Posts tagged “gun control

Lack of Biometric ID Might Shed Insight into Boston Bombing

In an era when a typical news cycle runs 24 to 48 hours, the mainstream media appears frustrated with the pace of the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing. Unlike many of the crime dramas portrayed on television, investigations of this nature are painstakingly methodical.

In his blog, journalist Steve Prestegard noted my belief that the improvised explosive devices used in the Boston attack were strategically placed after bomb sniffing dogs had swept the area and were not, as some media outlets speculated, left in trash receptacles.

Yesterday, the FBI released still photographs of two suspects.  By appealing to the public for assistance, it appears that investigators, up until this point, were unable to link the persons of interest through the use of facial recognition software.

Created with the technological support of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the FBI’s $1.2 billion Next Generation Identification (NGI) network—a system previously tested in a handful of states—uses 3D partial facial recognition software to develop a list of up to two dozen possible suspects. Data bases containing biometric images (mathematical dimensions that measure and catalog eyes, noses, ears, and other facial features) include the new, REAL ID compatible driver’s licenses, international passports, and existing booking photos. Digital images from social networking sites can also be imported to NGI.

Here’s a hint to those who believe Boston is a “homegrown” terror attack: the lack of biometric images linking the suspect in the white ball cap to a fairly expansive data base might mean that this person has been in the country for a relatively short period of time, especially since many states, through their individual DMVs, currently obtain biometric photographs from applicants as young as 15-years-of-age.

Gun Bill Goes Down in Flames

As even casual observers of American politics can see, members of the far-left often show outright contempt for the Second Amendment. The president claims he supports gun ownership, even though reports have surfaced that, during his tenure as a law school instructor, Obama, according to some sources, made statements advocating a handgun ban.

Many believe the Obama administration used the families of Newtown victims as political props to press for restrictions on gun rights, even though the bill rejected by the U.S. Senate would have done little, if anything, to prevent the Sandy Hook School shootings. Adam Lanza, the man who perpetrated the slayings, killed his own mother and then confiscated her firearms to commit the homicides. Lanza did not purchase these guns.

Having worked in law enforcement for decades, I have spoken to several investigators who question the need for more gun laws when those already on the books are under enforced.  Empirical data strongly suggests that those who violate state and federal gun laws receive what is tantamount to a slap on the wrist. This is precisely why straw purchases—a process by which individuals prohibited from possessing firearms solicit non-prohibited persons to buy firearms for them—continue to flourish.

As I noted in an April 10 news release, conducted an extensive survey of 15,000 police officers, the vast majority of whom believe gun control might actually cause more problems than the legislation seeks to solve.

Moreover, the overall percentage of firearms’ related deaths attributed to school shootings is tragic but miniscule. Sadly, 92 percent of firearms homicides are committed with handguns, primarily in central cities. Reading the polling data, SF believes gun control measures are losing public support, as the vast majority of law abiding Americans, it appears, do not believe they should surrender their freedoms because big-city police chiefs cannot get a grip on naro-gang violence.

Take Milwaukee, for example, a city that comprises just 10.9 percent of Wisconsin’s population but, in 2010, accounted for 55 percent of the state’s homicides. Why would gun owners in Eau Claire or Green Bay concede their Second Amendment freedoms because Milwaukee, in comparison, is spiraling out-of-control?


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

“Dark Minds” and Gun Control

Tonight, at 9 PM (Central Time), I will make an appearance on the Investigation Discovery network’s television series Dark Minds.

Crime author M. William Phelps, criminal profiler John Kelly, and I, revisit the Colonial Parkway murders. Occurring near historic Williamsburg, Virginia, from 1986 – 1989, three couples were found murdered and another couple disappeared on or near the Colonial Parkway.

In 2010, at the request of the victims’ families, the Spingola Files visited Yorktown to profile these complex and troubling cold case homicides. The Colonial Parkway murders are also the subject of a chapter in my recently released book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, currently available at

Police Officers and the Gun Control Debate

Courtesy of Steve Prestegard, SF was sent this link from detailing the results of an extensive survey of 15,000 police officers’ beliefs on gun control matters.

