Current events, Human Right

Disproportions in the System

Having a Facebook conversation with someone who goes more on emotion instead of logic has been an interesting thing. I’m about data when I research and write. Despite what the emotional content may be (in this case incarcerated population numbers) I prefer going by the numbers using logic to form my opinion. 

I got my numbers from the Bureau of Prisons which states that the majority of prisoners on hand are white. With black coming in second, latino third, native fourth, and asian last. (https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_race.jsp)

His passion on the subject,and his determination to change my perception, made me decide to dig in and do more research. The numbers fluctuate depending on how the count is done and who does it. This is generally normal. So, I looked up more data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. (https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p19.pdf

Here is the breakdown of their numbers, which are for 2019 totals. There were a total of 1,430,805 prisoners in the system. The majority of those in state facilities at 1,255,689 and 175,116 in the federal system. Men make up 1,322,850 while women make up 107,995. The last decade shows a drop in incarcerated numbers of over 10% in all categories. The numbers of male v females weren’t the topic of discussion. So let’s break down the numbers by race.

Those incarcerated in 2019 (tried and sent) break down as such: federal (158,498) State (1,221,929), Men (1,279,079) Women (101,348), White (422,800) Black (452,800), Hispanic (320,700). 

Based on per capita numbers of per 100,000, the numbers are as follows: Federal (48) State (371), Male (789) Women (61), White (214) Black (1096) Hispanic (525). 

Incarceration rates have dropped as listed over the last decade: Federal (21%) State (16.2%), Men (17.1%) Women (10%), White (12.5%) Black (29%) Hispanic (24.4%).

Depending on where you look, the numbers vary. The BJS does not include the specific numbers for Indeginous or Asian populations like the BOP does. However, both show a lower rate of those to other demographics. 

Looking at the BJS numbers, there are two stories told. The first is that white and black prisoners overall, have about the same numbers of incarcerated with those of the black community slightly higher. But when it is broken down into the per capita ratio, the numbers show a huge difference. 

Taking the current population number (2018 record) of the nearest city to me, Fort Wayne Indiana at 267,633, the totals would be roughly White (approx 500) Black (approx 2500) and Hispanic (approx 1100). 

The breakdown by race in Fort Wayne is listed as: White (73.85%) Black (14.85%) with multi racial and other groups making up the rest. 

There are quite a few factors that go into the arrest and incarceration rates. These would include job availability, education, investments in the varying communities, nature/nurture, etc. And while I will post about these at a later date, the numbers don’t lie. That is why I prefer data to emotion. In this case, the emotion is warranted by minority communities. 

Fort Wayne, like the majority of our cities, needs to do better. Both in equality in sentencing and in programs that aid the black community achieve their goals. Economically, educationally, and within the Criminal Justice system.

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Current events, Human Right, Uncategorized

Numbers may not tell the story

Somewhere in our country, another officer fires his sidearm and kills another person. Most of the time, that story usually refers to a white officer and a black victim. I will not argue the point, that at times it may be necessary for an officer to do so. But one also needs to look at the numbers in respect to police shootings. 

Looking at the numbers however, will not give a full picture of whether there is racism within the ranks of law enforcement. What these numbers will not show are a few things. They will not show incidents such as George Floyd, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html,  or Eric Garner, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/eric-garner-dies-nypd-chokehold, which were killed because of procedures not involving a firearm. They will not include correction officers at any level, such as Damarius Rodriquez, https://www.cbsnews.com/video/mother-of-5-dies-in-jail-amid-alleged-mental-health-episode/#x, or Christopher Howell, https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-ne-lake-correctional-officer-arrested-murder-blunt-trauma-20201113-pmm66kirzbfandetiephmvsbqe-story.html. Through neglect or physical assault, inmates have died at the hands of corrections officers.

They do include such victims as Breanna Taylor, https://www.nytimes.com/article/breonna-taylor-police.html, Casey Goodson, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/dec/07/casey-goodson-jr-family-black-ohio-man-shot-dead-white-police-officer, and Daniel Shaver, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OflGwyWcft8

So, let’s break down the numbers. If you look at the overall numbers in total, whites have been shot more by police than any other skin tone. Stats from 2020 (as of November) show the numbers as such: white (370), black (192), hispanic (128), other (21), unknown (153) https://www.statista.com/statistics/585152/people-shot-to-death-by-us-police-by-race/.  But breaking the numbers down per capita (per 1 million residents) the numbers change dramatically: white (13), black (33), hispanic (25), other (5) https://www.statista.com/statistics/1123070/police-shootings-rate-ethnicity-us/

By age, the largest group shot by law enforcement are 20-39. By gender, it’s male https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/police-shootings-database/. And the numbers can be broken down into other various demographics. The numbers aren’t fully accurate since the databases rely on reported statistics. The reporting is varied and not required. So the FBI states that the actual numbers are not accurate because of it not being required of each department in the US.

