Daily Archives: January 18, 2013

Mo Mo Trial Day 6: "He Was Talking About Religion, Not Terrorism, Wasn’t He?"

Toggle Switch 

Mohamed Mohamud’s defense attorneys have begun their attempt to depict their client as an innocent, young and devout Muslim who wouldn’t have attempted to blow up thousands of people at Portland’s Pioneer Square were it not for FBI talking him into it. The attorneys are trying to convinced the jury that the Oregon State University student was entrapped by the FBI. They claim their client did only what the FBI told him to do, including buying parts for the bombs, mapping escape routes and finding parking spots.

In cross examination of FBI undercover agents Thursday, defense attorney Steven Wax’s job was to wrest details from previous testimony and undercover tapes to establish the then 19 year old Mo Mo’s naivete and lack of sophistication.


Wax questioned the undercover FBI agent known as Hussein about the flattery he and his partner used on Mo Mo, such as fawning over suspect’s poetry and speaking in Arabic religious phrases. Wax claimed Hussein and the other agent Youssef planned their roles in advance, deciding Hussein would be the more religious bad guy,

Attorney: You were going to be the more religious one.
Hussein: I’m a Muslim
Attorney: Your partner is not.
Hussein: He is.

The attorney said, “He was talking about religion, not terrorism, wasn’t he?”

Mo Mo’s defense attorneys know better than that, of course. Mohamud himself is heard on tape talking about becoming a mujahid, how his parents didn’t like his radicalism, how he rejected the ‘peaceful’ faith of one of his mentors and instead wanted to join forces with Al Qaeda (Al Shabaab) in Somalia. For Mo Mo, his religion was being a jihadist. I don’t know if jurors will be made to understand that.

The defense wants to establish that most of the operational details of the bombing really came from the FBI,

Attorney: When he [Mo Mo] raised Pioneer Square he did so at the direction of your partner.
Hussein: No sir.

 Wax claimed that the options the agents frequently claimed to give Mohamud were phony,

“There really were no options in these meetings, sir, were there?”
“There were options.”

In the cross examination of the other FBI undercover officer known as Youssef, defense attorney Lisa Hay continued the effort,

Attorney: He [Mo Mo] had planned to drive it [the van] into the crowd. That was your plan, the parking plan. The FBI decided what kind of truck would be used. The FBI decided the size bomb. When you told him it would take out two blocks,what was his reaction?
Youssef: Surprised.
Attorney: Why was there an LCD TV in the back of the van when you decided you didn’t need it?
Youssef: (after stammering around trying to think of why) I don’t know.
Attorney: The FBI put the screen in the van.
Attorney: Who decided the bomb would have nails?
Youssef: I don’t know.
(Attorney plays snippet of taped conversation of Hussein saying the word “nails.”)
Attorney: It takes a pretty sick person who puts nails in a bomb.

Hay attempted at one point to call out the mistakes Youssef said on tape, but I think she misfired. She tried to depict a reference to Youssef saying, “as excited as a kid at Christmas.” The observation drew a laugh in the overflow court room when she said that was an odd thing to say to a Muslim. Except twice before his partner testified Youssef was in fact himself a Muslim. She didn’t bother to ask him about his religion as a follow up.

Most chilling for me was to hear the recitation of the tic toc the day of the planned bombing. I think I got most of the details, though I may have missed one.

Picked up Mohamud in Beaverton at the home of a friend.
Went to home depot to buy a reflective vest and helmet.
Went to our hotel, the Residence Inn.
Parked the van by the Comcast Building
Went back to our hotel.
Ordered food.
Prayed.
I took them [Mo Mo and Hussein] to the van.
They parked the van.
I came to them.
I dropped myself off at Union Station.
Hussein went to over pass in van.


Prosecutor: What did Mohamud do the night before?
Youssef: Went to Woodburn Outlet Mall to shop at Black Friday sale with friends.
Prosecutor: How did he seem on November 26th?
Youssef: At peace. 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Bernie Giusto: For Sheriffs….No Guns…No Roses

Since the days when the legend of Wyatt Earp was borne, Sheriffs (with a capital S), have been an independent and often interesting lot. The proof can be found in the statutes of law that now that define the unique powers of the office and gives strength to their claim of independence.  


