WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

From the streets of Wilmington to Fort Hood: Diffferent strategies employed, persistent bloodshed

When Wilmington's Mayor Williams told City Council members last week that the start of 2014 had been less violent than the comparable period in 2013, I remember thinking to myself: He's likely crowing too soon; the extreme cold and many snow days probably put a damper on the street violence; the mayor might soon regret making the comparison.

And indeed, the pace of the shootings has gone up with the temperatures: Yesterday (Wednesday), the city saw two shootings within six hours, one fatal.

The fatal shooting took place about 4:20 p.m. along the 2800 block of North Claymont Street in the city's Riverside neighborhood. The victim: Sinque Hagler, 24.

The second shooting took place around 9:30 p.m. on the city's east side. Officers on patrol heard gunfire, but the emergency communications center received no calls. But, a 37-year-old woman ended up at Wilmington Hospital (subsequently transferred to Christiana Hospital) with a gunshot wound to her neck.

Perhaps the Wilmington Police Department will figure out a way to lessen the bloodshed. But, as we enter spring, the first indications are not encouraging.

Meanwhile, it's likely the mayor will announce his permanent pick for Chief of Police within weeks. Despite campaign rhetoric to the contrary, it's rather likely Williams will choose another insider.

Halfway across the country, the Ford Hood army base in Texas - already confronting the November 5th, 2009 anniversary of the deadly shootings perpetrated by Nidal Malik Hasan - found itself under attack again. A soldier, apparently suffering mental health issues from combat in Iraq, killed at least three people and injured 16 others before shooting himself to death. Last time, an Islamist; this time, apparently a man with psychological problems.

Even if the gunman was undergoing psychiatric treatment for depression and anxiety, of course, it would not have been very difficult for this guy to buy a weapon in gun-friendly Texas.

How does a military base protect itself against such diverent attacks? Search each and every vehicle coming onto the base? Is that even realistic? The solution seems at least as daunting as curbing the mostly drug-related, street violence in Wilmington.

And speaking of psychology, it's one thing for our military to feel under siege overseas. But at home?

On a completely different subject, The NEWS JOURNAL reports Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden is receiving threats in the aftermath of her decision to order probation, instead of a prison term, for Robert H. Richards IV for the fourth-degree rape of his daughter, then three years old. Security has been stepped up. Some people are calling for Judge Jurden's ouster, but some lawyers are rallying around the judge, saying she was constrained by the plea deal reached by Attorney General Beau Biden's office and the great difficulty of documenting child sex abuse by family members. Corroborating physical evidence is difficult to obtain and prosecutors are often hesitant to put a child on the witness stand.

Posted at 7:37am on April 3, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Apr 3, 2014 8:15am
From what I understand, Judge Jurden had the option of giving Richards between 2-8 years in jail with that plea, but chose no jail, because Richards wouldn't do well in jail.

I would have fined Richards $49K /year [the approximate cost to house someone in prison] and then sentenced him to the 8 years in solitary to "keep him safe". That way, his sorry butt would pay the state to keep him in prison [thus, not costing the taxpayers a dime], and he'd be safe from those bad men - while living in the "Barbed-wired Hotel of Smyrna" - who'd do to him what he did to his kids. THAT's what should have been done.

Now, should the judge's life be threatened? NO. Should she be removed from the bench, if that is even an option [thought judges served for life]? YES. She's not worthy of the title, judge.

Lastly, Beau Biden as state Attorney General whose office approved this plea-deal should also pay some consequences for not doing the right thing.

Just another case of the rich protecting their fellow rich. Totally unacceptable.

I'm sorry Beau Biden has been ill, but I'll never vote for him again for anything. He rates lower in my book now than Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell. He hasn't been doing his job, and if he's got someone filling in while he's out ill, they should also be unemployed, because they too aren't doing their job.

What a travesty of justice.

Thu, Apr 3, 2014 11:26am
These things happen throughout history. The only solid response is to do something to make sure it does not happen again.

It is ironic that as we decry the use of mandatory sentencing used across the justice system for drug use, a case jumps up in our own backyard that explains why they were originally fostered in the first place...

The only explanation making sense, is a bank account somewhere having a recent deposit covering the space of 8 digits...

Now that, makes sense.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Apr 3, 2014 1:16pm
Kavips: Kind of like traffic court. The law is very black-and-white; if you run a red light, this is the fine, no plea, no get a better deal if you're rich, all get the same fine.

Sounds very reasonable. Good luck selling it to the well-connected / wealthy / Hollywierd crowd, corporate execs, politicians, sports figures, etc. They've already got a better deal, the "letter of the law" [throw the book at 'em] for you and me, and the "spirit of the law" [let's cut them a break, they'd not do well in prison] for them.

Thu, Apr 3, 2014 4:04pm
The rich, white, connected have been avoiding punishment forever. Here is a quote from "Reefer Madness" by Eric Schlosser. He is talking about severe punishments for relatively small amounts of marijuana possession:

"The offspring of important government officials, however, tend to avoid severe punishments for their marijuana crimes. In 1982, the year that President Reagan launched the war on drugs, his chief of staff’s son was arrested for selling pot. John C. Baker, the son of future Secretary of State James Baker, sold a small amount of marijuana — around a quarter of an ounce — to an undercover agent near the family’s ranch in Texas. Under state law, John Baker faced a possible felony charge and a prison term of between two and twenty years. Instead, he was charged with a misdemeanor, pleaded guilty, and was fined $2,000. In 1990, Congressman Dan Burton introduced legislation requiring the death penalty for drug dealers. “We must educate our children about drugs,” Burton said, “and impose tough new penalties on dealers.” Four years later, his son was arrested while transporting nearly eight pounds of marijuana from Texas to Indiana. Burton hired an attorney for his son. While awaiting trial in that case, Danny Burton II was arrested again, only five months later, for growing thirty marijuana plants in his Indianapolis apartment. Police also found a shotgun in the apartment. Under Federal law, Danny Burton faced a possible mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison just for the gun, plus up to three years in prison under state law for the pot. Federal charges were never filed against Burton, who wound up receiving a milder sanction: a term of community service, probation, and house arrest. When the son of Richard W. Riley (the former South Carolina governor who became Clinton’s secretary of education) was indicted on Federal charges of conspiring to sell cocaine and marijuana, he faced ten years to life in prison and a fine of $4 million. Instead, Richard Riley, Jr., received six months of house arrest."

Thu, Apr 3, 2014 6:38pm
I would say at this point that you have a better chance of survival in Afghanistan than in Wilmington.

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