Friday, July 31, 2015

Paul Blart Campus Cop

The recent incident in Cincinnati regarding the murder/shooting/killing of an innocent man on a traffic stop has not been the first regarding the mall cop of college campuses.

The Guardian did a brief story explaining how this became another in the long line of Police states (well I mean that in every sense of the word)  in response to the civil unrest in the late 60s/early 70s.  Kent state anyone?

Campus police: different badges, different uniforms, but same deadly force

Lauren Gambino in New York and Ryan Felton in Cincinnati
The Guardian
Friday 31 July 2015
Campus police departments in America grew from the student-activist unrest of the 1960s and 1970s that culminated in the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University – and their officers are fully armed servants of the law. 
Ray Tensing is arraigned on murder charges in the shooting death of Samuel DuBose
A campus police officer who writes about public perceptions of campus police said of Ray Tensing,  ‘If the prosecutor indicated that he was not a police officer, he was dead wrong
The uniforms are different. The badges are different. The bosses are different. Aside from that, the police who patrol the University of Cincinnati’s campus are empowered with virtually the same powers as sworn city police officers.

But on Wednesday, Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph Deters sought to draw a distinction. 
“They’re not cops,” Deters said of the UC police force, during a press conference to announce that officer Ray Tensing, who fatally shot 43-year-old Samuel DuBose during a routine traffic stop and was later fired over the incident, had been indicted for murder.

Deters continued, saying that the university should disband its police force in light of what happened and suggesting that city police patrol the campus instead.

But campus police officers reject the characterization, especially as their powers continue to grow, making them more and more like municipal departments.

“If the prosecutor indicated that [Tensing] was not a police officer, then I’m sorry to say that the prosecutor was dead wrong,” said Lt Charles Wilson of the Rhode Island campus police department, who writes academically about public perceptions of campus police offices.

All police officers, regardless of the department they serve, must meet the same basic standards to be licensed or certified by the state, though some critics say campus police participate in separate and shorter training. As such, campus police are granted the same statutory powers to arrest civilians and the officers are almost always armed, Wilson said.

The vast majority of universities operate their own law enforcement agencies, and campuses without one rely primarily on private security firms or local law enforcement agencies, according to Bureau of Justice Statistics data from 2011-12, the most recent available.

Ninety-two percent of public institutions used sworn officers, compared to 38% of private campuses, and nearly all sworn campus police officers were armed, according to the data.

Rhode Island recently agreed to arm its campus police officers, the last state in the nation to do so. During the debate, some groups opposed the move, arguing that guns were unnecessary, especially considering the nature of crimes committed on campus.

“The worst crime that’s ever done here is people smoke marijuana,” Frank Annunziato, executive director of the URI chapter of the faculty union American Association of University Professors, told NBC News at the time. “This is a happy place. It’s not a place where guns are necessary.”

In Cincinnati, campus police ultimately report to the university’s governing board, which Deters suggested was not a responsibility it was designed to handle.

“The university does a great job educating people ... that should be their job, being police officers should not be their role,” Deters said.

University officials did not respond directly to the remarks. In a statement, University of Cincinnati president, Santa J Ono, said the university would “take necessary steps to address any training, staffing and hiring policy issues that may be indicated by this tragic event”.

The need for campus policing arose during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when student-activists held massive civil rights and anti-war demonstrations. Images of clashes between police and students would come to define the era, none more so than the massacre at Kent State University, when Ohio national guardsmen opened fire on the crowd, killing four students.

“That prompted a lot of institutions to start police departments, so that they had people on campus who were more attuned with their community and have a better understanding with the community so that the kinds of things that started during the demonstrations wouldn’t happen again,” said Bill Taylor, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and the chief of police at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas.

Taylor said campus forces effectively initiated the community policing model that so many cities are now promoting as a string of police killings have thrown into sharp relief the strained relations between law enforcement and minority communities.

“Campus officers are expected to be more interactive with their community, more responsive to the needs of the community,” Taylor said. “We specifically look for people who don’t have short fuses. In light of what’s happened that may sound quite different than what’s been depicted.”

Several University of Cincinnati students told the Guardian that they perceived the campus police as having less authority that their off-campus counterparts, though others stressed that the force kept campus safer.

David Sanders, a UC alumni, said he has observed two “drastically different” campuses over the past decade.

“Police presence has been a lot heavier over the last four or five years – city and campus,” he said. “It’s become a lot safer place to be, you don’t hear about as many robberies, as many muggings.

“But also, when I was a student, especially early on, we always called the UC police the ‘toy police’, because you never felt like they ever actually did anything. They were just there, showing up.”

Steven Gayada, a biology major, said he has witnessed officers pull over large groups of students for trivial issues like jaywalking.

“That’s kind of a common thing you hear people talking about,” he told the Guardian. From personal experience, he said, “most of my experience has been they just really don’t do much. They just circle around and sit on campus.”

For recent graduate Abdine Louis, he said his view of UC police is “two-tiered”.

“On one side, I believe the UC police do a fair job in keeping the campus safe, in making sure that the needs of the students with regards to safety are brought to the forefront,” Louis said.

“But on the other end, there’s I feel still unsafe in areas even with the presence of the UC police; one, as a black male, there’s a lot of profiling that still hasn’t been addressed, profiling by UC police.”

A recent article in the Washington Post also discusses this issue as the rise of the Campus Cop is not something in which to dismiss as rogue. As one comment at the conclusion resonates: “I’m extremely skeptical that in the current climate of police-community relations nationwide it makes sense to empower private police forces, who don’t operate by the same standards of transparency and accountability as public departments, to perform public safety functions,” says Patrick Kennedy, chairman of the the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in D.C.’s Foggy Bottom and West End neighborhoods. “I think the prospect of them operating in the community opens the door to problems of profiling and abuse-of-power.”

Recall the pepper spraying of the occupy protestors at UC Davis? Regardless of your politics this was a bizarre act of well bizarreness. But there are others such as this story Because jaywalking is a real problem and a danger to others

The move to Campus Cops is been a gradual but done with deliberate intent. Funny the Rolling Stone did this article and all I could think about is where are they when all these parties and rapes occur. Again the irony was the Vanderbilt drugging a rape case came about is that campus cops were reviewing tapes for burglaries happening on campus and whoops saw that instead. Want to stop rape? Well this might be a way versus shooting people in the street, arresting jaywalkers and basically doing apparently little else while on patrol. They really are becoming like real police.

The strongest parallel I can find is today's TSA. They too since 9/11 have become bizarre de facto police with immense powers, yet little training and oversight, rentention problems which extends throughout the entire homeland security department and the debate about wether to arm them or not.  Or sheer idiocy by minimum wag workers who delight in disgracing people.     Add to the problem is the immense theft that takes place in checked bags, which makes one wonder if they can take it out can they put something in?

Private cops, campus cops, TSA, Sherrifs, Transit cops (who have killed people as well)  City Police Force only needs one man to add to the legion of cops - Paul Blart.



Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hands of Babes

Three-year-old girl dead after shooting in Southeast Washington
In Southeast D.C., 3-year-old girl shot(1:41)

Police were not looking for suspects after responding to the shooting of a 3-year-old girl at an apartment complex in Southeast Washington Wednesday night. (WUSA9)

By Peter Hermann and Dana Hedgpeth July 30 at 8:56 AM

A 3-year-old girl has died after authorities said she was shot by another child at an apartment in Southeast Washington, according to police.

Few details were immediately available Thursday.

The incident occurred Wednesday around 8:18 p.m. at the Benning Terrace housing complex in the 600 block of 46 Place SE, near Benning Road. When police arrived, they said the victim was nonresponsive. She was transported to an area hospital.

