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Chapter 90 Enforcer
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Updated: April 17, 2004 at 12:42 a.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) -- Slain San Francisco police Officer Isaac Espinoza Friday was recalled as someone who stood out for his spirit and dedication, even from his earliest days as a young recruit eight years ago.

"He was the kind of man any nation would be proud of," said police Chief Heather Fong, "the kind of man you trusted." She said she would long take inspiration from his smile and laugh, even though an "assassin's bullet" claimed the 29-year-old's life Saturday night.

His funeral at St. Mary's Cathedral, attended by dozens of family members including Espinoza's widow and tiny daughter, was marked by a somber display: Rows and rows of law enforcement officers from around the state saluted, a bagpipe brigade played, helicopters flew overhead and the city's mounted horse patrol stood silently by.

Surrounding streets were shut down so mourners could pass through in peace, and dignitaries present included not only Mayor Gavin Newsom but U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and state Attorney General Bill Lockyer in addition to former San Francisco Police Chiefs Fred Lau and Frank Jordan and city Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Jake McGoldrick.

At today's ceremony, Senator Feinstein gave rise to one of the most dramatic moments by calling for the death penalty in special-circumstance cases such as killing a police officer. Her comments drew applause and, in many cases, a standing ovation in the cavernous sanctuary that was packed with several thousand people.

Feinstein also said she would carry on in Espinoza's memory her efforts to rid the nation's streets of assault weapons such as the AK-47 that mortally wounded him. "The only purpose of these weapons is to kill," she said.

Espinoza was killed while working as a plain-clothes officer in the Bayview District, a place where he repeatedly chose to work despite the risks that many speakers this morning pointed out. His partner that night was also wounded, and a young man alleged to have gang ties arrested the following day.

Espinoza's supervisor at Bayview Station, Capt. Rick Bruce, said it's hard to explain why police officers routinely walk toward danger instead of away from it. He said on the night in question, Espinoza knew the suspect was probably armed but approached him anyway.

"Why?" Bruce asked. "He would simply have responded, 'because it's my job."'

The captain said it now falls to others to make the Bayview, a low-income neighborhood that has seen a spike in street violence lately, a safer place. Bruce, like Espinoza, had asked to be sent to that part of the city during a reassignment earlier this year.

The mayor's remarks included thanks to the young man's surviving family members as well as all the police officers who try to make the city better. He promised ongoing to support to Espinoza's widow Renata and 3-year-old daughter Isabella, who were sitting at the front of the church. "San Francisco is a family and we are your family in this time of need," he said.

Although Newsom did not mention the capital-punishment issue during his brief address, the head of the Police Officers Association did. Gary Delagnes said Isaac Espinoza's spirit would be watching over his fellow officers as they head out to patrol city streets, even though his life is over. "May his killer also pay the ultimate price," Delagnes said to applause.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who was recently elected on a platform that included a commitment not to seek capital punishment, has announced already that she plans to honor that pledge despite pressure to make an exception. She was present at the church today, but did not speak publicly.

Afterward, Harris spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh said her boss had considered many aspects of the case against David Hill, including the defendant's age of 21 and lack of an adult criminal record, before deciding to seek life without parole should he be convicted of first-degree murder.

"It was not a knee-jerk reaction," Mesloh said. "She's a career prosecutor. She's reviewed hundreds of homicide cases. She feels that she made the most appropriate charging decision."

Disgraceful
 

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love that Diane!

Anti-gun witch using the death of a Police Officer to piss and moan about "assault weapons" She should take a trip to Disney with Ted Kennedy and never come back!

Cop killers? Fry em!
 

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I notice that she would rather blame the instrument (the AK) rather than the killer (she will not seek the death penalty). Typical liberal thinking; nobody is responsible for anything. They probably want the killer to attend an anger management course followed by some unsupervised probation (one of my personal favorites).
 

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"At today's ceremony, Senator Feinstein gave rise to one of the most dramatic moments by calling for the death penalty in special-circumstance cases such as killing a police officer. Her comments drew applause and, in many cases, a standing ovation in the cavernous sanctuary that was packed with several thousand people.

Feinstein also said she would carry on in Espinoza's memory her efforts to rid the nation's streets of assault weapons such as the AK-47 that mortally wounded him. "The only purpose of these weapons is to kill," she said."

Feinstein did call for the death penalty, D.A. Harris is the one who is choosing not to ask for it in the prosecution of this maniac, which I think is ludicrous. He should be put to death for this. Nobody is saying that the defendant is not responsible for his actions. However, do you actually think that an AK-47 has a place in today's society? I'm sure that Officer Espinoza did not.
 

