Let’s begin with a bit of
self-plagiarism. Here’s an extract from “Driven to Fail”:
As long as crime, poverty, race and ethnicity remain locked in their embrace, residents of our urban
laboratories will disproportionately suffer the effects of even the best-intentioned “data-driven”
[police] strategies, causing phenomenal levels of offense and imperiling the relationships on which humane and,
yes, effective policing ultimately rests.
Our observation was prompted by public reaction to the collateral damage – the “false
positives” – when specialized LAPD teams cranked up the heat in high-crime areas. Stripping away
the management rhetoric, L.A.’s finest embarked on a stop-and-frisk campaign, and we know full well where those can lead. Facing a citizen
revolt, LAPD promised to fine-tune things so that honest citizens would be far less likely to be stopped by
suspicious, aggressive cops.
Well, that was in March. Seven months later, the Los Angeles Times
reported that while the number of stops did go down, substantial inequities persisted. Among other things,
blacks were being stopped at a rate far higher than their share of the population (27% v. 9%), while whites
benefitted from the opposite tack (18% v. 28%). What’s more, even though whites were more likely
to be found with contraband, they were being searched substantially less often than Blacks and
11/15/19 Attorney General William Barr rolled
out “Project Guardian,” an initiative that would enhance Federal-local efforts to tighten up gun background
checks, target armed criminals and ensure that serious felons who get caught with guns are considered for Federal
11/15/19 A proposed Federal law would require Federal agents to get a warrant to use facial technology
recognition to track a suspect for more than three days. It would not limit its typical current use, which is to make
matches after-the-fact. Civil libertarians are demanding that this latter practice, which is now commonplace, face
11/14/19 Two teens were killed and three others were wounded after a 16-
year old student pulled a .45 caliber pistol from his backpack and opened fire at a suburban Los Angeles-area high school.
Police later apprehended the gunman, who reportedly shot himself in the head.
11/12/19 A military judge
ruled that prosecutors misled defense attorneys for a Qaeda suspect awaiting trial in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole.
Their failure to provide accurate information about the man’s torture while in C.I.A. custody may threaten the
admissibility of what the defendant later told FBI agents at Guantanamo.
New York Times investigation revealed that alcohol breath tests are under challenge across the U.S.
Misconduct by operators, faulty technology and ill-maintained, uncalibrated devices are blamed for chronic
inaccuracies. In New Jersey, 13,000 drivers were convicted with machines “that hadn’t been properly set up.
” Tens of thousands of like cases are pending elsewhere. Related posts
1 2 3
11/5/19 Chicago is reeling from yet more shootings in its supposedly improving “Little Village
” area, where a seven-year old trick-or-treater dolled up as Minnie Mouse was critically wounded on Halloween night
by a 15-year old gang member who opened fire on rivals. An adult was also struck.
Ex-Georgia cop Robert Olsen was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment on charges of aggravated assault and
perjury for shooting and killing a mentally disturbed black vet who had stripped naked and was lying on the
ground. Jurors found that Olsen, who is white, lied when he said that the victim ran at him and refused to
stop. But they acquitted him of murder. Related posts
10/31/19 In Chicago, the International Association of Chiefs of Police assembled
police leaders and family members to address police suicides. So far this year 188 officers committed suicide, a toll
twice that of line-of-duty deaths. “Removing the stigma,” it was said, is key to solving the problem.
Dick’s Sporting Goods sells guns. But it no longer sells assault-style weapons or high capacity magazines and
requires all gun buyers to be at least 21. That decision was made by C.E.O. Ed Stack after the 2018 Parkland, Fla. high
school massacre. He concedes these steps won’t eliminate all mass shootings. “But there will be less loss of
life if an assault-style rifle isn’t used. And if we do all those things and we save one life, in my mind it’s
all worth it.” Related posts
1 2 3
10/25/19 Undercover California state agents regularly watch California residents acquire California-illegal assault rifles at
gun shows in Arizona and Nevada. Buyers are tailed when they return to California, where they are stopped. “The...
problem is that California has a 608-mile border with Nevada...and Nevada’s gun regulations are less stringent,”
a prosecutor said. Related posts
1 2 3
10/24/19 At the urging of Attorney General William Barr, in December 2019 the FBI will host a national training
session for preventing mass shootings. Local and state agencies will be exposed to “proven models” drawn from
the war against terror; for example, identifying dangerous, “extremely challenging individuals” and compelling
to undergo mental health treatment before they strike. Related posts
1 2 3 4
Two years ago Jackson Co. (MO) deputy Lauren Michael was awarded a Medal of Valor after shooting and killing an
ex-con shoplifter who allegedly Tasered her during an arrest. This past August she shot and wounded a traffic violator who
ran off after - again - allegedly Tasering the deputy. This time Deputy Michael was charged with “felony assault and
armed criminal action.” Related posts
10/14/19 Summoned by a
neighbor who reported an open front door, two Fort Worth officers arrived at a residence during the early morning hours.
