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Royal pregnancy hoax call suicide: Nurse Jacintha attempted to kill herself ... - Emirates 24/7

Royal pregnancy hoax call suicide: Nurse Jacintha attempted to kill herself ... - Emirates 24/7 | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Emirates 24/7
Royal pregnancy hoax call suicide: Nurse Jacintha attempted to kill herself ...
Emirates 24/7
People have been especially critical of the radio jockeys who made the prank call. Friends and relatives who knew Saldanha during her ...
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Criminology and Economic Theory
In search of viable criminological theory
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Decades of new laws caused Minnesota's prison population spike

Decades of new laws caused Minnesota's prison population spike | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Over the past 25 years, the state's incarceration rate has soared by 150 percent. The majority of that growth can be attributed to changes made by lawmakers to the state's criminal code
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Wyatt Duncan's comment, Today, 1:29 AM
It is not only Minnesota's correction system that is over run, the entire United States system is bloated. There are many crimes that are over punished, and don't deserve a jail time, such as driving without a license. There are multiple system that could be put into place to help with over population... Look at some of Sheriff Joes tactics.
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Why The Rules Of The Road Aren’t Enough To Prevent People From Dying

Why The Rules Of The Road Aren’t Enough To Prevent People From Dying | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The death was ruled an accident, and there’s no evidence anybody broke the law. But does that mean we should view this tragedy as unavoidable?
Rob Duke's insight:

This is similar to the problem I make of politics and rent-seeking behavior.  We don't like how politics can be manipulated, but it's better than the alternative (too much control and oversight).

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James Peterson's comment, Today, 12:35 AM
This article was really interesting to me because I come from a pretty heavily traffic area in Southern California and driving on the freeways there is just nuts. When i go home in the Summers I get a rude awakening every time. To be able to drive in Souther California, My father gave me this advice, "You have to be able to drive aggressively and be cautious." To be honest its true. The speed limit in most freeways down there are set at 65 mph, but to be honest everyone drives 80 mph. You have to be aggressive. It is hard to even follow the speed limit. I just try to keep up with the flow of traffic and dont go to crazy over the limit. I have to rationalize and make quick decisions. It is interesting though how they set it. I have always wondered that even though a lot of people don't obey them. The other issue I have though is cyclist not obeying the traffic laws. A lot of times they can cause collisions due to them not obeying. If they are going to be on the roads with vehicles they need to obey the laws in order to ensure there safety. I see a lot of them not even stopping at stop signs. They just ride on through. LIttle moves like that can cause many accidents.
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The Harvard Doctor Changing Nursing Homes Forever

The Harvard Doctor Changing Nursing Homes Forever | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
“All those animals in a nursing home broke state law, but for Thomas and his staff, it was a revelation. Caring for the plants and animals restored residents’ spirits and autonomy; many started dressing themselves, leaving their rooms and eating again. The number of prescriptions fell to half of that of a control nursing home, particularly for drugs that treat agitation. Medication costs plummeted, and so did the death rate.

“He named the approach the Eden Alternative — based on the idea that a nursing home should be less like a hospital and more like a garden — and it was replicated in hundreds of institutions in Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia as well as in all 50 U.S. states (the animal restriction in New York was voted down).”
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Old shoes and duckweed

Old shoes and duckweed | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Singapore’s leaders like to attribute their country’s phenomenal economic success in part to the political system: one just contested enough to keep the government honest; but not so much that it risks losing power, meaning it can withstand populist temptations and plan for the future. Mr Lee’s proposed reforms are in that vein—making sure that the system has checks and balances, but only ones the government can control. As opposition leaders were quick to point out, they do not even touch some of the main sources of the PAP’s electoral magic: its public-housing programme; a pliant mainstream press; an election commission that is under the prime minister’s office; and a political climate, even now, where dissent seems a terrible career choice. That Singapore has thrived with so little real restraint on the government is also a tribute to the incorruptibility of the Lee family and their colleagues. Whether it can continue to thrive without them, and without more far-reaching political reform, is a gamble.
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Cyanide & Happiness (Explosm.net)

Cyanide & Happiness (Explosm.net) | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

Ridiculous shorts:

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And now for something completely different....it's a Monty Python thing....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGK8IC-bGnU

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Origins of Western Civ: Once upon a time

Origins of Western Civ: Once upon a time | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A colonising power tends to impose its language on a subject land. However, for several generations, the relative status of Greek and Latin was in flux: to Romans, “Greek” was both the vernacular of slaves and the classical Attic standard of revered literature. But by the time Ennius, considered the father of Latin poetry, died in 169BC, Latin literature “had achieved escape velocity”. Self-assured Roman elites had become happily bilingual and biliterate, and in time this helped them rule a widespread and polyglot empire.

