LOOPHOLES ARE LETHAL (II)
Who can buy a gun? Indeed, just what is a gun? Um, let’s pretend!
Part I began with the bitter laments of Houston
Police Chief Art Acevedo, who denounced politicians of the Red persuasion for assiduously protecting a loophole
that allows domestic abusers – including an eventual cop-killer – to skirt Federal firearms
Sometimes, though, the aggrieved party
is also Red-tinged. Like, say, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Here’s what he said two days after a foreign military student unleashed a barrage of handgun fire at a Pensacola naval station, killing three airmen and
wounding eight: “That’s a federal loophole that he took advantage of. I’m a big supporter of
the Second Amendment, but the Second Amendment applies so that we the American people can keep and bear arms.
It does not apply to Saudi Arabians.”
DeSantis sports an “A”
rating from the NRA, which
endorsed him in the Governor’s race. He’s also a former Republican member of the House, thus
presumably no fan of gun control. Yet it was precisely the loosening of such laws – done at the behest of
his former colleagues, no less – that would one day let a Saudi trainee legally waltz into a gun store and buy the lethal .45 caliber Glock he used in the
LOOPHOLES ARE LETHAL
Federal gun laws are tailored to limit their impact. And the consequences can be deadly. (#345, 12/22/19)
DID THE TIMES SCAPEGOAT L.A.'S FINEST? (PART II)
Quit blaming police racism for lopsided outcomes. And fix those neighborhoods! (#344, 12/3/19)
DID THE TIMES SCAPEGOAT L.A.'S FINEST? (PART I)
Accusations of biased policing
derail a stop-and-frisk campaign
TECHNOLOGY'S GREAT -
UNTIL IT'S NOT
Police love Rapid DNA and facial recognition but hate encryption. Privacy advocates beg to differ.
MEANS, ENDS AND 9/11
Extraordinary measures beget extraordinary consequences
Despite redevelopment, South Bend's poverty and crime remain locked in an embrace (#340, 9/13/19)
Doing right by the public might
mean doing wrong to the cop
Stop with the tangential!
Gun lethality is, first and foremost,
about the projectile (#338, 8/12/19)
REPEAT AFTER US:
"CITY" IS MEANINGLESS
When it comes to crime, it's neighborhoods that count
TWO SIDES OF
THE SAME COIN
Street gangs and officer cliques have a lot in common (#336, 7/20/19)
CAN YOU ENFORCE
Decriminalizing illegal immigration would have serious consequences (#335, 7/1/19)
WITHOUT A DIFFERENCE
An epidemic of officer suicide raises the question: do guns cause violence? (#334, 6/22/19)
INFORMED AND LETHAL
Accurate information can provoke lethal errors (#333, 5/5/19)
Inner-city violence calls for a lot more than cops. Is America up to the task? (#332, 4/13/19)
DRIVEN TO FAIL
Numbers-driven policing can’t help but offend. What are the options? (#331, 3/27/19)
NO SUCH THING AS "FRIENDLY" FIRE
As good guys and bad ramp up their arsenals, the margin of error disappears (#330, 3/4/19)
A NOT-SO-MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION
Lapses in policing lead to chronic rulemaking. Does it hit the mark? (#329, 2/15/19)
A VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE
Building cases with circumstantial evidence calls for exquisite care (#328, 1/26/19)
WHEN WALLS COLLIDE
Ideological quarrels drown out straight talk about border security (#327, 1/14/19)
COPS AREN'T FREE AGENTS
To improve police practices, look to the workplace (#326, 1/3/19)
RED FLAG AT HALF-MAST II
Preventing more than suicide may carry serious risks (#325, 12/5/18)
RED FLAG AT HALF-MAST
California’s Guv nixes expanded authority to seize guns from their owners (#324, 11/21/18)
PREVENTING MASS MURDER
With gun control a no-go, early intervention is key. Might artificial intelligence help? (#323, 11/4/18)
NOTCHING A "WIN"
A self-professed “sleeper agent” is (legally) flimflammed by the FBI
IS IT EVER OK TO SHOOT SOMEONE IN THE BACK?
