Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

OT (maybe Poly-Ticks?): What a Difference a Day Makes

Jerwaine GormanOn 30 Apr 15, the New York Post introduced murder victim Jerwaine Gorman as an “activist” who was, in the words of a friend, “uplifting the community.”

A Queens political activist was shot dead in the passenger seat of a Mercedes-Benz Wednesday, ­police sources said.
Jerwaine Gorman, a co-founder and board member of the South East Queens County Young Democrats, was shot by a gunman who walked up to the car at 167th Street near Linden Boulevard in Jamaica and fired a single round at 12:30 p.m., police said.
A woman sitting in the driver’s seat was not harmed, police said.
Lifelong friend Adrienne Felton, who founded the Democratic group along with Gorman, said the activist was “all about uplifting the community.”

It’s always a bit of a surprise when a complete innocent gets whacked like this. A guy in a hoodie went up to Gorman’s parked car and popped him. A meek, mild-mannered Democratic activist, it says here. Why, that’s the sort of thing that happens to career criminals, not political organizers!

What a difference a day makes, though. Same paper, 1 May 15, the very next day:

The Queens political activist who was fatally shot while sitting in his Mercedes-Benz was a swindler with a lengthy rap sheet — and police are probing the possibility that a love triangle led to his death, law-enforcement sources said.

Jerwaine Gorman, 34, was a convicted felon and had been arrested seven times on charges ranging from grand larceny to assault, sources said.

He was slain Wednesday afternoon, when a man in a hoodie fired a single round into his car at 167th Street near Linden Boulevard in Jamaica, cops said.

Gorman was convicted of grand larceny for insurance fraud following a 2010 arrest.

Yeah, but he’d gone straight. He’d paid his debt to society. He was turning his life around. [Insert platitude of your choice here].

I mean, it’s not like there were any indications he was anything but a model citizen, demonstrating at all times and all ways strict probity and integrity.

Gorman was in the passenger’s seat, while a woman identified as his “girlfriend” and “acquaintance” was on the driver’s side.

He was married with children, according to the Web site for the South East Queens County Young Democrats, where he was a board member.

Well, apart from that.

What are the odds he was still scamming people (besides just his wife), and scammed the wrong guy?

And what are the odds that Honey Chile, his “girlfriend” and “acquaintance,” set him up for that intracranial lead injection?

The Ranger “Short Course” — for Oxygen Thieves

Perry_Mcneill_front_M8t4Sdfnsa-largeThumb_06f0124fSay what you will about the handful of ambitious women currently battling fatigue (to the point of exhaustion) and physical breakdown in the Army’s first co-ed Ranger course, but they are in the jeezly arena. And God bless them for that. Throughout history, many men (and even a few women) have claimed the Ranger Tab without bothering to, you know, attend the course. If any of those young women graduate, they’ll probably feel about these honor thieves much like we do: pretty hostile.

First Ranger-School-less “Ranger” is former Command Sergeant Major Perry T. McNeil.

According to the charges he wore both the Ranger Tab and the Pathfinder Badge wrongfully and without authority on multiple occasions: on or between March 4, 2011, and Feb. 28, 2014.    It also says he submitted an official record to the Centralized Selection List Board for the fiscal year Active Component and U.S. Army Reserve Active Guard Reserve Brigade/Battalion Command Sergeant Major and Key Billet Sergeant Major Board, a falsified enlisted record brief stating he had graduated from Ranger School in 1994.

Perry_Mcneill_right_M8t4Sdfnsa-largeThumb_5683d7b8Charges? Yeah, this honor thief was court-martialed. Unfortunately, he was let off with the lightest of wrist taps… almost:

The CSM was the senior enlisted leader for the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment up until his sentenced was handed down. The judge sentenced Mcneill to receive a letter of reprimand, reduction to the E-7 pay grade and forfeiture of $500 per month for 10 months.

McNeill is vain enough to have scores of pictures out there with the bogus awards. He even had himself imaged in 3D with his phony Pathfinder badge showing. (It’s a great looking badge. Wish  we had one. But don’t wish that bad enough to just put it on. At the only time we checked, SF NCOs were ineligible for Pathfinder School because everything in the school was an SF common skill).

