God Will Grant Justice

Shawn Grell, currently on Arizona death row for murdering his two-year-old daughter Kristin, was recently granted a new sentencing hearing. The argument is whether or not Grell is legally considered mentally retarded; during his trial, Grell’s defense submitted two experts that said he was retarded, but when required by the court to submit to a State expert, Grell refused. The court decided then that Grell was not mentally retarded and sentenced him to death. With the Supreme Court’s ruling in Atkins v. Virginia, it became Unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment (which bars cruel and unusual punishment) to execute any person found legally mentally retarded. This decision was published after Grell’s sentencing and during appeal, and his defense lawyers jumped on it with both feet.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors are fighting battles over the most minuscule facts and findings. In most states, when the death penalty is considered, the burden is on the defense to present clear evidence of a mental capacity that makes the suspect incapable of understanding the gravity of his crime. Only New Jersey puts the burden on the prosecution instead. In Arizona, the defense is required to soundly prove that the suspect is truly mentally retarded; it begins with an IQ below 75, then goes on to at least two psychologists weighing in on a multitude of factors, not the least of which is the suspect’s ability to adaptively function in society.

After Grell’s flat refusal to submit to a state expert, it absolutely galls me that his defense is appealing the sentence on the grounds that their client might be mentally retarded. What’s more galling is that the Arizona Supreme Court granted the new sentencing hearing. Another argument being made is that Grell was sentenced by a judge rather than a jury–however, this was well before Arizona enacted the law that required death penalty sentences to be decided by juries. What the news hasn’t told you is that Grell knowingly waived his right to trial before a jury, opting instead for a judge-only trial, then tried to turn around and demand a jury for his sentencing in the first trial. The Judge, within her rights, said NO, you waived your right to a jury, you get me for sentencing, too.

What I’m about to do is going to be a little disturbing. If you are easily affected by descriptions of crimes, I suggest you skip this part.
***
Imagine you’re watching a young, blond man play with his toddler daughter at McDonald’s. He feeds her, takes her into the jungle gym, then puts her in the car and drives away. He stops to get some beer and drinks a couple while she sleeps in the back seat. He drives a little while longer, then stops to buy a small plastic gas can, then gets back in the car and drives some more. He then stops to fill the gas can, gets back in the car, and drives some more.

He makes his way out to Apache Junction, the middle of nowhere outside of Phoenix, and cruises for a desolate spot. He finally finds a drainage ditch about ten feet away from the road; the area is unpopulated except for this lonely stretch of state highway. The young man takes the two-year-old girl out of the car, still sleeping, carries her to the ditch and lays her on the ground. He has brought the gas can with him, which he opens–and begins to pour the gasoline over his tiny daughter’s sleeping form. She wakes up to the feel of the liquid on her skin and the stench of the chemicals. She looks at the young man, her father, wondering what he’s doing. She wonders why she’s in the mud with daddy looking down at her, innocently clueless as to what daddy is doing.

Then, the young man lights a match and flicks it at her, setting her gasoline-soaked body and clothing ablaze. She jumps up and screams, running around and stamping her tiny feet, crying for daddy. The horrific pain of the extreme burns is finally dulled by the smoke that chokes the oxygen from her blood, and she drops to her knees before falling face-down in the dirt. The young man gets in his car and drives around before going back to see if the fire had gone out. Then he stops at another convenience store for more beer, where he tells the clerk that he’d seen some kids setting a dog on fire by the roadside a few miles back. “What is the world coming to when kids set dogs on fire?” he asks the attendant, who was so disgusted by the tale that he never forgot it.

Later that night, the young man is pulled over for driving drunk and is arrested. Upon his release, he calls Capitol police and tells them what he’s done and where to find the little girl’s body. Officers reach the scene far too late; they find several charred patches on the ground, littered with melted hair clips, partially burned candy, and a trail of tiny footprints that forge a twelve-foot path to the body of the tiny girl they were told would be there. The only part of her body spared the third- and fourth-degree burns are the bottoms of her little feet.
***
I cannot imagine what it was like for the officer who had to go to Grell’s home to arrest him. Knowing what he’d done, had I been that officer, I’d have happily turned in my badge to slowly beat that monster to death. It is a testament to the goodness of the police officers you never hear about on the news that Grell was delivered to the Madison Street Jail without so much as a harmed hair on his head.

A lack of education or high intelligence does not absolve one of a horrific crime. Even the mentally retarded understand the finality of death and the fact that murder is wrong. Grell held a job and dated, proving he was perfectly capable of adaptive functioning. The way I see it, there’s a really simple way to prove whether Grell understood what he was doing. Does he understand that being burned is horribly painful? Yes. Does he understand that killing someone is wrong? Yes. Did he plan what he was doing? Yes–not only does the evidence from the convenience stores prove it, he admitted it openly to the media.

