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Fieldcraft

How to gain access to hunt private land by John McAdams

How to gain access to hunt private land
One of the biggest obstacles to most hunters these days is finding a good place to hunt. Some people have access to family-owned land, a hunting lease or even some high-quality public hunting land. However, getting access to hunt private land is another good option that can lead to some great hunting opportunities.
Read on to learn how to gain access to hunt private land.

Choose the right land

Obviously, you will want to gain access to some land with good hunting prospects. But beyond that, you’ll also want to seek out the landowners who are most likely to grant your request for hunting privileges.
This might mean avoiding houses that are in close proximity to large population centers and major roads. Those landowners likely have hunters beating down their door asking for permission.
However, landowners who live on back roads and other out-of-the-way places probably don’t get as much attention from hunters. Your odds of getting permission to hunt on those pieces of land are probably higher.

Start early

Once you find a couple of pieces of private land you think offer good prospects for getting access, you’ll need to get in touch with the owners somehow. If at all possible, don’t wait until right before hunting season begins to start asking permission. Instead, try to get in touch with prospective land owners as early in the year as possible.
For one thing, this will allow you to get permission to hunt a piece of land before other hunters ask first. Another reason to ask early is to assist in getting your foot in the door before hunting season actually starts (more on that later).

Locate the owner

Sometimes it is relatively simple to locate the owners of a piece of land because they live on it. However, this is not always the case. If you’ve got your eye on a particular piece of land and are not sure how to locate the owner, you’ve got a couple of different options.
One way is to locate the owner through the county records office. Another is to buy some computer or GPS software that shows property boundaries and the names of the landowners.

Contact the landowner

Once you’ve located the landowners, you then need to get in touch with them. This can be tricky, and you need to be prepared to have a few people say “no” to your request for hunting access.
One good way to get in touch with the landowners — especially if they do not actually live on the land on which you are asking permission to hunt — is to send them a letter. If you found them through the county records office, you should have the name and address. Simply mail them a letter introducing yourself and ask to set up a time to meet face to face.
Other people prefer to initially meet the landowner face to face, and there is nothing wrong with that either. Regardless of whether you have made contact with the landowner in some other manner beforehand, it is usually best to arrive alone. Showing up with a whole truck full of friends who want to hunt as well is probably going turn the landowner off.
That being said, there is usually nothing wrong with bringing along a child or spouse with whom you intend to hunt. In fact, the presence of a child or spouse might even increase your odds of getting permission from the landowner.

Look the part

When you arrive to meet with the landowner, make sure that you either arrive right on time (if you have an appointment), or that you arrive during the day and outside of regular meal times (if you arrive unannounced). In either case, make sure you look the part when you arrive.
You don’t want to appear disheveled or dirty, as a landowner might be inclined to believe a person who looks like a slob won’t respect the property. By the same token, you probably shouldn’t be wearing a suit either.

Start small

One good way to get hunting access on a person’s property is to start small and build a relationship with him/her. For instance, ask for permission to hunt predators or varmints, such as coyotes. Other landowners might be hesitant to allow you to trophy hunt, but have no problem with having you shoot a doe or two.
In any case, once they know you and see that you respect them and their property, most landowners will be more inclined to give you permission to hunt other animals on their land later on. This is another reason why it is so important to start early in the year when trying to get permission to hunt on private property.

Provide your contact information

Always carry some easy way to deliver your contact information to the landowner, such as a business card or an index card with your name and phone number. Even if you don’t get permission to hunt, the landowner might change his mind later or he might have a friend who is having problems with deer getting into the garden and wants them shot.
Either way, it is to your benefit for the landowner to have a way to contact you after you leave.

Be gracious and show respect

Regardless of how it goes, always be courteous and polite when asking for hunting access. If the landowner declines to give you permission, thank her for her time and leave. If you do receive permission to hunt, make sure that you treat the land with respect and obey any rules or conditions the landowner gives you.
Offering to share some of your venison, sending a “thank you” note, and adding the landowner to your Christmas card list are all good ways to stay in his good graces and go a long way toward keeping permission to hunt on that land in the future.
By the same token, acting like a jerk is a great way to lose permission to hunt on a piece of property and might even get you put on a black list with the landowner’s friends as well.