Another issue is that reports submitted will give the official police view of the shooting. So essentially, these reports are not vetted for accuracy in the account but take the department’s official version (which usually means the victim is always at fault). 

The rule for the private citizen is that for a danger to life to occur: the person must be facing the citizen, act in a threatening manner, and have the possibility at that precise moment to end the citizen’s life. So shooting a person not being threatening, no weapon, and/or back turned truly disallows an officer to say he shot because he was in fear of his life. 

While I do not accept the idea of no law enforcement, I do advocate for change within the system. Five points need to be addressed to start the process of fixing the problem:

  • Better vetting of applicants
  • Continued viewing of complaints against officers in areas of assault, judgments of firing a weapon
  • Training in areas of de-escalation and mental health
  • Civilian oversight
  • Proper punishment for improper conduct at all levels

True considerations of the use of metal health professionals in certain situations, negotiators when appropriate, use of a person’s family or friends, etc. All of these can be used to de-escalate a situation before it comes to the use of gunfire. There also needs to be full accountability if an officer fires his weapon. Too many times, and officer has mistook actions and fired without understanding the situation at the time, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mRhmFcjs4M, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwHJL5X97Do

I support law enforcement, but agree that the bad need removed and changes truly need to be made. Especially when it comes to minority communities.

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Current events, immigration, Uncategorized

Is it Time for a EU style North/South America Union?

Being that the nation we now know as the United States has been built to its present form by the diversity of its citizens, the flow of foreign culture, and the need to improve and sustain. After all, foreign films, music, and television have gone on the rise for American consumption, people choose from multiple ethnic foods, and cultural exhibitions and fairs draw huge crowds. So why is it, that the mention of immigration or open borders causes such a backlash?

Immigration is one of those issues that divides, and not only on an ideological basis. Think about it. Bring up immigration to one who has a more conservative ideology. They will explain the need for harsher border controls, the idea that immigrants will steal American jobs, and tax our social initiatives. The funny part is this. After parking his BMW he will do it while wearing clothes not made in America, watching the World Cup and cheering for Brazil and eating pizza, while in the break room of the local Toyota plant.

I have written here about the issue at the border before. How it is a humanitarian crisis and how America is partly responsible due to its actions throughout the western hemisphere. One way to boost the economies, better the healthcare, create a sustainable workforce, and deal with crime and natural disasters is create a North/South American corridor like the EU. A full open borders policy. And yes, it can be done while still allowing national sovereignty for nations involved.

Like the Eu, every member nation will have officials that speak on their behalf during all negotiations, from crime control to trade deals and health initiatives. So lets look at just a few areas that would be improved by a full western open border and union of nations.

First is the most obvious, the border border. Free flow travel and residence capabilities would make it easier for those fleeing violent area (such as cartel issues in places like Juarez). It would allow for easier logistics to and from areas of natural resources need for manufacturing, faster transport ability for perishables, and vacation income for the areas that rely on the influx of money of visitors.

With this style of union, each member nation will have access to innovations that they would not otherwise have. While intellectual property rights would be retained with the person or business, all member nations would have access to it (by proper agreement with the rights holder). Manufacturing would have a continuous pool of labor, raw materials and better chance of financially sound business. It opens the markets for freer movement and would incorporate all socio-economic and geographical areas and peoples.

In the area of health concerns, especially in areas of most need due to natural disasters, pandemic, etc., Aid would be able to isolate problem health issues and areas as well as render aid more effectively and efficiently. It would be easier for international health monitors to work without jurisdictional problems arising.

In the areas of crime, it would be better as well. While there would be jurisdictional lines and boundaries, if crime crosses a border the quicker ability for joint investigation and apprehension would not have hindrances of going through each country’s version of the US State Department. While local lines would not be overstepped, there would be ready and available cooperation between agencies. It would also allow faster, better equipped, and more manned operations for apprehension and elimination of threats (such as cartels or known terrorist organizations). This also allows for a more powerful response for member nations if attacked by outside forces (such as an attack by Russia or China against any member nation).

