Justice For All

Should Justice not be blind, then who decides Justice.

The Urban Dead

Courtesy of ABC News

A couple of weeks ago, the 4th season of the show The Walking Dead came to a conclusion.  If you have not watched the show on the AMC’s cable network it is the story of survivors from a Zombie Acopolyse.   How the catastrophe started is never explained but every human is a carrier so if they die they will turn into a Zombie.  Rick Grimes the protagonist of the story is a small town sheriff who wakes up to find his whole world devastated. The story then follows Rick as he searches to get to his family, and to his travels with other people that become part of his survivors group.

The whole Zombie Apocolypse genre has had a big resurgence of late and the The Walking Dead is not exception but on one big issue.  Whereas most previous Zombie movies have the zombies as the enemy in the Walking Dead it is the humans who are more dangerous and cause the most problems to our hero and his group.  Zombies in this telling are actually quite harmless, they can be easily outruned,  killed and only really dangerous in packs or if they can surround you.

The human survivors on the other hand commit all sorts of  atrocities.  They ravage, kill, rob other survivors and use zombies for their entertainment.  Rick and gang do well to stay away from other survivors, not that they are above committing some of the same atrocities themselves all in order to survive.

 

From CNN

 

They are like our urban zombies that live in any large Metropolitan area and are spreading everywhere else.  Like the zombies in the show our modern zombies don’t do much.  They only move to find food, they are easily led around and only their sheer numbers allow for their survivor.  Unlike the show our urban zombies have human facilitators.  There are humans whose job is to ensure that the urban zombies survive, they derive their own fortunes from ensuring the zombies survivors.

Like the show it is the humans that are the enemy to both the zombies and other humans.  Unlike the show urban zombies are curable though, there are humans and other zombies that attempt to maintain them as zombies for life.  Like the show the zombies are both pretty pathetic creatures, demanding more pity than fear and mostly harmless unless in packs.  Unlike the show where no one wants to become a zombie,  most of out zombies remain so voluntarily. In the show the only way to defeat the zombie is to destroy their brain, our urban zombies are cured when they use theirs.

The TV shows’ message seems to be that humanity is finished, if the zombies don’t get you, the other humans will.  Either way you lose, you might as well become a zombie or just kill yourself.  Our urban zombies have more options, though for how long…

PS

Thanks to all who sent prayers and well wishes as I have been recovering from some health issues, I am getting better and hope  hear again from everyone.

 

 

Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Sartre, Foucault, Gramsci – Getting It All Wrong

Originally posted on Matt's Meditations:

Michael Totten noted the publication of the diary of the philosopher Martin Heidegger as critiqued in the most recent issue of The Weekly Standard with proper disgust. You see, Heidegger was an early convert to Naziism and even though he lived until 1976 he never expressed any regrets.

As  the most admired philosopher of the 20th century except for his political philosophy, Heidegger questioned the very essence of Being. That which had been assumed to be obvious for 2,500 years was called into question. “Cogito ergo sum” and all of the other variations on that theme became “WTF?”

The essence of philosophy centers on Ontology, or the nature of being; Epistemology, the nature and scope of knowledge; Logic, Metaphysics (the eternal why), and Aesthetics. Heidegger’s premise was to turn the work of his predecessors on its ear and deconstruct the history and principles of Western philosophy.

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A Righteous Path

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds jacksonPulpthe weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

This is a famous line from the movie Pulp Fiction, it is attributed falsely to the Bible and Ezequiel 25:17, anyone who has watched the movie would know that hitmen Jules would recite this just before killing his intended victim. Trivia buffs might know that this line is an almost word for word copy from an earlier movie Karate Chiba in 1979 where Sonny Chiba plays a bodyguard that says this. Putting that aside the message contained within those words are something that we all should perhaps reflect upon.

As we are seeing currently with the ObamaCare roll-out and its noble goal of achieving health insurance for all, the inequities of man got in the way. So lies were told, bribes were given and we are left with a product that is having the complete opposite effect of its intended goal. Millions are losing their health insurance, though they were promised that would not happened and others are finding that the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare official name is anything but Affordable. There are other assurances that looking at them now, may also be in jeopardy as other parts of the law have yet to take effect.

But it goes beyond the deceitful way used to pass the law, it is also how people were demonized because they disagreed and had the temerity of voicing that disagreement, or warning that has happened would happen. Great vengeance was used against those who tried to warn others, against following this path. People were intimidated, the IRS was used against others, reporters were harassed or silenced in an effort to conceal what many knew but were too afraid to mention.

The same thing happened during the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Case, from the on-set is was clear that though tragic it was a case of self-defense. You may be for gun control, you may see Zimmerman as stupid for following Mr. Martin or whatever but it was clear that whether Zimmerman was the initial aggressor or not, at the time of the shot it was self-defense. The jury also saw it that way and reached a verdict accordingly, that should have been the end of it. That it has not has little to do with the merits of the case or non-case in this instance but with men who have inserted other agendas into the case.

As the States codified their laws many used the English legal system which had codified a “duty to retreat” and negated any “self-help” instead it asked for a “civil resolution” of the matter dating back to 1381. Some states did not adopt this and instead used the doctrine establishes the doctrine that when a person, being without fault and in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel force by force, and if, in reasonable exercise of his right of self-defense, his assailant is killed, he is justifiable. This was specially true for frontier States and rural areas where getting a civil resolution was difficult, at best.

