Was Stabbing In NC High School Self-Defense?

This past Monday there was a mob attack on a student at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School. The aftermath left a 15 year old student dead and another 16 year old in the hospital with stab wounds. The 14 year old who did the stabbing has been charged with murder. Video of the incident has been making the rounds on the Internet. In that video you can also see a number of students filming the attack with their cell phones. I don’t know if any of those videos have been uploaded.

The 14 year old charged with murder was the intended victim of the mob attacker and not the instigator of the attack. His family is arguing that it was self-defense and that he was targeted as a result of an earlier incident involving his older sister and mother. The mother, Cherelle McLaughlin, asserts that she warned school authorities when she dropped her son off at school that he would be targeted for defending his sister. Wake County school officials have not responded as to whether they had prior warning.

As attorney Andrew Branca has said there are five elements to be able to claim self-defense. Moreover, all five must be met or the claim fails. Those elements are avoidance, innocence, imminence, proportionality, and reasonableness. He goes over these in details in his seminar which I have taken, online, and in his book The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen, 3rd Ed. (#commission earned)

Branca posted a video today examining in detail the video of the attack as well as the news reports on the incident. He also examines the felony murder rule and the duty to retreat regarding this attack. His conclusion was that that 14 year old who was attacked acted in self-defense and was legally using deadly force.

I am embedding the video below. The video is a bit over 1 hour long. Even if you don’t want to watch the whole video, I would try to watch the first 30 minutes. It really is worth it.

There is, of course, the question of the knife in school. His mother has asserted elsewhere he didn’t bring one to school but got it while there. I don’t know if that holds up or not. As Branca noted, just as with Bernie Goetz in the subway attack years ago, he may be found to have acted in self-defense but still found guilty of a weapons charge. NCGS § 14-269.2 (d) would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor for him to possess “any sharp-pointed or edged instrument” on school grounds.

This is a sad incident all around for all involved. That includes the victim whose life has now been unalterably changed forever and the family of the attacker killed. For a magnet school that prides itself on being an International Baccalaureate high school, the level of violence in it is reprehensible. It has the highest rate of violence of any school in Wake County. Moreover, students there were three times more likely to experience or witness violence than other Wake County students.

NRA Trial Date Set (Updated)

Because last week was Thanksgiving Week and it was devoted to family I missed seeing a court notice in the New York AG’s lawsuit against the NRA. It dealt with jury selection and the trial start date.

Judge Joel Cohen has ordered that jury selection begin on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024 in the late morning. Jury selection will continue day to day until a jury is selected. It will take place in Room 300 of the New York State Supreme Court Building located at 60 Centre Street in Manhattan.

The trial itself will start at 9:30am on January 8th, 2024 in the same courtroom.

Oh, to have the free time (and money) to fly to New York and stay throughout the trial. I don’t know if the trial will be televised but will check on it.

UPDATE: I probably should have checked on this first before originally posting the above. However, I just assumed New York, like most states, had some provision for the audio-visual coverage of most court cases.

As what often happens when you make an assumption, I was wrong.

From Politico:

Trump’s case again highlights how New York has among the most restrictive laws in the nation banning cameras and broadcasts inside the courtroom in most proceedings, a law that dates back to the 1930s. The state Legislature has barely tinkered with it since then. Only Washington D.C. is more stringent on media coverage inside the court, according a report last year by the The Fund for Modern Courts, a nonpartisan nonprofit.

The Village Sun adds that the law banning cameras and recording devices in the courtroom stemmed from the Lindbergh kidnapping trial case in the 1930s.

While there is a bill pending in the New York Senate and Assembly that would allow televising of court proceedings, it has been referred to committee where it remains. Interestingly, the bill is opposed by the NY chapter of the ACLU on the grounds that there is no provision for a defendant to preclude televising a trial. They contend this could impair a criminal defendant’s right to a fair trial.

I guess we will have to rely upon news reports, sketchy as they will be, to know what is going on in the trial day to day.

UPDATE II: NRA In Danger has more on what to expect in the trial now that a date has been set. If what was quoted from a motion transcript carries over to the trial, and there is no reason to expect it won’t, this is not going to be pretty. Even the most ardent backers of Wayne should be cringing over all the dirty laundry of his that will be aired. The old excuse of “well, Wayne told me it isn’t true” just won’t cut it anymore. Those who listened to it and excused his actions should be hanging their heads in shame as they must accept some responsibility for the perilous state of the organization.

