Former Asheville firefighter gets 4 months for shooting cyclist

Former Asheville firefighter gets 4 months for shooting cyclist-attachment0

Former Asheville firefighter Charles Alexander Diez will spend four months in prison for shooting cyclist Alan Simons in July. Diez plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill yesterday.

On July 26, Simons was riding with his family on Tunnel Road. According to Asheville police, Diez had stopped to argue with Simons, saying that the child seat the cyclist’s 3-year-old son was riding in was unsafe. As Simons began walking away, Diez fired his handgun, the .38-caliber bullet tearing through the back of Simons’ bike helmet, less than an inch from his head. Diez has no prior criminal record and was sober at the time. While he was originally suspended with pay at the time of the incident, on Aug. 10 he ended employment with the Asheville Fire Department.

While Diez was originally charged with attempted first-degree murder, a grand jury refused to press those charges, instead indicting him on the felony assault charge.

Convictions on such a charge result in an average 20-39 months in prison for the defendant. But in the sentencing, Superior Court Judge James Downs found that Diez’s military service, along with testimony from former colleagues about his good character, were mitigating factors, and chose to sentence him to 15-27 months instead. Downs suspended all but four months of that sentence unless Diez breaks the law again in the next 30 months. As part of his sentence, Diez is required to attend anger-management training and pay $1,200 to cover Simons’ medical costs for damage to his eardrum.

The case has caused controversy, especially in the cycling community, over what some perceive as the overly lenient treatment Diez has received. After the attempted murder charge was dropped in August, cyclists protested the decision and called for better conditions.

—David Forbes, staff writer

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156 thoughts on “Former Asheville firefighter gets 4 months for shooting cyclist

  1. Dionysis

    What a travesty this truly is; military service and attaboys from his pals are “mitigating factors.” This loon tried to murder a man in front of his family (although the gunner claimed it was a “warning shot”), and he ends up serving four months and taking “anger-mangagement training.”

    Maybe the whacko who shot up Ft. Hood, killing 13 people, will experience a lighter sentence due to his military service.

  2. jeff turner

    dionysis…my step-dad, jim trent died here in asheville some 35 years ago,,he died from a result of his duty as an asheville fireman,he saved lives and worked as a team member with the rest of his co-workers…this man in this article smears the departments excellent history,and in no way represents the asheville fire department, nor its other fine members,
    the asheville firefighters were there for us when dad passed away,it was christmas time ,actually around this time of year,the firefighters bought us coats and other items that year,and made sure we all,5 children had christmas,plenty of food,clothes,and every little thing we needed,it really helped my mother who was devasted from the entire train of events..a widow with 5 children at thanksgiving and christmas..one can only imagine what things would have been like without theyre help.i remember some of the closer team members and shall never forget them,they were the only dads my sister and 3 brothers had for a while,this and more ,is the fire department i remember ,not ones who try and make their point by shooting byciclist..i am jeff turner,i said it ,

  3. 9-volt

    Wow. Unbeliveable. Any lawyers out there know what a typical sentence would be for this type of conviction? The article says 20-39 months, is that accurate and how do you get from that figure to 4 months?

    I value his military and fire fighting service, but should that equate to a different set of standards when it comes to gun violence?

  4. Bigdeal

    why are these bicycle people always blocking the road and why don’t they wear clothes that fit ? they are obscene and a nuisance on the highways

  5. Brian Scott Jones

    deer season is cancelled…..
    open season on bicyclists
    the fault now lies with the prosecuting attorney and Judge (up in 2014 for reelection)
    who would “create” such a plea arrangement.

    what if a cyclist shot a fireman?

  6. Betty:

    Structured Sentencing takes away most of the discretion of judges in passing sentences for crimes.

    If the person being sentenced can jump through certain hoops and provide evidence that he/she meets certain mitigating factors that act to reduce the sentence. Vice versa for the prosecution if they can provide aggravating factors that can act to increase the sentence.

    The Grand Jury acts as a check to the power of prosecutors. They can refuse charges they feel are arbitrary and unfair. That happened in this case. The prosecutor (perhaps bowing to an angry mob) over reached what the members of the Grand Jury were comfortable with, and they performed their duty.

    Now, when they decided that the appropriate charge was “assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill”, then the judge was required by law to give a sentence that was in accordance to NC General Statute. There is an online guide to Structured Sentencing at http://www.nccourts.org/Courts/CRS/Councils/spac/Publication/Training/Current.asp

    According to the structured sentencing guidelines, the sentence is determined by a points system that determine on what level the criminal will be sentenced.

    There are three sentence ranges that can be handed out, Aggravated, Presumptive and Mitigated.

    If the prosecution can prove that the commission of the crime has aggravating characteristics above and beyond the norm, then a heavier sentence range is applied…but no more.

    If the defense can prove that the commission of the crime has mitigating characteristics, then the lighter sentence range is applied, and no more.

    If neither can prove their case, or they cancel out, and the presumptive sentence range is applied.

    A helpful article on the Fair Sentencing Act of 1993 can be found at http://www.common-sense.org/?fnoc=/common_sense_says/03_april

  7. Austin

    Charles Diez is a f&%%ing COWARD!
    The band 3-11 summed it up nicely. “Guns are for pussies”. I would amend that to say handguns are for pussies. Sorry TP, I know you’re not going to like that, but no number of thwarted break ins will make me change my view. Charles Diez is a coward as are all people who think they need handguns (except cops).

  8. vinzawi

    Truly unbelievable. This it what happens when the Dems run the city. I hope Diez leaves the city and never finds work again. I wouldn’t let him clean shit out of my golf cleats.

  9. Piffy!

    Of course travelha and dunderpig want to make this about teh libruls.

    [b]Structured Sentencing takes away most of the discretion of judges in passing sentences for crimes. [/b]

    It was the Judge who CHOSE to reduce his sentence from 15-27 months to 4 months. That had nothing to do with “Structured Sentencing”.

  10. Piffy!

    The real lesson here is Public Service officials are above the law.

    An off-duty firefighter can shoot a man in the head in front of his family (while his back was turned) and get a slap on the wrist. Effing pitiful.

  11. ¤:

    Anyone can if they’ve never been in trouble before. We all get at least one shot at being stupid. More if we hire a good lawyer. :-p

    It’s a good thing we are a nation of laws instead of mob rule of total democracy.

  12. Betty Cloer Wallace

    TP: “It’s a good thing we are a nation of laws instead of mob rule of total democracy.”

    Explain, please.

  13. Betty:

    If we were under mob rule, the perp would have not been protected by the members of the Grand Jury from the prosecutor, who was being egged on by the crowd, who wanted blood.

    The perp was protected from the mob by Structured Sentencing, which dictated the maximum amount of time he could have sentenced to.

    If his sentence had been democratically decided, he would likely have spent decades behind bars, if the outraged cries of the libs on Mtn X is representative of the Asheville Lynch Mob Scene.

    .

  14. Rev. D.O. Smith

    Once more racial prejudice has raised it’s ugle head in the southern court systems. Where the good old boys still have control in the court systems. If this would have been a person of color the book would have been thrown at them.
    How is it in 2009 almost 2010 that this kink of unfair treatment still exsist in these days and time, how long will we just sit back and let them get away with this. It time for a change! How can We The People of this great nation have confordence in our courts, when a man can get away with First Degree Attempted Murder, with a slap on the wrist and 4 month in jail where this type of crime should have carry 3 to 5 years in my book. Open your eyes to see if it was not for God, a man’s life would have been taken.

  15. Piffy!

    Betty,

    TP’s point is one common among the so-called Libertarian bent of which he is a known member.

    You see, “Democracy” is now a dirty word because it means common people who have opinions possibly contrary to yours voting in a large bloc.

    It is this ‘mod rule’ which frightens them, and this is just TP’s way of injecting these code-words into a conversation about a ‘public servant’ who just got a slap on the wrist for attempted nearly shooting a man in the head in front of his family

    Thunderpig: again, you said: [b]Structured Sentencing takes away most of the discretion of judges in passing sentences for crimes.[/b]

    When really, it was the Judge who CHOSE to reduce his sentence from 15-27 months to 4 months based on his own judgment. That had nothing to do with “Structured Sentencing” or your evil nemesis teh ‘liberals’.

    So, you are just babbling on about your own unrelated political agenda regardless of how it applies to this particular case of a guy getting a slap on the wrist for nearly shooting a man in the head.

  16. David Calloway

    This must be a good day for a Fireman. We as a Fireman can carry a gun and when we see a danger, we can just shot them !!!!! WOW WOW

  17. amy

    This whole situation angers me to no end. This lunatic risked the life of the cyclist and the child that was with him because he felt the cyclist was risking the child’s life by having him on a busy road. So he shoots him in the head. What kind of logic is this? Good thing the helmet was as thick as it was. What if the bullet hadn’t lodged in the helmet? What if it had ricocheted and hit the child?

