“After President Trump has been elected, we’ve seen a steady decline in those numbers of concealed carry permits being issued. It does attribute to our presidential election,” Krebs says. “That’s what it boils down to, the election process, I think people feeling less stress about their second amendment rights being trampled on, or gun control issues being imposed upon them” [Lee Strubinger, “Concealed Carry Permit Numbers down in SD Due to Trump Presidency,” SDPB Radio, 2017.08.10].
Jaber’s guilty plea has nothing to do with his armed presence and online statements at an anti-Muslim hate fest in Sioux Falls last April. Instead, Jaber is admitting that he used and was addicted to illegal drugs while owning firearms, which is a violation of federal law [18 U.S.C. §922(g)(3)]. The May 9 indictment lists Jaber’s weapons:
Tuesday’s plea report lists the potential punishments Jaber has agreed to accept:
John Hult reports that the state is waiting to proceed with its charges until the federal case wraps up.
HB 1156 (vetoed by Governor): allow concealed firearms in the Capitol (but not in the Supreme Court chambers).
HB 1211 (enacted): allow sixty-day grace period to renew expired concealed-firearm permit (translation: allow previously permitted concealed carriers to carry concealed weapons for sixty days without a permit).
I support only one of these measures, #8, HB 1147, which cleaned up previous drafters’ forgetfulness and put a useful safeguard in the enhanced-permit process. I could be persuaded that HB 1135 offered reasonable compensation to folks who engaged in legally justifiable self-defense, though I’m inclined to believe courts and juries ought to be able to sort that out without legislative directive. At best, Citizens for Liberty would have given me a meager 20%, worse than any regular voter in the Senate or House.
The top scoring Democrat was Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton, who scored an 80%. The only black/blue marks on his 2017 scorecard were his two votes, in committee and in the full Senate, against HB 1156, guns in the Capitol, in which nay he was joined by nine Senate Republicans. Democrat Sutton, who is also running for Governor, scored better than 12 Senate Republicans and 25 House Republicans, including House Speaker G. Mark Mickelson.
The SDGOP spin machine will have fun trying to paint Sutton as just another liberal Democrat. But on this gun scorecard, Democrat Sutton is only one bill away from the perfect score of some of the hardest right-wing Republicans in the state, and the bill in question was vetoed by our Republican Governor. Sutton’s Republican opponent, Kristi Noem or Marty Jackley, would have a hard time turning guns in the capitol into a strong campaign issue when Sutton can respond by reading Dennis Daugaard’s veto message back to them. Republicans will have a hard time kicking Senator Sutton around on guns without kicking some of their own powerful members even harder.
When do we take up arms against an oppressor? Such is the troubling question our Founding Fathers answered with muskets in April 1775 and in the Declaration of Independence in July 1776. Such is the troubling question David Newquist takes up in his latest blog post, which discusses ignorant and anti-intellectual Trumpism in the historical context of the Holocaust and Black Lives Matter.
It’s not hard to figure out what the narrative is here. A liberal insurgency is destroying American society. The “only way” to protect yourself from this surge in left-wing violence (a made-up threat, to be clear) is to donate to the NRA — an organization that exists solely to help people buy guns [Zack Beauchamp, “This Chilling NRA Ad Calls on Its Members to Save America by Fighting Liberals,” Vox, 2017.06.29].
Newquist says such absolutist rhetoric leaves him wondering we should respond by leaving America, boycotting certain businesses, or resorting to violence:
People in America of differing politics, creeds, and ethnic groups don’t like each other very much. Their dislike is sparked by defamations in the social media and confirmed by reports of behavior of fellow humans in the traditional press. Violence by mass shooters, shootings of unarmed people by the police, shootings of the police by ambush, and menacing insults spewed out by the president all contribute to a sense that people have to make a decision. And that decision is whether it is time to walk away from America, make economic decisions on the basis of politics, or stand their ground and resist with violence. Or choose all three, so that history will not need to ask why they didn’t resist [David Newquist, “Voting with Feet, Billfolds, and Guns,” Northern Valley Beacon, 2017.07.05].
Annette Bosworth famously posed for a cheap campaign photo with a gun and a Bible in her hands. Ehab Jaber walked into the anti-Muslim propaganda fest in Sioux Falls with a Koran in his hand and a gun on his hip (and possibly in a sock holster). Hickey isn’t cutting Jaber slack (he labels Jaber a terrorist when the evidence does not support that conclusion), but…
I’m not all that convinced what he did is all that different from what a lot of flag/gun waving Christians do. This meme illustrates the point.
