Damn the drum

Long before the Mad Hatter, Charlton Heston,* lost his memory and his mind, the NRA had morphed from a group that my son and many other young people depended upon to learn how to use a shotgun safely when hunting, into a coldly sinister foe of cops like Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco. Before you read any further take a look at the following photo.

Even though it will torch your soul, do not avert your eyes. The living, breathing, white woman who was cop, a mother, a wife, and a loving person who cared deeply about little black boys and girls, is dead. Her infant daughter will never know her. No abstraction. She is dead and gone.


Now, consider the fact that when this young officer and fellow officers got into the shootout, Mr. Wheeler, the fleeing felon, fired a Glock 9 mm handgun** with a 50 round drum magazine at the officers. See Transcript of Police Chief Todd Schmaderer’s remarks at Thursday press conference,  Omaha.com Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2015 6:34 PM).

A drum magazine? What the hell is that?

Feast your eyes on this:

glockdrumingun_zps7e9b1f04Just for kicks, watch BigDaddyHoffman1911 wax eloquent about semiautomatic Glocks with drum magazines:

I don’t know whether the 50 round drum magazine made any difference at all.  But I do know this, cops should never have to face add-on magazines of any capacity when attached to semi-automatic pistols. Don’t give me any BS about the Second Amendment. Don’t make the untrue and shopworn argument that “criminals will always have access to such magazines even if we ban them and therefore regular folks will be left defenseless.” That too is BS.

Pending in Congress is a bill to limit high-capacity magazines. Gabrielle Levy, Gun Control Advocates Try Again on Ammo Limits, US News and World Report (Feb. 6, 2015). Additionally, and more importantly, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has very recently held, among other things, that it is OK to ban “semiautomatic pistols, [with] the capacity to accept a magazine outside the pistol grip.”  Friedman v. City of Highland Park, No. 14–3091,  — F.3d —-, 2015 WL 1883498 (7th Cir., April 27, 2015).

Apparently there are still a few sane people in this deeply troubled country.


*It is good to remember this too:

**The Omaha police do not use 9mm handguns. It is now clear that the dead officer died of bullet from Wheeler’s handgun. A bullet from a 9mm handgun went through her chest and lodged in the back of her ballistic vest. See Transcript of Police Chief Todd Schmaderer’s remarks at Thursday press conference, Omaha.com (Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2015 6:34 PM) and linked above.

More on the killing of Officer Kerrie Orozco

The “26-year-old man who was shot and killed Wednesday by police after he opened fire on officers was a known gang member,” according to Alissa Skelton, a World-Herald staff writer, Fugitive killed in shootout was known gang member with a violent record, Omaha.com (May 21, 2015).  The World-Herald also published a mug shot of the fugitive which is reproduced below.

The fugitive who apparently killed Officer Kerrie Orozco is pictured above.

The fugitive who apparently killed Officer Kerrie Orozco,  Marcus Wheeler, is pictured above. 

Further details about the death of Officer Orozco were also reported today:

At 12:58 p.m., Orozco and other members of the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force were near Martin Avenue and Read Street, looking for Wheeler, when they spotted him about a block away, near 31st Avenue and Vane Street.

Wheeler shot at officers, then ran north through a wooded area toward the backyard of a house at 3057 Martin Ave.

Orozco, another officer and a sergeant confronted Wheeler, and shots were exchanged.

Orozco collapsed.

While officers rendered first aid to Orozco, Wheeler ran east and collapsed in the backyard at 3042 Read St. A semiautomatic handgun with a drum magazine was found near him.

A man living at the Read Street house said he saw Wheeler lean against a downspout and fall to the ground. He said Wheeler was pointing at his chest, where he had been shot.

Officers performed CPR on Orozco and Wheeler . . . .

Alia Conley, Maggie O’Brien and Alissa Skelton / World-Herald staff writers, ‘This is a somber day for Omaha': City mourns a mother, a mentor, an officer killed in the line of dutyOmaha.com (May 21, 2015).


Mark Herrmann and “Inside Straight”

What follows is a brief review of Mark Herrmann, Inside Straight–Advice About Lawyering, In-House and Out that Only the Internet Could Provide (ABA Publishing 2012).*  You will remember that Mark is the best-selling author of a classic entitled The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, ABA Publishing (2006).  I lovingly reviewed The Curmudgeon previously. Read that post again for more details about Herrmann. (Besides, I need the page views (Herrmann understands what I mean.))

