NCCo Courthouse Shooting Followup

Filed in Delaware by on February 12, 2013

Today’s NJ has a good narrative of what happened at the Courthouse yesterday. They’ve also put up a Storify page, designed to capture the story as it unfolded on Twitter (if you have something to add to this, send it to Holly Norton). I’m not so sure what else will be known about this incident, but I know that lots of people are still talking about this and what it means for our community.

As for me, I am very interested in the fact that the discussion of this shooting focuses on the domestic violence angle, rather than the “it’s their culture” sneer that accompanies other shootings in Wilmington.

What are you thinking today in the aftermath of yesterday’s events?

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  1. puck says:

    The starting point for this story would be the divorce proceedings.

  2. Linda says:

    This is not specific to this shooting situation, but . . .

    Being on both ends of the divorce proceedings with my ex and with my significant other with his ex, I can say that family court has a whole lot of culpability in making a “very hostile” situation worse. The commissioners are totally out of control in their “I am God” mentality and Child Support Enforcement totally clueless about what is Ordered by the court . . . all of this makes an already bad situation WORSE!

  3. SussexWatcher says:

    “As for me, I am very interested in the fact that the discussion of this shooting focuses on the domestic violence angle, rather than the “it’s their culture” sneer that accompanies other shootings in Wilmington.”

    Why wouldn’t it? It’s not a random shooting – there was a clear relationship between the shooter and victims.

    I’m sure there is a relationship between shooter and victim in many “random” Wilmington shootings as well, but no one’s telling that to the cops, creating this fear of “random violence.”

  4. cassandra_m says:

    Random shootings isn’t in anyone’s “culture”, but thanks for playing.

  5. Geezer says:

    Your hostile attitude, Cassandra, has blinded you to the fact that SW is not disagreeing with you. He’s saying that the shootings in Wilmington often go unsolved, creating a fear of “random” violence among visitors. The last administration’s response was to point out that much of the violence takes place in a few neighborhoods, which might be true but isn’t a helpful response from city government.

    I don’t know what has you so jumpy, but try to chillax. You jumped down DD’s throat the same way yesterday.

  6. socialistic ben says:

    *gets pop corn

  7. SussexWatcher says:

    Where did I say it was?

    My point was that most other so-called “random” shootings actually have a link between the shooter and the victim, like this one. But when no one comes forward, and the victim is insistent that he has no idea who shot him, there’s not a lot the police can do. When there is a “reason,” then the police and media can focus on that problem. Without a “reason,” the focus is on the broader issue of fear and random violence.

    If there’s a “culture” problem here, it has to do with the stop-snitching code more than anything. That crosses all sorts of lines.

  8. SussexWatcher says:

    Thank you, Geezer.

    I’d also point out that it would be silly to discuss this shooting in the context of Wilmington’s violence problem when the family is from Middletown and the shooter most recently living in Texas. It just happened to take place in Wilmington.

  9. Dana Garrett says:

    Unless I am misunderstanding something, it seems to me that Cassandra’s point is that the occasion of a crime perpetrated by an African American doesn’t tend to engender explanations that are situation specific like the explanations for crimes perpetrated by whites do. Rather, a crime committed by an African American engenders a cultural explanation that has effect of implicating many if not all African Americans. But crimes committed by whites don’t carry with it explanatory implications that indict most if not all whites.

  10. cassandra_m says:

    Shootings may go unresolved, but that does not equal random. And more shootings are resolved in terms of knowing the story of the why and who than you might think. They just don’t result in enough evidence to jail or prosecute anyone. But contributing the the suburban mythmaking about Wilmington violence isn’t my project.

    The last administration’s response wasn’t so much that this was confined to a few neighborhoods, but that it was confined to a group of people involved with stuff they had no business being involved in. In the main, that is quite true. It just wasn’t a good excuse to not respond to it.

    I’d also point out that it would be silly to discuss this shooting in the context of Wilmington’s violence problem when the family is from Middletown and the shooter most recently living in Texas.

