Monday :: Mar 6, 2006

The Beats Go On... And on... and on...

by pessimist

Now that South Dakota has banned abortions, what is to come of those unwanted children that the Good Christians who forced their mothers to bear them? some would end up being like the subjects of this post.

Back in January, I covered a story about Florida teens attacking homeless men, killing one of them. It seems that they were more busy than originally reported:

William Ammons, Thomas Daugherty and Brian Hooks have already been charged in connection with the beatings of Norris Gaynor, Jacques Pierre and Raymond Perez, but now detectives think 60-year-old Loshaje Lewis and 47-year-old Earl Fulton could also be victims of similar attacks. Daugherty, 17, and Hooks, 18, turned themselves in to police shortly after the series of brutal baseball-bat beatings that killed Gaynor, 46, and seriously injured Pierre, 58, and Perez, 49, last month. Ammons, 18, was also arrested and originally charged with aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability, but police later charged him with murder. All three teens are being held without bond.

Police said Ammons admitted he shot Gaynor in the torso with a paintball gun while Daugherty bashed Gaynor's skull with a bat. Police said Ammons also admitted that Daugherty and Hooks used his black 1997 Chevrolet in at least two of the attacks, police said.

Assistant State Attorney Lee Cohen said even though Ammons didn't cause Gaynor's death, Ammons was acting with a person who did.

Under Florida law, people who take part in a crime can be charged with murder if someone is slain, even if they didn't commit the actual killing.

Just as there is no honor among thieves, there is none among murderers facing long prison terms - or worse.

Charged with murder in the beating death of a homeless man, three teens may try to cast blame on one another.

Broward State Attorney Michael Satz has not yet determined whether to seek the death penalty for Ammons and Hooks, both 18. Daugherty, who is 17, will be tried as an adult, but a 2005 Supreme Court decision prohibits states from seeking death for crimes committed by minors.

Fort Lauderdale police believe the teens may have assaulted as many as five other men and women living on the street, though they have not yet been charged in any other crime. Fort Lauderdale police have contacted three of the victims -- Charlotte York, 75, Sean Schaffer, 35, and David Worth, 29 -- but are seeking the public's help in finding Loshaje Lewis, 60, and Earl Fulton, 47. All five filed police reports after they were assaulted in recent months.

I wrote at the time of the first post that there were going to be others who saw such activities as 'fun' and emulate them. It has happened - in Boston:

Homeless Man Beaten And Set Ablaze

The 30-year-old man was sleeping in a Boston park early Sunday morning when he was awakened by two men kicking and beating him. After the attack, the suspects fled and the man went back to sleep.
Police report the attackers returned to Langone Park in the city’s North End with a flammable liquid and set the homeless man’s legs on fire.
Police were called to the scene after a passerby noticed a fire in the park.

At least someone noticed. They don't always. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino makes the usual threats against the assailants:

"We're going to find you. We're going to find you. We're going to lock you up. We're going to take you to trial and we're going to hope the jury and the judge throws the book at you," Menino said.

Normally, I would consider such verbiage as empty law-and-order posturing for the voters, but there was another attack not long ago - and the accused murdering perps did the walk:

Last August a 40-year-old homeless died in Boston after police say he was beaten by two teenagers. Thomas Grealish, 17, and Ryan Leonard, 15, have been charged with manslaughter.

I asked back in January why this is considered 'fun'. There might be some insights in these comments:

Nationally the number of assaults against the homeless has risen dramatically since 2002, according to a recent report by the National Coalition for the Homeless. In 2005, 73 homeless people were assaulted nationwide and 13 died, the report said.
In the overwhelming number of cases of violence against the homeless, the attackers are teenagers...
"It's the perception that it's someone insignificant that doesn't matter," said Emmanuel Smith, a counselor at the Pine Street Inn, a Boston homeless shelter. "They are laying in the street. They think they don't have any family and no one cares about them. That's not the case."

The phenomenon made national news in January when a surveillance camera captured two teenage men in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., beating a homeless man to death with baseball bats. The video led police to the suspects.

The phenomenon didn't just make the national news - it IS national news:

In Maine, a Portland teenager was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly stabbing a homeless man in the throat last March.

Homeless woman attacked, stabbed

A homeless woman was in serious but stable condition at Brooke Army Medical Center after she was stabbed three times early Friday with a steak knife that punctured her lung, a police report said. She was struck twice in the right chest and once in the abdomen.

Homeless woman, 62, suffers beating by thug with tire iron

Employees at the corner store by the interstate know her only as Eloise, a good-natured but destitute older woman, weathered and always in a ragged red sweater, who for more than one year has lived under a bridge along Interstate 10 on the edge of town. Every day, Eloise Langford, 62, walked more than two miles from her exposed abode to the store, where she would read discarded newspapers, accept coffee and doughnuts from sympathetic employees and buy pouches of tobacco and cans of tuna. "She's a real nice lady — real, real sweet," said Veronica Luna, an employee at the store who often spoke with Langford.

