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Danger Zone by John Tommasi on Amazon
Hi all, one good thing about the quarantine is I finished the great American novel. It is an action- adventure, detective mystery that is loosely based on my tenure working for the state of NH as an undercover operative. The action goes from NH to Florida and Jamaica to the Bolivian jungles; Enjoy! It is also available on paperback. ps you can download it to a pc or phone with the kindle app from Amazon, it is free for Prime members.
MURDER AT THE FRONT DOOR The true and bizarre story of the murder of Robert Cushing Sr. by off duty Hampton Police Officer Robert McLaughlin on June 1, 1989 is now available on Kindle and shortly on Paperback at Amazon
If you have already read the Prologue, you can scroll down to Chapter 1
PROLOGUE FROM MURDER AT THE FRONT DOOR
June 1, 1988 7PM
Robert McLaughlin had just poured his third shot of vodka with a beer chaser. It was his fourth beer. He was sitting at the kitchen table of his small two bedroom apartment as he watched his neighbor, Robert Cushing Sr., get out of his car and walk into his house. “Look at him, he has an ideal life, and I’m still a patrolman, all because of him. He doesn’t deserve to be alive. It’s because of him and his liberal son that I was never chosen for Detective or Sergeant.”
December 12, 1955
Robert Randall and Fred Janvrin, both age 15, were best friends. After they came home from school they went to Janvrin’s house in Salisbury, Ma, a border community with Seabrook, NH and a summer beach resort. Janvrin went downstairs to the cellar and came up with his father’s 16 gauge, bolt action shotgun and gave it to Randall who was at the top of the stairs. Unbeknown, to either teenager, the gun was loaded with double ought buck, 11 pellets with the approximate caliber of a .32, and the safety was off. Horsing around, Randall pointed the gun at Janvrin and pulled the trigger while saying “Pow.” To his horror, the gun discharged with several pellets hitting Janvrin in the stomach and lower abdomen. After Janvrin fell down several steps and onto the cellar floor, Randall ran next door to a neighbor’s house for help. The woman called 911 and then she and Randall ran back to Janvrin’s house where she applied cold packs to Janvrin’s head and tried to stop the bleeding. Janvrin was conscious at the time and Randall was hysterical and pleaded with Janvrin, “Not to die.” In the follow-up investigation by police, Janvrin assured Randall that he would be ok and seemed to have no resentment about the shooting. Janvrin then became unconscious before the ambulance arrived, and died enroute to the hospital.
In a follow-up investigation by Salisbury police, the neighbor testified that she did hear the shot that killed Janvrin, but heard no yelling or any type of argument from the Janvrin home prior to the shooting. She also testified that Randall was highly emotional and collapsed after Janvrin was loaded into the ambulance. The parents of Janvrin expressed strong positive feelings towards Randall and stated that their son and Randall were the best of friends. They also stated that both boys never got into trouble despite the presence of several other boys with serious records living in the neighborhood. Police believed that both Janvrin and Randall hung out with the boys, but either did not participate in the trouble or were not caught. However there was no doubt as to how upset Randall was over the death of his best friend. This was confirmed by the parents of both boys and Randall’s teachers at school. This was not helped by boys at school who subsequently referred to Randall as “Killer” Randall for some time. He was also kidded by some delinquent boys that Randall, a murderer, was not going to prison while some of the other boys had done time in juvenile detention for less serious crimes, such as motor vehicle theft, kidnapping and robbery. A Newburyport court judge ruled that that the shooting was a tragic accident and that Randall would do no time in juvenile detention but would undergo psychiatric counseling. A counselor determined that Randall was deeply troubled with survivor’s guilt, and he had a need to be punished.
January 28, 1956
It was 5:40 PM when the boy walked into Dudley’s Diner in Salisbury, Ma, about 1000 yards away from his home. He carried a double barreled shotgun that was not loaded. “Is this a holdup,” the waitress asked?” The boy replied, “I guess so.” The waitress called another employee who recognized the boy and tried to talk him out of what he was doing. The boy told the waitress to give him the money in the register. She gave him $78. The boy replied that he only wanted half and gave her the money back. She counted out $39 and gave it to him. As he was leaving, one of the customers tried to talk him out of it. The boy told the employees not to call the police until one-half hour after he left. The boy went home, gave his stepfather the money, and told him that he wanted to turn himself in. The waitress only waited 10 minutes before calling the Salisbury Police who went to the boy’s house after responding to the Diner. There, they spoke to the stepfather and placed the boy under arrest. Robert Randall had satisfied his need to be punished.
Robert was subsequently convicted of robbery on February, 1956 and went to juvenile detention where he underwent weekly psychological counseling. In August of that year, the courts and probation department received a report from Samuel Harder, M.D., of Boston, Ma. In this report, it was noted that Robert had spent two weekends home with his family and no difficulty was reported; quite the contrary, it was a happy weekend for all, including Robert’s siblings. It was also noted that people in Robert’s community harbored no ill will towards him, including the parents of Fred Janvrin. The report concluded with the Doctor stating that Robert had attained the maximum benefit from the counseling and would further benefit by returning home while being on parole/probation. Robert was subsequently released and returned to school. He wanted to start anew which included taking the name of his supportive stepfather. He was subsequently adopted by his stepfather and changed his name to Robert McLaughlin after he was released from probation in February 1958, and went on with his life.
Bob McLaughlin had been a police officer in Hampton, NH for 3 years and was one of three officers, two patrolmen and a Sergeant, on patrol during the midnight shift, when he received a call to respond to Punky Merrill’s Gun & General Store in Hampton Falls, NH. Hampton Falls is a small town just south of Hampton, NH with a population of 2000. Its police department consisted, at the time, of a full time Chief of Police and four special (part-time) officers. When the burglary alarm at the gun shop activated, it went to the Rockingham County Sheriff’s office who covered for part-time police departments in the county when no one was on duty. The county’s deputies where tied up at the time and Hampton and Seabrook PD’s were contacted. Seabrook advised that they would have someone available shortly. In Hampton, Patrolman Kennedy and the Supervisor, Jim Kerns, were tied up on a domestic dispute call, hence, McLaughlin was the lone ranger responding to the burglary alarm. As McLaughlin arrived at the gun shop, he noticed three men coming out the side door, all carrying bags. The owner of the store, Punky Merrill lived in an apartment on top of the Gun Shop & General Store, and when he saw McLaughlin pull up, he came outside carrying his shotgun. McLaughlin got out of the cruiser with his shotgun which was loaded with number four buckshot. McLaughlin yelled for the three men to stop or he’ll shoot. Up until the mid-eighties, it was legal to shoot a fleeing felon in NH. As the three men fled across the driveway towards the woods, McLaughlin took a knee and fired (at the time, burglary at night of an occupied structure was, and still is, a class A felony). McLaughlin aimed at the hardtop about three feet behind the burglar. He had learned at the firing range that when you fire a shotgun at the hardtop or cement, the pellets would bounce up six inches and continue on their trajectory at that height. Several of the pellets hit the burglar in the legs. He was later identified as Richard Carson. “Headquarters this is 307, send backup, I have three burglars and shots fired.” By this time, Hampton’s other two units were enroute to back him. “Seabrook PD to Hampton, I have two units on their way to that location.” McLaughlin ejected the spent round, which also caused another round to load. After checking the guy who was wounded for weapons, he started to run after the other two. He heard shots and felt bullets whistling past him. As it turned out, after McLaughlin fired his shotgun, Punky Merrill opened fire with his shotgun. Fortunately for McLaughlin, Punky’s shotgun was loaded with lead slugs that were still in the gun since the end of last deer season, if he had double ought or bird shot instead, it was quite possible that McLaughlin could have been shot by Punky. McLaughlin felt that one of the other two burglars fired shots at him but that was never proved. Once he reached the woods, he stopped. “Come on Bob, let’s go after them,” Punky said to McLaughlin. McLaughlin was a regular at Punky’s store, like most local cops, they knew each other well. “No, bad idea Punky, we got other units on the way, and if they see you with a gun, they may not recognize you and shoot.” “Yea, good point. I’ll head back to the shop and turn on all the lights.” “Don’t touch anything, we’re gonna check for prints and put the shotgun down.” “Gotcha.” When other units arrived they set up a perimeter and contacted State Police to see if they had a K9 unit available. Trooper Beaulieu, who was off duty at the time arrived about an hour after the call, and after a brief track through the woods, it ended at a dead end road where the burglars had probably left a car and subsequently fled. The burglar who was shot, Richard Carson, was transported to Exeter hospital under guard. He was lucky. The one pellet that hit him went thru his calf without hitting any bone. He was released within 3 days and was eventually found guilty of burglary and sentenced to 2-4 years in county prison. He never gave up the names of his two accomplices. However, John Paine was arrested after his fingerprints were found inside the store and he confessed. He also received 2-4 years in county prison. The third person was never found or identified. Richard Carson subsequently sued the Hampton Police Department and Robert McLaughlin personally as a result of being shot by McLaughlin. To no surprise, this was a source of significant stress to McLaughlin which compounded the stress he was dealing with from the shooting. He firmly believed that he came close to dying. He was recently married and his first child was on the way. The Town of Hampton’s insurance carrier stated that since the shooting occurred in Hampton Falls they weren’t responsible and would not provide coverage to the Town on this incident. As a result, the Town of Hampton told McLaughlin that he was on his own and they wouldn’t cover him. Fortunately for McLaughlin, the Hampton Patrolmen and Sergeants had just formed a union, and their lawyer, Whitey Frazier, later to become the Honorable Judge Frazier, threated an unfair labor practice in addition to suing the Town civilly. The Town eventually relented and provided legal counsel and monetary coverage to McLaughlin. The lawsuit brought by Carson was eventually dropped, but the entire event had left Bob McLaughlin significantly scarred. He received a commendation for bravery. It was given to him in the locker room one day before roll call. It didn’t help.
