Daniel Perry’s Pardon Makes a Mockery of Self-Defense

“It is absolutely true that the right to self-defense is vital. And to argue that Perry—who, prior to killing Foster at a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest, wrote that he wanted to “shoot the [protesters] in the front and push the pedal to the metal”—acted in self-defense is to make a total mockery of that right and those who’ve had to exercise it.”

“In July 2020, Perry ran a red light and drove into a crowd of protesters. That in and of itself, of course, is not enough to deduce that he was looking for a fight. His own statements prior to doing so, however, add a great deal of helpful context and show his frame of mind at the time. “I might have to kill a few people on my way to work they are rioting outside my apartment complex,” he wrote on social media on May 31, 2020. Also in May, he threatened to a friend that he “might go to Dallas to shoot looters.” And then in mid-June, he sent that message about going to a protest, “shoot[ing] the ones in the front,” and then careening his car through the hubbub.
This was part of a pattern. Austin police detective William Bursley testified, for instance, that Perry searched on Safari for “protesters in Seattle gets shot,” “riot shootouts,” and “protests in Dallas live.” It is not hard to connect the dots between his searches and messages.

So what about that stand-your-ground defense Abbott alleges the jury nullified? Core to Perry’s case and trial was whether he reasonably feared for his life that July evening. Foster indeed had a rifle on him—because open carry is legal in Texas. The Second Amendment does not solely exist for people with conservative views. The big question then: Was Foster pointing the gun at Perry when he approached his vehicle? For the answer, we can go to Perry himself, who told law enforcement that he was not. “I believe he was going to aim at me,” he said. “I didn’t want to give him a chance to aim at me.” But that is not a self-defense justification, as Perry cannot claim clairvoyance.

That the jury reached the conclusion they did is not a mystery, nor is it an outrage. What is outrageous, however, is that a governor who claims to care about law and order has made clear that his support for crime victims is at least in part conditional on having the “right” politics.”

https://reason.com/2024/05/17/daniel-perrys-pardon-makes-a-mockery-of-self-defense/

Why a GOP governor’s pardon of a far-right murderer is so chilling

“in Texas, you can commit murder without suffering the legal consequences of that crime, so long as your victim’s politics are loathed by the right and your case is championed by conservative media. Or at least, this is the message sent by Gov. Greg Abbott’s pardoning of Daniel Perry.

“In the weeks after George Floyd’s murder in 2020, the proliferation of Black Lives Matter protests had filled Perry with apparent bloodlust. Then an active-duty Army officer, Perry texted and messaged friends, among other things:
“I might go to Dallas to shoot looters.”
“I might have to kill a few people on my way to work they are rioting outside my apartment complex … No protesters go near me or my car.”
“I wonder if they will let [me] cut the ears off of people who’s decided to commit suicide by me.”
When a friend of Perry asked him if he could “catch me a negro daddy,” Perry replied, “That is what I am hoping.”

Weeks later, Perry was driving an Uber in Austin, Texas, when he came upon a Black Lives Matter march. According to prosecutors, Perry ran a red light and drove his vehicle into the crowd, almost hitting several protesters. Activists gathered angrily around Perry’s car. Garrett Foster, a 28-year-old Air Force veteran who was openly carrying an AK-47 rifle, approached Perry’s window.

Perry then shot Foster dead.

At trial, Perry’s defense team alleged that Foster had pointed his rifle at the defendant. But witnesses testified that Foster never brandished his weapon, only carried it, which is legal in Texas. And Perry corroborated that account in his initial statement to the police, saying, “I believe he was going to aim at me. I didn’t want to give him a chance to aim at me.” A jury convicted Perry of murder last year.

But..the governor of Texas used his pardoning power to release Perry from prison.

In a statement, Abbott said, “Texas has one of the strongest ‘stand your ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive district attorney.” He noted that in the Lone Star State, a person is justified in using deadly force against another if they “reasonably believe the deadly force is immediately necessary” for averting one’s own violent death. The Texas governor argued that it was reasonable for Perry to believe his life was at stake since Foster had held his gun in the “low-ready firing position.”

Yet this claim is inconsistent with Perry’s own remarks to the police, which indicated that Foster did not aim a rifle at his killer, but merely carried it. Needless to say, seeing a person lawfully carrying a firearm cannot give one a legal right to kill them.

