Are Police Above The Law?

In response to David’s GRE article yesterday, I decided to send the following email. I waited so long to post this here because I wanted to make sure that none of the emails bounced… as of right now, approximately 4 hours after I sent it, I have received no notification of failure.

Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2012 08:26:35 -0400
Subject: Are police above the law?
From: patriot@rooteshome.com
To: Governor@pa.gov; tmurt@pahousegop.com; bboyle@pahousegop.com; kboyle@pahousegop.com; mmcgeehan@pahousegop.com; jsabatina@pahousegop.com; mobrien@pahousegop.com; jtaylor@pahousegop.com; tpayton@pahousegop.com; acruz@pahousegop.com; wthomas@pahousegop.com; bjosephs@pahousegop.com; wkeller@pahousegop.com; mdonatucci@pahousegop.com; hjames@pahousegop.com; jroebuck@pahousegop.com; vbrown@pahousegop.com; rwaters@pahousegop.com; lbishop@pahousegop.com; pdelissio@pahousegop.com; mbrownlee@pahousegop.com; gwilliams@pahousegop.com; ryoungblood@pahousegop.com; cparker@pahousegop.com; jmyers@pahousegop.com; mcohen@pahousegop.com; devans@pahousegop.com; washington@pasenate.com; kitchen@pasenate.com; tartaglione@pasenate.com; stack@pasenate.com; hughes@pasenate.com; farnese@pasenate.com; williams@pasenate.com
CC: kboback@pahousegop.com; lbaker@pasen.gov

I wanted to bring an issue to your attention: Requests to investigate anti-gun Philly top cop’s ‘gun crimes’ ignored. I live in Monroe Township, so I have copied my own representatives as well as trying to send it to all representatives of Philadelphia.

Basically, this article (and its source) state that Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is guilty of misdemeanor and felony violations of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act and Attorney General Linda Kelly and the District Attorney are ignoring the attempts to get them to investigate and prosecute.

I find this very upsetting as I am the one Receiving ‘Harsh Treatment‘ that is also linked in that article. The news that the Philly Police Commissioner is being rewarded for blatantly breaking the law is very upsetting since I was not breaking any laws, yet I was threatened with theft and imprisonment. I was in fear for my safety and my ability to return home at the end of the day, so I complied… that won’t happen next time I’m (legally) Open Carrying in Philly.

I will end this with one final note: You need to keep in mind that we are a nation of laws, and when the police (and other public ‘servants’) ignore the law, they relieve the citizen of their obligation to follow it as well. The rule of law protects them from us as much as (or more than) it is supposed to protect us from them. When the law no longer protects the citizen, what makes you think it will protect the ‘servants’?

Restore the rule of law. Force the appropriate persons to investigate, prosecute and then punish the law-breaking Charles Ramsey.

Sincerely,
Mark Roote

Conversation about rights.

I was having a conversation at work the other day with someone that I consider a friend. We were talking about personal security and why I carry a gun openly, and he was trying to make me feel bad about scaring people (the little old lady in line behind me at the store, etc.) He asked me how many times I have had to use it since I started carrying. When I said never, he asked me what the chances of needing it were in civilized society.
And then he walked away to get his coffee. The conversation and his attitude upset me enough to write the following email:

From: Roote, Mark
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2012 10:38 AM
To:
Subject: this is civilized society?

Statistic for places that I go regularly enough to be concerned about:
Berwick crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 9 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Clarks Summit crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 2 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Dallas Township crime statistics report an overall downward trend in crime based on data from 5 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime increasing.
Dalton crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 2 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Duryea crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 2 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Forty Fort crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 5 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Hanover crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 11 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Harrisburg crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 10 years with violent crime increasing and property crime decreasing.
Harveys Lake crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 2 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime increasing.
Hazleton crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 7 years with violent crime increasing and property crime decreasing.
Jermyn crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 4 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Kingston Township crime statistics report an overall downward trend in crime based on data from 5 years with violent crime increasing and property crime decreasing.
Larksville crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 3 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Meshoppen crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 2 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Moosic crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 5 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime increasing.
West Pittston crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 5 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.
Wilkes-Barre Township crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 5 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime increasing.
Wyoming crime statistics report an overall downward trend in crime based on data from 4 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime increasing.
Scranton crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 9 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing.

OK, so those are statistics, you can see that there is an upward trend in smaller towns near us. I also know I left several out, but if they showed an overall downward trend with violent crimes and property crimes both decreasing I left them out (and I’m sure there are some that I didn’t even look at).
Here are a couple of stories from recent new around us:
Edwardsville shooting victims ID’d – so there was a shooting Wednesday night in Edwardsville.
Man charged in attack of woman – Wilkes-Barre
Man charged with shooting at cop
Prosecutor: Police, firefighter abused Pa. teen
Old Forge police chief arrested (on charges he had sex with a 15-year-old girl)

From the Times Leader’s Police Blotter:
– Victoria Lopez reported someone kicked in a door to her apartment in Hanover Village and stole items. The burglary occurred sometime in the last three weeks.
– Police are investigating a robbery of an 82-year-old woman whose purse was stolen from her on Mine Street at about 3:35 p.m. Tuesday. A dark-skinned male, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, grabbed the purse from the woman, who fought her attacker. She suffered an injury to her arm, police said.
– Police are investigating an armed robbery at the Turkey Hill on Alter Street at 3:53 a.m. Wednesday. A white male, 5 feet, 8 inches tall and about 200 pounds, wearing a black knit hat, black pants and a long sleeve shirt, got away with an undetermined amount of cash. The suspect brandished a handgun, police said.

