Shame

This morning as I was getting ready for work, a horror was beginning to play out in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut. 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his mother and then went to Sandy Hook Elementary School where she taught and murdered 26 innocent people – including 20 children.

I have seen no shortage of hurt, sick and dying children in my profession. The one thing I have thankfully never had to see is a child dying of a gunshot wound. Contrary to what gun control advocates would tell you, small children don’t die of GSW’s very often. I run on child drownings several times a year, but in six years I have yet to run on a single child killed by a gun.

Unfortunately the statistics mattered none today. It almost seems as if Lanza was bent on killing mostly children. Unsurprisingly we don’t know the motive. In less than 24 hours, though, what innocence we had left has been shattered by a terrifying monstrosity that we never would have imagined in our worst nightmares. Tonight, the parents of 20 young children are sitting in shock. They know their children aren’t coming home, but they have not yet been officially told. The investigation has barely begun.

I had resolved this morning that I would not write about this so soon, but it cannot be helped. News was still fresh when some in the media began going after those who have been affected by mass shootings in the past. Some urged caution in how we react, but the media was really after statements from those who now advocate gun control. Several have angrily said that it’s the availability of guns in America that makes these tragedies possible.

Has anyone ever wondered why all of the mass shootings that happen here in the US always take place in so-called “gun-free” zones, places like schools that have strict zero-tolerance policies? Shooters go to those areas because they can inflict maximum casualties and nobody will fight back – because they can’t. Paducah. Jonesboro. Littleton. Aurora. The Oregon mall shooting just a couple of days ago – and now, Newtown. Malls and movie theaters in states where open carry is allowed almost always post signs telling patrons not to bring their legally-owned weapons inside, which is their right; the only problem is that the bad guys do not care about the rules any more than they care about the law. Murder is illegal, but they still commit it. We’ve made heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines illegal (among many drugs) but people still abuse those substances at rates that are unbelievable. I fail to understand how anyone believes that making guns illegal is going to solve the problem.

I’m not a parent, but I am an aunt. When I see things like this my mind goes into overdrive. I can’t even comprehend what my reaction would be if I were this powerless. I’ll tell you this, if some thug threatened any child (especially one in my family) in my presence, he would not survive the experience. If I’m watching those kids and someone breaks into the house, there will be no question nor any hesitation – I will make sure that person can never harm them again. We should be absolutely furious with anyone who dares to try to do harm to our kids. We should not be begging or pleading. We should be ready to do fatal damage to anyone who tries to harm or kill a child in our care.

Instead, we have gun-free zones. We want everyone to FEEL safe. I almost never go to the movies and avoid malls like the zombie apocalypse because I would be a sitting duck in those places. While I can understand some victims wanting to have a “discussion” about guns in America, I would rather they look hard at how we treat criminals and those who would become criminals. We’re so willing to become violent over politics, but we’re not willing to defend ourselves? How did we become a nation of people who would rather leave the most defenseless among us completely helpless in the face of evil?

Stop trying to make sense of this. There is no sanity involved. There is nothing even remotely normal about a 20-year-old gunning down a room full of kindergarteners, and trying to normalize it is just as insane as the act itself. One or two armed teachers could have stopped this before it happened. A gun could have saved lives today. Instead, the bright lights of 26 pure souls were extinguished.

It’s a sin and a shame that we weren’t willing to do more.

The Criminal Revolving Door Keeps Turning

The original post on this issue is over two years old – and it’s still getting attention and comments. Here’s the latest comment from someone who wished to remain anonymous (although I do have the IP):

“excuse me but isnt the deceased man just the same like the so called murders you r talking about.hes been in prison to.i read he is a user to.so dont judge nobody.i dont think your family is so called perfect.thank you.”

Oh, I’m so glad you commented, honey. I’m about to light into you, but before I do, allow me to regale everyone with the short-version story.

Rene Enrique Durgin and his girlfriend, Patricia Denise Mayhorn, committed an armed robbery at a car wash in Glendale, Arizona – then led police on a chase through town. They ended up crossing over into Phoenix. After Glendale police called off the chase and let them go, the pair invaded a home near 35th Ave and Dunlap where they happened upon a couple in their mid-50’s. Durgin (it is believed to have been Durgin) shot both of the residents, killing the male. The female survived, albeit barely. Police arrived to find the 9mm handgun in pieces scattered throughout the home and Durgin admitting to having fired a weapon quite recently, though not willing to admit to the killing.

I quickly wrote a piece about it. Normally the first person to stand up for the police – particularly Glendale, as a close trusted friend was the first Glendale officer to be shot to death in the line of duty – I asked why they called the chase off during a time when few were on the road and they had suspects in a violent crime who would likely go on to commit another crime.

I also asked why these two had been allowed to move in and out of the justice system so many times. Both Durgin and Mayhorn had done time before and their crimes had continued to escalate, yet judges with soft spines kept giving them slaps on the wrist and admonishments to clean up their acts. Then we ended up with this mess. Now we have a friend of Durgin and/or Mayhorn posting to this blog some of the most ridiculous tripe I have ever read in my life.

You see, hon, regulars on this blog know that I’ve been a corrections officer. I know that argument by heart. If I had a dime for every inmate who tried to put the blame for something on me because MY family isn’t perfect and his victim somehow deserved what he’d done, I wouldn’t be working in EMS today. I’d be independently wealthy. I am going to tell you all of the things I used to tell them.

