Marsha Graham Speaks Out on Juvenile Crime

[Editor's Note: Marsha Graham is one of my favorite Supporter Contributors, and a very dear friend. Without her help, I never would have gotten started learning ASL, and she's been a cornerstone of aid and comfort to DeafInPrison.com, since we launched. This piece was originally a comment she wrote to the post Juvenile Crimes - Our Main Pain, by Supporter Contributor Paul Smith. Upon reading it, I decided to post it here. -- BitcoDavid]

By Marsha Graham

Moose in yard in Anchorage, AlaskaI was working with children in the mid-1970′s when I first saw a shift in dynamics with children and juveniles. Over the years I have seen more and more children treated as expendable.

Granted, much of my work has been in areas of the country where agrarian society was dominant, but I’ve also lived in cities. What I have seen, however, is that as children are now luxuries rather than necessities, that our treatment of them is different.

However, more than that, I see that we no longer have coming of age rituals. We no longer transition children to juveniles to adults in any sort of orderly fashion. We don’t give them things that say, I’m almost an adult or I AM an adult.

A gang sign of the BloodsIt takes a village to raise a child is a truism. And as our extended families of small towns (villages) crumbles to dust our children fall apart as well.

I saw desperate welfare mothers beg and borrow to get their children to Anchorage to separate them from the Crips or Bloods and all it did was to transplant a gang culture. Those kids were not a part of the Alaskan community and were more alienated than they were in L.A.

I cannot blame families per se – the definition of family has changed so much over time. I would say that we are in a time of terrible transition – sort of a new “dark ages.” When you don’t have an extended community to provide for children then children get lost.

Yes, there are drugs, but drugs were not regulated in the 1800′s so much – you could go to an opium den. What we had was a different community structure – and a 14-16 year old boy could go work on a neighboring ranch or farm or learn to shoe horses or study to become a blacksmith or… or. Now we regiment children to fit little round holes in little round-holed pegboards.

And the other thing I saw in the mid-70′s was the rise of truly serious crime becoming more widespread among youth (boys, mostly, at that time) – arson, murder, rape, etc. We were putting highly dangerous kids in with status offenders and that was the death knell for status offenses (now CINA – Children In Need of Aid).

So far (knock on wood) my grand-kids are all good kids, good students, good friends to their friends. They have involved parents and extended family. We reward what is positive. Not all children are so fortunate to live without fear of violence, without drug or alcohol use in the home, without food deprivation due to lack of resources. So many children come from backgrounds of neglect, poverty, misery, etc. that we are creating an environment where kids act out.

Marsha Graham is the driving force behind several blogs, among them AnotherBoomerBlog. She is a good friend to DeafInPrison.com and we would be lost without her support. When she’s not blogging, she’s a committed activist and attorney.

A Quick Tech Question

By BitcoDavid

Generally speaking, if it transfers energy through gears and pulleys, if it works by electrons coursing through wires, or if it involves bouncing binary digits off satellites – I’ve got it down. But Marsha Graham and I are working on ways to create virtual access to the ASL Meetup. What I would like to do, eventually, would be to set up a Javascript applet that would run on one of my servers, and we could have multiple chat-lines, allowing people with webcams to log on and participate in real time.

So, logistically speaking, we’d have one PC at the site, with a webcam and internet hotspot. That machine would be sending the image of the entire group to the absentee members. Conversely, it would be receiving multiple video streams from those members, and the group would be able to see them.

Until I can get all that worked out however, I’m throwing the ball in your court. If anybody out there can think of some quick and easy ways to facilitate multiple video chats, please drop a line in the comments section.

We can use Yahoo Messenger, but that will only allow one feed at a time. We can use Google+ hang-outs, but it seems to me that we could come up with something more elegant and efficient. And I’d kinda like to do this without being assimilated by the Borg – if you get my drift.

Again, I can set this up to work through my server, but we’re looking for something in the interim. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, and you’ll be helping some fine people get access to the ASL they so desperately need.

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.

Update: 6/20/2013

By BitcoDavid

Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights

And this was just for forgetting to replace the toner!
Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights

Here at DeafInPrison.com, we’re not above admitting to a mistake. After all, we make so few of them. But alas, to err is Human. Yesterday, we posted the story of a 12 year-old girl who was denied the right to use ASL on a New Jersey school bus. Well, it turns out that story occurred in 2001 – and was settled. We got the story through FaceBook, from abcnews.go.com, an online aggregator of ABC News Corporation. They date the page as April 18, but neglect to include the year. Sources tell me, this is a common practice of theirs, and they do it to draw views to their site.

I am truly sorry this happened. I’m whetting up the cane-whip, and the army of fact checkers, here at the massive DeafInPrison.com Plaza, have each been sentenced to a dozen lashes.

All kidding aside, you have my apology.

On the 17th of June, we posted a humorous piece on Darwinian Criminals. The title of that piece was in homage to one of my personal heroes – Bugs Bunny – who commonly would refer to those of lesser intelligence then himself, as maroons. We’ve all seen him chewing his carrot and saying, “Whatamaroon!” Well, much to my chagrin, it turns out there are actually people who identify, ethnically, as Maroons. It appears, the Maroon people were escaped slaves from the West Indies and the Americas, who formed independent settlements and intermarried with indigenous populations. I always thought it was a play on the words moron and the color maroon.

Of course, it was never my intention to hurt or insult anyone – other than the actual Darwinian Criminals – and for that too, you have my apology.

