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Judy Clarke

San Diego lawyer Judy Clarke has an almost perfect batting average. She represented Ted Kaczynski, called the Unabomber; Jared Lee Loughner, who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; Zacarias Moussaoui, 9/11 suspect; and Susan Smith, who murdered her two sons. None was given the death penalty — something Clarke opposes.

Now she is on a so-called "all-star" team representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose trial will tentatively begin this month for his role in the Boston Marathon explosion of April 2013. Jury selection began today (January 5). Over three days, about 1200 people will be called to U.S. District Court in Boston as possible jury members.

The defense team has been consistently unable to get a change of venue in the case. Some media have reported that Clarke is the lead negotiator in an attempt to get Tsarnaev life in prison in return for his confession, but prosecutors are said to oppose the deal adamantly.

Other members of the defense team are Miriam Conrad, head of Boston's Federal Public Defender Office, and David Bruck, professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, and director of the school's death penalty defense clinic. Clarke teamed with Bruck in defense of Susan Smith.

Clarke and her husband, Thomas H. Speedy Rice, have a law firm, Clarke & Rice, at 1010 Second Avenue. He has been a professor at two law schools, and specializes in international human rights. I called the office and got no response. Clarke is well known for being publicity-shy, despite the high-profile cases she tackles.

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Comments

AlexClarke Jan. 6, 2015 @ 6:02 a.m.

All I can say is she is not my relative. While every defendant needs to be represented her law firm makes its money from the taxpayer. Most if not all their clients have no funds.

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2015 @ 8:23 a.m.

AlexClarke: Yes, as essentially a public defender, she is often if not usually paid by the government, at least in these high-profile cases. Personally, I believe in the public defender system. If we didn't have it, every case would be won by the side with the most money -- able to pay high-priced lawyers. In these high-profile cases, the government would win every time. Sorry. I don't believe in that.

Actually, public defenders should make more money than they do. Best, Don Bauder

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AlexClarke Jan. 7, 2015 @ 5:44 a.m.

Don, I agree 100% I think that there are many people that do not know or understand that public defenders are paid by the taxpayer. Most public defenders are over loaded with cases and work for far less than the lawyers whose clients can pay.

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 6:20 a.m.

AlexClarke: Agreed. And their heavy workload unfortunately guarantees that some people will not get justice. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 6, 2015 @ 8:03 a.m.

don bauder

Clarke has been a part of the defense team for almost 2 yrs. Her appointment to the case was approved before that of Bruck. Here are some interesting figures I found after the Loughner trial. Since 1988, when federal death penalty laws were first passed, federal prosecutors have sought the death penalty in 492 cases. Of those 492 cases, 215 cases went to jury with the death penalty attached. Of those 215 cases, they chose death in 72 cases, 34 % of them. Of those 72, only 3 have been executed, with the remainder on appeal or the defendants having died in prison awaiting appeal. So with less than 15% of cases seeking the death penalty resulting in a death sentence, one might think that the odds are in her favor. But with 3 dead and over 260 injured, this time she has her work cut out for her. BTW, it wouldn't have been difficult to find a better photo of Clarke. BTW2, at one time, there were also 3 lawyers from the Boston public defender office, including one who speaks Russian, William Fick from Yale LS, assigned to the case. Are they still part of the defense team?

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2015 @ 8:53 a.m.

danfogel: Interesting stats -- the kind we expect from you. The death penalty was abolished in 1984 in Massachusetts, but this is a federal trial, so the death penalty is an option. A Boston Globe poll in 2013 showed more ethan half of residents preferred a life sentence without parole for Tsarnaev. One-third favored the death penalty for him.

There have been others on the Tsarnaev defense team; I don't know if they still can be relied upon. But the so-called "all-star" team features the three lawyers that I cited, including San Diego's Clarke.

To complicate matters further, Tsarnaev is said to have confessed everything while he was in the hospital recovering from his severe injuries. Now he has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges.

