Guest Authors

The Trial That Won’t Go Away


23 October 2013

Written by: Barbara Lawrence

Television dramas make trials look deceptively short, succinct, and neatly wrapped in a one hour package with ample time to raid the refrigerator.  They are not.

I decided to observe the trial of MSgt CJ Grisham myself. What follows are my recollections and research, which no doubt will be the subject of speculation, bad information, and spin by interested parties.

There’s no substitute for being there, as I found out.

In short, on March 16, 2013, Grisham claims to have been on a hike with his son to complete the latter’s Eagle Scout requirements. What is unusual is that he carried an AR-15 and cellphone camera in city limits in an area already skittish from two previous mass shootings: Killeen in 1991 and Fort Hood in 2009.

This is not standard hiking equipment.

When the inevitable call to police from a concerned citizen comes in, Officer Steve Ermis responds to size up the situation, and is met with defiance and resistance. Grisham is arrested for “resisting search and arrest” and “rudely displaying a weapon”, which the Bell County Attorney later changed to “interfering with a public servant”.

Not one to be silent, Grisham has done the media circuit: TV and radio talk shows, and online news coverage, each telling a slightly different story. He has rallied his group called Open Carry Texas, marching to largely empty Temple streets in support of this new twist on the Second Amendment.

The National Rifle Association has chosen to snub Grisham’s cause, though it has taken up support of defensive use of legal firearms in the past.

Undeterred, Grisham places a request for $11,000 on Indiegogo to fund both his defense and the civil suit against Temple he plans to file.  To date he has collected $51,798 from his supporters.

His first defense attorney, Kurt Glass, withdrew suddenly without explanation. Local opinion, or rumor if you like, is that Glass was frustrated with Grisham’s refusal to remain mum, even trolling the Temple Police Department’s Facebook page. Comments have since been removed.

In steps the National Association for Legal Gun Defense, pledging an impressive $1,000,000 in defense for Grisham against these misdemeanor charges, and a photo op elsewhere shows Grisham and its national director, Larry Keilberg.

A review of the NAFLGD website shows that it actually pledges that same amount to anyone who pays the $150 annual membership fee, not just Grisham. It’s rather like a pre-paid legal service for lawful gun owners who want representation in civil and criminal suits.

Additionally, it shows a CJ Grisham Philanthropy Fund, designed to help military personnel in legal gun defense, but it’s not a 501(c) 3 organization, a foundation or even held in trust. The NAFLGD spells out criteria for its use, but maintain complete authority over how it’s spent, while extracting management and accounting fees. Likely with Grisham’s knack for publicity, they have benefited from his association.

Grisham’s lawyer, Blue Rannefeld, is their chief counsel. The NAFLGD and Rannefeld are based in Fort Worth, Texas. With that kind of cash floating around, surely Grisham would have the biggest, baddest criminal lawyer in downtown Fort Worth’s Bass Towers.

But strangely enough, Rannefeld’s practice is mostly in the area of family law or general practice. His office is in a small strip mall in suburban Lake Worth, roughly positioned between a Racetrak gas station and Waffle House.

With that in mind, we come to Bell County Justice Complex in Belton, a modern stone and glass facility that combines the jail and courtrooms.

Under gray, overcast skies threatening rain, a small white canopy flaps in the wind at the parkway entrance. A lone Grisham supporter nearby sports a homemade sign: “Carrying a gun is not a crime”.

After a short while, Grisham appears at the courthouse, inexplicably wearing his full dress Army Service Uniform, though it is only required at military court martial.  He walks briskly and full of confidence, accompanied by wife Emily and their three children. I remember that it’s still a school week. They enter the automatic doors and disappear. No TV crews or reporters are in sight.

Once upstairs, long oak paneled walls show the way to Auxiliary Courtroom One. Inside Grisham speaks with a handful of supporters, showing them a small toy-like statue. “I call it ‘Standing for Liberty’,” he quips more than once. He schmoozes with friends, tells them how insane it was that he was arrested at all, and that he’s contacted his state representative to look into changing the law. “It’s like the Hatfields and McCoys. It’s us vs. Ermis.” He appears cocky, confident, and smug, but with a nervous edge.

Nearby is Larry Keigel, distinguished with silver hair, beneficent expression and rather snug black pinstripe suit, glad-handing the crowd and reminding me of a Shriner on his best behavior.

Blue Rannefeld is at the defendant’s table, a tall, thirtyish man with slicked-back black hair rummaging through files in preparation for voir dire.

The prosecutor, John Gauntt, Jr., appears to be in his early fifties with graying light brown hair, conservative brown suit, and professorial glasses over heavy-lidded eyes that wrongly suggest inattentiveness. Two hours tick by in pre-trial motions that occur in the judge’s chambers.

Judge Neel Richardson is from Casting Central, an older, gray-haired man in billowing black robes who expects both sides to be organized, prepared, and to the point. He is originally from Harris County, the Houston area, and normally retired. As he is seated, Gauntt walks forward briskly.

Grisham mugs at friends and family, squeezing a red “stress” ball. A few more supporters have arrived by this time. A TV reporter arrives and sits in front of me. The Grishams and supporters are instantly alert, heads swiveling in our direction. I share some background on Grisham with her. After all, he’s caused drama on this scale before.

While in Huntsville, Alabama, he was at loggerheads with their public school over the issue of school uniforms. Following the first PTA meeting, Principal Avis Williams described him as disruptive, rude and nasty, and was advised not to meet with him without security present.

Somehow he obtained her emails, and taped conversations with new Superintendent Jennie Robinson. In PTA meetings he talked over others, stood on his chair, and slammed his fist on the table. As a result, Mrs. Williams, fearful of his behavior, contacted the Redstone liaison officer, and Grisham was demoted from 1st sergeant to master sergeant, and faced an Article 15.

Grisham engaged Joel Jaqubino for a civil lawsuit, and a PayPal button appeared on many milblogs, asking for donations, “to clear his name”. After all, he only lives on a “soldier’s paycheck”.

But what is the paycheck for an E8? Approximately $6000 /month with half of it tax free. In a private Facebook conversation with me he admitted he did have other savings, despite posting that he had been “wiped out”.

He took credit for the firing of previous Superintendent Ann Moore, but she was already on the chopping block for incompetence according to locals. The civil suit was dropped, the PayPal button disabled, and the money unaccounted for. Huntsville breathed a sigh of relief as the Grishams moved on to Texas.

During the voir dire only ten observers are allowed in due to space limitations. I’m one of the fortunate ones.  A thin, gaunt bearded young man resembling a hipster complains, “You’re violating our rights!” It’s a common refrain with some of Grisham’s supporters.

Gauntt makes sure the pool understands the elements of law, including presumption of innocence, the right to remain silent, and the right of a police officer to stop and investigate even if a person hasn’t done anything wrong. He asks if a police officer has a dangerous job. Apparently the defendant disagrees with that. He posts:

"In summary, law enforcement isn’t the dangerous job that they would have us believe. It doesn’t even make the top ten in most academic studies. The majority of police deaths have nothing to do with criminals or guns. The leading cause of death among law enforcement officers is getting hit by a vehicle or a shot by a fellow officer. That’s not to say that there aren’t some cities more dangerous than others, but the facts simply don’t justify the level of intrusion into individual liberty that police commit in the name of “officer safety.” Is there no interest in “citizen safety” anymore?" (This post has since been removed).
The sentence for this offense is a $2000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.

Rannefeld questions the jury briefly. A little over half of the jury pool had heard of the case, only three admitted to making up their minds about it. They were excused immediately. Almost everyone had fired a gun. This is Texas after all. Slightly fewer hunted. Most agreed to reasonable force to subdue a suspect. A six man, two woman jury of everyday working citizens was chosen. One was a corrections officer.

Opening statements begin. The Temple Daily Telegram reporter, Deborah McKeon, sits among the Grisham supporters, chatting frequently. Gauntt briefly lays out the sequence of events in a quiet, authoritative manner to support the charge against Grisham.

Rannefeld’s approach is largely emotional, focusing on a cop slavering over power, Grisham’s fear of a gun at his neck, his son Chris’ horror to see his father arrested, and emphasis on Grisham standing with hands at sides on approach. He sums up with a personal story of digging a septic tank with his grandfather, who advises him, ”Cops lie, plant evidence…” when they get themselves into bad situations. He admonishes them to use common sense. He reminds me of an attorney more accustomed to doing personal injury rather than criminal cases.

The 911 caller, Lisa Wilkerson, is the first witness.  She called police directly after seeing a man with a “long black gun” across his chest on Airport Road. Never before had she seen such a thing and was alarmed for homes and businesses in the area. Rannefeld reminded her that she only said it was “odd” on tape, not alarming. He wants the call played back but Judge Richardson will only allow Wilkerson to hear it. Rannefeld is unprepared to do so. She is dismissed.

All eyes are the second witness, Officer Steve Ermis, a 27 year veteran of Temple Police Department. He is a giant of a man, easily six feet tall, broad-shouldered, with light brown hair showing faint gray. He moves with purpose and is composed on the witness stand, giving thought to answers in a deep voice.

He describes answering the call of “a man with a gun” on Airport Road, where a Charter School, fire station, public park, two bars, the airport, a children’s clinic and subdivisions are in close proximity. He found two males on a side road with Grisham faced away from him, apparently on his cellphone, standing in the road. He asked Grisham to stop and come forward, noting that the rifle was clipped to a sling, butt up, barrel down. He identified it as an AR-15 with a magazine in place. He asked Grisham to keep hands to sides, to which Grisham complied. He described trying to determine if the gun was real or Airsoft, when he noted the slim window on the magazine revealed live rounds. He asked Grisham why he was carrying the weapon.

“Because I can.”

This is where I start thinking like a police officer. I’m on a side road with two men whose intentions are completely unknown to me. One has a rifle with much greater firepower than me carried in a forward position that can be fired in a heartbeat. I have no back-up close by and am totally alone. Not only that, but I don’t know if the other one is armed as well. Now, the situation has gone from cordial to hostile. I’d better get control of this situation or I could be dead like Fred.

Ermis says he tried to disarm Grisham using the quick-release snap. Grisham immediately grabs the rifle with both hands and is then pinned to the hood of the police car with Ermis’ pistol to the back of his head. Grisham refuses to be cuffed, and from somewhere materializes his cellphone, fully set to video.

Now if one were scuffling with a police officer, struggling for a gun, and resisting to be hand-cuffed, where does one find the dexterity to whip out a cellphone, set it to video and record the sad event unless one had planned to do ahead of time? Just my thoughts.

Four times Ermis told Grisham to put hands behind his back, and four times he refused to do so, said hand grasping the cellphone video. Finally Grisham bargained that he would comply if his son could take the video.

Even when this was done, twice more he refused to comply, and then surrendered the errant hand.

During this time the jury is mostly heads-down, scribbling notes furiously. They are very serious in their appointed duty. The audience is quiet and attentive. Grisham is laser-focused on Ermis’ testimony, frequently taking notes.

Out comes the much sought after dashcam. It was tilted away from the audience toward the jury, judge, attorneys, and Grisham so we were unable to see it, but I caught a glimpse of the first part of it when they were cueing it up earlier. It was amazing to me how fast the confrontation went down. Officer Ermis walked casually toward Grisham; there was a short cordial conversation, then a struggle with Grisham ending up bent over the car hood.

Grisham swiveled in his chair as he watched, frequently smirking and shaking his head. The jury remained serious and attentive, one took notes. The audio is mostly Grisham shouting loudly and excitedly, demanding a supervisor and insulting the officers. “Shut up! I’m not talking to you!” Twice he barks at his son, “Keep the camera on me!”

He loudly protests when officer Ermis and the just-arrived Officer Thomas Menix check his wallet for ID. In court Grisham squeezes the red stress ball openly while viewing the dashcam.

Afterwards Ermis reveals that Grisham did not disclose he was carrying a second weapon, a Kimber Ultra Carry .45 in his shorts.  Mentally I make note of the fact that this little seven-shot handgun retails for $850-$1300, depending on how sexy you want it. For a man that keeps poor-mouthing to raise trial money from supporters, that’s some expensive pistol.

