Human Behavior

Finally, Sex Abuse Crimes on the Legislative Agenda

by Diane Dimond on April 28, 2014

CapitolBuilding

Lawmakers Ponder Sex Abuse Bills, When’s the Vote?

Well, well, well. Washington seems to have finally taken notice about a problem we parents have been actively worried about — sex crimes against children, college students and those caught up in the despicable practice of human trafficking.

Lest you might think this is a subject that only affects females, please, consider this: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 1 in 5 women and one in every 71 males in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives. It may have happened on a dark street, in their own home or at a university that purports to be safe. These crimes are perpetrated against our daughters and our sons. [click to continue…]

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Private Investigators as Heroes of Justice

by Diane Dimond on April 21, 2014

Unsung Heroes – Private Investigators

Time for a word about private investigators.

TV dramas of the past left the impression that the primary reason to hire a P.I. was to tail an unfaithful spouse. There was always the obligatory scene in which a semi-shady looking private detective appeared with a stack of 8 x 10’s as proof of infidelity and slithered away with a check from the not-so-shocked husband or wife.

Certainly, that is one of the services a P.I. can provide but today licensed private detectives are much more valuable than just that.

These days, police departments are too busy, underfunded and under-trained to follow up on every complaint. Corporate espionage, computer hacking, identity theft and missing persons reports abound and it is the ranks of private investigators that often come to the rescue. [click to continue…]

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The U.S. Prison System Needs a Total Makeover

by Diane Dimond on April 14, 2014

Time to Re-Think the Prison System

 “We have embraced the idea that being mentally sick is a crime …”

It is way past time to overhaul the U.S. prison system.

I’m not talking about a little tweak here and there. I’m talking about throwing a massive metaphorical hand grenade into the entire system and starting over from scratch. We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing the system to have morphed into what it has. [click to continue…]

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Pets Help Solve Crimes

by Diane Dimond on April 7, 2014

First Animal DNA Lab in the U.S.

As far as crime laboratories go it is not very impressive looking. And it is not very big, with a permanent staff of just three forensic scientists and a few interns. But the work product that comes out of the Veterinarian Forensic Lab at the University of California at Davis is important and it has changed the way crimes are investigated and prosecuted worldwide.

The lab has been called the “CSI of the four legged world” and it is the nation’s first laboratory dedicated to animal DNA profiling.

It’s accredited by the prestigious American Society of Crime Lab Directors because the VFL conducts animal-related forensic tests as rigorously as any lab dealing with human DNA. [click to continue…]

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The 40th Anniversary of ‘The Year of Fear’

by Diane Dimond on March 31, 2014

They Command Our Fascination

There is no subject that brings in more reader reaction than when I write about serial killers. The answer to why we are so fascinated by these multiple murderers is mercurial depending on who you ask.

Dr. Scott Bonn, a professor of criminology at Drew University says, “Serial Killers seem to be for adults what monster movies are for children. It’s exciting -– it’s arousing,” to learn about their exploits.

Dr. Casey Jordan, a criminologist, behavioral analyst, and attorney in private practice says we are captivated by stories about serial killers because, “We wonder to what extent they are just like us.”

I would take it one step further and say we are riveted to details about serial killers because we wonder if we might ever reach a point where we could do what they do. [click to continue…]

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A Whistleblower’s Worst Nightmare

by Diane Dimond on March 24, 2014

Michael Winston – Still Paying the Price

Justice is supposed to be blind. But what happens when it turns out to be blind, deaf and dumb?

Sadly, there is not enough space here to tell you the entire 7-year saga of whistleblower Michael Winston but the bottom line is this: He got royally screwed by the California judicial system.

Winston, 62, is a mild-mannered Ph D. and a veteran leadership executive who has held top jobs at elite corporations like McDonnell Douglas, Motorola and Merrill Lynch. After taking time off to nurse his ailing parents Winston was recruited by Countrywide Financial to help polish their corporate image. He was quickly promoted – twice – and had a team of 200 employees.

It’s almost unheard of for a top-tier executive turning whistleblower but that’s what Winston became after he [click to continue…]

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An Open Letter to Mr. Lanza

by Diane Dimond on March 17, 2014

Lanza Wishes He Had Done More

          “With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he’d had the chance …The reason he shot Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy, one for him, one for Ryan, one for me.”                                            ~ Peter Lanza, father of mass killer Adam Lanza

Dear Mr. Lanza,

First, may I tell you how deeply sorry I am for the loss of your son, Adam? As a mother myself I cannot imagine my child committing suicide and the never-ending pain that action must bring with it.

Here’s hoping you know how many people have prayed for your family since the terrible tragedy in December 2012. [click to continue…]

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Your Nose Could Save Your Life

by Diane Dimond on March 10, 2014

Learn the Smell of Geraniums!

My dear Grandma Cora always grew geraniums – red geraniums, to be specific. Nearly every time I went to went to visit her she had pots of them flowering outside the front door.

I would gently stroke the leaves and breathe in that unmistakable geranium smell. To this day I love the smell of geraniums so much I grow them myself – all year around.

Now I discover that retaining the memory of that smell could help save lives. Same holds true for the smell of garlic, horseradish and other common odors.

If suddenly detected in the wrong place at the wrong time it could signal that a chemical weapons attack is underway. [click to continue…]

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Death For The Boston Bomb Suspect? Doubtful

by Diane Dimond on March 3, 2014

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Mugshot

If I were a betting woman I’d plunk down $10 right now and bet that suspected Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, will die in prison and not in an execution chamber.

Yes, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced the feds will seek the death penalty for Tsarnaev, but chances are the 19-year-old may never face the possibility of being put to death by the U.S. government.

Why do I say that? First, let’s review some facts.

Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan, 26, are accused of planting powerful bombs at the Boston Marathon’s finish line, causing the deaths of three people and the wounding of more than 260 others. [click to continue…]

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PTSD – Homegrown Cases on the Rise

Think about the least desirable neighborhoods around you. You know the places I’m talking about – the areas you think twice about going to in the daytime and deliberately avoid at night. Those zones where police officers are most often called to respond to reports of shootings, stabbings and murders.

Now, think about the people who live in those crime infested neighborhoods. Think of the young people who grow up watching the violence all around them and fearing it will come for them.

A recent article by journalists at ProPublica.org quoted a growing list of studies that have compared what happens to people who live in dangerous neighborhoods here at home with what happens to soldiers serving in war zones. The unanimous conclusion is that residents of violent neighborhoods can suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder just as so many of our soldiers do. Just like veterans, civilians can experience flashbacks, nightmares, paranoia, and social withdrawal. [click to continue…]

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