Tag Archives: law enforcement

Smoke Em If You Got Em…Now

5 Dec
Image result for marijuana

Here is an interesting development in the never ending war on drugs.

As more states lessen or eliminate marijuana penalties, the Army is granting hundreds of waivers to enlist people who used the drug in their youth…as long as they realize they can’t use it again in the military.

The number of waivers granted by the active-duty Army for marijuana use jumped to more than 500 this year from 191 in 2016 while only three years ago, no waivers were granted. This increase in marijuana use waivers is just one way officials are dealing with orders to expand the Army’s size.

Meanwhile Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the federal government is preparing to crack down on recreational marijuana use, a change that he’s been preparing since he took over the Justice Department.

And even though a group of prosecutors and law enforcement officials wrote a report asking that existing policies on the decriminalization of marijuana use not be changed, AG Sessions said that, “It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental and we should not give encouragement in any way to it. I don’t want to suggest in any way that this department believes that marijuana is harmless and people should not avoid it.”

Oddly enough opioid use has been shown to be reduced in states where people have access to legal marijuana and AG Sessions recent statements on marijuana were made at a press conference concerning the Department of Justice’s plan to combat the opioid epidemic.

So even though you may live in a state where it is perfectly legal to buy, sell and use marijuana you might still find yourself arrested by federal agents upholding federal law in efforts to fight the opioid epidemic!… Which of course would be completely counter productive to that fight and make opioids (which are completely legal) once again the drug of choice and availability.

C’est la guerre! So join the army!… and Smoke em if ya got em… Now!

And Justice For…

7 Feb

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FBI Director, James Comey, has refused to disclose whether or not the FBI is investigating links between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Kremlin. He told the Senate Select Intelligence Committee that “we never confirm or deny a pending investigation.”

This is the same FBI Director who held a special meeting 12 days before the 2016 presidential election to, confirm and not deny, that there was a re-opening of and a pending investigation into the Emails of former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton.

In any other place and time in the history of the USA such actions would have been seen as representing a “lack of integrity” and as displaying the kind of  duplicitous attitude that has no place in a society that professes to respect and govern itself according to the rule of law.

But here in the Year of Our Lord, 2017,  there are neither any men or women at the highest levels of our government who possess the integrity to call the FBI Director to task for the disrespect, contempt and lack of integrity that he has shown the law, and have him removed from one of our highest positions in law enforcement.

The term “Blind justice” is supposed to refer to a legal concept regarding the neutrality of the dispensing of justice. Justice is not actually supposed to be blind, as in not knowing or seeing what it’s doing!

They Say it Can’t Be Done!

8 Oct

Whenever I get comments from folks who disagree with my view on guns or whenever I listen to Republicans speak about guns, I am always told the same thing. There is no way to keep guns away from bad people and lunatics. First they point out that It can’t be done because laws do not work. If you pass a law on gun control then all you do is control the guns of good people because bad people don’t follow laws.

That’s why we don’t have any laws in this country. Simply put, laws don’t work. Ask any lawyer or lawmaker I guess, and that’s what they’ll tell you. And of course that is why we all live here in the United States…also known as the land of reckless chaos and mayhem. Just ask anyone who tries to cross the border to get here.

Secondly they will point out that there is no sense in trying to keep guns away from the mentally ill because they are very crafty and know how to hide their illness until… WHAM BAM! They’re shooting you upside the head. So background checks can never work because the mentally ill are not just crazy…they’re crazy smart and are able to move about among us undetected. That’s why almost everyone you work with is bat shit crazy and yet somehow still manages to keep their job while you end up doing all of their work.

So in conclusion. Here in the United States, the land of the free, brave, criminal and crazy, there is absolutely nothing that we can do to stem the rising tide of gun violence in our communities. And I mean nothing! Not even prayer works because churches are targeted by gun nuts (the bad kind) just as often as schools (secular and non) are.