And here’s a good place to keep an eye on violent mobs, but here are some reports from within PA this year:
59 year old man robbed by 8 males, one w/ handgun (Harrisburg, PA – 4/21/12)
Man walking home from work attacked by six kids aged 11-14 (Pittsburgh, PA – 2/24/12)
College student in Center City assaulted as taxi cab attacked while stopped at red light (Philadelphia, PA – 1/28/12)

And don’t forget the kid that was attacked by someone with a machete while he was walking away from school (GAR) back in February.

So, after all of that, you’re going to tell me that statistically I shouldn’t worry about my safety? I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with you. It is my responsibility to protect myself and my family (multiple supreme courts have ruled that the police have no legal duty to protect… not to mention that they are almost never around when they are needed… “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away”). If you are comfortable playing the odds, go for it. I am not comfortable with that. I am fully aware that bad things happen unexpectedly and there is evil in the world. My gun is part of my insurance plan. This insurance plan has multiple parts to it, including avoiding places that I think are dangerous if at all possible.
The fact that anyone, whether it be you or some little old lady in line behind me at the checkout, is afraid of me simply for carrying an inanimate object, it’s not my problem. Humans are born with the right (and responsibility) of self defense. If you choose not to exercise that right it’s your prerogative and I won’t hold it against you. You have no authority to restrict my rights to self defense, period. I don’t care whether it makes you uncomfortable or not. Seeing two gay guys go at it makes me uncomfortable, and a lot of things that the media says (when they can be proven as lies) makes me uncomfortable, but I’m not trying to restrict their rights to free choice or speech.
The next time you think about restricting my rights, any of them, not just my right to bear arms, replace the right you want to restrict from me with the right to free speech and see how reasonable it sounds. In addition to my firearms being protected by the 2A, my right to free expression is being threatened. My openly carried sidearm is a warning, would you be more comfortable with me wearing/carrying a sign that says “I have a gun and I know how to use it”? I think that would cause more fear than actually openly carrying, but in the end, I DON’T CARE if it instills fear in “innocent” people… and I have no obligation to care. I am armed to protect myself and others that I see that need help, if anyone doesn’t like it they can tell me about it, but I have no obligation to give anyone a “warm and fuzzy” feeling. The world is a hard place. Either a person recognizes that and does everything they can to prepare for it or they don’t. I choose to prepare.
Also, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” ~Thomas Jefferson. Roughly, that boils down to: You have the right to Freedom OF Religion, not freedom FROM religion. This same rule applies to absolutely every other human right. You have freedom OF, not freedom FROM.

Sorry for the long email, but this is a very touchy subject for me on so many levels. No matter how civilized we think we are, there is only a very thin veneer of civilization between life as we know it and total breakdown of society (AKA, after Katrina life in the Superdome).
It is my responsibility to protect myself and my family, and I take my responsibilities VERY seriously.

PS. This is civilized China – Customs officials intercept 17,000 pills filled with powdered baby flesh from China. There is evil in the world. That may not be happening here, yet, but there are discussions from the intelligencia about the propriety of post-birth abortion. Post-birth abortion is another phrase for murdering an infant because it may be ill (or even just unwanted). And yet we live in a civilized society?

Mark Roote

Another update on the Fair incident

OK, I got an answer on carry on the fairgrounds (Updated here). Here’s the email chain that followed that update.

I will be happy to provide you with a copy as soon as I am able. Please provide a mailing address. I am disappointed that you will not be attending any future fairs. The goal of the fair is to provide a fun and safe environment for all. I would ask that you take a moment to consider that we have to run the fair as a business and therefore, must take into consideration the comfort and safety of our patrons or they will be less likely to attend. We do not wish for our fair to be a forum for second amendment rights, but rather a palce for locals to come for some family fun. I can assure you that the gates will be more clearly posted in the future. We make evry effort to be reasonable and accomodating. If you have any further questions, feel free to e-mail me. Here is another quote for you…from All in the Family (1968)
Gloria: Do you know that sixty percent of all deaths in America are caused by
guns?
Archie Bunker: Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windows?
Regards,
Mike

Well, after I got that, I replied with this:

My mailing address is:
blah blah blah

The quote from All in the Family is cute, but did you (or they) consider the criminal and not the tool? Archie’s answer is very apt. A murderer is going to find a way to do what he’s going to do whether it’s with a gun or a multi-story shove out a window.
As for myself and my family attending the fair, that will not happen until your policy changes. My and my family’s safety is more important to me than someone else’s fear of the unknown.
I will not make further comments about my right to self defense, I would just like to ask you one further question: Do you believe in CPR?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLrN9UjGTwk&feature=share

