Baltimore Officers Shoot Teen With Replica Firearm

H/T Bearing Arms.

Police Officers have a real tough job and have to make life or death decisions in a heartbeat or less.

When an officer sees a gun he has to make a snap judgment make the wrong call if it is a real gun the officer dies.

We live in a very violent world. For better or worse, violence is all around us. While most of us may live the bulk of our lives without it directly impacting us, that’s not an option for millions of people. It’s especially true for police officers in our most violent cities who may have to determine who lives and who dies in a split second.

It’s not an easy thing to live with in the least.

That’s especially true when you’re dealing with a kid with a gun that sure looks real.

A Baltimore Police officer shot and wounded an armed teenager Saturday afternoon only to find out the boy’s weapon was a replica gun, the police commissioner said.

Commissioner Michael Harrison said two officers were patrolling Erdman Avenue in Northeast Baltimore shortly before 5 p.m. when they came upon the 16-year-old holding what appeared to be a gun. Harrison said the boy was engaged “in some type of incident.”

At least one of the officers fired and shot the boy in his arm. The police department released the boy’s age Sunday.

“It appears the gun on the ground was some type of replica,” Harrison said.

Now, I’m not going to second-guess the police officers in question. I don’t know what happened, what they were responding to, what they saw, any of that.

What I will say, though, is that we parents need to do a better job of teaching our kids what to do if the police approach them and they’ve got a toy gun in their hands. I’m not blaming this kid for what happened, mind you, but instead using this opportunity to talk about some real problems.

Baltimore has some odd rules about “replica” guns, of course, and can take them without a warrant (though I don’t see how that can be constitutional), but I’m not talking about just Baltimore. This happens all over the nation and it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t be an issue.

You see, our children need to understand that if they have a gun-shaped object in their hands, police officers don’t have time to figure out if it’s real or not. If it looks real, they’re going to treat it like it’s real. If the officer says to drop it, you drop it. You comply with their orders and all will generally turn out well enough, especially if they’ve done nothing wrong.

The last thing they want to do is to try to show the officer it’s not real, especially by pointing the barrel at them. They’re going to interpret that as a hostile act. That will generally not end well for anyone.

However, I’ve seen too many people not teach their kids how to act in a case like this. Maybe it’s the result of being raised by a cop, but this was part of my life going up and my kids have gotten this as well. It’s probably a good idea for parents, even non-gun folks, to teach their kids how to not antagonize the police.

They have a tough enough job as it is. Let’s not add to it.

Of course, there’s also an argument to be made about everyone not being twitchy at the sight of a gun, and we can get into that another time. After all, it’s valid

 

Texas Set To Allow Stay-At-Home Order To Expire, Businesses To Reopen Friday With Limited Capacity

H/T  Flag And Cross.

Bravo, Governor Greg Abbott(R-TX) for allowing his state to reopen.

As the push for states to reopen their economies continues, more and more governors, particularly Republican ones, are opting to let stay-at-home orders expire and provide opportunities for people to start trying to get back to living normal life, if such a thing is possible at this point.

One such individuals is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who has announced the state of Texas will not be extending the stay-at-home order, allowing businesses to reopen with limited capacity this Friday.

Here’s more from The Washington Examiner:

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“My executive order to stay at home that was issued last month is set to expire on April 30. That executive order has done its job to slow the growth of COVID-19, and I will let it expire as scheduled,” Abbott said during a press conference on Monday. “Now, it’s time to set a new course. A course that responsibly opens up businesses in Texas.”

He continued, “We will do that in a way that uses safe standards. Safe standards for businesses, for their employees as well as for their customers. Standards based upon data and on doctors.”

Abbott stated that he would be allowing businesses to open their doors on Friday, starting with retail stores, theaters, and shopping malls. However, they will only be allowed to have 25 percent capacity so they can still abide by the social distancing guidelines and hopefully keep down the spread of the coronavirus.

Libraries and museums will also be open back up to the public, though no hands-on exhibits will be allowed.

Gov. Abbott said that this is the state’s phase one of reopening and noted that capacity restrictions will be gradually lifted.

“There’s a reason that all businesses in Texas cannot open all at once,” the governor said. “We’ve already seen precautionary tales of what can happen when things reopen. There have been reports that China is now having new outbreaks. Singapore is having a second wave that is bigger than its first wave. There’s coronavirus expansion in places like Hong Kong and Japan.”