April 29, 1974
It was 11:32 PM on a warm evening in May. “Headquarters to 308.” “Ten-three,” Robert McLaughlin answered. “Go to 942 Woodland Ave, report of a shots fired and a man down on the front lawn. Ambulance enroute.” Holy shit Robert McLaughlin thought and then answered, “ten-five.” “Headquarters to 312, can you back him?” “Ten-five, responding code 2,” Rick Mathews answered. “Three-oh-five copied also, I’ll be responding.” Car three-oh-five was supervisor, Bill Ritchie. “Headquarters to units, the ambulance will stage down the street from 942 and will respond once the scene is secured.” Four minutes later Bob McLaughlin arrived at the call. “Headquarters I’m out, I got a man down and another with a handgun.” Damn Bill Ritchie thought, and he upped his response to code three. Rick Mathews did the same. McLaughlin didn’t think, he just reacted. He grabbed the cruiser shotgun and racked a-round in the chamber as he exited the cruiser and took cover behind the engine block. “Drop the gun,” he yelled to the man who was now standing over the body, “and put your hands on your head and walk towards me.” The man dropped the gun and started walking towards McLaughlin as Bill Ritchie arrived on the scene. Bill got out of the cruiser with his gun drawn. The shooter was later identified as Joe Williams who owned a bus company. While McLaughlin covered Williams, Bill handcuffed him. “Three-oh-five to headquarters, have the ambulance respond. We’ve secured the scene and have one in custody. Tell the ambulance to step on it, the guy who’s down is covered in blood.” “Ten-five.” Mathews arrived at the same time as the ambulance, and accompanied them to the man lying in blood. He was later identified as Robert Muller from Lexington, Ma. The first EMT to arrive took one look at Muller and said, “He’s gone.” “How do you know?” Mathews asked. “The bullet hole right between the eyes has something to do with it. That gray stuff oozing out of his head is his brains. Not a thing we can do.” At this time, Katherine Williams, Joe’s wife, came out of the house screaming. Mathews and McLaughlin were able to take her into the house and calm her down. Detective Sergeant Norm Brown arrived on the scene and covered the body with a blanket that was in his unmarked car. The other patrolman on duty was Jim Tuttle who arrived on scene shortly after Brown. “Jim, this is Joe Williams, he’s under arrest for murder, transport him to the station and book him. It’ll be McLaughlin’s arrest,” Bill Ritchie said. “That the dead guy on the steps?” Tuttle asked. “Yup, deader than a door nail, got him right between the eyes.” “That’s cold,” Tuttle answered as he was putting Williams in the cruiser. Both McLaughlin and Mathews were able to calm Katherine Williams down and she was able to call her sister to come get her. While they waited, they were able to get most of the story from her. Joe and she were going through a nasty divorce that just got nastier, and they were separated. At some point, Joe drove by the house and saw Muller’s car in the driveway. Joe suspected Katherine was having an affair. Katherine surmised that Joe parked his car down the street and shot Muller when he came out of the house. After Katherine’s sister arrived, McLaughlin walked her to the car from the side door so she didn’t have to see the body. He then came back to see Ritchie. “Ok Bobbie, you have the arrest. Tuttle transported Williams back to the station and dicks are processing the scene.” “Ok Sarge, I’ll start right on the report.” “And Bobbie, good job.” “Thanks.” It was McLaughlin’s second gun incident in eight months. Back at the station, Williams had already confessed to then Hampton Police Chief Clayton Bosquin who had been contacted earlier. Bosquin relayed the confession to McLaughlin. “Williams said he and his wife had been separated to see a marriage counselor in recent weeks, but that Muller continued to see his wife. He said friends and neighbors told him that Muller would come to the Woodland Road home after he had left for work.” Bosquin continued, “Williams then said after visiting with a friend, he drove by his house at around 11 when he saw Muller walking out the front door. He was holding the gun in his hand and pointing it at Muller’s shoulder when Muller grabbed his hand and the gun went off. He didn’t mean to shoot him, it was an accident.” After McLaughlin finished the report, he went home. It was 4 AM and he was still wound up from the night’s incidents. He started drinking vodka with beer chasers. McLaughlin was still drinking when Beverly got up at 7 AM that morning. “What the hell are you doing up and why are you drinking.” “I couldn’t sleep. I went to a murder scene last night. Guy was shot right between the eyes. I saw his brains oozing out.” “I don’t want to hear that. I’m making breakfast for the kids. Deal with it and don’t go talking to anyone at work. You don’t want to lose your job. At least you got some overtime out of it.” Bob just looked at his wife. He went to bed and didn’t get up until 5 PM that night, just in time to get ready for his 6-2 shift. He held everything in and didn’t talk about it to anyone. The stress mounted for Robert. He received another commendation for his actions that night. This time it was in the roll call room.
Joe Williams was released the next day on $25,000 Surety bail. In other words, he put his house as collateral and walked out of jail. William’s attorney, Richard Leonard, presented a letter to the court during a sanity hearing from a Boston psychiatrist who had examined Williams. Leonard quoted the doctor's letter as saying "Williams is not psychotic and not dangerous to himself and others." His case went before a Grand Jury in June where they found no probable cause and the shooting was in fact an accident. Charges against Joe were dropped and he and Katherine were eventually divorced.
August 17, 1975
Twenty-two year old Tim Campbell had just bought his Datsun 280Z and he couldn’t believe how well it handled. It was a warm night and he had the top down. What made it better was the gorgeous brunette Paula that was next to him in the passenger’s seat. The night had gone well and as he was driving her home, he was hoping that she would invite him in. He was going a little too fast in his haste to get her home when he began to skid around a corner on Winnacunnet road. He overcompensated, began to fishtail and ended up in the oncoming lane. Luck was not with Tim and Paula that night. He hit a Dodge Swinger head-on as it was travelling in the opposite direction. Neither had their seatbelts buckled and both he and Paula hit the windshield. If anything good could be said, they died instantaneously.
“Headquarters to 307, respond to the area of 795 Winnacunnet Street for a 10-25 with PI, ambulance is enroute.” “Roger that headquarters, I’ll be responding code 2,” responded patrolman Robert McLaughlin. Bobby, as he was called by his friends, had been on the Hampton, NH Police Department for 5 years. He was on his way to a serious motor vehicle accident with personal injury and he was going with blue lights and sirens. It was just before midnight. “I copied that also, and I’ll back him,” stated then patrolman Rick Mathews. Rick and Bobby both got on the police department in 1970 and soon became close friends. When Mathews and McLaughlin arrived at the accident site, they realized immediately that the accident was more serious than what the dispatcher indicated. It was a two car head on collision. They called for additional officers. They were joined by detective Tuttle and officer’s Kennedy and Ritchie. “Headquarters to units at the accident scene, two ambulances are enroute.” “Be advised,” Rick Mathews responded, “we may not need them. This is a possible double 10-26,” which was police code for a fatal accident. Rick called for additional units. Bill Wrenn, who was on a little more than a year, was one of the first units to arrive and he was immediately assigned to traffic control. When the Hampton ambulances arrived on the scene, they confirmed the worst, it was a double fatal. They also call for a pumper truck to stand by as there was a gasoline leak from one of the cars involved in the accident. The accident occurred in front of 795 Winnacunnet road, the Cushing residence. After being woken by the crash and subsequent arrival of emergency vehicles, Robert Cushing dressed, lit a cigarette and went out his front door to see what was going on. He walked to one of the victim’s car while smoking and was advised by officer’s Kennedy and McLaughlin to leave the accident scene and put out the cigarette since there was gas leaking from the cars. “Oh, because you have a badge you can tell me what to do? I live here,” replied Cushing. McLaughlin stepped up and stated to Cushing, “Sir if you don’t put out that cigarette and move back, you’ll be placed under arrest.” “You can’t arrest me.” “I can and I will. Last warning sir. Either move or you’ll be in handcuffs.” With that said, Cushing begrudgingly moved off the road and to his front yard. A short time later, detective Tuttle began taking pictures of the accident. Cushing who was still steaming, from his recent encounter with the police, walked onto the road and in front of Detective Tuttle taking pictures. “Sir, please move,” said Officer Kennedy to Cushing. “I will not move. You can’t tell me what to do.” Officer McLaughlin was nearby. “Sir, you’ve been warned,” and with that, officers McLaughlin and Ritchie placed Cushing under arrest and told him to place his hands behind his back. “I will not. You can’t arrest me.” A brief struggle ensued between Cushing and officer’s McLaughlin and Ritchie. The struggle consisted of Cushing refusing to place his hands behind his back. After being assisted by Detective Tuttle, they were able to place the cuffs on Cushing and he was placed in the cruiser, transported to the station and booked and bailed for disorderly conduct. Bill Wrenn thought to himself that Cushing really tried hard to get arrested, and it appeared he succeeded. When word of Cushing’s arrest was circulated around town, everyone was amazed since they all felt it was out of character, since he was a well-respected elementary school teacher. Cushing filed charges against the officers who arrested him and retained counsel to defend him. The charges against the officers were subsequently investigated and found to be without merit. There was eventually a negotiated plea to the disorderly conduct charge, which was continued for a year without a finding by Judge Gray at the District Court level. Essentially, a finding of continued for a year meant that if Cushing did not get arrested during the next year, the charges would be dropped.
