Tag Archives: Ohio

Will Congress Act on Bloomberg Gun Sting?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will stand for re-election early next month. No matter what you think of him, or whether he should serve another four years as mayor, he provided a public service to the nation with his four month probe showing how easy it is to buy guns in this country.

Guns

If you want to know why so many people die by the gun in America, consider the results of his investigation. In nearly three our of four cases, undercover investigators were able to purchase guns illegally.

This is interesting on several levels. First, Bloomberg didn’t just talk about the probe. He showed video after video of gun sellers more than willing in many cases to skirt the law. In one, a man tells a dealer at an Ohio gun show that he couldn’t pass the required background check. The dealer smiles, and tells him it doesn’t matter “Because I wouldn’t pass either, bud.”

In another video, at a gun show in Nashville, a man asks a female friend to buy a Glock for him. That would seem to be a violation of federal law. The seller, who apparently knows what’s going on, asks the woman for identification, then sells her the gun. It seems the explosion of gun and ammunition purchases since the election of President Barack Obama has led more than a few folks to ignore even the lax restrictions now in place.

The purpose of the sting, according to Mayor Bloomberg, is to get Congress to act on a bill sponsored by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg. That bill would require background checks for all sales by private sellers at gun shows. Maybe that would change the city’s tabulation that out of 47 purchases at seven gun shows in three states, 35 were illegal.

It would seem as though Congress has little wiggle room here. After all, they moved with extraordinary speed to defund ACORN after a video sting operation. In that instance, no actual illegality has been alleged. Can our lawmakers be so hypocritical (or frightened by the NRA) that they’d reject video footage of actual criminality while calling for the heads of every present and former ACORN employee?

I hate to say it, but they probably can. When it came to ACORN, the acted as judge, jury, and executioner based on videos provided by a pair of conservative hustlers. That may have been in violation of the Constitution, but what the heck! In this case, Mayor Bloomberg was making a point about illegals guns that are purchased elsewhere and end up taking lives here in New York. The fact that his police commissioner joined him in exposing the results of this sting also points out the fact that some of the lives lost to illegal gun sales are those of police officers. Despite this, it’s likely no one will be prosecuted for those illegal gun sales captured on video. Wanna bet?

But you tell me. Will Congress finally act to curb the kind of illegal gun sales captured in Mike Bloomberg’s sting?

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Death Penalty. If At First You Don’t Succeed-Execute ’em Again?

I don’t know exactly where I got this idea from, but I always thought if any state botched an execution, they didn’t get a second chance. The condemned man (or woman), or so I believed, would be consigned to life in prison. I guess I was wrong on that one!

The state of Ohio tried to execute a convicted murderer/rapist named the other day. In fact, they spent two solid hours trying to find a vein suitable to inject a lethal cocktail of drugs. No luck.

So, they’ve decided to try again next week.

There is precedent for this. Back in 1946, the state of Louisiana tried and failed to electrocute convicted murderer Willie Francis. They succeeded the following year, after the Supreme Court ruled in essence that once is not enough in the case of execution attempts.

Ohio itself has had it’s share of problems with lethal injection protocols. Twice before, executions were delayed for more than an hour because the executioners couldn’t find a suitable vein. As you might expect, a number of civil liberties groups like the ACLU want to stop Ohio from taking a second shot at Romell Broom. One of his lawyers, who watched the attempt Tuesday on a closed circuit television screen, said Broom was in obvious pain during the botched procedure.

Romell Broom
Romell Broom

The question then becomes whether pain inflicted during an unsuccessful execution becomes cruel and unusual punishment. For me personally, the answer is simple. I am opposed to capital punishment. I don’t believe the state has the right to murder any more than any citizen does, period. However, I have many friends, good people, who disagree with me on this.

They point to the pain and suffering of the victim, who, in the case of Romell Broom, was a 14 year old girl named Tryna Middleton. She was abducted, raped, and murdered by this man back in 1984. If she were alive, she’d be one year shy of her 40th birthday. There is a case to be made for taking into account the fact that her life was cut short by the senseless act of a lowlife.

Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, in Cleveland Heights on Sept. 8. Romell Broom was to be executed Tuesday for raping and murdering Tryna in 1984, but the fatal drugs could not be administered.
Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, in Cleveland Heights on Sept. 8. Romell Broom was to be executed Tuesday for raping and murdering Tryna in 1984, but the fatal drugs could not be administered.

And yet, what is gained by trying to kill Romell Broom next week? The state of Ohio obviously doesn’t have its act together when it comes to executions. Cold comfort comes from Terry Collins, director of the state’s corrections department. “ I have confidence that my team will be able to do its job.”

Like he’s talking about a bunch of Starbucks baristas.

Legal experts say they doubt a second execution attempt will take place as scheduled next Tuesday. Legal appeals are almost certain to derail that. Yet in the end, Ohio seems bound and determined to take a second shot here. What do you think?

Should Ohio make a second attempt at executing convicted murderer Romell Broom?

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