Abbott continued, “The deal is that it’s a fact that it’s hard to get rid of this virus because it is so contagious. So, we’re not just going to open up and hope for the best. Instead, we will put measures in place that will help businesses open while also containing the virus and keeping Texans safe.”

This is fantastic news and is no doubt lifting the spirits of many small business owners in the state who have been eager to see their doors back open so they can put food on the table at home.

To Save His Town, Mayor Defies Shutdown Order, Dares New Mexico Governor To Send in State Police

H/T Western Journal.

It is about time someone stood up to the heavy-handed tactics of some of these governors.

After weeks of government-imposed lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Americans across the country are growing increasingly restless, ready get back to work and business as usual.

That perfectly understandable desire of the people is, in some places, in direct conflict with local and state authorities who have insisted on continuing to keep things shut down for the foreseeable future.

One mayor, however, has stepped up on behalf of his constituents, announcing that he will allow all businesses in his town to open back up, The Associated Press reported.

He even went so far as to dare his state’s governor to send the state police to try to shut his town back down.

That bold mayor, a Democrat, is named Martin “Modey” Hicks, and he governs the small town of Grants, New Mexico. His decision to allow local businesses to reopen on Monday would seemingly undermine a recent statewide order by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that extended the initial restrictions she’d imposed until at least May 15.

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“The governor is killing us. She’s totally killing us,” Hicks said. “So we have no choice. So right now, we are reopening.”

“Let state police come down here,” he added.

The mayor said all local businesses in his town of around 9,000 residents could reopen on Monday, and instructed his local police force to be ready to prevent the state police from coming to town and issuing any citations for violations of the governor’s lockdown orders.

Lujan Grisham’s order, which limits gatherings to no more than five people and prevents “nonessential” businesses from being open, was extended on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the governor is reportedly assembling a bipartisan group of mayors to help formulate a plan on how best to begin reopening the state.

The AP reported that violations of the governor’s lockdown orders could result in a warning for a first-time offense, with repeat offenders earning a petty misdemeanor charge and fines of up to $100 and $5,000 for second and third offenses, respectively.

That didn’t seem to bother Hicks too much, though, as he not only ordered the town’s police to resist efforts by the state to issue citations for violations but also appears to have his local sheriff on board with the plan to reopen immediately.

“I’ve told businesses to call 911 if state police show up to their place. We are going to stop Lujan Grisham and her Gestapo,” the mayor said.

Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace told the media that his deputies would not shut down any businesses in Grant that decided to open back up — but he also said his deputies wouldn’t get in the way of any state police troopers attempting to enforce the shutdown.

“I understand where the mayor is coming from. I get it,” Mace said, stressing that he had no intention of placing his deputies in harm’s way by interfering with the activities of the state police.

Ironically, given the proclivity of Democrats to throw around allusions to Nazis when talking about Republicans or President Donald Trump, Lujan Grisham’s office took great offense to the mayor’s reference to Nazis’ secret police force and denounced the mayor for his remarks.

“To compare an elected official making difficult decisions to protect the public health of all New Mexicans to Hitler is disgusting,” Grisham spokeswoman Nora Sackett said. “We condemn it in the strongest possible manner.”

Police Investigating Death of Arizona Man From Chloroquine Phosphate

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

After reading this story I think the wife actually intentionally poisoned her husband as she had a history of verbal and physical abuse. 

Mesa City PD opens investigation into death of Gary Lenius whose wife, Wanda, said she served him a deadly cocktail to ward off coronavirus.

The Mesa City Police Department’s homicide division is investigating the death of Gary Lenius, the Arizona man whose wife served him soda mixed with fish tank cleaner in what she claimed was a bid to fend off the coronavirus. A detective handling the case confirmed the investigation to the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday after requesting a recording of the Free Beacon’s interviews with Lenius’s wife, Wanda.

Gary Lenius, 68, died on March 22. Wanda, 61, told several news outlets last month that both she and her husband had ingested a substance used to clean aquariums after hearing President Donald Trump tout one of its ingredients, chloroquine phosphate, from the White House briefing room.

Detective Teresa Van Galder, the homicide detective handling the case for the Mesa City Police Department, confirmed that the investigation is ongoing but declined to provide additional details.

“As this is an active investigation, I cannot go into any details at this time regarding the case,” Van Galder said. The Free Beacon provided a recording of its interview last month with Wanda Lenius.

