Former Maryland VA Official Pleads Guilty In $1.4M Fraud Scheme

Former VA Official Pleads Guilty In $1.4M Fraud Scheme – WBAL

A former Deputy Chief of Veterans Claims in the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs pleaded guilty Monday to extortion in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain over $1.4 million in veterans benefits.

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The plea agreement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Kim R. Lampkins of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.

In January 2011, U.S. Army veteran David Clark, age 67, of Hydes, Maryland, retired from the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs as the deputy chief for veterans claims. Clark’s duties included submitting claims and documentation on behalf of veterans in Maryland who appointed the MDVA to represent them in obtaining federal benefits from the VA. Clark also submitted documents to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation in support of veterans’ applications for property tax waivers.

According to his plea agreement, while serving at Deputy Chief of Claims, Clark fraudulently obtained VA compensation for himself and at least 17 others, by submitting false documents to the VA purporting to show that the claimants had been diagnosed with diabetes, and in some cases, that the claimant had served in Vietnam when they had not. The claimants paid Clark half of the retroactive lump sum payment they received in cash or some other amount of cash. These payments to Clark were made in unmarked envelopes, at MDVA offices in Bel Air; at the Fallon Federal Building in Baltimore; and at other locations.

In support of these claims, Clark submitted fake letters from doctors purportedly treating the veterans, which falsely stated that the claimants suffered from Type II diabetes. Clark used the names and addresses of real doctors who were unaware of his conduct. Each letter stated that the diagnosis of Type II diabetes had been made a year or more prior to the date of the letter, which entitled each claimant to a retroactive lump-sum payment. The letters also stated that the claimants were currently taking insulin, which increased the amount of compensation the VA paid the claimant.

Clark created counterfeit versions of a Defense Department form for himself and five others, which falsely stated that each had served in Vietnam. These forms also falsely stated that these individuals had received various awards and decorations for the Vietnam service, including that Clark himself had been awarded the Purple Heart Medal. These documents were submitted to the VA to provide false evidence that they qualified for compensation benefits for diabetes.

Clark also submitted false certifications to the SDAT, on behalf of claimants that owned homes in Maryland, that the filers were entitled to a property tax waiver due to a service-connected disability.

The false claims cost the government $1,151,219 and the loss from the property tax evasion is $255,555, for a total loss of $1,407,134, officials said.

Clark faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Clark has agreed to forfeit $1,407,134.

A sentencing date is scheduled for Nov. 17.

Eight other veterans have previously pleaded guilty to paying Clark cash to submit false documentation to receive VA benefits:

* John Bratcher, 56, of Conowingo, Maryland, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force
* Richard Genco, 71, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Navy
* Paul Heard, 65, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Navy
* George Kulla, 68, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Army
* Sandra Tyree, 65, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former employee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
* Kenneth Webster, 68, of Pasadena, Maryland, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a former police officer with AMTRAK
* Raymond Sadler, 63, of Middle River, Maryland, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps
* Kenneth Williams, age 65, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Costs Of ObamaCare Bungles Start To Add Up, With Maryland First At About $30.5M

Costs Of ObamaCare Bungles Start To Add Up, With Maryland First At About $30.5M – Fox News

Maryland could end up spending as much as $30.5 million as a result of a glitch in its ObamaCare website, as the Obama administration steps in to help states with problematic exchanges.

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Because of Maryland’s defective exchange, the state cannot determine whether customers remain eligible for Medicaid, according to a report by state budget analysts released Thursday.

As a result, the state has agreed with the federal government to a six-month delay in determining eligibility, meaning that payments will continue to be made to customers who are not eligible until the system is fixed. The delay will cost the state $17.8 million in fiscal 2014 and $12.7 million in fiscal 2015, the analysts estimated.

On Friday, the Obama administration said it would suspend some Affordable Care Act rules to help the 14 states with their own ObamaCare sites, particularly Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Oregon, which have had the most problems.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plan, completed a day earlier, states the federal government will help pay for “qualified” health-insurance plans for customers in those states who because of “exceptional circumstances” had to buy plans outside of ObamaCare exchanges, as reported first by The Washington Post.

The administration made the change before the end-of-March deadline for Americans to enroll in ObamaCare this year.

In Maryland, the exchange cannot convert income data from the existing Medicaid enrollment system into a calculation needed to review whether enrollees are qualified “because of a variety of system architectural flaws,” according to budge analysts.

The exchange has been plagued by computer problems that have made it difficult for people to enroll in private health care plans since its debut Oct. 1.

State officials have decided to stick with the exchange through the open enrollment period that ends March 31 but is evaluating alternatives with an eye toward the next enrollment period that begins in November.

