Friday, December 19, 2008

Teah Wimberly Pleads Not Guilty

The Miami Herald reports on the second court appearance of Teah Wimberly, the 15-year-old accused of murder. She's the one we discussed before who allegedly killed her best friend who'd recently broken off the friendship.

Police said Wimberly told them she shot Amanda because "I wanted her to feel pain like me."

The family of Amanda Collette, the murdered friend, have called for increased security at the school, specifically mentioning metal detectors. As far as I can see, no one is talking about arming the teachers. Sadly, in a case like this, it probably wouldn't have helped anyway.

Of interest to me is the gun, not because I think it's an evil inanimate object with a frightening power all its own, but simply because it's availability to the young jilted Teah made this tragic incident possible.

It remains unclear how Wimberly obtained the gun -- a .22-caliber chrome pistol -- used in the shooting. Fort Lauderdale police said they would not release information about the gun or its owner until the grand jury hears the case.

Do you think Teah Wimberly committed a crime of passion? Does a spurned lover who lashes out at the object of her affection enjoy full mental capacity? Should such a person receive psychiatric help or should she just cool their heels in the state penitentiary for a good long while? What's your opinion?

Many people think I'm too soft on criminals, but in my defense I remind you of cases in which I agreed the violent repeat offender should not be on the street. But doesn't Teah qualify for compassion?

What do you think? Please leave a comment.


  1. Mike,

    I agree with you that I don't think arming teachers would have made a difference in a case like this.

    Please help me out and define " full mental capacity" (serious question)

    Because I'm confused about the issue and question if any of us every truly have it. If I get so mad because someone cut me off in traffic, it can be said that I'm not thinking straight. So, is that diminished capacity? If I acted out violently in response to that situation, does that deserve psychiatric treatment or should I just cool my heels in jail for a while?

    The other thing that I would like to mention is please don't think I don't have compassion for this people. I do, I just believe that the consequences of their behavior should not be cut short by that compassion.

  2. Now let's address this:

    Of interest to me is the gun, not because I think it's an evil inanimate object with a frightening power all its own, but simply because it's availability to the young jilted Teah made this tragic incident possible.

    First, it wasn't the availability of the firearm that made this tragic incident possible. It was complete young Teah's decision to use the firearm. Not the tool, but the person behind it. If a firearm wasn't available, she might have used a knife, a tire iron...or any one of thousands of possible weapons.

    Second, you've mentioned before the "easy availability of firearms". That is a myth in today's world, it is actually harder to get a firearm then any other time in American history.

    In your own lifetime, the laws have changed considerably.

    {Warning rhetorical questions ahead}

    Decades ago, there were thousands of places a person could buy a firearm. Gas stations, hardware stores, department stores, sporting goods stores, local 5 & Dime stores; Now you can only purchase firearms at a few locations: pawn shops, gun stores and a few sporting goods stores.

    So, is it easier to find a location to buy a firearm now then it was in the past?

    Decades ago, a person purchasing a firearm didn't have to give his/her name when buying it. Now a form 4473 must be filled out & retained by the store.

    So, is it easier to for a criminal to purchase a firearm anonymously now then it was in the past?

    Decades ago, a person could order a firearm through the mail and have it delivered to their home, now days unless you have a curio and relic license all firearms have to be purchased from a licensed dealer in state.

    So, is it easier for a criminal to purchase a firearm across state lines now then it was in the past?

    Few states had laws about needing permits to even purchase a firearm decades ago, now there are many states with just such a requirement. People have to be pre-approved before they can even purchase a firearm in some states.

    So, is it easier for a person to purchase a firearm now then it was in the past?

    Decades ago, the crime rate, even with firearms was LESS then it is today. If the crime rate was lower, firearm availability was does it make sense to blame the availability of firearms on the crime rate? (real question)

  3. Does Teah qualify for compassion?

    In a word, "nope".
    Don't do the crime if you can't do the time/be willing to face execution.

    Stretch her neck properly and she'll be sure to honor her promises to never do such things again.

  4. Mike:

    Here's another thing that the Brady Bunch will statistically classify as a "child gun death". I'll guarantee you they will and that's why we laugh in the faces of people that spout "child gun death" figures.