News of the police probe comes after a series of Free Beacon stories raised questions about the portrayal of the couple in the initial NBC News report that vaulted the story onto the national stage.

Though that report and others suggested the couple mindlessly followed the president’s medical advice to disastrous results, friends of Gary Lenius told the Free Beacon they were skeptical he would knowingly ingest fish tank treatment.

Rather, they described Lenius as a levelheaded retired engineer and recounted a troubled marital relationship that included a previous domestic assault charge against his wife, of which she was ultimately found not guilty. The Free Beacon also reported that Wanda Lenius was a Democratic donor whose most recent contribution went to a “pro-science” super PAC.

“What bothers me about this is that Gary was a very intelligent man, a retired [mechanical] engineer who designed systems for John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa, and I really can’t see the scenario where Gary would say, ‘Yes, please, I would love to drink some of that Koi fish tank cleaner,'” one of his close friends told the Free Beacon. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Another source, who asked that all identifying information be withheld, told the Free Beacon earlier this month that Wanda Lenius “would constantly berate Gary in public.… Everyone was embarrassed for him, but he outwardly did not seem to care much.”

“In our opinion, their marriage was seen outwardly to be as one-sided as a marriage possibly could be: Gary worshiped Wanda,” this person said, adding that his wife “would routinely call him a doofus” and humiliate him in public.

Wanda Lenius was charged with domestic abuse assault in 2001 after she allegedly hit her husband and swung a mounted birdhouse at him. Gary Lenius declined to cooperate in the case, testifying that he was not injured or placed in fear of injury. His wife was exonerated.

Wanda Lenius said in a phone interview with the Free Beacon last month that she and her husband had watched the president tout the virtues of chloroquine on the news, citing preliminary studies that showed it may be a promising treatment for coronavirus.

She remembered purchasing a container of “chloroquine phosphate” years before to clean a fish tank, she said.

The powder, which can be lethal if ingested, is sold by aquarium suppliers and used to treat viral outbreaks in large fish tanks. She told the Free Beacon that she had mentioned this to her husband “and he kind of laughed at me, you know. It was just a regular conversation.”

“We weren’t big supporters of [Trump], but we did see that they were using it in China and stuff,” she said. “And we just made a horrible, tragic mistake.”

Campaign finance records show that Wanda Lenius has given thousands of dollars to Democratic groups and candidates over the past two years, most recently to the 314 Action Fund. The group bills itself as the “pro-science resistance” and has criticized the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, holding up the Lenius case to slam the White House.

In the same interview, Wanda Lenius told the Free Beacon that her husband had been planning to schedule a doctor’s appointment to have a leg injury looked at and the couple worried he might pick up coronavirus at the clinic. That’s when, she said, she reached for the fish tank cleaner in her pantry. Her husband’s response, she said, was, “Is it still good?”

Wanda Lenius routinely prepared a “vitamin cocktail” for him, according to Gary Lenius’s friend.

Asked if she and Gary Lenius had a conversation about taking the chloroquine at that time, she told the Free Beacon: “No. I mean, it was really kind of a spur of the moment thing,” adding that the couple ingested “one teaspoon and some soda” each, at least four times the lethal limit.

UPDATE, April 29, 11:17 A.M.: After publication, a spokesman for the Mesa City Police Department told the Free Beacon that it is “normal protocol” for the homicide department to investigate “all death cases (other than obvious natural causes)” and that the death “has not been ruled a homicide at this time.”

BREAKING: Supreme Court Punts on Gun Rights, Declares New York State Rifle & Pistol Case Moot

H/T The Truth About Guns.

New York changed its law and the Supremes punted on gun rights.

In an effort to avoid an almost sure adverse ruling by the Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, the city changed the underlying law. It was an obvious and nakedly cynical attempt to have the case declared moot and dodge a likely expansion of gun rights in the United States.

That gambit worked. In a ruling announced this morning, the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, has declared the case moot.

You can read the Court’s decision here.

Here’s the Associated Press’s Mark Sherman’s report:

The Supreme Court sidestepped a major decision on gun rights Monday in a dispute over New York City’s former ban on transporting guns.

The justices threw out a challenge from gun rights groups. It ruled that the city’s move to ease restrictions on taking licensed, locked and unloaded guns outside the city limits, coupled with a change in state law to prevent New York from reviving the ban, left the court with nothing to decide. The court asked a lower court to consider whether the city’s new rules still pose problems for gun owners.