Laws, policies and politics clash with the messiness of policing
Acting swiftly can save lives. And take them, too. (#320, 9/23/18)
THE BAIL CONUNDRUM
Bail obviously disadvantages the poor. What are the alternatives? (#319, 9/4/18)
Surprise! A well-known terrorist winds up in the U.S. as a refugee (#318, 8/18/18)
POLICE SLOWDOWNS II
Cops can’t fix what ails America’s inner cities - and shouldn’t try
Bedeviled by scolding, cops hold back. What happens then?
SHOULD EVERY TOWN FIELD ITS OWN COPS?
Recent tragedies bring into question the wisdom of small agencies
NO ONE WANTS EX-CONS TO HAVE GUNS
The New York Times affirms its liberal creds. And falls into
a rabbit hole. (#314, 6/24/18)
FEWER CAN BE BETTER
Murder clearances have declined. Should we worry? (#313, 6/9/18)
THE BLAME GAME
Inmates are “realigned” from state to county supervision. Then a cop
gets killed. (#312, 5/21/18)
IS YOUR UNCLE A SERIAL KILLER?
Police scour DNA databanks for the kin of unidentified suspects
THERE'S NO "PRETENDING"
Sometimes split-second decisions are right, even when they're wrong
Hundreds of U.S. law enforcement agencies have subscribed to Clearview, a year-old
service provider that uses proprietary A.I. technology to compare suspect photos against a rapidly-growing database
populated with millions of images drawn from websites including Facebook and YouTube. Its first successful
application for police, in February, took twenty minutes to match the face of an unidentified shooter, captured on a
bystander’s cell-phone video, to his image on social media.
1/17/20 Federal agents arrested reputed Maryland white supremacists Brian Lemley Jr.
and Garfield Bilbrough IV, both from Maryland, and Patrik Mathews, an illegal immigrant from Canada, on
conspiracy and gun charges. According to a
Federal criminal complaint, Lemley obtained an assault rifle upper receiver by mail order. He and Mathews then
used this item and other gun parts to make a machine gun, which they fired at a range. They also allegedly acquired
body armor and 1,500 rounds of ammunition. All three had intended to attend a rally in Virginia to protest its gun
laws. Related post
1/9/20 The Chicago Tribune compiled a list of sixty-two shootings and threats of shootings by Illinois
concealed-carry licensees between 2014, when the state CCW law was passed, and August 2019. For each incident it
summarized the circumstances and linked to available stories.
1/9/20 A number of LAPD officers (reportedly, more than a dozen)
assigned to its stop-and-frisk campaign have been removed from duty for purposely and incorrectly portraying persons
they stopped as gang members, thus inflating their productivity and minimizing errors.
NY Times Related posts
military student Mohammed Alshamrania, who shot and killed three and wounded eight at a
Florida naval base December 6, had two Apple iPhones. The FBI secured warrants to search the phones but found that
both are password-protected. So it’s reached out to Apple. But Apple’s long insisted it can’t
access locked phones, and has so far refused to build in a “back door.” Related posts
1/7/20 New York
City murder climbed from 293 in 2018 to 315 in 2019, a 7.5% increase. Robberies and felony assaults were also up, by
3.0 percent and 1.4 percent respectively. But property crime fell. According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the long-term downward trajectory in NYC
crime is “irreversible.” Meanwhile a 13-year old charged in the December 11 stabbing death of a New York City college student
remains in custody
while police build cases against his 13 and 14-year old companions.
1/5/20 An official
analysis of RIPA vehicle and pedestrian stops by California’s eight largest law enforcement agencies during the
second half of 2018 revealed similar racial/ethnic patterns to what was reported for Los Angeles. Blacks (and Native Americans) were the most frequently arrested. Blacks
were also searched nearly three times as often as whites although the latter were more frequently found with
contraband. There was no racial/ethnic breakdown for being on probation or parole, nor for having firearms.
