Dial 911 For Murder

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Ok, so my sister went nuts as I kept telling her the details released about Christopher Dorner. She jokingly said I should write a blog about it, so I’m writing a blog about it — a blog to ask the questions that I’m sure will never be answered.

We all know the basic story — Chris Dorner, a former LAPD officer was fired in 2008 and last week went on a killing spree of all the people who he believed wronged him. All of this information was released through a manifesto that was posted to Dorner’s facebook account. It led to a massive manhunt that ended with a man being killed in a California cabin last night. However, the LAPD, who is well known for corruption, seems to have some serious flaws in the story. Here are a couple of them:

  • They were never able to confirm the man in the cabin was Chris dorner
    • Authorities also never knew if anyone else was in the cabin
  • The fish and wildlife officers who spotted Dorner somehow managed to identify driving in the opposite direction of him — which let’s be honest, isn’t likely even you know the person you’re identifying at reasonable driving speeds.
    • Let’s also not forget the LAPD believed 2 old ladies and a white guy were Chris Dorner when seen in vehicles
  • US Marshal on scene told a CBS reporter on scene that a man tried to leave out the back door of the cabin, but was pushed back inside (not tackled, not retreated under fire, pushed inside) — sounds like whoever that person was being held captive in a cabin with no telephone or electricity according to the cabin owner
    • Of course, LAPD, who said they were not on scene later said that never happened.
  • The Sheriff told all media to keep their helicopters zoomed out so the cabin was barely visible and eventually told to get rid of them entirely; conveniently  no one but police on scene were ever able to see the man inside the cabin.
    • later police told the media on scene to turn their microphones off and stop tweeting live updates. Minutes later, “a fire broke out” — read police lit the cabin on fire — without video and audio evidence of what caused the fire
      • of course, many people listening to the police scanners overheard that police through 7 burners into the cabin; followed by burn that mother@%$#er down.
    • The fire burned the cabin down; pretty conveniently, burning all evidence and refusing to let firefighters go in until you are sure nothing could survive the blaze.
    • Something did survive the blaze though; Dorner’s driver’s license survived miraculously
      • Does anyone else remember that the LAPD found Dorner’s wallet a couple days ago near Mexico? I do. How many times are they going to find that guy’s wallet? 2 sounds too many to me, but maybe I’m just weird.
    • What evidence was there that Chris Dorner killed anyone? A manifesto? …and??? Nothing. A confession that could have been typed and posted by anyone with the ability to access his Facebook page. It’s a good thing no police department has ever tried to hack into someone’s account…
      • ….wait, the LAPD has! I’m sure they’d never have tried it again though.

Ok, so does anyone else see a movie here? Pretty simple. He knows something that some high ranking people wanted to be sure never got out. How do you do that? You kill a few people; conceal any evidence, force a public admission of guilt that can’t be traced back to the real sender, kill the person in secret, and end with a massive finale… a finale so splendidly planned that everyone can see, but no one will be able to view any evidence after the fact — AKA burn that mother$&#$er down!

LAPD killed 6 people; the girl and her fiance, 2 cops, dorner, and the final act scapegoat — along with spending millions of dollars in taxpayer money to cover up a big secret. America deserves to know what that secret is…

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On Abortion…

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Last year, a buddy of mine posted a link to this article from the Gospel Coalition about 10 questions that pro-choice politicians never seem to have to answer. He asked that a pro-choice person answer them because he was honestly curious about how they would be answered. I don’t know that I fully agree with the answers I’ve provided, but I believe they are pretty accurate for what a standard pro-choice person would say

I find myself at a difficult impasse on the issue of abortion. I wouldn’t say that I think it should be legal 100% of the time. I also wouldn’t say I think it should be illegal 100% of the time. As a Christian, I know there are many of my own religion who would condemn me for being more on the pro-choice side of the argument, but I don’t necessarily believe that my own religious views need to be law for others. Most simply, I know that I will never have an abortion (male), and I will never pressure a girl to have one.

Anyway, here are the responses I came up with to his questions (and the questions themselves). I have edited a couple of them from the original response because our further conversation showed that I wasn’t clear or didn’t phrase some spots quite how I wanted.

