Dirty Traverse Exclusive: Family Waits for Answers, So Far No Charges

This is going to be a very sensitive topic and I hope I do justice to telling their story, especially since it doesn’t appear that justice is going to be forthcoming from law enforcement.

Here is what the mainstream news and your government isn’t telling you:

*My sources are police reports. Anyone can review these police reports using the Freedom of Information Act. Ask for Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department case numbers 2020-00006097 and 2020-00006469.

Several points:

This is what happens when a society prevents (or at best, discourages) people from walking into a building for mental health care while allowing them to walk into a building to buy a gun. This individual was isolated from getting the help they needed, and they should have had a right to seek in-person mental health services if they so chose. This is what happens when a society isolates humans in general.

Noelle Moeggenberg did not issue guidance as to how she would be addressing violations of the stay at home order. She did issue cease and desist letters, and she mulled over charging a tree company for cutting down a tree in someone’s yard. So why hasn’t she authorized charges in this case where serious harm occurred? She did not sign onto the letter from neighboring counties whose sheriffs went on the record saying they weren’t willing to enforce the stay at home orders, so why isn’t she enforcing the orders? Perhaps if she had come out with stronger guidance at the start of the orders, businesses would have followed the orders more closely.

People with mental health struggles are no less worthy of our care and society’s consideration than people without mental health issues. Access to mental health services is for the very protection of people who need them; not the people who don’t need them. Can we drop the local mentality that people with “problems” (like criminals or the mentally ill) don’t matter as much? These are the very people that we need the best laws and services in place for. Not to say “oh well, they were vulnerable” when there is a breakdown and harm results.

I can tell you why Noelle wouldn’t charge this. There isn’t one person in that prosecutor’s office who could take this case and win it, when the defense would lawyer up with some really good defense attorneys with second-amendment-loving backers who would mop the floor of Noelle and her office. Alternatively, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office would probably be chomping at the bit to prosecute this case. Perhaps Noelle could swallow her pride and ask for help. And not take a year to do it. *cough Todd Ritter

This was a failure of our laws and leadership of Grand Traverse County and the State of Michigan. It continues to be a failure of our laws and leadership. It was never so simple as shutting down non-essential society to “protect” us all. It was, and is, so much more complex that that. And people have gotten hurt. And the media isn’t telling you about it.

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There are a lot of other stories that came in this week. I hope to get to them all.

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4 thoughts on “Dirty Traverse Exclusive: Family Waits for Answers, So Far No Charges”

  1. Thanks for reporting this case.

    My personal opinion is that gun stores should be open and that they are essential. We could have a robust debate. But that is not the point here. It is moot, or should be.

    This case raises interesting questions regarding the potential harms that can result in that asymmetrical situation – when mental health and other important community services are closed and rogue gun stores are selling as fast as they can.

    And there is also the potential harm from the reasonable expectation and belief that the gun stores are closed, because those highly regulated businesses would comply with the order, right? And our prosecutor would enforce that order, right? Because it is her job, she took an oath of office, and it is what she is paid by taxpayers to do.

    Family or friends could reasonably assume a troubled family member would be unable to purchase a gun at a gun store due to the order. But then you have a store like this one, that apparently went rogue, cashing in on the fear of societal collapse.

    There are also the fundamental questions of law and fairness – that some non-essential businesses comply with the law and close, while others go for the fast buck. Who gets rewarded?

    Time and again we saw some businesses blatantly ignore the law, putting profits first. Apparently nothing happened, due to our doolittle inconsistent prosecutor.

    Has this gun store ever sold guns to the county? Have they ever sold guns to deputies? Have they ever sold guns to Moeggenberg or her family? Do they offer a discount or other incentives to law enforcement?

  2. The store in question was not the only one that continued to conduct business. In April, Michigan background checks (for firearm purchases) increased by 112%.

    What’s the motivation for implementing a nonessential order if it’s not going to be enforced and has no impact?

    My guess and that of many others: Second amendment rights – state cannot infringe. Many felt emboldened by a March 28th revision to Department of Homeland Security guidance that deemed the gun industry an essential business during the pandemic.

    I am deeply saddened to read that someone chose to end their life because mental health services were not available and they were suffering greatly. Therein lies the real issue. We are in desperate need of mental health services and options for patients and their families.

    1. Someone could of taken him to the hospital for treatment they do have a psych ward also why was the gun store open it’s not essential to be open it’s not hunting season and not everyone in tc needs to arm themselves prosecutors are not doing their job if you are police you can do what you want take the case of Todd Ritter he was never charged for misconduct I think many things failed this man but if he wanted to commit suicide he would of found a
      Way to do it whether it was a gun or pills etc

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