Because the Office of Sheriff is generally the only office of law enforcement authority in our country that is elected by those that the office serves, Sheriffs are fierce defenders of that independence. They believe and understand the responsibility that comes with that independence.  It is both their duty and in a very real sense, the perception of the unique nature of the office by those they serve that requires them to speak or act when others cannot or feel powerless to do so.  The personal consequence of acting on that independence must always give way to greater protections those powers offer to a citizenry that places a high value on that independence.

So no one should have been surprised this week when in open letter to the public Sheriff Tim Mueller from Linn County Oregon refused to accept President Obama’s new gun control initiatives carte blanche or for that matter perhaps any part of it. Putting aside agreement or disagreement about his position, read and feel the ferocity of the independence of rights he claims to lead his office and preserve the Second Amendment right for his citizens. 

Every Sheriff is different and every Sheriff’s political environment can by very different lending to how much and how often of that independent muscle gets flexed effectively. For instance the muscle man of Sheriffs resides is Maricopa County Arizona. In Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio reigns supreme. Sheriff Joe did not waste time or lose sleep waiting for yesterdays underwhelming “gun control”reruns instead of “violence control” strategies. He announced last week he was arming of 500 trained volunteers to increase the school security presence. And believe me he is underway.

Likewise there is no lack of clarity regarding how Sheriff Mueller’s views the strength and the independent responsibility of the Office of Sheriff . Words like “unconstitutional regulations…offending the constitutional rights…unconstitutional actions of misguided politicians…and refuse to participate” shows plenty of flex. Unfortunately when our Sheriff’s feel a need to flex

What is troubling is that our nation’s law enforcement leaders are distracted by in fighting over very old and very tired, misdirected, go nowhere and pretend gun control proposals like we have heard many times before; before Columbine, before the 500 street gun deaths in Chicago last year, before Clackamas Town Center, and before Newtown. 

But I guess there is nothing wrong if you think a Ground hog’s Day strategy sells politically and you don’t mind wasting more American lives because of the lack of real political courage.

In the meantime the violence caused the lack of a comprehensive and well funded mental health strategy will go on unchecked. Add that fact to the lack of federal and state law changes which emphasize individual responsibility of gun owners. We will continue to get absolutely nowhere in controlling our controllable violence and the tragedies will continue to shake our sense of safety to the core of our Second Amendment rights. 

Good for Sheriff Mueller regardless if I agree with him or not. It is the risk of which political courage is made. I can understand and appreciate his position. However I also know that acting on the perceived need to take such a public and controversial position stirs concerns in the community which only highlight our political failures.

At the famed Tombstone Arizona OK Corral in 1861 the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday  shot it out over an estimated thirty second period with the outlaw cowboy gangs known as the  Clantons and McLaurys. Only Wyatt Earp escaped unharmed

During that very lawless period in open range period of the western United States the Earps acting as Town Marshalls proposed disarming everyone by having each individual turn in their sidearms while in town, including the “bad guys” in a effort to stop increasing street violence.

And the town disarmed but the bad guys were not having nothing of it and mixed with a general dislike and disregard for the law in general violence rained down at the OK Corral. 

150 years later we are still talking about disarming the lawful and the bad guys will have nothing of it. 

We have not learned much have we ?

Bernie Giusto is the retired Multnomah County Sheriff. He is also the former Gresham Police Chief and OSP Trooper. He’s part of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Scott St. Clair: For the Same Reason I Read Books I Own Guns

