The Return of Phrenology

This article on Futurism raises the question – can big data tell from a picture if you are a criminal or not.

It is just bunk, though, really.

Just because there is a correlation in data – doesn’t mean there is a causation. This is one of the basics of statistics and is a caution to anything determined on data only.

Perhaps, if you have committed a crime (or feel you have committed a crime) – you get a “look” on your face that matches their criteria.

The implications that the shape of your face – leads to a prognostication that you *will* commit a crime – is as preposterous as the debunked science of phrenology – measuring the head to determine personality traits.

Donald, voter fraud, and factual arguments

You know it is kind of funny. (no, not ha ha funny)
 
Situation A: We know as factually as possible that vaccine ingredients do not cause autism. We have factual information that the instigator of this theory had a vested interest (his own vaccine) in spreading the idea that vaccines cause autism.
 
Still, there is a core audience out there that believes (emphatically) that vaccines cause autism.
 
There have even been studies about this group of people that indicate that factual and logical argumentation will not persuade this group of people otherwise.
 
Situation B: Now, in present politics we have a similar situation.
A person, that has a vested interest in the election, is proposing that the election is ‘rigged’.
 
We have a host of experts, tons of factual data, past experience with elections – that the idea that there is massive voter fraud is delusional at best. The biggest argument is certainly that both Republicans and Democrats have held the Presidency, that there are both Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate (unless you want to enter the special kind of crazy where you think they are both working together – look if they can’t work together to give us a functional government, they certainly can’t work together on a secret mission).
 
 
Uhhh, no.
Now, I don’t believe Donald is going to win the election. It isn’t because there is rampant voter fraud. It isn’t because the people who believe there is vast amounts of voter fraud have suddenly been convinced of the error of their ways.
No, it is because Donald has been able to successfully appeal to his base – but no one else. There was a time when the demographics of the United States as different and that this would be effective, but that time is not now – nor will be any time in the future as the demographics or “browning of America” continues.
It is simply because the people in Donald’s voter base has a high overlap with the people that believe there is voter fraud.
The bobbing heads. The repetition of factual statements by experts in the field. The data. The repeated attempts to find massive voter fraud that have failed.
None of it means anything to the willful ignorance that is anti-vaccine, pro-voter fraud, or in other words anti-science people.
 

How Police Lose the Trust of the People

I’ll start with a tiny bit of Geography. I live in the United States of America, the state of New Jersey, in a town in Union County.

Sometimes quotes from comic books and animations stick with you. This quote is from Teen Titans animation. Robin just can’t win against Slade. So he decides to go under cover as Red X and begins working with Slade.

As he gains Slade’s trust he fights with his companions in the Teen Titans, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, and Beast Boy – defeating them easily as Red X.

However; Slade knew Red X was Robin the whole time. He says:

Patience. Trust is easy to destroy but it takes time to build.

This is how it works with the Police and the citizens. Robin had betrayed his friends.

The town I live in has had two remarkable incidents in the police department that were highly damaging to trusting the police.

  1. An off duty police officer with other off-duty police officers in the car and one civilian in the car got drunk and drove in Staten Island. They drove the wrong way on a highway and got into a crash which cost people their lives and injured everyone that was involved. The police officer that was driving is presently charged with “aggravated vehicular manslaughter”. This same office had been charged for DUI twice in his time as an officer before this fatality causing accident.
  2. The son of the captain of the department was busted for selling marijuana in a narcotics investigation.

Unfortunately, for the police, the reputation of all departments rests on all departments. Meaning, that police officers behaving improperly (off or on duty) impact perception of the police everywhere. In fact, when I worked for a major hospital group in New York City during orientation we were told,”Once you are off work, please take your ID off. You never know when you might behave in a manner that isn’t appropriate and when you have your ID on this reflects on everyone that works at” that hospital group. This is the way it works for police officers, the military, politicians, bikers – in fact this is the way it works for any population that shares a characteristic. It helps humans identify threats to generalize – and hatches memes “not all men”, “not all police”, “not all bikers”, “not all Muslims” – as these groups are less homogeneous than the perceptions required to deal with day to day tasks.

