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2012 February 25 Saturday
Grandfather Arrested For Holding Burglar With Gun

What used to be considered admirably good citizenship is now considered a criminal act.

A New Hampshire grandfather has been arrested and is facing a possible prison sentence for firing a shot into the ground and holding a burglar at gunpoint until the cops could arrive.

Only police are allowed to enforce the law? Since when?

If he goes to trial will a jury convict?

By Randall Parker    2012 February 25 03:27 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (5)
2011 September 29 Thursday
Bookstores Safe From Rioters

Granted, bookstores are hard to find any more. But if you happen to spot a bookstore when a riot is starting around you then run into the bookstore and go back into the shelves. In Clapham Junction London only the bookstore emerged untouched by rioters.

On the worst night of London rioting almost every shop in Clapham Junction was ransacked - except one. The bookshop.

In one of the most telling images of the summer, looters stole TVs, hair products and iPods, but the Waterstone's branch was left untouched.

The rioters are not angry intellectuals. The rioters are not students. The rioters are anti-intellectual or, more likely, indifferent to all things intellectual.

What the governments of London cities ought to do: Buy up large quantities of handcuffs and recruit law-abiding citizens who will help the police in event of a riot. Then when the riot starts use all police to tackle and handcuff rioters as fast as possible. Then use volunteers to put the handcuffed (and more thoroughly shackled if necessary) rioters onto trucks or buses. Then have barbed wire fenced-in fields set up where the rioters would then get driven in large numbers. The goal should be to build up the capability to arrest many tens of thousands of rioters per night. Then leave them

Soldiers could also be brought in to work with the police. Each police officer could get a soldier assistant assigned to help bring down rioters and shackle them.

By Randall Parker    2011 September 29 09:04 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (10)
2011 August 30 Tuesday
On The Criminalization Of Bad Childhood Behavior

What caused plain wisdom about human nature to get so mauled in the last 100 years or so? Did it start with Freud and his cult? Was the Blank Slate dream of liberals the driving force for unhinging? Or did the national culture become less hard-headed and more emotional due to changing sex roles? Lots of old ideas (like be strict with kids) got rejected as oppressive and then re-embraced in kooky ways. A Washington Post piece on how states have gotten carried away with criminalizing juvenile behavior starts out with an example where a 4th grader in Texas who got into a scuffle on a bus was brought up on charges before a court of law. Would Americans of 75 years ago have thought twice about the idea of charging 10 or 11 year olds as criminals for fighting on the us?

SPRING, TEX. — In a small courtroom north of Houston, a fourth-grader walked up to the bench with his mother. Too short to see the judge, he stood on a stool. He was dressed in a polo shirt and dark slacks on a sweltering summer morning.

“Guilty,” the boy’s mother heard him say.

So the kid can't get spanked in school but he can get arrested for fighting with other kids. It is perverse.

We do not even have enough competent people to serve on juries. Therefore incompetent juries reach absurd conclusions (and this brings into question the mythologized idea of a right to trial by jury). We can't afford to criminalize the fighting of 4th graders. The criminal justice system costs too much and has a limited capacity for competent decision-making.

Kids have a lesser capacity to control themselves than adults do. The parts of the brain that regulate behavior develop up thru the age of 25 or so. To treat 10 year olds as criminals for fighting is akin to treating puppies as dangerous for biting. it is just plain stupid unless the kids are attempting to commit murder. Kids should be disciplined using old traditional methods that should be fit to the kids in question. The legal system can't possibly use the level of nuance needed to deal with substantial differences in what works best for controlling kids. The legal system is a flawed blunt instrument, inherently so.

So what's next? My guess is arguments based on disparate impact (that "no tolerance laws" hit blacks and Hispanics hardest) will shift the pendulum back too far in the other direction. Kids that are disruptive or dangerous won't be suspended or expelled. Instead the better-behaved kids will be forced to put up with hyperactive, violent, and generally disruptive kids even more than they do today.

By Randall Parker    2011 August 30 07:49 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (17)
2010 August 22 Sunday
Ashtabula County, Ohio Short Of Sheriff's Deputies

So naturally I'm spending my Sunday night making lunches for the week and reading So I'm wondering are this blog's 18 signs that America is rotting right in front of our eyes accurate? So I decided to check one of more amazing items. Sure enough, Ashtabula County, Ohio with a population of about 100,000 has just one patrol car available for routine police patrol. This county has the largest land area of any county in Ohio. A few towns in it have separate police departments. But the county is still mostly covered by sheriffs - not covered as the case may be.

