Description, sketch and observant cop led to the arrest Crimes & Incidents, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Nov 2, 2007 at 2:42 pm
The arrest last week of Todd David Burpee on charges he beat, kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 17-year-old Gunn High School student Tuesday, Oct. 30, came about in large part thanks to a cop with a good memory. Palo Alto Officer Eric Bulatao -- with the department just a year -- recognized the man sketched by a police artist based on the victim's description.
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2007 at 4:36 pm
"Todd David Burpee, 20, a 2006 graduate of Palo Alto High School, was arrested Thursday night in connection with the abduction, beating and sexual assault of a 17-year-old Gunn High School student Tuesday afternoon.
Burpee has been charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and two counts of sexual assault. Police said it is not a "rape" case despite widespread media use of the term."
Posted by what's the point, a resident of another community, on Nov 2, 2007 at 11:38 pm
I am wondering what the point was to name the arrested person's siblings. You have now added two more victims to the incident. The senior high school brother's name would not be mentioned if he were the "true victim" because of his age but the reporter chose to mention him in the article. Why create more of an issue for this teen? This boy was not involved and was known to be at school at the time of the incident. There is no relevance so why mention his name?
Posted by E, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Nov 3, 2007 at 12:16 am
Why involve the siblings of the man arrested? They have not done anything wrong. However, they will now be looked at differently, in a negative way, because of their family relationship with the arrested man. Nate now has to go back to school and face the judgemet of the entire school. There was absolutely no need to mention them in the article.
Posted by Sparky, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 1:20 am
How bizarre is this castration thing? Hopefully just reflexive anger. Are these people also in favor of capital punishment for all murderers? And then I guess ritual beatings for people who commit battery. I think it is pretty sick personally.
Posted by Not Surprised, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 5:26 am
Would you support castration of Al Queda terrorists? Funny how the bleeding hearts of Palo Alto become Hangin' Judge Roy Beans in cases of rape/sexual assault.
I mean, this is society's fault, isn't it? And the police unfairly targeted a black man. Wake up, Palo Alto! Let's get a protest going to show our support of this fine young man. Innocent until proven guilty.
Posted by Family, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 7:05 am
I cnt believe todd would do something like this I have known him for 5yrs I hung out with him almost everyday one of my best friends and I never saw him like this all you people accusing him before you know the truth are wrong...Jesus said let the 1 who is without sin cast the first stone.....please wait to bash him until he is truly proven guilty
Posted by A mother, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 10:48 am
Dear Community, Speaking from experience, my heart goes out to the victim and her family. Understandably there is much anger and horror over the vicious criminal attack. Regarding the arrested man, we must remember we are fortunate to live in a society where we are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Also, congratulations to the police force for their strong work!!!
Posted by A student, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 11:25 am
As a GUNN high school student, i feel that is was totally unnecessary to state and talk of the siblings of the convicted man. It just brings more discomfort to them when they go back to work/school on Monday morning and are greeted with ,"Your brothers been arrested for sexual assault." Honestly, its just creating more victims and negatively affecting more families.
Posted by PAHS alumna, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 1:39 pm
I have known Todd forever! He is such a cool guy. I don't know, I doubt this. What happened to the girl is terrible, horrible. But there are so many other people who are so much more likely to do something like this. I can't believe he would do something like that.
What exactly would total castration entail? Removal of sex organs? That's pretty darn close to cruel and unusual punishment. I think we need to find out what exactly happened, and not gloss over protocol just so that someone can cut someone else.
I don't think the siblings should have been named. That was very unprofessional. Journalists need to be much more careful when handling an emotion-heavy story like this.
Posted by parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Nov 3, 2007 at 4:43 pm
The accused person lives in San Jose not the sibling. This is exactly why Nate's name should not have been mentioned in the article. Can you imagine his feelings about having his name connected with the arrest article when he was not involved and everyone could read his name (as if connected) before he even got home from school the day of the arrest. And now people question why Nate goes to Gunn? You now see why this completely irresponsible reporting added nothing to the article; only more heartache to the extended family. Nate is part of the Gunn community and a very important part of the Gunn community. Our hearts go out to him and his family as well as the victim and her family. This is definitely a tragedy for our entire community.
