There is no hell quite like living with a crazy, menacing neighbor. Maybe the most sensible thing we can do about this type of gun threat is to allow something like a grand jury panel to assess confidential complaints and testimony, and render a decision whether someone has forfeited the right to their weapons. (Here in Philly, they can take your car if you’re driving without insurance. You think people are emotionally attached to their guns? Watch what happens when you take their wheels!) Of course, the hard part is getting them to give up their guns, but better to have the cops and a mental health team deal with a volatile situation than the neighbors.
I mean, look at this guy. He beat a dog to death with a pipe? He shot at his neighbors over a speed bump? Clearly out of control. There needs to be a more timely solution than a distant court hearing. There should be at least an interim surrender of weapons for anyone charged with violence or a gun crime. Maybe this school bus driver would be alive right now:
The retired Alabama trucker who shot a school bus driver and is now holding a kindergarten student in an underground bunker was scheduled to be in court Wednesday to answer for allegedly shooting at his neighbors in a dispute over a damaged speed bump.
Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, has been holed up in a 6 by 8 foot bunker 4 feet underground with a 5-year-old autistic boy named Ethan since Tuesday, when he boarded a school bus and asked for two 6 to 8 year old boys. School bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was shot several times by Dykes, and died trying to protect the children.
Police said that they do not think that Dykes had any connection to Ethan, and that SWAT teams and police are negotiating with Dykes.
“I could tell you that negotiators continue to communicate with the suspect and that there’s no reason to believe the child has been harmed,” Sheriff Wally Olson said late Thursday.
Dykes’ neighbor Claudia Davis told The Associated Press that he had yelled at her and fired his gun at her, her son James Davis, Jr. and her baby grandson after he claimed their truck caused damage to a speed bump in the dirt road near his property. No one was hurt, but Davis, Jr. told the AP that he believes the shooting and kidnapping are connected to the scheduled court hearing.
“I believe he thought I was going to be in court and he was going to get more charges than the menacing, which he deserved, and he had a bunch of stuff to hide and that’s why he did it,” he said.
This was not Dykes’ only run-in with people in the neighborhood, where he had come to be known as a menacing figure. Neighbor Ronda Wilbur told the AP that Dykes beat her 120-pound dog with a lead pipe when it entered the side of the dirt rode his trailer sits on. Wilbur said her dog died a week later.
Early last year, two pit bulls belonging to neighbors Mike and Patricia Smith escaped and got into his yard. Patricia Smith said that Dykes threatened to shoot her children when they went to retrieve them.