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Notes On The Shooting

The murder of Judge John M. Roll and the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords automatically fall under Federal jurisdiction, the US Marshals Service and the Capitol Police respectively, which is why the President sent the head of the FBI to coordinate. The other murders and assaults are under Arizona’s jurisdiction. This will complicate information releases as the Federal and Arizona rules of criminal procedure are different, so they will be restricted to releasing only details that may be provided under the rules of both systems. The Federal system is more restrictive than most states, so the frustration will be evident on the part of Arizona officials and local media.

The weapon was a Glock autoloading pistol. While these weapons are routinely referred to as “automatics”, they fire one round per trigger pull. On military weapons this is classified as “semi-automatic”, as opposed to “fully automatic” in which the weapon continues to fire as long as the trigger is depressed and there is ammunition available. It had a 30 round over-sized magazine, doubling the normal capacity of the weapon.

The suspect has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and is not talking to investigators. This will be important in any plea of insanity, as it indicates that he is in control of his faculties and realizes what he has done is wrong.

January 8, 2011   11 Comments

The “N” Word

I have noted that in the discussion of the hack job on Huckleberry Finn that few have observed that this is just another attempt to rewrite American history concerning the antebellum South.

Samuel Clemens specialized in writing in the vernacular, the everyday speech of the people, not in formal English. The novel is a snapshot of a time and place written down by one of America’s greatest storytellers. Clemens grew up in that period and provides a window to it that a history book cannot. Through the story we learn about regular people, not leaders or politicians.

The “N” word was always a low-class word that wasn’t used in “polite society”, which means that is was the common word in use. If someone wants to eliminate the word, at least do Mr. Clemens the courtesy of the calling the result something else and not Huckleberry Finn. That worked when The Seven Samurai became The Magnificence Seven.

January 8, 2011   5 Comments

A Realist In The Middle Of Madness

The Sheriff of Pima County, Arizona is Clarence W. Dupnik. Sheriff Dupnik sees what is really there and doesn’t like it. A half dozen people were murdered in his jurisdiction, including the chief judge of the Federal District Court in Arizona and a Congressional staffer, and a dozen people were wounded, including the local Congresswoman.

At a press conference the Sheriff laid it out: there are unbalanced people everywhere and the current political rhetoric in the media is pushing some of them over the edge to violence.

You can’t have a continuing stream of hate speech of the type noted by DCap Ny and others without feeding the paranoia of people who are losing their grip on the real world. When candidates for public office and media figures keeping talking about the government as “the problem” and bullets to “correct things” that ballots can’t, you are going to have violence.

The Tea Party, the Republican Party, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck. Rush Limbaugh, etc. ad nauseam have been using the language of violence to “energize the base” for years, and no one, especially not Sheriff Dupnik, is surprised by the result.

I would note that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a conservative Blue Dog Democrat recruited to run for Congress by Rahm Emanuel.

January 8, 2011   8 Comments