Saturday, December 15, 2012

‘Who Would Do This to Our Poor Little Babies’

Checked my phone when I woke up this morning and saw that my brother had sent me 3 texts with suggested presents for his little boys. I smiled as the items expressed each of the boys' unique personalities. Then I checked my Twitter feed and remembered.

I was in training yesterday, scanning my iPad for news stories and other articles relevant to my profession, when the first news flash about yet another school shooting popped up. Within an hour the confirmation came through - 20 elementary school children murdered.

The rest of the day the story followed the same predictable script: cable news channels playing the same footage over and over, while the same roster of pundits gave the same old opinions about how something like this could happen. It didn't take long for liberals to cry out once again for gun control, while gun rights folks quickly retorted with the same tired quips about how "guns don't kill people, bad guys kill people" and "if the teacher had been armed, this wouldn't have happened." Blah, blah, blah.

Our President addressed the nation, weary and, understandably, weepy. Once again the duty of his office demands that he visit the community and offer comfort to loved ones facing unimaginable grief, just as he did in Tucson and Aurora. This time will be different. The victims are so, so young.

Anderson Cooper did his usual "we are not going to say the shooter's name so we don't encourage others to do something like this." As if life is a Harry Potter book, and evil can be kept away as long as you just don't say his name.

Later in the day, Tweets and Facebook posts chastised us: "Stop talking politics. It's too soon to talk about this!" Ok, if it's too soon, then lets talk about the  Happy Valley Mall. Still too soon for that? How about Minneapolis? Still too soon? How about Oak Creek? Aurora? Oakland? Norcross, Georgia? That's just 2012. How about we go all the way back to 2011 and talk about Tucson?

Because we need to talk.

Columbine. Virginia Tech. Omaha. Northern Illinois University. San Diego. Ft. Hood. Santa Clara. Covina. The list of mass shooting sites is rapidly expanding. Soon the list will exceed the list of Civil War battle sites.

And we do nothing.

Just talking about solutions provokes a knee-jerk defensiveness from gun owners. Let's get this straight, no reasonable person wants to take away your guns. Ninety-nine percent of lawful gun owners are responsible and are not committing mass shootings or other crimes. But what does that mean? Police in Connecticut have told us that the guns used to murder children yesterday were all legally bought and registered to the shooter's mother.

I am reminded of a tragic shooting here in Las Cruces five years ago. New Mexico State Police Officer Susan Kuchma, a good cop and delightful person, was gunned down by her mentally ill son. He used Susan's own, lawfully owned, gun to do the deed.

In the days and weeks to come, we will learn more about the shooter. We will find out that there were warning signs, strange behaviors and incidents. We will all wonder why something wasn't done - how come nobody intervened? Pundits will point out that well-meaning liberals who have made it very difficult to institutionalize the mentally ill, combined with Reagan-era budget cuts, have left our nation's mental health system a woeful mess.

I don't know what the answers are. I know I am growing weary of supporting gun rights, as news tragedy after tragedy arrives in waves. I know the Second Amendment contains the phrase "well-regulated." I know that a mentally ill person, determined to cause destruction, will find a way to achieve it. I know we don't want a world where our children's teachers are issued sidearms along with the keys to their classrooms.

Whatever the answers are, it's not too soon to talk about them. It's already too late for the little children at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Docket Call

Monday, December 10, 2012

Docket Call


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Outlaws and Badmen

Trying to put together the ultimate playlist for crime, criminals and justice. Here's what I've come up with so far:

 I Fought The Law The Clash 
 Gimme Shelter The Rolling Stones 
 Only The Good Die Young  Billy Joel 
 Renegade Styx 
 Folsom Prison Blues  Johnny Cash 
 Johnny 99 Bruce Springsteen 
 Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley 
 Lawyers, Guns And Money Warren Zevon 
 Stagger Lee  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 
 Murder Incorporated Bruce Springsteen 
 One Piece At A Time Johnny Cash 
 Pretty Boy Floyd Woody Guthrie 
 I Ain't Living Long Like This Waylon Jennings 
 Take The Money And Run Steve Miller Band 
 Mama Tried Merle Haggard & The Strangers 
 One Way or Another Blondie 
 The Devil's Right Hand Steve Earle 
 The Legend Of Bonnie & Clyde Merle Haggard 
 Helter Skelter  Oasis 
 Sympathy for the Devil The Rolling Stones 
 The Road Goes On Forever  Robert Earl Keen 
 Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah Reckless Kelly 
 Excitable Boy Warren Zevon 
 Atlantic City Bruce Springsteen 
 Bohemian Rhapsody  Queen 
 Psycho Killer  Talking Heads 
 I Shot The Sheriff  Bob Marley & The Wailers 
 Band on the Run  Paul McCartney 
 Twilight Zone Golden Earring 
 Smokin' In The Boys Room Mötley Crüe 
 State Trooper Bruce Springsteen 
 You Only Live Twice Nancy Sinatra 
 James Bond Theme (From "Dr. No.") John Barry Orchestra ,
 Gimme Three Steps Lynyrd Skynyrd 
 I'm Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail Keller & The Keels
 Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard  Paul Simon 
 Blood Red And Goin' Down Tanya Tucker 
 Green, Green Grass Of Home Porter Wagoner 
 Walk On The Wild Side  Lou Reed 
 Roxanne The Police 
 Stan Eminem 
 Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand Waylon Jennings 
 Perry Mason  Ozzy Osbourne 
 Meeting Across The River Bruce Springsteen 
 Smooth Criminal  Michael Jackson 
 Wanted Dead Or Alive Bon Jovi 
 Pancho and Lefty Merle Haggard;Willie Nelson 
 You May Be Right Billy Joel 
 Whenever Kindness Fails Robert Earl Keen 
 Copacabana Barry Manilow 
 Big Iron Marty Robbins 
 Rapid Roy [The Stock Car Boy] Jim Croce 
 Working At The Car Wash Blues Jim Croce 
 Live And Let Die Paul McCartney 
 Darlington County Bruce Springsteen 
 Fast Car Tracy Chapman 
 Jesse James Woody Guthrie 
 Criminal Fiona Apple 
 Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) Nancy Sinatra 
 I Can't Drive 55 Sammy Hagar 
 Tired Eyes Neil Young 
 Only Sixteen Dr. Hook 
 Mack The Knife Bobby Darin 
 Back On The Chain Gang  The Pretenders 
 A View To A Kill Duran Duran 
 1952 Vincent Black Lightning Richard Thompson 
 I Stole Your Love Kiss 
 Hot Rod Lincoln  Asleep At The Wheel 
 Radar Gun The Bottle Rockets 
 Highway Patrol Junior Brown 
 The Night The Lights Went Out In GA Vicki Lawrence
 Fuck Tha Police  N.W.A. 
 Leader of the Pack The Shangri Las
 Frank And Jesse James Warren Zevon 
 The Pusher Steppenwolf 
 Down On The Corner Creedence Clearwater Revival 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Docket Call


Tuesday, December 4, 2012