Among the possibilities is adopting technology developed by another state, joining a consortium of other states, partnering with the federal exchange or making major fixes to the existing system.

Thirty-six states use the federal HealthCare.gov site, which crashed and had other major problems in the first two months of enrollment.

The Maryland report said the state may need to develop an interim solution while a long-term solution is being developed. However, that process would likely take at least nine to 12 months, pushing up against the next open-enrollment period.

The report also states the development of the exchange was “a high risk undertaking” from the outset, in large part because of contractors woes, tight deadlines, constantly evolving requirement and its need to interface with work-in-progress federal databases.

The administration changes this week are not the first to ObamaCare, to be sure.

In November, Obama helped Americans about to lose policies because they didn’t meet new minimum requirements by allow the substandard plans to be sold through the end of this year.

And administration officials has twice this year given medium- and large-sized employers more time to offer health insurance to most full-time workers.

However, the change this week is significant because it marks the first time the federal government has agreed to help pay for policies bought outside the new exchanges.

The coverage in the outside policies would have to be comparable to those offered on the exchange. And customers would have to start paying premiums, then get the subsidies after the state exchanges could determine their income eligibility.

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange official told The Post earlier this week that roughly 7,000 applications are stuck in state’s system, but all of them might not need insurance and that officials were still looking over the administration’s offer.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Related article:

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45-State Study: Obamacare Offers Less Choice, Higher Prices, Breaking Another Promise – Washington Examiner

A new and comprehensive comparison of health insurance options offered by Obamacare versus private websites finds that President Obama’s program offers less choice and higher prices than promised by the White House and leading Democrats.

Adding to the list of broken health care promises, the study from the National Center for Public Policy Research found that there were more and cheaper options available on websites outside the health insurance exchange in 2013 than on healthcare.gov and state Obamacare exchanges.

The report, “Obamacare Exchanges: Less Choice, Higher Prices,” looked at options available for a 27-year-old single person and a 57-year-old couple in metropolitan areas across 45 states.

The report found that a 27-year-old male had about 10 more policies to choose from on eHealthinsurance.com and finder.healthcare versus the exchange. The older couple had about nine more policy choices.

Ditto for the cost findings, with the 27-year-old male having access to 32 policies that cost less than the cheapest Obamacare offering, and the 57-year-old couple access to 29 cheaper policies.

“In general, consumers had substantially more policies to choose from on private websites such as eHealthinsurance.com and Finder.healthcare.gov than they presently have on the exchanges,” said the study.

“Obamacare supporters, including the president himself and Nancy Pelosi, claimed the exchanges would yield more choice and lower prices,” said the study’s author, David Hogberg. “This study shows those claims do not stand up.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, describes itself f as a “non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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House Subcommittee Chairman: Obama Administration Policy Would Eliminate Half Of All Existing Medicare Part D Plans – Daily Caller

The Obama administration’s new proposed rule for Medicare Part D would eliminate half of all Medicare Part D plans and raise prescription drug premiums for millions of seniors by up to 20 percent, according to a U.S. House subcommittee chairman.

“Today, the average senior has 35 different [Medicare Part D] plans to choose from this year. This rule would reduce that choice to two plans. 50% of the plans offered today will be gone, and the health care that seniors like may go with it,” House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee chairman Rep. Joe Pitts said in a statement at a Feb. 26 hearing attended by a top administration health official.

“Limiting seniors’ choices like this will inevitably lead to higher costs. By some estimates, the restriction on the number of plans that can be offered could cause premiums to rise by 10%-20%. Costs to the federal government may increase by $1.2-1.6 billion according to a study by Milliman,” Pitts said. “… I urge Secretary Sebelius and Administrator Tavenner to rescind this rule.”

The study Pitts cited also showed that the new rule would increase out-of-pocket drug costs for 6.9 million seniors who do not qualify for low-income subsidies, and would raise federal taxpayer costs for six million seniors who do qualify.

President Bush signed Medicare Part D into law in 2003 to subsidize prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Daily Caller reported that the administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently introduced a new proposed rule on the Federal Register called “Medicare Program: Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs.”

The new rule “would revise the Medicare Advantage (MA) program (Part C) regulations and prescription drug benefit program (Part D) regulations to implement statutory requirements; strengthen beneficiary protections; exclude plans that perform poorly; improve program efficiencies; and clarify program requirements,” according to the Federal Register.

The rule states that it also aims “to implement certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”

The new rule’s stated desire to “strengthen our ability to identify strong applicants for Part C and Part D program participation and remove consistently poor performers” would give the Obama administration new authority to limit health insurance and prescription drug providers under the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs.