Considering the extreme evidence and the particularly depraved manner in which Grell committed this crime, I am left incredulous and flummoxed that we’re debating whether this guy understands his crime well enough to be put to death for it. Any person who has the capacity for such inhuman cruelty can only serve the world by leaving it. Either way, though, there’s a special circle in hell reserved for Shawn Grell. He’ll get there eventually, whether we help him along or not, and God will grant the justice that we don’t have the stomach for.

Gay Hate Crimes: Truth or Hysteria, Part II

Originally the first post was to have the first twelve anti-gay hate crimes listed, but it was so freakin’ long that even I had a hard time going over it (that after I’ve spent all day working on this thing, it’s waaaaay past my bedtime).  So I revised it and decided to make smaller posts to make it easier to digest.  Here’s the next six claims of Christian-based anti-gay hate crimes and the verdicts–are Christians really responsible?

Les Benscoter–on June 15, 1979, Benscoter was beaten to death in his apartment in Minneapolis by unknown assailants who wrote “fags will die” in toothpaste on his furniture.  Again, little is known about the actual crime; it is believed, however, due to the timing of the crime that it may have been a copycat and that no actual bias was involved.  This is further proved by the fact that the phrase was written in toothpaste on the furniture, and not in the victim’s blood on the walls.  Verdict: HYSTERIA.

Charles Howard–at an unknown date in 1984, three teenagers with prior convictions beat Howard up in Bangor, Maine, supposedly for being “flamboyantly gay.”  He was still alive and conscious when they dumped him from the State Street Bridge into the Kenduskeag River; while in the water he had an asthma attack and drowned.  None of the teens claimed to commit the crime because of any belief in God, much less Christianity.  All were sent to reform school (jail for kids) and released on their 18th birthdays, and have all likely landed right back in prison.  Verdict: both TRUTH and HYSTERIA.

Rebecca Wright–on May 13, 1988, Rebecca Wright and partner Claudia Brenner were camping in Michaux State Forest when, while they had sex in a secluded area, Stephen Roy Carr (whom they’d encountered earlier) began shooting at them from 80 yards away, hitting both.  Brenner hid Wright and wrapped her own neck wound with a bandana and ran for help; the teens who found her took her directly to the nearest police station despite her pleas to be taken back to her partner.  Wright was found dead.  Carr claimed that he’d been raped in a Florida prison and was enraged when he saw the two women kissing, and that they were taunting him by having sex in front of him.  The judge in the case refused to allow the sexual orientation of the victims to be presented in court, thus refusing to allow the trial to become a circus; the defense team was forced to accept a plea agreement.  Carr, who after his stint in prison sometimes lived in a cave, was given life without parole.  Brenner later wrote a book about surviving anti-gay sentiment.  At no time was Christianity mentioned as a motivation by either the perpetrator or the defense lawyers.  While there is little evidence to prove homophobic bias aside from the perp’s own admission, it is still persuasive that he committed the crime while they had sex.  Verdict: both TRUTH and HYSTERIA.

Julio Rivera–on July 2, 1990, 29-year-old gay bartender Rivera was walking home when he was accosted by three members of the DMS or “Drugs, Money, Sex” gang–Daniel Doyle, the wannabe from a nice neighborhood, and members Erik Brown and Esat Bici, who were often mistaken for neo-Nazi skinheads even though there were Asians and blacks in their ranks–and beaten and stabbed to death in a nearby park.  Rivera had an expensive cocaine habit and was described as remarkably unhappy.  The three skinheads decided one night to get as drunk as they could and after doing so “went walking.”  They passed Rivera in a schoolyard and decided to “stretch someone out.”  They beat him with a claw hammer and stabbed him with a kitchen knife.  Doyle later admitted they talked earlier about looking for “a drug dealer, a homo or a homeless man” to beat just to “do something crazy.”  Doyle attempted to claim that they’d killed Rivera for being gay, even though later it was discovered that none of the men had any idea who Rivera was or what his orientation was.  It was deemed a bias crime by a bias crime review board who had a misconception of what the gang was and who their membership comprised.  Also, no mention of Christianity or religious bigotry.  Verdict: HYSTERIA.

