An abortion protester named Rives Grogan was arrested yesterday for shouting at people near Zimmerman Library about religion and abortion. He's being charged with disorderly conduct and public nuisance. And that's not counting his Veterans Day stunt.
President Obama will give a talk today addressing problems people have been having with HeathCare.gov, a new health care website that allows people to compare insurance rates, understand health care laws and more.
A lawyer for a Roma couple accused of kidnapping a little girl in Greece says that the couple adopted her from her birth mother, though they still haven't located said mother for verification.
There was a shooting at Sparks Middle School in Nevada this morning. Police say the suspect was “neutralized,” though it's not clear how many were shot, but the children were evacuated to the nearby high school.
There was another shooting in Nevada this morning, though this one was at a Las Vegas casino, in which one person was pronounced dead and two were wounded. Police say the suspect is in custody.
Joseph Sandoval, 50, was killed on Saturday after being struck by a Rail Runner train that was headed north to Santa Fe. Police are still trying to figure out why Sandoval was near the tracks.
Scott Chandler, owner of Tierra Blanca Ranch, spoke to Matt Lauer on "The TODAY Show" about the allegations of abuse and the Amber Alert for nine missing kids last week.
You think UNM has a solution to the national debt?
A shooting at Washington Navy Yard broke out this morning, with police reporting that one of three possible shooters was “down,” though reports aren't clear on exactly what that means. Reports also state that at least seven people have been killed, and eight have been injured. This is still a breaking story, so check news sources for more information.
Engineers are attempting to raise the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off the island of Giglio in Italy. The ship, which capsized in January of 2012, killing 32 people, is being watched closely by environmentalists who fear that a toxic spill from the ship could pollute the waters.
Search-and-rescue teams in Colorado are grounded due to heavy clouds in the sky, and more than 1,000 people are still unaccounted for after massive floods in Larimer County and surrounding areas.
New Mexico's health care system is in turmoil as an investigation looks into allegations that 15 of its largest mental health providers defrauded Medicaid of $36 million over the course of three years.
In today's city council meeting, a proposal will be introduced that will make it illegal for Albuquerque's employers to refuse paying the new minimum wage, unless they want to face criminal charges.
Texts with Alibi editor Carl Petersen, during the incident.
When we wage war, we often do it with ourselves. Whether it be second-guessing critical choices, or diverting our mind's attention to something less intrusive. Yeah, that's vague. But, sometimes a war is waged on us, and the limits of control are bursting at the seams, begging the question: What happens when it happens to me? So, I thought I'd share my first run-in with Albuquerque police and SWAT.
So, I'm sure that it's no news to people that an armed robber was gunned down near Menaul and Louisiana on March 5th after fleeing from police. I believe the breaking news article focused on businesses in the area being on lockdown as police and SWAT were in pursuit of said robber. Living in the area, approximately smack-dab in the middle of the guarded perimeter which spanned several blocks, I was unable to get into my apartment building upon returning from a grocery-shop excursion.
As my roommate and I tried to turn into our street, a police officer (that reminded me of a young Ed Harris) told us that we had to turn around and find another way home. Pointing to our building, my roommate said, “But we live right there, like RIGHT THERE!” The officer kindly replied, “I'm sorry ma'am, but it's a SWAT stand-off. Can't let anyone through.”
We turned around and went down another road, only to find that it was also being blocked by police. Clearly, they had the entire neighborhood in check. We parked about two houses down from the officer, so that we could see her leave, and we'd know the streets were safe, and we could finally put the lingering perishables in a safe, cozy freezer. To pass the time, we read breaking news reports and ascertained the situation.
After about 20 minutes of waiting, while helicopters flew overhead and seeing several cars get rejected and told to turn around, my roommate looks at me and says, “I'll love you forever if you get down and ask the cop what's going on.” At first, I was a bit hesitant, because with my luck, the robber would have come out the moment I stepped out of the vehicle and used me as a body shield. But, after a moment, I said, “okay,” and got out of the car.
I walked over to a young female officer, and politely said, “Hello … I live right over there in that apartment building, and my roommate and I were wondering about how long do you think you guys are going to be here.” Right after the words left my lips, we heard several gunshots being fired. Without losing her composure or the polite smile on her face, the officer said, “It shouldn't be too much longer.”
After some careful maneuvering, my roommate and I circled the surrounding area, noticing they stopped blocking the entrance to the Sheraton hotel on Louisiana and Menaul. So, we entered the parking lot, drove around back in an attempt to exit the back parking lot, which sits directly across the street from our building. When we got there, we were disappointed to see that it, too, had been blocked off, and officers with assault rifles walked by our car, not even noticing us.
“I think we're in the shit now,” I said. My roommate, clearly one to panic, held her composure and actually got out of the car and told an officer the situation (It being that we were literally across the street from our building and just wanted to get home and put our groceries away). The kind officer said he couldn't remove the tape to let us drive through, but that we could walk across the street and go home. Needless to say, we went home, picked up a grocery basket (my building has several in a downstairs closet), and we walked back across the street and got our groceries.
Upon entering the gate of our apartment building, we found our maintenance guy outside, drinking a Bud Light as he scoped out the situation. As we walked by, he said, “They got him.” “Oh, they did?” we asked. “Yeah, they shot him right over there, see where all those guys are standing?” We turned and saw several armed officers standing in a group on Chama Street (though we'd later discover that this wasn't actually the location where the man was killed).
After settling in our apartment and taking several trips to the balcony to see what was going on (like true nosey Mexicans), we finally went to bed. Upon later reading about the incident, I found out that the deceased's name was Parrish Dennison, and read that he had several ties to white supremacist gangs. Now, a life is a life. Regardless of your beliefs or your political standing, every life lost is always a tragedy.