    I also don’t understand only paying $1200 for the hearing issue. What about the therapy that may be necessary because the child saw his father get shot in the head? Or the father for PTSD? Maybe the victim should consider a civil lawsuit.

    The article clearly states that Diez pled guilty to “assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.” The key words there are INTENT TO KILL. I don’t care that he was in the military or put out fires. Out of the blue he decides he is going to try to kill someone! What makes a sane judge believe this won’t happen again? Anger management classes? Gimme a break!

    We need to keep this in mind when elections roll around again.

  18. ¤:

    I posted the links to the training manual for what judges can and cannot do when sentencing criminals. I can lead you to the water, but cannot make you drink.

    If the judge did anything wrong, then he (or she) would be subject to sanctions and penalties for violating the the law. Venting like yours belong more properly at a bar…where your listeners have had their brain-pans properly lubricated by alcohol to increase the stature of your words.

    My injection of “code-words” is so people will be able to identify more precisely what I am saying, and where I am coming from rather than leave them confused. It’s called communication. Try it sometime.

    I am a known member of the “so-called Libertarian bent”? I’d wager Bernard Carmen, Tim Peck and Carl Milsted would laugh in your face regarding that little fantasy. I’ll also wager you never read my blog, where I’ve mocked and disparaged the Paulerhoids and their ‘ideological messiah’ for years.

    If you wish to toss ideological epithets around, I’d suggest you toss an accurate one, either conservative or NeoCon will do, both accurately reflect the majority of my thinking, the former more so than the latter due to my social conservatism.

    The majority of ‘libertarian thinkers’ (if there is such a thing…LOL) are closet lefties themselves. Seriously, though libertarianism is a very broad brush, managing to simultaneously identify BOTH those who are in favor of and against the idea of private property (like Noam Chomsky). No wonder these people can never get enough people together to form a political party that is worth the effort to write the name.

  19. Betty Cloer Wallace

    According to the David Forbes article, which I assume is accurate and which seems pretty straightforward as to the facts:

    “Convictions on such a charge result in an average 20-39 months in prison for the defendant. But in the sentencing, Superior Court Judge James Downs found that Diez’s military service, along with testimony from former colleagues about his good character, were mitigating factors, and chose to sentence him to 15-27 months instead. Downs suspended all but four months of that sentence unless Diez breaks the law again in the next 30 months. As part of his sentence, Diez is required to attend anger-management training and pay $1,200 to cover Simons’ medical costs for damage to his eardrum.”>/b>

    As for the judge’s discretionary rationale and ruling:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice in Wonderland, “whether you can make words mean different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master–that’s all….. Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

    “‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.”

    (Lewis Carroll)

  20. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Let me try that again…

    According to the David Forbes article, which I assume is accurate and which seems pretty straightforward as to the facts:

    “Convictions on such a charge result in an average 20-39 months in prison for the defendant. But in the sentencing, Superior Court Judge James Downs found that Diez’s military service, along with testimony from former colleagues about his good character, were mitigating factors, and chose to sentence him to 15-27 months instead. Downs suspended all but four months of that sentence unless Diez breaks the law again in the next 30 months. As part of his sentence, Diez is required to attend anger-management training and pay $1,200 to cover Simons’ medical costs for damage to his eardrum.”

    As for the judge’s (quite curious) discretionary rationale and ruling:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice in Wonderland, “whether you can make words mean different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
    “Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

    “‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.”

    (Lewis Carroll)

  21. 9-volt

    I man got shot in the back of his head for riding a bike and it is the fault of all liberals and the democrats on city’s council…? Or it’s the fault of the liberals who created structured sentencing…?

    The neo cons want to bait and switch this into the usual partisan bullsh*t conversation of passing the blame.

    Folks, the lesson here is that gun violence is literally killing our society. I am severely disturbed that this horrifying example of that is not clear to both sides of the political/social aisle.

    .

  22. amy

    My point is in regards to this:

    “Convictions on such a charge result in an average 20-39 months in prison for the defendant. But in the sentencing, Superior Court Judge James Downs found that Diez’s military service, along with testimony from former colleagues about his good character, were mitigating factors, and chose to sentence him to 15-27 months instead. Downs suspended all but four months of that sentence unless Diez breaks the law again in the next 30 months.”

    The average charge for something like this is 20-39 months. For Diez to get 15-27 and only have to serve 4 months because of “mitigating factors” does not seem right. Does that give all ex-military people the right to bring out a gun when they don’t like something? All civil servants the same right? Just because you have previously done something good does not mean that your actions did not warrant real punishment.

    Thunder Pig, if you feel the need to make ridiculous statements about where my comments should or shouldn’t go, that’s up to you. That only makes you appear to be a pompous ass who refuses to listen to anyone else’s views or concerns. That’s not the way things work in this country. But if you do want to hear only your information, go sit in a room by yourself and talk to yourself.

  23. Betty Cloer Wallace

    I find this whole thing nonsensical on many levels. It’s really a stretch to blame anyone of any stripe beyond the two individual culprits—the shooter and the judge who let him off.

    It wasn’t the fault of cyclists, the court system, liberals, neo cons, structured sentencing, racial prejudice, or gun violence in general.

    We are, as a society, though, becoming increasingly hostile. Incivility is rampant, and ethics and manners and common sense and civil debate are losing ground.

    Whatever happened to individual responsibility?

  24. travelah

    9-volt, I don’t if any
    neocons” have entered the discussion or not but are you generally opposed to mitigated sentencing? That is what this fellow received, a sentence mitigated by various social factors. This has been the hallmark cry of liberals for decades. Perhaps this mitigation is only considered for targeted social and ethnic groups?

  25. travelah

    Gun violence is not killing our society any more than knife viollence or baseball bat violence. Immorality is killing society and that is the root cause of pulling the trigger, thrusting the knife or swinging the bat OR standing by passively while immorality is promoted.

  26. 9-volt

    Travelah – No I’m not opposed to mitigated sentencing as a concept, there are many factors that can affect a “just punishment”. However, the degree of sentence reduction for violent crimes, especially involving guns, does not seem to be appropriate in this case.

    I blame the Judge for deciding to reduce the sentence to such a far degree, not the judicial tool that allows for shades of grey in sentencing.

  27. travelah

    Well, I believe a four month stay in the local lockup is inappropriate for anybody who tries to shoot somebody in the head in front of their child. The man is a complete creep-moron. However understand that this kind of sentencing is the result of liberal activism in court sentencing guidelines. I do not know of a single conservative who supports these kinds of sentencing allowances that allow a creep such as this to basically get away with it.

    To be fair, minimum sentencing guidelines also have need for much improvement. Perhaps the distinction for determining mitigation and applying minimum standards is the line between violent and civil offenses.

  28. 9-volt

    Travelah – I agree, that there is obviously room for improvement in the nuances of judicial sentencing, however, you are playing the partisan blame game. I also don’t know any “liberal activist” that supports these kinds of sentencing allowances that allow a creep such as this to basically get away with it.

    Regardless of mitigating factors, it was ultimately up to the Judge who determined the specific sentencing of 4 months – this amount of time was not dictated by “liberal activists” it was dictated by the judge’s opinion.

  29. travelah

    How did this judge come to have the ability to basically allow the guilty party to be sentenced so leniently?
    As for the blame game, I am actually seeing the irony of liberal elements up in arms about this sentencing while following for years the liberal sentiments concerning criminal sentencing and defendant rights. One of the first things I noted in this matter was a viewpoint of the “him against us” mentality rather than viewing it for what it was, a criminal act by one man against another. There were people calling for first degree attempted murder charges against the man even though there is no such crime in NC and the circumstances of the crime would never support such a charge. People were calling for the man to do long time. I think he should be doing more time in prison for what he did but I don’t think he should have been locked away for decades.
    What do you suppose the reaction would be if a protester shot a city policeman during an unrest? Do you think the MX would be swamped with letters and discussion comments calling for the protester to be locked away for life or decades? I suspect you might see that only if the offender was a right-wing protester affiliated with some fringe element. On the other hand, I believe the apologists would come to the aid of the violent leftist. I take the conservative position in these matters … that of consistent sentencing regardless of the sentiments of those offended.

  30. 9-volt

    Travelah, I simply don’t share your sentiment that we should live in a black and white world. Shades of grey are a reality, and pretending that all things are cut and dry, particularly in determining just punishment, seems naive.

    The Judge screwed up – and turning that into a dogmatic platform for bashing liberals is counter productive. Your divisive mentality is what has polarized and paralyzed America to the point where we shoot each other in the head for riding a bike.

