Let’s Talk About Crime Not Hide From It

by Diane Dimond on December 14, 2009

Giving YOU a Shout Out

Let's Talk About Crime!

It’s time again to give you a say on what you read in this space. Your recent letters have ranged from praise to rage – on crime and justice topics as diverse as prison reform, child molesters and crime statistics. Some of you dislike this column so much you can’t wait to read it every week just so you can write me with a complaint.

I like that.

If my words do nothing more than open your mind about important national topics then I’ve done my job. It doesn’t matter if you agree with me or not. It’s social enlightenment and dialogue I’m after…

Tens of Thousands Are Terrorized Here

Sexual Abuse Behind Bars

There was much reaction to the column, “Is Rape Okay With You?” which revealed that each year 60 thousand prisoners are sexually attacked either by another inmate or a guard.

Ralph Logan, a retired state prison warden said, “You are right on the money…the general public would be shocked at some of the brutality that goes on in our prisons. The strong prey on the weak and there are times officers know what’s going on but don’t want to be responsible to report it.”

Kathleen Koehler wrote, “Society’s responsibility does not end with sending one to prison. To ignore abuses, or the possibility thereof, is enabling and insuring that it will happen.”

But no letter was more gut wrenching on this topic than the one from Charlie (last name withheld) who told me in his extended family there are 6 victims of sexual assault. He calls it an epidemic we, as a society, are afraid to effectively address and he added, “I’m most disturbed by comedians and filmmakers who joke about bending over to pick up the soap in prison. It’s not a joke. We should be past that.”

I agree, Charlie.

Enough of the positive feedback, let’s get to the down and dirty.

Every 15 minutes Another Murder

Another Murder Every 31 Minutes in America

Reader Thomas Williams claims I bring “an unwelcome slug of crime drama” to his newspaper. Williams took great exception with the column I wrote called “The Crime Clock and You” disseminating annual crime statistics released by the National Center for Victims of Crime. The stats give citizens the mathematical likelihood of one falling victim to a violent crime. Williams believes my work, “…revolves around ginning up fear over violent crime, whether it’s in her column or her previous work on ‘Hard Copy’ and other television shows.”

Wait, let me get this straight – discussing annual crime statistics amounts to “ginning up fear?” The experience (and thick skin) I’ve gained working on various television programs taught me a major life lesson: If we don’t try to understand and deal with the dark side of life it will come back to haunt us. If we don’t probe, say, the inner workings of a serial killer’s mind or what happens later in life to an abused child or how we can make our justice system better then we’ll pay the price down the road. Discussing crime and its impact on society can, in my opinion, only make us safer.

About the column on the 175 year prison system given to faux preacher Tony Alamo for taking children as young as 8

Alamo Guilty!

Alamo Guilty!

as his “brides”, reader Ron Herman wondered what I meant when I wrote that authorities have been reticent in the past to charge religious leaders. “I am confused by your statement that, ‘the doctrine of separation of church and state caused authorities to shy away.’”

Simply put, prosecutors have often passed on such cases believing they are too difficult to win. The defendants always claim they are above state authority due to the Separation Doctrine. I’m glad to say that’s changing as we see from cases like Alamo’s, the Yearning for Zion Ranch arrests and the recent conviction of Mormon separatist Warren Jeffs.

Polanski, circa Time of Rape

Polanski, circa Time of Rape

On my rant about it being high time film director Roman Polanski faced justice for having had sex with a 13 year old I heard from Patrick Riley. “If the case is prosecuted it should be done behind closed doors with the press kept out so that it doesn’t become OJ Simpson revisited and the girl can tell all the embarrassing details without having (it) splattered all over the newspapers and TV.”

Being a champion of the free flow of information as a way to true enlightenment I can’t agree.

And, finally, Diane Layden has written yet again to decry my use of a sexist term. I referred to government officials as “city fathers”. She implores me to inspire more young women to civil service by switching to the gender neutral term “city leaders.” Point taken.

To head off another scolding I’ll admit now I recently used the term “bail bondsmen” referring to those who help suspects get out of jail. I’ll say I’m sorry in advance because I just don’t think the term “bail bondsperson” has the same ring to it.HOME

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Janete Lopes Martins December 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Diane I´m a reader from Brazil and I really like your articles and admire your work on
reporting child abuse and discussing of it. Honestly, I don´t know what to think about
Michael Jackson, I have no formed opnion whether he is guilty or not. I think there is
no way to find out or prove it . Only God knows, cause there are things for and against
him. I think it is really hard not knowing.


DianeDimond December 14, 2009 at 6:45 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Margaret W. writes:

"Dear Diane,
I am writing you because I am so glad your column is part of the Abq Journal. It makes the paper so much more credible and educational to read. Please keep up the good journalism. I totally agree with you that the free flow of information does lead to true enlightment and hopefully problems being solved. People need to know what is going on behind the scenes in the area of crime and justice. Of course it has to be done in a thoughtful way which you accomplish. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
A loyal reader … Margaret W.


DianeDimond December 14, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Well, Margaret, thank you so much ! You made my day.
As regular readers of my column know I don't shy away from posting the NEGATIVE comments – so in turn I figure I shouldn't shy away from the POSITIVE ones either!

