Friday, January 14, 2005

Community Members spotlight two articles from today's New York Times and Brad offers a critique on page A9's two main stories

Elaine e-mailed asking that we highlight this story from today's New York Times (A18)
Kin of Marine Who Shot Policemen Ask if He Is a Casualty of War by Dean Murphy:

A marine on weekend leave from Camp Pendleton on Sunday night instructed a clerk in George's Liquor Store to call the police. When patrol cars arrived, the marine pulled an assault rifle from beneath his poncho and began firing. Both Sgt. Howard Stevenson and Officer Sam Ryno were hit.
"He walked over to where Sergeant Stevenson laid suffering from several gunshot wounds and shot him in the back of the head," said Lt. Bill Heyne, the lead investigator on the case for the Stanislaus County sheriff. "It was an execution of that officer."
The marine, Lance Cpl. Andres Raya, 19, who spent seven months in Iraq last year as a motor transportation operator, then walked to a muddy alley around the corner, a place where he used to pick oranges as a student on his way to Ceres High School. He slipped from one backyard to the next, telling some residents they were "innocent civilians" and would not be harmed.
Before the evening ended, as police officers from across the region responded to the shootings, more than 200 rounds had been fired, both Sergeant Stevenson and Corporal Raya were dead, and "small town America," as the police and fire chief here (he has to do both jobs) called Ceres, was desperately debating whether the young marine had deliberately gotten himself killed to escape possible return to Iraq.
"It is going to take a great deal of work to sort out what happened," Lieutenant Heyne said.
Some here blame the violence on Corporal Raya's wartime experience, which friends and relatives say was so traumatic that he cried during his home leave at Christmas about having to report back to Camp Pendleton. They suggest Corporal Raya, whose wish throughout high school was to be a marine and then a Ceres firefighter, might have invited the confrontation with the intention of erasing forever the awful images in his head.
But others say they see a vicious criminal who authorities say had a past association with gangs. They see drugs or alcohol as the more likely spark of his deadly rage, and they question how he was able to get the outlawed assault rifle used in the shooting spree.

Shirley e-mails asking that we highlight this from today's paper Spencer Dryden, 66, Drummer of Jefferson Airplane's Heyday, Dies -- the Jefferson Airplane made the album
list Kat's Korner worked on (Volunteers & Surrealistic Pillow are two I remember being on the list, but there was at least one more). (I remember those two because I have them on CD and, like most people, I was reading through the list to see which albums I had made the list.)

Brad e-mails regarding page A9 in the paper: "So a spoiled twenty-year-old goes to a costume party wearing a swastika? Foolish, idiotic and anti-Semetic, no question. But why does that story get more inches of space than the one right below it about Margaret Thatcher's 51 year-old son pleading 'guilty in coup plot?' The spoiled twenty-year-old prince even gets a photo in the paper. Thatcher's son pled guilty and that's a smaller story than the boorish behavior of a young adult? Now Mark Thatcher will be returning to US, believe he lives in Texas. Which is the bigger story? I think the paper lost its sense of perspective today which would also explain why Bumillie's vanity piece made the front page."