Patterico's Pontifications


The Mystery of the NIU Shooter

Filed under: Crime,Current Events — DRJ @ 8:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As I read about shootings like the one yesterday at Northern Illinois University that killed 5 and wounded 21, I experience a range of emotions: Sadness, disgust, fear, and anger. It helps a little to try to understand why things like this happen and to identify clues that may help avoid incidents like this in the future.

So far, there are no obvious clues that would have forecast the NIU shooter other than his very recent erratic behavior:

“A day after a lecture hall was attacked at Northern Illinois University, the gunman emerged in two portraits not easily reconciled.

In recent weeks, Steve Kazmierczak, turned erratic after suspending an unidentified medication. He gathered the tools for a slaughter, and carried it out quickly, silently and without emotion.

But that person bore no resemblance to the 27-year-old man who Donald Grady, the chief of the college’s department of public safety, said “was revered by the faculty and staff and students alike” and was completely unknown to police.”

Perhaps there’s more health care professionals can do when certain medications are involved, although there’s no indication what medicines were involved here. But HIPAA laws and privacy issues, not to mention the inability of health care professionals to monitor every aspect of their patients’ lives, make that unlikely. The New York therapist’s murder is a good illustration of how privacy laws make it difficult to investigate – let alone forecast – criminal acts where there are health care issues involved.

Finally, it’s a shame that along with all the things kids have to worry about these days, they also have to worry about school shootings. I expect we’ll see more state legislatures considering bills like this that authorize school faculty and staff to carry guns.


Violence South of the Border

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Violence in Mexico may be spiraling out of control:

Today’s bomb blast in Mexico City near police headquarters that was apparently detonated by remote control.

A series of drug-related killings and kidnappings.

Heightened security in El Paso because the drug war in Mexico’s border cities is spilling over into the US.

The intentional murder of a Border Patrol officer along the border in January, as well as DHS Secretary Chertoff’s statement that border violence is expected to increase.

Too bad Mexico doesn’t have someone like General Petraeus. Thanks to him and the US military, Iraq is celebrating the one year anniversary of the launch of Operation ‘Rule of Law’ and the surge.


SWAT Officer Randall Simmons’ Funeral

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 7:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Los Angeles SWAT Officer Randall Simmons was remembered and honored today in a funeral attended by over 10,000 people and broadcast on local TV:

“In an emotional funeral service shared by thousands of mourners — both inside the South L.A. church where it was held and throughout the region where it was carried live on local television — slain SWAT Officer Randal Simmons was praised today as a man of God who is now “patrolling the streets of heaven.”

Simmons, 51, was shot and killed last week during a tense standoff with a San Fernando Valley gunman who already had killed three members of his family. He is the first SWAT officer to be killed in the line of fire in the unit’s nearly 40-year history. The funeral was one of the largest in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department.”

It is a tragedy that Officer Simmons is dead (as noted by Patterico in this post) but I’m glad so many chose to honor his life and memory.

H/T Tired.


Can Hillary Clinton Hold on in Texas?

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 4:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Patterico has asked me to guest blog this weekend so not only are you stuck with me but you are stuck with my Texas posts.

It’s been widely reported that Hillary Clinton has made Texas and Ohio her firewall states that she hopes can stop the Obama campaign. Aside from the irony of an (adopted) Arkansan having to rely on Texans for help, the real question is whether Texas Democrats will come through for Hillary.

Former President Bill Clinton is doing his best to help, including a Saturday speech in Austin – the home of many affluent and elite Texas Democrats. He also has stops planned in Amarillo and Lubbock. The polls show Hillary Clinton has a clear lead but Obama appears to be gaining momentum.

Today, Austin Mayor (and Democrat) Will Wynn endorsed Barack Obama. Not only does the Mayor have a great name for a politician but he may be bad news for Hillary Clinton. A Democrat who can’t hold Austin will have a problem taking Texas.

Can Hillary Clinton hold on in Texas? I don’t think so.


Easier Quote Quiz

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 9:40 am

OK, due to the negative feedback from the quote quiz earlier this morning, here is a newer quote quiz. It’s easier than the one immediately below. In this one, I am using better-known songs.

No Googling. No peeking at other comments.

Here’s your first subject. Go!

It could be made into a monster

Get on with the fascination

Somebody told me
This is the place
Where everything’s better

Remember I’ll always be true

When I feel blue in the night
And I need you to hold me tight

They say the point demons guard is
An ocean grave, for all the brave

‘Cause you need to
Be back in the arms of a good friend

Drunk in the gardens and the graves

There’s a small boat made of china
Going nowhere on the mantelpiece

Listen you
Take your hands from her head

Good luck. You should do better on this one.

Music Quote Quiz

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 1:01 am

It’s been a while since we had one of these.

The rules are simple. Googling is cheating. Reading others’ comments before answering is cheating.

Whoever gets the most correct answers gets a virtual pat on the head from me.

And she passes the time at another man’s side
I pass the time with my pride

Into the crucifix night
The storm of a cross

But my dreams are for dreaming
And best left that way

And there are days, she said
The sunlight through the trees
Feels like my own creation

I got drunk with your brother
And we caught Jon Brion’s set

Droogie don’t crash here

I’d steal all the microphones
From all the masters of ceremony

A pretty girl to love me
With the same last name as mine

If there’s work to be done
There’s these two strong hands

Kept my heart in dark ruins

Good luck!

UPDATE: The feedback I’m getting is that this is too hard. Fine; I’ll make it easier next time.

Still, if you listen to what I listen to, you’d get ’em.

UPDATE x2: OK, this one is easier.

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