Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Harlem

 

On July 16, 1964, a white off-duty New York City police lieutenant fatally shot a black ninth-grader in Harlem on allegations that the teenager had a knife and was lunging at the officer.

While the details of exactly what happened that day are still hotly contested and debated, it would seem that the event was racially motivated. It triggered a wave of riots that not only consumed New York City, but spread to cities like Rochester, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; and Jersey City, New Jersey — all of which were influenced, in part, by allegations of local police brutality.

As the nation continues to deal with instances of alleged aggressive policing, such as recent allegations of a California Highway Patrol officer striking a confused or mentally ill woman on the side of a freeway and the aftermath of New York City’s escalated use of “stop & frisk,” however, questions of the proliferation of police brutality remain relevant.

Examples — such as the April arrest and assault of Neykeyia Parker by a Houston police officer for trespassing 10 feet in front of Parker’s front door, June’s racially-charged vice raid at the Copper Tan and Spa in Chicago, in which the spa’s owner was slapped and insulted by the police while being handcuffed, and the May incident in Georgia in which a baby was severely burned by a “flash bang” grenade thrown by a Special Response Team during a botched late night raid — highlight the growing demand, particularly in minority communities, to address the modern-day role and liability of the police.

At the heart of the events 50 years ago in Harlem was the question of how a police lieutenant with 17 years of experience with the New York Police Department and 16 years of wartime military experience could not control the situation without the use of deadly force — especially considering the officer was nearly twice the size of the teenager and the teenager was only armed with a knife.

On that day, the superintendent of a residential building in a predominately white neighborhood became irate with the black students sitting on the stoops of the building. Allegedly yelling racial epithets, the superintendent turned a hose on the students. As they responded by throwing cans and bottles at the superintendent, one student — James Powell, 15, a passerby who was not part of the group on the stoops — chased the superintendent into the building.

These events were witnessed by Lt. Thomas Gilligan, who had been at a nearby shop. Gilligan ran to the building and fired a warning shot through a window. Alleging that Powell emerged with a knife in his hand, Gilligan fired a second shot through Powell’s forearm and into the teenager’s chest, then a third into his abdomen. While Gilligan would ultimately be exonerated of any wrongdoing in this case he was charged as a concession to stop the riots, which grew out of the police’s control, the situation touched off frustrations that would ultimately lead to more than 4,000 residents of Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant rioting for six nights, resulting in 118 injuries, one death and 465 arrests.

In the 50 years since this tragedy, police brutality continues to be a national problem, with both the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” being used as rationale for the police to take a stronger crime prevention role, complete with the federal government providing many local police forces with military weapons and vehicles.

via 50 Years After Harlem Riot, Police Brutality Still A Concern.

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I hope that got your attention, maybe the rest will as well…

images (93)Most of us who commute to work every day, take long trips for vacations or just go to the supermarket all have one thing in common, aggressive drivers on the road making life dangerous for you and your family.

Why are people so aggressive behind the wheel? Why must we go from one place to another in such a hurry? Better yet why must people drive only a few feet from your rear bumper like they are on a NASCAR racing track.

Anyone who disagrees with my statements here more than likely are one of the aggressive drivers I have written about,

If you are running late for work then leave earlier next time, don’t try to run others off the road. Just because the driver in from of you is driving 65 in a 55 doesn’t mean you have to run them off of the road because you want to go 80.

Speeding results in:

  • Lives lost – over 13,000 each year.
  • Work zone crashes and fatalities – speed was a factor in 27 percent of fatal crashes in construction and maintenance zones in 2005.
  • Unsafe school zones – compliance with lower speed limits is poor.
  • Economic costs — speed-related crashes cost society over $40 billion annually, according to NHTSA. Every minute “gained” by speeding to a destination costs U.S. society over $76,000. Another concern about aggressive drivers, in fact any driver is distractions. I am talking about texting, talking on cell phones and other distractions that take the focus of the driver from the road and combine that with an aggressive attitude on the road makes it a deadly combination.

Why Aggressive Driving Is Increasing

Lack of responsible driving behavior – On the road, the focus often is on rights and freedom, not on responsibility to other drivers we share the road with. Driving should be cooperative, not a competitive sport.

