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EngRMP
(@EngRMP)
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July 20, 2008 3:23 am  

We have a family friend that is a cop in Washington DC. About 10 years ago he told me something that I found really disturbing, but I think might apply in this situation also:

"a lot of teenagers... 14 yo... are car jacking and holding people up in DC because they know they won't go to jail... they're too young"

So, think about this:
- kids hang out together all the time; they keep up with what's cool; word of mouth would carry: there is little penalty for young people committing crimes.
- many of them are not stupid.. they are intelligent opportunists
- unfortunately, at their young ages they don't have the experience to realize how this type of action could change their lives forever (in so many bad ways).
- they have plenty of time on their hands, and plenty of energy to hunt for opportunity

The odds are so much in their favor... they have opportunity, incentive, youth, time...

Personally, I wouldn't trust myself with a gun. It's a tempting concept for peace of mind, but I've made plenty bad judgment calls when I didn't have enough time to assimilate the info (grab the electric saw when it flies out of your hand, speed up to fly through a yellow light and find a cop is watching you, etc).

But I understand those that want to have guns to protect their homes. And, if they were "trained to handle" a gun then I'd like to think that they wouldn't do anything stupid (shoot innocent bystanders, shoot a criminal that is not a threat to life).

But, in this case, would guns have helped... if the two friends were drinking, are guns a good thing to add to that equation? And, if in a bar, someone were to pull a legal concealed gun, would he be seen as a protector or criminal amongst the drinking patrons...

Cory, if they were my friends, I'd be really pissed too. I don't know what the answer is. Your friends certainly have a right to enjoy themselves, and the businesses certainly enjoy their company. But, the lesson I learned from this is that the criminals are not stupid, and they are brazen... so, I will try to adjust my lifestyle accordingly. Personally, I'd love to find out why your friends were targeted. Was it just timing, or was it because they were white, or looked rich, or were loud and obnoxious, or hitting on someone else's woman... why them.

This makes me think of a story that I heard on NPR:
- in NY city, in Jan, a man is held up at knife point by a kid
- the kid wants his wallet
- the man gives him the wallet, and as the kid is walking away, the man says "it's cold, do you want my coat also?"
- the kid says "yea", takes the coat and starts to walk away.
- the kid turns around and says "why did you give me your coat?"
- the man says "I figure any kid that is willing to risk his life for a few bucks could probably also use a coat"
- the man then invites him to a diner for dinner, and for the first time the kid supposedly sees someone reach out to him
- sorry, I don't remember the rest...
- but it makes me think that I'd love to see the two friends confront the kids that were caught. I don't mean in a court with a judge, but more one on one... during something like an inmate visitation... where neither side has anything to lose (of course before a trial, I doubt that either side would want to meet and "compare notes").

IMHO...


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Lizard
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July 20, 2008 10:24 am  

SailAway,
"Quote"
( The point that the Kid fumbled with the weapon was precisely what left me thinking this was an amateur on one of, if not his first, forays into armed robbery)

I can't say to you" what are you thinking" you already expressed that. How about "What If" the gun went off, What if that was your son, father, brother, cousin, friend, yourself etc., at the receiving end of the bullet.. Regardless of amateur or experienced status this animal attempted to do great physical harm, if not death to his/her victim. I don't know if this was his/her first attempt at armed robbery, once is enough for me. Years ago we use to call them punks, today we call them misguided youth ( Product of their Environment). HOGWASH!

I have not been a victim of a violent crime, common sense and "luck "combined have something to do with that. Why should I or anyone have to rely on a little bit of luck to live without the fear of being a victim of crime. So I say again put them in jail for life and let God sort it out in the end, Their End.


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antiqueone
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July 20, 2008 12:01 pm  

Rereading that first post: rule # 6 (perhaps) for carrying a concealed weapon is "never carry if you have been drinking or into a bar" If it appeared they were being followed, they should have driven straight to the police station. If they were accosted, they should have tried to defuse and back away. However, the moment the first of those young men crossed the threshold of my house I would have been afraid for my life and for the lives of those with me. At that point, their lives are forfeit. Since my wife was held up at gunpoint (I apologize for continuing to bring that up but it radically changed my thinking) I went to the shooting range, learned how to handle a weapon safely, practiced frequently, read several books including Ayoob's book, In the Gravest Extreme and I would have shot those guys until they stopped their attack.

