Category Archives: crime news

More guns won’t prevent carnage … period!

I am quite certain we’re going to join this debate fully in due course, but I want to inject on this blog a thought I heard this morning in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Thirty people are dead, many more are injured in the wake of two senseless attacks by morons intent on doing harm.

The debate to which I refer? It will involve whether putting more guns in people’s hands will make us a safer society. This morning I heard from a Texan, former San Antonio mayor and former housing secretary (and current candidate for president of the United States) Julian Castro, who made a most cogent observation.

He told “This Week” host Jon Karl that the El Paso slaughter occurred in Texas. It allegedly was carried out by a Texan, who traveled from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex to El Paso to terrorize innocent victims.

Castro noted that Texas is known worldwide as a place where its residents carry lots of guns; he noted we have concealed carry laws, open carry laws and campus carry laws in Texas. Yet the individual who opened fire in the Wal-Mart mall likely knew of the consequence of facing return fire from firearm-packing bystanders … but it didn’t deter him in the least!

He committed his hideous, heinous and horrific act anyway.

Do more guns make us safer? Well, let’s have that debate. I am willing to argue they do not!

What is happening to us?

What in the name of all that is evil and sinister is going on?

I, along with the rest of the nation, went to bed last night reeling from the news out of El Paso and that a young man who lives just down the road from us in Collin County has been arrested in connection with the slaughter of 20 people in a Wal-Mart shopping complex.

Then I woke up today to hear about another mass shooting, in Dayton, Ohio, where someone shot nine people to death before the police killed him in a fire fight.

Good ever-lovin’ Lord! What is happening to this country?

The president called the El Paso shooting an “act of cowardice.” I am sure he’ll say something similar in response to the Dayton massacre.

The statements are welcome. Except that presidents have been issuing them too often over many years. They aren’t enough. Presidential proclamations do nothing to assuage the genuine fear that is planted in the hearts of Americans.

So help me, I feel as though I am approaching a mindset of holing up in my house and never venturing out … ever again! Dammit! I would hate living like that!

Gun violence: tragedies built on mountain of complexity

Another massacre has stabbed the nation in its heart. The wound is deep.

El Paso, Texas, has fallen victim to the insanity of gun violence. Twenty people are dead; 26 are injured. A 21-year-old Allen, Texas, resident is under arrest and will face charges of capital murder.

What motivated the shooter to do what he did?

Police have found a screed written by someone. It is fervently anti-immigrant. Its contents border on a form of white supremacy. Police are saying that if it’s proven the young man in custody wrote the screed he will be charged with a hate crime.

We now are entering the world of “domestic terrorism,” which is what this tragedy is sounding like.

Don’t you remember when these crimes provoked debate about accessing guns, about the proliferation of firearms, about how Congress and the president fail continually to enact laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them?

Those issues remain on the table. Now they are joined by the issue of hate, of angry political rhetoric that some suggest spurs these hateful actions. They join the threat of international terrorism, which occasionally becomes the focus of these crimes when they’re committed by those angered by foreign policy decisions related to our nation’s ongoing war against terrorists.

It is boggling my mind. However, the El Paso massacre is looking more and more like an act of domestic terror.

My hope at this very moment is that the Texas Rangers, the FBI, El Paso County and municipal police investigators can get answers for us in short order so we can sort out the motive.

If it is as many of us suspect, then we need to launch a full-out, frontal attack on those who would terrorize fellow Americans in such a heinous manner.

Another mass murder in a city that never expected it

I am running out of ways to express my heartbreak over news of mass shootings, mass death, mass insanity.

El Paso, Texas, is the latest community to join the growing list of places identified as a place where madness erupted.

As I write this brief blog post, all the nation seems to know with any certainty is that there are “multiple fatalities” at a Wal-Mart shopping complex in the West Texas city.

I understand three individuals have been taken into custody. El Paso police are being tight-lipped about the circumstances.

The mayor said the massacre caught everyone by surprise, that no one expected such an event to occur in El Paso. Oh … my. If only such reactions weren’t so predictable.

I suppose one of the questions to be answered soon will be the place of residence of the individuals in police custody. Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso and a candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, has declared El Paso — which borders Mexico — to be one of the nation’s “safest cities.” He makes the case in rebuttal to contentions from others who express fear of criminals migrating into this country from points south.

That debate will commence.

