Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What was the excuse this time?

Black boy? The caller had to be asked several times about the person's ethnic, excuse me, COLOR, "Was he black or white?" 

The police arrived and never did an assessment. Simply shot the boy who was doing nothing wrong. It was a bee-bee gun and that can cause minor injuries to human beings and I am sure some nightmare injuries, but, it wasn't a lethal weapon. 

November 26, 2014
By Rheana Murray 

The video of a Cleveland police officer (click here) shooting a 12-year-old boy who had a toy gun was released today after the department consulted with the boy's family.
Police initially withheld the video from the public while discussing handling of the disturbing footage with the family of Tamir Rice, the boy who was shot in a playground on Saturday.
"The family did not initially want the video to be released, but after reviewing it... expressed their wish to us" to make it public, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said today.
Williams urged the public and the media to be cautious in the handling of the video.
"I want people to bear in mind this is a 12-year-old boy. ... The family will have to view it over and over," he said....
All these cases have the same thing in common, police acted without any thought except their own protection when never was there a threat and it is now a civil liability case because the officers won't be charged with anything.
This is what a gun culture looks like. The society is saturated with guns and munitions and willful lifestyles, hence breeding death. One innocent life after another. At the time of Sandy Hook the body count was 30 thousand a year. 

A wave of mass shootings (click here) have occurred over the past few years, often garnering extensive media coverage. Despite those tragic attacks and the roughly 30,000 deaths by firearms that occur every year, moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS' NewsHour failed to ask the presidential candidates about gun violence during the first presidential debate, the only forum specifically dedicated to domestic policy....

In the year 2000, after Columbine, guns were an important issue. The topic garnered a great deal of time in presidential debates. As time went by the idea of including such a topic in any debate faded to the point where it disappeared off the radar. In 2000, gun violence deaths were decreasing. It has decreased since. When the President of the USA cares about the safety of the country and speaks openly about the importance of protecting children and making our streets safer, it matters.

The language and the effort has to be within our political dialogue and the louder the better. 

The phenomena being noted with race and killing of innocent people also needs to be kept in the debate. 

What is the excuse now? A couple thought Mr. Crawford was a criminal with a gun. One guess as to why that might be?

August 11, 2014
By A. R. Shaw
A 22-year-old black father (click here) was killed by police for holding a toy gun while at Walmart. According to CBS News, John Crawford, 22, went shopping with his girlfriend at a Walmart in Dayton, Ohio.
Crawford and his girlfriend went their separate ways to shop for personal items while in the store. At some point, Crawford picked up a toy BB gun and played video games while talking to his girlfriend on his cellphone.
A suspicious couple, April and Ronald Ritchie, began following Crawford. They eventually called police and told them that Crawford was walking around the store with a gun.
When police arrived at the store, they approached him from behind and told him to put the weapon down. Crawford turned and told them it was just a toy. The police officers opened fire on Crawford. He later died from his wounds....

Do I see a pattern?

The now defunct Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, commonly known as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), was a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a federal law in the United States that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms it defined as "assault weapons". The 10-year ban was passed by the U.S. Congress on September 13, 1994, and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton the same day. The ban only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban's enactment.
The Act expired on September 13, 2004, per its sunset provision. There were multiple attempts to renew the ban, but none succeeded.

Less than a month has passed in 1994 from the passage of the assault weapons ban and the voluntary ban on toy guns by merchandisers. The leadership of President Bill Clinton brought success across the spectrum of public safety.

Columbine would occur in April of 1999. The guns shows successfully defeated the law and passed merchandise to those that would pay the price. Evidently, the gun shows did bother to understand there would be innocent people paying the ultimate price for their profiteering.

Voluntary actions by merchandisers to make life safe for children in the USA. How about that?

October 15, 1994
By Stephanie Strom

Six years ago, (click here) Toys "R" Us pulled realistic toy guns from its shelves after the police in Memphis shot and killed a 10-year-old boy who was carrying a toy gun they mistook for a Colt automatic.
Congress then mandated that toy makers decorate toy guns with blinding neon colors to label them as fakes. But as real guns have flooded the streets, children in fear for their lives began painting their toys to look more realistic.
Yesterday, responding to a recent fatal shooting in Brooklyn that was chillingly similar to the one in Memphis, Toys "R" Us, the nation's biggest toy retailer, announced that it would stop selling any toy gun that could be modified to look like the real thing.
The move follows similar actions by other big retailers, including Sears, Roebuck and Target, which halted sales of toy guns years ago.