Police Cmdr. Robert Alder said the victim was found shot inside a housing complex.

Two sources in the police department said the girl was apparently shot by a 7-year-old boy who had found a gun in the apartment. The two sources said they think the weapon was fired twice.

On Wednesday night, dozens of police were in the area. Initially, they said they were looking for a black male with dreadlocks. That person was believed to be wearing a green hat and a blue T-shirt. But as of about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said they did not have a lookout for a suspect.


So it appears that the child lied and the Police then went looking for the ubiquitous black man. Now children don't lie right? Well he is 7 years old and terrified and the issue is not that he some raging maniac but a child with a gun in the house. Now if the mysterious dreadlocked man came into the apartment left a loaded and unlocked gun laying around then we need to find him. Because again isn't that the problem and the issue - a gun.

And another child's death more lies and more tragedies and the hands of a child. The child being tried as an adult? Where were the adults in this child's life? We arrest mothers and fathers for letting children walk alone, being in a car alone and yet we seem to think that they are still children who are in need of protection until they do something wrong then suddenly they are adults. Wow that was fast. Which is it.

Read this sad story and realize two lives were lost and this could have been prevented. Listening to the mother of the Colorado shooter testify about her son she was utterly unaware of his mental health break and that is quite true as mental health professionals have noted that the break can appear in their 20s and they have a disintegrated to the point that often families are often unaware or often unable to get help. Hence the calling the police and the many deaths that have resulted due to the lack of training with regards to mental health. Then we had the distance of the parents who were not in constant daily contact with their son, whom was in the care of a therapist at the time.

So it appears that we have a mental health provider who was clearly not able to actually diagnose her patient or was willing to realize the serious nature of her client's mental health and get the help he needed.  And in the case of the disparity and availability of qualified affordable and experienced mental health providers this is not a stretch by any means (a subject I have written about many times).

And this is the problem. An 15 year old boy clearly had massive problems that just did not arrive that day. So where are the parents? Where are any adults? There are so many variables in this equation we just eliminate them all focus on charging a boy as an adult and then what - Folsom prison as he is too young for the death penalty. Yes this is our criminal justice system it is frankly more criminal.


Morning Mix
Maddy Middleton was lured, raped and killed, authorities say
By Michael E. Miller, The Washington Post, July 30, 2015

The slaying of Madyson “Maddy” Middleton keeps taking one chilling turn after another.

The freckled 8-year-old disappeared on Sunday afternoon, spurring a massive manhunt that scoured all of Santa Cruz, Calif.

On Monday night, however, police discovered the girl’s body hidden in a recycling bin inside the same apartment building from which she went missing.

Residents of the Tannery Arts Center — a progressive and highly praised Santa Cruz artist colony — were doubly shocked when police arrested one of their own for the crime: 15-year-old Adrian Jerry “A.J.” Gonzalez.

Authorities have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the death of 8-year-old Madyson Middleton whose body was found in a recycling bin at a residential complex in Santa Cruz, Calif. (Reuters)

At first, neighbors said the incident must have been an accident, a childish game gone terribly awry.

“We heard that it was possibly a horrible accident, that something went all wrong,” neighbor Jeannie Cartabiano told The Washington Post in a phone interview late Monday night. “Whoever it was was young enough to be frightened and tried to hide the scene.”

But new details are washing away any doubts about the depravity of the crime.

After the 8-year-old from Santa Cruz, Calif., vanished, hundreds of people began looking for her.

On Wednesday, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell announced that he was charging Gonzalez as an adult not only for murder but also for kidnapping and sexual assault.

According to a criminal complaint, Gonzalez brought Maddy back to his apartment, where he tied her up, beat her, raped her and strangled her before dumping her body in the bin in the parking garage downstairs.

“We are going to bring him to justice,” Rosell said, according to local TV station KSBW. “He is looking at life in prison.”

The teenager allegedly used the promise of ice cream to lure Maddy into his trap, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“A source close to the investigation told The Chronicle that the teenager lured the girl to his apartment by offering her some ice cream and that he attacked her from behind as she was serving herself,” the newspaper reported, adding that Maddy had suffered trauma to the head in addition to being strangled.

As the horrific crime slowly comes into focus, so, too, does a profile of the alleged murderer.

Neighbors have expressed shock that Gonzalez could be capable of killing a little girl.

Gonzalez had worked as a counselor at the Tannery, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Photos show him proudly demonstrating his yo-yo tricks.

“We love this guy. All of us, if you ask us what you think of him, we’d tell you he’s an outstanding kid,” Cartabiano told The Post. “He was our poster child.”

“He’s just like a normal kid,” another neighbor, Riley McShane, told KPIX. “He hangs out on the levee with other normal kids and plays with his yo-yo all day long. He doesn’t really strike any chords as being a baby killer.”

But social media posts suggest Gonzalez was actually deeply troubled.

According to local media, Gonzalez’s Instagram account — disabled Wednesday morning after a flood of threats — revealed suicidal impulses.

“Among the Instagram portraits of him outside the Tannery and showing off yo-yo tricks in an apartment were other, darker pictures and commentary,” reported the Mercury News.

“Most chilling was a post from Monday, the second day of the search and the day Maddy’s body was found, that showed a short black-and-white clip of hands playing a piano to the tune of Gary Jules’ version of ‘Mad World’ — popularized on the soundtrack of 2001’s ‘Donnie Darko,’ a film signified by the title character’s death dreams,” the newspaper continued.

Underneath the clip was a caption pulled from the song: “The Dreams in which I’m Dying are the Best I’ve ever had.”

The timing of the Instagram clip is ominous. As Gonzalez was posting footage of himself or someone else playing odes to suicide on the piano, hundreds of volunteers were just outside his apartment, desperately searching for signs of Maddy.

Gonzalez’s obsession with death appeared to run much deeper.

He allegedly disposed of Maddy’s body just five minutes before her mother, Laura Jordan, called police on Sunday evening, the Chronicle reported.

“The boy was caught on surveillance video dumping the body at the bin and then twice visiting the spot after officers arrived to look for Madyson,” the newspaper reported. “The boy repeatedly asked police if they were making any progress in the case, the source said.”

Setorro Garcia, another Tannery resident, said Gonzalez kept pestering him with questions about the search for Maddy’s body.

“Dude, you’re the only one asking me,” Garcia eventually told Gonzalez, according to the Mercury News.

When police finally did find Maddy’s body, Gonzalez was standing nearby, watching, KPIX reported.

Gonzalez will be arraigned on Thursday. He has been charged as an adult, but his age means he is exempt from the death penalty, authorities said.

Why, exactly, the yo-yo-loving teen allegedly turned against his tiny neighbor remains a mystery for the time being, although the Chronicle’s unnamed source suggested a grim explanation.

“As for a motive,” the newspaper reported, “the boy told police that he had been considering suicide and that he had wanted to see how people would react by killing the girl.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yes, No, Yes, Maybe

I am just going to say that it shows you how little ability we have to communicate to one another and that this is largely the problem. The drugs/booze factor in as a matter of dutch courage, experimentation and of course forbidden fruit.

Laws will not change it but only once again make it worse.  The idiot conducting the eye movement experiment will of course take taxpayer money for which nothing will be done to improve the situation.

We are getting fucked here.

Affirmative Consent: Are Students Really Asking?

By SANDY KEENAN
The New York Times
JULY 28, 2015

The University at Albany’s annual Slut Walk, protesting sexual assault and victim blaming, drew 50 or so women and a few men last May.

Tyler Frahme, a University at Albany junior, had never even heard of affirmative consent, the unequivocal O.K. to sex that is mandated by state law. Nor was he in the habit of asking women for permission to proceed at every new juncture of sexual activity.

