NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – In a survey of a random sample of U.S. emergency physicians, virtually all said they believed that law enforcement officers use excessive force to arrest and detain suspects.
The sample included 315 respondents. While 99.8 percent believed excessive force is used, almost as many (97.8 percent) reported that they had managed cases that they suspected or that the patient stated had involved excessive use of force by law enforcement officers.
Nearly two thirds (65.3 percent) estimated that they had treated two or more cases of suspected excessive use of force per year among their patients, according to a report of the survey published in the January 2009 issue of the Emergency Medicine Journal.
Dr. Jared Strote of the University of Washington, Seattle, and a multicenter team also found that emergency physicians at public teaching hospitals were roughly four times more likely to report managing cases of suspected use of excessive force than those at university or community teaching emergency departments.
Blunt trauma inflicted by fists or feet was the most common type of injury cited in cases of suspected use of excessive force, followed by "overly tight" handcuffs.
Most emergency physicians (71.2 percent) admitted that they did not report cases of suspected use of excessive force by law enforcement officers.
A large majority (96.5 percent) reported that they had no departmental policies on reporting their suspicions or they did not know of a policy to guide their actions, and 93.7 percent said they had received no education or training in dealing with these situations.
However, most emergency physicians (69.5 percent) felt that it was within their scope of practice to refer cases of suspected use of excessive force for investigation and almost half (47.9 percent) felt that emergency physicians should be legally required to report cases of suspected use of excessive force by law enforcement officers.
These findings, Strote and colleagues conclude, "suggest that national emergency medicine organizations in the USA should become involved, jointly developing and advocating for guidelines to manage this complex issue."
SOURCE: Emergency Medicine Journal, January 2009.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bratislava resident renounces American citizenship, becomes stateless person
BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA, 10 December 2008 – Citing US war, human rights abuses, rapacious state capitalism and hypocrisy, Bratislava resident Michael Gogulski announced today that he has renounced his United States citizenship and become a stateless person as a means of “political divorce”.
Gogulski, 36, renounced his citizenship on 8 December 2008 at the American embassy in Bratislava, surrendering his US passport and culminating a two-week process and months of personal preparations. He currently awaits a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States confirming his loss of American citizenship. As Gogulski has no other citizenship, he is now a stateless person.
“I was disgusted to be associated through citizenship with the most dangerous gang of criminals in the world, the United States government. Renouncing my citizenship is a means of achieving a political divorce with that vile institution,” Gogulski said. “American politicians extol their state in terms of liberty, human rights, free markets and the rule of law. Examination of the country’s history and present actions reveals nothing but lies and hypocrisy. The genocide of Native Americans, slavery, nuclear slaughter at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, support for brutal dictators, the torture of innocents at places like Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the massive robberies for the benefit of big business in the name of ‘rescuing’ the economy, the world’s biggest prison population, the growth of a domestic police state and the brutal wars of oppression underway in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia paint a rather different picture. America, via its government agents, is truly exceptional – exceptionally evil,” he stated.
Gogulski says that when he receives the Certificate of Loss of Nationality he will apply to the Slovak Interior Ministry for a Travel Document – similar to a passport – under the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, which Slovakia signed in 2000. He says that he has no plans to leave Bratislava until then, and that he recognizes that his life without citizenship will be more difficult, especially with respect to travel. But, “if the Schengen Zone is to be my cage,” Gogulski states, “I think it’s large enough for me. There’s enough to explore within Europe to last a lifetime.”
On his personal blog, Gogulski indicates that he works as a freelance translator and editor. He also writes about anarchism and supports the revolutionary theory called agorism, which posits that free-market service providers will compete with and eventually supplant states, giving rise to a voluntary society. “Governments pride themselves on notions of ‘equality’ and ‘rule of law’, but fail to apply the same standards to themselves that their subjects must endure,” he says, explaining his political philosophy. “The foundation of state power, taxation, is robbery. That the robbers have fancy uniforms, impressive titles and the sanction of law does not in the slightest way change the basic formula for extortion: pay us, or we will kill you.”
