Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Phil Spector Goes to Jail

CNN reports on the conviction of Phil Spector on 2nd Degree Murder charges in the death of actress Lana Clarkson more than six years ago. Spector was practically a household name, originally for his career as a music producer, but more recently for his well publicized trial in 2007 which ended in a hung jury. After O.J. and Robert Blake, it was beginning to look like the big-shot misogynists of Hollywood could get away with murder, but not Phil.

Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler declined to allow Spector to remain free on bail pending sentencing, citing Spector's years-long "pattern of violence" involving firearms.

"This was not an isolated incident," Fidler said, noting Spector's two previous firearm-related convictions from the 1970s. "The taking of an innocent human life, it doesn't get any more serious than that."

In closing arguments at the retrial, prosecutor Truc Do called Spector "a very dangerous man" who "has a history of playing Russian roulette with women -- six women. Lana just happened to be the sixth."

I suppose Phil Spector could be considered just another American exercising his "right" to have guns, his freedom to protect himself. At some point in his history, I suppose, he was one of the law-abiding gun owners. Then he started crossing the line, abusing women, using weapons to abuse women. Six years ago it went way too far.

What does this have to do with lawful and responsible gun owners? An awful lot, is what I say. The fact is the Phil Spectors of the world represent a significant percentage of the gun owning public. You can quibble about how much is "significant," whether 20% or 1%, but the fact remains when we're talking about a group as large as 50,000,000 and you take a percentage of that group, even a small percentage, you've got a lot of dangerous people.

Surely, you cry, they aren't all as dramatically criminal as Phil, playing Russian Roulette and such. I say that's true, many aren't nearly as colorful and inventive as old Phil, but many are worse. The point is it's wrong for gun owners to keep shrugging their shoulders and saying, "It's not my problem, I obey the laws."

If I were a gun owner, I swear I'd be doing everything within my power to limit the availability of guns. As a gun owner, I'd be cooperating with the gun-control movements to find ways to prevent these all-too-common abuses. Above all, I'd stop pretending that my responsibility ends with the maintenance and handling of my own personal weapons. It extends far beyond that, into the society which I have helped to shape by my attitude towards guns and gun control.

What's your opinion? Is it fair to say that gun owners share in the responsibility of gun violence? I'm really talking philosophically, but even practically I'd say they share in the guilt. Take a guy like Phil Spector and all the others who are, let's say, less than responsible and prudent in the handling of their guns. Do you think guys like that keep their actions a total secret? Are they completely isolated from all other gun owners? I don't think so. What about the shooting range where they practice? How about the gun store where they buy weapons and ammunition. How about their shooting buddies? How about their drinking buddies, with whom they talk, brag even? How about the people, usually other gun owners, who witness dangerous and irresponsible gun handling and say nothing?

What it adds up to is for every offender among the gun owning public, you've got another 5 or 10 gun owners who know about the improper activity but let it go. It's not just the Spectors and the Poplawskis and the Adkissons, it's many others too. Those headline grabbers did not act in a vacuum. Shame on you, shame on you all.

I realize the above descriptions are totally inapplicable to the majority of lawful gun owners. But, that brings us back to the basic ideas of gun availability contributing to daily avoidable gun deaths and the never-ending action of gun flow - guns flow from the good guys to the bad, and good guys themselves go bad. The more people support so-called gun rights the more they contribute to these dark forces in American society.

That's the way I see it. How about you? What's your opinion?


  1. Your writing is REALLY going downhill, Mike.

    Still here's another story for you to ignore:

    "A New Jersey man has been shot and killed at an Alcoholics Anonymous center in South Carolina in what police say was a thwarted robbery."

    Lots of angles on this one, Mike.

    #1. Happened in Gun-friendly North Carolina, but the criminal was from gun unfriendly New Jersey (tho Dirty-Jersey is plenty criminal friendly.) I'd put money the gun was stolen from Jersey, or bought on the black market in either New York or the Garden State.

    #2. The defender was likely an Alcoholic (Sober, but most likely DID at a time have a drinking problem) a group you've proposed to be disarmed, and likely harmed by this creep.

