Merely Carrying a Permitted Gun Can Get You Killed

Think carrying a legally permitted gun keeps you safe?

Not in the least. In fact, just having it can get you killed.

Philando Castile was an innocent man who was shot dead in his own car by a policeman after Castile was forthright during a traffic stop about having a permitted firearm with him.

Textbook traffic stop

The recently-released police dashcam video of Philando Castile getting pulled over last July in a Minnesota suburb could have been used as a training video for the proper way to act when getting pulled over by police: Pull over in a safe place as soon as possible after the patrol car’s lights go on, open your window enough to talk, keep your hands where the policeman can see them, be polite and inform the officer right away if you have a firearm with you. Castile did all of these things and still got killed.

The policeman asked Mr. Castile for his driver’s license and proof of insurance. Castile told the officer right away that he had a permitted firearm with him. Then Castile did as the officer asked and reached for his drivers license.

That was all it took. The officer, fearful that Castile was reaching for his gun, shot Castile at least seven times, according to the video. There is no evidence Castile was reaching for the weapon, and Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with him, repeatedly told the officer Castile was not reaching for the weapon.

The policeman had told Castile he pulled him over because of a broken tail light.

What Castile didn’t know was that the officer who pulled him over thought Castile resembled a robbery suspect, and this apparently put the officer on edge.

Castile had all the necessary permits and papers to legally possess his gun, but that didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was how the mere knowledge that Castile had a firearm with him made the policeman feel during this circumstance. The officer claimed it made him afraid enough to pull his service weapon and use it on Castile without hesitation.

That defense worked, by the way. On June 16, 2017, a jury acquitted the officer of all charges related to the killing of Castile, and the officer walked away a free man.

This is a good example of how merely having a permitted gun with you can get you killed, even while you are a model citizen and are obeying the law to a “T.”

So much for being “a good guy with a gun.”

This scenario could certainly occur in western Colorado as easily as it did in Minnesota. The western slope is full of people who mistakenly believe carrying a firearm will make them safe.

It won’t, and doesn’t. People who carry firearms are 4.5 times more likely to get shot and 4.2 times more likely to get killed than those who don’t, according to New Scientist magazine — and that statistic was from 2009. Millions more guns have flooded the country since then.

Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four year old daughter were in the car with Philando during the traffic stop. She live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook, and assured officer that Castile had been reaching for his driver’s license:

No Prayers Permitted at D-51 Graduation Ceremonies, and Schools Cannot Participate in Religious Baccalaureates. Period.

 

There is no doubt left on the matter of prayer at School District 51 graduation ceremonies:  School-sponsored prayers are not permitted at District 51 graduation ceremonies.

Some parents this year objected to prayers being included in Palisade High Schools’ graduation ceremony, and rightly so.

It violated federal law, and school district policy.

On April 7, 2015, District 51 formally adopted Policy IKFB (pdf) titled “Graduation Exercises,” which prohibits prayers at graduation ceremonies and specifically prohibits school participation in religious baccalaureate ceremonies.

The D-51 School Board formally adopted Policy IKFB after Fruita Monument High School orchestra students reported in 2014 that they were forced under threats to play at the school’s religious baccalaureate ceremony. A concerned adult contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which sent a legal letter (pdf) to D-51 Superintendent Steve Schultz explaining why such coercion is illegal, and why school participation in religious baccalaureates violates U.S. law.

Fortunately, the school district understood, agreed, and put in place a policy to assure compliance with federal law in the future. 

Policy IKFB states,

“The program for graduation exercises shall be secular in nature. The program shall not include any school-sponsored prayers or other religious activities.”

The policy is also clear in regard to religious baccalaureate ceremonies: Schools cannot participate in or endorse these ceremonies, and students cannot be forced to attend them.

Policy IKFB states,

Baccalaureate services

Private groups composed of interested students and their families may plan and organize baccalaureate services that are religious in nature. However, neither the District nor any of its schools shall be identified, explicitly or implicitly, as sponsoring or endorsing such services. Student attendance at such services shall be entirely voluntary, and no student shall be required to appear or perform at such services in connection with any academic course or other school-sponsored activity. District officials, administrators and staff may attend privately-sponsored baccalaureate services in their personal capacities, but shall not take part in nor exercise any control over the planning, organizing, conducting or promotion of such services. School district funds, including paid staff time, shall not be used for baccalaureate services. Groups planning baccalaureate services may rent and use school facilities under the terms, conditions and rates prescribed by the district.

