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Next Post is a must-see website for concealed carry license holders looking to justify their “lifestyle” or (let’s face it) stoke the fires of their personal paranoia. While I firmly believe that firearms-related anecdotes are not the basis of sound public policy, they make for fascinating reading and provide cautionary tales—no matter which side of the gun control divide you inhabit. Anyway, it’s certainly true: bad shit happens. Consider this from an appeal in PEOPLE v. JARAMILLO.

At approximately 8:15 p.m. on May 14, 2006, Francisco Marroquin was walking home from church. Mr. Marroquin had a bible in his pocket upon which was enscribed “Santa Biblia.” Mr. Marroquin saw a truck driven by a woman stop nearby. Two Hispanic men got out of the truck. Each man pointed a gun at Mr. Marroquin. One of the men also had a device from which he fired an electrical discharge. The same man told Mr. Marroquin to get inside the truck. When Mr. Marroquin refused, the man told him he would shoot at him. The man attempted to shoot Mr. Marroquin with the electrical instrument, but his leather jacket prevented him from being shocked. The men then pushed Mr. Marroquin into the truck, forced him to lie down on the floor of the back seat, and told him not to resist. The men then asked Mr. Marroquin for his belongings, including his money, wallet, watch, and social security card.

Mr. Marroquin was then driven to a bank. The men asked Mr. Marroquin for his personal identification number. The men then withdrew money by using Mr. Marroquin’s bank card, which was in his wallet. Mr. Marroquin remained in the truck when the three individuals drove to a party. Mr. Marroquin was blindfolded. The two men got out of the truck. When the two men returned to the truck, they each had a beer. The men had pointed their guns at Mr. Marroquin during the time he was inside the truck. Mr. Marroquin was dropped off a few blocks from where he had been abducted. The men told Mr. Marroquin not to call the police or they would kill his family. Mr. Marroquin’s address was on his California identification card. Mr. Marroquin did not initially call the police because he was afraid. However, the police later contacted Mr. Marroquin at his home. Mr. Marroquin identified defendant at trial as one of the individuals who forced him into the truck and took his property.

At approximately 11:00 or 11:30 p.m. on May 14, 2006, Sharony Guzman was walking home from the bus after work in the area of Beverly Boulevard and Westmoreland Avenue. As Ms. Guzman passed a black truck with tinted windows, the doors suddenly unlocked. Two young Hispanic men got out of the car. Both men had guns. At the preliminary hearing and trial, Ms. Guzman identified defendant one of the individuals. Defendant held a gun and a taser gun. As one of the men approached Ms. Guzman with a gun, she began stepping back. The man told Ms. Guzman to get into the car unless she wanted to die. Ms. Guzman said she would not get into the car. The men responded: “Just get in the car, bitch. Get in the fucking car.”

Ms. Guzman again refused to enter the car and told the men she was going to start yelling for help. One of the men grabbed Ms. Guzman’s wrist and attempted to put her into the truck. Defendant was flickering his taser gun in a threatening way. Ms. Guzman pulled away and ran into the street. The man who had grabbed her yelled, “Michael, can you help me grab her?” As Ms. Guzman ran, she saw the men laughing and pointing their guns at her as though they were going to shoot her . . .

A search of the Yukon truck revealed: a .22 caliber handgun; two replica semiautomatic handguns; numerous cell phones; batteries; an iPod; money; a bible labeled “Santa Biblia”; and various identification cards, including one belonging to Mr. Marroquin; Mr. Ocampo’s driver’s license, social security card, Medicare card, and Kaiser Permanente card . A search of Ms. Cruz’s apartment revealed a taser gun. A search of defendant’s person at that time revealed currency from Mexico, Colombia, and South Korea.

The perpetrators were tried and convicted. The appealed on a technicality The court rejected mistaken jury instructions as “harmless beyond a reasonable doubt”—the exact opposite of the men responsible for these—and presumably other—heinous crimes.

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