September 23, 1975
It was a quiet Sunday morning in Hampton and 65 year old Gladys Ring was on her way to church when she rolled through a stop sign. Robert McLaughlin was on duty that day and was sitting on the side of the road observing traffic when Gladys went through the stop sign. After he pulled her over, Rick Mathews responded to back him. “What do you have Bobby,” Rick asked?” “She blew a stop sign and she’s upset that I stopped her. She won’t give me her license.” Both officers then approached the car. “Mrs. Ring, if you don’t give me your driver’s license, we have no other choice but to arrest you and tow your car,” McLaughlin said. “I’m on my way to church, you have no right to stop me. I’m a grandmother.” “Ma’am, last time, if you won’t give me your driver’s license, you’re going to be placed under arrest.” “You can’t arrest me, my taxes pay your salary.” “Ma’am, step out of the car, you’re under arrest.” “I am not,” and with that Gladys locked her arms while grasping the steering wheel. McLaughlin then opened the driver’s door to the car and tried to pull her out of the car. “Rick, give me a hand here, get her hands while I pull her out.” Both officers were then able to muscle Gladys out of the car but not before ripping the jacket she was wearing at the shoulder seem. She was transported to the station and charged with disobeying a police officer and resisting arrest. She was subsequently released on PR (personal recognizance) bail. Gladys Ring was the next door neighbor of the Cushings. In a very short time, the story of Gladys Ring spread throughout the neighborhood and reached the ears of Robert Cushing Sr. and his son Renny. The Cushing’s were outraged since the Cushing children and others in the neighborhood referred to Gladys as “Aunt Gladys”. The Cushing’s, with Robert’s arrest last month still fresh in their minds, started a petition within days that circulated throughout the neighborhood and Hampton condemning what they called the “aggressive tactics of the Hampton Police Department”. They also demanded the termination of officer’s Rick Mathews and Robert McLaughlin. The Cushing’s went as far to appear before the Hampton Board of Selectmen to air their grievances. After an internal investigation, both officers were cleared of any wrongdoing, and the petition went nowhere. It seemed that everyone soon forgot about the incident, everyone except for Robert McLaughlin.
May 1, 1977
John Tommasi was a part-time police officer in Salem, NH, and even though he was finishing his Master’s Degree in Business Administration in another year at the University of New Hampshire, he was seriously considering a career in law enforcement. It would have been a pay cut from his job at AVCO corporation (which was subsequently bought by Textron), but he was single, and money wasn’t his primary concern in life. Going to a job he enjoyed was more important. It was Sunday morning and he was doing fence duty at the construction site of the Seabrook, nuclear power plant. He was one of eleven Salem Police Officers who responded to the call for assistance from the Town of Seabrook. The newly formed Clamshell Alliance had over two thousand demonstrators surrounding the outside of the fence. They were anti-nuclear and their intent was to shut the site down. Opposing them were two hundred and seventy police officers from all over New England. On fence duty with Tommasi was experienced NH State Trooper, Chris Colletti. Looking at the demonstrators outside the fence, Tommasi said, “Hey Chris, doesn’t this kind of remind you of the Alamo.” After a moment’s hesitation Colletti turned to Tommasi and said, “Hey kid, ain’t gonna fucking end like the Alamo.” “Good to know,” Tommasi said nodding his head. Later on that day, officers stationed at the Seabrook plant arrested over 1400 demonstrators in a mainly peaceful arrest. Later on in life, Tommasi often wondered if Renny Cushing was one of the demonstrators he arrested.
Bill Lally was a recent grad from Mt Wachusett College and he had just landed his dream job. He was a newly appointed patrolman in Hampton, NH. It was his third day on the job and he would be with a training officer for about four weeks. Today he would be working the 7 AM to 3 PM shift with newly appointed Sergeant, John Campbell. There was the usual roll call banter where new guys were the butt of the jokes and banter. The logic being, if you’re thin skinned and can’t take the roll call hazing, you certainly wouldn’t make it on the street. All this hazing in the locker room and rollcall was referred to as the “Murderer’s Circle” by Hampton Police Officers. After roll call, John introduced Bill to Bob McLaughlin who was just coming back to work from two days off. “Glad to meet you Bill. How do you like it so far and when are you going to the academy?” Bob asked. “It’s great! I have a lot to learn and it looks like I’ll be going to the academy at Pease Air force Base in September.” “Well, you’ll certainly learn a lot this summer. Hampton’s population swells to over one-hundred thousand on some days, especially weekends,” McLaughlin said. “That’s what I hear.” “Ok, enough of this, get in the car Bill, you’re driving and your Sergeant wants a coffee,” Campbell said kiddingly. “Right Sarge. Nice meeting you Bob.” “You too Bill and good luck.” One of the things that Bill noticed was how immaculate McLaughlin’s uniform was and he mentioned it to Campbell. “His uniform was perfect. How does he get his boots like that?” “It’s called a spit shine. You’ll have to learn that before you go to the academy. If not, plan on doing lots of pushups.” “Thanks. The Police Academy was recently increased to six weeks,” Lally said. “Yea I heard, when I went in 1974, it was only four weeks.” “Why is the academy at Pease?” “They have army barracks that you stay in and cafeteria facilities. They’ll be building a new academy in Concord, but it probably won’t be ready until eighty two. And by the way, the barracks are drafty, so you’re lucky you not going in the winter, and the food sucks. On the plus side, you get to come home on weekends,” Campbell answered. “Got it.” “And by the way, if you want to model yourself after anyone, it’s Bob McLaughlin. His uniform is always impeccable, and besides his shoes, he shines his brass every day. He’s proud of the way he looks and the job he does. He’s a real cop’s cop, and his nickname is the Mongoose. “Why’s that?” “Because like a mongoose, he always gets his quarry. He is relentless if he’s investigating a crime, and his DWI reports are spot on. He’s been in shootouts and high speed chasers and murder scenes. He has never lost a high speed pursuit and he’s probably the best driver and shot in the department. He is the man” “Thanks sarge, and that’s not the first time I’ve heard that.” “Okay, coffee Lall.” Throughout his career, Lally was known as Lall.
John Tommasi had been on Salem, PD for four years full-time, and had just made patrol Sergeant. He had recently started a business, Sub Sea Salvage, where he taught and certified Suba Divers and did underwater salvage work. After certifying eight members of the Salem, NH Fire Department, they were doing additional training with him on search and recovery. Today, Tommasi was freelancing for an insurance company. He was diving in the Merrimac River recovering stolen cars that were driven off the boat ramp in Lawrence, Massachusetts, just north of the dam. There were two gangs in Lawrence that were responsible for the stolen cars, The Southside Kings and License to Steal. They would typically steal a high performance car, try to get in a pursuit with any of the local police departments, including Salem, NH, and then drive them off the boat ramp into the murky waters of the Merrimac. Tommasi knew that the Merrimac was heavily polluted and over fifty thousand gallons of raw sewage was dumped into the river daily from Manchester and Nashua, NH. The EPA was just beginning to take measures to clean the river. In order to safely dive in the river, Tommasi had gotten a tetanus and gamma goblin shot to protect him from hepatitis A. He was also wearing a dry suit and full face mask. This was Tommasi’s first car he was diving on and he wasn’t surprised that he had zero visibility. He located the car by the oil slick that was rising from the engine, followed it down 15-20 feet and attached the hook from a tow cable to one of the axels of the car. After surfacing, he would signal the tow truck driver who would winch the car out. He recovered sixteen cars that summer. He was off that day and that night he spent at his beach cottage that he rented that year on M street in Hampton with four other Salem cops who were all recently divorced. Tommasi, at thirty, was the only one who was still single. They were sitting on the farmer’s porch at 11:30 PM, on the front of the cottage, when they were joined by Bob Mark, Bill Wrenn and Bob McLaughlin who just got off duty. “Hey we heard you guys are having a choir practice,” Bill Wrenn said. “Yes we are,” answered Tom Ferris one of the recently divorced Salem cops. “And we have plenty of choir books for you guys too,” said Mark Cavanaugh who was also recently divorced. Bottles of beer were passed around. “Hey Tommasi, I heard you were diving in the Merrimac today,” Wrenn said. “Yea, I was contacted by an insurance company to recover stolen cars in Lawrence.” “No shortage of those. How’s the visibility?” Mark asked. “What visibility? I literally couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. There’s shit floating everywhere in that river, and once I stepped on the bottom, my foot sank a foot into the silt” “I hope they’re making it profitable.” “That they do. I’m getting $100 for each car. Today was my first and I’ve got another dive scheduled in a couple of days.” “Doesn’t Lawrence use the Merrimac for drinking water?” McLaughlin asked. “Yea they do. They must purify the hell out of it. But I’m not drinking it.” “Now that you mention it, I won’t either.” McLaughlin said. The fact that the Merrimac was highly polluted and silted stayed with McLaughlin over the years.
Authors note: When cops get together after work and have a few drinks, it’s known as choir practice. The bottles are referred to as choir books, and of course, the cops who are drinking are called choir boys. It is believed that this practice was started in LA and was made popular by Joseph Wambaugh’s 1975 book, The Choir Boys.
