Friday, June 10, 2005


In today's Albuquerque Journal we see a report that the Albuquerque police will restrict their use of the Taser stun guns. Too dangerous to use, except when there is an immediate threat from the citizen who is to be shot. It seems to me that the new rule may turn out to be dangerous for the police. Why doesn't the citizen follow the orders of the police? That would avoid the need for the use of any force.

This week we also saw a report of how the Bernalillo County Sheriff's department received 900 applications, accepted about 30 for the training academy, and is putting the 30 through rigorous physical training as a beginning. The drill instructor is reported to have explained to the recruits, [words to the effect] "You are being put through this because out there somewhere there is a guy who is bigger and stronger than you, and you are going to have to handle him." Assume that Jane Blow makes it through the training, and becomes a Deputy Sheriff. She is in the best physical condition of her life. Will she be tested periodically to see that she remains in such good condition? Are the current Deputies held to such rigorous standards?

Sheriff Darren White should reach out and take his deputies from a broader pool of citizens. It is not necessary that all deputies be willing and able to engage in fisticuffs, or use a baton or blackjack to keep the peace. The uniform, the badge, and a respectful but clear order should do the job. If it goes beyond that, the officer should have a choice of weapons, and the gun should be utilized. Did I say shoot to kill, or place two, not one, but two bullets in the chest to "stop the action," as the police say? No; but a gun with non-lethal bullets should be standard issue. A gun with lethal ammunition, and a gun with non-lethal ammunition.

Non-lethal ammunition should have the force of a Mike Tyson blow. One to the chest and the next to the jaw. The beauty of this NL ammo, is that the government can limit the purchase and use of lethal ammunition -- limit the lethal ammo to police and citizens using other than handguns. Use the interstate commerce clause for the authority.

You say it will not work; that if we outlaw lethal ammo, only outlaws will possess such ammo. Not so, When is the last time you heard of a crime with a gun equipped with a silencer? When is the last time you saw a switchblade knife, or heard of the use of one? Same with submachine guns.

The ammunition can be the key. The NL ammo feels and looks just like lethal ammo, except the cartridge case is machine-stamped, "NL." The report from the explosion is just as loud.

No need to try to pry the gun from its owner's hands; let her feel the heft of it, smell the gun oil and burnt powder, admire the gun's fine steel mechanical parts and action, and enjoy the explosion. It would be like a Camel or Lucky Strike smoker going to a Doral. Almost all the benefits are there. Everything would be the same except what comes out of the barrel. And in the case of the NL ammo, what does come out of the barrel is awesome, literally, and should be sufficient for ordinary citizens who are not hunting big game.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


On June 7, 1967, Reies Lopez Tijerina led a raid on the Tierra Amarilla (Rio Arriba County) courthouse. Eulogio Salazar, a Deputy Sheriff, tried to go out of the window of the Sheriff's office, located at the front (North end) of the courthouse. As Deputy Salazar was going through the window, Mr. Tijerina shot Salazar through the jaw. Tijerina was convicted by a jury of assault with intent to kill Salazar, and Garnett Burks, Sr., District Judge, sentenced Tijerina to a term of not less than two nor more than ten years. Mr. Tijerina never served his time, because he was pardoned by Governor Jerry Apodaca. [CORRECTED in June 29, 2007 post. jack love].
The first shot that was fired during the courthouse raid, was fired by Juan Valdez, one of the followers of Reis Tijerina. Mr. Valdez shot Nick Saiz, a State policeman, who was on duty in the lobby of the courthouse. Mr. Valdez was convicted by a jury of assault with intent to kill Officer Saiz (Saiz' lung collapsed, and when he recovered, Saiz' left arm was permanently crippled). Judge Burks sentenced Juan Valdez to 2-10 years. Valdez did not serve any of his sentence, because he was pardoned by Governor Bruce King.

Baltazar Apodaca was declared incompetent to stand trial. Baltazar Martinez was found by a jury to be not guilty by reason of insanity. Thus ended the prosecutions of the alleged raiders of the Tierra Amarilla courthouse raid. This post was prompted by articles this week in the Albuquerque Journal and Albuquerque Tribune regarding the dedication of Reis Lopez Tijerina's papers to the archives of the UNM library.