Don’t give me that “I don’t think your family is perfect, either” bullshit. We’re not talking about me and mine, we are talking about YOU. What YOU did. The choices YOU made. I’m not the one in prison – YOU ARE. That’s not because I was better at hiding anything; I have obeyed the law my whole life and respected other people and their rights regardless of what wrongs they have committed. I had very little as a kid, but my family never took anything that wasn’t ours nor did we expect anyone else to pay our way. We always made the best with what we had and that ethic has paid off. You’re right, we’re not perfect – but we have done right by everyone around us. That is the only thing anyone has ever asked of YOU, and YOU have failed that task. Because YOU have stolen, robbed, assaulted, used illegal drugs, and killed people, YOU are paying the penalty and YOU are the one we’re talking about.

I do not care what the victims’ crimes may have been. It’s interesting that you mention them, because the victims’ names have not been released publicly and I haven’t even been able to get their full names from the prosecutors. Whatever their past crimes may have been, they did not deserve to be taken prisoner in their own home and murdered. You do not get to excuse yourself by pointing out that the victim may have wronged someone else. What the hell do you think the judge is going to say if you stand up in court and say, “but, Your Honor, he was a dealer! We got our meth from him! What I did wasn’t so wrong!” If I were that judge (or if the judge were Roland Steinle, and I desperately wish he were the one trying this case), I would ask, “who are we trying today? Oh, that’s right – YOU!” You know as well as I do that no judge or jury would accept such an asinine response from a defendant. Why in the hell would you dare try to use that line on me?

Do you think I’m that stupid? That childish? Do you really think that I’m going to hang my head now and go, “I’m sorry, I didn’t think of it that way…”? Should I slink away and act like my feelings are hurt? Every single time an inmate would attack another inmate or an inmate’s visitor they would always later say, “but they did…” I would always cut them off with, “I’m sorry, but how are you better than they are? Let’s recount the reasons YOU are here, shall we?” At that point, without fail, every one of them would say, “oh, and you’re miss perfect? How many relatives you got in here?”

With pride, I would say, “not a single one. They’re all out defending this country and your right to due process. You might wanna invoke your right to shut the hell up before that mouth gets you into more trouble than you’re already in.”

Take the hint.

Tragedy, Made Easy

It’s hard to think about what Jovan Belcher may have been thinking early Saturday morning when he shot his girlfriend at his home (in front of his mother, no less). In the past two days he’s been described as laid-back, jovial, hard-working and dedicated. It has even been reported that while he played for the University of Maine he joined the Male Athletes Against Violence Initiative. After shooting Kasandra Perkins, though, he drove to Arrowhead Stadium for Chiefs practice – only to thank his coach and general manager for what they’d done for him and later turn the gun on himself.

As tragic as this is, people can’t simply take in the gravity and mourn what’s happened. It wasn’t even 48 hours before leftists in the media were calling for an end to the “gun culture” in America. Bob Costas spoke of the issue during halftime on the broadcast of the Cowboys/Eagles game, agreeing with a Kansas City writer that “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.” Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News declared that “Murdering this young woman, 22, and then killing himself in front of his coach and his general manager was made easy by a gun, because a gun always makes it easier.” It hasn’t even been two days and too many people have pinned this on guns.

Costas quoted KC writer Jason Whitlock, who also wrote, “Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead.” While I agree with his remarks that Roger Goodell should have cancelled Sunday’s game in KC, I could not disagree more with one of his final statements: “Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.”

Here again, we see the phenomenon of those in a position of high visibility using a senseless tragedy to try to push an agenda. Rather than take a deeper look at society’s problems, they are quick to blame the gun. It’s easier that way because we don’t have to look at ourselves or ask what really does need to be changed – and how we got here in the first place. Blaming the gun absolves us of having to do or say anything that really might make a few heavy-hitters remarkably uncomfortable.

Sorry, Mr. Whitlock. It’s not the “gun culture” that drives young men to pull out the gats and start spraying rival gang members with bullets. “That gun was just irresistable, it made me feel like a man!” said no murderer, ever. I’ve been a corrections officer, and I know exactly what the problem with our culture is – but you don’t want to hear it. That’s why you’re so quick to blame a culture that really doesn’t exist in your quest for an answer.

When I was a kid, rap was just coming into the mainstream. Back in the 80′s, rap wasn’t nearly as violent as it is now. It wasn’t exactly peacenik music, but rap took an extremely dark turn in the 90′s when Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls (among others) came onto the scene. Suddenly, we had a new brand of “music” (if you could call it that) that glorified gang membership, selling drugs to get rich, flaunting illegally-gotten gain and being extremely violent. It carried the objectification of women to an entirely new level, even glorifying rape. Shakur was killed in 1996, but as of last year has sold 75 million albums. The man had the words “thug life” tattooed across his abdomen. Snoop Doggy Dog has sold more than 30 million albums to date. He’s a declared member of the Crips, was in and out of prison before making it big. As a convicted felon, he’s barred by federal law from owning a handgun but has been very proud in flaunting the fact that he has guns and has been arrested on multiple weapons violations. Dr. Dre founded Death Row Records, has sold tens of millions of albums and has launched the careers of some of the biggest names in rap, including Snoop, 50 Cent, Eminem and The Game. I won’t even bother trying to quote rap lyrics because most of it would be blurred out and the editors would still need me to apologize.

Video games are also vastly different than when I was a kid. I had Pong and Frogger when I was little, followed by Super Mario Bros. and Kid Icarus as a teenager. Nowadays? We have the Grand Theft Auto series, a wildly popular game that has the player building a criminal empire from knee-breaker to high-roller – usually while getting revenge on another double-crossing bad guy. That series alone has sold 114 million copies across five versions.