The anti-climactic end to the Supreme Court case is a disappointment to gun rights advocates and relief to gun control groups who thought a conservative Supreme Court majority fortified by two appointees of President Donald Trump, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, might use the case to expand on landmark decisions from a decade ago that established a right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.

But other guns cases remain in the high court’s pipeline and the justices could decide to hear one or more of those next term.

Although the opinion was unsigned, the court was split, 6-3, over the outcome.

Gorsuch joined Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas in dissenting from the dismissal. Kavanaugh wrote a brief concurring opinion in which he agreed with the result, but also said the court should take up another guns case soon.

Lower courts upheld the regulation, but the Supreme Court’s decision early in 2019 to step into the case signaled a revived interest in gun rights from a court with two new justices.

Officials at both the city and state level scrambled to find a way to remove the case from the justices’ grasp. Not only did the city change its regulation to allow licensed gun owners to transport their weapons to locations outside New York’s five boroughs, but the state enacted a law barring cities from imposing the challenged restrictions.

Those moves failed to get the court to dismiss the case before arguments in December.

Virginia Anti-gun Activist, Unveils 2021 Gun Control Agenda

H/T AmmoLand.

Comrade Governor Ralph “Blackface” Northam(Delusional-VA) and his cronies are hoping to get more gun control in 2021.

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- On April 10, disgraced Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed five pieces of anti-gun legislation into law. Those measures criminalize the private sale of firearms, ration handgun sales to one a month, create a “red flag” gun confiscation scheme, punish property crime victims who fail to hastily report a firearm as stolen, and restrict how Virginia parents may store and introduce their children to firearms. Northam sent two pieces of anti-gun legislation back, including legislation that erodes the Right-to-Carry and the state firearms preemption statute, to the general assembly with governor’s amendments. The General Assembly enacted both items of legislation on April 22.

As bad as this session was for Virginia gun owners, it could have been much worse. The General Assembly did not pass the proposed legislation that would have banned, and in some cases confiscated, commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines and accessories that Northam demanded. Moreover, moderate members of the Senate Democratic caucus helped to limit the background check legislation to sales, leaving gun owners free to loan and gift firearms to their friends and family without government intrusion.

The worst-case scenario was avoided thanks to the herculean efforts of NRA members and other gun rights activists across the Commonwealth. Between the sanctuary county movement that now covers the vast majority of the state, NRA members contacting their lawmakers and meeting with them in person, and the massive gun rights rally on January 20 in Richmond, Virginia gun owners have become the model for how a passionate grassroots movement can influence government policy.

That same passion will be needed going forward.

On April 19, podcast Transition Virginia, which describes itself as “an edgy, political news-commentary podcast on the transition of power in Virginia from a red to blue​,” released an episode featuring Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran and Lori Haas of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV). Virginia gun rights advocates may remember Haas as a vocal cheerleader for Attorney General Mark Herring’s 2015 attempt to remove reciprocity for 25 states Right-to-Carry permits. Haas opposed the compromise legislation with then-Governor Terry McAuliffe that reversed Herring’s maneuver by granting reciprocity to all state Right-to-Carry permits. Longtime gun rights supporters will know that CSGV is the handgun prohibition organization that until 1990 was known as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.

On the podcast, Haas laid out gun control activists’ plans for the 2021 legislative session. Haas told the interviewer, “We’ll be back… a couple people joked with me [Secretary Moran] one of them, ‘Lori we’ve got seven bills what are we going to do next year?’ Oh I’ve got a big list for you secretary.” Haas made clear that a renewed push to ban commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines was at the top of gun control advocates’ agenda, claiming that such items “have no place in civil society.” Haas also noted that her group is already working with legislators to pass a ban next year.

For his part, Moran claimed that commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms are not protected under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The secretary also approvingly pointed to Maryland’s ban on commonly-owned firearms.

Banning commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms or their magazines is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that governments cannot ban these firearms as they are “in common use” for lawful purposes.

Taken alone, Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in Heller is enough to dispose of Moran’s comments. In the decision, Justice Scalia made clear that the types of firearms protected by the Second Amendment include those “in common use at the time” for “lawful purposes like self-defense.”

The firearms industry has estimated that Americans own more than 17.5 million semi-automatic rifles. The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the U.S. and therefore indisputably “in common use” and protected by the Second Amendment.