The I got this:

You and Archie are right on point…the criminal will do what he wants with or without the gun. My point is to make the folks at the fair feel safe.
You probably aren’t aware, as most people are not, that this past fair a teen won or bought a soft pellet rifle that resembled an AR-15. As he was loading pellets into it in the parking lot, several families saw him. Not knowing it was a toy, they pressed the panic button and called 911. That set off a chain of events, that while unfounded, caused a reaction by law enforcement and panic among patrons in the parking lot. Thankfully, it was quickly resolved by our “thugs” and the State Police etc. were called off. My point is that most threats are perceived and perception is reality. That incident had the potential to cause chaos. Thankfully, it did not. I hope that someday, you are able to look at this from a slightly different perspective.
In regards to what you may think of me and my personal views, don’t make any assumptions. The reality is, I am obligated to the fair and fairgoers and must put my personal beliefs aside in order to have a successful fair. And yes, I am willing to do that to keep the fair going for the next generation to enjoy. Thanks.
Mike

So I replied with this:

If I saw someone loading what appeared to be an ar15 in the parking lot I would alert the authorities as well. That is a different subject entirely.
I prefer to actually be safe rather than *feel* safe. There is a significant difference there.
As to the thugs comment. I have had past experiences with those two specific individuals that confronted me, and they are thugs with badges, they are most definitely not peace officers. I have also had other confrontations, started by people with badges, because they want to make up the rules as they go, and that is unacceptable. The rules are (or should be) clearly defined for a reason. My open carrying is not illegal (with the standard exceptions such as when a property owner doesn’t allow it), but because the thugs with badges want to be the only ones with guns, they threaten me (and others) with arrest and sometimes worse.
If you want people to feel safe, allow them to actually be safe, don’t force them to rely on someone with a badge that may be nearby, that will respond too slow to be of any real assistance and statistically does more collateral damage than a private citizen with a gun (citizens are held accountable, “officials” almost never are).
Feeling safe falls in the same category as giving every player a trophy, even when when they suck. It does nothing of substance for anyone.
The reason I make assumptions about your philosophy is because if you are willing set aside your values for one thing, do you actually hold true to anything? If you truly believed in the right to self defense, you would go in front of the board (or whatever) and vote your conscience, not assume that all people are children.
I have been open carrying for a few years now, and I can honestly tell you that the only people that have ever given me a problem about it are the ones with the badges. Most people don’t even notice, and of the few that do, they typically ask if it’s legal because they didn’t know. I have not once had someone call the police to report a man with a gun. Not once.
Treat people like responsible adults and you might be surprised by the result.

Did anyone at the fair report a man with a gun? (other than the kid loading his airsoft rifle). Did you get any complaints about me? Why do you automatically assume people are going to act like children?

And he answered with this:

You make very good points. Maybe a coffee some day. I will mail you new rules once adopted. I understand your point of view. I am simply looking out for the best interest of the fair. I hate to see you angry with us. If you have any more questions or problems, please email me.

Regards,
Mike

And I had to answer that one too:

In all honesty, I am not angry that your policy is to not allow firearms. There is no point in getting angry about that. I simply will not give the fair my business. You have your policy, I have mine.
What did bother me was:
a) the orange shirts attitude
b) the fact that no one I spoke to seemed to know what the actual policy was (including “security”)
c) the policy is not clearly posted anywhere
d) the fact that a month after I sent the initial email I still hadn’t received a response
e) the first response that I did finally get, was the one from George. Spelling and grammar errors aside, that’s a hell of an attitude to give someone for asking for an official policy with background history so you know why the request was made in the first place

Again, I’m not mad about the policy. But, I do feel it is my duty to make sure that the public is aware that the fairgrounds are a victim disarmament zone.

Call it what you like, but by making it a gun-free zone you are turning everyone that enters into a victim. I do not want to see a murderer go on a killing spree there ever, I’m related to a lot of people that go to the fair, but if it does happen a lot of innocent people will die because you have knowingly turned them all into victims.

This may sound like a harsh accusation, but it is the truth. By creating a gun-free zone you are creating tens of thousands of law abiding victims or turning people into criminals for not trusting your hired help with their own lives. And to make matters worse, if I, as a license holder, knowingly violate your no guns policy it’s a felony (making me a prohibited person) whereas if someone without a license carries a gun there it’s a misdemeanor. Who is more likely to ignore your signs? The person with the training and knowledge to use the weapon responsibly or the person who does it cause he thinks it’s cool?

No, I’m not angry about the policy, I’m just disappointed. Oh, by the way, I have openly carried at the Luzerne County Fair without incident, and I would expect more paranoid city folk there than at Wyoming County.