I don't know why they call it the humerus, there's really nothing funny about it. Medical Art Library

I don’t know why they call it the humerus, there’s really nothing funny about it. Medical Art Library

And lastly – albeit with a broken wing, reconstructed with pipes, screws, and countless other medical marvels – and in great pain, Marsha Graham managed to attend last night’s ASL meetup. It was an opportunity for us to talk regarding the numerous projects we’ve got in the can, together. Of course we did most of that talking in English, which kind of defeats the point of the ASL group – and seriously cut into my sorely needed lesson, but it was good to see her, and actually necessary, to get some of these details hammered out. I did however, learn the 4 seasons though, as well as the sign for best friend, and the difference between hard (as in difficult) and problem - two very similar signs. So now I can count, spell, do the days of the week, family members and a few other very basic signs.

I find that the most difficult part is that I’m a talker. I can talk the leaves off the trees. It is unusual for me to be the one guy in a room, who can’t express himself as freely or as well as anybody else. On the other hand, that’s a blessing in disguise, because it forces me to shut up and observe. That way I can learn more.

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.

Super Huge Digest Post – 6/14/2013

By BitcoDavid

OK. Spark up a Cohiba and get settled in.

Books and Movies

We recently did a review of the book, Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. Well, Netflix is planning a streamed television series based on the book. As many of you may be aware, Netflix is working to position themselves not only as a source for TV and movie rentals, but as creator of original broadcast material. Their first foray into that realm is with a continuation of the amazingly funny series – originally broadcast on Fox – Arrested Development. Fans of that show (like me) are overjoyed that Netflix saw fit to make it their flagship show. Also in that list however, will be Orange is the New Black. Created by the same production team that did the HBO hit, Weeds, Netflix appears to be writing the screenplays for the series with an eye towards a Black Comedy. I think this book is marvelously suited for that approach.

Here’s an embed of the trailer, and a link to a great review of the upcoming series on We Minored in Film.

Cops and Training

Any cop who has pictures of MLK and Ghandi on his wall, is OK in my Book Photo: Improving Police

Any cop who has pictures of MLK and Ghandi on his wall, is OK in my Book
Photo: Improving Police

I like to write. Sometimes when I’m in a stroking mood, I even refer to myself as a writer.  Here’s the thing. Cops can’t write. Most of ‘em can’t even type. Cop writing is full of stilted militarized jargon, and riddled with the most horrific of passive voice. A cop could actually turn John shot mike into A bullet fired from the weapon held by John caused death to be had by Mike - and yes, he’d omit the comma.

Well, as I’ve mentioned before, the exception that proves the rule would be the site, Improving Police by retired Police Chief, David C. Couper. As well as a blog site, Couper has written several books. His focus is on Neighborhood and Community policing and training. He’s an excellent and enlightening read. Here’s a link to his latest post, Let’s Hear it Once More About How to Train Police.

I’ve been reading his blog for a long time. He presents cogent and reasoned arguments against para-military stress training and in favor of community policing policies, and he does so from the cop point of view. And best of all, he writes like a writer. It’s worth checking out.

Shanna Groves’ Awesome Interview

The Lipreading Mom, whom I helped with her Stop Hearing Loss Bullying Campaign video, posted an interview with me talking about DeafInPrison.com. She did a wonderful job, and now my head won’t fit through my front door. Here’s the SHLB video embed, again, and a link to the interview.

Project

I was on Deaf Chat – a feature on Deaf Insight – last week, when the discussion turned to the trend in eliminating ASL from public schools throughout America. I was unaware that this was going on, but apparently, numerous schools have already discontinued their ASL programs, and more are slated to do so. It was decided that a campaign and a video would be necessary to raise awareness among the general public, and to let the schools know that a working and current ASL program needs to be a vital part of any education system. And who do you think was asked to edit the video? Yours truly – that’s who. I’m pleased that they recognize my skill, and I’m proud to be a part of this vital project.

Police Brutality

AlterNet did an article listing 12 examples of police overreach, bullying and brutality – and that was just for this month. Rather than listing them off, I’ll just give you the link to this must read post. 12 Shocking Examples of Police Brutality – This Month by Alternet

ASL Group Dot Com

The ASL Meetup group in action. Photo - BitcoDavid BlogSites

The ASL Meetup group in action. Photo – BitcoDavid BlogSites

As many of you already know, AnotherBoomerBlog‘s Marsha Graham fell down a flight of stairs and broke her shoulder. Well, what you may not know is, that event triggered a bunch of other bad luck events, and now Marsha is unable to attend our ASL Meetup sessions. This is tragic for me because she was the driving force behind getting me involved with the group. She served as my mentor and teacher, and any fledgling success I’ve had learning Sign, I owe to her – and of course, the other members of the group, all of whom are exceedingly patient and supportive.

Well, the good news is that Marsha and I are hammering out the tech details necessary to get her to be able to participate from her home computer. At first, it will be something simple like Skype or some other form of video messaging, but theoretically, we could bring the whole thing online. Soon, we’d have ASL Meetup.com! Signers from all over the world could log on and participate. How cool is that!

3 More Great Links from AlterNet

Let me save some time and some bits by just giving you these three self explanatory formatted links.

Did a “Troubled Teen” Rehab Create Murders? (Alternet) This is an article about a chain of privately owned juvenile facilities that are being investigated for abuse.

I Was Almost a Victim of the School to Prison Pipeline (Alternet) The author asks why schools are so eager to adopt police roles, and assist in the militarization of U.S. institutions?

Utah Cops Assassinated 21-year-old Woman Sitting in Her Car, Parents Claim (Alternet) A Utah drug enforcement squad is under investigation on charges of corruption and murder.

