Schools

A Crime and Justice Wish List for 2014

by Diane Dimond on December 30, 2013

 

Tops on the List : Tolerance

Tops on my Crime and Justice Wish List this year is the sincere hope that America finds a way to become a better functioning and more tolerant country.

I wish for the lethargy of the electorate and the deterioration of trust and respect – in our government and in each other – to magically evaporate. 

It is a tall order, I know. We live in an ugly era of perpetual backbiting that serves no real purpose but to distract us from finding solutions to very real problems.

Democrats routinely ridicule Republicans and vice versa. Various ethnic groups point to those who are different and declare their problems are the other groups fault; both heterosexuals and homosexuals complain their lifestyle is under attack; the unemployed and under-employed label business people and corporations as greedy devils without acknowledging they are the very entities providing the most jobs. Our children grow up hearing our viciousness toward one another and are likely to continue the corrosive tradition of intolerance.  [click to continue…]

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Cutting, Kids and the Connection to Bullying

by Diane Dimond on October 26, 2013

Bullied to Death – Rebecca Ann Sedwick

Two young Florida teens, just 14 and 12, have been arrested for vicious cyber-stalking that led a classmate to commit suicide.

Felony charges were filed after the 14 year old posted an admission to the bullying on her Facebook account and then gloated about it.

The local sheriff in Lakeland, Florida announced he was looking for a way to arrest the older girl’s parents in connection with the cyber-caused suicide since they had done nothing to stop it.

Can I get some applause for that idea? In my book, it is parents who are responsible for keeping track of what their children do.

But it was a sentence buried in one of the first accounts of the suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick that caught my eye. Poor little thing climbed to the top of an abandoned silo and jumped because she just couldn’t take it anymore. [click to continue…]

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Kaitlyn’s Calamity – A Mess of Her Own Making

by Diane Dimond on August 26, 2013

She Got A Golden Ticket & Squandered It

Here’s a lesson everyone needs to learn. Don’t violate a court order. It will only make your problems worse. There is never an acceptable excuse for going against what a judge has ordered. Not even if you think it is unfair. Not even if it’s a matter of the heart.

Not long ago I wrote a column – actually, a rather sympathetic column – about the plight of Florida teenager Kaitlyn Hunt.  At 18, Hunt’s high school sweetheart was just 14 and female. Because Florida’s statutory rape law stipulates that no one under 16 can legally consent to sexual contact – Hunt was expelled from her high school where she had been an excellent student and athlete.

In mid-February, Hunt was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor. Circuit Court Judge Robert Pegg issued a no-contact order instructing Kaitlyn to have no further contact with the younger girl. [click to continue…]

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Time to Re-Think Laws on Teen Sex

by Diane Dimond on June 3, 2013

 

Can Laws Really Regulate Teen Sex?

If an adult has sexual relations with a 14 year old that’s bad, right? 

Okay, well what if that “adult” has just turned 18 and has a younger teen as a love interest? Would their actions be as serious a crime as, say, a 40-year-old with a young teen? 

The law says yes. The law calls it statutory rape when anyone who has reached adulthood has sex with a person under the age of 16. (In a few states it is age 15) It doesn’t matter if it is an older person is male or female or if the younger person is a girl or boy. It is illegal and often punishable by a hefty prison sentence. 

The case that brings this issue to the forefront is playing out now in Sebastian, Florida. [click to continue…]

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Mandatory Drug Tests – For Kids?

by Diane Dimond on February 11, 2013

Can Underage Drinking and Drugging Be Stopped?

 

There’s a community wide conversation going on in Kansas City, Missouri that should also be taking place around the country. It has to do with high school kid’s use of drugs and alcohol. The discussion revolves around the question: How can adults adequately convince a teen-ager that drinking too soon or using narcotics can, literally, cost them their lives? 

At Rockhurst High School in Kansas City the Jesuit leadership has answered that question with, “You can’t.” You can’t fully convince or trust teens not to drink or experiment with drugs. So, later this year at the all-male Rockhurst High they will begin to randomly drug test the student body by taking 60 hairs from the head of each teen. This will be repeated every 90 days. One of the Rockhurst faculty members, someone with a background in barbering, will collect the sample hairs and send them out for testing. Lab techs will look for traces of marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs as well as alcohol consumption. [click to continue…]

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A Crime and Justice Wish List for 2013

by Diane Dimond on December 31, 2012

Hopes and Wishes for 2013

Where do I even begin with my annual Wish List for the New Year? Because the fog of despair still hangs over us from the elementary school shooting in Connecticut – and because the list of individually meaningless gun control ideas continues to grow – I’m compelled to start there.

I fervently hope that we, as a nation, can come to an agreement on a whole package of anti-gun violence ideas to try to make this country safer. I hope the shrill hysterics – heard from both sides – can be tuned down in favor of common sense solutions.

To those who think all we need to do is get rid of assault rifles, 30-bullet magazines or those video games youngsters spend so many hours playing I say: Don’t kid yourself. After Newtown, Connecticut there was another gun massacre in Webster, New York. I seriously doubt the shooter, William Spengler, who served 17 years in prison for beating to death his grandmother with a hammer, had ever played a violent video game. [click to continue…]

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We Need to Shift Thinking on Mass Murder

by Diane Dimond on December 24, 2012

US-More Than 300 Million Guns

 

In a study just presented to congress the Congressional Research Service concludes, “the estimated total number of firearms available to civilians in the United States (is) approximately 310 million: 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 86 million shotguns.” Think about that. That translates to about one firearm for every man, woman and child in America. Mind-boggling.

To my mind, however, it is not about the numbers so much as it is about the mental health of the person using the gun. Now, hold that thought a moment. [click to continue…]

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There’s No Honor In Waiting Too Long

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to the Boy Scouts of America – NOT.

The national organization has just announced it will reveal to police the names of men it has suspected in the past of stalking young boy scouts for sexual purposes.

Well, finally! When you look at the history of this you see it is long past due.

This oftentimes revered organization was founded in 1910 and almost immediately officials started to keep secret files on sexual predators who hovered around attempting to prey on young boys. [click to continue…]

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New Cell Phone? You’re a Target

by Diane Dimond on September 24, 2012

Want One? Be Prepared

 

Are you and your family among those who can’t wait to get their hands on one of the new Apple iPhone 5’s? Have you already gotten yours?

If so, well, congratulations! You’ve just added yourself to a growing number of potential robbery victims being targeted in sprees sprouting up nationwide. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there are those out there who see your new communications toy – be it an iPhone, i-Pad, Smartphone or other type of mobile device – as a way to make a fast buck. Steal it, sell it, make some dishonest money. [click to continue…]

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America’s Crisis of Faith

by Diane Dimond on April 30, 2012

Who or What Do You Trust?

“With liberty and justice for all…..” are the last six words of our Pledge of Allegiance. I’m just sappy enough to still hold on to that sentiment as the creed for my country. But to achieve a true feeling of justice you have to have faith, right? So let me ask. How’s your faith holding up? Mine is a little shaky lately.

I’m not talking about a religion-based faith. I’m talking about the faith and admiration we need to have in our government, our social institutions, our communities and our fellow citizens.

An article in the National Journal entitled, “In Nothing We Trust” got me thinking. [click to continue…]

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