Posts Tagged ‘police’

Today is National Honesty Day, no joke. But it is ironic that the person who invented this “holiday” was the Press Secretary for an ex-Governor of Maryland, M Hirsh Goldberg. Just when Baltimore is looking for some answers from its police force and its mayor, we are forced to listen to the “truthiness” of political spin in the wake of Freddie Gray’s murder in police custody. And tomorrow won’t deliver any more answers. Makes you long for that French policeman after that German co-pilot plunged his jet into a mountain.

We couldn’t believe it, he was giving us the facts, and talking to us like adults.

But what if politicians did just start saying what they really thought? And then they needn’t apologize for it; today, Hillary and Jeb, tell us what you really think about the criminal justice system in our country. Explain to us why 98% of Black males in New York between the ages of 18 and 20 can expect some sort of interaction with the criminal justice system.

I’ve talked about UVA’s Miller Center before, but this latest American Forum titled “Arresting Citizenship: Consequences of American Crime Control” happened before Baltimore. http://millercenter.org/events/2015/arresting-citizenship-consequences-of-american-crime-control-rebroadcast

Yale University Assistant Prof of Political Science and African American Studies, Vesla M Weaver, spoke quite candidly about the decline of our democratic process in poor urban areas of the country. About how once misdemeanors a few decades ago have become felonies. About how people in these blighted neighborhoods have learned not to drive with more than two other Blacks in the car, since they will most likely be stopped by police. About how they must learn to avoid walking through certain streets since they may be targeted by police. About how they live day to day fenced inbetween a police station, a courthouse and a jail; a Bermuda triangle of poverty.

Weaver wrote a book that should be on the nightstand of every big city Mayor, and every Presidential candidate  – “Arresting Citizenship: The Democratic Consequences of American Crime Control,” it explores the effects of increasing punishment and surveillance in America on democratic inclusion, particularly for the black urban poor.”

And every single person we interviewed in the book, their earliest encounter with the state, with the criminal justice state, was before the age of 15. Ok? So what they revealed to us what that maybe sometimes later on in their youth was that they had something more serious. But early on they’re coming to know the criminal justice system in a way that white suburban youth are not. You know, they’re going to basketball games, they’re going to high school. They’re not being stopped by police. Um so there’s been this disassociation between criminal population and the custodial population and it’s important to make that disaggregation because it’s very easy to say well you know they’ve done bad things right? Um many people in their adolescence, and if you go back to this longitudinal study that I mentioned 50% of the population reports doing something that could have landed them a misdemeanor or even a felony. Right? But a very small percentage of that group is actually having criminal justice contact.

When I saw the empty seats for the Baltimore Orioles baseball game, all I could think was, if you build a prison they will come. Speaking honestly just about breaks your heart   Unknown

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In Nepal they have stopped searching a famous Himalayan trekking route for the hikers who went missing in a storm. Last week’s tragedy was unprecedented with 38 people dead, and still only 25 have been identified.

In Charlottesville, a city with a vibrant Nepalese refugee community because it is said our Blue Ridge is similar to their mountain home, another search has been called off. A team from Chesterfield County, near Richmond, found the remains of a body on a farm just a few miles from the area where Amanda Harrington was found, near Old Lynchburg Road.

In last night’s news conference, Chief Christopher Longo only said that he notified Hannah’s parents, but that it would be up to the medical examiner to identify the body. Forensic tests will be done and I can’t imagine that those parents will have to view the body, will have to look at her clothing or hold a piece of jewelry. But we all know this is Hannah. People that have signed up to search and deliver food to the volunteers today have been told they will not be needed.

I wonder if they have put a suicide watch on Jesse Matthews?

I wonder if the FBI will begin searching Walnut Creek Park with cadaver-sniffing dogs for the other missing girls?

I wonder if Matthews knew Randy Taylor who was convicted of Alexis Murphy’s death, without finding her body

Or will any other forensic evidence tie him to other unsolved cases? http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/12/us/virginia-murdered-daughter-familiy/index.html

I’ve been thinking about this, IF Matthews had been charged and prosecuted for those two rapes in two separate colleges, years ago, would we even be here? As a society we need to address the failure of our institutions, and our justice system in dealing with college sexual violence. Calling something “date rape” is purely a semantic way of demeaning attacks on young women, placing some blame on the victim because she may have been impaired. Our culture needs to stop ‘slut shaming’ our girls, using terms like “the walk of shame.” We need to empower our girls to use their voices, say their names, and prosecute rapists, even if it gets ugly.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/06/virginia-wesleyan-rape_n_5940404.html


Hike Cancelled

Today, on this beautiful crisp Fall Sunday, Bob is busy saving lives at his hospital. I think I will go the Mall where Hannah was last seen and find some Buddhist prayer flags for my deck. And I will support the Help Save the Next Girl Campaign in any way I can.  http://www.helpsavethenextgirl.com



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Normally, I’m not a scaredy cat. However, once my vision was affected by West Nile, I pretty much stopped driving at night. Which is why I’ll be car-pooling with some friends to see the first episode of Downton Abbey at the Paramount Theatre on the Historic Downtown Mall this weekend.