  5. Bob, I'm begging you to be open minded and reasonable on this one, because if I can't get you to agree with me on this one there's no hope. About the gun availability, there's rarely been a better case to make my point. 15 year old Teah was rejected by her little girlfriend and lashed out at her to make her feel the same pain she herself was feeling. That's adolescent behavior, Bob. if there was no gun available to her she very well might have scratched Amanda's face or ripped her blouse. It was that kind of action. How can you put this in the same category as some of the violent repeat offenders we've discussed? Some of them, if no gun were available, I agree might have killed with a knife or a rock even. But not young Teah. I don't believe it for a second. I know how strongly you feel about accountability, but please acknowledge the difference between Teah's act and that of say Arnold King or Brian Nichols.

  6. Mike,

    How can you put this in the same category as some of the violent repeat offenders we've discussed?

    Where do you think the repeat offenders start, when they are 30 years old, when they've been out on the streets for dozens of years?

    It starts in the home and it starts when they are young, can't we agree that violent behavior is a learned response?

    Some of them, if no gun were available, I agree might have killed with a knife or a rock even. But not young Teah. I don't believe it for a second

    Sorry Mike, I don't say this often, but you don't know what the hell you are talking about. This is simply your opinion, your feeling based only on what you've read.

    I have kids in school, I see and hear of the violence. Read the newspapers and see how many "innocent school kids" are stabbed, beaten. Heck run a search for school fights, it's a common thing for even girls to post vids of very violent fights. Some of these are assaults, not the school yard fights of our days.

    One of the ironies that I see about liberals is often this : 14-17 year old children shouldn't be held accountable to adult standards for their crimes but 14-17 years can make adult decisions to abort pregnancies.

    Can't have it both ways, either they are held accountable or not.

    Mike, when we were kids and lashed out, it was with our fists. It's not an issue of firearms but of culture.

  7. Tell me again how teens if they can't find a firearm are less likely to commit the crime.

    Four North Carolina Teens Charged in Bizarre Killing
    A group of teenagers in North Carolina suspected of murdering a friend allegedly read him his fortune from tarot cards shortly before beating him in the head with a hammer, tying him up and suffocating him with duct tape, according to recently released search warrants.

    Four friends of Silliman's -- Aadil Shaaid Kahn, 17, Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 17, Drew Logan Shaw, 16, and Ryan Patrick Hare, 18 -- have been charged with his murder.

    Going to call for strict hammer control's that easy availability that is the problem. It is possible for TEENS to buy hammers, no one has to have a background check, hammers can be bought mail order without age verification.

    Don't even get me started on Duct Tape...this criminal tool doesn't require an accomplice to make a straw purchase, that is how easily convicted felons can get their hands on this "illegal adhesive tape".

  8. Mike,

    One of the positive defensive gun uses that you refuse to analyze can be found here:
    Concealed carry permit comes in handy for woman in Fort Smith

    FORT SMITH - She's a woman who knows how to protect herself as two men who tried to rob her found out. What they didn't know was the woman is licensed to carry a concealed weapon...and yes, she was packing heat.

    "A lady was flagged over Sunday evening about 6 p.m. on the interstate between Kelley Highway and the Arkansas river bridge." Lt. Steve Coppinger with State Police says that two men in a car signaled that the woman was getting a flat tire.

    "When she pulled over to check her tires one of those person in that other car got out and attempted to rob her at knife point."

    But what the thief didn't expect happened next. Coppinger says the female driver pulled out her handgun.

    "She pointed that at her attacker and he backed away, got in the car and they fled."

    Without a shot being fired, the firearm prevented a crime. Now what laws, regulations, rules do you want to put in place to stop criminals from getting firearms while not interfering with a person like this right's?

  9. Bob, I don't "refuse to analyze" anything. The question has always been for me, "how frequent are these defensive stories?" My point a while ago that they appear so rarely in the main stream media speaks for itself. All your stats notwithstanding, Bob, misuse of firearms is far more frequent than defensive use, as far as I can tell.

    As far as duct tape and hammers, it's an absurd comparison. Cars too, for that matter.