    Right. Because out of towners don’t contribute to Wilmington’s violence problem. I’d bet everyone locked in their offices downtown yesterday are buying that lock stock and barrel.

    And *Geezer* taking anyone to task for being jumpy or grumpy? Really?

    Sweet Jesus.

  11. cassandra_m says:

    Thank you, Dana. Remind me that I owe you a steak dinner please!

  12. socialistic ben says:

    Everyone is arguing from the same point.
    the media is racist….. when a black person gets shot “oh, that is just inner city life” when a white person gets shot “good gravey! what may have caused this to happen?!”
    ‘murka
    (btw, pointing out this sad fact in NO WAY means i endorse, or agree with it…. quite the opposite actually)

  13. pandora says:

    But remember all those people saying, “If only Trayvon Martin had a gun”. Oh wait…

  14. SussexWatcher says:

    I’ll try one more time.

    The issue is public and media perception. That was the question you raised – why is everyone talking about DV when it’s white people and “culture” when it’s black people.

    What you’re not understanding is that “thug culture” or whatever term you want to use gets blamed or cited in the absence of other causes or reasons. When there is a “reason” – drug deal gone bad, for example – then the public and media can latch on to that. Then there is a concrete problem to solve – same as DV.

    It’s when there’s no reason – “Gee, officer, I was just minding my own business and got shot in the leg by someone in a car” – that people start making stuff up to fill the information gap. That’s where you get the racism, the “culture” comments.

    We’re really on the same side of this issue, if you’d get off your high horse.

  15. socialistic ben says:

    uh oh! SOMEONE is tuggin on their short leash!

  16. Geezer says:

    Yes, Cassandra. It should worry you a little more if you seem grumpy even to someone as grumpy as me.

    We’re on your side on this, honest.

  17. cassandra_m says:

    Except when it comes to policing my demeanor here. When I’m worried about how you see my demeanor I’ll be certain bow and scrape enough for you to know it.

    And this is all kinds of win:

    But remember all those people saying, “If only Trayvon Martin had a gun”. Oh wait…

  18. Dana Garrett says:

    SW, when white perpetrators engage in apparent acts of random violence, is the explanation that it’s part of white culture? Never heard that once. Also, I think you are misrepresenting the kinds of explanations that go on even when a known reason is given when an African American acts violently. Cultural explanations are still offered as the cause for, say, why an African American probably would engage in a drug deal that if it goes bad, would be resolved through violence. You know, “They are like that.” But you don’t get the cultural component in explanations when white drug deals end in violence.

  19. socialistic ben says:

    so maybe a little, not even apology, to SW for yelling( i guess) at them for agreeing with you?

  20. socialistic ben says:

    I’d like to point out that the reference to “culture” was in the original post in this thread. Unless I (and geezer, who is always right) have really badly misread SW’s total agreement with the post, He just carried on what the author of the post pointed out… That inner city violence is often written off, by a quietly racist media, as “the culture there”. SW didnt say “black people die because drugs deals go bad”. Pretending that is what you read is not the same as him (him?) actually saying that.

  21. SussexWatcher says:

    “SW, when white perpetrators engage in apparent acts of random violence, is the explanation that it’s part of white culture?”

    Sometimes. They’re called rednecks, militia types, gun nuts, kooks, McVeighs, hillbillies, methheads, etc.

  22. socialistic ben says:

    This is the part where people either concede they over-reacted, or jump right to “well I NEVER characterize people like that! maybe YOU do, but not me.”.

  23. Dana Garrett says:

    SW, those are hardly an indictment of white culture at large. But “They are like that” and similar explanations don’t segment African Americans into small groups within the larger community. Rather, African culture as such (which, among other things, assumes a monolithic culture) must bear the burden of one perpetrator’s violence.

  24. Geezer says:

    “Except when it comes to policing my demeanor here. When I’m worried about how you see my demeanor I’ll be certain bow and scrape enough for you to know it.”

