Monday, July 31, 2017


The older I get the more I long for a return to the good old days of kicking ass and taking names

When I was a criminal justice professor I was dedicated to teaching my students the modern ways of restrictive policing. However after retiring, and the older I get, the more I long for the good old days of policing where we kicked ass and took names.

Back when I was a cop law abiding citizens respected the police and criminals both respected and feered us cops. Today hardly anyone respects the police anymore. Of course, the proliferation of cellphone videos and the media frenzy they cause play a large part in creating disrespect for the police.

Up into the mid-sixties the police had a free hand in how they dealt with criminals. Yes, we did kick a lot of ass and took names, but it was rarely ever with a law abiding citizen. In those days most suspects did not resist arrest. They did not give us a lot of shit. If they did, it was because they were either drunk or high on drugs.

We also conducted searches of cars and dwellings without a search warrant and when we did so, it rarely involved a law abiding citizen.

If someone killed a cop back then, he was dead meat. When we caught up with him he was Swiss-cheesed. No negotiating for his surrender. And unless a criminal was a nutjob, he knew better than to take an officer’s life.

We had the electric chair and those condemned to death did not linger on death row any longer than it took for one or two appeals to run their course. And ‘Old Sparky’ was so frightening that it also acted as a deterrent to murder..

Back then we had shotguns instead of military assault rifles. We were not equipped with uniforms that made us look like Robocop.

In those days we had a pretty good handle on crime. While one crime is one too many, the crime rate was fairly low.

All that began to disappear with the Miranda decision. In 1966 the Supreme Court handed down a decision which required the police to warn everyone taken into custody that they had a right to remain silent, that they had a right to an attorney and that anything they said could be used against them in court. The case involved a Mexican rapist whose conviction was overturned because the cops failed to warn him before he confessed to the crime.

The Miranda decision itself was really not the big deal cops and their supporters made out of it. The FBI had been using similar warnings for years. But it was followed by a stream of restrictive decisions handed down by a liberal Supreme Court. The police complained they were being handcuffed, but that was a ridiculous complaint. The police were not handcuffed. It just made their job harder and a criminal’s life easier. Convictions were reversed because someone forgot to cross a T or dot an I And the crime rate began to rise in the wake of each restrictive ruling by the courts.

The courts also ordered police agencies to become more diverse. Racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the police force is desirable. But mixing diversity with affirmative action was nearly disastrous. In order to meet court ordered goals police agencies had to lower their literacy standards in the case of minority hiring and their physical standards for women recruits. Minorities, in a number of cases, were promoted over more deserving white officers. Police morale was at an all-time low and racially biased resentment manifested itself in many law enforcement agencies.

So where are we today? Criminals no longer fear the police. Resisting arrest seems to be the order of the day. The crime rate is much higher than back in my time. Prisons which had become overcrowded are being downsized by early releases to meet court ordered standards. Crimes which were at one time classified as felonies were reclassified as misdemeanors to keep criminals from being sent to prisons.

Today every arrest seems to be videoed by cell phones. Every questionable or wrongful police action shows up on the internet and fuels a media frenzy. Almost every police shooting of a black man leads to anti-police demonstrations and in some cases rioting, looting and burning. That has led to a rush in indicting cops for murder even when ths shooting was justified.

In 2014, two NYPD cops were ambushed and assassinated in Brooklyn by a black man in revenge for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of the police. In 2016, five Dallas police officers were assassinated and nine were wounded in an ambush by a black Afghan War veteran who was inspired by the rabble rousing of Black Lives Matter. Just this month a female NYPD cop was ambushed and assassinated in the Bronx by a black parolee.

With the rush to prosecute cops who shoot some on, the police are facing a terrible predicament. Police officers can choose to save their jobs or to save their lives, but they can’t do both.

Today, when the police find a cop killer, instead of shooting him down, they call a SWAT team and have a 3-hour or a 6-hour or a 24-hour stand off during which a police negotiator tries to sweet-talk the scumbag into giving himself up.

The death penalty has become a farce. We have 2,900 cold blooded murderers lingering on death rows for 10, 20 and even more than30 years – 749 in California alone - while their lawyers file endless appeals. There’s a good chance many of them will die of natural causes. And when we finally do execute these murderers, we put them to sleep like a beloved pet dog.

Today with cops subjected to so much hatred and fearful of doing their jobs, police agencies are losing officers through early retirement and are having a hard time recruiting new cops. I worry about my cop granddaughter having to shoot some piece of shit and then facing prosecution for trying to keep herself from being killed or seriously injured.

Of course we will always have some bad cops doing some terrible things, but they are very few in numbers. It was the same in my day. But in my day cops were respected. Nowadays they are not. In my day there were no targeted assassinations of police officers. Then the crime rate was relatively low. Today the crime rate is high.

For the politically correct crowd a little head thumping is just too brutal to contemplate, but it sure works well with the criminal element.

When I retired in 1993, I never imagined that I would ever call for a return to the good old days of kicking ass and taking names. Bad cops aside, in those days the police got the job done and were respected for it.


Speaking in front of a group of cops about cracking down on gangs, Trump half-jokingly seemed to be calling for a return to the kick ass era of policing

Speaking Friday on Long Island before a large group of police officers about cracking down on gangs, President Trump seemed to be calling for a return to the kick ass era of policing when he half-jokingly said:

"When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon. You see them thrown in rough. I said, 'Please don't be too nice. Like, don't hit their head and they've just killed somebody. I said, 'You can take the hand away, OK?'"

"I have to tell you, you know, the laws are so horrendously stacked against us, because for years and years, they've been made to protect the criminal. Totally made to protect the criminal. Not the officers. You do something wrong, you're in more jeopardy than they are,"

The cops laughed at Trump’s remarks about not being nice to arrestees and applauded his complaint about the rights of criminals.

However, politically correct police administrators across the country immediately accused Trump of encouraging police brutality.

Obviously unhappy that its own officers laughed and applauded, the Suffolk County Police Department, which has jurisdiction over the location where Trump spoke, released a statement which said, "As a department, we do not and will not tolerate 'rough(ing)' up prisoners. The Suffolk County Police Department has strict rules and procedures relating to the handling of prisoners, and violations of those rules and procedures are treated extremely seriously."

A Boston Police Department statement said, "[our] priority has been and continues to be building relationships and trust with the community we serve. As a police department we are committed to helping people, not harming them."

New York, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said, "to suggest that police officers apply any standard in the use of force other than what is reasonable and necessary is irresponsible, unprofessional and sends the wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public."

The Gainesville, Florida, police department said “The President of the United States has no business endorsing or condoning cops being rough with arrestees and suggesting that we should slam their heads onto the car while putting them in. The men and women of GPD absolutely reject those remarks and will continue to serve and protect this great community with respect. The President's remarks today have set modern policing back and erased a lot of the strides we have made to build trust in our community. …It's certainly possible to enforce laws and arrest very bad folks and do it with respect.”

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said, “Seattle’s police officers have embraced reform and have worked incredibly hard to build community trust. We do not intend to go backwards. It is truly unfortunate that in today’s toxic environment, politicians at both ends of the spectrum have sought to inflame passions by politicizing what we do. We remain committed to our principles and reject irresponsible statements that threaten to undermine our relationship with the community.”

Similary complaints about Trumps remarks were made by law enforcement officials in Los Angeles, Houston, Baltimore and other cities.

While the politically correct police chiefs and sheriff s are expressing alarm over Trump’s remarks, the rank-and-file cops who have to work the mean streets in protecting the public, probably support the president wholeheartedly.

Blue Lives Matter said, "Trump didn’t tell police to go out and brutalize people as the media would have you believe. It was a joke. Do these people actually realize that this was a joke and not a policy change? It seems not.”

Refuting his own department, John Becker, head of the Suffolk County Deputy Sheriff's Police Benevolent Association, said "For the first time in many years we feel we have a president who supports law enforcement."

All of you who have read the post ahead of this one know that I long for the good old days of kick ass and take names. For the politically correct crowd a little head thumping is just too brutal to contemplate, but it sure works well with the criminal element. If Trump was joking, it was only a half-joke in my estimation. All the kindness cops are now supposed to show to criminals has only increased assaults on and the murder of police officers.


by Bob Walsh

There are, right now, more than one serious push under way by Republicans to take a long, harsh, legally professional look at Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Crime Family Foundation, the Russian uranium deal and even the IRS attack on conservatives. They may actually bear fruit.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a resolution to get the FBI documentation on the Hillary email scandal.

Also, the unmasking issue is becoming big, or at least bigger. It is said that at lest one Obama administration official made literally hundreds of unmasking requests. Even if it is only dozens and not hundreds it is still, potentially, a big deal. Both Susan Rice and Samantha Powers (the Obama U. N. Ambassador) are apparently linked to the unmasking issue.

One thing is, IMHO, certain. A large portion of Trump's base would just LOVE to see an honest-to-god criminal inquiry into the Clinton Crime Family Foundation, which was essentially a shake-down racket and influence peddling scheme.

So, will power continue to protect power? Will Trump let bygones be bygones? With the Democraps and the deep state doing everything they can to destroy Trump and his family I am thinking that maybe Trump will decide at some point that the best defense is a good offense. I know if I was in his position I think I would tell the A. G. to hire Giuliana and set him up with a special investigations office with just that in mind. I am not a warm-and-fuzzy, forgiving sort of person. If somebody tries to fuck me over I don't forget about it, and I seldom (if ever) forgive.

Karma is a bitch.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Ex-police chief tells his own side of Ferguson shooting

By Harry Levins

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 29, 2017

On Aug. 9, 2014, Ferguson policeman Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown after a face-off on the streets. Before long, all hell broke loose, with sometimes violent protesters blaming police racism for the killing of Brown, a black man.

Wilson’s boss at the time was police Chief Thomas Jackson. He tells his side of the events in “Policing Ferguson, Policing America,” subtitled, “What Really Happened — and What the Country Can Learn From It.”

