All About Guns Being a Stranger in a very Strange Land

Moorish Americans take over a rural gun range, sparking a strange showdown Story by Peter Jamison

WELCOME, Md. — The complaints about the property on Fire Tower Road were urgent but not too far out of the ordinary in this rural stretch of Southern Maryland: Earsplitting gunfire, endangered cows, a stray bullet that pierced a neighbor’s equipment shed.

Moorish Americans take over a rural gun range, sparking a strange showdown

Moorish Americans take over a rural gun range, sparking a strange showdown© Eric Lee/For The Washington Post

But that was before the would-be heirs to a mythical North African empire moved in, claiming their dominion extends not only over the lost island of Atlantis but also over five acres in Charles County.

The episode began when gun enthusiasts started getting together on Sundays for target practice at the wooded property of 64-year-old Byron Bell.

Liswa Hawkins, 27, center, shows people how to shoot during a Handgun Qualification License class at the gun range in July. (Eric Lee for The Washington Post)

Liswa Hawkins, 27, center, shows people how to shoot during a Handgun Qualification License class at the gun range in July. (Eric Lee for The Washington Post)

As the gatherings grew bigger, along with the caliber of weapons and the number of rounds discharged, they drew the ire of neighbors even in this sparsely populated and gun-friendly area.

Yet it was after county officials took action, deeming the site an unlawful firing range and filing an injunction to stop it from operating in September, that events took several unexpected turns.

That was when a group calling itself Moorish Americans — an offshoot of the extremist “sovereign citizen” movement whose members believe they are immune from dealings with U.S. legal and financial systems — essentially took over the range, declaring it “protected under the consular jurisdiction of Morocco.”

There followed arrests, flurries of spurious legal documents and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, all to the accompaniment of what neighbors describe as an ongoing din of gunfire on weekends. Things escalated last week when sheriff’s deputies raided the property, seizing what Bell said were about a dozen firearms.

The saga in Welcome, an agglomeration of tumbledown farmhouses and newly built homes roped together by winding country roads, highlights several enduring American loves: Guns, conspiracy theories, property rights and fruitless litigation.

William Tomlinson, 75, complained about excessive gunfire from a neighboring gun range, which eventually led to a decision by Charles County officials to shut it down.

William Tomlinson, 75, complained about excessive gunfire from a neighboring gun range, which eventually led to a decision by Charles County officials to shut it down.© Peter Jamison/The Washington Post

William Tomlinson, who owns a farm that backs up to Bell’s property, said decisive action by law enforcement was long overdue. Tomlinson said many rounds zipped through the air on his property, chewing up a stand of timber trees and forcing him to move his small herd of cattle to a pasture where they aren’t at risk of stopping a stray bullet.

Tomlinson, who owns guns himself, said he sometimes has friends over for target practice. But it’s not comparable to what goes on at Bell’s place, he said.

“We’re not over here with fully automatic weapons, 40-round clips, shooting thousands of rounds,” Tomlinson said. “It’s a completely different situation. I would use the term reckless endangerment.”

Bell, who moved into his home in 2019 and bought it earlier this year, said he believes he and his friends were unfairly singled out.

“Everybody shoots around here. So why you going to have me stop shooting?” Bell said. “I thought it was about these people telling me what to do with my land.”

Weapons that belong to a member of the Choppa Community. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Weapons that belong to a member of the Choppa Community. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Yet even Bell, speaking to a Washington Post reporter in his home hours after he had sat there in handcuffs while sheriff’s deputies searched the premises, acknowledged that things had gone too far.

“It just went overboard,” he said.

‘I don’t want them shot’

Bell began hosting shooting days on his land in 2021. The events were organized by Mark “Choppa” Manley, a social media influencer and former D.C. security guard who promoted the site as home to the “Choppa Community” — an incubator of firearms education and ownership for African Americans.

On Sundays, amid the aroma of grilling burgers, kids would take classes in basic gun safety with plastic pistols while the grown-ups lined up for target practice with 9mm handguns and AR-style rifles. Manley catered in particular to Black residents of the District and Prince George’s County who were seeking to arm themselves for protection amid spikes in violent crime. Visitors were not charged, although ammunition was sold, as well as classes for concealed-carry licenses.

