The 16-year-old prepares to fire at Sgt. Doug Bline who is flanked by two assisting officers
Newark Police Department, New York agreed to partake in the unique event after her family and friends contacted the force for filmed event.
What I mean is that he’s someone who can screw up nine ways to Sunday, yet still tell himself the problem has absolutely nothing to do with him.
The latest example? Amid his own failures, including the release of a convicted murderer, he’s still blaming guns.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon praised California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s push for more gun control as he faces criticism over releasing criminals who have gone on to commit violent crimes.
“Thank you, @cagovernor Newsom, for signing several important bills to protect Californians from #gunviolence including four bills supported by my office,” Gascon’s office tweeted Friday in response to Newsom signing four bills that Gascon says will ‘help limit the availability of firearms and take on the growing menace of unlicensed ghost guns.’”
“Easy accessibility of firearms, precursor parts, and ammunition has compounded this nation’s gun violence crisis,” Gascon’s office tweeted. “These sensible measures will help stop this deadly #epidemic.”
Gascon’s tweet comes at the same time he faces heated criticism over releasing a California murderer 6 years into a 50-year sentence who was re-arrested this week on gun and DUI charges after a car chase.
The report also notes that most of the responses to Gascon’s office’s tweet were negative, with at least one calling it “virtue signaling.”
Regardless, Gascon is in a particularly tough position. I mean, he’s releasing criminals and refusing to prosecute others, which isn’t really going to do much to reduce violent crime, yet he’s beholden to liberal donors who wanted just that.
So, he’s got to do something else, such as jump up and down about gun control.
However, I want to know if Gascon honestly believes that if you remove guns from the equation, people will just stop killing one another.
I mean, look at the convicted killer he’s in so much heat over. This is someone with a felony conviction–one of the big boy felonies at that–and who lives in a universal background check state, yet he got a handgun despite all of that.
I mean, you’re going to push for gun control when confronted with evidence like that? How? Just what new gun control can the state pass that will remotely address something like that?
The answer, of course, is nothing. Newsom’s new bill won’t do anything about that and neither will anything else Gascon is supporting here.
What might, though, is stepping up and prosecuting criminals.
In other words, if Gascon did his job, Los Angeles might not be in such a tough spot right about now. However, Gascon is one of a handful of uber-progressive prosecutors who seem determined to make lives in our cities untenable, even as the rest of their progressive buddies try to usher more people into them.
If there’s an upside to this, it’s that it’s unlikely that even folks in Los Angeles aren’t dumb enough to look at Gascon’s record and think that the real problem is not enough gun control. Then again, this is LA we’re talking about, so I could well be wrong.
During a trial in West Virginia earlier this year, witnesses tell The Daily Beast, a state court judge whipped out his handgun, waved it in the air, and left it on the bench with the barrel pointing directly at the corporate lawyers who had irritated him.
Circuit Judge David W. Hummel Jr., who oversees cases in the tiny city of New Martinsville, repeatedly told The Daily Beast it never happened. When reached by phone in March, he initially professed shock at the allegations. On subsequent phone calls, however, his story kept changing as he claimed to recall more details about the incident.
“I did not have my 1911 at any point during that trial,” he said then, referring to a common type of semi-automatic pistol. “It was secreted in a drawer on the bench. I never showed my 1911 at the trial whatsoever—at any point during that trial.”
That judge is now under investigation by the state’s judiciary for violating the profession’s code of conduct, according to three witnesses now sharing information with law enforcement and official communications about the investigation reviewed by The Daily Beast. The judge’s own staff has since told an investigator that the judge did, in fact, display his gun openly during an attorneys-only hearing and boasted about having it in his possession, according to two of those witnesses.
Hummel insisted to The Daily Beast that there was no recording of the incident that would back up these accusations, but two witnesses say the state investigator has acquired a videotape of the interaction.
“You don’t understand what a terrible victimization it is,” said Lauren Varnado, the attorney who was standing at the podium when the judge pulled out his gun. “It was pretty traumatic for multiple people. The whole trial was insane.”
