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Old February 6, 2013, 08:02 PM   #1
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Email exchange between me and an opinion writer at the Kansas City Star

In the General Discussion forum, I had posted a thread about my comments to the Star's public editor about my thoughts on a pro gun-control op-ed piece the star had published.

The editor forwarded my email to the writer, who responded to me with this:

Hi Morgan,

Derek Donovan passed your e-mail to me. I don't share your view that background checks, or even registration, would lead to confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens. I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

All the best,


Barb Shelly
Opinion Writer/Kansas City Star
I responded to her as follows:

Hi Barb,

I don't mean to be a jerk, but check out the NY SAFE Act that just passed (after NY senators spent a whole 20 minutes reviewing the bill) and was signed by Andrew Cuomo. It calls for confiscation, though of magazines as opposed to weapons, after 1 year has passed. It doesn't take much of a leap to say that NY could focus on weapons for mandatory turn-in next.

New Jersey and California have, in fact, confiscated "assault weapons" in years past. One such case in New Jersey happened just last year, when the state decided they had erred in not adding one make of rifle to the prohibited list, and retroactively sent officers around to seize those that were sold in the state.

So I have to wonder how you could find my view to be outre.

Meanwhile, as I recall, you and Mary Sanchez did not have any kind words at all for the concept of requiring proof of citizenship in order for registered voters to cast their votes. If it is wrong to require checks of voters, how then is it right to require what are effectively prior restraint checks against those who would exercise another Constitutionally protected right?

I can only imagine the hoopla that would ensue if the feds decided that the First Amendment was really only intended to apply to the press, and that in order to participate in the press, a citizen must first undergo some sort of background check or government approved qualification course.

Before you tell me that guns kill people, please recall some of the things that votes and speeches have brought about. In fact, I'd claim that without Hitler's speeches, the Nazis guns would never have been enough.

Speaking of harms by the press, did you follow the recent stories from and about the Westchester Journal News, in New York? They followed in the fine tradition of several other publications, that decided to out registered gun owners and / or concealed carry permit holders: they shot themselves in the foot.

In previous cases, many papers were chagrined to learn they had outed their own board members; the chairmen of the banks with which their papers dealt; their city council folk and their mayors... In this case, the Journal News outed, by name and address, a lot of NYPD current and retired officers (40% of the published list, according the an NYPD deputy chief, were his people); state corrections officers (some of whom reported being threatened by inmates who were able to tell the guards that they knew where they lived); and at least one woman who had been hiding from an abusive ex, against whom she had restraining orders. At least two of the homes to which the Journal News published addresses were subsequently burglarized, and guns were stolen from them. Last but not least, the Journal News failed to even ensure the addresses they published were current; many home owners have complained that the people who owned guns no longer live in those homes.

Ironically, the Journal News staff and editor / publisher, while maintaining that their reporting was ethical and had journalistic merit, and while averring that guns themselves were a public danger worthy of causing them to place gun owners at risk of theft and worse, decided that due to the volume of angry emails and calls they received that they would hire - you guessed it - armed security. The first day this was reported (by other papers in the area), the Journal News had armed guards at their offices. Within two days, armed guards were observed at the publisher's home, and at the homes of several editors and reporters. This smacks just a wee bit of hypocrisy.

And the editor / publisher was outraged when a local talk radio host published the list of her and the staff's addresses.

On yet another note, Wayne LaPierre was lambasted by Dana Milbank for having his facts wrong when he went before the Senate the other day. Specifically, over his claim that despite (IIRC) 78,000 failed NICS checks in the year they were discussing, only 62 prosecutions were forwarded; the gun control sponsor Senator who accused LaPierre of being extremely wrong said there were over 11,000 prosecutions for federal gun crimes in that year.

The thing is, LaPierre was correct, and the Senator and Milbank were wrong, according to DOJ numbers. What the Senator and Milbank either failed to grasp (giving them benefit of the doubt) or simply hoped most in the media and the voting public would fail to figure out, or even bother to check (which I personally find more likely, but I am a very cynical sort) is that federal gun crimes include a lot more than attempts at unlawful purchases. There were only 62 prosecutions in that year for that particular federal gun crime. Just as in 2010, there were only 44 such prosecutions, despite around 80,000 declined NICS checks.

This tells us that either: a) the NICS system is broken, and causes wrongful delays or denials in over 99% of cases, or b) the government has passed a law that it rarely enforces, costing the treasury a lot of money, inconveniencing a lot of people, and not accomplishing anything. Either could be correct. Tellingly, when VP Joe Biden was asked about this, his answer was along the lines of "we don't have time for all of that."

So what, exactly, would universal checks (which equate, by the way, to the feds telling states such as Missouri that they are once again going to ignore Article Ten of the Constitution, using another improper interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause) accomplish? Even Biden admits they are not likely to stop the next Sandy Hook.