Matthew Shepard–shortly after midnight on October 7, 1998, college student Matthew Shepard went to the Fireside Lounge in Laramie, Wyoming and met Russell Henderson and James McKinney.  Whether Shepard came onto them is a matter of some debate; the two offered him a ride, and once they had him in their vehicle they robbed him of his shoes and $20.  They then took him out to the middle of a secluded field outside of town where they savagely beat him, then left him lashed to a split-rail fence to die in the extreme cold.  Henderson and McKinney were quickly found, and while their girlfriends at first offered alibis for both of them, the holes in the stories (and the shoes they’d taken from Shepard found in their truck) gave them away and soon everybody was rolling over on everyone else.  The girls admitted to helping Henderson and McKinney dispose of their bloody clothes and the weapon and the perps started singing the “gay rage” defense tune, claiming that Shepard had made an open pass at both of them and in their disgust, they beat him.  Then, on October 12, Shepard died of his injuries.  The “gay rage” defense went to trial, but the jury was unconvinced.  Both are currently serving multiple life sentences imposed at the behest of Shepard’s parents.  Recently, both have given interviews in which they have claimed that the gay rage argument was a lie, that they only wanted to rob him.  However, I find it disingenuous that two lifetime thugs would claim such a thing and, years after it became a political powderkeg, then claim it was a lie.  Rarely does a robbery begin with a ride home and end with a severe beating in a field, especially when the perps have gotten nothing more than a pair of shoes and a twenty spot.  I do believe that the crime was bias-motivated, at least in part due to the girlfriends’ testimonies that both men had openly planned to rob and beat a gay man to “teach him a lesson” before meeting Shepard.  HOWEVER–we find another crime committed with no mention, at any time, of religious bias.  Verdict: mostly TRUTH, partially HYSTERIA.

Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder–on July 1, 1999, Matson and Mowder were found shot to death in their platform bed at home in Happy Valley, CA.  It was quickly discovered that Matson’s credit card had been used to purchase ammunition and various pieces of weapons and equipment from Scottsdale, AZ, and the address given for delivery was a post office box in Yuba City, CA.  The couple’s Toyota Tercel, stolen from the home, was also found in Yuba City.  Brothers Matthew and Tyler Williams were found nearby leaving a mall, both with handguns in their posession, both wearing bulletproof vests.  Earlier the same year, the brothers had been charged with a string of arsons at three Synagogues and an abortion clinic.  Neighbors of the Williams family said they were well-known for their fundamentalist Christian beliefs, their faith so strong that when they moved out of one house the new tenant received mail from militant groups that touted Christianity.  After their arrest, Tyler gave at least one false account of what had happened before Matthew set the record straight: they’d committed the crime believing it to be judgement, not murder, because the bible called homosexuality a sin.  He said they’d done what other Christians didn’t have the guts to do and that he hoped to be “martyred” for obeying God’s command.  Matthew later strung a blanket between his jail bunk and the toilet and jammed his door so that he could not be seen or reached by corrections officers as he slashed his wrists and his throat with a cutting tool he’d made from a razor and a ballpoint pen.  Before doing so he’d mailed a letter to their attorney claiming sole responsbility in an attempt to exonerate his brother.  Verdict: TRUTH.

Well, there’s one–one lonely little guy on the whole list confirmed as an anti-gay crime committed by people claiming that Christianity told them to do so.  With the entire gay community claiming that Christians are responsible for a majority of the anti-gay sentiment and hate crimes, it’s disconcerting even for me to find more verifiable evidence than I expected that reality is being deliberately distorted.  We’re not doing ourselves any favors with this crap.

It’s beginning to look more and more as though Christians are merely an easy target for scapegoating.  What’s worse is this literally isn’t even half of it–and I’ve already started on the rest.  It ain’t much better.

Gay Hate Crimes: Truth or Hysteria, Part I

Of the many comments on the post, Burn Their Churches to the Ground, commenter Tom gave us an interesting post today. He posted a litany of crimes committed against GLBT people and said, quote, “here is a list of murders on gay people by people of the “christian” faith. I challenge anyone to compile a similar list of gay people killing straight people for coming on to them.” His argument is that these “hate” crimes were all committed by people claiming Christian faith as the basis for killing gays and lesbians. Of course, I’ve done some studying. What I’ve found may (or may not) surprise you. I’m going to answer each one in turn, starting with the first six.

The Upstairs Lounge–on June 24, 1973, 29 people were found dead and numerous others were seriously injured by a fire at a gay bar in the French Quarter in New Orleans. The cause of the fire was officially undetermined; it is known that the fire started in the wooden stairwell that led to the bar. The taxi buzzer sounded, and when the inner door was opened the near-dying fire exploded in a backdraft, trapping more than 60 people inside. Three injured victims died in the hospital in the days that followed, leaving a total of 32 fatalities. Even though some gay bloggers–all of them too young to really know what happened and unwilling to do the research–are now claiming that a firebomb was thrown by an anti-gay bigot, more level-headed gay columnists have admitted the truth that a patron of the bar who’d gotten drunk and been thrown out earlier that night had come back to start the fire and later bragged about doing it before committing suicide. The most that can be claimed is that the New Orleans police and fire departments showed a callous lack of concern by leaving the corpse of Rev. Bill Larson half out a window for two days while they investigated the crime. Verdict: HYSTERIA.