As human beings, we make choices. While some decisions we make may not always reflect our most innate goodness, every human being has multiple layers that complete the indelible picture we present to people. Dennison chose to rob homes and died for what news reports said was “a guitar and a banjo.” Yet, I learned from a very early age that death is one of those inevitable, inconceivable situations that comes around to teach you the value of living. So, on that note, I say thank you, Mr. Dennison. While you may no longer be with us, you reminded me of that value.
I took my first gun class this weekend, and boy was it an eye-opening experience for someone who knew absolutely nothing about guns. The course was titled "Introduction to Handguns for Ladies Only," and was given at Calibers, an indoor shooting range and gun shop in Albuquerque.
The class instructor, Lindsey, explained to us that because men and women have very different reactions to guns (men are generally less leery and less emotional about shooting), Calibers chose (wisely in my opinion) to offer a separate women's class. Lindsey, who was incredibly knowledgeable as well as personable, is only 22 years old. She has been shooting guns since she was a child, and has been working at Calibers for 5 years—since she was a teenager! She knew more about firearms than anyone I have ever met.
The first thing that struck me about the class was how little I really knew about the subject matter. I felt like I was taking a beginner's foreign language class with how hard it was to keep up with the strange words. Terms like "single-action", "striker-action," "de-cock," "mag clip," "mag release," "front sight" and "cartridge caliber" were completely beyond me. I soon realized I did not even have the most basic handgun knowledge, like the difference between a semi-automatic pistol and a revolver, or what an actual bullet looked like.
The first day of the 2-day course was in a classroom setting. We learned firearm safety (never point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy), basic handgun anatomy (semi-automatic vs. revolver, single action vs. double action), ammunition basics (bullet types and caliber measurements), handgun maintenance (you should clean your gun once a month whether you fire it or not!) and, of course, handy tips on selecting and purchasing a handgun (it is a gun shop, after all). We also learned about New Mexico gun laws. There don't seem to be many. There is no waiting period to buy a gun and no required registration. New Mexico is an Open Carry State, meaning it is legal to carry a loaded weapon as long as it is not concealed. "Seriously?" I thought to myself. You need a permit to carry a concealed gun, but not one that is openly visible? Does that seem strange to anyone else? New Mexico law also allows a person to have a concealed loaded firearm in his or her vehicle—including motorcycles and bicycles. Yup, this is the West, folks, where it is absolutely fine to tote around your loaded gun in a cute little bicycle basket. I did feel a little better learning that in New Mexico you must be 21 to buy a handgun, though only 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun and only EIGHT to shoot at Calibers Shooting Range. I was still learning how to shoot a water gun when I was 8!
Course participants were encouraged to bring their own hardware (the polite term for guns and ammo) to class. Since many people apparently inherit guns or get guns as gifts (who gets a gun as gift?), about half of our 12-person class brought their own. When it came time to learn how to load and unload ammo, the rest of us experimented with different types of handguns, all semi-automatics (which are nowadays much preferred over revolvers). Loading rounds in a semi-automatic handgun is much harder than loading a revolver though and I struggled to get even 5 rounds into a gun designed to hold much more. The next day we would be shooting on the range and everyone seemed to be pumped, except me, the petrified one. What if I accidentally shot someone? Maybe I should just watch and brush up on the lingo I just couldn't quite seem to master.
The next morning I awoke at the crack of dawn (extremely unlike me, especially on a weekend) and drove to Starbucks to get a latte (also extremely unlike me, since I don't drink coffee) in the hope that the caffeine would keep me alert enough to not shoot anyone (like classmates) or any thing (like my foot) that I wasn't supposed to. In preparation for shooting, our class practiced things like stance (the stance you see on old cop shows is, by the way, totally outdated, no one shoots standing sideways anymore), grip (sorry lefties, almost all guns are built for the right-handed), sight alignment (which part of the gun to look at before you fire), trigger control (this one I understood—"index finger" is pretty easy to remember), breathing (don't forget to breathe) and follow-through (don't let the recoil hit you in the head or knock you off your feet.)
Off to the range we went. Those of us who did not bring our own ammo had to buy 50 rounds for our shoot. I had so much trouble getting the ammo into the gun that I was the last one to finish shooting our initial 25 rounds. This is a skill that will take some practice for me. I shot four different types of guns: a Barretta 9mm standard-issue Army Reserve model, a Glock .40, a Glock 9mm and an HK 9mm. We were supposed to shoot the man on the paper poster in the chest, which was marked with a rectangle. If you were really good, you could then graduate to shooting the man in the brain, which was marked by a much smaller rectangle. I never graduated to the brain rectangle. In fact, I seemed to be shooting poster man everywhere except his chest. Lindsey came over, gave me a few corrections, and viola! I lethally wounded poster man on the next shot. And the next and the next. Well, now things were looking up. This was probably as close to being a bad ass as I will ever get in my life.
Unbelievably, I gained some confidence and got so into the shooting toward the end of class that I bought another round 50 rounds and stayed on the range after everyone else had left. My second paper poster man was a huge improvement on my first, although I was still not able to shoot him in the brain. Oh well, there's always next time. Oh and there will be a next time because I found out that every Thursday at Calibers is "Ladies Day" so women shoot for half price! Just like happy hour at the local bowling alley. Woo hoo! How can you say no to that?
A majority of the women in my class indicated that they were going to follow this course up with the Concealed Carry Permit class, which, if you pass, gets you an official CCP in the state of New Mexico. I have no desire to do this, or to ever own a gun. But as my boss, John, said as I shared with him my skepticism about guns before the class, "If you are ever in a situation involving a gun, wouldn't it be better to know something about guns than not to know?" Yes. I'm glad I took the class, and I'm glad I now know.