SYG laws are in force in 30+ states if not by statute by precedent, other States such as New York rather hypocritically, have Battered Wife Laws which ” lethal force can sometimes be justified even if the threat may not appear immediate,” removing the “duty to retreat.” Georgia’s law says a person is justified in threatening or using force if they believe it is necessary to protect himself or another person, but its ambiguity has led the Jesse Jackson Rainbow PUSH Coalition to sue the state to abolish the law as people have been convicted and freed by similar circumstances using the same statute. Read article:

The complaint was filed Monday in Atlanta by The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which was founded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., and says the 2006 law is applied unevenly and allows people to use deadly force in self-defense as a preventive measure rather than as a last resort. The complaint also says the law is particularly harmful to racial minorities.

“The Act does not account for societal and cultural biases which result in a presumption of criminality (or presumptions of victimization) against certain socio-economic and ethnic groups which results in the unequal allocation of the presumption of the presentation of an eminent threat sufficient to justify the use of deadly force,” the lawsuit says.

The complaint here is one that was made against the SYG Law in Florida that it is a license to kill minorities. CBS news and other media outlets had a headline that “Justifiable Homicides” had nearly tripled since Florida’s law was passed. This appears to substantiate the claim against the law but if you look at the numbers; the average went from 12 to 35 in that time but that has nothing to do with the law itself. According to the Tampa Bay Times who accumulated all this information since the law’s inception there have been 119 deaths which have the defendant used the SYG law as a defense, that works out to 17 cases a year. Of those 44 have been convicted and 75 found justifiable, so in reality we can say that the increase is 9 per year, hardly 3 times as claimed. Of those 75 “new” justifiable deaths 25 were black defendants who also got acquitted at 64% compared to the White defendant’s 62% success rate. It appears on further examination that the law is not only equitable to everyone but preferential of black defendants. Here’s link to all the stats, thanks to Tampa Bay Times.

In the 80′s crime was rampant in the inner cities, civil rights groups like the NAACP, Urban League and others demanded solutions. The advocated stiffer penalties for drug dealers, specially those that dealt Crack Cocaine which was wrecking havoc in their communities. The supported mandatory sentencing laws, strict gun control laws with mandatory sentences for offenders, more cops and other tough on crime measures. That was then, this is now an unintended result of this war on crime is the disproportionate impact on the black population, particularly young black males. I can cite statistics but most have already heard them ad nauseam, this happened at the same time that the black community continued its pursuit of separating from the rest of the American society.

Many of todays civil rights leaders became infamous for promoting this separation and blaming its ills on their communities own lack of progress, advancement and poverty. Russell Simmons, Jay-Z., Dr. Dre to name a few used this to advance themselves by promoting and emphasizing what they saw as American Society’s lack of interest and support in their community. Rather than look inside, the community has blamed everyone else. That is why civil rights groups, such as Rainbow Coalition oppose that which they at one point demanded. SYG laws even if repealed will not aid the community, not like they intend anyhow. Repealing the law might mean that dozens of black assailants will not get shot at, but addressing the wider issue of why Black Americans are more violent could save millions. Stereotypes cannot survive in a vacuum, blaming racism for stereotypes will only get you so far, at some point those issues will have to be address, internally.

Many have claimed righteousness in the continued persecution of Zimmerman, after all who can defend a “child killer”. How many have stop to think that Zimmerman and his 9mm was the shepherd who tried to keep his flock safe and that the evil men are those that excuse violent behavior, promote a lifestyle that while profitable for them leads the sheep to slaughter. Sometimes the path of the righteous is not so apparent.

Kendrick Johnson

boricuafudd:

I had been working on a write-up about this case but my friend Nettles has done a marvelous job putting things together with the information available.

As with the Zimmerman- Trayvon Martin case evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the authorities is alleged but there’s nothing concrete that would not require a mass conspiracy on the part of multiple government agencies. We are supposed to believe that this is so, contrary to evidence , because it happened in the South and the victim was black.

Originally posted on kNOw Truth, kNOw Justice:

During the Christmas break, janitors stored 3 types of gym mats in the lower left corner (south-west) of the old gym.  The mats were neatly rolled, bound and stored vertically. At the back, against the wall were 4 blue cheerleading mats, in front of those 12 yellow wrestling mats and 5 red gym mats that students used to take jump shots with.  Here’s a wide shot of the mats.

kendrick wide shot of mats

Students returned to school on January 9th from Christmas break.  On January 11, 2013 at approximately 10:30 am, students playing on top of gym mats saw a pair of socked feet near the top of one of the blue cheerleading mats.  Police were on site at the school and entered the old gym about 3 minutes after it was reported (10:35 am).  Kendrick’s mom was in the school’s admin. office at that time and overheard on a counsellor’s too loud cell phone that a body had…

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The Influential Forces of Wishful Thinking

A group of scientist develop a new theory in which they claim to have mathematical certainty.  The theory is peer-reviewed and accepted by the wider community.  Books are written, companies and governments use it to drive policy,  millions in grants are given but there is just one problem the mathematical formula on which it is based is flawed.  In fact in this case it was made up and it was plain to see to anyone that knew about the area of expertise but it passed peer-review and became accepted.  No I am not talking about Global Warming, or Climate Change or whatever it is that is being used now, but the science of “Positive Psychology“.