Does anyone really still labor under the delusion that guns, and not pop culture itself, are to blame for the rise in violent tendencies? I started off in juvenile corrections. If they hadn’t taught us the statistics of youth involved in crime in the academy, we certainly would have learned the common denominators while walking the beat – the overwhelming majority of kids who have been adjudicated as delinquent and sentenced to real time come from single-parent homes, and those that knew both of their parents had one (usually their father) who was a convicted felon. Most of them were woefully undereducated; in fact, I lost track of how many were completely illiterate. They couldn’t have told you the difference between a noun and a verb, but they could have excused their glorification of the thug life so eloquently that they could almost make a believer out of you.

We were once a society that frowned upon having a child out of wedlock. Now we’re seeing astronomical rates of illegitimacy coupled with rapidly dwindling interest in education (and when someone tries to say, “hey, I made a mistake, don’t do what I did,” they’re derided by the press – Bristol Palin comes to mind). Whereas education was once important to America, we’re now at the bottom of the global pile and we’re trying to defend the educational system that has been an abysmal failure since my childhood. We have so-called experts telling teachers not to grade with red ink and teachers who don’t believe in homework or giving a student a failing grade because it’s too negative – then we expect these ill-prepared children who have no idea how to grow up to go out into the world and make something of themselves. All of this while they listen to violent music, play violent games, and glorify the lives of hardened criminals who get featured on VH1 for writing music while in prison. Discipline has all but gone the way of the dinosaur as liberals have managed to blur the lines between discipline and abuse. All of this in the name of self-expression – a purely emotional concept that teaches extremes that children should be learning to control, not vent.

I don’t believe for an instant that Jovan Belcher was violent. I think he may have had head injuries common to NFL players that contributed to his tragic end. Let’s not kid ourselves, though – all of these people now claiming that the ease with which he obtained his gun and the supposed gun-loving culture we live in made this happen are deluding themselves. Rather than look inward to see what we could change, they’d rather find another culprit so they don’t have to question all of their other beliefs about life and society. It’s unfair to the families of Belcher and Perkins to shift that blame. It’s tragic for future generations that we’re not willing to be honest.

Twist And Shout

There’s nothing like a little bit of media bias surrounding a tragedy. We’ve been dealing with it for so long at this point that I’m pretty sure I’d miss it if they weren’t doing it anymore. Such has been the case since August 12, when an off-duty Chicago cop was attacked and had to shoot one of his attackers in self-defense.

The officer has not been named publicly, but there have been vigils held for the 26-year-old father who was killed that night. The officer was riding his motorcycle when a small child darted out into the road; he intentionally laid the bike down (biker parlance for deliberately wrecking it to avoid hurting someone while moving at a high rate of speed) to avoid hitting her, but the bike clipped her anyway. Her father, Christopher Middleton, came tearing out of the restaurant they were visiting in a rage and, along with his cousin, 18-year-old John Passley, began viciously beating him.

If it were me, I would be more concerned about my daughter than angry at the person who hit her. As soon as I made sure that she wasn’t bleeding profusely and was still conscious, THEN I would want to find out what happened. I sure as hell wouldn’t run outside, right past my injured child and immediately start beating someone. It would only make a bigger mess of things.

It resulted in a bigger mess when the off-duty cop had to pull his handgun and shoot Middleton. According to the victim and witness testimony, the beating was very brutal. The victim felt himself beginning to lose consciousness and believed that his life was in imminent danger. He pulled his sidearm and fired a single round right into Middleton’s upper thigh/groin area, clipping his femoral artery. He died at the hospital.

What’s more incredible than the story itself is that Middleton’s family is claiming that he was a great father and didn’t deserve to die – that he was just “going crazy” over his child. A great parent will be more worried about their child after an accident than they are about getting back at the other person involved. Middleton had no idea what happened. He didn’t stop to ask whether his daughter had run out into the street. Hell, it sounds as though he didn’t even stop to look at her. He barged out and attacked someone without knowing what happened, and he had no intention of stopping his rampage until his target was either maimed or dead.

The family claims that the officer never identified himself as a police officer. Actually, multiple witnesses say he did tell Middleton that he was a cop – Middleton reportedly said, “I don’t give a f***” and smashed him in the face. Even if he hadn’t, why should it have mattered? Would he have done worse to someone he knew wasn’t a cop? Does it excuse the fact that he attacked a man who appeared to be unarmed without knowing what happened? Is it supposed to somehow absolve him of his role in the tragedy?

The family is also demanding justice. For what? A man sees a kid jump out into the street in front of him, pulls off a very dangerous maneuver to avoid hitting her and unfortunately ends up clipping her anyway. He did what he could. After that, two men he doesn’t know attack him, knock him to the ground and beat him until he starts to pass out. What was he supposed to do? Would it have been better if the cop had fought back and killed him with his bare hands? What would you have expected him to do in that situation? It’s clear that the family was not only not trying to stop him, they were actively helping him.

The whole situation could have been avoided. Rather than admitting that he was an idiot, they’re claiming he didn’t overreact and the cop he attacked should be the one going to jail. Middleton’s mother has even sworn to get a lawyer and do whatever she can to get back at her son’s victim.

The press hasn’t addressed this ridiculous story except to turn everything back around on the man who could have died trying to avoid hitting a child. British publication The Daily Mail worded their entire article in an accusatory fashion. Other articles linked here talk about the vigils for Middleton, but no mention is made of the mental state of the off-duty cop who had to kill another human being. I promise you, he’s not taking it lightly. I’ve known cops who had to kill and not one of them ever slept well afterwards.

It’s always sad when a child is hurt. I hate those calls; even when the child is crying and responsive (which tells me that the child is breathing and conscious, not in shock), it breaks my heart. I cannot, for any reason, excuse the actions of Christopher Middleton. If his family has an ounce of intelligence, they will stop blaming the victim and set a better example for the children in the family. Keep close track of small children. Teach them to NEVER enter the street without looking carefully.

