Were 2 NC churches vandalized over the weekend the work of LGBT activists?

My latest at Independent Journal Review details two recent incidents of church vandalism in Guilford County, North Carolina that saw windows busted out, landscaping being overturned, and walls and parking lots being spray painted with rainbows and messages like “Gay is OK!” and “Straights Approve!”

Law enforcement officials are still investigating. Stay tuned…

NC church vandalism

Image via Fox 8.

Headline of the day: “Suspect in Obama mask robs Concord, NC Taco Bell”

Obama mask

I know the feeling …
(Image via Twitter)

Via the Independent Tribune:

CONCORD, N.C. — Authorities have arrested two men and are looking for a third in an alleged robbery conspiracy at a Concord Taco Bell.

At about 6:29 a.m. Sunday, Concord police responded to an armed robbery call at the Taco Bell at 2281 Spider Drive.

Two suspects stole $1,300 cash from the restaurant, according to a police report and information provided by CPD. One suspect was wearing a navy blue sweat suit, an Obama mask and had a handgun. The second suspect was wearing camouflage clothing, a black ski mask and carried a rifle.

During the investigation, police determined that Darrius De’quane Mack-Weaks, a Taco Bell employee, allegedly conspired with his cousin and a friend to rob the restaurant, according to CPD.

A Twitter follower quipped:


Heh.

President Obama – if he’s not robbing us one way, he’s robbing us some other way …

Federal judge to IRS: You must explain ‘lost’ emails under oath

Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner

The room definitely just got hotter for Democrats hoping this scandal will just go away. Via Fox News:

A federal judge has ordered the IRS to explain “under oath” how the agency lost a trove of emails from the official at the heart of the Tea Party targeting scandal.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency 30 days to file a declaration by an “appropriate official” to address the computer issues with ex-official Lois Lerner.

The decision came Thursday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which along with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has questioned how the IRS lost the emails and, in some cases, had no apparent way to retrieve them.

The IRS first acknowledged it lost the emails in a letter to senators last month.

“In our view, there has been a cover-up that has been going on,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The Department of Justice, the IRS, had an obligation, an absolute obligation … to alert the court and alert Judicial Watch as soon as they knew when these records were supposedly lost.”

The IRS says it lost the emails in 2011 when Lerner’s computer crashed. At the time, Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. She has since retired.

During the court hearing, Sullivan indicated he wanted the portion of the declaration on the computer issues to be wide-ranging, saying “that’s about as broad as I can make it.”

It also emerged at the status hearing that a Treasury Department inspector general probe into the matter is underway.

In related news, Hot Air’s Noah Rothman filed this report on new claims being made by Lerner’s attorney:

On Wednesday, former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner’s attorney changed his tune on just how lost those two years’ worth of emails actually were. Lerner’s lawyer, William Taylor II, said that Lerner had printed out some emails in order to comply with records-keeping laws. He had previously said that Lerner did not print and file her email communications because she was unaware that she was required to do so.

“During her tenure as Director of Exempt Organizations, she did print out some emails, although not every one of the thousands she sent and received,” Taylor said in a statement.

In an exchange with Politico, Taylor quibbled over whether or not he had misled that news organization when he told them that Lerner did not print out any emails.

“Your question was whether she printed out ‘official records’ and filed them. I am not saying she did that,” Taylor wrote to Politico reporters. That presumes a level of scrutiny and process over every email that did not occur.”

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress that it was his understanding that Lerner had printed out her emails as required by the Federal Records Act. Later, however, Koskinen testified that Lerner may not have printed out her emails because she “did not think it was required.”

Sigh. So many conflicting stores from the mouths of the accused.  I wonder if we’ll ever get to the truth?

(Hat tip: Memeorandum)

#GunControl: Violent weekend in Chicago sees 60 shot, 9 dead

Crime scene tape

ABC News reports that the Independence Day holiday and weekend in Chicago turned out to be a violent, deadly one for nearly 70 people:

Independence Day celebrations were marred by multiple shootings in Chicago that reportedly left at least nine dead and 60 injured.

