Killing You’s the Right Thing to Do

Killing You’s the Right Thing to Do

Scott Lehr, no prior record, convicted murderer and rapist from Phoenix Arizona.
Scott Lehr, no prior record, convicted multiple murderer and rapist from Phoenix Arizona.

 

Why the death penalty is required in America

By Amanda Chen (The People’s Republic of China)

I read this article which I saw posted on a facebook page by an adamant supporter of the Death Penalty in America. The article was really a compilation of criminals who had murdered, been incarcerated and eventually released, only to murder again.

EnforceDPI was taken aback by this seemingly strong argument and I thought I should re-visit my position on the matter. So I researched and investigated the facts of the cases and I wanted to share what I found and how it changed my perception of the use of the death penalty and executions in the United States.

The numbered examples, given as reasons why executions are needed form the basis of the article / compilation.

 1. “John McRae — Michigan/Florida. Life for murder of 8-year-old boy. Pedophile. Paroled 1971. Convicted of 1965 another murder of a boy after parole, in Michigan 1998.”

John McRae was convicted at age 16 in Michigan for the murder of an 8 year-old boy. He was sentenced to life in prison. He served 20 years for the murder. His life sentence was commuted in 1971 by then Governor William Milliken at the recommendation of the state parole board.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.obituaries/qg3ztdxwP6o

That’s completely appropriate. You do not sentence a sixteen year-old to death for murder. That’s true even today. The murder was committed in 1951, when the very high recidivism of child molesters was much less understood. It is also very well known that victims of molestation, physical abuse, and childhood sexual abuse are far more likely to become the perpetrators of sexual abuse than the general population,

china_death_penaltyMcRae was convicted in 1998 of killing another young boy. The State of Florida violated McRae’s rights as McRae was denied a lawyer when he confessed to the crime. The Florida State Supreme Court overturned the conviction. The State of Florida appealed this to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the State Supreme Court ruling. The State of Florida then re-tried McRae, this time not using his confession.

This perennial problem of confessions being illegally obtained under conditions of duress, force, and intimidation, can be addressed by performing thorough investigations and making sure that the facts of the case and the evidence match up tightly with the confession. Some States even require a trial even if the defendant has pleaded guilty and given a confession for just this reason.

In this case, nothing was done wrong on the part of the state of Michigan in light of what was then known about child molestation / pedophilia. The only one at fault here is the state of Florida, for obtaining a confession illegally and violating the Constitutional rights of the accused.

2. “John Miller — California. Killed an infant 1957, convicted of murder, 1958. Paroled 1975. Killed his parents 1975”

Miller was a juvenile delinquent who went to the home of a family friend with burglary on his mind. He went to get money and guns from the home which he hoped was unoccupied. He found the family friend’s 22 month-old daughter completely unsupervised outside the home.

Who leaves a 22 month-old baby home alone? Miller smothered the baby and hid the body under several blankets in her crib. He was 15 years-old at the time and he served 18 years in prison.

Nothing different would happen in a case with similar facts today, and the death penalty would never be imposed on this first offense then or now.

What did the parents of the child have to say about the death penalty?

“The father of the murdered girl said: “We don’t want revenge. We just want to see him put behind bars for the rest of his life. He’s a sick soul.””

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/2007/11/toddler-slain.html#sthash.d2A9OAZi.dpuf

This child killer, who was a child himself, in all probability suffered abuse and possibly sexual abuse by a neglectful, ignorant parent.  Intense therapy in concert with a prison sentence, education and a new direction in life would have served this child better than 18 years of simple incarceration.

John was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Deputy Dist. Atty. Ted Sten called him “vicious, treacherous and coldblooded. Here is a person devoid of feeling, an ill-tempered wild animal who wanted to kill someone to see how it felt.”

Deputy Dist. Atty. Allen Field said John told his probation officer that he couldn’t cope with the outside world after being released from prison. He said his parents had mistreated him and he blamed his father for being sent to prison in Laura’s death.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/2007/11/toddler-slain.html#sthash.d2A9OAZi.dpuf

Miller, irrationally or perhaps even rationally, blamed his father for his arrest and conviction for the death of the child. Two months after release on parole, Miller killed both his parents.

Miller would not have been sentenced to death under these facts back then or even today, and given the circumstances of his life, the death penalty is still not appropriate, in light of the failures of his parents and of society to at least attempt to address his tortured psychology.

3. “Charles Crawford — Missouri. Life term in for murder. Paroled 1990. Convicted of murder again in 1994.”

Charles Lee Crawford, charged as a second offender, was found guilty by a Laclede County Circuit Court jury of murder in the first degree. The court fixed the punishment at life imprisonment. On appeal to this court, the conviction was affirmed. State v. Crawford, Mo.

http://www.leagle.com/decision/19691068436SW2d632_11051

In this case, Charles Lee Crawford was found guilty of the 1st degree murder of Edward L. Pridemore on February 2, 1965, in Laclede County, Missouri (MO). There was no prior murder.

Crawford was sentenced to life in prison. His case was appealed to the MO State Supreme Court where it was upheld. Crawford is still in prison today, and is a threat to no one.

Charles Ray Crawford is on Mississippi's death row and scheduled for execution.
Charles Ray Crawford is on Mississippi’s death row and scheduled for execution.
Kristi Ray College student abducted, raped and murdered by Charles Ray Crawford.
Kristi Ray College student abducted, raped and murdered by Charles Ray Crawford.

Charles Ray Crawford of Mississippi (MS) 43, was sentenced to death in 1994 for the murder and rape of Northeast Mississippi Community College student Kristi Ray in rural TippahCounty.

In 1993, Charles Ray Crawford was out on bond awaiting trial on charges of aggravated assault and rape in 1993.  He had not committed a prior murder

Four days before his first trial, the 20-year-old Ray was abducted from her parents’ home in Chalybeate and Crawford was charged with her rape and murder.

These are two different people in two different states and their crimes are 30 years apart. The first case is a prime counter-argument to the original article which stated that “LWOP is not the answer when it comes to pure evil.”

This man committed murder, served 25 years and has not proven to be a further danger or harm to society.

1461252_557046384370990_1310799225_n bbIf any of the defendants discussed in the article were sentenced to LWOP for a first murder offense, they would never get out of prison to be able to commit a subsequent murder. So, even the title of the article is flawed. LWOP is the answer to pure evil, under the proper facts and circumstances.

Mississippi may soon be finished grappling with the higher courts and the Supreme Court, getting the go-ahead to executed Charles Ray Crawford. Will this bring finality, healing and closure to the family of Kristi Ray?  Not a chance, and they will be forever changed and forever mourning the murder of their family member.

4. Jack Ferrell — Florida. Committed Murder 1981. 15 years to life, 1982. Paroled 1987. Murdered again 1992.

Jack Dempsey
Jack Dempsey

The aptly named Jack Dempsey Ferrell (Jack Dempsey was a famous early 1900’s heavyweight prize-fighter) had his own unique way of knocking out his girlfriends and (permanently) resolving conflicts of the domestic nature.

“Jack Ferrell and Mary Williams lived together, and their relationship was marked by verbal and physical confrontations, including Ferrell threatening to kill Williams.”

“On April 18, 1992, neighbors overheard the couple arguing and observed Ferrell enter and exit the apartment several times.  When he left the apartment the final time, he told one of the neighbors that he had killed Williams and the cops should be called.  Ferrell then drove away in his car.”

Jack Dempsey Ferrell
Jack Dempsey Ferrell

“Williams was found on the apartment floor with two gunshot wounds to the head, and she died ten days later due to hemorrhaging in the brain.   At the time of Ferrell’s arrest, his breath smelled of alcohol, and he admitted to drinking heavily that day.”

“Ferrell was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment for Second-Degree Murder in 1982.  He was released in 1987.”

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-supreme-court/1186038.html

Under the facts of this case, who in their right mind would release this convict back into society after just 5 years in prison? Clearly this man needed alcohol counseling and rehabilitation followed by intensive therapy for anger management and conflict resolution.

These could have been undertaken in concert with incarceration before finally undergoing intensive therapy to address the underlying causes for his alcohol abuse. These causes usually include poor parenting, an absentee parent, or no parent, psychiatric issues, and possible abuse and neglect as a child.

Instead, the State of Florida warehoused him for just 5 years in a “gladiator academy” where he must have learned more about hatred and the devaluation of human life, and then unleashed a new and improved alcoholic criminal to further prey on society.

Ferrell was released in 1987 under terms of parole. The parole term was most likely 5 years. At the end of that five year parole term, the untreated Jack Dempsey Ferrell’s future was entirely predictable

Under the influence of alcohol, Ferrell shot his girlfriend to death for “being a bitch”.

“Upon the defendant’s arrest, he stated that he had shot the victim and was glad he did and hoped she died.”

death-penalty-drugsHere, the State of Florida seems clearly at fault. The original idea propagated by so many psychologists and psychiatrists working in the prisons system in the 60’s and 70’s was that many criminals were victims of poor childhoods and limited opportunities prior to their crimes. Society had an opportunity to rehabilitate these criminals and help right the wrongs originally done to them.

This idea gave way in the 80’s and 90’s to the idea that criminals were “evil” and needed to be locked away from society. Locking prisoners away was costly and prisons were overcrowded, so they let them go far too soon.

Then along with private sector involvement in the prisons, the prison industry emerged, and prisons became a growth industry in America, employing many people, creating and augmenting many businesses, and becoming very profitable and politically influential.

Then came a paradigm shift where it was suddenly economically feasible and even politically preferable to lock people up for a much longer time. Problems with recidivism only fed that momentum. Truth in sentencing, toughness on crime, and mandatory minimums became the new norm.

So, while a death sentence for a severe alcoholic who shot his wife to death may have prevented the taking of another life, a longer sentence would have also saved one life. A combination of rehabilitation, counseling and therapy could have saved two lives, and early intervention could have saved all three.

http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/flsupct/81668/op-81668.pdf

5. Timothy Buss — Murdered five-year-old girl. Sentenced to 25 years in 1981. Paroled 1993. Murdered 10-year-old boy.

The victims of Timothy Buss
The victims of Timothy Buss

“Mika Moulton, the mother of 10-year-old murder victim Christopher Meyer, stood at the courtroom railing Friday and stared at Timothy Buss.

