Florida Legislator Wants Punishment for Murder Reduced!

Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up! Talk about truth being stranger than fiction.

On October 17th, 2019 Florida Senator Bracy (D – Orange County) filed a bill that just defies logic or common sense. While most bills are designed to try and solve some issue or address a error in past laws, this one is unique!

Florida Senate Bill 564 – Murder

General Bill by Bracy. Murder“Revising the elements of murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree; revising the elements of what constitutes felony murder, for murder in the second degree; deleting provisions relating to felony murder, for murder in the third degree; authorizing persons convicted under certain murder provisions to file a petition with the sentencing court to have his or her murder conviction vacated or to be resentenced, as applicable, on or after a specified date, etc.”

You see, Sen. Bracy thinks that if we lower the punishment for certain “types” of murders it will help to reduce the “prison overcrowding” and more “fairly” address a person’s role in a murder. What? What part of a murder is not a serious crime?

This is what he wrote to justify the bill: “WHEREAS, there is a need for statutory changes to more equitably sentence offenders in accordance with their level of involvement in homicides, and WHEREAS, it is a bedrock principle of the law and of equity that a person should be punished for his or her actions according to his or her level of individual culpability, and WHEREAS, it is necessary to amend Florida’s felony murder rule to limit convictions and subsequent sentencing so that the laws of this state fairly address the culpability of the individual and assist in the reduction of prison overcrowding, which partially results from lengthy sentences that are not commensurate with the culpability of the individual…”

Sen. Bracy wants to reduce the level of punishment for some levels of murder, if you are involved in a violent felony like robbery or sexual battery and someone is killed. In what world does that make any type of sense? It does not seem to matter to Sen. Brady that the murder rate nationally has been going down over the last 20+ years or so. Facts and reality do not seem to matter to this Senator.

Murder rate down over many years.

You have to ask yourself why in the world would anyone want to do this? What motivation would one have for wanting to reduce prison time and the seriousness of murder charges? One can only guess.

We have had a decline in the Murder rate nationwide over the last couple of decades, and it’s not by making the punishment less for murder. Maybe the good Senator should look at making other laws have more serious punishments and making enforcement a priority? Like maybe raise the level of crime for using a firearm to commit a serious crime? How about mandatory time for using a firearm in a violent felony? Instead of trying to pass meaningless firearms control laws that will do nothing to reduce murders or crimes, make the use of a firearm in a crime even more punitive!

I am sorry but this legislation is one of the stupidest things I have seen in years. Want to read it for yourself go here: http://bit.ly/2W44OXH

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Newsweek Outright Lies to the American People about Firearms Deaths!

Why am I not surprised that another supposed “news” source would publish a article “STUDY: U.S. GUN DEATHS SURGE, EXCEPT FOR TWO STATES WITH RESTRICTIVE GUN LAWS – BY ASHER STOCKLER ON 10/8/19” that is not only full of falsehoods, but the headline itself is an outright lie.

Is it any surprise that the American people no longer trust “news” sources like Newsweek? When supposed news sources publish such blatant lies about a topic rather than take 5 minutes to actually research reliable sources, you get results like this:

Screen grab from Newsweek.com

Now if you read that headline you would think they at least were telling you the truth. But would it surprise you if I told you that according to the FBI “2018 Crime in the United States” firearms murders went down the last two years? Firearms murders have decreased since 2016. 2018 was lower again from 2017. So why would Newsweek want to mislead or lie to the American public? Well of course we know why, they want to influence the public into thinking there is a “surge” or “epidemic” or “crisis”. When in reality the only one of those is in the minds of those who manufacture these claims.

From: FBI “2018 Crime in the United States” report.

According to the FBI homicide data, murder over all is down again also in the US. That’s great news so why not share that good news? Isn’t murder being down a good thing? Oh that’s right if they admitted that it would make things like “gun control” the “assault weapons ban” and other things pointless. Well they are pointless.

Here is the homicide rate per 100,000 people in the US over the last 48 years. Notice anything? You can easily see that the Murder rate was much higher from about 1998 and prior. After the rate started dropping in the nineties it has stayed pretty stable until about 2008 when it dropped a little more. With the mass murder in 2016 it climbed but still not to previous levels. And now it has dropped again to 5 murders per 100K like it was back in 2009. Again it is still far lower than in the past prior to 1999.