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However, do you actually think that an AK-47 has a place in today's society? I'm sure that Officer Espinoza did not.
That's a cheap shot! That's like saying Ford Crown Vic doesn't have a place in society because some officers were killed or maimed when they were hit in the rear! The tools that criminals use are irrevelant to the compared irresponsible behavior that causes the criminal act. In Japan a maniac went nuts with a sword and killed half-a-dozen children. Should they outlaw swords? Should they close down martial arts schools that teach swordsmanship? Its a tragedy to be sure, but why should the rest of society be punished for the acts of the insane or criminal-minded. Safeguards must be in place (minimum ages, background checks, FID's, ect.), but in the end society as a whole suffers when choices (like the choice to defend oneself) is taken away.

In England, in 1992, a lunatic shot a bunch of people at a local school, killing some, wounding many others. In response, the civilized British Parliment put the final nail in the personal gun ownership in the United Kingdom. There was virtually no private gun ownship allowed. Hooray! I'm sure the crime rate in the UK dropped dramatically! Wrong!! It's now six times higher today then it was in 1992. It is now more dangerous to walk the streets of London, then it is to walk the streets of New York or Detroit. Do you know for fact that in England, you are not allowed by law to defend yourself if attacked? There is no "self defense" allowed by law. If your are attacked the only thing permissable, by law, is to run away. In the late 80's a young man was mugged by a criminal with a handgun. This victim grabbed the gun in an attempt to defend himself and the mugger was then shot and subsequently died. What happened to him? He was convicted of manslaughter in a British Court and served a considerable sentence. That's justice for you!!

Let's get to meat of your statement : " ..do you actually think that an AK-47 has a place in today's society? ". Absolutely. Why? Well let's start out with the second amendment:
Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Seems pretty clear, doesn't it? What the framers meant to say with this deceptively simple statement was that the government should not have a monopoly on your security, deciding when and where they wish to apply it. The first thing that Hitler did when he came to power was to make private gun ownership illegal, then the Jewish/Gypsy/Dissident roundup would be that much easier. A militia is not a governmental organization (like the National Guard, under State control, unless called to national service, when it then placed under Federal control), it is a loose confederation of citizen defending themselves and their property. Imagine the history of Europe with well-armed Jewish forming a hard-hitting resistance to occupy German Nazis....maybe the whole of WWII could have been changed.

What about this cursed instrument, the AK? I used to own an AK, before I was police officer. Did I go nuts? Did I shoot police officers or innocent citizens? No, the only thing I did was take that rifle to range and shoot paper, and sometimes cans and bottles. In actuality I own weapons now (privately purchased - not department issue), that are far deadilier than any AK. My scoped Springfield Armory M-1A can hit a man sized target out to 800 meters, far longer than any AK. My Colt AR-15 can chop off 30 rounds into a five-inch target, at 100 meters, fast as I can pull the trigger, and faster and far more accurately than any soviet-designed hunk of crap. My Benelli M-1 can fire five 12 gauge shotgun rounds in 1 second, and devastate anything within 20 yards. Putting aside that I am a police officer, are there any LEGITIMATE (what a loaded word) uses for these weapons? I don't hunt, I don't shoot skeet (currently, anyways), and I'm not on a SWAT team (actually, my weapons are deadlier than most guns they issue to SWAT teams; MP-5's are for sissies). I only shoot these at the range, punching paper. So should I, a gainfully employed, law-abiding citizen be denied access to these because of someone else's criminal acts? Let's put his another way, more police officer are killed and injured every year in by cars...should we ban cars? No, we accept that in a society that is free we must accept a certain price. There are a hundred Orwellian "solutions" to society's ills, don't jump on the first knee-jerk reaction bandwagon the media touts, do some thinking on your own for a change....
 

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Ok fella-
No need to go berserko just because I questioned whether an assault rifle has a place in civillian society. I'm a firearm owner myself, a pistol which I use as well at the target range and to defend my home if need be. I support gun ownership rights, but it's hard to justify why anyone would need a weapon like an AK-47 at home. Why not have an M-60, or even better a bazooka? Because it is not necessary to defend yourself with a weapon like that nor is it worth the risk of those weapons falling into the wrong hands. My point is, the fewer assault weapons there are out there, the lesser chance there is for someone like the gangbanger who killed Officer Espinoza to obtain them. I'm sorry you felt like that was a cheap shot, but Officer Espinoza and many other good cops out here in San Francisco dedicate their lives to taking weapons off of the streets. Your rights as a gun owner and militia member are not more important than their safety. Oh and by the way, I think for myself just fine.
 

