Moms Demand Action: The Tragic Story of Donald Maiden Jr.: An American Tale of Gun Violence


By Jueseppi B.



The Tragic Story of Donald Maiden Jr.: An American Tale of Gun Violence


By Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America via Huffington Post





On Sept. 3, just a few days after Donald Maiden Jr.’s 8th birthday, he was playing tag outside his apartment building when a 46-year-old stranger walked up and shot him in the face. When police asked accused Brian Cloninger, who is white, why he shot Donald, who is black, he said, “Because I wanted to.”


At the time of the shooting, Cloninger was serving a 15-month probationary sentence for a DWI. He had also been charged with drunk driving in Florida in 2002. Cloninger was not allowed to drink alcohol while on probation, but police found a beer can in his truck after the alleged shooting.


That Cloninger was able to procure a gun despite his criminal history is shocking enough but, unbelievably, the story gets worse. Police refused to charge Cloninger with attempted murder, despite Donald’s family’s plea that they do so. And then, last week, the judge overseeing the case inexplicably reduced Cloninger’s bail from $2.2 million to $1 million.


As a mother and an American, this horrific crime and subsequent acts of injustice make me weep — for Donald’s mother and family, for other American children who are senselessly victimized by gun violence, and for my country, which has lost its moral compass when it comes to guns.


How is it possible that such a crime could occur in America in 2013? What kind of a nation enables and allows such heinous acts against children? And why are so few media covering Donald’s shocking story?


Despite our status as one of the most developed nations in the world, gun violence against children has become an everyday occurrence in our country. One American child or teen is shot and killed every 3 hours and 15 minutes. Twice as many children die from gun violence than from cancer. American children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from guns than their peers in other developed countries, and gun violence is the leading cause of death for African American children, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.


Yet our legislators, who are elected to protect their most vulnerable constituents, sit idly by, kowtowing to a vengeful gun lobby. A man who is accused of and has admitted to a crime unparalleled in depravity is being given leniency from the court. And the media, seemingly numb and indifferent to endless reports of gun violence, ignore a story that every American should hear.


Our grassroots movement, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, is doing what it can to bring awareness to Donald’s story. We have started a petition demanding the Dallas County District Attorney’s office review and revoke Cloninger’s bail, and publicly demonstrate their commitment to upholding justice in Donald’s case. Members of our Texas chapter will deliver the petition to the District Attorney‘s office when it reaches 5,000 signatures.


Donald is expected to be out of the hospital by Halloween. In the past month, he has endured several surgeries to repair the damage to his face, and has many more ahead. He will likely never again have feeling in his jaw. Recently his grandmother said, “He don’t want the kids to look at his face… He says, ‘I look like a monster, granny.’ I’m like, ‘No, you don’t.'”


Donald is not a monster; it’s the man who shot him who deserves that label. Dangerous people like Cloninger not only deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but they should not have access to firearms in the first place. Until we fix these failings in our culture, our nation’s children will continue to pay the highest price.


Read the full article on


How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?


The answer to the simple question in that headline is surprisingly hard to come by. So Slate is collecting data for our crowd sourced interactive. This data is necessarily incomplete (click here to see why, and to learn more about @GunDeaths, the Twitter user who helped us create this interactive). But the more people who are paying attention, the better the data will be. You can help us draw a more complete picture of gun violence in America. If you know about a gun death in your community that isn’t represented here, please email a link to a news report to And if you’d like to use this data yourself for your own projects, it’s open. You can download it here.


Update, October 18th, 2013: As time goes on, our count gets further and further away from the likely actual number of gun deaths in America—because roughly 60 percent of deaths by gun are due to suicides, which are very rarely reported. When discussing this issue, please note that our number is by design not accurate and represents only the number of gun deaths that the media can find out about contemporaneously. Part of the purpose of this interactive is to point out how difficult it is to get accurate real-time numbers on this issue.


Using the most recent CDC estimates for yearly deaths by guns in the United States, it is likely that as of today, 10/18/2013, roughly 27,677 people have died from guns in the U.S. since the Newtown shootings. Compare that number to the number of deaths reported in the news: 9,528, and you can see how under told the story of gun violence in America actually is.