Rannefeld struggles to question Ermis, but he is clearly unused to criminal trials. His line of questioning is repetitive and tedious, so much so that Judge Richardson twice reminds him to get to the point and move along.

Finally in frustration, Richardson pounds the bench and scolds him, “That is not how you do an impeachment. You need to review how it’s done before you attempt it again.”

Ermis easily swats away Rannefeld’s inept attempts to trip him up or catch him in a contradiction, all the while maintaining his composure. Rannefeld seems like a junior partner in a law firm, not yet tutored by older, wiser partners.

Judge Richardson is anxious to close the day’s events, as it is almost six o’clock. Tired and grateful, the jury, audience, and participants all retire for the day.


Grisham’s supporters mill around the lobby outside the courtroom, discussing the previous day’s events. These aren’t wild-eyed drooling zombies. They are a cross section of America, rich to blue collar, young and old, all Second Amendment supporters, who strongly support the right to carry in public places. Some are grandmothers, some are veterans, some are bloggers, some are disabled, sporting canes, and some are “good ol’ boys”, but many seem convinced that they are center of the government’s attention in global disarmament. Personally, I doubt they garner that much notice.

In the courtroom, Grisham works the crowd, shaking hands all around. I notice how his supporters dote on him, fetching sodas and opening doors, like personal assistants. Grisham accepts this as his due, glowing in the celebrity.  He seems happiest when surrounded by his adoring fans, pumping flesh and taking photo ops.

Ermis takes the stand again, still questioned by the defense. The focus is his two police reports of the incident, one written the day of the encounter, the other ten days later after reviewing the dashcam. The second report is more detailed, but not identical to the first. Rannefeld pounces on the differences.

He points out that Grisham was not waving the rifle in a dangerous manner. Ermis makes a point of saying most people lay their guns on the ground when he approaches if they are innocent. He notes that the rifle was accessible within 1-2 seconds.

Much has been made of wild animals such as feral hogs, pumas, or coyotes in the area (one article dramatically gushed “wild boars”), but Ermis had only heard of an occasional coyote in the area. I note that feral hogs and pumas are largely nocturnal, and coyotes are rarely seen in the daytime except near creeks in spring when they whelp. Ermis denied ever hunting with an AR-15, only a .308, and for good reason. The .223 ammunition of the AR would be a poor choice against large game.

But we’re talking about city limits, where discharging a firearm is illegal. Additionally, the range of a fired .223 bullet is dangerously far when there are people nearby. Rule #3 of Gun Safety: Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it.

Gauntt objects to improper impeachment and Richardson sustains. The jury is attentive, taking copious notes, all faces very serious.  The audience looks sleepy, some look bored. In front of me a neatly dressed middle-aged woman quietly reads a David Balducci book. Grisham is writing on a legal pad, rarely looking at Ermis.

Rannefeld takes Ermis again through the sequence of events. Ermis sought to disarm Grisham because his intent was unknown. He reached for the rifle, Grisham pulls it back, and Chris stays back from the conflict.

Grisham resisted hand-cuffs with the instantly produced cellphone camera in the uncooperative hand.

Rannefeld presses Ermis about the necessity of pulling his service weapon.

I think, this is no time for using a Nerf bat. Ermis is definitely out-gunned.

Ermis says he allows Chris to take Grisham’s cellphone camera to try to avoid escalating the situation.

Gauntt again objects to improper impeachment, and Richardson sustains.

Strangely, Rannefeld then begins arguing the charges against Grisham which were later changed to “interfering with a public servant”.  Gauntt objects and Richardson snaps “You are quibbling over minutiae”.

Ermis says that he hand-cuffed Grisham at the moment Sgt. Thomas Menix arrived. He determined that there were no rounds in the chamber of the AR-15, and that it was in the “fire” position. Grisham did not reveal he had another weapon until asked, the Kimber .45 Ultra Carry. The weapons were put in the trunk of Menix’ car, and Grisham in Ermis’ car. Ermis briefly discussed the incident with Menix.

At lunch break I notice a lone supporter standing under the now sagging white canopy whipped by the wind and drizzling rain. His sign droops slightly from the moisture. The sky is leaden gray and it’s cold today.

Later, outside the courtroom, Ermis, Menix and two other uniformed officers talk quietly away from Grisham supporters. Ermis has his back to them. Their conversation concerns other police cases, but not a word about this trial.

At this point I notice the woman whom I call “The Lady in Black”.  She has been present from the beginning, sitting far away from Grisham’s supporters. She is middle-aged, conservatively dressed, often in black, with a look of firm determination to see this trial through. She refuses to converse, keeping to herself and sitting alone. Her face is etched with lines that betray she has not led a comfortable life. Later I see her speaking with the police officers mentioned above. I wonder how many quiet, loyal supporters like her are here, refusing to mug for the camera or wave signs with defiant slogans. They simply care for the men who have been caught in this maelstrom of notoriety and drama.

In the courtroom, Rannefeld turns his attention to a numbingly long recitation of the Code of Conduct for the Temple Police Department. He focuses on police conduct for interviews being “conversational, not confrontational”, that he should “explain the reason for contact and identify self”, and that a citizen may “refuse the interview, walk away, and refuse to identify himself”.  Ermis explains that this was not an interview, but an investigation of an offense.

Despite Ermis’ declaration, Rannefeld uncertainly plods ahead with much more Code of Conduct for Polite Police Officer interviewing Polite Citizen, not Unknown Armed Citizen With Attitude. Ermis again patiently explains it was an investigation of offense.

Judge Richardson cups his chin in his hand, blinking slowly, looking for all the world like a man who wants to throttle another parent’s misbehaving brat.

Rannefeld tries to get Ermis to concede that Grisham’s angry, irate behavior may be due to “having his adrenalin up” or being “nervous”, stammering as he does so.

Ermis replies, “Well, if he hadn’t resisted, he’d be on his way.”

On re-cross Gauntt informs the jury that discrepancies in police reports are common in “critical incidents”. It may take three days for the officer to recall details clearly. The second report was done after viewing the dashcam video, which revealed details an officer may not recall. He summarized his re-cross points succinctly and sat down.

Rannefeld said, “I would like to reserve this witness for re-cross at another time.” Richardson, unhappy with the slow pace, snapped, “You manage your trial and I’ll manage mine.”

Rannefeld then brought up a post on Ermis’ Facebook page, to the effect: “The facts of the case will speak for themselves, that Grisham will be found guilty of rudely displaying a weapon.”

Prior to mention of his Facebook page, Ermis had been composed, professional, and measured. Slightly flushed and raising his voice, he spat that his Facebook page had been hacked, pictures of his wife and children lifted, and his home address posted. All his family, including the children, had received death threats.

One could see the anger and outrage, even though he still retained control.

You can come after me, but don’t touch my wife. Don’t touch my kids. You want a piece of me? Bring it. But leave my family out of it. A full-maned lion roaring at skinny jackals trying to encircle his pride.

Ermis admits to posting the remark, and denies it constituted discussing details of the case. Richardson tells the defense to move on.

There’s a brief exchange about who owned the Federal Firearms License in Ermis’ gun shop, the relevance of which was not clear.

During break, Grisham chews gum while comparing notes with his wife. He pecks at his smart phone in earnest. He’s more serious, less jovial. His son Chris hovers close by. Emily compares notes with Rannefeld while Grisham smiles and chats with others. More supporters are here today, perhaps twenty-five or so.

The TV reporters are very young, perhaps in their twenties. One is a petite woman with long blond hair and impossibly high heels. One is a young Asian man wearing earbuds. Another is a friendly slim young man who has a legal pad full of notes. Smart phones aren’t allowed in open court. Neither is chewing gum.

All three reporters are glued to their smart phones on breaks. No interviews are done. I share background information with them on the NAFLGD, Indiegogo and the Huntsville debacle. They smile and nod with ohs and ahs. Their later TV broadcasts are the bare bones of the trial, two neutral, one favorable toward Grisham. Several facts are wrong.

Sergeant Thomas Menix is the next witness to be called, a 24 year veteran of Temple Police Department and the Day Shift Supervisor. He is the last prosecution witness, and a very poor one, at least in presentation.

In contrast to Ermis, he is acutely uncomfortable on the witness stand, almost shrinking into his seat so as to be unnoticed. He is short, slightly balding, with wire-rimmed glasses that cover his mostly downward gaze. His soft voice fades away to an inaudible whisper at times, necessitating both Gauntt and Rannefeld to have him repeat his replies. Hard of hearing audience members complain bitterly during his testimony.

Menix stated that when he arrived at the scene, Ermis had just gained control of Grisham and hand-cuffed him. He described Grisham as squirming and uncooperative, and demanding a supervisor. Once arriving at the front of Ermis’ car, Menix helped conduct a search along with Officer Sim (who was not called to testify).

Menix explained to Grisham he was being disarmed for safety reasons, and took the weapons to the trunk of his police car. He noted that Chris Grisham was using a cellphone video about ten feet away.

He described Grisham as “emotional” and “unreasonable”. Menix tried to reason with Grisham but it wasn’t possible. Menix explained that the 911 caller was concerned, to which Grisham replied, “Did you explain the law to the caller?!”

Menix stepped aside to discuss the situation with Ermis, who informed him he had asked for the rifle. This was not borne out on the dashcam. Menix gave Chris a ride home as a courtesy and apprised Emily of the situation.

Interestingly, Grisham asked for the message to be passed to Emily to contact Brett Pritchard, a civil trial attorney, not criminal defense attorney. It appeared that thoughts of personal injury lawsuits were uppermost in Grisham’s mind.

The jury was very attentive to the prosecution and Menix. After all, they had heard one version of events, and now had the opportunity to view it through different eyes. Pens were flying across notepads as they strained to hear his testimony.

Like Ermis’, Menix had written a supplement to his original same day report after viewing the dashcam footage. Rannefeld objected, saying he had never received a copy before trial. I’m thinking, isn’t that your responsibility? But then, I’m so far from being an attorney, it’s not for me to say.

Richardson insisted Rannefeld proceed and get to the point. “Go!”

Rannefeld verified that Menix had not seen the altercation, then asked if he had documented a “Use of Force” report. Menix looked confused. (In reality, the report is done by the officer using force). He had not.

The issue of Grisham’s bad behavior being caused by having back problems worsened by the arrest are proposed by Rannefeld. “I’m not a doctor.” replies Menix, “I can’t answer that.”

Rannefeld tackles it from another angle. “Do you get emotional when a gun is pointed at you?” Menix replies, “Probably, but I’m too busy trying to save my life.”

Rannefeld then cites general orders of the Temple Police Department, “An officer must show restraint and courtesy toward the suspect…” and on and on. Privately I’m thinking that Grisham showed none of these toward the officers, and how difficult police work must be. Not only must they catch the bad guys, but now they have to treat them like Waterford crystal, or end up in a courtroom like this.

Showing impatience, Richardson once again tells Rannefeld to get to the point. I get the impression that when Judge Richardson held court in the sprawling metropolis of Houston, he expected his attorneys to be on time, have witnesses prepped, know their cases inside and out, and have their charts and video ready to roll. Woe to him who did not know the rules of evidence. He does not suffer fools gladly.

Gauntt asks Menix about handling an armed and dangerous suspect. He replies that when the situation is under control, or as soon as practical, the general orders of courtesy and restraint  apply.

Menix is dismissed as a witness, and his relief is palpable. He quickly departs the courtroom, being the final prosecution witness. The jury remains alert, and Grisham is focused.

Chris Grisham, the fifteen year old son of CJ Grisham and his companion on the day of the incident, is to be the first defense witness. However, his behavior in the courtroom has not gone unnoticed by the observant Gauntt.

Chris looks and behaves younger than his fifteen years. Resembling both parents, he has wide blue eyes, fair skin, and is slender. He slips into the witness stand, clearly frightened out of his wits. He shifts uneasily, eyes darting about like a trapped animal, and occasionally winces at questions. He grips a red stress ball like his father’s.

Gauntt stands, faces him, and sternly intones, “Do you remember you’re under The Rule?” Chris looks confused and appears not to comprehend. Gauntt reminds him that he was not to discuss any details of the trial once it began.