And that supposedly ended the chain of emails… but something was bothering me, so I did some research and sent him this:

Hello again, this is not to beat the firearms on fair property issue any further. That quote you sent me from All in the Family just didn’t feel right, that whole “60% of all deaths in America caused by guns thing”. Since it didn’t sound right to me, I decided to do some research. I didn’t find any real numbers for 1968 in my brief search, but judging by what I did find, I don’t believe that 60% thing. Here’s what I did find:

From the CDC for 2007 – firearms don’t make the top 5 list, but the top 5 list makes up over 64% of all deaths.

From another source that claims to have compiled his statistics from data reported by the
National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 50, No. 15, September 16, 2002 – Firearms are the number 10 in the top 10 with 1.2% of all deaths (note that this 1.2% includes homicide, self-defense and police shootings)

I tried searching the CDC for more current numbers, but I don’t have that kind of time right now. I did however note a blurb in one of the CDC articles that in 1968, 55% of all injury related deaths were caused by motor-vehicles and firearms. That’s not quite the 60% of all deaths statistic that she quoted.

Also, here’s a couple more statistics for you:

From the CDC, Assault or Homicide (page last updated September 6th, 2011), All homicides are ranked 15th in the cause of death category, which is 6.1 deaths per 100,000 population. Of that 6.1 per 100k, firearms homicides were 4.2 per 100,000.

So, using these numbers, yes, guns are used in crime a lot. However, the amount of firearms related deaths is really a very small percentage of total deaths in America. But, while we’re looking at these numbers, let’s take a look at some other numbers. How about the numbers for areas with very restrictive gun laws (that means there are no guns in law abiding citizens hands, right?)

New York City: from 2003-2011, there were 4,161 homicides. An average of 494 per year. Of those, Firearms are 69%. Granted, I didn’t see what these numbers equal per 100,000, but I know New York is higher than average in homicide rates.

Washington, DC: Of the 132 reported homicides in the District in 2010, firearms were used in 99 of them, or approximately 75 percent. Nationally, firearms were used in 67.5 percent of homicides in 2010, the FBI reported.

I don’t have time to continue this topic right now, but I would recommend checking the facts before you try to make an argument using statistics.
Mark

I have not received a response to that one yet, and I really don’t expect to. But no matter. Once I get the official policy I will be buying an ad in the local paper (I’m open to suggestions for wording the ad). I also plan on buying an ad every week for the month leading up to the fair, but we’ll see how finances work out then. Worst case, I’ll make a sign and stand out next to the road during the fair. Something along the lines of “Warning, you are entering a no self-defense zone”. I’ve got some time to think about what my sign should read (I’m open to suggestions there too).
I’ll keep everyone posted on this.

Update on the open carry semi-incident from the beginning of the month

Well, it’s been almost a month since I started my blog and posted Another Open Carry semi-incident, so I decided to write to the fair committee again. This time I included everyone that is listed as an “Officer”, “Director” or “Executive Director”, and I also CC’d it to the local paper. I will retract the email addresses and last names of everyone for now, because I don’t want to escalate to that level just yet. I wasn’t necessarily going to even post an update until I got some progress, but the only response I have received so far pissed me off. Here is the text of the first email I sent this morning:

From: patriot@*****.com
To:
Cc:
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 9:37:12 AM
Subject: Fair Ground Rules

All,
I originally sent the email below to fair@***** while the fair was still going on. I have not received an answer to my question, so I am now sending this to all of you listed as “Officers”, “Directors” or “Executive Directors” as I would like this question formally answered. I have also CC’d the New Age Examiner as I feel the public needs to know what the official policy is as well, in order to prevent future problems.
Please read the email below and respond to me as soon as possible.
Thank you,
Mark Roote
***-***-****

—————————- Original Message —————————-
Subject: Fair Ground Rules
From: patriot@*****.com
Date: Sat, September 3, 2011 2:45 pm
To: fair@*****
————————————————————————–