Yesterday, I was contacted by a student writer about the coming gun control debate in the U.S. Senate. The writer asked if any of the proposed changes might have prevented the Newtown tragedy.  Here’s my response:

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In the Newtown shooting, none of the gun control measures being proposed would have likely prevented the shooting. First, the rifle was not lawfully purchased by the shooter. He took it, by force, from his mother. As such, a background check, even an expanded background check for private sales or for mental health, would not have prevented the perpetrator from obtaining the firearm.

Moreover, the term “assault weapon,” as defined in law enforcement circles, is a fully automatic rifle (i.e. those that dispatch more than one round with each pull of the trigger). In most states and under federal law, only a handful of people can possess such weapons. The “assault weapons” politicians and some police chiefs seek to ban are semi-automatic rifles, which fire one round for every pull of the trigger. Most hunting rifles and many shotguns used for hunting are semi-automatic. The “assault weapons ban” applies to some semi-automatic rifles but not others. My guess is that some senators [those supporting gun control measures] seek to ban some guns because the look dastardly, but, in reality, they are no more dangerous than 30-06 or .308 hunting rifles. The AR-15 is simply a .22 long (a .223). It is popular because it has very little recoil. The AR-15’s operation is no different than a standard hunting rifle, with one exception: it looks mean. If looks could kill, well, then the AR-15 would merit banning and not a .308, which is a much deadlier round (used by many police snipers).

The magazine capacity matter is probably a moot issue, too. If the government limits a magazine to seven rounds, what would prevent a shooter from bringing 10 magazines? Moreover, since an active shooter is intent on killing many people and then taking his own life, why wouldn’t this type of individual choose to violate the law and procure and use magazines that are unlawful to possess?

The only way any of these gun laws have even a minute chance of working is outright confiscation. That being said the country has ten times as many firearms as it does undocumented immigrants. The same politicians who advocate gun confiscation (Gov. Cuomo in New York, for example) are the same pols who claim it is impossible to confiscate and deport undocumented immigrants. Guns, of course, are much easier to conceal than immigrants, especially since firearms do not work, rent housing, or attend school.  Under outright confiscation, it would take 50 years before many of the guns would disappear. Like the do-gooder intentions of prohibition, an outright ban would cause the price of firearms to increase to the point where gun runners would traffic them into the country in the same manner illegal drugs—which are banned—are now brought in.

Personally, I would like to see more done in the area of mental health. It’s tricky, though, because good people could argue about the criteria used for the background check.  For example, should the government ban any person who takes Zoloft from possessing firearms? Is so, about five to ten percent of police officers would probably be unable to carry. Even if a consensus could be reached on the criteria, what about a person’s medical privacy? Would people in need of mental health services seek assistance if they knew that their names would end-up in a government database? Each solution tends to create another problem, which is why I believe this area deserves more research before solutions are proposed by grandstanding politicians.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Sheriff Clarke’s “Hollywood Voice” a Match for Talk-Radio


Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr.

One of the most polarizing figures in southeastern Wisconsin is Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. In a sense, Clarke is kind of a duck out of water—a law-and-order conservative who was elected to office as a Democrat in a liberal county, even though he often aligns himself with Republican office holders.

One would think, though, that the sheriff’s Dirty Harry persona would resonate well with members of his department’s rank-and-file and other county sheriffs, especially his unrelenting, mano-a-mano efforts to thwart the gun-grabbers.  Instead, Clarke’s take-the-bull-by-the horns management style has alienated those who should be his biggest supporters, namely the deputies whose jobs he has fought obstinately to spare from the chopping block.

Having worked with David Clarke in the Milwaukee Police Department’s homicide unit, I am well aware of his passion for victims’ rights and his respect for the values enumerated in the Bill of Rights.  Philosophically, when it comes to the role of law enforcement and public safety, there’s probably not a dime’s worth of difference between Sheriff Clarke and I.  That being said our styles of management are the antithesis of each other’s.

