A concealed carry ‘success’ or ‘failure’? (5×8 – 10/25/11)

Is the ‘good samaritan’ good, sex and the Halloween costume, the tablet and the power news user, this week’s Northern Lights, and the beauty of the abandoned building.


1) WHAT HAPPENED AT LAKE AND 26TH?

It took a number of years — certainly more than the concealed carry opponents had predicted — for a killing with a legal weapon during the commission of a crime that has renewed the debate over the fine line between self-defense and revenge. Opponents of the law said blood would run in the streets and road rage would be settled with gunfights. Neither has happened.

But in the latest incident last week, a still-unidentified man chased Darren Evanovich, 23, after he apparently pistol-whipped and robbed an elderly woman in the parking lot of Cub Foods at Lake Street and 26th Avenue. All we know is shots were fired during the chase and Evanovich is dead and the shooter, who had a legal firearm, is being called “a good samaritan.”

WCCO reported last night the family of the dead man begs to differ (click link to view video).

“How can a person play judge, jury and executioner and God, who gave the person the right to be God,” Mary Evanovich, the man’s mother, said.

Without more information about the last seconds of the chase — was Evanovich given an opportunity to surrender? Did he try to kill the man who was chasing him? — it’s unclear whether the incident is a matter of the law gone right or gone wrong.

Meanwhile, concealed carry legislation becomes law in Wisconsin next week. Here’s an FAQ on the new law there.

2) MORE GHOULISH, LESS SEXY

Halloween is becoming the national ‘holiday’ to dress girls and young women up in inappropriate attire. Whatever happened to scary?

“It’s not just a phenomena of Halloween,” Shannon Terry, a sociology instructor at Minnesota State University Moorhead, tells the Fargo Forum. “The objectification of very young girls and sexualization of young girls seems to be pretty prevalent in U.S. culture right now.”

She’s taken her “sociology of gender” class on field trips to costume stores and says she’s found too many witch costumes with cinched corsets for 6-year-old girls.

3) THE TABLET AND THE POWER NEWS USER

The Star Tribune next week will start charging people for reading content online, David Brauer reported yesterday.

Despite protestations against charging for what once free, people with tablets are quite willing to pony up, a study out this morning says. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism finds only 14% of tablet news users have paid directly for news content on their tablets. “Another 23%, though, have a subscription to a print newspaper or magazine that they say includes digital access. Thus, the percent of these early tablet news users who have paid either directly or indirectly for news on their tablet may be closer to a third. That is a much higher number than previous research has found more broadly of people paying for digital content.”

The research says tablets are making people more informed. Half of those tablet users surveyed say they now spend more time getting news than they did before they had their tablet.

Have you met the MPR iPad app yet? Oh, and everything here is free.

Related: The man who coined the term “artificial intelligence” and insisted that a machine could simulate every aspect of intelligence has died. John McCarthy saw the future in 1955.

4) WE’VE GOT RED!

If I’d looked out the window the last few nights, I might’ve seen an incredible display of the Northern Lights.

Here’s what it looked like over Wisconsin…

You know it’s a great display when you get red. They got red in Michigan.

5) HOW TO BE A JUDGE

I only met Judge Lloyd Zimmerman once, but found him unusually unassuming and charming. So nothing in his New York Times op-ed appears to surprise anybody who knows him. In 2004, Zimmerman officiated a wedding by phone of a woman whose betrothed was dying in a hospice. That evening, the man died.


His dying wish was to marry Donna, his life partner of 38 years. She was 57. They had talked about marriage over the years but had never gotten around to a wedding. They had even gone so far as to fill out the application from the downtown wedding license center.

Was this yet another case of people irresponsibly leaving things until the last minute? Probably. But I realized in the moment it didn’t matter. People do stupid, human things. I could make this one right.

By law, the couple was required to attest in person, under oath, in front of the wedding license official, that all of the statements on the application were true: that they wanted to marry each other, and that as required by Minnesota law, “we are no nearer of kin than the first cousins once removed; that … there is no legal impediment to this marriage, that neither of us has a spouse living, and that one of the applicants is a man and the other is a woman.”

The judge went above and beyond to be sure the law didn’t stand in the way of love, but he always wondered whatever happened to the woman.

Yesterday, the Star Tribune reports, the judge met her.


“You do a lot of things in your life,” he said. “And this took half an hour, but I knew it was a life-changing experience because it was his dying wish. And it can never happen again.”

It’s the kind of story that makes you proud he’s one of ours.

Bonus I: There’s beauty in the monstrosities of a declining economy, filmmaker Charles le Brigand has revealed in this video of an abandoned grain elevator in New York.

