Monday, October 27, 2014
I don't recall anyone ever suggesting that we should have the right to dump enormous amounts of toxic waste on the front lawn of one of the Koch Brothers or any other wealthy energy or chemical executive.
Or at least not in a manner that was intended to be taken seriously; although it is almost certainly said on occasion to point out the enormous hypocrisy in our current system.
For all practical purposes energy and chemical executives have a right to profit from polluting and killing the poor and it has been standard operating procedure for decades. There have been numerous studies or other reports pointing out the enormous inequity when it comes to the benefits from environmental destruction, which goes overwhelmingly to the wealthiest, and the costs, which goes overwhelmingly to those without political power.
If anyone were to attempt to make an argument that those that receive the benefits deserve it based on their merits because they work harder or do other things to benefit society it wouldn't take long before it flunked the laugh test or more importantly any rational test comparing the merits of the argument. The people that do most of the labor to produce products or mine energy are often the ones that pay the price in environmental destruction while the wealthiest rely much more on their political connections rather than their worth.
When enough people get together and protest the inequity the political and media response along with the response by the police only indicates that it is even bigger than most people realize; assuming people actually hear about it. The media and politicians routinely ignore the vast majority of the protests so most people never even hear about it, assuming they rely on traditional commercial media, which fortunately a shrinking percentage of the population is.
At best they might slow down the environmental destruction or in some rare occasions, where there is enough political power, and perhaps the upper middle class with enough money they might partially reverse the process; however when this happens the pollution is often increased elsewhere to compensate so there is little or no net gain.
Then, if they attempt to increase their chances of getting heard, after the consolidated media ignores them, the police arrest them for one trivial charge or another, usually trespassing or what they call disorderly conduct, although it is often much more orderly than the police or many of the allies of the energy companies.
The police, rarely if ever, open up an investigation to find out how many people are being killed by pollution and consider negligent mass homicide charges against energy and chemical executives.
No, I didn't mean that as a joke; this really would be justified if they actually investigated real crimes or things that should be considered real crimes.
If you're reading this then you probably already rely on alternative news outlets so you might not need back up do conclude that oil and coal executives are profiting off the pollution of the poor but here's a good article on it that is relatively recent anyway:
This is just one of many studies to find similar results. It claims to do certain types of research for the first time, and I trust this is true; but others have provided additional types that go back decades.
However like the vast majority of these studies it either hasn't been mentioned at all in the traditional media or they only mentioned it briefly and quickly forgot it, while selling an enormous amount of propaganda ads, that won't stand up to scrutiny, which they don't provide, for the oil and coal companies.
Another report indicates that Half The Country Lives With Unsafe Air Pollution, American Lung Association Report Finds; but that was hardly reported either in the traditional press and there is little or nothing being done to address the problem.
Robert Bullard has also been reporting on this for decades and he has provided an enormous amount of evidence, including plenty listed below, to indicate that this is an enormous problem. He has been considered by some to be the father or "dean of environmental justice;" however this is probably only among those that are familiar with the environmental movement since the traditional media doesn't provide him with much if any coverage; and most people probably never heard of him.
I'm sure there is additional research to indicate that the worst of the inequity isn't even in the United States but around the world where our media doesn't even report about most damage at all unless it is really big.
This can't go on indefinitely as indicated by another study which has just come out:
Just because the media doesn't cover it doesn't mean that all these environmental disasters aren't happening. A handful of these disasters have eventually been reported and even made fairly wide spread news like Love Canal, PG&E as exposed by Erin Brockovich and Civil Action as portrayed by John Travolta; but the vast majority of disasters including the racial and class connection gets much less attention.
If a growing portion of the third world continues to become less inhabitable and a growing portion of the USA that can no longer be ignored then it is a matter of time before the political establishment has to address the problem one way or another.
Attempts by many of those with the most political power to describe environmentalists as terrorists clearly aren't inclined to help much. But fortunately the environmental movement is demonstrating how foolish these claims are and it is only raising more doubts about those that make these absurd claims, assuming the environmental movement has a reasonable chance to get their views across, which isn't happening in the traditional press.
There is a growing amount of evidence to indicate that if we can get past the overwhelming amount of political power of the energy companies then much more can be done to reverse this environmental destruction and a lot of it can be done without sacrificing quality of life like the following study:
This study clearly doesn't apply to everything but a little basic sense indicates a lot of other things that can be done to reduce pollution without harming quality of life and often even increase quality of life. This includes increased production of Geo-transfer heating and cooling which can be done anywhere and it can be powered by increased amounts of solar panels and wind turbines which are less expensive than they used to be.
One of the most important thing that can be done to change this is to simply stop buying things that we don't need. A shocking percentage of the products sold in the USA are things that have been hyped up through deceptive ads that have little or not practical use and do nothing to improve the quality of life.
Unfortunately when corporations take a portion of the money they obtain fraudulently from consumers and use it for more deceptive advertising that speech receives much more protection than the speech of environmentalists that are telling the truth about these scams because they aren't passing on the cost of their speech to those that they scam.
Or to put it bluntly fraudulent corporate speech receives much more protection under the first amendment than sincere speech thanks to the perverted interpretation by the Supreme Court.
If this continues then a growing portion of our country and world will continue to deteriorate; and the longer this goes on the more difficult it will be to reverse the process assuming we don't pass a point of no return without realizing it.
Recently according to an article, Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 26 in Germany. On several occasions when I have heard about disasters like these I have done searches to find out how many more have happened that weren't reported as widely and quickly found an enormous amount of additional disasters.
I have no doubt that if I did another search then many more would turn up including many in the USA; although there are probably more elsewhere; but they're less inclined to report it especially the USA media.
The following is some related material including the first two chapters of Robert Bullard's book "Dumping in Dixie" and additional material from him and others.
