Bad Guy with a Gun at the NRA

As a teenager, the NRA’s top lawyer used stolen guns to commit a robbery at a restaurant, shoot a pawn store owner in a hold-up and murder his girlfriend’s mother. After his arrest, he led police to the buried murder weapon, but shoddy police work sprung him after he was convicted and spent several years in jail. Mother Jones has the story here. An excerpt:

[Robert J. Dowlut] “is the general counsel of the National Rifle Association. As the NRA’s top lawyer, he has been a key architect of the gun lobby’s campaign to define the legal interpretation of the Second Amendment. He helped oversee the NRA’s effort to strike down Chicago’s handgun ban in the 2010 Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago, and he is the longtime secretary of the organization’s Civil Rights Defense Fund, which has spent millions assisting gun owners in court and sponsoring gun rights researchers. Dowlut’s journal articles have been cited by federal judges and are quoted by pro-gun activists.

Here’s Dowlut (standing, second from right) in an NRA “Fantasy Supreme Court” photo:

fantasy supreme court

It’s unsurprising that the NRA is a sociopath magnet. Will the revelation that a murdering bandit spearheaded the NRA’s transformation from a sportsmen’s organization into a death-merchant lobbyist group lessen its political influence or at least prompt LaPierre to suggest that Dowlut spend more time with his family? Probably not.

Cole once said we’d never make progress on the gun control issue until association with the NRA was as toxic as KKK membership. That day can’t come soon enough.

100 replies
  1. 1
    metricpenny says:

    Give the guy a break. He was obviously raised by a single mother.

  2. 2

    This is my attorney, Robert J. LOLwhut. He’s a real straight shooter. Lots of bang for the buck.

  3. 3
    Hunter Gathers says:

    He was just trying to pull himself up by his bootstraps using Second Amendment solutions.

  4. 4
    cmorenc says:

    How was Dowlut able to get through state bar screening to get a law license? If you have any sort of arrest record for a serious crime, even one which did not result in conviction, it’s the sort of thing a candidate for a law license in any state would normally have to explain before a review panel. That’s of course not to say that an arrest record of itself should be sufficient grounds to deny a candidate a law license, but nevertheless a second-degree murder conviction which resulted in a guilty verdict, vacated on flawed police procedural grounds rather than innocence, could provide grounds for denial of a law license (because licensing is a civil, not a criminal process and is not subject to the same evidentiary constraints as a criminal trial).

  5. 5
    gogol's wife says:

    Curse you, Betty, I was trying to work. This is a fascinating story that I can’t wait to read. I hope it blows up as big as the “47 percent” story. (But I won’t hold my breath.)

    This is who they are.

  6. 6
    Mike in NC says:

    Maybe they could offer a discount to join both the NRA and the KKK at the same time. Lots of potential overlap there.

  7. 7
    srv says:

    IDK about the Cincinnati Revolt, where hardliners took over the NRA. Their leader:

    Dowlut has helped realize Harlon Carter’s vision of venerable scholars sitting atop an enduring legal foundation. Yet his story evokes Carter’s legacy in another way: In 1931, when Carter was 17, he was convicted of confronting, shooting, and killing a 15-year-old Mexican American boy in his hometown of Laredo, Texas. Carter’s conviction was later overturned on grounds that the judge had not adequately instructed the jury on the law of self-defense… When the incident was reported in 1981, the then-NRA head first denied it, but came to acknowledge it. Asked about the case in 1984, Carter said, “It hasn’t hurt me with the American people. It still comes up every now and then but it will never have any effect. That was almost 53 years ago.”

    Standing their ground since 1931

  8. 8
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Read the story before commenting. It’s fucking scary. This guy – who’s made it pretty big and is having a direct influence on a huge national problem – is a stone-cold murderer and sociopath who has been using guns in one way or another on his fellow citizens his entire life.

  9. 9
    dedc79 says:

    @gogol’s wife: It’s been public knowledge for a long time that he had been tried/convicted for murder and that the conviction was overturned. What I haven’t seen is anything ever approaching this much detail on how the case proceeded, why the conviction was overturned, etc…

  10. 10
    MattF says:

    I’m surprised in the ‘how come no one in the media has been following this story’ sense. But not in the WTF sense. We all, after all, know WTF.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Maybe they could offer a discount to join both the NRA and the KKK at the same time. Lots of potential overlap there.