The rule would also violate the Medicare Part D’s law’s “non-interference provision that prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from interfering with the negotiations between drug manufacturers and pharmacies and sponsors of prescription drug plans,” according to testimony by American Action Forum president Douglas Holtz-Eakin, violating “congressional intent.”

Rep. Pitts expressed confusion and anger at CMS’ new rule.

“CMS itself says that 96% of the Part D claims it reviewed showed seniors saved money at preferred pharmacies, and nearly 25,500 seniors in my district have chosen Part D plans with a preferred pharmacy network. Yet CMS would take that away from them,” Pitts said.

“The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit is a government success story. Last year, nearly 39 million beneficiaries were enrolled in a Part D prescription drug plan,” Pitts said.

“Competition and choice have kept premiums stable. In fact, in 2006, the first year the program was in effect, the base beneficiary premium was $32.20 a month. In 2014, the base beneficiary premium is $32.42 – a 22-cent increase over 9 years – and still roughly half of what was originally predicted,” Pitts added. “More than 90% of seniors are satisfied with their Part D drug coverage because of this. African-American and Hispanic seniors report even higher levels of satisfaction, at 95% and 94%, respectively.”

“The program has worked so well because it forces prescription drug plans and providers to compete for Medicare beneficiaries – putting seniors, not Washington, in the driver’s seat. Part D should be the model for future reforms to the Medicare program,” Pitts said.

House Energy and Commerce committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton joined with Pitts at the hearing in criticizing the new rule.

“The proposed rule, issued on January 6, 2014, appears to be a direct assault on the competitive structure of the program. It inhibits the ability of plans to obtain discounts for beneficiaries, limits the range of market segments in which they may compete, and usurps the responsibility of states to license those able to prescribe. This 700-page proposal makes numerous changes,” Upton said.

CMS principal deputy administrator Jonathan Blum testified that limiting Part D sponsors to providing only two plans per region will “promote needed clarity of plan choices for beneficiaries.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Raising a generation of Brownshirts?

I saw this at the Lonely Conservative concerning the very real war on boys/war on masculinity which are, in my view, just two more fronts in the larger war on American culture.

Just look at a few recent cases of what schools have done to boys over what most consider to be pretty normal behavior.

At South Eastern Middle School in Fawn Grove, Pa., for example, 10-year-old Johnny Jones was suspended for using an imaginary bow and arrow. That’s right – – not a real bow and arrow, but an imaginary bow and arrow. A female classmate saw this infraction, tattled to a teacher, and the principal gave Jones a one-day suspension for making a “threat” in class.

And more

You’ve probably also heard about the 7-year-old Maryland boy who was suspendedfor gnawing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. And then there’s the case of the 8-year-old Arizona boy whose drawings of ninjas and Star Wars characters — and interest in, gasp, zombies — led to threats of expulsion. And, of course, there’s the six-year-old boy charged with “sexual harassment” for kissing a girl. So much for Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher. (Read More)

As I already stated, the war on boys is very real. And there is, of course, something else in the cross hairs of the Left, and that is guns. They are teaching kids to loathe and fear guns. The lessons learned is guns=evil. Which is, of course, an incredibly stupid message. Guns are part of American culture, and have been since we were just 13 colonies. Yes, criminals commit evil acts with guns, and knives, and baseball bats, and many other instruments that have very legitimate purposes. And, many, many American stop crimes with guns. So many that the positives of gun ownership far exceeds the drawbacks. Yet, the Left seeks to indoctrinate Americans, especially our children to react with terror when they see a gun, or even hear the word gun, or even see a pastry that might resemble the State of Idaho, which resembles a gun.

The part of the stories above that made me think was this line

A female classmate saw this infraction, tattled to a teacher

What has this little girl been taught? She has been taught that a boy, pretending to shoot a bow and arrow is dangerous, and scary. A boy, being a boy, is dangerous now? That is what our children are learning, and as the generations pass, that leftist mindset will become entrenched, and more kids will grow up with an irrational fear of guns. The little girl in that story is being victimized just like the little boy. She has been taught that another child playing is somehow threatening and should be reported. That is terrifying to me.

 

Maryland man shoots, kills home intruder, get’s charged with murder

Unless there is something else about this case that I cannot find, then this DA ought to be removed for abuse of power

As reported by the Capital Gazette:

“Pinkerton shot Green once in the chest from 10 to 15 feet away, but Green continued to advance toward him, his wife Jessica and two friends who were at the house, [Peter] O’Neill (Pinkerton’s attorney) said. That’s when Pinkerton shot him again. He died at the scene.”