All doubt as to whether the Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald preclude bans on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms was settled in 2015. That year, Justice Scalia joined Justice Thomas in a dissent from the denial of certiorari in Friedman v. Highland Park, a case concerning a local ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms.

Justice Thomas explained,

Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semiautomatic rifles. The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting. Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.

A sweeping gun ban isn’t all Haas and her gun prohibitionist allies are seeking to accomplish in 2021. Haas also told the podcast that gun control advocates are working on measures to restrict both concealed and open carry, so-called “safe storage” legislation, and a bill to enact an onerous firearm permit to purchase regime. In a decidedly regressive move, Haas even shared her interest in attacking Virginia’s restoration of rights procedure, whereby former criminals who have paid their debt to society are able to regain their civil rights.

Moran and Haas’s interview makes clear that the enemies of freedom are not satisfied with the gun controls enacted in Virginia this year. Therefore, the commonwealth’s gun rights activists must remain vigilant in order to combat this perpetual threat to freedom. Virginians should start by informing their friends, loved ones, and other like-minded individuals of the continuing threat gun owners face in the commonwealth. This year gun owners proved that a determined grassroots effort can preserve freedom. Virginian gun rights supporters must continue to exhibit the same tenacity and determination in the years to come.

About:

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

 

Below The Radar: HR 435, National Gun Violence Research Act

H/T AmmoLand.

Use these links to contact your House and Senate members.

United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- One of the more pernicious attacks on our Second Amendment rights is legislation that doesn’t necessarily restrict rights so much as eases the road to getting restrictions later. There have been two approaches to this. One is the use of resolutions like S Res 110, which is intended to foreclose the possibility of Second Amendment-friendly (or at least non-hostile) solutions to problems like school shootingsH Res 702 takes a different approach: It ties attacking our rights as a form of justice.

Another is the use of legislation intended to gain taxpayer-funded propaganda, like HR 435, the National Gun Violence Research Act introduced by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). Like the Gun Safety Board and Research Act we covered earlier, this is legislation that won’t directly attack our rights. What it will do, though, is give Bloomberg’s minions ammunition for future attacks on our rights.

The fact is, right now, Bloomberg really has a one-track approach in selling his anti-Second Amendment extremism: Fear. This has been a powerful motivator, especially in helping him generate a lot of anti-Second Amendment activism among suburban women. The emergence of Moms Demand Action/Everytown has been a major shift in the landscape in the fight for our rights – one that has not been in our favor.

While Second Amendment supporters have so far been able to hold off many of the attacks on our rights in many places, the fact is, the shift among suburban women over the last 20 years was one major factor. Now, Eddie Bernice Johnson is moving to give Bloomberg more ammo – and HR 435 now takes on greater importance.

One of the tricks that were largely shut down over the last 25 years was the use of so-called “research” to create studies that showed that our Second Amendment rights were a danger to public health. Now, though, with doctors and nurses getting a lot of public acclaim in the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg will seek to latch on to that.

One of HR 435’s provisions is to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to focus on “gun violence research.” In her legislation, Johnson laughably claims, “Research examining the nature, causes, consequences, and prevention of gun-related violence, suicide, and unintentional injury and death does not constitute advocacy in support of, or opposition to, gun control policies or regulations.”

Well, Second Amendment supporters know she is lying in that legislation. Don Kates quoted one physician pushing control who expressed the view that our Second Amendment rights were a pathogen. It took a lot of fighting to get the propaganda that masqueraded as research shut down – and anti-Second Amendment extremists have bemoaned the loss of the source of valuable (to them) propaganda.

To avoid seeing the landscape shift even further against us, Second Amendment supporters need to keep the provisions of law that prevent our tax dollars from being used to fund propaganda that attacks our rights. Contacting your Senators and Representative and politely urging them to oppose HR 435 should be done as soon as possible.

Small-Town America: ‘One Bad Season Away From Bankrupt’

H/T Town Hall.

For how many mom and pop businesses are going to be bankrupt because of this shutdown? 

This shutdown will be the bad season for many mom and pop businesses.

OHIOPYLE, Pennsylvania — Like most places in the United States, this tiny patch of a town is struggling to stay afloat. Like most places, people here are trying to help others out. And like most places, those who live and work here wonder whether their community will ever be the same.

Vicki Marietta’s family has been in this place forever. Decades ago, her grandparents ran the Ohiopyle House Hotel.