    Fattest vesica piscis EVAR!

  12. 12
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    Cole once said we’d never make progress on the gun control issue until association with the NRA was as toxic as KKK membership. That day can’t come soon enough.

    Unfortunately, by that point, we might already have mandatory gun ownership laws in more than a handful of states, because the NRA, despite how openly psychotic they are, keep fucking winning, and it’s not even a close game.

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Yet if I were to walk up to this guy and ventilate him, I”m the one they’d arrest and put on trial.

  14. 14
    Cervantes says:

    @dedc79: Conviction was thrown out on a technicality. A new trial was ordered. It never happened.

    To answer someone else’s question: assuming the conviction had not been thrown out, he would still be eligible for admission to the DC bar — which, in fact, is where he is admitted. Note that his law degree is from Howard.

  15. 15
    srv says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: He’s a product of liberal interventionism in the courts and 4th Ammendment. He’d still be in jail if we just let cops do as they pleased.

    And then he connected-the-dots for his liberal cause:

    After graduating in 1975, Dowlut enrolled at Howard University School of Law. It was at the historically black school that Dowlut came to see gun rights as a civil rights issue, according to Robert Cottrol, a professor of law at George Washington University and a member of the Civil Rights Defense Fund board of trustees who is friends with Dowlut.

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MattF: Well, this is all outside the boundaries of what the kool kidz of Georgetown are interested in. The fact that murdering sociopaths run the NRA. Doesn’t directly affect them, so who cares? Not nearly as important as chiding Obama for his failure to have Boner and Yertle over for cocktail weenies.

  17. 17
    dedc79 says:

    @Cervantes: Was this in response to my comment? The only point I was making was that this isn’t a breaking news story – the basic outline has been known for a long time. What’s new is the level of detail in the reporting about the initial events/trial and his subsequent path to the NRA.

  18. 18
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @srv:

    Unfortunately, this is precisely why an appellate court upheld the gun gag rule in Florida: because apparently it would lead to discrimination against gun owners.

    Complete bullshit but apparently the justice system has been tilted to believe that gun owners need their own civil rights movement.

    EDIT: This at the same time that much of the NRA’s fanboys are demanding diminished civil rights for everyone else.

  19. 19
    Someguy says:

    Ideally, this sort of effort to uncover the backgrounds and name + shame shouldn’t be limited to the NRA, but extended to as many Republicans as possible. Dig deep and unmask who they are. It’d do a good job of taking the wind out of their sails.

    Where’s some of that supposed billionaire money when you need it?

  20. 20
    KG says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: they keep winning where they have home field advantage (read: in red states).

    I’m actually not opposed to individual gun ownership, per se. But, I do believe there needs to be a lot of laws regarding ownership. Like if you own guns, you have to have liability insurance and that strict liability should be applied to injuries/deaths that are gun related. I believe every gun (regardless of age, so even a blunderbust like you see on pawn stars) should be registered. I believe every gun owner should be required to show proficiency in safety and handling on an annual basis, along with submitting for a psychological evaluation on an annual basis. I believe concealed carry permits should be very limited.

    ETA: and I’m sure that a lot of those things could be accomplished in blue states.

  21. 21
    Fred says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Sociopath? Shooting people? He could be VPOTUS. Hell , he should run for president. He stands a good chance. His primary prospects are really good.

  22. 22
    Trollhattan says:

    Wow, how’s that possible in the real world and not a Grisham plot? Seems about as realistic as, say, a car thief and arsonist becoming a senior member of the House of Representatives, heading a committee that investigates possible crimes.

  23. 23
    Cervantes says:

    @dedc79: Yes, was not gainsaying your comment — just adding some detail.

  24. 24
    hoodie says:

    Looks like he had little aversion to robbing and murdering to overcome obstacles to his desires (note the connection he makes between love and murder) and successfully transferred that sociopathy to the 2nd Amendment out of a hatred for cops that caught him and because it was acceptable in the “new” NRA. The thing about looking at gun ownership as a civil rights issue is particularly revealing and disturbing. Maybe one of those cases of a sociopath that goes undetected because his sociopathy plays out in a community that tolerates it because of its own perverse mores. If it wasn’t the NRA, it might have been Wall Street.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    I wish I was surprised about this. Sadly, I am not…..