Jackson has written a book that swerves from anger at what he sees as unfair condemnation of his police force to some well-reasoned thoughts on how police departments and communities can get along better.

Among his arguments:

• Many media members “approached me with the assumption that I was hiding something or had an agenda of protecting the officer and department, no matter what.” He also says the national media ignored both positive news about his department and negative footage of especially ugly protests. He’s especially hard on CNN but praises two local outlets — the Post-Dispatch and KFTK-FM (97.1).

• His department was caught off-guard by the impact of social media, which drew in protesters from across America. “That was the real wild animal in the room” Jackson writes, “and nobody knew how to deal with it. When it comes to social media, there simply are no rules.”

• Then-Gov. Jay Nixon comes under heavy fire, as do U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), then-Attorney General Eric Holder and then-Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. Jackson says Nixon’s on-and-off approach to using the National Guard made a bad situation worse.

• True, the majority-black city of Ferguson had a predominantly white police department. Even so, Jackson says, “I would have given everything to have a pool of black candidates from which I could hire new officers. But guess what: that pool exists mostly in the public’s imagination.”

• Outfitting his police officers in riot gear was a defensive move, not an offensive tactic. “The idea was that police wore riot gear to the scene of a demonstration as an intimidating show of force,” Jackson writes. “To this day, I am amazed that people could believe that some chief or captain thought, ‘We’ll show up in battle dress and scare the hell out of them.’”

• In March 2015, Washington issued its own report on Ferguson. Jackson says that “the damning report on Ferguson from the United States Department of Justice, the final nail in the coffin, was itself a collection of misperceptions, misrepresentations, and outright falsehoods.”

A week later, Jackson handed in his badge.

At book’s end, he quotes at length from a detailed report by the FBI (an arm of the Justice Department). The FBI says in effect that Officer Wilson was justified in shooting Brown — and seems to back up Jackson’s side of the story.

How much interest “Policing Ferguson” will have outside the St. Louis area remains to be seen. But locally, demand should be heavy. After all, Jackson makes a strong case for his view of things. And if he tends every now and then to slide into angry outbursts of profanity — well, as he himself says at book’s end:

“I feel like the more inconsistencies and falsehoods I point out, the more I sound like an obsessive madman.”


by Bob Walsh

Something truly noteworthy is about to happen in the People's Republic of San Francisco. The federal government is about to comply with the law.

Most of you no doubt recall the name Kate Steinle. She was murdered on San Francisco by a multiple-deported illegal alien who used San Francisco's sanctuary city policy to avoid punishment.

The pistol he shot and killed Steinle with had been stolen three days prior from the locked car of a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) park ranger. The ranger is going to testify, and that is the remarkable part. Apparently the BLM has an official policy that prohibits it's employees from complying with either polite requests or subpoenas for either official records or personal testimony.

The shyster for the murderous criminal illegal alien believes that the range, John Woychowski, is a critical witness to establish the history and condition of the stolen weapon. Presumably the shyster is going to try to make out the weapon was either defective or poorly maintained and that the criminal illegal alien just happened to be walking down Pier 39 with the stolen gun in his hand when it discharged, killing Ms. Steinle.

The Steinle family has a civil action pending against the BLM, asserting that the act of leaving the gun in the car (which was completely legal at the time) led to Ms. Steinle's death. I guess there is no point in suing the illegal alien criminal, he has no money.


Man Tries to Steal Fort Pierce Police Patrol Car With Officer Inside

Treasure Coast Newspapers
July 28, 2017

FORT PIERCE, Florida -- A 20-year-old man was arrested after police say he tried to steal a car.

Not just any old car.

A Fort Pierce police patrol vehicle. At the Fort Pierce Police Department. With a Fort Pierce police officer in it.

Because who would ever notice?

It happened about 5 a.m. July 17 as Officer Robie Troutman was in his patrol vehicle at the main police station on South U.S. 1 writing a report, according to his report.

"While in my vehicle, I heard the rear passenger side door handle make noise and then the front passenger side door handle make noise, where I was positioned seated in the driver seat of my clearly marked Fort Pierce Police Department Patrol vehicle," the report states.

Troutman opened his door and reported seeing a man later identified as Aaron Orlando Rodriguez III run away and hide behind another vehicle.

Troutman and another officer detained Rodriguez and found two cell phones, a portable speaker, a $20 bill and a pipe with marijuana residue.

"Rodriguez said he saw my vehicle was running so he attempted to steal the vehicle so he had a ride home," the report states.

Rodriguez, of Okeechobee, was arrested on charges including attempted grand theft of a motor vehicle, loitering and prowling and possession of drug equipment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ain’t marijuana great? If you’re stoned, pot will make a marked police car with a uniformed officer in the driver’s seat look just like an ordinary unoccupied car.


Police shoot, kill man after serving arrest warrant at wrong home

Fox News
July 27, 2017

Mississippi police officers shot a mechanic to death Sunday after the cops served an arrest warrant at the wrong residence, according to multiple media reports.

Southaven police officers initially planned to arrest Samuel Pearman, who was wanted for assault — but instead of knocking on Pearman’s door, cops went to the house across the street from him, UPI reported.

“One of the officers did fire a shot at the pit bull dog,” DeSoto County Prosecutor John Champion said. “While this was going on, they also noticed at the time that a gun was pointed outside the residence. At this point, the officers began hollering ‘put the gun down, put the gun down,’ at which point that did not occur and there were more than one shot was fired toward the door, and there was a male subject inside the residence that was killed.”

Champion said there is a possibility the officers went to the wrong address but confirmed that Lopez was not the suspect the arrest warrant was intended for before the gunfire began.

“Somebody didn’t take the time to analyze the address,” Murray Wells, an attorney who was hired by Lopez’s family, told UPI. “This is incredibly tragic and embarrassing to this police department that they can’t read house numbers.”

Lopez’s wife, whose name was not released, said the police’s version of what occurred before the shooting is not correct. She told Jordan Castillo, a family friend, that Lopez never had his gun in his hands and police started shooting despite the family’s door being closed.

“She said when he got up, she heard the footsteps all the way up to the door, she heard the doorknob turn, and then after the doorknob turned it was just gunshots from there,” Castillo said.

Lopez, an auto mechanic, had been a resident of the neighborhood for 13 years, according to Wells.

“The only time the police had ever been there was when they had been robbed,” Wells said.

The officer who shot and killed Lopez has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation occurs.

At that house, cops shot and killed Ismael Lopez, 41, after Lopez’s pet dog, a pit bull, allegedly tried to attack the officers. The officers also said Lopez had a gun in his hand at the time. Lopez’s wife disputes both of the cops’ claims.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I would guess that the warrant serving officers did not include among their the officer who made the investigation which led to the issuance of the warrant. Had he been with them, he would have seen they were at the wrong home.


California Muslim leader apologizes for anti-semitic sermon calling for the 'liberation' of holy Islamic site in Jerusalem from the 'filth of the Jews'

By Jessica Finn

Daily Mail
July 29, 2017

A California imam who came under fire for a sermon that has been translated to condone the annihilation of Jews, has apologized.

Imam Ammar Shahin, of the Islamic Center of Davis, held a news conference Friday admitting his emotions clouded his judgement during the sermon on July 21.

Shahin's sermon focused on the al-Aqsa Mosque, a holy site for both Muslims and Jews alike.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), translated Shahin's remarks as calling for God to 'liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews' and to 'annihilate them down to the very last one.'

A recent turn of events at the highly contested site prompted Shahin to give the sermon after Israeli officials put metal detectors at the site for Muslims to pass through following a recent shooting of two Israeli guards there by Arab-Israeli gunmen.

During Friday's press conference, Shahin said: I am deeply sorry for the pain that I have caused. The last thing I would do is intentionally hurt anyone, Muslim, Jewish or otherwise. It is not in my heart, nor does my religion allow it.'

However the Islamic Center of Davis said in a statement to the Washington Post Wednesday that Sharin's statements were taken out of context by MEMRI.

'In the context of the full sermon, it becomes clear that the theme of the sermon was against oppression, and not against Jews or any religion,' the mosque statement said.

'If MEMRI and company sincerely followed Imam Ammar Shahin's work and did not just cut and paste what suits their cause, they would have come across the countless lectures and sermons he has given regarding treating all people, especially non-Muslims, with kindness and giving them their full rights, supporting them when they are oppressed.'

During Friday's news conference, Shahin said 'Commitment to defending religious rights in Jerusalem should not cause division or fan the flames of anti-semitism.'

He added 'Today, I commit to working harder and will join efforts for mutual understanding and building bridges. As a young religious leader, this has humbled me.'

Shahin was flanked by Davis Rabbi Seth Castleman and other interfaith leaders to ease tensions over his comments that some feared could result in violence.

'I said things that were hurtful to Jews. This was unacceptable,' Shahin said. 'I hope to grow and develop as a more worthy leader in the community,' he added.

Rabbi Castleman thanked Shahin for his apologies and called for action. 'Apologies are only as worthy as the actions that follow, so I call upon you. I implore you to follow those words with actions,' Castleman said.

As soon as the hour long sermon hit the Internet the mosque put out statements including the one admonishing MEMRI for only taking it as a portion. A second appeared under the YouTube clip of the sermon.

In the posted YouTube clip the statement said: 'The ICD (Islamic Center of Davis) will always stand against anti-semitism similarly to how the Jewish community has always stood against Islamophobia in our close knit community. We have zero tolerance for anti-semitism or any other form of bigotry.'

Hamza El-Nakhal, a member of the Muslim community in Davis told The Enterprise 'Some people like Imam Ammar Shahin become angry for injustices. He spoke while angry. He should not have given this sermon while angry.'

