August 27, 2009

A Manís Wal-Mart Is His Castle?

An employee fight at Wal-Mart that ended in a gunshot to the head challenges Montana's new law regarding the use of deadly force in self-defense.

At Pajamas Media.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 27, 2009 07:43 AM

Bob are you applying for a position at MSNBC?

I'm pretty disappointed in you for the way you wrote that piece to try to sway the reader to your position.

"The .25-caliber bullet that ripped into the left side of Danny Liraís forehead blew apart when it hit his skull, exiting in fragments."

Your graphic detail here is not intended to inform but rather to shock the reader and thus garner sympathy for Mr. Lira and your position.

"The man who shot him went free on the orders of the local district attorney."

This also is intended to shock and appall the reader, both the placement and wording are intended to produce a reaction of "OMG! They let the violent criminal go!". The attorney was following the law, and Mr. Schmidt is innocent of wrong doing until proven guilty. You obviously feel that shooting someone in self defense is wrong, at least that is the stance that comes across in the article.

At this point there is not enough information provided to make any kind of call. While I believe that no workplace incident should ever escalate to violence it does happen, and in some cases the victim can be severely injured and even killed. In this case to me who "the victim" is isn't clear, you seem to believe Mr. Lira was the victim.

Even if Mr. Schmidt "slammed his shoulder" into Mr. Lira as he passed by that is no real reason to take a swing at him since Mr. Lira's 100 lb advantage would have made the assault negligible, let it go and talk to a supervisor.

Your article implies that Mr. Schmidt intentionally shot Mr. Lira in the head, which may or may not be the case, and thus implies attempted murder rather than self-defense. If Schmidt had received a heavy blow to the face that knocked him down and in a rush to get his weapon drawn his aim would probably not be the best.

The report you link also differs from your account as well. Lira outweighs Schmidt by 150 lbs, the shot was fired from 10 to 15 feet, and "the bullet grazed the side of his head from front to back." according to Police Sgt. Kevin Iffland. The other article you linked also states"Lira, 32, was in good condition at the hospital Thursday afternoon after being treated for a gunshot wound to his forehead. He has a slight bruise on his brain and facial lacerations from fragments of the bullet, which did not penetrate the skull, according to Dr. Eric Dringman, a St. Vincent surgeon." which differs from what you imply with your opening paragraph.

Mr. Owens you should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: Scott at August 27, 2009 12:19 PM

Scott, you twisted what I wrote into something you can gin up faux outrage over.

OMG, I used a flashy lede to draw the reader in! That's call "engaging the reader." It was also perfectly accurate. The you would assign some other meaning to it—claiming that is meant to give sympathy to Lira—is an artifice that exists entirely within your own mind.

That "The man who shot him went free on the orders of the local district attorney" means—and see if you can follow along here—the man who shot him went free on the orders of the local district attorney.. Again, you look into your crystal ball and conjure up some sinister alternative meaning out of thin air.

Likewise, the rest of your outrage is based upon your desire to create additional meaning from the text, and then find offense in what you've created. You hide this being trying to claim what I &qout;obviously meant" and what you think I implied... when I did not such thing.

As for the reports of what happened that day, again. I stated quite clearly there were very different accounts of what took place.

I suggest you find a hobby, other than trying to put words in other people's mouths and then getting mad about what you "hear."

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 27, 2009 01:07 PM

Mr. Owens:

Well said!!! The same sort of fantasies conjured up by Scott's dysfunctional crystal ball are something that I, too, am all too familiar with in response to some of my posts.

In fact, after reading his post I went back to your original article and read it again because I didn't remember you saying the things that Scott attributed to you. Turns out there was a good reason that I didn't remember them. They weren't there!

Scott's technique of putting "words in other people's mouths and then getting mad about what HE "hears" is a classic example of one type of "fallacy in argumentation".

Again, Mr. Owens, well said.

Posted by: Dude at August 27, 2009 01:25 PM

Odd then how I wasn't the only one to get those impressions Mr. Owens. Many of the readers that commented on your article at Pajamas Media got the same impression I did.

Had you placed the "The man who shot him went free on the orders of the local district attorney." statement elsewhere framed by relevant information the connotations would have been different and you know it. However you placed it in one sentence all by itself for a "dun-dun-DUN!" effect. As writer you know there is both the explicit and implicit meaning as to how your words and sentences are put together.

Let me show you a different phrasing:

"Under Montana's House Bill 228 the man who shot Danny Lira is not currently charged with a crime and was allowed to go free on the orders of the district attorney. An investigation to determine if his use of force was unlawful will be conducted and charges will be filed if evidence indicates that was the case."

Same information, no "gasp!" factor.

Another place you use language to evoke a response:

"Craig Schmidt walks the streets of Billings a free man ó at least for now ó after shooting a man in the face over a work-related argument that escalated to gunplay."

You've already informed the reader twice of the location of Danny Lira's injury. Your third usage here is merely to emphasize the implication that a dangerous man walks free.

Yes it is a fact that Danny Lira got shot in the forehead, however your statement implies that Schmidt intentionally shot the man in the face. You have no evidence to support that his intent was to put a bullet in the other man's head. Again let me show you a version with less spin.

