An opinion piece by: Shawn Pino


Today, (June 14, 2016), while all mainstream and social media was still ablaze with reporting from the radical Islamic attack in Orlando, Florida, another multiple shooting took place much closer to home here in West Virginia.  Erick Schute, a part time resident of Morgan County, WV shot and killed three people with an AR-15 rifle.  A fourth person escaped unharmed. 

When reports of this shooting started to circulate on social media, I had a feeling it wouldn’t be radical Islam. Things have a way of turning bad quickly in West Virginia, and I pretty much knew ISIS wouldn’t be getting the credit.  Details are still forthcoming as of this writing, but the media is already trying to spin this as a crazy “prepper” “sovereign citizen” committing this attack.  West Virginia's MetroNews has reported:

“Morgan County Sheriff Vince Shambaugh identified Shute to MetroNews as a the shooter. The sheriff said Shute maintained he was a “sovereign citizen” and had filed a number of complaints against the victims, including property disputes.”

The Sheriff also stated “These folks, they don’t want to pay taxes. They don’t want to recognize local government. They want to build these compounds back in these places away from everybody,” said the sheriff. “They’re preparing for the end times and to be the survivors. He’s tried to recruit some locals to help him build his compound with his little group of sovereigns. He’d talked to the locals about his compound with a cache of weapons and ammunition stored there. That’s where they are all going to go in the end times.” 

I want to now point out that according to our government, “sovereign citizens” are the number one threat within the US, along with returning veterans, Christians, and gun owners.  Forget that radical Islamists just killed 50 people two days before, even making a 911 call proclaiming to be a supporter of ISIS. That would be Xenophobic to say the words radical and  Islam together….and quite insensitive to their plight.

However, one man shoots three men that, on record, he had filed multiple police reports on and suddenly “those evil peppers are at it again”.  I’m not taking up for this guy.  Don’t get me wrong. That is the job of the justice system to determine innocence or guilt. He claims it was self defense against drug addicts, (which should be the new official state animal in WV), and he will have his day in court.  

My issue here is the double standard. If you are reading this from a link on my Facebook page, you might notice my current profile picture has me standing in front of a flag vertically hanging to signal distress,(Something the Sheriff also mentions Schute doing). It’s not a sign of disrespect to our country, but a statement of how much trouble we really are in. Do I hate the police? Am I a radical? No.  A quick scroll through my social media feeds would clearly show I’m squarely behind those who go out every day and put it on the line. People who just want to go do their job, and make it back home to their families. However, the Sheriff's own Deputies probably have quite a bit of food, water, ammo, etc. all stashed securely on their property…or they should at least. 

If being prepared makes one dangerous, then we need to mobilize the National Guard against those evil Boy Scouts…Hell, THEY have a much bigger compound right in my home town than just about any other group in WV.

What about being prepared makes one a radical?  The federal government spends massive amounts of money on preparedness campaigns every year, furthermore, our government, is the group stockpiling the most ammo, rations, and building massive compounds. The narrative just doesn’t hold water.  Sheriff Shambaugh stated that the accused didn’t want to recognize local government, then later states the Mr. Schute filed multiple police reports without any apparent resolution.  Sounds like the accused had tried the rule of law route and got no help. 

What’s even more disturbing, is that there was one shooter, but the Sheriff repeatedly refers to “they” implying that those evil “Y’all Queda” are at it again.

Sheriff, thank you for your service, but please understand that one person does not represent an entire demographic any more than one bad cop represents an entire force.  When will we start placing the blame on the perpetrators instead of the inanimate objects used, or assuming a blanket guilt for those who merely want to protect and feed their family in case disaster or unrest does strike? I just get tired of it all.  The comments from the left, the rebuttals from the right….blah, blah, blah. Yet, I find myself always putting my opinion out there as well, so I’m just as guilty. 

I don’t know about the end of the world, but compared to the drama going on seemingly everywhere, if the end does come, I may just fire up some REM, sit back, and sing along as the fireworks start.  Cheers.

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