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I support gun ownership rights
I find that hard to believe, considering your post...let me ask you something...what do you consider a "safe" weapon to defend yourself? A revolver? A semi-auto pistol? Do you know a scoped bolt-action hunting rifle is far deadlier at a greater range than an AK-47? Does that make it "safer" or more "dangerous"? Is a shotgun a safe weapon? Who determines these "safe" weapons? You? Congress? Most people know those clowns couldn't find there ass with two hands. In 1994 they passed, signed by purjurer Clinton, the so called "Brady Crime Act" that, among other things, banned bayonet lugs on rifles (the little steel lug at the bottom of military rifle that allows you fix bayonets). There has never been a documented attack on anyone in the US with a bayonet affixed to a rifle (since the civil war, anyways). Is this a safe weapon? You know, far more cops are killed with pistols than assault rifles, so by your rationale, ownership of pistols should be banned and assault rifle ownership should be encouraged.

Why not have an M-60, or even better a bazooka?
Why not? Typical of most people, you ignore the fact that ownership of these weapons is perfectly legal. With the mere possession of an ATF tax stamp ($200.00, and a six month background check, or a Class III FFL, or a C&R FFL, under some circumstances) anyone with a clean background can own a M-60 or a destructive device (like a bazooka, mortar or howitzer). You notice that not too many people (only one in the ATF's recorded history, in the early 1950's) have committed henious crimes with any of these so-called dangerous weapons. I don't really see your point here; are you saying it would be inappropriate to defend yourself with a legally-owned M-60, but okay with a pistol? Who are you to decide what it is neccessary to defend yourself with, as long as it is legally owned. What if you lived in Alaska and bear attacks were a wholly legitimate concern? What if someone's house was home invaded and he cut down the attackers with a legally-owned assault rifle? Is that "uneccessary"? What if the mere presence of such an intimidating weapon spooked the attackers into running, and avoided bloodshed altogether, Sun-Tzu's definition of a tactical perfection? Isn't that better than pulling a small .38 pistol, then having to empty it into some criminal because he didn't think you could stop him with it (and might not be able to)?

Because it is not necessary to defend yourself with a weapon like that nor is it worth the risk of those weapons falling into the wrong hands. My point is, the fewer assault weapons there are out there, the lesser chance there is for someone like the gangbanger who killed Officer Espinoza to obtain them.
Yes, but by this rationale, no one should own any guns because of the possibility of them "falling into the wrong hands". Quite a surprising number of police officers are killed by their own service weapons, so perhaps we shouldn't carry guns at all and rely on the goodwill of all men, like British Bobbies. Criminals are nothing if not inventive, in England, where gun ownership is illegal for the private citizen, there are still a number of murders committed every year by guns. How? They simply smuggle the weapons in from off-shore areas. Maybe they should make ships illegal, too. Its not a the tool, is the wielder. In every driveway in America there is an "assault weapon"; its called the automobile. When driven irresponsibly the car kills far more people every year than guns ever do. Do we focus on the car? No, we focus on the driver, as we should focus on the perpetrator in Officer Espinoza's case. By the way, I think that mope should be burned at the stake for murdering a fellow police officer....but that's just an opinion.

Officer Espinoza and many other good cops out here in San Francisco dedicate their lives to taking weapons off of the streets.
Well, out here in Massachusetts, where I am a police officer, I don't "dedicate my life to taking weapons off of the streets". I arrest the perpetrators and make sure they're put in jail for committing the crimes they do. So if I confiscate an illegal pistol from some criminal, but lose the case against him so he walks free, that's a win-win? There's a lot more to police work the "getting the weapons off the street". If that were the case, I should be kicking the doors of the gun-owning law-abiding citizens, and confiscating their guns as a preemitive move to "keep them out of the wrong hands". By the way, I get a lot more cases of assault with knives, bats, shivs and any number of improvised weapons than guns. I've got quite a collection of knives (numbering in hundreds) I've confiscated from dirtbags, but I don't think the streets are any safer for it. I consider the streets a tiny bit safer at when some criminal I arrested is being sentenced to a long stay in the graybar hotel.

Your rights as a gun owner and militia member are not more important than their safety.
Well, I'm not a member of any militia, although I am a military veteran, former EMT and have been a police officer for the past 4 years. My rights? You mean my second amendment rights of the U.S. Constitution. The same constitution that I swore 14 years ago to protect and defend as a member of this country's armed services? The same constitution I again swore to protect and defend as a police officer, along with this state's constitution? Are you serious? I'm out there every day, on patrol, defending people's rights and enforcing the laws of this commonwealth, and you have the gall question my dedication to a police officer's safety? Let me let you in on a secret, the Constitution is more important than my safety or the safety of any police officer. That's why I can't just stop and search people for no reason (4th amendment). That's why I can't stop cars for no reason, or search them with no probable cause (4th amendment). That's why we can't just kick in doors to people's homes and search them unless we have a duly sworn and signed search warrant (4th amendment). That's why I can't beat a confession out of suspect (5th and 8th amendments). That's why I can't just imprison people I think are guilty (6th amendment) It would be easier and "safer" for me if I could ignore people's rights and perform my job with due regard to my "safety". We live in a society where it is the rule of law, and even I, as a police officer, cannot violate that without just cause.