Let’s get it on the record: I own a rifle, a shotgun and a handgun, not because I hunt or regularly shoot, but because it’s my constitutional right to own them. I own guns for the same reason that I speak and write publicly, hold and express religious and other beliefs and opinions and associate with whom I choose where I choose. To keep constitutional rights, you must exercise them .
If I could get one, I would own a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, not necessarily to fire it, but with the firm assurance that I’m constitutionally entitled to own one and because I’m increasingly told I should be denied that right. Similarly, I own books the government historically has sought to ban, and I say things the government has historically sought to jail people for saying.  
The Sandy Hook atrocitywas sickening, as are all such atrocities irrespective of the instrumentality used to commit them. When I think of what happened – 20 innocent children and six adults murdered — I see the faces of two of my grandsons who are the same age as many of the victims, and my heart breaks. But the fault is not with what killed them, but with who killed them.
I believe in the U.S. Constitution – all of it. It has served America well, we’ve fought wars against foreign enemies and amongst ourselves to defend it and every oath-taking public official in the country swears to uphold it. If upsets me to hear some in the public arena propose scrapping it or dismiss it as “your little book.”
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution — The Bill of Rights — were designed to prevent the new government of the United States from becoming as intrusive and invasive as the old British government that the Founding Fathers had just succeeded in overthrowing.  The Bill of Rights holds the government at bay, despite the best efforts of the government to the contrary.
But we’re told that the Framers of the Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment couldn’t have envisioned today’s weaponry. They couldn’t have imagined the First Amendment’s free-speech protections encompassing the Internet, topless dancing and pornography either, so what’s the point?
 Those who love big and controlling government are on a rampage to regulate, literally at the point of a gun, constitutionally-protected gun rights, but they find proposals to regulate other constitutional rights abhorrent. We didn’t see a passionate call to restrict the right to travel to Vegas in the winter after nine people were killed in a recent bus accident in Oregon under just such circumstances.
But when it comes to a proposed federal law regulating owning guns, I may have to be fingerprinted like a common criminal and have my name and address put on a database the same way sex offenders are catalogued and tracked. On the state level in New Jersey, before I can buy a gun, I may be required to submit to a psychological evaluation and home inspection.  Yet I have committed no crime or other misdeed warranting such treatment – I simply want to exercise my constitutional rights.
Routinely, we hear that there’s no justification to own a rifle that looks like a military weapon or a clip that holds more than seven or 10 or whatever number of bullets. Do we ever hear the same kind of controlling zeal for other Bill of Rights’ freedoms? Do we demand a justification for having opinions, holding religious beliefs, associating with others, travelling or wanting a lawyer when being questioned by the police?

Heaven help anyone who demands that a woman justify having an abortion or otherwise exercising her reproductive rights.

 Benjamin Franklin’s oft-quoted maxim that “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety ” applies. If I trade my freedom to anyone – you for example — to be under your protection I am less free because I’m also now under your authority. You have greater power over me because I have to do things your way.  
In a larger sense, if I trade away one constitutionally-protected liberty to the government in order to allegedly be more secure, the rest of them are in jeopardy from piecemeal government encroachment and eventual extinguishment.  The government never does anything without strings attached. What difference does it make which right we give up or allow to be curtailed?

If I give up my right of self-defense with a firearm, then I have no way to ultimately defend my other rights when they come under attack.

When it takes a Russian writing in the English-language edition of Pravda begging Americans not to give up their gun rights because of the experience his countrymen had when the communists confiscated guns just after the 1917 Revolution – mass slaughter and over 70 years of tyranny — then you know it has gone over the edge.    
In the United States today, law-abiding women, gays, blacks, Latinos, Muslims or anyone in a group or subculture with a history of persecution or discrimination against it deserve the right to own a gun. Some of the most ardent supporters of the Second Amendment I’ve met are lesbians because they’ve had first-hand experience with the consequences of being defenseless. And one of the lead plaintiffs in litigation to allow handguns in Chicago was a 76-year-old black grandfatherwho wanted to be able to protect his home because the police couldn’t.
Guns are different, we’re also told, and we’re bombarded with statistics, anecdotal evidence and prophecies of gloom and doom to justify curtailing the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  But the statistics on gun-related violence and death show that the more guns we have, the safer we are. Those Framers were on to something.

Applying much of the rationale for proposed gun-control legislation to other aspects of the current post-Sandy Hook conversation – mental health and violent video games, movies and TV – would justify incarcerating those suffering from bipolar disorder and outlawing as a matter of prior restraint all forms of entertainment in which guns are used. There goes my collection of Have Gun – Will Travel DVDs.

Frankly, one of the few honest gun-control voices belongs to former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper who advocates an outright repeal of the Second Amendment since that’s the only way to end gun violence in the United States — or at least violence on the part of those who would have been justified in using it. But with criminals, not so much.

I’ve talked with too many liberals and progressives not to be convinced that their real goal is the complete elimination of privately-owned firearms of any type in the United States. As one told me recently, America won’t get rid of guns all at once. But if they can be regulated and restricted a little bit at a time, then over time, both guns and that pesky Second Amendment will be gone.
For as much as I believe in the Constitution and my right to keep and bear arms, I believe that even more. And that’s why I have no interest in yielding even an inch on this issue.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

OUTRAGE: Murder Suspect’s Attorney Hides Location of Victim’s Body for Months Without Disclosing to Investigators

I am outraged that the defense attorney in the Yashanee Vaughn murder case knew where her body was for MONTHS and refused to disclose that to authorities. 