Posted by Palo Alto Alumni, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 6:43 pm
Todd Burpee is extremely likely to do something like this. This is not the first time he has done something like this. He sexually assaulted one of my friends during his sophomore year in High School, but the Palo Alto Police Department did not find enough evidence to press charges. I really hope she testifies in this case because he can not get away with something like this again.
Posted by Jeff, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 8:03 pm
it is said that some or many people who live in other bay area cities as house owners there simply rented an apartment or claim a relative/friend address in palo alto to make their kids qualified to enter schools in palo alto school district. This could be a good idea, however do make sure they can be taken care well enough here, especially after school or when they're alone...
i'm not sure if the victim and burpee are exactly this senario, but
i'm wondering if pasd can take something to put more restrictions on this...
Posted by natasha, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 9:45 pm
If they lived in Palo Alto they were "real" Palo Altans. I suppose we will find out whether they knew each other f there was some otherconnection. For all we know, the guy was completely schizophrenic. It's not that hard to get into the military especially during war times and if he was refused that is a sign there is more to this than we know.
Posted by julie, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2007 at 9:49 pm
It is valuable to contrast the reaction to this traumatic event to that of in the case of the 3 falsely rape charged DUKE students. Remember the condemnation from the faculty, community, NYT, Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton? even the dean of Duke
what are we to learn from these different responses. there seems to a call for censorship in Palo Alto, why is that ?
Anyway I hope they have the right person in this case. But I cannot understand the calls for censorship and I trust that paloaltoonline will not be intimidated by these calls.
I have not heard the DA come out and say he is guilty for political gain. The PAPD seem to have done a professional job. Why are people calling for censorship of community comments?
Posted by 38 yr. palo alto resident, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2007 at 2:01 am
It is sad how posts on here degenerate off the issue to things like castration. I suppose after hearing the story of this case, and seeing the kind of behavior from SOME young people these days I can understand people's fear and anger at how we can produce people like this guy, but let's try to stay focused.
I am happy the PAPD did their job, but this almost sounded like a ad for the PAPD on video and it makes me really uncomfortable. Just do your jobs, we are plenty proud of you if you do that.
Finally, I am outraged that this kind of thing can happen. I have lived in Palo Alto a long time and seen many unsolved crimes and a lot of laxity in this community, unless it has to do with money. People should be able to walk around and be protected and we need to do whatever it takes to protect our freedom, and take it away from people like the criminal in this case.
Posted by A Mother, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2007 at 8:15 am
My heart goes out to the victim & her family. This is such an awful thing for any young lady to go through whether it was or wasn't Todd that did this, what I find VERY disturbing about this article is the insenstive nature of the journalist to include Todd's siblings' names. THEY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!! I don't even think Nate is 18 yet so a 17 yr who does a crime won't get his name mentioned due to his age but a sibling of a "suspect" does!! As it wouldn't be fair to name the victim's family by name either if that would have been the case.
Posted by everyone is hurting, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2007 at 11:15 am
My heart goes out to the victim and both families. It will be very difficult for all to move forward in the coming days. We should all be respectful, by our comments, of the accused perp family especially the siblings. How many of you hold yourself responsible for your siblings or your parents actions? This is a horrendous crime and there is no way anyone wants to see this happen again. We should all try to learn from this. If a young person can fall into this behavior then we should try and find out why this happened. Those of you who are so righteous and so degrading in your comments should get away from your computers for awhile and spend some of your energy working with youth to find out how you can help to make things better for the world at large. If you do not have it in your heart to help others then at least go out and take a walk; you need some fresh air.
Posted by Local Mom, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Nov 4, 2007 at 3:41 pm
Given the violence of the attack, I would not be surprised to find out that the perp was cranked up at the time. This thing has drugs written all over it.
I am so sorry for the victim, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As the sibling of someone who committed quite a few crimes during his teen years, I sympathize with his brother and sister, who were named in the article. I know how hard I worked on my brother to stop him. I'm glad that the press never picked up on the stuff my brother did back then. It would have been mortifying, both to have his idiocy publicized but also if my siblings and I had been named/blamed as well.