Deaf Justice

Here’s another offsite project I’ve been working on. Marsha Graham and I are working on creating an actively funded and fully functional organization, similar to the Innocence Project, but specifically for Deaf, HoH and Deaf/Blind inmates. While it’s still in its infant stages, it promises to be a way that many wrongfully convicted Deaf inmates can receive justice. Of course, DeafInPrison.com readers will be kept up on all the developments, as we work to get this project launched.

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.

“Kissface” the Horse

By BitcoDavid

Years ago, I lived in Boston‘s West Fens – a corner of the ghetto area, Roxbury. In those days, Boston police had one of the few mounted police divisions. These cops loved their horses, and saw the posting as a position of honor and dignity. The cops would be assigned to different beats throughout the city, and would become intrinsic parts of their neighborhoods. Our particular horse-cop was a Black woman of about 40, and her horse was a brown and white Appaloosa.  Every morning like clockwork, a certain elderly woman from the community would apply her fire engine- red lipstick, and kiss the horse in the middle of the white patch on his face. After a while, the lipstick began to stain the horse’s fur, and he developed a tattoo of red lips – right smack on his kisser (sorry, couldn’t resist). We nicknamed him, “Kissface.”

Kissface and his mounted partner did more to prevent crime than we’ll ever know. This cop knew everybody in the neighborhood, and usually referred to us by our first names. She’d break up fights, get brown baggers to find some shelter for their imbibing, help abused spouses to find protection – and above all – counsel us. Sitting atop Kissface, this woman would gently remind you that what you were doing was illegal, and it would probably be a good idea for you to knock it off. In all the years I lived there, I saw her intervene in hundreds of situations, but I don’t think I ever saw her make an arrest.  She relied on the peer pressure only a neighborhood is capable of – and an understanding of the inherent decency buried within all people.

But those days are gone.

And something has changed in the makeup of police. Marsha Graham of AnotherBoomerBlog reports today, on 2 separate cases of police, beating Deaf offenders during traffic stops. In Settlement reached in police abuse of deaf motorist and in Hard of Hearing, Mentally Impaired Woman allegedly Battered by Police Officer, Ms. Graham restates the need for training of police in dealing with the Deaf and HoH, and for interpreters to be present at arrests and other police interactions with the Deaf community. I couldn’t agree more with this essential point, but I think the problem goes much deeper.

While it’s easy for cops to say they don’t know how to deal with the Deaf, and that training would help prevent these tragedies from occurring, I find that to be an overused and overly convenient excuse for simple bullying and bad behavior. I’m not a cop, but you can’t tell me that the woman above did anything to warrant the kind of beating she endured. We’re all capable of telling when we’re dealing with someone who’s confused or at a mental disadvantage – Deaf or not. And truthfully, it wouldn’t have mattered if she was a Rhodes scholar with perfect hearing and 20/20 vision. It wouldn’t even matter if she were Bonnie Parker. There is absolutely no excuse for beating someone like this. I don’t care how tough your job is. If you can justify this kind of behavior – then it’s time to switch careers.

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.

Better

By BitcoDavid

In a scene from Chris Walas‘s the Fly II, the lead character, Martin and his girlfriend are hiding out in a motel. He’s mutating into a giant fly – twitching, peeling and losing his teeth and hair. Beth, his girlfriend, tells him they need to get to a doctor. She say’s “you’re getting worse.” He replies, “No. I’m getting better.”

Faster, smarter, stronger – better. It’s been my goal my whole life.

The Baby Boom represents the largest population expansion in this country’s history, and the majority of Americans, right now, can classify themselves as Boomers. That means that the majority of you – my readers – are a stone’s throw, a New York minute, a heartbeat away from the starin’ window. Get it? We’re all careening – pedal to the metal and no brakes – to a future of drooling in our oatmeal and wearing Depends.

But it doesn’t have to be thus. Jack LaLanne lived well into his 90s, and was active, alert and… well… alive right to the end. Exercise and diet can do wonders to stave off the tragedy of aging. But it’s only half the story. The one muscle that needs the most exercise and tends to get the least, is the muscle that’s located between our ears. That squishy gray glob of electrochemical energy we call our brain.

LaLanne also loved dogs, and his white Shepherd was a regular feature on his TV program. Image: Skeptical Eye

LaLanne also loved dogs, and his white Shepherd was a regular feature on his TV program. Image: Skeptical Eye

Research has shown that the best way to fend off brain disease is to keep learning new things. By opening new pathways in the brain, we create channels that can be used to bypass those sections that are destroyed by aging and other destructive illness. Further research proves that the best thing one can learn – to stimulate new brain cell activation – is language. In fact, language is the basis of all learning. One can’t study law, for example, without first learning the language of that science. Technology is the same way. Before one can understand what a transistor does, one must learn the language of electronics. Math is a language. Science, physics, history – even art. All are really languages that we must learn and translate into our own inner monologues in order to understand.

Many of my friends in the Deaf and HoH communities, tell me that hearing people don’t want to be bothered to learn Sign. I really don’t understand why this is. I love learning – and somewhere in my 30s I discovered that I’m actually quite good at it. Learning that is. Perhaps if my school years hadn’t been as abysmal as they were, I would have made that discovery a decade or so earlier. I’ve set out to learn ASL, and I’m loving it. I love it almost as much as I love boxing – another science, another language – one must learn. You don’t just climb into the ring and fight. It takes years to build a fighter.