I have worked in a prison where young men of 17 and 18 were incarcerated for killing their own friends for a lark. I like the idea of intervention by those criminals who have forsaken crime, of projects like bringing reformed felons into schools and other venues to teach non-violence. I am all for reconciliation, educating felons, giving people a second chance, working to provide more viable opportunities to the youth of the islands. But I am not naive. Any longer.

I will work to change the laws here to allow concealed carry. I wil go so far as to research the laws of the various states and write a proposal for the senators, in their wisdom, to vote on. I encourage all of you to learn how to protect yourselves and be safe. I will not (Lord willing) be a victim of violent crime, albeit second hand, again.


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stephaniev
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July 20, 2008 4:09 pm  

so,I take it you can't get a concealed weapon permit. I would get one in a minute. I am a woman and don't want any desperate punk to come at me. Although I always say,anyone who tried to hurt me is gonna have a rendevous,it'll be like wrestlying a wild cougar!! I may look like an unassuming sweet girl,but I 've been through enough in life to really make whoever tries it w/me VERY SORRY!!!!


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antiqueone
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July 20, 2008 4:47 pm  

At present, VI laws allow concealed carry only for retired police officers and business owners who can "show a need" or for individuals who can show that they are at significant increased risk of deadly attack. Apparently, being threatened with a deadly weapon at work or having people actually murdered at your place of work is not sufficient for the police commissioner to deign to give you your right to carry. The laws at present are discriminatory, possibly unconstitutional and have been proven to be useless in decreasing violent crime. They need to be changed. I refer you to an excellent article (50 pages or so) which reviews the statistics: ttp://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=1143&full=1


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dntw8up
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July 20, 2008 5:01 pm  

"...The laws at present are discriminatory, possibly unconstitutional..."

Unconstitutional is legally permissible here. Are the laws at present unorganicactable? Or is it inorganicactable? 😀


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mrj1182
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July 20, 2008 5:37 pm  

i'm moving down there soon, and want to bring my pistol with me. it's registered to me and everything...do i have to fill any special forms out or anything to bring it down? is ammunition easily acquired? (9mm) and does anyone know if there's a special process to transport a firearm in checked luggage on an airliner? thanks!


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Linda J
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July 20, 2008 5:41 pm  

My understanding is that you cannot bring a firearm here without it being permitted here.


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antiqueone
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July 20, 2008 6:20 pm  

I am not aware of the airline regulations though I believe all you have to do is let them know ahead of time and fill out a form or two. As for the islands.....well, when you bring a firearm to the VI, you must report that fact, along with sundry other pieces of information to the police within 24 hours of landing here. (see VI firearmjs law at : http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/statelaws/22ndedition/virgislands.pdf


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East Ender
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July 20, 2008 6:55 pm  

antiorganical 😉


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Cory
 Cory
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July 21, 2008 3:10 am  

http://www.onepaper.com/stcroixvi/?v=d&i=&s=News:Local&p=1212900205

Latest Report:

Friends were lucky. Darn Lucky. They had an opportunity and fought back..hard

Fighting back when guys have guns on you is a bad idea, but as it turns out, the reason a scuffle ensued is because 2 of the robbers were outside at the car and two were inside. One was watching the door, while the other went into the bedrooms and began to take the computer and electronics. The two robbers were split up and both friends fought the robbers. One of the robbers had pistol whipped my friend and the gun went off, my friend thought he was shot! He ended up stabbing the robber, needless to say one of the robbers is now in the hospital. The other guy didnt know how to use his weapon and was quickly overcome, they fled the scene after the scuffles and got to their car, one tried to bail, but still got caught. Im not sure if both weapons were found, but forensic evidence is enough proof and i hope these men go away for a long time. 2 x 19 year olds and a 20 year old are the ages confirmed so far.

PS. My friends are not flashy, rude, loud, or drunk. They have the right to stay out late. They think they were followed by these guys from LaValle. They had spent alot of time near cane bay all evening and were at a private beach party until early hours. It was a decent drive home from there. How often do you check in your rearview mirror to see if your being followed? We always travel together and noone goes to car alone at night. I guess on this morning they looked like good targets for the robbers, they picked the wrong guys to mess with.. Im glad they are ok and that they STILL LOVE ST CROIX!!


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EngRMP
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July 21, 2008 1:26 pm  

Cory, thanks for the update. I hope your friends are all OK. I agree that it might not be 2nd nature to think that a car behind you is following you. I've been staying at Divi when on island, and often there is a car following closely (I'm not comfortable with the roads yet, so I don't drive 50 mph like locals)... if we both pull into the Divi, is that because they're staying there also????

