Posts tagged crime
Posts tagged crime
From the story:
Federal agents are trying to determine how a suspected Ohio white supremacist with a felony conviction for manslaughter acquired a cache of 18 assault weapons and other firearms, along with high-capacity magazines and more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition, according to federal law enforcement officials and court documents reviewed by NBC News.
The storehouse of weapons was discovered late last month when FBI agents arrested Richard Schmidt, 47, the owner of a Bowling Green sporting goods store called Spindletop Sports Zone, on charges of marketing counterfeit goods — such as football jerseys with NFL logos — from China.
According to the documents, FBI agents who searched Schmidt’s sporting goods store and four trailers behind it, found a stash of weapons that included AR-15 assault rifles, Ruger and Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistols, bulletproof body armor and high-capacity magazines as well as ammunition.
A federal law enforcement official, who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity, said that FBI counterterrorism agents involved in the case had picked up evidence that Schmidt may have been planning attacks against Jewish and civil rights groups in the Detroit area… The law enforcement officials said the case appears to illustrate some of the gaps in current background checks for gun purchasers that President Barack Obama has proposed closing as part of his package of executive actions and legislative proposals released this week aimed at curbing gun violence. Schmidt was charged with murder and felonious assault in 1989 after killing a Hispanic man and shooting two others with a semi-automatic pistol during a traffic dispute. He later pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison.
So, how about those background checks? And yeah, a background check wouldn’t necessarily keep him from ultimately amassing his arsenal, but why should we be making it easier for people like Mr. Schmidt to obtain these weapons?
I literally cannot imagine a legitimate situation where someone needs a gun RIGHT NOW and is unable to wait for a background check or be patient enough for a waiting period to pass.
And hey, maybe we should give the ATF a permanent director, instead of this several years long interim bullshit. Just a thought.
Well, yesterday’s gun buyback in L.A. was the most successful ever – they even got another rocket launcher off the streets. And 166 firearms were turned in for nothing in exchange.
But remember, if NRA leaders had their way, more guns would be the answer. I’m afraid to ask them about rocket launchers.
Matt Taibbi, “Goldman Non-Prosecution: AG Eric Holder Has No Balls’
Taibbi has consistently hammered the Obama administration on their non-action regarding Wall Street when other liberal writers have been content to look the other way, or worse, think history suddenly stopped on January 20, 2009. History did not stop, nor did the effects cease from the massive fraud perpetuated by Wall Street.
Read Griftopia. And think about this: In 2008, Wall Street gave Barack Obama the most contributions of any other candidate. This year, they’re investing in Mitt Romney and the GOP by ratio of nearly 3:1 thus far. They know which side their bread is buttered on — it’s both. But the GOP side looks especially buttery in 2012.
Well, specifically, two of the three used in executions.
No, Rick Perry. Sit your ass down. There’s still one left. However, this is causing serious concern:
An Oklahoma inmate asked a federal court on Tuesday to halt his upcoming execution because that state has only one dose of pentobarbital left. A lawyer for Michael Hooper said Oklahoma has no backup plan if the drug fails to render Hooper unconscious, and that creates a risk of cruel and unusual punishment…
Texas officials said in May that they have enough doses of pentobarbital to carry out 23 executions. No one has been executed in the state since. Four other states — Arizona, Idaho, Ohio and Washington — have used a single drug to carry out executions, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Ohio was the first to use just pentobarbital, during a March 2011 execution…
Death penalty opponents claim single-drug executions may be less humane.
Without the two others, the possibility for cruel and unusual punishment escalates. For the record, I oppose the death penalty for several reasons. Chiefly, I don’t believe killing to teach others killing is wrong is a good method of deterrence, and one commutation from death row is enough to stop all executions. It’s better to let a guilty person go free than jail one innocent one — much less kill an innocent person.
A Florida judge on Friday revoked the bail for George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, saying he had misled the court about his finances, and ordered him to present himself to the court within 48 hours.