But the Guardian of Valor indicates that there is a lighter wrist tap than McNeill’s for identical behavior — if the valor thief is higher-ranking:

A few months ago, LTC Gerald Green was found doing the same as this CSM, yet he was only relieved of command. Green was also wearing an unearned Ranger tab, along with an unearned Sapper Tab. Green should have also been held accountable for his actions as the CSM is being held accountable for his. This goes to show that rank does have its privileges when it comes to things of this nature, with Green only having “administrative” action taken against him instead of criminal.

via CSM Perry T. Mcneill Found Guilty Of “Stolen Valor”, Sentenced To Reduction In Rank And Pay Forfeiture. – Guardian Of Valor.

Green (left) and McNeill (right). Same crime, entirely different punishments.

Green (left) and McNeill (right). Same crime, entirely different punishments.

Personally, we can’t see how that oxygen thief McNeill escaped a Dishonorable or Bad Conduct discharge, and the same for the even more worthless septic-tank bubble that is Green. (Although the officer version is Resignation in Lieu of Court-Martial, it carries the same Federal-felony weight). But the Army’s a lot like Hammurabi, in the justice department: your punishment depends on your social stratum, not the facts of your misconduct.

In our experience, it’s never just one thing with Stolen Valor cases. There’s always more, and usually worse, criminality in there somewhere. But the stolen valor is bad enough.

We say, fry these guys. Do it for the women in Ranger school!

This is not a Defensive Gun Use, either

It wasn't his foot this time.

It wasn’t his foot this time.

See if you can follow the whole who-shot-John in all this:

One man from Tuesday night’s downtown Portland shooting remains hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his leg, while the 40-year-old suspect is being treated for an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to his testicles, police said Wednesday.

An apparent robbery attempt between the two men who were neighbors led to the shooting just before 8 p.m. in the parking lot of an apartment building in the 1400 block of Southwest Park Ave, police said.

During the dispute, the 40-year-old man pulled out a gun and shot the other man in the leg, police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said. The wounded 32-year-old man ran over to the Safeway on Southwest 10th Avenue and Columbia Street for help. He was later taken to the hospital with a leg injury.

As the suspect fled the scene, he accidentally shot himself in the groin, police said.

via Suspect in downtown shooting being treated for self-inflicted wound to testicles, Portland police say | OregonLive.com.

Yep, John shot John (or whatever the perp’s undisclosed name is), right in the reproductive tackle, right after nailing some other Sumdood for not coughing up his cash. Because “groin” in this case and story is a euphemism for “testicles.”

So now you know the answer to the trivia question, “How can you win the Darwin Award, and live to collect it?” It’s simple: stick your firearm in your waistband gangsta-carry style, and kinetically geld yourself.

Like John (or whatever his name is).

This happened in Portland, OR. We’ve tried to follow up in the Case of the Bullet-battered Ballsack, but the suspect in question appears to be keeping his punctured private parts private.

Baltimore Burns for its Gun Control Policies

The Village Voice, of all outlets, calls its attention to an unusual aspect of the present riots in Baltimore: the degree to which they were triggered by an arrest under Maryland’s weapons bans, bans proceeding from the gun control philosophy espoused enthusiastically by figures from Baltimore ‘s pathetically ineffectual Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and incompetent police chief, Anthony Batts, to Maryland’s late Governor, Martin O’Malley, to such figures as Jesse Jackson, last seen in the rubble of a burned-out CVS egging rioters on. Maryland’s current Governor, Larry Hogan, is a Republican and only a half-hearted supporter of the gun control regime.

So, how do we get from gun control, to this:

The root of gun control is in the desire to blame the weapon for crime, and so it is closely related to the desire to hold the criminal unaccountable for his actions. Gun control had its roots in vaguely written gun bans in former slave states (Maryland, you may recall from your readings in history, remained in the Union but was a slave state; passage of Union forces through Baltimore was sometimes impeded by the rioters of an earlier age). With youth, especially black youth, enjoined from acquiring firearms by “may issue” permit laws enforced then as now with a racial bias, newsmen in the 1950s imagined they were seeing an outbreak of knife violence. These West Side Story-era bogus reports led to a series of knife control laws.

That’s how the Voice comes into it. They noted long ago that New York enforces a vaguely worded “switchblade ban” in a way that (1) encompasses most modern folding knives, and (2) lets them single out minorities for disparate harassment and prosecution. Do they do that? Here’s the graphic the Voice uses to say that, yes, they do:

arrests-vs-release-black-hispanic-white-2

That’s for people stopped in New York, with knives covered by the ban; the Voice wonders, as do we, whether Baltimore’s numbers would be an iota better (Baltimore has a majority black police force, a black Chief and black Mayor, but like New York it has a disproportionately black criminal class, so these cross-racial comparisons are always fraught with risk).

