Discover more from Today's Edition Newsletter
Circumventing red flag laws in Colorado.
November 22, 2022
A military veteran attending Club Q with his family on Saturday evening subdued the gunman who killed five patrons and injured dozens of others. Richard M. Fierro, a retired Major who served four tours of combat duty, went into “combat mode” to tackle and disarm the gunman. He was assisted by other patrons and performers, including one performer in drag who “stomped on the gunman with her high heels.” The courageous actions by Fierro and other bystanders prevented an even greater tragedy.
In the NRA’s mythology, “All it takes to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” That statement is cruelly false—as proven by the massacre of children at Uvalde, where dozens of “good guys with guns” stood frozen in fear for an hour, cradling their precious guns as children died pleading for help that never came.
At Club Q, unarmed patrons and performers did what a brigade of armed Texas lawmen could not do—they subdued the shooter. Based on an analysis in the NYTimes, victims of mass shootings subdue the attacker 66% of the time when the mass shooter does not commit suicide or flee the scene (42/64). See NYTimes, Who Stops a ‘Bad Guy With a Gun’? The Times analysis concludes that “Police officers shoot or physically subdue the shooter in less than a third of attacks.” The NRA’s mythology is a lie.
All it takes to stop a bad guy with a gun is to ensure that bad guys do not have access to guns. But the Sheriff’s department in the county where Club Q is located has refused to enforce “red flag laws” that deny firearms to people who pose “a significant risk to self or others by having a firearm.” See Business Insider, Sheriffs in the Colorado county where the Club Q shooting took place have refused to enforce 'red flag' laws and the county declared itself a 'Second Amendment preservation county'
Here, the Club Q killer was arrested a year prior to the Club Q attack for threatening to harm his mother with a bomb. Although the killer was previously charged with two felonies and three counts of kidnapping, he was not tried or convicted. Thus, he was apparently able to legally possess an assault rifle. See The Independent, Colorado Springs shooting suspect had ‘threatened mother with home-made bomb’ in June 2021.
Why was the killer permitted to possess an assault rifle despite Colorado’s “red flag” laws? Because the Sheriff’s department responsible for protecting the citizens of Colorado Springs cares more about the gun rights of persons who “pose a significant risk to others” than they do about the safety of members of the public. Let’s hope that someone holds the Sheriff’s office responsible for its decision not to enforce Colorado’s red flag laws—which may have prevented the deaths of five innocent people.
The names of those killed at Club Q are Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Green Vance. For biographies of the victims, see HuffPo, Victims Identified In Colorado Springs LGBTQ Club Shooting.
The Supreme Court scandal.
Although the current scandal at the Supreme Court seems to involve the leak of two anti-choice opinions, it is much more. At root, the scandal involves the ability of wealthy right-wing donors to gain privileged access to Supreme Court justices. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has demanded that Chief Justice Roberts answer questions about the Court’s investigation—or lack thereof—into allegations that Justice Alito leaked information regarding the Hobby Lobby decision in 2014. See HuffPo, Democrats Give Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts An Ultimatum.
When Senator Whitehouse wrote to Chief Justice Roberts demanding information regarding the investigation, Justice Roberts responded by saying that the Court has a code of ethics (which is unenforceable). Whitehouse followed up with a second letter, saying in part:
If the Court . . . is not willing to undertake fact-finding inquiries into possible ethics violations that leaves Congress as the only forum.
Roberts is unable (or unwilling) to lead the Court out of this crisis of confidence. Congress should investigate—and the Court should respond to Senator Whitehouse’s demand for information about the status of the Court’s investigation—if any.
Democrats flip the Pennsylvania House!
Democrats have flipped the Pennsylvania House for the first time in twelve years—by one seat! That slim margin is enough to derail Republican plans to amend the Pennsylvania constitution and interfere in the 2024 presidential election. But the battle is not over in Pennsylvania—two retirements and a vacancy will put three seats into special elections. The fight is not over—and never will be!
NYTimes reports that Manhattan District Attorney re-opens hush money investigation.
Trump’s candidacy was founded on a lie—his effort to conceal his extramarital relationship with Stormy Daniels. Michael Cohen (Trump’s attorney) went to prison for his role in paying hush money to Daniels and failing to disclose that fact as a campaign expenditure. The charges against Michael Cohen referred to an unindicted co-conspirator—“Individual 1”—who participated in the scheme. See US v Cohen, Information (see paragraphs 24 and following for description of scheme).
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg has reportedly re-opened the state’s investigation into the hush money payments. See Talking Points Memo, Manhattan DA Shows Renewed Interest In Stormy Daniels Hush Payments. Although Bragg has failed to distinguish himself with his prosecutorial zeal—he dismissed the tax evasion case against Trump—the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels will reopen a painful and ugly reminder of Trump’s sordid past.
Although the hush money case is unlikely to be Trump’s undoing, it raises another front of legal jeopardy that includes the possibility of prison time. I know that many readers feel as though Trump will evade accountability, but the sheer number of investigations increases the likelihood that one of them will be successful. And the accumulated stench of the investigations will weaken Trump heading into 2024. That may be enough.
An opportunity to fundraise for Ukraine’s defense.
A reader forwarded an interesting opportunity to help raise money for Ukraine’s defense. Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale, the author of On Tyranny, has published an essay on his Substack blog, Run for their lives, about his effort to help raise money for anti-drone defense system in Ukraine. As Snyder explains, the fundraising effort involves running (or walking) a 5-K or 10-K race in solidarity with Ukrainians on November 27th. Professor Snyder explains:
President Zelensky's fundraising platform, United24, asked me to be an ambassador and to raise funds for anti-drone defense, which I am honored to try to do. And the group Run Ukraine, which organizes lots of great races, just announced a race to be run in Kyiv this coming Sunday, 27 November: the "United by Bravery Charity Run." They also announced that "70% of the profit from the run will be donated to UNITED24, an initiative of the President of Ukraine.
You will need to read Professor Snyder’s entire blog if you choose to participate, but the point is that you will be running / walking in solidarity with Ukrainians while raising money for Ukraine’s defense. And to be clear, you don’t need to run or walk to donate to the fundraiser.
I know that many of you are working overtime to help cure ballots and increase turnout for the Warnock run-off in Georgia—and doing so during a week when most Americans are preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday. Bless you all for your tireless efforts! I hope each of you can find time to spend with family and friends this week. I also hope the relentless news cycle will abate over the next few days. Although the purpose of this newsletter is to help process the news with perspective and optimism, it isn’t always easy to do so when discussing difficult news. So, I intend to put the newsletter on a gentle downward glide path over the next few days (events permitting), so that everyone can focus on what really matters—family, friends, and strangers who need our help!
Talk to you tomorrow!