Someone or some group is at war with authorities near Dallas, TX:
District Attorney Mike McLelland, and his wife, Cynthia McLelland, were shot dead in their home two months after McLelland publicly vowed to track down the killer of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, shot dead in public on January 31.
The twin killings have rocked mostly rural Kaufman County on the eastern outskirts of Dallas, and several law enforcement officials have called them a direct attack on the criminal justice system.
The Reuters article cites unfounded speculation that the Aryan Brotherhood was behind the killings. Another report specifically condemns claims of Aryan Brotherhood involvement. I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to who is involved, but I would take a look at the effect these murders seem to be having upon the criminal justice system.
The assassination of any government official—in any capacity, be it a dogcatcher or district attorney—is typically fielded with shock, and felt by the citizenry as an attack upon the community itself. This is particularly in evidence when the crime is not a one-off isolated event, and is compounded when the killer or killers is willing to expand their attacks to include “collateral damage” in the form of innocent bystanders, or personalizes the attacks by targeting family members when the primary target is unavailable.
The killing of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was a shock, and one a shaken citizenry could possibly explain away as an attack by an individual mad at Hasse who had his revenge and who will now go dormant and cease to be a threat. The additional brutal murders of District Attorney Mike McLelland, and his wife, Cynthia McLelland, have not be conclusively linked to the Hasse murder, but the connection has been made by the criminal justice system and the citizenry all the same. Speculation is reality at this point. All that is known for certain is that two prominent members of the legal community have been gunned down in targeted killings, and the addition of Cynthia McLelland suggests that the killer has no qualms about gunning down anyone nearby who might be a witness. This creates a chilling environment on the local criminal justice system.
I suspect that these three deaths will ratchet up the security around other possible targets will likely prevent a third attack and additional murder victims, but what if it doesn’t? If a third successful attack takes place, we’re likely to see a localized terrorism dynamic kick into high gear, and greatly affect the local criminal justice system. This stretches beyond just the district attorney’s office and court clerks to judges, local police and Sheriffs, and to a lesser degree, the family members of those who work within the system.
There will be an increase in people taking sick time and vacations, and an uptick in the number of people leaving positions they feel are dangerous to work in similar fields in “safe” jurisdictions, or leaving what they now view as a high-risk career field entirely. Efficiency within the system will degrade.
Should the situation further degrade under more attacks without suspects being captured (or at least identified), then Katie bar the door.
We could see the effects of outright terrorism working itself out through the system and to the community at large as is common today in many parts of Mexico. The goal of such terrorism is presumably to cripple the local criminal justice system in order to allow organized criminal syndicates to run amok.
Can it happen here? We’d like to think not, but the fact of the matter is that it has before, and could easily do so again.
Update: A prosecutor has resigned as a result of these murders.