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All About Guns Fieldcraft

Do .410 Bore Shotguns Make Sense for Home Defense? Often dismissed as ineffective for personal protection, .410 shotguns can get the job done when loaded properly. by B. GIL HORMAN

410 Shotgun Defense Lede

Discussing the use of .410-bore shotguns for home defense often ruffles some feathers. “You should get a 12-gauge shotgun,” they say. “That’s the best shotgun for the job!” This sentiment is not untrue, but it’s also not complete.

Let me be clear, combat shotguns chambered for 12-gauge shells are, shot-for-shot, among the best close-range fight stoppers yet devised. They throw an impressive amount of lead with nearly irresistible levels of force at across-the-room (3 to 7 yards) and across the house (7 to 15 yard) distances. Lew Gosnell, training director of Gunsite Academy, summed it up quite succinctly during a 12-gauge shotgun demonstration when he said, “Shotgun fights don’t last for very long.”


Combat shotguns chambered in 12-ga., like this Mossberg 590A1, have long been favored for military, law enforcement and home-defense applications.

But due to Newtonian physics, 12-gauge levels of stopping power come at a price. Full-power shells filled with hard-hitting defensive payloads can generate intense levels of felt recoil. The shotguns themselves can be relatively large, heavy and too long in the stock, making them unwieldy for some folks. For this reason, a more complete statement regarding the defensive 12-gauge would be that it’s best option if the home defender can manage it.

For this conversation, let’s take a look at the reasons why one might choose to stage a .410-bore shotgun for home defense, some of the suitable .410 shotguns currently available and which types of .410 shells are a good fit for personal protection. Some of the guns and ammunition mentioned here fall under the “whatchagot”category of defensive options.

Why Choose a .410 Bore for Home Defense?
The top reasons for picking a .410 bore for home defense were touched on above, namely, gun size and felt recoil. The shotguns are slim, lightweight and often available in compact configurations with the same shorter 18.5″ to 20″ barrel lengths commonly used with 12-gauge security shotguns.


Mossberg Security and Shockwave models chambered in .410 are slimmer and lighter than 12-gauge models.

But these aren’t the only reasons to consider a .410. A shorter-barrel model can share ammunition with longer hunting .410 shotguns or .45 Colt/.410-bore handguns like the Taurus Judge revolver. This saves money for those who use .410 for sporting purposes and reload the shells themselves. In this same vein, sporting models and defensive models that share the same controls, features and levels of felt recoil make it much easier for the self-defender to transition between them. In fact, some models can comfortably be used for both sporting and defensive purposes.

Finally, a .410 may be either the only gun you currently have access to, or, it may be the gun you have at hand when a self-defense situation arises. This means having at least some defense-grade ammunition on hand, and an understanding of what it can do, is a good idea.

A Quick Note on Ammunition Performance
The scientific field of research known as ballistics is dedicated to understanding how firearms and their projectiles perform. What it boils down to for the home defender is this: Projectiles launched by a defensive handgun, rifle or shotgun must penetrate deeply enough that an attacker loses the ability to continue the assault.


.410-bore shells are available with a variety of projectiles.

But how much penetration is enough? Back in the late 1980s, the FBI’s Firearms Training Unit (FTU) established a series of ammunition performance protocols in which handgun rifle and shotgun rounds are fired into 10% ballistic gelatin. As a rule of thumb, they are looking for projectiles that travel through the gel to an optimum depth of 12” to 18”. Projectiles that penetrate less than 12” are not considered a good fit for home defense. This standard is used for the Clear Ballistics synthetic gel test results included below.


Ballistic gel testing is a good way to evaluate ammunition performance.

It should also be noted that several of the defense-grade .410 shells available these days were developed for the popular Taurus Judge .45 Colt/.410 revolver. The performance of these defensive handgun shells improves when fired from 18.5″ to 20″ shotgun barrels.

.410 Bore Shells for Home Defense
Originally developed by Eley Brothers of England in 1874, the .410 bore is one of the smallest shotgun shells commonly in use in the United States today. It is currently available with birdshot, buckshot, slugs and mixed payloads. Let’s take a look at each and see how they fit into a self defense plan.

