Tag Archives: murder

Capone Syndrome

There is a larger concern in the US today (yesterday too). I have always lived by the premise that guns do not kill people, people kill people. I still live by that believe today, even as people all over the planet cry that guns are the problem. In the UK we see: “There were 726 homicides in the year ending March 2018, 20 more (3% increase) than in the previous year“, which is fine, you can a person with a knife as terminally concrete as a gun can, you merely have to move up close and personal to do so.

Yet that does not explain the American numbers and I accept that. When we consider ‘17,284 reported cases of murder or non-negligent manslaughter in the United States‘ we see that there is a much larger problem in play. Yet there is also the stage that the numbers have declined by 30% since 1991 (24,700 murders at that point). Yet that would be the facts if we take the word of Statista; it is the New York Times who gives us “There were 39,773 gun deaths in 2017, up by more than 1,000 from the year before. Nearly two-thirds were suicides“, which is an entirely different dish to serve. The article (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/us/gun-deaths.html) becomes debatable when we see the information they do give us with ‘Nearly two-thirds were suicides‘, so there is an issue, and even as we want to blame guns, these people would have equally gone for pills and optionally tapping the vein with a sharp knife.

So when we see: “In 2017, about 60 percent of gun deaths were suicides, while about 37 percent were homicides, according to an analysis of the C.D.C.” we need to take a larger look at the issue. When we see the numbers, which I accept is disproportionate to most other nations, we need to see that the US has a much larger issue and firearms are not the cause, the economy is. We see part of that reported by the World Economic Forum (at https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/the-global-suicide-rate-is-growing-what-can-we-do/). Here we see: “Overall mortality, particularly in the middle years, is increasing as a result of the so-called “deaths of despair” due to suicide, alcohol, opioids, and liver disease. Although 94% of American adults believe mental health is equally as important as physical health, most do not know how to identify changes in mental health that signal serious risk, nor what to do in response“, I believe that this is part of the answer, but not the larger impact. Some have taken this path and it can be directly linked to isolation and the lack of quality of life. Yet it will not stop with the US, there is every indication that these waves will hit the Commonwealth (UK and Australia) as well, In Australia we saw in 2018 ‘Australia’s suicide rate is now at 12.6 deaths per 100,000 people‘, whilst it was reported to be 5.7 in 2016 down from 6.6 in 2007, to see that the numbers have well over doubled in 10 years is a large issue and the limelight on this has been switched off.

The reduced quality of life is a larger issue in the US is that the people that are living in poverty is 13.5% (43 million), which is astounding as the unemployment rate is set to 3.7%, so we have a stage where people with a job are still below the poverty line and they are not alone, the UK is pushing into a similar stage. As the BBC reported almost 3 weeks ago “Between 1994 and 2017, the proportion of people in working households in relative poverty rose from 13% to 18%, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) – eight million people in 2017” (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42223497) we see a shift and the governments are not pushing to improve that setting, more important Australia is pushing in that same direction, yet they make matters worse by remaining in denial of social housing and age discrimination.

This now moves back to the beginning, We see the Capone Syndrome, Alphonse Gabriel Capone was boss of the Chicago Outfit and cause for the deaths of a large uncounted amount of people. In addition to that we must give voice that he donated large amounts of cash and was the force behind the charity that served up three hot meals a day to thousands of the unemployed—no questions asked. In all this he was never convicted of charities, not for murders and not for ‘criminal’ activities, the FBI got him on Tax evasion. Here we see the Syndrome, we blame guns, but other issues are the driving force that is causing all this. Whether the latest two are through mental health or economy driven reasons remain to be seen. However, as long as the people keep on screaming gun laws in a nation where hundreds of millions of guns are in open circulation there is a larger option that will not be tended to.

One of these problems is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It lacks leadership and at least 3 presidents are cause if this. With a budget of $1.274 billion, with a little over 5000 staff, the ATF has a massive problem. The larger failure known as Project Gunrunner (2010), as well as the dismissal of ATF special agent Vince Cefalu in 2011 with 24 years of experience is showing to be a much larger issue than the media is giving you. The top brass are an Acting Director, and Acting Deputy Director, no official named and permanent elected (read: placed) director and deputy director have been set for the longest time, so there is a large absence of long term plans and that lack has been an issue for a much longer time. In all this the oversight of second hand firearms has been lacking like almost forever. Even as gun laws are adjusted, second hand merchandise will freely move and as such there will be no improved situation.

If these people who are crying and shouting ‘Gun Control‘ actually wanted any of that, then the ATF would get the needed budget of $3.8 billion, they are trying to get done what they can with a 30% budget, in addition, to properly overhaul second hand firearms an additional 1500 agents would be needed. Yet the power players are not willing to touch this economy. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that their group paid $6.82 billion in taxes (including property, income and sales taxes), the government does not want to touch it.

We need to accept an understand that this problem is a lot larger and the fact that everyone is looking at a busy crossroad and they are actually only looking and focusing on that one traffic sign called ‘amendment 2’, how is that ever going to fix anything? You can add a maximum speed of 15 bullets per minute to that crossroads, yet when we consider that the roads themselves are part of the problem, an actual large part, whatever you claim to fix, will not fix anything at all, not until you fix the road, the current signs will have a negligible impact.