Herrmann was a general litigator at a small firm, a general litigator at mega-firm (in Cleveland–that by itself is funny) and is now in-house counsel in some big insurance brokerage outfit. He is also a gifted writer with a flair for being both frank and funny in the twisted ways of a real trial lawyer whose heritage must be German. Refreshingly, he is not an ego maniac.

He also has a brilliant kid who Herrmann shamelessly uses in Inside Straight to illustrate the essence of the points made in the book. Herrmann really should give the kid all his royalties, ’cause the boy is clearly smarter than his dad. As Herrmann says, the “little turd is in medical school now.” But, I digress. (I first typed “regress.” Is that a Freudian slip?)

When not writing best selling books, listening to the “little turd,” and advising some corporate giant about how to screw widows and orphans and leave them nailed to Billy Bryan’s cross of gold, Herrmann writes a column for Above the Law not surprisingly titled “Inside Straight.” This book is a compilation of Herrmann’s posts at ATL between November 2010 and April 2012 together with selected comments (some of which are hysterically funny) that readers made in reference to the posts. Those posts have become required reading by corporate counsel and the outside counsel who represent these non-breathers (to use a description that Jerry Spence coined as he rode his gilded horse while pursuing his screwy Jihad for Justice). But, I regress.

You ought to put this book on your summer reading list. (F…, did I just write “summer reading list?” It sounds so, well, Rehoboth Beach-ish.) The book has 271 pages (excluding the obligatory lies about Herrmann’s claim to be able to fly like a bird) and is divided into a wonderful preface entitled “Flotsam,” followed by six relatively short chapters. The chapters discuss life as in-house counsel versus life as outside counsel, attracting business, corporate policies and politics, law firms, through the eyes of an insider turned outsider (my favorite), and succeeding in the law (also my favorite). The writing is clear, direct and wry. The perspective is that of a litigator who has either seen it all in real life or in his frequent nightmares.

Mark, appearing at a DC bar meeting, discussing  "Law & Cyberspace: Legal Blogging & the Courts."

Mark, appearing at a DC bar meeting, discussing “Law & Cyberspace: Legal Blogging & the Courts.”

I must confess that I am not impartial. I love ATL, and I really like Mark, although our relationship consists only of e-mail correspondence. That admitted, Inside Straight, the book, is both a great read and a great instruction manual for lawyers of any stripe.** The book has been highly praised by people who (unlike me) know a lot about “big law” and big corporations. But the book is not only for “big law” types. Solos and small firm practitioners will find a lot that will interest them between the folds of this book. As I say, take this book to your “summer place” and pursue it at your leisure. (Remember, don’t mix SPF50 with your gin.) I am betting that you will come away from reading this book far better informed about the realities of the practice of law and little sore from your constant chuckling.


*If you are a member of the ABA, you can buy the book for $19.95.  If you want to screw Herrmann and the ABA, Amazon will sell you the book for $15.37.

** OK, so you think I am Herrmann’s pimp and you don’t trust me. If so, consider this: Scott Greenfield, a criminal defense lawyer in New York and a preeminent blogger, wrote, “Inside Straight is a very quick read, replete with Herrmann’s hallmark humor and humility. Mark has inspired me on more than one occasion to riff off his thoughts, and given me a framework to think about some really important ideas. Most significantly, Mark Herrmann is the real McCoy, and that he has once again laid himself bare for our benefit makes this book worth your time. Get it. Read it. Enjoy it, but learn from it.”



A horrible day in Nebraska

555ceea183f5e.imageAn OPD officer has been shot and killed apparently by the fugitive she was pursuing. Kerrie Orozco, 29, a gang unit officer was serving a warrant as a part of the Metro Fugitive Task Force, and that group includes the United States Marshals Service and local law enforcement agencies, when she was apparently shot by the fugitive. The officer, Carrie Orozco, had a new-born baby. She deferred her maternity leave until the premature baby was to be released from the hospital on Thursday.

Here is more about this unspeakable tragedy:

Orozco was sworn in as an Omaha police officer in May 2008 in a class of 36. The former Kerrie Holtz married Hector Orozco Lopez in April 2011.

In February, they had a baby, Olivia Ruth, who has been in the intensive care unit at the Nebraska Medical Center. A photo dated May 8 on her husband’s Facebook page shows the couple with their baby and two young children. The infant was to be released from the hospital Thursday.