Personally, I oppose the death penalty for mainly one reason: sometimes, there is an error made. The person that is killed by the government is not guilty, as facts coming out later show. Also, people with extremely low IQs are often put to death on dubious grounds. However, I must admit that when somebody like Timothy McVeigh is put to death, I look the other way.

A group at Northwestern University has sedulously unearthed several cases in which the wrong person was put to death. This should lead to reforms in Illinois. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 6, 2015 @ 8:08 p.m.

I believe in the death penalty for egregious crimes - certainly it appears Tsarnaev is deserving. However he is entitled to his defense and I think that it's worth the time and expense to consider all the evidence and arguments carefully.

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2015 @ 8:28 p.m.

ImJustABill: In any case in which the prosecution is seeking the death penalty, the defense is entitled to excellent legal counsel and the arguments must be considered very carefully. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 8, 2015 @ 12:48 p.m.

don bauder Personally, I believe that ANY defendant is entitled to excellent legal counsel and have their arguments very carefully considered. It should not be confined just to death penalty cases.

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2015 @ 4:33 p.m.

danfogel: Good point. And unfortunately, many poor people get shabby legal defenses. The public defenders have too many cases to handle. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2015 @ 8:30 p.m.

Jacqui Shepherd: Thomas De Benedetto is a San Diego attorney. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 8, 2015 @ 10:52 a.m.

Well, Don, I think you're among the best, and score pretty highly within that category. One of the reasons you are so outstanding is your willingness to respond to comments. Your thoughtful analysis and usually cool head and great mind give the community what true leadership should be--setting an example, but resisting preaching and soapboxing.

I am acutely aware that your dedication to setting an example for responsiveness must cost you dearly in time and stress. I understand the need for you to keep your responses brief.

Given that, there is a certain trivialization that occurs in the context of your blogosphere that is all too common in all blogospheres--the discussion fizzles, sometimes deservedly, and other times just before a point reaches its epistemological peak. There has, in recent discussions on this "blog" that might otherwise rise to a real forum on important principles, been an unfortunate tendency to resort to fallacious arguments and avoidance of important points in favor of arguments that go against the established grain. This is to me troubling, but at the same time, I understand . . . I do think that it's a pity, however, that abortion occurs, just as a strangling point is emerging--often a result of boredom born of determined yahooism (which may be a blessing), but sometimes tragically, by abandonment through ignoring tough issues, or effectively closing debate.

Nonetheless, I continue to believe that your column/blog deserves wider recognition, and the fact that you and The Reader continue to offer it with minimal control over content (though I wish all removals were noted and links to the deleted content provided for those interested) deserves high praise, if not prize.

I admit that I spend too much time reading and responding on your blog, and I also admit that I am torn between commenting and merely reading, largely for the reasons cited.

The principle raised by this particular column is a serious one, so quite naturally any comment is bound to touch nerves with both positive and negative charges; therefore, sparks can be produced, emotions can become inflamed. So why bother? Or does one have an OBLIGATION to bother?

One central principle here, if not the central principle, is the question of when life should be intentionally terminated and when it should not. I admit to more than a little vacillation . . .

Will this discussion get blogged down in tangential chit-chat, or will it rise to a courageous discussion, if not resolution, of the central principle?

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2015 @ 4:41 p.m.

Twister: I plead guilty as charged to some of your points. Please realize that I not only answer substantially all comments, but I also write a column every two weeks, and they take time. So my answers are sometimes short on this blog.

On this particular blog item, I don't think many people have expressed themselves on the death penalty. I oppose it mainly because mistakes are made. As I said, I can look the other way in cases such as Timothy McVeigh, when he admitted he did it, and it was a ghastly crime. But not many others have expressed themselves on this issue. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 9, 2015 @ 10:49 p.m.