Woody Allen's second favorite organ. Image: Williamette

Woody Allen’s second favorite organ. Image: Williamette

So if a friend walked up to you and said she wanted to teach you Italian, why on earth would you refuse her? Look at it like this. Any opportunity to learn anything might just give you another month, another year – perhaps – of independent, lucid… well… life.

So give some thought to learning ASL. Not only would you be adding to the overall size and strength of your brain, but you might just be able to develop some friendships in a world that you never even knew existed.

And a decade from now, instead of getting worse – you could be getting better.

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.

Them Hearies; Who Can Figure ‘Em?

By BitcoDavid

Marsha Graham raised an interesting point, this morning. In a post on her site, she asked why Hearies often leave the TV blaring in the background, while attempting an important business call. I responded as best I could with a comment. The above links will take you to her original post, and my comment. I suggest you check them both out. The whole exchange got me thinking about communication in general, and some of the more glaring social differences between the hearing and the HoH and Deaf communities.

For example, we don’t consider it rude to talk over one another. At a group get together, say a party, we will commonly carry on conversations while others are talking around us. Our brains have learned to filter out the extraneous noise of other people talking. But I’m beginning to realize that for some HoH, that is very difficult and uncomfortable. We also carry on multiple conversations, simply interrupting one another to say hi to a passerby or when speaking in a group. Signing requires the two individuals to be more or less locked in to one another. You need to be looking at one another, and maintaining that level of concentration.

Computers are well aware that simply because I say something, you may not have heard it – or may not have understood my meaning. When you log on to a Web site, the machines engage in a process called handshaking. A computer would never be so ignorant or arrogant as to simply assume the other computer understood the information exactly as it was being sent. I find the Deaf to be much similar in their communications. One needs to establish a visual contact, and then proceed with the conversation – and both can tell when either is not being understood.

We Hearies on the other hand, commonly will speak to the crowd, or toss a sentence fragment over our shoulders, and expect the intended listener to hear and understand. We speak to the backs of each other’s heads. Our world would probably function much more smoothly, if we also did handshaking. “This is what I just said, did you understand?” “Yes, I understood. Go on”

But what I’m finding most interesting is that much of what we do, we are unaware of doing. I hadn’t thought about the TV thing, until Marsha brought it up, but I do it all the

time. I also talk to myself when working. I never realized it until last night. One has to remember to take one’s hat off when signing, because many signs involve touching parts of your head or face. One has to be careful not to cut between two signers. We’ve learned to stop when we see someone taking a picture, so as not to ruin the shot, but we often will walk between two people signing.

At one point, I worked with a sightless individual. He was one of the soundmen at Woodstock. A very capable engineer, and a very dear friend. He was so capable, in fact, that I would often forget that he was born blind. He could see with his hands, almost as well as any sighted person can see with their eyes. In one exchange, I asked him to hand me a certain tool, explaining that it was in the blue toolbox. He simply said, “blue? Moron?” We take so much for granted.

 

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.

April at DeafInPrison.com

By BitcoDavid

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.

Coping With Innocence After Death Row

By Marsha Graham

The following embedded PDF written by by Saundra D. Westervelt and Kimberly J. Cook, examines the struggles of exonerated inmates, as they attempt to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

Marsha Graham is the driving force behind several blogs, among them AnotherBoomerBlog. She is a good friend to DeafInPrison.com and we would be lost without her support. When she’s not blogging, she’s a committed activist and attorney.

I breathe, drive, take photographs, and write – not necessarily in that order.

Week From Hell – Morphs Into Digest Post

By BitcoDavid

Finally, a post. Let’s start with the fact that today’s 4/20. Those of you who know what that means… know what that means. As I understand it, Denver is embroiled in a huge, high profile celebration of this (very) unofficial, unconventional and controversial holiday. You can say what you want, but I’d be willing to bet that if the Tsarnaev brothers were 420 friendly, the Marathon thing would have gone down much differently. “Dude – we forgot to blow up the Marathon.” 

And speaking of the Marathon, that – is where my week began.

Massachusetts no longer informs you when your drivers license expires. One day you’re drivin’ the ol’ Ford Escort, just livin’ the dream – and the next, you’re cellin’ up with Test-tube Annie. So, in order to prevent that from happening, I needed to go get my eyes checked. Well, I wasn’t about to drive into Boston for the optometrist appointment, so I was relegated to public transportation. Now, as it turns out, taking the “T” to Boston from the Woob, is akin to the labors of Sisyphus. 7 hours, 8 miles of walking and 45 dollars later, I’m packin’ a doctor’s note, telling the RMV that I’m good to drive. Ever see the movie, Brazil?

Boston looked more like Beirut. Cops, G.I.s, M.P.s, Feds, Swat goons and Blackwater mercs lined the streets, armed with machine guns and grenade launchers, driving in humvees and 4-wheel drive Technicals. The only things that were missing from the scene, were Blue- Thunder helicopters and Sherman tanks.

Me, learning sign. Photo courtesy of the iphonephotoblogger - Marsha Graham

Me, learning sign.
Photo courtesy of the iphonephotoblogger – Marsha Graham

Wednesday night, I attended my first ever ASL meetup. Marsha Graham from AnotherBoomerBlog took me under her wing, and helped me navigate the linguistic challenges of being the only non-signer.

I learned man, woman, husband, wife, dog, love and most important of all, nice to meet you. I’ll be signing like a native in no time. (Yeah, right.)

I really had a great time, and can’t wait until this coming Wednesday, when I’ll get to go again. Fight all day – sign all night. Works for me.