  31. Alan Simons

    Rest Assured folks this is not the end!I have met too many people and those people go nationwide,I am working on it,Thanks to the witnesses that saw what truley happened that day.,I was not aware that you could lie under OATH MR.DIEZ but dont you worry we will meet in court again…

  32. brebro

    So it’s NOT true that all protesters and cyclists are liberals and all police and firemen are conservatives?

  33. travelah

    1. I have not advocated we should live in a black and white world.
    2. Shades of grey are indeed the dull drab realities of liberal preference.
    3. Some things are cut and dried and others are more complex.

    and here is the really idiotic conclusion of a tuckfarded mentality.

    I am responsible for the firefighter shooting at the cyclist’s head.

  34. 9-volt

    Travelah – of course you are not responsible, I should not have implied that. However, it seems that every issue or event in modern American times ends up as a bitter clash of liberal vs. conservative and we are continually pushing each other to the extremes.

    This was a frightening incident and I take particular offense when the controversy is somehow twisted into yet another liberal vs. conservative dogmatic pissing contest.

  35. travelah

    9-volt, I was going to write the discussion board equivalent of a thesis on this matter but I don’t feel the urge now. I think it is sufficient to state we live in a completely fractured society, one where many locals feel their community has been usurped by intruders with foreign attitudes, cultural incompatibility and a callous disregard for regional traditions and expecations. I do not believe it is going to get any better.

  36. 9-volt

    Oh, you kooky conservatives and your cowbells! Here’s to better communication and less attempted murder.

  37. I posted the links to the materials. I cannot force you to read it.

    If the judge acted in any way that is contrary to law…I dare any of you to do something about it. You can’t because the judge acted completely in accordance to the law.

    This is all about Lefties acting as a mob to “lynch” someone that committed a crime against one of their own.

    I thank God we are a nation of laws, and that their are safeguards in place to protect people from the court of public opinion (both left and right)…even to err on the side of a criminal.

    In a similar fashion, the system protects criminals from those of us on the right who feel a certain criminal deserves the death penalty.

    In North Carolina, nothing becomes law without the tacit approval of the Democrats, who have run the NC General Assembly for most of the time for over a hundred years. Whether you (or I) like it or not, that is the way things have been done in North Carolina.

  38. Oh, the punishment grid passed by the NC General Assembly for crimes committed

    after 12-01-1995
    http://www.nccourts.org/Courts/CRS/Councils/spac/Documents/felonychart_12_01_95maxchart.pdf

    after 12-01-2009
    http://www.nccourts.org/Courts/CRS/Councils/spac/Documents/felonychart_12_01_09min_max_sentences.pdf

    Also N.C.G.S. for crimes and Criminal Procedure are covered in Chapters 14 and 15 on the following web page
    http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl

    Unless someone goes to the court house and obtains the court documents on this case, I can’t be more specific about what precise NC General Statutes the guy was charged under, and points he was awarded in the pre-sentencing phase.

  39. 9-volt

    pig – i read the links. According to that resource, the shooter should have gotten a MINIMUM of 44-58 months. This assumes a Class C felony and Type I prior record level. How the judge got to 4 months from there is beyond me.

  40. It is all in the details. The charges are very specific and list the General Statute the perp is charged under. I’ve seen none listed on this website. I see abt a dozen that fit, ranging from 6 months up to 240 months depending on the points awarded according to past criminal activity or past social service.

    Remember how conservatives were up in arms a few years ago over Andrew Reed getting very light sentence for crimes involving minors? That was also in accord with the law…no matter much I hated it.

    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53070

    You win some, you lose some.

    If either of these two get arrested and convicted for similar crimes…the punishment they get will be greater than before.

    If you wish criminals to be sentenced to more time in prison, I suggest that you vote for a Republican next time around. LOL

    .

  41. Spanker McJohnson

    It looks to me that the judge was right in line with the structured sentencing tables.

    Assault with a deadly weapon, with intent to kill but without inflicting serious bodily injury is a Class E felony. With no priors, restitution, strong employment history, personal references, prior military service and similar attributes it is unsurprising he was sentenced under the mitigated provisions.

    That level allows for intermediate/active punishment of as little as 15 months such as the split prison time and probation he received. There is nothing surprising or unusual about the sentence under the sentencing requirements.

  42. JT

    Vote for a Republican next time around?

    No thanks, we’ve seen what happens to the country when we do that. We’re still trying to recover from the damage.

    Putting a criminal into a position of power hardly seems worth longer sentences for criminals.

  43. FYI

    An interesting history (Prepared in Nov 2000)of structured sentencing in North Carolina is included in this pdf download:

    http://is.gd/51yx0

    And a bonus near the end is a list of the original commission members and how they classified felony and misdemeanor crimes.

    It should provide some background into how the current system came to be.

  44. Rev. D.O.Smith

    People it’s not about the Demo. or Repl. it about what right and what’s wrong, and ifyou don’t open your eyes to the problem tat is looking you in the facem then it’ like my mother and father said
    “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything” and right now we’re falling because you know as well as I do, this is where friends of the same city system came together and said “we know him and his family and that’s the bottom line. Until we have a fair system in the court or any one of our government offices, Now let just said ” If our Presadent just up and said all white people or spanish people will get double the time as Blacks how would you act, outradged just as I am. Look at the big picture not just the office they hold, the fireman was sick and should not have a gun in the first place, and almost killing someone who was riding away, come on people, he should have got 3 to 5 with some kind of mental help.

  45. djchambe

    Charges should have been attempted murder. Then such a light sentence. Typical Asheville – slap on the wrist for government employee.

  46. travelah

    Typical Asheville – slap on the wrist for government employee.

    hmmm City Council CAN get away with murder afterall.

  47. David

    Is there not a separate crime on the books for shooting a car out of a moving vehicle?

    Help! We have a very psychotic firefighter around here with a gun and he got away with attempted murder.

  48. travelah

    It is probably covered by the same laws that don’t let you drop old VW beetles off the roof of 12 story buildings anymore.

  49. bikeman

    This isn’t over. Civil court may make this a little tougher for Diez. No worries about him ever becoming a firefighter anywhere, they don’t hire convicted felons. Also, Diez better get rid of any guns he may own, as felons are not allowed to own firearms of any kind.
    This is not about cyclist or firefighters. It is about one man thinking he has the power of judge and jury. He just happened to be a firefighter.

  50. JT:

    Please follow some of the links posted. The elected officials responsible for Structured Sentencing were elected at the STATE LEVEL, not the Federal level. The admonition to vote for Republicans at the state level stands…unless you can find some law and order Dems that the progressives haven’t pushed out yet.

    djchambe:

    Good grief. Did you even read the article?

    What part of “While Diez was originally charged with attempted first-degree murder, a grand jury refused to press those charges, instead indicting him on the felony assault charge.” didn’t you understand?

    The grand jury recognized that the prosecutor over charged for the crime, and indicted him on a lesser charge.

  51. JT

    I am not defending structured sentencing. I think it’s a terrible idea. But I also think voting Republican is a worse idea, so I’ll choose SS any day of the week. I’m sure there are some good Republicans out there somewhere, but its hard for a decent person to vote republican when it means aligning yourself with the likes of Hannity, Beck, etc.

    Also, claiming a prosecutor “overcharged” with the attempted murder charge is rubbish. If I shoot into someone’s head, that it attempted murder. If the guy hadn’t been wearing a helmet, it probably would have been murder, so how does his choice to wear a helmet somehow reduce the charges?

  52. travelah

    Yes, vote Republican … we don’t need most of the gun laws we already have and if the Democrats remain in power much longer there won’t be money left to fix potholes not to speak of building bike lanes.

  53. cwaster

    Amazing. Apparently if you are an Asheville firefighter you can shoot an unarmed man in the head when his back is turned at close range and you don’t get the same punishment any of the rest of us would get. I guarantee you had this been anyone else (i.e. not a government servant) they would have gotten the book thrown at them.

  54. entopticon

    Hilariously, traveliar said: “I think it is sufficient to state we live in a completely fractured society, one where many locals feel their community has been usurped by intruders with foreign attitudes, cultural incompatibility and a callous disregard for regional traditions and expecations.”

    Yep, makes me think of a particular right-wing extremist fundamentalist wackjob from Maine that moved to the most liberal city in the Southeastern US. Instead of adapting to the local culture, he trolls around the liberal weekly’s website all day long, posting his right-wing extremist fundamentalist blather, even though the community’s liberal weekly in no way, shape, or form reflects his complete “cultural incompatibility.” The community’s liberal weekly has nothing except for liberal cartoons that make fun of people like him, and the vast majority of the articles speak against people like him, and the cultural listings are the usual liberal events, and the liberal weekly only publishes Rob Brezny’s astrology, like every other liberal weekly, not evangelical affirmations, but that outsider from Maine keeps trolling here all day long with his callous disregard for the tradition of liberalism in the MX Asheville community.

