Blind Justice: Laws Apply To All Citizens
The law says dangerous or illegal actions have consequences. Countless U.S. citizens enter the justice system every year after authorities determine they did something that physically or emotionally harmed someone, financially cheated another person or exposed people to peril.
So why do government employees so often escape the punishment you or I would face in similar circumstances?
Case in point: In what very nearly looks like a case of federally sponsored child trafficking the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement put countless children at risk yet no one has been held accountable. Beginning in fall of 2011, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America began to flood across the Mexican border in search of a better life in America. We were not prepared. [click to continue…]
Kids in the Criminal System. Then What?
Everyone knows youngsters aren’t mentally or emotionally equipped to make good decisions. That’s why most parents watch their teenagers like a hawk.
But every year thousands of American kids get themselves in to serious trouble with the law. Some of these youngsters had no prior police record. Some who entered the criminal justice system were under the age of 10. In the most dire cases, teens have been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of ever being released.
Imagine your son (or in less frequent cases, your daughter), suddenly caught up in a crime that resulted in murder, manslaughter or rape — doomed to spend the rest of their lives behind bars, perhaps in solitary confinement to keep them away from prison violence. [click to continue…]
Supreme Court Justices Could Give the White House Massive New Power
It will be a monumental decision either way. One that has the potential to shape national politics and public policy for decades to come. And don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just about U.S. immigration policy. It is much bigger than that.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether it is legal for a sitting president to issue an executive order that changes existing law, thus by-passing Congress, the branch of government empowered to make the laws. [click to continue…]
President Obama Sheds Tears for Gun Victims
There has been much media coverage on the President plans to control gun violence but I fear we’re missing the bigger picture.
Surely, the emotional frustration the president displayed while unveiling his latest executive order is worth noting and so are his ideas. But, realize, these are the same suggestions he proposed in 2013, after the Sandy Hook elementary school tragedy. Congress ignored them.
By now you’ve heard about his proposals: More people who sell guns – at gun shows and on-line – should be licensed and get mandatory background checks on their buyers. The FBI should process the checks 24/7 with a group of new agents and notify states when someone has illegally tried to buy a gun. [click to continue…]
Charged With a Felony
It never should have taken this long. It never should have taken more than 50 women alleging sexual assault at the hands of a celebrity before that celebrity was ordered to court to answer the allegations.
But it has finally happened. Comedian Bill Cosby now finds himself in a very un-funny position. He was arraigned this week in a Pennsylvania court on a felony charge of aggravated indecent assault, forced to give up his passport and post a $1 million bond to keep himself out of jail. The charges were filed right before the state’s statute of limitations on such a crime would have run out.
The event that compelled Cosby to appear occurred nearly 12 years earlier. [click to continue…]
2015: Horrible Year in Many Respects
There’s no getting around it. Americans have just gone through an Annus Horribilis, to borrow a phrase from Queen Elizabeth. 2015 has been filled with disturbing news about acts of terrorism and the threat of more, mass shootings, racial unrest and major questions about how our criminal justice system works – or doesn’t.
Add in what many see as unsettling and contradictory political pronouncements about our future and is it any wonder that we feel frightened, frustrated and without hope? Fear – of homegrown or lone-wolf terrorists, gun violence, policy brutality, racial strife, our children’s future – has become the new American normal. [click to continue…]
Banded Together The World CAN Stop It
My friend Nancy and I were talking the other day about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Nancy, you should know, is retired law enforcement and one of the most interesting thinkers I know. She has a way of cutting through all the bull to get right to the heart of an issue.
About the Muslim terrorists who commit atrocities in the name of Islam Nancy said, “They only speak and understand one language – violence.” We agreed that we should leave the actual war planning to the experts. Air strikes versus boots-on-the-ground? We defer to the Pentagon on that.
But then Nancy added, “If we don’t step up our response we’ll never stop this infestation.” [click to continue…]
Life as a Military Vet in America?
Now that the parades are over, now that we’ve thanked military service members for their sacrifices let’s drill down to take a look at what its really like to be a military veteran in the United States.
According to experts there are more than 23 million veterans in America. Thanks to a recent two-pronged push by corporations and the government the unemployment rate for vets is down to 3.9%. That’s a 7-year low and that is a rare bit of good news for this group.
Among the bad news: [click to continue…]
Why Are We So Entertained by Violence?
Violence permeates civilization worldwide. So many violent condition exist across the Middle East and Africa that millions of people have been forced to, literally, walk their way out of countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea to find a safer life. The result is one of the most profound and perilous migration of refugees in world history.
But here in America we embrace the genre of violence as one of our biggest sources of entertainment. The most successful prime time TV shows and movies are those with violent, bloody plot lines. This is no call for a return to all romantic comedies or coming-of-age films. I just wonder why we are so fascinated by violence. [click to continue…]
At Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland
After a glorious vacation abroad I return this week to admit I came home embarrassed for my country.
My husband and I were in Ireland when word of America’s latest mass shooting hit the European media and the story was the lead item on every news program.
Sky News, the BBC, Good Morning Ireland each featured American reporters in Roseburg, Oregon for the latest on the shooting. Then they brought in panels of pundits to talk about it.
“When there are 24 campus shootings in one year in America we need to realize there is something profound happening in America,” said Zoe Williams, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper. “It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.” [click to continue…]