Sadly, Marsha couldn’t offer the same aid in navigating the Northshore Mall, which sprawls over more acres than a Colorado cattle ranch. I wandered around amid the DKNYs and Cinnabons, like the steel ball in an arcade game. By the time I finally found my poor old Ford Escort, I was considering doctoral classes in Mall-rat culture.

When I attended the Symposium on the Deaf and the Criminal Justice System, I managed to get 2 live posts up. I did that, by going to the Career Department of Bridgewater State University, and bumming a seat at one of their PCs. They were great about it, but that’s not what I want to do.

Here's the link, but good luck. Even their own techs can't navigate Verizon's site.

Here’s the link, but good luck. Even their own techs can’t navigate Verizon’s site.

Now, I could post from my phone, but it would take me a week to get anything usable, trying to type on that dinky little, stupid keyboard, and squinting at that 2″ screen.

Or, I could drop 600 bucks and get me a Chinese made iPad, but then I’d be typing on some sort of touch thingy that’s made for tweeting and sexting with teenaged girls. No, I need a friggin’ computer.  So, as 2008 as it may be, I went and grabbed an old lappy.

The Darth Vader of telecoms – Verizon makes a little cell-phone box called a jetpack. This little gadget allows you to take your own 4G hotspot wherever you go. Great, but I also need access to my network. I have tons of images, files, and programs that I use for putting up all these awesome blog posts.

So, you’d think that years as an IT pro would make setting up a VPN a snap, right? Wrong! The Verizon gizmo doesn’t play nice with fixed IP addresses. I tried Dynamic IP aliasing, RRAS, IIS – you name it. I finally got it to work by using a Japanese client/server progie called SoftEtherVPN. It’s free, and it may just be the best networking tool I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, now I can go to things like the ASL meetups, and blog live! How cool is that?

Finally, here’s 2 embeds that Marsha Graham sent me via e-mail.

This is the About page for the New England Innocence Project. It’s a PDF embed, so all the links should be active.

This study is a year old now, but the info is still valid.

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.

March at DeafInPrison.com

By BitcoDavid

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.

Last Post for March – Digest Post

By BitcoDavid

English: New York, New York. Newsroom of the N...

Just one of the many offices here at DeafInPrison.com Plaza. I’m lying. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Our month long birthday celebration draws to a close. It’s been a phenomenal month for DeafInPrison.com – and for me, personally. As well as attending the stellar, Symposium for the Deaf and the Justice System, I gave birth to BitcoDavid’s BoxingBlog, attended a reunion show by one of the bands I used to mix back in Boston’s indie music heyday, built a great little single ended practice amp for a guitarist friend, and posted and wrote like Hemingway – without the monosyllabic words and general life sucks then you die, style that made him one of America’s great authors. All this, and I still got in all my ring time.

Ernest Hemingway in Milan, 1918

By the way – Hemingway was a Boxer, too you know – and nothing happened to his brain.

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll go into depth about all this in the March at DeafInPrison.com  recap post. Following that, we’ll be back to covering the Symposium. I still have about 4 hours of video left, and I’m working on getting hold of the PowerPoints and other active content that we shared, explored and discussed at this unique and informative conference.

Now, on to today’s Digest Post.

Marsha Graham sent me this via e-mail.

Long Prison Term Is Less So Thanks to Judge’s Regrets

From the New York Times:

When Denise Dallaire was arrested at age 26 on charges of selling a few ounces of crack cocaine here a decade ago, she was sentenced to prison for more than 15 years. Last month, shackled inside the same court and facing the same judge, she received an apology and was set free.

The reversal by Judge Ronald R. Lagueux highlights how mandatory sentencing guidelines, though struck down by the Supreme Court eight years ago, continue to keep hundreds of small-time offenders behind bars for longer than many today consider appropriate.

To see the rest of this article, go to the New York Times.

NY man cleared, free after 23 years in prison

 

Pat Bliss sent me this link to the story of David Ranta, the New York man who was wrongfully convicted of killing a Hasidic Rabbi, and just recently freed after 23 years. The story is interesting because he was not cleared by DNA evidence. This particular link is to NBC’s PhotoBlog on the story. Lots of great pictures, as well as some good reporting, but the story has gotten coverage throughout the media.

Finally, we have the following from the ACLU, via – again – Marsha Graham:

Prisons’ Outdated Technology Prevents Those with Disabilities from Communicating with Their Loved Ones

Imagine that someone you love is in prison. And, the only way she has to communicate to the outside world – family, friends, attorneys – is through Morse Code. Tap each letter out, one word at a time, painstakingly slowly … and try to understand the response that comes back in Morse Code as well. To add insult to injury, she will be charged a dollar for each minute she is tapping away.

This is essentially the situation for prisoners who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have speech disabilities. They cannot use the standard pay phones in prison, and the only means of accessible telecommunication to the outside world is through a Text Telephone (TTY) machine. This machine has a modified keyboard, specific rules on how to use it, and it transmits each letter and word slowly.

When it was invented 50 years ago, it was useful. But its technology is so outdated that most deaf and hard of hearing households have never seen a TTY machine, much less used one.

You can click on the above link or here, to get to the rest of this story.

On a related note, one of the guest speakers at the Symposium was Massachusetts State Representative, Paul Heroux. Prior to his seat in Congress, he worked in the Prison system here in Ma. After his speech, I had a few minutes to talk with him, and I brought up the idea of using Video Relay for Deaf inmates, rather than the cumbersome and antiquated TTY. I will be reporting on our discussion as part of the upcoming coverage of that event.