  26. 26
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @KG:

    Except much of their most recent successes have been in deep blue areas like Chicago and DC, to the point that the latter had such a wide overturn they now have to recognize any and all outside gun licenses and they can’t do jack shit. Concealed carry, open carry, guns fucking everywhere is the law now.

    @Trollhattan:

    The sad fact that reality is more absurd than fiction these days is not solely limited to matters of satire.

  27. 27
    Stan Gable says:

    The police misconduct in this case seems pretty far beyond egregious. If MJ had left out the part about him being subsequently released and the fact that he’s now an NRA lawyer, we’d all be screaming about the injustice of him being behind bars in the first place.

  28. 28
    dmsilev says:

    OT, but hilarious:

    Last weekend, the Ohio Liberty Coalition hosted a “Reload 4 Liberty” event at which Janet Porter spoke about her never-ending push to get her anti-choice “Heartbeat Bill” legislation passed in Ohio. But apparently that is not all that Porter is up to these days, as she also revealed to the audience that she’ll soon be unveiling something called ReaganBook, which aims to become “the Facebook for patriots.”

    Words fail.

  29. 29
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @dmsilev:

    The literal worship of Reagan knows few bounds.

  30. 30
    gogol's wife says:

    @KG:

    Surely you jest. Even in blue CT, there is a serious effort to overturn some piddling attempts at regulation. Your wish list is eminently sensible and utterly impossible.

  31. 31
    gogol's wife says:

    @Stan Gable:

    Hi there, Chet.

  32. 32
    SatanicPanic says:

    Not surprising at all. Half of these gun owners are just looking for an excuse to shoot people. Like that evil old man who shot a pregnant burglar in the back last week

  33. 33
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Stan Gable: Dowlut’s guilt seems pretty well established too, despite the police fuck-ups. I’m in favor of the cops following the rules. Period. But I sure as hell don’t celebrate when some sociopath gets freed because the cops fucked up. I accept it as an unfortunate but necessary outcome of an insistence on due process.

  34. 34
    Trollhattan says:

    Speaking of sociopaths, “Florida Man” is definitely looking for some more SYG action.

    According to a recent police report, a cop recently came across Zimmerman inside of Pompano Pat’s, a DeLand, Florida, store that sells motorcycles, guns, and ammunition. When asked what he was doing in the shop in the middle of the night, Zimmerman said that “he was watching the business due to a recent burglary.”

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelli.....store.html

  35. 35
    SatanicPanic says:

    @gogol’s wife: For now. We’ll get the SCOTUS back eventually.

  36. 36
    bago says:

    Teepee! Just had a fun bit of Schadenfreude. Some bunghole in a Porsche gunned his engine passing me in a blind right-hand corner, (incredibly dangerous), and is then forced to stop for the stop sign traffic. I then ride my bike by his driver-side window and politely wave “ciao!”.

  37. 37
    gogol's wife says:

    I hate to harm the LOLWUT connection, but it’s Dowlut, with the w before the l — pronounced DOHV-loot.

  38. 38
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    Hm, sure he got off on a technicality, but the pertinent question is, has he killed again?

    Yet another posterchild for the notion that very long prison sentences are the answer to recidivism.

    The real trick would be figuring out which criminals are deterred by the process of being investigated, arraigned, etc, and which criminals just figure, “I’ll do it smarter this time and won’t get caught!!” and I don’t think “remorse” has been a useful metric at all.

    Is there a reliable measure for impulsive behavior? I would predict that the more impulsive the person, the more likely they are to reoffend once released.

  39. 39
    Trollhattan says:

    @dmsilev:
    Hey, why not? Of course it will “forget” every post after fifteen minutes.

    Speaking of Sarah Palin.

  40. 40
    Mayken says:

    @cmorenc: Yeah, I was wondering the same thing as I read this. What the everloving fuck was the DC Bar thinking?
    SMH!

  41. 41
    gogol's wife says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    Yes, when I saw the picture of that poor woman’s corpse, I thought he has probably done this again.