A third case in Union county, but not the same down is again, of an officer driving drunk. So, rather unfortunately, all police (in general) and more specifically, the Linden Police where the first two incidents occurred get less trust because this officer from Scotch Plains got drunk, was being pursued by another officer, chose to run and had several minor accidents during her time fleeing from police.

So, let’s not worry about all those incidents for a minute and consider a new title for this article:

How Police Gain the Trust of the People

Now, police departments have tried things like community outreach programs, publicity, participating in community events, participation in children athletic leagues and changes in leadership.

These are all nice things and they need to continue happening and should be a normal course of business rather than damage control. Leaders of police departments should rotate the way the Federal Government rotates Post Office masters – familiarity with your co-workers lends you to allowing things to happen that really shouldn’t.

The reality is though, that none of those efforts are going to gain the trust of the people.

In order to gain the trust of the people the actions that the police do that cause the people to lose trust in them have to stop happening.

AND

They have to stop happening for a long time.

Sounds simple? But it isn’t. The reason is because the police departments have a huge Human Resources problem.

I will cite some specifics. Who you hire and who you fire is more important than all the regulations you can put on your officers, the cameras and dash cams. None of that matters. Hiring people who can make the correct and humane decision is what is important.

My wife had a boyfriend in high school that turned out to be an abuser and apparently almost killed her on one occasion before she left forever. I have never been able to get the whole story out of her.

He would later become a police officer.

When I was in the military – the Air Force Air National Guard in New Jersey one of my co-workers stepped over a rope lining the flight line. He was in a hurry to complete an NDI maintenance task. He was taken down by three Air National Guard Military Police. People told him he was in the wrong and next time use the opening in the ropes to get to the flight line. The opening to the flight line that was 10 feet from where he hopped over the rope.

Then there is this guy. Screaming at a motorcyclist, gun drawn, not in uniform, not identifying himself as an officer of the law and scaring the s*** out of the biker. More complete video here.

And this guy.  What, we don’t have the intelligence to find another way to remove a student from a classroom other than throwing them across the classroom. Also, trust in the legal system. Also, trust in the people who make the laws – made a law that classified misbehaving in school as a criminal offense.

And this guy.

You should note that I’m specifically staying away from well known incidents where police officers kill people under questionable circumstances.

Why?

Because loss of trust by the people in the police happens long before it gets to the point that someone dies at gunpoint.

This is an HR problem. People who have little control of themselves being given authority over other people.

I remember many conversations over the years that police departments hire a type of person. This happens at employers where people feel that hiring more people like themselves will make work easier. In project management; however, it is shown that having people with varying view points is important in the work place.

I remember going to an interview for ADP for a programming position. There were two big burly guys that interviewed me – and I’m not a big guy. Later, I met up with one of my classmates on the way home from our commutes. He ended up getting the job there. He matched their type, big guy, huge football fan, etc.

The same goes with our police departments. It is like the move “A Clockwork Orange” where Alex and his friends went on a criminal spree hurting many people. Alex gets caught and goes to prison and through an experimental program which causes Alex to be vulnerable to everyone.

His friends didn’t get captured. They find work that suits their personalities as bullies. They become police officers. Police officers who then assault Alex when they meet up with him later.

“Not all police officers are bullies” Yes, I know.

But that isn’t the language we need right now. People need to know they are safe from the police and that the police are going to protect them.

It is a human resources problem. Who you hire. Who you keep and who you fire.

And there it is… Who you fire. The drunk driving Linden police officer who had two previous DUIs while serving as an officer. You know, the vast majority of truck driving companies and bus driving companies fire drivers that have even one traffic ticket – and certainly would get fired if they had a DUI. Why aren’t police officers fired for getting a DUI.

In fact, police officers need to be an example for society to follow. They need to behave *better* than everyone else – even when they are not on duty.

We have a legal system and a police infrastructure that *protect* officers who do things that are wrong – instead of prosecuting them.

One of the worst traits in a person is to beat their significant other – and lets face it most of the time it is men beating their wives and girlfriends.

So, I said “Police hire bullies” and you want me to back it up.

And here it is. Police officers beat their wives and girlfriends at double the national rate, still receive promotions.

50% of wives of police officers are victims of domestic violence. Let that sink it. Wallow in it for a minute. If you are looking at a group picture of 10 police officers who are all married typically half of their wives are being beaten at home. These are the people that are trusted to become police officers. These are the people we trust with guns. These are the people we trust with cars, which police have killed many people with cars – because cars can be a lethal weapon.

