Category Archive 'Crime'
23 Apr 2021
Sharks versus Jets in “West Side Story” (1961).
Charles C.W. Cooke, tongue firmly in cheek, has loads of fun joining Bree Newsome and Lebron James in sticking up for teenage knife fighting.
Since when do we need the cops to intervene in the recreational stabbings of our youth?
Just when I thought that America couldn’t possibly get any softer, people start suggesting that there’s a role for the police in preventing knife murders. The snowflake generation strikes once again.
Is there any tradition that the radicals won’t ruin? As the brilliant Bree Newsome pointed out on Twitter, “Teenagers have been having fights including fights involving knives for eons.” And now people are calling the cops on them? I ask: Is this a self-governing country or not? When Newsome says, “We do not need police to address these situations by showing up to the scene & using a weapon,” she may be expressing a view that is unfashionable these days. But she’s right.
Disappointingly, my colleague Phil Klein has felt compelled to join the critics. In a post published yesterday, Phil asked in a sarcastic tone whether the police should “somehow treat teenage knife fights as they would harmless roughhousing and simply ignore it.” My answer to this is: Yes, that’s exactly what they should do — yes, even if they are explicitly called to the scene. I don’t know where Phil grew up, but where I spent my childhood, Fridays were idyllic: We’d play some football, try a little Super Mario Bros, have a quick knife fight, and then fire up some frozen pizza before bed. And now law enforcement is getting involved? This is political correctness gone mad.
It’s hypocrisy, too. Who among us hasn’t come within a second or two of murdering someone else with a steak knife? My best friend in school, Bobby “The Blade” Simpson, used to throw shivs at the smaller kids in the music room. Did we need the authorities to step in when that happened? No, we did not. As MSNBC’s Joy Reid argued smartly on her show last night, pranks such as these were dealt with by our teachers — just as we all expected they would be. And if something went wrong? Well, that’s why we had substitutes.
In all honesty, I worry that this sort of helicopter policing is making us weak. Back in my day, the people who survived a good stabbing came out stronger for it.
03 Sep 2020
1010 Wins Radio:
A bar on Long Island is in hot water after it reportedly took bets on shooting deaths in New York City and Chicago.
The Cliffton on East Main Street in Patchogue created a gambling pool on which city would see the most shooting deaths over the Labor Day holiday weekend, with the winner offered a cash prize. …
â€œLet the shooting sprees begin!â€ the bar reportedly posted to Instagram last week along with a photo of a Super Bowl-style betting box.
Officials have since expressed outrage over the gambling pool.
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said, â€œThese reports are repugnant and those responsible for this gambling pool should be ashamed.â€
The betting box was also condemned by a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called it “unfathomable,” as well as Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri.
The State Liquor Authority said it was â€œnot only sickening, but also appears illegal under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law,â€ under which gambling at businesses with liquor licenses is prohibited.
Suffolk Police are investigating, according to a spokesperson.
07 Oct 2019
MANILA, Ark. (KAIT) – When a Mississippi County man awoke to find a burglar in his house, he told him to leave. Then the suspect told him to hand over his gun. Sheriffâ€™s deputies say thatâ€™s when the homeowner shot him.
The victim told deputies he awoke around 3 a.m. Tuesday to a loud noise at his house on East 1st Street.
The homeowner grabbed his gun and began searching the home. In the living room, he found a man he did not know.
The victim told the suspected burglar to leave.
But the man ignored him, according to Sheriff Dale Cook, and began fixing himself something to eat and drink.
Once again, the homeowner told the man to leave.
Instead, the suspect began unplugging the television.
When the victim told him to leave again, the suspect reportedly said: â€œGive me that gun before you hurt yourself, old man.â€
The homeowner then fired one shot at the man, striking him in the leg.
When officers arrived, they found 47-year-old Charles Lancaster of Keiser across the street, suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg.
Aram Bakshian linked the above news item on Facebook.
Many years ago, when I was running a real estate company in Manhattan, there was a rape one night in one of our buildings. I was there that evening, and some tenants phoned me and said a woman was screaming for help. I intervened and made a citizen’s arrest of the rapist. He finally tried to run away, saying: “You ain’t going to shoot me, man. You ain’t going to shoot nobody!” I responded by shooting him in the leg.
Aram Bakshian replied: “I love a story with a happy ending.”
27 Jul 2019
Left: Rachel DeLoache Williams; right: “Anna Delvey,” really Anna Sorokin in Marrakech.
She posed as a German heiress planning to lease for her own foundation a Manhattan building for a visual-arts center dedicated to contemporary art, which would also house a lounge, bar, art galleries, studio space, restaurants, and a members-only club.
