Category Archives: Lord Love a Duck

The Bragg “Assault Rifle at a Mall” Arrest

SGT Bryan Wolfinger, a US airborne infantryman.

SGT Bryan Wolfinger, a US airborne infantryman. And, says the press, “mall gunman.”

There are three things happening here which have very few points of congruence:

  1. Media reports, which seem to be largely fabricated by the reporters;
  2. What actually happened, which has not been widely reported;
  3. The Fayetteville PD’s relationship with the employees of the town’s dominant business, the Army, which is never widely reported.

We’ll address each of these in turn. Along the way, you’ll get to play that game that’s so much fun that people bribe politicians for the opportunity to do it for a career: You Be The Judge!™.

Media Reports

Conspiracy theories thrive, in part, because the media sucks like a giant Shop Vac, and prioritizes speed over accuracy, and Narrative™ over either. First media reports are almost always wrong. Then, they really get to work. Reporters dig in and beat the facts to fit The Narrative™.

Here are some of the headlines the news media generated:

As you can see, they generally called the individual arrested “Man with assault rifle,” “Armed soldier,” “Soldier with rifle and ammunition,” and, in one egregious case (a TV station, naturally), “Fayetteville mall gunman.”  Sure, that was technically correct in the narrow denotational sense that he was a man, did have a gun, and did go to a mall, but “mall gunman” forms a mental picture other than a guy carrying an empty, never-fired, rifle to a photo shoot for his actor’s portfolio.

wolfingers gun and gearAs the media got further from Fayetteville and the facts they changed the facts to suit The Narrative™, as they always do. The “rifle and ammunition” became a counterfactual “loaded rifle.” Another counterfactual detail conjured out of thin air by fabricating reporters was “body armor.” The Charleston church shooting and white supremacism made an appearance, introduced by some of their last True Believers, reporters. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a long-running racket that has made a succession of Northern lawyers stankin’ rich, was called on to read the mind of the accused “gunman.”

Once these media stories, with their slant, exaggerations and outright fabrications, hit the news,  the two branches of the Army that are furthest from the gun culture and firearms knowledge, the oversized PR branch and the underbrained MP branch, sounded off, uttering an instant, blanket condemnation of the soldier in question and promising that he will be punished by the military justice system, which has no truck with such primitive concepts as rights of the accused or rules of evidence: as we have seen in many Iraq and Afghanistan courts-martial, it’s a means by which commanders work their will, irrespective of law or facts, and we had a string of commanders who had been embarrassed. This guy has absolutely no chance: the prosecutors will work to nail-him-to-a-cross, and the defense attorneys, in the fine tradition of military defense attorneys since the Dreyfus case and beyond, will hand ’em the nails.

What Actually Happened

While the media were running with the story, something else was happening in Fayetteville. The police and prosecutors were trying to square the arrest they’d made, and the press statements their spokesman was making, with North Carolina law. NC is an open carry state; even if Wolfinger’s gun had been loaded, what he was doing would have been perfectly legal.

They finally found a Reconstruction-era misdemeanor: “Going armed to the terror of the public,” that had been inserted in NC law for the Union occupation forces to use to suppress “night riders” and similar proto-Klan types. The dormant law had actually been eliminated from a popular NC law book before prosecutors rediscovered it as part of today’s kitchen-sink prosecution strategy. The crime has four elements, one of which is being armed with “an unusual and dangerous weapon,” which Reconstruction-era case law established as being any firearm at all, or even no firearm, if ant person was really scared. But another element, and one that appears fully absent in this case, is that the person have intent: he must have taken up his “unusual and dangerous weapon” (which may, in fact, be no weapon but physical intimidation), “for the purpose of terrifying others.” Did Wolfinger intend to terrify others? Let’s play You Be The Judge!

Wolfinger went to the mall for a very specific reason: he was taking a portfolio photo to submit to a casting call for the next Captain America movie. Specifically, for extras in “a battlefield setting.”

After looking at the websites of the many photography shops in the Fayetteville area, he chose Picture This! Portrait Studios, one of two commercial photography shops in the Cross Creek Mall. He picked them particularly because they were experienced with green screen photography, allowing digital backgrounds to be swapped in to his photo.

As he meant to apply as a military “type” extra, along with the usual three serious-expression pictures casting directors like to see for extras, he also meant to shoot the “in character” shot that’s optional but welcome. For that, he brought his legally-owned AR-15 and a plate carrier and some magazines. After all, Picture This! says, helpfully, “You may also want to consider bringing in personal items….” Just to be sure it was safe, Wolfinger removed the firing pin from the AR, rendering it, functionally, a stick.

Little did Wolfinger know that this would land him in durance vile, with every talking head on every TV and Mark Potok of the SPLC condemning him as a racist mass murderer wannabee.