A Couple Of More Black Friday Items

I love my Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic shooting muffs. I did a post last year on them at a reduced price and they are again being sold at a good discount. They are $3 more at $34.98 than last year but still a good deal when compared to Walmart, Bass Pro Shop, etc. I paid $49 for my original pair and they are still going strong. All I’ve had to do is change the batteries.

I upgraded them with gel pads like these. They are going for $13.43 which is a little cheaper than last year. They were easy to install and really made the muffs more comfortable while wearing eye protection. If you already have the Howard Leight Impact Sports, I would really encourage upgrading them using these gel pads.

As I have noted earlier, I am an Amazon Affiliate and I will make a small commission if you purchase them from the links above.

Pre-Black Friday Sales At Amazon

I am an Amazon Affiliate but I don’t push it much. I bring this up because I did see some interesting things that I think my readers might be interested in purchasing. In addition, what little bit that Amazon pays me in commission helps to pay my PACER bill as I check out case filings.

First up are Walker’s Shooting Training Protection 29 DB Omni-Directional Microphone Rope Hearing Enhancer Earbuds. They are very similar to the earbuds I have from Axil minus the Blue Tooth connectivity. Given I paid approximately $140 for my Axil GS Extreme earbuds and these are only $49.95, I think this is a good deal. They allow you to amplify background sound for example when out hunting in the woods. Then they automatically cut off when you shoot. They have a NRR of 29 DB.

Staying on the topic of hearing protection, Amazon has a Black Friday deal on Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs. They are strictly passive hearing protection. They give a NRR of 31 DB which is quite high. I have a couple of pairs that were given to me at the SHOT Show. You put them in hot water for a bit and then you press them into your ear for a custom molded earplug. The normal price is $25.99 but they are on sale for $19.99.

Moving away from hearing protection, I came across the Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife. It is a copy of the Grohmann’s D. H. Russell Canadian Belt Knife made in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The difference is the rosewood handle is now a molded polymer for the Cold Steel version. I have both the original that I bought in Nova Scotia in 1975 and the Cold Steel version. Instead of paying over $120, the Cold Steel version is on a Black Friday sale for $12.44. I think they would make great stocking stuffers and I intend to buy a couple more to give as gifts. In addition, at this price you can afford to beat it up.

Amazon also has a Cold Steel Karambit Trainer on their pre-Black Friday sale. It is only $8.05. If you own a Karambit, this is a good way to train to use it without the fear of cutting yourself. As I have a couple of Karambit knives, I plan to buy one for myself as well.

These are just a few of the items that are on Amazon’s pre-Black Friday sale. Again, anything you buy that is linked to from this site does generate a small commission for me. I use that money to pay the expenses of keeping the blog going. Finally, this is a good time to take advantage of the 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime. In addition to the 2-day shipping, I use it to watch movies and TV series. Currently, I’m going back now and watching the full Miami Vice series starting from the pilot.

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

The Two Weeks That Were

I don’t like to post anything about being on vacation when we are actually away. However, now that we are back home for a week it is fair game.

For the last four years we have been vacationing with the Complementary Spouse’s two siblings and their spouses. We have been doing it at the end of October and beginning of November in the Panhandle of Florida. The last two years we have been fortunate enough to make it for two weeks. Last year was especially good as I had retired a little more than a month earlier and I was still unwinding from the stress of work.

We did a little bit of everything this year. We visited a distillery, we did a bourbon tasting, we compared Key Lime pies, we ate seafood, we hung out at the beach, we visited the Air Force Armaments Museum, and we went flying in a small plane. We were joined by friends of my sister-in-law Cindy and her husband Scott who were camping nearby. Laura and Don were a fun addition.

The last, of course, was probably the most memorable. The plane, a Piper PA-28 Cherokee was owned by Rick who was an old Air Force friend of my brother-in-law Larry. Rick had flown as an EWO when Larry piloted the EF-111 out of Mountain Home AFB. Rick had his Cherokee hangered at Ruckel Airport which is a small private airport with a grass runway in Niceville, Florida. Larry and Rick had stayed friends after their Air Force service and Larry arranged for us to go flying.