Prosecutors alleged that Zimmerman, 28, hid from the court the fact that he had raised $135,000 on a website he set up before he was granted $150,000 bail on April 20. Zimmerman is facing second-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Martin, 17, in February.
In a hearing in Sanford, Fla., that Zimmerman did not attend, Judge Kenneth Lester said Zimmerman engaged in a “material falsehood” about his finances. Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda said Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, led the court to believe they were penniless, which he called a “blatant lie.”
De la Rionda said the Zimmermans spoke in “code” about moving finances around during telephone calls while George Zimmerman was in custody.
Well, then. The court is typically less than amused when you lie, George. Remember that for your trial.
Well, I’ll be damned…
From ABC News:
"A North Carolina jury found former Sen. John Edwards not guilty today on one of six counts in a campaign-finance trial, and declared itself hopelessly deadlocked on the remaining charges, leading the judge to declare a mistrial on those counts.
Edwards, a two-time presidential candidate, accused of soliciting nearly $1 million from wealthy backers to finance a cover up of his illicit affair and illegitimate child during his 2008 bid for the White House, was found not guilty on Count 3 of the six-part indictment.”
Essentially, conservatives give no fucks about being called racist any longer because there’s a race war raging.
It’s 2012, and here’s where we sit. From Buzzfeed:
But while Norfolk may be the most high-profile chapter yet in the “race war,” it’s hardly the only one conservatives have highlighted. Over the past four years, the Drudge Report has run dozens of headlines chronicling acts of violence against white victims — often by black youths.
In one particularly memorable Drudge front page last year, the site culled the newswires for articles about “urban” crime that took place over Memorial Day weekend, and then grouped them together. Among the headlines: “Miami ‘war zone’ during urban weekend;” “Rib fest at Rochester beach turns rowdy;” and “Unruly urban crowd shuts down Nashville water park.”
And on September 15, 2009, Drudge led with the headline, “WHITE STUDENT BEATEN ON BUS; CROWD CHEERS.” The story — which showed video of a black teenager in Illinois beating up a white classmate — went viral in the right-wing blogosphere, prompting Rush Limbaugh to weigh in. “In Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering,” Limbaugh declared.
It is an article of faith among many conservatives that Obama has exacerbated nationwide racial tensions. Ward Connerly, a veteran California anti-affirmative action activist and leading black conservative, accused the president of trying to take political advantage of “racial disputes,” rather than diffuse them.
"Obama has been more racial than any white president has ever been in my lifetime," said Connerly, adding, "Candidly, I think that race relations are probably worse now among the average person on the street than they were the day President Obama was elected."
Washington State/King County followers:
An Amber Alert that has been issued for two girls taken by their mother after she allegedly stabbed the girls’ father in Shoreline Thursday morning.
Dorreen Starrish, 28, is suspected of stabbing her ex-husband around 8:30 a.m. in a home in the 1500 block of NE 190th Street, said Sgt. Cindi West with the King County Sheriff’s Office, which provides police services to Shoreline.
Authorities are now looking for the couple’s daughters, 7-year-old Helen Smith and 3-year-old Alice Smith, who were taken by their mother who does not have custody of the kids, West said. The girls are of Native American descent, according to the Amber Alert, but no other description was available.
The kids were at the home when Starrish came over, said Sgt. Jesse Anderson with the King County Sheriff’s Office. They apparently got into an argument and the man was stabbed in the chest, Starrish said. Starrish then fled with the kids.
“There’s always that concern that the kids could be in jeopardy, because we don’t know of her mental state at this point,” Anderson said.
KOMO’s Facebook page instructs anyone who sees Starrish or her children to call 911 and DO NOT approach them. Picture of Dorreen Starrish:
Live updates here.
Update 3:42 PM MST:
AMBER ALERT UPDATE: PHOTO of 7-year-old Helen Smith. She’s 4-foot-4 and weighs 65 pounds. Her mother, Doreen Starrish, is 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds.
AMBER ALERT UPDATE: The suspect was last seen in a back Cadillac STS with unknown plates. Location not specified. PHOTO shows 3-year-old Alice Smith.