Note that under NC law, carrying the AR loaded is perfectly legal (although, as he has learned, not exactly wise). This lack of wisdom is especially significant, given the proclivities of the Fayetteville PD, of which more anon.

Someone called 911, and the police responded, and two Fayetteville cops encountered him as he was coming out. They pointed their guns at him and he obeyed their instructions. They cuffed him and then roughed him up a little. He was cooperative and gave a statement. After they latched on to the “terror of the public”  misdemeanor, Detectives tried to get him to say he was trying to scare people, but to their irritation he stuck to the truth. They finally released him to his unit first sergeant.

Detectives then questioned the photographer at great length, trying to lead her into a statement that Wolfinger had frightened her. They got a very, very weak statement. She actually liked the kid, even though she knew nothing of guns and didn’t realize that that was the prop that he was bringing.

The Fayetteville PD spokesman issued several statements which played into the media’s desire to see an American soldier as a terrorist.

Fayetteville PD versus GIs In General

Puzzled fayetteville copFirst things first: Fayetteville cops, and especially Fayetteville PD leadership, hate the Army and hate the individual GI. Hate is a strong word, but it’s the only one that fits.  (“Use the word you mean, not its second cousin” — didn’t Mark Twain say that?)

In defense of the cops, the GIs make a lot of work for them. Drunk GIs in bars. Drunk GIs in cars. GI domestic violence, usually with drinking. (Now, there’s a real problem with female couple DV in the Fort Bragg area). Guys who got ripped off by some pawn shop, buy-here-pay-here crap car-dealer, or U-Can-Rent, and guys who think that they got ripped off, but actually outsmarted themselves, and are causing a disturbance anywayLiquored-up paratroopers convinced that they can take this pudgy cop, who then proceed to do so, at least until backup arrives. And then there’s the personal problems: the GIs who wind up with the cops’ girlfriends, wives and daughters.

It’s reached the point where the GIs figure they might as well go ahead and knock up the daughters of the town’s cops, prosecutors, and judges, because they’re gonna get thumped for it, anyway. This produces suboptimal behavior on the part of all parties.

Any given night, especially Thursday through Saturday, and doubly especially around the days the eagle drops the twice-monthly paycheck, a Fayetteville PD shift sergeant can show you a fine collection of paratroopers, support troops, and even an occasional SF guy: in his drunk tank. “Support the Troops” gets worn out pretty quick in an Army town, where tens of thousands of troops are not elite combat forces but less elite, and a few of them, even, marginal, support guys. Ask a Fayetteville cop to tell you about soldier misconduct and your only problem is going to be to get him to stop: some of the things our fellow vets have done are absolutely cringe-producing, and it’s hard to blame the fuzz for developing a ‘tude about it.

However… one thing the Fayetteville Observer does from time to time is post the mugshots of recent Cumberland County accused felons. And that set is notable by its lack of GIs, considering their prevalence in the community. GIs are far outnumbered among serious criminals by many other minorities: blacks, women, Lumbee Indians. The cops don’t hate those people; it’s just business (and fact is, most of the people in all those minorities never commit a crime, so they shouldn’t hate the whole groups). But they do hate the GIs with their booze and misdemeanors, who may not be especially criminal but who are especially identifiable.

For whatever reason, they are spring-loaded in the Nail The GI position. The Fayetteville PD also has a number of other big-city-PD pathologies, including the deep-seated belief that, their dismal ND record notwithstanding, they are the Only Ones who can be trusted with this here Glock firearm.

That’s how SGT Wolfinger got from going to take an innocent he-ro photo for a casting call, to slammed in the clink on a bogus charge: he’s paying the price for every drunk trooper who was ever a no-go at the Fayetteville PD’s Respect-My-Authoritah station.

And that’s why 20 Fayetteville cops swarmed Cross Creek Mall and locked it down for an hour, after they had taken Wolfinger into custody: their leaders hate non-cops with guns, and hate soldiers especially, and were hoping to find and arrest more.

SF guys who live in and around Fayetteville tend not to display hooah stickers on our wheels. Part of that is the whole Quiet Professional thing, in general, a cultural norm which leaders try from time to time to nurture and reinforce. (This leadership is especially successful from respected NCO leaders like team sergeants and company sergeants major). But part if it is also the desire not to be singled out for reindeer games by some sorehead with a badge.

When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws will have Objects

question mark“Objects?” Yes, that’s what the story says: the victim was beaten to death “with an object.” (Whether it was a direct or an indirect object was unclear). Then he was thrown into a pit, buried under stones, and a new patio was poured over him.

Like Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart, he has risen, in a way, from this grave to point a bony finger of condemnation at his murderers. The Boston Herald, about a month ago (yes, this has long sat in the queue):

A Rhode Island couple was ordered held without bail Monday in the killing of a Massachusetts man whose body was found under newly poured concrete at the couple’s home nearly a month after he went missing.