My brother was high during every single crime he committed. (None of his crimes involved physical assault though. They were all burglaries, which was stupid enough.) He straightened himself out and is now a homeowner, a college grad, and has a good job and kids of his own. When he looks back at his delinquent days, knows he was an idiot for getting into drugs and behaving that way. He spent a few years in juvenile hall but cleaned up before he turned 18 (whew).
Posted by no friend of rapists, but not crazy either, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2007 at 6:22 pm
What is with this castration stuff? Is that one person posting or do we have a bunch of looney tunes here?
I note that if convicted rapists were given life terms with no possibility of parole, the issue would be moot. And given the number of falsely convicted people who have been freed recenty now that DNA testing is available, castration is as inappropriate as the death penaty, since it cannot be reversed. At least someone wrongly convicted can be let out of jail.
Posted by Relative of a Gunn Highschool Student, a resident of Los Altos, on Nov 4, 2007 at 10:47 pm
I would like to know the names of the Palo Alto Weekly reporter and the editor who chose to disclose the names of this young man's relatives. Shame on you. You made a choice which will have long-lasting negative consequences on these folks FOR NO REASON. I am completely outraged and disgusted. Please do not censor me.
Posted by It was almost certainly one person. Nothing rude here, but may get censored anyway., a member of the Gunn High School community, on Nov 5, 2007 at 12:39 am
no friend: It appeared most likely to be one apparently emotional person using multiple random "usernames". I personally wish this forum software required registered usernames, like most other web forums out there, so that each person would be able to register and use a consistent username (while still retaining the ability to keep their private identity private.)
With required registration, suspected forum abuse such as creating different "identities" that claim to be supporting each other's views (the internet term is "sockpuppets") can easily and quickly be tracked via matching IP addresses.
Posted by julie, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2007 at 11:01 am
It seems to me that there was a healthy venting of anger over the weekend about this matter.I have no doubt cooler heads will prevail moving forward.
This horrible assault traumatized the whole community, we were all victims of that. Victims have a right to express their anger paloaloonline provides a valuable and unique forum for the expression of that anger.
the staff do a good job of editing personal attacks and slander.
In terms of the family, they decided to provide interviews and the content of those interviews was, in fact, very sympathetic towards them, some people believe too sympathetic.
The identity of siblings was known instantly through the school grapevine no doubt and to anyone with google etc. in a second
We can now allow the courts and due process to proceed and see what we can learn and what we can do to deter such vicious crimes in this community moving forward.
This is Palo Alto not, Durham North Carolina nor Salem Mass.
Posted by Mom of Paly Alum, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Nov 5, 2007 at 11:14 am
To all those who are "shocked" that Burpee did this--it goes to show how hard it is to really know the "reality" of someone.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Genuine "rehabilitation" is very difficult as most psychiatrists who have worked with violent people know, so I would be for just keeping him off the streets for a LONG TIME.
Yes, the previous incident involving another young woman at Paly must be investigated. I heard that no one believed her. If she was indeed attacked, it must be terrible to be viciously violated and to have people think that you are lying.
My heart goes out to the young woman and her family (to both young women if the previous charges are confirmed). I hope the young woman will be able to overcome this traumatic experience some day and go on to live a great life!
Posted by Anon, a resident of another community, on Nov 5, 2007 at 3:05 pm
I agree with you, Mom of Paly Alum regarding how well we know the reality of someone, and to julie, yes, this staff is doing a much better job of editing personal attacks and slander than the Mercury News site has done.
Posted by Relieved, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2007 at 2:17 pm
Well I am relieved he admitted his guilt to police. Now I hope he pleads guilty and spares his victim from having to testify.
It is shocking that he would turn to attempted murder because he was angry at his fiancee. Mental health &/or drug issues? Many families can't force their disturbed relatives into treatment until something horrific like this happens.
Posted by natasha, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2007 at 2:44 pm
That poor, poor girl. She could have been anyone. She was in the right place (home) at the wrong time. He thought she was dead and then sexually assaulted her? I really agree -- I hope he pleads guilty and spares this girl the ordeal of testifying at trial. By the way, since people were talking about the other case, I don't think they can bring in prior consistent acts (ie previous alleged sexual assault) in this case. But they might be able to reopen that case, or open it if the statute of limitations hasn't expired (I don't know what it is) and the other victim wants to press charges. But it might be kind of hard to prove after all this time.