Tara_Sue_PicChristopher_Pic

“Burn in hell, Buss, burn in hell,” Moulton said quietly from the front row as Buss was led from the courtroom.”

Buss also had been convicted for the 1981 murder of 5-year-old Tara Sue Huffman and had served half of a 25-year sentence when he was paroled in 1993.

The defense had argued that Buss suffered from parental neglect and abuse as a youngster. His mother, Rose, left when he was 5 years old, and his father, David, who had custody of the four children, admitted he was a “terrible” father.

Mr. Jaquays, the defense attorney, said Buss never had a chance for a normal life. And he said a language-based learning disability and an attention deficit disorder were two reasons why Buss’ punishment should be less than death.

“Timothy Buss suffered from a defective mind,” Jaquays told the jury. “It was like building a house of cards. It was a matter of time before it collapsed. His problems were left undiagnosed and untreated.”

Jaquays asked several times for mercy for his client during his closing argument, and asked the jurors not to have revenge in their minds.

“It is always difficult to ask for mercy,” Jaquays said. “The voice of revenge and outrage is always louder. But it’s wrong. I ask that you not hesitate to base your decision on mercy.”

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-07-06/news/9607060051_1_penalty-timothy-buss-christopher-meyer

death-penalty-pros-and-cons4This is the case of a pedophile who killed a child, served time, was released and killed again. He served just twelve years for killing a child?  Now, the tenacious recidivism of child predators is better understood, and longer sentences are now given and more protections are sought against child molesters. It is also better understood what the most abundant cause is: prior physical and / or sexual abuse of the offender.

There are plenty of such cases, and professionals in the field continue to seek better solutions for controlling and treating criminals while protecting society from their horrible and monstrous acts.

Does the author or compiler of the article advocate putting a man to death for a senseless and terrible act he committed at the age of 13?

Evil is learned and vengeance is learned. Selfishness is learned and intolerance is learned.

Benevolence, mercy, and generosity are also learned and they’re enshrined in the bible. Ministering to and saving wayward, damaged and lost souls was Christ’s life’s work. His worldly ambition was not throwing damaged people to the wolves and praying they will burn in hell. That some people cannot or will not be saved is no reason not to try and take on the task.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-08-13/news/9508130235_1_timothy-buss-christopher-meyer-boy

6. Dwain Little — Oregon. Raped/Stabbed 16-year-old girl. Life term 1966. Paroled 1974. Returned as Parole Violator 1975. Again Released 1977. Then shot family of 4.

Murdrpedia

The article neglects to mention that Dwain Lee Little was just 17 years-old when he murdered 16 year-old Orla Fay Fipps.  He showed no remorse and his wise-guy attitude only subsided when he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He served just 8 years before being released on parole.

Here again, minors are more readily tried as adults these days, and Little received that treatment back then. Even now, under these facts, a 17 year-old is very unlikely to be sentenced to death.  If a case were tried now under the same facts, the defendant would serve a much longer sentence than 8 years.

Is the person who wrote the article really stating that LWOP is too good for a teenager who commits murder? They probably would not say that, if the defendant were his or her child.

Does this person feel that American society would be better served by executing a person who committed a terrible act as a teen?  Does that appease society for a senseless act of murder?

What does that say about a society that answers murder with murder?

imagesCAUCXK6F ltShould we try to act more like a reckless and remorseless perpetrator of murder, or should we show that we are more forgiving, more merciful, and more noble than a lost and disturbed adolescent or sociopath who takes a life, by trying to salvage a damaged life ?

Why does America have the most perpetrators of violent crime and by far the highest population of criminals? Is it just the freedom, the openness, and the permissiveness of the society, or is it embedded in the culture?

7. Chad Allen Lee — Convicted of capital murder. Sentenced to other than death. Released and went on murder spree. Murdering Linda Reynolds, a pizza delivery person, and 9 days later robbed and murdered David Lacey, a taxi cab driver. Lee then robbed a mini-market 7 days after than. Shooting the owner, Harold Drury, multiple times without reason.

Murderpedia. Juvenile records sealed.

Chad Lee was 20 years-old at the time of his second and third murders. The records from his first murder were sealed and must have been in his early teens. Most teens have problems, experiment, and make mistakes. A few cross the sacred line into chaos and murder.

Do parenting, society, and the culture play any role in what causes a still developing child to cross that line?  The overwhelming evidence shows us that it does. Can a more collaborative approach to parenting and a more nurturing role of society help to mitigate these ills? Intuition says that they can.

untitledThe compiler of the article advises us to euthanize the “bad seed”. This person comes from the same mentality which advocates bringing every human conception to fruition, no matter what the circumstances.

Conception can lead to the birth of a human being, but not a complete human being. There is only the form and a potential, but the baby must develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

The compiler of the article is suggesting we execute disturbed young teens as a prophylactic measure.

If something goes wrong in post-birth development, do we abort the human being, lock them away forever or cast them into hell? Maybe we, as a society, should at least make an attempt to bring damaged teens to full term in the hopes of saving some lives.

8. Scott Lehr — Convicted of capital murder. Sentenced to other than death. Later released. After release, between Feb 91 and Feb 92 lured 10 different female victims, between the ages of 10 and 48-years-old, into his car. Raping and beating them unconscious, stripped and adandoned them in the desert. Three of his victims died in those acts.

Maricopa logic: Palm fronds were found near the victim, Scott Lehr trims palm trees, therefore Scott Lehr killed the victim.
Maricopa logic: Palm fronds were found near the victim, Scott Lehr trims palm trees, therefore Scott Lehr killed the victim.

“Lehr, a Phoenix, Aizona resident at the time and father of three daughters, became known as the “Baby Seat” rapist in 1991 and 1992 for his use of a baby seat in his car to lure 10 young girls and women.

Through various ploys, Lehr would lure the women, either hitchhiking or walking alone, into his car and drive them to a remote desert area. There, he sexually assaulted, choked and beat the women with large rocks.

This sentencing re-trial for Lehr began in January.

“Our office will seek justice for the victims of heinous murders as often as necessary, including those cases in which the death penalty has already been imposed once before,” Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said in the statement.

Lehr was also sentenced in 1997 to 17 consecutive life sentences on 32 counts of attempted murder, sexual assault and kidnapping”

Since this is an Arizona case, we should look a little closer.

Andrew Thomas, Maricopa Arizona’s top prosecutor at the time and quoted above, was disbarred in 2010 by an Arizona ethics board.

“Prosecutor Andrew Thomas joined forces with Sheriff Joe Arpaio to wage a war against County officials, judges and others in 2008 and 2009. Sheriff Joe and Thomas conducted “a coup in MaricopaCounty by arresting, prosecuting and suing all of the county elected officials, including sitting Judges they did not like”.

As a result, many of the targets of these attacks sued MaricopaCounty, costing the county millions.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/04/16/20090416abrk-deathsentence0416.html#ixzz2nvZhL8a6

There is also reason to believe that the “Baby Seat Rapist / Killer” is not the rapist / killer at all.

– Many of the victims reported build, face, age and hair color much different than the defendants’. These reports were later amended to instead report that the suspect matched Lehr’s description.

– Several witnesses completely changed their descriptions of the make, model, and color vehicle Lehr was driving after they spoke with prosecutors working on the case.

– Also the observation of a “baby seat” in the back of Lehr’s car, supposedly used to gain a victim’s confidence and lure the victim into the car, was not a part of most eyewitness descriptions, until after talking with prosecutors. One reported she saw a maroon baby seat, while Scott’s baby seat was blue.

-Scott Lehr was sitting at the defendant’s tables at the front of the courtroom right in front of an eyewitness / victim, when she was asked to identify her attacker. The victim pointed at a man standing in the back of the courtroom.

She repeatedly stated that the man in the defendant’s chair (Scott Lehr) was not the man who attacked her.

-The prosecution expert DNA witness admitted that some of the DNA evidence could be from insects. Scott Lehr “could not be excluded”, and neither could millions of others people and animals.

Appeal:      http://www.supreme.state.az.us/opin/pdf2002/cr-97-0317-ap.pdf

Finally, the idea that Scott Lehr was arrested and sentenced and then let go to commit further crimes is mistaken. Lehr was arrested and charged with multiple violent crimes. Convictions for violent acts from one set of charges were used as “prior capital offenses” in another set of charges from concurrent cases.

So perhaps we should take a much closer look at the facts and evidence in State v. Lehr, before deciding to take Scott Lehr out of this world by way of execution. The many exonerated prisoners from death row, and particularly in Arizona, are the best reason to abolish the death penalty, not sustain it.

9. James Erin McKinney — Convicted of capital murder. Sentenced to other than death. Later released. Then murdered Christine Mertens in a home invasion robbery. Later murdered James McClain in another separate home invasion robbery.

As support for imposition of a noncapital sentence, McKinney presented evidence at sentencing as to what even the sentencing judge found to be an “extraordinary” and “traumatic childhood,” which would be “beyond the comprehension and understanding of most people . . . .”

imagesCAJYBIUXMcKinney grew up in extreme poverty, living in filth, lacking adequate clothing, and suffering constant physical and emotional abuse, largely at the hands of his stepmother. McKinney consistently arrived at school poorly dressed, dirty, and covered in welts and bruises from beatings he received at home. Unsurprisingly, McKinney ran away repeatedly, appearing at the homes of relatives and friends bearing signs that he had been beaten.

http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special32/articles/0903mckinney-ON.html?&wired

Also, the compiler of the article is misrepresenting the facts. “Convicted of capital murder. Sentenced to other than death. Later released. Then murdered Christine Mertens in a home invasion robbery. Later murdered James McClain in another separate home invasion robbery.”

This is not true. James McKinney was not convicted, sentenced, and released when he committed later murders.

McKinney was arrested for both murders. Each concurrent murder was used as a prior conviction for the other. This is another Arizona case, and this tricky way of creating a prior convictions aggravator is the way they do things in Arizona. If the compiler was concerned enough to know anything about Arizona capital cases and researched his compilation of “facts” carefully, he would know this well.

10. Robert Lee Massie — Sentenced to the DP, but overturned by Furman, which resulted in him committing further new murders.

robert e leeRobert Lee Massie (Why do all these criminals seem to be named after Robert E. Lee, the famous Civil War Confederate General?) was 24 years old when he committed robbery, attempted murder, and murder, and was sentenced to death in California’s gas chamber.

