March 21, 2014

Last week a sixth grade student in Virginia Beach, V.A. named Adrionna Harris saw her classmate cutting themselves on the arm with a razor, she stepped in and took the razor from the classmate. Instead of being patted on the back for stopping the student, she is now suspended for 10 days, because she was honest about taking the razor away from the classmate.

Has the zero tolerance policy gone awry? Yes!

 A few months ago a student was suspended because he did not remove a NRA t-shirt, another student had been suspended because they had turned a pop-tart into a "gun" and the classic: a student made a gun gesture at another student with their hand.


They want our children to be scared of guns and make even the slightest mention or symbol of our right to self-defense with firearms seem criminal. This is the outcome of a liberal public school system. It is quite possible that when these children are adults, they may vote away our right to bear arms.

There is a glimmer of hope-

In Plueblo County, Colorado- middle school students went on a field trip to the shooting range to learn about firearm safety.
"Often firearms and schools don't mix. There's a big fear there. So we are pushing the safety aspect and hopefully ease some people’s fears," said Timothy Baird, with the Craver Middle School
The field trip was sponsored by Appleseed, a non-profit organisation who's mission is to teach American history and Marksmanship.

For the first time, the national organization brought guns into a classroom, right in Pueblo County.
"We've never been allowed to bring actual real firearms into a school. Until this week. This is a very big deal. We had them touching fire arms, holding them and learning about how to handle them safely,” said Elizabeth Blackwood with Appleseed.
We should be teaching all children firearm safety and marksmanship, so at the very least when these children grow up to be voters, they will have real world experience with firearms, unlike most anti-self defense pushers in Washington.

In a decision released Thursday by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case of Baker v. Kealoha, the court followed the lead of the recent Peruta case to declare Hawaii’s restrictions on firearms carry unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

The case was heard by the same trio of judges who sat on the earlier Peruta and Richards cases in California, which challenged the state’s restrictive ‘may issue’ policies that required concealed carry permit applicants to show “good cause” to warrant a permit. The judges, O’Scannlain, Thomas, and Callahan, heard Baker in December 2013 and issued their findings Thursday.

“In Peruta, we concluded that the Second Amendment provides a responsible, law-abiding citizen with the right to carry an operable handgun outside the home for the purpose of self-defense,” wrote the Judge O’Scannlain for the two-judge majority decision in a memorandum.

“In light of our holding in Peruta, the district court made an error of law when it concluded that the Hawaii statutes did not implicate protected Second Amendment activity.”

Judge Sidney Thomas, who also dissented on the Peruta case, chose to do so on the Baker decision as well, citing that the Hawaii case came to the Ninth Circuit via a different procedural process than its predecessor. He also noted that, “there is simply no justification for a broadside interference with state law enforcement” by the court.

Hawaii has some of the strictest concealed carry laws in the country. In 2012, just four private citizens applied for a concealed carry license in the City & County of Honolulu, while one applied in Maui County, and all five were denied at the discretion of the respective county police chief.

This case is one of plaintiff Christopher Baker, a resident of Honolulu County who applied for and was denied a concealed carry permit by the Honolulu Police Chief without reason or explanation.

Baker then filed suit against Chief of Police Louis Kealoha for denial of his Second Amendment rights. The case was denied by a district court and then appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit, who issued its findings Thursday. Baker was represented by Hawaii based attorneys Richard Holcomb and Alan Beck.

“I think it’s promising. Everything is dependent now upon making Peruta a filed decision,” said Chuck Michel, senior partner and CEO of Michel and Associates, the firm responsible for the win in the Peruta case earlier this year, to Thursday.

Following that decision in February, county sheriffs across California started to reevaluate how they issue firearms permits and qualify “good cause.”

The decision in that case was used in a precedent in the later suit of Richards v. Prieto earlier this month.

“If Peruta stays in there, Hawaii will have to change its program,” explained Michel.

Even though Baker was an unpublished decision closed by memo, similar to how the Richards case was concluded, and cannot be cited in other cases, it is something of a validation of Peruta that improves the chances that California and now Hawaii could move to a ‘shall issue’ concealed carry standard for good.