The first fatal shooting occurred around 2:30 a.m. Friday, kicking off a violent weekend for the city.

Corey Hudson, 34, was killed after a car pulled up and someone inside shot him and a friend on the street. According to ABC News station WLS-TV in Chicago there were also three police-involved shootings on July 4th alone. At least one suspect involved in one of those shootings was killed.

The most recent shootings occurred Sunday night, according to WLS-TV.

They city has been actively combating gang and shooting violence in recent years after a bloody year in 2012, when it was the only city in the nation to record more than 500 homicides.

[…]

The Chicago Tribune updated its tally of Chicago shooting victims today, bringing up the total of those shot to 1,129 so far this year. According to the Tribune, there were 2,185 shooting victims in Chicago last year.

Don’t expect any widespread outrage, any national conversation on this story, no in-depth reporting, no marches from gun-control fanatics like “Moms Demand” – because the Chicago murders don’t fit their narrative.  The city of Chicago, under decades of Democrat rule, has some of the absolutely strictest gun laws – the exact types of laws that gun control zealots salivate over – in the country, and yet for years it’s had one of the worst, in some years THE worst, rate of violent crime involving guns.  It’s a sad commentary on exactly what types of viciousness and lawlessness unconstitutional gun laws can lead to, and one that deserves a vigorous discussion – but we won’t see it any time soon, because gun rights advocates are typically relegated to the back of the bus on this issue, viewed as “heartless” and “lacking compassion” … all because they know the truth (and aren’t afraid to speak out about it) about how tight gun control laws only lead to more innocent people being hurt or killed by thugs who don’t give a damn about the rule of law.

Move along here, nothing to see, etc … :(

Dumb criminals news: Thief checks FB during break-in, forgets to log out

Picard facepalm

Yeah.

Derp! Via WCCO:

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota man is in jail because he logged on to Facebook.

Police say 26-year-old Nicholas Wig checked his profile from a home he broke into, and then he didn’t log off. It happened June 19 in South St. Paul.

“World’s dumbest criminal,” the homeowner James Wood said. “I don’t know.”

Wood had come home to find his house ransacked. His credit cards, cash and watch were all gone.

In their place, the thief had left a pair of Nike tennis shoes, jeans and a belt, that were all wet.  Wood said it had been raining outside.

“I started to panic,” he said. “But then I noticed he had pulled up his Facebook profile.”

Wood posted to Facebook using Wig’s profile, saying Wig had burglarized his home. He even shared his phone number to see if someone would call with information. Wig texted him later that day.

“I replied you left a few things at my house last night, how can I get them back to you,” Wood said.

Wig agreed to meet with Wood later that night. Wood believes Wig was under the impression he would give him back some of his clothes he had left at his home in exchange for a recycled cell phone Wig had stolen.

Wig was arrested a short time later.

“Hot” mugshot of convicted felon gets thousands of Facebook likes, comments

Convicted felon Jeremy Meeks

Convicted felon Jeremy Meeks

I don’t get it:

A mug shot of a Northern California man arrested on felony weapons charges has gone viral on social media, attracting more than 33,000 “likes” and drawing comments praising his high cheekbones, chiseled face and striking blue eyes.

Jeremy Meeks, 30, a felon, was arrested Wednesday on five weapons charges and one gang charge, according to Officer Joseph Silva, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department.

No previous arrest photo has garnered so much positive attention since the department set up the Facebook page in March 2012, Silva told The Associated Press.

“I have not seen that many likes for a photo before,” he said.

By late Thursday, Meeks’ arrest photo had garnered more than 33,000 “likes,” and 10,400 comments, and had been shared more than 3,300 times.

“Wow. That is one good looking mug shot!” one person wrote.