Mr Feeney contrasts the Romans with the Etruscans and the Carthaginians, neither of whom appear to have possessed a literature; and he provides interesting comparisons, for example with Japan’s borrowing of Chinese characters, first to write in Chinese and only later adapted to write Japanese. What was astonishing about Ennius’s “Annales” is that he superimposed Roman history upon that of the Greeks, “in a Homeric epic written in a language that was not Homer’s”. By now the growth of Latin literature was as certain as the expansion of Roman power.
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Mobsters Are Getting Whacked Off All Over the Place in Toronto | VICE | United States

The recent deaths of two members of Italian mafia families has caught the attention of the media. But what's really going on in Canadian crime?
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'Affluenza' Teen Ethan Couch Moved to Adult Jail

'Affluenza' Teen Ethan Couch Moved to Adult Jail | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Couch, now 18, killed four in a drunken-driving crash but was spared jail after his lawyers said he was so spoiled he couldn't tell right from wrong.
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Amanda Watkins's comment, February 6, 4:53 PM
I do not agree with this young man's sentencing at all. At 16 years old you know right from wrong. Yes, I agree that he probably had a lack of fear for consequences, especially since his mom assisted him in fleeing the country to avoid consequences. However, he will never learn (if he truly does not know right from wrong) if he is bailed out from consequences. He made a decision to end another persons life by choosing to drink and drive. I hope the mother was prosecuted for fleeing with her son.
Rachel O'Hagin Aleman's comment, February 7, 10:39 PM
After reading through the article I am a little thrown off as to why Couch is not being tried as an adult even though he meets the legal age limit to do so. There have been cases in which younger individuals (as young as 16) have been tried for the crimes that they have committed. Now, from my understanding this younger individuals where tried in adult court based on the severity of their crimes, in order to assert the maximum punishment that was possible. Couch killed 4 people and injured 9 other innocent people and his defense was that he was "too rich and spoiled" to understand that it is WRONG to drink and drive. If anything Couch should be tried as an adult in order to deter other "rich and spoiled" from making the same mistake. This case would fall under "the tipping point" because to me it stands out as a case that maximum punish is not wholly certain, even though it should be.
James Peterson's comment, Today, 1:05 AM
I feel that Couch should be given the maximum punishment. If he doesn't know right from wrong due to his so called "upbringing" then give him the maximum punishment so that he learns from his mistakes. Also this a perfect example to deter other rich and spoiled kids that drinking and driving is absolutely wrong. The excuse that couch is giving is not a good one. You know that when your studying to get your license that drunk driving is not allowed and the fact that he was a minor is totally wrong. Just because you grow up privileged you still know the consequences of actions. I'm not buying his reasonings for his actions. He should be given the maximum punishment that he can get so that he learns and this deters others that drunk driving especially as a minor is not okay.
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Prosecutor: Va. Tech freshman said she was ‘excited to be part of something secretive’

Prosecutor: Va. Tech freshman said she was ‘excited to be part of something secretive’ | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Natalie Keepers is accused of helping a classmate plan the slaying of Nicole Lovell, 13, and dump the body.
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Colita Fiorenzi's comment, Today, 3:02 AM
She was "excited to be a part of something secretive"?!?!?! Psycho... go down to your local community center and play a nice game of telephone or "guess which hand"... I find it hard to believe that with everything availablle now, that teenagers would be this desperate for things to do...
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Doctor convicted of murder for patients' drug overdoses gets 30 years to life in prison

Doctor convicted of murder for patients' drug overdoses gets 30 years to life in prison | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A judge on Friday sentenced a Rowland Heights doctor to 30 years to life in prison for the murders of three of her patients who fatally overdosed, ending a landmark case that some medical experts say could reshape how doctors nationwide handle prescriptions.
The sentence came after a Los Angeles...
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Wyatt Duncan's comment, Today, 1:23 AM
Im sure it will open the door for many more cases, and charges to be filed. It only takes one person to mess up in a profession, especially one that is so highly educated, to make everyone question all of there actions. Especially a doctor, which are experts in a field, most of the population has no idea about.
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What It’s Like Being Blackmailed Over a Webcam Sex Video | VICE | United States

