McLaughlin waives jury trial for one charge

Teen waives jury trial in Cold Spring killings: (Log in info)

In an unusual turn of events for these kinds of cases, John Jason McLaughlin has waived his right to jury trial for the second-degree murder charge in the death of Aaron Rollins. The article doesn’t give too much information outside of that but I’m assuming that he will still face a jury in the charge of first-degree murder in the death of Seth Bartell. In case you forgot from yesterday…

McLaughlin allegedly shot Bartell in a basement hallway in front of other students, wounding him superficially in the chest, then fired a second shot that missed Bartell but hit Rollins in the neck. Bartell fled up some stairs. McLaughlin pursued Bartell into the gym and shot him in the forehead, prosecutors say.

The defense is trotting out the usual…

Attorney Dan Eller has said McLaughlin only intended to wound Bartell, who he thought had been teasing him, and that Rollins was not his intended target.

Again, not a valid reason to shoot an unarmed person in the chest chase him up a flight of stairs and shoot him in the head. If he was just trying to wound him he wouldn’t have shot him through his skull.

And the myth continues to perpetuate.

John Jason McLaughlin

It just goes to show you that I am not the authority on the subject nor am I omniscient. This is a story that has eluded my notice for the past year and a half.

On Sept 24, 2003, 15-year-old John Jason McLaughlin shot two of his fellow students at Ricori High School in Cold Spring Minnesota. The victims were Aaron Rollins, 17, who was shot in the neck and died later that day in the hospital and the intended target Seth Bartell, 14, who was shot in the chest and head. Bartell held on for 16 days before passing away.

Here’s how the suspect was originally described back in 2003…

But lately, those who know McLaughlin said, he began to change. He seemed more withdrawn and didn’t want to come out to play. Some described him as intensely shy and self-conscious about his severe acne.

“It really was this summer that things seemed different,” Jess Phillips, 12, who lives about a block away, told the Star Tribune.

Neil Wackwitz, 15, who was perhaps his closest friend in the neighborhood, also told the newspaper said McLaughlin seemed to withdraw this summer.

Sullivan said she noticed lately that he didn’t seem to have many other friends. She wondered whether his small size or his acne played a role.

“Kids would tease him about that,” she said.

Wackwitz said he and McLaughlin used to play video or computer games or hang out. But lately, McLaughlin usually said he didn’t want to. He also started walking home after school instead of riding the bus.

Wackwitz said he felt bad but didn’t think anything was seriously wrong. He said McLaughlin never mentioned that anything or anyone was bugging him. In particular, he said, McLaughlin never complained to him that kids at school were picking on him.

Sullivan said that McLaughlin had mentioned to her that people were picking on him but that he didn’t seem too concerned about it.

But she said there were signs that something was amiss. During one of their long chats, she recalled, McLaughlin told her that he was being tested this summer for a split-personality disorder. She said he never mentioned it again.

Others also said that teasing may have been the motive behind the shooting. However…

If Jason McLaughlin brought a gun to school because he was tired of the teasing, classmates say they can’t figure out why he targeted Seth Barthell and Aaron Rollins.

Those two boys, according to Richter, were not among the kids who teased McLaughlin.

“I think his main target was some other kid,” he says.

In July of 2004, McLaughlin pleaded not guilty under the defense that he did not intend to kill Seth Bartell and that his mental state was in question at the time. Previously a grand jury had determined that Aaron Rollins was shot accidentally by McLaughlin.

McLaughlin was to be tried as an adult. His attorney appealed but in November of 2004, the appeal was denied. (Log in info)

And after almost two years the trial is finally starting to get underway.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

If anyone has any more information that I missed please let me know.


Computer games train players to be violent?:

I guess it’s not just Americans who harp on the alleged links between video games and violence. Now we have a study coming out of Germany from the “Stuff that we pulled out of our ass Department” at the University of Aachen from renowned German scientist Klaus Mathiak which says that video games are training people to be violent. Mein Gott, here we go again…

Klaus Mathiak, of the University of Aachen, maintains he has discovered for the first time what goes on in players’ heads as a killer character lies in wait on a computer screen.

Their brains react as if they are treating the encounter as real, says the academic.

According to Dr Mathiak, when players know violence is coming, the cognitive parts of the brain become more active and during a fight its emotional parts shut down.

How did Herr Doktor measure these activities?

According to New Scientist, Dr Mathiak recruited 13 young men who played video games for two hours daily. He asked them to play the game while having their brains scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Dr Mathiak studied how brain activity changed during violent interactions.

I’d be more inclined to believe him if he then dropped the subjects into an actual scenario of impending violence like Iraq or any violent big city neighborhood then compared findings. Most of these kids would probably crap their pants if they were in a real situation of violence.

At least the British are thinking clearly…

Last night, Mike McClure, director of public education at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said there were individuals who were susceptible to suggestions inherent in video games. But he added: “You would have to say it is a small minority. Most people can distinguish between them as a game and what they would be doing in reality.”

And that small minority has something wrong with them to begin with.

And as an added bonus a follow-up to Rep. Chuck Schumer’s snit over the game “25 to Life”.

According to the guys at Penny Arcade you can also play as the police. Notice that Chucky boy doesn’t mention that part.

Instead of worrying about the games themselves maybe scientists and politicians should worry about the parents that are letting these games into their houses for underage kids to play.