One last thought: the wealthy and the politically connected will always be able to pass checks or meet requirements, in one way or another. Arbitrary hoops that must be jumped are most likely to adversely affect the poor, who often live in the worst areas and arguably have the most need to keep and bear arms.


Morgan Leake
_______, MO
Lieutenant Commander, USN (retired)

PS I find it very funny that there are people in the US, and probably on your editorial staff, who would have conniptions over the fact that I own an AR; yet those same people, as taxpayers, probably never gave it a second thought when, in uniform, I was responsible for 3 8-tubed Sea Sparrow surface to air missile systems; 4 20mm Close-In-Weapon-System (CIWS) Gatling cannon; 10 .50 M2HB machine guns; several .30 M60 machine guns; and the armaments on the ship's SH-60 helicopters and F-14 and F/A-18 interceptors.

I suspect those same people never give any thought to the fun a person bent on killing could have with some glass bottles, some diesel fuel, and some detergent (if you don't know, that makes napalm bombs); or just some padlocks and chains (for securing fire exits) and a can or two of gasoline.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:39 PM   #2
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Wow, outstanding.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:43 PM   #3
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Bravo Zulu, Morgan, Bravo Zulu!
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:10 PM   #4
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Thank you.
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Old February 6, 2013, 11:33 PM   #5
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Wow, great response.
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Old February 7, 2013, 07:32 AM   #6
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Outstanding, MLeake!
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:08 AM   #7
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Well done, Sir!
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:10 AM   #8
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Great response.

I wonder if you will get a response from the paper. . .

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Old February 7, 2013, 10:39 AM   #9
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Good going. Thank you.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:54 AM   #10
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:56 AM   #11
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A lot of thought there and not a lot of thought in the "reply."
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Old February 7, 2013, 06:00 PM   #12
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Run for pres, you got my vote..
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Old February 7, 2013, 06:16 PM   #13
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I no longer receive the KC Star because of the editorial writing. Sanchez can right down snippy if you ever get a chance to talk to her in person.

Great response.
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Old February 7, 2013, 07:13 PM   #14
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Molon Labe
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Old February 7, 2013, 07:21 PM   #15
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Thanks for the kind words.

As a follow-up, I sent Ms Shelly, and Mr Donovan a link to Suzanna Gratia Hupp's testimony before the Texas legislature after the Luby's massacre. (Edit: Also, a link to the letter from the Saratoga County Deputy Sheriff's Police Benevolent Association, to the New York legislature.)

I also extended invitations to Ms Shelly, Mr Donovan, and Ms Sanchez to come to my place, when I get home from Afghanistan, for a familiarization fire and comparison of an AR, an M1 Garand, a 12 gauge, and some handguns - with the note that I thought it would open their eyes as to the practicality of the AR for home defense, particularly for relatively new shooters. And, of course, it would be fun.

No response yet, but we shall see....
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Old February 7, 2013, 07:42 PM   #16
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Did she reply to your response?

Oops. I just read your last sentence.
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Old February 7, 2013, 07:53 PM   #17
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That's an outstanding letter. Thanks for passing it along and thanks for your service to our country.
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:03 PM   #18
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I burst out laughing about halfway through the PS...

The Pollyanna factor residing in so many "opinion writers" and professional politicos is a real problem... Thanks for your efforts, Morgan!
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Old February 8, 2013, 11:37 PM   #19
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how the Star has fallen. I remember when they supported a gas station attendant who shot three armed robbers of a grocery store across the street.

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Old February 9, 2013, 06:50 AM   #20
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I still see the occasional Hawk battery, though not in the US.

Meanwhile, no response, still, from Barb Shelly nor Derek Donovan. Barb Shelly did have yet another anti-gun editorial piece in the February 8th edition, though.
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Old February 9, 2013, 08:15 AM   #21
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It is amazing to me how the narrative against guns stands upon an argument of need. We have a local attorney here in Louisiana who has begun the "need" argument. When you apply their argument of new to everything else in life they back up a little but then continue with "I just don't know why we need (name the firearm or characteristic)". It is like they are programmed to continue responding regardless.
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Old February 9, 2013, 10:59 AM   #22
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Well done. I especially like this part.

Before you tell me that guns kill people, please recall some of the things that votes and speeches have brought about. In fact, I'd claim that without Hitler's speeches, the Nazis guns would never have been enough.
A whole lot of truth to that. Blind influence over people can be far more dangerous than any gun.
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Old February 10, 2013, 09:11 AM   #23
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Still no response, but then it was a weekend.

Meanwhile, some friends and I had an online discussion going via group email. One, a police detective, gave me her permission to use an essay she had written for that exchange, so I sent it to the opinion writer and the editor. Curious to see if they respond to that, either.

For background, I met my friend through martial arts. She's an instructor out east, small but extremely tough. Her husband is equally tough, but a fair deal bigger than me. Nice couple, and both pro-RKBA cops.