  1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?
    1. Yes. And there are very few serious candidates who would say otherwise. Namely, late term abortion is almost universally not welcome (except for health of the mother). Typically pro-choice people agree with the supreme court ruling that if the fetus can survive (is over a 50% chance threshold with modern science) outside the womb than the abortion shouldn’t be allowed. — Notice that means it is becoming earlier and earlier that the abortion would be illegal.
  2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?
    1. That is due primarily to legal or sex-trade issues in other parts of the world. The question isn’t actually an issue in the United State that I know of. Further, you could ban gender-based abortions, but that wouldn’t change a woman’s decision to get one. She would just pose a different reason, whether real or fake, if she wanted the abortion.
  3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?
    1. Yes. I don’t think a teenage girl should have to have parental consent for contraception – whether medical, physical, or emergency because of the low risk to her health. However, typically you have to sign waivers (in a sense a contract) when you have surgery due to the risks to your health or life as a result of them. Since minors cannot enter a contract without parental consent, teenage girls should be required to have parental consent to have an abortion.
  4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?
    1. I’ll go with Joe Biden’s response when he was asked this question at the VP debate. He does believe that life begins at conception, as per his religion. But it cannot be proven that the deeper sense of life – I’ll go with cognition since not everyone is religious and believes in the soul – so, it is not his place to force that religious belief on others who do not share it. As for when a human develops its own constitutional rights – that occurs when the fetus reaches the threshold of life outside the womb; as the supreme court ruled. Again, the exact timing of that is becoming earlier and earlier with scientific advancements.
  5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?
    1. (Edited response) I’m going to broaden this to two different subjects; children that are unwanted and children who’s parents aren’t capable of taking care of them. Study after study has shown that unwanted and unloved children develop severe problems, both mental and physical. Any baby being watched over NEEDS to receive love and attention constantly in order to grow up healthy. Orphanages and the foster care system have gotten such a bad reputation due to a long history of scandals so many women are not willing to put their child up for adoption if they can’t take care of it or do not want it. Raising a child with severe mental illnesses are beyond difficult; they require a level of dedication and constant attention that almost nobody is willing and able to give. It is an absolute travesty that women and families can feel like abortion is a better solution than our own adoption system and a travesty that our government does not offer the proper prenatal, infant, and childcare services that are necessary to make women feel like they are able to keep and raise a child. That is why I propose now and have always been in favor of increasing those social services to women and families. It’s not that I am in favor of aborting those babies, I am favor of sparing them from miserable lives caused by a government that won’t care for them and parents that are incapable. If we can convince the government to support these women and give them monetary, emotional, and physical support; so they believe they can raise a child with special needs (or that they otherwise weren’t ready for) we can prevent abortion and raise a generation of loved, healthy, happy children.
  6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?
    1.  Absolutely. They aren’t buying the drugs and they don’t even know about them. There is no reason for an unclean conscience on the issue. They pay for all sorts of things they probably don’t want to pay for; FICA etc., but all they are doing is providing a health insurance package. Already they pay for STD treatments, sexual enhancement medication, and a host of risque medications that they probably don’t agree with — but have never had any issue with. The greater sin is denying your employees health insurance benefits for fear that they MIGHT spend it in a way you don’t approve of. Again, like from Biden’s answer, you shouldn’t govern your religious beliefs onto others. BTW, chemical birth control is prescribed for more than just contraception.
  7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?
    1. That charge is completely correct. That has to do with inadequacy in the government’s handling of welfare resources and racism in private sector employment. Affluence is strongly negatively correlated with abortion rates. The best way to correct this is to create government programs that specifically focus on providing financial, emotional, and parenting support to poor and minority families. If they don’t feel like it is the most fiscal responsible thing and that they would just provide a bad life for their children, they are less likely to feel like abortion is the best option for them. Again, this ties to the prevention through assistance theory.
  8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?
    1.  At the most basic level, look at the hormonal changes for the woman. Innately, due to these changes, the mother feels bonding and emotional connection to the child. On a more sophisticated level, nearly every woman who gets an abortion thinks about it hard and as a last resort option. As hard as it seems to believe to a pro-lifer, girls who get abortions don’t decide to do it on a whim. They consider all their options to their full extent. Politicians describe it as a tragedy because these girls believe that all other options are worse than abortion – it’s a tragedy that they don’t get the support that they need to keep the child. I will comment after question 10 why they aren’t getting this support from the government.
  9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?
    1. I think I’ve pretty well answered this. At the threshold of viability outside the womb, abortion shouldn’t be legal.
  10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?
    1. Yes. I see that the point of the question is that if I think they should receive a harsher punishment, it’s because the baby has rights. That isn’t my rationale though. The baby becomes an aggravating circumstance to a “standard murder.” The idea is that there is a standard murder (or standard any crime), and every change from that standard – such as pregnant – is either an aggravating circumstance or a mitigating circumstance – such as if you walked in on your spouse in adultery. Using a standard scale of determining how aggravating or how mitigating each change to the standard is; you can fairly determine how much to adjust the sentence. Pregnancy would be an aggravating circumstance, therefore murdering a pregnant woman would have an increased sentence.

