More NYT idiocy...destroying crime guns as "solace"


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Manedwolf
January 5, 2006, 06:50 PM
Be prepared to lose your temper, here...and no mention of what was done to the CRIMINAL!!!

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January 4, 2006
Seeing Crime Guns Destroyed Gives Solace to Victims' Families
By PAM BELLUCK

SOUTH PORTLAND, Me. - Kelly DeCambra made her way through a seven-inches-an-hour snowstorm to a dingy Maine State Police garage where, among the brake parts, transmissions and a flat-bed tow truck, she hoped to find a fragment of solace.

It would come in the form of a Ruger .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk revolver, caked with blood and the memory of Ms. DeCambra's son, 21-year-old Lionel St. Hilaire, who was shot to death with it last year.

The mother had come to watch the gun that was used to kill her son be sawed into pieces in an acrid plume of white-hot sparks.

Ms. DeCambra's act of witness was made possible by a law Maine enacted in 2001 that requires handguns used in homicides to be destroyed when they are no longer needed for evidence. Before that, guns were often sold or auctioned by police departments to raise money for other equipment.

Gun control advocates, gun rights supporters, and law enforcement officials say they believe that Maine is the only state where the police allow victims' relatives to watch a gun's destruction, and the acts of witness are arranged informally by the police, not spelled out in the law.

Supporters of the law, including the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, acknowledge that in a state like Maine, which in the last decade averaged about 20 homicides a year, destroying such weapons takes only a few guns out of circulation. But the requirement that crime guns be destroyed reflects a trend among police departments nationwide.

A few states, including New York and Wisconsin, require at least some guns to be destroyed, and others, like Washington, have rescinded bans on destroying guns used in crimes.

Several municipalities have passed ordinances to prevent crime guns from being sold, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police passed a resolution six years ago encouraging police departments to destroy guns used in crimes .

"It's just a culmination of factors," said Gene Voegtlin, the association's legislative counsel, based in Alexandria, Va. "Did police agencies really want to be in a situation where they were offering guns back to the public? A lot of the weapons that are confiscated aren't necessarily the highest quality, so there are some safety issues involved, liability issues involved." The association's resolution urges police departments not to sell their old police guns or trade them in to a manufacturer for new ones, a practice that began to be common in the 1990's.

Efforts to prevent the resale of guns have been spurred partly by highly publicized crimes like those committed by Buford O. Furrow Jr., a white supremacist who in 1999 used a gun that had once belonged to the police department in Cosmopolis, Wash., to wound five people at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles and kill a Filipino-American postal worker.

Although some police departments destroy guns, often by melting them down, others, usually smaller departments, still sell them.

"You got to use every penny you can get," said Roberto Fulgueira, the police chief in Sweetwater, Fla., who last year traded in his officers' old Glocks and some crime guns, saying he needed about $15,000 for new Glocks for his 65 officers.

With the money, he said, "I bought all my men guns, I bought bulletproof vests, and I still have a credit."

Maine's law came about because of Debbie O'Brien, a Kennebunk woman whose 20-year-old son, Devin, was shot to death in 1996. When she learned that the state police would probably sell the gun used to kill her son, Ms. O'Brien said her reaction was, "Oh, my God, the police are here to help you and the next thing you know they're turning around and selling a gun, making money off my dead son."

Ms. O'Brien lobbied for the proposed law, saying that she told the state police, "Look, if you need money, let's do bake sales."

"You're in hell," she said. "You're just struggling to have a life, and then I realized that would include the gun."

William Harwood, a gun control advocate in Maine, and Robert M. Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, said the original proposal was for all crime guns to be destroyed. But because of the state's strong hunting lobby, they said, the final law included only handguns used in homicides.

"To be candid," Mr. Harwood said, "the legislation had as much symbolic importance as it does deterrence."

But the symbolism is powerful, said Ms. O'Brien, who watched the .22-caliber handgun used to kill her son be cut up six years after his death.

"It was just a very important day for my husband and I," she said. "This was a weapon that changed our lives."

For Ms. DeCambra, watching the destruction of the gun used to kill her son - even though it was done without ceremony in a stark garage - seemed the closest thing she could find to justice, and a way to ease her feelings of helplessness and guilt that she had not been there to help her son when he was gunned down by a woman's former boyfriend.

Ms. DeCambra said she never saw her son's body because it was already being autopsied by the time the police notified her.

She said she had been unable to see punishment imposed on her son's killer, Zachary Fenderson, who had found his ex-girlfriend with Mr. St. Hilaire one night, because Mr. Fenderson immediately shot and killed himself.