In fact, basic skills such as driving appropriately when off-duty in an official car – cannot be mastered by all police being trusted with driving cars.

This is a topic that I have discussed before. Now, though we are driving to root causes. It is the type of people attracted to being police officers. And it is the type of people we hire to be police officers. or as the article discussing domestic violence:

Sociopaths are attracted to positions in which they are able to assert authority over others, so it should come as no surprise that there are higher concentrations of sociopaths within law enforcement.

 

Or another gem of police human resources. “Court OKs Barring High IQs for Cops

It isn’t just a HR issue…It is the mentality of the people who do the hiring that people who are ‘too smart’ would get bored of the job.

More likely, people who are smart will most likely have better decision making skills and could prevent some of these incidents that make the citizens lose trust in the police.

When we are really interested in having a police force we trust – then everything about the police force has to change. Hiring, firing, policies, stringent regulation that when a police officer does something wrong they need to be punished for it – as it is MORE of a violation than when offenses are performed by civilians.

We can’t be reluctant to fire police officers. There are always more people that want jobs and would take a job as a police officer – should we have to run through entire departments looking for people who can perform appropriately.

 

To Escape From Hell

There are many stories of honor killings. I have gone over some of them here on this blog.

Sometimes, women are surprised by their family and killed.

Sometimes, women are attacked in their sleep.

Sometimes, women are burned alive.

There is nothing more upsetting; however, than the women who have escaped hell. They are no longer under the power of their parents, potential husbands, or brothers that will kill them for not conforming to what is expected of them – only to be ‘reconciled’ with their parents and then killed by their parents.

While I am referencing a specific case Samia Shahid – there have been a few cases where the parents of a woman entice the woman back – with words of reconciliation – only for the woman to end up killed – murdered by her own family.

This case is somewhat special in that I am using an American resource – an article on CNN – that gives the details on Samia’s death. This is probably only because Samia was  a British national at the time of her murder.

She had escaped hell. Divorced her husband. Remarried someone of her own choosing. Left the country that placed women as property and dictated what her future should be.

She was ‘summoned’ by her father to her family’s home. Probably the only way she would go was under the impression that they had forgiven her for going her own way.

She was raped. She was murdered.

Her ‘family’ reported that she had a heart attack. A medical examination proved that wrong.

Then a police officer hid evidence and allowed her sister and mother to escape Pakistan.

Chaudhry Muhammad Shakeel – Samia’s ex-husband and her first cousin was held in suspicion of her murder and later confessed to strangling her with her own scarf.

No word if he confessed to raping her. Or if he considered them to be still married and that a husband cannot rape his wife.

Her father is accused as an accessory to her murder.

I have expressed a few times on this site the lack of honor in killing a daughter, that this is an anti-survival trait for a person’s genes, that the last thing one should ever think to do is killing your own children.

No, this article has one thing to say.

If you escape from hell, do not go back. Ignore the pleas of family that they have ‘forgiven’ you. If they want to see you again, make them come to you in a free (or freer) country and make sure you are secure.

If people want to force you to be something and you break away, but the cord. Never look back. Even agreeing to see them again in neutral territory is a risk.

Rape as a Form of Punishment

Men rape woman a second time for reporting crime.

It seems there is no limit to the cruelty that men can commit against women.

There is little information in the article except for three important notes:

  1. Three men raped a woman
  2. She filed charges, and they raped her again as punishment for reporting the crime.
  3. The three men told family they would rape her again (which they did) if she did not take an out-of-court settlement.

Based on the article – it appears that the three rapists are not in jail – that they might be ‘remanded’ into custody a couple days later at a court appearance.

How in the world these men could be released after committing the same violent crime against a woman after doing it once and (two of them anyway) getting charged for the crime? I have two daughters – and allowing crimes like this – anywhere – opens the opportunity for these crimes to happen to my girls here in the US.

This probably isn’t the first time that I have written an article where the perpetrators are not in jail awaiting trail to threaten punishment on the original victim.  If I recall correctly a woman who had acid thrown on her face by three perpetrators then had the perpetrators yelling threats at her from the street below her window at her home.