More than anything, however, don’t ever attack someone blindly. You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. If you do attack someone in a blind rage, you deserve the negative outcome – no matter how tragic the public may think it is.

Fake It

About a month ago, an acquaintance emailed me about a hate crime in Lincoln, NE. His only commentary was, “when are you going to wise up?” That remark was followed by a link to a blog post about the attack, including photos that couldn’t be posted by major news outlets. According to the story, an unnamed 33-year-old woman was viciously attacked in her home as she slept by three masked men who stripped her naked, bound her hands and feet with zip-ties, carved homophobic slurs into her arm and her stomach, spray-painted similar slurs on the walls, poured gasoline on the floor and lit the house on fire.

As soon as I read the story, I smelled a stage act. I didn’t want to immediately post about it because there wasn’t much info in the news reports I was able to find. The spray-painted slurs were on the inside of the house, not the outside – in the basement, no less. The slurs cut into her skin were on her stomach and arm, places she can easily reach. I’ve studied the psychology of people who commit hate crimes, and none of that makes any sense.

A person who would go so far as to attack a person for their sexual orientation or their race or religion is doing so in an attempt to humiliate and intimidate that person AND all of the people in the vicinity who are associated with that person. When a hate crime involves defacing property, they’re trying to publicly identify that person as gay, lesbian, black, Hispanic, Jewish, whatever the bias may be against. They want everyone in the neighborhood to know what they see that person as being. When a hate crime involves arson, they’re usually trying to destroy evidence; whether it be DNA, footprints or blood spatter, there’s a purpose to trying to burn the home down and they make sure that the fire gets rolling (meaning they don’t just pour gasoline on the Formica in the kitchen and run away). Hate crimes rarely involve mutilation – that’s typically something that a jilted lover does when they’re killing the object of their affection, and it’s not usually superficial. It’s brutal.

If this were a genuine hate crime, any of these things could potentially have been done. All three together, and all very superficially? Extremely unlikely.

Today, it was announced that 33-year-old Charlie Rogers, formerly #33 for the Nebraska Cornhuskers women’s basketball team, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of false reporting to the police. Among the evidence police released were inconsistent statements from the victim, gloves (with Rogers’ own DNA inside them – she told investigators they were not hers and were left by the perps), zip ties and a utility knife, and no blood on the bedspread where Rogers was allegedly attacked.

At first, Rogers didn’t want her name or face publicized. Then, when a handful of people questioned whether the attack might have been staged – it was never questioned by the MSM, and the major players in the conservative blogosphere still haven’t picked up on it – she suddenly decided to talk to the press. In the entire interview, I didn’t hear her talk about herself once. She makes statements about “my world” and feeling like “a pawn”, but she largely only talks about everyone else.

According to Lincoln police chief Jim Peschong, Rogers had written the following online: “So maybe I’m too idealistic but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me.” Beth Rigatuso, the president of Heartland Pride, said, “If in fact she did do this to herself, it points to a much larger issue of self-hatred. It doesn’t diminish the fact that hate crimes happen all the time all across the U.S.”

Rigatuso is wrong on both counts. This had nothing to do with self-hatred, and to claim that kind of thing is an enormous cop-out. She’s making excuses for Rogers’ behavior in the hopes of not having to accept responsibility, and the gay community should take some. She’s not the first to stage a hate crime or falsely claim a hate crime took place, yet the gay community, rather than calling these people out, pretend the incidents didn’t happen.

Joseph Baken claimed that he was attacked in the street outside a gay bar, even posted photos of his facial injuries – except he got the injuries while trying to do a back flip off of a curb outside the bar. Aimee Whitchurch and Christel Conklin called police over the words “kill the gay” being spray painted on their garage door and a noose being hung on their front door, but it was determined they did it themselves. Quinn Matney claimed that a complete stranger walked up to him on his college campus, said “here is a taste of hell”, called him a derogatory name and then branded him, leaving third- and fourth-degree burns on his hand – but he did it to himself. Ryan Grant Watson claimed he was attacked by a black man who called him a homophobic slur, but it was invented, too. Alexandra Pennell claimed that someone was stuffing anti-gay threat letters under her dorm room door at Central Connecticut State University, but that was also determined to be a hoax.

Rigatuso is correct – hate crimes do happen. Only it seems that these days there are far more fakes out there. We all know the stories of Mathew Shepard, Brandon Teena and Gwen Araujo, but here in the United States those stories are few and far between. In the interim, we’ve just had a major upheaval over comments made by Chick-Fil-A CFO Dan Cathy – I think that has a lot to do with this recent spate of staged anti-gay hate crimes. The purpose of these incidents, I think, is twofold: first, these are people who want attention. Second, they want to find some way, any way, to prove that we need to put a stop to these right-wing hatemongers.

They think if they have to fake it, the ends justify the means. The problem with that belief is that none of the people involved in beating, raping and killing Mathew Shepard, Brandon Teena and Gwen Araujo ever claimed to be Christians or right-wingers.

I’m at a loss as to how we’ve determined that Christians and conservatives are responsible for crimes committed largely by non-religious rednecks. I’m at even more of a loss to excuse the intolerance of the gay left; of the Quinn Matney incident, Jeff DeLuca said, “He still needs our support. It’s a different kind of support than we originally anticipated having to offer. He’s still a valued member of our community and we want to make sure his health, safety and peace of mind are at the forefront of what we’re doing for him.”

When was the last time a gay leftist was so compassionate to any conservative, let alone a gay conservative?

