Political correctness and incompetence often embrace each other. That was made clear in the Atlanta courthouse shooting. Brian Nichols proved to be a lot smarter than his captors, not to mention a quicker and better shot.
Political correctness and incompetence example No. 1 is the rule that prisoners must not be shackled lest it prejudice the jury. Luckily, the jurors weren't present, but if they had been, watching a prisoner shoot a judge and a court reporter would certainly be more prejudicial than seeing him in handcuffs. I expect even the incompetent people in Fulton County will change that rule.
Political correctness and incompetence example No. 2 is assigning a female deputy to escort an unshackled prisoner to the courtroom. Feminism is an ideology, not a description of reality. A 51-year-old, 5-foot-tall female was no match for a 6-foot-1-inch former college linebacker. He attacked her and took her gun. What in God's name would anyone expect to happen?
For a little bit of history, most law-enforcement agencies used to have height and weight requirements for male officers. Then a federal judge decided that that was treating women unequally. Feminist ideology dictates that women 5 feet, 1 inch tall or so and 115 pounds can wrestle 200-pound men equally as well as male officers. That, of course, is nuts, but this country became an open-air insane asylum during the 1960s. God shorted women on upper-body strength. Guess he's a male chauvinist pig.
Incompetence example No. 3 is that the initial assault on the female deputy was caught on security cameras. Trouble is, nobody was monitoring them, or if someone was, the person hid under his or her desk. Unmonitored security cameras are — how shall we say it — a stupid waste of money.
Nichols — and bear in mind in lawyerspeak that these are all allegations, since he has not been legally convicted of anything — went on to kill another deputy and pistol-whip a reporter in a parking garage, stealing his car.
Incompetence example No. 4 is that the police spent 13 hours looking for this car, when all the time it was parked on a lower floor in the same parking garage. As I said, Nichols is smarter than his captors and pursuers. He had intended to take the reporter as a hostage, but when the reporter escaped, he knew that everyone would have a description of the car. Ergo, he went to lower floor, parked the car and took the subway.
Incompetence example No. 5 is that they locked down the courthouse after it was all over, but failed to guard the subway. Even after 13 hours, Atlanta's finest had not discovered the car they were searching for. A civilian did that. And another civilian, whose life might be ruined by excessive media attention, talked Nichols into peacefully surrendering after he took her hostage.
Nichols is also thought to have killed a U.S. Customs agent, so, excluding the judge and the court reporter, the score was Nichols 3, and armed, presumably trained and equipped law-enforcement officers 0.
So, it was a civilian who found the car and a civilian who brought the episode to a peaceful conclusion. Perhaps Atlanta doesn't need its oh-so-politically correct police and sheriff's departments, which acted more like the Keystone Cops than trained professionals.
My advice is to stay clear of Atlanta. It is overcrowded and incompetently governed, and its urban sprawl is spreading like a cancer all over North Georgia. Pretty soon, north- and southbound travelers will have to detour through Alabama and South Carolina just to avoid Atlanta's traffic jams. Air travelers already know what a horror the airport is.
Political correctness should have no place in America. It is always costly to allow politics to trump reality, and, as in Atlanta, the results can be tragic. Look at the ruined lives that political correctness and plain old stupidity caused. Even after the carnage, as of this writing, Fulton County authorities haven't decided what crimes to charge Nichols with. How about murder? It shouldn't take too many brain cells to figure that out.
March 19, 2005
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.
© 2005 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.