Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Likely story?

Oops. This story is too good to be true. Or maybe it's too bad to be true. This Minnesota legislator expects us to believe that he had no wrong or bad intentions when he was found with a loaded gun, binoculars and a map in his truck after parking in the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood building in St. Paul. Hmmm. He has a permit to carry and is a gun rights advocate who carries his gun in public. Of course, that is legal. As to the rest, you decide. His story about his "girlfriend" who he met on an Internet site but didn't even know how to locate is weird, to say the least. What was he really up to? If he was, indeed jealous of a girlfriend he appeared to barely know, taking his gun with him when he walked around the neighborhood supposedly looking for her sounds like a bad idea. Was it really a coincidence that he parked in the parking lot of Planned Parenthood? Yes, there are shops near by- a few blocks or so away. It seems that he could have parked closer if he was looking for someone in a shop. Binoculars? Whatever.

Now, I'm just noting that there are a lot of women who are stalked by guys with guns. Not that that is what Representative Hackbarth was doing but even his story seems to indicate that he was upset about the fact that someone he barely knew was maybe dating someone else. On the face of it, this does not seem like responsible behavior for a state legislator or anyone else for that matter. What was the real intent to all of this? Perhaps the better part of valor would be not looking suspicious around a Planned Parenthood Clinic where there are daily anti-abortion protesters and not walking around with a holstered gun looking like something is up. I'm just saying....

Suspicious and oddly coincidental is the story presented by Representative Hackbarth. He was intended to chair a committee in the Minnesota House as the new Republican majority gets ready to run the state but one has to wonder if that's a good idea given this story. It doesn't seem like this man has much common sense. And to have him in a leadership position in my state is a potential liability for the Republican party.


  1. That he was carrying a gun is not evidence of a suspicious intent, because he always carries a gun. Ditto for map and binoculars in his truck.

    How likely is it that he wasn't aware that he had parked in a Planned Parenthood lot? From Google Map's street view it doesn't appear that the building is conspicuously marked.

    As for meeting this internet girlfriend, if his story is true, she was the one who picked the meet location, and then didn't show. Which is suspicious in and of itself.

  2. Lonely 58 year old man, separated from his wife, goes looking to find out if the woman he started a relationship online wasn't in fact some fat forty year old man living in his mothers basement...

    Parks in a public parking space, cooperates fully with police who investigate "suspicious behavior" called in by Planned Parenthood.

    How many people has this man killed? Zero. How many crimes was he charged with? Zero.

    So what is all the fuss about? That someone, somewhere COULD have done something illegal? Why is this an issue? Was anyones life in danger at any time?

  3. You missed some points here, guys. I'm pointing out, once again, that permit to carry holders sometimes make mistakes. In this case, the only mistake was looking suspicious. He did cooperate with the police. It's a good thing since he is in an elected position and will be helping to run my state. I can't say that makes me feel good about the state of the state. This guy has some problems, in my estimation. When state legislators are caught in compromising situations, they get examined more fully and get more media attention. I doubt that too many constituents feel good about having this guy in the legislature. What other mistakes will he make while making decisions that might affect my life?

  4. Joan, your point is that you will use any example of what you believe is "bad behavior" to advance your agenda. Even if no one was hurt, even if no crime was committed.

    Are you really that insecure that you have to ascribe bad intentions to other people?

  5. Nope- I'm about as secure as I can be that my positions are the right ones. I will compromise where needed but I'm dealing with folks like you who are not interested in compromise anyway. So then, I'll go my merry way with the folks who will.

  6. I'm guessing the planned parenthood clinic didn't have anything to do with this, other than rudely interrupting the Representative while he was stalking an Internet heart throb.

    I'd say this guy is weird. Possibly creepy. Dangerous is another story.

  7. Joan,

    You talk about compromise but I haven't seen any sign of give in your positions.