Steven Pietrowicz, 39, and Michelle Morin, 40, were arraigned on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction of a police officer. A bail hearing was scheduled for June 15.

Morin (l.) and Pietrowicz (r.) Not very photogenic, these two.

Morin (l.) and Pietrowicz (r.) Not very photogenic, these two.

Morin was arrested late Saturday in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she and Pietrowicz previously lived. She waived extradition Monday and agreed to be returned to Rhode Island to face charges.

Pietrowicz was already in custody on charges of domestic assault.

The body of 60-year-old Domingo Ortiz, of Worcester, was found Friday beneath a newly constructed deck adjacent to the home Pietrowicz and Morin were renting. The body was located in a four-to-five-foot hole covered by large rocks and a layer of concrete, police said.

Ortiz. Notice that there always seems to be a mug shot of the victim, too. How can that be?

Ortiz. Note that there always seems to be a mug shot of the victim, too. How can that be? It almost makes you think that murders are not randomly distributed.

Ortiz had been beaten with an object and his legs may have been tied up, police said. An autopsy had not been completed Monday

via Rhode Island couple charged in death of man under concrete | Fox News.

The victim was allegedly a friend of his murderers. This is a hell of a way to learn the lesson everybody’s mama was supposed to teach him, to wit, “Select your friends with care.”

Apparently their lifestyle involved chemical enhancers, and the murder happened under the influence of the oldest drug of all, good old Judgment Juice. A few details are buried in this story from WPRI-TV, Providence, Rhode Island:

“It is a brutal crime. Where someone was beaten repeatedly and then the body disposed of under a cement slab — I think that shows an indication of the animosity, if you will, or the heinousness of this crime,” said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.

Police believe the violence stemmed from an altercation during a night of drinking on May 5. Lynch said Ortiz had been last seen that day, getting into a car with the suspects in Worcester.

Investigators executed their first search warrant at the Douglas Pike home May 21, during which they found evidence of a fight, including broken furniture, blood evidence, and evidence of cleaning with a strong bleach product. Police could not discuss possible motives at this point in the investigation.

Pietrowicz and Morin confirmed the altercation, but told police Ortiz left the property on his own May 6, according to Lynch. Police believe Ortiz perished early that morning.

During that interview, the pair indicated that another couple was staying at the home while Ortiz was there, saying the man served time with Pietrowicz at a Pennsylvania prison. Investigators traveled to Pennsylvania last week to interview the couple, and obtained information which allowed them to secure a second search warrant of the Douglas Pike home.

Col. Lynch said the Pennsylvania couple are currently being treated as witnesses in the case. Additional charges in the case will be reviewed by a grand jury.

Morin also told police that she was beaten by Pietrowicz and showed them bruises. Police arrested him in Worcester May 27 on domestic violence charges, and he was held as a bail violator stemming from another domestic violence case involving a different victim.

Note the few details teased out there:

  • Pietrowicz at least is an ex-con in PA;
  • He’s also a multi-time loser on domestic violence charges;
  • He was out on bail at the time he murdered Ortiz;
  • Ergo, he’s a “prohibited person” three times over, which means he can’t buy guns the way you do or we do;
  • And yet… he managed to kill somebody with some everyday “object.”

Exercises for the reader:

  1. If every firearm in circulation was magically made to disappear the night before this crime, how would it have availed Ortiz? Would that have prevented Ortiz’s murder?
  2. If Pietrowicz, as a many-times-over violent offender, had been denied bail on his previous arrest, and thrown back in a cell to await proceedings, might that have prevented Ortiz’s murder?

El-Bubba BHP Destined for the Smelter

You see the darndest things at a gun turn-in. Dean Weingarten at Gun Watch spotted this:

Mex BrowningIt’s a somewhat hard-done-by prewar Browning Hi-Power with gaudy Mexican jeweler’s grips, made of mother-of-pearl, engraved silver, and inlaid with Mexican designs. Not everybody’s taste, and so we tend to call the mystery smith who decorates guns like this el-Bubba. But hey, it takes all kinds to make a world, de gustibus non disputandum est, and all that.

But if this gun was somewhat abused by some prior Mexican or Mex-American owner, that’s nothing compared to what happens to it next. Dean:

This “Mexican” Browning High-Power was one of many fine firearms turned in at the Los Angeles gun “buy back” in May of 2014.  It stands out because of the custom grips, which appear to be mother of pearl, inlaid with Mexican emblems and framed in silver.

Mex Browning2

The pistol has the slide at the full rear position, yet the barrel is only showing about 5/8ths of an inch in front.  It should show about 1 3/8ths.   Look at the other side.

As Dean notes, the barrel’s in the wrong place, suggesting it was assembled by someone who didn’t understand the firearm. He speculates that that’s why this collector curio, still valuable even in its scratched, roughed-up form, was turned in.

For a $100 gift card at some schlocky merchant of Chinese self-disassembling injection-molded consumer crap.