An online wedding gift registry describes how the couple met:

“Kerrie was working off-duty security at Tquila Night Club in South Omaha. After a few weeks of working there, Kerrie noticed the big security guy named Hector that always stood just inside the club door. He was kinda cute! The next week, Kerrie had some candy with her and offered it to all of the security. She couldn’t help but notice Hector had a kiddie smile as he accepted the chocolate. Later that night, he asked Kerrie’s partner if she was married. Word got passed that they were both interested, and the rest is history! Kerrie and Hector were married civilly on April 4, 2011, but they always wanted a big Catholic wedding. This is finally their dream come true!” 

The website says the couple had a church wedding in November 2012 at St. Joseph Catholic Church at 16th and Center Streets.

Kerrie Orozco was the daughter of Ellen and the late Kevin Holtz of Walnut, Iowa. Kerrie attended Walnut High School, where she played basketball and volleyball.

Bob Glissmann, Omaha officer, wanted man die after shootout in Florence area, Omaha.com (May 20, 2015).

The fugitive was shot and killed as well. Omaha.com reported that:

Wheeler, who was wanted in a September shooting, was the suspect shot and killed Wednesday in a shootout with the Metro Area Task Force, law enforcement officials said.

Police had been unable to find Wheeler for months and told the public last year to consider Wheeler armed and dangerous.

Omaha police had been seeking Wheeler in connection with the Sept. 5 shooting of Antonio Martin near 60th Street and Curtis Avenue.

Martin told police Wheeler had threatened him on Facebook several days before he shot him, according to Douglas County Court documents.

Wheeler had also been charged in connection to two earlier shootings, but the charges were later dropped, according to court records.

In 2013, Wheeler was charged as an accessory to a June 2007 murder. Wheeler was also accused of shooting at an inhabited home in March 2013, attempting to cause serious bodily injury to Ashley Bordeaux. The Douglas County attorney dismissed charges in both cases.

In 2008, Wheeler was sentenced to five years in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Wheeler got out on supervised release, but that was revoked in 2013. He returned to prison and was released in February 2014.



The end of the death penalty in Nebraska?

From the Lincoln paper:

State lawmakers voted to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska on Wednesday, setting up a veto showdown with Gov. Pete Ricketts that is expected to draw national attention.

The 32-15 vote to pass LB268 was the culmination of decades of work by Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers and other opponents of the death penalty inside and outside the Nebraska Legislature.

Zack Pluhacek, Death penalty repeal passes Legislature, awaits veto, Lincoln Journal Star (14 minutes ago).

Update:  A minimum of 30 votes is needed to override a veto.  Joe Duggan / World-Herald Bureau, Nebraska lawmakers vote to repeal death penalty; Ricketts has promised a veto, (May 20, 2015).


The New Yorker and Nuts, Nuns and Nukes

The Plowshares movement was inspired by Dorothy Day, a Greenwich Village bohemian who converted to Catholicism and urged resistance to all wars. In the Vietnam era, Philip Berrigan led actions to symbolically destroy the nuclear arsenal. CREDIT ILLUSTRATIONS BY ALEX WILLIAMSON; LEFT TO RIGHT: GETTY (DOROTHY DAY); BETTMAN / CORBIS (PHILIP BERRIGAN AND PROTEST MARCH)

The Plowshares movement was inspired by Dorothy Day, a Greenwich Village bohemian who converted to Catholicism and urged resistance to all wars. In the Vietnam era, Philip Berrigan led actions to symbolically destroy the nuclear arsenal.

Yesterday, on my twitter account,* Keith K. called to my attention to a long and very detailed article in the New Yorker that I completely missed regarding the break in at the nuke storage facility. See Eric Schlosser, Break-In at Y-12, How a handful of pacifists and nuns exposed the vulnerability of America’s nuclear-weapons sites, New Yorker (March 9, 2015).

The article is extremely well done. It paints a full picture of the Plowshares movement and the abysmal state of our nation’s security systems for nuclear weapons and fuel.

Please read the article and tell me what you think. Thanks to Keith K!


*My practice is to use twitter only as a device to send out new posts. I make a practice of not responding to twitter users because I don’t have time to do so, and I don’t much like the medium (“smoke signals” are often hard to understand). On this occasion only, I break my rule.


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