Who knows what this ‘out-of-court’ settlement would have been – except that it probably wouldn’t have involved jail time.

I think the vast majority of women in the world would not accept payment for being raped by three men at once.

I’m going to end this article with a few of questions.

  1. What do you think the men were thinking when they raped this women the first time? What moral rules were guiding them to think that this was an appropriate course of action? Further, it should be noted that the vast majority of people in India are Hindu or Islamic. What did the rules of their religion tell them that it was ok to do this?
  2. What do you think the men were thinking the second time they raped this woman?
  3. What do you think the overall view of these men is towards women?
  4. Do you think they could ever love a woman – in the way that you believe in love? Or would any relationship with a woman just be an exercise in having a servant that you fuck?
  5. How would these three men treat a woman in their workplace?

 

 

Rapists Absolved Through Marriage

There is little I suspect more horrid than the practice of absolving rapists by having them marry their victims.

Why is this practice horrid? Let me count the ways.

  1. A woman (or barely even a child) who has been raped by her aggressor will NEVER be able to get away from the aggressor.
  2. In societies where marriage to clear a man of rape is allowed – the woman becomes little more than a servant or slave to the man in the marriage.  The victim becomes the slave of the aggressor – for life.
  3. The aggressor – the rapist – is rewarded with someone who has to do everything that is asked of them.
  4. In cultures that allow rape to be ameliorated by marriage – there is no concept of rape during marriage. i.e. the raped gets to be raped and raped and raped for the rest of her life.
  5. In cultures marriage to absolve the rapist of charges – the wife will never see her family ever again – and will have no support system while she serves her ‘husband’, bears children for her husband, and eventually when she dies will become nothing.
  6. The raped will have children for her husband/rapist – one of the most difficult tasks that is asked of the human body. She risks death (as many countries that allow this practice have high infant and/or mother mortality during childbirth) and most certainly high degrees of pain – for the benefit of her rapist.
  7. It reduces the state of a woman to property – which has been damaged – and must be paid for. You break it, you bought it – with a dowry due from the rapist to pay for his bride.

This practice isn’t as rare as you might believe from the original posted article. It is mentioned in the book ‘Half the Sky’. I don’t know how to equate things – but the practice of giving your daughter up for your gambling debts is also relatively common in some parts of the world.

To the specifics of this particular incident:

  1. 28 year old rapist
  2. 14 year old victim (15 at the time of the article)
  3. Once judge was presented with marriage certificate – he discharged the case.

All the dreams this girl had are now gone. Any further education she may have attained will no longer happen. She has been sentenced to a lifetime of slavery, probably non-consensual sex, birth and child raising and being shamed for being raped (like she had a choice about it) not being able to be a part of the normal culture around her.

If I was her, I would kill this person in their sleep – and I typically rarely advocate violence. In this case (and cases like it) it seems to me that society, culture, government, authority, religion have all failed her – and the only recourse is her own. Certainly, rather than bearing children for her lifelong rapist which will benefit the rapist (she won’t be given credit for anything) and bearing female children to potentially go through a similar series of events – death to her rapist, her aggressor and now her master – would be a far better way out.

Social Contract and the Police

When any action is undertaken by the government – and tools are given to perform those actions – there is a responsibility – a requirement – that the ending result of that action is to the benefit of the society paying for the action.

However, over time this concept has been completely overlooked – in particular in the case of police departments.

Let’s take a look at my favorite part of the Constitution of the United States of America – the preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

 

How do unjustified police shootings apply to “promote the general Welfare” of the people. Would you not say that if you are dead your general Welfare has been removed?

How do unjustified police shootings apply to “insure domestic Tranquility”? In particular, the large number of unjustified shootings that involve minorities. Do these unjustified shootings, fatalities at the hands of police or just plain abuse by the police make everyone feel safer?

I don’t think so.

A little greater detail of a specific incident. Eric Garner was murdered by police officers because he was selling cigarettes singly without a license.

What was the impact of Garner’s actions on the people of New York City? Minimal. His death – he was a parent, the loss of his life, the loss of him with his children for as long as he may have lived, and his grandchildren. He had 6 children and 3 grandchildren. One of his children was 3 months old at the time of his death.

Just as a little side note – do you think any of his children, grandchildren or any relatives are ever going to trust the police? Nah, I didn’t think so.