Michael Gogulski’s blog can be found at www.nostate.com.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Some firefighters got piss drunk at a bar, and then got pissed off that another bar patron was wearing a plain old firefighter shirt without actually being a firefighter. So these government agents, who are paid to put out fires and save lives, proceeded to kick the shit out of the poor civilian.
Eventually the cops showed up and started slapping handcuffs on everyone, and the firefighters started harassing the cops, so the cops decided to arrest the firefighters too:
"It was a run-of-the-mill T-shirt," one law enforcement official said. "The real firefighters took umbrage that he wore it."
Firefighters John Tew, 37, and Matthew Veitch, 27, jumped at DiForte, who began swinging his pint glass wildly at his assailants, officials said.
He shattered the glass on the head of 25-year-old Matias Acevedo, a friend of the firefighters, who suffered a nasty gash, officials said. Several other bargoers then joined the fight, some brawling with the firefighters, some against them.
The first police officers to arrive at McFadden's could not quiet the 20-person melee, which spilled out onto the street.
When the brawlers were finally taken to the 17th Precinct, two firefighters walked from the bar and began to harass cops at the stationhouse on behalf of their locked-up colleagues - and got arrested themselves, officials said.
Brothers Michael Fassino of Squad 61 and Ryan Fassino of Engine 315 were charged with disorderly conduct, officials said.
Tew, a nine-year FDNY veteran assigned to Rescue 4, was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration. Veitch, who works at Ladder 173 and joined the FDNY last year, was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration.
I don't like it when government thugs (am I being redundant?) attack civilians. But I do like it very much when government thug turns against government thug. I hope they exonerate the civilian, and fire the firefighters. And while they are at it, they should fire the cops too.
A guy can dream, can't he?
Friday, December 5, 2008
Seventy five years ago today, alcohol prohibition was repealed in the US. Of course, I believe that all drugs should be legalized, and that prohibition doesn't stop people from using drugs any more than abstinence-only education stops teens from fucking.
Interestingly, the number of people who agree with me seems to be increasing. Here are a few snips from a Reuters opinion article written by Bernd Debusmann called Einstein, insanity and the war on drugs, go read the whole thing and take some time to read the comments too:
The war on drugs has helped turn the United States into the country with the world’s largest prison population. (Noteworthy statistic: The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population and around 25 percent of the world’s prisoners). Keen demand for illicit drugs in America, the world’s biggest market, helped spawn global criminal enterprises that use extreme violence in the pursuit of equally extreme profits.
Over the years, the war on drugs has spurred repeated calls from social scientists and economists (including three Nobel prize winners) to seriously rethink a strategy that ignores the laws of supply and demand.
Under the headline “The Failed War on Drugs,” Washington’s respected, middle-of-the-road Brookings Institution said in a November report that drug use had not declined significantly over the years and that “falling retail drug prices reflect the failure of efforts to reduce the supply of drugs.”
“In the 20s and 30s, we had Al Capone and his gangsters getting rich and shooting up our streets,” said Nelson, who spent a 32-year government career fighting drugs in the U.S. and Latin America. “Today we have criminal gangs, cartels, Taliban and al-Qaeda profiting from the prohibition of drug sales and wreaking havoc all over the world. The correlation is obvious.”
The before-and-after sequence is so obvious that the U.S. Congress passed a resolution in September noting that the 1933 repeal of alcohol prohibition had replaced a “dramatic increase” in organized crime with “a transparent and accountable system of distribution and sales” that generated billions of dollars in tax revenues and boosted the sick economy.
Here are some statistics regarding alcohol prohibition and crime in the 1920s:
"The reign of tears is over. The slums will soon be a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs. Men will walk upright now, women will smile and children will laugh. Hell will be forever for rent."
Reverend Billy Sunday delivered this quotation during a speech at the beginning of prohibition. Many people believed and hoped that prohibition would make the above true. However, as they watched and waited, they realized that nothing was improved, and somehow, things had gotten worse.