Obama The Liar

Eric Holder did a ridiculous tap dance yesterday in a 20-minute meeting to ward off continued advances by Rep. Darrell Issa to get to the bottom of Operation Fast & Furious. After apparently agreeing to hand over some of the documents requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Holder showed up at a meeting yesterday empty-handed. He “briefed” Issa on the documents and explained that he had written directly to President Obama to request that he exercise his executive privilege to stop the documents from being released.

Today, Obama did exactly that.

What’s really astonishing is that the Democrats on the committee defended Holder and Obama and had the unmitigated gall to admonish Issa for his push to vote Holder in contempt of Congress. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) defended Holder by claiming that he’d come in some kind of “good faith” gesture to work something out with Congress (if the man was innocent, he’d have nothing to “work out” with anybody) and saying that Issa had been holding the Attorney General to an “impossible standard” (I’m sorry, but I wasn’t aware that expecting the AG to hand over documents related to a severely botched gun running operation that resulted in the death of a US Border Patrol agent was an impossible feat). Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said she was quote “horrified” by Issa’s refusal to back down, characterized the move today as a political witch hunt and accused Republicans of “overruling” the President.

Yes, she really said that. The goofy Democrat from New York actually accused Republicans of overruling the President. What do Democrats call what they did to Bush in 2003 when he warned of a looming economic crisis? Remember that, Maloney? I’m curious, do you remember your “symbolic” vote in 2007 against Bush’s plan for the surge in Iraq? Moreover, I’d like to know what in the hell you call the immediate proceedings against Richard Nixon when Democrats merely smelled the possibility of his involvement of a coverup of the break-in at the Watergate Hotel? Democrats were brutal in pursuing him and his recordings, and rightly so – he deserved to be impeached. Where is the equal desire to hold your own to account for their crimes?

He’s the President, not the monarch. In our Republic, if the president does something that isn’t acceptable under the law Congress has every right to hold him accountable. In fact, they have an obligation to the people to hold a president accountable when he does something wrong. To claim that it is wrong for Congress to “overrule” the President is tantamount to declaring Barack Obama the emperor.

Now, the emperor is as naked as the day he was born.

F&F was a failed experiment under Bush. The program, initially called Project Gunrunner, had a few agents working on it and a small budget; Bush notified Mexican officials, and when it was obvious that it wouldn’t work he put it on ice. Then, a few years later, here comes Obama – the op was brought back from the dead, given three times the manpower and money, and let loose to fail on an even bigger scale. This time, it resulted in untold numbers of high-powered firearms being allowed to cross the border into Mexico, untold numbers of deaths attributed to those weapons, and a dead US BP agent, Brian Terry, a hero in both life and death who was ordered to use non-lethal rounds against a well-armed drug cartel.

Obama promised that he would lead the most transparent administration in history. Lately, there have been egregious security leaks and the President and his staff have shrugged the leaks off as though they’re nothing. Now, we have potentially explosive evidence of a crime that goes all the way to the top, and the President is flexing his executive muscle to protect himself and his lying cronies. What are Democrats doing? Helping to defend him.

It seems he is bound and damned determined to go down in history as Emperor Obama, the Liar. He’ll do worse than Nixon and be excused by liberals bent on being “tolerant”. Just call him the Teflon President.

Police State

I will never forget the first time I had to deal with a mentally ill homeless man. I was working part-time security during the Southern Baptist Convention’s major annual get-together at the Phoenix Civic Center when a homeless man well-known to be a mentally ill veteran started having one of his flashback episodes. All of the guards in the area converged on him at the same time I was ordered down to street level to try and handle the situation and call police if necessary. He was scaring people coming out of the civic center for lunch, and he either had to move someplace else or be arrested.

Other guards started yelling at him to move. Naturally, he started screaming at them. I stepped forward and talked to him like a human being. He suddenly calmed down and quit repeating “I ain’t goin’ back to the VA” like a mantra. I said, “there’s an awful lot of people walking by, they don’t understand what’s going on. They’re scared. We just need you to calm down a little bit and move off the main thoroughfare so you don’t get hurt, okay?” He didn’t smile at me, but he said, “these guys can all kiss my ass. For you, I’ll go. You’re alright.” Without another word, he moved along. From then on if he appeared while I was on duty I was always the one they called on (and believe me, the other guards were not happy about that).

I can’t remember how many mentally ill homeless people I’ve seen since then. At crime scenes, fire scenes and other major incidents, I’ve dealt with a lot of people who are either on drugs or mentally ill and being put up by the state. Most of them were not nearly as ready to talk as my first experience was. I’ve dealt with mentally ill people who believed they were werewolves (and tried to attack me), believed they had satellites tracking them and I was part of some government conspiracy to kill them, even had one who believed I was his long-lost sister and the guys on my crew were trying to keep us apart. I’ve seen cops I know try to take them down and handcuff them and get punched, kicked, slapped, and bitten. At no time, however, have I ever seen any of the cops I’ve worked with get overly aggressive or threaten these people. Not once.

I’ve just seen the footage of the beginning of a confrontation between a homeless man in Fullerton, CA named Kelly Thomas and Fullerton Police. According to police reports, someone in the area had been vandalizing cars. Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos started talking to Kelly, and Kelly sat down. Ramos suddenly started getting aggressive, ordering Kelly to put his legs out straight and his hands on his knees. Kelly became a little passive-aggressive, telling Ramos he didn’t know how to do that; Ramos replied, “well, you’ll learn how to do it real quick!” Within seconds that turned into Ramos saying, “you see my fists? They’re getting ready to f–k you up!”