    #3. Kinda neat how the lawful gun use is deeply downplayed in the news story. Kinda reminds me of an anti-gun blogger I know...

  2. Everyone, even you and I, are only law-abiding UNTIL we commit a crime.

    What could be more simple? Or do you propose we treat everyone in this country as a potential criminal and as if they're already guilty?

    Even Spector had rights right up until the point where abused them. That's how the rights and the legal system work in this country. If you don't like it tough luck.

  3. Weer'd, You're not kidding there are some good angles on the AA shooting. I think I'll make it into a post of itself because there is one major point I'd like to address, you know that little point about excessive force.

    Bob, Sorry but I found it necessary to reject your comment. It's a damn shame you can't follow the rules because in that comment there were several points I would have liked to discuss further.

  4. Go for it, Mike. I'll be right there to tear your argument to shreds, as you lament the life of a poor career criminal.

    Stop me if I'm stealing too much of your predictable thunder!

  5. i'm just glad this farce of a trial is over, and what looked from my point of view to be the only logical outcome actually came to pass..

  6. From http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-3704-Columbia-Conservative-Examiner~y2009m4d14-Gun-control-rhetoric-veers-off-target

    But, as Don Kates at the Independent Institute points out, none of these caricatures possess even a tiny modicum of truth:

    "A New York Times study of the 1,662 murders in that city between 2003 and 2005 found that 'more than 90 percent of the killers had criminal records,'" writes Kates in an op-ed for the San Francisco Examiner. "Baltimore police records show similar statistics for its murder suspects in 2006. In Milwaukee, police reported that most murder suspects in 2007 had criminal records, while 'a quarter of them [killed while] on probation or parole.' The great majority of Illinois murderers from the years 1991-2000 had prior felony records. Eighty percent of Atlanta murder arrestees had previously been arrested at least once for a drug offense; 70 percent had three or more prior drug arrests--in addition to their arrests for other crimes."
    Gun culture MikeB or culture of violence associated with drugs and other crimes?

  7. Mike,

    Are you ever going to tell me what you found offensive about my comment?

    If I don't know, I can't change what you don't like.

    Why is it you ask for our opinions, then when you get them, you don't let them be seen.

    Double standard? you continue to insult us, but we can't say anything to hurt your very sensitive feelings.

  8. So, do you support guilty until proven innocent Mike? Do you look upon gun owners as no more than criminals in the making?

    Do you understand how the U.S. legal system works?

  9. MikeB,

    I've revised the comment 2 times now. What is the problem with the way the last one is phrased?

    There are good counters to your argument...could that be the problem.

    You say you want to discuss the points I raise, but you never approve the comment.

  10. Bob - Mike won't even address my comments.

    Probably because he doesn't like the answers to my questions.

  11. Mike W., Are these the questions you're referring to when you say I won't answer because I wouldn't like the answers?

    "So, do you support guilty until proven innocent Mike? Do you look upon gun owners as no more than criminals in the making?

    Do you understand how the U.S. legal system works?"
    The answers are no, no and yes.

    My point frequently is that people are people and gun owners are not immune from the ills that affect any other group. That means there's a, what I call "significant" percentage with the kinds of problems that make them more dangerous guns.

  12. The problem Mike, is this.

    How do you reconcile "innocent until proven guilty" with your notion that prior restraints on individual constitutional rights are OK because of what someone, somewhere, who is currently law-abiding "MIGHT" do in the future"

    You and your ilk rountinely treat us gun owners as if we're guilty until we prove our own innocence. Then, on top of that you want even MORE prior restraints levied against those who do nothing wrong all because a "significant percentage" misuse their Constitutional Rights.

    That's akin to advocating cutting out the tongues of theatre-goers to prevent them from yelling "FIRE" because some theatre-goers (a fraction of a percent of the whole) did it at some point and people died.

    That's insane mike. Group punishment of that sort is infantile, disrespectful, and completely at odds with individual liberties we have in this country.

    I think you don't trust yourself with a gun, so you feel the need to disarm everyone else because they might be as irresponsible as you would be. (After all, you did say you owned & carried guns illegally...)