From the issue capias filed by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey charging George Zimmerman with second degree murder.
It’s affirming to see it.
"Trayvon" by Jasiri X. Download it for free here.
I’ve played this song on my radio show every week since Jasiri X posted it.
Trayvon Martin’s family watches the announcement of a second degree murder charge against George Zimmerman. (From @trymainelee)
A police surveillance video taken the night that Trayvon Martin was shot dead shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who says he shot Martin after he was punched in the nose, knocked down and had his head slammed into the ground.
The surveillance video, which was obtained exclusively by ABC News, shows Zimmerman arriving in a police cruiser. As he exits the car, his hands are cuffed behind his back. Zimmerman is frisked and then led down a series of hallways, still cuffed.
Zimmerman, 28, is wearing a red and black fleece and his face and head are cleanly shaven… In the video an officer is seen pausing to look at the back of Zimmerman’s head, but no abrasions or blood can be seen in the video and he did not check into the emergency room following the police questioning.
So… why is Zimmerman not in custody? A full roundup and debunking of rumors surrounding Martin’s murder here.
Anonymous asked you:
Meg, I really need your help. Do you have links to the Trayvon Martin murder concerning the smear back-lash by certain right-wing outlets? A point-by-point dismantling of this blatantly false and blatantly racist “evidence” would be much appreciated for certain people in my social circle. I like how when the media actually reports on cases like this, the right-wingers call it “manufactured sensationalism”.
Meg at Cognitive Dissonance:
Yes, I have lots of links, info, and outrage.
First, I’m getting sick of the new meme regarding the media “ignoring” the “black on black” violence. Bernie Goldberg insists if both men were black, we wouldn’t know the name Trayvon Martin. He’s probably right. Why?
BECAUSE GEORGE ZIMMERMAN WOULD HAVE BEEN JAILED. No self-defense claim would have flown.
"What about all the dead black kids killed by other blacks?!" wails Heather Mac Donald of The National Review. I’m paraphrasing. Sort of:
Blacks commit 80 percent of all shootings in the city — as reported by the victims of and witnesses to those shootings — though they are but 23 percent of the population; whites commit 1.4 percent of all shootings, though they are 35 percent of the population. Add Hispanic shootings to the black tally, and you account for 98 percent of all of the city’s gun violence. In New York, as in big cities across the country, the face of violence is overwhelmingly black and Hispanic…
[T]he racial storyline that has been imposed on the shooting does not fairly represent contemporary America. That storyline is not just wrong, it is dangerous, because it only feeds black alienation and anger. Family breakdown, not white racism, is the biggest impediment facing blacks today, producing such casualties as the 18-year-old gangbanger who fatally shot a 34-year-old mother picking up her child from school in Brownsville, Brooklyn, last October. Sharpton and the national media didn’t show up for that killing, just as they don’t for the thousands of other black-on-black killings each year.
Screw examining the systemic explanations — let’s just chide people for the “racial storyline” while claiming “the face of violence is overwhelmingly black and Hispanic” because THAT’S NOT WRONG AT ALL. Perhaps examining the unequal criminal justice system, the incarceration rate of minorities, the efforts expounded by police in investigations dependent upon the race of the victim and perpetrator, and interactions with police in minority neighborhoods can shed some light on these statistics.
Nah, let’s just throw some numbers out there about scary brown people.
On to the release of Trayvon Martin's suspension from school for traces of marijuana in an empty plastic baggie in his backpack. First, if the police department did indeed leak this information (and they need to get their pipes checked - lots of leaks lately) they may have violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA]. The information in a student’s educational record, including disciplinary record, is not to be revealed without written permission.
Before any conservative naysayers exclaim: “But Meg! It says on the government’s socialist website with ‘free’ information that they can release the record to law enforcement! What about the weed?!” — the AP is on it, confirming Trayvon Martin has no juvenile record. Oh, and these things called facts show white youths are more likely to abuse drugs than black youths but black students, particularly black male students, are much more likely to be suspended and referred to the juvenile system.
