Sunday Roast: Death, Mayhem & Gun Violence


Moscow, Idaho — May, 2007New York Times

The police said Mr. Hamilton had been drinking at a bar with another man until about 10 p.m. Saturday. Then, they believe, he went home and fatally shot his wife in the head before setting off for the courthouse carrying two semiautomatic rifles. Around 11:30 p.m., he opened fire at the building, eventually firing some 125 shots at the courthouse and at the people who responded to the scene.

Mr. Hamilton killed one responder, Officer Lee C. Newbill of the Moscow police. Officer Bill Shields was hit in the leg by bullet fragments as he went to Officer Newbill’s aid. A sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Brannon Jordan, was shot several times but was not seriously wounded and was expected to leave the hospital on Monday.

Peter Husmann, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering major at the University of Idaho, in Moscow, heard the shootings and rode his bicycle to the scene armed with a .45-caliber pistol, said his father, Sam Husmann. Peter Husmann was shot in the back, fell to the ground, and was then shot in the calf, neck and shoulder, his father said. He was in stable condition on Monday.

After the shootings at the courthouse, Mr. Hamilton entered the First Presbyterian Church, directly across the street. He had worked there as a custodian for American Building Maintenance, which had a contract with the church, and he knew the church’s sexton, Paul Bauer, Chief Duke said.

Moscow, Idaho — August, 2011,

July 14, 2011: UI requested Moscow Police participate in a threat assessment concerning the threatening behavior of Ernesto Bustamante. University investigators met with Benoit to review Bustamante’s response and notify her that they would be interviewing him on July 19. She was asked to stay somewhere other than her apartment. The Moscow Police tried to call Benoit several times, leaving messages. Benoit did not return the phone calls. Police told the university that she wasn’t calling back. The university indicated that Benoit had been referred to Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse and a safety plan had been discussed. The Moscow Police informed the UI that Benoit did not want police involved.

July 22, 2011: University called Benoit to ask her where she would be staying until the start of school. She said she would be in Moscow. They encouraged her to take safety precautions and contact Moscow Police Department if she felt the need.

August 19. She was warned to be vigilant and call police if she had any safety concerns.

August 22, 2011: Katy was shot outside her home at 8:40 p.m.

August 23, 2011: Moscow Police find Ernesto Bustamante dead in a hotel room at the University Inn-Best Western.

Moscow, Idaho — January 10, 2015,

Police say they first responded to a call of a shooting at around 2:30 p.m. at the Northwest Mutual on E. Third Street. Police say the two victims at the first reported shooting were 76-year-old David Trail and 39-year-old Michael Chin of Seattle. Trail, a Moscow businessman, was taken to Pullman Regional Hospital where he was declared dead. Chin was taken to Gritman Medical Center and is currently in critical condition.

Minutes after the first incident, police say a second shooting was reported at an Arby’s restaurant on Peterson Drive. Police say Lee entered the restaurant and asked for the manager. When the manager, 47-year-old Belinda Niebuhr, came forward Lee reportedly opened fire. Niebuhr was declared dead at Gritman Medical Center.

About a mile and a half away from the Arby’s, police say a fourth victim was found dead at a residence in the 400 block of Veatch Street. The fourth victim, 61-year-old Terri Grzebielski, is reportedly the suspect’s adoptive mother. Police say Grzebielski was a physician’s assistant at Moscow Family Medicine.

You may be asking yourself what is the significance of posting these three items about gun violence in one small town in America, so I’ll tell you:  These are stories of suicidal rage, mental illness, murder, blood, obsession, fear, and a gun sickness in this country, the “cure” for which seems to be more and more guns — and, consequently, more and more gun violence.

The significance to me is the fact that, in each of the above stories, I knew one of the dead:

Crystal Hamilton died a bloody death by gun violence by the hand of her husband.  She was the head custodian at the Latah County Courthouse, and was a lovely young woman.  She always had a smile for everyone.

Ernesto Bustamante died a bloody death by gun violence by his own hand, after having become a murderer.  He was my psych research professor — my favorite professor — and he was gorgeous, with his long, shiny black hair, devastating smile, and ironic sense of humor.  He was an occasional chatting partner in my peer advising office in the psych department, and he murdered a promising young grad student, Katy Benoit.

Yesterday, Terri Grzebielski died a bloody death by gun violence by the hand of her adopted son.  She was a physician’s assistant in the University of Idaho Student Health Department, and was my PA for the four years I attended the U of I.  She was an amazing woman:  Very tall, very thin, full of energy, ready smile, and she truly cared about her patients.

In addition to these people, a childhood friend’s sister was killed with a gun, and her murder was never solved; my former mother-in-law’s boss was murdered by his crazed daughter-in-law; and the husband of a dear friend died as a result of a gun accident.

This is fucking excessive, people!  Does everyone know this many people who’ve died by gun violence?

I don’t know the solution to the gun sickness in this country, other than collecting all the guns and melting them into plowshares, but we all know that will never happen.  One feasible solution is strict regulations placed on guns and gun owners, but that would take political integrity and honor, and that exists in very small amounts in this country.

