Tag Archives: crime

False rape accusations tell us something important about America

Summary: The changes in America are often easily seen in the news, if read analytically (rather than as entertainment). Read about the latest false accusation of rape to see not just a gripping story of injustice and eventual vindication — but also an important trend affecting America.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

“I interviewed the victim twice, and I believed her.”
— District Attorney Denise Lunsford, explains why she ignored evidence showing that Mark Weiner was innocent (from Slate).

Justice lying down

In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird all-white jury convicts an innocent black man of raping a white woman in a small 1930s southern town, despite the efforts his lawyer who defies the town’s lynch-mob mentality and proves the victim’s story to be false. It’s a new century, a sequel has just come out — and we have a new surge of men being falsely convicted of rape despite the evidence.

The latest example is Mark Weiner, who on a rainy day gave a woman a ride to her home — ending in a sentence of eight years in jail for abducting a woman with the intent to sexually harm her. There was almost no evidence of his guilt, and considerable exculpatory evidence (some of which was not disclosed to his attorney), but that does not matter to the true believers who increasingly run America. This happened in Charlottesville, home of the infamous fake rape publicized in last November’s Rolling Stone.

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Prepare for cyberwar: today’s are small compared to what’s coming

Summary: Here’s a brief look at the state of cyber-conflicts. The first ones have run their course; from them we can guess at the outlines of the larger ones to come. As with nukes and drones, America has laid a path for others to follow. We’ve been bold and innovative, but lawless. We might regret this when others imitate us.  {2nd of 2 posts.}

Cyberspace: a global dynamic environment created by interlocking networks linking people and computers for communication, control, and trade. Like other human domains, it consists of multiple levels — from purely conceptual (e.g., laws, designs) down to the hardware and people that are its material substrate. The term coined by William Gibson in his 1982 story “Burning Chrome“.

cyber war

Contents

  1. Battlefields of the future.
  2. The first cyber conflict.
  3. Playing defense.
  4. Are we beleaguered in cyberspace?
  5. For More Information.

(1)  Battlefields of the future

We have entered a transitional period in the art of war much like that between WWI and WWII, when a new form of war (the 3rd generation) slowly emerged, but military institutions kept their eyes turned to the past. Many armies were slow to develop innovative tactics for their new internal combustion driven engines. Their cavalry units were symbols of this retrovision. Navies lavished their greatest attention on battleships, not the submarines, escorts, and carrier-borne aircraft that would dominate WWII (e.g., aircraft were the “eyes of the fleet”, not its teeth). Communications technology rapidly improved, but the senior officers paid relatively little attention to cryptography and signals intelligence.

Today war-as-usual continues in the emerging nations, but in the developed world it has moved into new realms — with the cutting edge in cyberspace. It’s the age of 4th generation war, waged among state and non-state actors in shifting coalitions, taking many forms…

  • Hacking: probes and parries by people exploring the nature and uses of cyberspace, rapidly expanding in scale, sophistication, and consequences.
  • Raids: the Sony hack and Stuxnet.
  • Conflicts for control: Pirate Bay and the Silk Road.

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News from England on the great experiment about gun rights

Summary: Together the UK and US are running one of the greatest social experiments in history, testing different ways to maintain internal order. The test of capitalism vs. socialism produced definitive results; perhaps this one will as well. If so, let’s hope the cost to the loser will be less than suffered by the socialist and communist states.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

Ask The Police

For decades UK public policy has strived to eliminate from public use guns and knives. Only the State can protect you. Subjects of the crown still have a right to self-defense (here is a clearer explanation). American right-wingers often get this wrong.

Simultaneously the US has gone in the opposite direction by eliminating restrictions on both concealed and open carry of guns — including rifles — and in some States even broadening people’s right to shoot others for flimsy reasons (“stand your ground” laws).

Time will tell which works better. The cost of the American experiment is paid in blood by those shot by accident, those who shoot themselves (a 7 year is the 360th so far in 2015), and those are shot in anger (made easy by our lightly regulated gun markets).

Today we look at developments in the UK, with helpful advice from their police about your right to defend yourself as a subject of the Queen. There is an important limit on your right to self-defense: not with weapons. Red emphasis added in the following excerpt.

Helpful advice brought to you from the website of the Police of England & Wales

Ask the police about self-defnese

The only fully legal self defence product at the moment is a rape alarm. These are not expensive and can be bought from most local police stations or supermarkets.