Mex Browning3

 

In LA, there’s no escape for a gun like this. It’s a California “assault weapon!” Blamed for gang crime by politicians who benefit too much from criminals to bear down on them, the guns acquired at this taxpayer buy are all subject to an extrajudicial death sentence, including this 1938-vintage Hi-Power.

Heck, if they seize your 24″ rims because you were dealing crack from your Oldsmobile, at least they have the decency to file US vs. Four 24″ Wheel Rims. But guns are guilty until proven innocent, and no one is allowed to speak for their innocence.

Imagine if the people behind this turn-in had all the power they want. And thank a merciful God that you’re not getting all the government you’re paying for.

Why, He Acquired These Guns Without a Background Check

Gary Elliott mugshotWhich was a good thing for him. Because he never would’ve passed a background check. Because he was a convicted felon. In fact, he was out on parole, for armed robbery; he had the arrest record of a hardened prestoopnik, and he was all of 19 years old.

The burglar or burglars ripped a hole in the ceiling of Al’s Army Navy store, shimmied down a rope and climbed back up with two bags filled with more than 70 guns.

“It must be Spider-Man,” [store owner Neal] Crasnow said. “I can’t think of who else [could have done this].”

os-hole-in-roof-photo-20150630The burglary happened sometime after midnight without setting off any alarms.

“He dropped in the middle of the floor where there aren’t alarms,” said Crasnow.

Blood found on a pipe on the outside of the building appeared to show “how the suspect was able to get on and off the roof,” the police report stated.

Shortly after 2 a.m., Orange County deputies in the area investigating a series of car burglaries instead found 19-year-old Gary Jahmel Shaquan Elliott, who was bleeding from a wound on his right arm.

We would never want to stereotype young Gary Elliott, but he was evidently “well known to the authorities.”

According to a sheriff’s report released Wednesday, a deputy first spotted Elliott dressed in dark clothing and pedaling a heavily loaded three-wheel bicycle on South Rio Grande Avenue. That’s when the teen made an abrupt turn behind a duplex residence and disappeared.

The bicycle was found abandoned with a backpack and two large black bags filled with guns.

“Inside…I saw multiple handguns with Al’s Army-Navy price tags and serial numbers,” Deputy Matthew Vinson wrote. “There was also spray can bottles and (a) crowbar in one of the bags. I also could see blood on most of the handguns as well as the handlebars of the bicycle.”

via Orlando rooftop burglar: Suspect caught with guns from Al’s Army Navy store, OPD says – Orlando Sentinel.

Now, if Elliott had succeeded in his theft, and the guns were, no doubt, used in a variety of misdeeds in various places where Guns Are Outlawed, the media would have reported that “58 guns traced in crime in New York/NJ/Chicongo” or wherever Elliott’s multi-layer-criminal-marketing “downline” has a tentacle, were all “traced to a single store in the Orlando, Florida area.” And how the prevalence of these guns in crime shows the need for “background checks.”

According to ATF, 15,000 firearms are stolen from retail FFLs alone per annum, which is almost two guns per firearm homicide in the USA. And that doesn’t even take into account guns stolen in residential burglaries,

Neal Crasnow could tell you. Even before this burglary, his stores had been hit twice, once with a car-through-the-plate-glass smash and grab, and once with a burglary like this.

Note that Elliott is a five-time loser as an adult already at 19, and despite that he was out on parole after a violent crime. Maybe what is needed is a gunsmithing approach: a little Loc-Tite on the loose nuts behind the trigger.

What is the clear intent of a career criminal who burglarizes a gun store? It is to exploit those guns, either by using them in violent crimes (his own proven MO) or by selling them to fellow criminals to facilitate their violent crimes. So why do we treat this crime as a property crime, a simple burglary, when it was clearly meant to enable dozens or even hundreds of violent crimes?

Put another way, has not Gary Jahmel Shaquan Elliott demonstrated conclusively that there is no public or humanitarian purpose served by allowing him to live free, ever again?

Philly Diddler In Jail for a While

Yerger. He's probably not so happy today as he was on Mugshot Day.

Yerger. He’s probably not so happy today as he was on Mugshot Day.

If you gotta go to prison — and everybody but his defense attorney and the members of NAMBLA seems to think Warren Earl Yerger Sr. had better go to prison — it’s good to know when you get out.

For Yerger, a Chester County, PA (think Philly suburbs) pedophile, that could be the year 2705. If he maxes his max time off for good behavior, it could be as soon as 2354. One is reminded of the old joke about the elderly con who told the judge, “But Your Honor! I’m 70, I can’t do thirty years!”

To which the man in the robe drily replied, “We understand. Do as much as you can!” We could give the same advice to Yerger.

