Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

Self-defense gone wrong, terrorist attack in St. Petersburg, AK technical drawings, and more....

"The faded elegance of a lost world: Inside Italian-style mansion in North Carolina which has been crumbling away for decades"--Daily Mail. More photos and story at the link.

  • "Video shows Las Vegas smoke shop clerk shooting 13-year-old"--Las Vegas Review-Journal. This is from a December 2, 2016, incident. The clerk has being charged with murder. Basic background is that three teens (13 and 14 years old) plotted to rob the store, then charged into the store with hoodies and shirts drawn up about their faces. The clerk claims that he feared for his life, and shot (multiple times) the nearest robber, killing him. That is, the clerk has raised self-defense.
       I'm no expert on Nevada law (and this is not intended as legal advice), but just quickly looking up the relevant self-defense statute, it appears that under Nevada law, the defendant ("slayer") wanting to use self-defense as justification for killing another must show (1) "The danger was so urgent and pressing that, in order to save the person’s own life, or to prevent the person from receiving great bodily harm, the killing of the other was absolutely necessary," and (2) "The person killed was the assailant, or that the slayer had really, and in good faith, endeavored to decline any further struggle before the mortal blow was given." Nev. Rev. Stat. 200.200. The Nevada Supreme Court has further indicated that:
... homicide is justifiable when a person reasonably believes that he is about to be seriously injured or killed and there is an actual and immediate danger that he will be killed. While homicide would be justifiable under these circumstances, it would also be justifiable if there was no actual or immediate danger to the defendant, but the defendant reasonably believed that his assailant could kill or seriously harm him.
    Culverson v. State, 106 Nev. 484, 487, 797 P.2d 238, 239 (1990) (emphasis in original). The "reasonable" requirement necessitates showing not only a subjective belief (that is, what the defendant believed) but also an objective belief (that is, a "reasonable person" would likewise have the same belief).
             The problems for the clerk is that the robber was 42 feet away at the time of the shooting (i.e., he had only barely entered the store), the robber was a young teen, and the robber and his compatriots were unarmed. Thus, there may be a question for the jury of whether the clerk had a reasonable belief he could be killed or seriously harmed, and/or imminence ("the danger was so urgent and pressing ..."). In a self-defense shooting, as much as possible, you want to eliminate the possibility of jury questions. Referencing the OODA loop, the issue is one of needing to take additional time to observe and orient before deciding to act. In this case, for instance, the better course of action might have been to draw the weapon and verbally challenge the robbers. 
              The lesson here is that self-defense law oft times does not allow us to take the personally safest option because of the need to establish the reasonableness of our actions. The law expects us, the citizen, to take a life only under dire circumstances. 

      Other Stuff:
      • More: "ISIS Celebrates St. Petersburg Metro Blast That Killed 9"--Vocativ. The article reports: "Others [ISIS supporters] celebrated by saying that the Monday bombs made for 'a metro to hell for the worshipers of the Cross' and claimed that the attacks — which are still under investigation by Russian authorities — were revenge for Russia’s backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fight against ISIS and other rebel groups in Syria’s civil war."
      • He's going to have to update it ... frequently: "A Week of Diversity and Terror"--Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish. A post from last week recapping just the terrorist incidents last week in Europe by jihadis. Greenfield points out:
               Somewhere along the way it wasn’t life that became normal, but terror. And the insistence on normalcy just normalizes the terror. A week with three terror attacks across Europe is no longer extraordinary. We have come to expect that there will be men trying to stab and run us over from Paris to Antwerp to London. And we have come to expect another Islamic terror plot targeting Kansas City, Miami, Columbia, New York, San Bernardino, Boston, Tampa, Dallas, Rochester, Springfield and any city. 
                 We don’t know when or where the next attack will come. But we know whom it will come from. 
                   White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
                     The pattern of Rice's requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government's policy on "unmasking" the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like "U.S. Person One."
                       The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) in Germany is the official arm of the Diyanet, the Turkish government's Presidency of Religious Affairs, which operates 900 mosques and employs 970 imams and religious officials. DITIB represents 70 percent of Germany's Muslim community and serves the more than three million German nationals of Turkish origin or Turkish citizens who live in Germany.
                         But investigations into the DITIB in recent months have revealed that the Turkish government-controlled mosques have been used extensively as part of the spy network of the Turkish intelligence agency, the Milli Istihbarat Teskilati (MIT).
                  • "Average IQ can be a real bear, or silk purses and sow's ears"--Ex Army. (H/t Nicholas Stix). A brief discussion of bell curves, average (or mean), and the implications for IQ results for different populations. Key point from the article: "It is average IQ that is the prime determinant of what a society will be like. And according to my calculations, the average US IQ has declined by at least eight points since 1965."


                  1. Your Vegas shooting story lacks credibility. Facts are that the teens were leaving the store when one was shot in the BACK several times. No legitimate claim of self defense there.

                    A good example of a fake news story..

                    1. I'm not sure what you claim is a fake news story or why, or what you think is not credible. The article merely reported the respective assertions of the prosecutor and the clerk, which I summarized. I didn't claim it was legitimate self-defense. Rather, the clerk claimed he had shot in self-defense and I pointed out some problems with his assertion. Also, the teens were not leaving the store when the clerk decided to open fire. If you watch a video of the incident, you will see that when the firearm is first presented and shot, the teen in question was still facing the clerk and moving forward (he had just dodged over to follow an aisle leading directly to the clerk). The teen turned immediately (although whether it was because of the appearance of the weapon or the sound of shots we will probably never know), but the clerk continued firing, which explains the shots to the back.

                  2. Regarding rhe Vegas shooting and your above comments: Don't get me wrong, I'm no bleeding-heart, Black Lives Matter supporter. Anytime anyone enters a place of business with their faces covered and the obvious intent to commit a crime, they should be fair game. My concern was that you failed to mention one of the most salient facts until your rebuttal, an that was that the "victim" was shot in the back 7 times. by the clerk. Not including that small piece of information in your original article casts serious doubt on the self-defense claim. For the record, I hope the clerk prevails. Was there a racial component to this story, in my opinion, for sure, but that's a separate issue.

                    1. I was just trying to highlight what, to me, were the most salient points, after watching the video a few times. And, in my mind at least, the fact that the dead teen turned as the shooting started (and was therefore struck in the back) was less significant than the fact that the teens were not displaying weapons (at least none were visible in the video) and they were still some distance from the clerk. If the clerk had presented his weapon, challenged the teens, who immediately stopped and turned to flee, and then the clerk opened fire, that would have been a completely different situation in my mind and I would have assigned different weights to the facts. But in this case, there was no time between the presentation of the weapon and firing. By that fact, however, this incident may illustrate why you DO NOT want your practice of the draw stroke to ALWAYS be followed by taking a shot or dry firing the weapon.

                      Is there a racial component to this story? Sure, but not one, unfortunately, that the jury will hear, which is that, based on FBI crime statistics, young black males disproportionately commit violent crimes compared to other groups. Thus, the clerk, objectively, had a greater reason to fear three black teens rushing through the door than three white or Hispanic teens.