Thursday, December 4, 2008

The politics of a terrible tragedy

Pelham (population 1,440) Police Chief Ed Fleury

UPDATE: Saturday 2:45 PM

So my forever buddy Izzy just jokingly emailed that she was gonna suit for my use of Chief Fleury’s photo (above). I had done a Google Image search and found it (so I assume it’s free game but now that somebody has used a bunch of images from my blog in his youtube trailer for a Hollywood screenplay I’m actually going to research the legality of using Google images without permission of the original owner)

I just now redid the search and realize the Google credit was to ‘MassNews’ and not ‘Masslive’. I had wondered why the Springfield Republican (the owner of Masslive) used the Gazette mug shot of Fleury and had to credit the competition on the Front Page of yesterday's paper.

So the photo credit goes to: Isabel Lyman former (and probably only conservative columnist) for the venerable Daily Hampshire Gazette, a tireless champion of home schooling and former co-owner of a private, Christian Middle/High School in the overly education-oriented People’s Republic of Amherst.

And yes, I’m certain her article from over five years ago will not go a long way toward engendering sympathy for Chief Fleury. But again--it points out that he never tried to hide anything when it came to machine guns (note photo of Mount Holyoke co-ed using one, which I’m now sure was illegal.)
Fleury Gun profile from 2003


ORIGINAL POST THURSDAY 12/4/08
Tomorrow the hard-copy news will be front-page banner headlines all the way. Gazette, Springfield Republican, probably the Boston Globe and Herald as well: “Crusading DA indicts small-town Police Chief for involuntary manslaughter in child’s machine gun death”, or something like that (you can tell I don’t normally do headlines)

Of course the DA is quoted saying that Machine Gun Shoots are "clearly a violation of the law.” Well gee Mr. DA, where the Hell were you over the past few years when these things having been routinely promoted—and I mean PROMOTED—in this state?

It’s not like they were secretly holding cock fighting in a basement somewhere. If you did your job and shut these events down a year ago that child would be alive today.

If you are going to indict somebody then how about the father who picked out the gun? Or your office for dereliction of duty.

The jury will never convict. But another life has been destroyed.

21 comments:

Ed said...

I don't know the details - and wasn't privy to the media coverage beyond WBZ-radio at the time - but what I kept saying was where the h*** was the range safety officer?

I was a range safety officer in Boy Scout camp, albeit with .22 rifles, but still...

Forget the machine gun shoot - common sense about a small child and a hard-to-control weapon that the child ought to (at best) have put several boxes downrange with it set on single shot (if one can even set this particular weapon to that).

I still keep wondering where the h*** the range safety officer was...

Ed said...

I now realize it is a who not were --
YOU CAN'T HAVE A 15 YEAR OLD BOY BE A RANGE SAFETY OFFICER! You have to be at least 18 or 21 (I forget which) to do this - for a reason.

Also, is this the same Pelham Police Chief who put a round through the wall during a firearms safety training course in the '90s? You would think that alone would have been enough to be a learning experience to make safety an absolute for everything subsequent....

Yes, accidents happen - with guns as well as with automobiles - but after your first one, you really are supposed to learn from it. Personally, I once took the roof off a school bus - but only once and ever since, I walked behind a large commercial vehicle before backing it up...

So, like, umm....

Anonymous said...

I would never allow a child of 8 to even consider shooting a gun or pistol, with live rounds of ammo. What in the hell were they all thinking, including the father? This new age is beginnng to catch up with us old timers.
Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ed said...

Well, we have had 10-11 year olds shooting .22 rifles (under very VERY intense adult supervision) in the Boy Scouts for, like, forever...

I still think that there is an issue of classism in this -- perhaps more than the fact that the range was under the supervision of a 15 year old is the fact of who the father was (distinguished/rich) more than anything else and an inability to tell him "no."

Anonymous said...

