It’s always a risk commenting on court cases that are in progress, because until they’re settled, you just don’t know for certain if you have all the facts.
But based on what’s known publicly, the officials who are pressing felony charges against 18-year-old emergency medical technician Jordan Wiser are out of their freaking minds, and the chain of events that led to his prosecution smacks of the grossest sort of tyrannical overreach that makes the worst nightmares of George Orwell look like a smurf cartoon by comparison.
(I’m trying to err on the side of caution here.)
Wiser was enrolled at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus in Jefferson, Ohio, where he was training to be a firefighter. He is a certified emergency vehicle operator and works as an EMT when not attending school.
“Last year, I completed the law enforcement course,” he told the Huffington Post. “I received several certifications, including the National Terror Defense certification from FEMA, the Terror Recognition certification and Emergency Vehicle Operator.”
But in early December, based on a “tip” that Wiser had uploaded videos to YouTube, school officials demanded to search Wiser’s car. According to the Huffington Post, they found two legal Airsoft pellet guns in his trunk (he had planned to go play the sport later that day), an apparently legal stun gun for self defense in the locked glove box, and a pocketknife in the pocket of his EMT vest for use in cutting seat belts in emergencies.
The authorities are telling the same story, albeit with a slightly different spin. According to the Star-Beacon news website, “Inside the vehicle they discovered a Taser, four gunpowder pellets, a Colt 6mm air pellet rifle, a 9mm Glock air pellet handgun and a tactical vest containing a knife.”
So, according to officials, it’s not just any stun gun, it’s a scary Taser. And the Airsoft guns aren’t just toy sports equipment but a scary Colt 6mm and a scary Glock 9mm (pellet guns, in small print). And the EMT vest is now a scary “tactical vest,” which I think means it has scary pockets.
I’m not sure what gunpowder pellets are for, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess it’s either got something to do with making your own ammo or making those little popping things kids like to throw on the ground, and I’ll go further out on a limb and note that gunpowder “pellets” that aren’t attached to bullets don’t sound terribly dangerous. Or scary.
Remember when pocketknives were tools, not deadly weapons? Apparently, the authorities in Jefferson don’t, because they arrested Wiser, threw him in jail for 13 days and are now charging him with a Class 5 felony for “illegal conveyance or possession of dangerous weapons or dangerous ordinance on school property,” according to the Star-Beacon’s report on the case. The focus seems to be the pocketknife, which Wiser says he bought at Kmart, unless “gunpowder pellets” are seriously being put forth as ordnance.
It’s not clear what exactly set off the school authorities or if anything has been removed from the YouTube page, but the account in question seems to be a collection of video game reviews, interviews with law enforcement personnel, songs and a mishmash of other personal interests. Videos about home defense may have been what triggered the alarmist response.
Wiser says he didn’t give school officials permission to search his car, they had no warrant, and his request to have an attorney present was denied. School officials say Wiser gave them permission to search his car.
He said to the Huffington Post, “The principal said he had reason to believe I had weapons in my vehicle and needed to search it. He made me empty out all my pockets, and the vice principal grabbed me and patted me down very forcibly. It was somewhat awkward. Then they took my car keys. I told them what was in my car and said, don’t be alarmed.”
“I was in jail for almost 13 days,” Wiser said. “The first bond hearing I went to was on December 15. The judge ordered me held on a half million-dollar bond, pending a psychological evaluation. I did that and passed. They found I was not suicidal, homicidal or a threat to anybody. My attorney brought it up in front of a different judge, who let me out on a $50,000 bond and an ankle monitor. I was released from jail on Christmas Eve.”
At this point, not only has Wiser been expelled, but he’s been discharged from the Army’s Future Soldiers program. Also, he says that conditions of his bond prevent him from seeing his grandfather, who is dying of cancer.
“The one judge I went in front of told me to remove any firearms from my parents’ house and put them at my grandpa’s house,” Wiser said. “The next judge freaked out about me even knowing what a gun is and put a no contact order against me and my grandparents. My grandfather is dying right now, and I am not allowed within 500 feet of him.”
The prosecutor’s office sounds like a den of typical overreacting, scaredy-cat liberals.
Chief assistant prosecutor Harold Specht said, “There are all these school occurrences where people are shot, people are killed by other students. We see it every day … so we don’t take these things lightly. … We have to be sure that we don’t have a potential for something like that to happen here.”
Because school shooting occur literally “every day,” as Specht says, and everybody remembers the great Airsoft-Pocketknife Massacre of ’03. …
Honestly, I wonder if these people still sleep with teddy bears and plastic sheets.