As stated above. The reason specific groups are more likely to have abortions than other groups is due to affluence and financial, emotional, and parenting support. The thing that bugs me most about the abortion debate is that the group of people fighting so hard to prevent women from getting abortions also prevents funding to agencies that offer those services and fight hard to take away funding from the few agencies that do that already. You cannot take away a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a child AND not give her access to the support she needs to properly raise the children. You ask for neglect, abuse, and crime — because the woman who need that support see no other options than that.

Obviously, even though thats a lot to read, the answers are simplified and watered down a lot, because these issues are so complicated. So forgive lack of citations and specific numbers, and things of that nature

Now, I just edited one question that was based on his critique, because I answered it so poorly and confusingly the first time. His other critique was based on the idea Biden had (this was immediately following the VP debate when Biden made the remarks) of separating yourself from religion when making political decisions. Specifically, he argued, that if I take away the religious moral aspect of it, how can I decide that anything is murder —

My response: Yeah, it’s really difficult to take religion out of it. But, as far as murder goes — our legal system has set up a basis. You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our law says that if you unlawfully take life away from someone, that is murder. Within just Iowa State law, homicide (legal and illegal) gets split into murder 1, murder 2, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, civil liability, feticide, non-consensual termination of a pregnancy, partial-birth abortion, murder of fetus aborted alive, duty to preserve life of a fetus, and attempt to commit murder. It lays out what requirements taking the right to life from someone has to meet to fall into any one of those circumstances.

It is definitely difficult to determine when the deeper sense of life–soul–breath of Life — arrives, because it is immeasurable. I think that is why pro-choicers choose to give humans civil rights at the point where they have a greater chance to survive outside the womb than to not survive.

The real issue — more than the right to choose abortion — is that there isn’t enough funding going into promoting the alternatives. There just isn’t the money going to help the people who would choose to get an abortion for any reason other than the health of the mother. The foster care system doesn’t have the reputation that promotes girls choosing to give up children that they can’t care for offering the child for adoption. It looks like a bad option because of all the scandals. What pro-choicers really want, more than anything else, is for there to be those social services or for them to be improved. It will make it so girls feel like they either can raise the child well or their child will be well taken care of if they give the child up for adoption. 

What I think [3rd person in the conversation] meant by that was that no one really “supports abortion” … both sides want girls to choose other options. Pro-choicers just believe it should be a girls right to have abortion as an option, with restrictions (as I outlined above). Both sides want girls to choose other options, but the method of having girls choose another option is different: Pro-lifers want to make it so girls cannot legally choose the abortion option, Pro-choicers want girls to choose other options by giving support and encouragement to make the other options a clearly better one than abortion.

Alright, so that’s everything I got on the topic. I know this is a real sensitive topic; I’m sure many members of my own family don’t approve of my opinions on the matter, but I would like to see what other people have to say. Any pro-choicers please leave comments or links to posts with your own responses (or how you feel different about my responses) and any pro-lifers leave your rebuttles or links to them in the comments section!

The New Gun Debate

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Lately guns have been on everyone’s minds. Approximately 7 weeks ago Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and 6 adults after first killing his own mother and ending with him killing himself. The nation froze at the tragedy — I remember being on a lunch break at work and reading a news article of the piece and really couldn’t believe what I was reading; it was just too shocking to be true.

Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, 1,280 people have been either murdered or accidentally killed by guns in the United States. Slate’s count was 1,475 including suicide and police shootings. It’s crazy how a centerpiece of American freedom, an item that without which we would still be British subjugates, can suddenly be on the low side of American opinion.

With all the media attention on the damage that guns are doing to innocent people, state and federal legislatures have been debating what needs to be done to reduce the number of killings with firearms.

If you are part of the camp that says, “You can’t eliminate firearm deaths by regulating firearms, so we shouldn’t make any regulations at all,” you might as well leave now,  because nothing more I have to say on the topic will appeal to you; mainly because you’re wrong.

There’s a large group that says, “We don’t need to regulate guns, we need to improve mental health.” I agree completely that mental health needs improvement. If the legislatures that were making that claim actually believed it, they would be putting mental health bills up for debate — however, to improve mental health they’d have to undo all the stuff they’ve worked so hard to get rid of for the last 20 years. They don’t want gun regulation, but they don’t want to seem callus — but they don’t actually believe what they say.