“It was like a family day,” Manley said.

Mark Manley holds a rifle at the gun range in July. He is now seeking another home for his operation. (Eric Lee for The Washington Post)

Mark Manley holds a rifle at the gun range in July. He is now seeking another home for his operation. (Eric Lee for The Washington Post)© Eric Lee/For The Washington Post

Yet some of Bell’s neighbors didn’t share that view. Disturbed by the noise and risk of errant gunfire, nearly 40 of them supported a petition demanding that the range be shut down, the Southern Maryland News reported. Tomlinson, in particular, said he feared for his safety, since his farm sits downrange from a backstop for bullets on Bell’s property that he called “totally ineffective.”

“I have moved my animals to the other side of the farm,” he said. “I don’t want them shot.”

Tomlinson said he first brought his complaints to the county about a year ago. But it was not until September — in anticipation of an especially large crowd for Manley’s birthday on Sept. 11 — that government officials took decisive action. On Sept. 9 the county attorney’s office filed an emergency petition for an injunction against shooting on the property.

In an attached affidavit, the county’s planning supervisor said regulations prohibited the gun range unless it was granted a special exception to operate in an area zoned for agricultural conservation. No application for such an exception had ever been filed, she said.

The county attorney’s office declined to discuss the case with The Post. Charles County spokeswoman Jennifer Harris said in a statement that officials’ “top concern is for the health, safety, and welfare of the community. We achieve that through the enforcement of regulations that must be followed by property owners.”

Judge Karen Abrams granted the order, stating that the shooting happening at the range was illegal and that a failure to enforce the zoning laws “encourages citizens to ignore the very regulations that are implemented to protect them and others.”

Manley cleared out and started looking for a new site in Virginia. “I could tell Charles County wasn’t going to let up,” he said.

Yet around the same time, county officials came up against a new challenge. It was heralded by the filing of perplexing documents — adorned with symbols including the star and crescent and the pyramid-tip “Eye of Providence” that appears on the back of the dollar bill — asserting that the dispute over Bell’s land was subject to the terms of an 1836 treaty between the United States and Morocco.

Booking photo of Lamont Butler from a decade ago. (Prince George's County Police Department)

Booking photo of Lamont Butler from a decade ago. (Prince George’s County Police Department)

‘Moorish American national’ charged with trying to take mansion

Among those documents was a “writ of error” signed by a man identifying himself as Lamont Maurice El and claiming that he was the consul general of the “Morocco Consular Court at the Maryland state republic.”

The consul, whose real name is Lamont Maurice Butler, had some experience with Maryland’s judicial system. In 2013, he was convicted on multiple charges stemming from his attempt to occupy a 12-bedroom Bethesda mansion. The ideology that had fueled that escapade was the same he later brought to bear in the legal wrangling over the property on Fire Tower Road.

The ‘Moroccan Empire’

Moorish Americans, also known as Moorish sovereign citizens, believe themselves to be the inheritors of a fictitious empire that they say stretched from the present-day kingdom of Morocco to North America, with Mexico and Atlantis thrown in for good measure. They claim the same protections from U.S. legal proceedings that are granted to foreign citizens, while simultaneously asserting their rights to take over properties — often well-appointed homes owned by other people — that they say are still part of the “Moroccan Empire.”

Bell declared his Moorish American citizenship in September, according to court documents. He told The Post that he was still struggling to understand much of the group’s doctrine but that he found it “very educational.”

Among the things he had learned, he said, was that he should consider himself exempt from the county’s legal actions — in part because government officials did not refer to him in court documents by the Moorish variant of his name, Byron David Bell-Bey.

“They weren’t really talking to me,” he said.

The mansion in Bethesda that was occupied by Moorish Americans in 2013.

The mansion in Bethesda that was occupied by Moorish Americans in 2013.© Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post

Butler, who had attended the weekend shooting gatherings when they were overseen by Manley, joined with other Moorish Americans to reopen the range, charging $25 a head and promising that “security will be in full force for everyone’s safety and protection” under Moroccan consular jurisdiction.

The group of Moorish Americans to which Butler belongs did not respond to requests for comment by email and through their website. Officials at the genuine Moroccan Embassy in Washington also did not respond to a request for comment.