Before we start shouting about Yerger’s civil rights, let’s consider a few facts:

  1. No matter how grisly a child abuse case is, Pennsylvania law (like that of many states) does not provide a life sentence. (The Supreme Court1 has ruled that kiddie diddling is no big deal and doesn’t rate the death penalty, as long as it doesn’t kill the kid. Presumably they’re worried about whether the next pedo can still use the kid?)
  2. It does allow the judge to stack sentences for multiple counts,and Yerger had lots of counts.
  3. This judge was not like most lawyers and judges, who seem fairly cool with the NAMBLA set, as the next-but-one extension of “rights”.

From the (Allentown, we think?) Daily Local (we lost track of that original link but here’s another):

Legally barred from imposing a full sentence of life in prison because of the nature of the charges that Warren Earl Yerger Sr. was found guilty of, Judge William P. Mahon nevertheless crafted a sentence that will last until the 52-year-old breathes his last breath, and beyond.

Mahon sentenced Yerger, who maintained his innocence at the four-hour long hearing in the Chester County Justice Center, to a total term of 339 to 690 years in a state prison. He handed down consecutive jail terms for each of the four victims on the multiple charges of rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, both first-degree felonies, that he was found guilty of.

It is believed to be the longest sentence ever handed down in a criminal case in the county.

Now, we’re not lawyers, but we’d worry about the durability of this sentence under appeal. Appeals courts may be more pedo-friendly (heck, regression toward the lawyer/judge mean pretty well guarantees that). But we think Judge Mahon was pretty clever. Even though we’re not lawyers, we think he defended his judgment pretty well… he had a lot of counts against Yerger to work with, and he only made the 1st Degree Felony counts (the most serious crimes) run consecutively. Those crimes included very many counts of rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse for each of four victims. In addition, Yerger was convicted of dozens of lesser counts, too, of aggravated indecent assault, child abuse and conspiracy — and Mahon made these run concurrently.

“Each of these charges is horrific,” Mahon said before imposing his sentence, a process that took the better part of half an hour because of the number of counts he had to work through. “What I was looking for, Mr. Yerger, was for you to accept responsibility. You have not. But the jury has imposed responsibility on you.”

The judge said that to impose any lesser sentence, or run all the terms concurrently, would diminish the impact that the crimes had on each of the individual victims.

That sounds to us like a shot across the bow of the appeals court. “Release this perv, you revictimize his victims.” Yerger was tried on 155 felony counts (they initially had over 500, but winnowed the number down for the sake of practicality) and found guilty on 140. The prosecutor suggested in the sentencing memo stacking sentences so that Yerger had an effective life sentence, and Judge Mahon ran with it, with the concurrent-minor-charges twist to defend his sentence from crim-coddling appeals judges.

Four of Yerger’s victims, three young women and a young man, testified at the trial, and the women also appeared and gave statements — forgiving Yerger, but calling for a long sentence — at the sentencing hearing. Yerger started with the kids when they were too small to remember — three and four years old. And he kept it up for years. One of Yerger’s two female partners in the abuse, his wife, also testified against him.

Yerger, his wife Leslie, his girlfriend Deb Keely: the conspiracy.

Yerger, his wife Leslie, his girlfriend Deb Keely: the conspiracy.

His wife and girlfriend have already been convicted in the case. (That’s where the conspiracy counts come from).

The case began in December 2012, when state Trooper Heather Heffner of the Reading barracks was notified of the abuse of four child victims. One of the girls, after attempting suicide and being committed to a psychiatric hospital, had confided the abuse to a college professor who directed her to a woman’s shelter, and eventually to the police.

Heffner learned that Yerger had abused the children between 1989 and 2012, first the boy and his younger sister and then the two other girls. In that 23 year period Yerger moved eight times to four different counties in the state, living in Phoenixville, Spring City, Lower Pottsgrove, and elsewhere. He began abusing the young boy when he lived in Chester County when he was 4 years old, and continued on an almost daily basis until the child was 8 and the girl 6 years old.

The sexual abuse of the youngest girl began in 1995 when Yerger returned to Chester County after having lived in McLean County in north central Pennsylvania. She was 4 or 5 years old at the time. Yerger moved to Montgomery County, living with Deborah Keeley, a girlfriend with whom he had two sons. The abuse of that girl and the other, two years older, lasted until 2012.

Keeley abused the girls as well when they were young, and Yerger also made his wife, Leslie Yerger, with whom he has two daughter and who testified against him at trial, to also join in the abuse.

The three were arrested in July 2013 when the Yergers were living in Birdsboro, Berks County and Keeley was living in Douglassville, Berks County. They have been incarcerated since.

Keeley, 49, who pleaded guilty to the charges against her just prior to the December trial, has already been sentenced. In March, Mahon ordered her imprisoned for 22 to 44 years, a term she is appealing. Leslie Yerger, 46, who testified against her husband at the trial, is awaiting sentencing.

