Saturday, March 12

SOLUTION TO KILLINGS IN ATLANTA COURTHOUSE? reports this morning that The Law Enforcement Alliance of America has "drawn up model legislation" aimed at having "severe penalties" imposed for criminals who, as was the case in the Atlanta courtroom, triple-murder tragedy yesterday, attempt to remove a police officer's service revolver. According to the report, such violators would face "aggravated felony" charges.

That's little consolation for the families of victims gunned down in yesterday's melee. Still at large suspect Brian Nichols is being sought for the premeditated, cold-blooded murders of Judge Rowland W. Barnes, court reporter Julie Ann Brandau, and deputy sheriff Hoyt Teasley. Nichols, a 33-year old black man facing a retrial in Judge Barnes' court on charges of rape, sodomy, burglary, and false imprisonment, was somehow able to wrest a firearm from deputy Cynthia Hall, after which he began his killing spree around 9:00am EST yesterday morning, purposefully seeking out the unwitting judge.

But what remains the compelling question is why was Brian Nichols not shackled and under heavy police escort for his appearance in Judge Barnes' court Friday morning, the fourth day of his retrial? As the Associated Press (AP) report indicates, Nichols had tried to carry hidden, handmade weapons (reported as "shanks") in each of his shoes into the courtroom just the day prior (Thursday) and additional security had been requested by the court as a result of this. Yet despite the obvious need for beefed up security measures, only one female deputy was assigned to the defendant and she was apparently easily overpowered by the much larger, physically imposing Nichols. No law, no matter how tough, can suffice for commonsense and necessary precaution.