Your friends still have court things to deal with (I would think). Please keep us informed about how that goes, if you can. Having the inside scoop would be really useful.

Also, it sounds like the cops actually responded to a call... is that your understanding also? Or, was it just luck that the cops were passing by? How close are the nearest neighbors to your friends? How well do they know their neighbors? Was it the neighbors that called the cops?


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Sabrina
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July 21, 2008 3:26 pm  

EngRMP, you should be safe down by the Divi. They have Security Guards, and people out and about at all hours.

I'm wondering if the crime rate has got dramatically worse in the last couple of years? I never felt unsafe in STX. I'm a single female, lived alone, worked some crazy hours, and sometimes went out late at night, driving by myself to meet up with friends. Nobody ever bothered me in any way. I would get 100 times more harassment walking one block of South Beach (MIA) than I ever got in STX. By that I mean not only did I not feel threatened, I never felt disrespected either. I would be so disappointed if it has changed that much, but it is important for me to know the truth too.


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trw
 trw
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July 21, 2008 4:57 pm  

cory those of us that live up here know that those "private" all night booze fests on the beach next to sprat net(calvins) are bad news,the other half has been to a couple of them and i know fungi mike goes to alot of them,nothing but bad news and trouble


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mrj1182
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July 21, 2008 6:09 pm  

amen trw. they used to have parties like that in hawaii, and somehow, every time they had one, the locals would show up and kick some ass. never any guns or knives or anything, but they would beat the shit outta the white boys.


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newarrival
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July 21, 2008 7:50 pm  

Are there ever community forums about violence or other matters on St. Croix? In New York City there were frequent meetings of local government that anyone could show up at and vote or raise concerns. Is there any way to bring ideas like the CeaseFire program to the attention of people in power? I don't want to push my agenda (I haven't even lived here long enough to know what it would be), but I am interested in hearing the government perspective on potentially fatal teen violence.

Here is another CeaseFire link, a short article about how it works:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0618/p01s01-ussc.html?page=1

Maybe I should try to write a letter to the Avis?


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trw
 trw
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July 22, 2008 2:18 pm  

well i knew Murray was not a lavallee name so i asked the neighbors and i was told they moved up here a couple months ago when they left the projects,the crucians in this neighborhood are not at all happy with them for dragging the lavallee name through the dirt


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SailAway
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July 22, 2008 5:33 pm  

Lizard,

Sorry for not responding sooner. I've been away a few days.

Wasn't my father, brother or cousin -- it was my "twin" sister (and the closest friend I had in the world). In two weeks it will have been 30 years. August 2, 1978 at around 3 AM. She was 22 and the mother of a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old.

Two sixteen year old boys whose only motive (and only alibi) was that they were drunk. The judge let them off with six months' probation. And this was in Arizona.

Remember what I said about my father and the kind of man he is/was? He lived through not only the pain of my sister's loss but the effect it had on my mother for at least the following 5 years. My father is a very good man.

My thoughts about Newarrival's suggestion has nothing to do with how I feel about what violence and crime does to its victims. It has to do with what will change things. If you want revenge against someone who hurt you, fine. That's up to you, but I can tell you from personal experience it won't gain you anything. If you want a "social deterrent", fine. I'm not against that. Social deterrents seem to work fairly well in Singapore or China. The challenge with them is that where they do work they are applied very passionately and pretty much without assumption of innocence or right to a fair trial -- I imagine the certainty of and harshness of the consequences does make some people think before they act. On the other hand the environments for drugs and gangs are different in those places, too.

I'm not judging any choice of legal punishment for crimes committed as right or wrong. But given two factors: 1) the constitution we choose to adhere to, and 2) the reality of the jurisprudence system in the Virgin Islands, I think I would look for other solutions to prevent crimes from happening. That's all. I think Newarrival's idea is worth a shot given the effectiveness of the current system.

But my original point was to whether a conscience can exist in someone who commits a violent crime, and whether or not that person's life choices can be changed with early intervention. I'm not for one moment saying that the legal action we as a society decide upon as consequences for the actions of another isn't fair or isn't appropriate. That was never my argument, although it seems to be what you are trying to make it into. I'm only saying that people are influenced by their surroundings and their social environments. And not every one of the people that fall victim to those influences is inherently "evil". I doubt given my personal experiences that I will ever believe otherwise.

