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Posts tagged ‘law’

Murder and guns in America today–would amending the US gun law reduce murder rates?

First, here are some interesting statistics about murders from a global perspective. Most people are aware that the United Kingdom has outlawed guns (for most citizens). What’s the correlation between that and murders? Well, in the USA, which proudly upholds its government’s Second Amendment, in one year there were 15,241 murders (2009) – that’s 5 murders per 1,000 people (RPT).

In the UK, 724 murders were calculated in one year with an RPT of 1.2. I’d say that’s a significant correlative difference. Did the difference in gun laws “cause” the problem – I’m not sure. Let’s look at more numbers…

The country that reported the highest number of murders in one year was Brazil at 43,909 with a RPT of 22.7. Falling just behind Brazil in number of murders is India with 40,752 reported but with a RPT of only 3.4 because of the incredibly dense population of the country.

Now, examining the significance or RPT, check out Honduras, reporting 6,239 murders in one year but with an RPT of 82.1!!! El Salvador reported 4.085 murders in a year with an RPT of 66!

Data comes from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDC). As you can imagine, the United Nations explains that it is somewhat difficult comparing these statistics accurately. Nations have different views on what constitutes murder, they report on different years, reporting methods differ, etc. However, this data does paint what I think is a fascinating picture.

It seems that developed nations have fewer murders (rate per thousand – RPT) than non-developed nations. And about those guns…

I still want to point out that there is strong correlative evidence that suggests having a loose gun law in a nation (e.g. USA) leads to increased murders as opposed to a nation with far stricter gun laws (United Kingdom). Still, there is more going on here. America is unique because of it dense and mostly developed sprawl. If you look at data maps, most murders occur in cities that are heavily populated with poverty, gangs and drug trafficking.

Therefore, if the US enacted heavier gun control laws or even outlawed guns for most citizens, the argument that many gun rights activists use, “only criminals will have guns,” could very well come to pass. I question if heavier gun laws would have a great impact on people who are career criminals–a sociological construct that already exists without much indication that we have a solution to curb this activity. If this is so, they won’t get rid of their guns, and they will continue obtaining guns from other criminals. These are groups that already, as a rule, operate outside of laws. The only regard they have for law is that it dictates to them that which they must keep hidden, as hidden as possible to try to not get caught.

How does all of this relate to the Colorado shooting? It doesn’t. When a society looks for solutions to reduce murders, by rule it has to eliminate anomalous causation. A psycho on a shooting spree in a movie theater is not a common profile for murders in America. Therefore, an act like this isn’t successfully addressed through policy or law. Most likely people around this individual ignored warning signs that he was a sociopath with homicidal tendencies that turned wrong — way wrong. But hey, what the hell do I know. I’m just a writer here, tapping out letters… What do YOU think?

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Guardians ad Litem Provide a Voice for the Children

 

In my latest Patch.com article, I  began recalling my time working at the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center–my first job ever with Operation PAR, Inc. in 1999. I spent a lot of time hearing stories from youth–some funny, many tragic and others wildly disturbing. Over the years, some of these stories never leave you. One of these I highlighted in this article. Children need voices, they need someone to look out after their rights. When parents and caregivers fail them, who is there to look out for these kids?

The answer: often it is a volunteer, a dedicated member of the community assigned by the court–a guardian ad litem.

I recently interviewed Maria Costa, community outreach coordinator for the Guardian ad Litem Program in the 6th Judicial Circuit.

“A guardian ad litem is an independent voice, advocating for the best interest of the children,” Costa said. “The guardian ad litem has no other agenda than to see the child in a safe, stable and permanent home.”

Check out the full article here, and please leave a comment or just say hello on the website. Until next week…

http://largo.patch.com/articles/guardians-ad-litem-provide-a-voice-for-the-children

America is a slave to its laws at grave expense to decency, ethics and common sense. What will it take to restore balance?

America is a slave to its laws at grave expense to decency, ethics and common sense. Weighing heavy at the top of this list are patent laws, particularly involving living organisms. Let it be known that neither the people of the United States nor any member of Congress have ever voted on such laws, rather they have been established at the sole discretion of the US Supreme Court (similar story in Canada). These justices deliberated on the First Amendment and arguments brought forward, and laws were ruled “Constitutional” by majority rule of opinions of justices sitting at the time. As it stands, any individual or more likely corporation can own a patent on a seed, gene, or many other parts of living organisms and claim ownership of anything that contains that part of the organism. As far as humans go–there is a majority percentage of the organism that must be non-human for the patent to be held. Terrifying to think of in theory. In reality, the injustice served to many farmers who have been sued and forced to destroy their own seeds due to these laws is simply horrific.

For those of you who know me well, I am very far from a conspiracy theorist. However, what I am witnessing in America is that corporations are ruling our government and ferociously infringing on the rights of all Americans to earn a successful living in many industries. Agriculture is being exploited by big business in insurmountable ways. Other industries are not immune. Additionally, big business has been infringing upon government with exponentially increasing influence. At the very top of this list is the insurance industry. Take a hard look at American healthcare reform. Special interest groups, lobbyists and namely those representing the insurance industry are running the show. Who gave them all this power and permission to control our government and destroy lives?

There are myriad documentaries, movies, articles and books produced on this subject–all with conclusive evidence of this. Please search out information on this topic on your own, and that way you will have personal buy-in regarding your own position on this topic. The more informed you are, and the more original sources you can cite to back-up your claim, the stronger your argument will be and the more convinced you will be regarding your own beliefs.

Personally, I am at the very core a capitalist. I believe in free-markets and that competition works for business and consumers, ensuring that supply and demand set pricing along with competition ensuring that quality remains high and prices reasonable for the marketplace.

I also believe in a balance of some socialized systems to help ensure human rights in a compassionate culture: access to housing, healthcare, social services, food, clothing, education (including higher education and public libraries) and just laws are human rights that a developed society has a responsibility to make available to its citizens so that they may have the opportunity to live healthfully and have resources to create an improved live for themselves and their children.

Who cares and what do I know –what authority do I have to speak on such issues? I care, and you should too, because it affects all of is in many ways–all citizens of the United States and those who would like to live here. And, I know that having the majority of wealth and power, in obscene proportions, accumulated by a minute fraction of the population by individuals and corporations who wish to do little with this wealth other than to accumulate more wealth and power and ferociously abuse this power for the sole purpose of accumulating even more wealth–this is a perfect storm of disease–an aggressive, unstoppable cancer eating away at America, preventing individuals’ inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I do love the United States and all of its rich history and successes and stories–everything that makes it what it is–good, bad and inbetween. But, I fear it is broken. In a big way. And instead of holding its position as ”the land of opportunity,” it is becoming a wasteland of insatiable greed juxtaposed by hardship and suffering. I know that America will find balance once again, and I have great faith that we will have a stronger, more resilient country as a result. But at what cost in the interim? Can we afford the cost? How many will not be able to survive the transition?

[My apologies for run-on sentences, spilt inifinatives, etc. My purpose here is content and communication. Style and rules have suffered in this post, possibly more than others.]

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