I didn’t see Kelly get angry at Ramos. Normally, I’d very carefully react to something like this because video of officers getting rough with a suspect almost always misses the lead-up to the incident, and most often we find later that the officers had no other choice because the suspect was fighting like hell. In this case, however, the start of the incident can be clearly seen as officer Ramos is, at first, talking calmly to Kelly. Between security cameras and the audio captured by an officer’s lapel mic, I can tell that this incident could have been avoided if officer Ramos hadn’t started getting sarcastic and wasn’t issuing threats. One friend who wears the badge (but does not work in Fullerton) says that he saw that, too, and he wondered the same thing – what was the purpose of threatening a guy who was sitting down, even if he was being a smartass?

It looks and sounds as if officer Ramos was simply convinced of his superiority and willing to use force no matter what. Even the cops I know will admit they know at least one guy like that – the guy who acts like a real-life Tackleberry and is always looking for a reason to use force. Those guys are few and far between, but they do exist. Ramos strikes me as that kind of cop.

I won’t post the photo of Kelly’s face that has begun to circulate. There is one picture of what he looked like after he received his initial medical treatment, and he is completely unrecognizable. I’ve seen some bad beatings but this one was worse than any I have ever seen, and it came from six police officers. The first two, Ramos and Cpl. Jay Cincinelli, started the whole thing. It appears to me that once the beating got into full swing – Cpl. Cincinelli Tased him five times and then started beating him with the handle of his Taser – Kelly simply didn’t know what to do. He appeared to be genuinely afraid that he was being beaten. I’ve seen people engaged in fights with cops screaming for help while still actively fighting with officers, but that’s not what I see in the video of Kelly Thomas.

I have noticed something, though: incidents like this almost always, nearly without fail, occur in liberal states where civilian ownership of guns is heavily restricted and the police are given free reign to do almost anything they want. Namely New York and California.

I hope that Ramos gets the book thrown at him. I didn’t see Cincinelli in the first portion of the video and don’t know if he realized how the whole thing started, but at no time is an officer trained to use the handle of his Taser to beat a suspect. The overwhelming majority of police officers are good people with big hearts and a desire to do something good in their community. Three good cops I know have been killed in the line of duty; one was a close friend long before he became a cop. All three died doing the right thing. I would strongly caution against blaming all cops for this horrific incident.

I hope more than anything that the Thomas family sees justice done and Manuel Ramos is never allowed to hold a position of authority ever again.

No Peace: The LA Riots

I remember where I was 20 years ago when I watched non-stop news of the LA riots. I was in 7th grade. My parents had sent me to a Christian institution for two months, so I wasn’t at my school when the riots went down; when I got back to school, I heard stories of racial tension by way of fights between students and extreme disrespect for white teachers. At the time, all I knew was that a black man had been beaten by four white police officers who, it was claimed, were racists – and that when an all-white jury acquitted the officers of all crimes associated with the beating, South Los Angeles quite literally exploded. A lot of kids I went to school with believed the riots were justified.

Later on, though, when pictures of looters stealing unbelievable amounts of clothing, alcohol, and electronics (not to mention guns and jewelry) were printed in the magazines we read and tales of Korean shop owners being targeted by black rioters started coming out, I began to question whether the riots could be justified at all. Even as a kid I knew something wasn’t right. Then stories of what had happened before George Holliday’s new video camera started rolling came tumbling out and my view changed dramatically.

Rodney King was a convicted felon on parole for a robbery conviction. He was spotted by CHP officers driving erratically; they tried to pull him over, but he ran. He eventually got off the freeway and kept running, driving at speeds of 80 mph in residential neighborhoods. When he was finally cornered, police ordered the two passengers – Bryant Allen and Freddie Helms, both also black – out of the vehicle. Both men immediately complied and were taken into custody without incident. King, however, acted strangely. He got out, waved at the police helicopter and laughed at officers. The situation escalated when he reached both hands to his back waistband; officers thought he was reaching for a weapon, and they ordered him onto the ground. When the officers holstered their sidearms and tried to apply handcuffs, King jumped up, sending two officers flying. One officer used his Taser on King, but the Taser had almost no effect on him – he got up and charged again. That’s when the batons came out.

The officers may have taken it just a bit too far, but I would hardly call it brutality when they are facing a man who is so intoxicated that they believe he’s on PCP. The taser did little to nothing, and they didn’t want to shoot him – what else were they supposed to do? Let him keep attacking them? I don’t know how true it is, but I heard reports that he spat at the medics in the ambulance and screamed profanities at them.

Last night, I was with my friends on duty and we decided to watch “Hip Hop and the LA Riots”. Documentary? Not quite – it’s a crockumentary. The only people interviewed were rappers who felt the violence of the LA riots was justified. The comments being made by these rappers were astoundingly narcissistic. One rapper said that the riots were the culmination of everything they’d been rapping about since the 70’s. The high point of the whole thing was Henry Keith Watson standing at Florence and Normandie – the intersection where he and three other black men dragged Reginald Denny from the cab of his 18-wheeler and beat him nearly to death – saying, “one beating does not make up for four hundred years of white people’s bullshit! Not even close.” He went on a rant about how black people in South LA are held down by white people and racism still rules our culture.

That was the sum of the comments made by everyone: blacks are put down by racist whites and we’ll never get a break and the LA riots was our way of saying enough is enough.

Let’s talk about reality. More than 70% of black children are illegitimate, born to single parents. Education rates are abysmal; more than half of all black kids drop out of high school, and barely more than 10% of black kids go on to attend college. With those kind of numbers about kids growing up without a family and not finishing school, I find it astonishing that we don’t understand why blacks account for 15% of all violent crimes in the US (amazing considering they only comprise less than 13% of the entire population) and 94% of all violent crimes committed against blacks were committed by other black people – and blacks make up 38% of the entire prison population in the US.