Marietta sat on a picnic bench with her mother outside of Backyard Gardens, her charming, uncluttered store that specializes in baskets of local produce: eggs, bacon, cheeses, jars of honey, apple butters, sauces, relishes and her famous homemade pepper butter (the last of which the Food and Drug Administration makes her call mustard).

People from three states wait all winter to restock their pantries with her pepper sauce once she reopens in the spring.

“Normally, I would be open weekends from mid-March until mid-May and then seven days a week. Right now I’m not opening my doors because of the coronavirus. I am doing curbside pickups for people who call in and want their favorite local items,” she explained. “It’s going to be a tough season for every business in this town, not only me.”

A van pulled up, and two faces familiar to Marietta, Scott Patton and Maureen Patton, emerge to visit with her outside from a safe distance. They are both longtime friends and customers.

Off in the not-too-far distance, the long, long and short warning whistles of a CSX Corp. train howl along the curves of the Laurel Hill Mountain and the Youghiogheny Gorge as it nears the train station-turned-information booth located in the former center of town. It’s the same former center of town where Marietta’s family lived until the state government began acquiring homes for Project 70 development, securing acreage to develop the future home of Ohiopyle State Park

“They took the biggest part of this town by force, by eminent domain, and it was to create the park,” she explains. “So they displaced a lot of people out of the town. A lot of my family. They tore down my church. They tore down businesses and homes in this town.”

Maurice Goddard, then the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters, said at the time that it was “the greatest thing that ever happened for Western Pennsylvania.”

Marietta has her doubts. “It dropped the population,” she said. “When I finally moved out of this town proper in 1978, there were only 115 people left. Now there’s about 35.”

When the railroads came through this area in the 1800s, they brought prosperity. Tourists flocked to see, hear and feel the surge of the river rapids. For a $1 ticket, they brought their picnic baskets and their families from Pittsburgh and Cumberland and stayed for the day. They came from Washington and Philadelphia to stay for the night in any of the grand hotels that once lined the tiny town grid.

There were boardwalks and dance pavilions, bowling alleys and tennis courts. But the big draw was the rapids.

In the 1920s, when the an automobile became affordable for average families, people in the region started going on great American road trips and stopped coming to Ohiopyle. The resorts were torn down, along with the dance pavilions and the boardwalk. The town just sort of waited for something to come next.

Forty years later, just before the creation of the state park, the first commercial whitewater rafting company on the Youghiogheny River and east of the Mississippi opened. In its first year, 400 people enjoyed the thrills of the Lower Yough rapids. By 2007, over 100,000 people had come.

Pandemics are not the only forces that have taken a toll on this town. When the automobile came, the town died a little death. When the state park came, the core of its community was elbowed out of generations of living and working, and it died another little death.

Culture, too, has toyed with its fortunes. What the baby-boom generation did to boost this town with thrill seeking on the Youghiogheny has been taken away by millennials and Gen Zers — visits for guided raft trips on the Youghiogheny declined by 40% in the past decade and a half.

The Great Allegheny Passage has certainly helped. The iconic bike trail connects Pittsburgh to Cumberland, with Ohiopyle in the middle. It also helps that Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, is less than 10 minutes away.

Inside Marietta’s shop, she explains that she has a map that marks where every customer who walks through her door comes from. “Last year, we had visitors from 48 states and 58 countries,” she said. But she is worried for the future. “This whole town is one bad season away from bankrupt,” she said.

Salena Zito is a CNN political analyst, and a staff reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner. She reaches the Everyman and Everywoman through shoe-leather journalism, traveling from Main Street to the beltway and all places in between.

Virginia Judge Halts Northam’s Order To Close Indoor Gun Ranges

H/T Bearing Arms.

This is a win for Virginia’s gun owners.

A circuit court judge in Lynchburg, Virginia has overturned a portion of Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order that declared indoor gun ranges “places of amusement” that are non-essential and must shut down during his state of emergency. Judge F. Patrick Yeatts declared in an order on Monday that Northam’s actions are likely to have exceeded his constitutional authority, and declared that the portion of the governor’s executive order on essential businesses that deals with indoor ranges not be enforced while the litigation continues.

Yeatts noted in his decision that the Virginia state constitution declares that “the body of the people, trained to arms is the proper, natural safe defense of a free state.” Since that is the case, clearly the right to bear arms includes the right to train with them. Since gun ranges provide a place where that training can take place, they are protected under the right to keep and bear arms.