Furman vs. Georgia changed his destiny, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty had been applied unfairly and arbitrarily to certain people and crimes. There was a moratorium on the death penalty in all states.

“Massie’s first death sentence came after he committed a series of robberies and assaults between January 7 and January 15, 1965, in Los AngelesCounty.

Robert Lee Massie was convicted of one count of first-degree murder in the Jan. 3, 1979 death of Boris G. Naumoff. A San   FranciscoCounty jury sentenced Massie to death on May 25, 1979.

dpMassie shot and killed Naumoff during a liquor store robbery, and wounded Charles Harris, another store employee. This crime occurred while Massie was on parole for a murder he committed in Los Angeles County in 1965. He had been given a death sentence for that crime, but it was overturned in 1972 when the California Supreme Court ruled the death penalty was unconstitutional.

Along with Charles Manson and the other Manson killers, Robert Lee Massie’s sentence for his 1965 crime was commuted to life. Massie served less then six years for murder and was paroled in 1972. Massie served only six years for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon with serious injuries and murder?

Fortunately, this no longer happens, and first degree murderers now face minimum mandatory prison sentences and very strict parole requirements. So, execution is not the only way or the most effective way to protect the public and prevent recidivism.

11. Kenneth McDuff – Sentenced to the DP, but overturned by Furman. Subsequently released, and murdered as many as 19 young women after his release. Finally executed in 1998 for the murder of Melissa Ann Northrup  … Who once remarked “Killing a woman is like killing a chicken. They both squawk.”

Kenneth McDuff
Kenneth McDuff

Kenneth Allen McDuff is one of the most hated and reviled names in Texas criminal history. Often called “the Poster Boy of Capital Punishment,” he is the only man in US history to be sentenced to death, released from death row and then sentenced to death again and executed for a different crime.”

“At the trial, FallsCounty sheriff Brady Pamplin, a former Texas Ranger, described McDuff as the most remorseless and sadistic killer he had ever met.

Twenty-seven years later, Pamplin’s son Larry, the current sheriff of FallsCounty, appeared at McDuff’s Houston trial for the 1992 abduction and murder of Melissa Northrup.”

“”Kenneth McDuff is absolutely the most vicious and savage individual I know,” he told reporters. “He has absolutely no conscience, and I think he enjoys killing.”

If McDuff had been executed as scheduled, he said, “no telling how many lives would have been saved.” At least nine, probably more, Texas authorities suspect.”

Murderpedia

A longer prison sentence may have accomplished the exact same goal, bringing McDuff into his fifties, when spree-type violent crimes become statistically rare.

“Dr. Labowitz never examined McDuff but said he based his conclusions on what he had learned about him, particularly his early days in the tiny town of Rosebud in Central Texas.”

“In some people we can find behavior antecedents in childhood. An absent father, a drunken mother, an abusive home. But it appears there was none of these. It seems his incredible lust for evil appeared spontaneously and full blown.”

No matter how thorough the studies of the Ted Bundys and Charles Mansons of the world, Labowitz said, “none of this can prepare us for an encounter with Kenneth McDuff.”

McDuff was certainly an aberration, and there will always be some of these in society. In America, we don’t play to the aberration. Will we execute prisoners who may be innocent of their crimes, execute teens, and execute those who can be salvaged to protect against a one in a millions aberration like McDuff?

Murderpedia

Of course, you will want to include the worst case scenario in your argument. Police methods have grown more capable and parole officers now do a better job as well. A man with this kind of record should never have been let out of prison so early.

This man could be a hopeless crack addict and an incurable sociopath, or perhaps at some point he gave up on society, and vowed to do whatever he wanted lashing out at the world until he was caught or killed.

12. Darryl Kemp — Sentenced to the DP, but overturned by Furman. Subsequently released. Authorities now say he raped and strangled a woman jogging, less than 4 months later.

“July 18, 1959, Darryl Thomas Kemp was the nylon stocking murderer of nurse Marjorie Hipperson, one of the most sensational Los Angeles crimes of the 1950’s.

The man sentenced to death last month in the 1978 killing of Armida Wiltsey bears little resemblance to the 23 year-old who was arrested in 1959 on charges of kidnapping and raping a woman in Griffith Park while posing as a ranger. At 73, according to news reports, Kemp often dozes behind dark glasses and uses a wheelchair although some doctors say he is faking his mental and physical illnesses and is perfectly capable of walking.

TentsignKemp’s story is a triumph of criminal forensics in which investigators working nearly 50 years apart used crime scene evidence to link him to two notorious unsolved killings. And for supporters of capital punishment, his life highlights the tragedy of failing to enforce the death penalty.”

This is another worst case scenario, also made more unlikely by the improved communication and coordination between law enforcement agencies and the use of scientific crime-fighting techniques such as DNA and modern forensics.

More restrictive policies such as mandatory minimums and stricter parole policies have also reduced the possibilities of career violent offenders recklessly attacking victims . Mental health initiatives and early intervention also work to reduce the chances of a psychotic madman terrorizing society.

So, we have evolved in our approach to the dangers of extreme criminal violence, by increasing efforts on the front end, aimed at prevention, efforts at the middle, aimed at better detection and apprehension of criminals, and efforts on the back end, aimed at attempts to salvage broken lives. If none of these efforts work for some individuals, we them have no choice but to isolate them like viruses from the rest of society.

So let’s review:

  1. John McRae: was convicted of murder at age 16. He could not have been executed or kept in jail indefinitely.

2.  John Miller was age 15 at the time of the murder. He could not have been executed or kept in jail indefinitely.

3.  Charles Lee Crawford committed one murder and is still serving a life sentence in Missouri

Charles Ray Crawford committed a single act of murder and was sentenced     to death in Mississippi.

4.  Jack Dempsey Ferrell, an alcoholic, killed his girlfriend, showed no remorse, was released after serving only 5 years, and he killed another girlfriend.

5.  Timothy Buss murdered an infant at age 13. He could not have been executed or kept in jail indefinitely.

6.  Dwain Little was age 17 at the time of the murder. He was released after just 8 years.

7.   Chad Allen Lee was age 15 at the time of the murder.

8.   Scott Lehr was arrested for a series of crimes including assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, attempted murder and murder. He was never released from prison. There are serious discrepancies in his case. Elements from one murder were used as prior capital offenses in the others.

9.  James Erin McKinney was never released from prison. He was arrested for two separate murders. Each murder was used as a prior capital conviction in the other.

10.  Robert Lee Massie committed a robbery/murder, served less than 6 years and was released, and committed another robbery/murder.

11.  Kenneth Allen McDuff was a convicted triple-murderer who was sentenced to death. Due to chronic overcrowding, Texas inexplicably paroled him. This spree killer and crack addict was one of the most savage killers in American history. McDuff is responsible for Texas completely overhauling their prison, parole, and sentencing systems.

12.  Darryl Kemp was arrested for assault and rape, but not murder. These could have been capital offenses in the 1950’s, but now only murder is a capital offense. He was paroled and went on to commit a series of murders.

To use cases going back to the 50’s and 60’s (1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 12), cases which contradict or don’t fit the very premise of the article (3, 8, 9, 12) cases where the State made bad judgments or provided no services (1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 11) and cases of severely disturbed teenagers (1, 2, 6, 7), as examples in an argument for sustaining something as outmoded and barbaric as the death penalty, is more than a little intellectually dishonest, to say the least.

UncleSamSo, while originally viewing the article gave me pause and made me re-evaluate my position, a closer look at these cases makes me even more adamant that this way of looking at and dealing with the worst of society by the best of society needs to be relegated to the museums and the history books.

The death penalty IS required in America.

Condemning this practice and realizing we have outgrown this backwards policy will continue to drive a Cultural Evolution for a more caring, engaged and enlightened society. Beginning with the federal government, spreading to the last State hanger’s on, and then throughout the world, the death penalty is required…

…to be allowed to die a quick and painless death.

r-CALIFORNIA-DEATH-PENALTY-large570

http://www.wesleylowe.com/repoff.html

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Jane Velez Mitchell: “Our Toxic, Toxic Culture (Dec 17)

CNN’s Jane Velez Mitchell:

“We need to change our “toxic, toxic Culture”

Opinion by Amanda Chen and Rob Roman

toxic

CNN’s Jane Velez Mitchell, a self-described recovering addict, had something to say tonight about our American Culture. Velez-Mitchell stated that “There is something wrong in our culture”. There is a sickness, a toxic, toxic situation in our country”. Jane likened it to an addiction.jane velez mitchell

She says we must acknowledge that there is a problem with our culture before we can deal with it. Jane, as an anchor on CNN’s Headline News, has a front row seat to the pressing crises in America. She sees it, reports on it, and works with it every day, and her conclusion is that we have a serious cultural problem.

prisonSpecifically, Jane referenced our prison system which houses 25% of the world’s prison population, while the United States represents just 5% of the world’s population. Instead of treating addicts, we lock them away in our prisons. Instead of rehabilitating non-violent and first time offenders, we choose as a society to lock them up for decades, throwing their lives away.

People who work in the field of addiction know very well that a drug or alcohol problem is an effect, not a cause. imagesCA3ODVJVThe addict must acknowledge, confront, and begin to address the addiction before they can get real help for the underlying cause. This underlying cause can be childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, or a host of other traumas. In the same way, our violent culture (deficits in civil conflict resolution, impulsive anger, gun violence, a callous view towards and a low value placed on life, numerous addictions, disregard for others, competition to destruction, and a distorted view of reality) are really effects with an underlying, contagious cause.

131213185313-13-arapahoe-denver-post-restricted-horizontal-galleryWe don’t put resources into the front end, carefully nurturing our children and bringing up people with a positive, hopeful, and productive attitude, who help each other and cooperate with one another. Instead, the idea of the supremacy of the individual is embedded in our children in many ways from an early age, and we produce adults who see few opportunities and become hardened to life, giving the lives of others little value.

Instead, we put more resources into the back end, locking away the products of our diseased culture, and cleaning up the messes they make. In this one way, the serial killer Charles Manson was right. The behavior of people is a product of our culture just as much as our culture is the product of our behaviors.

healthcare yesOur Congress, our politics, our media, our schools, and our justice system all share responsibility for how our toxic culture is developed and perpetuated.

