Weapons

Bad News After Bad News

Bad News … And More Bad News

News Announcer: “There’s been another school shooting. This time at the Troutdale High School in Oregon, about 16 miles east of Portland….”

I don’t want to write about this. It feels like screaming into the wilderness with no one listening. And I feel silly now admitting that I really thought things would change after the December 2012 mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

I honestly believed the senseless deaths of 26 little children and teachers (as well as one horribly misguided mother) in Connecticut was going to be a watershed event that would spur a host of new ideas to curb violence. [click to continue…]

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Another Massacre, Another Distracting Blame Game

by Diane Dimond on June 2, 2014

THIS is the Cause of the Massacre

THIS is the Cause of the Massacre

In the aftermath of a terrible tragedy we always look for someone or something to blame. In the case of the Isla Vista, California massacre in which six college students were murdered and 13 others wounded, the blame game started almost immediately. Most of the criticism was misdirected.

This mass murder was not due to the lack of strict gun laws. It was not the fault of violent video games. It wasn’t that the killer had an uncaring or inattentive family. It didn’t happen because the killer’s therapist or school counselor failed to decipher a madman’s inner turmoil. And it wasn’t because law enforcement somehow failed.

There is only one reason so many people died — 22-year-old Elliot Rodger was a young man of privileged means who was possessed by a demented, murderous and conniving mind. Period.  [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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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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Who is Killing Whom in America?

by Diane Dimond on February 1, 2014

We’re Fascinated By Murder

We have a fascination in America about murder.

Serial killers, mass murders, thrill kills, the so-called “mission murderers” who think it’s their duty to rid the world of certain groups like prostitutes, drug users or the homeless. That all those prime time TV shows, replete with mysterious murders and the resulting criminal trials are so popular speaks volumes.

But what is the reality? How many murders are there in America? Who are the victims and their killers? What parts of the country are most dangerous?

The FBI’s latest figures tell us there were 14,168 killings in the U.S. in 2012. That’s slightly higher than the rate in 2011. [click to continue…]

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Kids and Guns and Public Safety

by Diane Dimond on January 27, 2014

In Homes With Guns, Teach Kids Gun Safety!

Uncle Jim used to herd a group of us kids into the car on a sunny Saturday morning and head to an isolated area outside town. His son, little Jim, my two cousins Sandy and Terry and I were full of anticipation.

We were going target shooting – with a real gun – guided every step of the way in gun safety by Uncle Jim. I was about ten or eleven years old, the oldest kid in the group.

“Always keep a gun pointed toward the ground until you are ready to shoot,” Uncle Jim would say as he set up soda cans on a fence post about 20 yards away. “Never, ever point a gun toward another person.”

There on the southwest mesa outside Albuquerque we would wait patiently until it was our turn to handle the pistol. Uncle Jim would stand right behind us and guide the gun into our hands, showing us the proper technique of cradling the hands around the bottom of the gun while placing an index finger on the trigger. Then he’d take a step back as we raised our arms and tell us to shoot when we were ready. [click to continue…]

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Death On-The-Job Dips For Cops

by Diane Dimond on January 6, 2014

Deputy Wyatt Earp circa mid 1800’s

Not since the days when Wyatt Earp worked the Wild West wearing a badge and a gun has there been such good news for law enforcement.

The number of federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers in the U.S. who died in the line of duty last year dropped to a total of 111. Think about that. In the whole United States of America we lost only 111 officers during 2013. That’s the lowest number since 1959.

The most encouraging news in the latest report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) is seen in the death-by-gun category. At a time when there is so much worry about rampant gun deaths only 33 officers, nationwide, lost their lives in the line of duty due to a firearm fatality. The number would have been even lower had it not been for a former Los Angeles cop named Christopher Dorner who went on a shooting spree last February and killed four people, including three L.A. police officers. [click to continue…]

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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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When is the Homeland Secure Enough?

by Diane Dimond on December 2, 2013

Give Thanks for Our National Security

Readers of this column know I spend considerable time dissecting what’s wrong with our crime and justice system. But during this season of giving thanks for the positive things in life, let’s pause to express thanksgiving for the fact that our #1 national worry – falling victim to another devastating terror attack – did not come to pass.

Improving national security has been “the” top priority since September 11, 2001 and the fact that we haven’t had another major terror attack on U.S. soil should be a comfort to us all.

It has been due, in large part, to our awakened awareness (and acceptance) that there are factions in the world that would like to kill us all and destroy America. We’ve thrown everything we can at trying to insulate ourselves from the madness.

I was in New York for the 9-11 attacks. I smelled the acrid air in downtown Manhattan still lingering days [click to continue…]

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