One officer saw a woman standing inside. He yelled for her to show her hands, then fired a single shot, killing the woman,
the home’s lawful resident. She was reportedly playing video games and came to the window because of the
commotion. Related posts 1 2 3
10/13/19 A 66-year old man with “anger management issues” shot and
killed five other residents of the condo complex where he had long resided. According to police most of the other
tenants “have had problems with him,” from being accused of “making too much noise to exchanging dirty
looks to bumping into each other in the stairwell.”
10/12/19 California Governor Gavin Newsom (Jerry Brown’s successor) signed a bill that adds
“teachers, school administrators, employers and co-workers” to the list of those who can petition courts that
guns be seized. Related post
10/10/19 Wisonsin’s Supreme Court
turned away a lawsuit against Armslist, an online website that puts together
private gun sellers and gun buyers, for facilitating a gun purchase by Daniel Haughton, whom a restraining order had
made ineligible to buy a gun under state law. In 2013 Haughton used a gun he got through the service to murder his wife
and two of her coworkers. Related posts 1 2
10/10/19 MGM, the owner of the hotel that was the site of the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre, has
agreed to pay up to $800 million to settle lawsuits alleging that it negligently failed to keep the shooter,
Stephen Paddock, from stocking his room full of weapons and ammunition.
10/6/19 A thirty-seven year old man flew to Florida from Norway. He banged on a front door, and when it was
answered jumped out from the bushes. Meant as a birthday surprise, his actions startled his father-in-law, who shot
him dead. Related posts 1 2
10/6/19 A Los Angeles Times investigation blames largescale gun smuggling from the U.S. for
“stoking a homicide epidemic in Mexico.” According to ATF, seventy percent of the 132,823 guns recovered
in Mexico between 2009 and 2018 came from the U.S., mainly border states in the southwest. Most smuggled guns - one estimate says more than 750,000
firearms went South in just two years - are reportedly acquired from U.S. gun dealers and at gun shows
by straw buyers. Related posts
Facebook already encrypts WhatsApp. Now it’s planning end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp, Messenger and other
services, placing content out of even Facebook’s reach. These services are being used to exploit children, and
have appeal to criminals and terrorists. Law enforcement is demanding a “back door,” which Facebook and
privacy experts strongly oppose. Related posts 1 2
10/3/19 Jurors convicted former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger of the most
serious charge, murder. Then, after a hearing in which witnesses were called, they sentenced her to ten years.
Returning home after a shift, officer Guyger had mistakenly entered the wrong apartment, then shot and killed its
occupant thinking that he posed a threat. Under Texas law, Officer Guyger, who faced a prison term of five to
ninety-nine years, elected to be sentenced by the jury. Related post
Participants at an NAS symposium on human rights sounded a cautionary note about artificial intelligence, whose misuse
can worsen inequality and bias. For example, San Francisco banned the use of facial recognition technology
because it is “demonstrably biased against minorities.”
NYPD officer Brian Mulkeen was accidentally shot and killed by other officers after he fired at an armed felon whom he
encountered at a crime-ridden housing project in the Bronx. Although overall crime in New York City is down,
the area, patrolled by the 47th. Precinct, had ten shootings to date in 2018 but fifteen so far this year.
Related posts 1 2 3 4
9/29/19 An internal, multi-year
review by State Dept. investigators has determined that more than one-hundred agency officials sent emails containing
classified information to Clinton’s private server. While a former executive calls the inquiry a witch hunt, the
agents insist that their effort is not intended to punish anyone and only took this long because of its massive nature.
9/25/19 Suicide rates
are climbing in the military services. In the Navy, three off-base suicides by members of the same crew in five days
- with two confirmed by gun - raised the number of suicides for their vessel to five in two years. According to the
Defense Department, the annual suicide rate of service members is 20.1/1000,000, considerably higher than the civilian
toll of 14/100,000. Related post
9/23/19 Illinois’ red flag law, which authorizes judges, acting on petitions filed by family members
and police, to order that guns be confiscated for up to six months, has been used 41 times since its enactment
on January 1. According to an Illinois gun-control group the law is a valuable “public health tool.” But
some major cities, including the state capital, Springfield, are yet to use it once.
Related posts 1 2
9/20/19 According to Colt Firearms, “a pretty sharp decline in rifle
sales” and a “significant inventory buildup by our distributors” has led it to suspend production of
civilian versions of the AR-15. Colt will focus on police and military orders, which, it says, are “absorbing
all of Colt’s manufacturing capacity for rifles.”
Related posts 1 2
9/18/19 For more than
two months, the sister of NYPD’s ninth officer to commit suicide this year reportedly pleaded with his
supervisors to take his gun away. NYPD is expanding its anti-suicide efforts, but other agencies such as
LAPD have long fielded mental health
units with suicide prevention as an explicit mission. Overcoming officer reluctance to seek help is always a problem.
