Category Archives: Limited Government

Dial ‘O’ for Murder: Should Barack Obama Face Murder Charge When ObamaPhone Used for Criminal Purposes?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.

Mugshot: Skyy Durrell Barrs, 30.

Mugshot: Skyy Durrell Barrs, 30.

On the evening of June 30, my longtime friend Chuck de Caro, a Pentagon consultant, and his wife, Lynne Russell, former anchorwoman for CNN Headline News, checked into a Motel 6 at 6015 Iliff Road, NW, in Albuquerque. Chuck, Lynne and their 12-year- old semi-incontinent Weimerauner, Oliver, were traveling on a combination business and first anniversary road trip from Washington, D.C., to California. They stopped at the well-lighted and apparently-secure motel because of its pet-friendly policy and easy access to the hotel dog park.

After checking into their room and unloading their bags, Chuck prepared to take a shower while Lynne returned to their car for s supply of dog food. However, as Lynne was inserting her key card into the electronic door lock to reenter their room, she was attacked from behind by a large black male, pushed into the room, and thrown onto the bed.

At that instant, Chuck emerged from the shower, naked and soaking wet, only to find Lynne and a black male, Tomorio Walton, facing each other. Walton, a parole violator from Memphis with a long list of felonies to his credit… including 28 guilty pleas in the 7½ years between June 5, 2007, and Dec. 29, 2014… held a shiny, large-frame semi-automatic pistol in his hand and was demanding their money and their valuables.

Both Chuck and Lynne have concealed-carry permits and their handguns were laying side-by-side on a night table next to the bed (Lynne also has two martial arts black belts and is a former deputy sheriff). As Chuck attempted to calm the obviously drug-agitated intruder, Lynne said, “Let me see what I can get you,” and moved to the bedside table to retrieve her purse. However, as she did so, she discreetly placed one of the two handguns inside the purse, handed it to Chuck, and said, “Is there anything in here that you might give him?”

Chuck reached inside the purse, grasped the handgun and waited for the right moment. Then, as Walton seized a computer bag, he began firing at close range. Chuck’s military training kicked in and, although wounded three times, he quickly closed the distance from ten to six feet before emptying his seven-round magazine into Walton, striking him seven times as he staggered toward the door. Seconds later the intruder fell, mortally wounded, in the motel parking lot.

When Albuquerque police later examined surveillance tapes, they saw Walton exit the left rear door of a black 2015 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan. The Chevy is then seen driving slowly through the Motel 6 parking lot with what appeared to be a male driver and a female passenger in the front seat and a third individual in the right rear seat. Surveillance tapes then show Walton proceeding along the walkway in front of the rooms, speaking on a cell phone, while another individual walked nearby, also speaking on a cell phone. Apparently, no one on the Motel 6 staff — not even the motel’s armed security guard — was watching the video monitors.

Albuquerque police were later contacted by a “source” who asked to remain anonymous. The source advised them that the driver of the black 2015 Chevy Malibu was a black male named Skyy Barrs and that the automobile used in the holdup attempt was registered to his girlfriend, Bonica Amarillo. When the occupants of the Chevy Malibu heard gunfire, they drove again through the motel parking lot, and when they saw Walton lying on the pavement, covered with blood, Barrs stopped to examine him. Surveillance tapes show that Barrs held Walton in his arms briefly, and when he concluded that his accomplice was dead, he dropped him onto the pavement, reentered the automobile and drove away.

When police obtained a search warrant for Walton’s cell phone they found an individual named “Ski” on the contact list. They also found that calls were made between Barrs and Walton at 9:06 p.m., 9:07 p.m. and 9:08 p.m., and a missed call from Barrs to Walton at 11:35 p.m., approximately the instant that Walton attacked Lynne Russell and forced her into her room. Police also found a text message from Barrs to Walton, dated Saturday, June 27. The message read, cryptically, “We about to Hite (sic) some licks,” street slang for “we are going to commit a robbery.”

