All That’s Old Is New Again

I read a book titled True Crime, where an author who gained fame writing about baseball decides to turn his attention to lurid tabloid crimes which have been popular long before there were tabloids in America.

1779 young robert being hanged

The book is an entertaining read, but don’t expect any great understanding of crime or criminals to be gained as there is little in depth analysis of any worth.

The author does provide an interesting look at how outrageous crimes which caught the attention of the public and the media have shaped the criminal justice system in the United States over the century.  Sometimes accepted procedures that the cops or the courts have performed for years are changed when the public starts to yowl.

One such case, mentioned in passing, is that of Yale tutor John Dwight.  He and another man were walking along in October of 1843 when they came across a group of underclassmen who were gleefully breaking windows.  The gang of vandals broke up an ran, so John and his buddy gave chase.

Unfortunately, John Dwight was a fit and athletic 21 years of age.  He caught up to one of the ne’er-do-wells, sophomore Lewis Fassitt, and was stabbed three times for his trouble.  Mr. Dwight died a few days later.

criminal with knife

Fassitt was arrested but he was released on a $3,000 bail, which is about $350,000 in today’s currency.  Instead of subjecting himself to the blind scales of justice, he went back home to his wealthy family in Philadelphia and never set again foot in Connecticut for the rest of his life.

The police and prosecutors let him go without any attempt being made to go get their man.  Their response to the predictable outcry was, Why should they?   Fassitt forfeited his bond when he failed to appear for his day in court.  What does the lay person think putting up  money for bail is for, anyway?  They smugly suggested that those untrained in the law should just shut up and let the professionals get on with the serious business of bringing justice to criminals.

smug cat

Unschooled in the law they may be, but the general public knew when justice wasn’t being served.  The case brought about an incredible sea change in the way suspects of crimes are treated by the courts.  Bail was still set, bonds were still posted, and the accused was still released from jail for a time in order to allow them to prepare their defense.  But the days where the accused could turn their backs on the cash and move outside of the jurisdiction where the crime was committed in order to escape justice were long gone.

Or were they?

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I Don’t See What Is So Strange About It

An old friend was staying over.  I inflated an air mattress in the living room to be used as a bed.  Before retiring to my bedroom with my pets, I turned to my guest.

“Would you care for a dog or a gun while you sleep?”

They looked at me askance.

“What a strange question!  Why would I want dogs or guns?” they asked.

“For comfort.” I replied.

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Dollar Store Dungeons

An interesting project to be found at this blog.  What 10 items can you find at a discount store that you will use in your tabletop gaming sessions, the total purchase for the items being no more than $10?

Doesn’t seem like there is much potential, but you would be surprised.  Howsabout dominoes as dungeon walls?


Lots of great ideas.  You will find the entire list of posts here, and there are some great ideas.

There Is Too Much Skin In This Mugshot

pickaxe attacker with head shaved half way

According to this local news channel, two young men staged a home invasion in order to attack a third man.  The weapons used were a baseball bat and a pickaxe.

Why were these two guys, aged 16 and 19, so angry?  Seems one was dating the ex-girlfriend of the victim.  When they found out that the former boyfriend was flirting with his ex via Facebook postings, they decided it was time for a bit of aggravated assault!

So why the odd hairdo?  It appears that the 19-year-old realized that the cops were going to come calling, and he was caught in the act of shaving his head as a kind of redneck disguise.

Didn’t work, obviously.

“Why Didn’t He Just Shoot Him In The Leg?”

I was listening to the radio during my daily commute, the disc jockey reading the news.  He stopped after relating a tale about the latest demonstration organized to protest a police officer shooting a crazed violent criminal, and uttered the words that form the title to this essay.

I am willing to put down good folding money on an even odds bet that every person involved with the shooting sports reacted the same way when they read that last paragraph.

“How the hell can anyone be so freakin’ stupid that they even asked that question???”

chris takes his ease

My own reaction was similar.  Lots of eye rolling and head shaking.  But, stupid though it might appear at first, this sort of question is also fairly common.  Even a small measure of experience would show how utterly absurd such a notion might be, but it doesn’t seem to be very clear to those who have never fired a gun before.

So, if you have ever pondered why someone does not aim for the legs during a violent and terrifying criminal attack, please allow me to briefly explain …


What in the world is that supposed to mean?  “In the gravest extreme?”

It just means that you have no other options.  The only way to save innocent lives is to resort to lethal force.

criminal with rusty knife

Shooting someone in the extremities might not stop them in time.  They have to break off their murderous attack right now!  Otherwise innocent people may pay a cost that is too terrible to contemplate.

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“Time Is The Fire In Which We All Burn”

A quote from an old Star Trek movie, but one which all people of a certain age can relate to.

Long time readers of this blog know that I have been very fortunate to be able to specialize in helping elderly and disabled people learn the rudiments of safe, effective self defense.

But I, of course, am not the only one to have given a hand to those in need!  You might be interested in this essay on another blog, where the author helps a retired Marine discover that living a long life does not make one helpless.