If the book the gal on the left is holding up says don’t kill the other person, why is she holding that gun? Here’s why? Because since Constantine, the Church has embraced a grave heresy to find justifications to do the very opposite of what Jesus taught. The gal on the left believes her book gives her justifications to kill the other JUST LIKE the gal [referring to another meme] on the right believes her book gives her justifications to kill the other [Steve Hickey, “Our Opportunity to Love on Our Local Terrorist,” The Other Cheek, 2017.04.26].
Neither Bosworth nor Jaber actually made any threat to kill anyone. However, Hickey seems to support my basic contention that carrying and displaying a gun is in itself an expression of a willingness to use deadly force. And Hickey and I agree that such an expression does not fit with the teachings of the Nazarene carpenter.
But then Hickey preaches some real radical Christianity and recommends local Christians love Jaber by bailing him out:
Second, I think it is high time Christians start acting like Christians and that means we start acting like Christ. That means we figure out a way to love this enemy. Missionaries do it all the time… they reach out to those who are hostile to them and who have even tried to kill them. That’s when the Gospel is most powerful. That’s when we are most like Christ. As is this guy is sitting in jail thinking hundreds of local Christians at an event hate him. I hope that is not true. He needs to know Christians love Muslims even though they take issue with Islam.
So how do we love on our local (alleged) terrorist? My suggestion is that we post his $2500 bond and I’ll put forth the first $250. He needs to know there are people who care about him and that they are they very people who he views as enemies. This gesture would send this guy a message in a way that sending him a Bible wouldn’t. It would send him am important message that so far we have failed to communicate to him and others like him.
…But I really ONLY want these donations to come from people who are “friends of Jesus” and preferably Conservative Christians only – it needs to come from us. Mr Jaber needs to think about the fact that he was bailed out by friends of Jesus [Hickey, 2017.04.26].
Now I still have a problem with Hickey’s exhortation to love. He’s still stuck in some contractual love—bail Jaber out, and maybe he’ll realize the Christians at the anti-Islam rally are really great people and Christianity is a superior religion. The truest, most radical Christian loves for love’s sake, with no thought of recompense.
But Hickey’s call to spring Jaber is a more coherent and confident expression of Christian love and faith than any of the Trumpy fearmongering offered at the April 9 anti-Islam event that Jaber found so appalling.
Jaber, like Bosworth, isn’t a terrorist. Jaber, like Bosworth, is just a bit nuts. Hickey isn’t perfect, either, but his Christian advice is worth considering.
Attorney General Marty Jackley and Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman confirm today that Ehab Abdulmutta Jaber, 45, Sioux Falls, has been arrested by the Sioux Falls Police Department and charged with one count of terrorist threat, class 5 felony, punishable by up to 5 years in the state penitentiary and/or $10,000. During a search of Jaber’s residence law enforcement seized firearms as well as methamphetamine.
Charges stem from an alleged incident on April 9, 2017, involving Jaber at a hotel in Sioux Falls. He was observed to have been videotaping an ongoing event with his cell phone and carrying a handgun. He was escorted out of the event, but later was found to be live streaming terrorist threats to the public and brandishing a number of firearms and ammunition [Attorney General’s office, press release, 2017.04.21].
I have little sympathy for a guy with meth in house. But as I contended on The Greg Belfrage Show on Friday before the charges against Jaber were announced, brandishing a weapon, online or in public, inherently threatens violence. Picking up a gun says, “I’m ready to use deadly force.” Displaying a gun says, “Be afraid of me.”
If Jaber can get charged with making terroristic threats by showing how tough he and his arsenal are on Facebook, then folks marching to Starbucks with assault rifles should anticipate a visit from the Attorney General as well.
Ehab Jaber’s Facebook page is down, but as you can imagine, his April 9 video that got him worldwide fame and criminal charges persists. Watch and tell me whom Jaber is threatening:
Heck, he doesn’t even point his guns or put his finger on the trigger the way Lynne DiSanto does.
State sales tax revenues have fallen below the previous fiscal year’s revenues for eight of the nine last months. And remember, we’re charging an extra half-cent sales tax on every dollar sale than we did in FY2016, so that 2.16% drop in tax revenues in March represents a 13.03% drop in taxable sales. [Correction! 2017.04.21 16:08 CDT: Notice that term “base sales tax” in the charts? LRC calculated these revenues based on the old 4% rate, to compare apples to apples. They did not include the extra half-penny tax for teacher pay, so the 2.16% drop in sales tax revenues does indeed present a straight 2.16% drop in taxable sales, not the even worse 13.03% drop that I feared. I apologize for the error.]