JEFFERSON -- In the ongoing financial crisis in Ashtabula County, the Sheriff's Department has been cut from 112 to 49 deputies. With deputies assigned to transport prisoners, serve warrants and other duties, only one patrol car is assigned to patrol the entire county of 720 square miles.

Come Peak Oil, what's life going to be like? You can look at the most hard-up places now to see your future.

The county can't afford to keep most of its criminals in jail.

The Ashtabula County Jail has confined as many as 140 prisoners. It now houses only 30 because of reductions in the staff of corrections officers.

All told, 700 accused criminals are on a waiting list to serve time in the jail.

The sheriff says he's able to keep murderers locked up at least.

A local judge has advised the good people of Ashtabula County to arm themselves.

Asked what residents should do for protection, Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey replied, " Arm themselves," and added, "We're going to have to look after each other."

It gets even better: Armed citizen posses.

"It's pretty intense times here in Ashtabula County," said John Kusar.

Kusar was part of a small group who located Lee Nash, 56, hiding in a camper on Kusar's farm. "I got outta my truck, I loaded my gun, I took my safety off, I walked up to the door and flung the door open with the barrel of my gun and he was laying in there, sleeping with a sawed-off shotgun next to him."

A lot of guys would jump at the chance to join a real posse. Many would pay for the experience. The sheriff ought to consider the idea of tourist posses. Could be a revenue source. Let visiting tourists pay slap on the hand cuffs. Or let them pay to drive criminals to jail and court in a real police patrol car. Sound like fun?

The sheriff's department does not have time to investigate burglaries.

And while the sheriff will still investigate homicides, he has little resources to investigate crimes such as burglaries.

Some victims "are going to have to call the insurance companies and deal with it," Johnson said.

Sounds like a market for well-trained guard dogs. German shepherds or Rotties or Doberman Pinschers? How about a relatively rarer Belgian breed? Then mic your house to record the sound of bones breaking as the dog bites hard on an intruder.

By Randall Parker    2010 August 22 10:10 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (4)
2009 March 30 Monday
Brazil Builds Walls Around Rio Slums

Gotta keep the undesirables from spreading out in Brazil.

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 28 (Reuters) - The government of Rio de Janeiro is building concrete walls to prevent sprawling slums from spreading farther into the picturesque hills of this world-famous tourist destination, an official said on Saturday.

Construction has begun in two favelas, or shantytowns, in the southern districts of Rio de Janeiro, a government spokeswoman told Reuters. One of the two is Morro Dona Marta, which police occupied in November to control crime and violence caused mostly by rival drug gangs.

That's one way to control urban sprawl. It illustrates how the rule of law isn't sufficient to maintain control. Physical barriers are needed.

Some people complain about Mexico as a failed state. But Brazil does Mexico a favor by being worse. Thankfully though for Brazil, El Salvador has an even bigger murder problem.

According to the latest statistics available from the UN, the murder rate in Mexico in 2006 was 10.97 per 100,000 people, with a total of 11,558 homicides that year. Assuming 6,000 people were killed in 2008 because of the drug violence compared to a conservative estimate of 1,500 in 2006, this rate would have risen to around 15 last year, all other factors being equal. Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Guatemala all have higher rates, according to various sources including the UN and the World Health Organization, while in Latin America the list is headed by El Salvador with, in 2006, a whopping 58 murders per 100,000 people.

But there's hope. The Broken Windows concept of law enforcement is getting tried out in Rio. Hey, get down there and see it quick before it becomes as law-abiding as Germany.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Checking car registrations in Rio de Janeiro is a thankless task.

So far this morning, transit official Roberto Barbosa has been verbally abused by drivers and chewed out by pedestrians. An entire busload of commuters screamed invectives as they rode past.

Mr. Barbosa, his colleagues, and hundreds of other city and state officials are the sharp ends of a new push to transform a city famous for its "anything goes" outlook into a metropolis where laws have meaning again.

