey, left, and Catherine Koebel, co-founders of The Great American Gun Melt, protest outside NRA lobbyist Chris Cox’s home in Alexandria.

My friend Amanda Gailey protested outside of NRA lobbyist Chris Cox’s home and his wife’s business, Ivy Lane Linens & Living in Old Town Alexandria Virginia, a few weeks ago. I wrote about it here, NRA Fears Women Brandishing Posters Protest Gun-Lobbyist Cox

Both protests were peaceful and legal. The Coxs called the police at both locations. The police made it clear the protesters did nothing wrong, however a woman identified as Cox’s wife did assault Catherine Koebel, one of the two protesters at the business, when she snatched the video recording phone from her hand and threw it on the ground. Catherine Koebel declined to press charges

The WaPo did a story about this. Protesters target NRA lobbyist’s home and wife’s business.

Tucker Carlson did a story about it during his ‘The Aggressive Left” segment under the heading “Campus Craziness.”

Tucker was very concerned about . . . → Read More: Fox News Ramps Up Intimidation Machine Before NRA Convention

Ways to Stop, Slow or Stall Guns In Schools Programs From Growing

Here are a few tactics that might be useful to stop guns in schools programs.

PDF link to report on liability from arming teachers

PDL Link to report on liability with SRO

Ways to Stop, Slow or Stall Guns In Schools Programs From Growing These are based on historical methods that have worked in other states:

1) Demand to see the data on gun programs effectiveness “How effectively can someone with a gun protect a school from someone else with a gun?” Everyone fumbles when it comes to the documented failures of SROs in school shootings. It’s always, “If only…” and “Well, next time…” or “We just need more people with guns in the schools!”  They are not effective for this purpose.

The Post analysis found that gun violence has occurred in at least 68 schools that employed a police officer or security guard. In all but a few of those incidents, the shootings ended before law enforcement of any kind interceded — often because the gunfire lasted only a few seconds. Prolonged attacks, of course, can be even more fraught, as McClanahan’s experience illustrates.

Of the nearly 200 Post-identified incidents of school gunfire, only once before this week has . . . → Read More: Ways to Stop, Slow or Stall Guns In Schools Programs From Growing

Failures in Hiring, Training and Supervision of SROs Lead to Government Liabilities

I recently wrote a piece on the school board meeting in Brevard County in Florida. Why Are School Boards Putting More Guns In Schools? One of the speakers, Connie Rookie, a military law enforcement vet, sent me a copy of this article from the National Association of School Resource Officers, NASRO. “Arming School Personnel, School Safety Reform and Liability. from 2015.

I’ve contacted the author, Professor Bernard James to do a follow-up on legal liabilities issues in the state of Florida.

He also has a School Safety Law Blog  and a list of his articles on Legal Updates at NASRO  I specifically want to point out the piece, “Government Liability and the failure to train? I’m especially interested to see if this 2009 study referenced was updated.

“None of the SROs interviewed in a 2009 study  “received[d] training in mediation, basic de-escalation techniques, or in detecting symptoms and behaviors of youths who have been exposed to violence, trauma, or abuse” and “rarely had any formal knowledge of, or training in, adolescent psychology or development, how to secure the respect and cooperation of youths, or on the behavioral precautions and protections that need to be taken with youths [who have] Individual Education Plans (IEPS) “As a result, SROs may not be properly equipped for their varied . . . → Read More: Failures in Hiring, Training and Supervision of SROs Lead to Government Liabilities

How Do Responsible Gun Owners Confiscate Guns from Mental Ill Friends and Relatives?

The NRA will want to make the Waffle House shooting about mental illness, but is also about how to restrict, remove or confiscate guns from people who might be a threat to themselves or others.  In 2012 I wrote this piece asking the question, “Dear Tim: I’m worried my gun-carrying son will hurt others, how do I get his concealed weapons permit revoked?”