Now when we look at the El Paso event at Walmart, we see the accused Patrick Crusius and the fact that he killed 20 people and wounded more than that. We see the mention of some ‘manifesto’ implies a larger issue. It could be a hate crime, yet we still need to learn what set him off. The fact that the person was taken into custody (with little to no force according to the Guardian) implies that this person seeks the limelight, which could give a larger rise to a mental health issue, but time needs to tell us that. In Dayton, Ohio we have another setting. Here a man killed his sister and 8 others. Here the shooter did not survive, something clearly set him off, yet what is unknown at present. Here the Washington Post gives us: “The guns had been legally purchased, police said, and there was nothing in Connor Betts adult criminal background that would have raised concerns“, we could argue that gun control might have been some impact, the issue with millions of guns on the open second hand market, there would have been little to slow this person down. So as we learn that ‘Connor Betts never seemed interested in extreme ideologies, nor did he seem racist‘, we see one optional extremist with racism tendencies and one not, and when we realise that we need to consider that the issue is a lot larger and we need to properly address this issue. Yet screaming ‘gun control laws’ all whilst the ATF is not able to do a proper job now implies that the US is currently heading towards a much larger issue soon enough.

By the way, the fact that the ATF issues have been known for the longest time and the last time it was addressed was on May 19th by David Thornton in an article and not after that, optionally even less before that, does that not warrant questions on several levels?

I reckon that the ATF is not a sexy enough topic for the media, but cadavers certainly are. So when we fix that part, we might begin to fix the mass shooting issues at some point in the future and do not forget that the absence of a permanent director has been an issue since before the Obama Administration, he too never addressed it, which after the Newtown shooting should warrant a question or two as well.

This is not about the NRA, this is not about the NSSF and this is not about guns, this is about policy and how to properly go about it, as I personally see it, until there is a clear mandate and a clear path that includes the ATF, we are unlikely see clear resolutions for years to come.

 

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Is racism in America too alive?

When we look at the case State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman involving the murder on Trayvon Martin it seems clear to me that racism is still very much alive in America. Yet, the events involving this case give way that this could go even far beyond the issues of racism. Until today, I did not know that his father is/was a magistrate. Did you know that?

As a law student I know about Common Law and Criminal Law and as such, it is possible that a person can shoot in Self Defence. However, the fact that AGAINST specifically given information by the 911 dispatcher, that he was advised not to go after a person of POSSIBLE interest. There was absolutely NO evidence that Trayvon Martin did anything illegal or that he was breaking the Law in any way.

The fact that he continued on his track in a manner that I personally belief was a trajectory to be some lame kind of ‘hero of the neighbourhood‘ approach is beyond me that murdering a person keeps you out of jail. I would also like to add my personal view that the pictures of Trayvon shows us a kid who would not get the chance to grow up to be a man. The fact that George Zimmerman at 29 saw this kid as a threat gives additional food for thoughts on why this man should even be allowed a firearm whilst racing around as a neighbourhood watch (but that is my personal view).

Getting to the issue of firearms! I am not starting some boast on how evil they are. Guns do not kill people, people kill people (that has always been my belief) and the fact that firearms are a part of life in America is a factor we should accept at present. The fact that he ignored advice from the 911 dispatcher is also an issue. I can understand that in light of liabilities in the US, despatchers are cautious with words and directives. There is however an issue with a neighbourhood watch, going around armed on open public roads enforcing their ‘brand of Justice‘. Enforcing the laws and safety of public roads is for the police!

Whether there are issues on law and evidence was for the courts. I did not investigate all the evidence, mainly because there is way too much of it. 67 CD’s with a list of witnesses that seemed to have passed 100 seems a bit much to me, especially as no one ran outside at the time of the ‘execution’.

The (alleged) information that the father of George Zimmerman is/was a magistrate is also a fact we should not ignore. I am not stating in this that there was any perversion to the course of justice. His son likely got the best preparation any defence could ever desire! If a case could be settled for over 80% by selecting the right jury (as stated by some attorneys in the US), then correctly prepping the defendant for a trial could add another 5-10%. That means that the case was leaning heavily in favour of George Zimmerman from the start. The fact that the burden of evidence was enormously high as was presented with 13 shades, showing 12 shades resulting in not guilty should be some level of indication to the reader how hard it was from the word ‘go’ to get any conviction.

If there is a side to the blame game, then it is shown in the closing arguments. As the prosecution pictures Zimmerman as a man with a mission to take the law in his own hands, then that part seems to have shown to some degree. How Zimmerman went after Trayvon whilst being told not to do this by the 911 despatcher. It is at that same part from the defence that the closing argument falters. As was stated that Zimmerman was not guilty of anything but protecting his own life they fail, because if that was truly the case then Zimmerman would not have ignored advice from 911 and he would not have gone after Trayvon after the police was notified. He went into a place where the police should have been, not an armed neighbourhood watchmen.

The racial issues are mostly exploding now after the acquittal. The part that seems to have contained those issues to some extent is because George Zimmerman is Hispanic, not Caucasian. However, after the acquittal people have taken to the streets in massive ways. LA, Oakland, NY city and several other places. I personally do not believe it is purely a racial issue. The fact that a young unarmed African American got himself murdered by an armed neighbourhood watchmen, might be getting to people a lot more than a Hispanic/African American issue.

In defence to George Zimmerman was the statement by an African American named Tony Johnson. He stated that it is not a crime to follow anybody (Source CNN). Actually, according to the National Victims of crime, it could constitute stalking as it is quoted as “Virtually any unwanted contact between two people to directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear can be considered stalking“. There are unknown factors, yet, an approach of distance and carefully identifying himself George Zimmerman might not have needed to shoot Trayvon Martin. Not being there at all after he notified the police would have resulted in an actual certainty that Trayvon Martin would still be alive.

 

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