The SXSW kids are about to get schooled by Robert D. Bullard the dean of environmental justice 10/03/2014
Robert D. Bullard
Dumping in Dixie: CHAPTER TWO Race, Class, and the Politics of Place
POVERTY, POLLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM: STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES by Robert D. Bullard
The cruel, increasingly usual prison punishment no one is talking about 10/06/2014
Ohio’s Clean Energy Programs Save Customers $2 For Every $1 They Spend
84,000 Lives Threatened By Sea Level Rise In New England
Congressman Denies Manmade Climate Change, Calls It ‘An Agenda-Driven Science’
Republican Bill Cuts Funding For Climate, Social, Economic Research By $160 Million
Oklahoma Will Charge Customers Who Install Their Own Solar Panels
California Regulators Decide Utilities Can’t Charge Solar-Killing Fees
The Denver Post’s ‘Energy And Environment’ Section Is Produced By The Oil And Gas Industry
Why Are 20 Far-Away States Trying To Block The Cleanup Of The Chesapeake Bay?
Bombshell: Study Ties Epic California Drought, ‘Frigid East’ To Manmade Climate Change
Not in My Backyard: Executive Order 12,898 and Title VI as Tools for Achieving Environmental Justice Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 What Is Environmental Justice?
Chapter 3 Title VI and Environmental Justice
Chapter 4 Environmental Justice Litigation and Remedies: The Impact of Sandoval and South Camden
Chapter 5 Alternative Dispute Resolution and Meaningful Public Participation etc. or go to http://www.usccr.gov/ and search for "Not in My Backyard: Executive Order 12,898 and Title VI as Tools for Achieving Environmental Justice" to get PDF
[PDF]Chapter 3 - United Church of Christ
PDF]Chapter 7 – Anatomy of the Urban Parks Movement: Equal .. The Quest for Environmental Justice Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution
Monday, October 20, 2014
I don't know about you but I don't remember Alex Trebek ever saying the following in one of his commercials for Colonial Penn Life Insurance:
My best guess is the reason that I don't remember him saying this is because he never said; if he had even if I missed it it almost certainly would ahve stirred up discussion and caught my attention which I would have remembered.
Let's face it no matter how dignified the media makes Alex Trebek look, he's still a scam artist and so are most if not all celebrities that do commercials. The entire advertising industry is encouraging distortions or outright lies.
Let's assume for the sake of argument there is an exception what would it be?
Don't expect me to come up with one.
The media uses all these murders for entertainment purposes and rarely ever informs the public about efforts that might actually work to reduce crime. They use the "public's right to know" as and excuse to justify all this coverage and hype about murder and celebrities; but they withhold the information that would be most helpful for the public when it comes to reduce crime and don't allow those that would inform the public about this to get air time.
Apparently the "public's right to know" only applie3s to information that helps increase p[rofits for the media and their advertisers, not information that primarily benefits the public.
The highest profile case in the news right now is probably Utah man, accused of killing wife for insurance money, cried over her dead body at hospital: report 12/08/2013; which is currently being tried in court. It wasn't too long ago that the highest profile story was the hot car death in Georgia. Warrants: Toddler’s dad told family how to collect $27K life insurance 07/04/2014
I didn't keep track of the majority of the coverage on that story but I find it surprising that anyone would even buy life insurance for a baby. When I first learned about life insurance we were taught that it was only for adults in case of emergency so families wouldn't be left destitute if the bread winner died and they had no income. The media practically never discusses this although if people search the internet it isn't hard to find information raising doubts about these insurance policies. Chuck Jaffe exposed both Colonial Penn Life Insurance as Stupid Investment of the Week 02/15/2007 and Gerber Life College Plan 03/11/2011 which is now being heavily advertised on TV including many news shows.
There are plenty of other advisers that strongly recommend that people never buy life insurance for children but they're not in the high profile media, only much lower profile articles that can easily be found by those that look for them, but not the complacent majority.
On some of the rare occasions where they do discus the fact that life insurance might provide an incentive for murder they often say that there is no way of knowing how often this might happen.
This isn't quite true.
One of the reasons they might say this is because some of them get away with it and there is no way of knowing how often that happens, which is true; but they have records of the incidents where it does happen and if they spent a small fraction of the money they use on deceptive advertising they could do much more to figure out how often they get caught.
The FBI already has a lot of this information on file; and the insurance companies also must have a much better idea how often it happens than the general public although they have an incentive to keep that information confidential.
The insurance companies might have an incentive not to do this research if they can avoid it but the FBI is supposed to work for the public and it is hard to imagine why they wouldn't do so unless they're under political pressure. However even without their resources which could and should provide better results it is possible to get a better idea how often insurance is a partial factor on many murders. A search on Murderpedia for "insurance money" turns up about 800 results and they have a total of about 6,800 entries. This is potentially almost 12% of all the murders in their database, assuming they all turn out to be insurance related murders. However that is almost certainly not the case. I checked to see approximately how many they might be and relatively quickly found over eighty entries without skipping many. This probably means that even though it almost certainly won't be over ten or eleven percent there is a good chance that it will come to at least six to eight percent and virtually guaranteed that it will be at least two or three.
If the same percentage applies to the murders in the United States it could come to nine to twelve hundred murders per year that are related to insurance. However my best guess is that this is probably still high but it is not unreasonable to assume that it is probably at least one to three percent which comes to at least 150 to 450 murders related to insurance per year.
As I said the numbers from a review of FBI files which are already compiled, although they're not completely public, would almost certainly be more reliable; and it is virtually guaranteed that such a review would enable changes that could help reduce these murders and the incentive to kill people for insurance.
At least when it comes to insurance related murders on planes they already seem to have done this. Between 1949 and 1965 there were nine planes mostly in the USA or Canada blown up for insurance that I could find. Since then there was one more in South Africa, 1988 and another in China 2002. I don't know for certain why they've been reduced but it is almost certainly a change in policies at airports or selling insurance.
There has also been some precedent for wrongful death lawsuits against insurance companies; however I doubt if this is used very widely and the vast majority of the public almost certainly doesn't know about it making it less likely they'll take advantage of the possibility, however slight.
The media would of course be in the best position to inform the public about how to minimize the risk of insurance fraud, whether it involves inciting murder or just selling bad insurance policies. Unfortunately the media collects and enormous amount of revenue from the insurance companies that profit off of this giving some people the impression that they might have an incentive to avoid coverage of it.
I don't know about you but I don't remember Little Boy George Stephanopoulos ever saying the following in one of the episodes of "This Week With Little Boy George Stephanopoulos":
Yea I'm quite certain the reason why I don't remember Little Boy George saying that is because he never said it.