On Nov. 13, Butler and another Moorish American, George Neal-Bey, tried to intervene when Charles County sheriff’s deputies pulled over a third member of the group. In a video that the Moorish Americans later posted online, Butler — wearing a camouflage uniform, dark headscarf and a pistol on his hip — can be seen approaching the deputies on the side of the road. Four of them then abruptly wrestle him to the ground while a fifth stands by with his gun drawn.

Butler and Neal-Bey were arrested and later indicted on various gun-related charges. Butler was also charged with resisting arrest. A judge ordered them held without bail. A hearing in their case is scheduled for Dec. 30 in Charles County Circuit Court.

Their case files have begun to thicken with documents bearing esoteric symbols. On Dec. 7, Butler filed a handwritten affidavit demanding acknowledgment of his treaty rights.

Bell, who until recently ignored the court order to close the range and has not appeared for court hearings, is now facing a $350,000 sanction for contempt of court. (Under the terms set by the judge, Abrams, $1,000 will be taken off the fine for every week that no shooting takes place on his property.) And just last week he learned that he could face further legal troubles.

On the morning of Dec. 21, Bell said, he and his wife, Chrystal, were awakened by a loud knocking, followed by the busting in of their door. A group of sheriff’s deputies then searched his home, he said, taking away his guns and a computer.

The warrant shared with Bell — which he showed to The Post — contains few details but indicates that the search was conducted as part of an investigation into possible possession of illegally owned or modified firearms, such as machine guns or short-barreled shotguns.

The sheriff’s office declined to comment.

Bell said the officers who searched his home were “very cordial.”

“They could have tore the house clean up,” he said. “But they didn’t.”

And though it took a while, the original problem on Fire Tower Road could now be resolved: Bell says there will be no more shooting on his property. As darkness filled the windows of his kitchen on a lonely plot of land nearly 4,000 miles from Morocco, he said he had gotten the point.

“You got to follow the rules,” Bell said.

Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends" Being a Stranger in a very Strange Land Grumpy's hall of Shame Gun Fearing Wussies Paint me surprised by this Some Sick Puppies! You have to be kidding, right!?!

Bank CEO Peddles Mass Suspicion on Gun Rights at NY Times Conference by NEWS WIRE

By Larry Keane

A New York Times conference featured a bank CEO pushing the financial industry to track Americans making purchases at retailers and monitor their “suspicious activity” under the guise of “reducing gun violence.”

Amalgamated Bank CEO Priscilla Sims Brown was the special guest at the Times’ DealBook confab and was interviewed by Andrew Ross Sorkin. He’s the Times’ columnist who previously proposed the gun buying monitoring scheme and spelled out the “next steps” in a column highlighting Sims Brown’s efforts after an international financial standards board adopted her petition to create the tracking codes.

Putting even a little thought to the idea reveals the serious flaws of the plan. Implementing the enormous system to track the private financial transactions will create a myriad of privacy and civil liberty concerns and no doubt is ripe for abuse.

Gun Control Dragnet

Sims Brown lobbied the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to create a gun-related Merchant Category Code (MCC) for credit and debit card companies to use to track cardholders’ purchases of firearms and ammunition. The ISO adopted the proposal and banks are beginning to use them. Listening to Sims Brown forecast what’s ahead, her true gun control aim is revealed. It’s a dragnet for law-abiding Americans.

“We’re at the very early stages of this –,” Sims Brown told Sorkin and the audience. “But as this is implemented, those scenarios will be used.”

By “those scenarios,” she means “detection scenarios” in which a particular purchase prompts a bank to file a Suspicious Activity Report to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Here’s how the MCC tracking will reportedly work. Purchases made at retailers selling firearms or ammunition would be assigned the new code for purchases. The MCC won’t identify what is in the customer’s basket, so it could be a total purchase for a firearm and several boxes of ammunition. It could also include a new tent, sleeping bag, propane stove, waders, decoys, blinds and other outdoor gear. The total cost could be flagged as “suspicious” since it might be an outlier on a customer’s purchase history. That doesn’t make it nefarious, though.