In essence the theory is that there is a constant ratio of  3 to 1 positive to negative emotions that will gain you  psychological bliss and avoid mental illness.  In other words for those that are depressed or having trouble dealing with life if you have a 3-1 ratio of Happy (positive)  thoughts  to negative thoughts your problems would disappear.  There is nothing new in that anyone from my grandmother on up will tell that, but what was new is that they could prove it and even had a mathematical formula to say so.

How was the theory of “Positive Psychology” and its formula taken down, did other psychologists, experts on the field found the glaring error?  Well no, it was HR executive Nick Brown who held a computer science degree from Oxford ;

After nearly twenty years in the position, stretched thin between technical duties and managerial headaches, he was looking for something new. So he jumped at the chance to transfer into human resources when it presented itself. The move didn’t deliver the change he was expecting, however. Still operating in a large bureaucracy—the same organization, in fact—Brown was now tasked with promoting staff welfare. But he had “little leeway to make decisions,” and was constantly signing off on stuff he “thought was just plain wrong.” Adding insult to injury, when charged with renewing his company’s suppliers list for training and coaching materials, he wound up interacting with “nuts” and “charlatans,” people who listed reiki and crystal healing among their interests, or resorted to “hand-waving” when selling their wares.

He was fed up. Coming up on fifty, his mother ailing, “the general BS, the constant, not particularly high, but nonstop level of moderate dishonesty,” was beginning to wear on him.

After attending a conference he ran into a talk by popular British psychologist Richard Wiseman, who had written a book called The Luck Factor.  Wiseman led him to the new emerging called positive psychology.  He enrolled on the program in the University of East London, and began poring over the original papers that developed the 3 to 1 ratio.

He had been poring over the original papers that informed Fredrickson and Losada’s 2005 article—papers written or co-written by Marcial Losada. They seemed “sketchy,” Brown says. In his research on business teams, for instance, “the length of the business meetings weren’t even mentioned.”

“Normally you have a method and the method says we selected these people and we picked these numbers and here’s the tables and here are the means and here’s the standard deviation,” Brown says. “He just goes: ‘Satisfied that the model fit my data, I then ran some simulations.’ The whole process was indistinguishable from him having made the data up.”

Nick found out that formula was actually that of  a 1963 paper by the American mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz on nonlinear aspects of fluid mechanics, a subdiscipline of fluid dynamics—or the study of liquids and gases in motion.  What that meant was that researchers were drawing a correlation between the physical flow of liquids and the “flow” of people’s emotions.  All the conclusions and graphs were meaningless.

You can read the rest of the story here: http://narrative.ly/pieces-of-mind/nick-brown-smelled-bull/

How did the 2005 paper considered a breakthrough, get and pass peer-review, get acclaim without anyone but an under-graduate noticing, it didn’t others had pointed out the problems when the paper was published but they were ignored.  The temptation and wishful thinking that their theory could be proven and the path to mental health could be found was too much, even today with the mathematical formula debunked proponents say that their theories are still good, they claim they have lost the math but still have the theory and data, which is good enough.  But as the article points out the only theoretical support she had been the math equations.

The UN’s  IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) recent released its new report on Global Warming, Climate Change or anthropogenic global warming  (man-caused) in it while backing down on some the dire projections it had made in the past it doubled down on Humans being the cause.  Addressing the lack of warming in the last 15 to 17 years it has suggested 2 reasons, a statistical blip in the geological time, or the heat is trapped in the deep ocean.   Both have problems of their own, a blip in time forgets that many have suggested that the observed warming in the 20th century is blip of itself on a geological timescale where both CO2 and temperatures have been higher.  The ocean explanation is just as troubling because no rise in surface temperature have been observed since 2003 on surface temperatures, so how did the temperature get absolved by the deep ocean without first affecting the surface ocean.

There is no denying that temperatures have risen in the 20th century but such occurences are not unusual as fluctuations have occurred throughout time when mankind was not in any way  able to affect the it or before he even existed.  To summarize the report and its conclusions,  the Earth has not warmed as we thought it would, the disasters we scared everyone about are overblown, the computer models on which we rely could not predict the 15-17 year period of cooling despite higher CO2 concentrations, the sea has not risen in a markedly different way than in the past, the warming may decrease extreme weather not increased it,  and by the way we are now 95% sure that the warming was man-caused. You can read a scientific critique of the report here;

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/19/scientific-critique-of-ipccs-2013-summary-for-policymakers/#more-95880

Wishful thinking is not confined to scientist alone, as we all know the Trayvon Martin case was full of instances where wishful thinking drove the case.  In the beginning, George Zimmerman was considered a white man, as such many commentators wanted to use the case as proof of the latent White racism they all “know” exists.  When the pictures of a young Trayvon Martin surfaced there were those that used it to illustrate why a little boy would be scared and intimidated by Zimmerman and would never instigate a confrontation.  Recent pictures of Mr. Martin were ignored and in some cases called forgeries.

As new information in the case became available and Zimmerman was firmly established as a bi-racial man, the term White-Hispanic was used, thereby keeping the White racism in the confrontation.  The release of the 911 tapes to the public was used first after much trying to prove that Zimmerman used derogatory slurs (coon) and later to say that only a child could or would scream in agony and despair as those on the tapes.

