Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today I read about a fellow Second Amendment enthusiast and activist who is undergoing legal trouble. Now I'm not acquainted with Paul personally, but being the community that we are I empathize for him heavily and hope that my readers, few though you may be, will at least give this story a read and offer your thoughts and, if possible, your support.

Copied from: - Legal Defense Fund for Skidmark


Legal Defense fund for Skidmark -

Several weeks ago Skidmark took a notion to drive to Williamsburg from his home near Richmond, thinking that he'd take the scenic route to enjoy the fall color in the leaves along the James River. His leisurely trip was interrupted at the Surry ferry crossing; a private contractor working for VDOT to "ensure security" ordered Skidmark to get out of his car, instead of asking if he could look inside the vehicle as he is supposed to do. Perhaps the "security" contractor noticed Skidmark's GSL and VCDL magnets on the rear of the car.

Skidmark asked the guy what authority he had for ordering him out of his car instead of simply asking him to pop the back open so they could look inside. The guy refused to answer that question, and simply reasserted his demand that Skidmark get out of the car. Skidmark elected not to take the ferry, and went to the turn-around point where he had a conversation with the "security" contractor's supervisor. When Skidmark asked him what authority the first guy had to order him out of the car, the supervisor basically called Skidmark a liar and told him that what had just happened never did happen. Skidmark pointed his finger at the supervisor, punctuating the word, "you", and said, "You don't know, you weren't there."

The supervisor took the finger-pointing as "a threat" and ended up calling the Sheriff's office. Now, Skidmark was openly wearing his Rohrbaugh 9mm at the time, but never made any reference to it during the course of these events. A deputy showed up after a while and interviewed everyone else who was involved before getting around to talking to Skidmark. By now, Skidmark had parked and locked his car, and was never "operating a motor vehicle" during the time the deputy was present. The deputy demanded that Skidmark produce a driver's license. The deputy threatened Skidmark with unspecified criminal charges if he failed to produce the driver's license as ordered. Since Skidmark was not in, or even near, a car, he declined to do so, orally identifying himself by giving the deputy his name and address.

At no time did Paul gesture towards, touch, mention, or make any reference to, his handgun.

The deputy demanded that Skidmark produce "paperwork for that gun". Skidmark asked what "paperwork" the deputy was referring to and was told "We want to make sure that gun is legal."

After finally getting the deputy to state that he was not detained and was free to leave, Skidmark got in his car and left. No attempt was made to stop him or to place him under custodial arrest for any offense.

Much later, having arrived back at home in Chesterfield County, Skidmark was placed under full custodial arrest by five deputies from the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office (who even brought their K-9 unit along). These men cuffed Skidmark, put him in the back of a cruiser and took him to the Chesterfield courthouse where he was fingerprinted, photographed and took him in front of a magistrate. There, Skidmark learned that he had been charged with obstruction of justice and brandishing a firearm. (Obviously, if either of these charges had been legitimate, Skidmark would have been arrested on the spot.) Skidmark had to put up a sizeable cash bond in order to secure his release, because the magistrate in Surry County had specifically marked the misdemeanor arrest warrants to prohibit release upon recognizance or by issuance of a summons. They clearly wanted Skidmark to have to go to jail pending trial.

Several members of this Forum attended the first hearing in Surry to set the trial date fully expecting both charges to be nolle pros'ed. We were not allowed in the court room – the hearing was CLOSED. Trial was set for Jan 4, 2011.

Let me consolidate this for you – Skidmark "brandished" his finger and didn't produce his papers on demand. He thought he had the situation resolved, but apparently underestimated the deputy's determination to punish him for contempt of cop – the "we can do this the easy way or the hard way" type of thing.

Like a lot of us, Skidmark is not in a position to comfortably afford the needed representation on his own. Something I think that the deputy was counting on – what they don't understand is our collective resolve.

Accordingly, we are setting up a legal defense fund for Skidmark and hope that many of you will contribute and plan to attend the trial. The following from his attorney:

Skidmark's Legal Defense Fund
Anyone wishing to contribute should send a check to:

Virginia Legal Defense
P.O. Box 100
Broad Run, Va. 20137

Checks should be made out to "VLD Attorney Escrow", with a notation on the memo line that it's for Skidmark (Paul Henick). Just writing "Henick" will be sufficient. All such checks will be deposited into the attorney-trust account on Paul's behalf and as his property; anyone who does so should understand that this is not tax deductible, and that it's an irrevocable gift to Paul. If there's money left over at the end of all this, it will go to him.


PayPal Donation

Be sure you click the PERSONAL tab, and then click the GIFT button, This will eliminate PayPal taking a cut of your contribution.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Basically this guy George Jakubec was stockpiling large amounts of explosives in the house he was renting.

Below is a link to a story describing officials' plan to dispose of this houseful of ordinance and my depiction of how the conversation went. The house has contained these explosives for months and so far has not exploded. It's unlikely to without something causing it to do so. Keep in mind that residents are not being evacuated while this is all being planned out.