Graphic by Down Range with Chris Wagoner. (chriswagoner.us)

So one has to also consider this. We are a nation of 350+ MILLION people. And a nation with hundreds of millions of firearms, some estimates are even more firearms than people. If firearms were the issue would we not have far more firearms murders than 10,265 out of 350+ MILLION people with all those firearms in the US? Of course we would. This is a very simple way of showing it is not the inanimate object that is a problem, but the person behind it. Just like it is the driver behind the wheel of a car driving DUI and not the car. It is obvious when you see that “hands and feet”, “Blunt objects” like clubs and hammers, and even “knives and cutting instruments” are used to murder far more people than those “assault rifles” that many say are the biggest threat to people these days.

So to Newsweek I make this challenge, if you want to put anyone up for a debate live online, I will gladly take you up on ti. Subject? The real numbers behind firearms, murder and fake crisis you are trying to manufacture.

I know they won’t take me up on it, but it’s fun to hope! Stay safe out there.

Murder, Violent Crime and Rifle Use as a Weapon Down in 2018!!

OK I know that the headline of this article will make some immediately say “no way!” or “it’s an epidemic!” but the numbers do not support those points of view.

While the media and presidential candidates tell you that “we have to do something!” to address the “gun control problem” we have in the USA, I am here to tell you they are full of it! What if I told you that the use of ALL rifles (AR 15’s, AK 47’s and all others) is down over the last 5 years. And that rifles of all kinds killed fewer people than Knives (and cutting instruments) blunt objects, and hands and feet accounted for more murders than firearms?

In 2018 those dreaded “assault rifles” and every other kind of rifle accounted for just 297 murders. Now please do not think I am belittling any murder. Not one single murder is OK, but we are talking overall numbers and weapons used. While rifles accounted for 297 murders, knives or cutting instruments accounted for 1515 murders! Are you ready for this? Knives and other cutting instruments accounted for 5.1 times the number of murders as rifles. Let that sink in. As much as the “assault rifles” are demonized by the mainstream media they are 5.1 times LESS LIKELY to be used in a murder than a knife or other cutting device.

Are you ready for this little tidbit? CLUBS, HAMMERS and other blunt objects account for 668 murders in 2018. That is 1.49 times as many murders as rifles! Really? Come on gun control advocates, what in the world are you trying to hang your hat on? No one can in their right mind say that AR 15’s and rifles in general are a problem when compared to others types of weapons. Ready for this one? Hands and Feet and other “personal weapons (meaning parts of the body) killed 2.24 as many people as rifles. That’s right, more people were beaten to death by hands and feet than by those deadly assault rifles! Makes you wonder why they are targeting those rifles doesn’t it. Keep thinking about that.

Violent crime overall is down again,

” In 2018, an estimated 1,206,836 violent crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of 3.3 percent from the 2017 estimate “ that from the FBI. In addition, “When considering 5- and 10-year trends, the 2018 estimated violent crime total was 4.7 percent above the 2014 level but 9.0 percent below the 2009 level.” As for murders there were ” There were 5.0 murders per 100,000 people in 2018. The murder rate in 2018 was down from the rates in 2017 (6.8 percent) and 2009 (1.2 percent).

But if you listen to the main stream media we are in a crisis mode in the US. People are being killed by the millions on our streets! Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Lets take rifles since they seem to be the topic of every talking head out there even if they do not know what they are talking about. Rifle deaths are down from 2016 & 2017! That is right, while rifles only accounted for 300 murders in 2016, in 2017 they accounted for 390, but they went down in 2018 to 297. The lowest in three years.

You see we do not have a assault weapon or rifle murder problem in the US, we have a media fueled hysteria based on emotions and perception problem, not facts. If we based our laws on facts and real issues/ numbers, rifles would not even be in the discussion. It is only because of high profile, media driven attention that you even think rifles are an issue to begin with.

I have an open challenge to any person that thinks rifles need to be banned. I challenge you to a debate about why they need to be banned, and the real issues behind murders these days. But then again I know that not one single talking head that wants to ban rifles or make other stupid laws will take me up on this, since they do not deal in reality, only emotional reactions. I specifically challenge any political figure or Everytown or BAWN member to an open debate on this issue.

