Free Joel (Update x2)

It didn’t really come as much of surprise yesterday when the first email arrived from SWMBO.  Joel Rosenberg, long time reader here and a guy I’ve come to like, respect and admire, was arrested.  While he might not have been able to predict the mechanics, he smelled the retaliation. 

He knew that on December 8th, he was walking into the lion’s den.  He didn’t expect the lion to be kind.  The lion hadn’t been kind to him before, and Joel hadn’t exactly been kind in return. 

Mike at  Crime & Federalism calls Joel the alpha male of the day.  Mark at  WindyPundit worries for his co-blogger.  The problem isn’t that Joel has issues with police.  Indeed, he’s a huge supporter of good and honest cops.  He’s just not a fan of the dirty, lazy, or over-reaching ones, who use their shield as an excuse to demand obedience from a compliant citizenry to respect their authoritah. 

As a strong (“rabid” he’s called by one paper) believer in the Second Amendment fundamental right to keep and bear arms, Joel has gone a bit farther than putting an NRA bumper sticker on a pickup.  He’s a certified firearms instructor who has called out the “coconut charlies” (his name) who sell carry classes like social media gurus sell twitter followers.  He has stood up for the police, politicians and lawyers who stood behind the Constitution, and he has called out those who didn’t.  In other words, Joel didn’t just talk the talk.

For a fellow who sincerely believes in principles, there comes a point, a threshold if you will, where he decides to take a stand.  Some of us have such a threshold. Others have none, though they may talk as if they did and lie to themselves that there’s a point where they would take a stand.  These people never, ever reach that point.  Others, like Joel, decide where that point is for themselves.  As he likes to say, your mileage may differ. The point is personal.

Joel hit his point when a mother/daughter altercation broke out.  Not a particularly big deal, except that an overly helpful passerby observed SWMBO, also known as Joel’s wife Felicia, trying to get their daughter, who can be a bit rebellious toward parental authority, to follow the rules of their home.  The backstory there is neither particularly relevant or interesting enough to provide details, but Joel learned, as his wife was arrested on the word of an ersatz good samaritan (which was subsequently dismissed, then subsequently reinstated after Joel’s run-in with Sgt. Palmer that gives rise to his arrest), the ordinary injustice of cops’ lying to make a case wasn’t something he could stomach.

Joel found his threshold. 

As with most faceoffs between cop and citizen foolish or naive enough to believe that there is a line called the law, it’s come back to bite Joel in the butt.  Palmer obtained a warrant, as if he didn’t know where to find Joel, as if he didn’t know that Joel was coming in to obtain freedom of information records relating to the scheme against his wife, to charge him with violating an “order,” which was represented by a sign on the wall that proclaimed that the Constitution ended at City Hall. 

You see, Joel was armed.  With his concealed carry permit, Joel regularly walked about with guns on his person.  This was as much about the principle of a citizen to bear arms as it was about the need to do so.  On November 5, the day of the incident belying the arrest, they knew he would be armed.  He was.  Palmer disarmed him and asked him to take his gun outside to his car.  Joel did so, noting that Palmer used the magic word.  It wasn’t to be belligerent, but to be principled. 

Principles carry risks, but there was no shoot out in the halls of justice. no brandishing a weapon at a police officer, no hiding the fact that he was armed and a clear and well-conceived assertion of his right to do so.  Palmer didn’t slap the cuffs on him.  At least not that day.

Yesterday, Palmer did, in the manner of police officer wiggling his way around the law, the facts and the cowardice of using some twisted allegations on paper as an excuse for not having the guts to have seized Joel Rosenberg, if he actually believed that he had committed a felony in his presence, in the first place.  Of course, Palmer doesn’t believe it.  He knows Joel committed no crime and poses no threat of violence.  But he also knows that if he doesn’t puff out his chest and use some artfully crafted allegations to teach Joel a good lesson, people will realize that Palmer is a coward.  Then no one will respect his authoritah.

To some outside observers, Joel may appear to bring disrepute on the concealed carry community by his steadfast adherence to his rights and the law.  Some are more inclined to lick badges than hold firm to the grip of a semi-automatic.  But then, some carry a gun to make them a man, rather than the other way around.  Regardless of whether their threshold and Joel’s are at the same point, there shouldn’t be a rational one in the bunch who doesn’t appreciate that Joel is doing what they talk about at NRA cocktail parties. 

At some point today, Joel Rosenberg will stand before a judge for arraignment.  He will be fortunate to have an excellent lawyer, David Gross, by his side, and a wife that supports him in the wings. Joel has a certain rough look about him, and awful taste in clothing.  He likely won’t look his best as he appears in court today.  That happens. 

Regardless, Joel Rosenberg will look to me like a man who has found the point where he, as a citizen of these United States of America, needs to take a stand.  Not by violence.  Not by lies.  Maybe a bit of ridicule and satire, but that’s just his way.  He’s a very funny guy, though stupid people don’t see it.  Hopefully the judge will see Joel Rosenberg for what he is, and the allegations as Palmer’s attempt at payback for making him look foolish.

Free Joel.

Update:  Joel remains incarcerated in lieu of $100,000 bond, a remarkable sum given the charges, his ties to the community, lack criminal history and absence of reason to expect him not to appear as required. 