Reporters, commentators and bloggers all came up with what they saw as convincing evidence that Zimmerman was guilty, from bizarre explanations such as humping a cabbage pal doll, to call analysis that overheard anything from conversations with non-existent accomplices, to hearing the cocking of the gun and even hearing a bird.  No matter how ridiculous some of these things were debated, discussed ad nauseam to the point that even the prosecution became party to some.

Perhaps the biggest instances of wishful thinking we those of the prosecution by filing charges against Zimmerman thinking it could win with the evidence it had and that of the defense in thinking that an acquittal would be enough to silence the voices of those calling for his head.

The trial ended with a predictable acquittal as anyone who had looked into the evidence  had determined and Zimmerman is still considered a guilty man who got away because of a technicality, a law that did not play a role in the case.  Trayvon Martin has become a martyr, celebrated around the country, a symbol of how wishful thinking can turn a troubled teen with a dubious past and problems into an angelic innocent worth admiration.  Meanwhile Zimmerman is a pariah hounded by detractors.

The story of the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman was tragic as it was fascinating for many.  The way it was presented by the media and the family, combined with the circumstances did not match the information that was available and then the evidence made it worse.   Not that it stop some from still believing as for me to quote Nick Brown;

“I just got a bee in my bonnet,” Brown says

P.S.

I have been following two other cases that I will do a write-up on soon the Merritt Landry case in Louisiana and the Kendrick Johnson in Georgia, if there are any interesting cases worth following dropped me a suggestion, thanks.

 

Facts have no Agenda, Truth can

In my about Boricuafudd on this blog I write this;

I have led an interesting life with a very diverse background that I often find gives me insights that perhaps provide a new way of critical thinking.  My aim is not to change anyone’s mind but to illustrate my thoughts and maybe how I arrived there, leaving you the reader to make up your mind.  I hope everyone that comes to this site enjoys it and leaves a comment and their insight so that we can share in the experience.

I wrote this to let the reader know that I don’t claim to know the truth, but I have some facts and this is what I feel is the truth to be.  Many people say that the Truth is universal, I think that truth can be molded by utilizing some facts and ignoring others by people with Agendas.

Let’s take the current battle going on in Congress, for instance.  While politics is the driving the debate, let’s take one aspect of the conflict; Obamacare.  To the opponents of the legislation they point out that it was passed on straight party line votes, that it was misleading as it claimed penalties which later became taxes after the Supreme Court decision, the legislation does not do what was promised by far in some cases, the employer mandate was delayed so should the individual mandate and it extremely  costly.  These are all some of the facts from which their Truth is that they are right in opposing the law.

On the other hand the proponents say that the legislation does what it intended to do, provide healthcare for everyone, it is the law of the land, the Supreme Court upheld the law and we won the election so get over it. Using these facts their Truth is that they are in the right to oppose any changes or implementation of the legislation.  As we see both have a set of facts that they used to arrived at their Truth, are they both right, wrong or something in-between and how do we determine the difference.  In this case it would depend of how you look at things, what your agenda is and which set of facts you favor.

The Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case was another issue that divided the nation and had its sets of facts that some used to find the Truth.  For some the fact that GZ was not black, but TM was, that TM was unarmed, that GZ did not observe TM committing any crime, that he followed TM were enough to convict GZ.  Supporters of GZ pointed out the issues in the community, the conditions of that night, the actions of TM prior to the shooting to say that GZ was not guilty of what he was charged with.  They also point out that if it was not for the astro-turfed outrage by outside individuals (Media, Civil Rights groups) the case would have ended long before with no charges being filed.  Who had the Truth in their side, well GZ was acquitted but was that the Truth?

From the beginning bloggers on both sides used what facts were available to make their case both pro and con GZ.  Some decided to concentrate on the racial aspect, the fact that GZ had a gun while TM didn’t and of course the information provided by other posters.  Some of them were in Sanford or the vicinity and provided very detailed information that was used by others.  But as it is Human Nature and especially in a case like this, some of the information (facts) were just nothing more than rank speculation that was used because if fit the Agenda.

As a blogger I have been guilty as many others, we look for facts that will make my case.  While I do look for opposing facts and may try to discredit them with my own set of facts if I can, I think everyone should remember that while my position may be shared by others and it is the Truth as I know it,  there may be a different set of facts that lead to a different Truth.  Is it up to you the reader to make that determination, vet what I write and my set of facts.  As President Ronald Reagan once said:

Trust, but verify.

A Tale of 2 Cities and Their School Systems

There is a battle going on, between differing policies and philosophies on how to deal with school violence in the wake of the past instances of school violence which have left several kids killed or wounded.  Zero tolerance rules have become the  norm around the country but at the same time a movement has sprung up to limit, bar or remove disciplinary action to black kids.  The statistics say that black children face a higher percentage of disciplinary action than any other race or ethnicity, which has been blamed for the higher instance of criminality, poorer scholastic performance, continued poverty,  teenage pregnancy, and gang participation.