Our Lawmakers set a terrible example of gridlock, vitriol, and shutdown in the one place where civility, cooperation, and the general welfare should be paramount. Our politics are caustic, divisive, and dominated by personal attacks.

Our media tells us what to think about and how to think about it instead of just delivering the objective information. healthcare no

Our schools teach to the test and practice “zero tolerance” instead of concentrating on developing informed, curious, and concerned citizens.

Our justice system uses the same “zero tolerance” with mandatory minimums and barbaric sentencing laws to lock people away for decades for very minor offenses.

healthcareWith more people like Jane Velez Mitchell speaking out in our media, perhaps we can finally acknowledge that we, the people of the United States of America have a serious cultural problem. We can realize that what we are witnessing on the news is, in reality, the effects of a larger, deeply ingrained cause. It’s a disease of poorly evolved values and priorities.

cycle of changeA Cultural Evolution is the cure, and it must be reflected from all of the above sources. It must also come from the private sector as well as from individual parents, children and citizens, all over this great nation.

We see it in a President, who strives to bring affordable healthcare to everyone in our society.

We see it such figures as Nelson Mandela, who brought two warring sides of a country together, to the consternation of many and for the betterment of all. We see it in the countries of the world, who are organizing together to address world problems.

imagesCAFTGVF3

We see it in a new kind of religious leader, who endeavors to heal a broken church and set a proper example for its members. We see it in our grass roots activists, who organize to address grievances and restore personal liberties and personal responsibility.

We need to see more of these structural changes and new initiatives. Evolution of our shared culture revolves around choices, it comes from each of us and it affects all of us.

nelson mandela

The cure can be as infectious as the disease.

biohazardLike Jane said, we need to look at the shameful effects, acknowledge the cause, and begin to heal the wounds and work on the cure.

Instead of sitting in a big chair and idlelly grousing about much more accomplished people and such abstract concepts as “Communism” and “Socialism”, let’s apply our thinking within the framework of a dynamic, sustainable and just Capitalism which can challenge and elevate us all.

imagesCAADVFEX

What’s your opinion?

All comments are welcome.

20 Not Very Merry Gun arguments from the far right

 

20 Not Very Merry Gun arguments from the far right

Fact-Based Reporting by Rob Roman

merry christmas

Gun-grab, gun-free zones, murder magnet,  good guy with a gun, Constitutional right, right from God, tyrannical  government, first step to gun grab, laws on books not enforced, arm the teachers, everyone get a gun, AR-15 for home defense, inanimate object, mental health only, armed militia, cars kill more, not a gun problem, not a problem, not my problem

1) The Government just wants to grab my guns. Pry my gun out of my cold, dead hand, etc. (1)

The Gun – Grabber argument is no argument at all. The 2nd Amendment is here to stay. It has been recognized by the Supreme Court as an individual right, not attached to any militia. This is a government of the people and a government of laws. No one is coming to take your guns away.

imagesCAE7ZPQJThis would require a repeal of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. This requires the votes of 2/3rds of both the House and Senate. Then it must be ratified by 3/4ths of state legislatures. Another way is for 2/3rds of the States to call a convention and then 3/4ths of all State legislatures must approve it.

Can you imagine 67 Senators and 290 Representatives voting to repeal the 2nd Amendment? Can you imagine 34 state legislatures then calling for a Constitutional Convention and then 38 States approving a repeal? It’s never going to happen, so relax. And if it did happen in the future, it would be the will of the people.

2)  A ban or more controls on certain types of semi-automatic military-style rifles and high capacity magazines would just be the beginning. This is an assault on law abiding gun owners. (2)

magThere is no need for these weapons class to be available to the general public. If you want one, you should be willing and able to qualify to have one and use and keep it safely.

3)   Guns are just a tool. They are inanimate objects. People are responsible for misusing guns. Don’t blame the gun.

Guns are a special kind of tool or inanimate object. They are an inanimate object designed to kill. When animated, they can easily cause instant death from both a physical and emotional distance. Not all gun owners are responsible or reasonable. So, we need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally unstable and other unqualified people.

4)  Knives, forks, cars, and bathtubs are just as dangerous as guns. (4)

The controlling idea here is that it is the person, not the “inanimate object” which wounds and kills. Knives, forks, cars, and bathtubs are not designed specifically to kill. A person armed with a fork or a knife would have a real difficult time killing 26 people in 5 minutes.

An accidental death by car or bathtub is not the same as an intentional killing with a gun. Cars are heavily regulated and insured. The problem is the combination of an impulsive, irresponsible, or mentally disturbed person with an instrument which is designed to kill many people quickly and easily.

5)  An “assault weapon” is fully automatic”. A semi-automatic military style rifle with high capacity magazines is not an “assault weapon”. (5)

rap 4There’s no need for semantic games. The AR-15 is the civilian version of the M-16 military assault rifle. The main reason this weapon was developed was to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible.

Guess what? The AR-15 can be easily converted to fully automatic, and many owners know this very well.

6mmThe .223 caliber hollow point round, used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School, was preferred over higher caliber rounds in combat because you can carry more of the smaller rounds and because the round Yaws through the air at 880 meters per second (963 yards per second) .

It then explodes on impact causing baseball sized holes in the flesh. Seth1Internally the bullet causes a massive baseball sized explosion. The bullet then fragments into multiple shards which spin, ricochet off bones, and rip through vital organs.

Emergency Room Doctors will tell you that they don’t see injuries from this weapon very often because most victims never even make it to the hospital and usually bleed to death. (6)

(5.56 mm / .223 gunshot wound)_

6)   I need my semi-automatic military style rifle and high capacity magazines to protect my home and my family.

Is your name Tony Montana? Are you expecting a coordinated assault on your home? No one needs this kind of weapon for home defense.

7)   A ban or further regulation of military style rifles and high capacity magazines will not help save the 500 plus victims killed by handguns each year in Chicago.

This is a classic. There are two separate issues here.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot  to death in Harsh Park in Chicago only 1 week after performing in the 2013 Presidential inauguration (click to enlarge)
Hadiya Pendleton was shot to death in Harsh Park in Chicago only 1 week after performing in the 2013 Presidential inauguration. (click to enlarge)

The first is an effort to reduce the rate and lethality of mass shootings. The second is general gun violence.

Irresponsible gun owners try to tie the two together. Then they say that further regulations on certain rifles and magazines won’t stop general gun violence. This is obvious, it’s not meant to do that.

8)   Gun free zones are “murder magnets”. We can’t reduce the rate and fatalities of mass shootings unless we get rid of “gun-free zones” and allow concealed or open carry in all schools and other public places.

This argument assumes that if more “good guys” have guns in schools and other public places, then the “good guys” can stop the “bad guy(s)”.

great-no-guns-signFirst of all, there have been mass shootings where there was a good guy with a gun. Columbine and Arapahoe High Schools both had armed Resource Officers who were ineffective. This argument doesn’t take into account the chaos, the unknown, and the overwhelming fear coming from a shooter with heavy firepower who is ready to kill and to die.

In Sparks, Nevada, what if the math teacher had a gun? At that point in time, only one student was wounded in the shoulder. Do you think this teacher would then be emotionally ready to shoot a 12 year old to death?

Would he then be sued? What about mistakes? Innocent people will be shot in the confusion and people will get caught in the cross-fire.

good guys This is not an episode of Bonanza where the good guy rushes in and fixes everything, bang bang, lickity split.

Even armed police at a shooting enter the fray slowly and carefully. By that time, people have already died. The killing usually happens in a matter of a few minutes, and the shooter always has the element of surprise.

The shooter will change tactics to address the presence of armed staff in a school. The “good guy” with a gun might have a spouse and children, and only very few would heroically charge into a firefight with a mentally disturbed killer armed with superior firepower.

9)   An FBI background check did not stop the Boston Bombers. More people were killed by drones authorized by President Obama than were killed in mass shootings in the USA during the Obama years.

What? These are entirely separate and unrelated issues.

10)   My 2nd Amendment rights come straight from God almighty and are meant to establish an armed militia against a tyrannical government.

wayne 1Some people are always citing the Constitution but at the same time they say that their right to keep and bear arms is a right over and above the Constitution.

This is a nation of laws. If government tried to act in defiance of the 2nd Amendment, it would be stopped by the courts. We have three branches of government, the Legislative branch, the Executive branch, and the Judicial branch. (I find it amazing that a great number of Americans actually don’t know that).

Note the misleading information and the veiled threats, a trademark of far right gun rights advocates.

The Constitution assures that these branches are co-equal and balance each other out. Two of these branches are elected directly by the people. So what are you talking about?

11)   Gun homicides, suicides and gun accidents have declined dramatically since 1994.

Gun homicides were at an alarming rate and peeked in 1994, which spurred the passing of the assault weapons ban and other legislation. imagesCA3U1TQYThe crack epidemic led to a great deal of this violence and Tech-Nines were in use all over.

The rate of gun homicides, suicides, and accidents has remained rather constant since the late 90’s. They are poised to escalate, as many new gun owners have appeared on the scene due to fear and hysteria raised by the far right and gun lobbies trying to convince people that their gun rights will be taken away or severely reduced by the government.

Domestic violence gun homicides and suicides have remained quite constant over the last few decades.

12)  If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Guns are not going to be outlawed. Please come up with a newer or more convincing argument.

Michael Dunn, gun enthusiast, allegedly fired 9 rounds into a car full of teens, allegedly killing a high school student.

Way too many unarmed people are being shot to death by citizens who used to be law-abiding gun owners right up to the point where they lost their common sense or control and killed an unarmed person with their gun. (Please see “The Law-Abiding Gun Owner)

13)  Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Right you are, so we will need some sensible gun safety legislation, to make gun use safer, and to keep guns and especially the most dangerous guns away from people who should not have them.

14)  Laws won’t help because criminals don’t obey the laws. We have enough laws on the books but they are not enforced.

Then why have any laws at all? E21DD88D-D9AB-4244-8BAE-A58899921B07_mw1024_n_sSmart legislation does work to keep everyone safer and to make it more difficult for unqualified people to get hold of guns.

