by Max Brantley
The shootings of West Memphis law officers in a gun battle with an anti-government figure is much in the news in Sunday papers. The New York Times visits West Memphis, a city in grief.
The Commercial Appeal writes about fresh warnings to police about dangerous elements in the community and potential for retailiation against police for deaths of people like Jerry Kane. It also reports:
Coincidentally, the sheriff in Clark County, Ohio, issued a similar warning to his officers in 2004 — specifically aimed at Jerry Kane.
Sheriff Gene Kelly issued the warning after encountering Kane, whom he described as a short-fused man who was "anti-authority, anti-rules."
"(He) just had this air about him that you knew some police officer was going to pull him over for a violation of a fishing license, and there would be some sort of confrontation. ... I'm disheartened, shocked, dismayed. You always hope it would never come to this."
... Kelly said he encountered Kane when he came to the sheriff's office to complain about a judge who had sentenced him to community service for a traffic offense.
Kane was confrontational from the start, Kelly said, describing him as "ready to explode." Kane called himself a "free man" and said he did not need a driver's license or to wear his seatbelt.
"He didn't cross the line or threaten to do bodily harm to the judge, but he was at the line the entire time," Kelly said.
Kane brought with him to the meeting his then-9-year-old son Joseph, who carried an authentic-looking toy gun. The elder Kane told the sheriff that the boy carried it with him at all times and then told his son to recite sections of the U.S. Constitution.