EDITOR’S NOTE: He didn’t mean it. Yeah, right. Words bellowed in anger reveal the true feelings of the speaker. And in this case, the apology will not undo the harm caused by Shahin’s tirade.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


9 bodies found piled in Mexican border city Nuevo Laredo

By Maria Verza

Associated Press
July 28, 2017

MEXICO CITY -- Nine bodies were found in a bloody pile in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas, Mexican authorities reported.

A Tamaulipas state official said Thursday the dead include five women and four men. The official was not authorized to be quoted by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said a hand-lettered sign was left atop the bodies, which were found in front of a house near a border bridge. Such messages are frequently left by drug cartels as warnings to rivals.

"This is not a joke, nephew," read the sign, according to photos published in local media.

The state prosecutors' office said in a statement it was investigating the killings.

Nuevo Laredo has long been dominated by the Zetas cartel, which has splintered into factions following the arrest or killing of top leaders.


What the hell is going on within the Trump administration?

First the president publicly embarrassed his Attorney General by criticizing Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russian investigation.

Then Trump hires Anthony Scaramucci as his communications director. Scaramucci, known as Mooch, promptly told a reporter for the New Yorker that Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus was a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic” and accused chief strategist Steve Bannon of “sucking his own cock.”

I’ll bet Saturday Night Live is going to have blast mocking the Mooch blasting Priebus and Bannon.

And the Mooch probably gave Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump a big laugh because it’s no secret they much prefer a White House cleansed of Priebus and Bannon.

Om Friday Trump dumped Priebus and replaced him with homeland security secretary John Kelly.

The White House is looking more and more like a Three Stooges comedy.


by Bob Walsh

A jihadist goat fucker armed with a kitchen knife attacked seven people in a grocery store in Hamburg, Germany on Friday.

The goat fucker was yelling Allahu Akbar while he was on his rampage. For some reason the authorities in Germany are unable (or unwilling) to assign a motive to his actions. I guess the notion that he is a terrorist goat fucker doesn't occur to them.

His victims were one woman and six men. One of the men died and others are in serious condition.

The goat fucker is a "foreigner" who was supposed to have been deported but was not due to lack of documentation. I guess if you are an alien terrorist goat fucker in Germany all you have to do is lose your documents and they can't deport your happy ass. Somehow I see a flaw in that.

The goat fucker is a 26-year old born in the United Arab Emirates.

Just as an aside, for no particular reason. Are residents of Hamburg referred to as "hamburgers?" I have often wondered about that.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Regarding your aside Bob, maybe he really wasn't a jihadist terrorist, but slashed all those people up in that grocery store because he believed they were Hamburgers.


by Bob Walsh

The formerly great state of California has decided that 93 of the 1,250 dams overseen by the Dept. of Water Resources are in need of a close inspection. Closer than had been given to, say, the Oroville Dam, the near-catastrophic failure of which could have been remarkable unpleasant for a couple of hundred thousand people immediately downstream. Among them is the New Don Pedro dam, which retains the 6th largest reservoir in CA. (Of course if New Don Pedro Dam failed it is possible that the Old Dan Pedro dam, which was left in place when the new dam was built. MIGHT retain a significant portion of the lake. Or not.)

This exam will include checking the geological condition of the substrate beneath these dams. These checks are supposed to be completed by the rainy season, typically beginning on November 1.

I guess if you are going to have a lot of water behind a big pile of dirt in behooves you to check on the condition of that pile of dirt every now and then.


by Bob Walsh

"Fuck All You People"

Yes, that is (allegedly) the title of Hillary's new book. She wants to tell why she failed to become the second female president of the United States (after Edith Wilson) and arguably the first switch-hitter to hold the office.

I am told by those in-the-know (my non-English speaking Croatian barber) that Hillary believes that it is the fault of the voters who were all too stupid to appreciate how absolutely fucking wonderful she is and she is going to tell them what she thinks of them. It could be epic.

If memory serves me correctly H. L. Mencken once ran for congress. He lost. HIs comment to the press was, "The public has spoken, the bastards."

Hillary and Chelsey in 2020. You go girls.


Sanjiv Singh was the captain of a container ship on which I took a 42 day cruise in 2003. He and I became good friends.

Sanjiv has a blog entitled “Force 12” directed primarily at seafarers. I was browsing through his blog when I came across a post entitled “Your Work, Your Signature” which he posted on May 15 this year, and in which he described how a messman in his crew went way beyond the standard of work for his position.

In that post Sanjiv, who lives in India, made the following statement:

Performing work way above the standard expected of you is not just a matter of competence. It’s about the pleasure you derive from doing the same job clearly better in quality than the rest [of the workers]. It’s about the price you put on each task, notwithstanding how mundane or menial. This becomes your signature.

Now that’s a great statement!

I once had an elderly parolee who fit that bill. He worked as a dishwasher in a small nondescript restaurant. He always arrived early for work and usually left well beyond quitting time. Both his boss and I tried to get him to look for a better job but he said he was happy in what he was doing. That was his signature.

On the other hand, a police officer here doing his job that way would soon find himself scorned by his fellow cops and facing a pile of citizen complaints accusing him of racial profiling and using excessive force. His signature would not be appreciated. Both his fellow cops and the public would probably describe him as an asshole.

It’s too bad the signature Sanjiv described fails to be appreciated in every workplace.


Black Student Mowing Lawns Alleges Racial Profiling After Harris County Arrest

By Meagan Flynn

Houston Press
July 27. 2017

Instead of pulling out his business card, the deputy pulled out handcuffs.

The Harris County Precinct 1 deputy was investigating an apparently suspicious man he saw going door to door. The man, 20-year-old Marlin Gipson, was only handing out his own business cards for his lawn-mowing business in a north Harris County neighborhood, and a lawn mower and other equipment sat beside Gipson and his friends' pickup truck, parked along the residential street. Still, the deputy explained that he was investigating what Gipson was doing, and would need to see some ID. Gipson told him his name (police and Gipson's attorney dispute whether he gave his true name) and that he was 19, born in October 1999 — which would have made him 17.

"Could I have a card, please, sir, to write your name down for me?" Gipson asked, according to a video of the encounter filmed on his cell phone and the dash-cam footage Constable Alan Rosen released — following accusations of racial profiling and massive backlash about how deputies responded soon after this initial encounter.

The deputy didn't give his name. He pulled out the handcuffs and told Gipson to put his hands behind his back.

Gipson, who is a business student at Blinn College, backed away, telling the officer no. "We cutting grass, sir!" he said as his friend approached. "You harassing us!" His friend told the officer he was doing this "just because he's black."

Rosen held a press conference late Wednesday afternoon to take questions about why deputies then followed Gipson to his home, came inside, broke down the bathroom door where Gipson was hiding, released a police dog on him, used a Taser on him twice and arrested him. He has been charged with failing to identify to a police officer and evading arrest.

The video of Gipson's encounter with the deputy and later of the dog bites and injuries he sustained during his arrest have since gone viral, but Rosen said, "I don't believe our officers have done one thing wrong at all."

"What I have seen thus far [from Gipson] is falsities. Untruths. He has not been truthful about anything," Rosen said. "And I can tell you, I have a dedicated workforce here. I stress the importance of the office looking like the community we serve. We have one of the most diverse offices there is in Harris County, and I'm proud of that, and it really incenses me to have somebody say that they were targeted because of their race."

Rosen said the deputy was originally suspicious of Gipson's going door to door because there had been a recent uptick in burglaries in that neighborhood. Rosen said that when the deputy realized that Gipson was lying about his age, this "further raised his suspicion." The constable said that despite the fact that a crime had not occurred, the deputy had every right to ask for Gipson's ID because he was investigating him, and that it was fine for the deputy to refuse to give him his own name because "we don't let a violator dictate the rules of how [the stop] goes. That's how an officer can get hurt."

Rosen said that, after Gipson's arrest, deputies discovered that Gipson had an outstanding warrant for the Class C misdemeanor — the equivalent of a traffic ticket — of threatening assault in 2015, which is why Rosen believes he did not give the officer correct identifying information. Gipson also has pending cases in Washington County, where he attends college, for resisting arrest/search and giving a fictitious name to an officer, Rosen said. (Gipson told KTRK the charges are related to a dispute at his college dorm.)

When a team of deputies arrived at his home to arrest him for the offense, Gipson filmed an officer telling him to come out, that he "just wants to talk." The video ends at that point, but Rosen says a family member allowed the deputies inside, who then had to break down the bathroom door to arrest Gipson after using their Tasers and police dog on him.

At the press conference, Rosen and responding officers provided limited explanation as to why it was necessary to use such force against Gipson inside his own home, while he was apparently cornered in a bathroom closet. Rosen and Deputy Lofton Harrison, who is head of the Internal Affairs Division and the patrol division, simply said they gave Gipson plenty of warnings to come out and warned him they had the dog ready.

Gipson's attorney, Lee Merritt, has accused the officers of racial profiling and using excessive force and abuse of power, saying he is preparing a civil rights lawsuit.

"After the unconstitutional and excessive arrest of a black college student while he was mowing lawns to make extra money over the summer, how do we expect law enforcement to respond to national outcry?" Merritt asked in a post on Facebook. "Character assassination of course," he said, referring to comments Rosen made about Gipson at the press conference.

Gipson's family has since filed an internal affairs division complaint with the constable's office. Rosen said that, if his family doesn't feel that his office investigate the complaint without bias, the Texas Rangers will take over the investigation.


Indianapolis man accused of killing officer after car crash

By Tom Davies

Associated Press
July 28, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- Police arrested a 28-year-old man accused of gunning down an officer who was trying to help him and someone else after their car overturned and came to rest in a front yard along a busy Indianapolis street.

Jason Brown, 28, was arrested at a hospital Thursday night on a preliminary murder charge in the killing hours earlier of Southport police Lt. Aaron Allan. Southport is a municipality that is part of Indianapolis but also has its own mayor and police force.