Corey,
I am writing to you because according to the fairs website you are the president of the fair committee, and I have not received a satisfactory answer to my inquiry at any of the numbers I have called.
I would like the “Fair’s” policy on firearms on the fairgrounds.
I am requesting that this policy be provided to me in writing with a majority of the voting members signatures in assent (either for or against weapons on fair property).
I am asking for this because Open Carry is legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and I Open Carry everywhere I go [with the exclusion of work (because it’s prohibited by the owner) and when I am on the ambulance (because that is currently the law, although I am working on that one)].
Having said that, I have been open carrying for a couple of years now, including at the fair in previous years, and have never been approached and told it was not permitted until last night. Last night I was at the fair with my wife and kids and was looking for the “kid-safe” place (the one that does the fingerprints and pictures, etc) and couldn’t find it.
We happened to be near where several “officers” were hanging out (by the Meshoppen Fire Company building), so I asked them where it was. They saw the weapon on my hip and asked me if I “was working”. It was pretty obvious I was not as I was in no semblance of a uniform (jeans and a t-shirt that said “Don’t Tread On Me”) and pushing a baby in a stroller.
They said nothing else about the firearm at that time (and they also had no idea where the booth that I was looking for was… if the “officers” know where anything is, shouldn’t they know where the child safety booth is?) We walked away to continue our search and found the booth (about 30 yards from where they were sitting, in line-of-sight). Then they came over and asked to speak with me “over here” (I was already out of the main pathway). They told me that they just radioed up and were told weapons were not permitted (they also spoke over me every time I tried to ask a question). They told me that I should consider concealed carry (does that mean that concealed carry is allowed on fairgrounds but open carry isn’t?)
They said that my gun “made people nervous”. When I told them that I had carried on the fairgrounds before and no one had never said anything to me, they said “you shouldn’t have gotten away with it”. These comments from them bring up several questions in my mind:
1) If my gun makes people nervous, has anyone ever filed a complaint about it? I had never been approached before, and I’m pretty sure that if someone went to one of the “officers” about a “man with a gun”, and it is not permitted, they would have been all over me, especially since I have never hidden the fact that I was carrying one.
2) Why did they have to radio up to the office to see if it was allowed? If it is the fairs policy that firearms are not permitted, shouldn’t the people working “security” be informed of this policy? Shouldn’t this policy be posted at the gates and shouldn’t everyone working at the gates be aware of this policy so they could let people know before they entered? (I know damn well the people at the gates saw it when I entered)
3) Why did he suggest I carry concealed? If only “officers” are allowed to have firearms on the fairgrounds, then that wouldn’t be “allowed” either, it would just be invisible… so the “officer” suggested I break the law so I wouldn’t scare people? Does that make sense?

A little more info. Before we went to their station, we had been walking around the fair for several hours already, and I very clearly remember walking past the same 2 “officers” that confronted me several times (along with several others) prior to them confronting me about the weapon. Obviously they didn’t notice it. If they didn’t notice me open carrying, they are obviously not paying attention to detail and definitely would not notice if I was carrying concealed.
Secondly, as we were on our way out of the fair, a fist fight broke out after a yelling match not far from us. The fight broke out not 2 minutes after one of the “orange shirts” walked by the kids (they looked 18-21ish) that were already in confrontational poses (yes, I know what that looks like as I probably have more training than most of the “officers” in Wyoming County) and with raised voices. No “orange shirts” arrived at the fight before a girl broke them up (a couple minutes into it, it appeared to be a girlfriend). How am I more of a threat than these kids? I know they were loud enough for the one that had just walked by to have heard them (I could still see him on the far side of the fight from me, walking away), why didn’t he come back?

I tried calling the office today, and the man that I spoke to gave me 3 different answers to the same question. His first answer was “I don’t think it’s permitted”, his second answer was “it’s not permitted” and his third answer was “to the best of my knowledge it’s not permitted”. You can see how that is unsatisfactory to me when we are talking about the fair refusing my right to self defense. If you can’t give me a solid yes or no to something this important, then you obviously don’t know and I therefore will not believe whatever answer you give me next.

Again, I would like the “Fair’s” policy on firearms on the fairgrounds, in writing, with a majority of the voting members signatures to clear this up
for me. Anything less than a majority of signatures is simply personal preference at this point because I have not gotten consistent answers from anyone I’ve questioned.

I would appreciate a response as soon as possible because neither I nor my wife and children will be returning to the fair until I have my answer.
And, to be honest, if the fair’s policy is that I must be unarmed, then my family will not be returning to the fair again, this year or in the future, until this policy is changed.
Also, since the “Fair” has not made this policy publicly available, I can promise that I will, be it in my favor or against it.

I can be reached at this email address or at my cell (***)-***-****. Since there will be no more US postal service before the fair ends, call me and I can come pick up the document (at the gate if necessary). If you can’t or won’t answer before the fair ends, contact me for my mailing address.

Thank you for your prompt reply,
Mark Roote

And this is the sole response I have gotten so far… see what you think after reading it:

Approx 50000 people attend the fair, one person open carried and sent a long letter for explaination about this. ???

Im sure it will be delt with, thank you.

While that response was sent only to me, unless he sent it to everyone else BCC, I thought enough of it to reply to everyone from my original distribution:

So, George, either you weren’t paying attention when you hit send, or you are indifferent. I am the one who was open carrying and was told by the “officers” at the fair that it wasn’t permitted (after they had to check with the front office and probably talked to the same person that I did that didn’t actually have a clue what the official policy is). I am the one demanding an answer. Your answer of “Im sure it will be delt with, thank you.” is a rather piss poor way to handle public relations. I may be only one person, but I am a citizen. I am responsible for my own safety, and as such I am prepared to defend myself wherever I am. Since I am also a disabled veteran and unable to physically defend myself any longer, I carry a firearm.
I am the one that was told to break the law by your hired “security”. He told me point blank to consider carrying concealed. That has only two explanations: 1) firearms are permitted, but they don’t want to see them or 2) firearms are not permitted, but if you carry concealed we won’t see it so we won’t say anything to you (unless we recognize you and decide to harass you because we know you’re armed).
I wrote the big long explanation so that you would all know the background. I wrote my demand for your policy because I have no desire to break the law, and if I (and the public) know that your policy is to not allow firearms, I won’t carry there (if I show up). I do not believe those orange shirted thugs because I have dealt with them before (yes, those two specifically) and I know for a fact, from personal experience, that they lie when it suits their needs.
So, I say again, your answer of “Im sure it will be delt with, thank you.” is unacceptable.
On the other hand, I am trying to “deal with it” by getting an answer based on fact and supported by documentation, not someone’s opinion because they like to be the “only ones” with a gun.
Mark Roote

I am currently extremely pissed off at George. I do not know him currently, but I will know who he is soon (gotta love a small town for that).
I’ll keep you all posted, but I had to vent.