It was the last thing said in court Thursday as Parrish Bennette, the murderer, was given a plea bargained lesser sentence of eleven 18 years for shooting the 14 year old Yashanee and burying her body at Rocky Butte.

In a move that reminded me of an ‘oh-and-one-more-thing’ moment from the old Colombo television show, defense attorney Thomas Mac Nair stood and said,

“Just one thing judge. In April of 2011 when Mr. Bennette was arrested, his lawyers we were appointed to this case. A decision was made as to whether to reveal the location of the victim’s remains then or to delay revealing the location of the victim’s remains. A decision was made to delay that and that was made by his lawyers, not by him.”



At this point, Yashanee’s family members, who moments before had given their victim’s statements, could be heard gasping and muttering at this revelation. The judge had to shush the crowd but a woman’s quiet weeping remained in the background as the attorney continued, 

“That decision was made in accordance with our sworn duty to zealously represent and defend Mr. Bennette. We want the family to understand that it was not Mr. Bennette’s decision and we would ask them to accept our sympathy…and our regret…


A voice from the crowd yelled,   Yashanee’s mother, Shaquita Louis blurted out,


“We ain’t got no sympathy!”


The crowd in the courtroom gets restless at this point, the sounds of rustlings in their seats is heard as if physically trying to hold in their screams.


“…for the additional pain that the family had to endure because of that decision.”


At this point Mac Nair crossed his arms over his chest, 


“We have discussed with Mr Bennette his right to make a statement at this time but on advice of counsel he wishes to remain silent. That’s all we have.”

The news came as a shock to family members, one of whom said,

“They let her lay in the dirt and decompose for four months and knew where she was? Where’s the justice for that? That’s sick.”

I agree. 

Their family spokeswoman was on the program with me moments after it happened. Listen to this exchange here at about minute 52:00.


Will the attorney Thomas Mac Nair be sanctioned for impeding a murder investigation or is hiding a body ‘privileged’ information?


Watch this KOIN Local 6 report stating the prosecutors want the attorneys on the defense team disbarred.



KOIN also reports that the Metropolitan Public Defenders Office says the attorneys did exactly what they supposed to do and it was legal to withhold the location of the body.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Mo Mo Trial Day 6: "He Was Talking About Religion, Not Terrorism, Wasn’t He?"

Toggle Switch 

Mohamed Mohamud’s defense attorneys have begun their attempt to depict their client as an innocent, young and devout Muslim who wouldn’t have attempted to blow up thousands of people at Portland’s Pioneer Square were it not for FBI talking him into it. The attorneys are trying to convinced the jury that the Oregon State University student was entrapped by the FBI. They claim their client did only what the FBI told him to do, including buying parts for the bombs, mapping escape routes and finding parking spots.

In cross examination of FBI undercover agents Thursday, defense attorney Steven Wax’s job was to wrest details from previous testimony and undercover tapes to establish the then 19 year old Mo Mo’s naivete and lack of sophistication.


Wax questioned the undercover FBI agent known as Hussein about the flattery he and his partner used on Mo Mo, such as fawning over suspect’s poetry and speaking in Arabic religious phrases. Wax claimed Hussein and the other agent Youssef planned their roles in advance, deciding Hussein would be the more religious bad guy,

Attorney: You were going to be the more religious one.
Hussein: I’m a Muslim
Attorney: Your partner is not.
Hussein: He is.

The attorney said, “He was talking about religion, not terrorism, wasn’t he?”

Mo Mo’s defense attorneys know better than that, of course. Mohamud himself is heard on tape talking about becoming a mujahid, how his parents didn’t like his radicalism, how he rejected the ‘peaceful’ faith of one of his mentors and instead wanted to join forces with Al Qaeda (Al Shabaab) in Somalia. For Mo Mo, his religion was being a jihadist. I don’t know if jurors will be made to understand that.

The defense wants to establish that most of the operational details of the bombing really came from the FBI,

Attorney: When he [Mo Mo] raised Pioneer Square he did so at the direction of your partner.
Hussein: No sir.

 Wax claimed that the options the agents frequently claimed to give Mohamud were phony,

“There really were no options in these meetings, sir, were there?”
“There were options.”