“Momma, I’m in love with a criminal,” another joked.

Some online commentators even said Meeks looked like he belonged in an Abercrombie & Fitch ad or on the show “America’s Next Top Model.”

Still others were disapproving, such as one observer who said, “He may be a tad bit cute, but with six felonies, he ain’t that cute.”

Gee, ya think?  The Washington Post’s “Morning Mix” blog reports on the backlash that has come from news reports of all the gushing:

[Stockton Police Officer Joseph] Silva said Meeks, who is being held on a $900,000 bond, is “one of the most violent criminals in the Stockton area,” but declined to speak further about his alleged crimes.

Still, many seem more intrigued by his mug shot than his rap sheet.

Meeks was booked on Wednesday afternoon into the San Joaquin County Jail — and that’s when the ogling started. When police posted the mug shot of the 6-foot-1, 170-pound, baby blue-eyed alleged felon on a Facebook page, boy-watchers went nuts. As of Friday morning, his mug shot had nearly 40,000 likes, 4,500 shares and 13,000 comments. And media all over were reporting about it, using headlines such asLadies love this felon’s mugshot” and writing that Meeks is “arguably the most wanted felon in Northern California … wanted by the ladies, that is.”

[…]

But there were plenty of people who found it-and him-not so hot, especially in light of the memorial on the same page to fallen officer Scott Hewell. Hewell died June 11 of injuries suffered in a crash while he was on his way to aid another officer who had stopped a man involved in an earlier shooting.

By early Friday morning, there was a backlash.

I find it incredibly sad that an alleged felon on this page gets so much more attention on Facebook than a fallen officer, ” one man wrote on the police department’s Facebook page.

It’s pretty sad that a criminal has overshadowed the death of a police officer while on duty!” wrote a woman.”

Good to see a little bit of sanity prevail.

Officer Hewell’s memorial service was yesterday.  The Stockton PD posted pictures from it here. My prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.

CT Democrat lawmakers think retailers banning guns will curb store gun violence

Gun rights

Image via Fox News.

Via The Hill:

Connecticut lawmakers called on the nation’s largest retailers to support gun control reform measures by banning customers from carrying guns into their stores.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty sent a letter on Friday to the 10 largest retailers and the National Retail Federation asking them to help reduce gun violence.

“It is never too late to help reduce gun violence,” the lawmakers wrote. “We hope you will, after reflecting on these shooting deaths, contribute your voice to the nationwide effort to enact common-sense gun safety reforms.”

The lawmakers said their letter was partially prompted by a report last month that a loaded gun was left in the toy aisle of a South Carolina Target store. They also said there’s been at least 79 shootings in Wal-Marts since the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn., left 20 schoolchildren dead.

The Democrats pointed out that Starbucks and Chipotle have already prohibited customers from bringing guns into stores.

When will these people get it? Or will they ever? Rhetorical questions, of course.   One that’s not, however, that I wish they’d answer is when was the last time turning a school, a movie theater, the local store or other retail businesses, or a government building into a “gun-free zone” stopped a killer from bringing a gun onto the premises and hurting and killing people? When these lawmakers – and other proponents of similar type legislation – are  ready to consider the question and answer it honestly without the typical spin and emotional arguments, then maybe I’ll take their efforts at trying to stop gun violence seriously. Until then …

Gun control argument

‘Nuff said.

QOTD: Cosmo doubles down on the fail in response to “icky” self-defense comment

Women friends toasting with shots at a bar

Ladies, please be safe.
Image via HuffPo.

In case you were thinking that Cosmopolitan magazine was going to dial it down a notch or two in the aftermath of the outrage and disbelief over comments one of their managers made in response to Miss USA’s remarks on self defense in the context of campus rapes, think again. Cosmo sex editor Anna Breslaw stomped her feet and churned out this head-scratcher:

During the question-and-answer portion of the Miss USA pageant, 24-year-old Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez, who took home the crown, said she believed some colleges might sweep campus rape under the rug to prevent bad press. Sanchez, a fourth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, added, “more awareness [of the issue] is very important so that women can learn to protect themselves … You need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. That’s something we need to start to implement for a lot of women.” 