So the only way to stop gun violence is? More guns of course! Because once all of the good guys have guns then all of the bad guys will be too scared to start any trouble. And if they do then WHAM BAM! Upside their head…thank you very much. Now as for the mentally ill, well, they’ll still be bat shit crazy and crafty and smart so they will probably continue to commit horrendous acts of violence but their victims will be avenged post haste by those who would have otherwise been soon to be victims, because all students, mothers, teachers, shopkeepers etc. will all be carrying weapons.

And we all know this will work because that’s how the west was won back in the old days! The new sheriff would come to the lawless town where all of the bad guys had guns and he would immediately proceed to hand out guns to all of the towns people. Once all of the towns people were armed they called out the bad guys and if they didn’t all run away the townsfolk shot them! Then the townspeople returned to their homes and their shops and lived, played and slept soundly with their guns by their sides never to be bothered by violence again.Then the sheriff bid farewell and moved on to another town to hand out more guns and save more people from the violent ways of bad people and crazy folks….

Except there was that one town in Kansas,  I think it was, where all of the people were so happy to get their guns that they all celebrated at once by shooting into the air with a loud whoop and a holler…and then sadly all fell dead when the bullets came back down to earth…but on the bright side, the violence did end that very same day.

So yes! The answer is guns and lots of em! We have 300 million guns at large here in the United States and it’s just not enough. And once we have a gun in the hands of every citizen and all of the “gun free” zones disappear there will be peace and quiet throughout the land. It is the only way. Laws and good intentions never work! Everyone knows that. And as the Constitution says, A Well armed people are a happy people.

So Annie and Andy, get your guns! And while you’re at it think up a way to distinguish yourself as a good guy and not a bad one so that when the shooting starts and police show up to see what all the noise is about, they’ll know who to shoot at too. They are a jumpy lot and tend to get scared a lot too (their words not mine) and once they get to shootin’ they don’t usually stop until they’re out of bullets. Happy and safe avenging everyone!

This plan should also help us with our immigration troubles and keep us from having to spend money on that giant wall and don’t forget the money we’ll save on healthcare! We won’t need that anymore…except for treating gunshot wounds (good guys only of course) Because guns don’t kill people. People kill people! And if you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns. But if all people have guns then people won’t kill people anymore!…except for some criminals, crazies and avenging angels! (people also, not really angels)

So who says it can’t be done? It can! That’s how the great, legendary lawmen did it in the wild west. Just look it up! Go ahead pardner…I dare ya…

This Could Work…

28 Apr

I know how to bring about an end to violent protests and neighborhood rioting and the general unrest that exists between some police forces and many African Americans in our country.

Let’s pass a law in America… that makes it against the law… to kill people.

And then enforce it.

Hell on the Loose?

14 Jun

I do believe that the wild west was a lot dirtier than it was wild but thanks to movies and television most folks believe that the old west was wild because it was a time of lawlessness when outlaws roamed free with guns always at the ready to create mayhem or evil doing. And whenever a bad guy turned up with his gun, wishing to do his evil deeds, there would be a law abiding citizen or posses on hand to help fight him to the death with their own legally owned guns. Eventually the good guys won by using their good guns to kill all of the bad guys with their bad guns and thus the west was won!

Then of course the good guys put away their guns and relaxed in peace until now, and years later… the bad guys and evil doing, are back! And it’s time to get our guns on again… so I guess that’s why over 18 states now have what is known as a permissive open carry law for gun owners where openly  carrying a firearm is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle (as long as you’re not using your cell phone I guess). Those in favor of open carry laws say that criminals usually conceal their weapons but law abiding citizens proudly display their sidearms…So there’s that…

However, 22 states have now also adopted a form of what is known as the Castle Doctrine (which states that a person has no duty to retreat when their home (IE: Castle) is attacked) that removes the duty of retreat from other locations. These “Stand Your Ground”, laws state that a person has no duty or other requirement to abandon a place in which he has a right to be. So in these states people can defend themselves, with deadly force, if they think someone is trying to kill them or seriously harm them.