Wired.com has assembled a gallery of videos of abandoned buildings here.

The include an abandoned glass factory, a Navy building, hotel, and beachfront community.

“Once those structures were admired, or at least tolerated with some affection by those whose lives were daily enriched among and thanks to them,” a commenter says. “Will the same be said by those who contemplate the mountains of toxic, irrecoverable trash, that is, the physical waste from the IT age?”

Bonus II: Herman Cain’s campaign manager stars in an Internet commercial that is sweeping the intertubes since being posted last week. And by “take this country back,” he means — apparently — lighting a cigarette.

The ad is so strange that some suggested it was a hoax but CBS confirmed last night that it’s legit.

Bonus III: Fill in the rest of the joke. I’ll start, “A hundred Gary Eichten bobbleheads walk into a bar….”

eichten_bobbleheads.jpg

TODAY’S QUESTION

President Obama is announcing new measures to help people whose homes are underwater qualify for refinancing and a lower monthly payment. More than one in five American homes with mortgages are underwater – that is, their owners owe more than the homes are worth. Today’s Question: Is home ownership an attractive option these days?

Related: Homes are selling fastest in Anoka and Hennepin counties right now. It would take a little less than a year, however, to sell all the homes that are for sale in Scott County.

THE BIG STORY

As President Obama touts his proposal to allow more struggling borrowers to refinance their mortgages at current low rates, The Big Story Blog will look at Minnesota homeowners who are “under water” on their mortgages, and provide some analysis about the state of the Minnesota housing market in general.

WHAT WE’RE DOING

I’ll be on — very briefly — with Kerri Miller around 9:50 to talk about the harvest in Minnesota. My post from last week’s visit to the farms of Winona County should be posted by 10 a.m., along with an excellent image gallery from photographer Jeffrey Thompson.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Illegal border crossings between Mexico and the U.S. are at their lowest levels since the 1970s. What policies and conditions have stemmed the tide of illegal border crossings? How is the change affecting towns along the fence? And why aren’t any U.S. politicians claiming victory?

Second hour: In his new book, author and war hero Karl Marlantes writes about combat, what we can learn from it, and what society needs to understand about it. He discusses “What It Is Like to Go to War.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former ambassador Barbara Bodine on the pullout of American troops in Iraq and the Arab Spring.

Second hour: Live coverage of Governor’s Jobs Summit featuring U of M president Eric Kaler and author Michael Mandelbaum.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The Arab Spring is just the latest major change in the world Loren Jenkins has covered since Vietnam, as a reporter, and these past fifteen years as NPR’s senior foreign editor. Next week he steps down.

Second hour: Parents and teachers debated the merits of same-sex education for years. Do girls learn more without boys around? Do boys perform better, without girls? Do boys and girls learn differently? A new report adds fuel to the fire.

  • gml4

    I try hard not to jump to conclusions about news stories that strike hard at the emotions, but how can it be that the shooter (ie the permit carrying gun owner, if he was the shooter) was only questioned, and not at least held, for his actions?

  • Matt B

    The cloud cover was so thick here last night you couldn’t see anything. At Michigan Tech, my first two years were during the peak of the last solar maximum so we got a really good light show 4 or 5 times a month. I hope for the next one it’s not as cloudy here.

  • Alison

    \\Halloween is becoming the national ‘holiday’ to dress girls and young women up in inappropriate attire. Whatever happened to scary?

    I have young girls. Sounds scary to me.

  • Brandt Williams – MPR Reporter
  • http://www.nickcolemanmn.com Nick Coleman

    Speaking as someone who has a Minnesota gun permit, it is a perversion of the language to apply “Good Samaritan” to anyone who shoots another human being, even if the shooting is justified.

    What the shooter will have to prove is that he had no reasonable alternative to shooting, which may be difficult, since he chased the “robber” with his gun.

    Permit holders are taught that there is no legal obligation to protect others, much less to pursue an armed criminal. They also are taught that the use of deadly force is justifiable only if all of these conditions are present:

    a) You are a “reluctant participant” and did not seek or provoke a confrontation

    b) You face immediate fear of death or serious injury

    c) No lesser force than lethal force will work; and

    d) retreat is not practical

    I suggest that A and D may be a problem for a shooter who chases an alleged criminal.

    Also, as for the claim that our streets have not been running with blood, you neglect to mention this notorious 2005 incident at Nye’s, where Billy Walsh, a beloved bouncer, was murdered by a drunk carrying a gun and a permit:

    http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-9469893/Guilty-plea-in-killing-of.html

    The gun permit debate is not finished.

  • John P.