Well, that about wraps ‘er up. Thank you all for helping me make March a truly awesome month, and for all your support. And thanks for all the Likes and Follows that we’ve received, as well as all the support on Twitter and FaceBook. See you in April.

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.

Marsha Graham Part 2

By BitcoDavid

I strongly suggest you watch these two videos. Ms. Graham’s personal story is fascinating, and her insight into the Deaf Community and law enforcement is both informed and entertaining. — BD

[OK. It looks to be good now. I went back to the original mpeg, re-edited it and re-rendered it.]

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.

Marsha Graham’s Presentation Part 1

By BitcoDavid

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.

Marsha Graham’s Presentation at the Symposium

By BitcoDavid

A particularly eerie image from the film Brazil. Credit, Filmicability

A particularly eerie image from the film Brazil. Credit, Filmicability

Marsha Graham, from AnotherBoomerBlog, has been a great supporter and an even greater asset to us, here at DeafInPrison.com. In her presentation at the Internationl Symposium on the Deaf and the Justice System, she drew a comparison between the Deaf and the insular Native American cultures she has also worked with, in Alaska.

She pointed out the similarities between the two cultures, stressing the linguistic and literacy limitations, making the point that if someone can’t understand what’s going on during a trial, they can’t be said to be competent in their own defense. She went on to stress the need for interpreters – or at the very least, some form of communication assistance – from the very first contact between law enforcement and members of the Deaf community.

Ms. Graham, also mentioned the case of Lashonn White, which we’ve covered, as well as the Felix Garcia Case. Ms. White, you may recall, was the woman who called the police after being attacked in her home. When the cruisers arrived, she ran out of her house, screaming and waving her arms – believing them to be her salvation. When she failed to stop her advance on the officers – unable to hear their commands to stop – they tased her multiple times, and put her in jail. She stayed there, unaware as to what was going on, for 4 days. Felix Garcia on the other hand is an individual whom we have been working – since our launch a year ago – to secure release for. Our contributor Pat Bliss, has been working directly with Felix on his case for many years prior to that.

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marsha also gave DeafInPrison.com a little well needed shout-out, which we gratefully appreciate. She mentioned Pat Bliss and our publisher, Joanne Greenberg, by name.

She stressed the need for interpreters, emphasized the advantages of live interpreting over C.A.R.T. and spelled out examples of where the justice system failed to provide adequate services for the Deaf. She also spoke of her own deafness, and how that impacted her abilities as a trial lawyer when working in noisy courtrooms. She said that judges want to move cases along, and become annoyed when interpreters are late, or when seemingly competent defendants request them. I found myself reminded of that old song, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, “The judge said guilty in a make believe trial, Slapped the sherrif on the back with a smile and said Suppers waiting at home, and I gotta get to it.”

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.

Directions to Bridgewater

By BitcoDavid

While visiting beautiful Bridgewater, be sure and swing by the infamous Bridgewater State Hospital. Photo Titicut Follies by Reilly Sinanan.

While visiting beautiful Bridgewater, be sure and swing by the infamous Bridgewater State Hospital. Photo Titicut Follies by Frederick Wiseman – 1967.

Last night, as I picked up my wife from work – I may be some kind of high falutin’ cyber-journalist, but if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t eat. Anyway, as I was driving her home, it occurred to me that after 40 odd years of living in Mass, I haven’t a clue as to where the hell Bridgewater is. I’d be willing to bet that even the Mayor of Bridgewater, doesn’t.

So, without further ado – directions to Bridgewater State University.

Seal of the City, Bridgewater, MA. Image: Town Web site.

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.

Reminder: Symposium on Criminal Justice and the Deaf

By BitcoDavid

Boyden Hall, the trademark building of Bridgew...

Boyden Hall, the trademark building of Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just a reminder that on Wednesday, March 27th there will be an international symposium at Bridgewater State University on Deafness, mental illness and the Criminal Justice System with special guest speaker – Dr. Brendan Montiero, M.D.

Marsha Graham of AnotherBoomerBlog will also be speaking, as well as several other luminaries in that sliver of the Venn Diagram, where deafness and law enforcement meet.

Adult Criminal Justice System

Adult Criminal Justice System (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So come to Bridgewater State University – just a stones throw from the wholly dreadful and fearsome Bridgewater State Mental Hospital – drink some free coffee, and listen to some great presentations by experts in the field.

For those who can’t be there, we will be covering this event here, on DeafInPrison.com, so we’ll be able to let you in on what you missed. We are also listing it on our events page. If you know of an event involving the CJS and the Deaf, please forward the details to us, and we’ll list it as well.

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.

International Symposium on Criminal Justice and the Deaf

by anotherboomerblog

Save the date: March 27TH, 2013

symposium

symposium (Photo credit: tonx)

International Symposium at Bridgewater State University on Deafness, mental illness and the Criminal Justice System with special guest speaker – Dr. Brendan Montiero, M.D.

Dr. Monteiro was co-chair of the 1st World Congress on Mental Health and Deafness at Gallaudet University, Washington, USA, where he was presented with a “Pioneering Award” with a citation; “Whose Ground Breaking work in the Advancement of Mental

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Awareness Day Awards

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Awareness Day Awards (Photo credit: MDGovpics)

Health practice in the Deaf Community has paved the way for all who come after”.

Other scheduled speakers include: Dr. Aviva Twersky Glasner, Marsha Graham, Esq., Dr. Jennifer Hartsfield and Dr. Alan Comedy who will be speaking on understanding diversity.