Related posts 1
Blue H.E.L.P. reports that 228 law enforcement officers, including 39 who
were retired, committed suicide in 2019. Figures for prior years are 172 in 2018, 168 in 2017 and 143 in 2016.
PERF, which considers suicide cops’ “number one occupational risk,” ; recently published “An Occupational Risk:
What Every Police Agency Should Do To Prevent Suicide Among Its Officers”.
1/4/20 An academic study in Denver post-marijuana legalization reported statistically
significant increases in property crime, and non-significant increases in disorder and drug crime, for areas with
retailers of recreational marijuana. Violent crime did not change. No effects were noted in connection with medical
1/1/20 New York
police and prosecutors warn that new state law which, regardless of an accused’s criminal record, bans cash bail
outright for most misdemeanors and “non-violent” felonies, will lead to more crime and witness
intimidation. While civil libertarians counter that such fears are overbown, the changes may keep some accused
stalkers, robbers and burglars from being detained. Related post
Dailey sits on death row for the 1985 stabbing death of a Florida teen. Appeals done, his execution seems imminent.
But his alleged accomplice, who’s doing life, says Dailey had nothing to do with it. Lacking physical
evidence, authorities relied on the word of a jailhouse informer who swears that Dailey admitted the crime. Jurors
convicted Dailey in 1987, and Florida’s governor has said that it’s time for justice to run its course.
Related posts 1
12/30/19 An oddly-
dressed man who seemed to be in disguise pulled a shotgun during services in a Texas church and began firing. Two
were killed, including a guard who tried to intercede. Other armed parishioners, members of the church security
team, returned fire, killing the assailant.
12/28/19 Forty-one persons have lost their lives in mass shootings in the U.S. so far this
year. According to the USA Today/AP/NEU project, which tracks all shootings where four or more are killed other
than the perpetrator, that’s the worst toll since the 1970s.
Following a national buy-back in which residents turned in more than 56,000 guns, New Zealand’s prohibition on
military-type semi-auto rifles and high-capacity magazines went into effect. Propelled by the March massacre that
took fifty-one lives at two mosques in Christchurch, the law has met resistance in a land where gun ownership is
widespread. Related post
12/22/19 Thirteen were shot, two critically, at a party in Chicago’s Englewood
neighborhood. The event was being held to honor a man fatally shot during a carjacking (police claim he was the
perpetrator.) Still, police data indicates that citywide shootings and murders continue to fall. Related posts
12/16/19 BJA released
“How to Reduce Repeat Encounters,” a four-step plan designed to help police executives devise and
implement management and response strategies for identifying and properly dealing with troubled, repeat users
of police services. Related posts
12/12/19 On December 10 self-styled “Black
Hebrew Israelites” David Anderson and Francine Graham gunned down Jersey City police detective Joseph Seals,
then stormed a Jewish market and engaged in a protracted firefight, killing three citizens and wounding two officers
before police shot them dead. Anderson and Graham took an AR-15-style rifle, a shotgun and two 9mm. pistols into the
store. A silencer-equipped weapon and a pipe bomb were found in their van. Anderson, an ex-con with prior arrests for weapons
offenses, had apparently posted hateful messages on social media and mentioned past massacres. Related posts
Democratic and Republican lawmakers joined with Attorney General William Barr and British and Australian officials to
demand that Internet portals build in “backdoors” that allow law enforcement agencies to intercept
encrypted communications. But Facebook, which is planning end-to-end encryption, complained that doing so would make
its system vulnerable and be “a gift to criminals, hackers and repressive regimes”. Related posts
12/12/19 A years
-long investigation by the Justice Department I.G. revealed that FBI agents knowingly submitted deeply flawed
information to gain court approval for a F.I.S.A. wiretap of Carter Page, a former C.I.A. source who was suspected
of passing anti-Clinton materials from Russian intelligence to the Trump campaign.