After an evaluation by psychologist Thomas Haworth, Warren Yerger was also found to be a sexually violent predator, and will be subject to state reporting as such under Megan’s Law.

Child abuse cases are often problematical, because they often depend on victims’ eyewitness testimony of events that happened years ago — one recalls the problems with the “recovered memory” cases of the 1990s.

Yerger’s defense attorney, Laurence Harmelin, is unlikely to have helped his client much by demanding a 10-20 year sentence and thundering that anything else was redolent of… “Iran, Russia or North Korea, where such punishment … is routine.”

Actually, we don’t know about Russian law, but we’re quite certain the Iranians already would have hung Yerger by now (but only because there was a male victim; the females wouldn’t be allowed to testify), and we doubt the Norks would keep him around any longer. Points to them.

The judge and prosecutor both used the words “horrific” to describe Yerger’s conduct. Vocabulary.com says it means: “grossly offensive to decency or morality; causing horror.” Yeah. That works for us.

Say hello to Buck Rogers in the 28th Century for us, Yerger, you creep.

Number of guns used in the “most horrific crime” the judge and prosecutor have seen? Zero. Maybe criminal behavior doesn’t come from guns.

Notes

  1. Wasn’t that the Yerger, er, Burger court? Or was it the Earl Warren court that saved the life of Warren Earl here? (We’re just joking, as we really think it was the Rehnquist court. Same Harvard-Yale values: diddling is just a lifestyle, and who are we to judge/).

Sources:

  1. Allentown Daily Local story
  2. Philly.com story
  3. Google news search

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Disabled Daughters

Gypsy Blancharde: Left, posing as a cripple, and right, after walking into a police station for her mugshot.

Gypsy Blancharde: Left, posing as a wheelchair-bound cripple, and right, after walking into a police station for her mugshot.

They were victims of Hurricane Katrina, a woman and her disabled daughter, relocated to a new community, and dependent on the generosity of others. But it was only the investigation of the mother’s homicide that brought forth the discovery that the family’s suffering was all along a pose and a scam.

And who killed the scamming mom? Her scamming daughter, who despite her stint as organ-grinders-monkey in a wheelchair is not disabled after all, and the daughter’s boyfriend.

See what happens when you teach your kids the wrong values?

Gypsy Blancharde was arrested Monday along with her boyfriend in Wisconsin, more than 500 miles away from the family’s Springfield, Mo. home. She and boyfriend Nicholas Paul Godejohn are facing first-degree murder charges after Gypsy’s mother, Clauddinnea “Dee Dee” Blancharde, 48, was found stabbed to death in her bed, according to a probable cause statement.
The woman was discovered dead and Gypsy was reported missing early Monday after several disturbing Facebook messages were posted on Dee Dee Blancharde’s account, prompting friends to call police. Police now say Gypsy posted those messages from her boyfriend’s home in Wisconsin, leading officials there.

Gypsy, who neighbors reportedly believed was confined to a wheelchair because of muscular dystrophy, “can walk without assistance or wheelchair and she can do that very well,” Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott said at a news conference Tuesday.

He said police have unearthed the “appearance of a long financial fraud scheme along with this tragic event,” and cautioned the public against donating to the family, which he told CBS affiliate KOLR had a history of soliciting donations from the public online.

“Things are not always as they appear,” Arnott said.

“We really don’t know the true background of this family,” Arnott said. “….This is a tragic event surrounded by mystery and public deception.”

Completely ate up, these people. Do  Read The Whole Thing™. They even scammed a house off Habitat for Humanity!

So the daughter had her boyfriend whack her mom, and then they did a runner. One more case of criminal mastermind fail.

But, if you’re a certain kind of activist, you’re convinced that some Alaskan’s bear gun caused this.

Broke Navy Seeks Foreign Ships for Marines

first_navy_jackHandicapped by a shortage of “gators” or amphibious ships, the Navy is considering taking shipless Marine infantry and Ospreys, and hiring allied ships to carry them. Where the ships could come from is an open question, as it’s unlikely any reliable ally has enough idle gators to close what the Navy identifies as an 8-ship gap for projecting power in the North Africa region alone. Handling maritime crises in two regions of the world simultaneously would be hopeless with the current force structure, but we’d have to try.

The problem is tied up with numbers and budgets. Today’s much smaller Navy has similar responsibilities to its Cold War era self, which had twice as many warships. Moreover, many of the ships the Navy is buying now are so-called Littoral Combat Ships, which depend on stealth for survival, as they have nearly nonexistent offensive and defensive armament. These ships are useless in any kind of power projection that goes beyond simply showing the flag; they have the combat power of Yangtze River gunboats.

The Navy is weighing whether to have Marines hitch a ride on foreign warships, citing a shortage of U.S. vessels due to recent budget cuts — raising bipartisan security concerns about the leverage this could give other countries.

A key concern is whether a warship host nation could deny Marines permission to come ashore.

