Could Killer Who Targeted Creighton Doctors
Have Been Tracked Down Earlier? I Say ‘Yes’

Omaha police are being praised for what one editorial described as the relatively quick apprehension of the alleged killer of Creighton University College of Medicine pathologist Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife.

But as I see it, both the Creighton pathology department staff and the Omaha Police Department might well have prevented the murder of the Brumbacks had they reacted quickly five years ago to the intrusion into the home of another Creighton pathologist, Dr. William Hunter, an intrusion which found Dr. Hunter and his wife not at home and resulted instead in the murder of their 11-year-old son and their 57-year-old housekeeper.

The obvious possibility that Dr. Hunter and his wife were the killer’s real targets should have prompted quick reaction five years ago.

Pertinent Question Seems Obvious

The question seems obvious:  Who would have motivation to enter the home of Dr. Hunter—a home apparently not picked out at random by the killer—murder two people who happened to be in the home and leave without any sign that he had picked the home at random to pull off a daytime burglary?

It seems to me it should have been an obvious possibility that the murderous intruder might very well have had a grievance against Dr. Hunter and that Dr. Hunter and possibly his wife were the killer’s intended targets.

This might well have been the signal to start looking for someone who had been discharged from the Pathology Department—a possibility indicated, it seems to me, by Dr. Brumback’s immediate reaction to the intrusion into Dr. Hunter’s home.  Dr. Brumback’s quick reaction, as quoted in The World-Herald:

“The biggest interest we have, and what everybody was asking yesterday, is ‘Who could have done this and why?’”

Discharged Student Seeking Regence?

Logical thinking, it seems to me, would have suggested to both the Creighton Pathology Department staff members and to Omaha police that the “who” might well be a discharged former pathology department staff member or resident and the “why” might well have been the fact he had a grievance against the pathology staff members, including Dr. Hunter and Dr. Brumback, and for some reason he considered justification for killing them in revenge.

Both Doctors Hunter and Brumback had played roles in the 2001 discharge of Dr. Anthony J. Garcia, who sits in jail in Omaha now facing murder charges, after being apprehended when Omaha police woke up to the likely connection between the 2008 targeting of Dr. Hunter and the slaying of the Brumbacks five years later.

Garcia’s record of failures and discharges including with his 2001 discharge from Creighton would not have been hard to track.  The story of his subsequent failures was a matter of traceable record—and nobody traced that record until the Brumbacks had been killed.

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Mayor Off To Good Budget Start?
What About Those Tax-Cut Promises?

In some quarters, Mayor Jean Stothert is being praised for what one headline described as “A solid approach to city finances.”

I would say the jury is still out on the quality of Mayor Stothert’s approach to the 2013 and 2014 city budgets.

I don’t see how Stothert deserves praise for waking up to some realities which were clearly evident during the time she was campaigning with a promise to reduce property taxes and repeal the so-called restaurant tax and cut Fire Department staffing.

Stothert had served on the City Council four years and should have been aware that these goals could certainly not be achieved in 2013 and very possibly not achievable in 2014.

So there will be no reduction in property taxes in 2013 and very possibly not in 2014.  The same might well be said of the promise to repeal the restaurant tax.  And Stothert already faces a lawsuit brought by the firemen’s union, charging her with violating some terms of the contract which she played a leading role in negotiating as a City Council member.

Risky Borrowing From Cash Reserves

To balance the city budget for 2013 and prevent an increase in property taxes rather than the promised reduction, Stothert will be borrowing from the city’s cash reserve fund—always a risky business—and taking advance of a $6 million “gift” in state funds to finance street resurfacing.

That “gift” of state tax funds from fellow Republican Governor Dave Heineman—an amount hardly so impressive as to justify the joint press conference which Heineman and Stothert held—prompted Stothert to thank Heineman for such “generous” help to Omaha.

As I see it, so-called generosity is never involved in the distribution of money which has been collected from taxpayers, whether they be state taxpayers or local taxpayers.

Some observers interpreted the Heineman “generosity” and Stothert’s response as an effort to build a closer bond between a Republican governor and a Republican mayor, even though the mayoral office in Omaha is supposed to be nonpartisan.

Good Ideas On Pensions, Health Insurance

Credit Stothert with good ideas in proposing to bring police and firemen under a less costly health insurance plan which the city offers to civilian employees and for talk of future police and fire union contracts which include greater employee pension contributions.

It is too much to hope, I know, that Stothert would get off her “cut taxes” kick.  Too many politicians are not political leaders.

Leaders recognize that taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society.  Sometimes it takes better political judgment—and some political guts—to stand up and say “we need a tax increase,” whenever that increase serves the needs of the nation, a state, a school district or a city.

Final thought—for today—on Stothert’s early weeks in office:

She may be the first mayor ever to feel the need for an armed bodyguard in the mayor’s office.

Stothert appears to have made a very solid choice for her chief of staff, Marty Bilek, longtime chief deputy in the Douglas County Sheriff’s department.  Bilek has obtained a permit to carry a concealed weapon.  He will be carrying a hand gun with which he is familiar.