Chris flushes and shifts in his seat. Gauntt asks him if he discussed the trial details with anyone. He admits to talking with his mother. “A little...hardly any...not much really...” His voice trails off. His face appears as though he has betrayed his father instead of vindicated him.

Richardson is clearly angry and calls both attorneys to the bench. Chris is asked to move aside for privacy and weeps silently. Richardson is displeased with Rannefeld for not controlling his witness. He tells the attorneys to solve the issue between them and leaves.

Chris leaves quickly, shielding his tears, still gripping the red ball. The pain of a son who wanted so much to please a self-absorbed father is difficult to watch. Grisham mutters, “It’s okay, it’s okay”, but it’s not clear from his expression if it’s really okay.

Emily follows Chris outside speedily, returning a few minutes later. She cries quietly, putting her head down to her knees. The stress of a trial weighs heavily on a family. She then leans into Grisham and talks intently several times. The attorneys go to the judge’s chambers.

Following a brief recess, the prosecution accepts Chris as a limited witness. He again takes the stand, no more comfortable than before, appearing on the verge of tears, and requiring frequent reassurance from Richardson. He crushes the red ball throughout questioning.

He admits that both parents discussed trial details in front of him. He confirms that he and Grisham were on a genuine Eagle Scout hike, and that his father intended to carry the AR-15. On the hike he said that when he saw the police car, he remained in the background until called forward by Grisham to take the cellphone camera.

Chris was also upset that Ermis’ son showed Grisham’s cellphone video at school. After all, you can hear Chris crying at the end as his father is taken to jail. Adolescent boys can be mean like that. But Grisham was the one who chose to post it on YouTube. Presumably it was more important to Grisham to get the whole video out there than to edit out his son’s potentially embarrassing moment.

I also can’t help but think about the risk to his son in an armed confrontation. Suppose instead of an experienced cop like Ermis, Grisham gets a real cowboy who slams him face first into the asphalt, as some would’ve done, or pulls a gun from the get-go. Chris is directly in the line of fire. What father would orchestrate a stunt like this, and it does smell planned, putting his young son in harm’s way?  Answer: A father that would put being in the spotlight before everything.

Here are some idle observations on my part. Grisham likes being the center of attention. I saw that up close, from a prolonged interview, and from past research. Prior to this incident, he was not much in the spotlight.

He had an abrupt, very  abrupt, departure from the military radio program You Served for which the listening audience was apparently grateful (52 likes on a site that normally has one to three). Though he blogged on A Soldiers Perspective, there were little to no comments. His Facebook charity, They Have Names, showed a precipitous drop in visitors. It was not like 2009 when he was the darling of milbloggers everywhere. His street cred apparently wasn’t the same now. How to get the blinding glare of the media back in your face?

I ask you this. Does it really matter if the issue is the Second Amendment open carry vs. not open carry, or whether to eat your Oreos dunked in milk vs. unscrew them and eat the frosting first? Which is more likely to get you on Fox News or Glenn Beck? My medical mind is telling me that the issue is not the issue. The issue is attention. Lots of it. Endless amounts of it. From everyone and everywhere.  But that’s just a “sidewalk diagnosis”, not the real deal.

Don Clouder was the final defense witness, a resident on Prairie View Road near where the altercation took place. He seemed very eager to testify on behalf of Grisham, who had friends living in his neighborhood. He later was seen schmoozing with Grisham supporters outside the courtroom.

He testified that people carried and fired guns “all the time” in the area, though it is illegal in city limits. He had seen coyotes and snakes only in the area.  He admitted carrying guns in the area himself, but “not on the road”.

His testimony is brief and without controversy. He steps down from the stand and Judge Richardson ends the trial early for the day.


Today Grisham has shed his coat and is hugging supporters in the courtroom. The Lady in Black sits apart from the others quietly. Her expression is serious and pensive. Keigel chats with McKeon, the Temple reporter. I could swear he’s wearing the same black pinstripe suit. Outside the courtroom, a female TV reporter arrives. One Grisham supporter greets her and talks excitedly about being interviewed for her program last night. I remember no opposing interviews were aired.

I survey the Open Carry crowd. A woman with a short, golden burr haircut, deep blue eyes, loose American flag top, and blue jeans strolls the hall and says little. The hipster-ish young man often speaks in a conspiratorial whisper, and is quick to accuse Sheriff’s Deputies of “violating our rights”.  There are a variety of “good ol’ boys”, mostly retiree age, genial and talkative. No, none of them are in overalls. A tall, thin, young brunette girl with an extraordinary amount of fairly recent tattoos talks loudly and defiantly about open carry in a braggadocios way. Privately I think what my late friend Joe in Special Forces used to say sardonically about such people: They would die real fast in a firefight.

Once in the courtroom, Grisham talks about the dashcam video. He is sure that it exonerates him. Others think it condemns him. Some supporters discuss the trial openly. Others sit silent and aloof.

The attorneys burst into the courtroom from the judge’s chambers and Rannefeld looks flushed and agitated. He tells the supporters that no matter what happens, they are to remain calm. The judge may change his charges to the jury, but no details are given. We are all confused.

During the trial I’ve been discretely sitting in the back row, opposite the crowd of supporters, documenting my observations. I have a girlfriend sitting next to me who is a casual observer, Hazel. Without warning, a young, long-haired, brunette woman wearing too-small jeans plops beside me. I recognize her as a Grisham supporter.

“Is this seat taken?”  No.

“Are you with the media?” No.

I reflect that this very ham-handed attempt to find out who we are isn’t very fitting for a Master Sergeant whose MOS is Intelligence.

Richardson finally takes the bench. A red-faced Rannefeld stands up and launches into a high-pitched diatribe against him, accusing him of calling the Grishams “yokels “and saying he “would teach them a lesson in parenting”. He asks Richardson to recuse himself. Rannefeld then brandishes a toothbrush as if it were Excalibur itself, asking to be held in contempt of court. “I have brought my toothbrush, so that I may take it to jail with me!”

“I will stand up to bullies, even if they’re in black robes!” Rannefeld squeaks.

Richardson responds by ignoring him.

Grisham has chosen not to testify. That is unusual for a man who loves to talk, to explain, to justify, to harangue, to interrupt, and even to shout over others, if his videos tell true.

There are too many issues regarding past credibility.  There is the issue of his Bronze Star with Valor citation failing to support his claim of taking out an Iraqi squad with a 9mm pistol and a hand grenade. That could be humiliating if exposed in public for all to see.

He has since posted an unauthenticated draft copy of an NCOER as “proof”, but it just as easily could have been written by him.

There could be accusations of wearing his dress uniform in an attempt to influence the jury. There could be close questioning about why he did not follow the rules recommended by his own organization, Open Carry Texas, to notify police that he was going to be open carrying in a certain area.

The charges to the jury are changed somewhat, but the charge of “interfering with a public servant” is the same. The standards for the charge are read with the stipulation of what “an ordinary reasonable person” would do under these circumstances with the addition of “criminal negligence”.

In closing arguments, Gauntt reiterates the sequence of events. The spy next to me mutters under her breath, uttering profanities against the prosecution, the “system”, and whatever it is that distresses her. The neatly dressed woman, now on her third book, glances backward in disapproval. Providentially, the spy’s phone goes off, and she is ejected from the courtroom by a stern Sheriff’s Deputy.

Rannefeld counters that the police lied, pointing to discrepancies in reports and dashcam videos. He believes a “bunch of good ol’ boys” got together to make up charges. He inexplicably mentions that Ermis stomped on Grisham’s foot, which was never mentioned in trial. He believed Wilkerson, the caller, should have called 911, instead of the police department. Though Ermis had testified this was not a situation calling for deadly force, Rannefeld characterized his attitude as “I can shoot someone for walking down the road.”  He asserted that Ermis “likes being the boss”.  “What does an ordinary person do with a gun to the back of their neck?”

My thought is, don’t move a muscle, Yes sir, No sir, Thank you sir, Three bags full.

Gauntt counters that an ordinary reasonable person would not have initiated this conflict. Grisham invited the charges, not Ermis. There was no reason to ever use deadly force. Wilkerson always called the police directly.

Grisham had a gun to his head because he attempted to wrest his rifle away from Ermis. Gauntt reminds them that charges were changed against Grisham at the County Attorney’s discretion, not the police.

The jury files out to deliberate.

And we wait. Oh how we wait.

Waiting for a jury verdict reminds me of being in an ICU waiting room. You know it’s going to be good news or bad news, but you don’t know how long it’s going to take, and it’s exhausting either way.

Richardson has decided to close the courtroom for jury deliberations. We all sit outside in the long hall, oak paneled walls on one side, and enormous glass windows on the other. The book lady is absorbed in a novel. Grisham’s children pass by, casting furtive glances at Hazel and me. Down the hall there is loud talking and forced laughter at times from Grisham’s supporters. I pass by Grisham in the hall, but he can’t meet my gaze for long.

While sitting in the hall next to a pillar, Grisham pops around it suddenly and extends his hand. “I don’t think I’ve met you. I’m CJ.” I introduce myself. His son Chris snaps a photo of us shaking hands, wags his head in victory, and skips down the hall, presumably having followed his father’s orders successfully this time. Grisham bolts away. I note that Chris addresses his father as “CJ”, not “Dad”.

Grisham never lingers, never confronts. He employs others to do that. How lame.

The ejected spy whose name is Kathy, tries again, toothbrush in hand. I ignore her. She says my staring at other people is very intimidating and makes them uncomfortable. Inwardly I think it’s ironic that two middle-aged women can have such power over twenty rifle-toting would-be badasses. That’s if Kathy is telling the truth. Actually, I’m not interested in them. I’m focused on the courtroom doors for news of the verdict.

Kathy snaps her gum and tries baiting us with snide remarks that I can’t remember. Hazel gets into an argument with her. Kathy has been in Open Carry Texas for two months. I discern that she hasn’t researched it very deeply. Following her argument with Hazel, she immediately goes to Grisham to report on her fishing expedition. Carrying water for Grisham.

I leave to talk to a reporter about the day’s events. The Lady in Black walks by with a MYOB, no nonsense expression and sits near the book lady.

The book lady has closed her novel and is playing a game on her cell phone. She is neatly coiffed with blond, salon-styled, old-fashioned up-do hair. Today she sports a spotless turquoise blouse and black polyester pants. What’s fascinating about her is that there is not a hint of boredom or impatience. She seems accustomed to waiting. Despite attending every day, she always has her nose buried in a book, and seems disinterested in the trial.

Despite the long wait, there is always loud talking from the now closely clustered group of supporters down the hall. The conversation is festive and noisy, arguing the law. “Would you rather go to jail or rather be dead?”

Grisham’s restless daughter Hannah rolls pennies down the hall, and stares at me when retrieving them. I notice the crowd is carrying toothbrushes. I wonder if Grisham is found guilty if they will stage an event to get themselves held in contempt of court. No matter, if arrested their toothbrushes will be confiscated and filed with personal property.

Several supporters say their goodbyes early in the afternoon. I imagine some have jobs to go to, and responsibilities beyond this tiresome waiting.

At the end of the end of Day Three, Grisham’s supporters gather in a prayer circle, asking God to give “the right answer”.

At least we want the same thing.


At the parkway entrance, the small white canopy is gone. No sign-toting supporters are seen. A few sprinkles fall from a gray sky with the sun struggling to peek through here and there.

At the justice complex entrance, a juror checks in through security, avoiding everyone’s gaze. Inside the courthouse hall, a few supporters talk quietly. Most of their sidelong glances at me have abated. Hazel, tired of the wait, has stayed home.

Grisham apparently tweeted that the jury is split, but as they are sequestered far from us with even the courtroom off limits, it’s impossible to know their thoughts.

He also posted that Judge Richardson was unfairly biased. (He has since removed that post). That sort of thing can result in a contempt of court charge.  It appears that Richardson was annoyed with the needlessly slow pace, inexperience, and competence of Rannefeld.

For $1,000,000, if the NAFLGD actually has it, Grisham should’ve had Danny Burns or Gary Medlin from Fort Worth. Both are outstanding criminal defense attorneys who are known for getting their ducks in a row. Never go cheap when it comes to attorneys. I don’t even think he realized Rannefeld isn’t a criminal defense attorney.