“Ceding our amphibious ships to other countries — it’s almost silly and I can’t believe it is even an option for the Navy,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who served as a Marine in Iraq. “Now we are going to have to ask other countries, much less financially stable countries than America, to loan us their ships so that we can base our Marines on their ships. It’s almost embarrassing.”

Along with Hunter, Fox also got disbelieving quotes from former Senator (D-VA) and SecNav Jim Webb, suggesting the apoplexy of this latest bleat of surrender from a Navy slowly disestablishing itself may be bipartisan.  You ought to Read The Whole Thing™.

Who knows, spending some time in foreign hulls getting irritated by the sailors of their navies might cause the Marines to reevaluate their famous disdain for the sailors of ours. 

Happiness is Not a Warm Gun

Andrea EberspacherNot for Andrea Eberspacher, anyway. Her boyfriend popped her one during a meth-fueled party turned rage incident, right smack dab in the middle of her belly tattoo.

We are not making this up: a tattoo with the John Lennon / Beatles lyric, “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” She survived, but her relationship with her boyfriend/ shooter, one Paul Boye, did not. Indeed, after Boye went to prison, she sued him for her medical expenses. Boye was in high dudgeon that the Department of Corrections did not provide a public defender to help him lose his civil case (as the state had provided one to assist him in losing his criminal case).

The lyric is not, apparently, intended as a reference to guns; according to Eberspacher’s Facebook page, she’s a fan of the midwestern Beatles tribute band Yesterday and Today. (Sample video at youtube… they’re OK, less a visual than a sonic tribute, which is at times uncanny).

Boye shot Eberspacher sometime in the wee hours of 1 Feb 14 and she walked into the hospital with an incoherent  the police arrested him five days later. The delay was caused by investigational difficulties resulting from both Romeo and Juliet being less than truthful. The Lincoln, NE, Journal-Star:

She walked into Bryan West Campus just before 5 a.m. The bullet had gone through a kidney and lodged near her spine, and doctors operated on her, police said. They had released her by Friday morning.

The woman initially balked at giving police information and told them a stranger shot her at a party, but Lincoln Police Officer Katie Flood said the two know each other.

Investigators uncovered evidence over the next four days that led them to believe Boye fired the shot, Flood said.

Police searched his home Thursday and seized several guns, then arrested him about 5:15, she said.

paul boye mugshotWe’ve been unable to find out if he was previously convicted of a felony and therefore a prohibited person (he was prohibited as a drug user, but we’ve never heard of that provision being enforced against an actual criminal, only harmless holders of medical-marijuana cards).

He’s the guy with the blank expression on the right. Doesn’t look much like a Beatles fan, does he? (Maybe his favorite was “Run for Your Life”: “You better run for your life if you can, little girl… I’d rather see you dead” etc). Then again, no one’s at his best in his license photo, or jail mugshot.

Boye was tried and convicted and sent to prison by October, 2014; he did not take the stand in his own defense, but others recounted his actions that night:

At first, Boye and Eberspacher, who’d been dating for 14 months, told police they’d been partying at their house when someone shot her and that they didn’t know who did it.

A friend later told investigators Boye ran to the basement and said he had shot Eberspacher, according to the affidavit.

“I am toast,” the witness remembered Boye saying.

Maybe not “toast,” but he got 10 to 15, which under typically dishonest, lawyerly sentencing rules in Nebraska means he’ll be back menacing society by 2020.

A more recent story has some details of the shooting and the wound.

In court documents, attorney Perry Pirsch said Boye and Eberspacher argued after smoking methamphetamine and drinking vodka, and she suddenly felt pain in her right side and back and looked at her side.

“You … shot me,” she screamed, according to Pirsch.

We’re presuming the ellipses indicate language unfit for a family newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska. It does not tax the imagination to supply the missing adverbial epithet.

The .22-caliber bullet tore through her right kidney, liver and colon and lodged near her spine. On the way to the hospital, Boye apologized for shooting her, his attorney said at sentencing.

Oh, that makes it all okay, then!

And note, this is an “anemic” .22 wound that would have been fatal minus modern ER practice or further from a hospital. We’ll let Aesop tell us how bright these two folks weren’t, to drive to the hospital instead of calling EMS. (For one thing, it gets your car all bloody and unlike your ’84 Oldsmobile, the ambulance is designed to wash out).

Pirsch said Eberspacher needed a foot-long incision through her midsection, leaving a scar that, ironically, bisects her tattoo of the Beatles’ lyric.

She had to spend two days in intensive care.

Play stupid games, win what, kids? That’s right, stupid prizes. Silly buggers with meth and vodka is already a stupid game before some subgenius starts getting his brandish on.

In the civil case, Boye claimed the shooting was an accident. But as another Star-Journal story says,

In October, Boye’s attorney said the shooting was an accident. But at a deposition in the civil case against him, Boye invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 50 times, even after being told that doing so could be used against him.