If we want people to be fair to us we have to be fair to them and to do that we have to apportion blame and punishment in a reasonable (and swift) manner. To overdo this process by over dramatizing it is as unprincipled as to understate its criminality.
No doubt Burpee will respond for the felonies he committed but mentioning the siblings names' was uncalled for. It is unjust and wrong because it victimizes them for an action over which they had no control (one is a minor). The question is: does the PA weekly do that for all felony suspects they report or just for some?
Posted by JLS Parent, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2007 at 5:58 pm
It's horrible that he committed this crime, but I'm glad that he is admitting it and facing the consequences. He is obviously disturbed to have done something like that because he was angry. What else might he do?
Regarding his siblings, I hope that people won't treat them badly because of this. Kids can be cruel to each other. The poor young woman who was attacked will also require some compassion. When she returns to school (if she hasn't already) I assume everyone will know that she was the victim. That may be very difficult for her.
What happened at JLS last year? My child was there, but I didn't know anything had happened. Anything that JLS parents should be aware of?
Posted by K, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2007 at 10:15 pm
Palo Alto High School is a place where large numbers of Natinal Merit Scholarship Finalists, Semi-finalist and Commended Students are produced each year. Many graduates go to first class universities, move on to graduate/professional schools and flourish in life. How many of the Burpee children have benefited from that wonderful experience?
Posted by NoTolerance4SexualAbuse, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2007 at 10:19 pm
Todd Burpee if proven guilty--should be put away for a very very very long time --perhaps life with lots of medical & behavioral therapy --and thereafter a chip should be implanted so his every move and whereabouts are known at all times.
Violent sexual bullies have an uncanny ability to submerge their darker sides and appear "normal" even "admirable" to the majority of people most of the time...the statute of limitations for sexual assault should be lengthened to 10 yrs...at least five.
I blocked out a memory of sexual assault for 6 yrs...I was 12 at the time it occurred, he was an honored dignatary that everyone including my parents were in awe of...I was in shock, confused, and ashamed ...afraid I would be blamed... I didn't become mature enough or strong enough until college 6 yrs later to face the memory and realize it's worth the legal fight to protect other potential victims...our laws need to better reflect the nature of sexual assault on young victims and their vulnerability.
Posted by Confused, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2007 at 11:17 pm
K in Barron Park,
What are you getting at here? Because this one person committed a horrific crime his siblings did not deserve to attend the wonderful schools in their city? Twisted people can be born into all kinds of families. And if this is the result of mental illness, it could have hit him more recently. People should not take this out on his family.
Posted by nameless, a resident of another community, on Nov 6, 2007 at 11:47 pm
I spoke casually with a cop from another part of California about this case. He said there is no longer a temporary insanity defense in California, and there hasn't been since after the trial of Mayor Moscone's killer.
Since there's a confession here, what's likely is there will be a sentencing hearing and a plea bargain. Several of the charges are subject to the three strikes law, so we won't be seeing him for a very long time.
Posted by Parent of a Gunn student, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Nov 7, 2007 at 1:41 am
What did I say? Stranger rape is really a crime of anger and violence, and is NOT really about sex. This apparently was really about wanting to hurt someone - ANYone, female OR male - to somehow "deal" with his allegedly "uncontrollable" anger at his girlfriend. This situation completely bears out that such attacks are usually NOT predatory sexual behavior:
"Todd David Burpee said the girl he attacked outside a Palo Alto apartment was just someone to take out his frustration on after a fight with his girlfriend."
"Angry after a fight with his girlfriend, Burpee told police he wanted to hurt someone and zeroed in on a girl he saw returning to an apartment complex in his former Palo Alto neighborhood. "It could have been anyone. It could have been a guy. I was just mad," Burpee told police."
"In his confession, Burpee told police he and his girlfriend had been fighting over the loss of his job."
Link to the Mercury News article containing the quotes above (contain a few different pieces of the confession than the PA article): Web Link?
If it had been a male he encountered at his former living area, he might not have decided to use rape as one of his tools of violence. Then no one would be whining about "castration solves all future problems", but an innocent victim could still be badly hurt and possibly dead.
