No one in modern America becomes a criminal because he needs a crust of bread, like Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean, or because honest enterprise is too narrow to contain his genius, like Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Moriarty. Nor do they turn to crime because guns are too easily available.
At least that’s what Weapons Man says while looking at the recent New York gun-running indictment:
Let’s take a wander through a subset of the fine fellows listed on this indictment, seeing as how they’re suddenly in trouble with the law. If they are upstanding folks corrupted by the easy availability of guns, the Mayor is probably right about the causes of crime. If they are career gangbangers and hardened prestoopniks, then we are probably right.
If the accused were all New Yorkers it would be very hard to gain any information on them; New York law favors criminals over victims and the public. Fortunately, the accused in the case are not all from New York; one is a Maryland citizen and some are from the Carolinas. There were separate SC and NC source rings, as well as the NY distribution ring. North Carolina in particular makes finding offender records easy. Just go to the search page. So we did. and we’ll make the NC defendants the experimental population. The accused are mostly young men and women (20 to 29 years old). What are the odds they have a criminal record so soon?
Pretty good, it turns out. Damn near unity.
The NC ring or “Walker Conspiracy” involved Walter Walker, who traveled from NC to NY with guns, and two rings of co-conspirators: one in New York on the demand side, and one in North Carolina in the supply side. This graphic shows a précis of the conspiracy. You’re welcome to reuse it if credit is given.
Tajammal Sharief Brown is a fine fellow, surely. His mom named him after that building in Indiastan or someplace; it’s not her fault she couldn’t spell it. Taj is 20, according to his inmate record in North Carolina, and he’s got not one but ten felony convictions (and one lonely misdemeanor). They should hook a generator up to the revolving door at his prison and let his comings and goings keep the lights on. To be sure, it did take the state a while to lock him up, even when he burst on the scene firing a gun in a robbery at age 16 or 17 or so (actually, he might have already had a sealed juvie record. So might all these guys).
Iesha Carmichael appears clean in NC. This makes sense as her function in the conspiracy was straw purchaser. Straws did not produce a significant number of the NC guns, at least not directly; except for 10 guns from Carmichael, they came to Walker through his felon associated.
Tarell Flow is a felon, but has not previously been incarcerated in his native NC. His one felony conviction was for possession of cannabis in 2010, but that’s not a felony until you get to 10 pounds, or for the charge he faced, between 50 and 2,000 pounds. He’s 26.
Even though Chris Hill is a resident of SC, he was involved in the NC ring, and Hill shows up in the NC offender data. He is a career violent criminal with two stints in prison for a half dozen felonies: burglaries, larcenies, and the ever popular shooting at people, as well as similar misdemeanors when he was down in the minor leagues. (Apparently “assault pointing gun” is a misdemeanor in NC, and he just got two months for that one).
Jeremiah D. McDougald is a career violent criminal, a bank robber whose decade-long rap sheet includes “Assault on female” and “Possession of Weapon of Mass Destruction.” He’s also known in NC as Jeremiah McKoy.
Cordero “Dero” Rollins s a career thief and burglar, with many felony and misdemeanor raps. He’s 25.
Christopher Seagraves has been going up the river for years, and always seems to be a felon in possession of a firearm when he goes before the court. At 26 he is a grand old man of court and cellblock. He was just released at the end of last April after serving a manslaughter rap, the latest of five felony convictions.
Walter Walker is a convicted felon, to be specific, a drug dealer.
When you think about it, it’s hardly a shock that the people operating an interstate conspiracy to smuggle guns to criminals are, well, criminals. We suspect that close analysis of the NY and SC réseaux of this little logistics project wound find that they, too, are mostly felons with a well-beten path to their states’ houses of corrections.
Why are any of these people out of prison?