  42. 42
    Stan Gable says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Dowlut’s guilt seems pretty well established too, despite the police fuck-ups

    Even if you toss everything gathered in the interrogation? I think you’re just left with the fact that he was dating the daughter, didn’t get along with her and was in the vicinity of the burglary or am I missing something?

  43. 43
    gogol's wife says:

    Here’s a sample of the pushback, from the comments at Business Insider:

    “Ted Kennedy on Jul 29, 12:54 PM said:
    He’s an amateur and peon. He should have used his connections to get off, then gone into promoting liberal causes to deflect criticism from the media like I did. If he’d gone to work for the Brady Campaign instead of the NRA he’d now be an icon in the Democratic pantheon for his rehabilitation.”

  44. 44
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer): I once heard a fascinating piece (on NPR, I think) on an experiment in which prisoners who were about to be released were given a paper with a maze on it (or something like that) and instructed to draw a path out without taking their pencil from the paper. It turned out that the prisoners who took their pencil from the paper against instructions were most likely to re-offend by a huge margin that dwarfed all other predictive factors, including past records, community support, etc.

  45. 45
    Shakezula says:

    I’m sure any minute now the shriekbats will denounce the attorney who defended him and rage about the legal loopholes that allowed this animal to go free.

    [Looks at picture]

    Oh, never mind.

  46. 46
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @SatanicPanic: These people have been fantasizing about legally shooting burglars for years.

    I’m just wondering what’s up with all these rural burglaries (and two coworkers who live in rural hellholes near here have been burglarized although in both cases the burglar was somehow connected to their own children). I live in an urban majority-minority neighborhood and I haven’t been broken into once. Maybe it’s because I don’t own a giant TV. They seem to be burglar bait.

    Is it meth or is it just depraved, degraded white culture, white family breakup and the decline of white morals?

  47. 47
    Trollhattan says:

    @Stan Gable:

    or am I missing something?

    This.

  48. 48
    Laertes says:

    @Stan Gable:

    Even if you toss everything gathered in the interrogation?

    No, of course not then. But why would you do that? The rules of evidence apply to the criminal justice system, but not to our brains. This guy was properly released, owing to egregious police misconduct. That doesn’t obligate his fellow citizens to pretend that we don’t know what he did. (cf. Simpson, Orenthal)

  49. 49
    Peter says:

    @Stan Gable: That he knew exactly where the murder weapon was buried, for one.

    Yes, that was rendered inadmissible by police misconduct. The court acted correctly in tossing out his conviction. But that doesn’t mean that we have to pretend it doesn’t exist. The rules of evidence bind the court’d hands, not ours.

  50. 50
    hoodie says:

    @Stan Gable: You don’t seem to understand the point of Miranda and other 4th and 5th Amendment jurisprudence, which is to generally deter police misconduct, not prevent false conviction of a given defendant. It doesn’t mean that evidence obtained by virtue of an illegal interrogation is inherently erroneous. The gun was disqualified as evidence because of “fruit of the poisonous tree”, not because it was bad or dubious evidence. It was pretty damning evidence, not inherently dubious evidence like a coerced confession.

  51. 51
    Roger Moore says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Like that evil old man who shot a pregnant burglar in the back last week

    FWIW, the coroner says she wasn’t pregnant. Not that it makes shooting her in the back any more excusable. It’s only self defense if they’re a threat, and that clearly isn’t true if they’re running away.

  52. 52
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Betty Cracker: I welcome the day we’ll be able to scientifically determine in sentencing whether someone should be working off their crimes in community service and fines or sent up to the big house. Right now it’s determined by wealth, color, make of suit and quality of defense lawyers.

    They thought they knew in the 1950s (ironically, during the heyday of Neofreudianism, basically a burst of pseudoscience in both psychology and in terms of how it was applied to criminology, odd how its tenets often reflected conservative Christian biases about how the world and human nature ought to be) and we all know how that turned out.

    Parole boards are another outrage in our over-carcerated society. They use nothing approaching evidence, method, or fairness in their decisions.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Shakezula: Hey, if “Civil Rights” are for white guys with guns, they’re cool.

    It’s when those black guys with guns start asserting for their “Civil Rights” that they become problematic.

    I give you Sacramento, 1967.