Ms. DeCambra said she was even thwarted when she tried to put up a cross in a wooded area across from the house where her son was killed. She said someone removed each cross she tried to erect - a wooden one, a steel one, even one anchored in cement. "I haven't had any control over anything," said Ms. DeCambra, 38, a bartender at Mulligan's in Biddeford, Me. "When I brought children into this world, it's my job to protect them, and I couldn't do that. I feel like I failed him."

Ms. DeCambra, who had her first child when she was 14 and who gave birth to Mr. St. Hilaire when she was 16, has had a rocky life, plagued with early drug use and health problems that required a pacemaker and several operations. Her son, she said, was molested as a child, acted out in school and was sent to residential treatment centers. At 12, she said, he was molested by a center staff member, who was convicted. At 18, he was jailed for two years for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

"I'm the first one to say my son wasn't perfect," she said. "But he's not a monster. He was my son, and I loved him very much."

Seeking to grasp the enormity of her son's death, Ms. DeCambra asked for the crime scene photos of his body, which she keeps along with an evidence bag containing his crumpled clothes.

Seeing the gun destroyed seemed a tangible way to address her grief, and she brought along her 24-year-old daughter, her 18-year-old son and his pregnant fiancée, her 2-year-old granddaughter and two friends. Without fanfare, a state police detective, Jeff Linscott, brought out the long-barreled Ruger revolver. He said many victims' relatives do not attend gun destructions, recoiling at the thought of seeing the weapon.

Ms. DeCambra hid her face and wept, her hands shaking, as a mechanic used a red chop saw to slice the gun four times, the pieces to be tossed on a scrap pile of used brake rotors and other metal parts.

"I have the same nightmare over and over," Ms. DeCambra said. "I'm watching him get shot, and I can't stop it. I need to do this."

Katie Zezima contributed reporting from Boston for this article.

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Henry Bowman
January 5, 2006, 07:19 PM
No one ever suggests the obvious alternative: If you want the gun to be destroyed, buy it and destroy it. Win-win. Why does your "consolation" have to be at taxpayers' expense?

This is just an extension of the mentality that doesn't want the property behind their house developed because they will lose the view. If it is worth that much to you, buy it yourself. BTW, your house messed up somebody else's idea of a pristine wilderness.

C. Rabbit
January 5, 2006, 07:21 PM
It seems to me that this is an example of the how some people associate murder and crime with inanimate objects, as though guns were some sort of evil talisman, a boogeyman, and not the actual criminal. Should we burn cars used in hit and runs?

CR

Manedwolf
January 5, 2006, 07:23 PM
No one ever suggests the obvious alternative: If you want the gun to be destroyed, buy it and destroy it. Win-win. Why does your "consolation" have to be at taxpayers' expense?

This is just an extension of the mentality that doesn't want the property behind their house developed because they will lose the view. If it is worth that much to you, buy it yourself. BTW, your house messed up somebody else's idea of a pristine wilderness.

What I found most appaling, myself, isn't even that, it's the continued portrayal of the gun as a somehow evil object. It's a SMALL MACHINE THAT HAS TO BE IN A HUMAN HAND to be used for purposes good, evil, or otherwise.

No mention of the criminal and whatever justice they met. Anywhere.

boofus
January 5, 2006, 07:32 PM
No mention of the criminal and whatever justice they met. Anywhere.


Of course they probably were marching out in front of prison demanding the criminal receive clemency or a full pardon, like those scumbags did for quadruple murderer Tookie Williams.

It wasn't his fault an entire family was wiped out. It was the gun's! /sarcasm

Lupinus
January 5, 2006, 07:32 PM
If your house falls down you don't blam the builders hammers, you blame the builders.

If my hosue falls down for no reason I could care less what happens to their hammers I want the builders in trouble they screwed up not their tools.

Janitor
January 5, 2006, 07:49 PM
No mention of the criminal and whatever justice they met. Anywhere.
Well - no mention of the criminal anywhere except for what they said about him killing himself.

She said she had been unable to see punishment imposed on her son's killer, Zachary Fenderson, who had found his ex-girlfriend with Mr. St. Hilaire one night, because Mr. Fenderson immediately shot and killed himself.

None of that changes the fact that this was a article about somebody blaming the gun for something somebody did with it.
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SomeKid
January 5, 2006, 08:05 PM
Yah know, I really cannot pity this woman. Her son should have been executed at 18 when he did that 13 yr old girl.

Frankly, she sounds like human waste, her family sounds like human waste, and every quote from her sounded like it came from the mouth of a retarded child.

The world is better off now that her scumbag son is dead. She is just a tool.

Don Gwinn
January 5, 2006, 08:15 PM
Ahhh, yes. The High Road. So that's what it looks like. :rolleyes:

Grieving mothers are supposed to be irrational. No need to be vicious about it.

rchernandez
January 5, 2006, 08:15 PM
I'm going out on a limb here...