As a parent I understand the need and urge to do anything possible to protect our children but are these policies the way to go some of the most notable examples from Wikipedia include:

  • Sandusky, Ohio high school student was suspended for 90 days and flunked, after school authorities found a broken pocketknife on him during a drug search in September 1999. He had used the knife to clean his golfing cleats.
  • After bringing a Cub Scouts dinner knife to school to eat his lunch, a six-year-old boy was ordered by Christina School District to attend an alternative school for students with behavioral problems for nine weeks. After a media uproar, the school board voted unanimously to reduce punishments for kindergartners and first-graders who take weapons to school to a 3-5 day mandatory suspension, retaining the original definition of “weapons”
  • A third-grade girl, also in the Christina School District, was expelled for a year because her grandmother sent a birthday cake, and a knife for cutting the cake, to school. The teacher used the knife to cut the cake, and then reported the girl to the authorities as having a dangerous weapon. The expulsion was overturned and led to a state law that gave districts the ability to, “on a case-by-case basis, modify the terms of the expulsion.”
  • Other cases in the Christina School District include a straight-A student who was ordered to attend “reform school” after a classmate dropped a pocket knife in his lap, and in 2007, when a girl was expelled for using a utility knife to cut paper for a project.
  • Earlier in 2009, an Eagle scout was suspended for three weeks for having an emergency supply kit in his car, that included a pocket knife.
  • A kindergartner was suspended in March 2010 for making a finger gun.
  • A kindergartner was suspended for 10 days in January, 2013 for referring to “shooting” a friend with a Hello Kitty bubble making gun. The suspension was reduced to two days after the parent met with school officials.
  • A second grader was suspended in March 2013 for biting a Pop-Tart into the shape of a mountain, which school officials mistook for a gun.

All of the above case involved a weapon, or what some could considered a weapon of some sort but they are reported cases of suspensions and expulsions for having cough drops, Midol, ibuprofen and Tylenol all over the counter drugs that treat headaches or cramps.  These policies are not new they been around since the 90′s and though there is no empirical evidence of their effectiveness they are here to stay but they were confined to school and their grounds.

Among the biggest criticism of Zero tolerance policies is that It’s not about safety, it’s about control. Last week 3 students in the Virginia Beach City Public School System were given long-term suspensions for the rest of the school year, a decision which was upheld by the School Board but will revisit in January.  What was the crime they committed they were playing with AirSoft guns in their front yard while waiting for the Bus to school which was located about 70 yards or 3/4 of a Football field away.  How was the school informed of the kids “transgressions”? There were 2 incidents, the first one the next door neighbor, whose son was participating, called 911 to report that the kids were playing with the AirSoft guns.  She knew they were not real guns and told the 911 dispatcher but was uncomfortable with the boys target shooting “Zombies” in the neighbors yards.  The kids were shooting at a target on a tree with a net behind it to catch the plastic BB’s that were propelled by the spring-loaded AirSoft guns.

It was an incident 3 days later that got the boys in trouble, they were playing an AirSoft war in the yard, the 3 that got suspended and 3 other kids, the next door neighbor and 2 other kids.  During the war,  a motorist observed one of the kids chasing the other and call 911.  The police then called the school and even though the actions happened in a private property and not on school grounds or the bus stop the school decided suspending the 3 kids with the guns but not the other 3 kids that were playing  that day.   Aside from the sensibilities of the neighbor and the passing motorist, no one was hurt but it made no difference to the school, which is asserting that its actions are being done with protecting the children, which includes the bus stop or in this case the way to the bus stop. You can read the local station’s story for more details, Here:

What happened to the time when the parents would discipline our children? Have we evolved to the point that schools are ipso parentis? But as we know all Zero Tolerance policies are not equal.  The Miami-Dade School system also has a Zero Tolerance policy, you can read it here; their disciplinary policy has added tiers by which they can manipulate the policy, while still claiming to follow a Zero Tolerance policy.  The problem in their system is that too many of students are running foul of the Zero Tolerance rules, particularly black males.  As has been noted in past posts, the Miami-Dade  County Schools through their School Police (MDSP-D) manipulated data, falsified incident reports to minimize the incidence of crime referrals, suspensions and expulsions of black males in their system.

Trayvon Martin was a beneficiary of MDSP-D’s lack of observance to their Zero Tolerance policy, on one report for instance, Mr. Martin was caught with a screwdriver (a concealed  weapon), drug paraphernalia, marijuana and stolen property.  According to school policy any of these could warrant and expulsion but to avoid that the screwdriver was labelled a burglary tool, the drugs, became residue, the stolen jewelry was now found property and under the $300 limit, which would have upped it to a felony charge.  Had a search of his cell phone been conducted hundreds pictures of Mr. Martin sexting, Mr. Martin in possession of a live firearm, as well as texts about buying and selling them, more drugs would have been discovered, of course they would have to decipher the files systems since Mr. Martin kept this in secret files.

In Virginia Beach, 3 teens one White, one Black and one Black Hispanic are suspended for the entire school year for playing with spring-loaded plastic guns in their yard, in Miami Gardens the school police is committing fraud to prevent another teen from being expelled because he is Black and too many were, so they needed to lower the stats.

