Category: Law and Order

Tyranny of the Minority

26goldbergWeb-master768Since Donald Trump’s cataclysmic election, the unthinkable has become ordinary. We’ve grown used to naked profiteering off the presidency, an administration that calls for the firing of private citizens for political dissent and nuclear diplomacy conducted via Twitter taunts. Here, in my debut as a New York Times columnist, I want to discuss a structural problem that both underlies and transcends our current political nightmare: We have entered a period of minority rule.

I don’t just mean the fact that Trump became president despite his decisive loss in the popular vote, though that shouldn’t be forgotten. Worse, the majority of voters who disapprove of Trump have little power to force Congress to curb him.

A combination of gerrymandering and the tight clustering of Democrats in urban areas means that even if Democrats get significantly more overall votes than Republicans in the midterms — which polls show is probable — they may not take back the House of Representatives. (According to a Brookings Institution analysis, in 2016, Republicans won 55.2 percent of seats with just under 50 percent of votes cast for Congress.)

And because of the quirks of the 2018 Senate map, Democrats are extremely unlikely to reclaim that chamber, even if most voters would prefer Democratic control. Some analysts have even suggested that Republicans could emerge from 2018 with a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority.

Our Constitution has always had a small-state bias, but the effects have become more pronounced as the population discrepancy between the smallest states and the largest states has grown. “Given contemporary demography, a little bit less than 50 percent of the country lives in 40 of the 50 states,” Sanford Levinson, a constitutional law scholar at the University of Texas, told me. “Roughly half the country gets 80 percent of the votes in the Senate, and the other half of the country gets 20 percent.”

Nancy Dorner Statement: Chris Dorner’s Mother Offers Sympathies & Condolences To Victims

crimesceneThe mother of Christopher Dorner expressed her sympathies for his victims and the families they left behind. She released this statement to Fox 11: It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we express our deepest sympathies and condolences to anyone that suffered losses or injuries resulting from Christopher’s actions. We do not condone Christopher’s actions.The family has no further comments and ask that our privacy be respected during this difficult time. – Nancy Dorner

In a phone interview with Fox 11, Nancy Dorner also said there could be some validity to the claims her son made in his manifesto, but stressed that she didn’t condone his crimes. Police have linked Christopher Dorner to the murders of Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence, as well as Riverside police officer Michael Crain and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremiah McKay. Instead of going on a murderous rampage, Nancy Dorner wishes her son had simply contacted a journalist about the allegations of Los Angeles Police Department racism and corruption in his manifesto. Nancy Dorner was reportedly spotted at a Mexican restaurant near her home in La Palma, Calif. watching news coverage of a man believed to be Christopher Dorner engaging in an hours-long standoff with police in a cabin in Big Bear. She and her daughter have been cooperating with authorities in the investigation against Christopher Dorner, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

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An Open Letter to the NRA..Guns, Guns & More Guns Is that the Solution?

crimesceneDear NRA: (National Rifle Association) we peeped your press conference this afternoon and lemme make sure I understand the main premise.. What we need in this society as follows; Guns, Guns and More Guns.. We need a cop on every corner and armed guard in every school..We also got from the NRA, that the reason the school kids died tragically in Newtown at Sandy Hook elementary was because the Principal, Dawn Hochsprung who courageously gave her life didn’t have a gun.. If only she had a gun, then the school kids would’ve been saved..That’s the type nonsense you guys always say, but when push comes to shove, it never rally pans out..Most folks unless they been trained gun or not are thinking about getting out the line of fire, not running around like they in a James Bond movie shooting down assailants packing military style assault weapons.. Sure you NRA types like so-called neighborhood watch George Zimmerman or gun collector Michael Dunn are quick to kill an unarmed Trayvon Martin or a shoot into a car of unarmed teens and kill an unarmed Jordan Davis for playing his music loud or be like Shawna Forde who shot unarmed Raul “Junior” Flores, 29, and his daughter, Brisenia, 9 because she thought they were here ‘illegally’ (they weren’t). Forde and her colleagues in the Minutemen were supposedly ‘protecting the border’. In these instances and many like them its easy to shoot unarmed folks, but when others are strapped like you are and willing to bust back, you’re doing like everyone else running for cover and then talking smack days later about what you would’ve and could’ve done with a gun.. As the NY Times recently pointed out, there’s been over 60 mass shootings in past 30 years and not one has been stopped by the NRA or armed civilians. You can’t shoot your way out of a problem NRA..So Please Stop all that noise.

