Two studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, (1, 2) in contrast to 10% of families in the general population.(3) A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24% (4), indicating that domestic violence is 2-4 times more common among police families than American families in general. A police department that has domestic violence offenders among its ranks will not effectively serve and protect victims in the community.5, 6, 7, 8 Moreover, when officers know of domestic violence committed by their colleagues and seek to protect them by covering it up, they expose the department to civil liability.7
Unique Vulnerability | Failure of Departmental Policies | "Exceedingly Light Discipline" | Performance Evaluations Not Affected | The LAPD Investigation | Legislative Response | Lack of Enforcement Undermines Law's Effectiveness | Resources | Footnotes
Domestic violence is always a terrible crime, but victims of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because the officer who is abusing them:
Victims often fear calling the police, because they know the case will be handled by officers who are colleagues and/or friends of their abuser. Victims of police family violence typically fear that the responding officers will side with their abuser and fail to properly investigate or document the crime.5, 7
These suspicions are well founded, as most departments across the country typically handle cases of police family violence informally, often without an official report, investigation, or even check of the victim's safety.5, 8, 9 This "informal" method is often in direct contradiction to legislative mandates and departmental policies regarding the appropriate response to domestic violence crimes. Moreover, a 1994 nationwide survey of 123 police departments documented that almost half (45%) had no specific policy for dealing with officer-involved domestic violence. In that same study:
Although the International Association of Chiefs of Police have prepared a model policy on police officer-involved domestic violence, there is no evidence that police departments across the country are doing anything other than simply including the policy in their manuals.
The reality is that even officers who are found guilty of domestic violence are unlikely to be fired, arrested, or referred for prosecution, raising concern that those who are tasked with enforcing the law cannot effectively police themselves.5, 6, 7 For example:
In fact, an in-depth investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department conducted by the Office of the Inspector General concluded that the discipline imposed on officers found guilty of domestic violence "was exceedingly light when the facts of each incident were examined" (p. i).12
The study of the Los Angeles Police Department further examined the 91 cases in which an allegation of domestic violence was sustained against an officer.
The report concluded that "employees with sustained allegations were neither barred from moving to desired positions nor transferred out of assignments that were inconsistent with the sustained allegation" (p. iii).12
In 1997, the Los Angeles Office of the Inspector General conducted an investigation of the LAPD after a legal consultant named Bob Mullally leaked shocking LAPD personnel files to the press. These files documented scores of violent domestic crimes committed by LAPD officers. Mullally was so shocked by the LAPD's mishandling of this police family violence that he decided to violate the civil protective order in the case he was working on and turn the files over to the media, in the hopes of creating change in the LAPD.
The National Center for Women & Policing and the Feminist Majority Foundation have been actively involved in this case, which was featured in 2000 in a 60 Minutes segment with Mike Wallace. For more information on the case or to obtain documents including the amicus brief submitted by the National Center for Women & Policing and the Feminist Majority Foundation, please contact our office at (310)556-2526.
In 1996, an important federal law was passed, which prohibits individuals -- including police officers -- from owning or using a firearm if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense (18 U.S.C. § 925).13
Unfortunately, an early analysis of the Domestic Violence Gun Ban on police officers shows that law enforcement officers have been able to circumvent the ban and retain their weapons. A 1999 survey of the nation's largest 100 police departments revealed that only six cities acted against officers because of the Domestic Violence Gun Ban and only eleven officers were affected. Part of the reason for the lack of enforcement is that police officers plead to a charge other than domestic violence.16 However, there are also other problems.
Finally, there is evidence that some officers convicted of domestic violence have their records expunged and remain on the department.12, 16, 18, 19, 20
see link for full story
Published on January 14, 2013. Tags: Al Qaeda, CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose, FBI, Gayle King, John Miller, Terrorism, The Terror Factory, Trevor Aaronson
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting Associate Director Trevor Aaronson was a guest Jan. 11 on CBS This Morning. In a conversation with Charlie Rose, Gayle King and John Miller, Aaronson discussed the findings of his new book, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, which questions the efficacy of FBI terrorism sting operations. Miller, a CBS News senior correspondent who was formerly assistant director of the FBI, called Aaronson’s book “an amazing piece of reporting.”
In The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism (Ig Publishing, January 2013), which grew out of an award-winning Mother Jones cover story, Aaronson analyzed more than 500 federal terrorism prosecutions from 2001 to 2012 and questioned whether U.S. law enforcement is creating the very enemy the nation fears.
Aaronson found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has, “under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, built a network of more than 15,000 informants to infiltrate Muslim communities and ferret out would-be terrorists. The Bureau then provides the means necessary for these would-be terrorists to move forward with a terrorist plot — in some cases even planting specific ideas for attacks.”
Few Americans, Aaronson says, realize that since 9/11 the FBI has been responsible for hatching and financing more terrorist plots in the United States than any other group.
“In the ten years following 9/11, the FBI and the Justice Department indicted and convicted more than 150 people following sting operations involving alleged connections to international terrorism,” Aaronson writes. “Few of these defendants had any connection to terrorists, evidence showed, and those who did have connections, however tangential, never had the capacity to launch attacks on their own. In fact, of the more than 150 terrorism sting operation defendants, an FBI informant not only led one of every three terrorist plots, but also provided all the necessary weapons, money, and transportation.”
Aaronson reports that through these elaborate and expensive sting operations involving informants and undercover agents posing as terrorists, the FBI has arrested — and the U.S. Justice Department has prosecuted — dozens of men who government officials say posed terrorist threats. He says evidence suggests, however, that some of those under FBI scrutiny did not have the capacity for terrorism and that FBI undercover agents provided the means, including weapons and logistical support.
Aaronson’s other findings in The Terror Factory include:
Aaronson’s book has received praise from reviewers, journalists and former government officials. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly described The Terror Factory as “compelling, shocking, and gritty with intrigue.” Lowell Bergman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who founded the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkeley, called The Terror Factory “investigative reporting at its best,” and James J. Wedick, a former FBI agent who supervised undercover work, said the author “explains just how misguided and often deceptive FBI terrorism sting operations have become.”
The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting will excerpt The Terror Factory in the coming weeks and highlight some of Aaronson’s reporting about Florida terrorism sting cases.
Aaronson will talk about the book at events nationwide in January and February. Upcoming events include:
January 21, 2013, 7:30 p.m. Powell’s City of Books 1005 West Burnside Street Portland, OR
January 23, 2013, 7 p.m. City Lights Books 261 Columbus Avenue San Francisco, CA 94133 A conversation with Monika Bauerlein, co-editor of Mother Jones magazine. C-SPAN’s Book TV will film this event.
