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Hullabaloo


Thursday, August 09, 2018

 
Carrying A Gun Didn't Protect Rep. Collins From Insider Trading Indictment 

by Spocko

Today Rep. Chris Collins (R) NY was arrested for insider trading.  Last year he wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post that was carried in major papers around the country. The title of the OpEd was:

I’m a member of Congress and I’m going to start carrying a gun 

I wrote about it here Does Rep. Collins have insurance for a gun accident?  


Rep Chris Collins (R) photo Michael Mroziak, WBFO
My point was to question two narratives pushed by the gun lovers:
1) A good gun with a gun will protect you from a bad guy with a gun
2) Concealed carry gun owners are law abiding and responsible

For the first I pointed out that guns can't protect you when you are caught unaware. Only something like body armor or bulletproof glass can do that.


For the second I wrote about all the ways that people who break the law don't expect to be caught, and when they do, there should be penalties and consequences.
You decide to break that law and carry your gun concealed into the gun-free zone then BANG!  You didn't intend to have an accident, but you did intend to break the law by bringing your gun into a place it was prohibited.  Violating that law could mean you are not covered by insurance.
For people like Collins, breaking a law, such as bringing a gun in a gun-free zone, is an acceptable action because of the explanation given -- self protection. Even though scientific data from active shooter cases will show this explanation to rarely be the case, the "self defense" explanation is still used.  An more accurate explanation would be:
"Carrying a gun makes me FEEL safe and like a tough guy. I want to be able to shoot people who I think are threatening me or my loved ones." 
If I had followed Collins around after his op-ed I'm pretty sure I could have caught him violating the law and entering private businesses where guns were not allowed. If he was busted, and the business wanted to press charges, it would have been a misdemeanor. He probably would have claimed he forgot and that the problem was the law, not him breaking it.

False Statements Made "Knowingly and Willfully" 

Collins allegedly broke several laws in this insider trading case: Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud, Securities Fraud, Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and False Statements.

We see people complaining about politicians lying to the public and to the media.But lying to the public or the media is not a crime. If it was, President Trump would be indicted 48 times an hour.

If proved, Christopher Collins false statements are violations of  Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1001 and 2.  It carries a fine and a prison term of up to 5 years.

When you read the indictment it appears that, based on the evidence, Collins"knowingly and willfully" made a false statement to the FBI.  Here is what Mr. Collins’ lawyers, Jonathan Barr and Jonathan New, said in statement.
“We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name,”  “It is notable that even the government does not allege that Congressman Collins traded a single share” of the company’s stock.
If Collins ends up being convicted, this will send a shock wave though political circles. How many other Congresspeople, Senators spouses, children and friends have acted on insider knowledge?

The Republicans will demand that a Democrat be indicted "to be fair" and will scream that they are being picked on by the State of New York because they supported Trump. (See NRA whining)

To muddy the waters the conservatives will push the, "both sides do it." and "It's a witch hunt to hurt Trump supporters" followed by it's only an isolated case of a "bad apple."

Even though the odds are that there are 100's cases of Republican insider trading and financial shenanigans to one Democrat one, I expect that the media will be searching for (and will be served up on a platter) cases of Democrats who should be charged for securities fraud.

The Democrats attacked will be the ones the conservatives are most worried about. BE PREPARED!  It will be important to not jump to conclusions. The appropriate response for crimes needs to first be:  "There needs to be through and transparent investigations." and Due process needs to be carried out for all involved.

We know that the Republicans will aggressively go after Democrats in this area, since they assume everyone is as corrupt as they are. In some cases they will be correct! But the people who will be digging up charges and making accusations aren't going to play fair. They will just want to hurt Democrats and distract from the massive corruption at the top.

Unfortunately, the Democrats will NOT go after Republicans for these kind of crimes. Maybe they are hoping that if they don't go after the Republicans the Republicans won't go after them.  That's not how it will play out.

 If more financial crime cases start popping up on the Republican side, the temptation is to paint all politicians with the same brush, so BE PREPARED.

Always Demand Due Process and Complete InvestigationsI expect a situation like with Al Franken and the allegations of sexual harassment will happen. There will be demands for resignations before all the facts are known.   suggest we demand due process for ALL cases of political financial shenanigans no matter which party. It's the rational thing to do and politically smart.

If the accusations turn out to be true, then we were fair, and the person well have to accept the consequences. If it turns about to be BS, we can show how the false accusations were politically motivated.

Think about all the investigations of the Clintons that didn't yield indictments. Those accusations created a sense of "something is wrong there" that has had a long lasting impact.

As much as I would like the Democrats to go after Republican financial chicanery, I don't think that will happen, but the least we can do is to be aware that the RW alt-media will use a case of their corruption to attack Democrats to set up the mainstream media for their standard "both sides do it" narrative.
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