Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Lest We Forget Their Suffering

The NRA holds steadfast to the principle that the government had no authority to disarm the citizens of New Orleans in the wake of hurricane Katrina. In a situation where there was effectively no law enforcement, possession of a weapon would likely have been the only means available for defense of self and property.

The city denies the allegations, saying police took only stolen or abandoned guns.

The NRA seeks a delay in the trial to give them more time to find actual victims of the seizures.

From Yahoo (via AP):;_ylt=Airn88mYz40Bc.hshtW5qaJH2ocA

Welcome To Chad, Doctor. Here's Your Sledge Hammer.

Surely coming as no joke to the six members of a French foreign aid organization known as Zoe's Ark, a court in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena sentenced them to eight years each at hard labor. Their crime: attempting to "export" 103 children who were not, evidently, the Darfur orphans the group claimed. Rather, they were found to be Chadian children, many from stable families.

The organization claims not to be mercenary but humanitarian. They have yet to explain why they were essentially kidnaping well off children.

There are heavy political over- and under-tones to the saga. The entire region is embroiled in sectarian war, and France is a player in the diplomatic efforts to forge a truce. It is implied that there will be a deal cut to send the aid workers back to France.

Reuters S.A. files this report:

You Mean This Stuff Actually Happens? Zoo Tiger Runs Amok, Kills 1

Maybe you've had this paranoid fantasy; I know I have. You're strolling along in the zoo, minding your own business, casually wondering what it must feel like to live in a zoo instead in your own natural habitat, when all of a sudden an orange blur pounces on you and starts chewing...

Yes, this sort of thing actually does happen. Well, it happened yesterday in San Francisco, when Tatiana, who has already tasted human flesh, somehow escaped from her enclosure and went on a mini-rampage. Before it was over Tatiana was dead, shot by a police officer, and three zoo visitors, all young men, had been mauled, one fatally.

Examiner (via AP) write-up here:

Juror Remorse. What Now?

A Long Island, NY, judge is in a very tough spot, as two of the twelve jurors who convicted a Suffolk County man of reckless manslaughter have come forward, very publicly, with tales of pressure and coercion. It seems they really didn't want to convict John White of shooting of 17-year-old Daniel Cicciaro Jr. on Aug. 9, 2006. They believed that reasonable doubt existed as to whether or not White, a black man, was reckless in confronting a group of white teenage boys who had driven to his home in search of his son, who they intended to assault. None of the facts of the case appear to be in dispute; rather, ten jurors were certain that White was reckless to emerge from his house, gun in hand, to confront the teens instead of calling the police. The other
two were equally certain that the law permitted White to use lethal force to protect his home and person. The judge, determined to avoid a hung jury which necessitate a retrial, kept the jurors in session late into the night of Saturday, December 22, and made clear his intention to keep the jury in session every day until a verdict was reached.

The New York Post has this today:

This raises some serious questions. First: in a unanimous jury system of determining criminal guilt, what's wrong with a hung jury? The prosecution was required to convince twelve people that there was no reasonable doubt as to the charges. The prosecution failed. That is a rational result, especially in a case as ambiguous as this. Should the judge place so much pressure on the jury to reach a verdict that two of them act against their oath? And what now, of that verdict? It can't possibly stand. Either the judge sets it aside and declares a mistrial, or this thing gets bounced on appeal.

Stay tuned...

Let's Go Kayaking On December 24. In New York. With No Life Vest. Or Cold Weather Gear.

...and end up dead.

December 26, 2007 -- ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - A Coast Guard crew located a missing kayaker, but the man was dead.

Robert Guadiosi was found in the water of Little Egg Harbor on Christmas Eve.

The 22-year-old from Little Egg Harbor had been reported missing earlier Monday.

The Coast Guard says he was not wearing a life jacket or survival gear for cold weather.