Posts Tagged ‘crime’
New Delhi, India (AP) – In the wake of several violent rapes over the last several months, the Indian government has announced a cap on horrifically brutal sexual assaults, limiting the number to 12 per year. The law will go into effect in January 2014.
The four-year-old victim of an April 17 rape in Madhya Pradesh died today, on the heels of a similarly brutal rape involving a five-year-old girl in New Delhi two weeks ago. Sexual assault of minors in India has become increasingly common in recent years, or at least have become increasingly reported. Two other cases of gang rapes made international headlines in December and January and sparked tumultuous protests across the country. Demonstrators accused the police and prosecutors of treating accused rapists leniently and turning a blind eye to the phenomenon.
The new legislation, formally ratified this morning, applies only to those “non-consensual sexual acts,” as the bill refers to them, that generate significant media coverage and spark public outcry. Theoretically, all twelve highly publicized annual beating-rapes or rapes of children could occur in the same month, as long as none occurred during the rest of that calendar year. And since the law only covers the assaults that make headlines, it will not affect the thousands of rapes that continue to occur.
“This is a call to rapists to be much more careful,” said Shewantsit Dontcarewatchusay, a Mumbai sociologist who has studied the issue extensively with the young offspring of his neighbors. “It would be too ambitious, I think, to call for a complete elimination of excessively violent rapes in so short a time, but anything to keep things quiet is a welcome step.”
Dontcarewatchusay expects further legislation in the same vein if the community of rapists and child molesters embraces the new law. The practice of highly publicized gang rape might fall out of disuse entirely if adherence to the new limits takes hold. “It’s in their interest to generate as little publicity as possible so they can continue their work,” he said of his fellow practitioners.
Some advocates have been agitating for more reform along different lines. Idowanna Takkabowdittagain, a lobbyist, represents a number of organizations that would prefer the simpler step of a ban on using social media to facilitate the unwanted publicity that has made these incidents so unpopular. The advantages of such a policy, she noted, have been demonstrated in locales such as North Korea, where not a single rape has been reported in international media in decades.
Others call for more sweeping measures. “If we outlaw women this problem would solve itself,” argues Missengh Deforestforthetrees, who leads a non-profit legal research foundation. He referred to similar initiatives in other countries, but concedes that India’s huge population might make implementation of the measure a formidable logistical challenge.
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Austin, Texas (AP) – Agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided a gun store in the downtown area of the Texas capital today, where they found a sizable stash of weapons, said an agency spokesman.
“The team entered the shop and found literally hundreds of guns lying there in plain sight,” said Walther Remington, the spokesman. “The proprietor clearly had no compunctions about displaying his extensive inventory of deadly weapons.” The shop owner was taken into custody but has not yet been formally charged.
Neighbors expressed little surprise at the turn of events. “The guy has been running the shop for almost twenty years,” said Mark Smann, who runs a nearby dry cleaning business. “People go in and out of there all the time, and everyone knows why. It’s not like you can hide a high-powered hunting rifle in your purse.”
“What gets me is not that the guy has been selling guns basically out in the open for years and years,” said Sharpe Schuter, a retail manager at a clothing store down the street. “It took the Bureau this long to notice? That’s the surprising thing.”
It is not clear when the BATF became aware of the gun shop’s stash of weapons, or what prompted them to raid the establishment when they did. Remington claimed only basic knowledge of the case, but called the procedure routine.
“The Bureau’s mission is to prevent dangerous firearms from reaching the wrong hands. Anyone walking by the store could see the racks of deadly weaponry, and it would only be a matter of time before someone acquired one or more of those guns. The Bureau felt compelled to act, and discovered that the inventory of guns was even more extensive than we’d suspected.”
The episode comes on the heels of a similar incident last week in Florida, when the Drug Enforcement Administration seized thousands of pills, syringes and dangerous powders from a Miami Beach pharmacy. In that case, the pharmacy’s owner publicly admitted trafficking in the substances, and that doing so provided a comfortable livelihood. The DEA subsequently discovered hundreds of other such establishments in Florida, and the director voiced his suspicion that thousands more are active across the country.