You can look up the numbers for yourself here: http://bit.ly/2prjAfb

We do not have a assault weapon, or any other weapon for that matter, problem in the USA, we have a issue with many other things (another article full of topics) but the “crisis” or “epidemic” of murders with assault weapons is not one of them! IT DOES NOT EXIST!

Oh just in case one of the politicians running on banning assault weapons wants to debate me, you can reach me here: chris@chriswagoner.us. But I won’t hold my breath.

It Takes a Good Guy With a Gun to Stop a Bad Guy With a Gun

“Law enforcement is reactionary by its very nature — remember, they come when you call, but you have to be able to call them.”

As news unfolded last week in this country, many things got splashed across our television screens and repeated over and over again. If the story is one of death or terror, it usually gets plenty of airtime and lots of print. A perfect example is the very newsworthy shooting at the Republican softball practice. A lunatic, left wing fringe ‘wanna-be killer’ tried to target unarmed and defenseless Congress members. It got the press time it deserved.

The attempted murder of our Congress members was stopped by two armed plain clothes police officers assigned as dignitary protection to one of the present members. Even after being wounded, they continued to engage the gunman. They were both transported to the hospital, and the gunman later died from his injuries. The other present members of Congress were fortunate the police officers had been assigned as protection.

Read the rest here.

It Happened Again – Wake Up America

OSU_Police_Cruiser

By Chris Wagoner:

It happened again! Another attack on a college campus. This time it was Ohio State University, and it was not a gun being used, but a knife that wounded 11 people. The suspect (I will not dignify or promote the terrorists name) is dead of a gunshot wound from a campus police officer who just happened to be in the area at the time of the attack. What in the world are we doing America? Why can we not stop these attacks on our college campuses and other places where we gather in large numbers? Why can’t we just pass a law? Maybe more gun control laws would help. Take away all the guns and the attacks would stop right? If guns were harder to get, then these attacks would stop right? I forgot, this one was with a knife and it was a gun that saved more people from being injured or killed. Yes, I know that it was a police officer that shot and killed the suspect, but what if that officer had not been in the area at the time of the incident? What if it had taken them the normal 3-5 minutes to respond like it does everywhere in the country (and that is being kind and conservative in response times, they are much longer in many places).

What can we do to lessen the impact or to stop these kinds of terrorist attacks when they happen? Let’s look at this realistically and not emotionally like the large majority of the anti-gun crowd. Put away your fear and your hate for all things gun-related for just a few minutes as you read this. Since this was a knife attack and had nothing to do with guns, with the exception that a gun, in fact, saved everyone’s lives, consider the facts that gun laws would have done nothing to change the outcome of this. Or could they have?

Read the Rest here: http://bit.ly/2opV9vI

Is There a Gun Violence Problem in America?

The following article was originally published on OpsLens.com on Nov 13th, 2016.

By Chris Wagoner:

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After being a cop for over 35 years now teaching police recruits full time at a police academy and having been involved in several OIS (officer involved shootings) you would think that if anyone had seen all the violence that guns have caused in America and how bad the gun violence problem is, it would be me. You would think as a cop I should be against citizens having firearms, especially on their person, because it will make me more unsafe as a cop, right? If you thought along the lines of what the media keeps on shoving at us, I should be the number one advocate for more gun laws and stricter “gun control” to stop the rampant “gun violence sweeping America” as one paper put it. But there seems to be a problem, and it’s not “gun violence”.

The problem remains, if you start to look at the research, the numbers and the incidents of firearms being used in murders and crimes over the years are just not the numbers to support the claim by most media outlets that gun violence is a huge problem. In fact, it’s on a steep decline! The numbers and the claims just don’t add up. In addition to that, my experience on the streets of Broward County Florida beg to say different than the media. When you look at the numbers and really look at what is happening over the last say 20 years or so, you will come to realize that the gun violence problem in America is actually a made-up problem that does not exist and has been created by the anti-gun crowds to try and remove guns from America. It has actually been declining year after year for decades! So what are they talking about and why do they push the news on gun violence so much? What could possibly be the reason?

Well let’s look at the FACTS first and make sure to get them from a reputable, unbiased source like the Department of Justice (DOJ), where crime and gun violence is intensely studied. I read over several reports and what I found did not surprise me.  Yet, if you tell this to someone who is in the “gun violence is a problem” group, they will try and tell you that you are crazy and a liar. I know, that’s what I was told, along with other things they called me. But you can’t argue with cold hard facts. So here are a few that you can use to talk to your uninformed anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment friends (if you have any).