So, if your state (and you are going to have to check yourself)  has both the open carry and the stand your ground laws in effect then what happens when two citizens who are openly carrying their weapons meet in a place where they both have a legal right to be? Do they look at one another and say “Howdy law abiding 2nd Amendment lover and good citizen. I see that you are carrying your weapon out in the open, so you, like me, are one of the good guys. Let’s have a drink together!”

But what if they each, in their own way, feel threatened by the other? What if one of them is wearing a hoodie? Or it’s dark out? Or they are each wearing a different color of skin. Or one is sporting a turban? Or wearing a sour expression. Or playing loud music? Or has a long beard that looks UN-American? Or God knows what all? Does all hell then break loose?…Legally?

Few people realize that this is exactly what made the “Wild West” wild! And the west didn’t become mild until famous lawmen like Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and many others came to western towns and, as their first order of business…eliminated guns! No guns, except those that lawmen had, meant that no one had to worry about getting shot by ordinary, everyday looking citizens (even the ones dressed in black)…because the last thing that any civilized territory, town or country wants is…

Regular citizens walking around with guns!? Who think that they are upholding the law in lieu of lawmen!? Being vigilant in the absence of the law?! If you love guns and upholding the law and defending your rights as a citizen then join the police force. Support your police force and ask for more taxes to fund more police. Ask to get deputized. Or Sign up for the local militia…like the 2nd A. suggests.

In any case, whether you agree with me or not, I have the sneaking suspicion that we all soon shall see… if the gun proponents are correct and your state becomes a safer place in which to live…or…all hell breaks loose.

 

Look Out Old Draco Is Back

11 Jun

Former NFL receiver Chad  Johnson AKA Chad Ochocinco AKA Chad Johnson was sentenced to 30 days in jail for  apparently slapping his attorney on the butt for helping him avoid jail time with a plea deal in a Florida courtroom. However, when everyone in the court room started laughing the judge took offense, accused Mr. Johnson of not taking the proceedings seriously, nullified the plea agreement and sent Mr. Johnson off to jail for 30 days.

 Apparently last August, Johnson pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge after he allegedly head-butted his then-wife during an argument, then in May Johnson was arrested for failing to meet with his probation officer, which led to his courtroom appearance this June.

Now, I do not advocate domestic violence nor do I think it should be taken lightly and certainly avoiding one’s probation officer is not an action that I would recommend…but wouldn’t a nation that already spends over 40 thousand dollars apiece per year on the incarceration of over 2.2 million citizens be doing itself and its fiscal health a favor by trying to help keep citizens out of jail rather than in? .

It is said that Draco was the first legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece…and that he replaced the prevailing system of oral law and blood feud with a written code to be enforced only by a court. Unfortunately Draco’s laws were particularly harsh and often unfair. However, under Draco’s laws The death penalty was the punishment for even minor offences and when asked about this he supposedly replied “that he considered these lesser crimes to deserve it, and he had no greater punishment for more important ones.” So death was the order of the day.

But I certainly don’t advocate the death penalty for our prison overflow. It’s too expensive for one thing, cruel and unusual for another and too Draconian even for the 21st century…But Why do we need so many prisons and prisoners in the United States in the first place? Why is punishment becoming our national pastime? Isn’t this too draconian too…especially for the U.S. (of all countries) here in the 21st century?

And now that we have the NSA listening in on anything and everything and  anybody and everybody where are we going to go from here?

Why not just fine people who break laws…nice big hefty fines? Let’s just send them home so they can go back to work and then garnish their paychecks. Make them take out a nice hefty government loan at a lofty percentage rate…like we do with our law abiding students…or force them to use a high interest government credit card…like most of us do with our regular bank credit cards… or make them pay a special criminal tax rate…or something along those lines.

We could fine the NFL for not teaching Chad Whatshisname the meaning of respect while cavorting around NFL endzones in disrespect of NFL law. How about garnishing one of Dick Cheney’s hefty paychecks for bringing back the draconian practice of water boarding? Or a special tax on President Bush for not finding that evidence that sent us to war for 10 years and 3 trillion dollars. Or taxing President Obama at an especially high rate for all of those draconian killer drones that he likes to use so much.

