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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stories that you just will not believe!

First, I get to campus this morning and this is the message with which I am greeted:

Campus Crime Alert
On Tuesday January 24, 2012 at approximately 8:46 PM, two female students reported to the ASU Police Department that they had been physically assaulted by the same known male acquaintance within the past week.
My response? So arrest the guy! Then if he is convicted, tell us all about him. Until then, why are you bothering me with it? I mean, you're not telling us his name or anything so that we can protect ourselves if we see him. 

Second, there is this, which leaves me breathless:
A convicted murderer on death row in North Carolina wrote a taunting letter to his hometown newspaper about his life of "leisure" in prison and making a mockery of the legal system.
Danny Robbie Hembree Jr. was found guilty of murdering 17-year-old Heather Catterton in 2009 and was sentenced to death on Nov. 18, 2011.

Hembree, 50, is on death row at Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C., but he's not looking for any pity in the letter he sent to The Gaston Gazette.

"Is the public aware that I am a gentleman of leisure, watching color TV in the A.C., reading, taking naps at will, eating three well balanced hot meals a day," Hembree asked in the letter. "I'm housed in a building that connects to the new 55 million dollar hospital with round the clock free medical care 24/7."

He also asks if the public knows that the chances of his "lawful murder" taking place in the next 20 years, if ever, are "very slim."

His words:

"I am a man who is ready to except [sic] his unjustful punishment and face God almighty with a clean conscience unlike you cowards and your cowardly system," Hembree wrote. "Kill me if you can suckers. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

This above story is NATIONAL news out of my state. And predictably, supporters of the death penalty are calling for his execution and saying, "See, told you we need the death penalty!"

My response, then kill him. But then again, do we really let people like this decide for us how we will behave? Do you let killers decide our fate?

The fact is that this guy is sadly right. The death penalty is a joke. And he will likely live on death row forever. So why have it in the first place? Study after study after study in our state shows it is not a workable punishment. It is not good policy.

And third, there is this! About our failing drug war.

After 40 years of defeat and failure, America's "war on drugs" is being buried in the same fashion as it was born – amid bloodshed, confusion, corruption and scandal. US agents are being pulled from South America; Washington is putting its narcotics policy under review, and a newly confident region is no longer prepared to swallow its fatal Prohibition error. Indeed, after the expenditure of billions of dollars and the violent deaths of tens of thousands of people, a suitable epitaph for America's longest "war" may well be the plan, in Bolivia, for every family to be given the right to grow coca in its own backyard.

The "war", declared unilaterally throughout the world by Richard Nixon in 1969, is expiring as its strategists start discarding plans that have proved futile over four decades: they are preparing to withdraw their agents from narcotics battlefields from Colombia to Afghanistan and beginning to coach them in the art of trumpeting victory and melting away into anonymous defeat. Not surprisingly, the new strategy is being gingerly aired in the media of the US establishment, from The Wall Street Journal to the Miami Herald.

Prospects in the new decade are thus opening up for vast amounts of useless government expenditure being reassigned to the treatment of addicts instead of their capture and imprisonment. And, no less important, the ever-expanding balloon of corruption that the "war" has brought to heads of government, armies and police forces wherever it has been waged may slowly start to deflate.

Prepare to shed a tear over the loss of revenue that eventual decriminalisation of narcotics could bring to the traffickers, large and small, and to the contractors who have been making good money building and running the new prisons that help to bankrupt governments – in the US in particular, where drug offenders – principally small retailers and seldom the rich and important wholesalers – have helped to push the prison population to 1,600,000; their imprisonment is already straining federal and state budgets. In Mississippi, where drug offenders once had to serve 85 per cent of their sentences, they are now being required to serve less than a quarter. California has been ordered to release 40,000 inmates because its prisons are hugely overcrowded.


That is, this story is being ignored in the US press. And why is that?


  1. Each of these stories seem to provide information, but too a limited degree.

    Campus Assault: It's nice they try to keep us students "in the know," but knowing what side of campus to avoid isn't going to help since people aren't stationary. Should us women try avoiding all men just in case since a reasonable description of the male is absent from the alert?

    Death Row Letter: Those with inside experience can expose the knowledge that is hidden from the rest of society. The unfortunate factor is that society would have a hard time receiving information like this. Because of the way information is fed to people, we only see half the story...and most of the time believe it. This story was posted to evoke a reaction in support of the death penalty. What do you think the chances are we would see a story about the defense of the death penalty on the national news?

    Drugs and Prisons: In terms of prison and drugs, as far as I know, most people are on the band wagon of support in terms of the war on drugs and the imprisonment of individuals who break drug laws. It would be foreign for someone without the knowledge of alternate forms of punishment to be ok with the idea of people getting released from prison like this, even though their tax dollars are getting spent in all the wrong places in terms of these institutions. Through outlets like the media, people are told that money is being used for society's protection and well being. What is more important for people than that? With that being said, the chances of the corporations that gain money off of prisons and the incarceration of traffickers, who are coincidentally connected to those in power over the media, allowing information out that could upset society's views on these matters are almost out of the question.

    Let's just say it's great the media tries to inform society, but is it fair to give us only part of the story?

  2. First off, what are we supposed to think when we open our email in the morning & "CRIME ALERT!!!" is staring us in the face? Personally, it scared the crap out of me because I wasn't expecting it. It seems that the person at the police department that wrote this email intended to startle students and attract them to read about the latest crime that occurred on campus. This specific crime had to do with two women getting assaulted by a man on Tuesday night. However, students didn’t hear of this occurrence until Thursday morning. I would hope that if there was an immediate threat to student safety, we would hear about it sooner. While an email in itself isn’t exactly media, the “Safety Tips” and recent Self Defense Course Announcement that came with it did seem to aid in a little bit of advertising. Is it a coincidence that this random and not so frequent CRIME ALERT came out around the same time the $20 Rape Aggression Defense Courses were announced on campus-wide on Appalnet? Now that women (and men) around campus have read the crime alert and feel vulnerable to attackers, they are probably more likely to take a self-defense course seriously. I don’t believe that ASU or the police department is out to get us, but I do think that we should dig deep into the understanding behind certain announcements and realize that profit is important to every business and agency.

  3. CrimeAlert here is and always has been a joke. It reflects the media in one very specific way. We are told some amount of "information" by these sources, and we are supposed to leave feeling informed. However, what we are really taking away is arbitrary information that is in no way helpful to us.

    The death row inmate just proves the point that our criminal justice system is quite flawed, however he exposes to the media that point which has been kept secret by those in control. It is shocking to me that the local newspaper even published such a letter. It seems to me that's just too much information to put out there.