    Yeah, likewise. I’m not policing anything. I’m pointing out that you’re acting like an overly defensive asshat. Thanks for providing the illustration.

  25. SussexWatcher says:

    I love getting chastised for my lack of racial awareness by Delaware’s resident lily-white hipster-wannabe scold.

  26. Geezer says:

    Dana: Says who? You? Do you really think people are talking about all blacks when they talk about the drug culture?

    Do you care to venture a reason on why 75% of big-city murders have black victims and, by an overwhelming majority, black perpetrators?

    It’s funny that nobody hesitates to say that America has a violent gun culture when comparing the country’s murder rate to other western societies. But if someone says poor inner-city young men have a gun culture, suddenly it’s off-limits because you perceive it as racism.

    Apply the same standard across the board or face the possibility that you’re just as bigoted as those you criticize — you just have different targets for your bigotry.

  27. Geezer says:

    Yeah, just as I like being accused of asking a self-appointed “liberal” to “bow and scrape” for noticing that twice in two days she has attacked commenters who were agreeing with her.

  28. socialistic ben says:

    Dana, i need to know… are you saying that SW thinks African Americans are pre-disposed to violence because of their culture? because that is what it looks like you are saying, and i doubt that is true.
    Cassandra, the originator of this thread, said that too often violence in the city is written off as “their culture’ that is where this discussion came from. I don’t disagree that it is too often (and wrongly) written off as “their culture”.
    So far everyone here has agreed with that assessment….. that
    1) inner city violence is lazily reported and talked about as an issue of urban culture and
    2) that 1 (the above) is wrong.

  29. socialistic ben says:

    you make a good point geezer….
    the guy who did the shooting was an older, white man from Texas…….everyone should forget this whole thread and just react to that the way everyone here normally would.

  30. Geezer says:

    No, Ben, Cassandra’s original point is a good one. We look for pigeonholes to put these shootings in. We have one that says “young man with mental problems,” and one that says “domestic dispute.” In fact, the Jovan Belcher case was stuck in that pigeonhole even though he and his girlfriend were black.

    The pigeonhole for most of Wilmington’s shootings, at least for people who live elsewhere, is “black people are just like that.”

  31. socialistic ben says:

    see, my attempts at snark never work.. probably because i can’t add “sarcastic tone” to words. we need an official sarcasm font.

    anyway, this is a really silly thread with people all getting huffy and upset while aggressively agreeing with each other. It’s like Seder.

  32. Dana Garrett says:

    Geezer, last I knew, “drug culture” is non racial or can apply to members of any race. It’s interesting that you were unable to present “gun culture” as an appellation applying to exclusively white people . You didn’t because you can’t unless you want to do so ad hoc. As for the rates of violence among African Americans in inner cities, I can think of all kinds reasons to explain it that doesn’t involve any statement that can begin with (as is often said, but never of whites) “Those people.” But since YOU raised it and since you apparently think that race has to be at least part of the explanation for the high crime rate, do tell us how there is something endemic to black culture that makes them more prone to violence. And be sure to explain how such a notion isn’t racist. I’m all ears.

  33. mediawatch says:

    The “culture” that is at issue here is one that transcends the city/suburb boundaries, the black/white and rich/poor demographics and the chasm between domestic violence and domestic tranquility. The “gun culture” knows no such boundaries, and countless more lives will be lost while we engage in ancillary debates instead of attacking the problem head on.

  34. Pencadermom says:

    In the aftermath, I am thinking of how if I weren’t running late, I would have been inside the lobby. Instead I was on King Street along side of the courthouse watching police cars fly by. We had no where to go but left onto the street where most of the officers were headed. Actually, until we made the turn, we didn’t even know yet where exactly where they were going. Then we sat on that street watching SWAT officers getting out of their cars and running with huge guns. Other officers were yelling at us, and all the other cars and people on the sidewalks, to ‘get out’. It took us about 10 minutes just to get from one corner of the building to the other. Yesterday, the street felt like total chaos. It wasn’t. Thinking back on it, I think they worked really fast to secure those streets, especially considering the amount of traffic in the area. Sights and sounds I will never forget, and I wasn’t even inside. (It is still me, I had to change my email)

  35. Geezer says:

    “It’s interesting that you were unable to present “gun culture” as an appellation applying to exclusively white people.”

