Sunday, October 11, 2015

Death By Acronym

I am in the process of reading a book by Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice By Adam Benforado.

I first heard of the book when I read his article in the Atlantic about his own suspicion that the Jury system is largely a failure and does little to resolve or serve the criminal justice system. Largely due to bias, lack of information, the ability to manipulate and control the outcome under the misguided bullshit that lawyers do with the nonsense of jury science and hiring miscellaneous experts to testify and in turn further manipulate and obfuscate facts are all ways to gerry rig a trial. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. As the point of jury selection is to in fact ensure that the outcome is to the one with the most money. There is your true jury "science." Another one of the many faux sciences that those with money and access use to convolute the truth.

I agree with the many of his ideas particularly about the jury system. As having laypeople serving as jurors is just one of many problems which contributes to what has become largely routine and systematic unfairnes that riddles the American criminal justice system. From judicial bias, the expert witness to the misplaced faith in eyewitnesse, and the turn and bun of the system that results in few lawyers representing the clients fully and adequately are all part of the problem.

Then there is the flawed police interrogation process, prosecutorial misconduct (which that does not seem to be in the book) and of course the largest factor - the unconscious racism pervading the system, among other dilemmas. All of which Benforado concludes has given us a system that results inevitably in “wrongful convictions, biased proceedings, trampled rights, and unequal treatment.”

And then I read the first chapter and I fell apart, for it was about the death of David E. Rosenbaum. His story could have been my story, the only difference is that I am still alive.

Do I find this comforting as well as misery does? No. I am in fact more afraid than ever as it reminds me constantly of how we are brutal to people.

The point of the chapter was to frame the book and how bias affects all parts of living and in death. And in turn that bias is how we judge and treat others regardless one's education, training and professional expectations that accompany said profession. In fact it may lend to how we frame our judgments and decisions.

As I frequently say to kids that I have to take each situation as it presents itself. When I walk into a school or a room I have to take it at that moment and that moment alone. Despite past experiences, despite my own reluctance and beliefs I still have to believe that this is another day.

So I cannot say with impunity that I don't have pre conceived notions, that certain schools are more challenging, certain Teachers are lazier and in turn leave lessons that leave less to be desired and that I know some kids are just well challenging. But I have to rise above it. It is not easy but then my job is not about life and death.

When I read the story I fell apart as the similiarities to my own could not be denied. As I realize that with each passing Bill Cosby revelation that being a woman and being harmed by someone you know doesn't make it easier. I was found on the street, dying. The people put in charge to care for me failed and yet by a miracle I lived.

I get it, I really do. That what doesn't kill you does not make you stronger it just makes you more afraid. No misery doesn't love company but the reality is that as I lay dying on a street across the country in the other Washington, six years earlier a man did as well. But the difference is simply I lived.

So it is clear that anyone who thinks we will have reform or change with regards to the Police and their connected services - EMT, hospital caregivers, and the Lawyers- think again. It is too entrenched and too engrained in the training and the belief system of those who choose that career and that is the problem. People drawn to them are simply biased assholes who don't give a flying fuck about anyone they just pretend better than anyone that they do. And that may be the training or their character. Chicken meet egg.

Inquiry Into Reporter's Death Finds Multiple Failures in Care

The New York Times
Published: June 17, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 16 — Firefighters, ambulance technicians, police officers and the nurses and doctors at a Washington hospital committed "multiple individual failures" in responding to the ultimately fatal beating of a journalist near his home last January, an official inquiry concluded on Friday.

Describing "alarming levels of complacency and indifference" in emergency medical care in the nation's capital, the District of Columbia's inspector general reported sloppiness and mistakes by almost everyone who initially responded to the lethal attack on David E. Rosenbaum, a retired reporter for The New York Times. Mr. Rosenbaum, 63, died two days after he was found lying semiconscious on a sidewalk near his home on Jan. 6.

A string of mistakes and inadequate training led to a collective and erroneous conclusion that Mr. Rosenbaum was drunk when in fact he had been beaten with a metal pipe and robbed, the inquiry found.

The assumption that Mr. Rosenbaum was drunk led ambulance technicians, police officers and the staff at Howard University Hospital to handle him with far less urgency than was necessary for a person with a serious head injury, it said.

The report said vomiting and other symptoms displayed by Mr. Rosenbaum were consistent with brain trauma as well as intoxication, and should have been recognized as such.

"Apathy, indifference and complacency — apparent even during some of our interviews with care givers — undermined the effective, efficient and high-quality delivery of emergency services," wrote the inspector general, Charles J. Willoughby.

The report, first reported in The Washington Post on Friday, did not speculate on whether Mr. Rosenbaum might have survived had he been treated better and faster.

But it did say that the failures pointed to a much broader need for oversight and better internal controls in training, certification, communications and standards for patient care.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams said reforms were under way. Howard University Hospital said it had put in place "immediate and ongoing measures" to ensure "the highest standards of emergency care."

The inspector general said emergency operators and dispatchers reacted properly when they received a 911 call shortly after 9:20 p.m. that a man, later found to be Mr. Rosenbaum, was lying on a sidewalk — but that almost everything that happened afterward was wrong.

Because Mr. Rosenbaum had been vomiting and smelled of alcohol, firefighters thought he was drunk and reacted with no urgency. An ambulance arrived late because the driver got lost. Then, instead of taking Mr. Rosenbaum to a nearby hospital, the ambulance went to the more distant Howard hospital because it was closer to the driver's home.

At Howard, the report continued, Mr. Rosenbaum was left unattended on a stretcher for far too long because nurses and doctors did not communicate well with one another and were slow to realize that he was gravely injured.

Finally, the police delayed in designating the attack site a crime scene because of the initial impression that Mr. Rosenbaum was drunk. The day after the beating, activity on Mr. Rosenbaum's stolen credit cards was reported, and two suspects were soon arrested.

The inspector general said the multiple failures "suggest an impaired work ethic that must be addressed before it becomes pervasive."

Marcus Rosenbaum, the victim's brother and a Washington resident, called the report "an excellent, thorough examination of what went wrong." He said the mayor should hold accountable not just "the people who were on the street and in the emergency room" but also the officials who supervise them.

"All of them hold life-and-death jobs," Mr. Rosenbaum said. "If they can't do them well, they should do something else for a living."

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