Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Courthouse shooting

In the area where I live and work, many of the judges have made the ruling that police officers will not be allowed to carry a weapon into their courtroom. A few have even gone so far as to force an officer to disarm, WHILE IN UNIFORM, before allowing their testimony. And, of course, the County Attorneys are too chickenshit to do anything about it, so it's either disarm or be held in contempt and look like an asshole in front of the jury. This is also one of the reasons I ALWAYS wore a .380 on my vest, under my uniform shirt.

In addition, the courthouse I spent so many hours in only has two uniformed deputies assigned there. These two deputies, while being very nice people, suck at being deputies. The only reason they were given the positions they have is because they've been with the Sheriff's Office longer than God himself. There are no metal detectors (not that they did any good in the California case) or any other security measures to speak of.

While I would never wish the following upon anyone, if it had to happen, I hope it goes down like this one in California. Maybe then the idiot judges that disarm officers will think twice.

Deputies shoot, kill man with knives at Fresno court
By GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press Writer Mon Apr 28, 10:35 PM ETFRESNO, Calif. --

A man with a history of mental illness burst into a packed Merced County courtroom Monday wielding two carving knives, and was shot to death as he threatened a judge he may have blamed for his misfortune, authorities said.A year earlier, 40-year-old Robert Eaton had been arrested for felony vandalism for ramming his car into the downtown courthouse.

On Monday, Eaton drove straight back there in a silver Toyota Camry he hijacked from someone who was hired to take him to a doctor's appointment. He ran past guards and through a set of metal detectors at the front door holding a knife in each hand, Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin said.

Attorneys and witnesses standing in the hallway cried out as he approached Courtroom 2, but he charged through the courtroom doors and into the well where lawyers were standing in the midst of court proceedings, Chief Deputy District Attorney Harold Nutt said."As soon as he hit the inside doors, I was behind him and I started yelling that he had a knife," said Nutt, who saw Eaton approach as he stood in the hallway talking with a colleague. "The officers started yelling at him, and yelling at everybody else to get down and at that point it was rather chaotic. People started screaming, people started heading for the door, and I just ran back outside."

As Judge Brian McCabe tried to hurry his court clerks out the back through his chambers, Eaton held the knives aloft in a stabbing position about 30 feet away, Nutt said.When Eaton refused to drop the weapons, several officers fired directly at him, and the man died on the courtroom floor, in front of a few dozen lawyers, law enforcement officers and others doing business in the court, Pazin said.No other injuries were immediately reported, but the courthouse remained on lockdown for hours as investigators interviewed witnesses and officers involved in the incident, said sheriff's spokesman Tom MacKenzie.

Nutt said a public defender told him he recognized the suspect as a previous client with a history of mental illness.A woman who works for a nonprofit mental health agency that takes patients to medical appointments told authorities that she picked up Eaton in Atwater on Monday afternoon. After a few minutes, he asked the woman to pull over so he could take off his jacket and produced the two kitchen knives, according to MacKenzie."He said 'I'm not going to hurt you. I need your car, get out,'" Mackenzie said the woman told authorities. "He gave her her phone and her purse and drove off."

Merced police were investigating the reported carjacking when they got another call about the commotion at the courthouse, MacKenzie said.

Eaton, of Atwater, had an arrest record dating back nearly two decades for car theft, vandalism and other charges, authorities said.

When he crashed into the courthouse in April 2007, Eaton had been angry that he was refused treatment by a local mental health facility."There is a likelihood that he and Judge McCabe may have crossed paths in his courtroom," Pazin said at a news conference Monday evening. "He had the knives in tow and literally left the vehicle running and came straight over to the courthouse."

Dartagnan Hutcherson, who watched Eaton burst into Courtroom 2 and get gunned down by deputies, described a traumatic scene."He just came in. He was out of breath," Hutcherson told the Merced Sun-Star after the shooting. "He had blood all over him."I'm sure he was just getting his life together and he wouldn't hurt a flea....

Which leads me to this, which I ran across on Bitter Average White Person's blog......

I don’t carry a gun……to kill people. I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

I don’t carry a gun to scare people. I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m paranoid. I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world.I don’t carry a gun because I’m evil. I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world.

I don’t carry a gun because I hate the government. I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m angry. I carry a gun so that I don’t have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.

I don’t carry a gun because my sex organs are too small. I carry a gun because I want to continue to use those sex organs for the purpose for which they were intended for a good long time to come.

I don’t carry a gun because I want to shoot someone. I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m a cowboy. I carry a gun because, when I die and go to heaven, I want to be a cowboy.

I don’t carry a gun to make me feel like a man. I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.

I don’t carry a gun because I feel inadequate. I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate.

I don’t carry a gun because I love it. I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently testified at a jury trial for the first time in my 2 and 1/2 years as a full time deputy. The judge-in the presence of the defendant, who himself had always carried a revolver when I dealt with him and was currently charged with child molesting, and previously deferred charges of resisting and unlawful possession of a firearm-ordered that I disarm myself for a variety of reasons. Not knowing if this was normal, I put aside my initial reactions and obeyed the order of the court, stating that in turn I would like to search the defendant. It should be noted that at the time I was likely the only armed officer in the courthouse, and our courthouse does not have metal detectors or any other type of security measures. After then asking my chief deputy at the end of the day when that practice had begun, I could see his blood pressure rise. The next day I kept my gun during the trial, however only after the judge met with my sheriff and we had to conference with the defense attorney to compromise a place for me to sit to be allowed to keep it.

Like you, I would not wish harm on anyone, but when the guilty verdict was read and the defendant began unbuttoning his jacket I thought, "maybe the point of the need for security will be made sooner than I anticipated".

I could expound even further on my frustrations, but I believe any additional points I could make are self evident to anyone who has a clue about security and the unpredictability of suspects.