This is Still Going On?

By BitcoDavid

Since we launched this Web site, almost 3 years ago, we’ve been reporting on cases where the police have beaten or jailed a Deaf person, because they didn’t realize that Sign language is not a threat. We’ve called for training of officers, and tried to post suggestions for Deaf citizens during police interactions. And we’re not alone. Dozens of blogs, activist groups and organizations have also tried to provide solutions to this tragic epidemic.

Yet, it still happens – and almost daily – somewhere in the U.S.

Here’s the latest case.

You’ll probably have to zoom in, to read the full article, as it is a WebCap. Or you can go see the original at:

AddictingInfo.org

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

The Pay Off

By BitcoDavid

All the Online study, all the DVDs and all the meetups have culminated in this. DeafInPrison.com’s first ever ASL video jokes. Please enjoy these immensely funny jokes, presented in full video splendor.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

When Officer Friendly Becomes Delta Force

By BitcoDavid

I find myself bombarded by images and news stories of police committing what can only be called atrocities on American citizens. I’ve struggled with this for the past few weeks, because we’ve talked before – on this site – about the dangers of militarization of the police. Recently, our publisher asked me to do a research piece based on a simple question. Are police abuses of power actually increasing, or are we seeing them more, because people are recording them on cell-phone cameras?

The ’50s and ’60s were rife with cases of police brutality. Prior to Miranda in 1966, interrogations were commonly brutal, and in many cases actual torture. It wasn’t uncommon in those days, for police with no warrant to enter one’s home and search. Traffic stops – same thing. And of course, any of us who were involved in the counterculture movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s remember well, being stopped and carded on the streets. It actually became habit to reach for one’s wallet, upon seeing a cop.

But I never felt the animosity, the vitriol, the general ill will, that I’m feeling today. And that, on both sides of the equation. Growing up, we certainly were no fans of the police, but there was a tenuous mutual respect – not for each other, so much as for the game. We were the gazelles. Minding our own business, eating our leaves in peace. They were the cougars, slavering and slobbering to rend our flesh from our bones. But gazelles and cougars both, know the rules of engagement – the law of nature. They understand the life they have chosen, or should I say the hand they’ve been dealt. And if nothing else, we both understood the hands we’d been dealt.

I even developed strong and lasting friendships with many cops, during those tumultuous years. On duty, these men and women had a job to do. Off duty, they were just people – no different from you and me.

The difference, nowadays, is that cops are being armed like soldiers and trained to fight citizens – even perhaps, criminal citizens but citizens nonetheless – as insurrectionists. I hold two important milestones in our history, as responsible for this paradigm shift. September 11th, and a program that began in 1997, known as the 1033 Program. Section 1208 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1990 allowed transfer of military hardware from the Department of Defense to law enforcement agencies, as an aid in prosecuting the War on Drugs. By ’97, the law had undergone a retrofit and became the 1033 program. Under this program, law enforcement agencies, regardless of size or jurisdiction, can obtain full scale military hardware. Everything from fighter jets to tanks to flack jackets.

What they aren’t getting however, is training. In the old days, cops were judiciously issued a .38, and taught to rarely – if ever – use it. Nowadays they’re handed an AR-15, and told that everybody out there is either a dope dealer or a terrorist. They used to get a Plymouth Fury with a Slant-6, now they get a Halftrack with a Gatling Cannon.

Retired cops have told me that in 20 years on the force, they never once drew their guns. Today, you can’t open a paper or log-on to a Web site, without reading about another shooting of an innocent civilian. Add to that the beatings, the wrongful enforcement of warrants, the over use of  SWAT teams – and the staggering number of dogs shot by officers, and you have a climate of outright warfare.

Some statistics:

Number of SWAT deployments nationwide in 1974 – 300. In 2014 – 50,000 (and the year isn’t over yet.) There are currently over 100 SWAT Team raids, in America, every day.

5000 individuals have been killed by law enforcement officers since 9/11.

--Adama - Battlestar Galactica. Image: Utah Politico Hub

–Adama – Battlestar Galactica. Image: Utah Politico Hub

Between 2005 and 2012, a White officer used deadly force against a Black person 1.85 times per week. 20% of those cases involve juveniles. White juveniles killed by police, amount to 0.125% of the total number of interactions.

Number of justified police killing (not just shooting, but killing) of civilians in the U.S. in 2012 – 409.
Number of justified police killing of civilians in Britain in 2012 – 1.