"We Cariocas are famous and proud of our informality, but it had become illegality, too," Zuenir Ventura, a popular columnist and author, says of Rio's decline into one of the world's most crime-ridden cities. "There was no respect for public places, no respect for noise levels, no respect for traffic laws, no respect for rules of any kind."

But the police in Brazil contribute to the murder rate.

In relation to the death squads (esquadrões da morte), Alston says that these extermination groups are formed by police and others with the objective of killing, mainly for financial gain. "Such groups sometimes justify their actions as an illegal tool of 'combating crime'. In cases where the groups are being contracted for money, the contractors sometimes integrate other criminal organizations, such as traffickers or corrupt politicians who feel threatened and are looking to dominate that threat, gain advantages over the other rival group, or to take revenge."

According to the report, data from the Public Ministry of Pernambuco indicates that approximately 70% of the assassinations in Pernambuco are carried out by death squads.

"One CPI (Parliamentary Inquiry Commission) of the national congress found that the majority of extermination groups are made up of government agents (police and prison agents) and that 80% of the crimes committed by these extermination groups involve police or ex-police," it added.

America's immigration law enforcement ought to be pursued far more aggressively to remove foreign criminals from our society. I do not want America to become more like Brazil or Mexico.

By Randall Parker    2009 March 30 11:42 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (3)
2008 December 16 Tuesday
Can Big Navies Beat Little Pirates?

So far various Navies have shown themselves ineffectual against Somali pirates.

But the wily buccaneers of Somalia’s seas do not seem especially deterred — instead, they seem to be getting only wilier. More than a dozen warships from Italy, Greece, Turkey, India, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, France, Russia, Britain, Malaysia and the United States have joined the hunt.

And yet, in the past two months alone, the pirates have attacked more than 30 vessels, eluding the naval patrols, going farther out to sea and seeking bigger, more lucrative game, including an American cruise ship and a 1,000-foot Saudi oil tanker.

The pirates are stalking bigger game. They are getting away with stuff like Johnny Depp. They need film crews assigned to them. This could make great reality TV.

Finally, nations are at least pretending to take serious this threat to the international trading system. Can't have mere pirates flaunting their disregard for authority now can we? No. The big governments are talking tough.

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 16 -- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize nations to conduct military raids, on land and by air, against pirates plying the waters off the Somalia coast even as two more ships were reportedly hijacked at sea.

The vote represented a major escalation by the world's big powers in the fight against the pirates, who have disrupted commerce along one of the world's most active sea routes and acquired tens of millions of dollars in ransom. It came as China -- which has had several ships commandeered in recent months -- said it is seriously considering joining U.S., European and Russian warships policing the region.

Are the pirates making enough money to buy the tech they need to fight back? Or are they too unsophisticated to get guided missiles to use against ships?

By Randall Parker    2008 December 16 11:45 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (16)
2007 July 22 Sunday
Adults Fear Youths In Worst Neighborhoods

I recall years ago reading an essay by Charles Murray where he said once illegitimacy passes some threshold adults no longer control neighborhoods. That is, parenthetically, an argument against letting in immigrant groups that have high rates of illegitimacy and single parent households. Well, in those neighborhoods where the adults lose control adults are afraid to tell the youthful criminals to stop their activities.

A study of young, violent criminals in New York City found that they used fear and intimidation to keep adults from interfering with their criminal activities.

Almost 40 percent of the young offenders interviewed said that adults' fear of teens was the defining characteristic of their relations.

As a result, in many situations, adults ignored criminal activity by teens and young adults, findings showed.

These results suggest that one of the usual prescriptions for ending youth violence -- more informal social control by neighborhood adults -- may not be realistic in some violent neighborhoods.

Putting all the criminals into jail and keeping them there long enough to allow the law abiding to restore order is one approach that could work. If a neighborhood's law abiding adults can't restrain its youths then the criminal element needs to get put in jail in very large numbers.

"There are these somewhat naive notions that the key to reducing violence is to create these close ties with neighbors, where adults can provide informal social control over teens," said Deanna Wilkinson, author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

"That's not going to work in neighborhoods where relations between adults and young people are governed by fear."

We need a male birth control device that youthful street criminals could be put on as a condition of probation. At least that way these thugs wouldn't knock up women to create new generations of criminals.

By Randall Parker    2007 July 22 10:14 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (21)
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