First and foremost, firearm homicides make up a very small, even tiny part of firearms related crimes. According to the DOJ report titled, “Firearm Violence, 1993-2011”, firearm homicides make up about 2% of all-firearm related crimes. You got that right, about 2%. In fact they say in the report “There were 11,101 firearm homicides in 2011, down by 39% from a high of 18,253 in 1993.” Now, the first thing an anti-gun person may say is “Ah ha! But that’s just the murders, what about all those who were shot but didn’t die? They are still victims!” Of course you simply continue on with your facts, “Nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69%, from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 victimizations in 2011.” Those declined even more than the murders have.

But what about those big black scary “assault weapons” we keep hearing they want to ban. Surly you can’t argue that they are not a huge problem in America with all the mass shootings. Well again, we should read and look at the numbers. The use of rifles are a very small part of crimes committed with a firearm and according to DOJ, “About 70% to 80% of firearm homicides and 90% of nonfatal firearm victimizations were committed with a handgun from 1993 to 2011.” What? You mean that those assault weapons are not the ones that are killing everyone? Well of the ever declining number of murders committed by firearm, they are the smallest section, yet seem to garner the largest cry for banning. Kind of makes you wonder why, doesn’t it?

The next point to make is that not all firearm related crimes resulted in someone being injured. Even when a firearm is used in a crime only 23% of the victims were injured. But remember that the big bad assault rifles are the real problem in America. Isn’t that what you have been told over and over? Really? According to the DOJ report, “A handgun was used in about 83% of all firearm homicides in 1994, compared to 73% in 2011. Other types of firearms, such as shotguns and rifles, accounted for the remainder of firearm homicides. For nonfatal firearm violence, about 9 in 10 were committed with a handgun, and this remained stable from 1994 to 2011.”

What about the argument that guns are just too easy to get and that anyone can buy a gun in from a gun shop, flea market, and of course, the dreaded “Gun Show”. Well we know that is not the case either, the same report debunks that myth, “In 2004, among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of offense, fewer than 2% bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show, about 10% purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37% obtained it from family or friends, and another 40% obtained it from an illegal source”.

What about citizens with firearms? We know they NEVER really stop crime with their own guns so why does the average citizen need to carry or even have a firearm for that matter? First and foremost because it’s a Constitutional right. What other rights do you have that were hated as much as this one and then taken from you and sold back in the form of a license for a fee? Do we have to buy a “Freedom to Speak” card to talk in public? Purchase a license to write or publish something freely? No of course not. It’s a Constitutional right, just as it is to bear arms. Yet that right has been overly litigated, legislated, and licensed to the point that it is no longer a right as it should be and has become more of a privilege. If our founders could only see us now, they would probably wonder why we have not had a second revolution. The Supreme Court of the United States is not supposed to decide if the Constitution itself is Constitutional rather, laws that are made that conflict with it are. The first law to regulate firearms in America should have been struck down as it violated that right. All we have to do is go back to the same report and guess what we find, the fact that Americans DO AND HAVE used firearms to defend themselves, and not just a few hundred but hundreds of thousands! According to the report, “In 2007-11, there were 235,700 victimizations where the victim used a firearm to threaten or attack an offender.” That’s right, almost a quarter of a million people defended themselves from criminals with a firearm! Look at the states in the US that have Constitutional carry of firearms and see what problems with gun violence they have. I think you may be surprised.

So where is all that “gun violence” we hear about in the media? They make it seem like it’s the number one cause of death for Americans. They make it seem like crime with guns is on the rise and at all-time highs. Firearm violence in America is an “epidemic” that must be stopped! The only problem I see is that not one of those statements is true or even close to being true. Murder by firearm (or any other way for that matter) is at an all-time low and still declining. Gun violence has been declining for years and continues to do so. Victims continue to defend themselves from attackers with lawfully obtained firearms.

So the next time someone tells you that “gun violence” is a problem in America, you can politely tell them they are uninformed, unread, uneducated, brainwashed by the media and do not know what the hell they are talking about. Introduce them to the facts and then drop the microphone and walk away. In my next piece, I will be talking about what has caused this drop in violent firearm related murders and the likely reason for all the good news. Until then, carry your lawfully concealed or open-carried firearm wherever permitted by law and be safe.

