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How Many Gun Suicides Could Be Prevented?

by Diane Dimond on April 25, 2016

Now More Gun Suicides Than Gun Homicides

Now More Gun Suicides Than Gun Homicides

Thank goodness there have been no headline grabbing mass shootings in America recently.

I was thinking about that this week after reading about the 17th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot dead 12 of their fellow students, one teacher and injured many others in a senseless bloodbath at their Colorado high school.

Let’s hope this lull in school/office/theater shootings continues. Yet, sadly, it is surely temporary given that in the United States there are as many 310 million guns in civilian hands. [click to continue…]

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Is Football Worth Damaging the Brain?

by Diane Dimond on April 4, 2016

Concussions and Kids - A Dangerous Mix

Concussions and Kids – A Dangerous Mix

It was the admission that made every parent of every kid who wants to play football gasp.

The question from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky was simple. “Do you think there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like CTE?”

The answer, from no less than the National Football League’s senior vice president for health and safety, Jeff Miller: “The answer to that question is certainly yes.”

Wow. Now, it doesn’t take an Einstein to know that repeated, solid blows to a person’s head will cause problems. [click to continue…]

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California Overcrowding Among the Worst

California Overcrowding Among the Worst

It’s easy to understand the intent behind the current move to reduce prison overcrowding but are we sure we’re doing it right?

In 2010, when President Obama signed The Fair Sentencing Act to reduce federal prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders he specifically targeted those who had been convicted of crack cocaine crimes. In the past, anyone in possession of crack — an inexpensive drug most often used in poor black communities — was routinely sentenced to harsher penalties than those who had dealt in the more expensive powder cocaine that was used almost exclusively by more affluent whites. [click to continue…]

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Public Enemy #1 – The iPhone?

by Diane Dimond on March 14, 2016

A Criminal's Best Friend If It Has OS 8 Installed.

A Criminal’s Best Friend If It Has iOS 8 Installed

In this corner – the FBI – which says that all high tech company Apple cares about is protecting its mega-profits brand and not the nation’s security.

And in that corner – Apple – which says the feds will put everyone’s privacy in jeopardy if a court forces them to disable password protection on the iPhone of dead terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook. Farook and his wife shot to death 14 of his San Bernardino County co-workers last December and seriously wounded 22.

There might be valuable information on Farook’s phone, information that could help thwart future terrorist attacks. But then again, maybe there’s nothing on that phone at all. Both sides say it’s the principal of the issue at stake. [click to continue…]

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Reporting Crime Stats — Stat

by Diane Dimond on March 7, 2016

First Identify What You’re Fighting, Right?

              ~ Law enforcement needs to know what it doesn’t know. Tracking trends in crime is a way to keep communities safe.

Any decision made is only as good as the information used to make it, right? I submit the same holds true when figuring out how to fight crime.

Since the 1930’s the FBI has urged the nation’s law enforcement agencies to take part in its Uniform Crime Reporting Summary and record how many crimes occur in their jurisdiction in 10 top crime categories, including homicide, rape, robbery, arson and auto theft. [click to continue…]

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The Nationwide Problem of Court-Sponsored Elder Abuse

by Diane Dimond on February 29, 2016

Robert & Betty Were Married For 72 Years

Robert & Betty Were Married For 72 Years

I recently wrote about the plight of 94-year-old Betty Winstanley, who resides at the Masonic Village retirement home in Elizabethtown, PA. She doesn’t want to live there anymore. Now that her husband of 72 years is gone she longs to move to a care home closer to her two children in Maryland. The state of Pennsylvania won’t let her leave.

To the state Betty is case #1201 of 2014, just another old person the court has declared, “totally incapacitated.” Once someone is so labeled they get a court appointed guardian who, literally, takes over their life. Guardians decide all the ward’s finances, who can visit and for how long, when or if they can leave the home – everything. [click to continue…]

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Elder Guardianships a Shameful ‘Racket’ in America

by Diane Dimond on February 22, 2016

Elizabeth “Betty” Winstanley

She is a well-spoken, elegant and wealthy 94-year-old widow. And as Betty Winstanley told me from her room at the Masonic Village Retirement facility in Elizabethtown, PA, “I feel like I am in prison. My life is a living hell.”

Welcome to America’s twisted world of court appointed guardianships for the elderly.

Quick backstory: Betty and her husband, Robert, were married for 72 years. They had three children, Richard, David and Betsy. For nearly 7 years the couple occupied a “lovely” independent living apartment at Masonic Village retirement home in Elizabethtown, PA.

In early 2014, Betty, who uses a rolling walker to get around, says she felt faint and seeing no staff nearby lowered herself to the ground. [click to continue…]

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Eyewitness Testimony – The Eyes Can Be Deceiving

by Diane Dimond on February 15, 2016

Not Always Reliable

Not Always Reliable

How many times have you heard someone say, “Believe me, I know it’s true. I saw it with my own eyes!” When someone passionately tells us they were an eyewitness to an event we are programmed to believe their story.

It happens in courtrooms all across the country every day. An eyewitness takes the stand, puts a hand on the bible and swears to tell the truth about what they saw. In sometimes vivid detail they tell their story, point the finger of blame at a defendant and proclaim they are 100% sure about the identification. This compelling, first-hand testimony sways juries and has resulted in countless convictions. Some include sentences of death.

So how trustworthy is an eye-witness, anyway? [click to continue…]

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Blind Justice: Laws Apply To All Citizens

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…]

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SCOTUS Justices

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…]

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