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Kaufman County Assistant DA Gunned Down In Broad Daylight Outside County Courthouse

By Jueseppi B.







From WFAA.Com Dallas/Ft. Worth:



Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Updated today at 6:09 PM

Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot dead outside the courthouse Thursday, spurring a complete lockdown of the grounds and an active search for the two shooters.


Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Pat Laney said the suspects ambushed the assistant DA on his way in to court and shot him multiple times in a parking lot at about 8:50 a.m. They then fled the scene. The courthouse was locked down and later closed for the day.


As of 3:30 p.m., there’s been no arrest. During an afternoon press conference, Kaufman County Sheriff David Burns, District Attorney Mike McLellan and Police Chief Chris Albaugh begged the public for any information that could identify those responsible.


“We’re very confident that we’re going to find you, we’re going to pull you out of whatever hole you’re in, we’re going to bring you back and we’re going to let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” McLellan said.


Hasse, a longtime prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney‘s Office and current assistant DA for Kaufman County, is the man who was shot and killed, the Sheriff’s Office confirmed. He was a felony prosecutor who headed murder and drug cases.


Hasse joined the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office in July 2010, records show.


“Mark was really a great guy, he was the consummate prosecutor, he was hard-working, loved his job, and juries loved him for some reason,” said Dallas attorney Ted Steinke, who oversaw Hasse in the Dallas County DA’s Office. “He wasn’t very large in stature, but juries loved him and he exuded confidence.”


Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood told News 8’s Jonathan Betz that he was not working on any high-profile cases that required any extra security. Investigators are following up on his caseload, however.


However, hours after Hasse was gunned down, the Department of Justice issued a release on its website crediting the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office with helping investigate two known members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang. They pleaded guilty the day of the shooting to racketeering charges.


Before the release was issued, The Dallas Morning Newscredited “authorities with knowledge of the assistant DA’s caseload” as saying he was “heavily involved” in an investigation of the Aryan Brotherhood. According to the release, Ben Christian Dillon, aka “Tuff”, of Houston, and James Marshall Meldrum, aka “Dirty”, of Dallas, both “agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics tracking” for the Aryan Brotherhood.


During the press conference, Burns and Albaugh each warned against speculation, saying they are both following “several” leads.


“Due to the nature of them, we can’t discuss them,” Albaugh said. “As soon as we’re able to, we’d be be glad to help you.”


Earlier, Wood  classified Hasse’s shooting as an “ambush” and told Betz that courthouse security is always tight, but not in the parking lot.


“It’s a scary deal,” Steinke said. “Every prosecutor every once in a while gets a death threat, and we take them seriously, but this is the first time in 20 years that I can remember here in North Texas a prosecutor actually being assaulted.”


During a press conference, Sheriff David Burns and Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said Hasse was heading to misdemeanor court when he was assaulted and gunned down.


“When you get up into the level, you are really attacking society as a whole because our whole society is based on our criminal justice system and getting our day in court,” Burns said. “This is not how to handle our business.”


The Texas Department of Public Safety sent out an alert for troopers to be on lookout for a silver “older model” Ford Taurus. According to the alert, the two suspects are wearing all black and at least one is in a tactical vest. DPS choppers are flying low over the treeline in north Kaufman.


Kaufman County Crime Stoppers issued a reward that quickly swelled to $30,000 Thursday afternoon for information leading to who is responsible. To submit an anonymous tip, you’re asked to call 817-847-7522. 


Kaufman Independent School District Superintendent Todd Williams said all schools in the district are also locked down as authorities search for the shooters. Forney ISD spokesman Larry Coker said all schools have been ordered to lock their doors until the suspects are caught. Administrators will reevaluate the plan at 2 p.m.


Forney is about 22 miles northwest of Kaufman.


“This is a crime, as our county judge said, that is against the very basis of our fabric,” McLellan said. “As far as I know, this has never been done before.”


In an email sent to staff Thursday morning, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office confirmed the victim was a prosecutor and was fatally shot.


