Friday, August 19, 2005

A bit'o this, a bit'o that.

The comic that the earlier panel was from was Moon Knight. Moon Knight. No points awarded, but thanks to the four of you who played. As a bonus here's another wonderful panel from the same issue:



If I were the guy in purple I would be so grateful that I was face down at that moment. In spite of the apparent evidence to the contrary, Moon Knight was a fantastic series. I'm surprised they haven't made a movie of it yet, to be honest.

Next, Kathleen was kind enough to link to an article about the killing by police of the girl whose father was using her as a human shield. The way it is written, it strikes me as an opinion piece. If that is the case it's possible that the writer is not presenting all of the facts of the situation accurately. I will say this, it made me angry. Mostly at the writer.

Here's what I've gathered from her article:

1 - Peña was armed with a stolen semiautomatic handgun.

2 - Peña and the police had been in a stand off for 2.5 hours.

3 - '"The guy was shooting at (police) all the time. Bullets were pinging off cars. ... This guy was no innocent bystander."'

4 - Peña fired his gun "toward" people.

5 - "Police say they can't determine which officer fired the shot that killed the toddler"

6 - "Still, Police Chief William J. Bratton has been clear that all fault lies with the father -- "a cold-blooded killer,' who doomed his baby girl when he used her as a human shield while continuing to fire at the authorities."
7 - She blames the mother for the daughter's death due to her poor choice in men.

8 - Then she goes on to say "I don't mean to suggest in any way that Suzie Marie's life was open to forfeit because of her mother's bad decisions -- an innocent child died an early death when that never should have happened. But I will argue that Lopez should consider how her own bad judgment in partners brought violence and mayhem into her children's lives."

9 - Apparently it is an impossible standard to expect the police to not shoot children.

Here's what I find wrong with the points she made:

1 - I'm not the expert I once was on handguns, but they don't hold a hell of a lot of bullets. If it was stolen, did it come with a barrel of ammunition? Just how many bullets did this guy have?

2 - If he had a gun that held 14 rounds and lets say three extra clips – and I'm guessing since nothing was said about how many rounds he had – that would be 56 bullets. There are 150 minutes in 2.5 hours. That means if he paced himself down to his last bullet before the police took him out he would be able to fire once every 2.67 minutes. Which is all just guess work since we don't know how many bullets he had. But again, unless he had several boxes of ammo with the stolen gun he couldn't have been doing what the witness said.

3 - Which is this. And talk about the quote of the year, "This guy was no innocent bystander." No shit! That wasn't in question. The girl however WAS an innocent bystander and a hostage. The question is, did the police have to kill the child to get their man? A man who had a handgun that he was "shooting at (police) all the time" for 2.5 hours.

4 - Was he aiming or wasn't he? If he wasn't than "toward" is acceptable. It implies a general direction and a lack of focus. "At" means he's actually trying to hit someone. I'm just pointing this out because it seems a poor choice of words for someone writing in what I assume is a major paper. I'll bet he was firing "at".

5 - Okay, I realize that crime scene investigation isn't really like it's portrayed on TV, but come on! Collect the guns that were used by the police, match ballistics. How fucking hard is that? Isn't that done all the time to put criminals in jail? So, since it's a cop's gun it's now Mission Impossible? And she doesn't see anything strange or wrong about that?

6 - Again, this isn't a movie. There is a limit to how many bullets there are in a gun. And how freaking large was the child? How small was Peña? They couldn't shoot around her? How could ALL the fault lie with the father? Nothing else could have been done by the police to diffuse or change the situation? Hell, what about tear gas?

7 - When I read this was when I really got angry. I'm quite certain that the mother regrets ever getting involved with Peña. Does she also need to read you telling her that she has bad taste in men? And that it was ultimately her choice in Peña that is responsible for her child being dead, and not the police who did the actual shooting? They are blameless, even though they can't track down which officer fired the fatal shot?

8 - Blaming the victim. Lovely. Yes, some times when people choose partners they make bad choices. Does that mean that every person who has gotten involved with someone who might beat them and their children is ultimately the one to blame? It sounds like she is saying that. Yes, Lorena Lopez chose a man that brought violence into her life. How does that excuse the police for shooting the child? Here's a hypothetical situation: Jane loves Bill. Bill does something to attract the attention of criminals. The criminals come after Bill at work and gun down both him and his child who was there at the time. The police have all of the criminals that were at the shooting in custody, and all of the weapons, but are unable to determine who fired the killing shots. Ultimately, it's Jane's fault for loving Bill. Sure, different situation. Unless you replace the word "criminals" with "police".

9 - Not every situation is salvageable. Sometimes hostages get killed. Usually it's by the person holding the hostage, not by the police. The man had a handgun 2.5 hours, a finite amount of ammunition and one hostage who he might not have wanted to harm. And the police killed them both.

Okay, I did a little searching of my own – finally – to find out more details of what happened. Here are two links. 1 2 They shed a bit of light, like the fact that Peña fired over 40 shots and the police fired over 100. In the 2.5 hours of the stand off, there were three periods of shooting, including the final one. The bullet that killed the child was the caliber that the police were using. It was a through-and-through bullet so unless they can find the actual bullet out of the 100+ that were fired it can't be traced back to a particular rifle. They thought he was incapacitated by a sniper shot when they rushed the building. She might have been killed by an earlier shot and her father might have been still holding on to her body – which makes sense to me since, if he was holding her when she was killed, the bullet that killed her should have been in him unless it had enough velocity to pass through both of them. Also, the only police injury sustained in this shootout happened during the rush into the room Peña had retreated into. So how is Peña a "a cold-blooded killer" like Police Chief William J. Bratton said? Who did he kill?

After everything I've read so far this situation feels to me like it was handled with excessive force and impatience. They knew there was a hostage yet they traded shots with him. Is that normal procedure?

It all makes me sad and I've had enough of that. I will watch to see what happens now though. If anyone sees anything new about it, send me a link.

Have a good weekend.

No comments:

"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."