I follow your "blog" (I prefer column) BECAUSE you report on local issues that are not, generally, reported elsewhere, at least with the same clarity and quality. As I said, I fully understand that your time is limited, yet you are far more RESPONSIVE than any other columnist of which I am aware. Most "bloggers" simply ignore comments, and the quality of comments one finds on their blogs reflects the quality of their readership. Yours, on the other hand, tend to be of high quality. So the Internet is a mixed blessing/curse containing mostly egocentric drivel (to put it politely), and your column is a rare jewel in a gigantic mountain of bullshit. The one "value" of that mountain, I suppose, is that one can read the "minds" of those out there--and weep. The few "responses" I have read on some other blogs tend to make my hair stand on end! The Reader used to have a very good statement requesting that responders stick to the subject and not to get personal. It would be an interesting study to compare the tone of responses while that statement was present and the tone following its removal. You and your commenters tend to a much higher standard, so a comparison of your column with a random sample of other blogs also would be interesting. I believe that you set an example that raises the bar (no pun intended) for others, including us, the Great Unwashed Multitudes of cyberspace.

As to the "death penalty," I share your concerns, particularly now that "we" have entered an era when "we" can not only commit cold-blooded murder after a trial, we now can rather blithely commit murder more remotely and "impersonally" than ever--now it is a video game writ in real blood, misery, and death, a blood feud on steroids. But I drone on . . .

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Don Bauder Jan. 11, 2015 @ 9:32 p.m.

Twister: I would certainly not put you among the Great Unwashed. You are articulate and thoughtful. In the discussions on this blog, I do not try to steer commenters back to the immediate subject at hand. As long as the comment is at least remotely relevant to the subject, I let comments wander. I think we get some good discussions that way. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 14, 2015 @ 3:34 p.m.

Don, I agree with your policy; that's what makes it a great "blog."

Perhaps we, the readers, should endeavor to spread the word amongst our friends far and wide, so that there might be a Pulitzer in your future.

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ImJustABill Jan. 10, 2015 @ 4:12 p.m.

Twister, I guess maybe there's not that much to discuss because ultimately the question about whether or not we should have the death penalty boils down to questions of morals, justice and fairness. We all may have different definitions of these ideals so we may reach different conclusions.

To me, I think if an extremely severe crime is not punished severely - even up to taking the life of the criminal then justice and fairness haven't really been fully served.

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Don Bauder Jan. 11, 2015 @ 9:39 p.m.

ImJustABill: Let me digress. Last summer my wife and I saw the opera, "Dead Man Walking." In the opera, a nun is fighting to spare a rapist who has killed his victim when she screamed. Throughout the opera, we were led to believe that he was going to his death because of that one murder, which he would not admit to himself or to the nun.

It was based on an actual case. When we got home, we looked it up. Actually, the fellow had committed several murders and rapes, and as I recall, had admitted the acts. We felt cheated. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 12, 2015 @ 4:23 p.m.

(Plot spoilers for Grisham novel The Chamber follow)

John Grisham's death penalty novel The Chamber has a similar theme. A wrongfully convicted man awaits execution. But as his end draws near he admits that while he was not guilty of the crime he was being executed for, he had comitted many heinous crime throughout his life as a white supremist leader and ultimately he did deserve to die.

Makes one wonder. I will need to review the studies from Northwestern University in detail. I think the U.S. has a legal system in place which makes the chances of a truly innocent person being wrongfully executed extremely small.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 10:26 a.m.

ImJustABill: I wonder if the odds of execution of an innocent person are extremely small. I guess the question is: small as a percentage of what? Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 14, 2015 @ 3:45 p.m.

Again, the important thing is SWIFT justice. The more remote the punishment from the crime, the less likely justice will be served. Give potential victims the right and the training to effectively protect themselves and others and court costs (except for prosecuting the victim) might go down.

Death penalty cases drag on for years--lucrative for lawyers and clogging the courts. Better to let the scum rot in prison, though the cost of keeping them there may well exceed the tax money consumed by appeals. At least the innocent would only rot, rather than die quickly. And, if justice finally does prevail for them, they might even be released--minus decades from their lives . . .