IMO any small measure that can be done to help the family of a violent crime victim grieve their loss, is a small amount to pay if it helps them back into recovery. The South Portland example sound like an informal arrangement that I feel shows the local LEO's "compassion" towards the victims. This is not the time for rationality...this is about grieving and the long path to recovery. It's about closure in one form or another.

However, just destroying a gun, with no grieving party to benefit...now that's a crime.

walking arsenal
January 5, 2006, 08:18 PM
Personally i think it would provide more solace to see the murderer shot with the gun that killed my son than to see it chopped up.

Just my .02

Crosshair
January 5, 2006, 08:23 PM
What a waste. Sell the gun and donate the money to a crime prevention program or something. Ruger will just make another one to replace it.:banghead: What possible Solace can a person find by a piece of steel being ground up.:confused:

iapetus
January 5, 2006, 08:33 PM
I kind of agree with rchernandez.

If I had a gun stolen from me, and it was used in a crime and destroyed as a result, I'd be annoyed. But if a criminal had his gun destroyed in order to help the bereaved get "closure", it wouldn't bother me too much.

What does seem weird was this:

Seeking to grasp the enormity of her son's death, Ms. DeCambra asked for the crime scene photos of his body, which she keeps along with an evidence bag containing his crumpled clothes.


She's distraught by the idea of the gun remaining in circulation, but is happy to keep the crime scene photos?

Standing Wolf
January 5, 2006, 09:06 PM
I think it makes more sense to destroy criminals than the weapons they use.

That saidô, if watching the gun be destroyed helps the mother cope with her loss, I can't really hold it against her.

I have to wonder what happens to a citizen's firearm if he or she uses it to kill a criminal. Is it destroyed, too?

MTMilitiaman
January 5, 2006, 09:28 PM
No one ever suggests the obvious alternative: If you want the gun to be destroyed, buy it and destroy it. Win-win. Why does your "consolation" have to be at taxpayers' expense?


Absolutely. How come the smart ones never make it into office?

To be fair, this is purely symbolic. Gun grabbers simply like to see guns destroyed. This does nothing but entertain those simple enough to get satisfaction from the distruction of a material object when the real cause of the crime is already being punished. It is sad that people must bend over backwards for the most stupid, loud, and persistant and even more sad that it must be at taxpayer's expense. I would like to see people have to purchase the weapons before they are destroyed but other than that, I say if you are that simple and desperate for closure, go for it. Destroy the thing. Ruger will make more.

AF_INT1N0
January 5, 2006, 09:31 PM
Sounds like this dude was not only a bit scummy (See Criminal)

Also he slept with the wrong damn dude's girl..

I have a hard time seeing how any of this was the guns fault..

Also... Selling firearms (especially) those used to commit crimes in order to support Law enforcement is about as good as you get..

Think about all the tax payer's money you save!! Heck they do it with cars.. why not guns???

I also strongly agree with Henry Bowman. If you want to destroy it that bad. Buy it and destroy it yourself..

georgeduz
January 5, 2006, 09:38 PM
what would they do with a car that was use to kill someone,sell it,or will they destroy it.

shermacman
January 5, 2006, 09:50 PM
What a weird religious cult these people belong to: The Inanimate Object. The subject of such emotion, thought and action must surely have some kind of soul?

Shrinkmd
January 6, 2006, 12:50 AM
This has probably been posted before (I will have to search) but does anyone ever wonder what their C&R collection was up to back in the day (with the exception of K31s in the snow and those cosmoline laden SKS, of course) I figure that they belong to me now.

Ah, maybe unrelated after all.

walking arsenal
January 6, 2006, 01:24 AM
what would they do with a car that was use to kill someone,sell it,or will they destroy it.

Pretty much, at least they do here.

My sisters boyfriend just bought a volkswagon jetta that was used to run down an old women.

He's going to rebuild it and drive it. I told him he should name it christine.

Crosshair
January 6, 2006, 01:58 AM
What a weird religious cult these people belong to: The Inanimate Object. The subject of such emotion, thought and action must surely have some kind of soul?

Don't many of us worship JMB and his many creations.:p

El Tejon
January 6, 2006, 07:49 AM
Nothing new; this has long roots in Anglo-American history. Centuries ago my people held trials for swords used in murders. If the sword was found guilty, it was destroyed in a public ceremony.

BTW, if the sword was used to wound another, medicine was applied to the sword.:uhoh:

This behavior is further proof that the English conquered the world in order to get out of England!:what: :D

Capital Punishment
January 6, 2006, 10:16 AM
Thats what those guns deserve for murdering those people. Shame on them.











:uhoh:

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