Strength in Numbers Could Bring About Change on Gun Control

by Diane Dimond on September 21, 2015

Survivors of the Murdered – How Do They Cope?

You know how when you trip and fall and no matter how badly you are hurt your first inclination is to jump up and declare that you are okay? You automatically gather up all your strength, hop up and say, “I’m fine. Really. Thanks.” The next day the pain seeps in to let you know you’re not okay.

In my klutz-prone world this is the scenario I think of when watching the parents of gun violence victims.

The media pesters them for comment and they bravely face the cameras. They instinctively declare they are fine and determined to wage a campaign for better control of the massive gun stash we have in this country. As the interviews go on for a few days we come to realize these survivors cannot possibly be fine. [click to continue…]


The Artist and her “Portrait Seen ‘Round the World” Courtesy Jane Rosenberg (not for duplication)

A word about courtroom artists, please.

In the wake of “Deflategate” or “Sketchgate” or whatever they’re calling the controversy surrounding New England quarterback Tom Brady these days, I think it’s time to speak up for court artists everywhere.

Disclosure: Jane Rosenberg, the artist at the center of the recent storm over her less-than-perfect depiction of the handsome quarterback, is a pal of mine. I have worked alongside her as the reporter covering a court proceeding, she the assigned artist.  Rosenberg is a 35-year veteran and widely considered to be one of the best in her field. [click to continue…]


More Female Police Officers, Please

by Diane Dimond on March 30, 2015

Female Officers Could Bring Different Culture to Streets

Female Officers Could Bring Different Culture to Streets

When you were growing up and there was a dispute between siblings who stepped in to bring about a peaceful solution? Probably Mom, right?

And when mediation was necessary to decide the evening’s curfew, your punishment if you ignored it or when you were mature enough for driving lessons I’m guessing it was Mom front and center.

Soothing raw nerves, introducing diplomatic distractions and solutions and hugging away bruised feelings are all female specialties. It’s just human nature. [click to continue…]


The 911 System Needs Help

by Diane Dimond on February 16, 2015

Need Help? Who Do You Call?

Need Help? Who Do You Call?

Each day across this country lives are saved because a dedicated 911 operator dispatched emergency personnel to help a panicked person. Every year there are some 240 million urgent calls made to this ‘one nation, one number’ system. The value of the 911 organization is beyond question.

But how many times have you heard a recording of a 911 call in which the operator seems bored, uninterested or downright rude?

The latest incident occurred when a 14- year-old called from the back seat of a car to report her father and his fiancé had been struck by a hit-and-run driver while changing a tire. Sitting alone on the Baltimore-Washington Beltway she and her little brother were scared to death. [click to continue…]


One Proud Cop

by Diane Dimond on November 10, 2014

Sgt. Edward J. Burns as a Young NYPD Officer

Sgt. Edward J. Burns as a Young NYPD Officer

Generally speaking law enforcement types are a quietly proud bunch. They are proud to put on the uniform every day, proud to catch the bad guys and proud to dedicate their lives to keeping the public safe.

There might be no prouder cop these days than Sgt. Edward J. Burns, the retired New York Police Department’s media liaison. Besides dedicating 27 years of his life to public service — much of it as the TV face representing the NYPD — Burns has much to brag about. A lovely wife named Molly and three beautiful children. His daughter, Mary, was celebrating her 28th wedding anniversary the day Burns and I last spoke. And, oh yeah, his two sons are famous.

The sons didn’t go into law enforcement but each has dedicated parts of their careers to cops in another way, telling captivating stories about the job to which their old man dedicated his life. [click to continue…]


Calling It What It Is — War

by Diane Dimond on September 29, 2014

U.S. Airstrike Against ISIS at Mosul Dam

U.S. Airstrike Against ISIS at Mosul Dam

Let’s not kid ourselves. We are back in the business of war again.

Oh, the politicians can call it whatever they want — like a counter-terrorism campaign — but when U.S. fighter plans are dropping bombs on ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria we are at war.

When we send Navy vessels out to sea to facilitate the fight we are at war.

When we are simultaneously attacking a secondary group of Muslim extremists calling themselves Khorasan we are, in fact, engaging in a multi-level war.

Washington might cling to the belief that absent battalions of boots-on-the-ground it isn’t really a war. But the fact is, we already have plenty of troops on ground in that region (left over from past conflicts) and what are called “advisers.” [click to continue…]


A Challenge to Civil Rights Leaders, Police … and Us

by Diane Dimond on September 1, 2014

Taking A Page From Rosa Parks' Civil Rights Book

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…]


It’s Mexico’s Turn to Give Back 

by Diane Dimond on August 4, 2014

This Veteran Needs to Come Home

This Veteran Needs to Come Home

Okay, I’m going to propose something radical. I’m sure it doesn’t fit into the strict confines of how our U.S. State Department conducts foreign policy but here goes …

How about we ask Mexico to do us a favor for once? Not only has that sieve of a country sat back and watched as more than 100-thousand desperate Hondurans, Guatemalans and El Salvadorans streamed through on their northward search for a safer life, they have also taken decades of generous U.S. foreign assistance without so much as a what-can-we-do-for-you?

Well, here’s what they can do for us. They can expedite the judicial process for U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, held in Mexico since the last day of March, 2014. He is due back in court in Tijuana this coming Monday but without some high powered attention being applied it’s unlikely he will be quickly released. [click to continue…]


Rembrandts of the Courtroom

by Diane Dimond on July 14, 2014

Charles Manson Nearly Caused a Mistrial

Charles Manson Nearly Caused a Mistrial

Okay, show of hands. How many readers have actually sat inside a courtroom and watched a trial? Having been assigned to cover countless high-profile trials over the years I have to admit I relish it.

I love going to courthouses with their stately facades and imposing corridors. And inside it’s like watching a big vat of human soup. We all get stirred up together in a courthouse. The poor, the middle-class, the rich. People seeking justice, people in big trouble with the law, people whose families are falling apart. The process is fascinating to watch.

Inside courtrooms where the most-watched trials take place there is a group of unsung regulars that I have never written about – professional courtroom artists. Whenever I can I try to get a seat next to one of them. Watching them work is a treat. [click to continue…]