Let's face it George is a scam artist too. He isn't even trying to report on the news anymore than any of other reporters for the traditional media. They're far more interested in selling advertising for profit than they are in reporting the news and what they do report is almost always more for entertainment purposes than to inform the public how to reduce crime or solve any other problems.
Insurance companies may not kill any people directly but they are by far the biggest perpetrators of insurance fraud. In addition to deceiving the policy holders about the risks and pay outs of insurance they pass on the cost of all other insurance fraud to the consumers.
On top of that the government has to foot the bill for all the insurance fraud and incarceration of criminals that commit them, excluding well connected insurance executives. This is what they call a negative externality; and instead of insurance companies or policy holders footing the bill for it tax payers pay for this.
Like Alex Trebek said "Otherwise Insurance companies would have gone bankrupt long ago."
Or maybe he never actually said that, at least not that I remember.
21 Shocking Murder for Life Insurance Plots (#4 Was Caught on Video!) 10/31/2014
Life Insurance and Murder! Whodunit? The husband, for the insurance money!
5 notorious, homicidal tales of life insurance fraud including some that initially paid off
Black Widow Murders of two homeless people with a third planned 2008
Fla. man convicted of murdering newlywed wife for $1M life insurance policy 04/22/2014
What happens to a life insurance claim when foul play is involved?
Life Insurance and Murder!
Commercial Airline Bombing History
Commercial Aircraft Blown Up by Bombs For Insurance Payoffs
Profiting from tragedy: how airlines can make money when planes crash
8 facts that explain what’s wrong with American health care
Fraud: why should I worry? Dina Abdelhaq suffocated her seven-week-old daughter Tara to collect $200,000 in life insurance money to feed her gambling addiction in 1995. Jobless and on welfare, the Illinois resident was deeply in debt from riverboat gambling. Tara died in her crib just two weeks after Abdelhaq took out a life policy on the child. Abdelhaq received 21 years in prison for insurance fraud in 2000.
10 shocking revelations in the hot car death hearing
7 Black Widows and 16 Dead Husbands
15 Cases of High Profile Murders to Commit Life Insurance Fraud
Tips On Child Life Insurance
4 Life Insurance Policies You Should Never Buy
Kathy Augustine's Family Outraged About 48 Hours Mystery Show 05/23/2007
Charles Augustine's Death Ruled Natural 05/01/2007
But They did find the metabolite of succinylcholine, succinylmonocholine. (Forensic Files 2010) Narrator: A metabolite means it's a by-product of succinylcholine. If you don't look for it, you don't find it. And that's not a condescending answer. That is the truth. Narrator: There has never been a documented case of succinylmonocholine produced as a result of embalming fluid. However, in Charles Augustine's case, there were no records of which embalming fluids were used. So, this possibility, however remote, could not be eliminated. Therefore, the medical examiner did not change the manner of his death to homicide.
The following are a list of over eighty murders for insurance from Murderpedia. This is more than one percent of the entries they have and there is probably between two and eight percent more that aren't on this list:
Rodriguez, Angelina September 9, 2000
Miyoko Sumida 6 murders 2003 - 2011
Brenda E Andrew November 20, 2001
Teresa Stone March 31, 2010
Audrey Marie Hilley May 25, 1975
Adele Craven July 12, 2000
Debra Jean Milke December 2, 1989 Milke also had a $5,000 insurance policy in effect on her only child's life.
Mark Edward Lundy 2 parents on August 29, 2000
Lyda Catherine Ambrose 5 victims 1917 - 1920
Judith Hawkey November 3, 2003
Richard Pryde Boggs April 16, 1988
Herman Webster Mudgett 27 plus victims 1886 - 1894
Josephine V. Gray 2 or 3 victims March 3, 1974 / November 9, 1990 / June 21, 1996
Christie Michelle Scott August 16, 2008 Scott was convicted last month of killing her six year-old son, Mason Scott, last August. Prosecutors contend that she set fire to her family's Signore Drive home in Russellville and allowed Mason to die in the fire so she could collect $175,000 in life insurance policies.
Kenneth and Sante Kimes 3 murder victims 1996 / 1998 Often houses owned by Ken and Sante would mysteriously burn to the ground and an insurance firm would have to write an even larger one.
Billi Jo Smallwood 2 children for husbands insurance money November 18, 2008 Army wife found guilty of setting fire to home killing kids aged 9 and 2 in blaze 'set for husband'
Nanny Hazel Doss 8 to 11 victims 1920s - 1954
Anna Cunningham 5 victims 1918 - 1922
Dr. John Dale Cavaness killed his 2 children April 7, 1977 / December 13, 1984
Gabriel Arturo Garza Hoth 3 victims in Mexico April 17, 1991 / October 3, 1992 / May 11, 1997
Gary W. Ploof November 3, 2001
Wendi Elizabeth Andriano October 8, 2000
Bruce Rich December 23, 1995
Susan Grund November 4, 1992
Marie Noe 8 victims 1949 - 1968 Neither the police nor the District Attorney would speculate on a motive for the killings, though they confirmed that the parents had taken out insurance policies on six children.
Angela Garcia 1999 PDF In a 5-2 vote, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Angela Garcia, who was convicted of killing her two children in a 1999 house fire on Cleveland's East Side. The court rejected the appeal and ended the case without comment. Justices Paul Pfeifer and Francis Sweeney dissented. Garcia, 25, was charged with setting fire to her home to collect $40,000 in insurance. Her children, Nyeemah, 3, and Nijah, 2, died in the fire. The case twice ended in mistrials before a third jury convicted Garcia in 2001 of aggravated murder, aggravated arson and insurance fraud. She is serving two life prison terms.