January 30, 2013, 7 p.m. Politics and Prose 5015 Connecticut Avenue Northwest Washington, DC 20008
January 31, 2013, 6:15 p.m. Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute 435 West 116th Street New York, NY 10025 Book launch event hosted by Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, Council on American-Islamic Relations-New York, and National Lawyers Guild-New York.
February 4, 2013, 7 p.m. The Half King 505 West 23rd Street New York, NY 10011
February 6, 2013, 6:30 p.m. St. Joseph’s College 245 Clinton Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11205 A conversation with Betsy Reed, executive editor of The Nation magazine.
Chicago, IL - Anti-war and international solidarity activists, who have been the target of a massive and continuing two year Department of Justice investigation into their First Amendment protected activities, are calling on John Marshall Law School not to honor former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald will be the commencement speaker at the law school's graduation Sunday, Jan. 20, and will receive an honorary degree.
The activists are organizing a national call-in day Jan.18, to John Marshall’s Dean, John Corkery, asking him to rescind the honorary degree.
The groups are also planning to protest outside the law school commencement on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 3:00 pm at the Hyatt Regency, 151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago.
The call-in day and protest is sponsored by the Chicago Committee Against Political Repression, Coalition to Protect People’s Rights, Palestine Solidarity Group - Chicago and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network. The effort is backed by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression
U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald had a record of bullying anti-war and Palestine activists, including:
Prosecuting Palestinians Abdelhaleem Ashqar and Muhammad Salah, using a confession forced under torture in an Israeli prison. After Ashqar and Salah were acquitted of the major "terrorism"-related charges, Ashqar was indicted and convicted for invoking his constitutional right not to testify to a grand jury--clearly a punitive response by Fitzgerald after his very public loss in the case; and
Prosecuting whistle blower CIA employee, John Kiriakou, the only person going to prison for the CIA’s torture scandals of the past decade. Kiriakou didn’t torture anyone – he’s going to prison for blowing the whistle on torture.
Holy Land Five: also in Fitzgerald’s office, Special Prosecutor Barry Jonas played the major role in the case of the Holy Land Five, in which leaders of a Palestinian Muslim charity were convicted of providing material aid to terrorism. They were sentenced to many decades in prison, based on alleged donations to the same Gaza-based charities that the U.S. government donated to, and based on the secret testimony of an agent of the Israeli state. Jonas has taken over the current investigation into the 23 anti-war activists.
Hatem Abudayyeh, a Palestinian community activist in Chicago whose home was raided by the FBI in 2010, is still waiting for his belongings to be returned by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Abudayyeh said, “The U.S. Attorney’s office has continued this witch hunt for over two years. It’s time to publicly exonerate us and admit that they found absolutely no ‘material support for terrorists,’ as they allege, but only constitutionally-protected opposition to U.S. foreign policy and support for oppressed people in Palestine, Colombia and beyond.”
Joe Iosbaker, another one of the Chicago activists whose home was subjected to a dawn raid by 25 FBI agents in 2010, said, “With the case of Aaron Swartz, the net activist who committed suicide last week under intimidation by Boston’s U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, there is growing awareness of this bullying by prosecutors.”
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression is urges people to call John Marshall Law School Dean John Corkery at 312-987-2352 and tell him that Patrick Fitzgerald should not be honored in any way.
Call me Mr. Gatto, please. Twenty-six years ago, having nothing better to do, I tried my hand at schoolteaching. My license certifies me as an instructor of English language and literature, but that isn't what I do at all. What I teach is school, and I win awards doing it.
Teaching means many different things, but six lessons are common to schoolteaching from Harlem to Hollywood. You pay for these lessons in more ways than you can imagine, so you might as well know what they are:
The first lesson I teach is: "Stay in the class where you belong." I don't know who decides that my kids belong there but that's not my business. The children are numbered so that if any get away they can be returned to the right class. Over the years the variety of ways children are numbered has increased dramatically, until it is hard to see the human being under the burden of the numbers each carries. Numbering children is a big and very profitable business, though what the business is designed to accomplish is elusive.
In any case, again, that's not my business. My job is to make the kids like it -- being locked in together, I mean -- or at the minimum, endure it. If things go well, the kids can't imagine themselves anywhere else; they envy and fear the better classes and have contempt for the dumber classes. So the class mostly keeps itself in good marching order. That's the real lesson of any rigged competition like school. You come to know your place.
Nevertheless, in spite of the overall blueprint, I make an effort to urge children to higher levels of test success, promising eventual transfer from the lower-level class as a reward. I insinuate that the day will come when an employer will hire them on the basis of test scores, even though my own experience is that employers are (rightly) indifferent to such things. I never lie outright, but I've come to see that truth and [school]teaching are incompatible.
The lesson of numbered classes is that there is no way out of your class except by magic. Until that happens you must stay where you are put.
The second lesson I teach kids is to turn on and off like a light switch. I demand that they become totally involved in my lessons, jumping up and down in their seats with anticipation, competing vigorously with each other for my favor. But when the bell rings I insist that they drop the work at once and proceed quickly to the next work station. Nothing important is ever finished in my class, nor in any other class I know of.
The lesson of bells is that no work is worth finishing, so why care too deeply about anything? Bells are the secret logic of schooltime; their argument is inexorable; bells destroy past and future, converting every interval into a sameness, as an abstract map makes every living mountain and river the same even though they are not. Bells inoculate each undertaking with indifference.
The third lesson I teach you is to surrender your will to a predestined chain of command. Rights may be granted or withheld, by authority, without appeal. As a schoolteacher I intervene in many personal decisions, issuing a Pass for those I deem legitimate, or initiating a disciplinary confrontation for behavior that threatens my control. My judgments come thick and fast, because individuality is trying constantly to assert itself in my classroom. Individuality is a curse to all systems of classification, a contradiction of class theory.
Here are some common ways it shows up: children sneak away for a private moment in the toilet on the pretext of moving their bowels; they trick me out of a private instant in the hallway on the grounds that they need water. Sometimes free will appears right in front of me in children angry, depressed or exhilarated by things outside my ken. Rights in such things cannot exist for schoolteachers; only privileges, which can be withdrawn, exist.
The fourth lesson I teach is that only I determine what curriculum you will study. (Rather, I enforce decisions transmitted by the people who pay me). This power lets me separate good kids from bad kids instantly. Good kids do the tasks I appoint with a minimum of conflict and a decent show of enthusiasm. Of the millions of things of value to learn, I decide what few we have time for. The choices are mine. Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity.
Bad kids fight against this, of course, trying openly or covertly to make decisions for themselves about what they will learn. How can we allow that and survive as schoolteachers? Fortunately there are procedures to break the will of those who resist.