    No more interesting than the fact that you can’t recognize a gun culture among black people.

    “I can think of all kinds reasons to explain it that doesn’t involve any statement that can begin with (as is often said, but never of whites) “Those people.””

    Have at it, sport. I notice that in your rush to judgment, you didn’t bother to list any. Take another crack. Be sure to explain how other high-poverty environments don’t produce the same results. And be sure to note that I never said a thing about “those people.”

    “But since YOU raised it and since you apparently think that race has to be at least part of the explanation for the high crime rate, do tell us how there is something endemic to black culture that makes them more prone to violence.”

    I made clear what “culture” I think is involved. The “apparent” thing here is your obsession with charging white people with racism. My point is that many people you consider racist are merely inarticulate. They are talking about rappers and other hip-hop culture, which for many of them is the only black culture they see. When they say “those people,” they mean hip-hop kids with saggy pants. You hear it as “all black people.” Stop projecting your problems onto others.

    And in case you hadn’t noticed, hip-hop culture has been glorifying gun culture since the mid-1980s.

    “And be sure to explain how such a notion isn’t racist. I’m all ears.”

    Yes, I know. It’s your great obsession. The proof that it’s not racist is that there are plenty of white kids in that culture, but don’t let that get in the way of your proudly paraded bigotry.

    But I asked you a question that you haven’t answered. What’s your explanation of why inner-city violence is primarily black-on-black? Do you think the blacks doing the shooting are doing so out of racist motives?

  36. Geezer says:

    MW: We can’t address anything until we figure out why Americans are more likely to solve problems with guns. My guess is that our popular culture interacts with our accessibility to guns. I offer that tentative conclusion because there are cultures with as many guns as ours, and nearly every culture watches our violent entertainment, yet no other country approaches us in gun violence.

  37. puck says:

    So there is one other thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun.

  38. Roland D. Lebay says:

    @sb-
    anyway, this is a really silly thread with people all getting huffy and upset while aggressively agreeing with each other. It’s like Seder.

    As a gentile who has participated in many Seders, I agree and I laughed my ass off at your comment!

  39. Joanne Christian says:

    Not to gas flames but if a shooting happens at a courthouse wouldn’t it stand the line of reason and logic to assume “oh NO a bad person is really breaking the law this time….” because the COURTHOUSE involving bad people is in Wilmington. My line of assumption went in this matter, that somebody isn’t liking something…..NOT to a “what in the world is going on with this random shooting nonsense?”. A courthouse is an epicenter of “bad people”—not a random shooter location to go down the road of either culture, location, or profiling. Geez, I thought this one was easy.

    Even Beau Biden’s public remarks underscores the very intention, and select shooting this was. Not that it makes it anymore palatable–and certainly still encompasses ungodly collateral damage.

  40. anonymous says:

    ATTY.GEN. BEAU BIDEN AND GOV. JACK MARKELL

    Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said at an afternoon news conference that the shooting was not a random act of violence but the result of a ‘custody dispute.’ It’s developed out of a long – over the course of many years – custody dispute in the courts of this state,” he said, according to news reports.

    No it was more than that.

    What about the international kidnapping spree, the various Federal charges?

    Markell said, “I am also saddened that this appears to be another example of a ‘domestic situation’ that turned deadly.”

    How about, a criminal situation, turned deadly.

    The man who used a gun to kill a mother of four, also killed her friend and mother of two and shot at and wounded two guards at a Court House who happened to be in the area, then shot himself, and has been referred to as the shooter, the perpetrator, a long list a generic descriptions, and now, he is described as a person involved in a ‘custody dispute’ and a ‘domestic situation.’