    You're being unreasonably stubborn to not admit that Teah's case is a good one to point out the "availability" problem. What's your point, that the gun never makes the difference? Don't you think there are some people out there who have unsuccessfully attempted suicide with a razor, who'd be dead today if a gun had been handy?

  10. A needle in the arm, firing squad, or a noose stretching a neck every time a person did such a thing WOULD make a difference.

    It's been proven the world over many times and doesn't infringe on the rights of normal people to defend themselves.

    I have a good programmer friend in Sonoma, CA. He is somewhqat afraid of guns but he will admit to, in his words, "the chance of an instant reverse death penalty would make a lot of people think twice about their actions".

    In Texas, where I live, we have instant death penalty sentence priviledges and our murder rates are lower than where he lives in the whine country of the north bay.

  11. Mike,

    Yes, my point is that the availability of the gun didn't make a difference in Teah's case.

    She was going to make her victim pay, think about that statement for a minute. Now, is it really too far of a stretch to say this young girl was going to do anything to make her victim hurt, I don't think so.

    The firearm was just a more efficient way of making the victim hurt but the culture, the mindset was the problem. Not how easily obtainable the firearm.

    What type of environment is a person raised in, what type of culture is a person steeped in that makes it acceptable to employ a level of violence in response to a minor issue? Could it be a drug culture? A culture where violence is used against people for "dissing" them. In a culture like that, it really doesn't matter what tool is used.

    The story of the 4 teens murdering a class mate clearly shows violence is violence regardless of the tool used. Why can't you see that?

    All your stats notwithstanding, Bob, misuse of firearms is far more frequent than defensive use, as far as I can tell.

    Mike, this is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy aided by media bias. You don't want to look for them, the media doesn't want people to know firearms can be a positive thing. Read any story and you'll find the bias, even in a positive story like this one.
    What they didn't know was the woman is licensed to carry a concealed weapon...and yes, she was packing heat.

    Now, doesn't "packing heat" bring a generally negative connotation to mind?

    Doesn't your own unscientific survey contradict your belief?

    We reported an average of 6 negative, 7.25 positive and over 1500 neutral incidents....but still you claim that the bad out ways the good.

    Lastly, does it really matter how often the problem happens? As you won't give up your first amendment rights because some people misuse them, why should we give up our right, that lady in Fort Smith give up her right to protect herself?

  12. Bob, You're a tough nut to crack. I guess you could say the same about me, huh?.

    Merry Christmas my friend.

  13. Mike,

    Convictions shouldn't be easily overturned, personal or criminal :)

    I enjoy the debate with you and hope that we both learn something out of it.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, my prayers for a peaceful and joyous holiday for all.

  14. mike and bob, neither of you know the entire story. i go to dillard high and know both the teens involved in the incident. teah's intention was not to kill amanda, her intention was to kill herself in front of amanda but at the last second she turned the gun. amanda was not gay. they were never dating. i'm fully convinced teah has some problems. she would blog about the how sweet death was and how the darkness soothes her. her mother kicked her out of the house and she had to live with her grandmother. none of this is a reason to kill someone, and i believe teah should not get off easy, but there are some things to be discussed here. if there was no gun available, i'm not sure this would have happened... i mean, she wouldn't have scratched her and ripped her shirt like bob said because it wasn't that kind of conflict. teah's got emotional problems. she had been thinking about suicide for a long time... killing herself in front of amanda was the ultimate way to hurt amanda, in teah's eyes. she was tired of rejection. it was in the split second that teah saw her face that she made the decision to kill her instead. and i believe it was more reaction than decision. when you're 15, how much control does one have over one's actions? the gun is the problem. and the fact that teachers are so ignorant to problems with the kids that they let it get to the point of a child wanting to kill herself.

  15. Dear Lucille, Thanks so much for commenting. You're absolutely right no one here knows the whole story. I really appreciate your close-to-the-scene info.

    It wasn't Bob who said if there had been no gun available, Teah might have scratched Amanda's face, it was I. I'm the one who keeps trying to get people to see, what apparently you see, that gun availability plays a part in many of these tragedies.

    I hope you're still reading here and can tell us more. Do you have any idea of where the gun came from? Could you tell us more about the attitude of the other students?

    Thanks again and I'm so sorry for the terrible incident that struck so close to you.