On September 17th, the latest version of GTA 5 (Grand Theft Auto) was released to the public within 24 hours it had 1 Billion dollars in sales.  The video game it is said to be the pulse of popular culture, in it one of the activities that the 3 characters can do besides the usual shooting, racing and fighting, is watch tv, the games own TV channel.  Watching the channel there is a cartoon episode of the game’s super Hero called Impotent Rage, warning for language:

Like the super Hero, his attempts to correct what he thinks is wrong, usually cause more harm than good, much like Zero Tolerance rules, that are applied or not arbitrarily.  But also like the super hero, when does issues arise, instead of fixing them, most resort to empty gestures, while ignoring the issue altogether.  The MDSP-D got awards from the NAACP for its actions, Trayvon Martin is getting honored and has a Foundation in his name, so we can forget trying to find out what cause the issue and how to solve the problems.  We can penalize kids playing with toy guns, while ignoring those that play with real ones, we can’t appear racist.  If all else fails send in a donation to the Trayvon Martin Foundation and your conscience  will clear.

 

Civil liberties and Mental Health a thin line.

Earlier this month the internet was ablaze over a rumor that Jack Nicholson was retiring because of memory problems.  Jack is considered one of the best actors, certainly of late 20th century and has the distinction of being the only actor to be nominated for an Oscar in every decade since the 60′s. His first Oscar was for the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975 for his portrayal of  Randle “Mac” McMurphy  a small time criminal serving time at a Labor Farm who gets transferred to the Mental Hospital where he feels he can serve his time in the relaxed hospital atmosphere.  The film which was based on the novel with the same name published in 1962 went on to win several Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Director but it is the subject of film which I want to discuss.

The book was published 1962, though it was written in 1959 by Ken Kessey and was based on his observations, communications with patients at the psychiatric facility he worked the graveyard shift on in Oregon. It came during the Civil Rights movement era and a time when the world was re-evaluating how dealt with mental patients. It aimed to humanize mental patients while at the same time condemn the practices of the staff in their treatment of their patients. In this area the book was a great success and has been cited by many as helping the Deinstitutionalisation movement.

Prior to this mental patients were institutionalized at Mental Hospitals run by the States.  In other words they were removed from society at large until they could rejoin society safely.  While the reasons for moving away from the system that had existed before are many, including the States wanting to shift the cost of care to the Federal government, new psychotic drugs that helped patients lead ordinary lives and the poor conditions in many of these psychiatric facilities but also the understanding of mental illness and developmental disabilities. The issues at facilities like Willowbrook in Staten Island, NY and its deplorable conditions and books and films depicting these problems made the Deinstitutionalization Movement unstoppable.  To this day closed Insane Asylums or Mental Hospitals are a favorite of Hollywood as a setting for horror movies even though the reference is not deserved.

The ideal was that with the advent of better drugs and the higher understanding that mental illness patients would be treated at community clinics or hospitals, with shorter stays, minimum of cost, at a better service for the patients. It would help remove any stigma attached and allow that person to rejoin society as soon as the medications stabilized them.  Mentally ill people would have advocates to ensure they would be treated as any other minority group and their rights preserved.  The reality is the results are mixed, while there are more people who are mentally ill and are functioning, contributing members of society, we also have thousands that were left homeless, unable to hold a job, or contribute in any way.

Part of the problem is that this new system is mostly dependant on Mentally Ill people to make health decisions that their own illness prevents them from making.  and the advocates that are supposed to look after them at times are more likely to enable a person with mental illness to remain homeless, living on the streets than assist or aid to have them involuntarily place at a facility, if they are against it.  It has also put restrictions of family members who are trying to aid them, requiring them to jump through hoops before help can be provided.

The Baker Act in Florida allows government the ability to send someone for evaluation, but a family member would need to get a court order to try to do the same at the hearing if the patient is not obviously psychotic chances are the Judge would deny the order.  Regardless the system is a catch and release system as, except on extreme cases all patients are eventually released, to a family member, a half-way house or even the streets.  Or in some cases jail, as they have become our mental institutions as a Human Rights Watch reports in 2003 that up to 56% of US inmates suffer from some mental Illness.

With the Naval Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis, also being a person who had sought or had received mental health treatment  in his case for an obvious psychotic episode, hearing voices and believing that neighbors were shooting microwaves into his brain, perhaps it is time we re-evaluate our Mental Health system, including the Supreme Courts decision in 1978 in O’Connor vs. Donaldson that a state cannot constitutionally confine a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by themselves or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends.  As Alexis has shown, he too, was thought to be non-dangerous until he got a shotgun and other weapons and decided to shoot-up the Naval Yard.

Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman’s former attorney wrote a post on his blog. The Trouble With Using Mental Health as a Qualification for Gun Ownership he argues against the passing of any law that uses Mental Health as a criteria and makes some great points.  Perhaps rather than take away someone’s right we can just delay them, have a doctors  certify the person?  I am not sure if anything can be worked out in that regard except that our Mental Health system needs to improve.  No one can predict the next tragedy,  but sometimes the signs are there if we look at them.

As the Zimmerman case has shown the State is willing to suspend the civil liberties of a person when it suits it, and I am not advocating that be done with mentally ill people.  Everyone knew the Mental Health system was flawed, its time we pay attention.  Banning guns will not get rid of guns, and as the terrorist attack in Kenya showed us again, a gun-free zone is a slaughter waiting to happen.