And as you’ve probably surmised by know, Freddie Grey, the black suspect whose mysterious but violent death in police custody was the trigger for the rioters, was arrested on one of these bogus knife charges.

But Gray’s initial arrest may not have happened if not for an antiquated provision of Baltimore’s municipal code, which prohibits the possession of a “switchblade” knife. Gray had allegedly been running from the police, for reasons that still aren’t clear, and after a brief chase, officers found the knife clipped to his pocket in a closed position — he was not alleged to have brandished the knife or threatened anyone with it.

The arrest charge recalls an issue we’ve been covering in New York City for months — the NYPD’s enforcement of a half-century old law against so-called “gravity knives.” The law was the subject of a lengthy investigation we published last year which found as many as 60,000 questionable arrests in ten years, making the statute one of the top-ten most-prosecuted crimes in New York City.

Here’s a snap of Grey’s charging instrument, showing what he’d have been charged with if something hadn’t snapped his neck and severed his spinal cord while the cops had him locked up. The Voice is right: it’s a bogus malum prohibitum knife charge.

freddie_grey_complaint

 

Many legal experts — from defense attorneys to labor unions to an official body of the New York State Judiciary — say New York’s law is often being applied, incorrectly, to common pocket knives that the legislature never intended to ban. We documented the arrests of construction workers, building supers — even a bible camp counselor — for simply possessing a knife that most people would regard as benign, if somewhat utilitarian. In fact, under the NYPD’s interpretation of the gravity knife statute, virtually every pocket knife on the market can be considered an illegal weapon, regardless of size or criminal intent.

The municipal code under which Gray was arrested resembles New York’s law in several ways, and its peculiar wording is equally ill-suited to modern technology; as we discovered when we looked at gravity knife laws in New York, knife statutes often have not kept up with current knife designs.

We’ll get to the knife in a minute — once again, the Voice is absolutely right about the technicalities here, and so we’ll let them do the explaining — but we’re going to take this where they didn’t, and note that Maryland has a pathological police culture of ignoring violent crime and pursuing malum prohibitum gun and knife violations with Javertian tenacity.

That’s how we get from Freddie Grey being slammed into the back of a Baltimore cruiser for his last ride, to hanging the whole thing on Maryland’s totalitarian gun control regime. The Maryland Port Authority Police (the Harbor Tunnel cops) and Maryland State Police have both taken to running license plate scanners and stopping and hassling out-of-state motorists whose pistol permits come up in the automated license-plate dragnet, in hopes of catching someone transiting Maryland with firearms. (Interstate 95, the direct route between gun-friendly destinations like New Hampshire, Maine, Virginia North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, runs right through Baltimore).

Maryland’s oathbreaking State Troopers do not recognize the pre-emption of Federal law, 18 U.S. Code § 926A, that explicitly allows owners free transit with a secured firearm from any place where they may lawfully possess it to any other such place, regardless of the laws in between. (Maryland is not the only state to reject the law, but it is the only state to use systematic, automated searches to identify persons exercising their rights under § 926A. Likewise, it is one of very few states using a law designed to combat the Sharks and Jets menace to harass and imprison its own citizens).

Some news reports have suggested that Grey was a drug dealer. Perhaps he was; but that is not why the Baltimore PD says that they chased, arrested, beat and killed him. They say they did it over knife technicalities, as the arrest document above shows.

Here is the Village Voice, again, on those technicalities:

While news reports have described the knife Gray was carrying as a “switchblade,” the actual police report (see charging documents …) describes it as a “spring assisted, one hand opening knife,” … the most common on the market in recent years.

Popular models typically feature a “thumb stud” on the blade, designed for one-handed opening. The user starts opening the knife manually, and then a spring takes over, “assisting” in deploying the blade the rest of the way. Switchblades, by comparison, open with a button or switch contained in the handle of the knife.

The Village Voice report is thorough and accurate, albeit infused with the alt-weekly’s viewpoint. (One gets the impression they’ll like Freddie better if he was a dope dealer). Still, we suggest you   Read The Whole Thing™, and don’t neglect any sidebars or links to their back stories on the New York knife ban.