There are other self defence products which claim to be legal (e.g. non toxic sprays), however, until a test case is brought before the court, we cannot confirm their legality or endorse them. If you purchase one you must be aware that if you are stopped by the police and have it in your possession there is always a possibility that you will be arrested and detained until the product, it’s contents and legality can be verified.

However, accepting there is a lot of concern about street crime, we can try to clarify matters a little by putting forward the following points.

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Cybercrime: Now More Profitable Than The Drug Trade

Summary: Today we have a report from the front lines of the cyberwars. It’s an axiom of 4th generation war that crime and war increasingly use the same methods, and even merge at higher intensities (as seen in Mexico’s fight with its drug cartels). Today we hear about companies fight against cybercrime, still growing and already more profitable than drugs.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

37% of respondents said they were not confident in their company’s ability even to detect a breach. … Only 45% were confident about the security of their Point of Sale devices.

Tripwire Online Survey , March 2015.

Cybercrime

Cybercrime: Now More Profitable Than The Drug Trade

By Irfahn Khimji and David Bisson
From tripwire, 30 March 2015.
Posted here with their generous permission.

 

Tripwire recently hosted a webcast entitled, “PCI Breach Scenarios and the Cyber Threat Landscape with Brian Honan: Real World Cyber Attacks and Protecting Credit Card Data.” For our presentation we discussed the importance of the new Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard 3.0. Together, we also provided some insight into how companies can leverage this new compliance standard to protect themselves against a security breach.

As reported by the 2013 Europol Serious & Organized Threat Assessment, the “Total Global Impact of CyberCrime [has risen to] US $3 Trillion, making it more profitable than the global trade in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined.”

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Since 9-11 we have less crime but more fear of crime. A win-win for our rulers!

Summary:  Today we look at falling crime rates in America and our blindness to this good news, 16th in the seemingly endless series of posts showing Americans’ disconnect from reality, our inability or unwillingness to clearly see the world around us. This is the 2nd of 2 posts today.

Crime under the microscope

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I see no large reality-based community in America. Not on the Left; not on the Right — although each clearly sees their foes’ flaws. We stumble blindly into the 21st century. I doubt this will work well for us. Perhaps it’s for the best that we’re led by the 1% until that day we decide to rip off the blindfolds, again to see and stand like citizens.

Most of these posts discuss our inability to see our problems. Today we have the opposite, as we allow the government and Hollywood to conceal good news about falling crime rates. Gallup asks how many Americans believe the rate of crime has risen from last year? They compare the answers with the DoJ’s crime statistics.

Gallup: Crime vs our perception of it
There was an uptick in the violent crime rate during 2011 and 2012. The FBI’s 2013 report shows the estimated number of violent crimes in 2013 decreased 4.4% YoY and property crimes decreased 4.1%. The FBI prefers to use the 5-year average, which smooths out the noise.

Something happened in 2001.

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Our love for gun play grows as our trust in ourself wanes. Logical, mad, sad.

Summary:  Polls are our mirrors in which we see who we are and how we’re changing. The new Pew Poll showing our increased trust in gun-play reflects several obvious but grim trends in America. Let’s examine them. Always stare at the news; never ask for the blindfold. {This is the second of today’s posts}

“Well in the first place, an armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. For me, politeness is a sine qua non of civilization.”

— From Beyond this Horizon, a science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein (1942). Fun fiction, although quite false.

Americans trust in themselves

The saddest of graphs, from Gallup

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As you see in this graph, each year we have less confidence in ourselves, collectively. So, quite logically, we have less confidence in the officials we elect to run America. That makes us weak (we have power only when acting together), and strengthens those people with the resources and confidence to rule America. Worse, we are losing our ability to clearly see the world — and become more credulous in accepting things told to us by people we trust. This makes us easy to manipulate.

PEW poll on guns

Nowhere is this clearer than with gun rights. We have gone from several generations of moderate regulation to allowing widespread concealed carry to increasing agitation for open carry (something forbidden in most towns in the Wild West). It’s logical, in a mad way, that we’d turn to personal weapons for a sense of control and security (unraveling several centuries of social progress).

The reason we tell ourselves for this confidence in guns range from false to delusional, while the astonishing toll in blood astonishes people in other developed nations (subscribe to Robert Waldman on Twitter for horrific real time reports: @KagroX).

The latest Pew Poll about Americans attitudes about guns makes grim reading. Support for gun regulation has dropped significantly among most groups during the past ten years. Among Black Americans, the group suffering the most from gun violence, belief that guns protect them from crime almost doubled in two years (29% to 54%). It’s “the hair of the dog that bites” them; massive evidence proves this false. See the posts at the end for detailed debunking of the major myths about guns.

