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Topics I've Started

If a drunk driver killed your kids, what would you do?

Yesterday, 02:35 PM

Prosecutor: Father shooting driver was 'execution'





ANGLETON, Texas (AP) — A drunk driver did not deserve "public execution" by a father accused of taking the law into his own hands in a fit of rage over the killing of his two sons in a wreck, a prosecutor told jurors on Monday.

David Barajas is accused of fatally shooting Jose Banda in December 2012 minutes after Banda plowed into a vehicle that Barajas and his two sons had been pushing on a rural road. Twelve-year-old David Jr. died at the scene and 11-year-old Caleb died at a hospital.

In opening arguments Tuesday in Barajas' murder trial, prosecutor Brian Hrach told jurors that Banda made a horrible decision by drinking and driving, but he did not "deserve a public execution." Barajas is accused of leaving the scene of the accident, retrieving a gun and returning to kill Banda.

Sam Cammack, Barajas' attorney, told jurors that his client did not kill Banda, and that the father never left the accident scene. Barajas was covered with his sons' blood after he had tried to perform CPR on the boys, the defense attorney said.

"When police get there my client is doing what he was doing the whole time, trying to save his children's lives," Cammack said.

Legal experts said the case will be difficult to prosecute given the lack of hard evidence: no weapon was recovered, no witnesses identified Barajas as the shooter and gunshot residue tests done on Barajas came back negative.

An even greater challenge for prosecutors could be overcoming sympathy in the community for the father. Many people in the town of Alvin where the tragedy occurred, 30 miles southeast of Houston, have supported Barajas. Some have said they might have done the same thing in a similar situation.

Hrach tried to minimize the absence of a murder weapon, saying that a bullet fragment from a .357 caliber weapon was found at the murder scene and that an open box with .357 caliber ammunition was found in Barajas' home.

The home security system at Barajas' house with cameras that would have shown the accident scene had been disabled, the prosecutor said.

Witnesses will testify that they saw Barajas leave the scene and then come back and approach Banda's vehicle, going up against the car, appearing to be hiding something, Hrach said.

Barajas' blood was found on the armrest and dashboard of Banda's car, Hrach said.

But Cammack tried to cast doubt on prosecutors' claims that Barajas was responsible by telling jurors that evidence will show that there was a group of people who gathered around Banda's driver side window after the accident.

Cammack also said that after a gunshot was fired, a witness saw a white vehicle with people in it pull into the middle of the scene and then leave.

If convicted, Barajas faces up to life in prison.

At least 25 family members and friends of Barajas were in the courtroom, wearing buttons that said, "Forever in our hearts, David and Caleb Barajas" and with a picture of the two boys. At least 20 relatives and friends of Banda were also in the courtroom.

Before opening statements, Judge Terri Holder asked that family members take off the buttons, saying she did not want anything to influence the jury.

"This is a difficult case for everyone involved. Everyone in here has lost somebody they loved," she said.













I say yes

Bunny and his friends cover AC/DC Thunderstruck

07 August 2014 - 01:11 PM



:headbanger:  :headbanger:  :headbanger:  :headbanger:  :headbanger:

Scott Mitchell to be a contestant on 'The Biggest Loser'

07 August 2014 - 08:00 AM





The former NFL QB who played for the Dolphins, Lions, Ravens and Bengals from 1991-2001?

He's now going to be a contestant on NBC's "The Biggest Loser," where overweight people compete to lose the most weight.

Mitchell weighs in at 366 pounds, according to the show's website.




Too easy  :lol:


Looking for a new dog for the family

05 August 2014 - 01:57 PM

A year and a half ago, we had to put down our last dog as she was going down hill and it was time.  The wife and kids want a new one and we are at odds of what to get.  Looking for suggestions.  We don't want a little ankle biter and want to keep it smaller than our last one that was a St. Bernard and went around 130 pounds.


We live in the country and have a large yard so we have room for it to run.  I'd like it to be a short haired variety as it will be in the house and I want to keep shedding to a minimum.


Cost of the animal isn't a real concern.


I prefer an unique breed as everyone I know seems to have a lab.


Not interested in Pit Bulls or Rots as we have little kids and spend much of our summers in the campground around other dogs and kids.



What you got?

Obama arming the Taliban

29 July 2014 - 01:26 PM





WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has shipped Afghan security forces tens of thousands of excessive AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons since 2004 and many have gone missing, raising concerns that they've fallen into the hands of Taliban or other insurgents.

John F. Sipko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, found in a report released Monday that shoddy record-keeping by the Defense Department, the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police has contributed to the failure to track the small arms.

The Pentagon is still sending Afghanistan weapons based on its peak 2012 levels of army and police personnel, even as those numbers have declined, Sipko found.

"The scheduled reduction in Afghan National Security Force personnel to 228,500 by 2017 is likely to result in an even greater number of excess weapons," the report said. "Yet DOD continues to provide ANSF with weapons based on the (2012) ANSF force strength of 352,000 and has no plans to stop providing weapons to ANSF."

Congress has made the Pentagon responsible for tracking all U.S. small weapons and auxiliary equipment sent to Afghanistan, which have totaled 747,000 rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers and shotguns worth $626 million since 2004.

"However, controls over the accountability of small arms provided to the Afghanistan National Security Forces are insufficient both before and after the weapons are transferred," Sipko concluded in the report.

The Pentagon said in response to the audit that it has no authority to compel the Afghan government to perform a complete small-weapons inventory as Sipko recommended, and that the Afghanistan government, not the United States, is responsible for determining whether there are excessive weapons.

"The DOD does not have the authority to recover or destroy Afghan weapons," Michael J. Dumont, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, wrote to Sipko in response to his findings.

Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, said he wasn't surprised by Sipko's findings of loose weapons in the war-torn nation. A former strategic adviser to U.S. commanders in Afghanistan, he has visited there more than a dozen times since the U.S. invasion in October 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Gouttierre said the issue of missing weapons is part of a larger problem in which billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Afghanistan has been siphoned off by waste, corruption and mismanagement.

"It's very evident to me that our government has been looking the other way for a long time," Gouttierre said. "Everything after 2003 was Iraq-focused. In Afghanistan, we kind of threw money at programs without any real supervision that would be required of something this massive."

The current U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan will see most American troops gone this year, with the last combat brigades scheduled to leave by the end of 2016. Inspectors working for Sipko found missing weapons during visits between May 2013 and June 2014 to four central weapons depots in Afghanistan belonging to the army or the police.

During a visit to the central supply depot of the Afghan National Army, which is "managed by Afghans with the assistance of U.S. advisers," the depot's records showed it as possessing 939 M-16 rifles, but the inspectors could find only 199.

The Pentagon has supplied 83,184 more AK-47s to Afghan security forces than they have said are needed, the U.S. inspectors found.

"Without confidence in the Afghan government's ability to account for or properly dispose of these weapons, SIGAR is concerned that they could be obtained by insurgents and pose additional risks to Afghan civilians and the Afghan National Security Forces," the report said.

A primary cause of the overall problem is that the Defense Department uses one information system to record weapons sent from the United States but employs a separate digital system to track weapons as they arrive in Afghanistan.

The two systems are riddled with inconsistencies and redundancies, the audit found.

To make matters worse, the Afghan National Army uses yet another tracking system, which relies on automated inventory management, and the Afghan National Police has no standard accounting system.

"The Afghan National Police uses a combination of hard-copy documents, handwritten records and some Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to maintain inventory records," Sipko's report said.