By KENT HARRIS | STARS AND STRIPESPublished: December 7, 2017

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — The airman accused of entering a fellow airman’s dorm room and repeatedly stabbing her in April was “just interacting with things in his environment” and didn’t intend to kill her, his lawyers said Wednesday.

Airman Cameron A. Owens is accused of attempted murder, assault, breaking and entering and three specifications of conduct “being to the prejudice of good order and discipline.” His court-martial opened Wednesday after three days of pretrial motions.

Shortly before 4 a.m. on April 11, Owens entered the victim’s bedroom after climbing over a wall to reach the common area of her dorm and stabbed her several times, according to the prosecution and the victim’s testimony.

Capt. Andrew Paulson, one of two defense attorneys representing Owens, argued that there was no evidence Owens was angry or meant to kill anyone and that the victim’s injuries were not life threatening. Without offering a possible motive for Owens’ actions, he said the government “overreacted, overreached and overcharged this case.”

Paulson and Maj. Jacob Ramer, the other defense attorney, also called into dispute the government charges of breaking and entering by arguing that Owens entered unlocked, open doors.

Many of Owens’ actions on the outside of the dorms were captured by video cameras, and that’s how he was later identified, arrested and charged.

Paulson said he can be seen wandering into several rooms that morning, including one where he took a knife while “just reacting to things in his environment.”

Owens later climbed over a “waist-high” wall forming a patio to the common room used by the victim — left open to let in cooler air on a hot night — and then entered her bedroom.

Paulson said Owens stabbed the victim only in response to her movement in a dark dorm room.

The victim later testified that she was sleeping and the first thing she remembers was her comforter being “ripped away” followed by a sharp pain in her head. “I never saw the knife, but I felt it.”

Said she was stabbed “at least eight times” and was slow to defend herself from a rapid series of attacks, eventually raising an arm, then sitting up and moving back further onto her bed. “It took me a few seconds to understand what was going on.”

The attack stopped, she said, after she screamed. The assailant fled out the patio door and back over the wall, and she ran out the front door and to another airman’s dorm. That airman called for medical assistance, and the victim was eventually treated at the Italian hospital in Pordenone.

Capt. Carly Havens, one of three prosecutors arguing the case, suggested that Owens might have been agitated because of the end of a relationship with a woman in the States as well as the romantic rejection of an airman he met shortly after arriving at Aviano in March. She seemed to suggest that he was potentially looking for that airman before attacking the victim.

“The government acknowledges that it is difficult to know why someone stabs a complete stranger,” she said.

Owens elected to have Air Force Lt. Col. John Harwood hear the case after the military judge decided to allow key evidence and testimony to be admissible Wednesday afternoon.

In pretrial motions that began Monday, the defense had sought to challenge the admissibility of Owens’ clothes seized during an Italian Carabinieri search of his dorm room, the alleged knife used to carry out the attacks discovered during a following American search, and admissions of guilt that Owens allegedly made to Italian police and later his first sergeant.

The prosecution called three witnesses, including the victim, before the trial adjourned for the evening. Dozens of witnesses are expected to take the stand before the trial concludes next week.

For the past two years, the military failed to submit 31 percent of court-martial convictions to the FBI that would bar individuals from owning a firearm, Stars and Stripes reported.

According to the military news outlet, a newly released report from the Pentagon’s inspector general found 780 convictions of felony-level offenses were never reported to federal law enforcement officials responsible for maintaining the database used to determine whether individuals can purchase a gun.

Additionally, the Department of Defense Inspector General report revealed fingerprints were not submitted to the FBI in 601 of 2,502 cases.

In the 2015-2016 period, the Air Force failed to report 14 percent of court-martial convictions and fingerprint cards, the IG found.

The other services were worse, Stars and Stripes reported.

The Army failed to provide conviction information in 41 percent of its cases, according to the Pentagon watchdog. The Navy and Marine Corps each failed to submit conviction information in 36 percent of cases.

The Army failed to provide fingerprint cards in 28 percent of cases, while the Navy and Marine Corps both failed to provide fingerprints in 29 percent of cases, according to the inspector general.

The report comes a month after former airman Devin Kelley killed 26 people at a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; the Air Force had failed to report Kelley’s domestic abuse conviction to the FBI, allowing him to buy weapons.

“Our report again identified serious deficiencies throughout the DOD in reporting criminal history information to the FBI,” Glenn Fine, the principal deputy inspector general, said in a statement.

“It is critical that the DOD fully implement our recommendations to correct past deficiencies and prevent future lapses in reporting.”

The DOD inspector general is separately investigating what happened in the case of Kelley.

The FBI issued more than 4,000 orders last year for agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to take back guns from owners who failed background checks and should’ve been disqualified from purchasing them, according to USA Today.

Those purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed dealer must undergo a check under the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Under federal law, a firearm sale can proceed if a background check is not completed within 72 hours.

ATF agents are then instructed to seize guns from those who were able to purchase firearms, but the FBI later finds should have been denied.

It is unknown how many of the requests were successfully executed or how many firearms were taken back, according to USA Today.

NICS examiners handled a record 27.5 million background checks last year, and the FBI issued seizure requests for 4,170 gun purchases. In 2015, the FBI issued 2,892 such orders.

The background check system came under scrutiny last month after Devin Patrick Kelley, an Air Force veteran, shot and killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Kelley was able to purchase two guns despite an earlier conviction for assaulting his then-wife and stepson in 2012. He received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force after he was court-martialed.

Kelley’s conviction should’ve prevented him from buying the firearms, but Air Force personnel at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico failed to report the court-martial to the FBI.