“The most interesting part is that the Yolo County Sheriff, Prieto, has asked for en banc review in the Richards case,” advised Michel. “I expect that the defendant in the Hawaii case, the Honolulu Police Chief [Kealoha], that they are going to ask for en banc review too. At this point en banc review is inevitable because there is so many ways for it to happen.”

“There is still politics in this, so people need to be pushing their issuing authorities to adopt the Peruta decision and start issuing permits and people should go on down and apply,” explained Michel.

Nearly 50 years after his plane was shot down by enemy fire in Vietnam, the remains of a United States soldier have been identified and he will finally be laid to rest this weekend at Arlington National Cemetery.

Army Staff Sgt. Lawrence Woods of Clarksville, Tennessee, was aboard a Fairchild C-123 “Provider” on Oct. 24, 1964 as part of a resupply mission for a U.S. Special Forces camp at Bu Prang, Vietnam when it fell in a fiery crash near the South Vietnam/Cambodian border.

When Lawrence Woods was just 15-years-old, he lied about his age to join the Army. Once his true age was discovered, he was kicked out of the military, only to sign up once again when he turned 18. (Photo credit: The Leaf Chronicle)The aircraft which carried Woods and seven other servicemen was completely destroyed except for the tail section and no parachutes were seen leaving the plane.

Following the crash, the remains of seven Air Force members were found – Capt. Valmore W. Bourque, 1st Lt. Edward J. Krukowiski, 1st Lt. Robert G. Armstrong, Staff Sgt. Ernest J. Halvorson, Staff Sgt. Theodore B. Phillips, Airman 1st Class Eugene Richardson and Army Pfc. Charles P. Sparks. However, Woods’ remains were never discovered among the wreckage.

The seven servicemen who were found, were laid to rest at that time, but Woods’ family didn’t receive such closure. Instead, Woods’ wife received a telegram informing her that her husband was missing and the following year received another telegram stating that he was presumed dead.

However, his remains were yet to be found and the family held on to the hope that one day his whereabouts would be discovered. The family even clung to the idea that maybe he had survived the crash, become a prisoner of war, and remained alive somewhere in the country.

And then, 48 years later, on Sept. 17, 2013, Lisa Szymanski of Fort Myers, Florida, received a phone call informing her that her father’s remains had been found.

“I still can’t comprehend that this is really happening,” Szymanski told The Leaf Chronicle after receiving the news. “God, I really thought I would die not knowing.”

“We always held onto hope that he’d come back,” said Woods’ other daughter, Deborah Secriskey, who was just 3-years-old when her father left for Vietnam. “The years went by, and we just never heard anything.”

“It was like, it wasn’t real,” she added. “After all these years, how could they possibly have found something?”

Steve Woods was overcome with emotion when he learned that his father’s remains had finally been recovered from Vietnam after 48 long years. (Photo credit: The Leaf Chronicle)
Steve Woods was overcome with emotion when he learned that his father’s remains had finally been recovered from Vietnam after 48 long years. (Photo credit: The Leaf Chronicle)

Yet between 2009 and 2010, U.S. and Vietnamese teams excavated the crash site. Their efforts yielded human remains as well as additional evidence, including a metal identification tag from the aircraft’s commander. Scientists from the Joint POW/MIS Accounting Command then used forensic and circumstantial evidence to identify those remains and thereby account for Woods.

Although the remains were officially identified back in September, the ceremony to honor Woods was postponed until spring so that he could be buried with full military honors along with the other seven crew members who were aboard the plane with him when it went down, a plan which the family agrees is best.

The family, who has fond memories of Woods, feel that they can finally close a chapter in their lives which, for so long, had remained incomplete.

“Never, never give up,” said Woods’ son, Steve. “Put it in the Lord’s hands and one day, the Lord will answer your prayers.”

Steve calls the closure nothing short of a miracle.

He vividly remembers the day his father left for Vietnam, even though he was only 8-years-old. He was playing on the porch when his father walked by, dressed in full uniform.

“He told me, ‘I gotta go,’” Steve recalled. “That was the last I had seen of him.”

“The book of my dad’s life will finally be closed,” he added.

And although overwhelmed with joy, his heart still goes out to those families who do not have such closure.

More than 1,600 U.S. service members from the Vietnam War still remain unaccounted for, as well as 7,000 from the Korean War and, nearly 70 years later, 73,000 are still missing from World War II.

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