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ImJustABill Jan. 10, 2015 @ 4:20 p.m.

I will say personally in terms of life being taken away by the US gov't I worry much more about the thousands of good U.S. solders killed in the recent Iraq / Afghan wars than I do about criminals getting executed.

For that matter I worry and feel much more for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi soldiers killed than criminals getting executed. I know technically they're not considered innocent because they're soldiers - but the way I see it the vast majority were probably just decent guys doing their job and they happened to have the wrong flag on their uniform.

I guess for me I can understand different definitions of morality and fairness and I can accept those differences. To me, the death penalty is morally justified for severe crimes. But I have a hard time seeing how fighting a war in Iraq to: stop WMD's which weren't really there / kill Saddam / stop terrorists / bring democracy to the Middle East / stop WMD's which were there after all according to Dick Cheney / make money for Halibruton / ??????????? / who the hell knows why we really fought in Iraq?

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Don Bauder Jan. 11, 2015 @ 9:46 p.m.

ImJustABill: I agree. The Iraq war of Bush and Cheney was one of the biggest disgraces of American history. The pretext was wrong -- there were no WMDs. The CIA reports were manipulated by Cheney. We killed more than a hundred thousand Iraqis and left the country in shambles.

Now we are seeing what we did. The terrorists who murdered the French journalists were greatly radicalized by that Iraq war. We have to blame ourselves, to some degree, for the intensifying of the hatred of ISIS members and other Muslim radicals. I am not justifying the murders. I am simply saying this ghastly war concocted through lies to the American public has created a monster. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 11, 2015 @ 10:14 p.m.

You got dat right, Don. The Bush Administration went off like junkyard dogs, attacking anything when they were frustrated by not being able to get the real plotters of 9-11. But in practical politics, you do something, even it it's wrong. We, the People, wanted blood, and we got it. "We" bombed Afghanistan with cookie-cutters and bunker-busters for the TV cameras to show "the folks back home" how we were avenging 9-11. Those bombs were not "smart," but it didn't matter--their "IQs" just about matched those of the ones ordering them dropped. No telling how many little shepherd boys and other innocents were slaughtered, how many elders died a thousand deaths from horror and grief. All to "get even."

"We" are hated 'round the world, and hated more with every bomb, smart or otherwise--hell, our POLICIES are "bombs," and we're too stupid or indifferent to realize it. We don't need "experts" and "authorities" as much as we need people who know how to think, not opine, in disciplined ways. We have got to stop listening to our "leaders" when they feed us what we want to hear (along with bread and circuses). To do that, we must, as Lincoln said, "disenthrall ourselves." We are narcissistic, egocentric, hubris-fat, lazy-minded oafs. We are, as such, behind Neanderthals with respect to evolution, and the evidence is continuously all around us. We must come closer together (integrity), not divide, boast, and admire our fantasy-images without reflection.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2015 @ 12:53 p.m.

Twister: Yes, we went off half-cocked for political reasons: the rednecks among us wanted immediate revenge, so we went to war with the wrong enemy. It is now clear that Cheney falsified documents that were presented to the U.N. and the American public. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others in the administration spread what I am convinced they knew were lies. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 14, 2015 @ 3:51 p.m.

Sooo, would "lesser beings" (if there can possibly be lesser beings than mass murderers under color of authority) have been prosecuted long ago, whilst the Doctor Strangelove's not only go free, but draw posh pensions from US, in addition to the graft and profits from the military industrial complex?

I have seen Doctor Strangelove, the movie, yet as I was living it inside the complex found that this great work of art didn't know the half of it. Truth was, and no doubt is, strangelovlier than fiction.

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ImJustABill Jan. 13, 2015 @ 6:32 a.m.

I'm not sure about exactly what blood all the people wanted. I wanted Al Qaeda blood and Osama bin Laden's blood. I think we should have "gotten even" and then some with Al Qaeda and OBL. I would have liked to minimize all other bloodshed.