He and his friend Jill Santiago, a fellow junior and psychology major, were catching up in the Campus Center near the close of the school year when I approached their table to ask about the state’s new definition — put in place last winter to guide, govern and presumably protect nearly half a million students across 64 public campuses of the State University of New York, and followed in July by a law that applies to all college students in the state.

New York’s new legislation of what constitutes consent covers a lot of ground in sobering terms:

“Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity.”

“Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.”

"The policy has changed but nobody knows,” said Carol Stenger, who directs the University at Albany's Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence.

Mr. Frahme turned defensive, even a little combative, after I introduced him to the legislation.

“Do you think this is a gender-neutral policy?” he demanded. “All these policies cast men in a predatory light. Most guys aren’t like that.”

I asked a test question: Can a really drunk person give consent?

“My answer to that is no,” he said. He was right.

“Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated.”

Mr. Frahme posed a (not-so-hypothetical) scenario of his own: “You both get drunk and it gets heated and you get into it. If the next day she regrets it and formally complains, to me that’s just plain wrong.” The initiator, in fact, is responsible for securing consent, but because the other party is intoxicated, it may not be obtainable.

Ms. Santiago, who knew all about the issue, having helped put together university-mandated training in sexual assault prevention for her sorority, jumped out of the interpretive rabbit hole, locked eyes with Mr. Frahme and said: “If guys realize they have to ask and get permission — and I’ve been asked before, it’s not that bad — this could wind up protecting everyone.”

It wasn’t such a mood kill, she said, when a partner paused and asked: “Do you want to do this. Is it O.K.?”

But Mr. Frahme wasn’t buying it — at least not yet.

Colleges and universities have been scurrying to amend codes of conduct and refine definitions of consent. One reason for the rush is that the Obama administration, which last year launched the “It’s on Us” campaign in an attempt to make campuses safer from sexual violence, has threatened to withhold federal funding from institutions that fail to address problems.

This past year saw a blossoming in the “yes means yes” movement, an about-face on “no means no,” which suggests that sex can advance until you hear that “no.”

“Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent.”

An estimated 1,400 institutions of higher education now use some type of affirmative consent definition in their sexual assault policies, according to the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, a for-profit consulting group. California was the first state to institute standards, last fall, followed by New York. Among states that have introduced affirmative consent bills are New Jersey, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

New York’s law standardizes prevention and response policies and procedures relating to sexual assault. The consent definition within it, officials say, is not intended to micromanage students’ sex lives but to reorient them on how to approach sex and to put them on notice to take the issue seriously.

So how are students incorporating the code into practice? Are they tucking pens and contracts into back jean pockets alongside breath mints and condoms?

To take the pulse of consent culture, I spoke with several dozen students at the University at Albany. Only a few knew about the standards.

“The policy has changed but nobody knows,” said Carol Stenger, a sex educator who directs the university’s Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence. The education of roughly 17,000 students, as well as faculty and staff members, on what the decree means mostly falls to Ms. Stenger and Chantelle Cleary, a former sex crimes prosecutor and now the university’s Title IX coordinator, responsible for investigating complaints of sexual violence.

Ms. Stenger tries to keep her message simple: “Think of it as borrowing a cellphone. You wouldn’t just take it. You’d ask for it first.” She’s been gathering and creating social scenarios to introduce consent at freshman orientation this summer. Upperclassmen will pose provocative statements, especially related to drinking.

The biggest challenge Ms. Stenger faces, she says, is addressing the alcohol question because men and women think the situation is a wash when both are inebriated. “It makes me crazy,” she said. “They ask, ‘Am I still a victim?’ Yes!”

The hope advanced by many sex educators, including Ms. Stenger, is that seeking and receiving consent will render sex healthier, more gender equitable and maybe even sexier.

But it turns out that men and women are not great verbal communicators when it comes to sex. Both genders are likely to follow what Kristen J. Jozkowski, a sex researcher and assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, characterizes as “traditional sexual scripts,” whereby men are the pursuers and women the gatekeepers of sex, trained by society to be reluctant. Studies have found these stereotypes, even in the age of hookup sites like Tinder, to be generally true. Men tend to rely on nonverbal cues in interpreting consent (61 percent say they get consent via body language), but women tend to wait to be asked before signaling consent (only 10 percent say they give consent via body language). No wonder there’s so much confusion.

“This discrepancy could potentially lead to miscommunication if men are looking for nonverbal cues and women are waiting to be asked,” Dr. Jozkowski explained. Women rarely initiate the discussion because they don’t want to come off as being promiscuous, she said. “That’s why it’s so important to deviate from these old scripts.”

What she knows for sure is that educating young people on healthy sexual relationships needs to start much earlier than college. She is optimistic that the new campaigns will change behavior, much as antismoking laws and public service announcements changed views regarding smoking.

I approached another table at the Campus Center — three juniors whose fondness for pickup basketball had brought them together as freshmen. None were aware of the consent decree. With some keyword coaching, Malik Alexander found the policy announcement in his old emails and read it aloud. He had his buddies’ attention.

Mr. Alexander warmed to the idea: “This sounds like something that should be done by everyone in everyday life anyway. I’ve always been more of a consensual sort of guy.”

Kevin Miranda shook his head. “I think that could be difficult in practice,” he said. “Can you at least use body language instead of always having to ask out loud?” Yes. California’s definition and the revised language going into effect in the fall in New York are clear on this point. Body language and physical clues (say, a clear nod) would count, but both warn that consent can be revoked at any time.

“When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.”

One student about to graduate with a degree in science, who asked not to be identified given the intimate nature of her story, had read and absorbed New York’s law. She said she had had only one sexual encounter in four years at Albany, with a good friend she had begun dating. She was open to having sex but didn’t know what to expect, and it took awhile to realize when her partner became domineering and aggressive that this wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

“It wasn’t something we’d agreed upon,” she said. “It wasn’t sexy.” She told him to stop, she said, and tried to push him away, and that’s when “he covered my mouth with his hand” until he was finished.

She never told anyone, not a friend, not a counselor and not her family.

“They’d never look at me the same again.”

Did she think it rose to the level of sexual assault? “Yes it did,” she said.

And had she considered filing a complaint with the police or the SUNY authorities? “I don’t have that kind of courage,” she said, “but I commend all strong women who do.”

The new law, she believes, will help change behavior going forward. “Now that it’s outlined in black and white,” she said, “there’s really no excuse for people to be doing what they shouldn’t be doing.”

On a sparkling spring afternoon, on the Academic Podium, an imposing postmodern expanse of fountains, cerulean wading pools and grand colonnades, 50 or so women and a smattering of men marched in the annual Slut Walk, a protest against victim blaming. They wielded signs both optimistic (“Consent Is Sexy”) and pointed (“Rape Predated Miniskirts”). The night before, to mark sexual assault month, “The Vagina Monologues” was onstage and “The Hunting Ground,” a haunting documentary about rape culture on campus, was onscreen.

However passionate, the protest was somewhat insular, drawing little attention from those socializing or studying on nearby benches.

I met a boisterous foursome of women, all juniors and all transfer students who had gone through orientation last summer. They had learned about bystander intervention (friends looking out for friends), reporting protocols and campus resources for victims of sexual assault. But they were not aware of consent, the concept.

After hearing a bit about it, Daniela Kelly said, “Not a lot of people are going to follow that.”

“That’s needed more for hookup culture,” said Shanice Stephenson.

“And besides, it would be impossible to monitor,” said Chinyere Leigh Richardson. “If they’d asked for our input, maybe we’d be more inclined to try it.”

Ms. Kelly recounted a day of partying during spring break in Miami.

“This one guy kept tugging at me and touching and pawing me and he just wouldn’t stop,” she said.

So what did she do?

“I pretended I was dead.”