For Langford, the corner store is the closest thing she could call home. Reluctant to stay in a shelter, she had long ago grown accustomed to living outside and alone, said Shauna Matthews, an employee at the store.

She was attacked in a dimly lit area east of Foster Road, so she was unable to tell police exactly where it happened or who did it, a police report said.

But, according to the report, Langford did tell police this: A man emerged from the shadows and said, "I've been watching you." He then offered her money for sex. When Langford told him no, the man pulled out a tire iron and beat her face with it, the report said. He then fled.

Langford, her face swollen and head bleeding, needed an ambulance. "It's lucky she made it here," Matthews said. "She could've been found dead out there."

A wounded homeless woman in Oakland, California, was lucky that someone noticed her - finally:

Injured woman lay unnoticed in car over a day

The graveyard-shift dispatcher at Veteran's Cab in Oakland heard gunfire and called the police, but more than a day passed before anyone peered into the bullet-riddled car on the street and saw the homeless woman inside with a gunshot wound to her head.

Although police were called to the scene moments after the shooting, no one spotted her until 9:30 a.m. Monday, when employees at Veteran's Cab and an auto body repair shop across the street found her sprawled across the back seat of a silver 1987 Oldsmobile 98 on 54th Avenue.

"I saw the gunshot holes on the (driver's) side of the car, and then I looked inside," said Alberto,who was the first to see the woman. He was opening his auto repair shop when he wandered over to check out the Oldsmobile, which the woman had lived in for three months. "I saw her and the gunshot wound in her face. I thought she was dead, then she moved. I was surprised she was alive."

Alberto, who also did not want his last name published, called 911.

He said it seemed to take forever for help to arrive.
She was still alive after spending 32 hours wrapped in blankets and slumped in the back seat of the abandoned Oldsmobile she had called home. Police had been alerted to the shooting moments after it occurred. "It's a real miracle that she stayed alive so long," the dispatcher, Linda, said Tuesday, asking that her last name not be published for fear of retribution. "There was a bullet hole above her right eye, and the whole (right) side of her face was swelled up. It was shocking. How did she survive like that?"

This outrage perpetrated by the Oakland Police was one of neglect and of not caring about the people they are paid to serve and protect. What of when an officer takes a more active role?

Video captures officer, homeless confrontation

A City Hall police officer was caught on tape spraying a homeless man with mace and then throwing him on the ground in what appeared to be an unjustified confrontation Tuesday in front of the Day Resource Center. James Waghorne said he always has his camera ready to take pictures of the homeless, and he was the one who captured the incident after he saw the officer and Darren Green arguing. "I couldn't believe what I was watching," Waghorne said. "My hands were shaking. He just literally attacked Mr. Green."
City officials who saw the tape said Officer Ronald Matlock's behavior was unacceptable.
"I expect the behavior of all our employees to treat all our citizens appropriately [and] respectfully and this does not appear to be what happened," said Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm. "...We will not accept that at all."

Can we be sure this was just an isolated incident?

Advocates said officers have been mistreating the homeless since the city declared a zero tolerance policy on illegal behavior by the homeless. "It is an open hunting season on the homeless," Waghorne said.

Before all you reactionaries get all wound up and accuse me of smearing all police officers, I know that most officers don't perform such heartless cruelty. It is the few who do, however, that get the attention. And, considering that too many people are not interested in understanding anything complex (the reason Bu$hCo gets away with so much!), the impression they get makes them conclude the simplistic: if one does it, then all do. I categorically stipulate that is not so. I can offer proof that the police can and do care - as does the community they serve:

Violence against homeless not a problem for Tempe

Violence against the homeless is not a problem for Tempe police, said Officer Aki Stant, Tempe police spokesman. "We've had occasional cases where some gang members would pick on somebody, but...there was no assault or anything," Stant said.

Tim Bates, a 45-year-old homeless man who has spent the last 12 winters in Tempe, said he hasn't seen any violence against transients in the city. But there are other problems for homeless people, Bates added. "There's a little bit of intimidation and maybe harassment sometimes," he said.

Justin Curtsinger, a 24-year-old homeless man who spends his days on Mill Avenue, said he felt safe in Tempe. "Overall, that's one of the reasons I like it here," Curtsinger said. "It's so mellow."

Curtsinger said he once heard about a fight between several ASU football players and a few "traveling kids," but couldn't remember the details.

