Crime

Save a kid, arm a teacher

The teachers and principal at Sandy Hook Elementary school, though unarmed and likely terrified, did all they could to try to protect and save the kids, including running TOWARD the gunfire and to their deaths. Had even one been armed, the death toll would have been much lower and we’d be giving prayers of thanks that a madman was stopped, rather than trying to get our heads and broken hearts around the facts of what happened as Newtown buries 20 innocent children just before Christmas.

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When, if not now?

As the world learned about the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where a young man killed 26 people, children and his mother, wearing combat gear and firing a pistol and a semiautomatic rifle, while we watched the president, commander in chief, weep during his televised remarks from the Brady Room (named after a victim of a crazy gun-toter) of the White House about the incident, while experts proffered their favorite nostrums about mental health and the power of prayer and while politicians from both parties silently cowered in fear of the National Rifle Association, an interesting thing happened in Chenping, a small village in China.

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Politicizing grief

Anyone who reads my columns and blogs can tell you that it is one of my mantras that politics should take up as little space in your life as possible. If it doesn’t, it’s only out of necessity occasioned by bad government, something we have in surplus.

A normal, healthy person with a functioning conscience should recoil with horror at the gruesome murder of a dozen Americans and the wounding of 70 others in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo. If you don’t feel that, there’s something wrong with you.

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The monster in the political room

All the conversations and op-eds and breast-beating about the recent slaughter in Aurora, Colo., ignores the monster behind all these tragedies. Maniacs, screwed-up kids, violent and sick people commit these atrocities, which violate the social contract, and the people with the power to do something about it ignore the source of these events — weapons of destruction in the hands of the people who bring tragedies to their fellow citizens.

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Institutional crimes

CARDINAL’S AIDE IS FOUND GUILTY IN ABUSE CASE
SANDUSKY GUILTY OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF 10 YOUNG BOYS

 
These two headlines led the front page of last Saturday’s New York Times. Readers had followed the two stories for years, repulsed but fascinated by stories of vulgar crimes by trusted representatives of respected institutions — the Catholic Church and Penn State University. Both institutions failed their constituents to protect the institutions from embarrassments.

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What are the similarities between George Zimmerman and O.J. Simpson?

The second-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman mark a major turning point in a case that triggered a nationwide debate about racial profiling in America and about Florida's "stand your ground" law — which allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel a reasonable threat of death or serious injury. The case also highlights glaring and saddening contradictions on how American blacks and the media reacted to O.J. Simpson's alleged killing of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman two decades ago.

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Misplaced leadership

With 95 percent of black homicides committed by other blacks, the Congressional Black Caucus members are offering a resolution to honor Trayvon Martin.

For what, being killed? Are we going to honor every victim now, or just every black victim, of a purported interracial crime?

The CBC time would be better spent engaging issues of gang warfare, drugs, black youth unemployment, than eulogizing Trayvon Martin and trying to make him a heroic symbol.

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Disgraced in the hood

As a show of solidarity with Trayvon Martin, many people wore hoodies to church yesterday.

Church is suppose to be a place of reverence. A place where God is worshiped, and not a place where we honor the concerns of men above those of God.

There is no question that there was an injustice in the case of Martin, and there are appropriate forums for true justice. To denigrate the house of God for any reason is unjustified and continues to downplay the importance of true faith in our society.

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Premeditated murder

It is an obvious pollution of our justice system that George Zimmerman is allowed to walk the streets as a free man.

Anyone with a modicum of common sense, after listening to the tapes, can only conclude that Zimmerman committed murder in the first degree.

How could Sanford, Fla., law enforcement officials not have arrested this menace to society?

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The costs of imprisonment

When I was involved in prison-reform efforts with ex-offenders, as an activist in courts and as a critic in articles and books decades ago, I was surprised to find that conservative judges were better at enforcing change than liberals. They were, it seemed, more comfortable exercising power once they were convinced of the injustices demonstrated.

That irony — one would presume that liberals were more humane — was apparent again recently when reports showed that conservative states had cut prison populations by way of programs diverting prisoners, in appropriate cases, to community-based programs rather than incarceration. The motives were founded on economic grounds; the costs of incarceration were escalating with no reduction in crime rates to warrant them. The wisdom of the result is more important than the ground for getting to it. So we should celebrate getting to a better place in the criminal justice system.

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