World Peace – Sadly, Not in Our Lifetimes
Don’t bother wishing for world peace in the year ahead. It is never going to happen.
There will always be pockets of turmoil and terrorism. Innocents will continue to lose their lives in places like Syria, Pakistan, South Sudan and, yes, here in the United States – in the violent, gang controlled neighborhoods we’ve ignored for too long.
For 2015, I’m going to wish for smaller miracles, things that could actually happen if we could only find the resolve to fix our problems.
I hope in the coming year law enforcement officers find themselves in fewer circumstances [click to continue…]
Law Enforcement on Notice
Note to Sheriffs and Police Chiefs: If you aren’t actively seeking ideas to foster better relations between your community and your officers you probably should resign.
If you are still operating under the illusion that social unrest could never come to your town you better think again.
If you don’t realize that a new day has dawned in law enforcement – a day where a growing number of citizens automatically mistrust cops – you might want to get back out on the street and walk a beat for a day or two.
There is now a nationwide, colorblind call demanding a change in the way law enforcement interacts with the people they have sworn to protect. [click to continue…]
Why Are Black Arrest Rates in Some Places So High?
As the nation continued to watch for the grand jury announcement out of Ferguson, Missouri this week, USA Today released a disturbing analysis of arrest records from across the country.
After pouring over FBI records from more than 3,500 police departments the newspaper finds that blacks are far more likely to be arrested than people of other races – and for all sorts of crimes – from murder to marijuana possession.
USA Today called the racial divide in America’s 2011-2012 arrest rates a, “staggering disparity” with at least 70 police departments from Connecticut to California arresting blacks at a rate 10 times higher than people of other races.
But before you jump to any conclusions, the paper also quoted experts who said the lopsided nature of arrests didn’t necessary prove racism or racial profiling.
Read that sentence again, please. [click to continue…]
Cops Cameras Capture Their Point of View
In a rare convergence of opinion both dedicated cops and community activists, as well as prosecutors and defense attorneys, agree: To help keep the peace and restore community confidence in law enforcement more cops should wear cameras.
Police believe video evidence would help curb those who falsely cry, “Police brutality!” And, civil rights advocates believe if cameras are rolling officers will behave better and harass them less.
There’s a recent Justice Department study to back that up and dramatic statistics from ongoing police camera programs that show when video is introduced into the equation the use of force goes way down and so do the number of citizen complaints. [click to continue…]
What We’ve Done So Far Hasn’t Worked
Here’s a riddle: How many knowledgeable people does it take to suggest a policy change before society adopts their sage advice?
Buried in all the recent news about ISIS, horrific weather lashing the United States, the violence of NFL players, and the like, came a hardly noticed news item about the idea of legalizing drugs.
Now, stay with me on this. It’s important.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy, an illustrious panel including former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former US Secretary of State George Shultz, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, former presidents and prime ministers of nearly a dozen countries and others issued a detailed study about why it’s smart – for reasons both humanitarian and financial — to legalize marijuana and other drugs. [click to continue…]
Ray Rice Turned This Weapon on a Woman
The statistics are easy to find. One in every 3 women in the United States will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
It is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Every single day in America women are murdered by their “loving” husbands or boyfriends. And, studies report that up to 10 million children are eye-witnesses to the brutality every year.
Anyone with half a brain knows domestic violence is a big, under-reported problem in the United States. So, why didn’t it dawn on executives at the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens that running back Ray Rice could be a domestic abuser? [click to continue…]
Taking A Tactical Cue From Rosa Parks
A notion struck me as I studied the continuing stream of news about the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. After his funeral I wondered, could we be witnessing the birth of another historic civil rights movement.
If you are white you may think that’s a ridiculous notion. A recent Pew Research Center Poll reveals that 80% of blacks believe the shooting in Ferguson raises important issues about race that need to be discussed. But, only 37% of whites agreed. Even more troubling: 47% of white Americans think the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.
This signals a disturbing disconnect. When 80% of one group of people says there is a basic human rights problem in America the rest of us ought to be willing to listen and discuss. [click to continue…]
Bad News … And More Bad News
News Announcer: “There’s been another school shooting. This time at the Troutdale High School in Oregon, about 16 miles east of Portland….”
I don’t want to write about this. It feels like screaming into the wilderness with no one listening. And I feel silly now admitting that I really thought things would change after the December 2012 mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
I honestly believed the senseless deaths of 26 little children and teachers (as well as one horribly misguided mother) in Connecticut was going to be a watershed event that would spur a host of new ideas to curb violence. [click to continue…]
THIS is the Cause of the Massacre
In the aftermath of a terrible tragedy we always look for someone or something to blame. In the case of the Isla Vista, California massacre in which six college students were murdered and 13 others wounded, the blame game started almost immediately. Most of the criticism was misdirected.
This mass murder was not due to the lack of strict gun laws. It was not the fault of violent video games. It wasn’t that the killer had an uncaring or inattentive family. It didn’t happen because the killer’s therapist or school counselor failed to decipher a madman’s inner turmoil. And it wasn’t because law enforcement somehow failed.
There is only one reason so many people died — 22-year-old Elliot Rodger was a young man of privileged means who was possessed by a demented, murderous and conniving mind. Period. [click to continue…]