The following are statistics detailing how much worse crime got:
Police funding: INCREASED $11.4 Million
Arrests for Prohibition Las Violations: INCREASED 102+%
Arrests for Drunkenness and Disorderly Conduct: INCREASED 41%
Arrests of Drunken Drivers: INCREASED 81%
Thefts and Burglaries: INCREASED 9%
Homicides, Assault, and Battery: INCREASED 13%
Number of Federal Convicts: INCREASED 561%
Federal Prison Population: INCREASED 366%
Total Federal Expenditures on Penal Institutions: INCREASED 1,000%
"Not only did the number of serious crimes increase, but crime became organized. Criminal groups organize around the steady source of income provided by laws against victimless crimes such as consuming alcohol or drugs, gambling and prostitution. In the process of providing goods and services those criminal organizations resort to real crimes in defense of sales territories, brand names, and labor contracts. That is true of extensive crime syndicates (the Mafia) as well as street gangs, a criminal element that first surfaced during prohibition."
"The contributing factor to the sudden increase of felonies was the organization of crime, especially in large cities. Because liquor was no longer legally available, the public turned to gangsters who readily took on the bootlegging industry and supplied them with liquor. On account of the industry being so profitable, more gangsters became involved in the money-making business. Crime became so organized because "criminal groups organize around the steady source of income provided by laws against victimless crimes such as consuming alcohol. As a result of the money involved in the bootlegging industry, there was much rival between gangs. The profit motive caused over four hundred gang related murders a year in Chicago alone."
Bootleg alcohol is what fueled the work of Organized crime. Most of the men involved in the Mafia or gangs were young immigrants. The business of bootleg alcohol was highly profitable for everyone involved which often fueled the Mafia or gang wars. By the late 1920's more than 1 million gallons of bootleg liquor had been illegally brought into the United States.
So this evening be sure to tip your glass, fire up your bong, rack a few lines, pop a few pills, and chomp down some shrooms to celebrate Repeal Day!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
This is wrong on so many levels. So many people have been brainwashed by the "War on Drugs" propaganda, and this woman is no exception.
Some woman was upset about drug dealing, and she saw a guy on the side of the road who was checking his tire pressure, but she assumed that he was a drug dealer. So she pulled over and proceeded to punch the hell out of the guy.
Did I mention that the woman was under the influence of the infamous (but legal) drug alcohol?
Christina M. Hephner, who police say had a blood-alcohol level of 0.22 at the time, confronted the man on Thanksgiving Day near 12th Street and Bluff Avenue, according to a criminal complaint. She is charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and could face up to two years behind bars with a penalty enhancer for having prior convictions.
According to the complaint:
Hephner told police she was in the area visiting her child’s father, who had been talking about selling drugs. She was upset about drugs being sold around her child, but left the home when the father ordered her to go.
Hephner then saw several cars pulled over and assumed the people around them were selling drugs. She went up to one man, accused him of drug dealing and began punching him in the face.
The man, who had never seen Hephner before, was stopped to check on a tire that seemed low.
Now selling drugs around kids is probably not a good idea. I can understand why this lady would be pissed. But randomly attacking some poor guy on the street, even if he really was selling drugs, is grossly immoral.
But the worst thing of all is that this woman most likely doesn't consider alcohol to be a drug. It's legal, after all.
The War on Drugs has distorted almost everyone's perception of substance abuse to horribly absurd levels. People think that non-addictive marijuana is a gateway drug as opposed to highly-addictive alcohol. People think that ecstasy (which never killed anyone) is more bad for you than alcohol (which kills thousands). People think that it's ok to drive if you've had only a few drinks, but not ok to drive if you've had only a few lines.
So have non-alcoholic drug users become some sort of scapegoat? Most definitely. Do these distortions about drug use among the general public cause increased use of deadly, highly-addictive alcohol? Most probably.