The judge agreed with Gov. Northam that he has great deference in times of emergency, but stated that a Virginia law passed in 2012 (and supported by Northam, who was a state senator at the time) prohibits the governor from taking any action, even in a state of emergency, that interferes with the right to keep and bear arms.

Northam had argued that under an intermediate scrutiny standard of review, his closures should be upheld. Yeatts declined to do so, noting that there under any standard of review the governor isn’t likely to prevail in his defense, but pointing out that if he had to decide on what level of judicial review to use, he would have gone with strict scrutiny, given that “proper training and practice at a range… is fundamental to the right to keep and bear arms, even necessary for the self-defense concern expressed by the governor.”

The governor also argued that economic concerns “are not enough and that outdoor gun ranges provide a sufficient alternative to indoor ranges.” SafeSide Lynchburg, the indoor range that brought the lawsuit along with the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Gun Owners of America, and the Association of Virginia Gun Ranges argued that they would suffer irreparable harm if they were not allowed to re-open, and Judge Yeatts agreed. The judge also noted, however, that it wouldn’t just be the range owners who would suffer. There are no outdoor ranges located in Lynchburg, and in fact the city has an ordinance that prohibits the firing of guns outside of approved gun ranges. As Yeatts wrote, “the Court rules that the right to keep and bear arms is not relegated to the outskirts of the city and of fundamental rights jurisprudence.”

The governor will almost certainly appeal Judge Yeatts decision, but for the moment, SafeSide Lynchburg and other indoor ranges in the state are allowed to re-open. The judge made the right call. Let’s hope that the state Supreme Court agrees.

 

Pennsylvania Takes Hundreds of ‘Probable’ COVID Deaths Off Books After Coroners Come Forward

H/T Western Journal.

How many more DemocRat controlled states are fudging the number of COVID deaths?

Pennsylvania has removed hundreds of COVID-19 deaths from the official death count after coroners pointed out the state’s health department numbers did not match their own.

Pennsylvania Health Department officials had included in their count “probable” coronavirus deaths in cases where they believed the virus was the cause of death but did not have confirmation from a positive test result, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported

Officials removed over 200 probable deaths from their official tally on Thursday in what they said was an effort to be transparent.

“We realize that this category can be confusing, since it does change over time,” Health Secretary Rachel Levine said.

“At times, there are things we need to review, and potentially revisit the way the data is being analyzed,” she added. “And this is one of those times.”

PA Department of Health

@PAHealthDept

Today there was a ⬇️ in probable cases, specifically probable deaths, which impacts total case count.

These cases were previously reported as probable, but review determined that more info needed before attributing as related. This doesn’t impact confirmed case count.

View image on Twitter

PA Department of Health

@PAHealthDept

Probable cases make up <2% of total cases + give us an idea if something is happening in an area that needs investigation.

We rely on CONFIRMED case counts to make data driven decisions. As we work to move regions from red to yellow, we use confirmed data to base decisions.

106 people are talking about this

The abrupt change came after state coroners pointed to inconsistencies with the state’s death counts and what they had recorded.

“There’s a discrepancy in the numbers,” Charles Kiessling Jr., president of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association, told The Inquirer on Thursday.

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“I’m not saying there’s something going on,” he added. “I’m not a conspiracy theory guy. But accuracy is important.”

On Sunday, Pennsylvania increased its coronavirus death toll by 276 overnight to 1,112 total fatalities. The health department reported another spike on Tuesday when the death toll jumped from 1,204 to 1,564.

Levine said that the “deaths did not happen overnight” and that the surge occurred over the last few days.

The department also claimed that the surge was caused by a computer glitch.

Levine announced Tuesday that the department would be reporting “probable deaths related to COVID-19 in addition to confirmed deaths,” but department spokesman Nate Wardle told The Inquirer probable deaths had been included for at least a week prior.

Wardle walked back on his comments Wednesday and said that the probable deaths hadn’t been added to the systems until April 13, and were added to the official state count on Tuesday.

White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx had explained earlier this month that the United States has a “very liberal” recording guidance for COVID-19 deaths…….

“There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU and then [you] have a heart or kidney problem — some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death,” she said at the coronavirus task force briefing on April 7.

“Right now, we’re still recording it … if someone dies with COVID-19, we are counting that as a COVID-19 death.”