Media reported the proposal won’t have its intended effect. “The payment network and its banking partners would have no idea if a gun-store customer is purchasing an automatic rifle or safety equipment,” Bloomberg News reported. Banks aren’t saying what purchases would be “suspicious.”

Just a Steppingstone

The MCC scheme has caught the attention of Congressional gun control politicians. Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 5764, by Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) and in the U.S. Senate, S. 3117, by Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). That legislation, The Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act, would provide banking institutions the cover they need to track purchases by requiring the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to provide “guidance” needed to institute the MCC.

“Financial institutions have a legal obligation… to have programs in place to help detect and report suspicious activity, but they have to know what they are looking for,” Rep. Wexton said.

Rep. Dean has praised the back door gun control effort, too. “Financial institutions already have proven systems in place to identify suspicious behavior and purchasing patterns,” she wrote in a release.

Still no one has offered what “suspicious behavior” or “purchasing patterns” would be flagged. The questions are endless, answers few and the threat to Constitutional rights high.

Trudging Ahead. Trampling Rights.

Sorkin hypes his work in getting the MCC code established. He told the Dealbook audience, “This is an emotional topic for me in many ways… because back in 2018 I started writing about the role of guns in our society… and the role of credit card companies and banks in financing mass shootings.”

Sorkin stated his belief that lawful firearm retail businesses and the already-highly regulated Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) which provide for the legal exercise of the Second Amendment should do their part to create the backdoor database of gun buyers – something Congress is prohibited by law from doing on their own.

“Merchants must start using the code, and not obfuscate transactions by using other classifications,” Sorkin wrote. “Most crucially, the payments industry needs to develop and refine software algorithms for identifying suspicious activity…”

There are those words again – “suspicious activity.”

The suspicion is better reserved for those who would compile lists of Americans lawfully exercising their Constitutional Second Amendment rights. The right to keep and bear arms begins with the ability to make a purchase at the retail counter. Financial industry power players, though, are twisting their roles to facilitate legal transactions into social credit scores that put Americans on secret watch lists.

The financial industry doesn’t need to be suspicious of gun buyers who already are subject to FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifications. This move, though, is reason enough for Americans to be suspicious of “woke” banking CEOs doing the bidding of gun control politicians.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

——————————————————————————–   Does anybody remember voting for this guy? I don’t! Grumpy

Being a Stranger in a very Strange Land

Well so much for that party, I guess!

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Being a Stranger in a very Strange Land

The words fail me!

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LA’s Gascon pushes gun control amid his own failures By Tom Knighton

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is…special.

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.

All About Guns Being a Stranger in a very Strange Land Cops

A Judge Pulled a Gun in the Courtroom—and Then It Got Weird Jose Pagliery

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

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.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>The dispute revolved around the energy company EQT.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty</div>

The dispute revolved around the energy company EQT.

Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

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.

Being a Stranger in a very Strange Land

Sorry Sarge but you are steel on Target about this!

Video: Distraught WWII Vet Warns ‘Everything We Fought For Is Going Down The Drain’

by Steve Watson

100 year old hero says “Our country is going to hell”

A 100 year old World War Two veteran has issued a sobering warning that America is “going to hell” and that everything he and his generation fought for is “all going down the drain.”

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.”

Being a Stranger in a very Strange Land

Some really weird Shit out there on the Net lately!

All About Guns Being a Stranger in a very Strange Land

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Signs Massive Gun Control Package by S.H. BLANNELBERRY


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:

  • Ban the sale of body armor to civilians
  • Require one to obtain a license to purchase a semiautomatic rifle (one must be 21 to obtain the license)
  • Expand the state’s confiscatory red flag law
  • Criminalize the sale of firearms that do not have microstamping technology
  • Remove the grandfather clause for magazines of a certain capacity purchased prior to the passage of the SAFE Act
  • Force gun shops to adhere to uniform security and reporting standards
  • Establish a new task force on “Social Media and Violent Extremism.”

“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.”

SEE ALSO: Good Guy With Gun Attempted to Stop Mass Killer in Buffalo

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.

SEE ALSO: Comeuppance for SAFE Act Architect: Gov. Cuomo’s A Sexual Harasser, Investigation Finds

“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?