Birdshot
Long guns chambered for this round are eminently suitable for small game hunting, pest control and for more experienced sporting clays enthusiasts when the shells are filled with tiny lead pellets which are commonly referred to as “birdshot.” The vast majority of .410 shells manufactured in the past, and today, are topped off with various sizes of birdshot.

However, the small and relatively light birdshot loads launched by .410 shotguns are poorly suited for self defense applications. When fired from .410 shells, birdshot payloads are quite small when compared to larger shot shells, the pellets tend to spread apart relatively quickly and they do not penetrate deeply enough to reliably stop a threat.

Shown here is a gel block shot with the only “defensive” birdshot load I’m aware of, Federal Premium’s 2½” long .410 Handgun load topped off with 7/16 oz., or about 60 pellets, of copper plated #4 birdshot with a listed muzzle velocity of 1200 f.p.s. (a velocity that’s similar to larger shot shells).

The pellets stopped at distances between 4″ to 8.5″ in the gel block with the majority of pellets stopping  somewhere between 4.5″ to 6.5″. This is well below the FBI’s 12” minimum. Being peppered with this .410 birdshot load would be an excruciatingly painful wake up call, even for an assailant wearing thick clothing. However, due to the pain nullifying effects of drugs and adrenaline, self defenders can’t count on pain alone to deter a determined assailant. Due to low levels of penetration, it’s best to reserve .410 birdshot loads for pest control, sporting clays and small game hunting. If birdshot is “whatchagot,” then be aware of its limitations and plan accordingly.

Buckshot
Buckshot is comprised of much larger and heavier round lead pellets than those used in birdshot. It’s a popular option shell configuration for hunting and home defense because of the advantages it offers at close range. The individual pellets have enough mass and momentum to produce effective levels of penetration and tissue damage. However, several pellets are launched simultaneously. If they strike the target at close range, while still clustered together, they produce a massive impact. If the target is further away, and the pellets spread out to form a pattern, then the pellets form multiple wound tracks. The effect is roughly comparable to being struck with multiple .38-cal. or 9 mm round-nose bullets at the same time.

Reliable .410 buckshot loads are available in 2½” or 3″ shell lengths from major American manufacturers including Federal PremiumRemington and Winchester. The most common buckshot pellet size is 000 (triple-aught). These are .36-caliber (.36″) balls that weigh about 70-grains. The 2½” shells are loaded with three or four pellets while the 3″ shells are usually packed with five pellets. Because they are stacked one on top of the other in a row inside the shell (instead of in a cluster) they tend flatten out, or “pancake” as they travel through the barrel.

Shown here is a before-and-after picture of the four copper plated pellets fired into gel from a Federal Premium .410 Handgun shell with a listed velocity of 1200 f.p.s. for 224 ft-lbs. of muzzle energy for each pellet. The pellets average depth in bare gel was 20.7″ with four distinctive .36 to .38-cal. wound tracks behind each pellet.

Essentially, the only real difference in defensive performance for .410 buckshot shells, when compared to that of reduced-recoil 12-gauge buckshot loads containing 8 or 9 pellets, is the number of pellets fired. I’ve had mixed reliability results with some imported polymer-hull .410 buckshot loads. They tend to run reliably in some guns but not others. The imported shells with all-metal hulls that I’ve worked with have jammed up every handgun and long gun I’ve tested them in, badly. I had to drive the spent hulls out of the gun chambers with a hammer and a cleaning rod. My advice is to avoid them completely for self-defense purposes.

Slugs
Slugs are one-piece projectiles used to extend the range of shotguns when hunting. They essentially turn a shotgun into a medium-range rifle. The only type of .410 slug I’ve gel tested so far is the Remington Express .40-cal. 1/5 oz. (87.5-gr.) rifled lead slug. It’s a nearly hollow round-nose configuration which launched at 1752 f.p.s. and hits into the gel with 596 ft.-lbs. of energy. However, as you can see from the photo here, the slug shattered on impact. The fragments only traveled between 2.5″ to 4″ into the gel. Like birdshot, this type of slug should be relegated to sporting purposes or whatchagot status.

Mixed Payload Shells
The following two 2½” shells were developed specifically for the Taurus Judge revolver. But both produced impressive gel test results when fired from an 18.5″ defensive shotgun.