9/18/19 At UC Santa Cruz, Dr. Ed
Green, a paleogeneticist, reportedly developed a way to collect an individual’s full nuclear DNA sequence
from a single strand of hair, an accomplishment that previously required having the root. A highly expensive process,
it’s been used for more than a year to develop leads in cold-case murders by submitting profiles to DNA
Related posts 1 2 3
9/17/19 Three Palm-Springs area high school students were arrested for posting terrorist
threats to shoot up their high school. Police seized two handguns and a replica AR-15. “There’s no real
way to tell this is a fake weapon without actually having it in your hands,” said a detective. “This
could have ended in a deadly confrontation.”
In July a New York City judge accused officers who found a gun in a car of lying when they justified their search
by saying they had smelled pot. She also said the problem is widespread. Some officers agree. According to the
Times, the practice increased after NYPD, under public pressure, cut back on stop-and-frisks.
Related posts 1 2 3
9/13/19 A 60-year old Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney shot and killed his wife and teenage son at their
home. He then shot himself dead. A daughter was also present but managed to flee. According to police “the
recent loss of a loved one and ongoing health issues played a significant role.”
Related posts 1 2
9/10/19 Seth Athor (see 9/6 post, below) was turned away by a gun store in 2014 because of a prior mental
commitment. So he got the gun from a private seller.
Related posts 1 2
9/7/19 A newly-released
study reports an increase in suicide rates in the U.S. between 1999-2016. Among its key findings is that
“the presence of more gun shops was associated with an increase in county-level suicide rates in all county types
except the most rural.” (It’s believed that household firearms ownership in the latter has already
maxed out.) Related post
9/6/19 Check out Jay's op-ed about assault weapons bans in today's Washington Post.
9/6/19 Seth Ator, 36, who shot and killed seven and wounded twenty-two,
including three officers, as he rampaged through Texas’ Odessa-Midland region on August 31, used an AR-15
type rifle that he reportedly bought from a Lubbock resident. Federal agents suspect that the seller may be
dealing in guns without a license and searched his home.
9/3/19 A 14-year old Alabama boy admitted he shot and killed his father, stepmother
and three siblings, ages six months, five years and six years, while everyone was home. He used a 9mm. pistol
that, according to police, had been “illegally” present at the residence.
Related posts 1 2
9/1/19 A male in his 30s armed with a rifle hijacked a mail truck and went on a shooting rampage in the
West Texas cities of Odessa and Midland. He killed seven and wounded nineteen, including three officers, before
police shot him dead.
Related posts 1 2 3 4
8/31/19: In Mobile, Alabama, a 17-year old opened fire after a fight broke out at a high school football
game. Ten teens ages 15-18 were wounded, five critically. Deangelo Parnell, the alleged shooter, was arrested on
multiple counts of attempted murder. Related post
8/30/19: Eleven St. Louis children have been murdered since April, including three last weekend. A 54-
year old man - so far, he’s the only person arrested in any of the killings - shot a fifteen year old boy
dead. An eight-year old girl was also killed by gunfire, and a ten-year old girl and her parents were found dead
in their apartment with puncture wounds.
Related posts 12
8/29/19 Two years after California legalized pot, illegal marijuana farms run by Mexican cartels
besiege the state’s forests, causing major ecological damage and threatening wildlife with
dangerous pesticides. Meanwhile a profusion of illegal pot shops in L.A.’s low income areas is blamed for
worsening violence and decay (a deadly shooting took place in one this day). Advocates
claim the fix lies in more legal shops, but “most cities” refuse to license them altogether.
8/24/19 Guns recovered by police in California often come from Nevada, whose gun laws are far looser. California
legislators are planning to ask their Nevada counterparts to prohibit assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
such as used by Santino Legan, the 19-year old Nevada man who legally bought an AK-47 type weapon at a Nevada gun
store on July 9, then used it to kill three and wound a dozen at the Gilroy (CA) Garlic Festival on July 28.
Related posts 123
8/22/19 Long Beach (CA) police credit a coworker for informing them that
his colleague planned to shoot up their workplace to retaliate over a recent job-related issue. Officers arrested
the man and seized a small arsenal, including a state-banned assault rifle and high-capacity magazines.
8/22/19 Camden police announced a comprehensive use-of-force policy that, among other things, requires officers to de-escalate,
prohibits use of deadly force except as a last resort, and mandates reporting of any violations.
Related posts 12
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill fired officer Daniel Pantaleo after a department judge ruled that the veteran
cop’s use of a forbidden chokehold led to Eric Garner’s death. Noting that Garner resisted arrest,
Commissioner O’Neill conceded “he might have made similar mistakes” had he been in officer
Pantaleo’s place but faulted him for not relaxing his grip. Related post
inner-city job-training programs haven’t proven out. But “Project
Quest” may be different. According to a nine-year comparative study, its graduates had “the
largest sustained earnings impacts we’ve ever seen in a work-force development program.” One of its
advantages may be a “wraparound” component that has participants meet weekly to discuss their progress.