This is another way I teach the lesson of dependency. Good people wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. This is the most important lesson of all, that we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives. It is no exaggeration to say that our entire economy depends upon this lesson being learned. Think of what would fall apart if kids weren't trained in the dependency lesson: The social-service businesses could hardly survive, including the fast-growing counseling industry; commercial entertainment of all sorts, along with television, would wither if people remembered how to make their own fun; the food services, restaurants and prepared-food warehouses would shrink if people returned to making their own meals rather than depending on strangers to cook for them. Much of modern law, medicine, and engineering would go too -- the clothing business as well -- unless a guaranteed supply of helpless people poured out of our schools each year. We've built a way of life that depends on people doing what they are told because they don't know any other way. For God's sake, let's not rock that boat!
In lesson five I teach that your self-respect should depend on an observer's measure of your worth. My kids are constantly evaluated and judged. A monthly report, impressive in its precision, is sent into students' homes to spread approval or to mark exactly -- down to a single percentage point -- how dissatisfied with their children parents should be. Although some people might be surprised how little time or reflection goes into making up these records, the cumulative weight of the objective- seeming documents establishes a profile of defect which compels a child to arrive at a certain decisions about himself and his future based on the casual judgment of strangers.
Self-evaluation -- the staple of every major philosophical system that ever appeared on the planet -- is never a factor in these things. The lesson of report cards, grades, and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents, but must rely on the evaluation of certified officials. People need to be told what they are worth.
In lesson six I teach children that they are being watched. I keep each student under constant surveillance and so do my colleagues. There are no private spaces for children; there is no private time. Class change lasts 300 seconds to keep promiscuous fraternization at low levels. Students are encouraged to tattle on each other, even to tattle on their parents. Of course I encourage parents to file their own child's waywardness, too.
I assign "homework" so that this surveillance extends into the household, where students might otherwise use the time to learn something unauthorized, perhaps from a father or mother, or by apprenticing to some wiser person in the neighborhood.
The lesson of constant surveillance is that no one can be trusted, that privacy is not legitimate. Surveillance is an ancient urgency among certain influential thinkers; it was a central prescription set down by Calvin in the Institutes, by Plato in the Republic, by Hobbes, by Comte, by Francis Bacon. All these childless men discovered the same thing: Children must be closely watched if you want to keep a society under central control.
It is the great triumph of schooling that among even the best of my fellow teachers, and among even the best parents, there is only a small number who can imagine a different way to do things. Yet only a very few lifetimes ago things were different in the United States: originality and variety were common currency; our freedom from regimentation made us the miracle of the world; social class boundaries were relatively easy to cross; our citizenry was marvelously confident, inventive, and able to do many things independently, to think for themselves. We were something, all by ourselves, as individuals.
It only takes about 50 contact hours to transmit basic literacy and math skills well enough that kids can be self-teachers from then on. The cry for "basic skills" practice is a smokescreen behind which schools pre-empt the time of children for twelve years and teach them the six lessons I've just taught you.
We've had a society increasingly under central control in the United States since just before the Civil War: the lives we lead, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the green highway signs we drive by from coast to coast are the products of this central control. So, too, I think, are the epidemics of drugs, suicide, divorce, violence, cruelty, and the hardening of class into caste in the U.S., products of the dehumanization of our lives, the lessening of individual and family importance that central control imposes.
Without a fully active role in community life you cannot develop into a complete human being. Aristotle taught that. Surely he was right; look around you or look in the mirror: that is the demonstration.
"School" is an essential support system for a vision of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows to a control point as it ascends. "School" is an artifice which makes such a pyramidal social order seem inevitable (although such a premise is a fundamental betrayal of the American Revolution). In colonial days and through the period of the early Republic we had no schools to speak of. And yet the promise of democracy was beginning to be realized. We turned our backs on this promise by bringing to life the ancient dream of Egypt: compulsory training in subordination for everybody. Compulsory schooling was the secret Plato reluctantly transmitted in the Republic when he laid down the plans for total state control of human life.
The current debate about whether we should have a national curriculum is phony; we already have one, locked up in the six lessons I've told you about and a few more I've spared you. This curriculum produces moral and intellectual paralysis, and no curriculum of content will be sufficient to reverse its bad effects. What is under discussion is a great irrelevancy.
None of this is inevitable, you know. None of it is impregnable to change. We do have a choice in how we bring up young people; there is no right way. There is no "international competition" that compels our existence, difficult as it is to even think about in the face of a constant media barrage of myth to the contrary. In every important material respect our nation is self-sufficient. If we gained a non-material philosophy that found meaning where it is genuinely located -- in families, friends, the passage of seasons, in nature, in simple ceremonies and rituals, in curiosity, generosity, compassion, and service to others, in a decent independence and privacy -- then we would be truly self-sufficient.
How did these awful places, these "schools", come about? As we know them, they are a product of the two "Red Scares" of 1848 and 1919, when powerful interests feared a revolution among our industrial poor, and partly they are the result of the revulsion with which old-line families regarded the waves of Celtic, Slavic, and Latin immigration -- and the Catholic religion -- after 1845. And certainly a third contributing cause can be found in the revulsion with which these same families regarded the free movement of Africans through the society after the Civil War.
Look again at the six lessons of school. This is training for permanent underclasses, people who are to be deprived forever of finding the center of their own special genius. And it is training shaken loose from its original logic: to regulate the poor. Since the 1920s the growth of the well-articulated school bureaucracy, and the less visible growth of a horde of industries that profit from schooling exactly as it is, have enlarged schooling's original grasp to seize the sons and daughters of the middle class.
Is it any wonder Socrates was outraged at the accusation that he took money to teach? Even then, philosophers saw clearly the inevitable direction the professionalization of teaching would take, pre-empting the teaching function that belongs to all in a healthy community; belongs, indeed, most clearly to yourself, since nobody else cares as much about your destiny. Professional teaching tends to another serious error. It makes things that are inherently easy to learn, like reading, writing, and arithmetic, difficult -- by insisting they be taught by pedagogical procedures.
With lessons like the ones I teach day after day, is it any wonder we have the national crisis we face today? Young people indifferent to the adult world and to the future; indifferent to almost everything except the diversion of toys and violence? Rich or poor, schoolchildren cannot concentrate on anything for very long. They have a poor sense of time past and to come; they are mistrustful of intimacy (like the children of divorce they really are); they hate solitude, are cruel, materialistic, dependent, passive, violent, timid in the face of the unexpected, addicted to distraction.
All the peripheral tendencies of childhood are magnified to a grotesque extent by schooling, whose hidden curriculum prevents effective personality development. Indeed, without exploiting the fearfulness, selfishness, and inexperience of children our schools could not survive at all, nor could I as a certified schoolteacher.
"Critical thinking" is a term we hear frequently these days as a form of training which will herald a new day in mass schooling. It certainly will, if it ever happens. No common school that actually dared teach the use of dialectic, heuristic, and other tools of free minds could last a year without being torn to pieces.
