Tag Archives | criminals

What Do Assassins Want? Fame And Notoriety

Corbett Coors III 1961In light of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, NPR looks at a secret serviceman’s landmark 1999 study on the psyches of political assassins in America. Rather than ideological extremism, a desperate hunger for importance and immortality was what motivated most would-be assassins, who typically were individuals with failed, messy lives. And if they thought they could achieve fame by knocking off a political leader…they weren’t crazy, they were correct:

It’s well known that in March 1981, John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan. What is not well known is that several years later, the life of President Reagan and the life of his vice president, George H.W. Bush, were threatened again — in fact, not just once.

“In the space of 18 months, four situations came to the attention of the Secret Service,” says Robert Fein, who in the mid-1980s worked with the Secret Service as a psychologist. Two were convicted, and two were sent to psychiatric facilities, Fein says, though the government didn’t exactly advertise it.

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Austria Hit By String Of Obama-Mask Bank Robberies

Austria Obama RobberBank robbery as metaphor? A masked Barack Obama lookalike has committed a string of six gunpoint bank heists in Austria over the past two years. Via Yahoo! News:

Austrian authorities are searching for a bank robber who uses an unusual disguise: He wears a Barack Obama mask during his holdups.

Police say the man, nicknamed the “Obama Robber” by local media, is wanted for six heists since 2008. The most recent took place Thursday in the hamlet of Handenberg, where the Obama-resembling suspect made off with an undisclosed amount of money after threatening bank employees with a gun.

Police official Markus Mitloehner said Friday that the man is thought to be a local since he speaks the regional dialect — with nary a trace of Obama’s more professorial accent.

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What’s Wrong With How We Punish Criminals

Mark Kleiman, professor of Public Affairs at the UCLA, talks to ReasonTV about the overriding flaw in the U.S. criminal justice system: it's "randomized draconianism" -- that is, punishments are both too severe, and are applied irregularly, unfairly, randomly, etc., in different cases. For example, get caught violating your drug probation, and most likely nothing will happen, but there's a small chance you will be hit with a twenty-five-year prison sentence. The solution? Modeling penalties on parenting techniques, in which punishment should be swift and certain, but not cruel or too drastic.
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Police Kill Discovery Channel Hostage-Holder, Ending Standoff

m_ed196e0f42b3ea534a81580b09a6d964The lunatic who took hostages at Discovery Channel’s headquarters was killed by police. He did have a point about their crappy programming, let’s admit. From the New York Times:

Police officers shot and killed a gunman with a history of protesting against the Discovery Channel, the authorities said, ending a nearly four-hour ordeal on Wednesday at the company’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. The gunman, apparently wearing explosives, had taken two employees and a security guard hostage, officials said.

The company had identified the gunman…as James J. Lee. A Web site run by Mr. Lee, SaveThePlanetProtest.com, was established in January 2008. The Web site complains that the Discovery Channel produces programs about the environment for profit, not for humanitarian reasons.

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Petty Criminals Unite! Subway Fare-Jumpers In Paris Form Insurance Fund

03172010jumperAs someone oppressed by the ever-expanding ticket prices of New York’s corruptly-run MTA subway system, I find this example of criminal ingenuity inspiring: turnstile hoppers in Paris have formed an insurance fund so that whenever one of them is caught by the police, their fine/expenses are fully covered.

“It’s a way to resist together,” declared Gildas, 30, a leader of the mutuelle movement. “We can make solidarity.”

“There are things in France which are supposed to be free — schools, health. So why not transportation?” he said. “It’s not a question of money…. It’s a political question.”

The fare dodgers who jump the turnstiles or sneak in through exit barriers on the Paris Metro are practically as much a fixture of the city as the subway itself.

Those who get caught without a proper ticket, though, face fines of up to $60. So what’s a poor freeloader to do?

For about $8.50 a month, those who join one of these raffish-sounding mutuelles des fraudeurs can rest easy knowing that, if they get busted for refusing to be so bourgeois as to pay to use public transit, the fund will cough up the money for the fine.

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Ten Executions That Defined The 2000s

Executed Today, the site from which I get all of my news, has its rundown of the “ten executions that defined the 2000s.” The earliest one on the list is Timothy McVeigh, who comes in ranked only seventh:

The Gulf War veteran was the face of terrorism in the U.S. from the time of his arrest for the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building, until three months after his June 11, 2001, execution.

Timothy_McVeigh_arrest

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