The laws on the books are not fully enforced because law enforcement has a limited amount of resources and must make difficult decisions about priorities.

If you are talking about going after people who fail the background checks we do have, you cannot go after, arrest and jail people for failing a background check.

The people who make these arguments are the same people who don’t want to help fund the enforcement because it’s “against their core values”.

15)  Chicago has the most gun laws and the most gun deaths, so there!

imagesCAVAW0BSChicago has the most gun laws precisely because they have the most gun deaths. Local legislation is overwhelmed by lax laws in other cities and states, which make guns available to “bad guys” via straw purchasers, the lack of background checks at gun shows and numerous other outlets.

The Chicago gun homicides are mostly related to gangs and drug crimes. Would you like to help attack this problem by spending more money to apply more Federal resources for more prevention and enforcement projects in Chicago?

16)   We don’t need gun control, we need a mental health solution. A mental health only solution is the answer to mass shootings.

Mental health is definitely a component of mass shootings, but if you want to have more mental health services available, are you willing to help fund them?

A mental health only solution is not the answer to reduce the rate and lethality of mass shootings without a gun safety component. The problem at Sandy Hook was not that a mentally disturbed man came to the elementary school and exposed himself or threw crayons at the students.

Crime Scene Evidence (Click to enlarge)
Sandy Hook Crime Scene Evidence (Click to enlarge)

He came armed with two semi-automatic pistols, an AR-15 semi-automatic military-style rifle and ten 30-round high capacity magazines plus 10 magazines for the 9mm Glock and 10mm Sig Sauer. Before this, he shot his mother 4 times in the head with a .22-caliber Savage MK II-F bolt action rifle.

So the problem is not only mentally disturbed people. It is mentally unstable people who can too easily get their hands on highly lethal firearms.

A mental health solution and gun safety are inextricably entwined when it comes to preventing or lowering the rate and lethality of mass shootings.

17)  Mass shooters are mostly liberals and most general gun violence is caused by liberals.

Actor Jeff Bridges star in "The Dude"
Actor Jeff Bridges stars in “The Dude”

This is an over-simplification and an attempt to avoid the issues. Many mass shooters are in their teens and twenties, and the majority of young people start out as liberals.

So, this may be true about mass shooters, but many of them were rebelling against their conservative parents who had introduced them to firearms. Also more conservatives are usually more reluctant to seek psychiatric help for their children.

18)  Millions of AR-15s are in circulation and are being safely owned and operated by law abiding gun owners as we speak.

That’s true, but more and more it has become a sort of conservative right of passage to own and carry weapons. Owning an AR-15, like Nancy Lanza did and like George Zimmerman does is the crowning achievement which gives you street cred. among far-right conservatives. It means you are in the club and you belong.

imagesCAMOBLO0Ownership of this type of firearm is becoming more main stream. Instead of avid hunters, sports shooters, and veterans owning the majority of these weapons, more and more rash, hot-headed, impulsive, irresponsible and unstable people have them or have access to them and more people are not as qualified in their safe keeping and operation.

So that’s a good reason why there should be more controls on this particularly dangerous weapon class.

19)  The Universal background check is not good, fair, necessary because ….. because ….. uh … please see reasons 1 through 18.

There is no valid legitimate reason for not passing a Universal background check for all weapons purchases and transfers. The Gun Industry, the gun lobby and irresponsible gun worshippers cloaked in the American flag and constantly citing our Constitution, just don’t want any further regulations or controls on these weapons, no matter what.

We have a serious societal problem which directly affects gun owners, and some feel absolutely no responsibility to help to do anything about it (even initiatives not involving firearms). Their answer is we should do nothing and their attitude is they don’t care. Isn’t it?

friendsThese are the people who want us to eliminate gun free zones. They expect us to  count on them to pull their pistol and go rushing towards a chaotic situation with a highly disturbed shooter armed with a high powered rifle and high capacity magazines. The good guy with a gun will save the day. It ain’t never gonna happen.

Mass Shooters will ALWAYS seek out schools, malls, theaters, and other public places to make their statements, no matter what. By the time the shooter is in the school or other public place with the element of surprise, it’s already too late no matter how many good guys are legally carrying concealed weapons.

The person you depend on to save you is the same person who watched 20 six and seven year-olds and six educators get shot to pieces and basically said “ I don’t care”, “It’s not my problem”, and “it’s not the gun”.

20)  In this country, and especially in certain parts of this country, we are the most vocal, we are the vocal minority and we will never compromise and nothing about gun safety will ever be done.

Gun-RightsI think responsible gun owners, many NRA members, mothers and other concerned citizens who are not gun owners will all get together to pass sensible gun safety legislation such as the Universal background check and mental health legislation with a gun safety component.

This will only strengthen the 2nd Amendment and make gun ownership more acceptable and responsible to the community.

fight-for-your-rightsYou are the loudest right now, but the will of the people will prevail and you will still have access to all kinds of firearms. (The Constitution, the American flag, and our system of government belong to all of us).

All comments are welcome and appreciated

all rights reserved

(1) “A new amendment repealing the amendment in question. It must be done exactly the same way, because the repeal itself is an amendment. To begin, a proposed amendment must be voted approved by a 2/3 majority of both legislative bodies of the US Congress. The Proposed Amendment must then be sent to every individual State’s legislature for consideration. Each state follows its own parliamentary process to arrive at a yea or nay on the Proposed Amendment.

For the Proposed Amendment to become a Constitutional Amendment, 3/4 of the individual American States must vote a final yea. With the current body of States numbering 50, the required number of State ratifications to adopt the new amendment is 38. Upon the confirmation of the 38th yea, the Amendment becomes part of the Constitution, amending, or changing, whatever the subject of the amendment covers–whether it be a new cause, or eliminating an old Amendment.”

https://www.quora.com/What-does-it-take-to-remove-an-amendment-from-the-U-S-Constitution

(2) “United States Supreme Court DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ET AL. v. HELLER, (2008)

No. 07-290 Argued: March 18, 2008    Decided: June 26, 2008

Held: 

1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

2. “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose:  For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.””

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/554/570.html

3. The distinction of the fact that the primary purpose of a gun is to kill people is relevant because as a society, we tend to regulate physical items themselves based on a combination of a few things, including 1) their primary purpose (i.e., benefit) and 2) their lethality. Guns and other weapons are different from other items because their primary purpose/benefit and their lethality are one and the same.

Another common comparison gun advocates make is “well, heart disease kills way more people a year—600,000–why don’t people focus on regulating cheeseburgers?” or “cars kill 30,000 people a year too–why don’t we get rid of all cars?” The answer is that we do regulate cars and cheeseburgers and try to prevent their related deaths, but we do it with a logical relationship to their primary purpose and their immediate lethality. I assert that as Americans, we regulate guns in an illogical manner as compared to everything else we regulate.

http://www.allgeneralizationsarefalse.com/why-guns-are-not-like-spoons/

4. “When you get in your car and turn it on, the goal in mind is to get from wherever you are currently to wherever you are wanting to be. A successful drive of a car involves you and your passengers if applicable arriving at your destination, all involved are unharmed. Vehicular injuries or deaths generally arise as a result of some form misuse (either negligence or carelessness), badly designed road or badly designed vehicle. If you attempt to use a vehicle for its intended purpose and nothing goes wrong, nobody gets harmed.

On the other hand with guns, when you pick up a gun and pull the trigger, the idea is the thing its pointed at gets maimed or killed- i.e. that is its designed purpose. If you point a gun at something and pull the trigger, and the thing its pointed at isn’t injured or killed, either you didn’t use it well (i.e. you missed) or it isn’t a very good/well designed gun.

When we’re talking about vehicular deaths, they are referred to as “accidents,” whereas when someone gets killed by a gun its referred to as a “shooting.” In the firearm scenario, the “shooter” has successfully carried out a “shooting,” where as in the vehicle scenario the “driver” has had “an accident.”

Considering the Lame Argument That Asserts Cars Kill More People Than Guns

The argument under consideration clarifies that, when it comes to murders, people are the ultimate cause and guns are merely proximate causes—the end of a causal chain that started with a person deciding to murder. But nothing follows from these facts about whether or not guns should be regulated. Such facts are true for all criminal activity, and even noncriminal activity that harms others: The ultimate cause is found in some decision that a person made; the event, activity, or object that most directly did the harming was only a proximate cause. But this tells us nothing about whether or not the proximate cause in question should be regulated or made illegal. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/logical-take/201302/guns-don-t-kill-people-people-do

5) “Because of their deadly design, assault weapons amplify the carnage of public shootings. A review of mass shootings between 2009 and 2015 by Everytown for Gun Safety found that incidents where assault weapons or large capacity ammunition magazines were used resulted in 155% more people shot and 47% more people killed compared to other incidents. When access to assault weapons is restricted, deaths due to mass shootings decrease. A 2014 study found that “both state and federal assault weapons bans have statistically significant and negative effects on mass shooting fatalities.”

lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/hardware…/assault-weapons/

6)  “But the worst is a wound from an AR-15 or AK-47 — high-muzzle velocity weapons, which impart a tremendous amount of kinetic energy into the body. Those are much more destructive. You’re looking at a wound that, externally, is two, three, four times bigger than any handgun wound.And that is reflective of the damage that happens on the inside. When a bullet from a high-muzzle velocity weapon hits the intestines, it’s like an explosion, whereas a low-muzzle velocity can be very similar to a knife going through the intestines; there’s bleeding, but it doesn’t destroy the whole area. A high-muzzle bullet, however, destroys whole areas of body. With a bone that’s been shot with a standard-issue caliber handgun, you’ll see a break, a hole in the bone, and maybe some displacement. But a high-muzzle weapon shatters that bone into hundreds of microscopic pieces, in a way that cannot be repaired.”

https://www.thetrace.org/2015/09/bullet-injuries-wounds-trauma-surgery/

Furthermore, AR-15 bullets don’t just affect the skin and the tissue immediately under it. In addition to turning a bone to dust or liver into jello, the high energy would also cause damage around the entry and exit wounds.

When a high-velocity bullet pierces the body, human tissue can ripple just like water does when you throw an object in it. But it all happens at increased velocity. The bullet and its ensuing fragments might miss a critical artery, but the cavitation effect could tear through blood vessels.