Also you all went  and blamed the media and video games for mass shootings. You basically said we need to crack down on that…I’m wondering if you were including the games that your fine organization helped develop like ‘NRA Gun Club‘ or the newest the ‘Medal to Honor‘ video game that our esteemed Navy Seals worked on? CONTINUE READING

Urban Lives Saved by Suburban Gun Mayhem

crimescene(The Root) — Shortly after the Jovan Belcher tragedy I was asked on a television program whether or not theNFL player’s high-profile murder-suicide and sports announcer Bob Costas’ courageous comments about gun violence in the incident’s aftermath would have any impact on gun control in America. I answered that they would not. The reason? Because as I noted during that interview, historically our country has only addressed the issue of gun violence when it touches the lives of those with whom our leaders are most likely to identify. Rarely are those likely to be incidents involving people of color suffering domestic violence or teens of color from low-income communities who are victims of urban gun violence.

Instead the gun tragedies that have actually moved our elected officials to significant action on gun control have been those incidents in which victims are most likely to remind our leaders of their own friends, families and communities, incidents like the 1993 shooting on a Long Island Rail Road train, which killed commuters from New York’s professional class or the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, which made gun control the cause célèbre of white suburban moms, culminating in the Million Mom March in 2000.

Now it appears another incident is poised to finally move our leaders to action once again, 13 years after Columbine. The murder of 20 children and six adults in the quiet and normally safe enclave of Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 is forcing a conversation about gun control that the shooting of 26 residents in one night inChicago this summer — resulting in the deaths of two teens and injury of 24 others — could not. As previously noted in an analysis by the now-defunct the Daily, more Chicago residents, many of them urban youth, were killed by gun violence in the first half of 2012 than American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan during the same period.

Just think about those numbers for a moment.

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U.S. Appeals Court Strikes Down State’s Concealed-Carry Ban

political_radar_218x155The state of Illinois would have to allow ordinary citizens to carry weapons under a federal appeals court ruling issued today, but the judges also gave lawmakers 180 days to put their own version of the law in place. In a 2-1 decision that is a major victory for the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said the state’s ban on carrying a weapon in public is unconstitutional. “We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home. The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside,” the judges ruled.  “The theoretical and empirical evidence (which overall is inconclusive) is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense. Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety. It has failed to meet this burden. “The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment compelled the appeals court to rule the ban unconstitutional, the judges said. But the court gave 180 days to “allow the Illinois legislature to craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public.” David Sigale, an attorney who represented the Second Amendment Foundation in the lawsuit, called the decision by the appeals court in Chicago “historic.” CONTINUE READING..

Former Manhattan ADA Accused of Dealing to Police Former Manhattan ADA Accused of Dealing to Police

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44-year-old David Leung, who served as the assistant district attorney is Manhattan from 1993 to 2003, was busted by an informant on September 27 after sliding the undercover two bags of weed for $200. This sounds more like the explanation for a character being written off of Law & Order than real life. Following the transaction, police searched his vehicle and found seven more bags totaling over eight ounces in his trunk. The irony of Manhattan’s former ADA being arrested for selling weed in the marijuana-arrest capital of the world is sweet chin music to the criminal justice system. What’s even worse is that Leung knew some of the prosecutors when he appeared in court yesterday. How embarrassing.  After his departure from the district attorney’s office, Leung began a private practice and moved to Indiana. He was apparently unable to resist the allure of the fast life on the streets of New York City. Because that’s what all bored guys in their 40s do. Leung has not been indicted, but will return to court on January 22. Until then, he’s free without bail.

[via Gothamist]