Thursday, May 20, 2010

Calderon, Assault Weapons, and West Memphis

No sooner had the Mexican president stood in front of Congress and blamed his country's recent drug violence on America's lifting of the assault weapons ban (and received a standing-o from some Congressmen for bashing the Arizona immigration law) a terrible event unfolded here in the mid-south, blamed on assault weapons:
A short time later and about a mile away, in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, two deputies searching for the suspects came across a white minivan and were shot and wounded as they approached the vehicle, Shelton said.

"The suspects were using an assault rifle," he said.
How utterly horrible. Assault rifle or not, the thoughts of two murdered police officers left lying in the middle of the interstate for doing their jobs is haunting, tragic, and maddening. I've been to that Wal-Mart a few times. It's right off I-40, a particular stretch long known as a hot spot for police searching for dope runners and speeders.

As to the suspects, lots of speculation because they haven't released names or motive yet, or as AP asks, "why they were pulled over". This grisly picture posted in the local Commercial Appeal doesn't shine much light on anything but the fact one of them is a young man, although in the back of the vehicle is what appears to be a blue plastic storage bin. Maybe that's why they pulled them over, or maybe the police now profile young white scruffy guys driving mini-vans. Or maybe they were just speeding.

Details will come but right now there are some discrepancies per usual, such as what guns they had (reports now say a long rifle and handgun, not AK-47s) and how the traffic stop occurred (first officer pulled them over, second arrived, first officer was knocked the ground and the shooting started versus they just opened fire). And who tipped police to their final destination.

What has been released is the van's registration was to a "House of God's Prayer" in New Vienna, Ohio, a defunct church that according to reports was linked to the Ayrian nation in the 90s. We'll see if that makes the story take off.

MORE 5/21/10

Details coming in. Suspect sounds fairly paranoid, talking about bankruptcy of the US in '33, the moneychangers and such. Comment from their webpage:
Let's face it. If there wasn't a "traffic stop" no one would be dead!
Yeah, that's logical. In a crazyass kind of way. The police dash cam likely won't be released out of respect and sensitivity to the officers' families but it probably tells the story.

Speaking of respect for the deceased, did the Commercial Appeal go too far in showing the picture of the 16 year old lying on the ground beside the vehicle? It was such a grisly attack they probably figured people wanted to see, but there are murders in this city all the time and they hardly ever show crime scene photos on the front page.


Debbie said...

Again one of those situations with so many questions and so few answers. Should be interesting to find out more

Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

Well, we know they weren't skinheads or neo-nazis because the father referred to his traffic stop in NM as a 'nazi checkpoint'. He sounded incredulous about having to have a drivers license, so appears more of a far right anarchist type. I wouldn't be surprised if Rachel Maddow devotes 30 minutes of her show to this tonight.