Whereas, Clarke—an official elected by the public—embodies a top-down approach to organizational leadership, I generally prefer to delegate the administration of most tasks to qualified managers and/or subordinates.  After all, the sheriff, the chief-of-police, captains, and, to a lesser extent, shift commanders, are department heads or managers who just so happen to carry guns. Their primary focus should consist of fostering relationships with those controlling their department’s budgets, setting the agency’s agenda, getting buy-in from those under their command, maintaining discipline within the ranks, and communicating effectively with the public.

No doubt, on occasion, high-ranking law enforcement administrators will have their differences with judges, the district attorney’s office, members of the media, and the mayor and/or the county executive.  Typically, though, smoothing out these differences behind the scenes enables an elected department head or a de facto political appointee, such a police chief, to further advance their agency’s agenda and improve public safety.

Whether it is out of frustration or an unwillingness to capitulate core values, Sheriff Clarke has aired a lot of dirty laundry in public—calling out Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers, claiming that Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele suffers from “penis envy,” and apologizing in a letter to U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham for Chief Flynn’s antiquated and nonsensical testimony in support of an semi-automatic rifle ban.

Nonetheless, when given an opportunity, Clarke is a very effective communicator.  Even Piers Morgan made note of the sheriff’s “Hollywood voice.”

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to listen to Sheriff Clarke as he filled-in for Milwaukee talk-radio host Mark Belling during the show’s Five- O’clock hour on WISN radio.  If and when Clarke decides to retire his gun-and-badge, he most definitely has a future as a talk-radio host (to catch a short portion of the sheriff’s performance, click the link to the following Podcast):

No doubt, Clarke came armed with a lot more than the emotional rhetoric Chief Flynn regurgitated during an appearance before a U.S. Senate sub-committee.  In Milwaukee County, the sheriff noted, over a 12-year period only 44 percent of the cases brought to the DA’s office involving the straw purchases of guns for felons where charged, which resulted in offenders serving  an average of just seven months for a crime that carries a maximum penalty of ten-years in prison.

Personally, as far as WISN radio hosts are concerned, I would prefer to hear more of Sheriff Clarke and less from two of the other infrequently used fill-ins, whose attached-at-the-hip relationship to the special interest, Patriot Act-wing of Republican Party is rather dull and predictable.  If Clarke can broaden his repertoire to include other issues, his stock as a talk-radio host will rise exponentially.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Would ‘Drone Control’ Prevent More Innocent Deaths than an American Rifle Ban?

Drone Deaths

 Young children allegedly killed in a U.S. drone attack


The day after President Obama held a press conference to announce 23 new executive orders pertaining to gun violence, some statistics reveal that ‘drone control’ might result in more innocent lives being saved than a U.S. ban on high-powered rifles of all types.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, a total of 358 Americans were killed by rifles in 2010.

In the same year, it is estimated, on the high end, that 1,028 individuals were killed by U.S. drone attacks. While U.S. government data on the use of both foreign and domestically deployed drones remains classified, the New American Foundation estimates that 61 of those killed were civilians or “unknowns,” while 960 of the deceased were “militants.” Other sources claim that the Obama administration classifies “militants” as any adult male eligible for military service and/or any non-government representative in possession of a firearm.

Other organizations, such as The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, claim the Obama administration has used drone strikes to target those attending funerals and rescuers seeking to assist those injured in drone attacks.

A report from the left-wing magazine Mother Jones—typically an advocate for Obama administration policies—claims that only two percent of those targeted in drone attacks were hardened terrorists, which means, if just half of those who died in drone attacks in 2010 were soft targets or collateral deaths, then more civilians died as a result of U.S. drone attacks than were killed by rifles in the United States.

A hunch says Rachel Maddow will conveniently ignore these statistics when discussing the tragic deaths of young children.


Oklahoma is attempting to make the state a ‘drone free enterprise zone.’ A friend of SF, liberty activist Kaye Beach, appears in this television segment and makes a great point: before deploying drones domestically–equipped with infrared cameras than can see inside our homes–state legislatures should pass laws that criminalize the misuse of drones when used to violate our privacy absent exigent circumstances or a court order.

