I was off work last Monday, ill for two days with some stomach bug that’s victimized many in our Recruiting Department. We’re like one big day care, a petri dish where many of the more routine annual illnesses are shared involuntarily including the latest version of the flu and other notable, opportunistic viruses. Thanks to modern medicine this will only be an inconvenient few days and I am anxious to return to work. The state of my health, however, is not the point of this post rather, that I was home and when not sleeping and gathering my strength, the news of the day dominated.
The morning was rough and while I was counting fingers and toes, the world slid not so blithely by. Here in Dallas some deranged young man shot and killed his pregnant girlfriend of many years in a Hamilton Park neighborhood home and then fled the scene. A witness to the shooting told Dallas Police Officers (DPD) that they saw the alleged shooter drive off and that the victim in a dying declaration identified the suspect as the one who shot her. All that was certain and not conjecture.
An all-points bulletin was put out for the car which was identified by DPD about 90 minutes later and a high speed chase ensued which was televised throughout the DFW area. Eventually the shooter made his way back to the same Hamilton Park neighborhood from whence he came but only after loosing several volleys at pursuing police, wounding one officer who was treated and released from a local hospital. After the suspect’s car ran a curb he bailed out and ran into a house that only moments before was occupied by its resident who was witnessing the chase on TV. The story not only dominated local TV, for several hours it was the only thing on unless you went to a premium channel or one of the news networks and some were even showing Dallas in all our unsplendor… like another OJ chase. And this is one of the points of this post – the resident of the house watching that same TV program and realizing that the suspect had wrecked just in front of his home and was headed his way, barely escaped his home just as the shooter entered from the rear. The shooter appeared well familiar with the house.
After four hours and a few rounds of tear gas Dallas Swat officers captured the suspect who was hiding in a crawl space under the house. Yours truly and much of DFW saw this all play out in living color – a replay of numerous such events that we have seen across our country. You really can’t hide anymore… Much of the video was provided by the local NBC affiliate’s Chopper 5 which we are assured was being streamed to DPD. At some point in the future those helicopters will probably be obsolete, replaced by much smaller airborne drones all backed up by a system of remote surveillance cameras that will literally cover the country. We are already well on our way to that end and are probably the better for it… This incident proved that.
By the way, the suspect whose guilt of the murder and shooting at DPD officers seems certain (we saw it on TV in live living color) is listed in the Texas sex offender list for two convictions of indecency with a child by exposure, one in 2000 and one in 2001. He was sentenced to a year in prison on both occasions. He was also arrested in January on a misdemeanor family violence assault charge. The court date for that case was scheduled for next week. Looks like that charge has now been trumped with the capital murder charge…
Then comes the Boston Marathon terrorist attack masterminded and carried out by what we know now to be two real sickos. The suspected terrorists are brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who like our “suspected” murderer above no doubt perpetrated the Marathon Massacre even as local law enforcement reflect that they have photos of their explosive drop. Their reaction thereafter and the murder/assassination of a MIT police officer demonstrate their arrogance and desperation. Tamerlan is now dead from his attempt to shoot it out with Police while brother Dzhokhar is now in custody. Whatever their perceived grievance we have to wonder why they would murder and maim innocents and how they so grossly underestimated the resolve and strength of our law enforcement, our military and the American People. Both petitioned for asylum and accepted refuge and the hospitality of America only to turn to the dark side.
Prior to their capture President Obama speaking directly to the perpetrators and all Americans proclaimed that the bombings were, “a heinous and cowardly act and make no mistake — we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this; we’ll find out why they did this… Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.” The Tsarnaevs were persons of interest almost immediately thanks to our surveillance network and the timely photographs and video of a concerned citizenry. And, hey how about some kudos for digital photography, social media, front facing infra-red cameras and the extraordinary interaction of law enforcement with all those key elements.
Closer to home, on Monday the FBI and law enforcement officials of the State of Texas and Kaufman County appeared closer to identifying the perpetrators of the murder of Kaufman County District Attorney Michael McLelland, his wife Cynthia and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse. Former Kaufman Justice of the Peace Eric Williams had already been jailed for making a "terroristic threat" and appeared to the entire world that he was involved in the shootings as well. Most in DFW feel that he was in the sights of law enforcement and the prime suspect in the aforementioned murders. While this writer was finishing this post word came down that William’s wife Kim was officially charged with the murders ($10M bond) and immediately implicated her husband as the shooter who was apparently taking revenge for pursuing theft charges against Williams for stealing County property. He has since been charged with the murders and with a $23M bond we are assured that he won’t be riding his Segway any more…
So, it was quite a Monday and I couldn’t wait to get back to work. No, reality and the press of what seems now - more than ever - a world gone mad, wasn’t left behind. It’s just good to be with Friends and people who care. The victims of these senseless tragedies are in our thoughts and prayers as well as the heroic Citizens of Boston and Watertown. Kudos to all law enforcement whether Federal, Commonwealth or local. Well done.