To learn more, click to read the original post at:

http://anotherboomerblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/international-symposium-on-criminal-justice-and-the-deaf/

Marsha Graham is the driving force behind several blogs, among them AnotherBoomerBlog. She is a good friend to DeafInPrison.com and we would be lost without her support. When she’s not blogging, she’s a committed activist and attorney.

I breathe, drive, take photographs, and write – not necessarily in that order.

 

 

 

What’s Going On?

By BitcoDavid

Well, I’m feeling pretty good about myself. Today, December 19th, the New York Times reported on the city of Oaxaca, Mexico’s use of Deaf officers to monitor the city’s surveillance cameras. But DeafInPrison.com reported on this story on Oct. 25. That’s right. The Gray Lady – the paper that broke Watergate and the disaster in Kampuchea – has been officially scooped. We here at the massive DeafInPrison Plaza complex, are elated at this turn of events.

Here’s the link:

www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/world/americas/deaf-officers-keep-watch-over-crime-in-oaxaca.htm

***

According to San Antonio TV’s Kens5.com, Texas is rethinking their policy on sentencing offenders to state jails.

A new report argues that state jails aren’t meeting their goal of helping to reduce crime by intensively treating short-term, nonviolent inmates, and it recommends that judges no longer be able to sentence felons to state jails without a rehabilitation plan.

The report, published Monday by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, says that those convicted of nonviolent felonies and normally sentenced to months in a state-operated jail should instead be released with community supervision. That can include treatment programs, community service, strictly enforced probation conditions and the threat of incarceration if certain conditions are violated. The report’s suggestions were based on recent data concerning the number of felons who commit crimes after being released from state jails.

http://www.kens5.com/news/Report–181883611.html

***

In their Science section, Dec. 12, the NY Times published the stories of 4 inmates who were serving life without parole – all for drug related charges.

Of the 140,000 prisoners serving life sentences in the United States, about 41,000 have no chance at parole, a result of laws that eliminated parole in the federal system and for many state prisoners. These rules, along with the mandatory sentences decreed for some crimes and some repeat offenders, were intended to make punishment both stricter and fairer, but judges complain that the rigid formulas too often result in injustice. Here are four prisoners sentenced to life without parole by judges who did not believe the punishment fit the crime.

www.nytimes.com/2012/12/12/science/life-without-parole-four-inmates-stories.html

***

AnotherBoomerBlog posted some bad news and some good news. Marsha Graham will be closing her law office, but she won’t be giving up on helping the Deaf and the wrongly convicted.

Among other projects, she plans on starting a blogsite that will compliment and augment DeafInPrison.com.

We welcome her efforts and look forward to tons of informative and enlightening posts.

Readers of DeafInPrison.com are already familiar with Marsha’s work, and know she’s already done great things for this site. Her new site promises to be amazing, and I can’t wait to be of any help to her I can.

Go here to read her post, and it wouldn’t kill ya to give her a “Like.”

http://anotherboomerblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/when-good-things-happen-to-bad-people

***

Speaking of Marsha Graham, she sent me the following via e-mail:

The unseen world of pretrial detention – in which most local jail inmates are held because they can't afford bail – is the cover story topic of the Dec. 17, 2012 issue of The Christian Science Monitor Weekly magazine. Richard Ross/AP/File

The unseen world of pretrial detention – in which most local jail inmates are held because they can’t afford bail – is the cover story topic of the Dec. 17, 2012 issue of The Christian Science Monitor Weekly magazine.
Richard Ross/AP/File

In Jailed Without Conviction – Behind Bars for Lack of Money, the Christian Science Monitor reports:

About 10 million people are jailed each year for crimes large and small. Most – two-thirds of the 750,000 in jail on any given day – stay long periods without conviction at great cost to the public and to themselves because they can’t afford bail.

Here’s the link. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/1216/Jailed-without-conviction-Behind-bars-for-lack-of-money

Also in their op-ed section was a piece on relieving the overcrowding in our prisons:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0118/Four-ways-to-relieve-overcrowded-prisons/Revamp-habitual-offender-laws

***

And Finally, there’s this. Also via Marsha Graham, from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Myth: Mass shootings are on the rise.
Reality: Over the past three decades, there has been an average of 20 mass shootings a year in the United States, each with at least four victims killed by gunfire. Occasionally, and mostly by sheer coincidence, several episodes have been clustered closely in time. Over all, however, there has not been an upward trajectory. To the contrary, the real growth has been in the style and pervasiveness of news-media coverage, thanks in large part to technological advances in reporting.

Myth: Mass murderers snap and kill indiscriminately.
Reality: Mass murderers typically plan their assaults for days, weeks, or months. They are deliberate in preparing their missions and determined to follow through, no matter what impediments are placed in their path.

Myth: Enhanced background checks will keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of these madmen.
Reality: Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization. They would not be disqualified from purchasing their weapons legally. Certainly, people cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they look strange or act in an odd manner. Besides, mass killers could always find an alternative way of securing the needed weaponry, even if they had to steal from family members or friends.

Myth: Restoring the federal ban on assault weapons will prevent these horrible crimes.
Reality: The overwhelming majority of mass murderers use firearms that would not be restricted by an assault-weapons ban. In fact, semiautomatic handguns are far more prevalent in mass shootings. Of course, limiting the size of ammunition clips would at least force a gunman to pause to reload or switch weapons.

