Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “murder”

Breaking: God to be Put on Trial in Iowa for Zygoticide – Tom Rossi

This just in from sAP wire (satirical Associated Press):

Dateline, 10/10/2014:

It was just over a year ago that the State of Iowa passed a law defining the abortion of a fertilized human egg (known to eggheads as a “zygote,” an egg that has been fertilized by a sperm) to be the equivalent of the murder of a child, teenager, or adult. Since then, Iowa law enforcement authorities have been made aware by those same egghead biologists and so-called “doctors” that most “abortions” of zygotes, and even morulae, blastulae, gastrulae, and embryos occur naturally, sometimes called a “spontaneous abortion,” a “miscarriage,” or, as Iowans say, as an “act of God.”

As a result, God has been arrested and, according to Iowa Attorney General Dick Rednecropper, will be put on trial for the crimes of “zygoticide, morulacide, blastulacide, gastrulacide, and embryocide.”

develop_zygote_cleavage_stages_blastula_etc

Rednecropper, interviewed in the courthouse, said: “Essentially, my hands were tied when we defined zygoticide as murder. It would be easy for a person, whether it be a man or a woman, who got an abortion to say, ‘I was guided by God,’ or ‘If it happened, it must have been God’s will.’ We circumvented that problem by simply saying that zygoticide is murder, no matter what the supposed justification.”

week2-sperm-and-egg

“Would you accept, as an excuse for murdering your wife, that the killer says, ‘She was ugly, and I just couldn’t look at her any longer?’ I don’t think so. We don’t accept God’s excuses, either. I mean, a tree would like to blame the wind when a branch falls onto your car or house, but it’s ultimately the tree’s responsibility to hang onto its limbs, isn’t it?”

Reporter Brent McStallwart asked, “So, is your office currently planning to prosecute trees?”

Rednecropper answered, “Don’t be ridiculous man. I’m just using that as an analogy. We don’t have the resources to spend on incidents like that.”

When asked how many counts of murder God would be charged with, Rednecropper replied, “Well, it’s hard to say right now. These here bile-ogists tell me it could be in the millions… maybe lottsa millions. It seems that, if a woman misses her per… I mean that time of the month where I sleep out in the shed, but then she doesn’t have a baby, there just mighta been a spotaneonous abortion. The egg mighta been fertilized, but didn’t stick where he’s supposed to. Either way, it’s an abortion, and that’s illegal.”

In describing the arrest, police officer Rip Burgundy said, “We had to spend almost half an hour searching for his hands in his long, flowing, white beard in order to put the handcuffs on him. He didn’t really resist, he just kept rolling his eyes. He has huge eyes. Everybody at the scene could easily see his reaction. It was kind of, you know, disrespectful to us as officers of the law.”

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Officer Burgundy added, “Usually, in these situations, we use our Tasers, but we knew that there were some liberal noise makers in the crowd that would just love to accuse us of police brutality. So, since he wasn’t black anyway, we decided not to do it.”

God’s arraignment is set for this Friday.

Meanwhile, upon further study of the phenomenon of spontaneous abortion, Iowa law enforcement officials discovered that virtually every woman may have had, at some point in her life, a spontaneously aborted zygote, morula, etc. When asked what this would mean for Iowans, Attorney General Rednecropper said, “We start rounding up the women next week.”

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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“Stand Your Ground” Justifies Trayvon Martin’s Actions, Not George Zimmerman’s – Tom Rossi

The Trayvon Martin “controversy” is at conflagration level this week. In case you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll give you the quick version of what was already a short story.

Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, was returning to the house of his father’s girlfriend in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. He was carrying a can of iced tea and a bag of the candy, “skittles.” George Zimmerman, a (some say “self-appointed”) neighborhood watchman followed him, called the police and got into a scuffle with Martin and ended up shooting him.

In the aftermath, Zimmerman (who was not dressed in any sort of security uniform) claimed to have been defending himself and therefore was not arrested by the police.

Zimmerman followed Martin. Then and only then, some kind of confrontation occurred. The only reasonable way that Florida’s “stand your ground” law could be applied in this situation would be to say that Trayvon Martin was in fear for his life – as he was the one being followed. That would have given Martin the right to use deadly force to defend himself.

But Martin didn’t have a gun, so he defended himself with his fists, it appears. Then Zimmerman shot him. Zimmerman single-handedly decided that Martin was a criminal. And as a self-styled vigilante he chased Martin, confronted him, and killed him.

This seems the most simple case to me. There’s really not much more to say. However, just as in the killing of Oscar Grant, race has become the center issue. Let’s hope that, this time, the cries of racism (though they may well be accurate) don’t drown out the simple circumstances that make it clear that this was an unjustified killing.