UPDATE
After I sent the last email, I got this response:

The fair has always had a policy regarding guns on fair property just as every other venue in the country does. The fair is a family event that attracts tens of thousands of people, particularly children. We do not wish to expose them to handguns and firearms. As a pro gun person myself, I understand your frustration, however, the fairgrounds is private property and we reserve the right to set the groundrules. In fact, as a result of your letter, the fair is in the process rewriting and revising the rules regarding prohibited items on fair property to make it even more restrictive. The new rules will be posted at each gate as you have suggested. When the new / revised rules are adopted, I will be happy tp provide you with a copy. Ultimately, the important thing to remember is that the fairgrounds is clearly defined private property. Additionally, nobody suggested you break the law. The fair had previously allowed for concealed carry provided it was in accordance with state and federal statutes. We do not have the authority to permit concealed carry without the proper permit(s). The whole idea is to not upset and scare fairgoers by having folks walking around with guns on their belts. You, being a veteran, should understand public sentiment and paranoia that surrounds the open carry of firearms, particularly post 9-11 and Columbine etc. The comfort and safety of our guests must be our number one priority. I would suggest that you apply for a concealed carry permit with the Sheriff in an effort to avoid any future hard feelings or misunderstandings. Thank you for taking the time to write.

best regards,
mike

He sent that to me and two other people. Why can’t people reply all? If you have something to say on this subject, everyone needs to hear it. Anyway, after that I sent the following to everyone on my initial distribution today:

Mike,
If I had received this answer in the first place, I would not have bothered to send out an email to everyone. But since no one was able to give an an answer, except for the derogatory answer from George, well, I got pissed off.
I know that the fairgrounds are private property and I know the laws regarding property owners rights. That was never the question, and I was never disputing that fact. My problem was that this supposed policy was not posted anywhere, either online nor on site prior to, or immediately after, my incident. And your “employees” obviously don’t know it. It is your right to restrict possession of firearms, and it is my right to decide not to do business with you because of that decision. If that is your policy, I will do my best to inform the public that self-defense is not permitted on the fairgrounds and I will not attend the fair. It is that simple.
I would like a copy of this policy when it is completed.

Now, for my additional comments to your response:
First, that orange shirt did, in fact, suggest that I break the law. He did not ask me if I had a LTCF, nor did he suggest that I try to get one (I have had one for more than 10 years). I also never told him that I had one because it was not relevant to the conversation. You can pretend to put words in his mouth, but unless you were actually standing there, you do not know what was said and in what context. He also did not say that the fair had a policy of allowing concealed weapons, he simply said they weren’t allowed, then he told me to consider carrying concealed.
Second, judging by your response, you are not a pro-gun person, you are merely a hunter. You are probably a member of the NRA. The same organization with a history of selling out the second amendment. You think that the “Right to Bear Arms” means that you can have them at home and in the woods, but nothing more. That is not the meaning. The Second Amendment was added to give the People the ability to restore liberty when the government gets too powerful. Here’s a quote for you: “Let your gun be your constant companion on your walks” – Thomas Jefferson. He wasn’t talking about walks in the woods.
Third, no, I do not understand the public sentiment and paranoia that surrounds the open carry of firearms. A firearm is a tool, nothing more. I have never seen, nor heard of, a pistol jumping off a table and going on a shooting spree. But I have heard several stories of murderers grabbing a hammer or a baseball bat and going on a killing spree. Will you be prohibiting hammers and baseball bats from the fair as well? How about forks and spoons? They’ve been used to murder before as well.
Fourth, 911 and Columbine have absolutely nothing to do with the open carry of firearms. In fact, if planes weren’t government mandated gun-free zones, there would have been armed citizens on the planes able to deter to terrorists. So, by increasing the amount of prohibited items on the fairgrounds, you are in fact making it so much easier for a murderer to kill large quantities of innocent victims because the murderer will know that they are easy prey. And if you think your 2 dozen on and off duty “officers” are adequate to protect your thousands of people, that’s what they thought at Virginia Tech too. How many people died there before he was finally taken down? How many deaths are acceptable to you?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my initial question. Please provide me with a copy of your new rules when they are available.
In the meantime, I will spread the word that the fair is a gun-free zone and neither I, nor my immediate family, will be attending the fair again.
Mark Roote

Well, at least I finally got an answer, now what do I do about it?

Can we get them to PA?