Kmart decided this year not to buy any more realistic toy guns from its suppliers, and Kay-Bee Toys, which has 1,000 stores around the country, said yesterday that it was destroying all realistic toy guns. Some chains, including Bradlees Inc., a Northeast discount chain, said they would also eliminate such guns.
The retailers' action is likely to rekindle a debate about selling toy guns at all. In Brooklyn, the brightly colored grip on the toy gun that belonged to Nicholas Heyward, the 13-year-old who was slain, failed to prevent an officer from mistaking it for a real gun and shooting the boy in the stomach on Sept. 27.
Suzanne Schwartz, who owns Uncle Futz, a toy store in Manhattan that carries no guns, said, "If even the bright-colored guns are leading to violence, then I think everything may have to come off the market."...

This is what a gun culture looks like. It kills. It kills children.

July 8, 2014
By Med Wagner

The California sheriff's deputy (click here) who shot and killed a 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy carrying a toy gun will not face charges, a district attorney ruled Monday.

Andy Lopez was holding a pellet gun that looked like a real AK-47 when deputy Erik Gelhaus shot him seven times in October.

"While this was absolutely a tragedy, it was not a criminal act," Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Monday.

Lopez’s parents said the decision was “impossible" to accept and they felt like Andy "had been killed again."...

Marijuana has nothing to do with this. The officer wasn't high, was he? Police are paid to protect the public, that means they have to deal with people that are potential DWI or intoxicated from marijuana. The media likes to 'pin it' on the evil doer to exonerate 'the system' from suspicion of FAULT. 

Young people are known to experiment with many things as they grow into being an adult. This is one of the things they experiment with. Usually parents are devastated when they receive a phone call stating your son was found smoking in the boys' bathroom. So, the idea Andy was at fault and deserved to be killed is nonsense. The ADULTS, especially the ones with the guns, are suppose to be responsible for Andy. 

The medical profession requires cultural competencies.

This is from the NIH.

Culture is often described as (click here) the combination of a body of knowledge, a body of belief and a body of behavior. It involves a number of elements, including personal identification, language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions that are often specific to ethnic, racial, religious, geographic, or social groups. For the provider of health information or health care, these elements influence beliefs and belief systems surrounding health, healing, wellness, illness, disease, and delivery of health services. The concept of cultural competency has a positive effect on patient care delivery by enabling providers to deliver services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patients.

Teachers across the USA are finding cultural competence helpful in their classrooms.

To Help Educators Close Achievement Gaps (click here)

American classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse. As NEA President Dennis Van Roekel has noted, “Educators with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to value the diversity among students will contribute to an educational system designed to serve all students well.” 
Cultural competence is a key factor in enabling educators to be effective with students from cultures other than their own....

Cultural competence in the USA is nearly always met with resistance. Yes, it is bias that plays the opposing power to having a country willing to understand each other.

I remember a curriculum that was to be introduced in Health Class by a school system (Sorry, I don't recall the city - I think it was in NJ - this was sometime ago).

The curriculum was called "The rainbow of culture in the USA" or something like that. The purpose was to introduce the fact the USA has many interests within all the cultures across the country. It was suppose to introduce tolerance of diversity. The topic the parents objected to was LGBT. They believed it would encourage experimentation and confusion with their children. I always though it was a lame excuse, but, the parents won the argument. The parents didn't necessarily reflect the wishes of all the parents in town, but, no different than any other oppressive element, the squeaky wheel gets the attention.

If the USA values diversity as a strength to its society there is no room for objection to learning about that diversity and embracing it. The question is how and when do these priorities reach into all areas of society?

The reason the topic came up today is because of the terrible relations between the people of Ferguson and it's police force. I'll tell you right now, Officer Wilson will carry out the education if it were required, but, it won't carry into his practice as a police officer. I'll tell you why.

This is going to sound racist, but, the content in which it is derived is racist. Police officers that are biased in their practice will voluntarily dismiss any requirements they don't have in their belief system. 

I believe Officer Wilson knew full well he was going to kill Michael Brown, Jr. I also believe Officer Wilson didn't care what black man he was going to murder. I think he knew it was going to escalate and he was going to kill this young man. Wilson pulled his gun while in the SUV. It fired twice and it served to scatter the two young men from where they were standing. And mind you they were actually walking before they were standing still. 

Wilson pulled his vehicle into their path in a way the young men were going to run into his vehicle. Is that someone who cares if he hits them with the vehicle? No. If he hit them with the vehicle and they were injured he would make up a story about how these two young black men and how he tried to swerve at their aggressive attempt to stop the SUV. It is what some officers do. They carry a bias with them that allows them to do their job. It reminds me of soldiers involved in war. In Vietnam it was "The Gooks." The depersonalize of the enemy allows a person to easily kill them as someone less than human. The Black community can strongly identify with the idea of being treated as less than human due to the history of the race in the USA.

When it comes to instilling acceptance of all people into the personality of human development as a natural way to thinking in the USA, it will be met with very deep resistance. The reason is because people have certain understandings of what freedom is about. The best example is the Gun Culture. They refuse to allow any public forum that controls this dangerous entity to be regulated or patrolled. An aspect of the Gun Culture won't even allow law makers to bring about any understanding other than complete anarchy of this PRODUCT. 