Personally I think the fact that he didn't care when he atttacked about whether he killed his victim, and even thought she was dead, is the most disturbing thing of all. What kind of sicko wants to hurt or even possibly kill strangers when angry at someone else?
Posted by Parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Nov 7, 2007 at 2:11 pm
"it clearly stated that the Burpee family had moved to San Jose. So why is Todd's brother attending a Palo Alto highschool?"
Perhaps because he possibly still lives in Palo Alto?
It is not illegal to not live with your parents. I once knew a High School student who for 2 years lived at the house of a cousin of his father's, so as to remain enrolled in a particular school district.
Posted by Mom2theDBoyz, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Nov 7, 2007 at 5:46 pm
"it clearly stated that the Burpee family had moved to San Jose. So why is Todd's brother attending a Palo Alto highschool?"
He's a Senior and maybe didn't want to move with his family so he could graduate with those peers he has attended his high school years with so he decided to move in with another family member such as a grandparent or uncle/aunt.
None of this had anything to do with his brother & some folks just need to let it be. It's not as if Todd didn't live in the area not too long ago, he obviously knew his way around.
Posted by withoutaname, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2007 at 8:01 pm
As a black man and resident of Palo Alto, I hope this doesn't turn into a race thing. This guy is one individual who did a horrible thing and he sucks and should get whatever is coming to him. He has already admitted his guilt and I hope he gets slapped with the full penalty. This is just horrible and it really pisses me off. I am just thankful the PAPD was about to get to this guy quickly.
Posted by LJ, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2007 at 9:38 pm
I also hope that our community realizes that criminals come in all colors, sexes, ages and from economic backgrounds. I can recall 3 white men who murdered family members in Palo Alto [James Dalton, Ken Fitzhugh, & an immigrant from Russia? who killed entire family]
We need to watch out for each other. If someone has severe anger issues, try to tell someone to get them help. You could save a life.
Our policy makers need to make it easier to involuntarily commit someone in crisis, and to bring mental health benefits into mainstream medical insurance.
Posted by Gunn Parent, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2007 at 10:30 pm
It is fairly likely that Todd has some kind of brain chemistry or other brain related problem/issue. For example: The jails are full of younger men who have been involved in some type of sports or other injury, to their brain, and when they get angry, they do something crazy. In brain spect imaging, parts of the brain that are damaged or affected, light up like a 'Christmas Tree' during these episodes of bizarre behavior, such as Todd's. Dr. Daniel Amen of the Amen Clinics, is a specialist in this field of neuro-psychiatry. He gave a seminar at the Kitty Petty ADD/LD Institute of Palo Alto on 9/18/04 that was made into a DVD set and can be checked out from their library. It is fascinating learning. Apparently, his clinics have the world's largest database of brain scans, related to psychiatric problems and illnesses. For many in the community without brain/depression/mental health issues, it is extremely difficult to comprehend what Todd did. Probably, and hopefully, he (Todd) also, is shocked. However, for those with these issues, it's like epilepsy in a way, in that you just don't know yourself all that well sometimes. I am not in the field of mental health, but appreciate learning. My family and I would like to extend deep wishes of support to both families. We saw Monet's photo on the cover of the PA Weekly link online here in the forum. What a lovely young woman she is. We read that this has been so tramatic for her and her family as well. Many kind wishes and prayers to all involved. We are all in this together.
Posted by Castration - I'm for it, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 7:49 am
Folks, it's a sad fact that there is far too much testosterone in the world. Look at crime statistics. Look at the prisons. Look at the Middle East! With the earth slated for 9 BILLION humans by 2050, it's an obsolete notion to think that everyone has a right to reproduce. And we already deny a large number of men access to satisfying sexual activity by incarcerating them in prisons and posting them to bleak military posts in desert countries.
As a post-menopausal woman I can testify that life is just fine without sex drive. It's a myth that people require sex to be fully human. For many men, in fact, the sex act is no more uplifting than evacuating the bowels: necessary and pleasant, but quickly forgotten and without a smidge of spirituality.
