Sadly, There'll Always Be Another Buford Furrow

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That long taxicab ride from Los Angeles to Las Vegas apparently convinced Buford Furrow that running was useless –- which was 275 miles too late for postal worker Joseph Ileto. But because he is dead, Ileto is now authorities’ straightest route to justice. Furrow has been charged with -- and reportedly has confessed to -– the killing of Ileto, along with those five counts of attempted murder, and prosecutors could seek the death penalty. Yet to a shocked public, and possibly to L.A. prosecutors seeking closure, the trial of Buford Furrow will be about hate. The connections to the white-supremacist, anti-semitic Aryan Nations, the Order and Christian Identity. The picture of Furrows in a Nazi uniform. The reported explanation: A "wake-up call to America to kill Jews." Yet America may be wise enough –- or stubborn enough –- not to wake up anything at all.

Did the law fail us? Gun-rights supporters rightly point out that one of the charges against Buford Furrow was illegal possession of a firearm. Illegal, signifying that enforcement, not legislation, is the answer to keeping the rage of the crazies impotent. The police? At his press conference Wednesday, L.A. police Chief Bernard Parks resisted all his political urges and declared that martial law was not coming to the City of Angels. The "community" of Los Angeles, he hoped, would find a way to heal without a cop on every corner. The courts? Furrows had served his time for his confused knife-wielding at a mental-hostpital check-in desk; he was on probation because he hadn’t hurt anybody before. And the First Amendment says that even Neo-Nazis must be deemed harmless until they prove us wrong. This being frontier-hewn America, which because it cannot forswear all its guns forswears almost none of them, a Buford Furrow is bound to happen, and will happen again. This time, everybody survived but a substitute mailman, who had an absent colleague’s route that day. "He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," USPS spokesman David Mazer said. So was Buford Furrows, one more fellow American we wish we’d never met.