I sit alone next to one of the pillars dividing the huge glass windows. The supporters carry on conversations about Richardson and his presumed bias. Suddenly, Grisham’s young daughter Hannah appears and shyly hands me an Open Carry Texas pamphlet.

“Umm…this is for you.”

She is about ten years old and truly beautiful, with a heart-shaped face, deep blue eyes, fair skin, long light brown hair, and a delicate sprinkle of freckles that enhance her winsomeness. She disappears as fast as she appeared.

I’m disgusted that Grisham would use his children this way. Children sent on adult errands. What cowardice in a “decorated veteran”.

Grisham never confronts me. He walks by quickly, once throwing out a sarcastic remark, but never stops to talk.

I thumb through the pamphlet. Interestingly, it suggests calling the non-emergency line of the police department if you intend to open carry in a certain area to avoid concerned citizen calls about a “man with a gun”.  It also notes your behavior while open carrying is subject to the law. I wonder if Grisham read his own pamphlet.

Twice the jury appears and papers are exchanged with the judge. He doesn’t appear happy. The second time Kathy attempts to bodily block my view through courtroom door windows, but I slip around her. “You’re disgusting! “She spits. I ignore her. I don’t need to waste time swatting flies when I’m hunting big game.

I take a seat again near the book lady. I’m extremely tired. A buzzard glides closely by the huge windows.  The book lady remarks “I’d go crazy by now” if she didn’t have something to read.

Curious lawyers from other courtrooms occasionally come by to check on the progress of the jury throughout the deliberation. Obviously the case has garnered attention.

Especially entertaining is a very tall, young, obese man who is an Army veteran. He talks constantly and loudly, looking straight ahead, oblivious to his audience’s response or interest. He tells amusing stories about his deployment as a mechanic, and as a mechanic stateside. He covers every topic imaginable, French women, gun laws, Obama, beer, and of course, open carry. He drove here from Michigan, and is a strong Grisham supporter.

At lunch break I sit quietly in the smoking section outside, indulging in my favorite vice originated by Sir Walter Raleigh. A young man named Mark in a dark pin-striped suit and white polo shirt approaches me and asks for a light. I acquiesce and he produces a silver cigarette case. I muse that such a case is usually accompanied by a silver lighter, and am wary.

He complains about his court case that is unresolved, and says that “a friend” is upstairs supporting Grisham. I’m noncommittal. Failing in his attempt to extract information, Mark leaves. I later find him wishing Grisham well in his trial that Mark has been following closely.

For a man whose specialty is intelligence, Grisham has employed a Keystone Kops crew of clumsy would-be spies. So far I’ve been a polite, if reserved, oyster. I marvel that one middle-aged, unremarkable woman should be the subject of his scrutiny. Grisham is convinced I’m a secret emissary of Michael Yon, but my research and observations are all my own. I just happen to live in Texas.

One man was very kind to me. He disagreed with Kathy’s behavior, and said that’s not what Open Carry Texas was about. He believed in Grisham, but disagreed with uncivil behavior. I thanked him for that.

Hannah plays handball on the oak paneled wall with the red ball. She looks at me and I smile. She smiles back, a lovely smile. It occurs to me I haven’t seen the Grisham children smile very much. I try to recall if I’ve seen Grisham show his children affection, and I’m stumped. Mostly I’ve seen him surrounded by his admirers, or absorbed in his smart phone.

Twice more the jury appears, papers are exchanged with the judge who appears increasingly irritated. Hopes are high, and then dashed with each appearance. Supporters are tired and nervous. The sound of toothbrushes tapping against cups could be heard. It’s getting late in the afternoon. Grisham states he will make no announcement at the verdict. I don’t believe him.

A wedding procession passes by for a courthouse marriage. The bride is a stunningly beautiful young Hispanic woman in a form-fitting pink suit and dangerously high stiletto heels. The groom is handsome in a black sports coat and slacks. They proceed slowly, as if in church, toward the courtroom to be married. The supporters cheer and clap upon their return.

Suddenly Rannefeld bursts out of the courtroom doors, announcing it was a hung jury. There were confusion and questions. “Did we win?” The initial clapping faded quickly, as did enthusiasm. Emily burst into tears. The supporters seemed to not absorb the full meaning of the mistrial. Grisham quickly tried to reassure them that it was okay.

The jury had been dismissed, and it was up to the prosecution to retry the case. Later that day the County Attorney set a new trial date of November 18.

On my way out, I spotted two stone-faced jurors exiting the building as fast as they decently could. To the left, all the supporters stood behind the Grisham family, toothbrushes held high, as several TV cameras recorded a very different spin on the verdict. Grisham played it off as a victory, with supporters all smiles. His family was not smiling however.

Too bad, because Hannah has such a pretty smile.


Later Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols announces the jury was split 5:1 for conviction. Retrials tend to favor the prosecution.

Likely a different judge will be requested by Grisham’s defense.

Grisham had already decided to pursue his civil suit against Temple Police Department even before the verdict.

But he won’t be using any of the $51,798 collected on his Indiegogo campaign.

Keilberg has once again pledged up to $1,000,000 from the NAFLGD, with Blue Rannefeld as chief counsel.

So what happened to all the money collected on Indiegogo?

Certainly his supporters thought they were funding a wrongly accused war hero living on “a soldier’s paycheck” to pay his legal expenses. It seems they were duped.

His appeal states that leftover money would go to gun rights groups or held in trust for other local soldiers “dealing with being illegally disarmed”, but how do they know? There is no proof as of yet.

Indiegogo only evaluates potentially fraudulent campaigns if a contributor complains. Once the money is disbursed, Indiegogo’s only recourse is to notify authorities.

All it takes is one complaint that the money was never used as intended.

I haven’t decided about attending Trial #2.

Since my perspective is different than the Grisham/Open Carry Texas party line, I expect to be most unwelcome.

But I’ll think about it.

Barbara Lawrence is a retired physician and Second Amendment supporter living in Texas.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Elaine · 8 years ago
    This got way out of hand, and it wasn't even necessary!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rick58 · 8 years ago
    She makes a point that the AR-15 selector was in the "Fire" position as if Grisham was being irresponsible in doing that.

    The selector HAS to be in the fire position if the weapon is not cocked. You CAN'T put it on "Safe".

    Grisham is a kook, but this woman is an anti-gun kook. Her arrogant and snide comments leave no doubt. The NRA was wise not to use Grisham as a 2nd Amendment poster boy.

    If it's legal to open carry in Texas, the officer had no reason to go after Grisham. As far as I can tell there was no probable cause to stop him.

    As the lady said he was accompanied by a 15 year old who looked younger than his years.

    It was pretty obvious he wasn't out to knock over a liquor store.

    A better procedure would be to observe the guy to see if he is engaging in unlawful conduct before approaching.

    In my State open carry is not allowed and can be considered brandishing a firearm "to the terror of the public". Evidently not so in Texas.

    Grisham is a nut who needs to be adjudicated as a danger and not allowed to carry firearms because of his erratic behavior, threats, and previous legal troubles.

    It's a mystery to me why he hasn't been Chapter 1 'ed out of the Army.

    Most of the mass shootings of late have been carried out by people who are mentally ill. We need procedures in place to prevent dangerous people from being armed, while protecting the rights of regular citizens.

    In Grisham's case, he may not be full blown mentally ill, but by his own admission he has problems. That coupled with his previous demotions, behavior, etc. should be enough to get a restraining order against public carry.

    A group in Texas recently converged on the Alamo while open carrying as an exercise in asserting their rights.

    It's an important principle that if people aren't doing anything illegal they shouldn't be accosted by the police.

    But there has to be a way of restraining the nuts while leaving the innocent alone.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      REM · 8 years ago
      Why the need to be walking around with an assault weapon in public? For what purpose except for attention and aren't we bad? You can't ignore us now. Well, go hang out with like minded, just do it out of Starbucks, around the Temple Mall or hanging out on the banks of Nolan Creek below the Gin. Almost all non open carry citizens thinks it is stupid and disturbing at the same time. Go on out in the country away from all others and have a blast. Just leave the rest of Temple and Centrsl Texans alone with your zealotry.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Rhino · 8 years ago
        The why is easy enough to answer. It is his right to practice open carry. He is free to choose what he can open carry. Be it a rifle or shotgun. Aslong as the says he can carry it. He can. There doesnt have to be a need. In my state I am allowed to open carry a handgun by my state constitution. Do I have to have reason to do so?

        Lets get to a good term in the post you had...assault weapon. Why did you feel the need to use a word. Coined by the gun grabbing wicked witch diane fienstien...and used by the media to give the item a negative impact, making it sound all evil and sinister. Call it what it is....a rifle. That what we call them in the military. Assault weapon? Who did it assault?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      bleh · 8 years ago
      "mental problems" that is inaccurate - he's admitted to having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is the result of something happening to you, not you being dangerous.

      rape victims, people that are mugged, beaten up, have PTSD, does that mean they are kooks that are going to kill us all, if they are "allowed" to carry a weapon?

      As far as your stating he's mentally ill and dangerous, how? Be specific. He's written about having to carry a decomposing body back to a village that was injured during a fire fight in Fallujah and only having a plastic bag to secure the body and the images and smells that he has a hard time not remembering. Or searching dead bodies for intelligence materials. Imagine if that was your job while in the army.

      Him being aggressive and passionate has nothing to do with this PTSD and his psych evaluations obviously cleared him to go back to the field long after that deployment. Meaning, he could easily have an oppositional defiance disorder (look that up for you go ah-ha!) but so does every kid trying to deal with authority, but he would have had that challenge long before he suffered from a traumatic event.

      His right to open carry a rifle in Texas has more to do with challenging the police officer that put a gun to his head, in front of his 15 year old kid for just walking along the road with a rifle, which Texas allows to open carry a rifle. That same officer then sequestered his 15 year old in his patrol car after his dad was arrested and refused to let him leave until he answered his questions. He wasn't under arrest, his mother wasn't there either. I would bloody pissed off too at a government entity intruding on my rights as well and wouldn't need to hide behind a PTSD diagnosis to justify it.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      JSPS · 8 years ago
      "As far as I can tell there was no probable cause to stop him."

      There was the call to the police department. The police do not need PC to investigate a complaint.

      They need PC to charge you,

      When asked by a police officer to put the gun down it is wise to comply.

      If he had followed the guidelines published by Open Carry there would have been no problem.

      But that was not what Grisham wanted.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        bleh · 8 years ago
        by texas law:

        You can open carry long-guns (or rifles) as long as not intended to intimidate or threaten. Walking on the side of country is intimidating who? You have to have a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed pistol. CJ has a concealed carry permit on him that day. The officer has to ask to inspect your weapon for his safety and the dashcam videos all showed the officer never asked for his weapon, the officer just went to seize it from him. He never asked him to put it down, never asked to inspect it, he just came up and tried to take it from him. Neither texas, nor the constitution allow illegal search and seizure. that's what his officer did.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
          If CJ Grisham who was discharged from the Army for basically being a whack job has a concealed carry permit then I want the idiot that issued that permit fired, pronto :-?

          This mental midget has no business even possessing weapons of any kind much less a concleald carry permit, which BTW for all you other mental midgets does not allow you to "OPEN CARRY", it has to be "concealed" YO! :eek:
          • This commment is unpublished.
            Rhino · 8 years ago
            You need to become well versed in laws and be ready to cite said law.
            Depending on the state, there is various stipulations to Conceal or Open carry both handgun and long gun. Again it depends on the state in which you reside. For this purpose its Texas (which others have cited for you, so I will not bash your mental mightyness and not cite again)

            Rifles can be carried openly without a permit
            Handguns must be carries concealed and require a permit.

            and BTW depending on your state, if you have a concealed carry permit. You can chose to carry openly or concealed. In other states you do not need a permit to carry openly, you just can.

            I have a concealed carry, yet I carry openly more oft then naught. Why, becuase I can, Becuase I enjoy too, and that is my right
          • This commment is unpublished.
            bleh · 8 years ago
            Sun, did you even look photos of his trial? He's still wearing his military uniform. He's still listed as active duty military - so when did he get "discharged?" and under what status was his discharge? Show the citation - don't just spout off.

            and forgive me my mental "midgetness" :-? but you need to re-read the Texas laws on carry start with section 42.

