Murder in Durham

This should be national news. It’s not, because it’s the mass-killings we notice, even though there’s the equivalent of a mass-killing every day in this country. In Durham, apparently, you need to be wary of teenagers as young as 12. (It’s not just Durham. One suspect lives in Raleigh; in other news, Raleigh teens recently beat a homeless man to death.) I think everyone has at least one story about trusting a stranger and falling for a con and then wondering why we put ourselves in a vulnerable position in the first place. And then sometimes we do it again, anyway. The victim here was just trying to do a good deed—for kids. It’s horrible for him and his family.

I don’t even want to think about how teenagers get guns. I hate thinking about guns, whether they’re weapons used in premeditated homicides, instruments of accidental killings, means of self-protection, sporting goods or collectibles. They all can take life in an instant, and, yeah, I admit, they scare the shit out of me, and I personally despise them. I don’t give a shit about your right to have them.

I want to write some eloquent, but, really, this is what the expression WTF was created for (as opposed to Instagram changing its terms-of-service or TLC airing a showing about the Amish mafia).

WTF.

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Updating my tally of charitable contributions to the community

I wrote in August about the various thefts from my porch and yard over the past few years. I need to update the tallies. A bunch of yard tools I previously had covered by a tarp in my backyard have now disappeared. I think the tarp was a good deterrent for most of the past year. Unfortunately, when a storm blew the tarp off a few weeks back, I didn’t bother to put it back.

I really don’t want to spend the money for a shed. I think I’ll see if there is a storage bench that is long enough to fit things like rakes and shovels.

Tally of charitable contributions
– 3 plastic rakes (newly taken, 1 rake)
– 1 metal rake (new)
– 1 hoe (new)
– 1 metal toothed-cultivating thingey (new)
– 1 shovel
– 2 semi-working vacuums
– 1 corded hedge-trimmer
– 1 cordless weed-whacker

Total instances of theft: 7
Approximate value of items: $250
Time elapsed: 3 years

Whatever’s not locked down is yours

I’ve got another item to add to the list of stuff that’s been stolen from my porch/yard because it wasn’t locked down, which obviously meant I just didn’t care if someone else wanted it:

– 2 rakes
– 1 shovel
– 2 semi-working vacuums
– 1 corded hedge-trimmer
– 1 cordless weed-whacker

These were not all taken at one time. This represents six different occasions of theft.

It’s only about $200 worth of stuff over three years, hardly worth getting too worked up about. And that’s why I don’t blog about it every time it happens.

But I had the damn weed-whacker for all of about three weeks. It was inside about 95% of the time. But it’s got weed-and-bug salad all over it, so I didn’t feel like bringing it inside.

I didn’t have to worry about this stuff when I lived in Blandsville Luxury Apartment Homes of Wake County.

I don’t fit into the group of urban-revitalization-fans who just love Durham. But, at the same time, I really do get annoyed by those who slam Durham unjustifiably.

I was originally was going to title this, “Durham: Whatever’s not locked down is yours”, but I realize that’s not fair. It’s just a function of my particular neighborhood, which I’ve chosen, some could say, to not be involved in the betterment of. Maybe I’ve turned into a cranky quasi-libertarian, but I hope that by my living in the neighborhood and not stealing other people’s sh*t and paying my taxes that I’m doing what I’m supposed to.

I think people think of Durham as that pathetic dog that just have to adopt from the shelter. Of course you love him. Of course he’s the best dog ever. Of course you’ll always be there for him. But if you’re really honest, you know you’ve encountered dogs that maybe your friends have, and they’re always calm and sociable, and they’re as loving as your special-needs dog, and you wonder if, maybe someday, you’ll look for a dog more like theirs.

Anyway, I’m done now. I’m off to a chain restaurant in Raleigh for dinner. I can assure that none of the food is locally-grown. I know, I’m evil. I’m evil like Obama’s healthcare plan.

Stupid question

I normally don’t want to touch the abortion issue, but just a stupid question.

Scott Roeder, the suspect in the killing of Dr. George Tiller, has told the AP:

I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal.