Authorities haven't given a possible motive for the shooting of Allan. Indianapolis police said in a statement Thursday that two other officers returned fire and shot one of the people in the car, but they didn't specify whether it was Brown, who is from Indianapolis. Both people in the car suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police spokesman Sgt. Kendale Adams said Friday.

Southport's police chief said Allan, 38, had been with the department for six years and was previously an officer for the Franklin Township school district in suburban Indianapolis.

The Marion County prosecutor's office will likely file formal charges in the shooting early next week, spokeswoman Peg McLeish said. No court hearings were immediately scheduled.

She said the second person in the car hasn't been arrested and that person's actions remain under investigation.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett called Allan's death "a shocking and tragic reminder of the difficult, often dangerous work of police officers." He said the community grieves for the Allan family.

Allan's patrol SUV was parked outside the Southport police station on Friday and was covered with flower bouquets left by residents.


As jobless rate declines, employers increasingly find qualified workers among recently released prisoners

By Jeffrey Sparshott

The Wall Street Journal
July 27, 2017

Erickson Cos., a Chandler, Ariz., based construction firm, has hired almost 30 former inmates from Arizona state prisons over the past year to build frames for new homes, an effort to cope with skilled-labor scarcity.

“We’re searching for every alternative avenue that we possibly can to help solve this labor shortage,” Rich Gallagher, Erickson’s chief executive, said in an interview.

Erickson is part of what appears to be a nationwide trend. As the jobless rate falls, employers in places including Arizona, Indiana and Maryland are scouring the fringes of the labor market for able-bodied workers, including ex-offenders.

Erickson, which has about 250 employees in Arizona and roughly 1,000 nationwide, has been recruiting directly from corrections department job fairs for prisoners nearing release. Karen Hellman, director of inmate programs and re-entry, said there has been a noticeable uptick in companies looking to hire inmates this year.

National data on hiring of ex-offenders isn’t available, but other state correctional systems across the U.S. and training programs for ex-offenders report similar experiences.

“I’ve never dealt with employers who are more willing to hire ex-felons,” said John Nally, who started working at the Indiana Department of Correction in 1967 and is now its director of education. “It is a totally different landscape when you have an unemployment rate of 3.6%. We have all these people in construction who are literally begging for workers.”

Indiana’s unemployment rate was 3.6% in April and fell to 3.2% in May.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low in May and the number of job openings climbed to a record in April, according to separate Labor Department reports, underscoring tightness in the labor market. In a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, nearly half of small businesses said they could find few or no qualified workers for the positions they were trying to fill.

“Contacts across a broad range of industries reported a shortage of qualified workers which had limited hiring,” the Federal Reserve said in its most recent summary of economic conditions.

More than 600,000 sentenced prisoners nationwide are released from state or federal prisons each year. Research shows that most struggle to find steady work and stable housing—and frequently end up offending again.

The vast majority—nearly 90% in the Indiana study—of ex-offenders have a high-school diploma or less, putting them at a distinct disadvantage among a population that already has higher unemployment and lower participation rates than those with at least some college.

But as the labor market tightens, their fortunes improve.

A review of Indiana state prisoners released in 2005 found that nearly half were rearrested within five years. “Ex-offenders would likely become recidivists if they were unemployed after release from prison,” the study said. “At its core, postrelease employment was the major predictor of recidivism.”

Of those released in 2005, 92% to 97% didn’t hold a job during the year they got out of prison, the Indiana study found. That fell to more than 60% by 2007, when the national unemployment rate was also low and the labor market tight. Unemployment among those released in 2005 was back up to 80% by 2009, after the recession hit. Americans with criminal records still face significant barriers to finding a job.

Many employers, for example, won’t hire someone without at least a high-school diploma. More than one-third of the ex-offenders in the Indiana study lacked such a credential. Businesses also are often leery of hiring anyone with a criminal background, sometimes because of regulations, legal liability concerns or worries a person will repeat past criminal behavior. Employers frequently complain potential workers can’t pass a drug test.

The right and left are making efforts toward criminal justice reform.

That includes initiatives to promote hiring as a means of rehabilitation, to lower crime rates and save money on incarceration costs.

“Slowly but surely there’s a mind shift about people who come out of prison,” said Mark Holden, general counsel at Koch Industries, the Wichita, Kan., manufacturing conglomerate perhaps better known for the conservative activism of its owners, Charles and David Koch. One priority for the group is criminal justice reform. “Hopefully we will see more opportunity [for people with criminal records] going forward.”

The situation shows signs of improving for ex-offenders in some parts of the country.

“What we’ve found is that employers are beginning to open up to individuals with criminal backgrounds,” said Kent Kramer, president and chief executive of Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana. He said former inmates need stable housing, health care, a track record of employment and some marketable skill if they want a steady job with a living wage.

Timothy Phillips was released from Maryland’s prison system in February 2016 after 17 years behind bars for murder. The 48-year-old quickly found a job at a retailer but was later let go after a background check turned up his criminal history.

He participated in Baltimore’s Jump Start program, an 87-hour construction pre-apprenticeship. Job placement director Kate McShane estimates three-quarters of its enrollees have criminal records.

Mr. Phillips graduated from the program in February and the same month started working at Kogok Corp., an Upper Marlboro, Md., company that manufactures and installs commercial duct work. His work as a sheet metal mechanic feels like a career, not just a job, he said.

“It seems that you do have companies like Kogok that may not mind hiring someone with a criminal background—it seems like companies out there do exist,” Mr. Phillips said. “It isn’t that hard if you’re determined.”

In the Baltimore metropolitan area, which includes more suburban Columbia and Towson, the unemployment rate is 4.1%, leaving some companies scrambling for workers.

Daniel Warner, president of Loganville, Penn.-based Structural Restoration Services Inc., said his company since May has hired seven Jump Start graduates for jobs in the region, its first experience with the program.

“The labor market’s really tight,” he said. “We have tried just about every avenue of hiring we can figure out.”

So far, five have stuck with the building repair company—not much different than other hires off the street—and Mr. Warner said when he needs additional workers, he would consider recruiting from the program again.

“These are guys who have really made a decision to change their life,” Mr. Warner said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If employers are really hiring skilled ex-cons that is real good news. A good job is the most critical factor in keeping an ex-con from returning to prison. I hope this isn’t too good to be true.

Ex-cons who are not skilled will have a hard time finding any jobs other than working in a car wash or some other such low paying menial work.

Friday, July 28, 2017


Justice Department: No Civil Rights Protection for Gays and Lesbians

By Pete Williams

NBC News
July 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department told an appeals court this week that federal civil rights law does not ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

It's another big setback for the LGBT community, a group that candidate Donald Trump pledged to support when he held up a rainbow flag at 2016 rally in Colorado.

The government's court filing comes in a discrimination lawsuit against a New York skydiving company. One of its instructors, Donald Zarda, said he was fired for being gay.

He claimed the firing violated the Civil Rights Act, which, among other things, bans discrimination "because of sex." The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed. "Discrimination because of sexual orientation cannot rationally be distinguished from discrimination because of sex," the EEOC said.

But the Justice Department unexpectedly stepped into that case Wednesday, even though the government was not involved in the dispute, to say the law applies only to discrimination that treats men and women differently.

While there have been "notable changes in societal and cultural attitudes about discrimination," the government said, Congress has consistently declined to amend the law in light of those changes.

The Justice Department's position was consistent with the way most federal appeals courts have ruled on the issue, but it marked a turnaround from the approach taken during the Obama administration.

The Justice Department brief, filed in the Second Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in New York, came the same day the president said transgender people cannot serve in the U.S. military.

"I think the community feels very much under attack and under siege by this administration. In a very real sense, it was the administration's anti-LGBT day," said James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union.

But some conservative groups welcomed the Justice Department’s action. “Only Congress can amend the federal law, and that diverse body of legislators has rejected several requests to do so. I applaud the DOJ for upholding the rule of law," said Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.

Caught off guard by the President's tweets on transgender military service, the Pentagon is trying to work out what it means.

In a memo Wednesday to all commanders, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there will be no modifications to the current policy until the president's directive is made formal. For now, he said, "we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

The spells uncertainty for transgender service members like Mia Mia Mason, after five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's very costly for me. I could lose my health care. I lose my pension. And those are things that I've earned for the 18 years I've served."


Anyone entering the military service should do so because they want to fight for their country

A lot of soldiers squealed like stuck pigs when they found themselves headed toward Iraq or Afghanistan. You’d hear something like this: “I didn’t join up for this, I’m here to get a college education.” That was too bad because they joined up for the wrong reason.

The purpose of our armed forces is to fight a war in defense of our country, not to provide educational benefits for its members. Anyone entering the military service should do so because they want to fight for their country.

This brings up President Trump’s declaration that transgenders would no longer be allowed to serve in the military. LGBT advocacy groups claim there are 15,000 transgenders serving in our armed forces. I have no idea where they got that number. For all I know, there could be less than 1,000 or maybe as many as 25,000. The question is why did they join up? Apparently a significant number of transgenders joined the armed forces to obtain gender assignment surgery at Uncle Sam’s expense.

Personally I have no objection to transgenders in the military provided their presence does not disrupt life in the barracks and showers, and does not diminish the fighting ability of a combat unit. I suspect that transgender soldiers are just as effective as gay soldiers who have served with distinction. But I do object to the government paying for gender assignment surgery. Let them get that surgery before they join the military and if afterwards they want to fight for our country, welcome them into the service.

As for those college benefit seeking soldiers having a conniption on the way to Iraq or Afghanistan, tough shit, you joined up for the wrong reason!

Of course, I salute all the combat veterans, including transgenders, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and all the other wars our armed forces have been engaged in, regardless of the reason they joined the military.


More California inmates are getting a second chance as parole board enters new era of discretion

By Jazmine Ulloa

Los Angeles Times
July 27, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- An Alameda County probation report details facts that Kao Saelee can’t change: He was 17 and armed with a sawed-off shotgun when he and three friends opened fire on a group of teens they believed belonged to a rival Oakland gang.

