Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Medieval Mind of Kurt Hofmann

Kurt Hofmann is a former paratrooper who was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. He has become a gun rights advocate and writes a blog entitled, Armed and Safe. The Mission Statement of his blog reads:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at can follow me on Twitter at

Mr. Hofmann, instead of examining the constitutional arguments of the second amendment, engages in immature name calling with those who disagree with him. Certainly that is right under the first amendment—freedom of speech. But such words are indicative of an individual who relies on emotion and not thought. Hofmann is telling so much more about himself than those he criticizes. Furthermore, it is somewhat disturbing when he picks on those who have been wounded in school shootings.

Everyone has the right to deal with and heal from catastrophic events in their own way; no one can tell someone else how to heal from being shot four times. But Hofmann feels he has that right, and he has labeled Colin Goddard an alchemist for working for the Brady Campaign. Hofmann’s cheap shot is that Goddard is making money off the Tech massacre. In fact, if Goddard wanted to make money off that tragedy he would work for the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA has money to burn and buys one politician after another. The NRA is not only rolling in cash, it has not hesitated to exploit school shootings. It is not Goddard who is getting rich off school shootings.

It is troubling that Hofmann would stir his cauldron of medieval hatred, paranoia, and self-pity in order to defame a young man who is walking around with bullets in him, bullets that could move at any time and cause potentially serious damage.

I can only assume Hofmann will not stop with Goddard. I know of a young woman, injured in a school shooting, who is walking around with a bullet lodged next to her spine. One tiny move and she will be paralyzed for life. I wonder how Hofmann will attempt to degrade her because she wants to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, terrorists, convicted domestic abusers, and those who are dangerously mentally ill?

 Or, Mr. Hofmann, why not attack the father who had to be put on suicide watch after his child was gunned down in a school shooting; the father who cannot hold down a job because he is so emotionally and psychologically upset, and may now lose his home. You should have a field day making fun of him.

What a shame. Just because you have suffered a terrible trauma, Mr. Hofmann, does not mean that you have the right to cheaply criticize others who handle trauma differently.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Homeland Security News Wire

Gun shop which sold gun to Virginia Tech killer closes its doors
Published 21 June 2012

Madison, Wisconsin-based online weapon dealer TGSCO, which gained notoriety after it was disclosed that it had sold guns to three individuals – including the Virginia Tech killer — who then went on to commit mass killings, closed its doors last month

Madison, Wisconsin-based online weapon dealer TGSCOM, which gained notoriety after it was disclosed that it had sold guns to three individuals – including the Virginia Tech killer — who then went on to commit mass killings, closed its doors last month.

The three killers are:

               Seung-Hui Cho used a .22-caliber handgun purchased through TGSCOM when he killed thirty-two people at Virginia Tech in April 2007

               Stephen Kazmierck, who killed five people in a Northern Illinois University classroom in 2008, bought two empty magazines and a holster through a company site

               George Sodini, who killed three women when he opened fire at a Pittsburgh-area health club in 2009, bought an empty magazine and a magazine loading apparatus from the company

MyrtleBeachOnlinereports that the store may have delivered the weapons to Cho, Kazmierck, and Sodini, but it was forced to close after dozens of customers complained that they never received the guns they purchased from the company. The newspaper says that the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau has catalogued nearly 200 complaints from consumers in forty-four states between January and this week, accusing TGSCOM of charging them but failing to deliver on their orders.

The Green Bay Police Department and the FBI have launched their own investigations of the business.

Eric Thompson, the business owner, told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that he was doing his best to resolve the problems the business is facing, and that he is trying find investors who could help him reopen. He said he doubted he would face criminal charges.

The Press-Gazette reported in 2011 that an inspector from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found a number of violations at TGSCOM in 2009, including selling a gun without the required waiting period; selling a gun to someone who did not answer all the required background questions; and failing to maintain proper records. Two years earlier, in 2007, ATF detected other violations by the company, including selling ammunition to an underage customer.

The AP reports that there may be another angle to the story: Thompson and his wife have been locked in a bitter divorce battle, and the company is one of the couple’s main assets. The lawyer of Thompson’s wife has now filed papers with the judge, asking him to place the company under the control of a third party in order to assess the company’s value, and establish Thompson’s “motivation and intent” in closing it.