This reaching for guns oddly accompanies a long-term decline in the crime rate. The hysteria about 9-11 and Benghazi matches contrasts with our far larger annual death toll from mass shootings.

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Richard Castle shows us the dark reality of justice in 21st C America

Summary:  We continue our examination of the hit TV show “Castle”, today mining for insights about justice in 21st C America. Castle is a romantic comedy; an accurate depiction of our criminal justice system would be a horror show. As in the previous chapters of this series, this suggests that we might no longer defend America because we’ve lost confidence in it.  Spoilers!

We should fear Justice. If she weighs America in her scales, she might use that sword on us.

Lady Justice
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Contents

  1. “Castle” shows us 21st C American justice
  2. The collapse of our criminal justice system
  3. Feudal justice
  4. Other posts in this series about “Castle”
  5. For More Information
  6. They’ll have to carve these words off the Court’s building

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(1)  “Castle” shows us 21st C American justice

From the first episode of Castle.

BECKETT:  You have quite a rap sheet for a best-selling author: disorderly conduct, resisting arrest.
CASTLE:  Boys will be boys.
BECKETT:  It says here that you stole a police horse?
CASTLE:  Borrowed.
BECKETT:  And you were nude at the time.
CASTLE:  It was spring.
BECKETT:  And every time the charges were dropped.
CASTLE:  What can I say? The mayor is a fan.

BECKETT
Mr. Castle. You’ve got quite a rap sheet for a best-selling author: disorderly conduct, resisting arrest.

CASTLE
Boys will be boys.

BECKETT
It says here that you stole a police horse?

CASTLE
Borrowed.

BECKETT
Ah. And you were nude at the time.

CASTLE
It was spring.

BECKETT
And every time the charges were dropped.

CASTLE
What can I say? The mayor is a fan,

– See more at: http://seriesmonitor.com/castle/transcripts/season1/01.html#sthash.atyJdJrh.dpuf

BECKETT
Mr. Castle. You’ve got quite a rap sheet for a best-selling author: disorderly conduct, resisting arrest.

CASTLE
Boys will be boys.

BECKETT
It says here that you stole a police horse?

CASTLE
Borrowed.

BECKETT
Ah. And you were nude at the time.

CASTLE
It was spring.

BECKETT
And every time the charges were dropped.

CASTLE
What can I say? The mayor is a fan,

– See more at: http://seriesmonitor.com/castle/transcripts/season1/01.html#sthash.atyJdJrh.dpuf

BECKETT
Mr. Castle. You’ve got quite a rap sheet for a best-selling author: disorderly conduct, resisting arrest.

CASTLE
Boys will be boys.

BECKETT
It says here that you stole a police horse?

CASTLE
Borrowed.

BECKETT
Ah. And you were nude at the time.

CASTLE
It was spring.

BECKETT
And every time the charges were dropped.

CASTLE
What can I say? The mayor is a fan,

– See more at: http://seriesmonitor.com/castle/transcripts/season1/01.html#sthash.atyJdJrh.dpuf

BECKETT
Mr. Castle. You’ve got quite a rap sheet for a best-selling author: disorderly conduct, resisting arrest.

CASTLE
Boys will be boys.

BECKETT
It says here that you stole a police horse?

CASTLE
Borrowed.

BECKETT
Ah. And you were nude at the time.

CASTLE
It was spring.

BECKETT
And every time the charges were dropped.

CASTLE
What can I say? The mayor is a fan,

– See more at: http://seriesmonitor.com/castle/transcripts/season1/01.html#sthash.atyJdJrh.dpuf

This is a realistic description of High Justice in America, the criminal justice system for the rich. Drug use? Disorderly conduct? Sexual assault, rapeEven murder? Erased by money and power.

A young man of the middle class who commits crimes like Castle’s gets Middle Justice:  a criminal record, with punishment mitigated only if the relatives fund crippling legal fees. Disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, and resisting arrest are misdemeanors, usually punished by fines and probation — with possible “collateral consequences” such as loss of professional licenses and bonds.  Theft of the police horse is a felony, with punishment depending on the degree of anger felt by the police.

A young man of the lower classes commits such crimes gets Low Justice: a criminal record, with all of the above plus the possibility of jail time.

(2)  The collapse of our criminal justice system

The “Castle” TV show frankly if lightly describes some dark aspects of our criminal justice system, such as prison rape. But overall it is accurate as a “police procedural” in the same sense that Lord of the Rings describes warfare. Fun fantasy.

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