    \\ lighting a cigarette

    I don’t think that is an accident. There is a constituency that sees cigarette bans/taxes/health maintenance fees and govenrment subsidy of anti-smoking efforts as just another way government intrudes into private decisions.

  • http://wxrocks.wordpress.com Eric

    #1 – To answer the question in the title of your post, I am going to say the incident shows us how concealed carry is both. To me, this is one issue where one has to take a libertarian and Constitutional stand.

    With a conceal and carry law such as in Minnesota, people have to go through some training and actually obtain a permit in order to do so. Granted, it isn’t some heavy-duty screening process, but there is a system in place. People who follow the law are going to follow the process. Criminals who carry concealed weapons will carry them whether or not the law is in place, and will not go through the process.

    The down side to having someone legally carrying a weapon is that Evanovich was shot and killed and will never have a chance to face a proper trial. That is a known fact. However, the things we can never really know is how many criminals don’t commit crimes with the idea this could happen to them? Also, would Evanovich have pulled a gun on a police officer chasing him, thus ending in the same result?

    People who will be reckless with a firearm will be reckless whether there is a legal right to carry or not. I would rather the right be granted to responsible people and hope that it helps deter crime than not have the right and know for sure that it isn’t.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Poor little Darren.We all make mistakes. Doesn’t he have the same right to justice as anyone else who beats and robs an elderly woman?

    I don’t carry a weapon because I would probably end up using it, and I’m not willing to pay the current interest rate on the karmic debt for taking a life.

    But it’s pretty difficult to argue against the fact that the world is a safer, if not better place for little Darren’s having received an expedited, albeit less formal consequence for his barbarous, inhuman actions.

  • Bob Collins

    all of that may be true, Jim, but the concealed carry law isn’t about dispensing justice, it’s about self defense.

    There have been a number of legal cases in recent years in which people didn’t take the path of escape — even in their home — when threatened. It’s a legal issue and interpretation that’s at the heart of this — where exactly is the line between self defense and the dispensing of justice?

  • John P II

    I’ll answer Mr. Shapiro’s question – Yes, he does. And the sentence for aggravated armed robbery (or whatever the charges may have turned out to be) is not capital punishment. Unless the “chaser” turns out to be an off-duty cop of some sort I would fully support charges being filed.

  • Kassie

    The robbery victim was 53, not exactly elderly. At least most people I know who are in their early 50s would take offense to being called elderly.

    And another incident with conceal and carry was this summer in uptown. There was a string of violent muggings by a group of guys. They chose the wrong guy to try and mug, and he got a shot off. I don’t remember if they thought he hit one of the assailants or not.

  • John P II

    The Stribune reported that the 53 year old victim suffered a “cut to the head that police described as not serious.”

  • GaryF

    We don’t know all the details.

    Were there shell casings from two different handguns? Two different calibers?

    Was the person killed shot in the front or back?

    How many shots were fired? I presume the GS was using a hollow point and the dead pistol whipper, was using a standard target round.

    Where their witnesses of the shooting?

  • Jim!!!

    re: girls costumes

    What’s distasteful about “witches, devis, vampires and goblins”. This writer seems a little too “church lady” to me.

    about dressing “Schiltz says her girls, age 9, 6½ and 4, must wear “tasteful” costumes. That means no witches, devils, vampires or goblins. They’ve been bumblebees, ladybugs and fairies.

  • http://www.shotinthedark.info MBerg

    John P2:

    “‘ll answer Mr. Shapiro’s question – Yes, he does. And the sentence for aggravated armed robbery (or whatever the charges may have turned out to be) is not capital punishment.”

    And if “aggravated robbery” turned, as media reports, to pulling the gun on the “Good Samaritan” – let’s call him or her “Gus” for brevity’s sake – then the sentence for aggravated robbery is irrelevant.

    Mr. Coleman:

    “What the shooter will have to prove is that he had no reasonable alternative to shooting, which may be difficult, since he chased the “robber” with his gun. ”

    Gus could reasonably have not known Mr. Evanovich had a handgun (hard to see a pistol in the dark). Giving chase to an *unarmed* criminal may or may not be advisable, but it’s not illegal. And if Mr. Evanovich – presuming Gus didn’t reasonably know he was armed – turned and pointed his gun, and perhaps fired? It is from THERE, then, that Gus had the “duty to retreat” if *reasonably* possible. Which, if under fire, it is not.

    If he needs a defense attorney – and I’ll cross my fingers that he doesn’t – that might be a reasonable approach.

    I’m not saying Gus’s actions were advisable. My permit training instructor, the late, great Joel Rosenberg taught us pretty painstakingly that a carry permit doesn’t come with a “Junior Lawman” badge. Facing the same situation when carrying, I doubt I’d give chase.