April 5, 1986
It was the 1st week in April and the busy summer season in Hampton was beginning. April and May could be busy months depending on the weather, especially on weekends and it was an usually warm Saturday night in Hampton. Some people were taking long weekends and some of the college kids who had summer jobs in Hampton were beginning to show up. Joe Galvin had just finished his rookie year and was glad to be off probation. It was 9 PM and Joe was sitting in his cruiser at the intersection of Ocean Blvd and Ashworth Ave, referred to as AshCor by members of the police department. He was watching both pedestrians and vehicular traffic. It was a fairly busy Saturday night when he heard a general announcement from dispatcher Mary Jo Ganley. “Headquarters to all units, be on the lookout for a dark colored, older model Oldsmobile, with possibly Maine license plates, traveling north on Ocean Blvd from O street. One male subject driving, possible 10-19,” 10-19 being police code for driving while under the influence. Joe heard the call. “Headquarters this is 306, I’m at Ashcor and I’ll keep a lookout for it.” Ashcor was about one-half mile north of O Street on Ocean Blvd. Ocean Blvd was a two lane road with one way northbound traffic. Ashworth Ave was for southbound traffic. Ashcor was the where the two roads became adjacent to each other. Within minutes, Joe spotted the car. “Headquarters, this is 306, I have a car and driver matching that description travelling north on the Blvd. I’ll be stopping him.” “Headquarters to units, anyone in the area for backup.” Robert McLaughlin was in the station. He had just finished cleaning his handgun. In 1986, Hampton Police, like most other departments in New Hampshire carried the Smith & Wesson .357 magnums as a sidearm and every cruiser had a shotgun with double ought buck for ammo. “Headquarters this is 308, I’m just clearing the station. I’ll head that way.” The police station was about ¼ mile from Joe’s location. “Headquarters, I’m attempting to stop that vehicle northbound on Ocean Blvd, he isn’t speeding up, just not stopping, speed about 35. Be advised, he’s all over the road,” Joe Galvin radioed as he caught up to the Oldsmobile. Upon hearing this, McLaughlin activated his blue lights and siren attempting to close the gap. Rick Mathews, a recently promoted Sergeant was the supervisor that night. “Headquarters, this is 305, I’m on Winnacunnet Rd east of the high school. I’m heading that way.” Winnacunnet road was north of Joe’s position and intersected Ocean Blvd. “Headquarters this is 306, I have him stopped at the Century motel. He pulled into the driveway.” The Century was on a section of Ocean Blvd referred to as Rocky Bend and had a horseshoe driveway with individual units lined around the drive. Joe had the car stopped in front of the second unit on the right. He parked his cruiser at an angle to the stopped Oldsmobile to offer some protection as he was taught at the academy. “Joe, I’ll be there in a minute,” McLaughlin radioed. “Me too,” Rick Mathews echoed. As Joe Galvin approached the driver’s door of the Oldsmobile, he was able to smell alcohol coming from the driver later identified as Ken Woodward, a Viet Nam Vet. “Sir, can I have your license and registration and why didn’t you stop for me,” Joe asked. “I had the radio up loud and I didn’t notice you,” Woodward replied. As Woodward was talking, the odor of alcohol became stronger and Joe noticed how his speech was slurred and eyes were bloodshot. All good indicators of a drunk driver. Joe went back to his cruiser and ran Woodward for a valid license. He came back under suspension for a previous DWI conviction. Hmm, Joe thought, the best judge of future behavior is past behavior As Joe was exiting his cruiser, he noticed the driver, the only occupant, bend down and either put something under the seat, or take something out, he couldn’t tell. This is what most police officers refer to as furtive movements which instantly put Joe on alert. As he approached the stopped Oldsmobile, Joe unsnapped his holster and put his hand on his .357. When he reached the driver’s door, he stood back forcing Woodward to turn almost 180 degrees. As Joe was about to ask him to exit the car and perform some field sobriety tests, Woodward pulled a gun, a Ruger Bulldog .44 magnum with a 2 ½ inch barrel. As Woodward turn, he fired at Joe, missing him. Joe returned a shot which missed Woodward and lodged in the steering wheel column. Galvin and Woodward were about three feet apart. Galvin retreated to his cruiser and he radioed that he’s in a gunfight. The Bulldog has a 5 shot capacity and Woodward quickly emptied his gun shooting at Joe missing him with every shot. Joe returned fire, shot for shot, also missing Woodward, but he saved the last bullet in his revolver, he didn’t know that Woodward’s gun is empty. Woodward then backed his car around Galvin’s cruiser at the same time McLaughlin arrived on the scene from the south and Mathews from the north. McLaughlin and Mathews both exited their cruisers with shotguns. As Woodward backed out of the driveway and began to head north on Ocean Blvd, McLaughlin fired a shot through the rear window completely shattering it, and as he attempted to eject the spent cartridge, his shotgun jammed. All eleven .32 caliber pellets missed Woodward. Mathews had pulled into the other side of the horseshoe driveway and as Woodward drove by him he fired his shotgun at Woodward through the front passenger’s side window shattering it. Mathews was kneeling down and shot at an upward angle, all eleven of his .32 caliber pellets missed Woodward, with most of them going through the roof of the Oldsmobile. All three officers got back in their cruisers and gave pursuit along with Officer Lee Griffen who arrived at this time and was behind McLaughlin. “Headquarters we’re in pursuit northbound on Ocean Blvd, multiple shots fired. Contact North Hampton and Rye,” Mathews screamed over the police radio. Woodard took off northbound on Ocean Blvd with all 4 officers in pursuit. “My shotgun jammed. If we start shooting again I’ll be on my magnum,” radioed McLaughlin. “Sarge if I have the shot, can I shoot,” radioed Griffen who was still in his rookie year.” “Hell yes,” answered Mathews. The pursuit continued north on Ocean Blvd. “Ok, he’s turning onto High street from OB, he could be heading for route 101 or 95, contact NH State Police,” Mathews advised dispatch. “Already did sarge,” answered Mary Jo. “Mass State police has been advised also.” “We’re coming up on route 1,” Continued Mathews. What’s common in many police pursuits is that the lead pursuit car, which was Joe Galvin, concentrate on driving while the second car in the pursuit, Mathews, called in locations. Route 1, also known as Lafayette road was the main north-south road in Hampton. There was usually a traffic bottleneck at the intersection of High street where there were stop lights. Woodward blew through the red light almost causing an accident. All four cruisers had their lights and sirens on which gave motorists some warning as they went through the intersection. In another mile, Woodward turned onto route 101 west and from there, route 95 south barreling through a toll booth with four Hampton units and one NH state unit following which was waiting for them at the toll. This was radioed to Hampton Dispatch by Mathews. “Headquarters to units, be advised, there are two Mass state units at the state line, they’re planning on doing a rolling roadblock to try and slow them down, they are monitoring us.” “Units copy. We’re about ½ mile north of the state line doing around 80-100. He’s all over the road,” Mathews replied. A rolling roadblock occurs when multiple police units get in front of the vehicle being pursued and slowly reduce speed thereby slowing the chase, while other units box him in from the side and back. “We’re coming up on the state line and Mass state units are moving.” Since there were only two units, Woodward slowed slightly before flooring the pedal getting by the Mass state units while sideswiping one in the process. “He’s by the state units and he hit one as he was passing it. Pursuit is continuing south on 95, we’re just south of the 495 intersection,” Mathews radioed. As the pursuit continued southbound on 95, the Mass state units tried to get past Woodward, but every time they did, he attempted to swerve into them. “Mass 317 to base, I just want to confirm, this subject we’re chasing fired shots at a cop.” “That’s affirmative 317,” Mass State Police dispatch answered. “Okay, once I get pass the Whittier Bridge, I’m ending this.” “Base copies” Mass State Trooper Richards was a 10 year veteran of the state police and had been in his share of pursuits. Pursuit policies in the eighties in both Mass and New Hampshire were much less restrictive than current pursuit policies. As Woodward went over the bridge, Richards pulled alongside of him on the left. Woodward tried swerving into Richards, which he avoided. Richards responded by hitting Woodward’s left rear quarter panel with the front right fender of his cruiser causing Woodward’s Olds to spin out onto the median strip. Woodward tried running away, but was tackled. He resisted, was eventually subdued after a struggle, placed in handcuffs and transported to Newburyport, Mass PD. He was subsequently extradited to NH for trial where he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sentenced to the state mental hospital. He was not released until 2017. All officers and Troopers involved in the shootout and subsequent pursuit received commendations and returned to work.
Chapter 1 From Murder at the Front Door
Murder in the Neighborhood Wednesday, June 1, 1988
Detective Bill Lally was an 8 year veteran of the Hampton Police department and was watching the Celtics playoff game against the Detroit Pistons when he got the call from Dispatcher Fred Ruonala around 8:45 PM. “Bill there’s been a homicide at 795 Winnacunnet Street, they need you there.” “Did you say a homicide?” Bill replied. In his eight years as a Hampton police officer, there had not been a single murder, and the only time officers had to deal with a dead body during that time was usually a result of a car accident or untimely death. “Yea, that’s right, it looks like two shotgun slugs to the chest. Guy died on the spot. His name is Robert Cushing,” Fred responded. “On my way.” Bill told his wife Sandy where he was going, kissed her goodbye, and was out the door The Cushing family was known to Bill and most of the Hampton Police Officers. Robert Sr. was well known in the Community, and Bill was aware that Cushing had previously been arrested for disorderly conduct. He also knew of his son Renny (Robert Jr.) Cushing who tried to get Rick Mathews and Bobbie McLaughlin fired for the arrest of Gladys Ring. He, and other officers, had also been to the Cushing house a number of times on loud party calls. There were seven children in the family and they were never really excited to see the police, especially given their father’s previous interaction with the police. Bill arrived at the house after first getting his gear at the police station and parked his cruiser adjacent to the yellow crime scene tape. As he walked into the house, he noticed two large bullet holes in the screen door and an enormous pool of blood coagulating on the inside hallway. The victim, Robert Cushing, had been taken to Exeter Hospital via ambulance. He was very obviously dead at the scene because of blood loss and internal organ damage from two massive holes in his chest and abdomen, but because his wife was hysterical by that time, they felt it best that they transport him. From the size of the holes in the screen door, Bill knew that they had to come from two shotgun slugs. He then noticed that there were no spent cartridges on the floor or outside the front door. After asking the uniformed officers present if they had seen any spent cartridges and getting a negative reply, he reasoned that the shooter had either policed his brass, or a double barreled shotgun was used which had to be broken open to eject the spent casings. Upon further observation, he saw no obvious clues. It was going to be a long night. Authors note: Policing the brass is the phrase that is used to pick up spent cartridges after a gun is fired.