Like an animal?

“Exactly.”

Did it work? She shook her head.

O.K., then, given that story, I asked: Of the 10 men she knew and respected most on campus, how many would benefit from training in sexual consent?

Without a moment’s pause, she said, “11.”

About a month after my sit-down with Mr. Frahme, I checked in with him by phone. Since first hearing about the new policy, he said, he had been practicing consent almost religiously. He now asks for consent once or twice during sexual encounters with women he knows well, and four or five times during more casual or first-time hookups.

“I certainly didn’t expect the policy to change my behavior,” he said, “but it has.”

It’s getting to be a little more comfortable, he said. He crafts and poses questions like “You O.K. with this?” “Do you still want to go ahead?” and “Hey, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”

One woman he was having sex with for the first time accused him of being devious in asking for consent. She thought he was using reverse psychology to get her in bed. That wasn’t it at all, he said.

“I’m just letting them know I’m not trying to pressure anyone into something they are going to regret.”

Acts not Deeds

I have not often believed that the value of a person is by their acts. At times people act insane as they may well be - permanently or temporarily.  It is not an excuse it is simply an explanation.

When we act like idiots we may well be treated as such and then in turn expect less.  There are those that are supposed to turn a blind eye through training, experience or just personal understanding.  When I see a kid act like a nut sometimes I call them on it sometimes I don't.  There are often a myriad of reasons that can explain why and sometimes it is better not to ask.

We expect Medical professionals to rise above and do the job needed. The same with Teachers and with many whom deal with challenging individuals on a daily basis. The idea is that they have taken an oath or made a personal commitment to agree to do a job despite the risks, despite the low pay, the abuse by those they serve or their professional obligations.

That is what I refer to as a deed.   As defined literary -  an action that is performed intentionally or consciously.  You are trained to save lives you save them.  Your response is intrinsic, it runs deep within in you.  You don't think about anything extraneous as the persons gender, their state of mind, their status in society. When you act with intent that becomes an act not a deed.

An act is when you know that you are choosing to respond in a certain manner. You make a choice to do one thing over another and that is often based on extrinsic circumstances. That is what Police do. They have nothing but their training that teaches them that all encounters are dangerous ones and all people will do harm.  Then in turn that extrinsic fact becomes and intrinsic one and they connect to society with no on/off switch as they are always on.

I had this discussion the other day about the ability to compartmentalize and have a life/work balance that can enable you to be professional and in turn in private not have to be that same person.  You like to drink, do drugs, wear the opposite genders clothes, swear like a longshoreman then get up in the morning put on your Armor and fight the battles for the Queen with vigilance and duty you should and can.   We don't like that in America we want us to be working 24/7 we are what we do all the time every day in every way.  Really that explains why for years the Scouts did not want Gay men as leaders cause they would what be gay in front of kids?  I am not sure what that means nor do I,

I work with kids and at 2:30 I don't.  I am done. I can swear, drink, have sex walk around naked do whatever I want and should be able to act as I choose with the appropriate boundaries of my private life.   It has nothing to do with my ability to teach and respond to children.  But many people actually believe that is not possible.  Really is that why we asked women to be spinsters and live in the school so they would be better Teachers and have no life, no distractions and nothing more than serving you and your children?  We did  that with Catholic Priests, I think that says it all.

When you have to act you are thinking about it. I took a class called Teacher as Actor it was idiotic it taught people to act vs teach. Here is the deal they are very different professions but in all professions there are times we must act.   Our deeds however never change.  They are the rules and guidelines and expectations for all professions. I think another  name is Ethics.

So when I read this from a Police Officer about the Sandra Bland case I thought it was salient, relevant and honest.  No one looked good in that incident and yes we can assume that because Ms. Bland was black she was treated just a little more aggressively than a white person and that the Officer was sadly in his rights to do so.  I have been stopped and told that my dog would be shot, told I was aggressive when I asked to get out of the car. I am white but I wanted to step out of the car so the dog would not be a part of the problem, she was simply protecting her territory and was frightened as was I and her response was natural and instinctive, not learned.  She did not commit a deed as I had not trained her that way, she was acting that way.

You act in a certain way when the dynamic requires it. An action then in that situation is a deed.  When you act without thinking without intent it is just an action.   Not always is it bad or good it is just what it is.

I fear Police utterly fear them.  So how will I act with one. I don't know until it happens. I pray it never does.

Silent Cops: Why Are Police Quiet About the Sandra Bland Traffic Stop?


You may be asking: Why aren’t any cops speaking out against the way Trooper Encinia handled himself during the Sandra Bland traffic stop?

I’ll offer a few theories from the inside.

The police community is extremely tight-knit. To speak out against one of our own is sinful. It means a brother or sister must break rank and cross the coveted Thin Blue Line. It’s extremely lonely on the other side. It makes one vulnerable. And in policing, vulnerability is to be avoided at all costs.

Opening oneself for criticism or isolation or being ostracized is risky. It could mean one’s career. Or livelihood. Or reputation.

Ill to Speak of The Dead.

I’ll start somewhere odd: the debrief of police officer on-duty deaths. One rarely (if ever) hears about the mistakes a deceased officer made that contributed to his/her demise. To do so is too often labeled as being in poor taste. It’s taken as disrespectful of the dead and his/her family. Instead, law enforcement puts dead officers on a pedestal, no matter how reckless, negligent, or unsafe his/her actions were during the deadly incident – whether a traffic crash or a felonious murder. There is zero blame put on the deceased officer.

Instead, we in law enforcement claim this is a dangerous job. And something happened to the officer. Dead officers are almost never held accountable for any of the danger, risk, or threat they faced. No matter how fast he was driving. Whether she was wearing a seatbelt. If he was escalating the incident by being a total asshole. If she needlessly rushed into a dangerous situation.
Openly questioning the actions of brother or sister officers, whether dead, alive, under investigation, or on YouTube…is considered inappropriate by police cultural norms.

I wasn’t there.

We in law enforcement hide behind common rhetoric: “I wasn’t there.” This is an easy out. When asked their thoughts on a questionable police incident, the answer is too often, “I don’t have enough information to form an opinion.” Really? Cops are full of opinions – and a lack of quality information has never stopped them before. Now all of a sudden they are grilled on a brother or sister’s behavior and they go silent. Really?

“I wasn’t there” is a cop-out. Even without all the information, some opinion can be shared…on some aspect. Keep reading – I will share my limited opinion (some might call it unfair).

Fear.

So what keeps cops silent when they do have an opinion that might go against one of their own? Fear. Paralyzing fear, actually. There is a tight bond that is created during the shared hardships of police work. The holidays. The weekends. The midnight shifts. The experiences that few outside can truly understand.

We need each other. To switch shifts when manpower doesn’t allow for vacation days. For backup on hot calls. To bounce ideas off. For help with the paperwork and processing. We need each other. To risk that bond is to gamble on our own safety. It’s better to just stick together. On this side of the Thin Blue Line.

The Cult of Compliance.

Why else might cops be silent about the Sandra Bland traffic stop? Because cops support how the Trooper handled the incident. Some cops even argue this is textbook policing. (For those of you who know my sarcasm, I am not being sarcastic here. I am serious.)
Click for #WINxChicago coming November 18th, 2015.
There is a segment of law enforcement officers and trainers who believe:
  • a citizen’s failure to immediately comply with a police officer’s orders should be assumed to be a physical threat to the officer’s well-being.
  • a citizen’s perceived disrespect is a sign of danger.
  • a citizen’s disobedience is a challenge to the authority of established law.
Of course, as with anything, there are varying levels that these feelings and attitudes take hold in officers and trainers. Some officers don’t subscribe to these beliefs at all. But when I first heard the term #CultOfCompliance from freelancer David M Perry, I thought the term awfully fitting —  a cult being a sub-group with entrenched beliefs, within a larger community – in this case, the police community.