Knife bans are common where gun bans are law. The same impulse leads liberty-loathing legislators to proscribe tasers, mace, BB guns, airsoft toys, and in Massachusetts, even, model rockets. (The state became a national laughingstock when it required a gun license — one the state makes difficult for its subjects to acquire — for model rocket engines). These are always the same few coastal states, whose lawmakers often complain that the seething crime wave that is their urban underclass is somehow caused by your rural duck hunters or suburban MG collectors. Places like, naturally, Maryland, where the two largest sources of family income are working for government or collecting from government.

You might say, “When guns are outlawed… knives are next.”

It seems to us that the Voice is comfortable with the switchblade aspect of the ban; their objection is to extending it to ordinary pocket knives. They shouldn’t be; there are practical reasons to have an automatic, one-hand-opening knife, to wit, a switchblade. (We drew them in jumpmaster school, courtesy of the same taxpayers who bought the inept Baltimore PD all those cop cars that flickered their souls to the city’s overweening carbon footprint over the last few nights). Every jurisdiction from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe already criminalizes anything you can do with a knife that is harmful to others or to society, from assault to homicide to brandishing and threatening. All of those things are all crimes, they are malum in se and they ought to be crimes.

One definition of a crime is, or ought to be, some wrong act that society sufficiently disapproves to authorize the police to use deadly force to stop you doing. Certainly threatening, assault, and homicide are crimes under that definition.

But having a “wrong” knife in your pocket is a crime under Maryland’s definition. Just ask Freddie Carlos Grey.

You might have an eternal wait for his answer, though.

Just maybe, a knife sitting in a pocket or on a belt ought not to be something any Patrolman Palooka can impose the Nickel Ride Death Penalty for.

It’s Not Just Army Morale Circling the Drain

Looking for DHS, ICE, etc., morale?

Looking for DHS, ICE, etc., morale? Good place to start.

In some parts of the government, like the FCC and the IRS, morale is soaring. They’ve never had more power to drive us before them and hear the lamentations of their women. And then, there’s the parts that defend America from enemies foreign and domestic. We’ve already covered how the Army’s morale is under the outhouse, and from time to time we’ve mentioned organizations like ICE, CBP, and in fact all of DHS, where workers are squeezed between an important mission and abominable leaders who are deeply committed to giving the mission lip service — and lip service only.

That’s how you get things like the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), conducted by the Office of Personnel Management, which puts DHS in the very caboose of the civilian employee morale train, a place that DHS has practically had a lock on since its establishment just over a decade back. As Kelley Beaucar Vlahos reported at Fox:

Based on overall positive responses by its employees, DHS got a 44 percent score, the lowest since it was established following the 9/11 attacks. Putting that into context, the cabinet agency with the highest ranking in 2014 was NASA, and it got 74 percent.

That DHS has gotten consistently bad scores from its own employees based on morale, leadership, compensation and more, was of particularly interest in Thursday’s “Worst Places to Work in the Federal Government” hearing by the Government Operations Subcommittee headed by Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

“The Department of Homeland Security rests as the worst place to work among cabinet agencies, and saw its scores drop by nearly three points from 2013,” he pointed out in his opening statement. It scored lowest on leadership, fairness, empowerment and skills to match the mission, he pointed out.

“Are agency leaders doing enough?” he said. The results, he answered himself, “suggest that not enough has been done.”

Of course, DHS is just the bottom of the heap, it’s not all alone down there. The DVA and the Department of the Army are also in the low numbers, along with the Nuclear Defense Facilities Safety Board, all agencies that have been punitively deprioritized since 2009.

While DHS itself scored a lowest-of-large-agencies 44 percent, some of its sub-agencies scored even lower:

Among the 314 agency subcomponents ranked in the survey, two DHS departments come in dead last: ICE (35 percent) and the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology (35 percent). The Transportation Security Administration did a little better with 39 percent.

Jeh Johnson has the Solution

The Homeland Security head, widely seen as a man who has ridden affirmative-action preferment far beyond his optimum level of incompetence, didn’t testify at the Congressional hearing — he was there, but he had a flunky, Catherine Emerson, DHS’s Chief Human Capital Officer, read a prepared statement and stumble over questions for him.