Fifteen minutes earlier
Marie Cushing, an avid basketball fan, was at home watching the Celtics playoff game like many people in the Boston area. Her husband, Robert, was across the living room sitting in an easy chair reading the newspaper while having a cocktail. “I don’t believe you’re not watching the game,” Marie said. “You’re the basketball fan, I’m enjoying just relaxing and being here with you,” Robert replied. “Come here and sit with me and watch the game. You can read the paper later.” As Robert got up to join his wife on the couch, there was a knock on the door. “You’re going to get that, right,” Marie asked? As Robert opened the front door, a momentary look of horror crossed his face as two blasts rang out through the still closed screen door driving the 63 year old Cushing back before he hit a hallway table. Marie screamed and rushed to her husband’s side.
Hampton, NH is a relatively sleepy seaside community of 15,000 people that is just north of the Mass, NH border. However, in the summer, the town’s population surges to well over 100,000 as people flock to the beachside resort for day trips and extended vacations. This often taxes the police force of thirty four full time officers and seventy part-time officers who often work a full time schedule during the summer. During the summer months, it is not uncommon to have over 30 officers on cruiser and foot patrol on an evening shift, particularly on weekends. The busy nights of the week were obviously weekends and also Wednesday nights because of weekly fireworks display. Fred Ruonala, a dispatcher and communications specialist, was a 9 year veteran of the police department when he received the call. “Hi, this is John Smith, my daughter and I just heard what sounded like two gunshots coming from our next door neighbor’s house, the Cushing’s.” Tim Collins was a five year veteran of the police department when he received the call from dispatch a little after 8:30 PM. “Headquarters to 311, respond to the area of 795 Winnacunnet reference a report of two 10-66’s,” police code for shots fired. Tim responded, “10-5, enroute.” Laura Stoessel, also a five year veteran, responded. “Headquarters, this is 308, I’m in the area. I’ll slide that way too.” The Wednesday night fireworks display wasn’t scheduled to start for another two weeks Tim thought, so the reported shots could’ve come from a car backfiring or from a neighbor lighting off personal fireworks. Tim and Laura arrived at the Cushing house at about the same time and parked across the street using their cruisers as cover. In the 80’s, most police departments didn’t require their officers to wear bullet proof vests, but in Hampton, they had them in their cruisers. Both officers went to their trunks and put them on. At this time, on duty detective, Phil Russell arrived on the scene. “Tim, I’m going to go down the road a bit and check out the woods by Presidential Circle to see if it’s someone target shooting,” Laura said. “Ok,” Tim replied. “Phil and I will check out the area.”
Leslie and John Campbell had been high school sweet-hearts and were married shortly after college. They lived on Presidential Circle which was a side road off of Winnacunnet road, about 50 yards east of the Cushing home and on the opposite side of the road. John was on a rare night off, since he liked to work overtime, and he was at a friend’s house in Seabrook with some other cops watching the Celtics/Pistons playoff game. Leslie was a nurse and he was a Police Sergeant in Hampton. Nurses and cops were generally a good fit. Leslie had just put her two young children to bed in the upstairs bedroom when she heard two shots. Her neighbor, Charles Peters, owned Meadow Pond Farm, a large farm which included a heard of sheep which was adjacent to the Campbell land. Peters had told Leslie that either a fox or coyote was killing his sheep at night and he was going to stay up late this night to try and kill “the varmint,” so if she heard a shot, not to worry. At that time, the area around Presidential Circle was primarily rural and undeveloped. Leslie figured that Peters ended his varmint problem.
As Tim and Phil approached the Cushing’s front door, Phil noticed the front door was open and the screen door closed. As they got closer Phil asks, “Are those two bullet holes in the front door?” “Holy shit,” Tim responds and sees someone lying in the hallway over a two foot tall table with his enthralls hanging out of his abdomen. He calls dispatch for an ambulance and tells them to step on it. Tim then saw a person further down the hallway and announces, “Hampton Police, please come out.” The person is Marie Cushing, and all she could see is Detective Phil Russell who is in plain clothes. Fearing that Phil may be the shooter. She called the police station. “My husband’s been shot.” Fred Ruonala was amazed at how calm she was, but like Bill Lally, during his tenure at Hampton, there was never a homicide. “With a gun,” he asked somewhat amazed. “Yes, through the front door, she answered. “Please send help and an ambulance and there are people outside my front door.” After ascertaining the caller’s name and she’s at the same location as his officers, he calls the fire department for an ambulance and advises the officers on scene that this is a possible 10-54. He also calls senior detective Bill Lally. Stephen O’Connor, a rookie part time officer was riding with 4 year veteran officer, Steve Henderson. “What’s a 10-54,” he asked. “Holy shit,” Steve replied. “That’s a homicide.” Steve turned on his lights and siren and headed towards the scene. “Headquarters to 305, did you copy?” “Enroute,” responded Sergeant John Galvin (Joe’s older brother), the street supervisor.
After hearing the 10-54 call, Tim approached the door where he was in full sight of Marie Cushing. Marie ran hysterically into Tim’s arms sobbing, “They killed him.” By this time Laura was back on the scene and began to comfort Marie Cushing who was beginning to sob uncontrollably, while Tim and Phil entered the house. The ambulance, which came from the Fire Department a mile down the street, arrived on the scene and the two fireman started to administer to Robert Cushing while Tim and Phil cleared the house and determined that there was no one else present. One of the ambulance medics checked Robert Cushing, and announced to Tim, “We got nothing here, here’s gone and started to leave.” Officer Collins relayed this to dispatch, and dispatcher Fred Ruonala called the Fire department’s battalion commander and convinced him that they need to transport the body to the hospital because of the hysterical Marie Cushing. This was relayed to the medics on scene and they placed the body in the ambulance and left the residence heading towards the hospital. Henderson and O’Conner had arrived on the scene and O’Conner was tasked with accompanying Cushing’s body to Exeter hospital. It was the first time he had seen a dead body, let alone a dead body riddled with two shotgun slugs. By this time, Officer Stoessel was able to have dispatch contact the Cushing’s oldest son, Robert Cushing Jr., known as Renny, who arrived to comfort his mother while grieving himself.
About fifteen minutes after hearing the two shots, Leslie Campbell’s phone rang. “Leslie, it’s Sandy Lally, lock your door right away. I know you always leave it open.” “Why, what’s going on?” “Bill just got called in. There’s been a murder right down the street.” “What?” Leslie like everyone else thought that was incredulous. “It looks like someone shot this guy twice.” “Oh my God. I heard the two shots. Ok I have to go lock the doors and call John.” “Ok, be careful Leslie.” Leslie couldn’t believe that there was a murder in her neighborhood. She ran downstairs and locked the front door. She then ran to her room and got a .38 police revolver from the lock box and loaded it. Like most cop’s wives, she knew how to shoot and was comfortable around guns since John had taken her to the range a number of times. She then sat outside her children’s bedrooms and called John at his friend’s house from the upstairs hallway phone. “John it’s for you. Your wife.” “John, I just got a call from Sandy Lally. Bill’s been called in. There’s been a murder down the street on Winnacunnet. I heard the shots.” “Lock the doors,” John answered. “Already did and I have the police special and I’m outside the kids room.” “Alright, I’m on my way home. When I get home I’ll honk the horn and call out it’s me, so don’t shoot.” “Okay.” As John hung up, everyone’s beeper went off. It was going to be a long night.
Detective Sergeant Mike Simmons who was off duty, just happened to be in the police station when the call came in. He arrived at the Cushing house and instructed officers to put yellow crime scene tape around the house and curtilage. Officer Tim Collins was tasked with logging who went into the crime scene and who went out and what time. While Sergeant Simmons, Phil Russell and Bill Lally, who just arrived, began processing the crime scene inside the house, Patrol Sergeant Galvin began to organize a search of the scene with officers Henderson and three other Patrolman who arrived on the scene. Just to the right of the Cushing house was a three story apartment complex with a paved parking lot behind it. The Cushing’s had a large back yard that extended back to a wooded area. “Okay Steve, you and Stoessel stay on my right and Jones and Kerry on my left. Make sure you have your vests on and a flashlight. We’re going to search the backyard into the woods and we’re looking for evidence. Anything out of the ordinary sing out. I don’t think the shooter is here, but be careful. Does everyone have their vest on?” Sergeant Galvin asked. After receiving affirmatives, the search started. While Galvin was doing this, Chief Bob Mark arrived on scene and was logged in by Tim Collins who brought them up to date. To Bob Mark’s credit, he let his detectives run the scene and he stayed back and overseered the work done by his officers. He was happy with what he was seeing. Even though it was the first homicide for most of them, everything was being done right.