Rhee also said that a handgun would require only one surgery, but an AR-15 bullet wound needs three to ten.

Because it’s designed so well, the AR-15 fires almost without recoil, meaning that a shooter can inflict more damage with multiple bullets accurately hitting the same target. “The gun barely moves. You can sit there boom boom boom and reel off shots as fast as you can move your finger,” Denver Health trauma surgeon and Journal of Trauma and Acute Surgery editor Ernest Moore told Wired.

What happens when AR-15 rifle bullets tear through the human body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The God Factor

The God Factor

Sistine-Chapel

By Rob Roman

America is a melting pot of religious persuasions. People who are agnostic (the question of God is not relevant to living a moral life) and people who are atheists (do not believe in God) have been around throughout the existence of the United States.

Let’s look at the official definition of God. From the Merriam Webster dictionary:

1 capitalized:  the supreme or ultimate reality: as 

a   :  the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe

 

b   Christian Science   :  the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit :  infinite Mind 

2:  a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically:  one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality

3:  a person or thing of supreme value

4:  a powerful ruler

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/god

god 6More and more, agnostics and atheists are asserting their rights and feel excluded by the government as God appears in our pledge of allegiance, on our money, and in many other places. They invoke the “separation of church and state” and our notion of equal rights to try to persuade the government to remove all references to God.

People who are against this cite the fact that our nation was founded mainly by deeply religious people who fled Europe due to religious persecution. They cite our strong history of a Judeo– Christian ethic and structure of laws. They will say that America is by and large a Christian Nation, and has always been so.

god 2We hear the perennial argument that it’s not inclusive of everyone to say “Merry Christmas” or to suggest that Christmas is only a Christian celebration. People point out that there are many other holidays around this time of year, including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

Being inclusive does not mean that others should give up their rights or that we should neglect our history. How does having the word “God” stricken from everything serve the public interest? Isn’t it just as divisive to exclude the word “God” as it is to embrace it?

god 1Then what is “God”? How many people use the same definition? Many Christians see God as an all powerful creator in the same image as man. But divinity students may not agree, and they talk about a trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Muslims speak of “Allah”. This is their word for God, but is it the same as the God the Christians believe in? Buddhist are thought not to believe in a separate, personal God, but in the “Buddha Dharma”, which permeates everything, including all space and time. All three of these interpretations of God are creative and sustaining forces.

god 4Atheists say they don’t believe in God. Then what do they believe in?  What is most important to them? What is their driving force? What do they base their lives on and put their trust in? Many would say they put their trust in Humanity.

Being atheist or agnostic has moral implications. That doesn’t mean that they are amoral or immoral. True agnostics and atheists must have some sort of moral code.

Then we have the science vs. God argument. The truth is they are not mutually exclusive and can’t be. Some people believe that science is imperfect and attempts to deny the existence of God. Many people believe in both God and science and some trust neither.

Some people say they do not believe in God, but they say they do believe in a “higher power”, even if this comes from within themselves.

evil 2What would be a more universal interpretation of God? Maybe it’s a higher power, a higher consciousness, or a higher responsibility. Maybe everyone, including agnostics and atheists, can agree to at least one of these three interpretations.

humanity 2

There are three things we all want to do, if we are caring sentient beings. We all want to move in a direction. We want to move away form the darkness of ignorance and towards the light of understanding. We want to moves away from hatred and depression, and towards love and joy. We want to move away from selfishness and towards generosity.

god 5Within the idea of a higher power, a higher consciousness, or a higher responsibility, I think we all can agree that we all adhere to at least one of these as a driving force. Within the three directions, I think we can all agree that we embrace at least one of these.

So, instead of believing we need to remove the word God from everything, maybe everyone can define it for themselves within the parameters of these three interpretations and these three directions? This would be more inclusive than shutting out so many of our citizens and so much of our Nation’s history.

Now, this way, even Agnostics and Atheists (and Buddhists) can comfortably say “In God we trust” and “God bless America”.

What is your Opinion? We would like to know! All comments are welcome.

A word about the “Sandy Hook Hoaxers” (December 4)

Fact based reporting

by Kenneth Jameson, Amanda Chen and Rob Roman

images (2)

Attention: All Sandy Hook Hoaxers to the Office Please!

On the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre and one year after the victims were laid to rest, can we also bury these hateful conspiracy theories and hoax accusations that are still being broadcasted as recently as today?

9146424_origAlthough I do sympathize with people who buy into these theories because of the over- zealous efforts to maintain privacy, that’s as far as my sympathies go.

We have viewed all the most popular of these YouTube videos and internet articles talking conspiracy with such titles as “Sandy Hoax School”, “Sandy Hook Line and Sinker” and “Unraveled in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Dimensions.

Please be advised, we have had enough of this nonsense, already. You are now under detention.

Here are some of the most citied reasons for thinking that what happened on December 14th, 2012, didn’t really happen:

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Posts and Reports Before the Attack

1) Face book posts, tweets, etc. predate the tragedy. Time zones and the way these social media sites archive information and update previous articles and posts are the reason why there are these time differences. This is whypeople seemed to be discussing the tragedy “before it happened”, etc.

Adam Lanza’s death certificate reads December 13th. There is a lot of red tape to correct such an error. If this was a carefully designed hoax, this mistake would have never been made.

No Visibly Injured Victims

2) Only 3 injured were rushed to the hospital, the 26 dead were not. This speaks for itself.

Out of sensitivity to the victim’s families and the town, the victims were taken out under the cover of darkness after the crime scene had been processed.

 

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The Empty Triage Area

3) There were no injured victims in the triage area. The 26 were dead and there were no injured victims to triage.

An Emergency Room MD, who was teaching a class to other medical personnel on gunshot wounds, told the class that the ER doesn’t see too many patients with wounds from  .223 hollow point rounds fired from high powered rifles. The reason? The Doctor said that most people never make it to the Hospital with these wounds.

Nothing Happening at the Scene

4) Nothing is happening outside the school during the tragedy. The footage you see is one or more hours AFTER the shooting and authorities blocked the driveway to keep hysterical parents away from the school.

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“Adam” is really Ryan

5) Adam Lanza is really Ryan Lanza. Actually, his features are similar maybe because they are brothers.

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The Parents Were “Crisis Actors”

6) All the Sandy Hook parents are actors and musicians and are older than most parents of 6 year-olds.

In real reality, some of the 20 parents have acting and musical talent. This has always been true of Newtown and is truer today. Many people living in Newtown work and perform in Manhattan and other, nearby musical and acting venues.

Most of the parents of the victims stayed out of the limelight. Naturally, the parents with acting and performing experience were more comfortable with public speaking and therefore volunteered to be the spokespeople. The more mature parents were willing to came forward and speak to the media.

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Memorial Christmas Trees Stored at Firehouse Before the Tragedy

7)  We had a good laugh at this one. The Christmas trees decorated and placed as memorials to the victims were seen on video in a pile behind the firehouse before it was known what had happened. In real reality, many firehouses hold Christmas tree sales as a fund-raiser and this firehouse has done so for decades. The December 14th date means these trees may have been leftovers.

Medical Examiner Acted Strangely

8) The Medical Examiner, whose name is ironically “Carver”, acted oddly. In real life, unlike on TV shows, people span the full range of personality types. Think about the fact that this man had just performed autopsies on many of the tiny 6 year-olds with unspeakable wounds. In light of this, there is little strange in anything he said or did.

Adam Lanza Not Known or Seen

9) No one had heard of or talked to Adam Lanza in 3 years. I can’t think of a rational explanation for that except that, just maybe, he was living in a self-imposed isolation.

Manipulated Victim Photos

10) The photos of the victims with their families appear photo shopped. You can look at almost any photo and claim it is photo shopped for one reason or another.

Manipulated Shooter Photos

11) There are no photos of brothers Adam and Ryan Lanza together. There are no photos of these brothers together that were RELEASED TO THE MEDIA, for obvious reasons.

There are no recent photos of the brothers together, also for obvious reasons. One more thing – Adam did not like to have his photo taken, and he’s not the only one who’s like that.

Victims Parents Were New to Newtown

12) Some of the parents moved to Newtown a few years before the tragedy. I can’t really answer that one except that just maybe, many parents buy a home and move to a town around the start of their children’s schooling.

Student Made Reference to a “Drill”

13) A Sandy Hook Student recalling the tragedy days later spoke of a “drill”. Yes, the school had a lock down drill 2 weeks before the shooting and the student was drawing comparisons saying his experiences were similar to the drill.

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Complacent and Smiling Parents

14)  The parents were really “crisis actors” and were smiling and even laughing days after they lost their children. If they were good crisis actors, they would not have laughed and smiled at all, would they? Real people actually laugh and smile at times, even in the midst of a tragedy. Most people feel the whole range of emotions at such a time.

Pray that you do not have to bear a horrendous and inexplicable tragedy in your life for you to know how the victim’s families really felt and behaved.

The Shooter and his Mother were Autopsied Last

15) The autopsies of the children and other victims were done before the shooter and his mother. Why were these autopsies done last if they are the most important from a forensic viewpoint? Because they were the most important from a forensic viewpoint is precisely the reason they were autopsied last rather than first.

Second Shooter and Other Suspects

16) There were other suspects outside the school. The new report makes clear that there were in fact individuals outside the school, a parent who heard the report on the radio and came to the school, an off duty policeman spotted by other police in the woods, a looky-loo who heard the news and came to see what he could see, and two reporters.  Some were detained and brought to the police station because the police were not going to take any chances.

Amusingly, the new report reveals that some police dropped shotgun rounds on the ground both inside and outside the school. These were photographed and became evidence in the case.

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The “Firehouse Circle”

17) People  were reported to be walking around aimlessly in circles outside the firehouse. Concerned parents coming to the firehouse were arriving and being told to go to another entrance. Also, people who had been sitting inside for so long came out to stretch their legs.

The “conspiracy” footage we saw shows the same two cars repeatedly cruising down the same short stretch of road in the background, similar to what you see in the background of a Flintstone’s episode. It was obviously doctored. Thank-You, we had some more laughs.

There was also a claim that the 26 stars on top of the firehouse were placed there before the tragedy. Alright, then. We believe you, we surely do.