    Yes traveliar, that person is you. Too frickin’ funny. At least you have moved on from blaming the bicyclist because of “bicycle activists” to blaming liberals for structured sentencing, which all but two Republicans voted for, and Democrats tried to abolish, but of course there’s no need for facts in the alternate reality of traveliar-world.

  55. Clocky

    It is true that, as stated above, “In North Carolina, nothing becomes law without the tacit approval of the Democrats, who have run the NC General Assembly for most of the time for over a hundred years.”

    However, the vast majority of those Democrats are not leftists. They are conservative and moderate Democrats, primarily Protestant churchgoing social conservatives.

    Don’t even make the suggestion that leftists have been passing laws in the State of North Carolina, because that just isn’t so.

  56. Alan

    That grand jury was clearly messed up. Did it only require a majority to charge or unanimity, because if the latter, than it only took one gas-hog redneck yahoo to derail it, in which case one progressive could derail all manner of modern Robin Hoods; or else they didn’t understand the sentencing consequences of their actions.
    Remember that juries are Buncombites, not Ashevillians. I guess the all gas-hog jury is replacing the old southern staple all white jury.
    I have been registered to vote in Buncombe for 11 years and have never been called for a jury, which makes me wonder if they are really randomly selected? or if the clerk of courts is picking out gas-hogs?
    Remember this next time that judge comes up for election. Which judge was it?

  57. @pfff:

    It was the Grand Jury’s call, as in all cases that go before them to accept the charges put forth by the prosecutor, or to indict on lesser charges, or even to refuse to indict the suspect. Judges and prosecutors get very mad if you tell the other jurists that they have this option. I make it a point to share that with every jury I’ve served on. No matter what the judge or prosecutor says, the jury has the absolute right to deny charges.

    It is a check put into our system of law to protect the citizens from over zealous prosecutors.

    Grand Juries operate under a majority. The jury pool in North Carolina is taken from a list of registered voters and licensed drivers.

  58. 9-volt

    On the NC juries I have served on, including felony charges, the jury determined guilty/not guilty/ etc. but the judge determined sentencing. We also needed unanimity in our cases.

    We were told this is because the judge has a better judgement of the severity of a crime and therefore just punishment than a jury, which has little or no legal expertise. Jurors tend to have more emotional/personal reactions to various factors of a case and therefore are not appropriate for sentencing.

    Is there a trial lawyer in the forum that can clarify the situation for this case?

  59. Trail juries are unanimous or not at all in their decisions. I thought I had made it clear that Grand Juries are not. I have served on both kinds, and judges will lie to the juries and try to limit their actions.

    Any judge that tells a jury they cannot refuse charges is lying. Juries can determine sentencing by refusing to find guilt on the excessive charges. It is called Jury Nullification.

    Check out the Fully informed Jury Association at http://fija.org/

    Of the 5 judges I have served with, 4 of them tried to overstep their bounds with the jury with instructions that were not applicable, and the federal judges are the worst of the lot.

    One way juries can correct unjust laws is to simply refuse to convict. I’m surprised that this hasn’t been tried with the War on Drugs.

  60. Southern B

    Oh yeah those guys think they are the police what team work between the police and the fire department they like to stalk their prey too.

  61. pfff

    thunder-

    the fact remains that it was the judge who gave him 4 months, not the jury, as you and others seem determined to imply.

  62. James

    “Gun violence is not killing our society any more than knife viollence or baseball bat violence.”

    I would rather a bad guy have a bat or a knife instead of a gun.

  63. southern B

    okay thunder and James then, is intent to kill legal in Asheville Now? Or maybe the judge was his cuz’n, because he could not have a jury it would only be a family reunion cover dish included. Gee weez, maybe I can get into argument with a former neighbor for only $1,200 better then a hit man.no, James the gun worked,

  64. southern B

    hey 9 volt your thinking needs to be re-charged, how about less killings and more bikes on the road. right winger swinger, you seem to do a lot of jury duty where were you, oh yeah family member? yeah you are loud and clear in you opinion sure you argee with your self. You know your beside, next, above, below and inside your self you full of S—-. No a lawyer can answer your question they would only get shot.

  65. Cindy

    You have GOT to be ******** KIDDING me!!
    GOOD CHARACTER?? No one of good character carries–let alone POINTS–a gun at someone.

    That it’s OK in Asheville to shoot (at) someone, wink-wink, who rides a bike speaks volumes about Asheville. Does it also speak about North Carolinians? What say you?

    Or will you run this murderous animal out of town with the judge to be sure they get the message that neither this behavior nor condoning it is acceptable?

  66. entopticon

    The saddest part is, that 3 year old boy will forever have to live with the sight of his father getting shot in the head right in front of him. That is the type of thing that changes a child forever.

    James Downs should be ashamed of himself.

  67. David

    “Gun violence is not killing our society any more than knife viollence or baseball bat violence.”

    “I would rather a bad guy have a bat or a knife instead of a gun.”

    You are operating under the false impression that gun laws restrict criminals – they do not, instead they only restrict the law-abiding. When that criminal with a gun breaks into your house and threatens your life or those of your family, would you rather have a gun or a bat to defend yourself with? People with the idea that only our gov’t and cops should have guns would have us give up the one right we have that can protect all the others.

  68. southern B

    hey good point, really good character ?” Oh mr. firefighter were you protecting me by shooting my dad in front of my little eyes,with intent to kill and leave me fatherless oh Mr. community leader? Who lives are you going to save because it like your the one that needs to be saved.

  69. travelah

    The man has been sentenced and the case is over.

    Cindy, would you let everybody know when you go to run the guy and the judge out of town? I would like pictures, please. What say you?

  70. @pfff:

    Are you even slightly cognizant of the fact that the GRAND JURY, regarding the attempted first-degree murder charge, “refused to press those charges, instead indicting him on the felony assault charge.” If they had not refused the greater charges…the judge wouldn’t even have been able to consider 4 months. He would have had to give the shooter at least a few years. The lesser charge gave him greater leeway in sentencing. What part of that progression don’t you understand? (I’m channeling G’Kar of Babylon 5 for that one)

    —-

    @Cindy, @southern B at al:

    In case you haven’t noticed…it is not okay to shoot at someone in Asheville.

    The guy DID NOT get away with it.

    He will be incarcerated, serve probation and have a felony conviction on his record. It will be hard for him to find employment and provide for his family for several years, until he can have it expunged from his record (provided he keeps his nose clean and doesn’t shoot anymore bicyclists) in a decade or so.

    It is very unlikely that he will be able to serve as a firefighter again. That will probably hurt him worse than any other punishment he could have been given.

    So, in answer to your question, he will pay for his crime for many years to come…perhaps even becoming a ward of the state himself, having to depend on some sort of government assistance for his daily bread.

    I’m betting that you forget all about this case by the time Judge Downs is up for election, and even if you do, you won’t be able to mount any sort of campaign that will hurt his chances. In fact, you just might assure his re-election.

    He comes up for re-election in 2014. His district is 30A and the people who will be eligible to vote for him live in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon and Swain. So this case will be a feather in his cap if you want to make a case out of it. LOL

    http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/html/trial_courts.htm

    Bicyclists out West of the Balsams aren’t as annoying as the ones in Asheville and respect other vehicle on the road.

    ———–

    @entopticon:

    I wasn’t aware that discharging a firearm in the presence of a 3 y/o was against the law. Please provide the General Statute for that. This I gotta see.

    —–

    I would suggest that if you really are interested in killing someone, at least carry a .45, aim and double tap if trouble comes knocking. None of this one off stuff and carrying toys.

  71. entopticon

    Congratulations pig, you have truly taken idiocy to a whole new level. No one said anything about statutes about discharging fire arms in the presence of a 3 year old. That is just some imbecilic tripe that you confabulated.

    What was said, is that a 3 year old having to witness his father being shot in the head right in front of him is something that could easily cause serious emotional problems that he may have to deal with for the rest of his life. The fact that the judge didn’t take that into account when considering that murderous cretin’s character is absolutely unconscionable. He should have been sentenced to the full extent that the law allows.

    For all intents and purposes, 4 months for shooting a man in the head right in front of his 3 year old son is getting away with it.

  72. travelah

    It is unlikely the three year old child will be traumatized by this. It is not even likely the child will remember much if any of it. Given that there was no carnage at all, a child that young, if he remembers it at all, might remember daddy being angry with another man.

    The man has been sentenced and the case is over.

  73. entopticon

    traveliar the statist fundamentalist, your delusions really do know no bounds. To say that there are serious risks of ongoing trauma related issues for a 3 year old child that watched his own father get shot in the head right in front of him is ignorant to the point of absurdity. As a matter of fact, as any legitimate child psychologist knows, children often have serious trauma related issues for the rest of their lives because of events that they don’t even remember offhand, such as molestation, or witnessing acts of violence. I truly feel sorry for your children.