The spray of bullets instead struck Tsee Yorn and San Fou Saechao, both 13. It killed 7-year-old Sausio Saephan, a second-grader at nearby Garfield Elementary School who had tagged along with his older brother and was shot in the neck.

For years, members of the State Board of Parole Hearings could — and often would — deny prisoners early release based on their past, focusing solely on their criminal offense rather than whether or not they’d pose a safety risk in the future.

To inmates, it seemed an unspoken rule: Let no one out.

Now, the board has entered a new era, empowered to grant more offenders a chance at parole after a decade's worth of court decisions and state laws that have broadened its discretion. With the greater legal flexibility, Gov. Jerry Brown has put the commission of 14 men and women at the front line of his effort to reduce the prison population and to focus more on rehabilitation rather than relying solely on punishment.

Parole commissioners stay away from politics. Jennifer Shaffer, the board’s executive officer, says their only role is to neutrally apply the laws, which have changed the way they evaluate which offenders are too dangerous to let out. The focus is no longer so much on the severity of the crime, as on whether offenders have come to an understanding about why what they did was wrong.

One question, Shaffer said, has become central to weighing whether someone is fit for parole: “Who are you today, and is there any evidence of current violence, current unreasonable risk to public safety?”

That approach, criminal justice experts say, is part of a pendulum swing in California, coming after decades of tough sentencing policies that led to overflowing prisons and a court-ordered cap on the state inmate population.

During his first term as governor in 1977, they said, Brown shifted sentencing power away from judges and parole boards to prosecutors when he signed a law that set fixed, inflexible prison terms for some crimes. Proposition 57, which voters overwhelmingly approved last year, returns some of the board’s discretion by allowing more offenders to trim those sentences, moving up their parole hearings and expanding the board’s authority over a greater number of prisoners.

Brown has said it allows convicted felons to be judged once they have had a chance to change their lives.
The board “isn’t making up the recipe” to the state’s approach to crime and punishment, “but it is the one cooking it,” said Vanessa Sloan, founder and director of Life Support Alliance, which advocates on behalf of inmates sentenced to life in prison.

Through the decades, California’s parole commissioners have been accused of being too lenient on punishment or taking too much of a hard line.

But before Brown’s return as governor in 2011, lawyers and legal experts said, parole boards tended to be vocal supporters of strict sentences, and mainly were composed of former law enforcement officers, elected officials and advocates for crime victims. Many commissioners, if not most, were white men, adding to the lack of diversity.

Brown appointed Shaffer as executive officer of the State Board of Parole Hearings in June 2011 with the goal of “professionalizing the board and making it a strong, independent body,” she said.

Under her direction, the makeup of commissioners has diversified by gender, race and professional background. Shaffer also has been at the helm of major initiatives, spurred by court cases, lawsuits and state laws, that have developed new processes to speed up and increase parole hearings, as well as to release young and elderly offenders.

The board now takes up to 400 parole hearings a month including those for older and youth offenders, and prisoners are now more likely granted recommendations for release. Nearly 820 inmates, or 16% of prisoners who had hearings in 2016, were seen as fit for parole that year, compared with 119, or less than 2%, in 2007. Just 16 prisoners, or less than 1% of those who had hearings, were deemed fit for parole two decades ago.

The workload for parole commissioners has increased under Proposition 57, which is expected to trim the sentences of 11,500 prisoners over the next four years.

New guidelines to implement the initiative, which took effect this month, allow most inmates to earn additional time toward completing their sentences, and to move up their parole hearings by earning credits for good behavior and enrolling in career, rehabilitation and education programs. They also expand parole consideration to prisoners whose primary sentences are for crimes not designated as “violent” under California law, and who have served the full term for those offenses.

Corrections officials previously offered parole eligibility only for nonviolent inmates who had been charged with a second strike under the state’s three-strikes law, and served 50% of their sentences. Of those nearly 6,200 referrals, 28% have been approved for release.

Lawyers and legal experts first started noting the board's exercise of broader discretion when it came to the parole hearings for offenders sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

“It used to be, you could ask a life term inmate if they had ever known anybody that had received a [parole] date and the answer was ‘no,’” Shaffer said. “Now there is not a single life inmate, I believe, who doesn’t know somebody who has gotten a date.”

Commissioners attribute the seismic shift to a 2008 decision in the case of Sandra Davis Lawrence, who was declared suitable for parole over former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s objections nearly 24 years after she fatally shot and stabbed her lover’s wife with a potato peeler.

In the 4-3 ruling, the California Supreme Court found inmates could not be denied parole based solely on the viciousness or lethality of the crime. Shaffer said parole boards must instead take into account whether the defendant would pose a safety risk to the public if released.

“That really changed the focus of our hearings. From, ‘You did what? Tell me about the crime,’” Shaffer said. “To, ‘Who were you then? Who are you today and what’s the difference?’”

But lawyers, former board members and inmate advocates say the change of culture goes beyond the rulings. They credit Brown for appointing practitioners like Shaffer who have honored the changes in the laws, and they point to Shaffer for bringing the board into a new era of transparency.

At a Senate confirmation hearing in late June, parole board commissioner Randolph Grounds, a warden at various prisons over five years, seemed to reflect the board’s new attitude.

“Yes, as a warden you have to keep people inside, but the mindset is all about moving people forward,” he said, emphasizing the need to place inmates in programs and prepare them to enter the community.

Two weeks later, Grounds was asking the questions at California State Prison in Folsom. In a cramped room, he and two other commissioners sat across from Saelee, who had served 10 years in prison for the drive-by shooting that took Saephan’s life.

Saelee, a refugee from Thailand who is now 31, told the panel he grew up with an abusive father. He said he had been bullied in school for his poor English and for wearing donated clothes until he started fighting back. He admitted he burglarized homes and associated with gangs in his teens but had not before been arrested.

The day of the killing, he had been playing video games at a laundromat, when a friend asked him for help retaliating against a rival gang member. They went out in search of the young man and fired at a group of teens, though they were not sure if their target was among them. They celebrated after they got away, Saelee said.

“It was heartless,” he said, wiping away tears. But he said he did not realize the weight of his actions until he was behind bars, where he stopped doing drugs, underwent therapy and became a youth counselor.

At the end of the two-hour hearing, and without opposition from an Alameda County prosecutor on the case, the panel of three commissioners recommended he be granted parole. Grounds urged Saelee to remember the lessons he has learned.

“We don’t want any other victims,” Grounds said. “We don’t want no other fallout. What we want is healing.”

Decisions on the sentences of life inmates must go to the full board for approval, to a legal office for review and then to the governor who can reverse it and send it back to the board for further consideration — a practice Brown used less than other governors.

But the review process for nonviolent offenders under Proposition 57, which does not include a review from a governor but can be appealed, is facing fire from all sides. These prisoners referred to the board are first screened for the dangers they pose if released, and the review spans an offender’s criminal history, institutional behavior, rehabilitation efforts and any written statements received from the inmate, victims and prosecutors.

Offenders convicted of sex crimes in which there was no physical contact with the victim, such as public indecency or distributing nude photos, and those with a "third strike" for a nonviolent offense argue they, too, should be eligible. Meanwhile, the law enforcement officers, prosecutors and lawmakers who have opposed Proposition 57 from the beginning argue its regulations include loopholes that could make some violent or serious felons eligible for parole.

They warn the review process for such inmates is not as thorough as the hearings for juvenile and elderly offenders, and others serving life sentences, because the proceedings are conducted primarily by deputy commissioners with less experience and amount solely to an analysis of paperwork — and don’t include a hearing.

Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), a proponent of tough sentencing laws who served as chair of the parole board in the early 1990s, said the new parole eligibility processes water down the ability of victims to object and put neighborhoods at risk.

“I am one who most believes in rehabilitation, but I also know that in prison, the capacity to rehabilitate has not expanded much,” Nielsen said. “I also know that in the community rehabilitative opportunities have not expanded much.”

Others counter that it is too soon to know whether the parole board has too much discretion.

“I don’t know if anyone is ever going to be convinced that we have reached the perfect medium,” Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson said.

Parole board members say no matter the case, era or governor there is always a strong incentive to get it right, both for the inmate and society. At her confirmation hearing in June, parole board commissioner Patricia Cassady, a former defense lawyer, said she would not want to release anyone she would not want living next to her home.

“It is a weighty decision we make every day,” she said.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Shameless Ignoramus Complains About Lack of 'Women' and 'No Lead Actors of Color' in Movie 'Dunkirk'

By John Nolte

Daily Wire
July 20, 2017

USA Today's Brian Truitt describes himself as a "shameless geek," but oddly enough omits the fact that he is also just as shamelessly ignorant when it comes to the signaling of his own CorrectThink virtue. In his review of Dunkirk, director Christopher Nolan's big-budget look (opening this weekend) at an actual historical event that took place in the early days of World War II, Truitt offers potential ticket-buyers the following trigger warning:

The trio of timelines can be jarring as you figure out how they all fit, and the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color may rub some the wrong way.

Where in the world do these freaks come from?

Did Truitt do any homework about the background of this movie? He does appear to know that Nolan's latest is based on a true story, which I guess is a start, but he probably learned that from the trailer. The real question, though, is just how clueless about history, about the biggest world event of the 20th century are you when you find it "jarring" that Wesley Snipes doesn't show up to save the day or that Sandra Bullock is not driving a tank that will explode if it goes under 50 miles per hour?

Complaining about the lack of women and minority actors in a movie about Dunkirk is like complaining about the lack of Sinatra music in Straight Outta Compton or wondering why cancer failed to get equal time in Philadelphia or hectoring Hollywood over the omission of realistic sex scenes in the Toy Story trilogy.