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Video of police Entering a Different School

18) There is footage of heavily armed and helmeted police teams rushing to a nearby Catholic school, called the Saint Rose (of Lima) School. Maybe, just maybe the police secured nearby schools, and all schools in the surrounding area and towns were locked down as part of the response protocol. More than maybe, it’s a certainty. Sorry, hoaxers.

FEMA Response Drill Nearby

19) A FEMA “active shooter drill” was held 14 miles away in nearby Bridgeport on the same day as the Sandy Hook shootings. These kinds of drills are held all around the country, especially since 9-11, and between the holidays is a slow time when many of these events are held.

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The Good Samaritan Ploy

20) The good Samaritan and retired psychologist, Gene Rosen, who was so kind to help the scared and confused children who ran out of Ms. Soto’s classroom (when Adam Lanza was re-loading), out the front door and down the driveway, was vilified as a “screen-actors” guild member (not true), and a part of the conspiracy.

To top it off, Gene Rosen owned the same model and color car as Adam Lanza drove to the school. Of course, the government uses only a certain model and color car for this special children massacre “drill”. Poor Mr. Rosen was hounded for months by the conspiracy theorists. This only goes to prove the theory that no kind act ever goes unpunished.

We need many more people as kind and understanding as Gene Rosen.

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All the Black and Silver Cars

There was also much made of the fact that many of the Sandy Hook cars were silver or black. White, silver and black cars are the most popular and have the highest resale value. Many leased cars are one of these colors.

I have a black car. Before that, I had a silver car. My father has a silver car. Before that he had a white car and my mom had a black car. My brother has a silver car. And his son has a black car. We all must be part of this vast car conspiracy.

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There truly is a Sandy Hook Conspiracy: All these Hoax reports are the conspiracy. A few gun rights activists want nothing more than to believe that these attacks never happened at all, happened with only handguns, or  that these attacks are only about mental health issues and have nothing to do with the weaponry used. So, these videos and articles have a large audience.

SHS_ArtLike the Aurora Theater Shooting. There is a severe lack of information and evidence which is publicly available. Unlike the Aurora Theater Shooting, the Sandy Hook shooting is a closed case. There will be no prosecutions and there will be no trial.

It’s time to reveal more information.

The latest “New Report”, first promised in June, but released in late November, 2013, is not representative in any way of what the investigation has uncovered. There was way more information discovered than what was reported. We, the public, do not need to know every detail of an investigation. But this is not enough by any standard.

It is not a “Reader’s Digest condensed version or even a “Cliff’s Notes” Version. It’s more like a “cheat sheet version”.

download (3)Cleverly designed to appear to be revealing lots of information while revealing almost nothing, the authorities have gone too far in withholding basic information. The public has a right to know. This paltry report took 11 months to release?

No one expects identifying photos of the victims, but a video screen shot of the shooter or some concrete representation of the attack is needed. A photo of a broken window and some glass shards are not enough. Perhaps the state of Connecticut is waiting until after the Anniversary of the attack and the holidays before revealing more information. But I suspect this is nearly all we will see, and that is grossly inadequate.

People need a little more information so we fully realize the gravity of this horrendous act. This way, we can finally get together and make sure we find ways to reduce the number and the lethality of mass shootings and the possibility of this happening again.

images (1)The Sandy Hook shooting is thought by many to be a vast conspiracy aimed at providing a catalyst to spur gun control legislation. No, the ability of mentally disturbed people to easily get hold of weapons, many of these weapons owned by law-abiding gun owners, is the catalyst for mental health AND gun safety legislation.

The simple fact is that guns make impulsive behavior into deadly behavior, because of the ease of operation, and the shooter can do this from both an emotional and physical distance. So we need to find a way to keep them away from unstable people.

You cannot address mental health issues in the context of mentally disturbed people who use military style weapons and large capacity magazines to commit mass shootings without including gun safety measures.

hsuHey You!

-Hoaxers and conspiracy theorists! I hope it’s only because you enjoy the detective work and the hobby of engaging in speculation and creating slick videos. I truly hope you do not believe all this hooey. Besides, it’s kind of hateful and disrespectful.

I would like to give you a proper response, but I am trying to evolve and be more civil!

All Comments Are Welcome And Appreciated

All Rights Reserved

American Culture Must Evolve

America Needs a Cultural Evolution

Government Shutdowns – Healthcare – Activism – Laws – Education

Prisons                                                                             Technology

Innovation                                                                               Religion

Medicine                                                                                         Bullying

Human Rights – Resource Allocation – War – Personal Responsibility

美国需要一个文化的演变

Los Estados Unidos necesita una evolución cultural

アメリカ合衆国は、文化的に進化する必要があります

Les Etats-Unis a besoin d’une évolution culturelle

لولايات المتحدة الأمريكية يحتاج إلى التطور الثقافي

Die Vereinigten Staaten benötigt eine kulturelle Evolution

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The late, great author Kurt Vonnegut             AR-15 rifle, pink & white w/ Hello,                                                                                           Kitty

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Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre

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Growing up in America

As a child in America, my room was decorated in red, white, and blue. My goal was to go to the NavalAcademy, to serve my beloved country as an officer in the U.S. Navy. I truly believed we were the greatest nation on earth. I believed our proud history and I believed in American Exceptionalism.

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Overseas Cultures

When I was travelling overseas for the first time, I happened to find myself on a bus with a group of expatriate Americans. They were complaining about the U.S.A. and I became very angry. I wanted to fight them all, but I remained silent and just observed. For so many people overseas, visiting, pursuing an education in, and living in America is a cherished dream.

Cooperative Cultures

I was fortunate to meet some of the nicest and kindest people I have ever met in my life. They were from such nations as Iran, China, and Egypt. I was exposed to authoritarian states where people were afraid of the police and distrustful of their governments, yet they lived in a beautiful culture of cooperation, honesty, caring, friendliness and trust. I experienced cultures where people who argue, fight and behave with aggression are scorned and shunned as poorly educated and primitive.

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American Culture

Then I returned to America to week after week of sensationalized murders, political intransigence, gun violence,  sports heroes setting really bad examples, gun worship, the glorification of mean adults and the suicides of children due to bullying by their peers.

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Cold War and Terrorism

I thought back to my own childhood in the United States, when the world seemed to be divided into two camps. I was scared to death that the cold war would heat up and quickly go nuclear before people came to their senses. This fear was replaced by a new fear of terrorism, where innocent people are randomly targeted by a small group of desperate religious heretics. Now, a new fear is emerging, the fear that we will destroy ourselves from within, and do it freely, willingly, and with a healthy dose of patriotism and pride.

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I believed then and I still believe that America needs a Cultural Evolution. The American people desperately need to let the wisdom and the culture of other nations like China seep in and permeate our dealings with each other in our everyday life.

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American Exceptionalism

There had been some controversy about people from the United States of America claiming “American Exceptionalism”.  Exactly what makes America exceptional, other than our ever – growing list of millionaires and billionaires and our severe dysfunctions? Now, if you are from another country, you probably will heartily agree with this statement.

ProudAmericanEagleSm[1]If you’re an American, you may be as upset and offended by that remark as I was on that bus with the expatriates. What is exceptional about America is that our citizens come from every other country in the world. Our culture is a mix of most of the cultures of the world. We Americans hope to lead the way in legal, political and social reforms throughout the world.

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Cultural Evolution and Medicine

To take on the tremendous responsibility of this ideal, and truly be that “shining city on a hill”, we need some serious constructive criticism form within and from other nations. We need this constructive criticism from people who hope to visit, be educated, or live in America. We need this constructive criticism from people who want no part of America. We need constructive criticism from people who live in and love America, too.

We need cultural education and reform. We need to take the medicine. We need to evolve.

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A famous Zen Buddhist monk once said that “sickness cures the medicine”. We are used to seeing things from one perspective, so we would say “no, you are wrong. Medicine cures the sickness”. The statement of the monk was not meant to contradict this usual, reasoned statement, it was meant to inform it.

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Who we are

We call on all persons of good will, inside and outside the United States to contribute and share some medicinal constructive criticism. Let’s shame America into realizing the desperate need for a cultural evolution and fulfill its noble promise to one day become truly exceptional in the eyes of the world.

We are not on the left (liberal) and not on the right (conservative). We are from the political center and we love America. We will criticize the left and the right and we look for solutions from both sides.

Please join us and contribute information

We welcome your contributions to this goal. Please feel free to write or contribute an article for this blog, make any comments about this blog, and provide any relevant links to other blogs or information on the worldwide web which can assist in our shared goal of a U.S.A. Cultural Evolution.

feather-penThe pen is mightier than the sword

Welcome to USA Cultural Evolution

We hope you enjoy the content

Amanda Chen – People’s Republic of China china flag

Rob Roman – United States of Americausa flag

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The Sandy Hook Atrocity, JFK, and 154 Magic Bullets (part 4)

Fact based reporting

by Kenneth Jameson Jr.,

research by Amanda Chen,  edited by Rob  Roman

A 4-part series by a Sandy Hook Elementary alumnus on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. An overview of Newtown from the inside, a description of what is now known about what happened on December 14, 2012 (Including a possible motive), an analysis of  the different sides of the issues, and what the prognosis is for slowing the rate of mass killings and gun violence in America are all discussed.

Part 4: Response

Yeah, of course, the magic bullet needed to solve the problem of mass shootings is more guns. Who would have thought?

628x471 (1)Yeah, of course, if you have a child who is obviously mentally disturbed, who refuses to speak and has no meaningful interaction, you should do what Nancy Lanza did. Her child was e-mailing her from two rooms away. If you have a child who is now an adult but doesn’t want to get a job, find a constructive hobby, enroll in a school or seek help, what would you do?

That’s right! Firearm therapy. Don’t get him a paint set, a telescope or build him a sound studio or his own dance studio. Don’t buy him a horse, a keyboard, a robot or set him up with his own computer business. Just let him fester and decay and leave him to his own devices. Let him sit in his “lair” and block out the sun with trash bags. Just take him to the firing range and buy him his favorite weapons. Indulge his every anti-social whim. Makes sense to me.