The state has charged Matthew Pinkerton with 2nd Degree Murder. Their sole basis for this charge is that he should have called 911. There is no nationwide average response time for a 911 call, however unless they are faster than 1,310 ft/s, there really is no point in calling 911 in the case of a hostile home invasion. While the Assistant State’s Attorney, Glen Neubauer, maintains that he should have called 911, and that even the act of grabbing the gun in the first place is “bizarre behavior in itself,” Pinkerton’s lawyer, Peter O’Neill, said it best when he acknowledged that, “By the time 911 is called, he’s dead.”

So, we MUST call 911 before exercising a basic human right, that of self-defense? Sounds like the DA has lost any grip on reality

 

Maryland: 96% Of Enrollments At Health Exchange For Medicaid Not ObamaCare

In Friday News Dump, Maryland Announces Its ACA Enrollment Totals… 96% Medicaid – Conservative Intelligence Briefing

I can’t tell exactly when Maryland’s health benefit exchange posted its new numbers, but it appears to be no earlier than late this afternoon – perfect timing. WBAL posted the news at 8:23 p.m. tonight:

More than 3,100 Maryland households have chosen to enroll through the state’s online marketplace for health insurance… The state also says 82,473 residents are signed up to be automatically enrolled in Medicaid coverage on Jan. 1.

So Medicaid accounts for more than 96 percent of enrollments so far. This might be the highest ratio we’ve seen yet. But to say it again, people will come out of the hills to sign up for something that’s free, they haven’t yet shown a determination to sign up for things that are overpriced.

Meanwhile, the exchange has paid a substantial sum to advertise on tonight’s Ravens pre-game show.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Democrat AG From Maryland Photographed At Teen Party Says It’s Not His Job To Stop Underage Drinking

Gansler Says Breaking Up Teen Party Was Not His Job – Baltimore Sun

When Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler arrived at a house party of teenagers in June, he pushed through the crowd, past youngsters dancing on a table and a smattering of red plastic cups. One of the revelers snapped a photo.

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As the night wore on, teens at the South Bethany rental home posted tweets, photos and videos of a bash labeled the “eviction party” for its intensity – a celebration where underage participants later confirmed many were drinking alcohol.

Gansler, a Democrat who is running for governor, said this week that he stopped by the Delaware beach house to talk briefly with his teenage son and then left. He said he does not remember whether he saw anyone drinking. But even if he had, Gansler said, it was not his responsibility as a parent or a high-ranking law enforcement official to intervene.

“Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party,” Gansler said. “How is that relevant to me? …The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people’s children at beach week in another state? I say no.”

Advocates against substance abuse and underage drinking disagreed, saying adults shouldn’t look the other way.

“It’s totally inappropriate for an adult, especially for an elected official whose job is to uphold the laws of the state or any state,” said Michael Gimbel, an independent consultant and the former alcohol abuse prevention official for Baltimore County.

“For any parent to do this is irresponsible. But for an attorney general who fought for these laws on the books is even worse,” he said.

Gansler has publicly advocated against underage drinking, appearing less than a year ago in a video for the Century Council, a nonprofit that works to combat both teen drinking and drunken driving.

“Parents, you’re the leading influence on your teen’s decision not to drink,” Gansler said in a video filmed as part of the organization’s “Ask, Listen, Learn” initiative to persuade parents to talk to middle-school children about drinking. “It’s never too early to talk with your kids about smart ways to say no.”

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Century Council’s CEO and president Ralph Blackman, upon learning that Gansler had been at such a party, said, “Let me pick myself up off the floor here.”

Blackman added that he couldn’t judge what Gansler should have done while briefly stopping by a party. But he said that as a parent, he would hope to hold himself to a standard high enough to “not only set a good example and be a good role model for my own kid, but for the wider group of kids who all influence each other.”

“You can agree, you can disagree with the legal age,” Blackman said. But by looking the other way, “you are somehow suggesting that it is OK to break the law. It’s part of the value systems that go into young people’s decision making.”

Gansler, in a two-hour interview Tuesday about senior week and the June 13 party, said, “My responsibility is only to my child… Everybody has their own moral compass. Mine is to raise my own child.” He said firmly that his son was not drinking.

Gansler had attended a Maryland State Bar Association event in Ocean City earlier that evening. During his brief stay at the teens’ party, he was captured in both a video and a photo posted online. He did not dispute the authenticity of those images.

He said he was at the party only for a few minutes to discuss with his newly graduated son when they would leave Delaware the next morning for a college event in Pennsylvania. Of senior week, he said, “For better or worse, the reality is some kids drink alcohol while they’re there.”

