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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: A gun, some emails and a golf course


February 26. 2012 4:14PM

Some stories write themselves. Others need a little help.

You just knew that the Farmington man was going to get off. He is the man who fired one shot from his pistol in pursuit of a burglar last week.

It was all a matter of how, not whether, the Strafford County Attorney was going to dig his way out of the hole that the Farmington police had nicely dug for him when they arrested Dennis Fleming, 61.

'People are getting sick of this,' Mr. Fleming said of home breakins, 'adding,' our story said, that, 'he will take responsibility for his actions, but hopes he doesn't have to go to prison as the maximum penalty (for felony reckless conduct) is up to 3 1/2 to 7 years.'

Yeah, like that was going to happen.

Mr. Fleming's shot (apparently heard around the world, although fired into the ground), caused the suspected burglar to freeze in his tracks. (No reports of any wet pants, but then again, we are a family newspaper.)

Sure enough, the county attorney said that a review of the facts showed no crime was committed by Mr. Fleming.

But why was he even charged? A few years before he died, retired U.S. Judge Martin Loughlin similarly chased a burglar off his property. And the judge also attempted to fire a shot from the German pistol he had brought home from World War II. In that case, the gun jammed, but does anyone think the Manchester police would have even considered arresting Marty Loughlin?

The other story that pretty much writes itself is the one about a Hillsborough County assistant attorney (what is with all these lawyers?) who resigned, then 'took it back' after emails surfaced showing him running a 'fantasy football league' from his public office.

This guy should probably sue the power company because as near as I can tell he only moved his operation to the county attorney's office after that freak Halloween weekend snowstorm we had last year.

Wonder what the over and under is for this guy keeping his job?

Another story that caught my eye turned out not to be so interesting.

I thought it was a golf story because it said police had chased a man wanted for 'assaulting his girlfriend across the Derryfield Golf Course...'

I pictured the scoundrel thumping the lady with a nine iron all the way down the first hole and over 17 onto the road.

In fact, it was a story about police chasing the man across the golf course, after he had assaulted the girlfriend.

You see? Some stories just don't write themselves.

Write to Joe McQuaid at

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