She met fashionable young New York professionals at chic restaurants and bars where, Ooops! her phone failed to work when trying to charge the check, and she hadn’t bothered carrying a credit card. So her new friends obliging picked up the tab this time.
She took the dazzled Rachel DeLoache Williams, who worked at Vanity Fair, on a little outing to a [Â£5,485 a night] villa she’d booked at Marrakech. But it did not work quite the way Rachel was expecting.
On the morning we were supposed to leave, she asked for my help booking the flights because there was a problem with her card. I didnâ€™t think too much of it; this was just the way she was: disorganised. Iâ€™d seen her book things last minute so many times and I knew she would reimburse me.
From there, it was a trickle effect. At the airport, Anna â€˜accidentallyâ€™ checked her wallet, which meant I had to pay for everyoneâ€™s dinner (she brought a photographer and her personal trainer, too). Her card still wasnâ€™t working for the rest of the trip, so I began adding things to a tab (dinners, kaftans). I had presumed our villa was pre-paid, but at some point the hotel manager began asking to speak with Anna.
The penny drops
On the third day of the trip, I walked into our villa and the hotel managers were standing in the doorway. Anna was sitting with her phone on the table in front of her, like she was waiting for something. A call, apparently. One of the managers turned to me and asked if I had a credit card. They were firm. I looked to Anna and she said â€˜use it for nowâ€™. My stomach sank. It would have felt weirdly ungrateful to show my annoyance, so I gave it to them. I was told the charge was only temporary â€“ it wasnâ€™t â€“ and I left the next morning, a day before she did.
This is when everything started to unravel. Every day I asked her for the money back and every day she promised it would arrive. I thought she was just doing a characteristically bad job of following through with logistical things. It was $62,000 [about Â£48,800] in total.
This went on for an excruciatingly long time â€“ two months â€“ and my life started falling apart. I was having panic attacks constantly, not sleeping. It took me a strikingly long time to even ask myself the question: what if she never pays you back? Because that would mean Iâ€™d have to look at how that would impact my life, and I knew if I did that, I wouldâ€™ve lost it. I already wasnâ€™t saving any money â€“ New York is expensive, and I was barely breaking even â€“ so to be set back 60-something thousand dollars? It felt like, â€˜I am never going to get out of this hole. This is where it ends for me. Iâ€™m not going to get to buy a house, Iâ€™m not going to get to be a real adult, Iâ€™m never going to have kids.â€™
More book excerpts at Crime Reads.
But, cheer up, Rachel wrote up the story of her misfortunes as a book, My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress, and she will probably come out ahead in the end.
09 Jun 2019
Stanislas Gosse, a low-paid teacher from a Strasburg engineering school, successfully removed the most valuable treasures from the collection of the Abbey of Sainte Odile over a period of years. He didn’t try selling them. He was just a connoisseur of books.
On May 19, near 7 p.m., Stanislas Gosse drove his CitroÃ«n to Mont Sainte-Odile. He brought ropes, three suitcases, gray plastic bags and a flashlight. Once inside the main courtyard, he headed straight to the second floor of the Sainte-Odile aisle of the guesthouse. He walked down a corridor, opened a door using a key pinched during a previous trip, and found himself in the churchâ€™s bell tower.
He tied the ropes to a wooden beam above a trapdoor in the floor and climbed down into a dark, windowless room of about 10 feet by 10 feet with a short 7-foot ceiling. Through an opening in the wall, he slipped into a second, narrow room. A dim light filtered through cracks in the lower part of a wall. The thief gently slid two wooden panels open, revealing rows of neatly lined up books on two shelves inside a cupboard. He took the books off, then one shelf, before sneaking inside the library. At the library in Strasbourg, he had found what he had been looking for in an article from a local history journal that mentioned a secret passage, unknown to anyone currently working at the abbey, except Dietrich, the janitor. It had probably once been used as a hiding place for the monks or as an ossuary â€” a place to store bones.
Gosse selected a few books, wrapped them in plastic bags, then crawled back inside the cupboard. In the second room, he flipped a wooden crate, climbed on it and hauled the bags through the hatch onto the attic. He climbed up the rope, moved the books to a nearby table to clear the hatch, and climbed back down. He repeated the operation eight times throughout the evening. By the time he was done, more than a hundred books were stacked up in the attic. Around 2 a.m., he stuffed the suitcases with books and left them behind, planning to pick them up later.
09 Apr 2019
National Gun Network:
People enjoying some hot wings the other day in Colorado Springs, CO got a front row seat to proof of the efficaciousness of a virtue-signaling gun-banning sign. Buffalo Wild Wings is a gun-free zone. It says so right on the sign on the front door in big, bold letters: â€œBuffalo Wild Wings, Inc Bans Guns on These Premises.â€
The sign is highly effective 99.9% of the time. Just hope that youâ€™re not there and unarmed for the 0.1% of the time when the place gets robbed, like it did the other day.
