Friday, June 08, 2012

Playing Dress Up

Warren Strain, public affairs director for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. isn't sure why two motorists, whose vehicles are believed to have been on the roadside when found, have been shot and killed on the state's highways.      But he has a theory:

Mississippi authorities on Monday urged motorists to be alert in the wake of two shooting deaths along the state’s highways that they believe may have been committed by someone impersonating a police officer.

"There are some similarities between the two incidents, mainly the fact they happened alongside a Mississippi highway," Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Director Lt. Col. Larry Waggoner said in a press release. "The concern is that someone is posing as a law enforcement officer and that is how these vehicles end up on the side of the road."

Nebraska resident Thomas K. Schlender, 74, was found dead in his car along I-55 near Pope, Miss., on May 8. He had been shot and his was found in his car which had crashed into the highway median.

At a press briefing on Monday, Schlender was described as a grandfather traveling to Florida to pick up his grandson at the time of his death.

The other shooting victim, Lori Anne Carswell, 48, of Hernando, Miss., was found near her car on the shoulder of state Highway 713 near I-69 early May 11. Carswell, who worked at a nearby casino, was believed to be on her way home from work when she was shot.

Evidence from the two scenes led investigators to believe that both vehicles were on the roadside when the victims were shot. It also suggests that the two are linked, said John Champion, district attorney from Mississippi's northern region. He spoke to reporters at a press briefing in Hernando, Miss., on Monday, flanked by police, sheriffs and other officials from the region.

Shell casings recovered from the two shooting sites had been sent to the state crime lab for processing, said Warren Strain, public affairs director for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

The department is urging people to verify that they are being stopped by a legitimate law enforcer, he said.

"If someone is being pulled over and it’s not obvious that it is a law enforcement officer, (they should) dial 911 or star 47 and that will roll into the nearest 911 dispatcher," Strain said, adding that dispatchers have been alerted and will be prepared to provide confirmation.

Officials at the press briefing said that if a driver is being signaled to pull over, they have the right to put their flashers on and drive slowly to to the nearest lighted and populated area before coming to a halt.

Fortunately, impersonating a police officer is an irresponsible and  dangerous act which no law-abiding individual ever would consider.     That didn't apply, though, to a privileged Michigan resident, according to The National Memo:

So recalls Robin Madden, who had also just arrived as a freshman, the startling incident began when Romney called him and two or three other residents into his room, saying, “Come up, I want to show you something.” When they entered Romney’s room, “and laid out on his bed was a Michigan State Trooper’s uniform.”

Madden, a native Texan who graduated from Stanford in 1970 and went on to become a successful television producer and writer, has never forgotten that strange moment, which he has recounted to friends over the years as he observed his former classmate’s political ascent. The National Memo learned of the incident from a longtime Madden friend to whom he had mentioned it years ago.

Said Madden in a recent interview, “He told us that he had gotten the uniform from his father,” George Romney, then the Governor of Michigan, whose security detail was staffed by uniformed troopers. “He told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler.”

In Madden’s recollection, confirmed by his wife Susan, who also attended Stanford during those years, “we thought it was all pretty weird. We all thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty creepy.’ And after that, we didn’t have much interaction with him,” although both Madden and Romney were prep school boys living in the same dorm, called Rinconada.

Mitt Romney assaults an effeminate student (just for fun) in high school, impersonates a police officer (regularly, it appears) in college, and specializes (for profit) in cutting pensions and laying people off as an adult.  

A Daily Kos blogger asks rhetorically "How this story is not headline news is beyond me. Can you imagine the headlines throughout the MSM if it were discovered that during college Barack Obama had a hobby of impersonating a police officer and that he pulled over drivers on the road?"   If there were the least bit of evidence that Barack Obama had impersonated a police officer even once while at college, the issue would dominate the media, written and broadcast, for days if not for weeks.     And it should.

It would be easy to write this off as just another example of the media showing its pro-Republican bias.    The urge to bend over backwards so as not to offend, and incur the hostility of, the GOP is part of the story.   However, it also is the responsibility of Democratic surrogates not to ignore Romney's "creepy"- and illegal- behavior.     Unlike liberal cable show hosts, Democratic strategists, pundits, and politicians seem to be ignoring Mitt Romney's dangerous tendencies, let alone fashioning them into a narrative of someone who can't be trusted with the presidency.      The media is following suit and Democrats will let November's elections slip through their fingers unless they realize that Americans consider not only issues, but also character, important in selecting public officials.

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