Is racism a factor in this case? It’s all over it. Zimmerman singled Martin out because he was black. The police immediately asked on the phone if he was black. And the police appear to have accepted “self-defense” without any question because Martin was black, even though they had clear knowledge that Zimmerman was following him, possibly even running after him.

George Zimmerman is guilty of murder and, in my opinion, it was clearly a hate crime. Nonetheless, it’s the Sanford police department that should be charged with racism. After yet another incident like this, it’s no wonder so many people of color have no faith in the rule of law in this country.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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When Fiction and Reality Blur

I just finished John Grisham’s latest novel, The Confession – always a pleasure Mr. Grisham. The plot deals with a man wrongly accused as the police and courts conspire to put him away. As Grisham works his art, I find myself thinking about the characters even when I am not listening to the audio book.


So you can imagine my surprise to read this headline on the New York Times daily digest: “Framed for Murder?” What? Then the next line: Californians may be about to execute the wrong man.

No,no,you’re wrong. It’s Texas. John Grisham said so!

But it is not out in Texas. It is here in our backyard. This is a great account of the case by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF and was published 12/08/2010.

Framed For Murder

That’s the view of five federal judges in a case involving Kevin Cooper, a black man in California who faces lethal injection next year for supposedly murdering a white family. The judges argue compellingly that he was framed by police.

Mr. Cooper’s impending execution is so outrageous that it has produced a mutiny among these federal circuit court judges, distinguished jurists just one notch below the United States Supreme Court. But the judicial process has run out for Mr. Cooper. Now it’s up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to decide whether to commute Mr. Cooper’s sentence before leaving office.

Kevin Cooper

This case, an illuminating window into the pitfalls of capital punishment, dates to a horrific quadruple-murder in June 1983. Doug and Peggy Ryen were stabbed to death in their house, along with their 10-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old houseguest. The Ryens’ 8-year-old son, Josh, was left for dead but survived. They were all white.

Josh initially told investigators that the crime had been committed by three people, all white, although by the trial he suggested that he had seen just one person with an Afro. The first version made sense because the weapons included a hatchet, an ice pick and one or two knives. Could one intruder juggling several weapons overpower five victims, including a 200-pound former Marine like Doug Ryen, who also had a loaded rifle nearby?

But the police learned that Mr. Cooper had walked away from the minimum security prison where he was serving a burglary sentence and had hidden in an empty home 125 yards away from the crime scene. The police decided that he had committed the crime alone.

William A. Fletcher, a federal circuit judge, explained his view of what happens in such cases in a law school lecture at Gonzaga University, in which he added that Mr. Cooper is “probably” innocent: “The police are under heavy pressure to solve a high-profile crime. They know, or think they know, who did the crime. And they plant evidence to help their case along.”

Judge Fletcher wrote an extraordinary judicial opinion — more than 100 pages when it was released — dissenting from the refusal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to rehear the case. The opinion is a 21st-century version of Émile Zola’s famous “J’Accuse.”

Mr. Fletcher, a well-respected judge and former law professor, was joined in his “J’Accuse” by four other circuit judges. Six more wrote their own dissents calling for the full Ninth Circuit to rehear the case. But they fell just short of the votes needed for rehearing.

Judge Fletcher laid out countless anomalies in the case. Mr. Cooper’s blood showed up on a beige T-shirt apparently left by a murderer near the scene, but that blood turned out to have a preservative in it — the kind of preservative used by police when they keep blood in test tubes.

Then a forensic scientist found that a sample from the test tube of Mr. Cooper’s blood held by police actually contained blood from more than one person. That leads Mr. Cooper’s defense team and Judge Fletcher to believe that someone removed blood and then filled the tube back to the top with someone else’s blood.

The police also ignored other suspects. A woman and her sister told police that a housemate, a convicted murderer who had completed his sentence, had shown up with several other people late on the night of the murders, wearing blood-spattered overalls and driving a station wagon similar to the one stolen from the murdered family.

They said that the man was no longer wearing the beige T-shirt he had on earlier in the evening — the same kind as the one found near the scene. And his hatchet, which resembled the one found near the bodies, was missing from his tool area. The account was supported by a prison confession and by witnesses who said they saw a similar group in blood-spattered clothes in a nearby bar that night. The women gave the bloody overalls to the police for testing, but the police, by now focused on Mr. Cooper, threw the overalls in the trash.

This case is a travesty. It underscores the central pitfall of capital punishment: no system is fail-safe. How can we be about to execute a man when even some of America’s leading judges believe he has been framed?

Lanny Davis, who was the White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, is representing Mr. Cooper pro bono. He laments: “The media and the bar have gone deaf and silent on Kevin Cooper. My simple theory: heinous brutal murder of white family and black convict. Simple as that.”

That’s a disgrace that threatens not only the life of one man, but the honor of our judicial system.

Governor Schwarzenegger, are you listening?
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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

 

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