Winchester’s mixed-payload PDX1 Defender fires three, pre-flattened .40-cal. copper-plated lead discs, followed by 12 pieces of BB size copper-plated lead shot, at an average muzzle velocity of 1073 f.p.s .from an 18.5″ barrel. The three disks penetrated an average depth of 27.25” with the 12 pieces of BB shot pellets penetrating between 5″ to 26.5″.

The Hornady Critical Defense Triple Threat load fires a .41-cal. 115-gr. FTX hollow-point lead slug followed by two .35-cal., .65-gr. round lead pellets with a muzzle velocity of 1116-f.p.s. When fired into the gel bock the .41-caliber FTX slug successfully expanded to .64-cal. and traveled 14.50″. But as you can see here, the slug took some damage as the two .35-cal. pellets went past it to stop at 23.5″ and 26″.  The slug’s polymer wad traveled 13.25″ into the block, effectively making it a fourth projectile.

Which Shells for Home Defense?
Here’s what all of this ammunition testing information boils down to: Loading shorter-barrel .410-bore shotguns with buckshot loads, or defense-grade mixed payload shells, turns the gun into a viable low-recoil home defense option. This gun and ammunition combination launches more projectiles per trigger pull than a handgun but does so without the punishing recoil of a 12-gauge shotgun. But remember, birdshot and slugs should be reserved for sporting purposes.

Compact .410 Bore Shotgun Options
In pursuit of an understanding of the defensive capability of .410 shells, I’ve run them through a variety of long guns. Here are a few of the shorter barrel models found in the market place today.

Single-Shot Break Action Shotguns
The hinged-barrel, single-shot shotgun is one of the most prolific .410-bore action types available. These svelte little guns are lightweight, ruggedly reliable, easy to operate and usually available at most sporting goods stores for low prices. There are several entry level variations available from manufacturers including the Hatfield Gun CompanyIver JohnsonRossi USA, and Stevens (Savage Arms).


Rossi Tuffy

These shotguns are great for training youthful shooting sports enthusiasts, small game hunting and they are favored for use as emergency survival and “trunk” guns. However, their limited ammunition capacity and slow rate of fire are not a great fit for home defense. This is strictly a whatchagot option. But if you own one, having at least a few defense-grade shells on hand is a good idea.

Stoeger Industries Double-Barrel Coach Gun
There are not too many budget-friendly traditional 2-trigger, double-barrel shotguns to choose from these days. But Stoeger Industries does offer a slim and a handy little 20″ barrel coach gun in .410 with suggested retail prices starting at $479.


Stoeger Coach Gun

We have one in the family that’s been used for everything from plinking to pheasant hunting. Like single-shots, the double barrels have a lower rate of fire and a slower reload. But double guns are reliable, easy to operate and have served in defensive roles many, many years.

Mossberg Pump-Action Youth & Security Models
Pump-action shotguns with shorter 18″ to 20″ barrels, also known as “riot guns,” have been a standard for home defense since the early to mid 20th century. They are tough, reliable and offer a quick rate of fire with some practice. Most models can also be loaded on the go because the tubular magazine port is accessible with the action closed.


Mossberg 505 Youth

Over the years Mossberg has offered more home-defense ready .410 pump-actions than any other American manufacturer. The Model 500 is chambered for 2½” and 3″ shells with a 5+1 ammunition capacity. Options have included flexible youth models, like the wood stocked 505 Youth (#57120, MSRP: $473) shown here. Youth models have shorter shoulder stocks and pump grips which have been moved closer to the receiver. This makes them a better fit for small frame shooters of all ages.

Model 500 18.5″ barrel Security configurations have been available with either synthetic shoulder stocks or pistol grips. They even offer a 590 Shockwave non-NFA firearm with a 14″ barrel. I’ve worked with these guns extensively and found them to be just as reliable and user friendly as the models chambered for larger shotgun shells. Although not all of them are currently in production, due to high demand for 12-ga. shotguns, then can still be found for sale with a bit of internet research.

Henry Lever Action .410 Shotguns
Although various companies have offered .410 lever guns over the years, Henry Repeating Arms’ .410s are among the toughest yet built. This is because they are based on the company’s all-steel .45-70 Gov’t. rifle action. This gives these shotguns an unloaded weight of 7.5 lbs., which soaks up felt recoil like a sponge.