The above are just some of the many facts I have discovered, researching this post. I have become convinced that I can answer our venerable publisher’s query, with an undeniable and unconditional yes. Absolutely. And staggeringly, mind-bogglingly so. It hasn’t been an increase, it’s been an exponential increase. An increase by orders of magnitude. In fact, it’s fair to say that the whole science of policing has undergone an evolutionary change. What was once a job done by members of your community – your neighbors and friends –  have morphed into the forces of Xerxes writ with modern death-dealing technology. Welcome to the new Thermopylae. The new Gallipoli.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Top Criminal Justice Degrees Shares Infographic

By BitcoDavid

Flatfoots
Source: TopCriminalJusticeDegrees.org

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Open Letter to Florida Clemency Board

By Joanne Greenberg

Dear Clemency Board,

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss. From Mother Jones Magazine.

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss.
From Mother Jones Magazine.

I have been interested in the Felix Garcia case, for the last few years, and I have seen all of the material from that case, including the 2 hours of video interview on DeafInPrison.com. I know that he has exhausted his legal opportunities, but because there is a strong probability that Felix is not guilty of the crime for which he is charged, I am afraid that when he comes up for parole, he will not state that he is remorseful. And this will deny him parole.

Most recent photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.  Image credit Pat Bliss

Most recent photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.
Image credit Pat Bliss

However, nothing stands in the way of Felix’s being freed as an act of clemency. He’s already served a monumental sentence, but he has been able to create a life for himself, that will be useful and positive – on the outside. He will be able to do good things for himself and for the community in general; and especially for the Deaf community, which needs what Felix has to offer.

If we have any faith in rehabilitation, we certainly see rehabilitation in Felix’s case.

Joanne Greenberg was born in 1932, in Brooklyn, NY. She was educated at American University and received and honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet University – the world’s only college for the Deaf. She has written 2 books on the subject and has spent decades working with state mental hospitals for appropriate care for the mentally ill Deaf.

Six Factors for Linguistic Incompetence

 By Jean F. Andrews
Deborah Parkin - Susan Spiritus Gallery

Deborah Parkin – Susan Spiritus Gallery

I’ve been in court, when both judges and prosecuting attorneys were not familiar with the term linguistic incompetence, and how it related to a deaf defendant’s case. They were familiar with the term, mental incompetence. Mental incompetence is defined as the inability is of a person to make or carry out important decisions, or is psychotic or of an unsound mind, either consistently or sporadically, by reason of mental disabilities such as cognitive disabilities, schizophrenia, and dementia.

But linguistic incompetence or the lack of language ability to understand the court proceedings or inability to have the language to even work with one’s attorney baffles the court. Attorneys often will request competency hearings prior to a trial or a hearing to address the issue of linguistic incompetence of the deaf defendant head on. This is wise to get this issue out in the open.

Justine Beckett - Artshole.co.uk

Justine Beckett – Artshole.co.uk

These six factors may clarify for attorneys, judges and other court officials about the term, linguistic incompetence. Since deafness is a low incident disability, most juridical officials may never have encountered a deaf defendant. But today we are seeing more and more deaf persons involved with legal matters so this information may be useful and helpful in a future case.

The first factor contributing to linguistic incompetence is the lack of early, consistent and fluent sign language. Many of us are familiar with Victor, the Wild Child of Averyron who was found in the woods in France, in 1797. He was a teenager and had no language. Or we may have read about Genie, a girl who was strapped to a potty seat and locked in a closet until she was rescued in later childhood. Both Victor and Genie were not able to learn much language even after years of training. But their lack of language access was combined with emotional and physical neglect and abuse. Similar to Victor and Genie, there are many deaf persons who by nature of their deafness are physically isolated from daily communication and language. These modern day closet deaf adults, by nature of their parents not learning to sign or only learning a few basic signs and gestures, grow up severely language impoverished. Consequently, they are not able to defend themselves in court.

Jan Brewer signs bill on use of school isolation rooms. Az Capitol Times

Jan Brewer signs bill on use of school isolation rooms. Az Capitol Times

A second major factor contributing to linguistic incompetence is the poor educational training many deaf children and youth experience in our public schools. Inclusion, or the mainstreaming and including of deaf children with hearing children, has been termed the “great delusion.” Many children leave these schools with an inferior education, and inability to communicate in sign or in English. Because residential schools provide a rich linguistic and cultural environment, many of these schools do a better job of providing round-the-clock language access, however most parents use residential schools as a last resort, sending their deaf youth there when they reach the teenage years, after they have already failed out in the public schools.

A third major contributory factor to linguistic incompetence stems from the isolation that families impose on deaf youth, by keeping them sheltered and isolated at home, without additional training and education. This happens more frequently in Third World countries. However, in my clinical practice, I have come across about 10 such deaf adults, more often who live in rural areas. Though well intended, their families keep their deaf adult child at home, live off of their SSI, and create an even more isolated environment where the deaf adults live without language, and are prevented from getting the skills to learn a job or become independent.

