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Columns : Editorial

Short Bursts

Stories of stupid journalists, border-jumping cop-killers, and a job nobody wants.

July 01, 2005  |  by - Also by this author

To be honest, I've never liked writing a hodge-podge of an editorial note. It's kind of a cheat. But I have a lot of things to talk about this month and, since this is my only platform to do it, I'm going to machine-gun some stuff at you.

Item One: Never trust a journalist. I know, I know, I'm a journalist. But I gotta admit, and most of you know it, that few people on this earth can do more long-lasting damage in a short amount of time than a journalist.

Take for instance the recent whopper of an error in USA Today regarding Tasers. As we all know, police use of Tasers has been under attack from Amnesty International and the ACLU. They say that Tasers kill, even though the overwhelming evidence is that a Taser has never killed anyone.

But if they were as powerful as USA Today recently claimed, then just about everybody ever exposed to a Taser burst would be pushing up daisies.

In an infographic published on June 3, McPaper told the world that the X26 packs a punch of 2,100 amps to 3,600 amps. The report compared the Taser to electric chairs, which pump 6 to 20 amps; the third rail of the New York City subway, which is about 4,000 to 10,000 amps; and lightning, which is about 10,000 to 100,000 amps.

Is a Taser really more powerful than an electric chair? Of course not. USA Today miscalculated the power of the X26 by, get this, 1 million. The actual punch of the Taser is 0.0021 to 0.0036.

The moral of this story is never trust journalists. Most are dumber than a philodendron.

Item Two: A couple of years back I wrote of how the accused killer of Dep. David March of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department walked free south of the border, and there's nothing that the L.A. County DA or anyone in American law enforcement could do about it. Nothing has changed in this case.

Yes, we do have an extradition treaty with Mexico. But the Mexican courts have thrown a monkey wrench into the system. They won't extradite anyone, not just any Mexican citizen, but anyone, who faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole. I personally think the drug lords helped write this law to prevent the federales from shipping them north.

So, what can a prosecutor do? Nothing. Or swallow hard, and seek only life, not life without parole. That's exactly what the Denver district attorney may have to do in the case of Raul Garcia-Gomez.

Denver police say that Raul Garcia-Gomez gunned down Det. Donald "Donnie" Young while he was working off duty as security for a baptismal party.

Garcia-Gomez was recently arrested in Culiacán by Mexican police. Now, the hard part will be getting him back to the states. Denver prosecutors will have to negotiate the accused cop-killer's potential sentence with the Mexican authorities. The process could take more than a year, and the Denver DA will have to take the death penalty and life without parole off the table if he ever wants to see Garcia-Gomez in a Colorado court.

Item Three: On June 8, nine hours after being sworn in as chief of police for the border town of Nuevo Laredo, Alejandro Dominguez was gunned down outside his office by thugs from a local cartel. He was the only applicant for the job in the town, which is murder central because of a drug war.

Investigators counted 35 to 40 casings at the scene. Witnesses told police that three Chevy Suburbans hemmed in Chief Dominguez's car, rolled down their windows and opened fire. Then they got out of their cars and unleashed another hail of lead into the chief's windshield.

If you're so inclined, say a prayer for honest law officers in Mexico. They need all the help they can get.

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