The lack of proportionality of the execution of laws, the lack of proportionality in the penalties in laws, the police brutality – aren’t actually what I’m here to talk about right now.

There are two things I want to delve into.

  1. Social Contract by society in giving capabilities to any governmental organization
  2. The laws that we create for the benefit of businesses and the execution of those laws

When society pays taxes and then that money is used to purchase weapons, cars, or just about anything the idea is that those items, and the people they are entrusted to – are going to make society better, safer, and in a word ensure domestic tranquility.

So, when police (or other agencies of the government) take the things they are given by society to make things better (including authority) we have to question how these things are being used.

Imagine, for a minute, that Eric Garner did not give authority to the police to protect the laws of the state. He would have had a weapon to protect himself from the police. He would have resisted arrest the second they tried to arrest him and a man that size would do significant damage without a weapon. Instead, he gave up – but apparently not fast enough for the officers performing the arrest.

The police frequently and flagrantly break laws and put the citizens in danger. Have you ever been on the highway to have a cop blow by you? Did you assume that there was an emergency they were running toward – even if they didn’t have their emergency lights running?

Well, based on information about Florida’s police – that is an incorrect assumption. The police don’t need guns to cause accidental deaths and harm to civilians.

Speeding cops can kill. Since 2004, Florida officers exceeding the speed limit have caused at least 320 crashes and 19 deaths. Only one officer went to jail — for 60 days.

19 people are not feeling “general Welfare” or “domestic Tranquility” – and neither are any of their friends and family. Not listed are the number of people injured in these accidents.

Additional findings in this article were the 18% of officers speed excessively – while not on duty. This isn’t a small insignificant number. This is habitual, profligate, abuse of power – even just a small amount of power – results in death and injuries and a notable lack in satisfaction of the performance of state police officers.

The social contract – that we give the police – to protect us, to preserve order, to promote general Welfare, insure domestic Tranquility – is broken. This isn’t about punishing a few police officers – although that would be a start – if 19 people can die and only 1 police officer go to jail for a short time.

We need to dispose of the idea that police officers when convicted of crimes need lower penalties. We entrust them with our lives and this trust is completely betrayed. This is a much worse crime than a citizen that isn’t responsible for keeping anyone other than their selves safe accidentally killing someone.

With the technology available now – all police cars need to be equipped and monitored with GPS units – and the data needs to be reviewed to ensure that non-emergency uses do not contravene the law. The people who enforce the law – need to be stellar examples of what it is to follow the law. This systemic lack of regard for the law by law enforcement needs to be curtailed – it needs to be made clear that to enforce the law is a responsibility and a privileged. A privilege that can be removed if you show that you do not care for the law and are willing to break it for your own benefit.

For the second point – you should examine the law – the pretext that was used to kill Eric Garner. Why is there a law restricting who can legally sell cigarettes? Ostensibly to protect those under the age of 18 from procuring them and destroying their lives. Really? Or was it in place to limit who could sell cigarettes – thus giving those who can attain licenses a market for which not anyone walking on the street could compete with them. This would allow them to manipulate prices – and people who are addicted to cigarettes would sometimes pay anything in order to get a cigarette. The cost of a pack of cigarettes in NYC is now $14 – and not unlike taxing tea by the British this ‘sin’ tax makes cigarettes cost far more than their cost of production.

There is no conclusive research that indicates that sin taxes actually make the population healthier. This is another point to address – should laws be enacted by using faulty or untested hypothesis?

There are legions of laws out there that protect markets. Have you noticed the problems Tesla has encountered by not using traditional car dealer methods? In my home state of New Jersey they were basically kicked out. These laws end up being like a protection racket – that citizens never see. However, if you ever wonder why there is only 1 Ford dealer in a specific region? It is because Ford only allows this limitation – and the laws enable them to protect it. Imagine, if online retailers could sell Fords anywhere at their special discounted rates? New car dealerships would go out of business left and right. And that’s the way it should be – New car dealerships don’t add any value to the sales process when people can look up all the information on buying a new car (including videos of how the cars perform under different conditions). The new car dealerships are a legally held in place middle man – which adds cost to the final product – in sales person getting their cut, paying enough for all the staff at the new car dealership.