  54. 54
    Stan Gable says:

    @Peter:

    That he knew exactly where the murder weapon was buried, for one.

    Yes, that was rendered inadmissible by police misconduct. The court acted correctly in tossing out his conviction. But that doesn’t mean that we have to pretend it doesn’t exist. The rules of evidence bind the court’d hands, not ours.

    If there was ever an instance where I’d buy an argument about fabricated evidence, then this one is it.

  55. 55
    Stan Gable says:

    @Peter:

    That he knew exactly where the murder weapon was buried, for one.

    Yes, that was rendered inadmissible by police misconduct. The court acted correctly in tossing out his conviction. But that doesn’t mean that we have to pretend it doesn’t exist. The rules of evidence bind the court’d hands, not ours.

    If there was ever an instance where I’d buy an argument about fabricated evidence, then this one is it.

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    Is it meth or is it just depraved, degraded white culture, white family breakup and the decline of white morals?

    Clearly, the failure to send “love gifts” to Joel Osteen must have something to do with the decline of white morals.

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @gogol’s wife: Sort of screams “I am a fuckwit” doesn’t it?

  58. 58
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @gogol’s wife: I’m proposing the opposite, that in the face of a prison scare he had enough self-control not to put himself in that situation again.

    Prison time, per se, doesn’t reduce recidivism. It’s a lot more complicated than that. But when people are fearful, their thinking is disordered and complexity can’t be contemplated. Getting caught reduces recidivism.

    I think there are some people who must be locked up for the safety of society. I think there are people who, especially domestic abusers, continue to attempt to control and torment their victims from behind bars. You don’t necessarily want to let these folks loose. Yet there are plenty of people who receive minimal or no prison time and go on to become productive citizens. And there is evidence on the statewide level of an inverse relationship between rates of incarceration and crime rates, at least at the levels of incarceration typical in the US (well beyond normal rates in other countries or at previous times in American history). Why this may be is quite complicated. Prison itself is or can be quite traumatizing and sometimes contributes to an anti-social outlook and subsequent criminal behavior. Also, felon status can cause so many socio-economic problems for the felon that law breaking follows as a logical consequence. However, I suspect there is even more to it than this.

  59. 59
    Laertes says:

    @Stan Gable:

    Yeah. Having read far too many horror stories about police railroading defendants with coerced testimony, jailhouse snitches, fabricated evidence, and outright lies on the witness stand, by the time I’d read about as much of that article as you’ve evidently read, I was with you–the guy looks innocent.

    But, then I kept reading. You should too. TLDR version: One of the other victims of his rampage that day survived the shooting and identified Dolwut as the shooter.

  60. 60
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer): There is something wrong with traditional white culture, that much we all agree on.

  61. 61
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer): There is something wrong with traditional white culture, that much we all agree on.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    I am personally quite afraid of bad people, perhaps due to my abusive childhood. But for this reason I want to see society pursue effective means to reduce violence and reduce abuse of adults and children.

    Pursuing revenge, which seems to be the purpose of the justice system for many Americans, and propping up white supremacy are both quite inimical to the goal of reducing violence.

  64. 64
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That’s why special white people living off their parents’ accomplishments always talk about “civil liberties” never “civil rights”. The latter might imply that poor, overworked, overstressed people of color up against the overwhelming force of the state and the moneyed class might be human beings with dignity.

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SatanicPanic: There was a brief, shining moment in the 60’s where the Supreme Court took the Constitution seriously, and the rights enumerated in it were made law of the land. The 1% and their right wing allies want to be sure that such an anomaly never happens again..

  66. 66
    Roger Moore says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    I’m just wondering what’s up with all these rural burglaries

    Observability. If your home is in the middle of nowhere and you’re gone, nobody is going to notice when burglars show up and haul away possessions that are big enough to need a vehicle to move. In an urban neighborhood, there are too many people around paying attention for that to work.

  67. 67
    catclub says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    And there is evidence on the statewide level of an inverse relationship between rates of incarceration and crime rates

    crime _reduction_?

    Inverse suggests locking em up is the solution to lower crime rates.

  68. 68
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SatanicPanic: I believe we can trace it back to the “divide and conquer” strategy of the early 1% who made a distinction (without much of a difference) between “indentured servants” and “slaves” based on skin color.

