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

Gold Coins: The Mystery of the Double Eagle

The hunt for rare 1933 Double Eagle coins:

The U.S. Secret Service, responsible for protecting the nation’s currency, has been pursuing them for nearly 70 years, through 13 Administrations and 12 different directors. The investigation has spanned three continents and involved some of the most famous coin collectors in the world, a confidential informant, a playboy king, and a sting operation at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. It has inspired two novels, two nonfiction books, and a television documentary. And much of it has centered around a coin dealer, dead since 1990, whose shop is still open in South Philadelphia, run by his 82-year-old daughter.

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.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

The story of Attila Ambrus, who was released from jail this morning in Hungary. Nicknamed the Whiskey Robber because witnesses always spotted him having a double across the street prior to his heists, Ambrus only stole from state-owned banks and post offices, becoming a Hungarian folk hero during his seven years on the lam. While on his spree he was also the goaltender for Budapest’s best-known hockey team and was arguably the worst pro goalie ever to play the sport, once giving up 23 goals in a single game.

Excerpted from Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts.