my last post, I illustrated an example of the disdain of pro-gun extremists
for law enforcement with a recent article about how a group of gun-totin'
yahoos in southern Oregon voted against measures to help fund their Sheriff's
department and jail, then, citing a subsequent decrease in Sheriff's patrols due
to cutbacks and a resultant increase in property crimes, decided to form their
own posse to patrol their county themselves -- armed, of course, with none of
the special legal, conflict, or investigative training that police receive.
Two more stories
Recently, in San Antonio, Texas, a clothing store owner,
Debra Trejo, kept having her store broken into over the course of several
years. Instead of installing cameras, or
keeping a dog there, or hardening her store with bars and better locks, she
decided to do something decidedly more violent.
She decided to advertise a $10,000 reward for any law enforcement person to
shoot to kill anyone breaking into her store.
Looks like a classy establishment, what with the trash in the lawn in
front of the crumbling garage door / storefront.
article (the source of the image posted here):
Now Trejo is using a different tactic to deter
crooks: A sign on the business offers a $10,000 reward to any law enforcement officer who shoots - and kills - burglars caught breaking
into the store.
There haven't been any break-ins since.
I'm glad there haven't been any further break-ins, but this
is the wrong way to go about it. Now,
knowing the potential for being shot, the robbers will bring guns of their own,
and may expect to use it.
First, I'm pretty sure it would be illegal for police to
shoot someone to death simply because they are breaking into a store; they have
to threaten the officer first. Second,
it would also be illegal for that policeman to accept money for doing the
killing. Sorry, Ms. Trejo, but you can't
just offer to have police be your hired hitmen.
(by the way, go to the article to see some interesting
comments from the pro-gunners, wishing the store owner would extend the
shoot-to-kill reward to non-law enforcement people, and other extreme comments,
including one directed at me, personally, wishing that I had died in the
shooting I was in, and another accusing me of being a thief).
In other news, in
a similarly gun-friendly state, Florida (the gunshine state), a Constitution Party candidate is running for
Sheriff of Marion County. A favorite of
the Tea Party there, Bernie DeCastro debated
with Republican Sheriff Chris Blair at a Tea Party-sponsored debate. After Blair had said he would collect guns
that had been strewn in the streets after a Hurricane Katrina-like disaster,
DeCastro went on the offensive and accused Blair of wanting to confiscate
everyone's guns (a common pro-gun paranoid fantasy):
While both men insisted they
are ardent supporters of the 2nd Amendment, Constitution Party candidate Bernie
DeCastro went on the attack to cast doubt about Republican Chris Blair's
support for absolute gun rights.
DeCastro said that during a recent interview the two men did with
an Orlando news network they both talked about how they would have handled the
crisis in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Blair, DeCastro said, stated
that he would have confiscated guns in the lawlessness that ensued following
Blair denied the charge, saying that
DeCastro had taken his words out of context. He accused his opponent of using
sound bites to misrepresent his position. Blair said he only would have
collected guns that had been strewn in the street by the storm and returned
them to their "rightful owners," but that he would not have taken
guns from any law-abiding citizens.
DeCastro, meanwhile, left no doubt where he stands on gun rights.
"If (Florida) Governor Scott
said a major hurricane is coming and I want you to go collect all the guns, I
am not going to do it," he said. "Once we lose our guns, you know what time it is, folks. It's all over."
Blair apparently WANTS unclaimed guns lose in the streets
after a disaster, in the hands of whomever should happen to find them.
This is particularly interesting, given the background of
these two candidates. According to that
article, Blair is "a 35-year lawman with the Marion County Sheriff's Office"
who has a plan to "reduce the Sheriff's Office's "top-heavy"
administration and put more deputies on the road." Experience is good, and it sounds to me like
a level-headed approach.
Blair spoke about traditional policing methods.
He said he wanted to lower the county's violent crime rate, which he said is
15th worst in the state. And he preached about using data and analysis and
street crimes units to target
DeCastro, on the other hand, has no experience in law
enforcement ... at least, not from the good
side. You see, DeCastro is a convicted felon!
From the article:
Once sentenced to life in prison for armed
robbery, he was pardoned by the governor in the 1990s and began running a
re-entry center to help prison inmates ease back into society after their
release. Besides sheriff, he has made unsuccessful bids for governor, the
U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.
Yes, you read this correctly. This convicted felon and pro-gun extremist wishes
to lead the Sheriff's Department.
During the campaign, and again Monday, DeCastro dwelled on the
need for citizens to arm and protect themselves rather than relying on law enforcement. He also
railed against the United Nations, the federal government and drones that could
be used to spy on American citizens.
But gun rights dominated DeCastro's comments.
"I believe in the 2nd Amendment," he
said, "If any of you want to get armed, I will host a class. We'll all get
armed, if that's what you want."
I don't feel comfortable with this extremist being in charge
of anyone, much less law enforcement,
nor do I feel comfortable with the idea of him owning a gun or giving gun
Rehabilitating ex-cons to better fit into society is a noble
goal which has been shown to reduce recidivism.
I support a program here in Eugene, called Sponsors, which does exactly that. But what I don't support is allowing ex-cons, particularly those with a
violent past, to lead our law enforcement agencies or serve in political
positions. Sorry, but there are plenty
of excellent people without criminal pasts who fit the bill, like Blair. I can't imagine Blair could lose with such an
extremist opponent. But in Florida, who
UPDATE (11/7/12): Chris Blair won the race for Marion County Sheriff against convicted felon Bernie DeCastro, by a very healthy margin (73 percent to 27 percent). However, an anonymous complaint about an election law has been filed which will delay the final victory until an investigation is completed. DeCastro claims not to be involved in that complaint. More later.