Oh and by the way, I think for myself just fine.
Watching a Michael Moore movie is not thinking for yourself.

bowlingfortruth
 

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I am a bit comfused Killjoy about where you think he watcher Moore's film and I cannot tell what the arguement is you are making about injecting it SO, blindly I will interject my thoughts on the film.

Moore's arguement, I felt, was that US fears crime more which is why there are more violent crime and murders with guns, not just because there are guns.

Again Killjoy, I couldnt tell from reading your post what your views were on it.
 

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Moore's arguement, I felt, was that US fears crime more which is why there are more violent crime and murders with guns, not just because there are guns.
I actually have no idea what you are talking about.....there are more violent crime and murders with guns because the US fears crime? Huh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Killjoy275 said:
Moore's arguement, I felt, was that US fears crime more which is why there are more violent crime and murders with guns, not just because there are guns.
I actually have no idea what you are talking about.....there are more violent crime and murders with guns because the US fears crime? Huh?
Yeah...I'm lost...
 

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JDS said:
Because it is not necessary to defend yourself with a weapon like that nor is it worth the risk of those weapons falling into the wrong hands.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that an individual has to prove it is "necessary" to exercise a right.

The Second ammendment states "... the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED."

Banning firearms capable of being carried (bear) is inarguably an infringement on that right.
 

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Killjoy275 said:
Moore's arguement, I felt, was that US fears crime more which is why there are more violent crime and murders with guns, not just because there are guns.
I actually have no idea what you are talking about.....there are more violent crime and murders with guns because the US fears crime? Huh?
It should be noted that no explanation is a panacea.

Canada, for example, has many guns, about equal to the US. The homicde rates are significantly lower there. US has 15,586 homicides in 2000 with a 5.5 rate per/100,000. Northern friends were 542 with 1.8 for rate. There are only 5 countires about the US as far as the rate but those (South Africa, Russia) are in turmoil politically so it cannot accurately depict the rate (South Africa's rate is 50.2 per 100,000)

Against popular belief, our homicide rate is about the same as it was in the 1950's where it was in the low 4.x.

Even by Region in the US the rates are different by state with the western southern central and eastern south central being an average of almost 12 per 100,000 and just above 9 per 100,000 respectivley

In the south, there is more socio-economic unrest, just as the US as a whole in comparision to many other countries. The media play violence over and over and over again making people percieve crime is out of control and when a trend appears a "war" on it is declared.

All numbers come from Prof Fox's Criminal Violence class.
 

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Canada, for example, has many guns, about equal to the US. The homicde rates are significantly lower there. US has 15,586 homicides in 2000 with a 5.5 rate per/100,000. Northern friends were 542 with 1.8 for rate. There are only 5 countires about the US as far as the rate but those (South Africa, Russia) are in turmoil politically so it cannot accurately depict the rate (South Africa's rate is 50.2 per 100,000)
Interestingly enough, in England, with roughly twice the population of Canada (about 60,000,000), had a homicide rate of about 1.6 per 100,000, and a higher overall homicide rate of 850 in 2000, of which 62 were committed with firearms (over 600 were committed by stabbings, but no one screams for knife control). England banned personal firearms ownership over a decade ago, so as you can see, its really made an impact on crime; homicides are up from .89 per 100,000 about a decade ago and steadily climbing. The US, by the way, at about 293,000,000 has about 10 times the population of Canada, as well as a much higher population density and far larger urban areas (where the majority of the crimes are committed). By the way, the statistics I mentioned are for England and Wales only, not Northern Ireland.

We could volley statistics all night like a couple of students writing a term paper, but that would be silly, my point is that Michael Moore can con all the people he wants, until we make "Oh Canada" our national anthem, it doesn't change our constitutional rights.
 

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Regarding the AK-47 argument, this may have been addressed already...

Mechanically, there is no difference between a semi-automatic AK47 and any other semi-automatic rifle, pistol or shotgun. You pull the trigger, it fires ONCE and reloads waiting for you to pull the trigger again. The difference is purely cosmetic:

It is similar to a Mustang and a Taurus, both with a V6 engine: They feel, handle and look different, and may get a different reaction from the public, but under the hood they are the same.
 

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Killjoy275 said:
my point is that Michael Moore can con all the people he wants, until we make "Oh Canada" our national anthem, it doesn't change our constitutional rights.
Point taken, I personally am pro-gun as I take it you are too. I just don't see gun control working as well as everyone thinks that's all, I think there are other factors that take up a "bigger piece of the pie" when it comes to violence anywhere.
 
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