    Tens of millions of men, women and children were/are/will actually be involved in ‘custody disputes,’ and in ‘support disputes’ and “domestic situations’ – and will not shoot a divorced woman, her friend or Court House guards or anyone else.

    An ex father-in-law is not legally involved in a ‘custody dispute.’ It isn’t his dispute. He isn’t and never would be responsible for ‘child support.’ There have been/are/will be tens of millions of past, present and future ‘custody disputes,’ ‘child support disputes,’ ‘domestic situations’ or whatever situational excuse politicians want to call it, but the truth remains, ‘a man with a gun’ decided to shoot people – a woman and mother who was not in a custody dispute with him, also a woman and mother who was a friend of said woman (who was not in a custody dispute with him,) and two law enforcement guards who happened to be at the scene, and also not in a ‘dispute’ with him or the victims’ ‘domestic situation.’

    As long as politicians refuse to acknowledge, that in this case, as in a majority of other gun shootings, the killer is ‘the man with a gun,’ such denial by politicians will only result in an endless stream of innocent people who will continue to be shot and killed by ‘the man with a gun,’ whenever he feels the moment is right for murder.

    Next time, he may be the man with a gun – with ‘road rage;’ the man with a gun – ‘who hates his wife;’ the man with a gun – ‘who wants your wallet; ‘ the man with a gun – ‘who lost his job;’ the man with a gun ‘who wants to kidnap children;’ the man with a gun ‘who is suicidal’ and wants to go out with a bang, etc….

    Something else, the 68-year-old man with a gun, who gunned down the mothers of six children and wounded law enforcement officers, was reportedly dying of cancer. NBC Phila.

    Beau Biden says it wasn’t a ‘random shooting’ Question: Had ‘the man with the gun’ planned beforehand to shoot that particular friend, those particular two guards?

    “He walked right up the first victim and shot her point-blank right in the chest.”

    Even though it wasn’t the gunmen’s ‘custody dispute,’ wasn’t that the end of the young mother’s custody/support battle?

    But still, “he then turned around and shot a second woman who was approximately 10 feet away,” said a witness.

    The friend, Mulford tried to run according to state police, but Matusiewicz fired at her multiple times.’ NBC10 Phila.

    The injured officers were saved by their bulletproof vests, according to William Jopp, chief of Capitol Police. One took a shot to the chest and the other was hit in the leg.”

    How could a woman who was divorced since 2006, be in a custody dispute with someone who was no longer her father-in-law? How could Biden offer the gunman that label after Thomas Matusiewicz’s wife kidnapped children?

    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Shooting-Inside-Wilmington-Courthouse-190666741.html

    “There are at least four or five rows of metal detectors when you go in, you put your belongings through, then you have to walk through the metal detectors. Then there are usually eight to 10 police with wands checking everyone and after that you still have to walk by a desk where Capitol Police sit. Yet he waited inside the court house, his gun in a file, for 35 minutes until the mothers arrived.

    The above says volumes about not stopping – ‘a man with a gun.’ He could just as easily come to the home, the neighborhood, the school, a church, a traffic stop, the street…..

    And this: A witness said, police shot the gunman as he was reloading his weapon. Reloading. What ‘custody dispute’ and ‘family dispute’ was he reloading for – after he killed the mothers of six children?

    As long as POLITICIANS are afraid to face “the angry men with guns,” there will be gun violence the politicians invite. Without laws to address a system that hands guns over to angry men, the murders will continue.

    Take a look again at the amount of police force “securing the area, ” – after the fact. Laws and Policing are needed before the fact – to deal with ‘the angry men issued guns.’

    But lawmakers don’t want to face the truth. Authorities knew of the anger and the international kidnappers in the family. Prosecutors say the son forged his wife’s signature to obtain nearly $250,000 from a Delaware bank, then sent the money to his parents’ bank account and had his father transfer the money to a Bank of New Zealand account.