Martha Lowenstein Marek 4 victims 1932 - 1937
Catherine Flannagan and Margaret Higgins October 2, 1883
Debra Hartmann June 8, 1982
Shirley Elizabeth ALLEN November 1, 1982
Stacey Castor 2 husbands early 2000 and August 20, 2005
Lawrence Horn 3 victims March 3, 1993
David Lee Fisher November 21, 1983
Dr. Glennon Engleman at least 7 victims 1954 - 1980
Johnny Ray Anderson December 1, 1981
Katherine A. Mock, and Elain Kay Young March 23, 2006
Peter Ventura April 15, 1981
Patrick Lane Moody and Wanda Robbins September 16, 1994
Pierre Corneille Faculys Basson 8 or 9 victims 1903 - 1906
Kimberly Hricko February 14, 1998
Karen Tobie and Lynne Blake June 30, 2004
Stella Nickell June 5/11, 1986
Alexander 'Sandy' Keith, Jr 88 victims December 11, 1875
Henry Keogh March 18, 1994
Amy A. Gilligan at least 5 victims 1908 - 1916
Gina Lynn Spann May 11, 1997
Sukhwinder Singh Dhillon 2 to 5 victims February 3, 1995 - June 23, 1996
Lynn Turner 2 victims March 3, 1995 / January 22, 2001
Eva Coo June 14, 1934
Susan Diane Hendricks 5 victims April 13, 2006 / October 14, 2011
Michael Apelt December 23, 1988
Elicia Hughes June 3, 2004
Maureen McDermott April 28, 1985
Robin Lee Row 3 victims February 10, 1992
Rev. Walter Dworecki August 7, 1939
Robert S. James 3 victims 1932 - 1935
Eugene Marie Chantrelle January 1, 1878
Martha Needle 5 victims 1885 - 1894
Belle Sorenson Gunnes November 11, 1859
James Campbell 2 possible victims hung jury followed by acquittal March 10, 1997
Dr. John Baksh 1983
Mary Frances Creighton 1 to 3 victims 1923 / 1935
Thomas York 2 victims 1978 / 1981
Lindi Nomso Mangaliso December 16, 1984
Kara Lounsbury 2 victims January 14, 2009
Toshihiko Hasegawa 3 victims November 1979 - December 1983
Earle Dennison 1 or 2 victims May 1, 1952
Mary Ellen Samuels 2 victims December 8, 1988 / June 27, 1989
Randolph G. ROTH July 23, 1991
Cynthia Sommer cleared after serving over two years in jail February 18, 2002
Mary Ann Cotton perhaps 21 or more victims 1857 - 1872
Kang Ho-sun 10 victims 2006 - 2008
Teresa Wilson Bean Lewis, Matthew Shallenberger, and Rodney Fuller 2 victims October 30, 2002
Deidre Michelle Hunt, Kosta Fotopoulos and Bryan Chase who was killed instead of receiving a cut of insurance October 20/November 4, 1989
Charles Stuart October 23, 1989
Anne Marie Stout June 10, 2007
Mass murders on airplanes
Julian Andrew Frank in North Carolina 33 victims For insurance money January 6, 1960
John "Jack" Gilbert Graham in Colorado 44 victims To collect insurance money November 1, 1955
Joseph Albert Guay in Canada 23 victims September 7, 1949 purchased a $10,000 insurance package ... A later incident, the bombing of United Airlines Flight 629 on November 1, 1955 (by a man, John "Jack" Gilbert Graham, wishing to kill his mother for insurance) was apparently inspired by the Albert Guay affair.
Zhang Pilin in China 111 victims May 7, 2002 Just several days after the disaster, there were reports that a passenger named Zhang Pilin had purchased seven air insurance policies worth a total of 1,400,000 RMB (about 170,000 USD) prior to boarding the flight.
Francisco Gonzales in California 44 victims May 7, 1964 The next morning he took out a $100,000 insurance policy on his life and then went to Reno airport where he bought a ticket on Pacific Air Lines flight 773 to San Francisco.
Thomas G. Doty 44 victims Bomb on a plane (suicide committed as an insurance fraud by a passenger) Missouri May 22, 1962
Monday, October 13, 2014
Slovenian criminologists made it clear that they understand a simple concept that many Americans might agree with, assuming they consider it, "Politicians have learnt that crime and especially fear of crime is also helpful to follow their own interests: to be elected again." (On Crime Policy, Crime Control and Crime Prevention–Slovenian Perspectives by Gorazd Meško and Helmut Kury)
As I pointed out in my previous post "Democrats do a bad job on crime; Republicans and the Media are worse" Slovenia is one of the European countries with murder rates less than one per hundred thousand, at only .7, compared to the United States rate of 4.7. Their criminologists may not spell the same way we do but their efforts to address crime seem to be working better than ours, for one reason or another. They also have incarceration rates that are less than one tenth of the rates in the United States.
As I indicated in the previous post one of the states with the lowest murder rates is Vermont, which probably has the most active grass roots political organization in the country. Vermont has had an active Progressive Party where citizens have been active at the grass roots level for quite some time now. Minnesota and Maine are also among the states with the lowest murder rates and they have had active grass roots organizations as well.
I'm not aware of a scientific study that indicates that these grass roots organizations are the cause of their low crime rates but it doesn't take much thinking about the details behind some of them to come to the conclusion that it is virtually guaranteed that they are. Another major contributing factor is almost certainly that the states with the lowest crime rates are mostly rural states without abandoned inner cites. In most cases these areas are more likely to have active grass roots organizations and people are more likely to know people in their own neighborhoods.
It is virtually guaranteed that these reasons do more to keep crime down than politicians lock them up and throw away the key crime policies, which appeal to emotions but have major problems and don't work.
Large cities typically have bigger crime problems but a review of United States cities by crime rate indicates that a few of them with the most progressive political organizations also have some of the lowest crime rates, especially compared to other cities. Only twenty out of seventy-four of the largest cities with populations above 250,000 have below average murder rates. Only one out of the ten states with over one million people in it has below average crime rates; and most of the others have significantly higher crime rates.
The one city over one million is San Diego, which is probably the most progressive of the ten largest cities. Seattle Washington and Portland Oregon are among the cities with the strongest grass roots political organization in the country; Seattle recently elected one of the few socialists, Kshama Sawant, to local office and they have among the lowest crime rates for large cities. Madison Wisconsin doesn't quite have enough people to cross the 250,000 mark for this list of large cities but it is only 10,000 short and it has well below average murder rates and this is where David Couper, who wrote Hazing and Bullying in the Police Academy was police chief for twenty years.
However contrary to what many people have been led to believe the police are almost certainly not the most effective crime preventors at all. The most effective way to prevent crime involves finding the contributing causes of crime and preventing those before it becomes necessary to call in the police. This is almost certainly a major part of the reason why cities and states with stronger grass roots organizations participating in politics often have lower crime rates; assuming they pursue the right policies at the grass roots levels. There are a lot of southern cities and states that pursue the politically popular policies of "lock them up and throw away the key" but they have some of the highest crime rates including murder in the country. However even in the South there are some exceptions; in Austin and El Paso Texas they both have well below average murder rates, especially for large cities in the south.