But pesky realities like this carry less weight than conservative media’s delusional grievances. Shortly after Perry’s conviction in April 2023, then-Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson aired a segment portraying Perry as a helpless victim of “a mob of rioters” and a “Soros-funded” district attorney. Carlson decried the jury’s verdict as a “legal atrocity” and lambasted Abbott for standing idly by while his state invalidated conservatives’ right to defend themselves. “So that is Greg Abbott’s position,” he said. “There is no right of self-defense in Texas.”

The next day, Abbott pledged to work “as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry.””

https://www.vox.com/politics/2024/5/17/24159084/daniel-perry-pardon-greg-abbott-samuel-alito-flag

Murder Rates Are Plummeting. What Should We Make of It?

“But aren’t murder rates still far above where they were in 2019? It would indeed seem silly to celebrate that homicides are down from super high to, say, very high. Thankfully, that’s not the case.
“A murder decline of even half the magnitude suggested by the early 2024 data,” writes Jeff Asher, a data analyst and co-founder of AH Datalytics, “would place the US murder rate this year largely on par with or below where it was from 2015 to 2019 prior to the surge in murder in 2020.” There are certainly reasons for caution here, chief among them that it is May, not December. The situation could certainly take a turn for the worse. But should the data continue on the current trajectory, then the number of homicides seen in the U.S. will indeed be back to, or under, pre-COVID levels—a concession also recently made by Charles Fain Lehman, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute.”

https://reason.com/2024/05/06/murder-rates-are-plummeting-what-should-we-make-of-it/

Rape, terror and death at sea: How a boat carrying Rohingya children, women and men capsized

Rape, terror and death at sea: How a boat carrying Rohingya children, women and men capsized

https://www.yahoo.com/news/rape-terror-death-sea-boat-030727364.html

Iran allegedly hired Canadians to conduct assassinations on U.S. soil, according to indictment

“Two Canadians planned to conduct assassinations in the U.S. on behalf of Iran’s intelligence services, according to allegations in a newly unsealed indictment.

The suspects are accused of plotting to shoot a man and woman living in Maryland, one of them a defector from Iran.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/iran-allegedly-hired-canadians-to-conduct-assassinations-on-us-soil-according-to-indictment-192921168.html

Chiefs Super Bowl rally shooting started because someone was “looking at” someone else

“The shooting that claimed a life and injured more than 20 others last Wednesday in Kansas City started for the most ridiculous reason possible.
Someone was looking at someone else.

Via NBCNews.com, court documents show that the shooting stemmed from an argument sparked by the stupidest form of testosterone-driving peacocking.

“Four males approached Lyndell Mays and one of the males asked Lyndell Mays what he was looking at, because they didn’t know him,” the paperwork contends.

“They began arguing about why they were staring at each other.”

Are we that insecure as a species that we can’t tolerate the fact that someone else looked at us? It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.

Insecure men, too thin-skinned to tolerate someone else’s gaze and too stupid to not start waving around guns and too impulsive to not pull the trigger resulted in the death of a woman who had nothing to do with their stupid-ass macho head games. Others were physically injured, tens of thousands were emotionally impacted, and millions of others must now take a serious look at whether they should avoid attending games or parades or other sports-related gatherings.

How can anyone even begin to combat this? It’s a combination of excess hormones and insufficient intelligence. Along with, of course, access to weapons that can be brandished and activated by someone who otherwise can’t be trusted to tie his shoes properly.”

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/chiefs-super-bowl-rally-shooting-010841959.html

Pol Pot’s Atrocities Still Matter, 45 Years After Khmer Rouge’s Fall

“Forty-five years ago last Sunday, Vietnamese troops seized Phnom Penh and ended Cambodia’s 45-month reign of terror known as the “killing fields.” Under the leadership of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge government implemented policies—forced labor, resettlements, torture, starvation—that led to the death of 1.7-to-3 million people, or at least 20 percent of the nation’s population. The regime destroyed the country, caused untold suffering, and left permanent scars.”

“The Cambodian revolution wasn’t spontaneous. Its leaders honed their philosophy while studying in Paris. And one usually finds intellectuals behind crazy notions. As the saying goes, “Ideas have consequences”—and they’re often tragic.
Cambodia’s leaders sought to create an idyllic and classless agrarian society, one that harkened to the Angkor Empire from the 800s. “They wanted all members of society to be rural agricultural workers rather than educated city dwellers, who the Khmer Rouge believed had been corrupted by western capitalist ideas,” according to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. Their philosophy echoed Mao Zedong, whose efforts to remake China led to unimaginable horrors.”