A 10-year-old Boy Scout shooting a .22 on a strictly monitored range is VERY different than an 8-year-old boy shooting an automatic weapon at a gun show. What was his father thinking?! My heart goes out to the mother who lost not only her son on that day but undoubtedly her faith in her husband.

Anonymous said...

"Also, is this the same Pelham Police Chief who put a round through the wall during a firearms safety training course in the '90s?"

Yes, and wasn't it a school?

Anonymous said...

Larry, forget the not convicted, I am doubtful that the jury will even want to hear his side. The police have abused their status out here for so long - the "blue line" license plates, the good-old-boy network, all of it.

Think that won't come to play here -- "he thought he was above the law because he was a cop, ladies and gentlemen, it is your job to tell him that he wasn't."

He's going to jail..

Anonymous said...

The first sign of the wise man is that he knows what he does not know.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

That's why he has been in hiding. He knows. I do hope that he pays, dearly, for this one. His concience wii haunt him forever, if he has one.
Ed Fleury, the bus stopped, in
westfield.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, like that's going to bring back the eight year old.

Anonymous said...

They were right to indict him. It was his company, COP Firearms & Training, that runs the machine gun expos.

LarryK4 said...

And it was his own father who picked out the machine gun. If the dad has "suffered enough" then so too has Chief Fleury.

Whatever happened to "EQUAL justice for all."

Anonymous said...

I to believe in equal justice for all, but I also believe that there are guidelines that dictate how certain events unfold. Any environment that has a high risk factor requires qualified personnel to ensure the safety be it workers, enthusiasts, etc.. When we walk into these environments we are taking into consideration there are trained individuals on site to ensure our safety. Now lets take a karate studio for example, if I send my son to classes to learn martial arts I do not expect to hear we're sorry your son was in sparing match and accidental killed. I will have the head of the that studio served to me on a platter. Back to the shooting incident yes the father picked the weapon for his son to shoot, but it was the gun clubs responsibility to inform him that the gun has more kick and may not be suitable for him, and it was their responsibility to to monitor the kids extremely closely when they are shooting at that age. Which I was shooting at a younger age but it was a single shot one shooter at a time situation. This was unfortunate to have happen, but I can't help to not agree some cops have this superiority complex that they can and will do as they please. I don't personally know the chief in Pelham, but if half of what I hear is true he has all the signs of one of those greater than all cops (and we all know at least one).

LarryK4 said...

Well I do know Ed Fleury and he’s not that kind of a cop—in fact, far from it. He and his son did karate with me many, many years ago.

And when he signed up for lessons, he filled out a registration form with a liability waiver that clearly stated karate could be dangerous even potentially fatal and you acknowledge that and assume the risk.

If you send your son to a horse farm for riding lessons there are rather large signs saying the state of Massachusetts recognizes that horses can be unpredictable and if you are injured or die you have assumed that risk.

Yeah, BIG difference between a horse and shuffle hook kick and an Uzi sub-machine gun. If cops are # 1 for having God complexes then Doctors would certainly come in #2. The father shares equally the blame for this unfortunate incident.

If, as the DA says, these events “are clearly a violation of the law”--then why did it take him over a freaken month to bring these draconian charges?

Anonymous said...

Because he was collecting the facts.

LarryK4 said...

One fact (and the ONLY one that really matters) he himself describes as "clearly a violation of the law."

So...if a woman says “No” it "clearly" means no! And if the man continues on and has his way with her (or for that matter, a man has his way with another man) after the word “no” THAT is “clearly a violation of the law."

And it doesn’t matter if the aggressor is a complete stranger, a friend/lover, or even the married partner: NO MEANS NO!

Can you imagine the hue and cry from the bricks and mortar media and “social justice” groups if it took the DA over a month to bring charges in such a case?

Face it: Chief Fleury is going to hang because he's a chubby, middle-aged white guy.

Ed said...

Larry, because I have interlectual honesty, I have to disagree with you here.