How has this sentiment of Cult of Compliance taken root in law enforcement? I only have theory. Maybe because of the traffic stop videos and war stories used in police academies? These videos and stories are shared with new recruits to demonstrate that even quiet little old ladies and 12-year old girls can be as deadly as a ninja….and ballpoint pens and umbrellas as dangerous as a samurai sword.

There actually are real dangerous people out in the streets that will murder a police officer if given the opportunity. But not everyone is trying to kill the police. Nor capable.

These anecdotal stories are used to turn optimistic and gullible police recruits into hardened and suspicious police veterans as quickly as possible. Let’s agree on this: there actually are real dangerous people out in the streets that will murder a police officer if given the opportunity. But not everyone is trying to kill the police. Nor capable. Unfortunately, I see hardened slip into the realm of dispassionate or unemotional….and suspicious turn into completely untrusting and disbelieving.

The law in the United States is also very generous to police officers. There are plenty of allowances granted by law, through the Supreme Court, that understand police officers must respond to situations that are risky and dynamic. As such, police are allowed, BY LAW, to search, seize, control, intrude, injure, and even kill.

Of course I have thoughts on the Sandra Bland traffic stop.

The Trooper’s will likely be found to be within lawful bounds – as far as LAW goes. (I recommend reading Beyond Law: The Other Standards of Police Force for more on this.)

I also believe the Trooper displayed undignified policing. He sunk to the level of disrespect that Sandra Bland displayed towards him. He took the low road. He let non-compliance and the questioning of authority get the best of him. In police jargon: “contempt of cop.” How dare you! 
I wish he would have taken the high road of allowing Sandra Bland (no matter how ignorant, disobedient, or disrespectful she was) to maintain her dignity.

I’m not saying the Trooper is a bad police officer. I am calling out his behavior and decision and actions; not his character or his personality or his thoughts. He made some poor choices that day. Used undignified words. Demonstrated overbearing authority. Attempted too much control. Escalated too quickly.

I also argue that the Trooper is a product of his training and the police culture. What comes to mind is a quote that has been used to describe a space shuttle disaster in 1986 (one I watched live from my third grade classroom):
“It can truly be said that the Challenger launch decision was a rule-based decision…But the cultural understandings, rules, procedures, and norms that always had worked in the past did not work this time. It was not amorally calculating managers violating rules that were responsible for the tragedy. It was conformity.” – Diane Vaughan, The Challenger Launch Decision, 1996.
Unless we change the way we train and educate our police officers – and how we hold them accountable at the peer and cultural levels – we will continue to conform to beliefs and standards of behavior that simply are NOT working!!

Those police officers with strong beliefs about the dangers of non-compliance might not understand the REAL issues behind non-compliance: confusing orders; lack of English language proficiency; wearing music earbuds (didn’t hear); deaf; mental or cognitive disability. There are actually GOOD reasons why people don’t immediate obey police commands. And even if the reasons aren’t reasonable – like that of a person just being an asshole – what’s wrong with allowing that person to maintain his or her dignity?

I argue, those in the Cult of Compliance have been slowly and gradually abusing Constitutional power allowances. The law is an organic thing. It changes with each opinion and interpretation given by the various Courts. Continued abuse of these allowances will mean drastic changes in law.
We in law enforcement must change philosophically. These are not topical adjustments. I am calling for a re-engineering of police training and policy that will take a generation or more to fully take root.
Anything less than a do-over is a patchwork.

But it takes courage. To speak ill of the dead. To call out what we see. To challenge the status quo. And fight against the Cult of Compliance.

A lot can be accomplished thorough courage. And dignity.
***

Louis Hayes is a provocateur for The Virtus Group, Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to the development of public safety leadership and thinking. He is a 17-year police officer in Chicagoland, with current responsibilities in Crisis Intervention, SWAT, and training. 
***

A Personal Note

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My rent is due. I subscribe to numerous journals and papers in which I use to write and share with those who cannot afford to do so.

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Thank you.  Whatever you can give is always needed.


Rent's Due

Seattle is now at that number.  The reality is that 3/4 of my check goes to rent forcing me on food stamps, food banks and no extras or options at all. Lose the cable bill, the gym membership, the flexibility of having a life.

I ended up negotiating with my landlord to pay the remainder of my rent for the year in cash. I got a cash advance from a credit card, the way many Americans did and paid him about half of what I would normally.  In cash.  I did not sign a lease or rental agreement and he agreed that if I let the place on Air BnB I was responsible for any and all damages and costs and they could not stay over 30 days - consecutively.

This is the new nation.  We can't afford to live here and we can't live anywhere there are not jobs and jobs that pay enough to pay the rent. Raise the rent, raise the pay and not give me time off, free ping pong or a gym membership.  Okay that last one I could use. But do you think I could share it with my landlord?


The cities where Americans are most likely to spend more than half of their paycheck on rent

By Jonnelle Marte
The Washington

Bully Pulpit

The Washington Post that was relentless when the Rolling Stone published an unsubstantiated poorly researched and written story about a rape that has since been investigated and lawsuits filed but not once has the girl come forward to explain the story nor has anyone come to her defense to discuss her story as they did with regards to the school.

 Interesting that a young girl who was outed by a lunatic blogger, a center piece in an investigation has never elected to speak publically or hire the usual suspect - that crazy lawyer bitch - to speak for her. And then the New York Magazine with its empty chair I think speaks loud and clear for those who believe they too may have been harmed but cannot nor will not speak out.  The media is always a bully pulpit in which to beat a dead horse until a new horse comes along to beat.

And here they are with the never ending saga of Bill Cosby  on the front page and less the territory of the endless bloggers the Post has hired to compensate for actual reporting. When the Post does do actual reporting, they do a better job.  Sitting at home as I am commenting on news is not reporting its opinionating. Thankfully we all have opinions.   I really want this blog to be the last on this subject for a long time.

Rape is a challenging issue and with the debate over rape still quite heated I find it intresting that the few who defended and supported Bill Cosby have never felt compelled to retract or qualify that in any way. The libertarian crowd at Reason is one, sadly of which they still rail on about the issue of rape as a matter of violation - of rights of males; the other obsessed moron is the asshole who writes his blawg Simple Justice. That hammer of his small dick and the nail of rape is something which he continues to bang as that is obviously the only banging in his sad empty life. Don't have a courtoom in which to work people over, do so on the internet.  Funny he also criticizes the internet while continuing to blawg on it? Irony or idiocy?  Or just a  hypocrite. Ah lawyers. The latter always works.

The famous still have a bigger auditorium and audience and I wonder if this story will ever finally end in Bill Cosby telling the truth. Well no and Donald Trump won't either. So why ask for the truth. We loathe in America and we need to alter the Pledge in which we do so.

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth.. but without any details and ugly facts that could affect our perceptions and reality and makes us actually do something?" "Sure, yes, whatever,kinda, sorta, ok."


Genius seducer Bill Cosby didn’t realize key accuser was gay, new documents say





Days after it was revealed comedian Bill Cosby spoke of himself as a master interpreter of women’s desires in a 10-year-old court deposition, one of his alleged victims has pointed out a problem with this theory: She’s gay.

Of the dozens of women who have accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them, Andrea Constand is arguably the most important. Though Cosby — who has not been charged with a crime and denies he has sexually assaulted anyone — is alleged to have raped as early as the 1960s, such allegations weren’t heard by a court until Constand filed suit against Cosby in 2005.

 The former college basketball player and Temple University employee claimed the comedian drugged and sexually assaulted her in his Pennsylvania home. The suit was settled in 2006; the terms were not disclosed, and the parties were prevented from speaking further about the case by a confidentiality agreement.