The war against Iraq was probably motivated by a lot of things - it's hard to understand just how exactly we could have gotten so off the mark. There were clearly a lot of errors in thinking and planning in the Bush administration. I started reading Scott McClellan's book at one point to try to understand it - I think it basically boils down to believing their own B.S.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 10:33 a.m.

ImJustABill: Believing their own B.S. -- possibly an accurate summation of how the U.S. was led into a disgraceful war, for which we are still paying.

The administration whipped up hysteria so much that one daytime TV host lost his job for interviewing someone who opposed the war. But there were U.S. legislators who did oppose that war. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 11, 2015 @ 9:24 p.m.

Don, I really don't have a "gripe" about your blog. It should be a standard-setter for other blogs. But I do want it to be as good as it can be. When a piece piles up more than 100 comments or so, that means that you have struck a chord, if not a nerve. When postings don't move the discussion toward a reasoned conclusion, it is sad. When you don't have the time to address highly relevant points that might move the discussion toward a reasoned conclusion by leaps and bounds, when it APPEARS that you are avoiding such points, I am saddened, not maddened.

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Don Bauder Jan. 11, 2015 @ 9:52 p.m.

Twister: I have to admit to some of your points. Often, I do not look things up. I know I could go online and get an answer but I simply don't have time. (Often I do look things up, though.) I don't think it is my job to steer the colloquy toward some rational conclusion. That's up to the other commenters.

Look at the item on pit bulls. That could never come to a reasoned conclusion. The pros and cons hold their views passionately, and what's stated on this blog isn't going to change many minds. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 14, 2015 @ 4:30 p.m.

Don, my response to this disappeared somehow; I'll try to rewrite it here.

I agree with you--mostly. I disagree that the issues could not have been resolved among reasonable participants. I agree that they have not, and more's the pity. When emotion reigns over reason, as it so often does in any culture of stitched-together beliefs, reason must be adhered to strictly to break through HELD "views."

I decided to try to bring the passion onto the side of reason, to pit reason against emotion, as it were, but as you point out, in this case emotion has so far blinded the participants to reality, preferring fantasy, or "my ox," which shall not be gored by reason. If the participants persist in refusing to address relevant points raised and hide behind the fog of denial, the discussion will be "executed" but not executed.

The great composer, Brahms, was once sitting in a room where someone was at the piano, idly playing notes and chords. In the middle of playing, the pianist abruptly left. After a few moments, Brahms got up, went to the piano, and finished the progression. “We cannot let that chord go unresolved forever,” said Brahms. Source: “The Organizational Learning Cycle: How we can learn collectively” by Nancy M. Dixon

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Twister Jan. 11, 2015 @ 9:54 p.m.

Bill, "justice delayed is justice denied." Had the person in Paris who shot the video of the shooting had had a good rifle and the skill to go with it, the level of bloodshed might have gone down if the shooters "went down." It is an inconvenient truth, even a regrettable truth, that if more good people had sufficient firepower to neutralize murderers on the spot, more innocent lives might be spared.

Se la va sans dire--I agree with you about the other deaths you mentioned, but I regret all violence. This does not mean that I would hesitate to use it against unprovoked violence, however.

There are not enough police, FBI, Interpol, MI-5's, and other "forces" to handle the reality of "sleeper cells" and loose-bolted fanatics, as has actually been said on the TV media. I'm getting dangerously close, here, to being muzzled by the speech police for being politically incorrect. But it is true that law-abiding citizens are prohibited from having enough firepower to "neutralize" fanatics with superior weapons. Even the police where seriously outgunned years ago in that North Hollywood bank robbery, and beat officers with handguns are no match for a couple of fanatics with Kalashnikovs and flak vests.

Home invasions are now conducted by criminals (even homeboys, not aliens) who have somehow gotten some good military assault training somewhere--WHERE? Are citizens who just want to go on living in their homes trained and capable in self-defense? What kind of freedom do we have when we are prisoners in our own homes? Are we to wait until the problem gets worse before we figure out some alternatives to business-as-usual?