On December 4 Gabriel Romero, a sailor standing guard at Pearl Harbor, opened fire with his issued weapons, killing
two and himself. Two days later, Saudi military student Mohammed Alshamrania used a pistol to kill three and wound
eight at a Florida base. He was shot and killed by police. Romero was in trouble with the Navy and getting counseling. Alshamrania had reportedly
posted hateful tweets and recently gathered friends to watch mass shooting videos. Related posts
income New York City neighborhoods have seen a rise in gang shootings. One Queens neighborhood has suffered thirty-two
shot and twelve killed to date, twice last year’s toll. Special police teams patrol hot spots, and “
neighborhood coordination officers” are contacting youth to prevent what violence they can. But guns are cheap
and plentiful, and the warfare continues. Related posts
Usman Khan, 26, served eight years in a British prison for participating in a terrorist cell that planned to carry out
attacks across England. During his term he supposedly reformed and, on release, became a role model for others.
Considered thoroughly rehabilitated, he traveled unsupervised to a prison conference in London. That’s when he
suddenly pulled a knife and began slashing, killing two and injuring three before he was shot dead by police.
12/4/19 Thirty-six years after their imprisonment, Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart walked
out of prison, once again free men. That’s how long it took before the Baltimore D.A. acknowledged that police
and prosecutorial misconduct, including hiding exculpatory evidence and coercing young witnesses, led to their wrongful
conviction in the murder of another teen. Authorities think they know who the real killer was, but he died years ago.
Related posts 1
Oregon’s Supreme Court banned officers from going off-topic during routine traffic stops and questioning
occupants about unrelated matters. In this case an officer who pulled over a car for failure to signal a turn asked for
and received consent to search the vehicle, in which he found drugs. Decision Related posts
12/4/19: Four years after the police killing of Laquan McDonald, an unarmed Black youth, led then
-Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago’s new Mayor, Lori Lightfoot fired the
replacement Chief, Eddie Johnson, over “a series of ethical lapses.” Chief Johnson, who was found passed
out in his car, had announced his retirement. Related posts
12/4/19: During the last four decades wage growth in major cities, including New York and Los Angeles, has
stagnated for the lower classes while, thanks to the new technologies, zoomed upwards for the better-off. That,
according to New York’s Federal Reserve Bank, has made New York City one of the “top 10 most unequal
metropolitan areas in the country.” Related posts
12/3/19: Alabama jurors
convicted former Montgomery police officer Aaron Smith of manslaughter for shooting and killing a pedestrian who fled
from a stop-and-frisk encounter. During the chase Officer Smith repeatedly tased Greg Gunn, a 58-year old Black man,
then repeatedly fired his gun because Gunn supposedly tried to hit him with a pole. Officer Smith had been charged with
murder. Related posts
11/19/19 Social media posts including
“kill all women” and “prowling the Seattle streets for women to assault” were enough for
police to get a Red Flag order. But two weeks later a judge ordered the guns returned without a mental health check.
Satisfied that these were just bad jokes for the man’s friends, he explained that the law did not let him “
give the benefit of the doubt” to police. Related posts
“The way it was used is racist.” Presidential contender Michael Bloomberg announced profound regrets for
promoting NYPD’s stop-and-frisk campaign while he was the city’s mayor. Bloomberg says only a sliver of
those stopped had guns and that the practice - which he claims to have wound down - led to estrangement from the Black
and Latino communities.
