Thursday, December 25, 2008

There Arose Such A Clatter

Covina, CA

The holidays can be an ugly time for people. Suicides go up. Homicides go up. Pain, sadness, loneliness, rage. A lot of symbolism in Christmas. And some people take that symbolism very seriously.

Last night, at a Christmas Eve party in Covina, Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, walked in dressed as Santa Claus, drew a gun and opened up. Somehow a fire started. Around 25 people were at the party. Adults and children. Three wounded, including a gunshot 8-year-old girl.

For now the body count stands at five, including Pardo, who killed himself. There are more in the ashes but they haven't all been pulled out.

Firefighters responding to the blaze were kept back by police because shots were still being fired, or perhaps just ammo cooking off, and weren't able to extinguish the blaze until around 1:30 this morning.

For the families affected by this tragedy, I can't imagine a more horrible way to spend Christmas. My heartfelt condolences for what they're worth.

To everyone else, hang onto your loved ones, kiss your kids, call your mother. You never know when something unexpected is going to just fall out of the sky and end it all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Go Make With The Merry Merry

Christmas Eve.  Halfway through Hannukah.  Bells of St. Mary and all that.

Be well.  Stay safe.  And for fuck's sake, don't shoot anybody this time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

But What If I Want To Kill An Elephant In Hollywood?

Los Angeles, CA

As you're probably aware, Los Angeles has a bit of a gang problem. More to the point we have a gangs with guns problem. So, in order to combat this, Mayor Shiny Teeth (seriously, do those things sparkle or what?), proposed some gun laws earlier in the year that are designed to track the sales of ammunition in the city. The City Council is expected to pass them today.

Setting aside the problems of who exactly is going to enforce these new laws, where the money will come from, and the fact that the gangbangers are getting their ammo out of the back of a Buick off Normandy instead of in, you know, a store, the thing that jumped out at me is this:

ban the sale of .50 caliber ammunition and cartridges
This is a problem? The fuck uses a .50? There's the Desert Eagle, sure, and the Barrett. But really, if you're going up against sniper rifles that can crack an engine block a mile away you've got bigger problems. How often are people getting shot with these?

Now, I'm not actually opposed to these laws. I'm opposed to photo-op legislation that does nothing but make politicians look good. Yay! We banned bullets nobody's using! That they're not going to get from legit dealers, anyway! Woohoo!

Now how about we get our act together and actually put together some real plans to deal with the problem rather than some of the side effects. Come on, Shiny Teeth, you wanted the job, now go ahead and finally do something with it.


The 32 Million Dollar Coroner

Los Angeles, CA

They're going to upgrade the Coroner. With bionic limbs and shit. Stronger, faster. Now the ME can do autopsies at twice the speed of sound and... Oh. No, they're just giving the department more money to upgrade their facilities.

The County Board of Supervisors finally approved #32 million in additional funding to increase the number of crypt, lab and autopsy spaces for the Coroner.

About goddamn time. More than two years ago the coroner's department went to the Supervisors, hat in hand. The backlog of bodies had gotten so bad they were triple stacking corpses in the drawers.

Inadequate ventilation, electrical and plumbing makes for a pretty ripe environment. Not to mention high risks for communicable diseases. People were getting TB off dead homeless guys.

They'll be getting a new crypt building by 2010 and the rest of the facilities upgraded by 2014. Sadly, no bionics.

But maybe we can convince them to make that nu-nu-nu-nu-nu sound.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Great Car... If It Weren't For All The Bulletholes

Los Angeles, CA

Ever been in a Bentley? Me either. But I hear they're nice. Roomy, luxurious, well ventilated.

A silver Bentley was involved in what appears to be a car to car shooting on the 101 near the 10 this morning, leaving the driver in critical condition.

Interesting thing about this? No plates. Something tells me the driver is not the legal owner.

So far no witnesses have come forth. But 3:25 in the morning on the 101 downtown? I wouldn't expect too many. Only time the dreeways are drivable.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Lose The Gun, Keep The Bullet

El Sereno, CA

Testosterone, stupidity, firearms. My favorite combination.

A 15-year-old boy accidentally shot himself with his own gun when it went off as he was climbing a fence at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in El Sereno today. After disposing of the gun, he sought help on campus, claiming that somebody from a gang had shot him. It wasn't until later that it was discovered that he'd done it to himself.

This is what happens when dipshits carry. All those gangbangers with their Tek-9's and black market Sigs? Comedy waiting to happen, baby. If they don't take out a crowd hanging out at a bus stop, that is.

Hopefully he didn't bleed out on the way to the hospital. I don't know what he shot himself with or how badly he was hit, but he's looking at some fun surgeries. Maybe a nicked lung, nerve damage, definitely some ripped up muscle. You don't walk off a GSW, no matter what you saw on Mannix.

The annoying part? Fucker won't learn. Maybe he'll be the exception, but I'm not counting on it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

At Least They're In A Nice Neighborhood

Arcadia, CA

When did Arcadia become the prostitution center of Southern California? Bad enough cops seem to just be catching on to the problem, now they're getting it shoved into their faces by the johns.

Police responded to a report of a robbery in progress and shots fired at an upscale ranch house on West Palm Avenue in Arcadia. When they got there they didn't find a robbery, but they did find a whorehouse. Gracie Gao, 57, and Steve Wang, 58, were arrested on suspicion of operating a house of prostitution. They were nabbed along with several other people as they tried to duck out the back.

Police are thinking that a pissed off john called the cops on the place. That's gotta burn. All those juicy potential arrests sitting there right under their noses and they find out because some guy's happy ending's not happy enough.

