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Say It In Latin, Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat

September 8, 2017 1 Comment

ignorance pyramid

ignorance pyramid

Ignorance

Ignorance

The concept that ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse for breaking it,  Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat, has been in use for centuries. This maxim is enforced everywhere.  It means that everyone in a specific jurisdiction has a responsibility to be aware of all the laws that govern that place.  If you live in a city this means all the city ordinances, the county ordinances, as well as the state and federal laws that apply to everyone.  Obviously there are some obscure laws that are not known by everyone, but if you plan to do something that might violate the law, do seek some professional help to determine the legality of your plans.  Today almost everything can be found on the internet by searching, so it is worth the time to check to know for sure that you are not in violation of the law before you proceed.

Where I live we have crime problems partly because the citizens know little of their legal rights , and also because the city officials, not just the police, reflect an amazing ignorance of the law coupled with strong willful blindness to all crime.  Reporting the same crimes for years while being told there are no laws that can be used to stop the crimes where you live is a frustrating experience.  You may live in an area like this where your right to protection under the law is subject to the ignorance of local law enforcement agencies.  This is a dangerous and creepy situation.  I plan to continue to report the crimes we continue to experience as a direct result of government ignorance of the law.  It is an ironic position, but I firmly believe that if the government commits crimes it should at least become aware of the laws they have broken. What applies to the rest of us applies to those who spend our tax dollars.

Without this basic concept anyone can claim they have no knowledge of the law any time they commit a felony or violate civil law.  Unless we apply this concept equally to government and the governed, we make a complete mockery of the law.

The Case For #TattleTuesday in Tucson

June 27, 2016 1 Comment

Dropping the truth bomb

Dropping the truth bomb

In Tucson we experience a major dilution of our tattle as it passes through needless layers of middlemen to reach law enforcement central.  We report one thing and the bureaucrats report quite another, which results in chronic problems that might be solved by collecting really reliable intelligence in the first place.  Pure tattle goes from your lips to the ears of the principal.  It does not travel through the teachers, the students, or the PTA.  Tattle, and the need to deliver pure, unadulterated tattle, is not only a basic human right, but a basic human instinct.  To make use of this instinct one simply needs to direct and manage it professionally.  A vessel, a place, and a time must be established for the task of collecting pure intelligence from citizens and using it to both prevent and stop chronic crime.

I am urging my police department  to initiate a program on-line as well as in person at the station near me to give folks a chance to express themselves for ten minutes at ten a.m. each Tuesday.  I am choosing this increment of time because they always say they are too busy to try new communication methods. They can’t possibly argue that they don’t have 10 minutes a week.  Citizens in my neighborhood have gone to the station with evidence of black tar heroin in a vial and a report of on going crime near their home, but were turned away at the window of the cop shop and the vial of evidence was thrown in the trash in front of the two ladies. We need a system that works much better than that. We need to trust that what we report and evidence we submit is used to help solve the crime problems here.  I think a funnel that directs intelligence to the attention of the police live on a regular basis will make a difference to the level of trust in the whole operation.  I believe intelligence is the most valuable commodity police can have.  It protects both them and us.

 

Police Mendacity

May 17, 2016 4 Comments

Police

Police

I have watched with interest the specials PBS aired last week about police and gun violence in America. The problems are even worse for law enforcement professionals than I thought they were.  The panel discussion of police chiefs and victims of SWAT team violence revealed a shocking systemic practice of lying to the public to protect officers who make deadly mistakes on duty.  A lively discussion on-line took place at the hashtag #PBSPeaceOfficer.

Both sides are heavily polarized on the issue, as we might expect.  The police chiefs stressed that the problem needs to be addressed to the mayors and councils to find solutions. The cops themselves are following orders and protocol and strategies set by those in command.  Hiring, training, and supervision are needed by the agencies to correct the current problems.  In most cases they lack the funding to buy enough essential training and adequate supervisory personnel to equip and supervise recruits. The officers lack the skills they need to both protect themselves and the public.  This seems to be the case across the country.  While the citizens arm up and carry guns everywhere the cities refuse to provide enough funding to operate functional law enforcement agencies.  This is an obvious recipe for more violence.

When the government declared war on drugs and terror, they began to distribute military surplus to police departments to fight these “wars”.  Included in this discussion is the tendency to use this military equipment to occupy neighborhoods rather than protect them.  The police chiefs were quick to point out that much of the surplus they receive is office equipment and other non lethal much-needed supplies.  The police professionals also agreed they needed the military weapons because their own communities failed to arm the force adequately.  There is now a new policy against militarized police forces, but they already have plenty of gear to continue the heavily occupation of America.  The NRA has a strong lobby in support of arming the entire population.  This is escalating an already terrible problem.  We need disarmament negotiations between the cops and the citizens, apparently.

