Report on Texas Tower Shooting

The noon chimes in the bell-clock tower rising above him to the building's 307-foot pinnacle sounded: pom-pom-pom-pom . . . 16 notes, high and sweet. Some say the chimes say a poem: "Lord, through this hour "Be Thou my guide, "For in Thy power "I do confide." After the chimes, there is a long pause -- 23 seconds if you hold a wristwatch on it -- time enough for a practiced man to reload three rifles and a shotgun.

“Doc” Quigg’s wire report on the 1966 Texas Tower shooting on the campus of UT-Austin.

Jail Break

In an odd way, crime has fallen off the political landscape. To an extent it's been replaced on the agenda by concern about the dire consequences of mass incarceration. But violent crime itself remains a major area in which the United States lags behind other developed countries. To suggest that smarter management of the criminal justice system could make it less brutal while simultaneously creating large reductions in the quantity of crime sounds utopian. And yet the proposals for parole system reform found in this article are utterly convincing.

-M. Yglesias

Broken Windows

The landmark article that changed the way communities were policed:

This wish to "decriminalize" disreputable behavior that "harms no one"- and thus remove the ultimate sanction the police can employ to maintain neighborhood order—is, we think, a mistake. Arresting a single drunk or a single vagrant who has harmed no identifiable person seems unjust, and in a sense it is. But failing to do anything about a score of drunks or a hundred vagrants may destroy an entire community. A particular rule that seems to make sense in the individual case makes no sense when it is made a universal rule and applied to all cases. It makes no sense because it fails to take into account the connection between one broken window left untended and a thousand broken windows.

The Wrath of Putin

Putin v. Khodorkovsky:

Almost a decade ago, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, then the owner of the Yukos Oil Company and Russia’s richest man, completely miscalculated the consequences of standing up to Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s president. Putin had Khodorkovsky arrested, completely miscalculating the consequences of putting him in prison. During his eight years in confinement, Khodorkovsky has become Russia’s most trusted public figure and Putin’s biggest political liability. As long as Putin rules Russia and Khodorkovsky continues to act like Khodorkovsky, Khodorkovsky will remain in prison—and Putin will remain terrified of him.

The Deadliest Place In Mexico

Murder in the Juarez Valley:

A few weeks after Saul Reyes and his family fled Mexico, I drove to an immigrant shelter in downtown El Paso to see him. As the former city secretary of Guadalupe, Saul had once been in charge of recording the births and deaths of everyone in his hometown. He’d taken it upon himself now to collect every single name of those who had died or disappeared in Guadalupe since the killing began in 2008. Through media reports and meetings with the many valley exiles now living in Texas, Saul had compiled a list of the town’s dead and disappeared. Showing me the book, he turned page after page of names. So far he had counted 180 dead, 26 disappeared, and eight unknown bodies dumped in his small town of 3,000 people. “There are a lot more, but these are the ones I’ve been able to collect,” he said. In his careful, spidery script, he had written on one page the names of his six family members.

Nubia: the Life, Death of an Abused Child

Jorge and Carmen Barahona are awaiting trial. Both are charged with murder. The Department of Children & Families, which received numerous calls about Nubia to its child abuse hot line but did not protect her, has been flagellated for failure to do its job. That is the story of Nubia Barahona’s death. This — from voluminous court records, audio recordings, hundreds of family photos released by prosecutors, interviews and DCF documents — is the story of her life.

The Mysterious Mr. Zedzed: The Wickedest Man in the World

Few men have acquired so scandalous a reputation as did Basil Zaharoff, alias Count Zacharoff, alias Prince Zacharias Basileus Zacharoff, known to his intimates as “Zedzed.” Born in Anatolia, then part of the Ottoman Empire, perhaps in 1849, Zaharoff was a brothel tout, bigamist and arsonist, a benefactor of great universities and an intimate of royalty who reached his peak of infamy as an international arms dealer -- a “merchant of death,” as his many enemies preferred it.

Sixteen-year-old Tara Perry followed her man into crime and madness

Three months before it all started, she'd been a shy sophomore at Aurora Central High School, a member of the soccer and speech teams. Then Randy Miller had come out of prison and back into her world. A 22-year-old former child prostitute and drug dealer, Miller had promised to take her away from a tumultuous and painful home life. But the journey he had in mind led downward, into a terrifying series of home invasions and armed robberies and, finally, a few hours after the King Soopers stickup, to a standoff with state troopers in a small Kansas town.

Animals

The night when Terry Thompson let his zoo-worthy collection of big animals, including lions and a bear, into the wilds of Zanesville, Ohio before shooting himself in the head.