A man who was asked to leave an anti-Islam speaking event last week after he held up the Quran and was believed to have weapons on his person will not face charges in connection with the incident, a Sioux Falls Police Department spokesman said Monday.
…Sam Clemens, a spokesman with the Sioux Falls Police Department, said security officers at the event believed the man had a weapon at the event and asked him to leave. Clemens said the man left the Hilton Garden Inn South and went to his car.
At that point the man voiced his concern about the tenor of Hadian’s talk titled “Sabotaging America: Islam’s March Towards Supremacy” using Facebook Live. In the video the man pulls out multiple handguns, a shotgun and ammo, which he had in his vehicle. In the video the man curses and says, “be scared,” as he shows the weapons.
Clemens said police and FBI agents met with the man at the event and later on in the evening to verify that he posed no harm to event attendees. Concealed carrying a firearm is legal with a permit in South Dakota, though private business owners can restrict possession in their establishments.
A Muslim man entered a private gathering of Christians in a hotel ballroom in South Dakota, started cursing and livestreaming video on Facebook of the event and then, after he was ushered out, displayed multiple firearms and issued statements the speakers say were a direct threat to their safety.
…“I do believe the off-duty police officer who noticed what was going on is a hero who may have stopped a potential attack,” said Brannon Howse, who was on the podium speaking when Jaber was asked to leave [Leo Hohmann, “Heavily Armed Muslim Warns U.S. Public: ‘Be Terrified’,” World Net Daily, 2017.04.17].
Ehab Jaber has displayed his weapons and rhetoric on Facebook for some time:
Rather than covering his tracks, Jaber is keeping his Facebook page public and displaying his gun pride as unashamedly as Stace Nelson, Jordan Mason, and other South Dakota gun owners. Jaber offers this lengthy response to the white noise (out of Internet politeness, I take the liberty of de-capitalizing what appears on his page in all caps):
i’m sure by now, you probably have seen the picture or video and you’re checking out my fb profile. welcome. relax. it’s not what you think. believe me or not, it’s up to you. i am almost 46. sioux falls has been my home for the last 24 years. as a matter of fact, sioix falls has been home since before i was even born. i am an american. so any call for deportation is just not gonna happen, even with trump in the white house. 80% of my friends are christians. you know what the other 20% is?
i’ve served you and your family, food and drink. i’ve watched over your teenagers when they came to the club for teen night. all common sense says, deactivate my page. shut it down. damage control. buT alas, i’ve done nothing wrong. justlike the fbi detectives told me already. i have nothing to hide. so go ahead, take the fb free tour. if this fb page is no longer up, know that i did not deactivate it. the shirt i’m wearing in the video, i have worn out before many times. some of you might have seen me at huhot wearing the same shirt or a pink one, with my .45 calliber kimber ultra carry stainless…. i know, very nice pistol… some of you might have seen me while getting their hair cut at the mansalon. some might have seen me at walmart or hyvee. and many of you have seen me at the gun range, with my entier arsenal. it’s not for you. i armed myself against stupidity and against what might become one day an oppressive government. because come hell or high water, this american who happens to be a muslim, ain’t getting on no bus and ain’t going to no camp. the double negatives are intentional. to appeal to some in the crowd. if you set out to harm my son or anyone i love, bare in mind, 80% of which are christians, i will do what any of you would do in that case. you will also quickly find out how dillusional and paranoid you are. my fb page is open to you. and will open up my home to you if you want to have a conversation. but stupidity will be met with absolute intolerance to it.
love peace and chicken grease
don’t fall victim to fear. there is no dignity in fear [Ehab Jaber, Facebook post, 2017.04.17].
I maintain as I have in previous discussions that carrying around that many weapons serves little good and much ill. Both the carrier and the people around him are in greater danger of being shot than if the carrier’s guns were not present. That’s why I oppose guns in the Capitol, in courthouses, and in classrooms. If I see Jaber at Huhot with his pistol, I’ll tell him that gun isn’t going to protect him from the biggest threat he faces at that moment, the Five Village Fire Szechuan sauce.
But Jaber is expressing the same misguided armed response to fear and objectionable politics as South Dakota’s avid gun advocates:
Shooting things is a bad solution. Carrying guns and thus threatening to shoot things signals a failure of imagination and faith in civil society. If anyone had shown up at the anti-xenophobia protest here in Aberdeen a couple weeks ago, I suspect organizers would have told the gun-toters to beat it.