Then 20 years after the riots, black rappers claim that they all just wanted jobs (which had gone away from LA because of outrageously liberal policies against businesses) and to be respected. How can you expect anyone to respect you when you don’t even respect yourself?

We’re living in a time now where you make yourself. You have the same opportunity that I have. You can choose to go to school, get an education, go to college (yes, you may have to work your way through it – I did), and make an honest living…or you can ignore your education, drop out, become an alcoholic, join a gang, deal drugs, and blame everyone but yourself for your problems while you demand that the government give you something better. You are your own creation. Nobody forced you to stop caring about doing something better with your life. Either stop complaining and actually do something or give up and revel in your failures, but stop blaming everything on me because I’m white.

To give you a better idea of how the culture of professional victimhood (which Tammy Bruce describes in her book, “The Death of Right and Wrong”) works, consider what happened in the wake of Reginald Denny’s beating. Bobby Green, a black trucker who lived a block away from the infamous intersection, saw Denny’s beating on the news and rushed to the scene. With the help of two others, he put Denny back in the cab and drove him to the hospital – saving his life. When it came time to testify, people in the neighborhood threatened Green’s life to stop him from testifying against Watson and the others involved. To his further credit, Green refused to back down.

Until the race-baiters and self-pitying attention-seekers stop perpetuating the cycle of victimhood, there will be no peace. That has nothing to do with anything white people have done to repress anyone. It has everything to do with the selfishness and greed that liberals accuse everyone else of.

…Because Evil Persists

In his anti-execution documentary Into The Abyss, Werner Herzog asked a prison chaplain, “why does God allow capital punishment?” In my last post I responded that the better question is, “why does God allow sociopaths to continually victimize innocent people?” Not one filmmaker or movie star has asked that question. I’m here to tell you that the arguments against the death penalty are philosophically shallow and intellectually vapid.

One of the statements made by Delbert Burkett, father of convicted murderer Jason Burkett – whose partner in crime was executed by the State of Texas in 2010 – was, “killin’ Michael Perry isn’t gonna bring those people back. It’s not gonna raise anyone from the dead.” That’s a comment made by every anti-death penalty celebrity in the world, particularly in the US. Capital punishment is useless because it doesn’t bring back the victims, they say. It’s cruel and unusual punishment. We never have the right to take a human life.

(The same group of people will demand abortion rights in the name of a woman’s right to choose and find ways to dehumanize a human fetus to rationalize murder to their so-called consciences. Go figure.)

That argument is emotional at best. It carries no truth. If our aim was to bring back the dead, then there would be no point to punishment at all. Why sentence someone to life in prison? I mean, it’s not going to bring their victims back from the dead. Why would we send a man to prison for kidnapping and raping his ex-wife? It’s not going to stop her nightmares or put a stop to her fear of quiet parking lots. Why should we send a man to prison for stealing cars and breaking into homes? It’s not going to replace the lost sense of security that his victims deal with now.

See how silly that argument is? If we’re not using the death penalty at least in part for punishment, then there would be no point – and punishment is half of the point. The other half is deterrence. Those who oppose the death penalty claim that it doesn’t deter anything. I wholeheartedly disagree, and the numbers prove that argument wrong.

According to the numbers, when the Supreme Court halted the death penalty for a few years in the early 1970’s, murder rates skyrocketed almost overnight. It took time for the death penalty to be re-instituted, and once it began to gain traction again in the 1990’s murder rates dropped by nearly half. During a long portion of time, many murderers confessed and later said they did so because they knew they wouldn’t be executed for their crimes. As for complete deterrence, nobody has any illusion that the death penalty will put an end to murder; if elimination were our standard for punishment, we still wouldn’t be putting people in prison. Capital punishment has been proven to deter murders, but we’ll never really know how many people have been stopped from committing murder for pecuniary gain because nobody in their right mind will admit that they considered committing a murder. Those who would admit it are likely in dire need of regular phenobarbital treatments, anyway.

It’s not as if I have never struggled with my belief in the death penalty. Because I carry a gun, I have considered at length whether I would be willing to take a life if the situation called for it (I don’t think you should carry a gun unless you ARE willing to kill, and you’d best know how you feel and what you think about doing it before you end up needing to in self-defense). I won’t know until and unless I ever have to commit the act, and I hope like hell that I never have to, but I’ve also been faced with death in my duties as an EMT and I have given death a lot of consideration – both my own death and that of others. My faith tells me I should forgive. My faith also tells me I should be able to balance justice and mercy, and know when the greatest lesson will be learned from one or the other.

So many criminals in our society depend on the faith-based mercy of others. That dependence has been fulfilled so often that it has morphed into expectation. I have met so few inmates who actually intended to change their behavior that I have a hard time believing that any of them care to change. I have met many, however, who struck me as being so evil that their very presence in the room made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I’ve worked with inmates whose self-serving behavior and subsequent excuses screamed “PSYCHOPATH!”

Our justice system will never be perfect, but we have to be willing to accept that there is evil in this world and there always will be no matter what we do. As long as human beings are running the show in this world there will be imperfection. Evil will persist no matter how much we wish we could reason everyone into being good. We have to be willing to accept being uncomfortable once in a while to make sure evil doesn’t win. That means that we have to accept that not all life is indispensible; those who have made the choice to objectify others and make victims out of innocent people forfeit their lives, even to the point of execution.

As for the argument that it’s cruel and unusual punishment…horsefeathers. Ask the victims about the fear and extreme pain they experienced before they died. Ask their surviving friends and family what they experience every day after losing their loved one.

Why Does God Allow Capital Punishment?