As for the validity of the charges, see Mark Bennett’s post, Sgt. William Palmer, Mike Cernovich’s post, Joel Rosenberg, Injustice Anywhere. and Patrick at Popehat’s post, The Empire Strikes Back.  Most notably is the rather shocking allegation that Joel committed the crime by “DESCRIBE CONDUCT,” which refers to a blank in a form warrant to be filled in by the officer applying for the warrant.  Palmer failed to fill it in.  The judge signed it anyway.  Another judge set bail anyway.  Nice system.

At WindyPundit, Mark  addresses some of the  negatives being written about Joel, that his conduct here is insane, a bizarre challenge to the man by Don Quixote bent on tilting at windmills.  Perhaps.  No one ever said that we had to fit a common mold to be worthy of our rights, or that our positions need to mirror popular approaches to make them right. 

In the meantime, the word is that Joel isn’t eating or taking his insulin for his serious diabetic condition.  I’m concerned for his welfare.  There will be a long battle ahead of Joel, and he will need his strength to keep up the fight. 

Update 2: As of 8 p.m., December 10th, Joel is home safe.

20 thoughts on “Free Joel (Update x2)

  1. Thomas R. Griffith

    Sir, I also like Ol’ Joel and would like to second the yell from my roof top ‘Free Joel’!!! I’d like to sign a petition that would hopefully be presented at his arriangment and also challenge a few CDLs to lock arms with Mr. Gross at that time.

    Note: This could be one our butts in Sgt. Palmer’s crosshairs in a void where the Constitution ends at City Hall.

    Thomas R. Griffith

  2. carrier

    It doesn’t change the story at all, but just a note of correction… in Minnesota we have a ‘carry permit’, the weapon doesn’t need to be concealed, but may be, depending on the preference of the permit holder.

    Free Joel!

  3. Deborah

    While I am no longer surpised by the actions of bad cops against good people, things like this continue to sicken me.

    Hang in there, both of you. My best hopes that we all find justice.

  4. Jdog

    I’m home, moderately comfortable, and even caught an hour’s worth of sleep.

    I’m not a good enough writer to express the gratitude I feel to the folks who’ve been supportive, our host very, very much among them. But I’m working on it.

    On rather . . . unambiguous instruction of counsel, that’s about all I really can say at this time.

    As I’ve said in other contexts, Scott, one of the things I admire about you is that you respect rights that you don’t have a lot of personal use for. I know you’re not a big gun supporter, in terms of liking the things, but if that’s slowed you down any, I can’t see it.

    Later. I need some coffee.

  5. SHG

    I’m glad you’re home.  I’m more glad you’re well.  My personal lack of desire to pack heat has absolutely nothing to do with belief that your rights deserve every protection.  And most importantly, heed David’s advice. 

    And yes, you married above your station.  But she didn’t do too badly.

  6. Boris

    I have a permit to carry.I received my instruction from Mr Rosenberg in one of his excellent classes.

    Here’s a quote from Mr Rosenberg from his book “Everything You Need To Know About (Legally)Carrying a Handgun In Minnesota”. It’s on Page 35.
    “Beyond being aware of what’s going on around you, staying out of avoidable trouble is, fundamentally, a simple, three-step thing:

    1. Be Minnesota Nice. If you have to have an unpleasant argument with somebody, do it over the phone.
    2. If others aren’t being Minnesota nice, ignore them if you can.
    3. If others aren’t being Minnesota nice, and you can’t ignore them, leave.

    Avoid the Conflict, and avoid the consequences. It’s really that simple.”
    He wrote it…why can’t he practice it?

    Then there is Page 129, which describes “Courthouse complexes”. Mr Rosenberg wrote this too. Why doesn’t he comply with his own writings? You just don’t go into a police station or city hall or courthouse building with a loaded gun. Forget about all the laws except one: Common Sense. Don’t split hairs.

    Whether he likes it or not, Mr Rosenberg has created a public image of himself as a gray bearded street person with a loaded gun going into a police station. In short, a nut. Is perception reality?

    I don’t mean to be uncivil, but someone has to enlighten Mr Rosenberg about responsible weapons handling. Thank you.

  7. SHG

    Sometimes, a rule gets broken.  As for your thoughts on Joel’s sanity, I always appreciate the psychiatric diagnostic skills of pseudonymous commenters.  That said, others in the Minneapolis carry community disagree with you, a great many quite strongly.  While I may be inclined to disregard the vast support for Joel from the carry community and listen instead to you, that would be rude to them and I would truly hate to be rude, largely because they are all armed and I’m not.  I hope you will understand.

  8. Karl Mansoor

    By your reasoning, why carry a weapon at all? Then you could avoid all conflict with those opposed to 2nd Amendment rights. Joel’s advise, as you’ve referenced it, is practical and from watching the video of the incident, it appeared to me that Joel did everything possible to avoid conflict short of giving up his rights. Avoiding conflict does not mean failing to take a stand on principle. Seems like that was explained in the original post.

  9. Douglas A. Wickstrom

    Having seen both the arrest warrant allegedly signed by Judge Janet Poston, and other documents actually signed by that personage, it is my considered opinion that the arrest warrant, which is not dated, was “signed” by means of a rubber stamp. Nothing else explains both the thickness of the signature, and the darkening of its edges. And, yeah, you may use my real name. But please try to spell it correctly. That’s an “ö” between the “r” and the “m.”

  10. Rob

    Not to mention, the horendeous crime of “DESCRIBE BEHAVIOR”

    The effen attorney/judge couldn’t even be bothered to fill in the blanks on that warrant.

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