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!



DianeDimond December 14, 2009 at 6:46 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Gerald M. writes:

" I'm writing you in reference to your editorial in the Saturday Albuquerque Journal. The article appeared to be about victims of crime and was well written. However, you mentioned bail bondsmen in the closing paragraph of the article and I'm confused what a bondsman has to do with a victim of a crime. I'm not sure if you were taking a "shot " at bail bondsmen or you really don't know what role a bondsmen plays in the criminal justice system. I have 30 years of experience as a professional bondsman and I'd be glad to share my experience and knowledge with you."


DianeDimond December 14, 2009 at 7:06 pm


I didn't say bail bondsmen had anything to do with a VICTIM of a crime. I said they helped get suspected criminals out of jail.
Say, maybe I just need to do a column on bail bonds-people? Hmmmmm. If I do I'll contact you again! Thanks. ~ DD


DianeDimond December 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm

ABQ Journal John C. writes:

In your column in the December 12 Albuquerque Journal you refer to your statement that "authorities have been reticent (sic) in the past to charge religious leaders."

Reticent originally meant "taciturn, silent, reserved" etc. and referred to a reluctance to speak. It has since morphed into a synonym for "reluctant," probably because people have miscontrued the original narrow meaning of "reluctant to speak" and have decided that "reticent" can refer to a reluctance to engage in any other activity. Thus, "reluctant" has become a teritary definition of "reticent" in various dictionaries.

However, there is already a perfectly good word with the same meaning: reluctant. Every time I see the word "reticent" used to mean "reluctant" I feel as if the English language has been pushed another rung down the ladder away from the ideal of consistently correct usage."


DianeDimond December 14, 2009 at 7:05 pm

I'll consider your point but on first blush I'm not sure my use of the word was incorrect.

Authorities have, in the past, been "reserved" about applying the laws of the land to those who cloak themselves in religion. Officers of the law have been publicly "silent" about their reasoning – but if you get one of them in a private conversation they'll toss up their arms and admit that going up against the Doctrine of Separation of Church and State is a daunting task that many haven't got the patience or the budget to tackle.

The word "Reluctant" certainly works but I'm not yet convinced that reticent is as (sic) as you have concluded. I'm pondering it further …..

Thanks for writing! ~ DD


John Cushing December 14, 2009 at 8:08 pm

If you use "reticent" with an infinitive, i.e. "reticent to charge," then you could have used "reluctant" and it would have been a better choice. If you say "the authorities are reticent about the case," that would be correct. A frequent misuse of the word is in sentences such as "Authorities are reticent to discuss details of the case."


Lyn December 14, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Well Diane…..I have been watching alot of those Lock-Up shows on tv over the past few weeks and am horrified as to what goes on in those prisons. U-N-B-E-L-I-V-A-B-L-E! It's not only guys either, some of the women are as bad. Every day, we put the news on and hear about more crime..child molesting/rape – the whole nine yards. People are disappearing without a trace….it;s one thing after another. It all seems to be getting worse, not better. The thing that bothers me is why are child molesters let out of prison and go right ahead and do it all again? There is so much – I can hardly get my head round it all.

BTW, you use of the English language is spot on in my opinion. People who "pull you up" about your wordage shock me completely. I am going to shut up because I can feel my rage….not good for the blood pressure.

I love your work Diane….you are one of the best Investigative reporters in my opinion.


carole December 15, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I love to read your opinion of things Diane……you have such fresh ideas. I read your blog but am I missing a newspaper column that you write? If so, where can I read it? Thanks for all your contributions…………..


Patricia December 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Great writing from an amazing woman….keep up the great work Diane. Thank you for helping to bring light to all such topics and for giving a voice to those who do not have one or choose to not share because of the casting of judgement by others. I was recently told that some think I am or look at me as damaged because of my past. How can this be in a time we live in today. And I was thinking all this time, I would be empowering, and showing my strength and living as a survivor, which come on people there is a difference, I am not a victim, I was victimized and I am proud to be a survivor and helping others. Top blaming the victims, stop asking the questions and show your support, empower, empower….


DianeDimond December 17, 2009 at 2:23 am

As I've already written here – victims of crime are the real heroes in this country. I'm amazed how they find the will to survive every day. Merry Christmas to all of you! ~DD


Sally December 20, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Hi Diane,

You do a great job reporting on very important issues and I have always been a huge fan of yours.

It would be good I think if you can due an article on the Iran nuclear issue.What do you think?Personally,I think Obama was very naive(Carterlike) into thinking that you can negotiate with a government like Iran's.They are just buying time and it seems like Obama is content to just sit back with his arms folded and let them get the bomb.

I wish you and your family a very Happy and Healthy New Year.



Kellie January 12, 2010 at 8:49 am

Hi Diane! Thanks again for adding me as a friend on Facebook. Please go to my profile and pull up the videos I have posted about the London model Katie Piper who had acid thrown in her lovely face from a disgruntled boyfriend who hired a scumbag to do it. And I also have videos of acid attacks on women in Islamic countries that are terrible disfigured for the most ridiculous of reasons. It is, sadly, becoming more common, as a means of punishment against women under the religion of Islam. It's difficult to watch.


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