After Sandy Hook, there were many parent organizations that wanted as the minimum to owning or possessing (different capacities - not the same) a gun the requirement of a background check. At the time the polls were stating 60% to 70% of the USA wanted background checks for gun purchases.

The Gun Lobby that may or may not be a representative sample of parents were effecting elections and the measure never made it anywhere. That is the type of resistance that is meet with imposing/teaching cultural competencies. 

The medical profession demanding those competences of their licensed and unlicensed personnel meet with great success.  The reason? Because 'healing' is vital to medicine. The human condition is vital to medicine. Sometimes different races have differences in their medical path to healing. Often, medicine considers healing a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual event. So, the WHOLE PERSON has to be understood. Medicine knows for a fact there are races predisposed to alterations in health that are genetic. So, having cultural competency is vital to the practice.

Can we as a country achieve acceptance of diversity? Yes. In time. But, there are aspects of our diversity that currently will not budge because they believe they are superior OR they have the RIGHT to a choice in how they live and values they accept. 

Will police officers learn to understand diversity as part of their jobs? Sure, but, I'll you right now there will still be the kind of murders we are seeing now. Why? Because there is chronically the argument "I felt threatened." that wins in places of law.

That is why I strongly believe to resolve to an immediate solution there has to be representative samples of the populous being policed within the police department. In cities and towns as divided as Ferguson, Missouri has been even before Michael Brown, Jr.'s murder, REQUIRES a restructuring of the police force and the local government. This is about life and death. 

The practice of medicine is about life and death, but, also longevity. The police in their practice is only concerned about the law and enforcing it. To officers like Wilson it is a job and doing the job is black and white in it's application. No application in law is black and white. It is why law men or police officers hate judges and the courtroom. Law when written is not written to apply in a yes or no decision. One has to look to the courts to realize how law is applied to citizens lives. No decision by a judge is simple. The decision is about the individual, the life circumstances of the individual and how the crime occurred. 


Let's say I get a speeding ticket and I was going 20 mph above the speed limit. It would be a serious issue in a courtroom. Endangering the public and breaking traffic control laws. But, what if such a ticket never was written and I was given a police escort to the hospital to insure safe and emergent arrival of my injured child? That is the law and how decisions are made in it's application. There are decisions by police on how to apply the law to individuals caught up in circumstances they can't handle without breaking the law.

In the case of the two young men in Ferguson, Officer Wilson decided long before he even turned down the street where the confrontation took place how he would treat them. He knew he was within his power WITH A GUN to carry out any solution to a problem if he was threatened by Big Black Men. That bias existed in him as a police officer long ago. So, when he nearly ran the two young men over the confrontation started. Make no doubt about it, Wilson escalated the circumstances causing Michael Brown Jr.'s death. It was not either of the young men that did it. What were his words according to the witness who was walking with Brown? "Get the f... on the sidewalk." 

"Get the f... on the sidewalk," is nothing but confrontational. Then to realize Wilson didn't pull the SUV he was driving over to the curb but actually put his face in the SUV in their face is nothing but confrontational. That was the practice of Officer Wilson. Tell me "Get the f... on the sidewalk," is effective communication that is going to garner cooperation. It isn't and Wilson was confrontation even before he realized the two young black men meet the description of the cigarillo thieves. Wilson stated he then realized the one man, namely Brown, was carrying to boxes of the stolen item. If he realized the stolen merchandise was in the hand of one of the men then he knew they were unarmed as well. 

The point is how does a society change the practitioners of public safety TODAY to prevent any more innocent deaths? It can't. It is not reasonable to have that happen. 

The reason Ferguson, Missouri had a better evening and night yesterday is because thousands of National Guard were available to keep the peace. That is how explosive these problems are in Ferguson. There are children involved here. There are community members that trained for police confrontation in order to carry out their protests. They weren't interested in having problems with police either. The circumstances are too volatile to expect this to simply go away. It isn't going  to happen. The only way this is going to stop is to bring new police officers into the department that can reflect the communities demographics and a few need to be from the community itself.

Cultural competency is an admirable goal, but, it won't work in places where people are sequestered into their own priorities. The priority of the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri is to stay alive and have their children stay alive. That isn't even prioritizing acceptance or inclusion; it prioritizes survival. When a community and a police department arrive at a priority of survival that is not a civil capacity where teaching diversity belongs. The circumstances are to inflexible and let's face it there are political problems within that community as well from the outside. As much as the American people want this to end there are political forces blaming the community in racist tones. There is danger even to the point whereby members of the KKK have stated their interest in being on the streets of Ferguson. There was also another 20 year old found dead. 