In the meantime, I am going to grieve along with the rest of the country over the senseless, moronic loss of life.

I also plan to find a way to mend my broken heart.

Does capital punishment deter capital crime?

So, the federal government is restoring the death penalty for federal crimes. The Justice Department is bringing back this form of punishment that’s been on the shelf for two decades, through presidential administrations of both parties.

I have to ask: What crime will it deter? Where is the deterrence that this punishment is supposed to create? Do criminals really think of the punishment when they commit these heinous acts?

Capital punishment gives me considerable heartburn as I grapple with how I feel about it. I have declared my opposition to the death penalty as a punishment handed out by states and, now, the federal government.

We kill criminals at a break-neck pace in Texas, although the pace has slowed considerably in recent years. There once was a time when we were executing ’em with stunning regularity. There were tacky, crass jokes about setting up a “drive-through window” at the state’s execution chamber in Livingston.

Did the frequency of those executions stem the crime tide? Did it prevent killers from doing what they did to deserve the ultimate punishment? I fear not.

Which makes the DOJ’s decision to return the death penalty so problematic for me.

I don’t want to “coddle” these individuals. They should serve hard time. I do not oppose “administrative segregation,” which is a euphemism for “solitary confinement.” If they’re going to spend the rest of their lives in prison, make them pay deeply for the crime that put them behind bars.

I am acutely aware that life sentences don’t deter criminals, either.

The notion of deterring criminal acts requires a lot more thought and nuance than just killing the individuals who commit them.

Change of venue? Sure, but move it far, far away

Amber Guyger is going to stand trial — possibly soon — for murder. The former Dallas police officer this past September allegedly walked into a Botham Jean’s apartment and shot him to death reportedly thinking she had entered her own apartment.

The case has riveted many residents of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, which makes a request for a change of venue so very interesting.

Guyger’s lawyers insist she cannot get a fair trial in Dallas County, where the case is set to be tried. They want a change of trial venue to a county other than Dallas County, citing “media hysteria” surrounding the case.

I am not going to argue for or against a change of venue. Indeed I can see why defendant’s legal counsel would want to change the trial location. However, the counsel should insist on moving it far away not just from Dallas County, but also from Collin County, Tarrant County, Rockwall County, Ellis County — or any part of the region served by the Dallas/Fort Worth media outlets that have been covering this case.

Send it to El Paso County, or to Orange County, or to Hidalgo County, or to Dallam County.

Yes, there is intense interest in this case.  A lot of the circumstances sound, shall we say, weird. Guyger was suspended at first from the Dallas Police Department and then was fired after she was indicted for murder in the death of Botham Jean, a native of St. Lucia who lived in an apartment on a separate floor from where Guyger resided.

Whatever the judge decides, my belief is that this case needs to go a lot farther away than just outside of Dallas County.

Hey, what about the ‘search for real killer(s)’?

Today marks 25 years since the deaths of two individuals who became linked inextricably with a former football great, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and someone who most Americans believe got away with a heinous crime.

O.J. Simpson was acquitted later of murdering his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in Nicole’s home in Los Angeles. O.J. was implicated in the deaths, given his past history of spousal abuse and, oh yeah, the physical evidence that the cops recovered from the crime scene.

Simpson hired a crack legal team led by Johnnie Cochran, and including Robert Shapiro, F. Lee Bailey and the father of those Kardashian girls, Robert Kardashian.

They cast sufficient doubt on the police investigation into the murder to score an acquittal. O.J. walked free and then made this pledge: that he would “spend the rest of my life” looking for the “real killer or killers of Nicole and Ron.”

Oh, but now he says he doesn’t want to “dwell on the negative.” He wants to move with his grown children. He lives in Las Vegas and spends his days playing golf.

I guess I should add that he was found “liable” for Nicole and Ron’s death in a civil suit and ordered to pay $33 million. The level of proof in the civil case was far less demanding that the criminal case. Still, that civil jury said in effect, dare I declare it, that O.J. killed his wife and friend.

What about the pledge to find the killers, O.J.? Are you still on the hunt?

Naw … I didn’t think so.

Christine Brennan wrote in USA Today that the real focus as we look back on this day should be on the Goldman family, who lost a son and a brother to, um, someone.

She urges us to devote our lives to creating what Simpson himself called a “no negative zone.” Not a bad idea at all.

But if hell freezes over and O.J. Simpson finds the real killers, I trust he’ll let us know.