Harvey Milk–on November 27, 1978, San Francisco city supervisor Dan White loaded his old police revolver, dumped 10 extra rounds into his jacket pocket, and went to City Hall to confront mayor George Moscone about his pending termination. He had a friend drive him to City Hall, climbed through a window to avoid metal detectors, and confronted Moscone in his office. He demanded to know why Moscone had appointed Don Horanzy to his position, and when Moscone refused to cave in to pleas to allow him to keep his job, White pulled his revolver and shot him twice in the abdomen, then twice more in the head. He re-loaded his weapon and headed for fellow supervisor Harvey Milk’s office. He confronted Milk about the very vocal charge he made to have Horanzy appointed in his place, and when Milk said, “too bad,” White shot him three times in the abdomen, once in the back, and twice in the head. After his parole due to his diminished capacity defense (the legendary “twinkie defense”), White admitted to a police coworker that he’d also marked Carol Ruth Silver and Willie Brown, also supervisors, for death that day. No claims of homophobia were made, and Christianity never came into play. White murdered the mayor and his coworker because he was about to lose his job. Verdict: HYSTERIA.

Terry Knudsen–little is known about this crime.  Many searches turned up only the information that he was beaten to death on June 5, 1979 by three men in the Loring Park area of Minneapolis.  A phone call to the Minneapolis police department didn’t turn up any definitive copy of a report, though if I want to fly out there and look it up myself I’m welcome to.  Verdict: UNDETERMINED, though due to a remarkable lack of evidence at least partially HYSTERIA.

Declan Flynn–this one is an enigma to the gay community at large, because the details are difficult to find.  The most you’ll find on gay hate crimes websites is one simple phrase: “Decan Flynn (they can’t even spell his name right), beaten to death in 1983.”  Actually, it happened on September 10, 1982.  Five teenage thugs in Fairview Park in Dublin, Ireland–two of them members of the Irish Aer Corps–deliberately went to the park to drink cider (yes, it is a beer) and go “queer bashing.”  At the time, this was popular among violent teenage punks in Ireland and Great Britain.  It was part of the culture then; homosexuality has only been officially legal there for around fifteen years.  The teens later told the gardai (Irish police) that they’d done it, and said that it was because Flynn had come onto one of the boys by grabbing his crotch (you also have to remember, this park was and still is a popular place for gay people to find casual sex).  The same group of boys admitted to gardai that they’d beaten at least twenty gay men in the same park.  The teens were given suspended sentences, and while some of their immediate family and neighbors were thrilled, the public outcry was more intense than expected.  Today, nobody knows what’s come of the five teens who committed the crime; they are believed to be living in relative secrecy.  As it was a hate crime, not one of the thugs, who all had previous criminal records for violence and theft, claimed they killed the man because of their faith or because they thought God told them to do so.  Verdict: both TRUTH and HYSTERIA.

James Zappalorti–on January 22, 1990, Vietnam Veteran Zappalorti invited two acquaintances over for dinner at a small house he’d built on the edge of his family’s property on Staten Island.  Once they arrived, 20-year-old Michael Taylor and 26-year-old Philip Sarlo told Zappalorti to hand over his wallet; he was being robbed.  Zappalorti tossed his wallet out into the yard to get the men to leave.  Instead, they beat and stabbed him to death with a large hunting knife.  When cornered by detectives, Taylor attempted to claim animosity towards homosexuals, but Sarlo admitted they’d talked about robbing Zappalorti before going to the house, and his orientation never came up in the conversation.  Again, Christianity nor religious bias were NEVER claimed.  Verdict: HYSTERIA.

Teena Brandon–at a Christmas party in 1993, two ex-cons in Falls City, Nebraska–John Lotter and Tom Nissen–dragged their newest acquaintance into the bathroom of a friend’s home, dropped her pants, and forced a friend to look at the reality: the person they’d been introduced to as Brandon Teena, a man, was actually a woman.  Brandon had been arrested for forging checks and “his” girlfriend, Lana Tisdale, bailed Brandon out of the women’s jail.  When the paper printed the arrest, it listed her actual name as Teena Brandon and the fact that she was female.  Lotter and Nissen forced Tisdale to look at Brandon’s naked body to prove that “he” had been fooling everyone.  They drove Brandon to a factory lot where they raped her and let her go with a warning not to call the authorities.  When Brandon made her way, shoeless, back to Tisdale’s home, Tisdale persuaded her to go to the police and she did so.  Six days later, on December 31, Lotter and Nissen, after an exhaustive search for Brandon, found her hiding under a blanket in a friend’s farmhouse.  They shot and stabbed Brandon and shot the other two occupants of the house–Lisa Lambert, killed with her baby next to her in bed, and Phillip DeVine.  They attempted to toss their gloves, knife and gun into the river, but the items were merely preserved on the frozen surface; the knife was branded with Lotter’s name.  Today, Lotter is on death row while Nissen serves three life sentences.  Both admitted to being there though they argue to this day about who was the shooter and who wielded the knife.  Both admitted they were after Brandon.  However, while the crime was originally motivated by Brandon’s sexual expression, it ended in murder because the perps wanted the witnesses dead.  Sheriff Charles Laux enabled the men to commit the crime with his own bias; the rape kit was conveniently lost, and equally conveniently the end portion of the interview tape of Brandon’s complaint was erased (though Laux’s extreme prejudice is evident throughout what is there).  Laux refused to arrest the perps and let evidence be destroyed, giving them time to commit murder.  Yet again, no mention of religious bias.  Verdict: partial TRUTH, mostly HYSTERIA.  (Sidenote: while I think Hilary Swank was incredible as Brandon in the movie Boys Don’t Cry, I did not necessarily care for the content of the film, nor did I believe the story worthy of being immortalized in such a fashion.)