    But I’m thinking Gus has a decent case.

    And by the way:

    “Also, as for the claim that our streets have not been running with blood, you neglect to mention this notorious 2005 incident at Nye’s, where Billy Walsh, a beloved bouncer, was murdered by a drunk carrying a gun and a permit”

    It was a pre-2003 permit – issued back when all one needed to get a permit was a good relationship with one’s county sheriff, and permits were frequently issued to convicted criminals and people with numerous legal issues, by dint of being well-connected.

    And his permit was irrelevant in that case; he drove home to get the gun used to kill Walsh.

    Tragic, yes. But let’s get our facts straight.

    Speaking of which – Bob C:

    “There have been a number of legal cases in recent years in which people didn’t take the path of escape — even in their home — when threatened. ”

    There is an exemption from the “Duty to Retreat” (which is itself a bit of a misnomer, but we’ll run with it for now) in the home. Tony Cornish’s bill would have expanded that exemption to your property – your lawn, garage and car.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Bob and JP II – good, rational points both.

    And my message was clearly less rational than emotional.

    Anyone who has been in a violent, potentially dangerous situation knows that adrenalin surges and emotional responses occur, and only the most highly trained and experienced among us can be expected to intellectually reign in those powerful, natural reactions – be they fear and flight, or the desire to get the bad guy.

    Yes, we are and must be a nation of laws, and the conundrum in the case of a legally armed citizenry is to what extent an individual can and should be permitted to protect others,

    and whether or not apprehending or disabling a violent criminal should be included in the rubric of “protection”.

    Is permitting an armed and dangerous assailant to escape who is potentially if not likely to hurt others not an act of negligence?

    Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but if we choose to allow people to play cowboy, it is naive if not disingenuous to be shocked and dismayed if they also choose to play cops and robbers from time to time.

    Would it be accurate to say that based on the law as currently written, the legally armed citizen who shot and killed the assailant should be charged with unlawful use of a firearm?

    If there is justice with a capital J, a good judge should then advise the jury that he can be found guilty, but sentenced to community service of a less violent type.

    But I don’t know if a judge would have that type of discretion. If not, forcing this individual to serve jail time would only be a further injustice.

    My own theoretical inclination would be to save the little old lady, put the bad guy out of commission, ( how’s that for ambiguous?), and throw myself on the mercy of the court and the wisdom of 12 of my peers if my actions legally crossed the line.

    Having been found innocent after a dramatic trial, I would be carried out of the cheering courtroom on the shoulders of a thankful and adoring public, and into the arms of my beautiful wife and our 13 high achieving children.

    But as I said earlier, I don’t carry a lethal weapon because of the high risk of incurring further karmic debt.

    ( And yes, the rapier wit is licensed). : -)

  • JackU

    A hundred Gary Eichten bobbleheads walk into a bar….

    Politicians are seen leaving by the back entrance to avoid the tough questions.

  • Michele

    Mr. Berg claims, “Gus could reasonably have not known Mr. Evanovich had a handgun (hard to see a pistol in the dark).”

    Not so. The shooter would have to witnessed the crime, which included the pistol whipping, to know a crime took place and to be a “good samaritan”. In fact is seems more than likely the shooter did know Mr. Evanovich was carrying a gun and the shooter chose to pursue him despite (or because of) that fact.

  • Michele

    Re #3 (the Strib charging)

    It will be interesting to see how successful this strategy is and what the eventual price is once the intro pricing is over.

    Personally I already pay of the NYT because of the breadth of original content and the depth at which they typically cover those topics. I have limited funds for news media, so when all the news outlets start charging I will have to more carefully judge content to decide where get the most value for my news media $$.

    From what I see, the Strib’s content frequently contains reprinted stories/columns from major outlets (including NYT) and limited amounts of original journalism. Furthermore they seem to specialize in somewhat inflammatory political stories as well as hokey personal interest stories, neither of which seem very marketable in a competitive market for the readers dollars.

    Finally I wonder how this move will effect their online hits ratios and online advertising revenue.

  • http://www.shotinthedark.info MBerg

    Michele,

    “Not so. The shooter would have to witnessed the crime, which included the pistol whipping, to know a crime took place and to be a “good samaritan”. In fact is seems more than likely the shooter did know Mr. Evanovich was carrying a gun and the shooter chose to pursue him despite (or because of) that fact.”

    I’m not stating fact. I’m conjecturing that Gus (my pen name for the unknown good samaritan) might well have seen *an attack*, a strapping young fellow beating a woman with…something. Intervening against someone armed with a stick or a bottle is one thing; a gun, quite another.