Added to my natural inclination to visit with friends and actually enjoy my Anglophile evening, is my revulsion at a local news story. A little past midnight on December 20th, a young couple leaving Millers was beaten severely right outside the Wells Fargo bank, a few steps away from the Paramount. This incident received national coverage when the victims discovered, nine days later, that the ball had been dropped by the City of Charlottesville PD. The woman took cell phone pictures of the beating and posted them to her Facebook page, initiating an investigation that has so far come up short on suspects.

The rotten part of the story is that the three attackers seemed to take great pleasure in kicking and beating the young man unconscious, and punching the woman in the head. They laughed, they joked and hugged each other. They didn’t take her purse or their money, even when it was thrown at them. The three attackers were Black and the two victims were White; which led some to call this another example of the “knockout game.”

“They didn’t want to rob us. They wanted to beat us. It was like it was enjoyable to them to beat us,” she said. “There was camaraderie to it.” http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/charlottesville-police-chief-orders-internal-review-in-mall-attack-case/article_87e5fdfa-71cf-11e3-a232-0019bb30f31a.html

This knockout game is just another example of a hate crime imho. Maybe it started when Brad Pitt made that fight club movie, or maybe it started as a gang initiation; pick an innocent victim and sucker punch them into oblivion. It’s caught on like wildfire around the country and states are trying to catch up – http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2013/12/30/state-introduce-knockout-game-bills/4249987/

It would be a shame if this news coverage served to deter people from enjoying a night out on the Mall. But calls are coming in for more widespread surveillance and a beefier police presence on the Mall. Our former Mayor Dave Norris had this to say:

…One other predictable outcome: expect another big push for a public camera surveillance system downtown. The damage done by those three jerks to our sense of community, to our sense of safety and to our civil liberties is likely to far exceed the physical damage done to their two victims. I hope none of this comes to pass and that we in Charlottesville avoid the temptation to escalate and overreact. Given human nature, I am not optimistic. I sincerely hope we find these criminals and put them away. I hope their victims’ wounds heal quickly. I hope ours do as well.

I’m not against more cameras, let’s just put them everywhere like London has done. And btw, let’s also ban guns like the Brits, and legalize marijuana like Colorado. But while we’re busy day dreaming, I wonder how our latest single parents will be coping this season?downton-abbey-season-52


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UnknownMy fearless editor of Tangerine Tango asked a question on her Facebook page. Lisa Winkler said,

“The cicadas are gone. What world will they find in 17 years?”

Now I wouldn’t blame you for missing that speech President Obama made at Georgetown University on climate change. After all, there was testimony in the Trayvon Martin case to analyze. His poor teenage girlfriend got the third degree from a jokester defense attorney because she was the last one to speak with him on his way home with Skittles in his pocket and an Arizona Iced Tea in his hand.

And then we had to pull apart the Paula Deen redemption interview with Matt Lauer. He sat back, pompously asking her if she was a racist, digging deep into her Southern gentility. I am glad she has finally hired a PR closer, Judy Smith; the DC crisis manager who is supposedly the inspiration for Scandal’s Olivia Pope. In truth, it’s a show I don’t watch, could somebody bring back The West Wing?

And of course we had some mighty interesting SCOTUS decisions to follow, as the Court seemingly stepped back to the future.

But back to the cicada question…17 years from now will a certain barrier island off the Jersey Shore still be here? Our President decided finally to do something concrete last week about climate change, to bypass an intransigent Congress, and try to save that Blue Marble we call earth! It was an image of Earth -– beautiful; breathtaking; a glowing marble of blue oceans, and green forests, and brown mountains brushed with white clouds, rising over the surface of the moon,”the President said.

Obama talked about carbon emissions but he really focused on water; on rising sea levels and flooding, on depleting our aquifers. Here’s what he said, in a nutshell:

“And we’ll partner with communities seeking help to prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires, protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm barriers. And we’ll also open our climate data and NASA climate imagery to the public, to make sure that cities and states assess risk under different climate scenarios, so that we don’t waste money building structures that don’t withstand the next storm.”


In local news relating to water. two UVA sorority girls were surrounded and attacked by men in plain clothes, with guns drawn, in our upscale shopping center after leaving Harris Teeter with cases of La Croix bottled water and ice cream. Yes, the Alcoholic Beverage Control agents thought they were underage purchasers of beer, while their blue cartons only contained water…still one girl had to spend an afternoon and an evening in jail and they were charged with a felony. Go figure. Maybe before trying to save this blue marble, we should try to find the marbles we’ve lost?


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