And we cannot only blame Truitt, who is probably a victim of public schools. How did his trigger warning, one so feeble-minded it ranks as a non sequitur, make it past the USA Today editors? Are they all half-wits or does someone personally dislike Truitt so much they have stopped protecting him from himself?

Sorry if the following is inconvenient to your McCarthyistic desire to bully filmmakers into thinking and believing a certain way, but the settled science tells us the following: Trapped at Dunkirk were young, white males. Saving those young, white males were other white males. Trying to kill those young, white males were other white males.

Journalism is dead, and it was a suicide.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t see why Denzel Washington could not have played General Lord Gort, Commander-in-Chief of the trapped British Expeditionary Force or Samuel L. Jackson as General Von Kuechler, commander of all the German forces at Dunkirk. And why couldn’t they have a sex pot like Jessica Biel or J.Lo play a lead role as a French nurse bravely attending to wounded and dying allied troops under heavy German gunfire. Where were the diversity police?


by Bob Walsh

Raymond Dehn is running for Mayor of the city of Minneapolis. Raymond Dehn is severely mentally disabled and is currently a state representative from district 59B of the glorious state of Minnesota.

The reason I assert that Dehn is severely mentally disabled is that as of right now, his primary policy position is to disarm the Minneapolis police department.

If Dehn gets his way (I am guessing this might require a change in state law) Minneapolis police officers would have to stash their firearms securely in their vehicles. They would be able to retrieve them if they REALLY need them. And of course if they know they really need them far enough in advance and in close enough proximity to their vehicles in order to do so effectively.

None of this means that the electorate of Minneapolis won't actually vote for this shithead. Voters sometimes do some really creative (i.e. stupid) shit.


by Bob Walsh

One of the survivors of a Hwy 99 rollover in Los Banos has said she doesn't blame the (drunk) driver for the crash, she blames social media. The driver, Obdulia Sanchez, 18, of Stockton, was live streaming her driving along Hwy 99 (fascinating scenery I am sure) when she lost control of her car and rolled it, ejecting both back seat passengers, neither of who was wearing a seat belt. One of them, Ms. Sanchez's little sister, died.

The Instagram stream shows Sanchez standing over her sister's corpse, apologizing.

According to her father, Nicandro Sanchez, Ms. Sanchez (the still living one) had a rough childhood and spent her last two years as a juvenile in the custody of CPS. He did not mention the girl's mother or the girl's dead sister in his statement to a Fresno TV station.

Let's see. It is illegal to drink if you are under 21. It is illegal to drive drunk. It is illegal to allow minors to ride in your car without wearing their seat belts. I guess this young lady made SEVERAL really poor choices that will haunt her the rest of her life. But she should look on the bright side, at least she has one. Can't say the same for her little sister, who was supposed to have her Quinceanera this weekend.


We all know how boring some stretches of highway can be, or how infuriating traffic is when you’re a professional driver with a load to deliver – a study out of the UK suggests these bugbears might actually be making you dumber

By: Cobey Bartels

Owner Driver
July 26, 2017

The study of more than 500,000 people looks closely at 93,000 of the participants who drive for more than two hours a day, finding that long stints behind the wheel could steadily reduce your IQ.

Medical epidemiologist at Leicester University and lead author of the study Kishan Bakrania told The Sunday Times a less active mind and factors such as stress could contribute to the mental decline.

"We know that regularly driving for more than two to three hours a day is bad for your heart," he said.

"This research suggests it is bad for your brain, too, perhaps because your mind is less active in those hours.

"Driving causes stress and fatigue, with studies showing the links between them and cognitive decline."

Bakrania said the results were similar to those of people that watched TV for more three hours daily, although computer use actually boosted intelligence.

"Cognitive skills were boosted in people who used computers up to two to three hours a day.

"When watching TV, your brain is less active, but using a computer is stimulating," he said.

Heavy vehicle drivers certainly have more to concentrate on than car drivers, so whether this study tells us much about truckies specifically isn’t known.

Do you think long periods of time on the road lower your IQ?


Lawsuit Argues Federal Marijuana Laws are Arbitrary and Target Black People

By Stephen Paulsen

Houston Press
July 26, 2017

A groundbreaking new lawsuit aims to force the feds to change their rules on cannabis.

A group of marijuana activists and patients sued the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice on Tuesday, alleging that the federal government violates due process, along with the civil rights of African Americans, by continuing to implement what the suit characterizes as arbitrary and ill-intentioned pot laws.

Although almost every state now allows some form of recreational or medical marijuana use, the DEA still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug. That’s the highest classification, ostensibly reserved for only the most dangerous substances. The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in New York, argues the government can’t “merely…manufacture a supposedly ‘legitimate government interest’” to criminalize marijuana use. And the government is violating due process by doing so, according to the suit.

More explosively, the lawsuit also argues that the Nixon administration invented strict marijuana prohibition as a pretense to harass black people and that the government remains insincere about its reasons for criminalizing the drug. African Americans are almost four times more likely than white people to be arrested for pot crimes despite using pot at roughly the same rate, according to numerous studies, including a 2013 analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The Nixon Administration recognized that African Americans could not be arrested on racial grounds, and war protesters could not be prosecuted for opposing America’s involvement in Vietnam,” the five lawyers, who hail from three separate law firms, wrote. “The Nixon Administration ushered the [Controlled Substances Act] through Congress and insisted that cannabis be included on Schedule I so that African Americans and war protesters could be raided, prosecuted and incarcerated without identifying the actual and unconstitutional basis for the government’s actions.”

With almost 20 percent of Americans now living in states with legal recreational marijuana, it can be easy to forget the feds retain such strict policies. But the criminalization of marijuana at the federal level still has huge, if subtle, ramifications.

Medical marijuana patients can’t travel out of state with their medicine, even if the other state also allows them to use the plant. They can’t get medicine shipped to them unless it’s weak enough to meet the federal definition of industrial hemp. Researchers have a harder time getting cannabis for studies. And although doctors are allowed to “recommend” marijuana, they cannot technically prescribe it. (This will be a particular problem in Texas, where a new medical marijuana law, set to roll out in September, explicitly requires doctors to “prescribe” cannabis medicine.)

The lawsuit highlights just how diverse the American cannabis community has become. Among the plaintiffs, there's Marvin Washington, a former football player who wants to start a medical marijuana business; a military veteran with post traumatic stress disorder; and two parents who use marijuana to manage their severely ill children’s symptoms.

One of the parents is Sebastien Cotte, whose six-year-old son, Jagger, suffers from a rare neurological disease called Leigh syndrome. Born in Georgia, Jagger has been in hospice for almost his entire life. In 2014, the Cottes piled into a car and drove to Colorado so that Jagger could try medical marijuana. At the time, the young boy was so sick that the family couldn't fly. They had to stop every three or four hours during the drive.

“Jagger was doing much better when we were living in Colorado,” Sebastien Cotte said. The family stopped going to the hospital as much. But, after thirteen months away from home, the Cottes had to get back to their lives in Atlanta. Cotte and his wife had jobs and a mortgage. And Jagger, although much healthier overall, struggled with the thin air and high altitude.

Cotte thinks he should be able to give his son medicine without having to move his family across the country. Although he’s allowed to give Jagger medicine with up to five percent THC, under Georgia’s medical marijuana program, there isn’t anywhere in the state to buy it. He could get medicine shipped, but only if the medicine qualifies as “industrial hemp" under federal laws. That lowers the THC limit down again, to 0.3 percent.

If Jagger never gets the chance to legally use the medicine he needs in Georgia, Cotte hopes he can at least get the laws changed for other kids. Jagger suffered heart and respiratory failure in March. “We didn’t think he was going to make it,” Cotte said. “My wife’s parents drove from Florida in the middle of the night just to be there. He was on every machine to keep him alive.”

In the end, the young boy pulled through. “He’s a fighter,” Cotte said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Blame it on Nixon.

I hope the DEA showers the court with studies that show medical marijuana is a hoax and that pot indeed is a dangerous drug.


Russian comics dupe U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry with prank call

By Timothy Gardner

July 25, 2017

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry optimistically discussed expanding American coal exports to Ukraine and other energy matters during a lengthy phone call this month with a Russian prankster who Perry thought was Ukraine’s prime minister.

Perry actually was talking with comedians known in Russia for targeting celebrities and politicians with audacious stunts, Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a written statement.

“These individuals are known for pranking high-level officials and celebrities, particularly those who are supportive of an agenda that is not in line with their governments. In this case, the energy security of Ukraine,” Hynes said.

Pranksters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov are sometimes called the “Jerky Boys of Russia,” after an American duo who put out recordings of their prank phone calls in the 1990s. They have made faux calls to British singer Elton John, who thought he was speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and others.

During the 22-minute call on July 19, Perry, whose department oversees the U.S. nuclear weapons program, discussed a range of topics in a business-like tone, including sanctions against Russia and helping Ukraine develop oil and gas.

Perry said the Trump administration opposes Nord Stream 2, a Russian project to bring natural gas to Europe across the Baltic and that U.S. technology could help Ukraine develop gas.

“Giving Ukraine more options with some of our technology is, I think, in everyone’s best interest with the exception of the Russians, but that’s OK,” he said.

Perry also discussed the Paris climate accord and coal exports on the call.

The call, first reported by E&E news, was recorded and posted online.

It happened about a month after Perry met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his delegation at the Energy Department.

President Donald Trump said last month that Washington plans to offer Ukraine more coal exports from the United States because the eastern European nation’s industrial sector has difficulty securing coal from separatist-held regions.

It is unclear how the United States would bring more coal to Ukraine but Perry hinted on the call that the Commerce Department was working on it.

“The coal conversation at this particular point in time is with (Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross) and I full well suspect it will go forward,” he said on the call.

News of the call came the same day the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to impose new sanctions on Russia.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And that was Rick’s biggest accomplishment as energy secretary to date.