And open border and western hemisphere union is not only a way to end a humanitarian crisis, it also aids economically, within the criminal justice initiatives, health concern wise, and militarily.

Despite the hope that America will again rise to its once place of prominence on the global stage, what we are seeing is the same every other great national empire has seen. The fading of this nation into the twilight of its global glory to be placed into same category of the British Empire, the Roman Empire, and yes, even the former grandeur of the Russia of the cold war.

Within the next few decades, we see the rise of areas like China and India rise to take positions on the global stage that the US has held since the middle of the 20th century. The go-it-alone, isolationist mentality will do more to harm the nation than it will do to save it. It is time to start seeing the reality of America’s waning prominence and influence and start putting things into place that will not only save this nation but create a western hemisphere alliance that creates aid, crime control, and economic stability.

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Christianity, faith

THE NATION THAT FORGETS GOD

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight.Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah  (Psalms 9:17-20) 

George Washington in his farewell address stated the morality and religious principle are required for a government to operate properly https://www.vindicatingthefounders.com/library/washington-farewell-address.html. Men like William Blackstone, Noah Webster, the authors of our pre-Revolution papers made it clear, the course of our nation’s laws and morality were to be based within the Holy Scriptures https://www1.cbn.com/biblestudy/judge-moore-the-founding-fathers-and-the-ten-commandments. Not the Koran, not philosophy, but the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus the Christ.

Over the past decades, this nation has forgotten who gives it strength. While the military is one of the best globally, our strength did not come from it. While our economy was once the lead of financial circles our the world, that was not what gave us our strength and position. While we were the beacon of hope for the oppressed, the lowly, those seeking a better life, it was not because of the above mentioned reasons. Yes, they played into the reason, but were not the underlying cause of our hope or theirs.

The main reason was because of our laws, compassion, and moral compass in the world. The Scopes Monkey Trial (as it was named) started the slide from grace for the nation. An Arkansas trial solidified the ability to teach beyond Creation, the alternate view of Evolution https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/monkey-trial-begins . Then came the removal of prayer and the Holy Scripture from schools https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/education-expert-removing-bible-prayer-public-schools-has-caused-decline.

In 1948, multitudes of nations stepped into the UN and signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Eleanor Roosevelt signed for the US. The first Human Right is the Right to Life. God already knew this, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5A). For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well.My frame was not hidden from youwhen I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body;all the days ordained for me were written in your bookbefore one of them came to be” (Psalms 139:13-16). But in 1973, a landmark case (Roe vs Wade) disallowed that primary right for human life https://www.britannica.com/event/Roe-v-Wade.

While different aspects of the LGTBQ+ community has existed (illegally) in this nation since it’s founding, the 20th Century brought with it a change for this specific community. From the 1973 decision by the APA to remove homosexuality from its mental defect list to the 2015 case that stated homosexual marriages were protected https://www.lgbtqhistory.org/lgbt-rights-timeline-in-american-history/. These actions, as all of those in support of LGTBQ+, defy the will and laws of God. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:26-27).

Since the turning away from the Holy Scripture and faith in God, the divorce rate in rate in America (tied with Gibraltar) ranks as the world’s highest https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/divorce-rates-by-country and crime (while not at its 1990s peak) is increasing in many categories including homicide https://www.bbc.com/news/57581270. The elected of our nation fight over helping other (needy, disabled, homeless, imprisoned, immigrants) but have no qualms about allowing the greed of men run business, finance, industry.

With these, we wonder why out nation has been under attack, the economic failures, as well as the ultra progressive movements and the ultra right movements pulling the nation farther apart. A president and House Speaker who claim to be Catholic Christian but support the murder of innocents at will and national immorality. And worse is a church that has, in the majority of cases, used the preaching of God’s love for man in salvation through His Son, Jesus the Christ’s death and resurrection to welcome all so as not to seem combative or judgmental towards society.

Christians are by no means perfect, as we are sinful man saved through grace not being yet transformed to the full glory of God. But like the Church of Laodicea, the church of today has become lukewarm. To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:14-22).

I will be the first to admit I am imperfect and only a sinner saved by the grace of God by the shed blood of Jesus. But there comes a point when even the those like me, not close to perfect but trying, have the need to say to the people of the nation….

***REPENT***

“The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it”.

Jeremiah 18:7-8

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