    The US Supreme court decided that CO2 needs to be regulated as a dangerous pollutant that is responsible for global warming. That case is over. I am very glad to see that that was all that you needed to be done with it. Now you can stop spreading disinformation.

  74. Piffy!

    thunderpig, nice talking in circles. you should get a job with freedomworks.

    but your point is nonsense. you first claimed that ‘liberal’ policies caused the judge to give this guy only four months for a crime he easily could have gotten much, much more for. then you claim it was the jury. it was neither. the judge used his own discretion to give him 4 months for a crime any other person would have likely seen years for.

    Whats truly odd is what your point in trying your darndest to talk AROUND the fact that the judge gave him four months at his own discretion is.

    perhaps instead of paraphrasing fictional characters from a teevee show you have misinterpreted, perhaps you should review the above article and get your [i]cognizance[/i] up to a place of common sense.

    or, continue to argue an idiotic, easily refuted point. either way.

  75. Piffy!

    [i]It is very unlikely that he will be able to serve as a firefighter again. That will probably hurt him worse than any other punishment he could have been given.[/i]

    Yes. Having to serve a few years in prison for the crime he committed certainly would have been a simple endeavor. the poor guy, losing his job and not being able to support his family all because he broke the law and [i]shot at a man’s head for no logical reason, with the man’s back turned, like a little coward[/i]. Life is so unfair.

  76. Alan Ditmore

    It’s not over until the next judicial election for which if we have enough memory, we finally have an issue on which to base our judicial votes.

  77. travelah

    As soon as you stated “any legitimate child psychologist”, you removed yourself from discussion. What in ‘ha’el does the Supreme Court and CO2 have to do with this discussion??

  78. entopticon

    It is pretty frightening to know that you are actually raising children and now it appears that you think that psychology is yet another wing of the vast international liberal conspiracy that you are always whining about. If only you would actually get the help that you so clearly need.

    The man’s helmet happened to be on his head when he was shot. The fact that you can’t see that a 3 year old witnessing that happening is at serious risk of ongoing trauma issues seriously brings into question your fitness as a parent.

    My point about the CO2 was that it is hilariously ironic that you keep repeating that the case is over so it’s time to move on, even though the US Supreme Court case deciding that CO2 needs to be treated as a major pollutant because it is causing global warming is over, and you keep saying that CO2 is just dandy. I can’t say that I am surprised that the simple logic of that is completely over your head, as with virtually everything.

  79. travelah

    for your obsession with rabbit trails: SCOTUS ruled against the states in deciding the EPA had the right to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants. CO2 is just one of six gases that comprised the EPA makeup of “greenhouse gas”. The ruling was not a decision that determined CO2 itself is a pollutant…. man, you just get spanked hard every time you turn around.

    I made no comment on the status or aceptance of child psychologists. I merely made the very obvious observation that you don’t know anything about child psychology nor children for that matter or even what actually happened between the two men. The child did not witness anybody being shot in the head and it is highly unlikley the child will be traumatized by it ….

    Wake up … the man has ben tried and sentenced and the case is closed.

  80. entopticon

    I don’t know anything about psychology, even though you know perfectly well that I have published in at least one academic journal on the subject of cognitive neuroscience? I actually know quite a bit about child psychology. Your claim that it is very unlikely that a 3 year old would be traumatized by seeing his father shot in his bike helmet, which happened to be attached to his father’s head at the time, is almost as imbecilic as it ignorant.

    Next time you unchain your kids from the furnace in the basement for something other than speaking in tongues practice, put on a bicycle helmet and shoot at it while wearing it. See how much your kids like it. Oh, and don’t bother too much with aim.

    It really is kind of cute when a man who thinks that dinosaurs and evolution are liberal conspiracies tries to talk all grown up about science. The Supreme court ruled that if CO2 is found to be a danger to public health and welfare by climate scientists, it will be regulated as a pollutant. An overwhelming consensus of 97.5% of the leading climate scientists believe that the evidence is absolutely unimpeachable, so it is a done deal. Bush ignored the Supreme Court ruling, but the wheels are already in motion to set that straight.

    Now tell us all about your obsession with spanking men traveliar…. Is it a Larry Craig/Ted Haggard kind of thing? Do you spank yourself while pleasuring yourself to your Sean Hannity screen saver, or just while imagining Rush Limbaugh in a Speedo? Or do you just spank a male prostitute while smoking meth? We all know that is really big with you fundamentalist types these days.

  81. entopticon

    Don’t worry traveliar, I think very lowly of you, so it all balances out.

    Obnoxious to right-wing extremists, who spend all day trolling on the liberal weekly’s website, spouting about vast international liberal conspiracies on everything from global warming, to evolution, to Marxists taking over the government, I may be. But when it comes to being a moron, you are in a league of your own.

  82. entopticon

    Well whaddya you know.. we are finally in agreement, traveliar. You are indeed a “simple” conservative. That spends all his time trolling around the liberal weekly’s website spouting wackjob right-wing extremist conspiracy theories.

  83. cwaster

    Only one reason to shoot someone in the head- or at all, for that matter. You intend to kill them. No other reason exists.

  84. Anasazi

    As a therapist who has been entrusted with the care of severe and violent child abuse cases for 20 years I am quite disturbed and appalled by the comments of Travelah. It is that entropic and narrow minded assessment of trauma response that permits our culture to remain inurred to and permitting of that very horror. I am less offended by the actions of the offender than by the righteous innnacuracy and inconsideration of empathy presented by this individual who professes to be a moral compass. Travelah represents the reason why this violence and abuse exists and is the overt and passive permission for its’ existence. As Entopticon stated “It is pretty frightening to know that you are actually raising children and now it appears that you think that psychology is yet another wing of the vast international liberal conspiracy that you are always whining about.” I can say with ease as an expert in PTSD and trauma response that this child will face horrific harm at every developmental milestone he faces in the memory of witnessing his father being shot. The harm will be far more irreparable if this memory is repressed. The harm he will face in his life will be completely compromised if he is left in a world ruled by the inane brutally insensitive and idiotic framework that is professed by Travelah to be the truth. Travelah and his ilk are more dangerous than the finger on the trigger of the gun that was fired at the skull of this man in front of his three year old child.

  85. entopticon

    Thanks Anasazi, well said.

    And traveliar, so much for your completely asinine, ignorant contentions. As I said in the first place, your repeated contention that the 3 year old child is unlikely to be traumatized by seeing his own father get shot right in front of him, is unconscionably ignorant (in other words, par for the course for you). I am glad to see you embarrassed by the facts, yet again.

  86. travelah

    Anasazi, perhaps you would share all yhour wonderful memories you have when you were running around as a three year old. I suspect you are nothing more thn just another nanny minded enemy of parents.

  87. travelah

    How about everybody else? Let’s hear all about your three year old experinces .. in detail … somebody come on in with something horrific burned into their memory at age three ….

  88. travelah

    Then tell us how a three year old being present when daddy had an altercation with another man is going to traumatize him for life? Ha’el, the child doesn’t have any idea what happened. He saw no carnage, no blood, no guts … nothing at all other than a couple angry men.

    …. sheer crackpot liberalism.

  89. travelah

    cw, most crimes of passion are just that … the intention was not there at the start which is why we have various mitigations of accountability for harming or killing someone. Now, if you want to advocate the same punishment for all similar actions regardless of the degree of premeditation or intent, then by all means make a case for it and have everybody treated equally under such a law.

  90. Alan Ditmore

    I recieved an E-mail with a particularly good and relevent post refuting gun control, which is not her so it appears to have been deleted, since it is so good I will copy it back in with my kudos and ditto.

    ‘“Gun violence is not killing our society any more than knife viollence or
    baseball bat violence.”

    “I would rather a bad guy have a bat or a knife instead of a gun.”

    You are operating under the false impression that gun laws restrict
    criminals – they do not, instead they only restrict the law-abiding. When
    that criminal with a gun breaks into your house and threatens your life or
    those of your family, would you rather have a gun or a bat to defend
    yourself with? People with the idea that only our gov’t and cops should have
    guns would have us give up the one right we have that can protect all the
    others.’

  91. entopticon

    Jeez traveliar, you really do have no frickin’ shame. You were just smacked down by a 20 year veteran of dealing with traumatized children, and that is your response?!? What the hell is wrong with you?

    You really do have absolutely no integrity whatsoever. After you get a relevant grad school degree, and spend a couple decades specializing in work with traumatized children, you can start making such imbecilic assertions if you still want to, but until then, it is unconscionably idiotic for you to make such asinine, ignorant aspersions.

