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Thread: Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Dies After Shooting

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    Arkansas Democratic Party chair dies after shooting



    LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) - Police in Little Rock say they don't know why a gunman burst into Arkansas state Democratic Party headquarters and killed chairman Bill Gwatney. The former state senator was 48.

    Police shot and killed the 51-year-old suspect after a 30-mile chase. His name hasn't been released.

    Police say moments after the shooting he pointed a handgun at the building manager in the nearby Arkansas Baptist headquarters. A witness says the man said he'd lost his job.

    Gwatney had been planning to travel to the Democratic National Convention this month as a Hillary Clinton superdelegate.

    Senator Clinton and former President Clinton have issued a statement calling Gwatney not only a strong chairman, but also "a cherished friend and confidante."

    http://www.nbc15online.com/news/nati...7-2ba7a7f63952


    Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

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    Johnson used a revolver to shoot Gwatney, police said, but he did not have a permit to carry a concealed handgun, Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said.

    Johnson did belong to a gun club. Ken Buster, a former secretary of the Cleburne County Shooting Club, said Johnson was a member. He described Johnson as "average to subaverage" with a gun.

    "He would never impress anybody with his shooting skills," Buster said.



    Read the entire story here

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    ...inside the home of killer Timothy Dale Johnson, police found a cache of weapons,

    ...

    During the search of Johnson's home Wednesday afternoon and evening, police found 14 guns...
    14 guns now constitutes a cache of guns? In Arkansas?

    I always thought of a cache as something you hid, in any case. Nothing in the story indicates they were buried in his yard or anything.

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    Story Date: Friday, August 15, 2008

    How safe are we?

    by anthony childress

    JONESBORO — Wednesday’s deadly shooting of state Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney at his Little Rock office gave local law enforcement and elected officials reason to assess security measures here.

    Gwatney was gunned down at his desk at the party’s headquarters and later died at a Little Rock hospital.

    “We’ve taken precautions and done what we can,” Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann said. “Unfortunately, though, if someone really wants to do harm to another person, then they’ll find a way to do it. You can do everything possible to keep if from happening, but that’s reality.”

    Security was beefed up in the county’s public buildings three years ago after a fatal incident involving an inmate and law enforcement at an Atlanta courthouse.

    County Judge Dale Haas said secured courtroom doors and a metal detector in Craighead County Circuit Court for high-profile trials have raised the safety level for officers, court officials and the public.

    However, Haas added, it takes more than just having new equipment and a higher police presence to prevent a shooting or violent attack.

    “There is a certain inherent risk you take when you’re dealing with people, and that’s true whether you’re a county judge or deputy or member of the public,” Haas said. “The fact is there’s a greater likelihood of being in a head-on car collision than being shot in a building like the courthouse. Nonetheless, you have that risk, and you have to be mindful of it.”

    Other steps Craighead took to ensure safety in courthouse offices ranged from installing silent alarms to notify authorities in case of an attack to having bullet-proof panels in front of judges during court.

    Federal response

    Within weeks of the Atlanta shooting, Congress voted to spend $40 million for enhanced courthouse security nationwide and also passed legislation imposing sentences on those who commit violent acts at courthouses of up to 30 years behind bars and potentially the death penalty.

    In addition, lawmakers voted to appropriate $20 million through 2010 for continued courthouse security projects from coast to coast.

    For McCann, all the money and moves to heightened security are necessary but not the cure-all for potential attacks on government or the private sector.

    “It’s the price you pay for being free, quite frankly. You cannot be 100 percent safe,” the sheriff said.

    County improvement

    Completion of the county Detention Center’s new booking area is expected to boost security, Administrator John Smith said, because it means inmates will not have contact with the public on their way to videotaped pleas and arraignments.

    They are currently walked through the jail’s public front hallway for those appearances.

    Another facet of the county’s security is a battery of cell phones that bailiffs use during court and when transporting prisoners.

    Around NEA

    Mississippi County Office of Emergency Management coordinator David Lendennie said Thursday the courthouses in Blytheville and Osceola are equipped with metal detectors.

    Lendennie said the detectors are used during high-profile criminal cases, such as murder trials.

    Lendennie said the county is in the process of installing security cameras and panic buttons at both courthouses. The security system, with a digital video recording system, was funded by a federal homeland security grant, Lendennie said.

    Lendennie said the county plans to use money from the state Administrative Office of the Courts to develop a security plan, which would include fire drills and emergency scenarios.

    Poinsett County Office of Emergency Management coordinator Frank Kraft said the county has installed walk-through metal detectors at various county buildings.

    The detectors, funded by a federal Homeland Security grant, are at the Poinsett County Detention Center, which has a courtroom; the Poinsett County Courthouse; and the Trumann District Courtroom.

    Plans are in place to install the detectors in other communities’ courtrooms over the next few months.

    Randolph County Judge David Jansen said security at county-owned buildings is a top priority for officials. All Randolph County courthouse offices are equipped with panic buttons.

    Several years ago an emergency protocol was put into place. During court hearing or trials, police can use handheld metal detectors to screen people coming into and out of court.

    Other counties reported similar measures to ensure safety.

    Haas said he believes it all comes back to American society devolving from its religious roots and values.

    “When someone is willing to put their own life at risk to kill or hurt someone else, there’s not a whole lot you can do. I think that faith — Jesus Christ — is the answer, but that’s not a popular thing to say. But, regardless, there is no amount of security you can put in place to stop it [violence] completely,” he said.

    Sun staff writers Michael Wilkey and George Jared contributed to this report.

    anthony@jonesborosun.com

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    snip from How Safe Are We? above:

    “There is a certain inherent risk you take when you’re dealing with people, and that’s true whether you’re a county judge or deputy or member of the public,” Haas said. “The fact is there’s a greater likelihood of being in a head-on car collision than being shot in a building like the courthouse. Nonetheless, you have that risk, and you have to be mindful of it.”
    __________________________________________________ __________________

    Truer words were never spoken. That is why I carry all of the time, everywhere I can.

    Laws have never stopped a criminal intent on commiting a crime such as this The best security is not perfect.

    Yata hey

    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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