Henry X Model

Chambered for 2½” shells only, these guns have quick, intuitive handling, a 6-round ammunition capacity and removable choke tubes. The side loading gate found on the right side of the receiver allows the magazine tube to be topped off as needed, much like that of a pump action. The company offers two wood-stocked models with either a 24″ or 19.75″ barrel. The X Model is outfitted with polymer stocks, fiber optic sights and a 19.8″ barrel. Suggested retail prices start at $1,017.

Often dismissed as ineffective for personal protection, .410 shotguns can get the job done when loaded properly.

 

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All About Guns Fieldcraft

The Perils of Open Carry by Greg Ellifritz

As of today, every state in the USA has some type of provision to allow citizens obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun while engaged in lawful activity.  In some states, that permit is easy to get.  In others (like California or Hawaii) it is almost impossible unless you are politically connected.

 

What many people don’t know is that the UNCONCEALED (or open) carry of firearms is not legally regulated in many states.  Here in Ohio, it is completely legal for anyone over the age of 21 (without a history of mental illness, drug addiction, or felony conviction) to carry a firearm in public.  No permit is needed as long as the gun is not concealed.

Did you know this was legal activity?

It’s rare, but occasionally you will see someone carrying openly.  Most do it as a political statement.  They are trying to raise awareness for better concealed carry laws and promote the idea that guns can and should be safely carried by anyone who wants to.  I applaud the gun rights activism.  I think people should recognize that guns are not necessarily bad and get used to “normal” people carrying them.

 

This article got me contemplating the issue.  I’ve come to the conclusion that open carry just isn’t a very good idea most of the time.  It seems especially bad in this time of pandemic when people are already acting irrationally.

 

First of all, if you live in a state where open carry is legal, I am not trying to limit your rights to carry a gun.  Go for it if you want.  I’d just ask you to put some thought about risks versus benefits before you openly carry your gun into WalMart.  I know a lot about  carrying  guns.  Hopefully my arguments will make you think twice about carrying openly.

 

Open carry can lead to numerous problems.  As a cop responding to calls about this activity and as a citizen who carries a concealed handgun everywhere, I have unique insight into the problem.  Here are some of the issues:

 

1) Open carry will cause hassles with other people and eventually the police.  Unless you live in rural area or a western state, open carry isn’t very common.  When the uneducated populace sees someone carrying a gun (without a badge), they assume that a law is being broken.  They panic and call the cops.  What they tell the dispatcher when they call generally has no basis in truth.  It usually ends up being something like:

 

There’s a man with a gun running around the grocery store scaring people!” 

 

If you were a cop, how would you respond to that call?

 

Things would turn out differently if the caller would have been honest and said:

 

There’s a person walking around the grocery store who has a gun on his hip.  He isn’t threatening anyone and appears to be shopping.”

 

As a cop, I wouldn’t even approach you.  I’d educate the caller that no laws were being broken and leave.

 

But that’s just not how it happens in real life.  Blame it on whomever you like, but reality dictates you’ll get a police response.  The police response may be positive, or it may be negative.  Who wants to deal with that when you can simply cover your gun?

 

2) Criminals may not be deterred by openly carried guns.  For an obvious example of this, look at the article linked above.  For more than 60 additional examples, read my article Friends Don’t Let Friends Open Carry.

 

The guy in the linked article just waited for the gun carrier to look the other direction and he attacked, trying to rip the gun out of the holster.  Any serious violent criminal who has been in the game for awhile knows how to check the crowd before he commits the crime.  He’s looking for witnesses, cops, security guards, and anyone who will likely intervene.  If he finds one of those people, he deals with them FIRST, then he goes on to commit the crime.

 

The armed robber (who has his gun concealed) could just shoot you in the back of the head before moving on to take the cash.  Or he might do worse.  What if he takes your child hostage and orders you to give up your gun?  Most people don’t think about that possibility.

 

A criminal looks at this scene differently. He thinks, “If I snatch the kid, Dad will give up the gun.” And most of the time, the criminal is right.

 

Keep your cards hidden.  That gives you multiple response options.  Once the armed criminals know you are packing, you’ll be the first one shot.

 

3) Getting your gun taken away is always possible.  Most people who carry guns tell me:

 

“I never let a criminal get within 10 feet of me.  I’m constantly aware of my surroundings.” 