The Rutherford Institute produced this video highlighting the threat non-regulated drones pose to individual liberty and personal privacy.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

The Sorry State of New York’s Nannies

Since the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, certain politicians, police chiefs, and talking heads have, like chameleons after an election, began to show their true colors on where they stand on the Second Amendment rights of Americans.

The debate over self-defense, government tyranny, and individual liberty, has spotlighted two of New York’s prominent big government, nanny-state politicians, namely Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael “Big Brother” Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, whose administration has transformed the Big Apple into a virtual police state, is clamoring for gun control (really gun confiscation), soda rationing, and, believe it or not, restrictions on pain medications for patients in “the city hospitals we control.”

A wealthy blowhard with armed security, Bloomberg obviously believes that the government—as opposed to those of us who get up every morning, go to work, pay our bills, and live our lives the way we sit fit—knows best.   

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that that Bloomberg’s police department’s policy of simply stopping and frisking minorities outside of private residential buildings was unconstitutional.

“While it may be difficult to say where, precisely, to draw the line between constitutional and unconstitutional police encounters, such a line exists,” wrote federal judge Shira A. Scheindlin, “and the N.Y.P.D. has systematically crossed it when making trespass stops outside TAP buildings in the Bronx.”

Ask any instructor of criminal law: the legal standard to conduct a stop-and-frisk is a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a person is armed. The last time I checked, New York City had not succeeded from the union, which means the Fourth Amendment is still applicable in Bloomberg’s fiefdom.

Bloomberg has also worked in partnership with the private sector to create a surveillance state that makes the dreadful tale of Orwell’s 1984 pale in comparison. In August, the mayor announced that the NYPD and Microsoft had partnered to create the “Domain Awareness System”—a network that will fuse data from facial recognition software, public and private surveillance cameras, automated license plate readers, radiation detectors, and chemical sensors, to create stored dossiers on individuals absent a reasonable suspicion of wrong doing.

“If a person has had radiation treatment for cancer and walks by a stationary censor or a copper with a detector,” one person in the know recently told me, “the NYPD will poke its nose into that person’s private life and their name will end up a database”—HIPAA be damned.

Not to be out done on the crackdown on individual liberty is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“I don’t think a legitimate huntsman is going to say I need an assault weapon to go hunting,” Cuomo told Fred Dicker of radio 1300 AM in Albany.

And, if the governor were to aptly apply the actual definition of an “assault weapon,” he would be correct, as an “assault rifle” is one that fires more than one round with a single pull of the trigger—currently a felony under federal law unless the person in possession of such a weapon is licensed, a certified law enforcement officer, or engaged in authorized military exercises.

Moreover, Gov. Cuomo, who fancies himself as a 2016 contender for president, is advocating the seizure of firearms from law-abiding citizens.

“Confiscation could be an option,” Cuomo told Albany radio station WGDJ. “Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun, but permit it.”

In the America that is New York State, individuals will apparently soon need a permit to exercise their Constituional rights–a sad state of affairs in a state that is slowly morphing into an Orwellian abyss. 


“I fear the possibility of a tyranny rising in the country in the next 50 to 100 years. Let me tell you something, Piers. The fact that my grandparents and great-grandparents in Europe didn’t fear that is why they’re now ashes in Europe. This kind of leftist revisionist history where there’s no fear of democracy going userpatious or tyrannical, is just that. It’s fictitious.”

BEN SHAPIRO—during a heated exchange with CNN’s Piers Morgan that the Second Amendment is a check on government tyranny.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Jingle–In the Form of Handcuffs Clasping–Needed All the Way In Milwaukee, Madison


Back in the late 1990s, when Arthur Jones was Milwaukee’s chief-of-police, he introduced his version of William Bratton’s broken windows theory of policing. Jones sought to address relatively minor issues, which broken windows theorists believe prevent more serious crimes from occurring. Jones’ experiment had mixed results, primarily because he abandoned the department’s prior strategy of aggressively targeting street gangs.

A recent incident caught on video on Milwaukee’s Upper East Side spotlights the MPD’s apparent 180 degree philosophical shift pertaining to crime and disorder.  WTMJ-TV’s Charles Benson reports that a fight between two women on N. Farwell Ave. escalated as a vehicle was driven onto the sidewalk in an apparent attempt to strike pedestrians. According to news accounts, police were called but no arrests were made.