In the cross examination of the other FBI undercover officer known as Youssef, defense attorney Lisa Hay continued the effort,

Attorney: He [Mo Mo] had planned to drive it [the van] into the crowd. That was your plan, the parking plan. The FBI decided what kind of truck would be used. The FBI decided the size bomb. When you told him it would take out two blocks,what was his reaction?
Youssef: Surprised.
Attorney: Why was there an LCD TV in the back of the van when you decided you didn’t need it?
Youssef: (after stammering around trying to think of why) I don’t know.
Attorney: The FBI put the screen in the van.
Attorney: Who decided the bomb would have nails?
Youssef: I don’t know.
(Attorney plays snippet of taped conversation of Hussein saying the word “nails.”)
Attorney: It takes a pretty sick person who puts nails in a bomb.

Hay attempted at one point to call out the mistakes Youssef said on tape, but I think she misfired. She tried to depict a reference to Youssef saying, “as excited as a kid at Christmas.” The observation drew a laugh in the overflow court room when she said that was an odd thing to say to a Muslim. Except twice before his partner testified Youssef was in fact himself a Muslim. She didn’t bother to ask him about his religion as a follow up.

Most chilling for me was to hear the recitation of the tic toc the day of the planned bombing. I think I got most of the details, though I may have missed one.

Picked up Mohamud in Beaverton at the home of a friend.
Went to home depot to buy a reflective vest and helmet.
Went to our hotel, the Residence Inn.
Parked the van by the Comcast Building
Went back to our hotel.
Ordered food.
Prayed.
I took them [Mo Mo and Hussein] to the van.
They parked the van.
I came to them.
I dropped myself off at Union Station.
Hussein went to over pass in van.


Prosecutor: What did Mohamud do the night before?
Youssef: Went to Woodburn Outlet Mall to shop at Black Friday sale with friends.
Prosecutor: How did he seem on November 26th?
Youssef: At peace. 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Bernie Giusto: For Sheriffs….No Guns…No Roses

Since the days when the legend of Wyatt Earp was borne, Sheriffs (with a capital S), have been an independent and often interesting lot. The proof can be found in the statutes of law that now that define the unique powers of the office and gives strength to their claim of independence.  


Because the Office of Sheriff is generally the only office of law enforcement authority in our country that is elected by those that the office serves, Sheriffs are fierce defenders of that independence. They believe and understand the responsibility that comes with that independence.  It is both their duty and in a very real sense, the perception of the unique nature of the office by those they serve that requires them to speak or act when others cannot or feel powerless to do so.  The personal consequence of acting on that independence must always give way to greater protections those powers offer to a citizenry that places a high value on that independence.

So no one should have been surprised this week when in open letter to the public Sheriff Tim Mueller from Linn County Oregon refused to accept President Obama’s new gun control initiatives carte blanche or for that matter perhaps any part of it. Putting aside agreement or disagreement about his position, read and feel the ferocity of the independence of rights he claims to lead his office and preserve the Second Amendment right for his citizens. 

Every Sheriff is different and every Sheriff’s political environment can by very different lending to how much and how often of that independent muscle gets flexed effectively. For instance the muscle man of Sheriffs resides is Maricopa County Arizona. In Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio reigns supreme. Sheriff Joe did not waste time or lose sleep waiting for yesterdays underwhelming “gun control”reruns instead of “violence control” strategies. He announced last week he was arming of 500 trained volunteers to increase the school security presence. And believe me he is underway.

Likewise there is no lack of clarity regarding how Sheriff Mueller’s views the strength and the independent responsibility of the Office of Sheriff . Words like “unconstitutional regulations…offending the constitutional rights…unconstitutional actions of misguided politicians…and refuse to participate” shows plenty of flex. Unfortunately when our Sheriff’s feel a need to flex

What is troubling is that our nation’s law enforcement leaders are distracted by in fighting over very old and very tired, misdirected, go nowhere and pretend gun control proposals like we have heard many times before; before Columbine, before the 500 street gun deaths in Chicago last year, before Clackamas Town Center, and before Newtown. 

But I guess there is nothing wrong if you think a Ground hog’s Day strategy sells politically and you don’t mind wasting more American lives because of the lack of real political courage.

In the meantime the violence caused the lack of a comprehensive and well funded mental health strategy will go on unchecked. Add that fact to the lack of federal and state law changes which emphasize individual responsibility of gun owners. We will continue to get absolutely nowhere in controlling our controllable violence and the tragedies will continue to shake our sense of safety to the core of our Second Amendment rights. 

