The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Friday, December 17, 2004


Seems even the nation's most elite universities can admit complete and utter idiots.
In a “statement of fact” prepared by Sadler and made available to the DoG Street Journal by Doherty, two very different claims are laid forth, one by Jonathan Rhymes, who was involved in the incident, and the other by Doherty. In both versions, Doherty attended a party on Ireland Street, was involved in a fight with three other students, fled the party running from these individuals, fired a gun into the air, and left the weapon ready to fire in a trash can in the law school on South Henry Street. These three individuals are students Jonathan Rhymes, Joe Roenker, and Mike diCarlo.

It get worse. Turns out that not only was Mr. Doherty (an alleged Virginia CHL holder) at instigating fights (we don't know if he was drunk or not), but that he did so in a particularly putz sort of way.

According to the report, Rhymes claims that Doherty instigated the fight by stepping into his path at the party and pouring a cup of urine on him. Rhymes then pushed Doherty, who threw a punch and missed, but Rhymes slipped and fell to the ground. Doherty then ran away, pursued by the three students. Along the way, one or more of the students pushed Doherty into some bushes. Doherty continued to flee, and on South Henry Street pulled out a gun, aiming it at Rhymes saying, “I'll [expletive] kill you.” After Rhymes told him the gun was fake, Doherty pointed it in the air and discharged one round.

In his version, Doherty claims that at the party Rhymes and then another student stepped in between him and a female student while they were talking, declaring himself, the “man in between.” Doherty then went upstairs to use the toilet, which was stopped up. He instead urinated in a cup, taking it outside to dump it. When he saw Rhymes and two of his friends watching him as he came outside, he decided to leave and called his brother on his cell phone. As Doherty's back was turned from Rhymes while talking, Rhymes pushed his shoulder into Doherty, causing him to spill some urine on Rhymes. Rhymes began to yell and push Doherty, who was also punched several times in the face by one or more other students, breaking his nose and cutting his face. He recalls the rest of the flight as described above, but claims to not remember exactly what he said. The report also states that Doherty said he has a legal “carry permit” for his weapon, does not bring it with him when he intends to be on campus, and is well trained in the care and use of the weapon.

So in both scenarios, no matter whose account you listen to, Doherty seems to have acted in a less than cautious manner, especially considering his packed status. Of course, I don't blame him for feeling threatened when three individuals chased him around campus threatening him and while others disagree, if he thought firing a warning shot might end the conforontation without further violence, that seems acceptable to me (but he should really have maintained possession of the gun).

As for media bias (so I can get the much desired Alphecca mention) . . . the initial reports included this.
Police later found the 45-caliber handgun cocked and loaded in a trashcan. AK-47 rounds, M-16 rounds (223 caliber) and cases of numerous other calibers were found in Doherty’s car.
The information on the weapon in question is certainly relevant. However, what the heck does his possession of 7.62x39 and .223 Remington ammo have to do with anything and isn't it a little presumptious of the paper to assume the ammo is for the weapons mentioned. Did Doherty have a fully automatic AK-47 or M-16? Isn't it more likely that the ammo was for a semi-auto AK clone (like the SAAR-1) or more likely an SKS? I doubt a student owns a real M-16. AR-15 maybe, but it could also be for a bolt action varmit rifle too!

Anyway, William & Mary held a disciplinary hearing for Doherty which he refused to attend
Senior James A. Doherty did not appear at his Judicial Council hearing Tuesday evening, 7 November, at 5:00 p.m., while several students and student media who had planned to attend were turned away. Officials explained the hearing had never been an open event, and allowed media to remain just outside the hearing room on the second floor of the Campus Center
. Much more information is available here and here, including the fact that the three individuals were members of the schools varsity baseball team, and that Virginia's brandishing and discharge laws contain exemptions for self defense.


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