Along with castration, we need to end -- NOW -- the portrayal of gruesome and dehumanizing violence in the movies and TV shows to which our children are exposed. Young men and teenagers get erections as a reflex which is not under their conscious control. How many times must a teen boy get an erection in the presence of violent movie images, before he makes the association?
Posted by Does anyone wonder?, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:01 am
How can a person graduate from Paly and then not be able to pass a military vocational test?
Someone said there should be accountability here. I agree! Methinks the PAUSD is possibly a little too infatuated with themselves. They're blessed with a population of geniuses from Stanford and wealthy people who can afford expensive tutors. Back in my day (I was a merit scholar and valedictorian of my high school) tutoring was unheard of. Now it's considered indispensable, and you can confirm this by looking at the lists of tutors the high schools make available to parents. So in additional to ridiculously high property values (= taxes) and the various "donation campaigns" we are subjected to, Palo Alto parents are also expected to spend 100s of dollars a month on tutors. Meanwhile, those who can't slip through the rather large cracks.
Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:50 am
My questions is, what will the Board of Education do about getting serious abuot closing the achievement gap. I've heard the incumbants talk quite a bit in the past about what a wonderful school district we have, and just gush and gush about all the opportunity they give to high achievers, while they give nothing more than pathetic lip service to addressing the kids that fall through the cracks. The put closing the achievement gap as the top priority in their last strategic plan (5 years ago), and Townsend and others last year really poo poo'd the need to pay any attention to the strategic plan at all. The staff was too busy working on new choice programs for high achievers to make any progress on programs to address the achievement gap. We use our young fives program as a lottery with only a handful of spot available to 'winners', instead of as a service to kids and families in need of early support. Most educators will tell you that catching kids early is the KEY to closing the achievment gap. Instead we're wasting time and resources developing newer and fancier ways to customize elementary schools aruond high achievers. Its just DISGUSTING. SHAME ON PALO ALTANs for allowing this to go on.
This kid had learning disabilities, and couldn't even pass a military entrance exam. What kind of future did he have? Obviously a kid for whom PAUSD was a failure. Do all education failures go on to commit disgusting heinous crimes? Of course not, but is one enough? Ask the victim.
What a waste all the way around. A girls life has been ruined, and kid with no options life has been ruined, and the siblings and parents and grandparents - everyone.
I hope the board of education wakes up and smells the coffee -the achievement gap effects us here, and it has dire consequences for us ALL, right here in hometown Palo Alto. Its not someone else's problem. Its ours. And its not OK to ignore, just because its only 10% of our kids, or whatever. What, are 10% of our kids throw-aways?
I'm going to continue to watch and hound the school board and press them to step up to the plate and put closing the achiemvement gap ahead of luxury boutique programs (sickening the lack of priorities the board is currently demonstrating). Lets see PAUSD take some accountability for closing their own achievement gap for all the kids in this district.
Posted by withoutblinders, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 9:36 am
Withoutname: "As a black man and resident of Palo Alto, I hope this doesn't turn into a race thing."
This is Palo Alto, so this will turn, at least partly, into a race thing. In fact, it already is about race. Look at the posts here, then ask yourself how they'd be different if the perpetrator were white. (Of course, the reactions would have been much worse if the victim had been white.)
Posted by Gunn Parent, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 10:59 am
Imagine... if all serious crimes in the Bay Area(for example), received this much effort, focus, concern, and attention. Maybe people tempted to commit a crime, would be less inclined. This would potentially be a better form of crime prevention, than building more jails etc. The anger and concern that people have now, should be put into productive use. To start, find ways to help or work with 'underachievers' in our schools and community.
i have a feeling quite a few of you will struggle with these questions. i'm with the poster about our failing public education system. i doubt many school teachers could get through this test on their first try. that is a damn shame!
Posted by Reader, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 1:29 pm
The "achievement gap" exists because not all PAUSD students are required to really complete the whole curriculum at the same level. All students are given the same opportunity to learn, but in middle school and high school, some students who do not master even the basic material are nevertheless promoted on, under the attitude that it's better than having them fail or drop out. The problem is not that the schools are failing the students, the problem is that the schools are not failing the students even when their schoolwork is of less than passing quality: when they are not reading at an 8th grade level, when they do not know how to write a coherent essay, etc. The soft bigotry of low expectations helps nobody when these students are given their diploma from the prestigious high school, but can't pass a college or work or military aptitude test.