U.S. State Department issues travel warning for tainted alcohol at Mexico resorts

BY Raquel Rutledge

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
July 26, 2017

The U.S. Department of State is alerting travelers to Mexico about possible tainted or counterfeit alcohol that could cause sickness and blacking out.

The department on Wednesday updated its information page specific to Mexico, cautioning vacationers who chose to drink alcohol to “do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill.”

The warning noted: “The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is one of our highest priorities."

The updated warning comes in the wake of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigationsurrounding a Wisconsin woman’s death that raised questions about drinks being served in all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.

Following the initial report, the Journal Sentinel has received accounts from more than three dozen people reporting similar experiences after drinking limited amounts of alcohol at such resorts.

The blackouts have happened to men and women, young and old, to singles and to couples, according to interviews with travelers and family members whose loved ones died or were injured at the resorts, as well as hospital records, ambulance receipts, hotel correspondence and other documents.

Abby Connor, a 20-year-old from Pewaukee, died in January after being pulled listless from a pool at the Paraiso del Mar, part of a cluster of Iberostar resorts near Playa del Carmen, Mexico. She was brain dead, and a few days later was flown to Florida, where she was taken off life support.

Her brother, 22-year-old Austin, also reported blacking out. He had a lump on his forehead and a severe concussion. The two had arrived with their mother and step-father at the resort just hours earlier and had been drinking at a swim-up bar.

Numerous others told the Journal Sentinel of similar experiences, with several couples reporting blacking out at the same time. A woman from Neenah reported being sexually assaulted, while her husband woke up to a broken hand.

Blackout incidents have happened at Iberostar’s property in Cancun and at the company's cluster of resorts 30 miles to the south in Playa del Carmen. Incidents were also reported at other all-inclusive resorts in the region.

Often the vacationers reported they drank tequila, but in other cases it was rum, beer or another alcohol.

The new State Department travel alert cautions people to drink in moderation, but many told the Journal Sentinel they had only a drink or two before losing consciousness and waking up hours later — with no recollection of how they got back to their rooms or to the hospital, or how they were injured.

An attorney working for the Connor family recently visited the Paraiso del Mar pool area, where the Connors had been swimming, and noted in a report: “They serve alcoholic drinks with alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts, mixing different types of drinks."

A 2015 report from Mexico’s Tax Administration Service found that 43% of all the alcohol consumed in the nation is illegal, produced under unregulated circumstances resulting in potentially dangerous concoctions.

The national health authority in Mexico has seized more than 1.4 million gallons of adulterated alcohol since 2010 — not just from small local establishments, but from hotels and other entertainment areas, according to a 2017 report by the country's Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks.

The bootleg liquor could be infused with grain alcohol or dangerous concentrations of methanol, cheaper alternatives to producing ethanol, government reports warn.

In a statement last week, Spain-based Iberostar said the company adheres to strict regulatory standards and noted they "only purchase sealed bottles (of alcohol) that satisfy all standards required by the designated regulatory authorities."

Travelers told the Journal Sentinel they also faced difficulties getting help in Mexico, from reluctance by police to take reports to hospitals and clinics demanding cash payments — sometimes of amounts that seemed to involve gouging.

The State Department alert noted:

"U.S. citizens have lodged a large number of complaints about unethical business practices, prices, and collection measures against some of the private hospitals in Cancun, the Maya Riviera, and Cabo San Lucas. Travellers should make efforts to obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care in these locations."

The state department also said U.S. citizens should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico.

“The Embassy stands ready to provide appropriate consular services to any U.S. citizens in need."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


by Bob Walsh

Acting yesterday the District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled, by a vote of 2-1, that D.C. can NOT continue to enforce it's "good cause" requirement for issuing of a gun permit.

The ruling specified that law "must enable the typical citizen to carry as gun." The city government was practically having kittens and may appeal the matter to the full panel of the court.

A similar 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled some time back the same thing in the People's Republic of California, though a subsequent ruling of the full panel of judges overturned that ruling. The matter is being appealed and, with competing decisions hither and yon, it seems likely that SCOTUS will be compelled to rule on the matter.

The "good cause" rule is open to wide interpretation. leading to major problems. For instance the last time I checked there was not one gun permit issued by the city of Los Angeles. Not one. There were less than 20 in San Francisco, where the ;primary definition of "good cause" is political connection. Until recently in Orange County good cause was defined as donating at least $10,000 to the Sheriff's reelection campaign. In many of the counties in CA the desire to carry a firearm to protect yourself is considered to be "good cause."

If Donald Trump does nothing else but appoint judges that can read and correctly interpret the Constitution I will consider his presidency to have been a success.


by Bob Walsh

On Sunday afternoon a delivery man was delivering a bucket of chicken wings to an address in north Stockton in the early evening when he was robbed at gunpoint by two youngsters, ages approximately 10 and 14.

I guess the little fuckers were REALLY hungry and their parents had run out of food stamps. The victim gave a good description and, with any sort of luck, the little bastards will brag about their exploits and get caught.

What they really need is a good asswhooping, but you know that isn't going to happen or they wouldn't be out robbing delivery guys in the first place.


After 1994 his success was attributed to race betrayal. Now no one wants to be Jay Z’s ‘Story of O.J.’

By Jason Whitlock

The Wall Street Journal
July 25, 2017

Millions tuned in last week to see 70-year-old O.J. Simpson, inmate No. 1027820, ask a Nevada parole board to release him from prison. It was one more reminder of Mr. Simpson’s outsize influence on American culture.

After serving nine years of a 33-year sentence for robbery and kidnapping, Mr. Simpson, with the parole board’s blessing, will depart his cell in October for the comfort of a Florida condo. He’ll still be dogged, however, by the 1994 double homicide for which a star-studded defense team won him acquittal.

Whether we like it or not, O.J. Simpson is an important figure in American history. His life and murder trial exacerbated race relations, helped polarize the media, and established him as a reviled killer in mainstream popular culture—and a reviled martyr in black popular culture.

Before 1994, mainstream and black media alike celebrated Mr. Simpson as a shining example of the liberal ideals of integration and assimilation. But when he was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, the media flipped the narrative into one of black betrayal. His second marriage, to a young, white waitress; his refusal to address racial issues; and his abandonment of black social circles now explained how and why a black man was able to rise from poverty to football star to broadcaster and pitchman: Orenthal James Simpson sold out.

Over the course of two decades, Mr. Simpson’s story became the most powerful African-American tale since Alex Haley chronicled the life of Malcolm X. The Simpson saga continues to grow in importance. Last month rapper Jay Z released the song and video “The Story of O.J.,” warning blacks against trying to transcend race: “O.J. like, ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J.’ Okay.”

Mr. Simpson has become a negative standard-bearer for black athletes, celebrities and media figures—a sort of abusive, alcoholic father who serves as the example to avoid. This influence is omnipresent but seldom acknowledged. No black public figure wants to be “The Story of O.J.,” a contemporary equivalent of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

That is why many black personalities have abandoned the racial middle ground, compromise and even logic in their discourse. Expressing a moderate position publicly will invite accusations of selling out. So we feel pressured into a strident, illogical posture, even though many of the most militant voices in the black media are more assimilated in their private lives than their angry diatribes would have you believe. The gap between what we say privately and publicly about race has never been wider.

Advertising outrage at police misconduct is an old tactic to establish black credibility. Mr. Simpson benefited from this phenomenon when he teamed up with lawyer Johnnie Cochran during his murder trial. The famed rap group N.W.A has a library of records that dehumanize and marginalize black people. But the song everyone remembers is “F— tha Police,” its only one on that subject.

Today the ultimate disguise for Simpson-like assimilation is proclaiming support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The mixed-race NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick struggled to connect with his black teammates until he took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. That made him a black hero.

If you are a black athlete, celebrity or media personality living, socializing, working, studying or dating in the white community, the easiest way to stop Twitter trolls from spamming your social media with accusations of race betrayal is to celebrate BLM. If you’re an educated, nerdy, proper-speaking black person who has been chastised for “acting white” by your black peers, supporting BLM salvages your black image. Call it the O.J. Effect.

Black men used to measure ourselves by how we compared to Martin Luther King Jr. He was the good dad we modeled our behavior after. Now for two decades, we’ve learned from Mr. Simpson’s negative example. We’ve tried to do the opposite of our bad dad. This has crippled black public figures when it comes to discussing race.

So has black guilt—an individual or collective feeling among successful black people who recognize we’ve harmed poor blacks by abandoning them. We soothe our consciences with hashtag activism and feigned disdain for a country we’d never dream of leaving.

Last week Mr. Simpson sounded like a man fit for a world he helped shape. During the parole hearing he relitigated his robbery trial, ignored his murder trial, and pretended his serial domestic violence didn’t impeach his claim of having lived a “conflict-free” life. He played the victim to an evil American criminal-justice system, and then smiled and laughed as if there’s no place he’d rather be than in America.


Veteran New Orleans Officer Shot For 3rd Time

Los Angeles Police Protective League News Watch
July 25, 2017

A New Orleans police officer is recovering from a leg wound after being shot for the third time in his law enforcement career.

Police say Officer Christopher Abbott was in uniform working an off-duty private security patrol early Monday when someone fired a single round into the privately owned car he was in. The shooter was in a light colored SUV and was still at large. Spokesman Aaron Looney says Abbott was in good condition.

Archived news accounts show Abbott was on his way to a 2001 court appearance when he spotted a man with a gun and approached him. The man fired and hit Abbott.

In 1998, Abbott was wearing a protective vest when he was shot in the chest after stopping a suspect in a public housing project.


Gun Cases are Notoriously Hard to Make Stick. New York Thinks It Has the Answer. The city has launched an ambitious program to collect DNA from every gun recovered by police

By Ann Givens and Robert Lewis

The Trace
July 24, 2017

Two New York police officers were sitting in a patrol car one night last August when they saw Avree Lamar, a 19-year-old with an open arrest warrant, climb into a cab near a housing project in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The officers followed the cab, pulled it over, and arrested Lamar. In the back of Lamar’s waistband, they found a loaded 9mm pistol, court papers said. He was charged with criminal possession of a loaded weapon, a felony.

