Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Perils Of Commenting On Police Shootings Or Still No Gun Rights Rosa Parks

The fallout on the commentary concerning the shooting of Eric Scott continue. The gun nuts who a little too quickly canonized Scott only to discover rather than a Green Beret West Point business leader Scott was a troubled drug addict with a history of wife beating and mental illness who while under the influence of prescription drugs drew down on three Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department police officers, and, consequently made the second worst decision of his life. The worst being the decision to begin the life of drug use. Which undoubtedly contributed to his untimely death.

Because of the eventual discovery that Scott was not a saint, but a sad victim of drug abuse and an unfortunate sufferer of mental illnesses, the gun nuts went searching for their next martyr, Jose Guerena.

Guerena was killed during the execution of a search warrant by Pinal County law enforcement officers. The gun nuts have made extensive outrageous and inaccurate claims. But today those claims by Vin Suprynowicz will be addressed. Interestingly enough Suprynowicz was one of the gun nuts who backed off on the Scott case when the facts of Scott's mental illness and drug use came out, especially the fact that he was under the influence of drugs at the time Scott was carrying two pistols and decided to shoot it out with the cops. A smart move by Suprynowicz, as it turned out that Scott was not the Rosa Parks of the gun rights movement.

Unfortunately Suprynowicz has found a new potential Rosa Parks. Even more unfortunately Guerena is no more a Rosa Parks than Scott. Worse is that Suprynowicz does not even have the minimal facts on his side, much less a martyr. Without the fact, Suprynowicz and other gun nuts have decided to move forward with deliberate lies and distortions, and even the stupidest of errors.

Let us start with the first paragraph of Suprynowicz' screed:

They don't look like cops to me. Dressed in helmets and camouflage fatigues and carrying .223 rifles handed down from the U.S. Army, they look like some ragtag Third World militia as they shuffle up to a suburban front door in broad daylight in a shambling, casual cluster that no non-com who's ever seen the results of a hand grenade would tolerate.

So many errors in only two sentences. Let us sparse the sentences and look at the facts:

So, they don't look like cops. Well, lets look at the video:

Olive drab uniforms, not camoflauge, modern ballistic helmets, "Police" in large yellow letters on the back and front of their body armor...Well, that looks like police to me. Perhaps we could forgive Suprynowicz if he came from a big city where the cops wore dark blue, as many, though not all do. In fact he comes from Las Vegas, where the LVMPD wears tan or khaki regular uniforms and olive drab tactical uniforms. Hmm...just what does Suprynowicz mean by does not look like a police officer? Perhaps because it is not Officer Friendly with a tie and officer's cap twirling a baton on the end of a leather thong. I guess that is how officers should look to Suprynowicz, but that is not how cops look today. Just a fact. You might not like it, but that is life. Cops dress different from the 50s. Yeah, the 50s when a cop could beat you on the street and there was no Civil Rights Division to file a lawsuit. But the fact is that they were clearly identifiable as police officers. This is very important for later.

The next error is that Suprynowicz claims that the weapons used by the Pinal County officers and deputies were .223 caliber rifles handed down from the U.S. Army. News flash Vin, the U.S. Army does not use or issue, much less surplus out to local law enforcement .223 caliber rifles. A gun nut like Suprynowicz should know better. The U.S. Army, as well as the rest of the U.S. military, uses 5.56mm rifles and carbines. Many of those who do not know much about weapons do not know this and many who do even think they are the same, but they aren't. But someone who publishes a column at Shotgun News should know better. But this and other errors early on are symptomatic of the lack of facts, baseless speculation and an agenda to create a Rosa Parks for the gun rights movement.

The next error compares the officers and deputies to a untrained and incompetent Third World mob of thugs. While the Pinal County team did fail to execute a proper stack, comparing them to the brutal and untrained thugs of the Third World is just plain immature.

Now we move on to what happened:

But they're cops, all right. It's 9:15 on a Thursday morning in sunny Tucson, Ariz., May 5, and you can see them force open the door of the three-tour Marine combat veteran who they knew would be sound asleep after returning from his midnight shift at the local copper mine.

9:15 in the morning. That is important. What is not important is that Guerena was a three tour Marine combat veteran. It is as about important as Eric Scott's graduation from West Point or his Army service. It is completely irrelevant. Just ask the investigators at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. They arrest alot of Marines for various crimes, including drug dealing. Being a Marine does not confer on you sainthood.

Now, let's see what happens next:

After serving honorably for two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, Jose Guerena came home and got a good job in the Asarco copper mine, 18 miles south of Tucson. In the hours before he died, Jose had worked a 12-hour graveyard shift. After arriving home, he went to sleep.

OK, but irrelevant.