“In 1999, the “Black Book of Communism” tried to detail the number of civilian deaths caused by the world’s communist regimes—not deaths caused amid wars and civil strife, but direct massacres from the kind of policies so efficiently carried out in Cambodia. The authors came up with a figure of 100 million. These deaths don’t tell the entire story of fear, slavery, and repression. It’s simply unfathomable that any modern American could have a view of communist regimes that were any more favorable than the views most of us hold of Nazism.

Then again, ideological narratives grab hold of people in ways that are hard to understand. So many young leftists are nurtured in a university hothouse that divvies up humanity into fixed groups of “oppressor” and “oppressed.” They learned to have an endless faith in the government’s ability to reorder humanity. They probably haven’t been taught about what happens when officials are given unlimited powers to launch a “Great Leap Forward,” create “Year Zero” or design a “New Soviet Man.”

That’s too bad because the reason we live such free and prosperous lives is because we live within a system that limits the government’s power to take our property, throw us in prison, depopulate cities, execute us, force us onto long marches and put us in re-education camps. History proves that many people—including those who claim to have the best intentions—would do horrific things if they had such powers at their disposal. We can even point to horrors in the history of our own country, of course.”

https://reason.com/2024/01/12/pol-pots-atrocities-still-matter-45-years-after-khmer-rouges-fall/

Russia’s Slaughter of Indigenous People in Alaska Tells Us Something Important About Ukraine

“it wasn’t Russian sailors themselves who were clubbing or shooting each of these animals. The Aleutian Islands, and much of the southern rim of Alaska that Russian shipmen explored, already housed tens of thousands of locals. Aleuts and Tlingits, Inuit and Yupik, nation after nation of Alaska Natives already claimed a home in the region, largely untouched by European explorers.

And then the Russians came. And just as they had among Indigenous peoples in Siberia — and just as British, French, Spanish, and Portuguese explorers had done in the warmer climes of the Americas — Russian troops saw Indigenous peoples as little more than a subhuman hindrance, but also as a potential means to an end.

It didn’t take long after the Russian landing for the familiar pattern of colonial crimes to play out, sending Indigenous populations reeling. Almost immediately, Russian colonizers began implementing the same playbook they’d perfected across Siberia. The first step was known as iasak, in which Russian representatives demanded tribute — furs, typically — from Indigenous populations. In order to assure compliance, Russian traders implemented the playbook’s second element: amanaty, in which Russians would seize hostages from Indigenous populations, held until the iasak requirements were completed. Often, Russian representatives would kidnap the children of local leaders — all the better to ensure compliance. In some cases, as historian Anne Hyde has written, the Russians would abduct the children of up to half of the male populations of a given community.

Nor did they stop there. As the U.S.’s National Institute for Health notes, such an arrangement allowed the Russians to effectively “enslave” local populations. Demanding “furs in exchange for [the] lives” of women and children, Russians would “sexually exploit the hostages” — and even “execute the hostages” should the fur intake fall short. All of it, just “to set an example” for other recalcitrant Indigenous populations.”

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/10/27/russia-colonization-alaska-ukraine-00123352

India’s Alleged Assassination of a Dissident in Canada Highlights Repression Across Borders

“”The Chinese Communist regime, often with the aid of other governments, is systematically hunting down its political and religious exiles, no matter where in the world they seek refuge,” Nate Schenkkan and Sarah Cook reported in 2021 for The Diplomat.
“Fox Hunt is a sweeping bid by General Secretary Xi [Jinping] to target Chinese nationals whom he sees as threats and who live outside China, across the world,” FBI Director Christopher Wray charged in a 2020 speech. “We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents, and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations. Hundreds of the Fox Hunt victims that they target live right here in the United States, and many are American citizens or green card holders.”

In April of this year, authorities arrested two men accused of helping establish a secret Chinese “police station” in New York’s Chinatown. “The PRC, through its repressive security apparatus, established a secret physical presence in New York City to monitor and intimidate dissidents and those critical of its government,” according to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen.”

“Turkey’s government, it should be noted, cooperates with Beijing to silence Muslim Uyghur refugees who fled to Turkey, and it has sought assistance in muzzling its own dissidents. “Uzbekistani security services helped abduct a man from his apartment in Tashkent and return him to Turkey,” notes Freedom House.”

https://reason.com/2023/09/27/indias-alleged-assassination-of-a-dissident-in-canada-highlights-repression-across-borders/