Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Hampshire Man Convicted of Capital Murder

This report comes to us from our frequent contributor, Weer'd Beard. Indeed it has many of the elements I like to write about, not the least of which is the way so-called cop killers are dealt with.

A New Hampshire jury has convicted a man of murdering a police officer in a case that could result in the state's first execution in nearly 70 years.

Michael Addison, 28, showed no emotion as he was convicted Thursday of capital murder in the 2006 death of 35-year-old Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs, whose wife and two young sons were in the courtroom. The verdict came after 12 1/2 hours of deliberations spread over three days.

Even in peace-loving New Hampshire, the message is clear. Don't go around shooting cops. But in all fairness, could it be right and good to treat criminals more harshly who attack the sworn upholders of law and order? Maybe this isn't to say that cops are worth more than ordinary people or that the State is somehow disparaging the regular citizens by doing this. What do you think?

Another interesting element of this case is the attitude of the survivors and colleagues of the victim. I'm always fascinated by what appears to be a desire for revenge.

Many police officers who were present burst into tears or let out a sigh of relief when they heard the verdict. Briggs' wife, Laura Briggs, smiled after the jurors left and hugged the prosecutors.

I don't know what the proper behaviour would be in this situation, thank goodness, since I've never had to be there. But this reaction always strikes me as inappropriate. I could see a grim nodding of approval on the part of the fellow officers. I could see something tearful and similar on the part of the widow, but this rejoicing and, I suppose desperately hoping for the death penalty strikes me as an awful viscious cycle that brings nothing but more misery on all. What's your opinion?


  1. First up I'll cover the short answer first:
    As for the proper behavior when a verdict is read...there really isn't one, as we all grieve and see these things differently, and the emotions are so high that restraint is likely close to impossible.
    One interesting exercise it to take the EXACT opposite scenario and apply emotion to it. Lets say the judge declared that the Police made a mistake in their investigation and a key piece of evidence should be discarded (not discredited, just ignored because of the 4th Amendment...its still valid, and WITH it a conviction would be assured, but it can't be lawfully used) so now the man who everybody KNOWS is guilty, is allowed to walk free on a technicality. How should (or would) one react to that? One can infer that the full opposite reaction could be appropriately had for the full opposite scenario.

    As for killing of Cops, the big question is "What is a Police Officer?"

    On one hand they are Normal Men and Women and are no different that you or I are. We all have our schooling, training and experience, but under all that we are not so different. On that level taking the life of a Cop should be no different that of any other person.

    On another level they are Officers of the Law. Its their job to uphold the laws of our society. Officer Briggs was not killed on his own time, he was killed on OUR time, apprehending dangerous people. Addison killed in attempts to avoid Apprehension by the LAW, Officer Briggs had no personal use for Mr. Addison, it was Officer Briggs' JOB to arrest Addison, a job given to him by the People of his town, and of his State.

    So in that sense Addison did more than kill a man, he directly assaulted the law of the land. How much is that worth is sentencing, I cannot say, but it should be worth something.

    Just curious, Mike, but why didn't you mention the Gun angle on this story as well?

  2. Interesting note that I didn't mention the gun angle. I honestly didn't think of it, partly because I don't like to make the posts too long and also because the other issues seemed enough to comment on. But, maybe there's another reason. Subconsciously, maybe I'm becoming convinced about guns not being the problem - nah, that couldn't be.

  3. Still don't you think it's a little odd that New Hampshire has one of the most permissive laws towards owning firarms (Vermont is the most permissive, and I would say Alaska MAY be slightly more Permissive than New Hampshire, but it REALLY close....all other states apply more restrictions on gun ownership) But it turns out the Assailant is from Boston (Which is in the top 5 MOST restrictive States as far as gun ownership)

    I will also point out that when it comes to murders in New Hampshire, most of the Assailents are from Mass.

    Seems counter-intuative, doesn't it? Also note that many anti-gun groups go against this evedence and claim (with NO supporting evedence of their own) that Guns are shuttled from permissive states to restrictive ones.....

    Why do think things like this happen they way they do?

  4. Let me guess. NH is lenient, MA is strict. Since we're talking about laws that only law-abiding citizens follow, they have little or nothing to do with the crimes being committed. Is that it?

  5. That's what I'd ascertain. Sound right to you?