The Air Force opened an investigation into the error. Preliminary findings from the Air Force’s review found “similar reporting lapses occurred at other locations.”

Emily Lindin says it’s all in the service of dismantling the “Patriarchy”

As a deluge of sexual harassment claims washes over Hollywood, the entertainment and media industries, the concern remains that innocent men will suffer as a result of false accusations of impropriety. The great tragedy of revealing an underground network of abusers is that all allegations will lose credibility if any actors, writers, or journalists are hit with false claims of sexual misbehavior.

But according to Teen Vogue columnist and “The UnSlut Project” founder, radical feminist Emily Lindin, a couple of falsely accused men who end up being harshly punished for harassment they didn’t commit is just a price that has to be paid in the service of dismantling the oppressive Patriarchy.

In a series of tweets published Tuesday, Lindin laid bare her case for alleging basically every guy in America is an unabashed sexual harasser.

Basically, all men are members of an oppressive group, therefore they are all guilty of some form of sexual impropriety or gender-based discrimination, so it only follows that, if a few of them are dragged under by the wave of accusations now rolling ashore on movie sets and in newsrooms, they’re just a handful fewer men we ladies will eventually have to trod under our stilettos anyway.

Ironically, Lindin is the head of something called the “UnSlut” project which claims to facilitate the end of “sexual bullying” and promote “gender equality.” Although Lindin’s project claims that it involves “all genders,” it’s not clear whether any men involved in the project were aware they would have to self-immolate in order to help Lindin achieve her goals.

Lindin’s tweets are now protected, of course, but the backlash is still visible — and it came not just from conservatives and libertarians righteously outraged at Lindin’s radical feminism. It also came from feminist allies and social media users of color, who pointed out that some of the most famous cases of false allegations of sexual harassment have also been examples of “racist scape-goating.”

Emily Lindin

Here’s an unpopular opinion: I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations.

Geoffrey Miller

In fact, had Lindin paid attention in high school and college lit classes, she may have encountered a fictionalized, yet no less exemplary case of just this — in the seminal American work, “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Lindin replied that she didn’t mean to say that people of color should be improperly accused of sexual harassment; instead, she was referring only to “powerful people who are protected by the system.” Eventually, she was forced to agree that all allegations of sexual assault should be properly investigated.

Linden is, of course, not the first progressive to abrogate her duty to intersectional feminism in light of sexual harassment claims. Lena Dunham took the opposite position over the weekend, claiming that all accusers should be believed, except those who lob allegations at a friend and co-writer for her HBO show, “Girls.”

Cpl. K.D. Lee of Camp Pendleton’s 7th Engineer Support Battalion of the 1st Marine Logistic Group pleaded guilty recently at summary court-martial to belittling and berating a subordinate, according to Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Adam B. Miller.

“Hazing is contradictory to our core values of honor, courage and commitment and is prejudicial to good order and discipline,” Miller said by email. “Hazing violates our‎ institutional character and disrespects our most precious asset — our‎ Marines and sailors. Hazing is absolutely not tolerated in the Marine Corps.”

Lee had been accused of inflicting “cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful” treatment on a junior enlisted Marine on April 6, according to a charge sheet obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

She was charged on Aug. 4 with three counts of violating a lawful order designed to prevent hazing and pleaded innocent at an initial hearing on Oct. 13, according to the military court docket.

There are three levels of court-martial proceedings — general, special and summary. General and special court-martial cases threaten harsher punishments and the stigma of federal felony or misdemeanor convictions.

Lee at first faced a special court-martial trial, but her plea agreement shifted her into a summary hearing, which acts as a kind of legal bridge between the harsh penalties of court-martial convictions and the more lax non-judicial punishment.

Her military-appointed attorneys did not return calls seeking comment.

Miller said that six other non-commissioned officers were administratively disciplined for their actions through non-judicial punishment.

The corps redacted both Lee’s first name and the identity of her victim, except to note that he was a male Marine who held the rank of private first class during the April incident.

Lee, a three-year veteran of the corps who has yet to deploy overseas, threatened to toss the subordinate off a rooftop, questioned his gender, derided him with salty language and told other Marines that she was “not (expletive) done with him” and “we’ll get him, don’t worry,” or similar phrases, her charge sheet indicated.

Promulgated throughout the Marine Corps on May 20, 2013, and signed by former Marine commandant Gen. James Amos, the anti-hazing order Lee violated was designed to track and eradicate abuse inside the service.

Two years earlier, a lance corporal committed suicide after fellow Marines beat him for falling asleep on watch, an incident authorities concluded was a form of hazing.

On Nov. 11, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, a Parris Island drill instructor, was convicted of abusing recruits, especially Muslim volunteers. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and will exit the service as a private with a dishonorable discharge.

While the Marines in recent years have rushed to investigate allegations of hazing and prosecute offenders, an early 2016 report by the Government Accountability Office found that Marine efforts “do not necessarily cover all aspects of hazing policy implementation,” among other problems.

For example, the Marine data tracking system used to monitor hazing in the ranks counted too many cases because of duplicated entries, the federal watchdog agency concluded.

Analyzing command climate surveys filled out by 8,750 Marines in 2014, GAO determined that 11 percent of the troops believed that they were pressured to engage in potentially harmful activities that were not part of the mission and newcomers were humiliated or forced to do potentially dangerous activities before being accepted into a unit.

Analyzing another 11,835 surveys found that 15 percent of Marines also reported serving in toxic units that excessively teased troops to the point where they were unable to defend themselves; frequently belittled others for slight errors and excluded fellow Marines from social work group activities.

The Marines led all the other services in rates of perceived hazing, with the results skewed toward the junior ranks most likely to be violated.

By Carl Prine

November 30th, 2017