But in recent months, as Cosby’s representatives — and, to a much more limited extent, Constand — have spoken to the media, the two sides have been sniping in court motions over how well each is honoring that confidentiality agreement. In a July 21 motion, Cosby said Constand “and her counsel, who have violated the Settlement Agreement, enabling and fomenting negative — and largely inaccurate — publicity.”

 Among other sins, the comedian’s motion cited two messages from Constand — “Yes!” and “Sir!” — tweeted around the time a court unsealed a deposition in which Cosby said he obtained drugs for women he intended to have sex with.

“Throughout this case, Plaintiff made no secret of her desire to publicize it, and she fought mightily, every chance she got, to achieve that publicity,” the motion read.

Now, in an answer filed Tuesday, Constand has fought back. Cosby “fails to realize that the settlement in this matter was designed to compensate Plaintiff for the injuries Defendant inflicted upon her and to silence BOTH sides,” her motion read. “In fact, Defendant has openly engaged in a media blitz.”

The motion detailed comments to the media made by Cosby’s proxies, including “supporters, publicists, representatives and attorneys,” then landed a particularly harsh blow. In the newly released deposition, Cosby spoke of himself as quite the Lothario — “one of the greatest storytellers in the world.”

“I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them,” he testified.

Constand’s motion upended this view.

“In his narcississtic view of the world, Defendant believes that Plaintiff’s every tweet must be about him,” the documents read. “He is as perceptive in this belief as he claims to be in his interpretation of non-verbal cues from women he wants to seduce. The tweets do not include any hash tags and were sent during the time period that there was extensive publicity about gay marriage.”

Then came the burn: “As defendant admits in his deposition, despite his talent for interpreting female reactions to him, he did not realize Plaintiff was gay until the police told him.”

The biting comment thrust Constand’s sexual orientation — largely unreported and certainly not routinely discussed in the Cosby scandal — center stage. Cosby has claimed that women he gave drugs to and had sex with consented. If, as People reported, Constand was in a relationship with a woman at the time of the alleged assault, such a scenario may seem less likely.

Constand’s motion also made light of the Cosby camp’s contention, in court documents, that he was just “one of the many people who introduced Quaaludes” — known as “disco biscuits” — “into their consensual sex life in the 1970s.”

Constand “sits quitely listening to descriptions fed to the media of celebrity parties and ‘disco biscuits,’ knowing that she never attended a celebrity party or requested to take a disco biscuit (or ever even heard that term, for that matter), or any drug or other medication that would render her unconscious,” the motion read.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Eyes Have It

More laws more stuff more bullshit.  This is from Lawrence Taylor the Godfather of DUI in California and while he speaks with regards to California law the DUI components are largely the same in most states as they are obligated to follow the same sentencing "recommendations" and  penalties in order to qualify for U.S. federal highway funds.  Bribe, extortion, is the norm when it comes to the Feds and the States it is the same in Education and testing.  Nothing with the feds is about legitimacy or veracity it is about money and special interests. This is just another case of such.

As for the study well who financed it and what was the purpose. Funding for University studies are often linked to the check writers.   And this is another industry with deep pockets and the need to sell product.  Imagine this like the airbags, the exploding tires and self driving cars that can be hacked. Sure it is not a problem in the least.


U.S. Representative to Propose Legislation Requiring IIDs In All New Vehicles

Posted by Jon Ibanez 
on July 27th, 2015



U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice has announced that she will be introducing legislation that will require ignition interlock devices to be installed on all new vehicles coming off the production line of American automakers.

Recall that ignition interlock devices (IID) require the driver of a vehicle to provide a breath sample indicating a blood alcohol content below a specified limit before the driver can start the vehicle. Laws regarding the installation of ignition interlock devices vary widely amongst the states.

Here in California, generally, ignition interlock devices are not mandatory as part of a DUI sentence. They may, however, be ordered as part of a DUI sentence at the discretion of the judge and usually when the DUI involved aggravating circumstances such as a particularly high blood alcohol content or a chemical test refusal.

However, as of 2010, certain California counties became subject to a pilot program requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices to be installed for a first time DUI offense. California Vehicle Code section 23700 requires the five-month installation of ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI offenders in Alameda, Tulare, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.

 “Advancing the progress we’ve made combating drunk driving demands bold action,” said Representative Kathleen Rice. “It demands that we take a stand and say we refuse to keep letting drunk drivers take 10,000 lives each year. We refuse to keep seeing families torn apart when we know we can do more to prevent it. Strict enforcement is important, holding drunk drivers accountable is important, but we can and must do more to stop drunk drivers from ever hitting the road in the first place. That’s why I’m working on legislation to require ignition interlock devices in all new cars. This technology saves lives, it saves money, and I’m going to fight to make it standard equipment in American cars.”

To support her position, Rice cited a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan. According to the study, requiring interlock technology in all new vehicles would, over a 15 year implementation period, prevent an estimated 85 percent of drunk driving-related deaths and 84-89 percent of drunk driving-related nonfatal injuries. Also according to the study, preventing those deaths and injuries would save an estimated $343 billion over 15 years, and the cost of installing the technology would be recovered in the first three years.

These numbers however are based on the assumption that the cost of the device is $400 per vehicle and that the ignition interlock device operates accurately 100% of the time.

However, as with many components of a vehicle, very few function properly 100% of the time.
Rice also failed to mention, although acknowledged by the study itself, that “current devices are not technologically advanced enough for placement in all new vehicles, primarily due to slow reading times, the need for frequent calibrations, and mouthpiece care requirements.”

Not surprisingly, Representative Rice is a former prosecutor who has been named “[New York’s] toughest DWI prosecutor” by the New York Daily News and who recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Ironically, not even over-zealous MADD supports Rice’s position. One of the questions posed on MADD’s website FAQ page is “Does MADD advocate for ignition interlocks in all cars?”
It’s response…
 
“No. MADD advocates requiring ignition interlocks only for convicted drunk drivers with an illegal blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater.”

And of course would make their organization utterly irrelevant.  And then what will the NHTSA focus on?  More behavioral studies. Well the NIH is taking that on with regards to
ALCOHOL EFFECTS ON MEN'S VISUAL ATTENTION AND SENSITIVITY TO SEXUAL INTEREST CUES                     
The study began in May and has received $222K of tax payer money thus far. The budget for the project will not expire until April 2016. Can't wait to read it.. or not.   The lead researcher published a similar  paper in 2010 that examined whether a woman’s level of sexual interest, provocativeness of dress, or attractiveness can reliably predict whether a man remembered if a woman was interested in him or not. This follows another $221,494 she received from the NIH last year to study how alcohol affects men’s “learning about women’s cues.”  The point is what and then what?

According to the current grant, the project is in line with the “general NIH mission of reducing the burden of health problems in the population and to the specific [National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism] NIAAA mission of understanding and reducing the negative impact of alcohol use.

We are obsessed with drugs of which booze is a part and sex. Imagine if the money was used to provide low to free treatments for addictions and education about sex, drinking and behavior.  Instead like everything we do in America we study it, we pay for it and laws are made that further confuse the problems and do nothing to resolve them but punish versus repair.

This is about money, a personal agenda or something to do with a business or lobbying group and not about a problem.

The eyes have it. 

Shoot 'em up

I was listening to an interviewer on BBC discuss the most recent shooting in the movie theater in Louisiana and it came down to the old canard - if everyone was armed then this would not happen. The interviewer goes: "So you want people to be able to open fire in a dark crowded theater then?" And the response after a dull pause was well, "yes that is what they want" The they meaning the beloved NRA.  Ownership of that trope is being passed around like a well used gun.