Two robbers, one with an â€œassaultâ€ rifle and one with a pistol, stormed into the restaurant and walked right past the sign that clearly bans guns.
Imagine how embarrassed they would have been if they had seen the sign! They probably would have turned right around. Maybe they couldnâ€™t read, which led to their life of crime. …
The guy with the â€œassaultâ€ rifle didnâ€™t even have to point it at anyone at Buffalo Wild Wings. He just held it and yelled at everyone to get back and stay down. To which they got back and stayed down, being civilized folks who had obeyed the sign on the front door banning guns.
The guy with the pistol was a bit more zealous with his crowd control measures, however. He pistol-whipped one person with his banned pistol, then grabbed the hostess in a choke-hold and held his banned pistol against her head until the register was emptied.
One of the civilized customers got down on the ground and crawled out the back door in a dignified manner, and then called the police. â€œThey showed up in like 10 seconds,â€ she said. However, despite the rapid police response, the thieves got clean away with the cash.
Itâ€™s a good thing that no one was hurt! Well, except for the hostess who was choked and the person who got pistol-whipped and needed to go to the hospital.
The really good news is that Buffalo Wild Wingsâ€™ sign banning guns was almost totally effective. Aside from those two bad apples that robbed the place with guns, no one else in the restaurant had a gun! Compliance!
08 Apr 2019
Brightside explains what some of the best-known prison tattoos mean, and warns you against appropriating any of them yourself.
18 Dec 2018
Full-of-crap Outside Magazine peddles a magical mystery tale about disappearing tourists in the Himalayas.
There is only one road in and out of the Parvati Valley. Itâ€™s a narrow trackâ€”roughly paved in parts, washed-out dirt in othersâ€”along which rattletrap buses swerve and screech to a crawl with inches to spare as they pass. Mountains rise up one side, and cliffs drop precipitously down the other, often hundreds of feet to the Parvati River below. The milky blue waters, named after a benevolent Hindu goddess of fertility and devotion, seem inviting but can be a powerful, violent force.
The valleyâ€™s hillside hamlets and postcard mountain vistas attract tens of thousands of tourists every year, but those who come here are different from those who speed through the Taj Majal on a Golden Triangle tour or backpack from vibrant temple to sparkling beach as the mainstay of Indiaâ€™s tourism. The travelers who feel drawn to the Parvati Valley, more than a full dayâ€™s bus ride north of New Delhi into the Himalayas, quickly settle into a pace of life common in this remote corner of India: a blur of weeks or months spent meditating, practicing yoga, and consuming copious amounts of hash grown in clandestine plantations or from plants that sprout wild along river and road.
The valley, where gods are said to have meditated for 3,000 years, is particularly alluring to the spiritually curious. Every summer, the valley hosts a Rainbow Gathering, a counterculture congregation that promotes anti-consumerism and utopianism. Many visitors come to venerate Shiva, husband of Parvati and one of the most exalted and popular gods in the Hindu pantheon. Among Shivaâ€™s most resolute followers are the sadhus who dress and live in emulation of the gods, but many Westerners are also lured by his familiar symbolism as the dreadlocked master of meditation and yoga and the supreme renouncer of possessions, and follow suit. Those who follow this path view the Parvati Valley as a penultimate stage or even the culmination of their quest for enlightenment. It is a place where wandering ascetics, New Age neophytes, and determined religious tourists flock, believing that the bumpy road to nowhere instead leads to long-sought answers or higher understanding. While Parvati is purifying water, Shiva is transforming fire.
The valley may appear idyllic, but it holds a dark past. Over the past 25 years, according to both official and unofficial reports, at least two dozen foreign tourists have died or disappeared in and around the Parvati Valley. Among the vanished are people from Canada, Israel, Japan, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Australia. Distraught loved ones post stories of the missing on social media, online message boards, and travel forums with scattered details and few clues.
Many cases reek of foul play. In 1996, Ian Mogford of the UK disappeared in the Parvati Valley after reportedly telling his father over the phone that he had befriended a sadhu. â€œIt is not beyond the realms of possibility that… for some reason my son got attacked and is lying on the bottom of a gorge,â€ Mogfordâ€™s father told the Telegraph. Others might have been targeted after being caught up in the lucrative drug trade, buying hash at the source and selling it to tourists. After Bruno Muschalik, a backpacker from Poland, went missing in the summer of 2015, his father maintained that local drug mafias were to blame. Some of the missing are presumed murdered; in 2000, a British man, his fiancÃ©e, and her teenage son were brutally attacked while camping above the Parvati Valley. Only the man survived. Most simply vanished without a trace in this one sliver of the subcontinent.