Did you ever report it to the police?
No, because I just knew that if they're out of the country, there's nothing they can do about it. When I read your previous article about it, I thought it was good that other people were reporting it. I was glad when I found out I wasn't the only person it happened to because it felt pretty silly. I couldn't imagine if it happened to guys who were married or had kids—that's when they probably pay.
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Austyn Hewitt's comment, February 5, 4:50 PM
I have two opinions on this article. First, this guy is so not smart for getting naked in front of a stranger on Skype. Why would you get naked on the Internet for someone whom you met on the internet? I do not get it. Personally, I think if you act like that you deserve for a little backlash. I know that's a strong opinion but I believe that it is 100% preventable. Second, he should have filed a report with the police. They might have not been able to help that much but they could have looked into he females account. I think stuff like this happens all the time and no one reports it because they are embarrassed. I hope the guy learned his lesson to not Skype naked again.
Rob Duke's comment, February 5, 5:02 PM
This is also that kind of "don't throw me in the Briar Patch" behavior we see from offenders as they plead how they don't have the capacity to pay fines, etc.
William Estrin's comment, February 7, 8:14 PM
This is terrible. The Internet is full of scam artists that prey upon people’s vulnerabilities. I just had a recent experience like this where I believe I was being scammed. I responded to a housing ad off craigslist recently and texted the number. I got a response, claiming it was a female looking for a friends with benefit situation and a place to stay. Then here’s the kicker – she says she’s 17 and asks if I’m okay with that. And I tell her, hell no that’s not okay and I’m not a pedophile. But she continues to beg and talk explicit to me. I reject her advances and then she changes her story and tell me she’s 18. I still tell her I’m not interested. Then I get a text from that number, claiming it’s the father and that he’s calling the cops and pressing charges against me for trying to get with his underage daughter. I don’t take his bullying and intimidation and texted him back and encouraged him to call the cops. I made it clear I wasn’t interested and you cannot post to Craigslist unless you’re at least 18. So if he’s going to call the cops, she’ll be the one in trouble not me. But I have my doubts. I’ve heard of scams in which a number will text you, claiming to be a girl and flirt with you and provoke you into saying sexually explicit things. Then you’ll get a text from that number, claiming the girl is underage and this is her father and he’s going to call the cops and have you arrested and press charges. Then he offers to “settle” with you for like $500 or $1,000 in exchange for not pressing charges, in order to scare you. But in reality, there is no underage daughter or concerned dad; just another scam artist trying to steal your hard earned money. Bottom line is the Internet is full of cold-hearted, manipulative scam artists. Be extremely cautious!
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10 Most Corrupt Police Forces in The World

10 Most Corrupt Police Forces in The World | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Here are the 10 most corrupt police forces in the world. All around the world, police forces have been plagued by deep-rooted corruption & criminal activity
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Thomas Antal's comment, February 5, 3:09 PM
I can’t say I’m surprised that many of these corrupt police forces are in third world countries. These nations are in desperate need for basic infrastructure both economically and politically. But with a broken system there isn’t anyone going around and checking their practices. Many of these officers can be easily swayed by the dollar because their families need to be taken care of. Financially they don’t make much so turning to corruption brings in the extra cast to ensure their families are taken care of.
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Who killed the death penalty?

Who killed the death penalty? | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The proof is overwhelming: capital punishment is dying. Statistically and politically, it is already mortally wounded, even as it staggers through an indeterminate—but probably brief—swansong. Fairly soon, someone will be the last person to be executed in America. The reasons for this decline themselves form a suspenseful tale of locked-room intrigue, unexpected twists and unusual suspects. So, whodunnit? Who killed the death penalty?