Cultural competency is fine. And it should go forward, but, that isn't going to stop the problems Ferguson and other cities now face. And Ferguson is only 21 thousand people. 

I hate the thought of adding to the concerns of American parents, but, this is something not yet a problem for the US.

This is out of New Zealand and Australia. Citizens of those countries travel to Indonesia for vacations. The high methanol content of home grown brews have become a problem for parents of teens. Teens can find acceptance as a consumer when purchasing from home grown distilling. Reinforce with teens that adult activity is reserved for adults for a real reason and the time to enjoy that freedom will come soon enough.

November 26, 2014

By Sam Rigney

...What is methanol? (click here)

Methanol is the simplest form of alcohol. It is closely related to ethanol, the type of alcohol normally found in beer, wine and spirits – but much more toxic.
Tourists are among those most at risk of methanol poisoning, especially those travelling to countries like Indonesia and Thailand where home-brewed spirits are widely available.

Since poisoning often occurs in the context of drinking alcohol, the early symptoms may go unnoticed. 

After a period of time, victims start to develop a headache, vomiting, abdominal pain and vertigo. They may start to hyperventilate and feel breathless. Vision is often affected, with blindness in severe cases. Coma, convulsions, and death from respiratory arrest may ensue. Patients who survive may suffer permanent visual impairment. 

To protect yourself from methanol poisoning you should not buy or produce illegal alcoholic drinks, be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention immediately.

 Source: World Health Organisation 

Travel is going to be an issue for Thanksgiving. Be careful out there.

November 26, 2014

The busiest travel day of the year (click here) is being snarled by a massive storm system moving up the East Coast and threatening Thanksgiving plans for millions of Americans, reports CBS News correspondent Vicente Arenas
"It's gonna get pretty crazy with the weather. It's usually crazy with the holidays anyway, but with the weather, it's gonna be even more crazy," traveler Chris Tieuli said.
Air travel across the country is already seeing an impact from the storm -- nearly 4,000 flights were delayed Tuesday and 138 were cancelled. Airlines are bracing for more of those numbers today as the storm moves into the Northeast.
Nina Francis is trying to fly home to Arizona from New York's La Guardia Airport, but is worried the weather won't cooperate....

November 26, 2014
1315 gmt
The Weather Channel Current Temperatures

The east coast is going to receive storms, but, they should not feel alone as the rest of the nation has a challenge of frigid temperatures ahead of them, too.

Traveling with precipitation is complicated by the frigid temperatures. In those cases it might be better to celebrate at home with calls to family. Have a safe and happy holiday.

The Weather Channel
24 Hour Temperature Change Map
November 26, 2014
1307 gmt

This is a difference temperature map than any other Thanksgiving Day. There are temperature changes in the double digit across of most of the country. It makes for travel concerns.

To realize how strange this is, Florida is bizarre. It is interesting, the more inland on the east coast the colder the temperature change. The Outer Banks of North Carolina and the tip of Florida have warmer air. The Ocean. The oceans don't change temperature as quickly as the air. Where there are communities surrounded by ocean the temperatures show a warmer temperature than average. The warmer ocean effects the immediate air temperatures, but, that warmer air does not radiate inland.

Southern Florida is surrounded on three side by ocean, Gulf and Atlantic. The tip of Florida and the Outer Banks also receive warmer water from the Gulf Stream. These areas that stand in defiance to general trends and understanding are considered micro-environments. They can occur anywhere depending on atmospheric and geological conditions. Cool stuff.

There should be a law.

November 26, 2014
By Heather Long

..."Ultimately, (click here) if you look over the course of the holiday selling season, the fact the stores are opening on Thanksgiving as opposed to Black Friday doesn't lead to increased sales," says Howard Feller, a Partner at MMG Advisors, an investment bank specializing in retail and fashion.

If anything, opening earlier and earlier has reinforced to consumers that they might get better deals if they wait, Feller says. Promotions no longer feel exclusive....

Thanksgiving Day is truly an American holiday. It cuts across all religions and ethnicity. It is about the Pilgrims, their ability to survive in a new land while finding friendship with Native Americans to learn the ability of the land to provide for a new nation of people.

There is no other country that celebrates Thanksgiving on the day and in the way Americans do. This is a holiday that should have a law to mandate the closing of all retail outlets with only essential people working on the holiday.

This American holiday requires people to reflect on their lives with family and to be grateful for life with that family. Self-reliance is important and vital, but, there is nothing that can replace a family as a support with a long view of life.

If our country believes in the family, success and celebration of family, Thanksgiving Day should be a mandated holiday for everyone.

July 4th is not the same as Thanksgiving. July 4th is not about family, it is about the country. The focus is completely different. Thanksgiving has a unique place in American history and the importance of the day should be reflected with a law that celebrates it.