What if your gun carrying friend or son is losing it and you are afraid for his life or the life of others. What do you do? What can you do? Let’s say he legally owns guns and has a legal concealed carry permit. He hasn’t been judged mentally ill by a judge, but he is clearly dangerous. What if your state doesn’t have a gun violence restraining law?

Recent laws in California give people a way to keep guns out of the hands of people in this situation.  Illinois, where Travis Reinking is from, recently passed a Violence Order of Protection Act, but state representatives are rewriting the bill and renaming it the Firearm Restraining Order.   Back in 2012 I asked responsible gun owners, “How would you handle this? The disturbed person is more . . . → Read More: How Do Responsible Gun Owners Confiscate Guns from Mental Ill Friends and Relatives?

Why Are School Boards Putting More Guns In Schools?

I spent 8 hours watching and re-watching a Florida school board meeting.  I saw a group of smart, articulate women, and a few men, create strong cases against the proposal to arm teachers and staff.  They provided excellent information and examples of the problems when you bring guns into schools on a permanent basis.

Brevard County School Board appears to be dedicated to a controversial program to arm school staff, despite calls from the superintendent and sheriff to focus their efforts elsewhere and despite droves of residents who have been protesting the program. Tim Shortt / FLORIDA TODAY

I was especially pleased to see them bring up the issue of negligence with guns, liability and ongoing cost of insurance. Especially concerning for school districts is the huge financial risk because of Monell liability.  These were questions the board was unable to answer.  (Video link of the Brevard County school board expressing their confusion around liability, insurance, and asking questions about costs.)

Then I watched some people, who had just explained all the serious problems with guns in schools, come out in support of guns in schools. What the what? In this case these guns would be in the hands of police officers, called . . . → Read More: Why Are School Boards Putting More Guns In Schools?

Parkland Teacher’s Gun Accident Raises Questions for School Boards

Yesterday a Stoneman Douglas teacher left a loaded gun in a public restroom.  A drunk, homeless guy found it and fired it. Luckily nobody was hurt, but “they found a casing in a corner of the bathroom and later found a projectile also in the bathroom.”

Stoneman Douglas teacher Sean Simpson, left his gun in a bathroom

The teacher, Sean Simpson, was arrested and “charged with failing to safely store a firearm, a second-degree misdemeanor.”

The homeless guy, Joseph Spataro, 69, was charged with trespassing and firing a weapon while intoxicated.

This is an important story because it raises questions about who pays for the damage caused when there is an accident involving a gun that was legally carried into a public building, business, church or school that chose to allow the gun inside.

I’m sure someone will dismiss this incident because “technically it didn’t happen in a school.” But incidents just like this happen all the time, there is even a “guns in bathrooms” tumblr page.  With more guns, and new concealed carriers, more of these type of incidents will happen in schools.  However, no gun, no gun accident. But for the gun, there would be no gun left in . . . → Read More: Parkland Teacher’s Gun Accident Raises Questions for School Boards

NRA Fears Women Brandishing Posters Protest Gun-Lobbyist Cox

The NRA and their supporters really don’t like people protesting against their leaders who profit from death and destruction. My friend Amanda Gaily peacefully and legally protested outside the business of the wife of NRA-Lobbyist Chris Cox and outside Cox’s home (which is on a busy public road). The NRA/FOX PR team went nuts. They started up the noise machine,  Tucker Carlson mischaracterizing her protest.  He asked a Maryland professor “Is it okay, if you disagree with someone you can show up his house and scream at his wife and kids?”

The professor repeated that although he doesn’t know all the details, it sounded like a legal protest. Carlson kept pushing the issue focusing on civility and decorum.  The same types of issues that three Nebraska State Senators are concerned about when it comes to this protest.  Not the content, not the validity of how Cox profits from death, just the behavior.

Well. I’m a friend of Gaily’s and I  have video footage of Gailey’s legal peaceful protests.  We can compare that with the kind of protests the NRA engages in with actual shouting at children while carrying guns. Below is the piece I wrote when this first happened.

Today . . . → Read More: NRA Fears Women Brandishing Posters Protest Gun-Lobbyist Cox