And we are assured that Bilek will buy his own bullets—an assurance better left unsaid, I would think.

If Stothert feels she needs a bodyguard, I have no problem with giving her chief of staff that additional responsibility.  And, as an Omaha taxpayer, I would be perfectly willing to pay my share of the cost of the bullets for the concealed weapon which her chief of staff/bodyguard will be carrying.

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Today An On-Line Sports Section;
Test Your Knowledge Of Golf History

Since another form of printed word delivery of the news, the daily newspaper, offers a sports section, why shouldn’t my electronic version?  I don’t intend to do this every week—or every other week—but from time to time when it seems to me I have accumulated enough sports-related items to be of interest to those who like to read sports news.  Herewith such an offering:

Phil Mickelson’s recent victory in the British Open (or simply “The Open” as the somewhat egocentric Brits prefer to call it) produced some interesting speculation and at least one of those headlines which could be interpreted in two ways.

The victory represented Mickelson’s capturing his first British Open championship in the third of the four majors which are generally described as the “Grand Slam” of golf. Mickelson has now won the Masters, the PGA and the British Open but not the U.S. Open.  His win in Great Britain produced this headline in one newspaper:  “No more missing link.”

Accurate only if you consider that the British Open was no longer a missing link in Mickelson’s hunt for the four-championship Grand Slam.  But misleading if you consider that there still is a missing link.  Mickelson will have a chance to turn the headline into unquestioned accuracy in the U.S. Open tournament in 2014 at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, North Carolina.  If he wins there, there will truly be “no more missing link” in Phil’s pursuit of the Grand Slam.

Test Your Golf ‘Grand Slam’ Knowledge

Speaking of the Grand Slam, only five golfers have achieved it.  Mickelson would, of course, be the sixth.  For a golfing knowledge quiz, see if you can name the five who have achieved that distinction.  The answer is a bit farther down in the column.

What if Andy Murray, a Scotsman through and through, had failed to win the recent British Open tennis tournament?  Would the English people—and English press—consider this the failure of a Scotsman to come through for the English and the rest of Great Britain?

But Murray won, and the English were perfectly delighted to claim him as British, ending the drought which had existed since 1938 when an Englishman, Fred Perry, was the last Brit, either English or Scottish, to win the British Open.

It’s pretty well known that a great many Scotsmen are reluctant members of the kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  The movement to make Scotland a free and independent country continues.

But to his credit, Murray accepted the cheers of the English—and the especially the enthusiastic cheers of his fellow Scots—with very good grace, never publicly pointing out that it was a Scot, not an Englishman, who won the tournament which has long been considered the property of the Wimbledon Club, a very English establishment.

Fifth Grand Slam Winner May Stump You

Let’s turn now to the answer to the question of the name of the five golfers who, in the many years of great golfers playing great rounds in the Big Four Grand Slam tournaments, are the only ones who have managed to win a championship in each of those tournaments— Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA.

Four Grand Slam champions might come fairly quickly to mind:  Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player and Ben Hogan, who completed his Grand Slam victory list in the 1953 British Open after recovering from very serious injuries suffered in a car accident.

The fifth Grand Slam champion is toughest to identify:  Gene Sarazen, who completed his Grand Slam with his historic victory in the 1935 Masters, where a double eagle on No. 15 tied him for the lead with Craig Wood and put him into a championship playoff the next day—a playoff which he won.

* * *

Shocking Murder Didn’t ‘Fracture’ Omaha
But Underscores Illegal Immigrant Problem

The headline on the editorial read:  “A community shattered.”

The editorial was prompted by the shocking story of a 93-year-old woman being assaulted and raped in her home—an attack from which she died—by a drunken illegal immigrant.  He had once been sent back to Mexico but subsequently returned and had been living here about two months when he allegedly committed the horrible crime.

Horrible crime indeed, but hardly one that “shattered” the Omaha community.  It did, however, prompt me to look again at some statistics which indicate the impact of the presence of immigrants, legal and illegal, in our community.  Consider the figures:

In a recent fiscal year, 7,612 persons involved in legal proceedings in our community—not all of them criminal proceedings, of course—needed the serves of an interpreter.  Of that total involving 28 foreign languages, 90.7%–or 7,476 persons—required the services of a Spanish interpreter.

As I see it, those numbers not only point to the problem of Hispanic immigrants—many of them illegal—being involved in an increasing number of criminal proceedings in Omaha but to the major problem of dealing with the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in this country.

We are nibbling at a solution to that problem, which may indeed be unsolvable because of its enormity.  The best answer may be simply to accommodate the illegal immigrants in some fashion—which is what we are really doing now—until they have died out and their children can become American-educated, English speaking residents who would logically be better candidates for citizenship.

Such a solution, of course, would depend very heavily on making the United States/Mexican border much less porous.  If we don’t do this—effectively cut off a very high percentage of illegal immigration—we run the risk of this country playing de facto host to a sort of “Mexico del Norte.”

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