Also last week, New York State authorities opened an investigation into the presence of large quantities of dihydrogen monoxide in its plumbing and sewage systems.
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New Delhi, India (Reuters) – Following the death of a woman who was gang-raped on a bus earlier this month in the Indian capital, rapists across the Indian societal spectrum are voicing concern that the incident will harm their reputations.
“Most of us are normal, hardworking guys, and something like this gets us really worried,” said Whatshewants Dusinmatta, 40, of Bangalore. “The vast majority of times we do what we do, it doesn’t result in riots, so we’re naturally a bit nervous that people might not treat us the same way anymore.”
The Indian umbrella organization of sexual assailants, All Sheilas Know It’s Natural and Good For Overpowering Romeos to Impale Them (ASKINGFORIT), advised its members this week not to couple their violation of women’s bodies with violations of murder statues, at least until the current episode of negative publicity subsides. Spokesman Theyall Wantitt said the group was preparing a public relations campaign to attenuate the effects of the December 16 gang-rape on the reputations of rapists in India.
“Most Indians realize that these thugs do not represent us as a whole,” he said, “and our campaign will emphasize that we rapists are not these supervillains who drive around on buses picking women up. We are your fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, neighbours, classmates, and coworkers. That alone should tell everyone that public safety in India has not appreciably changed as a result of this unusual incident.” He said the organization would work with police so that the public’s confidence in its law enforcement institutions would not be affected. An estimated 1% of sexual assault and harassment are currently reported to the authorities.
A similar concern plagued rapists in Pakistan and Afghanistan earlier this year, when a twelve-year-old who was gang-raped managed to escape and reach Westerners who provided her with treatment and protection. Her male relatives and the leaders of her tribal village spent weeks trying to reassure their clansmen and the wider public that the escape did not represent a shift in policy away from killing the victim to maintain the family’s honor. Purveyors of sulfuric acid had also been worried about a drop in sales if jealous husbands would stop throwing their product in the faces of wives and daughters suspected of entertaining such radical feminist ideas as leaving the family hovel for a few minutes.
Eventually the media attention and related disturbances petered out. ASKINGFORIT clearly hopes that a similar phenomenon will characterize the New Delhi case, although currently the city is seeing vehement protests that continue to worry rapists. “Our way of life is threatened,” said Shova Nistpig, mayor of the southern town of Sekslaiveree who has been raping women for upwards of four decades. “The invasion of foreign values has given people all the wrong ideas about people’s proper places in society.”
“It’s one thing to attack the caste system, which has its problems,” he conceded, “and I say that as a Brahmin,” a member of the elite caste. “But the focus on one extraordinarily violent rape in New Delhi is making it harder and harder for the traditional rapists to go about their activities unmolested.”
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Newtown, Connecticut (AP) – In the aftermath of the shooting deaths of dozens of Connecticut schoolchildren and teachers in a murder-suicide, the Republican National Committee issued a statement today touting the death penalty as an important measure in preventing massacres of this nature. Republican Congressional leaders also spoke out in favor of tougher penalties against the perpetrators of murder-suicides.
“Some very disturbed people can only be deterred by harsh consequences,” said House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “It is imperative that American states adopt capital punishment for brutal crimes such as this. For some criminals, only by making them pay the ultimate price can we prevent other would-be mass murderers from committing mass murder and then suicide.” He noted that Connecticut abolished its death penalty in April of this year.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) echoed the theme. “The vast majority of Americans are law-abiding people, respectful of the law and of others,” he said at a press conference. “The overwhelming majority of us do not need penalties of any sort to get us to do the right thing. But a few individuals lack, unfortunately, that respect, and the only thing that can deter them from killing other people and themselves is the knowledge that they face the death penalty if they act on those brutal impulses.”
The Connecticut legislature passed the repeal of the state’s death penalty on April 11, and Governor Dannel Malloy signed the bill into law two weeks later. The law does not apply retroactively to the ten people currently on Connecticut’s death row.
