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http://www.adn.com/front/alerts/story/4260976p-4271781c.html


Jury deliberates for day and a half in church shooting case


The Associated Press

(Published: October 27, 2003)

A preacher was acquitted Monday of two counts of manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent homicide in the shooting deaths of two intruders at his Big Lake Community Chapel last spring.

Jurors deliberated for a day and a half in Superior Court before acquitting the Rev. Phillip D. Mielke, 44, in the deaths of Christopher Lee Palmer, 31, of Big Lake and Francis Marion Jones IV, 23, of Wasilla.

"We're relieved," Jim Gilmore, Mielke's defense lawyer, said after the verdicts were read.

Mielke had no comment.

Palmer and Jones were burglarizing the chapel at about 5 a.m. April 24 when Mielke heard a noise over a homemade intercom system that linked the church to his home, across the road.

He got his .44-caliber Magnum revolver and went to investigate.

The three men ended up together in a small, dark arctic entry.

Mielke testified that he ordered the men to stop and then fired when they kept coming.

He told investigating troopers that he saw one of the intruders get up and run toward a parked, idling car outside the church.

Palmer was found dead on a road near the church. He had been shot once in the lower back.

Several hours later, a woman called 911 to report that Jones had been shot and was at her house. When investigators arrived, they found him dead with a gunshot wound to the back and the left ankle.

In closing arguments last Thursday, Gilmore characterized Mielke as a mild-mannered man who carried a gun for self-defense. The preacher used it in a "totally unexpected, out-of-control" situation when Palmer and Jones rushed him inside his own church, he said.

"It was like a bear charging," Gilmore said. "The critical feature of this event (is) it happened in a matter of seconds ... and it happened in the dark. ... His fear that caused him to pull the trigger was reasonable under the circumstances."

If Mielke was acting in self-defense, why did he empty his gun out a window as the mortally wounded Jones fled toward his car, Collins asked in closing arguments.

"Once he started shooting, he couldn't stop shooting," Collins said. "This is the act of someone who isn't going to let them get away."

The burglars were stealing donated food the church planned to give away, Collins said.

"You don't take a gun to protect some old doughnuts," he said. "Those are not the actions of a reasonable person."
 

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Well using a gun to protect old donuts is no more unreasonable than needing two guys to commit a burglary for the same old donuts. Three guys to break-in and steal donuts are not the acts of reasonable people.

So obviously what happened was that two unreasonable people were engaged in a crime. Realizing no reasonable people would break in to steal old donuts and knowing help would be hours away, the preacher took the reasonable precaution of arming himself to deal with an unreasonable event occuring in his church. Things went sound and the reasonable preacher ended up in unreasonable circumstances where he was approached on by three unreasonable men whom his ordered to stand still and took reasonable action to deal with the unreasonable threat he perceived as they advanced.

While the .44 mag was a reasonable choice, the preacher might have been more reasonable with a rifle.

I don't expect that the church gives away old donuts, but that is just me.
 

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Yeah Im not sure what the age of the donuts has to do with it. Does that mean I cant use deadly force to stop a serious assault against my Grandma? Shes old.

:rolleyes:
 

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Well said 00 Spy, reasonable people do not break into churchs. Seems to me that the preacher was facing illrational(sp?) criminals. He was protecting his parish and I for one respect that.

How did we get from old donuts to Mus's grandma? I pitty the fool who messes with my grandma.....she's old and one scary broad. She's so mean she hired a SMACK-O-GRAM for me when I failed to call her for a few months.
 

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rayjay said:
How did we get from old donuts to Mus's grandma?
I was being sarcastic.

If you read the story the prosecutor was harping that the donuts were old so therefore no one reasonable would use deadly force to protect them. I guess for him to go on and on at length like that the age of the donuts must be important. It would apparently be reasonable to use deadly force to protect fresh donuts. I was just wondering if the same logic would apply to people. IE I could use deadly force to protect a fresh person like a baby or child but not an old person such as my Grandma.

Old things are intrinsically less valuable. Otherwise the prosecutor wouldnt have brought it up. Right?

I think DNS gets what Im talking about. He made fun of it as well. There is a tendency for lawyers, particularly shysters, to deceptively use adjectives in order to disparage or exaggerate the value or importance of a particular object (which is in itself usually irrelevant) in order to demonize their opponent and try to make that the focus of the debate.

Assault rifle, old donuts, you get the picture.

So in other words, he doesnt rightfully make the issue whether or not the guy had the right to use deadly force against burglars who charged him after disobeying verbal commands at gunpoint. He tries to make it about donuts and not just any donuts, but less valuable old donuts.

The donuts were never the issue in the first place! Frankly this kind of behavior should be illegal coming from a public servant. He knows full well the donuts had nothing to do with the case, he is using that red herring to pursue this witchhunt against this citizen and he is paid with tax dollars. Just think about it.

:barf:
 

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Mus is right about me poking fun.