When Bill Lally arrived, and was recorded in by Officer Collins, he spoke to his Sergeant, Mike Simmons. “Hi Lall, Cushing’s wife saw pretty much the whole thing. Her son Renny arrived, and took her to his house. She didn’t get a look at who did the shooting.” “We got anything to go on,” Bill asked? “So far, we got nothing outside of the two shotgun slugs, through the screen door.” “Ok, by the numbers then,” Bill responded. Just then, the Hampton Police paddy wagon arrived on the scene. Tonight, it was also doubling as a crime scene van and the two officers who were in it began unloading lights on a stand that were place around the house and back yard to augment the spotlights and ally lights from the cruisers. As this was happening, Detective Shawn Maloney and Deputy Chief Bill Wrenn arrived at the house. Bill Wrenn was the deputy Chief in charge of investigative services and after he received the call of a homicide, he was thinking the person who did it was a family member which typically happens in a domestic situation. Bill also thought that this was the first homicide in Hampton since 1974, fourteen years earlier. “You’re not going to believe this,” Bill Lally said. “Somebody shot Richard Cushing Sr. through his front door. He’s dead and the body has been removed.” “Anyone else home or see anything,” Deputy Chief Wrenn asked. “Not a thing. His wife Marie was watching the Celtics game and all she saw was Cushing falling back through the hallway after two loud blasts, her words. It was probably a shotgun loaded with slugs by the size of the holes in the screen.” “Okay you, Shawn and Mike handle the scene, I’ll be with Chief Mark, and remember guys, you just have one shot to do a good job at a crime scene,” and with that, Wrenn let his men do their job. The three detectives split duties. Bill started processing the door and began looking and dusting for fingerprints. He knew that tomorrow he would have to interview Marie Cushing and take elimination prints. That would be anything but pleasant. As he looked at the door, he noticed that one of the shotgun slugs, after going through the screen, took a chunk out of the door, which told him that Cushing had either not opened the door all the way or he had tried to close the door after he saw the assailant with a shotgun. He would have to find out if Cushing yelled or said anything prior to the shots. In looking at the two shots, it appeared that one may have gone into his stomach and another into his chest. As he started to dust the door and screen door for fingerprints, he thought to himself he would have to get the coroner’s report. Shawn Maloney started looking in the front yard of the house and immediate vicinity. He was looking for anything the killer may have left behind or footprints which would have given investigators some indication to his physique. He found nothing, absolutely nothing. He then turned his attention to the backyard. “Hey Shawn,” Sergeant John Galvin called out. “The backyard is gonna be contaminated. Me and the guys walked through it. We found nothing and then we searched the woods.” “Okay, thanks John. If you guys didn’t find anything, there’s probably nothing, I’m just going to give it a walk through.”
Shawn and Bill finished about the same time when they got together to process the inside of the house. As they were about to start, Deputy Chief Wrenn waved them over. Barbara Keshen had just arrived. She was one of the assistant NH Attorney Generals and she was responsible for the handling of the murder investigation and any subsequent prosecution of a perpetrator(s). She was appointed to the position in 1985 by Attorney General Stephen Merrill who was still in office and had been appointed by then Governor John Sununu. State Police Lt. Dan Lenihan was also on scene. In 1988, State Police had jurisdiction of any murder investigation in any municipality under 3000 people. If the population was over 3000, the Chief of Police of the municipality could conduct his own investigation or relinquish it to State Police. Bill Wrenn advised Dan that Hampton would conduct the investigation and if they needed anything, they would call. Hampton PD and State Police had a very good relationship and worked well together, especially during the busy summer months at Hampton. The relationship with Barbara Keshen was different. For an Assistant AG, her view of police seemed to be jaundiced, and Hampton Police felt that view of local police departments was less than warm. When Keshen arrived on the scene, she asked Bill Wrenn who was conducting the investigation, Hampton or State Police. “We are,” Bill answered. Bill then noticed a frown and look of displeasure on Keshen’s face. “Will you be running it Chief Wrenn?” It is common to refer to a Deputy Chief as Chief. “I’ll be overseeing it,” Wrenn answered. “And Detective Sergeant Mike Simmons will be running it with his two detectives, Bill Lally and Shawn Maloney,” and with that, Wrenn motioned Mike Simmons over. Mike was talking to Bill Lally on the front porch and they both walked towards Keshen. Mike had been a Sergeant for 4 years at the time and was just recently assigned as Detective Sergeant. He had spent his eighteen years as an officer in patrol, and as a result, had limited investigative experience. “Mike, Bill, this is Barbara Keshen from the AG’s office. She’ll be handling the investigation and prosecution.” Keshen wasted no time, “So tell me Sergeant, what have you done and what will you be doing?” Simmons hesitated for a moment and then said, “Well, we’ll be doing the whole nine yards.” Keshen looked at him for a moment. “Please tell me, what’s the whole nine yards?” At this point, Bill Lally saw Simmons foundering and jumped in. “Well Barbara,” Lally said. “We’ve already completed a walk through the house and searched the front and back yards hoping to find something, especially footprints or maybe pieces of clothing, but no luck. Patrol Sergeant Galvin and some patrolmen walked the woods. No luck there either. The only evidence we have so far is the screen door with two holes in it. By the size of the holes, we’re pretty confident that it was from two shotgun slugs.” Keshen was about to ask a question, but Lally continued. “There were no ejected casings, so the shooter either policed his brass or it was a doubled barreled shotgun. I’ve already fingerprinted the front door and screen door and we have some prints. But we need to get elimination prints from the family. So far, all we have for evidence is the door. We’ll be interviewing family members and friends during the following days and try to get a suspect. In addition, we’ll be talking to neighbors. We’ve also photographed the entire scene.” Keshen nodded her head. “Would you like to walk the perimeter,” Wrenn said to Keshen.” “Yes please.” Ten minutes later they were finished. As they were walking to the front of the house, Renny Cushing pulled up to the front of his parent’s house. Bill Wrenn knew Renny and made introductions. “Renny, this is Barbara Keshen from the AG’s office, she’ll be coordinating the investigation from the AG’s office and handling the prosecution once we’ve made an arrest.” “I’m very sorry for your loss, and we’ll be doing everything humanly possible and we’ll get the person who did this,” Keshen said. She didn’t know this, but it was the beginning of a long, friendly political relationship with Renny Cushing which would be full of mutual respect. “Glad to meet you too. I have no idea who would’ve done this.” “How’s your mom doing?” Wrenn asked. “How do you think,” Cushing answered. Generally, Wrenn would have had a response, but let it pass under the circumstances. Keshen then stepped in and gave Renny her card and told him he could call anytime. He left shortly thereafter and Keshen walked backed to Deputy Chief Wrenn. “All right Chief, if there’s nothing else, I’ll be leaving, please keep me in the loop.” Wrenn assured the Assistant AG that she would be kept in the loop. She left shortly thereafter just as the first of the news media arrived, the New Hampshire TV station, WMUR. “She’s a real joy,” Simmons said. Wrenn just nodded his head and smirked. “Mike, you head to the hospital and try and get the slugs for evidence. Also check to see when the autopsy will be, one of us will have to be there,” Wrenn said. “Will do Chief,” and he headed towards his cruiser. Luckily Chief Mark was talking to the news media and that was one less thing Wrenn had to worry about. Lally and Shawn went into the Cushing house to search for evidence, however, before they did that, they tried to clean the blood on the floor the best they could. After blood leaves the body it will pool and subsequently, begins to coagulate. As it does this, the water separates itself from the blood. As one detective found a mop for the water, the other found a shovel for the then gelatinous blood and put it in a plastic trash bag for disposal. A more in depth search of the house yielded no clues and they met with Bill Wrenn who was standing next to Tim Collins. It was past midnight. “Alright we’ve done everything that we can and the only thing we have for evidence is the screen door which we’re taking back to the station. Have we missed anything?” Wrenn said. “I think we’re good,” Lally replied. Tim Collins then chirped in, “Has anyone talked to the neighbors who called it in originally?” “What are you talking about,” Bill Wrenn said. “Laura and I got the original call that came in from the neighbors to the left, the Smiths. The original report was they thought they heard two shots. It was only after we got here that we learned that Cushing got hit.” “Ok let’s do it,” Shawn said and he and Bill Lally walked over to the neighbors. Bill knocked on the door and it was immediately answered. “Hi Mr. Smith, I’m detective Lally and this is detective Maloney. Sorry to bother you at this hour but as you probably know, Mr. Cushing’s been killed and we were informed that you made the original call of shots fired.” “No problem detectives and call me John. Yea I called it in. It sounded really loud and I didn’t think it was fireworks, my daughter Linda heard it too. My wife was out shopping at the time.” “Did you see anything?” “No I didn’t, but my daughter was upstairs doing her homework and she may have seen something. Her desk is right by her bedroom window that faces the Cushing house. She’s still up.” “Could you get her please?” “Linda, can you come down here.” Linda was a junior at Winnacunnet High School which was a regional High School for the surrounding towns in addition to Hampton. “What’s up dad?” “These two detectives would like to know if you saw anything around the Cushing house after we heard the shots earlier tonight.” “Oh yea, I saw two people running down the road coming from Mr. Cushing’s house. One was carrying a big stick, and the other had something in his hand, but I didn’t know what is was. It looked like a laundry sack.” Which way were they running?” Shawn asked. “They were running towards the beach.” “Did you notice what they were wearing and can you describe them?” “Yea, one looked like he had his pajama’s on and they were all black. I didn’t get a good look at him, but I did the other guy. The other one, the one carrying the stick, had on dark clothes and he looked younger and smaller with slicked backed light brown hair.” “After they left the house running towards the beach, did you see anything else, maybe a car?” “No that’s it, I only saw them running towards the road and that’s all.” “Ok thanks Linda, you’ve been a big help.” Both detectives walked back to the Cushing house and saw Deputy Wrenn. “We got something. The daughter, who’s in high school, was in her upstairs bedroom doing homework and it faces the Cushing house. She saw two people running from the house towards the beach and gave us a description,” Shawn said, and as an afterthought, “they probably had a car parked down the road.” “Well we have something now, two people, probably men and they used a shotgun. This shouldn’t be a hard solve, Cushing was obviously targeted and has probably made some enemies along the way. I remember that car accident in ‘75 when he got arrested, he was somewhat caustic,” Wrenn answered. “Yea I heard about that, we’ll have to do a background tomorrow,” Bill Lally answered. “Alright, let’s call it a night, and we’ll start early tomorrow and get your reports done then,” Wrenn answered. “Gotcha, I’ll be in by 7, is that good for you Shawn?” Bill Lally said. “No problem, I’ll see you then.” It was past midnight and the time had gone by quickly. Bill Lally secured the house and a couple of patrol officers took the crime scene tape down. He thought to himself what he had to do in the morning. First on the list was to call Renny Cushing and bring him up to speed, including that they had taken the screen door for evidence. Bill shrugged to himself. That was the only physical evidence they had, and outside of Linda Smith’s description of the two possible shooters, that was it. No one bothered going to Bob and Sammi McLaughlin’s apartment to enquire if they had seen or heard anything, since his truck was gone and they thought he was on vacation in Maine. When Lally got into his car, he tuned the radio to the sports channel. He had all but forgotten about the playoff game. He was disappointed to hear that the Detroit Pistons beat the Celtics by a score of 102-96. It was a bad night all the way around.