Former Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell lamented the repeal of the death penalty. “My administration specifically vetoed the abolition of capital punishment in Connecticut,” she said, referring to her action of May 2009, after the legislature passed a similar measure. “It was exactly this kind of horror I had in mind when I did so. I share the pain and anger of the people of Newtown,” she continued. “We now know all too well what happens when governments refuse to use the death penalty as a deterrent to murder-suicides.”
Rell cited statistics to support her argument, noting that not a single murder-suicide criminal in any state with the death penalty has ever murdered again. Moreover, she pointed out, the criminals in question never again committed any crime at all. “I don’t see how anyone can argue that the death penalty would not be effective under these circumstances, when the facts speak for themselves,” she said. “Life in prison – even without parole – still leaves a criminal with the opportunity to commit more crimes, especially in the event of an escape. These are some of the most dangerous people on the planet, with a reputation to prove it.”
“It’s too late to save the children of Newtown,” said Rell, “but I pray that Connecticut, along with the other sixteen states without a death penalty, reexamines its coddling of the perpetrators of murder-suicides. Then maybe, once again, these monsters can be prevented from taking others’ lives – and their own.”
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Pottsville, IA (AP) – Edwin Metcalfe, 62, was arrested yesterday on charges of sexual assault after allegedly groping eleven teenage girls during a high school beauty pageant. Metcalfe is legally blind.
Sergeant Dwayne Frake of the Pottsville Police Department told reporters that Metcalfe had been serving on a panel of judges for the pageant, but, unable to judge the contestants’ appearance by visual means, sought another way of assessing their appearances. He was arrested after the parent of one of the students complained.
Metcalfe’s lawyer, Emily Edwards, insisted her client had acted entirely properly, given his disability and his commitment to fulfilling his task as judge, a position, she noted, that was entirely voluntary. “Edwin Metcalfe’s firm adherence to the rules of fair play and to the community are really what’s being challenged here. My client has been wronged by a system set up to entrap well-meaning people who fondle young women for completely innocent reasons.” She predicted the case would be dismissed without trial.
Melissa Boone, professor of anthropological studies at Iowa State University, said that this incident was hardly the first of its kind, though perhaps the first in decades in the Hawkeye state. “Everyone automatically assumes that someone who runs his hands along the soft, supple parts of a teenage girl’s body, lingering on the most curvaceous portions, is doing so because it titillates him,” she said, but that is not necessarily the case. This incident is more complicated, noted Boone, in that, “the girls in question willingly offered their bodies to the defendant so that he could perform his service to the community.”
“The big question is, have anyone’s rights been violated? It’s hard to say. The community has certain standards enshrined in law, but the very same community specifically agreed to appoint a blind man to judge the pageant. They couldn’t expect anything else.”
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Police say turncoat may have gone underground
Mahwah, NJ, June 19 (AP) – Joseph Piscatelli, a longtime Mafia operative who turned state’s witness seven years ago in a prominent case, was laid to rest Monday after being killed in a drive-by shooting near his home, and has not been seen since.
“Lynch-man” Piscatelli testified in a 2005 conspiracy, racketeering and murder case against his former Mafia boss Giovanni “Blue-Boy” Messi, who led the Rizzuto crime family. Messi is now serving a life sentence at a federal prison in Upstate New York.
FBI and Mahwah police say they are not surprised at Picscatelli’s disappearance. “After being fatally shot two days before, I’d also want to keep a low profile,” said Mahwah PD Detective George Laverty. “You never know what kind of dangers are still lurking out there for someone with quite a few enemies.”
The list of suspects in Piscatelli’s murder is said to be quite lengthy, as the Messi trial also resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of six Messi associates, all of whom are still incarcerated, but some of whom have loyal followers of their own, said FBI spokesman Donna Nobis. “Piscatelli’s testimony against his former accomplices was particularly troubling to the Rizzuto members. Piscatelli and his former boss were very close – Joe Piscatelli even served as a witness when “Blue-Boy” separated from his wife in 2002. Everyone in the Rizzuto circle was pretty sure of Piscatelli’s position of trust, considering the role he played in the Messi divorce.”