We’ve seen the video about the armed civil disobedience to the mayor in Ruidoso, NM

Verbal shots fired in Ruidoso gunfight: krqe.com

David and Mike both showed me that, but what can we do to get some outside help in Williamsport? I posted about this a few days ago and I had intended to go down for the “next” meeting, but it was actually last night and I had bought the concert tickets a while ago (I wish I had skipped the concert), but here are the current videos in case you haven’t heard about it yet:
Round 1, August 16, 2011

Round 2, September 1, 2011

Round 3, September 15, 2011

These are blatant 1st and 2nd Amendment violations occurring in Williamsport, serious help is needed here. What can we do about it?

If you have ideas, you can contact me and I will do my best to pass them on to the folks taking the lead on this, but I’m a bit busy these days so your best bet is contacting “pistolpackintim” on YouTube. I will continue following this story and I will try to attend future occurrences, but I can’t make promises right now.

Any help available?

Update I wanted to listen to it before I posted it, but Tim was on the radio about this too:

Per David’s Request

After reading David’s request today, I decided that the best way for me to do that is to contact all of them and share it here (I do have my own blog now, why not post it?). Below is the text I sent to each of the candidates, and then below that will be the links that I used to send it.

Dear presidential candidate,
I would like to draw your attention to a recent article by David Codrea titled “Demand Republican presidential contenders take a stand on ‘Gunwalker’” at http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-national/demand-republican-presidential-contenders-take-a-stand-on-gunwalker. Please read that article and then answer the two major questions that he posed:
• As a candidate for president, will you issue a statement calling for reauthorization of an Independent Counsel to investigate all aspects of the “Fast and Furious” scandal, and to follow the trail wherever it leads? And will you recommend prosecution where evidence warrants it, and punishment of those found guilty—no matter how high up in the government they are or have been?
• If elected, will you direct the attorney general to conduct a full and transparent investigation to include vigorous prosecutions where warranted?
If you need more information on ‘Gunwalker’ before making your decision, I suggest you start with David’s “Journalists Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’” at http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-national/a-journalist-s-guide-to-project-gunwalker . Start with the first link, but don’t skip any of them (there are currently 6 pages of links). These are a timeline of the reporting and comments on the story by David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh, the two independent citizens that initially broke the story and have pushed it this far. It is their efforts that have gotten this story in front of Congressman Issa and gotten the Congressional hearings started. There has been some “mainstream” media coverage, so after you read through David’s guides, do an internet search for ‘Project Gunwalker’ and/or ‘Fast and Furious’.
After you’ve done your research, please, answer those two questions. But please note that your response will be shared with the world and you will be held accountable. Please also note that no response is still a response.
Thank you for your time,
Mark Roote

Sent through the following links:
Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul
Rick Perry
Mitt Romney

And since Facebook has a 500 character limit, I posted the following on their Facebook “wall” with a link to David’s article:

Please answer these questions:
Will you issue a statement calling for reauthorization of an Independent Counsel to investigate all aspects of the Fast & Furious scandal and follow the trail wherever it leads?
Will you recommend prosecution where evidence warrants it and punishment of those found guilty no matter how high in the government they are?
Would you direct the attorney general to conduct a full and transparent investigation to include vigorous prosecutions where warranted?

Team Bachmann
The Official Herman Cain Facebook Group (This is apparently a closed group, so I have requested to join and will post the message when I get in)
Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul
Rick Perry
Mitt Romney

UPDATE – As of 1420 EST, I have been accepted to the Herman Cain Facebook page and have posted the same there.

City of Williamsport trampling the 1st Amendment

The City of Williamsport, PA is trampling the 1st Amendment because they don’t want to hear, on record, that they are in violation of the state’s firearms laws.

It’s OK, if I’m available, I’ll go with them when they go back.
I’m also going to look into what I can do about having a picnic in one of their parks, with some friends (or by myself if need be).

Update
Just noticed this one, which is a followup to the other one… watch the video, he’ll explain what happened

Another Open Carry semi-incident

I guess I’ll start with the latest incident.  Our county fair is this week, August 31-September 5, and I had a brief encounter with the local police staff working the fair.  Unfortunately I didn’t have my audio recorder on me as I just got it and it’s not habit for me to grab it yet.  I’ll get there.  But anyway, this is the email I sent to the Fair Committee’s President (it details the incident):

