Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Daily Wrap Up

Today's wrap up has some hope for Boston's inner-city schools in the form of a new superintendent, one article that leaves many in Utah scratching their heads, and finally an old-meets-new reunion between a group of people who have a severe hatred for this country's federal government.

Leading off is the hope for Boston's school system. Carol Johnson, the superintendent of the Memphis, TN school system, will be arriving in Boston soon (if she already hasn't) as its new school superintendent. This is big for Boston as it appears that everyone who has worked with her in Memphis is sad to see her go. While Boston's school system may not be the worst public school system in the country, a competent and determined superintendent will certainly help Boston students. Good luck to Mrs. Johnson.

Batting second is a nine year old story involving a botched truck robbery that left a police officer killed in the line of duty. One of the three suspects holed up in the woods and shot at a social worker, prompting a massive shutdown of a small Utah town until the body of the suspect - Robert Mason - was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The body of a second suspect - Alan "Monte" Pilon - was found a year later by Navajo hunters about 25 miles away from the snipers' spot. The remains of the third and final suspect - Jason McVean - were found and identified last week. McVean is believed to be the suspect who opened fire on Cortez, CO Officer Dale Claxton with an AK-47, killing him, shortly following the trio's hijacking of a water truck in a nearby town. In what can read as a mission from Grand Theft Auto, the three men fled west to Utah, getting into gun battled with local authorities along the way. They hijacked a flatbed and crashed in, then took refuge in the woods. They are believed to have all killed themselves shortly after the incident. This story really popped out at me because of all of the unanswered questions involved with it and got me thinking about the general concept of death and suicide and how so many questions are left unanswered after a tragedy.

Finally, Ruby Ridge character Randall Weaver has met with Ed and Elaine Brown, who have taken steps to fortify their home and arm themselves in a showdown with federal authorities who are seeking to claim unpaid taxes from the Browns. While they have been convicted of federal tax evasion, they have remained in their home defying the government and its tax collecting, which they refer to as voluntary and, at times, slave-like. Weaver, whose wife and son died in the Ruby Ridge shootout along with Deputy US Marshal William F. Degan, said that he would be willing to assist the Browns in fighting in self-defense and egged authorities to "bring it on." The Browns' cause has garnered the support of some patriot and militia groups, as the article says that people all the way from Texas have brought weapons and supplies to the couple's home. This is an interesting situation, as previous examples of similar situations (Ruby Ridge, Waco) have turned out less-than-stellar.

Photos - Top: Carol Johnson (www.wbur.org), Bottom: Ed and Elaine Brown's MySpace picture

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