    Everything started downhill from there.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    Stan Gable says:

    @Laertes:

    But, then I kept reading. You should too. TLDR version: One of the other victims of his rampage that day survived the shooting and identified Dolwut as the shooter.

    So whatever happened to the charges with regards to the shopkeeper? I’ve read that section of the article a few times and I don’t see any further mention of it.

  71. 71
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Pale Scot: They were afraid the VC would ambush them in the parking lot?

  72. 72
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I wonder if that would work now. The gun rightsers keep quoting all these books at me about how guns made the civil rights movement happen (I think even dumbass Salon was promoting that one). At this point the gun companies have seen the demographic writing on the wall and they’re in full-on recruit mode. They’ll be OK with browns owning guns (see Zimmerman, George) but feel safe in the knowledge that they’ll have the legal system on their side in any shoot-out.

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @hoodie:

    It was pretty damning evidence, not inherently dubious evidence like a coerced confession.

    I would question the value of an uncorroborated confession even if there’s no sign of coercion. There are too many people out there who are willing to admit to stuff they didn’t do for their own reasons, often including mental illness, to trust any confession that could have been offered by somebody other than the perpetrator. OTOH, even a coerced confession is damning if it includes truthful evidence the interrogators had no way of knowing. We choose not to accept coerced confessions because we rightly treat coercion as unacceptable, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily false.

  74. 74
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SatanicPanic: Well, given that MLK Jr. made sure that everyone at his rallies was armed to the teeth, I guess there’s something to that.

    Oh, wait…

  75. 75
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: Exactly. The entire point is for the evidence to be empirical, not subjective, because the subjective is too prone to error, be it deliberate or inadvertent. Human memory is just not all that reliable,

  76. 76
    Trollhattan says:

    @The Pale Scot:
    The hell?!?

    It was him being negligent in how he was manipulating the weapon,’ Phoenix Police Sergeant Steve Martos told 3TV. ‘(He) pointed it toward a couple individuals, two females, and made them nervous.’

    Meanwhile, the Johns Hopkins-trained researcher has done almost the exact thing at least once before. Last year, Steinmetz entered the Phoenix airport while toting a rifle along with his son, who also carried a weapon.

  77. 77
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Apparently he personally had guns to defend his house, therefore… something. Who knows. It’s gun rightsers making their usual implausible claims. The fact that his revolver didn’t stop an assassin’s bullet doesn’t register as important, I guess.

  78. 78
    Roger Moore says:

    @catclub:

    the solution to lower crime rates.

    Exactly what the NRA is looking for!

  79. 79
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Roger Moore: As one who lives rural I can tell you that is extremely rare. For starters it is difficult to tell for certain if somebody is home, or just asleep with the car in the garage. In both cases AHH was talking about, the perpetrator knew the victim. It is far more common than most people realize that the person most likely to rob you is also the person sitting at your dinner table (and knows your car, your habits, your valuables, your….).

  80. 80
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Trollhattan: It’s all about repetition and muscle memory.

  81. 81
    Trollhattan says:

    @The Pale Scot:
    Heh. Wonder if his employer has provided a replica airport terminal for him to practice-stalk?

    “Sorry doc, you’re doing that aimy-gunny thing again. Let’s start from the top.”

  82. 82
    scav says:

    @Roger Moore: Might be a bit more complicated. In rural neighborhoods, you might not be actively observed, but people tend to know their neighbors. In really urban environments, sure there are a lot of people, but they don’t all necessarily know each other, know who lives where and who shouldn’t be moving things. So things could work there too. Purely residential suburbs where all members of the household work score high for non-obsevability. Don’t get lost in the crowd as much, but less likely for someone to be there to observe you. Get a neighborhood with a lot of churn and people might not really know the neighbors that well.

  83. 83
    kc says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    Hm, sure he got off on a technicality, but the pertinent question is, has he killed again?

    Not directly.

  84. 84
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    This guy – who’s made it pretty big and is having a direct influence on a huge national problem – is a stone-cold murderer and sociopath who has been using guns in one way or another on his fellow citizens his entire life.

    Hey, so was Andrew Jackson.

  85. 85
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    We’ll get the SCOTUS back eventually.