Institutional schoolteachers are destructive to children's development. Nobody survives the Six-Lesson Curriculum unscathed, not even the instructors. The method is deeply and profoundly anti-educational. No tinkering will fix it. In one of the great ironies of human affairs, the massive rethinking that schools require would cost so much less than we are spending now that it is not likely to happen. First and foremost, the business I am in is a jobs project and a contract-letting agency. We cannot afford to save money, not even to help children.
At the pass we've come to historically, and after 26 years of teaching, I must conclude that one of the only alternatives on the horizon for most families is to teach their own children at home. Small, de- institutionalized schools are another. Some form of free-market system for public schooling is the likeliest place to look for answers. But the near impossibility of these things for the shattered families of the poor, and for too many on the fringes of the economic middle class, foretell that the disaster of Six-Lesson Schools is likely to continue.
After an adult lifetime spent in teaching school I believe the method of schooling is the only real content it has. Don't be fooled into thinking that good curricula or good equipment or good teachers are the critical determinants of your son and daughter's schooltime. All the pathologies we've considered come about in large measure because the lessons of school prevent children from keeping important appointments with themselves and their families, to learn lessons in self-motivation, perseverance, self-reliance, courage, dignity and love -- and, of course, lessons in service to others, which are among the key lessons of home life.
Thirty years ago these things could still be learned in the time left after school. But television has eaten most of that time, and a combination of television and the stresses peculiar to two-income or single-parent families have swallowed up most of what used to be family time. Our kids have no time left to grow up fully human, and only thin-soil wastelands to do it in.
A future is rushing down upon our culture which will insist that all of us learn the wisdom of non-material experience; this future will demand, as the price of survival, that we follow a pace of natural life economical in material cost. These lessons cannot be learned in schools as they are. School is like starting life with a 12-year jail sentence in which bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know.
A 1997 interview on We The People radio has been transcribed here.
[The following is from a letter by Grace Llewellyn (author of the Teenage Liberation Handbook), printed in the Spring 1992 issue of the Whole Earth Review:]
.. Gatto has a new job. Having resigned, he continues to implement his unique "guerilla curriculum" at the Albany Free School, and also lectures nationwide. In his lectures and his writing Gatto not only adeptly denounces the public schools, but also makes radical suggestions for improving them. These suggestions are grounded not in hypothetical clouds but rather on his own innovative methods of teaching which involve community service projects, independent study, apprenticeships, and solitude. ... More of Gatto's writing can be found in a new collection of his essays entitled "Dumbing Us Down" (New Society Publishers, 1992) [excerpted in WER issue #81].
"Dumbing Us Down" is available from New Society Publishers (POB 189, Gabriola Island, BC, V0R 1X0 CANADA), or via Gatto's own online bookstore, or from your friendly neighborhood bookstore (ISBN 0-86571-448-7).
A more comprehensive book, newly available on-line as well as in print is "The Underground History of American Education", and may be found at John Taylor Gatto's own web site, johntaylorgatto.com. You can buy a copy via his online bookstore, or from your friendly neighborhood bookstore (ISBN 0-945-70004-0). (Note: I have no financial relationship with him or the publisher.)
Harper's September 2003 issue had an essay, "Against School".
If you maintain a web page, you are encouraged to add a link to this one, as a short introduction to the problem of school. This page will be stable forever.
Transcending Tribal Mentality By Caroline Myss
All of us are born into a "tribal mentality" of various forms. These include our family unit, religious background, country of origin, ethnicity, etc. The tribal mentality effectively indoctrinates an individual into the tribe's beliefs, ensuring that all believe the same. The structure of reality – what is and is not possible for the members of the group – is thus agreed upon and maintained by the tribe.
While the tribal mentality has definite benefits in terms of establishing common ground and ensuring group survival, it is not a conscious agreement. We are born into it. Yet at a certain stage, both personally and collectively, the tribal mentality must be challenged. People can then begin to recognize the need for a personal honor code independent of the tribe. If humanity is to progress, we need to learn how to treat everyone – regardless of tribal affiliation – with honor and respect.
Every one of us is plugged into the tribal mind. We support tribal belief patterns by directing a percentage of our life force into maintaining our affiliation with the tribe. This involves an implicit agreement to think like the tribe thinks, to evaluate situations and people the way the tribe does, and to believe in right and wrong according to tribal values and ambitions. As long as the tribal mentality within us remains unexamined, we unwittingly subject others to our tribal laws.
When we are plugged into tribal thought forms, we can easily believe in nonsensical prejudices held by the tribe. Tribal mentality allows us to hold harsh, judgmental positions or attitudes about an entire group of people: "All fat people are lazy," or "all Irish are drunks," or "all Muslims are terrorists" for example.
A rigid tribal thought form may have little truth to it, but individuals hold to such beliefs because that perspective is what the tribe has agreed to believe. Innocent children, born into the hatred and prejudice of their parents and ancestors, grow up inside a tribal mentality that sponsors an endless march toward war against the tribe's perceived enemies. People grow up hating other people – people they have never seen – based on group affiliation. This is the shadow side of the tribe.
Inevitably, some among us come to a point where we want to break out of the inflexible tribal mentality. At some point, these individuals want to explore, develop, and manage their own consciousness without the judgments and limitations of the tribal mind.
It is easy to spot these mavericks when they start to question and unplug from tribal mentality – they hang out on the periphery looking bored and restless, or whimsical and dreamy. Others may act out the agitated hot-head as they challenge tribal ways.
The unspoken assumption of the tribal mind is that everybody loves being part of the tribe. And in many ways, we do. Knowing where and to whom we "belong" is crucial to our self-concept and sense of safety in the world. Yet when we begin the real deep journey of questioning, "What do I believe?" and start to individuate from the tribe, we often enter a dark night of the soul. It is, by necessity, a passage we take alone.
It's one thing to reject what we don't want to believe anymore. It's quite another to begin to explore what we do believe. All we know as we enter the dark night is that we can't go back – even when the tribe is the only world we've ever known.
At this critical point in our development, the tribe doesn't feel right anymore. It no longer offers us comfort. Previous feelings of security and familiarity begin to feel like a trap constraining our individuality and hampering our efforts to discover deeper levels of who we really are.
This dark night passage pushes us to look at our false gods – the tribal belief patterns in which we've become invested and to which we've given our allegiance.
The Language of Wounds
For a large segment of the population, the language of wounds has become the new tribal language of intimacy. Prior to the current age of personal therapy – which only really took off in the 1960s and 70s – the tribal language of intimacy largely involved the sharing of only superficial personal and family data. Deeper matters such as family secrets like sexual abuse or a mad aunt or uncle were shared with exceedingly few, if any.
Divorce and financial information were also considered very intimate. People would almost never talk about such matters, or about their inner life and emotions. They talked only about the details of what was going on in their external lives. The tribal mentality at the time kept people from revealing intimate matters or deep wounds or traumas even with their family and close friends.