Obama, Zimmerman, Shepard and our Agenda Driven Media

Last Tuesday President Obama gave a televised speech to the Nation which culminated, at least for now our official involvement in the Syrian civil war.  That was not what made the speech different but that at the time we were making the speech, which was a plea to change the minds of the people and support military intervention in Syria,  we had already washed our hands of the whole issue. and had punted to the Russians.  This was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back.  The media which had been protective of its President, and had not allowed dissension finally let loose and the criticism was coming from everywhere.  Think Progress tried to turn the debacle around by proclaiming the Administration’s strategy brilliant in letting the Russians deal with it.  It failed, its readers themselves mocked the article, how can you be brilliant to something that happened inadvertently and that leaves the things as they are.  After all we were told, quoting  professor Victor Davis Hanson, we needed to bomb Syria, maybe send troops to: a) help the rebels, b) destroy WMD, c) punish Assad for using WMD, d) warn others not to use WMD, e) remove him, f) weaken him, g) restore U.S. credibility, h) restore mostly Barack Obama’s lost credibility, i) thwart Russia, j) show Iran, k) welcome in Russia, l) ignore Iran, m) create stability after Assad’s departure, n) not  get involved after Assad’s departure, o) sort out good rebels from bad ones, etc.?

This is after we were told until November of 2011 that Assad was a reformer, as such we could not help the Moderate insurgents.  Now that we are 21/2 years into the insurgency and now that up to 75% of the insurgents are hard-core radicals, affiliated with Al queda who we are still fighting in Afghanistan, do we want to send weapons and bomb President Assad.  But never fear the Russians are going to save our butts, Russia which has been supplying weapons to Assad and has a naval base in Tartarus Syria, will with the help of the UN get rid of the WMDs in Syria, so we can go on our merry way.  This is what Think Progress was calling brilliant.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Crime Prevention Act or better know as the Matthew Shepard Act was signed by President Obama in 2009,  the measure expands the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and it removes the Federal government restriction to federally protected activities was a great victory for the LBGT community.  James Byrd whose name appears in the legislation but is lesser known was a man dragged behind a pick-up truck by 3 white supremacists leaving parts of his body all along the 3 mile stretch that he was dragged in Jasper, Tx in 1998. The killers were caught 2 were sentenced to death row and the other will be serving a life sentence for this racially motivated gruesome and mostly forgotten murder.

Matthew Shepard for which the Act is known was a gay student at the University of Wyoming, in October 1998, he accepted a ride from two acquaintances who drove him into the woods to a secluded area and then proceeded to torture him, leaving him for death, all because he was gay and made a pass at one of them, who pretended to be gay.  At least that was the story that the Media would recite non-stop for years to come.  Shepard became a cause celebre among celebrities who wrote songs, plays , books and movies all depicting that basic story, a young man who is struggling with his homosexuality and pays the ultimate price for it, after suffering horrendous torture.

But now a  new book coming out next week by investigative journalist Stephen Jiminez put all that doubt to say the least.  As Austin Ruse writes:

Almost everything you think you know about the Matthew Shepard narrative is false.

“Almost immediately Shepard became a secular saint, and his killing became a kind of gay Passion Play where he suffered and died for the cause of homosexuality against the growing homophobia and hatred of gay America.

Indeed, a Mathew Shepard industry grew rapidly with plays and foundations along with state and even national hate crimes legislation named for him. Rock stars wrote songs about him, including Elton John and Melissa Etheridge. Lady Gaga performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” and changed the lyrics to include Shepard.

Thanks to a new book by an award-winning gay journalist we now know that much of this narrative turns out to be false, little more than gay hagiography.”

Shepard was not attacked because he was gay, one of his attackers was a gay lover. Shepard was a meth dealer, whose lover on a 5 day binge on Meth attacked him to get Shepard to tell him where his drugs were.  This should not come as a surprise as an ABC 20/20 special made similar claims.  The problem is that this Narrative was inconvenient so it was ignored.  It was just another instance of false but accurate as Dan Rather would say. Then end result is we have a new law, that empowers the Federal government to interfere further in local crime issues, based on a lie.  Ironically the one person that did suffer a “hate crime” is barely remembered, James Byrd.

There have been other instances where the Media has played a substantial part in manipulating the story by either repeating its version or ignoring that which would put it in doubt, as a commenter listed below;

The Scopes Monkey Trial?

Fraud. They hired a substitute teacher to SPECIFICALLY say something to a class that was never “his”, because they KNEW it would get him “fired” and provide grounds for the Suit they WANTED, but didn’t have an actual legitimate CASE to pursue.

Rosa Parks?

Same thing. A planned event, discussed in advance, and the most ‘sympathetic” participant chosen to carry it out. She wasn’t just some poor woman ” too tired” to get up and move from her seat, she got on that bus SPECIFICALLY to challenge that law…Honorable endeavor? Yes. An “organic, spontaneous” event? No, but they PRETEND it was, because it’s a better “sell”

Roe vs Wade?

Sure, theoretically, IF a woman was raped, and IF she needed an abortion…but the “plaintiff” in that case was neither…they lied, fabricated the circumstances to “fit” a particular “theoretical” line to best win a Supreme Court Challenge. Poor woman raped, and forced to carry her attackers baby to term? No, but it makes a good “theory” doesn’t it? The fact that the actual Female Plaintiff in Roe vs Wade became so soured by the Rabidly Pro-Abortion Advocates who used and discarded her for Political Purposes eventually became a pro-life supporter, is somehow never mentioned in “The Narrative”

The crowning jewel to those is of course the election of President Obama in 2008, nobody can deny how the media elevated this practically unknown Junior Senator from Illinois into the next coming of the Messiah.  In fact some did call him that.  He was a Harvard Law Professor, no, he was a part-time lecturer, he was a great writer, no, his book was ghost written,  he is the most intelligent, the sharpest dresser, his speeches are best ever given, he will heal the world and he is black.  Nothing negative could said, printed or aired about him.  In fact most did not investigate him at all, his grades, who knows, his health, his background all were ignored.  Now 5 years later some are waking up to the fact that the President is a “lightweight”, that loftily rhetoric was just that loftily words read out of a teleprompter with no meaning.  The Obama Doctrine ” leading from behind” is nothing more than an excuse to let others make the hard decisions allowing him to not make any.