I have seen the TPD employ the SWAT team in my neighborhood.  They came in the middle of the night to bust some dope dealers who had been operating boldly in the open for years, right on the street.  I could have busted them myself any day during the previous couple of years, either making drive by deliveries from the front yard, or by busting the group of youngsters on tiny bikes that fanned out to deliver drugs throughout the hood before dawn daily.  Some of the bike delivery guys were able to stay in the apartment and have a yard sale after the SWAT bust which I found to be amazing.  I know for sure that one of my neighbors reported this obvious ongoing dealing but was told by a group of cops who had answered a call at his house that they were not interested. About 6 months after Russ told them about the dealing they showed up with flash bombs.  This was evidence to me that they enjoy this use of force too much to be safe with all that fire power.

More of a concern to me than the use of force is the use of mendacity.  They use statistics to tell us about themselves, yet they compile these statistics.  If they are willfully blind to their own errors the law enforcement agency becomes a dangerous street gang.  If they are encouraged by municipal authorities to hide mistakes rather than learn from them they become the villain rather than the hero in our society. This trend is very dangerous to our public health.

Little Old Ladies, Laughing, and Lunch

March 28, 2016 5 Comments

 

not real dogs

not real dogs

About two years ago some friends and I were gathered at my house to taste homemade bitters. Bitters making is kind of complicated, yet once you make a batch it becomes easier.  Even though we only tested very small spoonfuls in fizzy water, the base for bitters is alcohol and some of us are pretty light weight when it comes to consumption of spirits.  We started to joke around and laugh a bit more than usual as the tasting progressed.  Our police chief at the time had been invited to the White House for lunch.  I joked that there was no way he would have the nerve to come to lunch with us in our neighborhood.  A few weeks after the bitters party Tucson Police Department joined our local Nextdoor private social media thread.  The chief introduced himself to the city on Nextdoor.  I could not resist the temptation to send him a direct message inviting him to come to lunch at my house and take a look at the evidence I had been trying to show TPD for years.  It was no surprise that he did not respond.  We knew he did not have the guts to come out here in person to face us or look at the evidence we wanted him to see.

We have a problem with response time here in our city.  Most are concerned with the lack of response to 911 calls, but here we we just trying to get a response after years of working to get some rule of law in our area.  We had been reporting the same crimes by the same people for years, but could not get any help stopping the crimes or the 24 traffic caused by the criminal operations.  We petitioned the mayor because he is a lawyer.  We thought he would recognize the need for law enforcement to stop traffic from crimes where we live.  He never answered after a couple of different petitions were sent to his attention, two years in a row.  It was disappointing to say the least.  I was called by a detective who blew off the reports of crimes.  The following year when we petitioned the mayor a Lieutenant on the force called to say inviting the public to drive through and donate to a charity scam is perfectly legal in a residential condo village, but I might be able to get some help from the IRS. I did file a report with the IRS, and followed up with more information when there was more activity, but I guess the case has not been pursued.

Finally after years of reporting this problem to the city in all different departments TPD dispatched a cop in person to assess the situation.   Later a mental health team was dispatched last week to assess my wellness level for wanting and expecting rule of law in midtown Tucson.  I passed the crazy test as a frustrated tax paying citizen who had been reporting the same crimes for years with no response from our city government.  I hope they will be as interested in finding justice as they have been in obstructing it for years.  Our neighborhood has been damaged by the constant flow of traffic.

National Safety Month #McKinney Style

June 8, 2015 1 Comment

The month of June is designated as National Safety Month in the US.  Attention to safe practices and awareness is geared toward making the country safer.  During this year we are faced with graphic evidence that one threat to our safety can be the police.  The teen pool party in McKinney, Texas that turned ugly can only be seen as inappropriate.  An enraged cop tackled a teen girl smashing her face into the lawn, then drew his gun on bystanders.  I feel the fear as I watch these proceedings.  I imagine what my own feelings might be if I was taken down by an irrational armed cop.  This reality does make me fear and loathe what police do in my country.

The Department of Justice and the White House sponsored a task force to make recommendations for 21st century policing.  The report names 6 pillars on which to focus:

  1. Building Trust & Legitimacy
  2. Policy & Oversight
  3. Technology & Social Media
  4. Community Policing & Crime Reduction
  5. Training & Education
  6. Officer Wellness & Safety

There is a wider gap each day between the cops and the communities paying for police protection.  It is not an easy task to build trust when we observe this kind of event on a regular basis.  Law enforcement officers are hired to prevent crime and keep the peace.  When they look like the most criminal among us, we are right to question the authority we have given them.  I don’t know how to reverse this trend, other than doing what you can to love your neighbor and treat him as you want to be treated.  That includes all of us.

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