    Not if the manic progressives convince enough people that “they’re all the same” and either split the vote with a 3d party candidate or convince liberals and moderates to just stay home while the Teahadists flock to the polls.

  86. 86
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Stan Gable: I don’t think the article said, but since the original charge was transferred to the adult system (Dowlut was 17 at the time) and he was convicted and spent time in prison before the sentence was vacated, maybe the DA just declined to reopen that case? I’m not sure what the rules are around transferring juvenile cases to adult courts (or what they were in 1963); could be they figured he had already served the time he would have gotten for the robbery-shooting in juvenile court. This is just speculation. I don’t know.

  87. 87
    SatanicPanic says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: I feel like the people who matter learned their lesson after GWB. The internet morons don’t really matter

  88. 88
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I hope like hell you’re right. I’ve taken a drubbing from the oh-so-purists on other blogs.

  89. 89
    Yatsuno says:

    @Stan Gable: *munches popcorn*

  90. 90
    burnt says:

    @Stan Gable:

    Well, if you really had read the article you would have found this:

    ” A week after the high court ruling, he was released into the custody of St. Joseph County, where he faced new charges for wounding Berkowitz. After two more years of venue changes and delays, the remaining charges against Dowlut were dismissed due to the state’s failure to provide a speedy trial.”

  91. 91
    TR says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Hi, I’m an American historian who’s written a couple books on the civil rights movement.

    In the very early days of the Montgomery bus boycott, when King first got death threats, a couple guys stayed at his house with guns. But then Bayard Rustin showed up and convinced King to send them away. I’m almost positive from 1955 on he never allowed a gun in his home, and certainly not at rallies.

    The whole story of the movement is full of moments like that. Andrew Young tells stories of having to convince people to leave guns at home after the Edmund Pettus Bridge incident.

    There were civil rights folks who embraced guns — the Deacons for Defense, the guy in Tim Tyson’s Radio Free Dixie book (blanking on his name) — but they gained notoriety precisely because they went so clearly against the grain. They were known as “Negroes with Guns” precisely because all the rest of the CR activists did NOT have guns.

    Anyone saying the civil rights movement relied on guns is either a liar or a moron.

    If it’s John Fund, both.

  92. 92
    SatanicPanic says:

    @TR: Thanks for the insight. I’ve been seeing that one all over lately

  93. 93
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @KG:

    I’m actually not opposed to individual gun ownership, per se.

    I’m not opposed to individual gun ownership per se.

    I do think that Americans have proved themselves collectively to be terrible at owning guns, because they do seem to shoot themselves and others a lot with them.

  94. 94
    Cervantes says:

    @TR: You’re thinking of Robert Williams.

  95. 95
    hoosierspud says:

    That’s my hometown where this all happened. I think I vaguely remember the murder. I do know his wife from IUSB. She was the newspaper editor and a confrontational nut job who would go off on a hysterical rant at any perceived slight.

  96. 96
    Barry says:

    @dedc79: “… the basic outline has been known for a long time.”

    I didn’t know that, and I’ll bet that most of the people here did not, either.

  97. 97
    brantl says:

    @Stan Gable: Not when he dug up the murder weapon, I wouldn’t.

  98. 98
    brantl says:

    @Stan Gable: Yes, you missed the fact that he dug up the murder weapon.

  99. 99
    Paul in KY says:

    @Stan Gable: If you believe his version of events.

  100. 100
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    From what I heard of that story, it sounded like the police really, really, really fucked up by not having a clearly establish set up of the Miranda warnings, and good logging of whether and when he asked for an attorney.

    I *will not* render an opinion of whether he was factually guilty of murder, or whether the story he told about the interrogations were correct, but if I read that story from anyone else, I’d sigh, say the police screwed the pooch, and admit he had to skate.

    (If an attorney wants to tell me I’m wrong, because of X, Y, and Z, okay – I’ve been wrong before, I’ll be wrong again. But don’t just tell me I’m wrong. It sounded to me like his statements to police, and the “fruit of the poisoned tree” – the weapon – had to be excluded. And without that, there’s no case. )

    It’s not that *he* deserves the protections of the law – it’s that *everyone* does. To quote some famous, decent person or another, “I’d give Satan himself the full protection of the law, not for his sake, but for mine.”

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