Is the Main Stream Media Responsible for the Serious Injury and Death of Police Officers?

The following article was originally published on OpsLens.com on Oct 24th, 2016.

By Chris Wagoner:

Being in law enforcement for 34+ years now while still teaching new police officers at the academy level, I cringe every time I read or hear on the news of another officer being ambushed or shot just because they were a cop. And recently it is happening too often. I read as many reports and news articles as possible regarding police shootings and deaths, in order to learn and be as up to date on tactics and issues to then relay to my students. But after reading one article the other day, all I could do was shake my head and wonder how much more of these types of attacks are we going to see before people have had enough and demand better from their media sources?

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I read about a police officer in Chicago who was savagely beaten because she hesitated to use her firearm on a suspect that was beating her head against the pavement smashing it over and over.

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the officer, a 17-year veteran of the force, knew she should shoot the attacker but hesitated because “she didn’t want her family or the department to go through the scrutiny the next day on the national news,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

When police worry more about what will happen to them after the shooting rather than saving their own life at the time, then something is seriously wrong. Why are cops starting to worry more about what “might” happen to them after the shooting than protecting themselves during an attack?

It’s because of the “Ferguson Effect”, a term that references the St. Louis suburb where a police officer shot and killed a suspect that was trying to attack him. But because of the way the shooting was covered and portrayed in the news, people who knew nothing about the actual shooting itself, or the details, began to riot and a movement was born. One that calls for, among other things the death of police officers. The media called the Ferguson Shooting “The shooting of an unarmed black teenager” when in reality it was the shooting of an 18 year-old adult, black male, who was 6’4” tall and weighed 294 pounds. Who when he was shot was charging at the police officer to attack him, again, having already done so once. It was all in the way the media portrayed the suspect and the officer and conveniently left out certain facts of the case when had they described it and simply stated the facts instead of choosing the most inflammatory way of describing it they could, things may have turned out different.

Now because of that incident, and the others that have followed, the media has continued to try to fan the flames of racial divide, the “Black Lives Matter” movement was born. A movement of people who seem to forget that when you single out a race or ethnic group for special or favored treatment, you are devaluing by default the other groups. The BLM movement has since then become violent and contributed to many riots, injuries and possibly deaths. What would happen if someone tried to start a “White Lives Matter” group? Would they be called racist? Of course they would, and rightfully so. There is no need to single out any single race or ethnic background for specialized treatment. Cops do not go out and single out this or that racial group to target. When you patrol a black neighborhood like I did for a number of years in Pompano Beach Florida, I arrested many more black suspects than white suspects. If someone had gone back and looked at my arrest statistics and seen that I arrested 90% blacks and 10% whites, when looked at by itself that would seem to indicate a problem, and that I was “targeting” blacks, when in reality, I was simply around more blacks than whites during my day. But the media would be able to bend the truth to meet their agenda of fanning the flames of racial divide. The headlines would read “Dep. Wagoner found to be racist! He arrests 90% blacks compared to 10% whites and others!” when in reality none of that is true except the numbers.

As a trainer of law enforcement officers today, I try to stress to the new officers that they do not need to worry about what the media says about what they do. If they are acting within the law and within the policies of their department, they will be fine. But that is still in the back of their mind and that can be deadly! And it’s because of how the media portrayed one event and then the next and so on.

I think that if the media did what they are supposed to do, report the facts without agendas, things could and would be different. But that is not going to happen anytime soon. Think about this, if the media can fan the flames of racial divide and cause riots and personal injury to anyone, who gets to report that? The media of course. One of the things the media is not supposed to do is create the news, but that is exactly what they are doing. They are portraying one side of a story in such a negative light that it is perpetuating the story itself and creating more news.

In light of these types of officer incidents, it is important for people to understand that you cannot take for granted that a story about an officer, or anything for that matter, is being given to you in full and unfiltered fashion. If people would demand the same type of transparency of the media as they are crying for of the police agencies and officers, then maybe we would get a better picture of what happened at a scene, more of a “294 pound, 6’4” suspect attacks officer and is shot” type of story. What they are doing is not reporting, it is dramatizing an incident to create more news. Shame on mainstream media!