… speaking by phone from his cell, Boye argued that the story had changed many times and the facts are in dispute. He repeatedly asked for an attorney, but they aren’t appointed in civil cases.

In court records in the criminal case, Lincoln Police Officer Carla Cue said Boye and Eberspacher, who’d been dating for 14 months, first told police they’d been partying at their house when someone shot her and that they didn’t know who did it.

Eberspacher was awarded her medical bills of some $20k, and a second trial in the fall will determine if she has pain and suffering money coming, too. It may be a pyrrhic legal victory, however. As the old lawyers’ saw goes, “You can sue the Bishop of Boston for bastardy, but can you collect?” Eberspacher now has a judgment against an indivudual who seemed to be leading a marginal, sketchy life before going into the nonexistent earning environment that is state prison. It seems improbable she will ever see a dime of that money, and so it seems unlikely that the hospital or the surgeon and other professionals who saved her life will get paid, either.

She says she hasn’t had, but needs, psychological counseling. She needs better taste in men and recreational activities; dare we build upon her experience and suggest more Beatles, less meth.

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have 1970s Meat

propaganda-poster-communist-chinaIn China, where guns really are outlawed, and where fraud is the national pastime1, the New York Times’s Dan Levine and Crystal Tse note a national fraud scandal that has legs… and wings, and ribs, and briskets. Really old ones. Levine & Tse (alternative Google search if you’re paywalled out):

From rat meat masquerading as lamb to tainted milk to exploding watermelons, Chinese consumers have become inured to stomach-churning food scandals. But on Tuesday, countless people were forced to ponder the benefits of vegetarianism after news reports emerged that unscrupulous meat traders had been peddling tons of beef, pork and chicken wings that in some cases had been frozen for 40 years.

The Chinese news media announced that the authorities had seized nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of smuggled frozen meat this month across China, some of it dating to the 1970s. The caches of beef, pork and chicken wings, worth up to 3 billion renminbi, or $483 million, were discovered in a nationwide crackdown that spanned 14 provinces and regions, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

Well, at least it wasn’t dog. In this case2.

The article delivers punch after punch, interspersed with punchline after punchline, some of them very sly (emphasis ours):

[T]he news of 40-year-old frozen meat being sold to consumers has left even the most seasoned experts in shock.

As annoying as the Times is 99% of the time, this is the 1% that shows they have talented people who could do actual journalism, if only it was a newsroom value. Do go Read The Whole Thing™.

It’s a pity the Chinese didn’t get along better with the Japanese, because they could stand to learn a lot about just-in-time logistics and lean inventory. If your meat supply is backed up a couple of generations (of people, not chickens!), you’re doing it wrong.

Notes

  1. There’s an old SF saying which has to be an old Chinese proverb: “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’. If you get caught, you’re tryin’ too hard.” Of course, in China, if you get caught in a big fraud case, you have a date with a 7.62 x 39 to the back of the neck, not a stint in Club Fed made easy by your millions. Advantage, China.
  2. When someone offers you a “chow puppy,” note that that is a very different thing than a Chow puppy!

Fix My Breakup or The Little Red Hen Gets It!

"It's dead, Jim."

“It’s dead, Jim.”

That seems to have been the ultimatum a young Alabama man gave his mother. She didn’t do what he wanted, and he began killing a hostage every fifteen minutes.

The hostages? Her flock of chickens. Haden Smith had bumped off an hour and a half’s worth of fowl bargaining chips before deputies arrived. He had threatened to kill them, but they either were a tougher egg to crack… or he just chickened out.

Romeo Montague Haden Smith. Sorry easy mistake, right?

Romeo Montague Haden Smith. Sorry! Easy mistake, right?

Haden Smith, 18, was arrested Thursday and charged with domestic violence third degree and criminal mischief. Deputies say the situation started when Smith texted his mother, threatening to kill one of her chickens every 15 minutes until she contacted his girlfriend’s parents and attempted to mend their broken relationship.

Deputies claim Smith gave his mother a deadline of noon before he started to kill the chickens. They also say he threatened to burn his mother’s house down, kill any deputies that arrived on the scene, and kill himself.

He then began sending his mother picture messages of each chicken he killed at 15-minute intervals, killing six in total before he was arrested, deputies say.

As we’ve noted before, Huntsville, Alabama has quite a few pukka rocket scientists there, but the rural areas in the WHNT broadcast area may include some, er, more traditionally Alabaman newsmakers. Do Read The Whole Thing™, but we do want to share the WHNT producer’s perfect ending with you:

There’s no word on Smith’s current relationship status.

Boom.

How are we going to top that?

"Hmmmm... tastes like chicken!"

“Hmmmm… tastes like chicken!”

Somehow we doubt that Suzy is weeping over Haden’s mugshot, going, “He does love me… he was willing to slay chickens for me.”