The current age of personal therapy has brought about a very different situation. Now, the tribal mentality has shifted such that we not only share our intimate feelings more openly and willingly, many have even begun to define themselves by their wounds. Let me give an example of how this phenomenon plays itself out.
I was in an Indian restaurant in Scotland talking with two men friends when the woman friend I was to meet for dinner walked up and greeted the three of us. After I had introduced her, another man walked over and asked if she was free on June 8th, as he thought she might like to attend a lecture on that date. The question required little more than a ‘yes' or a ‘no' answer.
Instead of a simple answer, she began an elaborate discussion about June 8th. "Did you say June 8th? No, no. Any other day would be fine, but not June 8th. That's the day my incest survivor group meets and I have to be there because we never let each other down." She went on and on for at least a full minute with this.
Later, I asked her, "Do you realize that in that brief introduction, you told two men whom you have never met before that 1) you had experienced incest, 2) you were still in therapy about it, 3) you were angry about it, 4) you were angry at men, and 5) you needed to determine the course of the conversation – all in one minute?"
She replied, "Well, I am a victim of incest."
To which I replied, "I know that. Why did you have to let them know that?"
She was operating from a tribal mentality. The group mind within the incest survivor community has a belief about how this particular wound should be healed. The tribe says, "You need a group." The tribe says, "You have a right to be angry."
People now get together in support group tribes that function within many of the same rigid frameworks of ethnic, national, or family tribes. Some feel that the comfort and security of belonging to a group or tribe is more important than venturing alone in the direction of real healing.
Tribalism in Relationships
The tendency toward tribalism can keep us stuck in repeating negative cycles in our intimate relationships, and can wreak havoc when a relationship is ripe for transition. Tribal mentality often teaches a righteous stance in relationships: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. When we feel violated, the first thought is vengeance, rather than forgiveness.
Tribal mentality even has gender-specific undercurrents – women do vengeance differently than men. Yet for both genders, what rules the day is the tribal mentality that holds "breaking up is painful" or "betrayal warrants retaliation."
Healing revolves around this crucial question: "Do you want to make different choices?" Are we willing to let go of old, constricting tribal patterns? Sadly, the answer quite often is "No." Being healthy isn't always the most appealing option. Quite frankly, in many cases, it's not appealing at all. What is most appealing is being out of pain. Old patterns are difficult to relinquish because they do serve to relieve pain, even if it is only in the short run.
Change is terrifying for many precisely because short-term pain relief must be given up. Deep healing requires learning to tolerate the pain that comes with change. Fortunately, the growing pains that come with new behavior – with making the choices that will change your life – are often short-lived.
Thought alone doesn't heal. Nor does action without thought. For deep healing to occur, we need the chemistry of conscious thought and direct action combined. Every thought or attitude we have – whether consciously chosen or unconsciously adopted through the tribal mind – invests a part of our life-force into that thought or attitude. This is true whether the thought is one of betrayal and vengeance, or of understanding and forgiveness.
What matters is that a whole system of consciousness – the old tribal mentality – no longer holds us enthralled. We no longer have faith in those limiting patterns of thought. Through this transformation we learn a whole new level of trust. We break the habit of telling tribal lies which bring short-term comfort but long-term pain. We develop a new sense of self-worth and of trust and honor.
In spite of all the heavy tribal conditioning, we now have hope because tribal mentality the world over is going through a vast transformation. And each one of us can play a vital role in this transformation.
With increasing numbers of individuals changing and transcending limiting tribal beliefs, the codes of the tribe are being affected. As we collectively change and evolve, the tribes around us gradually change and evolve with us. Yet ultimately, the journey upon which we are embarking is an incredible solo flight of transcending the tribe to find our own trust, honor, and new sense of self-worth and meaning in life.
It's official: CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives. It's the contentious bill that would provide a poorly-defined "cybersecurity" exception to existing privacy law. CISPA offers broad immunities to companies who choose to share data with government agencies -- including the private communications of users -- in the name of cybersecurity. It also creates avenues for companies to share data with any federal agencies, including military intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency. EFF is adamantly opposed to CISPA. Join us in calling on Congress to stop this and any other privacy-invasive cybersecurity legislation.
Internet users around the world got a Valentine's Day present last week in the form of new legislation that requires U.S. government agencies to improve public access to federally funded research. Under the bill's proposal, agencies like the National Science Foundation, which invests millions of taxpayer dollars in scientific research every year, must design and implement a plan to facilitate public access to -- and robust reuse of -- the results of that investment.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act's broad language and draconian penalty scheme allows overreaching prosecutors to abuse their discretion. This can turn minor incidents with no real harm into serious criminal prosecutions, with the threat of long prison sentences and the consequences that go along with a felony conviction -- like not being able to vote. Computer crime can be serious and law enforcement should properly investigate and prosecute those who use computers to cause financial harm and violate the privacy of others. But at the same time, punishments should fit crimes.
The Truth of "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"
July 04, 2011
Despite what the media have led us to believe, the hallowed phrase "beyond a reasonable doubt" is not self-explanatory. Jurors, charged with the responsibility of making life-and-death decisions, are told to apply this legalese-larded "standard." But not only is this "standard" purely adjectival, movies and television have morphed it into a Rashomon-style point-of-view. The interpretation of "reasonable doubt" is as unstable (and as potentially explosive) as nitroglycerin in a cocktail shaker. History has taught that if we allow interpretations to control reality, truth is the first victim of the chaos to follow. A simple illustration will suffice: we all agree that "evil" is a bad thing. Therefore, whoever has the power to define which acts (or individuals) are "evil" also has the power to control our conduct. When we anoint such an interpreter, we walk a smoother path. But we walk it blindfolded. If we refuse to grant such god-like power to others, we have to do the work ourselves. To ensure a uniform standard for "reasonable doubt," we must subject the term itself to dispassionate dissection. Unless we separately analyze "reasonable" and "doubt" in the context of a criminal trial, the term will degenerate to cliché status: endlessly repeated, but devoid of any actual meaning. That is, "reasonable doubt" will mean whatever an individual chooses it to mean, as open to interpretation as the Bible or the Koran. The horrific consequences of allowing those with an agenda to exercise the power of "interpretation" are beyond dispute. See, e.g., Nuremberg.
At some point in their life, everyone thinks they should go to law school. You may in fact think you want to go to law school now.
I don't know you, I have no idea what the facts of your life are, but that doesn't matter, you aren't the exception. For the overwhelming majority of people (>99.9 percent), law school is the wrong choice.
How can I know this? Because I've been you -- I went to law school for the same reasons you think you should go -- and I was wrong. I should never have gone to law school, and you shouldn't either.