    Open Carry- you oppose
    Concealed Carry - you oppose
    no background checks on gifts from father to son -- you oppose
    18 to 20 year old carrying -- you oppose

    Name an area where you are willing to compromise

  8. A number of years ago, I read an article in the Strib about a judge who'd been arrested for soliciting prostitution. His crime? Driving in circles around Lake and Lyndale.

    His defense? He was looking for a hobby shop.

    The thing is, there was a hobby shop, at the corner of Bryant and Lake, for many years. It had closed, and been taken over by "Little Tin Soldier", which had originally been in the smaller space next door.

    I could easily see how someone who vaguely recollected the shop might drive around in circles for a while, trying to find it. Driving around in circles is not a crime, even in neighborhoods frequented by streetwalkers. That there is a hooker on every corner does not mean that everyone who is driving around the block is looking for a hooker.

    Still, regardless of the ultimate resolution of the case, his reputation was ruined.

  9. Being a public official means you are under mores scrutiny and held to a different standard. Sometimes the real character of a leader cones out by their public actions and comments. I was once an elected office holder. I acted in public the same as I acted in private. Constituents always knew who I really was. That generally works better. One's integrity is on the line.

    By the way, to the commented who thought it eas hard to Google Planned PRenthood, it's well known where it is and not hard to find-especially for a legislator living in St. Paul.

  10. I'm not saying that it's hard to find Planned Parenthood, I'm saying that from the street it doesn't appear to be conspicuously marked that it is a Planned Parenthood.

    Whatever signage is present is not readable from Google street view.

    There's a Dairy Queen next door, and it has the usual garish signage. If he'd been in the DQ lot and claimed that he wasn't aware it was a DQ, it'd be hard sell. But the PP seems to be much more discretely signed, so it's plausible.

    So, if he'd been in the DQ lot, and wasn't aware that it was a DQ, I'd have said he was lying. But his claim that he wasn't aware that it was a PP is plausible.

  11. I'm wondering why any of this comment is important by the way. I suppose you want to give the guy an excuse because you think he was acting in a responsible way?

  12. I have noticed that you seem to employ the old "if he has a gun, he's wrong," argument. As far as you are concerned, he has a gun, he's suspicious. From our point of view, possession of a firearm is not suspicious at all.

    Was he breaking the law? If not, leave the guy alone.

  13. Good night, Sean. This thread has gone on long enough.

  14. I'd agree that he did something politically stupid. You're right that in theory, politicians are held to a higher moral standard (although given the current crop of political role models at many levels of governments, I think rational people could disagree on how much exactly the public disapproves of such behavior...).

    It doesn't appear that he did anything illegal. DW and I have binos and a street map in our car too (along with a bunch of other hunting and winter gear). Unless he's actually charged and convicted with something substantial, I hope that the police return his property soon. There's that pesky "due process" thing...

  15. Joan,

    If he wasn't breaking the law he was by definition acting in a respectable manner.

    The police could have arrested him with many charges, including disorderly conduct, if he was actually acting in a manner that gave them suspicion of a crime or criminal intent or even just a lack of self control or disorientation.

    From a constitutional standpoint, that the police asked him to surrender his property is suspicious. That whole pesky fourth amendment and all. Although most cops have a very poor knowledge of the law they are sworn to uphold.

  16. It was stalkerish behavior. There is nothing in the article that says the girl had planned to meet him.

    He had parked away from the shops she said she would be at. He then proceeded to try and find her car so he could spy on her to confirm his suspicions.

    Perhaps she detected something was weird about him and told him a lie (she'd be at those particular shops) to throw him off? Maybe she really doesn't want to see him because he comes off like a stalker?

  17. "Stalkerish behavior" requires that the intended prey file a complaint.

    And anon is delving deep into the mind reading fallacy. We can not know the thoughts or intentions of anyone involved from the news article. Read what IS there, not what you think might be there. Adjust your theory to fit the facts, do not twist the facts to fit your theory (to paraphrase Dr. Doyle).

  18. The cops are doing their job when they investigate weird behavior. How else are they supposed to prevent the tiny percentage of you gun owners who keep going bad from going bad?