            1. Long-guns or rifles (26'') MUST be carried in the open, but do NOT require a concealed holder license (CHL).
            2. Pistols MUST be concealed and require a CHL to carry.

            Rifles = OPEN CARRY
            Pistols = CONCEALED.

            Got it, Yo? :sigh:
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
      There is NO Open Carry in Texas, that is what this nut is wrongly going about protesting in own small peanut sized brain!

      The way to change laws you don't agree with is through the legislative process not by openly scaring the hell out of everyone by packing a loaded AR-15 in broad daylight.

      If politicians won't listen then get off your ass and get behind elected officials who will listen to your position and back same!

      That is what the Motorcycle Rights Organizations did in 25 states including Texas that once had a forced helmet law. We changed out the politicians and changed the laws, that is the AMERICAN WAY, not threatening and scaring the hell out of the citizens!!
      • This commment is unpublished.
        bleh · 8 years ago
        Sun Tzu - google "open carry rifle Texas" You're allowed to open carry a rifle in Texas, including an AR-15, but you're not allowed to open carry a pistol in Texas. so you're understanding of the law is as wrong as that police officer.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
          So you think it's OK to walk around with a loaded AR-15 like your on some kinda patrol in populated area scaring the hell out of the citizens just because and BTW he was illegally carrying a pistol if you care to read the article, but it was the AR-15 the caused the citizens complaint and rightly so.

          If I saw some asshole walking around my neighborhood armed like this moron CJ Grisham, I'd have the Harris County Constables on his ass in a heartbeat and I'd be backing them up with my custom AR-15 and my handgun.

          This encouragement of breaking firearms laws is not smart, it's stupid and asinine and will eventually get someone severely wounded or dead!

          Encouraging such ignorant behavior is NOT civil disobedience it's a prescription for disaster and death :eek:
          • This commment is unpublished.
            bleh · 8 years ago

            I'll bite - but first, the "why" is not important, if you are a lawful concealed carry holder. Walking a long a country road it Texas, where it is common to run in to a feral hog or a cougar, yes, carry a rifle. Why a rifle and not a shot gun - feral hogs and cougars charge. Rifles, in particular, the AR-15, have an effective range of 00 meters, it does not have kick pack and can aim with this weapon.

            SO while you're talking about encouraging this "behavior" what behavior are you talking about, the right to self-defense and protection? The 2nd amendment of the US constitution is the outcome of a protracted war of colonies separating from the England, this was done with weapons, not negotiating. The founding fathers, in particular, Thomas Jefferson, wanted everyone to have the right to bear arms, so that the people would be armed and ready for the next revolution. So when you describe "encouraging behavior" what exactly are you talking about?

            An AR-15, is not my choice, but I don't live in that area where I'm walking alone or with one person near and prey for a cougar or in Florida and a gator springs up - those are top down predators. I live in a high rise building, I'm more worried about home inturders and that would be close contact if that were to happen, but I keep a loaded pistol in my house and in my car, because I don't want to be car-jacked.

            You're so quick to judge CJ's reasons - I have to ask, what are your reasons? What situation would you have to be in, if you followed the law to learn how to operate, own and handle a weapon and have a uniformed officer harass for carrying your weapon within the provision that the law provides? What if that officer put a pistol to your head for no reason and said that laws don't apply to him? That is the corner of the second amendment to the constitution, the government is not to have more weapons than it's citizens.

            But tell me, what would be your reasons? threat of someone attacking your family, would you have time to load a weapon, because some asshole thinks you need to be unloaded to feel safe? It's about leveling the playing field that is the 2nd amendment.

            So what are you encouraging here? Other than unsubstantiated accusations. CJ is still an active duty Master Sergeant in the US Army, stationed in Ft. Hood.

            What are your reasons?
            • This commment is unpublished.
              kelly burgess · 8 years ago
              in the article everyone agrees that hogs and cougars are not an issue in the area .
      • This commment is unpublished.
        woodNfish · 8 years ago
        "There is NO Open Carry in Texas"

        That law violates the second amendment and should be ignored.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
          Yeah that's it, be a dumbass and encourage every other dunbass to be likewise. :sad:

          Hope you have a lot of money to bail you and your friends out jail and pay fines for being stupid :-?

          I feel that the 19 8 and 1986 Firearms Control Acts are a violation of the 2nd Amendment in my book, but I don't have enough money or votes to repeal them and thus freely own a machine gun, but until the Supreme Court or the piss-ant politicians overturn same we are stuck with them and I'll have pay the outrageous prices for full auto and then subject myself to unannounced visitations from the ATF, HHS, and FBI just to "check" on same :sad:

          The way to change laws is to be politically involved and active, not sitting on your fat ass railing against the Government, because in reality the Government is YOU! :-*

          SHALOM 8)
    • This commment is unpublished.
      mrvark · 8 years ago
      I completely agree with your statement:

      "But there has to be a way of restraining the nuts while leaving the innocent alone."

      However, the Obama/Holder regime has repeatedly demonstrated their unwillingness to enforce laws they don't agree with while zealously enforcing 'laws' that don't even exist, but they wish did. They frighten me and I don't support giving them one more inch of rope to hang the rest of us with.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Austen · 8 years ago
    Excellent writing... well told....
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dennis ODonnell · 8 years ago
    Her credentials do not certify that she is fair minded and unbiased, merely that she is educated and well compensated.

    Her bias was flagrantly displayed. I take offense on behalf of Shriners everywhere (though not a Shriner myself).

    Im not sure why Michael Yon thought this piece worthy of redistribution.

    PS... I dont believe in carrying guns in public.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Barbara Lawrence · 8 years ago
      My grandpa, a Shriner for over 55 years, would laugh out loud in his deep, hearty bass voice, toast you with his scotch, then look over at me and wink, saying, "He's a damn fool."

      RIP J Fred Lawrence, Jr
      Akdar Temple
      Tulsa, OK
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
      Do you where your own knee pads in the presence of CJ Grisham or the ones he provides for all his sycophants with his ill gotten donations!!
      • This commment is unpublished.
        woodNfish · 8 years ago
        Grisham may be the lowest belly-crawling piece of scum on the planet, but he has the same rights as you and if you support taking away those rights, you do harm to yourself as well.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heath · 8 years ago
    Hi Barbara, I read your article about the Grisham trial. One thing came across my mind, Why does he need the business cards of criminal & civil lawyers. I can not help but wonder if CJ Grisham also has books at home from the author John Grisham. That would not surprise me if he does. I would strongly encourage you to attend the Nov. 18th trial. I am a Texan living in Pennsylvania and would like to know what is going on with this case. Threatening a fellow soldier in-country with death during Afghanistan then he gets sent home only to be in a potentially lethal confrontation with the police and his son could have witnessed his last day on earth. There are too many red flags for me and I hope he is sent to Huntsville Prison on November 18th. I do feel bad for CJ Grisham's wife & children but I have seen different types of soldiers. Both good and bad soldiers. That is clearly not the behavior of a good soldier. I hope CJ Grisham's wife & children are able to heal somewhat with CJ Grisham at Huntsville Prison. Just my opinion.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Barbara Lawrence · 8 years ago
      This is a Class B misdemeanor, meaning the penalty is a $2000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Huntsville prison is not an option.
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        Heath · 8 years ago
        Thank you Barbara. Wish there was something more the prosecutor could have done to put CJ Grisham away. Maybe the U.S. Army will do something with regards to the stolen valor case putting him in the brig. I do not know what the laws are but I know Texas has a strict & strong sense of justice.
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      bleh · 8 years ago
      There are photos of the mass removed from the back of his skull - it looks like a melon scooper carved out flesh and stitches over it. Michael Yon spins a yarn about what CJ has done. Whenever an investigator tries to follow-up on Yon's claims, Yon never follows through, nor will he cooperate with his own complaint. He just makes more accusations here on his lame blog site. Since he gets his rocks off on making up shit about CJ on websites, it's fair game to correct the narrative posted here.
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    Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
    To the idiot Grisham trolls who wasted no posting, here you are as stupid, asinine, and ignorant as he is!!

    CJ Grisham is a disgusting and vile bully, a disgrace to the US Army that let him stay in way too long, and threat to everyone in his near vicinity as a mentally ill kook who should not have ANY weapons, PERIOD!!

    He will be the next media "gunman" barricaded is his hovel while the SWAT teams try to talk him out, but will ultimately go down under a hail of gunfire trying to be the hero to his small minded group of mentally challenged followers.

    CJ Grisham and his ilk are NO friends of the gun rights issue, instead there are an anathema to all reasonable gun owners and the NRA.

    Idiots like Grisham and his ilk are used by the media as poster children for the anti-gun leftists who use said morons to convince non-gun owners that stricter gun laws are needed to protect us all from such jerks!

    CJ Grisham should be under constant surveillance by the government in case he and his looney followers try a Waco standoff. His children should be under CPS protection and his wife committed for psychiatric evaluation and de-programming!

    CJ Grisham is a threat to society and those backing him will come to see what a threat he is but it will to late, sorta like Jim Jones and the Kool-Aide Kamp!

    Get ready Temple, TX you are done with the mouse slayer and nutbag, CJ Grisham!!
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      bleh · 8 years ago
      that he's served with in counter-intelligence commands and what are the odds that they will surveil him before they surveil you and have legal precedence to do so? that kookie enough for you?
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      Burp · 8 years ago
      Steve Ermis, is that you?
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    Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
    As an addendum to my last post which I blasted out in rather a hurry due to my aggravated state that a mentally unstable person like CJ Grisham is walking around in broad daylight with fully loaded AR-15 confronting police officers.

    I would like to state emphatically that this MORON, CJ Grisham is lucky that the officer who confronted him was as restrained as he was!

    If that idiot, CJ Grisham, would have reached for his weapon here in Harris County, TX as he did, he would be a DEAD MAN, in front of his 15 year old son.

    The fact this so called "decorated veteran" is purposely being confrontational with sworn officers of the law while armed with an AR-15, is indicative of just how mentally imbalanced and dangerous this asshole is to everyone, not just the police!

    Someone in the State of Texas law enforcement needs to rein in this crackpot and have him civilly committed for the safety of everyone in his vicinity!!
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      bleh · 8 years ago
      His decorations are public record and documented. The president of the united states shook his hands. And that police officer put a gun to CJ's head in front of his 15 year old son and never once asked CJ to put his rifle down to inspect it, he just charged him to take it from him - which is illegal search and seizure and not to mention incredibly dangerous of the police officer to do. If he was so alarmed from the get-go, why would put his hands out to reach for his weapon first and then pull his weapon. If he was alarmed from the jump he would have had his weapon drawn first. The police officer was embarrassed that CJ knew his rights and got an overblown ego about being punked out. And before you call me a psychophant - the motherflippin dashboard videos all verify what I just wrote as having happened. The police officer even admitted under oath to having lied to his supervisor and lying on his report. That officer is the dangerous one.
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    woodNfish · 8 years ago
    The deputy had no right to stop Grisham, search and arrest him. Grisham did nothing illegal, the cop did, and Grisham has every right to defend himself against an abusive government official, including using deadly force, which he did not do. He didn't assault the cop, the cop assaulted him and he defended himself. Every citizen has the right not to be subjected to unreasonable search and arrest.

    Cops murder innocent and unarmed people in this country everyday in alarming numbers. They are as much a threat as any armed criminal. More so in fact, because they have lethal training.

    The cop violated Grisham's 2nd amendment rights. if I was on the jury, nothing else would matter and I'd find him not guilty. If Grisham had shot the cop dead defending himself I would not find him guilty for the same reasons.
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    woodNfish · 8 years ago
    I am unable to edit my comment. The last sentence should read: "...I would not find him NOT guilty for the same reasons."
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    Mike Morgan · 8 years ago
    I'm not a fan of Grisham; but the way this article is written makes me think maybe he was in the right after all...