No one dared say “NO!” to Adam Lanza until the morning of last December 14th.

download (7) download (6)The young man who enjoyed “Dance Dance Revolution” as much as he liked “Mortal Combat”, and  was ready with an ammo vest, a hat, sunglasses. yellow ear-plugs, fingerless gloves, and camouflage leg holsters had a date with destiny. He had watched videos of gun suicides, taken photos of himself holding guns and rifles to his head, and had practiced aiming, shooting, reloading, and gunning down students with computer games such as “Grand Theft Auto”, “School Shooting”, “Battlefield”,  and “Left for Dead”.

article-sandy-hook-shootingEvery time there is a mass shooting, it sickens us and is unimaginable. Not much different from terrorism, it’s really a sort of domestic terrorism, and nothing more. These people have a limited personal agenda, unlike Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who had more of an overall political agenda. Still, they are striking out at humanity in a way. They hurt, and they want to hurt their communities back. In some cases, they are striking out at their towns, the country and even the world. The idea of murdering innocent people, who have no direct relationship with the shooter, just doesn’t make sense to most of us.

Sadly, now these mass killings have become almost routine in this country. When the news of Sandy Hook first hit the internet and the news, there was talk of a shooter, but no talk of casualties. Since we’ve seen this play out so many times before, we knew that they don’t mention that anyone died until the next of kin are notified. So, the longer it stayed on the news, the worse we knew it would be. Even so, it was far worse than we could have imagined.

644700_334365313353303_1935252436_n-thumb-250x250-103888As incomprehensible as these other crimes are, we can try to understand most of them a little. At Springfield, Oregon, Kip Kinkel was the son of accomplished and driving parents. He didn’t measure up and he turned to deviance. He seemed to lash out at his classmates and just seemed to attack them as a punishment for feeling they forced him to kill both his parents. At Columbine, these two were striking out at their peers and community. At Virginia Tech, this angry man was also trying to deeply wound all the students at his school.

The Sandy Hook shooting was even more horrific and incomprehensible. Adam Lanza had no recent connection with The Sandy Hook School. These kids were 6 and 7 years old. Was his intended target really Newtown High School? The reason he went to the rooms he did seems not to be the ages of the children, but because they were the closest to the entrance and his car and he could see out the front windows. Sandy Hook School doesn’t have as many unknowns. At Newtown High, there are too many doors, too many driveways, too many people coming in and out and not enough windows. He did not want to be touched, and he didn’t want to get in a position where he could be attacked from behind.

The children were smaller and posed less of a threat to him. He had more control there. As a student at Sandy Hook Elementary, Adam was reportedly happy. By 5th grade, he was already writing stories about killing children. So I believe Sandy Hook School may have represented for him, the end of his happiness, and it only got worse after that. After years of decay, this person had no care, no empathy, and no feelings left for anyone. He projected that emptiness out onto everyone and everything he saw. Like Kip Kinkel, he just couldn’t accept what he was.

He knew what time to go there and he knew no one would be outside. He shot the adults on sight, eliminating the biggest threats first.

f8b79719baee2727440f6a7067004062Take a look at his firearms, they are really magnificent looking. Look at the design of them. They are really bad – ass. These weapons fill a void for some people who are incomplete. They project power outwards. This is what Adam was doing, he was projecting power outwards. He was controlling the environment that had controlled him for so long and had shut him away. He wanted to say to Newtown  and possibly the world: “I was here” and “I controlled you”.

That’s the best I can come up with as far as a motive.

I have a harder time understanding his mom. Nancy Lanza is the one we need to study. To understand Adam, we really need to understand Nancy Lanza.  Nancy was self-reliant and she was going to handle the problem herself. She had a distrust of government and a distrust of Doctors. She had a fortress with an arsenal of firearms. Her home was chock full of weapons such as arrows, spears, ornate knives and swords. What was that all about?

download (8)Maybe for some women, the sewing circles and card clubs of yore have now been replaced by a gun culture which opens up doors for community and socialization. Nancy spent a lot of time at her favorite restaurant and bar hobnobbing with her buds. Want to get in with certain clubs? Buy a Bushmaster AR-15, and you’re in the club. That’s my feeling.

Tupperware parties have now been replaced with gun parties.

You think I’m kidding? Take a look at this:

“At GunEnvy, we know what it takes to make your event, the event of a lifetime

Let us put together a custom package for your next event or party, that will really kick it off with a BANG!

We provide machine gun rental packages, in a safe, controlled environment, that will be sure to make your party or event the envy of all those to come.

From full auto Glock pistols, to MP5s, AK47s, M4s, 1919 and many more, including the legendary Tommy gun!!!!

Events can be held at your suitable location*, or our private location.”

-No, this is not a joke.-

Guns could very well go mainstream, just like tatoos finally did.

http://www.machinegunparty.com/

What would the character from Sling Blade say?

“All right, then.”

Back to Adam Lanza:

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All of these mass murders are shocking. But this one, because of the ages of the children, the number of deaths, and the fact that no one that he targeted and shot lived, makes this so much more heinous. This shooting really shook the nation. And it shook people who live in Newtown and Sandy Hook alumni like me and my sister even worse. What is going on in America? Connecticut has over 300 towns and thousands of schools. This happened in a school I went to and loved. What are the odds? For the children who lived through this and were traumatized it is even worse, and for the family and friends of the victims, it is unimaginable.

The shock to the conscience we received as a Nation from the Sandy Hook Massacre can only compare with the shock we felt after the Oklahoma City Bombing, Columbine, 9-11, and the assassination of President Kennedy.

It was unspeakable and unimaginable, an act so wanton and grotesque that it short circuits the brain. There is absolutely nothing that can justify it, but much worse than having a sick and twisted reason for committing a heinous atrocity is to have no reason at all.

download (5)It brings to mind the 1979 Cleveland Elementary school shooting where the shooter, Brenda Spencer, who lived across the street, and from her window, shot the principal and a custodian to death and wounded 8 children and a policeman in San Diego,. She was asked why. Her response became a hit song by the Boom Town Rats. “I don’t like Mondays”. Her father was told by her school she should seek hospitalization. Her father opted to not have her committed and he bought her a rifle for her birthday instead.

At Sandy Hook Elementary, the poor children locked in a toilet were crying and begging to go home so they could just have Christmas, how awful.

Like the other shocks, our first response is absolute helplessness and our second response is to ask WHY?

images (16)After the Kennedy Assassination, Americans all felt helpless and vulnerable and they all asked why. They are still asking, from the Warren report, to mistrust of their government, to all the many magic bullet and conspiracy theory spin offs and then finally back to the Warren report again, many are still asking “Why”.

“The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” – Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA

With those gems of wisdom, Wayne LaPierre is the winner of the 2013 Newtown Golden Cock award.

Who is the President of the NRA? He’s David Keene, who’s son was convicted for firing a gun out of a moving car on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia in 2002, shattering the back window of another car and lodging in the front seat perilously close to the driver. After this road rage incident, his son was sentenced to 10 years in prison. David Keene then changed his hardliner tune on mandatory minimum sentencing legislation for firearms violations. Go figure.

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Jack Ruby was the good guy with a gun who only made matters worse. You cannot take Evil and twist it’s arm until it gives up. You cannot wrestle Evil to the ground and make it cry “Uncle!”. That’s what the Bill Stevens and the Wayne LaPierres of this world need to learn, because then you have now become the bad guy.

images (17)Bill Stevens with all his bluster and thinly veiled threats  is not the hero of Newtown. The secret to heal a town and a nation won’t come from a firearm. Maybe there is a clue to what a real hero is really about in this poem:

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;

which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart) – e.e, cummings

images (18)The only thing that can stop a bad guy is transformation, that’s the lesson of the Grinch who Stole Christmas.

That’s the lesson of the Sandy Hook Promise.

The only redeeming thing in this abhorrent tragedy is the good people of Newtown  and the good people throughout our nation and the world who responded to this unthinkable act by choosing love. They answered random violence with directed kindness, they answered insanity with lucidity, and they answered decay with germination.

They replaced hopelessness with optimism.

The kind and supportive words from leaders around the world, the cards and gifts sent to Newtown and the Sandy Hook victims from around the U.S. and the world. All the empathetic and caring people who make this country great and sent light into the darkness of Newtown.

The victims and families of other shocking mass killings who came to help, the people who brought the trauma therapy dogs, the spontaneous memorial sites full of candlelight, ribbons, and toys, was the answer that echoed back from this abomination.

ct-shooting-cynthia-alvarezThe good people of Newtown took a horrific and senseless tragedy and somehow turned it into an opportunity to change and to grow. They brought the Holidays back to Newtown and they brought Christmas back to Whoville.

The people of Newtown, conservative and liberal, gun enthusiasts and not, all got together for their love of humanity and the love of their children to bring about some changes and to somehow reduce the chances that another town would have to bear the unbearable. One of the outcomes was the founding of an organization called the Sandy Hook Promise.  At this one year Anniversary, this is no time to get lost in rhetoric and political intransigence. This is no time to stumble or to give up. In truth, it’s only just the beginning of a long journey.

We can choose to parent together and look out for each other. It really does take a village (like Sandy Hook) to raise our children and to help keep them safe

We can choose to help change and improve our violent and competitive culture.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot  to death in Harsh Park in Chicago only 1 week after performing in the 2013 Presidential inauguration (click to enlarge)

We can choose to risk and sacrifice for the good of the whole, like 6 year-old Sandy Hook victim, Jesse Lewis did when he saw Adam Lanza struglling to change magazines and urged the kids to run, saving the lives of 6 children.

We can choose to be kind to the least of us. We can be a friend to the lonely, the downtrodden and the isolated, like 7 year-old Sandy Hook victim, Daniel Barden, was for his fellow classmates. If there were more people like Daniel  in Adam’s life, this tragedy may have been averted

We can replace the fear of failure, with the assurance of music and hope, like 6 year-old Sandy Hook victim, Anne Marquez-Greene did nearly every day.

We can help to make our schools and our public places safer….

….and let’s never stop pursuing better and more effective ways to  deal with mental illness and gun safety.

images (19)Don’t sweep it under the rug. Expose the truth.

We can call Wayne LaPierre and Bill Stevens, who want to handle it all by themselves, AFTER security is restored

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“For Newtown, For Newtow Run out to Victory!

For Newtown, For Newtown, Steady and Strong are We.”

images (21)Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

God Bless the victims of Sandy Hook and God, please bless America.

Any and all comments are welcome and appreciated

Please let us know your opinions

All rights reserved