Related posts 1
11/15/19 Attorney General William Barr rolled
out “Project Guardian,” an initiative that would enhance Federal-local efforts to tighten up gun background
checks, target armed criminals and ensure that serious felons who get caught with guns are considered for Federal
11/15/19 A proposed Federal law would require Federal agents to get a warrant to use facial technology
recognition to track a suspect for more than three days. It would not limit its typical current use, which is to make
matches after-the-fact. Civil libertarians are demanding that this latter practice, which is now commonplace, face
11/14/19 Two teens were killed and three others were wounded after a 16-
year old student pulled a .45 caliber pistol from his backpack and opened fire at a suburban Los Angeles-area high school.
Police later apprehended the gunman, who reportedly shot himself in the head.
11/12/19 A military judge
ruled that prosecutors misled defense attorneys for a Qaeda suspect awaiting trial in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole.
Their failure to provide accurate information about the man’s torture while in C.I.A. custody may threaten the
admissibility of what the defendant later told FBI agents at Guantanamo.
New York Times investigation revealed that alcohol breath tests are under challenge across the U.S.
Misconduct by operators, faulty technology and ill-maintained, uncalibrated devices are blamed for chronic
inaccuracies. In New Jersey, 13,000 drivers were convicted with machines “that hadn’t been properly set up.
” Tens of thousands of like cases are pending elsewhere. Related posts
11/5/19 Chicago is reeling from yet more shootings in its supposedly improving “Little Village
” area, where a seven-year old trick-or-treater dolled up as Minnie Mouse was critically wounded on Halloween night
by a 15-year old gang member who opened fire on rivals. An adult was also struck.
Ex-Georgia cop Robert Olsen was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment on charges of aggravated assault and
perjury for shooting and killing a mentally disturbed black vet who had stripped naked and was lying on the
ground. Jurors found that Olsen, who is white, lied when he said that the victim ran at him and refused to
stop. But they acquitted him of murder. Related posts
10/31/19 In Chicago, the International Association of Chiefs of Police assembled
police leaders and family members to address police suicides. So far this year 188 officers committed suicide, a toll
twice that of line-of-duty deaths. “Removing the stigma,” it was said, is key to solving the problem.
Dick’s Sporting Goods sells guns. But it no longer sells assault-style weapons or high capacity magazines and
requires all gun buyers to be at least 21. That decision was made by C.E.O. Ed Stack after the 2018 Parkland, Fla. high
school massacre. He concedes these steps won’t eliminate all mass shootings. “But there will be less loss of
life if an assault-style rifle isn’t used. And if we do all those things and we save one life, in my mind it’s
all worth it.” Related posts
Undercover California state agents regularly watch California residents acquire California-illegal assault rifles at
gun shows in Arizona and Nevada. Buyers are tailed when they return to California, where they are stopped. “The...
problem is that California has a 608-mile border with Nevada...and Nevada’s gun regulations are less stringent,”
a prosecutor said. Related posts
10/24/19 At the urging of Attorney General William Barr, in December 2019 the FBI will host a national training
session for preventing mass shootings. Local and state agencies will be exposed to “proven models” drawn from
the war against terror; for example, identifying dangerous, “extremely challenging individuals” and compelling
to undergo mental health treatment before they strike. Related posts
Two years ago Jackson Co. (MO) deputy Lauren Michael was awarded a Medal of Valor after shooting and killing an
ex-con shoplifter who allegedly Tasered her during an arrest. This past August she shot and wounded a traffic violator who
ran off after - again - allegedly Tasering the deputy. This time Deputy Michael was charged with “felony assault and
armed criminal action.” Related posts
10/14/19 Summoned by a
neighbor who reported an open front door, two Fort Worth officers arrived at a residence during the early morning hours.
One officer saw a woman standing inside. He yelled for her to show her hands, then fired a single shot, killing the woman,
the home’s lawful resident. She was reportedly playing video games and came to the window because of the
commotion. Related posts 1
10/13/19 A 66-year old man with “anger management issues” shot and
killed five other residents of the condo complex where he had long resided. According to police most of the other
tenants “have had problems with him,” from being accused of “making too much noise to exchanging dirty
looks to bumping into each other in the stairwell.”