Govt suit #1: "Let's see, shall we.... evacuate residents and try to cart it all out in one bunch?"

Govt suit #2: "No, no that's too risky."

GS#1: "Oh, the stuff seems stable enough to not evac residents while it's in there, let's just cart it off bit by bit and dispose of it!"

GS#2: "No, that's still too risky."

GS#3: "Hey, let's build a wall around it and set it on fire!"

GS#2: "Yeah, that'll do the trick!"

Yahoo! News - Explosive House

So let me get this straight. We have a house full of explosives. Check. For several months now these explosives have been there and have not gone off yet, and are unlikely to without being "prompted" to do so. Check. Residents are told they can stay in their homes while all this is being planned out, so there's no fear of them randomly going off. Check. Officials have already managed to remove and dispose of several pounds of explosive. Check.

And the best plan the government suits can come up with is to set the whole shebang on fire? Now please understand, I'm no expert in the field of explosives and dangerous chemicals, but this can't really be a good idea. Some of these substances decompose at high temperatures, and details are sketchy on exactly what all is in this house but they seem to have confirmed that there are grenades of some sort involved.

Something tells me this has a chance of going horribly, horribly wrong.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New website! Sort of....

You may have noticed if you tried to get here through that you were redirected. That's because yours truly finally got around to purchasing a legitimate domain name, so this blog (which will also hopefully be updated more often) is now going by the name!

Check back for updates soon, I'm planning on having something before Christmas. In the meantime: in the (unlikely) event that you have my blog bookmarked, you may want to update it to match the new domain name.

Happy reading!

Monday, May 31, 2010

In Memoriam

To the fearless and the fallen,

Today is Memorial Day; and it is a day of remembrance, thankfulness, and honor. Today we celebrate the lives of those who carried out their sworn duties to protect even in the face of nigh insurmountable odds. Today we honor all the brave men and women who selflessly sacrificed their lives so that they might liberate the oppressed and strike down the oppressors; to secure the freedom of nations; and to protect their fellow soldiers and citizens.

John 15:13 tells us "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." These men and women stared into the very heart of danger and bravely marched on knowing it might well be their end, but also knowing they fought for a cause greater than any one person. They fought for justice, for peace, and for freedom. I would be proud to have called any of them my friends.

What finer example of Americans could any man find than the ones who stood to defend the ideals this nation was founded on? I dare say no mortal man has ever given a gift as costly or as powerful as what you have given to the people of this world. You've given them peace, freedom, and an enduring hope for a better tomorrow. History and future generations may yet forget your name, soldier, but so help us God may we never forget your valiance and your sacrifice.

So to you, who marched toward the sound of peril with an unwavering gaze and iron resolve; no words can truly express the weight of your sacrifice. To you I say thank you. Great victories often require great sacrifices and I pray we never forget yours, and that we never surrender the freedoms you so courageously died for.

On this Memorial Day we honor the memories of heroes such as you. The greatest failure of America will be if we ever forget the sacrifices of the fallen, or ever question their gift to mankind.

And to those who serve still today, I pray that God's hand will be upon you. Hold fast to the knowledge that you stand for everything that makes America great, and defend her with pride. The world will forever be in your debt, and in the debt of your forebears, many of whom gave their lives to defend the very freedoms that you fight for today.

So carry on, brave warrior, and Godspeed.

Friday, May 21, 2010

An Open Letter on Open Carry

This is an open letter to the following group of Oklahoma State Representatives:

Turncoats, changed vote from Yea to Nay:
Auffet ( D) (405) 557-7394
Carey (D) (405) 557-7366
Glenn (D) (405) 557-7399
Hoskin (D) (405) 557-7319
Inman (D) (405) 557-7370
Luttrell (D) (405) 557-7355
Rousselot (D) (405) 557-7388
Shoemake (D) (405) 557-7373

Present, but did not vote:
Buck (D) (405) 557-7383
Hilliard (D) (405) 557-7412
Kirby (R) (405) 557-7356
Morgan (D) (405) 557-7368
Morrissette (D) (405) 557-7404
Nations (D) (405) 557-7323
Smithson (D) (405) 557-7315

Dear Representatives,

I am writing you this letter today as a concerned citizen of the state of Oklahoma, former state representative for grassroots gun-rights organization Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, and as a holder of a concealed handgun license. House Bill 3354 was a very important piece of legislation to many gun owners and Oklahoma Citizens licensed to carry firearms. Not only would it have allowed those of us with concealed handgun licenses to carry our firearms openly, it would have strengthened language in place designed to protect our privacy, and it would have allowed appellate judges to carry firearms in their places of business - the courthouses.