Judge Uphold Negligence Verdict

Judge upholds negligence verdict in Virginia Tech shootings and reduces award

By Tonia Moxley381-1675
Roanoke Times
ROCKY MOUNT – On Wednesday presiding Judge William Alexander upheld the March jury verdict against the state for Virginia Tech’s handling of the April 16, 2007, shootings, but reduced the awards from $4 million per plaintiff to $100,000 each.

That may not be the end of the five-year-old case, however. Both parties are expected to ask the Virginia Supreme Court to hear their arguments, but for different reasons.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Bob Hall said after the hearing that his clients intend to appeal to the top court to reinstate university President Charles Steger as an individual defendant. Alexander dismissed Steger on a technicality shortly before the case went to trial, leaving the commonwealth as the sole defendant.

In a statement released after the hearing, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wrote that while he’s pleased with the reduction in the awards, "we continue to maintain that the court has misapplied Virginia law in its finding that the commonwealth or its employees could be liable under the facts of this case. Because of that, we are currently reviewing our options."

Under the Virginia Tort Claims Act, negligence claims against the state are capped at the higher of $100,000, or the amount of any liability policy maintained to insure against such negligence. The state has said in hearings and filings that no relevant liability policies are known to exist.

On March 15, after eight days of emotional and sometimes confrontational testimony, a Montgomery County jury awarded the families of the late Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde $4 million each. They found that university officials, including Steger, breached a duty to warn the women of reasonably foreseeable harm from a gunman known by police and officials to be on the loose.

That gunman, troubled Tech student Seung-Hui Cho, shot to death two students in a dormitory room shortly after 7 a.m., then opened fired in Norris Hall classrooms at about 9:50 a.m., killing 30 more and wounding dozens of others. Pryde and Peterson were fatally shot in Norris.

Police who worked the dormitory crime scene, and university officials convened to respond to it testified that they believed the shooting was domestic, and posed no threat to the wider community. No warning was issued to the campus, but an email notification describing a "shooting incident" was sent minutes before Cho entered Norris.

The Attorney General’s office, representing Tech, had asked Alexander in a motion to set aside the jury’s verdict and find in favor of the commonwealth, based in part on a state Supreme Court ruling handed down in April.

In Burns v. Gagnon, the court found that a public high school assistant principal, who was told that a student might be in a fight and did nothing to prevent it had no legal duty to intervene, or to warn of the potential danger. The student was attacked and permanently injured.

"We have a case this court must follow," Assistant Attorney General Mike Mellis told Alexander. "We have the Burns case."

"The Burns case is problematic. There’s no question about it," Alexander said. "But there are enough factual and legal differences" between the two that the state Supreme Court ought to look at the Tech case and clarify the issues.

The judge went on to defend the verdict in the Tech case, saying that it was supported by the facts. Furthermore, Alexander said, the court properly found that Steger and Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum did have a duty to warn Pryde and Peterson of foreseeable harm.

"Thank you all very much, and we’ll see what happens," Alexander said.

The judge is expected to enter a final order in the Tech case in the next month or so. Both parties then have 30 days to file notice of any appeals.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cantor's Duplicity

Eric Cantor’s meeting with representatives of the Brady Campaign on the fifth anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings exposed the House Majority Leader’s hypocritical duplicity.

Talking to those gathered in his office, Cantor expressed his “full support” for keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. However, the Majority Leader, who had just returned from speaking at an NRA convention, refused to sign a Statement of Principle capturing the ideas he had just agreed to. The statement calls for keeping guns out of the hands of those who are convicted felons, convicted domestic abusers, terrorists, or people who are dangerously mentally ill.

The Statement of Principle is not a pledge, and Cantor cannot say he is opposed to signing such documents when they advance his career. He willingly signed Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes. Apparently when it comes to the lives of students, staff, and faculty the Majority Leader says no dice—there is nothing in it for me. What a shame. Voters are crying out for politicians with backbone and principle, and Cantor took a pass. He apparently prefers to gamble with people’s lives rather than act responsibly.

He volunteered to those gathered that you have to set standards low around here (Congress), and then proved it. He told them he would not allow a vote on a bill strengthening background checks in order to buy a gun because a Democrat sponsors the bill.