 

It’s bullshit.  They are deluding themselves.  It’s physically impossible for one human to simultaneously scan 360 degrees at the same time.  You always have to turn your back to something.   Especially in a crowded public area, you simply can’t process all of the information fast enough to decide who is a threat and who isn’t.

 

Historically (since the 1960s when such statistics were first gathered) about 10 percent of the cops who are killed (by gunfire) in the line of duty are killed with their own firearms.  Cops are trained to be alert, they often work with partners, and they have the best retention holsters available.  Yet they still get their guns taken from them.  You think you can do better because you took a one-day CCW course?  Understand reality.  You can’t see everything and you can’t win every fight.  Your gun can be taken and used against you.

4) Most people who carry guns have crappy holsters and no weapon retention skills.  I teach force-on-force fighting skills to cops and citizens.  In those courses, I teach my students what to do if someone grabs their holstered gun.  Even after multiple days of training, the students still have trouble retaining their firearm in a surprise attack.  Most pistol packers don’t even have the benefit of this kind of training.

 

Think about this for a second.  You are open carrying a gun on your right hip.  I walk up to you and engage you in casual conversation.  I say something like:

Hey!  Don’t our kids go to the same school together?

 

As you are trying to figure out who I am, I move closer and extend my hand to shake.  When you reciprocate the gesture, I grab your right hand with my right hand and pin it to my chest.  You struggle, but because I’m stronger, you can’t free yourself.  As soon as I have the arm controlled, I grab your holstered pistol with my left hand.  How are you going to stop that?

 

I’ve done that scenario on dozens of students.  It almost always works.  I end up with their gun and they have a puzzled look on their face.

 

It’s even easier to do when you are wearing a crappy holster.  That “great deal” you found at the gun show will rip right off your pants if I yank on it.  Trust me.  I have some trophies from my force-on-force training sessions.  In most classes, I destroy a Fobus or Uncle Mike’s holster with one pull.  Those holsters are trash.  If you don’t believe me watch THIS VIDEO.

 

 

It isn’t just the Fobus.  I’ve done similar things with lots of other poorly designed holsters.  Smart gun owners don’t use junk holsters.

 

If your defensive holster looks like this, you are going to have a big surprise if you have to fight over your gun.

 

Just because you can carry openly doesn’t mean you should.  Your carry method may be legal, but it may also cost you your life.

Think deeply about the potential consequences before you open carry your pistol.

 

I support the right to carry openly.  I don’t support the practice in general.

 

 

 

 

 

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All About Guns Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends" Fieldcraft If I was in Charge

Prevention Duty We need to get better at identifying and stopping mentally disturbed individuals before they perpetrate tragedies. by Hannah E. Meyers

On Sunday, President Biden told a large assembly: “We must all work together to address the hate that remains a stain on the soul of America. . . . Our hearts are heavy once again, but the resolve must never, ever waver.”

He was responding, of course, to the mass shooting at the Tops Friendly Markets grocery store in Buffalo, New York, which left ten people dead and three injured.

The alleged shooter, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, drove several hours from his home in Conklin, New York, to a neighborhood and a market where shoppers were, in his estimation, most likely to be black. He was wearing tactical gear and armed with the Bushmaster XM-15 assault rifle he had bought legally in Endicott, New York, with the intention—reportedly detailed in his racist manifesto—to use it to shoot blacks.

Hate is not, as Biden labels it, an abstract stain on the soul of America. It is an idea that festers in the minds of violent people. It is our duty to get better at identifying and stopping these individuals before they hurt others.

And we can get better at identifying and stopping them.

Gendron had been actively ranting online about his hatred for blacks. He took inspiration from racist conspiracy theories on online message boards and explicitly identified himself as a fascist, white supremacist, racist, and anti-Semite. On the Internet, he had detailed plans to carry out a shooting targeting blacks similar to the one he wound up perpetrating in Buffalo.

Similarly, Frank James, the black man who traveled to New York from Philadelphia last month to shoot up ten passengers on a rush hour subway, had been raging online for a decade about blacks, whites, Latinos, and Jews. He also fumed against New York mayor Eric Adams and the city’s subway system and alluded to leaving Philadelphia to take action. And Robert Gregory Bowers had written colorfully about his intention to attack Jews (and his murderous hatred for blacks) before driving to Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018 and massacring 11 worshippers.