Posted by dreed, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 2:42 pm
Does anyone know what the attacker was doing at the apartment building oon Arastradero Road, other than waiting for some random person to hurt in some random neighborhood? He doesn't live in the area, right?
Posted by Concerned citizen, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 3:25 pm
Regarding the statute of limitations on rape, my understanding is that it is 6 years from the date of the incident, or within one year of identification of DNA, whichever is later. This means if a rape occurred more than six years ago but DNA evidence becomes available, you still have a year to prosecute.
Posted by Ken, a resident of another community, on Nov 8, 2007 at 5:39 pm
The article states that the day before this incident, the "star" police office:
"noticed Burpee sitting in a car that seemed out of place, so he "ran the license plate" and jotted down the number."
It is nice to say that "the ends justify the means", but this strikes me as racial profiling. I'm curious to know why Burpee seemed out of place. If it was because of his race, then I hardly think the officer deserves to be commended.
Posted by K, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 8:22 pm
To become a "TRUE" member of the Palo Alto High School community, a student needs to have a certain level of intellect and financial backing. I do not believe Todd Burpee had either. His Paly experience probably did him more harm than good. Had he received a genuine Paly education, he would ba attending the Naval Academy today and become a Marine Officer later on instead of flunking the Marine Corps enlisted men's test.
Posted by I support the PD, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 10:50 pm
Ken, in response to your comment, as a graduate from Gunn High School and now a resident of Palo Alto I am extremely proud of the officers that we have on our streets. Thank goodness Officer Eric Bulatao did his job the way he was TRAINED to do regardless of the color, race or sex of the person sitting in a car that seemed out of place. Can you image if he didnít? The criminal would still be out on the streets possibly hurting someone else.
I honestly believe the people making comments about this being racist issue must have something to hide themselves. People were questioning the PAPD if they arrested the correct person before hearing the whole storyÖdonít we trust the officers who we call when we need help? If you are going to be mad the PAPD, then when you have an emergency, call someone else, Iím sure they have other more important calls to attend to.
Posted by Robert P., a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2007 at 10:51 pm
Ken, why throw mud at the police department when you don't know the facts? Is it not possible that the officer clued in on more that just the color of Burpee's skin? If your answer is yes, then I suggest you simply thank the police department and leave it at that. Your not an ungrateful malcontent are you?
Posted by janette, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 6:16 am
James, I really doubt that anyone with a good high school education will struggle with that test. I haven't been in HS in forty years, and I zoomed right thru, except for auto/shop, which girls were not allowed to take when I was in HS.
As to the officer who noted the car out of place, how often do you see someone just sitting in a car in a residential area? Esp. someone investigating a nearby crime would notice this. Notice that he did not go to the car or otherwise bother Burpee in any way.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 2:30 pm
Anyone stops in my neighborhood and just sits in a car for an extended period of time, I do "observe" them. Could be merely waiting for someone who is late, or could be casing the neighborhood. "Observing" isn't hurting them, and if they are there on innocent motives, then no problem. I'd only mention any observations to the police if a crime was reported a short time later. This isn't like Atherton where the police log indicates that the sight of any car not immediately known to the viewer is cause for calling the police.
Posted by sharon, a resident of Stanford, on Nov 9, 2007 at 2:58 pm
guess those calls for castration make sense now.
"A police search of Burpee's car after his arrest turned up six pornographic DVDs, 16 pages of computer printouts of naked men, women and children from a nudist Web site, and three sexually explicit magazines, including one called "Asian Fever."
Posted by Mathew, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2007 at 8:13 pm
Its fortunate that the Palo Alto Police did the surveilance in San Jose instead of the San Jose Police. The Palo Alto Police are Top of the line professionals. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Leave the schools out of it, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 10:11 am
1. How can anyone say that Burpee didn't get a good education at Paly? Has anyone seen his transcript?
2. Someone not passing a military entrance test could meant many things: they didn't study hard enough, they didn't take it seriously, they were a bad fit for the military, they were weeded out by some sort of psychological screening (HOPEFULLY), etc.