It seemed like a straightforward case. But for all New York City’s success in reducing violent crime, only about half of the people arrested for carrying a loaded gun in the city get convicted. Juries like hard evidence, and often mistrust cases that hinge on police testimony. Prosecutors say cases like Lamar’s are not always easy wins.

To change that, the city is pursuing an ambitious and expensive plan to collect and test DNA from every gun recovered by police. The goal is to boost the number of successful prosecutions, and discourage carrying illegal weapons in the nation’s largest city.

The Trace and WNYC contacted eight other major police departments. None are attempting DNA collection and testing on this scale. Several said such an undertaking would be extremely difficult without adding staff, lab space, and expensive equipment. The Federal Bureau of
Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, only deploy DNA tests for select gun cases — often shootings and murders.

The New York program, which began in the summer of 2015, is continuing to expand. Last year, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed DNA tests for 1,682 gun cases, nearly quadruple the number from 2014. Just this month, the city gave the office an additional $8 million to pay for 55 new employees to process gun swabs, plus training and equipment. That money amounts to about 10 percent of the office’s total annual budget.

Police officials and the medical examiner’s office said they could not estimate the total cost of the swabbing and testing program since it would include staff time for police, prosecutors, and scientists, as well as equipment and training in several different departments and agencies.

Lamar’s gun was swabbed at the police station, and sent to the medical examiner’s office.

Scientists in the M.E.’s office then compared a DNA sample from Lamar to the genetic mixture found on the pistol’s trigger guard. Their conclusion: the DNA retrieved from the weapon was 6.8 trillion times more likely to belong to Lamar than someone else.

Lamar pleaded guilty, and a judge sentenced him to three years in prison — a lengthy sentence for a first offense, lawyers said.

“That is the goal, to make it radioactive to even pick up a gun,” said Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, a nonprofit group that helped the city develop its strategy for using DNA in gun cases.

Some legal and forensic experts said that DNA testing, while more sophisticated than ever, is not foolproof. They say the science used to test small amounts of DNA isn’t perfect, and there are ways an innocent person’s genetic material could get on a gun he or she never touched.

“What we’ve seen in the last few years are real efforts to push the boundaries of DNA evidence,” said Clinton Hughes, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of New York’s DNA unit. “DNA does not necessarily mean that there’s going to be a just result, or an accurate result in a particular case.”

Some civil liberty groups have also raised concerns about the expansion of DNA collection by local law enforcement agencies.

DNA that is deemed “abandoned” — left on the rim of a soda can or the end of a cigarette, for example — can legally be picked up by police and entered into a local database. People whose genetic information is stored in the database are almost never aware of it, legal experts said.

Expanded DNA testing on guns is part of a larger effort New York is making to crack down on illegal firearms and gun violence. In January of 2016, police formed a 200-officer gun-violence suppression division to focus on illegal firearms, shootings, and gangs. In Brooklyn, there are two courtrooms dedicated to expediting gun cases. Other boroughs are expected to follow suit.

The theory behind the push to make more successful gun cases is that certainty of punishment is more important in deterring crime than the severity of punishment. If would-be criminals believe police will get their DNA and there’ll be no way to avoid conviction, they’ll be less likely to break the law, Aborn said.

NYPD Deputy Chief Emanuel Katranakis said DNA evidence from firearms often helps police investigate suspects they might otherwise overlook. Last year, police linked genetic material from a gun to a person in an existing DNA database 309 times, he said. New York has made remarkable strides in reducing gun crime. Last year, police recorded 998 shootings — the fewest in recorded city history.

But there are still neighborhoods where violent crime is common, and people are frequently shot. In a one-month span this summer in the Bronx, a 5-year-old boy was shot in the head; a police officer was fatally shot while sitting in her patrol car, and a man was caught on surveillance video shooting three men on a city street.

Some other large cities have struggled to control rising levels of gun crime, the violence that spurred President Donald Trump to speak of “American carnage” in his inaugural address. Chicago, which has a third of New York’s population, reported 3,550 shooting incidents last year.

Benjamin Meda is a detective who heads the Los Angeles Police Department’s gun unit for gangs and narcotics. Los Angeles saw shootings rise slightly last year, and Meda said police can use all the investigative tools they can get.

“We are extremely interested in what New York is doing,” he said. “We want to see what their success is — what the return on their DNA hits are, what they’re doing that we aren’t doing.”

It’s been almost 25 years since a drop of blood on the pavement at OJ Simpson’s ex-wife’s house brought DNA evidence into the public consciousness. Back then, scientists needed a sample of blood or other bodily fluid the size of a quarter to test for DNA.

As the science became more sophisticated, the New York M.E.’s office developed a method that it used to make DNA matches from a tiny amount of recovered genetic material. It also developed an algorithm that helped scientists identify a possible match even when someone’s DNA was mixed up with that of other people.

Both these technologies are key when it comes to testing firearms. Guns — especially crime guns — are often passed among several people before they are confiscated by police.

Many judges allowed DNA evidence that was obtained using those testing methods to be admitted in criminal cases. But in 2015, a Brooklyn judge tossed DNA evidence obtained using those protocols in two cases, saying it was not scientifically reliable.

Last year, the M.E.’s office turned to a widely used computer model called STRMix, which as of this spring was being used by 17 American crime laboratories and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to test mixed DNA samples.

In a chilly, sterile DNA lab on Manhattan’s East Side, scientists cut the cotton off the swabs mailed to them by police and drop them in test tubes. They then clean and measure those samples, running them through a giant whirring machine that looks like a high-tech microwave.

The lab needs 37.5 picograms — as little as six cells of genetic material — to test a sample against a suspect in a case. Police swab handguns in three places: The grip area, the trigger area, and, the slide area, which on a pistol needs to be pulled back before firing.

If enough DNA is recovered, scientists go on to do more tests. They add chemicals, some of which contain fluorescent tags, to each sample. They put the samples into what is essentially a DNA “Xerox machine.” The machine copies the DNA millions of times at the locations that the scientists are testing.

The samples are then run through another instrument which picks up the fluorescent tags and uses them to produce a color chart. This gives scientists a visual representation of the DNA found on the gun that they can compare with a suspect’s.

If a gun swab shows that a mixture of DNA from several people is on the gun, a scientist can enter information about the mixture into a computer, together with the suspect’s DNA profile. The computer produces a ratio showing how likely it is that the suspect’s DNA is part of the genetic mixture recovered from the firearm.

A gun swab does not always produce a usable sample. Rachel Singer, chief of forensic science at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, said that in about half of all cases, there is either too little DNA on a swab — or there’s genetic material from too many people — to produce a result that can be tested against a suspect’s DNA.

The medical examiner can determine whether someone’s DNA is part of a mix of as many as three biological samples, but if a fourth person’s DNA is detected on a weapon, the office will not make a determination.

Prosecutors say they are aware of the limitations of DNA evidence, but that they are using it responsibly to get more plea deals and longer sentences.

“We have found that when we do have DNA on a criminal possession of a weapons case, we either are able to negotiate a plea, or the defendant ultimately gets convicted,” Singer said.

Prosecutors said there is almost always other evidence in gun-possessions cases — like video footage or police testimony — to prevent wrongful convictions. In Lamar’s case, for example, DNA evidence was used to support the testimony of a police officer who said he pulled a gun out of the defendant’s waistband.

It can take weeks for the lab to come back with the results of a DNA test. Defense lawyers say that in the lag time, prosecutors often try to use the possibility of a DNA match to convince their clients to agree to a deal.

“When I’m having a conversation with a prosecutor, oftentimes DNA is used as a threat to exact a guilty plea,” said Scott Hechniger, a senior staff attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services, a public defense law firm. Hechniger said a prosecutor might offer his client a one-time deal before DNA results come back from the lab. If they come back and there’s a match, the deal is off.

Hechinger said New York’s initiative to increase DNA testing is part of a broader move toward a zero-tolerance, one-size-fits-all approach to guns — where prosecutors seek the stiffest sentences for everyone, even defendants with no prior record.

Still, there is room to challenge DNA evidence. Brooklyn attorney Douglas Rankin said that if his client’s DNA is not found on a gun, or the test is inconclusive, he can make a strong case for reasonable doubt. Even when there is DNA evidence, Rankin said he has sometimes had luck arguing that it can’t be relied upon. He recalled one case in which a man was charged with illegally possessing a loaded gun after police found it under a couch he was sleeping on in a friend’s apartment. At trial, Rankin argued that because of his client’s proximity to the weapon, it would have been easy for a tiny quantity of his client’s DNA to end up on it. The man was acquitted.

While it is impossible to tie conviction rates to any one factor, there is some evidence that the city’s push to swab all recovered guns for DNA is translating to more pleas and longer sentences.

In the first half of this year, about 56 percent of all gun-possession arrests ended in convictions. That’s higher than in any year in the last decade, according to data provided by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

People who possess loaded guns illegally have also been slightly more likely to serve time for their offenses since DNA swabs became more commonplace. In the first half of 2017, almost 25 percent of people who were arrested on charges of possessing a loaded gun were sent to prison — a higher percentage than in any full year since 2007.

STRMix has yet to be put to the test in a New York City court. It was successfully challenged in one upstate murder trial last year, when a judge ruled that the state laboratory that collected the DNA samples was not approved to collect samples for the new STRMix analysis.

Now lawyers and scientists are waiting for a challenge to STRMix in a New York City gun case, likely to come within the next few months.

“I expect, as we have a very strong and robust defense community, that they will do their job and challenge us appropriately,” Timothy Kupferschmid, chief of laboratories for the New York Medical Examiner’s Office. “I look forward to those challenges and to showing them what we’re doing.”