John Tommasi had just gotten up and was drinking coffee on the farmer’s porch at 16 M Street when he saw the headlines in the Eagle Tribune. This was the sixth, and last year that the boys from Salem, PD rented the cottage for the summer on M street. There were only four of them this year and Tommasi was the only who rented it initially in 1983. Fred Rheault was also having coffee with Tommasi. “Hey Fredso, there was a murder yesterday here in Hampton.” “No shit. They never have murders here.” “Yea, some guy named Cushing who lives uptown.” “Any suspects?” “Doesn’t seem so.” “No shit.”
Blog Topics 2020
January An Impeachment Primer February The Coronavirus and the Market. March/April Balanced Budget and Term limits May The Cost of the Quarantine and Recovery
Blog Topics 2019
March The Burgeoning US Debt May China, Trade and Tariffs June Income taxes: Obama v Trump July/Aug The China Threat Sept/Oct The High Cost of College: Part 1
Blog Topics 2018
January What Kills Bull Markets May Are Cheap Oil Prices here to Stay July California and Mandatory Solar Panels August Tariffs and Trade September Is a Recession coming? November Increasing Healthcare Costs December The Oracle of Omaha
Blog Topics 2017
January Trumponomics Part 2 February The Keystone Pipeline Revisited March Border Adjustment Tax April Are Liberal Prof's..... May Moral Hazard Through a Libertarian's Lens (guest blog from a student) July What's causing the Opioid Crisis September The minimum Wage re-visited November Everything You Want to Know about 401K December How The New Tax Bill Affects you (spoiler alert: the middle class makes out great)
blog topics for 2013 - 2016 are at page bottom
Updates/Advisories Week Ending 5-9-2021
Unemployment in May rose to 6.1% from 6% and only 266,000 jobs were added when 1,000,000 were expected. Bad news? Nope, the Dow advanced 229 points to close at a new record of 34.778. The reason being is that analysts felt that this would forestall inflation, so far it hasn't, and postpone any FED rate hike. Part of the problem is that many individuals, because of the additional $400 federal unemployment benefits, are making more money unemployed than employed. When President Biden was asked if he believed this was the case Friday, he responded no. There are currently over 9 million people collecting unemployment. The labor force participation rate was little changed at 61.7 percent in April and is 1.6 percentage points lower than in February 2020. I'm just wondering in what alternative dimension he took economics. Leisure and hospitality saw the biggest gains by adding 331,000. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.1 percent), adult women (5.6 percent), teenagers (12.3 percent), Whites (5.3 percent), Blacks (9.7 percent), Asians (5.7 percent), and Hispanics (7.9 percent) showed little or no change in April. The labor force participation rate was little changed at 61.7 percent in April and is 1.6 percentage points lower than in February 2020. Some economists are forecasting double-digit growth in the current quarter after gross domestic product rose at a 6.4% annualized pace in the first quarter and more weak data could put those forecasts at risk. The spectre of inflation continues. Agricultural products aren't exempt. The price of corn is at its highest level since 2012. Same goes for soybean prices. Even sales of block cheese futures have been soaring in anticipation of grilling season. Then there's consumer products. Diaper prices have gone up in the past year, and two major producers — Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and Procter & Gamble (PG) — have warned customers that fresh hikes are coming. Shortages of computer chips, meanwhile, are helping to push up car prices, and could soon do the same for electronics and household appliances. Oil is trading at $64.82/barrel, the dollar weakened to $1.22/Euro, gold is up to $1823/oz (a safe haven play against inflation), and the average price of a gallon of regular gas nationwide is at a 1 year high at $2.96/gallon.
Updates/Advisory Week Ending 5-2-2021
On April 22, the Dow was down 300 (34036) points compliments of Joe Biden. Not only does he want to increase the corporate tax to 28% from 21% (a 33.3% increase), he also wants to increase capital gains from 15%-20% to a high of 43%. That will surely stymie economic investment spending (capital goods, tech etc). Want many dems don't realize, or conveniently forget, not only are corp profits taxed, so are dividends to individuals (double taxation) that are payed out to shareholders; i.e., a corp tax of 28% and cap gains (any investment longer than 1 year) of 43% equates to a significant tax amount on profits. So lets do some math: let's assume that a corp makes $100, after a 28% tax that leaves $72, after a 43% cap gains tax that leaves $41 which equates to a 59% tax rate on profits; brilliant; if it's a short term Capital gain you are taxed at your highest tax bracket rate. The Dow is currently trading at 33,875, down from highs, despite record earnings. Of the S&P 500 companies reporting, 87% have beat earnings. Why then isn't the Dow soaring? Primarily because of guidance that is less than stellar and there is the spectre of inflation and the FED raising rates. Add to that the anti-business stance of the Biden Administration and the outlook is less than rosey. In March, the overall inflation rate, CPI-W (urban workers) rose .6% and the year over year inflation rate is 2.6% while food rose 3.5% and energy 13.2%. As you can see from the accompanying chart inflation is on the rise, and while we are at it, let's not forget the added $4 trillion of debt that Biden wants to add because of stimulus programs. The yield on the 10 year, to no surprise, is up to 1.63%, gold, an anti-inflation trade is up to $1768/oz, the dollar is stable at $1.2/Euro and the price of a barrel of oil is up to $63.49
Update/Advisory Week Ending 4-11-2021
Historical 10 year rate
The Dow was up 297 points on Friday and 648 points for the week to close at 33,801, another record high. All sectors did well with financials and health care leading the way. The market remains over valued with an average S&P 500 P/E of 34 vs a historical P/E of 17.5. Whereas I don't see a bear market, a correction wouldn't surprise me. A good part of this sugar high is a function of all the stimulus money that is being pumped into the economy at the expense of the US debt which will eclipse $30 trillion this year. This will eventually be manifested in a higher inflation rate which we are seeing now for the first time in over 12 years as the FED is predicting over 3% inflation for the year. According to CNBC, as more people receive the Covid-19 vaccine, corporate leaders and investors are asking themselves a new question: What will consumer spending look like next? About a third of the U.S. population has gotten at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Airport and store traffic is picking up. And some economists are predicting a major boom that could last for years. I am not one of those. The FED will step in and raise interest rates. Rates are already up on the 10 year bond to 1.73% which has driven mortgage rates on the 30 year fixed to 2.9%. During the week, Stocks linked to the recovering economy led the gains again amid the accelerating vaccine rollout. Carnival Corp rose 2.6% after getting two upgrades on Wall street amid pent-up demand and potential summer restart. General Electric climbed more than 1%. JPMorgan added 0.8%. Oil is holding its own at $61.84/barrel, and the dollar and gold are relatively stable at $1.19/Euro and $1732/oz.
Update/Advisory Week Ending 4-4-2021
Hi All, this week will be brief since I'm off to St Thomas. During his inaugural address, Biden says he wanted to be president for all people. The next day on a post in facebook I stated I was willing to give him a chance. The first bill he passed into law was signed on party lines and here's what he said about his infrastructure bill: WASHINGTON Biden will push through infrastructure plan even with no Republican support Reuters President Joe Biden would be willing to push through his $2 trillion infrastructure plan without the support of Republican lawmakers if he cannot reach a bipartisan deal, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Sunday.
This doesn't make him a president for all people, it makes him a lying dog faced pony soldier!
Update/Advisory Week Ending 3-28-21
Not only have democrats never met a tax they didn't like, they're thinking of new ones too. Current tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents/gallon federal and depending on your state another 20-60 cents (attached image). This is being proposed by newly installed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. According to CNBC, he spoke "fondly" (CNBC's words not mine) of a mileage levy, which would tax travelers based on the distance of the journey instead of on how much gasoline they consume. Buttigieg said that while gas taxes have traditionally been part of the way the U.S. pays for the Highway Trust Fund, "we know that it can't be the answer forever because we're going to be using less and less gas." This is also a none to subtle way of pushing consumers towards electric cars. I'm just curious on how this will be reported and verified. In financial news, both the Dow and the S&P 500 finished at new records. On Friday, the Dow staged a late day rally and finished the day up 453 points. For the week, it was up 211 points. Part of the impetus was President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a new goal of having 200 million Covid vaccination shots being distributed within his first 100 days in office. As of Friday, 100 million coronavirus vaccinations had been given since Biden was inaugurated. This in turn caused consumer sentiment to rise. A University of Michigan survey released Friday showed the final reading of the index of consumer sentiment was 84.9 in March, up from 76.8 in February. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a reading of 83.7 (CNBC). I personally think the market is overbought, particularly given an average S&P 500 P/E of 40.47. I have invested in defensive stocks. The only exception to this is the financial sector which does well in a period of rising interest rates. The yield on the 10 year bond was up over 1.7%. Oil was up over $2/barrel to finish at $61.84/barrel as a result of the Suez canal being blocked by a disabled ship and supply concerns. Some estimates put the clearing of the canal at two weeks. The dollar was stable at $1.19/Euro and gold was down slightly at $1732/oz.
