Kansas Police Kill Teen to Stop Suicide

18-yld Joseph Jennings

18-year-old Joseph Jennings, though unarmed, was shot 16 times

On August 21, 2014, 18-year-old Joseph Jennings had attempted suicide by taking pills. He suffered from painful seizures, which apparently drove him to desperation. Two days later, after the hospital released him, Ottawa, Kansas police shot and killed Joseph. Dozens of spent shell casings as well as bean bags littered the scene. 16 times, a police officer shot this young man–not including several bean bags. Apparently, the 911 caller had reported someone with a gun, but witnesses indicate Jennings had no gun, and in the articles I’ve found, police don’t contradict that.

In true “we had to destroy the village to save it” logic, police killed another person behaving in a suicidal manner. Even more tragic, police threatened to shoot the teen’s (step-?)father, who neared Joseph, attempting to tackle him. Let that sink in. Police threatened to kill a man attempting to save his son.

Ottawa Police Chief, Dennis Butler, said the officers did what they were trained to do. ‘They reacted based upon the training that they’ve been given from the academy,’ Butler said. ‘We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm.’

“Ottawa Police Shoot Unarmed Teen 16 Times While Family Begs Them Not To”

I’m wondering, Police Chief Dennis Butler, why you’re training those under your command to kill unarmed, suicidal teenagers and threatening to kill their parents who try to save them. While I appreciate that you and your highly-trained officers want them to avoid risk of bodily harm, I don’t believe you that this unarmed 18-year-old posed “great bodily harm” to a group of cops. And, I can’t understand why you not only train them poorly in marksmanship (several rounds missed him, which I would think posed an even greater danger to your cops and/or bystanders), while teaching them that an unarmed, mentally ill teenager poses such a threat to your brave crime fighters that he needs to be shot 16 times.

Apparently, that wasn’t enough. Now, the the county attorney, Bob Bezek, has reportedly told Joseph’s family to take down the memorial they erected at the location where the brave Ottawa Police Department slaughtered him.

Compare and contrast:

Elaborate, expensive, taxpayer-funded funeral which interferes with traffic vs. makeshift memorial erected by family members

Elaborate, expensive, taxpayer-funded funeral which interferes with traffic vs. makeshift memorial erected by family members

updates: number of times victim shot, minor grammar corrections

Police Clear Police for Tasering 8-Year-Old Girl

8-year-old Native American girl tasered by police in October 2013

8-year-old Native American girl tasered by police in October 2013

This girl was 80 pounds at the time four macho policemen surrounded her and attacked her with a taser weapon.

‘She had a kitchen paring knife, but hadn’t cut. She was a kid throwing a tantrum. They should have made an attempt to grab the kid, not use a weapon to throw her into a wall. A Taser’s not meant to kill, but it does kill. Many people have died after being hit by a Taser by cops. It never should be used on a little child. She certainly wasn’t presenting a danger to officers.’

Police Say Tasering 8-Year-Old Native American Girl Was Justified

Don’t support laws you are not willing to kill to enforce

Libertarians argue that we have far too many laws, and the Garner case offers evidence that they’re right. I often tell my students that there will never be a perfect technology of law enforcement, and therefore it is unavoidable that there will be situations where police err on the side of too much violence rather than too little. Better training won’t lead to perfection. But fewer laws would mean fewer opportunities for official violence to get out of hand.

—Professor Stephen Carter, cited by Ilya Somin, “Don’t support laws you are not willing to kill to enforce”, The Washington Post, 2014-12-05

Law Professor: Don’t Talk to Police

Regent University Law Professor James Duane gives a lecture on why you should never talk to police without a lawyer, explaining how even innocent people can fall into subtle traps which would have been avoided by just shutting up.

Or, as Ken White at Popehat implores:


UPDATE: Don’t talk in action:

Lena Dunham Allows Innocent Man to Twist in the Wind

UPDATE 2: Publisher to change Dunham’s book to indicate “Barry” is an alias, offer to pay “Barry One’s” legal costs.  Meanwhile, Jezebel calls search for the truth a “witch hunt”, likely without intending to suggest that Dunham’s “Barry” is as mythical as magical witches.  Their “sour grapes” outburst shows they care more for their agenda than (inconvenient) facts.

UPDATE 1: “Barry One” has hired legal counsel and may file for libel.


Whatever her motives, Dunham is pointing her powerful finger at this man. But as you will read in the details below, the facts do not point back at him. Not even close. This man is by all accounts (including his own) innocent.