If you're not thinking about going to law school, you can skip this whole post, or just send it to your friends who are thinking about going and thank your god that you're not them. But if you are one of the many thinking about law school, start by asking yourself one simple question:
"Why do I want to go to law school?" Yes, it's an obvious question, but almost everyone in your position either overlooks it or avoids it with rationalizations. So answer it, right now, to yourself. You want an easy way to stay in school, you want to be guaranteed a good high-paying job -- whatever reason(s) you think you want to go to law school, spell them out and make them explicit to yourself.
I have heard every single answer to this question there is. These are the 6 wrong reasons I hear most often (see if your answer is in this list):
The 6 Wrong Reasons to Go to Law School
1. "I like arguing and everyone says I'm good at it."
Of all reasons to go to law school, this is the worst by a large margin. Know who else likes arguing? Sports talk radio hosts, cable news talking heads and teenagers -- i.e., idiots. If you like to argue just for the sake of being contentious, you shouldn't pick a job based on this unresolved emotional issue of yours, you should get counseling for it.
If you like arguing for the intellectual challenges it can present, that's an understandable and reasonable position. Everyone likes a healthy, intelligent debate right? Well, understand that being a lawyer has almost nothing to do with arguing in the conventional sense, and very few lawyers ever engage in anything resembling "arguments" in their commonly understood form. You aren't going to be sitting around a fine mahogany desk sipping scotch with your colleagues discussing the finer points of the First Amendment; you're going to be crammed in a lifeless cubicle forced to crank out last-minute memos about the tax implications for a non-profit organization trying to lease office space to a for-profit organization (if this gets your juices flowing, maybe the law is for you after all).
You won't even be having fun discussions in law school. In law school, the people who want to "argue" a lot are called "gunners" and are reviled by everyone, even the professors. Make no mistake about it: Law school is not a bastion of intellectual discourse. It is a fucking TRADE SCHOOL. You are all there to be trained to think and act exactly the same way as everyone else in the profession, so you can then be a drone in the legal system. No one is interested in your opinion. The only one of those that matters is the one expressed, with a capital "O", by the judge(s) in whatever case you are currently reading.
Beyond that, to be genuinely good at legal "arguing," you must be dispassionate, reasonable and smart. I have never met a person who was any of those things who also said they were going to law school because other people told them they were good at arguing. It indicates only the shallowest understanding of the law and pathetically sloppy critical-thinking skills. If arguing is really why you want to go to law school, save your money and start a blog about American politics where you can shout into the echo chamber of imbeciles all you want without bothering anyone smart who has things to do.
2. "I want to be like Jack McCoy from Law & Order [or insert your favorite legal TV show character]."
I have little sympathy for this perspective. It is 2012, if you still allow yourself to be misled by the bullshit on TV, it means you are either very naive or an unrecoverable moron, and you should immediately drown yourself in the nearest toilet to save the world the frustration of having to deal with you and your stupidity. Let me be VERY clear about this for you:
The actual job of being a lawyer is NOTHING AT ALL like what you see on TV.
It is possibly less like the real thing than any other profession depicted on television. Every doctor I've ever talked to scoffs at shows like ER and House, but they all say that at least the diagnoses are connected to the physical symptoms we see and are treated with the proper kinds of drugs. In legal dramas, the exact opposite is the case. Don't think so? The next time you get a DUI (if you're going to law school to be like Jack McCoy this WILL happen), represent yourself and try to give a speech while questioning the arresting officer. You won't make it longer than 30 seconds before you're held in contempt and locked up for wasting everyone's time. Is that a little harsh? Maybe. Welcome to the grown-up world.
There is NO lawyer/law procedural that even remotely shows what it's like to be a lawyer. You know why? Because being a lawyer is not only soul-crushing, it's REALLY BORING, and that doesn't make for good TV. If you want to know what it's like to be a lawyer, go work in a law office for a summer. Or shadow a lawyer for a day or two. There's nothing like a day with a lawyer to disabuse you of the notion that anything in the legal profession is like TV.
3. "It's the only way I can use my humanities degree."
Having a soft major is nowhere near the career death sentence that so many make it out to be. The world is changing, and the U.S. economy with it. Our economy is shifting to a service and information based economy, and soft majors are already becoming more and more valuable.
Why? Because a services and information-based economy needs what the Humanities creates: literate, intelligent, well-read people who can write and communicate ideas effectively. The demand for these people is not going to flutter out. In fact, it will only grow stronger as the economy continues to shift and the supply of qualified candidates remains insufficient. Do not make the mistake of thinking law school is your only option. That is simply not true. In plain English: A humanities major now has many, many options they didn't have in the pre-Internet era.
Beyond that, this reason belies an assumption: That you have to get a job. When you finish school, everyone knows about the two most obvious options: 1. Get a job working for someone else or 2. Get more schooling. But there is a third option: Carve your own path in the world. This can take many different forms, like starting a company [for example see Paul Graham's piece]. Or it could take the form of many other sorts of lifehacking activities [for example, see Tim Ferriss' muse concept, or Chris Guilliebeau's $100 start-up concept].
If you limit yourself to the choices presented to you by people who one did one of those two things -- get a job or go back to school -- then you obviously aren't going to understand that. There are other ways to make a living, and lots of people following those paths, you just have to go look for them.
4. "I want to change the world/help homeless people/rescue stray kittens/do something noble."
Wanting to help others is great, but if you are one of those rosy-eyed dipshits who sign anti-sweatshop petitions while wearing Nikes (made in Vietnam by children) and listening to your iPod (made in China by Foxconn virtual slaves) you know what's going to happen when you finally go out into the world trying to change it equipped with just a law degree and a healthy dose of optimism? Life is going to kick you in the teeth. Repeatedly.
If you go to law school with just some vague notion of public service and no sense of real, directed purpose, you WILL regret your decision. My first day in law school, the entire class was gathered in a lecture hall and they asked everyone who wanted to be in public service to raise their hand. At least 100 people did. Do you know how many ended up in a public service job three years later? Three of them. The other 97+ didn't stop wanting to make the world a better place, they just didn't know what it actually MEANS to help poor people for $30,000 a year when they raised their hands three years earlier. They hadn't tested their moral resolve in the crucible of suffocating debt. A $140,000/year job at Skadden Arps is a hard thing to ignore when you're staring down the barrel of a $150,000+ debt burden and $1,700+ monthly loan payments that start real quick after graduation.
If you want to cultivate a life full of bitterness and resentment a good way to do it is go to law school thinking you're going to be a crusader for change, then end up having to become the very opposite -- a corporate lawyer drone -- to pay off your law school debt. This happens to pretty much everyone in law school. If you want to change the world, that's awesome -- go do it. Don't go to law school, having a law degree doesn't help you.
5. "I don't know what else to do." If you are coming to the end of your schooling and don't know what to do, or just otherwise feel lost in life, you shouldn't feel bad. It's OK. You're not alone. At least you have an excuse: You're barely old enough to drink, you don't need to know what you're going to do with the rest of your life at this point.