    Anasazi is the “enemy of parents” even though you are the one arguing that it’s not traumatic for a 3 year old to watch his parent get shot right in front of him?!? And even though Anasazi is a 20 year veteran of working with traumatized children?!? The idiocy of that is beyond words.

    If you had even a miniscule drop of integrity in you, you would simply admit that an extremely qualified expert just completely smacked you down with the facts, and move on. Clearly, you don’t. Thankfully, it is extremely rare to encounter someone as completely characterless as you.

  92. Anasazi

    Martin Luther King stated that our struggle will be less remembered for the evil done, but rather more for the apathy of those who knew what was right and did nothing.

    One of the best ways to guarantee that violence will continue in our culture is to dissociate from the profound impact it has on the victims. I feel tremendous sadness for the postings of Travelah.

    The bizarre rigidity and incapacity for empathy that appears so obvious in his ignorance of the impact on a three year old child having witnessed his father being shot is the reason that our culture would see fit to permit the perpetrator of that violence to serve only four months for a crime that will haunt his victims in perpetuity.

    It is established clinical fact scientifically provable and observable that the impact of trauma on a three year old child can be far more crippling than on an older child developmentally equipped to process traumatic loss. I would equally argue shotting a man in the head in front of his son is demonstrably and obviously a traumatic event for both father and son.

  93. entopticon

    You really want to go down that path traveliar? No legitimate expert on child psychology would ever support your astoundingly ignorant claim that 3 year olds won’t suffer from witnessing events because they may not remember it, so it is literally you against virtually every expert on the entire planet.

    As I stated in the first place, it doesn’t matter whether they readily remember it or not for it to cause ongoing trauma. Literally any expert in child psychology knows that. That’s not an opinion, it is a matter of incontrovertible scientific consensus based mountains of research for decades, which was Anasazi’s point.

    I know, I know, overwhelming scientific consensus doesn’t mean much to a fundamentalist windbag that thinks that evolution, dinosaurs, and global warming are vast international liberal conspiracies.

  94. travelah

    Anasazi …. what trauma are you talking about?? Pay attention. The man did not get shot in the head in front of his three year old child. He could have but he didn’t and as far what the child saw (IF ANYTHING AT ALL!)it was nothing more than the dad and another man exchanging words. The child did not see any carnage… no blood, no mess, nothing to traumatize him. This is too simple to miss. Wake up.

    As for quoting MLK, only a liberal nincompoop social worker could find a way to work that snot into the discussion.

    I still don’t see anybody offering up their fond memories from the age of three. How about you, anasazi? What about your memory from that age? Share some exciting stories with us.

  95. entopticon

    “As for quoting MLK, only a liberal nincompoop social worker could find a way to work that snot into the discussion.”

    If it wasn’t for MLK, black people in America might still be denied higher educations, and sitting in the back of the bus, and using separate water fountains, and using separate entrances to movie theaters, etc, etc, etc. I don’t doubt that you would like that. You are a seriously warped piece of @#$!

  96. entopticon

    traveliar, Anasazi is the expert on PTSD and childhood trauma. You are not. He has advanced degrees on the subject, and decades of experience dealing professionally with the psychological issues of traumatized children. You do not. Where the f*ck do you get off telling him his business you ignorant moron?

  97. entopticon

    Not everything is a liberal conspiracy traveliar. Liberalism has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that a 3 year old is likely to be seriously traumatized by seeing his father shot right in front of him. No legitimate expert on the planet would agree with your idiotic claim.

    In fact, if a therapist said that they refused to recognize that a kid in that boy’s shoes is at risk of serious, ongoing issues, they would be fired on the spot, because no legitimate therapist would ever take such an asinine, ignorant stance.

    You claimed that I knew nothing about child psychology, then when an accomplished professional in the field chimed in to prove that I was completely right, and you were completely wrong on the matter, did you retract your statement and apologize like any decent human being would do? Of course not, because you are certainly not a decent human being. You have absolutely no integrity whatsoever.

    Whenever you are cornered by the facts of the matter, which happens constantly, you retreat to the same delusional, imbecilic rant about how it all must be a liberal conspiracy, no matter how insane and irrelevant that is.

  98. Anasazi

    Dear Travelah,

    Directly from the Department of Veteran Affairs

    National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    PTSD in Children and Adolescents
    Jessica Hamblen, Ph.D.
    The diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was formally recognized as a psychiatric diagnosis in 1980. At that time, little was known about what PTSD looked like in children and adolescents. Today, we know children and adolescents are susceptible to developing PTSD, and we know that PTSD has different age-specific features. In addition, we are beginning to develop child-focused interventions. This fact sheet provides information regarding what events cause PTSD in children, how many children develop PTSD, risk factors associated with PTSD, what PTSD looks like in children, other effects of trauma on children, treatment for PTSD, and what you can do for your child.

    What events cause PTSD in children?
    A diagnosis of PTSD means that an individual experienced an event that involved a threat to one’s own or another’s life or physical integrity and that this person responded with intense fear, helplessness, or horror. There are a number of traumatic events that have been shown to cause PTSD in children and adolescents. Children and adolescents may be diagnosed with PTSD if they have survived natural and man made disasters such as floods; violent crimes such as kidnapping, rape or murder of a parent, sniper fire, and school shootings; motor vehicle accidents such as automobile and plane crashes; severe burns; exposure to community violence; war; peer suicide; and sexual and physical abuse.

    What are the risk factors for PTSD?
    There are three factors that have been shown to increase the likelihood that children will develop PTSD. These factors include the severity of the traumatic event, the parental reaction to the traumatic event, and the physical proximity to the traumatic event. In general, most studies find that children and adolescents who report experiencing the most severe traumas also report the highest levels of PTSD symptoms. Family support and parental coping have also been shown to affect PTSD symptoms in children. Studies show that children and adolescents with greater family support and less parental distress have lower levels of PTSD symptoms. Finally, children and adolescents who are farther away from the traumatic event report less distress.

    What does PTSD look like in children?
    Researchers and clinicians are beginning to recognize that PTSD may not present itself in children the same way it does in adults (see What is PTSD? below). Criteria for PTSD now include age-specific features for some symptoms.

    Very Young Children
    Very young children may present with few PTSD symptoms. This may be because eight of the PTSD symptoms require a verbal description of one’s feelings and experiences. Instead, young children may report more generalized fears such as stranger or separation anxiety, avoidance of situations that may or may not be related to the trauma, sleep disturbances, and a preoccupation with words or symbols that may or may not be related to the trauma. These children may also display posttraumatic play in which they repeat themes of the trauma. In addition, children may lose an acquired developmental skill (such as toilet training) as a result of experiencing a traumatic event.

  99. Anasazi

    It is inappropriate to speculate on any diagnostic assessment of the victims of this case. However, the established and proven impact of violence on children is incontrovertable. Risk factors including proximity to the violence and the reaction of a parent (who in this case is a victim as well) all increase the potential for long term clinical concern.

    Travelah, I understand your need to inform us that the sky is green and the grass is blue, but you are quite out of your league on this one.

    Having treated hundreds cases of PTSD in children and adults and many of whom suffered early childhood trauma and having been qualified as an expert witness repeatedly to describe the impact of trauma on children you are simply obtuse. I must say your rants would be amusing if not for their cruel foundation in denying that this trauma exists in young children and thereby denying that those children that suffer from its effects are deserving of acknowledgment.

  100. travelah

    Anasazi,
    Here is the only relevant portion of what you presented:

    Very Young Children
    Very young children may present with few PTSD symptoms. This may be because
    eight of the PTSD symptoms require a verbal description of one’s feelings
    and experiences. Instead, young children may report more generalized fears
    such as stranger or separation anxiety, avoidance of situations that may or
    may not be related to the trauma, sleep disturbances, and a preoccupation
    with words or symbols that may or may not be related to the trauma. These
    children may also display posttraumatic play in which they repeat themes of
    the trauma. In addition, children may lose an acquired developmental skill
    (such as toilet training) as a result of experiencing a traumatic event.

    Do you practice shooting yourself in the feet? Now, pay close attention to this question. WHAT IS THE TRAUMA THE THREE YEAR OLD WITNESSED OR EXPERIENCED THAT GENERATED INTENSE FEAR, HELPLESSNESS OR HORROR????
    Not only that, but if you pay even a modicum of attention to what you post you would realize the effects of such a disorder appear to be rather limited instead of the lifelong angst the Ent of Candler suggested. Did the three year old respond with intense fear, helplessness or horror?

    I suspect that if the child can survive the idiocy of it’s tuckfarded liberal-leftist environment, it will grow into a reasonably well adjusted adult who would look back at the chit in this thread as the ravings of liberal lunatics.

    Sell this sludge to somebody who is buyng it.

