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Archive for August 14th, 2009

I saw a link to this story on Instapundit. The New York Times reports that a couple of thugs got what they deserved when they tried to rob a 72-year old storeowner in Harlem. The only injustice is that city bureaucrats are considering a possible weapons charge against the man who defended his life and property:

They strode into the restaurant supply store in Harlem shortly after 3 p.m. on Thursday, four young men intent on robbery, one with a Glock 9-millimeter pistol, the police said. The place may have looked like an easy mark, a high-cash business with an owner in his 70s, known as a gentle, soft-spoken man. But Charles Augusto Jr., the 72-year-old proprietor of the Kaplan Brothers Blue Flame Corporation, at 523 West 125th Street, near Amsterdam Avenue, had been robbed several times before, despite the fact that his shop is around the corner from the 26th Precinct station house on West 126th Street. There were no customers in the store, only Mr. Augusto and two employees, a man and a woman. The police said the invaders announced a holdup, approached the two employees and tried to place plastic handcuffs on them. The male employee, a 35-year-old known in the community as J. B., struggled with the gunman, who then hit him on the head with the pistol. Watching it happen, Mr. Augusto, whom neighborhood friends call Gus, rose from a chair 20 to 30 feet away and took out a loaded Winchester 12-gauge pump-action shotgun with a pistol-grip handle. The police said he bought it after a robbery 30 years ago. Mr. Augusto, who has never been in trouble with the law, fired three blasts in rapid succession… The first shot took down the gunman at the front. He died almost immediately, according to the police, who said he was 29 and had been arrested for gun possession in Queens last year and was the nephew of a police officer. Mr. Augusto’s other two blasts hit all three accomplices, who stumbled out the door, bleeding. One of them, a 21-year-old, staggered across 125th Street and collapsed in front of the General Grant Houses, a nine-building complex with 4,500 residents, one of the city’s biggest housing projects. Someone called 911, and an ambulance rushed him to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, where he was dead on arrival. The police said he had a record of arrests for weapons possession and robbery. …Gene Hernandez, 47, sympathized with Mr. Augusto, but not with the would-be robbers. “If I were him, I would kill a dozen of them,” he said. “You have to protect your workers and your family. Case closed.” …Venus Singleton, 51, said she hoped that Mr. Augusto would not get into trouble over the shootings. …Paul J. Browne, chief spokesman for the Police Department, said that Mr. Augusto had not been arrested or charged. He was being treated like a witness and was still being questioned early Friday at the station house. …A law enforcement official said that the district attorney was considering a possible misdemeanor weapons charge against Mr. Augusto, indicating that he did not have a permit for the shotgun.

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John Fund explains in the Wall Street Journal that many politicians not only take vacations at our expense, but also line their pockets with taxpayer-provided per-diem allowance. The problem apparently has gotten worse since the Democrats took over, but this is a bipartisan problem. The longer people stay in Washington, the more corrupted they become:

The total cost for congressional overseas travel is never made public because the price tag for State Department advance teams and military planes used by lawmakers are folded into much larger budgets. Members of Congress must only report the total per diem reimbursements they receive in cash for hotels, meals and local transport. They don’t have to itemize expenses—a convenient arrangement since most costs are covered by the government or local hosts. Some trips subtract some hotel and meal costs from the per diems, others do not. “The policy is completely inconsistent,” one House member told me. Total per diem allowances (per person, including staff) can top $3,000 for a single trip. Unused funds are supposed to be given back to the government, but congressional records show that rarely happens. …The House’s official handbook requires that lawmakers use regular U.S. airlines “whenever possible, unless such service is not reasonably available.” But congressional records show members routinely take military planes to London, Paris and other well-served locales. Members can fly for free with their spouses on military aircraft.

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