Nov 30, 2012

Castle Doctrine; How Many Times Can I Shoot?

You'll never meet two cuter kids than Haile Kifer, 18, and Nicholas Brady Schaeffel, 17, cousins who personify the American ideal of wholesome good looks. They could do Pepsodent ads.

You'll also never meet a 64-year-old retired government security geek who looks more ominous than Byron Smith. He's the guy who shot them. And shot and shot.

Haile and Nick could easily have been featured in a happy 1940s Ronald Reagan/June Allyson movie. Unfortunately, they seemed to enjoy burglarizing other folks' homes.

Every media outlet in America lusts for a piece of this story, lots of drama plus a segue into another Castle Doctrine shouting match.

It happened Thanksgiving Day. Byron says he was tinkering in his basement shop when Nick came down the stairs, either unarmed or carrying a piece of pipe.  So Byron shot him, dropped, him, and fired a finisher.

Then came Haile. And the second most bizarre fact -- if fact it be -- of the tale.

Smith said he sat down in a chair when Kifer started walking down the steps. Smith shot her and she also fell down the stairs. He tried to shoot her a second time, but his rifle* jammed. When the gun jammed, Kifer laughed at him, fueling his anger...

(He then used his  ".22 revolver" to silence her misplaced sense of humor.)

"If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again," he told police.

Most bizarre: He let the bodies season for 24 hours before deciding to ask a neighbor to call the cops who booked him for Murder Two.

It's going to be hard to find a hero in this one.


The dead thugs made the overriding error.  All they had to do to stay alive on Thanksgiving Day was to decline to invade that home.   No burglary, no funeral,  no anguished families.

And Shooter Smith is not destined to become the poster boy for libertarian self-defense principles. He was conceptually within that framework when he raised the rifle against threat  and shot until the young man fell helpless.  Likewise, there's no argument against his stopping the girl's advance. But:

Smith told police he then shot Kifer "more times than I needed to" in the chest, leaving her gasping for air. He ended her suffering with a "good, clean finishing shot" under her chin. 

He probably blew his Castle Doctrine protections somewhere amidst the gunfire, but if not then, later when he told the authorities he "wanted them dead."

Good gawdamighty.  Was there ever a more compelling example of the need to shut your stupid mouth and hire a lawyer to do your talking for you?

There's a lot more to be sorted out, and the accused finally got a lawyer, a man we rather assume is trying hard to recall everything he ever read about the diminished responsibility defense.


*A Mini-14, according to my private spook in the MSM.

Nov 29, 2012

The outsider

Nature made her to be an outside cat -- and me to inhabit a catless house. Who am I to dispute Nature no matter how pathetically she gazes in?

She's getting fat. Needs a name. Also needs a heated cat house for the coming cold.

Yes, I'm well aware that the window could stand washing, recaulking, and painting. This will be done when I am finished with the cat house, unless I'm too tired or something.

Nov 28, 2012

Arab Spring, Act II

The AP tells us:

A widening dispute between the president and the nation's judiciary is at the center of the uproar over a constitutional declaration placing Morsi above oversight of any kind, including by the courts.

Dang. Democracy in the Middle East fails again, and we are all astounded.

I hate radical solutions, but I fear we must send Susan Rice to Cairo with a page  of talking points.

Personally, I blame the video.

Nov 27, 2012

A little gun lust

Next Saturday morning is reserved for a lethal weapons bazaar out in the country, a backwash farm not from from the head waters of Stony Creek where Inkpadutah's band of Wahpekute Dakotas liked to hunt elk when they were not busy killing white people for stealing their land.

Nothing on the auction goes back as far as the ~ 1855 to 1865 period when old Inky was making a pest of himself in these parts. Only the Colt D.A. .38 comes within a long generation of being contemporary. It could be a model as early as 1892 or as late as 1905, the latter only as a USMC variant. It took Colt a long time to get this one right, especially to make the cylinder turn the right way. I owned one decades ago, flimsy lockwork, impossible trigger, and all.

The lineup, with the three that interest me in bold:

GUNS: Mossberg Model 185D-B 20 ga. bolt action, 2 3/4" chamber; Winchester 3030 Model 94, used very little; Marlin Model 19G, 12 ga. pump shot gun w/long barrel; Marlin Model #37 -22 pump rifle; Colt DA 32  (sic) w/case & US issue holster, was Jim's dad's WWI issue; Rohm 22 Magnum Model 66; Ruger 22 long, auto.; Colt Huntsman 22 long rifle, auto; WWI steel helmet; WWI gas mask; 1917 Camp Dodge pic.; 1917 Soldier's Handbook; lrg. military shell

World War 1 is a bit outside my interest, probably because I have never fully shaken the vague notion that Mrs. Wilson may have chosen the wrong side.  Kaiser Bill wasn't really an evil dude, and it might have been useful to have a bunch of snobbish Prussian junkers between us and Joe Stalin in the middle third of the 20th Century.  God knows the Frogs and the Brits weren't all that useful.

Still, the Colt is a bona fide U.S. Military relic, so maybe I'll bid even though it was a miserable design first built for a pipsqueak cartridge. Also, this example is rough.

So is the Colt Huntsman, but I'll try for it anyway. In the first place the one already resident in the local vault is lonely. In the second, it will make my friend K grit his teeth in jealousy again, and that's worth something. :)

The Marlin Model 37 would likewise make good company for the M-38 already in hand. They're fraternal if not identical twins,  and a sweeter little rabbit gun/plinker never existed.

So, we'll see, but I'll show up at Dick's auction prepared to be disappointed. Our agrarians are flush this fall with crop money, drought disaster money, ethanol mandate money and Lord knows what else from the generous hands of His Ineptness and master gardener Tom Vilsack.  This tends to make them excitable at auctions.