Prior to the hearing, Johnson explained that the problem wasn’t his men having low morale, it was things like the survey and the hearing telling the agents that their morale was for $#!+. If he could just get the Congress to stop hearings, and the press to stop reporting unhappy agents, why, all would be rosy in his world. Per Federal News Radio (which, yes, is really a think in the Beltway, where nobody works but everybody reports to a government job, usually one interfering with the guys and gals in the field who do government’s actual work):

DHS’ morale problems also have been duly noted by the department’s leader, but he suggested that he was sick of hearing about them from outside sources.

“One of the ways that you improve morale is to stop continually telling my workforce that you have lousy morale,” Secretary Jeh Johnson said he told committee members in a meeting before the hearing began.

That, and his unicorn.

(Actually, one of the ways that you improve morale is to stop continually saddling his workforce with crappy leadership).

It’s unlikely a leader like Johnson, himself the product of a tee-ball entitlement culture, could improve a poisoned command climate whatever he did, but what he’s actually doing is a top-down headquarters initiative that has, not a low probability but a  zero probability of improving the embattled department:

DHS has embarked on a … campaign, which it calls the “Building-The-Department-You-Deserve” initiative, Emerson said. It has revived an awards program for employees that was dormant for six years. It is also making the hiring process more transparent, because employees have requested it. That includes posting notices in more prominent locations and training hiring managers, she said. In addition, the agency is focused on improving its Senior Executive Service corps, with which Johnson has met twice.

There’s a lot of verbiage about process there, and not one word about measurable, quantifiable results. But that’s how the beltway game is played.

And the morale problem is not in the overpaid, underworked SES corps, the only part of the agency that Jeh Heh Heh seems to have any affinity for. The best thing DHS could do with its SES corps is to send them all back to FLETC and, in the unlikely event that any of them pass, put them on the street as GS-9 1811 investigators to learn the job and people skills that a champagne diet seems to have flushed from their braincases.

One last note: The Veterans subgroup of the FEMS survey population were considerably more cynical about the probability of the survey achieving anything. Wonder if vets are overrepresented in DHS, too?

vets_survey_results2_

Or maybe they just got infected with cynicism and low morale serving under BG Peggy Combs in the Army?

 

Defensive Gun Use? Doesn’t Sound Like It

Let us explain why we, and you, carry and should carry a gun (or guns): to defend lives (and perhaps property) from unlawful deadly force. Period. Full stop.

And why should people not carry guns? To play at cops, to bend people to your will, or to try to enforce societal standards on others. Not our department, fellow citizens. In this case, Sumdood 1 got in a beef with Sumdood 2 and “held him at gunpoint.” When the police showed up, they didn’t exactly deputize the self-anointed junior G-man: nope, they arrested him.

According to police, the incident began when [Christopher] Nazario and Anthony Santiago were passing over the Sagamore Bridge and continued in the northbound lanes of the Everett Turnpike. Nazario followed when Santiago exited onto Ledge Street, then passed him illegally, police said.

Nazario hit his brakes, then swerved to the left and collided with Santiago’s vehicle after he had turned in order to avoid a collision, police said.

The impact sent Santiago’s vehicle into a bus stop terminal, where Nazario drew a gun and ordered Santiago to get out and down on the ground, police said. Police arrived to the scene and interviewed both drivers, who sustained minor injuries but did not require medical attention. Officers recovered a loaded 9 mm handgun from Nazario and took him into custody without incident, police said.

via Man arrested after drawing gun following car crash | New Hampshire.

Pro tip: Dirty Harry and Death Wish (plus, to one extent or another, sequels) are not concealed-carry training videos. Even real detectives can wind up on the wrong side of the courtroom if they’re dumb enough to act like TV detectives always do. For regular muggles missing that patent of nobility, The Badge, such actions lead inexorably whence they’ve already taken Christopher Nazario: to jail.

If you have a tendency to wig out in a car (ask your friends, because the actual wig-out-prone cases are always the last to understand), you might want to change to an old man’s car with indifferent performance, but comfortable seats. Not to mention a really good radio, tuned to a “soothing music” station or just playing classical CDs. Listening to Prokofiev or Mendelssohn is less likely to bring out your inner Avenging Vigilante persona than, say, listening to Def Leppard. (And N.W.A. is right out).

Just because you have the right to be armed doesn’t mean “freedom to brandish and threaten.” Exercising your rights does not excuse you from exercising your judgment and using your forebrain, not your amygdala, to drive your interpersonal relationships.

