70-year-old Joyce Beatty had never been pepper-sprayed before!

…The pepper spray was new to her. It “shuts you down,” she told me in an interview this morning. “It gets into your lungs. You’re coughing profusely. You can’t see.”

Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch

It happened yesterday afternoon, when Beatty joined a group of demonstrators in downtown Columbus protesting police violence following the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died Monday after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. In videos of the protest now circulating on Twitter, Beatty, with her gray hair, red mask, and hot-pink sweatshirt tied around her small waist, is easy to spot…

In that moment, Beatty told me, she wasn’t a member of Congress. She was just another black American attacked while protesting injustice—one of innumerable others across the long expanse of history. The events of the past week, she said, represent “a collection of historic anger.”

Truly readable interview. If we had more like her in Congress instead of the “same as it ever was”-crowd, we’d be getting more done on behalf of the overwhelming majority of working folks and families in this country…

Kid suspended from school for pretending his finger was a gun

I want your finger unloaded before you enter school

An elementary school principal suspended a 10-year-old boy for three days after the student pointed his finger like it was a gun and pretended to shoot one of his classmates.

“I was just playing around,” fifth-grader Nathan Entingh told the Columbus Dispatch. “People play around like this a lot at my school.”

The suspension letter from Devonshire Alternative Elementary School said that Entingh used a “level 2 lookalike firearm” during the incident…

“The kids were told, ‘If you don’t stop doing this type of stuff, there would be consequences,’” school spokesman Jeff Warner said. “It’s just been escalating.”

Entingh’s father Paul feels that a three-day suspension is unwarranted. “He said he was playing,” Paul said. “It would even make more sense maybe if he brought a plastic gun that looked like a real gun or something, but it was his finger. I would have even been fine with them doing an in-school suspension.”

I would teach that kid to use a different finger – and point it at the principal.

Illegal immigrant drunk hides in truckload of chile – makes it 100 meters over the border

Arrested and too drunk to stand

US authorities say an immigrant suspected of entering the country illegally attempted to make his journey hiding in a shipment of red chile while carrying a bottle of tequila to fortify himself.

US customs and border protection officers working at a New Mexico border checkpoint said the man was discovered on Thursday face down among a commercial load of chile.

Columbus port director Robert Reza said next to the “highly intoxicated” 35-year-old was a bottle of the national liquor.

The man, who authorities described as a Mexican national, told agents that he climbed into the commercial hopper while it was being staged in Mexico. He got into the truckload of chile in hopes of catching a ride to Chicago…

Agents said he got less than 100 metres into New Mexico before he was discovered. He would be sent back over the border, officials said.

The red chile shipment was later released.

Here in New Mexico we actually have an official state question: “Red or green?”

Ours comes down on the side of ripe and the answer is “red”.

A truckload to admire – excepting the drunk passed out

A Catholic school’s teaching about civil rights

Bishop Watterson High School students protest the firing of Carla Hale

No one at the Catholic high school that fired Carla Hale in March claimed that she was anything less than a terrific physical education teacher and coach, devoted to the kids and adored by many of them.

No one accused her of bringing her personal life into the gym or onto the fields. By nature she’s private. And she loved her job too much to risk it that way.

But she lost it nonetheless, and the how is as flabbergasting as the why is infuriating.

Rather suddenly, her mother died, and an hour afterward, she and her brother numbly went through the paces of a standard obituary, listing survivors. Her brother included his wife. So Carla included her partner, Julie, whom her mother had known well and loved. Leaving Julie out would have been unthinkable, though Carla didn’t really think it through at the time. Her grief was still raw.

A parent of one of the school’s students spotted the obituary, and wrote an anonymous letter to the school and to the Diocese of Columbus, saying that they couldn’t allow a woman like Carla to educate Catholic children.

So they don’t, not anymore. In a termination notice, the principal explained that Carla’s “spousal relationship violates the moral laws of the Catholic Church.” That was the sum of the stated grievance against her, and after more than 18 years at Bishop Watterson High School, Carla, 57, was done…

So much for what the Catholic Church really thinks about the rights of working people.

Continue reading

Klutzy burglar goes for Darwin Award

A man found dead in a University District apartment this afternoon apparently was a burglar who broke out a window with his arm, then bled to death after he severed an artery, police said.

Columbus police were called to Apt. C at 119 Chittenden Ave. shortly before 2 p.m. by three Ohio State University roommates who had just returned back to their apartment after a long Labor Day weekend at home.

They came inside to find a man dead in the living room and blood everywhere.

“By all accounts, it looks like a burglary,” said Sgt. Steven Little of the Columbus police homicide squad. Little said it appears the man severed an artery in his arm on glass after he broke out a window in the apartment with his fist…

Police…didn’t release the names of the Ohio State students who live in the apartment. This afternoon, the three men – all seniors at Ohio State – were still talking with police behind crime tape. Little said the men had just moved into the apartment last week.

The sergeant said the burglar had attempted to stem the bleeding by wrapping paper towels from the kitchen around his arm.

Holiday weekends are always a great time to rob students. Or die trying.

NM town swamped in corruption abolishes police department

Former police chief, Angelo Vega

Columbus has abolished its police department and will now fully depend on the Luna County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement within the village…”We’ve always been down there,” Sheriff Raymond Cobos said. “We will shift our assets.”

“We are entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Luna County Sheriff’s Office to maintain adequate coverage for the municipality,” Columbus Mayor Nicole Lawson said.

On Monday, sheriff’s department officials were going over the inventory and vehicle list from the village’s former police department. In a vote prior to abolishing the department, the trustees also abolished the village’s code enforcement and animal control components. In New Mexico, licensed law enforcement officers are allowed to enforce code enforcement and animal control standards…

In another twist for the village, incarcerated former trustee Blas Guitierrez submitted his letter of resignation on Friday, July 8. He is one of 12, including former Mayor Eddie Espinoza and former police chief Angelo Vega, who were arrested for their alleged roles in a gun smuggling ring

Espinoza submitted his resignation in late May following the March 10 early morning raid that led to the arrest of the village officials. Vega is still on paid leave pending his resignation or a guilty verdict.

Lawson said it is too soon to tell just how far in the red the village is, a reflection on how disorganized the books were when Lawson took over earlier in July.

An typical example of how the corruption of Mexican drug gangs and Mexican officials and law enforcement — easily extends into the United States side of the border. The mayor and chief of police of Columbus, New Mexico used their standing in local government to run guns across the border for months before capture.

Man calls 911 to report a murder-suicide and finishes the job

An Ohio man killed his girlfriend, set both his house and hers on fire, then called 911 and calmly described his acts before taking his own life, police said.

Police found the body of Edward Offord II in a parking lot at the O’Shaughnessy Reservoir outside Columbus early Monday, The Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday. His location was determined by tracking his cellphone call to 911.

Firefighters discovered a body in Offord’s house in Columbus around the time Offord called at 4 a.m. Investigators had not been able to confirm late Monday if it was that of 32-year-old Krista Winger, his girlfriend.

Offord appeared to have planned his actions in advance, leaving his two greyhounds at an animal shelter in Columbus Sunday.

He was unemotional during his phone call. When a dispatcher asked him if he had shot Winger in the head, he responded, “I did, yeah, she’s dead.”

Offord apparently set his own house on fire, then drove to Perry and torched Winger’s home before going to the reservoir.

The really detailed account of this demented murder-suicide is here – at the Columbus Dispatch.