    Baltimore Field Division of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the weapon used in Monday’s shooting, a Glock Model 21, was purchased lawfully last year from a gun dealer in New Jersey. Ryan said about three other weapons were recovered from Matusiewicz’s vehicle.

    Is kidnapping included as a “custody dispute” or is gunning down a long divorced mother a ‘family’ situation?

    Question for Biden and Markell: Should Thomas Matusiewicz have been able to legally purchase the Glock? Yes or No.

    Either answer is a system failure, that Biden and Markell must fix.

    http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/component/flexicontent/item/50887-a-clearer-picture-emerges-of-courthouse-shooting-in-wilmington-as-attention-turns-to-son-of-the-shoote?Itemid=1

  41. kavips says:

    Point is, V, the NRA because of their direct intervention to make guns impossible to control … causes innnocent people like these, to get killed. If the NRA never existed, the thought goes, thoughtful normal regulation of gun bans would not be contested. The NRA expressly because of their interference with the normal evolution of regulation, are complicit when something like this happens. Not all cases. But almost all.

  42. socialistic ben says:

    “As long as POLITICIANS are afraid to face “the angry men with guns,” there will be gun violence the politicians invite.”

    of course they are afraid. the men are angry, have guns, and feel it is their holy duty to kill people they see as a threat to ‘murka. I dont think politicians are required to lay down their lives for their office.

  43. mike says:

    Kavips, why don’t you go back to calling for NRA board members and their families to be killed?

    Heck, maybe you can become a Delaware Liberal contributor. You’ll fit right in.

  44. mike says:

    I would say the politicians who pass gun control are complicit. They are the ones with blood on their hands. They are the ones who created defenseless victims and target rich enviromnents.

  45. Jason330 says:

    Yes. You would say that.

  46. kavips says:

    Mike, you totally misunderstand. We are absolutely for 2nd Amendment Rights, the very rights the NRA is attempting to destroy, by right now emotionally turning every American against every gun.

    Statements like this: All Liberals are “calling for families to be killed”; “Your personal tragedy means you don’t “deserve a vote”; “Emotions over tragedies should be ignored.”; “(Liberals) using the grief of people who have lost more than you could even imagine in order to push anti-rights, anti-freedom”; make everyone, just plain regular people, want to hate those who own guns. Period. Statements like yours don’t intimidate; they infuriate. They egg on retaliation. The NRA’s freedom of speech is destroying every other gun owner’s right to have guns.

    Every time the NRA laughs at, makes light of, and pooh-pooh’s a national tragedy, it becomes more likely that a gun ban is going to happen. Only because the NRA is insisting on the absolute freedom to have any gun, the absolute freedom to have any type of ammunition, will the backlash rise up to control these guns, these ammo which are the most extreme…. This is a democracy. No one has absolute freedom to do anything.

    I’m sorry you are on the wrong side. Your side is the wrong side philosophically, the wrong side historically, the wrong side morally, the wrong side politically, the wrong side religiously… simply put, right now you are on the wrong side.

    The more gun nuts yell, the more society is going to control them. Like at toddler, the more they scream and holler at nothing, the longer they are staying in a time out.

    The NRA is ruining your gun rights as well as those for every law abiding citizen in the United States of America. The NRA with its deaf ear, is undercutting your Gun Rights, Mike! What are you going to do about it?… Every member of the NRA needs to stop paying their dues right now, and attach this note. “I’ll pay you when you STOP giving them zero alternatives except one left, which is to take my guns away….”

    Their absolutism is killing your cause.

  47. Roland D. Lebay says:

    Well said, Kavips.

  48. Delawarelefty says:

    Gee Mike, I hate to pop your bubble but that gun of your’s is far more likely to be used to kill you or your love ones than any bad guy. The victims of the courthouse shootings were surrounded by good guys with guns yet one slimeball with a gun was still able to kill. The answer is not more guns but less in fewer hands. Man up and face the world on your own.

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