Now, this initial news report could be all wet. That’s for the court to decide, in due course. But it’s not hard to retrace Mr Nazario’s steps and come up with several points where he had better options than the ones he opted for.

He’s lucky he didn’t actually pop the guy — he’d be the next poster child for irresponsible carry, and a nine days’ wonder of the national media.

See, this is the kind of thing that sinks Army morale

Yesterday, we discussed a couple dozen things that bad leadership does to produce morale lower than a boil on a bushmaster’s belly. The kind of morale that the Army has right now.

But that was before we saw the latest in imbecilic social-engineering from these losers who couldn’t lead feces down a drainpipe to a septic tank. We are not making this up:

Mandatory high-heel march:

Location unknown.

Location unknown. In some places the organizers provided the shoes; in others, the cadets were made to buy them.

Mandatory high heels march at Temple U.

Mandatory high heels march at Temple U.

Peggy Combs -- hates the men under her command.

BG Peggy Combs — hates the men under her command.

And no, despite the date, it was not April Fools. Well, not officially; it was April, and the fool in question is one BG Peggy Combs (.pdf bio), a “woman in sensible shoes” who sees the essential function of her command, the Army ROTC Cadet Command, as humiliating and shaming the men unfortunate enough to be in her passive-aggressive power.

And yes, it was “a date with Amanda, Amanda Tory” event for the unfortunate cadets. You could opt not to go, but if you didn’t, Combs hissed, you didn’t “support the command’s SHARP/EO program,” and you might as well just change your name tape to Rapey McRaperson. While some schools simply provided detail support to (i.e. warm bodies to set up/break down) these events, and others (including West Point, where the Corps of Cadets thank their lucky stars they are not in Combs’s purview) were truly voluntary, other cadet battalions made the event “voluntold” or “volunandatory,” with the example below, using threats against a cadet’s potential commission, from ASU-Tempe:

Yes it is mandatory - and punitive

All we can say to that cadet is, it’s only the stupidest thing you’ve ever done so far because you’re still a cadet. Wait till you see how dysfunctional your basic branch training and actual troop units are. Remember, that’s where Peggy Combs kept getting promotion after promotion.

This one was in the real Army, at Grafenwoehr.

This one was in the real Army, at Grafenwoehr.

Mandatory at Temple, mandatory at ASU where the Cadet BN Cadre sent the following text:

This text reminded ASU cadets that the march was mandatory.

This text reminded ASU cadets that the march was mandatory.

(We're assuming he's a "guy" because of the 'stache, but we may just be displaying cisgendered heteronormative privilege or something).

The ASU ROTC logo.

Hmmm… so where’s the heels on this guy? It seems like the least that they could have done, is to humiliate their mascot the way they humiliate the cadets.

(Note: we’re assuming he’s a “guy” because of the ‘stache, but we may just be displaying cisgendered heteronormative privilege or some other microagression. He might not be a guy. He might be GLBTQWERTY or some other flavor of Unique and Special Snowflake™. He might be a gal, and the ‘stache is explained because he’s a Latina. In Arizona, that’s not as improbable as it sounds, right?)

More images of idiocy follow.

Temple U marchers

Temple U ROTC cadre at least set the example by humiliating themselves, along with their troops.

“No, we don’t use the military for social engineering,” say various Beltway potentates and Acela Corridor made-guys. “It’s all your imagination.”

Location unknown

Not sure where this bit of mandatory fun is (ASU again?), but these guys’ faces show that it is indeed mandatory fun.

This is just pathetic. This whole thing is the Olympics of assclownery.

On the bright side, as the old joke goes, we joined an Army where cross-dressing was prohibited; survived an era where if you did it, you were expected to keep it to yourself; and were able to retire, fortunately, before it was mandatory.

Real Men of Criminal Genius #031: Burglar Chris Wallace

burglarThere are basically two kinds of criminals in the world: TV criminals, who act like they’re staggering geniuses, and real criminals, who act like they’re severely retarded.

Chris Wallace (not the TV newsman, but the rural Maine criminal), come on down!

Wallace was wanted by the sheriff’s office on burglary charges stemming from the January theft of propane and wood stoves in Pierce Pond Township.

In late February, the sheriff’s office asked for help from the public to find Wallace after recovering the propane stove at his home.

But it turns out the cops got help from an unexpected source: Wallace himself.

Wallace, wanted by the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office in connection with a Pierce Pond Township burglary, made two mistakes Sunday night.