Taking off:

Flying the plane though a few turns:

Preparing to land and afterwards:

I have to give the Complementary Spouse a lot of credit. She was a bit unsure about going up in such a small plane but she did it. So did her sister and, of course, her brother who said he had not flown since Delta and the FAA forced him to retire last December due to turning 65. With a shortage of experienced pilots in the airline industry, that is a stupid rule especially given the stringent oversight of the pilot’s health.

As I said earlier, we ate a lot of seafood. We visited Stewby’s Seafood Shanty on Okaloosa Island three times and I can highly recommend it. Between us all, I think we tried almost all their dishes and none disappointed. The shrimp, whether boiled or fried, were fresh and tasty. It was smart how they had everything set up. In one building, they had their steamed seafood and seafood market. In the other building they had all their fried specialties. In between was a courtyard with picnic tables. You could take food from one side to the other and eat inside or in the courtyard. I thought this was a smart way to do it.

30A Florida Distillery is a newer start-up. It has been in business for only about 18 months and is located in Santa Rosa Beach. They distill their own rum, gin, limoncello, agave spirit (tequila), and vodka. They also had sourced rye and bourbon. After doing a flight of gin, aged gin, and orange rum, I came home with a bottle of their Santa Rosa Beach Citrus Rosemary Gin.

Photo from 30A Distillery

Continuing with the spirits tasting theme, three of us, Larry, Don, and myself did a whiskey tasting at Beach Liquors in Destin. They had a tasting room where you could get 1 oz. pours of a number of bourbons, ryes, and whiskeys. They also had many craft beers of tap. While they had set flights of bourbons and ryes, you can also make your own flight and pay accordingly. My own flight was made up of a Bardstown Bourbon bottled in bond, a Peerless Small Batch bourbon, and a Barrell Bourbon cask strength. Given the weakest was 100 proof, I’m glad my brother-in-law Scott was the designated driver.

Larry, me, Don

We tasted a lot of Key Lime pies. We had pies from Publix (big supermarket chain in Florida), the Donut Hole (bakery in Destin), a Stewby’s “shanty pie”, Edwards, and Marie Callendars. They were all good. Some were more cheesecake-like, some had more lime flavor, and some had better crust. I will say we didn’t like the fake whipped cream that Publix used but the rest of their pie was very good. I know this may sound like heresy to Floridians but I liked the Edwards Key Lime pie the best as it had the most tartness.

Every day was concluded by watching the sun set. The Complementary Spouse got some great sunset photos.

I’m sure, God willing, we will aim to do this trip again next year. Late October into November is a great time to visit the area. The weather is warm but not hot. The water is still warm enough to go into the Gulf. The crowds have left and traffic is not bad. Most places have not closed for the season. All in all, it is a great time to go and this year was no exception.

January 2024 Will Be Busy

January 2024 will be a busy month.

Earlier this week, the Complementary Spouse and I received confirmation that we had been approved for media credentials at the 2024 Dallas Safari Club Convention. That event is being held January 11th through 14th in Dallas. It will be the last time in Dallas as the event will move to Atlanta for a five year period while the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is being totally rebuilt. We plan to drive to Texas as it will give us more freedom to get around once we arrive in Dallas.

Next up on the agenda will be the 2024 SHOT Show in Las Vegas which begins on January 23rd with Industry Day at the Range on the preceding day. This will mark my 9th SHOT Show if you count attending the 1996 show in Dallas when I was working part-time for the original Paragon Cutlery. The difference in size and scope between 1996 is like night and day. In 1996, anything tactical including knives and modern sporting rifles was segregated from the rest of the show. Now they are an integral part of the show. As to size, the show has expanded to include the Caesars Forum in addition to its location in the Sands Expo Center.

The Complementary Spouse won’t be attending the SHOT Show and I will be cutting my visit short as I will be flying home on Friday, January 26th. The major reason for cutting it a little short is that we take off the next Wednesday for Nashville.

Rounding out the month will be the Safari Club International Convention in Nashville for which both the Complementary Spouse and I have media credentials. It starts on Wednesday, January 31st and runs through Saturday, February 3rd. This will mark the second year the convention has been held in Nashville. From everything I saw earlier this year, the move to Nashville from Las Vegas and Reno has attracted even more attendees.