The title of this post was a question posed by documentarian Werner Herzog. In the opening of his documentary film Into The Abyss, Herzog is talking to one of the chaplains from Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice’s infamous Walls Unit – the death house. After allowing the chaplain to explain his role during an execution, Herzog asks this question.

Throughout the entire documentary, he never once asks, “why does God allow evil people to live and commit murder?”

I remember going home to Houston for Thanksgiving in 2001 and seeing news that the body of a woman had been found in a lake. That woman turned out to be 50-year-old Sandra Stotler. In her home several days after she had actually been killed, police found a grisly scene. Lights and the TV were still on, having never been turned off by the killer. Stotler had been baking cookies; a bowl of raw cookie dough and a half-finished sheet of unbaked cookies still sat out where she’d left them. Blood had been splattered all over the door frame and wall. Blood on the floor showed that after she’d been shot once, she had hit the floor and tried to scoot away, but the gunman shot her a second time where she lay. A red Camaro convertible was missing and a blood trail showed that the body had been dragged out through the garage on the side of the big ranch-style house in the upscale Highlands Ranch subdivision of Conroe, Texas.

Conroe isn’t far from where I grew up. About an hour and a half due North of Houston, right on I-45, sits this quiet little town that I remember driving through during the summer when my youth group would go up to Huntsville for camp. That a murder like this would happen in such a quiet, well-guarded neighborhood was very rattling to a lot of people I know. What’s most chilling of all is that the crime that turned into a triple homicide later on was all over a car.

Michael James Perry and Jason Aaron Burkett were best friends. They had lived together for a stretch in a camper, then later in an apartment in Conroe. For a time they had a racket going with Burkett’s girlfriend where one would steal checks, one would forge them, and the girlfriend would then cash them. As children, they both had serious issues. Burkett’s father was a raging alcoholic and drug addict, and as of this year is on his fifth prison sentence (back in 1973 Dennis Burkett was a high school football star and landed a full scholarship to the University of Texas to play college ball but he dropped out and went his own way – which is why I sincerely disliked the turn of events in the final season of Friday Night Lights). Burkett’s older brother is also in prison for a dangerous felony, making criminal behavior a family profession. Burkett has issues; Perry is worse.

As a child, Perry was diagnosed with “oppositional defiant disorder”, which is the childhood diagnosis of sociopathy. Perry grew up to be a psychopath (for those who never took psych classes in college, a literal psychopath is a person diagnosed as a sociopath – basically a person who views people as objects and has absolutely no conscience). He ran away from home frequently, pawned his parent’s valuables, stole their van and wrecked it, and broke into a neighbor’s home for the sole purpose of doing damage. His parents sent him to “Outward Bound”, an outdoors rough-it camp for troubled kids; he quit after a few days. His parents filed charges against him and had him sent to Boys Town in Nebraska, where he promptly told one of the “house parents” that he was one of the people “trying to rape and murder your kids.” He ended up being locked in the secure section of Boys Town for four months, later being sent to a “secure school” in Mexico. As soon as he turned 18 he went homeless; he refused to hold down a job and tried to forge prescriptions to get pills to sell for dope money. Somewhere in the midst of that was when he fell in with Jason Burkett.

Two days after the murder, Perry was pulled over in the red Camaro and presented an ID bearing the name and info of Adam Stotler – the 16-year-old son of Sandra Stotler. He was arrested, booked and released. Three days after his arrest, he and Jason Burkett were spotted in Adam Stotler’s stolen Isuzu Rodeo. They ran over a deputy and had a shoot-out with police; officers later testified that Perry was shouting, “balls to the wall!” They were arrested, and almost immediately Jason Burkett told them where to find two additional bodies. Police discovered the bodies of Adam Stotler and his best friend Jeremy Richardson next to another home in Highlands Ranch. Evidence included cigarette butts with Perry’s DNA on them. The shotgun used in the murders was stolen from a relative of Burkett. On top of all of this, the pair went to a bar in the two vehicles they’d stolen and claimed to everyone in the bar that they’d won the lottery, cashed the tickets at a gas station and went out to buy two supposedly brand-new vehicles. They took several people for a spin in the cars and even showed off the shotgun they’d used – and Perry later pointed the shotgun at Burkett’s girlfriend and threatened to kill her.

Perry confessed, and during the confession he gave facts that only the perpetrators would have known. He later claimed that a detective pointed a gun at him and forced him to confess, then even later claimed that evidence had somehow proven that the murders had happened on the 27th. The problem with that? Stotler’s body was found on October 27th, three days after the murders – and she had been there for some time, wrapped in the comforter and top sheet from her bed. Some of the crime scene footage is shown in the documentary, and I can tell just by the video footage that the blood on the floor was OLD.

Perry had an excuse for everything. During the interviews, he never referred to the victims as the true victims; he only talked about how he’s been wronged. It didn’t help that, as soon as he sat down and started talking, Herzog said, “I respect you and I believe that what’s been done to you is wrong.” Not once does Perry ever acknowledge that several people’s lives were irrevocably changed by what happened. In fact, it’s revealed that in his final statement before his execution, Perry said, “Yes, I want to start off by saying to everyone know that’s involved in this atrocity that they are all forgiven by me.”

Never does Herzog ever question Perry to his face on his claims that he, the convict, has been wronged. He never asks Perry about his long, storied history of sociopathic behavior. All he does is try to present the case against executions.

I’m tired of hearing people ask why God allows capital punishment. Life is precious, but when the person in question has made the choice to live their life in such a way that they have done nothing but victimize people for their own gain, justice must be done. Perry is guilty as hell, as is Burkett. Just once I’d like to hear one of these foreigners who bag on us for using the death penalty ask why God allows violent sociopaths to continually victimize innocent souls – and stop defending the killers.