However a relatively quick search of the internet is enough to see that it appears they might have more progressive grass roots efforts than the majority of the south.
Perhaps one of the best recent examples where grass roots efforts have succeed in dramatically bringing down crime rates is Richmond, California where they elected Gayle McLaughlin, one of the few Green Party candidates, thanks to a strong grass roots effort; and some of the same grass roots efforts appear to be contributing to numerous other improvements, including standing up to corporate corruption and efforts to address the root causes of crime, not just punish people after the fact.
In addition to some of the usual problems for large cities, like home foreclosures, and lack of funds for eduction, Richmond also has had major problems with Chevron's oil refinery and the pollution it has brought especially when there have been explosions or other disasters. This ahs finally spurred many people to stand up to a lot of the corporate corruption and it has helped bring down their crime, as indicated in several articles including the following.
Right or wrong the media often picks up on the most dramatic aspect of events, whether it is crime prevention or anything else; and this is no exception as indicated by the following article that puts emphasis on efforts "Paying People Not to Kill," which also creates what many people may consider shock value that tehy wouldn't go for. However they're doing something right and it is worth, at least considering if this is part of it.
Not surprisingly there are people, like Courtland "Corky" Boozé, that think that this program isn't what is bringing the crime rate down; and they might be right. However unless their sure it probably wouldn't be in there best interest to end it too soon especially since it will almost certainly be phased out anyway. The program officially cuts off when they're 25, although they try to keep in touch anyway even if there aren't more payments. And on top of that if it doesn't continue to keep bringing crime rates down then there would be no reason to keep it; but if it does then presumably their would be fewer troubled kids in the long run that would be eligible for the payments anyway.
One other important factor that should be kept in mind is that low crime rates require a functional economic and social system, which many abandoned inner cities don't have. This isn't unique to abandoned inner cities; it is a global problem.
Off the coast of the Horn of Africa there ahve been numerous stories about problems with piracy and kidnapping for ransom. What these stories rarely ever mention is what happened prior to these events and the fact that many of the pirates are former fisherman that can no longer earn a living that way. The reason for this is because large corporations have over fished the area with industrial fishing operations and at the same time other large corporations have polluted the area making it less capable of supporting fish.
That part of the story is almost never mentioned by the traditional news media nor do they mention that they're doing something similar when they cram large number of African Americans in inner cities with little or no education or employment opportunities.
This virtually guarantees high crime rates but the impact by decisions made by politicians is rarely explained by the media to the public.
Benjamin, a student cited by Jonathan Kozal gets right to this point when he says, "Put them over there in a big housing project. Pack them tight. Don’t think about them. Keep your hands clean. Maybe they'll kill each other off." (Jonathan Kozol “Amazing Grace” 1995 p.40-1)
In the long run continuing this drop in crime and keeping it down will have to break the cycle and create a functioning economic, social and political system that functions properly and Richmond seems to being doing this in several other ways that may not seem related to reducing crime including their efforts to stand up to corporations foreclosing on homes, stop Chevrons polluting, and stand up to the expansion of charter schools that have been proven not to work and often involve an attempt to control the education system by corporations with little or no local control.
One of the most important conclusions some of my past posts on preventing crime, and at least one or two of my future posts, is that preventing white collar crime of numerous kinds will help prevent blue collar crime. For one thing white collar crime does an enormous amount to increase poverty and this is a major contributing cause to crime; and some other types of white collar crime, like gambling, also increase crime in other ways. Unlike most other politicians Gayle McLaughlin really does seem to be doing this as indicated in numerous stories including, Richmond, California Mayor Occupies Wall Street. She has also indicated that she is not willing to go along with corporate attempts to increase their control of the educations system in a letter supporting Oakland's mayor for not joining the so-called race to the top, Mayor McLaughlin of Richmond, CA objects to RTTT; and other grass roots efforts have indicated that the citizens don't support corporate take over of their schools either, Proposed charter school in Richmond, CA sparks heated debate
In New England we have a major Democratic candidate for governor spending an enormous amount of money to tell the public that she is standing up to big banks and powerful corporations; however I have no idea what she is actually doing or where she gets the money to buy all the propaganda telling us she will help us. As far as I can tell the best reason to vote for her is that her Republican opponent would be even worse, assuming you accept the false claim that we can only chose between the Democratic candidate sponsored by corporations or the Republican candidate also sponsored by some of the same corporations instead of the independent candidates that the media tells us don't have a chance.
To the best of my knowledge Mayor McLaughlin isn't spending so much money to tell her constitutes that she will represent them but she seems to be doing more to demonstrate it with her actions, and although they still have a long way to go they're going in the right direction. They could also be demonstrating for many other large cities methods that would be much more effective than going along with the traditional tactics promoted by the media and the political establishment.
These grass roots efforts that have much more impact on reducing crime are rarely ever mentioned by the media. Instead they give traditional politicians plenty of time to promote their policies; occasionally echoing the ideas that come from the grass roots level if that is what it takes to get elected. On the rare occasion that a real grass roots candidate gets elected the traditional media only pays attention that the local level; otherwise other people might get the idea they can elect their own candidates as well.
(This is part of a series of posts exploring the root causes of violent crime and ways to recognize and prevent them. Past posts on the subject include Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows; Does lack of education increase violent crime? Religion?; How does gambling and gun control impact violent crime?; Politics, not technology, caused botched executions; Wal-Mart crime: Rolling Back Safety more than prices?; States with high murder rates have larger veteran populations; Teach a soldier to kill and he just might; How much does Income Inequality Affects Crime Rates?; and Democrats do a bad job on crime; Republicans and the Media are worse.)
Another possible contributing factor that may not seem to directly impact crime might be urban farming or the slow food movement, which encourages more community involvement in some cases. This is often accompanied by improvements in what ahs become the Slow Democracy movement described by Susan Clark and Woden Teachout in a book by that name. The following are a couple excerpts from articles describing how this might help reduce crime.