Shall "we" take all weapons away from all law-abiding citizens? Will that reduce violence?

"Two paths diverged in a wood . . ."

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2015 @ 1 p.m.

Twister: When you say that "law-abiding citizens are prohibited from having enough firepower to neutralize fanatics," you seem to be advancing ideas that the NRA pushes -- that everyone should be armed. Sorry, I am for gun control to keep these weapons out of the hands of the mentally unbalanced and seriously paranoid. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 12, 2015 @ 5:28 p.m.

You said "best," but you put the worst possible spin on my words. Another misreading and another straw-man. I did NOT say that "everyone" should be armed. I did NOT say that weapons should be in the hands of the mentally imbalanced. If you want to debate something, please . . . well you know how better than most. And you know better . . .

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2015 @ 9:48 p.m.

Twister: Yes, you did say "law-abiding citizens" should have enough firepower to neutralize fanatics. So I owe you an apology. I apologize. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2015 @ 9:50 p.m.

Greg Lindsey: I don't think anybody should be "quickly tried" -- particularly when death is a possible penalty for the crime. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 10:41 a.m.

No, you don't owe me an apology; you might owe yourself an apology, but not me. This is not personal. I was not offended, I was disappointed. This is about rational, disciplined discussion of issues and pursuing an issue with determination to reach a reasoned conclusion. Any time I try to put words in your mouth that misrepresent your points, I expect you or anyone participating, to call me on it. In this way, we help each other maintain discipline. Without rancor, anger, or emotional ranting. You did not insult me. When we are discussing such an important issue, we must keep personalities out of it.

Of course, we should show each other respect. Part of that respect is responsiveness--complete responsiveness. Cutting off debate when it isn’t going the way one wishes it to go, particularly when one is the chairperson is an abdication of duty. In this case, you did not address all of my points, and I did not address all of your straw men (e.g., the NRA reference—a guilt via association fallacy).

In this format, we can minimize such errors by discussing one issue at a time, so let’s stick to the example given that illustrates the principle—the Charlie Example. Further, let’s break this down into its components, starting with the question of whether or not lives could have been spared if the people videotaping the terrorists had had sufficient capabilities to neutralize the terrorists (e.g., shooting them) and had done so instead of or in addition to “shooting” video. This requires a simple yes or no answer (that does not mean that the answer cannot be followed up by further discussion).

If a person in the position of the videographers had shot the terrorists would fewer people have been shot by the terrorists, or not? Let’s get this issue out of the way first; that resolved, move with discipline on to the other issues, shall we?

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 12:52 p.m.

Twister: I doubt if the Charlie office was armed. Thus, I doubt that the videotapers could have gotten to guns to shoot the terrorists. The terrorists had planned the invasion for some time, and came in with guns blazing. Could anyone have stopped them, even if weapons had been available? Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 14, 2015 @ 4:40 p.m.

Unless my information was faulty, there were guards present because of prior threats. Maybe I'm wrong.

I would absolutely agree that, in a military-style attack, having guns merely available would most likely not have been enough. However, if guns, other than those of the guards (which were shot first, as they always would be, because being visibly armed makes you a prime target) were available, SOME of those killed might not have been and the terrorist MIGHT have been neutralized.

However, if guards on duty were concealed behind shields and equipped as I suggested, the odds would have been improved. When it comes to combat, there is no perfect world, only a less horrible one.

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ImJustABill Jan. 13, 2015 @ 6:20 a.m.

I definitely don't think we should take weapons away from law-abiding citizens. In my view, the right to bear arms is an important check-and-balance against the power of the state.

However, I don't think armed citizens would be effective against well-executed terrorist or organized crime attacks. Highly skilled and trained police and military forces have a hard enough time stopping these attacks - I just don't think non-trained persons would be very effective.