  101. JT

    Ok travelah, we get it. You’re a Scientologist, and all of humanity’s problems are derived from thetans, so psychology and medicine are liberal conspiracies.

    It’s all really cute, but you almost seem to be so driven by your hatred of a political viewpoint that you’re not even trying to be reasonable.

    You’re not doing any good for your cause, or the Church of Scientology.

  102. Anasazi

    The long term effects of trauma typically result in maladaptive patterns of relating to others. Self abuse. Efforts to avoid or numb. This is manifested often times more severely when a young child is involved. Their incapacity to due to developmental limitations to process the traumatic event creates a separate and specific risk of long term emotional injury.

    I see no need to explain that witnessing your father get shot (regardless as to his injuries) would connotate a traumatic event. It is likely that the child did experience intense fear, helplessness (he is 3 watching daddy get shot at) and horror. The child’s response to that trauma is guided by numerous aggravating and mitigating factors that are not known to any of us.

    Also as 8 of the 10 diagnostic criteria for PTSD involve the abstract use of language the non verbal symptoms become critical.

    I believe that this is in the realm of debating with someone determined to deny the world is round. But wait, I hear the flat earth society, and you do appear to be their president, just issued their long awaited publication on why 3 year olds are unaffected when watching daddy nearly get his head blown off.

  103. entopticon

    traveliar, you really are an absolute lunatic. You clearly didn’t even understand the quote from Anasazi at all, because it completely goes against your whole argument. Anasazi understands the quote perfectly well, it is you that does not. He is the one who went to graduate school for it. He is the one that has practiced it professionally for decades.

    Seriously, who the f*ck do you think you are pretending to know more about the issue than someone who went to graduate school for it and has professionally dealt with it for decades? Do you even have any idea how ludicrously megalomaniacal that is? You are out of your league… hell, you are out of your galaxy. Because of some mental defect or paranoid delusion, you keep trying to turn it into something about liberalism, but it is completely irrelevant. The most conservative therapist and the most liberal would both say that you are astonishingly ignorant on the subject. Instead of just gloating about what an imbecile you are, try a little humility for once.

    You DO NOT know more about PTSD than a 20+ year professional that has a graduate education in the field. You do not know more about evolution than evolutionary biologists. You do not know more about climate science than the overwhelming consensus of 97.5% of the world’s leading climate scientists. It is all part of your psychotic delusions of grandeur, and your bizarre habit of turning everything under the sun into some kind of liberal/communist conspiracy is completely delusional as well. You are insane. Get help. Really.

  104. travelah

    So he is a liberal social worker …. that pretty much rules out sensibility right there.

    Check in on the kid in 20 years and let everybody know what your findings are. Until then blow hard.

  105. entopticon

    Really traveliar, that’s your argument?!? … That he is a social worker and he may be liberal on some political issues, so despite the fact that he has advanced degrees in the subject, which you do not, and has decades of professional experience working with children suffering from ptsd, which you do not, he is the one who is not sensible?

    You are absolutely deranged. It is hard to even imagine something more completely idiotic than that. You are one of the least intelligent people that I have ever encountered. Every time you get caught with absolutely no defensible argument whatsoever, instead of just admitting that you were wrong, like anyone with a modicum of integrity would do, you just start ranting nonsense about how they must be part of some vast liberal/communist conspiracy against you. There really are medications that might help your psychosis, but unfortunately there is not much that can be done about the lack of intelligence.

    As for your obsession with spanking, ripping orifices, and blowing hard, maybe Ted Haggard or Larry Craig could help you with that. You could even speak in tongues while the two of you go at it. Oh, and don’t forget the meth; you fundamentalists do so love your meth during rough gay sex.

  106. Alan Ditmore

    I think Diez should get 10 years, but this professionalist bigotry has got to stop. Professional schools are wrong all the time and they certainly don’t have a monopoly on legitemate opinions, especially ones as subjective and with as long a history of serious and avbious error as psychology.
    And Travelar is right on the sub issue, nobody was shot, there was no blood, only yelling and upset adults, which the child might not even have seen or heard. The longer sentance should have been based on the fact that he might have been shot but for chance, and the eardrum injury, not on possible and by no means definate trauma to the child.
    We do not know if a miss would traumatize a child and a psychology profession can’t possibly tell us.

  107. Anasazi

    I must say that Travelah- you have provided perhaps the least informed understanding of childhood trauma I have ever encountered. One does not require an advanced degree or decades of experience to recognize the fundamental concern for both the child and his father. It only requires common sense.

    You, sadly, possess an uncommon lack of empathy. Although I would not be able to recommend psychotropic medication on a professional level as Entopticon suggests, I would encourage you to rethink your stance on this issue. If you are a parent, then please for the sake of your children. Otherwise please keep them in bubble wrap and pray they are never harmed.

    You only justify the four month sentence and perpetuate the mind boggling notion that this crime is not a hateful and violent act against both child and father that may have LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES.

    As for the liberal conspiracy issue I am without any comment except to say that your connection of my understanding of trauma and PTSD to a liberal conspiracy is as valid as saying you are quite certain I hate ice hockey and prefer steak over chicken. One thing is not connected to the other.

  108. JWTJr

    You get more time than 4 months for a zillion things that are far less harmful to society than what this idiot did.

    Its a miscarriage of justice.

  109. Anasazi

    The information provided here about trauma is not founded in bigotry. It is formed from direct clinical practice with victims of childhood trauma. Many of the clients I have worked with were 10 and 20 and 30 years beyond the traumatic event and continued to experience the ravages of PTSD- sometime inflicted as early as age three. I have already stated that it is impossible to determine the long term consequences of this incident. It would be completely unprofessional to diagnose anyone based upon reading an article. However, the risks presented here are clinically sound.

    The primary reason and my motivation to respond to this blog was the direct correlation between the denial and cultural avoidance and discomfort with acknowledging the victims of trauma with the victim’s internalization of responsibility for that trauma.

    I understand and agree with Alan’s contention that psychology has been rife with historically innacurate and speculative predilictions about human motivation and behavior.

    However, the field of trauma work is established with sound cognitive and systems treatment modalities. These coupled with crisis debriefing (which I did with the families of 9/11 victims at Liberty State Park in NJ for the National Organization for Victim Assistance) http://www.trynova.org/ can be very effective in reducing the intensity and severity of traumatic loss. Coincidentally many NOVA members are very politically conservative.

    I agree with Alan further that professional snobbery is unwelcome. This aggravates me with academics whose arrogance never manifests with effective treatment in the field.

    I will, however, request that some consideration be afforded my concern about trauma. I am only requesting it be contemplated without being rejected as being either liberal nonsense or bigotry.

    As I have devoted my life to this, I will not deny a personal or professional vestment. I will deny, as I willingly serve this cause with fundamentalists, zionists and atheists (etc…), that my practice is rooted in any political orientation. It is based in measurable scientific fact born out of achieving successful outcomes in the field with victims of trauma- some of whom suffer from PTSD.

  110. entopticon

    Professionalist bigotry?!? So now if you get a graduate degree in your chosen profession, and you advance in that field for decades, it is a form of bigotry to feel that it is perfectly reasonable for your opinion on that subject to bear more weight than someone with no training, let alone advanced degrees, and no professional experience? And that is professional bigotry?!? Where the hell do you people come up with such absolute nonsene?

    So by your asinine logic, it would be professional bigotry for a fireman to think he knows a lot more about fire fighting than someone with no training, or a nuclear physicist to think that he knows a lot more about nuclear physics than a person who has never taken a science course in their life, or a chemical engineer to think that he knows more about chemical engineering than someone who doesn’t even know what the periodic table is.

    Like every other science, psychology is indeed imperfect, and the subjective elements that it has to account for make it particularly difficult compared to many other sciences, but to make the ridiculous claim that it is a form of bigotry for people trained in psychology to think that they know a whole lot more about psychology than people who aren’t is beyond ludicrous. Frankly, it’s downright laughable.

  111. Anasazi

    The only people who truly understand the impact of this event will be Alan and his son. I wish them well and hope their journey offers them peace. I hope this debate generates further awareness of PTSD. I hope this debate offers insight into the sad experience Alan and his son endured. There is a reason for the civil arm of justice. If the criminal did not understand the gravity of the crime. The civil arm just might.

    Again… I am not making any claim to the actual impact of this event. Only raising the concerns and risks present for the victims of violence and trauma.

    Hoping that the evident miscarriage of justice becomes an opportunity to evoke the discussion of the impact on the victim as more primary than the resume of the offender.

    Anyone who wants more information on a wonderful group that advocates for this interest, and is certainly not a liberal conspiracy group :)please visit the website of The National Organization for Victim Assistance http://www.trynova.org/

    I am not an employee nor a spokesperson. I was recruited by my county’s prosecutor office in New Jersey to serve the victims of 9/11.