“We have no power in this situation,” she said. “It was way scarier than even just a normal person on the sidewalk. You need more power over us than you already have right now? That’s frightening, because he could order us to do whatever. Why would you ever need to pull out a gun?”
The judge’s show of force was the culmination of months of building tension between him and Varnado’s team of corporate lawyers. The Daily Beast has reviewed hundreds of pages of court transcripts and spoken to several people involved.
As with many legal battles in West Virginia, it all started with fossil fuels.
Until the case settled recently, Hummel oversaw a dispute involving West Virginia landowners who sued over the royalty payments they get from the natural gas giant EQT for fossil fuels extracted from the earth hundreds of feet below their property.
But the gas company’s lawyers accused the judge of never disclosing that his parents get gas company royalties that may someday pass on to him—sparking questions about a glaring conflict of interest. When the gas company’s lawyers sought to disqualify him, court transcripts show he grew increasingly aggravated at Varnado and her team.
At an April 2021 court hearing in which he was asked about his family’s gas interests, the transcript shows how the judge patronized EQT’s lawyers as he detailed his family tree and dismissed their concerns, ranting about how his cousin “Christy” got mad at him for not recognizing her at a wedding. When the attempt to have higher state courts disqualify him failed, Hummel started the next court hearing in similar fashion.
“Okay. Excellent. And I’m Judge Hummel, and I have no conflicts, Supreme Court said, so here we are. And this time I don’t have to talk about my Aunt Rose’s numerals or which shoe I put on first or anything,” he said on July 19, 2021, according to another transcript.
The eventual trial was always going to be fiercely contentious. EQT cut its royalty payments nearly a decade ago, shortly before the energy value of the state’s natural gas production began to overtake coal. While the state has relied heavily on the exports of coal and oil since the 1800s, natural gas from the fracking of the massive Marcellus Shale underground has the promise to enrich the state.
By the time the two-week trial started in February in New Martinsville, the locals were so angry at how the gas company had cut their royalties in recent years that EQT lawyers felt the need to be escorted by ex-CIA private security contractors, according to three members of that team. But when lawyers on both sides were called into the century-old sandstone courthouse for a special hearing on Saturday, March 12, bailiffs at the entrance surprised the legal teams with a new rule for the day.
“Trial counsel only today,” they said, according to three witnesses who spoke to The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity, fearing potential reprisal.
Varnado’s private security guard and a paralegal were turned away. The lawyers made their way into the courtroom on the second floor. Once there, according to a transcript, the judge castigated the gas company’s lawyers for having private guards, noting that if there were any concerns about safety, “I promise you, I’ll take care of them.”
“We were never told these folks were security until most recently,” the judge said, according to a court transcript. “I got this man here carrying a man purse, which I make fun of him every damn day for wearing such a sissy-ass contraption. And I hear he has blood coagulant. I have blood coagulant up here too, and I’ve got lots of guns. Like, bigger ones too.”
Hummel then pulled out a black handgun from an over-the-belt leather holster beneath his robe, and started waving it around the room, according to Varnado and another person in the room.
Hummel then put it down on his wooden desk, known as a judge’s bench, and left the barrel pointing at Varnado, her New York law partner David R. Dehoney, and their local West Virginia attorney Jennifer Hicks.
The gun stayed there for the rest of the hearing. When the attorneys were directed to negotiate in a private room, they found the handgun still waiting for them when they returned. When lawyers had to approach the judge, the resting gun remained pointed at their faces.
“It’s just a violation of basic gun safety, having it out like that pointing at people,” Varnado said. “It was too stunning to even process it. My brain didn’t even process it until after the hearing concluded. I was on edge. I don’t know if it was loaded.”
Indeed, pointing a firearm at anything but a target violates the National Rifle Association’s primary rule on gun safety, which is to keep a barrel pointed away from people at all times. And the judge seems to have broken a second rule of safe gun handling, which is to check whether a firearm’s chamber is empty and clear of ammunition—then say so out loud.
In the days after the hearing, Varnado reached out to the FBI to report what happened. But she decided to seek help from the feds 100 miles away in Pittsburgh, concerned that local law enforcement might be untrustworthy given the judge’s position of power and influence.