Myth: Greater attention and response to the telltale warning signs will allow us to identify would-be mass killers before they act.
Reality: While there are some common features in the profile of a mass murderer (depression, resentment, social isolation, tendency to blame others for their misfortunes, fascination with violence, and interest in weaponry), those characteristics are all fairly prevalent in the general population. Any attempt to predict would produce many false positives. Actually, the telltale warning signs come into clear focus only after the deadly deed.

Myth: Widening the availability of mental-health services and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness will allow unstable individuals to get the treatment they need.
Reality: With their tendency to externalize blame and see themselves as victims of mistreatment, mass murderers perceive the problem to be in others, not themselves. They would generally resist attempts to encourage them to seek help. And, besides, our constant references to mass murderers as “wackos” or “sickos” don’t do much to destigmatize the mentally ill.

Myth: Increasing security in schools and other places will deter mass murder.
Reality: Most security measures will serve only as a minor inconvenience for those who are dead set on mass murder. If anything, excessive security and a fortress-like environment serve as a constant reminder of danger and vulnerability.

Myth: Students need to be prepared for the worst by participating in lockdown drills.
Reality: Lockdown drills can be very traumatizing, especially for young children. Also, it is questionable whether they would recall those lessons amid the hysteria associated with an actual shooting. The faculty and staff need to be adequately trained, and the kids just advised to listen to instructions. Schools should take the same low-key approach to the unlikely event of a shooting as the airlines do to the unlikely event of a crash. Passengers aren’t drilled in evacuation procedures but can assume the crew is sufficiently trained.

Myth: Expanding “right to carry” provisions will deter mass killers or at least stop them in their tracks and reduce the body counts.
Reality: Mass killers are often described by surviving witnesses as being relaxed and calm during their rampages, owing to their level of planning. In contrast, the rest of us are taken by surprise and respond frantically. A sudden and wild shootout involving the assailant and citizens armed with concealed weapons would potentially catch countless innocent victims in the crossfire.

Myth: We just need to enforce existing gun laws as well as increase the threat of the death penalty.
Reality: Mass killers typically expect to die, usually by their own hand or else by first responders. Nothing in the way of prosecution or punishment would divert them from their missions. They are ready to leave their miserable existence, but want some payback first.

In the immediate aftermath of the Newtown school shootings, there seems to be great momentum to establish policies and procedures designed to make us all safer. Sensible gun laws, affordable mental-health care, and reasonable security measures are all worthwhile, and would enhance the well being of millions of Americans. We shouldn’t, however, expect such efforts to take a big bite out of mass murder. Of course, a nibble or two would be reason enough.

James Alan Fox is the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University and the author of Violence and Security on Campus: From Preschool Through College (Praeger, 2010).

So, all this should keep you busy for a while. Enjoy.

DEAF NOT

DEAF NOT (Photo credit: Deaf RED Bear)

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.

 

 

 

Guestblog: Marsha Graham on the Gallaudet Controversy

By Marsha Graham

This is not a civil liberties issue. This is an employment law issue.

McCaskell’s sin is one of rank stupidity. She is a non-tenured individual working for Gallaudet as the Chief Diversity Officer – not a secretary, not a janitor, not even a diversity underling. She speaks for Gallaudet in matters of diversity.

Gallaudet University

Gallaudet University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Gallaudet the students are Deaf and discriminated against for their deafness. There are Gay Deaf students there, and the head of the Diversity Program has just made a statement against the LBGT community through signing this petition. She was an idiot if she thinks that won’t come back to bite her in the butt.

Further, the students of Gallaudet do not want her back. Remember, I belong to a Deaf and HoH attorney’s association, and many of them went to Gallaudet and know the parties and the students. Why on Earth would any student who suffers daily discrimination based on hearing loss, want a diversity officer who does not believe in diversity? Or even seems to oppose diversity?

My take: She did not want her job at Gallaudet enough to keep her mouth shut and her fingers off discriminatory petitions. I worked for the state  – and my Dad for the feds, and we kept our heads down and our mouths shut because we liked our paychecks. When you represent your organization in the world, you don’t put it on the front page through your behavior. Anyone who is a diversity officer, who opposes diversity should do the same or find a new job. Surely one of the anti-gay organizations will hire her as a mascot now.

Edward Miner Gallaudet at his desk, presumably...

Edward Miner Gallaudet at his desk, presumably in College Hall, as President of Gallaudet College (later Gallaudet University). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ms. McCaskell is in an employee-at-will jurisdiction where and individual can be let go for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason – just not an illegal reason. She has embarrassed her employer and alienated the students. No one will trust her. She has fouled her own nest, so to speak.

By the way, I find many Deaf folks (not all, but many) rather conservative by nature. Most blind folks are similarly conservative by nature. So branding this a liberal assault is both wrong and back in the rank stupidity category, in my opinion. It is a response to an individual who made it impossible for her to represent her employer and the students of Gallaudet.

You want your job? You’re highly visible? Keep your head down and keep out of trouble. If you get yourself in highly visible trouble, you fall on your sword and protect the employer.

The President's House (also known as the Edwar...

The President’s House (also known as the Edward Miner Gallaudet Residence or House One) located on the campus of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. The 20-room Victorian Gothic mansion was designed by Vaux, Withers, & Co. in 1867. The original owner of the home was Edward Miner Gallaudet, founder and first president of the school. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing property to the Gallaudet College Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marsha Graham is the driving force behind several blogs, among them AnotherBoomerBlog. She is a good friend to DeafInPrison.com and we would be lost without her support. When she’s not blogging, she’s a committed activist and attorney.

I breathe, drive, take photographs, and write – not necessarily in that order.

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