    She went in looking for some way to squash him like a bug.
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    Bill Brent · 8 years ago
    Grisham reminds me of a Boy Scout leader - a full grown man - I encountered when I was a boy and at Summer Camp about 45 years ago. He had "a following" of young boys who were enamored of him and couldn't see through his show-offy bluster and swagger. They would willingly volunteer to hold a small stick, or one of the Scout leader's cigarettes, while he used a bull whip to snap it out of their fingers. But it wasn't as though this guy was expert with a bullwhip or anything. He wasn't a circus performer you could rely on to make a perfect hit every time. He was just a wannabe. And every now and again he'd hit some poor young kid's hand. I guess they were lucky he wasn't competent with the whip because he could have taken some skin off hand or snapped a finger. The guy made my skin crawl. And I was just as repulsed by his sycophantic followers. I wish now that I'd told my own scout leaders about him. But this was years before child abuse became a issue, and I was just a kid who wouldn't have known what to report him for. In my eyes he was just a really creepy guy to be avoided. And I felt bad for the young boys who'd been sucked into his orbit.
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      Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
      Bill your description of the jerk Scout Leader could be retold over and over in different guises throughout history, especially today :sad:

      Just look at the recent idiocy by so called "Scout Leaders" in Goblin State Park :sad:

      To many of our young men are being exposed to these bad apples and being led down the errant path to perdition :sad:

      We have a massive lack of parenting skills in this country and the new generation I see coming up are walking disasters looking for a place to happen! I see it regularly in my own extended family :sad:

      I fought hard and long to keep my children from the wrong path but it has not been easy in a lame-ass society that points to bad behavior to justify bad behavior :-?

      And that is part and partial to just what is going on here :eek:
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    Kevin · 8 years ago
    Barbara Lawrence = ignorance.
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    el757 · 8 years ago
    Couple of comments:

    First, great summary. I have a couple of nit-picks but otherwise, really great.

    Second, calling a civil attorney (rather than a criminal one) when arrested is a pretty common response. This is true for a variety of reasons but mostly because there are more civil lawyers than criminal lawyers and more people need a civil lawyer at some point in their life. Both of those things mean that people are more likely to call a civil lawyer (especially when coupled with the fact that a lot of people don't know the difference haha). My firm, which is purely civil, gets lots of calls. Most of our litigators can handle the initial stuff pretty darn well until they can pass it off to a criminal specialist.

    Third, it is the responsibility of the prosecution to turn over evidence like that supplemental report written by Menix. Prosecutors can be fined, lose their licenses or even go to jail over failure to disclose before trial. (Note: it's extremely unlikely to happen here for a variety of legal reasons I don't care to type out and I'm specifically NOT accusing the prosecutors of misconduct.)

    From CJ's FB comments as well as the news stories I've read I suspected that Blue wasn't handling this well and your report reinforced that suspicion. Still, it's hard to judge without being there so I reserve any official opinion on his skills.

    All in all, thanks again.
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      Barbara Lawrence · 8 years ago
      I appreciate your clarifying and I will certainly keep your points in mind. It always helps to have the advice of an expert in the field.
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    Brian Carlisle · 8 years ago
    I have seen this story for awhile on various news sites and watched the youtube video of the incident thoughts are that this seems to me to be an oddly written story...just my opinion, an odd video but understandable given the circumstances, an odd encounter and an odd reaction from the police, no disrespect intended and not wanting to debate specifics.

    The major point with me is that I read a news article and I don't remember where.... it was reported, that there is an ongoing feud between Michael Yon and this individual. There was no mention of what the feud was about. The only reason it caught my attention is that I love reading Mr. Yon's articles and I recognized his name.

    I would hope that Mr. Yon would expand on this.

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    Burp · 8 years ago
    (Comment Removed by Webmaster due to Profanity)
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    james everard · 8 years ago
    I did notice you among the group. I'm the tall army veteran you dedicated a paragraph to. Ill agree, I do speak a lot when I'm bored. Ill say I'm from wisconsin, not Michigan. But, to be honest, I'm not a part of the trial. So the location of my home state didn't matter. I do have to say that your story is very well laid out. I did notice a few facts and statement you left out that are very important to the defense. But, this is your writing, not mine. I am sorry that some of the supports of the group treated you will little respect and called you a spy. I hope you will not allow that to keep you from the next trial. If so, I will make sure to stand by your side. Not to show that I'm no longer part of cj's group, but rather to show that I support freedoms. You have just as much right to be at the trial as I do. I'm sorry if my comment is poorly written. I'm attempting this on my phone. And as you wrote, I am just a mechanic.
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      Barbara Lawrence · 8 years ago
      Also, thank you for your kindness and support. It's still early yet, and I haven't yet decided about returning for Trial #2. You have a very good idea of what freedom really means. I apologize for getting your state wrong.
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        Local Citizen · 8 years ago
        Living in this community with the recent Open Carry sittings at a local hamburger establishment in Temple, The Gin in Belton on the banks of Nolan Creek and at the Temple Walmart has me increasingly concerned about who these people are and what is their mental health condition. I read Barbara Lawrence story on the Grisham trial and find if he is found innocent of the charges, it will embolden a disturbed man. Since his arrest last Spring I have been researching this man whom many trumpet as their leader and a cult her what I have found out about him only increases my concern for my community not to mention the damage he is inflicting on his immediate family and the military's reputation. Now I discover he is looking into seeking some political office. Not sure which one, but will this ever end with him?
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      Barbara Lawrence · 8 years ago
      I hope you didn't take my description of you as condescending. I was trying to paint a picture of various people attending trial. You helped pass the time better than any people there. I especially liked your description of French women (not printable here) and of a man who put over a gallon of oil in his Honda Civic.
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    Hugh Jass · 8 years ago
    Dear Ms. Lawrence:

    Thank you for sitting through Grisham's trial, and thank you for publishing your account.

    Some criticize you because you are critical of Grisham. No rational observer could disagree with you.

    Grisham desperately wants to be a 2d Amendment icon. Moreover, Grisham wants to be famous. Grisham has a history of mental illness, and his historical conduct has been polarizing and belligerent. Grisham would be a disastrous 2d Amendment icon. Grisham needs a psychiatric evaluation, and he needs to be banned from carrying firearms, including while on active duty.

    Grisham may have a Top Secret clearance, but I suspect that he will not retain it. His conduct is questionable and his judgement impaired. Grisham parades around with an AR15 draped across his back, uploading pics of himself standing in line at McDonald's and Starbucks. He makes the US Army look stupid and incompetent, and his commanders must wake up. If Grisham crosses the line to physical violence before his commanders finally rein him in, they should be on trial with him.

    As a senior sergeant, Grisham is supposed to set a good example. He sets a very bad example, endlessly blogging while on the job, even when down-range in combat zones, milking injuries to avoid physical exercise and physical testing, and madly seeking opportunities for self-aggrandizement. Grisham claims that he singlehandedly cleared Iraqi trench lines with a grenade and a pistol and apprehended high value targets. His Bronze Star reads like it should be an Army Commendation Medal, mentioning no specific, particular, distinct valorous incident, and the award needs to be reviewed and potentially downgraded or revoked. When you look at Grisham's behavior over time, it is obvious that he preplanned his dispute with Temple PD. Grisham is an attention whore, a pathological narcissist, and the Army should punitively discharge him.

    That the US Army permits Grisham to retain his rank and his clearance makes the Army look incompetent and foolish. This is the same Army that granted a Top Secret clearance to Bradley/Chelsea Manning, and employed the terrorist Nidal Hasan as a psychiatrist. Grisham's commanders are incompetent. He should have been reeled in long ago.

    I hope that you will attend the retrial.

    Your ardent admirer,

    Mr. Hugh Jass
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      Cheryl · 8 years ago
      Great read, thank you Ms. Lawrence. Something you said stuck out to me when the young man with the silver cigarette case asks you for a light and then tells you that he has a "friend" upstairs helping Grisham is there any more information as to what he meant by that? Very curious that it was a 5-1 hung jury in favor of Guilty, maybe that is the "friend" he was referring too? Pure speculation on my part but it did stand out to me. Hope you attend the next trial.
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        Barbara Lawrence · 8 years ago
        I don't have any specific information about who he was referring to. He may have been lying for all I know.
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    Hugh Jass · 8 years ago
    You are a gentleman and a fine American.
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    another Michael · 8 years ago
    Aside from what I think about the case and the defendant, this was a awfully hostile piece, if only You consider the description of the multiple participants in court.
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    Tommy · 8 years ago
    Is the " bleh " C.J. Grisham. ? :-*
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    Tommy · 8 years ago
    To C.J. Grisham: Even if you shook hands with the president. You are still in the army and you are supposed to act like one. The police officer was brave enough to get your rifle not knowing if it was an AR-15 or a M-16. The fact that a child was nearby made the police officer Stephen Ermis act with courage and wisdom. Officer Ermis defused the situation. The fact that you had a police officer point his pistol at your head when you refused to comply with his demands for the officer's safety and that of your son's safety as well your own safety shows me you are the dangerous one. Nobody walks around with an AR-15 or M-16 on a Boy Scout trip. I have heard enough to know you are crazy in the head. Why would you post pictures of a pistol with a bayonet compromising yourself as a soldier. I want you out of the United States Army. You are a disgrace to the uniform.
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    Tommy · 8 years ago
    Sir, I respectfully request the United States Army tries C.J. Grisham for stolen valor in a military court.
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    FZelaya · 8 years ago
    As I was reading this article it struck me how it read like a John Grisham novel (ironic?).
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    Austen Lennon · 8 years ago
    It was well written and gave some colour and insight into the trial..... ignore the armchair warriors who want you to be impartial.... just like MSNBC. :P
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    Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
    Not the scribe!

    Barbara you have a future as an eyewitness reporter and chronicler of the facts.

    You have entered a world of excrement though in becoming a part of the "gun rights" furor!

    As you can readily see by the comments attacking you, me and others who have called out CJ Grisham for the mentally unstable individual that he willing, and seemingly, joyfully portrays.

    This is a spoiled child in a mans body. A child that is clinically insane, but is shrewd enough to fool many with his obtuse rhetoric and bravado.

    Being a medical doctor you have to know that this will ultimately end badly for CJ Grisham and those around him, if he does not seek and get the mental health rehab that he appears to need so badly!

