Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Blumenthal Applies Judicial Thumbscrews To Gun Manufacturers

When George Jepsen moved into the office vacated by Attorney General Dick Blumenthal, he found files cluttered with old unresolved whistle-blower cases, 699 of them, all bubbling and boiling on back burners. Very quietly and without much fuss, Mr. Jepsen closed 513 of them. Mr. Jepsen at the time told the Associated Press that the number of cases he dismissed in which “something meaningfully wrong is going on,” was small. The mass of old cases spoke volumes about the methods employed by Mr. Blumenthal.

Step 1) summon – and sometimes recruit -- complainants; step 2) compile affidavits, some of which were ghost written and enhanced by Mr. Blumenthal’s staff; step 3) issue to a friendly media a torrid press release containing as yet unproven allegations; step 4) seize assets whenever possible; step 5) wait… one month… one year, two years… for the business under legal assault to collapse; step 6) when your victim has been impoverished to such a point that he can no longer afford adequate representation, make him an offer he can’t refuse.

In time, the victim, dragged through agency hearings and courts the way Hector was dragged around the walls of Troy, will be amenable to an expensive settlement, after which – and only after which – he will be lifted from the litigation rack.

In ancient times, Alexander the Great and Nero were accustomed to wring confessions from their victims by stretching them on a rack, a painfully discomforting ordeal, but someone had to do it.  Mr. Blumenthal’s methods as Attorney General were more refined, but no less effective. Facing torture by prolonged poverty-inducing litigation, who would not yield eventually to such ungentle persuasion?

In moving from the Attorney General’s office to the U.S. Senate, Mr. Blumenthal has taken his most successful vices and few of his virtues along with him. If Senators could put out shingles, Mr. Blumenthal’s would read: “U.S. Consumer Protection Senator Blumenthal, Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.”

Following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School by a disturbed man who shot his mother and appropriated -- presumably without her permission; why else would he have shot her? – a cache of legally acquired weapons, Governor Dannel Malloy and frazzled legislators passed what has been called one of the toughest “gun control” bills in the nation. The legislation failed to control gun violence in Hartford, Connecticut which, years after the passage of the bill, was cited as the murder capital of New England, no small accomplishment. Mr. Malloy’s much touted gun control legislation did not assign additional years in prison to criminals who use illegally acquired guns in the commission of crimes. The bill overlooked gun violence in cities suffered by minorities and violent gangs, a connection obvious to everyone; consequently, it did not prescribe additional sentencing for gun crimes committed by gang-bangers. If such defects in Mr. Malloy’s gun control legislation troubled Mr. Blumenthal’s often wounded moral sensibilities, he kept his troubles to himself. As Attorney General, Mr. Blumenthal was much in the habit of recommending legislation that would rectify intolerable conditions, when it suited his political predilections.

As Connecticut’s first consumer protection U.S. Senator, Mr. Blumenthal has placed himself in the forefront of the battle against drones for Christmas, animal cruelty, Sports Fantasy Sites, rubber used in turf fields – and more, much more. Mr. Blumenthal is less concerned with a treaty, not called such, between President Obama and Iran, a sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere, that showers Iran with billions of dollars of pre-treaty impounded money and fairly winks at the production of nuclear weapons in a country that has pledged to run Israel into the sea.

Headline: Blumenthal Urges Caution When Buying Drones For ChristmasHeadline: Bravo To Blumenthal For Fighting Animal Cruelty
Headline: State, Federal Officials Seek Answers To Sports Fantasy SitesHeadline: Blumenthal Calls For Federal Study Of Rubber Used In Synthetic Turf Fields

All very well, such headlines cast an aureole around Mr. Blumenthal’s head. But what Mr. Blumenthal really wants is to be able to muscle gun manufacturers by suing them whenever an eighteen-year-old gangbanger in Hartford shoots another eighteen-year-old gangbanger in Hartford.

In 1999 -- thirteen years BEFORE  events at Sandy Hook -- Mr. Blumenthal filed suit against Connecticut gun maker Colt Manufacturing Company in West Hartford and Sturm, Ruger & Company in Fairfield seeking $100 million for the costs of gun violence, including police overtime, health care, lost business opportunities and decreasing property values. Last year he took to the floor of the Senate to cast shame on his fellow Congressmen for having declined to support a bill containing provisions that shadowed Connecticut’s restrictive gun legislation. And most recently Mr. Blumenthal – who, along with U.S. Senator ChrisMurphy, appears to be suffering from a disabling case of hoplophobia, an irrational fear of guns -- has co-sponsored a bill that would, if enacted, repeal the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a measure designed to protect gun manufacturers from the rending jaws of suit-prone lawyers such as himself. Under Mr. Blumenthal’s bill, gun manufacturers may be sued out of business if a weapon they manufactured found its way into the hands of gangbangers in Hartford who illegally acquired and used the assault weapon – any weapon used in an assault is by definition an assault weapon -- in the commission of a crime.

First as Attorney General and now as U.S. Senator, Mr. Blumenthal has had abundant practice in using the legal system – an inescapable judicial maze in which prosecution victims can be bled dry of assets -- to shut down businesses that resist his cloying and possibly unconstitutional importunities.

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