[…]

Self defense isn’t icky, and anyone with a fifth-grade reading comprehension level can understand that’s not what Elisa was saying.  

Actually, yeah – it was:

I get that the college sexual assault problem can’t be solved in 30 secs but still icky to pretend like self defense is the answer. ” – Elisa Benson

Can’t get much more plain that that.  And as I noted in my prior piece on this issue, she was far from the only one.

Breslaw went on:

What is icky is the idea that we’d pour the entirety of our time, energy, and federal funding into training every 18-year-old girl in America to be jacked, gun-toting Lara Crofts rather than, oh, I don’t know, teaching boys not to rape or shaming college administrators for not taking sexual assault allegations seriously. 

What’s “icky” is Ms. Breslaw assuming that most people who did a double take at Ms. Benson’s remarks believe there’s only room for one solution.  Also “icky” is her implicit assumption that boys aren’t taught from a very early age to respect women. Disturbing is her obvious belief that if respect is taught then it automatically means that a young man won’t grow up and eventually hurt a woman.   We can and should drill it into the heads of every single one of them that respecting women is not optional, but that doesn’t mean on down the line he’s going to abide by that. 

Which is where self-defense comes into play.  Fortunately, Breslaw is on board with women learning self-defense. Sorta:

Self-defense is a fantastic thing for every woman (or man) to have under their belt — in fact, experts say would-be attackers are often deterred by the confident manner in which women educated in self-defense carry themselves — but this limited view of campus sexual assault prevention perpetuates dangerous myths about sexual assault and shames victims for not adequately “preparing” to defend themselves against rape. It’s the same mentality as blaming sexual assault victims for wearing provocative clothing and therefore “brought it upon themselves,” rather than blaming their attackers for the actual assault. 

Do me a favor and please re-read the bolded part of the above paragraph.  Then digest it.  Self-defense “perpetuates myths about sexual assault” and …. “shames victims” for not preparing to defend themselves?? SAY WHAT? She actually thinks promoting self-defense is the equivalent to those who snidely say “but she was wearing a short skirt so she was asking for it”?   And it “shames” women who have been victims of sexual assault? In what  universe does Ms. Breslaw reside?  One wonders if she’d say that exact thing to victims of sexual assault who take up self-defense training and who tour and give speeches promoting that very thing as a very useful tool in preventing an attacker from doing a woman harm?? Good grief!

She says she believes all this but yet wants you to think that she harbors a “big tent” approach to the issue combating violence against women that includes incorporating self-defense into the mix? I don’t think so.  Here’s the shorter version of Breslaw’s ridiculous argument:  ‘Let’s not emphasize self-defense because we don’t want to risk hurting the feelings of women who have already become victims. In fact, let’s put the onus for trying to stop future assaults entirely on “society” rather than try to educate women on how to better protect themselves.’  Maybe that “solution” would work flawlessly in Breslaw’s Feminist Utopia but here in the real world, the reality is that there are bad people out there and no matter how much we try and communicate that it’s not ok to hurt women, those who want to WILL.

Rape is more of a crime of opportunity than it is some guy hiding in an alleyway waiting for you to walk by. With increasing frequency, a rapist is more likely to be someone you know or are otherwise somewhat acquainted with, perhaps casually, than not.    Either way, it’s best to be prepared for any situation.  Travel in groups.  Hold tight to your beverage of choice at all times.  Don’t binge drink. Do not walk to your car alone at night.  Lock your car doors and windows – and the doors and windows to your house.  Do NOT answer the front door if you don’t know who the person is or if they just make you uncomfortable.   Do not get into a car with a man you don’t know.  Do not be free-flowing with personal information about yourself (such as where you live and your phone number) with guys who you’re just getting to know.  The list goes on and on.