…Rather than use this opportunity to clear his name (if Barry is a pseudonym this would have been an opportune time to say something), she instead condemned him through silence and made the ‘most unfortunate coincidence‘ of a man’s life all about Lena Dunham.
—John Nolte, Investigation: Lena Dunham ‘Raped by a Republican’ Story in Bestseller Collapses Under Scrutiny, 2014-12-03

If the Barry this journalist found actually is the Barry mentioned in Dunham’s autobiography, it means she provides a description which doesn’t match facts about this man, but with such vividness I wonder if she treats this serious allegation with the same whimsical embellishments as other, less serious matters:

Dunham writes of incorporating stories from other people’s lives and telling them as though they were her own, and of fabricating details.

—Kevin D. Williamson, Pathetic Privilege, 2014-11-03

If you don’t care about being accurate and truthful, extra details help to spice up the book.  But how is that appropriate here?  Is a “rape story” entertainment?  And, if the account contains false elements, as it apparently does, which parts are false?

Many people have found a man named Barry, through a simple search.  But what if the name or other details which point to him are part of Dunham’s fabrications and he’s just a victim of her arbitrary concotions? In the worst case, she cynically fabricated the entire event to lend gravitas to her voice, trivializing the pain that actual victims endure. Either way, she has remained silent while an innocent human being is left hanging.

How ruthless.

Sophie Hess, who could have helped reporter John Nolte to uncover facts regarding the allegations, told him, “Asking whether or not a victim is telling the truth is irrelevant. It’s just not important if they are telling the truth.

Except it is very, very important to a man whom many wrongly suspect of committing the acts Dunham describes.  If one were to falsely accuse Sophie Hess of stealing money from a charity or poisoning infants, she certainly would want people to investigate and to challenge the accuser.  Why does this allegation against “Barry” deserve a special immunity, to go unchallenged by careful fact-checking?  Are already poor victims of robbery, or disgustingly abused infants any less worthy of protection than a woman who discovers during consensual intercourse that the condom was off, against her wishes?

Also, were the actions of “Barry”, as Dunham describes them, actually criminal?  She mentions a number of things which happened before she invited him back to her room, and the next day.  She chose to go home with a guy who was, at best, inexperienced and clumsy, or perhaps an insensitive brute who didn’t care about her comfort.  Those prior actions weren’t criminal and she didn’t opt to end the encounter.  Also, the claim that “Barry” ignored her the next day is a common complaint from women who go home with a guy before building a relationship.  Ignoring her wasn’t criminal, nor was it evidence of guilt.  It could have been embarrassment, resentment, or simply regret for hooking up with a girl he found less desirable in the sober light of a new day.

Whatever the case, a sexual encounter cannot be retroactively made into a crime because of regret after the fact.  A crime requires a lack of consent at the time, not the next day.

The crux of her allegation is she discovered the condom was not on during intercourse, twice.  I imagine that, in a courtroom, “Barry’s” attorney would ask Lena Dunham how she discovered this and how she knew he intentionally removed it both times, as opposed to accidental breakage or slippage. But supposing “Barry” confessed to everything she alleges, does that violate a criminal statute?  (If so, would it be a crime for a woman to poke holes in a diaphragm or to lie about being on the pill?)  By her account, he didn’t complete the act, didn’t impregnate her, didn’t transmit any STD to her.  The fact that he did stop and did leave when she asked him to means that any criminal case would have to be made in razor-thin margins.  It also means that her self-description as a rape victim puts her in the company of women who suffered brutality, whose attackers didn’t stop and didn’t leave when asked.  Making that association ought to be done more seriously, not embed accounts of the alleged event among all manner of indirection, frivolities, half-truths, and fabrications.

Contrary to her on-screen persona and writings, plus the underlying theme of her public activity, she isn’t just an average woman facing the same challenges as millions of young women. She grew up in a $6.25 million Tribeca apartment, with all manner of excessive pampering and indulgences. The “voice of her generation” nonsense is just a cheap lie. Not that I fault her or her parents for having money.  Rather, I am disgusted by their over-indulgent parenting and the deceptive pose she has taken, gleefully pushed by progressive journalists who otherwise vilify the one percenters of which she has always been, by virtue of her family and now her successful TV show.  How far does the farce go?  Does it include pretending to be like victims of traumatic events?  Does her image require trashing an innocent man’s reputation?