In August 2011, in a post entitled “Kabuki Policing,” SF joined the chorus of community concern over police response times.

Let us hope that the MPD addresses the hooliganism that occurred on N. Farwell Ave.  Over a decade-and-half ago, Milwaukee police investigated a similar incident that occurred outside a pool hall on 27th and Wisconsin. At least one person was killed and several others injured by a party who decided to escalate a fight by running over people on the sidewalk.

Madison Columnist Continues Gun Control Rant while Ignoring Unsolved Murders

In a prior post, I called out Wisconsin State Journal columnist Chris Rickert as one of those willing to use the murders of 26 people in Newtown, CT to support the Democrat Party’s not-so-longer hidden agenda of gun control and/or gun confiscation—the latter of which is now being advocated by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In a December 23 blog post, Rickert, who initially chided the silence of Wisconsin “Republicans” on the Newtown shootings, is now critical of Gov. Walker’s proposal of GPS monitoring for those under the auspices of a domestic abuse restraining orders, as well as the governor’s idea of seeking mental health providers’ inputs on identifying potentially dangerous individuals.

The staff at SF has reviewed the governor’s ideas. Granted, while careful thought must be given to the criteria used to deem a person mentally unstable, Walker’s initial proposal seems thoughtful and reasonable.

In the interim, while Mr. Rickert champions gun control, the murders of several people in Madison, including the high-profile cases of Kelly Nolan and UW-Madison co-ed Brittany Zimmermann remain unsolved. This means, of course, that two murderers are likely roaming the streets of Madison or some other community ticking like a time bomb until they kill again.

While Mr. Rickert et al blabber about Gov. Walker’s response to a shooting in another state, these same columnists refuse to bring virtually any pressure to bear on the powers-that-be at the Madison Police Department over the unsolved murders of young woman and several others in their own city.

“Wink, wink,” a retired Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) homicide detective wrote in an e-mail this week, “liberal journalists providing cover for their city’s holistically liberal police chief.”

Retired MPD Captain Glenn Frankovis, a contributor to the conservative Badger Blogger (BB), was kind enough to provide several links to prior BB posts, which Mr. Rickert and his fellow Madison journalists might use to channel their energies locally and focus like a laser beam on the unsolved murders of these young women:

Crime Book Feedback Always Appreciated

Recently, I received a note from an MPD detective who is in the process or reading Dave Kane’s book MPD Blue, Mitchell Nevin’s Milwaukee-based crime novel The Cozen Protocol, and Best of the Spingola Files Volumes I and II.  For better or worse, I really do enjoy getting feedback from those who take the time to read my stuff.

Yesterday, The Cozen Protocol and Best of the Spingola Files Volumes I and II surged into the top 20 on’s list of criminal procedure books. For those of you who have spent their precious resources—both time and money—on these books, as well as  the readers of this blog, have a Merry Christmas and/or a Happy Hanukah.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012

Demagogues and Gun Control

Over three years ago, Mike Kuspa, one of the Midwest‘s foremost experts on major shooting tactical responses, and I formed The Spingola Group (SG).  This crew of current and retired law enforcement officers has one goal in mind: assisting organizations, such as schools, churches and businesses, to prepare their staffs for those critical minutes after an armed madman enters their facility with the intent to kill as many people as possible.

While there is no foolproof way to fully thwart the madness witnessed in Newtown, Connecticut, the old cliché that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure can minimize the carnage.

Unfortunately, whenever an opportunity presents itself, grandstanding politicians are all too willing to dance on the graves of murder victims in order to advance their own myopic agendas.  By now, though, Americans should know that policy made in a vacuum—the internment of Japanese-American citizens after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the speedy implementation of the USA Patriot Act quickly come to mind—usually results in our rights and freedoms fading like a dying ember.