Of course, discussion of Trayvon’s maybe drug use fits nicely in with George Zimmerman’s claim he was suspicious and “on drugs or something.” The drug-crazed brown man is an old canard:
Straight from The New York Times in 1914 — the only way to deal with drugs in the black community is to lock up “irreclaimable” users. As for marijuana:
Brown people are getting your kids hooked. Lock ‘em up. Does any of this ring a bell?
None of the alleged drug use matters, though. Zimmerman is not a cop, even if he aspired to be one. He didn’t observe Martin selling or using drugs. He just thought he was suspicious and up to no good. Neighborhood Watch captains are told to not carry weapons, and call 911 to report crime — not to confront alleged perpetrators because they aren’t police. However, Zimmerman thought differently. From the Miami Herald:
The recent shooting raised troubling questions about whether the homeowners association knew its volunteer was armed with a Kel Tek 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Many residents — black and white — question Zimmerman’s judgment and wonder why he would have engaged the teenager at all.
The answer may lie in police records, which show that 50 suspicious-person reports were called in to police in the past year at Twin Lakes. There were eight burglaries, nine thefts and one other shooting in the year prior to Trayvon’s death…
Since the beginning of the year, Zimmerman made 46 calls to police. His most frequent calls were to report “suspicious persons” — all of whom were black — including a skinny black male, about 7-9 years old. The Orlando Sentinel reports:
Many of the calls start the same way — Zimmerman mentions the recent rash of burglaries in the area and identifies himself as a member of the neighborhood watch.
"We’ve had a lot of break-ins in our neighborhood recently and I’m on the neighborhood watch," Zimmerman said during one call. "There’s two suspicious characters at the gate of my neighborhood, I’ve never seen them before. I don’t know what they are doing. They are hanging out…loitering."
That day, the “characters” are two black men in a white sedan, Zimmerman tells the dispatchers. An officer is sent to check out the call, but it’s unclear if anything suspicious was uncovered. Another time he calls to report two black teens who match the description of suspects in recent break-in, who his wife saw and identified for police.
One of Zimmerman’s African American neighbors, Ibrahim Rashada, discussed his discomfort with Zimmerman’s zealotry in the Miami Herald:
[Rashada] does not walk around the neighborhood at all. "I fit the stereotype he emailed around," he said… “So I thought, ‘Let me sit in the house. I don’t want anyone chasing me.’” For walks, he goes downtown. [Rashada’s wife] listened to her husband’s rationale, dropped her head, and cried.
Zimmerman’s neighbors expressed frustration with police response and anger at his tactics. However, Zimmerman is not without his defenders:
Problems in the 6-year-old community started during the recession, when foreclosures forced owners to rent out to “low-lifes and gangsters,” said Frank Taaffe, a former neighborhood block captain.
"Just two weeks before this shooting, George called me at my girlfriend’s house to say he saw some black guy doing surveillance at my house, because I had a left a window open," Taaffe said. "He thwarted a potential burglary of my house."
Oh, really? You know this black man was going to burglarize your house? In the neighborhood invaded by “low-lifes and gangsters” no less… Taaffe’s emerged as one of Zimmerman’s primary defenders. There’s a lot of guilt by association and dredging up the supposed past in order to tarnish Treyvon Martin and black men in general.
You wanna play that game?
Frank Taaffe said George Zimmerman is just like him and a likable guy. Well, Zimmerman and Taaffe appear to have more in common than a pathological distaste for young black males strolling their neighborhood. Taaffe was arrested for Battery, Felony Trespass, and Domestic Violence. He’s also the respondent in multiple civil cases filed for non-support of children, “repeat violence,” and Domestic Violence from as far back as 1983, and as recently as 2008.
Zimmerman was arrested for domestic violence, resisting an officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting an officer without violence. His father, a retired judge, insists his son is a good boy. These two men are smearing all people of color as “thugs,” “low-lifes,” and “gangsters.” Again, Trayvon Martin has no arrest record. None. But he’s a “thug.”