Two hours later, his wife, Vanessa, heard a noise outside their home and peered out the window. Their younger son, 4-year-old Joel, was with her when she spotted the gunmen. "Jose, Jose, come quickly."

So the wife looks outside and spotted "gunmen." Now go back to the video. What do you hear at the beginning of the video? Why you hear sirens! Sirens. Gunmen don't use sirens. Police use sirens.

Now look at the video again. You see police in olive drab uniforms, helmets and vests with large yellow letters that say "Police." Those are not "gunmen," those are police. Sirens+flashing lights+uniforms+"Police"+guns=police. How stupid to you have to believe that Vanessa saw anything but the uniformed police officers and deputies? Very stupid or mendacious. Mendacious is more likely as we know that someone is looking for a gun rights Rosa Parks

Vanessa thought the intruders were part of a home invasion. Two members of her sister-in-law's family, Cynthia and Manny Orozco, were killed last year in their Tucson home.

Very interesting. Apparently Vanessa is either a moron or a liar. Most likely a liar. I am willing to bet that her relatives were drug dealers who got robbed. But more on that later.

According to Vanessa, Jose's last words were: "Vani, go into the closet with the kid. Go!" Then he grabbed his AR-15 and went to confront the people who threatened his family. Seven seconds later, he was dead.

Melodramatic, but we will give Suprynowicz this one. We don't know what Jose Guerena said, as any statement by his widow is most likely self-serving by design.

At no time during Vanessa's 911 call does she say police had shot her husband. In an interview shortly after he died, Vanessa said neither she nor Jose knew who was making noise outside their home. The police did not announce themselves, Vanessa said, until after they'd shot Jose.

Oops, check the video. The police, besides the sirens, also wore uniforms as we know from the video. But Vanessa claims to have looked outside and seen gunmen, not police. But the video says otherwise. It shows police in uniform. And note from the video that one of the officers knocks on the door and announces their presence. There we have it, Vanessa is lying. Even more interesting...and telling.

Then we have the strange 911 call. Despite the fact that we know that Vanessa Guerena knows that it was police outside her house, note siren, flashing red and blue lights, uniforms and "Police" in big yellow letters, she plays dumb on the 911 call:

"Please send me an ambulance and you can ask more questions later, please!" Vanessa told the 911 dispatcher.

The dispatcher asks her to put her cheek next to her husband's nose and mouth to determine whether he's breathing, but she replies in Spanish that her husband is face-down.

The operator tells Guerena to grab a cloth and apply pressure to his wounds, but the wife responds frantically: "I can't! I can't! There's a bunch of people outside of my house. I don't know what the heck is happening! ... Is anybody coming?" she asks.

"...ask me more questions later..." That sounds more like someone concerned about lawyering up later, not someone shot inside her house.

Then there is that "bunch of people" outside her house...the bunch of people in uniform and with the sirens blaring earlier. Stupid is as stupid does but even dummies know that sirens mean police. Or perhaps Vanessa thought they were fire fighters. They certainly are a violent bunch that break into homes and shoot people.

Given the lack of facts, then Suprynowicz then tries to be cute, but ends up sounding deliberately ignorant and too cute by half:

Mike Storie, a lawyer for the Pima County SWAT team, said at a news conference that weapons and body armor were found in the Guerena home as well as a photo of Jesus Malverde, whom Storie called a "patron saint drug runner," according to KGUN.

None of these things is illegal. If you don't think ex-Marines tend to own a few firearms and an old Kevlar vest, you probably live in New York, New England or San Francisco. And if having a photo of Jesus Malverde, the unofficial Sinaloan "bandit saint" killed in 1909, proves you're a drug-runner, then having a picture of Robin Hood under your bed proves you're a poacher.

LOL, yeah, lots of Americans have photos of Robin Hood in their house...but the Patron Saint of Drug Dealers? Talk about a WTF moment. And might it be noted, a strange choice for a "respectable" former Marine and worker at a cooper mine. It does not prove anything except that the Guerena family has a strange choice in patron saints. You would think someone named Jose would have chosen the more respectable Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, and patron saint of workers. As Suprynowicz says that proves nothing, but it also gives a telling insight into Jose and Vanessa that they were choosing a fake patron saint of drug dealers to worship.

Then Suprynowicz goes for the rhetorical jugular.

A computer check on Jose Guerena revealed a couple of traffic tickets but no criminal history.

And don't all criminals start out with no criminal record? They start somewhere. Perhaps drug dealing was Jose's first venture in crime. Or, at least, the first one he got caught at. It proves nothing.

One would think that after the Eric Scott fail, Suprynowicz would be more careful, but apparently not. But at least he admitted he was wrong last time, unlike the nuts at Confederate Yankee, who are both wrong and unable or unwilling to admit their errors.

But we shall see when the search warrant and its return are unsealed. I hope Suprynowicz will admit his error again.

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