We should be devoting more resources both to intelligence-gathering about action-oriented violent rhetoric online and to the manpower needed to follow up on all such threats. These types of investigations, occurring in both federal and local agencies, are resource- and training-intensive.

Violently manifested hate is definitely growing. Anti-Semitic incidents broke records in 2021, and anti-Asian hate crimes have broken records for the past two years. In New York City, the country’s epicenter for hate crimes (thanks, in part, to its demographic diversity), crimes against blacks and gay men have doubled since last year. Who perpetrates these crimes? Whites, blacks, Latinos—it’s a sickness that crosses all racial and ethnic boundaries.

One commonality among attackers is a high degree of mental illness. As announced this month at a New York City Council hearing, police designated nearly half of all hate-crime arrestees as emotionally disturbed. The NYPD admitted that it wasn’t doing enough to track whether these suspects receive treatment or to coordinate with mental-health professionals.

High-risk mental illness was a known issue for Gendron, whom state police brought to a hospital last June after he wrote in high school about wanting to shoot people. The hospital released him a day and a half later. This story is tragically familiar. In 2017, Martial Simon reportedly “told a psychiatrist at the state-run Manhattan Psychiatric Center that it was just a matter of time before he pushed a woman to the train tracks.” This past January, he pushed Deloitte executive Michelle Go to her death from a Times Square subway platform.

In addition to these gaps in psychiatric oversight for individuals who have voiced an intention of committing violence, states including New York have reduced in-patient psychiatric beds dramatically. Sweeping criminal-justice reforms have hampered judges’ ability to induce unbalanced offenders into psychiatric care as a means of avoiding jail time.

Policymakers at all levels need to prioritize closing these gaps between police, prosecutors, and psychiatric practitioners and ensuring that sufficient spaces are available for the small but critical segment of the population that requires long-term supervision. As the president said, our hearts are heavy. Now let’s use our heads.

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Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends" Born again Cynic! Fieldcraft

Or how to be a Martyr

Peaceful, Legal Ways States, Churches, And Pro-Lifers Can Stop Abortion Radicals’ Violence

graffiti on church in Denver

IMAGE CREDITCBS DENVER / YOUTUBE

Even if the Biden administration refuses to quell threats and intimidation, pro-lifers and religious believers have – and should use – the remedies that the law provides for them.

 

Pro-abortion groups this past week have called for increased lawlessness to express their opposition to the expected reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. Apparently having failed to persuade either the court of the soundness of their legal position or Congress of the necessity of codifying Roe in a federal statute, these groups are committing, or threatening to commit, hate crimes targeting churches and worshippers.

The real or intended victims of these outrages are not defenseless. The legal system affords them robust protections against violations of their right to free exercise of religion. These include both federal and state criminal and civil remedies and private civil actions under federal and state law.

Churches and congregants alike should make full use of our legal system to protect themselves against pro-abortion forces that are vandalizing church property and attempting to intimidate believers as they worship. Not only do they owe it to themselves to defend their religious liberty, they have a duty to the larger community to combat these unmistakable hate crimes.

To date, President Biden has failed to personally denounce these threats to religious liberty by the pro-abortion forces that are Democrats’ political allies and core constituents. So has his Justice Department, which was quick to condemn parents appearing at public school board meetings. An unnamed White House official made a meaningless comment, and Press Secretary Jen Psaki finally condemned “violence, threats, or vandalism” on Twitter Monday, but the president himself has yet to speak out against pro-abortionists’ recent violent tactics.

Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland should be publicly shamed if their inaction continues. And if the administration chooses to turn a blind eye as the legal rights of American believers are trashed, state attorneys general can and should fill the breach.

Private persons can also bring tort actions under federal and state law, and if successful might obtain monetary damages in amounts that could be a significant blow to the pro-abortion movement and its (often undisclosed) donors.

Two Forms of Attack on Religious Liberty

The assaults on religious liberty are coming in two forms. One is the vandalization of church property, such as happened in Boulder, Colo., soon after the leak of the draft Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs. Vandals broke the windows and spray-painted over the doors of the Sacred Heart of Mary Church and left pro-abortion messages, including “keep your religion off our bodies” and “my body, my choice.”