So far, not a single claim of so-called “Christian bigotry” is standing up to the test.  Though some of these crimes were, indeed, committed out of an anti-gay bias, not one of the crimes listed so far was committed out of some religious motivation.

Yep…They’re Just Here to WORK.

Another Phoenix police officer has been killed in the line of duty by an illegal immigrant.

In the early hours this morning, officer Shane Figueroa was running full code (lights and sirens) to a call of shots fired when, passing through the intersection at 19th avenue and Roeser road–South Central Phoenix, or Maryvale for those not in Arizona–a white pickup truck turned in front of him too closely for him to stop.  Shane was likely killed on impact.  A passenger in the truck was transported to the hospital for serious injuries.

But the driver, 50-year-old Jose Rivas Gonzalez, was drunk.  I’d wager he was drunk off his ass.  He was treated for “minor” injuries and immediately booked into our infamous Fourth Avenue Jail, where he told investigators he was an “undocumented worker” from Mexico.

Translation: HE’S A FREAKIN’ ILLEGAL ALIEN who’s been leeching off of us for God knows how long.

Of course, the Arizona Repugnant can’t come out and say it.  They have to be politically correct about it, lest they anger the gods of the Hispanic community.  I don’t know what the climate is like in the states where the rest of our readers reside–I know Philip is in the Dallas area, liberal as hell–but in Arizona, the Hispanics practically run the media.  The illegal community (yes, I said it, make it a social buzzword because we do have one) gets their panties in a twist any time the media says anything disparaging regarding crime rates, including DUI, involving illegal aliens in America.

Well, I’m not the media, hombres.  I’m a middle-class nobody representing Joe Schmoe America, and I’m pissed.

Shane leaves behind a wife and a 3-month-old baby all because Jose Borderjumper didn’t have the cojones to call a cab.  Why?  I will never forget about a year ago, on my way home from a friend’s home in Queen Creek, I got on I-10 in Mesa and headed back to my home on the far Northwest side.  I almost immediately got hit by a trashy gold-colored Chevrolet Astro minivan, the driver so drunk he was literally taking up all four lanes.  I blogged about it then.  I called DPS dispatchers every ten minutes to give them an update and I followed the piece of trash, skipping my turnoff on I-17 to stay with the dude.  He nearly hit every car he came across, including a Phoenix police cruiser (who, by the way, never stopped the guy).  His driving was so dangerous I’m still shocked he never hit anyone.

Around Litchfield road (the far, far West end of the Valley, a good 70 miles from where it all started), he decided after actually passing the exit that it was time to get off the freeway.  Despite an almost sheer drop from the freeway surface to the frontage road and all the cactus and trees between point A and point B, dipshit swerved, cut off another minivan, and rolled down the embankment.  At the bottom he finally righted himself, and with myself and three other people on the side of the road trying to get down to him to yank him out of his van, he had the patent nerve to poke his head out the window, wave at us, holler something in very alcohol-garbled Spanish (I think I caught “what’s up” somewhere in there), laugh and pull away.  We lost him.  Seventy miles of freeway antics and we never saw height nor hair of a DPS officer.

I wonder if anyone called Gonzalez in.  I wonder if whoever was serving the drinks at the place where he got pissing drunk ever thought to cut him off or take his keys away.  I do not, however, wonder why Gonzalez thought it’d be a good idea to drive home extremely drunk.  In Latino society, it’s considered almost heroic to get completely trashed and still drive home.  If you make it, you’re the man.  DUI deaths are astronomical South of our border, and these cretins are bringing it into our country with them.  They didn’t care to come into our country legally.  What makes anybody think they care to follow the law once they’re here?

At the hour Shane was going through that intersection, traffic would have been very light and Gonzalez would have been able to see him coming from a mile off with his lights going.  This after officer Nick Erfle was shot to death by a violent illegal who had to be shot by a sniper after taking a hostage, a 21-year-old mafioso who’d been running with gangs since he could walk.

Where does it stop?  When do we say enough is enough, stop pandering to these losers and tell ’em to get the hell out?  Are the liberals out there listening?  Is Juan McAmnesty (aka John McCain) listening?  What about Obama, who also favors shamnesty?  How many widows and children will be left behind before we wake the hell up?  At this point I’d be satisfied if the media would stop brushing this problem off and call it for what it is.  We might go a long way toward doing what we need to do if everyone wasn’t worried about being so goddamned politically correct.

Commence with the cries of racism in 3…2…1…

Life in Prison?

