From: "Dave Undis" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

> It seems that most people who think gun control laws deter crime also
> believe the death penalty doesn't.  Can anyone explain this?

At least they are half right.  :-)
Wrongful convictions and incompetent attorneys aside, IMO the perpetrater
that commits a crime that warrants considering them to be a danger to
society doesn't really have a sense of personal responsibility or
consequences.  (I could elaborate on that)  They simply don't *think* they
will be caught or are beyond caring whether the consequences are life in
prison or the electric chair.  It could even be argued, for people like
Timothy McVeigh, martyrdom could be an incentive for the behavior.

The following story in this mornings Washington Post is a perfect example of
how when the bad guys have the guns in DC and law abiding citizens are
forbidden - the people relinquish all responsibility to the *state*.  The
"officials" act surprised that no one will help when a crime is committed,
yet they have taken away the ability for "Joe" citizen to intervene.  I know
that without a gun, I certainly wouldn't try to interfere with a violent
criminal.  If I used my illegal weapon, I would risk prosecution as in the
case of Mr. Dixon in the example illustrated by David.  It doesn't require a
rocket scientist (who I don't know if I would trust if I were an astronaut)
or much of a study to see the obvious. ;-)
-Fred Childress
As Man Lay Dying, Witnesses Turned Away

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 15, 2003; Page A01

D.C. police released a startling surveillance tape yesterday that shows a
daylight killing at a Northeast Washington gas station and witnesses doing
nothing to report the crime or tend to the victim as he lay bleeding on the

The videotape, from the Hess station in the 500 block of Florida Avenue,
shows in gruesome detail the Jan. 31 slaying of Allen E. Price, 43, of the
2100 block of Fourth Street NW. Police said they were shocked by the apathy
of those who were there, including one man who continued pumping kerosene
after looking briefly at Price's body.

At a time when homicide detectives are struggling to solve cases, police
officials said the tape depicts the astounding levels of meanness and
indifference they confront on the city's streets. Throughout the 1980s and
1990s, police and prosecutors watched numerous cases collapse as witnesses
were shot or intimidated. In this instance, several people at the gas
station did not appear to be frightened but seemed not to care after the
shot was fired and the gunman ran.

"That's just one of the worst things I've ever seen," Police Chief Charles
H. Ramsey declared yesterday after screening the tape at police
headquarters. "There just aren't words to describe something like that."

The shooting happened quickly and with no apparent warning near the large
Florida Avenue market complex, in a crime-ridden area just blocks from
Gallaudet University. The snippet of color videotape that police released --
taken by a camera positioned atop the gas station -- begins at 9:08 a.m.,
with traffic passing steadily on the avenue and several cars in view at the

At 9:09 a.m., the shooter appears at a distance, walking up Sixth Street on
the far side of Florida Avenue. He appears to be a man in a black coat, but
the image is blurry. He weaves through traffic on Florida Avenue and appears
to run the last few feet toward the kerosene pump where Price was standing.
Police have analyzed the video frame by frame, and Ramsey provided a running
commentary, stating: "Boom! That's the gunshot."

Price then drops from view, and the gunman runs back across the Florida
Avenue and disappears from sight.

A homicide lieutenant said yesterday that the killer is believed to have
targeted Price. Police have announced no motive or suspects.

After the shooting, one witness -- who was just feet away from the gunman --
looked for a moment at Price's body and then turned away. Not only did he
finish pumping his kerosene, but the man paid for the purchase and drove
off, giving the camera its clearest look at Price lying by the pump. Police
have not found that customer.

For the next few minutes, the camera records a series of cars pulling away
from the station, with at least one new car pulling up to the kerosene pump
where Price lay. But it is not until about 9:13, more than three minutes
after the shooting, that the gas station's manager is seen approaching the

The manager, Philip Donkorsaid yesterday that he did not hear the gunshot
from his bulletproof booth and was not aware of the shooting until a
customer told him. He said he found Price on his back.

"He's dead. His eyes open. His mouth open," Donkor said. "Right then, I saw
that he was dead."

Police said that someone in the area finally flagged down a police car, and
it arrived about seven minutes after the shooting.