If your parents and guidance counselors say that you should have already "picked a direction" or "figured out a plan for your future" by now, ignore them. The pressure and admonitions they are foisting upon you aren't about your happiness or your success; it's about theirs. It's about validating themselves as good parents and qualified counselors. If they see you go to law school, to them it means you a) got good grades, b) went to college, c) didn't drop out, d) didn't commit (m)any felonies, e) have ambition and f) will make six-figures. By every traditional measure, they have succeeded in their prescribed roles.
None of this, of course, has anything to do with whether you are happy or fulfilled or even like the law; which are the most important considerations when making a decision like this. So relax. If you need more time to find your calling, that's fine, take it. Try lots of things, see what you like. Try working in a law firm, you'll see REAL fast that you hate it (or you'll love it, and thus validate your law school choice).
6. "I want to make a lot of money."
If there's one thing you can't argue with, it's that lawyers make a lot of money, right? I mean, a corporate lawyer starts at something like $140k a year, that's huge, right?
$140k+ to start sounds like a lot of money, until you break it down. Currently, most large corporate firms -- where you will find these six-figure starting salaries -- require somewhere between 1,900-2,000 billable hours from their associates. This is not the total number of hours you have to be in the office, this is the total number of hours of actual work you can bill directly to a client. For a smart attorney with a solid work ethic, it typically takes about 10 hours in the office to accrue 7 billable hours; tracked most often in 6 minute or 1/10th of an hour segments. If we take the lower end of the billable requirement threshold (1,900 hours), that means a typical attorney has to work about ~2,700 real hours in a year to meet their minimum billables. To put that in perspective, 2,700 hours is equal to working 7.5 hours a day EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR.
Using a $140,000 base salary, that's equivalent to making ~$50/hour [FYI -- here's a short list of other careers that pay $50/hour or more and do not require a) 3 years of post-graduate schooling and $150k in debt or b) you to work 365 days a year to get it].
This is what people mean when they talk about something that looks too good to be true. There is a reason so many lawyers leave the legal field: Being a lawyer -- especially a lawyer at the type of big corporate firm that seemingly pays so well -- SUCKS.
The American Bar Association has published several studies about the incredibly low job satisfaction of lawyers and in every survey they publish, most lawyers say they would NOT be a lawyer if they had it all to do over again.
Perhaps the most important thing for you to understand, there are NOT an unlimited number of jobs out there that start at $140,000/year. In fact, there aren't many at all, and pretty much ALL of them go to kids who come from the Top 15 law schools. Beyond that, the overall legal job market has dried up, even the low paying jobs. They aren't going to tell you any of this at law school recruitment receptions; in fact schools continue to tell prospective students the opposite, which is why more and more of them are being sued for fraud.
I cannot be any clearer about this: You are not guaranteed a job out of any law school, much less a job that pays six figures.
Now, ask yourself the question again:
"Why do I want to go Law School?"
If ANY of the 6 above reasons describe why you want to go to law school, stop now. Seriously. No qualifiers on this statement, just stop. DO NOT GO. You will regret it.
If you think you have one of the good reasons to go to law school you're still not out of the woods:
The Problem of Debt
There are many perfectly valid reasons to go to law school. You may very well have one of them. But even if your reason for going to law school is rock solid, you still need to consider one major thing: Debt.
I've mentioned this multiple times above, because it is so crucially important to making the right decision about law school. Debt is the elephant in the room that law schools never tell you about, but ends up dominating your life.
Law school is three years long. If you go to an average law school and don't get any tuition help or scholarships, you are going to spend ~$150,000 all-in, at least. That's three years of tuition, assorted fees, books and living expenses. Unless you are one of the few whose parents set up a tuition fund for BOTH your undergrad AND your grad school, that means you are going to be taking loans. This means you are going to start your law job already 150k in the hole -- and that's not counting any undergrad debt you may be carrying. This means you are going be making a $1,700/month payment for about a decade. On just your grad school debt.
And make no mistake about it: Once you are in debt, they own you. In a straight-forward approximation, a starting salary of $140,000/year would put our intrepid new lawyer in the 28 percent tax bracket. Loan payments will take another 14.57 percent of his per-unit-time income. To a first-degree approximation then, it is accurate to say 42.5 percent of our INL's income dissipates before being touched by him/her. It'd be funny if it wasn't so sad.
Even if you started off law school with the best of non-profit save-the-world intentions, when you are staring a $1,700 per MONTH payment in the face, you WILL end up scurrying to work for a white collar sweatshop. And you will hate it, like everyone does, and you WILL want to leave, like everyone does, but you won't be able to -- like everyone else can't -- because you will have too much debt to pay off.
So you're going to spend a decade toiling 12 hours a day for what? To pay off the debt you incurred to get that job!? HOW CRAZY IS THAT!?!
Well guess what -- THAT IS THE LAW SCHOOL RACKET.
But Don't Just Believe Me
I asked some friends who are lawyers to read a preliminary version of this post and give me their feedback. I'll leave you with their quotes:
I would HIGHLY recommend that anyone who is thinking of law school spend a year as a paralegal or as some sort of staff at a law firm before going to law school. Enough so that you can see 1) what young attorneys have to do 2) hear how much they bitch about hating it and 3) dispel any notions about ANY law firm caring about their associates or being "family friendly". Because that is a damn expensive mistake to make if you find out you don't like the practice of law. I went to a very good, very expensive law school and started out at a big firm. I hated it. I have since moved on to a smaller firm, which I do like more. But in all honesty, if I could do it all over, I would not go at all. And if I wasn't staring 100k in student loans in the face, I would probably quit firm practice altogether.
I have worked as a paralegal in some form of legal (family, bond, litigation) for 14 years now. I have yet to meet an attorney who is satisfied with his lot in life. I am not saying everyone non-esquire is thrilled with theirs, just that on a whole, these are some of the saddest, most down-trodden people I have known in my life. Most of my best friends are attorneys so I hear first hand about the student loans they are STILL paying off at 38; the huge houses and Mercedes' they purchased well beyond their means to "keep up with the Joneses" (a.k.a. every other attorney in the firm); the misery that is their ongoing marriages; the ridiculous hours; ice cold dinners; the utter lack of originality in their conversations; etc., etc., etc. Listening to these woes sucks the energy out of me everytime they come up. The most common nugget I hear: "Why, God WHY did I choose this profession?"