I’m sick to death of gun violence in this country, and I’m SO fucking done with “gun rights” being more important than human lives.

This is our daily open thread — Fuck you, trolls.

48 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: Death, Mayhem & Gun Violence

  1. You get killed just for living.

    Lives don’t seem to matter here in America. It has been two years since the murder of young children at Sandy Hook, the effen NRA and their ilk won’t even discuss the matter of gun control.
    Rescind the Second Amendment, NOW!

  2. I saw the report of yesterday’s shooting last night. Knowing you used to live there made me pay closer attention than I might have otherwise. I’m sorry this happened to someone you knew and liked.

  3. Zooey, I’m sorry you had to hear about another person you knew succumbing to gun violence. Something the ammosexuals will never understand is that the very term “gun violence” is redundant. There is no such thing as “gun calm.” When guns are used as intended, someone or something dies.

    As a nation, and as caring Liberals (a term I’m proud to be able to call myself), we need to help educate people about how the NRA has been taken over by mentally ill people with no regard for their own organization’s history or purpose for existing. They exist to promote gun safety and training, and that’s wonderful, so long as they stick to that.. It is not their place to be an advocate for the gun manufacturing industry, but that is exactly what they have become. It IS their place to help train people to safely use whatever guns the country decides ordinary people can have. And ordinary people would say there is no reason to have an assault weapon, or any military-style long-barreled gun. (I don’t know enough about the damn deadly things to accurately classify them.) If the NRA membership needs any convincing, they merely have to look at quotes from previous NRA honchos, the ones who ran it prior to LaPierre’s ilk taking over a couple of decades ago.

  4. In late September 2012, one of the first posts I put up here on The Zoo was titled Rewrite the Second Amendment. A few days short of two years ago, I once again vented here my own feelings about guns in a Watering Hole post with title Of Geese, Guns, and Slaves. About three months later I added this one: Guns and Nuts.

    Now I know it’s hard to believe, but in the ensuing months and years since those posts appeared online, Congress has not taken a single action to control the country’s gun insanity; the only thing its members have found the time to do on the matter is to kiss the NRA’s dirty ass. Meanwhile (and I’ve lost count, the media has pretty much stopped reporting the numbers) I’m guessing that some 60-80 thousand people have been killed by virtue of the idiocy embedded in the second amendment, idiocy supported (even enhanced) by earlier Supreme Court stupidity.

    I don’t think this country will ever muster the courage to find and promote a solution. Too many Americans erroneously equate guns with freedom, and when stupidity rules as it has for generations in this country, positive change stands even lower on the totem pole of possibility than does freedom itself.

    Meanwhile, Congress, the NRA, and gun nuts everywhere will continue to support domestic terrorism so long as it’s done by white guys with guns, at which point terrorism and freedom are exactly the same. It’s in the Constitution, after all.

  5. Jeebus, Zooey, that’s awful that you knew so many of the victims. Is Moscow that small a town–and is everyone there crazy?

    I’ve only personally known two people from our home town of Brewster who died by gun ‘violence.’ A childhood friend of my brother’s who also grew up in our development committed suicide by gun (I can still hear my brother saying in shock “I didn’t even know Kevin HAD a gun”) – I don’t think he was more than 25 years old. The other incident got a lot more notice back in the day (early ’70s): a guy who at one time lived down the street from me, and to whom my former friend was at one point engaged, was executed by the Hells Angels in retaliation for hitting and killing one of the motorcycle gang’s members in a car accident. I think that’s about the worst violence that Brewster has ever seen, before or since.

    • Thanks, Jane — and all my Zoosters. 🙂

      Moscow has about 25K population, and not all of them are crazy, but, apparently, enough of them are.

      Too many guns, not enough education (gun or otherwise), and little to no mental health care available. Idaho has always had a suicide problem, especially among the young people, but now they’re taking people with them.

  6. What could possibly go wrong?

    More Guns: The Cure-All?

    America’s Provocateurs Are at the Mercy of the Barbarians

    The most likely targets of Islamist wrath are in the cities with the most restrictive gun laws. . . .

    Had Charlie Hebdo been an American publication, it would most likely have been located in Brooklyn or in Silver Lake or in Columbia Heights — positioned, in other words, in precisely the sort of place in which attacks on its employees would have been most likely to succeed.

    Clearly. The solution to gun violence by brown guys is for all white guys to have a gun.

    Amurka: Land of Teh Stupid. Q.E..D.

  7. I have witnessed two gun murders, one of a person I knew well, one of a stranger. In neither situation would it have helped for me to have had a gun myself. This shit is just stupid. Owning a gun should at minimum require the same responsibility we demand of those who own cars.

    • I completely agree. But I would say their counter-argument would simply be that there is no constitutional right to own a car. How that proves their point is beyond me. All constitutional rights are protected by laws Congress writes to enforce them. All NRA members, including their mentally ill leadership, would agree that the Second Amendment does not give you the right to own nuclear weapons. What they refuse to acknowledge is the next logical step: That there are limits to what kinds of weapons you can own. This cognitive dissonance is at the heart of our gun problem. Gun nuts agree that you can’t own every type of weapon that exists, but they refuse to acknowledge that there are limits to what kind of guns you can own. And THAT is why the gun situation in this country is so crazy.