The first 911 call was not made until 9:36 a.m., but police did not reveal
who made it. Donkor said he tried to call 911 immediately after he was told
about the shooting but got a recording and hung up.

Ramsey has been criticized by D.C. Council members and others for rising
homicide totals and for homicide clearance rates that are lower than the
average for other cities. The chief has contended that witnesses who could
help police get killers off the streets do not come forward.

"This is the kind of thing that we're up against," Ramsey said. "To have
someone walk by as if nothing occurred is frustrating."

U.S. Attorney Roscoe C. Howard Jr. echoed that complaint, saying that
relatively few slayings in the District occur in secluded spots. But
witnesses simply won't come forward, he said, adding, "If you've got 262
murders in a year, and you're not able to solve half of them," reluctant
witnesses must be an issue.

Still, former D.C. police chief Isaac Fulwood Jr., who oversaw the
department when crack cocaine led to a surge in killings in the late 1980s
and early 1990s, said the reaction to Price's death amazed him.

"Something's wrong, I mean, something's very wrong and callous, and [it] is
getting worse," Fulwood said.

Julia Dunkins, chief executive of Survivors of Homicide Inc., said people
from across the city have become desensitized to death. "We have to stop
saying, 'My community isn't like this. This kind of thing could not happen
in my area,' " Dunkins said.

Louis R. Mizell Jr., a security consultant who maintains a 40,000-category
database on crimes, said similar episodes have unfolded throughout the

"We record hundreds of cases nationwide each year in which people witnessed
horrible crimes but react with depraved indifference, refusing to intervene
or even call 911," Mizell said. "The encouraging news, however, is that we
record thousands of cases in which people did get involved, often heroically
and at their own peril."

Along Florida Avenue, other merchants said they were not shocked by the
crime or the behavior of the witnesses.

At Coast In Liquors, a clerk said he could remember an attempted robbery two
years ago in which a man came after him with a stick and then threw bricks
at his windows.

Outside the store, people stopped to watch but did nothing to intervene, he

"Nobody [was] trying to help," said the clerk, who wouldn't give his name.
"They were looking. You know how people do."

 2003 The Washington Post Company

> ----Original Message Follows----
> Subject: Speaking of Illegal Guns and Deterrence
> Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 02:48:47 EST
> In light of the list's recent discussions regarding illegal guns and
> deterrence of crimes, I thought people might find the following of
> David
> "(Ronald) Dixon was upstairs, in bed, when he heard a noise in the
> Half asleep, he opened his eyes and saw a man at the top of the stairs
> heading toward the bedroom of Mr. Dixon's 2-year-old son, Kyle.  That was
> enough for the father. He grabbed a 9-millimeter pistol that he kept in a
> closet, walked toward the man and asked what he was doing there. This man,
> Mr. Dixon said, ran at him, screaming. That's when he pulled the trigger.
> shot the intruder twice, wounding him seriously but not mortally.  Other
> points are worth noting.
> "Mr. Dixon, 27, is your basic straight arrow, a Navy veteran who works two
> jobs as a computer specialist to provide for his girlfriend and their two
> small children. The man accused of being the intruder, Ivan Thompson, 40,
> a career lowlife with a blocklong record of burglaries and other crimes.
> convicted this time, he could be hammering out license plates for years to
> come.
> "Case closed, you might think. But there is one more critical detail:
> "Mr. Dixon's gun was illegal. He had no New York license for it. He also
> lives in a borough whose district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, considers
> prosecution of illegal-gun charges a supreme virtue.  Mr. Hynes wants Mr.
> Dixon to do jail time - not much, but at least some. If convicted of the
> misdemeanor charge against him, Mr. Dixon could get as much as a year. Mr.
> Hynes is offering a plea bargain that would involve four weekends, tops,
> Rikers Island.
> "'Nobody,' the district attorney said, 'is going to get a bye' on a gun
> charge. 'Everybody is going to do some time.  There have to be some
> consequences. The Dixon case is a perfect example of what we're trying to
> do. We're sympathetic. No question, he had the right to shoot the guy in
> house. But he had no right to have an illegal weapon.'"
> - New York Times, 2/7/03
> _________________________________________________________________
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