Yesterday Sybrina Fulton was scheduled to testify before Congress, she is seeking support for Trayvon’s Law, which modifies the Stand Your Ground laws in effect in several states.  She also wants the provision that indemnities people who have successfully defended themselves from charges in Civil Court.  The mass shooting at the Naval Yard have prevented this from happening or at least has delayed it.  The question is should she have been given the opportunity in the first place.

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy, but it was one of his own making.  It has been the media portrayal of Martin which has allowed this continue.  From the beginning the media has tried to portrayed Martin as a cherubic 12-14 year-old and Zimmerman as a burly out of control bully.  During the trial it tried to hype that which supported the prosecution, which was minimal, and downplay or ignore that which supported the defense, which was overwhelming.  After the verdict, the jury composition, which almost universally was thought to benefit the prosecution was questioned.  Now anything that happens regarding the case is turned into a bash Zimmerman story.  Will it take ten years for an intrepid investigative journalist to actually did into the case, explore the familial ties of Martin, examine his own text and the testimony of Rachel Jeantel who at the last appearance admitted that it was Martin that struck Zimmerman first, though she saw nothing wrong with it.  Will someone investigate whether it was a case of homophobic bashing as it was inferred in court testimony, that Martin by his own admission is just a low-level drug dealer with a short temper, who saw Zimmerman as an easy prey.

While I wait I will have to just grin and bear to watch the Fulton’s and Martins pretend their son was someone else to maintain the illusion that America is still racist, and we need yet another law, this time name after a minor thug who got himself killed but no one is willing to admit, because doing so will make us racist.

The Zimmerman Obsession

In a nationally televised speech President Obama, who was trying to make a case for military intervention in Syria had this to say;

And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.

To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.

In case you missed it, the President’s friends on the Left believe in freedom and dignity (Trayvon Martin and his family),  while those on the right are only committed to America’s military might (gun-toting Zimmerman). That is how the Zimmerman story was sold to the public, a young child should be free to walk home from the store and not worry about gun-toting, trigger-happy vigilantes bullies.  That this did not bear the closest resemblance to the truth of that night is immaterial, the truth is what you make of it.

Some of my friends who identify with the left, are put out that members of the Zimmerman family are now embroiled in right-leaning media outlets, after all they are left leaning and they supported Zimmerman.  But there lies in the problem with labels, you can be socially liberal and conservative in other manners or vice versa.  Polls have consistently shown that Blacks as a group are socially conservative but liberal in towards government policy.  This makes sense since the feeling is that government liberated them and it is that government that keeps them that way.  Again, truth has little to do with it but the perception that counts.

Right now George Zimmerman is a celebrity, though not of his own making, anything he does or say is picked up as news.  But should it? As if the last 18 moths had not been hard enough, he now faces an uncertain future.  He has no money, no job (or prospects of getting one), no home and pretty soon no marriage.  I have tried to avoid the impending divorce of the Zimmermans as I see it as another victim of other people’s agenda, who have use the incident to profit themselves.

Recent revelations that some family members were actively plotting against Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, the lack of closure in the case, the impending unresolved at that time case of perjury against his wife, and all the outside influences providing advice, counsel, reclamations were due to have an effect.  It is hard to imagine how it had to be for someone to spend over a year. on a 6am to 6pm curfew, hiding, trying to avoid looking at the news, your future in limbo and all your plans shattered.

Zimmerman has lost more than any can imagine, and I can see why young Shellie Zimmerman may want to branch out in life.  Trayvon Martin, though dead, has a Foundation in his name, streets are named after him, as may laws, he universally seen as a victim, the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona wants to name an asteroid after him, the TM061 which had been discovered in 2000 but had remained unnamed. But none of these is enough, the sharks are still circling for blood.

Whether you feel that Zimmerman instigated the incident by following Trayvon or not, the fact remains that Zimmerman is a victim of a vicious attack that at least in his mind left him with no choice but to pull out his gun and shoot. Of a society that glamorize violence, sexism, nihilism but is too afraid to say, hey that is just too much.  By a society, that divides everything into left or right, rather right or wrong.  By a society who is skeptical about religion, but believes in vampires, ghosts and aliens.  A society that willingly blinds itself to the truth, if it is inconvenient, it the right people say so.  A society that allows ourselves to be divided by emotion, disregarding consequences.  It was emotion that drove Trayvon to attack Zimmerman and to continue attacking him, even after John Goode had told him to stop.  It is emotion that the President was using to try to get the Nations approval for a military strike. just as it was emotion that the prosecution was counting on to convict Zimmerman.

It is these same obsessive emotions that keep us hounding Zimmerman, let’s give the man a break.

 

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