I assume you think every German and every Japanese we went to war with in WWII was evil and had no conscience? If so, we probably will never see the same set of perceptions in the same set of facts.


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SailAway
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July 22, 2008 7:05 pm  

In spite of two edits to clean up clumsy grammar and restate a point in a more concise way, I missed a grammatically correct sentence in proofreading that was missing a word critical to its meaning. The second to the last sentence should have read: "I assume you don't think every German and every Japanese we went to war with in WWII was evil and had no conscience?"

I try to proofread carefully but in spite of that my eyes have this nasty habit of jumping ahead within a sentence. The way that sentence read without that word left an entirely different attitude than I intended and I meant no disrespect. Although I don't have the sense that you particularly respect my point of view from the way you responded to me, I really do honor yours.


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trw
 trw
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July 22, 2008 7:41 pm  

saw in the paper today that the suspects have to come up with FULL bail and not just the usual 10percent


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noladiver
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July 23, 2008 1:20 am  

My buddy fought back during a robbery here in Alabama. The dudes came back two more times to finish things up. He ended up having to move over the whole deal. I support the right to bear arms regardless.


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EngRMP
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July 23, 2008 1:59 am  

My nephew (30 yo) in Texas was living with a woman who was going through a divorce. The husband broke into his apartment, looking for his wife, and my nephew shot him 3 times. The husband didn't die, but was seriously wounded. I have not spoken to my nephew about this, but he now has to live with:
- the knowledge that he seriously wounded, and almost killed someone
- that the husband could come back
- that the husband's relatives could come back
- wondering if the woman was worth this. Was he used by the woman?

I support the right to protect your home, but I think it's not as simple as that, because the consequences can be huge...imho


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Lizard
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July 23, 2008 2:08 am  

SailAway,
Just for the record, Adolph Hitler, Emperor Hirohito, and Islamic terrorist were and are "EVIL". It's not that I don't respect your opinion, I don't believe that there is a good boy/girl inside every bad boy/girl. There are degrees of good and bad and then there is "Evil". Anyone who pulls an automatic weapon on another person during the commission of a crime is "Evil". That's "my belief "not an opinion.
This is a relocation Forum and a good one, but don't you think its a little bit strange that people want to bring guns to paradise, because they fear violent crimes. A gun is meant to do one thing "Kill".


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trw
 trw
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July 23, 2008 4:26 am  

and that murray trash kid was at the corner store everyday buying a cheap cigar(blunt) and he tried to hit on one of the young women that work there,lol she was really mad and carrying on about it today, i hope for his sake he does not make bail because i see a really good case of crucian justice coming up.lol ya gotta love lavallee


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SailAway
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July 23, 2008 5:27 am  

Don't argue with you at all about the gun thing... and I strongly support the right to bear arms. (Although as some have mentioned one should be careful about thinking guns are a panacea -- they can "backfire" in more ways than one.) But it is certainly disturbing how the situation on island seems to be deteriorating from a place that was already terrible when I was there. I still don't think local law enforcement or the VI courts are doing anything at all to help and I doubt that will change soon. Am I mistaken? Please tell me I am...

I also agree about Hitler and Hirohito. I never said EVERY boy/girl. It's just that I lived in Japan during the latter years of the Marshall Plan occupancy and I can honestly tell you the Japanese people at that time were the warmest and most honorable people as a group that I've ever known. It is difficult to imagine that only a few years before many of them would have thought it an honor to give their own lives to kill my uncle and his shipmates. Some friends of my family lived in Germany in the 50's and loved the people so much they returned to Hamburg when they retired. In both cases I think a lot of good people got caught up in very misguided and yes -- evil -- social environments. The frightening thing is how few stood up to say, "This is wrong." The same thought occurred to me as we began to uncover what happened in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

And I agree that there are varying degrees of good and bad and then there is "EVIL". The thing I said that got jumped on at the beginning of all this was that I thought in some cases it might not be a lack of conscience that some of these kids had per se, but a lack of consciousness.... crack and meth ARE evil and can make people do terribly evil things. These monsters can make a kid that started out like any other 9 or 10 year old look out at the world from the butt end of a gun through very evil eyes. Once the gun is in their hands you might argue that they themselves are evil... you can even argue that the only "cure" is to lock them up for life. I would just like to see us trying to keep as many as possible from ever getting to that point. It would be good for the people on both ends of that gun.


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