Good for Sheriff Mueller regardless if I agree with him or not. It is the risk of which political courage is made. I can understand and appreciate his position. However I also know that acting on the perceived need to take such a public and controversial position stirs concerns in the community which only highlight our political failures.

At the famed Tombstone Arizona OK Corral in 1861 the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday  shot it out over an estimated thirty second period with the outlaw cowboy gangs known as the  Clantons and McLaurys. Only Wyatt Earp escaped unharmed

During that very lawless period in open range period of the western United States the Earps acting as Town Marshalls proposed disarming everyone by having each individual turn in their sidearms while in town, including the “bad guys” in a effort to stop increasing street violence.

And the town disarmed but the bad guys were not having nothing of it and mixed with a general dislike and disregard for the law in general violence rained down at the OK Corral. 

150 years later we are still talking about disarming the lawful and the bad guys will have nothing of it. 

We have not learned much have we ?

Bernie Giusto is the retired Multnomah County Sheriff. He is also the former Gresham Police Chief and OSP Trooper. He’s part of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Scott St. Clair: For the Same Reason I Read Books I Own Guns

Let’s get it on the record: I own a rifle, a shotgun and a handgun, not because I hunt or regularly shoot, but because it’s my constitutional right to own them. I own guns for the same reason that I speak and write publicly, hold and express religious and other beliefs and opinions and associate with whom I choose where I choose. To keep constitutional rights, you must exercise them .
If I could get one, I would own a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, not necessarily to fire it, but with the firm assurance that I’m constitutionally entitled to own one and because I’m increasingly told I should be denied that right. Similarly, I own books the government historically has sought to ban, and I say things the government has historically sought to jail people for saying.  
The Sandy Hook atrocitywas sickening, as are all such atrocities irrespective of the instrumentality used to commit them. When I think of what happened – 20 innocent children and six adults murdered — I see the faces of two of my grandsons who are the same age as many of the victims, and my heart breaks. But the fault is not with what killed them, but with who killed them.
I believe in the U.S. Constitution – all of it. It has served America well, we’ve fought wars against foreign enemies and amongst ourselves to defend it and every oath-taking public official in the country swears to uphold it. If upsets me to hear some in the public arena propose scrapping it or dismiss it as “your little book.”
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution — The Bill of Rights — were designed to prevent the new government of the United States from becoming as intrusive and invasive as the old British government that the Founding Fathers had just succeeded in overthrowing.  The Bill of Rights holds the government at bay, despite the best efforts of the government to the contrary.
But we’re told that the Framers of the Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment couldn’t have envisioned today’s weaponry. They couldn’t have imagined the First Amendment’s free-speech protections encompassing the Internet, topless dancing and pornography either, so what’s the point?
 Those who love big and controlling government are on a rampage to regulate, literally at the point of a gun, constitutionally-protected gun rights, but they find proposals to regulate other constitutional rights abhorrent. We didn’t see a passionate call to restrict the right to travel to Vegas in the winter after nine people were killed in a recent bus accident in Oregon under just such circumstances.
But when it comes to a proposed federal law regulating owning guns, I may have to be fingerprinted like a common criminal and have my name and address put on a database the same way sex offenders are catalogued and tracked. On the state level in New Jersey, before I can buy a gun, I may be required to submit to a psychological evaluation and home inspection.  Yet I have committed no crime or other misdeed warranting such treatment – I simply want to exercise my constitutional rights.
Routinely, we hear that there’s no justification to own a rifle that looks like a military weapon or a clip that holds more than seven or 10 or whatever number of bullets. Do we ever hear the same kind of controlling zeal for other Bill of Rights’ freedoms? Do we demand a justification for having opinions, holding religious beliefs, associating with others, travelling or wanting a lawyer when being questioned by the police?

Heaven help anyone who demands that a woman justify having an abortion or otherwise exercising her reproductive rights.

 Benjamin Franklin’s oft-quoted maxim that “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety ” applies. If I trade my freedom to anyone – you for example — to be under your protection I am less free because I’m also now under your authority. You have greater power over me because I have to do things your way.  
In a larger sense, if I trade away one constitutionally-protected liberty to the government in order to allegedly be more secure, the rest of them are in jeopardy from piecemeal government encroachment and eventual extinguishment.  The government never does anything without strings attached. What difference does it make which right we give up or allow to be curtailed?

If I give up my right of self-defense with a firearm, then I have no way to ultimately defend my other rights when they come under attack.