Twelve less angry men
Where politicians follow, voters often lead. Capital punishment is no longer a litmus test of political machismo because public enthusiasm for it is waning. Most Americans still favour retaining it, but that majority is narrowing. And one critical constituency—the mystery’s first prime suspect—is especially sceptical: juries.
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Linda Darnell's comment, February 5, 12:26 AM
I am sure that in some instances, the death penalty may seem like a just and fair way to initiate punishment for the wrongdoing. My issue with this is that there is such a large error associated with whether or not someone is wrongfully convicted and because of this the time between the act and the punishment can take a decade. After ten years, the association of the punishment to the crime is seemingly lost therefore rendering this method of punishment useless. Rational Choice Theory suggests that we should deter from crime based on the severity of the punishment given and with the death penalty it does not seem that this theory holds water.
Amanda Watkins's comment, February 6, 5:23 PM
I believe wrongful convictions have a lot to do with the decrease popularity towards capital punishment. If we are quick to jump to the death penalty without time to investigate further and consider new information in the case an innocent person can be killed. I personally believe in capital punishment depending on the crime committed and the amount of evidence against that individual. Capital punishment can also be a strong topic for a presidential candidate to use to further reach out to certain groups of people since capital punishment is one of those "hot topics".
Rachel O'Hagin Aleman's comment, February 7, 11:10 PM
I found this article very interesting and extremely informative. Ultimately my view on the death penalty and it's usefulness have seemed to diminish quite a bit. When I was a lot younger I felt that capital punishment was a great deterrent of crime; however, that does not seem to be the case. This article has proved to me as to why it has failed to act as the deterrent that it was initially enacted to be. As a matter of fact public shaming and humiliation maybe in fact a better crime deterrent than capital punishment. Even though in some cases capital punishment maybe legitimate, it does not mean that it is always right. I agree with the article on most of it's points as to how the death penalty has slowly killed itself. It's lack of deterrence in most cases, its expansiveness and the pressure to solve the cases which lead to wrongful convictions are all reasons as to why the death penalty (over the years) has become less effective.
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Your Brain Is Primed To Reach False Conclusions

Your Brain Is Primed To Reach False Conclusions | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Paul Offit likes to tell a story about how his wife, pediatrician Bonnie Offit, was about to give a child a vaccination when the kid was struck by a seizure. Ha…
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Africa’s leaders protect each other

Africa’s leaders protect each other | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
ON JANUARY 28th the Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo became the first former head of state to go on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. Three days later the African Union (AU) resolved, among other rude comments about the court, to support Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir in his determination to ignore the warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide in Darfur. It also expressed “deep concern regarding…the wisdom of the continued prosecution” of African leaders including Kenya’s deputy president, William Ruto, who faces charges of orchestrating violence after an election eight years ago. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faced similar charges which the ICC dropped in 2014, is urging African members of the ICC to withdraw from it.
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Debunking the Myth of Socialist “Success” in Scandinavia

Debunking the Myth of Socialist “Success” in Scandinavia | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
In the new book Scandinavian Unexceptionalism: Culture, Markets and the Failure of Third-Way Socialism, academic Nima Sanandaji, Ph.D., makes an iron-clad case showing that the Nordic nations' relative success predates the welfare state and that socialism didn't lead to Scandinavia's success, but rather its back-pedaling. by Alex Newman
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This Canadian Lab Spent 20 Years Ruining Lives | VICE News

Four years ago, Yvonne Marchand lost custody of her daughter.

Even though child services found no proof that she was a negligent parent, that didn't count for much against the overwhelmingly positive results from a hair test. The lab results said she was abusing alcohol on a regular basis and in enormous quantities.

The test results had all the trappings of credible forensic science, and was presented by a technician from the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory at Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital, Canada's foremost children's hospital.

"I told them they were wrong, but they didn't believe me. Nobody would listen," Marchand recalls.

Motherisk hair test results indicated that Marchand had been downing 48 drinks a day, for 90 days. "If you do the math, I would have died drinking that much" Marchand says. "There's no way I could function."

The court disagreed, and determined Marchand was unfit to have custody of her daughter.
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Emily Alvey's comment, February 6, 4:58 PM
As I read through this article, I just got progressively more and more ANGRY! I do not know much about the court systems in Canada, but I fail to see how this could have possibly happened for so long? How could the courts use unaccredited labs, and rely on this science without looking into it? How does a lab go from "well it's not negative" to "Well that must mean you are consuming 48 drinks a day" or "well you must be giving your child an adult dose of crack." Now, everyone seems to be shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads, but how many lives have been devastated because of this company's rational choice to flat out lie and fabricate evidence? Reputations were ruined, children pulled from their parents, parents losing their children, and when it comes to just desserts, will this company and the courts and agencies that used it receive anything more than a slap on the wrist for destroying families? Or will their issued statement of apology be all that most of these families ever get in the way of justice?
Colita Fiorenzi's comment, Today, 2:53 AM
This article is maddening. You would think that if they were coming up with completely and utterly ridiculous conclusions, that someone would've stepped back and said "wait a second, is it me or is this wrong".
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Convergent evolution

Convergent evolution | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The fossil on the right-hand side of this picture is not, as comparison with the modern insect on the left might suggest, a butterfly. It is a lacewing called...
Rob Duke's insight:

Something to go along with the genetic theories we study in a few weeks....