This piece of legislation passed the Oklahoma Senate with a veto-proof majority of 33-15, and the Oklahoma House with an even more veto-proof vote of 74-24. Unfortunately, Governor Brad Henry, for reasons unknown to myself, took it upon himself to veto this bill. Many of your citizens - voting citizens I might add - were in high hopes nonetheless because we knew the bill passed with veto-proof majorities, and assumed that you would all stay true to your votes and the veto would be overridden. Imagine our surprise when this did not happen.

The great decision I face at this point is not one of what to do next; I already know what that will be. I will continue my push for the rights of Oklahoma citizens as I have for years. No, the great decision I face is to decide which group of elected officials has committed the greater evil here. We have on the one hand the first group above, who seem to have inexplicably changed their standpoints in a matter of days. This group could have easily swung the tide in the favor of our rights, but they changed their minds and decided to vote against the bill they supported only days ago!

Then we have the second group who committed what may have been an even greater evil: apathy. This is a very important issue for many Oklahomans, and yet this second group saw fit to not even vote on the issue even though they were present. To take a stand against gun rights is one thing. Misguided, yes, but at least it shows you're willing to take a stand for something. But to show such apathy as to not vote? I have to ask myself why you are in such a position in the legislative body if you do not exercise your duty to the people who voted you into that position.

To these two groups of legislators, I pray that you'll come to your senses, that some of you will learn to stick to your guns, and that some of you will find guns to stick to. But now I have to address what I feel is the most heinous violation of the trust placed in our legislature by any of you. For this I'm not addressing a group, for this I will call out Representative Glen Bud Smithson.

Rep. Smithson you said of those supporting open carry the following: "Most people who are confident in themselves don’t need to strut down the street showing everybody their gun. Why do they need to show everybody their gun? Because most of them are cowards." Representative, I must say I am absolutely appalled that such a crass statement would make its way to the public ear. You, sir, are a breed of the most cowardly type yourself. You lead the life of an elected representative, who I'm sure has protective measures in place for yourself and your family, and make such bold and insulting statements about the very people you voted in!

You stand on your podium and insult those who disagree with you, yet you apparently do not have the bravery to back up your own statements, because you didn't even vote on the bill. If you have the gall to make such statements about the citizens of this state, I would think you would have it in you to at least take a stand when the bill came around, but I must have been mistaken. You speak the words of an opinionated and hateful man, yet can't even back them up with a vote. That, to me, is just disgraceful.

Around 97,000 Oklahomans have licenses to carry firearms. Are you really willing to insult 97,000 voting citizens of this state? We are not cowards by any means sir, far from it. We are citizens who will not bow to the will of the common criminal and give in to their demands. We will stand and fight for what we have worked for, we will fight to defend our families and we will fight to defend our very lives against the criminals to whom laws mean nothing.

Holders of concealed handgun licenses are among the most upstanding, law-abiding citizens in this state and in this nation. We have taken upon ourselves the great responsibility of carrying a weapon with which to defend the many ideals we stand for. I will say again Representative Smithson: we are not cowards. We - unlike you - have the means, motivation and wherewithal to back up our boldness.

Now again to the entire group, and to any who read this open letter. Oklahoma is one of few states which currently forbids expressly the open carrying of firearms. Back when concealed handgun licenses were first discussed, detractors said that car accidents would turn to shootouts, that there would be blood in the streets. This is not the case. In every case, states which passed these laws saw continued - and in some cases expedited - drops in violent crime. However, in cities such as Washington DC and Chicago, severely restrictive gun laws have not reduced the criminals' capability to cause harm, but have in fact reduced the capability of the citizenry to defend themselves against the onslaught of criminal behavior which the police forces have failed to quell.

Here is a story which shows the true merits of open carry: These citizens unknowingly deterred an armed robbery. Their guns helped prevent violence, not instigate it.

This is where things begin to get ironic. Should open carry pass in Oklahoma, rare will be the day when I openly carry a firearm. No I will still choose to conceal mine, however, as the current laws are written, I have much to worry about if my shirt accidentally rides up, someone notices my firearm and they choose to report it. It's my understanding that I could lose my license for such a violation. Why is it that I should have to worry so much about keeping my firearm absolutely concealed? Many states allow open carry, and in none of those places has it caused widespread fear and panic.

I, among many others I presume, do not wish to openly carry my firearm, but for open carry to be legalized so that I can worry less about concealing mine perfectly. I simply want the ability to carry without fear of legal action should my firearm become visible, it's all about a little extra peace of mind and comfort for me. It can be quite uncomfortable to conceal in certain climates.

There are those among us however that wish to carry openly, and I support that right fully. Obviously it does not cause mass fear and panic, it does not cause violence and it does not cause lawlessness. Many other states have proven that for years.

Representatives, I urge you to reconsider your positions on this issue of great importance should another opportunity to override Governor Henry's veto come up. Your voting citizens know you changed your minds or showed apathy by not voting. They will remember, and I hope YOU remember that those very citizens are the ones who elected you.


Andrew Connel
Former state representative for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus
Concealed handgun license holder
Voting citizen