Metro Detroit Goes Slow And Tastes The Difference Not only are poverty-stricken families provided with fresh food, but these community gardens have also been shown to have rehabilitative effects and reduce crime in their surrounding areas. They have done what food is meant to do: provide nourishment and bring people closer together.
For additional information on this subject or more back up see the following articles:
How to reduce gun crime in California? Why not pay people not to shoot each other?
Richmond California: A city that pays criminals to behave
Huffington Post: Richmond, California Mayor Occupies Wall Street
Seattle Crime Rates
Portland Oregon Crime Rates
Madison Wisconsin Crime Rates
Richmond California Crime Rates
San Diego California Crime Rates
San Francisco California Crime Rates
Let them eat kale: In Harlem, a farm share for the people
Crime Down Across California: Attorney General
San Diego County's violent crime rate dips in 2013
Monday, October 6, 2014
As usual there were about a dozen bomb threats this month, and, as far as I know, no actual bombs, especially competent ones. However, at the end of last month, there was a plea bargain for a past bomb threat and there was apparently a large crown and seventy letters in support of the person who made the bomb threat.
Yea the crowd supported defendant not Wal-Mart.
Apparently the defendant was a disgruntled customer who was upset when Wal-Mart refused to accept a return without all of its components. The article doesn't provide enough information to know for certain why all these people supported the defendant in this case but I wouldn't be surprised if it had something to do with large numbers of people that have had their own problems with returns and the low quality of merchandise at Wal-Mart. Even though I have personally done very little business at Wal-Mart I have seen enough first hand to know they have major problems with returns and this isn't the first time a disgruntled customer has made the news when he overreacted.
There was also another story about a disgruntled employee who overreacted when he was fired and drove his car into the store. This isn't the first time this has happened but when they do overreact it is more common for them to either go on shooting sprees or call in bomb threats although the most common overreactions are almost certainly not extreme enough to make the news.
Wal-Mart has indicated that they're aware they might have a problem with "active shooters" by teaming up with Texas police as part of their "Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training" program. This might seem helpful if it comes to minimizing the damage at the last minute; however it doesn't indicate that they're doing anything to address the root causes that precede many active shooting incidents. If anything it indicates that they're continuing to sweep many aspects of that under the rug.
Many of the past shooting incidents bomb threats and other violent interactions have involved robberies, domestic violence, disgruntled customers or employees; but they're not addressing any of these especially the ones where Wal-Mart might be partially contributing to it. When customers or employees have problems and try to address them through appropriate means it is extremely difficult to get results with their authoritarian management that follows orders from corporate offices made by people who don't seem to know what is happening in the stores.
Wal-Mart employees continue to face retaliation for their actions during some of these events and in Utah they have filed a lawsuit to defend their right to self defense. Several have been fired for not backing off. Without knowing the details of these incidents it is hard to tell their merits but if it is based on policies decided in the corporate office and the local people enforcing them have little discretion of their own, like many other past examples it could turn out to cause problems for them.
They have also faced retaliation for exposing when the company sells expired food.
Other employees continue to face retaliation for petty thefts and Wal-Mart often uses tax payer money to enforce this to the full extent of the law. In one case they had a pregnant employee continue working as a loss prevention officer and when she was pushed by a mother trying to steal baby items the shoplifter was charged of course but little consideration was given to whether they should have pregnant woman in that position at all. Surly they must know that loss prevention officers often face these problems and a closer look at how aggressive they should be is warranted.
Additional stories have turned up about tampered baby formula and a major lawsuit about PCBs is now pending. Wal-Mart is being investigated for seeking donations for political reasons in return for donation for employees in need. They don't pay enough to keep them out of need but it appears they might be willing to pay something if it includes a political benefit for themselves.
There are also plenty of updates about the shooting in Ohio which still hasn't received much national attention although it ahs recieved an enormous amount of local and grass roots attention from alternative media outlets.
Once again the behavior of Wal-Mart is considered so bad that large number of people haven't been able to sort out satire from the real news. A story about Wal-Mart taking over the police force for a Florida town was believed by so many that the police ahd to speak out and say that it was a satire, although a close look at the web sine shows a lot os similar stories. However Wal-Mart has been hiring so many off duty police officers and many real police officers seem to cater to Wal-Mart requests, often according to rules made by politicians collecting campaign money from Walmart, which might come indirectly from either employees or customers that never intended to donate to political causes.
Have you paid attention to what merchandise smells like in an Oklahoma Wal-Mart?
Apparently some kids were spraying Doe Urine on products there.
This isn't the first time a similar event happened; a few months ago in Washington state a man in drag was arrested for urinating on products there.
Strange things happen at Wal-Mart!
In 2006 Wake Up Wal-Mart did a study, "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" based on incidents in 2004, (PDF) about crime at Wal-Mart which showed that it increased when Wal-Marts opened up and that crime was higher at Wal-Mart than at other retailers. Since then Wal-Mart Shootings began compiling a list of gun related incidents at Wal-Mart and demonstrated that they have a large number of them, including on average more than one shooting per week somewhere in the country. In January of 2014 another study, "Rolling Back Prices and Raising Crime Rates?" provided additional statistical research indicating that Wal-Mart might be contributing to higher crime rates or at least a slowing of the decline in crime. The study found that. “on average, communities with Walmarts had 17 more property crimes and two more violent crimes per 10,000 people than those communities without Walmarts.” I reviewed this more in Wal-Mart’s crime problem, Rolling Back Safety more than prices? where I explained that although this study is helpful they could have done better with additional data that is available and I reviewed some of that. I also added my own review about why I think that Wal-Mart policies have been contributing to higher crime in a previous blog, Wal-Mart high crime rate continues uninvestigaterd and have provided additional information under the author tag Walmart Crime Watch.
Stacy Mitchell has also compiled a list of other studies about Wal-Mart and how they impact society, Key Studies on Big-Box Retail & Independent Business. To the best of my knowledge Wal-Mart has done as little as they seem to get away with, often relying on rhetoric that isn't backed up with action, when it comes to addressing any of their critics concerns, including crime. The following are a list of incidents that occurred in September 2014. According to the "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" the average store in their sampling had 250 incidents per year, indicating that these are only a fraction of the crime reports at Wal-Mart, and presumably, the ones most likely to make the news on the internet nationwide. This isn't statistically representative, as the 2006 or the "Rolling Back Prices and Raising Crime Rates?" study or some of the studies cited by Stacy Mitchell; but it does provide some additional information that may help recognize how many problems there are at Wal-Mart.