Well interesting that even the idiot Governor Jindal of Louisiana was not so quick to jump on that heavily funded bandwagon despite his A grade from the NRA. And doing so while declaring that he is a candidate for the Republican party for President of the United States. Nope Governor Jindal went to better background checks for guns and of course prayer.  Yes separation of church and state not working out and yet he is of Indian descent like Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who also recently found herself on the other end of that gun, whoops,  I mean argument.

Children of immigrants, the American dream  where the made it, the rise to the top of their state elected by and for the people.  States where they are not the majority, funny yet the President he  is Kenyan.   Odd isn't it?  Funny how we like our immigrants and our people of color when they say the bullshit and preach the crap that the majority of a states voters espouse.  Imagine if more progressive people stayed rather than abandoned these states, change comes from within and to all these two represent that there are potential for change.  But it is not surprising frankly that they are both conservative, I meet few immigrants who actually are. Irony or shocking, I know.  I am the child of immigrants who were white but my mother never gave up her citizenship so she never voted and my father was much like many of the working class men in the 70s - confused.

So here they are children of immigrants and yet both  appear on the surface to be  Christian right wing gun toters; Ms Haley converted from Sikhism to the Methodist branch of Christianity, Jindal Hinduism to Catholicism,  and for them to actually do something after they realized that violence and race are mutually exclusive and made a call for the end of a racist flag waving in the breeze in South Carolina and see that through was quite impressive.  And here we are today,  Jindal who against all of the credo of being a good Republican (or any elected official frankly as they love the money and the gig) demanded a move for better background checks.  I can see the NRA ripping up the donation check now and lowering their grades.

It may be easier to give everyone guns at this point.  And this is what will result

Watch what happens when regular people try to use handguns in self-defense


By Christopher Ingraham
The Washington Post
July 28, 2015


In a study commissioned by the National Gun Victims Action Council, the group found that people without firearms training performed poorly in simulated scenarios, like a carjacking, an armed robbery and a suspected larceny. (National Gun Victims Action Council)

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the National Rifle Association proposed putting more guns in schools. After a racist shot up a Charleston prayer group, an NRA board member argued for more guns in church. And now predictably, politicians and gun rights advocates are calling for guns in movie theaters after a loner killed two people at a theater in Louisiana.

The notion that more guns are always the solution to gun crime is taken seriously in this country. But the research shows that more guns lead to more gun homicides -- not less. And that guns are rarely used in self-defense.
Now a new study from researchers at Mount St. Mary's University sheds some light on why people don't use guns in self-defense very often. As it turns out, knowing when and how to apply lethal force in a potentially life-or-death situation is really difficult.

The study was commissioned by the National Gun Victims Action Council, an advocacy group devoted to enacting "sensible gun laws" that "find common ground between legal gun owners and non-gun owners that minimizes gun violence in our culture." The study found that proper training and education are key to successfully using a firearm in self-defense: "carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense unless the carrier is properly trained and maintains their skill level," the authors wrote in a statement.

They recruited 77 volunteers with varying levels of firearm experience and training, and had each of them participate in simulations of three different scenarios using the firearms training simulator at the Prince George's County Police Department in Maryland. The first scenario involved a carjacking, the second an armed robbery in a convenience store, and the third a case of suspected larceny.

They found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people without firearms training performed poorly in the scenarios. They didn't take cover. They didn't attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy -- they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough -- they didn't shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.

The researchers released some fascinating video comparing how regular citizens and trained police officers performed in the scenarios. In the carjacking scenario, for instance, the police officer draws his gun, takes cover, and issues verbal commands to the would-be carjacker.


By contrast, here's what one average citizen did:

The civilian just stands there, holding her gun limply at her side. She doesn't begin to raise it until the assailant has already fired his first shot.

In the armed robbery situation, again the officer ducks for cover and waits until bystanders are out of the way before engaging the assailants.


By contrast, here's how one civilian fared:

The study, of course, has its limitations. Seventy seven participants is a very small sample size, for instance. But its conclusion should be fairly uncontroversial: if you want to be able to use a gun in self-defense, you should be trained in how to do so. The NRA has long emphasized the importance of training and safety in personal firearms use, and offers a series of courses dedicated to self-defense.

The NRA likes the idea of training so much that it's floated the idea of mandatory firearms training for school children. On the other hand, it's opposed laws requiring mandatory training for gun purchases. Many states allow concealed carry without any training or permit for people as young as 16. Most states don't require gun owners or purchasers to even be licensed, much less trained. And a handful, like Arizona, have passed laws prohibiting localities from imposing their own training requirements.

There's a lot of middle ground between "repealing the Second Amendment" and "requiring school children to pass firearm training." Requiring gun owners to be trained and licensed, similar to what we require of say, automobile drivers, may be in a middle area that more people could agree on.

The Costs of Work



“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”  
                               – George Orwell 
To paraphrase Bill Clinton's great catch phrase (coined by James Carville) in the run up to the 1992 presidential election, "It's the private sector, stupid."

Beginning in the 1980’s, the private sector began an effort that continues to this day to reduce the proportion of the cost of selling goods and services attributed to labor This takes many forms, including driving down salaries and wages, outsourcing, union busting, sending jobs overseas, transferring jobs to right-to-work states, increasing the ratio of part-time to full-time employees, not translating workplace productivity gains into wage increases, shifting more health care costs to employees, ending defined benefit pensions, reducing employer contributions to defined contribution pensions and switching to once-a-year lump sum contributions, forcing employees to work unpaid overtime, classifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits and workingman’s compensation contributions, increasing the number of unpaid internships, hiring new workers through temp agencies, requiring employees to sign non-compete agreements, offering only one-off bonuses and other rewards instead of annual pay raises, and layoffs, not only during recessions, but also after mergers and acquisitions. Non-cyclical layoffs have become a permanent feature of the new economy.

Economic marginalization of ordinary working Americans in the private sector is once again a core organizing principle of American conservatism

That was in the quote section of the below article.  I have already written about the current state of he 1% in Life at the Top, who don't seem to have the same problems facing the lower tier. CNBC the network for those doddering douches of the upper 1% had this story on CEO pay.  And of course it is not going lower, would it ever actually?  The average pay is $22M for a CEO, the average pay for the average worker in 2013 made slightly above $51K.

Now that is the average. The median, a better reflective note on what is actually earned as it reflects the number that is in fact more realistic puts CEO pay at 10M.  That data was from 2014 and the article shows how compensation is determined.  So when they say "average" they are including all the benefits, stocks and salary actually paid. And when you say median and average they are not the same thing and yet are often thought of as such. 

To understand how this is calculated you can use the Census data collected here which provides a larger picture of income and wages.   But again you must understand how these figures are determined. 

As Forbes explains:
The answer, which we all know if we think about it, is found in the first week of statistics class where we learned about the three measures of average—the mean, the median, and the mode. By average, we usually implicitly mean the mean, which you get by adding up the various numbers and dividing the total by the number of observations. The average, or mean, income thus rises proportionally with the total. An economy growing 2 percent per year will generate average (mean) incomes that are growing 2 percent per year.
The median divides the numbers in half. Half the people or families earn less than the median income and half earn more than the median. The mode in our example is where the incomes seem to be clustered—the most common income. Now, let’s forget about the mode. 

The simple answer to the paradox is that the rise in mean incomes benefits disproportionately from those with higher incomes. We all know that incomes in the upper income brackets have been rising faster than incomes in the lower income brackets. Even the simple fact of compounding contributes to that since large numbers grow faster than small numbers. So, mean incomes rise even if only a small number at the top are responsible for that rise. At the same time, the median income falls fallen as part of the same phenomenon. There are more people experiencing the fall in the median income than are experiencing the larger increases. Hence, the perception is the reality for those that have it.