I am intrigued by what Mus referred to concerning the deceptive use of adjectives. Here I will differ with him slightly on the interpretation. The reference to 'old' donuts may or may not have actually been deceptive, but it definitely was thrown out as a value statement, along with the trivial food of donuts (we don't even know if they were there or not, but most don't consider donuts as serious, nutritious, life-saving food). This is one of many types of verbal tactic that is meant to try to sway opinion by altering the focus away from a more central negative issue that is damaging to the argument. It is a logically invalid tactic to use since it is meant to sway opinion based on non-relevant issues to the situation, but a tactic that often does work, especially for those people who are on the side of the argument being damaged by more relevant information.

The lawyer noted that a "reasonable person" does not defend old donuts with lethal force. The emphasis on being reasonable is once again meant as an appeal to emotion and to sway opinion because reasonable people don't defend old donuts. We all would agree to that, right? This is really a misdirection tactic as well, just like magicians use. It is meant to completely draw the focus to the preacher, away from the bad guys who were the ones who actually first engaged in an unreasonable activity. After all, the deaths would not have occurred had the preacher been reasonable, right? So, we are all misdirected to noting the preacher's unreasonable behavior and ideally to not notice the bad guys' unreasonable activities of burglary and stealing the same old donuts.

This sort of argument comes up a lot in legal cases and it is blatant poopoo. When having to resort to such tactics indicates to me that the people making such statement don't have anything more significant or valid to argue. There are definite cases where the misdirection statements are actually valid, but they are misdirection in that they are still meant to draw attention away from more critical points of argument.

As noted by Mus, the donuts were never the issue. The issue was that the preacher, as a reasonable man, armed himself with a handgun when he went to investigate noise and a possible burglary of his facility. On encountering multiple burglars, they advanced on him. He ordered them to stop and when they did not, he defended his own life. It was reasonable to be in fear for his life as he had encountered three men who were involved in the commission of a crime and who did not respond appropriately to the preacher's reasonable and legal demands.

What many folks fail to understand is that such conflicts completely change once there is a threat to the good guys by the bad guys. Would you be willing to kill a person in order to defend your money clip that had $6 in it. Is your life worth being risked over $6? Of course not, but the only way somebody is going to get $6 out of you is via a threat such as via a blunt force object, sharp object, or firearm. At the point you are threatened, the issue no longer concerns the $6. It is now a matter of life and death. In the case of the preacher, he was advanced on by 3 men who represented a disparity of force to the preacher and who obviously meant him harm since they refused to stop advancing on him.
 

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Right. I dont think we really disagree. I was just pointing out that them being fresh is just as irrelevant as them being old and that you can use that to illustrate that it isnt about donuts at all.

The reason I think the use of the adjective is deceptive is because its an attempt to remove the debate from the real subject up to another level of detail to distract from its pointlessness. It is an attempt to talk about the relative qualities of an irrelevant object instead of the real subject matter as you said.

We see the same thing in criminal cases when they talk about "high powered" or "assault" rifles. Or the race of the victim. Or the relative value of an object. Deceptive use of adjectives to try to move the focus of the debate to the attributes of an object that isnt the point of contention. And furthermore to demonize the defendant with that deception. The guy was a loose cannon who owned military style weaponry. Or he was a racist. Or he was a coldhearted SOB willing to take life over a few old donuts.

And again, its a deliberate lie by a public servant going after a citizen.

A murder rap is a serious thing, and we shouldnt have yahoos out there trying to get people put behind bars by obfuscating the important facts and make the case about something it isnt. Especially not paid with tax dollars.
 

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It was a joke guys.......Please step away from the coffee maker :D And yes I did get the connections.
 

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In philosophy it is called a straw man fallacy :).. This type of logic and use of adjectives and "real" issue deterrants has been used since aristotle, plato and socarates hehe :)
 

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NaturalSelector said:
In philosophy it is called a straw man fallacy :).. This type of logic and use of adjectives and "real" issue deterrants has been used since aristotle, plato and socarates hehe :)
Not to pick nits but I think its actually a red herring. A straw man fallacy is when you grossly mischaracterize your opponents position and then proceed to attack the false weaker position.

In this case the prosecutor himself is bringing up the irrelevant donuts.
 

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Well one is formal and the other is informal ;)

Damn nit picker :)
But ya you're right ultimately. :p
 

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Ah! "Nit picker" is another one of those tactics meant to discredit the perspective of another who is apparently arguing points that are not of consequence to the personal making the claim of picking nits. It is misdirection that draws attention from the salient issue and attacks the person making the points as opposed to attacking the points themselves.
 

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I am an Alaska resident as well as a public servant. I am embarrassed that this case even made it passed the Grand Jury to an actual jury trial. More so, I am even more embarrased that the District Attorney tried to get away from the facts of the case ( more commonly seen from Defense Attorneys) and mislead the jury. Nobody in there right mind can possibly beleive that these two criminals were breaking into the church to steal day old doughnuts. A reasonable person would conclude that they were in there to steal church money. I just wish that when the judge gave the jury instructions, he would also tell them about the deceitful tactics of lawyers.
 
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