    • People need to attend a course in firearms safety before they are allowed to shoot at a gun range. Once they have shown a proficiency with a particular type of firearm they need to pass a written test on the use and storage of said firearm and they must obtain firearm owners’ insurance for that particular firearm. A licence and insurance must be maintained for each weapon owned. Licence requirements and insurance coverage will require increased proficiency and increased insurance coverage according to caliber and bullet capacity.

  8. Just finished watching a streamed Frontline show from January 6 2015 called “Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA.” It’s very well done, and summarizes quite effectively the gun dilemma we face in this country; also included are identifying exposures of many of the idiots that support said dilemma, and who refuse supporting any solution no matter how meager. I recommend finding and taking the time to watch it from start to finish; it does not disappoint.

    • We can afford a lot more programs to help the rich, though, right? Tax breaks, tax rate reduction, subsidies — all to help the nation create jobs and become prosperous, right?

      Yeah, uh huh.

      • The wealthy aren’t interested in creating jobs here, because there’s no upside to making things to sell here. It’s more lucrative to play the big casino on Wall Street, and more fun too.

        The tax rates for sit-on-your-ass income should be much higher than the get-out-and-make-products income.

        • I’d like to see a return to the 1959 tax rate on all incomes over a million $, including investment income from anywhere outside the fifty states. That should balance the budget and pay down some of the deficit, plus finance more assistance to those who need it. Hold your ears if it happens though because screaming.

  9. I want to thank Chris Christie for being a Cowboys fan. I wouldn’t have enjoyed Green Bay winning nearly as much! 😀

    • (there is no one in my family, who follow ‘hand and egg’/football, that cheers for the Cowboys – especially when GB plays)

        • There wasn’t anything wrong with being a Cowboys fan, until Jones bought the team, and fired Tom Landry and Tex Schramm.
          We pulled for the Cowboys because Lee Roy Jordan played for them, just like we pulled for Bart Starr at Green Bay, Kenny Stabler at Oakland, and Joe Namath at the Jets. The common denominator? They all played for Alabama.

          • I never cared for them because they were from Texas. There was a spell, though, when I ignored the Texas part. It was when Danny White was their quarterback. He was an alum from ASU, my alma mater, and I remember well his success there in the early seventies. Other than that, booo Dallas! As for me, I gave up on pro and college sports more than 15 years ago; they got boring. Still, was glad to see that his association with Dallas didn’t work for Christie. The sooner that buttcake disappears, the better, and if his being a Dallas fan helps speed the process, I say go with Dallas Christie!

        • Being in our office football pool is tough when I personally hate a particular team, but if I want to win I have to ‘root’ for them. My ‘hate’ list63++++++++++++++++++++++++++++SQUIGGY! (Deep breath) My ‘hate’ list used to be Miami, Dallas, and Oakland. When Philadelphia took Michael Vick back, they got added to the list. Then my idiot Jets had to go and get Vick, and Sanchez went to the Eagles, so I had to take Philly back OFF the list, and boycotted any of the Jets games in which Vick played. What a stressful season!

  10. The 2nd Amendment, along with much of the Constitution will get re-written. It is as inevitable as the massive civil uprising to which we are heading.

    • I like your comment to my post on Sept 29 2012 (Rewrite the Second Amendment) where you said:

      Now, on to re-writing the 2nd Amendment:

      A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of State’s Militias to eat prunes shall not be infringed.


  11. Hello, just reading this post….. gun violence is so impersonal until you know someone who dies this way…. :-((( I hope I never know what you have now known…. I’m sorry.

  12. For reasons that have not yet been made clear to me, The New York Daily News favorited my reply. I’m guessing it was an automatic thing. Or maybe the Conservative rag will reply to me.

      • I figured out the reason. I’ve gotten all kinds of replies from deranged, obnoxious right-wingers. I’ve ignored some, muted others, blocked a couple, and explained why I bought it for my 80-yr-old mom who lives in her own apartment (not me in her basement.)

    • Wayne, there were mainly European leaders there, it is, after all a very European situation for many reasons. Some African Leaders came, too. Mostly from former French colonies. So if anybody from the US was needed, why didn’t Bobby Jindal go?

      Netanyahu showed up, because in March there will be elections and his right-wing rivals went. Abbas showed up. Hamas has denounced the terror attacks.

      Very importantly, the brothers who attacked Charlie Hebdo have been known before and have suggested the Abu Ghraib scandal was their motivation for joining the jihadists.

      Lastly, if Obama had gone, the Right would have blasted him for hypocrisy, because, according to them, his ‘feckless’ foreign policy is responsible for the terror.

      He’s damned if he does, he’s damned if he doesn’t.

      PS: what frugal said 😉

  13. I’m at a loss for words. While we are experiencing terrorist attacks and three million march in France and then some in other countries, too, there is this daily horror in your country which nobody takes to the streets in protest of.

    The Streets of Washington should be swarming with people.

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