According to the arrest warrant, the source told Albuquerque police that Walton worked as a criminal “slave” for Skyy Barrs, an arrangement in which Barrs provided the planning, the transportation and the weaponry necessary to commit a crime. As such, Barrs is now behind bars, charged with felony murder, kidnapping (two counts), armed robbery (two counts), aggravated battery with great bodily harm, assault with intent to commit a violent felony, felon in possession of a firearm, aggravated burglary and six counts of conspiracy. Under the law, all those who participated in the crime, including Barrs’ girlfriend, Bonica Amarillo, and the unnamed rear seat occupant, will face the same charges when taken into custody.

What causes me to dwell on the exchange of cell phone calls between Walton and Barrs is the fact that the cell phones used in the commission of the robbery and attempted murder were “ObamaPhones,” free cell phones provided with few questions to the “poor” by the Obama administration. So the question arises, if those who provide material support in the commission of a crime, such as transportation and weaponry, are equally as guilty as the person who actually commits the crime, how far does that liability extend?

Under criminal law, an individual is complicit in a crime only if he or she is aware of impending criminal activity and has the ability to either prevent it or report it, but fails to do so. In such an event, the individual effectively allows criminals activity to occur despite being able to prevent it, either directly or indirectly by contacting the authorities.

The offender then becomes a de facto accessory to the crime rather than an innocent bystander.

So, while Barrs, his girlfriend, and an unnamed third party were all aware of Walton’s intended crime and had the ability to either prevent it or report it, the fact that Barack Obama indirectly participated in the commission of the crime by providing the cell phones used in the commission of a crime does not make him “complicit” because he had no personal knowledge of the crime.

A visit to the ObamaPhone website tells us that, “Welfare recipients, and others, can receive a free cell phone, but the program is not funded by the government or taxpayer money… and it’s hardly new.” The website explains that the ObamaPhone program is paid for by the telephone service providers. What they fail to mention is that each and every one of us who has a land line or a cell phone account finds a charge on our monthly statements that covers the cost of the ObamaPhone program. Obama administration “social engineers” fail to understand that government-imposed fees that are ultimately passed on to consumers are, in effect, indirect taxes.

The Obama administration and their supporters are so sensitive to criticism of the ObamaPhone program that they have, as always, attempted to lay the blame elsewhere. The ObamaPhone website goes into great detail, explaining that the program, which has increased from $800 million in 2009 to $2.2 billion in 2012, did not begin with Barack Obama. Although Obama is given credit for it, the website explains that the George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan administrations played significant roles in launching the program, as did the FDR and Woodrow Wilson administrations.

Unaccustomed as the Obama administration is to taking responsibility for any of their actions, the ObamaPhone website tells us that the Safelink Wireless program offered the first free government cell phones in Tennessee in 2008, during the George W. Bush administration, three months before Obama was inaugurated. They lay blame on the Clinton administration, because it was during the 1990s that the Federal Communications Commission authorized a subsidy for landline telephones as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. They lay blame on the Reagan administration, because it was during the 1980s when the FCC created the original Lifeline Assistance program. And they lay blame on the Roosevelt administration, because it was in 1934, during FDR’s first term, that Congress created the FCC, promising “to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, a rapid, efficient, nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.”

And, believe it or not, there are those who insist that the ObamaPhone program began in the early part of the 20th century, during the Woodrow Wilson administration, when the first telephone companies were founded and the phone service offered by a company in one town was often incompatible with the phone service offered by another company in another town. It was then that the Wilson administration gave AT&T a monopoly over phone service, allowing them to set nationwide technology standards and to determine the nation’s future telephone system.

Inasmuch as cell phones did not come into widespread use until very early in the 21st century, Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt might have acted differently had they known what was coming. But Barack Obama sets the rules of the blame game. If his administration believes that it is even remotely reasonable and logical to think that the Wilson administration bears some responsibility for the existence of the ObamaPhone program, then it is equally reasonable and logical to assume that the Obama administration bears some responsibility for the horror that happened to Chuck de Caro and Lynne Russell in Albuquerque.