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If the game goes against you

If the game goes against you | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
When the game went against him in 2013 he needed his father’s maxims more than ever. After the FBI raid, the firm’s lenders and suppliers were nervous about the potential for gargantuan penalties, compensation payments and an exodus of clients. However, Pilot put on more steam, and cleaned up its mess relatively quickly. In November 2013 it paid $85m to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by more than 5,500 hauliers who had been short-changed on their rebates. A few companies continued to pursue separate lawsuits, of which one is still pending. In July 2014 Pilot accepted responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees and paid the Justice Department a fine of $92m.

Its prompt actions to put things right meant that most of Pilot’s users stayed loyal to the company, says Ben Bienvenu, an analyst at Stephens, a financial-services firm. The same was true for most of its suppliers and lenders. “They are on a stable financial footing now,” says Manoj Chadha of Moody’s, a credit-rating agency. The company also made lots of changes to prevent a repeat of the rebate scandal. According to Samantha Stone at Standard & Poor’s, another rating agency, the sales team at head office was largely replaced, all transactions have been automated and customers can now demand that an independent auditor review their rebates.
Rob Duke's insight:

So, re-integrative shaming (RIS) works....see John Braithwaite's work for more on RIS.

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Update: Mannino found guilty in murder-for-hire case

Update: Mannino found guilty in murder-for-hire case | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Updated 1:55 p.m.: Guy Mannino was found guilty of soliciting murder of two federal agents and a witness. Not guilty of soliciting murder of his lawyer, a third agent. Sentencing
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Wyatt Duncan's comment, Today, 1:16 AM
100 percent think he should be in jail. Makes me wonder if he is possibly a little unstable. Not sure what makes him think he could get away with hiring someone to kill multiple federal agents, and an attorney.
Colita Fiorenzi's comment, Today, 2:59 AM
So instead of facing the charges for illegal transfer of weapons and concealing bankruptcy assets, he would rather go to jail for (I counted 5) five counts of attempted or conspiracy to attempt murder, 4 of which were agents of the law........ wow!
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Owner of home where Blake Fitzgerald was shot: 'He knew he had reached his end'

Owner of home where Blake Fitzgerald was shot: 'He knew he had reached his end' | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Blake Fitzgerald was killed; Brittany Harper was wounded.
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Friend Recalls Moment She Turned in Alleged 'Road Rage' Killer

Friend Recalls Moment She Turned in Alleged 'Road Rage' Killer | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
"The first words out of his mouth [were], 'I got them,'" Khatie Krisztian said.
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Amanda Watkins's comment, February 6, 5:03 PM
Honestly, he chose his life style and everything that comes with it. He also sells drugs to individuals that could potentially kill them. Paranoia comes from not living an honest lifestyle and he punished someone else for his choices. So what if it was his neighbor he mistakenly felt was following him when they happen to live in the same area? In his mind it is self defense, but in reality it is the territory of the lifestyle he chose and he should be held accountable for killing an innocent person. I do want to touch base on that if someone is involved in a road rage incident or hit and run that you try to get a good description and license plate number and turn that information over to police. I think driving around following people with a gun is 'asking for trouble', but not deserving of death.
James Peterson's comment, Today, 1:29 AM
I agree with Amanda in her reaction. The man chose this life style of dealing drugs and it is a life of paranoia. The knowing of dealing drugs is wrong and how others want to take you out because your competition. To live like that can change you. It still is not an excuse to go gun down the person you think was threatening you. Once again deterrence can be shown here to deter others from wanting to live a life style like this. It never ends good for drug dealers.
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Putting a stop to Human Trafficking

Putting a stop to Human Trafficking | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
It's modern day slavery that is happening right here in the Central Valley. Details on the Fresno EOC's efforts to help the children and to bring awareness to this huge issue.
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Emily Alvey's comment, February 6, 7:19 PM
I love the idea of a conference that allows the public, and draws stories from a number of people in a number of fields with their experience on Human Trafficking to create awareness. This conference, with its slogan of "be free," is also a perfect example of solving a problem in a community using strengths based practice, and allowing people in the community who are passionate about the issue to learn more, and figure out how their individual strengths can be utilized to help fight human trafficking. It is a perfect time to recognize this issue, as one of the highest statistical time of people being kidnapped or forced into human trafficking is large sporting events such as the Superbowl. It is important to debunk the myth that human trafficking only includes trafficking for the purposes of sex. I believe here in Kodiak, there have been cases of human trafficking of people from other countries, for the purposes of sex, but also very much for the purposes of labor. It is a very real, and unfortunately prevalent issue in our society.
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Anchorage police: Car thief was listening to scanner when arrested

Anchorage police: Car thief was listening to scanner when arrested | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Joel Gould, 21, was pulled over and arrested for vehicle theft Tuesday morning -- just before the online police scanner he was listening to announced officers' plans to pull over and arrest him.
Rob Duke's insight:

Rational Choice Theory at work?