First, since I come from a profession with a 1:1000 annual job death rate, I understand danger. Most folk don't. And over the years, I have asked some questions to police officers that made them sweat - not a 15 year old boy but adult officers.

A 15-year-old kid isn't old enough to deal with this level of maturity -- even if not confronted with a senior medical director used to ordering others around.

The solution in this case is what should have happened in the infamous 1999-00 UMass Rape Hoax Hysteria -- criminally charge folk and then give them the option of a NOLO plea, or CWOAF or whatever. They admit that they were wrong, and apologize.

Of course, this assumes that the reason for criminal trials is not just to have precedential value in civil ones. We have a dead kid here, wanna bet there won't be civil lawsuits?

And in charging the Chief criminally, they have pierced the corporate veil and even though his liability is as the head of that corporation, he will be sued personally....

Anonymous said...

C'mon Larry you of all should know just by signing a liability form or posting a sign does not devoid a business of all liability.

That's like saying well you sign the form so we knowing you are a novice rider will put you on the horse we know even a experienced rider would have a hard time with, or we know your only a white belt but I think we'll let the black belts use you for full contact kicking practice. At this point you exceed what is considered reasonable liability on the patrons behalf. When someone comes to your gym with no experience you don't just open the doors and say have at it. You instruct them and monitor them to ensure they are training in a reasonably safe manner to prevent injuries. Otherwise why would anyone want to enter into an environment that they knowingly will be a fatality.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, when you sign my Martial Arts waiver it’s not like I could hook kick you upside the head and say, “That’s the First Lesson: never sign a waiver.”

And as I’m sure you know Massachusetts has about the strongest consumer protection law in the nation where the consumer is almost always right.

BUT… if some nitwit decides to enter a Karate Tournament, or Mixed Martial Arts Grappling event and pays the $50 entry fee and signs up for the “Black Belt Division” (even though they are nothing but a nitwit White Belt) and as a result takes serious battle damage…

Ed Cutting said...

Larry, if "some nitwit" falsely claims to be a black belt (and I assume that, like academia, this means was awarded such degree at some location by some recognized authority) then he/she/it has committed FRAUD and it becomes a whole 'nother ballgame.

If you fraudulently claim to have certification in skills that you don't have and then get injured because you don't have said skills, well that is different. It is like taking a forged Class A driver's license into Ryder and then getting arrested for driving a trailer-truck on a car license, it is YOUR fault...

Although, there is a reasonable expectation of common sense. If an eight-year-old boy claimed to be a "black belt" and to have some 15 years of karate experience (remember that you know he is only 8 years old), well, what would the reasonable person presume?

Like I said in my initial post, had *I* been the range safety officer, I would have demanded that the child first put a couple boxes of ammo downrange and be consistently somewhere near the target ON SINGLE SHOT before I even *considered* letting him fire it on automatic. And this would ONLY be if I was (a) familiar with the weapon myself and (b) sorta confident that the child could be trusted with it.

I would want to both see his credentials and then see them demonstrated.

And if you have someone claiming to be a "black belt" then you ought to ask him/her/it to demonstrate some dance-around/kick move that any competent "black belt" must know and asking some serious questions if it can't be done. Or to do a little non-contact sparring where you make it non-contact knowing that the twit is both lying and totally defensiveless.

It kinda is like asking someone claiming to be a plainclothed APD officer to spell and pronounce Charlie Scherpa's last name -- if neither can be done, he/she/it ain't an Amherst cop....

There is also the concept that if you are in a regulatory position, you MUST make honest decisions without regard for consequences. As you may or may not know, I am no longer an employee of the Amherst Housing Authority. I have a clean conscience.

And while not everyone who does the wrong thing has a situation that goes bad, nor even then is held responsible for it, I have no problem with those who did getting so held.

Ed

LarryK4 said...

Obviously you have never been to a martial arts tournament. Anybody can enter anything they want with no questions asked (as long as their money is good)

Sad, but true.