If they are truly serious about what is good for the poor, why not expand the scope of this $2.2 billion government give-away program by mandating a warning to all who sign for and receive a free cell phone. The warning: “Any person who utilizes this device in the commission of a crime is guilty of a federal offense and is subject to both fine and imprisonment.”

SEE ALSO: Second Amendment’s Value Evident After Motel 6 Incident

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Throwback Thursday: Ferguson Troubles Began in Garden

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Three years ago today, I shared news about a man in Ferguson, Mo., — yes, the same town where the Michael Brown incident took place in August 2014 — who was fighting for the right to grow food in his garden without first obtaining permission from the city. Below I share that story again, along with an update and some observations.

Karl Tricamo received a citation for gardening without permission.

On April 23, 2012, Karl Tricamo received a citation from the city of Ferguson, Mo., for gardening without permission.

During World War I and World War II, it was considered one’s patriotic duty to plant a “victory garden” in order to reduce food costs.  Doing such a thing today, however, could result in one man having to pay a hefty fine or worse if officials in the backward city of Ferguson, Mo., get their way.

According to a news release from Dave Roland at the Freedom Center of Missouri, Karl Tricamo never imagined that it would be especially controversial when he decided to plant a garden in his yard in order to secure cheap, nutritious, organic produce for his family.  Just to be sure, however, he looked up all of the relevant ordinances in the city just north of St. Louis and confirmed that he would not be violating any laws.

Tricamo found that nothing in the ordinances prohibit citizens from growing healthy, organic produce on one’s property.  In fact, the city’s zoning ordinances specifically allow residents to cultivate community gardens and urban agricultural uses in residential areas.

Because he planted the garden in front of his house instead of behind it, Ferguson city officials soon began to pester Tricamo, going so far as suggesting that his garden was illegal.  Roland described the chain of events that followed:

In March, shortly after he had tilled the garden in preparation for planting, the city sent a letter commanding that the yard be covered in straw and planted with grass seed – even though nothing in the city ordinances requires yards to be planted with grass or prohibits the planting of a garden on residential property.

Six weeks later city officials sent another letter demanding the removal of the vegetables from his yard because the property was not zoned for “agricultural” use, but of course the relevant section of Ferguson’s zoning ordinances explicitly allows gardens to be grown in residential areas.  Then the City sent Mr. Tricamo a notice (below) alleging a violation of Ferguson ordinance number 7-133 – but that ordinance addresses the structural elements of residential buildings such as foundations, walls, windows and doors, stairways, chimneys, gutters, roofs, and buildings’ exterior surfaces.  It says nothing about yards.

When Mr. Tricamo confronted the City about this violation notice, they rapidly backtracked and claimed that it had been sent by accident!  The City said he should disregard the notice, but have continued to insist that Tricamo’s garden is illegal.

According to Roland, this situation illustrates a common practice among some city officials; when all else fails in their attempt to control citizens’ behavior, they sometimes just make stuff up.

UPDATE: Barely three weeks after publishing the article above, I received another news release from Roland. Dated July 26, 2012, it contained the paragraph below which summed up the outcome of the case:

The Board of Adjustment took up the matter on Wednesday evening and heard arguments from the City, Mr. Roland, Mr. Tricamo, and several members of the community. In addition to the legal arguments that the Freedom Center advanced, the testimony pointed out the growing movement in favor of organic, locally-grown produce and the well-documented challenges that low-income families face in finding reasonably priced vegetables in grocery stores. In the end, four of the five members of the Board of Adjustment agreed that Ferguson’s zoning laws do not prohibit citizens from growing gardens in residential areas. Ferguson’s residents are free to grow vegetables in their yards as long as they are not violating a specific ordinance or endangering the public health or safety.

In light of events that put Ferguson on the world map for all the wrong reasons some 25 months later, I suspect many city residents and officials wish this gardening fiasco had been the worst of their troubles.

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