I’m just saying…couldn’t we use the money more than we can use the prisoners? Let’s start fining our lawbreakers and wrongdoers and use the money to pay down our debts. The Schadenfreude that comes from our draconian application of punishment for our criminals may make us feel good but it doesn’t pay any bills…it just creates a great big pile of new ones…which I believe will just bury us all in the end…which I suppose would probably make Draco proud.

Oops, My Bad

27 Apr

 

Here in New Jersey a six year old boy was accidently shot by his 4 year old neighbor after the 4 year old child went into his house and brought outside a loaded rifle which then went off accidently. In Tennessee only a few days before a 4-year-old boy grabbed a loaded gun at a family cookout and accidentally shot to death the wife of a sheriff’s deputy.

In both instances, as far as I know, no charges have been filed against the gun owners but in New Jersey under state law, anyone who knows that a child under the age of 16 could access a loaded firearm in their home can be charged with a disorderly persons offense if they fail to secure it or install a trigger lock.

But even if charges are or were filed, is a disorderly persons charge enough for such negligence by a gun owner? Isn’t it basically a slap on the wrist and an invitation to merely say, “Oops, my bad,” when people have been killed with a weapon that you own to “make yourself safe”?

The United States Supreme Court says that accidentally shooting a gun during the commission of a crime should bring the same penalties as intentionally using a firearm. This decision came when the court upheld the conviction and sentence of Christopher Michael Dean, who was arrested for trying to rob a bank in Rome, Ga., in 2004.

A gun went off accidentally during the attempted robbery and the discharge brought an automatic 10-year sentence for firing a weapon during a crime. Dean appealed, saying the automatic sentence shouldn’t count since the firing of the gun was accidental but Chief Justice John Roberts, said the law “does not require that the discharge be done knowingly or intentionally.” He also added that if criminals want to avoid the penalty for accidental gunfire, they can lock or unload the firearm, handle it with care, leave the gun at home, or avoid having one in the first place.

Imagine that?

And Mr. Dean received 10 years in prison even though no one was injured when the gun went off.

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control statistics About 600 Americans die in accidental shootings every year. However prosecutor’s rarely if ever bring charges even though the required charge may only be a simple misdemeanor…and most commonly their reaction to a tragedy like this is that the families have suffered enough so why make matters worse…

But is, oops, my bad, enough? Or should there be mandatory  legal consequences and compensation made to the aggrieved families?  I am not in favor of  jail time for tragedies like the ones in Toms River or Tennessee, but I would like to see heavy fines imposed on gun owners who in cases like these did not properly care for or secure their weapons. And I mean fines on the order of, oops, my house now belongs to your family…

So my question is what if any kind of penalty should be imposed on gun owners who do not secure their firearms and whose firearms are then  used in the killing of another person whether accidental or not? I’d especially like to know what gun owners and advocates think. Is it fair to ask lethal weapon owners to be legally responsible for their gun’s use or would this send us on the slippery slope to Hitler’s America… again?

 

More Guns Does Equal More Crime

19 Apr

       I read a very interesting article in The New York Times this past weekend. As most of us know, following the Newtown, Connecticut shooting the National Rifle Association called for a renewed effort to place more armed police officers in the public schools to…you know…make them safer…because more guns equal more safety which consequently also saves more lives.

Even the White House jumped on board and has since proposed an increased police presence in the public schools.

And the NRA is always happy to site previous instances where a gun wielding principal or resource officer has helped to stop or thwart a student or intruder who was attempting to do harm.

However, as those of us who have worked in the public schools know, and as many NRA officials and gun advocates also like to point out when citing their statistics, there aren’t that many horrific acts of violence that do take place in the public schools and are in need of thwarting.

So, what has been the impact so far of an increased police presence in our public schools?

There has been an increase in arrests and misdemeanor charges for what most teachers have always seen as essentially non violent behaviors… like scuffles, truancy and even cursing. As a result more students are finding themselves in court and in fact in Texas, where I am assuming there has already been a police presence in the public schools for quite some time, over 100,000 tickets are written each year by police officers in schools…which of course leads to fines and police records etc. where none would have been incurred before.