    Good luck to Alan and his son.

  112. entopticon

    It is just so funny that whenever traveliar is particularly cornered by the facts, he always starts bringing up that he figured out that I am from Candler through a little cyber-stalking.

    Nice way to work in your inevitable bizarro-world liberal conspiracy theory there traveliar. You lost the argument, so you link to a video of polar bears falling from the sky. Yeah, that makes sense. About as much sense as your original argument about how liberal bicycle activists are just asking for it.

    A 3 year old boy saw his father get shot at. The bullet went into the bicycle helmet that his father was wearing. A 3 year old knows what a gun is, and he probably knows that it almost killed his father. Maybe he will suffer from ongoing trauma from the incident, and maybe he wont, but either way, your idiotic claims that it couldn’t cause trauma for him are astonishingly ignorant, as the professional with a great deal of expertise and experience clearly demonstrated.

  113. Anasazi

    Psychological trauma (Definition from Wikipedia) an emotional or psychological injury, usually resulting from an extremely stressful or life-threatening situation.

    I am not sure what your point is Travelah. Again.

    The measure of any harm should be in the hands of the victims. Not in ours. I have provided adequate clinically relevant points that are backed up by a mountain of research and practice. I find it interesting your confidence in this field is so strong. It would make for a very short career as the ultimate bearing on practice is client centered and defined by the ability to listen- not preach.

  114. Anasazi

    DSM-IV-TR criteria for PTSD
    In 2000, the American Psychiatric Association revised the PTSD diagnostic criteria in the fourth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). The diagnostic criteria (Criterion A-F) are specified below.

    Diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event meeting two criteria and symptoms from each of three symptom clusters: intrusive recollections, avoidant/numbing symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms. A fifth criterion concerns duration of symptoms and a sixth assesses functioning.

    Criterion A: stressor
    The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following have been present:

    1. The person has experienced, witnessed, or been confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others.

    2. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: in children, it may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior.

    Criterion B: intrusive recollection
    The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways:

    1. Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: in young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.

    2. Recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: in children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content

    3. Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated). Note: in children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur.

    4. Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.

    5. Physiologic reactivity upon exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event

    Criterion C: avoidant/numbing
    Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by at least three of the following:

    1. Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma

    2. Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma

    3. Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma

    4. Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities

    5. Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others

    6. Restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)

    7. Sense of foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)

    Criterion D: hyper-arousal
    Persistent symptoms of increasing arousal (not present before the trauma), indicated by at least two of the following:

    1. Difficulty falling or staying asleep

    2. Irritability or outbursts of anger

    3. Difficulty concentrating

    4. Hyper-vigilance

    5. Exaggerated startle response

    Criterion E: duration
    Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in B, C, and D) is more than one month.

    Criterion F: functional significance
    The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

    Specify if:
    Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than three months

    Chronic: if duration of symptoms is three months or more

    Specify if:
    With or Without delay onset: Onset of symptoms at least six months after the stressor

    References
    American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM-IV-TR ( Fourth ed.). Washington D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

  115. Anasazi

    There is really nothing more to say on this other than my sincerest wishes for this father and son to find peace, and find it quickly without anything other than ease and kindness. I would never have expected such resistance for empathy with the victims in this story. I truly wish them the best. I hope the perpetrator gets help along with his 4 month hiatus.

    To Alan and his son,

    May your journey be a kind one and may you both find peace and be surrounded with the love of those who know you best.

  116. Alan Simons

    My family would like to thank everyone who has chosen to support our side of this story.We try to put on a smile and not let this incident consumeour lives for our sons sake, but it is hard.It has us losing lots of sleep to say the least.We are deaply outraged on the verdict of this case,and have not giving up on some sort of justice for this crime.Civil rights have been violated here .4 months for a lifetime of stressful and painful memories is not good enough.

  117. Anasazi

    To Alan and his family,

    Your outrage and all the feelings that must lie beneath that justified anger- and at the core of those feelings the love you have for your son is beyond anything a blog post could describe or understand. I hope if you have followed my posts you know that the only ones who can truly fathom your journey are you and your family.

    I was, in my own way, deeply outraged by the insensitivity to your experience. I am a therapist with decades of working with survivors of trauma and child abuse, and anyone who would not have concern for the impact on you and your child just is simply callous. Anyone with a conscience, a heart, and more than a few IQ points would appreciate that the 4 month sentence in this case will never equate the lifetime of stressful and painful memories you will face.

    I truly wish you and your family the kindness and support from those that truly know you. I hope a civil court pays heed to what has occured. My prayers for you, your son, and for your entire family.

  118. entopticon

    Thank you Alan, my heart goes out to you and your family. You have every right to be outraged. Downs’ decision was absolutely unconscionable.

    As the article here titled Justice Undone illustrates, Downs has little interest in justice.

  119. Alan Simons

    thanks entopticon.We will find some help for this,someone out there will be willing to help us see this through.I have met and talked with some amazing people with some great causes that our story can help .we will be participating this saturday with asheville on bikes ride through downtown.we invite all familys and others who want to have a enjoyable ride with us to come.

  120. Alan Simons

    Anasazi,I have followed your comments as well.In reading your notes about the PTSD I know My wife is suffering a bit from this after all she saw the Gun come out before I made it around to the drivers side of the car.As for me,I am sure I should see someone as well,but in my case I tend to bottle up alot of feelings.Not the best thing I am sure ,but it gets me through.Thanks for the prayers for us.Especially for my son,He was a true miricle @ birth 1 lb 11oz and he continues to be the most resilient person I have ever met.He is my hero and I will always do whatever it takes to protect him and keep him happy. Alan Simons

  121. Drewcifer

    a hit a run on a bike about 9 years ago keeps me off the roads. Unicoi County TN, and the town of Erwin never even had a cop come to the hospital to file any report.

    I sympathize with your situation Alan and support your bike movement. I think you deserve the right to pursue civil action against Diez.

    I also think everyone who rides a bike should have handgun training, a C&C permit, and be ready to use it if someone assaults you with their car (deadly weapon).

  122. Alan Simons

    man I sympathy with you amd cant believe the issues you face everyday!Is there anyway you could ride a recumbant?You make it a little easier to find a way to fight for our rights as a biyclist!I promise I will do what I can to make a difference for all of us after the new year IT is not right!I am Not sure about the C&C permit. I do believe in the rights to bear arms..But for me I would rather use fists lol.My guns are in Winston Salem In my Father in laws gun safe..I wish u and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.This should be the year of the Cycylist!!!!Alan Simons,,,,,,, feel free to contact me @ alngater73@live.com..and anyone else that wants to help this cause..I will form a non Profit group if we need too.Something has to be done!

  123. Mister Blister

    Have fun in North Carolina… to bad that firefighter didn’t get caught with a joint, he would have been locked up for years and had his truck confiscated.

  124. Mister Blister

    It’s no wonder guns are so popular in the south. It’s the only way that these stupid, intermarried folks can swing their dicks around unchallenged.

    “I says Oburma’s a terrormist, and if’n y’all doesn’t believes me I’s a gonna shoot all y’alls”

    “Ok Cousin Cletius, we was just joshin’ ya’s!”

  125. Alan

    I’m going to agree with Thunder’s last comment. Blister just crossed the line from justifiable outrage to bigotry. It was triggered by anti bike bigotry, but it doesn’t help.

  126. I agree w Simons.

    If people would just be polite, things would be much less likely to get out of hand. When bicyclists are rude to me, I’m rude back. If they’re polite, I’m polite.

  127. Stuart Knoles

    Military service: well alright then; and ordered to take an anger management course. Oh sweet cut sentence: an opportunity to rehabilitate and save poor Diez before he does something REALLY stupid. Classic dementia.

  128. Stuart Knoles

    Incapacity of the court to assign credit for the amount of irrationality in the behavior of Diez. How about cultural pressure; an indication of the murkiness of society? Would that be any more a defense than drugs? Rather than a concern for child safety, a threat to a fragile identity.

  129. Ben

    So they dropped the attempted murder charge? What does the DA’s office think the man’s intent was when he pointed a gun at another man’s head and pulled the trigger. Was the defendant really only trying to cause damage to the other victim’s ear drum? Not likely. How does this man’s past record as well as testimony to his character excuse his actions on this particular day? This case is disgusting and is a great example of how pathetic the justice system is.

  130. Lila Marion

    Its a pity that someone is being spared for such a serious crime. Just 4 months for ending a life – its a shame a real shame

  131. ormondotvos

    I’d sure like to see the court testimony on intent of the perp.

    He certainly shouldn’t be carrying a gun, but I don’t believe he intended to kill, but to frighten.

    For that, at least a year in the state pen.

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