Police officers and FBI agents have gone door-to-door in the vicinity of the St. Vincent Cemetery where Piscatelli was last seen, but have not reported any developments in the case. But they are sure to face criticism over apparently lax security measures for the slain informant, even though Piscatelli repeatedly refused to relocate or assume a new identity. He had no known relatives.
Mahwah police are no strangers to unresolved cases. During 2010, the last complete year for which statistics are available, the Mahwah Police Department opened has closed only one case file related to excessive donut purchases by department members. Department spokesman Will B. O’beese dismissed the donut files as irrelevant. “That section of the department is completely unrelated to Missing Persons, specifically the Missing Homicide Victim division.”
Professor N. Cogg Nito of Rutgers University, an expert on organized crime, holds slim hopes for the resolution of the Piscatelli case – both his murder and his subsequent disappearance. “No witnesses have stepped forward in his shooting, and Lynch-man has no relatives that might agitate for the police to pursue the case aggressively. They’re probably just going to wait for the media attention to die, then relegate the story to the cold case file, where it’s basically six feet under.”
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According to preliminary reports, on Monday at about 4:30 PM, Kate Philips, 26, boarded a northbound A train at the 34th St. station, carrying her seven-month-old son. Witness statements indicate that at some point between 59th Street at 125th St., the infant became cranky, and Philips, a pervert who refuses to use formula like other, civilized, humans, loosened a flap in her shirt over her left breast and exposed approximately one-half-square-inch of her flesh for nearly three quarters of a second. The exposure lasted until the child latched on and began to nurse, and during that interval the partially exposed breast wrought moral havoc on all the inhabitants of the subway car.
By the time the express train pulled into 125th St., every passenger in the same car as Philips was a participant in multiple lewd acts and episodes of intercourse, including a 75-year-old man. Commuters boarding at that station told police that not a single passenger was fully clothed, except for the nursing baby, and that they were forced to use other cars of the train because all three entrances to that car were blocked by gang-bangs in progress.
Philips was arrested upon arrival at 168th St., and her child has been placed in the custody of Child Protective Services. A spokesperson for the agency, Amanda Jefferson, explained that breastfeeding usually indicates that the mother has an unhealthy lasciviousness about her. “With all the infant formula available nowadays, a woman who chooses to breastfeed can only be doing so because it titillates her,” Jefferson told reporters at a press conference. “A woman’s body is not some food factory with sex hormones.”
Police did not allow reporters to enter the subway car, but through its windows the moral chaos that swept through it was plainly visible. Beneath a hair-removal ad featuring a woman in a bikini lay a pile of discarded clothes, some of them ripped along the seams when their wearers were overcome with unbridled lust.
Lew Dacts, one of whose neighbors was in the car, recalled seeing his neighbor later that day walking around in a daze. “I tried to talk to her, just to say hello or something, but she didn’t even notice me. Her breathing was heavy and she had this wild look in her eyes. I didn’t dare stick around,” he said.
The episode comes on the heels of a similar incident in Chicago last month that made national headlines and brought the issue of public breastfeeding to the fore. In that case, a woman sunbathing topless on her roof called the police to report a neighbor ogling her friend, who was had raised her shirt a few inches to nurse her daughter. No arrests have been made in that case.
Cleeve Idge, an attorney for Philips, said his client was cooperating with police. “Ms. Philips has repeatedly told the police exactly what she did,” said Idge, adding that Philips wants nothing more than to be reunited with her son and does not understand what she did wrong.
Dr. Anna Liszt, a clinical psychologist at Bellevue Hospital, says that Philips is just one of countless young women with a skewed perception of the role of the body and sexuality in everyday life. “These women, in either ignorance or apathy, genuinely believe that the female breast is a source of food first and a sexual firestorm second,” she explained. “Sometimes it can be traced to parents who grew up in the sixties, but usually it’s just another fetish. Excuse me, I’m getting a little warm just talking about it.”