I am writing to you because according to the fairs website you are the
president of the fair committee, and I have not received a satisfactory
answer to my inquiry at any of the numbers I have called.
I would like the “Fair’s” policy on firearms on the fairgrounds.
I am requesting that this policy be provided to me in writing with a
majority of the voting members signatures in assent (either for or against
weapons on fair property).
I am asking for this because Open Carry is legal in the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania and I do Open Carry everywhere I go (with the exclusion of
work [because it’s prohibited by the owner] and when I am on the ambulance
[because that is currently the law, although I am working on that one]).
Having said that, I have been open carrying for a couple of years now,
including at the fair in previous years, and have never been approached
and told it was not permitted until last night. Last night I was at the
fair with my wife and kids and was looking for the “kid-safe” place (the
one that does the fingerprints and pictures, etc) and couldn’t find it.
We happened to be near where several “officers” were hanging out (by the
Meshoppen Fire Company building), so I asked them where it was. They saw
they weapon on my hip and asked me if I “was working”. It was pretty
obvious I was not as I was in no semblance of a uniform (jeans and a
t-shirt that said “Don’t Tread On Me”) and pushing a baby in a stroller.
They said nothing else about the firearm at that time (and they also had
no idea where the booth that I was looking for was… if the “officers”
know where anything is, shouldn’t they know where the child safety booth
is?) We walked away to continue our search and found the booth (about 30
yards from where they were sitting, in line-of-sight). Then they came
over and asked to speak with me “over here” (I was already out of the main
pathway). They told me that they just radioed up and were told weapons
were not permitted (they also spoke over me every time I tried to ask a
question). They told me that I should consider concealed carry (does that
mean that concealed carry is allowed on fairgrounds but open carry isn’t?)
They said that my gun “made people nervous”. When I told them that I had
carried on the fairgrounds before and no one had never said anything to
me, they said “you shouldn’t have gotten away with it”. These comments
from them bring up several questions in my mind:
1) If my gun makes people nervous, has anyone ever filed a complaint about
it? I had never been approached before, and I’m pretty sure that if
someone went to one of the “officers” about a “man with a gun”, and it is
not permitted, they would have been all over me, especially since I have
never hidden the fact that I was carrying one.
2) Why did they have to radio up to the office to see if it was allowed?
If it is the fairs policy that firearms are not permitted, shouldn’t the
people working “security” be informed of this policy? Shouldn’t this
policy be posted at the gates and shouldn’t everyone working at the gates
be aware of this policy so they could let people know before they entered?
(I know damn well the people at the gates saw it when I entered)
3) Why did he suggest I carry concealed? If only “officers” are allowed
to have firearms on the fairgrounds, then that wouldn’t be “allowed”
either, it would just be invisible.

A little more info. Before we went to their station, we had been walking
around the fair for several hours already, and I very clearly remember
walking past the same 2 “officers” that confronted me several times (along
with several others) prior to them confronting me about the weapon.
Obviously they didn’t notice it. If they didn’t notice me open carrying,
they are obviously not paying attention to detail and definitely would not
notice if I was carrying concealed.
Secondly, as we were on our way out the fair, a fist fight broke out after
a yelling match not far from us. The fight broke out not 2 minutes after
one of the “orange shirts” walked by the kids (they looked 18-21ish) that
were already in confrontational poses (yes, I know what that looks like as
I probably have more training than most of the “officers” in Wyoming
County) and with raised voices. No “orange shirts” arrived at the fight
before a girl broke them up (a couple minutes into it, it appeared to be a
girlfriend). How am I more of a threat than these kids?

I tried calling the office today, and the man that I spoke to gave me 3
different answers to the same question. His first answer was “I don’t
think it’s permitted”, his second answer was “it’s not permitted” and his
third answer was “to the best of my knowledge it’s not permitted”. You
can see how that is unsatisfactory to me when we are talking about the
fair refusing my right to self defense. If you can’t give me a solid yes
or no to something this important, then you obviously don’t know and I
therefore will not believe whatever answer you give me next.

Again, I would like the “Fair’s” policy on firearms on the fairgrounds, in
writing, with a majority of the voting members signatures to clear this up
for me. Anything less than a majority of signatures is simply personal
preference at this point because I have not gotten consistent answers from
anyone I’ve questioned.

I would appreciate a response as soon as possible because neither I nor my
wife and children will be returning to the fair until I have my answer.
And, to be honest, if the fair’s policy is that I must be unarmed, then my
family will not be returning to the fair again, this year or in the
future, until this policy is changed.
Also, since the “Fair” has not made this policy publicly available, I can
promise that I will, be it in my favor or against it.

I can be reached at this email address or at my cell (570)-xxx-xxxx.
Since there will be no more US postal service before the fair ends, call
me and I can come pick up the document (at the gate if necessary). If you
can’t or won’t answer before the fair ends, contact me for my mailing
address.

Thank you for your prompt reply,
Mark Roote

Now, before I wrote this email, I called the phone numbers given for the main office where I talked to the guy that had no clue, and then I called the number for the president and left a message. After 24 hours, no response was received, so I sent the email.
What is not included in this letter is that I live in a very rural community, it used to be mostly a farming community until the Marcellus Shale was discovered. This is not some city where people freak out about guns. Also, I know who the two cops are that approached me, but I don’t think they recognized me (I’m on the ambulance). Wait until the next time they try to enter my rig to “talk to” a patient… they will be told to get out because I can no longer focus on treating the patient while they are in there. They’ll remember me. I can’t wait until they try this crap on me in public after they remember who I am and what I drive.

Anyhow, I’ll keep you posted on how this turns out. Oh, It’s now been another 24 hours since I sent that email and I still haven’t gotten any response. I wonder how they’ll like the signs I plan to post about avoiding the fair because they prohibit your right to self defense?