So there you have it, the perception vs the reality. When your income rises 13% or more the lower tier is presumed to rise at the same proportion. Uh no. 

We also have the belief that the rise in the wages of the fast food worker means across the board $15/hour for similar service jobs and that would be uh no.  So home health care workers, child minders, cleaners, stock boys,  and other minimum wage jobs will remain at the lowest standard set in their state often linked to the federal minimum.  And that discrepancy and in turn division further confuses workers and employers.  

But as we know it is a confusing battleground as no one is actually making $15/hour anywhere - yet. That is being phased in and has no adjustment for inflation or cost of living in an area that is higher than its surrounding communities. So the 15/hr worker in New York needs it but the one in Albany they may get by on less but that would require actual math and stuff so let's not do that and there is a downside to not taking that into account.  Catherine Rampell  of the Washington Post discusses that in this article

So we have wage stagnation, wage misinformation, wages with regards to overtime and salary works, wage theft,  wage discrepancies and regardless of the unemployment levels and job growth, the continuing decline of wages as noted in the LA Times. 

Then I read Builder Magazine which is trying to validate or make reason out of this sudden push for density, which used to be the mantra of the sustainable movement ( the green build still exists but the push and pull of that is now very much give or take and pick and choose), is now under the mantra of affordability.  The millennials are the new boomers and the builders want them to come out from under the basement and buy homes and go into more debt.   So the debate finally resonated with this group the issue of stagnant incomes, student debt, tight credit/mortgage qualifications, land and production costs rising faster than incomes, not enough skilled labor and wage costs for skilled labor; those horrible regulations/restrictions, and the lack of available homes and land in cities and locations where people want to both live/work.   


The issues really center on income inequality.  And where the jobs are are happening are  in cities already well established, with less room to grow, such as San Francisco a city with strong ordinances and people who live there either protected by home ownership, rent control or other laws including preservation ones that offer limited flexibility in both land and choice. So you are seeing the sudden growth in cities like mine that are building dense, changing zoning and adding more multi family options than in the past.  And then what?  You still are building buildings that people cannot afford or do so by sacrificing other options such a car ownership, living alone, eating, medical care, extra education, and entertainment and having homes with yards and larger spaces with fewer people shoved into cell pods or overly priced condos that have been built on a dime with crappy workmanship and materials. 


You cannot get blood from a stone and they are bleeding them regardless of that fact. Why are wages not rising to enable a more fluid economy? We  now might have the reason -  fake perks. Dear god the Silicon Alley ping pong table and free food has evolved to a new level of idiocy. And of course the millennial worker sips at that trough without realizing that it is a form of wage theft.   

So when your landlord raises the rent or the payment on the loan is due and things are tight, tell them to have a chill pill and offer a massage in exchange. That will work out great.


Companies have found something to give their workers instead of raises
By Ylan Q. Mui
The Washington Post
July 28 2015


Once a staple of the American workplace, the annual raise is turning into a relic of the pre-crisis economy as companies turn to creative -- and cheaper -- ways to compensate their employees.


More businesses are upping their spending on benefits such as one-time bonuses, health care and paid time off, according to recent survey data. Many are rolling out perks such as free gym membership, commuting subsidies, even pet health insurance.


But often, those benefits are being provided in lieu of higher salaries. Government data shows the growth in spending on benefits is outpacing gains in wages. Companies say the structure caters to the growing workforce of finicky millennials who prize flexibility over stability and allows them to reward star employees without increasing fixed costs.


“There’s been this seismic shift,” said Gary Burnison, chief executive of Korn Ferry, an executive search and talent management firm. “And I think one of those is that the raise has gone the way of the gold watch.”


The decline of the raise could help explain one of the most frustrating puzzles of the America’s lumbering economic recovery: stagnant wages. Wage growth has been stuck at about 2 percent for the past five years despite a rapid drop in unemployment and a surge in hiring since 2014. Without a bigger bump in their paychecks, many workers feel the recovery remains elusive.


But some economists say the focus on wages is short-sighted. Bonuses and other awards have spiked to the highest level in more than three decades, according to an analysis by Aon Hewitt. A survey this summer by a human resources industry group found about 35 percent of companies increased spending on benefits, up 7 percentage points from the previous year. That included health care, bonuses, vacation time and tuition reimbursement -- making up about a third of workers’ total compensation.


“Wages tell you almost nothing,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. “It has changed over the last 20 to 30 years as companies try to compensate workers in a way that matches their lifestyle.”


When Ashley Chandler went beyond the call of duty at her sales job, she was rewarded not with a bigger paycheck but with something she said was just as valuable: time.


The 25-year-old spent weeks poring over paperwork at the flooring installation company where she works in North Carolina to help one of the managers close some complicated projects on time -- the type of dedication that a generation ago might have placed Chandler first in line for a big raise at the end of the year.


At a human resources payments firm Justworks in Manhattan, that means eschewing the standard matching contribution to employee’s 401(k) retirement plans in favor of paid gym membership and pre-tax commuter benefits for its millennial employees. Across the country, standard raises at Los Angeles-based Korn Ferry run about 3 percent, but the company is considering doubling its maternity leave. And at MonMan, which manufactures and installs high-tech floors, Chandler received three extra days of paid time off.


“Would I like to make more? I think everybody would like to make more,” she said. “But for me, what I liked most about it was the flexibility.”


Of course, the growth in benefits has only occurred at businesses that offer them in the first place, many of them in white-collar industries where salaries are more generous. For many low-skilled workers, the paycheck is the end of the story. In industries such as retail and fast food, labor groups are pushing to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And even in jobs that have enjoyed bigger benefits, financial experts warn that workers often don’t always come out ahead if they sacrifice dollars for other forms of compensation.


The shift toward bigger benefits and smaller salary increases accelerated as firms tightened their belts following the financial crisis, experts say, but it is rooted in broader demographic changes in the nation’s workforce. Millennials say they prize the freedom to work away from their cubicles, while businesses have learned that flexible compensation can help the bottom line.


At MonMan, Chandler’s boss, Ryan Hulland, used to give employees 6 percent or 7 percent raises, no questions asked. But that was before the 2008 financial crisis, when the boom in high-tech construction that drove sales of the company’s specialty flooring began to drop off. In downtown Charlotte, Hulland saw work grind to a halt on the gleaming skyscraper Wachovia Bank once planned to use as its corporate headquarters. The bank was taken over by Wells Fargo, and Hulland was determined that his company would not meet a similar fate.


“I don’t want to be caught in a double dip recession,” Hulland said. “I don’t want to be caught in a position where we have overextended ourselves.”


So he slashed raises to 3 percent and began searching for other ways to reward his best employees. Hulland started by giving out $100 gift cards and was taken aback by how excited workers were to receive them. Encouraged by the response, Hulland began offering an intangible reward: extra paid time off.


Though the dollar amount didn’t make up for the smaller raises, human resources experts say such rewards provide a more immediate psychological boost, particularly when times are tight.


“That’s why we give people gifts at Christmas and not just bags of money,” said Andrew Chamberlain, an economist at job search firm Glassdoor. “They can build a relationship that goes beyond a paycheck.”


When Korn Ferry reached a major milestone this summer of a record $1 billion in annual sales, the company’s chief executive wanted to thank the employees. But instead of giving everyone more money, Burnison opted to make them work less: The company will be closed the Friday before Labor Day and the week between Christmas and New Year’s.


“Given the demanding world in which we operate, I know we are all pulled in many directions and never seem to have enough quality time with family and friends,” he wrote. “This year, we would like to take a small step to improve that situation and demonstrate our appreciation for your dedication and commitment with the gift of time.”