    Someone needs to reel this guy in and soon, or I fear we will have another mass shooting incident or worse!
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    james everard · 8 years ago
    As many of you who fallow this case, I'm afraid most all of you are missing the core of the story. It goes beyond grisham and gun rights. And I understand how easy it is to fixate on a single charter such as cj. But you must look past that and see the true issue. The fact that the DA is fishing for any charge they could get to stick is downright stupid. If it is such an open and shut case, why are they dropping it down to such a vague charge. And if you look at the explanation of the charge, it translates to if you don't do what an officer says exactly when he says it, you have broken the law. I have been harassed myself by bell county officers. And I'm sure if any of you were to be pulled over then asked to do something you felt to be wrong and refused. Then being arrested for interfering with an officers duty would enrage you. And I'm sure you are now saying to yourself "I would never walk around in public with a rifle". That doesn't matter. That is beyond all that. This is about police over stepping and making up the law as they go. It may be for the "crazy gun nuts" now. But who is next? If you allow the people who are supposed to enforce the law to bully the people and entice their own agenda, what's next? And lets also remember that open carry of a rifle is legal in Texas. And the law also states that the possession of a weapon is not means to assume a crime has been committed. Yes, the officer has the right to disarm if he feels his safety is an issue. But the way he did it is not only not text book, but can be considered assault and a violation of the 4th amendment. Since then most all departments in Texas have designed procedures to how to deal with people openly carrying firearms. And guess what? The arresting officer was far from conducting himself in a professional or appropriate manor.
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    Justme · 8 years ago
    Mm121244 is that you CJ?
    Very well written article. While I feel both parties could have handled the situation better, it actually makes me sick watching how a senior NCO behaves. This is no doubt a way to make himself feel important. You stated Ermis received threats. I know this to be 100% true. His address was posted by one of Grisham's sheep. Sad that this man has blown what could have been merely a discussion into a soap opera. In the YouTube video you clearly hear Ermis tell him something along the lines of once he knows he's ok to have the gun he will be on his way. If Grisham had complied this court case wouldn't even be a factor. Of course then he wouldn't be able to sue the city for monetary gain. Just my opinion.
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    another Michael · 8 years ago
    From what I've heard of him so far, I have to state, that I don't simphatize with the defendant.
    However, everything he did, was within his rights to do.
    If I was on the jury, I'd actively fight and argue for his acquittal. Those constraints on the powers that be are there not only for the nice guys, they equally defend assholes. If you don't like this fact, change the law, but as it stands, the case is clear to me.
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    Lisa46 · 8 years ago
    Why is CJ Grisham not committed to the pyschartic ward of the V.A. hospital in a padded cell ? I used to work at the V.A. pyschartic ward and CJ Grisham is the kind of man that needs to be brought to the pyschartic ward. CJ Grisham is insane and a danger to the public.
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    Hazel · 8 years ago
    Excellent article Barbara. I don't think I would have been as kind in a recount of the trial proceedings, and other observances, but then again I'm not as nice as you. I thought Officer Ermis showed great restraint, and actually accommodated Grisham by letting him give the phone to his son, when truly he shouldn't have for his own safety. Grisham was completely uncooperative. Ermis couldn’t even talk to him. I heard Grisham’s sheeple complain that the Officer didn’t tell him why Grisham was being stopped or arrested. Grisham kept talking over the Officer, interrupting the Officer, shouting, insulting, and being belligerent. All the officer wanted to do is find out what Grisham was doing because he got a call. Because he got a call, he has to investigate. He just didn’t drive by and see Grisham, HE WAS ON A CALL. Grisham’s online lackey’s willfully ignore this key point. Grisham CHOSE to create a world of s*** for his family. What was REALLY disturbing was watching Grisham mouth his words on the video as they played it in court. He is so enamored with himself and his behavior, he looked like he was ready to orgasm right there in the court room while watching it. He’s watched that video hundreds of times. It was profoundly disturbing to watch his reaction to the video. The guy is a narcissist. He doesn’t care how this is affecting his family, except to use how it has affected them to garner pity. It’s sick. I could go on and on about what I saw and heard, because several things made me very angry. But I will say, it pisses me off how badly these people are hurting the open carry movement. The big picture escapes them. We’re ALREADY allowed to open carry long rifles in Texas. With freedom, comes responsibility.
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      Hazel · 8 years ago
      It is not responsible to alarm people, or expect a Peace Officer to forgo standard safety procedure. How would Grisham, his wife or their sheeple have liked it if I stood up in the hallway of the courtroom and ran off a string of expletives? In front of their kids. One woman kept sitting by us, and accused Barbara of “staring at the children”. She said we were trying to intimidate them. We were in the hall while the jury was deliberating. Often we looked up toward the door where this group was hanging out. It’s hard not to sit there and be watching all goings-on. It’s boring. And we certainly were not staring at the children. And if we did look at them, SORRY, but that’s not illegal (more Grisham-think hypocrisy). Apparently this chick thinks it’s okay to run around with an AR15 and not expect attention, but we can’t look at people. Right. If she or anyone else was intimidated by us, I’d say that would be a personal problem. We were just sitting there writing or talking amongst ourselves. So, if just looking around disturbed this chick, I would imagine she and her buddies would have blown a gasket it I started swearing in front of the kids. Well here’s a news flash for them: I should have done it. BECAUSE I CAN. My First Amendment rights protect my ability to do that. But because I’m responsible, I wouldn’t. Be responsible with your freedoms. Isn’t that what we tell Liberals all the time?
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        Rhino · 8 years ago
        There was once a famous quote by a well known man
        "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

        Sure you have the right to swear all you want in public, becuase you can, but once you begin causing discomfort for other people, you have lost that right by infringing on there freedoms. So you using that threat shows how contemptful and Spiteful you are.

        Now while I agree that the whole situation is a complete clusterf**k. It could have been avoided by both parties discussing it reasonably. Could CJ have handled it better, yes. Could Officer Ermis conducted himself more professionally yes.

        What this boils down too it two type A personalities not wanting to back down. While Grisham could have spoken with less cockiness, he was well within in rights to be doing what he was doing regardless of if the officer had a call to investigate it or not. Ermis, when confronted with someone that knew their rights and called him on that, resorted to the unprofessional act of being a authorty figure and a Im the law attitude most (not all) law enforcement officers resort to when confronted by a person that knows their rights and stands their ground. Ermis has no resonable suspicion that CJ had committed a crime, in the progress of commiting a crime, or will commit a crime. Being on a call does not warrent a stop or a detainment, or a seizure of property. Ermis went for CJ's gun right away. Would you stand there if someone suddenly and unprovoked reached for something of yours?
        I am a resident of NC, a active duty service member, with multiple deployments aswell. I open carry 98 percent of the time, and well versed in the laws that allow me to do so. I have only ever once been approached by a law enforcement officer unprofessionally. I remained calm while the officer did what he did, I cited my rights, he ignored and used force. I did not resist. I had witnesses but unlike CJ I was not recording (which now I do for reasons after the fact) The officers supervisor finally arrived and I was released and apologized to and the officer was repromanded and retrained. All becuase a citizen made a call of "a man with a gun" I had both my 12 year old daughter and 4 year old son with me at the time. While I never pushed for a lawsuit (which I was well within my rights to becuase the supervisor apologized for the situation and promised that it would be handled. To this day I remain in touch with the Supervisor and the Officer that acted how he did, as we shoot together often.
        While some people are the way they are, I do find this article to be one sided and biased, which is why I find it published on Micheal Yons page. Who has a long standing vendetta with Grisham for percieved threat that was unsubstantiated long ago. ( I wont go into my feelings on Yon as it is not related to this subject) This article goes to further Yon's cause to defame Grisham.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Hazel · 8 years ago
          Thank you for making my point. I knew someone would. Apparently you didn't read Barbara's account, or you weren't in the courtroom. My "Because I can" statement was tongue-in-cheek, and referred to Grisham's statement on the dashcam video, after the Peace Officer asks him why he's carrying the rifle. Grisham smarts off to the Officer like a little punk and says, "because I can". A simple explanation, would have sufficed. If he had been friendly and explained, nothing would have happened. But he CHOSE to run his mouth and act like a jerk. A responsible citizen would have told the Officer what they were doing. But not Grisham. Because Grisham is on a mission other than the boy scout hike. YOU pointed out that once someone starts causing discomfort, they are imposing on other's freedoms. That's very curious because Grisham did/does just that. He and his band of misfits try to go places with their weapons to get a response out of the police. Like TCBY Yogurt. In this case (the hike) someone called the police. And yes, because there was a call the officer has to investigate, because to do otherwise constitutes negligence. So, you're wrong on that point. Grisham was contemptful and spiteful to the officer. He is contemptful and spiteful toward my freedom to open carry, because he's making a mockery of it, and I resent him doing so. He is also wasting mine and other's taxpayer dollars with his shenanigans. He is irresponsible amongst many other things. Maybe someone needs to give him a dose of his own medicine. Like swearing in front of his kids. That is the point. He doesn't get it, and neither do the people who are glorifying his folly. If you think Ermis is a bully officer, you're crazy. Grisham was LUCKY that officer was on that call. Grisham started interfering with the officer being able to conduct his duty the second he smarted off to the Officer. Thanks to Liberals and their lawyers, we have a weak penal system, and our law officers have a very difficult time doing their jobs. This headcase is doing the same thing to them and to us.
          • This commment is unpublished.
            Barbara Lawrence · 8 years ago
            I'd like to take a moment to thank Hazel for her invaluable observations and recollections during during the trial. She helped pick up on many things I might otherwise have missed.
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            Rhino · 8 years ago
            I see where you were going with that. I do agree CJ was cocky and could have used better wording then " Becuase I can" . But also the Officer should have taken the proper escalation of force measures before trying to simply grab at the man gun with out so much as a "Sir put down the rifle" If someone is doing this to get a rise out of someone, or to make a scene I am in complete agreeance with you that hurts our effort to promote open carry.

            But at the same time if people do not open carry, and educate the public and law enforcement of the legality of open carry , and do so in a mature manner. Open carry will eventually go the way of the concealed carry in New Jersey (sure its allowed, we just wont give you a permit to carry so you cant). Look at people like Markedgaurdian on youtube. The intent is to actually engage with law enforcement, so that the officers actually know this is a legal exercise of the open carry right. and if you watch the videos on youtube, they go both ways.

            While assholeish as he was with the "becuase I can" comment to the officer, He WAS well within his right to say that. Simply saying that is not interfering with the officers duty. Nor did the officer have any right to reach for the gun or attempt to handcuff Grisham, that is unlawful detainment and unlawful search and seizure right there. The Officer never told him to put the weapon down or attempt to peacfully disarm him. He simply went in for the submission. That is very bullyish and heavy handed. (( Thats coming from two LEO's one with 28 years, another with 1 years )) Now Grisham did not comply and did resist in my honest opinion. He did make a spectacle out of it. He did milk this for what its worth, but according to some LEO's around here, once Ermis violated Grishams right by unlawful detaining him intially them coming up with a charge afterwards, it makes the whole resisting arrest /interfereing with a police officer in the line of duty stuff erroneous, and here I hardly doubt it would hold up in court. If it even made it that far.
            But you are right, displays like that do hurt the cuase of positively promoting open carry. While I never go out looking for a altercation with law enforcement, I do now make sure I have the means to video record or audio record the event if one does happen. My family knows that if something was to happen during a time when I am OCing, to begin recording and not get involved. They have my lawyers buiseness card. Funny thing is I was told to do these things and have them prepared by a law enforcment officer. Will I post it to youtube and try to make a huge deal of it. Not unless the law enforcement try to press some BS charges.
            As for the penal system, I whole heartedly agree, it is weak and should be stricter. But one the right cases, not these cases that will "make a point" and Law officers do have a hard job. Like my friend said "Its under appreciated, and Im always the bad guy, but its my job"
            • This commment is unpublished.
              woodNfish · 8 years ago
              "Law officers do have a hard job."

              Oh BS! Cops are mostly overpaid report takers who spend a large amount of time harassing law abiding citizens to make their ticket and arrest quotas. The thug cop who harassed and arrested Grisham proves my point and you, rhino, and Hazel are delusional morons. Cops commit a large part of the crime in this country, including drug dealing, extortion, vicious assaults and murder. Idiots like you two are why they get away with it.
              • This commment is unpublished.
                Hazel · 8 years ago
                The median salary of a Temple police officer is $46,47 , source: Considering they spend their days dealing with criminals and fools, this salary is abysmal. If you think Ermis was a thug, woodNfish, then you must be a real puss. He was way more tolerant than most officers would have been with that clown. Was it a well executed stop? Probably not... but it is clear Grisham deserved the charge he is on trial for. Anyone who has a brain cell firing can look at those videos and see that. 5/6 of the jury saw that. You said, "Cops commit a LARGE PART of the crime in this country". LoL. A large part, eh? Like, 90 percent? 80 percent? Site statistics and sources please. I want to see this.
                • This commment is unpublished.
                  woodNfish · 8 years ago
                  "... they spend their days dealing with criminals.."

                  No they don't.
                • This commment is unpublished.
                  Rhino · 8 years ago
                  Wow, I make more then that. And all I do is shoot guns all day for a living.