Over the past two years, Colorado has seen a series of attacks (not all proclaiming pro-abortion views) on Catholic churches. These attacks include one last October on the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, and another in September on St. Louis Catholic Church in a Boulder suburb (involving pro-abortion graffiti).

What is happening in Colorado unfortunately has been happening throughout the country. In January, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reported that there had been at least 129 attacks on Catholic churches in 35 states and the District of Columbia since May 2020. Secular sources like The Wall Street Journal have noted the increase in desecration of Catholic churches as well. If Roe is indeed overruled, expect worse.

In a second line of attack, the shadowy pro-abortion group Ruth Sent Us has called, not only for demonstrations outside the homes of six Supreme Court justices, but also for the disruption of services in Catholic churches on Mother’s Day during Sunday mass. The group posted a message on Twitter, stating “Whether you’re a ‘Catholic for Choice,’ ex-Catholic, of other or no faith, recognize that six extremist Catholics set out to overturn Roe. Stand at or in a local Catholic Church Sun May 8.”

Protesters disrupted planned services at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, some engaging in grotesque pantomimes of abortion immediately outside the church grounds. Christopher Plant, whose bio says he is the pastor of St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church in Katy, Texas, took to Twitter on Monday to report that the church’s tabernacle had been stolen the night before.

Meanwhile, a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the headquarters of pro-life group Wisconsin Family Action in Madison, Wis., with the words “If abortions aren’t safe you aren’t either” graffitied outside. A pro-life center in Denton, Texas was also defaced.

Federal Remedy: The FACE Act

These dangers to the peaceful exercise of religious liberties must be confronted and overcome. Even if the Biden administration refuses to quell threats and intimidation, believers have – and should use – the remedies that the law provides for them.

Of these remedies, one powerful option is, ironically, The Freedom of Access to [Abortion] Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). In an obvious legislative compromise, FACE protects not only abortion facilities, providers, and clients, but also criminalizes actions or attempts intended “by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction” to injure, intimidate or interfere with “any person lawfully exercising or seeking to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship.” Likewise, FACE criminalizes the actions of anyone who “intentionally damages or destroys the property of a place of religious worship.”

Enforcement of these criminal provisions is, however, in the hands of the vehemently pro-abortion Biden administration, which can be expected to tailor the execution of the laws to its political ends. Even so, FACE offers other means for vindicating religious liberties.

This is because FACE also authorizes churches and individual worshippers injured by the relevant misconduct to bring private actions on their own behalf. If entitled to relief, they may obtain either (or both) an injunction against the misconduct or “compensatory and punitive damages,” along with an award of reasonable legal fees. These legal awards, especially if they include punitive damages, could be crippling for pro-abortion defendants.

Finally, FACE authorizes state attorneys general who find “reasonable cause to believe” that a violation “is being, has been, or may be” occurring, to bring civil actions. The Virginia attorney general has already signaled his intention to refer any criminal violations for prosecution. Concerned citizens should demand that their state attorneys general follow suit.

State Criminal Law Protections

States also commonly have hate crimes statutes that are similar to these federal civil rights laws. Colorado, for example, has at least two statutes that might apply to the vandalization of a Catholic church in that state. One statute makes it a crime knowingly to “desecrate” (which includes defacing) “any place of worship.” It will be interesting to see if the state’s Attorney General Phil Weiser, who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, will bring a case under the state’s anti-desecration law on behalf of the Catholic churches in his jurisdiction.

Privately Enforceable State Tort Laws

Lawsuits against the pro-abortion extremists who attack churches or worshippers can also be brought under state tort laws by the injured parties. Professor John Banzhaf of George Washington University Law School has argued that civil actions, especially if class actions, can bring justice to those who suffered injuries when “peaceful protests” have turned into violence that damaged their lives or property. For instance, journalist Andy Ngo sued those who beat when while he was covering a “peaceful protest” that turned into a riot, alleging the torts of assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress as well as a violation of the state’s anti-racketeering act.

Legal Self-Defense

Finally, churches and worshippers should remember that they have a legal right of self-defense against threats to life and limb. The choice of forms that self-defense should take – churches might install security cameras, provide cans of pepper spray to their congregations, or even bring in defenders who openly bear arms – is best left to the consciences of pastors and congregants within the confines of applicable law.

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