When it takes a Russian writing in the English-language edition of Pravda begging Americans not to give up their gun rights because of the experience his countrymen had when the communists confiscated guns just after the 1917 Revolution – mass slaughter and over 70 years of tyranny — then you know it has gone over the edge.    
In the United States today, law-abiding women, gays, blacks, Latinos, Muslims or anyone in a group or subculture with a history of persecution or discrimination against it deserve the right to own a gun. Some of the most ardent supporters of the Second Amendment I’ve met are lesbians because they’ve had first-hand experience with the consequences of being defenseless. And one of the lead plaintiffs in litigation to allow handguns in Chicago was a 76-year-old black grandfatherwho wanted to be able to protect his home because the police couldn’t.
Guns are different, we’re also told, and we’re bombarded with statistics, anecdotal evidence and prophecies of gloom and doom to justify curtailing the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  But the statistics on gun-related violence and death show that the more guns we have, the safer we are. Those Framers were on to something.

Applying much of the rationale for proposed gun-control legislation to other aspects of the current post-Sandy Hook conversation – mental health and violent video games, movies and TV – would justify incarcerating those suffering from bipolar disorder and outlawing as a matter of prior restraint all forms of entertainment in which guns are used. There goes my collection of Have Gun – Will Travel DVDs.

Frankly, one of the few honest gun-control voices belongs to former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper who advocates an outright repeal of the Second Amendment since that’s the only way to end gun violence in the United States — or at least violence on the part of those who would have been justified in using it. But with criminals, not so much.

I’ve talked with too many liberals and progressives not to be convinced that their real goal is the complete elimination of privately-owned firearms of any type in the United States. As one told me recently, America won’t get rid of guns all at once. But if they can be regulated and restricted a little bit at a time, then over time, both guns and that pesky Second Amendment will be gone.
For as much as I believe in the Constitution and my right to keep and bear arms, I believe that even more. And that’s why I have no interest in yielding even an inch on this issue.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

OUTRAGE: Murder Suspect’s Attorney Hides Location of Victim’s Body for Months Without Disclosing to Investigators

I am outraged that the defense attorney in the Yashanee Vaughn murder case knew where her body was for MONTHS and refused to disclose that to authorities. 

It was the last thing said in court Thursday as Parrish Bennette, the murderer, was given a plea bargained lesser sentence of eleven 18 years for shooting the 14 year old Yashanee and burying her body at Rocky Butte.

In a move that reminded me of an ‘oh-and-one-more-thing’ moment from the old Colombo television show, defense attorney Thomas Mac Nair stood and said,

“Just one thing judge. In April of 2011 when Mr. Bennette was arrested, his lawyers we were appointed to this case. A decision was made as to whether to reveal the location of the victim’s remains then or to delay revealing the location of the victim’s remains. A decision was made to delay that and that was made by his lawyers, not by him.”



At this point, Yashanee’s family members, who moments before had given their victim’s statements, could be heard gasping and muttering at this revelation. The judge had to shush the crowd but a woman’s quiet weeping remained in the background as the attorney continued, 

“That decision was made in accordance with our sworn duty to zealously represent and defend Mr. Bennette. We want the family to understand that it was not Mr. Bennette’s decision and we would ask them to accept our sympathy…and our regret…


A voice from the crowd yelled,   Yashanee’s mother, Shaquita Louis blurted out,


“We ain’t got no sympathy!”


The crowd in the courtroom gets restless at this point, the sounds of rustlings in their seats is heard as if physically trying to hold in their screams.


“…for the additional pain that the family had to endure because of that decision.”


At this point Mac Nair crossed his arms over his chest, 


“We have discussed with Mr Bennette his right to make a statement at this time but on advice of counsel he wishes to remain silent. That’s all we have.”

The news came as a shock to family members, one of whom said,

“They let her lay in the dirt and decompose for four months and knew where she was? Where’s the justice for that? That’s sick.”

I agree. 

Their family spokeswoman was on the program with me moments after it happened. Listen to this exchange here at about minute 52:00.


Will the attorney Thomas Mac Nair be sanctioned for impeding a murder investigation or is hiding a body ‘privileged’ information?


Watch this KOIN Local 6 report stating the prosecutors want the attorneys on the defense team disbarred.



KOIN also reports that the Metropolitan Public Defenders Office says the attorneys did exactly what they supposed to do and it was legal to withhold the location of the body.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com