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Thomas Antal's comment, February 5, 3:05 PM
This guy defiantly put some rational thought into his actions. With that scanner the guy can basically avoid any units before and after he scopes out an area. But the scanner shows the criminal knew what he was doing wrong so it will be harder to claim that it was just a one time deal.
Boan White's comment, February 5, 5:14 PM
I don't understand why the Anchorage police would allow the public free of charge access to there online scanner, the media I can understand, it just seems kinda silly, unnecessary, and contributing to the crime. I do like the idea of using a delay on the online scanner to prevent real time usage for criminals.
Katrina Bishop's comment, February 7, 8:11 PM
There had to be some sort of rational thought going on here, as was said before. If the guy was using a scanner than he had to know he was doing something wrong. That being said, there couldn't have been much of a risk in his mind toward getting caught if he continued to act. I wonder if the police scanner might have made him sloppy, thinking he was unable to be caught because he could hear what was going on, but this thinking possible led him to make a mistake.
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Pussy Riot is back, and taking on corruption this time

Pussy Riot is back, and taking on corruption this time | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
For those baffled by the lyrics, they stem from an investigation released in December by the opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whom Ms Tolokonnikova calls “my political muse”. In a 45-minute film, Mr Navalny and his anti-corruption foundation implicated Mr Chaika and his sons in a vast web of graft that stretches from an Irkutsk shipyard to a luxury hotel in Greece. While Mr Navalny’s crusades against government officials are nothing new, the case against the Chaikas, if it claims are accurate, would be the most serious yet. Mr Navalny suggests that the prosecutor-general used his position not only to help his offspring build a vast business empire, but also to cover up their links to the Tsapok family, a criminal gang notorious for the mass murder of 12 people, including four children.

The film has penetrated beyond the crowd of supporters Mr Navalny’s investigations typically reach, racking up more than 4m views on YouTube. By late December, some 40% of Russians said they had seen or heard of it, a revealing figure given that the dominant state television networks paid the claims no heed. More revealing still was how little surprise the accusations generated amongst viewers. Nearly 80% found the accusations at least somewhat believable. As Ms Tolokonnikova sings, “I’m devoted to our old Russian business traditions: first the cops will pull you in for questioning, then it’ll look like an accident, you’ll be fed to the fish.”

The Kremlin, predictably, has dismissed Mr Navalny’s claims. Mr Putin’s chief of staff last week called the investigation an unsubstantiated “political statement”. Mr Chaika vehemently denied the charges, suggesting that Mr Navalny was carrying out orders for Bill Browder, an American financier who has become a fierce critic of Mr Putin since being driven out of Russia. Earlier this week, it was announced that Mr Chaika himself would oversee the inquiry into the accusations against him. (“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Mr Navalny responded.) At a meeting last week of Russia’s anti-corruption committee (on which Mr Chaika sits), Mr Putin acknowledged that uprooting graft would not happen “from one day to the next”. Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index did show some improvement for Russia: it rose 17 places to 119 out of 167, sandwiched between Guyana and Sierra Leone.

During Russia’s fat years, many citizens shrugged at officials who plundered the government kitty; there was plenty of money to go around. Now, as oil prices linger below $35 per barrel, Russia looks poised for a second year of recession, and state funds are becoming scarce. Officials are scrambling to close a looming budget gap, after the government’s call for 10% spending cuts. The government has also been eyeing privatisation as a potential source of income. Mr Putin recently summoned the heads of several state-owned companies to the Kremlin for talks. Potentially on the chopping block are Rosneft, Aeroflot, Russian Railways, the state bank VTB, Bashneft, the diamond miner Alrosa and the shipping firm Sovcomflot.

Yet any sales of state companies will be haunted by the memory of the shady deals of the 1990s. Worse, buyers know that it may only be a matter of time before the state asks for its assets back. That happened with Bashneft back in 2014, when the billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov was temporarily arrested and his shares in the company seized. The legal system offered little recourse. Perhaps he should have released a rap video.
Rob Duke's insight:

Some background on Pussy Riot's song....

 

Those are prosecutor uniforms, by the way....

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