Certain elements stand alone. After being told not to pursue Martin by 911 operators, warned not to be armed as a neighborhood watch captain, muttering “these assholes always get away” and a racial slur, instigating a confrontation with an unarmed man, and shooting that unarmed man dead, George Zimmerman is still free and still armed. Witnesses state Zimmerman loudly reassured people it was “self-defense” and set his gun on the ground after shooting Martin. In fact, the lead investigator did not buy Zimmerman’s story, and wanted him charged with manslaughter.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who signed the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law in 2005 said this is not the proper application of the law. Bush said, “Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back." Like Zimmerman did.
Bush is not the only conservative to speak out. Columnist and commentator George Will said the law, “Tries to codify a right of self-defense that really confers upon citizens the illusion of these, that they have powers exercised by highly-trained police officers. Mr. Zimmerman says he was acting under this self-defense law, but he is said to have been recorded saying he pursued the person. You cannot be in pursuit and acting in self-defense." Like Zimmerman.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. even chimed in and said, “We all know there’s a racial component to this, and when the president highlights it, I don’t think it adds a whole lot. But nobody suggests that the president’s insensitive to the 17-year-old if he’d been white. I think the criticism by our guys was a little off-base.”
But it’s not about race, right? The fake photos originating from neo-Nazi sites, smearing Trayvon Martin’s name, calling him a thug via his alleged Twitter — that’s not about race, it’s perspective. Attempting to link Trayvon Martin and President Obama to the New Black Panthers isn’t about race, either. It’s not about race or politics when conservative site The Washington Free Beacon loudly proclaims “REGISTERED DEM KILLED TRAYVON" and "guns don’t kill people, Dems do." And we should feel sorry for Zimmerman because in many ways, "George has lost his life, too.”
No. That would be Trayvon Martin. He’s the one who lost his life. You know, the one armed with Skittles, not a Kel-Tec 9 mm handgun.
Conservative blogger Dan Riehl writes the outrage is the fault of black leaders — not the guy who fired the gun. Seriously: “Said leaders, I use the term loosely, seem only interested in fueling outrage and a mob mentality for political gain. It’s sad to see so many black Americans still falling for it after so many decades. Their minds haven’t been freed, all that’s changed is the owners of the plantation. Too many would be black leaders are too happy to lead them down a path through a cotton field of ignorance and hate ending at the ballot box, before just going on and on with no real end in sight.” Disgusting.
Riehl also claims Obama is leading a “lynch mob” against Zimmerman since the Obama campaign sells hoodies. No word if Mitt Romney is also leading the mob with his fashionable “Believe in America” and logo zip-up and pullover hoodies:
Angry Black Lady rips Riehl (and others) apart on her site, Angry Black Lady Chronicles. And rightly so. Black men are persistently stereotyped as dangerous, hoodie-wearing thugs, even though crime rates among black youth have fallen to record lows. Trayvon Martin’s crime appears to be "Walking while black" — a crime Bernie Goldberg or Dan Riehl will never be accused of, thanks to white privilege. Tommy Christopher writes:
This is the essence of the oft-misunderstood term “white privilege,” which is that even the least fortunate among us take for granted things that black people cannot. These don’t feel like privileges, because they’re really not, they are things that ought not be denied to anyone. It doesn’t feel like a privilege to catch a taxicab, or to walk around a store without being constantly watched and shadowed, or not to fear that any encounter with police could escalate to lethality… or to send your child to the store for a snack, confident he’ll return home without being mistaken for an imaginary criminal.
The murder of Trayvon Martin must spark a national conversation and one that must include people of color, for precisely the reasons outlined by Christopher. His fellow Mediaite columnist, Frances Martel, said, “[O]ur broken criminal justice system isn’t a black problem. It’s an American problem.” Until we acknowledge the existence of institutionalized racism, in a system serving liberty and justice for some, and then commit to real reform, Trayvon Martin will not be the last “suspicious person” gunned down for wearing nothing more than dark skin.
I hope this answers your question.