Friday, May 10, 2019

11-year forced to bear rapist’s baby?

Laws are not abstract things to be used for making points with a politician’s base. They affect real people.

In this case, an 11-year-old who became pregnant after being raped must, by Ohio law, carry the fetus to term and give birth to it. I assume that any miscarriage will cause the opening of a criminal investigation.

Will this birth happen? I doubt it; there will be an abortion. Do the politicians care about the burden they have placed on this girl who is not even a teenager? I doubt it.

But we must stop passing these laws just to pander to the misguided. They can believe what they want but they should not be allowed to inflict their views on others.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

We need to prevent violent crimes

Our various law enforcement officers and prosecutors are very effective at stopping crimes being committed and also investigating and prosecuting crimes after they’ve been committed (but see Note).

Now we must move to the next level: Stopping crimes from being committed. From two fathers who shot their own sons in the face, to a shooter at a synagogue, to a truck driver who is unable to stop a speeding truck without killing people, we need to figure out where, when and how for the police to intervene before these horrible things happen.

This issue was tackled in the movie “Minority Report” (2002). In my vision, the PreCogs in the movie would be replaced by artificial intelligence programs running on supercomputers. For the sake of all of us, I think the research and development of such a system is more important than going to the Moon or Mars or self-driving cars. How many lives could be saved if even 10% of violent crimes could be stopped before they happen?

I predict that this is possible in my son’s lifetime. But is anyone working on this now?


Note: Not all departments are good at solving crimes. One glaring example is the inability of the Chicago Police Department to solve a string of 51 killings of women, going back to 2001, most involving women of color. Some suspect a serial killer is on the loose.

And then there’s the Baltimore Police Department, which has destroyed 521 rape kits without processing them since 2010. There will be no justice here.


Originally posted on my Facebook page on April 27, 2019.

Friday, February 22, 2019

One year anniversary of the shootings in Parkland, Florida

It’s been a year since 14 students and three adults were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The Miami Herald wanted to know how many children have been killed in the year by gunfire since that day. Their total: 1,157. They ran short stories of each of these victims in the paper February 12.

My opinion: It’s too easy to get a gun and bullets(!) in this country, especially those with a known mental illness or a felony conviction. In many cases, the problem is not a lack of of laws, but lax enforcement. I don’t want to take away the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns; I want small, incremental changes made in the existing laws and better enforcement until the problem is reduced to a level society can live with — and I have no idea what that level is.

[This was originally posted on my Facebook page February 17. The comments from that post are included below.]