Here was her take:

I would like to add to [another friend's] commentary. I'm up with my dog who I will probably have to put down today; just found out a month ago she has heart disease and she's having such a hard time breathing that she woke me up at 1:30 this morning. I apologize and forewarn you that this has ended up being more lengthy than anticipated. Probably not well written and more than likely full of spelling and grammatical errors.

I am a first time mom at 40yoa (14 month old son), a police officer of 10yrs (6 1/2 working prescription drug diversion) and served 12 yrs in the Army (crewed a chinook) fresh out of High School. I tell you this so you have a better understanding of where I get my thoughts/ideas from.

I'll start with the "mom" aspect. I have read that the first couple years of a childs life is when the trust bond between a child and the parents are formed. It seems to me that most people are raising their children backwards (this is based on things I've had people tell me I need to do as a parent...observations of people's children and how they are raising them....and from being a cop and being shoved into people's lives for 15mins at a time). They are trying to make them self-sufficient/independant when they are young (thereby not establishing the trust bond) and then trying to make them dependant on their parents when they are older (thereby making them incapable to succeed or want to succeed away from the "nest").

I listen to the stories of how schools now give out awards to every student. As in, schools are making up awards to give to students so no student will left out or feel bad for not receiving an award. Heaven forbid we would actually push our kids to excel and earn an award. Heaven forbid we teach our kids that we don't always win, we don't always succeed, life isn't always fair,...etc..etc. What they are failing to understand is what those hard lessons teach; right from wrong, morals and ethics. Concepts that are no longer being taught in schools or in homes.

Kids are also more empowered now than ever. Our local DSS (Department of Social Services) has actually gone into our local schools and told kids that no one is allowed to touch them; not even their parents. I wouldn't be surprised if you find that the same thing has happened in your areas. I can't tell you how many households I have gone into as a police officer and have had to say "Corpreal Punishment is allowed in the state of NC as long as you do not use undue force or leave a permanent mark". This usually causes some type of verbal altercations between myself and the child about whose right; DSS or the law.

Plus, we have a generation of parents who will believe their child over another adult. I see it all the time as a police officer. I've had parents lie to me right in front of their children. Caught the kids red-handed and the parents still lie. If that doesn't empower that kid I don't know what does.

Our society has become centered on instant gratification. I don't consider myself a religious person but I read an article on how lack of religion has made us that way and it made sense to me. Religion teaches us that we have to wait and earn the good stuff at the end...that we don't just get what we want when we want it; that there are trials and tribulations we have to go through to earn our reward at the end.. Knowing what I do about the law, it is interesting to remember that religions were created to keep societies under control. The first laws were derived from religion. Is it any wonder the most Americans are no longer religious?? Is it any wonder that being religious is also under attack these days?? Is it any wonder that our society is so out of control??

Because of all this we now have a generation of youths that don't know how to deal with failure, how to deal with being bullied, how to deal with someone that doesn't like them, how to do deal with things that don't go their way, put it bluntly, they don't know how to deal with anything that is negative. Parents blame the schools for not teaching their kids core values when back in the day; society held the parents responsible.

We have become a society where lying and cheating is acceptable and working hard and telling the truth makes you a pariah.

We have become a society where anything that causes you pain or stress; there is a pill for it. As if any amount of pain or stress are bad things. "They" say that pain is the most under treat "disease" in America; yet the US consumes 80-95% of the worlds Opiates. Prescriptions for pain killers are up...1,200% since 1991....Jesus!! Under treated my ass!

If that doesn't give you a snap shot as to why things are the way they are I don't know what will. Gun control is following the same premise as everything else in our society, it is only treating a symptom. People don't want to face or deal with what is really wrong with this country. Remember when Bill Cosby made his commentary on black society and put the blame where it goes?? What happened with him??? Pariah!! So, politicians will give the average American its "dog and pony" show. The average american wants someone else to fix their problems for them; make the decisions for them, etc, etc...if people really wanted to changed and fix their issues we wouldn't have a prescription drug problem in this country, we wouldn't have an obesity problem in this country, we wouldn't have jails and prisons full of drug users or people getting rich on other peoples addictions. But fundamentally people don't want to face their inner demons and change and so you get the "symptom" fix.

Thanks for reading.....
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Old February 10, 2013, 11:01 AM   #24
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Excellent! Probably won't hear back - honest exchange isn't the style of such folks.
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Old February 10, 2013, 02:15 PM   #25
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Very good post--As normal,No one is responsable for there actions. It is always someone else's fault. Some of use that are aged well,We remember what a licking was And it ain't no lollipop i am talking about. The tree in the back yard was for more than shade. You learned right and wrong very well back then.

I have to say coming from the age group i am in. This whole story is very true and yet very sad that we have come to this. Our Grand parents are rolling over in there graves right now with shame
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