Rosenberg Arrested on Weapons Charge

Fantasy author Joel Rosenberg was arrested December 8 for bringing a loaded gun into Minneapolis City Hall a month ago.

He is charged with possessing a dangerous weapon in a courthouse, a felony, and contempt of court, a misdemeanor, for his actions on November 5 – events he recorded in a video available on YouTube.

Rosenberg and his wife appeared for a pre-arranged meeting with Sgt. Bill Palmer, the Public Information Officer for the Minneapolis Police Department. Rosenberg’s video of the encounter with Palmer, a subsequent video mocking Palmer, and a letter to Palmer that Rosenberg posted to one of his websites, are described in a story on the local Fox affiliate’s website:  

“You can’t have the gun in the building period,” Palmer said on a YouTube video recorded by Rosenberg. “If you want to make a point, I can arrest you.”

After a couple of minutes, Rosenberg agreed to leave, and after removing the bullets Palmer gave him his gun back.

“Please do not reload it until you are outside the building,” Palmer told him.

Rosenberg later poked fun at Palmer in another video that shows him pulling a half-dozen guns and a knife out of his jeans, while wearing a t-shirt that reads, “I am not armed, please don’t hurt me.”

He even posted an open letter to Palmer on his website, which said, “When you stupidly lunged at me to grab my knife and gun, you didn’t watch my hands. One of them was on my backup gun, the other was within an inch of my backup knife.”

Rosenberg disputes that City Hall is part of the courthouse. The charges say it houses a conciliation court on the third floor. A sign in the hallway connecting Minneapolis City Hall with the county Government Center states that weapons are prohibited by district court order.

Rosenberg is the author of Everything You Need to Know About Legally Carrying a Gun in Minnesota and instructs others about the state’s permit to carry law according to his Minnesota Carry Permit Training website.

County records at the time of writing show he is still in sheriff’s custody.

Additional details are available in stories on the local CBS affiliate website (Police: Man Brings Handgun, Knife Into Mpls. City Hall) and in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Man charged with bringing loaded gun to City Hall).

[Thanks to Steven H Silver for the story.]

4 thoughts on “Rosenberg Arrested on Weapons Charge

  1. If Sgt. Palmer had thought Mr. Rosenberg an actual danger to life or property, he would have arrested him at the meeting. It’s clear that he was not, as the weapon was returned to him and he was asked to please not reload it until he left the building. The YouTube video shows him saying “You said the magic word.” It is clear he was making a political point about respect to private citizens.

    It is also clear that this arrest was prompted over a month after the incident by Mr. Rosenberg’s video and web postings mocking the officiousness of the Minneapolis Police Department’s attitude toward private citizens carrying firearms. He pointed out that the emperor was wearing no clothes, which as Lazarus Long might have said, is always a capital crime.

    The CBS affiliate story which claims that numerous (unnamed) people complained that Mr. Rosenberg might be a danger to the public and that’s what prompted the arrest is an indication of how this will go. Voir dire will be used to make sure that a jury is impaneled which is ignorant of or has no regard for the Bill of Rights and an Example Will Be Made of him.

    Bullies hate it when you make fun of them.

  2. Or maybe it means Mr. Rosenberg felt disappointed after making the extra effort to surreptitiously record his encounter with Sgt. Palmer that it only showed a cop doing his job politely, so he felt it necessary to announce very loudly how he had violated Minneapolis’ policy about guns in that building and shame the police into arresting him in order to create the cause celebre he always desired?

    Lazarus Long did hold the opinion you mention — but did Lazarus Long ever record a video daring authorities to make an example of him? Please research and report back!

  3. I don’t think that kind of hand-held video technology existed in 1973, when Heinlein wrote Time Enough for Love, except in the t.v. movie Probe and it’s follow-up series Search.

    No, I don’t think Lazarus would have done that. I think there’s another note in the “Notebooks of Lazarus Long” which applies, the one about the pact with another boy to call their mothers “Crosspatch”, a pact broken faster than the Hitler/Stalin pact of 1939 once he got a peach switch used on him for it.

    Tickling the dragon’s tail, poking the hornet’s nest with a stick, measuring the amount of U-235 you need to make an atomic bomb by adding a gram at a time, there are all sorts of metaphors which apply. I hope I haven’t done the same by putting my name on this, but anonymity can be cowardly and you wouldn’t respect it, nor would I have self-respect for doing it.

    Mel Brooks put it well:

    “I was never crazy about Hitler…. If you stand on a soapbox and trade rhetoric with a dictator you never win…. That’s what they do so well: they seduce people. But if you ridicule them, bring them down with laughter, they can’t win. You show how crazy they are.”

    But he said that in an interview with U. S. News & World Report, not in Germany before the war.

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