Just my thoughts. It's hard to get realistic apples/apples comparisons. Japan has very few guns and a very low crime rate. Switzerland has a lot of guns and a very low crime rate. But Japan is not the U.S. is not Switzerland.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 10:38 a.m.

I'mJustABill: Everybody is law-abiding until he or she breaks laws. The definition of "law-abiding" could be very tricky. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 10:51 a.m.

Any definition is "tricky." What are you saying?

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 9:35 p.m.

Twister: I think it is difficult to define a "law-abiding" citizen. I know I have broken laws -- jaywalking, and a host of other minor infractions, for example. I have been given a speeding ticket and a jaywalking ticket, and I am sure I didn't get caught breaking some other laws. Name me someone who is completely "law-abiding." Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 14, 2015 @ 4:44 p.m.

You are committing the fallacy of exaggeration (pleading absolutes) along with the straw-man.

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 10:44 a.m.

Bill: "I don't think armed citizens would be effective against well-executed terrorist or organized crime attacks."

Upon what factual basis do you reach this conclusion?

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 12:56 p.m.

Twister: I agree with ImJustABill on this one. The murders occurred quickly -- too quickly for anyone to grab a weapon in self-defense. The one defense would have been an elaborate security system. Apparently, there was a security system, but it didn't work. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 6:36 p.m.

These particular murders apparently did happen very quickly. Apparently the attack was well-planned, as I suspect the terrorists murdered the armed guards first. So, yes, the "security" system didn't work.

What would have worked?

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 9:38 p.m.

Twister: It seems to me I read that there was a code to enter the building and the terrorists at gunpoint forced a staff member to let them in. Correct me if I am wrong on that. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 14, 2015 @ 4:48 p.m.

I think your sources may be better than mine. Perhaps I am presuming too much, so correct me accordingly.

In combat, time is everything--had there been a true security set-up, there would have been enough warning for the guards in my scenario to act.

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ImJustABill Jan. 13, 2015 @ 4:43 p.m.

I don't necessarily have detailed facts but I would say look how much training and screening police officers and security guards get to properly use lethal force and even then it's not always used properly.

I think if you have armed civilians looking to shoot terrorists you may end up with a lot more George Zimmermans (FL killer of Trayvon Martin)

Of course, Flight 93 is a notable case of horoic civilians stopping terrorists. I do think everyone should be on the alert for terrorism and crime but perhaps stopping it with more armed citizens isn't the best approach.

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 6:54 p.m.

Well-planned attacks are predictable. Strategic and tactical planning should be based on that knowledge.

One possible variation that would have been actually feasible would have been to have posted guards where they would not be seen by the terrorist planners who must have cased the situation repeatedly. Full-length, armored, disguised shields for guards covering all possible entry points, with viewing and weapon ports would have been a good start. In such close quarters, limited range, small-pellet scatterguns would have been able to disable the terrorists by ripping up their hands and other unprotected body parts while limiting the level of injury to both the terrorists and others in the path of the wide pattern. This would at least temporarily neutralize the terrorists, followed quickly by application of restraints or almost instantaneously by a lethal round or rounds as the situation dictated. Bystanders might not have been injured at all, but injuries would have been relatively minor. No bullets spraying into the street either. Posting visible armed guards is simply amateurish under the circumstances, and invites their immediate murder, besides being improperly-gunned, rather than under-gunned.

This is not the ONLY possible tactical plan, but it is a workable, feasible one.

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ImJustABill Jan. 14, 2015 @ 9:21 p.m.

I think intelligence gathering is critical for fighting terrorism. Once the attack details are known the attack can be stopped before it happens.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 9:41 p.m.

ImJustABill: Have you noticed how many times George Zimmerman has gotten into trouble since he was vindicated in that Florida case? There was another incident just a few days ago. That law in Florida is reprehensible, permitting unstable individuals such as Zimmerman to commit murder and get away with it. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 14, 2015 @ 9:16 p.m.

GZ is a ticking time bomb if there ever was one. I'm afraid it may be just a matter of time before he kills again.