What’s the difference between this statement and the ridiculous “ticking bomb” scenario that right-wing zealots claim as the rationale for torture? Should we not be water-boarding Mr. Roeder right now in order to get valuable information from him that would prevent imminent terrorist attacks and murder?

and no duct-taping dogs either

Police: Durham Woman Duct-Tapes Dog, Tries To Kidnap ‘Second Life’ Ex-Beau – Durham – MyNC.com

Police said the two met online in “Second Life.” According to police, the victim, whose character was a lion, engaged in a virtual relationship with Jernigan, whose character was a virtual woman.

I have no punchline.

But I will say that I’d never have known about this danger in our community were not for durham.MyNC.com. I think this warrants the displaying of my DUR car magnet.

Robbery and rape after 12 prior convictions

I’m just scanning the facts here. Vonzell Speights has been arrested in connection with a recent sexual assult and robbery in Durham. Mr. Speights is apparently not very good at evading authorities, since he has twelve prior convictions. It’s no wonder bond was placed at 3.5 billion dollars.

The North Carolina Offender website lists these twelve prior convictions. Mr. Speight was most recently released from state custody on February 11, 2008 for breaking and entering, which carried just a maximum of 20 months in prison, even though he had 11 prior convictions. Many of them are minor when taken individually, but, at some point, you’d think something in the system would kick in and lock him up for a long time.

I’ll probably update this post as my ignorant self learns more about how the system works to allow such things to happen. I hope there are some rational answers, because I have a big case of the WTFs right now…

And he wasn’t even a Muslim or an illegal Mexican…

Gunman at an Omaha Mall Kills 8 and Himself – New York Times

No, my “thoughts and prayers” are not with the victims and their families. (How absolutely miserable would a person be if he thought of the victims and victims’ families every single time he read about a shooting rampage, natural disaster, or terrorist attack?)1

My thoughts are (similar to what they were after the Virginia Tech shootings and similar incidents) that we are a country that loves the right to bear arms, with powerful people who are beholden to powerful groups that fight to ensure that everyone can own whatever guns they want, and that we prefer tax cuts to affordable and accessible healthcare. It’s admittedly not brilliant reasoning, but those are my thoughts.

1 Now, when I actually read a story specifically about one of the victims, I will likely think a lot about the victim and his/her family. But, right now, I just know the victims as “eight people who were killed”…

Where are the pro-lifers now?

Mothers lawyer: Child killed for failing to say please – CNN.com

Trenor [mother], 19, told police she and her husband killed the girl in July and hid her body in a shed before dumping it in the bay.

Stickler [attorney] said Zeigler [father], 24, was overwhelmed by his sudden fatherhood and didn’t know what behavior to expect from a toddler.

Until there are no more “Baby Graces” out there getting beaten to death and similarly tortured and abused by their parents, pro-lifers ought to take a break from having their lives revolve around the unborn and try to focus on the kids this country already has and doesn’t know how to take care of. And then once we have a utopia, and every child can grow up in a loving, prosperous home, maybe they can revisit their anti-abortion crusade. In the meantime, they choose election officials with whom they disagree with on most issues solely because of their fetal obsession.

And on a similar note, when is the last time you heard about those GAY PARENTS who beat their kids to death? I’ve heard plenty of tales of mom and dad starving the kids to death. When is the last time you heard about mom and mom or dad and dad beating the kids to death?

Grad Student Assaulted in Off-Campus Home

Just a couple of blocks away from me…

Grad Student Assaulted in Off-Campus Home

Durham Police said the woman was seriously injured in the assault by a man reportedly known to her.


(I’ve censored my own reaction; would prefer at this time to focus on finding the perpetrator than to muse on what crime in my neighborhood means to me).

UPDATE
(from the Durham Police Department)

Suspect Sought in Assault, Robbery on Lancaster Street

Durham police investigators are looking for David Hill who is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury; robbery with a dangerous weapon; 1st degree burglary, larceny after breaking/entering and motor vehicle theft. On November 7th, 2007 Hill, who was known by the victim, broke into the victim’s residence on Lancaster Street assaulted her, robbed her and then stole her vehicle and miscellaneous property. Mr. Hill fled the scene in the victim’s vehicle – a 2001 Blue Subaru Forrester with Pennsylvania Tag#DFG-2261. His last known address is 1411 Sedgefield Street. Hill is also known to frequent the Berkeley Street area.

If anyone knows anything regarding this individual, please call 911, Durham Crime Stoppers at 683-1200 or Detective W.T. Coghill at 560-1020 ext 230.