Varnado still feels confident that was the right move. When The Daily Beast reached out to Wetzel County Sheriff Michael L. Koontz, whose deputies provide security outside the courthouse, the sheriff remembered that a special hearing happened that Saturday morning—but denied any knowledge about the judge pulling out the gun.
However, two sources with direct knowledge say a sheriff’s deputy who was in the courtroom that day has since confirmed to the state investigator that the judge brandished his pistol.
When reached by phone a few weeks after the episode, Hummel first denied anything remarkable ever occurred.
“There is no incident… I absolutely, categorically deny I had a gun that day in the courtroom,” he said. “It was just me and the attorneys. I had no reason to have a firearm that day… I’ve never shown a gun in my courtroom to anybody. I don’t want them to know that I have it. I do not display my firearm at any time during trial.”
“My job is not to protect anyone with firearms,” he said. “That’s what my bailiffs and deputy sheriffs are for.”
Minutes later, the judge called back and said he now recalled having a holstered gun on him beneath his robe during the trial the previous week. But it wasn’t the 1911 pistol, he said. It was a long, classic-looking revolver that hails from the days of the Wild West.
“I wore the Colt Peacemaker,” he said. “The Peacemaker never ever came out of the holster during that trial.”
When the judge called back a third time, he acknowledged showing something to the attorneys in the courtroom that day. But he said it wasn’t a gun.
“I did pull out a small, red first aid kit. But it was casual. I did show her a foiled packet, and said this is blood coagulant. We have preparations for active shooter situations,” he said.
In April, a spokeswoman with the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia told The Daily Beast that she was not aware of the gun incident. And records showed that Hummel had not been the subject of an admonishment or formal statement of charges.
But in the weeks since, Judicial Investigation Commission of West Virginia investigator David Hudson has been gathering evidence about the incident, asking witnesses to describe the firearm and how they felt about it being displayed by the judge, according to communications reviewed by The Daily Beast.
In a signed affidavit submitted to the investigator, Varnado, who hails from Texas, described the judge’s gun as a “Colt 45,” a widely recognized pistol otherwise known as a 1911.
The judge, his court clerk, a secretary, and a court reporter have all submitted sworn affidavits describing the events that day to the investigator, court reporter Holly A. Kocher told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
Since March, the FBI’s Pittsburgh field office has repeatedly declined to confirm that a special agent there has been assigned to look into the incident. The judge did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
The state judiciary, citing policy, declined to provide details about the ongoing ethics investigation. But its staff pointed to its website, which indicates that judges who violate the rules face a one-year suspension.
100 year old hero says “Our country is going to hell”
In an emotional interview, former marine Carl Spurlin Deke expressed his gratitude for his 100 years of life, noting “I’ve lived a good life. I’ve had a lot of love, happiness, smiling, telling everybody that everything was beautiful every day.”
But Deke, who stated that the “most important thing in my life was serving my country,” also spoke of his grief at the state of America today, warning that “People don’t realise what they have. They b*tch about it.”
“And then nowadays, I am so upset because the things we did, the things we fought for, and the boys that died for it, it’s all going down the drain.” Deke stated beginning to cry.
“Our country is going to hell in a handbasket,” he further urged, adding that “We haven’t got the country we had when I was raised, not at all.”
The veteran further warned that unless things drastically improve, “Nobody will have the opportunity I had. It’s just not the same,” further urging “That’s not what our boys, that’s not what they died for.”
The comments come as half of Americans rank moral values in their country currently as “poor,” with only 13 percent saying those values are good, according to a Gallup survey.
The findings equate to the worst ranking of moral values among Americans for two decades, with 78 percent also feeling that things are only going to get worse.
Gallup also found that a belief in God among Americans has fallen to an all time low.
Despite expressing his grave fears for the future, Deke note that his 100 years has taught him to “just remember everything’s beautiful and live every day to the fullest. Just enjoy everything you possibly can.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul this week signed a sweeping legislative package designed to “strengthen the state’s gun laws.”
The legislation signed would do all of the following, and more:
“Gun violence is an epidemic that is tearing our country apart. Thoughts and prayers won’t fix this, but taking strong action will,” Gov. Hochul said at a Monday press conference.
