Sunday, January 30, 2005


Derailed, part 2

Yesterday it took an extra ten minutes to make it up to the office, because all of the news crews were surrounding the courthouse due to the fact that the man responsible for 11 deaths and over 180 injuries via high speed rail train was brought to court to enter his plea. I covered this a few days ago, and initially thought it would be handled in one of the branch Superior Courts, such as Glendale, but it did end up coming down for us to prosecute in our neck of the woods, most likely due to the fact that it's such a high-profile case. Anyway, I find it hard to believe that anyone has sympathy for this guy. Of course, I didn't consider the fact that the Los Angeles Times was bound to write a front page story about what a nice guy he is.
Reyna Barcena invited Juan Manuel Alvarez to spaghetti dinner Tuesday night.

He showed up the next morning, covered in blood, mumbling: "I'm sorry. A lot of dead people. A lot of people's dead. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it."

"I didn't know what he was talking about," Barcena said.

Alvarez was crouched on her doorstep in Atwater Village, several blocks north of where rescuers had begun pulling the dead and injured from the trains mangled in Wednesday's crash. He was stabbing himself and making apologies for the people who had died. As he spoke, blood came out his mouth.

"He had no strength," she said. "The little strength he had, he kept poking himself in the chest over the heart."

Alvarez, accused of killing 11 people and injuring more than 180 when he parked his Jeep Grand Cherokee in front of a Metrolink train, appeared Friday bandaged and shackled in court, where his arraignment was postponed. He has been under suicide watch at County-USC Medical Center since the crash.

I want to remind you of the fact that 11 people are dead, including an LA County Sheriffs' Deputy, and more than 180 people are injured because he parked his Jeep Cherokee on a set of train tracks that commute thousands of people to and from Los Angeles on a daily basis. Why did he do it? Because he wanted to kill himself, only to chicken-out at the last minute. I'll explain the legal ramifications of this later, but first we have take a look at this. Here comes the typical liberal mentality of trying to personify a very bad people, in a move to mitigate what he did.

"I'm 52 years old and I have seen a lot of children in this life," Barcena said. "I think he was just troubled. He was alone. He didn't mean to cause what he caused. He was trying to commit suicide and he kills innocent people. He didn't plan it. It just happened. Unfortunately, he didn't die."

As the paramedics drove Alvarez to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, Barcena went to check the duplex where he was staying. Below a broken kitchen window, Barcena found a Spanish-language Bible.

Barcena believes that Alvarez went to the duplex after the crash, Bible in hand. With his keys somewhere at the crash site, he broke into the duplex.

Inside, Alvarez left a sleeping bag, a blanket and a pillow, a black suitcase on rollers, a candle in a glass with a prayer to the Virgin of Guadalupe and a CD of Mexican ranchero duets.

He had the book "The First Book of the Aztecs," belonging to Garfield High School, which he attended briefly after transferring from Roosevelt High in the late 1990s.

He also had a an English-language Bible. It has a handwritten notation on one of the first pages: Matthew 5: 22-25 — passages that warn of God's judgment against those who lash out in anger.

It reads in part: "Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

"Inside the Bible were photographs that appeared to be Alvarez in Aztec garb. Police later took a large serape drenched in paint thinner.

"That kid struggled the whole night with whether to commit suicide,"
Barcena said. "He believed in God. He had the Bible with him there. He had been reading it. My opinion is he was struggling not to kill himself."

Can you believe this? Let's take a look at the facts: Alvarez knew that if he parked his Jeep on the train tracks, he would be killed when the trains hit his truck. We can all agree on that. Knowing that, he also realized that by hitting his truck, the train would sustain damage. This isn't a nice guy we're dealing with. He tried to kill himself, and take others with him for the ride. Instead, not in a moment of clarity that made him realize the truth of the matter, but in a moment of fear, he jumped out of the Jeep and made it far enough away from the tracks as not to die, but killing 11 and injuring 180+ on the trains that were derailed.

I'm calling for the death penalty. This isn't a case of someone swirving out of control because of a wet road, and flying into a daycare. This isn't a case of a plane losing altitude and plowing into a house. This is a case of someone trying to kill himself with absolutely no regard to the human lives that are damaged because of his selfish actions. Alvarez knew something bad would happen to the train if it hit his Jeep, but, he was under the assumption that he would be dead when that happened and not have to face the legal consequences of his actions. But, he's still alive, and there is no way in the world I'm going to allow these bleeding-heart liberals to mitigate any factors in this case to serve their agenda, that agenda being that people should not be held responsible to their actions.

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