I think even police forces with excellent screening and training programs have a hard enough time attempting trying to enforce the law and protect their own lives while refraining from any unnecessary force. It's a difficult thing to do.

But then if you get someone who is unscreened - probably has an anger control issue - or many anger control issues, and then have him appoint himself the local non-official armed law enforcement officer; it's scary.

I'm not sure if the authors of the FL gun bill really had guys like GZ in mind. I would definitely think they should repeal or at least revise that law.

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 10:49 a.m.

Bill: "Japan has very few guns and a very low crime rate. Switzerland has a lot of guns and a very low crime rate. But Japan is not the U.S. is not Switzerland."

Good point.

That is, CULTURE is the independent variable, not guns or their absence.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 12:58 p.m.

Twister: I think culture is an important variable, and that speaks very poorly for the United States. However, I do think that limiting guns would help. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 6:24 p.m.

But "limiting" is a tricky concept. Just what do you mean--can you be more specific?

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 9:48 p.m.

Twister: I will give you a quick summary of my opinions: 1. Every gun buyer should be forced to register, and should be checked for criminal record and signs of mental instability before he or she is permitted to buy a weapon. 2. There should be stiff penalties (possibly criminal penalties) for retailers who sell a gun without following the rules as outlined above; 3. There should be more campaigns to get people to turn in their guns, perhaps for reimbursement. 4. The NRA should be reformed, forcibly if that's what it takes; it was once an organization that taught people about gun safety. Now all it does is promote massive ownership of guns to lift revenue and profits of the industry.

These are just some of my thoughts on this topic. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 14, 2015 @ 4:52 p.m.

These ideas aren't all bad; with a little refinement and more detail, they might work in the real world. But getting them passed into law might be a bit difficult. Still, that's pretty much what we have in CA.

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 10:57 a.m.

"Shall "we" take all weapons away from all law-abiding citizens? Will that reduce violence?" -- Twister Jan. 11, 2015 @ 9:54 p.m.

Please respond. Will that reduce violence? Upon what evidence do you base your conclusions?

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 1:02 p.m.

Twister: Yes, I think that taking guns away from everybody, including law-abiding citizens, would reduce violence. Why? Because almost every day you read of a gun going off accidentally, killing someone. Or you read of five year olds playing with guns and killing their siblings. Or a man believing a burglar is in the house, and firing -- only to find that the person is his spouse or son. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 6:27 p.m.

I must have missed the evidence.

Supposing you are right, how would you go about pulling off this miracle in the context of cultural realities?

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 9:51 p.m.

Twister: I didn't say it was possible. It isn't. I just said that, hypothetically, if all guns were taken away from citizens -- law-abiding and otherwise -- violence would be reduced. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Jan. 14, 2015 @ 4:55 p.m.

Hypothetically, you might be right--and you might not be. That's the trouble with hypotheses. But, scientific methods can be used to test hypotheses; the trouble is the research design in this case. One has to "fall back" upon reason, using all the facts available.

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Twister Jan. 13, 2015 @ 6:58 p.m.

" I do think everyone should be on the alert for terrorism and crime but perhaps stopping it with more armed citizens isn't the best approach." -- ImJustABill Jan. 13, 2015 @ 4:43 p.m.

Perhaps not, but what are the specific superior alternatives? Let's get a list going here.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2015 @ 9:57 p.m.

Twister: The single best step the U.S. could take to reduce terrorism is to stop launching disgraceful wars in the Middle East. The second Iraq war apparently radicalized the French terrorists. Now the French have voted something like 488 to 1 to step up violence against ISIS. Stupid decision, based on hysteria and short-term political considerations.

Abuse of the Middle East nations dates back to the settlement of World War I, and well before that, too. The most radical and violence-prone Muslims are Saudis. Yet as soon as 9/11 occurred, we rushed to fly Saudis out of the U.S. the next day. Ah, money. Best, Don Bauder

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