Despite this incident, Curtsinger said he considers Tempe a safe place for the homeless. "I'm not really worried about problems down here," he said. "You're 10 times more likely to be hurt in a car accident."

This isn't to say that the potential for something more serious isn't lurking the streets of Tempe:

A young homeless woman, who goes by the name of Washington, also said she had problems with harassment. "I've never gotten beat up for being homeless," Washington said.
"But I've had college frat boys try to feel me up and say, 'Oh, the cops won't do anything.'"

I hope we don't have to find out if that claim is true. But there is a solution if it does, which I wrote back on Dec 9, 2004.

Maybe they will learn why this sort of behavior is unacceptable. Maybe they will instead become the victim of some future version of themselves:

Homeless Iraq vets showing up at shelters

U.S. veterans from the war in Iraq are beginning to show up at homeless shelters around the country, and advocates fear they are the leading edge of a new generation of homeless vets not seen since the Vietnam era. "When we already have people from Iraq on the streets, my God," said Linda Boone, executive director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. "I have talked to enough (shelters) to know we are getting them. It is happening and this nation is not prepared for that."

Nearly 300,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and almost half served during the Vietnam era, according to the Homeless Veterans coalition, a consortium of community-based homeless-veteran service providers. While some experts have questioned the degree to which mental trauma from combat causes homelessness, a large number of veterans live with the long-term effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, according to the coalition.

Some homeless-veteran advocates fear that similar combat experiences in Vietnam and Iraq mean that these first few homeless veterans from Iraq are the crest of a wave. "This is what happened with the Vietnam vets. I went to Vietnam," said John Keaveney, chief operating officer of New Directions, a shelter and drug-and-alcohol treatment program for veterans in Los Angeles. That city has an estimated 27,000 homeless veterans, the largest such population in the nation.

"It is like watching history being repeated," Keaveney said.
Seabees Petty Officer Luis Arellano, 34, said he lived out of his truck on and off for three months after returning from Iraq in September 2003. "One day you have a home and the next day you are on the streets," he said. In Iraq, shrapnel nearly severed his left thumb. He still has trouble moving it and shrapnel "still comes out once in a while," Arellano said. He is left handed.

Arellano said he felt pushed out of the military too quickly after getting back from Iraq without medical attention he needed for his hand -- and as he would later learn, his mind. "It was more of a rush. They put us in a warehouse for a while. They treated us like cattle," Arellano said about how the military treated him on his return to the United States. "It is all about numbers. Instead of getting quality care, they were trying to get everybody demobilized during a certain time frame. If you had a problem, they said, 'Let the (Department of Veterans Affairs) take care of it.'"

"When we got there, the VA was totally full. They said, 'We'll call you.'"
Data from the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that as of last July, nearly 28,000 veterans from Iraq sought health care from the VA. One out of every five was diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to the VA. An Army study in the New England Journal of Medicine in July showed that 17 percent of service members returning from Iraq met screening criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety disorder or PTSD. Roslyn Hannibal-Booker, director of development at the Maryland veterans center in Baltimore, said her organization has begun to get inquiries from veterans from Iraq and their worried families. "We are preparing for Iraq," Hannibal-Booker said.

Asked whether he might have PTSD, Arrellano, the Seabees petty officer who lived out of his truck, said: "I think I do, because I get nightmares. I still remember one of the guys who was killed."

Lance Cpl. James Claybon Brown Jr., 23, fought in Iraq for 6 months with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines and later in Afghanistan with another unit. Brown acknowledged the mental stress of war, particularly after Marines inadvertently killed civilians at road blocks. "That was the hardest part," Brown said.

"Not only were there men, but there were women and children -- really little children. There would be babies with arms blown off. It was something hard to live with."
Advocates said seeing homeless veterans from Iraq should cause alarm. Around one-fourth of all homeless Americans are veterans, and more than 75 percent of them have some sort of mental or substance abuse problem, often PTSD, according to the Homeless Veterans coalition. More troubling, experts said, is that mental problems are emerging as a major casualty cluster, particularly from the war in Iraq where the enemy is basically everywhere and blends in with the civilian population, and death can come from any direction at any time.
Boone's group says that nearly 500,000 veterans are homeless at some point in any given year, so the VA is only serving 20 percent of them.

They are lucky. Bu$hco usually only serves the top one percent. But then, their attitude about Americans in general is one of - at best - benign neglect.

Unless you can haul a weapon around Oilstan and 'protect owwer weight of life', you are left to fend for yourself. You are not considered valuable, but are instead a costly extravagance that must be left behind as the New World Order makes its way to its destiny.

And those who can't fight with them are training fodder for those who can. Maybe that's really why the Radical Republican Religious are so adamantly opposed to pregnancy terminations - they aren't the ones in control of the process, and don't benefit at all.

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