In other news today, a cell phone was found in the posession of a death row inmate in Texas.  I just finished a long, drawn-out debate with a person online who had no clue that inmates weren’t allowed to have cellular phones in their cells.  Apparently, there are those out there who think this is a right that can’t be taken away and all inmates should be allowed to have phones at taxpayer expense.

Lemme point out how he was caught: he called an as-yet unnamed prominent state senator and told him that he knew where the senator’s daughters lived in a very serious threat.  Still think these douchebags should have phones?

There are a number of things inmates aren’t allowed to have.  Phones are one of the many.  Unfettered access to a phone means that an inmate can call any person he or she wants without anyone being able to decide who they can call.  If you’re a surviving victim, would you want the guy who tried to rape and kill you calling you at home?  It’s unknown whether any victims were reached, but it’s likely.  The inmate, Richard Tabler, shared the phone with nine other inmates.  His mother is actually accused of buying minutes for the phone.  Get this–it was a corrections officer who accepted a bribe to smuggle it in.

If anyone really wants to know, I’ll talk about what Tabler has been sentenced to death for.  The question here is, why is this such a big deal?  I’ve already addressed why inmates don’t have phones.  I’ve known officers who have accepted bribes to bring in narcotics.  I’ve even known a couple who have had sex with inmates.  I’ve seen them bring in everything you can imagine, including cellphones.  I was riding perimeter patrol one night when 98 KUPD played a phone call from an inmate in MY DAMNED FACILITY over the radio–made on a cell phone smuggled in by an officer who’d been bribed.

I don’t think they should have casette players, DVD or CD players, TV’s, or any of that nonsense in their cells.  Having TV’s in the dayrooms/pods is more than enough.  They can take these devices apart and make all manner of contraband–not the least of which are cutting tools, shanks, tattoo guns or even homemade firearms.  People who’ve never been there don’t understand it.  Those who are or have been officers understand it all too well.

I hope that officer is charged with a crime.  In a private facility, you can guarantee he wouldn’t have been because of the negative press; this was Texas death row, so it was state-run.  The inmates’ mother is already in jail.  But I hope that this emphasizes the reality for some of you.  When inmates have the items they’re not supposed to have, they can have a dangerously long reach.

My Faith in Justice Restored: OJ Guilty on 12 Counts

Sad that it took years after being acquitted in the infamous murder trial of Nicole.  As I sat here and heard the breaking news, I watched as O.J. seemed to have a submissive look, not so cocky, and that “the law finally got me” white flag being waved from the whites of his eyes.

Twelve Guilty counts including kidnapping for a 61 year old man promises to put him away for most of the rest of his life.

Sad thing is if he was put away years ago, these crimes would have been avoided from a man who got off on the fact that he was placed above the law, continued to mock mourners of Nicole, and finally it went to his head to a point where the consequences were dire.

I’m only sorry that we have to pay to house him for the next few decades.

Pay Up, Sucka!

Alan Fishman was–repeat WAS–the new CEO of Washington Mutual.  Until last night, that is, when the fed took over his bank and sold its $310 billion in assets to JP Morgan Chase for a paisley $1.9 billion.  They might as well have bought it on ebay for that.  The price is a joke.  It speaks volumes about just how poorly the company was doing.  And Fishman was being pursued aggresively to be the new CEO.

What’s really galling is that Fishman, after a total of 17 days on the job, is getting a $20 million severance package.

This isn’t the first whopper of a payout given to an inept CEO.  Troubled Merill Lynch gave Stanley O’Neill $66 million as he left, less than a year before they had to be sold to Bank of America.  Think he and his board didn’t know what direction the company was headed?  Citigroup, still smarting from their spankings in the Terra Securities scandal and the “sweep” theft judgment in California, let CEO Chuck Prince go for $16 million.  And Wachovia, up to its eyeballs in the subprime clusterf— and still hemorrhaging money, gave their CEO, Ken Thompson, $5 million when they waved him out the door.

The worst by far was Countrywide’s Angelo Mozilo, who not only passed off $150 million in company stock just before it tanked, but still walked away with an unheard-of $115 severance package.

That the CEO payoff craze hasn’t been stopped is deplorable.  Why should these nitwitted, greedy power mongers get huge paydays for tanking the largest financial corporations in the world?  Do you have any idea what I could do with $20 million, mr. Fishman?  I could go to school for the rest of my life.  I could buy homes for all of my family, set up a trust fund for my niece, and start a scholarship fund for the children of fallen police officers and firefighters.  I could spend the rest of my life volunteering without having to worry about making a living.  I doubt a single one of these country-club trolls has any aspiration to do anything decent with their ill-gotten gain.

Then again, if they ever felt an ounce of conscience, their companies wouldn’t be in dire straits and we wouldn’t be talking about a $700 billion bailout.

GET THE #@$* OUT!