The wrong idea of hero

HOODWINKED: The Mumia Syndrome:

I normally don’t like to use World Net Daily as a source but this is worth reading. It’s actually a pretty good article about how the liberal left has taken stone cold guilty cop killing scumbag Mumia Abu Jamal and made him a social and political icon.

My favorite quote is this one…

The noise soon reached the sensitive ears of the international left, culminating in a visit to Mumia’s remote Pennsylvania prison cell by one Danielle Mitterand, the former first lady of the dependably gullible France. Indeed, in a defining moment of international tomfoolery, the city of Paris officially named Mumia “Citizen of Honor,” the first such honoree since artist Pablo Picasso 30 years prior.

It’s hard to take a country seriously when their most famous city names a cop killer a “Citizen of Honor”.

But it just goes to show you that the left doesn’t care anything about these little pesky things called facts. Like the eyewitness accounts that said Jamal shot Daniel Faulkner. Or the fact that the bullets from Jamal’s gun were found in Officer Faulkner and one of office Faulkner’s bullets was found in Jamal. No, the left would rather cry racism or conspiracy then let a cop killing scumbag be sentenced to death.

So the next time you see some liberal assclown saying “Free Mumia” remind him that at least he was afforded the luxury of a trial. Officer Daniel Faulkner was not. He was executed on the spot for committing no crime.

Videogame Violence 2005

Violent game furor:

Here we go again, folks. Last year it was GTA: San Andreas. This year it’s a new game made by Eidos called “25 to Life”. This is the first I’ve heard about this game so let me quote the article…

“25 to Life,” allows players to attack police with an arsenal of Molotov cocktails, broken bottles and baseball bats. When weapons fail, players make strategic moves using civilians as human shields.

The game even lets players choose gang colors and create personalized graffiti tags.

It sounds like a GTA ripoff to me. I bet the gameplay will suck. But of course, that’s not the point here. Certain lawmakers have their panties in a wad…

“It’s the worst in a series of violent and gruesome games that lower the common denominator of decency,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is trying to block the game from hitting stores in September.

“25 to Life” makes “other controversial games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ look like ‘Romper Room,'” Schumer said.

Schumer called on PlayStation manufacturer Sony and Xbox maker Microsoft to cancel their licensing agreements with Eidos. The senator also urged stores and retailers not to stock the game.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, slammed “25 to Life” for its cavalier treatment of murder.

“It’s outrageous that a company like this would try to desensitize our children,” Lynch said.

First off have you noticed that when a politician is usually involved in calling for the censoring of a video game it’s usually a Democrat? Secondly, these are obviously people who have never held a game controller in their life or at least not since Space Invaders or the Atari 2600. Not all video games are aimed towards children anymore and haven’t been since the dawn of Mortal Kombat back in the early ’90s. Lastly the bigger a deal you make out of these games the more hype you’re giving them. You’re taking what looks like to be a mediocre game at best and you’re potentially making it a blockbuster by trying to censor it. People always want what they can’t have.

If this game ends up in the hands of children it’s because of irresponsible parents and I have yet to hear any kind of blame falling on them. Remember kids, censorship is the solution to bad parenting. Or so says the Democrats.

Osantowski Verdict Aftermath

Michigan teen guilty of making threats to attack school:

(Log in info) Andrew Osantowski’s defense attorney, Brian Legghio, continues to crack me up…

Defense attorney Brian Legghio said he plans to file an appeal after the sentencing arguing, among other things, the cache of weapons discovered in Osantowski’s home should have not been admissible as evidence. Prosecutors did not have to prove Osantowski had the capability or the intent to carry out a threat, he said, and called that evidence prejudicial.

“When you peel that away, all you’re left with is a text message,” said Legghio, who doubted the message alone would have been enough to get a conviction.

He added that he would “bet my bar card” that the conviction would be overturned on appeal.

I would love to take that bet. Osantowski pleaded guilty to the stolen weapons charge so why shouldn’t it have been presented as evidence? Why is it prejudicial if it’s fact?

What is also very interesting is this quote from Chippewa Valley Superintendent Mark Deldin…

“There probably would have been some fear in our community if he had gone back home, in our neighborhoods,” Deldin said. “But I think the biggest message that this verdict sends today goes beyond Chippewa Valley Schools. It’s a resounding message that threats of violence and terrorism in our schools will not be tolerated.”

Emphasis mine.

That’s a great point. This case should have gotten more media attention then it did. This case should serve as a warning to those who would entertain the thought of attacking their school that this is their fate. I hope the sentencing phase drives home that point as well.


Trial ends for terror suspect:

This is another article about the Andrew Osantowski trial. It doesn’t provide much more information than already given but a couple of the paragraphs regarding Andrew Osantowski’s attorney, Brian Legghio, made my jaw drop…

Legghio, however, voiced some doubt about the authenticity or completeness of McGinty’s record of the chats as submitted to her father; he also likened himself to fictional Atticus Finch for defending a marginal and unpopular client and compared his client to Japanese Americans during World War II or blacks in the old South.

Legghio said the teen was misguided or a geek, who probably needs therapy. He said Osantowski did not show any intent to coerce civilians or the government.

“That’s the most important element,” Legghio told the jury in closings. “Otherwise, by God you can just forget your free speech, because you aren’t going to have any left.”

Emphasis mine.

Could this guy be any more arrogant? And here I thought doctors were the only one with God complexes. I guess criminal defense attorneys do too.