                  Also dont ask him to cite statistics and sources. Its going to blow his mind that people actually want to see facts and not blindly follow the raving madmen and his words.
                  • This commment is unpublished.
                    woodNfish · 8 years ago
                    There are no statistics that I am aware of for the crimes committed by cops, judges and prosecutors. The cop who arrested Grisham committed a crime against Grisham - do you think that will get recorded as a crime? I don't. A few years ago cops beat and kicked a man into a coma in a local city here. The union claimed it was "justified". They were all suspended with pay and then put back on patrol months later. They should have been prosecuted for assault and attempted murder, Do you think that was recorded as a crime statistic? No, I don't either. The pigs in DC murdered an unarmed mentally deranged female driver a few weeks ago while she had her infant baby in the car with her. These "highly trained" cops couldn't stop her with their vehicles - no they had to kill her! Do you think that will make the crime statistics? Gee, I wonder why not. Go figure.
                    • This commment is unpublished.
                      Hazel · 8 years ago
                      WoodNfish, I'd like to caution you then about making statements you cannot verify. Without such verification, it is a lie. Stats do not come out of your ars. BTW there ARE statistics on that, and everything else law enforcement. How do you think they adjust their selection processes & training? It is very naive to state there are no statistics. That is an ongoing process that will never cease. The Peace Officer that arrested Grisham committed no crime. Temple PD would have put him on administrative leave immediately if he had screwed up. PDs these days are more likely to throw their Officers to the wolves than support them (another down-side to being a law enforcement officer created by knobs like Grisham, and Liberals), so the fact that Ermis has not been taken off patrol speaks volumes.
                      • This commment is unpublished.
                        woodNfish · 8 years ago
                        Oh BTW Hazel,

                        Were any of the cops who committed the mass murder of 8 men, women, children and babies, and violated the human rights of the Branch Davidians in Waco, TX ever charged with their crimes? Some of those babies were less than two years old. But before they murdered them, the cops tortured them for 51 days.

                        How do you justify that in your mind?
                        • This commment is unpublished.
                          Hazel · 8 years ago
                          That's ironic you should ask, since David Koresh suffers from the same disorder Grisham appears to. I think it's alarming that you don't hold Koresh responsible for his part of that incident. Just like you don't hold Grisham responsible for his part. Very telling.
                          • This commment is unpublished.
                            woodNfish · 8 years ago
                            You're a very useful tool Hazel. The police state depends on unquestioning fools like you.
                            • This commment is unpublished.
                              Hazel · 8 years ago
                              Who isn't questioning? You are not, actually, woodNfish. You'd rather feverishly follow a madman than require your brain cells to fire. You're the willfully ignorant tool, actually. You actually think that a police officer doesn't have to question someone about what they're doing if he gets a call on them. Once again, if Grisham wouldn't have acted like a jerk, the officer wouldn't have taken control of his weapon. The officer has to ascertain what is going on. How would you like it if one of your kids was nabbed. Or something bad happened to them... and someone had seen the perpetrator beforehand. But they didn't call. Because actually, he was doing nothing illegal. You just don't know. Or if they did call. And a police officer just saw him standing there watching your kids. But didn't do anything. Not even a question. Because he wasn't doing anything illegal. See, that's how that works. And why Grisham should have just said, "Gooday officer, I'm just on a boy scout hike with my son... " etc, or whatever. I'll bet if something happened to yours or your friends kids in an instance like that, you would find the officer negligent. That's the ignorance in your line of thinking.
                              • This commment is unpublished.
                                woodNfish · 8 years ago
                                Well bless your heart Hazel, you sure are a good little nazi.
                                • This commment is unpublished.
                                  Hazel · 8 years ago
                                  I get sick and tired of you Liberals calling Conservatives Nazi's when you can't win a debate. I'm for open carry. Why wasn't Grisham open carrying his pistol, if he believes in open carry? Because he's trying to abscond money from the City of Temple by harassing police officers. Which in turn comes out of the pockets of the citizens of the City of Temple. That pisses me off. And in the process, because of his lack of responsibility, government will do what government does in these cases and stiffen up the laws on carrying such weapons. Thanks to this idiot. We're more in jeopardy of that happening than we were before he pulled this stunt. I think what we really need to worry about right now, is our ability to OWN these weapons, which is in jeopardy. Not taking on people who support our rights. Grisham is in this for the money and the attention. He doesn't give two shyts about the repercussions to the community, state or his family for that matter.
                                  • This commment is unpublished.
                                    Rhino · 8 years ago

                                    he cant open carry the pistol because its actually against the law to open carry a handgun
                      • This commment is unpublished.
                        woodNfish · 8 years ago
                        The incidents I wrote about are documented through newspaper and TV reports. There are hundreds more on the web, many with video.,, and the cato institute are only a few of the sites that accumulate and document the thousands of abuses committed by cops against citizens every year. And the cop who assaulted and arrested Grisham did commit a crime and should be prosecuted for it. Do you really think those pig bastards are going to charge him with one? Keep dreaming. PDs NEVER charge their own with crimes even when its murder unless they absolutely have no choice and they will defend them to the very end before they do. Cops are members of the largest violent gang in the country. You have the DC example and one in New Hampshire about weeks ago where state police shot to death an unarmed woman whose only crime was speeding and then running from cops. There were more around the country, but there are too many thousands to follow.

                        Cops should be disarmed. Then maybe they would be peace officers.
                        • This commment is unpublished.
                          Hazel · 8 years ago
                          Once again, the officer committed no crime. Grisham should have acted like the NCO he tries to portray himself to be and been respectful instead of a mouthy jerk. You know, I see what's going on here. You're one of those pinhead anarchists that think our nation would be better without police. Or, disarm them as you state. Like that would really be effective. You're the same kind of ilk that think we should hold hands and sing kumbahyah with Iran and North Korea. Ohhhh where's the PEACE you cry... LMAO! You really think it would be peaceful with unarmed police. LMAO! Thousands of incidents? Where's my stats? With source. And don't give me some anarchist site, because I'll laugh my ars off at you. I'm sick of you Liberals doing everything you can to weaken our justice system.
              • This commment is unpublished.
                Rhino · 8 years ago
                You my good sir are a f*cken a$$clown. You resort to calling people morons for a portion of there post that you dont like but you leave out the part that is similar to what you are raging about. I did say most cops will act illegally and un professionaly to get their results. Did you not read that moron?

                Next I said its a tough job, because of idiots like you that make them all out to be bad guys. They have a job to do just like you I hope. But you get irrate if he pulls you over for speeding and gives you a ticket. Hes suddenly the bad guy because he caught you.

                while I do not condone big brother. And I believe thr constitution is being slowly stripped away because of stuff like this. I believe in the 2nd amendment. I just do not want grisham as our poster child.
                • This commment is unpublished.
                  Hazel · 8 years ago
                  "I believe in the 2nd amendment. I just do not want Grisham as our poster child." GREAT quote. I think the NRA agrees with you.
                • This commment is unpublished.
                  woodNfish · 8 years ago
                  I've read all your posts rhino, and while you bemoan cop abuse you seem willing to tolerate it.
                  • This commment is unpublished.
                    Rhino · 8 years ago
                    Quite the opposite, I and many of my friends will stand against cop abuse. Its simply done in a better and more professional manner this said ways Grisham has gone. And we have gotten better results from remaining professional, which we as soldiers are.
                    • This commment is unpublished.
                      woodNfish · 8 years ago
                      Well, good luck with that rhino. I know my desire to have them disarmed will never happen. I went to school with a cop - he used to brag about how he was now getting back at every person he had a petty little grudge against - like the history teacher in high school who gave him a D. He is a punk and a thug with a badge and a gun, and he is your average cop.
            • This commment is unpublished.
              woodNfish · 8 years ago
              So according to you, a person who thinks his constitutional rights are actual rights is "assholeish". People like you are why the thug cops get away with their abuse.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim Parker · 8 years ago
    If I can get a $1,000,000 insurance policy, maybe a membership in the National Association for Legal Gun Defense is worth $150/year. As long as I get a good lawyer, not a “family law or general [practitioner].”

    The Bell County Justice Complex is far from “a modern stone and glass facility.” Maybe 15 years ago, but not now. And I’ve never been in the jail part of it, but I doubt there’s much glass (or stone unless you consider concrete to be stone).

    Bell County lives and breathes military, so of course he wore his “his full dress Army Service Uniform, though it is only required at military court martial.” Just like police officers always wear their dress uniforms when testifying or going to funerals but nowhere else. Fort Hood is probably the biggest employer there, and if the wind is from the right direction, you can hear the tanks firing anywhere in town.

    I worry about these open carry, in your face, walk down the middle of main street guys. But as far as I can recall none of them have ever gone postal. The only reason why I would support open carry is so that you don’t get arrested if your “concealed” carry accidentally becomes visible, thereby breaking the law. I know the Leg supposedly fixed this problem the last time they were in town, but there are still plenty of cops who'd love to throw you on a car hood if they find out you are carrying, even if it's legal. Rough you up and take your gun first, follow the law later.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Rhino · 8 years ago
      I completely agree with your comment, most cops would throw you on a car hood if they find out you are carrying, even if it's legal. Rough you up and take your gun first, follow the law later. That is what we need to stress to our law enforcment. They are not exempt from the laws, they are not above the law. If more so it is there duty as a "Civil Servant" to follow the law more closely in regards to their official duties. Most cops now a days have a sense of entitlement, that they are more then the avergae citizen and thus have power over them. They feel they are the law rather then upholding it. They feel they can pass guilt or innocence and not the jury. And when confronted with someone that will not submit to their unlawful displays of power, they resort to the common trend of saying someone was resisting arrest, or interefering in their execution of duty.

      Now do not get me wrong, Not all officers are like this. I have met many well respected officers that act profession and are willing to work with people. They are a rarity among officers, though and typically do not make it far in there organization becuase of this. Again, some but not all
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Yon writer · 8 years ago
    Note: My webmaster deletes posts with profanity, links to pornography and to milkook sites like Blackfive or Soldiers' Angels.

    Blackfive accused me on a national radio program of being disembbed from Canadian forces in Afghanistan -- but there was a catch: I was never embedded with Canadians. This is normal for milkooks and we do not waste time with them. Other kooks say -- despite well published and researched stories otherwise -- that I was kicked out of the Army after a fistfight in which a man died. We have no time for such kookiness. I stayed in the Army about four more years and was on two Special Forces A-teams. The entire story is recounted in my book “Danger Close.”

    The truth is that Grisham saw no combat in Afghanistan and was sent home after complaining of mental instability. He brags that in Iraq he --by his lonesome -- captured eight of the "deck of cards" top enemies. He did not. I asked him Brigade commander this week to confirm this and he did not even respond.

    Grisham claims to have taken out an entire Iraqi squad with a 9mm pistol and a grenade. Nothing supports his claims. His Colonel will not even respond to questions about it. Grisham is a milkook, not a war hero. He is the face of stolen valor.

    Stolen valor cases respond in four general ways:

    1) Admit guilt and ask forgiveness
    2) Run silent and hope it goes away. For barroom blowhards it might go away. For people who stay in the news, it does not. It grows.
    ) Dig in and make counteraccusations to muddy the water. (Grisham.)
    4) File or threaten to file lawsuits. (Grisham.) In fact, less than a year ago, a case of stolen valor (pumping up creds) filed a lawsuit against dozens of members of the special operations community. This got him even more press, the lawsuit backfired, and it got worse for him. Now he owes money to people he sued.

    Again, we have zero tolerance to links to pornography or to milkook sites. It lowers the discourse. Profanity is deleted when seen. I do not read all comments but will check a few from time to time. If you see these things, please alert me:
  • This commment is unpublished.
    another Michael · 8 years ago
    Again, this case is clear. No white man walking along a road with a minor deserves this sort of treatment. The acting officer have had no way of establishing the character of the defendant by the single statement of "because I can". BTW, he was legally correct, despite the "law" charging him for the challenge. This particular case might be decided in the court of law, but I warn you, the issue will be not.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      woodNfish · 8 years ago
      What has his being white got to do with it? Rights are colorblind.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    another Michael · 8 years ago
    There are a lot of folks comin' home from the 'stans who will not take shit. I' ma warning ya, better take heed before the freedoms they were fighting for abroad eludes them @ home....

    Need I say more?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Hazel · 8 years ago
    Yeah, well perverts can say what they want to your kids, too. BECAUSE THEY CAN (First Amendment). But a RESPONSIBLE person wouldn't. /10/ 1/ok-to-talk-dirty-to-minors-texas-court-rules/
    Grisham is irresponsible with his rights. I think what we really need to focus on is making sure we can own the weaponry/firearms that we choose. Picking fights with people who support open carry is just butt-stupid, and frankly makes zero sense. Grisham is illogical.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Stevesean · 8 years ago
    Blew's office is near a Waffle House, well at least he has that going for him!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    GOFUC KYASELF · 6 years ago
    Barbara Lawrence = C U N T
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    ? · 5 years ago
    Why wouldnt he just drive up to where he was going?
  • This commment is unpublished.
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