Nobody ever told me that I would be keeping time sheets that require me to divide my days into six-minute increments. Nobody told me I would have to choose between doing it right and doing it on a budget. The words "the client is cost-sensitive" burn my ears. But the marketing shit is the worst. The push to bring in business and schmooze potential clients and "cross-sell" within the firm. It's worse at some firms than others, but it is absolute misery to me no matter how much or how little marketing I may be doing. I've been practicing for 10 years, most of that time in big firms, and I have yet to get used to the business side of things. So I suppose that would be my take on things: even if you are going to law school for all of the "right reasons," odds are you will spend a significant portion of your day as the used-car salesman from Hell whose boss is nickle and diming you to an early grave.
As I write this, it is 85 degrees, sunny, with a slight, cooling breeze coming from the West. The only reason I know this is that I took twenty minutes to run to get a sandwich to eat at my desk. I am sitting in a basement office which houses three of us, putting off research on state law fair debt collection vs. the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the definition of a creditor to write this post. If that paragraph alone doesn't deter someone from law school, then I don't know what will.
And my personal favorite, from a friend of mine who is a partner at a huge multi-national firm:
I am a partner in one of the largest law firms in the world (measured by either revenue or # of lawyers). I had two associates pull all-nighters last night. I doubt either of them has slept more than 3 or 4 hours any night this week. I wonder if they are regretting their decision to go to law school? I'd ask, but I don't really care. Tucker, I'd really prefer if you did not do anything to cut off the supply of drones. Fortunately, the ones who will actually be persuaded by your speech are not the ones we want working here. I actually agree with everything you said in your speech. However, whoever posted the job satisfaction stat about 76 percent being unsatisfied, that means 24 percent are satisfied. You may be in the 24 percent.
Here is the funny thing about this piece: Every bit of knowledge in this piece was conferred to me before I got to law school. Much of it was told to me BY LAWYERS who repeatedly stressed how much they HATED their jobs. At this point, even the ABA is telling college kids not to go to law school.
You know what I did? I ignored it. I mean, sure all of those other assholes may be miserable and may hate the legal profession, but what do they know, they're only lawyers? If you're laughing at my ignorance, you're right to laugh. I was stupid.
Don't be me. Don't go to law school. Go do something with your life that you'll enjoy, is rewarding and productive and makes the world a better place.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/theses/542/SCAR'd Times: Maine's Prisoners' Rights Movement, 1971-1976
Daniel S. Chard, University of Massachusetts - AmherstFollow
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Prison History, Prisoners' Rights Movement, Maine Social Movements, Maine Prisons, SCAR, Ray Levasseur
In late 1972, prisoners and ex-convicts in Maine formed Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform (SCAR), a radical prisoners' rights organization that provoked a thoroughgoing public discussion on the function of prisons in Maine and in American society that lasted for about two years. Working for prison reform through legislation, litigation, and community organizing, SCAR influenced a Maine public unusually receptive to new approaches to criminal justice due to the impact of nationwide prison rebellions and the widely publicized massacre of forty-three prisoners and guards in New York’s Attica State Prison on September 13, 1971. As SCAR members, frustrated by the slow pace of change, came to increasingly view crime and prisons as products of an unjust socio-economic system that could be changed only through revolutionary means, a conservative backlash against prison reform also developed in the state, led by police officers, prison guards, and others who felt that Maine’s criminal justice system did not effectively safeguard its citizens from violent crime. When SCAR disbanded in 1976 as a result of internal political divisions and intense police repression, Maine no longer had an organized constituency to push for prison reform, leaving conservatives and the forces of political inertia and public indifference to guide state correctional policy in the years since.
A $1 million gift will help a national group with an active base in Knoxville further its mission to protect children.
On Monday morning, Debbie Weiss of California announced the donation to the National Association to Protect Children (NAPC).
The money will help establish a high-tech center at NAPC headquarters in Downtown Knoxville.
The Weiss Center for Child Rescue and Protection Technology will focus on advancing technology to protect children.
For several years, NAPC has partnered with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Together, they have been able to improve technology that catches predators.
"They've produced incredible tools for law enforcement. They've got a thumb drive that recognizes child pornography. You stick it in the computer and it downloads the child porn in 15 minutes. It used to take weeks to do manually," said David Keith with NAPC.
But law enforcement needs help, which is how the Weiss Center decided its first mission.
The HERO (Human Exploitation Rescue Operatives) Child-Rescue Corps program will create 200 new jobs for wounded warriors.
Veterans will be trained and placed across the country, using technology created by ORNL.
Consultant National Center on Institutions and Alternative Ph.D. Psychiatric Social Work
Dr. Jerome G. Miller is co-founder of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, based in Baltimore, Maryland, and Clinical Director of the Augustus Institute in Alexandria, Virginia. Dr. Miller has a doctorate in psychiatric social work and is recognized as one of the nation's leading authorities on corrections, and clinical work with violent juvenile and adult sex offenders. He is prominently known for closing all the state reform schools in Massachusetts and replacing them with community-based programs while serving as Commissioner of Children and Youth for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
While serving as Special Assistant to the Governor in Pennsylvania, Dr. Miller devised strategies and programs that successfully removed 1,000 youthful offenders from the state's adult prisons. From 1989 to 1994, Dr. Miller was the jail and prison monitor for the United States Court in the Middle District of Florida. Additionally, Dr. Miller has served as a Psychiatric Social Work Officer in the United States Air Force in this country and abroad, and was an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Ohio State University. From 1995 to 1997, Dr. Miller was the federal court "receiver" of D.C.'s child welfare system.
Dr. Miller has lectured extensively in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has been widely published since 1965 and has written extensively for professional journals, magazines and trade publications. His 1990 book, Last One Over the Wall, was winner of the Edward Sagarin Prize of the American Society of Criminology and was positively reviewed in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and The Boston Globe. (A second edition was released by Ohio State University Press in 1998.) His most recent book, Search & Destroy: African Americans in the Criminal Justice System, was published in 1997 by the Cambridge University Press.
The seventh Hudson Police Department Citizen Police Academy will begin on Tuesday, March 26 at the department.
The nine-week course will be held Tuesday nights from 6-9 p.m. and is open to the public, age 18 and over. Participants will learn about crime scene investigation and evidence gathering, the use of deadly force, drunk driving enforcement, self-defense and have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a squad car. The course also includes a presentation about interrogation techniques by former FBI agent Dan Kraft of North Hudson.
The cost of the course is $25 and a background check of all participants will be conducted. Enrollment is limited to 15 students. For more information go to the HPD link at the City of Hudson website at http://www.ci.hudson.wi.us/police.htm or call Chief Marty Jensen at (715)386-4771, ext. 210.
After 25 years on the air, COPS could finally be pushed out of primetime. FOX executives will be meeting shortly to decide whether to renew the controversial show. With its history of dehumanizing and racially inflammatory portrayals of people of color, COPS paints a damaging and distorted portrait of crime and the criminal justice system. Research shows that these images linger in the subconscious of viewers, creating “unconscious attitudes” and “implicit biases” about both race and class, influencing public support for more punitive approaches to problems. More »
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