Some of the pontificators in the mainstream media, many of whom have likely never shouldered a firearm or lived in a troubled neighborhood, have also jumped into the fray.  Liberal Wisconsin State Journal columnist and gun control advocate Chris Rickert, generally one of Madison’s more rational voices (I know, that’s probably an oxymoron), is a prime example. 

In a recent shot at “Republican” politicians, Rickert claims that the “silence” from the likes of Gov. Scott Walker, and the leaders of the legislature, Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos, on a shooting spree in another state is telling.

“When you’re a true believer, events [such as those in Newtown] aren’t evidence,” Rickert quotes former Democrat Party legislator Mordecai Lee. “Events aren’t facts because you have a belief that can’t be overturned by any events or facts.”

What would Rickert and Lee propose to resolve the problem? The columnist, of course, is short on any specifics, although a hunch says European-style gun control.

Dr. John R. Lott, the author of “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws,” is a researcher who views events by looking at the numbers not the rhetoric from the usual suspects.

“Europe has a lot of multiple victim shootings” said Dr. Lott in recent interview with Front Page Magazine.  “If you look at a per capita rate, the rate of multiple-victim public shootings in Europe and the United States over the last 10 years have been fairly similar to each other. A couple of years ago you had a couple of big shootings in Finland. About two-and-a-half years ago you had a big shooting in the U.K., 12 people were killed. 

“You had Norway last year [where 77 died]. Two years ago, you had the shooting in Austria at a Sikh Temple. There have been several multiple-victim public shootings in France over the last couple of years. Over the last decade, you’ve had a couple of big school shootings in Germany. Germany in terms of modern incidents has two of the four worst public-school shootings, and they have very strict gun-control laws. The one common feature of all of those shootings in Europe is that they all take place in gun-free zones, in places where guns are supposed to be banned.”

In my new book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, a chapter entitled, “Do-Gooder Signs Provide Solace for Active Shooters” takes New York City’s nanny-state mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to task for his simplistic view on the Second Amendment and self-defense.

“These are the same signs [posted gun-free zones],” I noted, “that James Holmes—the shooter at the Aurora, Colorado theater—likely ignored. After all, reality dictates that do-gooder, no carry policies do little more than provide killers, like Holmes, with some solace in knowing that their law-abiding victims have voluntarily disarmed.”

Having served for parts of five decades as a law enforcement officer, I know, in most instances, that calling the police is often the best form of crime prevention.  Yet, when confronted by a suicidal gunman or an armed burglar, when a victim needs the police in a matter of seconds the police are likely minutes away.

Just ask Brittany Zimmermann, the University of Wisconsin-Madison student attacked and killed by an intruder in her Doty Street apartment on April 2, 2008. In a struggle for life, Ms. Zimmermann did call the police, but officers were never dispatched.

Almost five years later, sources say only one Madison Police Department detective works the case, rarely, on a part-time basis. While the brass at the Madison PD claims Zimmermann’s homicide is not officially a cold case, the investigative strategy, it appears, is centered on a future hit from a DNA data base.

Chris Rickert certainly knows that Brittany Zimmermann was killed only a few miles away from where he works.  If Madison journalists spent as much time exposing the botched investigation into Ms. Zimmermann’s death as they do carrying water for gun control, the Zimmermann family might finally have some peace this Christmas.  Brittany Zimmermann was not murdered with a firearm. She was stabbed to death. If she had access to a handgun—the same instrument Rickert et al would seek to ban or control—Ms. Zimmermann would likely be alive today and the bloody crime scene on Doty Street would have had a much different look.

As the holidays near and the Zimmermann family realizes that another year has come-and-gone with their daughter’s killer at-large to murder again, one can bet that Mr. Lee’s quote that “Events aren’t facts because you have a belief that can’t be overturned by any events or facts” are more applicable to those of Rickert’s ilk than proponents of self-defense—a long held tenant of natural law.  Just ask the family of Brittany Zimmermann.   

Benjmain Franklin once said, “Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor security.” 

As such, the attributes the Spingola Group identifies to confront evil are “anticipation, preparation and perseverance”—not unarmed surrender. 


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012

Police Blotter: Gangsters, Shootings, and Defective Chinese Products

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to in December 2012.

© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012