I’m in a mood.  I had to call a potential fraud victim a few hours ago, and this man was unbelievable.  He didn’t speak English, and when I called, he said (well, more like yelled), “speak eh-spaneesh?”  To which I replied, “un poquito,” which means “a little.”  I then said, “necessita un traductor?” asking him if he needed a translator.  He had the audacity to yell, “no!  You speak eh-spaneesh, you learn, you call me back!”  And he hung up.  So I called the other phone we had for him; same thing, different wording.  “I just talk wid you, no?  Don’ call back unless you speak eh-spaneesh!”

With what’s going on right now, I have no patience for this kind of crap.  I have no tolerance whatsoever for people who wish to foist their lives on America and try to force us to become like them.  First, they want to be allowed to come and go as they please without being required to declare themselves or what they intend to do.  Then they want us to give them public assistance when they can’t find work.  Then they want us to give them a visit with their country’s consulate when they’re convicted of a crime.  They want us to let them open bank accounts, have credit cards, get mortgages, and pay for their kids’ educations all while we try to take care of our own families.  To boot, they want ME to learn to speak THEIR LANGUAGE in MY OWN FRIGGIN’ COUNTRY.

Ain’t doin’ it. 

Okay…time for a little lesson.  This is AMERICA.  You wanna come here?  Great!  Obey the law, ask permission, get a visa and a green card, and become a contributing member of our society.  You don’t get scholarships or discounted tuition just for being in “the minority.”  You don’t get public assistance without a social security number.  And if we catch you stealing someone else’s, we will not give a damn when you break both legs trying to jump the fence after we deport your sorry ass!

If you feel no compunction to follow our laws and live by the rules, then we will feel none to give you what you want.  When our economy is a wreck and fully ONE THIRD OF THE BAD LOANS ARE KNOWN TO BELONG TO ILLEGALS THAT WE CAN’T TRACK DOWN, people just like you, we’re not going to feel any sympathy for your frustration when you can’t communicate.  We sure as hell won’t feel any sorrow when some bleeding-heart reporter from the Arizona Republic writes about your problems as if we should care!

So if you don’t like our rules, you don’t want to obey the laws, and you have no desire to become an American…

GET THE #@$* OUT!!!

Who Invited the International Court to This Party?

In June 1993, my family was moving again, but we still watched the news.  I’ll never forget that summer watching the news in Houston that two teenage girls had gone missing.  Just a couple of days later, I watched on the news as the father of one of those girls stole a news van and rushed to the scene police had found of two dead girls.  Police had to hold him back as he cried, “does she have blond hair?”

Even then, if you called 911 the police could track you down by the phone number that appeared when you called.  They found a teenage boy who admitted that his brother had been involved in killing the girls.  Within hours, Peter Cantu, Jose Medellin, Derrick O’Brien, Efrain Perez and Raul Villareal were in custody and each was ratting the other out.  They were members in a gang called the Black and Whites, and the boys were jumping in Raul (meaning that he was being initiated into the gang).  The beating over, they started drinking, and two teenage girls tried to walk by across the train tracks that ran through the park.  They grabbed one, Elizabeth Pena, and threw her to the ground; the other, Jennifer Ertman, tried to run but came back when her friend cried for help.

They were both raped repeatedly for more than an hour.  O’Brien took off his belt to strangle one of the girls and the belt broke.  They then took the girls’ own shoelaces and finished the job with them.  They left behind part of the belt as they moved the bodies from the clearing near the tracks to the nearby wooded area.  It took four days for the bodies to be found, by which time they were decomposing in the Houston heat and humidity.  The medical examiner noted that the extreme decay around the girls’ throats, cheasts and genetalia spoke to the horrific nature of their deaths and the brutalities they suffered at the hands of their killers.

The rest of the broken belt was found in O’Brien’s home and all of them eventually confessed to their roles in the murder.  Raul Villareal was the only one to get a relatively light sentence: 40 years.  The rest were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.

O’Brien has already been executed.  Several years after Medellin’s conviction, some hotshot attorney wised up to a little-known rule that required that all foreign nationals be given access to their home countries’ diplomats within three days of being arrested for any crime.  Medellin, you see, was brought to the US from Mexico at the age of 3.  He never told anyone after being arrested that he was actually a Mexican national and didn’t have legal status as an immigrant.  He didn’t tell anyone until years after he committed a horrid crime, when someone told him he might escape the death penalty based on this teensy little technicality.

Suddenly, Medellin took center stage in an international fight to require the United States to re-open 51 other cases in which foreign nationals were given the death penalty without having been given access to their nation’s consulate attorneys.  The same George W. Bush who picked up a sword and danced with the Saudis kowtowed to the demand, trying to use his position to force the states to comply.  Texas, bein’ the stubborn ol’ mules that they are, refused.  It went all the way to the US Supreme Court, and even the liberal judges there backed Texas law, refusing to bow to the wishes of the “International Court of Justice” (whatever the hell that means).