3. It's not just about teachers teaching, it's about the student actually going home and studying and trying and putting in the work. Someone who dropped out of football, has had numerous entry-level jobs since he graduated, allegedly embezzled from his last job, and thinks that a good way to deal with his anger is to hurt others, is hardly the type to sit down after school and have the impulse control and delay of gratification to study or do homework.
Can't we just focus on the fact that Burpee admitted to committing a horrible crime? I don't want to hear about his siblings (they deserve some privacy), his race (absolutely irrelevant), the race of the victim (again, absolutely irrelevant), castration (last time I heard, it was both cruel and illegal, whether he had pornography in his car (legal last time I checked), his dyslexia (my brother had it 30 years ago before they even knew what it was, he didn't end up a criminal), or how sad it is for his future (anticipated consequences are not sad if the act is done on purpose!).
Can we PLEASE just support the victim (contribute to the fund for her medical expenses, etc) and stop blaming everyone and everything else for Burpee's actions?????
He admitted doing it.
No one has the right to do it, no matter how angry they are.
It isn't the school's fault, it isn't the community's fault, it's his fault.
Let the courts deal with the trial and not dispense vigilante justice.
"Underachievers" in school do NOT all choose to steal, sexual assault, kidnap, try to kill, and batter young women just because of a "fight" with a girlfriend/fiance.
Will everyone PLEASE stop defending him and just accept he made horrible choices, and is responsible for them.
Posted by R Wray, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2007 at 1:34 pm
I agree the schools had nothing to do with it.
Philosopher, Leonard Peikoff, cites 5 criminal traits: (rough summary)
1. Impulsiveness--short range, wants it now
2. Anti-intellectuality--likes images, against principles, mentally dull
3. Resentment of authority--can get away with anything, lies, reality is not part of his life
4. Amorality--morality non-existent, no remorse, what ever we'll be, we'll be, determinist
5. Feeling of his own victimization--others unjust to him, righteous anger, all property is theft.
The criminal's method of thinking is different and develops over a long time usually from childhood and by his choice. (Note that there are degrees to the above traits. Just because someone has some of these to some degree, of course, does not make him a criminal.) To change a criminal, you have to change his method thinking.
Posted by givehimlife, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Nov 22, 2007 at 2:16 am
There seems to be an argument about the education he received while he was there. Being a paly graduate, and one that went to school with Todd, I can tell you that if you are struggling, there are loopholes you can take to get the grades. They have a "study skills" class that is essentially a copout that students use to get out of having to take a real class. the study skills teacher gives out ridiculously smaller work loads, and they receive credit for taking the actual course. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Not Guilty, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2007 at 1:55 pm
Some posters have objected to naming Todd Burpee's siblings in the story about his arrest. For example, "A Mother, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2007 at 8:15 am" posted,
"My heart goes out to the victim & her family. This is such an awful thing for any young lady to go through whether it was or wasn't Todd that did this, what I find VERY disturbing about this article is the insenstive nature of the journalist to include Todd's siblings' names. THEY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!! I don't even think Nate is 18 yet so a 17 yr who does a crime won't get his name mentioned due to his age but a sibling of a "suspect" does!! As it wouldn't be fair to name the victim's family by name either if that would have been the case."
The fourth item in the Palo Alto Police Department report log for November 30, 2007, is an arrest of 18-year-old Nathaniel Burpee for burglary at 780 Arastradero Road, which is the address of Gunn High School:
Posted by Not Guilty, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2007 at 1:59 pm
The first page of the November 30, 2007, Police Department report log is the second page in the PDF file. I should know by now not to make any assumptions about anything on the city's new web site, but the page says "Page 1 of 3" and I just thought it would be the first page shown when you link to it. Sorry about that.
Posted by mom of 8 black young men, a resident of another community, on Jan 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm
So, Paly and Gunn are great schools. Okay, how come they do not address the issues of the young black men, as they do with the white ones? Black men, young and old, are subjected daily to racial profiling, etc. But, they have counselors to deal with the white problems i.e., suicidal (parents divorce and the like) those issues are weak, in comparisons to what a young black man goes through in a day. A mother of black men goes through much for having a son of color. White people, give our sons a break, their color is not going to change, get some counselors of color, who can and do relate to our issues.