When the Press ‘Cracks the Code’ Unintentionally


Sometimes saying “Well, duh” just doesn’t seem to register with “The Establishment,” but recently, Insider Online ran across some criminal cases that provide ample evidence we have a criminal justice problem — not a gun problem.

Our first stop is King County, Wash., where a suspect identified in court documents as Larone Deshawn Charles, 48, is facing a second-degree murder charge, a second-degree assault charge and — surprise, surprise — unlawful possession of a firearm. Mr. Charles, you see, has a “lengthy criminal record,” according to Seattle’s KOMO News.

This guy’s background includes six adult felony convictions, 36 misdemeanor convictions and six juvenile felony convictions. He drew a 17.5-year prison sentence for kidnapping and assaulting a 16-year-old girl back in 1992. He couldn’t possibly purchase or legally possess a firearm, yet he was being held in jail on $5 million bail at last report for fatally shooting a man.

Charles allegedly shot dead one Anthony E. Parker at a motel in North Seattle back on July 21. The dead man was also armed, but Charles allegedly fired first, and then fled the crime scene. He was rounded up several miles away in the city of Kent.

By no small surprise, the suspect was also facing other criminal charges at the time of the shooting. He was wanted for possession of heroin and meth in addition to possession of a stolen vehicle. Even without the murder charge, this guy is what is often referred to sarcastically as “a model citizen.”

No trial date has been set.

Seattle police investigate a recent homicide. (Source: KING5 News, YouTube)

From Seattle, we travel 200 miles south via Interstate 5 to Oregon’s Multnomah County, where another man, identified by the Portland Oregonian as Brett Edward Pruett, is behind bars. He has been indicted for murdering three people last month. He’s facing 11 counts of first-degree murder with a firearm, one count of assault and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Anyone sense a pattern here?

Portland has had its share of problems over the past few months with demonstrations and riots, but this mid-July triple slaying was not connected to any of that.

Obligatory disclaimer: Suspects Pruett and Charles are to be presumed innocent until they are convicted in court.




Meanwhile, in Florida

If you can’t see where this journey is headed, it’s Florida, where you will find a fellow named Tony “T.J.” Wiggins dining on jail food in Polk County. That’s where he is alleged to have gunned down three men who were on an evening fishing trip.

Wiggins, according to one Fox News account, is “a hardened criminal with 230 felony criminal charges against him in his arrest history.” That’s not a typo. You read “230” correctly. He’s done two stretches in prison, and he’s only 26 years old. How does someone accomplish that? He starts at age 12, evidently. Mr. Wiggins has been in trouble for nearly half of his life.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd described the suspect as “pure evil in the flesh.” Keep in perspective, Wiggins is considered innocent until proven guilty in court, and from all indications, he’s going to be rather busy in court for the foreseeable future. He was arrested in March for “aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon,” both charges for which he was out on bond at the time of the killings.

Wiggins is not supposed to have a firearm, but according to The Sun, when investigators searched Wiggins’ trailer, they found two SKS rifles, two Mossberg shotguns and ammunition for all of them.

Wiggins also had company at last report. His brother, Robert, and his apparent girlfriend, Mary Whittemore, were also arrested as accessories.





Bottom Line

To understand why law-abiding firearms owners are so opposed to gun control laws requires only the time necessary to read about guys like those mentioned above.

They seem to be armed despite all the efforts to keep guns out of their hands by penalizing honest people. You know, like keeping drunk drivers out of crashes by preventing sober people from buying cars.

Liberal, anti-gun politicians don’t get this. Gun prohibitionists get it, but they won’t admit it because they don’t want anybody to have guns. They’re just starting with good citizens because bad ones refuse to play along.

For the clearest picture of gun control failures, just look at the data.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. (Source: ABC News, YouTube)

In 2019, Chicago logged 519 total homicides. That included 463 people who were fatally shot. That is more murders than some entire states report in any given year, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

This year, Chicago has already recorded more than 400 fatal shootings out of more than 440 homicides. The city is on track to easily exceed last year’s body count.

Last year in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reported 348 homicides. By comparison, in 2018, Arizona reported 339 total homicides for the entire state, including 203 involving firearms. Arizona has lots of legally owned guns and more than 300,000 people licensed to carry. Try getting a carry permit in Maryland.

In Washington, D.C. last year, the city racked up 166 homicides. In 2018, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report (the most recent year for which data is available), Mississippi — where you’ll also find widespread lawful gun ownership — logged 142 slayings including 118 involving firearms.



That Gal, Karma

To prove truth is always better than fiction, Insider Online introduces readers to Seattle radio host Paul Gallant.

Several weeks ago, Gallant took a swipe at President Donald Trump for having complained about violent disturbances in the Jet City. He went on Twitter with this message: “Walked through it (the city) last night out of curiosity and saw no burning, pillaging or deaths.” He advised the president, “Chill, dawg.”

Leap ahead to the weekend of July 25, which saw Seattle rocked by yet another violent riot in which 59 police officers were injured. There were improvised explosive devices thrown at cops (one blew a hole in the wall of the police precinct building), along with rocks and bottles. Someone tried to torch a Starbucks coffee shop, above which is an apartment Gallant calls home. It was an “epiphany moment.”

Seattle firefighters battle an arson blaze set during the same riot that nearly burned
Gallant out of his upstairs apartment a couple of blocks away. (Source: NBC News, YouTube)

Seattle firefighters battle an arson blaze set during the same riot that nearly burned Gallant out of his upstairs apartment a couple of blocks away. (Source: NBC News, YouTube)

In a tweet, he lamented, “Came home to my apartment complex. The Starbucks underneath has been destroyed and cops are telling us to stay away in case something explosive is inside…I feel like I need to buy a firearm, because clearly this is going to keep happening. Enough is enough. It looks like a block party down the street from me. Really angry right now.”



Workman gets ‘attaboy’ from .41 Magnum fan, says Ruger Blackhawk is a fine sixgun in that caliber.

I got a recent Wheelgun Wednesday in my email and particularly enjoyed Dave Workman’s article “Because it’s Different” on his affection for the .41 Magnum caliber. I can relate, having bought a Smith & Wesson Model 57 in 1980. I recently had to sell it to pay a greedy mortgage company, which hurts, but haven’t lost my affection for the .41 Magnum.

Last June, I bought a Henry Steel Carbine in .41 at the Post Exchange — a beautiful, well-made firearm. This year, I’m going to order a Ruger Blackhawk in the same caliber as a companion to the Henry. I like and learn from the content in American Handgunner and the emails, but Mr. Workman’s piece really struck a chord.

It’s always nice to hear from a reader, especially a fan of the .41 Magnum. You should get plenty of use out of that Ruger Blackhawk. Best of luck!

If you’re not subscribed to our Wheelgun Wednesday newsletter, sign yourself up at americanhandgunner.com/newsletters.


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