But if “Gunny Granny” can show that bad faith and bring her guns from home, why can’t Ehab Jaber? I can offer you a consistent response as to why Granny and Ehab ought to put down their weapons and seek more civil interaction with their neighbors. South Dakota’s white-wing gun nuts cannot. Whatever the Second Amendment covers, it applies equally to white Christian grannies and brown Muslim cooks.
Fall River County Commissioners apparently live in fear of violence. On a 3–2 vote at their March 21 meeting, the commission voted to “allow citizens and county employees to legally carry firearms and other weapons in the courthouse, except in the courtroom on days when court is in session.”
SDCL 22-14-23 makes possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon (like rapier wit?) in courthouses a Class 1 misdemeanor (with expections in SDCL 22-14-24 for judges and law enforcement). However, SDCL 22-14-28 allows county commissions to waive that prohibition.
The public comments by the Fall River County Commission don’t inspire my confidence in their packing heat:
“This is still the West,” Commissioner Joe Falkenburg said. “But I wonder how people feel. I talked to Sue (Ganje, county auditor) and she’s not enthused about having a pistol under the counter. We’d be one of the few counties that don’t have this. We have a panic button, but I feel most protected when I have my six-gun” [John D. Taylor, “Fall River Commissioners Approve Weapons in Courthouse,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.03.29].
As a citizen, I feel less protected when I go to a public meeting to discuss important issues and face an elected official carrying a gun.
Building supervisor Lyle Jensen and Commissioner Deb Russell suggested the county participate in an active shooter training program offered by the Hot Springs School District, but Commissioner Falkenburg stuck to his guns:
Jensen said the training would be interactive and participants would be taught ways to thwart an active shooter, including by throwing objects such as books at the shooter.
“That’d be bringing a book to a gunfight,” Falkenburg countered. “Will they remember the training? I’d be more inclined to go to the gun” [Taylor, 2017.03.29].
Hmm… if you aren’t going to remember anti-shooter training, are you going to remember to switch off your safety?
Taylor’s coverage is unclear on how openly the commission discussed this bang-up ordinance:
Fall River County State’s Attorney Jim Sword said the board took the action during a March 21 commission meeting after a series of executive sessions, which are closed to the public.
…After the meeting, Sword said that since no one from the public was able to comment on the courthouse weapons measure, it would be discussed again at the next commissioners meeting on April 4 [Taylor, 2017.03.29].
An earlier version of Taylor’s report states that a resident from the audience did make a comment during discussion of the weapons measure. That earlier version also reports Sword’s statement differently:
However, Sword said after the meeting that the courthouse weapon issue will be brought up again at the next commissioners meeting, since no one from the public was there to voice an opinion on this to the commissioners [John D. Taylor, “Commissioners Approve Weapons in Courthouse,” RCJ/Hot Springs Star, 2017.03.28].
There appears to be no open meetings violation here. But the Fall River County Commission is inviting open season in the halls of its courthouse. Avid hunter and journalist Kevin Woster plans to test out the new “Bring your gun to the courthouse” rule:
As soon as the looser rule takes effect, I’m heading down that way to fish Angostura. But first I’m going to make a stop at the courthouse, stroll in with my SKB over-under 20 gauge (I don’t own a handgun, but I assume a firearm is a firearm) and snap a selfie somewhere in the courthouse, at a location of my choice.
(I’m not sure if the rule will allow me on the other side of the counter, say at the Auditor’s Office. But Sue Ganje and I have always gotten along well, so … initially I had a typo that said Sue and I had gotten ‘alone’ well, but my wife objected. I’m guessing Sue did, too…)
Anyway, I’ll then post the selfie here.
I’m already feeling a little giddy at the thought of exercising my Second Amendment rights in a public facility. I might even bring doughnuts [Kevin Woster, public Facebook post, 2017.03.29].
Public officials’ insistence that they need to carry guns to protect themselves could provoke journalists covering their meetings to do the same thing. I’d like to think that a few liberal journalists carrying guns into public meetings at places like the Fall River County Commission room could make elected officials rethink any loosening of gun restrictions.
But I won’t test that resolve. I won’t carry a gun unless I expect to do some shooting. If any of my elected officials choose to carry weapons in the halls of democracy, I’ll stick with staring them down with my camera, my pen, and my commitment to civil discourse… which may pose a greater risk to the powers that be than any armed bogeymen.
History Challenge: I invite readers to submit examples of armed mayhem in South Dakota courthouses. One notable incident occurred on September 25, 1967, when Judge Tom Parker took a shot to the abdomen but still subdued a gunman in his Pennington County courtroom by throwing his chair and tackling the shooter.