"Craig Schmidt is a a free man pending an investigation to determine if he used unlawful force after shooting a co-worker in a workplace argument that escalated to gunplay."

Same information less "fear factor".

Also I have to really laugh at your use of "outrage". I'm in no way "outraged", disappointed in someone who usually writes good articles yes, outraged no. I merely criticize what I and others perceive as "spin" to evoke an emotional reaction.
You seem to be the outraged one sir, outraged that one of "the masses" would dare critique and criticize something you wrote. Perhaps the MSM is rubbing off on you and its time for some self reflection. The fact that Dude agrees with you should be indication enough.

Posted by: Scott at August 27, 2009 02:19 PM

"The fact that Dude agrees with you should be indication enough."

Another example of fallacy: If so and so agrees with you, that's an indication that you must be wrong.

Posted by: Dude at August 27, 2009 04:00 PM

So linked.

Given that I've been the smaller person in several violent inter-personal disputes, not a lot of sympathy with a guy whining about not being able to throw someone in jail until they're proven innocent....

Posted by: Foxfier at August 27, 2009 07:02 PM

"The fact that Dude agrees with you should be indication enough."

Hahaha. It's a pretty good indicator. He's a good barometer for wrongness. Don't hold that against CY. CY didn't agree with Dude; it was the other way around.

On this particular article, CY was a bit sensational and leading, but I don't think that's super-wrong.

I know that CY is a big gun-rights guy, and maybe it's just a case of policing your own. He's often harder on gun incidents that I would be, maybe because he's more closely connected with it.

Posted by: brando at August 27, 2009 07:11 PM

"The fact that Dude agrees with you should be indication enough."

"Hahaha. It's a pretty good indicator. He's a good barometer for wrongness."

Thanks Brando. Coming from you, I consider that to be a compliment, even if it is subjective. Of course, in your bubble, there's not much room for objectivity.

I would fully expect you to support someone who attributes words to people that they didn't say. That is, after all, one aspect of your typical MO; dishonesty, as evidenced in many of your past posts.

Thanks again for the compliment.

Posted by: Dude at August 27, 2009 08:37 PM

You think it's a compliment that your lack of integrity makes others doubt your claims?


Sadly, you probably do think that's a compliment.

Posted by: brando at August 27, 2009 10:29 PM

No, it ain't my integrity that's in question here, Brando. It's yours. I don't have a reputation of attributing statements to others which they have not made. On the other hand, you have a clear record of that practice. All that one needs to do to verify that is to read several past threads here at this forum.

You can deny it all that you wish. We've been through this before. The proof is in the pudding.

So, yes, when you, of all people, make such false claims that I'm a "good barometer for wrongness.", though you don't intend it to be, that's a compliment to me.

It's one thing to disagree with other people on issues. That's fine. It's another thing entirely to "bear false witness", which is what you seem to make a habit of doing. The real kicker is that when someone calls your hand on it, you pretend to be a nice guy and give them an opportunity to apologize to you for pointing out the obvious: your lack of integrity.

Posted by: Dude at August 27, 2009 11:08 PM

I have to admit, I really thought I was reading an article on a left leaning blog this time. It was a far cry from the normal factual and informative posts I have come to expect from you.

Posted by: Tuf Gut at August 28, 2009 09:13 AM

I've listened to people talk about Stand-your-ground laws, or Castle laws IRL, and given the intensity and ignorance that people displayed, I've come away with the impression that they actually enjoy it when murderers and rapists get their way.

At any rate, has anyone read or heard about the .25cal pistol being refered to as an "assault weapon", or "machine gun"?

Or rail gun?

Posted by: brando at August 28, 2009 09:23 AM

Bob, what I took away from your PJM article was a guy who shot somebody in a workplace dispute was walking around free. And in your article it seemed that there was some outrage on the writer's part that not only was this obviously dangerous individual scot free but walking amongst the vulnerable public. Look at the last sentence in your article, "Somehow, I don't think that is the kind of outcome the Montana legislature had in mind". I'm sorry, but I think that is EXACTLY what the legislature had in mind. You know, that part of our legal system referred to as presumption of innocence. Am I wrong, or isn't that what we're talking about?

Your response seems to indicate that this was not your intended message. I find that your comment to Scott about "putting words in other people's mouths" rather interesting. The point of the article was indeed to convey an idea or information. That the message was garbled or the translation incomplete shouldn't be something to get "snippy" about. Communication requires feedback to work. You just got some feedback.

And Dude, Sir, every blog seems to have one resident "contrarian" and you must admit that you have taken up that mantle quite handily. The fact that you are a "barometer" actually crossed my mind too as I read your post. This is not a compliment or an insult as I've known a few good commanders who used a variation of the "dedicated contrarian" concept in his staff.

I hope I'm not putting words in anybody's mouth.


Posted by: Barney at August 28, 2009 12:42 PM


Any more news on this situation? I am curious to hear of further facts.

Posted by: iconoclast at August 28, 2009 02:15 PM