(Sidenote: if you go to the CCADP website, a Canadian group fighting to abolish the death penalty, you’ll see the Medellin has his own webpage.  It’s been quoted by the Houston Chronicle with no regard for the reality of what Medellin is saying.  He talks about joining the military, then says, “would have joined here, but I’m a Mexican, not a traitor.”  But the very first words he says on that profile are, “My life is in black and white, just like the old Western movies…”  In case you didn’t catch that, go back and read which gang this guy belongs to.  He’s giving a shout out to his homeboys in gang code and nobody has caught it yet.  Don’t forget, I used to work with gang crap every single day.)

Despite all the broo-ha-ha to save Medellin’s life, he’s scheduled to be executed tomorrow, August 5, in the death chamber at the Polunsky Unit in the Huntsville facility of TDCJ.  Texas refuses to recognize demands by the international community to halt the execution.  Barring an invasion by a UN force (hey, there’s a first time for everything), Medellin will be executed for his crime.

There’s been much ado about whether Texas should give a stay of execution because of diplomatic concerns.  Yet I fail to see why we should be beholden to anyone not in this country.  I promise you, the first time we cave in and allow international opinion to influence any decision in America, it will open the floodgates.  We’ll never get them to stop trying to dictate what we do here.  We are a sovereign nation, we adhere to our own law, and if the international community wishes to have any say in our criminal justice dealings, then they’d better damn well let us have a say in theirs.

I find it interesting, though, just how rabid the rest of the world is to force America into submission on this issue.  I’d like to know where they are every day when women in Muslim countries are stoned to death for violating Sharia law.  I’d like to know where they were when two young gay men were arrested, tried and hung in Iran within one week just for being gay.  I’d like to know where they are when girls across the Arab world are forced to endure female circumcision (if you don’t know what it is, trust me–you don’t want to).  I’d like to know where all these freakin’ do-gooders are when Palestinian children are indoctrinated with terrorist beliefs, taught to believe that blowing yourself up to kill infidels in the name of Allah makes you some kind of damned hero–in public schools.

What’s good for one is good for all.  At least when you’re talking to someone who cares about following the rules.  Randy Ertman, the father of Jennifer Ertman, had this to say about the whole thing:  “The world court don’t mean diddly. This business belongs in the state of Texas … the rest of them can go to hell.”

Was it really that bad?

peterson.jpgpetersonshooting.jpg

Often times when tragedy strikes any area; be it a small town or a large city, we all become overly engaged in what the media is telling us.  This story for some reason has been keeping me very interested.  As everyone knows, in a town north of me about seven to eight hours in Crandon, Wisconsin a 20-year old police officer went on a shooting rampage at a quiet house-pizza-party and killed six of his friends.  The next day, he was gunned down by police and killed as well.

The story caught my ear yesterday and touched personally for the ominous fact that I have traveled to that area of the country with some great friends here that go there regularly.  I remember the feeling you get when you are up there.  It’s all wooded, untouched, beautiful, quiet, peaceful, clean, and you truly regret having to come back to the Chicago area.  (Of course after too much of it, the city boy in me would get bored).  I suppose I’m a country boy at heart.

Tyler Peterson is described by fellow police officers as being “level-headed and polite.”  In the hours after the shooting, a close-friend also stated that he was very remorseful and had been hurt by his ex-girlfriend and attended the party where he had intended to patch-up a break up but became enraged when it escalated into an argument with the entire crowd verbally ridiculing him and calling him a “worthless pig.” 

While there is no excuse for what he did, it makes you wonder just how bad did this kid feel?  Had he never been angered before in his 20-years of life?  As a “level-headed and polite” public servant who protected the people of his area, was he extremely provoked? 

There is one survivor whose condition is getting better.  Perhaps he can provide us with answers on this.  But not one person is ridiculing this fella for what he did.  I am not trying to throw judgment here, because this is still a new case that I am sure will continue to be mulled by the media.  But every person including fellow officers, neighbors, friends, etc. all describe this kid as a decent person.  Even up to the very end, he allegedly wanted to turn himself in on his own terms. 

In a statement released by his parents, they seem as puzzled as everyone else.  I can’t even imagine the pain they must be feeling knowing that their son is never coming back while simultaneously not having a clue ever that he was that close to snapping.  The responsibility they must feel for all of these senseless deaths must be extremely overwhelming.

In such a peaceful area it really makes us think.  It also makes us wonder why things are turning out this way.  Why could such a promising young man who obviously was not a thug or a punk prior to this incident commit such unimaginable acts? 

I almost feel like I’m speaking in defense of him, but I’m not.  It is just a massive mystery and my quick-thoughts and conclusions are not coming through for me on this one. 

It’s just very sad that in a time our country is battling homicidal/suicidal nuts overseas that good-Americans in peaceful small mid-western towns act similarly in a moment of sadness and despair.

I’m really crying hard on the inside over this one.  Truly sad.

You can see more pics of the incident here temporarily.