Minimum Wage Commentary
In the new Covid Relief Bill there is a provision for a required $15 minimum wage nation wide. Minimum wage should be left to the individual states. A Federally mandated minimum wage for all states is stupidity personified given the following: The attached map shows cost of living by state for a market basket of goods that on the average, nationwide, cost $100. The interpretation is a follows: That market basket of goods would cost $139.10 in New York, and $151.70 in Calif. As you can see, the cost of living is 51,7% higher in Calif, the most expensive state, than the national average; however In Mississippi, it would only cost $86.10. If you do the math, the cost of living is 76.2% high in California than Mississippi Even if you compare Calif and NH, the cost of living in Calif is 38.2% higher than NH As a result, I feel that a one-size-fits-all federally mandated minimum wage is ludicrous and it should be left up to the individual states.
Economy and the Dow
Click to Enlarge
As you can see from the attached charts, the stock market mirrors the American Economy, and granted, there are bumps in the road but both ALWAYS recover. Stop checking your retirement accounts and do nothing. You, and believe or not, even me (yes I am making fun of myself), cannot time the market, but it will recover. Today the Dow dropped 10%, 2352 points, which is the worst point drop ever and the largest point drop since Black Monday in 1987 where it dropped over 23%; and this drop occurred in spite of the FED announcing that it would inject up to $1 trillion into the economy. Once again, there are no rational expectations in the market, just hysteria and the hysteria will eventually diminish.
The wealth effect is an increase in consumption (and accompanying decrease in savings) as a result of an individuals assets (usually a portfolio or land/home) increasing in value. A negative wealth effect is just the opposite, and since most indexes declined more than 10% and tested bear market territory, this appears to be the case. Conversely, the market recovered in January and all losses and more were covered.
FICO SCORES Fair Isaac Company reports that it's FICO scores (FICO being an acronym for Fair Isaac Co) reports that the average FICO score in the US has reached an all time high of 700 nationwide amongst adults. The share of consumers who are viewed as the riskiest from a credit perspective (these are sub-prime and have a score lower than 640) reached a new low of about 40 million — or 20 percent of adults in the U.S. that have FICO scores. according to the Wall St Journal. A lot of you may be asking what is a FICO score, how is it calculated and how it affects me. Fair Isaac uses use information provided by one of the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian or Trans-Union. From this, they have a formula to get a credit score which can be as high as 850. The biggest part is your payment history, followed by how much you owe, credit history, credit mix and new credit (see chart). Next, how do you interpret your FICO Score: anything > 800 is excellent (and gets you low interest rates on loans and credit cards), 740-799 is very good, 670-739 is good, and anything less than 670 is considered not good and sub-prime (chart). Lastly, as no surprise, the older you are, the better your score (chart)
Strangulation by Regulation: The tax code is 77,000 pages, under Obama there were 4000 new EPA regulations (info from CBS) Dodd-Frank imposed somewhere between 310-500 new requirements on banks(various analysts CNBC) and Obamacare has over 20,000 pages of regulations (Washington Post); and people are complaining because Trump is trying to streamline government. He has signed the "2 for 1" executive order that mandates all agencies to do away with 2 regulations for every one they pass. I can run my life and spend my money, much better than the government and I applaud Trump's efforts in doing away with economically ruinous legislation.
UNH Study Results 5-31-2016
In other News: First, a little history. In 1800, 90% of the adult population were farmers (lots of factory child labor), by 1900, 25% of the population and currently, about 2% as a result of technology garnering greater yield/acre. As a result much farmland from the 19th century is no longer. In a recent study out of UNH, it was found that 75% of the farmland from the mid 19th century is now covered by trees and this is contributing to warmer winters. Trees causing higher temperatures you say; how is this possible? It is very simple physics. In the winter in NH (and most other states), farm pastures are covered with snow, and this reflects sunlight, and heat, into space. Now that 75% of these pastures are covered with trees, the dark trees absorb the heat and it permeates into the atmosphere causing a general warming and milder winters. If you've ever wondered what a stone wall was doing in the middle of the woods, those woods were once pastures and delineated borders that contained live stock.
Just as a reminder from my blog of October 2013, Carbon dioxide composes only .0387% of our atmosphere (in decimal form that’s .000387), and of all the CO2 currently being produced on the earth, man only accounts for 3.4% (.034 in decimals). Therefore, if you want to calculate the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by man, you would multiply .034 x .000387 to get .0000131 or .00131%.
The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen, Norway.
Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.
Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.
I apologize, I neglected to mention that this report was from November 2, 1922. As reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post — 96 years ago! The text in the above example is a genuine transcription of a 1922 newspaper article, an Associated Press account which appeared on page 2 of the Washington Post on 2 November of that year
Commentary on Minimum Wage
The main argument concerning minimum wage is that it will help to alleviate poverty. That is clearly not the case. As you can see from the chart at the left, the poverty rate dropped dramatically in the 1960's. This was a function of great society legislation; specifically, increase in Social Security benefits in addition to the inception and implementation of Medicare and Medicaid. Since then, the poverty rate has fluctuated between 9-15% and is highly correlated with the unemployment rate. The vertical grey area's in the graph represent periods of recessions in the US. As can be expected, unemployment rises during recessions and peaks at the end (unemployment is said to be a lagging indicator). As you can also see from the chart, so too does the poverty rate. There is no indication whatsoever that the poverty rate is affected by increases in the minimum wage. Generally, this is quite the contrary. As can be evidenced from the below left chart, increases in minimum wage can contribute to unemployment and as we can infer from the above chart, as unemployment increases so to does poverty. If you look at NH, they have the lowest state poverty rate in the nation and it generally parallels the national unemployment rate. By raising the minimum wage, you increase business costs. As a result; businesses either pass these costs onto the consumer (in which case inflation nullifies any wage increase), substitute capital for labor, or simply go out of business. If you look at the chart below right, UAW (United Auto Workers) membership has decreased in the late 1970's from 1.5 million to 350,000 in 2009. The reason for this is simple. Detroit isn't making fewer cars, they are making more, but they have made their assembly lines more robotic and have substituted capital for labor, which became cheaper in the long run. This can also happen to those fast food workers who want a $15 minimum wage. There is currently a machine on the market that can make 300 burgers/hour. In other words, capital can be substituted for labor. Someone please e-mail me and explain how someone is better off unemployed at $10-15/hour as opposed to being gainfully employed at $7.25/hour
You cannot legislate equality. If you want to decrease poverty, implement policies to insure that higher levels of education is available to all.
BLOG Topics 2013
January Do Protected Seals lead to Depleted Fish Stocks February Prohibition: Profits to Cartels & Increased Violence for Americans March Increased Minimum Wage & Extended benefits lead to Higher Unemployment April Ethanol from corn & Agflation May Cash for Clunkers lead to Higher Used Car Prices & Wasted Tax Dollars June The Affordable Care Act; Anything but Affordable Part 1 July The Affordable Care Act; The poster Child for False Advertising August Detroit: Higher Taxes + Liberal Benefits = Bankruptcy September No Keystone Pipeline leads to more pollution October Global Warming! Or is it Global Cooling! November Poverty & Benefits December Does Affirmative Action lead to Reverse Discrimination?
Blog Topics 2014
January Will Lake Meade become another Aral Sea February Does Taxing the rich hurt the economy March The Cause of the Great Depression April Temporary Agricultural Subsidies lead to wealthy Farmers and Higher Prices May The Presidents Stance on Gun Control leads to Increased Gun Ownership June Is there really a Gender Pay Gap July Did the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade lower the crime rate August Department of Education and wasted Money October The Financial Follies of the EPA November Social Security and Portfolio Diversification December The White House and Terrorism
Blog Topics 2015
January Does Implementation of the Death Penalty lead to higher costs February Less Competition and Higher Hospital Costs March Millionaires Who Get Subsidies from the Affordable Care Act April The Unintended Obama Legacy May The NY Times and $15 Minimum Wage June Are Disability Payments Bankrupting Social Security August Seattle's $15 minimum wage and it's Surprising Consequence October The Great Stagnation: The Obama Legacy November Poverty in the United States December Should Insider Trading be Legalized: Part one by Olivia Marchioni
Blog Topics 2016
January Should Insider Trading be Legalized: Part 2 February The Presidential Election & the Economy March Does Narcan Increase Heroin Use April Is NOAA destroying the American Fisherman June Will California Style Power Outages Happen in New England July Textbooks, Inflation & the FTC Sept Economic strangulation by Regulation Oct Is this the Best we have? Nov The High Cost of Prescription Drugs Dec Trump, the Economy & Animal Spirits
The United States has amongst the lowest savings rate for all technological nations. The iOMe challenge is a nationwide competition between Colleges where teams submit a 10,000 page essay on how Americans can improve their savings rates. In addition, teams must produce an approximate 60 second video which complements the essay. If you click on the iOMe logo above, it will take you to Bentley University's 2012 video submission. The faculty adviser for the challenge is John Tommasi and is offered during his Fall EC 351 course, Contemporary Issues in Economics. I'm pleased to announce that on February 15, Bentley was declared the winner of the iOMe video portion of the contest. Congrats to the team members and great job!
EC 3900 Energy Economics
EC 3900, Energy Economics and International Markets, is a 3 credit, Short Term Program, that is offered during Spring semester. After 7 weeks of lecture, the class takes a 10 day educational/cultural tour to France where 80% of their electricity is produced by nuclear power. During the 10 day trip, students travel to, and tour various nuclear facilities Last year's class visited; Marsailles, Aix en Provance, Lyons, Brest and 4 days in Paris.
If there were ever words that can strike fear into the hearts of any man women or child, it's: "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help". On a monthly basis my blog, from an economic standpoint, will explore government laws, decisions and actions, which while well intentioned, had inadvertent results that were either disastrous, or made a bad situation worse. It wouldn't surprise me if you reached the conclusion that congress does two things well, nothing and overreact; and you may ask yourself, do Congressional members vote for what is best for the economy, or what will get them re-elected.