Personally, I think that shows a lack of imagination. A john called on them? Why not a competitor? If there's one brothel there's another and they don't exactly undercut the other guy by slashing prices. Thorats, maybe, but not prices.

Arcadia, I think you're about to have yourselves a bigger problem.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Packrats, Take This As A Warning

North Hollywood, CA

Some people don't like to throw things out. They collect stuff, hang onto everything. Newspapers, clothes, shoes, their dead mother.

After receiving a call from a mortgage broker telling them that a home in North Hollywood was to revert back to the bank and that there was concern over an elderly woman listed as living there, police went to look in on her. They found a trash filled house occupied by Robert Hunt, 26 cats, three possums, a raccoon, and a skeletalized corpse in the back that they're pretty sure was Hunt's mom, Barbara.

Damn, and I thought I had a lot of crap lying around. Suddenly I have this urge to clean out the garage.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

So Much For The Two Minute Rule

Lancaster, CA

Bank robbers have to work fast. Get in, get out. Otherwise the cops show up while you're explaining your poor social skills to the teller and you spend the next five years making sure nobody shanks you for sneezing on the Jell-O in the cafeteria. Unless, of course, you don't.

A man and a woman kidnapped the assistant manager of a Downey Savings in Lancaster and held her in her home at gunpoint last night. This morning they drove her to the bank, cleared it out, dropped her off at home and stole her car.

All things considered that seems awfully polite. I mean, they didn't shoot her. Or tie her up and dump her in the trunk. That would have bought them a few hours at least.

Which makes me wonder why. But then I'm a suspicious sort.

If they're smart, and I have my doubts, then I think they're going to find the manager's car, if they haven't already, in a nearby parking lot. With nothing in it. The money's been moved to another car and parked somewhere else. The kidnappers aren't in town. They've gone on walkabout and they'll pick up their regular wheels with all the cash in it next week after things have quieted down a little.

Or maybe they're running around the desert stoned, naked and purple from an exploding dye pack. You never know.


Don't You Miss The Colombian Necktie?

Tijuana, Mexico

Sure, L.A.'s got some violent crime.  But even Compton can't compare with TJ.  This year alone they've had something like 350 homicides in the border city.  Thirty-eight since Saturday.   Nine of those had their heads cut off.

To say that it's drug fueled misses the more important point that it's money fueled.  It's not the addicts cutting off people's heads, after all.   And as the border has tightened over the last several years the markets in Mexico have become that much more important.  Tighter markets, stiffer competition, more headless bodies.

Bigger local drug problem, too.   Meth use in Mexico has quadrupled in the last six years.  You can't move your product to the market, move the market to the product.

And the police don't seem to be helping much.  Three of the nine decapitations this last weekend were cops.  They've even moved soldiers in to deal with the problem.  Mostly to replace the 500 corruptcops that have been reassigned for "retraining".

I'm sorry, but that's a stunningly bad idea.  Soldiers are not trained for police work.   They're trained to be a large, unwieldy mass that moves from street to street laying down suppressing fire and blowing shit up.   And when they pass by, well, that's when the killings happen. Great for riots, sure, not so hot for hit and run murders.

And, seriously, who do you think has better funding?

The thing about this that worries me, and has for a while, is that this is not a problem that exists in a vacuum.   The more you look at it the more you realize that it isn't a Tijuana problem, or a Baja problem, or a Mexico problem.  It's not just a problem there, it's a problem here as well.

We don't get many dismemberments out this way, but this violence has been spilling into the United States for a long time now.   And not just the border states. Kidnappings, murders, beatings. It's nothing new.

But it will get worse.

Personally, I think the War On Drugs(tm) is a flawed idea.   Always has been.   The focus on destroying supply and not addressing demand does nothing but make the product more lucrative.   Ask Al Capone.  Addressing symptoms does nothing to cure the disease. Decrminalize a lot of drugs, get rid of mandatory minimum sentencing laws.  Essentially, reduce the value of the drug trade and folks will move into something that makes more profit. Like the stock market.

Okay, maybe not these days but you'd have an awfully different market if they started chopping off heads.


Monday, December 01, 2008

That's Okay, He Threatens Everybody

Los Angeles, CA

Law's a lot like a bad relationship. At its core it's all just arguing. Sometimes, the best you can hope for is not to deny the facts, but to invalidate them. Phil Spector, for example, is being retried for the murder of Lana Clarkson. To help prove the prosecution's point that Spector has it out for women, several have come forward saying that, indeed, Mr. Spector's off his fucking nut and has waved his gun at them on more than a few occasions.

Rather than respond to this with the legal equivalent of "Nuh-uh!" the defense has decided instead to show that Mr. Spector doesn't have it out only for women. He has it out for men, too.

At the retrial, the defense has implied that some of the women's accounts were exaggerated either to sell their stories to media outlets or because Clarkson's death colored their memories. But his attorney has drawn on their knowledge of Spector to present him as an equal-opportunity offender who lived within a "Hollywood culture" that considered the brandishing of firearms, self-indulgent rages and profane rants as normal and as harmless as dinner at the Grill.
Sounds like some jobs I've had.  I can think of a few people who'd fit right in.

Clearly, there are better strategies. All this is going to do is paint him as a dangerous nutball who needs to be off the streets, which, let's be honest, he is.  One of the women who was held at gunpoint by Mr. Spector was asked why she never saw him again after the incident.

"Well, because I thought he was crazy," Melissa Grosvenor replied.
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up right there.

Plots With Guns #4


I leave the internets for a few days of drinking and debauching and they go put out a new Plots With Guns. Nobody tells me anything.

Yet another fine collection of noir by Kieran Shea, Robert McClure, Derek Nikitas, Frank Bill, Stanley W. Boyes, and Kyle Minor.

Check it out if you haven't already.