Reduced levels of enforcement – The perceived risk of being apprehended for a traffic violation is directly related to the level of traffic enforcement. Unfortunately, many jurisdictions have cut back on traffic enforcement because of budget constraints.

More travel and congestion, especially in urban areas – Over the last 30 years, the number of miles driven in the United States has increased by 38 percent , while the number of miles of available roads has increased by less than 1 percent. Some motorists find themselves responding to the frustrations of driving in high-density traffic areas by acting aggressively.

Speeding

The economic cost to society due to speeding-related crashes is estimated to be $40.4 billion per year—$76,865 per minute or $1,281 per second.

Driving too fast makes it harder to react to dangerous situations, reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, and increases the force of impact in a crash. In 2011, speeding was a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, and 9,944 lives were lost in speeding-related accidents crashes.

images (92)Road Rage

Road rage is different from aggressive driving in that it involves using a vehicle as a weapon with intent to do harm. It is a physical assault of a person or vehicle as a result of a traffic incident—this is a criminal offense where you can go to jail.

“You never know if the man or woman next to you might be crazy.” – Dr. William  Glasser, Founder of the William Glasser Institute

Incidents that lead to aggressive driving behavior often are trivial in nature, and not something you might think would cause the explosions that characterize road rage. Violent traffic disputes rarely are the result of a single incident; rather, they are the cumulative result of a long series of troubles in the driver’s life.

What You Can Do

Reduce Your Own Aggressive Driving Tendencies

Keep your emotions in check. Don’t take your frustrations out on other drivers.

Plan ahead and allow enough time for delays.

Focus on your own driving. Yelling, pounding on the steering wheel and honking your horn won’t make traffic move any faster.

How to Avoid Dangerimages (91)

First, be a cautious, considerate driver. Avoid creating a situation that may provoke another individual.

Don’t tailgate or flash your lights at another driver.

If you’re in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over and let the driver pass you.

Use your horn sparingly.

Second, if you do encounter an angry driver, don’t make matters worse by triggering a confrontation.

Avoid eye contact.

Steer clear and give angry drivers plenty of room.

Don’t make inappropriate hand or facial gestures.

If you’re concerned for your safety, call 911.

Defensive Driving Policy

The best offense to aggressive driving habits is solid defensive driving skills. Talk with your employees about the risks associated with aggressive driving, and encourage them to adopt safe habits whenever they are behind the wheel.

Sample Defensive Driving Policy

What’s New

Sensible Driving Saves Gas

Putting an end to aggressive driving behavior (speeding, rapid acceleration and breaking) is an effective way to save lives and gas money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, sensible driving can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. This decrease is the equivalent to saving somewhere between $.18 and $1.19 per gallon. Specifically, observing the speed limit will greatly decrease your gas costs. Each 5 mph over 50 mph costs an additional $.24 per gallon. For more tips on efficient driving, visit fueleconomy.gov.

Addressing Aggressive Driving Webinar

Presented by James Solomon, Program Development and Training Director for the National Safety Council, this webinar addresses the issue of aggressive driving. It discusses signs of aggressive driving behavior and possible solutions to reduce aggressive driving. Solomon also will explain how to incorporate safety solutions into your workplace safety program.

via National Aggressive Driving.

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 Oligarchy, is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next, but inheritance is not a necessary condition for the application of this term.

 WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) — Oligarchy is a form of government in which power is vested in a dominant class and a small group exercises control over the general population.

A new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities concluded that the U.S. government represents not the interests of the majority of citizens but those of the rich and powerful.

“Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” analyzed extensive data, comparing nearly 1,800 U.S. policies enacted between 1981 and 2002 with the expressed preferences of average and affluent Americans as well as special interest groups.

The resulting data empirically verifies that U.S. policies are determined by the economic elite.

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence,” says the peer-reviewed study.

The 42-page study analyzes U.S. politics through the framework of four major theoretical traditions — Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism — concluding that U.S. political policies rarely align with the majority of citizens.

via Study concludes: The US is an oligarchy, not a democracy – UPI.com.