When a body does turn up, it is often pulled from the torrential churn of the Parvati River, which during the monsoon summer is capable of carrying a person downstream or consuming one in its undertow in a blink. But it is the dearth of bodies that turns the Parvati Valley into Indiaâ€™s backpacker Bermuda Triangle.
In the rest of the country, hotel and guesthouse owners are required by law to log their patrons into an online database, but in the Parvati, the vast majority travel in and out without record. The isolation and lack of regulation only add to the draw. Itâ€™s not difficult or unusual for foreigners to deliberately drop off the radar for the full duration of or even illegally beyond their travel visas. One Israeli man lived in the valley for decades, growing and dealing hash, getting married and having a child, until he was arrested for overstaying his visa.
With conditions ripe for vanishing without trace, a question arises: Did all of these travelers get lost or murdered in the wild, or did some not want to be found?
Well, it’s neither so spiritual nor so mysterious as all that. It turns out that the Parvathi Valley is the Himalayan equivalent of Humboldt County, doing a booming trade in Charas, an exceptionally potent local version of hashish.
The Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh is an extraordinarily beautiful region, but most people know it more for its charas than its beauty. Even till a decade ago, the valley remained underground, somewhat surprisingly, and mostly saw foreign tourists, as Indian tourists preferred other destinations in the Himalayan state. But as awareness about cannabis (the source plant of charas) and its forms increased in India over the years, the Valley has seen more and more young Indians pour in. While that has definitely helped tourism in the Valley’s villages, its environment, along with its reputation, has suffered a lot.
Charas is a black, sticky substance that is extracted from cannabis plants by continuously rubbing the plants, and it has been cultivated and used by the locals for decades. Lord Shiva is said to smoke it, which makes it a substance of immense religious importance in a region that is predominantly Hindu.
When foreigners, mostly backpackers, and hippies, first stumbled upon the valley and discovered the potent charas, they couldn’t wait to take it back with them, as it had immense value in the west. More interestingly, the natives of the valley had little idea of the prices their products would fetch, as they kept selling it for extraordinarily low prices.
Thus started a drug trade that grows stronger with every passing year. The natives are now fully aware of their products’ value in the international markets. As a result, thousands of acres of Himalayan lands, located in the upper reaches of the valley, remain full with cannabis plantations from April onwards. They are allowed to thrive and grow till September when the rubbing process begins, and the charas is extracted. It’s hard work, but it definitely pays; to what extent, however?
Earnings may have skyrocketed for the locals in recent years thanks to the charas trade, but most people these days venture into the Valley in the only for charas, and they rarely want anything more.
Cultivators tend to object to Western tourists messing with their crops, and local badmashes may simply prefer to harvest Western currency from the pockets of Kumbaya-humming tourists instead of actually delivering any of the dope. Relieved of his money, camera, and smart phone and given a head-start in the direction of his next incarnation, the naive Western tourist’s remains can simply be tossed into the local river.
07 Oct 2018
My 1983 arrest photo, taken at 4 in the morning. I look tired and disgruntled.
I’m a Baby Boomer and consequently, at this point, a geezer. My original Yale class arrived with short hair, wearing jackets and ties, at a non-coeducated Yale featuring strict parietal hours (meaning no girls in your room after 10 PM). I was, by the merest of accidents, at Woodstock.
I am going to confess, reluctantly, that I very recently turned 70. 35 years ago today, when I was 35-years-old, half a lifetime ago, I made a citizen’s arrest in New York City which involved reducing the culprit to possession by shooting him in the leg, causing me to be arrested, thrown into the NYC jail system, and charged with First Degree Armed Assault, plus some firearm possession charges (which –oddly enough– were never really discussed as the whole thing proceeded).
My shooting incident occurred a year earlier than the famous Bernhard Goetz Subway Shooting. I could easily have been what Bernhard Goetz became: a nationally-famous test case involving the private use of force against the then-epidemic minority violence terrorizing New York City.
I was, of course, smarter than Goetz. I used the threat of publicity to persuade the Manhattan DA’s office to back down and actually follow the law. Publicity was not in their interest. And it was not in my interest. Had the story broken, no doubt they would not have backed down, the Grand Jury would have indicted me, and I’d have been convicted, gotten a criminal record, and served time for something.
I saved the local CT newspaper article, some of the legal correspondence, and other material related to the event in a scrapbook at the time, and a few years ago, scanned the most interesting bits into my computer.
If anyone wants to read the story of all this, here it is: Shooting a Rapist.