It goes without saying but I’ll repeat it anyway: You could do all of the above and then some and still end up a victim of a sexual assault – and if it does happen, it is imperative that you understand that it is/was NOT your fault. Unfortunately, there is no “fool-proof” way of avoiding the possibility of something happening to you.  But you’ll lessen the chances of it happening if you take precautions.  We tell young kids they can’t walk half a block to the store alone because someone might snatch them.  We instruct teenagers to run away if someone they don’t know approaches them in a vehicle. These are common sense precautions that no one ever thinks twice about. Why would anyone on earth hesitate to make sure women are given the vital tips they need in order to try and avoid becoming a victim of a violent crime, in addition to continuing to educate young men that they must respect women?

Unlike Ms.  Breslaw, I don’t speak out of both sides of my mouth.  I really do believe we should do everything we can to prevent future assaults, not just by continuing to instill values at a young age to boys (and girls) that they should respect each other, but also by trying to ensure that women have every available tool at their disposal – both knowledge and physical power – to protect themselves.  Nothing “icky” or shameful about it. The phony, warped political correctness behind Breslaw’s “but we’re shaming victims by doing this!!” mentality only serves to create more victims of rape down the road. She might be ok with that, but I’m not.

Correcting preconceived notions about guns in the aftermath of the #UCSB murders

Facts

Facts matter.

In the aftermath of the horrific stabbings and shootings at the hands of deranged University of California at Santa Barbara student Eliot Rodger that left 6 dead (not including the murderer) and 13 injured, National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke provides some much needed clarity on the talking points being thrown around by predictable knee-jerk reactionaries:


From USA Today:

Rodger stabbed to death three roommates at his apartment before starting his shooting spree, said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown at a news conference.

“It was a pretty horrific crime scene,” Brown said of the murder scene at the apartment.

After slaying his roommates, Rodger went to a sorority house and knocked loudly on the door, Brown said. No one answered. He then shot three women outside the house, killing two and injuring the third, the sheriff said.

Twice deputies engaged him in gunfire, the first time wounding him in the hip as he drove, Brown said. The rampage ended after the young man exchanged fire with deputies and hit a bicyclist before crashing into parked cars.Rodger then fired on random people at multiple other locations nearby over a 10-minute period, police said.

“It would appear he took his own life at this point,” Brown said.

Thirteen people were injured — eight from gunshot wounds, four from being hit by his car and one who suffered a minor injury whose exact cause was not clear yet, Brown said.

Brown added that Rodger had three semi automatic handguns–a Glock 34 and two Sig Sauer P226s– as well as more than 400 rounds of ammo when he died.

The suspected shooter purchased all his firearms legally. They were registered to him.


Ezra Klein, not exactly a rock-ribbed conservative, unwittingly assisted Cooke on the inevitable cries of “we need more gun control!” coming from the left and their allies in the mainstream media:


Not exactly what gun control zealots wanted to hear. Cooke continued:


As I wrote on Twitter this morning, it’s easy to pile on and knee-jerk react in the era of “insta=reax” to what happens in the world. I’m just as guilty of it as the next person. Few people seem to take the time to carefully read and analyze the existing available information on any given developing situation before spouting off, which leads to a lot of irresponsible garbage being written – like the Daily Kos’ lengthy, ridiculous (not to mention shamelessly politically opportunistic) diatribe about how Elliot Rodger’s deadly rampage was the fault of all alpha males aka conservative men. As Cooke demonstrated, the opposition (us) needs to be better than that and come at the various (and typical) arguments tossed out for consumption armed with the facts rather than emotionalism. Sympathy for the victims and their respective families is understandable, necessary as part of the healing process – but regurgitating old, tired emotional arguments that have little to no merit for the sake of scoring cheap political points in an attempt to influence policy in the wrong direction is most definitely not.