Minnesota liberalized the law allowing citizens to arm themselves in the early days of the administration of Governor Pawlenty. The law vastly expanded the right of Minnesota citizens to acquire licenses to carry guns, a right formerly subject to the unfettered discretion of local police chiefs or sheriffs. Liberalization of the law carried out a long-standing Republican commitment and was of course the subject of daily hysteria in the local media, but so far as I am aware has had no ill effects.
The virtues of the law were on display last week. When Darren Evanovich and his sister pulled off an armed robbery outside of a grocery store in Minneapolis, they wound up pistol-whipping the middle-aged woman they robbed. As Ed Morrissey relates, a good citizen (Ed refers to him as the Good Samritan) chased after Evanovich, and Evanovich pulled a gun on him as he turned the corner. “Unfortunately for Evanovich,” Ed writes, “the Good Samaritan had a carry permit and a handgun of his own — which he drew and fired after Evanovich drew first. Evanovich died almost immediately.”
Evanovich’s death raised the question whether the Good Samaritan would be charged with homicide. While the case was under consideration, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a deeply deceptive article by Matt McKinney on the good works of Darren Evanovich. The article omitted relevant facts that made out the justification for Evanovich’s killing.
If you relied on the article for your knowledge about the case, as I stupidly did, you were poorly served. Mitch Berg took it apart on his Shot In the Dark blog. If you relied on the Star Tribune for your knowledge about the case, you would have been surprised, as I was, when (liberal Democratic) Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman not only declined to press charges against the Good Samaritan, but he also commended the Good Samaritan “for helping his fellow citizen in need” (while adding “a note of caution” discouraging armed citizens from chasing after criminals.)
The Star Tribune’s coverage of the Evanovich case provides evidence to support the proposition that liberalism makes you stupid, or requires you to be stupid. I think it is true as a general proposition. Yet in this case we have the counterexample of Mike Freeman — not stupid. At the very least, the case is a good reminder that the Star Tribune gives new meaning to the expression “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.”