    It’s all conjecture.

    One thing that is NOT conjecture is that Andrew Rothman – who was *not* my carry permit trainer, but likely will be for my renewal – knows more about the issue than everyone on this thread put together.

    He left a comment on my blog:

    http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=23978&cpage=1#comment-97688

    I’ll cop to it; I want Gus to be vindicated. I want every criminal in the Twin Cities to know that their reign of terror is over. And I want this media campaign to, mirabile dictu, “humanize” a guy whose last concerted act on this earth was to pistol whip a defenseless woman, to backfire on the media. Really really bad.

  • Bob Collins

    Oh, Mitch, you KNOW what it does to me when you talk Latin with your insinuations of coordinated media “campaigns.” I love your Gaul.

  • Jim Shapiro

    MBerg – You da man. I can be ironic with the best of em, but only in living languages. Bravo!

  • http://www.shotinthedark.info MBerg

    Bob,

    “insinuations of coordinated media “campaigns.”

    Well, isn’t it just a *tad* odd that Channels 4, 5 and Kupchella all carried the “victim’s” family’s unvarnished, un-examined reactions to the shooting the same day?

    I mean, you tell me if it smells like pure coincidence. Then tell me why.

    Mr. Shapiro,

    “I can be ironic with the best of em, but only in living languages.”

    And they said an English degree would do me no good.

    Next, the saxon imprecations.

  • Eric

    Yeah – I have to agree with Bob here Mitch – probably going a bit overboard on the whole “ending the reign of terror” deal. Like I said earlier – it ends up being a zero sum game. Maybe the right justice was served here. Maybe it will deter other crime. But will it also encourage improper justice? I would never advocate to take away the right to carry, but I don’t think anytime someone shoots another person (even when justified) we should take it so lightly.

    Sure, there is maybe some evidence that having the right to carry reduces crime. John Lott has done extensive studies on it. But it is hard to say that the right to carry is the only reason. There is correlation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean causation.

  • jfh

    rough justice? Undoubtedly. But, we can take comfort that this nuance is a lot more acceptable than Eric’s notion of ‘improper’ justice.

    Does anyone know if the TV stations whored their journalists with the “guns are icky” Joyce Foundation buyoff last year? MPR did it, of course, but at least with a disclosure.

  • http://www.shotinthedark.info Mberg

    Eric,

    Do I indulge in the odd bit of hyperbole? Sure. I’ve been fighting this issue a long time.

    “But will it also encourage improper justice? I would never advocate to take away the right to carry, but I don’t think anytime someone shoots another person (even when justified) we should take it so lightly.”

    That is pretty much impossible under current law. Not sure if you’ve taken the permit training class – or read the late Joel Rosenberg’s excellent book on the subject – but the level of examination one must pass to be upheld in a self-defense shooting is daunting – so much so that I sincerely doubt I’d have chased a robber, myself.

    Carry permittees do *not* take this lightly.

    But let me re-direct this to Bob. You poo-poohed, in your good-natured way, the notion that there is any sort of agenda (let’s not say “conspiracy”) in the Twin Cities media to smear the law-abiding gun owner. And yet beyond the slew of hagiographic coverage of Mr. Evanovich (concluding with Mark McKinney’s reprehensible story in the Strib), MPR itself – they of the “no rant, no slant” slogan – routinely and uncritically run op-eds by the likes of Heather Martens, a woman who has been so routinely debunked on her every factual point that she’s become a regional joke:

    http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=19611

    MPR inoculates itself from charges of “slant” with the occasional pro-second-amendment guest – but how *can* one look at the regional mainstream media’s performance this past week as anything *but* an onslaught of agendamongering dressed up as “journalism?”

  • sterkenberg

    I would call this journalistic malpractice but journalism isn’t a profession.

  • Earnan

    “Good Samaritan” isn’t accurate.

    “Responsible citizen” is the correct term for the man who did his civic duty by pursuing Darren Evanovich after Darren robbed and then—AFTERWARDS—assaulted the “elderly” woman.

    Darren Evanovich committed a despicable violent crime.

    A citizen witnessed this crime and pursued the offender.

    The offender threatened the responsible citizen with death or great bodily harm.

    Citizen righteously slew Darren.

    Nothing “vigilante” or “judge, jury and executioner” here. Darren chose rob and beat a woman. Darren chose to flee arrest. Darren chose to threaten a citizen exercising his civic right and DUTY to arrest a criminal. Darren refused to surrender and chose to use unlawful force. Darren got ventilated.

    This tale is full of win.

    It’ll be a complete victory for good people when Darren’s accomplices—his criminal sister and his criminal mother—are sentenced to long prison terms.