Experts have noted that it’s not necessarily the policemen’s or resource officers fault,  it’s just that hanging around kids all day who behave…like kids…can be, as any veteran teacher will tell you, enough to drive you over the edge of sanity. And I have known many teachers who would have arrested the better part of their  school’s student population each and every day, if only their most fervent dream had come true and they had somehow been deputized and allowed to carry a gun and wear a badge.

However, when properly trained and taught how to work with students and young adults and schooled in adolescent psychology and mediation techniques, life in the public schools returns to normal because, well…the policemen start to interact with the students more like…teachers… and life in the public schools gets back to normal.

And, even though one horrific act of violence is always one too many, walking the halls every day trying to prevent it can be a pretty boring job…especially when you are a gun toting officer of the law who is probably not used to such boredom…and then of course one would have to be in the right place at the right time anyway. (I think that my high school alone had over 50 different entrances and exits…not counting windows.)

So until we can come up with a way to prevent violence before it happens rather than try to be there to stop it when it does, it looks like more guns will equal more crime and parents will have to just make sure to add their lawyer’s number to their child’s speed dial and keep a bailout fund in the cookie jar next to the milk money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book ’em Danno

8 Feb

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No doubt by now you’ve already seen or read the story about the young woman who was disrespectful to the Florida judge while receiving her bail and had the book thrown at her to the tune of 30 days in jail and bail set at $10,000 for a prescription drug infraction.

I know that many people view this as proper justice and a case of a disrespectful young woman getting what she deserves but if you watch the video carefully you’ll see that the disrespect began with the judge and not the young woman.

She was a first time offender on an illegal prescription drug charge and she wasn’t behaving seriously enough for his liking so instead of releasing her on her own recognizance which would have been standard procedure for an 18 year with no prior offenses, he set her bail at $5,000 and dismissed her with an unprofessional “Bye, Bye, you can go now.” To which she simply responded, “Adios”. 

Even I know that means goodbye. Does it mean goodbye disrespectfully? Simply because it is a Spanish word? Ironically, Judge Rodriguez-Chomat thought so and called her back to increase her bail to $10,000 and then dismissed her with the same, although much more sarcastically spoken, “Adios”. That led to the young woman giving the judge the finger and a verbal expletive which led to the judge calling her back again and then ordering her to spend 30 days in jail for contempt.

As an educator and an adult who can attest to having had classrooms filled with 20 or more students, exactly like this young woman in Florida I have absolutely no doubt that he started it. Why? Because as a professional and an educated adult and a person with an extreme amount of power…he is the one who should definitely know better. In fact and whether he likes it or not, that’s precisely part of his job.

But even if you disagree with me consider the fact that at the average price of $31,000 per year to keep some one incarcerated in a county, state or federal jail in the USA that judge just cost us all about three grand! And multiply that by our world record prison population of over 2 million citizens and you have an annual cost to the tax payers of over 74 billion dollars.

And if you then consider the fact that over 7million adults are under correctional supervision  including  probation, parole, jail or prison (fully 3% of our population) then the total costs are even more staggering.

Yes, over the last 40 years or so there has been a staggering shift in the way that people behave disrespectfully to one another and we teachers know that there is nothing funny about being disrespected… but when this happens on almost every television show on the air these days there is always an accompanying laugh track to keep us amused.

Unfortunately for the young woman in the Florida court room she tried to add her own laugh track to the proceedings which just made matters worse for her. Curiously enough I have noticed over the years that no one, not teenager, nor adult, professional or non, likes being insulted in any way shape or form …

Yet everyone on Television seems to enjoy it, including the audiences. Why is that?

It seems to me that we have a love/hate relationship with disrespect in this country. We like to be disrespectful and we hate to be disrespected…and it’s costing us upwards of 70 billion dollars a year and destroying millions of lives…and because it really isn’t funny there’s not a laugh track to be heard.

 

 

 

 

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