A fourth major contributing factor to linguistic incompetence is the 2.9 or below reading grade level. The ability to read is related to language, type of instruction, and motivation. Many of these linguistically incompetent deaf adults can’t read and this creates major obstacles from the arrest, the booking, the trial and on through rehabilitation.

E. Gibson Photography - DeviantArt.com

E. Gibson Photography – DeviantArt.com

The presence of a language and learning disability in addition to deafness, is the fifth contributing factor to linguistic incompetence. Some of the deaf adults that I have tested, could very well have an undiagnosed sign language disability in addition to their low reading levels. Most have average non-verbal intelligence abilities, but some do not. Their non-verbal IQ dips below 80 which signals low cognitive skills.

Finally, the sixth major contributing factor to linguistic incompetence is poor, underdeveloped sign language skills, that would not allow them to effectively use a sign language interpreter or even a CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreter).

These six factors can inform the judge, prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys and other criminal justice officials. What is at stake here are the Constitutional Rights of the deaf defendant. Understanding the deaf defendant and linguistic incompetence will provide the court system with the understanding of the obstacles that deaf defendants face.

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Professor of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

50 Ways to Use the Internet

By Jean F. Andrews

Map of uunet global Internet backbone. Image: Manchester AC

Map of uunet global Internet backbone.
Image: Manchester AC

In collaboration with a deaf inmate, we put together 50 different ways to use the Internet. For a deaf person, the Internet is a necessity not a luxury as it is for hearing people, who have the option of using the audio-cell phone.  Banning deaf persons who are released from prison, from using the Internet is a cruel and inhumane penalty that smacks of retribution rather than rehabilitation. It also makes no sense in terms of trying to rehabilitate and integrate the deaf person back into his or her family, the workforce or even society in general. With today’s technology of computer data loggers and tracking methods, restrictions and safeguards can be imposed. These insure that the individual’s devices cannot be used inappropriately. But to flat-out forbid the total use of technological devices for released deaf criminal offenders is counterproductive and unjust as well as contrary to our goals of rehabilitation.

"Traceroute" is a tool that tracks the "hops" made by electronic communications. Image: Isoc.org

Traceroute is a tool that tracks the hops made by electronic communications. Image: Isoc.org

1.     refilling medications

2.     making reservations

3.     finding phone numbers

4.     finding addresses

5.     finding emails

6.     paying bills

7.     checking weather

8.     joining support groups

9.     checking bank account

10.  research

11.  ordering a pizza

12.  ordering flowers

13.  ordering books

14.  checking out books from a library

15.  contacting friends

16.  tracking shipping items

17.  seeking other advice

18.  access to online manuals

19.  contacting family

20.  making appointments

21.  filing taxes

22.  looking up recipes

23.  searching for apartments

24.  finding jobs

25.  contacting work

26.  finding coupons

27.  renting movies

28.  connecting to cable services

29.  reading the newspaper

30.  taking online courses

31.   filing out online applications

32.  checking activity schedules

33.  filing social security

34.  purchasing from online stores

35.  checking store sales

36.  contacting stores for help

37.  conducting phone interviews.

38.  Researching medications

39.  contacting ministers

40.  contacting church schedules

41.  applying for credit cards

42.  learning how to fix household appliances

43.  contacting funeral homes

44.  checking for weather alerts (i.e. hurricanes, tornadoes)

45.  contacting police

46.  contacting lawyer

47.  looking up vocabulary

48.  locating bus, train, plane schedules and delays

49.  buying museum tickets

50.  buying sports events tickets on line

[Editor's Note: Having been professionally involved with the Internet since the BBS days of the mid-1980s, it is not without a certain personal pride, that I state the above 50 uses are but a drop in the bucket. The Internet offers life saving and life enhancing uses to us all, but most significantly, to the Deaf. The advent of smart phones and tablets have further unchained us from our desks, and now Deaf people can enjoy almost literally the same access to services as can the hearing. Through ASL and the Internet, it is possible that the entire world will soon, no longer view deafness as a disability at all.

Also please note: HEARD's #DeafInPrison link to the screening of Al Jazeera America's excellent documentary is now live. It will only be available for viewing, this weekend.  Please take a few minutes to watch this entertaining and informative broadcast, and then post your support and impressions on your social media channels, using the hashtag - #DeafInPrison. Here' s the link: http://www.facebook.com/l/QAQHw5OiQ/bit.ly/DeafPrisoners

--BitcoDavid]

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Professor of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

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