As to why we are doing both the DSC Convention and the SCI Convention, while there is considerable overlap in exhibitors, they are just different from one another. While the former attracts a more Texas-centric crowd, the latter has a more international flavor. In years gone by, the Dallas Safari Club Convention was always seen as the more family friendly event but I think from what I saw in Nashville that this may be changing.

As an aside, I will be going on my first African hunt in 2024. It will be to the Eastern Cape of South Africa in June with my brother-in-law Larry. Podcaster Jono McHugh of Round The Fire hooked me up with Juan and Lauren Stander of LJ Hunting Safaris. They are a family-run outfitter with a great reputation.

If there is something you want us to check out at any of these events, either leave a comment above or send an email to me at gunsandmoneyblog AT gmail DOT com. We will do our best to fulfill your requests.

2023 Dallas Safari Club Grants

Monies raised by the Dallas Safari Club have gone to support a wide variety of projects and organizations dedicated to its mission of conservation, education, and advocacy. These grants are distinct from other grants made by the DSC Foundation. The bulk of these grants are funded with monies raised at the annual DSC Convention in January.

Corey Mason, DSC’s CEO, discusses the grants made in 2023 in the video below.

These grants range from support of efforts to stop wildlife crime both here and abroad to efforts to support Texas-based food banks which use hunter-donated game meat.

You can see more about the grants made by the DSC Foundation at this link which are in addition to the ones detailed by Corey Mason.

SCI To Move Business Office To Texas

Safari Club International recently announced their intent to move their business office and member services operation from Tucson to San Antonio, Texas. Speaking with a representative today, I was told that any moves for other parts of the organization were up in the air. Currently, they have their executive offices, museum, business office, and member services in Tucson. They also have a center for their advocacy staff headed by Ben Cassidy in Washington, DC.

Here is their press release on the move:

October 31, 2023

This week, Safari Club International (SCI) announced its decision to relocate its North American office for business and member services from Tucson, Arizona, to San Antonio, Texas, in 2024. This move is a watershed moment in SCI’s history and heralds a new era of growth as we continue to be First for Hunters and champions of wildlife conservation across the nation and around the world. 

SCI’s decision to relocate its Tucson office to San Antonio will enhance its operational efficiency while allowing for a greater strategic focus on SCI’s core mission. San Antonio will provide SCI with a more central geographic location for its stakeholders and membership while simultaneously allowing for even closer collaboration with the advocacy staff of SCI’s Armand and Mary Brachman Advocacy Center – the “Hunters’ Embassy” – in Washington, D.C. 

 “I am excited to make this announcement that reflects months of thoughtful deliberation and discussion,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “This move will provide SCI with a wide range of benefits, including superior market conditions, the most hunter-friendly political environment, and an advantageous location for coordination with the widest variety of key partners. We look forward to SCI’s bright future in San Antonio!”  

This is just an educated guess on my part but I would say SCI probably has more members in Texas than any other state so this move would make sense. I do not think this move is meant to take anything away from either the Dallas Safari Club or the Houston Safari Club.

Best Snarky Response Of The Day

It seems the New York Times can never find enough things to complain about when it comes to anything firearms related. It is now all bent out of shape that excess production of ammo at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is being sold in the commercial market to civilians. Some of this ammo has shown up at crime scenes. Given some of it was found at the scene of mass casualty events, it is now a cause celeb for the Times.

The rationale as I’ve always understood it is that it allows the plant to run at an optimal level with a trained workforce so that there is not any delay in producing enough ammo for the military during times of crisis. Indeed, the contract with the Department of Defense requires the operator of the Lake City plant to product at a specified level with provisions for the excess to be sold commercially. Even the Times’ story acknowledges this.

With all the focus on mass casualty events in the Times’ story, someone who goes by Navi of Boomhandia had this response.

Navi is correct. This story in the Times is much ado about nothing. Stopping commercial sales of excess production from the Lake City plant will not stop the deranged psychopaths.

Veterans Day 2023

This is the day we honor all who served regardless of the branch of the military. Originally known as Armistice Day, it was a day to recognize the end of the Great War aka World War I and those who fought in it. The armistice signed by the Allies and Germany ceased hostilities on the Western Front on November 11 at 11am.

It was renamed Veterans Day in 1947 to recognize all veterans and not just those from the First World War. It became a holiday in 1954 after President Eisenhower signed the bill designating it as such.

I want to thank all those who served regardless of their age, gender, or branch of service.