The first one was posting a message on Snapchat saying he was back in his Norridgwock Road home after the department made it public several weeks ago they were looking for him.

The department was tipped off about the post, and that’s when Wallace, 24, made his second mistake.

Actual mugshot of actual wannabe burglar.

Actual mugshot of actual criminal mastermind..

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. This criminal mastermind was using Snapchat to communicate with friends, and, unbeknown to himself, and indirectly, with the very officers tasked to apprehend him.

The sheriff’s office received a phone call about the first Snapchat post about 6:30 p.m. Snapchat is a messaging service that automatically deletes messages seconds after a user posts them.

Cpl. Ritchie Putnam, Deputy Ron Blodgett and two Fairfield police officers went to the residence at 336 Norridgewock Road and found Erika Hall, 20, of Waterville, at the home, Lancaster said.

Hall allowed officers to search the home after they told her they had information that Wallace was there, Lancaster said.

But they didn’t find Wallace. That’s when Mistake #2 came into play.

During the course of the search Sunday night, Wallace posted the second message on Snapchat, saying that police were looking for him in the house and he was hiding in a cabinet, according to the posting. The new message prompted more phone calls to department dispatchers.

“A search of the kitchen cabinets turned up some food, some pots and pans, and also a pair of feet,” the [Police] Facebook post said. “The pair of feet just so happened to be attached to a person, and that person was Christopher Wallace. He was removed from the cabinet and placed under arrest.”

megamind-movie-posterNow everyone can take a lesson or two away from that, and it’s even possible that Wallace did. (He’s going to have time to think about it, where he’s going, at least). But the Portland Press-Herald’s Pete McGuire took this one:

Wallace learned the hard way that if you live by social media, there is more than one way to die by social media.

And the police? They suggested a somewhat different one:

[T]he sheriff’s office said that Wallace had become cocky after the department asked for help from the public to locate him.

“All of that brings me to the moral of the story. Always remain humble, my friends.”

Chris Wallace, small-time burglar of camp stoves, would seem like a fellow who has a great deal to be humble about.

How One Criminal Got His Guns

Jiminez380coverThanks to the anti-gun animus of the editors of the Palm Beach Post, who are trying to spin the Aaron Hernandez murder trial into an indictment of gun owners in general, we have a pretty good idea of how one gang member and murderer — Hernandez — got his weapons.

Would you believe, through straw purchases by fellow gang members, and other black-market sources?

Hernandez is a member of the Latin Kings gang and a former football player. (Maybe they have football in prison, so maybe not “former.” On the other hand, his jury of sports-addled Bostonians has been out for a very long time as we file this, so he might wind up with the benefit of a hung jury or an acquittal.  But his guilt is established for all except rabid Patriots fans. Update: he was convicted Wednesday morning. Next phase: two more murder trials). You see, unlike most Latin Kings members, Hernandez had talents other than crime, to wit, football; he was a star tight end and a 2009 college All-American. Because of his gang affiliation, most of pro football scouted him and let the idea of signing him drop, but the Patriots organization thought they could salvage him, however mistakenly, and drafted him. Hernandez, after involvement in at least one other shooting, murdered a criminal associate named Odin Lloyd, for which he’s now on trial.

The Post had a Page 1 story on Monday, April 13, about Hernandez’s guns, sharing above-the-fold space with more usual Post “reportage,” a worshipful prose paean to a politician. The Hernandez story, by Joe Capozzi, tells the story of Palm Beach County’s own players in the story, such as Oscar “Papoo” Hernandez Jr., no relation to Aaron Hernandez (except inasmuch as they may have been gang brothers — the news reporting has always downplayed the gang element in the murder).

Aaron Hernandez’s connection to FL is clear — he was a star at the University of Florida before the NFL draft where no one but the Patriots would touch him. Papoo, of Belle Glade, FL, received a $15,000 wire from Aaron Hernandez, and then… shipped him a car. The car, a nondescript used Toyota Camry with its Florida plates still on, was found in Hernandez’s garage. But the transaction wasn’t about the car. The car contained something special for the gangbanging jock: at least three firearms.