Man confesses to Blount County Tenn. bomb threats dating back to January 08/20/2014
Man Arrested For Trying To Steal From Glenpool Ok. Walmart 09/01/2014
Woman charged with theft, trespass at NH Walmart 09/01/2014
Police: Over 2 dozen well-cared for pot plants found near Vt. Walmart store 09/02/2014
Police Arrest Man at gunpoint in SD Walmart Parking Lot 09/02/2014
Report: SC Walmart shoplifter tries to climb out cop car window while cuffed 09/22/2014
Tenn. Walmart employee accused of stealing thousands in merchandise 09/02/2014
Suspect sprays Tenn. Walmart employees with mace, flees with cash 09/02/2014
Former Wal-Mart Employee Faces Theft Charges in Union County 09/02/2014
Steamboat Srings Colorado Walmart evacuated after seizures 09/02/2014
Driver hits Walmart in Clearwater Fla. 09/02/2014
Judge denies restraining order in SD Walmart case 09/02/2014
Woman Arrested for Stealing from Pa. Walmart 09/02/2014
A tough time for Iowa Walmart: construction workers for emergency repair of Walmart get in knife fight at nearby hotel 09/02/2014
Two Orlando Fla. suspects plead guilty in $2M Sams Club, Wal-Mart scam 09/03/2014
DA: Drunk driver crashes car into Framingham Ma. Walmart 09/03/2014
Police say woman stole nearly $2,900 in goods from Pa. Walmart 09/03/2014
Man Wanted in Counterfeit Checks Case at Ashland Ky. Walmart 09/03/2014
Police looking for man accused of flashing teen at Ga. Walmart 09/03/2014
Police: Man steals money from Carlisle Pa. Walmart cash back machine 09/04/2014
Police in Carlisle Pa. looking for man who took $80 mistakenly left at Walmart 09/04/2014
Cops: Dad charged with neglect for leaving infant alone in Fla. Wal-Mart 09/04/2014
Saginaw Mich. man gets 6 years in prison for using knife in theft attempt at Walmart 09/04/2014
Gawker: Walmart Workers Rant About the "Nonsense" New Dress Code 09/03/2014
Lower Nazareth Pa. Walmart robbed of iPads by gunman 09/04/2014
Woman loses prepaid credit card at Ala. Wal-Mart; man uses it to buy a TV 09/05/2014
Police: Shoplifting suspects pepper sprayed SC Wal-Mart employee 09/05/2014
Police investigate false report of bomb in Kennewick Washington State Walmart 09/05/2014
Mom arrested for leaving toddler, 18-month-old twins in hot van outside Va. Walmart 09/05/2014
Tiffin Ohio Walmart closed after early morning fire 09/05/2014
Fugitive arrested in Del. Wal-Mart, police say 09/05/2014
Shelby County Alabama woman arrested for allegedly producing meth in Wal-Mart parking lot 09/05/2014
14 Laid Off By Arkansas Toy Car Maker in Blow to Wal-Mart's 'Made in USA' Initiative 09/05/2014
Police arrest man who allegedly tried to stab NM Wal-Mart employee with hypodermic needle 09/05/2014
NC father accused of leaving baby in car to shop at Walmart 09/05/2014
Stroudsburg Pa. designer says Wal-Mart is selling copies of her toys 09/0/2014
Police arrest pair for shoplifting at NH Walmart 09/06/2014
Omaha Nebraska Walmart, Employee Robbed At Gunpoint 09/06/2014
Man accused of stealing car from Fla. Wal-Mart parking lot 09/06/2014
Report: 18-year-old shot in parking lot of Goldsboro NC Walmart 09/07/2014
Police investigate death at Walmart in Berlin Delaware 09/07/2014
Thieves heist TV’s from Waterford Conn. Wal-Mart 09/08/2014
Criminal charges possible after fire at Walmart store in Tiffin Ohio 09/08/2014
Drug deal gone wrong leaves man's head bleeding at Athens Alabama Wal-Mart, police say 09/08/2014
Stroudsburg Pa. designer touts evidence: Rival bought her wares to copy for Wal-Mart 09/09/2014
Newport man arrested after allegedly photographing child in Me. Walmart bathroom 09/09/2014
Woman accused of using fake money at Fla. Walmart 09/09/2014
Walmart and Walgreens Won't Stop Selling Smokes, But Will The Decision Backfire? 09/09/2014
Fugitive in 2012 case arrested leaving Clearlake Ca. Wal-Mart 09/10/2014
Woman accused of stealing motorized Mich. Wal-Mart wheelchair, driving off with allegedly stolen items 09/10/2014
Richmond Tx. Walmart evacuated after workers report dizziness 09/10/2014
Woman Admits to Stealing Toothpaste From Del. Walmart 09/10/2014
Tacoma Wash. council violated open meetings law on anti-Walmart moratorium, developer alleges in lawsuit 09/10/2014
Fla. Walmart manager accused of sexually assaulting employee 09/10/2014
Armed robber hits newly reopened Walmart in eastern New Orleans, La., police say 09/1/2014
2 pedestrians struck in front of Walmart in Vineland, N.J. 09/11/2014
Walmart sign on dress code made fun of 09/11/2014
Mom arrested after leaving 2 kids in car at Villa Rica Ga. Walmart 09/11/2014
Retiree stalked and masturbated near Fla. Walmart shopper, police say 09/1/2014
Montana Walmart gun theft suspect in Yellowstone County jail, faces federal charges 09/11/2014
Large alligator captured near Leland NC Walmart 09/11/2014
Detectives: Suspect In Riverbank Murder Arrested At Turlock Ca. Walmart 09/11/2014
Police Investigating Attempted Kidnapping At San Marcos Tx. Walmart 09/11/2014
Bethlehem man accused of stealing $1,600 in baby formula from Whitehall Pa. Walmart 09/12/2014
Husband goes after purse snatcher at Tx. Walmart 09/12/2014
Man wanted for stealing credit cards from cars, using them at Newport News Va. Walmart stores 09/12/2014
Gas leak prompts Washington State WalMart evacuation 09/12/2014