Below is the entire email sent by the Dallas County DA:

“This message is not intended to scare anyone but please be advised. A Kaufman County prosecutor was fatally shot a few minutes ago outside the Kaufman County Courthouse in Kaufman. Two masked gunman are the suspects. They have not been apprehended yet.

Please be aware of your surroundings when leaving the building for your safety. This is probably a isolated incident but until further notice if you plan to work past dark today please be careful and ask security for assistance escorting you to your vehicles if needed. I will keep you informed as to the arrest of the suspects when i am notified. Don’t panic but please be aware of your environment when leaving the building.”


Employees at businesses nearby say they’ve seen heavy police activity and heard reports of the shooting. Cathy Coulson, a real estate agent at Re/Max across from the courthouse, said she was not at work when the shooting happened, but reported seeing police helicopters searching overhead.


“I didn’t hear anything, I came into my office right after it happened, but I talked to one of my clients that’s two blocks behind us and he said that he heard it,” Coulson said, adding that she’s seen police walking the streets. “They don’t have time to come tell us to lock down, we have enough sense to do that; we’ve seen them going around and the helicopters.”


Tonya Ratcliff, a clerk at The Kaufman County Tax Office located to the right of the courthouse, said officers came inside and asked them to lock their doors.


Kaufman is a town of 7,000 about 30 miles east of Dallas.




Investigators placed evidence markers in the spot where Kaufman County Assistant DA Mark Hasse was gunned down on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA




Texas Department of Public Safety troopers line a street in north Kaufman following a shooting at the Kaufman County Courthouse that left a assistant district attorney dead. (Marcus Moore/WFAA)




A prosecutor was shot dead outside the Kaufman County courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: Jonathan Betz/WFAA)




Kaufman County authorities gather after Assistant DA Mark Hasse was murdered outside the courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)




The Kaufman County Courthouse was shut down after Assistant DA Mark Hasse was gunned down nearby on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)




State troopers search a Kaufman neighborhood after the county’s assistant district attorney was gunned down on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)



Get The Rest of The Story & Photos at WFAA.Com Dallas/Ft. Worth.















The Proofreader Book Review; Patriot Acts: What Americans Must Do To Save The Republic By Catherine Crier

By Jueseppi B.







Publication Date: November 1, 2011



The noise from both Washington and the media is deafening, the deeds of our lawmakers alarming. America needs a break from the posturing and the politicking. We need information: how we got here and where we are headed. Catherine Crier, one of the most respected figures in television journalism, presents an incisive, unbiased analysis of America’s political crisis—delivering a message we cannot afford to ignore.


America must move beyond political parties to invest in our nation’s future. Not just with money, but with vision, wisdom, and reason. Looking back at the foundations of our country, from Adam Smith to Alexander Hamilton, from Jefferson to Roosevelt, Crier cuts through the nonsense to show what really works and doesn’t work for our nation today, including:

• The staggering disconnect between the financial health of corporations and the well-being of consumers that defies everything Adam Smith wrote about free enterprise.

• The role that government must play in regulations and job creation—and how the Republican Party’s anti-government rhetoric would appall the founders of American conservatism.

• Why our health care system is not the best in the world, but the most mismanaged and bloated, and how to change it.

• How today’s vitriolic, partisan politics are in direct opposition to the very democracy on which our country is founded.
Americans love our country deeply, and when told we’re losing it, nothing can stop us from fighting. But there seems to be a lot of confusion these days about the mission. What exactly did the Founders establish? What is now at risk, and what must be done to preserve the Republic? . . . Our Founders created a constitutional government that would protect and promote a free and diverse society. Those who argue otherwise are misleading you intentionally or are ignorant of historical facts. As a patriot, I believe that our founding principles and system of governing are not negotiable. We must recognize the difference between honest debate over policies and philosophy and those measures that skew or upend our extraordinary system for partisan advantage. Such tactics may produce short-term gains, but in the end, everyone loses. —From Patriot Acts


About the Author

An Emmy and duPont-Colombia Award-winning journalist, and the youngest state judge to ever be elected in Texas, Catherine Crier is now a managing partner in Cajole Entertainment developing television, film and documentary projects. Crier, a native of Dallas, is the New York Times bestselling author of DEADLY GAME and THE CASE AGAINST LAWYERS. She has appeared on CNN, ABC News, Fox News, and Court TV, where she has her own show, Catherine Crier Live.