The two-term attorney general and former Montgomery County state’s attorney said he had no more responsibility to shut down a party if he saw drinking than to stop teenagers walking down the street with beer cans in hand or investigate tailgate parties.

“Was I supposed to serve as the police officer?” Gansler asked. “No.”

Gansler was part of a group of parents who paid for a weeklong stay at a six-bedroom beach house after their sons’ graduation from the private Landon School in Bethesda.

The parents arranged for two fathers to serve as chaperones each night, paid for food and negotiated rules that forbade the boys from driving, having girls behind closed bedroom doors or drinking “hard alcohol,” according a copy of the rules and planning documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun. The list of prohibitions did not mention drinking beer or wine.

Gansler said that while he didn’t write the rules, he attended a meeting where parents discussed them and was one of two adults who explained them to the dozen boys.

“If anything bad happened, if the kids violated the rules, they’d be sent home,” Gansler said. “My guess is… that if someone drank beer, that would not be an offense for which the chaperones would want to send somebody home.”

Delaware law, like Maryland’s, does not distinguish among types of alcohol in its broad prohibition against underage drinking. In both states, the legal drinking age is 21.

It is legal for parents to allow their own children to drink at home.

In several photos posted online by people at the party, older adults can be seen standing in the background. In videos and photos, young people, both men and women, are dancing on a bar and on a table. In one video, a bucket of clear liquid is poured from the balcony onto dancers below. It’s unclear how many teens were drinking.

Some of the videos have since been removed from social media.

“I don’t remember much, but it was one of the best parties I’ve been to, hands down,” said one attendee who spoke to The Baltimore Sun this week under the condition of anonymity because some engaged in underage drinking.

Two days after the party, however, the house was in bad shape. Julie Barnes, who has for years cleaned the home after renters, said she arrived on June 15 to find the wooden floors rippled from moisture damage, dents that appeared to be made from high heels on the bar and pool table, and floors sticky from what smelled like beer. According to minutes of a South Bethany Town Council meeting where the vandalism was discussed, the house sustained about $50,000 worth of damage.

Police who investigated did not place blame on the Landon group and classified the damage as likely the result of a burglary that occurred sometime between Friday evening and Saturday when Barnes arrived to clean. The Landon group turned in their keys Friday afternoon, parents said.

A parent who chaperoned the night of the party but would not discuss whether there was drinking said he helped the boys clean up the next morning. He said they left the house in good shape. Another parent said a representative of the realty company ResortQuest called afterward to say the house was fine and minor damage would be covered by the security deposit. The parents asked not to be identified to protect their children’s privacy. Representatives from ResortQuest did not respond to a request for comment.

Gansler said the parents assume that someone broke in and trashed the house after the boys checked out.

“Apparently, the night before, the parents who were chaperoning it kicked kids out” because it was getting too crowded, Gansler said. “The thought was [the damage] was so malicious that they were trying to get revenge or back at the parents who were chaperoning for kicking them out.”

The home’s owner, Timothy Dickson, lives in Virginia and said he thought he and his wife were renting to several families vacationing together, not to a dozen recent high school graduates. He said they were dismayed by the teens’ behavior at their beach house as displayed on social media.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

H/T U.S. Constitutional Free Press

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Your Insolent Prick of the Day

Via Moonbattery who exposes this wimpy, bottom feeding, race baiter bill-dorland

One reason the epidemic of black-on-white violence has been getting out of control is that the leftists who control the information establishment have exploited George Zimmerman’s act of justifiable homicide to whip up a false sense of injustice. Months after it was settled, agitprop provocateurs are still milking it, pushing their cultural Marxist propaganda to ever more inflammatory extremes of hyperbole:

An email sent to students by a University of Maryland official that cites the Trayvon Martin shooting as evidence “it is legal to hunt down and kill American children in Florida” is being blasted as the latest evidence of a left-wing bias on campus.

The email, from William Dorland, director of the school’s Honors College, starts by welcoming students back to campus, but then quickly veers into politics.

“This year, we learned that it is legal to hunt down and kill American children in Florida,” it reads, in a reference to the trial of George Zimmerman, who was cleared of all charges in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The email went out to all students in the Honors College.

This statement was part of an effort to promote an appearance at Maryland by the despicable Julian Bond, who Dave Blount rightfully labels a race arsonist.

I have said before that the rash of Black on White violence will, eventually lead to an instance where the intended target has a concealed carry permit. And, when that target refuses to be a victim, and defends themselves watch the Left go into hyper attack mode against the NRA, stand your ground, self-defense, concealed carry permit holders, etc.