August 2011

The Unforgettable Anniversary

by Diane Dimond on August 29, 2011

The Day America Changed Forever

As anyone who hasn’t been living on the moon knows the 10th Anniversary of the horrific September 11th attacks is fast approaching.

I, for one, don’t want to hear about it. I really just want to stay in bed all day and bury my head under a pillow.

That doesn’t mean I won’t commemorate the anniversary – because I most definitely and painfully will. But the media drum beat toward the date has already begun and it has put a pit in my stomach the size of a grapefruit.

There are at least 40 different TV specials planned over the next few weeks leading up to the awful date of September 11th. Each of the top three networks – ABC, CBS and NBC has a big boffo special planned, plus extra coverage on their early morning and evening news programs. CNN has no fewer than four separate documentaries on the 9-11 attacks scheduled. The National Geographic Channel plans to devote a full week to its coverage. Countless other cable channels have their own 9-11 plans. And, of course, just wait till you see the onslaught of coverage from your local news stations. I predict it will be non-stop as the date approaches. [click to continue…]

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Now It’s Your Turn to Vent

by Diane Dimond on August 22, 2011

Time To Hear From You!

Some of you have been delighted with me. Some of you want to strangle me. So this column is dedicated to your thoughts about my recent musings on crime and justice in America.

It’s your turn to vent.

No column lately generated as much heat as the one about women caught up in repeated domestic violence that refuse to press charges. I told the story of a New York police officer who lost his life responding to a victim’s 12th call for help. I concluded, “Society cannot remove an adult woman from a perilous domestic situation. She must walk out on her own resolved to find a better way of life.” [click to continue…]

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Praying is Not Against the Law

by Diane Dimond on August 14, 2011

Rick Perry

It's Not Illegal For An American To Pray

Today let’s talk about what’s not a crime.

In a country that was founded on freedom of religion, it is not a crime to pray.

It’s not a crime to publicly pray to the deity of your choice. It’s not a crime for someone who holds public office to pray. It’s not a crime to be a politician and also host a public prayer meeting.

But after a recent spate of indignant media coverage I wouldn’t blame you if you thought there was something wrong with Texas Governor Rick Perry’s participation in what was called “The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis” held in Houston. [click to continue…]

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The ‘Re-composer’ of the Decomposed

by Diane Dimond on August 8, 2011

Frank Bender With One of His Creations

A man died recently that I want you to know about. He operated in the shadow of law enforcement and you probably never heard his name. In his own very unique way he developed an expertise that helped bring justice to those who would otherwise never get it.

His name was Frank Bender and when he died recently at the age of 70 at his home in Philadelphia he was the best known of a rare breed of forensic sculptors.

Frank Bender somehow knew how to take a fleshless mummified human skull and reconstruct its face into an eerily perfect facsimile. To compare a photo of the dead person with a finished Bender sculpture would take your breath away.

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Failure to Test is a Failure of Justice

by Diane Dimond on August 1, 2011

Untested Rape Kits Add to Victim's Humiliation

The evidence had been there all along. It had been sitting on a shelf inside a cold storage facility at the Houston Police Department for 12 years. After a determined detective tracked it down and sent it off to the lab for testing the state of Texas realized it had a found a serial rapist.

The criminal’s name is Roland Ali Westbrooks and his story highlights why every state in the union should make testing of backlogged rape kits a top priority.

For more than two decades law enforcement has had the ability to take even the tiniest specks of evidence from a rape victim – bodily fluids, stray hairs, fingernail scrapings – and match the DNA findings to information stored in a national data base called CODIS.

Every time a rape kit is processed the DNA print is supposed to be entered into CODIS. And the reason for this is simple: Rapists rape repeatedly. They hardly ever have just one victim. [click to continue…]

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