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Archive for March 28th, 2013

The Gun Issue: If Dead Kids Doesn’t Do it, What Will?

 

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s nauseating to say the least to see how spineless our Washington lawmakers are, how fearful they are when it comes to standing up to the NRA and the people who insist that universal background checks are too intrusive and assault weapons are necessary to own.

The Newtown shootings should have been enough to give lawmakers the backbone to stand up.

No, the Gabby Giffords shootings should have been enough.

No, the Aurora movie theater shootings should have been enough.

No, the Virginia Tech shootings should have been enough.

No, the Columbine shootings should have been enough.

You get the point, nothing, not dead high school kids, not dead elementary school kids, not a dead federal judge, nothing will move some of our lawmakers.

Granted, banning assault rifles at this point won’t instantly remove them from circulation. But we have to start somewhere, and banning assault rifles will eventually make them much harder to get. And the universal background checks, well, that’s another no brainer.  Currently, about 40% of guns purchased from places other than licensed gun dealer (like collectors and guns shows) do not require background checks. That would change under a new proposal in Washington that is under intense debate.

I’m afraid we’re missing the window of opportunity to enact some tougher gun laws. No, I’m not advocating taking away guns.   But we need change.  Now. Not after 10 more tragedies involving unstable people. 

In most societies, the senseless, mass deaths of kids is enough to make politicians respond.

Apparently, not in this society.

Which really really worries me.

If dead children doesn’t do it, what will?

Experts Say Too Many High-Level Justice Department Jobs Are Vacant

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Experts are worried about numerous vacancies in the criminal and national security divisions of the Justice Department, Sari Horwitz of the Washington Post reports.

“There is no question that the vacancies always have an effect,” Robert Raben, an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration, said. “Senior leadership matters in policymaking, responsiveness to Congress and making cases.”

The Washington Post wrote that high-level positions for appointees and department heads create a security threat, according to former Justice Department officials.

But Max Stier, president and chief executive of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, said those kinds of positions often take time to be filled during the beginning of a president’s second term.

“It’s critical to have these positions filled,” Stier said. “It’s very difficult even when there are capable acting or career people in those jobs because the organization just doesn’t operate in the same way.”

Can FBI Tap Into Cell Phones without a Warrant? Arguments Begin in Federal Court Today

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI’s use of cell-phone tracking technology will go on trial this afternoon.

At issue is stingray devices, which use legitimate cell towers to connect to mobile devices, CNET reports.

Civil libertarians argue the devices violate Americans’ Fourth Amendment right to reasonable privacy and want to impose limits on them, in the same way that challenges forced restrictions on warrantless use of thermal imaging devices, CNET wrote.

Federal authorities say stingray devices are a useful tool in cracking crimes.

Columnists Offer Alternatives to Immigrant Detention That Include Private-Sector Supervision

By Julie Myers Wood and Steve J. Martin
Washington Times

Congress held two hearings this month to examine the government’s decision to release more than 2,000 immigrants from detention for budgetary reasons. The good news is that committee members of both parties used these hearings to focus on the core issue: our flawed immigration-detention system.

The government’s purpose in detaining immigrants is not to punish them, but to ensure that they show up for hearings and comply with removal orders. In many cases, though, detention is not the best way to achieve these goals. Alternatives to detention are both routine and effective. They’re employed every day, not just in the immigration system, but in the criminal justice systems of all 50 states and the federal government. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be wise to re-examine how it uses alternatives in order to best fulfill its mission.

Read more by visiting the Washington Times.

Recent Addition to 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List Surrenders in Colorado to Face Murder Charge

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Less than two weeks after being added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, Edwin Ernesto Rivera Gracias voluntarily returned from El Salvador to Colorado to be charged with first-degree murder, USA Today reports.

Rivera Gracias, who surrendered after the FBI announced a $100,000 reward, was wanted for the Colorado slaying of Richard Limon, 69, who had been stabbed to death.

According to an affidavit, Limon was the father of Rivera Gracias’ girlfriend and had molested her when she was younger, USA Today wrote.

“This outcome provides assurance for victims and prosecutors throughout the United States that those who commit egregious crimes will be pursued around the globe,” Steve Olson, FBI Denver acting special agent in charge, said

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