District 51 deserves thanks and recognition for doing the right thing and putting this policy in place.

Now the schools must follow it.

Tipton Hates Infants

Tipton voted against letting babies get health insurance immediately upon birth, to allow the parents time to prove their baby’s citizenship.

Republican House Representative Scott Tipton, who represents Colorado’s western slope, voted “NO” on a measure to assure that newborn babies are covered with health insurance immediately after birth for up to one year to give parents time to verify their baby’s citizenship status.

Buy a gun for Father’s Day? Think again.

Shame on Sportsman’s Warehouse for advertising guns on sale for Father’s Day. Mesa County has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, and women comprise 75% of all fatal domestic violence victims by guns in the U.S.

Sportsmans’ Warehouse ran a big ad in today’s Daily Sentinel touting a big sale on guns and ammo for Father’s Day.

This does our area a big disservice.

There is a huge intersection between fatal domestic violence killings and guns, and keeping guns in the home raises the risk of homicide, suicide and accidental shootings tremendously.

In Colorado alone, there have been 105 domestic violence homicides by gun since 2006.

Ray Scott Shocks Constituents with Displays of Poor Grammar, Lack of Knowledge in Social Media Exchanges

Ray Scott

First came this exchange via IPhone, widely shared on Facebook by a Colorado Mesa University biology graduate who specializes in conservation of endangered species. The biologist wrote to Colorado State Senator Ray Scott concerned about his uninformed, overly-simplistic views on energy production and effects global climate change:

Grand Junction Progressives Turn out for March for Truth June 3

In a mark of just how much Grand Junction’s progressive political community has grown in recent years, speakers at Grand Junction’s “March for Truth” on June 3 lamented a low turnout of about 200 participants to protest the outrages of the Trump presidency.

Many remembered the days in the not-so-distant past, though, when a turnout of 10 or 12 people backing a progressive cause in our area was considered a successful turnout.

How times have changed on the western slope!

G.J. Chamber Snubs Sen. Ray Scott at Legislative Wrap Up

Ray Scott

Colorado State Senator Ray Scott did not attend the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s legislative wrap-up breakfast session on May 23, so instead he gave the Chamber a statement to read at the event.

But the Chamber refused to read it.

Trump tells murderous Filipino President Duterte he’s “doing an unbelievable job on the drug problem” in his country


A recently-released confidential transcript of an April, 2017 phone call from President Donald Trump to Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte reveals Trump praised Duterte, telling him he’s been “doing an unbelievable job on the drug problem” in his country.

President Duterte has had death squads gun down approximately 7,000 Filipino citizens in the streets of his country since June, 2016, in a systematic program of extrajudicial killings. Often the killers, many of whom reportedly received compensation for each person they killed, plant evidence to try to justify the killings.

On June 30, 3016, Duterte urged members the Philippine public to kill drug addicts, telling them, “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.” Human rights groups say this statement could constitute criminal incitement to commit murder.

Cell Tower to be Built in North Grand Junction Neighborhood Without Public Hearings

 

The spot where the proposed cell phone tower is to be located, in the field at 26 1/2 and G Roads, across the street from Holy Family School

If you live in the area of 26 1/2 and H Roads, a big change is coming to your neighborhood, and it may not be a change you’re going to like.

Verizon Wireless has submitted plans to the Grand Junction Planning Department to build a cell phone tower in a field right near the corner of 26 1/2 and H Roads, in the city-owned cornfield known as “Saccomano Park.”

Grand Junction Chamber Opposes Protections for Public and Environment from Drilling Hazards

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke and the Chamber’s Board oppose a legal ruling that protects Colorado residents from drilling hazards.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is squarely opposed to protecting Colorado residents’ safety when it comes to oil and gas operations, and is demonstrating this by siding with oil and gas companies in an ongoing court case filed by Colorado children who feel their health, safety and the environment are threatened by overly permissive drilling and fracking activity.