Deputies: Man tries to use stolen credit card at NC Walmart 09/12/2014
Lake Hallie Wisc. Wal-Mart customer gets tased twice after causing disturbance 09/13/2014
Body Of Man Found In Trunk Of Car At Walmart In Riverside Ca. 09/13/2014
Fla. Walmart employees attacked during theft, suspects sought 09/15/2014
Second Tenn. Harvest Food Bank asking for votes in Walmart grant initiative 09/15/2014
Wal-Mart Spokesman Said to Resign Over Resume Falsehood 09/16/2014
Robbers slash a man's face in a Utah Walmart parking lot overnight 09/16/2014
Men stole 165 used car batteries in NC Walmart break-in, Raleigh police charge 09/16/2014
Three arrested in SC Walmart parking lot purse snatching 09/16/2014
Wal-Mart settles NY false advertising case; stores sold Coca-Cola at inflated price, claimed it was due to 'Sugar Tax' 09/16/2014
Going shopping at an Alabama Walmart? Add car insurance to the list 09/16/2014
Springfield Mass. police seek public's help as they seek 2 men suspected of stealing $710 from Boston Road Walmart cash register 09/16/2014
2 inmates who fled work detail caught at Va. Wal-Mart 09/16/2014
NC Walmart protest group continues work on plan of action 09/16/2014
Two injured in crash at Wal-Mart in East Stroudsburg Pa. 09/17/2014
Firefighters called to Nebraska Walmart for possible gas leak 09/17/2014
Houston Tx. Walmart and Mississippi businesses target of bomb scare 09/17/2014
Corrections officer charged, resigns after alleged theft of Legos from Nebraska Wal-Mart 09/18/2014
Rape suspect arrested at Walmart in Ridgeland Mississippi 09/18/2014
Suspect takes beer, diapers from Tucson Ariz. Walmart 09/18/2014
Bomb threat leads to evacuation of Roeland Park Ka. Walmart 09/18/2014
Surveillance cameras capture dramatic rollover crash in Ga. Walmart parking lot 09/18/2014
2 wanted for multiple Tenn. Walmart thefts 09/1/2014
Jackson Miss. judge: Shoplifters banned from Walmart 09/19/2014 For stealing fourteen pairs of underwear or items that totaled a few dollars.
Nebraska Supreme Court rules in favor of Walmart in worker's death 09/19/2014
Shoplifting suspect stabs loss prevention employee with scissors at Wal-Mart in Roebuck Alabama 09/20/2014
Ontario Walmart ups security measures 09/21/2014
Walmart at 85th & Minn. Sioux Falls South Dakota in court over ballot language 09/20/2014
Police: Man steals 2 rifles from Virginia Beach Walmart 09/23/2014
Police looking for man who robbed Charlotte NC Walmart 09/23/2014
Shoplifter arrested at NH Walmart 09/22/2014
Woman charged with battery for striking her child in Ind. Wal-Mart 09/23/2014
NC man confesses to 1997 Ariz. murder after receiving texts from Walmart 09/23/2014
Lizella Ga. women hurt in robbery outside Wal-Mart 09/23/2014
Police seek ID of RI Walmart counterfeiting suspect 09/24/2014
New Jersey family claims 3-year-old son found porn on tablet from Walmart (VIDEO) 09/24/2014
Boyd gets fourth competency exam in Neenah Wisc. Walmart shooting 09/24/2014
WCSO seeking suspect in Fla. Wal-Mart thefts 09/24/2014
Six computers stolen from Oakwood Ga. Wal-Mart 09/24/2014
Police arrest suspect in attempted Tx. Walmart kidnapping 09/25/2014
NJ Cops: 2 stole Wal-Mart filing cabinet containing $3K in drugs 09/25/2014
Loiterers arrested in Ga. Walmart lot 09/25/2014
Employees face 99 charges in thefts at Ind. Wal-Mart 09/26/2014
Cops: Man tries to pass fake $100 at Burlington Twp. NJ Wal-Mart, Party City 09/25/2014
Police: Tenn. Walmart security guard shot man who was stealing beer 09/26/2014
CMPD: Man accused in NC Walmart robbery tied to several other crimes 09/26/2014
Man charged with sex crimes against boys inside Henrico Va. Walmart 09/26/2014
Wal-Mart Markets Face Opposition in Northeast Mississippi 09/26/2014
Two wanted for stealing DVDs, Blu-Rays from Tabb Va. Walmart 09/26/2014
Craigslist transaction turns violent in Ga. Walmart parking lot 09/26/2014
Fla. Police: Woman stole Wal-Mart crates, tried to ram managers with truck 09/27/2014
Robber hits Overland Park Kansas Walmart store 09/27/2014
Teens arrested for Parkouring on top of Utica NY Walmart 09/28/2014
Yuma Ariz. Council to eye petition against Walmart plan 09/28/2014
Police search for armed man who robbed Orlando Fla. Walmart 09/29/2014
Bomb threat prompts evacuation at Kansas Wal-Mart 09/16/2014
Bomb threat clears Clovis Ca. Walmart 09/17/2014
Whitehall Ohio Authorities Investigate Report of Bomb Threat at Walmart 09/21/2014
Police investigate bomb threat at Alliance Ohio Walmart 09/22/2014
Niles Mich. Walmart reopens after bomb threat 09/26/2014
Bomb threat evacuates Ga. Walmart 09/26/2014
Police: Man called in bomb threat at Walmart in Orlando Fla. 09/30/2014
Fishing line prank injures toddler at a Oklahoma Walmart 09/29/2014
Man Caught on Camera Stealing Cash from Pa. Walmart Register 09/29/2014
Attorney: 'Appalling' for Wal-Mart to blame Morgan 09/30/2014
Suspects sought for larceny at Reidsville NC Walmart 09/30/2014
U.S. Judge Says Wal-Mart Must Face Mexican-Bribe Claims 09/30/2014
Following mistrial, new trial begins for Lewisberry man accused of indecent assault of 2-year-old at Pa. Walmart 09/30/2014
Three face charges after incident at East Greenbush NY Walmart 09/30/2014
Bomb Threat Briefly Closes Manchester, New Hampshire Walmart 09/30/2014