Ok, so I’ve trashed the other side: What do I think?

I believe we should have the ability to enforce the regulations already on the books. The NRA has been able to use their congressional members to push limitations on the ability to enforce gun related regulations that have already been passed — an example of which is the damage the patriot bill did the ATF — look it up, you’ll be amazed. And the clauses in there to limit them were written by the NRA directly.

I don’t believe that guns should be regulated extra hard because different pieces of plastic make them look scarier. Pistol grips on a rifle don’t matter to me. What I care about is the things that allow would be murderers to do as much damage as quickly as possible. I can’t understand why anyone would need 15 rounds or more to protect their house or to hunt. If your aim is that bad that you need to rapid fire to hit the target, you shouldn’t have a gun in the first place — a firing range for target practice is the only place you should be holding a gun.

I also think that background checks and registration of firearms are reasonable. The background checks don’t need to include every detail of the buyer’s life — just whether or not it is legal for them to own firearms. I also believe the government should have a reasonable idea of what firearms are located where and registration is the way to do that. It can protect legal gun owners from being in trouble if their former weapons are used in a crime (see my next point), if they publicly acknowledge that they no longer own that weapon. We have to register our cars annually and that has already been deemed non-intrusive, so I don’t see why a 1-time registration of a firearm is so much more intrusive.

The argument I hear from the conservative side is that all the regulations only affect law abiding, responsible gun owners. That’s why, to protect responsible gun owner’s, I suggest that if your weapon is used to commit a crime, you are in part responsible for that crime and should be criminally charged with something to the affect “failing to maintain responsible possession of a firearm” with increments depending on the affects the firearm had directly on any victims. The fact is, the legally owned guns belonging to responsible gun owners do not get used in shootings; but too often someone else’s gun is getting used to kill innocent people.

For example Christmas Day last year, 2-year old Sincere Smith killed himself while playing with his dad’s new .38 pistol. It is true, that the dad was charged with involuntary manslaughter in this instance, but surprisingly enough, it doesn’t always happen that way. For example 4 of the guns used by the shooters in the 1999 Columbine shooting were obtained from friends — did the friends or friends’ parents ever get charged? No.

The question comes about stolen weapons. Responsible gun owners know and report when their firearms are stolen. They keep them locked up and away from children. They don’t allow mentally incompetent or unstable use their guns. A gun reported stolen would obviously not result in the owner being charged, because they showed responsibility. If the evidence suggests that whatever crime a gun was used in was stolen before the gun owner could have noticed, they wouldn’t be charged either — the goal is not to be unfair, but to encourage gun owners to know where their guns are and make good choices about who has access to them; not to punish for being an owner.

NRA VP, Wayne Lapierre stated after the Sandy Hook shooting that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. This argument has been proven wrong twice already. January 10th, a school shooter at Taft Union High School was talked down by a teacher and security guard to handing over his weapon. January 31st, a school shooter at Price Middle School had his weapon taken away by a liaison officer after shooting 1 student before he could continue. Some have pointed out that the officer was a good guy with a gun; however, the officer never un-holstered his gun — the gun didn’t stop the shooting. Even though it keeps getting reported that it was an armed guard that stopped it.

So where does that leave me? I am totally in favor of responsible gun ownership. I enjoy the rare occasion that I get to go to a shooting range, and would really like to own a gun — the only reason I don’t now is that I can’t afford one. I support the measures that Obama has put through executive order and generally support many of the measures being debated in Congress. Obama doesn’t want to take our guns away or make it illegal to buy or own a gun as some media experts choose to report; he wants to have the power to enforce the ones already in place.

What’s your opinions? Post it in the comments or a link to your own blog post about the topic!

Shameless attempts for blogging ideas

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Ok, so I obviously haven’t done tons of postings in the recent past. There are many reasons for this… at the beginning of my big break I just became so busy that I didn’t have time to blog. Then it became I was fresh out of ideas, so I never had anything to write about.

I’m going to try to come up with several new posts today that I can spread out for a little bit, but in the meantime, I highly suggest my readers (I can’t believe how many views I got with the last blog I posted, woulda thought everyone forgot about me), send an email to steven-ford@uiowa.edu with topics you want me to discuss….. anything is fair game; no topic is off limits. I promise I’ll work extra hard to make sure I have well thought out and researched things for you.