The three firearms included two cheap .22s bought at True Value Hardware on Main Street in Belle Glade, a .22 Jimenez Arms pistol (one of the dirt cheap pot-metal .22s once manufactured in Southern California) that was found near Lloyd’s body (but was not the murder weapon). That particular .22 was bought on 15 April 2013 by a questionable character named Gion Jackson, who says…

  1. he bought it for self-defense;
  2. and then he put it in the trunk of his car;
  3. from which it must have been stolen, because when ATF traced the murder-scene gun in June 2013 from manufacturer to True Value to him, he didn’t know it wasn’t in his trunk any more; and,
  4. he often lends his car to random people so he has no idea who might have taken it.
  5. and oh, yeah, one more thing: he was at the store on 15 April and so was his good buddy Aaron Hernandez, at the same time, but they didn’t talk to each other and didn’t plan to be there together. He sure wasn’t buying the gun for his prohibited friend.

As implausible as that story is, Jackson got up on the stand and testified to it. As far as we know he’s not charged with anything.

The other .22 from True Value, also bought in April (although it’s not clear, by whom) wound up in a Providence, Rhode Island street, thrown down after an incident involving Hernandez, a gang-infused retinue, and a heckling Jets fan in May 2013..

The third firearm, a Hungarian AK clone, was also bought 15 April 2013 at the Delray Beach Shooting Center. We don’t know who bought it, because ATF couldn’t find the “James Joseph” who signed for it, but range and store owner Mike Caruso says he wasn’t Hernandez:

I can tell you that Aaron Hernandez didn’t buy it. I’m a big Patriots fan and if Aaron Hernandez walked into my gun store to buy a rifle, I would know who he was.

Well, Mike didn’t get to sell Hernandez (who was apparently a prohibited person anyway, for a record stretching back many years) a gun, but he did have this year’s Super Bowl, so there is that.

In any event, the three firearms were acquired on or about 15 April 13. It is surely the smallest of coincidences that Papoo received a wire from Aaron Hernandez on that day. (For $15,000; maybe the athlete was expecting a big tax refund). It is surely the smallest of coincidences that Papoo then stuffed the guns in a Camry and shipped it to Hernandez. And the least of coincidences that one would be found at an assault scene in Rhode Island the next month, one would be found at a murder scene in two months, and one (the AK) would be found in a black gym bag in the back seat of the Camry, in the accused murderer’s garage. Loaded.

That’s what ATF calls a short “time to crime.” A typical crime gun traveled in legitimate commerce for years before being stolen or otherwise diverted into criminal channels. Guns that turn up at murder scenes mere months from their legitimate legal sale are indicators of potential straw purchases and trafficking. Typically, the straw purchases in this case have not been pursued by ATF and the responsible US Attorney.

If Aaron Hernandez beats this rap, it’s not all roses for him. He’s still facing other charges, including two other murders, and five gun charges (including ones related to these exact firearms). The case has been interesting because it elucidates how criminal organizations like the Latin Kings move firearms in interstate commerce without leaving a trace (unless investigators can break or turn one of the human links in the chain).

It’s also interesting because, for all these weapons Aaron Hernandez was going through in his life of crime, one which has not turned up is the murder weapon he used on Lloyd — that pistol, a Glock .45, has never been recovered.

Breaking: Flashbang GUILTY. Guilty, guilty, guilty!

rolling_stone_dzhokar_flashbang_coverThis isn’t exactly a shock to anyone with brain stem function, but Dzhokar “Flashbang” Tsarnaev was found guilty on the charges that he faced in connection with his mass murder at the Boston Marathon in . There were 17 counts that carry the death penalty. Of those, Flashbang was found guilty of 17. There were 13 counts that do not. Of those, Flashbang was found guilty of 13.

Yep, that means you’re convicted of everything. Lots of good that dream team of lawyers did you, eh? But then, Flashbang, you weren’t paying them, were you?

Rule #1 for freebies: if you’re not paying for the product, my simple self-immolator, you are the product. You just starred in endless hours of lawyer advertising, which you thought was your defense.

Sorry about that.

Nah. Not sorry.

His next date is with the same jury, who get to decide whether he gets life in prison, or just life in prison until his appeals run out, when he’d then get put down like a rabid dog. Dulce et decorum est, eh. The answer would be self-evident but we are talking about a Massachusetts jury here.

As always in an actual terrorism case, media purveyors of false equivalency were hardest hit.

Writers and editors at Rolling Stone, where the entire staff are rabid Dzhokar fans, are so shaken that they had to take a break from fabricating their next rape story.

Some alternate Rolling Stone covers after the jump.

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