“While we are taking expedient action to enhance New York State’s nation-leading gun laws, we recognize that gun violence is a nationwide problem,” she continued. “I once again urge Congress to follow our lead and take immediate action to pass meaningful gun violence prevention measures. Lives depend on it.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, was quick to slam the governor for chilling the 2A rights of law-abiding citizens.
“NSSF is disappointed that New York’s legislature rammed through this package of gun control bills and Governor Hochul chose to sign them into law,” said Mark Oliva, NSSF’s Managing Director of Public Affairs, in an email to GunsAmerica.
Oliva pointed out that the age ban won’t pass Constitutional muster.
“Adults at the age of 18 are fully-vested in their rights and this legislation is blatantly unconstitutional,” observed Oliva. “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that California’s similar age-based gun ban violated the Constitution.”
Another concern is the microstamping mandate, which is nothing more than a way to put a freeze on the sale of certain firearms, argues Oliva.
“The sole-source patent holder on this technology has admitted that it is unreliable and can be easily defeated,” noted Oliva. “California serves as another example of how microstamping technology isn’t workable. Since that state has required it, not a single semiautomatic handgun has been added to California’s roster of handguns approved for sale in the state. It is nothing short of a slow-rolling gun ban.”
While it’s unclear what effect, if any, these laws will have when it comes to stopping the next determined killer, what is clear is that the power of the surveillance state has been expanded and the right of the people to keep and bear arms, for traditionally lawful purposes like self-defense from the very killers these new laws are supposed to prevent, has been infringed.
In time, New Yorkers will have to look back and ask themselves, was it worth it?
A terminally ill teen has fulfilled her dying wish of firing a Taser at a willing person weeks after she drew up a bucket list of things she would like to do before she passes away.
Alyssa Elkins, 16, is suffering from leukemia and decided not to go through with a second round of treatment to spend more time with her family.
And the young woman from Morgan County in Ohio decided that firing a taser at a police officer volunteer was one of the things she most wanted to do after doctors gave her between one to six months to live earlier this month.
The first to volunteer out of six, Sgt. Doug Bline, was selected to receive the tasering and after some training, Alyssa, who donned a fitted Newark Police uniform shirt with her name on it, took aim and fired.
Around 50 people were in the room to witness the girl, from a farm in the village of McConnelsville, shoot at the policeman who winced in pain and slowly fell to the ground, flanked by two other officers, after she pulled the trigger.
Sgt. Al Shaffer asked those present to shout ‘Taser! Taser! Taser!’ with Alyssa firing on the third ‘Taser.’
Alyssa also took up the unexpected opportunity to fire at her uncle Barry, who is a State Highway Patrol trooper and gave her the inspiration to fire a Taser after she watched a video of him getting hit by one during his police training.
The Taser makes impact and the officer winces in pain and Alyssa can barely look
Bline falls to the ground. He said the pain he endured was worth it for Alyssa’s happiness
Connell asked if her uncle had done anything in the past that she might like to get back at him for to which she agreed, reported the Columbus Dispatch.
‘It’s painful, but given her situation, it’s a no-brainer,’ said Bline, the first officer to be shot.
‘If I were her parent in this situation, I’d be happy to know that someone was willing to do this for her.’
He also said it was an educational opportunity to show that Tasers ‘are a very safe, effective way to subdue someone.’
A photo from the Alyssa Elkins Support Page. A post from January 23 read: ‘The results to Alyssa’s biopsy shows that she has indeed relapsed and has leukemia. She has decided to refuse another transplant. As it has a much higher risk of relapse then even the first’
Her bucket list also included petting a miniature pig which came along to the taser firing with her.
Speaking on the day Alyssa said: ‘God loves everybody and he’s for us and not against us. He puts us through trials,’ she said. ‘In the end, I’m not really scared. If he takes me, I know where I’m going.’
‘She’d never hurt anyone,’ said her mother Tiffany Elkins. ‘My other daughter wasn’t even sure Alyssa could push the button, that she’d be too afraid to hurt somebody.’