An Emmy and duPont-Columbia Award-winning journalist, and the youngest state judge to ever be elected in Texas. A Dallas native, Crier earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international affairs from the University of Texas and her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University School of Law. She began her career in law in 1978 as an Assistant District Attorney then Felony Chief Prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. From 1982 to 1984, Crier was a civil litigation attorney with Riddle & Brown, handling complex business and corporate matters. In 1984, she was elected to the 162nd District Court in Dallas County, Texas as a State District Judge. Shortly after her reelection to a second term on the bench, a chance meeting with a television news executive led to a dramatic career change.

In September, 1989, Crier was hired to co-anchor the premiere evening newscast on CNN. Additionally, she co-anchored Inside Politics, all election coverage, and hosted Crier & Company, a talk show covering news, politics and international issues. Crier joined ABC News in 1993 as a correspondent on 20/20 and as a regular substitute anchor for Peter Jennings on ABC’s World News Tonight and substitute host on Nightline. Crier was awarded a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her work on the segment “The Predators” which examined nursing home abuses throughout the United States.

In October of ’96, Crier became one of the founding television anchors for the Fox News Channel, with her prime time program, The Crier Report, and co-anchored the evening news, election coverage and Fox Files. Catherine joined Court TV’s distinguished team of anchors in November 1999. She served as Executive Editor, Legal News Specials, in addition to hosting Catherine Crier Live, until joining Cajole Entertainment in 2007 as a managing partner developing television, film and documentary projects.

Crier released her first book, the NYTimes bestseller, The Case Against Lawyers in October, 2002. Her second book, A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation became a #1 NYTimes bestseller and was followed by Contempt–How the Right is Wronging American Justice, and Final Analysis: The Untold Story of the Susan Polk Murder Case. Her fifth book, Patriot Acts–What Americans Must Do to Save the Republic, will be available November 1, 2011.

Our country has so many problems combined with so many special interests. I for one have felt that the pile is just “too high.” I have felt defeated even before I start to look for solutions.

In Patriot Acts” Catherine Crier speaks plainly and with great logic. She takes us back to early decisions, walks us through the underpinnings of each issue — whether it is corporatism, tax injustice, faulty Supreme Court decisions, unenforced regulation, neutering of regulatory authority, party partisanship, personal agenda — I could go on.

By taking these issues apart, into their separate pieces, Catherine helps us to understand that , in many cases, the fix, although daunting, is rather simple — if we have the courage to demand the necessary change.

By far, for me individually, Catherine speaks to the power of the single individual that, when combined with others can become the instrument of positive change. This in itself persuades us to action.

The willful combination of Government and Big Business has evloved over time and rather than “potentially” replacing proper governance and regulatory restraint is already here.

It is now up to us to reverse the process and as Catherine says: “Instead of taking back our Government, let us take it forward.”

There’s no doubt that as 2012 dawns the United States faces numerous challenges that truly threaten its very existence as the “republic” so innovatively established by the country’s founders. The current so-called public servants in the Congress on both sides of the aisle fervently believe in the rightness of their positions, with many often making claims that their thinking most closely aligns with the true “intent of the founders.” Unlike the politicians who make these claims without a detailed understanding of what the founders were actually all about, Catherine Crier has invested the time to complete the in-depth research necessary to fully comprehend them and their intentions.

In “Patriot Acts,” Ms. Crier describes in great detail how the current state of the country is essentially incongruent with what the founders envisioned for the future of these United States. Make no mistake, however, this is NOT an anti-left or an anti-right tirade, this is a brilliantly written analysis by a true patriot who clearly loves the United States, and passionately wants it to survive (and thrive) as the republic it was founded to be. This book is a must-read for any U.S. citizen who truly cares about the future of this country. Bless your heart for writing it Ms. Crier.


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